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From ABC, this is the 10 percent happier podcast. I'm Dan Harris. Hey, hey, there's there's an old expression, every time a friend succeeds, I die a little bit. I love that song because it speaks to how hard it is to take pleasure in other people's happiness.


That said, while it may be hard, it is not impossible. And moreover, as our guest today will argue, it is a massively useful skill, especially as we endure this bonkers election.


Welcome to week three of our special Election Sanity podcast series. Every Monday in October, we're tackling a mental skill drawn from an ancient Buddhist list known as the four Brahma Vihara or the Heavenly Abodes.


Do not be fooled by the highfalutin name. These skills are eminently achievable and massively helpful. And I can say that based both on personal experience and also a significant amount of scientific research.


In the previous two episodes we explored lovingkindness also known by the less guey moniker of friendliness. And then in Episode two, Compassion this week it's sympathetic joy or mood. detA That's the ancient Polli term. You can think of this skill as the opposite of schadenfreude. Instead of reveling in the suffering of other people, you're celebrating your happiness. Our guest today calls it borrowing joy.


Her name is to Asala. She's a guiding teacher at Incyte, Seattle. She is no Pollyanna. She does not sugarcoat how challenging Boudicca can be, but she does have a strategy that I think you will find appealingly doable.


Before we dive in, just as a reminder, our free election sanity meditation challenge starts next week. We're super excited about this. We've worked with our very wise meditation teachers from this Election Sanity podcast series to create a really unique set of daily lessons and meditations all geared toward helping you keep your cool during the twenty twenty election. And we'll be doing this challenge for the seven days running up to the Election Day. If you'd like to join the challenge, download the 10 percent happier app today to start meditating your way through this election season.


And we'll see you in the challenge with thousands of other meditators. Again, it starts Tuesday, October twenty seventh.


Having said all that, let's dive in on Mendieta with Tury Sarla. Hello to wear a great to meet you first thing in the morning, yeah, hello there. It's good to meet you, too. It's it's a little bit after 6:00 in the morning where you are out in Seattle and shortly after 9:00 here where I am and on the East Coast. So thanks for getting up early to do this.


I'd just be curious to hear I know you've had a chance to hear the two episodes that have preceded you in this Election Sanity series on Metta or friendliness and also on compassion or which I sometimes refer to as, you know, giving a crap.


Any thoughts on on what you've heard?


I you know, I really thought you guys did a really nice job of picking two people that really seemed to, I don't know, exemplify the two qualities.


So I think the way they talked about it, each one in their own way, really is the way I would hold Metta and Compassion. You know, Joanna was talking from the big framework and broader, unconditional kind of just being able to engage and connect with the world wherever you're at in a friendlier, loving way, not out of this intimacy kind of love, but kind of an unconditional embrace of life, which is how I hold meta also in this very big framework.


And Reverend Angel seemed fierce. You know, the way I hold Mantid, I mean, compassion. I don't hold compassion in that kind of mushy, empathetic kind of way, but much more of a fierce connection. And I thought your exchange with her around empathy and the difference between empathy and compassion was really, really good. I'm hoping I can do for Medicare what they did for both compassion and Metuh, because I really think they gave a good, solid representation of these hard qualities that go beyond just our basic do I like someone?


Is someone deserving of my compassion, that kind of energy. This is these energies are much beyond that.


It's much beyond our ordinary way of looking at things.


Yeah. Our default can be, you know, mistrust and self-protection. Yes. Can be.


And I mean, that's where we are in our ordinary sense. And in that ordinary kind of way, you can mistakenly think that the ordinary is all there is and that there is no access to this. It's called super mundane or this other worldly kind of energy unless there's some kind of special thing going on. But it's not really true like that we have access to this extraordinary level of the heart all the time, we just sort of take it kind of a summit in life and we don't assume these heart energies like that.


But you can cultivate them at the same degree of ordinariness, these beyond ordinary mind states and heart qualities.


You know, you use the term super mundane and I am about to mangle Buddhist history, so just to please everybody, forgive me, but my understanding of that term, super mundane, is that back in the day when the Buddha was around, he would refer to the cities or it is the sort of powers that one can get through meditation, allegedly, like being able to replicate your body or read people's minds.


He would call them mundane powers.


Super mundane powers were the ability to cultivate, in your own mind friendliness for all beings everywhere or to drop the ability to cling in the face of relentless impermanence, et cetera, et cetera.


