Lovingkindness: The Revolutionary Art of Happiness
“We can travel a long way and do
many different things, but our
deepest happiness is not born from
accumulating new experiences. It
is born from letting go of what is
unnecessary, and knowing ourselves
to be always at home. True happiness
may not be at all far away, but it
requires a radical change of view as
to where to find it.”
After reading Lovingkindness for the the first time, I thought it was okay – another decent book about spiritual life. However, after closer scrutiny and having worked with the actual techniques, I’ve come to deeply appreciate Sharon Salzberg’s work. Again and again, I return to the practical advice and profound insights that have emerged from her many years of meditation experience and retreat. The focus of the book is the four brahma-viharas, Pali for “god-like abodes.” They are lovingkindness, compassion, joy and equanimity. Imagine if your mind/heart was open in deep compassion and lovingkindness, balanced by equanimity and characterized by joy. Does this not sound heaven-like? More promising is the fact that not only can these qualities spontaneously arise but that they can be intentionally cultivated. It is possible to gradually move away from our normally constricted state towards the mutually supportive god-like ones through small, gradual steps. Salzberg’s writing is clear, inspiring and filled with lots of personal anecdotes.
The content is buddhist but can be enjoyed by almost anyone. Most importantly there are detailed instructions on how to actually do it. One of my all time favourites!