Thomas Hübl – 2nd Buddha at the Gas Pump Interview

Published on 27 Dec 2018

Thomas Hübl is a modern mystic, spiritual teacher, author, and systems-thinker. His work integrates the essence of the great wisdom traditions, scientific knowledge, and his own personal experience.

Thomas offers a unique approach to life as a ‘mystic in the marketplace’ and helps people to attain a deeper level of self-awareness and personal relationship and to transcend a ‘culture of the personal’ and a self-centered worldview. Through his work, people from all walks of life learn how to become a living expression of spirit and how to participate in ‘we cultures’ through an embodied inner and outer connection.

His teachings combine transformation through the integration of trauma, somatic sensitization, advanced meditative practice, and a deepening understanding of cultural processes. Since 2004, Thomas’ leading-edge work has spread worldwide through workshops, multi-year training programs, and online courses. The non-profit ‘Celebrate Life Festival‘ brings together more than 1,200 people every year and has showcased a wide network of experts in various disciplines, through dialogue and exchange. In 2008 Thomas founded the ‘Academy of Inner Science’. This provided a framework for dialogue between the inner science of consciousness and the external scientific-academic exploration of life.

Over the years Thomas has also organized several major healing events, aimed at healing the Holocaust’s cultural shadows. Thousands of Germans and Israelis have been brought together through these processes. In 2016 Thomas and his wife Yehudit founded the non-profit ‘Pocket Project‘, with the aim of exploring collective trauma and shadow work and integrating this through large-scale group processes. A global organization has been launched, intended to research and explore specific aspects of local traumatization. This applies both to past traumas and also to current conflict zones. Thomas was born in Austria in 1971 and now lives in Tel Aviv, Israel, with his wife, the Israeli artist Yehudit Sasportas and their daughter Eliya.

Awareness Explorers Episode 16: “Lynn Marie Lumiere, Guest Explorer”

n this episode we talk with Lynn Marie Lumiere about how your relationships can grow in harmony through non-dual awareness.

Includes a guided meditation from Lynn Marie pointing to the loving awareness that’s always present.

Awareness Explorers Episode 9: Rupert Spira, Guest Explorer

Brian Tom O’Connor

In this episode we talk to Rupert Spira about happiness, and how he leads people to the recognition of our true nature as awareness.

Includes a guided meditation from Rupert for going beyond our normal notion of self into the experience of pure awareness.

Awareness Explorers Episode 19: Rick Archer, Guest Explorer

Published on Dec 7, 2018
In this episode we talk to Rick Archer of “Buddha at the Gas Pump” about the advantages and ethical pitfalls of gurus and spiritual teachers.

Don’t forget to subscribe for more ingenious ways to tap into the ever-present stillness and joy of our true nature.

Rick Archer SAND Conference Q&A and Interview by Shakti Caterina Maggi – Buddha at the Gas Pump

Published on Dec 5, 2018

This video contains my Question and Answer session at the 2018 Science and Nonduality conference. and also an interview of me by Shakti Caterina Maggi, an Italian spiritual teacher who used to be a journalist. My SAND Q&A includes the following points:

How BatGap started.
Which guests have been the most interesting, provocative, intriguing, brilliant, mysterious, surprising, etc.?
What insights have I gained? How has this process influenced my spiritual path? What do I experience while I’m interviewing people? What do I foresee for BatGap in the next few years?
How to deal with family and friends who don’t understand your awakening or interest in spirituality?
A consideration of sudden vs. gradual awakenings.
How do I regard the urgency of humanity’s need to take a spiritual/cultural leap in response to the dire predicament facing us?
The joy and challenge of speaking with people from such a broad range of spiritual backgrounds.
Why science and spirituality need and can benefit one another.
The importance of understanding consciousness to be the fundamental to the universe rather than merely a product of brain functioning.

Shakti’s interview includes the following points:

In which direction are we as consciousness moving? How might the growing awakening of consciousness help humanity avert disaster?

Embodied spirituality vs. avoidance of life through transcendence. Consciousness is relevant to every field of human endeavor.
Consciousness is fundamental to matter.

Finding the foundation of our being and dealing with individual planetary problems from that foundation.
Ethical standards for spiritual teachers.

When is one ready to become a spiritual teacher? The potential consequences of entering the profession prematurely.

The guru is a function of consciousness which can work through imperfect bodies and personalities.

The importance of teachers and students having the humility to acknowledge that we’re all works in progress.

Culturing discernment and discrimination.
Having the freedom to ask anything in a teacher/student relationship in order to dispel doubts.

Is it possible to establish absolute guidelines on appropriate teacher behavior?

The quality of awakening will vary according to one’s constitution.
Awakening enhances individual differences while establishing our fundamental unity.

Sticking with one teacher vs. working with many.
The importance of sincerity. The principle of “the highest first”.

A Discussion on Teacher-Student Romantic Relationships – Buddha at the Gas Pump

Published on Dec 19, 2018
The Association of Professional Spiritual Teachers does not have a moralistic, judgmental orientation. It’s a community endeavor. We don’t agree among ourselves on certain points. We’re trying to balance our subjective perspectives with standards that fit our contemporary culture.

