Conversation on Trauma & Spirituality

Published on Jan 30, 2016

A panel with with Scott Kiloby, Richard Miller and Russ Hudson; facilitated by Julie Yau.

A profound and intrinsic relationship exists between trauma and spirituality that can foster emotional maturity and psychospiritual growth. The survival response embedded within trauma has the potential to catalyze authentic spiritual transformation. Similarly, as our essential wholeness is rediscovered on a spiritual path, trauma can be met with greater compassion and an appreciation of the interconnectedness to self, nature, and the cosmos. Spiritual realizations can allow us fearlessly to touch into the death-like void that is often at the root of trauma. When early trauma, dissociation, and/or intergenerational trauma has occurred, however, the spiritual path can be an unconscious means of avoiding the resolution of trauma and full embodiment. The panel members will discuss their views and insights on the seeming two paths and the significance of recognizing the importance of uniting them for our overall well being, increased consciousness, and spiritual unfolding.

Life on the Edge: The Coming of Age of Quantum Biology by Johnjoe McFadden (Author), Jim Al-Khalili (Author)

New York Times Bestseller and an Amazon Best Science Book of 2015

Life is the most extraordinary phenomenon in the known universe; but how did it come to be? Even in an age of cloning and artificial biology, the remarkable truth remains: nobody has ever made anything living entirely out of dead material. Life remains the only way to make life. Are we still missing a vital ingredient in its creation?

Like Richard Dawkins’ The Selfish Gene, which provided a new perspective on how evolution works, Life on the Edge alters our understanding of our world’s fundamental dynamics. Bringing together first-hand experience at the cutting edge of science with unparalleled gifts of explanation, Jim Al-Khalili and Johnjoe Macfadden reveal that missing ingredient to be quantum mechanics; the phenomena that lie at the heart of this most mysterious of sciences.

Drawing on recent ground-breaking experiments around the world, each chapter in Life on the Edge engages by illustrating one of life’s puzzles: How do migrating birds know where to go? How do we really smell the scent of a rose? How do our genes copy themselves with such precision? Life on the Edge accessibly reveals how quantum mechanics can answer these probing questions of the universe.

Guiding the reader through the rapidly unfolding discoveries of the last few years, Al-Khalili and McFadden communicate the excitement of the explosive new field of quantum biology and its potentially revolutionary applications, while offering insights into the biggest puzzle of all: what is life? As they brilliantly demonstrate in these groundbreaking pages, life exists on the quantum edge.

Jim Al-Khalili OBE is an academic, author, and broadcaster. He is a leading theoretical physicist based at the University of Surrey, where he teaches and carries out research in quantum mechanics. He has written a number of popular science books, including Pathfinders: The Golden Age of Arabic Science. He has presented several television and radio documentaries, including the BAFTA-nominated Chemistry: A Volatile History and The Secret Life of Chaos.

Johnjoe McFadden is Professor of Molecular Genetics at the University of Surrey and is the editor of several leading text books. For over a decade, he has specialized in examining tuberculosis and meningitis, inventing the first successful molecular test for the latter. He is the author of Quantum Evolution and co-editor of Human Nature: Fact and Fiction.


Quantum Biology – Johnjoe McFadden

Professor Johnjoe McFadden’s Presentation “Does Biology Need Quantum Mechanics?” at Imperial College London’s Festival of Science 2014

Johnjoe McFadden obtained his PhD at Imperial College London, then went on to work on human genetic diseases and infectious diseases at the University of Surrey. He has more recently specialised in examining the genetics of microbes such as the agents of tuberculosis and meningitis. Professor McFadden has published more than 100 articles in scientific journals on subjects as wide-ranging as bacterial genetics, tuberculosis, idiopathic diseases and computer modelling of evolution.

As well as contributing articles on a broad range of scientific topics to the Guardian newspaper, Johnjoe is the author of the highly regarded book Quantum Evolution. In this book he proposes a new model for the fundamental mechanisms of evolution, while presenting quantum mechanics in such a way as to be accessible to those without a background in Physics or Chemistry.

Panel on the Nature of Fundamental Reality moderated by Deepak Chopra

A panel with Edward Frenkel, Bernardo Kastrup, Menas Kafatos, Julia Mossbridge and facilitated by Deepak Chopra.

For centuries philosophers and scientists have debated on the nature of fundamental reality and also the mind body problem and the origins of consciousness.

• Is the mind what the brain does or is the brain what the mind does?
• How does the solution of this problem affect the nature of our understanding of the cosmos?
• Is fundamental reality material or mental or both or neither?
• If a dualistic worldview is no longer tenable as most now believe then what monism seems more likely – physicalist or non-physicalist?
• How does this pertain to current views on the interpretation of quantum mechanics, Big Bang, eternal inflation, standard model of physics, the nature of dark matter and dark energy?
• Why is it important to understand these ideas and how is this relevant to the future of life on our planet and the future evolution of the universe?

The panel will present divergent world-views and try and come to an understanding that seems reasonable and rational and reconciles science, philosophy, and spirituality.

Meditation: ‘I’ Shines in the Midst of Experience

Published on Jan 29, 2016

This meditation explores the nature of ‘I’, and develops to explore the arising of the world within Consciousness as a sacrifice.

To Know Yourself Is To Forget Yourself

According to Pema Chödrön, we might think that knowing ourselves is a very ego-centered thing, but by beginning to look clearly and honestly at ourselves, we begin to dissolve the walls that separate us from others.

The journey of awakening happens just at the place where we can’t get comfortable. Opening to discomfort is the basis of transmuting our so-called “negative” feelings. We somehow want to get rid of our uncomfortable feelings either by justifying them or by squelching them, but it turns out that this is like throwing the baby out with the bath water. According to the teachings of vajrayana, or tantric, Buddhism, our wisdom and our confusion are so interwoven that it doesn’t work to just throw things out.

