This week on the Indie Spiritualist Podcast, Chris Grosso speaks with guest Belinda Womack about making contact with the angelic realm and the road to recovery that all humans share.
Belinda J. Womack is a spiritual counselor and intuitive problem solver, channeling Angelic wisdom to support individuals, couples and families for 25 years. A scientist by training, with dual master’s degrees in microbiology and environmental science. She is the creator of the 12 Archangels University, an online “change your everyday reality to Heaven on Earth” education platform. To learn more, visit BelindaWomack.com.
Working with Love and Light
Belinda shares her first experiences making contact with beings that identified themselves as archangels. She and Chris talk about what it is like make contact with angels and their goals for humanity.
“The angel spoke to me telepathically and said, ‘Belinda, we have new work for you to do. We need you to help humanity remember that they are God’s divine children.’ I spoke back to the angel and I said that I think you called the wrong person.” – Belinda Womack
Ram Dass shares some of his experiences channeling his spirit guide, Emmanuel, on Ep.30 of the Here and Now Podcast
The Twelve Archangels (12:45)
Belinda channels the Twelve Archangels and shares their message for how humanity can begin to heal itself. Chris and Belinda talk about how we all can make contact with the angelic realm. Our guest explores the ways that angels can help us move beyond our own suffering.
“Gratitude is the magic force. I thank the Divine Oneness and the Twelve Archangels. I thank my higher self, thank my guardian angels – I just call everybody in. Then I let them know from my little ego’s perspective where I really need direction, and it comes in swiftly.” – Belinda Womack
Faith and Reason (42:35)
How does Belinda, with her background of training in science, view the relationship between science and mysticism? She speaks from her perspective about the surprisingly little difference in the methodology and purpose of these two worlds.
Join Chris, Dan Seigel and Rupert Sheldrake July 18-21st in Santa Clarita, CA at the IONS Conference, celebrating the 50th anniversary of Edgar Mitchell’s moon landing! Learn more: IONS Conference 2019
Frank Ostaseski, an internationally respected Buddhist teacher and pioneer in end-of-life care, has accompanied over 1,000 people through their dying process.
Acclaimed author of The Five Invitations, Frank co-founded the first Buddhist hospice in America—the Zen Hospice Project. In 2005, he founded the Metta Institute, through which he has trained countless clinicians and caregivers, building a national network of educators, advocates, and guides for those facing a life-threatening illness.
Recently, Frank sat down with Jenn Brown, one of our partners at 1440 Multiversity, for a conversation around the lessons that death has to teach us:
1440: Fear seems to be the most common reaction to death. What is it that we’re afraid of, exactly?
Frank: People have three big fears when it comes to dying. The first is that it will hurt. These days we can do something about that—we can manage people’s pain fairly well, and we can generally address symptoms fairly effectively.
The second fear is something like, “I’m going to be emotionally abandoned because there’s no future relationship with me.” That is a big fear. We can do something about this one too—we can say, “I’m here.” We can be compassionate companions and keep our commitments.
The third fear is of something that’s a little more difficult.
Dying, particularly dying from a long-term illness, is a stripping away process.
We are stripped of all the ways we’ve self-defined—as a mother, a father, a journalist, whatever. All these identities go away and we’re left with the question, “Who am I?” That’s when we get down to something that’s much more fundamental or essential.
It’s terrifying and also liberating.
1440: When we are stripped down to that essential level, what do you see? Are we all the same or is there still a uniqueness to each of us?
Frank: It’s completely unique. Just like every birth is unique, every death is that way too. That doesn’t mean there aren’t commonalities among people, though. I worked with a lot of folks who lived on the streets of San Francisco, and most of them didn’t have deep religious practices. They also didn’t have a lot of trust in society. But I regularly saw them go through a very powerful transformational process in dying.
Let’s say it this way: in the dying process, people often discover that there’s something larger than themselves that also includes themselves. I’m hesitant to name what that larger thing is because people have many different names for it.
But it often happens that people discover themselves to be more than the small, separate self they have taken themselves to be. This discovery often comes in the last months, days, or moments of life. Some would say that’s too late, and I would agree.
We can discover what death has to teach us at any time.
We don’t have to wait until we’re dying.
1440: How can we access these lessons before our death so we can live a fuller life?
Frank: The process of dying and the process of going inward using spiritual or contemplative practices have a lot in common. There is this growing silence that happens along with a general withdrawing from the world, or at least from the outer circles of the world.
