276. Stephan Bodian

Stephan BodianStephan Bodian offers satsangs, intensives, and retreats in the tradition of his teachers, Jean Klein and Adyashanti. His gatherings are noted for their humor, warmth, spontaneity, and intimacy and combine direct pointers, lively dialogues, silent sitting, and guided self-inquiry. He’s the author of several books, including Wake Up Now: A Guide to the Journey of Spiritual Awakening and Beyond Mindfulness: The Direct Approach to Lasting Peace, Happiness, and Love.

Stephan spent a decade practicing Zen intensively as a monk but left the monastery because he sensed that the rigorous practice of meditation was obscuring the truth he was seeking. After studying Dzogchen for several years, he met his guru, Jean Klein, a European teacher of Advaita Vedanta, who told him to stop meditating and instead discover the meditator. Shortly after meeting Jean, he had a profound awakening to his true identity as timeless presence. After Jean’s death, Stephan met Adyashanti, and in 2001 Adya gave him Dharma transmission and invited him to teach.

Stephan is the founder and director of the School for Awakening, an annual eight-month awakening intensive, and he leads regular retreats and shorter intensives In Tucson, Arizona, and at the Garrison Institute in New York.

Trained and licensed as a psychotherapist, Stephan also offers individual spiritual counseling and mentoring sessions to people throughout the world. His approach blends direct, experiential, nondual wisdom with the insights of Western psychology to support students in realizing who they really are while inquiring into the stories and patterns of thinking and behaving that continue to cause suffering.

Website: stephanbodian.org

Other books:

Interview recorded 1/24/2015

Video below. Audio coming soon.

275. Kenneth Folk

Kenneth FolkKenneth Folk is a personal meditation trainer known worldwide for his innovative approach to secular Buddhist meditation. After twenty years of training in the Burmese Theravada Buddhist tradition of Mahasi Sayadaw, including three years of intensive silent retreat in monasteries in Asia and the U.S., Kenneth began to spread his own findings, successfully stripping away religious dogma to make meditation accessible to modern practitioners.

Kenneth has been recognized by Wired Magazine as an influential voice in Silicon Valley’s tech culture, a “power player of the mindfulness movement.”

Website: kennethfolkdharma.com

YouTube Channel

Interview recorded 1/17/2015

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

274. Ram Das Batchelder

Ram Das BatchelderRam Das Batchelder was born in Pennsylvania in 1961, had a spiritual awakening in his early twenties, and has spent most of the last 25 years in India as a devotee of Amma, the “hugging Saint.” He has written four children’s books, which have been translated into several European languages, and also a novel in rhyming verse, three full-length plays, and 40 original songs. In 2012, he and his wife, Tarini Ma, wrote and co-taught a university course on Hinduism in Venezuela. He has given numerous talks and workshops about various aspects of spirituality in many locations around the world. He and his wife are currently offering 5-star tours of the sacred cities of India, to both Spanish and English-speaking groups.

Rising in Love: My Wild and Crazy Ride to Here and Now, with Amma, the Hugging Saint” tells the story of Ram Das Batchelder’s powerful marijuana-fuelled spiritual awakening in America (which included meeting an angel), his two-year struggle with delusion and addiction, his subsequent renunciation of drugs, and his eventual discovery of Amma (the living Guru known in the West as “the Hugging Saint”). The narrative then covers the 27 amazing years he has spent in quest of Enlightenment as Amma’s devotee, most of that time in India. It is a story of profound healing from drug addiction and despair into a joyfully fulfilled life, and is therefore a ray of hope for all who suffer from addiction or mental illness of one kind or another. The book is a suspenseful psychological thriller, “a real page-turner” (as more than one reviewer has said), yet there is so much humor in the narrative that it reads like a comedic novel. It describes his struggles with dysentery and sexual desire during his first several years at Amma’s ashram, and also includes descriptions of numerous miracles he has witnessed, a vision of Krishna, and the steady progression of his meditation, which has culminated recently in states of samadhi. It also discusses how the author left Amma’s ashram for a six year period, visited numerous other Gurus, and then returned, with a fiancée, and was married by Amma in 2001. One chapter is dedicated to the difficulties he and his wife have faced in their marriage, and the beautiful healing Amma has given them as a couple. There is also a section about the Asian Tsunami, which occurred when they were in Amma’s ashram; hundreds were killed in the surrounding area. “Rising in Love” will appeal to anyone interested in spirituality, Enlightenment, Hinduism, Saints or Gurus, as well as psychology, psychotherapy, angels or Jesus.

Website: rising-inlove.org

Other books:

Interview recorded 1/17/2015

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

273. Sandy Jones (William Samuel)

Sandy JonesSandy Jones is the Literary Executor to the William Samuel legacy.  In 1996, she was given his entire catalog of works and today is the spokesperson for William Samuel’s message- publishing and promoting the entire William Samuel catalog.

In addition to being the registered agent for the works of William Samuel,  she is the owner and mentor of the Woodsong Center for Self-Discovery located in Ojai, California.  The Center hosts gatherings for readings and group discussions based on William’s message.  Sandy is also the proprietor of Celestial Song Mystical Emporium a popular gift shop and gallery located in Ojai, CA.

