A painful life that was transformed with meditation

There is a write up about Sharon Salzburg who just completed a new book in the LA Times this week. I’ve always liked her and have read two of her books. Her story is one that can make anyone with mental health issues pause and realize that what she did to sort out the trauma of her early life is accessible to all of us.

From the article in the LA Times:

“We all want to be happy. We need to expand the notion of what that means, to make it bigger and wiser,” the author said in a telephone interview from Albuquerque, a stop on her book tour. On Feb. 26, Salzberg will lead a three-hour retreat at Santa Monica’s First United Methodist Church for the InsightLA meditation center.

She said a key to experiencing happiness on an ongoing basis is to acknowledge pain and suffering, something American culture resists.

“It’s difficult to admit to ourselves that we suffer. We feel humiliated, like we should have been able to control our pain. If someone else is suffering, we like to tuck them away, out of sight,” Salzberg said. “It’s a cruel, cruel conditioning. There is no controlling the unfolding of life.”

Salzberg’s own childhood was filled with pain and loss. Her parents divorced when she was 4, and her father simply “disappeared.” When Salzberg was 9, her mother died and she went to live with her father’s parents. When she was 11 the father returned to the family, but he soon took an overdose that put him in the hospital and then the mental health system for the rest of his life.

“By age 16, I had lived in five different family configurations, all ending in loss,” she recalled….

…Salzberg said she wasn’t seeking a new religion but a pragmatic way of living, and what she discovered allowed her to relate to her past with “compassion rather than bitterness” and to live with a sense of connection. read the rest

I’ve read and really liked Lovingkindness: The Revolutionary Art of Happiness
and Faith: Trusting Your Own Deepest Experience.

Her newest book is Real Happiness: The Power of Meditation: A 28-Day Program.

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