“We are consciousness. You’re not your body. You have a body, but it’s not who you are. You’re certainly not your thoughts. Oh, my God. If you were your thoughts, we’d be in trouble. They keep changing anyway, one opinion to another. And you’re not your emotions. They come like the tide or the weather. So who are you? Who you are is the awareness itself that was born into this body. You are consciousness.”— Jack Kornfield
Jack Kornfield (@JackKornfield) trained as a Buddhist monk in the monasteries of Thailand, India, and Burma. He has taught meditation internationally since 1974 and is one of the key teachers to introduce Buddhist mindfulness practice to the West. Jack co-founded the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts, with fellow meditation teachers Sharon Salzberg and Joseph Goldstein and the Spirit Rock Center in Woodacre, California. Over the years, Jack has taught worldwide, led international Buddhist teacher meetings, and worked with many of the great teachers of our time. He holds a PhD in clinical psychology and is a grandfather, husband, and activist. Some of his current projects include MMTCP, a worldwide mindfulness teacher training; Cloud Sangha, a site offering access to expert mindfulness teachers online; and a positive impact Wisdom Ventures fund.
His books have been translated into 22 languages and have sold more than 1.5 million copies. They include The Wise Heart: A Guide to the Universal Teachings of Buddhist Psychology; A Path with Heart; After the Ecstasy, the Laundry; Teachings of the Buddha; The Art of Forgiveness, Lovingkindness, and Peace; Bringing Home the Dharma: Awakening Right Where You Are; and his most recent book, No Time Like the Present: Finding Freedom, Love, and Joy Right Where You Are.
Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Overcast, Podcast Addict, Pocket Casts, Castbox, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, Amazon Music, or on your favorite podcast platform. You can watch the interview on YouTube.
Brought to you by LinkedIn Jobs recruitment platform with 770M+ users, Athletic Greens all-in-one nutritional supplement, and Eight Sleep’s Pod Pro Cover sleeping solution for dynamic cooling and heating. More on all three below.
The transcript of this episode can be found here. Transcripts of all episodes can be found here.
This episode is brought to you by LinkedIn Jobs. Whether you are looking to hire now for a critical role or thinking about needs that you may have in the future, LinkedIn Jobs can help. LinkedIn screens candidates for the hard and soft skills you’re looking for and puts your job in front of candidates looking for job opportunities that match what you have to offer.
Using LinkedIn’s active community of more than 900 million professionals worldwide, LinkedIn Jobs can help you find and hire the right person faster. When your business is ready to make that next hire, find the right person with LinkedIn Jobs. And now, you can post a job for free. Just visit LinkedIn.com/Tim.
This episode is brought to you by Eight Sleep! Eight Sleep’s Pod Cover is the easiest and fastest way to sleep at the perfect temperature. It pairs dynamic cooling and heating with biometric tracking to offer the most advanced (and user-friendly) solution on the market. Simply add the Pod Cover to your current mattress and start sleeping as cool as 55°F or as hot as 110°F. It also splits your bed in half, so your partner can choose a totally different temperature.
Go to EightSleep.com/Tim and save $250 on the Eight Sleep Pod Cover. Eight Sleep currently ships within the USA, Canada, the UK, select countries in the EU, and Australia.
This episode is brought to you by Athletic Greens. I get asked all the time, “If you could use only one supplement, what would it be?” My answer is usually AG1 by Athletic Greens, my all-in-one nutritional insurance. I recommended it in The 4-Hour Body in 2010 and did not get paid to do so. I do my best with nutrient-dense meals, of course, but AG further covers my bases with vitamins, minerals, and whole-food-sourced micronutrients that support gut health and the immune system.
Right now, Athletic Greens is offering you their Vitamin D Liquid Formula free with your first subscription purchase—a vital nutrient for a strong immune system and strong bones. Visit AthleticGreens.com/Tim to claim this special offer today and receive the free Vitamin D Liquid Formula (and 5 free travel packs) with your first subscription purchase! That’s up to a one-year supply of Vitamin D as added value when you try their delicious and comprehensive all-in-one daily greens product.
Want to hear Jack Kornfield’s previous appearance on the podcast? Listen in on our conversation in which we discuss self-care during times of isolation, the four dimensions of freedom, coping with one’s own mortality, what spirituality is really about, abusing sacred medicines, what suicidal ideation is trying to teach us, underrated ways to access the mysteries around us, and much more.
What was your favorite quote or lesson from this episode? Please let me know in the comments.
