“Meditation is evolution’s strategy to bring out our full potential.”
– Tara Brach
Tara Brach (@TaraBrach) is a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and one of the leading teachers of Buddhist thinking and meditation in the Western world.
She is the founder of the Insight Meditation Community in Washington, D.C. and her lectures are downloaded hundreds of thousands of times each month at tarabrach.com.
I was first introduced to Tara’s work by another guest on this podcast, Maria Popova. Soon thereafter, a friend and neuroscience Ph.D. recommended her book, Radical Acceptance, as life-changing. It exceeded all expectations.
It’s my hope that this tactical conversation offers you techniques for addressing loneliness, anger, self-hatred, the “trance of unworthiness,” and much more. Tara’s had a measurable impact on my life, and I wish the same for you.
For those who know my fondness for Stoic philosophy, I think Tara’s work is a fantastic compliment to Seneca, Marcus Aurelius, and other favorites.
- Listen to it on iTunes.
- Stream by clicking here.
- Download as an MP3 by right-clicking here and choosing “save as.”
Want to hear the episode in which I learned about Tara Brach for the first time? — Listen to my conversations with Maria Popova of BrainPickings.com. In this episode, we discuss writing, workflow, and workarounds (stream below or right-click here to download):
This podcast is brought to you by Vimeo Pro, which is the ideal video hosting platform for entrepreneurs. In fact, a bunch of my start-ups are already using Vimeo Pro. WealthFront uses it to explain how WealthFront works. TaskRabbit uses it to tell the company’s story. There are many other names who you would recognize among their customers (AirBnB, Etsy, etc.) Why do they use it? Vimeo Pro provides enterprise level video hosting for a fraction of the usual cost. Features include:
- Gorgeous high-quality playback with no ads
- Up to 20 GB of video storage every week
- Unlimited plays and views
- A fully customizable video player, which can include your company logo, custom outro, and more
You get all this for just $199 per year (that’s only $17 per/mo.) There are no complicated bandwidth calculations or hidden fees. Try it risk-free for 30 days. Just go to Vimeo.com/business to check it out. If you like it, you can use the promo code “Tim” to get 25% off. This is a special discount just for you guys.
QUESTION(S) OF THE DAY: What type of meditation have you tried? If you find meditation difficult, what are your barriers? Please let me know in the comments.
Scroll below for links and show notes…
Selected Links from the Episode
- Radical Acceptance and True Refuge by Tara Brach
- Learn about my previous 30-day experiment in attachment (no booze, no masturbation)
- A Path with Heart by Jack Kornfield
- When Things Fall Apart by Pema Chodron
- The Essential Rumi collected by Colman Barks
- Learn more about Minds Incorporated, the organization working to bring mindfulness to underserved communities
- The Shallows by Nicholas Carr
- Connect with Tara Brach:
Twitter | YouTube | Facebook | Tara Brach | Join her E-Mail List
- Tara Brach’s background: from planning to be a lawyer to moving into an ashram [6:52]
- On the relentless desire for self-improvement, also known as the trance of unworthiness [13:02]
- The sad turning point in the ashram [19:52]
- On arranged marriages [26:57]
- Is it possible to be a mindful hedonist? If so, is that a bad thing? [32:17]
- Exploring challenges with balancing anger, productivity, and meditation [39:52]
- Defining the egoic state [49:22]
- The foundations of a healthy meditation process [53:12]
- The angry army sergeant who learned a valuable lesson during mindfulness class [59:37]
- The first 60 to 90 minutes of Tara’s day [1:05:32]
- Deconstructing meditation: sitting positions, hand positions, and more [1:07:27]
- Skillful means and my own practice as a beginner meditator [1:23:17]
- Pros vs. cons of hiring a TM [1:26:32]
- How to use Tara’s guided meditations [1:31:42]
- Recommended books on mindfulness [1:34:57]
- Managing fear of missing out (FOMO) in the internet age [1:40:57]
- If you could have one billboard anywhere, where would it be and what would it say? [1:51:22]
- What music and/or television show would people be surprised to know Tara listens to [1:54:32]
- Favorite documentaries [1:56:12]
- What purchase of $100 or less has been most valuable? [1:57:37]
- Advice for her 30-year-old self and how that relates to her ongoing relationship with her husband [1:58:42]
- Tara Brach’s one request for the audience [2:03:42]
The Tim Ferriss Show is one of the most popular podcasts in the world with more than 900 million downloads. It has been selected for "Best of Apple Podcasts" three times, it is often the #1 interview podcast across all of Apple Podcasts, and it's been ranked #1 out of 400,000+ podcasts on many occasions. To listen to any of the past episodes for free, check out this page.
Comment Rules: Remember what Fonzie was like? Cool. That’s how we’re gonna be — cool. Critical is fine, but if you’re rude, we’ll delete your stuff. Please do not put your URL in the comment text and please use your PERSONAL name or initials and not your business name, as the latter comes off like spam. Have fun and thanks for adding to the conversation! (Thanks to Brian Oberkirch for the inspiration.)
122 Replies to “Tara Brach on Meditation and Overcoming FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) (#94)”
どうもありがとうございました! Huge Thank You for inviting Tara to your podcast. Her dharma talks and guided meditations are very powerful and cannot be recommended enough. Namaste my friend.
I’ve tried multiple methods including vipassana and mantra meditation, but not TCM. I’ve found the biggest barrier distractedness and wandering mind, with the greatest focus being from using a Wim Hof style ventilation prior to starting a mindfulness session.
Fear as what we want to avoid to feel was very interesting. Unfortunately sometimes something gets disregulated and we can’t stand the effects of fear. I would like to know more on her approach.
I was listening to this podcast as I went to walk/run beside a big river with a huge moon. Nature is relaxing and extending our sight further than the next wall helps sense problems in another dimension. I find meditation difficult. I think for those who can’t meditate putting the body in movement can help. Or doing some manual task that requires concentration.
Tell Tara Brach – “No, I do not know!”.
what does that mean?
I’ve really enjoyed these podcasts with both Jane and Tara and feel there could be some amazing collaborations stirring
Tim, thank you for being so vulnerable in this podcast. I struggle with many of the same issues you described (2nd place is first loser, not wanting to slow down to take care of my mind, etc) and your discussion with Tara was very valuable for me. So again, thank you!
