Mindful U at Naropa University

Naropa University

As the birthplace of the mindfulness movement in the United States, Naropa University has a unique perspective when it comes to higher education in the West. Founded in 1974 by renowned Tibetan Buddhist scholar and lineage holder Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, Naropa was intended to be a place where students could study Eastern and Western religions, writing, psychology, science, and the arts, while also receiving contemplative and meditation training.

Forty-three years later, Naropa is a leader in ‘contemplative education’, a pedagogical approach that blends rigorous academics, contemplative practice, and experiential learning. Naropa President Chuck Lief explains, “Mindfulness here is not a class. Mindfulness is basically the underpinning of what we do in all of our classes. That said, the flavor or the color of mindfulness from class to class is really completely up to the individual faculty member to work on—on their own. So, what happens in a poetry class is going to look very different from what happens in a research psychology class. But, one way or another the contemplative practices are brought into the mix.” This podcast is for those with an interest in mindfulness and a curiosity about its place in both higher education and the world at large. Hosted by Naropa alumnus and Multimedia Manager David DeVine, episodes feature Naropa faculty, alumni, and special guests on a wide variety of topics including compassion, permaculture, social justice, herbal healing, and green architecture—to name a few. Listen to explore the transformative possibilities of mindfulness, both in the classroom and beyond!

All Episodes

"But it’s also a lot of sort of ordinary people who have tried everything else, you know, veterans, first responders, sexual assault survivors, people who have already been through years and years of therapy and different kinds of medications, people with substance abuse, people who have had suicide attempts. So the fact that the FDA has given MDMA and psilocybin, it’s now been demarcated with a status called breakthrough — which basically just means that the results have been so efficacious, that drugs are sort of given the status and expedited when it seems like the results are so promising." Special Guest: Sara Lewis .

Sep 29

53 min 34 sec

"When we’re with people who are reviewing the end of their life or saying goodbye to a loved one, there’s this heightened sense of connection and awareness, a lot of times in crisis and sometimes difficulty. Psychedelic journeys can be — not always be easy and expansive, sometimes they’re challenging. And so there are a lot of — lot of our training, I think crosses over well into psychedelic therapies. And in particular, chaplains have this capacity to help assess the spiritual and religious landscape for a person before they go into a psychedelic experience. Because what can happen is, you can have a very powerful existential, you know, awareness of like the presence of a being or maybe a feeling of connection and — and then it becomes important to integrate that with your — you know, understanding of the cosmos and the — your religious and spiritual commitments. So people can go into some degree of existential crisis or just transition — it’s a very creative space. And chaplains are good at navigating those spaces as they’re unfolding. So that’s what chaplains I think, have to bring to the field, but at the same time, there are a lot of religious taboos and a lot of teachings within the religious traditions that encourage staying away from psychedelic medicines. And so that conversation is very much happening in the field right now and among religious leaders and professionals and chaplains and it’s — it’s an interesting conversation that’s taking place you know about the right use of these medicines and plants and how we can also do that without harming the communities that they come from." Special Guest: Jamie Beachy.

Sep 29

55 min 33 sec

"When that first object that represents the truth of the belief that I have an emotional issue dissipates or disappears from me, I fall into exactly the state of being that Buddhists call equanimity. That state of contentment and self satisfaction that needs nothing at the moment. I don’t just get respite from my emotional issue that I happen to be looking at. I got respite from everything for you know a matter of minutes or hours, or it might stretch a little longer. And the more times I do it, or the more often that kind of respite can enter into it. Because eventually once I’ve done this 20, 30, 100 times it varies from person to person- I start to believe oh, that’s who I am. I’m not the voice up in my head. I’m actually this collection of body objects that’s — neither is who I actually am. But this one is telling the truth all the time." Special Guest: Anne Lamott.

Jul 29

57 min 9 sec

"Absolutely. You know we might have an idea about something, but then when you begin to express it from a creative place it's almost like you have to feel into it. If I want to write a poem about sadness it's not just about my ideas about sadness. At some point as I'm writing I need to stop and feel into what does sadness feel like? And then I might even think about a very specific situation in my life that brings up sadness. And then what arises from that place as a poem is coming from a non-conceptual place. Non-conceptual knowing and yet I've expressed something and I might even express it in words like with a poem. So, what we're trying to do in contemplative education is to bring both of those together. So, it's not in spite of conceptual knowing -- concepts are great, thinking is great -- but that there are other ways of knowing that are equally important and maybe if we bring them all together then there's a richness of knowing that begins to emerge." Special Guest: Charlotte Rotterdam.

