387. Mukti, Francis Bennett, Loch Kelly: “Emptiness is also Form” (Panel Discussion at the SAND Conference)

On 10/21/2016 at the Science and Nonduality Conference, Loch Kelly, Mukti and Francis Bennett discuss the paradoxical understanding reflected in the famous Heart Sutra’s saying, “Form is emptiness and emptiness is form. Form is none other than emptiness and emptiness is none other than form.” They have noticed that many people get caught half-way after an initial awakening in a kind of spiritual bypass: stuck in stillness, spaced-out, blissed-in or attached to the conceptual belief that “I am nobody.” What are the pointers and supports to realize the already manifest life arising out of the unmanifest awareness? They give examples of the fullness of waking-up from a limited sense of self to pure awareness, then also waking-in to our bodies and waking-out to relating and creating in the world. Loch, Mukti and Francis discuss the importance the dancing emptiness of embodiment and how to live from open-hearted awareness.

MuktiMukti, whose name means “liberation”, is a teacher in the lineage of Adyashanti, her husband. Together they founded Open Gate Sangha in 1996 to cultivate the awakening of consciousness in those who yearn for truth, peace, and freedom. In teaching, Mukti brings flavors of feminine quietude and nurturing as well as kinesthetic, visual, and precise pointers to Truth. Many speak of her being particularly gifted in her offering of guided meditations. Her keen interest as a teacher is in revelation of consciousness touching and transforming human experience. She is licensed in acupuncture and certified in yoga instruction. For sample teachings, audio clips and downloads, and further information, visit muktisource.org. Audio Book: The Self in Full Bloom

Previous BatGap interview with Mukti

Francis BennettFrancis Bennett entered the Trappist Abbey of Gethsemane in 1981 and in the 90’s subsequently lived at a “daughter house” of Gethsemane in Moncks Corner, South Carolina. Until recently, he was living in a small urban monastery in Montreal Quebec. He has been a “spiritual seeker” during all those years, practicing in the Christian mystical/contemplative Tradition and working deeply with teachers in both the Vipassana and Zen Traditions as well. In 2010 he experienced a profound perceptual “shift” in which he realized the ever-present presence of pure Awareness, which some would call, the Presence of God.

You may contact Francis by email, Skype (francisdale3), his Facebook page, or through his website. Francis’ book: “I Am That I Am: Discovering the Love, Peace, Joy and Stability of the True Self“.

Previous BatGap interviews involving Francis:

Loch KellyLoch Kelly, M.Div., LCSW is the author of, Shift into Freedom: The Science and Practice of Open-Hearted Awareness. He is an educator, licensed psychotherapist and recognized leader in the field of nondual meditation who was asked to teach Sutra Mahamudra by Mingyur Rinpoche and nondual meditation by Adyashanti. Loch has worked in community mental health, established homeless shelters and counseled family members of 9/11. He is the founder of the non-profit Open-Hearted Awareness Institute. Loch collaborates with neuroscientists at Yale, UPenn and NYU to study how awareness training can enhance compassion and well-being. For more information, visit lochkelly.org.

Previous BatGap interview with Loch.

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

373. Adyashanti and Francis Bennett – “The Embrace of Jesus and Buddha”

jesus-buddha-paintingAdyashanti and Francis Bennett in a public dialog about the parallels and differences between Jesus and the Buddha, as two complimentary yet very different models of awakening. Where the Buddha emphasized inner peace and the transcendence of samsara, Christ emphasized embodying divine humanity in the midst of samsara, embracing the human condition in order to serve those who are lost in ignorance.

Adya came to a deeper appreciation of Jesus by way of his study of Zen, while Francis ─ a former Trappist monk turned non-dual teacher ─ came to Buddhism by way of immersion in mystical Christianity.

“The Christ comes to disturb, to stir up the pot, to descend to the chaotic earthly realm, and to get people to move out of their limited comfort zones and indifference toward others and life in general: to help us transform and transmute the personal and social dimension of what it means to be a human being in a human society. The Buddha comes to bring inner peace by awakening us up and out of our over-identification with the personal, and help us to realize who we are in transcendence, who we are as “trans-personal” persons. You need both approaches. They are opposite sides of the one “coin” of awakening.” — Francis Bennett

AdyashantiAdyashanti, is an American-born spiritual teacher and author devoted to serving the awakening of all beings. His teachings are an open invitation to stop, inquire, and recognize what is true and liberating at the core of all existence. Asked to teach in 1996 by his Zen teacher of 14 years, Adyashanti offers teachings that are free of any tradition or ideology. “The Truth I point to is not confined within any religious point of view, belief system, or doctrine, but is open to all and found within all.” He teaches throughout North America and Europe, offering satsangs, weekend intensives, silent retreats, and a live internet radio broadcast.

