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  • Dying is Living by BJ MILLER transcript


I’ve spent a fair amount of time just trying to remind people that they die at all. Like we’re at such a basic place in Western society, like literally! And I spent a fair amount of time just trying to convince people that eventually they’re going to die no matter what treatment course they take. And so we’re at a very nascent place in our development of how we as a country, as a people, deal with death and it shows.


Welcome to AWAKEN, a podcast presented by the Rubin Museum of Art in New York City. That was the voice of BJ Miller and I am your host, Laurie Anderson. In this 10-part series, we explore the dynamic path to enlightenment and what it means to wake up. We’ll hear from authors, artists, wisdom bearers, and Buddhist teachers, people who have experienced a shift in their perspectives on life throughout their personal journey. This podcast is inspired by the exhibition Awaken: A Tibetan Buddhist Journey Toward Enlightenment, which illustrates the stages of enlightenment through paintings, sculptures, and other objects. We use these artworks as a jumping off point to better understand the paths our guests have been on and where they’re going.

In this episode, we explore how the act of dying is truly living. We speak with hospice and palliative medicine physician and author BJ Miller, who shares with us his story of his first encounter with death, facing his own mortality as a triple amputee, and what it means to have a good death. But first, BJ responds to the four-foot tall sculpture of the fierce protector Vajrabhairava.


Well, I see what appears to be some sort of monster, some very imposing, intimidating beast of some kind. So those tools, they look like sort of implements of various kinds, like all sorts of kinds of tools. So that kind of puts him in some sort of very functional plane too. Like this beast can do many things, as many tools at his disposal. So this guy is here to help us with his tools to conquer fear. I mean, it gets at the heart of a lot of the work I do, a lot of the work a lot of people do, maybe all of us do on some level as we eventually head into our death. And it’s fascinating to me to see this mix of sort of godliness and practicality, the marriage between wisdom and fierceness. And I think a lot of people have it in their minds, especially people I’ve worked with who are practicing Buddhists.

When I used to work at Zen Hospice Project, I think there was a sort of a general sense that wisdom was a peaceful thing. That we were all trying to get to peace and that wisdom was itself peaceful. We could attain wisdom and therefore it would attain peace. This is much more intricate obviously than that. And that there’s a role for fierceness, that there’s a role for power. Letting go of the ego can be an agonizing and practical and difficult thing that needs tools and tricks and fierceness, et cetera. So I love how this pushes back, and at least in some of the sort of casual Buddhism I’m around in the West here, in California, that wouldn’t think that fierceness had any place in this picture.

So that’s what I love and that’s my experience of it. You know, it really does take, sometimes submitting, but sometimes really leaning in and getting fierce. It’s almost like if we got rid of our fierceness, of our feroce, if we got rid of our sort of what – because that implies a sort of a violence or a big tension. And somehow that our job was to get rid of that stuff. And underneath all that would be this wisdom-y thingy, this peaceful wisdom-y thingy. And I struggle with this in the vernacular of medicine, which is, we love warring. Like I’m going to go to war with my cancer or I’m going to fight death. And I spent a fair amount of time unpacking that language, because ultimately that is a fight we will lose.

But fighting fear, well, that’s something a little bit different, and fighting our own ego, that’s something a little bit different. And it’s a brawl, you know, it is, and we really need to honor that. Overly simplifying this sort of letting go thing, and letting go of ferocity, et cetera, letting go of fight. No, no, no, no, no. There’s a place for fight. Like I get down in the mud with people. I get down in the mud with myself on these fronts. It’s physical. I feel it. Tension in my body. There’s tension in the patients’ bodies. To me that deepens the dialogue of how sort of death is perceived around here.

I mean, we’re moving, I think in the West, not just the Western US, I think in the West, I think as we’re grudgingly finding our way to turning our attention to mortality one way or another, you can tell we’re in a young country this way, that we don’t have an intricate technology in a way. We’re not sure what needs dismantling and what needs protecting. We’re not sure about, Am I fighting? Or am I letting go? It’s not either-or, it’s both and yes, you’re fighting. Yes, you’re letting go. You’re holding on, you’re letting go. You’re exploring yourself. You’re annihilating yourself.

