Tag Archives: Interspirituaity

Mirabai Starr: Silence, Stillness, Passion, and Embodiment (Episode 24)

“I’m rather obsessed with the mystics of all traditions,” enthuses Mirabai Starr, as she muses on the profound relationship between silence and stillness and passionate/ecstatic mystical love.

In a rich conversation that touches on the beauty of the high desert of the American Southwest, the earthy/embodied passion of the spirituality of wilderness, and the uniquely subversive wisdom of the feminine mystics, Mirabai deepens and expands our ongoing conversation on silence by inviting us into a place where the spirituality of stillness meets, and embraces, the erotic spirituality of ecstasy, joy, and love.

Most of the mystics, even though they’re these extravagant love poets, who are overflowing with passion, they all also are grounded in this sense of stillness. And they cultivate that stillness. — Mirabai Starr

Mirabai Starr is an author, translator, retreat leader, and leader in the contemplative interspiritual community. Born into a secular Jewish family, Mirabai describes herself as a “daughter of the counter-culture,” having spent part of her childhood at the Lama Foundation (an intentional spiritual community, famous as the home of Ram Dass). As an adult, she translated several of the Christian mystics, including John of the Cross, Teresa of Ávila, and Julian of Norwich, into accessible and acclaimed contemporary English.

So all the mystics of all traditions, that I know and love anyway, speak to the transformational power of not knowing. I think that’s intimately connected with silence. There’s a higher truth that is only present, it seems, when we let all of the concepts go, and allow ourselves to know nothing. It’s a vulnerable state, it’s a state of spiritual nakedness, it’s not for the faint of heart. — Mirabai Starr

More recently she has written books that celebrate her spirituality (God of Love) and that recount her own challenging and at times heartbreaking life story (Caravan of No Despair).  A popular teacher both in person and online, Mirabai’s wisdom is anchored in her own deeply embodied spirituality, drawing on the insight of all the great spiritual traditions and particular on her intuitive celebration of the Divine Feminine.

The devotional impulse leads me into the presence of the Sacred, and then I am left with this kind of hush, that I drop into, and then that feeds back in again to that devotional impulse, because following those periods of deep stillness that just wash over my soul, I have that joyous urge to praise. So it’s this ever-flowing dance between devotion and nonduality, or between celebration and stillness. — Mirabai Starr

Some of the resources and authors we mention in this episode:

How, how can we step up and offer ourselves in service, to help in some way to alleviate some suffering in this world, unless we have taken that suffering into the cells of our own bodies? I feel like that’s what the feminine path is all about. We can not separate ourselves from the pain of the world, we have to take in the brokenness and feel it in the depths of our being, and then of course we will respond with the impulse to do something about it. — Mirabai Starr

Mirabai Starr (l), with Carl and Fran McColman, at the 2016 Wild Goose Festival.

Episode 24: The Silence of Missing Voices: A Conversation with Mirabai Starr
Hosted by: Carl McColman
With: Cassidy Hall, Kevin Johnson
Guest: Mirabai Starr
Date Recorded: May 22, 2018