563. Diana Durham

Diana DurhamDiana Durham is a British/American poet and writer who draws on archetype to explore our identity.

She’s a poet, writer, and documentary film producer who, following a degree in English Literature from University College, London, took the ‘path less traveled’ and became involved in an intentional community in England, the United States, and Canada. In the early 1990’s she was among a grouping who began to explore dialogue and collective intelligence with the late theoretical physicist David Bohm.

Her most recent book Coherent Self, Coherent World: A New Synthesis Of Myth, Metaphysics & Bohm’s Implicate Order explores how our thinking becomes coherent when our ‘personality self’ is in a meaningful relationship with a deeper, more intuitive quality of awareness and identity. And it also traces how, when we are disconnected from this intuitive source, our thinking becomes incoherent leading to problematic outcomes.

The work grew out of her deep study of the Arthurian and Grail Myths, explored in her former nonfiction book, The Return of King Arthur: Finishing the Quest for Wholeness, Inner Strength, and Self-Knowledge, as well as her participation in dialogue with Bohm.

Other works include the novel The Curve of the Land; and three poetry books:

Her poems have also appeared in numerous magazines in the UK and USA, including Orbis, Tears in the Fence, Kindred Spirit, Mankato Review, Northern New England Review, Parabola, and Ecozone@:European Journal of Literature, Culture and Environment from Leiden University, The Netherlands,  as well as in twelve anthologies, including Soul of the Earth The Awen Anthology of Eco-Spiritual Poetry edited by Jay Ramsay, published by Awen Press, UK, The 2008 Poets’ Guide to New Hampshire published by the Poetry Society of New Hampshire and Diamond Cutters: Visionary Poets in America, Britain & Oceania edited by Andrew Harvey and Jay Ramsay, published by Tayen Lane.

She also wrote, performed, and co-produced a dramatic retelling of the Grail Myth called Perceval & the Grail which is in CD and downloadable form as an audio play as well as a 15-part animated series on YouTube.

She was a Visiting Research Associate at the Women’s Studies Research Centre, Brandeis in 2011, and gave talks and workshops using the grail myth sponsored by the NH Humanities Council (in the US), as well as national and international women’s groups and business executives leadership training courses. In addition to writing books, she collaborates with her husband as writer/producer of documentary films. Their current project is a series of short films, ‘Making Sense’. For their first film, they talked to psychiatrist Dr. Iain McGilchrist, author of ‘The Master & His Emissary: The Divided Brain and the Making of Western Culture’.

Website: dianadurham.net

Discussion of this interview in the BatGap Community Facebook Group.

Interview recorded August 8, 2020

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.

561. Andrew Hewson

Andrew HewsonAndrew Hewson is a contemporary spiritual teacher whose focus is on the realization of the Presence of Divinity as one’s fundamental Source and Self. Emphasizing transcendence as a process that can not only be undergone in the midst of daily living but even facilitated by it, Andrew speaks from the experiential reality of having been carried by the Grace of total transformation in the context of daily life.

Growing up in the Southeastern United States, Andrew’s childhood was characterized by a state of lightness, freedom, and underlying connection.  This effortless Way of Being was taken as an unspoken given until an intense qualitative shift took place in his early teens. The condition which once prevailed progressively became replaced by an acute sense of separation, limitation, and lack, leaving little room for functional participation in the common activities of human life.  With this radical drop into apparent fragmentation, Andrew began to seek relief wherever possible. This seeking eventually led to the discovery of altered states of consciousness through the use of alcohol and drugs which quickly spiraled into the pits of despair.

After years of unsuccessfully attempting to live from such a constricted sense of identity, Andrew found himself in a medical isolation jail cell facing 30 years in prison. It was there, in the midst of absolute hopelessness and despair, that the Grace of Surrender shone forth, bringing about a profound shift in Consciousness. This transformation revealed a Still, Silent Presence, or Field, Divine in Its Nature, and ignited a fire for spiritual evolution.

With a natural and impersonal application, Andrew was given to prayer, meditation, and spontaneous investigation into the nature of identity. The process of Transcendence took place in the day-to-day ebb and flow of human life, culminating in the replacement of the sense of a personal, separate self with the Infinite Context of Divinity.  This Reality has since lived and loved while engaged in the common activities of the human experience, serving wherever possible while still finding space for silent reflection in Nature and tasting the Infinite expansion of further refinement.

The role of speaking and teaching is not something that was decided upon at a given point in time but is rather a spontaneous and uncontainable expression of the Love that prevails in the condition from which the words emerge. Andrew speaks effortlessly by the grace of Divinity and gives all Glory to the One that abides in the Hearts of All.

He also lectures on the evolution of conscious experiencing and the application of this understanding in areas of human suffering such as addiction, mental illness, and eating disorders.

Andrew currently resides in Western North Carolina with his wife and partner Elle Hewson where they are working together with devoted friends to be of greater service to those who have been called to Truth, Love, and the fulfillment of Our Highest potential.

Website: nondual-devotion.com

Discussion of this interview in the BatGap Community Facebook Group.

Interview recorded July 25, 2020

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