My favorite thing about death as a subject is that it forces and makes space for basically everything. As if everything must go, then everything is relevant. Nothing is wasted. There’s no bad or wrong emotion per se. It’s more how you use them. I’ve spent a fair amount of time just trying to remind people that they die at all. Like we’re at such a basic place in Western society, like literally. And I spent a fair amount of time just trying to convince people that eventually they’re going to die no matter what treatment course they take. And so we’re at a very nascent place in our development of how we as a country, as a people, deal with death and it shows.

One of my earliest memories that really impacted me on a deep, deep visceral level. I remember it so clearly. We were living in El Paso, Texas. I would have been maybe like first grade or something like that. And it was a hot sunny day. I was playing by myself in the backyard. I was building forts, you know, these little structures. I remember this bright sunny sky and this new place. We had moved from the Midwest to El Paso. And the landscape was so different. I was new, I didn’t really have any friends there yet. So I was sort of playing by myself, and I was really moved by this new landscape to realize how different the world might look, one place to the next. That was my first kind of entree to the idea. Between all of that and this fort structure-y thing that I was creating, this little world for myself in there. I remember being struck by this thought and feeling that, oh, you know, maybe if this sort of felt, it was like, I was having a dreamy experience and the thought came to me””God! What if we are just characters in somebody else’s dream?

And it blew my mind. I just remember it so clearly. And in a wonderful way, I felt like an immediate expansiveness come over me. Like if that could be true, and of course it could be true, because how else I couldn’t prove it wasn’t true. I had dreams with vivid things happening in it, and those were just my dreams. So who’s to say that I am not a vivid thing in someone else’s dream. That moment probably affected me in all kinds of ways, but it began my sort of, this sense that there are things happening that we don’t see, that we don’t totally know, that we don’t understand, beyond just me being five or six and not studying enough yet. But that reality was a squishy thing and that it could be many things. And that was profound for me. That wasd, and again, it wasn’t terrifying. It was deeply connected.

I just remember””sunlight. I remember light. This brilliant Texas sky. And I just remembered the feeling went with this brilliant sky, went with this golden sunny, just the tint of it all had this, like, you could barely look into the sky. It was so bright. It almost felt like it was a sensation of brilliance blowing through me. And it lasted not very long, but it changed me.

That collided with, I grew up with a mother who’s obviously physically disabled. She had polio. And a lot of my childhood, as I was learning about the world, was spent watching how people responded to her. And somehow those thoughts merged and it began a sort of a feeling like, hmm, there’s more going on here than any one of us realize. And that this feeling of, like, deep compassion for all of us, trying to figure ourselves out and deal with how we’re treated by others. And it all, those things somehow merged in me. And it made me, and that combined with being in a new place with different looking people in a different landscape. Whenever I looked at someone, I always just assumed there was something going on that I didn’t know or didn’t see. Whenever I saw cruelty to another human being, like people could be to my mom. It was deeply upsetting and deeply felt, deeply wrong. So I was a very sensitive little kid in this way, but in that moment, that sense, sometimes the sensitivities felt like a source of pain. And that moment, the sensitivity felt like a source of something better, something good, something important. Even then. So around that time, I remember when I went to my grandmother Margot’s funeral. I’m so glad my parents took me. It was an open casket funeral. And I remember just not being scared at all. I remember seeing, I remember kissing her face, Margot’s face, and it was cold and kind of funny looking with all that makeup on it. And I just remember there was no resistance in me. It was like, yeah, oh, okay. Here’s her body. She’s obviously not in there anymore. And I remember kissing her cheek out of respect. I didn’t, in my mind, I didn’t think I was kissing her. I was just, it felt like a respectful thing to do to this thing, that was my grandmother. You know, of course I didn’t have words for it all, at that time, but all I can say is part of this whole gemish softened the edges of death for me and made it clear that it wasn’t what it looked like. It wasn’t. And it wasn’t just about the body. That wasn’t the only thing happening. So all vague feelings, but I wasn’t afraid. I remember that. There was no, I was not afraid. I was sad, but I was not””fear was not a dominant feeling. That’s all I can tell you.

