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Foreword

Perhaps from the beginning of the human species we have looked for ways of being in the world, dealing with everyday concerns and stresses, while also developing our innate gifts to their fullest. What we are striving for, whether we know it or not, is to make our life a work of art, so that every move we make is both appropriate and contributes to our increasing satisfaction and mastery.

This unique book opens the possibility for doing that. It is both artful and practical. Joel and Michelle Levey provide the most up-to-date guide to living yet, basing it on techniques that have stood the test of centuries, even millennia. And they have put it into a form that gently yet with discipline moves us toward mastery of our lives in a way that can be specific to our own needs and opportunities. It is hard to resist a book that promises and delivers insight into such themes as, "If you look to lead, manage yourself," "The Art of listening," "An antidote to discouragement," "Concentration while walking," "Mental massage," and "Mindfulness of the stories we tell ourselves," "Transforming emotions," and "Standing in the possibility."

For too long we have separated our being from our work, our development of ourselves from what we do in the world. I'm reminded of a story of the businessman who succeeded beyond his expectations but still had a feeling of emptiness coupled with burnout. So he went away to a forest on a mountain to live the life of a monk. After some time he felt he had become centered enough to come down off the mountain and deal with people. Unfortunately, so the story goes, soon after he entered the first city he came to, someone mistreated him and his equanimity deserted him.

If that businessman had this book he would have been better able to integrate his life in the world and his inner life. The mountain, if he had chosen to go there, would not have been so radically different, and his encounter with the difficulties of everyday life so disorienting. He would have had the skills to deal with any situation in his life and turn it into a victory for everybody involved.

So, no matter what your occupation or role in life, settle into the practices so beautifully taught in this book. Joel and Michelle Levey have had almost a quarter century of experience in bringing these approaches to people who need them. They will not let you down. And, as you probably know, relaxation, concentration and meditation aren’t really optional in today’s world. They’re essential. And so is this book.

Dr. Michael Ray

Co-author, Creativity in Business
Professor, Graduate School of Business, Stanford University