Indie Excellence Award 2007

Award-Winning Finalist!

National Indie Excellence 2007 Book Awards - Spirituality

Being Prayer - Transforming Consciousness:
Good News of Buddhist Practice


"How we see determines what we see, and Mary Rees will help you to see much better." Fr. Richard Rohr, O.F.M.

"Mary...takes hard concepts like consciousness and mind and makes them accessible." Rodney Smith, Insight Meditation Teacher

"This...is a book to be done, using the practice, not just to be read, grasping the concepts. As we do so we let direct contact with life be our primary teacher - Sr. Mary Dennison, rc, EdD

"The readers will connect with it based on their own experience and practice, reflecting the principle that all things of a higher nature come when one is ready to receive them." - Mary Hendricks, MS, RYT

"Being Prayer...offers practical skills through which anyone might step into the infinite possibility of who they are as a human being, from whatever background they come."Sally Taylor

Being Prayer

Purchase this book online!

Also, Practice Books
Transforming Consciousness

From the Author:

A primary theme in Being Prayer-Transforming Consciousness is that nothing is as substantial as it seems. We fuel a dynamic spiritual unfolding when we reach a realization of the insubstantiality of what we believe to be true, when we see that both our doubts and certainties need to be challenged.

Understanding insubstantialtiy does not mean that things do not exist at all. Instead it invites us to a looser perception, an awareness that we are each conditioned by our life experiences. This conditioning contributes to our uniqueness but also limits our view and colors all of our perceptions. We can learn to widen our perceptions and open to what is most real, to vitality, energy, enthusiasm, and joy.

Being Prayer is intended as a companion to be revisited again and again, to be read and practiced slowly digesting it in small bites at a time. With each reading different teachings will stand out based on life circumstances and developing understanding.

Mary Rees, author


Foreword:

Both the Buddha and Jesus Christ offered the teachings that they did in order to help people change themselves for the better. In this small book Mary Rees brings together, in particular, a number of essential Buddhist-based practices which can help to effect such positive changes, yet which are cast in a language and form that also renders them highly useable by those of a Christian faith — indeed, of any religious faith at all.

—AJAHN AMARO pp xvi


Endorsements :


"How we see determines what we see, and Mary Rees will help you to see much better. This book can clear away many doubts that Christians might have about the richness of Buddhist practice and discipline."

Fr. Richard Rohr, O.F.M.
Author of Everything Belongs
Center for Action and Contemplation
Albuquerque, New Mexico


"Mary Rees' Being Prayer begins the important work of inching two religious traditions closer together. If Buddhism is to root within this culture, it must come to terms with the Christian language of God, heart and prayer. Mary shows that not only is this possible but compatible with the depth and wonder of Buddhism. She takes hard concepts like consciousness, and mind and makes them accessible. Mary allows us to relax and invite this compatibility."

Rodney Smith
Insight Meditation Teacher
Author of Lessons From the Dying
Seattle, Washington


"This work is a wealth of information for those on the journey toward higher consciousness. The content is solid and written from the heart. There is something pertinent for all levels of study regardless of spiritual leanings or methods of meditation. The readers will connect with it based on their own experience and practice, reflecting the principle that all things of a higher nature come when one is ready to receive them. The author has provided stepping–stones in Consciousness practice, undoubtedly placing many of us, in the words one spiritual teacher, “where we need to be, to learn what we need to know." "

Mary Hendricks, MS, RYT.
Yoga Alliance of Registered Yoga Teachers
Houston, Texas


""This is a book about prayer – about being prayer. It offers some methods from Buddhist practice toward this manner of living. The author also makes connections with Christian tradition. It is a book to be done, using the practice, not just to be read, grasping the concepts. As we do so we let “ direct contact with life be our primary teacher” as the author suggests and as Karl Rahner with his emphasis on human experience might corroborate. The subtitle “The Good News of Buddhist Practice” gives a clue to what is here for those who are interested. The style is easy to read, but one must do the practice to benefit most from the book. A good read is not enough!."

