Ira Israel (read his book How To Survive Your Childhood Now That You’re an Adult) returns to the show with his wisdom and wit. Once again, 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.
Ira is an undergraduate at the University of Pennsylvania where he became interested in psychology when I studied with Philip Rieff (“The Triumph of the Therapeutic,” “Freud: Mind of the Moralist”) and philosophy and studied with Alexander Nehamas (“Nietzsche: Life As Literature”). After graduating Penn he took a Master of Arts degree in philosophy in which he concentrated on aesthetics, semiotics and the philosophy of mind.
He 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 he 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, he became fascinated by Buddhism, yoga, and meditation, which led him 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 he studied the histories of mindfulness and yoga with Alan Wallace, David Gordon White, Barbara Holdrege and the late Ninian Smart.
In March of 2007 he completed his 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 he has sat with His Holiness The Dalai Lama, he has had the privilege 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 he has taken sundry classes with Noah Levine, Marianne Williamson, Reverend Michael Beckwith and Deepak Chopra.