688. Bob Harwood

Bob HarwoodBetween 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

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

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

654. Stephen Snyder

Stephen Doetsu Snyder began meditating daily in 1976. he has practiced since in the Zen tradition as well as extensive practice in Theravada Buddhism. he is a lineage Zen teacher as well as a lineage Theravada teacher. He was also influenced by Diamond Heart teachings and practices.

He combines the ancient Buddhist heart practices with awakening practices of the Zen tradition into a heartfelt journey of realization and embodiment.

Books:

Website: awakeningdharma.org

Discussion of this interview in the BatGap Community Facebook Group.

Transcript of this interview

Interview recorded July 10, 2022

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


YouTube Video Chapters:

  • 00:00:00 – Introduction to Buddha at the Gas Pump
  • 00:04:03 – The Importance of Heart Practices in Zen
  • 00:07:34 – Dropping the Sense of Self and Transcending Identity
  • 00:11:16 – The Importance of Stability and Trust in Spiritual Experiences
  • 00:14:43 – The Nature of the Absolute
  • 00:18:25 – The Importance of Direct Experience in Understanding
  • 00:21:47 – Different Teachings on God and Jesus
  • 00:25:08 – Levels of Realization
  • 00:28:37 – The Journey of Self-Realization and Integration
  • 00:31:54 – The Importance of Ethical Behavior in the Spiritual Community
  • 00:35:24 – Addressing Doubts and Hierarchy
  • 00:38:38 – Integrating Spirituality and Law
  • 00:42:00 – The First Awakening: A Satori Experience
  • 00:45:24 – The Progress of Personal Growth
  • 00:48:54 – The Experience of the Absolute
  • 00:52:26 – Overdoing Meditation and the Need for Balance
  • 00:56:11 – Concentration and Jhana Factors
  • 00:59:17 – Releasing Effort and Deepening Meditation
  • 01:02:33 – Exploring Different Paths and Awakening Experiences
  • 01:05:58 – Retreating and Progressive Practices
  • 01:09:25 – Progression of Practice and Integration of Personal Issues
  • 01:12:59 – The Need for Personal Work and Practice
  • 01:16:20 – Difference between prana rising and Kundalini rising
  • 01:19:41 – Resistances to Awakening
  • 01:23:08 – Fear and Shifts in Consciousness
  • 01:26:25 – Balancing Heart Practices and Awakening Practices
  • 01:29:55 – The practice of innate goodness meditation and journaling
  • 01:33:16 – Working with the Inner Critic and Therapist Recommendations
  • 01:36:32 – The Shift in Consciousness
  • 01:39:42 – Retreats and Personal Journey
  • 01:43:03 – Zen Jazz and Life’s Improvisations

640. Andrew Holecek

Andrew HolecekAndrew Holecek has completed the traditional three-year Buddhist meditation retreat and teaches internationally on meditation, dream yoga, and the art of dying. He is the author of six books, and many articles, including scientific papers on lucid dreaming. Dr. Holecek is a member of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and a concert pianist, with degrees in music, biology, and a doctorate in dental surgery.  He is the co-founder of Global Dental Relief, which serves impoverished children in six developing countries; the founder of the online platform Night Club, which supports the nocturnal meditations, and the founder of the Preparing to Die Institute, a nine-month spiritual and practical training program to help with the end of life.

Books:

Website: andrewholecek.com

Discussion of this interview in the BatGap Community Facebook Group.

Transcript of this interview.

Interview recorded March 27, 2022

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

YouTube Video Chapters:

  • 00:00:00 – Introduction of Andrew Holecek
  • 00:04:45 – The Three-Year Meditation Retreat
  • 00:09:08 – The Difficulties of Retreat and Detox Process
  • 00:13:18 – The Tricky Topic of Crazy Wisdom Lineage
  • 00:17:36 – The Ethics of Enlightenment
  • 00:22:14 – The Importance of Morality and Ethics in Meditation
  • 00:26:43 – The Delicate Dance of Balancing Relative and Absolute Vectors
  • 00:30:51 – Digging deep with multiple tools
  • 00:35:04 – Finding Opportunities in Obstacles
  • 00:39:16 – Finding Teachings in Life’s Challenges
  • 00:43:47 – The Relativity of Reality and the Burden of Compassion
  • 00:48:11 – Working with Complexity and Reductionism in Life
  • 00:52:13 – The Irreducible Principles of Life
  • 00:56:28 – The Utter Immediacy of Enlightenment
  • 01:00:57 – Balancing Both/And Perspective
  • 01:05:01 – Skillful Means for Different Levels of Identity
  • 01:09:26 – Maintaining Lucidity in Sleep and Dreaming
  • 01:13:36 – Lucid dreaming and its transformative power
  • 01:18:08 – Lucidity and the Power of Light
  • 01:22:45 – The Stages of Dream Yoga
  • 01:27:21 – The Fruition of States: Turiya and Beyond
  • 01:31:52 – The Addiction to Transcendent States
  • 01:35:48 – The Integration of Science and Spirituality
  • 01:40:06 – The Balance of Spiritual Experiences
  • 01:45:00 – The Importance of Taking it Slow and Seeking Support
  • 01:49:17 – The Golden Chain of Spirituality
  • 01:53:34 – The Ripple Effect of Thoughts on Reality
  • 01:57:58 – The Presence of Kundun, the Dalai Lama’s name in Tibetan
  • 02:02:30 – The Difference Between a Lucid Dream and the Waking State
  • 02:06:29 – Similarities between Advaita Vedanta and Mahamudra & Dzogchen
  • 02:10:40 – Guest Suggestions and Closing the Topic