By trying to get rid of “negativity,” by trying to eradicate it, by putting it into a column labelled “bad,” we are throwing away our wisdom as well, because everything in us is creative energy—particularly our strong emotions. They are filled with life-force.

There is nothing wrong with negativity per se; the problem is that we never see it, we never honor it, we never look into its heart. We don’t taste our negativity, smell it, get to know it. Instead, we are always trying to get rid of it by punching someone in the face, by slandering someone, by punishing ourselves, or by repressing our feelings. In between repression and acting out, however, there is something wise and profound and timeless.

If we just try to get rid of negative feelings, we don’t realize that those feelings are our wisdom. The transmutation comes from the willingness to hold our seat with the feeling, to let the words go, to let the justification go. We don’t have to have resolution. We can live with a dissonant note; we don’t have to play the next key to end the tune.

Curiously enough, this journey of transmutation is one of tremendous joy. We usually seek joy in the wrong places, by trying to avoid feeling whole parts of the human condition. We seek happiness by believing that whole parts of what it is to be human are unacceptable. We feel that something has to change in ourselves. However, unconditional joy comes about through some kind of intelligence in which we allow ourselves to see clearly what we do with great honesty, combined with a tremendous kindness and gentleness. This combination of honesty, or clear-seeing, and kindness is the essence of maitri—unconditional friendship with ourselves.

This is a process of continually stepping into unknown territory. You become willing to step into the unknown territory of your own being. Then you realize that this particular adventure is not only taking you into your own being, it’s also taking you out into the whole universe. You can only go into the unknown when you have made friends with yourself. You can only step into those areas “out there” by beginning to explore and have curiosity about this unknown “in here,” in yourself.

Dogen Zen-ji said, “To know yourself is to forget yourself.” We might think that knowing ourselves is a very ego-centered thing, but by beginning to look so clearly and so honestly at ourselves—at our emotions, at our thoughts, at who we really are—we begin to dissolve the walls that separate us from others. Somehow all of these walls, these ways of feeling separate from everything else and everyone else, are made up of opinions. They are made up of dogma; they are made of prejudice. These walls come from our fear of knowing parts of ourselves.

There is a Tibetan teaching that is often translated as, “Self-cherishing is the root of all suffering.” It can be hard for a Western person to hear the term “self-cherishing” without misunderstanding what is being said. I would guess that 85% of us Westerners would interpret it as telling us that we shouldn’t care for ourselves—that there is something anti-wakeful about respecting ourselves. But that isn’t what it really means. What it is talking about is fixating. “Self-cherishing” refers to how we try to protect ourselves by fixating; how we put up walls so that we won’t have to feel discomfort or lack of resolution. That notion of self-cherishing refers to the erroneous belief that there could be only comfort and no discomfort, or the belief that there could be only happiness and no sadness, or the belief that there could be just good and no bad.

But what the Buddhist teachings point out is that we could take a much bigger perspective, one that is beyond good and evil. Classifications of good and bad come from lack of maitri. We say that something is good if it makes us feel secure and it’s bad if it makes us feel insecure. That way we get into hating people who make us feel insecure and hating all kinds of religions or nationalities that make us feel insecure. And we like those who give us ground under our feet.

When we are so involved with trying to protect ourselves, we are unable to see the pain in another person’s face. “Self-cherishing” is ego fixating and grasping: it ties our hearts, our shoulders, our head, our stomach, into knots. We can’t open. Everything is in a knot. When we begin to open we can see others and we can be there for them. But to the degree that we haven’t worked with our own fear, we are going to shut down when others trigger our fear.

So to know yourself is to forget yourself. This is to say that when we make friends with ourselves we no longer have to be so self-involved. It’s a curious twist: making friends with ourselves is a way of not being so self-involved anymore. Then Dogen Zen-ji goes on to say, “To forget yourself is to become enlightened by all things.” When we are not so self-involved, we begin to realize that the world is speaking to us all of the time. Every plant, every tree, every animal, every person, every car, every airplane is speaking to us, teaching us, awakening us. It’s a wonderful world, but we often miss it. It’s as if we see the previews of coming attractions and never get to the main feature.

When we feel resentful or judgmental, it hurts us and it hurts others. But if we look into it we might see that behind the resentment there is fear and behind the fear there is a tremendous softness. There is a very big heart and a huge mind—a very awake, basic state of being. To experience this we begin to make a journey, the journey of unconditional friendliness toward the self that we already are.

Source: Lions Roar

“Fully Alive,” a Retreat with Pema Chodron

In this clip from Pema Chodron’s 2011 Omega retreat, “Living Beautifully with Uncertainty and Change,” Pema teaches us how to change the way we relate to our experience when we wake up feeling depressed.

Pema Chödrön – Why I Became a Buddhist

The Internet to the Inner-Net: Five Ways to Reset Your Connection and Live a Conscious Life by Gopi Kallayil (Editor)

The Internet has become humanity’s invisible central nervous system, connecting us at the speed of thought. More people today have access to mobile phones than have access to clean drinking water. Yet the most important technology is still the one within us: our brain, body, and consciousness.

A fast-paced career in the high-tech industry combined with a deep yoga and meditation practice has allowed Gopi Kallayil—Google’s Chief Evangelist for Brand Marketing and one of the leading voices encouraging yoga and mindfulness in the workplace today—to integrate his inner and outer technologies to a remarkable degree. Wisdom from his yoga mat and meditation cushion guides his professional career, and his work life provides the perfect classroom to deepen his wisdom practice. The Internet to the Inner-Net guides the rest of us to do the same. In some three dozen wide-ranging, sometimes provocative essays, Gopi shares his experiments in conscious living and offers insight, inspiration, and rituals—including yoga, mindful eating, and even napping—to help us access our own inner worlds.

