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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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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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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Charles Lawrence (Part 2) – Everything is Sacred: Native American Wisdom on Following Your Destiny, Living Joyously, Dying Fearlessly & Dancing in a World Beyond Everyday Consciousness

Native American shaman Charles Lawrence

Ep. 101 (Part 2 of 2) | With extraordinary joyfulness and verve, Native American shaman Charles Lawrence tells the inspiring and fascinating tale of how as a young man, he left psychology, religion, and the white man’s domesticated world in the dust when he became initiated on his journey by mythologist Joseph Campbell, and a paranormal world opened its doors. “If you have a destiny, you better go gracefully, or you’ll get dragged by your heels,” Campbell told him. Indeed, to this day, now in his late 80s, Charles follows the call to ceremonies and Elder Councils all over the world, sharing his sacred shamanic energy and wisdom in blessing and benefit for all. Part Blackfoot by origin, Charles was baptized by traditional Hopi Elders, adopted by elders of Lakota and Coast Salish (Musqueam band), and acknowledged and accepted by Native American tribes and Indigenous Peoples near and far. Here, Charles transmits his love of life, his fearlessness around death, and his easy familiarity with the multidimensionality of existence, the limitlessness in every moment. “Is there joy in this moment in time?” he asks. “If not, why not?”

In regard to our collective future, Charles tells us that solutions await us beyond our normal consciousness; in relation to our personal yearning, he describes the transformative power of being seen, being witnessed for who we are at the deepest level, to free our souls and break out of the box. He urges us to sing, to dance, and to “cry our own cry.” (“Nobody has your cry, your experience. You’ve got to cry your own cry.”) Charles also shares his liberating approach to death (“Dying is simple, just pull out the clutch and go into neutral!”), about how he acquired “death medicine,” a wonderful ability to help people make the transition, and his own death medicine practice. One cannot help but be thoroughly inspired and reinvigorated listening to Charles—as Roger wrote him afterwards, “You left a legacy of joy in all of us. I will sing and laugh more and open the door wider to Mystery because of it. And try to practice my last 10 breaths.” Recorded June 1, 2023.

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Charles Lawrence (Part 1) – Everything is Sacred: Native American Wisdom on Following Your Destiny, Living Joyously, Dying Fearlessly & Dancing in a World Beyond Everyday Consciousness

Charles Lawrence Native American Wisdom

Ep. 100 (Part 1 of 2) | With extraordinary joyfulness and verve, Native American shaman Charles Lawrence tells the inspiring and fascinating tale of how as a young man, he left psychology, religion, and the white man’s domesticated world in the dust when he became initiated on his journey by mythologist Joseph Campbell, and a paranormal world opened its doors. “If you have a destiny, you better go gracefully, or you’ll get dragged by your heels,” Campbell told him. Indeed, to this day, now in his late 80s, Charles follows the call to ceremonies and Elder Councils all over the world, sharing his sacred shamanic energy and wisdom in blessing and benefit for all. Part Blackfoot by origin, Charles was baptized by traditional Hopi Elders, adopted by elders of Lakota and Coast Salish (Musqueam band), and acknowledged and accepted by Native American tribes and Indigenous Peoples near and far. Here, Charles transmits his love of life, his fearlessness around death, and his easy familiarity with the multidimensionality of existence, the limitlessness in every moment. “Is there joy in this moment in time?” he asks. “If not, why not?”

In regard to our collective future, Charles tells us that solutions await us beyond our normal consciousness; in relation to our personal yearning, he describes the transformative power of being seen, being witnessed for who we are at the deepest level, to free our souls and break out of the box. He urges us to sing, to dance, and to “cry our own cry.” (“Nobody has your cry, your experience. You’ve got to cry your own cry.”) Charles also shares his liberating approach to death (“Dying is simple, just pull out the clutch and go into neutral!”), about how he acquired “death medicine,” a wonderful ability to help people make the transition, and his own death medicine practice. One cannot help but be thoroughly inspired and reinvigorated listening to Charles—as Roger wrote him afterwards, “You left a legacy of joy in all of us. I will sing and laugh more and open the door wider to Mystery because of it. And try to practice my last 10 breaths.” Recorded June 1, 2023.

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Swami Beyondananda / Steve Bhaerman (Part 2) – Laugh Yourself Sane, Enlighten Up & Awaken to Cosmic Comic Consciousness with the Wit & Wisdom of This Hilarious Duo

Swami Beyondananda Steve Bhaerman

Ep. 95 (Part 2 of 2) | Author, activist, and humorist Steve Bhaerman (aka Swami Beyondananda) realized the power of humor as well as his talent for making people laugh early on, when his schoolmates would laugh so hard, milk would come out of their nose. Steve’s spiritual and psychological wisdom, his deep love and concern for humanity, and his clever, refreshing humor come together in a perfect triad to create the wise, inspired, and funny political and spiritual commentary that have delighted so many for so long. Steve’s mission is to bring people together to work for the things everybody wants—rather than a tug of war, his vision is of a tug of peace, all pulling in the same direction. He has seen over and over how effective comic relief is at bridging people’s differences; it can even disrupt dualistic thinking to where oneness becomes real and unity is achieved.

