« Ten Percent Happier with Dan Harris

#136: Sally Kohn, 'We Need to Fix Hate'

2018-05-23
It was around the time she decided to go on her second meditation retreat that Sally Kohn, a gay, Jewish, community organizer turned political commentator, took a job as a commentator for Fox News. In her TV career -- she's now a commentator for CNN -- Kohn has experienced hateful personal attacks from online trolls and recently faced some backlash over her first book, "The Opposite of Hate: A Field Guide To Repairing Our Humanity," but with her book she has lead a conversation around finding compassion for those who trumpet hate.
This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
For maybe see the ten percent happier vodka in her big eyes, guess this week she was a liberal commentator who worked on Fox NEWS, and she talks about her experience of doing that. and also how meditation did or did not help. During that process. You got a new book about how mean we are to each other in and ways to fix that so we'll get to harness again? First, though, one item of bids, since then, some phone calls the business. Is that if you like what we do not hear the Pike S bed at the attempts and happier app were actually hiring in our Boston office, so we're looking for a software developer, digital marketer and content producers. So you can apply at jobs that ten percent happier dotcom are less use of uncles down.
My name is Percy. I'm really your second book and I came across that sexual mad. When death tells you that you, enjoy your back. Does not only do it because you have to. I ate a kind of related a lot with that, because I think I do less well I'd. Do it mostly because I know it's good and I know from the benefits- and I wanna commit myself- administered because I enjoy it. So I wanted to ask you if I, what have you learned since then and if it has helped enjoy more your practice other than just do it for the benefit? Thank you Great question were so similar, Amelia you're, absolutely right. So there's this point in my second book were, which is called meditation for fidgety sceptics in it. So this road trip by did across
the country with this amazing meditation, teacher, Jeff Warren and the goal of the tree- It was their help. People want to meditate, but aren't meditating get over the hump and actually do it, and during the eleven days and eighteen states and this- ten can, as we travelled across Amerika this silly. But that we rented a Jeff notice about my practice, which is that it had a kind of eat your vegetables grit, your teeth, quality to it there I was doing it as the collar said, because I didn't. I know it's good for me, but I was I was really enjoying it, and that was it bullying and as quite a humbling. Thank you have pointed out. I think you are absolutely right about that. so. This issue of enjoying meditation is a tricky one, though, because it's not a if you'd If you demand of yourself that you enjoy it, it's likely
any you go into meditation planning, or striving to feel a certain way this guarantees that you won't feel that way. It's like it's a classic, classical hindrance rights. If you do demand of yourself leave your relaxed or com. It's because the goal It is really to feel whatever you're feeling clearly so that your feelings generally don't own you that's what we're train it's one of the many skills that we're training in meditation, but it is possible, as Jeff pointed out too, to just note is that There are sensations about irritation that are, I think he says, uses the term just like a hare north of neutral. You know just like just into pleasant territory just fact that you're feeling your breath coming in in going out can have some pleasant qualities to it. You don't need a ford
said, but you can tune into it that that doesn't in that you're never gonna have unpleasant situations in your meditation. Why just evacuate before I recorded this podcast introduction, I did some meditation a mile I said here it ABC News and I were I notice. I was just kind of rushing rushing rushing in thinking about this article that I just read, and so that was a little bit unplug The point is just to make anything: it's unpleasant to force it to be pleasant. Just to open to the fact there are moments when it is pleasant, just to be kind of take yourself out of the traffic of daily life and to sit quietly for a few minutes and said that actually real just having have pointed out to me really changed things and I'll just add one other thing that Jeff pointed out giving a long answer here, but there's a lot to sadness. Jeff pointed out that dead, I think he said in my case. A lot of my struggle is that I I was getting
really angry at myself for getting distracted in meditation, because I, of course I tell everybody all the time you know getting distracted and starting again is meditation if you sit and meditated notice, you're getting distracted, undying consistently, just return your attention till your breath whatever it is you ve chosen as your object of concentration, that is medicine Do you not doing the wrong you're doing a right? Of course, I'm a huge hypocrite. I tell you let all the time, but in my own practice that I would of course was and, to a certain extent, still continue to beat myself up a lot for getting distracted and Jeff help me do this. What what's with got me. A first is a really goofy thing of kind of naming the various. If, if you look closely they're they're, probably five, there? Six inner programme comes inner voices that into ain't dead. Distract you the most, you know for me. It's like. I have a planner. I have anger,
I have something to think about work. I have somebody who's kind of What am I other little in her voice disabilities? Rushing somebody who, why stuff, and so, if you over I am you can kind of like give these goofy little names to the two you're in neurotic programmes and greet them? with a nice little salutation, their Jeff recommends, which is welcome to the party which overtime just if used a lot of sunlight into my practice, it do it turned from being this kind of grim baton, death March into who something a little bit more cheerful, where ok, yeah getting interrupted is inevitable, and seeing that you ve got these little sort of inner voices. We ve got the in this. Not schizophrenia talked about this. We have these little modes that we go in do you know sometimes planning for the future, sometimes think about our careers, sometimes anger at,
whatever it is, it might be a provoking some sort of inner fury and to be. Like, oh hey. I know you what's going on working to the party then back to the breath, state of when you see that you ve become distracted emit. ITALY reverting to self regulation so anyway, those two tactics, one just being open to the fact that there may be sending pleasant about this act of meditation and too, sort, identifying, naming and greeting with welcome to the party, whatever whatever inner voice has popped up of that
please help me enjoy my meditation practice a lot more. So thank you for pointing that out. Here's call. Never to her there nor Cindy from Crete around with a question. I recall here in Europe on either your podcast somewhere, or you mentioned that at the end of every meditation. You had this little saying that you either say out loud or to yourself, and I believe, registered Edward FEAR open up your heart to the world, and I remember the words really nice and I think you know he thought it was a little corny but you'd like to do it, and I would love to know what those words are, because I've been trying to do that as a part of my practice that the Edinburgh meditation just opening my heart to the world, and if you could repeat those words that you you to us. I was just what they hear them things then I just keep up all the great work love you bypassed by. Thank you and let's just acknowledged, who were were firmly into cheesy serbian territory here. But
