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#271: The Antidote to Burnout | Leah Weiss


At a time when work has become more challenging than ever, we’re going to explore one myth and one revelation. The myth -- which many of us, myself included, have consciously or subconsciously incorporated into our lives — is that we need to grind ourselves into dust through faux “productivity” in order to achieve professional success. The revelation is that the more effective -- and cleaner burning -- fuel is that potentially sappy notion of finding your purpose. My guest is Leah Weiss, who has impressive bona fides on both the professional and contemplative fronts. She teaches Compassionate Leadership at Stanford Graduate School of Business, and she wrote a book called How We Work. She’s also done four 100-day retreats and one 6-month retreat. This conversion was recorded pre-pandemic, but is deeply relevant nonetheless. And toward the end of the conversation, she drops some words that have been rattling around in my head for months.

Where to find Leah Weiss online: 

Website: https://leahweissphd.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/leahweissphd

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/leahweissphd/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/leahweissphd/

You can always get started with the Ten Percent Happier app with our flagship course, The Basics. In The Basics, Joseph Goldstein and Dan Harris discuss the fundamentals of mediation and dispel common myths about meditation in a seven-day meditation series. Visit https://10percenthappier.app.link/TheBasicsPod to get started. 

Other Resources Mentioned:

The Stanford Prison Experiment - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stanford_prison_experiment

Christina Maslach - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christina_Maslach#:~:text=Known%20for,her%20research%20on%20occupational%20burnout.

Kelly McGonigal - http://kellymcgonigal.com/

Thupten Jinpa - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thupten_Jinpa

The Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education (CCARE) - http://ccare.stanford.edu/ 

Steve Cole, UCLA Researcher - https://people.healthsciences.ucla.edu/institution/personnel?personnel_id=45359

The Guest House by Rumi - https://gratefulness.org/resource/guest-house-rumi/

Additional Resources:

