Real Life: The Journey from Isolation to Openness and Freedom (Hardcover)
Merging the insights of inspiring voices with her own understanding of mindfulness, New York Times bestselling author Sharon Salzberg shows us how we can recover from the emotional effects of crisis.
When confronted with pain and obstacles, we often shrink back and contract out of fear and disappointment. That can become a way of life.
In Real Life, Sharon Salzberg lets us know it doesn’t have to be that way.
When we feel alone, cut off, or trapped, we can let those difficulties steer us onto a path toward an authentic, flourishing life—living in a way that allows us to find the wholeness that lies within. Even when we’re alone, a sense of community can accompany us through the stormy times. Our words, hearts, and actions can line up with a larger vision, rather than the smaller views our anxious, fearful thoughts arouse in us.
To live in a less constricted way—with a more spacious, open sense of possibility, creativity, connection, and joy—Salzberg says we need to get real about what’s most important, to ask ourselves, “What do I most deeply yearn for?” “What would I benefit from letting go of?” “What do I believe is possible for me?”
We accomplish the journey to expansive freedom (Real Life) through developing tools like mindful awareness, friendship, and a greater sense of purpose/aspiration. We learn to:
• take some risks with what we dare to imagine
• take an interest in internal states we might normally try to avoid
• take an interest in people we might normally try to avoid
Real Life is about the journey we make when we decide to live the life that speaks to our innermost longing to live free.
About the Author
Sharon Salzberg is a meditation pioneer, world-renowned teacher, and New York Times bestselling author. She is one of the first to bring mindfulness and lovingkindness meditation to mainstream American culture over 45 years ago, inspiring generations of meditation teachers and wellness influencers. Sharon is co-founder of The Insight Meditation Society in Barre, MA, and the author of twelve books, including the New York Times bestseller, Real Happiness, now in its second edition, and her seminal work, Lovingkindness. Her forthcoming release, Real Life: The Journey from Isolation to Openness and Freedom, is set for release in April of 2023 from Flatiron Books. Her podcast, The Metta Hour, has amassed six million downloads and features interviews with thought leaders from the mindfulness movement and beyond.
"Sharon Salzberg is, to me, a perfect Buddhist teacher, who manages to guide us gently and entertainingly towards peace, awakening, and lovingkindness, where joy is to be found.”
- Anne Lamott, bestselling author of Bird by Bird
“Sharon Salzberg writes from a place filled with love and simplicity. With Real Life, she gives profoundly effective advice about emerging from the dark corners where we find ourselves. Her insights are life-changing.”
- Mary Louise Parker, star of Showtime’s Weeds
“Real Life has the power to revolutionize the way we relate to ourselves and the world.”
— Valarie Kaur, bestselling author of See No Stranger
“Real Life leaves us wiser, encouraged, courageous and tender, more connected to our heart.”
— Jack Kornfield, author of After the Ecstasy and The Laundry
“Sharon is a master at helping us get over ourselves and get out of our heads — so that we can do hard things and generally do life better. This book will help you shed old, unhelpful patterns and escape what David Foster Wallace once called ‘the skull-sized kingdom’. Check it out.”
- Dan Harris, author of 10% Happier
“What a joy to soak in these illuminating ideas and engaging stories of how we each can mice more fully and freely in our challenging times.”
— Daniel J. Siegel, M.D. New York Times best selling author, IntraConnected and Executive Director, Mindsight Institute
“Sharon Salzberg’s Real Life invites us to approach our one, precious life with fullness and courage, without papering over the pain or the challenges. “
- Rabbi Angela W. Buchdahl
“The jewel in the crown of the Real series. This gift of a book is filled with Sharon’s signature style of blending keen observation, profound wisdom, and the easeful confidence of a trusted teacher.”
- Amishi Jha, Ph.D, author of the national bestseller Peak Mind.
“This book will put you in touch with your own deepest wisdom—and help you embody it in your own life.”
— Dr. Scott Barry Kaufman, Host of The Psychology Podcast and author of Transcend
“ Sharon Salzberg is, above all, a master storyteller."
- Catherine Burns, the long-time Artistic Director of The Moth
“Sharon Salzberg shows us how to rebalance ourselves in the face of life’s difficulties, and in so doing, free our minds and hearts to find bliss and wonder.”
– David DeSteno, host of the PRX Podcast How God Works
“Real Life is far more than piercing, fierce instructions for cultivating lovingkindness as a means for our connection. It is also an elegy for the heartache of isolation and pathway to connection..”
– Jerry Colonna, author Reboot: Leadership and the Art of Growing Up.
"Our great suffering is forgetting who we really are, forgetting the possibility for freedom in every moment. Real Life gives us a pathway of remembering. In this inspiring and powerful book we are invited to open to our full potential for wisdom and love, and offered clear, practical guidance for living from that basic goodness."
- Tara Brach, author of Radical Acceptance and Radical Compassion
"This book maps our life-giving journey from isolation to community, from confinement to freedom"
—Parker J. Palmer, author of On the Brink of Everything
"A shout of joy to welcome the hope-filled inner journey of this book!"
—Robert Thurman, Professor Emeritus, Columbia U., author of Wisdom IS Bliss.
Sharon has done it again; Real Life delivers another gem from the person I like to call the “Queen of Loving Kindness”.
—Atman Smith, author of Let Your Light Shine