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From ABC, this is the 10 percent happier podcast. I'm Dan Harris. Hey, guys, we've got a great episode today, one of my favorite interviews in recent memory. First, though, a quick item of business. My friend Gretchen Rubin, one of my favorite people, has a video course and community based on her New York Times best selling book, The Happiness Project, a great book. And she's offering our listeners 50 percent off her course.


You can use the promo code happier. Twenty, twenty one that course. Gretchen Rubin, Dotcom. We'll put the link in the show. Notes when you join the Happiness Project experience twenty twenty one.


And if you use that code at that link, you'll save over 100 hundred bucks. The Happiness Project experience is a 12 month video course designed to boost your happiness without demanding a lot of time or energy with a flexible structure.


Monthly calls with Gretchen, a private community expert, interviews including one with me, text message reminders and more. This tool helps you identify the resolutions and habits that will bring more happiness into your life, and then it helps you keep them. The last day to register as January twenty fifth, use the link in the show notes or visit courses that Gretchen Rubin dotcom and use promo code happier twenty twenty one to get fifty percent off. Gretchen Rubin is one of my favorite people, as I said, and I have not taken the course, but if she made it it will be awesome.


I promise that. Speaking of high quality human beings, let's get into today's episode.


This is exactly what I needed right now. A huge and helpful dose of perspective in the midst of the political crisis gripping America, a crisis which, of course, has ripple effects for the whole world. And I know we have listeners around the globe. Jack Kornfield trained as a Buddhist monk in Thailand, India and Burma. He went on to co-found the Insight Meditation Society and Barre, Massachusetts, and then its sister center, Spirit Rock, north of San Francisco.


He holds a PhD in clinical psychology. He's a dad, a husband and an activist. He's written a bunch of really successful books. They've been translated into 20 languages and sold more than a million copies. And they include The Wise Heart, the awesomely entitled After the Ecstasy, The Laundry, and then his most recent book, which is called No Time, Like the Present, I think would be perfectly reasonable for you to ask what is the point of meditating when the world is on fire?


Jack has extremely satisfying and deeply practical answers.


We also talk about how to deal with anger and fear, how to talk to your kids, and whether people can feel it when we send them compassion or friendliness. On top of it all, Jack happens to be very funny. So I deeply appreciated this interview. Like I said, one of my favourites, if not my absolute favorite in recent memory. One quick thing to say before we dive in, Jack does guide a quick two or three minute long meditation in the middle of this chat.


Please do not close your eyes if you're driving. Here we go, Jack Kornfield. Jack, great to see you and thank you for coming on. Great pleasure. Thank you, Daryn, also for having me. It's a time when we I think we need to all come together and use our best wisdom and understanding of how to navigate. I completely agree.


And so let me just start with your mind. What are you doing to stay even in your own mind? Of course, I meditate some, but more importantly, I rest in a place that has a lot of spaciousness in it and a kind of trust I'm old enough at age seventy five to have seen revolutions come and go and difficulties arise and pass.


And I also see that there's I guess it was Martin Luther King who talked about the moral arc of the universe being long, but it bends toward justice. I see that there's ways that systems also regulate themselves. So whether it's the pandemic that we are in the throes of in, that is really caused an enormous amount of suffering and loss, whether it's the political disruptions in the capital and otherwise, or just the calls for racial and economic justice that we've needed for so long.


I feel we're in a evolutionary process with its fits and starts. And I think about people like Wangari Maathai, who won the Nobel Prize for the Green Belt in East Africa. She started by planting one to 10, 20, 50 trees, got other people to do it, eventually was thrown in prison. I think that's a requirement for a Nobel Peace laureate mostly, and ended up planting 50 one million trees and changing a lot of the face of the earth, Africa or or or Ellen Sirleaf and Leymah Gbowee.


Also Nobel Prize winners who said their country, Liberia, used to be known for its child soldiers and it had these terrible civil wars and now it's known for its women leaders. And so there's some way in which just as the green sprouts come up through the cement in the sidewalk, there's something about life. And it's also the human heart that wants to renew itself. And so I rest back in a kind and loving awareness to say, yes, let me not turn my gaze away from the from the needs, the suffering, the things to respond, but also to hold it in a much bigger context.


Just as I breathe, the universe in the world is breathing. And that's how I keep my mind on a good day.


They mean there are bad days. I might have bad moments, but mostly my my mind and heart is pretty peaceful. But, you know, there are things I get a call from my daughter. Dad, you know, this terrible thing is happening at the nonprofit. She runs for getting asylum for all these people whose lives are in danger. And what do I do? Or calls from dear friends. Oh, my my family has covid, so I'm deeply touched by these things and respond.


And sometimes they really affect me and I can get feel the pain of it and, you know, or get worried.


But with all of that, there's around a field of loving awareness of spaciousness and trust that gives a much bigger picture. And I rest there. I'm just going on in a way, trying to answer your question and also spread out a little bit.


