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Metta Hour Podcast by Sharon Salzberg

Metta Hour Podcast

by Sharon Salzberg

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The Sharon Salzberg Metta Hour features Buddhist philosophy in a practical, common sense vernacular. Sharon’s natural wisdom, sense of humor and the ease with which she translates these teachings forge an intimate connection with the listener. From everyday experiences to pithy revelations, each podcast is a journey on the path of self-discovery.

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Ep. 50 - Love Your Enemies

Thu, Apr 06, 2017

Live from Deepak HomeBase, Sharon shares wisdom on learning to love your enemies. In this special talk, Sharon explores inner and outer enemies, looks at the fear, anger and anguish generated by being stuck in a mode of "us" and "them", and focuses on the liberation we are capable of.

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Ep. 49 - Contemplating Intentionality

Mon, Mar 13, 2017

Live from the Garrison Institute, Sharon contemplates the role of intentionality in our actions. Joined by the co-host of the evening, Ethan Nichtern, Sharon explores the different components of our actions and how intentionality affects each of them.

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Ep. 48 - Person, Place, Thing with Randy Cohen

Mon, Feb 20, 2017

On this special episode of Metta Hour, Sharon visits humorist Randy Cohen's podcast, Person Place Thing, to talk about her most inspirational "Thing," the Statue of Liberty. Person Place Thing is an interview show based on this idea: people are particularly engaging when they speak not directly about themselves but about something they care about. Sharon shares how the values reflected in Lady Liberty inspire how she lives her life

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Ep. 47 - Living in the Dharma: Insight Meditation Society Benefit with Joseph Goldstein

Wed, Feb 01, 2017

Joseph Goldstein joins Sharon to talk about overcoming obstacles through meditative practice and living in the dharma. Recorded live from the Insight Meditation Society’s 40th anniversary benefit.

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Ep. 46 - Getting Used To It

Wed, Jan 11, 2017

Sharon shares insight and words of encouragement on our meditative practice. We get a better understanding of the meaning of the word meditation and context for how it works in our lives. We learn to appreciate meditation as cultivation and the importance of getting used to it. Sharon is joined by Roshi Joan Halifax to take questions from the audience on patience, teaching others, and appreciating our contributions no matter how small they may be.   

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Ep. 45 - Along the Path

Mon, Dec 12, 2016

This week, Sharon digs the into some of the reoccurring challenges we all encounter along the path. Our path to liberation is not a linear one of progression, in which we clear hurdles that never return. Instead, it is a circular journey that keeps coming around and influences all aspects of our life The wisdom our practice cultivates affords us the opportunity to approach these challenges in a better way each time they present themselves along the path.

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Ep. 44 – Reflections for Sustained Practice

Mon, Nov 21, 2016

Sharon shares four reflections on the Dharma that will sustain us in our practice. Who in the Western world can imagine sitting in silent meditation for years at a time? What can we do, especially as novices, to remind ourselves the purpose and importance of our practice? Sharon asked the same questions early in her practice as well. What she learned is that there are reflections for sustained practice which shift our perspective and move us forward on the path.

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Ep. 43 - The Historical Buddha

Mon, Oct 31, 2016

This special episode of Metta Hour is dedicated to exploring the life of the historical Buddha. Sharon discusses the historical Buddha as a human, legendary figure, and mystic, in addition to his role as teacher, historical figure, and founder of a tradition. She walks us through the Buddha's experiences under the Bodhi tree and the teachings he left with. On this episode of, Metta Hour, Sharon gives insight into these lessons to help us better understand the Way of the Buddha.

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Ep. 42 - Rev Angel Kyodo Williams - Bridging Activism & Spirituality

Mon, Oct 10, 2016

This week on, Metta Hour, Sharon has a conversation with Rev Angel Kyodo Williams about political activism and spiritual practice. What is the interplay between activism and personal practice? Sharon and Rev Angel Kyodo Williams discuss the qualities of the two and what they bring to one another. On this week's episode, we learn how to make radical change happen and love everyone in the process.

