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Heart Wisdom Podcast by Jack Kornfield

Heart Wisdom Podcast

by Jack Kornfield

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As one of the first to introduce Buddhist mindfulness to a Western audience, Jack Kornfield has helped break Eastern spirituality into the mainstream. The Heart Wisdom Hour Podcast provides hour-long Buddhist dharma talks presented by Kornfield during the various classes and events he hosts across the United States. Each episode takes on a specific topic such as leadership, fear, identity, community, and freedom, and unpacks how one might approach the various ailments of daily life from a Buddhist perspective. Kornfield’s style is approachable, with a kind, often irreverent voice that makes him seem less like a guru, and more like a trusted confidant.


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Ep. 57 - Surprising Delights of Renunciation


Fri, Apr 28, 2017


On this episode of the Heart Wisdom podcast, Jack shares the surprising delights of renunciation. It may be difficult to equate happiness and renunciation. This week, Jack helps us realize the surprising delights of renunciation, and where in our life we can already find this happiness.

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Ep. 56 - The Joy of Virtue


Mon, Apr 03, 2017


This week on Heart Wisdom, Jack discusses the joy of virtue. Virtue is one of the many qualities essential to the awakening of one's true nature. Jack breaks virtue down to its most fundamental levels and shares the joy of virtue and living a life of integrity.

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Ep. 55 - Seeing Anew


Thu, Mar 16, 2017


This week, Jack speaks about renewal and seeing anew. By shifting our perspective on our own experience, we can better understand the world around us. Jack shows the importance of becoming the witness and seeing anew.

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Ep. 54 - The Seat of Awakening


Thu, Feb 23, 2017


On this episode of Heart Wisdom, Jack explores what it means to take the seat of awakening. Jack tells the story of the Buddha's literal and figurative seat of awakening. The seat of awakening is the place from which our spiritual path begins. Jack prepares for the trials and temptations along the path and offers a look at the rewards that await us.

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Ep 53 - Wounds and Gifts with Duncan Trussell and Raghu Markus


Thu, Feb 02, 2017


Jack sits down with Raghu Markus and Duncan Trussell to talk about finding gifts in suffering that transform how we interact with the world. This podcast was recorded at the 2016 Open Your Heart in Paradise Retreat, where the theme was finding the beloved and touching the compassionate heart. Jack, Raghu, and Duncan share stories and perspective on searching for love in dark times. They remind us that out of our deepest wounds and insecurities are born our greatest gifts.

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Ep. 52 - Inspired Leadership


Thu, Jan 12, 2017


On this episode, Jack speaks about the different aspects of inspired leadership and how to cultivate them in our lives. Jack explores the natural perfections of the heart and how to listen to the leader inside you. We also hear three stories of inspired leadership expressed through dedication, love, and equanimity.

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Ep. 51 - Identity and Freedom


Wed, Dec 21, 2016


Jack delivers a talk on how identity leads us to suffer and shares the Buddha's path towards freedom from that suffering.   The Buddha's teachings are a path to end suffering. Part of this is our identity, which is caused by our clinging to impermanence. Jack shares these teachings, along with an ethical system which enables us to let go of our suffering by living with integrity.  

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Ep. 50 - The Bodhisattva and the Power of Intention


Thu, Dec 01, 2016


On this episode of Heart Wisdom, Jack helps us figure out how to come back to our lives after a retreat, explores the power of intention, and the role of the Bodhisattva.

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Ep. 49 - The Feminine in Buddhism


Thu, Nov 10, 2016


This week, Jack discusses the divine feminine along with the past and present roles of women in the Buddhist tradition. We each carry within us both the masculine and feminine nature. Jack explores the Buddha's teaching on the matter and what it is to embrace them.

