Winner of the 2016 IPPY Gold Medal Award for Self Help
How making a vow—consciously setting an intention—can be a powerful tool for achieving all sort of goals, from the author of the best-selling Mindful Eating.
Making a vow is a powerful mindfulness practice—and all you have to do to tap into that power is set your intention consciously. A vow can be as “small” as the aspiration to smile at someone at least once every day, or as “big” as marriage; as personal as deciding to be mindful when picking up the phone or as universal as vowing to save all sentient beings. It can be deeply spiritual, utterly ordinary, or both. Zen teacher Jan Chozen Bays looks to traditional Buddhist teachings to show the power of vows—and then applies that teaching broadly to the many vows we make. She shows that if we work with vows consciously, they set us in the direction of achieving our goals, both temporal and spiritual.
Bays presents secular and spiritual wisdom from both East and West, highlighting figures such as Martha Graham, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Buckminster Fuller. She helps us examine the vows we have already made for ourselves and the vows we’ve unconsciously inherited. She supports us in repairing broken vows, crafting new intentions, and exploring what’s truly on our bucket lists.
About The Vow-Powered Life
A vow is like a GPS system for your life. When taken on mindfully it can be a source of surprising wisdom and powerful energy, enabling you to accomplish things you never dreamed possible. It can have profound effects even beyond the original intention—and it can even live on after you’re gone. A vow can be as small as the aspiration to smile at someone at least once every day, or it can be as big as marriage; it can be as personal as deciding to be mindful whenever you pick up the phone, or it can be as universal as a commitment to save all sentient beings. But whatever its inspiration, when it’s done with conscious intention a vow becomes a conduit for the energy of your life.
In this guide to the vow-directed life, Jan Chozen Bays provides a wealth of practical exercises to use for formulating and implementing vows of your own and for using them to navigate your life with honesty and compassion.
“A vow is a pledge or promise to bring direction and intention into our lives. Yet, how are we to discover the distinctive direction and purpose of our lives? How do we sort the trivial from the vital and essential? As a physician and Zen teacher—a healer of both the body and soul—Jan Bays offers deep insight for discovering the true gifts we want to bring to our unique life. This gem of a book awakens our capacity for vow-empowered living.”—Duane Elgin, author of Voluntary Simplicity
“Our intentions count for so much more than we usually think. Roshi Chozen Bays, a physician of the heart, describes how we can ground our highest aspirations within our lived lives with grace and beauty. If you’re looking for a guide through the confusions of life, The Vow-Powered Life is a very good place to start.”—James Ishmael Ford, author of If You’re Lucky, Your Heart Will Break: Field Notes from a Zen Life