09 Oct 2013
October 9, 2013

Featured Teacher: Sharon Salzberg

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Sharon Salzberg has been a student of Buddhism since 1971, and leading meditation retreats worldwide since 1974. Sharon’s work is non-sectarian, though based on the ancient Buddhist practices of vipassana (mindfulness or insight) and metta (lovingkindness), the aim of which is to deepen awareness and compassion, giving rise to greater peace and happiness.

In 1971, in Bodh Gaya, India, Sharon attended her first meditation course. She spent the next three-and-a-half years engaged in intensive practice and study with highly respected teachers from India, Burma and Tibet. Sharon returned to America in 1974 and began teaching insight meditation and leading retreats. In 1976, she established, together with Joseph Goldstein and Jack Kornfield, the Insight Meditation Society (IMS) in Barre, Massachusetts, which is now one of the most renowned and active meditation centers in the Western world. Retreats of varying lengths, offering intensive training in meditative skills and contemplative practices, are presented throughout the year and are attended by people of many diverse religious backgrounds and interests.

Sharon and Robert Thurman’s new book, Love Your Enemies: How to Break the Anger Habit & Be a Whole Lot Happiergives practical strategies for spiritual transformation. The new book was inspired by HH Dalai Lama and is a result of the workshops that Bob and Sharon have been teaching the past 7 years. It provides information on how both anger and hatred are addictive feelings – that they’re behaviors that are destructive to happiness. The following is an excerpt from Chapter Two of the new book:

There are too many times in life when we just cannot avoid losing our temper. Someone attacks or provokes us, we feel that excitement is the only way to avoid being crippled by fear in a tough situation, we just can’t stand something that is happening to us or to others and we blow our top. Sometimes our heated action seems to help; we get the immediate result we want. But even then, usually we feel bad afterward, we realize that our over-reaction will cause more problems down the line, we become exhausted, we lose a potential friend, and we have populated our universe with an even more dangerous potential enemy. As we mature, and gain more experience with the negative results and side effects of the anger habit, we shift our priorities, and we resolve to improve our mastery of our emotional reactions. We tire of being whipped about by uncontrollable inner impulses, and we decide we really have to be the master of our forceful energies, and not be mastered by them. We then are ready to face our inner enemies.

There are all too many of them, a host of powerful forces within our minds, obsessive desire, burning anger, haunting jealousy, stressful competitiveness, foolish pride, stubborn delusion and self-righteous conviction. They are addictive energies, in that they take hold of us from within by seeming to enhance our energy and expand our being, only to let us down all too soon and leave us in an even more vulnerable situation. The Buddhist word for them (Sanskrit klesha, Pali, kilesa) comes from the verb root klish-, which means “twist,” “torment.” They harm us without fail, and so definitely qualify as enemies…

Finish reading the chapter HERE.

To learn about Sharon and explore her upcoming events, visit her website HERE.

Sit comfortably and enjoy a Metta (Lovingkindness) meditation with Sharon:

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