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Ep. 48 – Tending Yourself, Tending to the World


Thu, Oct 20, 2016


In light of the political “bread and circus” happening in America, leading up to the 2016 presidential elections, Jack shares stories and wisdom on the topic of tending ourselves and tending the world. On this episode of Heart Wisdom, Jack explores how tending to injustices big and small and do all we can to ease the suffering of others. “The one who awakens shines with a radiance of spirit. Come out and shine like the moon, but first, quiet yourself. Quiet the mind, tend the heart, and come back to yourself. Let what is beautiful in you have space, to be heard and listened to, and blossom. ” – The Buddha

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Ep. 47 - Nobility and Love


Fri, Sep 30, 2016


On this episode of Heart Wisdom, Jack talks about leadership, nobility, and love. American presidents George Washington and Lincoln are used as examples of men who showed true nobility of heart. There is a sense of justice in their words and a kind of integrity to their actions in the midst of unbearable suffering, which is a sign of real leadership. This is a quality of nobility which we can find ourselves in our own roles as leaders. The Buddha says that wise leadership requires generosity, integrity, peace, and sacrifice among many other traits. These are all qualities that can be awakened in us. This is why we are given the practices of compassion, mindfulness, and equanimity. Jack teaches us to utilize these practices in an effort to awaken our inner nobility. Jack also discusses the diversity of love and its many roles. Love brings happiness, heals, and even teaches through loss. We explore a few ways in which love can present itself and affect our lives.  

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Ep. 46 – The Stories We Tell


Wed, Sep 07, 2016


Jack’s timeless wisdom leads the way as he responds to a handful of questions concerning some of the common struggles encountered on the human plane. How can we be present with difficult situations without indulging the emotions? The problem often lies more in the narratives we tell about ourselves and others that perpetuate the suffering. We must be willing to allow the energies of life to rise and fall as they do, all the while expanding our capacity to feel without necessarily believing the storyline, which is often biased and untrue to begin with. In learning to be with our emotions we are better able to respond from a place of wisdom rather than an expectation of how it should be. Taking time to recognize the distinction between wise and unskillful desire is a practical and effective method for addressing the root causes for much of our suffering. Through examining our impulses, we gain the perspective necessary to determine if the associated actions will ultimately increase our joy or our sorrow. Jack reminds us that we don’t need to get rid of anything, we just have to remember who we really are and operate from that deeper self. The seeds we plant in the garden of the heart are not separate from us in their origin or their blossoming.

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Ep. 45 - Stories of an Awakened Heart


Wed, Aug 17, 2016


Jack offers tales of tenderness that remind us of the qualities of faith and compassion which move us in the direction of freedom. What resources can we bring to a world of conflict that might allow us to live in the reality of the present with an openness and trust that what needs to be healed will be done through love? In coming to rest in the space of calm and kind attention that grows in meditation, we learn to listen with the heart and move with the inspired energy that follows.

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Ep. 44 - Attachment Revealed


Thu, Jul 28, 2016


To create and maintain appropriate boundaries we must first understand what it is as we are approaching attachment, commitment and love. Jack offers a definition and reinterpretation of attachment to represent more compassionate qualities such as commitment, dedication and wise ambition. He encourages us to be present without the need to control, to show up but not be focused on the outcome. We learn to step back and listen to the world as a means of witnessing the play of life. Our opening will present itself, but only when our perspective is wide enough to discover the full range of potential.

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Ep. 43 – Respect and Dignity


Wed, Jul 06, 2016


Jack offers up several stories to emphasize the ways in which mindfulness consistently returns us to a radical capacity for presence that can truly change our lives for the better. The natural freedom revealed through the quality of compassionate awareness is itself an act of respect. The understanding and integration of right livelihood lays the groundwork for gratitude in ourselves, and serves to inspire others who encounter its compelling energy. There are many ways to approach the work we are given, but through honoring our tasks we can bring to them a spirit of dignity, care, and beauty. 

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Ep. 42 - The Perfume of Dharma


Thu, Jun 02, 2016


A timely discussion about the rapid expansion of mindfulness practice and the importance and value in sharing our own stories for the well-being of others. Using examples from his own experiences in traveling the world, Jack reminds us that awareness, in all forms, is what brings us into the heart of our own humanity

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Ep. 41 - Seeing Anew


Sat, Mar 26, 2016


A succinct reminder of the ever-present possibility to step out from the blinders of our ordinary perception, from the fear and anxiety of modern life, and to instead see with eyes of understanding. Through practice we begin to fully grok the necessity for and value of forgiveness, learning to let go of the expectations that inevitably compromise our capacity for compassion. Beginner’s mind is highlighted as an anchor point for helping us return to the openness, eagerness, and lack of preconception that embody our true nature.