Sr. Mary Dennison, rc, EdD
Director, Spiritual Direction Institute

Houston, Texas



Reviews

Online:
Good Reads Steve Woods Review March 2012
Sally Taylor in Presence Winter 2006


Below:
Donna Coomer Between the Lines Reviewer (October 2006)
Bob Howdy, PhD in The Exchange (November 2006)
Sacred Journey Review (February 2007)
Sally Taylor in Presence (Winter 2006)
Mary Jo Meadows in Inquiring Mind (May 2007)


"We wake up each day to a world filled with complexity. We are surrounded with a whirling array of choices and circumstances that we must deal with. Mary Rees offers us an invitation to move our consciousness into a place where "we learn to stay with our experience neither running nor fighting."

She shows us a variety of ways to achieve this. We get a chance to read about concepts such as "creating a holding", understanding "sense doors" and "dynamic receptivity." Her chapters present a concept, suggest beginning practices, and conclude with recommended reading. In this fashion each one is like a book within itself. And Rees is careful not to overload us. As she says, "Be faithful to your heart's deepest intentions. Revisit them every day and during the day. Let them expand and unfold." With her many years of teaching guiding her, she leads us gently, suggesting we move forward, pause, revisit, and grow, all at our own pace.

With appendices that include Prayers of Intention, an overview of the Satipatthana Sutta, and an additional reading list broken down into categories, BEING PRAYER becomes not only a guide to transformation but the type of book that you'll always want close at hand and close to your ever expanding heart."


Donna Coomer
Between the Lines Reviewer
Cedar City, UT USA
October 26, 2006


"The forward to this beautifully compact book tells the author's endeavor: "To elucidate some parallels that these two great spiritual traditions (Christianity and Buddhism) possess, to foster understanding between them, and, most importantly, to make their contemplative practices more accessible to the general public." Certainly this isn't just a "Don't Worry, Be Happy" spit in the ocean of Buddhism. Her endeavor is a much taller order of seriousness with a purpose. Big issues and solemn questions are covered - like how to harmonize life with deepest intentions, why develop a greater facility of attention and awareness, and what it takes to feel at ease at te roots of imagination.

The author has a Master of Science degree in Specific Learning Disabilities, and is a teacher, educational diagnostician, and consultant. She has practiced Insight Meditation (Vipassana) since 1985 and has been teaching mindfulness and insight since 1989. Her writing came out of a dedication to the maturing of culture, and to the arisig of wisdom and compassion, possible through willingness to see clearly.

Her book is finely split in half. The first half is 70 pages divided into 5 Chapters which comprise the thematic section. Chapter One says to get in touch with your body and your senses. Chapter Two sayt so know your mind. Chapter Three says to free your mind. Chapter Four says to shape your mind. And Chapter Five says to participate in righteous reality. Each chapter ends with a follow up activity o practice plus helpful recommended reading. The next half contains 3 Appendices (A - Prayers of Intention, B - Four Foundations of Mindfulness, and C- Recommended Reading by Category) plus end notes, and an extensive bibliography alphabatized by author.

Before you hesitate to tackle her book you should know that it is thoughtfully designed for a thorough, uncomplicated reading. The dedicated author makes plenty of clear material accessible to you and politely encourages you to use it to your advantage. It is well worth reading because you don't have to rack your brains against the obscurity of typically indecipherable printed resources on Buddhism, therby turning off an avenue to illusive wisdom and true virtue. And, if you like it, the references are invaluable for a continuing study of the fascinating practice of the religious and philosophical system of central and eastern Asia founded in India about twenty-five hundred years ago.

Fasten the gate,
Bob Howdy, PhD"

The Exchange
Portland, OR USA
Nov. 17, 2006


Both the Buddha and Jesus Christ offered the teachings that they did in order to help people change themselves for the better. In this small book Mary Rees brings together a number of essential Buddhist-based practices which can help to effect such positive changes, yet which are cast in a language and form that also render them highly useable by those of a Christian faith—indeed, of any religious faith at all. ~ Ajahn Amaro, from the Foreword

According to author Mary Rees, her purpose in writing Being Prayer was “to elucidate some parallels that these two great spiritual traditions (Christianity and Buddhism) possess, to foster understanding between them, and, most importantly, to make their contemplative practices more accessible to the general public.”

