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From ABC, this is the 10 percent happier podcast. I'm Dan Harris. Hey, guys, we're almost a year now into the era of covid restrictions, and I suspect that many of you, as I am, are starting to internalize the fact that notwithstanding the vaccines, we likely have a ways to go here yet. And the mental health issues are piling up. The depression, the anxiety, the addiction. It's happening for moms, for people of color, for elderly people who can't see their family, for so many of us.


To inject a little sunshine in perspective and some wisdom, we thought it might make sense to repost, one of our favorite conversations of the last year Permit Children has seemingly been trying to prepare us for this pandemic for years through a series of popular books with titles such as When Things Fall Apart, Welcoming the Unwelcome and the Wisdom of No Escape. I hasten to add here that even though her book titles are a little severe, as you are about to hear, PEMRA children herself is anything but a gloomy person like all the great meditation teachers I've ever met.


She has a lightness and a sense of humor about her. She was born Deirdre Blomfield in the state of Connecticut. She lived in her early years, a rather conventional life. She went to UC Berkeley, became a schoolteacher, had a pair of kids.


But after a rough divorce, she found herself adrift. And during this time she discovered Tibetan Buddhism. She went on to shave her head and become a nun.


And she is now in her mid 80s and she lives in rural Nova Scotia, where she's the director of Gapo Abbey.


We connected with her back in May on an old school landline. At the time, I was recording my half of the conversation from a closet in our erstwhile apartment in New York City, which at the time was the epicenter of the outbreak in America. In this conversation, you're going to hear us talk about how to actually welcome the unwelcome, how to befriend your demons, how to sympathize without being stupid, how to lighten up in the face of fear, and how to embrace chaos as and these are her words, extremely good news.


One other thing before we dive into the episode, we and I would really appreciate it if you could take a few minutes to help us out by answering a brand new survey about your experience with this podcast. You may be thinking, didn't they mentioned survey a few weeks back? We did.


Your memory is is not failing you.


That one was geared toward folks who use the 10 percent happier app. This new survey is just for you, our podcast listeners. We want to hear about your experience with the show because we're always trying to improve here. So please go to 10 percent dot com forward slash survey, 10 percent dotcom fortgang survey. Thank you. In advance. Having said all that, here we go now with children. Hello. Hi, this is Dan Harris calling. Hello, this is Emma, children, nice to connect with you.


Nice to talk to you again. Are you in New York? I am in New York. Right in the heart of. Oh, yeah. That's a hard place to be right now. That is a statement of fact. It is a hard place to be. No question. How how are you situate us. Where where are you exactly? And and how are you?


I'm I'm good. I'm very well and very healthy and good. I'm in Nova Scotia and I'm at Gompa Abbey, which is very remote in a kind of a very natural setting on the ocean far north in Nova Scotia and Cape Breton Island. And we've had to close to anyone coming in. But the community, it's like we're, as they say, sheltering in place. We're all sheltering in place together and just doing what we were doing before, you know.


So but we're very aware, of course, heightened awareness of what's happening with virus and the amount of suffering and death. So that's very strong. But in terms of being healthy, we are and in terms of, you know, being able to our life is not claustrophobic. I guess you could say that, you know, so we feel fortunate that way.


I'm glad to hear that, that you're relatively unaffected. But I also hear that you're saying that you can't help but be aware of the global situation.


Oh, yeah. Yeah, very much so. Very much so.


I was I was looking at some of your book titles, just them back to you.


But when things are selling well, welcome. Welcoming the unwelcome, comfortable with the uncertainty, the wisdom of no escape. I was thinking it's like you've been trying to prepare us for this for decades. That's true.


It's true. Actually, I when my primary teacher, Jochen Trump, was alive, he taught a lot about difficult times will be coming and you should be preparing yourself to be strong and resilient and compassionate so that when things are difficult, it's like rather than catch the flu, you'll be there to help people, you know? So that made a big impression on me to train and working with difficulty when it wasn't so intense, you know, and everybody had plenty of difficulty to work with.


But I was always thinking of of things getting worse globally. So the book titles somewhat reflect that and encouragement to work and work with your heart and mind so that you could be sort of steady and able to be of benefit in these times. I suspect people listening to this are thinking to themselves in all caps, how how do I welcome the unwelcome? How do I become comfortable with uncertainty? How do I you know, your teacher has a quote, chaos should be regarded as extremely good news.


