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Quotes by Sharon Salzberg

  1. “Life is like an ever-shifting kaleidoscope – a slight change, and all patterns alter.”
  2. “Any ordinary favor we do for someone or any compassionate reaching out may seem to be going nowhere at first, but may be planting a seed we can’t see right now. Sometimes we need to just do the best we can and then trust in an unfolding we can’t design or ordain.”
  3. “By prizing heartfulness above faultlessness, we may reap more from our effort because we’re more likely to be changed by it.”
  4. “Each decision we make, each action we take, is born out of an intention.”
  5. “As I go through all kinds of feelings and experiences in my journey through life — delight, surprise, chagrin, dismay — I hold this question as a guiding light: “What do I really need right now to be happy?” What I come to over and over again is that only qualities as vast and deep as love, connection and kindness will really make me happy in any sort of enduring way.”
  6. “If we fall, we don’t need self-recrimination or blame or anger – we need a reawakening of our intention and a willingness to recommit, to be whole-hearted once again.”
  7. “Often we can achieve an even better result when we stumble yet are willing to start over, when we don’t give up after a mistake, when something doesn’t come easily but we throw ourselves into trying, when we’re not afraid to appear less than perfectly polished.”
  8. “We learn and grow and are transformed not so much by what we do but by why and how we do it.”
  9. “We can travel a long way and do many things, but our deepest happiness is not born from accumulating new experiences. it is born from letting go of what is unnecessary, and knowing ourselves to be always at home.”
  10. “We practice generosity with others and with ourselves, over and over again, and the power of it begins to grow until it becomes almost like a waterfall, a flow. We practice kindness with others and ourselves, over and over again, and this is who we become, this is what feels most natural.”
  11. “Through paying attention we learn that even when we don’t especially know or like someone, we are nonetheless in relationship to them. We come to realize that this relatedness is in itself like a vibrant, changing, living entity. We discover the gift of caring, of tending to this force of life that exists between us, and we are immeasurably enriched by that.”
  12. “If, in times of suffering, we can still recognize the ties we have to others — that we all are vulnerable to pain and loss, whatever our present circumstances are, that we are still held by the flow of life itself even in our unhappiness, that in truth we are not cut off and alone — this power of connection awakens our love and the motivating force of kindness.”
  13. “Loving kindness for those we find difficult is not about forsaking oneself, or acting as if everything is nice and everything that has ever happened is just fine — very likely, a lot of it is not fine at all. But, out of compassion for ourselves and out of real respect for what we are capable of in terms of a boundless heart, we practice.”
  14. “Sometimes kindness takes the form of stepping aside, letting go of our need to be right, and just being happy for someone.”
  15. “Rigidly categorizing those we encounter as good or bad or perfect or beneath contempt helps us feel secure. But if we look around, we realize that relating in that way doesn’t allow us to really connect to anyone, and we actually feel terribly alone”
  16. “Compassion is the trembling or the quivering of the heart in response to suffering. Equanimity is a spacious stillness that can accept things as they are. The balance of compassion and equanimity allows us to care, and yet not get overwhelmed and unable to cope because of that caring.”
  17. “We can imagine a world based on love instead of hate; we can beckon a day where our own happiness and the happiness of others are seen as one, through the power of kindness. Holding this immense vision, we center our attention in the step-by-step work of making it real.”
  18. “Throughout our lives we long to love ourselves more deeply and to feel connected with others. Instead, we often contract, fear intimacy, and suffer a bewildering sense of separation. We crave love, and yet we are lonely. Our delusion of being separate from one another, of being apart from all that is around us, gives rise to all of this pain.”
  19. “It doesn’t matter how long we may have been stuck in a sense of our limitations. If we go into a darkened room and turn on the light, it doesn’t matter if the room has been dark for a day, a week, or ten thousand years — we turn on the light and it is illuminated. Once we control our capacity for love and happiness, the light has been turned on.”
  20. “With our actions every day, and by being our truest self, we are a conduit of possibility for others. Just by living the best lives we can, the kindest, the most compassionate, we have done something to sustain and illuminate a path to freedom.”
  21. “We have an incredible capacity to wake up, to move through hesitations and patterns of withdrawal, to reach out to others and allow them to reach out to us. We have the ability to remember kindness as the genuine force of happiness that it is, no matter what circumstance we find ourselves in.”
  22. “It takes boldness, even audacity, to step out of our habitual patterns and experiment with a quality like kindness — to work with it and see just how it might shift and open up our lives.”
  23. “Balance seems to be the key to a life of kindness, a life that sustains our own flourishing alongside whatever contribution we can make to the well-being of others. We need to have a healthy sense of boundaries. We need to remember self-care and the power of joy.”
  24. “As an ability, love is always there as a potential, ready to flourish and help our lives flourish. As we go up and down in life, as we acquire or lose, as we are showered with praise or unfairly blamed, always within there is the ability of love, recognized or not, given life or not.”
  25. “Compassion allows us to use our own pain and the pain of others as a vehicle for connection. This is a delicate and profound path.”
  26. “Vulnerability in the face of constant change is what we share, whatever our present condition. If we remember that even people who have more than us suffer, we will feel closer to them.”
  27. “The realization that we are all capable of so much is essential to our development in any endeavor, in our flourishing as full human beings. This calling forth of confident effort is the teaching of personal empowerment, of faith in ourselves.”


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