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Inner eye series

Understanding Mindfulness with Sharon Salzberg

In this Inner Eye Series, we spoke to world-renowned mindfulness expert and best-selling author, Sharon Salzberg.

In this Inner Eye Series, we spoke to world-renowned mindfulness expert and best-selling author, Sharon Salzberg.

With 45 years of living, breathing, teaching, and embodying mindfulness, we couldn’t think of a better person than Sharon to bring mindfulness experiences to Maloka and help us understand what mindfulness is all about. 

The meaning of mindfulness

Mindfulness is having the space to experience ourselves, our thoughts, sensations and emotions, without getting swept away by them. It is witnessing them and acknowledging their presence, it is not eliminating them, which is a common misconception. Sharon loves this particular quote on mindfulness: “mindfulness is paying extra-ordinary attention to ordinary experiences.”

By training our brains to pause and notice the experiences within and around us, we insert a pause period between an event and our reaction to that event. During this pause, we have the opportunity to process our otherwise thoughtless, maybe negative reactions (triggers, negative spirals, anger, self-sabotage) into mindful responses. This pause could save our relationship with ourselves and with others. 

The beautiful irony of mindfulness, a solitary and internal practice, is that it actually produces more connection with others. By embodying a more present and less reactive person, one is able to connect with others more. By grounding yourself and being centered in who you truly are, you create the space for yourself to know how you can show up in the world. The ripple effect of more humans becoming more mindful is the getaway to real change in the world. 

Practicing "loving-kindness"

Meditation holds the key to this gateway. The more we practice it, our brains rewire to process situations with pauses more effortlessly . We become active participants in our own lives, and are less controlled by our subconscious ways of operating. We gain awareness of who we truly are aka self-awareness.

Sharon bases many of her teachings around “loving-kindness”, which is the mindful practice of empathy, understanding, and being kind to others without judgment. The meditation is centered around a silent repetition of phrases like “May I be full of loving kindness” which remind one that we have the choice to act with kindness always, no matter what the situation. 

She recommends taking 10-15 mins a day of mindful meditation and no particular place or setting is necessary. You can get right into it anytime, anywhere you can. There is no one size fits all. All you need is the intention to be mindful. And remember, you don’t have to be a monk or a saint to practice mindfulness. 

We are honored to have Sharon as our partner in mindfulness. Check out her Mindful Awareness and Mindful Embodiment Programs on Maloka. Learn more about her on her website and instagram