Sharon Salzberg – Metta Hour – Ep. 09 – It’s All About Relationship


It’s All About Relationship

Sharon details her origin story in relation to mindfulness practice and describes the different approaches we can take in integrating meditation into our lives. The core teaching begins with the recognition that we have the potential to change our relationships with ourselves, and the world around us. Questions from the audience revolve around the confusion and difficulty that often arise in experimenting with mindfulness techniques.

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  • Beauty in Method – The basic act of sitting and following the breath can seem a bit simplistic in attempting to bring mindfulness into our daily lives. When practiced, we quickly discover that it can be more challenging than we anticipated. The entirety of truth is contained in this small and often unconscious act
  • The Big Moment (Bicep Curl for the Brain) – When we realize we have drifted from following our breath, we have the opportunity, through letting go and beginning again, to cultivate self-compassion and begin to truly deepen our awareness
  • Foreground/Background – In dealing with the thoughts that can accompany our breathing, try to bring the breath to the forefront of your activity, without attempting to push anything away. Work with enthusiasm for the breath, rather than rejection of other stimulus
  • No Wrong Way (To Breath) – In certain traditions there are specific techniques employed for each practice, but this isn’t necessary for basic mindfulness exercise. Bring awareness to your breath, but don’t judge the quality, assuming it is effective in creating relaxation. The ‘wholehearted presence’ is the engine
  • Anywhere, Anytime (If you’re breathing you can be meditating) – We can practice meditation in most any circumstance, but it’s best to be realistic about the effectiveness of it’s implementation. Often we find that it becomes easier to integrate into more aspects of our daily life when we have first established a core practice. There is sustainability in a dedicated and repetitious practice
  • Fear (A common guest in meditation) – The core of meditation is to change our relationship to everything, including fear. We quiet our minds, as well as our bodies’ reactions to our thoughts. Don’t make an enemy of the experience, it’s just another layer to open to. Work to create enough space to encompass the variety of energies that may arise
  • Inclusion – We seek to expand the often-narrow spectrum of possibilities in our lives. How can we look at, rather than through, each other? What happens when stretch our perspective to include all the various things we can be grateful for? The process becomes a creative experiment with our own mind and heart
  • Sleepiness and Physical Discomfort – Our modern lives can often lead to an accumulation of heavy fatigue that is quick to present itself in meditation. This is just part of the acclimation process and is yet another stress factor that mindfulness can reveal. We learn to listen to our body and slowly sharpen the energy that we begin to uncover. Experiment with what is most comfortable for you, and try to directly address any pain that arises. Look to see if it might be the result of tension held in the body or mind. The goal isn’t to conquer, but to open and release
  • Papanca (Proliferation) – Why add a miserable self-image to an already painful experience? Work to identify and loosen the grip of the ‘add-ons’ that we often attach to a present state of discomfort
  • Deeper Compassion for Yourself (Learning to let go) – Look at the contours of your life from a place of acceptance and compassion. We discover freedom, and a natural empathy arises, which enhances our connection to one another

Photo via ArtnIndia