Matthew Brensilver, PhD, served as a Buddhist chaplain at USC for four years and teaches about the intersection of mindfulness and mental health at UCLA’s Mindful Awareness Research Center and with Mindful Schools. Matthew was trained by Noah Levine and teaches at Against the Stream. He is currently in the Spirit Rock/IMS teacher training program and regularly offers retreats at Spirit Rock and the Insight Retreat Center. He spent years doing research on addiction treatment at the UCLA Center for Behavioral and Addiction Medicine and continues to be interested in the unfolding dialogue between dharma and science.
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.