On another note, you mentioned how you yearn to create an army of better learners who then go out to teach the world. Count me in as one of your soldiers.
Tara is a fascinating women.
Any person who brings Eastern philosophies to the West is A-OK in my eBook 😉
I’m writing these words from Bangkok. In about 6 hours I’ll see monks in orange robes walk up and down the streets on alms.
These men have acceptance. They offer prayers. They receive food. Not because of offering of prayers, but because the local folks give to the robe.
I find this so neat and I also have meditated for many, many years, in large part because I’ve been inspired by monks, living in SE Asia for much of the past 4 years.
Me and my wife spoke to a monk in Phnom Penh about 3 years ago. He was calm, peaceful and poised.
If the earth cracked and gobbled him up in that moment he’d have been OK with it. Can’t explain it; the energy of a devout, diligent meditator is something to behold.
We also sat for a week in a Cambodian wat in PP; no tourist deal here as my wife and I were the only non Cambodians in the lot. Amazing experience, agonizing experience, horrible experience, and beautiful experience.
That’s meditating. Those are feelings. That’s how it works 😉
As for meditation and our full potential, between sitting daily for years and using a few of your techniques for diving into my uncomfortable zone, I have written and published 98 books (eBooks and paperbacks) in 10 short months.
I have written and published 1 eBook every day over the past months.
Meditation has played a big time role in me churning out these eBooks fast. It literally dissolve mental blocks – like writer’s block – instantly, then you’re free to write.
A few months back, writing one, 7,000 word blog post week was a huge accomplishment. Now I write a short but practical tips laden, valuable, 6,000 to 7,000 word eBook every single day. Sometimes before 11 AM. Meditating has been a huge aid to me, in helping me reach my full potential.
Thanks for sharing Tim!
The concept of “inviting Mara to tea” reminds me very much of IFS (Internal Family Systems) therapy. In IFS you as Self separate and identify negative behaviors, thought patterns, ego states, etc.. as entirely separate entities from your Self and you attempt to understand why that entity takes over and causes these undesirable behaviors (while understanding that the ego states that take over and create the negative behaviors are genuinely just trying to protect you from something that it believes is going to seriously harm you).
It’s a little more complex than that, but that’s a nice simple summary if you’re interested I’d recommend Jay Earley’s “Self-Therapy” as a great primer on the subject!
two of the best podcasts ever – Tim’s and Tara’s.
Hey Tim a couple of resources that I think you’d dig:
1) “Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy” by Dr. David Burns – This is a seminal work in the field of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, which has roots in Stoicism. I am currently working with a clinic at the University of Michigan that specializes in CBT, and they teach mindfulness as as compliment. “Fear-setting” as you describe it in 4HWW, is a tool in CBT, as is “exposure” (what you call “Comfort Challenge” in 4HWW).
2) http://self-compassion.org/ – Kristen Neff, PhD’s work in self-compassion vs. self-esteem. Turns out self-compassion is a much more functional framework, and more actionable too.
The primary kind of meditation I’ve tried is simply a breathing meditation like one found on Headspace, though I usually try it without the app. I admit that I often find it hard to know if I’m truly meditating, or just sitting and relaxing. My analytical mind is hard to turn off.
Another great podcast!
Tim has really turned himself into one of the best interviewers around.
Hmm he definitely gets interesting guests although I disagree he is a good interviewer. I find every interview looks interesting at a glance but then it’s a bit tiresome to listen to only because Tim’s questions are so long-winded and trying to sound overly expressive for no reason. I love all the work he does elsewhere but its like he is always trying to impress the interviewee. Constructive criticism for him I hope.
Can’t agree with you. Tim is an amazing personality and he contributes a lot to the discussion. I always love to hear more of his thoughts on many topics he discusses with his guests. Personally I don’t feel he is trying to impress the interviewee.
To Tatyana: Nick is not talking about Tim’s personality, but about some of his skills as interviewer. If you read some comments to other podcasts, you will see that other people are also pointing that out. Tim has charisma, that’s true, so it is easy to “fell in love” with everything he says or does.
I do not sense Tim is trying to impress the interviewer. He does sometimes labour with questions, but I really like that. You can sense him thinking through the question/issue. It’s very spontaneous, very honest. I love the humanness of these interviews.
Thanks Tim and Tara.
It was refreshing to hear her talk about the trance of not being good enough. As a copywriter, I fall into that a LOT. It always feels like, no matter how well the copy performs, it could be better. And my mind tends to focus on that. Instead of focusing on how well it did do.
I also relate to the idea of wanting to “speed up” spirituality. Like, “How can I get more peaceful FAST?” Which, lol, of course makes it harder to find peace.
P.S. Going to read Radical Acceptance in the coming week.
Tim, with Poliquin, Popova, and Brach you are really providing such a treasure chest of knowledge over so many areas of life mastery – I’m so very appreciative of your work.
I had never meditated until listening to your work – I’ve been using Calm since January this year – meditating for ever increasing times (I’m now between 7-10 minutes in the morning) and it’s had a definite impact in my life. I feel less reactive, more centered, and able to deal with the day to day challenges of management and life balance. I wish I had started 10 years earlier…
On the road, I don’t travel with the headband, so I just focus on an image (a flame, etc.) and repeat a mantra. I’m not quite sure how to classify that – TM?
Great interview further explaining and simplifying the meditation process and giving us a glimpse into the life of a great teacher. Kudos and keep up the good work! Your “gold medal” aspirations are underway!
So timely. I’ve been hearing about Tara from different friends. Today saw your podcast on Twitter. Have been studying and practicing mindfulness for a while now. Thank you for this new information.
Particularly loved this one. Tara has a way of truly awakening the light in people. Tim, please take that sabbatical. You will be a better person for having done so. The world will still be here and likley look the same as when you left it.
Great podcast Tim! Love that you are delving into subjects such as meditation and mindfulness more now. I have to say although familiar with a fair amount of spiritual teachers like Eckart tolle I wasn’t aware of Tara Brach, I found her to be very insightful and refreshing. Hope to hear more along these lines in the future. Be great if you could get Eckarte Tolle on sometime as well.
