One of Sylvia Boorstein's meditation teachers used to end each session with the words: "Remember, be happy." At first, she thought this was just another way of saying goodbye. Then Boorstein realized that the words were an instruction and a reminder to cultivate happiness each day. On this relaxed three-hour presentation, the author of "That's Funny, You Don't Look Buddhist" and other books, presents Jewish and Buddhist teaching stories on gratitude, compassion, and mindful awakening.
Whether talking about her own reconnection with Jewish practice, the death of her father, her introduction to meditation, her experience of equanimity at a retreat center in Hawaii just before the threat of a tidal wave, her respect for a concentration camp survivor with an open heart, or her own small steps toward telling the truth in tough or challenging situations-Boorstein comes across as a caring, flawed, and loving person. The two "vocabularies" in her life, Buddhism and Judaism, have complemented each other and added to the mindfulness of her daily existence.
Cultivating happiness, according to Boorstein, means being present with an open heart to both the joys and the suffering of others. It means living in liberation from all the false stories of our own minds and of the culture in which we live. Or she puts it: "When we see clearly, we behave impeccably out of love on behalf of all beings."