Mindful Live Q&A with Sharon Salzberg and Barry Boyce
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Loving-kindness is so much more than “just” a feel-good practice. It is the force that can connect, inspire, and motivate us to transform the world. In the loving-kindness issue of Mindful magazine, founding editor Barry Boyce talks with Sharon Salzberg about attention, resilience, anger, and the need to be kinder to ourselves and the world. Read the full conversation: Meditation Teacher Sharon Salzberg Talks About the Power of Loving-Kindness.
In a Q&A from the Fall issue, Sharon talks about the first time she followed a loving-kindness practice. She reveals that we don’t have to make anything happen while practicing. With time, you’ll notice its benefits.
“Many times, practicing loving-kindness will be very very ordinary, very dry or very mechanical—but it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t mean that nothing is happening or that it’s not working. What’s important is to do it, is to form that intention in the mind because we’re uniting the power of loving-kindness and the power of intention and that is what will produce the effect of that free flow of loving-kindness,” Sharon writes.
Why Loving-Kindness Takes Time: “It’s a very powerful place because that person, in some ways, symbolizes the difference between love or loving-kindness, which is conditional, and that which is on uncondition that which goes beyond having our desires met, having affection returned, having people treat us well. It is that person that defines the line between that which is finite and that which is infinite. Yet it’s not easy. Very often to think of this person and you enmity, or anger, or fear, whatever. As a suggestion, when we begin that part of the practice, in the spirit of doing it in the easiest way possible, it’s probably better to start with somebody where there’s mild irritation rather than the person who has hurt you most in your life.
And slowly begin to open in levels of difficulty. Sometimes when we send loving-kindness to a difficult person, we do feel all of these other feelings, like anger. If possible, see if you can let go of it. Return the recitation of the phrases. If it’s too strong, then you can drop the loving-kindness. Pay careful attention to the feeling until it begins to subside some, very much with the sense of compassion for oneself: You don’t need to judge it. Now when you can you can pick up the loving-kindness again, perhaps with an easier person.” Sharon writes.