Episode 108: Effective Compassion – With Tim Desmond

Episode 108: Live Authentically sits down with Tim Desmond, a psychotherapist, and author who studied under the late Zen Master Thich Nhat Hahn. Throughout the episode, Pamela Savino and Desmond discuss the importance that self-compassion and mindfulness play in living a most authentic life. 

Desmond grew up in Boston with a single, alcoholic mother and experienced homelessness in spurts throughout his adolescent years. Per Desmond, the only reason he was able to go to college was due to athletic scholarships, which thankfully led him on the path to meeting his mediation teacher. 

Upon reading Peace Is Every Step by Nhat Hahn, Desmond found himself diving headfirst into the world of mindfulness and not looking back. Today, he lives his truth through the practices of his teacher. 

A question Desmond tries to ask himself daily is, “how can I engage with life in the way I want to?” And for him, this means incorporating a heightened sense of mindfulness to even the most mundane task, like turning on a faucet. He does so with Buddhist Gathas, verses that foster miraculous intention. In the Vietnamese Zen tradition, adding meditative awareness to the present moment is a way of showing yourself self-compassion that otherwise slips away too easily. 

Throughout the episode, Savino asks how Desmond’s work and business tie into his mindfulness practices. As an author of three books—the most recent being “How to Stay Human in a F*cked Up World”—he’s done more than establish himself within the academic field. But beyond his writing and teaching of mediation, Desmond has pushed the boundaries of therapy and counseling by honing in on the idea of compassion alone. As Nhat Hahn taught him, compassion is what transforms suffering. 

The idea struck Desmond nearly three years ago, in the midst of his training others. While teaching was something he undoubtedly loved, he wanted to make compassion more accessible than through self-training. 

Ultimately, he explains how this led to the creation of Peer Collective, an online peer counseling service that, in Desmond’s words, provides “an abundant amount of empathy and compassion.” 

Throughout the development and success of Peer Collective, Desmond has confirmed that it’s not so much about a counselor’s academic training so much as it’s about their warmth and ability to understand someone in distress; that “whatever someone says is their way of asking for love.” understanding that is the first step in transforming your vibrations as well as those around you. 

For more on Tim Desmond, visit his website here.