Feb 2020

47 min 38 sec

"There's gender identity, which isn't actually a problem. It's when it's forced into a limited paradigm or spectrum it can be an issue or when it's forced into a hierarchy. I see us eventually eliminating the hierarchy within these systems of identity and becoming more for lack of a better term, more merit based in our assessment of people's qualities. The re-establishing masculinity group believes that at Naropa to be foresighted and to support these movements we need to begin to get out of the way sort of speak and actually become allies to the anti-misogynistic movements that are occurring in our world. And to do that we ought to be -- we being people whom identify as masculine ought to be not disempowered to engage in that work. We ought to be empowered in our opinion to engage in that work. And the offering that's available of how masculinity is defined and actualized too often is non virtuous and not empowering." Special Guest: Anthony Gallucci.

Feb 2020

41 min 25 sec

"I read very widely and was trying to put the pieces together to understand this lifelong question that I had carried. What is the origin of the wrongness in the world, which is presented to us as a series of fragmented isolated atrocities and injustices and horrors -- without any synthesizing narrative that explains why the world is the way that it is? And I really wanted to understand so that I wouldn't be part of maintaining the status quo through pursuing insufficiently deep solutions that may be actually part of the problem. I think a lot of our solutions are part of the problem -- or you could even say our solution templates -- I mean one of them is the war on evil. So, I wanted to -- to get really deep and eventually I came to understand that all of the crises and horrors that we see in the world are an outgrowth of the mythology of civilization. The story of separation is what I call it, which basically says it answers the most fundamental questions that human beings ask. Who are you? Who am I? What is important? How is life to be lived? What is real? What is possible? How does the world work? And our culture answers that in a certain way. And other cultures have answered it different ways." Special Guest: Charles Eisenstein.

E

Feb 2020

45 min 53 sec

"I do think here at Naropa specifically we do have a transpersonal orientation, a transpersonal lens that we then incorporate into all of our classes. So, the contemplative education piece is very much interwoven in what we do in the field. And so, we incorporate contemplative practices, we talk about how nature based experiences themselves can be forms of contemplative practice and inquiry. We also do introduce the transpersonal model. So how do we work with those kinds of experiences that the transpersonal orientation has really taken in and not pathologized. And being in the outdoors for many people, depending on the context, also can be quite evocative of experiences that do not fit cleanly into our usual psychological frameworks or when they are they're often pathologized." Special Guest: Miki Fire.

Jul 2019

46 min 47 sec

"We need to think about a new quality in our organization where we are not only protesting against the things that are really hurting our communities and neighborhoods, but we're also really cultivating expertise on ideas and visions that we might have for the neighborhood and community. Finding ways that rather than having these issues come forth in competition, that we can actually have a big enough solutions put forth that incorporate. And one of the areas that we have been specializing in is something called Movement for Regional Equity and what that basically means is that the decisions that are made at a regional level are taken up by the community and our metropolitan region." Special Guest: Carl Anthony.

Jun 2019

35 min 18 sec

"It's been a great joy and privilege in my life to work with individuals, with communities, with groups—sometimes in traditional organizations and non-profits—sometimes at a community level. We're living in a time where I think we're being called to move from a politics of protest and saying no to one of saying yes, and of governance, and of really learning how to take charge of the basic infrastructure of our lives. Communities are taking back locally produced energy and energy grids. People are working on knowledge about where their water comes from and soil—and also their sense of meaning and community and creativity and art in the broadest sense of: how do we imagine a new culture that is truly inclusive of all?" Special Guest: Paloma Pavel.

Jun 2019

45 min 11 sec

"As we open and see that what we're carrying around inside ourselves, what we have created around us is kind of a fear story. When we actually step into the fierce love story that we long for, we start having a much more joyful experience and one where we're not at war with our earth community. One where we're actually welcoming growing things in our backyards and on our roofs, where we're seeing that space is imagined in a whole other way. And also, we do need to live closer together if we're going to preserve wilderness and agricultural land and green space—it's essential that we learn how to be with one another. And we're excited for this moment because we feel that it's probably one of the most energizing, innovating moments that we've ever lived through. And it's accelerating." Special Guests: Carl Anthony and Paloma Pavel.