say this is at the anti sentimentalists. Herr science. I suggest this kind of training. works in that it makes happier healthier people and also that it it may a may, make nicer people too. So am I wait being nice renounced for your benefit, so it can create a virtual cycle cycles allocated answer your actual question. So there's a thing that I deserve a classical buddhist phrase that I do say to myself at the beginning of every meditation which is may all beings everywhere be free from suffering, which is super aspirational and probably impossible, but I I like it because can oppose me out of my selfish concerns, and I just find that it creates. better in her, whether through whatever meditation experiences are about to ensue
and then at the end, this culture comes from. A classical move has been, it's been done in meditation for circles for a long time, but it was first. amended to me by the aforementioned Jeff, worn, meditation, teacher and co author of meditation for fidgety sceptics, which is its call the dedication of merit and again these are classical buddhist terms. You can call it whatever you want, but I'm just using you think the terms, the term of art, the terms of art, dedication and married, which is that you basically save yourself. You know any anything positive there. may have been generated in these two, and it's of sitting in these three minutes of sitting or, however long you been sitting, I give it away to everybody. You know you might be safe to all beings which again is a little cheesy, but it is just kind of the way we Buddhists talk
you bet you can. You are free to language it. However, you want to make it palatable and yes, oh, I find his struggle a little bit with the that one, because I was part of me this office. Pardon me, which is frankly most of me, wants to keep whatever benefits of accrued. As a consequence of doing the work. I've just done, but actually I do find that it's a useful exercise to try to generate the wish to you know just away way, whatever whatever the benefits are. So there you go I didn't issue this time my usual caveat, which is I'm not a meditation teacher or a mental health expert. I just answer these questions to the best of my ability, but there it is. That is the caveat it was worth saying nobody makes me that say that, but I just can't feel like it's worth saying. I love me. Get it over to Sally Cone. who is a liberal political common hate her she's, a community organizer
You may have seen her in her years when she was a regular contributor at the Fox NEWS Channel, which is kind of interesting assignment and she's gonna talk about what that was like It is also a meditate her by her own description kind of off. on and she's written a book called the opposite of hate which is, as the title might suggest, a look that's how we are talking to the and feeling about each other in America these days in ways that maybe we can. I can I shaved edges off of our toxic tribalism and political polarisation she's an interesting person to to be making. these arguments worth noting that if you, if, if you followed her story of late there's been some controversy over this book about an alleged, Miss holding of another activist and podcast host we'll get into that the end of the interview, but she's lot interesting things to say in a very interesting personal stuff,
you're so here she is Sally, come thank you for coming up. thanks for having to meet you, have we not actually met before have I don't know why. My if we must have been if we had a jerk our debts, You mean, I don't remember either, but I'm just assuming at some new no thing with past orders or like just cause we're both part of the media elite in yes, I got one we're getting our media elite, badges and secretly. he talking smoke filled mass yes you're there who is so smoky. I recognise that was it nice to see you again levy somewhere. We beyond my pleasure, MR, were always start, which is lament meditation. How did you how? Why did you get interested in it? We we literally spend the entire time. Just talking about my experience of meditation retreats. I have done one and a half meditation rates
this story here yeah, so you know the timing here, as is the first one, must have been around two thousand and eight or Two thousand not no movement does not, and I went to Like meditation society, also, central messages and I'll be darned. If I remember exactly why Hey I thought this was you know I had a cloud I thought it would be a good idea to unite who has been a high strong person with a lot going on. In my mind, I'd been introduced to meditation by a friend. I did that thing that I say, people do where you get us just think of this is that I found it a grab onto it so tightly in there a dive in way too deep. So I did like why meditation class in an afternoon, and you know that night signed up for a week, long silent, meditation, retreat
now and so well, I am actually arrived at in submitted society. You had been meditating for how long I'm gonna go with like a handful of makes me. You know you have to sign up for the clatter minutes, yet we the wait a little while so, but I You know I've done what, like all you, know, good Bruges. rose. Do I bought cushion, though I incense why I probably had some insights. I do not like patchouli look at me- I bought some like I'd- never really been into the ass. It was called at leisure where then, but you know I had to yes, I'm sure I had a but whatever I was. I was kid it up, and so I went to the scientific meditation. Retreat was a women's retreat at insight, meditation society, and it was one of the hardest most rewarding things were done.
Hence down, so you made it through that one I'm had made it through that had the half one does not have when I made it through that one, it. I I mean, I remember so many moments from it and just the idea of learning to slow down to be present in your experience with others in the world around you I remember noticing how I would have all, opinions and impressions about things. Even in the silence how my mind was trying to make noise in silence but especially what I remember is one. Teachers, saying during one of the dogma talks talking about learning, to make friends with her mind
but how her mind had for so long in her life been her enemy and that she could cultivate a relationship with her mind through meditation and present some loving kindness, and that she could that her mind could be her friend and that it had been one of them. You know ten most impact full moments in my life would feel a bit more. But what was going on for you that that your hair got lit on fire so easily. after that first meditation class? You know I was at a point professionally, where I was going through some transition side been a community organizer for fifteen years. I loved my work I traveled around the country was. Let me help you. Bomb- was a community organizer and took a lack of for what is, in my case,
I worked for a bunch of national organizations that we're trying to help people in their communities make change on a range of issues, so was ultra BT, Q rights, criminal justice policy, immigration or form health care policy, and I would travel around and go into local communities and work with state level groups trying to make a difference, help them support them, what they were trying to do and help them strategize and take action and try to win, and I I love my work. I love what I did it you know, I still my mind. In my mind of stolen organizer, Two thousand, not in I ended up leaving organizing through sort of a twist of two fates. One was that I was at a conference. Someone saw me speak.
