Author and speaker, Mirabai Starr joins Nikki for a conversation on traversing the Dark Night of the Soul, poetically receiving her name from Ram Dass, and finding love amidst loss.
Mirabai Starr is an award-winning author of creative non-fiction and contemporary translations of sacred literature. She taught Philosophy and World Religions at the University of New Mexico-Taos for 20 years and now teaches and speaks internationally on contemplative practice and inter-spiritual dialog. A certified bereavement counselor, Mirabai helps mourners harness the transformational power of loss. Check out her latest book, Wild Mercy: Living the Fierce and Tender Wisdom of the Women Mystics, and learn more at MirabaiStarr.com.
“Just be still and be beautiful. We are so conditioned to see these Dark Nights as problems to be solved, rather than as these gorgeous invitations to inhabit the radiance of what is.”– Mirabai Starr
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Global Dark Night of the Soul
Welcoming author, speaker, and spiritual teacher, Mirabai Starr, to the New Growth podcast, Nikki invites her to reflect on her present moment experience. Sharing insights into both the deeply personal, and the boundless transpersonal, Mirabai offers multi-level wisdom amidst processing difficult intimate lessons during a global ‘Dark Night of the Soul.’ Through this lens, Mirabai invites us to surrender into the ‘not-knowing’ of this collective birthing process.
“It feels like a global Dark Night of the Soul – when everything breaks down and is stripped away, when everything that used to get us high on the spiritual path, doesn’t anymore. If you surrender to that, it’ll take you deeper, and all the concepts and belief systems start to fall away, all the architecture on which we built our spiritual lives becomes meaningless. It’s like an existential crisis with a deeper spiritual overtone: longing for union with the Beloved.” – Mirabai Starr
Valarie Kaur describes how our global difficulties are a collective birthing process, on Ep. 126 of the Metta Hour
Becoming Mirabai (7:30)
Reflecting on what experiences brought her so fully onto the spiritual path, Mirabai shares personal stories of loss and despair, as well as jubilation and revelation; explaining how she so poetically received her name “Mirabai” from Ram Dass while performing a Mirabai play, and was so welcomed home by the satsang of Neem Karoli Baba devotees, the Lama Foundation, and a merging confluence of spiritual lineages, teachings, practices, and literature.
“I didn’t need to have answers and I didn’t need to have a reliable belief system. I didn’t trust the prescribed ways of being and relating to the great mystery. But I did trust something deeper and more nameless, that I discovered not in spite of the shattering, but through the portal that opened for me.” – Mirabai Starr
For more Mirabai Starr lighting up the Dark Night of the Soul, experience Ep. 69 of Mindrolling
Nikki Visits Hanuman Maui (26:22)
Prompted by Mirabai to share about her recent transformational visit to stay at Ram Dass’ home on Maui, Nikki describes the synchronicity-and-grace-steeped experience of being in the loving awareness sanctuary amongst the temple-building super-monkey team at Hanuman Maui, all still sharing in Ram Dass’ bhav and presence a year after his passing. To close, Nikki asks Mirabai to relay wisdom from her many books on traversing the Dark Night of the Soul.
“How do we look at the Dark Night of the Soul, not as this rigorous austere tapasya or renunciation where we beat ourselves up into submission, but rather as these deep invitational feminine spaces of connecting with the heart of the human condition, rather than trying to transcend it?” – Mirabai Starr