548. Ravi Ravindra

Ravi RavindraProud to be born in India as a Hindu, I will be sad if I die merely a Hindu. Convinced very early in life that all boundaries are artificially created and tend to hinder the growth of the spirit, I ended up studying at post-doctoral level Physics, Philosophy, and Religion at various universities and later teaching as a professor in these fields. Wishing to correspond to the transformational teachings of several great spiritual luminaries, especially of Krishna, Buddha, Christ, and Patañjali and of present-day masters Krishnamurti and Gurdjieff, I am interested in the actual journey of self-transformation and experiencing the inevitable shifts of focus of energy along the way.

Website: ravindra.ca

Books:

Discussion of this interview in the BatGap Community Facebook Group.

Interview recorded May 2, 2020.

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

547. Bayo Akomolafe

Bayo AkomolafeBayo Akomolafe (Ph.D.) considers his most sacred work to be learning how to be with his daughter and son, Alethea Aanya, and Kyah Jayden – and their mother, his wife, and “life-nectar”, Ijeoma. “To learn the importance of insignificance” is the way he frames a desire to reacquaint himself with a world that is irretrievably entangled, preposterously alive, and completely partial.

Bayo was born in 1983 into a Christian home, and to Yoruba parents in western Nigeria. Losing his diplomat father to a sudden heart complication, Bayo became a reclusive teenager, seeking to get to the “heart of the matter” as a response to his painful loss. He sought to apply himself to the extremes of his social conditioning, his faith, and his eventual training as a clinical psychologist – only to find that something else beyond articulation was tugging at his sleeves, wanting to be noticed. After meeting with traditional healers as part of his quest to understand trauma, mental wellbeing, and healing in new ways, his deep questions and concerns for decolonized landscapes congealed into a life devoted to exploring the nuances of a “magical” world “too promiscuous to fit neatly into our fondest notions of it.”

A fugitive to manicured disciplinarity in the academe, speaker, and proud diaper-changer, Bayo leads an earth-wide organization (The Emergence Network) as its Chief Curator and Director. The organization is set up for the re-calibration of our ability to respond to civilizational crisis – a project framed within a feminist ethos and inspired by indigenous cosmologies. He considers this a shared art – exploring the edges of the intelligible, dancing with posthumanist ideas, dabbling in the mysteries of quantum mechanics and the liberating sermon of an ecofeminism text, and talking with others about how to host a festival in Brazil – and part of his inner struggle to regain a sense of rootedness to his community. He also hosts a course (We Will Dance with Mountains) among other offerings.

In short, Bayo has given up his longing for the “end-time” and is learning to live in the “mean time”. In the middle, where we must live with confusion and make do with partial answers. His greatest vocation is, however, learning to be a satellite orbiting his greatest gift, his goddess Ijeoma, and knowing the blessings of her gravity.

Bayo is visiting professor at Middlebury College, Vermont, and has taught in universities around the world (including Sonoma State University California, Simon Frasier University Vancouver, Schumacher College Devon, Harvard University, and Covenant University Nigeria – among others). He is a consultant with UNESCO, leading efforts for the Imagining Africa’s Future (IAF) project. He speaks and teaches about his experiences around the world, and then returns to his adopted home in Chennai, India – “where the occasional whiff of cow dung dancing in the air is another invitation to explore the vitality of a world that is never still and always surprising.”

Bayo has authored two books, ‘We Will Tell Our Own Story!: The Lions of Africa Speak!’ and ‘These Wilds Beyond Our Fences: Letters to My Daughter on Humanity’s Search for Home’, and has penned forewords for many others.

Websites:

Discussion of this interview in the BatGap Community Facebook Group.

Interview recorded April 25, 2020

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

541. Houman Emami

Houman EmamiHouman Z. Emami, a native of Iran (ancient Persia), has a bright academic career in Philosophy and Religion, Holism and Consciousness, with earlier careers in Computer Science, Telecommunications, and a number of educational-institute startups. He has completed undergraduate studies in the above fields, within and without standard academic training, and he continues in his graduate and Ph.D. thesis, “On Intuition, the Heart Faculty, and Theophanies”.