And they said afterwards the commitments that we have to get you on television, and I said no, we do not look. I don't that's not me like this now to do, I'm and organizer were behind the scenes. People we put here. We try to get the people who are actually affected by the issues that leaders in communities get them in the spotlight on the stage and I turned to walk away and check should grab my arm. She said now, you're gonna, do they shouldn't be good at it Her name was Geraldine Labour. Anxious the ferocious Jerry Laboratory was the first woman to run a network. She ran out again and she and opera started oxygen and she did not take no for an answer, and so that began this sort of transition. For me, or at least Leslie S out. Ok, I'm gonna be an organized new skills and bring him back to organizing, and then I eventually realized I liked I liked being me. I liked having the opportunity to communicate and convey ideas and energize and engage people, and it was a lot like organizing was just more people, bigger stage,
but also I was starting to feel disenchanted with the work that I done for so much of my career and when the field that I've been a part of she's in the early days of the Obama administration, watching what is that So many of the movements in the social movements and organisations that I've been a part of that pushed for that moment, including his election, then in the early days of the Obama administration kind of disengage they. This is partly the alarm at ministerial meetings, deliberate strategy to disengage, just demobilized the left, but the left also kind of saying I write the school he's got it he's gonna. Do the right thing. We don't need to push. We don't need to agitate me more than I can make trouble working at a scarf sitting
Wait for the right thing to happen. It didn't, and it was later in the in the second term, when the left actually realise it had push and create trouble and and create the space for change to happen that it was able to. Ah, but I was at the time, very frustrated, and so in those in the space between those things, I was really the figure myself out and what my role is gonna, be in the world and that's why meditate you thought meditation would help you serve cut through the noise level that, yes, we had. You gonna work for Fox at this point. No, so this this was before that it was an end. You said it was so powerful to hear somebody said it did they ve been at war with IRAN, mind the meditation teacher he had that allow retreat to the wedding In what ways had you been a war? We are online Dan, I mean you know Neurotic EAST Coast
Jus with you know penchant for being hard on myself I mean we have. We have enough time to talk about is much I've been a war with my mind, but the idea that what it when it was was the idea that that was inevitable have to be that way that my mind didn't have to be you know this sort of independent, uncontrolled entity of that would wreak whatever have it gets off. You know it's saw due course to do and I would just back, then I as somehow an independent entity would have to run spawned and relate in the to that reality. The idea that actually there is something that I could do to quiet my mind, be more present to be more at peace. That was a very specially for me. At that time I mean what was I in to them
The nine I was you know in my earlier, only my late twenties, that was a really powerful revelation for me- has your life then an uninterrupted chain of my on this, has yours? Oh yes, yes, I'm in London, Well, I mean I'd see all the perfect uniforms unicorns around. HU, the Hudson, the Holy WAR was your or of barking unicorns, while I'm, as someone already made that into like at least, if not a and an immigrant LISA gaff right. That should be a gift of your head. I hello, internet, dear internet. Please make that a hum the actively barford unicorns. No, you know I love that retreat and went home and was for a while for some time very dedicated to a meditation practice every day
ten fifteen minutes a day and too HU. The idea I became, but also helped in still in me, an idea that helped Thus it organised my sip it maids, sense of my understanding of the world and helped to start to frame my place in it in terms of loving kindness practice and am or met a practice that that, for me, was the other, I'm not unrelated to the point about your mind, being your friend is and can your mind and yourself also then be practice, loving kindness to others into the world that helps frame what I had seen myself. As do what I've been trying to do in the world through organizing work and activism, can social justice work and it helped me too. I think it is in a way
We, I wasn't conscious of it at the time, but it lead to what I would end up becoming more more cognizant of ass time went on low wages, define terms for folks, I think only of regular list. Mrs pack, s will know well understand everything you just said, but if your new within school of Buddhism that you that I am ass, incite meditation society comes out of within at school there directly teach, the principally they teach you to a complimentary practices. One is called mindfulness or insight where you sit watch your breath when you get distracted start again and that give you some more clarity. about your mental processes, so that you're not owned by them and then the other is called met. Emmy TT, a US and I've got loving kindness meditation where you systematically envision a series of bees. starting, usually classically with yourself progressed to
dear friend, a benefactor, neutral people, difficult people than all people all beings and you send them good vibes. You silently repeat these phrases like may be happy, you, may be healthy, etc, etc. There, science to suggest both these are really healthy yeah a practices, but you? U, it sounds to me like you, the latter really spoke to you in some way. While I mean you, I think you should be clarifying this because, like the former, just mindfulness in general was to me a helpful work. It was a was a revelation right and even still, when I catch my myself thinking too fast or speaking too fast or moving too fast, I can go back to catch mice. I can catch myself. Go back to my breath. Tried a slow down, try to observe, try to be present and not just pushing and putting into the world.
but taking in and noticing. So in that sense, if it continues to be a mean, it's MA am I think, I'm does anyone think they're good meditate, her I'm wearing one. People say there yeah, I'm I'm quite sure on a crappy met a lawyer. The point actually is to be crappy earnestly believe the pointed to be crappy because well then, I'm really got any more elegant, because seeing that your distracted, seeing that retracted is the point of meditation, yes because then you're, seeing how crazy war and therefore the crazy in your craziness has less ownership over you less purchase of your actions, and so that is the point that very Hartford Taipei. I too am in EAST Coast neurotic. and so it very hard for you, like us or really frankly, for anybody to to wrap their head around that. But that is the thing to know
well and in a note to me it ended up organizing just a whole universe of thought. Around cognitive behavioral therapy. Dialectical behavioral therapy just this idea that, rather than that, when there are thoughts or ideas that are I'm health use even the wrong word here that you might consider to be negative destructive, whether about yourself, whether about those around you, whether about just news in the world that you that is sad, unfortunate, painful negative that a you know I think I'd been raised. I suppose many of us are raised consciously or unconsciously to push those thoughts way and
that never worked, never worked mild doesn't works, workable right, and so what I found so potent in a way. It was the idea that you that that that they become less powerful, went away by accepting them, they don't that it's the struggle to push them away, that your urea, somehow feeding those ideas, whether there about yourself about others about the world, and that way by accepting theirs I didn't know that to me was a hum that without will that remains when I, when I really think about that concept at stats, transformative, thats, really powerful, you describe it well now it led to The problem I had at the second reach will that wherever there, where I was gonna, go and how much, how long after the first retreat was the second one, oh
about two years later, ok an app harry. You were meditating with some I mean you know some, I sort of regular, already of you now table call it tapering, regularity, Gaza. You know it sort of began with them intensity of anyone whose left something like that and feels you know wholly transport, I think it probably also is gonna, be vision and learn to float. I don't know I was very convinced I was on the path to enlighten when I went to the workshops and when I went back to do a second retreat same in sanitation treat week, long it was. It was like nails and a chalkboard.
