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Mindfulness+ with Thomas McConkie
23 minutes | Jun 1, 2022
Sneak Peak at Season 6: Going to Boston!
How do human beings transform and become what we’re meant to become? Thomas is taking this question to graduate school at Harvard University to ask some of the best minds in the world what practices can support us in living the good life. Drawing from ancient understandings from the Wisdom traditions to modern insights in developmental psychology and neuroscience, Thomas will continue to offer intimate, guided tours of cosmos, soul and psyche from his new headquarters in Boston! Want to practice with Thomas? Join on Zoom from anywhere in the world for a monthly mini-retreat. Feeling called to a really deep dive? Join his 7-day intensive training in Scholls, Oregon this August.
41 minutes | May 25, 2022
Bonus Episode: Yoga Nidra with Kelly Boys
Kelly is a mindfulness trainer and author of The Blind Spot Effect: How to Stop Missing What’s Right in Front of You. She has developed mindfulness trainings in diverse places from the United Nations to San Quentin Prison. In this conversation, Kelly exudes dharma from every pore and offers a direct taste of the ancient practice of Yoga Nidra. This one is a special treat. Want to leave a voicemail for the team? Ask Thomas a practice question? Request a special topic for a future episode? Click here.
33 minutes | Apr 27, 2022
Episode 25: Mother of All Beings
In our season finale, Thomas pays tribute to the recently deceased dharma master, Dr. Daniel Brown. Brown’s work is a superb example of Eastern practice meeting the psychological sophistication of the West. In this episode, taste what it means to re-parent the self, what it means to become the Mother of all beings.
21 minutes | Apr 20, 2022
Episode 24: Earth Day
It’s common in the modern world to speak of the need to “return to nature.” But from a contemplative perspective, we are Nature. We cannot leave nature, but we can forget who we are. When we remember our nature, we naturally take better care of ourselves, and better care of the planet that sustains us all.
23 minutes | Apr 13, 2022
Episode 23: Fearlessness
So often in life, we tell ourselves that fear is a problem—that fear stops us from doing the things we most want to do. What about the wisdom of fear, though? Thomas shares a story of his friend who has made a living of encountering his fear everyday for over 40 years now. The result? Not a lack of fear, but the courage to act with fear fully present. Fearlessness.
23 minutes | Apr 6, 2022
Episode 22: Hosts, Hostages and Vagrants
What did the early Buddhists of China mean when they said, “Be the host of every situation?” In this episode, Thomas explores a sutra that likens mindful awareness to a “host” allowing innumerable “guests” to come and go through the inn. The trick: to let the guests who want to stay, stay, and to let the guests who want to go, go.
22 minutes | Mar 30, 2022
Episode 21: The Moving Target of Unknowing
The mind prefers to have answers. When we don’t have answers, we feel anything from low-grade anxiety to full-blown panic. If we pay close attention to life, we find that no sooner do we know one thing than we realize there are even more things we don’t know. In short, the experience of “unknowing” is inescapable. What if, instead of spending all our energy avoiding the discomfort of unknowing, we opened up to it? What if unknowing is a gateway leading us to a new way of being human?
23 minutes | Mar 23, 2022
Episode 20: Giving Is Receiving
From an ordinary point of view, giving and receiving are opposites. In the “real world,” you give a little in order to get a little. Not so on the path of transformation. From a deeper perspective, giving and receiving are one reality, one movement. Listen to a moving account of citizens of the world giving to Ukraine with no hope of receiving something in return. In the words of Jesus, “if you lend money only to those who can repay you, why should you get credit?”
24 minutes | Mar 16, 2022
Episode 19: Divide and Conquer
“Overwhelm” is a technical term in mindfulness. It refers to the experience of not being able to mindfully process sensory experience moment to moment. When life gets too intense, our suffering multiplies. In this episode you can deepen your learning on the classic practice of “divide and conquer”: notice where the most overwhelm is occurring, make skillful adjustments, and you’re back in the game. For anyone serious about not suffering, this episode is a boon.
28 minutes | Mar 9, 2022
Episode 18: Hearing the Cries of the World
When we open up to the suffering on the planet, we soon realize that we, the “small self”, are not nearly big enough to contain it all. To really hold suffering in our heart and help to relieve it, we must get bigger—a move from the relative to the Absolute. In Buddhism, there is a Bodhisattva, or awakened being, who models just this: Kuan Yin (Chinese translation). Her name means “she who hears the cries of the world.” As a new war wages in Ukraine, it is an especially important moment to learn to get Big, to hold it together; to hear the cries of the world.
