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Groundless Ground Podcast
69 minutes | a month ago
Bill Plotkin on the Journey of the Soul
Soul initiation is an essential and hazardous spiritual adventure that most modern cultures have forgotten. Eco-psychologist Bill Plotkin discusses this mythopoetic, life-altering journey which he beautifully explicates in his new book, Journey of Soul Initiation. I chose to commence GG Season Four with this riveting, deep and edgy dialogue on the transformative and profound path of forging a true adult. Bill’s wisdom, humility and radical honesty shine through as he describes his own soul journey and the evolvement of guiding others through the mind-heart-and-life-transforming process of preparation, descent, metamorphosis and enactment. His book also features an in-depth exploration and radically new understanding of Carl Jung’s Red Book. May this episode inspire and awaken all who hear it.Bill Plotkin, Ph.D., is a depth psychologist, wilderness guide, and agent of cultural evolution. As founder of western Colorado’s Animas Valley Institute in 1981, he has guided thousands of seekers through nature-based initiatory passages, including a contemporary, Western adaptation of the pan-cultural vision quest. Previously, he has been a research psychologist (studying non-ordinary states of consciousness), professor of psychology, psychotherapist, rock musician, and whitewater river guide. Bill is the author of Soulcraft: Crossing into the Mysteries of Nature and Psyche (an experiential guidebook), Nature and the Human Soul: Cultivating Wholeness and Community in a Fragmented World (a nature-based stage model of human development through the entire lifespan), Wild Mind: A Field Guide to the Human Psyche (an ecocentric map of the psyche — for healing, growing whole, and cultural transformation). He has a doctorate in psychology from the University of Colorado at Boulder.
43 minutes | 3 months ago
Opening To Grief
In this year of radical loss, Opening to Grief: Finding your way from loss to peace is an essential guidebook for anyone navigating grief and loss. Claire B. Willis, author, clinical social worker, ordained lay Buddhist chaplain and yoga teacher talks about her journey writing this book and shares expert counsel about the many ways to honor any form of loss you might be experiencing as 2020 comes to a close. This is an invaluable episode for closing a horrifically strange year, and doing what we can to bravely move into 2021 renewed and ready for change. https://openingtogrief.com/Claire B. Willis is a clinical social worker and an ordained lay Buddhist chaplain and yoga teacher. She has spent over two decades working with oncology patients with a focus on end of life issues, therapeutic writing and bereavement counseling. A co-founder of Facing Cancer Together: A Community of Hope, Claire is also an adjunct faculty member at the Andover Newton Theological School and a former group facilitator and instructor at The Wellness Community. She earned an M.A. from Episcopal Divinity School and a MSW and a M.Ed from Boston University. Claire lives in Brookline, Massachusetts.
59 minutes | 3 months ago
Evan Thompson On Why He Is Not A Buddhist
My second dialogue with Evan Thompson covers his latest and most controversial book, Why I Am Not A Buddhist, which spotlights conceptual and functional problems with Buddhist modernism, Buddhist exceptionalism, Buddhist Empiricism, and neural Buddhism. With philosophical adeptness, Evan argues a cosmopolitan view of not-self and enlightenment, and skillfully slays popular one-dimensional co-options of the Buddhist teachings by Robert Wright and Sam Harris. This episode is dedicated to Evan’s father, writer and scholar William Irwin Thompson who recently passed away; a man who profoundly impacted my life particularly during my 20’s, when I was deeply interested in the cultural evolution of patriarchy and modern human’s loss of connection with the natural world.Evan Thompson is a writer and professor of philosophy at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. He works on the nature of the mind, the self, and human experience by combining cognitive science, philosophy of mind, phenomenology, and cross-cultural philosophy, especially Asian philosophical traditions. The best place to find out more about Evan's work is his website.
