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Happiness Is an Inside Job: Practicing for a Joyful Life

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  530 Ratings  ·  69 Reviews

How can we stay engaged with life day after day? How can we continue to love–keep our minds in a happy mood–when life is complex and often challenging? These are questions that Sylvia Boorstein addresses in Happiness Is an Inside Job. In more than three decades of practice and teaching she has discovered that the secret to happiness lies in actively cultivating our connect

MP3 Book, 0 pages
Published December 4th 2007 by Blackstone Audio, Inc. (first published 2007)
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Claire McAlpine
Jan 19, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction, buddhism
A distillation of the key components of buddhist thought and practice channeled through a lifetime of experiences of Sylvia Boorstein,co-founding teacher at Spirit Rock Meditation Centre in California.

Split into sections on equanimity, wise effort (and speech), mindfulness, and concentration it uses anecdotes and examples in every day life to illustrate how to put this philosophy of compassion into practice. It often sounds like common sense and indeed it is, however the mind often loses track a
Maughn Gregory
I was put off every now and then by Boorstein's life stories, which reveal her to lead a pretty pampered life - buying antique furniture in Paris, ski trips to the Pyrenees, teaching at retreats on Hawaiian islands, lap tops, hands-free car phones, etc. - and none of her insights into compassion seem to have taken her very far beyond that life, e.g., into a refugee camp or soup kitchen. But I learned some good lessons on Buddhist psychology from her clear analysis and good writing.
Mar 19, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
so far i like her even better then pema chodran! definitely a book i needed RIGHT NOW!

liked her so well, I've ordered one of her other books. this book seemed just the right amount of deep understanding, insightful teaching, in-the-trenches feel with enough fluff to make it readable and relatable. I got the feeling she is very much living in this world with us, just trying to get by. I'm speaking feeling and meditatively if not monitarily. other readers did not relate due to stories that reveal
Aug 14, 2011 rated it liked it
I thoroughly enjoyed listening to this audiobook. There were a lot of good ideas that stopped me in my tracts, for instance the idea of us having "scripts" which we try to rewrite after a situation is over and nothing can be done to change how it happened, some people will still try and relive it over and over in their mind about what they could have said, why did that person say that, should haves, etc. I do that and it's a horrible waste of time. She also talked about the five hindrances which ...more
May 07, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sylvia Boorstein helps you understand the Buddhist paths of wise effort, wise mindfulness, and wise concentration using practical experiences and examples. This book keeps you focused on learning how to pay attention to difficulties that startle you and get you back into a balanced state. I am very interested in reading Dr. Boorstein other books!
Larry James
Jul 21, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I enjoyed reading the book, which gave me the feeling of having a wise master speak with me,But,I am still thinking about what she said, and maybe that is the point.
Oct 24, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: buddhism
This book is an very broad overview of Buddhist teachings on the Brahama Viharas-- the teachings on loving kindness, compassion, empathic joy and equanimity. There is frequently a use of several aspects of the Noble Eightfold Path to help clarify or enhance-- including wise understating and wise speech. Sylvia is a very good meditation teacher and lovely human being, but I feel like this very basic book sets the sights too low. It is good to be happier, let go of stress and realize happiness can ...more
Aug 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
**Happiness seekers: apply within**
Buddhism for the rest of us. That’s how I’d describe this little gem. The author does an impressive job in presenting an overview of Buddhist principles, and then making salient some of the core nuggets. In particular, she conveys how the trio of effort, concentration, and mindfulness can be used to help us move from internal confusion and struggle to inner wisdom and happiness. With clear and concise explanations of otherwise hefty concepts—and personal experi
Rose Moore
Happiness is an Inside Job is a very sweet and simple introduction to how meditation practices and Zen Buddhism can impact your life to make it better.

