Rank #1: Carolyn Myss: What Is a Calling?
Real transformation doesn’t happen when we’re complacent, and is rarely achieved without hard work and sacrifice. That’s why so many people are drawn to Caroline Myss as a teacher. As Sounds True producer Mitchell Clute says, “What I love about Caroline is that she doesn’t let anyone off the hook. Her style is passionate, sometimes confrontational, and she forces listeners to face their own issues, assumptions, and unexamined truths. This can bring up uncomfortable feelings—but it often provides a catalyst for real change.” In this selection from Divine Rebels, Caroline’s audio course produced with Andrew Harvey, she examines how facing our painful truths gives us the strength to pass through the dark night of the soul and into a different reality, one no longer constructed around the needs of the ego.
Mar 11 2015
Rank #2: Pema Chödrön: Building Discomfort Resilience
Pema Chödrön is one of the most beloved American-born teachers of Buddhism in the West. In the words of Sounds True producer Mitchell Clute, "I always love editing Ani Pema's talks because her kindness and heartfelt connection come through in everything she says." This week, Mitchell chose an excerpt from Pema's audio program Making Friends with Your Mind: The Key to Contentment, which examines three fundamental qualities of the self and how habitual mental patterns can obscure them. According to Pema Chödrön, anyone can tap into these foundational aspects at any time—even while in the grasp of strong emotions. Though it can be difficult, the willingness to remain with challenging feelings is the first key to unlocking a greater realm of wisdom and happiness.
Oct 19 2016
Rank #3: Pema Chödrön: Just Be Curious
The magic of Pema Chödrön—and what makes her such an exceptional teacher—is how she can take a subject that could be heady or conceptual and teach it in a way that makes it sink directly into the heart of her listener. Sounds True producer Mitchell Clute says that this selection from Pema’s audio program Coming Closer to Ourselves is a perfect example. Here Pema talks about Tibetan Buddhism’s five skandhas—the mental and physical characteristics that create and sustain the ego—and offers a simple lesson. If we start by being playfully curious, she teaches, we can find the gaps in our own preconceptions and thoughts—and by following that thread of curiosity, we can let go of our attachments and discover who we truly are.
Jan 14 2016
Rank #4: Thich Nhat Hanh: The Art of Mindful Living
Thich Nhat Hanh is a world famous author, scholar, peace activist, and master of Zen Buddhism. “What I find so beautiful about Thich Nhat Hanh,” says Sounds True producer Matt Licata, “is that you can actually feel his realization come roaring through when he speaks, and you can’t help but find yourself joining him in the here and now.” In this excerpt from the audio program The Art of Mindful Living, Hanh discusses the powerful effect of mindfulness on everyday life, and how a dedicated practice can reveal a treasure trove of unexpected gifts.
Sep 10 2015
Rank #5: Alan Watts: Just So
Alan Watts (1915–1973) is widely acknowledged as one of the most influential spiritual teachers of the twentieth century. Working closely with his son and official archivist Mark, Sounds True has gathered together a new compilation of some of Alan's most provocative audio sessions on Just So: An Odyssey into the Cosmic Web of Connection, Play, and True Pleasure. This week's excerpt comes from Sounds True producer Stephen Lessard, who said of the task, "Choosing one selection from this program to share with you was difficult as I found myself—time and time again—completely enthralled by what Alan was teaching." In Stephen's eventual selection, Alan Watts discusses the concept of individuality throughout human history and how our current ideas about it are flawed. With his trademark razor wit, Alan encourages listeners to reevaluate their own individuality and how it relates to the rest of the world.
Jan 23 2017
Rank #6: Matt Kahn: The Imaginary Identity Called Ego
Matt Kahn is an increasingly renowned author and spiritual teacher who drew upon his background as an empath to publish the book Whatever Arises, Love That. Sounds True producer Mitchell Clute drew this week’s excerpt from the companion audio program of the same name. In this intriguing selection, Matt Kahn describes the origins and compulsive behavior of the human ego. For Matt, even this most disruptive of human aspects deserves to be loved more, not less. “To me, [Matt’s] explanation of the ego as a creation of our overstimulated nervous system made perfect sense,” says Mitchell. “Seeing my own egoic patterns and impulses from this perspective brought a sense of relief and relaxation.”
Jun 13 2016
Rank #7: Brené Brown: The Reckoning
Brené Brown is a nationally renowned author, speaker, and research professor with the University of Houston who has spent the past decade studying the confluence of vulnerability, courage, shame, and resilience. Her latest offering from Sounds True is the audio program Rising Strong as a Spiritual Practice, in which Brené considers the effect of spiritual belief upon our ability to bounce back from adversity. Sounds True producer Kriste Peoples selected this week's Producer's Pick segment on the necessity of getting curious about our emotions. Relating a story from the live recording of this program, Kriste says, "Brené polled the audience to find out how many people had been raised to work with their emotions. I exchanged a knowing glance with my neighbor and we broke out laughing with the rest of the room. It seemed almost none of us got that training as kids." Here Brené offers a portal into interrogating and understanding the emotions that underlie our everyday behaviors, both good and ill.
