494. Damien Echols

Damien EcholsDamien Echols is an artist and New York Times bestselling author of “Life After Death“. In 2018, he published his first book on ceremonial magick: “High Magick: A Guide to the Spiritual Practices That Saved My Life on Death Row“. He has been a practitioner of ceremonial Magick for over 20 years and leads classes on Magick across the country. He spent over 18 years on death row in Arkansas for a crime he didn’t commit before gaining his freedom in 2011. Upon release he, along with Peter Jackson produced the documentary film “West Of Memphis” which chronicled his legal battle. During his time in prison he was ordained into the Rinzai Zen tradition of Japanese Buddhism. He lives in New York with his wife and three cats.

Other offerings:

Damien’s site: damienechols.com

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

493. Rev. Bill McDonald

Rev. Bill McDonaldON A MISSION: TEACHING THE POWER OF LOVE & FORGIVENESS

Rev. Bill’s life has been a spiritual journey, spanning slightly over 7 decades. His whole life has been a mystical trip in search of gurus, the paranormal, and self-discovery. He has written about his many spiritually transformative experiences and “near-death-experiences” including supernatural events during his combat tour of duty in the Vietnam War. In his books, he has shared some incredible spiritual events that are beyond both common understanding or explanation.

His autobiography “Warrior: A Spiritual Odyssey” takes us on a life quest for love, understanding, forgiveness, and enlightenment. His follow-up book “Alchemy of a Warrior’s Heart” continues that mystical journey including four trips to India for even more profound experiences with holy men, miracles and his personal relationship with the Divine. What he knows for sure after all these years is that the only thing that is truly real is LOVE.

He is an author, an award-winning poet, international motivational speaker, artist, film advisor, veteran advocate, a Vietnam War veteran (Distinguished Flying Cross, The Bronze Star, The Purple Heart Medal, 14 Air Medals, The Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry, etc.). He has spoken around the world including Germany, England, Wales, Bolivia, and India. He has been involved with a dozen films and documentaries. (Such as: “In the Shadow of the Blade”- showed on the History Network and “The Art of Healing” shown on PBS TV)

Rev. Bill has been on over 800 radio and TV shows over the last 18 years and has stories about his life featured in over a dozen books by other authors and in hundreds of magazine and newspaper articles. He has had articles in such diverse publications as “Parade Sunday Magazine” and “The Self-Realization Fellowship Magazine” as well as military magazines and new age magazines. His YouTube Channel has over 70 videos and had gotten over 550,000 views in its first 18 months.

He speaks publicly about the need to forgive and power of love. His mission in life is to inspire others to seek the Divine and he does that through his personal stories of his own life experiences.

He is a seeker but not just for himself. His “mission” is to allow others to experience his journey through his stories. He has had many near-death and near-death-like–like experiences and encounters with the supernatural. He is a friend to many – including famous celebrities and people in power positions in life but he treats everyone the same whether they are homeless or the President or a CEO. His beliefs are simple: There is but ONE GOD – and our only mission is to LOVE & SERVE ALL.

Rev. Bill McDonald was born In San Francisco and raised in California, Oregon and Hawaii. He graduated from San Jose City College with an AA Degree in Labor Management and later from The University of San Francisco with a BA degree in Public Service Administration. He spent over 30 years working for the federal government and retired in 2001. He has spent his time since then working for 5 different non-profit organizations helping veterans while serving the purpose of world peace. He works with PTSD veterans and is a unpaid lobbyist for veteran issues in California. Has also has worked as a volunteer chaplain in Folsom Prison and worked for a time answering phone calls for The National Suicide Hotline. His life is filled with service. He has been married to his high school sweetheart Carol, since 1970. He has been living in Elk Grove, California since 1979.

Additional books by William “Rev. Bill” McDonald:

Bill’s guru, Yogiraj Gurunath Siddhanath

Bill’s email

Discussion of this interview in the BatGap Community Facebook Group.

The story of Anamika Borst‘s owl, referred to towards the end of this interview: click here.

Interview recorded March 2, 2019.

