The Becoming Wise podcast offers depth and discovery in the time it takes to make a cup of tea. Each episode is curated from hundreds of big conversations with wise and graceful lives. Reset your day. Replenish your sense of yourself and the world. On Being Studios is the producer of On Being, This Movie Changed Me, and more to come. Krista Tippett is the author of the New York Times bestselling Becoming Wise: An Inquiry into the Mystery and Art of Living. President Obama honored her with the Na...more
Season two of Becoming Wise is a wrap! We’re so grateful you joined us for these months of reflection and recentering. Before we go away to work on our next season, we’d love to hear from you. What did you love? How can we make the podcast even better? Go to onbeing.org/bwsurvey to tell us a little about yourself and what you’d like to hear next. Stay tuned for more episodes when we’re back with season three.
The last episode of season two. Robert Thurman and Sharon Salzberg are icons of American Buddhism, and they are joyful, longtime friends. They challenge us to reframe our anger by seeing love for our enemies as an act of self-compassion. “It’s very hard to see love as a force, as a power rather than as a weakness, but that is its reality,” Salzberg says. Sharon Salzberg is a meditation teacher and the cofounder of the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts. She is the co-author of “L...more
Archbishop Desmond Tutu is one of our wisest models on the territory of reckoning with past wrongs that infuse and haunt the present. In the 1990s, he helped galvanize South Africa’s peaceful transition to democracy after decades of white supremacy as the law of the land. He tells a story from his time chairing the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which granted amnesty to those who would fully confess their crimes — of how healing and human redemption unfold. “Human beings can leave you spee...more
The physicist Leonard Mlodinow changes how we think about the agency we have in shaping our own destinies. As a scientist, he works with principles like Brownian motion, by which Einstein helped verify the existence of molecules and atoms. As the child of Holocaust survivors, he dances with the experience we all have: that life never goes as planned, and yet the choices we make can matter. “The course of your life depends on how you react to opportunities and challenges that randomness presents ...more
Public theologian Ruby Sales opens up what it was like to be a teenage participant in the civil rights movement — including the impatience she had with religion and how she circled back, through her experiences of the movement, to a sense of the deep reason for inner life and religious groundings. The question she carries with her, “Where does it hurt?”, models new ways for us to understand one another. Sales is the founder and director of the Spirit House Project. She was recently honored at th...more
Naturalist Terry Tempest Williams brings meaning and direction to the grief around ecological loss and climate change. She’s a self-described “citizen writer” rooted in the American West, and she draws connections between fierce love and hard work — both in the natural world and the human world. “It all comes down to relationships, to place, to paying attention, to staying, to listening, to learning — of a heightened curiosity with other,” Williams says. Williams is a writer-in-residence at Harv...more
Father James Martin is a beloved Jesuit writer and teacher who says desire ultimately is not selfish — and instead a path to understanding our callings in life. He says everyone has a vocation, not just monastics and clergy. And he wants all of us to ask: What moves me? “We all have an image of the person we want to become — more loving, more open, more free. That’s a call,” he says. James Martin is editor at large of “America” magazine. His books include “The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything...more
Matthieu Ricard is helping us redefine happiness in a culture convinced that it’s a passive experience. The French-born Tibetan Buddhist monk reframes happiness not as pleasure but as practice that requires discipline — akin to marathon training or learning chess. He asks, “What are the inner conditions that foster a genuine sense of flourishing, of fulfillment?” Ricard is the author of “Happiness: A Guide to Developing Life’s Most Important Skill” and “Altruism: The Power of Compassion to Chang...more
Astronomer Natalie Batalha embodies a planetary sense of what “love” is and means. She says her experience searching the universe for exoplanets — earth-like bodies beyond our solar system that could harbor liquid water and life — fundamentally shifted how she thinks about the human experience on this planet. “You see the expanse of the cosmos, and you realize how small we are and how connected we are,” she says. “And that what’s good for you has to be good for me.” Natalie Batalha is a professo...more
