DY 007 – “Enlightenment’s Evil Twin” – with guest Shinzen Young

In by Michael W. Taft6 Comments

In this session, host Michael W. Taft and meditation teacher and neuroscience consultant Shinzen Young talk about what mindfulness teachers are getting wrong, Shinzen’s Periodic Table of Happiness Elements, informed consent for awakening, effective strategies for dealing with the Dark Night of the Soul, and the phenomenon that Shinzen calls “Enlightenment’s Evil Twin.” Learn more about Shinzen Young at Also read his new book, entitled, “The Science of Enlightenment.”

Also here is a pdf of Shinzen’s Periodic Table of Happiness Elements.

Shinzen Young


  1. The Periodic Table is an excellent framework. In the horizontal direction it traverses the spectrum of Healing the Self to Healing the World. In the vertical direction it points to the relationship of authenticity (depth) vis-a-vis legitimacy (span).
    Of course it is a linear representation of what entails non-linear feedback loops and fractal movements between and across the 5×4=20 blocks of the Table.
    Great talk – thank you.

  2. Great interview, but it does take Shinzen a long time to answer Michael’s question at 3:15 “What you see other teachers out there, to put it bluntly, getting wrong? What do you see as the deficiencies of mindfulness as it is currently being taught here in the West?” If people are tempted to quit before listening to the whole interview, I would really recommend that people jump to the heart of Shinzen’s answer about at 1:19 — that’s where Shinzen talks about what really “frosts his buns” about some modern teachers. 🙂

    1. Thanks, Jamie. Yes, anybody is welcome if they choose to skip over 80 solid minutes of Shinzen talking about some of the most interesting facets of awakening. 😉

  3. Great interview, Michael. I really like Shinzen’s comments about including all in mindfulness no matter what their religious, moral, political orientation. Truly wise and necessary when we look at the really big picture….all of creation. Love to hear about skillful actions and character skills. Nice work. So proud of you!

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