particular. I was really struggling with the concept of acceptance and not accepting. Well, I it was that it was. You know what the teacher call. My I co animals at the right word right so go on, go on, is a zone riddle? Yes, my there's the rational mind cannot solve. And and and in trying to solve and ensemble for riddle like what was the face you had before you were born. What's the sound of one hand, clapping The marshal mine gets so tied up and not that it leads to some sort of release some sort of enlightenment experiences. How I yeah! That's me: let's you said it better than I could have now, but so this question of I mean like riddle through this way but this this issue of how you you accept something why
also seeing the need for it to change weather and yourself that in and of itself was hard enough for me right so, for instance, I am going to accept that I have you know in Iraq mind, or I'm going to accept that. I have a mind that prone to seeing the negative and not the positive and yet, at the same time I dont want to accept and I dont want to allow it to be. I dont right and you try to accept herself for who you are and also want yourself to be better right. So it's like I'm except I remember I would go. I will skip out during the second retreat on some of the seated meditations, and I would go for a walk and occasionally I would try to run- and I would add, would be tied up in knots of light. I want to accept my visit fitness the way it is four who I am and not beat myself up that I can't run more than a mile and at the in time what the hell
How do you can't run one slash four mile? You should be working harder this in, like you know, and that that I couldn't I couldn't reconcile and of course then it for me. If then extrapolated to the world right where you're supposed to be the teaching is to accept the pain, suffering injustice, brutality, inequality and also want it to change one we'd better, and I could I somehow I got tied up in knots and in the teacher things and in the one one sessions. The answer was just that. What will teacher said to me was that at your Cohen, that's your riddle, that's your puzzle to puzzle weapons, It was unacceptable to me- and I just tied myself up in perpetual knots for about three days and then I called home got my partner to call him and say that they have. They were both sick.
horrible that I'm admitting it, as I know, what's wrong with me that your current rattle and say because that she and my daughter were sex so that I'd have to come home. What's wrong with me that I just couldn't like a cottages. Oh, my gosh Dan, in the car and left right like I had the key classic. He with they call it Germany Terminology was submitted. To that. I actually see. Look, I think it's hilarious, thank you, but I think it's yogi mind. There's an expression yogi mind, which is that so, when you go and retreat the name for the person who does a retreat is a yogi added. Agraea visitor yogi, mind means you just get. Because all of the usual stimuli or taken away from you you're on retreated, there's no talking is a television well sure in your own cheating on your phone. You know the the level of fixation and obsession can wrap, weigh up yes and you that's. It sounds
de I wanted I dont understand. Myself is more of an expert on I am, but that sounds to me. as diagnose away. Ok, yeah will it to my Am I trained? a mind that seems to me, like a classic case, of yogi. My here's another example that share in Salzburg that who founded get inside meditation cited is often tells the story of some buddy went to front office one day in the middle of a tree and said that the planes flying overhead were really bothering him. Could they call the airport and get them re routed? So that's that and that too Me sounds like what was going on with you, but but actually just want to address your son, the the issue. You are having caused it? To my mind, I don't think I can answer this in a cogent way, but, to my mind, it's not a co on actually think it's like, maybe a misunderstanding of acceptance. Ok, maybe so I'll try to see if I can,
say what I mean, maybe I'll succeed. Maybe I won't and the reason why I am a very careful, but not about saying lots of my listeners- criticized me for this gently, sigh of and say I allowed you, I'm not meditation teacher of not an expert I've written some books on it, but like I'm really, We ve been doing this for nine years, and the people who are genuinely experts have been doing it. way longer and much more intensively than I haven't done. So I just want to be careful. Caveats noted. Ok, thank you. So just because you accept the way things are right now does not mean that you need to accept them forever. So it is true that we have massive inequality on many levels in the United States of America right now, to not accept that? That is the truth. Right now would probably not be constructive. Could you be fighting against reality, but two
Then say that I want to change, it is completely fine from a Buddhist. standpoint but you're chain wanting to change from the standpoint of oh but more wisdom, because you're, not sure shut up and anger over it. You're. Just you see things as they are of Lucy, with some wisdom and compassion that result of a whole soup of causes and conditions and you decide that you want to do your best without making yourself crazy earth and you need to be to change it. So, very happily, you can't you have of trouble running more than a mile. I dont think self hatred is the answer. So accepting right now I can't run more than a mile right. This is my body is as it is right now:
I need to have self compassion about that fact, but I also want to do the best that I possibly can to get in the best shape I can given. My genes are. First of all, you said your jewish half I'd like to question that, if you do not believe self hatred is the answer passed a judge Four vow. Sextant. Second point yeah, I mean you're right, maybe is about the definition of acceptance, and at the same time, this is also where rubs up against my sort of training as an organizer. By the way where I think there is a difference I mean. Obviously I am against hate but against hate, but there's differ can we between anger and hate, and I have always seen anger to be a constructive thing that, in fact, if we accept the unjust
listen to around us if we accept institutional racism and sexual harassment, sexual assault and criminal degradation, and if we accept it right in your right amidst about the definite, but even in the moment it's about recognising the reality of it. But to me the acceptance at least the way it's often talk. about in the sun meditated for spiritual practice of Buddhism is, is a sort of at peace with, and I dont want to be at peace with, and so it's that combined with honestly your right, the sort of thumb. Why are we having such an intimate revealing conversation down like a smiling MA, am MA. Mom always said that she thought she raised me right, because I wasn't too self confident and too complacent and that that yearning sense that I needed to be better write that down.