This book is full of teachings and contemplative practices which are relevant for all levels of study, regardless of an individual’s particular spiritual orientation or beliefs. Each chapter includes practical instructions in applying the teachings and the meditations in one’s daily life, and ends with a recommended reading list related to the topics presented in that chapter.

“Being Prayer begins the important work of inching two religious traditions closer together. If Buddhism is to root within this culture, it must come to terms with the Christian language of God, heart, and prayer. . . Mary takes hard concepts like consciousness and mind and makes them accessible,” says Rodney Smith, MS, Insight Meditation Teacher.

Being Prayer includes three appendices: “Prayers of Intention,” both Buddhist and Christian; “A Summary of the Satipatthana Sutta,” the Buddha’s teaching on the Four Foundations of Mindfulness; and “Recommended Reading by Category.” The author also provides an extensive bibliography.

Mary Rees, MS, worked for twenty years in public education as a teacher, consultant, and specialist in learning disabilities. She is a Christian spiritual director, a Buddhist practitioner, and a meditation teacher. She is also a community Dharma Leader in the Insight Meditation network and has taught Insight Meditation since 1989. The purpose of her work is to walk with others toward wholeness.

Sacred Journey
February 2007


"Being Prayer offers a wonderful expos of what Buddhists call 'skilful means' in order to live life from what His Holiness the Dalai Lama calls a 'good heart.' Mary Rees writes primarily from within a Theravadan Buddhist perspective. She weaves these skilful means' into a fulsome, open-hearted perspective that people of any faith tradition can access in the process of awakening' into the infinite life which is available to all. Rees' own journey toward wholeness embraces practices in several traditions while also a spiritual director and community Dharma Leader in Insight Meditation. Being Prayer is a profoundly useful tool for practitioners and spiritual directors in all spiritual traditions.

An aspect I appreciate in Rees' writing is the clarity with which she defines and creates a common language throughout the book, establishing a beneficial common ground. Prayer is described: ÒAs we pray we become the conscious meeting point and mediating space of multiple dimensions of existence. In fact, prayer from this perspective includes awareness of all existence as fullness and everything as interdependent, connected and interwoven' (p. 2). Providing this frame of reference allowed me to enter into Being Prayer in a practical, hands on manner.

At a very ordinary level, this book is a training ground for opening one's self. It may be important to say what the book is not. Being Prayer is not about anything. It offers practical skills through which anyone might step into the infinite possibility of who they are as a human being, from whatever background they come. It is applicable for accomplished practitioners and beginners alike. Not a book to be rushed through, Being Prayer is meant to be savoured, felt, and lived with. The text has a density that calls forth an attentive awareness from the reader, leading to a desire to respond by practicing the prayers and meditation so clearly explained. It is here that the greatest benefit of the book is surely felt through direct transformative experience.

The practices are laid out in a staged process, beginning with preliminary practices of exploring consciousness, followed by techniques for analysing our mind. This is described as knowing the mind, freeing the mind and shaping the mind. The process opens us to the possibility of 'birthing embodied being' which is addressed by Rees in the final chapter. Very quietly, Rees opens us to a profound interfaith realisation, that we are one, with multiple expressions: 'The pointing out done through language and the teachings of the various traditions, including this writing, are valuable in that they provide culturally specific ways to come to understanding. But it is important not to confuse the pointing out with the actual experience. The experience we open to is the knowing that arises beyond and beneath our gift of language through our direct experience' (p.10).

References are expansive, detailed and often exquisite. They indicate profoundly that to which Rees is calling all of us: an embodied spiritual life.

Sally Taylor is Canadian by birth, and a fifteen-year-practitioner within the Tibetan Buddhist Gelugpa Tradition. She hosts the 'Hermitage Cottage' in Co. Down, Northern Ireland, a spiritual retreat open to practitioners of all faith traditions, or those with none. She has lived and worked in Northern Ireland for over thirty years; administers the Maitreya Charity (USA) that benefits Tibetan Refugees in India and Mongolians living in great need. She can be reached at sally.taylor803@btopenworld.com.

