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    sylvia boorstein Quotes

    Concentration and mindfulness are the internal ways in which the mind restores itself from being out of balance and lost in confusion to a condition of ease, clarity, and wisdom. No external action needs to happen.
    — Sylvia Boorstein
    When people ask the Dalai Lama, "Is Buddhism a religion?" he answers, "Yes, it is." Then they ask, "What kind of religion is it?" He responds, "My religion is kindness." You might think, "Everyone's is." Everyone's is. That's true. It's not complicated to describe the goal of a spiritual life. It's easier than you think to explain it. It's more difficult than you can imagine to do it.
    — Sylvia Boorstein
    Buddha also said that the Dharma, like a bird, needs two wings to fly, and that the wing that balances Wisdom is compassion.
    — Sylvia Boorstein
    Life is painful, suffering is optional.
    — Sylvia Boorstein
    tags: suffering 
     
    If you take a deep breath and look around, 'Look what's happening to me!' can become 'Look what's happening!' And what's happening? The incredible drama of life is happening. And we're in it!
    — Sylvia Boorstein
    tags: drama 
     
    When the mind is clear, behavior is always impeccable.
    — Sylvia Boorstein
    tags: mind 
     
    Heir to your own karma doesn't mean 'You get what you deserve.' I think it means 'You get what you get.' Bad things happen to good people. My happiness depending on my action means, to me, that it depends on my action of choosing compassion-for myself as well as for everyone else-rather than contention. [p.61]
    — Sylvia Boorstein
    tags: happiness  people  action  bad  karma 
     
    Steadfast benevolence, sustained by the wisdom that anything other than benevolence is painful, protects the mind from all afflictions.
    — Sylvia Boorstein
    tags: wisdom  mind 
     
    Mindfulness is attentiveness, moment to moment. What's happening right now and what's coming up in me in response to what's happening right now. Importantly, this is in the service of being able to choose wisely so that I avoid complicating my own life and the lives of others.
    — Sylvia Boorstein
    My father . . . used to say, 'I need my anger. It obliges me to take action.' I think my father was partly right. Anger arises, naturally, to signal disturbing situations that might require action. But actions initiated in anger perpetuate suffering. The most effective actions are those conceived in the wisdom of clarity.
    — Sylvia Boorstein
    The voice of Thich Nhat Hanh-friendly, patient, steadfast, confident, contemporary, and often witty-seems, to me, an intermediary big brother talking directly to me on every page saying, 'Look! It's right there in you,' the very wisdom that leads to compassion.
    — Sylvia Boorstein
    Suffering is the demand that experience be different from what it is.
    — Sylvia Boorstein
    If we can keep at least a bit of the mind clear about temporality, we can mange complicated, even difficult, times with grace.
    — Sylvia Boorstein
    tags: time  grace  mind 
     
    May I meet each moment fully and meet it as a friend.
    — Sylvia Boorstein
    tags: friends  moment 
     
    Ultimately ... it's not the stories that determine our choices, but the stories that we continue to choose.
    — Sylvia Boorstein
    tags: choice  stories 
     
    It is our own pain, and our own desire to be free of it, that alerts us to the suffering of the world. It is our personal discovery that pain can be acknowledged, even held lovingly, that enables us to look at the pain around us unflinchingly and feel compassion being born in us. We need to start with ourselves.
    — Sylvia Boorstein
    Imagine how our lives might be if everyone had even a bit more of the Wisdom that comes from seeing clearly. Suppose people everywhere, simultaneously, stopped what they were doing and paid attention for only as long as it took to recognize their shared humanity. Surely the heartbreak of the world's pain, visible to all, would convert everyone to kindness. What a gift that would be.
    — Sylvia Boorstein
    Mindfulness meditation doesn't change life. Life remains as fragile and unpredictable as ever. Meditation changes the heart's capacity to accept life as it is.
    — Sylvia Boorstein
    Surrender means wisely accommodating ourselves to what is beyond our control.
    — Sylvia Boorstein
    tags: control 
     
    The mind is like tofu. It tastes like whatever you marinate it in.
    — Sylvia Boorstein
    tags: mind 
     
    Spirituality doesn't look like sitting down and meditating. Spirituality looks like folding the towels in a sweet way and talking kindly to the people in the family eve though you've had a rough day.
    — Sylvia Boorstein
    tags: people 
     
    I am thankful that thus far today I have not had any unkind thoughts or said any harsh words or done anything that I regret. However, now I need to get out of bed and so things may become more difficult.
    — Sylvia Boorstein
    tags: thoughts  regret 
     
