Ethan Nichtern – The Road Home – Ep.19 – Say What You Mean with Oren Jay Sofer

Ethan Nichtern - The Road Home - Ep.19 - Say What You Mean with Oren Jay Sofer

Oren Jay Sofer visits the Road Home Podcast for a conversation about integrating our spiritual practices into how we communicate.

Oren Jay Sofer teaches mindfulness, meditation and Nonviolent Communication in both secular and Buddhist contexts. He is a long-time student of Joseph Goldstein, Michele McDonald, and Ajahn Sucitto, and a graduate of the IMS – Spirit Rock Vipasanna Teacher Training. Learn more at

Taken by the Path

Oren shares his introduction to the spiritual path. He describes the moment of realization, after years of practice, that his meditation practice was not translating into his relationships. Ethan and Oren discuss Oren’s journey to understand this disconnect and begin to integrate his practice more fully.

“What I found was that, after five or six years of diligent practice, my meditation was unfolding but I was still having a lot of issues in my relationships in life. I got really curious. Why is this stuff not translating in my relationships and in my conversations?” – Oren Jay Sofer

More Than Just Sitting (7:00)

Ethan and Oren discuss Western Buddhism’s focus on meditation and the individualism that can arise from it. The two discuss how this may have deemphasized the importance of communication and co-operation with others. They look at how integrating outside influences and teachings can enrich and supplement typical Western Buddhist teachings.

Practices of Mindful Communication (13:40)

Oren takes us through the three stages of integrating our practices into how we communicate with others that have been laid out in his most recent book, Say What You Mean. 

“We experience the sense of self arising in relation to others. We experience our emotions, our thoughts and our needs being met or not in relation to others – to our environment. Bringing the qualities of mindfulness and concentration and kindness into the relational space is a really rich area for awakening.” – Oren Jay Sofer 

Listen to Oren’s conversation with Sharon Salzberg about the nuances of effective communication on Ep. 86 of The Road Home Podcast
Say What You Mean (40:20)

To say what we mean, we must first know what we mean. Oren and Ethan discuss the importance of slowing down and inquiring as to why we are about to say something – before we say it. The two look at how this level of self-awareness brings our practice full-circle.

Ethan Nichtern - The Road Home - Ep.19 - Say What You Mean with Oren Jay Sofer

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Images via Oren Jay Sofer