On Being is a thought-provoking podcast that explores the big questions of meaning, purpose, and existence. With a wide range of topics and guests, On Being has become a favourite of many who seek to deepen their understanding of the world around them. But with hundreds of episodes to choose from, new listeners may not know where to start. That’s why we’ve compiled this list of the best episodes of the On Being with Krista Tippett podcast.
Elizabeth Gilbert – Choosing Curiosity Over Fear
Elizabeth Gilbert’s name is often associated with her best-selling memoir “Eat Pray Love.” However, her journey to becoming a celebrity made her reflect profoundly on the difficulties and rewards of leading a creative life. According to Gilbert, creativity is about prioritizing curiosity over fear, a concept distinct from the common adage of “following your passion.”
Mary Oliver – “I got saved by the beauty of the world.”
In the world of modern literature, few writers are as cherished as the late poet Mary Oliver. Despite the harsh realities of life, she found solace and redemption in the beauty of nature and in her exquisite use of language. Mary Oliver was a recipient of several prestigious awards including the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award.
Esther Perel – The Erotic Is an Antidote to Death
Esther Perel, a renowned psychotherapist, has revolutionized the way we talk about sexuality and relationships through her TED talks, books, and podcast, Where Should We Begin? Each episode reveals the intricacies of human relationships and the complexities of being human. Her insights are particularly relevant in our current times, where social isolation has been countered by an intense experience of togetherness.
Bessel van der Kolk – How Trauma Lodges in the Body,…
Bessel van der Kolk is a pioneering psychiatrist who has been working on innovative ways to treat the effects of traumatic experiences. Trauma is something we encounter in our daily lives and hear about in the news, and our instinct is often to address it through conversation. However, van der Kolk recognizes that some experiences are deeply ingrained beyond the reach of language.
Pauline Boss – Navigating Loss Without Closure
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, losses of all kinds have become a new reality. Pauline Boss, the creator of the term “ambiguous loss”, recognized that every loss does not necessarily offer the promise of resolution. This conversation with Boss offers practical insights for navigating the emotional turmoil of these uncertain times.
Gordon Hempton – Silence and the Presence of Everything
Gordon Hempton is an acoustic ecologist who has travelled around the world collecting sounds. He has captured the sounds of Sitka spruce logs in the Pacific Northwest, thunder in the Kalahari Desert, and dawn breaking across six continents. Hempton is a careful listener and believes that silence is becoming an endangered species on the verge of extinction.
David Whyte – Seeking Language Large Enough
David Whyte reminds us that human experience is a perpetual dialogue between loss and celebration. This conversational nature of reality, this vitality drama, is something that we all have witnessed, whether we wanted to or not, in recent years. Many people turn to David Whyte for his beautiful, life-affirming poetry, as well as his insights into the intersection of theology, psychology, and leadership.
Leonard Mlodinow – Randomness and Choice
The fundamental forces of physics have a significant impact on everything that occurs in the universe, whether it is the creation of a child or a galaxy. Leonard Mlodinow, a physicist, has a unique perspective on the relationship between scientific theories and real-world phenomena, as well as the intricate interplay between science and daily life. As the child of two Holocaust survivors, he often contemplates the ability of individuals to shape their own destiny while also reflecting on the atrocities of human history and the courage required to overcome them.
Maria Popova – Cartographer of Meaning in a Digital Age
Maria Popova refers to Brain Pickings, her passion project, as a “human-powered discovery engine for interestingness.” In reality, what she offers to hundreds of thousands of readers daily is timeless wisdom presented through modern digital mediums. Popova blends various disciplines, such as philosophy and design, physics and poetry, and the intellectual with experiential.
Remembering John Lewis
John Lewis, the late congressman, was interviewed during a pilgrimage to Montgomery, Alabama, 50 years after the March on Washington. This conversation is a precious glimpse into his wisdom, the spiritual struggles faced by civil rights leaders, and the intricate art of nonviolence as “love in action.”