Ira Israel’s (read praise for his book How to Survive Your Childhood Now That You’re an Adult) wisdom is both brilliant and accessible. He really blew me away on this show with the scope of his knowledge and the depth of his insights. What a light and thank god he also has a fabulous sense of humor. I felt like we could have talked for hours.
As an undergraduate at the University of Pennsylvania I became interested in psychology when I studied with Philip Rieff (“The Triumph of the Therapeutic,” “Freud: Mind of the Moralist”) and philosophy when I studied with Alexander Nehamas (“Nietzsche: Life As Literature”). After graduating Penn I took a Master of Arts degree in philosophy in which I concentrated on aesthetics, semiotics and the philosophy of mind.
I then worked for two years in New York City in Paul Simon’s office, at Warner-Elektra-Atlantic, and producing Russell Donnellon’s “Ursa Minor” CD. In 1991 I moved to Paris to work with Luc Besson on the screenplays for “The Professional” and “The Fifth Element,” Chantal Akerman on the screenplay for “A Couch in New York,” and with several other French writer/directors, as well as singer Mylène Farmer on her song “My Soul is Slashed.”
While exploring Thailand in 1994, I became fascinated by Buddhism, yoga, and meditation, which led me first to study parapsychology at Duke University and eventually take a second Master of Arts degree from the Department of Religious Studies at the University of California in Santa Barbara. At UCSB I studied the histories of mindfulness and yoga with Alan Wallace, David Gordon White, Barbara Holdrege and the late Ninian Smart.
In March of 2007 I completed my formal academic education with a Master of Arts degree in clinical psychology from Antioch University focusing on Attachment Theory, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and the works of Jacques Lacan, Carl Jung, D.W. Winnicott and many other theorists.
Besides the numerous occasions I have sat with His Holiness The Dalai Lama, I have been privileged to study Buddhism at Spirit Rock with Jack Kornfield, Rick Hanson, Fred Luskin, James Baraz, Phillip Moffitt, David Richo and Sharon Salzberg. Since returning to Los Angeles I have taken sundry classes with Noah Levine, Marianne Williamson, Reverend Michael Beckwith and Deepak Chopra.