Tame Your Mind. (No Religion Required.)
Season 20: Episode 9
No gods, no gurus, no mantras. Just you and your frantic thoughts as they rise and fall away.
The controversial atheist Sam Harris is Mary's guest. Harris, a life-long student of mindfulness and meditation, says when you take away all the religious stuff, the world's spiritual traditions have some profound things to say about the art of being human.
When Sam Harris called his latest book Waking up: A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion, he did have a few qualms about the "spirituality" part; Harris made his name as one of the New Atheists, along with Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens. What's less well-known about Harris is his life-long study of mindfulness and meditation - neither of which, he says, requires any kind of religious belief.
You can find Sam Harris' guided meditations here
When Harris refers to the practise of mindfulness, he's generally talking about the conventional way of doing it: in silence, perhaps on a meditation cushion, in a quiet space of your own or at a retreat.
There is another way people are starting to 'do' mindfulness. Elaine Smookler hosts a monthly event called Mindful Martinis. Elaine stops by the studio to talk about why a bar is a great place to practice mindfulness, and she walks Mary through a typical exercise.
Later on the show: Jerry Garcia was not a religious man. Nevertheless, the leader of The Grateful Dead once admitted that something pretty spiritual was going on when the band performed.
The Reverend Doctor Pitman Potter, who is a law professor and an Anglican church deacon, goes further. He says the connections between the Grateful Dead and the Christian gospel are profound. He speaks to Mary about his book, The Gospel and The Grateful Dead