260. Mirabai Starr

Mirabai StarrAuthor of crit­i­cally acclaimed new trans­la­tions of the mys­tics, and reflec­tions on the uni­fy­ing teach­ings at the heart of all spir­i­tual paths. Mirabai Starr uses fresh, lyri­cal lan­guage to help make time­less wis­dom acces­si­ble to a con­tem­po­rary cir­cle of seekers.

Daugh­ter of the counter-culture, Mirabai was born in New York in 1961 to sec­u­lar Jew­ish par­ents who rejected the patri­archy of insti­tu­tion­al­ized reli­gion. Intel­lec­tual artists and social jus­tice activists, they were active in the anti-war protest move­ment of the Viet­nam era.

In 1972, Mirabai’s mother, father, and her younger brother and sis­ter uprooted from their sub­ur­ban life and embarked on an extended road trip that led them through the jun­gles of Mexico’s Yucatan Penin­sula, where they lived for many months on an iso­lated Caribbean beach, and ended in the moun­tains of Taos, New Mex­ico. There, the fam­ily embraced an alter­na­tive, “back-to-the-land” lifestyle, in a com­mu­nal effort to live sim­ply and sus­tain­ably, val­ues that remain impor­tant to Mirabai to this day.

As a teenager, Mirabai lived at the Lama Foun­da­tion, an inten­tional spir­i­tual com­mu­nity that has hon­ored all the world’s faith tra­di­tions since its incep­tion in 1967. This ecu­meni­cal expe­ri­ence.

Mirabai has been an adjunct pro­fes­sor of Phi­los­o­phy and World Reli­gions at the Uni­ver­sity of New Mexico-Taos since 1993. Her empha­sis is on mak­ing con­nec­tions between the peren­nial teach­ings found at the heart of all the world’s spir­i­tual paths, in an effort to pro­mote peace and justice.

Mirabai speaks and teaches nation­ally and inter­na­tion­ally on the teach­ings of the mys­tics and con­tem­pla­tive prac­tice, and is a cer­ti­fied bereave­ment coun­selor. She is avail­able for inter­views, speak­ing engage­ments, work­shops, and con­tem­pla­tive retreats.

She lives in the moun­tains of North­ern New Mex­ico with her hus­band, Jeff Lit­tle (Ganga Das). Between them, Mirabai and Jeff have four grown daugh­ters and six grand­chil­dren. Mirabai’s youngest daugh­ter, Jenny, was killed in a car acci­dent in 2001 at the age of four­teen. On that same day, Mirabai’s first book, a trans­la­tion of Dark Night of the Soul, was released. She con­sid­ers this expe­ri­ence, and the con­nec­tion between pro­found loss and long­ing for God, the ground of her own spir­i­tual life.


Website: mirabaistarr.com

Interview recorded 10/25/014 at the Science and Nonduality Conference.

Discussion of this interview in the BatGap Community Facebook Group.

Transcript of this interview

Second BatGap interview with Mirabai.

Video and audio below. Audio also available as a Podcast.

YouTube Video Chapters:

  • 00:00:00 – Introduction at Science and Nonduality Conference
  • 00:03:02 – The Influence of Eastern Traditions on my Upbringing
  • 00:05:23 – A Potpourri of Sufi and Indigenous Practices
  • 00:07:15 – Education and Spirituality
  • 00:09:12 – The Development of a Meditation Practice
  • 00:12:23 – My Multifaith Journey
  • 00:15:14 – Translating the Christian Mystics
  • 00:17:41 – Translating Teresa of Avila and the Jewish Mourning Cycle
  • 00:19:39 – The Deep and Quiet John of the Cross
  • 00:20:56 – The relationship with the inquisitors
  • 00:22:41 – Analogies and Cross-training
  • 00:23:51 – The Birthright of Interspirituality
  • 00:25:17 – Having a Spiritual Experience
  • 00:27:06 – Embracing Different Lamps
  • 00:29:13 – Understanding Fundamentalism
  • 00:31:01 – Gradations of Spiritual Maturity
  • 00:33:02 – Commonalities between traditions and the interspiritual response
  • 00:34:34 – The Interfaith Movement and the Interspiritual Movement
  • 00:36:31 – The Interconnected Web of Being
  • 00:39:04 – Embracing a Multidimensional Spiritual Path
  • 00:40:41 – The Illusion of Separation and the Non-dual State
  • 00:42:31 – Embracing Oneness and Wholeness
  • 00:44:16 – The Sophomoric Mind
  • 00:46:01 – Mining the Jewels: Extracting the Essence from Religions
  • 00:47:54 – Extracting the Good Bits from Established Religions
  • 00:49:59 – The Prevalence of Spirituality and Heart Experience
  • 00:51:51 – The Importance of Experience over Belief
  • 00:53:51 – The Incomprehensible Intelligence of Cells
  • 00:56:19 – The Beauty of Loss and Trauma
  • 00:59:27 – Wrapping up with Gems of Wisdom
  • 01:01:06 – Concluding Remarks and Preview of Next Interview
  • 01:02:33 – Conclusion and Closing Remarks