Real Change | Sharon Salzberg

Summary of: Real Change: Mindfulness to Heal Ourselves and the World
By: Sharon Salzberg


Dive into the transformative world of mindfulness and discover how it can empower you to fight for a better world in Sharon Salzberg’s ‘Real Change: Mindfulness to Heal Ourselves and the World’. This summary highlights the power of mindfulness practices such as meditation and lovingkindness, in helping individuals build resilience and engage in long-lasting activism. Explore heartwarming stories and inspirational figures that show the power of agency and interconnectedness, and learn how facing negative emotions can reveal your inner strength. Embrace introspection to overcome cognitive biases and find balance through equanimity, ultimately empowering yourself to make impactful, lasting changes to the world around you.

Mindfulness for Resilience

Surviving a traumatic event can be challenging and debilitating. However, with mindfulness, individuals can harness the strength to fight for a better world. This was the case for Sari Kaufman, a fleeing victim of a school shooting. Amidst the trauma, she found the resilience to fight against gun violence and promote change. Mindfulness meditation can provide crucial support in building mental resilience, enabling individuals to clearly picture their goals and recover from setbacks. Instead of disconnecting from reality, meditation forms a foundation for tackling long-term struggles, including political activism. Mindfulness helps in building a positive outlook, enabling individuals to focus on actions like building community and finding connections with others. Anyone can start practicing mindfulness by focusing on their breath and observation of body sensations. Mindfulness meditation is an essential tool that can improve resilience, positivity, and strength in challenging situations, leaving individuals with the energy to tackle long-term struggles.

The Statue of Liberty’s Message

The Statue of Liberty’s symbolism is often overlooked, but her raised foot symbolizes the importance of taking action. Embracing the full power of our agency can lead to real change in the world. Ady Barkan’s advocacy for accessible healthcare is an example of this. Though obstacles like fear and social prejudices may hold us back, everyone has something to offer. The Recovery Café shows how collaboration and support can build agency and lead to thriving communities.

Transforming Pain Into Power

The book emphasizes on embracing negative emotions to reveal inner strength, focusing on the concept of resilience. Examples of a soldier with PTSD, a couple facing a divorce, and an environmental activist witnessing polar ice caps melting, help understand how to overcome loss. The book encourages acceptance and understanding of pain through the practice of loving-kindness meditation. By embracing pain, one can learn to deal with hardships in healthy ways, gain control over their symptoms, and understand their body functions.

The Importance of Self-Care for Activists

In the book, the author emphasizes the significance of self-care for individuals engaged in activism, care work, or other service-oriented pursuits. Such callings demand exceptional commitment and devotion, but striving to give one’s 100% all the time may lead to burnout. Thus, it’s crucial to take periodic breaks, rest, and engage in activities that rejuvenate the body and mind. Myles Horton, for instance, found solace in nature, while Shantel Walker enjoys long bike rides to blow off steam. Joyful activities like singing and dancing can also gladden the mind and boost productivity. The author encourages readers to build a coping bank by prioritizing self-care to sustain long-term success.

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