How do I do all that? Sounds great, but what do I do? I do that.


Yeah, well, I it's like, well, now I make a pitch for the books which are filled with instruction, you know. So the basic thing is to have a meditation practice in which you become increasingly self aware, you're able to self reflect and you're conscious of your own habitual patterns and your own tendencies towards fear or aggression or whatever it might be, you know, a self aggression, aggression towards others. And then the teachings are about when you can acknowledge what's happening with you, then the teachings are don't make yourself bad, you know, don't turn this into some kind of enemy, but cultivate a kind attitude towards your own habitual patterns and don't act them out, but don't repress them.


But be there, get to know their energy very well with a kind and open heart and mind. So even that sounds a might sound good, but then the question is, well, how do you do that? But you do it by starting to meditate. People have many different styles of meditation, but most Buddhist meditation has a lot of similarity to it. And it's all about open acceptance of whatever arises without getting caught in good and bad thinking.


So that's where you start. You start with acknowledging what's happening with you, and then the expression is always something like making friends with that or being friendly towards that or, you know, welcoming that. I try not to use language that's too corny. I know, but nevertheless, I have used it quite a bit of it in any case, you know, like embrace and some things like that. So that's the basis. And from that you begin to get in touch.


As time goes on, you begin to have confidence really that fundamentally you are a good person and you have habitual patterns to work on, but you have the strength in you to do that. And then and it takes a lot of patience and sense of humor. But you work with yourself that way. And that doesn't maybe sound so in a linear way, how that adds up to being able to be comfortable with uncertainty. But in fact, that's where it leads you because you get comfortable with the unpleasantness or the fear of producing quality of seeing yourself so clearly, you know, but then the idea is to make friends with that.


So then the other thing that's always taught is that to the degree that you can be friendly to yourself, you will be friendly towards others. To the degree that you can make friends with yourself unconditionally, you'll be able to have an unconditional regard and openness to other people. So it's kind of twofold. You know, you become more and more, if not comfortable, at least very familiar and not running away from uncomfortable feelings of all kinds. And it builds the kind of resilience and confidence that allows you, for instance, now all the various things that are being triggered for people just being in isolation, you know, everything from rage to just being irritable to being very afraid.


And loneliness is a big one. And there's a lot of uncomfortableness associated for many people with being quarantined, so to speak, or having to stay put. So it starts there that you're already prepared for that kind of experience. So does that help at all?


It does. I mean, I'll just amplify your point by. Maybe just adding that in my own practice, which is very young, especially compared to yours, but but just over a decade long, I've really seen a shift. I've talked about this before on this show. So I apologize if I'm being repetitive to listeners. But I really seen a shift in the last couple of years where initially I was trying to be mindfully self aware of whatever was coming up.


I had a clinical kind of a coldness to it and maybe even some aversion that, OK, I'm going to I'm seeing the selfishness or I'm seeing the fear. I'm seeing the anger, but kind of with gritted teeth. And over the last couple of years, as I've done more and this is from the Theravada tradition, I know you're more from the Tibetan tradition, but I've done a more lovingkindness practice. I think in Tibetan tradition, you call it the Tong Lin practice.


And I've noticed that that warming up my own inner weather has allowed me to do. I believe you used the phrase in one of your books, you know, making friends with our own demons and to have a sense of humor about it or the great teacher. Ramdas once said that, you know, it's not that your neuroses go away, but you become a connoisseur of them. And I can see that showing up in this time where my historical depression and anxiety is peaking, but it's not gaining as much of a foothold as it otherwise would because I have the self-awareness and some sense of humor and warmth toward these patterns as they arise.


Does it sound like that's an appropriate build on the points you were trying to make?


Absolutely. That says it beautifully. Yeah, that's exactly the point I was trying to make. And yeah, also in Tibetan Buddhism, there's also a version of meta practice of the lovingkindness practice that you're referring to. And that one is very important. You know, that one is very important. So clear seeing. But I use the word kindness, but warmth is another word. Yeah, it is amazing how it prepares you, prepares you for a difficult time.


