Real Love

The Art of Mindful Connection

by Sharon Salzberg

Excerpts from the book; notes by JFR

I have enjoyed lectures and interviews of Salzberg, however, I do not recommend this particular book to anyone. It seems as if it were written by two different authors: one who is wise and helpful, and one who is caught up in a drama of judgment and codependency.

“You can decide not to be reduced [by the events that happen to you].”

Practice “generosity of the Spirit.”


“…identifying the source of our personal narratives helps us to release its negative aspects and reframe it in ways that promote wholeness.”


“…we must treat our stories with respect, but not allow them to have a strangehold on us, so that we free our mutable present and beckoning future from the past.”


Quote from St. Augustine: “If you are looking for something that is everywhere, you don’t need to travel to get there, you need love.”


our learned stories cause us to “feel” responsible for something, or that we are letting humanity down


“Mindfulness meditation can be a refuge, but it is not a practice in which real life is ever excluded.”


“Once I allowed [sadness] in, I was no longer held captive by it.” (Note: consider the neurolinguistic programming implications of using words like “held captive” and “allowing something in”)


“Our bodies are always in the present moment.:


“Why do we love people? Because they see us.”


Barbara Fredrickson: “When you’re really connecting with somebody else, your heart rhythms come into sync; your biochemistries come into sync. Even your neural firings come into sync.” Micro-moments such as smiling at someone “can have significant health consequences.” (Note: where are opportunities / how to increase opportunities for micro-moments of connection in U.S. culture?)


“…what I wanted from my ex-partner was to fix him and then fall apart and have him fix me. We invest in these relationships with so much of our own personal pain and hopes. But this is deeply unfair to oneself and to the other person.” … Do we believe that we’re at fault because someone we care for is suffering deeply? Do we expect another person to complete or fix us?


“[A loud, long, and free laugh] is an aspect of … generosity in its most outward manifestation.”

Fritz Perls: “Boredom is a lack of attention.”


“The idea of repayment is firmly rooted in a vocabulary of transaction and ultimately doesn’t engender organic reciprocity. We can’t give with the intention to be given back to, to be repaid; rather, we recognize the unpredictable ebb and flow of each person’s emotional needs in any relationship, and don’t seek to control it by establishing a rigid currency for emotional availability. We trust the other person, and the other person trusts us.”


“When we start to look beyond our conditioned responses and recognize that many of our perceived differences are built on social constructs forged in the mind, we clear a pathway to love.”

End-of-chapter reflections

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 13

Chapter 18