Meditation: going to my third 10-day Vipassana meditation in Kyoto, Mizuho next month (also did 2003, 2004 at Mizuho in snow), also Vipassana at Pomona Australia. Eckhardt Tolle’s book Practising the Power of Now, audio and hardcover my favourite meditation book. Other favourite book Pure Heart Enlightened Mind: The Life and Letters of an Irish Zen Saint (Maura O’Halloran) only the abridged version available from Audible,
Wow that is awesome Nina 🙂 Thanks for the recommendations. Eckhardt Tolle’s book is continually coming up in my life, so I must get onto reading that.
Just wanted to say thank you to both you and Tara for your amazing podcasts. It was your episode with Maria Popova that prompted me to listen to Tara’s and I now start my day with a cup of coffee listening to Tara’s words of wisdom. It helps set me up for the day and is a much needed reminder to not get caught up in my thinking!
While listening to the podcast I couldn’t help but notice you sound as if you’re at a fork in the road, the question being do you follow your head or your heart. I’ve been there and found the following resources useful in getting a better understanding of the situation (from a spiritual growth perspective). I hope they may be of assistance to you too.
– Richard Rohr’s book “Falling Upward” (basic concept is the first half of your life fulfils the ego’s security needs, the second half deals with the soul’s calling) http://www.amazon.com/Falling-Upward-Spirituality-Halves-Life/dp/0470907754/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1438509793&sr=8-1&keywords=Richard+Rohr
– Enneagram 8 (The Challenger) growth roadmap (move towards less anger and more benevolence) https://www.enneagraminstitute.com/type-8/
– Dalai Lama and Dan Goleman book “A Force for Good” http://www.amazon.com/Force-Good-Dalai-Lamas-Vision/dp/0553394894/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1438509870&sr=8-5&keywords=Dalai+Lama
– Joseph Campbell six part interview with Bill Moyers illuminating the hero’s journey (Joseph Campbell would’ve made an awesome guest!) http://www.amazon.com/Power-Myth-25th-Anniversary/dp/B00A4E8E1O/ref=sr_1_1?s=movies-tv&ie=UTF8&qid=1438509998&sr=1-1&keywords=joseph+campbell+and+the+power+of+myth
One last thing Columbo style, a couple of quotes to ponder:
– Mark Twain “In 20 years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the things you did do. So throw off the bow lines. Sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
– Carl Jung “Life really does begin at forty. Up until then you’re just doing research.”
May the next 40 years bear the fruit of that research. Exciting stuff!
Good luck, thank you and I wish you all the very best.
I am still relatively new to meditation, but I’ve tried a few guided ones from Jack Kornfield.
One of my biggest barriers is trying to find a comfortable and proper sitting position on the floor.
Does anyone have suggestions for improving this? Or suggestions for further guided meditations beyond the ones on Tara’s site?
I won’t pretend to be a meditation expert, Mike, but I have a bad back and can relate to the problem of trying to find a comfortable sitting position (since I really can’t maintain a comfortable sitting position for any length of time). My suggestion would be not to worry too much about assuming a “proper” position. You can meditate in any position. Pick a position in which your body can rest comfortably so that it isn’t a source of distraction for the mind. Personally, I often meditate lying flat on my back, shavasana style, because this is a position in which I can rest comfortably for a while.
I’d suggest sitting in a chair while first practicing meditation and doing daily stretches for your hips, back, and side body to increase mobility. Then transition to sitting on a prop on the floor (big pilllow, yoga block, meditation bench, etc) and eventually sitting on the ground.
I lean against a wall sometimes, or mix it up with 10 mins sitting, then 10 mins laying flat on my back (& try not to fall asleep), or standing. Or start with shorter sitting periods and build it up.
I’ve put some other meditations l have found and like in a comment below.
Another one is “zencast” – I listen to it via the podcast app on my phone. Gil Fronsdal.
I sit on a chair. It works for me. just try.
I have found a kneeling stool very useful, especially for longer periods. Perhaps not great for your knees though.
Thank you all for the advice! I’ve started by using a chair and it has helped immensely. I’ll start slowly transitioning to seated positions on the floor with the use of props such as a pillow
If you want to sit comfortably for an extended period of time you need to learn how to stack your body structure.
For most Western people this is most easily accomplished using a chair. Sit on the edge of the chair with your feet and knees held together. Then pull your spine upright as if a string is suspending you from the top of your head/crown.
Then push your arms straight out in front of you from your fingertips. Take this line of tension and while maintaining this place your hands on your knees.
It will take a few sessions to get this right and in the beginning you can use a belt to hold your knees together.
Start by doing this for five minutes. Within a month you can easily do this for 30 minutes at a time. After that it just depends upon how long you want to do it for.
Hi Tim, I can’t buy your tv shows in the US iTunes store, since I am registered to the Swiss store, tried to switch to the US, does not work.
How come that it is only US available?
Any alternatives pls let me know.
Jesus Christ, it’s like everywhere I look I see Tim Ferriss talking about meditation or trying to coax the interviewee to talk about it.
We get it, meditation is important if you’re old and on your way out. I think the 20-something Tim Ferriss would suplex the current you for going on about meditation so much.
I see you, TheFourth. Let us drink tea.
well played, Bob. You were listening indeed, Grasshopper. 🙂
He discovered meditation as an amazing tool that does good not only to him, but many people in his audience. It’s the insight that “ah, if I had known this before in my life, I could have prevented so much suffering, and lived better.” He is curious, learning, and exploring it.
Why does that bother you? That would be an interesting thing to look at.
I have been committed to mindful living for about four years now, but I have always struggled to keep a regular seated meditation practice. I occasionally will have transformative 20-30 minute sessions, and I always do best when I go on retreat. But I get very caught up in the pressures of daily living
Ugh could Mara be my soulmate? He’s just always been there!
…start inviting him for wine rather than tea?
I kid but I genuinely enjoyed this; so great to share this chat between the two of you. Great minds & hearts. I’m sure to review a few more times. Thank you.
I appreciate the work that you do, and for sharing Tara’s.
But your effort is this interview Sucked.
It felt very robotic. Like following a script, and just “doing work”; accumulating another point on your scoreboard.
All performers have good and bad efforts or performances.
This one was the latter.
Might be because you performed the interview on computer? Too much caffeine? Some other change in biochemistry?
Just delivering honest feedback.
Thanks again for sharing Tara’s work though.
So, I’m a long time listener, first time caller, but I kind of felt the need to write this comment because Tim really seemed to be really — I guess this is the best phrase — “emotionally invested” in this interview. One observation I made while listening was actually a recommendation for Tim.