When I was a monk training in the forest monasteries in Southeast Asia as a Buddhist monk, the main forest temple I lived was in a province adjoining both Laos and Cambodia was during the war in Vietnam and Laos and Cambodia. So we would see fighter jets going overhead and bombers. And, you know, in some of the branch monasteries, you could even see the flashes from the from the bombs and people would come visit us. I had friends who are working in Vietnam and Laos, people that I knew as I had been working on medical teams in that Mekong River Valley saying, what are you doing sitting on your.


You know, there's a war to stop, there's things we need to do, and my teacher would say this is the place where we stop the war, he said. Wars have come and gone and this is an island of sanity and peace. In the middle of it all, you could lose your gold watch the most valuable thing there. Someone would pick it up and save it and return it to you. There was such a sense of respect and ethics for the people that lived there, the animals of the forest.


And he said we need places that show us that it's possible outwardly for our own hearts to become zones of peace, because how else will we stop these wars? They don't start outwardly. They start in the human heart. And my dear friend Magos Tanunda, who is the Gandhi of Cambodia, was in the U.S. Congress in the Capitol building, which we've seen so much in this recent news for a hearing on banning world landmines that were spread all through Cambodia and all across Africa, so many places and so many injured children.


And and he looked at the congressmen and women and said, yes, you must vote to ban landmines, he said. But more importantly, you have to learn to remove the landmines in your heart. You have to find yourself a place of goodwill and compassion for all that will not lead you down these roads of destruction, and I guess that's what I mean by somehow making the heart a place of peace. So if I'm hearing you correctly, maybe there is a genuinely.


Salutary effect of sitting and doing nothing in the middle of a crisis. Well, let's put it this way. I used an example and it's not my personal one, but Mahatma Gandhi, when he was in the middle of trying to dismantle the the British colonial empire that, you know, was ruling India and Pakistan and so forth to liberate the Indian people. He took a day, week in silence. And even when there were riots on the streets, much bigger than we've seen hundreds of thousands of people and people being killed, they would come in and say, Gandhi, ji, you must come out, people are dying, people need you.


And he would say, I'm sorry, it's Thursday, it's my silent day. And he would sit on that day and do his own meditation and try to listen in his heart to become that zone of peace and then listen and say, how can I bring this peace and this well being? What strategy? What do I have to offer this world from my own inner peace that will lead others to that? So it's not a question of one thing or another.


It's not a question of ignoring or being passive, but it's actually gathering your own courage and presence in the deepest way and then listening to the best intention to say, how can I then respond? We tend to think of meditation and mindfulness as a passive activity. But the traditional language for mindfulness in the Sanskrit Pali language, Sarti Sampa Jania is a compound word. The first part means mindful presence to actually feel and be present for life as it is and not in our fantasies about it with an open heart.


But the second half of the word means mindful response that once we become mindfully present, then how, like Gandhi, how do we get up from that stillness in that place of peace and go out and tend and mend what we can in this world? Yeah, and what comes to mind for me is the Eightfold Path, which is, you know, this is a little glib, but it basically the Buddha's manual for how to live in a way that will bring you toward enlightenment.


You need to believe in enlightenment to see the wisdom of living according to the eight parts of the Eightfold Path that has instructions or it has aspects that speak to our meditation practice. Then it also talks about right livelihood, right speech, right action.


So the path has always envisioned both, both and and in this time they're both really necessary.


We need to be able to stop and pause because there's so much overwhelm and reactivity and our nervous system gets triggered. It sort of brings the the fear, the fight or flight or freeze or response of the primitive brain, which we all have, which wired in us to be wary if there's something that might be dangerous to us or what we care about. But that's not who we are. That's that's there in us. But who we really are is also the consciousness, this mindful, loving awareness that is our true nature, our place of rest, where we can actually step back with consciousness and say, wow, this is the hard time.


This is a time of conflict or suffering or these are the emotions of fear. Let us pay attention to them from a spacious and wise loving heart. And so the capacity then to be able to do so lets us be present for ourself. And if and when we stand up and directly work, whether it's, you know, as a response to the covid pandemic and doing what we can in that way in the world or or the things that need to be tended around us personally in our family and community or politically, that they can be done from this place of presence and a peaceful heart.


You've made a few references to sort of resting in a spacious awareness, loving awareness. Can you speak about accessing that space in the most granular, simple way possible so that folks who are intrigued can get a taste of what you're talking about? I do.


And first, I'll tell a tiny little kind of metaphor for it, and then we'll do two or three minutes of a practice to give people a taste. When you look in the mirror, you notice you aged right. Let's get real about this. You know, and in different cases, in my case, you know, there's a lot less hair on the top of my head. But now it starts to grow out of other out of my ears and other parts of my body, or it wrinkles their troops or it sags or whatever.


And even if you're young, used to, your body is always changing. But there's a weird experience that we also have that as you look and you see your body's grown older, you don't necessarily feel older. You know what I mean, then?


Yes, I do. I have a memory of your long time friend, Joseph Goldstein, who was just, I think, a little bit older than you telling me.


You know, I look in the mirror and I just doesn't that doesn't look like the me that I envisioned. I feel so much younger.