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Ep. 41 - Transformational Activism: Ethan Nichtern & Eric Schneiderman

Mon, Sep 19, 2016

Sharon sits down with Ethan Nichtern and New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman to talk about transformational activism. The three discuss what exactly transformational activism is and how Ethan and Eric have been using the approach to promote positive change in politics.Ethan Nichtern founded The Interdependence Project in 2005 which offers a unique, multi-lineage education in Secular Buddhist practice and psychology. The project also features Transformational Activism initiatives, designed to support the interdependence of our unique personal journeys with our shared path as a society. Eric Schneiderman has been a long time partner to The Interdependence Project, offering his political experience and unique insight to the group. Listen to how Ethan and Eric developed the concept of transformational activism and how we can affect change in our community on this enlightening episode of the Sharon Salzberg Metta Hour!"Understanding the core sense of self . . . is really the key to any long-term transformational change." - Eric SchneidermanShow Notes00:50 - Ethan shares the history of his and Eric's relationship. While approaching their spiritual lives differently, they came to agree that the practice of awakening is happening on three levels simultaneously. These levels are the personal level, our interpersonal lives, and the shared conscious level of experience.05:55 - Eric gives his perspective on meeting Ethan for the first time. At this time Eric was faced with an existential political dilemma. He was concerned with the lack of transformational work, essential to all of the great progressive social movements, being done by his side of the political aisle. While politicians on the opposite side of the aisle successfully appealed to the lesser instincts of voters.12:10 - We are given a few examples of transformational work in political history. Jannette Rankin's fight for women's suffrage saw a drastic change in public perception over the decades of transformational social change.16:15 - It occurred to Eric that the core of the message of the opposing political agenda was about people's sense of themselves. The advertisements used by the conservative opposition appealed to the selfish and fearful nature of voters.19:35 - The idea of transformational activism is that every day each of us engages in either feeling separate, selfish, and scared, or towards being more connected, compassionate, and courageous on all three levels of practice.26:00 - We are offered an example of Gandhi's approach to non-violence. Similarly, maintaining the distinction between an opponent and an enemy is an important part of Eric's political approach.38:30 - What is it that pushes us from being on the sidelines to being in the center of change?42:25 - Buddhism lends itself more to the secular aspects of the western world than the tradition of faith-based voters. Ethan speaks to the challenge of bringing Buddhists to faith-based political rallies.47:20 - The floor is opened up to the audience for Q&A. Is suffering the key to opening up the western world to compassion and seeing a broader world? How do we see the good in everyone when some situations clearly involve individuals acting in in bad ways?

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Ep. 40 - Inner City Youth and Meditation

Mon, Aug 29, 2016

Sharon sits down with Ali Smith, Andy Gonzalez and Atman Smith of the Holistic Life Foundation at the JCC Manhattan to talk about their work bringing mindfulness and yoga to inner city youth in their hometown of Baltimore, MD.   The Holistic Life Foundation has been serving Baltimore’s underserved communities since 2001 with high quality programming focusing on yoga, holistic health, environmental advocacy and education, sustainability, oneness, and interconnectedness. In this episode of The Metta Hour, Sharon talks with the HLF about how they began this inspiring work, and it’s expansion in their community after 15 years.     Show Notes: 00:55 – Sharon jokes about feeling like her life is kind of like “mercury in retrograde” at the moment. She welcomes her audience and introduces her guests Ali Smith, Andy Gonzalez and Atman Smith, founders of the Holistic Life Foundation (HLF). 3:50 – Ali tells about their struggles growing up in the streets of Baltimore. The Smith brothers were raised vegan with yogas and mindfulness. This created a unique dichotomy that the two worked to keep secret from those who would shun them for it. Their practice faded into their teenage years, but was reignited in college where they meet co-founder Andres Gonzalez. After college the three spent their time reading on spiritual practice, meditating, and working on personal growth. 14:53 – Atman shares the story of HLF and their first group of “problem children”. How introducing those kids to the same practices they learned had a dramatic effect. The project grew beyond expectation. Growing from 25 to over 125 kids in one school the program has continued to expand in scope reaching over 5000 students in 15 schools. 19:30 – Beyond reaching out to inner city youth, HLF works with all underserved communities in Baltimore. HLF goes to drug rehab, mental health facilities, and elderly homes to bring them mindfulness practices to help deal with their situation. 21:00 – In schools HLF developed an alternative suspension program called the “Mindful Moment”.  A room where kids are sent to calm down and reflect on their actions. They practice breath-work, stretch, and are given time to meditate and reflect. They come out of the room calm and ready to work. 28:00 – Sharon asks the brothers about the trauma that they are helping others overcome. The topic of undiagnosed PTSD in their community is discussed. How they learned to address the trauma affecting their students. Their own experiences on the streets and witnessing the hardship of others. 37:30 – How does love figure into changing things in such harsh circumstances? Atman and Ali return home in the heart of the Baltimore riots and lead their neighbors in meditation and rally them through the clean up effort. Reminding everyone that spreading the love and compassion can make the difference. 49:30 – Sharon turns the floor over to her audience who ask about HLF’s relationship with local churches, spreading HLF throughout the country, maintaining a personal practice, and more 1:17:00 – Atman leads a two minute guided meditation. This breathing meditation is a favorite of his kids because it gives them enough space to to relax, but enough guidance to keep their minds from wandering.

