375. Shinzen Young, 2nd Interview

Shinzen YoungShinzen Young is an American mindfulness teacher and neuroscience research consultant.

His systematic approach to categorizing, adapting and teaching meditation has resulted in collaborations with Harvard Medical School, Carnegie-Mellon University and the University of Vermont in the bourgeoning field of contemplative neuroscience.

Shinzen’s interest in Asia began at the age of 14 when he decided to attend Japanese ethnic school in his native city of Los Angeles.

After majoring in Asian languages at UCLA, he entered a PhD program in Buddhist Studies at the University of Wisconsin. As a part of his thesis research, he lived as a Shingon (Japanese Vajrayana) monk for three years at Mount Koya, Japan. It was then that he received the name Shinzen (真善).

Also during that time, he became friends with Father William Johnston (author of Christian Zen). Fr. Johnston helped broaden Shinzen’s interests to include comparative world mysticism and the scientific study of meditative states.

Upon returning to the United States, his academic interests shifted to the dialogue between Eastern meditation and Western science.

Shinzen is known for his interactive, algorithmic approach to mindfulness, and often uses mathematical metaphors to illustrate meditative phenomena.

He is the author of The Science of Enlightenment, Natural Pain Relief and numerous audio offerings.

Shinzen leads residential retreats throughout North America. In 2006, he created the Home Practice Program. These phone-based mini-retreats are designed to make deep meditation practice accessible to anyone in the world regardless of their location, health situation, and time or financial constraints.

Websites:

Books:

First BatGap interview with Shinzen.

Interview recorded 11/26/2016

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

349. Bernardo Kastrup, 2nd Interview

Bernardo KastrupBernardo Kastrup has a Ph.D. in computer engineering with specializations in artificial intelligence and reconfigurable computing. He has worked as a scientist in some of the world’s foremost research laboratories, including the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) and the Philips Research Laboratories (where the “Casimir Effect” of Quantum Field Theory was discovered). Bernardo has authored many scientific papers and philosophy books. His three most recent books are: More Than Allegory, Brief Peeks Beyond and Why Materialism Is Baloney. He has also been an entrepreneur and founder of a successful high-tech start-up. Next to a managerial position in the high-tech industry, Bernardo maintains a philosophy blog, a video interview series, and continues to develop his ideas about the nature of reality. He has lived and worked in four different countries across continents, currently residing in the Netherlands. For a rigorous, analytical summary of his philosophical ideas, see this short, freely available pre-print paper.

Books:

First Batgap interview with Bernardo.

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

340. JC Tefft

JC TefftA former athlete, teacher, and business entrepreneur, JC is now an author, producer, and teacher who corresponds with students worldwide. A student himself, first of his enlightened father, and later of world-renowned teachers J.Krishnamurti and Eckhart Tolle, JC’s own investigation into the nature of Life and the universe led to realizations in Pure Consciousness that eventually led to the writing of his critically acclaimed book, The Christ is Not a Person: The Evolution of Consciousness and the Destiny of Man. He has written and produced a three-episode video series entitled, Pure Consciousness: The Last Frontier. It can be viewed online at jctefft.com. Non-duality teachings focused on the nature of Awakening unto Pure Conscious Awareness posted in the form of video shorts will be made available for viewing on line in the coming years.

Interview recorded 3/26/2016.

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

336. Michelle Kathryn McGee

Michelle McGeeThe work of Michelle Kathryn McGee is without context. What is without context joins everything, and nothing.

Michelle is motivated to cultivate a new blossoming of collective evolution and relieve suffering caused by what she refers to as existential dissonance. Existence has a language and words are inadequate to describe it, unless we let certain ones be framed in complex relation to each other in a way that is in harmony with subtle, dynamic reality. What Michelle has extracted is the complex algorithmic structure of existence’s language. The resulting meaning relationships beg unique forms of contemplation and are consistent with a wide range of perspective factories and factual gardens – from scientific and spiritual to philosophical.

About her spiritual journey she says, “While many people, especially in Western cultures, struggle with a search for ‘purpose’ in life, for me it’s been the opposite. That said, my purpose was never to awaken spiritually, yet that’s what eventually happened.

In 1995, at the age of 23, I had a pretty cool existential crisis. With the peace and wonder I found myself enveloped in, I went on to research a variety of academic topics from the perspective of ‘how do we know?’ After five years, I had developed a unified theory of physics.

I was also married and had a young son. I worked on staff at a university research lab and as a ghostwriter.

It was very exciting to have this beautiful theory. For many years I couldn’t figure out why other people didn’t share my enthusiasm. It had become my purpose to convince others that such a miracle was possible. While better educated than the average person, I was in no way qualified in the eyes of academicians to have such insights. ‘How can you care about qualifications when we’re talking about unification!’ was a perspective that, mercifully, seemed as obvious to me then as it does today. I learned to live with being ignored — a crackpot. I even had fun with it, and over time made my way through a wide variety of related insights using modest academic and spiritual pursuits, as well as fictional narrative, as my media. The disconnect that deepened between my inner and outer worlds, however, did lead me into murky relationship waters.

So, after a divorce, remarriage, custody battle, second child and second divorce… faced with overpowering heartbreak and raw emotion … I underwent ego death. It happened totally spontaneously, and was the biggest relief of my life. Externally my life stabilized and internally it blossomed. I let my long-time urge for unity, which had been relegated to an increasingly private corner of my life, occupy its center. While incredibly challenging to navigate, most days I took the accompanying and unrelenting healing phenomena as the adventure of a lifetime.”

That was five and a half years ago. Today Michelle remains guided only by her own divinely tuned instrument (the body), which she experiences as in communion with subtle reality. She consults with capable body-workers and a counselor for awakening support and reflection. She dances. She continues to heal her broken relationships and establish new ones as possible to expand her experience of family, community, and the divine.

And then there’s that pesky purpose that bumps along contentedly for the ride.

Websites:

Interview recorded 2/27/2016.

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

326. Penny Kelly

Penny KellyPenny Kelly is a writer, teacher, author, publisher, researcher, consultant, and Naturopathic physician. She is the owner and director of Lily Hill Farm & Learning Center in southwest Michigan where she teaches courses in Developing Intuition and the Gift of Consciousness, Getting Well Again Naturally, and Organic Gardening.

She was an engineer for Chrysler Corporation in Detroit, MI and left in 1979 to study the brain, consciousness, intelligence, intuition, perception, and cognition. This led to her work with both schools and corporations as an educational consultant specializing in Accelerated and Brain-Compatible Teaching and Learning Techniques.

Penny holds a degree in Humanistic Studies from Wayne State University and a degree in Naturopathic Medicine from Clayton College of Natural Health. She is the mother of four children has co-written or edited 23 books with others, and has written seven books of her own:

Penny lives, teaches, and writes in Lawton, Michigan.

Website: pennykelly.com

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