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Happiness Is an Inside Job

Click this cover for a(n) eBook sample of Happiness Is an Inside Job.

Happiness Is an Inside Job

Practicing for a Joyful Life
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How can we stay engaged with life day after day? How can we continue to love--to keep our minds in a happy mood--when life is complex, difficult, and, often, disappointing? Bestselling author and...
How can we stay engaged with life day after day? How can we continue to love--to keep our minds in a happy mood--when life is complex, difficult, and, often, disappointing? Bestselling author and...
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Description-
  • How can we stay engaged with life day after day? How can we continue to love--to keep our minds in a happy mood--when life is complex, difficult, and, often, disappointing? Bestselling author and beloved teacher Sylvia Boorstein asked herself these questions when she started to write this inspiring new book. The result is her best work to date, offering warm, wise, and helpful ways we can experience happiness even when the odds are against us.

    As Boorstein has discovered in more than three decades of practice as a professional psychotherapist, the secret to happiness lies in actively cultivating our capacity to connect with kindness: with ourselves; with friends, family, colleagues; with those we may not know well; and even with those we may not like. She draws from the heart of Buddhist teachings to show how Wise Effort, Wise Mindfulness, and Wise Concentration can lead us away from anger, anxiety, and confusion, and into calmness, clarity, and the joy of living in the present. These qualities strengthen our ability to meet encounters of every kind with balance and intelligence, providing us with a grounded sense of true contentment.

    Happiness Is an Inside Job resonates with the knowledge of a psychotherapist, the compassion of a spiritual teacher, and the wisdom of a grandmother. Boorstein's vivid stories capture our minds and our hearts, and the simple exercises she suggests can be done while you read.

    This beautiful book is comforting and reminds us that life is a shared journey, that our hearts truly do want to console and love our fellow sojourners, and that living happily is indeed the best way to live.

    From the Hardcover edition.
Excerpts-
  • Chapter One It's always good to start with a story.

    I was wending my way slowly, along with hundreds of people, back and forth through the cordoned-off lanes of an airport security line, when I became aware of the conversation of the two people right behind me:

    "It's your fault!"

    "What do you mean, 'It's your fault'? It's your fault!"

    "That's what I mean. It's your fault we're late."

    "No, it's not. Prove it to me that it's my fault."

    "I don't have to prove anything to you. It just is."

    I glanced behind me, as if looking beyond them, and saw that they were young, casually dressed, and apparently (was it tennis rackets, golf gear?) were going on holiday together.

    The Ping-Pong recriminations continued. "Your fault." "No, yours."

    I had a momentary impulse to turn around and say, "Listen to me! It does not matter one bit whose fault it is. Either you'll be in time for your flight or you won't. And if you miss this flight, there will be others. What's more, you don't know that this flight is the best one to be on. Perhaps this one will have engine trouble and the next one will arrive safely. Relax! You are ruining the beginning of your holiday with a useless skirmish."

    Of course, I didn't say anything. I think I could have gotten away with it if I had done it sweetly enough, but I imagined them telling someone later, "You won't believe what this wacky little old woman in the airport . . ." Anyway, eavesdropping and intruding are both impolite, even if unintended and well meaning.

    I took off my jacket and shoes and pushed them through the X-ray machine along with my carry-on bag with my computer out for inspection. Retrieving my possessions on the other side, balancing on one foot and then the other to hurriedly put on my shoes, I noticed the couple just in front of me, also just emerged through the sensor gate, taking a moment to kiss each other, give each other a hug. I was amused by the thought that they were congratulating each other for having made it through the security hurdle unscathed. It was the briefest of exchanges of affection, but it was there. Right in the middle of getting re-dressed. Then I thought, "I should call the attention of the arguing folks behind me to the kissing folks in front of me. 'Look,' I could tell them, 'here is another possibility. In fact, there are only two possibilities in any moment. You can kiss or you can fight. Kissing is better.' "

    Of course, I said nothing and went on to my flight. I also knew then, as I know now as I write, that in situations where I feel stressed, I might behave like the couple behind me. Not even "long ago, when I wasn't wise," but right now, when I presumably understand that struggling with anything to make it be other than what it is creates suffering. If my mind becomes confused, broadsided by a challenge that upsets it, even a "minor" one such as "I'll miss my plane," I forget, at least for a while, what I know.

    Becoming wise means, for me, forgetting less often--and remembering sooner when I've forgotten--the three things that are fundamentally true. The Buddha called these the Three Characteristics of Experience.

    Everything is always changing.

    There is a cause-and-effect lawfulness that governs all unfolding experience.

    What I do matters, but I am not in charge. Suffering results from struggling with what is beyond my control.

    The line from the Dhammapada, a compilation of say- ings attributed to the Buddha, that sums this up for me, that seems the one-sentence best expression of wisdom, is: "Anyone who understands impermanence, ceases to be contentious."

    Does that make sense to you on as many levels...
About the Author-
  • Sylvia Boorstein, Ph.D., is a co-founding teacher at Spirit Rock Meditation Center in Woodacre, California, and a senior teacher at the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts. She writes a regular column for Shambhala Sun, lectures widely, and is the bestselling author of Pay Attention, for Goodness' Sake; It's Easier Than You Think; Don't Just Do Something, Sit There; and That's Funny, You Don't Look Buddhist. A practicing psychotherapist, Boorstein is a frequent presenter at psychology conferences and training seminars. Sylvia and her husband, Seymour, divide their time between Sonoma County, California, and their home in France.

Reviews-
  • Jon Kabat-Zinn, author of Coming to Our Senses "This book will convince you that your own happiness really is much more available to you than you may have thought. Sylvia skillfully shares her inner life and her outer life and lovingly trains your mind and heart in the real practice of meditation, which is always about how you live your life right here and right now."
  • Daniel J. Siegel, M.D., author of The Mindful Brain "Sylvia Boorstein's lessons, gleaned from a life of internal reflection and mindful teaching, are delivered with such openness, love, and affection that it feels as if you are sitting with Sylvia in her living room soaking in the wisdom of an enlightened friend--wisdom that is also consistent with findings about how mindfulness changes the brain."
  • Sharon Salzberg, author of Lovingkindess "A wonderful book, heartwarming and wise . . . It conveys the essence of what the Buddha taught--in the voice of a gifted storyteller, teacher, friend, and compassionate human being."
  • Jack Kornfield, author of A Path with Heart "Reading this wonderful book is like having a heart-to-heart with Sylvia. It is wise, warm, and full of great stories that will make you smile. Best of all, it will cheer your spirit by showing you how to practice happiness."
  • Sarah Susanka, author of The Not So Big Life "This is a truly delightful book, filled with simple wisdom for the journey."
  • Judith S. Wallerstein, Ph.D., co-author of What About the Kids? "A generous gift for all of us to enjoy, to savor, and to learn from."
  • Stephen Cope, author of The Wisdom of Yoga "Sylvia Boorstein has always been a world-class storyteller. But the stories in Happiness are altogether at a new level. I found myself talking back to this book repeatedly, saying, 'Yes! That's it! Exactly!' It should be required reading for all human beings."
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Happiness Is an Inside Job
Practicing for a Joyful Life
Sylvia Boorstein, Ph.D.
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Practicing for a Joyful Life
Sylvia Boorstein, Ph.D.
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