The One You Feed

Brian Tom O'Connor Full


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This week we talk to Brian Tom O'Connor

Brian Tom O’Connor is an actor, theatre director, cabaret performer, and formerly depressed guy who stumbled onto the source of joy and happiness in the background of all experience. 

In This Interview, Brian Tom O'Connor and I Discuss...

  • The One You Feed parable
  • His new book, Awareness Games: Playing with Your Mind to Create Joy
  • Real reality vs Virtual reality
  • Why games are a more effective approach than questions to exploring awareness
  • The fact that you don't have to believe anything to play a game
  • That trying to reproduce an experience isn't doable
  • That trying to get rid of an unpleasant feeling isn't doable
  • That the mind is an excellent servant but a poor master
  • The power of noticing "the whiteboard itself" rather than what's written on it
  • The three basic questions: What's in awareness now? What is awareness? Who/what is aware?
  • The Future Fishing game
  • The Past Catching game
  • The game, Slippery Mind
  • That awareness games can be a good break from a serious meditation practice
  • The benefit of allowing emotions to flow through you
  • The game, Include Include Include
Direct download: Brian_OConner_Final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:01pm EST

Emily Esfahani Smith Full The One You Feed

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This week we talk to Emily Esfahani Smith

Emily Esfahani Smith is the author of The Power of Meaning: Crafting a Life That Matters

She graduated from Dartmouth College and earned a master of applied positive psychology from the University of Pennsylvania.

She writes about psychology, culture, and relationships. Her writing has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times,TimeThe Atlantic, and other publications. Emily is also a columnist for The New Criterion, as well as an editor at the Stanford University's Hoover Institution,


In This Interview, Emily Esfahani Smith and I Discuss...

  • The One You Feed parable
  • Her new book: The Power of Meaning: Crafting a Life That Matters
  • The difference between happiness and meaning
  • That the defining feature of a meaningful life is connecting and contributing to something that lies beyond the self
  • The three criteria of a meaningful life: feeling that one's life is significant in some way, feeling that one's life is driven by a sense of purpose and feeling that one's life is coherent
  • That human beings are meaning-seeking creatures
  • That there's more to life than feeling happy
  • That our current culture doesn't emphasize meaning and purpose
  • Victor Frankel's important work related to the role of meaning in our lives
  • The role of meaning when facing adversity
  • That responsibility and duty are wellsprings of meaning
  • That the wellsprings of meaning are all around us
  • The four pillars of a meaningful life: Belonging, Purpose, Storytelling, and Transcendence
  • The wisdom in what George Eliot has to say about the people that keep the world going in small yet indispensable ways: that the goodness of the world is dependent on their unhistoric acts
  • What kind of relationships lead to a sense of belonging
  • That purpose can come in all shapes and sizes
  • That reflecting on the story of your life can lead to a greater sense of meaning in your life
  • The two different types of storytelling
  • That transcendent experiences are crucial to having a greater sense of meaning in life
  • The good news about what's happening to us as a species


Direct download: EmilyEsfahaniSmithFinal.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:48pm EST

Koshin Paley Ellison- Full- The One You Feed 


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This week we talk to Koshin Paley Ellison

Sensei Koshin Paley Ellison, cofounded the New York Zen Center for Contemplative Care,  which delivers contemplative approaches to care through education, direct service, and meditation practice. 

Koshin is the co-editor of Awake at the Bedside: Contemplative Teachings on Palliative and End of Life Care . He received his clinical training at Mount Sinai Beth Israel Medical Center and the Jungian Psychoanalytic Association. He began is formal Zen training in 1987. He is a senior Zen monk, Soto Zen teacher, ACPE supervisor, and Jungian psychotherapist.


In This Interview, Koshin Paley Ellison and I Discuss...

