Happiness Is an Inside Job: Practicing for a Joyful Life, Sylvia Boorstein Ph.D, Ballantine Books, Hardcover, 2007, 176 pp, $22.95
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.
I grew up in Brooklyn, New York and went to public grade school and high school. All four of my grandparents arrived in America, Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe, between 1900 and 1920. None of them had had any education at all, and for them America was great because everyone could vote and everyone could go to school. My mother's greatest dream was for me to go to an Ivy League women's college, and I went to Barnard College and majored in Chemistry and Mathematics. I met and became engaged to my husband Seymour when I was sixteen. We were married three years later. I graduated from college in 1956 and we moved to Kansas where he trained to be a psychiatrist. I taught Chemistry at Washburn University, and I became interested in psychology. We settled in California in 1961. I earned a Master's Degree in Social Work from the University of California Berkeley in 1967 and began working as a psychotherapist. At the College of Marin in Kentfield, California from 1970 until 1984, I taught psychology, Hatha Yoga, and introduced and taught the first Women's Studies course. In 1974, I was awarded my Ph.D. in Psychology from Saybrook University. My thesis topic was, Hatha Yoga as a Gentle Psychotherapeutic Tool.