A key point of disagreement is the issue of teacher-student romantic/sexual relationships. None of us are rigid or adamant in our opinions.We’re trying to work it out.

There are exceptions to every generality. In graduate school, psychotherapists are taught that it will never be appropriate for therapist sand their clients to become partners.

Relationships tend to be the most challenging aspect of people’s lives. These challenges shouldn’t bleed into a teacher’s teaching activities.

When a teacher/student or therapist/client relationship transitions into romantic involvement, the potential for growth is undermined.
Sometimes “divine compulsion” arises in your spiritual path,shattering your conception of appropriate behavior.

The problem with teachers who haven’t transcended desire and explored their own shadow.
There can be a huge disparity between the apparent enlightenment of a teacher and their behavior.

Isolation and being closed to constructive criticism can be very dangerous for a teacher.

If a teacher doesn’t have friends other than his students,he might want to ask why. If he doesn’t have regular relationships and is always on a pedestal, he won’t get real world feedback.
The culture is changing anyway. We’re just trying to give voice to values that are becoming lively in collective consciousness.
There can be a lot of practice involved in having your actions be a reflection of your deepest understanding.

Ethics and Spiritual Teaching SAND Panel – Buddha at the Gas Pump

Published on Dec 19, 2018

Questioning whether higher consciousness and ethicalbehavior are tightly correlated.

The founding of the Association of Professional SpiritualTeachers.
The attempt to formulate a code of ethics that might applyuniversally in the contemporary spiritual community and enliven an understanding of what may or may not be appropriate, giving students greater confidence in their own discernment and discrimination.

Ancient traditions held the teacher beyond reproach and students surrendered their own will. This may have worked in monastic settingsbut generally does not work today.

Preventative support so we’re not busy doing cleanup.

Power hierarchies should not be an essential part ofspiritual development and can lead to abuses.

Spiritual awakening does not necessarily qualify a person tooffer advice on relationships, finances, etc.
Ethical training of some sort is integral to most honoredtraditions.
The issue of sexism and patriarchy in spiritualorganizations.

Entering the teaching profession prematurely.

All too often, when teachers are challenged on their behavior, they ignore the challenger or become defensive.

How do we offer the possibility for redemption and atonement?

Moving away from a culture of competition to one ofcooperation.
The importance of humility.

The importance of teachers not identifying with their role and thinking that students’ devotion is about them.

South Africa’s “Truth and Reconciliation” as a model.

David Buckland – 2nd Buddha at the Gas Pump Interview

David grew up on the SW coast of Canada. He began witnessing full time during a 6-month retreat in the mid-’70s then the lights came on and celestial perception began. It soon became clear that Self was awake within but had not woken up to Itself through this form yet. Self co-existed with an identified ego. Subtle perception continued to unfold in a myriad of ways.

With a more outward stroke into career, marriage, and family, inner development continued but took a back seat to life’s responsibilities.

Then in 2005, much of the old life fell away and spirituality moved back to the foreground. After some feedback and darshan with Lorne Hoff, Self at last woke up to Itself here. Probably because of the long witnessing, this was quickly followed by a series of profound shifts in Being. (see my first BatGap interview) And then transcending Being into Brahman. In 2011, David was awarded a graduate degree in Vedic Science.

In this interview, we had an extended preamble to touch on the earlier shifts, then we discussed the ParaBrahman shift, pure Divinity, and how embodied Divinity is waking up laws of nature. This process will help raise the presence of Divinity in consciousness.

In the second part of the interview, we touched on the book Our Natural Potential describing the 7 stages of enlightenment, then explored some related topics.

For over a decade, David has been blogging on a wide range of subjects related to unfolding enlightenment. Under the nickname Davidya, he has posted close to 2,000 articles. During the Science and Nonduality Conference in 2017, David gave a talk on the stages described in this interview.


Book: Our Natural Potential: Beyond Personal Development, The Stages of Enlightenment (Rick Archer wrote the Foreword.)

Part 1:
Stages of Witnessing

The Three Parts of Awakening

Experience vs Being

Stages of Development in Consciousness

3-way Dynamics of Consciousness

Understanding Unity

The Appearance of the Doers (Devata)

The Koshas or sheathes

The Levels talk @ SAND18

Free Will and Determinism

Unity into Brahman or Beyond Consciousness

Subtle Perception

The 16 Kalas


Pure Divinity

Laws of Nature Waking Up (from dormancy)

Being Cosmic (body)

Awakening the Body (laws becoming enlightened)

Inherent Intelligence

Devata and Geometry


Part 2: (about 53 minutes in)
Our Natural Potential book that explores the stages in more detail.
What is Nonduality?