Ten Percent Happier Live: https://tenpercent.com/live

Coronavirus Sanity Guide: https://www.tenpercent.com/coronavirussanityguide

Free App access for Frontline Workers: https://tenpercent.com/care

Full Shownotes: https://www.tenpercent.com/podcast-episode/leah-weiss-271

This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
From ABC this is the ten percent happier Podcast Cast Harris. I guys we ve been talking a lot about the meditation challenge we ve been running this summer? The summer sanity challenge the deadly for joining has passed. However, if you're still interested and learning more about booting up. Or rebuilding a meditation practice. You can always go check out the flagship course on the ten percent happier app. It's called the basics. Joseph Goldstein in discuss the fundamentals of meditation. We dispel common myths and Joseph we do through a seven day, meditation series I'll put a link to the basics in the shown us. Ok. Let's do today show at a time when work has become more, challenging than ever working to explore. One myth and- on revelation the myth, which many of us myself included, have consciously or something
justly incorporated into our lives? Is that we need grind ourselves into dust through full court on quote productivity in order to achieve professional success. The revelation is that the more effective and cleaner burning fuel here is the potentially Sapien notion of finding your purpose. My guest is Leah Weiss, who has impressive bone a few days on both the professional, an contemplative fronts on the professional Tipp. She teaches compassionate leadership at Stanford Graduate School of business and she wrote a book called how we work on the contemplative front, she's done for one hundred day retreats and one six month retreat all tibetan tradition. I believe this conversation was recorded pre pandemic, but it is deeply relevant nonetheless, and towards the end of the conversation you gonna hear her drop an expression that has been rattling around in my head for months. So here we go with LEO Ice.
Nice to meet you, it's lovely to me, you had your book on my bed stand for, while I've been reading through it lots of good stuff in there thanks summit's I've been your book for years, though, really well students, I say it's a favorite because it so much more reliable. Then most presentations mindfulness my child college. From thanks you suffer, So how did you get it? You did in meditation? I understand asserted when you were fifteen or something like that yeah I grew up not far from here piracy and the school I attended. We had this amazing english teacher, who taught meditation as part of his jam at this prop school. My elder siblings, had done, and then, when I got to the point in high school, where I could learn to, I jumped right in and it really the land it was. It was really on point with challenges I was having at the time, but like so
the high school I went to was very kind of college. Somewhat. Conservative traditional would probably the term it would prefer there was Republicans club that had the vast majority of of my class- and I was like A very I pushed back on a lot of girls. I was detention. The day I got in a Stanford, for example, for a link protesting some kind of policies. It's a school, that's since been in there his fur consistently, not delving into abuse that was going on there, So I was really struggling and their environment, making sense of things and being much market of politically progressive and just feeling weird, you know as an adolescent to so when I first learn meditation and first started reading, specifically Tibet, who does I'm. He had assigned a book in a course eyes taking with him.
Called literature of the enlightenment and adjust really landed there. Action about how we sanitize illness and death in this culture and just the struggle defines meaning when you're in lesson, all kind of fit together and got me really interested in just stem diving in meditation. It sounds to me just from looking at your book that you who didn't actually start doing it in earnest until your twenties meditation that if I was very inconsistent and high school like out, have periods of time or do it when I send one of his classes or go weak and then not do it for awhile detentions a good time it was. It created some good, open, real estate and my schedule had it frequently, so it would have been a good opportunity if I used it consistently. Thou we're gonna be infected,
in your twenties when you started doing in earnest and what flavour were you doing so, I had initially been exposed to Tibet But as I am that was when I sought out my first retreat and my twenties. That was specifically what I sought out, so my early practice was as much sitting in doing breath. Focus as very early on learning about the tibetan preliminary practices, which include a hundred thousand prostration ends and a lot of it, relations, alot of chanting, not the content of what I teach now at the business school clearly. But for me those practices really fed and you actually there are the preliminary practices that you get before you get. Kind of moral nature of mines, meditation instructions and tradition. So, by the time got those. I was really I am all in and x
did for and ready for them, and that in practice, the time will have to find those terms. Resurgam a hundred thousand Prussia. What does that mean? Actually, that means standing putting our hands barrier had as your hands of overhead position. Then putting our hands your heart sooner than life your full body, brown on the grounds and then standing back up. Ok, wise you'd, like a sun salutation the movements more like an inch worm. And using your leg, different muscles with great grace and elegance, like you're, throwing herself on the ground like if you go to Tibetan Buddhism countries its much more kind of electric. It's a devotion all take refugee emotion that goes with taking refuge. Is it meditative or just
years of visualization that you're doing of the refuge trace it like the ark. A table imagery from Tibetan Buddhism said the first part of your aboot S, then near you know, of the path is taking refuge in truth and community, and so this is the entry practice from that point of view. So you do this a hundred thousand times to really really like, take refuge and get in your bows. It's a humble you and somewhat yeah, and it feels we to be talking about is the first time I've ever like actually talked about it in any sort of interview because being pride full of having done this is its own kind of weird weirdos: definitely by doing a hundred thousand takes time by each other. So many tibetan practitioners have done millions.
I like those people who do them all the way from Eastern, too bad to loss and back, for example, instead of walking or writing in a vehicle, they would prostrate their whole way, Lhasa, being the capital city of data from, so across country. Tell me again with them mental cycle your contemplative valley, is of hurling yourself on the ground. A hundred it's about commitments. You awakening in its about trusting and what's trustworthy, rather than wisdom, Rather the mines on habits, it's not dissimilar from them. Tom Movement in a very simple mindfulness practice where you decide to stop kind of following the trains of thought, because you're used to air and their seductive in some way in you bring your mind back to the object. Here. Are the object of it?
innovation, and instead of attending near brass you're moving your body and it's like a full body, training in commitments and time and kind of borri wiring. What comes first, too then you said you moved into something called a nature of mind, while I'll claimed her person, We moved into inhabit that territory, but from the tibetan Buddhist Curriculum, let's say, You would do the hundred thousand, not just of these bowers about of with refuge. There's like five practices that you do. Hundred thousand of each. So my first hundred day retreat was making a big dance in those practices and where were you in Texas and TAT I said I thought you were in a rattle, often another foreign capital, I thought it was, can be Katmandu,
did do a lot. When I was an undergrad and Stanford, I went to Dharamsala on a an undergraduate research which, which is basically cover lake too king, a big break in my undergrad studies, and so that was where I first got traction at these practices spend time among tibetan refugees, studying how they transmit resilience in exile, and that's it the topic of compassion, really rose to the top in my interests, because that was what they were priority saying at their children's village the orphanage there were was formerly doing. My research and then going to teach so the Dalai Lama's there. There is such a focus on both compassion and wisdom it so that became the first we'll research area when again. I had to have some sort of cover for doing something with my life when I finally finished undergrad at Stanford.