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Ep. 40 - Buddha's Last Teachings


Sat, Feb 20, 2016


Drawing from Buddhist text, Jack tells the story of the last year of Buddha’s life, and the teachings he imparted to his followers and future seekers on the path. Guidance for practice, and instructions for building and sustaining wise relationships were the focus of these final offerings. The power of mythology is emphasized in appreciating its capacity to speak to the human imagination. When removed from the lens of literality, these stories are brought to life, imbuing the narrative with a depth and timeless relatability from which we can continually find inspiration.

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Ep. 39 - Emptiness and the Power of Love


Fri, Jan 22, 2016


An exploration of the ways in which the quiet mind and open heart lead to wisdom, depth, and love. Our practice itself is an act of Love that gives us the ability to be present for all of humanity. Our growing capacity to feel our joys and sorrows allows us to live more freely in the energies of our life.

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Ep. 38 - Dark Matters with Duncan Trussell and Dustin Marshall


Fri, Jan 08, 2016


Jack sits down with fellow podcast patrons, Duncan Trussell and Dustin Marshall, for an in-depth discussion about navigating some of the darkest corners of the emotional spectrum. We are encouraged to open to Love, despite the innate vulnerability and collective insecurities that inevitably arise. In cultivating the Witness, we are able to step outside the drama of our lives, creating just enough space to approach our suffering without getting lost in it. A wonderful exploration of our inherent worthiness regarding our capacity for Love, and the small steps we can take toward the healing our hearts and minds in the most hopeless of moments.

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Ep. 37 - Awakening is Always Possible


Sun, Dec 27, 2015


A gentle reminder that the possibility of awakening exists in every moment, and in every circumstance. Liberation comes not through suppression or by fighting against ourselves, but rather by resting where we are, at peace with the world as it is. We can all sense the potential for bringing compassion to ourselves and the world around us, and need only be reminded through the power of practice.    

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Ep. 36 - The Ten Perfections


Fri, Dec 11, 2015


Jack outlines the Ten Perfections within Buddhism that naturally arise in the stillness and steadiness of our practice. These qualities can be developed and applied in any situation and are extremely useful in bringing the path of awakening into everyday life. They are not meant to be a means for perfecting oneself, but rather a reminder of the true nature to which we can always return  

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Ep. 35 - Wisdom and the Characteristics of Life


Fri, Nov 27, 2015


In embracing our humanity, we move into the pure awareness of our own true nature, learning to live wisely and discovering freedom and compassion regardless of circumstance. The path is not about attainment, but rather an opportunity to recognize the patterns of life and begin to align ourselves with its flow. Jack shares the ways in which we can live with a wise heart in the midst of impermanence, with ease amidst the dance of life.

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Ep. 34 - Emptiness, Creativity, and Joy


Fri, Nov 13, 2015


Jack describes the beauty of the awakened mind and heart that arises naturally when we can empty ourselves of the burden of identity. The reality of the present is all there is, and in fully embodying this understanding we move into an open and spacious realm of creative insight and joyful expression. Finding what it is that brings us to life, moves us deeper into the Dharma and sharing that energy with the world is a profound statement. We demonstrate our liberation by offering it to everyone we can, using the awakened heart as our compass

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Ep. 33 - Compassion As We Take Action


Mon, Nov 02, 2015


Jack weaves a tender web of allegorical expression regarding our natural call toward compassionate action. We learn to not seek satisfaction in the results, but in the value, rightness and truth of the work itself. We can’t bring the rain, but we can offer to plant the seeds of our heart’s best intentions. A spacious meditation closes the talk, in which we are invited to uncover our own unique Bodhisattva vow.

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Ep. 32 - The Fruits of Practice


Sat, Oct 17, 2015


In practice there is an invitation to shift from the real-time experiences to the spacious and open heart of wisdom, ease, and graciousness. Through dedication to our practice we begin to find the trust necessary to remain present no matter the circumstance. As this presence grows, the factors of enlightenment such as mindfulness, joy, and equanimity slowly emerge. The awakened mind and heart are awaiting you, asking only that you make the effort to acknowledge their presence.  

