For Episode 83 of the Metta Hour Podcast, enjoy this conversation from the archives between Sharon and beloved author and Celtic mystic, John O’Donohue.
This conversation “Dawning of the Spirit” was recorded in 1998 in Boston, MA by the Omega Institute. The conversation is an exploration of the crossover between the practical application and mysticism of Buddhism and Christianity. Sharon and John discuss the concept of faith at length, as well as the themes of identity, connection, empathy and more. John O’Donohue is the beloved author of “To Bless the Space Between Us” and widely recognized as one of the most charismatic and inspirational enduring voices on the subjects of spirituality and Celtic mysticism. The 2018 book release, “Walking in Wonder” is a welcome tribute to a much-loved author whose work still touches the lives of millions around the world, and includes a foreword by Krista Tippett. Learn more about the: legacy of John O’Donohue: johnodonohue.com
Redefining Our Potential (Opening) – How do our narratives shape what is possible? Sharon opens with an examination of the definitions of ourselves that we develop around what we can do, what our lives are about and where the greatest meaning is to be found. John O’Donohue looks at how we can limit our potential with the beliefs we carry.
“Part of this whole process of me in my life has been to make these mottos, these decisions and aspirations, conscious. To see where they are falsely limited, where I am so inhibited and held back, and to learn to continually open to what might be possible. One of my Tibetan teachers used to say, ‘Why aspire to something small? Why not aspire to the greatest – to full liberation for the sake of all beings. Why not?” – Sharon Salzberg
Showing Up (16:35) – One of the areas where the Buddhist and Christian traditions intersect is around the idea of presence and engagement, both in our daily lives and in our spiritual practice. Sharon and John talk about the grace waiting in every moment that is waiting for us to call it forward. They discuss the inseparable principles of suffering and transcendence that lies at the heart of both traditions.
“At the beginning of John’s Gospel you have the Greek phrase that translates, ‘And the words became flesh.’ What it says is that in this idea the kind of luminosity at the heart of Christian suffering is wedded with the principal of vulnerability and fragility in a non-breakable way and that at the heart of crucifixion is resurrection.” – John O’Donohue
The Heart of Compassion (27:30) – How does a compassion and presence for one’s suffering change the way that suffering is experienced? Sharon and John reflect on the powerful act of compassion that occurs when we just show up for suffering.
“Tolstoy said one of the great human duties is to sew the seeds of compassion in each other’s hearts.” – John O’Donohue
Enough Trust to Let Go (42:50) – John and Sharon take questions from their live audience around faith, redemption and bringing awareness to how we offer ourselves. We close with a poem written and read by John on the subject of cultivating presence by bringing attention to the quality of our words.