Jonathan Gustin (Part 1) – Integrating Activism and Spiritual Practice: Nonduality and the Metacrisis

Jonathan Gustin Spiritual Practice Nonduality Metacrisis

Ep. 125 (Part 1 of 3) | Purpose guide, activist, nonduality student/teacher, and meditation teacher Jonathan Gustin is passionate about bringing the subject of the metacrisis into spiritual practice, essentially updating spiritual traditions that originated on deeply local levels to reflect the world of interrelated global crises we live in today. Jonathan proposes we delve into the relationship between nondual awakening and the metacrisis, using the metacrisis as our spiritual koan, and fostering within our contemplative practice a sense of responsibility for life that manifests in activism. Jonathan’s focus is also on guiding individuals to explore the notion of soul-level purpose—not only to discover our true purpose but embody a purpose that is consistent with love without boundaries.

This is a warm, lively, far reaching, and enlightening discussion, tying many intriguing subjects to the overarching theme of nonduality, metacrisis, and soul-level purpose: Native American vision questing, karma yoga, skillful communication, the developmental stages of purpose, the consequences of the delusion of separateness, the difference between humancentric nonduality and ecocentric nonduality, and much more. It is deeply inspirational to approach the metacrisis (which Jonathan provides a wonderful definition of) as an investigation into our relationship with life and reality. Recorded April 4, 2024.

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Dr. Nikki Mirghafori – Bringing Ethics and Wisdom to AI: Navigating the Ever Growing Potentials & Challenges of Artificial Intelligence

Dr Nikki Mirghafori AI Ethics of Artificial Intelligence

Ep. 124 | In this engaging, informative, and thought provoking conversation, artificial intelligence expert Dr. Nikki Mirghafori gives us a clear picture of where AI technology stands at this point and enlightens us as to its gifts, its potential, and its dangers. Nikki, who is also an internationally acclaimed Buddhist meditation teacher, is passionate about helping to bring equanimity to the whole issue of AI and emphasizes that the fear mongering going on around it is doing all of us a real disservice. She opens our eyes to the enormous potential of AI as applied to global issues such as cleaning up the environment, ending hunger, providing clean water, improving methods of food production—even acting as a wise mentor in supporting people to be their best selves. Nikki tells us that ethical use of AI depends on both designers and users, and that we are not powerless in the way things unfold.

How can AI systems be benevolent and supportive and bring out the best in us? Will we be able to maintain our values and ethics as our use of AI continues to expand? If our perception of AI was sort of murky or limited before, this conversation effectively brings us to a much more informed understanding. Nikki explains everything from where we have been exposed to AI without knowing it, the important distinction between weak/narrow AI and strong/general AI (AGI), personal choice engineering, our natural tendency to anthropomorphize AI, and the difference between benevolent AI and compassionate AI. Nikki is a superb teacher and a pleasure to listen to; this conversation is invaluable in its timeliness and its ability to bring us all up to speed on AI. Recorded January 29, 2024.

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Joseph Goldstein (Part 3) – Living on the Spiritual Edge: The Ever-Deepening Healing & Transformative Gifts of Opening to Experience and Life

Joseph Goldstein insight meditation awakening

Ep. 123 (Part 3 of 3) | Joseph Goldstein, co-founder of the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, MA, brilliant spiritual teacher, and prolific author, whose books have been foundational to many people’s understanding of Buddhism, mindfulness, and insight meditation, shares rich nuggets of wisdom stemming from a lifetime of ever-deepening practice. The focus of this conversation remains very much in the present, as Joseph describes how the leading edge of his practice never stops moving forward and how his understanding of the most basic ideas becomes ever more refined and liberating. In sharing his insights, he sheds light on and smooths the path for the rest of us: about the mysterious arising of compassion, made easier the more open we are and the less self-referential, about reframing our experience in a way that frees us, about spontaneous responsiveness, and about awakening being a gradual process—until it’s sudden.