And that's another book title, right, when things fall apart. So kind of prepares you for that. But as much as I feel that you just again, speaking for myself here, that I may be handling this current situation a little bit better than I might have, I don't know that I'm actively welcoming the unwelcome and I don't know that I'm actively viewing this chaos as excellent news.


Yeah, well, I know there's too much suffering, I think, to view it as excellent news. And so I think it's just that you keep your heart open to the situation so that to the degree that you're able and that ebbs and flows, you know, some days. Yes, some days now. Some hours, yes. Some hours now. But there's more resiliency. And so the word welcome. I think you have to have a sense of humor around about the word welcome, you know, but it is the idea of warmth, warmth toward whatever is arising rather than you're a bad person or you're not doing it right or there's something wrong with you that's very deeply held feeling.


And then when the outer circumstances are very difficult, it tends to bring out these strong, you might say, more negative qualities in all of us. And so if you've already spent some time befriending what previously you called negative qualities, then you feel more prepared. So maybe just drop the language. I think the book titles just trying to convey something, a kind of view of what one will find in the book. But I think it's more how does the language of warmth or kindness rather than welcoming.


Does that fit better?


Yeah, it does. And I by the way, I do not mean to be legalistic with you about book titles. Believe me, I've written a few books and I don't want to be held entirely accountable for every nuance in my book titles. So that was not my intention. But more to get out.


No, no, I'm not I'm not offended by that. It's so common, though. I have so many people saying, you know, basically I don't want to welcome the unwelcome. So in conversation, I've come to use different language. But it means the same thing, really.


But to dig deeper into the spirit of what you have been saying and again, your teacher, Kojm Trumper, the idea that there's some sort of and this is my word, not yours, but maybe some sort of.


Opportunity in the chaos, you know, the notion that we should regard it as good news and I know again, I'm not your teacher was not saying and you're not saying that a pandemic is good news, that it's not great that these people are suffering, but there is perhaps an opportunity to get in touch with what has been true all along, which is that there that the world isn't, as the ground beneath our feet isn't as solid as we might have imagined.


Yeah, absolutely. That's right. So that is the value of chaos, which or of crisis, which so many people have experienced throughout the centuries, really, you know, that when things got really, really bad, it was if they had the realization that up to then they had been living on the facade, they had been living on the surface of life and not really realizing that, for instance, not taking impermanence as a fact of life. Let's just talk about that.


Just not valuing the fleeting quality of our life as something very precious that makes it more precious and instead a lot of denial of death or resistance to change and that kind of thing. And then some crisis happens where you're kind of cornered. You know, you can't get away from the truth of it. And for many people, over the centuries, that's been a big turning point of. Are realizing something that's been true all along, as you say, that the situation is fundamentally groundless and our plans are like there's a bumper sticker, if you want to make God laugh, make plans.


So the idea of the you have to make plans. You know, you have to make your plane reservations and things. But how many people? I mean, many people like my experience. If I look on my calendar and I look at the month of May on my calendar and I see all the things that were carefully planned for different airline reservations and hotel reservations and teaching engagements and family reunions and things like this and just gone, you know, none of it's happening, canceled or sometimes they say postponed, but still when you don't know.


So it's for many people, it's like some kind of light bulb goes off around things like this. And they have the feeling that they're not afterwards going to live on the surface anymore, that they'll have some more profound connection with the true facts of life as not being bad news, like impermanence, for instance, and change not being bad news, but just being part of what it means to be a human being is that each moment and each day and your body and all your friends and relationships, it's all impermanent.


And and when you talk about that to many people, they think you're being dismal or negative or something, you know, and so it's very hard how to convey that so that it's like a fact of life rather than a downer, that you're just trying to paint a dark picture, stormy picture of life. So the suffering. Let me just say this also then in a situation like this pandemic. It also makes you much more really able to be touched deeply by the suffering of other people and the losses that people are experiencing so that the feeling of interconnectedness can be so strong and so vivid.


So that's another right of the main truth that's inescapable right now is how interconnected we are. I agree. Yes, I mean, I think it's indisputable there are some non-negotiable facts of existence and impermanence and interconnection are two of them. I wonder, though, I think it was you you you once the once I read used your books or some of the first Buddhist books that I ever read. And I think you use a phrase that has really stuck with me, which is the fact that we're programmed for denial and, you know, we're in an impossible situation in which to make forecasts.


