#528. The Surprising Power of “Healthy Embarrassment” | Koshin Paley Ellison

Ten Percent Happier
November 30, 2022
#528. The Surprising Power of “Healthy Embarrassment” | Koshin Paley Ellison
Ten Percent Happier with Dan Harris

We’ve all got parts of our personality or our past that we’re ashamed of. We might refer to these parts of ourselves as our demons, our baggage, or our secrets; no one is immune.

So, how do you want to deal with this situation? Stay coiled in shame and denial? That only makes the demons stronger. An alternative, per my guest Koshin Paley Ellison, is to approach your stuff with “healthy embarrassment.” That allows you to work more skillfully with your baggage so that it doesn’t own you. And once you’re cooler with yourself, that can improve your relationships with other people, which is probably the most important variable for your happiness. And healthy embarrassment is just one of many extremely useful things we are going to talk about today.

Koshin Paley Ellison is an author, Zen teacher, Jungian psychotherapist, and Certified Chaplaincy Educator. He is the co-founder of the New York Zen Center for Contemplative Care, an amazing place which, among other things, trains people to be volunteers in hospice centers. Koshin is the author of a new book called Untangled: Walking the Eightfold Path to Clarity, Courage, and Compassion, which centers on a classic Buddhist list called The Eightfold Path, the Buddha’s recipe for enlightenment or, as Koshin puts it, “the most awesome combo platter.”

In this episode we talk about:

  • What is The Eightfold Path and how it fits into another Buddhist list, The Four Noble Truths
  • How to use the list to do life better
  • The danger of perfectionism in putting the list to use in your life
  • How to bridge the gap between what we say we care about and what we’re actually doing with our lives
  • How sitting with your pain can lead to freedom
  • The utility and pitfalls of gossip
  • How we can look at the idea of “killing” in many different ways, including how one can “kill a moment” or “the energy in a room”
  • How the concept of “right effort” can help us find the balance between not doing enough and overworking ourselves
  • How being uncomfortable is a sign of real engagement with our practice
  • And Koshin’s addition of the concept of “mystery” as another aspect of the eightfold path

Where to find Koshin Paley Ellison online: 

Website: zencare.org/sensei-koshin-paley-ellison

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