376. Vera Helleman

Vera HellemanVera Helleman is an inspiring and well-established speaker, popular in The Netherlands and Belgium.

After being a psychotherapist for a while, Vera awoke into oneness and was gifted with the full understanding of the functioning of the human mind, the essence of who we are, and the role which we play in creation.

Seeing from an energetic, non-dual perspective, she lovingly confronts people with their misconceptions about who they truly are and how this reality functions.

Married, a mother of four, and fully engaged in daily life, people find her life an inspiring example. Though her teaching-style is clear and penetrating, she is playful and humble in her interaction with others. Interactions are thus based on equality and mutuality.

Vera is author of the book ‘Effortlessly being yourSelf’, which is a step-by-step guide from an egoic orientation, based on fear and greed, to spiritual maturity, based on self-expression and growth. In her book, she encourages readers to take full responsibility for the role they play in their lives, and the path they follow. (More titles will follow soon.)

In all of her teachings, Vera strives to provide insight and tools, enabling the shift to a more congruent life, and increasing understanding and enjoyment of what one attracts in one’s life.

Website: verahelleman.com

Interview conducted 12/3/2017.

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

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375. Shinzen Young, 2nd Interview

Shinzen YoungShinzen Young is an American mindfulness teacher and neuroscience research consultant.

His systematic approach to categorizing, adapting and teaching meditation has resulted in collaborations with Harvard Medical School, Carnegie-Mellon University and the University of Vermont in the bourgeoning field of contemplative neuroscience.

Shinzen’s interest in Asia began at the age of 14 when he decided to attend Japanese ethnic school in his native city of Los Angeles.

After majoring in Asian languages at UCLA, he entered a PhD program in Buddhist Studies at the University of Wisconsin. As a part of his thesis research, he lived as a Shingon (Japanese Vajrayana) monk for three years at Mount Koya, Japan. It was then that he received the name Shinzen (真善).

Also during that time, he became friends with Father William Johnston (author of Christian Zen). Fr. Johnston helped broaden Shinzen’s interests to include comparative world mysticism and the scientific study of meditative states.

Upon returning to the United States, his academic interests shifted to the dialogue between Eastern meditation and Western science.

Shinzen is known for his interactive, algorithmic approach to mindfulness, and often uses mathematical metaphors to illustrate meditative phenomena.

He is the author of The Science of Enlightenment, Natural Pain Relief and numerous audio offerings.

Shinzen leads residential retreats throughout North America. In 2006, he created the Home Practice Program. These phone-based mini-retreats are designed to make deep meditation practice accessible to anyone in the world regardless of their location, health situation, and time or financial constraints.

Websites:

Books:

First BatGap interview with Shinzen.

Interview recorded 11/26/2016

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

374. Jim Tolles

Jim TollesJim Tolles is a spiritual teacher who helps people to grow, heal, and embrace their spiritual paths.

Jim had a spiritual awakening in August 2007 and has been through an inner roller coaster ride of healing and spiritual growth, dropping away issues as he has moved more deeply into peace and love. The greatest of the shifts came in the 4th, 5th, and 6th years after awakening and truly consumed his life during those times. The intensity of the energy has since subsided into a more relaxed inner flow. Jim continues to grow and be guided by the divine flow while also relaxing into the beautiful oneness and perfection of each moment.

Jim teaches his students that we all have our truth and love within us by pointing students towards their innate divine oneness. He offers tools to help people cut away their lies and misconceptions so that they can be more firmly rooted in truth and love. He works with students on an individual basis via Skype, as well as offering free online talks via livestreaming on YouTube.

Book: Everyday Spirituality: Cultivating an Awakening

Website: spiritualawakeningprocess.com

Interview recorded 11/19/2016.

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

373. Adyashanti and Francis Bennett – “The Embrace of Jesus and Buddha”

jesus-buddha-paintingAdyashanti and Francis Bennett in a public dialog about the parallels and differences between Jesus and the Buddha, as two complimentary yet very different models of awakening. Where the Buddha emphasized inner peace and the transcendence of samsara, Christ emphasized embodying divine humanity in the midst of samsara, embracing the human condition in order to serve those who are lost in ignorance.

Adya came to a deeper appreciation of Jesus by way of his study of Zen, while Francis ─ a former Trappist monk turned non-dual teacher ─ came to Buddhism by way of immersion in mystical Christianity.

“The Christ comes to disturb, to stir up the pot, to descend to the chaotic earthly realm, and to get people to move out of their limited comfort zones and indifference toward others and life in general: to help us transform and transmute the personal and social dimension of what it means to be a human being in a human society. The Buddha comes to bring inner peace by awakening us up and out of our over-identification with the personal, and help us to realize who we are in transcendence, who we are as “trans-personal” persons. You need both approaches. They are opposite sides of the one “coin” of awakening.” — Francis Bennett

AdyashantiAdyashanti, is an American-born spiritual teacher and author devoted to serving the awakening of all beings. His teachings are an open invitation to stop, inquire, and recognize what is true and liberating at the core of all existence. Asked to teach in 1996 by his Zen teacher of 14 years, Adyashanti offers teachings that are free of any tradition or ideology. “The Truth I point to is not confined within any religious point of view, belief system, or doctrine, but is open to all and found within all.” He teaches throughout North America and Europe, offering satsangs, weekend intensives, silent retreats, and a live internet radio broadcast.

Previous BatGap posts involving Adyashanti:

Website: adyashanti.org

Francis BennettFrancis Bennett entered the Trappist Abbey of Gethsemane in 1981 and in the 90’s subsequently lived at a “daughter house” of Gethsemane in Moncks Corner, South Carolina. Until recently, he was living in a small urban monastery in Montreal Quebec. He has been a “spiritual seeker” during all those years, practicing in the Christian mystical/contemplative Tradition and working deeply with teachers in both the Vipassana and Zen Traditions as well. In 2010 he experienced a profound perceptual “shift” in which he realized the ever-present presence of pure Awareness, which some would call, the Presence of God.

You may contact Francis by email, Skype (francisdale3), his Facebook page, or through his website. Francis’ book: “I Am That I Am: Discovering the Love, Peace, Joy and Stability of the True Self“.

Previous BatGap interviews involving Francis:

Recorded 10/25/2016 at the Santa Cruz Open Circle.

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

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372. Harri Aalto – 3rd Interview

Harri AaltoHarri’s descriptions soar from the mundane to the sublime and explain the intimate details, understanding and experience of the awakened state in an entirely fresh way. He shows us how this life of ours can be naturally transformed into the delightful liveliness of expanded consciousness even within the activity of daily life.

Harri has worked as a fine artist/designer, a businessman, and a meditation teacher for his whole life. Throughout these very busy years his experiences of refined states of consciousness and perception have expanded greatly.

Landscape of EnlightenmentHe shares his insights in his book, The Landscape of Enlightenment: With Doors and Windows to Our World, which includes his amazing life story from early childhood to the present with very personal, simple stories, works of art and inspired understanding that will uplift your awareness and stir the onset awakening.

Websites:

Other interviews:

Transcript of this interview.

Interview recorded 11/12/2016.

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

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