Sharon Salzberg – Metta Hour – Ep. 87 – Ruth King

Sharon Salzberg - Metta Hour - Ep. 87 - Ruth King

In Episode 87 of the Metta Hour Podcast, Sharon speaks with author, teacher and activist, Ruth King.

Ruth is an international teacher in the Insight Meditation tradition, blending mindfulness and meditation principles with an exploration of racial conditioning and its impact. She is the author of several publications including her most recent release, “Mindful of Race.” In this episode, Ruth shares her personal story of what brought her to meditation practice, and how it has impacted her life and her work. Sharon and Ruth also speak in depth about racial conditioning and racial justice, the nuance of identity, and Ruth’s work rebuilding communities with new understanding and connection. The conversation closes with a ten minute guided meditation led by Ruth. Learn more about Ruth’s work at

Show Notes

Knowing For Yourself (Opening) – We get to know Ruth and what brought her to the path of meditation and teaching. She reflects on the aspects of Dharma practice that have been most beneficial to her.

“I fell in love with the practice of meditation. It was such a recognition of something very deeply known. I think what really got me was the idea in this practice of knowing for yourself – not relying on something external to know what freedom and ease was.” – Ruth King

Conditioning and Unseen Bias (8:00) – Sharon and Ruth discuss the individual systems and group dynamics that lead to racial imbalance and harm; a major theme in Ruth’s new book, Mindful of Race. They look at some of the hindrances that prevent us from recognizing or addressing our own unseen bias.

“We are all good individuals and we are also racial beings, so we all have inherent bias at the individual level of our being. We are all part of a racial identity group, some of us know this and others of us don’t. We all come from a racial configuration in this relational world that we are in.” – Ruth King

Racism Is Like Heart Disease (25:15) – Ruth looks at the relationship many people have with their own racism. She and Sharon discuss the similarities between how we address internal racism and how we address heart disease in ourselves. The two talk about how the balance and joy offered by contemplative practice can bring perspective to our inner struggles.

More Like This: Explore the intersection of race, activism and contemplative practice with Sharon and Rev. angel Kyodo Williams on Ep. 42 of the Metta Hour Podcast

Stepping Up (38:50) – What are some of the ways that individuals are using their positions of power to create change in the unjust systems that they operate in? Ruth and Sharon talk about the importance of stepping outside of our comfort zones in an effort to use our influence to its greatest social potential.

“I am seeing a growing number of individuals with power who are using their power in a way that supports change.” – Ruth King  

Drop In & Open Up (46:45) – We close with a 10- minute foundational meditation practice led by Ruth.

Communication skills are critical in all aspects of life, and they can be challenging. Do you say yes when you really mean no? Do you avoid conflict at all costs? Are you waiting for someone in your life to change in order to get what you want? The good news is that it only takes one person to change the outcome of a conversation – and that person is you. Join medical doctor Neha Sangwan – February 22 – 24, 2019 at 1440 Multiversity – for an interactive weekend of self-reflection and practical tools that can transform your ability to communicate with even the most challenging personalities.
This podcast is brought to you by the generosity of 1440 Multiversity – California’s newest retreat destination which hosts a faculty of thought leaders in fields including mindfulness, neuroscience, relationships, the creative arts, and more. Visit to find this and other life-changing experiences available at 1440 Multiversity.


Images via Ruth King and Tricycle