The chapters range through various practices, with each one covering the fundamentals along with explanation and anecdote from Boorstein's own practice. It's very pleasant to read - nothing is over complicated or oversimplified, and the authors voice is very clear throughout. There is a real sense of being able to connect to the kind of woman that
Jim Lavis
Nov 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love this book. Sylvia, the author, is a wonderful story teller. She has a knack of being able to simplify life’s challenges, and she helps us become aware of our thought patterns, habits, and tendencies, so we don’t become a hostage of our own thoughts.

Sylvia shares how she uses mindfulness, in her personal life, to cope with life’s struggles. She strikes me as a true sage, helping all of us get a better understanding of how to use these mindfulness practices to make our lives a bit calmer.
Solid book, but nothing new. No new insights or practices for me.
Janet Crandell
Oct 12, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: good-read
I enjoyed this book. This is not a book you read once or without a pad of paper handy. This is not a fast read. This book explores Buddhism concepts for a contented mind. "Challenges in life are inevitable and that suffering, the mind is in contentious mode with its experience, is the instinctive response of the untrained mind. Equanimity, wisdom and kindness. Three topics are discussed...wise effort, wise mindfulness,wise concentration.

Remember you may not always be pleased with life but you ca
Dec 31, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People with anxiety
Shelves: non-fiction, 2008
I am probably rating this so highly because this is the first time I have ever read a "self-help" book, however, I do think I picked a good one. I just liked the title, and was unsure what the book was about. I really enjoyed it and it has helped me tremendously. I like(d) to dwell on things a little too much, especially things I have no control over, sometimes constantly relieving the past, or imagining the future, anything but living in the present.Sylvia teaches you why and how to avoid this ...more
Jan 27, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Boorstein is someone whose essays I've enjoyed reading time and time again in the Shambhala Sun (now Lion's Roar) magazine, so it was a no-brainer when I came across Happiness Is an Inside Job. I knew I wanted to read it. I did. It didn't grab me. I would say that it fell a bit short of both my expectations (rooted in past experience with her writings) and the thoughts I held in general about what the book may speak to: happiness. The title itself doesn't seem fitting to the content, which read ...more
Wendy Ellis
Jun 03, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Without any better way to explain it, I must borrow from the quoted authors who praise this book:
"...value to anyone who seeks to live in this world with greater self-awareness, sensitivity, and kindness"
-S. Batchelor
"...demonstrates that all of us have the ability to become aware of our thought patterns, habits, and tendencies without being held hostage..." -S. Susanka

***"...should be required reading for all human beings." -S. Cope***

More that a self-help "How to be Happy" book...I truthfully
May 19, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Become unconfused and restore connection ~ the best way to live

Sadness is when the mind feels bereaved or bereft. It realizes the shape of the future has changed forever. All losses are sad. The end of an important relationship is a death. When people fall out of love with each other, or when what seemed like a solid friendship falls into ruin, the hope for a shared future -- a hope that provided a context and a purpose to life -- is gone. The survivors of a broken relationship find themselves i
Dec 12, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: buddhism
Short, solid read! Interesting stories, very well presented. Sylvia Boorstein comes across as a gentle, understanding, patient, loving teacher.

