Sharon Salzberg – Metta Hour – Ep. 135 – Real Change Series: Jack Kornfield

For episode 135 of the Metta Hour, Sharon speaks with Buddhist and Mindfulness teacher, Jack Kornfield.

For episode 135 of the Metta Hour, Sharon speaks with one of her oldest friends and colleagues, Jack Kornfield.

Jack Kornfield is a beloved author and meditation teacher who trained as a Buddhist monk in the monasteries of Thailand, India, and Burma. He has taught meditation internationally since 1974, and his books have been translated into 20 languages and sold more than a million copies.

A longtime activist, Jack discusses with Sharon the role of an engaged life in the spiritual path, as taught in the Buddhist tradition. They share an intimate conversation with stories since meeting and becoming friends in 1974, and how activism has shaped their teaching and lives. They also discuss voting as a spiritual act and the organization that Jack is supporting to help get out the vote for the 2020 U.S. Presidential election: Buddhists & Yogins United. The conversation closes with Jack leading a guided meditation on Loving Awareness. Learn more about Jack’s offerings at

Join Jack in a campaign to increase civic engagement, drive voter participation, and fight voter suppression in the 2020 election. Visit Buddhist & Yogins United to register to vote, help others register to vote, become a poll worker, or take other actions to ensure the collective and wise future of our democracy.
Planting Seeds: Voting, Politics, & Spirituality

What seeds are you planting for the future? Expressing the cascading platitude of difficulties ranging from rampant racial injustice, to the coronavirus pandemic, to the economic and climate crises, Sharon and Jack explore the rich history and important intersection of spirituality and political activism. Steadying the heart and quieting the mind, we give ourselves roots of strengths to live wisely, mending the world and planting compassionate seeds for the future.

“What seeds are you planting and watering? How are you creating a future? For our future right now, one of the most important and effective things that we can do is to participate in the democratic process of voting.” – Jack Kornfield

Jack explores how the history of racism & prejudice in this nation directly contradicts our instilled ideals of freedom & independence on Ep. 112 of Heart Wisdom
Born Anew at Breakfast: Hope, Justice, & Inner-Strength (21:38)

Touching on the general sentiment of hopelessness spreading throughout the nation in regards to politics, Sharon and Jack discuss the importance of renewal and rebirth in the fight for justice. They reflect on the notion from mutual friend and Sikh activist, Valarie Kaur, that this is a birthing process, a labor of love. Jack expresses that we are born anew at breakfast every day, birthing a hundred billion new red blood cells every twenty-four hours. The world wants to renew itself, and we can align ourselves with the process.

“There have been times that are difficult and dark before, and we’ve been through them as human beings – epidemics, typhoons, and earthquakes – and we know how to do this. This is actually the time for us to use the inner-strength and bring our voice out.” – Jack Kornfield

Sharon and civil rights activist Valarie Kaur discuss how to ‘see no stranger’ and birth a new world through a labor of love, on Ep. 126 of the Metta Hour
Transforming Through Ritual: Voting as a Spiritual Act (37:40)

Diving into the importance of ritual, Sharon and Jack elucidate how shifting our perspective to a ceremonial lens can transform our lives. Jack invites, if you are a First Responder, to not see yourself as an employee, but as a Shaman, a healer bringing your medicine ritual to the world. This perspective can help in refreshing from burnout, imbuing our daily lives with mystery, meaning and wonder. Through this framework of ritual, voting becomes a powerful spiritual act.

“Voting is a powerful spiritual act. To raise your voice in right speech and right action in some beautiful way. It’s an act of renewal to say, ‘We’re going to set the direction again, and these are my values.'” – Jack Kornfield

For a timely discussion on cultivating compassion, the sacredness of voting, and the merging of spirituality and politics, tune into Ep. 46 of The Road Home

This is the first episode of the Real Change Podcast series. In this conversation, Joshin and Sharon discuss some of the themes from her new book, Real Change, exploring the ways that meditation practice can inform social action. They discuss working with anger, pathological altruism, finding long term resilience and joy in activism, and working to find balance. To close the conversation, Joshin leads a ten-minute meditation practice on equanimity.