Lovingkindness (Metta) Meditation with Sylvia Boorstein
by Trent Gilliss, senior editor
In mid-February, we partnered with WDET to hold a live event in a quaint suburban village outside of Detroit. The topic: raising children in complex times.
Krista’s conversation with Sylvia Boorstein was rolling along quite nicely — stories were being told, approaches to child-rearing were being shared — when somewhat unexpectedly, Boorstein (a Jewish Buddhist teacher at Spirit Rock Meditation Center in northern California) offered to lead a lovingkindness, or metta, meditation for a crowd of more than 300 folks.
With that size of a crowd who hadn’t necessarily attended for a mindfulness retreat, I wasn’t sure what to expect. What resulted was a magical experience in which the audience fully participated in this impromptu moment of reflection.
If you’re game, we’d like you to use this as a guided meditation. As a producer, one’s never certain if an impromptu experience like this works because it was part of a particular time or if it translates into a fruitful experience for others online. What do you think?
Photo by Trent Gilliss
Correction (June 11, 2011): This post mistakenly referred to Ms. Boorstein teaching at Split Rock Meditation Center, and has now been revised to Spirit Rock Meditation Center.
The Unasked Questions for Sylvia Boorstein
by Nancy Rosenbaum, producer
“How can I catch my angry self before it catches me!?”
This is one of many anonymous questions posed by the 300 people who came out to hear Krista interview Sylvia Boorstein at a live event in Birmingham, Michigan last month. The theme of their conversation: “Raising Children in Complex Times.” Now in her 70’s, Boorstein is best known as a Buddhist meditation teacher and author. She’s quick to define herself as both a mother and grandmother.
We came away from this event with a big stack of question cards, many of which didn’t get posed because of time. Here’s a sampler:
“Sometimes my husband will say - we need to toughen these kids up; they have to live in a tough world. How do we balance teaching them kindness/gentleness versus being tough.”
“What words of comfort can we say to our children (22 yrs) when faced with health issues. (Can be major or minor).”
“In a time of overbearing parenting and institutionalized narcisism [sic], how do we cultivate caring?”
“Spiritual principles for a 6 yr old. My daughter is 6 — she asks many questions about ‘God.’ Other than modeling behavior do you have other suggestions on how to discuss spirituality when my spirituality is so abstract?”
“Growing up in an alcoholic family, and with anxiety as an adult, how does one manage anxiety with parenting?”
Looking at the anonymous cards, each one with its distinctive handwriting, I imagine a person on the other side with a longing for their question to be answered.
Which of these questions speak to you? And what responses would you offer?
(video) His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama on Happiness with Seyyed Hossein Nasr, Bishop Jefferts Schori, and Rabbi Sacks
by Trent Gilliss, senior producer
What happens when 4,000 people gather together to watch a stage seated with a Tibetan Buddhist master, the chief rabbi of the British Commonwealth, the presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church, and one of the world’s preeminent Muslim scholars — and the topic is understanding happiness? One enthralling discussion with plenty of great stories to take home to your friends and family.
Well, with gracious permission from Emory University’s Center for the Study of Law and Religion, you can see it for yourself with this front-row seat for a sold-out event in Atlanta on October 17. The conversation was electric and these prominent religious leaders were fully engaged as they contemplated the meaning of happiness.
Understanding Happiness with the Dalai Lama, a British Rabbi, an Episcopal Bishop, a Muslim Scholar: A Twitterscript
by Shubha Bala, associate producer
On October 17 of this year, Krista led a lively conversation with four dynamic religious leaders: the His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama, Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, Rev. Dr. Katharine Jefferts Schori, and Seyyed Hossein Nasr on “Understanding and Promoting Happiness in Today’s Society.”
Trent and I sat in the media section of the Woodruff Physical Education Center at Emory University and our live-tweeted some of the special gems from discussion. You can also listen to the event’s full audio.
