#294: Vitamin E: How To Cultivate Equanimity Amidst Political Chaos | Election Sanity Series | Roshi Joan Halifax
#294: Vitamin E: How To Cultivate Equanimity Amidst Political Chaos | Election Sanity Series | Roshi Joan Halifax It’s part four in our Election Sanity series. Throughout October, we have been trying to help you stay engaged in current events without losing your mind. As you know, we’ve been drawing on an ancient Buddhist list called The Four Brahma Viharas, which are four mental skills that can be enormously useful. Over the last three episodes, we’ve taken deep dives into loving-kindness (or friendliness), compassion (or giving a crap), and sympathetic joy (the opposite of schadenfreude). This week, it’s equanimity, the secret sauce that allows you to apply to aforementioned skills in difficult times. Our guest this week is perfect for this subject, precisely because she freely admits that equanimity -- which she calls “vitamin E” -- doesn’t come easily for her. Roshi Joan Halifax is a Buddhist teacher, Zen priest, anthropologist, and pioneer in the field of end-of-life care. She’s been passionately politically engaged for much of her life-- and, as you will hear, she doesn’t hold back on her own personal views, even as she calls for extending respect to people with whom we disagree. Wherever you stand politically, this interview is filled with practical advice for cultivating equanimity without going dull. Quick reminder before we dive in: our Free Election Sanity meditation challenge starts in the Ten Percent Happier app TOMORROW, you can join the challenge right now by downloading the Ten Percent Happier app and be ready for day 1 of the challenge tomorrow. We're really excited about this Challenge. We designed it specifically to meet you in this moment and help you lean into the commotion of the election, without getting burnt out or overwhelmed. To join the Challenge, just download the Ten Percent Happier app today. See you in there. This interview was recorded on October 7, 2020. Where to find Roshi Joan Halifax online: Website: https://www.upaya.org/about/roshi/ Social Media: • Twitter: https://twitter.com/jhalifax • Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/joan.halifax Other Resources Mentioned: • Shantideva: https://www.shambhala.com/authors/o-t/shantideva.html • Thich Nhat Hanh: https://plumvillage.org/about/thich-nhat-hanh/biography/ • Angela Davis: https://www.biography.com/activist/angela-davis • Eli Pariser: https://www.elipariser.org/ • Kazuaki Tanahashi: https://www.brushmind.net/ • Eight Worldly Winds: https://www.lionsroar.com/buddhism-by-the-numbers-the-eight-worldly-concerns/ • Uchiyama Roshi: https://www.goodreads.com/author/list/506986.Kosho_Uchiyama Full Shownotes: https://www.tenpercent.com/podcast-episode/joan-halifax-294
1 hr 5 min
Find resilience and self-regulate by connecting with physical sensations that evoke the universal elements of fire, earth, & wind. Quick reminder: our Free Election Sanity Meditation Challenge starts in the Ten Percent Happier app in a few days. We're really excited about this Challenge. We designed it specifically to help folks face the commotion of the election, without getting burnt out. Another bonus: you don't have to do the Challenge alone. You can invite a friend who you think could benefit from a bit of Election Sanity, and root each other on every day. To join the Challenge, just download the Ten Percent Happier app today. See you in there.
We’ve backed away from celebrity interviews on the show of late, because we got a lot of feedback from listeners saying they had trouble relating to some of our more famous interviewees. I am confident that is not going to be the case with today’s guest. Brett Eldredge may be a big country star -- with six #1 hits -- but he is no dilettante when it comes to tackling mental health challenges. You are about to listen to someone who is truly digging in and doing the work. By way of background, I have never personally been a country fan, but I first met Brett when he came on this show a few years ago to talk about his on-stage panic attacks and general anxiety, and after that we struck up a friendship. I have been so impressed by the rigor with which he has committed to his mental wellbeing. In this interview he really goes there -- speaking in utterly unguarded ways about how ambition and perfectionism have fueled his anxiety (as well as some of his romantic challenges); describing a special kind of therapy designed to address his panic attacks. Best of all, he told me enthusiastically that meditation and loosening up in general has greatly impacted his creativity, as evidenced by his new album Sunday Drive. Enjoy. Where to find Brett Eldredge online: Website: https://www.bretteldredge.com/ Social Media: • Twitter: