Jack Kornfield — How to Reduce Anxiety and Polish the Lens of Consciousness (#684)

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“Can you be in this world and can you love it with all its imperfections? And can you bring that spirit of care and love in the middle of what’s tragic and what’s beautiful? That’s a liberated heart.”

— 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 have introduced Buddhist mindfulness practice to the West. 

Jack co-founded the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts, with Sharon Salzberg and Joseph Goldstein, and Spirit Rock Center in Woodacre, California. Current projects include The Mindfulness Meditation Teacher Certification Program, which has trained 7,000 mindfulness teachers in 75 countries, and Wisdom Ventures, a fund investing in companies that promote compassion.

His books have been translated into 22 languages and sold 2 million copies. They include The Wise Heart: A Guide to the Universal Teachings of Buddhist PsychologyA Path with HeartAfter the Ecstasy, the LaundryBuddha’s Little Instruction BookThe Art of Forgiveness, Lovingkindness, and Peace; and his most recent book, No Time Like the Present: Finding Freedom, Love, and Joy Right Where You Are.

Jack is also co-founder of Cloud Sangha, which offers a free, quick mindfulness test to gauge your mindfulness levels. Cloud Sangha is a conscious online community that brings people together to create meaningful human connections and integrate mindfulness into everyday life.

Please enjoy!

Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Overcast, Podcast Addict, Pocket Casts, Castbox, Google Podcasts, Amazon Musicor on your favorite podcast platform.

Brought to you by Shopify global commerce platform providing tools to start, grow, market, and manage a retail business; AG1 all-in-one nutritional supplement; and LMNT electrolyte supplement.

The transcript of this episode can be found here. Transcripts of all episodes can be found here.

#684: Jack Kornfield — How to Reduce Anxiety and Polish the Lens of Consciousness

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Want to hear Jack Kornfield’s previous interview on the podcast? Have a listen to our conversation in which we discuss apathy and polarization, truth beneath anger, contractor-ese, retuning the tone of rage, coping with trauma-induced hypervigilance, out-of-body experiences, guided meditation for recapturing the adventure and joy of childhood, and much more.

#601: Jack Kornfield — How to Overcome Apathy and Find Beautiful Purpose

What was your favorite quote or lesson from this episode? Please let me know in the comments.



  • Connect with Jack Kornfield:

Website | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook


  • [07:47] Stan Grof.
  • [14:53] Yogic swoons and anesthetic autopiloting.
  • [18:28] What’s the point of consciousness?
  • [25:47] A big story or no story at all?
  • [31:44] The Cosmic Game.
  • [34:56] How would the Buddha deal with anxiety?
  • [43:50] The stories anxiety tells.
  • [46:41] Mystics and the mystery.
  • [52:04] Jhana practice and the dimensions of meditation.
  • [57:23] Achieving altered states: a matter of confidence or capacity?
  • [1:01:30] What is love?
  • [1:09:54] Wise guys.
  • [1:12:49] Reliably eliciting the non-self.
  • [1:14:35] Sifting out the charlatans.
  • [1:15:27] Atisha’s instructions.
  • [1:19:56] Cultivating a more joyful mind.
  • [1:24:27] Living “social, not solo” and Cloud Sangha.
  • [1:31:51] Ram Dass flunking the course.
  • [1:41:23] Connection, climate, and justice.
  • [1:48:40] Parting thoughts.
  • [1:50:43] Loving-kindness meditation.


“If we’re actually to become wise, we need to direct our attention to body, to emotions, to relationships, to thought. We actually need to become wise in those major dimensions of our life. And we can’t expect that of people just because they have a certain title or robe or anything else.”
— Jack Kornfield

“Can you be in this world and can you love it with all its imperfections? And can you bring that spirit of care and love in the middle of what’s tragic and what’s beautiful? That’s a liberated heart.”
— Jack Kornfield

“People think spiritual life is a grim duty. … It’s not meant to be a grim duty. If you don’t have some joy and pleasure in it, that’s the wrong direction, maybe. It’s really an invitation to quiet and calm, to bring in care and compassion, and to find a joy.”
— Jack Kornfield

“You don’t have to fix the whole world, but you can reach and mend the places that you can touch.”
— Jack Kornfield


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.

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6 Replies to “Jack Kornfield — How to Reduce Anxiety and Polish the Lens of Consciousness (#684)”

  1. I’m commenting on the latest 5-Bullet Friday (7-25-2023). I absolutely loved the book excerpt. “Licking honey off a razor,” is my new favorite wisdom nugget. Thank you.

    I’m commenting on that bullet here because I quit Twitter a while back. I encourage you to take the lead and do the same. Your followers will follow you to another platform. Have a great weekend!

  2. I really appreciated the portion on Anxiety and “A conversation with the Heart.” I had a TBI a few years ago and can “fake” normal for a long time, but am not healing well anymore and even regressing at times due to a high stress, long hours career. The story in my head and my ultimate fear is losing my job and becoming a burden on my family. I would like to ask if there are any podcasts specifically about TBIs? If not, is one on the radar or can you add TBI to the list? And/or related topics of Sound Healing and how frequency and wavelengths interact with the mind/heart connection would be of great interest as well. Thank you for reading this and considering TBI as a main topic in the future. P.S. I listened to this episode twice 🙂

  3. On your comment about not getting a satisfactory definition of Enlightenment (or better “Awakening,” if you haven’t read it, I think you would really like chapter 23 (“Enlightenments”) in Jack Kornfield’s book “Bringing Home the Dharma” (2011) and/or his Heart Wisdom with Jack Kornfield podcast episode on this topic, “Ep. 141 – How and Why We Become Enlightened.” Also good: “The End of Your World: Uncensored Straight Talk on the Nature of Enlightenment” by Adyashanti (2004) and “”Waking Up: Over 30 Perspectives on Spiritual Awakening–What Does It Really Mean?” [Moderator: Link removed.]

  4. Hi Tim,

    I absolutely love your podcast and can sincerely say that listening to you over the last few years opened my mind towards the spiritual path and changed my life. After listening to your interviews with Jack Kornfield, Sam Harris, Tara Brach, amongst many others, I ended up leaving my job in private equity in London to start my own company close to my and my wife’s family.

    I am hyper-competitive and hyper-productivity focused, and notice many of the same struggles in myself that you mention for yourself. While variety is important, every morning I listen to Joseph Goldstein’s Path of Insight talks on Sam Harris’ Waking Up app, and they have been very helpful for me.

    It would be an incredible gift for me and others like me (and hopefully you as well!) if you had Joseph Goldstein on the show to help answer some of your questions on spirituality. Like Jack Kornfield, he has so much experience and wisdom, and I think you have the unique talent to bring out the most wisdom.

    Love your show and really appreciate everything you do.