The Gunas in Awakening

Knowing God

Gradations of Awakening and 5 subjective styles

Kaivalya, the Enlightenment of Yoga

Cognition, forms of

The Chakras

Understanding Your Energy System, Part 1


The Awakening Intellect (Resolute )

Styles of Teachers

Styles of Enlightenment

Atman and Sattva (Bhavas)

Karma and the Awake

Consciousness in Jung and Patañjali (Research in Analytical Psychology and Jungian Studies) by Leanne Whitney

The East-West dialogue increasingly seeks to compare and clarify contrasting views on the nature of consciousness. For the Eastern liberatory models, where a nondual view of consciousness is primary, the challenge lies in articulating how consciousness and the manifold contents of consciousness are singular. Western empirical science, on the other hand, must provide a convincing account of how consciousness arises from matter. By placing the theories of Jung and Patañjali in dialogue with one another, Consciousness in Jung and Patañjali illuminates significant differences between dual and nondual psychological theory and teases apart the essential discernments that theoreticians must make between epistemic states and ontic beliefs.

Patañjali’s Classical Yoga, one of the six orthodox Hindu philosophies, is a classic of Eastern and world thought. Patañjali teaches that notions of a separate egoic “I” are little more than forms of mistaken identity that we experience in our attempts to take ownership of consciousness. Carl Jung’s depth psychology, which remains deeply influential to psychologists, religious scholars, and artists alike, argues that ego-consciousness developed out of the unconscious over the course of evolution. By exploring the work of key theoreticians from both schools of thought, particularly those whose ideas are derived from an integration of theory and practice, Whitney explores the extent to which the seemingly irremediable split between Jung and Patañjali’s ontological beliefs can in fact be reconciled.

This thorough and insightful work will be essential reading for academics, theoreticians, and postgraduate students in the fields of psychology, philosophy of science, and consciousness studies. It will also appeal to those interested in the East–West psychological and philosophical dialogue.

Dr. Leanne Whitney is an independent scholar in the fields of depth psychology and consciousness studies. She specializes in the intersection of Western psychology and the Eastern liberatory traditions. In addition to Consciousness in Jung and Patañjali she has published several academic papers. Dr. Whitney works as a transformational coach both online and in person, with her private practice located in Los Angeles, California. She earned her MA in statistics from the University of St. Andrews and her PhD in depth psychology from Pacifica Graduate Institute. For more information, visit

Consciousness in Jung and Patanjali with Leanne Whitney

Leanne Whitney, PhD, is author of Consciousness in Jung and Patanjali. She is a transformational coach and also teaches yoga philosophy to yoga teachers.

Here she compares the western, depth psychology of Carl G. Jung with the yoga tradition of India, as outlined in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. She notes that Jung never accepted the eastern ideal that spiritual enlightenment could free one from mental suffering. Nor did Jungian theory address the concept of pure consciousness that is central to yoga philosophy. While Jung was fascinated with eastern wisdom, he ultimately felt that the western alchemical tradition offered greater insights into the human psyche.

New Thinking Allowed host, Jeffrey Mishlove, PhD, hosted and co-produced the original Thinking Allowed public television series. He is author of The Roots of Consciousness. He is also a past vice-president of the Association for Humanistic Psychology; and is the recipient of the Pathfinder Award from that Association for his contributions to the field of human consciousness exploration.

Awaken Interviews Gangaji – Who Am I? Well What Is Always Here?

Posted on November 3, 2018

Awaken Interview with Gangaji Part 2

DONNA QUESADA: So it’s a kind of a spaciousness, a distance to where you’re able to see all as passing clouds…

You know, I could even say that it’s more an intimacy. So, it’s so great, this is a great challenge. It’s all here. But what is…it’s all arising from what’s here, when it’s being experienced, or existing, and where it all returns to, is the truth. That’s always here, too. So I’m not even speaking in terms of choosing it, it’s just…I don’t know, a war stops. An individual war stops. And there may be skirmishes or battles or whatever, but the war itself is over. And so, there is then a deepening and peace of that. Which of course must allow for all kinds of differences, and dislikes, and emotional events. Yeah.

DONNA: Is that what you meant by intimacy, being intimate with something deeper and truer…and there’s a kind of comfort in knowing that that’s what it really is? The other stuff is fleeting?

GANGAJI: Well, intimacy you know, means…one way of finally. I mean, if you’re truly intimate with someone, or nature, or whatever you are, you’re not separate from that. But I wouldn’t necessarily say that there is comfort in that, it’s something deeper than comfort…that can be extreme discomfort. But there’s maybe divine knowledge, it’s our in, and you don’t have to believe it, or remember your experience of it. You know, you can check…in the worst moments, you can just stop and check, and… who am I? Well what is always here?And it’s is so clear. It was always here, and recognize, Oh yeah, that was always here but now it…As I said, “foregrounded,”so, it’s not a process to get to it.

Yes, I mean, this just came up with a whole supreme court thing, and all of it. Yeah, I have strong opinions about…and I had an emotional reaction to that…but am I going to add my personal suffering to that, or am I going to be able to experience the suffering that is present in that, and to have room for that without adding to it? I think that’s the practical aspect, when you were speaking of practicality. How are we in the world if we are activists or if we are just living a life, or in our special practices…what are we contributing? Are we contributing suffering and searching? Or are we contributing this recognition of, there is within all of it there is this mystery that is you?

