Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Happiness Is An Inside Job

Today I stayed home sick nursing a cold, so I had the opportunity to read a little gem of a book by a favorite author of mine, "Happiness Is An Inside Job: Practicing for a Joyful Life" by Buddhist meditation teacher Sylvia Boorstein. She illustrates classical Buddhist concepts with easy to understand anecdotes from her own life. She has a talent for making profound concepts very easy to understand, and her tone is lighthearted and breezy. She teaches methods for concentration and mindfulness in everyday life, from being aware of the movements of the breath to watching the contents of one's thoughts. I also loved her descriptions of the four Divine Abodes: friendliness, compassion, empathic joy, and equanimity.

Another central theme of her book is the beautiful practice of loving-kindness meditation, in which one extends good will towards one's self, loved ones, neutral acquaintances, difficult people, and eventually all living beings. Sylvia Boorstein writes "Indeed, the thesis of this whole book, from the beginning, has been that restoring caring connection when it is disrupted, and maintaining it when it is present, is happiness. Not even, leads to happiness. Equals happiness. With that as my core belief, mindfulness of the presence of (or the absence of and the subsequent intention to restore) caring connection is, for me, the key element of practice." (p. 97)

I enjoyed this endearing book immensely with its message of restoring equanimity to the mind and joyful connection to others.


At 7:30 AM, Blogger Tess said...

Sorry to hear you've been ill, but what a lovely opportunity to read this book. It sounds good, I'm going to add it to my (long!) reading list.

At 1:04 PM, Blogger Margo said...

Dear Anne, I put your blog in the list on Bahá'í Communities. Thank you for submitting,

I gave you a challenge on my blog, do you take it?


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