https://twitter.com/bretteldredge • Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/bretteldredge • Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/bretteldredge/ • YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/BrettEldredge Other Resources Mentioned: • Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World by Cal Newport: https://bookshop.org/books/digital-minimalism-choosing-a-focused-life-in-a-noisy-world/9780525536512 • Ten Percent Happier episode with Cal Newport on Apple Podcasts: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/digital-minimalism-cal-newport/id1087147821?i=1000468718411 • Ten Percent Happier episode with Cal Newport on Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/episode/6tfnjUGrszzqwR713hBGU2?si=OWWuDnizRrOmKvJPwQ2Xjg • Who Ordered This Truckload of Dung?: Inspiring Stories for Welcoming Life's Difficulties by Ajahn Brahm: https://bookshop.org/books/who-ordered-this-truckload-of-dung-inspiring-stories-for-welcoming-life-s-difficulties/9780861712786 Additional Resources: • Ten Percent Happier Live: https://tenpercent.com/live • Coronavirus Sanity Guide: https://www.tenpercent.com/coronavirussanityguide • Free App access for Frontline Workers: https://tenpercent.com/care Full Shownotes: https://www.tenpercent.com/podcast-episode/brett-eldredge-293
There’s an old expression: “Every time a friend succeeds, I die a little bit.” I love that saying, because it speaks to how hard it can be to take pleasure in other people’s happiness. That said, while it may be difficult, it is not impossible -- and moreover, as our guest today will argue, it’s a massively useful skill, especially as we endure this bonkers election. Welcome to week three of our special Election Sanity podcast series. Every Monday in October, we’re tackling a mental skill drawn from an ancient Buddhist list known as the Four Brahma Viharas, or the Four Heavenly Abodes. Don’t be fooled by the high falutin’ name; these skills are eminently achievable, and massively helpful. I can say this based on both personal experience, and also a significant amount of scientific research. In the previous two episodes, we explored loving-kindness (also known by the less gooey moniker of “friendliness”), and also compassion. This week it’s “sympathetic joy,” or “mudita.” You can think of this skill as the opposite of Schadenfreude; instead of reveling in the suffering of other people, you’re celebrating their happiness. Our guest today calls it “borrowing joy.” Her name is Tuere Sala. She’s a guiding teacher at Insight Seattle. She’s no pollyanna; she doesn’t sugarcoat how challenging mudita can be, but she does have a strategy that I think you will find appealingly doable. Where to find Tuere Sala online: Seattle Insight Meditation Society: https://seattleinsight.org/Teachers/Teacher/TeacherID/102 Just a reminder, our Free Election Sanity meditation challenge starts next week. We're super excited about this one—we've worked with our very wise meditation teachers from this Election Sanity podcast series to create a really unique set of daily lessons and meditations, all geared toward helping you keep your cool during the 2020 Election. If you'd like to join the Challenge, Download the Ten Percent Happier app today to start meditating your way through this Election season, and see you in the Challenge with thousands of other meditators. It starts on Tuesday, October 27th! Full Shownotes: https://www.tenpercent.com/podcast-episode/tuere-sala-292
1 hr 2 min
In this potent meditation on one point, hone your capacity to direct your attention where you want without shutting out the rest of the world. Good News everyone, our Free Election Sanity meditation challenge starts in the Ten Percent Happier app on Tuesday, October 27th. You've probably heard me mentioning this challenge throughout our election sanity podcast series. The plan is to take what we've learned from the podcast and do a meditation challenge based off of all the wisdom bombs our teachers have been dropping here. Download the Ten Percent Happier app today to join the challenge. And starting on October 27th, you'll literally be meditating with thousands of other people who have chosen to sit down with us for a few minutes a day and inject some sanity back into this bananas election season. About Rev. angel Kyodo williams: Rev. angel Kyodo williams is the author of Being Black: Zen and the Art of Living With Fearlessness and Grace. She’s the Founder of the Center for Transformative Change in Berkeley and credited with developing fearlessMeditation, fearlessYoga and Warrior Spirit Training. Rev. angel is the world's 2nd female Zen teacher of African descent. For over 20 years, she has been putting into practice her unwavering belief that the key to transforming society is transforming our inner lives.