DONNA: You know, that’s an interesting thing that you brought up. I would like to go a little further with it, if you don’t mind. What is the proper balance between one’s own spiritual practice and social activism, our role in the world? Because I think there’s this idea that spiritual practice takes you into the cave and you’re meditating…and the tendency is to say, “well, what good could that do?”And the monks have always said,“Well, but by not contributing one scrap of violence into the world, you know…is a kind of vibrational contagiousness of that, that is peaceful.”How are we to understand and what do we say to the naysayers,“What do you mean it starts with you?…you’re not doing anything of value?”

GANGAJI: Well I think there’s room for all of it and I don’t believe there’s a particular formula that has to be lived. it’s really, finally…how are you made? I’m naturally a pretty worldly person. I read the newspaper—online, of course…ecologically correct and I emotionally connect with certain events but I don’t think that’s required. And I also don’t think that it’s required to do that. It’s just discovering that we are unique forms of this one intimate consciousness and we find our way. We see what role we have to play in this drama.

So, Ramana, who was my teacher’s teacher, was a recluse and never left the mountain he got to. Never had relationships of intimacy with women, but that didn’t mean that that was the role model. That was what was right for him. But we do that with our teachers, whatever form our teachers had…to be the correct form. And then that becomes a kind of idealism which is all of a sudden, the new religion. And so, we shouldn’t have those thoughts, we shouldn’t do those activities, we shouldn’t go to a movie or we should forget about our practice and just be on the streets. I think the idealism really becomes a burden and is another excuse for warfare.

DONNA:: You mentioned Papaji. This is Poonja, H.W.L. Poonja. Tell us about your teacher…how did you find him and what was it about him that made you feel like you had come home? If we can I put it in those terms.

GANGAJI: Well, I had really…this is by 1990 when I met him…by that time, I was disillusioned with my practices…I was not a great practitioner. I figured that was the problem. I had had wonderful teachers and I received beautiful teachings and had been profoundly affected by them. And I would have great experiences of expansion, and clarity, and peace and oneness, but always this ground of suffering would reassert itself. My identity as the sufferer, who, if I worked really hard, I could fix that. But I got to a point where I knew I needed a teacher. I had been pretty anti-guru and I didn’t like the co-dependency that I’d seen, and the misuse of power. So I, with my husband, we both, individually and together, realized we needed a teacher. There’s something we don’t know, and we don’t know where to get it. And so, we both prayed for a teacher and we met one of Papaji’s, Poonjaji’s students, who was coming through Marin County. And so we heard of him. And miraculously, Eli happened to be going to India looking for some sufis, cause he’s really interested in the enneagram. And he was in this town and he said “I think that’s where that teacher is from.”So, he ended up looking him up in the phonebook, and he went to his house, and knocked on the door and he was let in and he spent like five days alone with him. And so he was writing me and I was getting these letters and he was saying, “you gotta come here! This is the real thing.”And these letters were just vibrating. And so, he came back…we were actually living in Hawaii then…he came back and got me. And I went to see him. And we went up to his door and knocked on it because he knew we were coming. And he opened the door and there is this welcome. He said,“Welcome!”


GANGAJI: And I felt it, and I saw it, and I fell in love! It was love at first sight! He was a beautiful man and just totally loose and free and open. And he said, “What do you want?”For me, in that moment, the word, “freedom”arose, “I want freedom.”


GANGAJI: And I could’ve said anything else, but that’s what came out. And he said, “Good, you’re in the right place.”And I knew that was right. So I said, after we were having our tea and sitting a little bit…I said,“So tell me what to do. I really…I’m open…tell me what to do.”He said, “stop doing everything.”So, I’d been a Zen student, I’ve done some vipassana, I’d done a lot of Tibetan practices. So I stopped doing everything. I just —breathe in and breathe out. And he said, “No, no, no, no, no stop that.”And he penetrated something. It was quite clear that my practice was actually doing something to get my enlightenment, doing something to get free, doing something to get truth. And he said, “Stop doing anything to get…stop your searching at least for a moment.”And it was terrifying to me in the moment because I really felt that if I stopped, I would fall back, I would regress, into this person, this state, that I had climbed up out of and I was frightened. And he said, “Just be still…don’t do anything.”So for me, the way I tell that…I don’t know if you would ever use those words…I actually met that fear and met that terror, really. Which is similar to the terror of death. I thought I would lose my good life that I had and I would end up in that hell realm that I had climbed up out of and he…Basically I invited everything and stayed conscious…didn’t fall asleep but, eventually then, I discovered what we’re looking for, what we’re searching for, while working so hard for, is already here. And that was his message, and that was Ramana’s message: you are already free – what gets liberated is your idea of yourself. Or your preoccupation with yourself as some idea.