But you talked and I agree with you that crises and moments of getting in touch with the aforementioned non-negotiable truths of human existence can be times where we wake up. But we also can pretty easily go back to sleep. And so I wonder, do you imagine that this crisis could be a time where. It could affect some fundamental changes on us as a species, or do you think we're just going to go back to shopping as a way to deal with our problems?


Yeah, well, that's the big question. I don't really have a prophetic sense of it, but in this sense, I do see it as a big opportunity. And many people will take advantage of what they've learned through this. But I think when things are extreme. It often gets very clear that people either grow from it or their denial and that even the sense of fundamentalism gets stronger. The fear gets stronger. And so digging in your heels more and more, even more than before, it gets stronger.


So, you know, for someone like myself, I find that frightening. And I'm committed to not having that happen, staying awake and to the teachings or the messages of this indisputable facts of these times. But so I don't know if I had to make a prediction, you know, I would just say maybe things this is kind of a sad prediction, but perhaps things will get more polarized that people will either become more fundamentalist or more open hearted and open minded.


You know, more closed or more open might be the two directions that it goes. You know, I don't know. But even so, if you are, you have to have I personally have a lot of sympathy for someone who just wants to close down and dig in their heels and hold on to something desperately. Because it's just an attempt to be happy, it's just an attempt to be kind to oneself. It's just that it causes so much more suffering.


That's the problem, right? Because it's so much more suffering for oneself and one other because one fear grows rather than diminishes and one sense of danger grows rather than diminishing. Whereas if you're opening more and more, you feel more and more comfortable with uncertainty, more comfortable with what life is presenting to you, or at least more flexible or ready to work with whatever might come, you know, something like that. Is that what you were asking?


Yes. Yes, I. I ask questions without expecting any particular answer. Right, right. But sometimes, you know, I can go off on a tangent. It doesn't have much relationship to the questions, though. So that's why I check in, you know.


Well, let me assure you, you're in a safe place for tangents where this is a podcast. We like to we like that Gresham's Rabbit Hole is it's all good here. But, you know, you touched on something there that I think is incredibly important. Well, a million things that are incredibly important. But there's just one thing I'm going to pick up on here, which is the idea of having sympathy, empathy, compassion for people who are behaving in this situation in ways which we might deeply disagree.


I'm a newsman, so I'm not supposed to disagree with anybody, but I would say it's probably not a good idea to take an assault weapon to a state capitol building. But can we look at that and say, you know, I get I feel in myself, if I look carefully the desire to clamp down and to resist the change and closed down and can I see that nugget of fear and close in the instinct to close down and project it outward and understand that somebody else is just acting out of pain?


Even if I completely disagree with how they're handling that, that seems like a very useful function of the mind to use a loaded term here to make that go viral right now.


Yeah, I think that's right. I think that people have trouble with this kind of thinking often because they think it means if you have some kind of empathetic reaction, then they feel that's the same thing as condoning or thinking that the action was OK. So I suppose that's a subtle point. You don't condone the action, but on the other hand, you don't condemn the person. You know, I was reading this book by Paul Ekman and the Dalai Lama, emotional awareness, I think it's called There's something like that in which the point is made again and again and again by the Dalai Lama and then by Paul Ekman that you condemn the act but not the person, and that there's always a sense that the person is capable of changing and the person has goodness in their heart, as well as getting extremely carried away by aggression and hatred, et cetera, but condemning the action, but not the person.


I think that's something that I definitely adhere to and try to follow, you know, in my life. And it comes fairly naturally for me. But it doesn't make you stupid, you know, about when there's danger, where danger lies and it doesn't make you think that somebody shouldn't, that you realize even from the point of view with Buddhist teachings on karma, the realization that those actions will have results. There will always be consequences to any actions, actions that are beneficial to others or actions that are harmful to others.


And the consequences will be to other people, but they'll also be to oneself. So I think that's something that you keep in mind. I was always very struck by the fact that the Tibetans, when the Chinese communists overtook Tibet in was it the 50s, right.


