Mindrolling – Raghu Markus – Ep.158 – Caravan of No Despair

Caravan of No Despair

In this episode of Mindrolling, Raghu welcomes Mirabai Starr- famous for her Christian Mystic books and now her memoir- Caravan of No Despair.

Mirabai Starr is the author of the long-anticipated memoir, CARAVAN OF NO DESPAIR: A Memoir of Loss and Transformation. In her critically acclaimed new translations of the mystics and reflections on the unifying teachings at the heart of all spiritual paths, Mirabai uses fresh, lyrical language to help make timeless wisdom accessible to a contemporary circle of seekers.

Transformation (Opening)

To begin, Raghu and Mirabai discuss past life agreements. Mirabai wonders what in the world she asked for while still in the Bardos between lives – with her first few decades in this incarnation being so full of intense suffering! As if she knew what she needed to transform her being but she really asked for the full monty and managed to come through with flying colors! Mirabai shares her story and talks about the transformative power of suffering.

“Tragedy and trauma are not guarantees for a transformational spiritual experience, true, but they are opportunities.” – Mirabai Starr

Eradicating the Ego (11:15)

Mirabai discusses getting the self out of the way. She shares her struggles of cultivating her career as a public personality. While trying to commit to the practice of eradicating her ego in the way she was trained. She and Raghu discuss how Ram Dass shared the same struggle. And how the role of tragedy can play in such a situation.

“I think sometimes people think that when a huge tragic event happens it is because we needed such strong wakeup call, because that’s how fast asleep we were. But I don’t think that is a fair equation. Maybe it is more like what you said at the beginning Raghu, we signed up for the steep path in this lifetime.” – Mirabai Starr

Finding A Home (18:00)

At a young age, Mirabai was subjected to manipulation by someone in the spiritual community. She opens up to the conditioning she experienced. And the story of breaking free from the destructive relationship.

Dark Night of the Soul (27:30)

Mirabai and Raghu share a discussion of the dark night of the soul. And St John of the Cross whose book she has translated.

“The dark night of the soul. According to the Spanish Mystic Saint John of the Cross who coined that term. Wasn’t about having a hard time. Navigating a breakup or suffering an illness. These things can be occasions for a dark night. But a dark night is a really private internal spiritual crisis. The markers are that the things that used to sustain our spiritual lives begin to dry up. And feel really meaningless and empty. That is a really fruitful spiritual state.” – Mirabai Starr    

Discover More: Mirabai continues discussion of St. John of the Cross in this episode of her Guest Podcast Series
Radical Unknowing (40:45)

Lastly, Mirabai explains two key concepts- Radical Unknowingness and Sacred Unraveling. These two form the backbone of a spiritual path. That is not pre-digested concepts but more visceral reality.

For more from Mirabai Starr, visit her website or Facebook page.

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Photo by: Zoe Zimmerman