Throughout my teens, and I was a pretty sensitive kid in a lot of ways. And I was very protective of my mother and how people treated her. And as I moved into teenage years, sort of a late bloomer and a lot of people sort of jumped ahead of me, and all that sensitivity started to feel like a source of sort of like a problem, like trouble. Like I was too sensitive. I would hear people say that to me. And I just had, and I’d developed that sort of wonderment settled into more of a melancholy and that melancholy settled into more of a self-critique. Like, what was I missing? I wasn’t doing something right. I didn’t feel like others looked like they felt. So I had all this sort of, I developed these insecurities into my adolescence, not uncommon, of course. So all that to say, then I get to college. And I finally basically physically bloomed. So freshman year of college, I just, I kind of exploded. All of a sudden, I felt like right with my body. I had sort of an athletic presence. I was a cool kid or something like that, you know. I was in my body, and these things, the sensitivities, that felt like hazards were starting to coalesce as something good or something that I liked. I was beginning to like myself, I think. I liked myself and I liked my life. And I was beginning to be less afraid, in general, and doing more daring things physically, taking chances, taking risks.

One night in November, I bumped into a bunch of my friends, and we, it was a Monday night. We were all doing schoolwork, but we decided to go out and have a few beers and have, you know, not a crazy night, but a fun night. We were just so happy to see each other. It had been all of four days of Thanksgiving break that we hadn’t seen each other. So anyway, we were walking to get a sandwich in the middle of the night at the 24-hour Wawa market. And there’s a little commuter train that runs onto the campus at Princeton, right on the edge of campus. We decided to climb it, like you would climb a tree or a jungle gym. We didn’t think there was anything crazy that we were doing. And I climbed up on top of the train, up the ladder. This is a commuter train that runs with the power lines overhead. So anyway, I stood up, and I had a metal watch on. The electricity arched to the watch and that was it. I had a big explosion and that set me into several months in the burn unit in New Jersey. And I lost both legs below the knee and my left arm where the watch was, below the elbow, and had a real, real, real non-abstract encounter with death.

I live with this every day. It’s in a way very easy for me to tell the basic story, you know, it’s not filled with pain for me anymore. But what I’m getting at here is just that basic skeleton of a story isn’t where all the action is. I mean, that tells you what my body looks like now, it tells me how I came to relate to death, et cetera. But the real stories were in the fights, the fears, like our figure that started our conversation, all sorts of battles with myself, with others, with the projections of others, all this amazing support I got from my friends and family. And that sounds like a happy story. Like, oh, he had all this, I was swarmed with love, more love than I, I had a lot of people who cared. It was stunning. It was beautiful. And it was overwhelming. And then I had years of feeling so guilty and ashamed to have needed all that support for taking so much from my friends. And it took me a long, that it was years, I’m still dealing with that. I’m steeply ashamed of all the help I needed on some level. And that’s just the truth. I don’t think that’s a good idea. If I were counseling myself as a patient, I would try to talk myself out of that shame. My friends did that because they cared. They learned something too. They don’t, you know, there are so many other stories to this story and the stories of my friends and what it did to them and my friendships and my relationship to myself and the reason I chose medicine and the sense that I have a debt to the world to pay and on and on and on.

My body was changing. My identity had to change, had to move. And I embraced that. I took that on and I studied art as an inspirational source for me to kind of look at my life in creative terms. It’s really powerful for me and really effective. I mean, I’m really proud of some of those choices. But there was a period there I remember, where I was engaged in this one world that was much more akin to the world in that backyard in El Paso, it felt holy, felt huge, and felt important. And then I had this experience of trying to re-enter the mundane world, re-enter daily life, going back to school, et cetera, and getting back on those smaller horses. And so as I re-entered that, I realized that how I had a sense of how little so much of our concerns are compared to the big ones and how much most of us are not in touch with our pain and suffering.

I looked around and saw people who I know were hurting, but they didn’t know they were hurting. They looked at me like there’s something to pity, but I’m looking at them like, wow, at least I know I’m in touch with my suffering. I look at you with pity. You know, it was like, it was just this weird kind of reversal that put me in a funny relationship to others, to people. And I remember making a decision somewhere along the way. Was I going to try to stay in this holy zone? Not holy like, I’m so holy, but this important holy zone that I was trying to figure out. Should I stay up there or should I try to get back into the daily grind of the world? Where my friends were, where others were. And I made the conscious decision that I wanted to go back into the world where others were, that it would be too lonely to stay up in that other thing.

And I think since then, my mistake there, I’m coming to realize it, like even these recent days, like Saturday, I had a big day around this realization that I said about leaving one world to try to enter this other world. And then, therefore I considered them, somehow I saw them as different. They certainly felt different, but the mistake was separating them. And then over time, I’ve tried to integrate those two worlds to mixed success. And I’m still really struggling with that. I really feel like there’s something misaligned in me. That probably goes back to what we’re talking about. That I’m still trying to figure out, still trying to reconcile these quote-unquote two worlds, which as we know is the same world. So yeah, I am still splintered somewhere deep that may have been my own doing, and I’m just trying to undo now or redo now or something like that.