SCROLL BELOW FOR LINKS AND SHOW NOTES…
SELECTED LINKS FROM THE EPISODE
- Connect with Jack Kornfield:
Website | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook
- No Time Like the Present: Finding Freedom, Love, and Joy Right Where You Are by Jack Kornfield | Amazon
- Jack Kornfield — How to Find Peace Amidst COVID-19, How to Cultivate Calm in Chaos | The Tim Ferriss Show #414
- Jack Kornfield — Finding Freedom, Love, and Joy in the Present | The Tim Ferriss Show #300
- Insight Meditation Society
- Spirit Rock
- Cloud Sangha
- Wisdom Ventures
- The Wise Heart: A Guide to the Universal Teachings of Buddhist Psychology by Jack Kornfield | Amazon
- A Path with Heart: A Guide Through the Perils and Promises of Spiritual Life by Jack Kornfield | Amazon
- After the Ecstasy, the Laundry: How the Heart Grows Wise on the Spiritual Path by Jack Kornfield | Amazon
- Teachings of the Buddha by Jack Kornfield | Amazon
- The Art of Forgiveness, Lovingkindness, and Peace by Jack Kornfield | Amazon
- Bringing Home the Dharma: Awakening Right Where You Are by Jack Kornfield | Amazon
- A Lamp in the Darkness: Illuminating the Path Through Difficult Times by Jack Kornfield | Amazon
- Audio: Loving-Kindness Meditation | Jack Kornfield
- The Healing Power of Love: Guided Meditation with Jack Kornfield | Sounds True
- In a Politically Polarized Era, Sharp Divides in Both Partisan Coalitions | Pew Research Center
- Notable Quotations | Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn Center
- Don’t Worry, Be Angry: Anger in Buddhism | Tricycle: The Buddhist Review
- The Demon Mara, Who Challenged the Buddha | Learn Religions
- Reichian Psychotherapy | Therapedia
- Querencia | Wikipedia
- My Healing Journey After Childhood Abuse (Includes Extensive Resource List) | The Tim Ferriss Show #464
- Hypervigilance Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment | Healthline
- Mental Health Care Needs in US and 10 Other High-Income Countries | Commonwealth Fund
- “Trip of Compassion” — The Most Compelling Movie I’ve Seen In The Last Year | Tim Ferriss
- Titanic Lifeboats | Titanic Facts
- What Is a Bodhisattva? | Tricycle
- March For Our Lives
- DC Choir Sings with Jennifer Hudson, ‘The Times They Are a Changin’ at March for Our Lives Rally | WUSA9
- The 80/20 Principle: The Secret to Achieving More with Less by Richard Koch | Amazon
- Thinking Like a Mountain: Towards a Council of All Beings by John Seed, Joanna Macy, Pat Fleming, and Arne Naess | Amazon
- The Council of All Beings | The Rainforest Information Center
- We Are the Ones We Have Been Waiting For: Inner Light in a Time of Darkness by Alice Walker | Amazon
- United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 3-14 June 1992 | United Nations
- The Paris Agreement | UNFCCC
- How Was Avogadro’s Number Determined? | Scientific American
- Estimations: Your Breath and Julius Caesar’s | Futurism
- Out-of-Body Experience: What’s Really Happening? | Healthline
- A Brief For The Defense by Jack Gilbert | The Sun Magazine
- The Grateful Dead
- Always Running: La Vida Loca: Gang Days in L.A. by Luis J. Rodriguez | Amazon
- Embrace Joy as a Moral Obligation | ieatyoumama
- The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World by Dalai Lama, Desmond Tutu, and Douglas Carlton Abrams | Amazon
- Mission: JOY — Finding Happiness in Troubled Times | Prime Video
- Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers by Tim Ferriss | Amazon
- A Meditation on Loving-Kindness | Jack Kornfield
- Thich Nhat Hanh on Walking Meditation | Lion’s Roar
- [07:15] Apathy and polarization
- [08:44] Truth beneath anger
- [22:40] Ajahn Chah and contractor-ese
- [26:25] Retuning the tone of rage
- [33:24] Coping with trauma-induced hypervigilance
- [41:01] Making group therapeutic models work
- [47:15] In any effort to make the world better, put on your oxygen mask first
- [53:19] How can an aspiring Bodhisattva cut through widespread disengagement and apathy?
- [1:03:57] Thich Nhat Hanh and death
- [1:15:06] Out-of-body experiences
- [1:19:40] “A Brief for the Defense”
- [1:27:12] A guided meditation for recapturing the adventure and joy of childhood
- [1:38:47] The benefits of loving-kindness meditation
- [1:47:56] “Last year, foolish monk. This year, no change.”
MORE GUEST QUOTES FROM THE INTERVIEW
“We resonate with one another. It’s not a complicated thing. You could call it mystical, but if you put a violin on the table and somebody else plays a violin nearby, the strings of both of them will resonate.”
— Jack Kornfield
“If you really look, underneath anger is hurt or fear or some kind of humiliation where you feel like you’ve been disrespected.”
— Jack Kornfield
“I choose to be on the deck of the Titanic, and I’ll help people in the lifeboats.”
— Jack Kornfield
“We are consciousness. You’re not your body. You have a body, but it’s not who you are. You’re certainly not your thoughts. Oh, my God. If you were your thoughts, we’d be in trouble. They keep changing anyway, one opinion to another. And you’re not your emotions. They come like the tide or the weather. So who are you? Who you are is the awareness itself that was born into this body. You are consciousness.”
— Jack Kornfield
“There’s an enviable spirit in children.”
