The Anxiety of Happiness

sharon-salzbergHis life is a pursuit of a pursuit forever. / It is the future that creates his present. / All is an interminable chain of longing.
–Robert Frost.
I’ve long thought that in this section of his poem, “Escapist–Never,” Robert Frost captures a lot of what contemplative traditions describe as craving, a source of great suffering.

The Pharmacy of Desire

wendy-farleyAn American success story: A college graduate gets a good job and marries. The couple drives a beautiful car, a consolation for their terrible commute. Work pays well but requires callous decisions. Expensive vacations and a lovely home recompense for the sacrifice not only of time, but also of ideals. Contentment, however, remains elusive; an underlying anger burns. The additional cocktail flames the anger into vindicating rage. Marriage lapses into emptiness; children become strangers; affairs end unpleasantly…

The Craving Cycle

Artwork by Greg DunnImages by Greg Dunn  About 25 years after quitting drugs, I decided to write a book about the experience of addiction and the brain processes underlying it. Around my desk I stacked 20 volumes of personal notes from my mid- to late 20s. They told, in relentless detail, of my growing attachment to opiates, periods […]

Your Brain on Meditation

brewer2A new technology allows researchers to see the contemplative brain in real time—and uncover insights on everything from contentment to effort to distraction. We’ve all read or heard about scientific studies linking meditation to brain activity. These can be helpful in many ways. Maybe they help give us a little boost of motivation when we […]