In episode 149 of the Metta Hour, Sharon speaks with Tim Desmond.
Tim is a psychotherapist, author, Distinguished Faculty Scholar at Antioch University New England, and student of Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh. He is the founder of Peer Collective and co-founder of Morning Sun Mindfulness Center in Alstead, NH. He was also a co-organizer of Occupy Wall Street. Tim’s publications include Self-Compassion in Psychotherapy, The Self-Compassion Skills Workbook, and the 2019 release, How to Stay Human in a Fucked Up World.
In this conversation, Tim shares his history and what led him to become an activist and student of meditation, and eventually professional psychology. He shares about the impetus for the Morning Sun Mindfulness Center as well as the Peer Collective. They discuss the role of faith and love in psychotherapy and what the x-factor is in therapeutic healing. Tim reflects on the power of self-compassion and how to cultivate it and its transformational effects. They also discuss the role of suffering in happiness and how to work with suffering in a forward-leading way. Tim shares about his most recent book, How to Stay Human in a Fucked Up World, and the circumstances around the writing of that book. The episode closes with Tim leading a five-minute guided meditation.
Recognizing Suffering: How to Stay Human
A true renaissance man, Sharon invites Tim to share his multitude of diverse projects all aimed toward compassion: His book, How to Stay Human in a F*cked Up World digs into how to stay connected to our love no matter the circumstances. Inspired by Thich Nhat Hanh’s Plum Village, Tim, his wife, and friends, have been co-creating Morning Sun Mindfulness Center, an intentional layperson community offering dharma to everyone. And his Peer Collective project is an accessible online peer counseling for relieving suffering.
“It’s about how to stay human, how to stay connected to what’s alive in us—the love, compassion, and reality in us—in all the situations we go through in life.” – Tim Desmond
Learn how to ‘stay human in a f*cked up world’ by opening towards compassion and honesty in a ‘F*ckups Guide to Self-Help,’ on Ep. 369 of Mindrolling
Transforming Suffering: Self-Compassion & Showing Up (10:01)
Tim shares his spiritual journey and ensuing intention behind starting Peer Collective. Through the merging of his background in clinical psychology with his experience in meditation with Thich Nhat Hanh, Tim saw one of the deepest questions in life arise: What is the active ingredient that transforms suffering? Sharon offers a story surrounding her own exploration into the most healing element—elucidating love, faith, self-compassion, and the act of showing up, all as ingredients for transforming suffering.
“For all we know, the single most healing element in the psychotherapeutic relationship, is the fact that someone showed up for their appointment—which is the self compassion part. Something gets us out of bed and has us try, has us willing to be different, and take risks. That’s what I was calling faith.” – Sharon Salzberg
Francesca welcomes Lama Rod Owens for wisdom on how to show up to difficult experiences and traumas with compassion and love, on Ep. 23 of ReRooted
The Gift of Suffering: Compost to Flowers (31:24)
Looking at the difficult times we find ourselves in, Sharon and Tim explore the gift inherent in suffering—it’s recycling, regenerative nature to help compost the garbage life gives us, to help aid the gardens our hearts want to grow.
“That’s the gift of suffering: If you don’t have compost you can’t have flowers. Life gives you garbage, and if you don’t know what you’re doing, the garbage is going to fester, stink, and ruin your life. But if you have some skillfulness, you can turn garbage into compost. Then, that compost can become flowers.” – Tim Desmond
Open yourself to the life and wisdom teachings of Tim’s root teacher, Buddhist mindfulness master, Thich Nhat Hanh, on Ep. 190 of Mindrolling
Source images via HarperOne and Tim Desmond