Becoming Wise

Becoming Wise
Depth and discovery, in the time it takes to make a cup of tea. Curated from hundreds of big conversations with wise and graceful lives. Reset your day. Replenish your sense of yourself and the world. Hosted by Krista Tippett.

What did you love? What would you like to hear?
Jul 15, 2019 • 0 min
Season two of Becoming Wise is a wrap! We’re so grateful you joined us for these months of reflection and recentering. Before we go away to work on our next season, we’d love to hear from you. What did you love? How can we make the podcast even better? Go…
Releasing Anger as an Act of Self-Compassion | Sharon Salzberg and Robert Thurman
Jul 8, 2019 • 7 min
The last episode of season two. Robert Thurman and Sharon Salzberg are icons of American Buddhism, and they are joyful, longtime friends. They challenge us to reframe our anger by seeing love for our enemies as an act of self-compassion. “It’s very hard…
Healing Through Story | Desmond Tutu
Jul 1, 2019 • 5 min
Archbishop Desmond Tutu is one of our wisest models on the territory of reckoning with past wrongs that infuse and haunt the present. In the 1990s, he helped galvanize South Africa’s peaceful transition to democracy after decades of white supremacy as the…
The Daily Opportunity in Randomness | Leonard Mlodinow
Jun 24, 2019 • 7 min
The physicist Leonard Mlodinow changes how we think about the agency we have in shaping our own destinies. As a scientist, he works with principles like Brownian motion, by which Einstein helped verify the existence of molecules and atoms. As the child of…
The Inner Life of Social Change | Ruby Sales
Jun 17, 2019 • 7 min
Public theologian Ruby Sales opens up what it was like to be a teenage participant in the civil rights movement — including the impatience she had with religion and how she circled back, through her experiences of the movement, to a sense of the deep…
Empathy Rooted in Action | Terry Tempest Williams
Jun 10, 2019 • 5 min
Naturalist Terry Tempest Williams brings meaning and direction to the grief around ecological loss and climate change. She’s a self-described “citizen writer” rooted in the American West, and she draws connections between fierce love and hard work — both…
Who We’re Called to Become | James Martin
Jun 3, 2019 • 6 min
Father James Martin is a beloved Jesuit writer and teacher who says desire ultimately is not selfish — and instead a path to understanding our callings in life. He says everyone has a vocation, not just monastics and clergy. And he wants all of us to ask:…
Happiness Is Practice, Not Pleasure | Matthieu Ricard
May 27, 2019 • 6 min
Matthieu Ricard is helping us redefine happiness in a culture convinced that it’s a passive experience. The French-born Tibetan Buddhist monk reframes happiness not as pleasure but as practice that requires discipline — akin to marathon training or…
A Planetary Sense of Love | Natalie Batalha
May 20, 2019 • 5 min
Astronomer Natalie Batalha embodies a planetary sense of what “love” is and means. She says her experience searching the universe for exoplanets — earth-like bodies beyond our solar system that could harbor liquid water and life — fundamentally shifted…
Our Lives Can Be Signposts for What’s Possible | Vincent Harding
May 13, 2019 • 6 min
A civil rights elder and speechwriter for Martin Luther King, Jr., the late Vincent Harding brought the wisdom of the movement to young people in hurting places. He offers the image of a “live human signpost” as a guiding light toward the kind of support…
Art and Justice Work Together | Rami Nashashibi
May 6, 2019 • 5 min
Rami Nashashibi champions how art can make humans visible to each other. He brings a new energy to Islam’s core commitment to beauty and humanity — and to the power of stories to heal and electrify us across geography and generation, culture and faith. He…
Nurturing Our Children’s Souls | Sandy Eisenberg Sasso
Apr 29, 2019 • 4 min
A rabbi and parent, Sandy Eisenberg Sasso wants us to think about how we might teach our children’s souls, not just their minds. She says nurturing the spiritual lives of our children is the work of understanding for ourselves “what really matters in…
