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Suffering Is Optional: Three Keys to Freedom and Joy

4.05  ·  Rating details ·  150 ratings  ·  11 reviews
Suffering Is Optional: Three Keys to Freedom and Joy centers around three basic aspects of Zen practice: pay attention, believe nothing, and dont take anything personally. As ending suffering requires that one sees how suffering happens, the book urges readers to be willing to be quiet and pay attention to the process of suffering in effort to see each moment as an ...more
Paperback, 240 pages
Published March 1st 2002 by Keep It Simple Books
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Liz Michaels
Jun 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
I enjoy Cheri Huber's books for the goo advise and the artwork.
May 28, 2016 rated it liked it
This book offers a good taste of Buddhist teachings for the secular folk. It's filled with "activities" and people's responses to them that I skimmed through quickly, but there are some insights I gained that I imagine could help in a wide variety of challenging scenarios.

Here are Huber's central insights:

"We have no control over what we get in life, but we can learn to have every choice about how we respond. Choice is available to us when we let go of the illusion of control" (44).

Andy Weiss
Mar 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The book presents concisely 3 KEYS as a starting point into a meditative practice: "Pay attention to everything, believe nothing and don't take anything personally". Ms Huber and the students who shared themselves create here a wonderful tool for self-examination. It was written in a sincere and clear way even I could understand!

It was a wonderful format hearing the questions and comments of people as they try to recognize "who they are". They presented good mirrors for my own life. Thanks.
Feb 02, 2015 rated it liked it
The format of this book is questions asked by the author and the responses are from her students. Some of the answers you can think "yes that is exactly how I feel!" and other answers make you think "what..? Where or how did they think that?!" So it's good at giving you different perspectives on the way in which people think about questions and interpret the world around them. Quick and easy read, and can be read in short increments when you have the time.
J Crossley
Mar 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
The format of the book was an online class that author held. It gives an introduction to Buddhism, meditation, and mindfulness. She helps you to sort out the 'conditioned' mind we are programmed with at a young age. Those internalized voices are what make us miserable because we feel a tug-of-war between what "they" say we should do and what we really want to do.
Oct 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I first read this book seven years ago, and reading it again now, it is just as inspiring. Because this book is based on an email class, it's written in a sort of question-and-answer format, and it's very easy to relate to what the students are saying. That's why I think this is one of the best Cheri Huber books for a beginner to read. It changed my life.
Kara Christine
Oct 19, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Profound & life changing. This is one of those books I keep turning to for some sane perspective when I beat myself up for life not turning out exactly as I expect. Written from a Buddhist perspective but I honestly think anyone could benefit from its simple yet radical advice on giving yourself a break :)
Dec 23, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: did-not-finish
I would have loved to do this as a progressive exercise over email (as the book was based on), but trying to keep up with this in book form was overwhelming. Plus, I definitely maxed out on my become-more-zen reading for the year. I would in theory pick this back up again in the future, but..I probably won't.
Jul 08, 2008 rated it liked it
still inthe process. this is one of those that I pick up from time to time and see what it has to say to me
Apr 19, 2015 rated it liked it
Cheri Huber has a down-to-Earth way of explaining inner conflict and strife. Wish I could afford one of her zen 'classes'...I want her in my head, foreva...:-)
Aug 14, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: life-lessons
It was great to read different people's perspectives on trying to meditate and find peace.
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Cheri Huber, author of 20 books, has been a student and teacher of Zen for over 35 years. In 1983, Cheri founded the Mountain View Zen Center, and in 1987 she founded the Zen Monastery Peace Center near Murphys, California. She and the monks at the Monastery conduct workshops and retreats at these centers, other places around the U.S., and internationally.

In 1997, Cheri founded Living Compassion,

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