411. Hans Laurentius

Hans LaurentiusTrained in the 90’s as a teacher in spiritual therapy. The search stopped, among other ‘things’, mainly through the confrontation with Nisargadatta’s I am That, and Ramana Maharshi’s glare and words and the spontaneous recognition of Awareness (Consciousness) as reality. ‘After’ that awakening the ‘I Am/Consciousness’ was recognised to be the first identification.

Since ’98 Hans has led hundreds of satsangs, retreats and private sessions. He published eight books and a booklet, many many articles and columns, youtube satsang video’s (one in English) and seven homemade music cd’s. Hans is sometimes judged as being too confrontational or direct, or, more kindly, as very clear. On the other hand people credit him for his creativity and patience. Funny, right?

The following points and others reflecting Hans’ perspective were discussed in the interview:

  • When spirituality is not alarming, it’s not worth mentioning.
  • Burn-out is never about work. It’s a spiritual crisis. Not feeling and listening leads to inauthenticity which at a certain point makes the ‘soul’ scream for change.
  • Self-inquiry is for internal use only. Not for beating others down, or to be used as an excuse for lousy behavior.
  • Becoming aware isn’t necessarily pleasant. It will always bring clarity though.
  • Reality is never a problem until we start to project our beliefs, fears, expectations and judgements onto it.
  • You are far too much interested in solutions, and in the meantime it is your mind (what you believe) who is creating the trouble in the first place.
  • Ego-mind has only two modes: trying to get something and trying to get rid of something. Sprituality based on this doesn’t deserve the name.
  • Unresolved issues keep you from being truly present and real. Avoidance is one of the most weakening tributes of identification with the mind.
  • A lot of (your) spirituality is insincere. It’s mostly based on trying to get rid of something, avoiding authenticity, masking what is really there, taking on a new persona.
  • Not feeling things fully. Not facing facts. Trying to force an outcome. Overreacting and looking for approval. All sings of immaturity. Sub-human attitudes.
  • What you truly are has never been hurt or treated badly, it’s not lacking anything. It’s completely free, whole and shining. NOW. ALREADY. It’s fearless!

Website:

Private Skype Sessions with Hans (in English) will become available in September 2017 for those outside The Netherlands and Belgium. Please check the ‘English’ Section on the website for details.

Discussion of this in interview in the BatGap Community Facebook group.

Interview recorded 8/5/2017.

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

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410. Sri M, Second Interview

Sri MSri M – spiritual guide, social reformer and educationist – was born into a Muslim family on November 6, 1949 in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala. His transformational journey, from a young boy to a living yogi, is a fascinating story symbolized by single-minded discipline and dedication.

Entranced by mystical stories of Sufi saints and a brief encounter with a numinous Swami at a relatively young age, he was not only drawn to the ‘truth’ but also the compelling landscape of the snow-clad Himalayas. At the age of nine, his spiritual transformation was initiated by his future Master, Babaji (also known as Maheshwarnath Babaji), who miraculously appeared under a jackfruit tree in the compound of his house in Thiruvananthapuram. Though only fleeting, this meeting definitively set the stage for their future reunion in the Himalayas at Sri M’s age of nineteen.

The next three and half years, he lived and travelled extensively through the Himalayas with his Master. Maheshwarnath Babaji guided him right through his initiation, his Kundalini awakening, the grueling journey to Tholingmutt and, the eventual meeting with the Grand Master, Sri Guru Babaji also known as Sri Mahavatar Babaji.

A few years after his Master passed away, he received the spiritual go-ahead to commence his mission. In 1998, he started his teachings, eventually leading to formation of the Satsang Foundation.

In response to a query on the spiritual progress of a person and the path to that evolution, he responds, “Though, my parampara is kriya yoga, I don’t think it suits all aspirants. I propound satsang even between two people. It cuts across barriers of caste and creed. Spiritual evolution is not diverse from regular living. Intervals of solitude are necessary but you cannot shut yourself totally. The world around you is your touchstone to spiritual practice.” Conversant with teachings of most major religions, Sri M says: “Go to the core. Theories are of no use.” His message seeks to transcend the outer-shell of all religions, by exploring their mystical core to nurture the innate goodness in every human being.

