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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Resource
This book was the start of a profound change in my practice. Until I read it and listened to the included guided meditation CD I missed an essential aspect of mindfulness meditation. Repeatedly returning to the breath, returning to the focal point of meditation is essential. But how one returns is critical. Salzberg's reassurance that "nothing is lost, nothing is...
Published on January 21, 2010 by 9 Sense

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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Insightful, Yet Complicated
Right off the bat, this book is not for someone who doesn't have the ability to read complicated and complex writing. As a professional writer, I found myself lost amid all the involved details for trying to make some simple points, and what I would classify as advanced words scattered here and there.

I felt this book would have been more usable as a study...
Published on December 19, 2010 by Cindy Brock


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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Resource, January 21, 2010
By 
9 Sense (Richmond, VA) - See all my reviews
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This book was the start of a profound change in my practice. Until I read it and listened to the included guided meditation CD I missed an essential aspect of mindfulness meditation. Repeatedly returning to the breath, returning to the focal point of meditation is essential. But how one returns is critical. Salzberg's reassurance that "nothing is lost, nothing is ruined" when meditation doesn't go as expected helped free me from unnecessary struggle and distracting self-judgment. A single sentence (p. 46) which emphasized the importance of being honest about one's pain turned me on my ear. Salzberg's perspective on mindfulness practice was like a healing balm for my tortured effort. If you have felt frustrated or defeated in attempting mindfulness practice, this book can definitely help. I now own 8 copies so I have enough to share. All are currently out.
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Love & Compassion Book/CD Set, November 26, 2006
"Before you know what kindness really is

you must lose things,

feel the future dissolve in a moment

like salt in a weakened broth,

What you held in your hand,

what you counted and carefully saved,

all this must go so you know

how desolate the landscape can be

between the regions of kindness.

~Naomi Shihab Nye

Sharon Salzberg presents kindness in a book about life lived with love and a CD to introduce kindness meditations. Through her work, you can learn how to bring more compassion into the world. She presents her ideas in six chapters:

Compassion in Action

Kindness Toward Ourselves

Overcoming Cruelty

How We See the World

Ethics and Kindness

The Intention of Kindness

Sharon Salzberg teaches us how to see the good inside us and to reflect on things we have done in the world that are positive and nurturing. She recommends spending 15-20 minutes a day on doing something to be kind to yourself. You can also repeat phrases like "May I live in safety," and "May I have mental happiness." She also shows how a natural sense of morality can be born from a sense of empathy and in understanding that hurting others will cause your own suffering.

How can we feel liberating joy?

What is an enlightened being?

Can you dedicate your life to kindness?

How can you become a bodhisattva?

While we all seem to move from unhappiness to happiness on a daily basis or a minute-by-minute cycle of life's ever changing circumstances, this book helps to bring us back to a more centered existence. Sharon Salzberg's teachings encourage you to live with an open heart and be a place of calm in the midst of the world's storms.

"Kindness is the foundation of unselfconscious generosity, natural inclusivity, and an unfeigned integrity. When we are devoted to the development of kindness, it becomes our ready response..." ~Sharon Salzberg

~The Rebecca Review
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loving-kindness, January 19, 2007
By 
Audrey (California) - See all my reviews
This is a book that will shine a light in the darkness. Salzberg has a wonderous gift in her ability to remind us of our own beauty. I find myself re-reading these pages often when I need to remember my own, and when I need to remember to have compassion for myself and others. Her words easily flow from the pages directly to my heart.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Starts with kindness to ourself FIRST_ugg, hard to undo the habitual beating up of myself, December 30, 2010
This review is from: The Force of Kindness: Change Your Life with Love and Compassion (Paperback)
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The book is brief and very much to the point and the briefness is actually very deceiving. Once you get into chapter 2, the author starts sharing Buddhist's views on kindness and as you slowing read it and ask yourself 'what does this mean' and 'is this something I am applying already' or like me, it started to raise emotions on how hard I have beaten myself up and hence other people: creating this separation. I have been practicing oneness through my spiritual pathway for many years now and this book reminded how much of the journey I still have to travel, to unwind from my current process and apply a new one: I deserve kindness towards myself. Don't expect the book to be an in depth philosophical teaching, it is not provide that at all.