Previous BatGap posts involving Adyashanti:

Website: adyashanti.org

Francis BennettFrancis Bennett entered the Trappist Abbey of Gethsemane in 1981 and in the 90’s subsequently lived at a “daughter house” of Gethsemane in Moncks Corner, South Carolina. Until recently, he was living in a small urban monastery in Montreal Quebec. He has been a “spiritual seeker” during all those years, practicing in the Christian mystical/contemplative Tradition and working deeply with teachers in both the Vipassana and Zen Traditions as well. In 2010 he experienced a profound perceptual “shift” in which he realized the ever-present presence of pure Awareness, which some would call, the Presence of God.

You may contact Francis by email, Skype (francisdale3), his Facebook page, or through his website. Francis’ book: “I Am That I Am: Discovering the Love, Peace, Joy and Stability of the True Self“.

Previous BatGap interviews involving Francis:

Recorded 10/25/2016 at the Santa Cruz Open Circle.

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

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371. Adyashanti and Susanne Marie on the Falling Away of Self

adyashanti-susanne-marieJoin Susanne Marie and Adyashanti in an exploration about an often misunderstood subject. Beyond the traditional landing places that mind creates (commonly discussed in non-dual circles), lies an indescribable landscape of living as pure, direct experiencing. Prior to this opening, the habitual subjective filter creates a veil of separation of which one is not even aware. This is true even within expanded, unified states of consciousness. Once this filter falls away, life is experienced directly, as itself, without any intermediary.

Adyashanti, is an American-born spiritual teacher and author devoted to serving the awakening of all beings. His teachings are an open invitation to stop, inquire, and recognize what is true and liberating at the core of all existence. Asked to teach in 1996 by his Zen teacher of 14 years, Adyashanti offers teachings that are free of any tradition or ideology. “The Truth I point to is not confined within any religious point of view, belief system, or doctrine, but is open to all and found within all.” He teaches throughout North America and Europe, offering satsangs, weekend intensives, silent retreats, and a live internet radio broadcast.

Previous BatGap posts involving Adyashanti:

Website: adyashanti.org

A lifelong spiritual explorer, Susanne Marie offers teachings in support of freedom, meeting in sacred mutuality, and celebrating our common essence of Love and Unity with all life. Her work is transformational and empowering, as she points to the remembering of That which we have always been, allowing truth to become ever more conscious of Itself through a human life. Susanne, the mother of two teenagers, lives in Northern California and works with individuals and groups, offering spiritual mentoring to those who feel called to work with her. She is available for Skype and phone sessions as well as open to invitations to share with groups.

Website: susannemarie.org

Previous BatGap posts involving Susanne Marie:

Transcript of this discussion.

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

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318. Hameed Ali (A. H. Almaas) and Karen Johnson on Nondual Relationships

A. H. AlmaasA. Hameed Ali was born in Kuwait in 1944. At the age of eighteen, he moved to the USA to study at the University of California in Berkeley. Hameed was working on his Ph.D. in physics when he reached a turning point in his life and destiny that led him more and more into inquiring into the psychological and spiritual aspects of human nature.

Hameed’s interest in the truth of human nature and the true nature of reality resulted in the creation and unfoldment of the Diamond Approach®:

“The Diamond Approach is a path of wisdom, an approach to the investigation of Reality and work on oneself that leads to human maturity and liberation. Because of our particular vision of Reality it is not completely accurate to think of this approach as spiritual work, for this work does not separate the spiritual from the psychological, neither does it see these two as separate from the physical everyday life and scientific investigation of the content of perception. However, because we live in a society where the prevailing thought is that of the separated facets of Reality, the closest category recognized in this mentality, to our approach, is that of a spiritual path or exploration.”

Some of Hameed’s many books:

Website: ahalmaas.com

1st interview with Hameed

2nd interview with Hameed

Karen JohnsonKaren Johnson is a co-founder of the Diamond Approach as it is taught in the Ridhwan School, a contemporary original spiritual understanding and path, expressing timeless wisdom on self-realization using the insights of our time. She is a colleague and friend of Hameed Ali (A.H. Almaas). Her life is dedicated to the discovery of inner freedom and sharing the treasures with humankind.

In this interview, we discussed how the Diamond Approach is evolving, what differentiates it from other traditions, and the most recent developments of the past 15 years, about which Karen and Hameed have only recently begun to teach, speak and write.