I appreciate your podcast, books, blog post, newsletter and everything else that has your name attached to it, but I feel if you really want to create learners that are better than you are, you should probably cut us off from the source so to speak. I remember reading the comments for one of the other podcast and someone said something like, “Can you cut the podcast down to 30 mins?”. It was kind of like they wanted cliff notes on how to be the best person possible, which sounds pretty stupid, but I think we all live like this in some form, especially nowadays. So, back to the reason I say you should stop for a while, a crutch is used to help a person learn to walk again, then they eventually get rid of the crutch and their body rebuilds the muscles to how they were or even stronger, but in this case you’re the crutch…
Aside from that, it sounds like you need a break anyway, so it’s a win/win. You get some time to chill out and we get some time to actually digest everything you’ve given us over the years (there’s a lot, so technically you could disappear for years and we’d still have plenty to take in) without feeling like we’re gonna miss out on the next “Tim Ferriss XYZ”
Just my 2cents
I agree! I have a “gap year” (taking care of my child and myself, so I don’t go to work), but still it is difficult for me to follow, to catch up with Tim. I know I don’t have to listen to EVERYTHING, to read EVERYTHING, but I still feel overwhelmed with all the new stuff he brings. Is like getting all this inspiration, but not getting the time to “digest” it all (translated from Polish, I hope you get what I mean:))
It’s pretty smile really. People need to develop their intuitive intelligence as a means to discern what to take in and what to leave out. If you approach any kind of self-improvement process from “the head” all you will do is just stack a whole heap of data into your skull, and you will be overwhelmed.
If you take a breath and relax before you decide to read or listen to something, and just tune into your gut feelings, you will know whether to dip into it or not. In particular, take note of very strong positive or negative feelings, and act on them. If the feeling is somewhere in the middle, you can probably leave it, too.
This is an innate ability we all have. It just has to be nurtured, like any form of intelligence. In other words, the volume that Tim produces is not the key point. We just have to learn to let go of what is not important for us. In the IT age this is a skill all people should be taught or which they should cultivate.
Hi Tim, excellent podcast, -again! Fear of missing out (FOMO) has been recognaized as a life skript by PhD Taibi Kahler in the seventies. There are differnt skripts for different people, FOMO, or “Always” as Taibi Kahler calls it is specific to you. I would love to get him interviewed by you in this place. You (and we) would learn so much about ourselfs and how we might sabotage our daily life under the influnce of our personals skripts.
Tim, another favorite of many podcasts from you. Some day I will interview you and ask you why you ‘salivate gamma rays like Pavlov’s dog’ — 🙂
You asked about our difficulties in meditation. As an alpha, energy-filled, go for it type of free-spirited type of guy, my meditation efforts were conflicted. My inner harmony wants were overridden by the lifelong ‘do at all costs athlete’s’ experiences. Thus, the candle, the mantra, the inner peace singularity focus simply never worked.
Enter video entrainment via biofeedback. By utilizing an on-screen goal-oriented (counter-intuitive, yes, to the eastern yogi meditative spectrum) method of mindfulness, I gained access to a new way. By biofeedback led controlled breathing, I soon was able to learn that next level of meditation. Now, I can enter a state of calm at anytime, anywhere.
What is the takeaway?
We all have our own paths to reaching greater awareness. Especially, as a long-term product of the go get’em 24×7 U.S. get-ahead mantra, we can use our technologies to meld into the peaceful states attained only by the ascetics in another time.
Frankl, Pavlov & I await….
I understand why the arranged marriage didn’t last. Hearing her explain and give context etc. With that said, and you both talk about it, it’s interesting the end of the relationship ultimately didn’t explode in a dramatic “de-coupling” of extreme feelings and emotions. I wonder if this was the case because they were both “grounded” from all their training i.e. Yogi and or Buddhism practices so on and so forth. Or is it as if removing the love, as we westerns have been brought up to see it, has somehow stabilized the whole thing right from the start; possibly as she suggested?
This seems to be a successful relationship even though the marriage ultimately ended. At least from what little context we’ve been given. Plus, I’m pretty sure it’s safe to say most relationships, which involve children, last for a very long time into the future so, you’re never quite out of the relationship with the other person even if you wanted to be. This of course by default of having a child together. There are exceptions to this rule of course e.g. where one person leaves both the partner and the child etc. but, I hope you can infer what I’m getting at. That said, this seems to be a better situation for the child over say, the parents never ever getting along again; quarreling from all the emotional pain triggered by the separation etc. I mean, if a separation is inevitable, that is.
Could we infer that an arranged marriage might be a better option for all those involved or would it be safer to say this was just one situation of two very specific humans? Maybe a little bit of both?
I also find it interesting that the marriage was arranged for a very specific reason. In this case, his citizenship. It’s curious to me that such an arranged marriage goes from, what appears to be a slightly “illegal favor”, into an actual bonafide marriage with children. She, including the spouse and the spiritual leader it would seem, somehow took what could be viewed as a very huge, multi-year spanning “favor” and turned it into a very real, possibly life long, relationship and marriage.
She is calling it an “arranged marriage” where others might have called it “marriage for citizenship” where everything was an “act” to accomplish what was needed in order to fool the authorities. This of course requires an almost marriage like situation to do from what I hear but, still, this was a full out marriage from the sounds of it; versus something to achieve the goal of citizenship only.
Did she come to terms with the whole thing, by going all in, so she wouldn’t have to feel “guilt” for possibly committing a crime? Possibly even committing a spiritual crime? Both as viewed by law and or our western programming? Both of which, at least in her own mind at the time, created a situation where she had to be all in even though she didn’t actually love him in “that way”? Or did she go all in because that is what she felt she needed to do in order to reach “true spirituality” within the ashram as she has suggested?
Anyway, I don’t suspect either of you will comment on this but, I did want to share some of the thoughts and questions that kept coming to mind while listening to that particular part of the podcast.
Headspace and Insight timer are both great apps if you are a first time meditator. Metta (loving kindness) meditation and vipassana are my favorites. Eckhardt Tolle, Jack Kornfield, and Dr. Jon Kabat Zinn all have wonderful resources. 🙂
Thank you so much for this podcast….the part about losing your edge, thats been hanging over me for a long time after an injury a few years ago made me slow down. I’ve always wondered whether that slowing down/decreasing intensity has made me lose my edge as you say…..its just comforting to hear someone discuss it in the open. Thank you!