that insecurity is in a way. What makes change in its that say, I think the same thing about the world, even though I can like I can kind of stepped back and see that that's, maybe not the healthiest psyche, but you I also look at the world and not be complacent or then I guess that's how I am defining acceptance in that sense of like at peace with the radical injustices guy. That's not my understanding of. the buddhist concept of acceptance and actually agree with everything you said about the sort of my father had an expression which is the price of security, is insecurity, so I Do you think a certain amount of discontent with what's happening makes sense, but it's it's these certain amount where you get into the interesting area so that, for example, you talked about anger,
I I don't think you know anger is a no! No from a buddhist standpoint like certain we evolved. for certain rapid responses. Anger fear things like that. That I think makes sense in acute situations are probably not and biting strategy. So, for example, we talk about social issues of social justice. I dont think the proposition is that you should be at peace with inequity. I think the proposition is that the best way long term solution for it for attacking these problems is not from a place of anger which can wear down your effectiveness resiliency, but instead compassion when it is the desire to help the people in the wrong end of the current a system so that that's that's essentially where I would
well and that that speaks in a way to why. Ultimately, I've came to find met a practice kindness practice to be more out when I think about the world more constructive. I came to understand a sort of you know when I When I sit down and think I'm going to meditate, I still engaged in a mindfulness practice, but when I am working through feelings of outward pain, frustration, anger, injustice that that that matter, that idea of sending loving kindness to the end- assistant pain in the world and and thinking about what does it mean to then act through that cannot just
sit on a cushion or sit in a chair and practice, loving kindness, but actually embody loving kindness. What would it look like the political act. What does it mean to do it on social media? What does it mean to do it on television? What does that look like that? That's where I see a lot of utility but you're not applying it to yourself. Cheese Dan get off. My back, I was listening to what you said in your speech to start with yourself. Yes, I do I do I do, but do you actually dad I mean it's. You know these are lifelong journey ogre. You. Have the honeys administrations been adolescent rates? You know it's a lifelong journey is, I agree. I know I agree with that. Much more of our conversation right after it break brought to you by indeed
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meditation retreat- and I just drove straight of locks up like a those loving kindness thing, I'm going to boil, it happened before The second retreats somewhere in the middle there You know, as I when I was in my way rising world and I left and aroused trick thinking about a transition because of my frustrations with you. Notice of complacency VA left at the time, and this sum someone said hey, let's get you in trouble I said now. I want to do that and then there's no you're gonna. Do it and eyes at a great ok, and I'll be a better organizer Albion organizer. Whereas these skills I can bring these backed my work eventually, when I realized I enjoy doing it. My community that I came from the act, this crude field liked me doing it supports supportive. I did what baby pundits do you know why did Foxen, MSNBC and CNN. and
and then one day I was standing outside a Fox news. I saw the sky, he looked. I thought he looked like Roger eels. I waved him. He waved me the next day he copied whose office we had a meeting. He told me I pretty eyes interesting five times in five minutes I think I got off pretty easy, let's be honest and specially. Knowing what I know now, none of which I knew when I was at Fox. I definitely got off easy and that was when I worked Fox NEWS for two and a half years as a as a lefty lesbian pundit as one does. How was it for you and and was your meditation practice? Did it exists in that period and if it did was a useful at sudden with met, Multi headed question my motion, so sorrow, multi, part role there? No, I think it's safe to say. First of all, it was weird that was. It was weird
Ah, I think it's safe to say my meditation practice. In fact, that was part of that period of tapering and in fact, when I went back to that sort of half retreat, it was in the tumult of that year. S or no, it did not know. I was not engaged in active practice than an and probably for a lot of reasons should have been obviously always should have been. One of the things that happened is that both for up to two, things happened? First, when I started getting hate mail, I never got him all. My life never had the experience of strangers. Finding my email address, or for I was you know, twitter is relatively new endeavour. Have that experienced people just random people voted no finding me in writing them. Meanest things. I'd ever been called in my life. That was part. One of the experience and party was it. I went to her work at fox
where all these people I had these ideas of them. As you know, I thought they hated. They had hateful ideals right, but I thought people on air behind the scenes, even the viewers not just that they have these hateful views, but they they were be one hundred percent in every way, shape and form hateful. They would just be personal. nasty to me directly about my views about me as a person just that was what I expect, and so, when I went there and got to know people work with people, I first realized there not they're, not completely one hundred zero people. Yes, is still saying and doing out of things. I find hateful still do, but I was maybe I should have been, but I was surprised that they would be nice, to me personally. They would care about my family them care by my career. We sometimes found things we agreed on
then I also iced but wait a second. I hate them. I came into this setting thinking here. I am against hate me, career of working against these ip now know these values and and here I am hating though I have all these stereotypes and generalizations and have imagine them to be the very worst possible thing and that those two things together getting hate mail and then starting to actually wrestle with my own hate. Led me to want to understand hate more brow, there's a phenomenon. Why we do it now, stop it. So that brings us to the new book, the opposite of hate. So how did tell me what the thesis is and what you learn well, you know the the idea for me was to look at what we do this right and not look. I draw pretty broad definition of hate in the book, so
to not just incivility, online or bullying, but also terrorism, near That's genocide there not the same. Obviously, but when we look at the root read the kids who are getting bullied and school are in the same care, more likely boarding school, more likely to get hate online are queer folks, folks of color port. Oaks. Folks dismiss these same people were more likely to discriminate against in society so that the same thing, but they have a similar route in the history of the past and the habits and the present of demeaning and dehumanizing certain people especially certain groups of people, because of their identity or their ideas and the same token, explicit hate. An implicit hate are the same thing, but they are also connected so to an example
What struck me was that look there's. Obviously, when somebody marches down the street carrying a techie torch chanting about how we should kill all gay people, we're gonna agreed at eight. That is over obvious hate. What about any marched on this when they, when they walked on the street, the not caring to tee torch, not chanting? We should kill gay people, but they just think it is that also, I think it is, and what, if they think gay people are inferior, but they don't know he did not say it there and even where they think, but it plays out in their interactions. In the way they run their businesses and people who vote for etc. Is that also, I think it's all hate. It's all that habit. We have based on our hands. Of demeaning dehumanizing certain people, especially certain groups of people. because of their identity and their ideas, and the fact is when I came to understand. In fact, we all do it,
