427. Panel Discussion: “Sudden or Gradual: Two Paths to Realization?”

SAND-PanelRecorded at the Science and Nonduality Conference.

There is a perennial debate in spiritual traditions regarding whether realization is direct (sudden) or progressive (gradual). But is this a false distinction? Realization is often sudden, no matter how many years of practice may have led up to it, and even after realization, most people find that refinement, clarification, and the working out of personal shortcomings continue indefinitely.

Who wouldn’t prefer direct realization to years of purification and practice? But how many examples of purely direct realization can we find? Can a path be both direct and progressive? Is it possible to have a taste of our true nature from the outset, and then spend a lifetime clarifying and embodying it? Also, is there one watershed breakthrough which can be universally agreed upon as final “Realization”, or are there many degrees and stages of realization, each of them important stepping stones in a never-ending journey?

Proponents of the direct path sometimes argue that if we regard spiritual development as progressive, we will forever be anticipating, never arriving. But some spiritual seekers, not appreciating the distinction between understanding and experience, mistake intellectual understanding with enlightenment, and consider themselves “finished” when they are just getting started.

Isa GucciardiIsa Gucciardi, Ph.D. is the Founding Director of the Foundation of the Sacred Stream, a school for consciousness studies in Berkeley, CA. Isa is also the creator of the spiritual counseling model, Depth Hypnosis, and author of two books, Coming to Peace and Return to the Great Mother. In addition to her teaching schedule that includes teaching classes in Applied Buddhist Psychology, Applied Shamanism, Integrated Energy Medicine and Depth Hypnosis, she has active practices in Depth Hypnosis and Applied Shamanic Counseling in San Francisco, CA. For more information, please see sacredstream.org.

David BucklandDavid F. Buckland has a graduate degree in Vedic Science and researches and writes on subjects related to the approach, shift, integration, and embodiment of the stages of enlightenment. This reflects a 40 year unfolding that has been prominent for much of his life. But with a more recent series of profound shifts, the exploration became the life itself. Under the pen name Davidya, he brings ancient teachings into modern life. After many years of research, he published the book Our Natural Potential: Beyond Personal Development, The Stages of Enlightenment in 2017.

Previous Batgap discussions with David:

Michael RodriguezMichael Rodriguez – Drawing always from his direct experience, Michael speaks with great clarity and compassion about the undivided nature of Life or Consciousness, pointing to reality in a way that is free from dogma, ritual, or adherence to any particular tradition. He also draws skillfully from the world’s wisdom traditions and integrates Jungian psychology, literature, music, and art into his work to address the full range of human potential. He offers meetings, retreats, and private sessions here in the United States and abroad. His book–Boundless Awareness: A Loving Path to Spiritual Awakening and Freedom from Suffering–will be published by Non-Duality Press / New Harbinger in March 2018 (though it can now be pre-ordered on Amazon). All his work, including his interviews on Buddha at the Gas Pump and Conscious TV, can be accessed via his website: www.BoundlessAwareness.org.

 

Previous Batgap discussions with Michael:

Discussion of this video in the Batgap Community Facebook Group.

Recorded October 22, 2017

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

426. Rick Archer on the “Ethics of Enlightenment”

Rick ArcherPresentation at the Science and Nonduality Conference.

Many well-known spiritual teachers and gurus have been accused, credibly, of sexual, financial, and behavioral abuse. This, although their own spiritual attainment has arguably appeared significant, and their teachings beneficial. As a result, some people have concluded that higher consciousness and ethical behavior are not correlated, that we are governed by our genetics and conditioning, or by “nature”, and that we have no free will and thus no control over or responsibility for our actions. That logic has been used as an alibi by some spiritual teachers caught misbehaving.

Others have become cynical about the motives of all gurus and teachers, and some have even lost faith in spirituality altogether.

Yet, every spiritual tradition includes codes of ethics that apply to both teachers and students. Ethical behavior has been regarded not only as a reflection of spiritual development, but as a prerequisite to it.

To some extent, ethical values vary from culture to culture. But perhaps the contemporary spiritual community can agree upon some universal values. Can we agree that it’s not all right to misrepresent ourselves? If we claim or imply that we have realized our true nature, and are offering to help others do the same, is it consistent for us to behave deceitfully, perversely, selfishly, or cruelly?

Is it possible to be an enlightened scoundrel? Are purity and saintliness characteristic of higher levels of spiritual development, or unrelated to them? These are important questions. Because we need spiritual teachers and teachings in this critical time in humanity’s maturation, we need to understand what genuine spiritual attainment should look like, irrespective of personality differences. If such understanding were more commonplace, most abusive teachers and cults would never have gotten off the ground.

I discuss these points and others in this talk.

Discussion about this talk in the Batgap Community Facebook Group.

Other talks by or interviews of Rick:

Recorded October 21, 2017.

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

425. Tim Freke, 3rd Interview

Tim FrekeT!M FREKE is a pioneering philosopher, Gnostic scholar and spiritual guide who speaks and runs ‘Deep Awakening’ retreats internationally. He is the author of 35 books, translated into more than 15 languages, including The Jesus Mysteries on Gnostic Christianity, which was a top 10 bestseller in the USA and UK, and ‘Book of the Year’ in the UK Daily Telegraph.