- We’ll be live-tweeting Krista’s panel w/ @, @RabbiSacks, Rev. Schori, + Seyyed Hossein Nasr. Intros are beginning; discussion to start soon.
- Krista and religious leaders have taken the stage, followed by the @DalaiLama. All are standing in silence with one pair of hands clapping.
- The topic of this session: understanding and promoting happiness in today’s society. Smiles everyone!
- “The reason different religious traditions developed is not for misery but for deep satisfaction (happiness). That’s very clear.”-@DalaiLama
- The @DalaiLama finally put on his classic deep red visor. He said to Krista - “Now I can see you clearer. There is a bright light in here.”
- “If we could learn 1 thing from you - how to laugh the way you do - it would increase the happiness in the world.” @rabbisacks to @dalailama
- “Simha tells us that happiness is part of the tenure and texture of relationships.” @rabbisacks on Jewish definition of a shared happiness
- “Consumerism making us feel bad for what we lack is the most efficient system for the manufacturing+distribution of unhappiness” @rabbisacks
- “The paradox of the world is that to listen to a lecture on #happiness people have to stand in line unhappily for 2 hours to get in.” -Nasr
- “#Happiness comes from this right relationship - from knowing you are not God and therefore not putting yourself in the center.” -Rev Schori
- Some people have the idea that just following the truth is enough. #Islambelieves what’s important is to attain #happiness.”-Seyyed H. Nasr
- “The environmental crisis is due to this substitution - believing #happiness is to have, want more and more.” - Seyyed Hossein Nasr
- “Once it was asked to a great #Sufi master ‘What do you want?’ He said ‘I want not to want?’ That’s the epitome of #happiness.” -Seyyed Nasr
- “Happiness is a permanent state of the soul, and we are here to attain it.” -Seyyed H. Nasr to the @DalaiLama
- “That’s why all the pain can lead to #happiness when you say to the bad times: I will not let you go until you bless me.” - @rabbisacks
- “Happiness is not finding joy in death. It’s taking what is, and insisting that great happiness for all is possible.” - Rev. Schori
- RT @EmoryUniversity ”Say to the bad times, I will not let you go until you bless me.”—-Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks
- “In Arabic, beauty and virtue — and the word goodness — are all the same word.” -Seyyed H. Nasr
- “The #Arabic word for beauty, virtue, and goodness is the same. Beauty drives us to the divine…Beauty makes the soul happy.” - Seyyed Nasr
- “Just by existing, we’re responsible towards other creatures, humans, nature, and God himself.” -Seyyed Hossein Nasr
- “Buddhism is in some ways atheist, but some say atheism means anti-God. In that sense, #Buddhism has respect for all traditions.” @DalaiLama
- “Sometimes we don’t have to pursue happiness, we have to pause and let it catch up to us.” - @rabbisacks
- “There is a religious challenge in things that don’t look beautiful.” -@RabbiSacks
- “Happiness is a right. The purpose of our life is happiness. It may be simple but it’s what I think!” @DalaiLama
- “When a person lives with hopelessness, they commit suicide. So our life depends on hope for happiness.” @DalaiLama
- A nice segue by Krista from @RabbiSacks’ fabulous point about slowing down for happiness to the @DalaiLama’s teachings on meditation.
- “I almost drowned on my honeymoon, so when I wake up, I know what it means to pray: Thank you #God for giving me back my life.” @RabbiSacks
- “We can face the future of fear if we know we do not face it alone.” @RabbiSackson praying to #God and knowing God is with you
- Just realized there’s a person signing this wonderful discussion at Emory. Her just to hear + translate must be incredibly difficult. Kudos.