I'll. Do it the same degree it I'll do it just as bad? We all do it and we have. We had we'd, have a tendency to point fingers and blame the other people and shake our fingers at them and an end to be angry at them. An attack them and we don't take any responsible. before our own piece of the puzzle, and so what I wanted to do with this book, was surface. My own history show what I hope is a constructive way for us all to take ownership. What are you talking about? How I was a bully as a kid talking about my own unconscious bias and that we can all take responsibility for our piece of this? Was we need to fix her? in all of us and in the institutions and policies in politics and culture that we're all apart, I once again with a fixed in a second, but
You learn about yourself in the process who you know it has made me more compassionate. I mean that learning about Zephyr knighthood yourself apparel, I realise that for me: no it! I guess it made me more compassion for myself. I can do what they can, but listen, there's the Julian other people out there, let's be more compassionate toward them. First I you know, there's like this. We know the life you know, there's this one light in your studio that just like pity me like an interrogation and I'm just like ok, rejected cousin no like sitting. Oh you're right. I got the lightest like orderly, getting me that when I see it wasn't much he's gonna fix it. Aren't there go ah so much better. Ok! Now,
I feel literally and figuratively unless, under this short man, but I was able to retain feeling thing in Paris but but but you just from a classical Buddhist simply actually, the reason why in loving kindness, brackish start with yourself is- and this is a clear shea, as say the airline safety instructions instructions. He hung up what your own mask on. First, Persisting other show actually the whole idea starting with the billions of other people, is bass. Awkward, thank you yet in the sun, and this is the sense in which I feel like we look. We do tend to have this. They started it philosophy of hate right and what I learned was well things alarms. Most people don't believe themselves to be hateful. Most people don't wake up in the morning. Thinking there hateful factors I both from people, I talk to and research, even looking, even overt extreme hate groups, we would just
it will. Those are obviously full NEO nazis terrorists, rightwing hate organizations that the members of those groups don't then see themselves as Paypal. I talk to. By and large I talked to a terrorist negotiator for the army, who worked in Afghan since you some most people see their motivations, believer motivations to be good and in fact people when they join hate organizations. It's not the I hate the ideology that draws them in its actually there searching for belonging. This is true in terrorist recruit, during gang recruitment. People are searching for belonging and there too, the researchers issues that they slide into the ideology they do.
I've been there bonds with the group through deepening their attachment to hate people actually than bonding through hate, but that we don't see ourselves that way. So when I called up my trolls who, if people who written things that I just can't say on the radio like just horrible things about me, can you imagine I figured it was? It was obvious when I asked him, I didn't ask him: do you hate me forget they did so last? Why do you hate me first question? Why do you hate me and they said to tee? I don't hate you, but they saw me as hateful. They thought my behavior staples things I'd set on air ways. I behaved things I tweeted etc. Now I didn't think I was big right, but it was this sort of you started. It philosophy of hate that actually stems to psychological principles were retained, to hold others accountable, See their bad behaviour not just as bad acts but actually inherent to who they are, right. So I do something bad. I make a mess. I made a mistake: you
something bad your bad persuaded street. Yes, I've been, I think it's true that give your trump supporter right now, You see Miss steps as mistakes if you're a trump detract your youth see it as a reflection of his irredeemable character. Same Clinton, rat just different people region inclusions at that time. So so, and I met Bill Clinton. during the impeachment, but also through during the Gatt Camping or exactly yet course? Yet I think they're really interesting phenomenon well and we do it eat again. First of all, what it led me to do was wont to some ownership for myself and my side right so- and this comes from my days at Fox NEWS and just learning how to have conversations with people who you d
agree with where we know. We know this from cognitive neuroscience. The minute. You have an argument, the rational thinking, parts of the brain shut down in the fight or fight parts turn on, and we pick aside and we just keep having an argument and when you attack people a point out what they ve done wrong as a starting point. You not having a conversation, you're picking fight and so for me being able to start with what I've done wrong is a very helpful, instructive way into a conversation that I'm coming to folks and saying: look, I'm not talking about your unconscious racial by us on taking up my unconscious racial by us and turns out that's something we all share in here.
the evidence and here's that whatever? But I'm not absolving myself, I'm not on high? I'm not wagging my finger, you saying, oh, your clinging to your guns and religion or your basket of deplorable right. I'm I'm sort of putting myself as the first offering on the table of imperfection that applies to all of us So for me that became a I learned I learned a lot about my own imperfections and I learned a lot about how we all see ourselves in the best possible light, and what would it mean if we saw others in the best possible light Brian Stevenson who wrote the book just mercy and
was one of my professors and law school. He says, no, one is the worst thing they ve ever done and through the process of running this book, I spend a lot of time thinking about what would it mean to not just say that not just believe it, but do it. What would it look like to believe The people act as though people are not the worst thing I've ever done with the worse than. If you can said the worst thing ever thought to believe people are redeemable and did give people to give people the opportunity to be their best selves because right now I think we tend to condemn the people who are not on our side to be the. Worst version of themselves that we see them to be. So what is the fix? Here? I had a guest on recently as recline, whose word
I can about political polarisation asking him by fixes and he was saying here really fit for her any. What do you think he hasn't had? I didn't. I didn't Europe set up at that sad, that's unfortunate! I got I we, maybe I'm not remembering correctly. You think it can be fixed. I haven't looked closely enough where he and I ended coming down? Was he views the world as a structuralist? In other words, so he looks at this the whole system and in terms of tribal addition, polarization he doesn't see at least right now, I think, is off on a leash. Right this book about it. Maybe he'll see something as he writes the book you didn't see any big structuralist fix, but he did see my point when I said there are things individuals can do to be better players within the systems like loving kindness, meditation trying to get clear on your own biases practicing generosity gratitude. There are all sorts of things you can do it
visual. He wasn't sure there were big systemic fixes. Well, that's interesting, I hope- and I hope as round quoting you correctly well, if I am not, I apologize ping us see, I think both it has to be both. I look, I am a realist, but a professional optimist so. I wouldn't be engaged in the project of trying to make out side in the world a better place. I didn't think it was possible and I believe it's possible because, in spite of the immense history of hate in our country and our world must be clear- our country. We are a country that, in innumerable ways, was founded on hate acts of hate, in spite of our aspirations to the contrary, which of all he's been there, but have never been even close to imperfectly realized.