That that happened? I believe so, yes. Yeah. So many people were put in prison and tortured. And I've heard so many accounts say someone I read once this study that I've never been able to find, but I read this study about someone was very intrigued by how could people who had been tortured on a regular basis very brutally. How is it that they could come out of that without post-traumatic stress, which was an observation that people did come out of it without the post-traumatic stress?


I guess many of them. And the conclusion of the article was that it was because they held the view that which is, by the way, this is not a view that's easy for Western people to handle. But nevertheless, they held the view from their Buddhist teachings that what was happening to them was an opportunity for them to pay some kind of karmic debts. But their real worry was for the people that were torturing them because they were creating such a hellish future circumstances for themselves.


And so someone asked this one, Monk, were you ever afraid? And he said, yes. And then they said, what were you afraid of? And he said, I was afraid that I would lose my compassion for the. People that were torturing me, so that's a very extreme example of this ability to see to look at things very differently, you know, in terms of who's creating the suffering here in this situation, you know, for themselves.


So I don't know, you know, that that reminds me of you don't have to even believe in rebirth or karma. I've done a few stories as a reporter over the years with people who were wrongly convicted and spent decades of their lives behind bars. And afterwards, I would ask them, are you angry? How do you know I would be angry and kill one of the men I interviewed who were in that situation said to me. If I give in to that anger, it will consume me, you know, they just spoke very eloquently about the utility of that kind of rage and bitterness in terms of their ability to move forward.


I remember reading an interview with Nelson Mandela where the interviewer asked him that same question, weren't you angry? And he said, yes, I was angry. But I realized that if exactly what you said and this case, what my memory is, what he said was if I let that anger consume me, then I'm still their prisoner, you know? And so I'm not going to let myself be consumed in that way because then nothing has shifted. I'm out of prison, but only in my body.


But in my mind, I'm still completely caught. So I always remember that it's the same idea. Right.


I think it's exactly the same idea just articulated in a different way that says so how do we want to endure the hardships where a friend of mine wrote to me something about this on text that he said, you know, I've been through crises in my life where I had the crisis and that I had all the rage I was adding on top of it. I'm not doing that this. Yeah, you know, good for him, good for him. Yeah, that's the idea, that's the idea right there.


But, you know, the sad thing about your poisoning yourself, you eat rat poison thinking that the rat will die.


So but so but it's you that suffering from the whole thing. Yeah, that's right. So that's a wise person who texted you that. Much more of my conversation with Pema Chodron right after this. Great children's books opened up new worlds for discovery with literati kids, your child can explore uncharted places every month with spellbinding stories hand-picked by experts. Literati kids is a try before you buy a subscription book club. Each month, Literati delivers five vibrantly illustrated children's books, bringing the immersive magic of reading right to your home.


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One of a kind book subscription. The Most Joyful Way to foster a lifelong love of learning. That's literati dotcom slash happier. Let's look back to the issue of fear, because you've written about the notion of intimacy with fear and I think confront you again with one of your quotes here. The next time you you wrote the next time you encounter fear. Consider yourself lucky. And I know you're being provocative there, but I wonder if we could get granular about ways in which we could actually practice with the fear, given that most of our listeners are meditators or meditation.


Curious. Could you talk a little bit about how we could work with fear in our own minds?


Well, I kind of was alluding to it earlier where I was talking about meditation and that you get very close to yourself. It becomes a process of becoming familiar with yourself and familiar with your habits, but with an attitude of another quote from Trumper and say, My main teacher that I really like was you place that fearful mind in the cradle of loving kindness. So that's a rather poetic way of trying, of expressing something. But sometimes that's the closest you can get rather than a like a step by step process or something.


But I do think that's the key to working with fear is placing it in the cradle of loving kindness, which is to say acknowledge. Then some sense you might have to really notice what you're saying to yourself, like what the storylines are and how they are escalating the fear, exaggerating the fear, heightening the fear. And then through meditation, you learn all styles of Buddhist meditation. You learn to let the thoughts go and just come right back in.


In this case, come back to the maybe physically embodied. How do you feel in your body? So let's say, OK, so in terms of step by step, it's something about through meditation, becoming aware, being able to acknowledge with kindness and then being embodied like come into your body to the degree that you're able, through your meditation practice, letting thoughts go. They come and then you let them go. And rather than feeding them and escalating them with the realization, with the kind of understanding that the thoughts are going to cause you a lot of suffering because of the fact that they like pouring kerosene on the fire to put it out.