So it was beautiful. We got to spend time together, and he greeted me so openly. He loved me. It was so beautiful. I was his pet and then the next time we saw him he didn’t even look at me. He wasn’t interested in me. I wasn’t his favorite anymore. And there was a point where, oh no! Wait! I could see it. I could just go back again into this identity of aww he doesn’t love me anymore, aww my father has turned from me and —I could just stop. And it was quite beautiful, he’s not looking at me, he’s seeing someone else…is saying the same words to them, “Come in…you’re welcome.”I saw I wasn’t special in the way that I thought that specialness would give me what I wanted. And that…

DONNA: …that was attachment…he really was setting you free.

GANGAJI: Yeah! Yeah! Just by being himself. He really didn’t want to talk to me. It wasn’t like he was setting it up as a test, he was just natural. And he wasn’t psychologically burdened, as we can be in the west, with the way we should act, or what an enlightened person would do or say. He was himself as a human, as well of…this recognition of most profound sort.

DONNA: And you mentioned, Ramana. Ramana Maharshi…that was his teacher.

GANGAJI: Yes, he spent time with him. He spent five or seven years with him. And yeah, Ramana stopped him in his tracks.

DONNA: I have a quote here that he told you, or invited you to, “Shift your allegiance from the activities of your mind to the eternal presence of your being.”


DONNA: And that really struck me as being so beautiful. And it really isn’t different from the Zen message to get out of your head and come here, right here.

GANGAJI: That’s right, he called me his Zen daughter!

DONNA: I love that!

GANGAJI: Yeah, me too!

DONNA: Is that the message of all traditions, or are they all just different boats or vessels that take us to the same place?

GANGAJI: Mmm, sometimes it seems like that’s so. That the core of all spiritual movement or religions there is this explosion or this recognition of unity, the mystic unity of oneself with the totality. But then other times, I hear what’s being said and how it gets translated through particular teachers or particular traditions…seems to veer off that, and it becomes, for me…the Tibetan tradition is beautiful and I profoundly respect it —but for me, it became about power, about accumulating power. That was the thrust of what I was getting from that and it was not healthy for me at that time. Because you know, we could have supernatural things happening, and it was all this manifestation of a medicine buddha or whichever buddha we were working with then, and it was a distraction actually, for me. It felt good. But I needed something so simple. What Papaji was speaking…so simple, that it was radical. But I don’t know what other people need. It’s different for different people.

DONNA: How did the simplicity of it revolutionize your practice so much?

GANGAJI: Well it destroyed my practice, in truth.

DONNA: Like breaking down the edifice or the ideas…

GANGAJI: Oh well, you know, I had a practice of suffering…my practice was. And so, I did an overlay on that practice of whatever my particular meditative practice was. But really, the willingness to stop searching at any moment. And it’s a face…the abyss, of really what our whole conditioned or egoic structure is built on top of. To face that, and to meet that, and to discover that the abyss…it’s not an abyss. It’s alive, vibrant consciousness. There was a reduction, rather than adding to it. He really was inviting me to lose everything, to lose all my practices, all of it and see what was left, what really couldn’t be practiced. Because that would be…of course, my practice was to continue suffering, which is really the example I was given, when all of a sudden, I wasn’t his favorite one…it was a cue for the suffering identity to come in, or to practice my spiritual self. Just something more simple, more immediate. And you can’t practice it because you are it.

DONNA: Is that where the question, “Who am I?”comes into play?

GANGAJI: Mmm, well that’s really Ramana’s great gift. Yes, Who am I? Everything is there.

DONNA: Is that what gyan yoga is built on? That question, Who am I?

GANGAJI: Well, I think…yeah, they say that. There is bhakti yoga, and jnana yoga, and that’s…But it’s more than a mental question. It’s really turning the mind, the attention, if we are calling attention to our mind’s capacity for focused awareness, turning that back to this primary identity, I. “Who am I?”And really, usually, we’re going out from that. I’m getting enough… I’m not getting enough. I am this person, I am this gender, I am this belief. So, it’s returning the attention back to this source. And it often happens immediately for people, for just even asking this question. There is just this flood, this expansion, and clarity. But it can very easily become a mental question. You know, I am not the body, I am…it can be a recitation, a practice. But if it’s used as really, an inquiry…which is really turning your attention to that point and then discovering that point is the spaciousness of the universe.

DONNA: So we have to look at that simplicity, knocking down the walls again, the persona, the guises that we wear…I’m a teacher, I’m a student, I’m this, I’m that…

GANGAJI: Yes, yes, so…freeing! Papaji used to say, “give up your enlightenment.”And give up your unenlightenment too! Give them both up. Those states don’t define you. They are useful for conversation, but they have no power to really define who you are.

Continued in Part III…

Read and Watch Part I : HERE

Source: AWAKEN

Awaken Interviews Gangaji – The Practical Ramifications Of Awakening

October 27, 2018

Donna Quesada:
Well, Gangaji, the first thing I want to say is, thank you! Thank you for joining us, and I know that our Awaken listeners will appreciate your time, as well, and will love what you have to share with us.

Awaken Interviews Gangaji – The Practical Ramifications Of Awakening

Donna Quesada: Well, Gangaji, the first thing I want to say is, thank you! Thank you for joining us, and I know that our Awaken listeners will appreciate your time, as well, and will love what you have to share with us.


