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The Curious Mind

The Curious Mind

By Gabriel Ellis
'The Curious Mind' is a podcast by psychologist, psychotherapist, and Buddhist scholar Gabriel Ellis. in essays and interviews we cover a wide range of psychological and social topics with depth and complexity.
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26. ‘Good’ Hopelessness and Spiritual Death
In spiritual literature we often find an odd positive spin on ‘hopelessness’ and ‘death’. Both are usually horrifying experiences and we would be mad to seek them out. But then those spiritual teachers seem to insist on their spiritual values. This can easily be misunderstood – if we went into these states of mind without good preparation they would indeed have a devastating effect. What they mean is something else: When they say ‘Hopelessness’ it means ‘taking responsibility for my life, and not hoping that someone or something else will come to my rescue’. And when they portray ‘death’ in a positive light then it means either to let go of old dysfunctional parts of myself, or to come to terms with the fundamental impermanence in our lives. For online therapy visit or
January 11, 2021
25. Focus vs Exploration
In this conversation with tech entrepreneur and overall curious mind Adrian Avendano we explore general strategies to life: When is it useful to stay focused on a topic (e.g. at work) and possibly become rigid, and when is it better to explore freely with the danger to become unproductive and lost? We explore the nature of flow states and how these states of unified freedom can infuse our lives with a sense of general satisfaction. You can check out Adrian at
December 20, 2020
24. Facing Deficiencies with Emotional Detachment
Even when we are not consciously interested in personal development we have to overcome difficult situations in which we are confronted with our limitations. Be it at work or in our personal life - we reach the end of our wits, and then we typically say or do something stupid, or feel inadequate, or embarrass ourselves. Some of these experiences of insufficiency can haunt us. Next to psychological approaches also meditation practices can bring relief in such cases, because in meditation we learn to emotionally detach from these painful memories. But if we 'meditate well' do we stop caring? Does then also our motivation vanish to actually change our behavior, to learn, and grow? For online therapy visit or This episode starts a series of conversations about Buddhism-based psychology, loosely based on the book "When Things Fall Apart" by Pema Chödrön.
December 12, 2020
23. What is a Meaningful Approach to Personal Crisis
In this episode we discuss different categories of personal crises and which cases could benefit from a spiritual, a psychological, or a pragmatic approach. It turns out that it's not easy to figure out which approach would be best - observe quietly or get active. And even a 'spiritual' approach is not just easy contemplation but actually needs a lot of skill. We further deconstruct crises and how to tackle them. For online therapy visit or This episode starts a series of conversations about Buddhism-based psychology, loosely based on the book "When Things Fall Apart" by Pema Chödrön.
December 4, 2020
22. Should we Get Rid of Fear?
Fear and anxiety belong to the most common mental issues people suffer from (that includes specific and general phobias and OCD). What is a good attitude towards them - should we accept them as a part of life, or rather try to get rid of them entirely? Obviously a good answer is somewhere in the middle. In this episode we reflect on how to regard fear, and the basic psychological and spiritual perspectives. This episode starts a series of conversations about Buddhism-based psychology, loosely based on the book "When Things Fall Apart" by Pema Chödrön.  For online therapy visit or
November 28, 2020
21. Planning for the Future in Insecure Times
As the pandemic affects most of us in one way or another it also changes the way we look at the future. Do we have to expect these kinds of global disruptions regularly. How do I want to factor that into my personal and business plans? What seemingly is a challenge mostly for health, work, and parenting, also sheds new light on the mental and psychological aspects of our planning. Therefore, in this conversation we reflect on the proper attitude towards planning and the future. For suggestions or online sessions contact me at or visit
November 22, 2020
20. Self-Love, Practice and Exercises
In the previous episode I focused on the fundamentals of self-love. This time I introduce the threefold structure of self-love with the perspective on past, future, and present. These three need specific approaches, and so in this episode I detail the approaches and describe exercises that can help with applying self-love on a practical level. This episode is part of my series about Buddhism-based Therapy. What are your specific questions about Buddhism-based Therapy? Send them to and I might discuss them in future episodes.
October 4, 2020
19. Self-Love and its Fundamentals
Self-love has become a common concept in wellness and therapy, it has even become sloganized. In contrast I claim that there are several issues with this concept, mostly a vagueness about its fundamental tenets. In this first part about this topics we discuss some of these basics and a way to proceed with more clarity. This episode is part of my series about Buddhism-based Therapy. What are your specific questions about Buddhism-based Therapy? Send them to and I might discuss them in future episodes.
September 20, 2020
18. Adlerian Psychology, Part 3
In this final episode about Adlerian Psychology we focus on why it is important to "process what happens" - something that Adler was rather dismissive about. Apparently it is often important to understand ourselves and the people around us better before we can 'move on'. Otherwise we lose the connection to our actual needs and get stuck where we are.
