Kate Sheehan Roach (00:00):
Hi, I am Kate sheen Roach with prosocial spirituality, and this is compassionate. Las Vegas, the podcast.
Will Rucker (00:30):
Welcome to compassionate Las Vegas. The podcast I'm will Rucker. And I want to thank you for joining us for season three of the podcast. So without further ado, I would like to welcome my very, very special guest, none other than Kate sheen. Roach. Welcome to the podcast, Kate.
Kate Sheehan Roach (00:52):
Oh, thank you so much. Will it is great to be here with you.
Will Rucker (00:56):
Oh, it's truly my pleasure. And you and I had the chance to spend eight weeks together going through prosocial spirituality, which we'll talk about in just a second, but what I was really, uh, I think most captivated by was your consistency. You were so gracious, so open and the way that you facilitated our group with these very heavy principles, I mean this information isn't, isn't just like kindergarten stuff. This is like deep information, but the way that you facilitated it and made it so accessible, really left me in a place of awe and inspiration and gave me exactly what I needed to be able to implement these principles into my every everyday living. So I wanna say thank you for that. And that was kind of my introduction into what you do, which is prosocial spirituality. So what is that?
Kate Sheehan Roach (01:55):
Wow. Well, well, thank you. I'll tell you it's, it's an honor to hear that from you, because what you brought to those eight weeks was everything. That's what makes our gatherings so rich is that amazing individuals, like you commit to eight zoom sessions to come together and, um, and learn a new framework. That's really what pro-social spirituality is. It's simply a framework that, um, we can, uh, use guiding principles and elements of spirituality to, um, to build a new way to, to build a future that is based on, uh, organizational leadership and spiritual principles of, of a universal nature that apply to all faiths and none really. Um, but this, this particular, uh, group that you and I did together was, was, uh, an amazing cohort of people from the charter for compassion. So people who are already, um, you know, ahead of the curve in terms of recognizing the need to cultivate compassion in the world today, but how often do we have that aspiration and realize it's easier said than done that we have lofty goals.
Kate Sheehan Roach (03:12):
I can remember times in my life where that was my mantra, cultivate, cultivate, compassion, cultivate, compassion, and cultivate compassion. I knew that I needed to be intentional about that. Um, but so many times I could be great at that in, in one arena of my life and then not in others, or I could see this polarized country and polarized world we're living in and recognize that it's might be easy to have compassionate attitudes toward people I agree with, but maybe less so for people on the other side of the spectrum are people who I perceive as doing harm, but, but you and I know that, you know, compassion doesn't discriminate that compassion is a condition of the heart that has to be cultivated developed and, uh, and embraced. So that's a big part of pro-social spirituality. And I can, I can tell you a little bit about the background on it
Will Rucker (04:08):
Before we get to the background of the material. I want to understand a bit more about how you came to this and I, I love how you just defined compassion. I, I think that that's simply beautiful. And so we'll, we'll definitely make a quote of that, but what brought you into this space?
Kate Sheehan Roach (04:28):
Wow, well, I've been collaborating, um, for, for over a decade now with people who are committed to cultivating the contemplative dimension life, the inner life. So I was part of founding a web magazine called contemplative journal, and I've really committed, uh, my work to supporting some of the great spiritual teachers of our day. So those can be from my faith tradition of Christianity, or I work with Sufi leaders and, uh, Jewish leaders and Hindu leaders and, um, not just leaders, but, but all of us, uh, who are, who are taking our faith, um, into the world in, in, in an applied way. Um, but also in order to do that, we know we have to cultivate our inner life. We have to spend that same, um, degree of com commitment in, um, contemplative practices, just embracing the silence, allowing that transformation to, to take place in, in our hearts and in our minds before we can begin to change the world, we have to, you know, like Gandhi sort of said, it's a little bit of a paraphrase.
Kate Sheehan Roach (05:42):
I I've got a G, but the idea of being the change, becoming the change, so that inner life. So, so it's really my work with contemplative life.org, where I collaborate with, uh, my good friend, Jeff Genung, um, that began partnering with prosocial world. Um, so prosocial spirituality is actually a collaborative venture between contemplative life.org and prosocial dot wor world. So, um, it's, it's sort of the, the best way, the quickest way I can describe it is this sort of where the, the, the inner life meets outer change. So contemplative of life being the, the, the cultivating a deep inner life that sometimes we like to look at on sort of a vertical plane, this idea of being deeply grounded in your faith tradition, and also transcendent to that, which is larger then than we, so this, this vertical plane, and then there's this horizontal plane of, of social cohesion.