Over the last 15 years, Tim has been articulating a revolutionary approach to spiritual awakening, which is life-affirming, heart-opening and intellectually robust. In his recent book Deep Awake, he suggests that to wake up to oneness we need to embrace, rather than deny, our individuality, because ‘the ego is the hero not the villain of the spiritual adventure’.

In his latest book Soul Story, Tim offers an inspiring new vision of the nature of reality and the deep purpose of existence. He suggests we need a radical shift in our understanding of both science and spirituality, so we can bring these different perspectives together. Tim’s new worldview, which he calls ‘Emergent Spirituality’, does this by combining an innovative perspective on the theory of evolution with a fresh understanding of esoteric ideas such as the immortality of the soul.

Tim has been exploring spirituality since a spontaneous awakening when he was 12 years old and now guides others directly to the ‘deep awake’ state. He has been pioneering soul-to-soul partner meditations such as ‘gazing’ for more than fifteen years, as a powerful practice to transform consciousness.

Tim is a passionate and playful communicator with a contagious enthusiasm for life, who has often been featured in the global media, such as the BBC and the History Channel. He lives with his family in Glastonbury, England.

Website: timfreke.com

The most recent of Tim’s many books:

Interview recorded October 20, 2017 at the Science and Nonduality Conference.

Discussion of this interview in the Batgap Community Facebook Group.

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

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424. Robert Thurman & Isa Gucciardi

Robert Thurman & Isa GucciardiRobert A.F. Thurman is the Jey Tsong Khapa Professor of Indo-Tibetan Buddhist Studies in the Department of Religion at Columbia University, President of the Tibet House U.S., a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation and promotion of Tibetan civilization, and President of the American Institute of Buddhist Studies, a non-profit affiliated with the Center for Buddhist Studies at Columbia University and dedicated to the publication of translations of important artistic and scientific treatises from the Tibetan Tengyur.

TIME Magazine chose Professor Thurman as one of its 25 most influential Americans in 1997, describing him as a “larger than life scholar-activist destined to convey the Dharma, the precious teachings of Shakyamuni Buddha, from Asia to America.” The New York Times recently said Thurman “is considered the leading American expert on Tibetan Buddhism.

In this interview we discuss Thurman’s latest book: Man of Peace: The Illustrated Life Story of the Dalai Lama of Tibet.

Thurman is known as a talented popularizer of the Buddha’s teachings. He is a riveting speaker and an author of many books on Tibet, Buddhism, art, politics and culture, including:

Previous Batgap interview with Robert Thurman.

Isa-Gucciardi-SpeakerIsa Gucciardi, Ph.D. is the Founding Director of the Foundation of the Sacred Stream, a school for consciousness studies in Berkeley, CA. Isa is also the creator of the spiritual counseling model, Depth Hypnosis. In addition to her teaching schedule that includes teaching classes in Applied Buddhist Psychology, Applied Shamanism, Integrated Energy Medicine and Depth Hypnosis, she has active practices in Depth Hypnosis and Applied Shamanic Counseling in San Francisco, CA.

In this interview, we discuss Isa’s latest book: Coming to Peace: Resolving Conflict Within Ourselves and With Others

Other books:

Discussion of this interview in the Batgap Community Facebook Group.

Recorded October 19, 2017 at the Science and Nonduality Conference.

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

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423. Adyashanti & Michael A. Rodriguez

Adyashanti & Michael A. RodriguezAdyashanti 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 interviews involving Adyashanti:

Books by Adyashanti

Website: adyashanti.org

Michael A. Rodriguez: Michael’s spiritual path began well over twenty years ago with Zen and subsequently included a master’s degree in theology from Harvard, long-term stays at two monasteries, and profound engagements with Vedanta, Tibetan Buddhism, Sufism, Kashmir Shaivism, and Christian mysticism. He was especially influenced by Nisargadatta, Mooji, and Rupert Spira. During a five-year period of purification and intensive self-inquiry, his search came to an end with an Awakening that revealed the infinite and eternal nature of the Self. His body and mind then underwent a radical transformation that established the seamlessness and aliveness of all experience.

Drawing always from his direct experience, Michael speaks with great clarity and compassion about the undivided nature of Life or Consciousness, always pointing to reality in a way that is free from dogma, ritual, or adherence to any particular tradition. He draws skillfully from the world’s wisdom traditions and also integrates Jungian psychology, literature, music, and art into his work to address the full range of human potential. He offers meetings, retreats, and private sessions here in the United States and abroad. His book–Boundless Awareness: A Loving Path to Spiritual Awakening and Freedom from Suffering–distills the essence of his teaching and was praised by Renate McNay, co-host of conscious.tv, for its clarity: “I have read many spiritual books over the 10 years I have been interviewing people for conscious.tv, but I found that Michael’s book has an exceptional clarity that gave me a deeper understanding of who we really are.” His interviews on Buddha at the Gas Pump and Conscious TV can be viewed on his YouTube Channel.

Previous Batgap interview with Michael.

Discussion of this interview in the Batgap Community Facebook Group.

Interview recorded Oct. 19, 2017

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

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