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4,000 Years of Wisdom and We’re Still Learning with Pamela Ayo Yetunde (Episode #152)

Dr. Pamelo Ayo Yetunde demonstrates why we are right to look for answers to our modern problems in timeless wisdom, some of it thousands of years old. She brings together her insights from the world’s greatest wisdom traditions, philosophies, and religions to help others find peace-of-mind, timeless truths, and clarity amid the often daunting chaos in our times.

Episode Highlights

About Our Guest:

Dr. Ayo Yetunde is a renowned Pastoral Counselor, Author, Buddhist teacher and Activist, who has the most extraordinary way of shining a light on our everyday challenges. She did her post-doctoral work at Harvard Divinity School, and is an Author of books and articles related to Buddhism, Womanist Theology, and Psychotherapy. 

In this conversation, I only had to look at the newspaper that morning to come up with 8 topics that most of us find challenging almost every day. We took them on one by one and the conversation felt like the opportunity to weave a better carpet on which we can stand together with others, in the winds of challenge.

In today’s conversation we talk about the wise way to face things that scare us: 

  • How can we find the courage to approach a loved one about unresolved conflict?
  • How can we recognize and then expand our limiting beliefs?
  • How do we know who to give our attention to in a world that is shouting? 
  • What do we do with our broken heart when we have to step over a homeless person?
  • And, how do we find a more graceful way of being truly present in the midst of struggle?  

And then, of course, we took on the task of how we might all cope with the overwhelming negative news in better ways. 

Ayo is truly a wonder of visionary thinking. 

When it comes to applying timeless wisdom to modern challenges, her perspectives feel like a release! There are so many ways to let go and move on… to experience a kind of freedom many of us barely recognize these days.

Her recent book is Casting Indra’s Net: Fostering Spiritual Kinship and Community.

In it, Ayo creatively unpacks this concept of creating “compassionate communities” in our lives… a metaphor of Indra’s Net—a universal net in which all beings reflect each other like jewels.

Whew!… I think I have listened to this episode myself 4 times already myself on a few walks and drives! 

Ayo and I were introduced by another guest on the Conspiracy of Goodness Podcast, Flint Sparks, whose episode is one of our most viewed. Check it out here:

Mindfully Embracing the Unexpected: Advice from a Zen Teacher with Flint Sparks (Episode #143)

If you or someone you know is struggling with a complexity that seems irrevocably stuck, our guest today—Flint Sparks—will point you in some new directions. He’s been a professional psychotherapist for four decades, and he is also a Zen teacher: a wonderful combination that brings a level of timeless wisdom to the table that adds a path to freedom we may not find any other way.

Read Article Watch Video Listen to Podcast

Show Notes

00:00 Intro & Welcome

02:03 Interdependence

  • Dr. Lynda was introduced to Ayo by Flint Sparks who appeared on Episode #153 of The Conspiracy of Goodness Podcast.
  • We are coming to grips with profound loneliness.
  • We are seeking to reconnect and accept that we need each other.
  • Sometimes we are wounded and need to take time and space to heal.
  • Respect for one’s self and others is key to maintaining relationships.

07:02 Preserving the Dignity of Others

  • We need to recognize dignity in ourselves.
  • We see several examples of undignified material in social media and modern media.
  • We can find ways to preserve the dignity in others and make them feel elevated.

09:36 How We Bring Compassion Into Our Everyday Lives

  • We thrive when we can be compassionate towards ourselves.
  • We have all struggled, made mistakes, and been rejected and these things begin to wear. 
  • Negative experiences begin to wear on us but we are not defined by them.
  • Through mindfulness we can see that our experiences don’t define us.
  • Acceptance that we are not defined by things is an act of self compassion.
  • Unconditional loving friends can help us work past our blocks.
  • We sometimes create a habit of negative self talk to protect us from experiencing additional trauma and hurt.
  • We thrive when we can be compassionate towards ourselves.

14:52 Break

17:55 Grace

  • Grace is about taking a position of not harming.
  • Grace is about mercy.
  • Grace is about recognizing our own and another’s vulnerability and not exacerbating it.
  • We can release friction and return to the things that unify us.
  • Navigating everyday life shows us countless examples of grace and we can recognize this and pay it forward.

23:59 Being Resilient in the Face of Negative Noise

  • We’re not robots and we can’t replace batteries in order to feel energized.
  • We need to know what we value and who we value.
  • Are we willing to protect and cultivate the things we value?
  • We need to recognize the things that deplete our values and make the decision to put them aside.
  • Feeling free is energizing and restorative. Restoration is what leads to resilience. 
  • Part of resilience is courage.
  • Courage is cultivated when we practice skills.

36:11 Limiting Beliefs

  • All beliefs are limited.
  • Beliefs are formed by a set of experiences or traditions.
  • We can recognize when we are so convinced by our beliefs that we close ourselves off to the experiences we are currently living through.

39:32 Original Courage

  • Are women the source of original courage?
  • Ayo has had many wonderful women in her life.
  • Ayo’s mother taught her how to be a friend to others.
  • Ayo’s grandmother gave her the courage to adopt and Ayo eventually adopted a child.

45:06 Leadership

  • We are all vulnerable.
  • The wisdom traditions point us toward those who are the most vulnerable.
  • We’ve got the greatest chance of coexisting with each other if we can keep our attention on the causes and conditions of our vulnerability.
  • We are interdependent and can have each other’s backs and live with our differences.
  • We need to work on ourselves and keep our mind and heart connected.
  • Ayo keeps interconnection at the forefront by saying hello to everyone she passes on her journey.

51:39 What Do You Wish People Knew?

  • The joy in giving.
  • The more we see the joy in giving, the more we want to do it.


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