582. Daniel P. Brown

Dr. Daniel P. BrownDr. Daniel Brown has been a clinical and forensic psychologist for almost 50 years. He has been at Harvard Medical School for almost 40 years. He has been a student of, translator for, and meditation master in the Indo-Tibetan and Bon meditation tradition for almost 50 years. He has the only Western neuroscience study identifying the brain changes in the shift from ordinary mind to awakened mind.

Books:

Websites:

Main points discussed in this interview:

  • Whether enlightenment is correlated with ethical behavior. Enlightenment is a holistic development, where all lines of development have flourished.
  • An explanation of the four clouds of the Heart Sutra.
  • Establishing neurophysiological correlates of enlightenment.
  • What does it mean to see the world as sacred?
  • Development of multiple bodies serving different functions simultaneously (as a result of enlightenment). Has the Dalai Lama done this?
  • A baseball player who trained by having tennis balls fired in a batting cage at 200mph. A discussion of the relative speeds of thinking, attention, and awareness.
  • Is there a personal self or entity which reincarnates?
  • An enlightened person can choose an incarnation rather than being mandated to a particular life by existing “memory traces”.
  • Detailed discussion on the rainbow body and relics found in the cremation ashes of enlightened beings who have mastered rainbow bodies.
  • The potential pitfalls of silent retreats.
  • Not mistaking preliminary stages for more advanced stages.
  • The only true test of realization is conduct, how you live your life, and how you treat other people.
  • Witnessing
  • The difference between ordinary and awakened awareness. Integrating awakened awareness into all other activity.
  • Stages in the development of concentration.
  • The process of releasing memory traces.
  • What practices are good for a beginner? Eligibility requirements for different stages of instruction.
  • Discussion of the Padmasambhava quote, “Although my awareness is as vast as the sky, my attention to karma is as fine as a grain of barley flour.” The importance of continuing vigilance after enlightenment.
  • Do enlightened people all experience a universal, ultimate reality in the same way, or do different spiritual paths and personal tendencies result in enlightenment being different for different people?
  • Can you do anything to get to non-doing?
  • Conspiracies and cult mentality. The importance of cultivating discernment on the spiritual path.
  • The importance of enlightened leaders. Can they be effective without an enlightened populace?

Discussion of this interview in the BatGap Community Facebook Group.

Interview recorded January 10, 2021

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

562. James Finley

As a contemplative practitioner and clinical psychologist, James Finley helps seekers who desire to live a contemplative, whole life. Drawing from his experience as a former monk and spiritual directee of Thomas Merton, Jim offers trustworthy guidance for the spiritual journey through his website, online courses, occasional retreats, and the Center for Action and Contemplation where he serves as a core faculty member of The Living School for Action and Contemplation with Cynthia Bourgeault and Richard Rohr. Jim is the author of several books, including:

James’s podcast, Turning to the Mystics is for people searching for something more meaningful, intimate, and richly present in the divine gift of their lives. A clinical psychologist, James offers a modern take on the historical contemplative practices of Christian mystics like Teresa of Avila and Thomas Merton. Leaning into their experiences can become a gateway to hope, healing, and oneness. In each episode, Jim reads an excerpt from a mystical text, unpacks the meaning and symbolism, and then concludes with meditation and prayer. Together with Kirsten Oates from the Center for Action and Contemplation, they explore listener questions and examine their own paths as modern contemplatives in this beautiful and broken world.

Discussion of this interview in the BatGap Community Facebook Group.

Interview recorded August 1, 2020.

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

553. Dorothy Hunt, 2nd Interview

Dorothy HuntDorothy Hunt serves as Spiritual Director of Moon Mountain Sangha, teaching at the request of Adyashanti.  She is the founder of the San Francisco Center for Meditation and Psychotherapy and has practiced psychotherapy since 1967. She is the author of Leaves from Moon Mountain, Only This!, and Ending the Search: From Spiritual Ambition to the Heart of Awareness. A contributing author to The Sacred Mirror, and Listening from the Heart of Silence: Nondual Wisdom and Psychotherapy, Dorothy is also a featured spiritual teacher in the book, Ordinary Women, Extraordinary Wisdom: The Feminine Face of Awakening.

Dorothy has a long and deep connection to the teachings of Ramana Maharshi and the path of Self-Inquiry, as well as the nondual teachings of Zen, Advaita, and the Christian mystics.  In meeting Adyashanti, she was invited beyond identification with either the absolute or relative, finding freedom in what is awake in each of us regardless of the changing faces of experience. Dorothy offers satsang, retreats, and private meetings in the San Francisco Bay area and elsewhere by invitation.

For more information, visit www.dorothyhunt.org

Discussion of this interview in the BatGap Community Facebook Group.

First BatGap interview with Dorothy Hunt.

This interview was recorded May 11, 2020, as part of an online conference offered by the Science and Nonduality Conference, held May 17-23, entitled Wisdom in Times of Crisis. The conference has finished, but you may sign up to access all of its content.

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