Lesley welcomes mindfulness pioneer Sharon Salzberg to share her journey and life’s work in meditation.
Thursday, March 27, 2014
On a recent Sunday 40 years later, Salzberg was at Lesley University sharing reflections from her life in meditation and her latest best-selling book “Real Happiness at Work: Meditations for Accomplishment, Achievement, and Peace” (Workingman’s Press, 2013). Washburn Hall on Lesley’s Brattle Campus was packed for the event, a benefit hosted by Lesley on behalf of Cambridge Insight Meditation Center.
“How wonderful to have Sharon at Lesley to share wisdom from her new book,” said Dr. Nancy Waring, and associate professor and director of Mindfulness Studies at Lesley. “And it was doubly wonderful to hear her speak so enthusiastically about our new Mindfulness Master’s Program.”
“When I came back from India, people tended to think meditation was weird,” recalled Salzberg, who co-founded the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Mass., with Goldstein. “You can imagine how excited I am to hear about a master’s degree in mindfulness here at Lesley. What is happening (with mindfulness) is fabulous,” she said, noting the influential science that supports the benefits of mindfulness.
Turning to the topic of real happiness at work, Salzberg offered a gentle challenge: to let go of conventional notions of happiness and think of happiness as “as a reservoir within, a wellspring of resourcefulness inside that we can bring to our lives.”
“Communication is a key factor in our happiness at work,” she said, emphasizing the importance of intention. “Before we speak or send an email, can we ask ourselves what the intention is – to be helpful, to come to resolution? Sometimes I ask myself, ‘Who will it serve?’”
“It is pretty radical to look around the room at a meeting and say to one’s self, “this person wants to be happy too. Then see how the meeting feels,” Salzberg suggested. She noted that in our culture we are taught that if we diminish others, we will feel better about ourselves.
The breath is our anchor, said Salzberg, advising a few breaths before we speak or pick up the phone, and between writing and sending an email. In this day and age, “email apnea” is a common affliction, she noted. “Many of us stop breathing after we read emails.”
Salzberg encouraged coming back to the moment through the breath throughout the work day. “The breath,” she said, “brings us back to our values and our motivations.”
To learn more about mindfulness and Lesley’s Mindfulness Studies programs, read more here.
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