Sharon Salzberg’s new book, Real Happiness, shows us that meditation practice is far simpler, more fun, less esoteric and much more relevant to the wide-ranging situations we encounter in everyday life than we might imagine. Rather than an ornate, arcane set of instructions, meditation consists of practical, accessible tools to help deepen concentration, mindfulness, lovingkindness and compassion. We rely on these qualities when things change though we would much prefer stability, when we feel out of control of events, and above all when we want a quality of happiness that is not so fragile, so dependent on shifting conditions.
Real Happiness guides us through the basics of posture, breathing, and a daily schedule as well as the finer points of calming the mind, distraction, dealing with specific problem areas (pain in the legs? falling asleep?) and the larger issues of compassion and awareness. It explains how meditation works; why a daily meditation practice results in more resiliency, creativity, peace, clarity, and balance; and offers twelve meditation practices, including mindfulness meditation, lovingkindness meditation and walking meditation.