So in many ways, these super mundane powers are, you know, as ordinary as getting a cup of tea and not as magical as, you know, replicating your body and or walking through walls. But they happen to be much more doable.


Yes, that's it. I think that's why I like that word. Super mundane, that phrase just I just so connected to it. And the more we see this as super mundane, the less we think of it as I got to make something special, it's like it's got to be my birthday or something for the day to be special. But it's not based in conditions. These hard qualities you guys are talking about aren't based in conditions, which is why I think this series is it's a phenomenal idea.


This is the perfect time to talk about the Brahma vihara and to talk about them with the people that you actually have selected for talking about them, because we all represent each one of these hard qualities from a super mundane kind of way. So I think that's what I've been trying to go around and say. We have just this extraordinary connection to him.


A friend of mine has this read on the history of powers or super powers or magical powers within Buddhist history that the Buddhists talked about these, quote unquote, mundane powers as a kind of like spiritual advertising because he was competing in a pretty crowded spiritual field twenty six hundred years ago. And so, yeah, we got the powers, too.


But those are mundane powers. We've also got super mundane powers which are. That's the real deal.


That's the real deal. That's the real deal. I mean, that's what we're going to talk about today. This is the real deal. This is how we get through whatever happens in our lives. These powers, you know, if you don't have a sense of meta sense of friendliness and kindness around life, it can burn you up because there's just so much stuff that happens that has nothing to do with you. And it impacts you if you can't find access to that kindness or the pain that you feel all around us.


I mean, right now, there's so much pain around us and that pain isn't going to be letting up anytime soon. That level of suffering around if you're not intimate with suffering, accustomed to suffering, acquainted with it. I thought I think the word is you have to be acquainted with suffering. If you're not acquainted with suffering, then being in a world in the times that we happen to live in, we're suffering is all around us. Then we can fall quickly into that level of cruelty whether we want to or not.


We can quickly fall over and get further and further and further away from humankind. So this is about cultivating these qualities that actually help us live in a world like we're living in and still do great things, still do inspirational and remarkable things in these times. So let's talk about Mutata. Let's start with some definition. I let you define it the way I often talk about it is the opposite of schadenfreude. Like it's you know, we all walk around sort of delighting, especially in a political context and whatever woe befalls our quote unquote enemies.


But actually, is there a way to do the opposite? I mean, is that even safe or advisable in the current context?


I don't know what you mean by is there a way to do the opposite? But I got to tell you, Dan, I always had a problem trying to access would deter. Just using this phrasing, finding joy in another's good fortune, and I always used my own English interpretation of that in a I don't know, I'd say a worldly sense, I always thought of it as meaning I got to be happy because somebody else has some good stuff going on for him.


And I could just never access that. I could never I was always inevitably turned towards my own disgruntled ness with the lack of joy in my own life. But I think that is too ordinary for Mendieta.


That's not maybe if I say worldly and unworldly because worldly seems like it's too connected to our random way of thinking. And Modica is pointing to something that is unworldly outside of our random way of thinking. So I changed it. So my definition is for Maldita is that you borrow another person's joy in their good fortune, you're borrowing their joy rather than getting caught up in trying to be joyful for their good fortune. So maybe we can tease it out a little bit.


But it's really in this borrowing that I've opened some Pandora's box of Modica and stepped into it and the gates just opened for me. So how do you do this borrowing? OK, so think of it like this, if I were to tell you. Some difficulty I had, you know, if I described my mother's death. And let's say she died recently.


She died several years ago, but let's say she died recently and I'm telling you about my mother's death and you could feel my sadness of missing her. You can feel that sadness also. It's what Reverend Angel was pointing to. You can feel as human to human, my suffering along with me and that capacity that we have, it's just a normal thing. It's why I think when George Floyds death happened, the whole world seemed to feel the same thing.


And in that ability, we have to share in the suffering of each other. And I realized we have that same ability when it comes to another person's choice.


So when a person is feeling joyous for whatever their circumstances are, they feel happy, they're joyful. We can borrow that joy from them and feel that joy as a part of our own present moment experience.


A way to see it is if your sister just had a baby and you just lost your job. But if you go around her and the baby, you are going to be full of joy regardless of what's happening in your current circumstances. And so I begin to borrow the joy of all these different people.


