Episodes
As far as meditation teachers go, they don't come more highly regarded than our guest this week, Jack Kornfield. Kornfield trained as a Buddhist monk in the monasteries of Thailand, India and Burma. He has taught meditation internationally since 1974 and is one of the key teachers to introduce Buddhist mindfulness practice to the West. You might think this meditation master is unflappable, but you would be mistaken. Kornfield discusses how he, one of the preeminent teachers in the field,...
Published 09/11/19
For Christine Porath, meditation was one way of coping with a toxic work environment. Her own experience, paired with watching her father suffer a serious health scare tied to his own harmful workplace atmosphere, led to her interest in researching civility in the workplace. She shares with us her findings, such as how working with uncivil co-workers can drive down morale as well as performance, and she presents data on the real-world financial consequences of incivility in the workplace. ...
Published 09/04/19
Peter Attia is the founder of Attia Medical, PC, a medical practice focusing on the applied science of longevity. In other words, his practice aims to increase the length of one's life, while simultaneously improving the quality. He explains how happiness, or emotional well-being, can help accomplish both and he recommends meditation as one way to achieve that emotional well-being. He knows this first hand; emotionally describing the personal struggles he overcame to transform himself into...
Published 08/28/19
Bonus Meditation with Sharon Salzberg, Walking Meditation
Published 08/24/19
At 43 years old, Byron Katie was unhappily married, suffered from depression and agoraphobia and was addicted to codeine and alcohol. In fact, she felt so much self-hatred, she slept on the floor believing she did not deserve a bed. Yet in the midst of her crisis, she awoke one morning in a halfway house, with a sense of pure joy. A switch had been flipped and all her suffering disappeared. It had become evident to her that her thoughts were causing all her emotional pain and she had...
Published 08/21/19
World-renowned meditation teacher Sharon Salzberg recently faced a very serious health scare and a true test of her decades of practice. In this very candid conversation Sharon tells us what happened to her, how her mindfulness training took over to help her get through the crisis and the lessons she learned coming perilously close to death. Plug Zone Website: https://www.sharonsalzberg.com/ Social Media: @sharonsalzberg Ten Percent Happier Resources Loving-kindness + Walking meditation:...
Published 08/14/19
Patrick Dempsey is not just a pretty face. Sure he's widely known for playing McDreamy, aka Dr. Derek Shepherd, on ABC’s Grey's Anatomy, but that hardly scratches the surface. A meditator since the 1980's, he's used the practice to find the right state of mind for both his acting and professional race car driving. He's even traveled to India to further his practice. His mental training proved valuable during his mother’s battle with ovarian cancer, and he has since been inspired to start...
Published 08/07/19
On March 19th of last year, Dean Valoras' life changed forever. That is the day he lost his teenage daughter Alexandra to suicide. Alexandra was an intelligent, successful, highly-motivated high school student. Externally she appeared happy and excited for the future, but that did not match how she felt internally. Alexandra kept secret journals where she wrote about feeling like a failure. In this episode, Dean shares the story of Alexandra in hopes of helping others and he discusses his...
Published 07/31/19
Human beings are wired for social connection. Sadly, thanks in large part to the internet, mobile phones and social media, we are seeing an increase in social isolation. Zen teacher and psychotherapist Koshin Paley Ellison refers to this diminishing of social interaction and intimacy with other individuals as Zombieland. In our conversation, and in his book "Wholehearted: Slow Down, Help Out, Wake Up," he hopes to help others rediscover their values and discover a way to truly live life to...
Published 07/24/19
We all encounter stress, but what we sometimes overlook is that stress can be useful, it is, after all, built into us by evolution. Our guest this week teaches how to distinguish between good and bad stress and how to make it work for us. Modupe Akinola is Associate Professor of Management at Columbia Business School where she conducts research on how certain environments can induce stress and how this stress can impact performance both positively and negatively. It was her own emotional...
Published 07/17/19
If there was such a thing as a mind-ectomy or a mind transplant, our guest this week, Sylvia Boorstein, tells us she would have had it, confiding, "I need a mind that doesn't make up worries about something that didn't even happen yet." She calls herself "a life-long worrier, an inveterate fretter." Yet this very same person is an accomplished author, psychotherapist, Buddhist teacher, co-founding teacher at Spirit Rock Meditation Center and a senior teacher at the Insight Meditation Society...
Published 07/10/19
An athlete as a kid, a devastating sports injury would change James Clear's life forever. While a sophomore in high school, a baseball bat struck Clear in the face, resulting in massive head trauma. He would need to relearn very basic skills to function as himself again. Bit by bit, he started forming small habits which over time resulted in big changes. Today, he is the author of Atomic Habits: An Easy and Proven Way to Build Good Habits and Break Bad Ones. Plug Zone About:...