May 2019

52 min 7 sec

"We talked about the spiral of the work that reconnects and then you talked about how once you dare to really see and speak what you've wanted to keep at arm's length, once you refuse to turn away and really suffer with your world and then you realize that the world is flowing into you and the living planet becomes alive for you. And then it generates for you. So that's we call seeing with new eyes. Everything looks different. And we use practices that are inspired by what we call deep ecology like the council of all beings. Where we step aside from our human role, which is only the last chapter of our long planetary journey. We've, as we know from the life forms we had in the womb of our mother, you know we had a tail and gills and fins. So that we capitulate that ontogeny." Special Guest: Joanna Macy.

May 2019

36 min 30 sec

Special Guest: Joanna Macy.

E

Apr 2019

53 min 16 sec

"The pelvic floor muscle tissues are connected very intricately and beautifully, and I feel like it can be complex in some ways to the abdominal muscles. And I think of the pelvic floor as the foundation of a building, it's like the ground level of the body. If the foundation of a building is off or suffering or it's not right, the whole rest of the building is off. So, that's my best metaphor is that the pelvic floor is our foundation. It's so connected to our legs and our feet and the way that we walk and move and dance through the world. And it supports everything above it. So, the reproductive organs, the digestive system, all the organs, the heart, the voice, the throat, and the brain are supported by the pelvic floor. And I've had huge changes in my digestion and rewiring of my nervous system and real cognitive and mood balances from working with my pelvic floor that before, I was trying a million different things to feel better. For me, the pelvic floor is like the Holy Grail." Special Guest: Alicia Patterson.

Apr 2019

49 min 30 sec

"Emotional intelligence has completely revolutionized our lives and our business space. And because that's there there's now this foundation around intuitive intelligence. So, this is the next nuance that I'm really passionate to bring in, is that emotional intelligence is foundational and key. But it's not the whole story of how we discern information and how we navigate the world. Even though emotions are supercritical and a big part of that. Intuitive intelligence also weaves in a greater, wider array of data information that we have to be able to learn to discern. So, it's even a little more refined in some ways. So that's what I'm really excited about is bringing this next wave to the business base and then also beyond that too. So that people give themselves more permission to trust themselves on a fundamental level. And bring their empowerment and their gifts forward without apology." Special Guest: Rick Snyder.

Apr 2019

49 min 48 sec

"Meditation is so important—particularly training and concentration. How to steady and fix the mind until conceptual thoughts fall away. We live so much in our conceptualizing nature that we can't imagine life without that. But when you start doing this practice, you find out that you can conceptualize, and you cannot. So, learning how to drop into that stillness, as the Buddha calls it, until you come to the absolute stilling of all thought. We think well then, there's nothing. Yes, there is something beyond that, you could never see it before because you were caught in the cycle of conceptualizing. But the other side that the Buddha calls meditation—a pleasant, abiding here and now, touching kind of contentment and peace that the world didn't give you. So, the world can't take it away. But what he called practice was something entirely different. We just need to do more practice, and the practice is not to sit on the pillow. Sitting on a pillow is sitting on a pillow. But to practice is how we handle ourselves in every moment of our waking day—when one is accosting you, taking what is yours and what is criticizing you." Special Guest: Venerable Dr. Pannavati.

Apr 2019

53 min 48 sec

"It's said in Tibetan medicine that you have to have all five elements plus karma in order to be incarnated at all. So, even to obtain the precious human body you have to have all five elements in karma. So you're going to choose certain parents and situations. They're going to give you some genetic factors which are going to influence your inner elements and then also you're going to have the diet and the behavior that your mother has during your pregnancy is going to influence it. The outer environment is going to influence it and then very early on in life -- your life situations are also going to influence it. So, family systems, psychology, all of that has an impact on the choices we make. So, somebody could be inherently one type of being and perhaps their family system either didn't recognize or support that and so they made a choice in order to compensate on a psychological level." Special Guest: Nashalla Nyinda.