If you’re looking for grounded practical wisdom that might simultaneously help you become more creative, adaptable, enthusiastic, effective, or resilient, you’ll find it in this user’s manual for the technology within—along with colorful insight into the successful Google culture. In five sections, from “Log In” (which offers mindful ways of connecting and engaging) to “Clear Out Your In-Box” (shedding what doesn’t serve you to make space for what does) to “Thank You for Subscribing” (a reminder to live with gratitude), Gopi lays out practices and perspectives that you can use starting right now to live with more purpose, fulfillment, and joy.

Gopi Kallayil is Chief Evangelist for Brand Marketing at Google, helping grow customer brands through digital marketing. In his prior roles he worked as Chief Evangelist for Google+ and led marketing teams for the company’s advertising products AdWords and AdSense. Before joining Google, Gopi was on the management team of two Silicon Valley venture-funded startups; while a consultant with McKinsey & Co., he worked on engagements helping large corporations improve performance and maximize revenues. He has also led information-technology projects for global corporations in India, China, and the U.S.

Gopi earned his bachelor’s degree in electronics engineering from the National Institute of Technology in India and received MBAs from the Indian Institute of Management and the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania. An avid yoga practitioner, triathlete, global traveler, and Burning Man devotee, he has spoken at TEDx, Renaissance Weekend, The World Peace Festival, and Wisdom 2.0. He hosts a TV program on cable and YouTube called Change Makers. Learn more at

Look Inside

Gopi Kallayil – Connecting the Internet to the Inner-net

Gopi Kallayil is a Group Product Marketing Manager at Google supporting the marketing of the Company’s flagship advertising product, AdWords, in the Americas and Asia Pacific. He supports the company’s go-to market strategy and adoption of Google search advertising products.

From Internet to Inner-Net: Gopi Kallayil

Michael Roads – Buddha at the Gas Pump Interview

Published on Jan 25, 2016

Michael Roads: An ordinary man on an extraordinary journey . . .
Michael Roads was born a farmer’s son in Cambridgeshire, England, in 1937. From an early age he discovered that he had a natural ability to travel beyond linear time and space, and enter into deep communication with Nature. Since his spiritual enlightenment at age 49, Michael has written 19 books on his experiences and explorations of alternate realities and dimensions. His main focus and teachings are based on unconditional Love and emotional balance. 2016 marks his 25th year of traveling over five continents presenting inspirational and life-changing 5-Day Intensives in a clear, compelling, humorous and no-nonsense format, enabling many participants to experience amazing shifts in consciousness.

Michael, an ordinary mystic, weaves his wealth of life experiences with the most extra-ordinary insights – insights that offer pathways to our deep spiritual relationship with Nature and with Self. He has the consciousness and ability to empower people to gain understanding of the true nature of reality, and assist them in their spiritual awakening to their Divine potential.


Books: Through the Eyes of Love: Journeying with Pan, Book One Through the Eyes of Love: Journeying with Pan, Book Two Through the Eyes of Love: Journeying with Pan, Book Three Stepping … Between … Realities Insights of a Modern Mystic: A day-by-day book of uncommon wisdom Talking with Nature and Journey into Nature

Awakening: An Interview With Leonard Jacobson -Part 2

The second of a two-part series: Interview by Tim Miejan.

In the conclusion of this interview, Jacobson speaks with us about duality, the role of religion in the process of awakening, and about belief in God.

How would you describe the current state of human consciousness in terms of its level of awakening? Is it easier to awaken now than in the past? Are more people awakening?

LJ: Absolutely! I’ve been doing this work for 25 years, since my first awakening. In those early days of teaching, I would have to work with people for a year or so, for them to really open into Presence and Oneness, but now that process is rapidly accelerating. In just one day or a weekend, people can have a very deep and lasting experience of the awakened state. People are much more interested in being present today than they were 25 years ago.

The problem is that as more and more of us truly awaken in consciousness, it is met with a corresponding movement into unconsciousness. It’s as if the forces of consciousness and unconsciousness are battling it out within a dual realm. Of course when you awaken, you transcend duality and open into Oneness. In Oneness, there is no opposition. There is no resistance. There is no opposing force. We just need enough of us to awaken individually to impact the collective level, and it will become easier and easier and easier. That’s really our only hope, and I’m fairly optimistic.

And yet, when you’re in the awakened state you still have some concern for the state of duality?

LJ: Even those who are fully awake are aware of time, are aware of what is happening in the world as a result of human unconsciousness. You can’t help but observe what is going on. That does not mean that you enter into judgment. It does not mean that you disconnect from Presence because of your concern for the state of the world. Ultimately, everything is accepted for what it is, and that includes human extinction if that is the destiny that we create for ourselves. But it doesn’t have to be that way. It is a natural response of Presence to express the truth when encountering illusion, even in the face of great resistance. History is full of such examples, from Jesus to Gandhi to Martin Luther King. When you awaken, you are much more aware of the beauty of the natural world and you recognize your role as a caretaker. And so you do your best to act consciously upon the earth, and encourage others to act consciously, rather than unconsciously and destructively. Essentially, it is an empowered response from Presence. I’m doing what I can by writing books and teaching and sharing a way of awakening with those who a ready to respond. And as each of awakens, it impacts at the collective level.

So you must feel pretty satisfied that there are other people who are also speaking about the present moment now, like Eckhart Tolle. I have received some of that from my experiences in person with people like Thich Nhat Hanh, with the walking meditation, being present in the moment on the ground, on the earth.

LJ: Yes, there’s no question about it. Being present is the key to awakening, and that seems to be emerging as the current and prominent teaching. The present moment reveals the eternal now. The present moment reveals Oneness. The present moment opens us up to the living presence of God, and ultimately reveals Heaven on Earth. We just have to realize that being present is not a practice or a meditation. It is our natural state.