A civil rights elder and speechwriter for Martin Luther King, Jr., the late Vincent Harding brought the wisdom of the movement to young people in hurting places. He offers the image of a “live human signpost” as a guiding light toward the kind of support and mentorship we can offer one another in our work toward a beloved community. “When it comes to creating a multiracial, multiethnic, multireligious, democratic society, we are still a developing nation,” he says. “But my own deep, deep convict...more
Rami Nashashibi champions how art can make humans visible to each other. He brings a new energy to Islam’s core commitment to beauty and humanity — and to the power of stories to heal and electrify us across geography and generation, culture and faith. He founded the Inner-City Muslim Action Network on Chicago’s South Side, where he also lives with his family. “The arts have become the real factor for us in both humanizing each other’s stories, connecting our stories, and revealing to one anothe...more
A rabbi and parent, Sandy Eisenberg Sasso wants us to think about how we might teach our children’s souls, not just their minds. She says nurturing the spiritual lives of our children is the work of understanding for ourselves “what really matters in life, what’s precious, what’s more important than earning a living and going through our daily routine.” Sandy Sasso is rabbi emerita of Congregation Beth-El Zedeck in Indianapolis, where she was spiritual leader for 36 years. Her wonderful books fo...more
Naomi Shihab Nye says writing is “an act that helps you, preserves you, energizes you in the very doing of it.” She calls herself a “wandering poet,” and her words point to shining corners of beauty in the world we see every day. A visiting poet all over the world, Naomi Shihab Nye is a professor of creative writing at Texas State University. Her books include 19 Varieties of Gazelle, A Maze Me: Poems for Girls, and Transfer. Her most recent book is The Tiny Journalist. Find the transcript at on...more
Philosopher Kwame Anthony Appiah offers hope for quiet, sustained culture shift through the “endless shared conversation” of friendship. The writer of the New York Times “Ethicist” column studies how deep social change happens across time and cultures. “If you have that background of relationship between individuals and communities that is conversational, then when you have to talk about the things that do divide you, you have a better platform.” Kwame Anthony Appiah is a professor of philosophy...more
“There is a place inside me that is far more powerful than the continuous mental noise,” says Eckhart Tolle. The spiritual teacher began to gain attention with his 1997 book, “The Power of Now.” Millions of people around the world have found pragmatic tools in his vision that fundamentally complicates the notion, “I think, therefore I am.” Eckhart Tolle is the best-selling author of “A New Earth” and “The Power of Now.” Find the transcript at onbeing.org.
“Imagine yourself alone on this planet. Would anything be the same?” Jennifer Michael Hecht is a poet, philosopher, and historian who wants to change the way we talk to ourselves and each other about suicide and staying alive — starting with her insistence that we believe each other into being. “Sometimes when you can’t see what’s important about you, other people can.” Jennifer Michael Hecht is the author of Stay: A History of Suicide and the Philosophies Against It, Doubt: A History, and Who S...more
Rediscover the wonder in the mundane and the everyday with writer Paulo Coelho. He reframes the practice of pilgrimage as a journey into the mysterious question, “Who am I?” He says that every day holds “this possibility, this chance of discovering something new.” Paulo Coelho is the author of many books including The Pilgrimage, Veronika Decides to Die, and The Alchemist. Find the transcript for this show at onbeing.org.
A preview of season two, returning on Monday March 25, 2019. Hosted by Krista Tippett. Depth and discovery, in the time it takes to make a cup of tea. Curated from hundreds of big conversations with wise and graceful lives. Reset your day. Replenish your sense of yourself and the world. Learn more at https://onbeing.org/series/becoming-wise/.
“His capability to ask the ‘What if?’ question opened the door to the deepest marker of humanity, and that’s empathy.” Physicist S. James Gates celebrates the scientific and social power of Albert Einstein’s imagination. Find more at onbeing.org/becoming-wise.
“Trauma treatment starts at the foundation of a body that can sleep, a body that can rest, a body that feels safe, a body that can move.” Psychiatrist Bessel van der Kolk on finding resilience in our bodies after trauma. Find more at onbeing.org/becoming-wise.
“When words bring you closer to the prisoner in his cell, to the patient who is dying on his bed alone, to the starving child, then it’s a prayer.” Elie Wiesel, the beloved writer known for his memoir of the Holocaust, “Night,” speaks of the power of prayer and forgiveness in the wake of profound suffering. Find more at onbeing.org/becoming-wise.