There will be no talk of election or pandemic on this episode. This is a straight-up, meat-and-potatoes meditation talk from the one and only Joseph Goldstein. In this chat, we explore three profoundly useful mindfulness strategies, including: mindfulness of thinking, awareness of rushing (a deeply ingrained habit for many of us), and the genuine insight that can emerge from everyday activities. For the uninitiated, Joseph is one of the founding teachers on the Ten Percent Happier app; he is a cofounder of the Insight Meditation Society; and he is the author of several books, including the recently reissued The Experience of Insight: A Simple and Direct Guide to Buddhist Meditation. Where to find Joseph Goldstein online: Insight Meditation Society: https://www.dharma.org/teacher/joseph-goldstein/ Joseph Goldstein Courses & Meditations on the Ten Percent Happier App: https://10percenthappier.app.link/x9Q0TCy36Z Books: https://bookshop.org/contributors/joseph-goldstein-3a8b7f33-05c3-49df-94e9-3700b68fec76 In case you missed it, we're running a podcast series to help you stay sane and engaged during this election season — without burning out. Every Monday in October, we'll discuss four tools from ancient teachings to help guide you through this especially challenging time. You can check out Monday's podcast episode for a taste of the Election Sanity Series. You can also visit https://tenpercent.com/guide to sign up for our limited-time email guide. Other Resources Mentioned: Heartwood of the Bodhi Tree: The Buddha's Teaching on Voidness: https://bookshop.org/books/heartwood-of-the-bodhi-tree-the-buddha-s-teaching-on-voidness/9781614291527 Additional Resources: Ten Percent Happier Live: https://tenpercent.com/live Coronavirus Sanity Guide: https://www.tenpercent.com/coronavirussanityguide Free App access for Frontline Workers: https://tenpercent.com/care Full Shownotes: https://www.tenpercent.com/podcast-episode/joseph-goldstein-291
Do you remember that band, The Shins? They had a popular song that appeared on the soundtrack for that Zach Braff movie Garden State. Anyway, they also had a song called “Caring is Creepy.” I always thought that was kinda funny. In this episode, however, we’re going to establish that not only is caring not creepy, it’s also not — as many people fear— a sign of weakness. Caring, or having compassion, for other people— or for yourself— is a baller move. It takes courage, and it gives you courage. Particularly during this dumpster fire of a presidential election. This is part two of our special “election sanity” series. The series is built around a classic Buddhist list, called the Four Brahma Viharas. These are four allegedly heavenly states of mind. Don’t worry about the seeming grandiosity; it’s all, as I said last week, very down to earth. You can think of these four mind states as mental skills that are powerful correctives against the vitriol that characterizes the modern political scene. Last week, we talked about the first Brahma Vihara, called metta, or loving kindness— or, as I prefer, friendliness. This week, it’s compassion. My guest is the Rev. angel Kyodo williams. She’s the second black woman to be recognized as a teacher in the Japanese Zen lineage and author of such books as Radical Dharma and Being Black. Where to find Rev. angel Kyodo williams online: Website: https://angelkyodowilliams.com/ Twitter: https://twitter.com/zenchangeangel Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/zenchangeangel Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/zenchangeangel/ YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/c/ZenChangeAngel To help you get the most out of this series, we're launching an email guide. It will recap all of the podcast episodes each week. It’ll include helpful tidbits such as key terms and concepts; highlights from the immense wisdom our guests bring us around concepts like compassion, equanimity, kindness... and we’ll link to relevant meditations and talks in the TPH app. Just like the podcast, this guide is free. You can sign up for it at tenpercent.com/guide. May you find it fruitful. Full Shownotes: https://www.tenpercent.com/podcast-episode/rev-angel-290
1 hr 1 min
If you enjoyed this meditation, sign up for our Election Sanity Series email guide. It will recap all of the podcast episodes each week. It’ll include helpful tidbits such as key terms and concepts; highlights from the immense wisdom our guests bring us around concepts like compassion, equanimity, kindness… and we’ll link to relevant meditations and talks (like this one!) in the TPH app. Just like the podcast, this guide is free. You can sign up for it at tenpercent.com/guide. Again, you can get this special newsletter for our election sanity podcast series at tenpercent.com/guide. About JoAnna Hardy: JoAnna Hardy can talk about meditation to pretty much anybody. She not only teaches in traditional environments like retreat centers, but also in both schools and jails. JoAnna has been studying meditation for nearly two decades and she's done some amazing work ensuring that the practice is available to people who might not otherwise have access to it. JoAnna teaches at the Insight Meditation Society, at Spirit Rock, and is a Founding Member of The Meditation Coalition.