I know all these different situations, things that bring me joy. I started borrowing joy from all the time.


So it's like a systematic harnessing of a contact high. Yes, that would be a perfect way to describe it. Certainly good. That's yeah, that's it. This is like a systematic way of getting a contact high.


It's probably the best way to do it.


And I guess we need to borrow joy because part of our problem with joy. Is that it's connected to circumstances, it's connected to conditions. So I just assume I get two opportunities of joy in my life a year and everybody gets only two, so you get two good things happen to you over the course of a year where you could say, oh, I feel good, but if I only get two and if. My luck is like it usually is, I'm going to use those two opportunities up by the 15th of January, so that makes for a pretty sucky year.


But if if that is the way I look at life, you can see the resentment, the jealousy, the bitterness that's going to happen while all the joys of other people start popping up over the course of the year. But there's another way you could think about this. And this is what I begin to tap into now. There's like billions of people on this earth and all these billions of people, they get there to Joyes also.


So if I share in their joy and they share in my joy, then I can feel joyous at any moment, in any second, at any time. It's not limited to my two circumstances. It's limited to my willingness to turn towards the joy of another and borrow theirs. And that becomes a way of bringing joy into your life in an everyday ordinary get a cup of tea kind of way. Can you say even more about where the rubber hits the road here?


You know, how do you get to where A do this? What's your system for the borrowing? So here's how I borrow it. I love romantic everything, I love romantic comedy. I like to see people who are in love, I just love, love, love, romance, and I love the whole idea of asking someone to marry them and the person saying yes, and I love it when couples are cuddled. And it just the whole thing about romantic love, I love it.


But my current life, I have a vow of celibacy for this lifetime. So I don't really have romantic love in that way in my life. And that's a choice I made years ago, that this isn't about that choice. The point that I want to make is I could be bitter because I hear I love romance and yet it's not in my life in that way. But I think about all the people who are. Wanting to ask someone to marry them, all the couples that are together and I kind of vicariously share that joy that they have with them, because I know there are millions and millions and millions of people enjoying that experience.


So it's more of. Sharing in the joy of it, not in the condition of it, but, you know, to put it in perspective. If you want a partner and you don't have a partner, I would not say that you would necessarily experience joy by thinking about all the people who have partners and you don't have one. I think you're going to end up feeling more miserable. So that is not your doorway into this joy.


I realized that I had to find the places and the people and the circumstances that I actually feel joy for. If I'm looking for a job, I can't just say, OK, I'm happy that everybody else has a job. It doesn't work like that. You're not happy that everybody else has a job. You want a job. So if you're looking for joy, then you have to think, what is it that gives you joy regardless of your circumstances?


It could be animals you're with. It could be when you get artistic or the reading of poems. It's there's this a myriad of things that give people joy. So instead of thinking of I'm glad you got that job when I really want one, it's more of what is it that gives you joy? And imagine the millions of people that are sharing in that same joy with you. A way to think about it is. If you sit down in any conversation.


With like minded people. And you were all sitting there talking about a subject that you all agree on. So much joy comes out of that subject, even if you're just complaining, there's so much energetic joy that someone else understands me and what I'm saying. It's the same way with sympathetic joy, you're looking for like minded people who are experiencing the joy that you already like, and you're just connecting to the reality that there are millions of people out there feeling that same joy.


They enjoy this, too. They enjoy a good book of poetry, just like you do. That's what you're connecting to.


I want to talk about the political context in a minute, but just staying with right where you are right there that the you know, I think about the utility of Moody's to a sympathetic joy in my own life. We all know what it's like to share good news with somebody and to feel that they are psyched when you tell them something that good that's happened to you and to be able to do that for other people, it feels really good, too.


And it just deepens your relationships with other people makes you more trusted from my perspective. Not that I'm perfect at doing this. It just seems like there's a lot of self-interest or sort of enlightened self-interest to be to increasing one's capacity for Moody's to.


That's not the only way in which it's there's self-interest. There's the fact that the more you learn to borrow joy, the more joy you have. And there is the decrease, hopefully over time of the kind of suffering that we all feel.


If we happen to embrace that old expression. Every time a friend of mine succeeds, I die a little bit. In other words, to to to reduce the jealousy that can be such a burden as we move through the world. So I just listed at least three reasons why this can be just a useful skill to cultivate individually. If we're sharing good news. And it's all about the thing that happened to me, right? I got this promotion and it's all about, yeah, I got this promotion and I have to compete for it and blah, blah, blah.