Apr 2019

49 min 45 sec

Brigitte is an herbalist and nutritional consultant of Natural Health with almost fifty years of experience. She teaches Herbal Medicine at Naropa University and The School of Health Mastery in Iceland. She has taught at Omega Institute, Esalen, Kripalu, Sivananda Yoga Ashram, Arise, Envision and Unify Festivals, and The Mayo Clinic. She blogs for the Huffington Post and Care2. She is also a professional member of the American Herbalist Guild. Find out more about Brigitte: brigittemars.com/. Special Guest: Brigitte mars.

Mar 2019

27 min 25 sec

"Creativity is inherent in us as human beings. I think that we've, in some ways, lost the connection and the right to have our own creativity and our own artistry. For me, just touching into that in of itself is healing. It also takes you into a different part of your brain. It accesses different parts of your psyche and your spirituality and your soul in a way that maybe verbal therapies don't quite touch. And so, it's a deeper more integrated avenue dealing with you know whatever it is that you're working with." Special Guest: Sue Wallingford.

E

Mar 2019

42 min 48 sec

"You know, we're doing this job dealing with people's problems and not necessarily giving them advice, but just allowing them to tap into their own thoughts and weigh out their own options to create decisions. The more you hold on—you attach yourself to an outcome, then that becomes stressful and then it's not genuine anymore. It's also stressful on the other end of the person that is dealing with the actual problem. So just knowing that you may not see the results—but one thing I have noticed is the maturity that came from my students that I've interacted with—the same situation, but a different outcome of the consequence whenever you're redirected." Special Guests: Deanna Martinez, Jamar Peete, and Ramon Monnie.

Mar 2019

43 min 36 sec

"Anything dealing with meditation or anything dealing with children's emotional growth is difficult to quantify. And it's difficult to put a price on it. So, it's difficult for schools, principals in particular to bring programs when you have to pay some people to do some things inside of a school. So, meditation and things of that nature unfortunately will be put on the backburner. And a lot of people's levels of urgency tend be well, low on that on that scale. Because a lot of people just aren't into it themselves. And unfortunately, can't see a broader picture, outside of what's the immediate gratification." Special Guests: Monique Debi and Vance Benton.

Mar 2019

44 min 16 sec

"Personally in ten years I see mindfulness implemented in every aspect of life -- whether it's school -- like a school will have like a mindful moment at the beginning of the day and at the end of the day and have alternative suspension rooms where kids de-escalate themselves. It would be cool if you know every business started their day off with the practice. I'm not saying that it's definitely going to get there, but you know I can have high hopes and be optimistic." Special Guests: Ali Smith, Andres Gonzalez, and Atman Smith.

Feb 2019

39 min 41 sec

"Art and music is such a visceral thing, and it's so experiential. And storytelling is a way to convey eons of moral compass and tradition as well. Every culture of the world has their own stories, and by telling those you don't tell people, 'This is the exact history, and this is what happened, and this is what happened.' It's more like these myths emerge through these cultures that people really latch on to and people connect with. And so, I was hoping to kind of create this new myth in a way to connect people to nature as well as humanity and compassion for other people." Special Guest: Gabriel Vanaver.

Feb 2019

38 min 28 sec

I really enjoy this field so much because it gives you a very practical way of investigating the spiritual mysteries of the world. so that we can gain inspiration to look deeper into ourselves. But also, it is a very practical way of helping people with very difficult problems—people with very powerful kinds of pain and those that feel like they're locked in a body that's going to hurt for the rest of their life, and nothing can be done about it. And then I say, ‘You don't live in reality.’ If it feels like you do and that you're trapped in this pain body, but I can teach you how to alter that. Special Guest: Ian Wickramasekera.

Feb 2019

47 min 36 sec

"So, I went to the first summer of Naropa. And, it was not cool to be like a hippie anymore. There was an aggression of turning away from society. So, we encourage students to do meditation practice, but also to cut your hair, become a member of society, get a job, and having sort of this basic sanity notion of just having a quote, unquote normal life. Cleaning up your kitchen and going to work and doing a good job and meditating—like that's all you need. You know, you didn't have to do this fight against society. You just kind of go along with the energy." Special Guest: Jim Jobson.

Feb 2019

49 min 24 sec

"[Meditation] can be a little unfamiliar and scary, but it's something that we all can do. We just lean into it. Lean into the openness. What is it like to just be free? I mean, think of when you graduated college for instance—you'd been studying your whole life—filling your time with acceptance essays or homework or a thesis or something like that, and then you come out the other end of the education curriculum. And suddenly there's all this room. It's like, what do I do? And society says get a job. But for a brief moment when we graduate—it’s like what's all this space? What's going on here? It's a little like that." Special Guest: Dungse Jampal Norbu.

