Sylvia Boorstein speaks with Krista Tippet

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?

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.

Share Your Reflection



I did this. *As a disclaimer, I'm no stranger to guided meditations having taken numerous courses in contemplative spirituality and having spent a great deal of time engaged in spiritual exercises.* Not having been a part of what came before or after during the talk, it nevertheless worked. And I could see on the faces of those in attendance that it worked in that context as well. I especially appreciated her reminder to smile when you're blessing someone. It will change your heart.

I did this and it was a wonderfully calming and centering few moments even though I wasn't part of the talk.

the link is broken :o(

Please do!

I know :( It's broken for me, too.

Oh this is absolutly marvelous. I feel quite moved and happy and yes, all the good things of safe, content, strong and good in all things - thank you for a wonderful experience. I shall treasure this and us it with groups, if you do not mind, as it is such a feeling of peace in this torn and tattered world.

Ah, I feel so much more open & peaceful. My neighbors to the east & north who have been sources of annoyance are now just people with issues they need help resolving. Bless them. May we resolve our differences with love. My neighbors to the south & west who are acquaintances but not friends are now surrounded by loving energy and my smile holds thoughts of the potential for more connection. For those closest to my heart, my spirit touches yours with love. Thank you.

I valued the opportunity to pause this morning to reflect on love and kindness. I also listened to the entire show with Sylvia Boorstein. She has always been one of my favorite teachers.

I was struck by her comment in the program, "Spirituality looks like folding towels in a sweet way." It reminds me of a line from a song by Carrie Newcomer (Holy As the Day Is Spent):

"Holy is a familiar room and the quiet moments in the afternoonAnd folding sheets like folding handsTo pray as only laundry can."

Thank you....

I'm coming out of a migraine and this meditation brought peace and blessing to me as I was also able to send peace and blessing to those around me. Thank you.

Wonderful. What a gift. Thank you. Namaste.

Wonderful show! As a worry-prone individual, I especially liked learning about how my worrying may just be my natural 'genetic glitch' that I have to acknowledge and work with.

Many of her words reinforced messages from my own Islamic faith-tradition.

A beautiful blessing. May all who see the video feel safe, may you feel content, may you feel strong, may you live with ease.

How would your guest hope to approach the Nazi build-up if she were to have lived through it? We obviously waste energy when we persist in attaching personal energy to life's struggles. I thought the struggles were rather small. How does the practice of meditation help us address systemic atrocities? Thanks.

I noticed as I was blessing the people around me, from work, to the drivers I see passing by on commute, to my neighbors that I never talk to, that along the way I felt subtle resistance. It made me feel as though I do put some walls up between me and the outside world. I wonder how this regular process might transform me and how I treat those around me. 

Dear Baroddy
I don't think there is a simple answer to a complex question. Listen to the entire unedited version; it's really beautiful. A Pablo Neruda poem, "Keeping Quiet" is read at the end. I believe if we all practiced the stillness Sylvia talks about the capacity for human atrocities can be ended. People have the power. One of my favorite stories is of a KKK rally that (I believe) took place in California several years ago. Anti-KKK protesters showed up and at some point a KKK member was knocked down and attacked by the anti-KKK protesters. A black woman there threw herself over the KKK member to protect him from the crowd.
When we arrive at that place and are ready to protect even our enemies, our world will change.

What a wonderful message to wish great thoughts for people you love and for all the poeple of this world.
God is smiling, now.

I too could not get it to play smoothly-- it stopped more than it played.
What I did hear, though,  did not seem too relevant for pre-schoolers. After listening to the story, I was hoping to hear a meditation I could use for children.

Many years ago, as a university student studying child development, I was working with a class of preschoolers who were clumped because they tended to be disruptive, particularly at quiet times (such as nap-time after lunch).  I found that many of them did not have a sense of their own bodies.  I used nap-time to talk them through focusing on each part of their bodies a part at a time, teaching them to tense the muscles and let them go, paying attention to what happened when they did.  Gradually we extended the awareness to the needs of others.  The kids loved it, even the most disruptive-- some of whom turned into nappers.  Those who did not need to nap were then allowed to quietly "read" or to play with a quiet toy.  This form of simple physical relaxation training shading into mindfulness meditation transformed the group dynamics throughout the day.   This was in a university child development center, and my approach in working with the children also became part of the training for staff.  Many years later, children in my class often recognized me on the street and gave me joyful hugs and big grins.  Blessings coming round.

Good stuff, thanks for sharing this with the world at large.

Thanks, sitting at home after a long day at work, and not too pleasant at that, this came as a nice break inmy evening. Love your show, listen to the podcasts on way to work and find such value. Thanks again.

