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Integrating ‘Spiritual’ Life with Daily Life

In this interview, Melli talks to Jack about how to integrate spiritual life with everyday life and what it means to be ‘on the path’ of mindfulness.

I'm your host, Melli O'Brien and I am just really honored and privileged to be here today with Jack Kornfield. Jack has just really been a pioneer in bringing mindfulness to the West and Buddhism to the West. And he's an internationally bestselling author who was written really extensively on the topics of mindfulness and living a more conscious and connected life. So and he's also the founder of the wonderful Spirit Rock Meditation Center in the States, which I really hope to get to sometime soon. Jack, thank you so much.

Such an honor and a privilege to have you as part of the Summit. Thank you, Mellissa. I'd love to dive right in and ask you a question I'm really curious to get your perspective on. And, and that is what is the relationship as you see it between mindfulness and spiritual awakening? Is, is mindfulness a kind of permanent embodiment of, so is spiritual awakening a kind of permanent embodiment of mindfulness or is it something else completely different? Well, it would depend on what you, how you define spiritual awakening, but let's talk about the relationship between mindfulness and spirituality. Okay.

They're not separate. We live in a culture, modern culture that tends to divide things so that we have \the gym where we go and work out for our body or we have a trainer and we go to work to make money, and then we go on vacation to have a relaxed, good time, and then we go to the church or the synagogue or the mosque to pray. As if our body and our work and our education and so forth, they're all separate things. And what mindfulness does, it actually connects back together this whole that is always true. So that in a culture that is sometimes defined as the absence of the sacred, mindfulness opens our eyes and our heart to see the beauty and the sacredness of life itself.

You can call that spiritual, if you wanted to. People live in a way in the complexity of modern life where they're multitasking and often over busy and stressed and they aren't so connected. There's a line from James Joyce where he wrote of one character, Mr. Duffy lived a short distance from his body. And it kind of defines the way we can walk down the street lost in thought and not see the faces of the passers by, or the reflection of the sunset in the rain puddle, you know, or really even notice where we are.

The beautiful gift of mindfulness is that it allows us to live the life that we have, where we are, in a very full way. Yeah. Mindfulness means, in some way, to see clearly. You could call it mindfulness. You could also call it heartfulness.

The mind and heart are the same word in Sanskrit. But when we see with mindfulness, we can step out of the small sense of self, the self preoccupation, what's called the body of fear, the dramas that we get caught in. And we do, we get lost in thought lost in our dramas. And then there's a moment where we go, oh, here I am. I was worried about this and remembering that and reacting to that, and actually here's the step I'm taking.

Here's the breath. Here's the cup of tea and my hand, here's the face of the person in front of me. Here's this amazing mysterious day right in front of me. And mindfulness allows us to step out of the whirlwind of thoughts, take a breath and actually be present for life as it is. Someone said that the question is not the future of humanity, but the presence of eternity.

There's some way that with mindfulness, and sometimes it can best be translated as loving awareness and awareness that has also got compassion or love in it, that we step out of the tyranny of time, worrying and remembering and so forth and come into a sense of the wholeness of life, even in just a moment. And we know we're completely caught up in things. And then there's a moment where you say, oh, I was really caught in that wasn't I? I was upset. I was angry. I was worried and so forth.

There's that moment of being spacious and taking a breath and saying, oh, here we are. And mindfulness invites us to do that. It also is very intimate. Zen master Dogan said to become awakened is to become intimate with life. So when we become mindful, we become more intimate with our body and feelings and thoughts.

We become intimate with what's happening with those around us and with the, with the circumstances of life itself. And it's not about some spiritual ideal. Your initial question as well, you know, can we have some spiritual awakening that lasts and is permanent? You're, you know, if you look in the Buddhist tradition, one of the very core teachings is that nothing is permanent. That everything is a river coming out of consciousness and playing. Thoughts are always changing.

Feelings, the whole set of perceptions of the world around us is constantly arising new in each moment. So mindfulness allows us to awaken to this the way that it actually is, and then to respond to it rather than to react. Yeah. The goal isn't to become some rigid mindful, okay. I have it.