Kate Sheehan Roach (06:44):
Um, you know, I think it's, it's also perfect will that, that you and I are recording today on the day we celebrate Martin Luther king Jr's legacy and his ongoing work in the war world. Um, perfect example of a person who was both deeply grounded and transcendent on the vertical plane, and also profoundly gifted as an organizer, as a leader, and as, as an, as an administrator that even those basic, um, you know, without those, those skills, um, he would not have had the following and the success and, uh, really the truly miraculous transformation that, that he led and continues to lead Postly. Um, so that's, that's a, I just, I feel that connection with, uh, you know, one of the great outliers of, uh, of his, and that's sort of what this, what this work attracts. It, it looks at, um, some of the evolutionary, uh, evolutionary leaders, you know, people who were ahead of their time and how did they get that way? How did they do what they did? And we sort of break that down and, and train it and, and emulated and, and cultivated in our own lives.
Will Rucker (08:04):
What we found most difficult about making that connection about taking that inner work out and actually truly, uh, embodying compassion in a world where there are some people that are little tougher, uh, to coexist within others. And, and here's what I mean in, in this day, we, we know how divided our nation appears. We know that, uh, particularly in the political arena, people aren't even concerned about fact or truth or reality, it's their party, their tribe versus other tribe. So how, how do you find, uh, your place in this, and what's been most difficult for you personally about his application?
Kate Sheehan Roach (08:50):
wow. That's a tough one. Will you don't, you don't throw softballs, do you, um, um, you know, I can, I can be very adept at this, uh, you know, in my service work, in my, in my professional life, it comes down to home. It comes down to, you know, raising teenagers, being married, having siblings, um, you know, that, I think to just in, in real honesty, that's, that's the place where I have to be my most authentic self in order to really cultivate this. But I think, you know, what, what I, what I wanna share is, um, some amazing practices that help with this, you know, from, from our eight weeks together that, um, the, the co-founder of prosocial spirituality, uh, Reverend Diane Burke is a amazing, um, spiritual leader and teacher, uh, who also has a, a, a background in psychology, sociology and anthropology.
Kate Sheehan Roach (09:47):
So she's just this amazing people person and, um, truly, truly gifted spiritual leader. And, um, one of the practices that she rings to prosocial spirituality is a loving kindness or meta practice that we practice together regularly through, through the eight week journey. And hopefully beyond the idea is to try some of these practices on and, and keep them as part of your daily life. But, but the loving kindness practice is a really simple practice that we, that we do daily, uh, or couple times a week, depending how it, how it fits for you. But it's, it's very simple and it starts out, um, with emphasis on the self, you know, may I be happy? May I be healthy? May I be at peace? May my life have ease? You know, it's, it's a very simple sort of rhythmic mantra. And then from there, we share that same thought of expression with somebody we love could be our beloved could be our, our, our dear ones in some way, but somebody, you know, very easy to love.
Kate Sheehan Roach (10:48):
And then from where, from there, we extend that to someone, very difficult to love that could be a, a family member that could be a political figure. I could be an entire, um, community. It can be, um, you know, whatever it is that you feel that tug that difficulty, that, you know, it doesn't come naturally, but you choose, you choose to cultivate that regardless. And then finally, the fourth phase of the practice is for the whole world and also sentient beings, all creation, and you can mix this up. You can, you can change it around. Um, you can, you can bring in, um, you know, the planet and, and the waters. And I mean, it, it, it it's, it depends on your intention, but we really recognize that without these practices, we lack the rootedness, the groundedness to be able to actually live it in the world.
Kate Sheehan Roach (11:42):
So I know for myself, if I'm gonna be in a challenging situation, if I'm going to be, um, you know, traveling to a, a, a part of the world where I don't really fit in or something along those lines, um, I best really, you know, start my day with my practices that bring on that, that set me in the right mindset of humility, of receptivity, of, of, um, of, of, of the grace that comes from cultivating the inner life, where we recognize that we're all one that is really the place for me, where the deeper I go, the more I realize that we all, um, we're all interconnected and we really are all one. And so it's, it, it, it helps me not otherwise we, or even otherwise myself, uh, you know, in a way that is, um, you know, at all arrogant and privileged and, um, and really foolish because it, there, there is no grounds for that. In reality,
Will Rucker (12:50):
The things that you, you said are everything you said was like, I'm, I'm just sitting here. Like, yes, yes. But two things really stood out for me. One was the, the direct answer to the question, which is, you know, at home, like, it's my family, like, that's where it's toughest, but also the way that you frame the other. So often we otherwise others, but can otherwise ourselves and elevate ourself and, and forget that we have some of the same challenges that we find difficult in others. Um, one of the practices I like is the, just as just like me, meditation mm-hmm , and what I do is I'll say, you know, such and such is a person just like me, just make it just that basic. And they have feelings just like me. And, you know, you expanded out similar to the loving kindness meditation, and I find that that's really, really helpful, but, uh, again, I'm just profoundly struck by otherizing yourself. Could you talk a little bit more about that?
