- IONS Film Project
"Wisdom of the Heart" with Joan Borysenko (part 1 of 2)
Intimacy, Love, and Health
Visionary: Joan Borysenko, PhD
Part 1 | Part 2
Joan Borysenko is a former Harvard medical scientist and practicing psychologist. She endeavors to weave together science, psychology, and spirituality in the service of wholeness.
In this engaging discussion about the path to wholeness, Joan shares the wisdom of a variety of spiritual leaders. This approach is in keeping with the mission of her Claritas Institute, which teaches students to respect the differences between traditions while simultaneously recognizing the essential spirituality they share.
From the Dalai Lama, Joan quotes that the path to wholeness “is simple, it’s just not easy.” So often we want things to be different than they are. Compassionate presence (our authentic self) is what remains when that desire to change things is gone, and we are left with a nonjudgmental awareness of the moment. It is a state of being characterized by clarity, love, wisdom, and non-attachment, and serves as the root of enlightened social action and healing.
Joan describes three steps to the achievement of that state of wholeness. The first is to come into harmony with the outer world; to be in right relation with other people. She calls it the Golden Rule: “Don’t do to someone else what you wouldn’t want done to yourself.”
The second step is to reduce mental chatter – the incessant internal dialogue that plagues our awareness – through contemplative practice. When the chatter stops, something ineffable replaces it: a clarity or presence that actually alters our physiology. Joan leads the audience through a 15-minute guided meditation to instill the experience.
Finally, Joan explores the third step of enlightened social action: to act with wisdom and compassion as guided by our higher source, paying attention so as to hear that guidance. As aptly described by the Hindu sage Ramakrishna: The winds of grace are blowing all the time, but it is up to us to raise the sails.