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Ep. 31 - Loving Kindness


Fri, Oct 02, 2015


The mysterious quality we call Love involves stepping out of the body of fear and allowing something bigger to be born in us, all the while acknowledging and loving that smaller sense of self. Though we understand it to be our true nature, we must also recognize the necessity for practice in sustaining this openhearted awareness. Once brought to life, we learn to nourish that deeper part of our being, offering the appropriate respect and response to all of humanity

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Ep. 30 - Joys of the Awakened Heart


Fri, Sep 18, 2015


In meditation and in our spiritual life there grows a kind of trust in our capacity to open, to change, and to transform no matter the circumstances we face. The shift of identity comes in recognizing that the smaller sense of self is not who we really are. The original nature of the mind is pure knowing, and through this understanding we begin to find the joy of the liberated heart.

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Ep. 29 - Freedom and the Way It Is (Part 2)


Fri, Sep 04, 2015


Jack continues his discourse on the nature of the freedom that is our true being. It does not arrive through the rearranging of circumstance or the discipline of self-improvement, but in the acknowledgment and allowing of all of life’s movements. The aim is not passive acceptance, but rather a relaxation that fuels the energy to respond as necessary. In knowing when to hold on and when to let go, we embody the gracious and honorable presence that characterizes our deeper self.

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Ep. 28 - Freedom From the Way It Is (Part 1)


Thu, Aug 20, 2015


Freedom is not found in certainty, but in the wisdom that comes from seeing and embracing life as it is. Jack explores the different ways that freedom can be embodied and fully represented through the nobility of Spirit that is born into every being. When we uncover this freedom, to be who we are, to serve others, and to care for the world, we discover that it was our purpose all along.

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Ep. 27 - The Power of Pilgrimage


Fri, Aug 07, 2015


Pilgrimage is the journey of renewal, an opportunity to shift and broaden our perspective of the world around us. Through this active form of spiritual practice we are able to step out of the smaller envelope of identity in order to witness and embrace more of life’s mysteries. Who we really are is exposed in the light of these novel experiences, and our potential for expansion and personal growth is naturally illuminated...

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Ep. 26 - When Love Meets Sorrow


Fri, Jul 24, 2015


“When Love meets sorrow it becomes compassion” As we become silent we start to awaken to the mystery of this human realm. We begin to open to and acknowledge all of the unfinished business that often permeates our being. Through practice we can learn to offer love in the presence of pain. In these moments of loving-kindness we feel a connection to the web of life and discover the more objective nature of our struggles and sorrows. As Jack explains, no matter what level you are practicing on, you cannot fully open without compassion.

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Ep. 25 - The Wisdom of Uncertainty


Tue, Jul 14, 2015


“What we’re looking for is where we are” - Dharma speaks to the ways in which we choose to navigate the uncertainty of our time on this planet. Can we learn to live in joy amongst all that this great unknowing has to offer? Jack guides us through some of the key principles of the awakened heart, encouraging an attitude of graciousness toward the mysterious nature of our existence.

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Ep. 24 - Gates of Awakening


Mon, Jun 29, 2015


A spacious walk through the shifts of identity that often occur as we move from the smaller sense of self into that place of loving awareness, the ‘one who knows’. This opening can be understood as the entrance point to Awakening. Though it may be unfamiliar and often times uncomfortable, it is ultimately necessary for moving beyond the limitations of the separate self. Jack provides us with a map for this new territory, and reassures us that the intelligence of the heart will lead the way, even through the darkest corridors.

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Ep. 23 - Garden of the Heart


Mon, Jun 15, 2015


Spiritual practice requires of us a kind and devoted attention to the opening of the body as well as the heart. We cultivate the necessary space through a quieting of the mind, and invite a sense of compassion and openness into the heart. We can then listen to better understand how to become ourselves what we want the world to be. There is a profound offering in our commitment and dedication to becoming the most beautiful human beings that we can be. At the root of this offering is the desire to allow spiritual practice to be the tool with which we tend to the garden of the heart.

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Ep. 22 - Bodhisattva


Thu, Jun 04, 2015


What attitude can we carry into a world of conflict and difficulty that will allow us to treasure and fully embody the work we do in practice? In this talk, Jack details the teachings of the Bodhisattva - a commitment to the welfare and awakening of all beings. We are encouraged to find our deepest intention, the most beautiful thing we could do with our life, and to let that be our reference as we move out into the world. Through ‘deep knowing and deep intention’, we begin to embrace a sense of the sacred in everything we do.