What role has religion played in the process of awakening?

LJ: More than anything, religion has distracted us from the truth. What I would say is, “Don’t be a Buddhist, be a Buddha. Don’t be a Christian, be a Christ.” And Buddha and Jesus would support those statements unconditionally. That was the whole point of their teaching. They were not seeking to create a religion. Their Presence gave rise to the possibility not of millions of Buddhists and millions of Christians, but millions of Buddhas and millions of Christs. That is our true destiny, but it is impossible to know the true meaning of their words other than from within the awakened state of consciousness and then the meaning of their words is clear.

They put their messages out, but the people who were not awake misinterpreted what they were saying.

LJ: That’s absolutely true. It’s inevitable that that would occur, because you can’t know the truth of Christ or the truth of Buddha from within the mind. Jesus and Buddha were speaking from a dimension of truth transcendent of the mind, so the mind is always going to misunderstand and misinterpret. The ego is always going to misunderstand and misinterpret, and worse than that, the ego is going to misuse the truth toward it’s own ends.

Why do you write that belief in God is an obstacle to knowing God?

LJ: Because belief is a function of the mind and God is unknowable with the mind. To believe in God is to create God in man’s image and it doesn’t work. You can only know God through direct experience which arises out of the deepest levels of Presence. Did Jesus believe in God, or did he know God? For those who don’t know God through direct experience, all that’s really available is belief in God and belief in God has nothing to do with knowing God. God is unknowable with the mind, and yet we can experience God directly by coming to where God is. For me, God is the silent presence at the very heart of all things present. God is real. God is here, now, but we are not. We are lost in the past and future world of thought. We are lost in concepts, including spiritual and religious concepts and beliefs. If we want to experience the living presence of God, we will have to come to where God is, which is here, now. Then we will begin to experience God as the silent Presence at the very heart of all things present. That’s what omnipresence really means! For believers it’s a comforting concept. For mystics who are awake in the truth of life, it’s a living reality.

And that’s where we experience true happiness.

LJ: True awakening is beyond happiness, because happiness is in duality with sadness. Of course, when you are present, happiness will arise. But it will pass. Bliss will arise, but it will pass. If you identify with these feelings as they arise, you will take yourself into duality. You will invite unhappiness and despair into your life, because that is the nature of duality. All experience will pass but what remains constant is the one experiencing. True awakening is not about bliss or happiness. It is not about what you get out of it. It is just about being here, because when you are present, you are in the truth of life and you choose to be in the truth of life, rather than lost in a world of illusion.

So, the experience of knowing God through direct experience is ultimately where we’re moving toward through the process of awakening?

LJ: Yes, it’s our ultimate destiny. It’s every human’s ultimate destiny, but we’ve been dramatically sidetracked into the world of the mind, into the world of separation and illusion, where the ego reigns supreme. The ego is the custodian of the separation, and its role is to keep us imprisoned within the separation.

How does reincarnation work with the awakening process?

LJ: Well, it’s as if we’re reincarnating lifetime after lifetime until we get it right. The soul is on a journey from Oneness into separation, ultimately to return to Oneness. We are that part of the soul incarnating into this lifetime to advance the soul towards it’s ultimate destiny. In that sense, we are the champions of our own soul. We’re here to learn certain lessons that will advance the soul towards its immortality and restore the soul to Oneness. The are several key lessons that we are here to learn. What is the true nature of love? Because we’re all lost in a false notion of love. What is the true nature of power? Because we’re all painfully lost in false power. What is the true nature of acceptance? Because we are all lost in judgment. And what is the true nature of compassion? Because we have all disconnected from the pain of separation. These are fundamental lessons that will advance the soul towards redemption.

However, there is a master lesson that the soul itself is not aware of: Through the doorway of the present moment, Oneness is redeemed and the eternal is revealed. The soul believes that by perfecting itself over many lifetimes, it will eventually be restored to Oneness. It sees its destiny as somewhere in its future. And that is the soul’s mistake. I speak about it in my book, Journey into Now. There can be no deliverance in the future, because there is only now. The future that we believe in is an illusion. That is the master lesson that we can discover upon behalf of the soul. We cannot awaken in the future. We can only awaken now! And so we respond by becoming more and more present, until we are fundamentally established in Presence and the realization of Oneness. We have arisen in mastery of the mind and ego, so that we are no longer imprisoned within the past and future. And then, miraculously, we will come to realize that not only have we awakened in this lifetime, but through our awakening, we have delivered the soul into its own immortality.

Because then you’re not moving toward any future goal, you’re now.

LJ: That’s it. You’re here now. You relax, you settle, you enjoy, that’s it.

And we really haven’t had enough people do that to really share with everybody what lies beyond that.

LJ: That’s true. But there are a few who have awakened to a level where they can describe what life is like when we awaken. Most of humanity is lost in illusion. We’re so governed by the ego. We’re so caught in separation, through judgment. There are very powerful forces of resistance to awakening. That’s why we need a very, very, clear revealing of the way of awakening if we’re going to awaken at a collective level, and it has to be simple. It has to be clear. It has to be free of dogma and concept. It has to be free of the projection onto the guru.

The process of awakening, in one sense, seems as if it were something that would be simple to do. But, on the other hand, to truly come into awakening and to experience God directly, does that involve a lot of work in terms of, as you say, owning all the parts of who we are and moving through that whole process?

LJ: That’s a really good question. To be awake is as simple as being fully present in the moment of now. If you’re fully present with something that’s actually here in the moment with you, your mind will fall silent, thoughts will stop, and you’ll be awake in the truth of life. You’ll be fully here, now. And that is always instant and immediate. There’s no practice, there’s no delay, there’s no gap.

However, it is not so easy to remain present as we live our lives. It is not so easy to become fundamentally established in Presence and you are not truly awake until you’re fundamentally established in presence. The way of awakening that I teach involves two steps.