GANGAJI: Oh, thank you for inviting me. Happy to be with you.

DONNA: Thank you. And we’ve never really formally met…I’m Donna, and it’s a pleasure to talk with you. And being that the name of the website is, we have a little tradition that we like to start with and I… so I’d like to dive right in and just ask you what that means to you…this notion of awakening.


DONNA: Right!

GANGAJI: That’s it isn’t it? Really, in this moment, I would say it means coming out of misidentification…coming out of a trance that our conditioning puts us into. A family conditioning, a social conditioning, without making that conditioning wrong. Just recognizing that mostly we are in a trance state, and so we awaken from that trance. We recognize that we are not who we think we are. We’re not who we’ve been told we are. We are not who we hope we are. And we are not who we fear we are! There’s something deeper and closer than any of those realms.

DONNA: And what does that mean, we are not who we think we are? I mean, you’re sitting there and I’m looking at you…and I’m here. And my background, I did a little research, you know to prepare for this interview, and well, maybe we’ll have time to get into this a little bit…but I saw that you and I have a similar background, we started with this tradition and you hear that a lot in Zen, you know, we’re not who we think we are. If you could just speak to that a little bit; what does that mean in practical terms?

GANGAJI: In practical terms…

DONNA: …in practical terms!

GANGAJI: Yes! Really practically because I’m very interested in the practical ramifications of awakening. We are sitting here, this form is a way of this other form, and no problem, that is just the nature of phenomenal existence. But the minute I start telling myself a story about your form or about my form, Am I doing it right? Is she going to ask me the right things?…a narrative that may come up… but that following of that narrative puts us into a trance, where we overlook, just the presence of being here together. And the potential for deeply meeting, and that meeting, discovering something that is… Well, I think that the Zen tradition says, maybe beyond thought, but I would say it’s closer than anything that can be thought. So it’s not esoteric really, it’s being aware of our power to think, to describe, and remember and to project into the future… And also being aware of where that power comes from. What’s deeper and… and more true than that power.

DONNA: So trance is an interesting word and I’m thinking about this word and the way you are using it; it’s almost like anything that takes us out of this moment and out of authenticity, and… therefore out of the ability to connect with one another…because the trance is just a way of being stuck in a dream, which is the story. Would that be correct?

GANGAJI: That’s beautiful! I’ll use it!

DONNA: It’s a funny thing, so I was reading…you were raised in Mississippi.


DONNA: And you went to —correct me anytime I get something wrong so our listeners get to know you, as well. Being raised in Mississippi, and at that time, because you went to San Francisco during the kind of the“Golden Era”of San Francisco, the counter-cultural movement, and I’m so fascinated with that time period the late 60’s, early 70’s… you’re coming from a place where it truly was very different. Everybody was so ready for a new spirituality at that time, at that place in history, and you wanted to combine political activism with spiritual practice. You took your Bodhisattvavows…the magic, was in the Zen tradition?

GANGAJI: Mm yes, yes…initially, yes.


GANGAJI: And the Tibetan tradition.

DONNA: Oh, ok. What was it about this period of time that made us so ready for a new spirituality…that made us so ready to take on ideas that were so different from tradition, especially having come from a place where those ideas still were foreign?

GANGAJI: Well, I think there are two aspects to that. For me personally, it felt like a great escape from our very repressed, closed society. So it became fresh air…the quality of the air was so different from the quality of Mississippi air. And Mississippi is a very tribal place, to this day. So it’s very…I didn’t know anybody. It was anonymous. From a small town to a city, and a city that was vibrant and people looking good and looking at each other…actually making eye contact. And in a way it was finding a different family, but it was a looser family, and there was permission. It was intoxicating.

But I think what gave rise to that, was the deep disillusionment of the 60’s. The recognition, I mean the assassinations —I just watched a documentary about Robert Kennedy and his trajectory and how it ended in his assassination, and just the horror of that. And that wakes you up, too, of course. Horror can wake you up as much as bliss. So as a counter-culture, we woke up to the ones that were called “the adults”…they were not going to do it for us; the authorities are not going to make the world we want to make. And so, we were idealistic young people and we assumed we could make it. Of course, it went off in lots of ways that were also disillusioning, but that is part of the maturing, you mature in your awakening; you recognize that the world is much more complex than we think it to be. So yeah, I would say those two things came together. It was a beautiful time. It was a time of relative freedom for me as a person.

DONNA: But yet, there was something that left you unsatisfied, I was reading, and that drove you into a deeper search, shall we say?

GANGAJI: Oh yes, deeply unsatisfied because that relative freedom, and it was you know, a sexual freedom, a freedom to reinvent myself. I had been a teacher in Memphis and now I was a waitress in San Francisco and it was just exciting. But, it wasn’t freedom. You weren’t free, we were still bound by other things. And it was empty, a dead kind of emptiness finally, when I told the truth. I had hoped that political activism would feed that and I loved —this was now into the 70’s —I loved being politically active and I felt important and I felt we were doing the right thing. But even in our affinity groups during non-violent training…our protest in Diablo Canyon, CA, a nuclear power plant… and I don’t know, we had this sense of sisterhood and brotherhood, but it was still us versus them, so there was still something deeply off. So I gave that up and began my serious spiritual search with Zen, but really it was the Tibetan Buddhism where there was the most commitment. We actually ran a Tibetan Buddhist center out of a little house in Bolinas, CA, and did lots of retreats, and lots of empowerments, and had a practice of visualization and chanting. But then after a while, that got so heady, you know? It was so rich I felt like it’s the version that the Catholic Church does for Christianity… and it was so, so…

DONNA: Too ritualistic maybe?

