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I was listening to Krista Tippet, the host of  the radio show On Being, and she had Sylvia Boorstein as her guest . Sylvia is a celebrated Jewish-Buddhist teacher and psychotherapist, mother, and grandmother. She is  delightful as well as insightful and if you would like to read or listen to the entire interview please click here.

Sylvia shared the following teaching of the Buddha about “Unusual neurological glitches” common to us humans.

Perhaps you can identify the one or two that appear in you when challenged with stress in your life. For me all I can say is-“pass the pizza!”.

Actually, the Buddha said we have one of five genetic fallback glitches when we’re challenged. He said

  • some people fret,
  • some people get angry,
  • some people lose heart and all their energy goes and they don’t know what to do with themselves,
  • some people think, “Uh-oh, it’s me. I didn’t do things right. It’s always my fault. I messed things up.”
  • And some people need to be sensually soothed. They think, “Where’s a donut shop? Where’s the pizza?”

People have different tendencies. It was very, very helpful for me as an adult to learn that because it completely comes without a judgment. I don’t have to say I am a chronic fretter. I could say, you know, when I’m challenged, fretting arises in my mind and it’s not a moral flaw. It’s very good for people who have a short fuse to be able to think, “You know, I have this unusual neurological glitch.”

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