Kate Sheehan Roach (13:53):
Hmm, wow. I just kind of spontaneously, um, blurted that out, but I think it's less about specifics. It's less about saying, well, I'm better or I'm worse, or I'm, um, it's, it's the idea of separation. It's the illusion of separation? The idea that I could be somehow, um, that I could thrive and my neighbor not thrive, or that my neighbor can thrive and not, I thrive. I mean, the, the idea of, um, again, perfect on the day we celebrate Martin Luther king, Jr. This, this, this fabric, this interconnected web that we are all a part of. Um, is it, it it's, it is reality. It is the truth of our existence. And so it's, it's the othering. That is, that is false. So I think, I think we do that. I do that when I fail to recognize myself as a whole being when I'm somehow seeing myself as my wounds or as my brokenness, instead of saying, yes, I'm wounded and I'm broken, but I am a whole being.
Kate Sheehan Roach (15:02):
And in my wholeness, I meet you and your wholeness, and I can meet my neighbor in her whole. And, um, I live in Philadelphia, which is a fascinating place where I sit here at my desk, looking out over the window and, um, and I can see the world go by. And, um, the amazing, uh, intermingling of communities here, we have, um, Orthodox Jewish, uh, we're we're within the boundaries of, of the Sy. So lots of Orthodox Jewish families, and these big houses have lots of big Catholic families with, you know, they each have 5, 6, 7 kids and, you know, then we have, um, uh, wonderful Muslim community, right, right. On the corner. And, um, you know, there's, there's just you name. It is all here in Philadelphia. So it's the, the, the city that was founded on brotherly love and sisterly affection. Um, it, it is most vibrant where it is most complete, and it is most complete where it is most diverse, like biodiversity.
Kate Sheehan Roach (16:09):
We're experiencing that here. So that's a, you know, these, these are, are our goals. These are models, but we don't see it everywhere. And so we have to be intentional. We can't just have ideals that are not met. And I think that's the other thing that drew me into this. You asked me sort of, you know, how I, how I came into this indeed wanting to cultivate the inner life. Um, you know, I think some critics in my, uh, in, in, in, in my past would say, oh, well, you know, that all that meditation and all that, that's just so selfish. You know, you're just all about, you know, hiding in a cave. Well, I've got news for is the opposite. When, when, when you cultivate that inner strength, the first thing you wanna do, it's changed the world is be out there in a giving capacity.
Kate Sheehan Roach (16:58):
Um, there's more to give when, when, when you, you cultivate that. So, so it's a, it's a, um, contemplation and action, our two sides of the same coin. And that's where, you know, this contemplative side, this vertical dimension needs desperately the horizontal side in order to, in order to be effective. We know lots of spiritual communities that have all sorts of, you know, depth and breadth and, um, and wonderful, um, ideals. But if the communication skills are lacking, if there's a lack of equity, if there's a lack of, of, um, you know, just organization, um, we're gonna see we're gonna see trouble. So, so that's the idea is to sort of bring together the strengths of the inner cultivating contemplatives and then the, and also the change makers, the outer activist change makers, bring it together in, in a program that we can actually take scientifically derived evolutionary principles and, and put 'em on, put 'em on like a suit of close.
Will Rucker (18:07):
Let me ask this. Do you feel as though, and first I'll say yes to everything you just said. Um, do you feel as though it it's a place of privilege to be able to put on these principles and these practices,
Kate Sheehan Roach (18:25):
You know, I think on the one hand, it is in that we do this as a program, you know, in the way that we are cultivating it. Yeah. We've got the technologies, we've got the time, we've got the resources, you know, that kind of thing. But, but in reality, it's people, I know, I know a guy who lives in a bus who does all this in his, in his bus community. I mean, it's, it's a neat group up in the Adirondacks. They've just gotten old, burned out buses and, and turned 'em into homes. And it's, it's like a little, it's like a little village. Um, but he's, he's applying these principles as well, or better than, you know, people, people of, of greater financial privilege. He has privilege of community. He has privilege of wisdom. He has, um, he has all sorts of, of creativity that I think, um, you know, we get confused if we, I think the definition of privilege, I guess, is what it is, or, um, you know, that, that, I think there's a lot of people that have, um, you know, the means to do things, but they're actually quite impoverished when it comes to, you know, um, having the heart space to actually do this work.