There is a slowing down and an appreciation of moment-to-moment experience.
There’s also the stripping away of separation. When you are born into a somewhat typical mother-child bond, you are swimming in a sea of non-separation. You don’t know that; that’s just your experience.
Gradually, you necessarily develop a sense of individuality and independence. You move away from that sense of pure unity and develop a personality. You develop boundaries and split the world into I and other, mind and body, etc. In the dying process, there is an opportunity to dissolve those false boundaries.
1440: What is this thing you refer to that’s larger than us and also includes us?
Frank: It’s the thing that gives people a greater sense of meaning in their lives and helps them step beyond their limiting beliefs and ideas. For some people, it’s religious conviction—faith. For others, it’s time in nature.
Perhaps the most common one for people is their relationships.
Having them is a common experience, but they take shape uniquely for each person.
We are all both individual and not separate. The image that’s used all the time is the wave and the ocean. The wave is absolutely unique and beautiful, and it’s also not separate from the ocean.
1440: In addition to the fear of dying, we also fear being the one left behind. What lessons have you learned that would be helpful for those who are grieving?
Frank: It’s curious to me in this culture how fixated we are on managing grief. People say, “It’s been six weeks, you should be ready to move on.” We do that with death and with the loss of a job or a relationship.
Grief is a thread, an underground stream that moves through all of us. When we turn toward it instead of trying to get rid of it, we learn something from it, like any other emotion or mental state.
I think the most important thing in working with our grief is to not turn away—or to come back to it if we do turn away—and follow it through all manifestations. Grief isn’t just sadness, it can be numbness or relief or guilt—it’s a constellation of experiences.
Whatever your grief looks like, you must turn toward it.
1440: Do you see a shift happening in our country when it comes to death and dying? It still feels like we have an abstract faith that medicine or science will save us.
Frank: I was at a dinner for tech entrepreneurs last year, and I said something like, “Death is inevitable.” Some guy raised his hand and said, “We’re working on that!”
It’s true that we have been a terribly death-denying culture, and I think that has a lot to do with how we have medicalized death over the last several decades. In past decades, and in many cultures, death was a part of everyday life. People planned for it and they experienced it close-up. When a loved one died, they saw bodies in their own homes and their neighbors’ houses.
I have a doctor friend who says that these incredible leaps in medicine and science over the past 50 to 100 years have morphed into the fantasy that we will be able to defeat all death. Now, the benefits of medicine are obvious. If not for them I wouldn’t be here talking to you (I had triple bypass surgery a few years ago). But in falling for the idea that we will be able to solve and treat everything, we have lost touch with the age-old ability to help people die.
Having said that, I actually think people are hungry to talk about dying.
I think they just want to talk about it with someone who is not so afraid.
And that’s happening more and more. There are more books, movies, and documentaries about the topic than ever before. I think the baby boomer generation, who has always wanted choice, wants choice around death too.
Death is coming out of the closet and people are seeing that it’s much more than a medical event.
I believe our task is to meet death. We don’t have to like it, we don’t have to agree with it, but we have to meet it. James Baldwin had that beautiful line, “Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.” I think that’s a call to courage, to meeting what’s right in front of us.
Death infamously reveals what matters most. It provides the wondrous awareness that we are part of something greater. Why wait until the end of your life to learn its vital and inspiring lessons? Why wait to feel whole, connected, and courageous until the time to act has passed?Join Frank Ostaseski for a weekend workshop August 2 – 4, 2019 at 1440 Multiversity. Share the distilled, hard-won lessons synthesized from 30 years of being with dying. This highly interactive program will utilize mindfulness-based teachings, group discussions, experiential exercises, meditation practice, and ritual, so you can harness the awareness of death to clarify your values. Find uncover your life’s purpose by discovering the wisdom of death’s lessons: Radical Compassion, Courage, and Connection
Omid Safi shares a reflection around what Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s message for today’s world might be and examines what love has to offer a broken world.
This keynote address is based around the final speech given by Dr. King and was recorded at the National Civil Rights Museum at The Lorraine Hotel. Explore National Civil Rights Museum exhibitions online and discover upcoming events at civilrightsmuseum.org.
All In This Together
Omid remembers Martin Luther King Jr.’s final days and shares passages from Dr. King’s last speech. How can we cultivate Dr. King’s vision for a future of unity and cooperation of all people?
