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.
Sharon sits down with Ram Dass and Raghu Markus for a conversation about Ram Dass's relationship with his Guru, Neem Karoli Baba, and how that relationship transformed his ability to love himself and others in his life. Recorded live in December 2016 at the Open Your Heart in Paradise Retreat in Maui, HI.
The Real Love Podcast Series is a special series on the Metta Hour featuring a variety of conversations with some of the world's finest thinkers and teachers exploring Sharon's forthcoming book "Real Love: The Art of Mindful Connection". Real Love a field guide for anyone seeking awakened living in the 21st century - regardless of age, race, gender, ethnicity or status. The book explores love is three different arena in life: love of oneself, love of an other, and love for all of life. Real Love is now available for pre-order and hits stores on June 6th, 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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.