Listen to the interview here.
One out of three Americans experiences chronic pain. Yet how many ill individuals are prepared to deal with the isolation, disappointment, and self-aggression that arises with pain that doesn’t go away? In this interview with NY Times best-selling author and world-renowned Buddhist teacher Sharon Salzberg, I ask how can the practice of lovingkindness help people with pain?
My injury in my mid-twenties changed my life: my career, physical abilities, finances, and even relationships. Through her sense of humor, and stories from decades of teaching and international travel, Salzberg reveals how self-love can be cultivated during a difficult time. Individuals with pain are in a unique position to learn “the art of friendship” toward themselves and others.
She puts a fresh spin on the story of Milarepa; how the seemingly solitary practice of meditation can lead to a sense of universal connection and freedom from shame. This is an intimate conversation with one of the West’s leading Buddhist teachers about what inner healing really means.
- How does Sharon define loving kindness? [54 seconds]
- The “Art of Friendship” toward ourselves and others. [1:40]
- Lovingkindness doesn’t impede clear thinking; it actually produces it. [2:39]
- Harsh, stress-filled environments briefly spike our performance, but then we crash. [3:38]
- Why is compassion in such short supply for people experiencing pain? [5:39]
- Culturally, there’s a strong conditioning to be in control. We are taught to define getting ill or getting old even as a loss of control. [6:03]
- We think we’re the only one suffering this way. Yet, the vulnerability of our situation can help us feel closer to everybody. [8:10]
- People think of meditation as a solitary pursuit, like going off into a cave for years. [10:07]
- What is the one question Sharon asks every time she teaches at an office or jobsite? [11:52]
- What meditation technique is recommended for beginners? [15:08]
- The first thing to look for with pain are the “add-ons” – the judgments, anticipations, and blames, which compound our suffering. [21:55]
- The most common question Dan is asked on meditation programs. [25:50]
- “We can always begin again” – an extremely powerful life lesson learned from meditation. [26:33]
- An on-the-spot practice of lovingkindness you can do anywhere. How to offer yourself a blessing. [29:36]
Sharon Salzberg’s most recent book, Real Love: The Art of Mindful Connection, is just out on paperback.