Steve’s sidekick, Swami Beyondananda, will make you laugh and his humorous perspective on the great issues of our time (like truth decay) and insights about how we can create a more positive future for ourselves (like self-facing laughter and tantrum yoga) really help to lighten the load. Hope is transmitted through levity and we find we can all laugh at human behavior together. Steve explains that with laughter we release emotions, trauma, and mental structures because truth is being liberated, and that comedy’s role is to deconstruct toxic narratives yet leave people standing. In this conversation, you will experience the power of humor to make even the dire circumstances of today’s world feel a bit lighter—Steve/Swami’s inspired comedy is not only politically astute but palpably heartwarming. Recorded August 10, 2023.

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Swami Beyondananda / Steve Bhaerman (Part 1) – Laugh Yourself Sane, Enlighten Up & Awaken to Cosmic Comic Consciousness with the Wit & Wisdom of This Hilarious Duo

Swami Beyondananda Steve Bhaerman

Ep. 94 (Part 1 of 2) | Author, activist, and humorist Steve Bhaerman (aka Swami Beyondananda) realized the power of humor as well as his talent for making people laugh early on, when his schoolmates would laugh so hard, milk would come out of their nose. Steve’s spiritual and psychological wisdom, his deep love and concern for humanity, and his clever, refreshing humor come together in a perfect triad to create the wise, inspired, and funny political and spiritual commentary that have delighted so many for so long. Steve’s mission is to bring people together to work for the things everybody wants—rather than a tug of war, his vision is of a tug of peace, all pulling in the same direction. He has seen over and over how effective comic relief is at bridging people’s differences; it can even disrupt dualistic thinking to where oneness becomes real and unity is achieved.

Steve’s sidekick, Swami Beyondananda, will make you laugh and his humorous perspective on the great issues of our time (like truth decay) and insights about how we can create a more positive future for ourselves (like self-facing laughter and tantrum yoga) really help to lighten the load. Hope is transmitted through levity and we find we can all laugh at human behavior together. Steve explains that with laughter we release emotions, trauma, and mental structures because truth is being liberated, and that comedy’s role is to deconstruct toxic narratives yet leave people standing. In this conversation, you will experience the power of humor to make even the dire circumstances of today’s world feel a bit lighter—Steve/Swami’s inspired comedy is not only politically astute but palpably heartwarming. Recorded August 10, 2023.

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Shakil Choudhury (Part 2) Deep Diversity: Integrating Psychological, Scientific & Spiritual Contributions for Healing Injustice and Inequity

Shakil Choudhury Deep Diversity

Ep. 90 (Part 2 of 2) | Award-winning educator and activist Shakil Choudhury is the author of the outstanding book Deep Diversity: A Compassionate, Scientific Approach to Achieving Racial Justice, and in this potent conversation we learn a lot we perhaps didn’t know about the psychological, emotional, and neurobiological reasons for our ingrained biases, and the systemic bias in the culture at large. How and why do we discriminate? Many of our biases are hidden in the unconscious, which makes it that much harder to bring them into the light so we can begin to understand what’s going on and find ways to move ourselves and society toward justice and equity. Shakil explains that changing societal norms is at the heart of the battle for racial and social justice, as our habitual cultural behaviors tend to be viewed as legitimate, normal, and natural, when actually they may be outdated, off base, offensive, and unjust. Shakil deftly lines us out with specific steps we can take to recognize and change our own behaviors, as well as actions organizational leaders can take to effect change on a broader level.

Shakil contends that educating people to become diversity and equity literate is the first essential step, and the 360-hour program he has designed to this end has proven very effective. Once people see the data, they cannot help understanding the drivers of racial and social injustice more clearly, which leads to the place where real transformation can happen. Shakil’s extraordinarily insightful and illuminating approach is fueled by many years of contemplative practice, and he leaves us with a vision of what we are fighting for—not just what we are fighting against—based on Dr. Martin Luther King’s dream of Beloved Community. Small groups of dedicated people have managed to successfully nudge societal norms in the direction of justice in the past, and this conversation and Shakil’s book, Deep Diversity, most certainly contribute a compassionate nudge in the right direction. Bit by bit, recognizing that this is a journey, Shakil conveys both the means and the hope that justice will prevail. Recorded April 26, 2023.

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