You know, you think if I could just think my way out of this, I wouldn't have to feel this fear. But in fact, all those thoughts are causing you more pain. So letting the storylines come and go, not making them bad, but being aware of their power to cause you to suffer. So letting storylines go and go to your body, feel the fear in your body wherever it's contracted. So, for instance, fear people feel it in different ways.


Sometimes it's in the throat, sometimes in the shoulders, often in the solar plexus, sometimes in the stomach, often in the heart area. And I'm sure there's other places that fear is felt. And then one actual method is then to breathe deeply. This comes more from the caravan approach, but it's you breathe deeply into those places. So like the breath you open and there's some sense of expansion and letting yourself feel the fear physically not not think about the fear, but actually embody it, feel it.


And then when you breathe out, there's also that sense of relaxation. So you breathe in with a sense of opening and warmth. You breathe out with a sense of opening and walks in and out of that contract in place. So that lets the contracted can relax and expand. And that's a very practical way of working with fear and in other words, not mentally trying to figure it out, but just go to your body, get in touch with what it feels like physically, and then breathe in and out of the places that are contracted and type and work with it that way.


What do you think? I love it.


Something you said earlier about not trying to use this is something a problem I bump up against personally, not wanting to use corny language. But then as soon as you get into this stuff, you can't help it. And the thing about the system of the body is, yeah, it sounds corny to say it, and yet what are you supposed to do? Because it happens to be true. And so, yeah, we can get stuck in thinking about things or planning or worrying or regretting in past or future mode where the body is always right here and in the only time it ever is.


And to kind of move your attention out of your head and into your body in an animalistic sense and a creature sense, as my friend Jeff and says, can be a nice short circuit on the the habits and the patterns of rumination and anxiety.


That's right. I was talking to a student of mine recently who was telling me he said that he decided that he was going to spend a week. It was just recently. So it was working with fear around what's going to happen after this or it had a lot to do with his financial situation or lack thereof, you know, so he said, I'm going to spend a week, five days to a week just trying to think this through and see how that how I feel at the end of the week.


And then I'll try a week of what you're proposing here, of letting the storylines dissolve as much as best they can and just keep coming back to what it feels like in my body and breathing in and out of that in the relaxed, open way. So I thought that was great. You know, like, OK, I'm just going to find out for myself. Well, I think you can. Yes, really, what? Which week ended with him feeling more settled and getting more insight and some sense of moving through something rather than getting stuck?


So the week where he just faded, he said he actually he couldn't last a week. He said when he started doing that consciously, when he was very aware that that's what he was doing, almost like a practice, he just could not keep it up because it was so excruciating. So then he tried the other and he said it was just something to do about the fact that the way he put it was there was nothing between me and the feeling it was just right there.


That's all that was happening. There weren't thoughts in between. There was no nothing. I wasn't distracting myself. It was just very direct and dealing with the immediacy of my experience, he said. And that he felt was just that, that he was dealing with the immediacy of his experience, even without the breathing in and breathing out, was so much more settling for him. I felt so much more on the mark, felt so much more accurate and genuine and helpful.


And then he did the breathing thing, too. And in his case, it was very helpful to him. It's not that helpful to everybody, but there's nothing I don't think it's that helpful to everybody. That has to be various methods for this kind of thing.


Well, actually, you led me to exactly to the question that popped up in my mind, which is how broadly applicable these techniques are. So you're in an abbey in Nova Scotia? I'm on the Upper West Side in a comparatively very comfortable situation. What about for people who have to go into a hospital every day to clean the room or somebody who's lost their job and needs to go to a food pantry for people in a really, truly acute situations?


Are these techniques workable, do you think?


I do think so, yes, I do think so. You're talking about truly desperate situations, especially the both of those instances that you said when you have your job, but your job is so dangerous. And the other you were just scraping by with your minimum wage job before being know, barely able to pay the rent or buy the food or feed the kids or whatever it was. And now all of that's gone and the schools are closed. It's just like a nightmare.