On to do research on compassion and then study with a teacher who had been trained in Tibetan Buddhism, who had done two of the three year retreats and he was training a small group of students in Texas, signed it up in Texas right next to a mini donk ranch, a mini donk wrench miniature donkeys, their fabulous Take you at your word like all animals, so you you did several hundred day retreat I did four of those and one six month retreat between two of the hundred day retreats this is all pre kids, yeah yeah you learn went deep, so I dont forget it can, the sale of it more about what nature of mine I am it the nature of mind from the tibetan point of view. The nature of everyone's mind is Buddha ahead or awakening. Or enlightenment, and we
have obscurations out of the habits that we ve forms, neuroses and different behavioral habits, and so these set of teachings is about pointing out what your mind actually is underneath all those layers of junk said the metaphor as they use traditionally thousands of years are like jewels. Buried in the backyard that you dont know where there or Buddha precious Buddha covered with mud. Like that's our mind, said the nature of mind. Teachings you would have a teacher transmit to you by describing and upholding from like. The point is that the teacher would be in that state of mind and would be trying to show you the nature of your own mind the nature of everyone's mind, not any one special person, but that's so it's a different kind of past
like, I have to create peace out their bit by bit, step by step, take mine, erotic self and turn it into a Buddha. It's actually the flip is we have everything we need right here. The problem is we just don't know how to excessive. So how does it work in your mind? You ve done a hundred thousand prostration. You sitting with a teacher, is trying to point out that beneath all of your discursive stories in habit sense under the ghosts in the machine and the hungry goes that are trying to get all the things you think you need, and under all of that is some radiance. Some Buddha heard something which, by the way, what I as a scientist, I want to get your sense and whether that you think that's actually dear verifiable. But that is every second in the moment of the teaching and then your subsequent practise. What does it look like to sort of get beneath all that stuff? to what the real you is really like has the greatest shall I mean- and I love you,
were to ask great spiritual masters. What that state is like that the first to say, while in my humble experience, acts and the tradition says why? Because it's not you, no one present yourself, especially falsely hidden of having realisation you don't have, but I can speak to the process of looking, especially after so much effort right leg. It years of for doing, as you said during yourself down and standing back up and all that that kind of entail. Their commitment, but also their like their dark nights of the soul in that ask us like what am I doing, I'm a stand for God. Now my friends are accomplishing all these. Things in the world, and this was now the time when mindfulness was cool like now like this was between. In when mindfulness call in the seventies and now mind GEO, so it was kind of weird, so you do
I want to assure you that still weird I'll take because we just move to poor things. We need to keep it we're inertia like a highly committed to weird I'm, giving you think not actually work. It's I mean, I think some people think it's weird, but it's an agent technical I don't want to name any names, but I know establish scientists who are engaged in this practice as well, so fresh air. So major mind. What would you do that? Actually I mean what I can tell you the process of practising with not when something on the heels of doing so very much. It feels like York bring home to a much more kind of simple non contrived. Not trying to create a sound have identity or even accomplish or count practices? It's like the opposite. It's there letting yourself not just be present with what is, but with an eye to seeing the Clare
in this city of it. I guess I'm trying to get a worry. We you actually doing in your mind what is the meditative practice, because this is our answer. I think mostly meditated, auto meditate. I want to know what will you do? I guess how do you do this? The? How you do this as you One of the main methods is called a non meditation, so you're not trying to focus on a specific object. Your being present with your own experience, the relationship between perception in awareness- and doing as little as possible and allowing the glimpse to happen to you. For you not creating a glimpse are trying to create a mental state of bliss, Sir Clarity, AIDS. Those are the descriptive words that I'm using for the nature mine and you tried to be as simply as possible and recognise the glimmers of those, and there is a very poor
ethical piece of this at the Marie chastened them where they go away. So this is sojourn conning. So ten. That's how you Enigmas of Chad and Mohammed dry by practice, with teachers from both trinity located think- and I am not an expert by any means- not an expert in anything, but definitely not an expert in Tibetan Buddhism practices. But I think there's a school. Japan is one of the sub schools here of what and have called glimpse practices where you're getting non dual practices, where you're getting a glimpse of what your mind is like beneath all of the aforementioned obscurations and their love it frustrating to talk about because it I like watch your breath and then I'll send you get the glimpse. It's more like one. They do it as we talked about on the show before. If anybody wants to hear even more about this Listen. I talked about it many upsets ago, one
to do it is the classic way. That's sovereignty in the west is close, your eyes, and all the sounds around you and then look for what or who is knowing and then you off anything and in the not finding their in lies the glimpse any of what I just said: accurate yeah a good portion of like the Erika known this getting yeah. So and is a natural great perfections. Debt is a tradition of teaching taught within the near my Tibetan Ban Buddhism. Therefore, schools of Tibetan Buddhism and cargo is another of the four schools, the Karmapa us ahead of that school and they teach my madeira and often the two of these teachings kind of girl in hand are masters of water masters of both and that's right that the way you're describing. In more detail at our saying by understanding the nature of perception and whose joining the perceived her and thus deconstructing that identity. Those
all or model Sanjay, with just a button for Buddha heard without meditation, where you don't do anything and you let the nature of mine, sulphurous, spelling, I'm so did not come in here this morning, I was gonna talk about this. I don't know this is written about it. I want you to get all the research, but speaking of research, what do you think this idea that there is a Buddha nature that we are essentially good and that, beneath all the obscurations is this June, buried in our backyard, etc. There is that verifiable. True, I think the decision between the brain in the mind, China understand how awareness play then I can talk about it more clearly, perhaps from the point of view of competency or capacity like compassion, we I can, with firm conviction, say- and I think, there's
Research behind we are born with compassion, evolved for reasons to survive the affiliated with an hour tribes, and why not of this claim of science backed Buddha nature would be tougher to make. Do I put Molly believe that each person has, as I think, people have what language or at best self her best non self? In this version, I think there's a propensity towards healing that we have, but it doesn't always when the day are inherently good. I think, and I were in a new station- is looking at some of the screen shots of news going on in the world right now. I think it would be naive to oversee I expressed. Terms of dual drives, we have capacity for compassion, let's say, and we also have a need for purpose official logical need, that's correlated with,