  • The One You Feed parable
  • His new book: Awake at the Bedside: Contemplative Teachings on Palliative and End of Life Care
  • The influence of his grandmother on his life and his work
  • The story that changed his life forever
  • That to truly love someone means to love all of the parts of them, even the ones you don't understand or like
  • The importance of asking "where am I contracting away from things around me?"
  • How we get into trouble because of our aversion
  • The power of asking "I'm so curious about why you are angry?"
  • Learning how to feel the feeling without becoming the feeling
  • How his job is not to change people but to be with people
  • That it's difficult for someone to move until their cry has been fully heard and received
  • The healing connection with other people
  • That dying people reflect on how well they loved and who loved them in their lives
  • The recipe of resiliency: Including ourselves in how we care, the importance of community and having a contemplative practice with a group
  • The relationship between having a contemplative practice and caring for the dying
  • Learning how to give and receive freely = generosity
  • To show up with beginners mind, to bear witness and identifying the loving action are the three important teachings for service
  • Operationalized meditation



Direct download: Koshin_Paley_Ellison.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:11pm EST

Rick Hanson- The One You Feed


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This week we talk to Dr. Rick Hanson about hardwiring happiness into our brain

Rick Hanson, Ph.D., is a neuropsychologist and author of Hardwiring Happiness: The New Brain Science of Contentment, Calm, and Confidence as well as Buddha's Brain: The Practical Neuroscience of Happiness, Love  and Wisdom and Just One Thing: Developing a Buddha Brain One Simple Practice at a Time.

He is the Founder of the Wellspring Institute for Neuroscience and Contemplative Wisdom and an Affiliate of the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley, he's been an invited speaker at Oxford, Stanford, and Harvard, and taught in meditation centers worldwide.

An authority on self-directed neuroplasticity, Dr. Hanson's work has been featured on the BBC, NPR, CBC, Fox Business, Consumer Reports Health, U.S. News and World Report, and O Magazine, and his articles have appeared in Tricycle Magazine, Insight Journal, and Inquiring Mind.

In This Interview Rick and I Discuss...

  • The One You Feed parable.
  • His latest book: Hardwiring Happiness: The New Brain Science of Contentment, Calm, and Confidence.
  • That feeding the good wolf is a daily habit.
  • How it's our responsibility to feed our good wolf- no one can do it for us.
  • How frequently our brain changes.
  • Experience-dependent neuroplasticity.
  • That our brains are like velcro for the bad and Teflon for the good.
  • Deciding what we cultivate and what do you restrain.
  • The human tendency to overlearn from our bad experiences and under learn from our good ones.
  • Learning to "install" our beneficial experiences.
  • His practice of "taking in the good".
  • The difference between positive thinking and taking in the good.
  • The benefits of realistic thinking over positive thinking.
  • Moving positive memories into longer term memory.
  • How neurons that fire together wire together.
  • Ways to deepen our experiences: Duration, Intensity, Multimodality, Novelty and Salience.
  • The fundamental neuropsychology of learning,
  • Taking on the good in four words: Have it, Enjoy It.
  • How self hate and harshness are not motivating in the long term.
  • Being numb from the neck down.
  • The three-step way to working with negative emotions.
  • The analogy of a garden for how we tend to our minds: Be with the Garden, Pull the Weeds, Plan Flowers.





Direct download: Rick_Hanson_2.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:30pm EST

glennon doyle melton the one you feed

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This week we talk to Glennon Doyle Melton about staying open to life


 In This Interview Glennon and I Discuss...

  • The One You Feed parable.
  • Having to get through the bad stuff to get to the good stuff.
  • Being terrified of pain.
  • If we work with our negative emotions we can transform them into something beautiful.
  • The benefit of sitting with our negative emotions.
  • Learning to use envy as a positive tool.
  • Losing ourselves to pretending and addition.
  • The continuous journey of valleys and mountains.
  • Being "brutiful".
  • How pain is a harsh but great teacher.
  • How a broken heart is not the end of anything, it's the beginning.
  • Using pain as fuel.
  • The mantra "staying open".
  • The power of service and art.
  • We can numb our feelings and hide or feel our feelings and share.
  • The power of the words "Me Too".
  • How getting sober is like recovering from frostbite.
  • Getting sober is hard but being sober is wonderful.
  • The benefit of being forced to our knees.
  • How no one is allowed to try and give you perspective in the middle of your pain.
  • Bringing our whole selves to all our roles in lives.
  • Surface conversations leave us lonely all the time because everyones surface is different, at deeper levels we are all the same.
  • The fear of being honest about who we are.





