Daniel Goleman and Raghu Markus join Ram Dass to talk about the power of meditation that they were exposed to in the East and what Western science has begun to understand about consciousness and meditation practice.
Against the Grain (Opening) – Ram Dass and Daniel Goleman talk about their time at Harvard and what it was like trying to study consciousness in such a restrictive culture. Daniel describes the auspicious nature of how he found himself in India studying the potential of human consciousness with saints like Maharaj-ji.
“Ram Dass, then Richard Alpert, and Tim Leary had actually been in the very department that I had enrolled in five years later. They had traumatized the faculty there, by making them the focus of one of the biggest scandals in Harvard history, as far as they were concerned. They were doing something very subversive, which was studying consciousness.” – Daniel Goleman
Altered Traits (7:20) – The book Altered Traits looks at all the scientific evidence around mindfulness and meditation on the human consciousness. Daniel talks about the strong evidence found in his book and discusses with the group the ways in which Maharaj-ji, who inspired Daniel to write Altered Traits, demonstrated the pinnacle of what consciousness is capable of.
“The book was really inspired by Maharaj-ji, who I was blessed enough to have a chance to be with. He was unlike anyone I had ever met in my life. He was totally present, equanimous and happy for no particular reason; unconditional love.” – Daniel Goleman
The Power of Practice (15:50) – The group reflects on the efficacy of the many forms of meditation. Daniel discusses some of the lesser known practices in the West and shares his encounters with individuals who have embodied these teachings entirely.
Meditating on Love (26:15) – Ram Dass talks about his extended meditation retreats while in Burma and how they affected his practice of Bhakti yoga.
“Those practices in Burma gave me concentration. I learned to concentrate on my breath. When I got back to Maharaj-ji, I noticed that I concentrated on him. My heart was made full by concentrating on him.” – Ram Dass
The Science of Mindfulness (36:20) – Daniel talks about some of the scientific studies that have been done on different mindfulness practices.
“The science itself is now coming around to study the very top level practitioners and it is showing that there is something going on in consciousness that has to do with those qualities we all experienced in India.” – Daniel Goleman
Compassion and the Self (46:15) – Ram Dass reflects on the kind of compassion we need to show for ourselves before we can truly show compassion for others. Daniel talks about the role of compassion and the concept of self in Buddhism.