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Real Love: The Art of Mindful Connection

4.18  ·  Rating details ·  1,596 ratings  ·  158 reviews
You are a person worthy of love. You don’t have to do anything to deserve all the love in the world.

Real Love is a creative tool kit of mindfulness exercises and meditation techniques that help you to truly engage with your present experience and create deeper love relationships with yourself, your partner, friends and family, and with life itself.

Sharon Salzberg, a leadin
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published June 6th 2017 by Flatiron Books (first published June 2017)
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Average rating 4.18  · 
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 ·  1,596 ratings  ·  158 reviews

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Jenny (Reading Envy)
If you are familiar with Sharon Salzberg (perhaps you took her free meditation course through email or listen to her podcast), you will not be surprised at the way this book is organized - self-help plus meditation exercises plus personal stories. It is a gentle overview tying psychology/analysis to mindfulness, all to the end goal of improving relationships. Although much like most Buddhist practice (hmm, I don't believe they ever specifically use the word Buddhist, but that's what it is) the f ...more
May 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: buddhism, first-reads
Sharon Salzberg has written another beautiful book. Real Love isn't about romantic love, but rather about meeting the world with love. It's a radical concept. Just like anger isn't personal, neither is love. We tend to focus our love on a romantic partner or family, but this book broadens our notions of what real love is. In order to do that, Salzberg explores all the ways in which our habits of mind block us. Starting with stories we tell ourselves and working with self-criticism, each chapter ...more
Viv JM
I love Sharon Salzberg - she is my go-to for guided meditations, gentle wisdom and all-round loveliness. This worked as an audiobook, in as much as I enjoyed the gentle lull of her voice. However, for full absorption, I think I would have needed a print copy.
Life changing. Just read it!
Jun 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A treasury of compassionate wisdom and transformative practices

With a voice like a wise and compassionate aunt we all wish we had, Salzberg conveys principles of lovingkindness, mindfulness and deep connection through stories and simple exercises. One of the centerpieces of the book is the RAIN protocol when dealing with negative emotions: RECOGNIZE it, ACKNOWLEDGE it, INVESTIGATE it with a sense of openness and curiosity, and NON-IDENTIFY with it - it's not you! This is not just one of the foun
Angela Natividad
May 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
I think I knew this book made an impact on me when, one day, I overworked, ate too little and came home feeling like garbage. Instead of being self-recriminating, I was instead filled with sorrow and remorse. I actually apologized to myself and felt it was critical that my body not take this day to mean I did not love it.
Feb 07, 2019 rated it it was ok
Section 1 was pretty helpful for me. I took a lot of notes. Section 2 was deep work for me. I skipped Section 3 because it was a little too hippy "spread the love" for me. I didnt get too much from the exercises either. They were nice but not very practical. Im not at the stage where I can just stop mid argument or emotional breakdown and go into meditation ...more
Feb 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
Lovingkindness – also known to Buddhist practitioners as “metta” – has no more enthusiastic proponent than the much-admired dharma teacher and author Sharon Salzberg. In her newest book, Real Love, she draws on her expertise in the practice of metta/lovingkindness and elevates its scope from a personal form of meditation practice to a more interpersonal mode of being in the world.

Salzberg describes the actualization of real love as being in “a state where we allow ourselves to be seen clearly b
There are things that I enjoyed about this mediation on lovingkindness. I appreciated that we have to love ourselves first, that we should acknowledge all of our emotions and our past (not bury them), and we should extend that compassion to others and the universe.
But ...
(1) This wasn’t a book that I was excited to pick up and read.
(2) Some of the ways Salzberg described people — “they weren’t your typical boys from the hood” (p 273) after warning against stereotyping — irked me.
(3) I spent a
Owen Cantrell
Nov 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Sharon Salzberg is great at translating Buddhist concepts to everyday language. She uses plentiful real world examples to demonstrate the relevance of these ideas. As with all her books, the exercises at the end of each chapter are particularly useful and will require revisiting.
Jack Gibson
Reading 'Real Love: The Art of Mindful Connection' is very much a meditation, not just on how to love others, but first to love oneself through mindfulness and expressing "loving kindness" to everyone you know or interact with, no matter how little or much. The whimsical suggested reply to any awkward interaction of "be glad that I meditate", adds much to not giving up/dismissing human relationships.

'No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.' (Einstein) Packe
Susan Walker
Apr 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book tells what its like to love and be loved. I liked that the book that there are all types of love.
May 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A well written book that can provide a lot of assistance in finding and maintaining relationships. I am glad that I won a copy of this book in a Goodreads giveaway.
Larry James
Jun 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Real Love approaches the subject of love in all aspects of life. We can all use more love in our life...
Aug 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I know of Sharon Salzberg's work through the teachings of Jack Kornfield and Ram Dass and listened to her podcast on the Be Here Now Network before reading Real Love. Even though I'm a practitioner and meditate daily, I picked up a lot of golden nuggets from the book. To the person beginning their spiritual path or to anyone curious about real love, the book offers different ways to look at love than what we see in our culture and practical action steps to cultivating real love and mindfulness.