30 minutes | 5 months ago
VOTE! Be On Fire Without Being Aflame
This episode is a dharma talk I gave online at Marin Sangha on 9/13, when we were experiencing insane wildfires burning throughout our area. The talk uses the Fire Sutta to explore collective conduct and personal responsibility in the midst of extreme life circumstances such as 2020 continues to bring many of us. My intention in releasing it now is to incline every eligible American to vote with the preservation of our democracy foremost in mind. Our President and Senate leaders have failed us in so many ways: 200,000 unnecessary deaths from COVID-19, their complete lack of interest in the obvious effects of climate disruption such as the massive wildfires here in the West, and their direct attempts to undermine voting and American democracy. Every American must wake up and out of complacency. It is time to remove these harmful, self-serving leaders from power. We each have the power to restore our nation to sanity, restore our government to health, and restore wisdom, intelligence and collective care as the central motivation for our nation. May every voter have an easeful, meaningful voting process! Lisa's website
47 minutes | 6 months ago
Lama Rod Owens: Liberation through anger
Lama Rod Owens, African-American author and Tibetan Buddhist teacher, describes himself as, “black, queer, cisgender, and male-identified, fat, mixed class, Buddhist teacher and minister, yoga teacher, and shit-talking Southerner.” When I contacted Lama Rod more than a year ago to have him on the show, his assistant told me he was deep into writing his newly published book, Love and Rage: The Path of Liberation Through Anger, and to check back in the Spring of 2020. Well, America has been through so much since then, and I am so happy Lama Rod and I got to have this dialogue now, in the midst of a pandemic, Black Lives Matter, and America’s ever-intensifying political turmoil. Love and Rage is a must-read for anyone seeking to grapple with identity: how to know it and the suffering it causes, and use that pain and understanding to walk the path of liberation from human suffering. This is a radical GG dialogue unlike any other. May it be of benefit to all who listen.
55 minutes | 8 months ago
Teja Bell on Chinese Internal Arts
This episode is a celebration of Teja Bell, a lifelong practitioner and teacher of Aikido, Taijiquan, Qigong, Neigong, Buddhism and Taoism. I have studied qigong with Teja for many years and delighted in QigongDharma and Radiant Heart Qigong, his unique integration of Buddhist meditation and qigong. He is an Aikido master (6th degree black belt) and a roshi in the Rinzai Zen Buddhist lineage. Teja shares his remarkable introduction to martial arts as a young teen in Iowa, and long history of study with renown teachers in judo, kung fu, yang style taijiquan, qigong, Liu He Ba Fa, Buddhism, Taoism and hatha yoga. He also describes the evolution of Chinese Internal Arts as they moved throughout Asia and the mechanics of qi, the subtle body and mind. This is special episode, one born from the shared heart/mind of precious teacher and humble student.https://www.qigongdharma.com/
49 minutes | 9 months ago
Eric Garland: Mindfulness and Addiction Recovery
Eric Garland, PhD, LCSW, is a rare combination of rigorous researcher and compassionate clinician. His unique integration of CBT and mindfulness led him to create Mindfulness-Oriented Recovery Enhancement (MORE), an integrative group intervention for treating chronic pain, stress, and opioid misuse. His attention to detail and methodology has made him a trusted researcher. In 2019 he was appointed to the NIH HEAL Multi-Disciplinary Working Group to help guide the HEAL initiative on pain and addiction. Our dialogue was exciting for both of us. We share a sense that helping patients attend to savoring and insight is key to moving beyond the murky grasp of addiction.Eric Garland, PhD, LCSW, is Distinguished Endowed Chair in Research, Professor, and Associate Dean for Research in the University of Utah College of Social Work, Director of the Center on Mindfulness and Integrative Health Intervention Development (C-MIIND) and, Associate Director of Integrative Medicine in Supportive Oncology and Survivorship at the Hunstman Cancer Institute. Dr. Garland has had over 150 scientific articles and book chapters published in respected, peer-reviewed outlets, and he currently serves as Associate Editor for the journal Mindfulness.