“I discovered that you have to have this sense of faith that what you’re moving toward is already done.” Civil rights leader John Lewis on living as if the “beloved community” were already our reality. Find more at onbeing.org/becoming-wise.
“If you’re sure about something, you don’t need faith. It’s when you have the doubts that faith kicks in. And that’s true in science as well as anything else.” Vatican astronomers Brother Guy Consolmagno and Father George Coyne on the joy of discovery and delighting in what we don’t know. Find more at onbeing.org/becoming-wise.
“How in our daily lives are we connecting with ourselves and everything around us? Because that’s where real, energetic transformation comes from.” Feminist playwright Eve Ensler speaks of the affirming physicality of our bodies, and of finding true contentment in the lives we already lead. Find more at onbeing.org/becoming-wise.
“There’s something magnetic about a group of people that say, ‘Hey, we don’t have it all figured out, and we need each other.'” New Monastic and Simple Way founder Shane Claiborne on bridging the gap between the structures we are raised in and the human needs around us. Find more at onbeing.org/becoming-wise.
“The challenge of our future is to say, are we going to connect and amplify positive tribes that want to make things better for all of us?” Entrepreneur and digital wise man Seth Godin on our capacity to use connection to elevate and advance the human spirit. Find more at onbeing.org/becoming-wise.
“Sometimes the pain of the world seems incomprehensible. And if there’s anything that balances it, it’s wonder at the world, the amazingness of people.” Mindfulness meditation teacher Sylvia Boorstein gives counsel on finding joy and spiritual practice embedded in the rhythms of everyday life. Find more at onbeing.org/becoming-wise.
“You’ve got to be willing to risk in order to make change. You’ve got to approach differences with the notion that there is good in the other.” Scholar and activist Frances Kissling speaks of good will and understanding, rather than agreement or victory, as bridges between difference. Find more at onbeing.org/becoming-wise.
“The point of gathering stillness is not to enrich the sanctuary or the mountaintop, but to bring that reality into the motion, the commotion, of the world.” Wanderer and writer Pico Iyer on outer stillness as an essential catalyst to a rich inner life. Find more at onbeing.org/becoming-wise.
“The more we can learn these lessons, the more we will not be running towards our death, but opening to our lives.” Mindfulness researcher Jon Kabat-Zinn on the physiological and spiritual potential of being present to every moment of daily life.
“The question isn’t whether we’re going to have to do hard, awful things. The question is whether we have to do them alone.” UU law enforcement chaplain Kate Braestrup tells the story of a police woman who embodies the both/and of love and new life, and crime and death. Find more at onbeing.org/becoming-wise.
“That’s how we are as a people. It’s the authentic, the unique, the different that makes us feel enriched when we encounter it.” Rabbi and philosopher Jonathan Sacks on difference as expansive and unifying, rather than a force for division. Find more at onbeing.org/becoming-wise.
“Call it the hidden hand of God; I would simply call it the hidden hand of the equations. And that gets us from the beginning to here.” Physicist Brian Greene on the hidden nature of reality, and the power of science to reveal beauty we can’t observe. Find more at onbeing.org/becoming-wise.
“Are we human beings who are in community, do we call to each other? Do we heed each other? Do we want to know each other?” Poet Elizabeth Alexander speaks of our need for language to understand our neighbors. Find more at onbeing.org/becoming-wise.
“Your body, for as long as it possibly can, will be faithful to living. That’s what it does.” Matthew Sanford, an innovator of adaptive yoga, on taking a new orientation to our physical change and pain, and the outward healing that can result.
“Beauty isn’t all about just niceness, loveliness. Beauty is about more rounded, substantial becoming.” Beloved Irish poet John O’Donohue on beauty’s true grit, and finding it in the transformational edges of our daily lives. Find more at onbeing.org/becoming-wise.
“Critical thinking without hope is cynicism. But hope without critical thinking is naïveté. I try to live in this space between the two.” The creator and editor of Brain Pickings on the pratfalls and promise of knowledge-sharing in the digital age. Find more at onbeing.org/becoming-wise.
“Hope is a function of struggle.” Brené Brown, a researcher and scholar, on the value and power of adversity to give rise to the astonishing strength of which we are all capable.