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Real Happiness: The Power of Meditation

4.12 of 5 stars 4.12  ·  rating details  ·  1,032 ratings  ·  135 reviews
Thousands of years prove it, and Western science backs it: Meditation sharpens focus. Meditation lowers blood pressure, relieves chronic pain, reduces stress. Meditation helps us experience greater calm. Meditation connects us to our inner-most feelings and challenges our habits of self-judgment. Meditation helps protect the brain against aging and improves our capacity fo ...more
Paperback, 208 pages
Published December 29th 2010 by Workman Publishing Company
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I highly recommend this book to anyone who is interesting in learning about meditation. It's a quick and easy read. At first I hated the title of the book, because it sounds so self-helpish, but by the end of the book, I understand why it's called Real Happiness. Here is a passage:

"Real happiness depends on what we do with our attention. When we train our attention through meditation, we connect to ourselves, to our own true experience, and then we connect to others. The simple act of being comp
This book was well done and accessible, but honestly, if I've got some free time on my hands, I'm always going to choose reading over meditating. This is probably a compulsion that could be cured through meditation. Anyway, I'm hoping that some of this sticks with me.
I rate this book highly for its ability to make meditation accessible to the beginner, while adding additional depth and meaning to the experienced. Since reading Tolle's books, I have been tring to be more present and fully take in moments. Salzberg has helped me gain this presence through meditation, along with focus, peace, and lovingkindness. In a world of continuous distractions, turmoil, selfishness, nonpresence, and unkindness, I am grateful for a well written book that gives the tools to ...more
A very practical and accessible introduction to meditation. Provides a solid overview of the scienfically-proven and based benefits of meditation. A compelling case for why meditation is vital in this crazy 21st century world!

The variety of different meditations is a diverse buffet, a rich variety of pathways to new self-discoveries and deepened concentration, mindfulness, and lovingkindness. The 28-day program is well-structured to motivate you towards eventually developing a daily practice.

Kathi Crawford
I found Sharon Salzberg's "Real Happiness: The Power of Meditation" book very easy to understand and apply. I purchased the book because I wanted to learn more about meditation and begin a meditation practice. The book is set up to read in a weekly format as you build on your knowledge and apply the approaches in your practice. The book includes a companion CD that you can listen to for guided meditations. Sharon shares examples throughout the book with personal anecdotes to make meditation acce ...more
Rev. Sheila
I found out about this book while reading someone's blog. Absolutely loved it! I think it's a must-have for any meditation student. I have to admit I was a little disappointed (confused?) in the beginning because I was expecting 28 daily readings or assignments or something. The FAQs and takeaways each week were my favorite parts of this book. The accompanying CD was great. I was especially grateful for the guidance for the walking meditation.

This is the type of book I will come back to again a
An excellent book for the fresh meditation-curious first-timer and a wonderful refresher for the longtime practitioner. I highly recommend this book to anyone who even is slightly interested in trying meditation. She outlines a month long program to try a variety of meditations (though you can glean quite a bit even if you have no desire to follow her timeline. Those structures are a tiny fraction of the book.) she covers many frequently asked questions in each chapter. The longtime meditator ma ...more
This book seems to have been written for beginners, ie. people new to meditation. For those people, much of this book will appear unfocused and confusing. (The very first section, explaining why meditation is beneficial, may be useful to them, however.)

First problem: Salzberg throws in numerous types of meditation. For a beginner, the first 28 days (and past that) should be focused on simply being with the breath. Learning how to exist in the moment. This is not a process that can be truly exper
I've been meditating off and on for about 15 years. This book is a must for beginners, mid-timers and old timers at mediation. It reminded me why I practice, explained how to kick start a sluggish practice, and provided "new" approaches (for me).
Tien Pham
Great books with a variety of meditation techniques without the religious aspect. For beginners, a book did a good job of introducing the benefits of meditation and the techniques themselves in a straightforward and nonthreatening style. For example, one of the most common form of meditation is to pay attention the breath. She made clear that everyone who meditates, no matter who seasoned, get distracted. The key of this meditation is to bring attention back again and again. It's the moment that ...more
A great guide for someone beginning meditation. There is some repetition which, if left out, would have shortened it. Overall, a great guide and a keeper. CD included is an extra bonus.
Ms. Jared
I really enjoyed this one. A lot of great insight and inspiration as well as different types of meditation so you can "mix it up" and keep your practice fresh. I'm still new at this whole thing and this really helped me understand the whys and hows as well as giving me tools to keep my kind from wandering and how to not beat myself up when my mind wanders.