Before reaching his eleventh year, Houman had lived through the Iranian revolution of 1979, the Iran and Iraq war of 1981, and the inner-city bombings and atrocities of war. “And that was just the beginning,” he tells us. Miraculous events began as a direct result of these earlier years of awakening and grew in proportion to his yearning. In this way, the dark side of war, and the lesser-known light side of war were made manifest from age five onwards. After several relocations and maturing in both eastern and western cultures before his thirtieth year, Houman had taken part in a relatively successful lifestyle, returned to academia and various spiritual practices thrice, finally taking early retirement in his late twenties, leaving all behind and spending a decade as an independent world-traveler, contemporary monk and spiritual pilgrim. These later awakenings in solitude and on the pilgrim’s walk integrated those of his early childhood.

At last, returning to the worldly life in his late thirties, he continues to impact the world he left behind. Loved ones and relations lovingly refer to him as “scribe”, “pilgrim”, and “scholar”. A “scribe” is one who decodes and deciphers the teachings of the ancient scrolls which are symbolic representations of transcendent realms made immanent within a simple framework of understanding. A “pilgrim” is one who leaves the mind behind (is a passerby), leads from the heart, ‘connects the dots’, is a bridge-builder, and a peace-maker. And a “scholar” from scolere is one who lives at ease as a student of life, truth, and wisdom. In this respect, he has written:

Let the truth of love be & become the love of truth, and the love of truth be & become the truth of love. That means, the soul genuinely desires love and truth, embraced by and swaying this way and that throughout life, in order to teach us that we must love unconditionally but when finding ourselves in the snares of selfish love, we must pursue truth; and we must pursue truth unconditionally but when we find truth become empty tradition and superstition, we must pursue love.

***

In practice, Houman’s spiritual invocation consciously began in his early teens, as a result of a near-death experience (NDE) ––taking him back to his early childhood visions, and to his native ancestral teachings of the East, near-East, and the Orient. After his near-death experience and remembering his life’s calling more fully from age five, Houman recalled all that proceeded from that age in the divine plan, walking them out and remembering them step by step.

Years later, these remembrances and awakenings culminated into visionary experiences and embodiments—involving “theophanies”, meaning divine interventions/encounters. Twelve years of practice and integration turned him into an independent spiritual pilgrim in 2003, and he has been traveling the world since. His journey has been one of the most overwhelming stories one might hear.

Houman now fully devotes his life within the education and application of wisdom teachings and transformation, with emphasis on one’s direct connection to Creator, as one interconnected whole, Unified Field, or Great-Holy- Sacred-Spirit-Mystery. His knowledge spans from various spiritual teachings to honoring a particular heritage within a singular body of teaching. After leaving the academic world, and returning to it thrice, his approach has become more experiential, theory in service to practice. “Actions speak louder than words, and the heart’s silence speaks louder than both,” he often remarks, “Silence is the ground upon which love grows.”

Houman often sits in council with people of all walks; known and unknown; healers, teachers, and spiritually endowed parents and children, and assists in the development of new openings and possibilities. Due to his unique upbringing, childhood circumstances, and experiences in awakening, Houman has a deep interest in the development and education of children, educators, and parents, whose awareness of spiritual phenomena began in childhood. One major medium employed as a practice is heart-mind inquiry and prayer in spirit, as one universal language of light, followed by various mediums, artistic expressions, and on occasion, interpersonal inquiry and dialogue.

***

He aspires in leading a lifestyle that, as closely as possible, mirrors the lives of a number of mystics and divine philosopher-sage scientists, in the way intended for him, with a strong conviction that all bodies of teaching, and modern society at large, are of a similar ancient origin, ancestry and tribe. He remarks, “We are a global village already. No need to make new ones. Even the immortal beings of legend are accessible. No sects or secrets. Enough with new ideologies. No need for long expositions on gurus and masters, or ‘scientism’ or ‘religionism’ for that matter. It is far more urgent than that, and all already here. God is closer. Realize the self now. And to walk on ground-zero, where change and transformation truly is, be humbled. Our angels, leaders, immortals, masters, and gurus, are in the trenches with us, all the way to the Most High—don’t put them out there somewhere, inaccessible, in order to remain irresponsible, too comfortable, refusing to grow up.”

Houman’s primary focus at this time is in assisting certain generations of adults and children, who are finding their invocation in the current world at large; those with similar challenges of self-acceptance and a unique awareness of how to spiritually navigate the world, given certain earth-shattering divine gifts of grace from early childhood are at play!

All there is, IS Love for Love IS…

Discussion of this interview in the BatGap Community Facebook Group.

Interview recorded March 14, 2020

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