“Vows are the forces that weave together the fabric of your life and of all life. Without vows, without purposeful action, life would cease to exist.” – with those affirming words regarding intent and purposed direction Jan Chozen Bays, MD, opens her book The Vow-Centered Life.
It was through the authors learning at the hands of her teacher Maezumi Roshi that she came to understand the immense power inherent within the personal vow for, as she says
I understood that when we make a vow, it becomes a force that continues after we die, perhaps forever.
Investigating Life Vows
Bays, along with her husband, have dedicated themselves to the vow; leading classes and retreats centered upon discovering and clarifying what they are. Through their work they have come to realize that vows are in fact a primary way of establishing patterns of personal behaviour that, when properly applied, guides through us through our life in extra-ordinary ways.
So then what exactly is a vow?
Bays describes it as representing
…the actual power of the bundle of energy purposefully formed, aimed and propelled through time. She also sees it as
…the engine that drives human aspiration, advancement, and accomplishment.
A Journey Through Vows
In her book The Vow-Powered Life Bays splits down her examination and assessment of vows into seven different sections.
In the first she shows how vows work, how to unearth the vows you might have already made and how to differentiate a vow from the means to carry out that vow.
In the second section she introduces the three primary ways in which vows are seeded and grow in our lives. She also examines the vows that we may have made in our lives as an unwitting response to family influence,
Section three offers help in forming vows whilst section four offers suggestions on how to support your highest intentions.
In the fifth part if her book – titled ‘The Challenges Vows Presents’ Bays shares her advice on how to respond to the realization that we might not fully complete a vow within the course of a single lifetime.
The sixth section is a discussion of vows related to marriage, divorce and celibacy whilst the final, seventh introduces the reader to inspired vows, vows birthed from other people’s strong vows and vows that have a divine source.
As the author makes clear.
Vows present us from reaching the end of our life and looking back with the sad question “What happened? How did I end up here?”
Our Review of ‘The Vow-Powered Life’ by Jan Chozen Bays, MD
Vows might appear to be a somewhat quaint Bublical practice but in her book Bays has shaken the concept down, dusted it off and presented in terms that make it a singularly powerful and effective spiritual tool.
Complete with anecdotal accounts, practical advice and helpful exercises this book is nothing short of a little jewel in the world of contemporary spiritual practice. Not only has the author performed a superlative job in explaining how vows are the motivating factor that gets us out of bed each day and to follow our core passion but she presents it in such an enjoyably readible way.
Colored throughout with stories of the miracles that have been worked as a result of vows, the inclusion of sample vows to help newcomers to the practice get started and a personal ceremony of vows this is a energizing book that never suffers from a single dull moment.
Very highly recommended to everyone seeking a powerful spiritual practice that can quickly and easily change your life direction. The Vow Centered Life is an utterly delightful and genuinely inspirational work.