23 minutes | Mar 2, 2022
Episode 17: Building Heaven
At a time in the not-so-distant past, you might have been involved in the building of a cathedral that took so long to complete, you would have never seen the finished product of your labors. Nevertheless, your participation was absolutely vital. This is a fascinating metaphor for the new reality humanity is giving rise to moment by moment. Thomas calls it “building heaven.”
25 minutes | Feb 23, 2022
Episode 16: Hold Stroke
When life throws challenges at us, it tests our capacity to be open, clear and present. Thomas recounts his glory days as a high school swimmer in this episode to point out a helpful technique for practicing when the going gets tough. If we’re clear where our mindful awareness tends to break down, we can “train to remain” in a more intelligent way.
22 minutes | Feb 16, 2022
Episode 15: No Gaining Idea
If you think about virtually everything you do in a given day, you may come to a realization: “I do what I do because I want to get something out it.” We work to earn money, we exercise to stay fit, we meditate to feel good…it seems harmless enough. But there is a more subtle path available to us as human beings. In Suzuki Roshi’s words, we can live our lives with “no gaining idea.” When we have no gaining idea, we taste what it means to express our true nature—to be truly alive.
24 minutes | Feb 9, 2022
Episode 14: Effectively Selfish
It’s not often you call someone “selfish” and mean it as a compliment. But prepare to be liberated from your misconceptions about what healthy selfishness actually is! In this episode, Thomas offers insights from the field of developmental psychology and coaches you on how to be the best kind of selfish in your life. You’ll be glad you listened. Interested in learning more about development? For information about an opportunity to join Thomas’s cohort program, go to www.lowerlightswisdom.org/spectra.
35 minutes | Feb 2, 2022
Episode 13: Who am I? An interview with Dr. Terri O’Fallon
One of Thomas’s great pleasures in hosting Mindfulness+ is the opportunity to introduce listeners to some of the teachers who have changed his life. On today’s show, Dr. Terri O’Fallon shares a few of the dazzling delights from the field of human development. Terri is a renowned expert in this area, known for her spiritual depth, vision, and kindness. She ultimately points us to the great mystery, “who am I?” Learn about her latest offerings at stagesinternational.com. For information about an opportunity to join Thomas’s cohort program, go to www.lowerlightswisdom.org/spectra.
21 minutes | Jan 26, 2022
Episode 12: Sit Like a Mountain
If you’ve been practicing meditation for some time, you may have heard the instruction somewhere along the way to “sit like a mountain.” But what does that mean? Is it just a nice metaphor? Thomas takes us right to the heart of our mountain nature in this episode, where there is always, right here, an abiding peace, stillness and stability.
25 minutes | Jan 19, 2022
Episode 11: Metalineage
Spirituality and human transformation are taking exciting turns in the 21st century. Never before have so many traditions been intersecting, influencing and evolving one another. How can we meet this moment with courage and curiosity? Thomas lays out a vision of “metalineage” in this episode—a way in which all of humanity can realize greater fullness and freedom. For a deeper dive, check out this immersive online experience, Gospel Meets Dharma: The Dance of Buddhism and Christianity in the 21st Century.
22 minutes | Jan 12, 2022
Episode 10: “Only phonies don’t get enlightened.”
Mindfulness practice is simple as it is difficult: we need to be willing to feel what we’re actually feeling. Easier said than done! In this episode, Thomas shares the experience of his grandmother’s recent passing, all that he wasn’t willing to feel, and what came on the other side of being honest with himself.
23 minutes | Jan 5, 2022
Episode 9: New, Gone
In this episode, Thomas offers an extended, beginning-of-the-year meditation, inviting you to appreciate what has already passed—what is gone. The more fully we learn to welcome the “gone”, the greater the birth of something new in our lives.
24 minutes | Dec 29, 2021
Episode 8: On Being Complete
To be a human being is to be incomplete—in process. No matter where we are in this moment, we are undoubtedly on our way to becoming something else, something new. How, then, do we manage the anxiety of being “in suspense and incomplete”? Thomas points to the part of us that is already complete in this episode, even as we are becoming something more. Also, check out this new online course, Gospel Meets Dharma: The Dance of Buddhism and Christianity in the 21st Century.
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