Dec 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book came to me at just the right time in my life and really hit home for me. I don’t know if would have been as meaningful for me had it come at another period. It reinforced for me my beliefs and what I’ve been trying to practice in my daily life. Real love isn’t all fireworks and passion, but about making a meaningful connection to others. It starts with having compassion and loving kindness first for yourself, then others. It doesn’t mean everything is perfect and that you will stop get ...more
Apr 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Sharon Salzberg's Real Love: The Art of Mindful Connection is all about meeting the world with love. It includes stories and short "how-to" lessons on mindfulness. As I read this book, it gave me a lot of think about, especially in how she says, "the capacity for love exists inside ourselves."

I had many takeaways and want to especially remember these:
-"Acceptance is what allows us to realize that all experiences are opportunities to learn and grow."
-"A great foundation for loving others in maint
May 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Sharon Salzberg is like a favorite aunt who could comfort me. I adore her wisdom and her voice is like a warm hug.

In Real Love, we are shown ways to love ourselves, such as through lovingkindness meditations, and how to process difficult emotions (e.g. RAIN: recognize, acknowledge, investigate, non-identify with it). We are also given ways to love others, and the world around us.

Some memorable quotes:

"Saying yes to life frees up our energy to be present in whatever is happening."

"Curiosity is th
Aug 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2020, dharma
Tremendous! This book is a great starting point to those who seek to learn more about self healing, meditation and the ancient teachings of the east.

The best analogy I can give for the subject that this book traverses is that it's like middle-grade science. Where one learns that the whole world is made up of particles. Later on if one studies more. One learns about molecules, atoms and quarks. What is taught in this book will turn on its head the deeper you progress. That being said, one must s
Feb 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
I really liked the subtitle of this book - the art of mindful connection. Learning how to connect with self, Self, world, and others is a challenging skill and Sharon Salzberg makes it an approachable challenge. She interweaves many schools of thought: Jungian, yogic, Buddhist, and common sense. Her words felt sincere and self-revealing, which I admire. Highly recommended for anyone on a path of self-reflection and authenticity. Not too dense, not too light, just right!
Carlina Scalf
Jul 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
Loved the book’s progression from love of self, to love of others (personal relationships), to love of others (community/global and local). It showed how all three areas have foundations within each other. The lovingkindness meditations included with most chapters felt transformative in their simplicity — I hope to incorporate them into my practices.
Apr 28, 2020 rated it liked it
Lots of good one liners that zing to your heartspace. It felt a bit repetitive by the end, and a little like filler. I did feel like this book was following me around through life as it was pertinent more than once over the time it took to read it.
Aug 20, 2020 rated it liked it
I listened to this as an audiobook and not sure it was a good one for it. I think I would prefer to have the print version so you can refer back to it. At the same time I found this book profoundly moving in terms of the issues it brought up and the stance to the world that Sharon Salzberg recommends. I really loved hearing stories of her friends and students and their journeys exploring different aspects of love — for oneself, for others, for the world. Real love for the win!
Patricia Coloma
Dec 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
“ Love is a strength, not a weakness”( 250)If we all thought about it in this way, the world would be a different place
Kathy Sloan
Jul 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic book! Highly recommend for anyone who wants a deeper connection to love.
Mark O'mara
Jan 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Recommended reading from someone I love! Wonderful work about love and integrating a loving mindset into daily life and meditation practice. Articulate expression and deeper exposition of loving kindness than other books I have read . Excellent supplement/addition to some of the traditional texts.
Feb 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I read this book once and then immediately read it a second time. I must say that even just a few years ago a book of this title would have made me roll my eyes. The word “love” was not one to comfortably roll off of my tongue, but, in actual fact, love is precisely what I’ve been missing and needing in my life. I first realized that when I took a lovingkindness meditation class a few months ago. It was unexpectedly powerful, and I then asked my yoga teacher to help me with some heart opening pr ...more
Aug 23, 2018 rated it liked it
I like this book on the fact that I have found the practice useful and enjoy reading it. However, I did find the examples of people a bit glossed over. I wouldn’t have minded if she didn’t say after everyone who had a problem that they solved it through therapy and meditation, as if they were cure-alls (Although I’m sure it helps).
Dec 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
These kind of books are challenging for me to read. I love Sharon Salzburg, and all that she has to say and her teachings, but mediation and spiritual books take me forever to read. I learn a lot but it takes many years for me to even begin to implement the teachings. I don't know what kind of review to say other than Sharon Salzburg is knowledgeable and she has been doing meditation and mindfulness for a lifetime. It is important to cultivate self love, and in turn to love one another. If you e ...more
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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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