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 below. Audio coming soon.

581. David Lorimer

David LorimerDavid Lorimer, MA, PGCE, FRSA is a writer, lecturer, poet, and editor who is a Founder of Character Education Scotland, Programme Director of the Scientific and Medical Network, and former President of Wrekin Trust and the Swedenborg Society. He has also been editor of Paradigm Explorer since 1986 and completed his 100th issue in 2019. He was the instigator of the Beyond the Brain conference series and has co-ordinated the Mystics and Scientists conferences every year since the late 1980s.

Originally a merchant banker then a teacher of philosophy and modern languages at Winchester College, he is the author and editor of over a dozen books including Radical Prince: The Practical Vision of the Prince of Wales. His new book of essays, A Quest for Wisdom comes out in March 2021.

David is the originator of the Inspiring Purpose Values Poster Programmes, which has reached over 350,000 young people all over the world.

David is also Chair of the Galileo Commission which seeks to widen the science of consciousness beyond a materialistic world view.

Books:

In this conversation, we discuss whether consciousness fundamental or an epiphenomenon of brain functioning. If it is fundamental (our view), how can this become the accepted paradigm? If it did so, how would this change the world?

Topics covered include:

  • Does the brain produce consciousness or do the brain and everything else emerge from consciousness? What does the research say?
  • How do NDEs help answer this question?
  • If consciousness is a fundamental field, is it intelligent – a ‘transcendental universal mind’?
  • How did the scientific assumption that consciousness arises from matter become predominant?
  • How did the Church retard scientific progress?
  • The Galileo Commission – so named because just as Galileo’s critics refused to look through his telescope, modern scientists refuse to look at evidence suggesting that consciousness is fundamental.
  • Scientists are often unaware of the broader assumptions underpinning their work.
  • Historical tension between religious mystics and administrators.
  • If the primacy of consciousness were widely understood and experienced, we would realize our essential oneness. This would transform politics and all other fields of human endeavor. Lacking this knowledge and experience, people, corporations, and politics tend to be ‘excessively individualistic’ – placing self-interest before the good of the whole. This includes short-sightedness, denying or ignoring slow-moving catastrophes such as climate change.
  • Quantum physics undermined materialism a century ago, but other sciences such as biology have maintained it.
  • Mind and matter emerge from a deeper reality – a coherent field that can be accessed through mystical experience.
  • Discussion on the importance of experiential understanding of consciousness in education and opposition from religious fundamentalists.
  • In most cases, paradigm shifts start with a creative minority (5%) and gradually grow to become the norm.
  • Humanity is now too clever to survive without wisdom.

Discussion of this interview in the BatGap Community Facebook Group.

Interview recorded December 19, 2020

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

579. Conspirituality, with Derek Beres, Matthew Remski, and Julian Walker

ConspiritualityA conversation with the hosts of the Conspirituality Podcast website. As they describe it, their podcast is…

A weekly study of converging right-wing conspiracy theories and faux-progressive wellness utopianism.

At best, the conspirituality movement attacks public health efforts in times of crisis. At worst, it fronts and recruits for the fever-dream of QAnon.

As the alt-right and New Age horseshoe toward each other in a blur of disinformation, clear discourse and good intentions get smothered. Charismatic influencers exploit their followers by co-opting conspiracy theories on a spectrum of intensity ranging from vaccines to child trafficking. In the process, spiritual beliefs that have nurtured creativity and meaning are transforming into memes of a quickly-globalizing paranoia.

Conspirituality Podcast attempts to bring understanding to this landscape. A journalist, a cult researcher, and a philosophical skeptic discuss the stories, cognitive dissonances, and cultic dynamics tearing through the yoga, wellness, and new spirituality worlds. Mainstream outlets have noticed the problem. We crowd-source, research, analyze, and dream answers to it.

The term “conspirituality” first appeared in 2009 as the name of a Vancouver rap group that unironically dropped conspiracy keywords into beats calling for political awakening. In 2011, Charlotte Ward and David Voas used the term academically to analyze the growing overlap between the paranoid conspiracism of right-wingers and the New Age’s yearning for spiritual transformation.

Derek BeresDerek Beres is a multi-faceted author, media expert, and movement instructor based in Los Angeles.

He is the Head of Content Marketing and Community at Centered, as well as a columnist for Big Think and Psychedelic Spotlight.

One-half of EarthRise SoundSystem, he also served as music supervisor for the breakthrough documentary, DMT: The Spirit Molecule.

He is a co-host of the Conspirituality podcast. His new book, Hero’s Dose: The Case for Psychedelics in Ritual and Therapy, is out now.

Matthew RemskiMatthew Remski is a cult survivor and researcher. His 2019 book, Practice And All Is Coming: Abuse, Cult Dynamics, And Healing In Yoga And Beyond, is the first systematic analysis of pervasive cultism in the modern yoga world.

He researches and writes on abuse in spiritual movements here, as well as for publications like GEN by Medium and The Walrus. His current research is pivoting to look at cultic dynamics in conspirituality and eco-justice movements.

He lives in Toronto with his partner and their two sons.

Julian WalkerJulian Walker grew up in Zimbabwe and South Africa and has lived in LA since 1990. He is fascinated with the intersections of yoga/meditation, psychology, science, and culture. He has written extensively on cults and gurus, spiritual bypass and quantum woo in New Age circles, trauma and the body, and neuroscience and somatic psychology informing the practice and teaching of yoga. His writing can be found on Elephant Journal, MediumFreedom Becomes You, and in the 2011 book, 21st Century Yoga: Culture, Politics, and Practice. He teaches yoga and runs teacher-training programs in and around LA. Julian is also a bodyworker and the ecstatic dance DJ/facilitator for his Dance Tribe events.

Discussion of this interview in the BatGap Community Facebook Group.

Interview recorded December 5, 2020.

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