Kate Sheehan Roach (19:41):
So, you know, in so many ways we have a lot to learn, um, from some of the least likely places is where these, these, uh, prosocial, you know, the idea of prosocial is, you know, kind of the opposite of antisocial, you know, the idea of being deliberately, um, perfect for the theme of your podcast, you know, compassionate Las Vegas, you know, that this, this intentional choice to be compassionate, um, is a, is a intentionally pro-social behavior. And I find, I see that in places that might not be considered, um, you know, you don't see a lot of that maybe on, on wall street wall, Street's considered this place of privilege. I know there are, there are some, and there are, there are, there are, um, flickering lights of, of compassion and love everywhere. But, um, but it's in, it's in the prisons, it's in the 12 step groups.
Kate Sheehan Roach (20:41):
It's in the, you know, my, my friend who lives in a bus, um, I see them actually embracing this in ways that we could, you know, we can emulate and take this to the corporate world and offer it as a training. Um, but we've got nothing on the people who are using this as their, you know, their one hour of interaction in between, uh, in a prison sentence where they may or may not ever see the light of day outside of prison walls, that they're still committed to cultivating the good to me, that is that's the leading edge. That's where, um, we can really, we can really put this, um, in practice.
Will Rucker (21:24):
Uh, I'm, I'm so grateful that you answered that in the way of that you did. I didn't expect anything different. Like , you know, there was not, I'm not surprised, but I just, I I'm still, you know, gleaning so much from it with, with the challenges we face. What I I see is, um, perhaps our, our greatest challenge as a global culture is we don't necessarily recognize the, the value of other of different. And sometimes I think that, you know, I'm grateful, I'm an American. I was born and raised in America, you know, all of the, the required disclaimers, right. But by the same token, I, I find it difficult to say that America is the best place on earth. And here's what I mean by that. I've traveled to Africa and to Europe, I've, those are the only other continents I've been to, but I've found such beauty and such richness in those places, Africa in particular, visiting mud hut villages in west Ghana, you know, seeing, seeing people that did not have access to plumbing or electricity, but the joy was electric and the community, the bonds, if they shared were stronger than any fortified building we could create.
Will Rucker (22:55):
There's, there's something there that you can't buy. There's something there that material wealth just doesn't offer. And so I'm grateful for some of the luxuries, like zoom chat that we're doing. We couldn't do this without electricity and technologies. So I'm grateful for that. And I just struggle with saying, this is the best I, I appreciate it, but I think it's one of many amazing things. Does that make sense?
Kate Sheehan Roach (23:24):
Oh, well, you're, you're absolutely. You know, and it it's once again, love, I love how this unfolds because, um, I always say nothing is what it appears, you know, it's often the flip and, and what you're, what you're giving me an opportunity to share is the flip behind pro-social spirituality that, yeah, indeed, we're going to off, we're offering this, um, thanks to a grant from the Templeton, religion trust, um, and, and other work with the John Templeton foundation that yes, we do have, um, the ability to do this, but really where it began, we're borrowing from those places of inspiration, like your mud hut villages in God. And I'll, I'll tell you why, because that's really where prosocial spirituality begins. Um, the, the, the two streams that I talked about, um, the, the first I I'll tell you about prosocial is, uh, is a global research project.
Kate Sheehan Roach (24:21):
That's where, why we continue to do research as even part of our two ratings. We're still engaged in, in, in research because the pro-social world is based upon, um, a discovery made by a woman named Ellen or Ostrom who won the Nobel prize, who was the first woman to win the Nobel prize in economics for her discovery of common resource usage that is sustainable in the world. If you took, you know, econ 1 0 1 at some point in, in college or elsewhere, you, you learned, um, about the tragedy of the commons, this long held idea that human beings left our own devices will over exploit resources. You know, we see it all the time, land over overuse fisheries being abused. The, the, the air we breathe, we see it all the time. We very easy to just say, yep, we need regulation. We need private ownership.
Kate Sheehan Roach (25:15):
We need to, we need to take human nature out of the equation and, and tear this down. Well, guess what, Lynn Ostrom being the outlier that she was, um, recognized that there was no research to back this up and being a brilliant researcher as she was. She created the world's largest global database, global database of small communities that were not living out the tragedy of the commons. They were actually using common re sources successfully. They weren't over exploiting the land. They had found ways to live in harmony with one another. And these are the things that, you know, inspire us when we travel. When we go to go, go around the world, we see things that, Hmm, wait, that's not what they taught me in sixth grade, social studies class, they had this, you know, this attitude of American exceptionalism, well travel and you'll will soon be broken of that.
