Triratna News

Vimalasara talks to TEDx about her "stinking thinking"

On Thu, 12 December, 2013 - 07:18
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Triratna’s Vimalasara (Dr Valerie Mason-John) talks about her recent talk to a local TEDx conference in Vancouver, Canada. (TED stands for Technology, Education and Design and is dedicated to the promotion of “ideas worth spreading” via its now world-renowned conferences featuring short talks by gifted, expert speakers.)

“I was between retreats and out of the blue an email came inviting me to give a local, TEDx, talk. I was curious; my partner eats, breathes and sleeps TED talks, but I had never imagined myself giving one.

I said Yes and the rollercoaster began. I had to apply and say why I wanted to give a talk and which was my favourite TED talk. Well, I had only seen My Stroke of Insight by Jill Bolte Taylor, so I quoted that.

I decided to speak about my addiction to my “Stinking thinking”.

But why did I want to give a a TEDx talk anyway? If I had been asked 10 years ago my motivation would have been a desire to be famous, to be noticed. But the shift of my practice has changed.

I was teaching the Four Reminders a few years ago, and I reflected quite deeply on my precious birth. I asked myself, if my birth is precious why do I want to live? Every answer was ego-based. So I flipped it over and asked: “Well why don’t I want to die?” Still my answers were ego-based. So I sat with it.

A few months later a scary thought arose. “What I have to offer is my recovery from addiction.” I wanted to push it away, but in the same breath it gave my life meaning and I could see why my birth was precious. And what better thing to do than to walk in the Buddha’s footsteps? So I knew that if I was to give this talk I wanted it to benefit other human beings. That was my volition, my inspiration.

Giving a TEDx talk has been a beautiful gift, I have already impacted people’s lives. At the conference, I could not walk more than five steps with people coming up and saying:

“I never thought of my thinking being an addiction.”
“I’m inspired to keep on working on my stinking thinking; seeing how you worked with yours gives me hope.”

What more can I ask for? I would encourage everyone to give a TED talk or TEDx talk if they have the opportunity. We all have at least one talk in us. But of course there is still a bit of ego left. I would love the talk to go viral; my motivation for that is to help save as many lives as possible.”

Watch Vimalasara’s TEDx talk.
Follow Vimalasara’s Eight Step Recovery from addiction programme on The Buddhist Centre Online.
Sponsor the publication of Vimalasara’s book on recovery from addiction: Eight Step Recovery.
Buy the book!
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