health for meaning and our lives. We need to be the down regulate itself, soothe mindfulness as a great way do that and otherwise we get sick, and We are very, very influenced by environments and many of us live in toxic, toxic and payments or work in them in that influences our behavior he held going all the way back to the prison experiments from embargo. Take normal state dive, Stafford, Philips embargo. Did this infamous Stamford prison experimental set of affect prison and had Students imprison one another another that the wardens are. The guards were really cool, Kelly and I taught us practice in science of compassion class right in then lecture all right outside where that experiment was conducted. So in one of the upshot, it was you never get. Approval to do. Study is exactly like this today, at least, but
our you take normal people and you put them in a monastic environment and they behave in kind and so for me that actually sideways into wide. So I guess I have right now in my work is really on burn out and that the dynamic of burn out, because I I believe we have the capacity for wisdom and compassion and all these great things- and I also know We live in a time when we are spending the boy of our waking hours and highly dysfunctional d Humanizing institutions as well. The World health organization just declared burn out a diagnosis not within this here. So I think to me it's both its. We can heal. We can be grade positive, Maybe it errors about if we are trained or environmentally socialized to do the opposite. We are great risk, and this is the east
you and me as well to write like raised on you now. Dinners fifteen miles from here with the elders sang the pie gas can happen anywhere and a guy you people are also hyperbolic and panicky and you know now we know a lot about how society gets transmitted generation. Duration, you know look at our polarized world. Look at the dysfunction of the work is that we have, and these I see a connection between these big questions and how we are existing as individuals. The last I'd say on this little sidebar around, depending on what you call it around Europe up you ve got granting, I think. For me, couple years into teaching at the business school marking the compassion Centre at Stanford. I was getting called in to do a lot of work and organizations, and I was really excited about it because at the moment, the mindful revolution, and I really
believed and still believe in the impact these practices can have been after You're too. I realized I did not feel morally comfortable with giving while tools to be more resilient in SEC, environment so my kind of non negotiable. Minors. If I'm gonna work in an organization, I need to know that their not just trying to make super viruses out of their employees to thrive in second buyer amounts, but that there are actually simultaneously looking the environments like that? godmother of burn out Doktor Matlock. It you see us ass. One of the metaphor, she's is around burn out, is its lake.
If you blame, or your interpretation of burn out of the individual, is to look at them with scrutiny? It's like blaming cucumbers and the pickle barrel fur. The result so too makes metaphors here I think, you now, while I am so happy that people are turning to these tools and I do believe that they help us access the best versions, selves. I also don't wanna. Let ourselves and organ organizations off the hook and are and beyond and our communities off the hook fur Calling out in dysfunction Tor Buddhism has long been criticized riot from at least western religions. In grad school. I did a lot on inter religious dialogue, and that was always the refrain of like. Is it not making you more complacent and I
I believe that mindfulness needs to make one more complacent, but I certainly believe it can just getting back to this question I was posing before about Can we say for sure that the claim made by the latter schools of Buddhism, that you know we have this Buddha nature is true? I think think what I heard you say is based on your practice. You have some confidence that it is true, but were there isn't the site? to verify it, and I guess what I would say that seems like out in the world are at least three ways to view it. There's the where fallen, and you know, were born sinful. That's one view the other is the Buddha Nature, view which is actually know. We are now and always have been in our essence. Even though I don't have it essence, and then the other view is the sort of two wolves thing. You know The idea that is this, I think, is a native american expression that some grandfather is said to have said
you know, I have these two wars fighting in me. There good, wasn't bad wealth and the one that wins the one I feed. I don't know which one of these is true per se, but what size does seem show is that we have this innate capacity for compassion and that that is a scale that can be trained, so pick your metaphysics. Will we know for sure, is we can get better at this birthright of being more connected? other human beings which, by the way is the Dalai Lama has said the wisest form of selfishness, because that connection that Sylheti to have relationships. Successful relationships with other people is looking can make you happy. That's an incredible summary of really while pilot, and for me, rather than turning to science, is awaited like validated the idea that we have Buddha nature or some access to
self, knowing awareness where we want to call it, I tend to appeal to the fact that all the wisdom traditions in the world has an analog to contemplative practice and trajectories. I'm not trying to I'm not a pluralist, believing everything's, pointing at the same direction in different ways, but I do believe that, when their shared across all the people have taken a really good look at it for thousands of years shared convictions about what happens when we explore inwardly, takes us towards more clarity, that to me meaningful information. It may not be like a p value in a randomize, controlled experiment but its meaningful, and they think for many of us may be more meaningful there. A study that always flawed limit it, why not use
sending intriguing about working with corporations that just may me rethink question some of my check on this, so there are, as you know in the buddhist world, are these folks who criticise what they call mic mindfulness and I've long said. I think, there's a lot too critique, and yet I also have been of the view- and maybe this is too glib. You're making me rethink my position here, but I've always had the ship that you know look more mindfulness about unless my fulness, so maybe yes, people or adopting meditation. Millie is that traditional Buddhists might not be entirely comfortable like the military or corporations whose products will particularly like By way of saying me, I'm saying I am speaking as if I'm in this kind of conjured group that I've positing here am I pushed back is always like lookin. I was a pretty positive forces in the mind in the universe and I rather see
or of that out there than last. But you're saying I have often heard the push back to my pushed back, yeah, but you know I want to make a better sniper her. I don't want to make the complacent we're or is a abusive atmosphere, and I I Canada vote then in till you just said some of these workers these are really talk can I don't wanna make people who are better able to stand it. I want to make people who are better people within a healthy environment, So should I you know, I have a company that we don't have many corporate climate, one corporate climate, this point apple, and say what everyone about him, but should I be using? Should we, my team, be using this kind of sort of ethical guard rails when or if we work with other corporate clients? I just love to hear. You say more about all this. I know for myself. My ethical barometer has become
different than its changed over time and working in different environments. One of the most influential environments. For me, as a human being and a teacher and a practitioner I worked in is at the visa and of residential post, traumatic stress, clinic and not clinic even am resident. Site and that's something, I never thought that I would be doing or more recently, I've done work with in many environments that I didn't initially anticipate and I think we need to be thinking about it. I think that having the right a set of questions to me is the right approach. Having a set of clear values, and I don't think there's can be organizations even the ones that are a kind of the most renowned for being committed to these kinds of practices? None of them are perfect. I just finished a case for the Stanford Harvard database looking at practices and some of these
