Mindrolling – Raghu Markus – Ep. 184 – Dr. Paul Ekman

Paul Ekman

Psychologist, Dr. Paul Ekman, visits Mindrolling to discuss his influential research, work with the Dalai Lama and our relationship to emotions.

Dr. Paul Ekman’s research on emotions and non-verbal behavior explore what we share and what links us all together. He and Raghu dive into the nature of emotions and how we respond to them.

Click HERE to watch the video version of this podcast.

Show Notes

A Bigger Vision (Opening) – Dr. Paul Ekman shares how he went from practicing psychotherapy to becoming one of the most prominent researchers in human emotions.

“Emotions do link us all together.”

A Country Divided (17:30) – Emotions link us all together, but as a whole, we are a very divided society. Raghu and Dr. Ekman talk about finding a path forward in a time when there is so much anger and division. How do we get to a place beyond the anger where we can disagree with respect?

“The more you can understand, not try to change, why somebody disagrees with you, the more likely it is that the two of you will find a way of living with each other.”

Unmasking Emotions (24:45) – Raghu shares how close to home Dr. Ekman’s research on facial expressions and emotions is. They talk about how we interpret the seven universal facial expressions of emotion, how easy it is to misread one another, and how to avoid doing so.

“When you smile at someone, even if it is put on, it is hard not to reciprocate it yourself. Smiles bring forth smiles. Mutual smiles are enjoyable, and we are off on a good track.”

Transcending Anger (34:30) – Dr. Ekman shares his life-changing experience in the presence of the Dalai Lama. Up until that moment in his life, he struggled with the way he responded to conflict. Dr, Ekman explains how that experience has completely changed the way he responds to anger.

“Now I don’t worry about getting angry. I do get angry occasionally, I don’t think any more than anyone else. I haven’t had a regrettable angry episode. One where I would say, ‘I wish I had not said that.’ I haven’t had that kind of an episode in decades.”

Atlas of Emotion (50:30) – Raghu became aware of Dr. Ekman via “The Last Dalai Lama?” Mickey Lemle’s new documentary about the Dalai Lama. Part of the documentary discusses focus on the Atlas of Emotions created by Dr. Ekman and the Dalai Lama. Dr. Ekman explains the Atlas of Emotions and how it is useful to understand our emotions and reactions.

Unresolved Emotions (57:40) – Anger is the most dangerous of all emotions. Raghu and Dr. Ekman discuss what is happening to us when an isolated angry reaction draws out other kinds of unresolved anger.

Check out Paul online and explore the Atlas of Emotions.


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Image via Bruce Rolff