A groundbreaking work, Ordinary Mind zooms in on potential opportunities and pitfalls and brings the reader to a clearer understanding of the path towards personal realization and fulfillment.
In particular, I found his thoughtful examination of self at once
evocative and refreshingly straightforward. His examination of the issues of boundaries in both clinical and zen teacher-student relationships is intelligent and realistic. And his comments on transference and its relationship to a Buddhist conception of ego are of particular interest.
In psychoanalytic circles lately there has been a growing interest in Zen and Buddhist psychology. I believe that Zen students and mental health professionals alike will be in Magid's debt for a long time to come.
While Magid's observations may not be "groundbreaking" (John Welwood, for instance, has covered the same territory in books such as TOWARD A PSYCHOLOGY OF AWAKENING), they are indeed fascinating. Therapy and meditation practice share some common ground. Both create long-term relationships with a therapist or a teacher, respectively. Both create "a setting for the eliciting and working through of intense fantasies and affects." Both train us "to stay with, tolerate, and explore thoughts and feelings normally felt to be too painful or frightening to endure" (p. 103). "Through both psychoanalysis and Zen practice we strive to come back to ourselves," Magid says, "to re-own what has been split off, and to embrace what we have warded off. Then we are who we are; each moment is what it is" (p. 166).Read more ›