Now I can hold onto it, Now I am mindful. The goal is actually to be able to flow with experience. And it's not about perfecting yourself. It's kind of too late for that. Most people have tried for, you know, decades with their workout strategies in the gym and their therapy and their, all these things are good.

You want to take care of your body, therapy's very helpful, so forth, but the point isn't to perfect yourself. It's to perfect your love. It's to perfect your ability to be awakened, present with an open heart, to become like the Buddha that you are and walk through the world with a compassionate heart and to really be present. And when you meet somebody like Zen master Thich Nhat Hahn, who is the embodiment of mindfulness, there's a way in which his presence, you can feel it brings everybody else around him more present. And it's not like it's some great state.

The beautiful thing is that you can become mindful even for a moment. Even as we're talking, you become more present and less caught in how it should be and more relaxed with the way that it is. So this is a long answer. Is that okay? That's okay. That's wonderful.

And I've, you know, I'm, I'm really, I think it's really wonderful that you also brought up that, that it's not about perfecting ourselves and it's not about, you know, because I think so many people on the spiritual path have this almost like a spiritual trap, you could say, that you get caught in of this idea of maybe, you know, once I'm spiritual enough, I'm never going to say the wrong thing. I'm always going to be kind and wonderful. I'll never get stressed and I'll never suffer. And, and, and sometimes I think people see those things as a failure, you know? So I'm, I, I'm so glad that you brought that up, the natural ebbs and flows of life are part of the whole. And in my business, I get to hang out with lots of spiritual leaders, swamis and lamas and mamas and gurus and so forth, and they all also have their problems.

But also, so did Jesus and Buddha. I mean, you look what happened to Jesus. It was like, and then when he went home, he'd had trouble with his family. The Buddha had trouble with his family too. And at times, he had difficulty with the monks around him and so forth.

Or he had, he got sick with his body. It's not like you're not human. But awareness and mindfulness, and more than that, compassion, allows you to see this humanity, to see who you are and who we are, this mystery of being alive with love, with compassion and say, oh yeah, not caught in it, but loving it and tending it beautifully. I think, you know, that I love, you know, the, the book title that Jon Kabat Zinn has, Full Catastrophe Living. It kind of reminds me of that idea of being just more deeply in touch with our humanity, the whole, you know, the good, the bad and the ugly, so to speak.

So, yeah. Exactly. And I think, you know, one of the other challenges that we often faces as mindfulness practitioners is this, you know, we, we have the formal practice of mindfulness, many of us that we do every day, meditation. And this, this, challenge, I think we have sometimes is that, that tends to be this one area of our lives that we do come into touch with that. You know, the sacredness of life and the mystery of life and then we kind of get up and go about the rest of our day.

So the informal practice sometimes is something that we easily forget. So do you have any tips on integrating what we might call spiritual life with everyday life? Well, I don't divide them really, but I do see that what happens when people take time to sit quietly, to quiet the mind and open heart, that it somehow prepares them to also then move with a quieter mind and an open heart, or to meet someone else in that way. They say in Zen, there are only two things: you've sit and you sweep the garden. And it doesn't matter how big the garden is, which is to say, you learn to become mindful and compassionate in yourself, and then you practice. That's why it's called practice rather than perfect.

Then you practice as you walk or as you go to work or in your family and so forth. Now, one of the important things is that as you sit, you start to experience after a little while, not just the calming pleasure, reduction of stress, but you also see how crazy your mind is. You get the things that are unfinished in the heart, that trauma or grief that you carry will a re-arise. And it's not always that easy. My friend, Annie Lamott, the humourist,, she writes, "My mind is like a bad neighborhood.

I try not to go there alone." Which is, you know, just describing how it is. Some days we sit down and it's actually hard to stay with ourselves because we're so worried or anxious or caught up or something. And then you are there with your anxiety or your fear or your boredom, or your judging mind, which you mentioned, cause we're also so hard on ourselves. Yeah. And that kind of self judgment can get reinforced in the spiritual life, as you point to.