68 minutes | 10 months ago
Kristin Andrews on Animal Minds
Are non-human animals conscious? Do non-human animal minds have concepts, intelligence, memory, intentionality, ethics, and social behavior? Kristin Andrews, professor of philosophy, author, and pioneering researcher in moral cognition, discusses non-human animal consciousness and the ethical problems of using non-human animals, like rats, as research subjects. To celebrate the newly released Second Edition of Kristin’s seminal textbook, The Animal Mind, we dive deep into philosophical inquiry on animals and consciousness—how and what animals think, what skills they possess, what moral and social structures they create and live by, and throughout our conversation she tackles the minefield of ethical questions about animal rights and using animals in scientific and medical research. Kristin also candidly describes how she conquered obstacles most women face navigating and succeeding in the largely male-dominated world of academic philosophy. This episode will broaden your perspective on our animal brothers and sisters, and how closely related we truly are.https://kristinandrews.org/
64 minutes | a year ago
Sylver Quevedo: Psychedelic-assisted Therapies
Psychedelic-assisted interventions appear to be all the rage these days. Though there are many psychedelic evangelists I wanted to find a credible medical resource to discuss these treatments. Deep gratitude to my friend Ron Purser who introduced me to my esteemed guest, Sylver Quevedo, MD, a pioneer in integrative family and internal medicine, assistant professor of medicine at Stanford and UCSF, co-Founder of Polaris Insight Center for Ketamine-assisted psychotherapy, and Principle Investigator in the FDA clinical trials on MDMA for Post-traumatic Stress Disorder. Our conversation was enlightening and it was fascinating to hear about Dr. Quevedo’s long history of work in public health, his devotion to providing medical care for indigenous populations in the American Southwest and Africa, and his enduring personal and professional interest in clinical use of psychedelic plant medicines. He beautifully explicates the biologic mechanisms of psilocybin, MDMA, ketamine, ayahuasca, mescaline and how these substances differ in effect and usefulness in psychotherapy. Dr. Quevedo is limited in discussing outcomes of the current phase 3 MDMA trials but he shared results of previous MDMA for PTSD trials, as well as use of psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy for end-of-life anxiety, depression, and ketamine-assisted psychotherapy for suicidal depression and chronic pain. So sit back and enjoy the journey this amazing physician takes us on.https://www.polarisinsight.com/https://maps.org Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies https://clinicaltrials.gov/ NIH MDMA StudiesSylver Quevedo, MD, Internist Polaris Co-Founder and Medical Director has been in continuous practice of medicine for 40 years and practices nephrology, family, internal, and integrative medicine. He serves as Assistant Professor at Stanford and UCSF. He has played pivotal roles in several global health projects, including planning and development of medical and nursing school in Africa. The staff at Polaris Insight Center are dedicated to the ethical and compassionate clinical use of ketamine-assisted, and psychedelic-assisted, psychotherapy. Our founding members are all MAPS (Multi-disciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies) trained clinicians who have participated in both Phase 2 and Phase 3 clinical trials of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD.
18 minutes | a year ago
Staying Sane While Staying At Home
Lisa Dale Miller, psychotherapist and dharma teacher, shares three invaluable daily practices for maintaining sanity in our “new normal” of staying at home all the time. 1) Three Gratitudes Practice2) Awareness Breaks for when you feel agitated or anxious3) Diligence and Renunciation Practice as helpmates to get good sleep, exercise everyday, and eat healthy food.Lisa's website: https://lisadalemiller.com
9 minutes | a year ago
COVID-19: Advice For Awakening
The COVID-19 outbreak is the very time for meditative practice because chaos and uncertainty are the rich soil of awakening! Of great help is to shift your mindset into a compassionate stance with respect to social distancing and spending more time at home. Lisa Dale Miller, psychotherapist and dharma teacher, shares advice and easy practices for doing this right now, in your life, in the midst of suffering. Learn how to be kind, patient, generous, wise and consider those who are less fortunate.Lisa's psychotherapy website
44 minutes | a year ago
James Gordon: Heal Trauma and Transform Now!
