Real Happiness by Sharon Salzberg
  • Title: Real Happiness
  • Subtitle: A 28-Day Program to Realize the Power of Meditation
  • Author(s): Sharon Salzberg
  • Publisher: Workman Publishing
  • Year: 2010-12-29
  • ISBN-10: 0761164030
  • ISBN-13: 9780761164036


Real Happiness” by Sharon Salzberg is a compelling guide to the practice of meditation for beginners and experienced practitioners alike. With a focus on cultivating mindfulness and finding inner peace, Salzberg offers practical techniques and exercises to help readers understand and apply meditation in their daily lives. The book explores the various benefits of meditation, including reducing stress, improving focus, and enhancing overall well-being. Drawing from her own personal experiences and decades of teaching meditation, Salzberg provides clear and accessible instructions to guide readers through different meditation practices, including lovingkindness and compassion meditation. With its insightful and down-to-earth approach, “Real Happiness” serves as a valuable resource for those looking to navigate the path towards spiritual growth and inner fulfillment.

Salzberg’s “Real Happiness” is not just a typical self-help book; it is a profoundly transformative journey that encourages readers to cultivate a deep sense of self-awareness and compassion. The book’s strength lies in the author’s ability to demystify meditation, making it accessible and relevant to readers from all walks of life. Salzberg’s warm and engaging writing style creates a sense of intimacy and connection, making it easy to relate to her experiences and insights. The book also includes a 28-day meditation program, guiding readers step-by-step to establish a regular meditation practice. From addressing common challenges to offering practical advice, “Real Happiness” is an invaluable tool for anyone seeking mindfulness, peace, and contentment in an increasingly busy and chaotic world.

Book Review

A Journey to Inner Peace and Fulfillment: A Review of "Real Happiness" by Sharon Salzberg

In “Real Happiness,” meditation teacher Sharon Salzberg invites readers on a transformative journey towards self-discovery and inner growth. Filled with practical teachings, personal anecdotes, and guided meditation exercises, Salzberg provides a comprehensive roadmap for individuals seeking mindfulness, peace, and contentment in their lives.

One of the book’s strengths is Salzberg’s ability to demystify meditation, making it accessible and applicable to readers from all backgrounds. She highlights that meditation is not about escaping or avoiding reality, but rather about fully embracing the present moment and developing a deep sense of self-awareness. Through her clear and engaging writing style, Salzberg brings to life the power of mindfulness in everyday life.

Salzberg introduces different meditation practices, allowing readers to experiment and find what resonates with them. For instance, lovingkindness meditation is explored as a powerful tool to cultivate compassion, both towards oneself and others. Salzberg recounts her own journey of discovering lovingkindness practice and how it has transformed her relationship with herself and the world around her. By sharing personal stories and experiences, she creates a genuine connection with readers, offering inspiration and encouragement throughout the book.

Throughout “Real Happiness,” Salzberg emphasizes the importance of bringing mindfulness into daily activities. She reminds readers that meditation is not limited to sitting in silence on a cushion but can also be integrated into ordinary moments. Salzberg shares a powerful example of an encounter with a rude customer service representative. Rather than reacting with frustration and anger, she uses the situation as an opportunity to practice mindfulness and respond with kindness. Her knack for sharing real-life examples demonstrates the practicality and effectiveness of meditation in cultivating inner peace amid life’s challenges.

The book delves into the misconceptions and common obstacles that individuals often encounter when starting or maintaining a meditation practice. Salzberg addresses the resistance that arises when faced with thoughts and emotions during meditation, offering guidance on how to navigate such experiences with compassion. She emphasizes that meditation is not about achieving a blank mind but rather creating a space in which we can observe our thoughts and feelings without judgment. By reframing these perceived challenges as natural aspects of the practice, Salzberg empowers readers to embrace them as opportunities for growth and deeper understanding.

Central to “Real Happiness” is the 28-day meditation program designed to assist readers in establishing a consistent meditation practice. Each day presents a different meditation technique, building upon the previous day’s practice. Salzberg’s step-by-step instructions are clear and easy to follow, providing structure and guidance for beginners. Through daily reflections and exercises, readers are encouraged to explore their thoughts, emotions, and sensations with curiosity and acceptance. This structured program allows individuals to gradually develop their meditation skills, enhancing their ability to stay present and maintain mindfulness beyond the initial 28 days.

In addition to the wealth of insights and guidance, “Real Happiness” also serves as a reminder of the power of community and connection. Salzberg shares stories of her interactions with students, illustrating the profound impact that group meditation can have on individuals. She emphasizes the importance of coming together to support one another in the practice, highlighting the shared journey towards a more meaningful and fulfilling life.

In conclusion, “Real Happiness” is an exceptional resource for those seeking to embark on a journey of self-discovery and mindfulness. Sharon Salzberg’s skillful combination of personal experiences, practical teachings, and guided meditation exercises creates an authentic and transformative reading experience. By dispelling misconceptions, providing step-by-step guidance, and fostering a sense of community, Salzberg empowers readers to cultivate inner peace and find their own path to real happiness. This book is a beacon of inspiration for anyone looking to integrate meditation into their daily lives and unlock the transformative potential within.