organizations that do a lot and invest a lot and mindful ness and when you start talking and people are, these organ nations, not only they not perfect, there's often in others, people at the top, often or grass roots, are really who care a ton about practice and see it as an important path for themselves and their colleagues but then you also see people who I am. From their vantage point. Dont really see the practices seeing the people around them more humane or more caring and that its tricky, I guess for me where I'm I right now, as I wanted to stay tricky. I'm not me. Financing organisations is make mindfulness all bad point of view? But I am also not ready this and I've been work with just anyone. I want to understand what the intention so important. What is the intention behind
bringing their San at the various levels. I'm intersecting laugh soldiers, chocolate. Do it carefully thoughtful to carefully thoughtfully. But you know I really gas me again in another year I my or another, three years, some organism, as more willing to give the benefit of the doubt to a few years ago. I'm not anymore, and I wouldn't work and many more bethought. For that, we as mindfulness practitioners and sharers of these practices and information. Not enabling that which we don't stand for and what sounds like thoughtful, careful and vigilant because They say yes, and it turns into a no later as you learn more a lot of money on the line to, and these corporate training I guess so, I think we have to know that we are biased and direction of, accepting that this could be a good thing and yeah. I think we need accountability that feels important me people in this space
We want to keep integrity should not be enabling linger sailing themselves, but also like having the tough conversations for years. I've been really interested in getting people to get gather, not just to share our methods in our research but like to really talk about implications like this, because I think there is a lot of experience out there. But this isn't the round up conversation that stupidly had at conferences,
really good. That's good for me to hear more. My conversation with Leah Weiss after this ten percent happier is supported by better help online counselling, we're in extraordinary times and if you're, struggling with stress, anxiety or depression, you're, not alone, better help offers online licensed professional councillors, who are trained to listen and help simply fill out a questionnaire and get matched with a councillor in under forty eight hours join more than a million people taking charge of their mental health with better help better help as an affordable option, and our listeners get ten percent off your first month with the discount code happier get started today at better help, dot com. Slash happy, that's better h, E lp, dot com, slash happier, knowest talk about your work, you written two books. One is how we work the others go above and a good start with the first one
sure Walker through what how we work is all about. So after I've been teaching at the Stanford Business School. For about five years, I felt I had been giving a lot of talks doing a lot of training spot. The methodology had developed, which is trying to bring together a combination of practice like a laboratory for the students, were MBA or mid career students. Bring that, together with organizational psychology, bring new that, together with case studies and bringing in great people to come, explore and be provoked by my students. Often we had some ceos come in. You are prominent spokespersons for this work and they really were asked a lot of tough questions and neck station, and he has been really important so what I tried to do and how we work as bundled together the methodology
the business cases for these various practices, because I do want to see them in organizations. I want to see my It s not just for the individual to make them a super virus, but I want to see a mindful organization, that's self aware of its culture and the impact it has at various levels. So book is a distillation of the various parts of my what start as syllabus analysis framework looking at purpose. What's the research, on purpose. How do you? Why is it matter for you as an individual, for your health wise if your organization, how'd, you cultivate more of that doing that for each of the topics of purpose and self compassion and compassion and mindfulness whatsoever. Purpose for a second, because we done a lot on the show about compassion, mindfulness self compassion, all of which we can do more on, because I don't think people can hear enough to speak for myself. I don't think I can hear enough, but purpose is interesting in that it
we haven't touched on a too much as we do. You mean when you talk about purpose and let's talk about from an individual level. Getting most people ask themselves. What's my purpose and oh my living it, and is that what you recommending so I'll, define purpose, borrowing on the definition of our products and the Stamford trained positive psychology pioneer a researcher she defines purpose as a far reaching and steady goal, something personally meaningful and self, transcending And each of those components of it is critical because we can get car, especially in a time we all have more than one after tea. One full time position one point, one, no one point three as the new norm, so you cannot do all of your work, so mapping the front, some of your daily responsibilities onto a far reaching instead
gold is meaningful and bigger than one south becoming increasingly challenging. So I think two ways to go about getting more purpose. If you look at the research, one is let I described in my book as top down so using her kind of rational self reflective capacities. I can ask oneself kind of question. What's my purpose and my living it the other bottom up, that appeals shark bodied emotional experience. Knowing what we're passionate about knowing what are called values, are when were acting out of alignment with them. When we are by the way we experience. What's known
the research has moral injury, and that seems to be one of the key things that leads us to their burn out or for trauma survivors. It leads them to worse outcomes if they're the trauma is related to this gap between their values and behaviour they had to participate in certainly been of great interest to the viewer. Fur war veterans, who post traumatic stress, for example, for me purpose, was kind of the last, so it was always part of my practice in Tibetan Buddhism. You start every sash and wealth motivation and setting your intention and doing some visualization and reflection about what you're doing for which is bigger than yourself. It's about awakening for the sake of all beings in that context would be a short hair But I had in encountered the research, and especially the health research around purpose until
I was working at the compassion Centre at Stanford and were funded by the teacher training grandma directed and working closely How am I gonna go and peeped in temper on developing and in doing this work with former guess on the show, both warmer gas on the shelf? Fabulous amazing people incredibly inspiring, who have so much integrity and are gonna, have been massive Lee supportive for me, personally and in practice and professionally, so we were funded by the founders of E Bay to start this teacher training programme and so on, these funders had a resilience are indeed company near by and I started going. There is the person who is responsible not just for curriculum design, but like strategy and operations and spreadsheets, which my theology and education degrees and social work did not exist.
He prepared me for so start going over there to get operation support at first and then got really enthralled by the research we're doing on resilience. You know at the top line, on their formula for resilience? Was it was purpose plus connection which I would interchange with compassion and control are self efficacy agency. Because if you fall down it's easier to get up when you No, that is connected with some self transcendent. Really deep ingrained and held belief about the apparent importance of which two hundred percent and then not only the top line on that was fascinated me, but I was talking to people. You ve called who are running research there in addition to us see? I lay lab where he does genomics work, I'm in Iraq. About him in my book and he was studying how purpose impacts are gaining expressed.
And in terms of inflammation and antivirals, in this sequence, the sea, tiara sequence, witches predictive of all the causes that are likely to kill most of us and all of you listening the show unless warlike hit by a bus or some accident, the cancers, the heart diseases, and so on some purpose. I had no idea that people, I knew lots of compassion. Biomarker work was happening in mindfulness, biomarker work, but not purpose, and so that She was a thing for me that choice and a lot of how, I think about an approach, the teaching than I you, and also how I think about the people who aren't gonna become mindfulness, matted haters. What can be done in their lives that'll be supportive of their resilience and why? being. So how do we define our purpose? What are the practices That would get us to have a clear sense of purpose, which of course, would redound orbit lots of ways, not the least of which will be resiliency. So
