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Deconstructing Michael – with Erik Newton

erik newton

Turning the tables on the usual show format, host Michael Taft gets interviewed by Erik Newton. They talk about the meaning of awakening, the paradox of suffering, the end of seeking, the value of personal experience vs. scriptural understanding, Erik’s awakening experience, new technologies of awakening, the genesis of the Deconstructing Yourself podcast, and more.

Erik Newton is a lawyer and was the head of a successful family law firm, which gave him the opportunity to take part in 1000s of divorces. As the result of his experience, two things happened: one was that he created the wildly popular podcast entitled “Together” — the podcast that explores the truth of human relationships — in which Erik uses his hard-won knowledge of the many failure modes of relationships to help couples understand how come together. The second was that he had a major awakening experience.


Kenneth Folk on DY

The Forest Refuge

Michael’s Book on Non-Duality

Daniel Ingram on DY

Michael’s Article on Awakening

The Mindful Geek

Show Notes

3:50 – How The DY Podcast Began

6:58 – The Conversation of Awakening as a Creative Journey

9:30 – The Joy of Getting Inside Somebody Else’s Mind

10:40 – What is “The Path”?

12:09 – Where Did the Name “Deconstructing Yourself” Come From?

14:48 – Deconstructing Leads to Reconstructing

16:13 – Deconstruction and Reconstruction in Buddhism

16:57 – Erik’s Awakenings and Emptiness Experiences

18:58 – “Heaven is a Place Where Nothing Ever Happens”

20:24 – The “What Next” Factor Leads Us Back to The World

21:30 – The Pros and Cons of Michael’s Style of Learning and Teaching

24:04 – The Value of Academia and Scripture

25:24 – Everything is Partially True and False

26:43 – Michael’s Time as a Seeker

28:00 – What is a Seeker?

28:36 – The Slow Death of the Seeker

31:02 – Awakening Can Save the World

32:36 – Nothing Matters and A Lot Matters

34:51 – Does It Hurt to Be Aware of Suffering?

36:03 – The Game of Recognizing Emptiness and Engaging Anyway

37:37 – Awake People Are Still People

38:46 – A Perfect Relationship Doesn’t Exist

40:21 – Popping the Bubbles of Projection

41:33 – Redefining Awakening Through Science

43:06 – Empathizing with Critics

43:54 – Teaching for The Western Mind

45:42 – The Practical Impact of Awakening

46:26 – Plant Medicine as a Shortcut for Awakening

47:15 – Technology’s Place in Awakening

51:48 – The Power of Communication Technology

52:19 – Normalizing Awakening

53:46 – Nudges Towards Awakening

55:22 – Teaching Meditation at Erik’s Start Up

56:33 – Beginner’s Mind

57:18 – Goals, Motivations, and Ethics in Meditation

58:42 – Waking Up in Silicon Valley


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6 thoughts on “Deconstructing Michael – with Erik Newton”

  1. That was a great comment to share – something to the effect of “if I’m not a complete bliss ninny and I share some of my disgruntled feelings on twitter I lose dozens of followers”. Damn that’s scary to think people are still looking at teachers as perfected beings. I thought we got over that by the 80’s lol. But I guess its a phase each generation has to grow through.

  2. I really enjoyed this episode. I hope you also interviewed Erik for another podcast, because his story sounds very interesting.

    And could you provide a link to your recent article, discussed in the podcast starting at 41:33?


  3. I love your podcast. It’s so relatable and inspiring and reminds me why I’m here in the first place especially when I find myself getting discouraged.

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