The Everyday Gift of Writing | Naomi Shihab Nye
Apr 22, 2019 • 6 min
Naomi Shihab Nye says writing is “an act that helps you, preserves you, energizes you in the very doing of it.” She calls herself a “wandering poet,” and her words point to shining corners of beauty in the world we see every day. A visiting poet all over…
Friendship and the Democratic Process | Kwame Anthony Appiah | Becoming Wise
Apr 15, 2019 • 5 min
Philosopher Kwame Anthony Appiah offers hope for quiet, sustained culture shift through the “endless shared conversation” of friendship. The writer of the New York Times “Ethicist” column studies how deep social change happens across time and cultures.…
Life Beyond the Mind | Eckhart Tolle
Apr 8, 2019 • 6 min
“There is a place inside me that is far more powerful than the continuous mental noise,” says Eckhart Tolle. The spiritual teacher began to gain attention with his 1997 book, “The Power of Now.” Millions of people around the world have found pragmatic…
We Believe Each Other into Being | Jennifer Michael Hecht
Apr 1, 2019 • 4 min
“Imagine yourself alone on this planet. Would anything be the same?” Jennifer Michael Hecht is a poet, philosopher, and historian who wants to change the way we talk to ourselves and each other about suicide and staying alive — starting with her…
The Pilgrimage of “Who Am I?” | Paulo Coelho
Mar 25, 2019 • 4 min
Rediscover the wonder in the mundane and the everyday with writer Paulo Coelho. He reframes the practice of pilgrimage as a journey into the mysterious question, “Who am I?” He says that every day holds “this possibility, this chance of discovering…
Season Two Trailer
Mar 11, 2019 • 2 min
A preview of season two, returning on Monday March 25, 2019. Hosted by Krista Tippett. Depth and discovery, in the time it takes to make a cup of tea. Curated from hundreds of big conversations with wise and graceful lives. Reset your day. Replenish your…
Einstein Speaks to Us About Race | S. James Gates
Jul 25, 2016 • 10 min
“His capability to ask the ‘What if?’ question opened the door to the deepest marker of humanity, and that’s empathy.” Physicist S. James Gates celebrates the scientific and social power of Albert Einstein’s imagination. Find more at…
Trauma and Resilience Land in Our Bodies | Bessel van der Kolk
Jul 25, 2016 • 8 min
“Trauma treatment starts at the foundation of a body that can sleep, a body that can rest, a body that feels safe, a body that can move.” Psychiatrist Bessel van der Kolk on finding resilience in our bodies after trauma. Find more at…
Evil, Forgiveness, and Prayer | Elie Wiesel
Jul 8, 2016 • 9 min
“When words bring you closer to the prisoner in his cell, to the patient who is dying on his bed alone, to the starving child, then it’s a prayer.” Elie Wiesel, the beloved writer known for his memoir of the Holocaust, “Night,” speaks of the power of…
We Are the Beloved Community | John Lewis
Jul 5, 2016 • 7 min
“I discovered that you have to have this sense of faith that what you’re moving toward is already done.” Civil rights leader John Lewis on living as if the “beloved community” were already our reality. Find more at
The Universe Participates in the Mystery of God | Guy Consolmagno and George Coyne
Jun 27, 2016 • 7 min
“If you’re sure about something, you don’t need faith. It’s when you have the doubts that faith kicks in. And that’s true in science as well as anything else.” Vatican astronomers Brother Guy Consolmagno and Father George Coyne on the joy of discovery and…
I Feel, Therefore I Am | Eve Ensler
Jun 20, 2016 • 6 min
“How in our daily lives are we connecting with ourselves and everything around us? Because that’s where real, energetic transformation comes from.” Feminist playwright Eve Ensler speaks of the affirming physicality of our bodies, and of finding true…
We Reclaim Abandoned Spaces | Shane Claiborne
Jun 13, 2016 • 9 min
“There’s something magnetic about a group of people that say, ‘Hey, we don’t have it all figured out, and we need each other.’” New Monastic and Simple Way founder Shane Claiborne on bridging the gap between the structures we are raised in and the human…