Jun 22 2017
Rank #8: Cyndi Dale: The Importance of Energetic Boundaries
Cyndi Dale—one of the world’s leading experts in energy healing—has made an astonishing discovery in her private practice: up to 80 percent of the complaints that people come into the office with are not really their own, but are issues they have absorbed from those around them. She’s found that we unconsciously internalize many issues from our environment, including thoughts, feelings, financial issues, illnesses, allergies, and even addictions. In this excerpt from her audio program Energy Clearing, selected by Sounds True producer Randy Roark, Cyndi explains that energetic boundaries are meant to both protect us from harmful influences and invite positive ones, and reveals her key principles for maintaining our boundaries to enhance our emotional, physical, and spiritual health.
Feb 18 2016
Rank #9: Mark Hyman: A Guided Visualization to Bring About Instant Relaxation
We often feel like the causes of anxiety in our life come from events in the world around us that we can’t control. Yet, Dr. Mark Hyman has found that if we learn how to deal with our reactions effectively in the moment they occur, we can take charge of the forces that create stress and anxiety in our lives. In this essential audio excerpt, Sounds True producer Randy Roark has chosen an exercise from Dr. Hyman’s program UltraCalm: A Six-Step Plan to Reduce Stress and Eliminate Anxiety. With this simple practice, Dr. Hyman shows us how we can use the mind’s power to bring instant relief whenever we feel our stress rising, allowing us to shift from a state of anxiety into physical and mental relaxation.
Nov 13 2015
Rank #10: Kristin Neff: What Is Self-Compassion, and Why Is it Important?
Dr. Kristin Neff is an associate professor at the University of Texas whose work focuses on a universal truth: most of us are incredibly tough on ourselves. We feel a genuine desire to feel compassion for others, but we’re afraid that if we begin to feel that same compassion for ourselves that we’ll become self-centered, soft, or even stop thinking about others at all. But, in this excerpt from the audio course Self-Compassion Step-By-Step selected by Sounds True producer Randy Roark, Kristin explains how self-compassion and self-criticism affect our minds and bodies, and explains why the quality of the compassion that we can give to others is often dependent upon giving ourselves the benefits of self-compassion first.
Mar 16 2016
Rank #11: Why Should We Meditate?
Beloved teacher Pema Chödrön has been at the forefront of spreading awareness of Buddhist practice in the West for nearly four decades. In this excerpt drawn from Ani Pema’s audio program Pure Meditation, she considers why it is that we are drawn to meditation and what we gain from its practice. In the words of Sounds True producer Matt Licata, “Pema has a real gift of reaching beyond tradition and into the heart of the modern person who is yearning for true spiritual awakening. Pema’s description of the radical act of meditation is both inspiring and clarifying.”
Jul 01 2015
Rank #12: Adyashanti: The Transmission of Generational Suffering
Adyashanti is a prolific and respected spiritual teacher whose work began in Zen Buddhism but has expanded beyond any set tradition or ideology. His teachings emphasize that any and all people can achieve enlightenment regardless of their specific spiritual path. In his newest audio program, Healing the Core Wound of Unworthiness, Adya explains how modern cultural attitudes and unspoken assumptions have created an “epidemic of unworthiness.” Sounds True producer Mitchell Clute chose this week’s excerpt because, “I was especially struck by his description of what might be called ‘generational karma’—the inheritance that comes down through our family lineage.” In this resonant selection, Adya talks about both good and bad qualities we can absorb through our upbringing—as well as how we can recognize negative aspects and work to let them go.
Feb 24 2016
Rank #13: Loch Kelly: What If There Is No Problem?
Loch Kelly is the founder of the Open-Hearted Awareness Institute and an emerging leader in the fields of meditation and psychotherapy. In this audio excerpt drawn from the program Shift into Freedom: A Training in the Science and Practice of Open-Hearted Awareness, Loch leads listeners through a guided practice intended to give a glimpse of our larger, imperturbable true nature. In the words of Sounds True producer Randy Roark, “There really is no problem and there is nothing wrong, because under all of our struggles and suffering, there will always be the fact that we already are all that we are seeking.”