Jan 2019

47 min 32 sec

"The natural world is unconditional, and it welcomes us in whatever state we bring ourselves to it. It invites a level of presence. It sort of insists on a quality of presence, because while there's incredible stillness in the natural world there's also sort of constant movement—even if that's grass being blown by the breeze in a meadow, or a squirrel in a pine tree preparing for winter. There's always a little bit of movement and there's this quality of vastness, right? The natural world is so much bigger than us and in that unconditionality, I think we're invited into an experience that helps us deepen our connection with ourselves, but also helps us get out of our own way." Special Guest: Kate Mazuy.

Jan 2019

31 min 23 sec

Bari Tessler is encouraging people to take a more mindful and conscious approach to their relationship with money. When Tessler finished a graduate degree in Somatic Counseling, she sought financial help to help guide her career. She found that most of the financial guidance offered was coming from older white males and was focused on traditional money management, how to pay off loans, invest, etc. Tessler was curious, “Where does the body come in?” and her subsequent work has been about helping people examine and heal their relationship with money to lead more empowered, sucessful lives. Learn more about Bari and her work in this exciting conversation with Mindful U podcast host, David DeVine. Special Guest: Bari Tessler.

Jan 2019

55 min 2 sec

"Dharma isn't sexy, or glamorous for me..., it’s just work. It's discipline and work, and I do it because the fruit is spaciousness; this openness. Where I can just be with my life. That spaciousness is where liberation actually happens. Over the years of practice, you realize you've become a different person. You begin to trust yourself more because you're always in tune with your experiences...and that is what I love. It just becomes very ordinary." - Lama Rod Owens Special Guest: Lama Rod Owens.

Jan 2019

37 min 29 sec

Naropa University presents encore presentations of our most popular and heartfelt podcasts from 2018, including Phillip Stanley talking on The Relationships Between Sense Perceptions, Concepts, and Emotions : Dr. Phillip Stanley, PhD, speaks about one of his favorite class topics: the relationship between sense perceptions, concepts and emotions. Such an exploration leads to surprising insights that leave students often dumbfounded. We think we know what sense perceptions are–concepts, and so forth–but if you start looking into it it can be quite surprising. Special Guest: Dr. Phillip Stanley, PhD.

Dec 2018

29 min 11 sec

Naropa presents some of the most popular and moving episodes of MindfulU from 2018, including "The Discovery of Meaning and Purpose, with Dr. Itai Ivtzan." The disciplines of psychology and spirituality both offer us humans a gift. Psychology, being the mind-oriented discipline, seems to offer us a chance to envision ourselves within our surroundings. At the same time, spirituality invites us to move beyond the mind, and even beyond the definitions of a self. Most of us tend to focus on one or the other over our lives. But, in doing so, we often narrow our experience. When these two disciplines are married, however, we can achieve an incredible explosion of potentials to live life as fully as possible. Special Guest: Itai Ivtzan.

Dec 2018

38 min 8 sec

While Naropa University spends some contemplative downtime with families and friends for the holidays, we present some of our most popular an moving episodes from 2018, beginning with the Rev. angel Kyodo williams... Radical dharma and mindfulness - everybody is going to get a little taste of some meditation, and its great - whatever door you use to enter into practice is great. But - the conflation of mindfulness with a depthful practice that includes an ethic view is a problem. When mindfulness becomes yet another thing that we can modify, and we think is something that is there so that we can consume it, then it’s actually serving our ego. It's serving our ideas of who we are and who we would like to be seen as, in our performance as ourselves. In that way, it can become a factor in our incarceration rather than our liberation. Special Guest: Rev. angel Kyodo williams.

Dec 2018

35 min 6 sec

How are we defining the self? Are we all getting into the real depths of the lie that we are separate, that we're separate entities? Sherry Ellms' students get to explore that separateness and realize that we've always been part of Earth. Consider this analogy: if you cut off my arms I will live. If you cut off my legs I will live. But, if you cut off my air, I will die. How can one say that my limbs are more a part of me than the air? We really are completely interdependent with all of life, and with all of Earth. If we have an enlightened sense of self; if it's an ecological self, then taking care of the earth is like enlightened self-interest. It's not being selfish, because we are connected with everything. Special Guest: Sherry Ellms.