Joseph’s new favorite definition of enlightenment is “lightening up” for the way it conveys a sense of making progress along a journey. And with his humor, humility, and easy, lighthearted manner, Joseph exemplifies and transmits a lighter way of being in the world. He makes it ever so clear that spiritual practice and meditation, examining and investigating our experience moment to moment, naturally leads us to compassionate responsiveness and out of the shackles of what binds us to a self that is ultimately just a construct. Recorded November 2, 2023.

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Joseph Goldstein (Part 2) – Living on the Spiritual Edge: The Ever-Deepening Healing & Transformative Gifts of Opening to Experience and Life

Joseph Goldstein insight meditation awakening

Ep. 122 (Part 2 of 3) | Joseph Goldstein, co-founder of the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, MA, brilliant spiritual teacher, and prolific author, whose books have been foundational to many people’s understanding of Buddhism, mindfulness, and insight meditation, shares rich nuggets of wisdom stemming from a lifetime of ever-deepening practice. The focus of this conversation remains very much in the present, as Joseph describes how the leading edge of his practice never stops moving forward and how his understanding of the most basic ideas becomes ever more refined and liberating. In sharing his insights, he sheds light on and smooths the path for the rest of us: about the mysterious arising of compassion, made easier the more open we are and the less self-referential, about reframing our experience in a way that frees us, about spontaneous responsiveness, and about awakening being a gradual process—until it’s sudden.

Joseph’s new favorite definition of enlightenment is “lightening up” for the way it conveys a sense of making progress along a journey. And with his humor, humility, and easy, lighthearted manner, Joseph exemplifies and transmits a lighter way of being in the world. He makes it ever so clear that spiritual practice and meditation, examining and investigating our experience moment to moment, naturally leads us to compassionate responsiveness and out of the shackles of what binds us to a self that is ultimately just a construct. Recorded November 2, 2023.

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Joseph Goldstein (Part 1) – Living on the Spiritual Edge: The Ever-Deepening Healing & Transformative Gifts of Opening to Experience and Life

Joseph Goldstein insight meditation awakening

Ep. 121 (Part 1 of 3) | Joseph Goldstein, co-founder of the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, MA, brilliant spiritual teacher, and prolific author, whose books have been foundational to many people’s understanding of Buddhism, mindfulness, and insight meditation, shares rich nuggets of wisdom stemming from a lifetime of ever-deepening practice. The focus of this conversation remains very much in the present, as Joseph describes how the leading edge of his practice never stops moving forward and how his understanding of the most basic ideas becomes ever more refined and liberating. In sharing his insights, he sheds light on and smooths the path for the rest of us: about the mysterious arising of compassion, made easier the more open we are and the less self-referential, about reframing our experience in a way that frees us, about spontaneous responsiveness, and about awakening being a gradual process—until it’s sudden.

Joseph’s new favorite definition of enlightenment is “lightening up” for the way it conveys a sense of making progress along a journey. And with his humor, humility, and easy, lighthearted manner, Joseph exemplifies and transmits a lighter way of being in the world. He makes it ever so clear that spiritual practice and meditation, examining and investigating our experience moment to moment, naturally leads us to compassionate responsiveness and out of the shackles of what binds us to a self that is ultimately just a construct. Recorded November 2, 2023.

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Jane Hirshfield (Part 2) – Exploring Life Through Poetry & Practice: The Art of Asking and Opening to Life’s Deepest Questions

Jane Hirshfield spiritual poet Zen practice

Ep. 120 (Part 2 of 2) | Many time award-winning poet Jane Hirshfield has spent her life steeped in poetry and spiritual practice. Here, we feel almost as if we’ve been invited into her kitchen to talk about life, love, and especially about poems and how they offer us various answers to the abiding questions: who are we, what are we, what is our relationship to each other, what must we be grateful toward? Jane describes poems as vessels of discovery and poetry as taking your understanding and putting it into a form that is holdable, retrievable, transmissible. Poems can also be keys to unlock our despair, she explains, creating a crack in the darkness, a re-entrance to the possibility of wholeness. Jane’s sublime poetry is many-layered; the same poem might be about human love or peace between nations, about the end of love or the fact that love never dies. Jane shares that her lifetime of questioning (her most recent book of new and selected poetry is titled The Asking) has boiled down to one question: How can I serve?

