Sylvia Boorstein

Sylvia Boorstein, Ph.D., author, grandmother, a psychotherapist, co-founding teacher of the Spirit Rock Meditation Center in Woodacre, California, and senior teacher at the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts. She is the author of several best-selling books, including It’s Easier Than You Think: The Buddhist Way to Happiness; Don’t Just Do Something, Sit There; and That’s Funny, You Don’t Look Buddhist. In her teaching she is at home with Buddhist and Jewish texts. She is a superb meditation teacher, wise, compassionate, overflowing with deep humor.

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Title of UFCSH talk: “Open Heart Meditation: Practice and Conversation with Sylvia Boorstein”
Sunday, October 9, 2005
WHY DO I MEDITATE? For me, I think actually I can’t do service in the world without some mind training, because of the amount of despair, dismay, and disillusionment that comes up in me when I look at the amount of pain in the world. If I did not have a practice that kept my heart buoyant enough, to keep it going, I would be overwhelmed by it. I need something to keep me reminded that this incarnation is beautiful, amazing, and thrilling and has a lot of potential to it, and that people’s hearts can change. Look at the times we are living in! But I have a fundamental belief that human beings are good-hearted. When it seems like someone gets pleasure out of hurting, I think there must be something out of tune in that person’s heart and mind. I believe that the natural impulse of the heart is compassion. What am I teaching these days are the things that I think are really important to do in these difficult times.

Title of UFCSH talk: “The Art and Science of Changing Your Self: Demystifying Spiritual Practice”
Monday, October 10, 2005
I don’t want to spend any time blaming anyone. The real culprits are greed, hatred and delusion–and ignorance. I want to tell people that human beings can wake up, that they have in the past, some of them completely. Many of us have woken up enough to be dedicated to kindness. We can do it!