I especially love the Lovingkindness Meditation and can honestly say it's made an immediate difference in my overall well being not to mentio
Amy Gonzalez
Feb 09, 2015 Amy Gonzalez rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: beginner to average meditator
I'm still making good on my New Year's resolution with consistent meditation practice. This book has been a huge help in supporting my goal.

Salzberg presents a range of different meditations to try. She even has accompanying recordings that you can listen to on the book publishing company's website. The descriptions do not contain any religious or mystical allusions. It's grounded and accessible. I love this quote about what you can get from meditation practice:

"We take delight in integrity, a
Really liked the structure of this, because it allowed you to follow week by week, or read straight through. Despite the kind of cringe inducing self-helpy title, this is a really great book for both new and already acquainted practitioners. I've been practicing for awhile now, but I still found her insights to be stimulating. I particularly enjoyed the chapters on body sensation awareness and her variations on lovingkindness meditation. Most importantly, I appreciated her focus on the science o ...more
SO good, so highly recommended. This book is a very approachable overview of and introduction to different forms of meditation.
Really useful introduction to mindfulness meditation. I now keep it in my backpack!
Insight meditation, the particular tradition of meditation practice that Salzberg enjoins, takes a decidedly non-theistic approach to meditation, with the primary purposes being to live more fully in each present moment with full awareness, and gaining the skills to recognize, accept, and investigate the phenomena that arise in our bodies and minds. Through non-judgmental awareness, we are better better able to live mindfully. We are freed from the tyranny of conditioned, reflexive responses whe ...more
Steven Lurie
This is probably my 6th or 7th book on mindfulness and this is among my favorites so far. All are pretty good - I'm really liking Ronald Siegel' Mindfulness Solutions.

Like many books, written and recorded of this genre, the wisdom is communicated through explanation, metaphor, thought exercises, homework and guided meditations. Mindful practice as it seems to exist in the west is a bit like ballet - there are the basic positions -- in this case assumptions, practices, organizing principles from
I received this book as part of a Goodreads 'First Reads' giveaway from the publisher, Workman Publishing Company.

When I began this book I wasn't entirely sure what to expect. I had never read one of Sharon Salzberg's books before, although with an interest in meditation and Buddhism, I am certainly familiar with her work.

Real Happiness is written as a sort of meditation workbook. The author first introduces the reader to meditation: what it is and why you would want to do it. Then the book is d
Dharmamitra Jeff Stefani ¡FIVE-STARS=LOVED_IT!

I first read when a friend 'gifted' the book to me, sometime before the year 2000, in its 1st Edition. I had already been meditation daily for a few years, primarily alternating meditation practices: one day of "Mindfulness of Breathing" (in four stages), then, the next-day practice the "Metta Bhavanana" (or "Cultivation o

Cheap this month on Amazon Kindle!

"And in a study published in 2010, Lazar and her tam scanned the brains of volunteers before and after they received eight weeks of training in Mindfulness-Based Stress Reductions (MBSR) a popular combination of mediation and yoga designed to alleviate stress in patients with health problems. The new mediators showed measurable changes in two important brain areas_ growth in the hippocampus, a a part of the brain involved
At the suggestion of both my primary care physician and my acupuncturist, I'm going to give this whole meditation thing a try.

I liked this book. It's a very easy read and it sticks to a fairly secular view of meditation, even though it's pretty clear the author has some Buddhist influences. I appreciated that, that it's a straightforward introduction to the practice of meditation without trying to impose any particular spiritual worldview (though Buddhism is probably the closest to my own). The
I'm a complete skeptic. Or maybe I should say I was a complete skeptic. Not about meditation so much, but about self help books. This is not a book full of promises and entreaties. Instead it gives the scientific proof and discusses techniques but also possible problems. I found this book refreshing in the way it honestly raised issues and addressed them. The author has a very clear and friendly tone, no lectures or bullet points. There are lots of real life examples and personal stories which m ...more
Maureen Kennedy
Mar 16, 2012 Maureen Kennedy rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Meditation Novices
Recommended to Maureen by: The Author
Shelves: healthy-mind
I bought this book (Kindle version) as a accompanying text to Sharon Salzberg's on-line 28-Day Meditation Challenge.

First, Sharon is great at describing what meditation is, and that the act of meditation is a practice: you are not striving for perfection, just progression - very comforting.

