962 episodes

Wisdom to replenish and orient in a tender, tumultuous time to be alive.

Spiritual inquiry, science, social healing, and poetry.

Conversations to live by.

With a 20-year archive featuring luminaries like Mary Oliver, Thich Nhat Hanh, and Desmond Tutu, each episode brings a new discovery about the immensity of our lives. Hosted by Krista Tippett,

Learn more about the On Being Project’s work in the world at onbeing.org.

On Being with Krista Tippett On Being Studios

    • Society & Culture
    • 4.8 • 425 Ratings

Wisdom to replenish and orient in a tender, tumultuous time to be alive.

Spiritual inquiry, science, social healing, and poetry.

Conversations to live by.

With a 20-year archive featuring luminaries like Mary Oliver, Thich Nhat Hanh, and Desmond Tutu, each episode brings a new discovery about the immensity of our lives. Hosted by Krista Tippett,

Learn more about the On Being Project’s work in the world at onbeing.org.

    adrienne maree brown — On Radical Imagination and Moving Towards Life

    adrienne maree brown — On Radical Imagination and Moving Towards Life

    The wonderful civil rights elder Vincent Harding liked to look around the world for what he called "live human signposts" — human beings who embody ways of seeing and becoming and who point the way forward to the world we want to inhabit. And adrienne maree brown, who has inspired worlds of social creativity with her notions of "pleasure activism" and "emergent strategy," is surely one of these.

    We're listening with new ears as she brings together so many of the threads that have recurred in this season of On Being: on looking the harsh complexity of this world full in the face while dancing with joy as life force and fuel, and on keeping clear eyes on the reasons for ecological despair while giving oneself over to a loving apprenticeship with the natural world as teacher and guide. A love of visionary science fiction also finds a robust place in her work and this conversation. She altogether shines a light on an emerging ecosystem in our world over and against the drumbeat of what is fractured and breaking — the cultivation of old and new ways of seeing, towards a transformative wholeness of living.

    • 1 hr 20 min
    “The End of Poetry” by Ada Limón

    “The End of Poetry” by Ada Limón

    An impassioned plea, a yearning for connection — the poem U.S. Poet Laureate Ada Limón wrote when she says all language failed her. Take in Ada's reading of her piece, “The End of Poetry” — and hear her read more of her work in the On Being episode, “To Be Made Whole.”

    • 1 min
    Atul Gawande — On Mortality and Meaning

    Atul Gawande — On Mortality and Meaning

    We are strange creatures. It is hard for us to speak about, or let in, the reality of frailty and death — the elemental fact of mortality itself. In this century, western medicine has gradually moved away from its understanding of death as a failure — where care stops with a terminal diagnosis. Hospice has moved, from something rare to something expected. And yet advances in technology have made it ever harder for physicians and patients to make a call to stop fighting death — often at the expense of the quality of this last time of life. Meanwhile, there is a new longevity industry which resists the very notion of decline, much less finitude.

    Fascinatingly, the simple question which transformed the surgeon Atul Gawande’s life and practice of medicine is this: What does a good day look like? As he has come to see, standing reverently before our mortality is an exercise in more intricately inhabiting why we want to be alive. This conversation evokes both grief and hope, sadness at so many deaths — including our species-level losses to Covid — that have not allowed for this measure of care. Yet it also includes very actionable encouragement towards the agency that is there to claim in our mortal odysseys ahead.

    • 1 hr 2 min
    “Ars Poetica #100: I Believe” by Elizabeth Alexander

    “Ars Poetica #100: I Believe” by Elizabeth Alexander

    Today, a poem with a poignant question to live: “...and are we not of interest to each other?” Carry Elizabeth Alexander’s reading of her poem “Ars Poetica #100: I Believe” with you — and hear Elizabeth read more of her poetry in the On Being episode, “Words That Shimmer.”

    • 1 min
    Luis Alberto Urrea — On Our Belonging to Each Other

    Luis Alberto Urrea — On Our Belonging to Each Other

    We humans have this drive to erect barriers between ourselves and others, Luis Alberto Urrea says, and yet this makes us a little crazy. He is an exuberant, wise, and refreshing companion into the deep meaning and the problem of borders — what they are really about, what we do with them, and what they do to us.

    The Mexican-American border was as close and personal to him as it could be when he was growing up — an apt expression of his parents’ turbulent Mexican-American divorce. In his writing and in this conversation, he complicates every dehumanizing stereotype of Mexicans, "migrants" — and border guards. A deep truth of our time, Luis insists, is that “we miss each other.” He offers a vision of the larger possibility of our time beyond the terrible tangles of today: that we might evolve the old illusion of the melting pot into a 21st-century richness of “us." And he delightfully models that messiness and humor will be required.

    • 59 min
    Ross Gay — On the Insistence of Joy

    Ross Gay — On the Insistence of Joy

    In our world of so much suffering, it can feel hard or wrong to invoke the word "joy." Yet joy has been one of the most insistent, recurrent rallying cries in almost every life-giving conversation that Krista has had across recent months and years, even and especially with people on the front lines of humanity's struggles.

    Ross Gay helps illuminate this paradox and turn it into a muscle.

    We are good at fighting, as he puts it, and not as good at holding in our imaginations what is to be adored and preserved and exalted — advocating for what we love, for what we find beautiful and necessary. But without this, he says, we cannot speak meaningfully even about our longings for a more just world, a more whole existence for all. To understand that we are all suffering — and so to practice tenderness and mercy — is a quality of what Ross calls “adult joy." Starting with his cherished essay collection The Book of Delights, he began to accompany many in an everyday spiritual discipline of practicing delight and cultivating joy.

    • 59 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
425 Ratings

425 Ratings

J R 201024 ,

Krista and On Being changed my life

And that is not hyperbole. I’ve been a listener since 2014 and if you’re new to the show, I encourage you to go back and listen to conversations with Ruby Sales, Juno Diaz, rev angel kyodo and Padraig O Tuama. Thank you for this tender and tremendous offering. Josh, Busy Being Black

Rachelthebee3 ,

Disappointing

Interesting podcast but Krista keeps interrupting the guests which cut the flow of their thoughts. This is very annoying to listen and also a bit rude, especially in the episode with Alain De Botton.

Sam Alexander-Vasey ,

Beautiful and multifaceted

I have found this podcast a joy to listen to. Krista has an incredible presence and guides conversations through wonderful and unexpected journeys that show the complexity and beauty of our human existence. I often find myself feeling intrigued, inspired and wiser after listening to these wonderful conversations and am grateful for the glimpses they give me into lives other than my own. Thank you to the whole On Being team for giving us the great gift of these podcasts 🙏😊

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