The Urban Monk Podcast (general)

For many, spring time is the time we finally get to leave the house and enjoy the outdoors after a cold and bitter winter. Spring is also the time we get to get our hands dirty with our garden. A garden is a great way to introduce some plant life right in our own front yards. Some people might just pick some plants and flowers to plant based on how they look or how they smell, but what thought do people put into how the plant might interact with the wildlife of the area? To talk about how to help protect wildlife through our own gardens, Pedram Shojai invites David Mizejewski of the National Wildlife Federation (NWF). What are some major issues facing wildlife nowadays? What does the NWF do to help preserve wildlife? How can home gardens help or harm local wildlife?

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Direct download: UrbanMonk118DavidMizejewski.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:48am EDT

Elizabeth Bast and Chor Boogie are a couple that have navigated some choppy waters. Chor Boogie was a drug addict that was clean for over a decade. But then despite such a great run of being clean, he relapses. Unfortunately, 90% of narcotics addicts relapse in their first year of being clean. Elizabeth and Chor wanted to break this addiction once and for all and weren't finding any permanent solutions through the traditional medical system so they looked elsewhere. Their attentions were turned towards an obscure sacred plant from Central West Africa named iboga. What is iboga? How did the ancient people of Africa use it? Is there any research that has been done on this plant? How is it different from other sacred medicinal herbs like ayahuasca, peyote, or psilocybin mushrooms? How lasting are the effects?


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Direct download: UrbanMonk117BastAndBoogie.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EDT

The ocean is a big place. And we keep putting our crap in it. But how is human-made trash ending up in our oceans? Surely people aren't still dumping tons of trash into our oceans purposefully, right? And with so much trash in the ocean, what can the average person do to help? On today's episode of The Urban Monk, Pedram invites Elizabeth Murdock, director of the Pacific Ocean initiative at the Natural Resources Defense Council, to discuss the current state of the oceans. How has human trash affected sea life in the oceans? Do we actively have to get into the ocean to clean it up? What preventative steps can we take to ensure our trash does not end up in the ocean?

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Direct download: UrbanMonk116ElizabethMurdock.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EDT

Whether we’re in the boardroom or the classroom, we spend far too much time and energy looking for the right answer. But the truth is that questions are just as important as answers, often more so. If you ask the wrong question, for instance, you’re guaranteed to get the wrong answer. A good question, on the other hand, inspires a good answer and, in the process, invites deeper understanding and more meaningful connections between people. Asking a good question requires us to move beyond what we think we know about an issue or a person to explore the difficult and the unknown, the awkward, and even the unpleasant.

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Direct download: UrbanMonk115JamesERyan.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EDT

For some there is a huge disconnect between mind and body. This can be exacerbated when regarding lovemaking. For Charu Morgan, she was able to find a strong connection to her body through the practice of tantra. What is tantra? Is it specifically related to the act of sex? How does the practice reconnect the body and mind and how does it lead to enhanced pleasure during lovemaking? Is this something that can only be practiced during the act? And for those of us currently flying solo, is there anything we can benefit from practicing tantra as well? I'm, uh, asking for a friend...

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Direct download: UrbanMonk114CharuMorgan.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EDT

What is the principle purpose of a brain? A simple question, but the answer has taken millennia for us to begin to understand. So critical for our everyday existence, the brain still remains somewhat of a mystery. Gary L. Wenk takes us on a tour of what we do know about this enigmatic organ, showing us how the workings of the human brain produce our thoughts, feelings, and fears, and answering questions such as: How did humans evolve such a big brain? What is an emotion and why do we have them? What is a memory and why do we forget so easily? How does your diet affect how you think and feel? What happens when your brain gets old?

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Direct download: UrbanMonk113GaryWenk.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EDT

Economics affect all of us. Whether good or bad, whatever is happening in the world of economics affects policy decisions, multi-billion-dollar investments, and even social and environmental policy decisions. But according to economist Kate Raworth, most ideas about economics are extremely out of date and college courses are behind by decades. What is the traditional view of economics and how is it out of date? How would Raworth reframe the way we think about economics? What kind of changes could occur if we change this thinking?

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Direct download: UrbanMonk111KateRaworth.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EDT

More than thirty-five million Americans currently suffer from Hashimoto’s—an autoimmune disease that affects the thyroid gland and causes the body to attack its own cells. To alleviate the symptoms of this debilitating condition—including chronic cough, acid reflux, IBS, allergies, chronic pain, hair loss, brain fog, and forgetfulness—patients are often prescribed synthetic hormones that have numerous life-altering side effects. Diagnosed with Hashimoto’s at twenty-seven, pharmacist Dr. Izabella Wentz knows first-hand the effects of the disease, as well as the value—and limitations—of medication. The key to improved health, she argues, involves lifestyle interventions. In Hashimoto’s Protocol, she outlines a proven treatment that has helped thousands heal and many others feel better—in as fast as ninety days.

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Direct download: UrbanMonk111IzabellaWentz.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EDT

Second Amendment rights in the United States is an extremely contentious issue. There are compelling arguments from every viewpoint and everyone has an opinion. Coming from a background of journalism, author Iain Overton explored the lifecycle of the gun, from those who make firearms, to those who sell them, use them, and die by them. In a conversation with Pedram Shojai, Overton talks about his time and travels around the world as he spoke to ER doctors dealing with gun trauma, SWAT team leaders, gang members, and weapons smugglers. He talks about the fear that can paralyze a person when a gun is pointed right in their face and how that happened to him!


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Direct download: UrbanMonk109IainOverton.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EDT

Trust in the government tends to be rather low these days. A Pew Research Center study back in 2015 found that only 19% of Americans trust the government "always or most of the time." For Bao Nguyen, that wasn't acceptable so he jumped into the political arena himself. Starting on the Garden Grove Unified School District Board of Education, he eventually went on to become mayor of Garden Grove, CA. What does it take to jump into the political arena? What experience does someone need? What kind of person does it take?

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Direct download: UrbanMonk110BaoNguyen.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EDT