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Ep. 21 - What Changes Us


Tue, May 19, 2015


The spiritual path seems as much a journey of becoming who we are, rather than attaining some elevated sense of self. But what circumstances must arise in order for us to honor our particular incarnation, and to then do something beautiful with it? Crisis, trauma, and retreat are just a few of the potential catalysts, and our task is to simply recognize and accept that which has served to encourage our own efforts along the path. We begin to see that it is often just a matter of remembering and reminding ourselves of the different ways that we are brought to freedom and joy in our own lives.

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Ep. 20 - Poetry and Beauty


Mon, May 04, 2015


The heart needs poetry much like the Earth needs rain. It is the music, the harmony, and the bearer of truth throughout our life’s journey. To uncover our poetic sensibility is to begin to find the rhythm of language that matches the beauty of the world around us.

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Ep. 19 - Buddhist Psychology


Sun, Apr 26, 2015


Our experience of life is described as a river that we embody, that we are a part of, rather than simply living in.  Awareness is ever-present, as we learn to become mindful of our experiences without becoming lost in them. Our state of mind determines our relationship to the world around us. Our practice therefore becomes one of quieting the mind, opening the heart, and being present in order to touch all that arises with the spirit of compassion.

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Ep. 18 - Redemption


Tue, Apr 14, 2015


Ancient Buddhist tales of redemption are recounted to encourage our understanding that it is never to late to start anew. The object of meditation is to sit in the midst of this mysterious human incarnation and to hold it with mercy and compassion. We then discover that wisdom and training have the power to trump our temperament.

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Ep. 17 - Jack and Duncan Trussell Part Deux


Fri, Apr 03, 2015


Jack sits down with our podcast guru, Duncan Trussell for part two of their conversation.

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Ep. 16 - Factors of Enlightenment


Mon, Mar 23, 2015


Our fundamental wakefulness can be described by certain qualities of enlightenment that speak to our inherent nobility. It is in the remembering of these factors that we can taste the freedom of reconnecting with the openness and luminosity of mind that is our true nature. Mindfulness is the seed from which all other qualities can grow.

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Ep. 15 - The Awakened Heart


Tue, Mar 10, 2015


We all carry questions about our lives and how we might find relief from the struggles we encounter throughout our mysterious incarnations. Who are we and how can we come to understand what it truly means to embody our deeper self? The original nature of consciousness itself is luminous, and free. In awakening the heart we uncover this inherently pure awareness.

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Ep. 14 - Simplicity and Sympathy


Mon, Mar 02, 2015


The spirit of simplicity, presence and sympathy of heart can carry us through the most difficult and beautiful of times. When we learn to make peace with the way life is, with the understanding that this capacity is our own true nature, then we fully embody the heart’s deepest desire.

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Ep. 13 - Joy and it's Causes


Mon, Feb 16, 2015


Mudita is the joy and happiness experienced for oneself and others. This joy is born into everyone, but is not limited to the innocence afforded in childhood. It is alive in all of us, and mindfulness is the gateway. Meditation allows us to be present for ourselves, each other, and for the wonder and beauty of our mysterious incarnation.

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Ep. 12 - The One Who Knows


Mon, Jan 26, 2015


Behind all the drama of our lives, there is something unchanging and ever-present, for everyone to discover. Our methods and practices point us in the direction of this awakening, as we move from reaction to compassion. Nothing left out, and no one to blame, perfecting only our loving awareness of it all.

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Ep. 11 - Freedom of the Heart


Tue, Jan 06, 2015


The vastness of the human heart is as timeless as it is profound. No matter the circumstance, we can choose to remain openhearted, knowing that the possibility of freedom is available to everyone.

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Ep. 10 - Nothing Left Out


Tue, Dec 23, 2014


'It's not the future of humanity, but the presence of eternity'. With this in mind, we begin to understand the necessity for acceptance, in all aspects of our experience. The invitation offered through meditation is all-inclusive; no matter what we carry from our past, there is a dignity and freedom of heart that is possible for us all

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Ep. 9 - Through the Eyes of Wisdom


Thu, Dec 11, 2014


Wisdom is eternally gracious; it sees the world as it is, vast and ever changing. It allows us to become ourselves, to awaken to the actual experience of existence, without getting caught in it. We eventually recognize our shared experience, and a natural sense of respect arises. When we look through the eyes of wisdom, we dissolve separation, and move into the compassionate state of loving awareness. ‘The true joy of life is to plant trees, under whose shade you do not expect to sit’.

