Saying Yes To Life - Preface

(Even the Hard Parts)

Preface

One of the axioms of this book is that we need to stop playing it safe. Only then can we recognize what lies at the very heart of all spiritual practice: that the path to true satisfaction entails the willingness to step into unfamiliar territory. Walking the path to becoming truly and fully human requires acknowledging our own edge—that place beyond which we don’t want to go—and then learning what it takes to welcome that hard place, to say yes to it—difficulties and all. Saying yes to life—all of it—is realizing that our true identity knows no bounds. This is the only path to lasting joy.

Yet it’s all too easy to stray from the genuine path by focusing only on reading and talking about it. We may even start to mistake the things we know intellectually—about wisdom, about compassion, about spiritual practice—for the realities themselves. But in truth, the only things we

truly know are those things that we’ve learned through our own conscious living. And the things we know best are the ones we’ve learned by working with our difficulties.

Yet sometimes a particular idea, a succinct phrase, can help us clarify what we’re right on the brink of seeing. Or it can remind us of something important we’ve somehow forgotten. The aphorisms and short in this book are offered in this spirit.

You can approach this book in different ways. You may wish to read this book in sequence, exploring the particular development that we’ve presented. Or you might choose to read the book in a less structured way, flipping around and seeing what leaps out. You might try picking one aphorism that you particularly resonate with and using it as a guiding maxim for a day. Or you could copy down one of the aphorisms you find particularly challenging and post it at work or on your refrigerator.

But however you choose to read this book, don’t consume it. Don’t use it to add to your store of knowledge, your supply of wise words. When an individual aphorism or the idea at the heart of one of the essays jumps out at you—stop. Pause, perhaps even close the book, and let what you’ve rediscovered settle in. Test its truth by taking it with you as you go through your day. Let it seep into the very fabric of your life—and let yourself become who you truly are.         

Ezra Bayda

 

How to cite this document:
© Ezra Bayda, Saying Yes to Life (Wisdom Publications, 2005)

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