Sally Taylor (Tibetan Practitioner)
Administrator: Maitreya Charity
Hermitage Cottage
County Down, Northern Ireland
Winter 2006

"Being Prayer"- rather than saying prayers - involves a transformation of consciousness that allows us to see all life as prayer. ....The author succeeds in demonstrating how Buddhism supports the contemplative life and deepens the heart of faith, no matter what tradition one comes from.

Mary Jo Meadows (of Resources for Ecumenical Spirituality is an author and teacher of Christian/Buddhist practices )
Inquiring Mind
Spring 2007


About the author:

Mary Rees has been teaching since 1970. Going Beyond is grounded in a life time of spiritual practice and twenty years working as a Specialist in Learning Disabilities. Mary holds a Master of Science degree in Specific Learning Disabilities from the University of Nebraska at Omaha. A commonality of Mary's combined trainings and experiences is a focus on expanding consciousness through meditation, prayer, and development of metacognitive capacities. All involve learning how to learn and tapping into available resources and intelligence which are often masked by reliance on language and concepts.

About the team that brought this book to press:

Primary team members who came together to create Being Prayer include editors Mary Sieber and Roger Leslie and graphic designer Kristin Kearns. Con Rees did some crucial early pruning of the writing.

"As this book was being printed in April 2006, Mary Sieber entered a critical health situation and passed away June 19. Though every part of the team was essential in this production, Mary is the primary reason for the excellent overall quality. Without her skill, insight, and belief in the project it may never have come to press."

About Nutshell Publications:

Large topics in brief, Small topics in depth. The goal of Nutshell Publications is offering valuable and significant content in small and beautiful packages. Nutshell does not solicit manuscripts. We intend on offering writings that get directly to the heart of significant themes - especially those that are valuable in enriching spiritual life and improving the quality of life for all living beings.

Table of Contents and Appendices:

Contents
Introduction
Coming Home Through Our Senses
Knowing the Mind
Freeing the Mind
Shaping the Mind
Birthing Embodied Being
Appendix
Prayers of Intention
Satipatthana Sutta Summary and Bibliography
Recommended Reading by Category
Alphabetical Bibliography

Now Available, Practice Books Series:

Companion: Practice Books Transforming Consciousness

E-books and E-docs

Being Prayer--Transforming Consciousness is available for download chapter by chapter. Read on your computer or print on paper. Print back and front of paper and fit page. The text will be identical to book, but in large print format.

Introduction
Coming Home Through Our Senses - $5 - Buy Now or Add to Cart
Knowing the Mind
Freeing the Mind
Shaping the Mind
Birthing Embodied Being
Prayers of Intention
Satipatthana Sutta

Media Kit: (in process)

2007 Indee Excellence Awards Press Release
About the Author
About Nutshell Publishing
Table of Contents
Chapter Summaries
Who is Being Prayer for?
Books most important messages
What makes Being Prayer unique?
Why I wrote Being Prayer

Images:

Book Cover
Author
Poster: Being Prayer and Going Beyond (PDF format)
Indie Finalist Award

Book Information:

ISBN-13: 978-0-9760036-7-0, ISBN-10: 0-9760036-7-8
Library of Congress Control Number: 2006901542
Paperback, $18.95, 5" x 7", 152 pages
Publisher: Nutshell Publications, Houston, TX
Distributed to the trade through:
Amazon.com
Also purchase at Citta101.org



Contact Information:

For review copies of Being Prayer-Transforming Consciousness: contact Nutshell Publications: 713-662-2743 or info@nutpub.com.

      Mary Rees, M.S.
      Telephone: 713-662-2743
      Houston, TX 77025
      E-mail: mary at beingprayer dot com
      www.beingprayer.com



Other Publications:

Being Prayer - Transforming Consciousness: Good News of Buddhist Practice
Computer based meditation course: Going Beyond-First Steps
Practice Books: Transforming Consciousness Series

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