Episode 01: Venerable Shih Jingang
Welcome To My Podcast
Three weeks after my brother took his own life I travelled the world alone.
In the depths of grief and sorrow I began a journey that changed my life forever.
I closed my Physiotherapy practice, left my home, family and friends and began a world-wide study sabbatical.
I studied with some of the greatest spiritual teachers in the world.
I learnt from those who had discovered the most cutting-edge research into the human mind and body.
I spent weeks on retreat embodying the teachings and practices that had been shared with me: many which were over 2500 years old.
I immersed myself in in-depth mindfulness training, modern neuroscience, psychology, somatics, ancient wisdom, eastern philosophy and spirituality.
Many of the teachings of the mind and body that I learnt came back to what’s common at the heart of many spiritual paths and have been used universally to help humans free themselves from suffering.
These teachings were the antidote to my profound sorrow and have continued to awaken me from the stories of the mind which can lead to fear, worry and feelings of unworthiness. I still get lost in thoughts, but these practices continue to provide peace and freedom to my life.
Awakening the Body and Mind Podcasts will be arranged around these gateways to peace and freedom. Today I’m so pleased to present the very first episode with Venerable Shih Jingang.
Over the coming weeks I will be interviewing some of the greatest teachers of spirituality and awakening from Buddhist monks to thought leaders.
I will be asking researchers and scientists to share their discoveries.
I will also be sharing stories from the alchemists - those who have experienced unbelievable suffering and transformed their pain to help others and also the world at large.
My job as a physiotherapist has revolved largely around helping ease emotional and physical pain and creating transformation with my patients. I can confidently say after treating over 10,000 patients that how we experience pain all begins in the mind.
Watching my brother’s emotional turmoil in the years before he took his own life, I also learnt to understand how our mind creates our world.
Our perspective and perceptions of what’s happening outside of us, as well as our inner world are all created in the mind. Whether or not we feel at home inside of ourselves depends on the lens that we are looking at life through.
And that’s where our freedom and power truly lies. Because if we create our world through the mind, then we can also transform that.
I believe we need practices of awareness to better understand how our mind, our thoughts and our feelings are creating our world and how we are living. You might ask yourself, how much of today did I spend worrying about what might go wrong? How much time did I spend rehashing a scene from the past wishing that I’d done something differently?
May the podcasts be a place that you return to again and again.
May it also provide the mind-training that helps free you from stories and fears and connect you with presence.
May it help you feel at home inside of yourself.
I would like to thank the incredible Claire Eardley for inspiring me to create these podcasts. After we talked about how she created the Kai Eardley Fund as a legacy to her son who sadly also ended his own life in 2016 I felt ready to move forward with my dream of creating these podcasts. Claire has raised over $100,000 through Kai’s fund and I will be interviewing her in Perth very soon.
I’m pleased to next be interviewing Tom Bell, from Tomorrow Man.
Lastly, the energy behind Awakening the Body and Mind Podcast is the love that I hold in my heart for my brother, Sam. May this work continue to honour his life.
Venerable Shih Jingang, or Sifu is a Buddhist Priest who was first ordained as a monk at 6 years of age. He was trained by his Heart Guru Venerable Lama Senge Tashi.
In this podcast we find out about Sifu’s three year solitary retreat, his training and practice of over 45 years particuluary from the Mahayana Buddhist lineage.
He has just released his book, A Sparrow Splashing which can be purchased HERE
Sifu regularly holds classes, retreats, and is asked to speak at public and private events. He is known for his calmness, gentle compassion and good humoured teaching style which you will hear.
He shares much wisdom and insight in this podcast particularly around how we create suffering for ourselves with our thoughts.
I could have quoted almost all of his answers, for example: “wisdom teaches us that we don’t have control over others. The best we can do is try and learn more about ourselves and to try and be the vest version we can be.”
He also dives in to the suffering our ego can create: “Identifying with thoughts, and identifying with the feelings created by those thoughts can reate a lot of suffering So “I am..” can lead to all soughts of suffering.”
Sifu also generously leads two guided meditations for you to use to help cultivate your own practice for personal and spiritual growth.
The first: is a silent awareness meditation, designed to help us relate in a wiser way to our thoughts and the second is a loving-kindness or metta practice. The metta practice is one he uses with cancer patients and it can be useful if you are experiencing a difficulty in your life at the moment.
There are also some extremely insightful questions that he asks to help us with our own self-awareness, such as “that person pushes my buttons”, but actually maybe the question we should ask ourselves is “who created those buttons?”
I feel honoured to be presenting with him at our Weekend Retreat “The Awakened Heart” in Stanley Tasmania on March 17th and 18th.
This event is now waitlist only but if you’d like to add yourself to this list please email firstname.lastname@example.org
If you are interested in attending a retreat to get started with learning to meditate please click on the retreats tab. The Oceans Mindset retreat will cover learning to relate to our thoughts and feelings with greater awareness and wisdom.
I hope you enjoy,