523. Barbara & Charles Whitfield

Charles & Barbara WhitfieldBarbara Whitfield was a researcher at the University of Connecticut Medical School with psychiatry professor Bruce Greyson. Together they researched the after-effects of people who have had a Near-Death Experience. She taught at Rutger’s University’s Institute for Alcohol and Drug Studies School for 12 years, served on the board and executive board of The International Association for Near-Death Studies and was president of the Kundalini Research Network. She’s been a guest expert on Larry King Live (twice), The Today Show, Man Alive, Donahue, Unsolved Mysteries, PM Magazine, Good Morning America, Oprah, Joan Rivers, Sonya Freeman, CNN Medical News, and Alabama Public Television, Imus, and All Things Considered. She also writes self-help books and provides workshops and speaking engagements on topics of recovery, near-death experiences and natural spirituality.

Charles L Whitfield MD is a physician, psychotherapist, and internationally recognized expert on mental illness, behavioral problems, and recovery. He was an associate professor of medicine at the Southern Illinois University School of Medicine for 4 years and then taught medicine and addiction medicine as associate professor of medicine, psychiatry and family medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine for eight years. He has been on the faculty of the Rutgers University Summer Institute of Alcohol and Drug Studies since 1978, and in the private practice of medicine and psychotherapy since 1976. He has been voted by his peers as one of the Best Doctors in America every year since 1994.

Barbara and Charles have a private practice in Atlanta Georgia helping adults who have been repeatedly traumatized, who are having problems in living, who want to come off of psych drugs and/or opiates, and who may have had a spiritually transformative experience.

Books:

Website: barbara-whitfield.com

Discussion of this interview in the BatGap Community Facebook Group.

Interview recorded November 2, 2019

Video below. Audio coming soon.

497. Peter Panagore

Peter PanagoreRev. Peter Panagore, M.Div (Yale) has had two near-death experiences, the first while ice climbing in 1980 and the second in 2015 due to a heart attack. He recounts these in his book Heaven Is Beautiful: How Dying Taught Me That Death Is Just the Beginning, an Audible Best Seller available globally in nine editions. His best-selling second book, Two Minutes for God: Quick Fixes for the Spirit, is a collection of original inspirational devotional stories, many of which he told for 15 years on a daily TV show reaching 30 million viewers annually in Maine and New Hampshire. Previously, he served as a United Church of Christ minister and pastor in Maine and Connecticut. He published 150 sermons and many prayers in Homiletics, a leading clergy journal. He now runs a global spiritual counseling service for “closet mystics” and travels nationally as a public and inspirational speaker and teacher. He has been practicing Zazen/Centering Prayer and Kundalini/KriyaYoga for forty years.

Website: peterpanagore.love

Discussion of this interview in the BatGap Community Facebook Group.

Interview recorded April 6, 2019.

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

484. Ishtar (Thomas Howell)

Ishtar (Thomas Howell)

Ishtar (Thomas Howell) is a meditation teacher, Ishaya monk, gardener, writer, and intuitive astrologer. A sense of himself as Presence was a pronounced feature of his life until about age 7. At age 13, he was in a car accident that took his mother’s life, and initiated an NDE that brought about a profound experience of Samadhi that in the subsequent months he experienced right along with an intense process of grieving. After the Presence faded, he longed to return, resulting in an energetic spiritual search. At 17 he began a regimen of meditation practices and ascetic disciplines that included waking to cold showers at 3 AM, fasting, and 6 hours of daily meditation practice. Longing to find his path, he encountered a practice known as the Ishayas’ Ascension, an effortless and deeply pleasurable form of meditation, which he quickly recognized as the path for which he’d been searching. Several months after learning Ascension, he found himself living on the Oregon coast in a monastic environment dedicated to the practice.

The ashram life brought about a rapid acceleration of growth, leading to ever more consistent experiences of Silence, in closed eyed meditation practice, while cooking in the community’s café, doing service work, and planting gardens. After going through a 6-month intensive Teacher Training program, that involved 12-16 hours of closed eyed meditation a day, he began teaching classes around the world, and living in various regional meditation centers around the world. Seeming, miracles, wild manifestations, witness consciousness, and celestial perception were frequent occurrences, as Awareness slowly but surely saturated more and more of life.

In 2008, he left his monastic organization and then took an extended break from meditation teaching. The years lived outside the semi cloistered environment of the ashram were often challenging, but ultimately led to a more deeply anchored Presence. Subtle barriers fell, opening to the experience of the world as the Self. This process continues to unfold and expand.

Since 2014, he has again been teaching Ascension and working as a spiritual guide, giving people a reliable practice with which to cultivate Awareness and assisting people in relaxing into Presence as a constantly lived experience. Since 2015 he has also been working as an intuitive Astrologer, with a primary focus on helping people align more completely with their soul’s purpose. More information can be found at these websites: ascension-meditation.com and awakenedlightastrology.com.

Discussion of this interview in the BatGap Community Facebook Group.

Interview recorded October 30, 2018, in Sedona, Arizona

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