If it's all about the promotion, then that's not really sharing any joy. That's just sharing good news. You know, I had some good news happen to me, and this is what it is. You're not really sharing the joy, but when you actually let yourself be joyous, then you actually let other people have access to more data. Because we are human beings.


We are social beings with each other. It is impossible to be around somebody full of joy without feeling joy. Also, it's contagious, but somebody that's just self grand design about look at this good thing that happened to me. That is not sharing joy, that's sharing your good news. And yeah, people may not be interested in your good news because they haven't had any good news, but they definitely need some joy. And that means instead of it being about the good news or the good thing that's happened to you, it's more about how you feel about this good thing that's happened to you.


You're sharing your good fortune with someone else and that everybody appreciates everybody can connect to. Not just your good news. Yes, yes, yes, I think you're making an even more sophisticated point than the points I was making, but I think on the receiving end, there's also that if you can cultivate this super mundane power so that when people share good news or share their joy, that you're able to actually resonate with it rather than contract into some sort of what about me thing, then you are a more attractive friend.


Yeah, you know, it is like that. I do want to be cautious here, though, because contracting into, you know, what about me?


That's a normal experience. Yes, it's very real. This is the example I love to use because it's perfect for how normal it is. So I had some friends in my cell and they won this ten thousand dollar gift because they submitted a write up a little story with this organization and they won and they were sharing it with the songa. And I could hear myself saying, man, I never win anything. I need ten thousand dollars. How come I don't get ten thousand dollars that I heard myself saying this and it hit me, you know?


I mean, it was so easy and simple to say that because at that moment all I was thinking about was the money. So I just told everybody what I was thinking, you know, just so we can get a good laugh out of the whole thing. But I said what struck me is my mind doesn't care that I didn't apply. I didn't even submit anything. I didn't know anything about the contest. It doesn't matter that this wasn't even something I was going to be a part of.


When my mind hears about somebody else's good news, I immediately have this automatic response of why not me? What about me? I don't get that. It's so automatic. And if you believe that you will get stuck in that automatic kind of grasping mine, what about me?


After I told everybody there was this great laughter in the room and instead of this being about the money they got, it became about just the joy we were all sharing in in all our responses in our own heads of what happened when they said this and this joy began to just kind of the laughter of it and the fun of it completely changed this impulse reaction of what about me? So the what about me? I think I think that's just something that our grasping minds are always going to think.


It's just part of the worldly way in which we live as human to human. But below that, what about me? Is this ability that we have to feel the joy that person is feeling in this good news that they have. And that's what beauty to is. Modesty is below that impulse level of good for you.


You know, it is a very important aspect of practice, and before we get to the social issues here, the current situation, I want to talk a little bit about what it is to practice, to be a strong practitioner to this idea or aspiration we can have for an awakened mind and put it in some context, because when you start practicing and you start looking for peace and calm, I mean, that's the thing that everybody is trying to I just need to get to this peace and the calm.


But before that, peace and calm is joy. It's almost like Joy is the bridge that turns our efforts. Of practice, of returning to the breath and returning to the breath or returning to the breath, it's like the joy is what enables us to let go of striving and relax into this more tranquil, calm, peaceful place.


We need the joy to do that, because without that joy, the basic effort or energy that we use to return again, to be nonjudgmental, to be accepting, allowing, returning again to this neutral object, returning, returning it in of itself can get mundane.


It can get boring. You could be sitting there saying, OK, I'm coming back to the breath, coming back to the breath. And without that joy, that uplift learning to cultivate that joy, then it's very difficult to get to the more peaceful, calmer, blissful states in meditation.


And so the joy is the what I would consider the bridge between the basic difficulty of settling the mind with the benefits and the reward that comes when your mind is settled. The joy is that bridge.


And so it's necessary that we cultivate this, not just so I can be happy all the time, even though I am happy all the time.


That's not why we're cultivating it. We're cultivating it so that we can get to a level of calm and peace and a gathered mind.


