Sharon Salzberg – Metta Hour – Ep. 139 – Real Change Series: Jana Kiser

For episode 139 of the Metta Hour, Sharon speaks with Jana Kiser.

For episode 139 of the Metta Hour, Sharon speaks with Jana Kiser.

Jana Kiser is a social entrepreneur and Harvard-trained educator. She has more than twenty years of experience partnering with youth, adults, and communities in their pursuit of equity, justice, and peace. Jana founded Global Learning, an international nonprofit organization dedicated to education for peace and justice, and served as Global Learning’s Executive Director for thirteen years. She has also served for six years as the Executive Director of Redwood City 2020. This collective impact organization addresses inequity and the effects of poverty through health and wellness programming.

This is episode twelve of the Real Change Podcast series. In this conversation, Jana and Sharon speak about Jana’s work in Puerto Rico to support community healing in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. They talk about Jana’s history and what brought her to the path of meditation and activism. They speak about some of the themes from “Real Change,” particularly how Jana has cultivated resilience throughout her activism career and what tools she uses to remain balanced and grounded. The episode closes with Jana leading a thirteen-minute body scan meditation practice. Learn more about Jana’s offerings at

We invite you to join Sharon Salzberg, Joseph Goldstein, & Andrea Castillo, Tuesday Oct 27th through Friday Oct 30th, for an illuminating course exploring the nature of insight as a vehicle for liberation. Register and find more information at: Mindfulness: The Gateway to Insight with Joseph Goldstein, Sharon Salzberg, and Andrea Castillo
Healing in Puerto Rico: Meditation, Music, & Mindful Movement

Invited by Sharon to explore the meaningful intentionality behind her Bajacu’ Boricua project, Jana explains the deep-rooted history of hardships and traumas that modern Puerto Rico has faced, and how her current focus has been to aid in the collective and individual healing of the people on the island. Sparked by the devastation of Hurricane Maria, Bajacu’ Boricua is a collaborative project designed to support Puerto Rican children, youth, and parents/caregivers through meditation, music, and movement.

“The intention was to use meditation, mindful movement, and music to support collective and individual healing in Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, recognizing that Hurricane Maria was just one of the more recent of the challenges that the island’s people have faced.” – Jana Kiser

For a flowing, intuitive conversation honing in on the potent, dynamic intersection of music, meditation, and mantra, tune into Ep. 359 of Mindrolling
Harvesting Collective Wisdom: A Collaborative Community (11:40)

Recollecting her time teaching meditation for Jana’s Bajacu’ Boricua in Puerto Rico, Sharon speaks to the authentic ownership, authenticity, and collective-wisdom that is inherent in their blossoming collaborative community. Rather than coming in from the outside and trying to enact change externally, instead Jana was able to tread fertile soil to help cultivate and harvest an internal, shared, collective wisdom. For their hosted workshops, she invites every participant to be not only a learner, but a leader.

“It was really important to us who were organizing the work, that the project not be one of outsiders coming in with solutions or assumptions of what would be healing for folks, but instead to be a real collaborative opportunity for people to build on the tremendous resources they already have, knowing there’s a wealth of resiliency and tools people are already using everyday.” – Jana Kiser

Join Sharon for another episode of the Real Change Series, as she explores integrating ancient wisdom into the modern world, on Ep. 136 of the Metta Hour
Burnout & Bearing Witness: Joy as a Resource for Resilience (34:34)

How can we bear witness to the realities of the world while still keeping a safe grip on our joy? What methodologies can we use to imbibe healthy resilience and maintain a sustained effort towards our goals without forcing burnout and depletion? For Jana, the capacity to sustain her gaze while bearing witness comes through grounding and resourcing oneself with laughter, meditation, and joy.

“I look at joy as a resource. It fills us up, sustains us, and allows us to keep going when things get hard, so that we can actually contribute and do the hard, courageous work that is needed for us to create the systemic change that our world is calling for.” – Jana Kiser

For a conversation joyfully elucidating the psychology and neuroscience behind cultivating traits of mindful resilience, check out Ep. 113 of the India Spiritualist

This is the first episode of the Real Change Podcast series. In this conversation, Joshin and Sharon discuss some of the themes from her new book, Real Change, exploring the ways that meditation practice can inform social action. They discuss working with anger, pathological altruism, finding long term resilience and joy in activism, and working to find balance. To close the conversation, Joshin leads a ten-minute meditation practice on equanimity.