Awake-ism: The Heartmind of Buddhism with Ethan Nichtern

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“Awake-ism,” in Buddhist teacher Nichtern’s view, means to be aware, open, and compassionate. He looks at Buddhist thought as a psychological, philosophical, and ethical system that can be useful for anyone. Living an awake life is a good thing. His advice for living in these times is to maintain our awareness as we move between very personal spaces and collective spaces. Many begin meditating in order to reduce stress and become more mindful. Hopefully our practice will deepen and lead to forming a relationship with our self, and will point us toward taking responsibility for our own heartmind and how we react to things. Nichtern describes ”heartmind” as an entwinement of our head, the cognizing, logical, reasoning intelligence, and our heart, the feeling intuitive, emotive intelligence. He exhorts us to turn our heartmind into our home - a place to live that is safe - and encourages us to welcome our emotions, whatever they may be, and then let them go. It is about having a relationship with our own mind. He speaks of a transformational activist as one who practices a kind of holistic approach. It is the balancing of three levels of awareness: the personal, the interpersonal, and the collective. He says it is “like looking at each day and saying ‘did I do my personal practice, did I show up to relationships in a way that was empathetic and compassionate, and am I staying in touch with the larger community and society that I live in.’ ” (hosted by Justine Willis Toms)

Bio

Ethan Nichtern is a senior teacher in the Shambhala Buddhist tradition and the founder of the Interdependence Project, a nonprofit organization dedicated to secular Buddhist study as it applies to transformational activism, mindful arts and media projects, and Western psychology. Nichtern has taught meditation and Buddhist studies classes and retreats across the United States since 2002. He is based in New York City.

He's the author of:

To learn more about the work of Ethan Nichtern go to www.ethannichtern.com.

Topics Explored in This Dialogue

  • How Nichtern became a Buddhist teacher in the Shambhala tradition
  • What does awake-ism mean in Buddhist terms
  • What is meant by the term “heartmind”
  • What is the deeper tradition of Mindfulness
  • What is meditation
  • What is interdependence
  • What are the different levels of Buddhist practice: personal, interpersonal, collective
  • What it means to be at home with yourself
  • What is a transformational activist
  • How can we acknowledge the wisdom of emotions and successfully navigate their arising

Host: Justine Willis Toms      Interview Date: 5/20/2015      Program Number: 3550

Music Playlist

From Album: Beautiful Wasteland
Artist: Capercaillie
1998 Survival Records #RCD 10441

Music Break 1: Track 01 M'Ionam
Music Break 2: Track 06, Co Ni Mire Rium
Music Break 3: Track 09, Kepplehall