“There is always a movement, always a community, always a tradition that produces giants like Dr. King. If we want to have people like Dr. King, then we have to become a community that produces Dr. Kings.” – Dr. Omid Safi
Love and Justice (19:00)
What aspects of Dr. King’s vision, over 50 years ago, hold most relevant for us today? Omid looks at the principles of love and justice in the lifetime of Dr. King’s work. He explores how we can embody these values in 2019 and get free together.
“Justice is really love in application. Justice is love correcting that which would work against love.” – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr
To The Mountaintop (34:00)
We close with a reflection on the quality of love that Dr. King envisioned which would unify humanity. Omid shares Dr. King’s final and unfinished sermon about the potential that our future holds if we do not open our hearts and lift one another up.
“Well, I don’t know what will happen now. We’ve got some difficult days ahead. But it doesn’t matter with me now. Because I’ve been to the mountaintop. And I don’t mind. Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will. And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over. And I’ve seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land.” – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr
Omid shares the teachings of social activist and colleague of Dr. King Vincent Harding on Ep. 3 of the Sufi Heart Podcast
This week on The Road Home Podcast, Ethan shares a conversation with Dr. Mark Epstein about the intersection of Western psychotherapy and Buddhist psychology.
Mark Epstein has paved the way for the cross-section of Western psychotherapy with Buddhist philosophy in the West, writing a number of books including his seminal work, Going to Pieces without Falling Apart. Learn more at markepsteinmd.com.
Advice Not Given
Mark talks about the hesitation he originally felt in combining the wisdom of his Buddhist practice with his role as a psychotherapist. He shares the delicate balancing act a therapist performs trying to give their client the advice they need without getting in the way of the progress of therapy.
“As a therapist you want to help, but the wanting to help is sometimes an obstical or a hindrance for the therapy.” – Dr. Mark Epstein
Explore the overlap between psychotherapy and meditation with Dr. Mark Epstein on Ep.19 of the BHNN Guest Podcast
Student & Teacher (8:50)
Ethan and Mark look at the relational boundaries between a Buddhist teacher and their student, contrasting this relationship to that of the therapist and client. Mark talks about the common challenges of the mentor/mentee relationship that both groups have had to work through over time.
“There is this incredible thing that happens that psychoanalysts call transference. Where the client or student or patient projects all their early relationships. All the unworked-through longings and anger from parents and caregivers are projected onto the therapist. They do not experience the therapist directly as they are. They experience them through this web of projections. Therapy is the working through of all that. Making clear of all that so a person can own their history and own their mind.” – Dr. Mark Epstein
Getting Over Yourself (17:30)
Ethan and Mark speak about using the Eightfold Path to get over the narratives we have around ourselves. They talk about the different perspectives of the ego, our perception of identity, and how Buddhism allows us to loosen our attachment to our narratives.
The Trauma of Everyday Life (29:30)
What can we learn about trauma from Buddhist psychology? Mark shares some of the lessons around trauma and suffering that the Buddha’s teachings have to offer.
Have you discovered your True North? Do you know what your life and leadership are all about? Leadership starts with being authentic, the genuine you. 1440’s True North Leadership is a professional development program designed to help you become the leader you want to be. Join Michelle Maldonado, Dana Born, Bill George and more October 13-18 for a 5-day leadership program based around Bill George’s Authentic Leadership Course at Harvard Business School. In the process, you will discover your True North—the internal compass that guides you successfully through life. Visit 1440.org/BeHereNow to learn more about True North Leadership.
Francesca Maximé is joined by Dr. Diane Poole Heller for a conversation around viewing trauma as a portal to spirituality and creating deep and lasting relationships.
Diane Poole Heller, Ph.D., is an established expert in the field of Adult Attachment Theory and Models, trauma resolution, and integrative healing techniques. She is a trainer, presenter, and speaker offering workshops, teleseminars and educational materials on Trauma, Attachment Models and their dynamics in childhood and adult relationships, as well as many other topics. Learn more about her practice at dianepooleheller.com.
Trauma as a Portal
Dr. Heller looks at the possibility of gaining wisdom and developing a spiritual connection through traumatic experiences. She and Francesca discuss ways we can integrate those experiences back into our body and grow from them.
“In these cracks and fragments between these parts of ourselves, we often have this experience of having easier spiritual access. One of the challenges is, how do we then come back into our body and integrate it in a way that is healing? How do we integrate all those continuum of experiences?” – Dr. Diane Poole Heller
The Power of Attachment (19:25)
What can we do to develop a deeper connection and a more secure attachment in a relationship? Diane looks at methods available for regulating our relationships and mindfully connecting to another person.