The novelist, Florida Scott Maxwell, she wrote, "No matter how old a mother is, she looks to her middle aged children for signs of improvement." You know, and there's some way in which we can borrow that kind of striving from the worldly ambitions of the society, and think now we're going to become spiritually ambitious. And that just ties us in knots. So mindfulness has to be wedded with loving kindness or compassion for the trauma we carry, for the stress, for the worry that every human being has at some point or not, you know. Like Mark Twain said, "My life has been filled with terrible misfortunes, most of which never happened." We see the mind spin out in all these stories. And then when you sit quietly, you can acknowledge them, oh, this is what anxiety is like, this is what fear feels like, this is bored or loneliness.

If we can't be with it, then the minute it arises, what do we do? We open the refrigerator or we go online or something cause we can't be with our own self. And then once we've learned this, then you go to the office, you know, where you go to the place you work or you're taking care of your kids or planning your garden or painting a painting or something. And those same states of fear or boredom or upset or reactivity come and they become familiar. Oh, I know. I know what it's like, not only to be caught, but I also know what it's like to take a breath and say, and to name it as you do in mindfulness, in some practices.

Oh, anxiety is like this. Boredom is like this. And to let yourself feel that and not be so afraid of it because mindfulness is like space. When you become mindful, you become broader and vaster and more spacious. And then, you know, it's like putting salt or colored dye.

If you put it in a cup, it gets very salty. If you put it in a lake, you can't even taste it. The water is clear. And so when the mind and heart are spacious, and you notice, okay, this is anxiety, or this is the planning mind or judging. You say, thank you for your opinion, to the judging mind.

I know what the judging mind is like, but you don't believe it because who you are is actually the space of awareness itself. And modern neuroscience shows how the training of mindfulness allows us to become both more resilient and less reactive. Instead, we can respond in a wise way. And the simple practice is when you're in the middle of things and you feel like you're getting contracted or stressed, you just pause for a moment, a mindful pause. You take a breath, aahh.

And then you say what's going on here? Oh, upset. Upset feels like this. What's going on here? Oh, I'm worried, angry, you know, wanting, I want something different. And then you see this as the wanting mind. Okay.

Thank you bow to it and you become that space. And when you can do this, even for a little bit, it not only settles you, but it starts having effect on all those around you. So that again, Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh said when the crowded refugee boats, the Vietnamese refugee boats met with storms or pirates, if everyone panicked all would be lost, but if even one person on the boat remained calm and centered, it was enough. It showed the way for everyone to survive. So you become in those moments, like the Buddha of compassion and you find that calmness in yourself and you say, all right, we can carry on, but we can do it in a very different way.

It's interesting that, that's been coming up over and over again in, in this summit, when I've spoken to people that, you know, this, when you become more mindful, when you become more conscious and connected, it's, it's wonderful. Maybe it begins about you, but it affects, you know, ripples out to everything and everybody that you touch, which is a really empowering thing to know. And I, my personal belief, and I don't know, you maybe share this belief, but my personal belief is that, you know, for me, it's the, I believe that it's the most kind, it's actually the most intelligent and kind thing that I can do for the planet. The greatest act of contribution is to, you know, find my own inner peace rather than running around, trying to sort of engineer things on the outside, although that's important too. But my primary focus and my primary belief is that it's, it's through finding my own inner peace that I can spread any kind of peace at all.

Yes, you can't spread peace if you're not peaceful. Right. And if you are, as you say, then you can go and tend the rain forest or the ocean or the refugees or whatever, but you can do it with a peaceful and loving heart, which is the power that the world needs. It doesn't need more aggression and it doesn't need fear. It needs a kind of fearlessness that comes from a peaceful heart.

And I think of my friend and teacher Maha Ghosananda, who was the Gandhi of Cambodia, nominated for the Nobel prize many times. And he led these peace walks through the killing fields and the, through the landmine areas, bringing people back to their villages. And every step they would chant loving kindness, hatred never ends by hatred, but by love alone is healed. They would chant this over and over, that with each step that they took so that when they finally returned back, they felt like they had reclaimed their land and their hearts at the same time. And he, he was a peaceful and very courageous person.

And somehow his practice allowed all these other people who'd suffered so deeply to find that themselves and turn their society around again. Wow. That's an amazing story. Well, I just have one final question for you. It's the same question that I've been asking.