Kate Sheehan Roach (26:09):
Well, Lynn did the same thing. She, she was able to, to tabulate this amazing global, uh, database and with the technologies, uh, that, that we have was able to, to study it down to recognize that in these instances where the tragedy of the commons was not the order of the day eight principles were present, and she was able to sort of delineate them, draw them out. They're not rocket science, they're, they're, they're important things, things like conflict management, sharing of resources, having a shared purpose, they're not rocket science, but she was able to draw out these eight and won the Nobel prize in economics, because she had basically dismantled the tragedy of the commons fast forward, a little bit, or overlapping. Um, she began collaborating with David Sloan, Wilson, who is an extraordinary evolutionary biologist, remarkable career as a Darwinian evolutionary biologist, but not the survival of the fittest, um, model only, but also the survival of the species.
Kate Sheehan Roach (27:12):
And multi-level evolution, evolutionary theory, where David has been an outlier in his field, recognizing that indeed on an individual level, its survival of the fittest, but in groups and I'll just paraphrase. This, I'll make it quick. It's the survival of the kindest. It's those who cooperate and collaborate and recognize that we're all one, those groups thrive. They take the evolutionary high ground over those who wanna dominate. This is, this is earth shattering. This changes the whole scene. And the question is, can we bring ele or Ostrom and David Sloan Wilson together and say, okay, can we take these principles that have been discovered in nature, basically humans being the, the subjects. Um, and can we, can we apply it? Can we apply it to our communities and have the same outcome, have six successful outcomes? So that's just a, you know, there's so much more to talk about there, but it's leading edge science research based and it continues we're continuing to study, even as we're talking right now, we're, we're, we're, uh, we're pushing out the, pushing out the, the boundaries on, on, on these conversations quickly to the, to the other side, to the, to the side of, of spirituality, Wayne Teasdale was this outlier who delineated nine elements of a universal spirituality.
Kate Sheehan Roach (28:34):
So thank Lynn Ostrom is, is our, is our, uh, prosocial leader post mislead. She died a few years ago, but she still, her legacy lives on Wayne Teasdale, same scenario. He, he died several years ago. Um, but he had written a book in 1999 called the mystic heart, which, uh, Jeff GenOn calls it a forward pass into the 21st century. It's sort of exactly what we needed. And these nine elements of a universal spirituality that he discovered in his global travels and in his experience as an interspiritual monk, he was, he was of the Catholic tradition. He was ordained in the Catholic tradition, but he was also ordained in the Hindu tradition as a sanyasi as a wandering monk. So he was this multi, um, multi-faith person who also was able to experience the, the spiritual is of all the world's traditions. And again, an amazing outlier who never met a stranger and was, you know, uh, truly, um, able to, um, to lead us into the 21st century where now we can see where he was heading that indeed, we're recognizing that with globalization.
Kate Sheehan Roach (29:47):
Um, we don't have to just tolerate one another. We don't have to just sort of find one another fascinating. Um, we can actually come alongside one another and respectfully learn from one another. That's the point of the nine elements of universal spirituality. So it's these 17 points that we bring together and simply just use them as a framework. It's not a prescription. It's not a, it's not a, um, there there's no doctrine or dogma being taught. There's no, um, I mean, you know, there were no answers, it's all questions, it's all exploration, but the ability to apply it in your work, in your community, in your family, in the world is truly becoming that activist. That, that is, you know, you may be inspired in the wee hours of the morning when you can't sleep. You wake up knowing that there's pain in the world or suffering in the world.
Kate Sheehan Roach (30:41):
How do I, I live in this world? How can I, how can I face another day when I know, um, there's so much suffering and, and how can I be compassionate without just being destroyed? We need frameworks, we need frameworks. We need community. Um, compassionate Las Vegas is a perfect example of that. I am blown, absolutely blown away by the city of Las Vegas and what I see happening there, um, gives me great hope. And, and so, um, I wanna, I wanna study what you're doing. I wanna turn the tables and ask you, and, and as a participant in pro-social spirituality, I would like to ask you, do you see some of these principles come coming into play in, in your experience?
