Momma Zen, book review

Momma Zen book cover  I am not a parent, yet this book moved me deeply.

Any experience can be used as a learning ground for spiritual development. Karen Maezen Miller shows how to take everyday experiences and transform them into profound learning. In addition to revealing Zen philosophy to my western mind, I gained a greater appreciation for the trials and tribulations my Mother had to go through in order to assure my entrance into this world, and into adulthood.
I often contemplate the catch 22 of parenthood – there is absolutely no way to be perfect, to “get it right” all the time.  I watch parents as they make their mistakes. I reflect on my own childhood and see now that the imperfections of my parents were part of what made them perfect parents for me. It was a combination of their strengths and weaknesses that helped form the person I have become.
Still, I often witness the guilt of parents. Only a parent can know what that is like:

“Certainly, all manner of events transpire in life, but where exactly does this thing called a mistake take place? Only in our mind – our judging, critical, labeling mind. The mind that provides the nonstop narrative to our lives, ‘There you go again. Can’t get it right. You’ll never do it. Big mistake.’ “

The author outlines many moments of her first year of Motherhood, revealing her inner experience of daily events, and then reflecting on the teachings of her Zen Teacher, Taizan Maezumi Roshi. She brings us through the workings of her mind as she contemplates Zen teachings, and then reveals the lesson:

“Life is full of fits and starts. Some things are easy; some are not. Some things go and some things stop. Do your work; then set it down. There are no failures. Forgive and forget yourself.

Get your own copy of Momma Zen
Connect with Karen Maezen Miller at her blog, Cheerio Road.

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Cindy Black

Cindy Black is the Founder of Big Tree School of Natural Healing and the author of Meridian Massage, Pathways to Vitality. She is appreciated for her ability to make the complex accessible, fun, and practical.


  1. Karen Maezen Miller on April 30, 2012 at 2:35 pm

    Thank you Cindy. If you visit my blog this week you can be entered to win a copy of this book. Why not?

    • Cindy Black on April 30, 2012 at 3:25 pm

      Hi Karen,
      Thanks for stopping by!
      What a great offer – I’ll be right over! 🙂

  2. Andi on April 24, 2012 at 11:47 am

    Oooo can I borrow it? 🙂 I never really deal with guilt – I know I’m doing the best I can, working with what I’ve got … Adam has always taught me that our kid needs both my good side and bad to learn how to be herself; to see how we resolve conflicts and deal with anger and adversity. They give her tools that are just as important as our happy, calm, “successful” parenting accomplishments.

    • Cindy Black on April 24, 2012 at 12:53 pm

      Definitely you can borrow it! I am in awe of all you parents out there – may you find peace along with the uncertainty.

  3. Karen Ball on April 24, 2012 at 10:05 am

    Sounds like a beautiful book. I forwarded the link onto a young single mother of two that I thought might get something useful from it. Thanks.

    • Cindy Black on April 24, 2012 at 12:50 pm

      Glad you are going to pass it on. I’m a mother of 2 beautiful cats and still this book completely spoke to me!

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