Cover image for Zen in the age of anxiety : wisdom for navigating our modern lives / Tim Burkett ; edited by Wanda Isle.
Zen in the age of anxiety : wisdom for navigating our modern lives / Tim Burkett ; edited by Wanda Isle.
First edition.
Publication Information:
Boulder : Shambhala, [2018]
Physical Description:
xi, 170 pages ; 22 cm
General Note:
Includes index.
Wounding and splintering -- Being human -- The trance of unworthiness -- Sex -- Money -- Failure is just an experience -- Suturing and healing -- The wisdom of humility -- Suturing what was rent asunder -- Brain plasticity, mirror mind, and enlightenment -- Transforming knowledge into wisdom through everyday life -- Living and dying in a state of readiness -- Healing our world, together.
Added Author:


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
294.3927 BUR Book Adult General Collection

On Order



An ancient Buddhist proverb says, "Sickness and medicine heal each other." Tim Burkett would agree and offer his own resonant proverb, "Because there is wounding and splintering there is suturing and healing." Wounding and healing are innate aspects of being human, he declares, and understanding the relationship between them is the key to a peaceful heart and purpose-driven life. "Medicine and sickness heal each other" means that the path to a peaceful heart does not lie outside the anxiety we seek to escape--but rather leads through the center of it.
Burkett provides wisdom from Zen (channeled through his many other experiences of psychotherapy and life) for first identifying the problems of pain and anxiety particularly where they most strongly manifest for modern people--in stuff like money, self-worth, sex, success vs. failure, and so forth. He then shows how if we understand our essentially undivided nature, it becomes clear that healing these negative states is effected only by going into them--not assailing them as though there were a solid "me" capable of eradicating them through assault. Each of the ten chapters ends with a section called "Doing the Work," which consists of three or four questions and/or meditative exercises. This section brings home the main points of the chapter, applying them directly to the reader's own life situations.

Author Notes

TIM BURKETT, PhD, is Guiding Teacher of the Minnesota Zen Meditation Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He is also a licensed psychologist and former director of a large mental health agency. He was a student of Shunryu Suzuki Roshi and later of Dainin Katagiri Roshi, in whose lineage he is a dharma heir.

Reviews 1

Publisher's Weekly Review

Burkett (Nothing Holy About It), a psychologist and teacher at the Minnesota Zen Meditation Center, explores how Zen Buddhist principles can help readers lead more fulfilling lives. Focusing on the ways the "movie-making mind" creates suffering, Burkett explains why human beings struggle with anger, anxiety, and fear, and shows how a more accurate understanding of the mind and the practice of meditation can promote well-being. Using an informal, friendly tone, Burkett offers clear explanations and examples to illustrate core Zen ideas. In addition to examining what he calls the "most troublesome areas" of "feelings of unworthiness" (sex, money, and failure), Burkett provides a Zen perspective on such topics as humility, experiences of nature, non-attachment, and non-dualism. He also includes many affectionate memories of his studies in the 1960s with Zen monk Shunryu Suzuki, a seminal figure in the beginnings of Zen practice in North America. While Burkett serves as a wise witness to Suzuki's legacy, his focus on specific generational experiences (including songs by the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, and Pete Townshend) will seem dated to some readers. Compiled from Burkett's former talks, this light book will appeal to readers who are new to Buddhism. (June) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Table of Contents

Editor's Introductionp. ix
Part 1 Wounding and Splintering
1 Being Humanp. 3
2 The Trance of Unworthinessp. 17
3 Sexp. 35
4 Moneyp. 50
5 Failure Is Just an Experiencep. 63
Part 2 Suturing and Healing
6 The Wisdom of Humilityp. 79
7 Suturing What Was Rent Asunderp. 92
8 Brain Plasticity, Mirror Mind, and Enlightenmentp. 110
9 Transforming Knowledge into Wisdom through Everyday Lifep. 125
10 Living and Dying in a State of Readinessp. 138
Epilogue: Healing Our World, Togetherp. 153
Acknowledgmentsp. 157
Creditsp. 159
Indexp. 161
About the Authorp. 171