Matthew Brensilver, MSW, PhD, serves on the Guiding Teachers Committee and Board of Directors at Spirit Rock Meditation Center. He was previously Program Director for Mindful Schools and for more than a decade, was a core teacher at Against the Stream Buddhist Meditation Society. Each summer, he lectures at UCLA’s Mindful Awareness Research Center on the intersections between mindfulness, science and mental health. Before committing to teach meditation full-time, he spent years doing research on addiction pharmacotherapy at the UCLA Center for Behavioral and Addiction Medicine. He is the co-author of two books about meditation during adolescence.
William James said that death was the ‘worm at the core’ of the human condition that turns us all into ‘melancholy metaphysicians.’ A century later, awareness of mortality is documented to affect our thinking and emotional lives in powerful ways. It figures prominently in Buddhist practice.
In what ways does consciousness of death distorts our view and lead us away from wisdom and compassion? Alternatively, how can we open to the truth of finitude such that our heart is softened? Can we intuit the freedom or love that might be released were we more deeply at peace with our mortality?
In this evening program, we’ll consider the way death can harden or soften our heart – and how dharma practice might lead us to a life that feels complete. All are welcome.