What Sharon Salzberg has contributed to meditation and Buddhism in America is hard to quantify. Nowadays, she is everywhere you look within the recent mindfulness surge (and deservedly so): interviews with Oprah, podcasts with Tim Ferris, magazine articles, and her nine books on the subject. She has become known for her emphasis on the practice of metta, or lovingkindness, and her seminal book on the subject (Lovingkindness). This focus has been particularly needed in the West where the temptation to use meditation and spirituality as another self-improvement project or an attempt to control ourselves is so seductive.
That’s why my summer reading recommendation is Sharon’s book Real Love: The Art of Mindful Connection, which just came out on paperback. Her writing is thoughtful, engaging, and down to earth. We all could use some help in turning more towards compassion and kindness, and Sharon’s book proves that real love is not about being ‘nice,’ suppressing your needs, nor is it exclusively romantic.
A few weeks ago I interviewed Sharon on the subject of “How Lovingkindness Can Help People with Pain.” Our short interview can be heard here.
Happy reading, listening, and practicing.