Psychiatrist James S. Gordon pioneered a mind-body methodology widely used around the world for healing psychological trauma. His latest book, The Transformation: Discovering Wholeness and Healing After Trauma, offers a comprehensive evidence-based program anyone can use to reverse the psychological and biological damage caused by traumatic experience. Dr. Gordon interweaves the latest scientific research, inspiring recovery stories, timeless wisdom and 50 years of clinical experience to help readers suffering with PTSD to meet the challenges of healing trauma, while rediscovering joy, meaning and purpose. Dr. Gordon touched me deeply and our dialogue expanded my clinical knowledge and skills. I am recommending his book to all my patients who are struggling with the effects of trauma. James S. Gordon, MD , a Harvard-educated psychiatrist, is internationally recognized for using self-awareness, self-care, and group support to heal population-wide psychological trauma. He is founder and executive director of the nonprofit Center for Mind-Body Medicine in Washington, D.C., a clinical professor at Georgetown Medical School, and was chairman (under Presidents Clinton and GW Bush) of the White House Commission on Complementary and Alternative Medicine Policy.
50 minutes | a year ago
Stuart Eisendrath: Healing Depression When Antidepressants Aren't Enough
Depression is a relapsing disease and preventing future depressive episodes is critical for lifelong mental health. Psychiatrist and UCSF Professor Emeritus Stuart Eisendrath’s new book, When Antidepressants Aren’t Enough: Harnessing mindfulness to alleviate depression, is a layperson’s guide for depression relapse prevention. His book offers detailed psycho-education on depression and anxiety (something most patients rarely receive) and features an easy-to-follow program of targeted breath exercises, meditations, and innovative visualizations from Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT), an evidence-based, 8-week course offered for many years at the UCSF Depression Center. It was a great honor to have time with Dr. Eisendrath and I know this conversation will be deeply informative for both clinicians and people suffering with depression and anxiety.Stuart Eisendrath, MD, Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry, UCSF Weill Institute for Neurosciences is a psychiatrist who cares for patients with depressive disorders and treatment resistant depression, and was UCSF Depression Center's founding director. A distinguished fellow of the American Psychiatric Association, he has authored many books on psychiatric disorders and using mindfulness to treat depression.
37 minutes | a year ago
2020: See Clearly and Act Wisely
Last week a patient greeted me with these words, “2020. Clear vision.” That declaration of clear knowing, exemplifies every wish I have for our world as we step into a new decade. See clearly, care deeply, act wisely. Though I infrequently feature two dharma talks in a row on this podcast, this one epitomizes the power of imparting wisdom at a time when our world is in such disarray. As part of a series of talks on the Four Noble Truths, I was tasked to teach on the First Noble Truth: the Buddha’s clear seeing of inherent unsatisfactoriness and its key role in giving rise to all forms of human suffering. True understanding of this teaching liberates habitual tendencies to harm oneself, others and our world. May this dharma talk awaken as many beings as possible to the interconnected nature of our human existence, and set an equal number on the path of Seeing clearly, caring deeply, and acting wisely.Lisa Dale Miller, LMFT, LPCC, SEP is licensed to practice psychotherapy in California. New York. Oregon, and is a Somatic Experiencing Practitioner. Her office is located in Los Gatos, CA. In 2014 Lisa authored Effortless Mindfulness: Genuine mental health through awakened presence, a highly regarded textbook on Buddhist psychology for mental health professionals. Lisa has been an outpatient clinician for the Veterans Administration San Jose and a teacher of Mindfulness-based Interventions. She presents at conferences and trains clinicians in the clinical applications of mindfulness and Buddhist psychology. Lisa is a dharma teacher and has been a yogic and Buddhist meditation practitioner for over four decades. Lisa is the creator and host of the Groundless Ground Podcast.