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Ep. 39 – Buddha with a Smartphone with Ethan Nichtern

Mon, Aug 08, 2016

In this episode, Sharon sits down with author and Buddhist teacher, Ethan Nichtern. Together they discuss with their live audience, life with a smartphone and how technology affects our spiritual development. Ethan highlights the use of technology as an escape mechanism and reminds us to be aware of when and why that is happening. Explaining our ability to turn the potential downfalls of technology into a weapon for positive change. How do we negotiate the extra layer of complexity that technology adds to our lives? Do the comforts it provides pull us too far out of the moment? ” To not have some way of working with one’s own mind, with seven billion people and technology and the ways messages can spread, feels more and more disrespectful. . . If we are going to have a device and we are going to connect to people, we need to know how to use that device.” Show Notes: :50 – Sharon starts the hour by briefly discussing the concept of balance in our body and our practice and how it affects all things and dives right into a guided meditation. 7:40 – The crowd is asked to share about their relationship to technology. A few share about their smartphone addictions, the need to look at Facebook constantly, and the irritation that arises from constant notifications, and alerts we receive. Sharon gives some insight and shares a confession of her own on her relationship with her smartphone and technology. 16:35 – Guest, Ethan Nichtern, speaks of both the ancientness of Buddhism and it’s modernity.  The abuse of technology is discussed in the context of the Buddhist precepts. “Be curious about how you escape” 22:15 – How can we reverse the negative potential of technology into a tool for good? “A weapon in the hands of a master can be a force for good. It can become a way to slice through confusion.” 31:45 – Ethan discusses the idea of co-emergence. How the mind determines whether something comes as a positive or negative based on our perspective. 34:18 – What are the signals within ourselves that we miss when we use technology against our best interest. 42:00 – In the age of mindfulness and meditation in vogue, Ethan explains that part of the practice is not transcending discomfort but sitting with it. He reminds us that these discomforts are part of our growth and development. 53:50 – Thoughts on how the connection with others can bring us into the present moment and away from our distractions. For more from, Ethan, check out his website

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Ep. 38 – Metta, Concentration and Balance

Wed, Jul 20, 2016

We are reminded that when we are seeking balance, to practice meditation is to make a home of the deeper places that we have touched in our encounters with joy and sorrow. Loving Kindness is fueled by the truth, and therefore has the power to change our lives for the better. To train in Metta is to experiment in your relationship and reaction to all that you experience, with the understanding that everyone you see is as hopeful and deserving of the kindness and love that are our birthright. Concentration is the act of letting go of everything that is not, and is enhanced through the quality and consistency of the phrases used. A healthy balance of calm focus and creative energy help to bring this practice to life

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Ep. 37 - Questions On Loving Kindness

Mon, Jun 20, 2016

Pulling from her insight and wealth of experience in the art of mindfulness, Sharon responds to some of the questions and concerns that often arise when one delves into the practice of Loving Kindness meditation. This particular practice is unique in its more active approach to offering kindness to ourselves and others, and can be confusing during initial integration. Topics discussed include appropriate phrases, understanding the right effort involved relative to other forms of practice, aversion to sympathetic joy, incorporating family into Loving Kindness, and acknowledging and working with the roots of difficulty within practice.

