Lovingkindness: The Revolutionary Art of Happiness

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9781590305577: Lovingkindness: The Revolutionary Art of Happiness
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Throughout our lives we long to love ourselves more deeply and find a greater sense of connection with others. Our fear of intimacy—both with others and with ourselves—creates feelings of pain and longing. But these feelings can also awaken in us the desire for freedom and the willingness to take up the spiritual path.

In this inspiring book, Sharon Salzberg, one of America's leading spiritual teachers, shows us how the Buddhist path of lovingkindness can help us discover the radiant, joyful heart within each of us. This practice of lovingkindness is revolutionary because it has the power to radically change our lives, helping us cultivate true happiness in ourselves and genuine compassion for others. The Buddha described the nature of such a spiritual path as "the liberation of the heart, which is love." The author draws on simple Buddhist teachings, wisdom stories from various traditions, guided meditation practices, and her own experience from twenty-five years of practice and teaching to illustrate how each one of us can cultivate love, compassion, joy, and equanimity—the four "heavenly abodes" of traditional Buddhism.

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Review:

Sharon Salzberg, a meditation teacher and the founder of the Insight Meditation Society in Massachusetts, focuses on a kind of Buddhist practice that emphasizes feelings of love, happiness, and compassion. Metta, or "lovingkindness," meditation involves four phrases: "May I be free from danger"; "May I have mental happiness"; "May I have physical happiness"; "May I have ease of well-being." (Some readers will find this surprising, since the most commonly known meditation techniques have little "content"--you simply repeat a single word or phrase, observe your breath, or observe your thoughts as they pass through your mind.) Other exercises in this book are intended to increase your connection to and intimacy with others, by directing these positive sentiments outward toward specific people or the world in general. This book will probably be best appreciated by those who have some experience with meditation already, but anyone can appreciate the way it takes a practice often considered mystical and turns it into a means of creating joy. --Ben Kallen

About the Author:

Sharon Salzberg is one of America's leading spiritual teachers and authors. A practitioner of Buddhist meditation for over thirty years, she is a co-founder of the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies and the Insight Meditation Society, and she directs meditation retreats throughout the United States and abroad.

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Salzberg, Sharon, Kabat-Zinn, Jon
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