Sharon Salzberg


American Author, Teacher of Buddhist Meditation, Co-founder of the Insight Meditation Society

Author Quotes

When we steep our hearts in lovingkindness, we are able to sleep easily, to awaken easily, and to have pleasant dreams. To have self-respect in life, to walk through this life with grace and confidence, means having a commitment to nonharming and to loving care. If we do not have these things, we can neither rest nor be at peace; we are always fighting against ourselves. The feelings we create by harming are painful both for ourselves and for others. Thus harming leads to guilt, tension, and complexity. Sleeping easily, waking easily, But living a clear and simple life, free from resentment, fear, and guilt, extends into our sleeping, dreaming and waking.

When you're wide open, the world is a good place.

Whether we let our negative visitors take us over or we push them away, we suffer. Caught in their embrace, we identify with these unwholesome mind-states, either projecting those bad feelings onto others and creating enemies in the world, or making an enemy of ourselves with thoughts like I am such a jealous person, and I always will be. This is who I really am. Once we give in to the visitors, we lose any choice in the matter: we?re locked into a negative state of mind.

While you are meditating, if your mind wanders, gently bring it back to the present moment.

With attachment all that seems to exist is just me and that object I desire.

With our actions every day, and by being our truest self, we are a conduit of possibility for others. Just by living the best lives we can, the kindest, the most compassionate, we have done something to sustain and illuminate a path to freedom.

What Does It Mean to Be Mindful? By paying attention to the present moment, we can begin to appreciate what we already have---and grasp the key to life.

You are capable of so much more than we usually dare to imagine.

What is important is not getting intoxicated with a good feeling or getting intoxicated even with an insight. These take many forms in our practice. We go through times of great release, where there has been physical holding for what feels like forever, and something opens up and releases.

You are not trying to do battle with your experience.

What unites us as human beings is an urge for happiness which at heart is a yearning for union.

You don't have to believe anything, adopt a dogma in order to learn how to meditate.

What you learn about pain in formal meditation can help you relate to it in your daily life.

You may have heard the old story, usually attributed to a Native American elder, meant to illuminate the power of attention. A grandfather (occasionally it?s a grandmother) imparting a life lesson to his grandson tells him, "I have two wolves fighting in my heart. One wolf is vengeful, fearful, envious, resentful, deceitful. The other wolf is loving, compassionate, generous, truthful, and serene." The grandson asks which wolf will win the fight. The grandfather answers, "The one I feed.?

When we are confronted with cruelty or injustice, anger can help us burn off the fog of apathy.

When we are confronted with our own inner demons, anger in the form of exasperation may prompt us to make changes that self-coddling failed to motivate.

When we find ourselves in a situation where we feel unseen, unheard, or unappreciated, frustration may jolt us awake and give us the courage to speak up.

When we have insight into our inner world and what brings us happiness, then wordlessly, intuitively, we understand others. As though there were no longer a barrier defining the boundaries of our caring, we can feel close to others' experience of life. We see that when we are angry, there is an element of pain in the anger that is not different from the pain that others feel when they are angry. When we feel love there is a distinct and special joy in that feeling. We come to know that this is the nature of love itself, and that other beings filled with love experience of this same joy.

When we practice metta, we open continuously to the truth of our actual experience, changing our relationship to life.

When we see the relatedness of ourselves to the universe, that we do not live as isolated entities, untouched by what is going on around us, not affecting what is going on around us, when we see through that, that we are interrelated, then we can see that to protect others is to protect ourselves, and to protect ourselves is to protect others.

We can have skills training in mindfulness so that we are using our attention to perceive something in the present moment. This perception is not so latent by fears or projections into the future, or old habits, and then I can actually stir loving-kindness or compassion in skills training too, which can be sort of provocative, I found.

We need the courage to learn from our past and not live in it.

We can imagine a world based on love instead of hate; we can beckon a day where our own happiness and the happiness of others are seen as one, through the power of kindness. Holding this immense vision, we center our attention in the step-by-step work of making it real.

We need to redefine community and find a variety of ways of coming together and helping each other.

We can learn the art of fierce compassion - redefining strength, deconstructing isolation and renewing a sense of community, practicing letting go of rigid us-vs.-them thinking - while cultivating power and clarity in response to difficult situations.

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American Author, Teacher of Buddhist Meditation, Co-founder of the Insight Meditation Society