I don’t know that my favorite meditation has a name, but I use a float tent to meditate in. You get in and it’s completely dark, you have ear plugs in to keep you from hearing outside noise and you lay in ten inches of water that’s heated to body temperature, with 800 pounds of apson salt. The most common name for this is a deprivation tank. You can’t see, hear, or feel your body, you become very very relaxed and are able to do some deep meditation. It really helps me to be more creative and clear. I have a feeling float spas are the next big trend.
oh, I tried the sense deprivation tank last week for the first time! and OMG that was challenging! although I’ve been meditating for a couple of years each day already but this new experience to be left only with your head was really weird. It took me around 20-30 min to come myself down! but by the end the moments of total silence in my mind were amazing… How was it for you? I assume with time you’d learn to really meditate in the tank.
Thanks for the brain lift! I will definitely check out Tara Brach’s work. I have been using Holosync and have received great results. I just read of Vishen Lakhiani’s experience with 40 Days of Zen and can’t wait till the day I can afford that. I appreciate you’re even trying to hack meditation!
Thanks for having this amazing guest on, Tim!
Just one point about TM (and I’m not a TMer): in my understanding, it’s not properly a concentrative practice. Quite the opposite, they emphasize that it should be an “effortless repetition” of the mantra, which is quite the opposite of a concentration meditation.
This is actually the reason I criticize their approach on my writings. I feel TM doesn’t go far, in terms of meditation technique. It’s good for developing some calmness and a good rest, but it doesn’t train the self-control and self-awareness networks of the brain as well as other practices, that emphasize the regulation of attention (either for concentration or for open monitoring).
Meditation as concentration training is essential, as it allows your attention to develop stability, subtlety, and strength. By keeping hold of an object that is neutral (like our breath), we are able to be in the eye of the storm, without losing our ground.
FOMO (1h48min). What I would say to your friend is:
“Even if that risk actualized itself, my choice is to not live under fear. I want to be a master of my work, not a slave of it. And I choose to put my peace of mind and freedom above creating more wealth. It’s a choice I make.”
Thanks Tim that was another great interview.
Here is a link one of my favourite guided meditations, I hope you all enjoy it too.
Search for “Mindful Monkey, Happy Panda” – on the Mindfulness Awareness Research Centre website http://marc.ucla.edu/body.cfm?id=107
It’s read by Diana Winston – Director of Mindfulness education at the Mindfulness Research Centre at UCLA. She has a beautiful calming voice.
Lots of love to you all,
PS. John Kabat Zinn has some fascinating and also funny lectures and guided meditations on YouTube about mindfulness.
Thanks so much for doing an interview with Tara Brach. I first heard of her when you interviewed Maria Popova from BrainPickings and was curious to learn more about Tara and her work.
I really appreciate how you allow your podcasts to be longer than most and how we can get to have a full 2 hours with someone as interesting as Tara (and others!).
Thank you! (Possible to have Michael Ellsberg in a future podcasts?)
One of the challenges I face during meditation is when a thought comes into my mind that I interpret to be a moment of clarity and I make the mistake of following that thought rather than letting it pass. I have to remind myself that meditation is not the time to pursue thoughts, no matter how important they seem at that moment.
That’s really tough! How do you do it?
An observation on the start-up sabbatical question: ask yourself, what’s the best that could happen if you *didn’t* take a start-up sabbatical? Well, you could be an early investor in a company whose share price skyrockets. But you’ve already had that happen, with Über, and now you’re here, so if you want to go someplace else you have to take a sabbatical.
Tara Brach is a treasure – her compassion, intelligence and humor made this a great listen. And as for interview style, I will take Tim’s curiosity, passion, and burning desire to learn more about his guests for himself and for us any freaking day! I also like the way he receives compliments from his guests. I look forward to listening to this repeatedly, which I will…repeatedly.
Tim, you are amazing! Tara is one of my favorite people in the world! So grateful for this opportunity to hear her personal story. Each of your podcasts is a real gem, always recommend to my friends 🙂
Tim, thanks for another great podcast! I find this one interesting in the fact that I sensed that you almost feel guilty about the thought of taking a much deserved, sabbatical. You have shared so much with the world and no doubt, improved many lives. You go at everything with such vigor and intensity that you must need one to recharge. I bet, if I had to guess, that if you did go “off the grid” for a few months, that what you would come back with would blow us all away. The reason everyone is telling you that you can’t, I think, many live vicariously through you and count on all the phenomenal content you give. Always, take care of yourself first, so you can continue to give like you always have, but you already know this 🙂
Great nuggets on meditation,
from Tim on the accomplishment and benefits of just sitting straight and breathing if everything fails,
ans from Tara from the walking meditation, need to look more into that, have a great park and river by my place were I feel great and can clearly see the benefit of meditating next by.
This podcast is a wealth of inspiration and I suspect it will be a catalyst for beneficial action. THANK YOU for creating a platform for Meisters to share thier insights. My gratitude got me thinking…whats your ask?
Tim I encourage you to attend one of Tara’s retreats. I’ve been to two of her 3-day retreats at the Kripalu center in Western Massachusetts. Those retreats have profoundly changed my life.
This was a great tangent into philosophy. I’ve always loved listening to other buddhist teachers like Jack Kornfield and Tara did not disappoint.
I try to meditate for 15-20 minutes every morning. I get in about 10 minutes on most days and I’ll get 20 minutes in usually once a week. My biggest barrier is just my tendency to want to rush and start getting work done. If I wake up late, I’m fucked. If I wake up early, that’s when I’ll go 20 min or longer.
Great podcast, I know I will re-listen over and over again 🙂
Recommend considering the advice you gave on the Vagabonding audiobook when deciding if you should take a ‘start-up hiatus.’
Tara is the best. So wise and refreshing, I am a big fan and plan on reading “Radical Acceptance”. Good questions Tim, in an always excellent podcast!
It’s interesting that what you (Tim) said you want most in life (to have many learners, etc) is already true. 🙂 (and it can keep being true.) great job bringing another fascinating and insightful guest on!
And wasn’t that so cool how she so lovingly affirmed Tim so genuinely and you could tell it really touched him. I love the real deal. People like that are luminaries. Truly.
