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The Rubin Research

  • AWAKEN Season 2 Guests

Raveena Aurora

Raveena Aurora
photo by Furmaan Ahmed


For Raveena, music is meant to be a “complete expression of the self.” It’s a truth she’s leaned on through a whirlwind couple of years, which saw a potent flurry of output and a pointed ascent into the conversation with her critically acclaimed 2019 debut full-length, Lucid, and 2020 follow-up, Moonstone EP.

Inspired by artists like Sade, Corinne Bailey Rae, Minnie Riperton, and Indian singer Asha Puthli, Raveena is a highly creative, dynamic, and spiritual artist who aims to build fully realized worlds within each of her projects: conceptual experimentations in sound, threaded together by stories of healing and self-realization meant to be experienced from start to finish.

Her latest offering, Asha’s Awakening, takes listeners on an epic deep dive into Indian culture—an endeavor that has been in the works for three years. An homage to her heritage as a first-generation descendant of genocide survivors and Reiki healers, the album incorporates influences from Bollywood and celebrated Indian artists like R.D. Burman and Asha Bhosle, as well as Western music—specifically R&B, rock, and soul—and melds the genres prevalent throughout Raveena’s catalog into one cohesive body of work. The album also marries eras in time, fusing together a contemporary take on sounds influenced by Alice Coltrane and Asha Puthli from the 60s and 70s with those of Timbaland, Missy Elliott, M.I.A., and Jai Paul from the early 2000s. It is a labor of love that represents her evolution as an artist. Raveena remarks, “I think it’s really fun putting people in uncomfortable positions to receive new sides of you. The human experience is so vast.”



adrienne marie brown

adrienne marie brown
photo by anjali pinto

adrienne maree brown grows healing ideas in public through her multi-genre writing, her music, and her podcasts. Informed by 25 years of movement facilitation, somatics, Octavia E. Butler scholarship and her work as a doula, adrienne has nurtured Emergent Strategy, Pleasure Activism, Radical Imagination, and Transformative Justice as ideas and practices for transformation. She is the author/editor of seven published texts and the founder of the Emergent Strategy Ideation Institute, where she is now the writer-in-residence.



Tracy Dennis-Tiwary

Tracy Dennis-Tiwary
photo by Jenny Anderson

Tracy A. Dennis-Tiwary, PhD, is an emotion scientist, Director of the Emotion Regulation Lab, and professor in the Psychology Department at Hunter College of the City University of New York. Future Tense (published May 3, 2022) is her first book. As founder and CSO of Wise Therapeutics, she translates neuroscience and cognitive therapy techniques into gamified, clinically validated digital therapeutics for mental health. Her work in mindfulness-based stress reduction in at-risk youth is the topic of the documentary film Changing Minds at Concord High, a film first shown at the Rubin in 2013. Dr. Dennis-Tiwary has appeared on stage at the Rubin for six previous Brainwave sessions: with Congressman Tim Ryan, the astronaut Scott Parazynski, martial artist Shi Yan Ming, mindfulness entrepreneur Rohan Gunatillake, artists Candy Chang and James A. Reeves, and former Texas Senator Wendy Davis. She writes for Psychology Today, and has been featured throughout the media, including the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, ABC, CBS, CNN, NPR, The Today Show, and Bloomberg Television.



Mark Epstein

Mark Epstein
photo by Larry Bercow

Mark Epstein, MD, is a psychiatrist in private practice in New York City and the author of a number of books about the interface of Buddhism and psychotherapy, including Thoughts without a Thinker, Going to Pieces without Falling Apart, Going on Being, Open to Desire, and Psychotherapy without the Self, and The Trauma of Everyday Life. His newest work, The Zen of Therapy: Uncovering a Hidden Kindness in Life, was published in January 2022 by Penguin Press. He received his undergraduate and medical degrees from Harvard University and is currently Clinical Assistant Professor in the Postdoctoral Program in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis at New York University.



Madame Gandhi (Kieran)

Madame Gandhi (Kieran)
photo by Bret Hartman

Madame Gandhi is an award-winning artist and activist known for her uplifting, percussive electronic music and positive message about gender liberation and personal power. She began producing music in 2015, after her story running the London Marathon free-bleeding to combat menstrual stigma went viral around the world. She has been listed as Forbes 30 Under 30 in Music, and her 2020 TED Talk about conscious music consumption has been viewed over a million times. Waiting For Me, shot in Mumbai, India, won the Music Video Jury Award at SXSW Film Festival in 2021, and her 100% Organically Sourced x Sound MANA nature sound pack won the New.Wav award at the 2021 Splice Awards. Her third studio album, Vibrations, is slated for release in 2022, following the release of her previous albums Voices (2016) and Visions (2019). Gandhi completed a Masters in Music Science & Technology at Stanford University’s CCRMA where she spent time in Antarctica sampling the sounds of glaciers melting to create empathy and awareness around climate change.



