276. Stephan Bodian

Stephan BodianStephan Bodian is a teacher in the nondual wisdom tradition of Zen, Dzogchen, and Advaita Vedanta and the founder and director of the annual School for Awakening, an intensive six-month program of exploration and study. His offerings are noted for their humor, warmth, spontaneity, and intimacy and combine direct pointers, lively dialogues, silent sitting, and guided self-inquiry. He’s the author of several books, including Wake Up Now: A Guide to the Journey of Spiritual Awakening and Beyond Mindfulness: The Direct Approach to Lasting Peace, Happiness, and Love.

Stephan spent a decade practicing Zen intensively as a monk but left the monastery because he sensed that the rigorous practice of meditation was obscuring the truth he was seeking. After studying Dzogchen for several years, he met his guru, Jean Klein, a European teacher of Advaita Vedanta, who told him to stop meditating and instead discover the meditator. Shortly after meeting Jean, he had a profound awakening to his true identity as timeless presence. After Jean’s death, Stephan met Adyashanti, and in 2001 Adya gave him Dharma transmission and invited him to teach.

Trained as a psychotherapist, Stephan also offers individual spiritual counseling and mentoring sessions to people throughout the world. His approach blends direct, experiential, nondual wisdom with the insights of Western psychology to support students in realizing who they really are while inquiring into the stories and patterns of thinking and behaving that continue to cause suffering.

Website: stephanbodian.org

Other books:

Discussion of this interview in the BatGap Community Facebook Group.

Transcript of this interview

Interview recorded 1/24/2015

Second BatGap interview with Stehpan.

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

YouTube Video Chapters:

  • 00:00:00 – Introduction and Background of Stephen Bodian
  • 00:03:31 – Embracing everything and the paradoxes of truth
  • 00:07:36 – The Backward Step
  • 00:10:46 – Cultivating Mindfulness and Discovering Innate Qualities
  • 00:14:15 – The beauty of presence and mindfulness
  • 00:17:47 – Discovering Rest as Awareness
  • 00:21:43 – The Effects of Spiritual Practice on the Brain
  • 00:25:09 – Finding our Way through Intense Experiences
  • 00:28:27 – Embracing the Ego and Bringing Compassion
  • 00:31:50 – The Importance of Mental Health Awareness
  • 00:35:05 – The Mind and Stillness
  • 00:38:26 – Finding Order in Chaos
  • 00:41:01 – Spacious awareness versus detached observing
  • 00:43:47 – The Misunderstanding of Witnessing
  • 00:46:29 – Turiya: The Natural State
  • 00:49:01 – Witnessing and Emotions
  • 00:51:41 – The Pitfall of Suppressed Emotions in Mindfulness
  • 00:54:22 – Psychotherapy and Awakening
  • 00:57:09 – The Power of Resting as Awareness
  • 00:59:41 – Evolution of Spirituality
  • 01:02:27 – Moving Towards Perfection
  • 01:04:53 – Learning from Life
  • 01:07:28 – Emotions and Enlightenment
  • 01:10:06 – Drawn into the Silence
  • 01:12:54 – The Razor’s Edge
  • 01:15:54 – The Integration of Form and Emptiness
  • 01:18:41 – Awakening and Influence
  • 01:21:25 – The Misunderstanding of Awakening
  • 01:24:07 – The Pitfalls of Intellectual Understanding in Non-duality
  • 01:26:50 – The Mystery of Love
  • 01:29:25 – Supporting the Channel with Donations