An awareness of our interconnectedness with all beings, all of life, permeates her work, and Jane is driven to provoke action on contemporary, pressing issues of biosphere, peace, and justice, and help us navigate the tightrope between hope and despair. The conversation also turns to early feminism and the poetry of women mystics that Jane put together in a beautiful anthology called Women in Praise of the Sacred, covering 43 centuries of spiritual poetry by women. When asked about her longtime Zen practice, Jane said, “I needed to become more of a human being, understand a different way of living inside this life I had been given” to become a good poet. She tells us that both poetry and Zen are paths of discovery, exploration, and awareness, and both paths insist that we attend to this world fully. This is a warm, personal, deeply illuminating, and thought provoking conversation, and Jane reads several of her poems, revealing their depth and beauty. Recorded November 30, 2023.

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Jane Hirshfield (Part 1) – Exploring Life Through Poetry & Practice: The Art of Asking and Opening to Life’s Deepest Questions

Jane Hirshfield spiritual poet Zen practice

Ep. 119 (Part 1 of 2) | Many time award-winning poet Jane Hirshfield has spent her life steeped in poetry and spiritual practice. Here, we feel almost as if we’ve been invited into her kitchen to talk about life, love, and especially about poems and how they offer us various answers to the abiding questions: who are we, what are we, what is our relationship to each other, what must we be grateful toward? Jane describes poems as vessels of discovery and poetry as taking your understanding and putting it into a form that is holdable, retrievable, transmissible. Poems can also be keys to unlock our despair, she explains, creating a crack in the darkness, a re-entrance to the possibility of wholeness. Jane’s sublime poetry is many-layered; the same poem might be about human love or peace between nations, about the end of love or the fact that love never dies. Jane shares that her lifetime of questioning (her most recent book of new and selected poetry is titled The Asking) has boiled down to one question: How can I serve?

An awareness of our interconnectedness with all beings, all of life, permeates her work, and Jane is driven to provoke action on contemporary, pressing issues of biosphere, peace, and justice, and help us navigate the tightrope between hope and despair. The conversation also turns to early feminism and the poetry of women mystics that Jane put together in a beautiful anthology called Women in Praise of the Sacred, covering 43 centuries of spiritual poetry by women. When asked about her longtime Zen practice, Jane said, “I needed to become more of a human being, understand a different way of living inside this life I had been given” to become a good poet. She tells us that both poetry and Zen are paths of discovery, exploration, and awareness, and both paths insist that we attend to this world fully. This is a warm, personal, deeply illuminating, and thought provoking conversation, and Jane reads several of her poems, revealing their depth and beauty. Recorded November 30, 2023.

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Keeping the Soul of Ukraine Alive: Maintaining Personal & National Ideals while Under Fire in Ukraine, with Kateryna Yasko & Vytautas Bučiūnas

Kateryna Yasko Vytautas Bučiūnas Soul of Ukraine

Psychologist and non-violent communications trainer Kateryna Yasko and her husband, Vytautas Bučiūnas, Integral Master Coach and leadership development expert, relate what it’s like to live in war-torn Ukraine, two years since the Russian invasion began. They share why they chose to return to Kyiv from the safe haven of Lithuania, and describe a “special form of happiness” that occurs when the fragility and beauty of life is brought to the fore, as Russian missiles and drones continue to target civilians and cultural landmarks. It is an existential battle being fought for Ukraine, and Kateryna & Vytas are deeply aware of the importance of keeping the soul of Ukraine alive, the cultural code, the foundation of any democratic nation’s identity. Among other things, Kateryna works with theater groups to stage productions that help make meaning of what Ukrainians are going through, help with processing PTSD, and keep cultural expression alive.

This poignant conversation reveals what extraordinary courage human beings are capable of when put to the test: to protect loved ones, country, and the values of truth, justice, freedom, and democracy. Kateryna and Vytas emphasize that love is not enough to protect our innate rights and that pacifism is not an option in this case. They provide us with a glimpse into personal family life in modern wartime, a psychological portrait of where Ukrainians are at, a request for help, and a wake up call for all to understand that democracy around the world is not a given and that there are times, like this, when we need to stand up and fight for it. Recorded January 23, 2024.

