Episodes
This week we're revisiting a favourite Awake in the World podcast episode. How to meet others who are in fear or anxiety, how to help anxious kids, how to validate the feelings of other people without exacerbating what’s going on for them, and how to develop concentration (jhana) practice. Wisconsin. Recorded March 26, 2017.
Published 09/25/22
This week we're revisiting a favourite Awake in the World podcast episode. Long-term practice requires patience more than discipline. Practice frustrates our results oriented mind. You need patience to stay with life for the long haul. The paradoxes of karma. Recorded on April 2, 2013.
Published 09/18/22
Published 09/18/22
In this Remembrance Day talk Michael considers the relationship of stillness and action, bearing witness, non-violence and letting go of “why?”. Recorded on November 11, 2008.
Published 09/11/22
In this podcast episode, Michael discusses how mindfulness applies to situational ethics, exploring in practical detail the two wings of the practice: calming (samatha) and insight (vipassana). This lecture was part of an older version of Michael's online course, Embodying Ethics & Vows in Modern Life (recorded in 2015).
Published 09/04/22
In November 10th, 2009 Michael hosted a poetry reading night and invited author, Sarah Selecky, and poet, Erin Robinsong, to choose and read poems that highlight the importance of art to spiritual practice. He opened the evening by talking about the profound ways that language can either keep us stuck in a false representation of the world or open us up to new possibilities. Recorded on November 10, 2009.
Published 08/28/22
In this guided meditation practice Michael provides suggestions for cultivating equanimity and radical acceptance. The instructions last approximately fifteen minutes, followed by fifteen minutes of silence before the bell. Recorded on November 10, 2008.
Published 08/21/22
In the face of our global environmental crisis Michael argues that it’s not enough to only work with our individual greed, anger and delusion–we must create a culture of awakening that integrates individual practice, a cultural recognition of interdependence (deep ecology), and collective, ethical action. Recorded on November 9, 2007.
Published 08/15/22
Starting with a poem by Hafiz about haggling with God, Michael offers insights about ways to simplify and deepen practice, giving and receiving, renunciation, and ideas we need to let go of. Recorded on November 8, 2007.
Published 08/07/22
In this talk Michael covers balancing form and creativity in practice, the trouble with ideas of purity and accomplishment, and how the five koshas might be applied within asana practice. Recorded on November 6, 2008.
Published 07/31/22
This thirty-minute guided meditation focuses on noticing and letting go of commentary. Recorded on November 4, 2008.
Published 07/24/22
This talk, given to a group of clinicians, begins with a meditation practice (ending at 12:07). What follows is a wide-ranging discussion about mindfulness techniques, their origin in the Satipatthana Sutta, and participants’ experiences and insights. The talk ends with a brief meditation on sound led by Michael.
Published 07/17/22
This week we're revisiting a favourite Awake in the World podcast episode. In the Zen tradition, there is a saying, “Reaching the mystery is nothing but breaking through and grabbing an ordinary person’s life.” The mystical experience turns out to be this present moment. Part of a series of talks on the Buddha before Buddhism. Recorded at Centre of Gravity on June 23, 2013.
Published 07/10/22
This week we're revisiting a favourite Awake in the World podcast episode. Michael integrates a discussion of spiritual bypassing (using practice to avoid dealing with painful feelings and unresolved emotional habits) with a teaching on using labeling to let go of ruminating thoughts and overthinking. Victoria, B.C. Recorded January 22, 2017.
Published 07/03/22
In this talk Michael explores anatta (not-self) and emptiness as strategies versus “things.”He argues that sitting practice is required to get beyond language and investigate the habits of mind that obscure our understanding. Recorded on May 28, 2008.
Published 06/26/22
Michael considers the final lines of the first pada of the Yoga Sutra through the lens of a Buddhist koan: Case 62 of the Book of Serenity. Recorded on May 25, 2010.
Published 06/19/22
In this talk Michael looks at the five kleshas and their corresponding cultural samskaras through the practice of working with a koan–an exercise in not knowing. He also describes Bernie Glassman and Grover Gauntt’s street retreats and their three guiding principles: bearing witness, not knowing and taking loving action. Recorded on May 18, 2010.
Published 06/12/22
This meandering talk starts with a story about “Entering the Way” and flows around asana practice, pranayama, the role of a teacher, the five kleshas and the importance of healthy doubt (the kind that comes with faith). Recorded on May 18, 2008.
Published 06/05/22
Michael gives a talk on the ways mindfulness meditation can help with the spectrum of mental illness and also some signs to watch out for as practice deepens. Part of a series of talks on Shantideva’s Guide to a Bodhisattva’s Way of Life. Recorded at Centre of Gravity in Toronto on April 23, 2013
Published 05/29/22
In this talk (on the first lines of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra) Michael explores the mistakes we make as we try to ground ourselves and construct identities based on stories, desires and fears. Recorded on May 17, 2008.
Published 05/22/22
In this talk Michael argues that yoga and mindfulness are best practiced via the body versus striving for the attainment of philosophical or intellectual concepts. He encourages trusting that the body is the natural world and listening with the heart, so that “knowing” or too much technique don’t become obstacles to intimacy. Recorded on May 16, 2008.
Published 05/15/22
This week we're revisiting a favourite Awake in the World podcast episode. Michael interviews Pat Smith, physician and abortion provider, on the precept of non-harming. Michael and Pat discuss ethics versus political ideologies, the relationships between how we are in the world, our belief system, and our values, and the influences of formal meditation.
Published 05/08/22
Michael explores the line in the Heart Sutra: “With no hindrance in the mind. No hindrance therefore no fear.” He covers the three “traditional” hindrances: karma, the kleshas and anaya, and talks about creativity, groundlessness and the importance of community. Recorded on May 5, 2009.
Published 05/01/22
In this talk about the Heart Sutra Michael explains how it functions to counter what John Cage calls “the authoritarian structures” of our minds, including the tendency to create “frames” and contract around our sense of separateness. Recorded on March 31, 2009.
Published 04/24/22
This week we're revisiting a favourite Awake in the World podcast episode. On retreat, Michael speaks about the Buddha’s instructions for practicing alone in the wilderness, how past actions haunt the body, how to turn towards anxiety, and a moving story about his son and autism. Wisconsin. Recorded on March 25, 2017.
Published 04/17/22