All the people that have been involved in the summit, and that is, you know, there's this talk of mindfulness becoming mainstream at the moment. And I think it's entering popular culture, but I, but you know, whether, I don't think it's hit a critical mass yet, let's say that. So my question to you is this, if it was to hit critical mass, how do you think that would change the world? What kind of a world could that create? Well, I would put it another way perhaps. The time that we live in now has this fantastic outer developments. No amount of internet and Skyping, which we're doing, and vast computer technology and nanotechnology and biotechnology and space technology and all these extraordinary things that we're able to do has stopped continuing warfare, continuing racism, continuing environmental destruction, continuing tribalism.

So the outer developments of humanity now have to be matched by the inner developments. Otherwise we'll go on, you know, destroying ecosystems or one another in global war and conflict. So we could just say that, we could just say that it's time now for humanity and modern society to match the outer development with the development of emotional intelligence of wisdom, of compassion and care. And those all grow out of attention. They all grow out of mindfulness.

And if we can do so, if we can bring that in, then not only do we live with one another better, but the problems that we have to solve in the world become seen from a place of wisdom and compassion rather than separateness and fear and conflict as being the root of them. So may it happen. Jack, thank you so much for your time. I want to be respectful of your time. And so, yeah, it's just been a, a wonderful honor to have you as part of the Summit, and I wish you all the best on your continued journey.

And Melissa, I will add that for those who are interested, Tara Brach and I are doing a really comprehensive and beautiful seven week online mindfulness training through SoundsTrue.org. And it's a really wonderful training. So that would be good to tell people. And mostly when people ask about the obstacles for beginning of mindfulness practice, there's really only one important obstacle and that's not doing it. If you do it, even if it's boring at times or you feel like not much is happening, just the willingness to stop and notice where you are opens the gateway to see what's really happening and to tenderize your heart and to be present in a way that allows you not only to care for yourself better, but to care for all you touch.

So thank you, Melissa. I appreciate it. Thank you so much for your time. You're welcome. Take care.

Talk

4.8

Integrating ‘Spiritual’ Life with Daily Life

In this interview, Melli talks to Jack about how to integrate spiritual life with everyday life and what it means to be ‘on the path’ of mindfulness.

Duration

Your default time is based on your progress and is changed automatically as you practice.

I'm your host, Melli O'Brien and I am just really honored and privileged to be here today with Jack Kornfield. Jack has just really been a pioneer in bringing mindfulness to the West and Buddhism to the West. And he's an internationally bestselling author who was written really extensively on the topics of mindfulness and living a more conscious and connected life. So and he's also the founder of the wonderful Spirit Rock Meditation Center in the States, which I really hope to get to sometime soon. Jack, thank you so much.

Such an honor and a privilege to have you as part of the Summit. Thank you, Mellissa. I'd love to dive right in and ask you a question I'm really curious to get your perspective on. And, and that is what is the relationship as you see it between mindfulness and spiritual awakening? Is, is mindfulness a kind of permanent embodiment of, so is spiritual awakening a kind of permanent embodiment of mindfulness or is it something else completely different? Well, it would depend on what you, how you define spiritual awakening, but let's talk about the relationship between mindfulness and spirituality. Okay.

They're not separate. We live in a culture, modern culture that tends to divide things so that we have \the gym where we go and work out for our body or we have a trainer and we go to work to make money, and then we go on vacation to have a relaxed, good time, and then we go to the church or the synagogue or the mosque to pray. As if our body and our work and our education and so forth, they're all separate things. And what mindfulness does, it actually connects back together this whole that is always true. So that in a culture that is sometimes defined as the absence of the sacred, mindfulness opens our eyes and our heart to see the beauty and the sacredness of life itself.

You can call that spiritual, if you wanted to. People live in a way in the complexity of modern life where they're multitasking and often over busy and stressed and they aren't so connected. There's a line from James Joyce where he wrote of one character, Mr. Duffy lived a short distance from his body. And it kind of defines the way we can walk down the street lost in thought and not see the faces of the passers by, or the reflection of the sunset in the rain puddle, you know, or really even notice where we are.