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Her voice and words are so beautiful.  I will listen to it daily.  Thank you,,,,,,,,

This is great, thanks

This woman is very great, I like her very much.

I'm sad....the link is not working. Anyway to fix it? Please : )

Worked for me. I'm frequently on the lookout for ways to introduce meditation practices to students and patients in a secular fashion. This fits the bill. Folks who take things very literally may have some difficulty in their room alone when Ms. Boorstein refers to others present. Other than that I found it a good introduction to metta or loving-kindness meditation.

While this is so sweet, I know in my heart that "feeling strong/safe/at peace" is as fleeting as the opposite feelings.  To deny reality while staring it in the face is asking to suffer.   Being human means accepting all feelings.

Our ill and frightened,beloved dog ,Kahuna and I .listened to ,and participated in Sylvia's meditation.The room enveloped us with the loving kindness.Our anxiety dissolved,And we both felt so deeply blessed.Thank you so very much,Sylvia and Krista.Might we have more such fervent meditations for all to experience.It was as powerful as being at a retreat----

Great meditation!

Great meditation!

Mmmmm I've found a new way to meditate on my daily walks.  What a nice way to send blessings to my neighbors as I walk by their homes.

:) I did sit for this meditation, and truthfully it wasn't the best experience and it wasn't the worst:)) i can say it was time well spent!

listening to or looking at Sylvia Boorstein brings great calmness and peace. I just love the way her words make me feel. While listening to this video i feel so grateful and full of happiness. 

Very worthwhile internet site. I really got nothing at all to do so I am just killing time searching the net and I feel as though I have stumbled upon some extremely valuable site. Thanks

good material. Thanks for the useful conversation. I enjoy the issues mentioned.

Thank you.

The link is still broken.

I did this and fetl very calm afterwards.

It is a beautiful meditation and inspires me to return to the Practice.

What an enjoyable meditation. I am considering incorporating it into my daily morning set of meditation and prayers.

I was disappointed that she began this meditation telling us to wish things for ourselves first, always. I believe that peace and joy are found through beng more selfless and serving others in need, that being Jesus's message to us all.


I am home tonight, having worked too hard all day again, feeling again that I haven't yet done enough. My husband and daughter are downstairs relaxing in front of the T.V. together but I am still working, at my computer. I stumbled across this meditation and decided to stop and participate. Now I feel balanced. I blessed my neighbors, in their houses in the dark, I blessed the cicadas singing outside, I blessed my dog, stretched out beside me. Life is good. I think I'll stop working for today.

Found a working video here

This was a wonderful experence. I listened and participated in the wee hours of the morning because I could not sleep. It was so comforting, like giving and getting a hug! Lovely.

A beautiful unexpected moment in my day. May the whole world join in.

What a lovely few minutes of blessing a the end of my day!

thank you for this unexpected gift

I loved her comment about how nice it is to be in a room full of blessing people, and the serenity on Sylvia's face when she made that comment. I sent the lovingkindness out to my neighbors beside, in front of and behind my house instead and it felt great. thank you.

I just love meditation.

Great meditation for mindfulness

Smiling expansion of heart Slyvia is loving and kind. A Teacher so authentic I feel joy

Thank you for this "experiment." I've had the good fortune to sit in a retreat and hear Ms. Boorstein's dharma talks. In fact, I'm going back to Spirit Rock for the annual Metta retreat. Some members of my family are worried about why I would want to sit in silence for 10 days. I'm going to send them this little video as a "taste" of what I'm doing there. May they benefit from watching it.

Unfortunately, many of those unfamiliar beings, near and far, are violent and murderous, wishing the rest of us nothing but harm and death. Although they are included in the Buddhist category of "all beings", the ISIS/ISIL terrorists and other violent extremists should not be strengthened with our good intentions.

It's not a good idea to intend them to have safety, contentness, strength, and to live with ease. I do not wish them well. Quite the contrary.

That last step of Dr. Boorstein's Metta meditation is particularly problematic for non-Buddhists.

Many years ago--in the 90's--I sat w/ Sylvia, at Spirit Rock. I was there several days, for an interview (which, sadly, did not pan out). But the few days I was on-site, meeting with others, especially Sylvia, and at a meditation led by Jack Kornfeld, were much-needed,& deeply restorative. My host & her house in Woodacre were warm & uplifting. Images & effects of my time there have never left me. Every week, I tune in/read On Being ("Speaking of Faith" when I began in the 80s).

I wish I had been there. It sounds like it was an amazing experience and encounter.

Oh, my goodness, what a lovely way to start the day, blessing yourself and all others.

Thank you, Sylvia.

I return to this recording time and time again -- it gives me such a feeling of calm and true lovingkindness. Thank you for keeping it up.