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Real Happiness: The Power of Meditation

4.13  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,476 Ratings  ·  166 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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Aug 01, 2013 Shannon rated it it was amazing
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
Aug 19, 2015 Io? rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Questo è il mio personale Libro sulla pratica della Meditazione, così come Lo yoga nella vita: la pratica quotidiana di una vita illuminata lo è per quella dello Yoga. Insomma, due pilastri. La cosa che li accomuna è che entrambi discettano sul proprio argomento principale (meditazione e yoga) in un modo per così dire olistico, inserendoli in un sistema complesso (ma per nulla distante da noi, nè tanto meno astruso) in cui scopriamo che la fine del viaggio non è altro che l'inizio del viaggio st
Oct 02, 2013 Emily rated it it was amazing
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
Jul 28, 2011 Beth rated it really liked it
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.
Kathi Crawford
Apr 21, 2013 Kathi Crawford rated it it was amazing
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
May 25, 2012 Rev. Sheila rated it it was amazing
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
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).
Feb 26, 2016 Lon rated it really liked it
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
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

May 30, 2015 Steve rated it really liked it
There are so many meditation books out there; this one is as good a place to start (or re-start) as any. Clear and concise, complete with an excellent CD to get you going. Still, the idea of a "28 day program" strikes me as a bit of an overly commercial bid. Practice is for life, not a month of self help. But Salzberg is a good teacher who knows her stuff, and you won't be led astray by anything here.
Been wanting to get back on the wagon with a more formal mediation program after several years hiatus. When this came through our library, I thought it might be the nudge I was looking for. It might come off as a wee bit disjointed for complete newbies wound up about doing something "wrong" (hint: you really can't), but it suited my purposes.

It's a very low key introduction that covers just about anything that might come up, from how to deal with that stiff knee that becomes a militant tyrant a
Jun 19, 2013 Bronson rated it really liked it
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.

Feb 15, 2013 Metta rated it it was amazing
"Real Happiness depends on what we do with our attention."
"The act of beginning again is the essential act of the meditation practice."
"If you have to let go of distractions and begin again thousands of times, fine. That's not a roadblock to the practice - that is the practice. That's life: starting over, one breathe at a time."

Sharon Salzberg has a way of teaching, as if taking a walk in nature with a dear friend, side by side; very gentle, compassionate, clear, simple.
In this book she leads y
Nov 04, 2015 Colin rated it it was amazing
I'm going to let the extremely cheesy title go, and assume that Salzberg's publisher required a "catchy" title that would sell more books (and doom more books to be buried in dust!).

Excellent BASIC introduction to meditation that is broken up into a 4-week program; many great mindfulness and lovingkindness meditations to experiment with and practice.
Jun 10, 2014 Shanna rated it it was amazing
This book was won from a goodreads giveaway. Easy five stars. I have read several books on meditation and this by far was the best book on the practice that I have ever had the pleasure to read. Salzburg is a genius in her field and has a lot of hands on experience. This book is very helpful for all levels of meditation even if you have never tried it before. Also it comes with an accompaning CD that walks you through the steps of different types of meditation practices. I loved this book and re ...more
Dec 30, 2013 Kris rated it it was amazing
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
May 19, 2016 Annette rated it it was amazing
This practical guidebook has inspired me to begin the habit of meditating at least 20 minutes/day. I can feel the positive difference emotionally, spiritually, physically.

"This act of beginning again is the essential art of the meditation practice...If you have to let go of distractions and begin again thousands of time, fine. That's not a roadblock to the practice - that IS the practice. That's life: starting over, one breath at a time." (p. 49-50)

"Effort needn't be struggling or strai
Sep 24, 2014 Cynthia rated it it was ok
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
Oct 02, 2015 beentsy rated it it was amazing
Very good. So good I went out and bought a copy to keep and reread.
Tien Pham
Mar 18, 2014 Tien Pham rated it really liked it
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
Megan Ressler
Apr 04, 2016 Megan Ressler rated it it was amazing
The ideal primer for the wannabe meditator. Reading Sharon's books feels like talking to an old friend. She guides you through beginning a practice with simple but not simplistic instructions and support. Highly recommend!
Nov 19, 2014 Robin rated it liked it
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
Nov 21, 2014 Ms. Jared rated it really liked it
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 it was amazing
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
Feb 20, 2014 Angi rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 50-for-2014
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
Jan 14, 2015 Laurel rated it it was amazing
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!
Mary Lou
Dec 24, 2015 Mary Lou rated it really liked it
I've tried books on meditation before, but they've all been a bit too hippy-dippy, new-agey for me. Salzberg, though, has made meditation accessible to the rest of us. Since starting this book (which I digested over a period of months due to Real Life getting in the way) I find I've slowed down, I'm more patient, and I'm falling asleep more quickly at night. I've only been meditating once or twice a week in the traditional sense, i.e. "assuming the position", but I find myself having little mome ...more
Rita Waller
Apr 10, 2014 Rita Waller rated it it was amazing
Shelves: the-art-of-zen
Fantastic introduction to various aspects of Vipasana Meditation.
Steven Lurie
Jan 03, 2014 Steven Lurie rated it really liked it
Shelves: mindfulness
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
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Buddhist: Schedule 1 6 Feb 03, 2014 12:14PM  
  • Insight Meditation: A Psychology of Freedom
  • The Roots of Buddhist Psychology
  • Work as a Spiritual Practice: A Practical Buddhist Approach to Inner Growth and Satisfaction on the Job
  • Awakening Compassion: Meditation Practice for Difficult Times
  • Happiness Is an Inside Job: Practicing for a Joyful Life
  • Spontaneous Awakening
  • The Science of Enlightenment: Teachings and Meditations for Awakening Through Self-Investigation
  • Going to Pieces Without Falling Apart: A Buddhist Perspective on Wholeness
  • The Chocolate Cake Sutra: Ingredients for a Sweet Life
  • Dancing With Life: Buddhist Insights for Finding Meaning and Joy in the Face of Suffering
  • Food for the Heart: The Collected Teachings of Ajahn Chah
  • The Naked Buddha: A Practical Guide to the Buddha's Life and Teachings
  • True Refuge: Finding Peace and Freedom in Your Own Awakened Heart
  • Peace Is Every Breath: A Practice for Our Busy Lives
  • Joyful Wisdom: Embracing Change and Finding Freedom
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.
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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.” 57 likes
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