that we have nonetheless aspired to be better. tomorrow than we were in the past and have at moments imperfectly insufficiently, but still achieved that progress. That's why I'm a progressive, because I believe in progress because I believe the people in policies and institutions and systems can change an true. We do not address hate. We do not address the deep inequalities and injustices in our country in the world. We dont addressed them without institutional change. Right we have to look at the ways in which, for instance, our schools today are have
always been segregated. End today are more segregated than they were two decades ago. Our neighborhoods are workplaces are prisons, those are not the result of natural outcomes. Those are the result of policy an inequality ossified into culture and systems institutions, and so We need to change that and at the same time we also know that the way we may change is winning visuals demanded when individuals in control of in positions of our institutions and businesses and systems and the Those of us who, all the levers in elections and choose them did you we consume, etc, etc. That's also how those big thing, change is when we, the people change them, show talk specifics What do you think can be done?
an individual level and or structural level, to address all the issues have been describing here about Patriot, embedded in our society, so part of key piece is taking. Some, I think, is taking some responsibility for your peace where start. So, yes, in the bucket, then too how we actually need to have so I, by the way the opposite of hate in the book is not love. You do not have the love in my book. You didn't have to love people to stop paying them you're welcome here and it's like them. That's ok, use I do understand how, in spite of our differences in our disagreements, by the way which I think are in the important who we are ass, people and as a country in the world, we should be papering over them, are pretending they don't exist or holding hands in the middle and singing combine. I am not in favour of that. We should have our differences and disagreements. We should celebrate them end and we can
express what we believe and we can stand up for what we believe in without stopping on other people. Isn't that an answer to that go on from your retreat, imminent away, it is right, but it didn't feel like it was the answer at the time. That's why guilty large. That's why this to me worked right. I mean I think, that's why I connect that's. Why act, the two and sort of the long arm of my own life, so ass. I think we need so in my in my article eleven. We need connection policies right, just like failure or sort of you know. The hateful policies got us to this place in terms of housing, disco Patient education, discrimination, more deeply, institute slavery and inequity in voting, etc, windy fix policies and in traditions and culture and media, and at the individual level we need to do more to connect. so, for instance, we know that when kids go to re,
the integrated alimentary schools and can regards they develop less unconscious racial, biased becometh. We know that they get it later, but they initially develop less. We know that when teenagers in college students participate in racially integrated after school programmes in our mutual activities, very lower their unconscious racial by us, and yet we are in so many ways more divided than ever. We are in a situation where most drawn Hilary supporters, don't know any strong, prob supporters most drawn crop supporters, don't know any strong pillars borders. Fifty three percent of Americans say they don't know anyone whose muslim three quarters of White Americans, so they don't have any non white. France and Bernay Brown says it is hard to hate up close. It's not the answer to everything. It doesn't fix the history. It doesn't
the habits. It doesn't fix the structures of hate, but it gets us closer individually to a solution, especially when we as individuals stop pointing the finger at them and their hate and take responsibility for our own peace at all. Right all true, but is anybody doing anything about this? When I look around are the ice. Is anybody legislating against this? If that's impossible and Anybody in the culture making a move to build these bridges yeah, I think so I mean I the in addition to in the book talking to axe, NEO, Nazis and former terrorists and people who participated in genocide who hed remarkably and against all odds, left entire lives of hate behind showing how this is possible at at every level, imaginable, there are institutional and community level solutions are happening so, for instance,
in Omaha Nebraska, where the proliferation of multiple school districts in Omaha Nebraska popped up after Brown versus Board of Education, when public schools were being integrated, there was white flight out of the but multiracial innocent too little pockets of new districts where they actually in some cases, created what are basically all white public school districts that exist as little autonomous fiefdoms separate from the more that was once diverse city, school district and to fight off the current threat of integration, and what the cool destructive. What the Omaha School District did was through some legal maneuvers that made other solution
come to the table. They created a larger, unified public school district that shares resources because, of course this isn't. This is about race and about classes. When you have public schools, public school funding, that's apportioned by property taxes, then poor communities can have poor schools. Rich communities, gonna have good schools that that's not fair right, because that means that trinity for kids is based on the wealth of the parents they have in the communities they live in and that continues to perpetuate inequality. So the school district came together, created a unified school district share resources and also allow kids to go to schools in the other communities. In effect, three in Getting those schools in Nashville, a group of evangelical ministers were frustrated. They were hearing Christian Minister's refresher. They were hearing their congregants say some virulent. The Anti Islam thanks- and they want
and to respond to new instinctively didn't seem right, felt hateful. They didn't know what to do so. They went to the local Muslim really organization National said help us help us understand, so we can respond, and so there was a return imams and muslim faith leaders and even evangelical christian community leaders and other christian leaders went together on a retreat learned about each others. its traditions talked about each other's text. Also just hung out broke, read together, talked about movies, gotta, just know each other and now there's programme where the congregants of the different, in the institutions will now the members from the evangelical churches are going to mosque with members the mosque, and then they break bread together and the members of Moscow going and experiencing worship, services and the christian congregations and then breaking bread together and that again, that's a piece: that's a peace, but it makes
that's a I think, starts to make a difference. Ironically, in the course of you are the one who told me about this better in the course of your book being published you there has been some violence. There's an african American. pod, castor, come out and said that you misquoted her in the book. You just tell us from your angle from your side. What happened here? So I'm not So who army not too so? Who hosts call your girlfriend podcast felt as though I observe experience that a quote that I used in my book? She did not recall saying me now: I listen. I've tried to clarify in the water with ourselves
Oh boy, I mean she actually like I'm a hang on I've got. I don't want to. I want to just summarize it let's blow me. Let's I mean I don't you won't care to say. Hang on a second year, I can read the quota gap courtier sheep I tried clarify the facts of how the court was obtained, that it was on the record she consented to be quoted. I took notes viz million contemporaneously. I've since produces notes so I'll. Try to clarify the facts. What's also clear. First of all that I quoted some one in a way that she did not clearly its in retrospect is now clear did not want to be quoted. I wish I had gone back and reconfirmed that she was ok with me using the quote in the book. I also amount clear that, as a white woman, I do not see how her quote potentially played into racial stereotypes and exposed to vulnerable lady now I'll be clear. This went on
for some time privately should raise these concerns me privately, and I did what I could to make amends, including taking her name on a few traditions, the book and per her request apologizing publicly, because I did not want the quote that she is hurt by doesn't one out there to be out there any further, so I'm gonna continue to stand by that that I dont know I don't wanna amplify or era look ice amplify further quote that she obviously wishes was not my book or it so we'll have to go talk about it Therefore you you, I think I think your baseless gonna wanna go say the quote, because it would be the sultan. The wounded asked. Family roughly was along the lines. If she was talking about what it's like to be an african american woman in public debate swept somebody says something offensive to her and it was a pretty in, and everything.