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Ep. 8 - Transforming Darkness


Tue, Nov 25, 2014


In attempting to draw light into our lives, we inevitably encounter the intrinsic darkness that surrounds our existence. Our task, as honorable beings, is to avoid letting the ignorant darkness take over our hearts, while simultaneously not averting our gaze. In meditation, we confront the full spectrum of experience, acknowledging these darker forces, and discovering the capacity to respond from a place of loving awareness. It will require the courage to act, but as the Buddha said, “If you can learn to dwell in your heart, offering love to all beings, that will be protection wherever you go’. Episode Outline: • 2 Kinds of Darkness - Fertile (From which all things arise - contains the potential of creation) and Blind/Unconscious (Operates below our basic level of awareness, often requires uncovering/recognition) • Practice - When we honor our meditation practice, we see everything - the full spectrum of our experience • Our Task - As honorable beings, we mustn’t let the outer (ignorant) darkness consume our hearts, while, simultaneously, not averting our eyes. • Violence - Has almost always been a part of our culture - What are the causes and conditions that create these negative aspects? We have to mourn tragedy, but also stand up for a different world. The darkness must be met with an equal force of love and courage • Dwell in the Heart - Never cease to offer love to all beings

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Ep. 7 - Holding Identity Lightly


Tue, Nov 18, 2014


Consciousness itself is the witness to our lives, and we are born with it, in its purest form. It knows that what we often identify with is not who we truly are. The practices of compassion, mindfulness and loving awareness invite a profound shift of identity, from the body of fear to the beauty of the heart.

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Ep. 6 - Mental Hygiene with Natasha Leggero


Tue, Nov 11, 2014


Jack is joined by actress and comedian, Natasha Leggero, for an enlightening conversation about maintaining composure in seemingly chaotic times. Jack explains that our outer progress must be matched with an inner change in human consciousness; a process that evolves through the recognition of our interconnectedness. The two also touch on fundamentalism, evidence for hope, and the importance of routine ritualistic practice in unlocking the deeper dimensions of our being.

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Ep. 5 - Trauma and Freedom


Tue, Nov 04, 2014


Trauma comes in all shapes and sizes, and as human beings we are all vulnerable to its potential effects. But how can we meet trauma with tenderness and courage? Healing is so often a precursor to the practice of liberation itself, but true release requires a familiarity with emotions and the capacity to be present for them. Through mindfulness we can develop the compassion necessary to approach our traumas. When we can first bare it, we then have a choice of what to do with it. Once our story can be told it often loses its hold.

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Ep. 4 - Mystery and Compassion


Mon, Oct 27, 2014


Jack discusses the fundamental mystery that is our human incarnation, and the methods we can utilize to stay close to that immense presence. Meditation isn’t necessarily about having a mystical experience, but about coming back into the natural mysterious experience of being alive. Within all of us there is a divine seed of consciousness, much greater than the functional matter that we occupy. In meditation, we are invited to return to this sacred space.

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Ep. 3 - Karma and the Power of Intention


Wed, Oct 01, 2014


One of the most important tools for navigating through our complicated existence is the understanding of Karma. We consistently create patterns in our lives but often fail to see the cause and effect relationship that unfolds. Karma speaks to the way in which we respond to that which comes to us, to the life that we are given. It’s not the action but the intention that is the source of karma. Through meditation we expose the patterns that we create for ourselves. By tending to our hearts we discover a deeper motivation for our being. It is from this place that we learn to plant our seeds of intention, and the seeds we plant become how are lives are lived.

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Ep. 2 - Spiritual Laundry with Pete Holmes and Duncan Trussell


Mon, Sep 29, 2014


Jack sits down with comedians Pete Holmes and Duncan Trussell to discuss a variety of topics including the amorphous construct of our identities, dreams and death, mystical experiences, and the interaction of spirituality with materialism. Jack also describes the illusory nature of perceived security, and the freedom that can come when we discover the art of truly awakening to our mysterious incarnation.

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Ep. 1 - Impermanence


Thu, Sep 25, 2014


In this talk, Jack Kornfield discusses how to navigate change in relation to the Buddhist concept of impermanence. He touches on the importance of meditation in cultivating a healthier perspective toward change. When we are quiet, we can rest in loving awareness and see our true nature from the heart of understanding. When we accept that change is inevitable, and find our composure in that knowledge, we can reenter the river of experience.

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