Neither the depths of spirit nor the surface of the mundane world can adequately express what reality is and what is possible for each of us. How can our human lives be both the arena for spiritual practice and enlightenment, and the occasion for our true being to express its infinite possibilities?

When we realize that we are each the miracle of matter and spirit and at the same time we are neither, our everyday ordinary experiences can become doorways to further possibilities of reality, of awakening to our spiritual potential in its endless possibilities. True Being lives through the particulars of our lives, utilizing them to reveal its potentialities. The Diamond Approach explores how to use our personal situations as occasions for practice and learning, and as opportunities for expression of our finer spiritual qualities. It enables people to work with their everyday experiences of work, relationships, play, creativity, love, sex and so on to learn to be the transcendent living a human life. Its students learn to employ each particular situation within this world to go beyond it in a way that includes it. Inclusive transcendence enables our human consciousness to view reality beyond the concepts of duality and nonduality. Each particular situation affords us the opportunity to use its energies and forces to liberate and optimize our experience. Following such path, it becomes natural to be of help to others and to life in general.

Book: The Power of Divine Eros: The Illuminating Force of Love in Everyday Life

Website: ridhwan.org

Individual interview with Karen

Recorded 10/23/2015 at the Science and Nonduality Conference.

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

312. Group Discussion at Sofia University, Part 2

Sophia-group-CompWhile out in California for the Science and Nonduality Conference, I had some downtime before the conference started, so I decided to tape a long panel discussion with a rather large group of friends, most of them previous guests on Batgap. Sofia University in Palo Alto (where transpersonal psychology was founded by Abraham Maslow and others), generously provided a room and video equipment. I’m especially grateful to Dr. Jeffery Martin, who conducts research there, for offering and organizing this. It was an experiment, and some were skeptical that it would work, but it did! Main points of discussion in this part include:

  • The panel reflects on the morning session from direct experience after meditating together.
  • Discussion of spiritual teachers and how awakening can come with new charisma and confidence along with an ability to enliven others which can lead to ego aggrandizement. Panel discusses what to be aware of and how to share with humility and grace.
  • Spiritual Maturity – Importance of ongoing psychological growth and healing post-awakening. Benefit of peer check-in, therapy, and support.
  • Sharing of ideas of new paradigm for spiritual teaching to include humanness and meeting students as equals. Importance of honesty and sharing humanity and personality and not playing a role.
  • Experiences of subtle realms and beings, psychic powers, siddis that can naturally arise. Refinement and exploring dimensions of consciousness,
  • Skilfully sharing gifts and graces that arise with awakening for the good of all.
  • Importance of developing spiritual maturity and continued growth and healing.
  • When is mystical experience useful and the benefit of guides in such openings.
  • A discussion of healing and wellness in association to awakening.
  • Are awakening and healing interrelated or separate journeys?
  • Is it important to heal before awakening or can healing take place afterwards? Refinement and purification of physiology.
  • Is healing necessary for an abiding awakening?
  • Functioning in daily life after an initial awakening.
  • Panel shares their leading / learning edge right now to enter the conversation with vulnerable truth.

Participants included:

Name Other Batgap Interview(s) Website(s)
Canela Michelle Meyers 12/18/2011, 9/24/2015 canelamichelle.com
Chuck Hillig 7/21/2010 chuckhillig.com
Clare Blanchflower 9/25/2015 clareblanchflower.com
Craig Holliday 1/3/2015 craigholliday.com
Dana Sawyer 9/29/2010, 2/9/2014*, 3/19/2016 dana-sawyer.com
David Buckland 9/25/2015 davidya.ca
David Ellzey 1/16/2016 davidellzey.com
Francis Bennett 8/4/2012, 4/21/2013* 10/26/2013*, 5/24/2014*, 10/23/2014*, 10/21/2016, 10/25/2016* findinggraceatthecenter.com
Jeffery Martin 1/25/2017 drjefferymartin.com
nonsymbolic.org
Kiran Trace 11/2/2013, 09/24/2015 kirantrace.com
Kristin Kirk 2/16/2014, 5/24/2014* kristinkirk.com
Laurie Moore 7/21/2012, 10/24/2013 counselingscottsvalley.us – Psychotherapy
animiracles.com – Coaching/readings for humans and animals
Mariana Caplan 2/3/2012, 1/6/2013 realspirituality.com
Rick Archer 6/5/2010, 3/16/2013, 5/11/2014, 10/23/2015 You’re on it.
Susanne Marie 7/7/2013, 10/24/2014*, 10/23/2016* susannemarie.org

*In group discussion.

Recorded 10/22/2015

Part 1 of this discussion

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

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