The Urban Monk Podcast

Trash is a part of everyone's lives. When consuming products, there's generally some waste that goes with it. We might make a big effort to recycle as much as we can, but there will always be something that just can't be recycled. At least in the United States, there is a lot of space for landfills. But what about other countries? Sara El-Yafi is the granddaughter of a former Prime Minister of the country of Lebanon. The entire country is about the size of Connecticut. There simply isn't enough space to just create more landfills and no one else wants trash dumped in their country. So what's the solution? Well, Sara has been working with various groups that have been spearheading new techniques that take everyday garbage and transforms it into useable energy. What does it mean to recycle something? What is up-cycling and how is it different? Is it enough to just use recycled goods and products?

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Direct download: UrbanMonk050SaraElYafi.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EST

When watching the news, do we consciously take into the possibility of a bias in reporting? We might know about media bias, but how are we to take in information if there's a possibility that all the sources have some bias? Today on The Urban Monk, Pedram Shojai welcomes Larry Atkins, a journalist and lawyer who wrote a book, Skewed, tackling media bias. How do we separate agendas from facts? What is the purpose of agenda-driven news? What do the networks get out of reporting beyond the facts? Are there any neutral news sources available?

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Direct download: UrbanMonk049LarryAtkins.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EST

Addiction is an issue that affects many people, but what is the cause of it? Why do some people seem to be more prone to addictive behaviors than others? Do some people really have an "addictive personality"? Well, this week's guest, Maia Szalavitz, joins Pedram Shojai on the Urban Monk to challenge the idea that some people just have an addictive personality to be suppressed or that the brain is broken in some way leading to addiction. If we are to look at the brain as not being broken per se, how should we treat addiction? Maia dives into the topic and opens up about her own history with an addiction to cocaine and heroin. What treatment got her to finally kick her addictions? Is it still a present issue in her life? Does addiction and addictive behavior seem to be more present in certain people than others?

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Direct download: UrbanMonk048MaiaSzalavitz.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EST

Religion is an important part of many people's lives. It can provide moral grounding, a sense of identity, and even a sense of purpose. But in recent years there's been a growing number of people that count themselves among those without a preferred religion. Whether atheist or agnostic, large numbers of people are leaving their churches, synagogues, temples, or mosques. But as religion can play a large part in someone's life, what does it mean to have the absence of religion playing an equally large part? To help dive into what it means to form an identity absent of religion, Pedram Shojai welcomes Katherine Ozment on The Urban Monk. Katherine is the author of "Grace Without God" which explores her own journey of raising her three kids in a mixed-faith household and what that meant. How does someone without religion find purpose and meaning?

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Direct download: UrbanMonk047KatherineOzment.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EST

People have reported in near-death experiences having an out-of-body experience, but is there any science behind these experiences? This week on The Urban Monk Pedram Shojai welcomes someone who actually has personal knowledge regarding Out-of-Body Experiences (OBEs). Luis Minero is the President of the International Academy of Consciousness. He's also the author of "Demystifying the Out-of-Body Experience." What are OBEs? What happens and how do they work? Is it possible for anyone to have an OBE? Are they dangerous? Is it possible for your consciousness to leave the body and not be able to return? How is an OBE different from a dream? And is the process teachable to others?

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Direct download: UrbanMonk046LuisMinero.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:00am EST

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