Website: satsang-foundation.org

Books:

First Batgap interview with Sri M.

Discussion of this in interview in the BatGap Community Facebook group.

Interview recorded 7/30/2017

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

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409. Stephen D’Amico

Stephen D'AmicoStephen D’Amico is a spiritual teacher, mystical poet, and author. At age 22, Stephen went through a profound spiritual transformation that culminated in a permanent realization of his true nature. Since then his life has been devoted to understanding the spiritual path from an evolutionary perspective and helping others reconnect with their true nature to help bring about a global awakening in human consciousness. The main way he does this is through the direct transmission of the enlightened state of being, which connects others with their own true nature.

In the past, Stephen has worked in the field of conflict resolution and restorative justice as a mediator, facilitator, trainer, and project leader for youth social action groups. He has also taught at both the elementary and high school levels, focusing on the special needs of students with learning disabilities. Currently, he and his wife, Aniko, run Millwood Melt, a lively grilled cheese restaurant in their beloved community of Leaside, in Toronto. Customers and students playfully refer to Stephen as “the grilled cheese guru.”

When not feeding bodies, Stephen lives and breathes to feed souls. He currently hosts transformational gatherings/satsang and offers individuals enlightened guidance and support via phone, Skype, or in person. He is the author of two books:

Discussion of this in interview in the BatGap Community Facebook page.

Interview recorded 7/23/2017

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

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408. Hoksila Lakota (Lakota John)

Lakota JohnHoksila Lakota, commonly known as Lakota John is a Native American whose heritage comes from Oklahoma and the Great Plains of North America. Many generations ago his people lived in harmony with all things Universal, “uni” meaning One and “verse” being Song. When a system came in that crippled the people, making them dependent, some stayed and accepted the system and some left seeking broader horizons.

Rejecting the life of poverty and struggle he was born into, as a young man Lakota John fully embraced the illusion of glamour, bright lights and the fast pace of a big city. Trading in his cultural identity and the ways of his ancestors – a way of prayer and Spirit – he was lured by the seductive power of the city’s underworld, chasing the counterfeit lifestyle of money and self gain.

After travelling down many dead end roads in a reckless disregard for life, the light finally dawned, and Lakota awakened to the prompting of Spirit and ancient ancestors calling him back to the Red Road of Sobriety. Finding his innocence, or inner sense, by working through his past, he began to walk the straight and narrow path that leads to the sacred Tree of Life and reunion with the Highest Good, God or Wakan Tanka.

The impact his own restoration had on his life moved him to reach out to others, and ever since he has been involved in the mental health sector and working with keepers of the sacred pathways and knowledge for over twenty years. Through the lifestyle he once lived he is able to recognize the unseen enemy that binds and captivates the soul of man and woman through separation, suppression and sedation. Using the time-tested spiritual wisdom of his ancestors he helps guide others back from the dark world that he himself used to live in; the world of illusion, delusion and separation.

Website: fourwindswellness.org

Interview recorded 6/10/2017

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

407. Robert Saltzman

Robert SaltzmanIn the midst of his career as an artist and photographer, Robert Saltzman experienced a sudden and profound awakening—a deep vision into the actual nature of “myself.” That abrupt change in point of view, along with a subsequent long illness and slow recovery, changed the course of his life. He left the art world, obtained a doctorate in Depth Psychology, and began his practice of psychotherapy, a work he describes as “days in a small room, face to face with pain and suffering.”

As an adjunct to his therapy practice, Robert established a website that featured his replies to questions about psychology, consciousness, and ordinary problems of living such as relationships, personality disorders, sexuality, mental illness, death and dying, etc. That site became the most popular “ask the psychologist” web page on the internet, and has welcomed over four million visitors.

In 2012, Robert moved his question and answer work to a Facebook page where it continues to this day. The Ten Thousand Things is a book of words and images about awakening, consciousness, philosophy, and spirituality. Forty chapters–each beginning with a photograph–based upon Robert’s replies to questions posed to him on Facebook and in private correspondence.

Book: The Ten Thousand Things(Free book excerpt)

Facebook Pages:

Website: dr-robert.com

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