Dec 2018

34 min 9 sec

Richard Rudis spent years in Tibet and Nepal, and in the Himalayas, where he met many teachers and many fundamental teachings came forward. At some point, the outline of sacred sound healing became clear, and he introduced the gong once he found a manufacturer who was creating a poly-tonal instrument that was noble enough and had as much expansion of sound, overtones, harmonics, and frequencies that would reflect sacred sound healing as it came from tradition. Then, he started on the journey of offering gong baths. Special Guest: Richard Rudis.

Dec 2018

49 min 16 sec

Diane Israel's platform is about remembering wholeness and healing the complexity of humanity. Very inspired and excited and alive by exercise, she is still very much here to move. Her movie "Beauty Mark" is "...a raw exploration of this quest for perfection." Speaking about filming the movie: "I was like: 'This is what you want to work on -- like fitting in a smaller pair of pants. When we could be leading the world and changing the world and doing such incredible service.'" Diane made it her goal to change that, and to help others find the tools - in the plain air and out in the open - to heal their lives. Special Guest: Diane Israel.

Nov 2018

42 min 47 sec

Being a better person within the dynamics of relationships really starts with our relationship to ourselves. We constantly cultivate our amazing relationship with who we are in the context of relationships. We can learn to have a better relationship with ourselves sitting on the cushion, and that's super useful, but getting the day in and day out feedback from other human beings telling me what an asshole I am is also powerful. Special Guest: Jayson Gaddis.

Nov 2018

38 min 16 sec

Join us as we sit with Betsy Leach, Elementary Education instructor at Naropa, and discuss the multicultural aspects of public education, and how training in contemplative practices can enhance the experience for everyone. "My experience with students has always been that when they feel like you're real–like you're being genuine rather than pretending to be some perfect authority figure...they trust you and they are willing. I had students telling other students "You got to be good for Miss Leach because she keeps it real, and she's going to have your back!" That to me was huge, especially going into teaching at 22, with only a summer of training. It was really important to bring that humility, and not to pretend to know more than I did, and to be really transparent with students. When I had a bad day, where my lesson was not engaging, I would say "That wasn't as awesome as I wanted it to be. What could I have done better?"

Nov 2018

38 min 55 sec

Listen in to get a history of the first year of Naropa's podcast, Mindful U, via an intimate discussion with our delightful host, David DeVine. From David: "So, before I was 14, I almost became like 8 different religions. But when I turned 21 -- I found Buddhism and what I realized is Spirit is within. So, I didn't have to -- go to church. And, like, kind of hear some stuff I kind of get, and kind of don't get. What I've realized is like we all have self-healing mechanisms within us and we just need to learn how to activate them and or find them within ourselves. So, we have the capability to find Spirit all the time." Special Guest: Kelly Watt.

Nov 2018

48 min 9 sec

If we were to create a regenerative economy here in this region -- what would it look like? People say the Colorado economy is nothing but extractive industries–mining, conventional agriculture, oil and gas–and that's what it always has been, and what it always will be. But that’s not true. Colorado's economy is really predominantly services. It's educational institutions, a growing natural foods industry and organic agriculture, a lot of tech, and a lot of entrepreneurial startups. Outside of Silicon Valley, the Denver-Boulder area is one of the hottest startup communities in the world. There's tourism, the outdoor industries, and the cannabis industry. Put all of these together and they dwarf the so-called "heritage industries" of oil, gas, coal, mining, and conventional agriculture. We have a regenerative economy, and its actually already bigger than the old-fashioned extractive economy, but we don't recognize it. We don't celebrate it and we aren't asking: "What is it about our current economy that served us in the past, but is no longer?" Or, "What is the economy we do want, and how do we encourage that?" Special Guest: L. Hunter Lovins.

