Anxiety During Stressful Times | Sharon Salzberg on The Kevin Rose Show

Check out the Episode Page and Show Notes

Key Takeaways

  • People want to be in control of their lives and right now, the pandemic is disrupting that idea and causing a spike in stress levels
  • Fear is inevitable – but don’t be consumed by it, otherwise you live in a distorted way
  • Remember to breathe!
  • Be mindful: Sit and look at your own fear, don’t become obsessed by fear or push it away
  • Try meditation – start with meditating ten minutes a day
  • Try a Meditation app – Happify.com
  • Don’t punish yourself when your thoughts drop into your meditation– there is no fail in mediation!
  • Metta practice is like a stretch for your brain – “It’s a way of paying attention, but differently.” – Sharon Salzberg
  • Don’t let destructive people rob you of your life energy, don’t let them take space in your brain!
  • Loving-kindness (metta) meditation is the opposite of fear– it’s about connection and openness

Books Mentioned

Real Happiness by Sharon Salzberg – a 28-Day Program to Realize the Power of Meditation

Loving Kindness by Sharon Salzberg – The Revolutionary Art of Happiness

Zen Mind Beginner’s Mind by Shunryu Suzuki – informal talks on Zen meditation

Mindfulness  by Joseph Goldstein – a practical guide to awakening

Intro

Sharon Salzberg (@SharonSalzberg) is a New York Times Bestselling author  of Real Happiness and Loving Kindness and teacher of Buddhist meditation practices in the West and has been leading meditation retreats around the world for over three decades. Check out her website.

Host: Kevin Rose

What do you make of theses unusual times?

  • People are being asked to do things to help others – giving up eating out, social distancing – this is compassion in action
  • The coronavirus crisis could bring us together and give us a sense of being at one to meet a challenge
  • There is collaboration between countries

How can people stop fearing Death?

  • Humans fear death – it’s part of our animal consciousness- a natural thing
  • People want to be in control of their lives and right now, the pandemic is disrupting that idea and causing a spike in stress levels
  • Some believe that if they have control over enough things in their lives, they won’t die – but that’s a myth
  • Fear is inevitable – but don’t be consumed by it, otherwise you live in a distorted way

How do you release anxiety and let go?

  • Remember to breathe!
  • Be mindful: Sit and look at your own fear, don’t become obsessed by fear or push it away
  • Observe your fear: what is this?
  • We’re afraid of the unknown, but we’re also afraid of what we think we know – ie someone just coughed on me, I’m going to get sick
  • The Buddhist approach to suffering is that it is a part of life

Where do you begin?

  • Read Real Happiness – Sharon’s book – a 28-day program to realize the power of meditation
  • Have some basic understanding of meditation before you begin
  • Don’t bring habits of self-judgement to your practice
  • Key: You’re not trying to wipe out your thoughts, but to change your relationship with your thoughts
  • Set a structure that’s reasonable – start with meditating ten minutes a day
  • Don’t punish yourself when your thoughts drop into your meditation– there is no fail in meditation!
  • Your thoughts are part of you

What is the Metta Method of Meditation?

  • Metta (means, loving-kindness) is a practice dedicated to deepening a sense of connection to yourself, others and life
  • Repetition of phrases like: may I be happy, may all beings be happy, my all things be peaceful-  is part of metta practice – the phrase becomes the object of your attention
  • The repetitive phrases aren’t exactly like mantras because you know what they mean
  • Through this meditation, participants enter a state of having a lot of tranquility but not a lot of energy, and the repetitive phrases can become garbled as you enter a “zone”
  • Metta practice is like a stretch for your brain – “It’s a way of paying attention, but differently. It brings others into your practice and consciousness” – Sharon Salzberg

How do you do meditate in this way when someone you’ve had a difficult relationship with comes to mind?

  • Don’t start your meditation thinking of a person you have great conflict with
  • Try to feel what it might be like to have compassion for that person but also for yourself – sometimes we realize the relationship can’t be fixed and we grow there
  • Forgiveness is a loaded word as it means different things to different people
    • Forgiveness doesn’t mean amnesia!
  • Don’t let destructive people rob you of your life energy, don’t let them take space in your brain!
  • Soften and release negative feelings by trying to understand the environment that led a person to take actions that you object to

What kind of results can the loving-kindness practice bring?

  • Metta practice can be an antidote to fear
  • With fear, you shrink away, implode, freeze up
  • The loving-kindness meditation is the opposite of fear– it’s about connection and openness
  • Sharon conquered her intense fear of public speaking through loving-kindness meditation
    • “I thought: we’re here together, we’re here together – and something about that energy was very liberating” –Sharon

What did you learn from Ram Dass?

  • His voice was his strength
  • After his stroke, Ram did not hide, even when there were stretches of silence during his public talks
    • His attitude: this is how I am now
  • People asked if he felt old and he said that he only felt old when someone provided the word
  • More than pain, Ram said, the hardest thing to accept is disability because he had to learn to accept help- the result: love flowing in and out

Where are psychedelics going?

  • There’s been encouraging research on the health benefits of psychedelics, particularly effective for end of life care, pain relief and some conditions like PTSD
  • “Yogis have known about the benefits of psychedelics for years. It gets you in the door but you can’t live there” –Sharon

Modern Meditation

  • Try a Meditation app – Happify.com
  • It doesn’t have to be highly tailored to a person for time of day or mood

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Notes By EWerbitsky

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