Published 07/03/19
Most kids are not spending their time in solitude exploring the abilities of the mind. In that way, Narayan Liebenson was not like most kids. Fascinated with the mind since a young age, she has led a life studying meditation in different traditions. Her training over the past forty years includes study with meditation masters in the Theravada, Zen, and Tibetan traditions. In 1985, Liebenson co-founded the Cambridge Insight Meditation Center, which describes itself as "an urban refuge and...
Published 06/26/19
Jerry Colonna is the CEO and co-founder of Reboot.io, an executive coaching and leadership development firm committed to the notion that better humans make better leaders. For nearly 20 years, he has used the knowledge gained as an investor, executive, and board member for more than 100 organizations to help entrepreneurs and others lead with humanity, resilience, and equanimity. Colonna is a certified professional coach, who draws on a wide variety of experiences to help clients design a...
Published 06/19/19
Chris Ruane has been a member of the British Parliament for more than 20 years. As a meditation and mindfulness practitioner, he wanted to share the benefits of these practices with his colleagues in government. In 2013, he set up free mindfulness classes in the UK Parliament. Since then, more than 150 British Members of Parliament and peers have received mindfulness training, along with 250 members of their staff. Jamie Bristow serves as Director of The Mindfulness Initiative, which was...
Published 06/12/19
As a child Annaka Harris suffered from migraines. Searching for ways to cope with that pain, she became curious - wondering "what is this pain" and "where is it coming from?" The line of questioning shifted her perspective and propelled her into a quest of understanding the mystery of consciousness. Harris takes us with her on this quest in our interview and in her book Conscious, which looks at the many definitions of consciousness and challenges long-held assumptions about this complicated...
Published 06/05/19
Experiencing bliss is easy - so easy you might miss it.
Published 05/29/19
Diana Winston first learned about meditation as a kid, but it wasn’t until she traveled to Asia following college that her practice really took off. She has been practicing mindfulness meditation since 1989, including a year as a Buddhist nun in Burma! Thankfully for us, she has returned to mainstream society where we can learn from her teachings. She’s been called one of the nation’s best-known teachers of mindfulness and has taught mindfulness for 20 years at hospitals, universities,...
Published 05/29/19
It’s hard to deny our society’s increasing dependence on, if not addiction to, email, apps and social media. If we recognize it as a problem, then how do we fix it? Cal Newport is a computer science professor at Georgetown University and the author of the New York Times bestseller: Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World. Newport writes about our growing dependency on technology and its negative consequences. From deleting apps on your phone to spending time alone with...
Published 05/22/19
Daniel M. Ingram sparked controversy in the Buddhist world when he declared himself to be an arahat, the term commonly used for a person who has reached the final stage of enlightenment. In this week's episode, Ingram responds to his critics and details what he experienced during the course of this journey. He also talks about his book, Mastering the Core Teachings of the Buddha, which aims to help people navigate their path to enlightenment, which he insists is an attainable goal for any of...
Published 05/15/19
Helen Tworkov first encountered Buddhism in Nepal during the 1960's and has studied in both the Zen and Tibetan traditions. She has also studied with Mingyur Rinpoche, a well-known Tibetan Buddhist meditation master. Together they have written the book "In Love with the World: A Monk's Journey Through the Bardos of Living and Dying." The book details Rinpoche’s intimate account of his three year journey away from his monastery and the near-death experience that allowed him to gain...
Published 05/08/19
Brené Brown is a research professor at the University of Houston and has spent the past two decades studying courage, vulnerability, shame, and empathy. She is also the author of five #1 New York Times bestsellers. Her TED Talk "The power of vulnerability" has been viewed nearly 40 million times and Netflix has just released her special, "Call to Courage." In these speeches, and in our conversation, Brown explains why you can’t have courage without vulnerability. The Plug Zone Website:...
Published 05/01/19
At just 21 years old Marc Lesser took a year-long leave from his education to explore meditation. His one year leave would turn into 10 when he became the director of the first Zen monastery in the western world. He’s a Zen priest, an avid meditator and teacher, the author of several books and has been the CEO of several companies including his current company, which aims to integrate business practices with mindfulness - also the focal point of his new book Seven Practices of a Mindful...
Published 04/24/19
Suffering from his own long battle with depression, social scientist and author Johann Hari yearned for a greater understanding of what caused it and what might help combat it. Hari set out on a journey to not only meet the leading experts on depression, but to observe how other parts of the world treat it. He breaks down his research into the biological, psychological and social causes of depression and presents several fascinating studies from around the world. The Plug Zone Website:...
Published 04/17/19