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Learning paths content lists

Betty Williams, co-recipient of the 1976 Nobel Peace Prize for her work in Ireland and the head of the Global Children's Foundation tells a story about humor and her work with the Dalai Lama. More
Loung Ung, author and human rights activist, and Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela, South African psychologist and senior professor, discuss remorse, empathy, and healing their experiences of the Khmer Rouge and Apartheid. More
Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela, psychologist and senior research professor in South Africa served on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. She describes the relationship between forgiveness and transformation. More
Zainab Salbi, international author, activist, and journalist, tells the story of bringing forth her deepest secret and relinquishing her shame. More
Riane Eisler, an eminent social scientist and activist, attorney, and author, explains how her mother exemplified spiritual courage, the courage to stand up to injustice out of love. More
Sarah Peter is an artist, philanthropist and cofounder of the Omega Women’s Leadership Center. She describes here the internal work of achieving peace. More
Meditation teacher, Sharon Salzberg, explains how lovingkindness creates happiness and inspires change. "It doesn't have to be a dog-eat-dog world. If we look at a time that we've received someone's kindness, or we were kind in return, that's when we're actually happy," Sharon says. "And that happiness becomes the fuel for effective action in the world." More
Elizabeth Lesser, cofounder of Omega Institute and the Omega Women's Leadership Center, demonstrates a simple but powerful meditation to remind you to do no harm and take nothing from people who are meaning ill to you. "Both can happen at the same time. We can be peaceful warriors," says Elizabeth.  More
American spiritual teacher Adyashanti defines two types of awareness—focused awareness and the field of awareness—and says we all have experienced both.  More
When we label something, does it change the thing itself, or just how we perceive it? Pema Chödrön, one of the most prominent Buddhist teachers in the West today, gives an example of how our minds alter our experiences. More
Omega: What's going on in the body when we start to feel anxious? Judson: Why don’t you tell me? What goes on in your body when you start to feel anxious? Omega: It depends on what I'm anxious about. I might have butterflies in my stomach, my palms might sweat, my face might flush. There are a lot of physical reactions happening. These physical sensations that we label “anxiety” have one thing in common: they make us feel contracted. —Judson Brewer More
Over the last decade there has been an explosion of new findings and public interest in neuroscience. However, most books and resources don’t demonstrate and explain in practical and concrete terms how these discoveries apply to everyday life experiences. My challenge, as a brain geek and mind-hacker, was to find a way to make sense of all this information and create a practical approach that I could use myself as well as share more broadly, especially with audiences without in-depth scientific training and knowledge, such as students in inner-city high schools. More
Omega: How do you define self-compassion? Steven: The most common way we talk about it is treating yourself the same way you would treat a good friend when they suffer, fall short, or fail. In general, people are more prone to being kind to other people than they are to being kind with themselves. Self-compassion gets them to direct this kindness toward themselves in the same situations.  Omega: What’s the difference between mindfulness and self-compassion? How do they work together?  More
Omega: Why do you think mindfulness has become so popular in the West? Saki: In the West we’re very interested in the mind. We identify powerfully with our mind and our thoughts. Mindfulness helps us realize we have the capacity to know ourselves more directly, to step back and say, “Wait a second; the mind that I have thought about as the mind is only one small aspect of mind." No one is diminished by offering love. —Saki Santorelli More
Omega: In your book Compassion in Action, which you wrote with Ram Dass, you say, “Acting with compassion is not doing good because we think we ought to. It’s being drawn to action by heartfelt passion.” What is your heartfelt passion?  More
Walking through the doors of the Shriners Hospital in Los Angeles was a form of time travel for me. Instantly, I was transported back to the five-year-old me, in the hospital on Halloween and dressed as a bat, leaping, limping, and flapping my wings as I went trick-or-treating down the corridor of the administrative offices. I watched that silly apparition, wistfully reliving the last days of having my own two feet. More
Omega: Can you explain how the brain’s way of learning sets us up for addiction? Judson: Our brains operate with a reward-based learning system, or habit loop, that has a couple of key pieces: a trigger, a behavior, and a reward. This evolved to help us remember where food is. If we were hungry and we saw a berry (the trigger) and we ate it (the behavior), the stomach then sent a dopamine signal to our brain (the reward) that said, “That was good! Remember what you just ate and where you found it.” More
Omega: How did you develop your natural talent for communicating with spirits and what practices remain important to you today? Tony: I was very lucky, because I was invited to join a development group. A woman named Joan, who has now passed over herself, took me under her wing. She saw something in me. I was allowed to sit in her home circle, which was a very small group that met every Thursday. More
Omega: What's Buddism's take on happiness? Robert: Buddhism has a very positive view of life. Buddha, when he became enlightened, smiled with glee and happiness. He was actually announcing that happiness is possible to people. The only reason he mentions suffering is that if one remains confused and doesn't find the reality of oneself, then one will automatically bump into things and then one will suffer. More
It’s rumored that when the artist Michelangelo sculpted the statue of David, he observed a singular slab of marble and began steadily chipping away, removing everything that "wasn’t David." His approach wasn’t to shape the stone itself, but rather to reveal the Renaissance masterpiece within. More