488. Judy Cohen

Judy CohenJudy Cohen is a former clinical psychologist, former serial entrepreneur, former depressed, anxious, anti-depressant-taking, suicidal despairer. She used to be a seeker of Self Improvement. She used to be a Certified Facilitator of The Work of Byron Katie, and later a Certified Senior Facilitator-Trainer of the Living Inquiries. (** She’s not certified in either method anymore.)

She was desperate to feel better.

Luckily, eventually Judy came to see that the methods she was trained and certified in actually perpetuated, strengthened, the sense of self as damaged.

Several awakening experiences happened. Contrary to popular myth, they didn’t put an end to unpleasant feelings. So all that seeking, the inquiry, the desperation to shift, was for… what, then?

Judy finally realized she could give up seeking because… This. Is. It. As it is.

And what could any teacher or technique give her that wasn’t already here, that she didn’t already have?

She came to see that every experience- good, bad, happy, or sad- is an awakening.

She knew to give up seeking because there was nothing more to get. She’d had it all along.

Much more fun, this no-Judy-to-fix, nothing-to-seek existence.

Though of course she’s also still here as Judy.

Because human continues.

And paradoxically…

That’s better.

Website: irreverentmind.com

Discussion of this interview in the BatGap Community Facebook Group.

Interview recorded January 26, 2019.

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

487. Yogacharya Ellen Grace O’Brian

Yogacharya Ellen Grace O'BrianYogacharya Ellen Grace O’Brian is a meditation teacher, an award-winning poet, writer, and the spiritual director of the Center for Spiritual Enlightenment—a Kriya Yoga Meditation Center with headquarters in San Jose, California. She has taught Kriya Yoga nationally and internationally for more than three decades and has received many service awards, including the Mahatma Gandhi Award for the Promotion of Religious Pluralism. Ordained to teach in 1982 by Roy Eugene Davis, a direct disciple of Paramahansa Yogananda, her message is “engaged enlightenment” – an invitation to live an awakened, creatively inspired, and fulfilled life, now.

Along with her service as a meditation teacher and esteemed Yogacharya, Ellen Grace O’Brian is the Founder of Carry the Vision, a community nonviolence education project bringing meditation instruction to staff and children in schools, the prison population, and other segments of society. She is the founder and President of Meru Institute, providing healthy lifestyle education and leadership training in yoga studies, Ayurveda, and community service. She is host of The Yoga Hour, a weekly podcast with listeners in over 130 countries. Her latest book, The Jewel of Abundance: Finding Prosperity through the Ancient Wisdom of Yoga, was recently published by New World Library.

Other books:

Discussion of this interview in the BatGap Community Facebook Group.

Interview recorded January 21, 2019.

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

486. Myree Morsi

Myree MorsiMyree Morsi (MA) is a spiritual and energetic healer, counselor and coach who specializes in supporting people with Kundalini, awakening and the embodiment of consciousness.

Myree was psychic and naturally shamanic since early childhood. She began intensive spiritual practice in meditation and yoga as a teenager, which eventually heightened these abilities. She has a capacity to “see” the process of Kundalini Shakti in someone’s system and dedicated her gifts to healing others. From 2004 Myree began having deep insights into the nature of true self, amidst a wild Kundalini journey. Kundalini completed in 2009, leaving her with a profound shift in what she identified as her reference point, and access to constantly increasing levels of awareness. Since then, she has explored what it means to continually integrate vast consciousness into a physical and energetic system that had suffered extensive trauma and previously acute PTSD. The journey of awakening continues to deepen and expand endlessly. The most priceless gift has been a causeless joy.

Myree’s special interest is in the intersection of trauma, Kundalini, awakening, and embodiment. Trauma presents specific challenges to the capacity of the physical and energetic systems to absorb consciousness and expand in both functional and stable ways. Myree is passionate about supporting people who walk such paths and brings a sense of humor, safety, and compassion to the places we get stuck because she has been in those places too, and unfolded them into freedom.

She offers individual sessions, classes, and retreats.

Myree is a bhakta, inspired by Amma, and also Adyashanti, Ramana, Gangaji and the quiet crones and wise folks she has met along the way.

Discussion of this interview in the BatGap Community Facebook Group.

Interview recorded January 12, 2019.

Video below. Audio coming soon.

485. Courtney Amundson

Courtney AmundsonCourtney began her path as a seeker at a young age, progressing to the point that these teachings began to flow through her, effortlessly and with complete love and joy, starting at age 16. In the beginning, the wisdom was received for her own evolution and understanding, but after a short time she was guided to share it with as many people as possible through a book. Teachings from God: Greeting Your Soul and Revealing the Divine Within has given Courtney the inspiration and tools to create the life that excites her, and more than anything she wants to inspire you to do the same.

In addition to authoring Teachings from God, Courtney is a musician and leads Kirtan, and is also qigong practitioner of 13 years, hoping to become a qigong master one day.

Kirtan, also called Bhakti yoga (yoga of devotion) is a call-and-response style of yoga chanting that includes both the musicians and audience. You can find her original music and live Kirtans on her website and on her YouTube channel.

Discussion of this interview in the BatGap Community Facebook Group.

Interview recorded January 5, 2019.

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

484. Ishtar (Thomas Howell)

Ishtar (Thomas Howell)

Ishtar (Thomas Howell) is a meditation teacher, Ishaya monk, gardener, writer, and intuitive astrologer. A sense of himself as Presence was a pronounced feature of his life until about age 7. At age 13, he was in a car accident that took his mother’s life, and initiated an NDE that brought about a profound experience of Samadhi that in the subsequent months he experienced right along with an intense process of grieving. After the Presence faded, he longed to return, resulting in an energetic spiritual search. At 17 he began a regimen of meditation practices and ascetic disciplines that included waking to cold showers at 3 AM, fasting, and 6 hours of daily meditation practice. Longing to find his path, he encountered a practice known as the Ishayas’ Ascension, an effortless and deeply pleasurable form of meditation, which he quickly recognized as the path for which he’d been searching. Several months after learning Ascension, he found himself living on the Oregon coast in a monastic environment dedicated to the practice.

The ashram life brought about a rapid acceleration of growth, leading to ever more consistent experiences of Silence, in closed eyed meditation practice, while cooking in the community’s café, doing service work, and planting gardens. After going through a 6-month intensive Teacher Training program, that involved 12-16 hours of closed eyed meditation a day, he began teaching classes around the world, and living in various regional meditation centers around the world. Seeming, miracles, wild manifestations, witness consciousness, and celestial perception were frequent occurrences, as Awareness slowly but surely saturated more and more of life.

In 2008, he left his monastic organization and then took an extended break from meditation teaching. The years lived outside the semi cloistered environment of the ashram were often challenging, but ultimately led to a more deeply anchored Presence. Subtle barriers fell, opening to the experience of the world as the Self. This process continues to unfold and expand.

Since 2014, he has again been teaching Ascension and working as a spiritual guide, giving people a reliable practice with which to cultivate Awareness and assisting people in relaxing into Presence as a constantly lived experience. Since 2015 he has also been working as an intuitive Astrologer, with a primary focus on helping people align more completely with their soul’s purpose. More information can be found at these websites: ascension-meditation.com and awakenedlightastrology.com.

Discussion of this interview in the BatGap Community Facebook Group.

Interview recorded October 30, 2018, in Sedona, Arizona

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