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Ep. 36 - Congressman Tim Ryan at Mindful Life Conference

Tue, May 17, 2016

Sharon and Congressman Tim Ryan discuss voting and mindfulness in politics and the role of mindfulness in schools. Recorded at the 2016 Mindful Life Conference.

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Ep. 35 - The Path

Thu, Apr 14, 2016

What does it mean to be born into this human form, with an ever-changing body and mind subjected to forces seemingly out of our control? How can we possibly feel at home in our own lives, amidst the inevitable torrent of change? Sharon discusses this context within which we practice, highlighting the Buddha’s teachings as the compass used in seeking direction. We are all capable of developing the consciousness necessary to ask these questions, and to know the answers for ourselves through the power of our own awareness. To have a personal and intimate sense of the Truth is as much our birthright as our potential.

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Ep. 34 - Taking Refuge

Tue, Mar 15, 2016

A welcome explanation of what it truly means to seek refuge in the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha. Likening refuge to the Buddhist concept of ‘Bright Faith’, Sharon describes the power of possibility in keeping our spirits alive and moving. When our sense of limitation shifts from an absolute truth to a simple mental construct, we begin to see the light beneath the door. In revolutionizing our relationship to ourselves we affirm our own ability to bring faith, hope, and understanding to any situation.

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Ep. 33 - Three Skills of Meditation

Mon, Feb 01, 2016

Sharon offers an overview of the context in which we practice, providing insight and instruction for some of the basic tenements of meditation. This skills training can bring steadfast and sustainable concentration to the mind, promoting balance and ease as we move through the world. The goal is not to escape certain thoughts or to generate positive feelings, but rather to cultivate the conditions necessary for transformation within your own life. Through repeated efforts we begin to uncover a deep and abiding sense of our own true nature.

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Ep. 32 - Rapture

Mon, Jan 11, 2016

Piti is the Pali word for rapture, defined as an enthusiasm or sense of zeal that is often characterized by feelings of happiness, delight, and satisfaction. When developed, this quality pervades both the body and the mind with the energy of exhilaration. Sharon outlines the various levels of rapture and offers both methods and inspiration for its cultivation.

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Ep. 31 - Sympathetic Joy Pt. 2

Mon, Dec 14, 2015

Sharon discusses some of the more common obstacles to sympathetic joy and offers methods that promote both the practice and sustainability of this quality. Learning to let go of our judgments and allowing others to live as they choose is often a crucial factor in shifting our perspective. Recognizing the line of separation created through the restless state of comparison will also serve to loosen the boundaries that we build. Through generosity we begin to see the happiness of others as a continuum of our own. Sympathetic joy is boundless in nature, and we alone are responsible for drawing the lines of its potential.

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Ep. 30 - Sympathetic Joy Pt. 1

Mon, Nov 30, 2015

Sharon explains the specific form of joy that comes from taking genuine delight in the happiness of others. Engaging in this practice challenges our deepest assumptions of who we are and what it means to be truly content. Releasing ourselves from the perceived sense of battle or competition with others can bring profound liberation to the mind and heart. In allowing and encouraging the happiness of others we naturally and dramatically increase the likelihood of experiencing authentic joy in our own lives.  

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Ep. 29 - Equanimity and Faith

Mon, Nov 16, 2015

Sharon describes the spacious realm of equanimity and its role in cultivating and preserving an abiding sense of faith. When we can maintain a genuine presence with whatever comes our way, we open ourselves to the boundless compassion that stems from the deep knowing that we are a part of the larger fabric of the universe in which we exist.

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Ep. 28 - Training Attention: Metta

Mon, Oct 19, 2015

Identifying and acknowledging our habitual thought patterns is the first step in developing a greater sense of awareness regarding our moment-to-moment existence. The meditative process is rooted in this recognition and subsequent experimentation with the methods that best align with where we are right now. We are asked to step out of the race for acquisition in order to begin the journey of cultivation. Our capacity to love, to connect, to share, and to see can be obscured but is never destroyed. In practice we are invited to return, abide, and dwell in the flourishing of our potential.