Sep 23 2015
Rank #14: Reginald A. Ray: The Body Is Already Awake
Reginald A. Ray, PhD, is the founder of the Dharma Ocean Foundation and a spiritual teacher in the lineage of Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche who focuses on the somatic teachings transmitted through the Tibetan Tantra. In this excerpt from his audio learning series The Practice of Pure Awareness—introduced by Reginald’s student and Sounds True founder Tami Simon—he discusses how the physical body already contains the liveliness we often seek through meditation. According to Tami, “Through what [Reginald] calls ‘somatic meditation,’ we discover an inherent, preexisting wakefulness—the wakefulness of the very cells of our body.”
Nov 06 2015
Rank #15: don Oscar Miro-Quesada: Nothing Outside Us Has the Power to Create Suffering
don Oscar Miro-Quesada is a kamasqa curandero and altomisayoq adept who has drawn upon his decades of experience as a shaman to become the originator of the Pachakuti Mesa Tradition of cross-cultural shamanism. Sounds True producer Mitchell Clute worked closely with don Oscar to create the audio program Healing Light: An Apprenticeship in Peruvian Shamanism. “I was particularly struck by [don Oscar’s] descriptions of shamanic shadow work,” says Mitchell, “and what he calls ‘the hidden aspects of what it means to be human.’” In this fascinating excerpt, don Oscar describes how true transformation and self-acceptance can only be achieved in deep alignment with the currents of life.
Oct 21 2015
Rank #16: How Past Lives Affect Us
Many of us are curious about past lives, but how much do they affect us in the here and now? In his experience as a psychic consultant, author Ainslie MacLeod has come to believe that healing our past lives may be the most important step we can take in our spiritual growth. When recording Ainslie’s audio program Heal Your Past-Life Fears, Sounds True producer Mitchell Clute found himself thinking about past lives in a whole new way—not just as an esoteric concept from Eastern philosophy, but as real and immediate forces that influence our life choices in unseen ways. In this excerpt, Ainslie talks about how past lives affect us, and why working directly with these buried memories can lead to profound transformation.
May 06 2015
Rank #17: The Journey to Worthiness
A trustworthy guide can make all the difference when we are facing the more difficult parts of our human journey. When Sounds True producer Stephen Lessard worked with Dr. Brené Brown on her audio course Men, Women, and Worthiness, he discovered a teacher who immediately created that all-important bond of trust. “Brené has a clear, simple style that makes me feel like I’m sitting across the table from a dear friend,” Stephen reports. Because of the presence she brings, Brené has a gift for helping us navigate the difficult experiences of shame and vulnerability that we often try to avoid. In this selection, she talks about why navigating the swamp of our shameful feelings empowers us to live a full and wholehearted life.
Jul 22 2015
Rank #18: Rick Hanson: Coming Home to Happiness
Your mind can change the very tissue of your brain. Modern neuroscience is teaching us that all of our experiences, thoughts, and behaviors are constantly constructing and reconstructing the functioning of our nervous system. Psychologist Rick Hanson, author of Buddha’s Brain, has spent more than a decade studying how we can consciously harness our brain’s natural malleability, or “neuroplasticity,” to deepen our experience of happiness and joy. In this audio excerpt, Sounds True producer Randy Roark selected a meditation he found to be particularly powerful from Dr. Hanson’s program, Meditations for Happiness. In this guided visualization, you will be asked to close your eyes, so please be sure to find a place where you can be relaxed and undisturbed for ten minutes before you begin.
Dec 23 2015
Rank #19: Journey to the Oracle at Delphi
Shamanic healer and teacher Nicki Scully leads expeditions to sacred spots around the globe. However, her Sounds True audio program Becoming an Oracle shows that you don’t need a plane ticket to experience a powerful journey—travels of the spirit can illuminate, inspire, and transform us. Becoming an Oracle includes visits to sites and associated figures from the Greek, Egyptian, Indian, Tibetan, Nordic, Native American, Hawaiian, Australian Aboriginal, and African traditions, inviting us to experience sacred knowledge in a variety of ways. Sounds True producer Mitchell Clute offers this selection from Nicki’s program, which he describes as one of the most unique projects he has been involved with in his many years at Sounds True.
Jun 11 2015
Rank #20: Lisa Wimberger: The Power of Neurosculpting
“Lisa Wimberger is a living example of what is possible using the tools of modern science for self-directed brain change,” says Sounds True producer Randy Roark. “She embodies what I call becoming ‘Human 2.0.’” As Lisa explains in this selection from the audio course Neurosculpting: A Step-by-Step Program to Change Your Brain and Transform Your Life, she began using the tools of positive neuroplasticity for more than just a self-improvement project. Suffering from a rare neurological disorder, the tools she presents in this program were literally a means for her to try to stay alive. What she learned on her own personal journey became a system of practices that have a tremendous track record for to enacting positive brain change. “I firmly believe that if we took charge of our lives and brains the way Lisa has,” says Randy, “we all have the potential to become our own form of Human 2.0.”
Oct 28 2015