While religion and science often seem at odds, there’s one thing they can agree on: people who take part in spiritual practices tend to live longer, healthier, ... More
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Moving Beyond Us vs Them
Hate and prejudice based on ethnicity, religion, gender and sexual orientation are all too common in our world. But are we doomed to be this way? Or is it possible to create a world where cooperation and peace are the norm?
Join Dave as he talks to NYU professor Jay van Bavel about the deeper mechanisms at work when it comes to group conflict (and how to avoid it), and with Zen Buddhism teacher Larry Ward about how the teachings of Thich Nhat Hanh and the Plum Village Tradition can help all of us to heal and foster a more equitable and caring world.
Jay Van Bavel is co-author (with Dominic Packer) of The Power of Us: Harnessing Our Shared Identities to Improve Performance, Increase Cooperation, and Promote Social Harmony. Find out more about Jay’s work on his website.
Larry Ward is a co-founder of The Lotus Institute and host of the podcast Beyond the News, which explores current events through the lens of Buddhism and neuroscience. He is also the author of America’s Racial Karma: An Invitation to Heal.
The gathas heard in this episode are taken from Thich Nhat Hanh’s book Peace Is Every Breath: A Practice for Our Busy Lives. Dave also makes reference to the 14 mindfulness trainings, which can be found in the book Interbeing, 4th Edition: The 14 Mindfulness Trainings of Engaged Buddhism.
Music has the power to transform and connect us, no matter our native tongue. In many ways, it's a language unto itself. It ties us to memories...to people....to places. It heals us, promotes compassion and empathy. It unites us not only to each other, but according to many people, perhaps even to something greater.
On this episode we’ll take a look at what’s going on in our brains and bodies when we sing sacred songs together... or listen to jazz. And why from Jewish nigunim to John Coltrane, music can deepen our connection with the divine, each other, and even with ourselves.
Dr. David Michael Greenberg is an award-winning American psychologist, social neuroscientist, musician, and entrepreneur. Find out more about his work on his website.
Rabbi Deborah Sacks Mintz serves the Hadar Institute as Director of Tefillah and Music. Find out more about her, and her music, on her website, or listen to her on Spotify, Bandcamp, Apple Music, or YouTube. Find out more about Hadar’s Rising Song Institute here.
His Eminence The Most Reverend Archbishop F. W. King D.D. is a leader and co-founder of the Saint John Coltrane Church in San Francisco.
The Flow of Craft
What do we get out of making things with our hands? Traditions the world over incorporate crafts into their religious practice, and for secular people, that experience of getting “in the zone” while weaving or working with wood or clay can also feel meditative, even spiritual.
So maybe it’s worth asking: Is there a craftsperson in all of us that we should occasionally step away from our devices to nurture? And could craft, even for the non-artist, be a way to connect with spirituality for us all?
We’ll talk to Claremont Graduate University psychologist Jeanne Nakamura about what characterizes the experience of “flow” that so many makers experience while they work. And we’ll talk to Stuart Kestenbaum, poet and former director of the Haystack Mountain School of Crafts, about how people of all skill levels can benefit from working with their hands.
We’ll also hear from two renowned makers: Tlingit glass artist Preston Singletary and Tibetan mandala master Losang Samten.
To learn more about Jeanne Nakamura’s research on flow, click here. And have a look at this TED Talk by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, the founder of the study of flow.
Find out about Haystack Mountain School of Crafts’ programs here, and read about Stuart Kestenbaum’s work as a poet here.
Visit Preston Singletary’s website to learn about his practice and see some of his work. See some of Losang Samten’s mandalas and learn more about his story on his website.
God is Green
Were the Earth and all its resources created just for our benefit? Do plants and animals exist solely for us to consume? Or should we be viewing our role on this planet differently? When it comes to protecting the environment and addressing climate change, religion has had mixed results. Why is that?
With Earth Day almost upon us, we thought it would be the perfect time to take a look at how religion plays into our relationship to the Earth. We’ll talk to psychology professor Jesse Preston about how the way religious people practice their faith may influence their environmental attitudes and behavior. And we’ll speak to the Reverend Dave Bookless about the theological case for Christians to go green and how to make environmental action a spiritual practice.
Jesse Preston is an Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of Warwick. Learn more about her work here.
As the director of theology at A Rocha International, Reverend Dave Bookless is helping to advise and lead many Christian-inspired environmental projects around the globe. Learn more about what he does here.
Our show website is now live! You can check out our full catalog of episodes, read transcripts, and get updates on upcoming live events.
The Power of Awe
Awe fills us with wonder -- we feel small in the face of things that seem vast, inspiring, almost beyond comprehension. So it makes sense that spiritual experiences often inspire awe. But new science is showing it can also work the other way around.
Awe from any source -- nature's beauty, art and music, even others’ noble acts -- can actually nudge us toward becoming more spiritual -- toward believing in the divine. And along the way, awe offers a host of benefits to support us. From reducing stress, to improving health, to even reducing loneliness, awe soothes our souls, and if we're open to it, pushes us to connect with something greater.
Dacher Keltner is the author of Awe: The New Science of Everyday Wonder and How it Can Transform Your Life. Find out more about the book and Dacher’s work here.
To find out more about Piercarlo Valdesolo’s research, visit his website.
About How God Works: The Science Behind Spirituality
While religion and science often seem at odds, there’s one thing they can agree on: people who take part in spiritual practices tend to live longer, healthier, and happier lives. The big question is: Why? In the “How God Works” podcast, professor Dave DeSteno takes us on a journey to find out – one that combines cutting edge neuroscience with ancient wisdom.
He’ll speak to leading scientists, spiritual teachers, and religious leaders to explore what we can learn from faith practices ranging from meditation and prayer to psychedelics and fire-walking. He’ll look at how we can adapt and use spiritual practices in our own lives, whatever our beliefs -- including none at all.
By working across boundaries that usually divide people – science versus religion, one faith versus another – we’ll find new ways to make life better for everyone.