I practice mindful awareness of the present moment, through formal sitting meditation and just remembering to connect with life as much as I can throughout the day. One of the major benefits for me has been getting a handle on my emotional life – specifically, anxiety and grief.
The lesson that thoughts and emotions pass quicker when you acknowledge and make space for them instead of trying to repress or stop them has been invaluable to me.
I spent a long time worrying about my own worthiness. The emotional self-management capabilities that I’ve developed through my meditation practice have really helped this become less of a burden.
I find meditation is easier if you drop all expectations of what it “should” be. People approach meditation with many unhelpful beliefs about what is “supposed” to happen, or how the experience should play out. Any given meditation session will be different depending on the context, the day, your life situation, the moon (!) – I’ve learned that just being curious about what happens whenever I sit and look inwards takes a lot of that pressure off.
If I have a day where my mind is on fire, I accept it as just an interesting expression of the present.
I also find, for me, a settling effect often occurs. The first period of meditation can be restless or uncomfortable, but after a period of time, my mind naturally calms – the lesson is, you can’t force your mind to settle, you just have to take a step back and it settles itself.
Tim, I have listen to (almost) all of your podcasts and this may be my favorite. There is real depth in her answers, and the topics really hit home for me. Reminds me of the last part of the Rick Rubin podcast.
I can’t get enough info about meditation, so please keep it coming! Thanks mostly to your podcasts, meditation has emerged for me as the most-promising tool to combine success, health and happiness. I can’t think of anything else as important to me.
1. Re. FOMO, does the concept include the fear of under-achieving your potential? Or it is solely tied to the fear of disconnecting from the flow/current?
2. Re. never feeling good enough, do you see that as a different concept than the “impostor syndrome”?
Tim, this podcast warmed my heart. I’m glad Tara took the time to thank you. You’ve had an incredible impact on my life by sharing your curiosities with the world. I’m learning everyday because of it.
I’ll keep it short:
How about thinking of it as… WIN or LEARN instead of WIN or LOSE.
I meditated on that same issue after reading the book RELENTLESS by Tim S Glove. I was coaching my little boys basketball team and I was studying what separates winners from losers.
This way you don’t lose an edge. You gain and edge.
Hope it helps.
Brainwave entrainment combined with the pillars of yoga have helped me take my internal and spiritual life to the next level. I incorporate a variety of mantras, mudras, and breathing techniques into my DAILY meditation practice. Modern and ancient technologies meet each other in my current practice. Awesome stuff!
I have been practicing TM for the past 4 years. What I can say? It’s life changer.
When you start to pay attention to yourself, you beging to see the changes in every aspect of your life.
So far, even though I miss some meditations, in general is very efortless.
I had several problems regarding to sleeping, concentration, focus and anger management, that is significantly changed after I started to meditate.
I am an entrepeneur in Brazil, where we deal with a huge amount of incertainties and pressure, and TM is helping me deal with everything together.
Tara’s response to your fear of losing your “edge” chimes with Peter Thiel’s mantra to be less competitive so you can be more successful.
Tim, enlightening podcast, as always. To keep this short, you give so much to your readers, your brain never shuts off, you are on a neverending quest, taking a break will not change this. Compare a sabbatical to what the benefits of meditation are, you mind needs a break to regenerate. I have no doubt if you were to go “off grid” for a few months you would come back and be ready to tackle some ridiculous new projects and share them with us all. Take the time, you only wish you could get burnout, its a fallacy where you are concerned. Thanks for all the positive changes you have contributed to my life and many others1
Great podcast. I would like to do the 40 days of 10 minute guided meditations that Tara Brach said she was gearing up to do. Do you have any further information on that? Thank you.
I enjoy your show even more than I like slaying paladins. Thanks.
Quick feedback: IMHO, the podcasts are getting WAY too long. Not to say they’re bad, but they’re too long. Shouldn’t be more than 60-90 minutes. Charles P. was like 3 hours long, Tara was 2 hours long.
I like listening to podcasts during the commute and over lunch, it it’s tough to keep up with you and the couple other podcasts I like (even having five heads).
I want a show not an audiobook.
The First and Only Chromatic Dragon
Tim and Tara – thank you. Tim, especially, for being so raw and open here: again on the couch in how you share weaknesses and issues, and where you’re at. And both – for drawing out of each other such a deep exploration, from a lay perspective, of pulling into meditation. And why.
Thanks for doing this podcast, and I was VERY impressed at your willingness to reveal intimate things about yourself. Very impressed.
I know that many things have been simultaneously discovered in different traditions or passed from one country to another, my guess is that the standing meditation that Tara described is Chinese ‘Zhan Zhuang’ standing meditation – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zhan_zhuang. There is something about standing meditation – you cannot fall asleep for one – that can aid doing certain kinds of meditation.
The scanning and relaxing and “ice to water, water to gas’ is from Taoism (Chinese), the latter is called ‘dissolving’ – a process by which you allow blockages to dissolve (physical, mental, emotional, etc.). If you are curious, http://www.amazon.com/TAO-Letting-Go-Meditation-Modern/dp/1556438087
Can you make transcripts of your interviews available. I often don’t have the time to listen to many of them but could read them pretty quickly.
Mindfulness. Can’t shut off brain. Try to let go but myind won’t cooperate
What a lovely and inspiring podcast! I was very fascinated by the way you were so open about yourself. It really help a kind of connection with the people who are going through something similar.
1. Tim, Cognitive Bahavioral Therapy and getting to the bottom of “not being good enough” (because all the things you speak about are the symptoms, not “the core”). 2. Great that you are inviting more women (or maybe it is just a coincidence?) 3. the balance between change and acceptance is an important issue in every psychotherapy (but especially with borderline patiens, look M. Linehan), 4) as to your worries: meditation is not about getting indifferent to things!
So grateful that you had Tara on the podcast! What a gift! I use her guided meditations on my Insight Timer app…on my iPhone! She’s amazing! Thanks!
Hi Tim, great interview as usual. You probably know about Insight Meditation Center in Redwood City. If you haven’t been, I think you would really enjoy the talks by Gil Fronsdal, the center’s main teacher. They also have hundreds of great talks from many different teachers available free online at http://www.audiodharma.org. We here in Long Beach are envious!