The accompanying CD has four meditations, each approximately 16-23 minutes long.
1) lovingkindness towards ourselves (hmm, definitely needs to be first as you cant really apply kindness to others)
2) lovingkindness towards others
3) lovingkindness for all being
4) meditating with the forced of kindness

meditations 1 through to 3 provide more of a visual meditation with thoughts of acceptances.
meditation 4 is more of a breathe meditation that relaxes the body completely. I like breathe meditations on the whole and this one provided the relax state that I was seeking in between my busy work schedule. yep, I get snappy when I am hyper busy and I am pleased to insert this short meditation at midday!

I would definitely buy this for the CD alone.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gentle and wise, December 16, 2010
This review is from: The Force of Kindness: Change Your Life with Love and Compassion (Paperback)
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Sharon Salzberg shows how to open our hearts and radiate the force of kindness in her powerful book "The Force of Kindness: Change Your life with Love and Compassion." She uses stories, insights, guided exercises and meditations to help us cultivate the foundation of inward peace and empathy. She says, "Kindness is a force that breaks open your heart even as it heals - and in that healing sets you free." Metta or loving-kindness and friendship is a cornerstone of Buddhist happiness.
Salzberg says the Dalai lama's quote, "My true religion is kindness" illustrates how kindness is a deep and abiding understanding of how we are all connected. Kindness helps us develop a certain kind of faith in ourselves and in our ability to meet difficulties. Our potential to grow, understand, love and connect is nourished by what we believe about ourselves. If we truly loved ourselves we would never harm another because if we harm another it diminishes who we are.
The Buddha said within our body lies the entire universe. When we understand our own experience and connect to it, we can connect to all life, to the whole universe. The world is no longer experienced dualistically for there is no sense of "us" and "them." When a person becomes an "other" kindness dies.
To find the power, confidence and release in kindness we must transcend belief systems, allegiances, ideologies, cliques and tribes. Kindness inspires a sense of ethics and requires finding how we can be smart and strong and still be kind. Kindness is not just being nice it has great forcefulness.
Salzberg explains the difference between remorse and guilt. Remorse is considered a skillful state of mind as we recognize we have done something wrong, we experience pain but essentially forgive ourselves and avoid making the same mistake. Guilt is considered unskillful as we remain stuck and continually blame ourselves until we are drained. It's a form of self-hatred.
Salzberg says there are five Buddhist precepts for living. Refrain from killing, stealing, sexual misconduct, lying and taking intoxicants. She also shares ways to weave kindness in our lives and intentions: Notice the intentions underlying actions. Take responsibility for the intentions we act on. Forgive ourselves when we make mistakes. Practice greater restraint in speech. Follow through on strong generous intentions. Wish for love, peace and happiness for ourselves and others and all beings.
Each chapter has expert instruction and valuable teachings. They include: Compassion in Action, Kindness to Ourselves, Overcoming Cruelty, How We see the World, Ethics is Kindness and The Intention of Kindness.
Salzberg also includes a CD with four guided meditations to develop loving kindness towards ourselves, to others, for all beings and gives practices that uplift and benefit both.
Salzberg has been a student of Buddhism since 1971. She is the founder of the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies and the Insight Meditation Society in Massachusetts. She is the author of several books.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Force of Kindness, May 7, 2009
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The CD is a great addition to the book and makes it more user friendly.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars love, love the accompanying CD, May 19, 2011
By 
Anne (SHREWSBURY, MA, United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Force of Kindness: Change Your Life with Love and Compassion (Paperback)
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The CD that accompanies this great little book is just lovely -- takes love and compassion from the smallest circle right out into the world - love listening before sleep, and always surprised by who pops up when it comes time to meditate for others!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nice CD and Book Combo, March 9, 2011
This review is from: The Force of Kindness: Change Your Life with Love and Compassion (Paperback)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
"The Force of Kindness" by Sharon Salzberg is a small format book plus a CD which helps you learn how to develop a loving-kindness meditation practice. It is strongly grounded in Buddhism, so it is definitely helpful to understand the philosophies of Buddhism before you undertake this "how-to" book based on those thoughts.

Sharon provides a wealth of tips for us to focus on. Thank someone each day for their help. Notice how the mood of a person you meet affects your own mood. This reminds you how your own actions affect others. Give yourself loving attention without a "I me mine" obsession. Offer yourself remorse so you forgive and use your energy to do better next time. Guilt consumes your energy eternally so you have less energy available to improve and grow.

Meditate daily - focus on the good you have done. Imagine a circle of followers supporting you. Again it's not about self-congratulation - it's about encouraging healthy behavior in yourself.