you're one of the many people who doesn't come in this world. There have been a big epiphany along the way, my purposes acts taking them passive China get clarity, core values. What matters most me looking into our own narrative. Looking back at our lives the choices we ve made, that field monster, never who we are and who we want to be as a good way. What do you doing are you. What do you want to be remembered for at the end of your life? Getting your core values clear and then understanding so the kind of from below how do those shut up in my lives and where are they in conflict, because when we are in conflict with them, there's a huge amount of emotional frustration and stress and physical impact. So I think values is the place. That's the thread to Poland. If you're not sure what your cap,
he purpose in life is. Look back at your narrative, look at the environments that you feel most alive in most like yourself, most saying how very wanna put it as that's start following that: Directional lay to understand and then articulate what you're about, and then that can turn into a profess, and then you, every tactical with enemy money. The exercises I've people deal is a time to purpose calendar on it. Where they for a period of a month, look ahead, Their calendar predicts try to mentally hi together things that are Monday and but are fitted to our purpose, but don't feel that way rate like the many activities that take a lot of our time, trying to connect the dots trying to get rid of things. It shouldn't on our calendars, where we are spending our time and then reflect back at the end of each week and do this over and over
till were able to excavate patterns, of where there's friction and our lives there So this is where it comes together, really well with mindful ass your ability to Matter, awareness or be aware of what you are experiencing. While you're going your life, the better you are, that the more you are to see quickly when you're out of alignment with your values and yes, this reminds me of a conversation I was having with your. Time colleague, Kelly Mechanical wish He talks about understanding what it most you getting a real visibility on your values and purpose in the context, what I was speaking with her. It was about habit formation. So few things healthy habits, are you wanna make or another have, as you want a break great way to boost your resilience is you're going through this very torturers process, for most of us is to have a clear sense of what really matters to you in your life and pick your habit, the habits you want to make or break based on that,
Guess that will really help you pick yourself up because you are gonna fall off the wagon a million times, as we all do in that particular process. She- and I had a moment there was really just for me. I'm working on a book about kind. Since I've been all of these, what kind of on my mind but to use a fancy work having poet unformed way, because I haven't written a book yet- and I was tell her- I don't know exactly What I said to her about of what I had in my mind was: I went on a one on one, the loving kindness retreat with their great teacher name spring. Why come, and I walked away from that retreat without a lot of sort of fellow got a lot of opinion. I got to go look at back my nose cuz. Sometimes I feel after retreat. I have a lot of epiphanies and it's just nonsense, but one of the Things that I started to get a sense on that retreat is. Does it is expression that I hate the words and not the sentiment listening to your heart? Is
like this. Why, like with it, it's been polarizing de meaninglessness by over use, but there s something about contemplative practices that to use tibetan phrase that I really like that they as I understand it. This expression they use to describe. Enlightenment is clearing away and bringing forth clearing away the noisier, bring forth what lies beneath it, which, by the way, back to the beginning of this conversation about Buddha Nature anyway, I felt on TAT retreat like oh yeah. I really had a sense in my body oh the neck, that you can kind of you use your body in Europe to some extent your intellect it maybe in combination to get a sense of this, doesn't feel right. And this does feel right and I guess you can that listening to your heart, they said that two kelly- and she said yes, feel like. I have that in this thinking
bout, core values and purpose and its marriage to contemplative practice. I feel like contemplative practice, helps me see that somewhere in my chest, I ve got a fish hook. And its pulling me toward the things that I really care about and invitation, helps me see the hook more clearly and feel it more clearly. I have set up I think there is any that make any sense you here now know. I love that description of how it feels that we can. Become more attuned to what behaviour and Environments makes sense what for Us- and I really appreciate that you are also calling out one of the problematic of talking about other stuff because, like the language is really tough, especially for garlic. I said Josie, I mean the first time I went to a meditation retreat
and was doing the loving kindness practice. One of my first interview clashes with the teacher was like my god. This is so cheesy I can't handle it. I see its power but, like I am torn cause, it's so cheesy and he said well, we can't be cheesy, you can't be free maybe the title of my book at the bring out if you really good- but I think this is too were when the dialogue has been talking about sex, our ethics for so long and in the connection between when we have a contemplative price, does that we're doing when we have that touchstone with whom we are that we will be more ass, a call because we will. We can't ignore how uncomfortable we feel when we're not ethical? No one sets out to be an ethical. I believe that I think
I don't believe in that version of anyone, waking up and planning to do so. Diabolical are making choices and an organization or political choices to harm? I think that's why we need these contemplative practices as well as community, and maybe that's the other kind of caviar. Coming back to the question you had about The I have teaching, I do think, there's a reason for thousands of years. These practices were taught in a context where the third Joel, the third most important thing is community because we need accountability and we need feedback as we can for ourselves. And the ethics, I think, is a really prime base where we just desensitize, but a our practice can bring us back. But we can't just trust that the practice alone well for some of our biggest blind spots, are tough to see on our own Damon Delicious go about your purpose ruins.
Because we're like AIDS is really I'm glad we're spending a lot of time, because I dont think most people go through this process. I was actually writing one of the chapters in my book recently- and I was listening to a conversation I tape record some alive. My conversations, especially my wife, my poor wife. And, as isn't in conversation with her, which I to her. You know I was reading something recently in somebody respected talked about. It should have as for their core values, and I said to Bianca like I have no idea what my core values are. Have you thought about this? You said now I've thought about it either, and I was really wrestling with do? I have any self transfer. Core values of my just thoroughly rotten and all I wanted to accumulate for myself My family, and poor. One of that is just pointing out that I think most of us don't go through this process, and I my senses that it's really useful, and I have to thanks a lot adapted to back up that it is the second part- it is a kind of touch on already, which is, I feel
the EU could get involved here pretty quickly, and I can say to you right now: may you used me as an example, Did you right now that my purpose is something along the lines of Ray language being twenty six, years of buddhist wisdom so that its approachable sceptics and regular folks, which I has a lot of value that one could describe as self transcendent bud and make a lot of money doing it and a lot of attention and people, clap for me and all this stuff and so how do we manage that? How do we come up with our purposes? in such a way that we are fooling ourselves and suggest grandiose, selfishness. I am so happy here this question being asked, because I think that this is something that is really important mindful revolution, that's happening in a context: where was it twenty seventeen, One point: two billion dollars were spent on mindfulness programme