Much more of my conversation with tourists a lot right after this. Staying informed has never been more important, the information is coming in us faster than ever. So how do you make sense of it all? Start here. Hey, I'm Brad Milkie from ABC News. And every weekday we will break down the latest headlines in just 20 minutes. Straightforward reporting, dynamic interviews and analysis from experts you can trust. Always credible, always solid. Start here from ABC News 20 minutes every weekday on your smart speaker or your favourite podcast app.


So if I've heard you correctly, you're talking about Joy. Writ large here, not just borrowed joy, all joy as a necessary prerequisite to the states that many of us hope for when we approach meditation, such as calm, focus, insight.


And so what does that joy look like, this joy you're talking about?


That is the bridge in my meditation practice. How and where and why would I be feeling this? So think of it like this. You get up every morning and you sit down at your cushion and you start meditating and one morning you are very peaceful, very quiet.


I like it. I like it. I like it. I like it.


But that kind of morning isn't all the time. Some mornings you're going to get up and you're going to be in a grumpy mood or frustrated or irritated, afraid, anxious. All kinds of emotional energy show up every time we sit down. But we want to practice even with an anxious mind. We don't want the anxious mind to control our practice.


We want to be able to be with this anxious mind. So learning to access joy is how we are able to still connect with our breath and be with our practice, even when we're feeling anxious or irritable or averse.


Borrowing of joy that comes from Medicare is what I think we do. To cultivate that access to joy, just cultivate the access to joy and joy arises on its own. I guess what I'm trying to say is.


The joy that arises in practice, even when you're irritable or averse. Is a byproduct of cultivating will deter. As you cultivate, borrow, enjoy, it's like you get acquainted with joy, you begin to get intimate with this joy. So when you're sitting there in practice, this mind heart system. Can generate that joy that you need to stay. And practice when you're in a verst mine. It leads to this calm. But if I hear you correctly, it's not like we need to be sneezing pixie dust every time we sit down to practice.


No, not you can't.


I mean, I wish I could as long as I've been practicing, I should be like a pro at it. But I still sit down with a diverse mind and an anxious mind and, you know, all these different worried minds, you know, sleepy mind.


I still sit down with the same thing. But the difference is I have access to a level of joy that I know it's going to sound a little weird, but I'm going to enjoy. Being with a worried mind and not have to do anything about it, I don't have to have the worried mind go away because I have enough interest and joy in just beginning to get to know what it's like to be with a worried mind. And it's easier for me to do it when I'm just sitting there doing nothing than it is when I'm trying to move about teaching and doing all the other things I have to do, then the worried mind gets distracting.


And so practicing with a worried mind is a good way to get to know what are the conditions that lead to worry and what are the conditions that lead to the absence of worry. So there is joy inherent in the capacity to sit or stand or lie down with whatever is going on in our mind and in our body at any given moment. The settling back and viewing it with interest, some warmth, lack of judgment, just that mere capacity, which, by the way, is our birthright.


There's joy in that.


And knowing that bolstering it through the borrowing that we've discussed is a necessary prerequisite to a successful, abiding meditation practice.


That's what I think. So just to put it in the framework of what you guys are doing here, being able to be with, let's say, worry, that's meta. That's what Metta is. Metta is the friendliness even in WARRY.


What Joy has to do with it is, is that if we're willing to bring that matter to the worry. Then our basic cultivation of matter, but compassion, if it's your suffering joy, that we're able to stay with it. That's where I think my joy would be, is that all this is? I got this. You know, it's like, OK, I can't be with this. If it's difficult, it's going to show up like compassion.


You know, this sense of all the suffering here. And let's look at this. I know this is hard, but there's a way in which there are times when I'm feeling worried and I'm connected to it through the meter and I can feel the sense of I got this, I was not really getting the best of me or there's this acquaintance's way in which we can begin with it. You're going to talk about next week, and that, too, has its way of helping us turn towards this calm and stillness.


But it comes in the cultivation of the Brahma vihara that help and support us as we're sitting there with whatever arises. I keep going back to the it seems like the locus of the joy here is is is in the it's not getting the best of me like there's joy that comes from no matter what's going on, no matter how much tumults is playing out in your mind or pain in your body, if you can be with it without getting owned by it entirely.


There's joy in that.


Yes, that's what I'm saying. That's where that joy is coming from and. It's the same joy. That we cultivate in will deter borrowing joy. Is necessary so that we can get acquainted with joy because we don't have enough joy for things happening to us as an individual, for it to happen at a level that we need to be able to sit through whatever. So we borrow it from other people so we can begin to get acquainted with to get used to it.