GANGAJI: Too ritualistic. Beautiful rituals. But it was just something I was not getting. Maybe it was being said the whole time. But I was still searching for something and it wasn’t there, so…

DONNA: You brought up something fascinating. That it was…when we were talking about the counter-cultural movement and how, in many ways, it was the shocking things, the war, and it inspired so much activism, but yet, there were crushing things going on all around us…on an individual level, as well as on a group level…do we need that kind of trauma? Call it the “dark night of the soul,”or as Eckhart Tolle says,“limit situations.”Do we need that for spiritual growth?

GANGAJI: I don’t know if we needed it. I really don’t know. I know that the biggest shock of all is recognizing that you, yourself, will die. And that’s a shock. And so I do believe that we need that one, that we need to be realistic, that this form is finite and it will end before we know it in very quick time. We have the other shocks, so they’re here…so, whether it’s a need or not, I really don’t know. I would hope we wouldn’t need them, but they seem to keep coming, so.

DONNA: Are there certain degrees of awakening, or is there such a thing as enlightenment?—if I could even use that word. Or are there degrees that we start to wake up and maybe it’s these kinds of moments in life, certain realizations…whether it’s a pivotal moment, when we realize that this really is temporary; it’s not just words but it hits us in our gut, my god I’m gonna die one day! So, maybe these little realizations that bring us to semi-awakenings…would you say there are degrees?…the curtains opening up, little by little?

GANGAJI: I think it’s both true. That there are moments in our lives or there are experiences, or internal or external shocks, or whatever, that start to shake the status quo of our identity. And they build, certainly, but there is some moment, it seems to me, in my experience, some moment where there is a flip. I don’t mean a flip into bliss or a flip into no problems, or never having issues or anything, but just the perspective flips.

So, what was always there in the background, is like now in the foreground. It’s the recognition of oh yeah, that…that was always here, but now it is perceived and experienced to be always here. But that’s often misunderstood because the people always look for a steady state experience. And I’m not saying that. States come and go and experiences come and go…thoughts come and go…emotions and events. But it’s something deeper. I would say it’s a critical shift. And I know it can be very useful to see the degrees of deepening after that, because the deepening is endless, but it seems to me, it is something where it is a radical shift where you really are not identifying the same way as you were, even though identifications may arise, they don’t own you. Conditioning may arise but doesn’t have the power…the trance is broken…to continue our trance subject.

DONNA: I was just going to say, that kind of brings us back and I am glad because it enables us to deepen the idea a little bit. Recognizing who we really are, you know, is what awakening really is. And so, to make it even more practical, what does this do for us? Because I think that is the misconception: that once we wake up, everything is going to be joyful and perfect and wonderful. And of course, those of us who have had a practice, know that that’s not true. We still have bad days and good days and sometimes it feels like life just sucks. Even though we’ve had a practice for so many years, we still feel frustrated at times and we still have days when we feel sad and we still have challenges and we still feel off. And so, what does it do for us, this realization that this isn’t who I really am? Identifying with the material world, with the idea of this identity for example. How does that help me?

GANGAJI: Oh…for me, it’s sublimely practical. I think the major thing is that when a bad day comes, or a bad mood, or a bad state…it’s no big deal. It’s not about keeping something, getting something and then keeping it. It’s really recognizing what’s always here. I mean, it’s a big deal and nobody likes to feel bad, and life does sometimes suck and that doesn’t feel good, but it’s deeper than feelings. So there’s room for all of it. Obviously it’s all here. And so there’s a kind of, in my experience, there was a ceasing of the searching for “it”…being life, or my experience…to be different from what it is. And that seems to go back to the whole Zen thing. Papaji, I felt, was very Zen, he was just so sharp, and to stop it all, be still, and recognize what does not come and go. What is always here? Then the emotions or the situations, even though they can be, and they are important, are secondary to the truth.

Continued in Part II…

Source: AWAKEN

Dig a bit deeper to know who you really are! Sadhguru

In this video, Sadhguru tells how we should seek an answer to the most important question of our life!

Jaggi Vasudev, commonly known as Sadhguru, is an Indian yogi, mystic and New York Times bestselling author. He founded the Isha Foundation, a non-profit organization which offers Yoga programs around the world and is involved in social outreach, education and environmental initiatives.

