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The Spirituality and Practice e-newsletter is a weekly update from Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat with teaching stories and links to new posts on the site.

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Wisdom in the Next Seat


In an article from, Buddhist meditation teacher and writer Sylvia Boorstein shares her practice of striking up conversations with people she meets on planes, trains, or in store lines. Many times they are "wisdom teachers waiting to remind me of important truths." A woman she meets on a plane talks to her about her family and reveals insights about grief and the ties which link us with other people.

When she was young, Boorstein's mother counseled her to be interested in other people and to ask them questions. " 'Hello' just means I notice you're here. But 'How are you?' is the beginning of connection." Those who have the gift of gab are sure to find this practice easier than introverts will. But all can benefit from hearing the life stories and recent experiences of others. Not much is required of us except to be truly present, to listen attentively, to appreciate what is being given to us, and to remain open and not judgmental as the dialogue continues. This essay is a short but sweet prompt to be open to chance encounters that can be very edifying and meaningful.

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