355. Tom Das

Tom Das“The point of this teaching is the realization of total and complete freedom, in which we are free from suffering.”

I had my first conscious spiritual awakening aged 18.

Everything was seen to be one, the sense of personal self fell away and I had a deep sense that I truly was not the limited being that I commonly took myself to be. This experience was short-lived and further fueled my seeking. I wanted to try to re-experience it. I think because this experience happened in the context of reading a book, I subsequently developed a voracious appetite for reading spiritual texts. I read books on everything such as on Buddhism, Zen, Taoism, Mystic Christianity, Vedanta, Dzogchen, and the core texts of each, as well as many self-help and new-age type books.

I also had a keen interest in science and mathematics and my studies took me along this route in school, eventually leading me to study medicine and become a doctor. I later got married and now have two amazing and lovely children. Alongside my studies, career and home life, the spiritual seeking continued for 15-20 years.

Now the sense of a ‘me’ living a life and the dissatisfaction that fueled my spiritual seeking have both disappeared, leaving behind an ordinary life ‘being lived’ or living itself. I call it Freedom.

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Tom is a medical doctor who lives in London UK with his wife and 2 children. He holds regular meetings in London and on Skype to share this wonderful teaching with anyone who is interested.

To learn more about him and his teachings see www.tomdas.com.

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

354. Richard Miller

Richard MillerRichard C. Miller, PhD, is a clinical psychologist, author, researcher, yogic scholar and spiritual teacher who, for the past 46 years has devoted his life to integrating western psychology and neuroscience with the ancient nondual wisdom teachings of Yoga, Tantra, Advaita, Taoism, and Buddhism. Richard is the founding president of the Integrative Restoration Institute, co-founder of the International Association of Yoga Therapists, founding editor of the peer reviewed International Journal of Yoga Therapy, and a founding member and past president of the Institute for Spirituality and Psychology.

Author of iRest Meditation: Restorative Practices for Health, Healing and Well Being, The iRest Program for Healing PTSD, and Yoga Nidra: The Meditative Heart of Yoga, Richard also serves as a research consultant studying the meditation protocol he’s developed (Integrative Restoration ~ iRest Meditation), a modern adaptation of an ancient yogic form of meditation, researching its efficacy on health, healing, and well-being with diverse populations that include active-duty soldiers, veterans, women rescued from human trafficking, youth and college students, seniors, the homeless, and the incarcerated, with issues such as sleep disorders, PTSD, traumatic brain injury, chronic pain, chemical dependency, and anxiety, as well as research on iRest’s efficacy for enhancing resiliency, well-being and compassion. Richard leads international trainings and meditation retreats on the integration of enlightened living into daily life. For information visit www.irest.us.

Interview recorded 7/16/2016

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

353. Tree

Tree Wiseblood“The spiritual journey does not consist in gaining what a person does not have, but in dissipation of ignorance concerning himself and life, and the growth of understanding which begins with spiritual awakening. To find God is to come to one’s own self.” – Avatar Meher Baba.

No longer the person with its conditioning and history, here now there is only this and the overall feeling is “I don’t mind.” No fear, no push, a great emptiness that is also a rich and all-pervading fullness. Here there is silence, peace and an exquisite sense of joy. Here it feels so light there is no distance, ‘marinating in the self.’ It is as if nothing is happening here yet happening graciously unfolds.

To look back at the dream, the necessary mistaken identity, it seemed like so much happened. Personhood was such psychological suffering. Separation, a feverish, fearful struggle, always restless, dissatisfied, looking outside for love and fulfillment. Now peace, and love reside here.

I have spent thirty years with Avatar Meher Baba in deep devotion. Baba has administered his kiss and his kick, expertly unraveling the ego identity. Longing for the truth and with nothing more to express in this life, I knew I was going to die, not sure if it was the body or the ego, I completely surrendered.

Shortly after, whilst watching Mooji on the net, he pointed, and I said with total conviction, “I am That”. In that recognition I hysterically and uncontrollably laughed for hours. When I could hardly breathe from the laughter and I asked God to help me, the laughter only escalated. The funniest thing, the divine joke was that I knew I had always been that.