and why not? And businesses like a lot of money and twenty billion, and it was predicted to rise further twenty eighteen cycle and so on. And I think, mix motivations as one of the things that becomes evident when we start practising mindfulness right that we can have multiple motivations at the same time, some of them altruistic for the benefit of others, even our own expand, some for our own benefit and some at cost, and I think to me this is where we can be really honest with ourselves in practice, but also in conversation about like what the conflicts of interest, not the ones that rise the level we would get in trouble with external parties, but where We feeling those conflicts of interests and really attending to that problem, taking it seriously, and I don't have any
an idea about what the outcome of it should be. But this is something that's been talked about for thousands of years. Again the manuals, when you look at the students, training to become teachers and the transmission alot intimate in Tibetan Buddhism, along with it, All these warnings about leg, just because you ve had glimpses of what. Down and compassion, dont, think that the kind of demon of ego isn't ready and waiting. In the background, and so does that mean that there is not a real thing of of their wisdom in their altars might think this mixed bag is I worry when we don't talk about it. I worry when we get to comfortable with ourselves the mindful revolution, teaching moments Anna lockets conflate in the first time I went to one of them, conferences were there lot of ceos. Who are a prominent spokespeople about mindful
ass and they were on the stage alongside mindfulness teachers had been trained as such for decades in the kind of mixing and gather of one success in business as equivalent to a kind of a basis for a platform to speak about a wisdom practice and have people just kind of listening. Equally, to the I mean it's great, I to hear different people's experiences and mindfulness and how practices served them, but I think there's a LA they get mixed up, which can be problematic for people who want to get more clarity from doing these practices and find more per person live. Meaningful good lives best of our ability. But, as did his question, if you know how do you go about,
being an ethical life and by the way I don't want that to sound too antiseptic, because I really like the living after ethic, I've got some kind of medicinal or or like dogmatic. I dont think of it terms of you know, being a saint, I think of it in terms of the Dalai Lama's framing of wise selfishness that, if you're living ethical life- and you have good relations with people, you damn, well, etc, etc. You will be happier by the way is also, I believe, there's a lot of research. You shall you you'll, be more successful, more popular, healthier. So did a lot here, Anyway. We were thinking about this issue Easy, as you have said, and as the manuals have said for the eagerness will ban- and I I think the answer here, the one that I keep hearing from a lot of my teachers. As I think This, in my own life is man. I hated him quote roomy, I always joke about just said I have this executive codes, Jerry Colonna, who I love and he's been on the show a couple times and I'm going to make fun of him all the time cuz he quotes room
you got a roomy recently, I kind of landed. He is this poem about called the guest house, which is a minister of welcoming all of or whatever shows up in your mind as host, would welcome a guest in her his house, and he has. He's in there true, human, which I kind of like on a true human kind of, is able to see all this ugliness and goodness, with some warmth, and I think That is the way for us to work in a flu it way with our purpose, going forward not to set in stone and be so comfortable with it, then it becomes a playground for the ego but to be kind of a sense of humour of like go out by that's grandiose city there are that's greener and not to go. To shame, but going to be in a true human. In the face, that's so here I am quoting roomy and everything I didn't want to be better than me
I mean the metaphor that I keep coming back to allowance is actually not necessarily metaphor as much as My identity is parenting- may have got the little kids there's no world in which I can be a perfect mom, there's no world where I would even want to strive to be that, but it's about them being in the contact this massiveness in perfection and not knowing how it's gonna all work out that they to me that, but still investing in these relationships, like two meters, the ethics, peace, I'm not expressing this clearly, but there's something around that? We don't try last because there's Like there's no top line, here's this sign posts of great parenting, these are always changing their tune on what the best parenting practices are, and even if you want to follow them, is apparent in reality with three kids in the chaos like. I can't do it so
That doesn't mean I check out. It means I tried to Lake view the swirl of that context, ass, a crucible for learning, and I think that that's kind of the way I think about ethics, said in that busy frenetic mistaking it ourselves, our egotism and are mixed motivations like, and thus we are like, where that's the swollen, which we try to view our practice of ethics, and I love her you bringing back to its not about being externally a good person. It's also about our own. Jack of experience of ourselves and how we feel at home in our own scanner- the opposite here as elsewhere ocean. We evolved to be these social creatures in the unknown. That's why shame hurts so much. His lonely Some Savannah will kill you, because you have your people around here. You were to www, etc, etc. So there's something
deeply wired into us. That makes a lot of sense here: so we kind of gave a little bit. We didn't probably explored in as much detail as I would have liked the your first book, but I want to get out to get your second book called Bob and I which, as I understand it, is the ancient term for cultivation or meditation to tell me what this book yeah. So this book came on the heels of when the Tide Cave rescue is happening and in the aftermath of understanding the low oxygen levels and the role of being able to have meditation, be a part of the coping strategy and in the they have done- an interview about the physiology of meditation and then got a call from someone at her shot. So can you read it what about this kind of expanding on the idea of meditation for resilience meditation, how it function
ends and I thought about it and they needed it quickly, so that it can. I had like two years and multiple babies and the process of writing how we work when I wrote and like three months and I hadn't carved the time out right- it was like, on top of the usual teaching and travel and all the thing besides, I would do it, but I only if I could take it the metaphor we're all gonna find ourselves in some version of a cave at some point, whether it's the diagnosis or the unexpected event. Serve if it could be about how do we prepare our mental, an emotional game, so in the meanwhile, so that were ready from one that happens in this project time is working on it? I thought a lot about. I was pregnant with my first child. At the same time as my father is getting more and more Ellen, eventually passed away right after you met my daughter a few weeks later and in the process of being with.
Am super pragmatic, lying around and practising a kind of being coming to him in the matter with him when he passed, I felt like all the training I had done. And on the heels of all the training, I done all the sort of scandal that's been hounded and and Buddhism like many other religious traditions. In a lot, questions in my mind about a lot of things but with my dad in that process, I would like this is all worth it for nothing other than being able to be with him in that, and so what I wanted in this book was to share some of the how much more to still down here hearsay practice and get ready for the big really trying moments in perfectly