Awesome podcast Tim. Really enjoyed listening to yourself and Tara. Have downloaded all of her guided meditations and am going to read Radical Acceptance asap.
Thank you for this insightful interview, Tim, and for introducing me to Tara. I love the vulnerability and humanness of your interviews. It’s so refreshing, and a great example of how to move beyond the pretense of perfection that is implied in many interview styles. It’s very important for all of us to embrace our imperfections.
Thanks for this podcast, Tim. When you both talked of “inviting Mara to tea”, I felt peace that I have not felt in a long time.For this, I am grateful.
Just a little more about the Chinese character for busy (mang, rising tone). The left-hand radical is xin (flat tone)or heart. The right-hand radical, wang (rising tone) does indeed have a connotation with death, as Tim and Tara stated. However, if my understanding as a middling scholar of Chinese is correct, it is more commonly associated with fleeing or running away. So busy is literally running away from the heart.
Whether it is death to the heart or fleeing the heart, both interpretations have some profound meaning.
Sitting down, closing my eyes, meditating, or trying to, has never worked for me. Going for a walk, alone, in the woods, works every time, and I do it at least 3 times a week.
Great interview. The willingness to lay out struggles that we all have for thousands to hear to is refreshing. I enjoyed how Tara made the Mara talk a little therapy session for the listeners.
Tim, a potentially great interview would be Dan Harris, News Correspondent, regarding his book 10% Happier. Dan struggles with his own mind and thoughts that meditation will make him too chill and completely ineffective. He tells a hilarious story of his journey. The book is laugh out out funny and helpful.
Thank you for interviewing Tara – really enjoyed it!
I thought you might like this info from a thoughtful MD that I work with in Chicago about lyme disease:
Fantastic writings about meditation practice:
Discourses by Meher Baba
6th Edition, Volume 2, page 111 (there are 8 parts on meditation from there)
Scroll down to the 5th entry ‘Discourses 6th Edition’ & choose volume 2.
It’s all a free PDF download, being public domain.
(Vols 1 and 3 are great too but not the point of my comment 🙂
The above section, explains a depth and breadth of meditation: how, what , why, where : light years beyond what I’ve seen anywhere else. The most comprehensive,articulate,inspiring internalised explaination that is so practical , coherent, authoritative, and will be equally accesible to the hard core science rationalist or the heart swooning yogini. It’s different from Tara and Eckhart Tolle. Disclaimer: I’m an atheist and not involved with the authors work or context in any way. I just note the author never inserts themselves into the context, theres no dogma or religion,it’s designed to reach students of meditation universally, it’s offering an extremely sophisticated yet lucid perspective and deconstructs meditation into so many different components I could never imagine existed.
PS Don’t bother with Edition 7 its a posthumous tinkered-with version.
Edition 6 is last one actually by the author.
Hi, Tim Ferriss. Thanks for writing this and thanks for giving a shout-out to the wonderful Tara, and, most of all, for giving meditation a shout-out. I would like to interview you for my blog and share it with my community of almost 15K meditators, The Open Heart Project. I’m a Buddhist meditation teacher and author and my gig is to teach everyone on earth how (and why) to meditate!! Seriously!! Not looking for endorsements of any kind, just a conversation about the mysterious and awesome impact of a meditation practice. It is so much more than the life-hack du jour. It’s a path right to brilliance and so on, blah, blah, I could go on and on. If it’s possible to chat (Skype, Zoom, phone, or email, whatever is easiest) I’d love to share your thoughts on practice w my peeps. If not, no problem-o, keep rocking the unknown for the benefit of all. -Susan Piver
Hi Tim; Loving the podcasts and listening every day…sparking a personal revolution in me…
On TM…Like you I’m a practicioner but not a zealot. That said, around “attachment”, if you read just the introduction to Maharishi’s commentary on the Gita, he lays out the whole territory pretty clearly…non-attachment is one of the hallmarks of the ‘psycho-physiological’ state of integrated pure consciousness…not a mood or a discipline…
All the best to you Tim…you and your work are a total inspiration to me…
Thank you for letting us ears drop on your personal conversation with Tara. So much more than a podcast and because it was so personal it was easy to find more to learn about ourselves or myself.
What Tara Brach tells us is surprisingly the same that the temple of Set teaches too: “Unlike many schools of self-improvement that teach only to value certain parts of yourself, the Temple teaches that you must affirm and integrate all of your life history, all of your fragmented parts of soul. This radical holism calls for deep self love combined with an equally deep commitment to discipline the self. We view the whole of our pasts as important and magical, waiting to be transformed by our present actions into a future more effective and beautiful self less limited by the laws of time and space.”
thanks for sharing! one thing: i had a hard time getting everything tara said on the phone dueto the kinda bad connection. probably its easy for you nativ english guys but for me non english nativs it could be kinda hard.
Tara misrepresents TM. It is not a “concentration” technique at all. It is a “transcendental” technique. The mantra is a charming meaningless sound that allows thought to become finer and subtler and eventually become pure thought. Practice over time is not required; i meditated as effectively 20 years ago (the first time) as i did today.
Tara Brach is fantastic!! I was introduced to her work last year, but loved learning more about her experience during your Podcast. Tim, you continually impress with the people you choose to spend the time learning from. Thank you for making all of the amazing information you extract from your guests accessible to the masses. I love what you do and the integrity with which you do it.
another fantastic episode. I especially love the discussion on FOMO. If you’re curious, I found a great list by F. Scott Fitzgerald that sums up his position on thematter (full disclosure: via farnamstreet, no commercial interest). There are some real gems here:
Things to worry about:
Worry about courage
Worry about cleanliness
Worry about efficiency
Worry about horsemanship…
Things not to worry about:
Don’t worry about popular opinion
Don’t worry about dolls
Don’t worry about the past
Don’t worry about the future
Don’t worry about growing up
Don’t worry about anybody getting ahead of you
Don’t worry about triumph
Don’t worry about failure unless it comes through your own fault
Don’t worry about mosquitoes
Don’t worry about flies
Don’t worry about insects in general
Don’t worry about parents
Don’t worry about boys
Don’t worry about disappointments
Don’t worry about pleasures
Don’t worry about satisfactions
Things to think about:
What am I really aiming at?
How good am I really in comparison to my contemporaries in regard to:
(b) Do I really understand about people and am I able to get along with them?