We Choose Our Own Tribes | Seth Godin
Jun 6, 2016 • 9 min
“The challenge of our future is to say, are we going to connect and amplify positive tribes that want to make things better for all of us?” Entrepreneur and digital wise man Seth Godin on our capacity to use connection to elevate and advance the human…
Spirituality Is Enfolded Into the Act of Living | Sylvia Boorstein
May 31, 2016 • 11 min
“Sometimes the pain of the world seems incomprehensible. And if there’s anything that balances it, it’s wonder at the world, the amazingness of people.” Mindfulness meditation teacher Sylvia Boorstein gives counsel on finding joy and spiritual practice…
The Good in the Other, the Doubt in Ourselves | Frances Kissling
May 23, 2016 • 9 min
“You’ve got to be willing to risk in order to make change. You’ve got to approach differences with the notion that there is good in the other.” Scholar and activist Frances Kissling speaks of good will and understanding, rather than agreement or victory,…
The Inner World Is a Great, Undiscovered Terrain | Pico Iyer
May 16, 2016 • 8 min
“The point of gathering stillness is not to enrich the sanctuary or the mountaintop, but to bring that reality into the motion, the commotion, of the world.” Wanderer and writer Pico Iyer on outer stillness as an essential catalyst to a rich inner life.…
Present to Life, Moment by Moment | Jon Kabat-Zinn
May 9, 2016 • 6 min
“The more we can learn these lessons, the more we will not be running towards our death, but opening to our lives.” Mindfulness researcher Jon Kabat-Zinn on the physiological and spiritual potential of being present to every moment of daily life.
The Paradox of Suffering and Love | Kate Braestrup
May 2, 2016 • 11 min
“The question isn’t whether we’re going to have to do hard, awful things. The question is whether we have to do them alone.” UU law enforcement chaplain Kate Braestrup tells the story of a police woman who embodies the both/and of love and new life, and…
Enriched by Difference | Jonathan Sacks
Apr 25, 2016 • 9 min
“That’s how we are as a people. It’s the authentic, the unique, the different that makes us feel enriched when we encounter it.” Rabbi and philosopher Jonathan Sacks on difference as expansive and unifying, rather than a force for division. Find more at…
The Hidden Hand of the Equations | Brian Greene
Apr 18, 2016 • 6 min
“Call it the hidden hand of God; I would simply call it the hidden hand of the equations. And that gets us from the beginning to here.” Physicist Brian Greene on the hidden nature of reality, and the power of science to reveal beauty we can’t observe.…
The Desire to Know Each Other | Elizabeth Alexander
Apr 11, 2016 • 7 min
“Are we human beings who are in community, do we call to each other? Do we heed each other? Do we want to know each other?” Poet Elizabeth Alexander speaks of our need for language to understand our neighbors. Find more at
Compassion for Our Bodies | Matthew Sanford
Apr 4, 2016 • 8 min
“Your body, for as long as it possibly can, will be faithful to living. That’s what it does.” Matthew Sanford, an innovator of adaptive yoga, on taking a new orientation to our physical change and pain, and the outward healing that can result.
Beauty Is an Edge of Becoming | John O’Donohue
Mar 18, 2016 • 6 min
“Beauty isn’t all about just niceness, loveliness. Beauty is about more rounded, substantial becoming.” Beloved Irish poet John O’Donohue on beauty’s true grit, and finding it in the transformational edges of our daily lives. Find more at…
Mapping Meaning in a Digital Age | Maria Popova
Mar 18, 2016 • 11 min
“Critical thinking without hope is cynicism. But hope without critical thinking is naïveté. I try to live in this space between the two.” The creator and editor of Brain Pickings on the pratfalls and promise of knowledge-sharing in the digital age. Find…
Courage Is Born from Struggle | Brené Brown
Mar 18, 2016 • 8 min
“Hope is a function of struggle.” Brené Brown, a researcher and scholar, on the value and power of adversity to give rise to the astonishing strength of which we are all capable.