Will Rucker (31:26):
Yeah. So thank you now, I'm, I'm on the hot seat. Uh, it's it's thank you for, you know, acknowledging what Vegas is doing because I'm extraordinarily proud of my city. Um, the, the thing I think that allows us to do some of this in the way that we are doing it is our relative inexperience. We are a very, very young city. We haven't existed for very long and the we're in scheme of things. So we don't have some of those institutional barriers or, but we've always done it this way. This is why you're doing it. We we've always done it this way. We don't have that in a lot of spaces. So it gives us the opportunity to really reinvent and try. And that's what Vegas is, is about going back to Elvis, right? He was able to reinvent himself here and then countless others in, in the entertainment sphere.
Will Rucker (32:22):
So take that into other arena. And it's happening. What I will say is the other part is we don't have some of those, um, barriers of consciousness where people don't believe it's possible. So we are in the middle of a desert. We're literally a bowl. , we're, you know, a, a desert bowl. And yet you'll find some of the most amazing nature and, um, technology advances and you just name it. It, it's amazing the life that is in this place, that's host to be a desert. So I, I just think there's, there's the number of factors, but the number one piece is we have the opportunity to really exist within the timeframe we are in, um, in my experience. So right now under my roof, there are three generations, my grandparents, my mother there, and then myself and my husband. And so it's just fascinating.
Will Rucker (33:23):
Some of the things my grandparents think about tangent, but I'm coming back to the point. I promise we have been looking for a home for them, cuz they're considering relocating from Michigan to Las Vegas to be with us. And my grandfather went to model home and said, oh, they probably to have like a four inch buffer here in case it floods. And we just kind of giggled like, well, it's not gonna flood. Like it's okay, you don't need that. But based on his experience and the life that he's lived, 80 plus years, he's used to doing things a certain way and needing creates certain protocols in order to thrive. And in this new world, it doesn't necessarily fit. And I think that pro social spirituality is similar where we've had some of these mind ideas, mind traps thinking, traps that we're like, people are a certain way or this is the way it has to be done because if we don't it'll fall apart and the science, the evidence is actually to the contrary. So, uh, that was a really long way to say Vegas is able to innovate because our people are innovative. We really are, uh, growing by leaps and bounds constant, but we're not afraid to try something. And, and that's what makes us able to move forward.
Kate Sheehan Roach (34:47):
Well, that is a great, I, I thank you for letting me put you on the, on the hot seat there for a second, because I, I honestly have been, um, you know, just astounded and, and, but what I also see is that, um, it's intentional, it's not, nothing is a given that people are, uh, strategic, thoughtful, collaborative, like this, could you, Vegas could be a study. Could, you know, if Lynn Ostrom were still with us, she could look and see and, and, and, and tabulate the data on how this is coming to pass. It's not a core incidents. And, and so, um, you know, I'm, I'm amazed by that, but I'm, but I'm curious. I mean, some of the things that we look at in, in, in pro-social spirituality, you know, we we're, we're looking at things like humility and simplicity and nonviolence self-knowledge, um, you know, having a, having a, a moral, um, base, um, you know, that, that those are just a few on the spiritual side, you know, and I already mentioned a few on, on the pro-social side, you know, just things like, um, uh, conflict resolution, um, fair sharing of resources, um, having a, having a clear, um, purpose and mission and identity, um, things like that, that, that when, when we put them together, um, I mean, the, the classic example, I, I, I hear about sometimes in, in spiritual circles, you know, people are, are becoming so aware that this idea of, of the, the, the global marketplace where, um, you know, the, the classic example is sort of how the west has just, um, pounced on, on yoga and has sort of appropriated it into Western ways and pretty much trampled on the, the teachings that, that really come with, uh, with yoga.
Kate Sheehan Roach (36:36):
And, and it's, it's generally, you know, um, white people of privilege just waltzing into brown communities and saying, oh, I'm a yoga master. Now, you know, that kind of stuff. And there's, there's problems with this. There's some serious, you know, maybe not intentional, but regardless, um, I'm hearing these conversations coming up where, where, you know, people are, are being outed on this. And so the answer very, um, beautifully stated is, you know, we must approach this global oneness with humility that, that, that by the qu of humility shifts from appropriation to honor, you know, that that is possible. And everyone says, ah, isn't that lovely . And then we say, okay, so you're gonna flip a switch and be humble tomorrow. like, it doesn't work that way. Humility is something that has, it's a, it's a, it's a character trait that has to be cultivated and has to be intentionally learned and developed, um, you know, simplicity. We all say, oh, yes, life, you know, live simply so that others may simply live such a trite and lovely thing. Well, Wayne Teesdale wrote very boldly, uh, in, in, in his book, the mystic heart, it were where these nine elements were, uh, were first revealed. He just said, you know, if you don't know what simplicity is, you're just playing around in the spiritual life.
