I got a kick out of Dean Sluyter's last book Why the Chicken Crossed the Road and Other Hidden Enlightenment Teachings from Buddha to Bebop to Mother Goose. As a leading innovator in the use of meditative techniques in education, he now has patched together some spiritual practices and propositions that can support the lurch we all have toward "a life of inner freedom." It will appeal to those who are uncomfortable around dogma.

Sluyter quotes Lester Bangs: "I just like people with some Looney Tune in their souls." Not a bad description of the author who playfully uses colorful illustrative material from Zen masters, Jesus, Tibetan meditators, Bob Dylan, Joyce Carol Oates, J. D. Salinger, and many others. In ten chapters, Sluyter presents spiffy suggestions for living a full life of integrity including rest in openness, notice the moment, keep it simple, be devoted, bless everyone, and be a mensch and enjoy the joke.

At the outset, the author admonishes us to view all that he presents as "lab work" to be tried in the precincts of everyday life. But tapping into our inner boundlessness doesn't mean navel-gazing — it leads to concrete acts of kindness. While we are singing in the rain like Gene Kelly in the movie, we must remember to pass the umbrella to the stranger. "Kindness must be guided by alert intelligence; it must include consideration, the habit of considering the actual consequences of what we do."

Check out The Zen Commandments by Dean Sluyter and you'll learn a lot about beauty, compassion, saints, teachers, being present, humility, simplicity, and devotion.