Sharon Salzberg – Metta Hour – Ep. 100 – Sarah Ruhl

Sharon Salzberg - Metta Hour - Ep.100 - Sarah Ruhl

For the 100th episode of the Metta Hour Podcast, Sharon sits down with playwright, Sarah Ruhl.

Sarah is a two-time finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and is currently on the faculty of the Yale School of Drama. She has been the recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship, the Helen Merrill Emerging Playwrights Award, and the Whiting Writers’ Award. Sarah is the author of several books, including her collection of essays “100 Essays I Don’t Have Time to Write,” which was named a New York Times Notable Book of 2014, and “Letters from Max: A Book of Friendship” published in 2012.

In this episode, Sharon and Sarah discuss the connection between creativity and practice at length. Sarah also reads from her book, discussing Metta (lovingkindness) Meditation, and Sharon’s childhood dream of writing a play! To learn more about Sarah’s work, visit:

Embodied Presence

Sarah reflects on the kind of embodied presence that she experiences through her craft as a playwright. She and Sharon discuss some of the paradoxes, challenges and gifts of the creative process. The two discuss what fuels creativity and look at the consequences of seeking creative energy through our anger and sorrow.

“There is something about the live presence. Of course, it is embodied, which is tricky but also is a great delight for me to collaborate with actors and designers. To see everything in three-dimensional space, embodied.” – Sarah Ruhl

Explore the intersection of mindfulness and creativity with playwright Lynn Nottage on Ep. 92 of the Metta Hour Podcast
Art Transforming Artist (13:40)

We learn a bit about Sarah’s journey as a playwright and meditator. She shares the experiences that have shaped her as an artist and as a human being.

“There are certain plays you write in your life that teach you how you are going to live. That gets you through a chapter in your life and teaches you something you didn’t know about yourself. I don’t think it is every play, but I think there are very particular plays in a playwright’s career that teach you how to live.” – Sarah Ruhl

Letters from Max (26:50)

Sarah shares her close friendship with a former student with an extraordinary mind and spirit – despite living with a painful disease that would claim his life far too early. She talks about her inspiring correspondences with Max – which explored topics of the heart, meditation, poetry and everything in between. Sarah brought together these inspirational letters to create the book Letters from Max. Sarah reads a passage from the book about Metta meditation which highlights Max’s unique perspective around happiness, desire and suffering.

Love and Death (35:50)

Sharon and Sarah discuss the difficulty of talking about death with someone who is terminally ill. They reflect on the incredible act of love we can show a person in their final days by just by speaking to them about their thoughts on death. How can we provide a space for discourse that is free of our own hangups and fears about death?


Images via Sarah Ruhl and WP Theater