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

492. Tina Rasmussen

Tina RasmussenAfter 20+ years of Buddhist and non-dual practice, in 2003 Tina Rasmussen, Ph.D., undertook a year-long solo retreat during which awakening occurred. She later ordained as a Buddhist nun with a world-renowned meditation master, became the first Western woman to attain that path, and was authorized to teach. Tina has been studied by Yale Neuroscience Lab for research on the effects of meditation on consciousness and the brain. Tina is co-author of Practicing the Jhanas: Traditional Concentration Meditation as Presented by the Venerable Pa Auk Sayadaw, and has been featured on Conscious TV and in Non-duality Magazine. She is also involved in the Diamond Approach to realization. Tina teaches students worldwide how to walk the path of the “urban mystic”—functioning from deep spiritual understanding while living a modern human life. Dr. Rasmussen has also worked in the field of human/organizational development as a consultant/coach for 25+ years, with several published books on humanistic leadership.

Website: awakeningdharma.com

Discussion of this interview in the BatGap Community Facebook Group.

Interview recorded February 23, 2019.

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

491. Mark Gober

Mark GoberMark Gober is a best-selling author, a Partner at Sherpa Technology Group in Silicon Valley, a former investment banker with UBS in New York, and former captain of the Princeton tennis team. His worldview was turned upside down in late 2016 when he was exposed to world-changing science which suggested that, contrary to mainstream assumptions, consciousness is not produced by the brain. After researching extensively, he wrote An End to Upside Down Thinking: Dispelling the Myth That the Brain Produces Consciousness, and the Implications for Everyday Life to introduce the general public to these cutting-edge ideas — all in an effort to encourage a much-needed global shift in scientific and existential thinking.

Mark’s book has been endorsed by leading thinkers such as former Harvard neurosurgeon Eben Alexander, Nobel Peace Prize nominee Dr. Ervin Laszlo, Pixar founder Loren Carpenter, Institute of Noetic Sciences Chief Scientist Dr. Dean Radin, University of Virginia professor of neurobehavioral sciences Dr. Ed Kelly, Dr. Rupert Sheldrake, Guru Singh, Chicken Soup for the Soul author Jack Canfield, actress Goldie Hawn, and many others.

Website: markgober.com

Discussion of this interview in the BatGap Community Facebook Group.

Interview recorded February 16, 2019

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

490. Prasannan

PrasannanPrasannan had a fascination for Astronomy from an early age, having built his own telescope, and spent his teenage years studying the stars and planets. He was the president of the Astronomy, and Photography Clubs in high school. He always understood that what we see is only a tiny portion of the totality.

At Easter, in 1987, he attended a retreat which resulted in a spiritual awakening, leading him to conclude that he had always been on a spiritual path. As a result, he adopted a celibate (brahmacharya) lifestyle.

Having studied the teachings of Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, Ramana Maharshi, and Swami Sivananda, he heard about Mata Amritanandamayi (Amma), and met her during her 1990 North American tour. At the time, he held a senior management position in corporate finance.

He had a natural motivation towards engaging in serving selflessly (Seva). The Sanskrit word “Seva” means helping others out of compassion, without a conscious thought of receiving personal benefit.

Prasannan moved to Amritapuri, India in 1992; on arriving he was placed in charge of the computer room, and developed a new accounting system, training the brahmacharins (monks) in its use; at the same time a Jyotish software program was acquired, which Prasannan became responsible for. At the direction of Amma, he began his practice of Jyotish, which continues to this day.

He travelled around the world with Amma, providing Jyotish interpretations during her programs. At other times he conducted sessions in India, raising funds for Amma charities.

After 19 years in India, he returned to Canada and established his independent Jyotish practice. After more than 2 decades of brahmacharya, he married Maya, the love of his life!

Prasannan has consulted with more than 60,000 clients throughout the world. He answers questions about all areas of life, material, familial, health, and well-being, as well as spiritual.

Website: prasannanjyotish.com

Discussion of this interview in the BatGap Community Facebook Group.

Interview recorded February 9, 2019.

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