Sylvia Boorstein, PhD

Residential Retreat Teacher

Sylvia Boorstein, PhD, has been teaching Dharma and mindfulness meditation since 1985. She is a founding Spirit Rock teacher, a psychologist, mother, grandmother, and great grandmother. She is particularly interested in emphasizing daily life as mindfulness practice and including informed citizenship and social activism as integral to spiritual maturation. Her books include: It's Easier Than You Think: The Buddhist Way to Happiness; Don't Just Do Something, Sit There: A Mindfulness Retreat; That's Funny, You Don't Look Buddhist: On Being a Faithful Jew and a Passionate Buddhist; Pay Attention for Goodness' Sake: The Buddhist Path of Kindness and Happiness Is an Inside Job: Practicing for a Joyful Life.

There’s an evanescent quality to this life. It keeps on changing. And we know that—but we don't really know it. I think if we really knew it, we wouldn’t spend a moment angry. The more I go on, the more I think that the development of poise is the heart of practice: whatever is happening, that’s okay; this thought came up, that’s okay; this feeling came up, that’s okay; my back hurts a bit, that's okay. Then we do whatever we can to calm down our mind, because it’s not about armwrestling your mind to the ground, but reminding it of what’s true.
 
Sylvia Boorstein, Liberation is the Whole of the Dharma

Sylvia Boorstein's Upcoming Programs

Class Series Online

August 1 - August 29, 2024 5 Thursdays | 4:00 PM - 5:30 PM

Everyday Life as Mindfulness Practice

Join us for a foundational series on the common-sense teachings of mindful awareness. With a focus on interactive discussion, meditation, and community building, Sylvia (via video recording) and Heidi (live via Zoom) will share practical, accessible, timeless teachings that support the integration of mindfulness, non-harming, and kindness into the complexities of our everyday lives. Connect and be nurtured by the support of saṅgha, shared stories, and meaningful moments as we bring our practice more fully into everyday life.

Sylvia Boorstein

Sylvia Boorstein

Heidi Bourne

Heidi Bourne

Retreat On-Land

September 9 - September 13, 2024 Monday - Friday | 4 nights

Founders Retreat: Insight Meditation with the Spirit Rock Founding Teachers

Spirit Rock invites you to a special Insight Meditation Retreat with senior Spirit Rock teachers who have been here since the beginning. This retreat emphasizes quieting the mind, opening the heart, and developing clarity and depth of practice. Traditional instructions based on the Foundations of Mindfulness will be combined with daily mettā (lovingkindness) practice, silent sitting and walking periods, guided movement sessions, practice meetings with teachers, and daily Dharma talks.

James Baraz

James Baraz

Howard Cohn

Howard Cohn

Sylvia Boorstein

Sylvia Boorstein

Stephanie Antoine

Stephanie Antoine

Retreat On-Land

December 8 - December 17, 2024 Sunday - Tuesday | 9 nights

Meeting the Three Characteristics through Cultivating Stability, Well-being, and Confidence

In this retreat, we tend to the three qualities of stability, well-being, and confidence, all of which support insight into the three characteristics of existence. Then we explore and befriend these characteristics—namely, aniccā (impermanence, inconstancy), dukkha (stress, unsatisfactoriness, suffering) and anattā (not-self, impersonality, ungovernability)—in our own lived experience. When we understand and make peace with these characteristics, we have more ease, compassion, and freedom in our lives, and we can be of more benefit to ourselves, others, and the world.

Nikki Mirghafori

Nikki Mirghafori

Sylvia Boorstein

Sylvia Boorstein

Rachel Lewis

Rachel Lewis

Upcoming Drop-Ins

Drop-in Online

Wednesday, April 24 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Wednesday Morning Meditation & Talk

Our Wednesday Morning Meditation & Talk is led by Sylvia Boorstein, Donald Rothberg, Heidi Bourne, or other guest teachers. This group welcomes beginners and experienced practitioners to explore the Dharma.

Sylvia Boorstein

Sylvia Boorstein

Drop-in Online

Wednesday, May 22 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Wednesday Morning Meditation & Talk

Our Wednesday Morning Meditation & Talk is led by Sylvia Boorstein, Donald Rothberg, Heidi Bourne, or other guest teachers. This group welcomes beginners and experienced practitioners to explore the Dharma.

Sylvia Boorstein

Sylvia Boorstein

Donald Rothberg

Donald Rothberg

Heidi Bourne

Heidi Bourne