Susanne Marie “Living Beyond Unity” Interview by Renate McNay

Susanne Marie is a Mystic, spiritual Mentor and Guide and currently writing her first book about her journey to Awakening.
In this interview she talks about the 3 different major awakening she had.
1. Emptiness of Mind…Mind waking up to itself

2. Unity Consciousness…the Heart understood the truth of form, the form
itself is divine and I AM THAT not just I AM.
9 years of integration and embodiment followed when a realization
happened she wasn’t anticipating…

3. Her Body released itself of identity, she was left with NO SELF

The Body contains identity within its own structure, the sense of ME which is needed to help it function. When the ME fell away within the body nothing was ever the same. There is no landing place anymore. Self reflection came to a permanent End. There is only pure experience only NOW. She says: “Go directly to the experience and feeling of what is arising, drop deeper into the vastness of your Being, rest there, no need to interpret, let go without knowing.”

Tara Brach: Rewiring for Happiness and Freedom, Part I

Tara Brach: Rewiring for Happiness and Freedom, Part I (2018-10-03)

The Buddha said, “I would not be teaching this (a path of awakening) if genuine happiness and freedom were not possible.” While this is our potential, we each have deep conditioning to get stuck in feelings of fear, deficiency and separation from others. These talks explore the two interdependent pathways of undoing the conditioning that blocks our potential. In Part I we will look at how we can intentionally arouse states of well-being, and with practice, develop them into ongoing traits that bring presence and joy to our lives. In Part II, we will investigate how to cultivate an unconditional presence, and the radical acceptance and love, that are the grounds of true happiness and inner freedom.

John Butler – Buddha at the Gas Pump Interview

Childhood accustomed me to nature, solitude – a sense of God which needed no explaining. Stillness, beauty, depths of love called my heart back home where it belonged. But life grew out into the world, became possessed and lost the way.

After a few unwilling years in business, I went to South America ‘To make the world a better place’. It wasn’t so easy. Alone on a mountainside one day, an inner voice said, ‘To make whole, be whole’. I realised that, before being able to help others, I first had to work on myself. Once back in England, I looked for and found a source of meditation, which opened up a whole new way of seeing.

How can I best help the world I love? This question led me through organic farming, much travel and many adventures to ever deeper understanding of the Work of Prayer.

I wouldn’t call myself a mystic though some say I am. I’m not sure what it means besides “Not this – not that”. Neither (in a conventional sense) am I very religious. “Mystic” conveys to me a wise unknowing of morning mist with only the promise of a day to come. It’s not an intellectual approach defined by man but trusting, waiting, quietly still before each blade of grass, each little bird (Mat.6,26-28) reminding us of higher, nobler government than ours.

This required attending to the moment “Now”, reminding me how much we live not present, here, but absent, lost in past or future – thought, desires and fear. But isn’t that reality? We need to look and see.

Susanne Marie “Living Beyond Unity” Interview by Renate McNay

Published on 11 Oct 2018
Susanne Marie is a Mystic, spiritual Mentor and Guide and currently writing her first book about her journey to Awakening.
In this interview she talks about the 3 different major awakening she had.
1. Emptiness of Mind…Mind waking up to itself
2. Unity Consciousness…the Heart understood the truth of form, the form itself is divine and I AM THAT not just I AM
9 years of integration and embodiment followed when a realisation happened she wasn’t anticipating…
3. Her Body released itself of identity, she was left with NO SELF
The Body contains identity within its own structure, the sense of ME which is needed to help it function. When the ME fell away within the body nothing was ever the same. There is no landing place anymore. Self reflection came to a permanent End. There is only pure experience only NOW. She says: “Go directly to the experience and feeling of what is arising, drop deeper into the vastness of your Being, rest there, no need to interpret, let go without knowing.”

Steve Briggs – Buddha at the Gas Pump Interview

As a teenager, Steve Briggs met his guru at a meditation retreat in the Swiss Alps. After studying English Literature at the University of Arizona on a tennis scholarship, the author received an MBA and a Ph.D. in Vedic Studies, and traveled internationally instructing thousands in the art of meditation.

Steve is a devotee of Mata Amritanandamayi (Amma), whom he met in India in 1996. He has been practicing Transcendental Meditation (TM) for the past 46 years and credits his guru, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, with showing him the path to enlightenment.

Steve currently coaches the Maharishi School boys’ tennis team. His players have won four state high school championships, including the 2014 triple crown. Steve has trained two national champions and a top 50 ATP professional tour player.

In 1994, Steve Briggs was sent to India to teach TM to corporate executives. During his seven years in India, Steve traveled repeatedly to the high Himalaya where he encountered many yogis and sadhus.

The author’s first book, India Mirror of Truth, was a popular memoir about his time in India.
Steve’s second book, The Tale of the Himalayan Yogis: The Nirvana Chronicles, is a novel set in India and Tibet. View Here

Deepak Chopra about his new novel on the life of Muhammad

Full interview with Alan Steinfeld and Deepak Chopra about his latest book Muhammad: A Story of the Last Prophet

The Problem with Lofty Spiritual Concepts – Amoda Maa

Published on 24 Sep 2018
In this video – Amoda talks about some of the problems of the spiritual path when there is a strong attachment to the idea of transcendence of thought and feeling as the ultimate solution.

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