41 minutes | a year ago
Buddhist Psychology of Climate Denial
Welcome to the end of the year, the end of the decade, and the last episode in GG Season Two. From the creator’s side, GG Season 3 looks like the best is yet to come.It’s been a challenging year globally in so many ways. And certainly climate disruption tops the list of 2019’s human failures: We utterly fail to comprehend the consequences of our continued denials, delayals and complacency. America is truly the worst offender and I suspect this is because temperature rise is always described in Celsius; a numbering system Americans don’t relate to conceptually or emotionally. We speak Fahrenheit. A 1° Celsius rise doesn’t sound like much to Americans. A correlative 33° Fahrenheit rise sounds terrifying.This is a dharma talk I gave in September 2019, which lays out the hard truths of inhabitability that come with climate disruption and temperature rise (all numbers are given in Fahrenheit) and offers a Buddhist psychological view of humanity’s continuing denials of and complacency about climate disruption. None of what you are about to hear is conjecture or climate science’s worst case scenario. Nonetheless it is alarming. And I try in this talk to make sense of what about our human evolutionary wiring and our kleshic perceptual habits, that makes it so hard for us to truly comprehend the enormity of destruction we are causing our planet and its inhabitants. I pray this episode inspires others to renounce denial and fully embrace individual and collective actions in this next decade that can, in some way, mitigate the horrors of climate disruption.Visit Lisa’s website to download more of her dharma talks, view her 2020 Bay Area Teaching schedule, and learn more about her psychotherapy practice and publications.Listen on Lisa's Youtube Channel
61 minutes | a year ago
Anthony Aguirre: Cosmological Koans
If it is not by now fully apparent how much I love science, this conversation, well more accurately this rare chance to sit at the feet of a science master, is proof that there is nothing more surprising and profound than the physics of space, time, information, and quantum reality. Cosmologist, UCSC physics professor, science activist, and author Anthony Aguirre, generously discusses the intricacies of deep reality he shares in his astonishingly creative new book titled, Cosmological Koans: A Journey to the Heart of Physical Reality. His book transported me into a multifaceted explanatory world of historical fiction, mathematics and mind-blowing truths about our cosmos and the nature of reality itself. It should be at the top of everyone’s gift giving book list. Anthony is a rare jewel. In addition to his teaching and research, he has co-founded two seminal institutes: One supporting cutting-edge physics and other focused on the evolution of Artificial Intelligence (AI), Biotech, energy and climate disruption. Links to both websites are included in the show notes and I urge every listener to visit these resources. The last part of our conversation probes the perils and promise of AI, a tidal wave of change every human should be both excited and concerned about.Listen on Lisa's YouTube ChannelAnthony Aguirre is a professor of physics at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and the associate scientific director of the Foundational Questions Institute a nonprofit organization that he co-founded and co-runs He is also co-founder of Future of Life Institute. Anthony received his doctorate in astronomy from Harvard University in 2000 and then spent three years as a member of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton before accepting a professorship in the physics department of the University of California, Santa Cruz. He has worked on a wide variety of topics in theoretical cosmology (the study of the formation, nature, and evolution of the universe), including the early universe and inflation, gravity physics, first stars, the intergalactic medium, galaxy formation, and black holes.
57 minutes | a year ago
Loch Kelly: The Way of Effortless Mindfulness
Loch Kelly’s new book, The Way of Effortless Mindfulness, is a practice manual for living a fully embodied, open-hearted life. Loch insists the goal of effortless mindfulness is not to escape or transcend, but to recognize and embody wakeful pure awareness, which is ever-present in the midst of the full range of human experience. To help listeners directly know effortless mindfulness, Loch offers a few mindful glimpse practices along with in-depth structural descriptions of what differentiates effortless mindfulness from mainstream mindfulness, or what he calls, deliberate mindfulness. The Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism says nature of mind or pure awareness is hard to recognize precisely because it is so close, so subtle, so simple, and so good! Our dialogue cuts though the esoteric clouds of confusion which often pervade instructions on how to recognize this extraordinary yet, so completely ordinary mind. Loch shares the unique framework explicated in The Way of Effortless Mindfulness: The Eight Types of Awareness, the Five Foundations of Effortless Mindfulness, and what he calls no-self Self. And because we are both clinicians, Loch and I also discuss how effortless mindfulness skills can be delivered in clinical contexts to alleviate cognitive, affective and physical distress.Listen to this episode on Lisa's YouTube ChannelLoch Kelly, M.Div., LCSW has been teaching seminars, supervising clinicians and practicing awareness psychotherapy in NYC for 30 years. Loch is a graduate of Columbia University and Union Theological. He was awarded a fellowship to study forms of non-dual meditation in Sri Lanka, India and Nepal from 1981-1982 and has studied with teachers from around the world. He studied Buddhism with Professor Lily de Silva at the University of Kandy, Sri Lanka, Insight Meditation with Godwin Samararatne and at the Theravada monasteries, Inter-Spiritual Contemplative Meditation with Fr. Bede Griffiths and Anthony de Mello, Advaita at Sri Ramana Ashram, and Dzogchen and Sutra Mahamudra with Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche in Nepal. Loch spent 10 years establishing homeless shelters and community lunch programs and working in a community mental health clinic in Brooklyn, New York. He also served as Coordinator of Counseling and Interspiritual Chaplain at Union Theological Seminary and worked extensively with families recovering from the trauma of 9/11.