Direct download: Holiday_Bonus_Re-Issue-_Glennon_Doyle_Melton.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:27am EST

bj fogg- the one you feed


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This week we talk to BJ Fogg about changing our behavior

Dr. BJ Fogg directs the Persuasive Tech Lab at Stanford University. A psychologist and innovator, he devotes half of his time to industry projects. His work empowers people to think clearly about the psychology of persuasion — and then to convert those insights into real-world outcomes.

BJ is the creator of the Fogg Behavioral Model, a new model of human behavior change, which guides research and design. Drawing on these principles, his students created Facebook Apps that motivated over 16 million user installations in 10 weeks.

He is the author of Persuasive Technology: Using Computers to Change What We Think and Do, a book that explains how computers can motivate and influence people.  BJ is also the co-editor of Mobile Persuasion, as well as Texting 4 Health.

Fortune Magazine selected BJ Fogg as one of the  “10 New Gurus You Should Know”.

 In This Interview BJ and I Discuss...

  • The One You Feed parable
  • The wolf you pay attention to is the one you feed
  • The two main limits in life: time and attention
  • The Fogg Behavioral Model- Motivation, Ability and Triggers
  • How behavior change is about more than motivation
  • Designing effective behavior change
  • Managing the Ability part of the behavioral model
  • Designing behavior to fit into our every day routines
  • The bigger the change the more motivation you need
  • Why taking baby steps is so important
  • How motivation comes and goes
  • How behaviors get easier to do day after day
  • Building upon small successes
  • That the ability to change behavior is not a character issue
  • Keeping habits going during difficult times
  • Creating good triggers
  • Thinking about behavior change as behavior design
  • Super Habits
  • That triggers need to change with context changes
  • The importance of celebrating small habit changes
  • How emotions create habits

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Direct download: BJ_Fogg.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:31pm EST

James Clear- The One You Feed

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This week we talk to James Clear about building habits 

James Clear is an entrepreneur, weightlifter, and travel photographer. He writes at, where he talks about scientific research and real-world experiences that help you rethink your health and improve your life. His blog gets millions of visitors per year.

 In This Interview James and I Discuss...

  • The One You Feed parable.
  • How money can be an addiction that society rewards.
  • How much we over estimate one defining moment versus steady day to day behavior.
  • The aggregation of marginal gains- improve by 1% in everything you do.
  • Small changes can lead to big results.
  • Reduce the Scope, Stick to The Schedule.
  • Not letting your emotions drive your behavior.
  • The difference between professionals and amateurs.
  • It's not the result that matters but the action and habit.
  • The 2 Minute Rule.
  • How willpower often comes after we start, not before.
  • "Start with something so easy you can't say no to it"- Leo Babuta
  • You don't have to be great at the start, you just need to be there.
  • Learning from our failures and seeing it as a data point.
  • Seeing failure as an event, not as part of us.
  • How mentally tough people define themselves by their persistence, not failure.
  • Acquiring more mental toughness or grit.
  • How 21 days to create a habit is a myth.
  • Missing a habit once in awhile is not a big deal.





Direct download: James_Clear_Dec_2016.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:35pm EST

Noah Levine- The One you Feed

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This week on The One You Feed we have Noah Levine.

We were lucky enough to sit down with Noah in the Against the Stream headquarters in Los Angeles. Noah's teachings are core to everything that I have come to believe over the years. I'm really excited to present this interview.

Noah Levine (born 1971) is an American Buddhist teacher and the author of the books Dharma Punx: A Memoir Against the Stream,  and The Heart of The Revolution. As a counselor known for his philosophical alignment with Buddhism and punk ideology, he founded Against the Stream Buddhist Meditation Society

As a youth, Levine was incarcerated several times. His first book, Dharma Punx, details teenage years filled with drugs, violence, and multiple suicide attempts—choices fuelled by disillusionment with American mainstream culture. His substance abuse started early in life—at age six he began smoking marijuana—and finally ended in a padded detoxification cell in juvenile prison 11 years later. It was in this cell where he hit "an emotional rock bottom" and began his Buddhist practice "out of a place of extreme drug addiction and violence".

He recently started Refuge Recovery which is a community of people who are using the practices of mindfulness, compassion, forgiveness and generosity to heal the pain and suffering that addiction has caused. His new book is titled Refuge Recovery: A Buddhist Path to Recovery from Addiction.

In This Interview Noah and I Discuss...

