For the 99th episode of the Metta Hour Podcast, Sharon speaks with colleague and friend, Sebene Selassie.
Sebene is a dharma teacher, writer, coach and consultant. She began studying Buddhism over 25 years ago and has an MA from the New School where she focused on race and cultural studies. She is the former Executive Director of New York Insight Meditation Center and is passionate about making the dharma accessible and relevant for our times.
In this episode, Sharon and Sebene discuss how Sebene came to the path of meditation, her work as a teacher, identity, community and much more. Sebene also leads a guided meditation to close the conversation. To learn more about Sebene and her teaching schedule visit: sebeneselassie.com
Integrating Body, Mind, and Earth
Sebene shares the unique blend of Theravadan Buddhism and South African practices taught by her instructors Thanissara and Kittisaro from the Sacred Mountain Sangha. She and Sharon speak about navigating our own spiritual path and different traditions in a way that works for where we are at.
“I am still kind of finding my way. Especially with devotional practices, where it doesn’t feel like I am taking someone else’s practice and trying to fit into it. But really feeling into, ‘What is my expression of this?” – Sebene Selassie
Thanissara joins Raghu Markus for a conversation about waking up together and breaking our karmic patterns on Ep. 270 of the Mindrolling Podcast
Touching Enlightenment (19:30)
Sharon and Sebene explore the orientation that Western students enter into Buddhist practice with, which can cause unnecessary hangups and roadblocks unanticipated by early Eastern teachers. They speak about the radical potential that contemplative practice has for Western culture and adapting traditional practices to the particular needs of Westerners.
“There is no getting somewhere else. (Some students) are still trying to get somewhere and make something else happen. Maybe that is the emphasis on letting go – but people kind of misinterpret the letting go. They think that letting go is still trying to make something else happen. It is a sort of a stepping back and resting that a lot of people need to hear in this culture.” – Sebene Selassie
Getting Comfortable with Paradox (36:05)
How do we compassionately open ourselves to the paradoxes of injustice and suffering in the world? Sebene talks about making space in ourselves to hold these paradoxes of karma, however they manifest, with love and compassion.
“There is room for endless compassion. That requires tending to our own pain first, so that we are able to hold.” – Sebene Selassie
Dropping Into Natural Awareness (41:15)
Sebene closes with an ease-filled 5-minute meditation.