Yeah. Yeah, that's exactly it. So and I do I feel I feel like I'm decades younger than than my body is. But this is the point. You look and you have that feeling way, you know, how did that happen? And I feel so much younger. And that's because. The body isn't who you are, who you are is that consciousness that's looking, that's witnessing through the eyes and saying, wow, it's gotten wrinkly or it's drooping or it's lost its hair or whatever it does, you know, it's gotten older, but awareness is outside of time awareness.


It is a presence that's timeless. And so in that moment, you're seeing what you're seeing from inside your body. This is who I am, but rather you're seeing from a place of spacious mindfulness, spacious, loving awareness that says, oh, as a witness to it, oh, look at the state the bodies come to now. And when you understand this, there also comes a kind of in that spaciousness, there comes a kind of humor or ability to step back and say, yeah, this is this is human incarnation.


This is the drama that we're in.


So now as you listen and I'll just do it with you, knowing many people are listening, that your eyes close and simply begin to notice.


And I'll direct your attention because we can turn our attention like a flashlight to individual things to notice first what your face feels like. Any tension you carry. And then let the eyes and face soften and the jaw relax. Notice what's there in your shoulders and let them relax. Your hands and arms rests easily. Now, notice, as you said, how your body's breathing itself, you don't have to do anything, the breath comes in and out, just like the the wind in the breeze moves through the trees outside.


Wherever you are, that breath of air comes in and out and you just feel it breathing itself.


And now notice as well. Along with the breath, notice what feelings or emotions might be present. He might feel a little peaceful. Or you might feel a little worried, like, do I have time to listen to this whole podcast, I've got to go, you know, meet someone on Zoome or organize something or fix something. You know, you might feel anxious or sad or excited or happy.


And you just noticing. With a kind of tension. Whatever those feelings are. And with them, there's a stream of thoughts. Evaluation. I'm doing this right or I'm not, I like this, I should be doing something else, judgement's. You can notice them words from the images. And now. Here's the track. The breath. The feelings, the thoughts. They come and go like waves in the ocean. The sensations. Who you are.


Is the space of awareness. Like the sky. That feels the body breathing. That notices emotions are rising for a time in passing. Or the pictures and words of thoughts. Like clouds coming into the space of awareness. Relax into openness. As if your mind is the sky. And all the experiences. Arising in passing. Like clouds or waves or bubbles. In the vast space of your own mind. Rest in this open, loving awareness. Trustor.


Relax into it. Oh. So in this very simple practice, you did two things, one is you practiced the art of mindful attention. Relaxing your face, noticing your shoulders, feeling the body, breathe itself. Noticing the emotions or the thoughts. The second thing you did was then turn your attention from the content, from the experiences of themselves back to recognize that who you are is the space of awareness itself. Very simple. It didn't have to take three or four minutes.


It could have been, you know, 20 seconds, but it gave you the sense that there is a space of witnessing consciousness. That is available to us in any moment, at any time. And I like to call it mindful, loving awareness, which is partly based on a Ramdas phrase, you can use whatever language you like. How was that? Well, speaking only for myself. Delightful, I, I try to pepper my day with as many breaks for meditation as I can and.


No matter what's happening in the foreground, no matter how much irritation or whatever, in this case, there wasn't much irritation but irritation or worry or whatever relaxing back into.


The witnessing of whatever is coming up is always just a huge relief. Yes. Yes. So and when you say that's who you are, I can I can imagine people getting hung up on that a little bit of. Well, am I not the the name and face on my driver's license, too, and I can't put a finger on this this self that you're describing.


That's a beautiful question, because as one side says, you have to remember your true nature and your Social Security number that in fact, we live in a kind of paradox that we need to tend to this world as it is.


You know, our families, our communities are our responsibilities to one another, whether they be, you know, personal responsibilities, financial, political, all of those things. This is what it means to be a human being, to care and be part of a whole.


But if that's all that you think you are, then you really get lost. You can be frightened because this is who I am. And I've had enough experience, for example, sitting at the bedside of people who are dying in hospice work. Especially those who've done some meditation practice, but not always that. And first of all, there's often a kind of life review like, well, how how did I do in this in this game, in this incarnation?


You know, because the questions are really simple. And did I love well that I give myself to the world? There aren't that many questions at the end. And then people will have these wild experiences that are documented well of near-death experiences, of floating out of their body, feeling like they're dying, coming back and in many, many ways and so forth, who people you know, paramedics see it at accidents. People will float out of their bodies, you know, and then look down from above, because who we are is not our body, not even our emotions.


We are consciousness that was born into this body and that also will leave it. So when I see who you really are, I'm speaking to that dimension without trying to deny your Social Security number that they actually have to be held in this paradoxical way.


And when you remember this field of spacious, loving awareness, then you can turn the world and what you're called to do, but from a more peaceful and steady place.


The paradox is really useful that, yeah, we do need to be engaged in the world. We need to put our pants on. We need to make and keep appointments and remember our Social Security number.