Eventually as a way to try to split the difference between these two worlds, I found my way to medicine as a way to use those experiences, interface with other people who were being rocked in some way as I was rocked. So I was looking for and creating relevance to my own experience. And that took me into a career in hospice and palliative medicine specifically. So that is what I do. That’s my job. And my job has taken many forms within the construct of hospice and palliative care. I’ve had the experience of trying to help see and hold people who are broken or breaking and try to hold that experience with others, tend to them in such a way where they get to feel seen and heard, essentially. Essentially my job, with the way I’ve conceived it, there’s much more to it, but the basis is a lot of it’s sort of bearing witness.

And much of that time has been spent bearing, like, witnessing people’s brokenness. And what I’m realizing I need to proceed with and deepen, not just from people I work with, but for my own sake, is back to this integration piece, that my own integration is not complete yet. And that’s my life’s work, you know, is to bring these worlds together and to find a way to see them as actually one.

The most time I’ve spent around actual death bed moments was when I worked at Zen Hospice Project in San Francisco for, I think it was 2011 to 2016. And then I’m really spending a lot of time at the bedside, actually watching people leave this Earth. It was a home lovingly built where people could go and be at their most vulnerable, their most smelly, the most disintegrated in some ways, and we could be a bridge for people to feel some sense of peace or wholeness as they left the planet. And I just remember smells. There’s something about a body on its way out of, off the planet. It’s not a, it wouldn’t meet most people’s criteria for pretty. There’s, you know, discharge, and there’s stuff coming out of the body, and there’s no muscle mass left, and there’s off odors, and the breath of folks, who are in their dying breath, especially if their blood sugars are out of whack, there’s a certain smell to it. There’s a certain, you know, the urine is dark often, very, very dark if they’re not, if they’re making any at all at this point. So ia lot of people might find it very squeamish and gross. But what’s so beautiful was watching myself and others not run away from the grossness and see, somehow see beauty in that grossness., You know, it was my own conditioning or my own bio and stuff, that made me want to, if I ever had an itch to run away from those bedsides, because it’s just happening. And I just remember a lot of the facial expressions, a wide-eyed wonder, wonderment kind of look, not always, but you knew that, you could feel that even as something was leaving, something was still there or something was coming in and you get that sense at the bedside.

Oddly, the more I was around it, the more mundane death became. Like you’d be having these conversations with families that are super intense, they’d be laughing, they’d be crying. It’d be all these things going on, emotions, all emotions, all””including tons of laughter, really. And in the midst of this, this person would be, you know, dying or just died. And it was just something about seeing that death. What seems like such a profound moment, which of course it is on some level, seeing it in this basic flow of a daily, practical, mundane life. And there you have it, there’s a fusion of this mundane practicality and this sort of other thing happening. And you can feel it even if you can’t kind of understand it or bridge it yourself or quite embrace it, you can kind of sense it’s happening. And that was amazing.

Barbara was a patient of mine in clinic. I knew her for years in the palliative care mode, you know, she wasn’t dying anytime soon. She was dealing with ovarian cancer, then it recurred. And so I knew her for many, many years in clinic, and we just loved each other. And she was hilarious, always made me laugh, every visit, no matter what was going on. And we’d, you know, there were tears and laughter. I love these situations where you have all of the above sort of laid out in front of you. And she, as an adult, had had a rough life, things hadn’t gone her way. She had a big regret about a guy that she didn’t stay with. She never ended up with anybody, and she was pretty dang lonely. And her sense of humor was her, what saved her again and again, or what connected her to others.

But otherwise she was very, very lonely, and life was not easy. And for years we had to inch up, as she, as her cancer recurred, we had to inch up to even mentioning death. It would really flummox her. She was a lapsed Roman Catholic, and she had a lot of built-in fear around it, a sense of a judgment day coming her way. And she would talk about her sin. She wouldn’t talk about it in this sort of, like I was a priest, but she would talk about the things she had regretted or didn’t like about herself or things she had done that she wished she hadn’t. And before we knew it, then we could slowly begin to talk about death. She would allow it for like a minute or two at the end of the visit, you know, and we’d just sit and then she’d say, okay, that’s enough. You know, that’s all I can take. You know? And that was for years. And then finally death is coming closer and closer and closer. All that fear that we have been working with for years, fear of physical pain too, physical suffering, as she got closer to it, she realized that the sense of impending doom was harder than the doom””quote-unquote””the doom itself. So as death came in purview, on some level by then she was practiced at naming her fears and practiced at having her fear relieved even for a moment.

