I have a wonderful guest on today and I'm very excited to share this conversation with you. In thinking about the message of today's conversation I was reminded of a comment I recently heard Jack Kornfield make when he was interviewed by Tim Ferriss. They were talking about Tim's recent silent meditation retreat and the benefits of them, and seeking out master teacher to help with your practice. I'll admit, taking a few days for silent retreat, even a few weeks, months maybe, sounds pretty good to me. But I do see my desire for that experience as an example of looking for answers or solutions that are somewhere else, outside my current state or experience in life. But as Jack says, we have the wisdom that we are seeking within ourselves. And while I might feel like I'm missing out by not having time in life for a retreat, it's important to remember that there is a reason I can't. He said for instance if you have kids, and they take up all of your time and energy, then your kids are your practice. And while I really know this to be true, it was refreshing to hear him says this. As he said you can't get a zen master who's going to be more demanding than an infant with colic or your teenager. You've basically hired the best teacher you can to help you cultivate your practice.
And this goes a long way to saying that the life in front of us, the joy and pain of our own lives, are the best teachers. What else is there? And that does bring me back to my guest today, Yael Shy, who by the way is just about to bring a second "teacher" into her house. Some of you holdovers from the Meditate This! Podcast might remember Yael was a guest on our show way back in episodes 17 and 18, when Jay and I spent a couple hours grilling her on meditation practice. Yael the senior director of the Center for Global Spiritual Life at New York University and is the founder and director of Mindful NYU, the largest campus-wide meditation initiative in the country, which was also co-founded by my absolute best friend and legendary podcast co-cost Jason Hollander...should probably have him on the show someday.
But the idea that the circumstances and even perceived weaknesses of our own lives can be the best teachers, really jumped out at me when I read Yael's recently published first book called What Now?. She learned that many of the things that created uncertainty, insecurity or even shame in her life, turned out to be the greatest gifts, helping her find ways to make meaningful differences in the world. And I guarantee, I just know it, that we all have these things about ourselves that make us unsure, we may even be annoyed by ourselves, and we will do anything to avoid or cover up or ignore them. But these traits, what we might think of as character flaws, are really the keys to making us whole and guiding us to greater meaning and purpose in life.
And I also know this, that understanding doesn't come until you let go, become open, honest, and vulnerable to them. That is exactly what you find in Yael's latest book, which is really an autobiographical teaching of meditation and mindfulness. She is tender hearted, very honest, but also very powerful in her message. I love the book and I love this conversation. So please welcome my guest today, Yael Shy.
Thanks for listening,