Tim Ferriss is not associated or affiliated with PodcastNotes in any way. All notes are independently created by PodcastNotes and do not imply any sponsorship or endorsement by, or affiliation with, Mr. Ferriss.
- Checkout Tim’s Podcast Page
- Sharon is a central figure in the field of meditation
- Co-founder of Insight Meditation Society
- Author of ten books, including her most well known Lovingkindness: The Revolutionary Art Of Happiness
- Newest book – Real Love: The Art Of Mindful Connection
- Sharon’s mother died when she was 9
- Her parents divorced when she was 4
- After her mother died, she lived with her father’s parents, as her father was for the most part out of her life
Her First Encounter With Buddhism and Mindfullness
- As a sophomore in college she took an Asian philosophy course, which introduced her to the subject
- From this class, she learned there is something we can do about this suffering, besides just holding/withstanding it
- “Suffering is a part of life, it’s not just me”
- For an independent study program, she went to India to study meditation
- Before leaving, she went to a talk given by a teacher of Tibetian Buddhisim
- She asked him where in India she should go to study, he said: “I think you had best follow the pretense of accident”
- Have no set plan, allow things to unfold but stay close to your intention
Any advice for someone going into a 10-Day Meditation retreat for the first time?
- Many people are nervous about being silent for that long
- “For once in our lives, we can truly be ourselves”
- The first day and a half is pretty rough
Any advice to Type A personality people who are having trouble meditating?
- It’s impossible to fail at meditation. The question is not, “What is happening?” but “How am I relating to what’s happening?”
- Just be kind to yourself, no matter what’s happening
- Tim – “Don’t judge the session based on how many times you lose focus, the practice itself is how many times you come back to focus”
- “The healing is in the return, not in never having wandered to begin with”
- The secret ingredient is self-compassion and kindness towards yourself
What is the minimum effective dose of meditation?
- Tim has noticed 20 minutes a day, for 5-10 days straight works very well for him, then he can dial back if need be
- 9 minutes a day will cause changes in the brain, but Sharon also recommends 20
- However, do what you can do, just be consistent
- The intensive retreat serves as a tool to deepen confidence and clarity in your practice
How to Meditate
- Start by choosing an object (a mantra/the breath) and settle your attention on it
- Then just be mindful of your emotions, fears, desires, feelings etc.
- “Mindfulness is the basis for insight”
The Loving-Kindness Meditation
- How Tim does this – Just think of two people and wish them to be happy, really put all your thought into it
- This trains us to pay attention differently
- Sharon suggests starting the meditation by radiating loving-kindness towards yourself, then neutral people, then towards people you find it difficult to do this too, then finally all beings everywhere
- People tend to have a bad habit of only seeing the bad things/mistakes we made at the end of the day…this helps us see the good things
- A good analogy – this is attuning your attention to the good/happy. It’s kind of like buying a new car. and then constantly noticing that particular car on the road.
The Word Love
- It’s lost a lot of meaning, as it’s used very often
- In Buddhism – ‘Mettā’ means ‘loving-kindness’
- Love is about connection. The loving kindness meditation is about connecting more deeply to ourselves and others
How to Deal with Anger
- Pause, maybe its better to wait before responding
- Remember your intentions, what is the goal if the interaction?
- Tim – If you’re experimenting with fasting, never email on the second or third day
With meditation – others see the changes in us, before we see the change in ourselves
- Don’t examine the meditation practice itself to quantify progress, look to your life instead
- Tim describes a friend who began taking low does Lithium Orotate (5mg) to reduce anger. Other people noticed the benefits before Tim’s friend himself had.
- For Tim, when he meditates consistently, he is less likely to lash out
How does Sharon think about success?
- A lot of people talk about scaling (effect as many people as possible). Sharon just tries to impact as little as 3 people in an audience of 100.
- Focus on impacting one person at a time.
What challenges is Sharon facing at the moment?
- She says yes to too many things causing her to be tired
- She has trouble taking breaks
How does Sharon deal with being overwhelmed/face dark periods?
- One book she wrote, Faith: Trusting Your Own Deepest Experience, is relevant to this
- In dark times, she looks for connection
- Her mantra – “Do not be frightened if a sadness greater than you’ve ever known before comes up, life has not forgotten you”
- Everybody suffers, it’s part of life, you haven’t been abandoned
- Tim highly recommends Real Love
- Sharon’s parting thought
- Let love be apart of the conversation
- Do the good that’s in front of you, even if it seems very small
- Your problems might seem massive or insermountable, but just do the best you can step by step