699. Brad Laughlin & Anna Breytenbach

Brad Laughlin is the author of Living with Enlightenment—A Journey of Love, which is about his 25-year life-partnership with Leslie Temple-Thurston, a teacher of enlightenment, and the profound spiritual transformation he experienced. With Leslie, he is co-author of two books, The Marriage of Spirit—Enlightened Living in Today’s World and Returning to Oneness—The Seven Keys of Ascension.

Brad is dedicated to finding innovative ways of helping people to awaken spiritually and to find love, joy and inspiration during these times of great change. Using ancient Truth teachings, yogic practices and spiritual psychology, he offers simple yet powerful practices for dissolving old, limiting ego structures that keep us trapped in negativity, pain and fear. Brad’s transformative events are based on the principles of integration and unity consciousness, which help us to know our own inner Divinity—who we truly are.

Brad and Leslie are co-founders of the nonprofits, CoreLight.org and Seeds of Light.org, CoreLight’s humanitarian arm, serving marginalized communities and AIDS orphans in South Africa. Brad has a bachelor’s degree from Duke University. He is an American by birth, considers himself a global citizen and lives in both South Africa and the United States.

Anna Breytenbach is an internationally acclaimed professional interspecies communicator with over 20 years’ experience. Native to South Africa and currently based in Europe, she mentors and consults globally. Her focus is exclusively with wild places and beings, facilitating peaceful interventions and greater understanding. This includes predator research, wilderness protection, anti-poaching assistance, reforestation initiatives, wildlife management and rehabilitation. She is currently taking a sabbatical from her usual teaching and public appearances to write a book.

Anna’s passion is raising awareness and advancing the relationships among human and nonhuman animals, on both the personal and spiritual levels. Her work is the subject of the documentary movie “The Animal Communicator”, watched by tens of millions of people (and a few of their pets), available on YouTube.

Discussion of this interview in the BatGap Community Facebook Group

Summary and transcript of this interview

Interview recorded January 28, 2024

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

698. Swami Medhananda

Swami Medhananda is a monk of the Ramakrishna Order and an academic philosopher, currently serving as Senior Research Fellow in Philosophy at the Vedanta Society of Southern California in Hollywood. He is also the Hindu Chaplain at both UCLA and the University of Southern California. He is Section Editor for the International Journal of Hindu Studies (Springer), overseeing submissions in Hindu and Cross-Cultural Philosophy of Religion. From 2010 to 2021, he was Associate Professor and Head of the Program in Philosophy at the Ramakrishna Mission Vivekananda Educational and Research Institute in Belur Math, West Bengal. He received his PhD in 2009 from the University of California at Berkeley, where he specialized in German aesthetics. He was also a Fulbright Scholar at the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin (2006–7) and a Visiting Student at Oxford University (2000–1). His current research focuses on global philosophy of religion, the epistemology of mystical experience, cosmopsychism, Indian scriptural hermeneutics, and Vedāntic philosophical traditions, especially the philosophies of Sri Ramakrishna, Swami Vivekananda, and Sri Aurobindo.

He is the author of three books: Swami Vivekananda’s Vedāntic Cosmopolitanism (Oxford University Press, 2022), Infinite Paths to Infinite Reality: Sri Ramakrishna and Cross-Cultural Philosophy of Religion (Oxford University Press, 2018), and The Dialectics of Aesthetic Agency: Revaluating German Aesthetics from Kant to Adorno (Bloomsbury, 2013). He is the editor of The Bloomsbury Research Handbook of Vedānta (2020) and co-editor, with Benedikt Paul Göcke, of Panentheism in Indian and Western Thought: Cosmopolitan Interventions (Routledge, 2023). He is also the editor of two special issues of the International Journal of Hindu Studies, one on “Swami Vivekananda as a Cosmopolitan Thinker” (2023) and one on “Vedāntic Theodicies” (2021). He has published over thirty articles in leading academic journals.

He is currently working on two book projects: Karma and Rebirth in Hinduism (Cambridge University Press, under contract) and An All-Embracing Oneness: Sri Aurobindo’s Integral Advaita and the Legacy of Sri Ramakrishna (Oxford University Press, under contract).

Discussion of this interview in the BatGap Community Facebook Group

Summary and transcript of this interview.

Interview recorded January 22, 2024.

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

693. Jem Bendell

Professor Jem Bendell is a world-renowned scholar on the breakdown of modern societies due to environmental change. Downloaded over a million times, his Deep Adaptation paper is credited with inspiring the growth of the Extinction Rebellion movement in 2018, and created a global network of to reduce harm in the face of societal collapse. He completed his PhD at the University of Bristol and his Geography BA (Hons) at the University of Cambridge. For decades he worked on Sustainable Development as a researcher and NGO manager, as well as a consultant to businesses, political parties and UN agencies. One of his specialisms since 2011 is pro-social currency innovation, with his TEDx from that year explaining reasons for Bitcoin and similar. In 2017, he co-led the development of the UK Labour Party’s communications plan for the General Election and co-wrote speeches for their top politicians. Although recognised in 2012 as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum, Jem has been increasingly critical of the globalist agenda on sustainable development. Away from that work, he is partner in an organic farm school in Bali (bekandze.net) and supports meditation retreats at the main Buddhist Temple on the island.

Website: jembendell.com


Discussion of this interview in the BatGap Community Facebook Group

Summary and transcript of this interview

Interview recorded October 28, 2023

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

YouTube Video Chapters:

  • 00:00:00 – Introduction to Professor Jem Bandel
  • 00:03:58 – Introducing “Breaking Together” and its Hypothesis
  • 00:07:56 – The Shift in Collective Consciousness
  • 00:11:47 – The Importance of the Dark Night of the Soul
  • 00:15:32 – The IPCC’s Desire for Consensus
  • 00:19:03 – Siloed Science and the Denial of Climate Change
  • 00:22:44 – A New Form, A New Identity Structure, A New Kind of Safety
  • 00:26:24 – Finding Inner Presence in Times of Chaos
  • 00:30:21 – Faith and the Sense of Time
  • 00:34:18 – The Catastrophic Risks of Climate Change
  • 00:38:04 – Climate Change and Public Dialogue
  • 00:41:35 – Debunking the Study on Free Will
  • 00:45:06 – The Importance of Ocean Health to Climate Change Awareness
  • 00:48:47 – Rejecting Activist Stunts and Embracing Community Preparedness
  • 00:53:20 – Indigenous Environmental Stewardship
  • 00:57:28 – Eternity and the Meaning of Life
  • 01:01:31 – A Vision for Freedom and Connection
  • 01:05:04 – Consciousness and Reincarnation
  • 01:08:40 – Collapse Acceptance and Joy
  • 01:12:30 – The Source of the Theory of Spiritual Awakening
  • 01:15:26 – The Possibility of Human Extinction
  • 01:18:54 – Examining Deep Stories and the Importance of Consciousness
  • 01:22:15 – Collective Consciousness and Spiritual Awakening
  • 01:26:14 – The Scientific Attitude and the Future of Human Society
  • 01:29:14 – Implications and Perspectives
  • 01:32:54 – Love Beyond Hope and Social Engagement as a Gift
  • 01:36:23 – The Cultural Breakthrough of the Beatles
  • 01:38:52 – Feeling Empathy for Others
  • 01:42:51 – Becoming Oceanic in Consciousness
  • 01:46:54 – The Meaning of Life and Personal Values
  • 01:50:05 – Conversation with Jem about his book