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Brad Reynolds (Part 3) – Ken Wilber’s Map of Everything: A Guide to the Brilliance & Span of Wilber’s Work from Philosophy to Psychology, Spirituality and Science

Brad Reynolds Ken Wilber Integral Theory

Ep. 117 (Part 3 of 3) | Brad Reynolds, author of Embracing Reality: The Integral Vision of Ken Wilber and Where’s Wilber At? Ken Wilber’s Integral Vision in the New Millennium, gives us a beautiful distillation of Ken Wilber’s work, starting from the beginning and spanning decades. Not only does Brad elegantly relate the major themes of Ken’s work, he also makes clear the value of Ken’s contributions—the way this knowledge can be understood and applied to literally expand our notion of reality and evolve our consciousness. Brad deftly leads us through the subjects that Ken has developed: the spectrum of consciousness, the integration of science and religion, transcending and including what has come before, the importance of the transpersonal, and much more. We learn why Ken’s teachings are timeless and also so relevant and important today.

Brad’s scholarship, his own spiritual practice and insight, his engaging, easygoing style, and the close working relationship he had with Ken for many years make this podcast a goldmine for learning the essence of Ken’s theories, for deepening our appreciation of the magnitude of Ken’s understanding, and above all, the topics covered here point the way for us to evolve as human beings. We come to understand that integral is much more than a theory: it’s a practice, a call to grow and transcend, to become more inclusive, more responsive—to live our true potential. Brad eloquently brings it home just how much we need integral thinkers and leaders right now, with regressive developmental trends on the rise. Especially pertinent in our polarized society, integral shows us how to take all that is valuable within ostensibly conflicting worldviews and integrate it for the benefit of all. Recorded January 3, 2024.

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Brad Reynolds (Part 2) – Ken Wilber’s Map of Everything: A Guide to the Brilliance & Span of Wilber’s Work from Philosophy to Psychology, Spirituality and Science

Brad Reynolds Ken Wilber Integral Theory

Ep. 116 (Part 2 of 3) | Brad Reynolds, author of Embracing Reality: The Integral Vision of Ken Wilber and Where’s Wilber At? Ken Wilber’s Integral Vision in the New Millennium, gives us a beautiful distillation of Ken Wilber’s work, starting from the beginning and spanning decades. Not only does Brad elegantly relate the major themes of Ken’s work, he also makes clear the value of Ken’s contributions—the way this knowledge can be understood and applied to literally expand our notion of reality and evolve our consciousness. Brad deftly leads us through the subjects that Ken has developed: the spectrum of consciousness, the integration of science and religion, transcending and including what has come before, the importance of the transpersonal, and much more. We learn why Ken’s teachings are timeless and also so relevant and important today.

Brad’s scholarship, his own spiritual practice and insight, his engaging, easygoing style, and the close working relationship he had with Ken for many years make this podcast a goldmine for learning the essence of Ken’s theories, for deepening our appreciation of the magnitude of Ken’s understanding, and above all, the topics covered here point the way for us to evolve as human beings. We come to understand that integral is much more than a theory: it’s a practice, a call to grow and transcend, to become more inclusive, more responsive—to live our true potential. Brad eloquently brings it home just how much we need integral thinkers and leaders right now, with regressive developmental trends on the rise. Especially pertinent in our polarized society, integral shows us how to take all that is valuable within ostensibly conflicting worldviews and integrate it for the benefit of all. Recorded January 3, 2024.

