Season two of Becoming Wise is a wrap! We’re so grateful you joined us for these months of reflection and recentering. Before we go away to work on our next season, we’d love to hear from you. What did you love? How can we make the podcast even better? Go to onbeing.org/bwsurvey to tell us a little about yourself and what you’d like to hear next. Stay tuned for more episodes when we’re back with season three.
Jul 14, 2019
The last episode of season two. Robert Thurman and Sharon Salzberg are icons of American Buddhism, and they are joyful, longtime friends. They challenge us to reframe our anger by seeing love for our enemies as an act of self-compassion. “It’s very hard to see love as a force, as a power rather than as a weakness, but that is its reality,” Salzberg says. Sharon Salzberg is a meditation teacher and the cofounder of the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts. She is the co-author of “Love Your Enemies.” Her other books include “Lovingkindness: The Revolutionary Art of Happiness,” “Real Happiness: The Power of Meditation,” and “Real Happiness at Work: Meditations for Accomplishment, Achievement, and Peace.” Robert Thurman is the president of the Tibet House U.S. and the co-author of “Love Your Enemies.” His latest book is “Man of Peace,” an illustrated biography of the Dalai Lama. Find the transcript at onbeing.org.
Jul 7, 2019
Archbishop Desmond Tutu is one of our wisest models on the territory of reckoning with past wrongs that infuse and haunt the present. In the 1990s, he helped galvanize South Africa’s peaceful transition to democracy after decades of white supremacy as the law of the land. He tells a story from his time chairing the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which granted amnesty to those who would fully confess their crimes — of how healing and human redemption unfold. “Human beings can leave you speechless, really. They can leave you speechless by the horrible things they do, but they also leave you speechless with the incredible things,” he says. Desmond Tutu is an Anglican archbishop emeritus of Cape Town, South Africa and recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. He has written numerous books for adults and children — including “The Rainbow People of God” and, together with his good friend the Dalai Lama, “The Book of Joy.” Find the transcript at onbeing.org.
Jun 30, 2019
The physicist Leonard Mlodinow changes how we think about the agency we have in shaping our own destinies. As a scientist, he works with principles like Brownian motion, by which Einstein helped verify the existence of molecules and atoms. As the child of Holocaust survivors, he dances with the experience we all have: that life never goes as planned, and yet the choices we make can matter. “The course of your life depends on how you react to opportunities and challenges that randomness presents to you,” he says. Leonard Mlodinow is a physicist and the author of several books, including “The Drunkard’s Walk: How Randomness Rules Our Lives,” “Subliminal: How Your Unconscious Mind Rules Your Behavior,” and his latest, “Elastic: Flexible Thinking in a Constantly Changing World.” Find the transcript at onbeing.org.
Jun 23, 2019
Public theologian Ruby Sales opens up what it was like to be a teenage participant in the civil rights movement — including the impatience she had with religion and how she circled back, through her experiences of the movement, to a sense of the deep reason for inner life and religious groundings. The question she carries with her, “Where does it hurt?”, models new ways for us to understand one another. Sales is the founder and director of the Spirit House Project. She was recently honored at the opening of the Equal Justice Initiative’s Legacy Museum. Find the transcript at onbeing.org.
Jun 16, 2019
Naturalist Terry Tempest Williams brings meaning and direction to the grief around ecological loss and climate change. She’s a self-described “citizen writer” rooted in the American West, and she draws connections between fierce love and hard work — both in the natural world and the human world. “It all comes down to relationships, to place, to paying attention, to staying, to listening, to learning — of a heightened curiosity with other,” Williams says. Williams is a writer-in-residence at Harvard Divinity School. Her books include “When Women Were Birds: Fifty-four Variations on Voice,” “Refuge: An Unnatural History of Family and Place,” and most recently, “The Hour of Land: A Personal Topography of America’s National Parks.” Find the transcript at onbeing.org.
Jun 9, 2019
Father James Martin is a beloved Jesuit writer and teacher who says desire ultimately is not selfish — and instead a path to understanding our callings in life. He says everyone has a vocation, not just monastics and clergy. And he wants all of us to ask: What moves me? “We all have an image of the person we want to become — more loving, more open, more free. That’s a call,” he says. James Martin is editor at large of “America” magazine. His books include “The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything,” “Between Heaven and Mirth: Why Joy, Humor and Laughter are at the Heart of the Spiritual Life,” and, most recently, “Building a Bridge.” Find the transcript at onbeing.org.
Jun 2, 2019
Matthieu Ricard is helping us redefine happiness in a culture convinced that it’s a passive experience. The French-born Tibetan Buddhist monk reframes happiness not as pleasure but as practice that requires discipline — akin to marathon training or learning chess. He asks, “What are the inner conditions that foster a genuine sense of flourishing, of fulfillment?” Ricard is the author of “Happiness: A Guide to Developing Life’s Most Important Skill” and “Altruism: The Power of Compassion to Change Yourself and the World.” Find the transcript at onbeing.org.
May 26, 2019
Astronomer Natalie Batalha embodies a planetary sense of what “love” is and means. She says her experience searching the universe for exoplanets — earth-like bodies beyond our solar system that could harbor liquid water and life — fundamentally shifted how she thinks about the human experience on this planet. “You see the expanse of the cosmos, and you realize how small we are and how connected we are,” she says. “And that what’s good for you has to be good for me.” Natalie Batalha is a professor of astronomy and astrophysics at the University of California at Santa Cruz. She served as the project scientist for NASA’s Kepler mission from 2011 to 2017. Find the transcript at onbeing.org.
May 19, 2019
A civil rights elder and speechwriter for Martin Luther King, Jr., the late Vincent Harding brought the wisdom of the movement to young people in hurting places. He offers the image of a “live human signpost” as a guiding light toward the kind of support and mentorship we can offer one another in our work toward a beloved community. “When it comes to creating a multiracial, multiethnic, multireligious, democratic society, we are still a developing nation,” he says. “But my own deep, deep conviction is that the knowledge, like all knowledge, is available to us if we seek it.” Vincent Harding taught at Iliff School of Theology. He authored the magnificent book “Hope and History: Why We Must Share the Story of the Movement” and the essay “Is America Possible?” Find the transcript at onbeing.org.
May 12, 2019