I have been an aikido and meditation practitioner for many years and have been fortunate to practice in locations around the USA. Unfortunately, I have become pretty picky about where — and with whom — I practice. My personal shorthand for teachers whose practice both speaks to and challenges me — with gratitude — is “the real deal.”
Author Karen Maezen Miller is a Zen Buddhist priest and teacher at the Hazy Moon Zen Center in Los Angeles. Her book, Paradise in Plain Sight: Lessons from a Zen Garden was written from the soul and clearly from a place of joy.
This book moved me toward greater appreciation that my home is where I am and I have what I need. I was better able to realize the magnitude of the gift of this life I’ve been given …and it’s mine alone to live. Her statement, “What goes into sitting isn’t pretty, but after a while it becomes beautiful” struck a chord and helped soften my heart just a little more.
The description of the beauty of her pond being that “it’s muddy” allows me more latitude to deal with what’s in front of me right now, in this moment and any other. It helps to ease up on the ‘being perfect’ expectations.
I am delighted to say that, in my not-so-humble opinion, Maezen and her books are "the real deal." Savor and enjoy.