Welcome to Real Love
Welcome to Real Love!
Sharon outlines what we can expect to learn together as we explore Real Love.
"I'm so looking forward to exploring real love together with you—the power of it, the mystery of it, and the obstacles we sometimes face in trying to cultivate it."
Welcome to Real Love
Join beloved meditation teacher Sharon Salzberg for an exploration of Real Love. Far from being an idealistic, sentimental, or romantic emotion, genuine love is an ability and capacity within us—an inner resource we can grow. Drawing from timeless Buddhist wisdom and lovingkindness practice, we'll train in cultivating unconditional love for ourselves, those close to us, and ultimately for all beings.
We are told many stories about love. Our culture tells us that romantic love will make us happy. Advertisers imply that certain products will make us feel content. We’re conditioned to believe that we will finally be loveable once we’ve achieved certain goals or when our projects of self-improvement come to fruition. What if we could let go of these stories? What would it be like to love ourselves for who we are and to extend that love to those around us? And what if we were to extend unconditional love to all beings?
In this online course, Sharon Salzberg shows us how we can deconstruct the myths that keep us from authentic love.
The course is divided into six units but you are invited to study at your own pace. Each lesson will offer roughly one hour of material to work with, including video teachings, prompts for reflection, optional quizzes, and a communal discussion board. There will also be suggested take-home practices, including guided meditations, for you to explore.
Unit 1 | Recognizing the Importance of Self-Love
We start with ourselves because we are worthy of love and because self-sufficiency supports us in sustaining love for others. We don't have to be totally at peace with ourselves to start loving others, however. We can start from where we are.
Unit 2 | Working with the Inner Critic
Perfectionism and self-criticism will not help us to grow or make us happy. Sharon shows how mindfulness allows us to question stories and assumptions from the past. We'll practice being kind to ourselves in meditation and learn to recognize the inner critic.
Unit 3 | Finding Authenticity and Balance
We shift to exploring love in relationship to others. Real love is not dramatic, romantic love. It is being part of something beyond ourselves. We'll explore the balancing point between our needs and the needs of others and learn about the benefits of joy for others' good fortune and forgiveness of their mistakes.
Unit 4 | Communicating with Others
Even when we are close to another person, there is always a space between us. We can respect these boundaries and at the same time be curious and willing to listen. This fosters openness and receptivity. Can we see others from a different perspective? Who are they outside of the ways in which we usually relate to them?
Unit 5 | Loving All Beings
We expand our exploration of real love to include those at the periphery of our lives. We can move beyond the barriers of race, class, religion, gender identity, and sexuality while respecting difference. We'll practice stretching our capacity for lovingkindness and compassion by offering a real love that's truly inclusive.
Unit 6 | Saying Yes to Life
The practice of lovingkindness doesn't make us pushovers. It makes us stronger, more sincere versions of ourselves. Big or small kindnesses we do for others improve our own lives. We step out of self-preoccupation and become connected to something larger. There is a sense of interconnection and embeddedness in both the everyday and the universal.