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Real Love: The Art of Mindful Connection Hardcover – June 6, 2017
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"If I had to describe Sharon Salzberg’s work in only two words, they might be: 'only connect.' If there were only one word, that would be even easier: 'love.' 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. Salzberg 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. This book has the power to set your heart at peace.” ―Susan Cain, author of Quiet
"Sharon Salzberg is an amazing teacher, and her words and inspiration in Real Love illuminate the way to love wisely, a treasure for your heart." ―Jack Kornfield, author of A Path With Heart
"This expert's guidebook cuts deftly through layers of modern confusion to the core of what it means to love and be loved. Salzberg has penned a treasure-house of practical tools and rituals mined from her own tenure mending wounded hearts in the trenches of human relationships. This book offers up frank practical stories and wisdom about love, communication, and relationships indispensable to all." ―Amanda Palmer
"Writing with compassion and keen insight Real Love opens the heart, helping everyone understand love as revolutionary spiritual practice." ―bell hooks
"In a most lively and inspiring way Sharon Salzberg shows that unconditional love―for ourselves, for our dear ones, for all sentient beings―is naturally present within our hearts. Even when love from others and to others seems out of reach, what we really need to do is to let it come to the surface and express itself inexhaustibly. Real Love is a precious guide to experience the most supreme of all emotions." ―Matthieu Ricard, author of Altruism: The Power of Compassion to Change Yourself and the World
"In Real Love, Sharon Salzberg combines the brilliance of her understanding, the depth of her compassion, and the incisive friendliness of her writing skills to create a book that illuminates the many subtleties and nuances of love. Real love is not an abstraction, and Sharon brings it to life in ways that can uplift us all." ―Joseph Goldstein, author of Mindfulness: A Practical Guide to Awakening
"Sharon Salzberg's Real Love is a genuine offering of love that immediately befriends the reader. It is a practical, how-to guide for unearthing the love within oneself, no matter how buried. It's also a gentle but insistent invitation, both clear-eyed and kind, to find the real love in others and in our world at a time when it is most urgently needed." ―Sarah Jones, Tony- and Obie-award winning playwright and actress
"Sharon Salzberg is the superstar of lovingkindness meditation. No one has done more to spread this powerful method for kindling universal love in our hearts." ―Daniel Goleman
"Sharon's teachings on awakening a loving heart have touched students and readers around the world. In addition to her wonderful wisdom, Sharon's very presence inspires: She is generous and kind, through and through." ―Tara Brach, author of Radical Acceptance: Embracing Your Life with the Heart of a Buddha
About the Author
SHARON SALZBERG is a central figure in the field of meditation and a world-renowned teacher and author. She is the cofounder of the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts, and the author of several books including the New York Times bestseller Real Happiness. Acclaimed for her down-to-earth teaching style, Sharon offers a secular, modern approach to Buddhist teachings, making them instantly accessible.
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The exercises are not just effective but also easy to implement, e.g. for practicing lovingkindness, forgiveness, and handling anger. I felt their effects immediately and intend to incorporate some into my daily routine, like the one about extending love to neutral passersby.
And then there are the final five pages in which she summarizes the whole book. This was the most concentrated wallop of wisdom to hit my face in a long time. If you feel like you could use more love in your life, here's the recipe book.
-- Ali Binazir, M.D., M.Phil., Happiness Engineer & author of The Tao of Dating: The Smart Woman's Guide to Being Absolutely Irresistible, the highest-rated dating book on Amazon for 4 years
The exercises, at the end of the chapters, are thankfully easy to do. No extra materials are necessary; no complicated recipes or requirements to interact or create conversations that are out of the ordinary. In fact, each exercise can be accomplished in a few a moments or minutes of quiet contemplation and meditation following the reading of the chapter. Reading this book seemed, in some ways, like an extended form of meditation on the art of learning how to love as a way of being.
Many different situations, and a few techniques (like the RAIN technique, outlined early in the book and referred to in later chapters) are presented in story form. Ms. Salzberg has drawn from an impressively large pool of stories, provided by her followers and friends from four decades of practice. The stories illustrate the concepts, along with mindfulness quotations that give the reader's mind an opportunity to see a familiar scenario with a different mindset.
A very helpful book, and one to remind ourselves to take down from the bookshelf and reread in those moments in which life throws us challenges that allow us to revisit and relearn the techniques of transforming the everyday, the negative, and even anger and hatred into a greater possibility of love. The examples Ms. Salzberg includes, as stories and illustrations, serve to help us feel that someone, somewhere, has dealt positively with a similar situation. We know we are not alone, and that our world is full of unlikely and surprising role models, when we look for them.
I was given an advance reading copy of this book; I do not review books for a living, and I did not receive payment to write this book review.