Real Love, The Art of Mindful Connection

Buddhist teacher and New York Times best selling author, Sharon Salzberg, wrote Real Love to reclaim the word and power of love. Just like in Love 2.0 , her description of Real Love shifts from the concept of a soul mate or the "He/she loves me or he/she loves not." kind, to one that says love is a binding caring connection between human beings. Real love creates a sense of belonging. It is vital to our health and well being.

Unlike the cliched love, real love cannot be given then taken away like some commodity. To be loved is our birthright. We are born wired to connect and love. Within us there is a capacity to care about ourselves and others and want them to be well.

Sometimes the idea of self love is thought to be indulgent. Think of it as putting on your oxygen mask first so you can help a small child. Salzberg writes "Loving yourself is holding yourself accountable to be the best you can be in your life."

Real Love requires the work of reaching out and reaching inside. Sharon Salzberg provides stories and practices to do both. She invites us to become authors of brand new stories about love. This book is for those who long to be happy within and dare to imagine the possibilities that a practice of Real Love can bring.

"I believe that there is only one kind of love - real love- trying to come alive in us despite our limiting assumptions, the distortions of our culture, and the habits of fear, self-condemnation, and isolation that we tend to acquire just by living a life."

Read to Discover

How to Move Beyond the Cliche of Love

How to Take the Required Action and Cultivate Love

How to Widen the Lens of Compassion

How to Move Beyond the Cliche of Love

Evolutionary biologists say we have a "negativity bias" meaning we are more attuned to negative than positive events. It's the old - "watching for hungry tigers syndrome". Unfortunately, the negative memories are stickier that the positive ones. They tend to stay in our brains longer. Sharon Salzberg teaches us how to retrain our thoughts and response systems out of this fear response. The change process unfolds as we strengthen our compassion muscles. The more you lift of the weight of fear and negativity and replace it with compassion, the stronger you get. Most mentioned is the practice of loving kindness, which can be found in this blog. Another practice ishe describes is to imagine a force of love for you. Feel their sense of presence and imagine them saying " May you be safe, "Be happy", "Be healthy", "Live with ease of the heart."

When you move past the old conception of love you can begin to rewrite the story you have about yourself. You can start including the fact that you are loving, kind and worthy of love in return; regardless of whether you have won any awards, climbed Mt. Everest, are the perfect weight or perfect whatever. You can even toss out the stories that your family , friends co-workers may tell about you. Rewrite them. You know the full you.

Sharon tells us how to silence the inner critic. You can even draw a funny picture of them and put the critic in his or her own place, out of your head! She talks about the the incidiousness of perfectionism and the anxiety it produces. The author tells a story about her own struggles with being perfect when her ideas were shaken up by a meeting with the Dalai Lama, watching him speak and making a big mistake. No one is immune! Special attention is made to the powerful practice of RAIN meditation and its ability to dispel shame. Click on the link for a ten minute practice with Tara Brach.

How to Take the Required Action and Cultivate Love

Love is a connection of action. It is a verb, not a noun. I love the quote by author and surgeon Atul Gawande:

"We are social not just in the trivial sense that we like company, and not just in the obvious sense that we each depend on others. We are social in a more elemental way: simply to exist as a normal human being requir