Oct 2018

51 min 50 sec

What is the singular thread that runs through every spiritual tradition? Yoga nidra (nidra means "sleep" in Yoga) gives us a framework off of which to hang so many teachings. Yoga nidra is like a tree with many branches that many spiritual teachings can hang off of, and the main trunk is the singularity. Yoga nidra offers many branches to hang Eastern teachings off of, and one can also hang many Western teachings off of it too. We can see every western psychological approach and every eastern approach reflect one another, but we can also see the singularity within them that they all share in common, and so East and West fall away into one singularity of understanding. We can learn how to welcome the fact that all that we are is an expression that comes out of this deep mystery that has given birth to the entire cosmos. Everything, everything is part of that mystery. Every thought, every emotion, every body sensation, every person, every tree, every rock is that mystery incarnate. So, you have to think, "What am I trying to get rid of? What am I trying to change?" Special Guest: Richard Miller, PhD.

Oct 2018

51 min 57 sec

If we can protect top-tier predators then we can protect large wilderness areas. The United States wilderness system, the national park system, and the national forest system–which are unparalleled globally–could help us build the room in our hearts for wilderness areas. And that's what really called to me. As I went into a career at Boulder County Parks and Open Space, I really started to notice and get more concerned about climate change. I realized that we can protect wilderness from mining and logging and overuse and create the cultural space in our hearts for that wilderness, but we can't protect it from climate change directly. It has to be a change in the hearts of people. So, that got me really paranoid. Special Guest: Michael Bauer.

Oct 2018

47 min 47 sec

"I have been thinking a lot these days in this world we inhabit about how our traditions give us companions and teachers, and that it's one of the most important things. In Buddhism, there are the lineages of teachers that are just absolutely critical–living and dead–but in Christianity, there is the communion of saints and the cloud of witnesses. It’s the same idea - but my tradition hadn't given me that. So, I discovered a lot of depth. Theology has a whole different set of questions about our lives and about what happens between people in the world–about our conduct moment to moment. Looking at the world with the eyes of a journalist, but with a theological education, I eventually had this idea for a public radio show, which is how "On Being" started. A show in which the theological part of life would be addressed with intelligence, and that would also be attentive to spiritual depth and the intellectual content of our traditions." - Krista Tippett Special Guest: Krista Tippett.

Oct 2018

36 min 51 sec

Marlow Brooks teaches a class about the human predicament of being very diverse and celebrating differences. For instance, a fire-type person likes to be out in the sun, likes heat, likes passion. Hot, firey people want to lead. They have great senses of humor, and great heart, but they are prone to burning themselves out. Consider a water type person - a personality like winter, being in the depths under the ground, or like a ball on the ground, gathering potency, gathering wisdom. For them to go into situations with loads of fire might feel extremely threatening. Many people that show a propensity for water think they are depressed, or that they are too serious. This class is about learning to accept yourself and then learning to accept the differences in others. Every organism really has different ways of coming into its own. The compassionate approach is to give that organism the type of elemental energy that will nurture them into the person that they will, or that they could, become. Special Guest: Marlow Brooks.

Oct 2018

35 min 9 sec

Look at statistics about our civic literacy in this country–we're in the grip of civic illiteracy largely because not all high schools and colleges are doing enough, though some might be. Not doing enough to make civic literacy actually enough of the required general education of the students. As a result, students have largely turned away–the humanities, which includes history and civics, have been demeaned. We've commodified higher education in such a way that we've actually monetized it. This is not a liberal or conservative issue–both sides are at fault in the continuing removal of civic education and history from high school and college curricula. Statistically, student participation in history majors, history departments goes down about 10 percent a year or every two years. Particularly at this point in our history, when everyone has an opinion about our history and what it means, and access to more information, opinions, viewpoints, and propaganda than ever before. We're politicizing history, which is why it's a lot easier for colleges and high schools to drop the subjects altogether, rather than to try and sort through it. Naropa's founder talked a great deal about creating an enlightened society, and he thought that Naropa should model that society institutionally. But he also thought Naropa should graduate students who would long for a better world, and who were willing to put their bodies, speech, and minds on the line for that world. This is why we're here at Naropa, and why we're committed to teaching a contemplative approach to social justice. Special Guest: John Cobb.

Sep 2018

39 min 55 sec

Think about eco-poetics as not just a focus on degraded soil, air and water, but vibrational absence. When a species leaves the planet, they take everything with them. Their heartbeat, their flutter, their footfalls, their hooves. In the past 50 years, the planet has seen a 60% loss of all the wildlife. We've recently found out that we've lost 50% of the coral reefs in that time. Europe has lost 75% of its flying insects. I immediately started making rituals to create a place of extreme present. That's the purpose of what I do. And, when I am doing these rituals -- translate into all art forms. "Each morning a blue jay screams at the edge of the clear cut forest I scream with her at the bleeding stumps Scream inside something borrowed like ocean, like skin I want to see before I die a mink wearing a human scarf..." – CA Conrad Special Guest: CA Conrad.