Step one involves learning the art of being present. Just bring yourself present with something that is here in the moment with you, and you will come out of the mind. Thoughts will stop. You will be a present and awakened being for as long as you remain present. Bring yourself present many times each day. Choose to be present whenever there is no need to be thinking. When you’re washing the dishes or having a shower, there is no need to be thinking. The more you choose to be present, rather than lost in the mind, the easier it will become.

Step two is essential for true awakening. It leads to mastery of the mind and ego. We have to go through a process of bringing consciousness to all the ways that we’re pulled out of presence. I’ve identified four aspects to step two. The first is the ego’s seduction and temptation. The ego is extremely skilled at pulling us out of the present moment into the past and future. We have to bring the ego’s subtle strategies of resistance to Presence to consciousness, and we have to come into right relationship with the ego. The second is denial of who we’ve become. We are deeply addicted to judging and denying certain aspects of ourselves which we are ashamed of. We have to go through a process of owning, acknowledging and confessing who we have become, if we are to open into the truth of who we are and we have to do so without judgment. We have to own and acknowledge all those aspects of ourselves that we have been judging, or hiding. This will lead to a deep relaxation as we go beyond all judgment of ourselves and others. The third is repression of emotions. We have to allow onto conscious experience and expression all those emotions repressed within us from our past. Otherwise those repressed emotions will constantly be triggered and projected onto the present. In a sense, those repressed emotions keep us imprisoned in a painful past. The fourth is entanglement in others. We have to bring to consciousness all the ways we lose ourselves in others. I explain all of this in detail in Journey into Now.Are you working on any other projects right now.

Are you working on any other projects right now.

LJ: Well, I’m working on a number of projects. I’m working on a children’s book, In search of the Light, which will be out in 2010. I’ve also written a play which I performed in Los Angeles for six weeks called “Liberating Jesus,” which is now available as a DVD. I am also planning to release it as a book. There are several other books which I am planning but haven’t started yet.

Leonard Jacobson’s next book, Liberating Jesus, will be released in 2010. It is based on profound revelations about Jesus that Leonard had in his second awakening experience. He also will release a book for children, In Search of the Light. For more information on Leonard Jacobson and his work, please visit
Source: Intent Blog

John Astin – Buddha at the Gas Pump Interview

John Astin is the author of three collections of poetic and prose reflections on the non-dual nature of reality, Too Intimate for Words, (2005) This Is Always Enough(2007), and Searching for Rain in a Monsoon (2012). He is presently at work on a new book, It’s Not What You Think It Is: Reflections on the Inconceivable Nature of Reality. Along with his writing and teaching, John is also a singer, songwriter and recording artist who since 1987 has produced seven CDs of original spiritual/contemplative music including his most recent release, What We’ve Always Been.

In addition to his writing and music, John also holds a PhD in health psychology and is an internationally acclaimed scholar in the field of mind-body medicine, his research focusing on the applications of meditative/contemplative practices in psychology and health care.

For information about John’s work, visit

Music CDs: What We’ve Always Been Already Shining Clear Blue Mind Now Is the Time For more see

Interview recorded 1/9/2016

Searching for Rain in a Monsoon by John Astin (Author)

We search for some other moment, a moment we imagine will be more fulfilling, more profound, more free, more meaningful… And yet, it is only when we demand something from this moment, when we imagine what’s here is somehow not quite enough, that we experience this heartache of incompleteness and then set about to find its resolution. But we have another choice than to live this way. We can experiment with another possibility, the possibility that this moment, exactly as it is, is actually enough.

In “Searching for Rain in a Monsoon,” we are invited through a series of meditations and inquiries into an exploration of this possibility, that this moment is the miracle we’ve been seeking. After all, the fact that this moment even exists at all is truly beyond comprehension. Without asking or demanding anything from our momentary experience, without insisting it be better, more profound, more fulfilling, or more anything, we can discover a depth and profundity, a richness and fulfillment that has always been here—here, in this very instant, the only one we will ever have.

Along with “Searching for Rain in a Monsoon,” John Astin is also the author of two other collections of poetic and prose reflections on the nature of human awareness and the search for happiness, “Too Intimate for Words” and “This Is Always Enough.” Along with his writing, he is also a singer, songwriter and recording artist who since 1987 has produced seven CDs of original music including his most recent release, What We’ve Always Been. In addition to his music, writing, and teaching work, John holds a PhD in psychology and is an internationally known researcher in the field of mind-body medicine, where his research has focused on the applications of meditative-contemplative practices in psychology and health care. For more information about his work please visit:

Look Inside

The Effortlessness of Everything

Published on Dec 17, 2012

Even if in the subtlest of ways, we often imagine that in order to realize greater clarity, peace or awareness in our lives, some (or maybe a great deal of) effort is required. However, in this meditation, we are invited to consider a different possibility, to notice how effortless life can actually be, how no effort is required in order for us to exist, how no effort is needed in order for awareness to be, how the senses and the body all function quite beautifully and naturally with no effort needed to make it so.

Awakening: An Interview with Leonard Jacobson -Part 1

An enlightening two-part interview with spiritual tecacher, mystic, and gifted healer, Leonard Jacobson. The second of a two-part series from, “The Edge” magazine. Interview by Tim Miejan.

In this age of heightened security, global uncertainty and climatic change, many spiritual teachers and guides continue to lead the human race toward conscious evolution. Leonard Jacobson is one such awakened soul who urges us to temper the desire of the ego for power and control, and to “integrate awakened consciousness into everyday life, enhancing every aspect of life and relationships.”

