688. Bob Harwood

Bob HarwoodBetween the age of 20 and 40 I was consumed with a wide range of existential questions, but despite endless thinking and reading, I never found a single answer. Due to some business-related stress at the age of 40, I started a simple meditative exercise as a way to acquire some peace of mind, and within two weeks a major insight occurred that led to more meditative activities. Five months later a huge cosmic-consciousness event answered seven of my questions and catapulted me into a different reality. I then concluded that all answers were “within,” and for the next 15 years I went on silent meditation retreats with Christians, Buddhists, and Advaita groups during which all of my other questions got answered. Nevertheless, I still did not feel free. Then, a new question arose, “How is it possible to stay in a unity-conscious state of mind permanently rather than oscillating between a sense of selfhood and no-self?” In 1999, after a deep experience of gratitude on a solo hiking retreat, “the little guy in the head” (the sense of a personal “me”) totally vanished, and the result was freedom, contentment, and understanding.

Book: Pouring Concrete: A Zen Path to the Kingdom of God – Expanded Edition

Bob’s email

Transcript and summary of this interview

Discussion of this interview in the BatGap Community Facebook Group

Interview recorded August 19, 2023

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

YouTube Video Chapters:

00:00:00 – Introduction to Buddha at the Gas Pump
00:04:43 – Questioning Beliefs and Exploring Existential Questions
00:08:25 – The Journey of Seeking Answers in Zen Philosophy
00:12:17 – The Shift in Perception
00:16:07 – A Reality Shift
00:19:54 – The End of the Construction Company
00:24:03 – Realization of the Incomprehensible
00:28:16 – Simple answers to Zen riddles
00:32:17 – Finding Freedom in the Middle of Responsibilities
00:35:50 – Questioning Selfhood and Freedom in the Mountains
00:38:59 – The Dissolution of the Sense of Self
00:42:30 – The True Self and Identity
00:46:00 – The Silence of the Mind
00:49:19 – Non-Abidance in the Mind
00:52:39 – The Kingdom of God Inside and Outside of You
00:55:59 – Shifting Attention Beyond the Mind
01:02:47 – The Benefits of Practice and Reconfiguration
01:06:16 – The Natural Inclination to Help Others
01:09:50 – The Depth of Awakening
01:13:12 – Falling Asleep During Meditation
01:16:26 – Realizing the Irrelevance of a Silent Mind
01:20:00 – Seeking Benefit in the Present Moment
01:23:32 – Intuition and the Home of All Knowledge
01:27:00 – Knowing and achieving specific things in life
01:30:50 – The Blissful State on the Deathbed
01:34:07 – Embracing the Unknowable Future
01:37:31 – The Universal Sound
01:40:44 – The Challenges of Maintaining Friendships
01:48:00 – Wrapping Up with Bob

684. Chris Niebauer

Chris Niebauer earned his Ph.D. in cognitive neuropsychology at the University of Toledo, specializing in the differences between the left and right sides of the human brain. He is the author of No Self, No Problem: How Neuropsychology Is Catching Up to Buddhism and The No Self, No Problem Workbook: Exercises & Practices from Neuropsychology and Buddhism to Help You Lose Your Mind. He was a professor at a state university in Pennsylvania for 22 years, where he taught courses on consciousness, mindfulness, left- and right-brain differences, and artificial intelligence.

