Sharon Salzberg – Metta Hour – Ep. 107 – Meditating on Selflessness with Robert Thurman & Mark Epstein

Sharon Salzberg - Metta Hour - Ep. 107 - Facing the Ego with Robert Thurman & Mark Epstein

For Episode 107 of the Metta Hour Podcast, Sharon is joined by Mark Epstein and Bob Thurman.

This episode was recorded live at Tibet House in 2018. In this recording, Sharon, Mark and Bob discuss the topic of the ego, related to the self, through the lens of Buddhist Psychology, and how that relates to our sense of well-being. Bob leads a guided meditation on the topic, followed by questions from the audience.
Reframing Our Sense of Self

What can we do to change the way we hold our sense of self and our relationship to others? Sharon Salzberg shares a story that demonstrates how we can reframe our perspective during our day to day lives.

“It is such an interesting moment when the bottom drops out. When our sense of being central, while everyone else is marginalized, drops away, and it becomes ‘we’. Rather than such a rigid, or calcified, sense of self and other – of us and them.” – Sharon Salzberg 

Suffering, Along with Its End (12:35)

The group addresses the interrelation between our suffering and sense of self. How can mindfulness and meditation practice develop the inner resources to work with our suffering in a way that does not create more suffering for ourselves or others?

Meditating on Selflessness (22:00)

Robert Thurman shares a half-hour insight meditation around working with our injured innocence and pride. He offers four keys of meditating on selflessness that allows us to see our reactivity and attachment that arises when our sense of self is attacked.

“Suddenly, things will be experienced in thier differences. Your self will be experienced in its difference, in a sort of lighter way. Just as when you see yourself in the mirror, you see your face – but you know it is not your face, at the same time that you see it. It is both your face and not your face.” – Robert Thurman

Escaping Reality, Avoiding the Bypass (52:00)

For many of us, the fruits of spiritual practice can become an escape from a reality that can be very traumatic. Mark speaks about being open enough to embrace these moments. Open, but also mindful of our relationship with practice and the possibility of becoming attached to yet another experience.



Art via Francesco Izzo