ONE: On Being with Krista Tippet
For anyone craving depth and contemplation in a podcast, turn to the soulful Peabody Award-Winning podcast On Being with Krista Tippet, conversations about the big questions of meaning. Krista’s honey-voiced guidance as she plunges into a range of intersectional topics – spiritual inquiry, science, moral imagination, social courage – leads to conversations imbued with a deep, soulful wisdom. On Being is grounding, inspiring, gentle, and wise.
Guests range from Irish ex-priest poet-philosophers musing on beauty to the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet to the founder of the Faith Matters Network and author of To My Beloveds: Letters on Faith, Race, Loss and Radical Hope.
Krista started the podcast in 2003, so to easily access older conversations, head to her website and choose a podcast based on topic. You can find libraries of episodes that include moral imagination, intentional communities, physics and math, dying and death, civil conversations and social healing, contemplation and prayer, across generations, restorative justice, words make worlds, and a whole heap more.
TWO: People Fixing the World
As the title suggests, this is solutions-focused journalism. People Fixing the World is a radio documentary produced by the BBC, a refreshing alternative to the chaos and despair spotlighted in our world. But it’s not just saccharine “good news” – this podcast is practical, and has a critical approach, which means even the biggest sceptics among us can be satisfied. It’s well researched, well-presented and explores an interesting mix of ideas across every corner of the globe, ultimately not just inspiring hope, but showcasing action.
This isn’t just a show about the natural world, and how we use it: it’s an exploration, where the production team seem to be as interested in learning as they are in educating. Outside/In is a little bit off beat, a little light-hearted, and yet, the producers are still able to make these nature stories stylish, tasteful, and informative. It’s a brilliant mix of science and storytelling that covers a broad range of unusual topics within science, energy, environmentalism, culture, history, and reflections on how we think about and depict nature.
I have three words for you: digestible, dynamic and curious.
FOUR: The Infinite Monkey Cage
Comedy and physics is generally an unusual pairing, but the British duo Brian Cox and Robin Ince manage to pull it off seamlessly. The Infinite Monkey Cage is BBC Radio 4’s multi-award winning show, described it as a ‘witty and irreverent look at the world according to science’ by The Independent. It’s unashamedly rational and at times hilarious.
There are typically three guests; two are experts on the topic, and the other is a comedian who gets to ask the ‘stupid questions’, making the show and it’s topics more accessible to the average audience member. If you’re looking for a show that blatantly ridicules chemistry, occasionally returns the topic of when and how a strawberry is dead, and might crush your dream of being an astronaut, look no further. Delightful, valuable, inquisitive, and bringing you the best of hard science.
FIVE: The Strangest Secret
This final recommendation is not a podcast. It’s a 1956 spoken word record by Earl Nightingale. I’ve heard the podcasts, read the books, and been to the conferences on the importance of mindset. But Nightingale grounds the concept of the power of the mind. He simplifies it not in a reductionist manner, but in an accessibly powerful way.
“Throughout all history, the great wise men and teachers and philosophers and prophets have disagreed with one another on many different things. It’s only on this one point that they are in complete and unanimous agreement.”
If you can get past the audio quality and sink into the classical and somewhat archaic tone of his voice, you’ll fall in love with the comfort and wisdom of his sentiment.