Contemplative psychotherapist Dr. Miles Neale visits Mindrolling to chat with Raghu about intuition, emptiness, renunciation, and the mystical being that is Bob Thurman.
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, and is also co-editor of the groundbreaking volume Advances in Contemplative Psychotherapy. Learn more about Dr. Neale at milesneale.com, and be sure to check out his new two-year online Contemplative Studies Program.
Following the Hunch
Despite being from different generations, both Raghu and Dr. Neale talk about the intuitive hunch they felt to find the spiritual path, and how that intuition brought both of them to India.
“If you were to ask me, quite honestly, I don’t know what I was doing there other than following a hunch. I was following a hunch. I broke with the accepted norm of my culture to pursue something on a limb that was calling me from within, without much clarity, and it has made all the difference.” – Dr. Miles Neale
The Thurmanator (24:45)
The conversation shifts to Dr. Neale’s mentor and teacher (and frequent Mindrolling guest), Robert Thurman. Dr. Neale talks about the first time he met Bob.
“He was high on mojo, there were rainbow lights ripping out of every orifice possible, it was next level… He just blew me away; I had never, ever met anybody like Bob Thurman.” – Dr. Miles Neale
Understanding Emptiness (35:25)
Raghu asks Dr. Neale to recount a story from his book, Gradual Awakening, as the two discuss the union of emptiness and karma, and how Dr. Neale’s Buddhist perspective feeds into his work as a psychotherapist.
“The main point is that you can never get outside the realm of this kind of duality, it’s the fact that there is both an emptiness and a form simultaneously.” – Dr. Miles Neale
Renunciation and Hard Work (47:55)
In closing, Dr. Neale talks about the hard work required to achieve real spiritual integration in our lives. Specifically, on how the idea of renunciation is not an external process, but an internal one.
“We have to give up our sick ideas about who we are. The things we have to give up are not external things, they are beliefs. And they are lifestyle habits that are recapitulating our own worst nightmare scenarios.” – Dr. Miles Neale