- “Our modern culture makes it very hard to fail.” -@RabbiSacks at The Interfaith Summit on Happiness
- “Train the body so the mind, the self, and the soul can do it’s job more effectively.” - Rev. Schori on #running as body meditation
- “ #Judaism has a whole approach on the physical dimension of the spiritual life - it’s called food.” @RabbiSacks on #happiness and the body
- “If you want a summary of all the #Jewish holidays it can be done in 3 sentences: they tried to kill us, we survived, let’s eat” @RabbiSacks
- “Someone elses’ material needs, are my spiritual duty” @RabbiSacks on the responsibility to help others who are lacking
- @DalaiLama is asked: Where does body fit into happiness? HHDL: Without a body, there’s no longer a brain. Then it’s difficult to think.
- “You have to let go of hate if you want to be free” - @RabbiSacks
- “A #Muslim friend said ‘jihad’ is combating the negative forces within yourself. So then, the whole Buddhist philosophy is Jihad” @DalaiLama
- “After Buddhism there is no religion that speaks more of compassion than #Islamdoes.” - Seyyed Hossein Nasr
- “I’m out of my medium. I’m used to being in a recording studio where people aren’t applauding after comments” - Krista Tippett
Tonight! SOF Live from Washington, D.C.
Trent Gilliss, online editor
Watch the live video stream in this post or chat with others while you watch on our SOF Live page.
Monday, April 5th, 2010 (7pm Eastern)
The Shakespeare Theatre Company
610 F Street Northwest
Beginning at 6:30pm Eastern tonight, we’ll be opening up the live video stream of a sold-out public event with Krista and Michel Martin, host of NPR’s Tell Me More. These two journalists will be discussing the role of faith in their lives and the interplay between science and religions, using Einstein’s “cosmic religious sense” as a starting point.
We’d love to hear your thoughts about this conversation. Please add your comments here.
Live Audio: Evolving Faith - Meaning, Ethics, and Ideas
Trent Gilliss, online editor
Listen here, live at 7 pm Central! (caveat: you probably won’t hear anything until 10 minutes prior to start time)!
Well, Krista’s in Chicago tonight — and she’ll be on the receiving end of the conversation this time.
Eboo Patel, founder of Interfaith Youth Core, will lead the discussion and will ask Krista about the surprises and discoveries she has made as religion has moved from the sidelines to the forefront of world affairs.
We’d love to hear your comments whether you were seated in the church or are listening from home or the office. Submit your comments here.
(photo: Kate Moos)
The Still(s) of an Evening Event
Colleen Scheck, Producer
We decided late in our planning stages for our event with Joshua DuBois that we wanted a professional photographer there. When I asked Tony Bol, APM’s director of live event programs, for a recommendation, I didn’t even have the full sentence out of my mouth before he said “Ann Marsden.” Now I know why. Ann, a Minneapolis-based photographer, took some stunning pictures of our evening at the Fitzgerald Theater.
After it was all over, I stood on the Fitz stage wondering how everything had gone. I had been running around so much during the event, making sure x,y,z details happened as planned (and adjusting when it didn’t), that I hardly had a sense of if the event went well overall. But when I look at Ann’s photos, I don’t recall the frenzy of the evening; instead, I’m filled with a quiet, intimate sense of the power of convening community, the value of connection through public conversation, and the beauty of performance. Here’s some of my favorite pics:
Krista in action, gesturing with her hands. We often get media requests for these kinds of photos, so I’m sure this one will come in handy in the future.
Laughter. Everyone works hard - host and guest alike - to pull off a live event. And our conversations have a lot of weight at times. Lighter moments are lovely, too.
Audience = Inform. Inspire. Entertain. It’s what we do, who we serve.
A great photographer creates intimacy in crowded moments. An example.
…and has an eye for capturing VIPs both in and out of the frame.
The Fitz at dusk - a sense of place, a landmark.
Every guest at the Fitzgerald Theater is invited to sign the brick wall behind the stage. Yes, you guessed it - this is NOT an Ann Marsden photo. This is an attempt by yours truly to capture some behind-the-scenes action. Intimacy and beauty lost…must take photography classes…(Sigh).