Kate Sheehan Roach (38:14):
And that stopped me cold, cuz I don't think I knew what simplicity was. I grew, I was, you know, I was born into the, the eighties, you know, things were complicated. Um, you know, I, I didn't embrace simplicity as part of my, my journey that was never on the radar. So that's why I value looking at a framework where I'm going to be challenged to grow in areas I need to grow and recognize that, um, you know, it's a process. There's no, there's no, um, no shame, no, um, no blame, but you know, um, once we know better, we know better
Will Rucker (38:57):
With this work because it is certainly work. What I find, um, perhaps most inspiring is the fact that it's systematic. So my brain works in, in the way where you, you have a task list, like you check box, you, you go from point a to point B, uh, that's just, you know, how I'm wired to understand people are different. Um, but because there's a framework and you use the word intentional because you can be intentional with this. To me, that means it's scalable and you can reproduce it in various settings. So that makes it something tangible for really anyone to grasp making it universal, which is what I think is, is key. This idea of globalization or unity or oneness has been around since the beginning of time, but there is also a fear of era that I have seen and I wonder how your work addresses that, where groups that perhaps are more, uh, accustomed to being the majority or being empowered, um, are now finding themselves feeling disenfranchised, uh, when really they're experiencing equality or heading towards even equity. Um, how do you address that in your work?
Kate Sheehan Roach (40:20):
Mm, wow. Well, that's a big one and I appreciate it. I think you and I are gonna need to talk some more, um, about this, but I think, well, well, what, what we, what you witnessed as, as you came through the eight week program is that, um, although it is systematic and there is a, there is a curriculum with a, with, with a framework, um, we engage the heart. It's, it's really the most important learning doesn't happen in the brain. It happens in the heart. And, and so, um, I mean, you remember the first session we introduce all these points and there's a lot of tons of information. And then all of a sudden the conversation stops screen changes and up comes Tracy Chapman singing change, the song change. Would you change if you saw the face of God and love, would you change? Would you change?
Kate Sheehan Roach (41:17):
And that challenge to change on the level of the heart is, is different. It's, it's, it's, it's, there's a quality to it. That is, um, that opens people up so that their, their defensiveness is really what, you know, this, this whole idea of, um, you know, defending the turf or somehow, um, being fearful of, of change is, um, is broken down. We use a lot of poetry, a lot of music, a lot of art, um, to try to shift the consciousness away from, um, models, the old models, the old models have to go, they're going they're crumbling before our eyes. And so I, I like, um, uh, the, the quote I sometimes think of as, uh, the wonderful, uh, spiritual and architectural genius, Buckminster fuller, who talked about when you want to create something new in the world, I'm gonna paraphrase him, you know, um, don't worry about dismantling the existing infrastructure, create a new one that makes the old one obsolete.
Kate Sheehan Roach (42:34):
And what I'm keenly aware of is that it's these elements that really it's, it's the nine elements and the eight corees design principles that were discovered in a, in, in global reality that are really the facilitators of this work. I'm showing up presenting it. Diane Burke has, you know, built this beautiful curriculum, but it's really who we hand it to. It becomes theirs. And so what's really important is, um, you know, is that we recognize that, um, this is not to be, um, owned, you know, it's to be shared it's to be it's. So the, the beauty of it is, is that, um, when people recognize it as, as core, um, it's, it's growing so fast and, and traveling globally, we're already, um, pro-social world is translating into Spanish and Portuguese. Um, there's a huge movement in India. Like it's, it's not, um, just, and Australia is a big, a, a big base as well.
Kate Sheehan Roach (43:41):
Um, but really across the globe because of the universality, uh, of this, of these principles that they're organically discovered, they're not sort of top down being imposed on anybody. It's sort of what works in the, in the great experiment that is life and where has it worked and, and for whom, instead of this idea that there's a, there's a, there's an elite that is going to top down impose itself that has been completely turned upside down. And the idea is open source, you know, put it out there. And, uh, thankfully we have the, like I said, the support of the Templeton foundation, um, whose main mission is, you know, to, to ask the big questions, the big unanswerable questions using science and spirituality. So we, we kind of fit right into that, cuz it's all an experiment, it's all unfolding. I always say the ink never dries at, at prosocial and prosocial spirituality. It's it's, as soon as we, we land on something, it evolves because we are evolving creatures and hallelujah let's evolve already.
Will Rucker (44:53):
And evolution is, is constant. That, that's the amazing thing about, about that. That's the one constant change exactly. In our last few moments together, I just wanna ask something a, a little different than what we've talked about and that's what is inspiring you right now. I wanna frame it around music. So what song or, or body of, of work is, is providing you inspiration and moving you forward in the world today?
