FRESH AIR | Why Religion? Asks How Hearts Can Heal After Tragedy” 

Religion scholar Elaine Pagels sits down with host Terry Gross. In the late 1980s, Pagels descended into debilitating grief after her 6-year-old son died from a heart condition and her husband died in a mountain climbing accident a year later. Pagels talks candidly about feeling far away from “faith” during this dark time but also tells how Christian and Hebrew texts and the meditation she learned from Trappist monks helped her to heal eventually.


Comedian, actor, and podcaster Pete Holmes says that Sharon Salzberg is “a delightfully down-to-earth Buddhist that anybody can enjoy.” We couldn’t agree more. You’ll need to set aside a good chunk of time to listen (nearly three hours), but you’ll be rewarded with tales of Sharon’s overland trip to India from Turkey when she was 18; finding her practice in Bodhgaya (the site of the Buddha’s enlightenment); and her take on why we can’t really fail at meditation.

FIVE THINGS Writer Susan Piver Is a Crime Fighter and Romantic Advice-Giver

A podcast devoted each week to five material objects is extra interesting when a dharma teacher is in the guest’s seat. In this episode, you’ll learn how a T-shirt with a vigilante squad’s logo, a Polaroid shot of a crushed Volkswagen beetle, a book by Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, a heart-shaped box, and a gold watch from the 1970s fit into the life story of Buddhist teacher and author Susan Piver.

30 FOR 30 Bikram

The third season of this ESPN podcast takes an investigative dive into the complex world of hot yoga and its founder, Bikram Choudhury. We meet many practitioners who believe in hot yoga’s transformative potential but have yet to come to terms with the founder’s lies, manipulation, increasingly erratic behavior, and alleged sexual abuse. This five-part series, reported by journalist and former Bikram studio manager Julia Lowrie Henderson, is a must-listen in light of #MeToo.

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