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DY 021 – “Emotions, Stress, and Heartbreak” – with guest Eve Ekman

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In this episode emotions researcher and meditation teacher Eve Ekman speaks with Michael W. Taft about embodied emotions, the difference between suppression and healthy expression, impermanence of sensation and moment by moment contact with emotion, emotion-laden cognitions, HH the Dalai Lama, punk rock and Gilman St., surfing, being nice to cats, the Vagus nerve and kundalini, the epidemic of stress …

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DY 020 – “Why Good Teachers Go Bad” – with guest Shinzen Young

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In this special one-year anniversary episode, Shinzen Young talks with host Michael W. Taft about becoming a meditation teacher, the unrealistic paradigm about what meditation delivers, Shinzen’s codependency disaster, Bill Hamilton, the great unsung hero of vipassana in the Western world, homology theory, how science can influence meditation in the West, sociopathic teachers, and what we can do to make …

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Can You Make Friends with Entropy?

by Michael W. Taft One time as a little kid, I burned my hand on a hot stove. My mom gave me a towel with ice cubes in it to hold. Tears poured down my cheeks as I sobbed. I remember looking at my palm, which was extremely painful, and thinking, “Why me?” Suffering is an integral part of being …

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DY 019 – “Deconstructing Dependent Arising” – with guest Leigh Brasington

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Leigh Brasington speaks with host Michael W. Taft about Dependent Arising. Dependent Arising, also called Dependent Origination, is a Buddhist theory of reality that is famously complex, arcane, important, and fascinating. In this episode they discuss early Buddhist metaphysics, Pratītyasamutpāda—the “curious old rune”, the four noble truths version of Dependent Arising, the Vedic Hymn of Creation, Leigh’s model of SODAPI …

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Planning Your Own Meditation Home Retreat

by Jack Walker In nearly every tradition of meditation, periods of retreat are a key component of training. Retreat lets you invest the bandwidth of your attention into meditation practice, free from the distractions of daily life. Residential retreats (i.e. at a retreat facility) can be expensive and logistically challenging. Other complicating factors include how to choose a retreat you …

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DY 018 – “Seeing Your Blind Spots” – with guest Kelly Boys

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Kelly Boys talks with Michael Taft about integral restoration, nondual awakening, the work of Kahneman, spiritual bypassing, gendered aspects of awakening and spiritual teaching, when knowing less is better, engaged Buddhism, Christianity and the experience of being held, digging into illusory egoic material, and how to see your own blind spots. Kelly Boys is a consultant with the United Nations …

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A Universal Theory of Awakening

by Michael W. Taft Full-blown awakening means to notice clearly that everything you experience is a brain-generated virtual representation arising in working memory. This is known in various traditions as nondual awakening, understanding the nature of mind, and so on. Your senses gather data about the world around you, as well as your internal state. This data streams to the …

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DY 017 – “Popping the Bubble of Projection” – with guest Daniel Ingram

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Daniel Ingram talks with Michael W. Taft about teacher-student models, graduate school models of practice, creating meditation peer groups, working with “co-adventurers” on the spiritual path, overcoming projection as a teacher, and more. Daniel Ingram is an emergency medicine physician and long-time dharma practitioner. He famously exploded the Buddhist world when he declared himself to be an arhat and published …

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DY 016 – “Standing at the Edge” with guest Roshi Joan Halifax

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Roshi Joan Halifax speaks with host Michael W. Taft about her new book, Standing at the Edge, the shadow sides of altruism, empathy, integrity, respect, engagement, and rays of hope in current times. Roshi Joan Halifax, Ph.D.  is a Buddhist teacher, Zen priest, anthropologist, and pioneer in the field of end-of-life care. She is Founder, Abbot, and Head Teacher of …

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DY 015 – “Eddies in the Mind Stream” – with guest Rick Hanson, Ph.D.

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Rick Hanson and I discuss the tension between accepting how you’re feeling and changing how you’re feeling, spiritual bypassing, how to cultivate positive states of mind, the quivering potentiality at the front edge of now, the three branches of attention, why Buddhist aggressiveness is not an oxymoron, and, of course, ewoks. Rick Hanson, Ph.D., is a psychologist, Senior Fellow of …

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Accepting The Gift of Kindness and Love

By Jessica Graham The strongest of us are those that are spiritually strong, and a spiritual warrior is one of vulnerability.  –  Chogyam Trungpa I recently spent a little over a month in silence at the Insight Meditation Society’s Forest Refuge facility. It wasn’t always easy because I’m dealing with some health issues. One of the consequences of that is …

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The Snow Globe

by Michael W. Taft One metaphor I often hear for meditation is that it’s like a snow globe. Let’s say it’s a Buddhist snow globe, with a meditating figure in the middle of a glass globe filled with water and something that looks like snowflakes. The normal mind, it’s said, is like a snow globe when it’s shaken up: thoughts …

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DY 014 – “Diving Deep into the Jhanas” with guest Leigh Brasington

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Concentration master Leigh Brasington talks with Michael W. Taft about the jhanas, a Buddhist system of eight altered states of consciousness that arise in states of high concentration. The conversation dives deep into practicing each of these eight states, how the jhanas relate to vipassana practice, ways to work through major challenges that may arise, the so-called “powers” that are …