The beautiful gift of mindfulness is that it allows us to live the life that we have, where we are, in a very full way. Yeah. Mindfulness means, in some way, to see clearly. You could call it mindfulness. You could also call it heartfulness.

The mind and heart are the same word in Sanskrit. But when we see with mindfulness, we can step out of the small sense of self, the self preoccupation, what's called the body of fear, the dramas that we get caught in. And we do, we get lost in thought lost in our dramas. And then there's a moment where we go, oh, here I am. I was worried about this and remembering that and reacting to that, and actually here's the step I'm taking.

Here's the breath. Here's the cup of tea and my hand, here's the face of the person in front of me. Here's this amazing mysterious day right in front of me. And mindfulness allows us to step out of the whirlwind of thoughts, take a breath and actually be present for life as it is. Someone said that the question is not the future of humanity, but the presence of eternity.

There's some way that with mindfulness, and sometimes it can best be translated as loving awareness and awareness that has also got compassion or love in it, that we step out of the tyranny of time, worrying and remembering and so forth and come into a sense of the wholeness of life, even in just a moment. And we know we're completely caught up in things. And then there's a moment where you say, oh, I was really caught in that wasn't I? I was upset. I was angry. I was worried and so forth.

There's that moment of being spacious and taking a breath and saying, oh, here we are. And mindfulness invites us to do that. It also is very intimate. Zen master Dogan said to become awakened is to become intimate with life. So when we become mindful, we become more intimate with our body and feelings and thoughts.

We become intimate with what's happening with those around us and with the, with the circumstances of life itself. And it's not about some spiritual ideal. Your initial question as well, you know, can we have some spiritual awakening that lasts and is permanent? You're, you know, if you look in the Buddhist tradition, one of the very core teachings is that nothing is permanent. That everything is a river coming out of consciousness and playing. Thoughts are always changing.

Feelings, the whole set of perceptions of the world around us is constantly arising new in each moment. So mindfulness allows us to awaken to this the way that it actually is, and then to respond to it rather than to react. Yeah. The goal isn't to become some rigid mindful, okay. I have it.

Now I can hold onto it, Now I am mindful. The goal is actually to be able to flow with experience. And it's not about perfecting yourself. It's kind of too late for that. Most people have tried for, you know, decades with their workout strategies in the gym and their therapy and their, all these things are good.

You want to take care of your body, therapy's very helpful, so forth, but the point isn't to perfect yourself. It's to perfect your love. It's to perfect your ability to be awakened, present with an open heart, to become like the Buddha that you are and walk through the world with a compassionate heart and to really be present. And when you meet somebody like Zen master Thich Nhat Hahn, who is the embodiment of mindfulness, there's a way in which his presence, you can feel it brings everybody else around him more present. And it's not like it's some great state.

The beautiful thing is that you can become mindful even for a moment. Even as we're talking, you become more present and less caught in how it should be and more relaxed with the way that it is. So this is a long answer. Is that okay? That's okay. That's wonderful.

And I've, you know, I'm, I'm really, I think it's really wonderful that you also brought up that, that it's not about perfecting ourselves and it's not about, you know, because I think so many people on the spiritual path have this almost like a spiritual trap, you could say, that you get caught in of this idea of maybe, you know, once I'm spiritual enough, I'm never going to say the wrong thing. I'm always going to be kind and wonderful. I'll never get stressed and I'll never suffer. And, and, and sometimes I think people see those things as a failure, you know? So I'm, I, I'm so glad that you brought that up, the natural ebbs and flows of life are part of the whole. And in my business, I get to hang out with lots of spiritual leaders, swamis and lamas and mamas and gurus and so forth, and they all also have their problems.

But also, so did Jesus and Buddha. I mean, you look what happened to Jesus. It was like, and then when he went home, he'd had trouble with his family. The Buddha had trouble with his family too. And at times, he had difficulty with the monks around him and so forth.

Or he had, he got sick with his body. It's not like you're not human. But awareness and mindfulness, and more than that, compassion, allows you to see this humanity, to see who you are and who we are, this mystery of being alive with love, with compassion and say, oh yeah, not caught in it, but loving it and tending it beautifully. I think, you know, that I love, you know, the, the book title that Jon Kabat Zinn has, Full Catastrophe Living. It kind of reminds me of that idea of being just more deeply in touch with our humanity, the whole, you know, the good, the bad and the ugly, so to speak.

