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The Force of Kindness: Change Your Life with Love and Compassion

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    Available in PDF - DJVU Format | The Force of Kindness: Change Your Life with Love and Compassion.pdf | Language: ENGLISH
    Sharon Salzberg(Author)

    Book details


Distill the great spiritual teachings from around the world down to their most basic principles, and one thread emerges to unite them all: kindness. In The Force of Kindness, Sharon Salzberg, one of the nation's most respected Buddhist authors and meditation teachers, offers practical instruction on how we can cultivate this essential trait within ourselves.

Through her stories, teachings, and guided meditations, Sharon Salzberg takes readers on an exploration of what kindness truly means and the simple steps to realize its effects immediately. She reveals that kindness is not the sweet, naive sentiment that many of us assume it is, but rather an immensely powerful force that can transform individual lives and ripple out, changing and improving relationships, the environment, our communities, and ultimately the world. Readers will learn specific techniques for cultivating forgiveness; turning compassion into action; practicing speech that is truthful, helpful, and loving; and much more.

When we fan even the smallest ember of kindness, according to Sharon Salzberg, we begin to overcome our own fears, doubts, and personal attachments-and tap an endless source of gentle strength that is always available to us. With her graceful writing and six guided meditations on CD, this beloved meditation master empowers readers to enhance The Force of Kindness in their own spiritual practice.

Sharon Salzberg, a student of Buddhism since 1971, has been leading meditation retreats worldwide since 1974. Influenced by her more than twenty-five years of study with Burmese, Indian, and Tibetan teachers, she teaches intensive awareness practice (vipassana or insight meditation) and the profound cultivation of lovingkindness and compassion (the Brahma Viharas). She is a cofounder of the Insight Meditation Society and The Barre Center for Buddhist Studies, both in Massachusetts. Salzberg is the author of several books including The Kindness Handbook, Faith: Trusting Your Own Deepest Experience, Lovingkindness: The Revolutionary Art of Happiness, and A Heart as Wide as the World. She has also authored several Sounds True audio and interactive learning kit works including Insight Meditation (with Joseph Goldstein), Unplug, and Lovingkindness Meditation.

2.5 (12818)
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*An electronic version of a printed book that can be read on a computer or handheld device designed specifically for this purpose.

Formats for this Ebook

PDF
Required Software Any PDF Reader, Apple Preview
Supported Devices Windows PC/PocketPC, Mac OS, Linux OS, Apple iPhone/iPod Touch.
# of Devices Unlimited
Flowing Text / Pages Pages
Printable? Yes

Book details

  • PDF | 85 pages
  • Sharon Salzberg(Author)
  • Sounds True; Har/Com edition (September 2005)
  • English
  • 6
  • Self-Help