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Ep. 27 - Introduction to Metta

Mon, Oct 05, 2015

“It is the truth that liberates, not your efforts to be free” - J. Krishnamurti   Sharon helps us to appreciate the sense of clarity that naturally arises when our view is no longer distorted by our fears, biases, and judgments of the world around us. This truth is born of and sustained through the versatile wisdom that comes from the cultivation and subsequent embodiment of a genuine balance of the mind and heart. Meditation serves as a method of manifestation for the conditions necessary to promote and support this awakened state. Our capacity to open is innate and requires only that we uncover and nurture these qualities through our commitment to practice

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Ep. 26 - Going Home

Mon, Sep 21, 2015

How can we be passionate while remaining at ease, moving forward in our investigation without losing our center? Sharon describes meditation as a means for learning how to sit in the heart of the paradoxes that we encounter on our path. We have to remain whole-hearted, to be daring in our efforts to explore that longing we feel toward something deeper. Right-effort is crucial in maintaining the balance and avoiding the strain and self-judgment that can often accompany such endeavors. Our aspiration is both the challenge and the inspiration that we need to shift our energy and identity to something much greater than the roles we play.

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Ep. 25 - Compassion, Sympathetic Joy and Equanimity

Mon, Aug 24, 2015

Sharon discusses some of the qualities that often accompany Metta, and explains the synergistic and supportive relationship they promote. When brought together these forces generate a sense of balance that is both genuine and sustainable. Equanimity is essential in understanding the potential for these qualities to become boundless in nature. We begin to open to suffering through compassion, and discover joy in the understanding of our shared experience.

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Ep. 24 - Proximity (featuring Raghu Markus)

Sun, Aug 23, 2015

Raghu Markus returns to the Metta Hour to discuss a recent blog from Sharon regarding the role of proximity in understanding the ubiquitous nature of our lives. There is a capacity within us to see ourselves in one another as we begin to explore the intrinsic vulnerability under which we operate. The power of compassion is highlighted as a means for avoiding demonization, and enacting an energetic and compassionate response to the suffering that we encounter. Our ideas about one another are just that, ideas, and the more we are willing to investigate our pretenses through genuine interaction the more we find they are often misleading. The secret to success is found in paying attention.

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Ep. 23 - Practicing in the World

Mon, Aug 10, 2015

Experiences come and go with a dreamlike flow that often leaves us wondering how we ever got so lost in the moment. The miracle of mindfulness comes through its ability to bring greater perspective to the full spectrum of emotions that will undoubtedly arise throughout our lives. Awareness has the power to provide refuge in every moment and we need only to remember this ever-present potential. Sharon reminds us that mindfulness can go anywhere and isn’t dependent upon circumstance

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Ep. 22 - The Cloud of Delusion

Mon, Jul 27, 2015

Delusion clouds our judgment and prevents us from seeing things as they truly are. It often carries with it a sense of apprehension or uncertainty, which strips us of the energy required to look deeply at our lives. One of the greatest dangers is its ability to block empathy, which can be viewed as the root of caring. If we can’t open to our own suffering, then we become incapable of opening to the suffering of others. Sharon discusses the ways that we can both recognize and dismantle delusion in an effort to gain clarity and confidence in where we chose to put our faith.

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Ep. 21 - Suffering as an Opening to Faith

Wed, Jul 01, 2015

What is it that happens within certain individuals that allows an emergence from a place of suffering into a space of greater faith and trust in the world in which they navigate? This alchemical process seems to be born of an understanding and appreciation of the larger universe in which we exist. Perhaps this expansion of our very being provides a larger space in which to hold the suffering. We can’t always prevent painful experiences from occurring, but we can learn to be present with them, to merge with our suffering in a way that encourages balance and equanimity.

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Ep. 20 - The Five Hindrances

Wed, Jun 17, 2015

‘The mind is naturally radiant and pure. The mind is shining. It is because of visiting forces that we suffer’ - The Buddha Sharon identifies and thoroughly deconstructs some of the more common obstacles encountered in practice, emphasizing the non-local aspect of these intruding forces. The implications of this discovery, and continued remembrance through practice, help us to better understand the importance of knowing who we truly are. When we are at one with our true nature we no longer feel the pull toward identification with these frequent visitors. We can learn to skillfully acknowledge their presence and even invite them in, knowing and trusting that they are not to become permanent residents

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Ep. 19 - Greed, Hatred, and Delusion

Sat, Jun 06, 2015

Sharon outlines a few of the more powerful conditioned forces that can often motivate and form the basis for our intentions. Thankfully, she also provides some methodology for the purification of these mental states, and offers practical advice for integrating these fresh perspectives into our everyday lives. Not surprisingly, the power of practice is highlighted as a means for overcoming our more self-centered relationships to the world around us.

