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God or Animal?

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Totally Married Podcast

Episode 287

Elizabeth and Andy discuss his experience as Juror number 5, humans as animals versus humans as god, and they form a loose pact to embark on a meditation journey together! Then they give their unqualified advice to listener questions about whether to make plans to get out of a long distance relationship or move to the same city, how to navigate a tricky relationship with a new mother in law figure, how to get engaged in a non traditional way that will please the parents, and how to help a sister who is gunning for a champagne wedding on a beer budget? Enjoy!

12 Comments!

KK says:

On meditation:

Having paid too much for Transcendental Meditation lessons, I do not reccomend it personally. It essentially is as simple as what Andy already explained: you’re assigned a mantra by your teacher (in a weird cultish ceremony with fresh cut flowers, fruit, and a handkerchief) which you repeat mentally each time you practice. As thoughts arise you recognize it but return to the mantra. You can do this with your breath, or any other repetitious sound/idea (but TM discourages that, at least as I was taught).

I’ve gotten back into the practice of mediating every day but I’ve abandoned my mantra and just focus on the breath. I was gifted a three month subscription to an app called “10% Happier” which focuses on “mindful meditation” practices with short videos to answer common questions and guided audio meditations. They even assign you a real person to e-mail questions to. I don’t think I’ll pay for it after my trial is up, but it’s given me useful tools to continue meditating on my own. I reccomend it: http://www.10percenthappier.com/mindfulness-meditation-the-basics/

Sort of related: I’ve been reading a book by Brad Warner called “Hardcore Zen” where he talks about how he discovered Zen Buddhism through his life as a punk rocker/guy wearing monster costumes. It’s super accessible for anyone interested in learning more about Zen ideas without any pomp and circumstance.

ALSO Elizabeth, lots of people experience involuntary bodily reactions while mediating. I haven’t found any totally believable, concrete explanations for it (some websites claim it’s built up stress or something). Personally my eyelids start twitching and my eyes start to water.

BUT I would warn you from thinking mediation is as simple as sitting still and shutting your mind off. Just remember the endless flow of thoughts is all part of the practice.

Blah blah blah, sorry for rambling! Meditation is cool! Do it!

Heather says:

I think if you lose a lawsuit for something like a car accident, your insurance makes the payment. (I’m not 100% sure, but mostly!)

Also, what ever happened to the “Andy Says Bounce” tshirts?! I was thinking about those last week, and then he made the comment again this week…I think these need to be a thing for real.

Erik says:

Insurance only pays up to the policy limit. Beyond that, the driver/owner is on the hook. Do you have enough insurance?
State law usually governs how state court judgments are enforced, such as what property can be seized, wages garnished, etc. People who can’t pay up are usually looking at bankruptcy (companies too- see Hulk Hogan vs Gawker). Fun fact- a few states including Texas and Florida have unlimited “homestead” exemptions, so you could own a $100M oceanfront mansion in say, Palm Beach, owe money to everyone under the sun, but no one can touch it!

Coco says:

Elizabeth, I know you’ve ramped down the number of podcasts but I would love to hear you host a political action podcast. It could focus on issues close to your heart or having to do with animals/children/whatever and how folks can get involved or who in the political world supports these causes so we can support them. I’m sure it would be time consuming but it would be an awesome way to use your voice and platform to reach those of us also getting involved and are looking for help staying informed.

Sarah says:

Elizabeth, I hear you becoming more and more involved in politics/policy (maybe you always have been and are just sharing it more) but I HIGHLY recommend a podcast called Congressional Dish. It’s a long one but, holy crap, is it informative, infuriating and engaging. Every time I listen I want to do SOMETHING. Hopefully it doesn’t get you too wound up… πŸ™‚

Carrie says:

I also highly recommend Pod Save America – hosted by former Obama staffers. Guess who their guest is today (March 10)? EZRA KLEIN! I think it’s destiny. πŸ™‚

Lauren says:

Listen to the Pete Holmes podcast you made it weird episode with Reza Aslan. A fascinating discussion of politics and religion. I think it is right up your alley. Blew my mind. Would love to hear what you think.

Andrea says:

Lots of Podcast recommendations already BUT HERE’S ANOTHER ONE! “Hellbent” it’s just two liberal ladies trying their best to make sense of what’s going on. They’ve had a drunk episode. ‘Nuff said.

Margaret says:

On the whole idea of evil (god vs. animal):

The catholic tradition I think has a really great way of understanding the “problem of evil” (is there an all powerful God who lets evil people exist?). Elizabeth mentioned that some evil people could be put on earth to challenge goodness. This works when you think of the minor injustices that test you to stick to your beliefs (tennis skirt lady!), but is harder to wrap your head around instances of abuse or torture that don’t have any happy ending, or any good really to come of it.

Basically, the solution I’ve found to really resonate is the idea that people are inherently and only good. The only thing that truly exists is goodness and Godliness. Every person is only doing their best to participate or attain goodness. Even if they fall short, their intentions are at least oriented towards some sort of goodness. Something that we think of as evil is a good that has somehow been perverted.

An example of something that is good and pure would be food. Food is an amazing thing that nourishes us, and, at its best, also fosters relationships with the people around us. There’s a true goodness to shared meals and wholesome foods. In pursuit of this true goodness, however, many of us fall short. The “evil” perversion of this would be someone who binge eats. They are searching for the goodness of food and communion, but it gets perverted into an unhealthy relationship.

This works with most things we think of bad. Rape isn’t a base animal instinct, it’s someone who has perverted pretty much the ultimate good, which is love and closeness with another human. A good rule of thumb is the greater the good (loving another person is “more good” than food), the worse the results when that love gets perverted.

I really love this because it doesn’t excuse or pretend that horrible things don’t exist, but it allows us to not sort people into “good” and “evil”. There are people who are doing a great job pursuing and participating in goodness, and then there are people who have gotten it so wrong and are looking for goodness in all the worst ways. Let me know what you think!

Jonathan F. says:

That sister story was legit bonkers. Such a funny jury duty story from Andy! – Hey has the podcast about dreams ep in which Elizabeth was a guest dropped already? Could you please share if the show is called “in your dreams”? I’ve been trying to find it… Greetings! cool ep.

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