Sep 2018

45 min 45 sec

It is important to cultivate discernment in the sense of a historical awareness: the ability to discern many different streams in yogic traditions, and understand their fundamental orientations, outlooks, and practices. This means not letting these different streams all get mixed up into a very vague notion of yoga, but actually appreciating the depth and integrity of each. And thus when we draw from each lineage, we gain greater access to its transformational power. I think that discernment is something that is missing in the broader world of modern postural yoga. Special Guests: Ben Williams, PhD and Nataraja Kallio.

Sep 2018

37 min 8 sec

Fanshen Cox DiGiovanni on performing her wildly popular one-woman piece, "One Drop of Love," for the Naropa community as part of the Bayard and John Cobb Peace Lecture last Spring: "I have been doing this performance for 5 years, and have been in a lot of different communities–some certainly more receptive to the themes around race and racism and class and gender than others. Sometimes I think people feel uncomfortable with it, or maybe they're shy because of the stigma of being in a theater. But I got the sense after being here at Naropa for about a day that this might be a very embracing community–and that's exactly what it was. Still, something that I really appreciate about this community was its natural interaction–a kind of vocal interaction–which I don't always get. Naropa was just right there along with me, laughing out loud, saying "Hmmmmm...," and just offering both a wise and calming response." Special Guest: Fanshen Cox DiGiovanni.

Sep 2018

36 min 13 sec

Traditionally, Judaism is practiced by way of rituals. This includes actual ritualistic practices that involve ritual objects, but it also includes ritualistic prayer, as well as ritualistic forms of study, such as studying Torah in a certain way. My personal practice has shifted from one that is centered around ritual to one that is more about integrating the direct experience of presence, or of divinity, or of reality into everyday life. The rituals' original function was to facilitate that kind of a process, but there are more accessible ways for many people in our culture to access an embodied condition of presence in everyday life. There are ways that do not require people to engage in these complicated and inaccessible rituals that are relevant for someone in an Orthodox community, but not very relevant for 99 percent of the planet. For me, Kedumah represents a way to transmit the essence – the Primordial spirit of Judaism – into a paradigm that is accessible for anybody, really, originating from any tradition, anywhere, or from no tradition at all. Special Guest: Zvi Ish-Shalom.

Aug 2018

35 min 44 sec

There should be free movement. There's something about the monarch butterflies having freedom of flight and freedom of mobility that many humans don't have. We found out that in Mexican folklore the monarch butterflies arrive in Mexico at the very beginning of November–right around the Day of the Dead. The day after the Day of the Dead is the Day of the Children, and the mythology is that the monarch butterflies are the spirits of dead children returning home to Mexico. There are international protections for monarch butterflies, while there are children dying in the desert–children whose names are unknown–just a belt found with a name on it. That idea of not being seen, not being noticed made it seem like the migration of monarch butterflies was a great way to put these children's stories out and into people's consciousness. Special Guests: Amy Buckler, Teresa Veramendi, and Victoria Pilar-González.

Aug 2018

34 min 40 sec

Sometimes, especially in mid-career, we get a little stale. It’s nice to refresh by deeply and authentically getting in touch with what matters to us within our core purpose, within our values, and within why we're doing what we are doing. Part of the training that we provide is helping people who are already in leadership roles bring more of who they authentically are to their role. In the authentic leadership program, we emphasize three different competencies: presence, engagement, and change management. Enjoy the whole podcast to hear about how we train leaders to recognize and develop these traits. Special Guest: Susan Skjei.

Aug 2018

34 min 30 sec

Sometimes we take for granted that text is an image–the letters are images–and there are some writers who are very conscious of that. When we're reading a book we take for granted that the text on the page is an image, and the focus of the book is what the text is communicating. Spend some time thinking about text as an image, like Rachel Blau DuPlessis's work. Rachel is a poet and a critic who also does collage poems. Poems that are made from collage, and they really emphasize text. Special Guest: J'Lyn Chapman.

Jul 2018

29 min 32 sec