Yeah, I've talked to people who work in the hospitals, had a number of talks with some of them, and this kind of technique has been very helpful to them to just go in and be there for people. Otherwise, they say, you know, before they were it was like they just didn't know if they could go in. They were so afraid of contracting the disease, even though they had lots and lots of protection and all of that.


They were so afraid. And so they they worked this way. And then I've talked to inmates in prison who find this technique extremely helpful. So I haven't had the. Opportunity, which I would very much value, but to talk to start to have conversations with people that have lost their employment. I actually had one. It was a man who he and his wife have been building a business, kind of a nature resort for almost 30 years. And it's never been a big money maker, but they've always been able to make a living and they always felt it was so worthwhile and gave them a lot of joy.


This particular work. So now he was almost in tears talking to me because he said, you know, we have bills to pay and everybody is canceling all the people that were signed up to come for the summer season. Every single one of them has canceled. And we have our bills to pay and like, what are we going to do? And he said that the only thing that was helping him and his wife was this kind of meditation. And that was actually a big help.


So there is one person that I talked to whose whole livelihood was gone, you know, gone. The other thing I haven't heard anything about. But I feel great concern for people who where there has been a history of violence in the family and there are now all cooped up together. That's very frightening to think about. And I haven't even read one thing about that. But it must be going on quite a bit, I would think, you know, terrifying kind of domestic situations because of all of this.


So there's a lot that can open your heart, you know, and bring out, you know, love and compassion for humanity and the wish for things to work out for people. But I think what we're talking about here a little bit is what if certain things are not work out? Well, what about if this is just how it's going to be like? How do you live with that? So I think the meditation can be very helpful in that way.


And one of the things that's helpful about it also is that if you calm down enough. And can settle enough with yourself. In this way, where there is a lot of warmth and compassion available toward yourself and then it begins to expand out to other people, when you can do that, sometimes when you can calm down like that. I use that expression, calm down, but settle maybe inside come to you about a new, fresh perspective on what you might do or how you might handle it differently.


So, for instance, the man I was talking to about those businesses falling apart, I mean, has just dried up on him and he has to pay his bills. He said that his children, who are in their 20s, they never showed any interest in the business. But now they're coming up with all these fresh ideas about how they might work with things later. And so it's those kind of insights that have the opportunity to come up if you settle, if you settle, and then the benefit of the people is undeniable.


I mean, the story I've told many times recently is taken on hand writing about the boat people leaving Vietnam, going out into the sea and the pirates coming and knowing that the pirates could kill everybody on your boat, could rape all the women, just knowing how what horror might be coming. He said if one person on the boat remained calm, it had the ability to calm everybody. And I think that's something that I have in mind a lot is wanting to be that person on the boat that could have that impact on other people.


And then if you're just honest with yourself and say, I'm not there yet, you know, I'm not that person who can stay calm, at least you have the you can contemplate the effect of that calmness on you and your motivation for why you might practice in this way.


So. What do you think? I think that I agree with everything you said and that I am really grateful to you for spending so much time talking to me and the folks who are listening to this show. I'm I'm very grateful. Thank you.


You're very welcome. And may we meet again and we'll see where this all goes, right?


Yeah. Now's the time to get in touch with the fact that we don't know.


We don't know. We definitely don't know. That's right. OK, lots of love. And may you be well and stay healthy there in New York.


Thank you. Right back at you. Wishing you safety and to the best of your ability, ease all the way up there in Nova Scotia. OK, take care. Thank you. Bye bye. Thanks again to PMA, has a great conversation worth reposting before I let you go. A quick announcement. We are on the lookout for a senior meditation producer to work on courses and other content for the 10 percent happier app. This is an incredible opportunity for somebody who's got deep knowledge of and passion for the Dharma and who has also got some experience with curriculum design and content production.


You can find the job posting on our Web site, 10 percent dotcom jobs. I don't know if this is a good thing or not, but if you apply for and get this job, you'll work with me sometimes directly so. Go for it. This show is made by Samuel Johns, Cashmere, Maria Wartell and Jen Point with audio engineering by Ultraviolet Audio and as always, big. Thank you. And shout out to Ryan Kessler and Josh Cohen from ABC News.


We'll see you all on Wednesday when we'll be reposting a fantastic conversation with the great Tara Brucke.