Sandy is an accomplished artist and  writer, currently writing a book, which she says “is simply a joyful expression of my love for Life and the the Living Unbound Beauty and Peace that has found me.”  The book, currently untitled, is scheduled to be published in the Spring of 2015.  You can find more of her art and writings at her website woodsongjournals.com.

Email Sandy at: samuelandfriends@gmail.com

William Samuel – September 2, 1924-May 22, 1996

William SamuelWilliam Samuel was a prolific writer and teacher.  William Samuel was known as the “teacher’s teacher” perhaps because so many teachers came to study with him. There was an inordinate number of philosophers, theologians, and members of the academe. In the later years there came physicists and mathematicians. It seemed to William that he would get the most earnest and dedicated students of Truth. Quite a number of Taoists and Buddhists had found William’s message and came to study–even some who were called Masters. Many have gone from his study to become authors, writers and teachers. In some marvelous way his story has been found by the metaphysical and scientific elite of all the word–at least by a few. He said “When it is told perfectly, my whole world will hear.”

Although, Mr. Samuel did not embrace the idea of being called a teacher, saying “I’ve been telling my own story–how it happened and what it has allowed me to understand–for over 30 years. That is not the same as being a teacher.” He was a genuine sage and mystic.  He brought the message of non-duality, or as he called it the Subjective View in a simple heart felt words that everyone interested in their Self discovery can understand and profit from.   A humble man who discovered true peace and tranquility that remains steady and true even during the changes and turmoil encountered in life.  Never seeking to be well known or venerated himself, he has been widely  recognized by many as a genuine true Master.    William’s message is that he did not embrace the idea of being called a teacher, saying “I’ve been telling my own story–how it happened and what it has allowed me to understand–for over 30 years. That is not the same as being a teacher.”

“Every teacher, book, writer, practitioner, sage, guru or peanut vendor, by whatever name, title or label they go by, is an aspect of the Awareness (Identity) “we” are. We take the book from the shelf most likely to render a specific service at a given moment. Exactly so, we have appeared to go to the philosophy, teacher, church, friend, stranger or peanut vendor that has unfolded as sufficient for the moment–but that philosophy, teacher, church, friend or stranger is within the awareness We are. So is the peanut vendor. We are forever looking at our Self.”…..William Samuel

William Samuel was one of the first Americans to sit with Ramana Maharshi 
The story of his visit goes something like this:

At 18 years old he graduated from Clemson and was immediately made captain of infantry and sent off to battle in China, during W.W.II While in China, William’s troops were doing battle along with the British and Indians near the Burmese boarder. It was during that time when William apparently was given some much needed R&R. He took advantage of that time and went to see Ramana Maharshi in Tiruvannamalai, South India. William, at that time, was only 21 years old. This two week visit took place in April of 1944. It is believed that William was among the first American students to visit Sri Ramana. Up until then the visitors were mostly Indian and British.

Soon after Williams visit many more westerner’s began coming to see Sri Ramana. With grace, respect and humble words, William tells the story of his visit:

“Some years ago I was honored to be the first American student of a renowned teacher in India. For fourteen days a group of us sat at the feet of this “Master,” during which time he spoke not one word—not so much as a grunt—until the final day when he bade us farewell and assured us we had learned much. And to my surprise, I had. It took months before the seeds of those silent days began to sprout one by one, revealing that there are indeed many things for which the uptight, recondite babble of books and teachers is more hindrance than a help.”

William was indeed a master teacher who had found a way to communicate honestly and clearly his insights on the Absolute and the premises of the metaphysical, subjective view now often called non duality.

A longer version of his biography can be found here.

Books:

Website: williamsamuel.com

Interview recorded 1/10/2015

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

272. Craig Holliday

Craig HollidayCraig Holliday is both a Nondual teacher and Licensed Professional Counselor, offering Nondual Therapy and Meditation workshops, retreats and Satsang. His work is dedicated to the discovery of our innate Divinity through embracing our Humanity. He works in a way that addresses our everyday suffering as a doorway to our inherent freedom. He meets with individuals in Durango, Colorado and from around the world on Skype.

At just 19, Craig began apprenticing under his teacher David in Southwest Colorado. David, a little-known meditation master, (who lives a private meditative life) guided Craig for 20 years, in the lineage of Sri Aurobindo. This relationship deeply shaped Craig’s life and teachings.

During the last 10 years Craig also studied with Adyashanti who guided him through 4 profound awakenings (head, heart, Hara and Kundalini). Upon request from others, Craig began sharing these nondual teachings in Satsang.

Over the years, Craig has received ongoing support with teaching and his personal life from David, Adya, Jon Bernie, Lama Tsultrim and others. Despite profoundly awakening to the truth of his own being, Craig also understands the evolutionary nature of our souls and values the work of continually examining our humanity (both individually and with teachers), while surrendering to our Divinity in greater and greater ways. He shares this same invitation to others.

Website: craigholliday.com

Book: Fully Human Fully Divine, Awakening to our Innate Beauty through Embracing our Humanity

Interview recorded 1/3/2015

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