But it is really helpful when possible and appropriate to drop back and see that who we really are on some ultimate fundamental level is not caught up in all of the momentary comings and goings of our mind, the roles and responsibilities.


And of course, these days, people don't actually put their pants on. But we will go back to that in another year or so. It will come again where we need to put our pants.


My sweat pants game has gotten really strong in the last 10 months for sure.


I've been thinking recently about this concept of loving awareness, so I get that there is this knowing quality of mind.


That just is raw awareness of whatever is coming up, not caught up in whatever neurotic obsession is flitting through our mind at any given moment, it is just just knowing it or knowing the sounds or knowing whatever is going through the mind. I think one of the big pitfalls of my practice for many, many years was thinking of that and knowing in a rather clinical way and yet and ignoring the fact that people like you, who taught me how to meditate, talk about it as loving awareness.


How do we know it's loving? What is that? How to where are we getting that from?


That's a beautiful question and a deep one. You know, all these things are these are not kind of simple or superficial. They're they're asking some of the most profound questions of of who are we really and how do we navigate this life.


So, as you said, it's pretty evident to you in some way that you can step back and become the witness of things that that you rest in the consciousness rather than in the content of experience so much. Now, what happens for people just speaking really practically is they can often start to become mindful and then it can be a sort of mindful with a little tinge of self judgment or criticism. OK, I see that. I want to get rid of that.


Oh, God, I wasn't very good at that. Or even just, you know, a sense of, as you said, it can be sort of clinical or dry or something like that. But for mindfulness or this capacity to actually embrace the world in a wise way or to witness it, we need to step back from any of those forms of judgment or self judgment, which is why the word loving awareness has such important, and particularly in Western culture, people are so quick to judge themselves, not to speak of judging one another.


So one one dimensional to answer it is that it's a reminder that mindfulness is not judging, that it's that it's when we use the word loving, that it's warm and open and not evaluating. But then there's another deeper dimension. And my teacher in Bombay, a great old Indian guru named Asare Gadot, put it this way. He said, Wisdom tells me I am nothing. That was the first part of the statement when he was teaching, which is to say that I'm not this body or these feelings or I'm not the roles that I have.


I'm not the father or the son or the employee or the employer or all the roles that were given. They're all temporary, but they're not who we are in the deepest essence. So wisdom tells me I'm none of these things. I'm just the awareness. Wisdom tells me I'm nothing. Love tells me I'm everything. And between these two, my life flows.


And what that second teaching points to is that when we become quiet in the witness, we also feel that where it starts to dissolve the sense of separateness from the rest of the world, that the sounds and sensations, the feelings that we have in our own heart, but also the things going around around us that they're all held in this field of consciousness, that this is us. And you could call that love. Love tells me that I'm part of everything.


Now, I'm not trying to say this to convince anybody of anything or try to be philosophical in, you know, selling a philosophy. But trying to answer your question, to say that when we listen deeply and become the witness to free ourselves inside, we actually become that loving witness because it's all part of us. And when we invoke or invite that word love, which is a kind of mysterious word like gravity, what is it?


But it's something beautiful that connects us. That connection of being everything and also being the space that holds it is actually a human experience.


Is it possible that I'm getting hung up because love as a word has been so. Misused by the culture and, you know, we think of it as soon as you say the word love, lots of grandiose images from, you know, I don't know if you've got mail and other Nora Ephron movies come to mind or Big Love songs, etc..


I love what you're saying. There is another low, you know, and I love chocolate ice cream. And then we have relationships that are love, hate relationships, you know, and we use love for so many things. I want you. I need you. You can listen to rock and roll and you get love in all kinds of flavors. So it's an enormous word that encompasses all these things of our desire for, our connection to and so forth.


I'm using a subset of that enormous word, maybe something closer to the bone, really essential. And we could almost find a different word for it to say that we are nothing and we're connected to everything. And in that that you could call that connection by whatever word you like. I call it love that ability to feel that you are part of something, not just the separate self, which is an illusion. Every breath you take was breathed by the people around you in the animals and you know, the planet is breathing you.


The sense of separateness is a fiction and it's one of the great sufferings of our time. Now, whether it's climate change or pandemic or economic racism and injustice, they all come from this small sense of separateness that doesn't recognize who we are is this web of life. And when we get quiet and feel that that connection is true, every breath teaches us that you could call it whatever name you like.


When I think about love in the meditative or contemplative sense, I think about it as at least two things. One, just way you described that when you are turning down the volume on solipsistic storytelling, that the ego's that's the Eagles job, you know. But if you can turn down the volume on that a little bit and get beneath it, you do feel more connected.


You know, I always talk about the the I don't even know if this is true, but I've heard that the Tibetan phrase for enlightenment roughly translates to clearing away and bringing forth. And so I really like that the other way in which I think about love and I had to learn this, you know, reasonably recently in my meditative career is just like a warming up of my awareness.


