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Creating a Life of Integrity

In Conversation with Joseph Goldstein

Foreword by Joseph Goldstein

Conversations with Joseph Goldstein, one of today’s most renowned meditation teachers who taught ABC news anchor Dan Harris (author of 10% Happier) to meditate, on the topic of integrity.

Creating a Life of Integrity is our personal trainer for strengthening our integrity muscles.

When we don’t speak or act from our own sense of integrity, we feel lousy. Find out how you can live with more integrity—and subsequently more joy—as you follow these lively conversations between Joseph Goldstein, a founder of the modern mindfulness movement, and Gail Stark, a businesswoman and his student and friend of twenty-five years. 

As Joseph and Gail unpack the components of integrity—generosity, virtue, renunciation, wisdom, courage, patience, truthfulness, resoluteness, loving-kindness, and equanimity—we discover each is a step on a path that transports us to an empowered place of clarity, commitment, and, consequently, more joy. As we strengthen and weave these qualities into our daily lives they become our trusted first response in a world that needs our integrity now.

“A lovely, practical, intimate, and wise book. Read and you can enjoy an intimate conversation with a great teacher, and learn how to lovingly refine the study your own mind.”—Jack Kornfield, author of A Path with Heart

“Gail Stark, in a voice that is intelligent, witty, and disarmingly candid, recounts her year-long study with her teacher, Joseph Goldstein, of the integrity factors of personal and spiritual development. In so doing, she firmly extends the line from the liberating teachings of the Buddha in the forests of India 2,700 years ago into the middle of business venues in the twenty-first century. Every minute of every day, given mindful attention, becomes an integrity choice. Undertaking this practice, as laid out here, is demanding and thrilling. We can lead worldly, engaged lives and be happy.”

– Sylvia Boorstein, author of Happiness Is an Inside Job

“If you thought Buddhism was only meant for laid-back meditators, Gail Stark’s Creating a Life of Integrity shows you how the Buddha’s teachings can become essential operational guidance for high-performing leaders and executives. Part passionate memoir and part practical how-to, the book captures the essence of a special teacher-student relationship and translates perennial insights into accessible, resolute action. An invaluable resource for business people on a path of purpose and impact.”

– William Rosenzweig, founding CEO, The Republic of Tea; recipient of the Oslo Business for Peace Award

“Whether you are an experienced Buddhist practitioner or simply want to know more about Buddhism, Creating a Life of Integrity is a great book to add to your collection. First, the author is in conversation with one of the most renowned, insightful, and compassionate teachers of our time: Joseph Goldstein. The Buddha’s teachings come alive in their spirited talks. Second, the book takes the reader step-by-step along a path that leads to what we all aspire to—a life of purpose, joy, and contentment. Creating a Life of Integrity gets my highest recommendation.” 

– Toni Bernhard, author of How to Wake Up: A Buddhist-Inspired Guide to Navigating Joy and Sorrow

“In Creating a Life of Integrity the reader receives personal lessons and practices for true well-being from the ultimate wisdom coach, the renowned mindfulness meditation teacher Joseph Goldstein. Gail Stark has written a fun, engaging, yet genuinely profound guide for living in alignment with your highest values. I highly recommend this gem of a book.”

– James Baraz, coauthor of Awakening Joy: 10 Steps to Happiness; cofounder of Spirit Rock Meditation Center

“Reading this book was like actually being present with Joseph Goldstein, a person of exceptional integrity, as he shares down-to-earth yet profound wisdom with the author, Gail Stark. Different parts of my mind and heart were opened to new possibilities because of her unique way of expression. Creating personal integrity is the deepest kind of respect and care we can have for ourselves and others. This book is deeply reaching medicine, leading to inner calm and inviolable peace.”

– Kamala Masters, guiding teacher and cofounder, Vipassana Metta Foundation, Maui

Creating a Life of Integrity is a delightful duet between Joseph Goldstein, a Western meditation master, and Gail Stark, his student and friend. Joseph’s teachings are candid, practical, and humorous. Gail carries them out and reports back with a charming blend of honesty and good cheer. Want to level up your life? These two make the journey accessible and inviting.”

– Guy Armstrong, author of Emptiness: A Practical Guide for Meditators

“Gail’s clear and insightful words guide us through the perplexing world of ethics. Drawing on centuries of Buddhist wisdom distilled by Joseph Goldstein, Gail’s refreshing and personal accounts of putting these teachings into practice show us all how to live a life of integrity that creates a genuinely happier life.”

– Mark Coleman, author of From Suffering to Peace

“This book is unique in both form and substance. It allows us to listen in to conversations between Dharma teacher Joseph Goldstein and student Gail Stark as they explore the promise and pitfalls of the “paramis,” Buddhist trainings of the mind and heart. While many meditation students become focused almost exclusively on what happens on the zafu, the conversation between Joseph and Gail takes mindfulness into the street and into the daily life of a householder. Using their conversational format, the teachings come alive and all of us get to feel their power to affect our lives.
“In one of their conversations Joseph and Gail even sing together, revealing a deep sharing of the freedom and joy that develop on the path. There is a lot of wisdom in this conversation, and warmth on every page. As this book says, quoting the Dalai Lama, ‘Our part is to bring a cheerful mind and heart to a suffering world.’”

– Wes “Scoop” Nisker, author of The Essential Crazy Wisdom