  • The One You Feed parable.
  • How he found Buddhism through his life failures.
  • What "going against the stream" means.
  • That the bad wolf has a stronger tendency in us and wins by default.
  • How our capacity for kindness, generosity, and love have to be cultivated.
  • Why the path of the Buddha is revolutionary.
  • Going against the status quo.
  • How to be in the world but not of it.
  • The distinction between suffering and pain.
  • The difference between craving and desire.
  • Why suffering is not your fault.
  • How the 1st Noble Truth normalizes the experience of suffering.
  • The impermanent nature of all things.
  • How we can never satisfy happiness through sense pleasure.
  • How we layer suffering on top of our pain.





Direct download: Noah_Levine_RE-Issue.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:38pm EST

 Dr. Dan Siegel Full- The One You Feed


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This week we talk to Dr. Dan Siegel

Daniel Siegel, MD is a graduate of Harvard Medical School and completed his postgraduate medical education at UCLA

He is currently a clinical professor of psychiatry at the UCLA School of Medicine, and executive director of theMindsight Institute, an educational center devoted to promoting insight, compassion, and empathy in individuals, families, institutions, and communities.

His books include Mindsight, The Developing Mind and Parenting from the Inside Out 

He has been invited to lecture for the King of Thailand, Pope John Paul II, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Google University, and TEDx.

His latest book is called Mind: A Journey to the Heart of Being Human


In This Interview, Dr. Dan Siegel and I Discuss...

  • The One You Feed parable
  • His new book: Mind: A Journey to the Heart of Being Human
  • That where attention goes, neuro-firing flows and neuro-connection grows in the brain
  • The mind is not only what the brain does, or brain firing
  • The mind is more than merely energy and information flow
  • The mind is a self-organizing, emergent and relational process that is regulating the flow of energy and information both within you and between you and the world
  • The role of differentiating and linking in a healthy mind
  • That an unhealthy mind is too rigid and/or too chaotic
  • The importance of integrating rigidity and chaos in the brain
  • The Connectone Studies
  • The fact that integration of the brain is the best indicator of a person's well-being
  • That when we honor the differences between us and promote linkage between us and others, we foster integration in our brains
  • That people with trauma have impaired integration memory
  • What "mindsight" is and how it differentiates from mindfulness
  • How mindfulness can help foster mindsight and well-being
  • The wheel of awareness
  • That change seems to involve awareness
  • That energy is the movement from possibility to actuality through a series of probabilities


Direct download: Dan_Siegel_Final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:08pm EST

Brain Pickings Maria Popova The One You Feed

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Our guest today is Maria Popova: a writer, blogger, and critic living Brooklyn, NY.  She is best known for, which features her writing on culture, books, and many other subjects. Brain Pickings is seen by millions of readers every month. Maria’s describes her work as  a human-powered discovery engine for interestingness, a subjective lens on what matters in the world and why, bringing you things you didn’t know you were interested in — until you are….

 In This Interview Maria and I Discuss...

  • The One You Feed parable.
  • The critical importance of kindness.
  • The 7 things she has learned from 7 years of Brain Pickings.
  • Being so impatient that we don't dig deeper to understand peoples motivations.
  • The difference between wisdom and knowledge.
  • How we've become bored with thinking.
  • How we have a biological aversion to being wrong.
  • The uncomfortable luxury of changing our minds.
  • How being open minded requires being open hearted.
  • That as the stakes get higher we are less likely to be willing to change our mind.
  • How most world religions exist to take away the feeling of not knowing.
  • Presence is more important than productivity.
  • How we can see spiritual growth as another thing to mark off on our checklist.
  • Dispelling the illusion of the self.
  • How we are creatures of contradictions.
  • Trying to remove contradictions from our lives is a fools errand.
  • Learning to love and live the questions.
  • How it's silly to try and choose between the body and the soul, both are equally important.
  • Why cat pictures on the internet will not relieve your existential emptiness.
  • The average person spends two hours a day looking at their phone.
  • That habit is how we weave our destiny.
  • Whether we need to get something done every 4 minutes of our lives?
  • Balancing presence and productivity.
  • How it's easier to be a critic than a celebrator.
  • Expect anything worthwhile to take a long time.
  • There is no such thing as an overnight success.










Direct download: Maria_Popova.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:24pm EST