Ram Dass speaks about the interconnection between spiritual awakening and our relationships on Ep. 78 of the Here and Now Podcast
When Attachment Goes Wrong (34:30)
How do we work with the negative potential of attachment? Francesca and Diane talk about what happens when attachment goes wrong and how we can move back to secure and supportive attachment.
Joseph Goldstein examines the quality of tranquility, how we can apply it to our practice, and the very central role it plays in the Buddha’s factors of awakening.
The Chain of Sequential Development
Joseph opens the show with a recap of the first four of the Buddha’s seven factors of awakening. He talks about the sequential development of these factors, how each factor leads to the next in a very natural way.
“So based on mindfulness, based on investigation of what’s skillful and unskillful, based on the energy of making the commitment, based on the joy, the rapture, that comes from having made that commitment, it’s like we plant a flag, with steadfastness and with courage, in the field of right action.” – Joseph Goldstein
Peacefulness of Mind and Body (17:39)
What does it mean to be truly calm? Joseph explores the awakening factor of tranquility and calmness, and how we cultivate it by paying attention to the sensation when it arises. He reflects on ways we can apply calmness both to our meditation practice and when we’re moving about our daily lives.
“The Pali word for calm is Passaddhi. It can be translated as serenity, as calm, as tranquility, as composure. It’s the soothing factor of mind that quiets down disturbances, and it manifests both in the mind and the body as peacefulness or coolness.” – Joseph Goldstein
Abandon Desire (41:42)
Tranquility is often overlooked as a factor of awakening, but it’s of vital importance. Joseph explores how when tranquility is developed, desire is abandoned. He talks about tranquility as the conditioning force for concentration to arise in an easeful way. Joseph ends the show with a discussion of tranquility’s direct link to clear seeing and wisdom.
“It’s precisely this awakening factor of calm that has the function of cooling out the desiring mind. Tranquility has the power to abandon desire.” – Joseph Goldstein
In this talk, Dale shares a workable way that we can create the foundation for resting in our heart.
Being in the Heart
Dale shares two stories about being in the heart which show our capacity to move beyond fear and embody compassion.
“How can we find a foundation in our energetic body? So that we can go through our life and when we see a homeless person or Donald Trump or a wounded animal on the side of the road, and that we can remain equal to that being. That we can be connected and keep a spacious heart – rather than having to pull back on a role.” -Dale Borglum (Ram Dev)
The Foundation of Grounding (11:50)
How can we deal with our fear without aversion? Dale looks at how grounding ourselves provides the foundation of support that allows us to be with the suffering in the world and in ourselves.
“Very often we neglect the first, second and third chakras. The first chakra is about being grounded. Trusting that you are supported and nourished. The demon of that stage of development is fear. Whenever there is fear, there is not groundedness.” -Dale Borglum (Ram Dev)
Open at the Center (16:50)
Dale examines the centered equanimity that comes once we have begun to rest on our new foundation of strength and courage. He speaks about the fierce quality of compassion that is available from our place of grounding.
“When we are inhabiting the lower belly, activity flows through us in a very natural way. The demons of inhabiting this part of the body are guilt and shame.”-Dale Borglum (Ram Dev)
Dependant on the Mother (33:15)
We close with a quick meditation practice that guides us to inhabit our foundation and connect with the support of Mother Earth.
Roshi Joan Halifax and Wendy Johnson share a conversation about grounding ourselves in the roots of our practice on Ep.14 of the BHNN Guest Podcast
How can we allow our ego to serve its role in our lives without identifying with the ego? Ram Dass explores this moment of the awakening when we realize that who we think we are isn’t who we really are.
“Its like you put on a space suit and it comes with a control center – little computer inside that runs it. The question is, is that who you are?” – Ram Dass
Voluntary Simplicity (18:25)
If we are not supposed to be attached, what about our personal possessions? Ram Dass shares a lesson he learned around attachment to possessions.
“I resolved to keep lightening my game as much as I could. But when you have beautiful things that are a part of the beauty of your life, of course, enjoy them. What happens is, as you keep becoming more light in your consciousness you feel less desire to collect stuff. What you have already is part of the beauty of your universe.” – Ram Dass
Here We Are (24:30)
How do we deal with anger, passion, and attachment to our “specialness”? Ram Dass looks at how we can create spaciousness and mindful awareness around our stuff as it arises.