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Ep. 18 - Balance

Mon, May 25, 2015

An exploration of the potential role of balance in bringing liberation from the tyranny of the form of practice, by looking beyond the various methods employed into the essence of our purpose in doing the work. All of our ‘skillful means’ are, in truth, toward some end, the discovery of which is the very balance we seek. The path itself is an unfolding of balance, where we create the conditions that allow us to be with absolutely anything.

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Ep. 17 - Doubt

Tue, May 12, 2015

Doubt is essentially a form of indecision, a crossroads at which we are hesitant to move in any specific direction. It can be truly seductive in its ability to habituate the mind, rendering us paralyzed to act in its presence. Sharon provides a revealing and inspiring dissection of this stagnant state, and explains the different ways that we can interpret and respond to the feelings that often accompany it. In putting our humility and patience into practice, we may find it preferable to discover the consequences for ourselves, rather than staying frozen in the fear of commitment.

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Ep. 16 - Perspective

Thu, Apr 30, 2015

There are so many events that occur completely unbeknownst to us throughout our day-to-day lives. Our understanding changes when we discover that the possibility exists to shift our perspective in a way that illuminates or clarifies our awareness. How and where we place our attention determines the nature of our own equanimity, and in retaining this sense of possibility, we have the power to choose an attitude of openness toward the overwhelming structure of our lives.

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Ep. 15 - Three Visionary Statements of the Buddha

Mon, Apr 20, 2015

“I teach one thing and one thing only, that is suffering and the end of suffering’- Buddha. Sharon analyzes a few of the great sage’s profound statements in an effort to illuminate the practical truth therein. Whether interpreted through text, or experienced in our actual lives, an accurate translation naturally leads to an appropriate response.

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Ep. 14 - Buddhist Personality Type and the Wisdom of Trust

Wed, Apr 08, 2015

Sharon is joined by MPN'ers Raghu Markus and Noah Lampert. Topics of discussion include anger, buddhist personality types and the wisdom of trust.

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Ep. 13 - Real Happiness at Work

Thu, Apr 02, 2015

What does real happiness actually feel like, and how can we embody the essence with clarity and compassion?  Sharon provides a detailed exploration of this perceived problem and offers insight into the creation of a deeper and more sustainable sense of happiness.

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Ep. 12 - Concentration & Insight

Fri, Mar 20, 2015

We often experience ourselves as a fragmented and scattered assimilation of thoughts and emotions. How can we gather this fractured energy and return to our natural state of mindful awareness? In this lecture Sharon provides a thorough breakdown of the parallels and often-subtle distinctions between concentration and mindfulness. We learn to practice mindfulness as a platform for insight into the heart of experience.

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Ep. 11 - Open Your Heart In Paradise Q&A

Sat, Mar 07, 2015

Sharon responds to a variety of questions at the 2010 Open Your Heart in Paradise retreat. Topics discussed include the necessity and desire for a spiritual teacher, merging loving kindness with forgiveness, and the struggles that can accompany even long-term meditation practice

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Ep. 10 - Mindful Millennials

Mon, Feb 23, 2015

Sharon Salzberg and Jared Levy join Raghu Markus for a discussion about the current spiritual landscape, and some of the more encouraging contrasts from their earlier days in practice. The group also comments on the power of purpose in creating our intentions, and the different approaches we can take in aligning our aspirations with our actions. The episode concludes with a fantastic meditation led by Sharon.

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Ep. 09 - It's All About Relationship

Sat, Feb 07, 2015

Sharon details her origin story in relation to mindfulness practice and describes the different approaches we can take in integrating meditation into our lives. The core teaching begins with the recognition that we have the potential to change our relationships with ourselves, and the world around us. Questions from the audience revolve around the confusion and difficulty that often arise in experimenting with mindfulness techniques.