So, yeah. Exactly. And I think, you know, one of the other challenges that we often faces as mindfulness practitioners is this, you know, we, we have the formal practice of mindfulness, many of us that we do every day, meditation. And this, this, challenge, I think we have sometimes is that, that tends to be this one area of our lives that we do come into touch with that. You know, the sacredness of life and the mystery of life and then we kind of get up and go about the rest of our day.

So the informal practice sometimes is something that we easily forget. So do you have any tips on integrating what we might call spiritual life with everyday life? Well, I don't divide them really, but I do see that what happens when people take time to sit quietly, to quiet the mind and open heart, that it somehow prepares them to also then move with a quieter mind and an open heart, or to meet someone else in that way. They say in Zen, there are only two things: you've sit and you sweep the garden. And it doesn't matter how big the garden is, which is to say, you learn to become mindful and compassionate in yourself, and then you practice. That's why it's called practice rather than perfect.

Then you practice as you walk or as you go to work or in your family and so forth. Now, one of the important things is that as you sit, you start to experience after a little while, not just the calming pleasure, reduction of stress, but you also see how crazy your mind is. You get the things that are unfinished in the heart, that trauma or grief that you carry will a re-arise. And it's not always that easy. My friend, Annie Lamott, the humourist,, she writes, "My mind is like a bad neighborhood.

I try not to go there alone." Which is, you know, just describing how it is. Some days we sit down and it's actually hard to stay with ourselves because we're so worried or anxious or caught up or something. And then you are there with your anxiety or your fear or your boredom, or your judging mind, which you mentioned, cause we're also so hard on ourselves. Yeah. And that kind of self judgment can get reinforced in the spiritual life, as you point to.

The novelist, Florida Scott Maxwell, she wrote, "No matter how old a mother is, she looks to her middle aged children for signs of improvement." You know, and there's some way in which we can borrow that kind of striving from the worldly ambitions of the society, and think now we're going to become spiritually ambitious. And that just ties us in knots. So mindfulness has to be wedded with loving kindness or compassion for the trauma we carry, for the stress, for the worry that every human being has at some point or not, you know. Like Mark Twain said, "My life has been filled with terrible misfortunes, most of which never happened." We see the mind spin out in all these stories. And then when you sit quietly, you can acknowledge them, oh, this is what anxiety is like, this is what fear feels like, this is bored or loneliness.

If we can't be with it, then the minute it arises, what do we do? We open the refrigerator or we go online or something cause we can't be with our own self. And then once we've learned this, then you go to the office, you know, where you go to the place you work or you're taking care of your kids or planning your garden or painting a painting or something. And those same states of fear or boredom or upset or reactivity come and they become familiar. Oh, I know. I know what it's like, not only to be caught, but I also know what it's like to take a breath and say, and to name it as you do in mindfulness, in some practices.

Oh, anxiety is like this. Boredom is like this. And to let yourself feel that and not be so afraid of it because mindfulness is like space. When you become mindful, you become broader and vaster and more spacious. And then, you know, it's like putting salt or colored dye.

If you put it in a cup, it gets very salty. If you put it in a lake, you can't even taste it. The water is clear. And so when the mind and heart are spacious, and you notice, okay, this is anxiety, or this is the planning mind or judging. You say, thank you for your opinion, to the judging mind.

I know what the judging mind is like, but you don't believe it because who you are is actually the space of awareness itself. And modern neuroscience shows how the training of mindfulness allows us to become both more resilient and less reactive. Instead, we can respond in a wise way. And the simple practice is when you're in the middle of things and you feel like you're getting contracted or stressed, you just pause for a moment, a mindful pause. You take a breath, aahh.

And then you say what's going on here? Oh, upset. Upset feels like this. What's going on here? Oh, I'm worried, angry, you know, wanting, I want something different. And then you see this as the wanting mind. Okay.

