So many of us feel exhausted, disempowered, anxious, and terribly alone. Yet through daily meditation and mindfulness, we can cultivate compassionate resilience. This is the ability to bring presence and balance, wisdom and love, to any circumstance we face, especially those that are the most challenging. The natural result of creating compassionate resilience in our lives is a deep sense of gratitude, personal growth, and connection to others.
7 video lessons and 7 Meditations and Reflections — in total more than 2.5 hours of one-on-one instruction with Sharon
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Sharon Salzberg is a New York Times Best selling author and teacher of Buddhist meditation practices in the West. In 1974, she co-founded the Insight Meditation Society at Barre, Massachusetts with Jack Kornfield and Joseph Goldstein. Her emphasis is on vipassanā (insight) and mettā (loving-kindness) methods, and has been leading meditation retreats around the world for over three decades. Her books include Lovingkindness: The Revolutionary Art of Happiness (1995), A Heart as Wide as the World (1999), Real Happiness - The Power of Meditation: A 28-Day Program (2010), and the follow-up Real Happiness at Work (2013). In 1999, Sharon was honored by the New York Open Center for her "Outstanding Contribution to the Mindfulness of the West."
Each day includes a 10-minute lesson and 10-minute meditation or reflection.
Many of us would say that our minds are kind of scattered and distracted, not necessarily in every arena of life, but at least in some.
Our minds, our attention, and our energy often jump into the past. When they go to the past, it's not necessarily in a useful way, which is possible. Oftentimes it's ruminating about things we now regret. But we're not thinking for ways to make them immense or for lessons learned; we're just going over it. Or our minds jump to the future and we create a scenario that has not yet happened, and may never happen, but still we are filled with anxiety about the possibility we are imaging could happen.
Today, we look at the power of centering, which is really the art of concentration.
We each have a certain idea of what we deserve. What is the story you tell yourself about what you need, about your limits or goals, or what your life is about? Very often there is a theme.
In this lesson, We look at the tools, skills, exercises, and habits we have that have stood us in good stead, but that we may need to renew. We look at behaviors we reach for because we think they're going to make us stronger, but they actually bring us down. They weaken us. They harm us in some way. And we can be empowered to realize, "You know, I have the power of choice in each direction. I can seek to amplify the tools or the skills I've had. I can learn new ones and have that spirit of adventure. I can actually let go."
We can sit with our anger and we can sit with our fear, because in some ways our awareness is stronger than that feeling. We can develop that relationship of discovery with whatever may be coming our way.
If we can have compassion toward these feelings and pay attention to them in a different way, we have the possibility of insight and understanding. Our fear is not bad; it's painful. Our anger is not bad; it's merely painful when we are lost in it, when we're overcome by it, or when we're defined by it.
The task is not to make anything go away, dismiss it, or deny it but to truly develop a different relationship to these feelings.
Many people, like evolutionary biologists, will say that we are wired to predominantly look for danger, for threat, for what's wrong in our lives, and that it could take some conscious effort, a kind of intentionality, to take in the good and be able to acknowledge it.
Also at times we have such a strangely perfectionistic standard of what should be happening, that it's just not good enough. Or we feel like life shouldn’t be a certain way. That we can’t allow ourselves to feel pain or accept that there is pain in our lives.
Today, we're going to be talking about opening to joy.
Taking in the good, acknowledging it, savoring it, and taking delight in what's good is a powerful way of restoring ourselves, finding resilience, and being able to go on in a different way.
Lovingkindness is the common term for what in the Buddhist tradition is called metta. It's usually translated as lovingkindness. Sometimes it's love. Sometimes it’s the force of connection.
We talk about lovingkindness not in terms of liking somebody or approving of them; rather, lovingkindness is about having this bone deep recognition that our lives are connected. For ourselves, it's a way of appreciating our potential.
No matter what we've gone through, no matter who we are, what our history, or what we may yet go through, there is within us this possibility of growth, of change, of clarity, of love, and connection. We practice lovingkindness as a way of affirming that truth.
Think of a tree. It seems to be a solitary thing. It's an entity in our garden or a park, and that's true. We don't want to deny that. However, there's another level of truth in which we look at the tree, and we can sense the soil that is nourishing it and everything that affects the quality of that soil, which includes the rainfall and everything that affects the quality of that rainfall. We can sense the sunlight, the moonlight, and the quality of the air.
We extend that to the boundlessness of life, acknowledging our connection to all of life, and realizing maybe that's what we want to represent in the world, the truth of how connected we all are. And we can see the deeper reality of how our life is functioning, and not feel so cut off and alone because, in truth, we're not.
Today, we look at the three different elements of action: intention, execution, and letting go.
By doing this inner work, we cultivate greater mindfulness and insight, as well as love and compassion, because the practice of compassionate resilience changes how we live. We take action in a different way. There's something very enlivening and very empowering in reclaiming our sense of integrity into these arenas where we can continually grow and change.
Compassionate Resilience with Sharon Salzberg brings together her experience teaching about topics like real love, happiness, and the power of meditation in one 7-day course to teach you how to have greater self-awareness, stronger relationships, and lasting inner peace and well-being in your life.
"You are capable of so much more than you usually dare to imagine."