Leonard Jacobson, 65, has been guiding people on the path of awakening for more than 20 years through three previous books [Words from Silence, Embracing the Present, and Bridging Heaven & Earth] and workshops in the U.S., Europe and his native Australia. In 2007, he brought to us the book Journey Into Now – Clear Guidance on the Path of Spiritual Awakening (Conscious Living Publication) in which he shares the details of his six remarkable awakenings, or peak experiences, and guides the reader out of the mind and into the present moment.

“Most of the conflict, abuse and injustice we experience is based upon the fact that the ego, with its self-serving attitude, and its need for power and control, has become too dominant in our lives,” Jacobson said. “For the most part, we are lost in a dangerous world of illusion, made real through the power of belief. Our beliefs separate us and lead to all kinds of cruelty and abuse in the name of our beliefs. The more rigid our beliefs, the more we are willing to wage war upon each other, and the more we will exploit each other and our environment.

“Quite frankly, we have become too technologically advanced to continue living unconsciously upon this planet. The only viable antidote is for millions of us to experience a spiritual awakening…an awakening out of separation and illusion into the Truth of our Oneness.”

The author and spiritual teacher, founder of The Conscious Living Foundation, spoke to us about the Journey Into Now from his home just outside of Santa Cruz in Northern California.

What’s the primary message of Journey into Now?

Leonard Jacobson: Well, it’s really a comprehensive guide to spiritual awakening,. When I speak of awakening, we have to ask what are we awakening from? And what are we awakening to? Essentially, we are awakening from the world of the human thinking mind. It is a world of the past and the future, a world of memory, idea, imagination, concept and belief. It is a world of never ending thought. It is a world of separation and illusion, and for the most part, humanity is imprisoned within this limited level of consciousness. When we awaken, we emerge from the past and future world of thought into the world of now. We open into the truth of life revealed through the present moment. We awaken from illusion into truth and from separation into Oneness.

From the perspective of most people on the planet, they would call “reality” the part of life that you say we’re awakening from.

LJ: Yes. They would say it’s reality – and that’s the problem. That’s where the world has gone astray. It is not until you awaken that you realize that it is all an illusion. You have to wake up from the dream to realize that you were lost in a dream. Let me sum up my entire teaching and the book in one sentence, which is this: In Truth, there is no life outside of this moment. How can we possibly live outside of this moment? It’s not possible, and yet we all miraculously manage to do so. How do we do that? We literally think ourselves into the past and future. We think ourselves out of the present moment, into a memory of the past or a fantasy of the future. We think our way out of the truth into our concepts, ideas and opinions, which have nothing to do with the truth. Then we become so absorbed into the world of the mind that we cannot find our way back to the present moment.

Some people, like yourself, have had peak experiences where you’re moved into that present moment. For other people, it has occurred more slowly over time. Why does it occur differently from person to person?
LJ: It has something to do with the soul’s journey and past lifetimes. What I would say is that those who have peak experiences and those who go through a process of gradual awakening all finish up in the same place, which is here, now. This is the whole point of the journey. In fact, many people who have had those peak enlightenment experiences often get caught up in them and…

They think that they’re special?

LJ: That often happens. After the experience has subsided, the ego identifies with it and thinks that it’s enlightened. It is very difficult to awaken out of an enlightened ego or an ego which has become spiritualized. The truth is that a peak enlightenment experience is just like any other experience. It’s something that arises within your consciousness and it passes. The real question is, “Who is experiencing?” Experiences come. Experiences go. This includes the peak experience. But the one experiencing remains the same. To realize this is to realize your true and essential nature.

How do you compare the terms “enlightenment” and “awakening?”

LJ: I prefer the term “awakening.” We all go to sleep at night and wake up in the morning. We know what it means to “wake up.” When we wake up in the morning, we are awakening from a world of sleep and dreams and unconsciousness. We then proceed through the day, believing that we are awake. What we don’t realize is that when we wake up in the morning we are not waking up fully. Just as in sleep, there is a dream stage, as we open our eyes and are in the process of waking up, there is also a dream stage. To the extent that we are lost in thought, or caught in some past memory or future imagining, or identified with our concepts, ideas, opinions and beliefs, we are still dreaming! To awaken fully in consciousness is to complete the process of awakening past the dream state. It is to awaken out of the past and future, and out of thought so fully that your mind is silent. In the awakened state, you are fully here, with what is here and you are nowhere else. You are not partially here, and partially lost in some past memory or future imagining. You are fully here and awake in the truth of life.

Enlightenment is more complex. Ultimately, enlightenment is a concept and all concepts keep us in the mind. It is very easy for the ego to become involved in the quest for enlightenment, which is a very powerful obstacle to awakening. The quest for enlightenment tends to keep you in the future., where as true awakening is about being present, and you can only be present now.

I have a very simple view of enlightenment. Most of our thoughts, beliefs, and repressed feelings function with us at an unconscious level. So much is hidden and buried within the darkness of our unconscious minds. As a part of the awakening process, all these things must surface into consciousness. As Jesus said, “All that is hidden shall be revealed!” As these things surface, we are becoming enlightened, in the sense that more and more of that which was hidden and unconscious is being revealed into the light of consciousness. We are becoming present and conscious Beings, rather than absent and unconscious Non-Beings.

Are most people in various stages in the process of awakening?

LJ: We are all equally awake, in the sense that the fully awakened dimension of consciousness exists at the very center of each one of us. It always has and it always will. In truth, we are Eternal Beings. We exist in a state of Oneness. However, this awakened consciousness is only available to us when we are present. To varying degrees we have disconnected from our true nature as we became more absorbed into the past and future world of thought. Some of us are more grounded in Presence than others. Some of us are more lost in the mind than others. It is only in that sense that there are various stages in the process of awakening.

How does the experience that we have in our daily life, our relationships and our challenges and our problems and all that, relate to the process of awakening? Some would say that we are here in body to experience that and to learn from it.