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Brad Reynolds (Part 1) – Ken Wilber’s Map of Everything: A Guide to the Brilliance & Span of Wilber’s Work from Philosophy to Psychology, Spirituality and Science

Brad Reynolds Ken Wilber Integral Theory

Ep. 115 (Part 1 of 3) | Brad Reynolds, author of Embracing Reality: The Integral Vision of Ken Wilber and Where’s Wilber At? Ken Wilber’s Integral Vision in the New Millennium, gives us a beautiful distillation of Ken Wilber’s work, starting from the beginning and spanning decades. Not only does Brad elegantly relate the major themes of Ken’s work, he also makes clear the value of Ken’s contributions—the way this knowledge can be understood and applied to literally expand our notion of reality and evolve our consciousness. Brad deftly leads us through the subjects that Ken has developed: the spectrum of consciousness, the integration of science and religion, transcending and including what has come before, the importance of the transpersonal, and much more. We learn why Ken’s teachings are timeless and also so relevant and important today.

Brad’s scholarship, his own spiritual practice and insight, his engaging, easygoing style, and the close working relationship he had with Ken for many years make this podcast a goldmine for learning the essence of Ken’s theories, for deepening our appreciation of the magnitude of Ken’s understanding, and above all, the topics covered here point the way for us to evolve as human beings. We come to understand that integral is much more than a theory: it’s a practice, a call to grow and transcend, to become more inclusive, more responsive—to live our true potential. Brad eloquently brings it home just how much we need integral thinkers and leaders right now, with regressive developmental trends on the rise. Especially pertinent in our polarized society, integral shows us how to take all that is valuable within ostensibly conflicting worldviews and integrate it for the benefit of all. Recorded January 3, 2024.

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Marianne Williamson — A Presidential Candidate Speaks from the Heart: The Challenge of Bringing Soul & Integrity to American Politics and the 2024 Election

Presidential candidate Marianne Williamson on Deep Transformation Podcast

Ep. 114 | Presidential candidate Marianne Williamson is astonishing in her openness, authenticity, and candor in this moving conversation that enlightens on a spiritual level as well as a political one. First, we learn why she is running for president, and how she thinks she can help America. As Marianne explains it, her talent lies in translating what is happening so people can grasp the full picture. “Everybody sees it,” she says, talking about our money-driven culture and corrupt political system, “but not everybody can put the pieces together.” She adds that if people were to fully understand what is going on, it would create a space for transformation to occur. Marianne’s remarkable ability to consider all sides of an issue and look beyond symptoms to the root cause of some of our greatest problems is also evident, from calling on liberals to assume their share of responsibility for allowing this country to decline morally in the way that it has to her understanding of the political and psychological forces driving the Israel-Hamas war.

More than a political talk, Marianne reveals a psychological and spiritual portrait of the United States, referencing the brilliant vision of our founding fathers, Martin Luther King’s goal of Beloved Community, and telling a stirring story of the way Abraham Lincoln’s second inauguration reflects the high morality of the populace at that time. On a personal level, Marianne’s uncompromising path towards growth and transformation is both clear and inspiring—she talks about the importance of taking 100% responsibility for one’s experience, about practicing what you preach, living a life of service, and the reality of love. The only thing that is missing from any situation, Marianne tells us, is what we can do about it. Recorded January 9, 2024.

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Bruce Alderman (Part 2) – Integrating Spiritual Practices from Different Paths, Deepening Our Explorations of Reality, and Developing Leaders for a World at Risk

Bruce Alderman Spiritual Practices Leadership Development

Ep. 113 (Part 2 of 2) | Bruce Alderman, poet, mystic, and spiritual explorer, is also an integral scholar and pioneer of the emerging field of metatheory, looking at how to put our disparate fields of information—spiritual, psychological, philosophical, environmental, scientific—together and integrate them into a useful whole. Here Bruce tells the tale of how he was drawn into an experiential exploration of different worldviews, how he came to find the value in navigating different spiritual traditions, and how he discovered how to integrate mystical experiences, Asian spiritual teachings, and Western education, science, and psychology. Bruce’s unique understanding of interreligious relationships and their potential for meeting current challenges informs his call to the global community of spiritual practitioners to dialogue, critique, deeply listen, and reap the benefits of reflecting back to the other a view that takes them deeper in their understanding of their own position. Bruce also shares a brilliant vision of leadership training practices for developing the skills leaders will need to navigate the unfolding global crises of our time. This program will take form in the upcoming Blue Sky Leaders program at the California Institute of Integral Studies.