the true human, like a person like a person yeah, I mean some too I've heard my meditations user Joseph Goldstein say we owe you can think one of the many ways in which you can think of meditation or Bovina called cultivating the mind, is practising for death. How you gonna be Before we go, you reference before us are recording the you had some studies that you want to leave my one pull up on your eye pattern. You want to go through to any of those who cause I like, knowing about about that, I know about the things that happen. I mentioned in one of them various rounds that being called then to teach about mine lesson organizations what I learned the theme often was was: can you please come in and help people feel better do better and invite What's that our varying levels are very difficult to deal with, and this topic of burn out first came up,
like a lot of notoriety in twenty twelve. When that there is a study the primary physicians journal about the prevalence of burn out and docks and witches like at this continues to be a massive massive problem and with all of the offshoots of what that involves, burn out, leading not just a feeling badly. But substance abuse, medical error, physician suicide, all stuff so more recently, in the last few years we ve been seeing burn out. His interest in healthcare burn out is ubiquitous and it has massive health implications, and so I've been increasingly interested in understanding what is burn out. How.
That said Anne, I dont believe the General Well mass or mindfulness can be a silver bullet because environmental factors we talked about you know, and just some of the sobering in talk about some of these statistics, so the cost to society of burn out is similar to come. Sir minutes? Roughly a hundred and fifty billion dollars a year, you see things. Lake burn out affecting sixty seven percent of employees in of sixty percent of six days are about burn. Out actual, twenty four percent of payroll goes away because of the cost of burn out and disability. And why not, and then just even from the health perspective being burned out, increases your risk of heart disease as much as smoking or obesity city year. One point: eight for love the specificity, two more times more likely to contract type, two diabetes, accelerate
Logical aging, it's a health issue, which is why the World Health Organization declared it as such. But if you try to So what are the interventions? What can we like do and do in the real world, not just in a laboratory about this. It gets very wish She there's a lot of lake, throw wellness at the time and we know well. Mass and coaches are billions of dollars our industries. There's a lot of resources going to them, but there is a lack of precision of China understand what These environments are causing the baron out for different individuals because of their The reality is that other factors will react differently, the environment's so many different support. And we know mindfulness and meditation is a really powerful tool. The problem is like how many people the whole? The billions are gonna, become agitators, so that's a rate limiter and we asked there's lots of other things that can be done and the cultural level, not just the individual resilience level. So yeah, that's it.
He's. When I mentioned earlier before, we started Earlier. On this conversation, I think we as a global community- it's not just a problem in the states. I do work with us at the european commission, I've done work with us with our various government. Agencies have just a NASA last week doing work in a space We are trying to figure out what this means and what to do about it and I think, we're very early and that, but we know it's were documenting the enormity of the issue in its something that just I hope it feels changeable. There's so much that's not changeable, but I'm until I believe this an unchanged while I'm in a double down on this, you said meditation. Marvellous is approving intervention, but at the rate is and by the fact that not everybody is going to do it, and then you said, I believe there are other things possible. To be thrown in there. That will be more easily
After what would those be? I mean they're, simple things like training, manager. Some managers are the massive input for burn out, if How good or bad your manager is makes you likely are unlikely to experience burn out, and the managers are in trying to be bad. There crunch with limited resources more and more work with talk of this on coming recession. There is already so many companies that are consolidating letting go said their everybody's in this crunch. It mean some of this stuff is just very practical. If there's a kind of like we have in any workplace, you have first responders now had operated a fifth per later, that you would have managers understand how to recognize signs of burn out and employees that their working life earlier upstream, so not waiting until summons out on disability. By above that Weathers
a much higher percentage of us spending our time in that space, recognising it having more access, much cheaper to support a person, then then, after they ve burned out, and it takes a long time to heal, Some meditation, you know, I think, is important. It's it's a piece of the ability to self soother down regularly and the ability to meditate does impacts its related to chronic stress relate to anxiety related to depression, but not exactly the same as any of those because its they also intersecting, specifically with the workplace, not life at large, maybe also purpose and purpose purposes. Massively. Impact for the DE personalization emotional exhaustion, cynicism, lack of self efficacy. These are all taken as the World Health Organization is defining burn.
Anything for me. You know, there's a personal piece of this too, that I think I was a frog. Earlier in my career, didn't know I just work longer and longer and longer- and you know slowly, watch myself gain eighty pounds that I've now slowly and if the process dealing with, and I spent years learning how to meditate. So that wasn't the silver bullet, but I think there can be- and maybe for the listeners here- maybe part of what I want to save you specifically, if you are a man Taylor, it's a mistake to believe that meditation as a cure. All for me personally experiencing ass. It was I thought I should be able to have my leg practice fix it, and if I, aware of it. It would be enough- and it's you know some other great meditation teachers cause easy. Take a spiritual bypass
in full bypass? So this is where it's like. Are we really reliving an ethical life? Are we engage at work? What is the impact we're having on around. I have we taken on. Should we not be having one point three, full time, jobs? We need to make some decisions carefully. Of course, there are economic agencies that led many of us to take on more work than we need. So it's accomplish, interweaving of the cultural societal, economic with the personal decisions. That may be wrapped up in pride or ego or agreed, or just plain need. So it says this is a complex. Do your diving into here, yeah yeah, I feel similarly about it that I didn't Beginning of realizing compassion was something I want to spend the rest of us life, understanding and studying and practising in speaking about. I feel similarly because its equally complex and important- and I think that this
Sure isn't gonna go away until we better understand it so that the next chapter that's an xbox too. As you may know, at the end of the show I was when I get my guest to plug stuff. Jakarta jokingly called the zone, can you plug the books again where we can find more information about you? So for me, the internet, etc, etc. Show the books are how we work bobbin. Ah, my a website is Leah, OASIS, believers, Beach, a viewer, and I said now, thank you and the website as they always phd. And I really do love hearing from people serve as if anyone wants to share your experience of purpose or burn out. I'm all ears around stories, yeah. Those are the best ways to reach me. I've got all the other social stuff.
It was great to talk to you great to meet you. You did a great job with this. Thank you thanks for having me a text to Leah and as always, big thanks to the people who work so hard to put this show to get Samuel Johnson, is our senior producer. Marisa Schneider men is our producer. Our sounded matters are met buoyant and on your sheikh of ultraviolet. Audio Maria were tell us. Oppression coordinator. We get an enormous amount of valuable insight and oversight from Tpa. Colleagues such as gent buoyant, May Toby been Reuben lives in and, as always, I will end by thanking my ABC news. Colleagues rang Kessler and just call him we'll see on Friday for now. Sir, aiming exclusively on Disney plus follow journey of a young prince in search of himself through trail love. Of identity with black. Is king, the new visual album from beyond say with music from the lion king. The gift is a cell
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Transcript generated on 2020-08-05.