Episode 30 :: Eli Effinger-Weintraub :: Secular Paganism and Cats Pulling Sleds

| September 17, 2010 | 0 Comments

Eli Effinger-Weintraub

Today we’re going to put ourselves in the perspective of our friends and family when asking us about practices they don’t understand, as we speak with Eli Effinger-Weintraub.

How often do you get quizzical looks when you say you’re a secular Buddhist? Ever get asked, “What does that mean, exactly?” Or even as more traditional Buddhists, when you talk with someone about going on a retreat, taking up a week’s vacation to practice Anapanasati?

The simple fact is, we all have certain impressions associated with words. When our friends hear us talk about things that seem to be in conflict, like “secular” and “Buddhism”, it’s not surprising that they might get that glassy eyed expression, and we end up explaining what we mean. And meditation! That one can take some time to reassure them we’re not going to be passing out flowers at the airport.

Of course, this is a human thing. We’re all subject to having baggage and associations with things we hear. So today, with the help of Eli Effinger-Weintrab, I’m going to ask all of you to put yourself on the other side of that discussion. Notice what impressions arise as we talk about secular Paganism…. There! Right there. What was that like? See if we’re any good in keeping our minds open when they start talking about spellcraft — and we let them tell us what they mean, and find out those impressions may not be entirely correct for some traditions.

My guest Eli was an audience member during the panel discussion from Episode 22, Losing My Religion, and joined in on the discussions on the FaceBook Fan Page for The Secular Buddhist. This discussion challenged me and others in reviewing our concepts about ways human beings have found to put our minds in more positive places.

So, sit back, relax, and have yourself the potion of your choice, and join us at a coffee shop in St. Paul. We’ve got some background noise, so here’s a meditation for you — sit with us at the table, let those sounds go, and join us in the conversation. Find out how much we have in common, too.

:: Discuss this episode ::



“Ritual is a multi-sensorial prayer to lay new patterns in our souls.” — Cynthia Jones

“Spellcraft is poetic psychology.” — Eli Effinger-Weintraub



Web Links

Music for This Episode

Shakuhachi Meditations

Shakuhachi Meditations

The music heard in the middle of the podcast is from Rodrigo Rodriguez’s upcoming CD, Shakuhachi Meditations. The tracks used in this episode are:

  • Lady of the Snow

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Category: The Secular Buddhist Podcast

Ted Meissner

About the Author ()

Ted Meissner is the host of the podcast Present Moment: Mindfulness Practice and Science. He has been a meditator since the early 90’s, has been interviewed for Books and Ideas, Mindful Lives, and The Whole Leader podcasts, spoken about mindfulness with various groups including Harvard Humanist Hub, and has written for Elephant Journal and The International Journal of Whole Person Care. He is the Executive Director of the Secular Buddhist Association, host of the SBA’s official podcast The Secular Buddhist, and is on the Advisory Board for the Spiritual Naturalist Society. Ted’s background is in the Zen and Theravada traditions, he is a regular speaker on interfaith panel discussions, and is interested in examining the evolution of contemplative practice in contemporary culture. Ted teaches Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) at the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care & Society, where he is the Manager of Online Programming and Community Development.

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