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Meditation Offers Many Benefits


By Judy Liu, MPH


Mindful meditation offers several phys- ical, psychological and spiritual benefits. Meditation practice allows us to become more aware of what we are feeling as we encounter both suffering and joy. Medita- tion expert Sharon Salzberg, author of the NY Times bestselling book, Real Happiness the Power of Meditation, is offering two new workshops in Raleigh. A pioneer in the field of meditation,


Salzberg is a world-renowned teacher and NY Times bestselling author. Since she first began teaching in 1974 she has played a cru- cial role in bringing meditation and mind- fulness to the West and into mainstream culture. She is the co-founder of the first meditation center in the US: Te Insight Meditation Society, in Barre, MA. She has authored ten books, including her seminal work, Lovingkindness and her 2017 release, Real Love: Te Art of Mindful Connection. Acclaimed for her down-to-earth teaching style, Salzberg offers a secular, modern approach to Buddhist teachings, making them instantly accessible. She is a regular columnist for On Being, a contributor to Huffington Post, and the host of her own podcast, Te Metta Hour, with more than 70 episodes. We spoke with Ms. Salzberg:


“T


o love ourselves, we must know ourselves. To love one another, we must know one


another. But our assumptions, distractions, fears, expectations, and personal sense of unworthiness obscure these kernels of truth. We yearn for connection with others — but our minds get in the way, constantly spinning judgments about how we are fundamentally alienated from one another. As William James wisely explained, “Our view of the world is truly shaped by what we decide to hear.” We can train ourselves to change, to “hear” more of what is out there – and to “listen” less to our limiting


and oſten self-condemning thoughts along the way. If we look in a dictionary, we find love defined as “intense affection,” “romance,”


“adoration,” “strong attachment,” and “per- sonal attraction.” Tis workshop is about opening these limited definitions up at their seams. We can redefine and explore a world of greater possibility — we can experience love in a more essential way, without the stale narratives perpetuated by popular culture. Whether consciously or unconsciously,


we all live our lives searching for a sense of belonging, yet still find ourselves feeling cut off and alone. What holds us back from connecting to ourselves, to our core emo- tional needs — as well as to one another and to our individual and shared experi- ences alike? What keeps us from realizing our essential need for real love? For starters, we commonly think of


love only as the pursuit of pleasure — it is certainly portrayed that way in movies, television shows, glossy magazines and pop music. Love can be appreciated and experienced as a more sustaining and sustainable kind of happiness. We can learn to distinguish our skilled habits that lead to awareness and a sense of


deep connection with ourselves and others, and our unskilled habits — those that reinforce our sense of separation. Mind- fulness allows us to reach into our hearts, open them, and take risks by breaking free of our limited expectations of love. We can create a spacious balance of mind that allows us a more direct, experiential relationship with love. With core mindfulness and lovingk-


indness techniques, and other meditation exercises, Salzberg will guide participants through the process of seeing through layers of habit – whether rooted in fear, self-con- demnation or other mental conditioning — to find a truer meaning of love for them- selves, their loved ones, and even for those they don’t know but with whom they share this planet — for all beings everywhere.” “In Real Love, one of the world’s leading


authorities on love tells us how to find it, how to nurture it, how to honor it — and most of all, how to rethink it. Sharon Salz- berg shows us how to experience love not as an emotion, not as the byproduct of a particular romantic or familial relationship, but as an ability that all of us can cultivate. Tis book has the power to set your heart at peace.” Susan Cain, author of Quiet.


THE ART OF MINDFUL CONNECTION REAL LOVE:


Evening Talk by Sharon Salzberg September 21, 7:30pm–9:30pm


Unity Church of the Triangle, 5570 Munford Road, Raleigh, NC 27612 https://unitytriangle.org


FINDING BALANCE


A Daylong Workshop with Sharon Salzberg September 22, 9:30am–4:30pm


Unity Church of the Triangle, 5570 Munford Road, Raleigh, NC 27612 https://unitytriangle.org


For information and to register for the events, visit https://www.sharonsalzberg.com/events


September 2018 15


Photo © 2017 Tawni Bannister


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