1) As an accompanying test, I was hoping for a more structured day-to-day guide. Instead, the book is divided into four weekly sections with suggestions on frequency and specific "how-to" instructions.
Sitting still can be hard, and keeping the mind still even harder. This book focuses not on the esoteric philosophies of meditation, but on the basics—from posture and breathing to focus and awareness. In this guide, you’ll learn to meditate the same way you learn to ride a bike or run, and your body and mind will thank you for it.
A concise and clear introducton to meditation. Ms. Salzberg writes in a very accessible way, presenting the information in a methodical order to help meditation newbies ease into the practice. Starting with "What Is Meditation?" and "Why Meditate?" to lay the groundwork, she progresses through "Concentration," "Mindfulness and the Body," "Mindfulness and Emotions," and finally, "Lovingkindness," expanding the practice each week of the four-week program.

I found the FAQs at the end of each section
Sharon Salzberg's Real Happiness is a practical book. Her writing on meditation is nothing sexy but it is to the point and informative. Through the first half of the book I was bored and uninterested the reason being that I felt that I knew the basics of meditation. The second half of the book however got me interested and curious. She lists many different meditations which come with guided audio you can download with the kindle or, I think, a cd that comes with the physical copy. I dislike the ...more
Justin Glanville
Plainly written, accessible how-to book describing how to do various types of meditation: breathing, walking, meditating on emotions and loving-kindness. Quietly life-changing. Comes with a CD of short guided meditations.
My enthusiasm for this book waned the further into it I got; she addresses so many different meditation practices that it became cumbersome. Like any book though, we can take the seeds relevant to us at the time and not sweat the rest. The title can be off-putting without its context:

"Real happiness depends on what we do with our attention. When we train our attention through meditation, we connect to ourselves, to our own true experience, and then we connect to others. The simple act of being
I found this book very interesting and will probably listen again despite the fact that I found the author's voice somewhat incongruous with the material she's presenting. I definitely learned something about meditation and have incorporated some of her ideas into my practice. This is a great book for someone considering a meditation practice or a beginner.
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Buddhist: Schedule 1 4 Feb 03, 2014 12:14PM  
  • Insight Meditation: A Psychology of Freedom
  • Meditation for Beginners
  • Spontaneous Awakening
  • Peace Is Every Breath: A Practice for Our Busy Lives
  • Work as a Spiritual Practice: A Practical Buddhist Approach to Inner Growth and Satisfaction on the Job
  • The Science of Enlightenment
  • The Chocolate Cake Sutra: Ingredients for a Sweet Life
  • Going to Pieces Without Falling Apart: A Buddhist Perspective on Wholeness
  • True Refuge: Finding Peace and Freedom in Your Own Awakened Heart
  • Happiness Is an Inside Job: Practicing for a Joyful Life
  • One Breath at a Time: Buddhism and the Twelve Steps
  • The Naked Buddha: A Practical Guide to the Buddha's Life and Teachings
  • Buddha's Brain: The Practical Neuroscience of Happiness, Love, and Wisdom
  • Eight Mindful Steps to Happiness: Walking the Buddha's Path
  • Turning the Mind Into an Ally
  • How to Wake Up: A Buddhist-Inspired Guide to Navigating Joy and Sorrow
One of America’s leading spiritual teachers and authors, Sharon Salzberg is cofounder of the Insight Meditation Society (IMS) in Barre, Massachusetts. She has played a crucial role in bringing Asian meditation practices to the West. The ancient Buddhist practices of vipassana (mindfulness) and metta (lovingkindness) are the foundations of her work.
More about Sharon Salzberg...
Lovingkindness: The Revolutionary Art of Happiness Faith: Trusting Your Own Deepest Experience Insight Meditation: A Step-by-step Course on How to Meditate A Heart as Wide as the World: Stories on the Path of Lovingkindness Real Happiness at Work: Meditations for Accomplishment, Achievement, and Peace

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“It is never too late to turn on the light. Your ability to break an unhealthy habit or turn off an old tape doesn't depend on how long it has been running; a shift in perspective doesn't depend on how long you've held on to the old view.

When you flip the switch in that attic, it doesn't matter whether its been dark for ten minutes, ten years or ten decades.

The light still illuminates the room and banishes the murkiness, letting you see the things you couldn't see before.

Its never too late to take a moment to look.”
“Mindfulness helps us get better at seeing the difference between what’s happening and the stories we tell ourselves about what’s happening, stories that get in the way of direct experience. Often such stories treat a fleeting state of mind as if it were our entire and permanent self.” 52 likes
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