Lean In to Love

In this interview with Barry Boyce, beloved teacher Frank Ostaseski shares how his years of mindfulness supported him after a series of strokes transformed his life.

Photograph/ Frank Ostaseski

Frank Ostaseski is a well-known and much-loved teacher of meditation, mindfulness, and compassionate service. The author of The Five Invitations: Discovering What Death Can Teach Us About Living Fully, Ostaseski cofounded the Zen Hospice Project, and has helped more than a thousand people on their way to dying.
In July 2019 a serious stroke affected his brain’s capacity. In the ensuing two months he had four more strokes, and as many aspects of daily life became more difficult, Ostaseski found strength and refuge in love, compassion, and curiosity. He also found his practice still very much alive through the whole experience—and his ability to communicate the nuance of what we discover when we welcome everything remains intact. Here, he shares some of what he learned and leaned on with his longtime friend, Mindful’s founding editor Barry Boyce

Barry Boyce: Frank, can you describe what the experience of your strokes and seizures has been like for you?

Frank Ostaseski: The first stroke woke me with severe pain that felt like someone was taking a welder’s torch across my skull. My wife, Vanda, was amazingly calm and resourceful. She called the hospital and they said she should get me in right away. So,…


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About the author

Frank Ostaseski

Frank Ostaseski is a meditation teacher who cofounded the Zen Hospice Project. In 2004, he went on to create the Metta Institute to provide innovative educational programs and professional training to foster compassionate, mindfulness-based care.

About the author

Barry Boyce

Barry Boyce is Founding Editor of Mindful and Mindful.org. A longtime meditation practitioner and teacher—as well as a professional writer and editor— he is the editor of and a primary contributor to The Mindfulness Revolution: Leading Psychologists, Scientists, Artists, and Meditation Teachers on the Power of Mindfulness in Daily Life. Barry also worked closely with Congressman Tim Ryan, as developmental editor, on A Mindful Nation and The Real Food Revolution. Barry serves on the board of directors of the Foundation for a Mindful Society and the Centre for Mindfulness Studies in Toronto as well as on the advisory board of Peace in Schools, in Portland, Oregon.