— Jack Kornfield
“We can’t bear our insecurity and we can’t bear the fact that we’re vulnerable in certain ways and that what’s out there is also part of us.”
— Jack Kornfield
“Meditation is not supposed to be a grim duty but rather more an act of adventure and understanding of opening the mind and heart and bringing a sense of well-being.”
— Jack Kornfield
- Sharon Salzberg
- Joseph Goldstein
- James Baldwin
- Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
- The Kornfield Brothers
- Ajahn Chah
- Wilhelm Reich
- Sigmund Freud
- Thich Nhat Hanh
- Dalai Lama
- Benjamin Franklin
- Abraham Lincoln
- Oscar Wilde
- Michael Meade
- Luis Rodriguez
- Trudy Goodman Kornfield
- Vivek Murthy
- Jiddu Krishnamurti
- Wade Davis
- Jennifer Hudson
- Bob Dylan
- Joanna Macy
- John Seed
- Alice Walker
- Miss Piggy
- Christiana Figueres
- Julius Caesar
- Mahatma Gandhi
- Mother Teresa
- Vladimir Putin
- Joseph Stalin
- Ram Dass
- Jack Gilbert
- Jalal al-Din Rumi
- Li Po
- Gavin Newsom
- André Gide
- Desmond Tutu
- Ryōkan Taigu
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.)
9 Replies to “Jack Kornfield — How to Overcome Apathy and Find Beautiful Purpose (#601)”
On this podcast with Jack Kornfield you spoke of the crucial need for better science around group-based psychedelic-assisted therapy. My PhD–to be defended on August 5–looks at just that from a sociological perspective. I have studied this form of therapy, and undergone an ethnography of a psychedelic-assisted group therapy retreat, for people with chronic, treatment-resistant mental distress and PTSD–particularly women who have experienced sexual trauma. I also have recently received a position at a research university in New York, where I will be crafting a state-of-the-art Psychedelic Cultures course. I’d love to get the information out on this recent study I did, and speak to you about the future of group-based psychedelic therapy.
This sounds very interesting! Are there any links you could share?
Thank you, my friend. Check this out – an interview I did with Psychology Today.
Thank you for your work and this podcast.
Not to be a nitpicker, and while a child’s spirit is an ENVIABLE thing, I think the word Jack used was INVIOLABLE.
Hi, JW. And thank you for your comment and careful listen. Here Jack meant inviolable as unassailable. But we agree a child’s spirit is also enviable!
Team Tim Ferriss
Tim, thank you for once again raising the issue of climate change on your podcast. It used to drive me crazy to listen to your interviews with people like Matt Mullenweg extolling international travel without ever addressing the costs to the environment. Don’t get me wrong, I like Matt and really enjoy the interviews with him and I too really like to get on a plane and go see family or friends, but it would make me tear my hair out and scream, “At least acknowledge the carbon footprint of these activities!”
I’ve always respected you and your work, but this was always a bit of a sticking point and I’m just so happy to see someone with your massive platform bringing these issues to the fore.
Also, you mentioned how this leads you to anger. It would be great to interview Jay Butera of Citizens Climate Lobby. He is an inspiring figure who worked four years to get the first Republican in Congress to join the Climate Solutions Caucus, only to fail at the last minute. He rolled up his sleeves and spent another three years slowly, politely, graciously and steadfastly working until he finally succeeded. Seven years to score his first point as it were. Super inspiring guy. I would love to hear an interview.
Thanks for all you do.
Thanks for this podcast Tim.
If you or other listeners are interested in therapies that are partly aimed at processing anger/grief, check out Intensive Short-Term Dynamic Psychotherapy (ISTDP).
Hi Tim, I’m a big fan. Thank you for another interview with Jack (my favourite meditation teacher). I have a question. I’d like to get your approval before I publish a YouTube video, which I’m sure will help grow your fan-base. It will be of great benefit to the visitors of my meditation website and will help a lot of people.
I’ve researched your podcast and found 19 episodes that include good pieces on meditation. From each episode, I’ve taken several soundbites and made what I call a soundbite mix. The video contains focused, very valuable information on meditation.
I created the soundbite mix to embed in my two websites; one on meditation and one on the mystery of life.
The soundbite mix is on my YouTube channel, but it’s in an ‘Unlisted’ state (only people with the link can watch it). I’d like to get your approval before I change the status to ‘Public’. In the title and description, I give you credit with links to your website. The description lists the 19 episodes with links to the full interviews.
Can I send you a link (or place it here), so you can listen to the soundbite mix?
After that I’d like to ask if I can please go ahead and make it public?
(I split the soundbite mix into two 57min YouTube videos)
Hi, Keith –
Thank you for asking for permission before republishing Tim’s copyrighted content. As a general rule, Tim does not grant anyone permission to republish any of his works, including his podcasts, and we regularly submit takedown requests to YouTube where we see obvious copyright infringement. As we are not attorneys, we cannot advise you on usage beyond that, so we recommend that you consult a copyright attorney before proceeding further.
Team Tim Ferriss