Ruth Ozeki

Ruth Ozeki
photo by Danielle Tait

Ruth Ozeki is a novelist, filmmaker, and Zen Buddhist priest, whose books have garnered international acclaim for their ability to integrate issues of science, technology, religion, environmental politics, and global pop culture into unique, hybrid, narrative forms. Her new novel, The Book of Form and Emptiness, published by Viking in September 2021, tells the story of a young boy who, after the death of his father, starts to hear voices and finds solace in the companionship of his very own book. The Book of Form and Emptiness has been shortlisted for the UK Women’s Prize for Fiction. Her first two novels, My Year of Meats (1998) and All Over Creation (2003), have been translated into 11 languages and published in 14 countries. Her third novel, A Tale for the Time Being (2013), won the L.A. Times Book Prize, was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award, and has been published in over 30 countries. Her work of personal non-fiction, The Face: A Time Code (2016), was published by Restless Books as part of their groundbreaking series called The Face. Ruth’s documentary and dramatic independent films, including Halving the Bones, have been shown on PBS, at the Sundance Film Festival, and at colleges and universities across the country. A longtime Buddhist practitioner, Ruth was ordained in 2010 and is affiliated with the Brooklyn Zen Center and the Everyday Zen Foundation. She splits her time between Western Massachusetts, New York City, and British Columbia, Canada. She currently teaches creative writing at Smith College, where she is the Grace Jarcho Ross 1933 Professor of Humanities in the Department of English Language and Literature.



Matthieu Ricard

Matthieu Ricard
photo by © Raphaele Demandre

Matthieu Ricard is a Ph.D. in cell genetics who became a Buddhist monk and has studied Buddhism in the Himalayas for the last 50 years. He is a humanitarian, an author, and a photographer. His books include Altruism: The Power of Compassion to Change Yourself and the World. He devotes all the proceeds of his activities to humanitarian projects in Asia, through Karuna-Shechen, the organization he co-founded, which benefits over 450,000 people every year.



Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche

Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche

Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche is a widely celebrated Buddhist teacher and the author of Emotional Rescue, Rebel Buddha, and other books. A lover of music, art and urban culture, Rinpoche is a poet, photographer, accomplished calligrapher and visual artist, as well as a prolific author. Rinpoche is the founder, president, and spiritual director of Nalandabodhi, an international community of Buddhist centers. Rinpoche is acknowledged as one of the foremost scholars and meditation masters of his generation in the Nyingma and Kagyu schools of Tibetan Buddhism. He is known for his sharp intellect, humor, and easygoing teaching style, for launching the kindness initiative #GoKind and for his outreach to communities internationally.



Eric Ripert

Eric Ripert
photo by Nigel Parry

Eric Ripert is the chef and co-owner of the acclaimed New York restaurant Le Bernardin. Born in Antibes, France, Ripert moved to Andorra, a small country just over the Spanish border as a young child. His family instilled their own passion for food in the young Ripert, and at the age of 15 he left home to attend culinary school in Perpignan. At 17, he moved to Paris and cooked at the legendary La Tour D’Argent before taking a position at the Michelin three-starred Jamin. After fulfilling his military service, Ripert returned to Jamin under Joel Robuchon to serve as chef poissonier. In 1989, Ripert seized the opportunity to work under Jean-Louis Palladin as sous-chef at Jean Louis at the Watergate Hotel in Washington, D.C. Ripert moved to New York in 1991, working briefly as David Bouley’s sous-chef before Maguy and Gilbert Le Coze recruited him as chef for Le Bernardin. Ripert has since firmly established himself as one of New York’s—and the world’s—great chefs. In September 2014, Ripert and Le Coze opened Aldo Sohm Wine Bar, named for their acclaimed wine director Aldo Sohm. That same month, the two expanded Le Bernardin’s private dining offerings with Le Bernardin Privé, a dynamic space above Aldo Sohm Wine Bar that can accommodate a range of events. Ripert is the Vice Chairman of the board of City Harvest, working to bring together New York’s top chefs and restaurateurs to raise funds and increase the quality and quantity of food donations to New York’s neediest. When not in the kitchen, Ripert enjoys good scotch and peace and quiet.



Sharon Salzberg

Sharon Salzberg
photo by © 2015 Fabio Filippi

Sharon Salzberg, cofounder of the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts, has guided meditation retreats worldwide since 1974. Her latest book is Real Change: Mindfulness to Heal Ourselves and the World. Sharon is also the author of several publications including the New York Times bestseller Real Happiness: The Power of Meditation, Faith: Trusting Your Own Deepest Experience, Lovingkindness: The Revolutionary Art of Happiness, and Real Love: The Art of Mindful Connection. While running her own podcast The Metta Hour and interviewing 100+ influential voices in meditation and mindfulness movements, Sharon has regularly contributed to many onstage conversations at the Rubin.



Nora Lillian Wood

Nora is a ten-year-old student and the daughter of the producer of AWAKEN.



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