“In life there are frustrations. There are angers, they will arise. The question is going to be how much your awareness clings to the anger. Not whether the anger arises, because there are justifiable reasons for anger.” – Ram Dass
Staying Open in the World (33:55)
Ram Dass looks at how we can operate in our day-to-day roles while maintaining an open heart. How can we act Dharmicly within the political system?
Raghu is joined by Duncan Trussell, Robert Thurman and Noah Markus for a roundtable conversation about working with our identities and living with wisdom and integrity in today’s world.
How can we use the methods and tools of altering the mind, like psychedelics and meditation, without building attachment or identifying with them?
“It’s so embarrassing. I realized what a ridiculous thing (psychedelics are) to get attached to.” – Duncan Trussell
The Identity of Identitylessness (5:30)
The group looks at how our inherent emptiness can be uncovered through selflessness. Robert Thurman explores our ever-unfolding relationship with our experience of emptiness and identity.
“Nobody realizes emptiness. You are already are emptiness if you are a relative being. Therefore you simply surrender to your relativity.” – Robert Thurman
Trudy Goodman Kornfield reflects on the nature of identity on Ep. 38 of the BHNN Guest Podcast
Realistic Livelihood (20:40)
Robert helps us better understand what it means to live with right livelihood. The group discusses realistic ways we can move through the world causing the least amount of harm. They speak about the miraculous actions of beings who have dedicated every aspect of their lives to the betterment of all beings.
The Philosophy of Materialism (42:50)
What are the consequences of the materialist worldview? The group closes with a reflection on the dangers of materialism and the implications of what lies beyond the physical world.
For episode 98 of the Metta Hour Podcast, Sharon shares a conversation with Dr. Kristin Neff Ph.D.
Dr. Kristin Neff is an Associate Professor of Educational Psychology at the University of Texas at Austin. Dr. Neff is a pioneer in the field of self-compassion research, conducting the first studies on self-compassion fifteen years ago. She is the author of Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself and The Mindful Self-Compassion Workbook.
In this conversation, Sharon and Kristin speak about how Kristin came to specialize in the work of self-compassion, and the nuances between self-esteem and self-compassion. They discuss many of the scientific discoveries about self-compassion that research has uncovered, and how these findings debunk many of the cultural myths surrounding compassion today. The conversation closes with Kristin leading a 10-Minute guided meditation on balancing Compassion Burnout. Learn more about Kristin’s work at self-compassion.org
Compassion Turned Inward
Dr. Neff talks about her pioneering research in the field of self-compassion. She and Sharon discuss the role of self-compassion in our lives.
“The sense of self-worth, we know through research, is much more stable when it comes from self-compassion.” – Dr. Kristin Neff
How We Cope (7:20)
Kristin shares the most recent study results around the measurable effects of practicing self-compassion. Dr. Neff looks at the different ways that self-compassion influences how we experience internal and external stress. She and Sharon explore how our response to stress determines the outcome of a difficult situation – will the situation tear us down or build us up?
“It is not even just what life throws at you, it is how do you relate to yourself when times are difficult. Do you cut yourself down? Do you hang your head in shame or feel all alone? Or do you hold yourself with this kind of mindful presence? When you do that, you are going to be much more able to cope with the difficulties.” – Dr. Kristin Neff
The Components of Compassion (13:00)
What are all the elements of compassion practice? Dr. Neff looks at all of the components of a compassionate response to a difficult situation.
Options for Action (39:30)
Sharon and Kristin talk about how compassionate action manifests differently for each person. They discuss ways we can set our egos and roles aside to allow for compassion to heal. In doing so, we open to our unique needs and the unique needs of others, so that each of us can be attended to in the ways that we need.
Compassion for Our Pain (48:50)
Kristin closes with a 10-minute meditation practice focused on bringing compassion to ourselves when we are caring for someone else who is suffering.
What can death teach us about radical compassion, courage, and connection? Death provides the wondrous awareness that we are part of something greater. Why wait until the end of your life to learn its vital and inspiring lessons? Why wait to feel whole, connected, and courageous until the time to act has passed?Join Buddhist teacher and activist Frank Ostaseski for this weekend workshop August 2 – 4. Together with fellow seekers, you will share the distilled and hard-won lessons synthesized from 30 years of working with dying. Learn more: Radical Compassion, Courage, and Connection