She's quoted as saying, although she says she didn't say it correct, but Europe a convention is that knowledge. Did she say it, but they you told her. You were taken note of the time and that or in a quarter, and but she says, that's not true, says that there is the rub: correct, that's crack and still I have and will continue I apologise. for my blind spots in not having seen the dynamics that that quote could play into and having not reconfirmed that she was ok with me using it again. I wasn't alike, and all I can do is continue to that. Obviously wasn't my intent. I attend wasn't to have this to do harm or two to be insensitive, but you know intent. Isn't it
same thing as impact? That was the impact I had and alike, and all I can do is upheld jobs and title do better in future interesting headline in Mother Jones, which is a liberal baggage max, website whatever how Sally cones the opposite of hate came a referendum on white privilege. Do you agree that that a fair characterisation? Well, I don't think so down, but I mean look they I wrote a book in which, if we can, if we can step back from that, I wrote a book in which I have tried to be fairly transparent about the many things I have done and thought and felt that way,
wrong. Hurtful problematic. You know, via we're gonna write again. I'd put the sin. I put this in it as an example, that I am that you know what I hope, certainly my hope with this book. Is that an end, and I would love if the way Conversation were unfolding could model. That is that we can have a look. Nobody likes to get caught Nobody likes to have to learn a lesson, and nobody really really don't have to learn when in public, but sometimes it's the only way we get better and change and grow now, I'm a fan of call not calling people out but calling people in creating opportunities where people flee like they can learn, grow and do better, as opposed to being voted off the island, and that certainly is what I've
Pride to model in my writing in my work that we give people the opportunity to be their best selves. We recognise that when you are trying to do things that are hard change, grow, finally, is to overcome. an overall and override the injustices in the past that have been baked into our institutions are culture. Us but he's in our minds that that's never going to be a straight line is never going to be a smooth path. Much that we might like to be and can we be generous and graceful with each other due to give it a chance for rapprochement with between numerous? So I event- I I hope so I hope so.
what's and on what end? On a more about note, ok, yeah go up. Are you that that the wounds that are so evident in our national psyche and discourse right now can, in any reasonable period of time, go some distance toward being healed. Improved, oh depends on the day Dan, we're not gonna end, and I think no, no! No! No truth! I well, I mean and
of fairness. I think it's going to get worse before it gets better. I think that the that we're so stepping back so speaking, broadly, I think we're in it I'm as a country on all sides where we are in rested in attacking and condemning an ample up a finger pointing in the blame, who did it worsen, first and not in creating opportunities and paths for solutions and for positive ways forward, and that comes from a lot of pain.
I'm from a lot of frustration comes from a lot of anguish on all sides. It comes from a lot of people, certainly on the left feeling very powerless in this moment that I think, what's happening to our country is very. It feels it feels hopeless to a lot of people who had thought like myself, we thought we were imperfectly, but nonetheless it oh bending toward justice. And and to see this as it does to still believe. in our better angels to still believe The possibility of changed still believe that people can change. You know I have to every day remind myself of the people, I know not just against you, the policies that, in my lifetime of change in the history of our country, change to the people, I know who changed and that that's possible because it for you
Those we feel so entrenched and so ugly right now. So that's why Both the stories in the book been up to ten. No people in this day and age when we are seeing more NEO nazis, more Hake groups. To meet and no and connect with an here the stores and share the stories of people who have left those lives of hate who have turned away from that kind of extreme hate with turned. Toward kindness and compassion is is, is I hold onto that? I hope we can all hold onto that. Yeah, good, good, good, MR to close. Thank you very much for coming to really appreciate it. Sorry, accounting that lighting, or not literally or metaphorically, only the literal
I will, I will send also loving kindness to her. Our lighting regulatory area. Thank you again for shit thanks. Thank you ok, that does it for another edition of the ten percent happier podcast. If you liked it, please take a minute to subscribe rate us also. If you want to suggest topics, you think we should cover or guests that we should bring in hit me up on twitter at Danby. Harris importantly, I want to thank the people who produce this podcast Lauren effort Josh cohesion and the rest of the folks here at ABC, who helped make this thing is possible. We have tons of other back ass. You can check them out at. Maybe she knew tat casts dot com. I'll talk to you next Wednesday. there's not a person in Amerika who hasn't been impact it in some way by the corona virus pandemic, but it every community there are pockets of people.
We're suiting up every day. This is my my day last day of the cylinder stretch of quotas from one of our time, these or America's essential workers, the people who are keeping moving. I turn into a homespun mom and now in a new plants from ABC News you gonna hear from damage I actually went back to my office on cybercrime because it's not fair. He inherited sorry that our community has itself faintly moraine. This is the essential inside the from the emergency room. It's the police cruiser to the czech outline. You hear what this pandemic sounds like the people pay themselves. Norms which is always a risk that I could breathe, is home to my kids or my husband, or my parents listened to the essentials inside the curve on Apple podcast, refitted, podcasting,.