On October 6, the Rubin will close the 17th Street galleries and transition into a global museum model. Read more about our future.

Read the transcript of this episode.

One thing is for certain: one day you will die. But what happens when you die? And how does knowledge of your inevitable death impact how you live now? In this episode, all the guests in the series reflect on these questions and consider how grappling with our mortality is part of what makes us human.

AWAKEN Season 3 is hosted by singer and songwriter Falu. Guests featured in this episode include Visionary artists and founders of the Chapel of Sacred Mirrors Alex and Allyson Grey, poet Marie Howe, writer and professor Kiese Laymon, artist, director, and author Chella Man, professor, clinical psychologist, and scientist Dr. Lisa Miller, writer and editor Haley Nahman, artist and podcaster Nigel Poor, Tibetan Buddhist meditation teacher and author Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche, meditation teacher and writer Sebene Selassie, neuroscientist and author Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor, author and poet Michelle Tea, neuroscientist Dr. Kay Tye, and meditation teacher and author Spring Washam. Learn more about our guests.



Leg Bone Trumpet (kang ling); Tibet; 18th–19th century; human bone, copper, coral, leather; Rubin Museum of Art; gift of Robert and Lois Bayils; SC2019.3.2

Buddhist practitioners who engage in the practice of “cutting the ego” (chod) use implements such as this during their meditation and rituals. Traditionally, they would engage in this practice at charnel grounds, places where dead bodies decompose or are eaten by vultures, to facilitate their experiences. These yogis visualize, while reciting verses and mantras of the tantric ritual, dismantling their ego. They blow the trumpet to summon spirits and other beings inhabiting the charnel ground and offer them their visualized cut-up body as an offering. 

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AWAKEN is produced by the Rubin Museum of Art with Jamie Lawyer, Sarah Zabrodski, Christina Watson, Gracie Marotta, and Tenzin Gelek in collaboration with SOUND MADE PUBLIC, including Tania Ketenjian, Sarah Conlisk, Philip Wood, Alessandro Santoro, and Jeremiah Moore. 

Original music has been produced by Hannis Brown with additional music from Blue Dot Sessions.



AWAKEN Season 3 and Death Is Not the End are supported by the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation, Ellen Bayard Weedon Foundation, Robert Lehman Foundation, and The Prospect Hill Foundation. 

The Rubin Museum’s programs are made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of Governor Kathy Hochul and the New York State Legislature. 

Death Is Not the End is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts.