352. Mani

Will BrennanWhat I share is not based on spiritual, philosophical or psychological theory alone, but on direct insight. There is an unchanging awareness of all phenomena that is not tarnished by the coming and going of temporal expressions.

This unchanging awareness could be called the ‘Still Self” as it is the one constant that witnesses the dynamic play of consciousness in all its guises. To recognize that there is a greater power that is not prone to suffering or corruption is to begin to awaken to our ‘Undivided Self.’ Within this dynamic play of life, there is also a ‘functioning sense of self’ that allows for the beauty of relationship, creating the impression of ‘me’ and ‘other.’ But the possibility of this imaginal separation can create such confusion and suffering when taken to be all that we are.

My joy as a simple Being is to point you back to your ‘True Self,’ like a bird greeting the morning sun, my nature is to sing.

All phenomena, whether that form be a thought, body, planet, smell, theory, ant or cloud is bound by the law of impermanence, for whatever comes must go, whatever is born will die.

Yet all phenomena arise within this unbounded awareness, the sole unchanging reality.

All of manifestation sings the song of the unborn ‘Still Self’ for those who have ears to hear.

And when this unchanging nature is realized to be our ‘Self,’ then we may also come to see that this dynamic play of consciousness is no other than a clear expression of the divinity that we are. What we are as aware stillness and what we are as dynamic consciousness are not two irreconcilable opposing forces but an inseparable mystery I like to call ‘dynamic stillness.’

Book: Embracing No Other: Awakening through shamanic plant medicines to non-dual awareness of no-self

Website: embracingnoother.com

Interview recorded 7/2/2016

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

325. Stanislav Grof

Stanislav GrofStan Grof, M.D., Ph.D. is a psychiatrist with more than fifty years’ experience researching the healing and transformative potential of non-ordinary states of consciousness. His groundbreaking theories influenced the integration of Western science with his brilliant mapping of the transpersonal dimension. He is one of the founders and chief theoreticians of Transpersonal Psychology and received an Honorary Award for major contributions to and development of the field of Transpersonal Psychology from the Association for Transpersonal Psychology in 1993. Dr. Grof is also the founder of the International Transpersonal Association (ITA) and its past and current president. He has organized large international conferences throughout the world and continues to lecture and teach professional training programs in Holotropic Breathwork and transpersonal psychology. Currently, Dr. Grof is Professor of Psychology at the California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS) in the Department of Philosophy, Cosmology, and Consciousness, and teaches at the Pacifica Graduate Institute in Santa Barbara, CA.

Website: stanislavgrof.com

Some of Dr. Grof’s many books:

Interview conducted 10/24/2015 at the Science and Nonduality Conference

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

211. Ayahuasca and Psychedelics as Potential Catalysts for Personal and Societal Evolution

With Chris Bache, Ph.D.; Jeffrey and Cielle Backstrom; Talat Jonathan Phillips; and Rak Razam

Chris BacheChris Bache, Ph.D., is professor emeritus in the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies at Youngstown State University where he taught for over 30 years in the psychology of religion, transpersonal studies, Buddhism, and world religions. He is also an adjunct professor at the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco and for two years was the Director of Transformative Learning at the Institute of Noetic Sciences in Petaluma, CA.

An award-winning teacher and international speaker, his work explores the philosophical implications of deep non-ordinary states of consciousness, especially psychedelic states.  He has written a pioneering book in psychedelic philosophy and collective consciousness, Dark Night, Early Dawn: Steps to a Deep Ecology of Mind. In addition, he has written Lifecycles: Reincarnation and the Web of Life, a comprehensive study of reincarnation and karma in light of new information emerging in contemporary consciousness research.  In his book The Living Classroom: Teaching and Collective Consciousness, Chris presents his revolutionary ideas concerning the transpersonal dimensions of teaching.  In addition to working with sacred medicines, Chris has been a Buddhist practitioner for many years.

Jeffrey and Cielle BackstromJeffrey and Cielle Backstrom call their work “Stepping Into Freedom”, explaining that “with each step we release or transcend old, limiting patterns of being-seeing-acting… and open to the beings our souls are calling us here to become.” They offer shamanic healing work and deep practices to facilitate embodied awakening and opening to the soul’s calling.

In the past several years, Jeffrey and Cielle have studied with indigenous medicine workers and teachers in the Andes and the Amazon basin, who represent ancient traditions grounded in the Sacred Feminine and Mother Earth. Since 2009 they’ve been welcoming their students to accompany them to experience these connections for themselves.

These traditional practices include the use of sacred plants in healing, divination, and spiritual transformation.


Talat Jonathan PhillipsTalat Jonathan Phillips is a co-founder of the cutting edge web-magazine Reality Sandwich and The Evolver Network and is a well-regarded life coach and Bioenergetic healer who has been practicing for over a decade. His memoir, The Electric Jesus: The Healing Journey of a Contemporary Gnostic, has become one of the must-read books of the new consciousness movement for its honest portrayal of life on the emerging edge of the transformational culture. He is the creator of The Ayahuasca Monologues: Tales of the Spirit Vine, a religion blogger for the Huffington Post, a Reiki Master and Bioenergetic Healer who does Skype sessions for clients around the world and in his San Francisco office.

Individual BatGap interview with Talat

Rak RazamRak Razam is the author of two books:

In 2006 he visited Peru on a feature magazine assignment to see what the almost mythical archetype of the shaman was really like in the 21st century. Excerpts from AYA, A Shamanic Odyssey have been published in Australian Penthouse (Sept 2006); High Times (Aug 2007); and Filmmaker magazine online (Oct 2007). He was also interviewed and appears in the CBC’s 2007 audio documentary In Search of the Divine Vegetal talking about his Ayahuasca experiences, which has been broadcast twice due to special demand to millions of people throughout North America. A founding editor of Undergrowth, Australia’s leading counterculture arts and literature magazine, Razam is an “experiential journalist” that participates in the experiences he writes about, giving his global audience an intimate familiarity with his subjects. For more information visit www.rakrazam.com. “Like” Aya Awakenings on Facebook.

Interview conducted 12/28/2013

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