Sylvia Boorstein, one of our Living Spiritual Teachers, is a co-founding teacher at Spirit Rock Meditation Center and a senior teacher at the Insight Meditation Society. She writes a regular column in Shambhala Sun and is the author of the national bestseller It's Easier Than You Think. She has been meditating for 30 years and is convinced that the mind-training steps in the Eightfold Path — Wise Effort, Wise Mindfulness, and Wise Concentration — can lead to a caring connection with the world and bring out the best in ourselves. According to Buddhism, restoring the mind to its natural wisdom and kindness leads to happiness.

Using her knack for telling engaging stories, Boorstein shows how the mind can respond to ordinary situations with goodwill, to frightening situations with compassion, and to beguiling situations with appreciation. The foundation for all is the spiritual practice of equanimity which enables us to see things clearly. In an example, the author points out that she is not bothered by stage fright when speaking in front of a large audience of strangers. She just reminds herself that they have come to enjoy hearing what she has to say; they are not critics but friends and allies. It is possible to sweeten the mind by this kind of positive attitude.

Boorstein realizes that all of us have trouble dealing with afflictive emotions, such as desire, anger, fatigue, worry, and doubt. She calls herself "a recovering fretter." But nowadays she is giving less airtime to worrying. Keeping the mind as steady as possible is a good practice for dealing with these emotions. One of her favorite prayers is: "May I meet this moment fully. May I meet it as a friend."

Giving 100% of ourselves to what shows up right now is a key to happiness. Boorstein invites us to join her in practicing for a joyful life.