And it can be done, or at least in my case, had to be done. And what can feel like artificial ways by just repeating these lovingkindness phrases for ten days at a time on a retreat, and it just puts a little more sunlight and warmth into the system. But it's not like string music. It's just a little bit less of the sort of subtle, hidden aversion that was embedded in my mindfulness heretofore.


That's lovely. And really what you're describing is the effect of doing a practice like Mehtar loving kindness or compassion. There's a whole series of these practices and you start and they can feel awkward or they can feel mechanical. And what modern neuroscience shows us is that as we practice these neural connections, these capacities for emotional regulation or connection or in this case, love and compassion, they actually are rewiring our brains. And we're somehow able to feel a deeper connection, even though it might feel awkward at first.


But there's a couple of other things to say. Just as that phrase you used from the Tibetans in the Zen tradition, they say to become enlightened. And I don't even like to use that word because it's like a fancy word. Who knows what that means. But but this is a beautiful phrase said to be enlightened is to become intimate with all things, to let yourself feel that that very deep connection.


And there's a the only public monument that I know in the U.S. to a mystical experience is downtown Louisville, Kentucky, on the corner of Walnut and 47th Street, where the great Christian mystic Thomas Merton was walking. One day he'd gotten out of his monastery in the hills there, and he described walking down the street and suddenly being struck by the secret beauty behind the eyes of every walking person there. He said, there I was in my monastery looking for holiness and it was walking by me and every being in every face abuse.


Either was born into them, no matter what personality in body and politics they had underneath behind those eyes was something shining and I had missed it.


And now I realize that it's everywhere. And just to be really practical, because we're also in these very divided political times. This really speaks to seeing people in a different way in Colombia, where there has been, you know, 50 years or more of civil war that ended a couple a few years ago.


One of the things that the government did in wending their way toward a peace treaty with the FARC, which was the group that were of revolutionaries in the jungles as they took helicopters and flew over the jungle areas where they knew that the rebels had been living and dropped out of them photographs of their family members. Many of the people there hadn't seen their family for 10 or 20 years. And here is a picture of their mother, you know, much older.


Now, here is the picture of their brother or sister, their daughter, what she look like, you know, and they spread these photos of the families of those as part of a gesture to say we need to come back together. And it actually made a difference. So this is this is that quality, again, of stepping out of the sense of separation and realizing that we're part of something larger and then we can act in a different way and care for it doesn't mean they're they didn't have political negotiations and there weren't things they had to stand up for, but they stood up for them as family rather than as just enemies.


Much more of my conversation with Jack Kornfield right after this.


Staying informed has never been more important. Information is coming at us faster than ever. So how do you make sense of it all? Start here. Hey, I'm Brad Noki 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.


Since the riot at the capital, we've gotten a lot of questions here on the show about how do you generate compassion?


For people with whom you disagree and if it's OK, I'd like to play you a voicemail from somebody who actually lives in Washington that runs along these lines. Yes.


These two high powered and essential number of phone calls from people in D.C., here's a question for you. How are you supposed to fill our hearts with compassion and kindness when it is filled with so much anger and vengeance like I am? I genuinely want the mass of people to get the coronavirus at the Capitol today. There's a horrible plot. And yet it is true. I don't understand how we are supposed to react with compassion. So you're tossing me that question, huh?


I figured better for you to answer it than me. Yeah, I know. I love I love her honesty. And, you know, there's something so straightforward about it, seeing all these people without masks wishing that they would get the virus. There's some part of us, the more primitive part that also revels in revenge in some way. And I've seen this even great spiritual teachers, this spiritual teacher I knew who had just broken up, you know, been really betrayed by their partner in some terrible way and broken up.


And they were trying to be loving and kind and all of that. But it was really a terrible story. And I remember looking at them and saying, you know, I said, I know you're going through a hard time. Have you considered revenge? And this huge smile came across her face because, you know, they had. But of course and I wasn't suggesting that they do it, but what I was suggesting is that in some way that when our heart opens, we actually have to feel all the things that come.


And all of the things that she spoke about come, actually, because she she feels fear and she feels pain. How could this happen? She's worried. She feels hurt that these people are hurting, whether it's hurting the democracy or hurting one another or hurting the community. And so a response out of that is anger. You know, how dare you? And I'm not saying anger doesn't have its place, but underneath the anger, she's angry, actually, because she cares.


And that's the deepest truth that she actually cares so much and all these emotions come from that. The point is then to be loving and say all compassionate for them, although you might be the Dalai Lama said your enemies, they are your best teachers. They show you how to learn real compassion and patience. But I think that that's a very advanced perspective. I think for the woman who called in and I respect her honesty, the first step is simply to not hate these people.


It's not to love them or not have compassion, but to realize that you don't want to carry revenge and hatred because it poisons your heart that if you go through the day hating this person and that and hating that group, you know, and wanting revenge and so forth, if you actually live there, if you you know, they don't come as visitors where you invite them in the table and make them a meal and so forth, it's toxic.


You know, it poisons you in some way. So the the word actually is non hatred is to step out of that place and realize I can witness this. I see the tragedy of it, that these people are so caught up in their beliefs and in their emotions of anger and fear and so forth, that they're willing to hurt other people out of their bitterness and out of their ignorance and confusion. You see it. And really what you're seeing is ignorance and delusion.


