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The Rubin Museum of Art presents a weekly meditation session led by a prominent meditation teacher from the New York area, with each session focusing on a specific work of art. This podcast is recorded in front of a live audience, and includes an opening talk, a 20-minute sitting session, and a closing discussion. The guided meditation begins at 14:43.

If you would like to attend Mindfulness Meditation sessions in person or learn more, please visit our website at

This program is supported with thanks to our presenting partners Sharon Salzberg, the Interdependence Project and Parabola Magazine.

Theme: Hope

What does it mean to hope? Inspired by Ganesha, a playful deity who is known as the remover of obstacles, Sharon Salzberg tells us that hope is “the willingness to take a risk,” and “not dismissing out of hand something when we haven’t tried it for ourselves.”

Related Artwork
Ganesha; Nepal; 17th century; copper alloy; Rubin Museum of Art; C2004.22.2 (HAR 65369)
Ganesha; Nepal; 17th century; copper alloy; Rubin Museum of Art; C2004.22.2 (HAR 65369

This Week’s Work of Art

Ganesh (also known as Ganesha), the Lord of Good Fortune, provides prosperity and success. As the Lord of Beginnings and the Remover of Obstacles, both material and spiritual, he also places obstacles in the path of those who need to be checked. Revered by people throughout India, regardless of their social caste or spiritual affiliation, Ganesh is often invoked before the undertaking of important tasks. Ganesh is also associated with the first chakra, or energy wheel, which underpins all of the other chakras and represents conservation, survival, and material well-being. He is considered to be a patron of the arts, sciences, and letters. Devotees believe that if Ganesh is worshiped, he grants success, prosperity, and protection against adversity. In a lesser known role, Ganesh is also the destroyer of vanity, selfishness, and pride. As such, it is clear why so many people look to this beloved figure with hope.

About the Speaker

Sharon Salzberg, cofounder of the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts, has guided meditation retreats worldwide since 1974. Sharon’s latest books are Real Love: The Art of Mindful Connections and Real Happiness at Work: Meditations for Accomplishment, Achievement, and Peace. She is a weekly columnist for On Being, a regular contributor to The Huffington Post, and the author of several other books including the New York Times best-seller Real Happiness: The Power of Meditation, Faith: Trusting Your Own Deepest Experience, and Lovingkindness: The Revolutionary Art of Happiness. Sharon has been a regular participant in the Rubin’s many on-stage conversations.