548. Ravi Ravindra

Ravi RavindraProud to be born in India as a Hindu, I will be sad if I die merely a Hindu. Convinced very early in life that all boundaries are artificially created and tend to hinder the growth of the spirit, I ended up studying at post-doctoral level Physics, Philosophy, and Religion at various universities and later teaching as a professor in these fields. Wishing to correspond to the transformational teachings of several great spiritual luminaries, especially of Krishna, Buddha, Christ, and Patañjali and of present-day masters Krishnamurti and Gurdjieff, I am interested in the actual journey of self-transformation and experiencing the inevitable shifts of focus of energy along the way.

Website: ravindra.ca

Books:

Discussion of this interview in the BatGap Community Facebook Group.

Interview recorded May 2, 2020.

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

547. Bayo Akomolafe

Bayo AkomolafeBayo Akomolafe (Ph.D.) considers his most sacred work to be learning how to be with his daughter and son, Alethea Aanya, and Kyah Jayden – and their mother, his wife, and “life-nectar”, Ijeoma. “To learn the importance of insignificance” is the way he frames a desire to reacquaint himself with a world that is irretrievably entangled, preposterously alive, and completely partial.

Bayo was born in 1983 into a Christian home, and to Yoruba parents in western Nigeria. Losing his diplomat father to a sudden heart complication, Bayo became a reclusive teenager, seeking to get to the “heart of the matter” as a response to his painful loss. He sought to apply himself to the extremes of his social conditioning, his faith, and his eventual training as a clinical psychologist – only to find that something else beyond articulation was tugging at his sleeves, wanting to be noticed. After meeting with traditional healers as part of his quest to understand trauma, mental wellbeing, and healing in new ways, his deep questions and concerns for decolonized landscapes congealed into a life devoted to exploring the nuances of a “magical” world “too promiscuous to fit neatly into our fondest notions of it.”

A fugitive to manicured disciplinarity in the academe, speaker, and proud diaper-changer, Bayo leads an earth-wide organization (The Emergence Network) as its Chief Curator and Director. The organization is set up for the re-calibration of our ability to respond to civilizational crisis – a project framed within a feminist ethos and inspired by indigenous cosmologies. He considers this a shared art – exploring the edges of the intelligible, dancing with posthumanist ideas, dabbling in the mysteries of quantum mechanics and the liberating sermon of an ecofeminism text, and talking with others about how to host a festival in Brazil – and part of his inner struggle to regain a sense of rootedness to his community. He also hosts a course (We Will Dance with Mountains) among other offerings.

In short, Bayo has given up his longing for the “end-time” and is learning to live in the “mean time”. In the middle, where we must live with confusion and make do with partial answers. His greatest vocation is, however, learning to be a satellite orbiting his greatest gift, his goddess Ijeoma, and knowing the blessings of her gravity.

Bayo is visiting professor at Middlebury College, Vermont, and has taught in universities around the world (including Sonoma State University California, Simon Frasier University Vancouver, Schumacher College Devon, Harvard University, and Covenant University Nigeria – among others). He is a consultant with UNESCO, leading efforts for the Imagining Africa’s Future (IAF) project. He speaks and teaches about his experiences around the world, and then returns to his adopted home in Chennai, India – “where the occasional whiff of cow dung dancing in the air is another invitation to explore the vitality of a world that is never still and always surprising.”

Bayo has authored two books, ‘We Will Tell Our Own Story!: The Lions of Africa Speak!’ and ‘These Wilds Beyond Our Fences: Letters to My Daughter on Humanity’s Search for Home’, and has penned forewords for many others.

Websites:

Discussion of this interview in the BatGap Community Facebook Group.

Interview recorded April 25, 2020

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

546. Stephen G. Post

Stephen G. PostAn opinion leader and public speaker, Stephen G. Post, Ph.D. (University of Chicago, 1983) is the best-selling lead author of Why Good Things Happen to Good People: How to Live a Longer, Healthier, Happier Life by the Simple Act of Giving. He has been quoted in more than 4,000 newspapers and magazines and featured on numerous television shows including The Daily Show. Described by Martin E.P. Seligman in Flourish as one of “the stars of positive psychology,” Post is a leader in research on the benefits of giving and on compassionate care in relation to improved patient outcomes and clinician well-being. He addressed the U.S. Congress on volunteerism and health, receiving the Congressional Certificate of Special Recognition for Outstanding Achievement.

Post was co-recipient (2012) with Edmund D. Pellegrino MD of the Pioneer Medal for Outstanding Leadership in HealthCare from the HealthCare Chaplaincy Network, and the Kama Book Award in Medical Humanities from World Literacy Canada (2008). His book The Moral Challenge of Alzheimer Disease: Ethical Issues from Diagnosis to Dying was designated a “medical classic of the century” by the British Medical Journal (2009), which wrote, “Until this pioneering work was published in 1995 the ethical aspects of one of the most important illnesses of our aging populations were a neglected topic.” Post is a recipient of the Alzheimer’s Association national distinguished service award “in recognition of personal and professional outreach to the Alzheimer’s Association Chapters on ethics issues important to people with Alzheimer’s and their families.” In 2021 Post published Dignity for Deeply Forgetful People: How Caregivers Can Meet the Challenges of Alzheimer’s Disease (Hopkins).

Co-Recipient of the 2019 Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society Professionalism Award for development the Professional Identity Formation curriculum of the Renaissance School of Medicine at Stony Brook University, Post has taught at the University of Chicago Medical School, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine (1988-2008), and at Stony Brook (2008-present), where he is Founding Director of the Center for Medical Humanities, Compassionate Care, and Bioethics. The Center was selected (2011) for special institutional excellence by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (AMA & AAMC accrediting body), the only humanities and ethics entity in American medical school history to receive this distinction. An elected member of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia, the New York Academy of Medicine, and the Royal Society of Medicine, London, Post is the author of 300 articles in journals such as Science, the New England Journal of Medicine, Psychosomatic Medicine, Journal of the American Academy of Religion, and the Journal of the American Medical Association.

In 2003 Post was invited to join the Founding Fellows of the International Society for Science and Religion (ISSR), based at Cambridge University. Founded in 2002, ISSR is the world’s preeminent learned society devoted to this intersection, with 200 Fellows from the sciences and humanities. In 2001 he founded the Institute for Research on Unlimited Love, so named by philanthropist Sir John Templeton, who selected Post as the Institute’s President. A non-profit 501(c) 3 public charity that investigates kindness, giving, and spirituality, Post has written popularly on this topic in God and Love on Route 80: The Hidden Mystery of Human Connectedness.

Discussion of this interview in the BatGap Community Facebook Group.

Interview recorded April 18, 2020

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