    Mindfulness is the aware, balanced acceptance of the present experience. It isn't more complicated that that. It is opening to or recieving the present moment, pleasant or unpleasant, just as it is, without either clinging to it or rejecting it.
    — Sylvia Boorstein
    The responses of friendliness, compassion, and appreciation that I felt ...-all situational permutations of basic goodwill-depended on my mind's being relaxed and alert enough to notice both what was happening around me and what was happening as my internal response. [p.50]
    — Sylvia Boorstein
    I think a lot about Big Mind-Small Mind, expansive, wide-lens consciousness and contracted, introverted consciousness. I have moments-we all do-when just being alive is a pleasure and a miracle. They feel like moments when the shutters of the mind are open so I can look out. It also feels as if those same shutters have no hooks to fix them in an open position. One small wind and bang-they slam shut.
    — Sylvia Boorstein
    tags: moment  pleasure  miracle  mind 
     
    Dedication to goodness-dedication in response to an inner moral mandate rather than external restraint-was both the antidote to the pain and the source of great happiness.
    — Sylvia Boorstein
    tags: happiness  pain  morals 
     
    We are all dangling in mid-process between what already happened (which is just a memory) and what might happen (which is just an idea). Now is the only time anything happens. When we are awake in our lives, we know what's happening. When we're asleep, we don't see what's right in front of us.
    — Sylvia Boorstein
    tags: time  live  right  awake 
     
    The Buddha taught that suffering is the extra pain in the mind that happens when we feel an anguished imperative to have things be different from how they are. We see it most clearly when our personal situation is painful and we want very much for it to change. It's the wanting very much that hurts so badly, the feeling of "I need this desperately," that paralyzes the mind. The "I" who wants so much feels isolated. Alone.
    — Sylvia Boorstein
    When we are relaxed and reasonable content, we are naturally wise. We accept that life is unpredictable, unreliable. We say jokingly or philosophically, "Nothing is sure except death and taxes," or "God willing and the creek don't rise," reminding each other that, notwithstanding the level of planning, we are continually dealing with being surprised. We get startled. We recover. We are disappointed. We adjust. Mostly-with Wisdom intact-we manage.
    — Sylvia Boorstein
    tags: death  wise  wisdom 
     
    I understood that the teacher was not eing dismissive, that the problem would be addressed. But, without extra upset. A noncombative response, the Buddha taught, assures that pain does not become suffering. And, unclouded by the tension of struggle, the mind is able to assess clearly and respond wisely.
    — Sylvia Boorstein
    My redeemer is always the person next to me.
    — Sylvia Boorstein
    tags: people 
     
    Being silent for me doesn't require being in a quiet place and it doesnt mean not saying words. It means, "receiving in a balanced, noncombative way what is happening." With or without words, the hope of my heart is that it will be able to relax and acknowledge the truth of my situation with compassion.
    — Sylvia Boorstein
    tags: truth  heart  compassion  saying  hope 
     
    The prohibition of L'shon Hara is the Jewish equivalent of the Buddhist practice of Right Speech.
    — Sylvia Boorstein
    tags: right  speech 
     
    People are realizing that what seemed important to them in their lives-materialism and consumerism-doesn't work at all to make a happy heart. It actually makes an unhappy heart. And an unhappy world.
    — Sylvia Boorstein
    tags: people  work  heart  world 
     
    The Buddha taught complete honesty, with the extra instruction that everything a person says should be truthful and helpful.
    — Sylvia Boorstein
    tags: people  honesty  buddha 
     
    The Buhha was a monastic, but the practice of mindfulness in the context of any lifestyle is one of renunciation. Every moment of mindfulness renounces the reflexive, self-protecting response of the mind in favor of clear and balanced understanding. In the light of the wisdom that comes from balanced undertanding, attachment to having things be other than what they ar falls away.
    — Sylvia Boorstein
    All losses are sad. The end of an important relationship is also a death. When people fall out of love with each other, or when what seemed like a solid friendship falls into ruin, the hope for a shared future-a hope that provided a context and a purpose to life-is gone. [p. 149]
    — Sylvia Boorstein
    I want to feel deeply, and whenever I am brokenhearted I emerge more compassionate. I think I allow myself to be brokenhearted more easily, knowing I won't be irrevocably shattered [p. 59]
    — Sylvia Boorstein
    tags: knowing 
     
    Clearly the path of mitzvot is a form of meditation. The intention to act impeccably requires complete dedication and unwavering attention. I was also impressed with LUzzato's insistence that mitzvot practice is joyful.
    — Sylvia Boorstein
    I know whether or not I am confused most readily by noticing-being mindful of-my capacity for feeling caring concern. ... when I feel myself in caring connection-encouraging, consoling, or appreciating-I feel the twin pleasures of clarity and goodness. It doesn't matter if the connection I feel is to myself or a person I know or people I don't know or even the whole world. The lively impulse of caring is what counts. [p. 20]
    — Sylvia Boorstein
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