LJ: Everything that occurs in our lives is designed to propel us towards our own awakening. It could be a difficult relationship. It could be emotional or physical pain or it could be a difficult experience like loss of a loved one. There really are no exceptions. Life is a mirror reflecting to you what is in need of healing, or important lessons that you need to learn as a part of your process of awakening. But you have to know how to look into the mirror. Once you realize this, then all problems and difficulties are transformed into opportunities for awakening.

Is it sometimes difficult to explain the process of awakening through words?

LJ: No one can really understand what awakening is with the mind. The awakened state is always beyond understanding. Jesus referred to it as “The peace that passeth understanding.” This does not mean that I can’t speak of the awakened state and share the awakened state of consciousness with others. If I am speaking from Presence and members of the audience are hearing from Presence, then we will all experience the awakened state and open into Oneness.

The problem arises when I am speaking from Presence and a member of the audience is trying to understand with the mind. That audience member will miss what is being conveyed. To know the awakened state, you must experience it yourself. My Presence and my words spoken from Presence facilitate that experience. But just because you have experienced the awakened state of Presence does not mean that you are awake. To be awake is to be fundamentally grounded and established in Presence. This involves arising in mastery of the mind and ego. To this extent, my words can also be useful in revealing a way of awakening that leads to Presence and Mastery.

Do you find that the process of awakening is like other things we do in life where we need to practice, where we need classes, where we need to read about it to move toward that space?

LJ: It’s a combination of all of those things you mentioned. Reading about it is helpful initially, of course. We need guidance. We need clarification of the way of awakening. Practice is good, to a point, but eventually practice has to be left behind. Visiting teachers is, of course, very useful, as long as you don’t project the awakened state onto the teacher. In other words, if you experience silence and Oneness in the presence of a teacher, it’s because silence and Oneness is arising within you. A true teacher will not allow that projection.

Do you use any practices to become present? Does it require any effort on your part??

LJ: No, not now. I might have many years ago, but now I am fully established in Presence. There comes a point where you no longer live from within the mind. Your home is the present moment. You think when it is appropriate and when you are done thinking, you naturally and spontaneously return to the present moment. Even when you are thinking, you don’t really disconnect from the present moment. Eventually, the ego relaxes it hold over you. Its role is transformed as it learns to trust the flowering of Presence from within.

Most of us don’t really understand the ego, that it actually serves a good purpose in our lives.

LJ: The ego came into our lives as our friend and protector. It came in at a very young age to help us cope with the pain that arises from having to live in a world where no one is truly present. The painful feelings of separation are too much to bear at such a young age, and so the ego literally pops into our existence. It is the custodian of the separation. It’s first job as our protector is to repress all those feelings that are too difficult to deal with. Once it has accomplished that, it assumes control of our lives with the explicit purpose of managing and controlling our lives in away that will minimize or at least manage the pain of separation. It will do whatever it takes to help you feel loved, accepted and acknowledged, and avoid painful feelings like judgment, rejection, failure and isolation.

The problem is that all these ego survival strategies are based in the past. The repressed feelings are based in the past, and so the ego’s dominance in our lives keeps us in the past. This is a profound obstacle to awakening into the present. It is only when we awaken that we realize that the ego has us imprisoned in a painful past so that it can maintain its role as our protector. It is not until we awaken that we realize that the separation is based in the past, and that if we will just become present, the separation dissolves and we open into Oneness. For most people, however, the ego has them imprisoned in a painful past, or a hopeful future, and it has no intention of releasing them.

There are six billion people living on this earth, each of us living in our individual worlds of separation. We get along with those who share the same set of illusions and we declare war on those who have a different set of illusions, and we are very destructive in our unconsciousness.

That’s not very pleasant to think about if you look at it that way.

LJ: It’s not, but that’s what’s happening in our world. You see, the basic position of the ego as it develops within us is this: me, me, me; mine, mine, mine; I’m right, I’m right, I’m right; what’s in it for me; how can I use this; how do I take advantage. Now, if you have six million egos living in this way, what kind of world would we find ourselves living in? The answer is, the world as it is today. I’m not being negative or judgmental, but it really is time for us to awaken as a species. We’re the only species on the planet that is not awake.

We’re the only species that is not fully here. The monkey is here, the gorilla is here, the donkey, the tree, the mountain. They are all fully here. I have never met a tree or a donkey or a mosquito that is lost in thought. Everything is here in its Being-ness, except us. What happened to us? We got lost. Where did we get lost? We got lost in the past and future world of our mind, filled with our memories, our thoughts, our ideas, our concepts, our opinions, and our imaginings – none of which has any relationship to truth.

Do you think that humans at any time were here, awake?
LJ: Throughout history, there have always been a small number of humans who have been awake. History has produced great teachers, like Buddha, Lao Tzu and Jesus. In our time, we have had teachers like Krishnamurti, Gurdjieff and Ramana Maharshi. And yet very few of us have awakened. There has been too much resistance and not enough to motivate us to collectively awaken. Until now! Perhaps it is a question of timing. The need to awaken has never before been so urgent. Our survival is at stake.

Because the potential for destruction is so great?

LJ: Exactly. We have become so technologically advanced that we now have the ability to destroy ourselves and most of the species living on this planet. You can’t kill that many people with a sword. You can’t cut down that many trees with an axe. You couldn’t create so much pollution 200 years ago that it would become a threat to our survival. But with the advancement in technology, all that has changed. The advancement of technology is a function of the mind. The mind has created the problem, and we need to balance that with an awakening in consciousness, transcendent of the mind.