This is what I just said. You know, the the the real culprit is ignorance itself. And that's where it leads to some tenderness of the heart to see that it doesn't mean you accept it or approve it in any way. In fact, you can say, I will stand up and do whatever I can to prevent this harm from continuing. Whether it's in the pandemic. I'll do what I can to make sure that masks aren't politicized and people actually realize that we are responsible for each other's lives, whatever way I can or politically.


But I also will not contribute to the hatred. I'll say this is this is ignorance and pain. I see it for what it is. And who I am is better and bigger than that. Who I am, you know, has a certain dignity and nobility. And this is what I want to be and carry into the world. And we can't fix it all. But it gets fixed by each person mending the places that they can touch with their life.


There are two things I heard in there that at least that I found to be a relief. One is like, it's OK. That's the way the mind works. And you can you can you can love and again, in the meditative sense, your own rage. And and you can see and this is a bit more intellectual, but you can see that at the root of that, all of that rage is because you care because you care about other human beings.


You care about this country, and you don't want to see a bunch of dysregulated people rampaging through the, you know, the heart of our democracy defiling it.


Yeah. Thank you for that. And obviously, you do care. And when you drop, you know, when you acknowledge, OK, these are all these feelings and they're part of what's natural as a human being, when you drop to feel that caring, it changes the frequency, the the the response level somehow so that you you know, you're responding because you care rather than because you're so enraged that you you want to take your sword and go in there and do battle with them or whatever it is.


And there's a possibility for us as human beings to live a different way. And one of the things that people might again argue, there's some pluses and minuses. One of one of the people that I have followed over the years is Steven Pinker at Harvard, who has written a couple of books that speak to human evolution, one of the better angels of our nature that talks about how in the past several centuries, quite measurable by all the accumulated data, that no matter how bad you think we're doing as human beings, there's less slavery in the world.


There's still some slavery, but there's a whole lot less than people say that it's wrong. There is less child labor exploitation of children than there used to be.


There is more rights and opportunity for women. There's still lots more that needs to be done in places where it's still pretty terrible. But compared to how it was 100 or 200 years ago, decade by decade, it's gotten somewhat better. Our conscience and our consciousness has gradually grown. There is fewer wars and battles. Some of them get still very. Very big, but compared to how many tribal battles and wars and so forth, there's less of it.


And so we can also see that even though some of this is part of our human nature to be in conflict with one another, we are also little by little learning to use these other dimensions of our own mind and heart and to live in a different way.


We've got another question about. Compassion from Kathy from San Francisco, let's listen to that one. Stay friends. My name is Kathy in the San Francisco Bay Area. I went to bed trying my best to send some loving kindness to the rioters. It was so hard. And I guess I just want to say thanks, but I also, I guess, have a question, which is can they feel it? Can they feel when we send love and some compassion, when we try to, I don't know, feel their humanity and acknowledge it and honor it, even when you think their actions are so confounding and terrifying and horrible?


I guess that's my question. Can they feel it, should we do more of it? Should more of us do more of it? Anyway, thanks again. You're all awesome and I appreciate you very much by. Thank you, Kathy, and I should say that she was walking her dog when she left us that message. So what do you what say you do you think the people to whom we're sending this love and kindness or compassion can feel it?


I don't know, you know, you're asking about a mystery, but let me say a few things about it, because it's a beautiful question. And, you know, these are the kinds of questions that you can't answer with a yes or no or by some logical approach. When we're loving, does it affect other people if you take a violin? And you play it and there's another violin on the table nearby, when you play that G string or the string or whatever it happens to be as it's tuned, the violin on the table nearby resonates.


And we now know that there's a kind of neurological resonance as well there, you know, neural fibres in us that resonate with the fibers of others. That's all been been proven and shown. That's on the physical dimension. I do know this, that when someone walks into a room and they're rageful and angry or they walk into a room with other people and they're filled with love and kind of a joy, it affects everyone in that room, doesn't it?


Now, whether that person then is affecting the people who don't see them in other buildings nearby.


I can't say for sure. But I do know how deeply we are connected, so I believe it and in the simple way to answer her question is if everybody did what she she's doing, whether, you know, it's the vibrations of love reaching them or not, if everybody did it, it would change the game.


You know, it would spread and it would show everybody was wishing each other well. That would that would change the game.


So love is so mysterious. You know, we long for it. We we live for it and a lot of ways.


And to live from that place, to find it in ourself and wish well and wish well doesn't mean I mean, I can do that for anybody. I can picture the worst dictator in the world, people who are causing suffering. And I can wish in my lovingkindness practice may you find peace in your heart, may you live with greater compassion for yourself and others. I can wish that for anybody. And if enough of us live in that way, we really start to affect.


