©1996 Sharon Salzberg; (P)2005 Sounds True
As someone fairly new to consistent meditation, but recently recommitted to a daily practice, I was looking for a bit of guidance and motivation. The author's voice is soothing and it feels as if she is in the room gently guiding my practice. It is wonderful for relaxing on my commute. This talk provides the Buddhist teachings and practical meditation tips on Loving Kindness meditation. Many themes were new even though I have been "reading" on Buddhism quite a bit recently. This deepened my practice from the first sitting. I went from struggling to remain until the Gong, to remaining in meditation for much longer than planned. Although it is not the results we should be seeking, I am happy to be experiencing a gentler reaction towards myself and others. This is one I will listen to over and over. I am sure as I understand more, more will be made clear.
This is a great treatment of a common Buddhist topic. Most meditation retreats take some time for Metta (translated as Lovingkindness), and it's a good practice as one of many. What was inspiring about Sharon's story is that she went on a retreat for something like six weeks and only practiced Metta. This is the stuff of deep transformation especially in one's attitude toward the self. When you start meditating and, I guess, for a long time thereafter, who you're hearing is your self, after all, so it's good if you can cultivate some gentleness and friendliness towards your self, because otherwise you'll just be annoyed all the time. Sharon Salzberg's voice is perfect for her own work. Some Buddhist authors/narrators sound a little spacey and slow, but not so for this author. I really liked that I could listen to the whole book on one drive. Satisfying and not schmaltzy.
"A Life-Changing Book"
I wouldn't often say this about a book, but this is a life-changer. For those of us plagued by feelings of unhappiness, self-doubt, anger or similarly destructive feelings, this book helps open out new pattern of being kinder to yourself and more compassionate towards others. So it can change you! But it doesn't pull any punches. Sharon Salzberg takes the listener through different kinds of loving-kindness before expanding upon a way of developing it used by many Buddhists, which involves openness, honesty and meditation. She explores all the mixture of critical stuff that makes up anger, or vindictiveness or hatred etc., skillfully linking personal feelings to wider cultural trends. Then she shows the benefits of loosening up, letting go of all those energetically negative but self-damaging feelings we hold towards others. This book gets right down into the nitty-gritty of spiritual practice and shows, whatever faith you hold or none, how to get some more space round those feelings. It then describes why its important that we let them go. You are given greater insight into why its important to change as well as ways of becoming more open and spacious. It's a challenging, accessible and worthwhile book that yields more and more at every repeated listening.
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