August 31, 2020
17. Adlerian Psychology, Part 2
We build on our first conversation about Adlerian Psychology and focus in this episode on the concept of 'the courage to be disliked'. We discuss it from different angles and come to the conclusion that it has to be reframed in order to make sense. The discussion is partly based on the two books: "The Courage to be Disliked" and "The Courage to be Happy", both by Fumitake Koga and Ichiro Kishimi. For suggestions or online sessions contact me at
August 16, 2020
16. Adlerian Psychology, Part 1
Alfred Adler was a contemporary of Freud and for several years influenced by his thought. He then went on to develop the movement of 'Individual Psychology'. This movement became influential, both in therapy and pedagogy and is still important today in self-development and inspirational psychology. We discuss some Adlerian thoughts today based on two books: "The Courage to be Disliked" and "The Courage to be Happy", both by Fumitake Koga and Ichiro Kishimi.  For suggestions or online sessions contact me at
August 11, 2020
15. Two Approaches to Healing - A conversation with Jennifer Araneo
Today I have a conversation with Jennifer Araneo who is a Mind Body Guide in Hoboken, NJ. Jennifer uses different healing techniques and helps her clients to connect mind & body to manage stress and anxiety. In our conversation we highlight differences and similarities in our approaches to healing and integration. Find more details about Jennifer at And if you are interested in online sessions with me, please visit
August 7, 2020
14. On Stoicism and Self-Development
This episode is a discussion of Stoicism and self-development. In the conversation we explore some of the key points of this popular philosophy. We further debate which of the lessons from stoicism are more philosophical in nature, which are more practical, and how it all relates to the psychology of self-development. The book mentioned is: "A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy", by William B. Irvine. For comments, suggestions, or sessions contact me here:
July 19, 2020
13. Interview with Robert Meyer Burnett: The Impact of Movies on our Thought-World
As books in previous centuries movies and films capture our imagination and influence the public discourse - and thus influence what we think and do. This general premise serves as a background for my interview with Robert Meyer Burnett who is a producer, director, and overall movie enthusiast. Robert highlights in our conversation the opportunities of new media and youtube creators to produce content that informs and entertains a wide audience even better than many high-budget studio productions do. Check out Robert's youtube channel THE BURNETTWORK: And if you are interested in podcast episodes regarding specific psychotherapy or psychology topics let me know:
June 19, 2020
12. Introduction to Buddhism-based Therapy
In this special episode I offer a first introduction to a therapeutic framework I developed over the past years, in which I integrate psychotherapy and detailed research into original Buddhism and meditation. What are your specific questions to Buddhism-based Therapy? Send them to and I will discuss them in future episodes.
May 19, 2020
11. When Social Scripts Complicate Our Sex Life
In this episode I talk with intimacy coach Agnieszka Szeżyńska about intimacy and sex issues that come up regularly and are yet perceived by the individuals and couples as problems that are specific to them. In these cases social scripts ("be dominant!", "have foreplay!"...) make us chase false standards, obstruct open communication, and complicate our sex life. For online therapy or counselling visit: Visit Agnieszka's website: And check out Agnieszka's recently published book "Intimacy Workshops" (in Polish)
May 10, 2020
10. Organizing Family Life during the Corona crisis
In this interview we reflect on basic approaches to family life during the Corona-crisis with its restrictions and limitations. It is not so much an abstract psychological discussion (which I will do in the next episode) but rather a glimpse into a well-functioning family process and what can be learned from it. For online therapy visit or
April 1, 2020
09. Self-acceptance
This episode is the recording of a live-session about the topic of self-acceptance. In this one-hour conversation it becomes apparent that the issue is not fully clear yet. By following some threads I get a better understanding of the big picture and towards the end it starts 'to click'.
March 7, 2020
08. Three preconditions for self-development
There is a logic to self-development and the success in therapy, and in this episode I reflect on three preconditions I'd like to highlight: 1. Truthfulness towards myself, 2. Wishing myself well, and 3. Taking responsibility for my journey.
January 13, 2020
07. Overthinking
In this episode I discussed a very common issue: overthinking. There is no simple button to switch the thoughts off, no technique and no trick. Instead, we have to be courageous and listen to the voices in our mind and take responsibility for solving the issues actively. For online therapy visit or
November 29, 2019
06. The Real - A chance for sustainable satisfaction
Today I continue two threads from previous episodes: The 'Real', how to approach it, and what it has to do with meditation. For online therapy visit: or
November 3, 2019
05. An introduction to meditation
In this episode I provide a basic background to meditation and discuss an aspect which is necessary in order to make our meditation successful - the 'mental home'. This is the place we usually occupy in our mind and which we need to change so that the meditation serves as a real 'vacation', to support our self development and the experience of joy... For online therapy visit: and
October 19, 2019
04. A complex look at the human mind
Today I discuss some complex concepts which might be interesting for people who want to understand deeper levels of psychology. It is also a glimpse into the 'software' of our consciousness underneath the mere thoughts and feelings. For more check out: Bruce Fink, 'The Lacanian Subject' or Sean Homer, 'Jacques Lacan' (2005). For online therapy visit:
October 6, 2019
03. The expat challenge of going back
In an interview with a client we reflect on his experiences of going back to the US after living in Poland/Warsaw for a few years. We alternate between very specific experiences and general observations which apply to many expats. For online therapy or counselling visit:
September 22, 2019
02. Reflections on Parents Issues
I take a very specific look on how issues with parents are structured. I pay special attention to why necessarily mental problems are a consequence of a resentful attitude towards parents and which attitude would be more beneficial. For online therapy or counseling visit: or
August 30, 2019
01. Three typical issues of mixed expat couples
I am describing three typical issues I have come across with mixed expat couples, couples consisting of a local and an expat partner. For online therapy or counseling visit: or
August 11, 2019