(c) Am I trying to make my body a useful intrument or am I neglecting it?
Dennis Paul Merzel, also known as Genpo Roshi (he’s a zen priest) teaches a meditation style called ‘Big Mind.’ It’s all I do now – love it and has changed the way I think of and do meditation (I first came across it in a program called ‘Integral Life Practice.’)
PS. Thanks Tim for introducing us to these amazing people…
After listening to your interview with Tony Robbins, I’ve delved further into his courses on Strategic Intervention which also include a lot of practical strategies for meditation – he often models a strategy called ‘the Archetypes’ which shares the similar elements with the ‘Big Mind Meditation’ I mentioned above.
In both of these practices, meditation is viewed sort of as a ‘stepping into’ and ‘resting within’ psychological sub-personalities or archetypes. These both sort of side step the view of meditation as a rigorous discipline for Jedi-ninjas.
In both of these styles, the goal is to ‘step into’ a more expansive, non-dualistic view which greatly reduces boredom and effort (it’s almost as if your turning your mind to a new meditative frequency like you would turn the dial on a radio to switch stations…For example, like switching from the station of being fearful or being ‘the do-er’ into more meditative states such as being ‘the Lover’, ‘the Magician’ or ‘Big Heart-Big Mind’…I know this sounds strange but it’s a pretty liberating experience.
I’m also indebted to you for introducing me to Total Immersion swimming – my favourite way to meditate while being ‘one’ with the lakes of Saskatchewan.
Curious to see if anyone has any recommendations on how to incorporate more specialized breathing techniques into meditation practice. Any links, books, experts would be appreciated. Loved this interview with Tara.
Tim, I really enjoyed this episode. I struggle with FOMO, especially in my current state! I just quit my software engineering job to pursue writing and traveling full time. I have this nagging chatter in my head warning me of the dangers: losing my skills and a engineer, losing my life savings, having a gap in my resume. Mindfulness meditation has been a key practice to quiet this feedback loop of discursive thought. Meditation has really illuminated what is truly important in life.
[Editor: Sorry, man, but the promotional link isn’t something we allow in the comments discussion. Thanks!]
Tim you have been a divining rod for me and I commend you for showing us all the path to ultimate success – time and mobility! Thank you!
Tim, I think Tara Brach is right about giving you advice to take a sabbatical.
I dare you to get UNPLUGGED- away from all phones, txt, tweet, fb, internet, NO TV etc. and go to a remote meditation retreat for minimum 4-7 days!
Just you, NATURE and liked minded MEDITATION retreaters – obviously this is a SILENT meditation retreat so you don’t even talk while you are eating meals. Check it out see if you can handle this dare, ask Tara where she recommends you to go. I guarantee you will come back more ALIVE @ PEACE & w ZEST OF A CHILD, with more ideas! Write in your hand written notebook-journal, DOODLE & your creativity will explode to new heights! ENTERTAIN YOURSELF. Thus major for cure to anyone’s monkey mind and catapulting to the NEXT LEVEL! I do this whenever I feel a tinge of “so what else is there” & come back with intuition and a new perspective.
ENJOY your DARE if you can handle it!
DOCUMENT – JOURNAL IT SO WE CAN HEAR ABOUT IT ON A PODCAST!
Thank you for your time & consideration & GREAT PODCASTS! U R LOVED!
Peace, Love, Abundance, Prosperity, Kindness, Understanding, Joy, Grace & BLISS! 2 U ALL!
I seem to be finding all of these related threads lately….There is a theme here, me thinks…..Have you seen what Russell Brand has been up to lately? Amazing transformation. I encourage everyone to check out youtube interviews with him lately. Especially good is the Mindshift episode with Eve Ensler, but there are many. Meditation, revolution, love and being kind to all. We are all in this together….
Tim Ferriss, Thank you for this interview. I heard your interviews with Pat Flynn on his podcast, and decided to listen to some of your podcasts. I love your books. And I’ve been meditating for many years. I don’t know you personally, which makes this suggestion seem rather presumptious; nevertheless, I *highly* recommend you read The Surrender Experiment by Michael A. Singer. First, it’s a very entertaining story–a compelling account of his astonishing life, which could not have been more incredible if he had made the whole thing up. Second, it answers in a very intriguing way a question I’ve heard you ask in several interviews about the cost of losing your edge in life (I’m paraphrasing here) –Do you become complacent or less driven if you are accepting of yourself and/or of the present moment? I also was very impressed with Michael Singer’s book on meditation, The Untethered Soul. Warmly, Sarah
You do a wonderful job in introducing your followers to outstanding content. I truly value and appreciate your passion.
A funny thing happened while I was listening. I found myself getting frustrated at your line of questions as I felt you were attempting to show Tara how mindful you were. As I continued to listen I became mindful of this “negative” thought and it went away. I found it funny because I then realized only a dick would be jealous of someone else’s pursuit of mindfulness (me) and I was able to not only get immediate feedback but frame myself to enjoy your interview even more.
Keep up the great eork!
I just listened to this, two hours straight up, with a walk and some note taking, and loved it! So profound and so useful. Thank-you both for this 🙂
Thank you for your sublime podcasts. And I loved this one with Tara Brach. And what amazing perspectives she has. PS. All the best from Denmark. I heard (in another episode) that you originated from here. That is awesome 🙂 !
I would be interested in what you have to say. Unfortunately I don’t see an option for the deaf folks that can’t “listen”.
Tim, I was wondering if you’ve come across “Raja Yoga” by Swami Vivekananda, a book on Yoga meditation. He introduced Hinduism to the West in the late 19th century. The book reinforces the concept of the “divinity within” man and includes his interpretation of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras (so-called bible of Yoga meditation) – steps to achieve the superconscious state of samadhi. I think you’ll find this a very interesting read. Namaste…
Hi, when you mentioned in this episode the benefits of sitting straight with your head balanced on your neck it made me think about the Alexander technique. I was wondering if you ever pondered about posture and the benefits that a “natural” and poised posture bring to one’s health (both of the body and the mind). I would love to hear your thoughts and maybe an interview with some expert in the field 🙂
Might be a sleeper hit for most beautiful and impactful episode. Thanks Tim!
Hi Tim, I absolutely love it if you and Tara met again for the Tim Ferris show. Much gratitude to you.