A Heart As Wide As the World
by Sharon Salzberg
Salzberg's writing style makes this an easy, enjoyable, and eye-opening read. She shares her experiences of interacting with many of her students in her classes based in Buddhism. For example, she states that many of her students regard the four brahma-vibaras, or "Heavenly Abodes", of livingkindness, compassion, sympathetic joy, and equanimity as weakness, as a vulnerability that allows others to abuse and hurt them. Salzberg writes to impart her understanding that these qualities and practices are a source of acknowledging and cultivating our profound connection with life. Her book is in 3 parts: the Spirit of Meditation, The Practice of Transformation, and Living with Wisdom & Compassion.
In her "Truth Telling" story, she addresses the shadow side of being spiritual. In our aspirations to be "someone spiritual" we can block the Truth about how we are really feeling. She shares the story of a woman in trouble in the water as her boat is temporarily pulled way from her by a squall. Her companions that are in the water with her ask her to think about how she would want to feel if these were her actual last moments of life. They were appealing to her spiritual understanding and practice as a way to calm her. Paying careful attention to how she was feeling, she exclaimed, "What I want right now is that boat!!" It is important to openly acknowledge what is actually happening in any moment so that we can be sincere and authentic in love and compassion.
I enjoyed reading the book very much.
Book Review by Sanna Rose, RScP
A Heart As Wide As the World is available at Stepping Stones Books and Gifts