Sharon Salzberg – Metta Hour – Ep. 02 – Meditation


In this talk, Sharon Salzberg centers on the practice of meditation and breathwork.

Sharon opens by discussing a conversation she had with a publisher about meditation: 

“just reading about meditation is like trying to scratch and itch through a shoe”.

She says that meditation is like breathing life into an alchemical process and finding out how we can make it work for us. Meditation is a craft and we must immerse ourselves in it. Though meditation is not always easy, it should not feel forceful, strained, or inauthentic.

Variety in Meditation (6:02)

Meditation can bring up a number of things and we should have compassion for all of it. Sharon tells us we don’t need to hang on to certain elements of the experience and push away others, it is all okay. Meditating may be extraordinary, beautiful, and wonderful, or it may be uncomfortable, dull, and difficult to engage in. 

To be guided in meditation listen to Jack Kornfield’s Heart Wisdom Ep. 123: Breathe Love In, Breathe Love Out Meditation.

The Skills We Learn in Meditation (10:50)

In meditation we experience the integration of our being. We listen to Sharon Salzberg describe the other skills we can learn through meditation. Some of these skills are: mindfulness, presence, and mindful awareness. There are so many ways in which our mind spins out, when we meditate we can smooth out the rigidity of everything and learn to fully experience whatever it is we are doing or witnessing. We can learn how to extend loving kindness to all things.

“Love, loving kindness, and compassion are a tremendous force which can transform this world…we have that capacity to actually generate and be a source of that enormous quality of love and acceptance.” 

Meditation and Breath (22:41)

A meditation practice can help us sustain happiness throughout our lives. The two core elements of a meditation practice are balance and beginning again. Sharon says:

“Whatever method or style or technique we might be using, we are deepening our sense of being balanced, feeling at home in that place of balance, and we are definitely deepening the ability to begin again.”

Sharon then describes breath meditation. Breath is portable, free, and private; no matter where you are, you can breathe. We can practice this style of meditation by fully feeling our breath each time we inhale and exhale. Sharon says it is integral to know how and when to begin again when our mind inevitably begins to wander. It is not a sign of failure to wander, but noticing it enables you to be kind to yourself and begin again.

For more on how to work with our breath check out this episode of Raghu Markus’ Mindrolling: Ep. 394 – Power of the Breath w/ James Nestor

Photo via marukopum