So then she came to live and die with us at Zen Hospice Project. She would still talk about her fear, but it was now, it was always with a wake. What she did was she didn’t become unafraid. She could see fear for what it was and be something other than just afraid. So it was more like this high. I see this again and again. You don’t, I haven’t seen a lot of people lose their fear, it may soften, but really what’s happening is they develop a relationship with the fear so that they no longer hate it. It’s just yet another sensation that they feel. And by doing so, you don’t get rid of the fear of it, you just take the teeth out of it a little bit. And to the point where, mirror all of that with her sense of humor, and sort of the end, her family, friends were rushing in trying to save her.

Her brother got really rough with me and said I was killing her. And all sorts of things that can happen around the bedside with families and all long-lost friends who came out of the woodwork, who had felt guilty, now they’re exercising their guilt, trying to somehow save her, all this stuff that happens. And Barbara, she knew what was happening. I would catch her pretending to be asleep when these fights were happening around her bedside. And then she’d open one eye and look at me and then she’d give me a little smile, and then she’d pretend to go back to sleep. She just didn’t want to deal with it, and she was happy to let me deal with it, but she was letting me know that she was cool. She was all right. She did know that I wasn’t killing her. And in the end she had a comfortable death, and she went out with a wink and her fears didn’t go away, but they were not her friends, but they were her companions like any other. And it was just kind of quietly stunning and quietly hilarious and perfectly Barbara. And in this way, she was intact. As she moved off the planet, it was beautiful.

You can sort of chalk a lot of the sort of West’s problems with death. We have pursued separation. We have pursued individuation. We have pursued distinction, how to distinguish myself from others? And it may be kind of intoxicating, but it’s deeply problematic because that is not what someone who realizes they’re dying soon wants. They’re not so interested in being separate from the world. That becomes a source of terror. And it’s not just America, the modern era, right? I mean, we’re looking at that statue. I mean, this is, I think it is deeply human to fear death and to resist death. I mean, just from a physiologic point of view, neurologically, hormonally, we are wired to run away from anything or fight anything that threatens our existence. There’s an instinct to that. There’s a conditioning, a social conditioning on top of it, et cetera. So we’ve kind of taken that instinct and run pretty far with it in the West and it shows. It’s a little problematic.

The classic thing that we do is we separate death from life as though death is somehow optional, death steals life from us. Bullshit! It is as natural as it comes. There is no life without death. And you need to find a way to realize that. And that kind of integration can set the tone for all sorts of smaller integrations as we reconcile ourselves with others, ourselves, with the world, et cetera.

We are living through a massive existential crisis. You know, that’s one way of putting this, and I’m a big fan of existential crises. They teach us so much, they have a way of showing us this self, the constructed self versus this sort of underneath it all self. I think a lot of us have kind of seduced ourselves into thinking we need that, whatever we need, that car, we need that thing. We need whatever, we need that outfit, we need that job, we need that role, we blah, blah, blah. It turns out we don’t really need those things. We want them. But here’s a moment where we can find some real clarity around the made up stuff from the bigger stuff. Here’s a moment where we might realize what’s really actually, when push comes to shove, really, really important to us and what we’re just as happy to let go of. Where we realize how much we freaking need each other and how amazing it is to touch another human being. This idea of independence, this illusion of independence””there’s an illusion for you. Well that is, you know, maybe soft a little bit. Maybe we’re a little bit more prone to realize our interdependence. So these existential crises are a terrible thing to waste. It’s a wonderful, painful experience, but it gets you to bigger truths.

It has a potential to get you to bigger truths, has potential to break you down into that little nub, and then with the sort of wide clear eyes, if you have enough support and time, well, then you get to kind of reconstruct. I’m starting to get really nervous when I hear on the news and people say this phrase I’m coming to hate, which is “I can’t wait to get back to normal.” That terrifies me, that is like, we’re going to squander all this pain. We’ve just had to go through all this pain. There’s more to come, but the redemption for that pain has all these things that we’ll see and realize in this bigger truce. And we’ll realize the flaws in our systems, whether it’s our justice system, our healthcare system, et cetera. And we realized those are the things that we made up and that we can make them up better now that we know some stuff.