Sharon explains how in Buddhist philosophy you imagine a feather curling back from a flame - this is a person pulling back from causing harm when they have empathy. It's not about being self-righteous - it's simply about feeling a natural instinct. This happens when we see people as fellow humans, not as objects who are "in competition for the goodies we want."

We have all had times we have mistreated others - in this way we should be able to see how others fall into that situation. We need to remove all "us" vs "them" thoughts in our mind. Meditate on living-kindness thoughts for others. Start with those we love - then those we are neutral towards - then someone who has mildly hurt us. Our anger burns *us*. Keep in mind that it's not that we condone their act or pretend it didn't happen, but we accept it did happen and move on.

Sharon reminds us that life is over quickly - we need to make the best of the time we have. Before each meal, reflect on all the various people who made your meal possible.

While some might feel ethics are a theoretical mind-pursuit, Sharon instructs us, "ethics are not something to just think about or admire from a distance. They are active in this very moment, in this very thought or urge or decision, and in action we connect to them."

The CD with the book is meant to help a person move through the different stages of meditating - focusing on your own health, focusing on the health of others, and so on. I did not find the voice to be very soothing, and there were giant empty gaps where, I suppose, the listener was supposed to "think on their own." Really, though, if I am listening to a meditation CD I am doing it to hear the guidance of the speaker, not to have the CD player for long minutes with no sound at all. I would at least have music or something playing.

Overall I found the book had great information and wonderful practical advice. I wish it had been a longer book, with more background - I think some of these concepts may be confusing for people who haven't encountered Buddhism before. Also, I think the CD can use some improvements. While I really loved the book, I wasn't that fond of the CD.

Well recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Learning to BECOME MORE LOVING AND HAPPY, December 8, 2010
This review is from: The Force of Kindness: Change Your Life with Love and Compassion (Paperback)
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What a Lovely little book! (Normally you would not hear me say or write something like that, but in this case It's TRUE!).

Sharon Salzberg has put together this amazingly small book that seems Stuffed with help for one to "Learn" or to "Expand" his/her outlook, actions, etc., to become more kind and compassionate towards others, which in today's world certainly Seems and Is difficult to "keep under control".

At the age of 63 I find that even though I no longer need to deal with the everyday workforce stuff, I still seem to be "short" or out of patience, etc., with many, and in some cases specific people who tend to "ruffle my feathers" for one reason or another. As hard as I try not to become irritated and respond in an unfriendly or unkind manner, it still sometimes comes up or out that way, and then I feel badly afterwards.

Salzberg gives us short, but thorough, chapters dealing with the following aspects:

Compassion in Action
Kindness Toward Ourselves
Overcoming Cruelty
How We See the World
Ethics and Kindness
The Intention of Kindness

Along with her helpful and enlightening text, there is also a CD with practice guides for us to more easily get into this thought process in metta meditation as practiced in Buddhist thought.

I have been working through this now for a couple of weeks, and I find that even though I do not always apply these ideas each and every time, I DO seem to apply them more, and think about others more often with a different feeling or approach to them and or their situation(s) than I did previously. So, while I might be slow to change, I know that I WILL get there. And, you know what? I am a much more understanding and compassionate individual than before (or on the way to be) and I am very pleased and love myself more for it!

This little book is truly wonderful and I cannot fail but see where anyone could benefit from Salzberg's "course of treatment" to become more Kind and Compassionate towards others. So, I heartily recommend it to any and everyone even remotely curious about this issue that not only makes others feel better and better about you, but you yourself become more full of love and kindness for yourself.

That said, I will make only one comment further. This is a very thin (as I said earlier small) paperback book, with a plastic sleeve for the enclosed CD to fit into at the back cover. It thus is not as durably constructed as it could/should be. It would have been better to attach the sleeve for the disc directly to the face of the back cover...perhaps the manufacturer will do this...one can hope!

Regardless, Five Stars for a very instructive and helpful little book that everybody can use!

Let's ALL become more Compassionate and Loving of others!

~operabruin
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars how to be happy!, February 28, 2009
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Sharon Salzberg is a master in leading one on the path to deep and true compassion. In her book, "The Force of Kindness" she pragmatically leads one to recognize the only road to find certain happiness for oneself is to develop our hearts and minds through the magic of compassion for all beings.
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The Force of Kindness: Change Your Life with Love and Compassion
The Force of Kindness: Change Your Life with Love and Compassion by Sharon Salzberg (Paperback - October 28, 2010)
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