472. Steve Briggs

Steve BriggsAs a teenager, Steve Briggs met his guru at a meditation retreat in the Swiss Alps. After studying English Literature at the University of Arizona on a tennis scholarship, the author received an MBA and a Ph.D. in Vedic Studies, and traveled internationally instructing thousands in the art of meditation.

Steve is a devotee of Mata Amritanandamayi (Amma), whom he met in India in 1996. He has been practicing Transcendental Meditation (TM) for the past 46 years and credits his guru, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, with showing him the path to enlightenment.

Steve currently coaches the Maharishi School boys’ tennis team. His players have won four state high school championships, including the 2014 triple crown. Steve has trained two national champions and a top 50 ATP professional tour player.

In 1994, Steve Briggs was sent to India to teach TM to corporate executives. During his seven years in India, Steve traveled repeatedly to the high Himalaya where he encountered many yogis and sadhus.

Discussion of this interview in the BatGap Community Facebook Group.

Interview recorded September 24, 2018.

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

462. Dena Merriam

Dena MerriamDena Merriam has been working in the interfaith field for 20 years and founded the Global Peace Initiative of Women (GPIW) in 2002. Initially the organization was designed to provide a global platform for women spiritual leaders to organize and mediate dialogues in areas of conflict and tension. This soon expanded to include an equal number of men and women spiritual teachers and to deal with a range of issues, including climate change, ecological destruction, racial inequity, etc. The premise for the gatherings organized by GPIW is that at the heart of all these issues is a spirtual crisis and the way to address them is a shift in consciousness. Dena has served on the boards of the Harvard University Center for World Religions, the International Center for Religion and Diplomacy, Dharma Drum Mountain Buddhist Association, among others. In 2014 she was awarded the Niwano Peace Prize. Over the years as memories of past births have arisen, Dena has recorded them in order to better understand the karmic patterns. She has now shared her memories in My Journey Through Time: A Spiritual Memoir of Life, Death, and Rebirth, in the hope that others will gain insight into their own lives through this sharing.

Discussion of this interview in the BatGap Community Facebook Group.

Interview recorded July 14, 2018

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

461. Christopher “Hareesh” Wallis

Christopher WallisChristopher Wallis, also known as Hareesh, is a scholar-practitioner with thirty years of experience, having been initiated into the practice of yogic meditation at sixteen, and fifteen years of formal education. His degrees include a B.A. in Religion and Classics from the University of Rochester, an M.A. in Sanskrit from U.C. Berkeley, an M.Phil. in Classical Indian Religions from Oxford, and a Ph.D. in Sanskrit from U.C. Berkeley. His doctoral dissertation focused on the role of spiritual experience in the tradition of Tantric Shaivism. Additionally, he received traditional education at yoga āshrams in upstate New York and India, training in meditation, mantra-science, kīrtan, karma-yoga, and pedagogy. He currently teaches meditation, yoga darśana (practical philosophy), Tantrik philosophy, Sanskrit, mantra-science, and offers spiritual counseling.

Hareesh is the Founder and Head Faculty of Tantrik Yoga NOW. His teachers, mentors, and gurus, in chronological order, include: Gurumayī Chidvilāsānandā (dīkṣā-guru), Paul Muller-Ortega (Śaiva Tantra and Classical Yoga); Alexis Sanderson (Śaiva and Śākta Tantra and Sanskrit); Marshall Rosenberg (Nonviolent Communication); Somadeva Vasudeva (Śaiva Tantra), Kolbjorn Martens (Tantrik Yoga); and Adyashanti (Meditation).

Hareesh is the author of Tantra Illuminated: The Philosophy, History, and Practice of a Timeless Tradition and The Recognition Sutras: Illuminating a 1,000-Year-Old Spiritual Masterpiece.

Website: hareesh.org

Discussion of this interview in the BatGap Community Facebook Group.

Interview recorded July 7, 2018.

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