All the other night I got called by a friend to go over to another part of the area where I live to watch what's called a murmuration of starlings. And starlings are kind of mixed blessing as a bird because they also can be very destructive to other avian life. But a murmuration I didn't even know the word. I love it. It's like an exaltation of larks or something. We have all these great vocabulary words. Thousands of starlings would came out around dusk and would fly together the way fish will school in these enormous clouds of a dance and making all kinds of beautiful forms in the sky and circling together.


And I thought, wow, if only we human beings could kind of dance like that. It was, you know, when there's enough of us, it starts to make a difference. What I might say is.


Yeah, be great if if generating compassion or loving kindness or whatever friendliness toward people with whom you disagree would be great if it made a difference, but in some measurable way externally. But I am quite confident in their science to back this up, that if you do this, it will make a difference in your own mind. And how do you want to live?


Well put in very, very simple. And let's hope the others true.


But, you know, I remember there's a passage that Alice Walker wrote where she wrote a character one day I was sitting there and it come to me that feeling of being a part of everything. And I knew if I cut a tree, my arm would bleed and I laugh and I cry and I run all around the house. In fact, when it happened, you just can't miss it. And there's some part of us that knows how deeply connected we are, whether her prayers or her loving kindness directly affect those people or not.


That's a mystery. But we are connected. So, yes, it will change her, as you say, for sure. And yes, we're in it together.


Do you have energy for one last voicemail? Sure. OK, let's do one last one here. And this one is very relevant. Has to do with fear. Biden and the 10 percent team. My problem is how do I have the ability to be less fearful of the world when I'm also a covid nurse? So I have you know, I I work with people dying from the disease all day and then all of these things going on. And not only how do I be less fearful in the world, but how do I express that to my children?


So I have a 10 and 13 year old and they're both very anxious. And I they're not into the meditation as much as me, no matter how much I try. So I am wondering how do I help my children navigate this world when they're fearful of covid, they're fearful and then they see the news, you know? So how do I help them be more resilient in this time is my question. Thank you so much and have a great day.


Bye. This is not a theoretical question for you as a dad and I believe a grandfather. Yes. And my grandson, who's two years old, doesn't mean his dad is a firefighter and a first responder. You know, an 80 or 90 percent of the Oakland Fire Department calls are medical calls, covid and all kinds of other things. So it's not theoretical at all. It's very real. And it's not just real for my family or for her, but for so many million people across the country.


First of all, I just want to pause myself and maybe all who are listening and say thank you to her. I'm a covered nurse. She said, you know, this is a Bodhisattvas activity. That is a being who's willing to turn toward the difficulties of life and bring love and bring care and bring support to benefit, even in difficult times, those around them. And so it's gorgeous to know that she's doing it and brave. It has a tremendous amount of courage.


And so then the question is, how does she do it without fear? First of all, fear is going to come. It's not just going to be her fear, but it will be the fear of the people that she's treating. She's there in that hospital and she may be on a covered ward, even it sounded like. And people have all kinds of fears when they get sick or when they face death or when they're tending those who are.


So it's part of our human dilemma to be to live through frightening times. And I think the first step is just to be able to step back and acknowledge almost as if to bow and say fear feels like this. You know, we are organisms and we experience fear at some times. And the minute that you say it's OK, that fear can arise already, you're shifting a bit more to that space of loving awareness to say this is what fear is like.


Palms get sweaty, certain anxious thoughts come through, the belly gets tighter, the diaphragm of breathing changes. This is what fear feels like. Then the next step for her would be to hold that fear with compassion, not trying to get rid of it, but to realize that the poet Hafez the great, you know, Middle Eastern poet and fear is the cheapest room in the house. I'd like to see you in better living conditions.


So to acknowledge the fear and then to realize that it doesn't have to rule the world or rule the roost, you know, that, yes, the fear is natural and it's trying to protect you. And you can say, OK, now I know you fear and then you can say one more thing. Thank you for trying to protect me. I'm OK just now. Thank you for trying to protect me. I'm actually OK now because fears are always about the future.


As Mark Twain said, you know, my life has been filled with terrible misfortunes, most of which never happened. We get frightened in our stories of what will happen. So once she learns how to be in the presence of her fear and say it's OK, it's not who I am, really, it gets triggered. But who I am is so much bigger than this, you know, to acknowledge it and step back from the fear and feel how much she cares and how much courage she has to go to work and how we're all supporting one another as best as we can, each in our way.


And then she can sit down with her children and say, I know, I know you get afraid to people around you. This is what happens. This is what fear feels like. But we human beings have lived through this before. For thousands of generations. We've lived through earthquakes and pandemics, you know, and political upheavals and tornadoes and and tsunamis. We know how to do this. It's in your blood. It's in your genes. Your parents, your grandparents and great grandparents going back.


They knew how to survive. And you do, too. You don't need to worry. First of all, covid hardly touches or bothers anyone at your age. You know, at 10 or thirteen. It's a very, very rare you're more likely to get harmed when you're out on the street from traffic accident. So personally, you're OK. But more than that, you need to know, as I do, that we know how to do this.


