Excerpt from Elisha Goldstein’s interview with Sharon Salzberg about “How to Get Real Happiness”. Full article is available on http://www.huffingtonpost.com/elisha-goldstein-phd/how-to-get-real-happiness_b_822442.html
Today Sharon talks to us about what Real Happiness is, how she integrates compassion practices into her life, and how an everyday totally stressed out person can start moving to real happiness.
Elisha: The first question that I have is what is real happiness and how do we all get it?
Sharon: (Laughing) Well, actually I think the word “real” stands for something like “durable” or “sustained” or “sustaining” happiness. I think, certainly we get real happiness out of pleasure, and I think that’s a pleasant meal, a pleasant bath with hot water (laughing), you know, and I think we should be quite grateful for opportunities we have to experience pleasure so I don’t want to denigrate those, but clearly they are so fleeting and based on conditions coming together just so, and so what I think we are basically looking for as human beings is a happiness that isn’t going to be so vulnerable to changing conditions. So that’s what I am calling real happiness. We get it, I think, from happy inner resources.
Elisha: Say more about that “happy inner resources.”
Sharon: Well, I describe meditation as one path toward that real happiness as being a kind of skills training, and I think each of those skills helps us access a capacity and nurture a capacity within to be more present and to shape our attention so that it has more clarity and presence and openness and that is a kind of happiness. I talk about it as being a course of skills training in concentration so that we can take what might be our very scattered, distracted, disbursed attention energy and bring it together so that it becomes steadier and more steadfast. We can have skills training in mindfulness so that we are using our attention to perceive something in the present moment. This perception is not so latent by fears or projections into the future, or old habits, and then I can actually stir loving-kindness or compassion in skills training too, which can be sort of provocative, I found.