096. Jon Bernie

Jon BernieJon Bernie’s first awakening experience at the age of sixteen led him to spend many years practicing in the Zen and Theravadan Buddhist traditions, first as a monk in the lineage of Shunryu Suzuki Roshi, and then as an early student of Jack Kornfield’s.

In the late 1980s, Jon’s spiritual trajectory was profoundly altered when he met Jean Klein – master of Advaita Vedanta and Kashmiri Yoga with whom he studied intensively for an extended period. Jon subsequently spent time with H.W.L. Poonja and Robert Adams, both direct disciples of Ramana Maharshi.

Jon’s spiritual development was also greatly aided by Brother David Steindl-Rast, who, along with Thomas Merton, was one of the first Christian monks to seriously practice in the Zen and Tibetan traditions and has since been instrumental in building interfaith networks worldwide.

After Jon met Adyashanti in 2002, his spiritual journey came to fruition, and subsequently Adya asked Jon to teach.

In addition to his work as a spiritual teacher, Jon is a certified Zero Balancing practitioner and a teacher of the Alexander Technique in private practice in San Francisco since 1981. Jon’s healing work has also been deeply influenced by extensive training in NLP, hypnosis, Self Acceptance Training, cranio-sacral therapy and the Qigong system of Dr. Yu Penxi. In addition to his private practice, Jon has given lectures and workshops for the general public at the Suzuki Method Teacher’s Conference, UCSF Medical School, JFK University and the Whole Life Expo.

Jon currently leads regular classes, retreats and intensives in the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond.

Jon’s book, Ordinary Freedom

Jon’s Website

Interview recorded 11/13/2011

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

4 thoughts on “096. Jon Bernie

  1. Pleasant conversation.

    I thought Jon gave a good answer to the question that often comes up (paraphrase): do you think you’re a you? do you have a sense of self?

    Jon essentially said the question doesn’t register. His way of thinking provides no response to that question.

    Isn’t the question really: do you believe in free will?

    If yes, it follows there is a self. If no, there is no self.

    Jon did not say so outright, but it appeared he did not believe in free will, which is why the question about self didn’t register as useful.

    What is learned from knowing that someone feels pain when they stub their toe, or that they turn their head when their name is called?

    I can’t find anything in that.

    But all kinds of things logically follow from knowing whether or not someone believes in free will.

    If there is free will, I’m embarrassed to have typed this bit of pedantism.

    If there is no free will, hey, it’s not my fault.

  2. Definitely one the better interviews for me. Some of these (awake) people seem so darn dry in how they speak. I resonate with John. Great job Rick.

  3. Really enjoyed this one too. I resonate with Jon’s take on the ‘personal’ identity conundrum. There is no longer an exclusive, separate, disconnected sense of self. However, this does not negate one’s unique individuality. Rather, like the murmuration phenomenon, the individual exists and functions as a singularly unique identity within the whole, while simultaneously existing as the interconnected whole. Hence, there is no actual real boundary to be found, as they are intimately correlated and interdependent. Thus one is liberated from any fixed concept of identity.

    Again, thanks for the ‘self’ clarification

  4. Hey Rick. Just getting better. I must say though, for your belief in higher ‘levels’ of realization, you seem to overlook the ultimate reality. Advaita. It is possible to live without any trace of individuality. For all appearances individuality is there, but for that which says there is nothing separate, or reads these words, and everything else, not so. No mind can go there.
    What could be more profound and lovely than that?

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