46 minutes | a year ago
Andrew Holecek: Dream and Sleep Yogas and the Bardos
This episode is a dive deep into the extraordinary Tibetan Buddhist teachings on Dream Yoga, Sleep Yoga, and the Bardos, with Andrew Holecek; a longtime Tibetan Buddhist practitioner and expert in offering these teachings via contemporary language and authentic practices. Andrew’s methodology goes way beyond lucid dreaming. He believes that shamatha and vipashyana meditation are foundational to all the advanced practices he teaches, and his purpose for sharing this knowledge is facilitating awakening from suffering, rather than feeding a student’s unconscious or conscious need for power or non-ordinary experience. We talk openly about these profound yogas and their ultimate aim—revealing the ever-present continuity of pure awareness underlying waking, dreaming, sleeping and even death.Andrew's WebsiteAndrew's Online Dream SchoolGlobal Dental Relief WebsiteMingyur Rinpoche's extraordinary new book on the Bardo TeachingsListen to this episode on Lisa's YouTube Channel
42 minutes | 2 years ago
How Buddhism Regards Those Who Harm Others
This episode features a dharma talk given by Lisa Dale Miller at Marin Sangha in March 2019. The talk begins with a discussion of teachers and their fallibilities, and the ethical standards the Buddhist teachings require teachers to uphold. The second part of the talk focuses on human beings who spend their lives engaged in wrongdoing, realize their misconduct, endeavor to transform internal suffering, and consequently end further wrongdoing. How do we hold such individuals accountable for their actions without getting lost in generating hatred toward them and their wrongdoing? How can we develop a compassionate view of those who have been harmful are no longer a source of harm? The wisdom of how to accomplish this is a big part of the Buddhist teachings on wise view, wise intention, wise action and compassionate recognition of human suffering. An example of the Buddhist teachings on transforming harm is found in a sutta featuring a teaching by Angulimala, a mentally disturbed murderer who became a monk, renounced violence, and then served as attendant to the historical Buddha. "Who once did live in negligence And then is negligent no more Who checks the evil deed he did by doing wholesome deeds instead He illuminates the world Like the moon freed from a cloud There are some that tame with beatings But I was tamed by such who has no rod nor any weapon Harmless is the name I bear who was dangerous in the past The name I bear today is true I hurt no living being at all."
42 minutes | 2 years ago
The Buddha in Jail: Cuong Lu on Interbeing
My dialogue with Cuong Lu, Buddhist teacher and prison chaplain in the Netherlands, was by far the most moving experience of my podcasting life. Cuong’s wisdom and limitless compassion brought me to tears several times during our time together. He was born in Vietnam and grew up in the midst of war, only knowing fighting until his mother moved them to the Netherlands when he was twelve years old and he experienced friendliness for the first time. He spent many years as a monk with Thich Nhat Hanh and then became a lay Buddhist teacher in 2009. His is a deeply relational dharma characterized by complete embodiment of interbeing, the empty inseparability of all beings. His remarkable new book, The Buddha in Jail: Restoring Lives, Finding Hope and Freedom recounts his unique application of the Buddhist teachings for prisoners who, he asserts “are often able to understand the Dharma more quickly than those whose lives have been easier.” Cuong is on book tour July 22 - Aug 2 in New York, Chicago, St. Louis, Milwaukee, Madison, and several venues in the San Francisco Bay Area. You can find his schedule in the show notes and I urge any of you who can, to attend and meet this remarkable man. Cuong Lu's Links: Mind Only School of Buddhist Psychology Buy The Buddha in Jail Disclaimer: The information in this episode or on groundlessground.com is intended for information and entertainment purposes only, and does not claim to be or constitute therapeutic advice or mental health treatment.
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