Barry Magid: Psychologically Minded Zen


For this episode of the Wisdom Podcast, host Daniel Aitken speaks with Dr. Barry Magid, psychoanalyst, meditation teacher, and author of Nothing Is Hidden: The Psychology of Zen Koans. Barry has dedicated his life’s work to the integration of Western psychoanalytic psychology and Zen Buddhist practices. In this fascinating conversation, Barry discusses what he calls “top down” versus “bottom up” approaches to practice, and the difference between searching for peak experiences in meditation versus engaging in moment-to-moment vulnerability with oneself. He then offers illuminating insights on the pitfalls of viewing zazen as a “technique” versus zazen as a religious practice, or in other words, meditation beyond the framework of means-to-end thinking. Furthermore, Barry points out that our worst experiences in meditation are actually the most beneficial and that it is possible to discover the absolute in the most mundane aspects of ordinary life. 

About the Interviewee

Barry Magid is a psychiatrist and psychoanalyst practicing in New York City, and the founding teacher of the Ordinary Mind Zendo, also in New York. He is the author of the Wisdom titles Ordinary Mind, Ending the Pursuit of Happiness, and Nothing Is Hidden.

Above image courtesy of Tim Dose

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