Word Count: 661

Key Ideas

Real Happiness” by Sharon Salzberg is a guide to the practice of meditation and mindfulness, offering practical tools and insights for cultivating a deeper sense of well-being and inner peace. Here are some key ideas from the book:

  1. Introduction to Meditation The book introduces readers to the practice of meditation as a means to cultivate mindfulness, reduce stress, and promote emotional balance. It emphasizes that meditation is a skill that can be developed with practice and patience.

  2. Mindfulness Meditation “Real Happiness” focuses on mindfulness meditation, which involves paying attention to the present moment without judgment. The book explains how mindfulness can help individuals become more aware of their thoughts, emotions, and sensations.

  3. Benefits of Meditation The book highlights the numerous benefits of meditation, both for mental and physical well-being. It explores how meditation can improve concentration, reduce anxiety, increase self-awareness, and enhance overall quality of life.

  4. Mindfulness in Daily Life The book encourages readers to integrate mindfulness into everyday activities, transforming mundane moments into opportunities for presence and awareness. It discusses how mindfulness can be applied to eating, walking, and other routine actions.

  5. Developing Loving-Kindness One of the central themes is the practice of loving-kindness (metta) meditation. The book guides readers in cultivating feelings of compassion and goodwill towards themselves and others, leading to a greater sense of connection and empathy.

  6. Dealing with Challenges The book addresses how meditation can help individuals navigate life’s challenges and difficulties. It provides insights on managing stress, dealing with negative emotions, and finding a sense of calm amid life’s ups and downs.

  7. Cultivating Inner Peace “Real Happiness” emphasizes that meditation is a means to connect with a deeper sense of inner peace that is always present, even in the midst of chaos. It encourages readers to tap into this inner reservoir of tranquility.

  8. Practical Meditation Techniques The book offers a range of meditation techniques and guided practices, making it accessible for both beginners and experienced meditators. It covers breath awareness, body scan, loving-kindness meditation, and more.

  9. Mindful Breathing The practice of mindful breathing is a central focus. The book explains how paying attention to the breath can serve as an anchor for mindfulness, helping individuals stay present and centered.

  10. Scientific Research “Real Happiness” discusses scientific studies and research that support the positive effects of meditation on the brain and overall well-being. It provides a balanced perspective by combining traditional teachings with modern insights.

  11. Personal Transformation The book emphasizes that meditation is a journey of personal transformation and self-discovery. It encourages readers to approach their practice with openness, curiosity, and a nonjudgmental attitude.

  12. Guidance for Retreats For those interested in more intensive practice, the book offers guidance on meditation retreats and how to deepen one’s practice over time.

In essence, “Real Happiness” guides readers on a journey to discover the transformative power of meditation and mindfulness. It emphasizes that real happiness is not dependent on external circumstances but can be cultivated from within through regular practice. The book provides practical tools, insights, and techniques to help individuals experience greater clarity, presence, and well-being in their lives.

Target Audience

The book “Real Happiness” by Sharon Salzberg is targeted at a diverse audience interested in mindfulness, meditation, and personal growth. It is recommended reading for the following audiences:

  • Beginners and Novice Meditators Salzberg’s accessible writing style and clear instructions make this book an excellent starting point for those new to meditation. She breaks down complex concepts in a relatable manner, guiding readers through different meditation techniques and providing practical tips to establish a regular practice.

  • Individuals Seeking Inner Peace and Emotional Well-being “Real Happiness” offers a roadmap to cultivate mindfulness and achieve greater emotional well-being. Salzberg explores the benefits of meditation, such as reducing stress, improving focus, and enhancing overall happiness. Readers looking to find balance and tranquility in their lives will find this book invaluable.

  • Spiritual Seekers For those on a spiritual journey, “Real Happiness” provides a foundation for self-discovery and deeper connection. Salzberg’s teachings draw from various contemplative traditions, offering insight and practices to explore one’s inner landscape. The book encourages readers to develop qualities of compassion, love, and gratitude, fostering a spiritual path of growth and transformation.

  • Individuals Interested in Neuroscience and Psychology “Real Happiness” delves into the science behind meditation, exploring how it positively impacts the brain and emotional well-being. It provides research-backed evidence that supports the effectiveness of meditative practices and offers an understanding of the neurological changes that occur during meditation.

  • Anyone Seeking Practical Guidance for Daily Life Salzberg’s emphasis on bringing mindfulness into everyday activities makes this book highly suitable for readers seeking to integrate mindfulness into their day-to-day lives. Whether it’s navigating stressful situations, enhancing relationships, or finding joy in simple moments, “Real Happiness” provides practical insights and strategies for finding inner peace amidst the challenges of modern life.

In conclusion, “Real Happiness” is recommended reading for individuals who are interested in mindfulness, meditation, and personal growth. Whether you are new to meditation, seeking emotional well-being, exploring spirituality, intrigued by the science behind meditation, or simply looking to enhance your daily life, Sharon Salzberg’s “Real Happiness” offers an accessible and comprehensive guide to mindfulness and inner fulfillment.