And if we rather, if we’d wretch, rather than just spring back to this thing, this place where we were before the pandemic, God damn it! I hope we don’t do that. What a waste that would be, all that pain for nothing. And by the way, you can’t go back, damn it. That is not possible. So I hope we’ll develop some antibodies to this return to normal thing and re-vision what the hell normal could be. So that’s my hope.

May not be able to change the world in so many ways, but we can change how we look at the world. That is a powerful thing. I have these three slides that I put up, often as I can. One is the image of Earth, jas a single object from space. And then a second photograph would be zooming out and seeing our little planet among a zillion planets, among a zillion stars, where you get yourself nice and small. And then the third image is an electron microscopy picture of virus particles on a human body. To zoom in on ourselves. And there were, we are huge. We become a universe hosting, you know, literally billions, probably trillions of little itty-bitty life forms. And the point here is all three of those images are true. They are all accurate. So how can those three things be simultaneously true? Well, isn’t that fascinating? And isn’t that real and isn’t that amazing. And the talent we humans have is that we get to control that lens. We can zoom in and out. We can change our frame to help us see, to help us digest what we see. I’m not sure that that is awakening per se, but it ensures a useful tool, I have found for myself and others as a way to begin to navigate waking up.

I don’t ever think we leave our minds. I think that’s probably, I’m not trying to destroy my mind, but where there’s some alignment between the thought and the body and the experience and you’re quote-unquote in the moment. And for me, that comes in nature, that comes often on a bicycle, or I have my motorcycle or a time with my dog and this world, this space, sort of a physical ecstasy. It feels like a dance and that there is no separation. And I feel an ecstasy, a limitlessness where I can’t tell where my body stops and the rest of the world picks up. It’s sort of both expansive and particular, simultaneous. It’s a place that words just can’t do justice. Those are times where I touch a sense of personal awakening. Where the smaller truths of me are aligned with the bigger truths of the world, where I don’t need a construct to name it, I just feel it.


Before we come to a close, BJ shares with us a practice to help us learn a way to decentralize our own ego.


I try to find a way, even when I’m bummed out or sad or confused, whatever else, if I can get myself to celebrate another person’s joy, so whether I’m just walking down the street and see someone smiling, and I won’t necessarily say anything to them, just in my mind, can I delight in their delight? Can I get out of myself?- in other words, not pit myself against them, you know, move past envy or any of the other stuff that comes up, and just find somewhere, my mind or my body, where I actually can delight in their delight.

And I find that very, very useful. To decentralize our ego, because ultimately dying, if you’re really interested in mortality, you’ve got to get past the ego, you know. Life keeps going. My life, this particular life will end, but life keeps going. And both of those things are true and finding a way to touch on those things. Immortality exists, as long as your ego isn’t invited. I don’t think death is the end at all. No. I mean, just look out in the natural, look out your window and look at a tree. Watch it, watch a leaf fall, watch it decompose in the ground. What, you know, no, I don’t think death is the end of an individual,of an ego, but not even that. I mean, the body goes on to become other energetic life. I still, I per se myself will exist in the memory of others to some degree. So even that line is pretty porous. So yes, death exists. Death is a thing, but I don’t think it’s what we generally think it is. And I don’t think it’s the end. I’m quite certain it’s not the end.


Special thanks to BJ Miller for sharing his story with us. We hope you enjoyed it. For more information about our guests and to see images of the artwork in this episode, visit AWAKEN Podcast. If you’re hungry to continue the conversation, join us on Instagram at @RubinMuseum. And if you’re enjoying this podcast, leave us a review, wherever you listen to podcasts. Leaving us a review is one of the best ways to help this podcast reach more listeners.

AWAKEN is produced by the Rubin Museum of Art in collaboration with Sound Made Public, and I’m your host, Laurie Anderson. This podcast is supported by Barbara Bowman, the Ellen Bayard Wieden Foundation, the Prospect Hill Foundation, Bob and Lois Baylis and public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council. Awaken is sponsored by Tricycle: the Buddhist Review, a print and digital magazine dedicated to making Buddhist teachings broadly available. Music for AWAKEN was created by Blue Dot Sessions, Podington Bear, Tendinite, and Siddhartha Corthus.

Tune in next week, as medicine woman Patricia James speaks to how all things are interconnected.

Thanks for listening.