Jan 15, 2024

#339: We’re Afraid to Die, Because We’re Afraid to Live with Sensei Koshin Paley Ellison

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Aging, Authenticity, Belonging, Death, Grief, Humanity, Life, Living, Mental Health, Purpose, Self-Worth, Spirituality, Transformation


In this episode, I welcome Sensei Koshin Paley Ellison to the show. We discuss the fear of confronting mortality and the aversion to facing death, letting go of our sh*t and facing our fears, and how to embrace the present moment. This is an episode you won’t want to miss that will help ground you into the new year and reorient you to the joy of living.

Koshin Paley Ellison (MFA, LMSW, DMIN, NYZC Co-Founder, President, & Guiding Teacher) is an author, Zen teacher, Jungian psychotherapist, leader in contemplative care, and co-founder of an educational non-profit called the New York Zen Center for Contemplative Care. His books, grounded in Buddhist wisdom and practice, have gained national attention. Through its numerous educational programs, contemplative retreats, and Soto Zen Buddhist practices, the New York Zen Center touches thousands of lives every year. Koshin has appeared on dozens of podcasts and his work has been featured in the New York Times, PBS, CBS Sunday Morning and other media outlets.


0:00:00 Intro

0:01:47 Confronting Mortality and our Aversion to Facing Death

0:04:20 Appreciating the Awareness of Mortality and Embracing Life

0:08:58 Embracing the Inevitability of Death

0:11:56 Confronting Fear and Assessing a Fear-Based Life

0:13:19 The Importance of True Reflection and Conscious Untapped Potential

0:16:08 Letting Go of Patterns and Facing Our Fears

0:19:56 Trauma Response and Identity

0:23:36 Finding Joy and Levity in Life

0:32:58 Embracing the Present Moment

0:34:30 Embracing Feedback and Changing Perspective on Commitment

0:38:13 Embracing the Challenge of Loving Difficult People

0:41:13 Layers of Pain and Betrayal

0:43:52 Opening up to painful self-discovery

0:46:27 Feeling grounded and ready for self-exploration

0:49:20 Developing the courage to untangle and seek help

0:49:37 Searching for Inspiration and Direction

0:52:20 Embracing Dissolution and Self-Limiting Ideas


— Instagram: @koshinpaleyellison @newyorkzencenter
— New York Zen Center Website
NYZC Contemplative Medicine Fellowship
NYZC Foundations in Contemplative Care
— Koshin’s Book: Untangled: Walking the Eightfold Path to Clarity, Courage, and Compassion


This episode is sponsored by Open: Get 30 days free with code CREATETHELOVE AT https://withopen.com/createthelove