At a time like this, fun may seem frivolous. But our guest today is going to argue — convincingly, in my opinion — that fun is absolutely essential to a well-lived life. She has thought deeply about what actually constitutes fun, and how we can best live a life that is conducive to fun. In other words, she argues that fun is a trainable skill. You may have heard of Catherine Price. She’s been on the show before. She wrote an excellent book called How To Break Up With Your Phone, which had a significant influence on me. We start our conversation by talking about ways to achieve what she calls “screen/life balance” during a time of pandemic and political upheaval, and then we flow directly into fun, which is something you can only have when you put your phone down. Where to find Catherine Price online: Website: http://catherineprice.com/ Sign up for the #FunSquad: https://mailchi.mp/screenlifebalance/funsquad Resources for Screen//Life Balance including a 3-day challenge and social media detox course: screenlifebalance.com Catherine's writerly social media: Twitter: https://twitter.com/catherine_price Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/_catherineprice/ Social Media "intervention feeds" (designed to help you catch you while you're mindlessly scrolling and help you re-direct your attention): Instagram: @screenlifebalance / https://www.instagram.com/screenlifebalance Twitter: @screenlifeblnce / https://twitter.com/screenlifeblnce Facebook: @slbalance / https://www.facebook.com/slbalance/ Books: http://catherineprice.com/books In case you missed it, we're running a podcast series to help you stay sane and engaged during this election season — without burning out. Every Monday in October, we'll discuss four tools from ancient teachings to help guide you through this especially challenging time. You can check out Monday's podcast episode for a taste of the Election Sanity Series. You can also visit tenpercent.com/guide to sign up for our limited-time email guide. We would appreciate it if you can take a few minutes to help us out by answering a survey. The team here is always looking for ways to improve. Please go to www.tenpercent.com/survey. Thank you. Other Resources Mentioned: Freedom (App Blocker): https://freedom.to/ Designing Your Life: https://designingyour.life/ The Book of Delights by Ross Gay: https://bookshop.org/books/the-book-of-delights-essays/9781616207922 Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi: https://bookshop.org/books/flow-the-psychology-of-optimal-experience/9780061339202 Additional Resources: Ten Percent Happier Live: https://tenpercent.com/live Coronavirus Sanity Guide: https://www.tenpercent.com/coronavirussanityguide Free App access for Frontline Workers: https://tenpercent.com/care Center for Healthy Minds Join the Center for Healthy Minds and Healthy Minds Innovations for a week-long series of well-being events and discussions. Learn about the innovations and science behind creating a better world from mental health experts and His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Oct. 5-9. Don't miss out – register now! https://mailchi.mp/centerhealthyminds.org/twwm-2020 Full Shownotes: https://www.tenpercent.com/podcast-episode/catherine-price-289
1 hr 1 min
In an election season characterized by misinformation, mistrust, and now a positive covid test from the President-- we’ve been plunged headlong into a black hole of uncertainty. So here at the Ten Percent Happier podcast, we’ve decided to serve up some deep counter-programming. Unlike the campaign coverage you’ll get everywhere else in the universe, in this special “Election Sanity” series we won’t have arguments and we won’t talk polls. We’re going to help you navigate all of this tumult and toxicity in a way that allows you to be both engaged and calm. We’re building this series around an ancient Buddhist list (the Buddhists love listicles, as we’ve discussed on the show) called The Four Brahma Viharas. That phrase, Brahma Viharas, translates, literally into “divine abodes.” At first blush, the notion of divine abodes -- or heavenly mind states -- may sound a little grandiose. But I promise you this whole thing is actually very much down-to-earth. These are four mental skills that we can train through meditation. In Buddhist circles, the four skills are commonly referred to as: lovingkindness, compassion, sympathetic joy (which means taking joy in the happiness of others), and equanimity. I like to make them a little more user-friendly by calling them: friendliness, giving a crap, the opposite of schadenfreude, and staying cool. The proposition here is radical; instead of defaulting to hatred or indifference at this fraught moment in human history, can you cultivate the opposite? Science suggests the meditation practices designed to help you build these skills can have all sorts of physiological and psychological benefits. In this special series of episodes, we’ll show you how to practice, and also how to operationalize these skills in your life at a time when we— and the world— need them most. We’ll be dropping new episodes, with a different teacher, every Monday in October. Today we’re kicking off the podcast series with insight meditation teacher JoAnna Hardy. She’s been on this show before, and she’s also featured on the app, where she teaches guided meditations, and a whole course about using meditation to help you live an ethical life. She also recently co-wrote the handbook Teaching Mindfulness to Empower Adolescents, and is a founding member of the Meditation Coalition. In our conversation, JoAnna starts by giving us a user-friendly overview of the Four Brahma Viharas, and then we do a deep dive on the first of these mental skills: friendliness. And if this concept -- or the thought of applying it to a person you can’t stand -- makes you squirm...great. JoAnna’s here to argue that metta is an edgy-- and not at all corny-- practice. Where to find JoAnna Hardy online: Website: https://www.joannahardy.org/ Social Media: Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/joannahardy65/ Dharma Seed: https://dharmaseed.org/teacher/549/ To help you get the most out of this series, we're launching an email guide. Just like the podcast, this guide is free. You can sign up for it at https://tenpercent.com/guide. It will recap all of the podcast episodes each week. It’ll include helpful tidbits such as key terms and concepts; highlights from the immense wisdom our guests bring us around concepts like compassion, equanimity, kindness… and we’ll link to relevant meditations and talks in the TPH app. May you find it fruitful. Full Shownotes: https://www.tenpercent.com/podcast-episode/joanna-hardy-288
1 hr 1 min