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Ep. 08 - Love is Space

Mon, Jan 05, 2015

‘Develop a mind so filled with love that it resembles space’. Sharon uses this quote, from the Buddha, to emphasize the value in creating a vast and loving space from which we can operate. This cultivation can come in the form of expanded awareness, or from the clearing and cleansing of the present environment. When we unclutter the heart, we are reminded to stay true to our deepest intentions

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Ep. 07 - Aspirations

Mon, Dec 22, 2014

What is it that we are really looking for from our lives, and do we have the ability to approach these aspirations with genuine confidence? In meditation, we get to redefine happiness, and look critically at our perceived fears and short comings. We use our sharpened awareness to cut through the layers of constriction that often surround our perception, and uncover a profoundly different sense of who we truly are. We have the power in changing our relationship to ourselves and our environment

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Ep. 06 - Foundations of Forgiveness

Thu, Dec 04, 2014

Through Loving Kindness we sense our deep connection to the world around us. From that awareness arises compassion, which recognizes suffering, on all levels, and responds accordingly. Loving kindness doesn't seek to label or define the qualities or emotions that it addresses. It simply comes as an offering, in the form of forgiveness.

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Ep. 05 - The Eightfold Path

Tue, Nov 18, 2014

Sharon is joined by her longtime friend, and fellow MindPod patron, Raghu Markus, for a thoughtful and thorough discussion of the principles involved in the Buddhist teaching of the Eightfold Path, as well as how we can apply its core sentiments to our modern landscape. The Path begins with the basic recognition of our seamless connection to the world around us, and an evolving determination to avoid actions that we know will result in suffering. We discover our affinity toward intuitive action, and learn to incorporate that connection in all aspects of our lives.   Episode Outline: - Right Understanding - The cause/effect relationship - Right Thought (Right Intention) - Right Speech - What are we saying, and how are we saying it? - Right Livelihood - Kindness is key - Right Action - Actively promoting harmony - Right Concentration - Stabilizing our intentions - Right Effort - Doing the necessary work (without strain or judgment) - Right Mindfulness - Unbiased perception

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Ep. 04 - The Brahma Viharas

Tue, Oct 28, 2014

In this talk, from the 2010 Open Your Heart in Paradise retreat, Sharon discusses the four virtues, known within the Buddhist tradition as the Brahma Viharas, as well as the meditation practices designed to cultivate them. These qualities, of loving-kindness, compassion, empathetic joy and equanimity, are said to form our, ‘best home’, and serve as a simple but powerful guideline with which we can practice. The qualities are outlined in detail, with a particular emphasis on loving-kindness. Sharon leads a guided meditation to close the talk.

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Ep. 03 - Faith and Loving Kindness

Wed, Oct 01, 2014

Within Buddhism, Faith is not held as a commodity, but is actually experienced as a journey that we embark upon. It becomes necessary to explore and investigate the insight surrounding this extraordinary sense of presence and connectedness. There is a natural evolution that occurs which involves a personal validation of, and eventual merging with, the process itself. We learn to abide in and flow with Faith, no longer seeing it as separate from ourselves. The practice of loving kindness is a powerful method for cultivating this environment of discovery. When we train our attention to be inclusive toward all of life’s happenings, we quickly see the interconnected nature of our lives, and our limited perspective shifts to encompass the greater whole.

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Ep. 02 - Meditation

Mon, Sep 29, 2014

Taken from the 2010 Open Your Heart in Paradise retreat, Sharon relates the act of meditation to an alchemical process in which we convert the conceptual into the felt presence of direct experience. The array of what we might encounter in meditation is broad, but we welcome it all. Meditation is a skills training in learning to gather energy. Our attention is brought into focus and we begin to connect the fragments of our lives. When we tap into our ‘inner abundance’, our experience changes and we naturally settle into a more compassionate state of awareness.

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Ep. 01 - The Buddha Within

Tue, Sep 23, 2014

In this talk, Sharon touches on the concept of the Buddha as a human being, who had real questions, much like our own. What he discovered was found through the power of his own awareness, and through his teachings we too can uncover our own innate compassion. Retreat provides a rare opportunity to break from the fragmented nature of day-to-day, and allows us to settle back into the truths of our own lives. Through the process of concentration we begin to piece together the energy required for self-actualizing our own capacity toward freedom.

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