I love Meher Baba and Mooji – the brightest reflections of the true self I know. It is quiet here as I experience the bliss and love of the self.

Sapphire Coast Tension and Stress Release

Interview recorded 7/9/2016

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

352. Will Brennan

Will BrennanWhat I share is not based on spiritual, philosophical or psychological theory alone, but on direct insight. There is an unchanging awareness of all phenomena that is not tarnished by the coming and going of temporal expressions.

This unchanging awareness could be called the ‘Still Self” as it is the one constant that witnesses the dynamic play of consciousness in all its guises. To recognise that there is a greater power that is not prone to suffering or corruption is to begin to awaken to our ‘Undivided Self.’ Within this dynamic play of life there is also a ‘functioning sense of self’ that allows for the beauty of relationship, creating the impression of ‘me’ and ‘other.’ But the possibility of this imaginal separation can create such confusion and suffering when taken to be all that we are.

My joy as a simple Being is to point you back to your ‘True Self,’ like a bird greeting the morning sun, my nature is to sing.

All phenomena, whether that form be a thought, body, planet, smell, theory, ant or cloud is bound by the law of impermanence, for whatever comes must go, whatever is born will die.

Yet all phenomena arise within this unbounded awareness, the sole unchanging reality.

All of manifestation sings the song of the unborn ‘Still Self’ for those who have ears to hear.

And when this unchanging nature is realized to be our ‘Self,’ then we may also come to see that this dynamic play of consciousness is no other than a clear expression of the divinity that we are. What we are as aware stillness and what we are as dynamic consciousness are not two irreconcilable opposing forces but an inseparable mystery I like to call ‘dynamic stillness.’

Book: Embracing No Other: Awakening through shamanic plant medicines to non-dual awareness of no-self

Website: embracingnoother.com

Interview recorded 7/2/2016

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

351. David Godman, 2nd Interview

David GodmanDavid Godman has lived in India since 1976, mostly in Tiruvannamalai, Tamil Nadu. He spent his time there studying and practising the teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi. His anthology of Ramana Maharshi’s teachings, Be As You Are, is probably the most widely read book on Sri Ramana’s teachings. During his fourteen-year stay at Ramanasramam (1978-92) he managed the ashram’s library, catalogued its archives, and recorded the stories and experiences of devotees who had had direct contact with Sri Ramana.

David is the authorized biographer of two devotees of Sri Ramana Maharshi (Lakshmana Swamy and Papaji) who realized the Self in Sri Ramana’s presence and who later went on to become gurus themselves.

He has written and published several other books that contain first-person accounts of devotees who moved closely with Sri Ramana Maharshi and who were transformed by his power and presence.

In collaboration with two Tamil scholars, T. V. Venkatasubramanian and Robert Butler, he translated and edited several Tamil texts including two authoritative collections of Ramana Maharshi’s teachings that were originally recorded in Tamil verse. The three of them also joined forces to bring out Sorupa Saram, a translation of a text in which a 15th century Tamil saint and Guru, Sorupananda, speaks authoritatively of his experience of the Self. Earlier this year David and T. V. Venkatasubramanian completed a new book that will be entitled The Shining of my Lord. It will contain translations of Tamil verses by Muruganar, an enlightened devotee of Ramana Maharshi who wrote thousands of verses in which he praised his Guru, spoke of his own liberated state and thanked Sri Ramana for bestowing it on him. It will be published later this year.

In the 1970s David frequented Nisargadatta Maharaj’s satsangs in Mumbai. In the 1980s he was a regular visitor to the ashram of Lakshmana Swamy and Saradamma in Andhra Pradesh. When they moved to Tiruvannamalai in the early 1990s, he helped them to establish and landscape their new property at the foot of Arunachala, the holy mountain where Sri Ramana Maharshi spent all his adult life. For four years in the 1990s he lived with Papaji in Lucknow and ended up writing or editing five books about him.

Last year David released a series twenty-seven films on Youtube in which he spoke about Ramana Maharshi, the places where he stayed, his devotees and his teachings. The series contains about fifteen hours of talks about Sri Ramana and can be found here:

Books:

Interview recorded 6/26/2016

First BatGap interview with David

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