347. Ganga Mira

Ganga MiraGeneviève De Coux was born in 1947 in Namur, Belgium during her parents’ holidays. The family lived in the Belgian Congo. Geneviève and her brother enjoyed an idyllic childhood until 1960, the year of the Congo’s independence. The family emigrated to Belgium.

Their paradise was lost. Geneviève found herself in Brussels, this radical change of scenery stoked the fire of her ontological search and she found refuge in art. In 1968 during her second year at the university while studying her philosophy paper, she stumbled upon a saying of Socrates which hit her straight in the heart: “Know thyself”! Realising that this was precisely what she had always been looking for, she instantly dropped her studies and set out for India by road in search of a living Socrates or Buddha.

On reaching the Himalayan foot-hills, she led a meditative and ascetic life by the Ganges in Rishikesh, waiting to meet her master. The locals called her Mira because of her devoted renunciation. At the end of 1968, in circumstances well worthy of Indian mythology, she met a man with whom she had an awakening experience. He left the following day without Mira knowing anything about him, neither his name nor his address. The one certainty was that finally she had found her master. To give herself the best chance of seeing him again, she decided to live at the exact spot of their meeting. For eight months she waited for him and meditated under a little tree on the banks of the Ganga river.

One day, her master, H.W.L.Poonja, a disciple of Ramana Maharishi, came back for her. She became his disciple and wife and started to travel with him. In 1971, H.W.L Poonja was invited to give Satsang in Europe and Mira accompanied him. Their daughter Mukti was born in 1972 and the little family went on travelling the world. For the education of her daughter Mira returned to Belgium. In 1990, H.W.L Poonja, also called Papaji, settled permanently in Lucknow where he gave Satsang every day until he passed away in 1997.

In 1998, Mira was invited to give satsang, which she continues giving to this day all over the world. She decided to call herself Ganga. In 2004 Ganga Mira moved to Portugal. She lives near the wild ocean of the Algarve with her daughter Mukti and her grand-children, Arun and Satya, and gives satsang four times a week.

Website: gangamirasatsang.com

Interview conducted 5/21/2016

Video below. Audio coming soon.

346. Tom Thompson

Tom ThompsonTom Thompson is a teacher of Conscious Living.

In 1982 Tom began teaching Conscious Living at the Woodbury Yoga Center in Connecticut, and in 1990 at The Awakened Heart Center in North Carolina.

Conscious Living is an all-inclusive way of life. It includes the possibility of radical awakening along with the integration of body, emotions, mind and spirit; living skillfully and effectively in this world; and being in loving, empowering relationships.

In 1964, at the age of fifteen, Tom became a student of human psychology and a practitioner of the yogic pathways and enlightenment traditions. He has had the great fortune of training in depth with a number of exceptional teachers in both the enlightenment traditions and western psychology.

While pursuing spiritual realization, Tom had many jobs in many different fields. All were important in terms of his personal growth and evolution, but the most important was working 13 years as a mental health worker in psychiatry.

He has extensive training and experience in several different therapeutic modalities including hypnotherapy, transactional analysis, human potential, energy psychology and HeartMath®.

After many years of intense practice and experiences in several different spiritual traditions, a sudden awakening occurred that led to the spontaneous collapse and falling away of all identification with spiritual and psychological belief systems, traditions, gurus, concepts, and the experience of a separate, unique, individual self. Now there is this, as it is, and as it appears to happen.

The teachings of Conscious Living are direct, obvious, and all-inclusive. There is nothing to be believed or accepted, as they are self-evident. They point to the incredible gift and mystery of life, living us here and now, as we are.

Tom lives with his best friend, partner and wife Bonnie. He also has a daughter Kelly, son-in-law Chad and grandson Caden.

Website: theawakenedheartcenter.com

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

345. Atreya Thomas

Atreya ThomasAwakening can be defined as a fundamental transformation or death of the exclusive “me” that has its identity in “I am the body and mind,” to a non-exclusive awareness that simultaneously sees itself in all things, times and places without a second of differentiation.

Just like the sunlight does not need to be achieved as it is there ever-shining, awakening is your true nature and does not need to be achieved. What does need to be achieved and does take effort is the removal of the curtain that obstructs the sunlight.

The only prerequisite for this removal is an earnest and unwavering devotion to discover something that is eternal, everlasting, complementary to all, unchanging, and final. This brings down grace which removes the veil. The intensity of devotion and perseverance determines the pace.

Atreya, his wife, and three adopted children live in California, where Atreya works as a pre-school teacher. He and his wife are also foster parents to drug-exposed infants who are hard to place.

Books:

Website: revealingtheabsolute.com

Interview recorded 5/7/2016

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

344. nirgun john

nirgun johnnirgun john was born John M. Grenafege. The name “nirgun”, means ‘without attributes’, and was given to John by his students.

John began his spiritual search at age 16 after he was given the book “Be Here Now” by his older brother. At age 19, he spent a brief period with Transcendental Meditation (TM). In the following years, he learned many other meditation techniques from various teachers. John later took a monthly correspondence course from Siddha Yoga. As Muktananda had passed, John was initiated by Gurumayi, whom he still loves and honors as his Guru.

This initiation gave his practice a new momentum, and shortly afterwards he discovered the teachings of Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj, whom he also considers his Guru. Following his Awakening, nirgun john spent four years in silent meditation until Realization. A small group of friends then convinced him to start holding public Satsangs.

nirgun john does not affiliate himself with any particular group or religion, but instead he transmits spontaneously to anyone open to receive.

nirgun currently lives in San Francisco, where he has formed ‘A Bridge to Awareness’. nirgun john welcomes online and personal meetings with all spiritual seekers. All are welcome to attend the free online Satsangs he offers through the ‘A Bridge to Awareness’ website.

“My deepest wish is for you to realize the Truth of your Being. Know that the search
and the one who searches are imaginary.
When the mind is still, you are on the threshold. Abide there until The Only
reveals and the imaginary evaporates.”
nirgun john

Book: Sitting at the Open Door of the Heart

Interview conducted 4/30/2016

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

343. Thomas Razzeto

Thomas RazzetoThomas Razzeto is one of the newest and freshest voices among the teachers of our balanced, ancient nondual wisdom. Thomas easily digs deeply into the core of this wisdom to reveal both its essential truth and the heart-felt compassion that all true sages embody when they are genuinely engaged in the world without being entangled by it.

The first time Thomas heard this nondual wisdom was in 2005 when he attended one of Timothy Conway’s satsang and Thomas has continually attended these weekly meetings since they provide the foundation for all his work. (By the way, Timothy Conway was guest number 28 at Buddha at the Gas Pump way back in July of 2010.) Timothy woke up when he was only 16 and he later was fortunate enough to meet several enlightened masters, such as Sri Nisargadatta, Annamalai Swami and others among Sri Ramana Maharshi’s immediate followers.

Thomas teaches in plain English, yet much of what he says would be recognized by people familiar with Advaita, Buddhism or Hinduism. Thomas has taught his book, Living the Paradox of Enlightenment: Ancient Nondual Wisdom for Today, as a class for the Center for Lifelong Learning, which is a part of Santa Barbara City College, the highest ranked community college in the United States. In September 2012, Thomas spoke for the prestigious lecture series, Mind and Supermind, which is run by Santa Barbara City College.

Website: Infinitely Mystical

Interview conducted 4/23/2016

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