In an election season characterized by misinformation, mistrust, and now a positive covid test from the President-- we’ve been plunged headlong into a black hole of uncertainty. So here at the Ten Percent Happier podcast, we’ve decided to serve up some deep counter-programming.
Unlike the campaign coverage you’ll get everywhere else in the universe, in this special “Election Sanity” series we won’t have arguments and we won’t talk polls. We’re going to help you navigate all of this tumult and toxicity in a way that allows you to be both engaged and calm.
We’re building this series around an ancient Buddhist list (the Buddhists love listicles, as we’ve discussed on the show) called The Four Brahma Viharas. That phrase, Brahma Viharas, translates, literally into “divine abodes.” At first blush, the notion of divine abodes -- or heavenly mind states -- may sound a little grandiose. But I promise you this whole thing is actually very much down-to-earth.
These are four mental skills that we can train through meditation. In Buddhist circles, the four skills are commonly referred to as: lovingkindness, compassion, sympathetic joy (which means taking joy in the happiness of others), and equanimity. I like to make them a little more user-friendly by calling them: friendliness, giving a crap, the opposite of schadenfreude, and staying cool. The proposition here is radical; instead of defaulting to hatred or indifference at this fraught moment in human history, can you cultivate the opposite?
Science suggests the meditation practices designed to help you build these skills can have all sorts of physiological and psychological benefits. In this special series of episodes, we’ll show you how to practice, and also how to operationalize these skills in your life at a time when we— and the world— need them most.
We’ll be dropping new episodes, with a different teacher, every Monday in October.
Today we’re kicking off the podcast series with insight meditation teacher JoAnna Hardy. She’s been on this show before, and she’s also featured on the app, where she teaches guided meditations, and a whole course about using meditation to help you live an ethical life. She also recently co-wrote the handbook Teaching Mindfulness to Empower Adolescents, and is a founding member of the Meditation Coalition.
In our conversation, JoAnna starts by giving us a user-friendly overview of the Four Brahma Viharas, and then we do a deep dive on the first of these mental skills: friendliness. And if this concept -- or the thought of applying it to a person you can’t stand -- makes you squirm...great. JoAnna’s here to argue that metta is an edgy-- and not at all corny-- practice.
Where to find JoAnna Hardy online:
Dharma Seed: https://dharmaseed.org/teacher/549/
To help you get the most out of this series, we're launching an email guide. Just like the podcast, this guide is free. You can sign up for it at https://tenpercent.com/guide.
It will recap all of the podcast episodes each week. It’ll include helpful tidbits such as key terms and concepts; highlights from the immense wisdom our guests bring us around concepts like compassion, equanimity, kindness… and we’ll link to relevant meditations and talks in the TPH app. May you find it fruitful.
Full Shownotes: https://www.tenpercent.com/podcast-episode/joanna-hardy-288