Discussion of this interview in the BatGap Community Facebook Group

Summary and transcript of this interview

Interview recorded June 3, 2023

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

YouTube Video Chapters:

  • 00:00:00 – Introduction to Buddha at the Gas Pump
  • 00:06:21 – Disappointment with Daniel Dennett’s book on consciousness
  • 00:11:55 – The Value of Intelligence and Happiness
  • 00:17:39 – The Dominance of Language in Reality
  • 00:23:31 – Breaking the Cycle of Mental Excitation
  • 00:29:04 – Non-Thinking Forms of Consciousness
  • 00:34:24 – The Power of Numbers and Abstractions
  • 00:40:01 – Observing the Interpreter and Letting Go of Intrusive Thoughts
  • 00:45:55 – The Need for a Tiny Shift
  • 00:51:17 – The Inventive Storytelling of the Left Brain
  • 00:57:17 – Holistic Development of the Brain
  • 01:02:52 – The Playfulness of Debates and the Power of Music
  • 01:08:41 – The Nature of Skepticism and Strange Beliefs
  • 01:14:25 – The Shift to Right Brain Awareness
  • 01:19:53 – The Left Brain on Trial
  • 01:25:32 – Individual Paths and Categorization
  • 01:31:05 – Liberation and the Illusion of Self
  • 01:36:54 – The Paradox of the Soul and Individuality
  • 01:43:02 – Embracing Paradoxes
  • 01:48:22 – The Connection between Light and Consciousness
  • 01:53:31 – The Role of Faith in Materialism and Consciousness Studies
  • 01:58:37 – The Inadequacy of Neuroscience
  • 02:03:46 – The Limitations of Understanding and Balance in Life

683. Jeff Carreira

Jeff CarreiraJeff Carreira is a meditation teacher, mystical philosopher and author who works with a growing number of people throughout the world. As a teacher, he offers retreats and courses guiding individuals in a form of meditation he refers to as The Art of Conscious Contentment. Through this simple and effective technique, he has led thousands of people in a journey beyond the confines of fear and self-concern into the expansive liberated awareness that is our true home.

As a philosopher, Jeff is interested in defining a new way of being in the world that will move us from our current paradigm of separation and isolation into an emerging paradigm of unity and wholeness. In his books and lectures, he explores revolutionary ideas in the domains of spirituality, consciousness, and human development. He creates courses and programs that encourage people to question their most foundational experience of reality until previously held assumptions fall away leaving space for a dramatically new understanding to emerge.

Jeff is passionate about the potential ideas have to shape how we perceive reality and how we live together. His enthusiasm for learning is infectious, and he has taught at colleges and universities throughout the world.

Jeff is the author of numerous books including:

Website: jeffcarreira.com

Discussion of this interview in the BatGap Community Facebook Group.

Summary and transcript of this interview.

Interview recorded May 20, 2023.

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

YouTube Video Chapters:

  • 00:00:00 – Introduction and Background
  • 00:05:24 – Discovering Conscious Contentment
  • 00:11:12 – The Influence of Past Experiences
  • 00:18:53 – The Bright, Clear Awareness
  • 00:26:00 – The End of Seeking: Letting Go and Contentment
  • 00:32:29 – Letting go in Meditation
  • 00:40:10 – Overcoming Sleepiness in Meditation
  • 00:45:28 – Lucid Dreaming and Spiritual Experience
  • 00:49:39 – Interpreting Spiritual Experiences
  • 00:54:07 – The Role of Interpretation in Spiritual Progress
  • 01:00:44 – Exploring New Paths and Spiritual Growth
  • 01:04:51 – P.D. Ospensky and Cosmic Consciousness
  • 01:10:53 – Embracing Creative Expression
  • 01:16:32 – Expressing Ourselves and Taking a Break
  • 01:21:24 – “Partners on the Spiritual Path”
  • 01:29:07 – The Effects of “Crazy Wisdom” Teaching
  • 01:34:21 – The End of an Experiment
  • 01:38:12 – Transparency and Spiritual Integrity
  • 01:41:57 – The Intensity of Spiritual Practice
  • 01:46:09 – Spiritual Experiences and Seeking Alone in the Mountains
  • 01:49:01 – Embracing the Opportunities in Your Circumstances
  • 01:54:02 – The Middle Realms of Being
  • 01:58:23 – The Importance of Non-Dual Awakening & the Advaita Tradition
  • 02:02:10 – Higher Realms of the Soul