688. Bob Harwood

Between the age of 20 and 40 I was consumed with a wide range of existential questions, but despite endless thinking and reading, I never found a single answer. Due to some business-related stress at the age of 40, I started a simple meditative exercise as a way to acquire some peace of mind, and within two weeks a major insight occurred that led to more meditative activities. Five months later a huge cosmic-consciousness event answered seven of my questions and catapulted me into a different reality. I then concluded that all answers were “within,” and for the next 15 years I went on silent meditation retreats with Christians, Buddhists, and Advaita groups during which all of my other questions got answered. Nevertheless, I still did not feel free. Then, a new question arose, “How is it possible to stay in a unity-conscious state of mind permanently rather than oscillating between a sense of selfhood and no-self?” In 1999, after a deep experience of gratitude on a solo hiking retreat, “the little guy in the head” (the sense of a personal “me”) totally vanished, and the result was freedom, contentment, and understanding.

Book: Pouring Concrete: A Zen Path to the Kingdom of God – Expanded Edition

Bob’s email

Transcript and summary of this interview

Discussion of this interview in the BatGap Community Facebook Group

Interview recorded August 19, 2023

YouTube Video Chapters:

00:00:00 – Introduction to Buddha at the Gas Pump
00:04:43 – Questioning Beliefs and Exploring Existential Questions
00:08:25 – The Journey of Seeking Answers in Zen Philosophy
00:12:17 – The Shift in Perception
00:16:07 – A Reality Shift
00:19:54 – The End of the Construction Company
00:24:03 – Realization of the Incomprehensible
00:28:16 – Simple answers to Zen riddles
00:32:17 – Finding Freedom in the Middle of Responsibilities
00:35:50 – Questioning Selfhood and Freedom in the Mountains
00:38:59 – The Dissolution of the Sense of Self
00:42:30 – The True Self and Identity
00:46:00 – The Silence of the Mind
00:49:19 – Non-Abidance in the Mind
00:52:39 – The Kingdom of God Inside and Outside of You
00:55:59 – Shifting Attention Beyond the Mind
01:02:47 – The Benefits of Practice and Reconfiguration
01:06:16 – The Natural Inclination to Help Others
01:09:50 – The Depth of Awakening
01:13:12 – Falling Asleep During Meditation
01:16:26 – Realizing the Irrelevance of a Silent Mind
01:20:00 – Seeking Benefit in the Present Moment
01:23:32 – Intuition and the Home of All Knowledge
01:27:00 – Knowing and achieving specific things in life
01:30:50 – The Blissful State on the Deathbed
01:34:07 – Embracing the Unknowable Future
01:37:31 – The Universal Sound
01:40:44 – The Challenges of Maintaining Friendships
01:48:00 – Wrapping Up with Bob