My main question with books that focus primarily on lovingkindness/kindness practices is whether meditation, or even Buddhism more generally, is really necessary. For instance, I think it could be a great practice to just wish everyone in the world well, as well as myself, but I don't see exactly how this is connected to meditation, per se. Maybe that's j
A little gem of a book...focusing on the three middle paths - Wise Effort, Wise Mindfulness and Wise Concentration - of the Eightfold Paths of Buddhism, the book is littered with many of the author's personal stories and experiences of how to restore balance to the mind after disruptive events in life. Such hindrances are unavoidable due to the ever changing nature of life, however, by practicing Wise Effort, Wise Mindfulness and Wise Concentration we can through kindness and compassion achieve ...more
Jan 27, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In this book, Sylvia Boorstein, an insight meditation teacher/practitioner and psychotherapist, gently helps the reader to a more peaceful and accepting view of him or herself. Like speaking with a wise and kind friend, her exhortations to herself (calling herself "Sweetheart" when she wants to correct a misperception or unhelpful thought pattern) are illustrated by events from her own life as well as from Buddhist stories or examples of others' experiences. This is a book to read and reread. Sy ...more
Jan 26, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Powerful insight into the simple pleasures of caring. Good quote "I love it that what my heart wants most is to console or appreciate or encourage. It feels better in relationship". Although many of us read books about happiness and maintaining, it's not often you find a book about someone who teaches that when the mind falls into the trap of self pity, ignorance, hate, and selfishness, it's fallen into a state of confusion and it forgets until you straighten. Relax, Breathe, and pay attention t ...more
Apr 09, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
It didn't do me any harm to read this - but I'd hoped for something more after listening to interviews with Boorstein recently. She's a delightful, warm-hearted conversationalist - but this book was sort of repetitive and lack-luster. Though after reading it I suppose there is something not very mindful in me about criticizing it! I'll admit I'm not Buddhist and lean toward a bit of cynicism - but I don't think that's what was operating here. Still, I got one or two good points to ponder out of ...more
This book did not appeal to me as much as other Buddhist texts I have read. While I can't fault Boorstein for urging folks to find contentment in daily life (so important!), many of her examples demonstrated the relatively privileged life she lives. I prefer the texts of Pema Chodren, Thich Nhat Hanh, and some others.
Feb 19, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: buddhism
Sylvia tells excellent stories and teaches wonderful techniques for mindfulness and compassion. I especially like a mindful blessing called 'One Breath, One Name'. I've been using it since I first read about it for the people of Japan- and for my family, friends, colleagues, and everyone I know and see.
Jun 03, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a book you will come back to many times. To create equanimity in oneself is what this book teaches in a gentle way thru stories and examples. I finished it today and will begin again a re-reading as soon as my copy arrives in the mail. I need to move my post-it notes from the library copy to my own copy. Thanks Sylvia for this little treasure.
Laura Siegel
Jan 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: spiritual
I love Sylvia Boorstein. Her writing is simple, honest, compassionate, nurturing, and a joy to read. I love the way she uses personal stories to tell a deeper truth. I believe that anything written about the Buddhist practice should come across as simple as breathing. And this is always true for Boorstein's writing.
Thought this was an interesting book, but it's not for people new to the subject of Buddhism, meditation or spirituality- I found it a little confusing at times but the overall premise was good. I will definitely be using some of the techniques in this book to help remain calm, positive and happy in the future.
Barbara Ahlquist
Esteemed teacher of Buddhism and Mindfulness Meditation, Sylvia Boorstein, tells wonderful stories in the style of the Jewish grandmother that she is, and in doing so engages us in thoughtful consideration of how we, and not our circumstances, make our personal happiness. This was my second reading of the book, and it is one worth referring to regularly.
Micah McCarty
Jul 23, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another good yet simple foray into the Buddhist mindset. I first heard the author on On Being with Krysta Tippett and fell in love with her deep wisdom on life. This book was full of her stories and practical application of Buddhist teachings. I highly enjoyed it.
Jul 09, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm not usually one for self-help books, but this one was great. Down-to-earth interpretations of Buddhist teachings with the author's real world experiences given as reference, with no new-agey sparklies.
Barbara Rhine
May 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Simply put, the author, a Jewish Buddhist practitioner, is intelligent, honest, warm and wise. This mature woman serves as a wonderful example of a fully-developed human being with much to say about bringing mindfulness into every moment.
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Sylvia Boorstein (born 1936) is an American writer and Buddhist spiritualist.
More about Sylvia Boorstein...
“All losses are sad. The end of an important relationship is also a death. When people fall out of love with each other, or when what seemed like a solid friendship falls into ruin, the hope for a shared future--a hope that provided a context and a purpose to life--is gone. [p. 149]” 13 likes
“... the moment in which the mind acknowledge 'This isn't what I wanted, but it's what I got' is the point at which suffering disappears. Sadness might remain present, but the mind ... is free to console, free to support the mind's acceptance of the situation, free to allow space for new possibilities to come into view. [p. 29]” 11 likes
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