Wednesday, October 03, 2007

A starred review coming on Monday from PW: Happiness Is an Inside Job

This week is alumni/ae week at the seminary and it has been a joy to get reaquainted with graduates from all over and to learn about their lives.

Coming from PW next Monday is a starred review:
Happiness Is an Inside Job: Practicing for a Joyful Life
Sylvia Boorstein. Ballantine, $22.95 (176p) ISBN 978-0-345-48131-3
From renowned Buddhist teacher Boorstein comes a small, polished gem of a book that seems somehow even more intimate and heartfelt than her previous books Pay Attention, For Goodness' Sake and It's Easier Than You Think. Boorstein begins with an anecdote about a day when her writing was interrupted by a call from a friend with a very ill brother; the effort of consoling her made Boorstein forget what she had been about to write. Boorstein uses her moment of resentful impatience at the interruption to illustrate how easily the mind can fall out of caring connection. The whole idea of this book, she writes, is that "restoring caring connection... and maintaining it when it is present, is happiness." This insight is a jumping-off point for Boorstein to explore three planks of the Buddhist path: wise effort, wise mindfulness and wise concentration. Skillfully using story and humor, Boorstein shows that she is no saint and that her life is made up of the same moments of vulnerability, aversion, joy, pettiness, depression and humor as all of our lives are. Her quiet insistence that the Buddhist practices of mindfulness, meditation and metta (lovingkindness) can quiet the mind, deepen concentration and lower anxiety is ultimately both convincing and inspiring. (Dec. 26)

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