Oh, I know what this joy is. And then when we're sitting there with worry and we're realizing I'm steady with this, it's not getting the best of me, as you say, then you can begin to experience that joy. It turns into equanimity. Now, you're just going to be with it as it is. But I think we need that joy to be able to turn in some of these difficult practice dates. Yeah, I really appreciate that point.


If you don't mind, I'd like to go back to the mojito, you know, feeling joy in the face of other people's joy. I really liked what you said.


What I heard it as is kind of a giving permission to yourself to not feel that to be sitting there with somebody who just won the lottery and have the mind go. You know, I could use some of that cash. Having better with your own. For lack of maybe this is too harsh of a word, but maybe your own selfishness or your own self-interest having some warmth toward that, it seems like feeling that self-interest does not preclude you from then moving or transcending it to get to the joy in other people's joy.


Yes, that's true, because all practice is nuanced. All of these things that we talk about, it's nuanced.


I remember when Reverend Angel was talking about you guys had that little back and forth about people who think they're being really, really compassionate. It's more like pity. They're not really connecting with the suffering itself because they don't even want to feel their own suffering.


So this is the same kind of a nuance here. Sometimes someone is sharing something with you, but you can't seem to access the joy from whatever they're sharing. They're sharing some good fortune, but you can't seem to access the joy of it. And so it's not a situation where I should be happy every time somebody else has some good thing happen, what you're looking for is can you feel their joy if you can't feel their joy? That's not your Mendieta moment.


You know, you're like, good for you, OK? And move on. But someone somewhere has joy that you can access. You can share in their joy. You can feel it. And that's what you're looking for. Are those moments, those situations where you feel the joy of someone else. And it could be in any kind of situation, it could just be in a shared conversation that someone else is having. You know, you guys are talking about something they did stood up for themselves.


They finally stood up for themselves, and they really said their truth, you know, and they just feel great about it. And you can feel that you're happy, too. I'm so glad you stood up for yourself. And that is where Maldita is, because it's in the feeling of the joy for another being. And if you don't feel it, there's nobody to there. It doesn't say anything about you and it doesn't say anything about the other person.


It's just not a moment of Mendieta details when you you can. I know. I know that. I probably get to throw a little caveat here, because in the movie Horas. When we teach it, we don't want to create this energy that says, oh, you got to feel it, you got to be oozing it all over the place. I realize that.


But I think more data is a little different, I think would deter you actually have to feel another person's joy and it's learning to feel another person's joy so that as humans we can learn that joy is abundant, it's always abundant. Someone's always in some joyous state.


Yeah. I mean, I think I'm picking up what you're putting down here. The I'm going to use this term, which I would be very careful of armor. So armor, I think is actually generally very harmful for us. We we arm up armor up in response to the world when we're younger and then the work of the rest of our lives is often the kind of skillfully disarming. But it sounds to me like your approach to the borrowing joy here is a kind of very healthy psycho spiritual armor that allows you to navigate the sucky ness of the world with a little bit more resilience.


Oh, yes, that is a good way to describe it. That's a good way to connect with it. Maybe that naturally brings us to politics, because this is a bonkers election, and I suspect people are thinking, OK, well, we've been talking about Mendieta in many ways here, but one of them is taking joy and other people's joy.


I do not want to feel happy if the people with whom I disagree in a political context are prevailing in some way. So how do I put this idea to use right now?


So it's like we were just saying. If someone else prevails in whatever their strategies are and you don't want them to, that's not where you're going to find Maldita. So don't even think about that. There's nobody in there. That's not what this is about.


But this is about this is probably the best way I can explain it as a black woman, when I think about the civil rights and I hear about the things that people had to go through, you know, at lunch counters and with hoses of water being poured on them and all of this and the level of blatant, in-your-face racism that was happening to black people before the civil rights movement.


I can get pretty angry, and there was, I am certain, a degree of rage that was in the black community like it is now. So in order for them to actually move in against a system that was that volatile towards them. You would have to sing gospel music to the rafters in order to get their inspiration and the energy and the joy that you can do this, this is what it takes in order to do that. So before they would do these big, huge protest, they would go to church and sing to the rafters.