Bruce is beautifully eloquent on many levels, sharing insights on intensifying our intimate experience of Being, trusting our dialogue with Being to bear fruit, and finding coherence while holding multiple paths. Bruce describes his turn towards scholarship and academia as “dancing on the subtle plane,” and thinking as one spiritual practice among many—a practice of union. There are so many gems of wisdom here, relayed in Bruce’s gently humorous, humble, and erudite manner. Bruce also inspires on how each of us can become a change agent simply by being integrous with who we are. Recorded December 6, 2023.

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Bruce Alderman (Part 1) – Integrating Spiritual Practices from Different Paths, Deepening Our Explorations of Reality, and Developing Leaders for a World at Risk

Bruce Alderman Spiritual Practices Leadership Development

Ep. 112 (Part 1 of 2) | Bruce Alderman, poet, mystic, and spiritual explorer, is also an integral scholar and pioneer of the emerging field of metatheory, looking at how to put our disparate fields of information—spiritual, psychological, philosophical, environmental, scientific—together and integrate them into a useful whole. Here Bruce tells the tale of how he was drawn into an experiential exploration of different worldviews, how he came to find the value in navigating different spiritual traditions, and how he discovered how to integrate mystical experiences, Asian spiritual teachings, and Western education, science, and psychology. Bruce’s unique understanding of interreligious relationships and their potential for meeting current challenges informs his call to the global community of spiritual practitioners to dialogue, critique, deeply listen, and reap the benefits of reflecting back to the other a view that takes them deeper in their understanding of their own position. Bruce also shares a brilliant vision of leadership training practices for developing the skills leaders will need to navigate the unfolding global crises of our time. This program will take form in the upcoming Blue Sky Leaders program at the California Institute of Integral Studies.

Bruce is beautifully eloquent on many levels, sharing insights on intensifying our intimate experience of Being, trusting our dialogue with Being to bear fruit, and finding coherence while holding multiple paths. Bruce describes his turn towards scholarship and academia as “dancing on the subtle plane,” and thinking as one spiritual practice among many—a practice of union. There are so many gems of wisdom here, relayed in Bruce’s gently humorous, humble, and erudite manner. Bruce also inspires on how each of us can become a change agent simply by being integrous with who we are. Recorded December 6, 2023.

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Colette Baron-Reid & Dr. Bob Weathers (Part 2) – Humanizing Addiction, Sustaining Long-Term Recovery: Healing Effects of Trauma, Stigma & Shame, and Forging Lives of Connection, Service & Gratitude

Colette Baron-Reid Dr. Bob Weathers Humanizing Addiction Long-Term Recovery Healing Trauma

Ep. 111 (Part 2 of 2) | Colette Baron-Reid and Dr. Bob Weathers shine a bright light on the big picture state of addiction in our fragmented culture today—how people have become addicted to disconnection, dissociation, and identifying as victims in addition to substance use and other more traditional addictions—as well as sharing the essential elements and practices that have made their sustained long-term recovery possible. Dr. Bob explains that the first step in addressing addiction is to humanize the conversation around it and why. Our tendency toward addiction is universal, embedded in human nature itself, for one. And research shows that people who have suffered childhood trauma are five to ten times more susceptible to becoming addicts—their stress threshold five to ten times lower than other people’s, their stress hormones five to ten times higher. Studies also show that addiction is the most highly stigmatized mental disorder of all. It is humbling to realize what addicts are up against, calling us to compassion, understanding, and action.

Both Colette and Bob are solidly grounded in long-term sobriety and deeply dedicated to helping others out of their suffering. Top down, intellectual information is clearly not adequate to sustain recovery—so what is? Spiritual connection, social connection, shadow work, healing shame, surrendering. As Colette says, “In recovery, you discover there is something greater than yourself, your pain, your story, and your limitations—this is the solace.” There comes a turning point when it stops being all about us, and the desire to serve arises. With service comes the all-important experience of belonging. As Bob relates, “It’s not just about not drugging or drinking—I want a vital life.” And what is missing on a global, universal level? Again, connection and community. Recorded August 28, 2023.

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