Thank you bow to it and you become that space. And when you can do this, even for a little bit, it not only settles you, but it starts having effect on all those around you. So that again, Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh said when the crowded refugee boats, the Vietnamese refugee boats met with storms or pirates, if everyone panicked all would be lost, but if even one person on the boat remained calm and centered, it was enough. It showed the way for everyone to survive. So you become in those moments, like the Buddha of compassion and you find that calmness in yourself and you say, all right, we can carry on, but we can do it in a very different way.

It's interesting that, that's been coming up over and over again in, in this summit, when I've spoken to people that, you know, this, when you become more mindful, when you become more conscious and connected, it's, it's wonderful. Maybe it begins about you, but it affects, you know, ripples out to everything and everybody that you touch, which is a really empowering thing to know. And I, my personal belief, and I don't know, you maybe share this belief, but my personal belief is that, you know, for me, it's the, I believe that it's the most kind, it's actually the most intelligent and kind thing that I can do for the planet. The greatest act of contribution is to, you know, find my own inner peace rather than running around, trying to sort of engineer things on the outside, although that's important too. But my primary focus and my primary belief is that it's, it's through finding my own inner peace that I can spread any kind of peace at all.

Yes, you can't spread peace if you're not peaceful. Right. And if you are, as you say, then you can go and tend the rain forest or the ocean or the refugees or whatever, but you can do it with a peaceful and loving heart, which is the power that the world needs. It doesn't need more aggression and it doesn't need fear. It needs a kind of fearlessness that comes from a peaceful heart.

And I think of my friend and teacher Maha Ghosananda, who was the Gandhi of Cambodia, nominated for the Nobel prize many times. And he led these peace walks through the killing fields and the, through the landmine areas, bringing people back to their villages. And every step they would chant loving kindness, hatred never ends by hatred, but by love alone is healed. They would chant this over and over, that with each step that they took so that when they finally returned back, they felt like they had reclaimed their land and their hearts at the same time. And he, he was a peaceful and very courageous person.

And somehow his practice allowed all these other people who'd suffered so deeply to find that themselves and turn their society around again. Wow. That's an amazing story. Well, I just have one final question for you. It's the same question that I've been asking.

All the people that have been involved in the summit, and that is, you know, there's this talk of mindfulness becoming mainstream at the moment. And I think it's entering popular culture, but I, but you know, whether, I don't think it's hit a critical mass yet, let's say that. So my question to you is this, if it was to hit critical mass, how do you think that would change the world? What kind of a world could that create? Well, I would put it another way perhaps. The time that we live in now has this fantastic outer developments. No amount of internet and Skyping, which we're doing, and vast computer technology and nanotechnology and biotechnology and space technology and all these extraordinary things that we're able to do has stopped continuing warfare, continuing racism, continuing environmental destruction, continuing tribalism.

So the outer developments of humanity now have to be matched by the inner developments. Otherwise we'll go on, you know, destroying ecosystems or one another in global war and conflict. So we could just say that, we could just say that it's time now for humanity and modern society to match the outer development with the development of emotional intelligence of wisdom, of compassion and care. And those all grow out of attention. They all grow out of mindfulness.

And if we can do so, if we can bring that in, then not only do we live with one another better, but the problems that we have to solve in the world become seen from a place of wisdom and compassion rather than separateness and fear and conflict as being the root of them. So may it happen. Jack, thank you so much for your time. I want to be respectful of your time. And so, yeah, it's just been a, a wonderful honor to have you as part of the Summit, and I wish you all the best on your continued journey.

And Melissa, I will add that for those who are interested, Tara Brach and I are doing a really comprehensive and beautiful seven week online mindfulness training through SoundsTrue.org. And it's a really wonderful training. So that would be good to tell people. And mostly when people ask about the obstacles for beginning of mindfulness practice, there's really only one important obstacle and that's not doing it. If you do it, even if it's boring at times or you feel like not much is happening, just the willingness to stop and notice where you are opens the gateway to see what's really happening and to tenderize your heart and to be present in a way that allows you not only to care for yourself better, but to care for all you touch.

So thank you, Melissa. I appreciate it. Thank you so much for your time. You're welcome. Take care.

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The Mindfulness Summit  null Playlist · 23 tracks

The Mindfulness Summit

Playlist · 23 tracks4.9

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