It's to me they were borrowing each other's joy. They were cultivating maldita enough mutator that would inspire them to stay through whatever difficulty they had to have. And that's really what Maldita is for. It is protection in the level of suffering that humans exist in. And we need to come back that if using all these warrier kind of words. But in a way it's like a warrior sense when you're thinking about social unrest and social injustice and inequality and all of it, you need to have enough inspiration and.


Willingness that will allow you to show up and even though friendliness of matter allows us to love at this unworldly level and compassion allows us to.


B was suffering, upclose, you need the joy to stay in there, you need joy in order to not get burned up and bitter and cynical and just angry all the time. You need the joy to be able to get up and do this day after day after day after day after day. And that's probably one of the great gifts of being an African-American person, is that we are a people full of laughter. And no matter how difficult things are, we can always get together and laugh.


You know, I'm talking big, loud belly laughs just huge laughter because it's inherent in suffering that laughter has to be there. And that's part of why I think it's important that we cultivate joy right now and stay with it. You know, it's like it's the bridge that's going to get us through this difficulty and this ability to stay connected.


You use this beautiful, really inspirational example of singing to the rafters in a civil rights context before going out to protests, which at that time and now but definitely at that time could involve risk to life and limb.


I had a much more ridiculous example come to mind as I contemplate your the strategy you're describing here, which is I never actually played this game, but I remember as a journalist covering the Pokémon go craze where people would walk around collecting these, using their phones to find these digital characters and hidden all over the place and to swallow them up and collect these points.


And it seems to me like you're doing some sort of very healthy non tech version of that, just walking around through the world like, oh, there's some joy over there. Got it. That, oh, there's a cat video, got that, et cetera, et cetera.


Oh, I just heard about somebody who graduated from high school and there I got it. But mine and you're collecting all of that and using it in your meditation practice and as you like every other citizen of this country, watch all the craziness that's transpiring during this election. Yeah, that's what you're doing. That's what we have to do and we have to do it because. Suffering can kill us. It's not a joke, it can kill us, it can dissolve us into such a level of bitterness and cynicism that we you know, depression is a killer, basically.


And so we don't want to be. Stuck in so much suffering that we can't get up every day and go out and fight yet again, struggle yet again, we want to be able to get up every day and face these things.


You know, I remember in my own scenario. When I always send the younger President Bush, I always send him matter all the time, and it's quite strange because when he got elected, I was.


Just boiling, I was over the top in rage, and I I believe the whole world was falling apart if he were elected and then when he got re-elected was even worse. But his presidency was a turning point for me.


And anger and Ed. A friend of mine and I used to go to protest marches all over the country, they were all over the country, but most people don't even know the amount of protests that were going on against the Iraq war all over the country and the hundreds of thousands of people that were showing up at these protest marches because they were never barely put on the news. So I would go to some protest march in Chicago. My mother, when I get home, she'd say, oh, I'm sorry you didn't have your protest.


And I'm like, there were like half a million people there. But what I felt between the marching the being was people, the yelling, the getting the energy out, the laughter at these marches. I was so steeped in joy and so grounded in this sense that I'm not crazy. I know what it is that I'm thinking here. And I remember. Getting a sense when I would go around my friends who did not go on these marches, they were so bitter, so angry, so disgruntled and I could never get them to see.


I say we need to go to some protest marches. You should come with me. We're going to have a great time and would be like, nothing happens. It's not working, nothing's happening. And they're so angry. But what I begin to realize is that my ability to stay upbeat and positive is what was changing. That is what was keeping me sending letters, doing all this effort that I had to do, keeping people together, helping people who were struggling.


All of that came because I had this upbeat energy and many of my friends were spiraling into this constant complaining, but they did not have the energy to do anything other than that. Just complain. And so if you think about it as big as the social problems and difficulties that we have to face, it is going to take a lot of energy to move against the system like that. I mean, if we're talking about systematic racism, if you think about it.


To move against that entire system of being. And not completely sinda spiraling into a massive depression in a country, a massive economic mess.


Then we're going to have to uproot a system that's going to take a lot of energy and a lot of effort and a lot of work, a lot of being with people and a lot of connecting and all kinds of things without the inspiration and the joy, then you're just going to be angrier and angrier and angrier. I don't have a problem with anger because believe me, I love anger. It's what motivates us and moves us. But anger can burn us if we don't have it balanced with joy to keep us steady, upright.