Kate Sheehan Roach (45:25):
Hmm. So much, I'm a big music listener. Um, I I'm, I'm thinking of a song that was new to me that, that we, we used at the, uh, the final session of pro-social spirituality, um, called the underlying unseen song. And it's an artist, I didn't know before. I'm sorry. I can't remember her name right now, but it's something that Diane brought. Um, and the idea was, if we're quiet enough, we can hear the silence, the bird song, the unspeakable truths that are underlying all that we do this, this contemplative dimension that is unspoken, that is beyond words. Um, so I was inspired by that particular piece of music, um, to listen to the birds, to let the bird song be my, um, my, my soundtrack of my life here in Philadelphia. Um, but so many other pieces that we share as part of, uh, um, you know, as, as, as part of the, the, the program, I think, I think people really enjoyed, um, a piece I grabbed just a, just a segment of a song, um, by the, the Irish band.
Kate Sheehan Roach (46:51):
You two little, little rock band out of Ireland, not known as you two, um, where the, where the, the end of the song, the chorus is, there is no them, there is no them, there's only us. There's only us and bono and, and, and the boys get the, get the whole crowd singing. There is no them, there is no them, there's only us, there's only us. So those messages that can be conveyed poetically and even the music of the birds carries a message. That words can't capture really poetry and art. And, um, and some of the more, you know, sublime, um, works of, of classical music. Um, Diane and I have been talking a lot about, um, Beethoven and Bach and Mozart lately about carving out time to really listen of these pieces. Um, it couldn't be, it that's the contemplative dimension. That's what we, if we don't cultivate that we are not full we're we're we're, I am not my whole self if I don't cultivate. So thank you for asking that I I'm always the one, um, you know, trying to remind, um, others to, to slow down in the listen. And, um, and that song, the underlying unseen song really, um, captured that for me,
Will Rucker (48:17):
I both the pieces you mentioned, I was really moved by and my Christmas gift to myself this year was to create a space in my home where I could actually listen to music. I used to produce music and actually own a record label and all that kind of thing back in another life. And, uh, but since being in Vegas, I've been so involved in other activities that I had lost touch with that. So I made that space for myself and it's, it's just been amazing. So songs are going in the rotation for sure. Uh, if you would finish these, these thoughts for me, I I'll say a word or two and you finish it, I'll start with, I am
Kate Sheehan Roach (49:03):
Hopeful. I am hopeful.
Will Rucker (49:09):
Kate Sheehan Roach (49:12):
Will Rucker (49:17):
The most powerful thing in the world is
Kate Sheehan Roach (49:29):
Will Rucker (49:33):
Last one, Compassion matters because
Kate Sheehan Roach (49:45):
It's so very necessary, so very necessary.
Will Rucker (49:53):
Okay. I want to thank you for taking this time to, to spend with me and all of our listeners and viewers. Um, you're right. We've gotta do this again. There's so much more we could get into, but I think that we at least have introduced this amazing, amazing, uh, thing for, for our viewers and listeners. How do folks get in touch with you if they wanna learn more?
Kate Sheehan Roach (50:19):
Well? Um, I'd love to hear from people personally, I'm at Kate contemplative life.org, um, and, um, prosocial.world is, is the website where you can see us or contemplative life.org. That's the collaborative, uh, partnering of contemplative life and prosocial world is where prosocial, spiritually prosocial spirituality exists, where, like I said, we're currently, um, operating under the, the, uh, Templeton religion trust grant. So we're able to offer pro-social spirituality, um, trainings without a, without a fee right now as part of this research initiative. So I'd love to hear from people if you're part of a group that might be interested in doing an eight week training, um, just drop me an email, Kate contemplative life.org.
Will Rucker (51:11):
Awesome. And I wanna give you the final thought because you just such a wealth of information and grace. Uh, what, what is your final word for our podcast today?
Kate Sheehan Roach (51:24):
Hmm, B of good cheer. Um, I know there's so, um, so much suffering in the world. You know, that's what the word compassion means. Suffer together, come together and, and, uh, come alongside one another. Um, but for every, for every bit of suffering, there is a, a blank. It of love around it. We can wrap our arms around one another and, and, uh, and, and help one another through. Um, that's, that's what keeps me going. Uh, it's not easy. It's not easy, but be of good cheer.
Will Rucker (52:08):
Leave it there.
Speaker 3 (52:09):
Kate Sheehan Roach (52:10):
You so much will so great to be with you.