Recorded live at the University of Virginia’s Contemplative Sciences Center, Sharon offers her perspective on the evolving role of contemplative practice in modern life and how we can find the middle way through all things with the help of mindfulness.
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Coming to Sit
Sharon shares a look at how she was first introduced to mindfulness and meditation. She speaks about how the fruits of meditation have stayed steady, even as her motivations for practice have changed over the years.
“(Meditating for the first time) was definitely not bliss. In the actual experience of it, there was something that spoke very deeply to me which has never ever changed from that moment in time – which was that there is truth here. There is something here that is very profoundly true. Even though there were so many struggles, I felt that there was a coming home quality that has never changed.” – Sharon Salzberg
Finding the Middle Ground (6:30)
What is the relationship between contemplative practice and the experience that we have when we encounter a breathtaking piece of art or music? Sharon examines this question and looks at the middle ground offered by mindfulness which lets us appreciate the special qualities of something without attachment. She explores the way that mindfulness opens our perspective, bringing balance to the way we move through the world.
“It is a huge benefit of mindfulness to be able to inhabit your life. Yet, my understanding of the classical purpose of mindfulness practice is not just to inhabit your life, to enjoy your cup of tea or coffee a lot more because you are not multitasking. The purpose is really to understand your life. To understand what brings suffering, because you see it directly.”- Sharon Salzberg
Mindfulness & Modern Life (28:25)
Sharon speaks about the place of classical mindfulness and meditation training in the modern world. How can mindfulness practice and psychological therapy complement one another? What are the challenges of adopting a practice without the traditional modes of training?
The Practice of Beginning Again (38:25)
Sharon closes the show with a 5-minute guided practice and answers a few questions from her live audience about the trajectory of the mindfulness movement and making a commitment to the happiness of others.