And I'm part of a team that's showing how this is possible. One hundred years ago, the most famous person in your business, Dan, was H.L. Mencken, this great political commentator who said the whole aim of politics. Just to keep the populace alarmed by an endless series of hobgoblins, most of them imaginary, and so she also needs to tell her children that the media and politics are trying to frighten you. But while there were, you know, hundreds of people who entered the capital there, hundreds of millions of people who did not and who would not.


And there's so much goodwill in this world, and yes, there are small groups of people who take power in different ways, but it's not the end of the story and you really can trust and to be able to say that to your children, you have to find it in yourself, you know, and to find it in yourself is a way not so much of calling out and saying who's bad and who's wrong, but calling in and saying we're part of something so much bigger than that.


We know how to do this. Beautifully said. And very much appreciated, is there is there anything I should have asked but didn't any any places you wanted to go where I failed to lead us?


There is somewhere I'd like to go because we're talking about steadying the heart, finding time to practice and become mindful or do your loving kindness, practice, compassion, practice, breathe, set and so forth. And then we talked about trust and like our last caller turning toward that, which is difficult, rather than turning away from it, acknowledging and saying thank you to the fear to these things for trying to protect me and learning that we're so much bigger than that, so much better than that.


So then we get to mend. But it's not just our individual families or the hospital there we work. There's also something national that we need to do because in a certain way, we're still fighting the civil war. It's in our DNA somehow, our national DNA, and you can feel it with the white supremacists. But more than that, you know, and the fear is in so many ways of the other, you know, the immigrants or the communists or the you know, the Mexicans or the blacks or the whatever we have, we have all these all these fears.


I think James Baldwin put it this way. You said, I imagine one of the reasons people cling to their hate and ignorance so stubbornly is because they sense that once hate is gone, they'll be forced to deal with their own pain and their own insecurity. So we put it on others. But there's another way and I look to South Africa as a model and admittedly, there's still a lot of difficulties. And as there are in every society, I look to the truth and reconciliation process and feel like there's something that's needed in this country and there's a nascent process, a beginning process.


I don't think that we're ready quite yet as a nation to do it. But it can start in towns and in small communities where we can begin to have truth and reconciliation panels that speak about what's happened to people in past generations and up to the present day because of the kind of fears and then out of them the terrible racial injustice, everything from lynchings to all kinds of other ways people have been treated to say, let's let's tell the truth about this so that we can chart a new course.


And it feels like as a nation that we need to find rituals and processes that allow us in our communities to begin to talk about things that have divided us and to tell the truth about them. We need to bring those into consciousness in our ways and use the very power of compassion and and of a kind of profound and deep listening to one another. Because underneath all this, as James Baldwin says, is our pain and our insecurity, and we're all insecure.


It's a poet, Rilke, who said it's upon your insecurity, that you depend. And I think what he meant by that is that every time you drive down the street. The fact that people stop at the red light so you can go through the green light means you still get to continue your life every time you go to the grocery store and all those people who are still willing to come in despite covid and, you know, carry in package and move the food, you depend on them to take care and keep it clean.


Ultimately, it's upon our vulnerability that we depend.


I think that was actually the line we are vulnerable and rather than trying to hide it, we can look at each other in a different way and say, well, in the past we handled our vulnerability by fighting with one another because we were too frightened. But there is another way you sit and then you sweep the garden of the world. You quiet the mind and make your own heart a zone of peace. And then from that, you get up and reach out and tend that which you can.


It's been an absolute pleasure. Time very well spent for me at least. To you all the way out in the West Coast, I'm sending you love from the East Coast. Oh, I feel it. It's vibrating and works. Maybe it's true through a zoom. Or maybe it's from a deeper magic, but it makes me happy. And it's always a pleasure to to talk with you. And I have so much respect for what you're doing with 10 percent.


What changed your life is now changing everyone else's life. And I'm sure people joke with you often. It looks like maybe you're up to 25 or 30. No, I'd have to talk to your spouse to get the real story. But anyway, thank you, my friend. It's a pleasure. Likewise.


And speaking of spouses, please give my best to Trudy.


I will take good care. Bye bye. Thanks again to Jack. Really grateful to him for spending time, grateful as well to the people who've been working incredibly hard to respond to the political crisis in the United States with a series of special episodes, the team is led by the magnificent Samuel Johns, who's our senior producer, Jay Cashmeres. Our producer, Jules Dodson is our A.P. Our sound designer is Matt Boydton from Ultraviolet Audio. Maria Wartell is our production coordinator.


We get a massive amount of really helpful input from colleagues such as Jen Point, Ben Rubin, Toby and Liz Levin. As always, a hearty salute to my ABC News comrade's Ryan Kessler and Josh Cohen. We'll see you all on Friday for a bonus from the one and only Jeffrey Warren. I give you one definition of an unusual car. Oh, I don't think that was ever in question. Marvel Studios for a series is coming to Disney Plus.


You period examples WALLKILL this Friday. The universe is expanding and you're one wonder. Welcome home. Marvel Studios, Wanda Vision. I think we handled that well. And original series streaming Friday exclusively on Disney Plus.