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Review Text

  • By Coltbear NJ on July 14, 2011

    Being a reader of Baba Ram Dass' "Be Here Now" when it was ORIGINALLY published (really dated myself there!), and a believer in the same "philosophy" ever since, I enjoyed this book very much. It does lean heavily on Ms. Salzberg's Buddhist teachings and training, including meditations and a continuous, constant effort on our part to keep ourselves focused on BEING open, kind, sympathetic and compassionate toward others. (Metta is a "lovingkindness" meditation/concentration practice to assist in achieving this focus.) What I like is, throughout the book, she realizes that we are all too human, and this probably isn't going to happen overnight or all at once (especially in a busy, hectic life), but gently reminds us not to expend negative energy and to try to constantly keep an open mind and to re-focus on obtaining that positive energy needed in order to BE kind and compassionate - not only to others, but to ourselves.Everyone knows that you can't like or love someone unless you like or love yourself, not in an egotistical way, of course. Towards that objective, the longer we strive for insight into our own inner self, our individual pleasure and pain, desires and fears, knowing ourselves and learning not to build walls, it becomes natural and easier to keep an open mind about the plight and suffering of others, as well as being kind and caring of them. We learn and develop empathy for others, as we no longer view them as distant, removed objects, but rather as people. (It's a lot easier to harm an object than another person, wouldn't you agree? I would.) Ms. Salzberg also stresses the importance of STAYING connected to this presence and state-of-mind, which again makes it easier and natural to constantly BE kind and compassionate with ourselves and others, as we then see ourselves in them.I like her pointing out that we need to stop reinforcing the sense of "us and them," which leads to dehumanization, separation and disregard of others around the world (I believe that to be true locally as well as globally, as I'm sure she does.) She is not passive or complacent (and suggests we not be, either), where deliberate wrongdoing occurs, but to seek change very forcefully, with our whole heart. (Or in my case, signing petitions and/or writing personalized letters to those involved in the "wrongdoing" at any level.) She stresses the importance of NOT containing the resentment and anger within ourselves for those who hurt us (or what we believe in), and letting it define us, rather, letting go of it while taking peaceful action, and practicing "lovingkindness" toward them. A tall order? Sure, but while NOT condoning the hurt or wrongdoing, it also shows the greatest respect and compassion for ourselves that we are even able to let it go. (Of course, after taking that "peaceful action" or writing those letters!) :)Ms. Salzberg also states the excellent point that, "compassion and kindness doesn't imply that we define someone solely in terms of their victimhood, their incapacity, disability or their troubles, as if they were nothing more than that," but we should never forget to look at what is WHOLE in a person - what's intact, vital and generative" about them as well. And that, to me, is very important and something most of us tend to forget quite easily, and I quote: "With the force of kindness, we can look at someone else and see those things as well as his or her pain. This helps us look at ourselves and see those same things within. Then, compassion and kindness connect us to a bigger picture of life. We can see pain but also love, loss but also movement, sorrow but also togetherness."To summarize the above and point out one of the most important messages of the book, Ms. Salzberg reminds us, "This is an immense vision, one made real by our conscious practice of love, compassion and kindness for all of life without exception. At a fundamental level, our connectedness to others is expressed by our wish for the welfare of ALL, as well as our dedication to their happiness, safety and peace. This is how we remember what our OWN lives are about.""If we follow this inspiration through constant practice, then we can carry it into our everyday interactions, encounters and relationships. We also can practice this awareness by connecting it to the boundlessness of life and beings EVERYWHERE - all beings, all creatures, all individuals, all those in existence."To commit to kindness and compassion, we need constant mindfulness as well. Will I (or you) be able to achieve that, always and all of the time? Of course not. But we CAN always come back to it, which leads to the constant, conscious choice of being a "force of kindness." This book's tenets and principles are among those I strive to live by, and as you can see from my review, I enjoyed it very much. You will, too!Four and 1/2 stars.

  • By Lisa Shea on March 9, 2011

    "The Force of Kindness" by Sharon Salzberg is a small format book plus a CD which helps you learn how to develop a loving-kindness meditation practice. It is strongly grounded in Buddhism, so it is definitely helpful to understand the philosophies of Buddhism before you undertake this "how-to" book based on those thoughts.Sharon provides a wealth of tips for us to focus on. Thank someone each day for their help. Notice how the mood of a person you meet affects your own mood. This reminds you how your own actions affect others. Give yourself loving attention without a "I me mine" obsession. Offer yourself remorse so you forgive and use your energy to do better next time. Guilt consumes your energy eternally so you have less energy available to improve and grow.Meditate daily - focus on the good you have done. Imagine a circle of followers supporting you. Again it's not about self-congratulation - it's about encouraging healthy behavior in yourself.Sharon explains how in Buddhist philosophy you imagine a feather curling back from a flame - this is a person pulling back from causing harm when they have empathy. It's not about being self-righteous - it's simply about feeling a natural instinct. This happens when we see people as fellow humans, not as objects who are "in competition for the goodies we want."We have all had times we have mistreated others - in this way we should be able to see how others fall into that situation. We need to remove all "us" vs "them" thoughts in our mind. Meditate on living-kindness thoughts for others. Start with those we love - then those we are neutral towards - then someone who has mildly hurt us. Our anger burns *us*. Keep in mind that it's not that we condone their act or pretend it didn't happen, but we accept it did happen and move on.Sharon reminds us that life is over quickly - we need to make the best of the time we have. Before each meal, reflect on all the various people who made your meal possible.While some might feel ethics are a theoretical mind-pursuit, Sharon instructs us, "ethics are not something to just think about or admire from a distance. They are active in this very moment, in this very thought or urge or decision, and in action we connect to them."The CD with the book is meant to help a person move through the different stages of meditating - focusing on your own health, focusing on the health of others, and so on. I did not find the voice to be very soothing, and there were giant empty gaps where, I suppose, the listener was supposed to "think on their own." Really, though, if I am listening to a meditation CD I am doing it to hear the guidance of the speaker, not to have the CD player for long minutes with no sound at all. I would at least have music or something playing.Overall I found the book had great information and wonderful practical advice. I wish it had been a longer book, with more background - I think some of these concepts may be confusing for people who haven't encountered Buddhism before. Also, I think the CD can use some improvements. While I really loved the book, I wasn't that fond of the CD.Well recommended.


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