How would you describe the current state of human consciousness in terms of its level of awakening? Is it easier to awaken now than in the past? Are more people awakening?
LJ: Absolutely! I’ve been doing this work for 25 years, since my first awakening. In those early days of teaching, I would have to work with people for a year or so, for them to really open into Presence and Oneness, but now that process is rapidly accelerating. In just one day or a weekend, people can have a very deep and lasting experience of the awakened state. People are much more interested in being present today than they were 25 years ago. The problem is that as more and more of us truly awaken in consciousness, it is met with a corresponding movement into unconsciousness. It’s as if the forces of consciousness and unconsciousness are battling it out within a dual realm. Of course when you awaken, you transcend duality and open into Oneness. In Oneness, there is no opposition. There is no resistance. There is no opposing force. We just need enough of us to awaken individually to impact at the collective level, and then it will become easier and easier and easier. That’s really our only hope, and I’m fairly optimistic.

Leonard Jacobson’s next book, Liberating Jesus, will be released in 2010. It is based on profound revelations about Jesus that Leonard had in his second awakening experience. He also will release a book for children, In Search of the Light. For more information on Leonard Jacobson and his work, please visit

Source: Intent Blog

Eckhart Tolle: What Role Does Willpower Play in Awakening?

Eckhart Tolle discusses willpower’s role in awakening on this video sample from Eckhart Tolle TV

Is The World Moving Towards A Better Time?

The Suicide of a Loved One

Published on Jan 22, 2016

A discussion about suicide.

Eckhart Tolle – Know YOURSELF and learn to live in the NOW

15 minutes conversation with Tolle, explaining how and why is important to live in the now and where this world is bringing us, far away from our real self

Following these advices and these doctrines our life is changed and improved for this reason we decided to share it with the world. This channel is intended for educational purposes only.
No copyright infringement intended. Video will be removed if requested by the copyright owner. For any copyright issues please contact us

The Garden of Truth: The Vision and Promise of Sufism, Islam’s Mystical Tradition by Seyyed Hossein Nasr (Author)

The headlines are filled with the politics of Islam, but there is another side to the world’s fastest-growing religion. Sufism is the poetry and mysticism of Islam. This mystical movement from the early ninth century rejects worship motivated by the desire for heavenly reward or the fear of punishment, insisting rather on the love of God as the only valid form of adoration. Sufism has made significant contributions to Islamic civilization in music and philosophy, dance and literature. The Sufi poet Rumi is the bestselling poet in America. But in recent centuries Sufism has been a target for some extremist Islamic movements as well as many modernists. The Garden of Truth presents the beliefs and vision of the mystical heart of Islam, along with a history of Sufi saints and schools of thought.

In a world threatened by religious wars, depleting natural resources, a crumbling ecosystem, and alienation and isolation, what has happened to our humanity? Who are we and what are we doing here? The Sufi path offers a journey toward truth, to a knowledge that transcends our mundane concerns, selfish desires, and fears. In Sufism we find a wisdom that brings peace and a relationship with God that nurtures the best in us and in others.

Noted scholar Seyyed Hossein Nasr helps you learn the secret wisdom tradition of Islam and enter what the ancient mystics call the “garden of truth.” Here, liberate your mind, experience peace, discover your purpose, fall in love with the Divine, and find your true, best self.

Photo by Ibrahim Kalin

Seyyed Hossein Nasr is university professor of Islamic Studies at George Washington University. Author of over fifty books, Professor Nasr is a well-known and highly respected intellectual figure both in the West and in the Islamic world. Born in Tehran, raised from the age of twelve in the United States, and a graduate of MIT and Harvard University, Nasr is well qualified to explain Islam to a Western audience. He appears frequently on Meet the Press, as well as other national news shows.

Look Inside

Seyyed Hossein Nasr: Sacred Silence in Sufism and the Vedanta

Jane Goodall: Reason for Hope [updated Jan 2016]

Published on Jun 16, 2015

Dr. Jane Goodall: Reasons for Hope
January 20, 2015

One of the most legendary conservationists of our time, Jane Goodall has dedicated her life’s work to the Gombe chimpanzees. In this talk she discusses the future of chimpanzees in the wild and the threats they face from devastating habitat loss, as well as the battle against illegal wildlife trade in ivory and rhino horn. Goodall shares highlights from some of her most unique experiences in the field, her candid thoughts on the future of conservation, and above all, provides heartfelt reasons to maintain hope despite growing threats and often overwhelming odds.

Jane Goodall
DBE, Founder of the Jane Goodall Institute, UN Messenger of Peace

Francis Lucille Retreat : Dialogues on the Hills

Higher: Awaken to a More Fulfilling Life by Charles Hanna

The world’s great philosophers and spiritual leaders teach us that happiness depends on how we look at life. In Higher, Charles Hanna explores why and how we can create the best possible outlook. By finding our Higher Perspective, Higher Power, and Higher Purpose, he demonstrates how we can challenge our demons and become our best selves. His experience of physical, emotional, and spiritual recovery and his applications will resonate powerfully with all readers.

As a young man, Hanna emigrated from Egypt to Canada where he got an education and followed his dreams. From one perspective, his life was perfect—his family grew, his businesses flourished; yet, his doubt and addiction quietly destroyed him. It was not until Hanna finally hit bottom that he discovered the tools to achieve true personal freedom and happiness—a Higher life. Through his firsthand experience and his understanding of human nature, neuroscience, and life management, Hanna provides readers with practical and practicable techniques and ideas so that everyone can apply the Higher way to their daily routines and to their dreams.

Hanna’s engaging voice, fascinating realizations, and depth of understanding make Higher a valuable book for anyone, religious or otherwise, who wants to find greater meaning, beauty, and success in their lives.

Charles Hanna is the Chairman, CEO, and founder of Brains II a third-party technology provider that he began in a basement in 1979 and built into Canada’s largest independent service consolidation company with offices in all of the major cities in the country. A devoted father of three children, Hanna is involved with a range of charities including organizations that help with cancer treatment, artists, and displaced or handicapped people. He has a particularly soft spot for children and animals, and contributes his personal time in various ways to the YMCA and animal shelter groups. He divides his time between Toronto and Los Angeles.

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