Simple Ways to Be in the Present Moment
New York City-born Sharon Salzberg experienced a childhood full of loss and upheaval, losing her parents and living in five different household configurations. In college, she discovered the power of meditation to transform suffering and cope with life’s never-ending changes.
Born into a Jewish family, Salzberg first encountered Buddhism in 1969 in an Asian philosophy class, inspiring her to undertake an independent study program in India, where she was initiated into the practice via an intense 10-day retreat. “It was very difficult and painful. I sometimes doubted that I’d succeed, yet I never doubted that there was truth there,” she says.
Upon her return home, Salzberg dedicated herself to the path of vipassanā (insight) meditation, becoming a renowned teacher and co-founding the Insight Meditation Society, in Barre, Massachusetts. Today she teaches and speaks to diverse audiences worldwide about the power of mindfulness. Salzberg has authored nine books, including the New York Times bestseller Real Happiness, Real Happiness at Work andLovingkindness.
How do you define mindfulness?
Mindfulness is the quality of awareness. When we are mindful, our perception of the present moment isn’t so distorted by bias, adding our own storyline to reality and pushing away what’s happening.
Is it possible to be mindful without having an established meditation practice?
Yes, theoretically, but I suspect it’s hard. I honor my own meditation practice for making mindfulness highly accessible for me. It doesn’t take many hours of prep work and is open to everyone. It’s really a practice, like strength training—you have to exercise the mindfulness muscle to reap the benefits. READ MORE