So you have the energy of the anger that's going to move you and you need the joy to keep you steady and balanced.


You have done a phenomenal job of talking about joy in suboptimal times. I have one final question, which is.


You said something early on. That, I suspect is buzzing around in the back of the minds of listeners that I feel responsible to just chase down to so that people can understand it, which is you said you took a vow of celibacy, and yet you also mentioned you had a son, which I and it came after.


So so what what is that story?


I know it's not fully related, but just in closing here, just so that I serve the listener, hey, I have to say that it was after my son's birth. So definitely after that and it was several years after they were teenagers. And I just it was just this personal choice I made that I was very young. I was only thirty four. And I it just felt like that was the choice that I needed to make at the time.


I just I don't know, I just, I don't know how to describe it, but relationships and I were not necessarily it was just wasn't working out probably, you know, had a lot to do with my growing up.


And so this choice came at first I thought I was going to be just a miserable old woman, you know, just mad all the time. But it did turn out like that at all. It just turned out to be the perfect choice for me to make in my life.


But it didn't do anything for my loving romantic comedy and it doesn't do anything for me. I needed to know there are people who are coupled and they love each other and they're all hugging and kissing and all of that. I love it. And what I realized is that I didn't have to give up my love for that just because I gave up the actual relationship.


I still enjoy watching love and couples and just the connection that comes from that love.


And so, yeah, that's just part and parcel of what Modica does. It helps us be with the things that we really love and enjoy. And at the same time, you know, it just gives us access to the freedom that comes with it for you.


The foreswearing of romantic relationships. Did it clear out time and energy to devote to meditation, Buddhism, teaching? Yes, most definitely.


I was definitely going into a much deeper meditative practice. And so that was part of the choice that it was part of this connection to wanting to practice a little bit more deeper. Well, we're all benefiting from it.


Yeah, good. So one last question here.


Actually, you're handing off the baton now to Roshi Joan Halifax, who's going to talk about equanimity? Any words of wisdom, advice, anything as you hand the aforementioned baton off?


Yeah, I think what I would really hope that John can speak to Roshi Joan is that how do we keep equanimity as a strength and not have it kind of move into indifference? How do we keep it alive and upbeat and not dull? I think that's the difficulty with equanimity, is it can get a little dull. And so how do we keep it vibrant and upbeat?


Perfect. That's very good for me to keep in mind as I go into that interview with Croci Joan. So thank you again. This has been a delight. I have derived joy from sitting and talking to you, so I am grateful. You're welcome. Thank you, dear. I'm so glad that you. I'm so glad that you invited me, you know, so, you know, because these are difficult times and we need joy to get us through it.


So I'm glad you guys are doing this. Very nice. Big thanks to Tourie. Really enjoy that. And have fun not only recording this podcast, but also doing the video segments which will be used in the free election sanity challenge, which we're going to be running in the days leading up to Election Day. If you want to join that challenge, as I mentioned at the top of the show, just download the 10 percent, have your app today before the challenge starts.


You can just start using those meditations in there to help you keep calm and then we'll see when the challenge itself with thousands of other meditators. And that starts again on Tuesday, October 27th.


Big thanks to the team who helped put this together. Samuel Johns is our senior producer. Mr. Schneiderman is our producer. Our sound designer is Matt Boyington of Ultraviolet Audio. Maria Wartell is our production coordinator. We got a ton of incredibly useful wisdom and insight and guidance from our colleagues such as Ben Rubin, Jen Point, Nate Toby and Liz Levin and extended. Thank you to all the folks who helped put this series together. And the coming election sanity challenge.


Jade West and Jessica Goldberg. Crystal Isaac Matthew Heparins. Julia Wu, Niko Johnson, Allison Bryant, Josh Berkowitz Cleare Stagnating, Lizzie Hope, Zuleika Hassan, Conor Donahue, Derek Hatswell, Eva Breitenbach and many more.


Lastly, I would be remiss if I didn't send some gratitude out to my ABC News colleagues, Ryan Kessler and Josh Cohen. We'll see you all on Wednesday for a fascinating episode with country music star Bret Eldridge, who really goes there and takes us inside his mind, the mind of somebody who's doing a ton of work on his own mental well-being. We don't do a lot of celebrity interviews these days, but this one absolutely worth it. Utterly fascinating. We're going to see you on Wednesday for that.