Chris shares a conversation with psychotherapist and Buddhist teacher Dr. Miles Neale about holding contemplative practice in the Western world and finding a gradual path to awakening.
Dr. Miles Neale is among the leading voices of the current generation of Buddhist teachers and a forerunner in the emerging field of contemplative psychotherapy. He is a licensed psychotherapist in private practice, international speaker, and faculty member of Tibet House US and Weill Cornell Medical College. Miles is the author of Gradual Awakening: The Tibetan Buddhist Path of Becoming Fully Human along with its audio companion of guided meditations The Gradual Path (Sounds True, 2018), which support the Kopan Nunnery in Nepal. Learn more at milesneale.com.
It Starts with Suffering (Opening) – Miles shares how he found his path of Buddhist practice which has informed his professional work as a psychotherapist. He and Chris talk about how the awareness of suffering leads so many people to contemplative practice and a better way to live.
“Modern materialistic culture had failed me. I had achieved the successes that are billed as the orientation for anybody in a modern materialistic world – to have family and a good job and to have money and opportunity – but there isn’t anything said about what is happening on the inside of one’s mind and what is happening on the inside between family members. If it weren’t for finding mentors early on in my story who could provide structure and meaning for the internal world I may not be here. – Dr. Miles Neale
McMindfulness (26:40) – Chris and Miles talk about the implications of mainstream contemplative and spiritual practice. They look at the pros and cons of secular mindfulness and reflect on the challenges of integrating contemplative practices into modern Western life while also respecting the culture and traditions they arose from.
“From India, I came back to Boston and to the medical center where they were running clinical trials on the use of meditation. There I found what secular and scientific meditation looked like, which was very different. You had people in need of meditation but were not interested in the cultural aspects. The entry level, most reduced, was a point of reference about relaxing. That was all that people were getting and quite frankly all that they may have needed for their predicament. I had to reconcile these two experiences. On the one hand, what I felt to be the full picture of a different way of living and on the other a kind of reduction that was accessible to people given where they were.” – Dr. Miles Neale
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The Gradual Path of Awakening (42:30) – Dr. Neale discusses the gradual path of Lam Rim in Tibetan Buddhism, the subject of his newest book Gradual Awakening: The Tibetan Buddhist Path of Becoming Fully Human. He looks at how this methodology provides a gentle and balanced map for our spiritual path.