499. Giovanni Dienstmann

Giovanni DienstmannGiovanni Dienstmann is a spiritual practitioner and teacher, and the creator of Live and Dare, one of the top five most visited meditation blogs on the planet. As an author, meditation coach and speaker, Giovanni helps people overcome anxiety and stress to live a more calm and centered life, through spiritually-inspired personal development work.

Since the age of 14, spirituality has been the center of his life. In his journey, he practiced over 9,000 hours of meditation, tried 70 different techniques, and nearly became a monk twice.

His spiritual thirst and eclectic approach led him to be formally initiated into the traditions of Zen Buddhism, Advaita Vedanta, Raja Yoga, and Mantra Yoga—by the masters Moriyama Roshi, Lakshamana Swami, Shivarudra Balayogi, and Nikhileshwarananda (respectively). In February 2010 he experienced a powerful awakening in the presence of Mooji in South India, and that has been a point of no return in his path.

Giovanni is the author of the best-selling book Practical Meditation: A Simple Step-by-Step Guide, which has been translated to 5 different languages and has popularly been called “The Meditation Bible”. As a coach, Giovanni’s clients range from stay at home parents to entrepreneurs, C-level executives and pro athletes.

In the field of meditation, he brings a contemporary and pragmatic approach to help both meditation novices and spiritual seekers alike. In his role as a spiritual writer, he balances deep reverence for traditional teachings with critical thinking and a comparative study of spiritual traditions.

To learn more about Giovanni and his work, visit LiveAndDare.com.

Discussion of this interview in the BatGap Community Facebook Group.

Interview recorded April 20, 2019.

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

498. Nancy Neithercut

Nancy NeithercutIn the spring of 2011 I was cleaning a stove and quite suddenly the knob I was holding became the rag became my hand became the space became the stove as all lines between things between moments and between myself and the world dissolved. It was like the scales had fallen off my eyes! I had heard of no self but had never heard there were no things!

There was an intense psychological and physical relaxation, and I was amazed that my body didn’t crumble to the floor! It was obvious that there was no one doing life, and that life wasn’t happening to a me. It was the end of a lifetime propelled by hope and fear and need of a never arising next. It was as if time died. It was as if I had died, yet it was obvious that I had never existed, yet here I was!

This knowing feeling of seamlessness has not left for almost eight years.  It is always obvious… it kisses me awake in the morning and holds me as I drift off to sleep…. life is overwhelmingly beautiful and wondrous always, like edgeless liquid love…. no matter what it looks or feels like.

The longing to sing of this, knowing that it cannot be kissed with words paints my reflection with sky in sky…. I am not a teacher or guru, simply a lover of love.

Books:

Discussion of this interview in the BatGap Community Facebook Group.

Interview recorded April 13, 2019.

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

497. Peter Panagore

Peter PanagoreRev. Peter Panagore, M.Div (Yale) has had two near-death experiences, the first while ice climbing in 1980 and the second in 2015 due to a heart attack. He recounts these in his book Heaven Is Beautiful: How Dying Taught Me That Death Is Just the Beginning, an Audible Best Seller available globally in nine editions. His best-selling second book, Two Minutes for God: Quick Fixes for the Spirit, is a collection of original inspirational devotional stories, many of which he told for 15 years on a daily TV show reaching 30 million viewers annually in Maine and New Hampshire. Previously, he served as a United Church of Christ minister and pastor in Maine and Connecticut. He published 150 sermons and many prayers in Homiletics, a leading clergy journal. He now runs a global spiritual counseling service for “closet mystics” and travels nationally as a public and inspirational speaker and teacher. He has been practicing Zazen/Centering Prayer and Kundalini/KriyaYoga for forty years.

Website: peterpanagore.love

Discussion of this interview in the BatGap Community Facebook Group.

Interview recorded April 6, 2019.

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