‘…literally a living being (sattva) who aspires to enlightenment (bodhi) and carries out altruistic practices’
That’s the definition of a bodhisattva according to the Soka Gakkai International website. It’s a word I came across years ago, which has stuck with me. I remember reading how there are many bodhisattva – traditionally individuals who sacrificed passing on to nirvana (bliss) in order to help others.
Well it’s struck me recently that there are several modern bodhisattvas, reaching out to inspire and educate us. They aim to improve not just our own lives, but society in general.
This list could be far longer than it is, if I included everyone I have ever read a book by. I could also include more obvious people like Oprah Winfrey or Deepak Chopra; people who have been doing this for a lot longer.
Instead I have narrowed my list down to two guys whose regular podcasts I listen to often, whose feeds I’m subscribed to on my iPhone for the walk to work, plus two individuals whose YouTube videos and Instagram posts render me all aglow with positivity.
Lewis Howes’ The School of Greatness podcast series was one of the first two I ever subscribed to. It’s a treasure trove of advice, promise and life lessons, helping to answer the question what is greatness for you? (No easy task!)
Lewis himself has struggled through a lot: watching the effects of bad choices on his brother; occasionally suffering that anti-climactic sensation after a shot of success; and finding his long-nurtured dreams were suddenly out of reach (to name just three).
These trials and tribulations ultimately have led to Lewis’ own form of greatness. He is great at bringing together a wealth and variety of successful people. He chats with men and women of different ages and backgrounds. Some had tough childhoods, others faced adversity as they reached for their goals.
Lewis’ academy allows us all entry as its students. Its teachers change from week to week, but its Principal ensures all lessons are accessible and hit their mark. Classes can be theoretical, challenging the mind, and practical, leading us to action; and they can often be a satisfying combination of the two.
Marie Forleo came to my attention through her YouTube show Marie TV, a lively mix of motivational monologues and interviews with other thought leaders.
However, Marie has had a colourful background before the launch of this, proving to us all that it is never too late and it is always possible to take a new path and try something different. She worked in the corporate world, was one of the first ever Nike Elite Dance Athletes and has authored the bestselling Make Every Man Want You.
Marie now describes herself as a “multi-passionate entrepreneur”, a term perhaps more of us should be employing in a world that demands ever more from us and where we regularly switch roles.
Questions and quandaries are welcomed by Marie and her team, and she aims to answer some of them on Marie TV, delving into her own experiences and the wisdom of others. She also works to answer questions we might not yet have encountered by bringing on a range of guests, recently including Marianne Williamson (on bereavement), Chris Guillebeau (choosing the right path for you) and Tony Robbins (on mastering your money).
Marie has strong ethics in her life as well as her work, including “enforced” breaks for her team and time away from technology to rest the mind. What a role model!
Simply type in Marie TV or Marie Forleo to YouTube to find her videos.
The 5AM Miracle podcast by Jeff Sanders is the show I have been following the least amount of time, but I am already an avid listener.
The whole premise of this podcast hooked me from the start. I am without a doubt most productive in a morning. I do much better through early to bed, early to rise. This series backs up that philosophy through science and practical applications.
Once a week Jeff shares discussions with other prescribers of this way of life alongside his own thoughts and practices. Some of these practices and the ideology behind them could be called “common sense”, but it’s amazing how few of us bring them into play. For example, check out his podcast on 7 Productive Habits to Complete Before 7:00 AM and you’ll see what I mean (as well as alter your own thinking).
Jeff’s book The 5AM Miracle is on my Amazon wishlist for reading in the not-so-distant future, but in the meantime I’m staying tuned in to his podcast (all previous episodes can be found on his website too).
Delving back through my liked videos on YouTube, I discovered I clicked the thumbs up on his first video God Loves Gays years ago. At the time I was reconciling distinct and contradictory perspectives on homosexuality in religion and spirituality. While I may not remember the exact details of that video, I can recall how deeply Jordan’s argument resonated with me. It was a source of comfort.
And this is what I would say about all of Jordan’s videos. They console. They warm the heart and soul. They shine a light into your life, even if only for the three or four minutes you’re watching. He speaks from a rich, personal place, whether reflecting on his own life or world events.
I would also say that Jordan is fervent promoter of others. He might not do the one-to-one chats on podcast like Lewis Howes or Jeff Sanders, or the in-depth video discussions like Marie Forleo. What you get instead is a mirrored surface, showing us all the messages of other greats past and present. In this way you see a reflection of your own spirit as well.
You only have to check out Jordan’s Instagram account to feel this.
What do all these modern bodhisattvas have in common? Well, as with the definition given at the opening of this post, they all carry out altruistic practices. They have a serious calling to improve their own and others’ lives, and they do this well.
They not only inspire us through social media and big events, but through their philanthropy and ethical business ventures.
Furthermore, they connect with other motivational figures, acting as springboards for our own interconnectivity and aspirations in life.
Lewis Howes, Marie Forleo, Jeff Sanders and Jordan Bach are my top four beacons of hope and exemplars of right living right now.
Have I missed anyone off this list who you feel should be included? I’m totally hooked on these inspirational podcasts, videos and books right now, and would love to hear any other suggestions (I’ll even accept more ancient teachers).