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Real Love is an Ability

An Interview with Sharon Salzberg

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Illustration of tree growing from heart

What Love Endures by Peter Sandker

Real love is love that is no longer dependent on another person. Instead, love comes from a sense of inner abundance. It’s the natural overflow from a capacity you’ve developed within.

In her new book, Real Love: The Art of Mindful Connection, the beloved meditation teacher Sharon Salzberg explores love in three sections that begin with the self, expand out to include friends and family, and conclude with all beings, including enemies. Salzberg recently spoke with S&H about her techniques for developing the capacity to love and signposts that tell us when love is flowing through our lives. SM: What is love? Sharon Salzberg: I think of love as a capacity within us to connect and to care, to have a sense of belonging, and to affirm the belonging of others. Love is not the same as liking somebody. Love is not the same as approving of somebody’s actions. Love is this inner sense that our lives have something to do with each another—that we are capable, each one of us, of experiencing this sense of connection.  You’ve described our common understanding of love as being impoverished in some important ways. What do we get wrong about love? The common misunderstanding is that love is a kind of commodity. When we make love a commodity, we put it in the hands of someone else …

Sam Mowe is a writer living in Portland, Oregon. His interviews have also appeared in Tricycle: The Buddhist Review, and The Sun. He is also the editor of Lineages, a publication of the Garrison Institute. Sam is a regular contributor to Spirituality & Health. 


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