Sat, 28 January 2017
The Middle Way
One of the wisest teachings I have found is the middle way. Both Aristotle and the Buddha taught it. The Middle Way has been used as a wisdom tool in many traditions.
Which Wolf are You Feeding
Which Wolf Will You Feed
It also often features different animals, mainly two dogs.
Direct download: Mini_Episode-_The_Middle_Way_1-001.mp3
-- posted at: 7:58pm EDT
Tue, 24 January 2017
This week we talk to Greg Marcus about the spiritual practice of Mussar
Greg Marcus has a BA in Biology from Cornell University, and earned his Ph.D. in biology from MIT. He worked for ten years as a marketer in the Silicon Valley genomics industry, after which he became a stay-at-home dad, writer, life balance coach, and biotech consultant. Greg’s first book, Busting Your Corporate Idol: Self-Help for the Chronically Overworked, is a five star Amazon best seller. His latest book is called The Spiritual Practice of Good Actions: Finding Balance Through the Soul Traits of Mussar
In This Interview, Greg Marcus and I Discuss...
- The One You Feed parable
- His book, The Spiritual Practice of Good Actions: Finding Balance Through the Soul Traits of Mussar
- Mussar: A Thousand Year Old Hebrew Spiritual Practice
- Soul Traits
- That you can be too truthful and it can be counter productive
- That being untruthful to spare yourself embarrassment is not ok
- That being untruthful to spare someone else's feelings can be ok
- And the intention is the most important determiner of whether or not to tell the truth
- Choice points
- The evil inclination and the good inclination
- Mussar helps us by opening the space between "the match and the fuse"
- That we all have free will but it's not always accessible to us
- What qualifies as an act of kindness
- Mussar = "Extreme Spiritual Fitness"
- Morning Mantra, Daily observations and practices, Evening journaling
- Mussar helps you specialize and deepen your knowledge and practice of the Soul Traits
- The four assumptions of Mussar:
- We all have a divine spark that is occluded by our baggage
- We all have the same Soul Traits but we have different amounts of each
- We have a conflict between the good inclination and the evil inclination
- We all have free will and it's not always accessible to us
- That patience is the cure for helplessness
- Mussar: repairing the Soul Traits within us and how it can help the world
Direct download: Greg_Marcus_Final.mp3
-- posted at: 9:50pm EDT
Tue, 17 January 2017
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
-- posted at: 10:01pm EDT
Tue, 10 January 2017
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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,Time, The 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
-- posted at: 4:48pm EDT
Tue, 3 January 2017
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
-- posted at: 9:11pm EDT
Mon, 2 January 2017
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
-- posted at: 9:30pm EDT
Sun, 1 January 2017
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.