Episode 015:


Addiction & Self-Compassion

Today we’re joined by UK-based Valerie Mason-John, also known as Vimalasara, a leader in the field of mindfulness for addiction and trauma.

This episode is about the ways we get disconnected from our bodies and our lives, and the role self-compassion can play in bringing us home. We explore this in the context of our addictions – even addictions we don’t realize are addictions, like – in Vimalasara’s words – “stinking thinking” and technology. And we explore it in the context of contemporary challenges like coronavirus, and the institutional racism and violence directed to Black bodies.

For Vimalasara, the medicine is self-compassion – delivered with fierceness and strength. She guides us into a 16-minute meditation she calls the “5 basic needs of the heart.” 

At the end of our time together, she guides a sobering inquiry into what she calls the “5 questions of the shaman.” One of them – “when did you stop dancing?” – kind of drops a bomb into your brain!

To go straight to the “5 basic needs of the heart” practice, it begins at 3:35 and ends at 19:33.


The body has alarm bells. It will tell us when we're at risk, it will tell us when we're activated. But if we're not at home in the body, we'll miss those cues and we'll end up picking up our choice of addiction

Valerie (Vimalasara) Mason-John Tweet


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