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Selections from That's Funny, You Don't Look Buddhist by Sylvia Boorstein, Copyright © 1997 by Sylvia Boorstein.  Reprinted with permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved.  HTML and web pages copyright © by SpiritSite.com.

"I think of one as my voice of understanding and the other as the voice of my heart."

Sylvia Boorstein, 
That's Funny, You Don't Look Buddhist,
Part 1

First Page

In the middle of a Buddhist meditation retreat, my mind filled with a peace I had not known before – completely restful, balanced, alert, joyous peace – and I said, "Baruch Hashem" (Praise God). The next thing I did was say the Hebrew blessing of thanksgiving for having lived long enough, for having been "sustained in life and allowed to reach" that day. The blessings arose spontaneously in my mind. I didn’t plan them. My prayer life in those days was a memory rather than a habit, but the blessings felt entirely natural.

These days when students report experiences of their minds free of tension – clear and balanced and peaceful – I usually say something like: "This is great. This is an insight into the third Noble Truth of the Buddha. The end of suffering, an alert and contented mind, is possible, in this very lifetime, remembering your whole story, remembering everyone’s whole story. The mind can hold it all – with equanimity, even with joy." I rejoice with them and for them.

I am grateful that I know two vocabularies of response. I think of one as my voice of understanding and the other as the voice of my heart.

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