Death and the Poignancy of Life

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Death and the Poignancy of Life
with Matthew Brensilver
Tuesday, December 17th, 2019 | 7:00pm – 9:00pm
In lieu of our usual Tuesday Dharma Gathering, we invited special guest teacher Matthew Brensilver to present this following evening program.

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.


Please register at the highest level that your generosity offers.
Explanations of levels follow below.
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Registration Fees include Teacher Support

New York Insight Meditation Center has streamlined the registration fee levels. Members of our Circle of Friends are eligible to receive 20% off of the Sustaining Rate via a code provided in the email confirming membership, which you can enter after clicking the Sustaining Level registration.

*Benefactor Level: Supports NYI’s ability to offer the Subsidized Base.

**Sustaining Level: This level reflects the actual costs to support this program. Circle of Friends members eligible for 20% discount with code. Click here to join.

***Subsidized Base: Made possible by the generosity of Benefactor Level above and other donations to ensure participation by those requiring financial assistance.

If you have questions about your registration (cancellation policy, membership discount, email confirmation, etc.), please read our FAQs. If your question is not addressed in the FAQs, please email

If you are unable to pay the Subsidized Base Fee, you can learn about volunteering to offer work exchange and letting us know how much you are able to pay for this program by emailing



Matthew Brensilver

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. Info available here:

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