Maria Kozhevnikov on the nature of consciousness, and the scientific inquiry into post-mindfulness studies.
Join neuroscientist Maria Kozhevnikov as she shares cutting-edge research on the nature of consciousness, and expands the scientific inquiry into post-mindfulness studies. Mindfulness studies, which dominate the field, are great, but there is so much more. Dr. Kozhevnikov is a rare blend of scientist-practitioner, who has spent years studying advanced meditators in Bhutan and Nepal. Her ground-breaking work in deity yoga (generation stage meditation) and tummo (the inner heat practices) is revealing the untapped wonders of the mind from a scientific lens, and stretching research into uncharted territories. What is the promise and peril of conducting studies on practices that were previously kept secret? What is the “cash value” of this work, and how can it benefit the general public, or a meditator? Is the mind spread out across the body, or limited to the brain? Does mentation even expand beyond the body? Maria shares her work and experience with lucid dreaming (along with tips for increasing lucidity), and discusses the importance of “flow states” (the Zone) and their relationship to states of meditative absorption (samadhi). What happens to the default mode network, and the salience network, which are both central to the ego, in these deep states? Why does the Vajrayana (Tantra) engage flow states, while the Hinayana (Theravada) does not? Maria shares how her professional work has informed and impacted her practice of Vajrayana Buddhism, and then concludes with what lies ahead in her exciting arena of scientific inquiry. Dr. Kozhevnikov is a pioneering voice truly on the edge of mind.
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Frank White on the Overview Effect, and all its Implications for Inner and Outer Evolution
1:34:52Join the author Frank White in a rich exploration of the Overview Effect, and all its implications for inner and outer evolution. The conversation begins with Frank’s entry into his study of this transformative effect, before turning to why it is that not everybody who has the Overview is affected by it. What is the common denominator behind the effect, and can you have it on earth? We discuss the role of the “space principle,” both inner and outer, as a transformational tool, and how evolution is largely about increasing perspectives, which are brought about with more openness, and hence more space to perceive. What about the “underview effect,” and the change in perspective brought out from within? How does all this relate to Right View in Buddhism, and why did Frank turn to Zen Buddhism? Where does meditation, as “habituation to openness,” fit in? The conversation turns to how expansion and openness is central to evolution, as embodied, for one example, in human development from homocentric to ethnocentric to cosmocentric world views. What about the “Cosma Hypthosis,” and “space philosophy”? Where do vantage points come into play, and how about the place of virtual reality in opening the aperture of our awareness? When brought to earth, the real issue is not what we see, but how we see it. Terranauts, psychonauts, and oneirnauts can see just as much as astronauts – you just need to introduce more space into your mind and heart to see. The Overview Effect is needed more than ever to help people here on earth, and the earth itself.
Bruce Tift on the Interface Between Psychology and Spirituality
2:06:54Join the esteemed author Bruce Tift in a cross-pollinating discussion about the interface between psychology and spirituality, the developmental and fruitional paths, or the paths of Growing Up and Waking Up respectively. Bruce discusses the importance of holding opposing, and even contradictory, views simultaneously, without any hope or desire for closure and resolution. We’re all a collection of limitations, so how can we best work with these limits? What constitutes a real obstacle in this view, and how can we work with obstacles? What about the difference between “recovery practices” and “achievement practices”? The conversation turns to the distraction value of our problems, and how ego, as an arrested form of development, is invested in maintaining struggle as a way to maintain itself. Bruce then talks about anxiety and fear, and the importance of an integral approach in relating to both. Not all fear and anxiety is problematic. On the spiritual path, anxiety can lead to real growth, and fear can be a sign that you’re doing something right. How about the place of shadow work, and why doesn’t Bruce favor that term? How do we best work with blind spots? The practice of relationship is explored, and how we unwittingly “hire” partners, over and over, to play out unconscious processes and avoidant tendencies. How does he sustain his enthusiasm for providing therapy after decades of clinical practice? Does Buddhism need therapy – in both senses of that phrase? Is his view exhilarating or intimidating? Bruce’s wide-ranging approach gives you permission to be human, and to delight in this wonderful and terrible thing we call life. See for yourself why he is one of the most sought-after therapists in the spiritual community.
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Federico Faggin Explores the Relationship Between Science and Spirituality
2:31:42Join the physicist, and inventor of the microprocessor and touchpad, Federico Faggin, in a wide-ranging exploration of the relationship between science and spirituality. Federico starts with a colorful rendering of the four phases of his life, and his transition from a hard-core materialist into a deep student of consciousness. He shares how a single experience, lasting less than a minute, changed his life forever. Federico then relates a number of eye-popping experiences, all of which proclaimed that consciousness, not matter, is the foundation of reality – and that that foundation is expressed as love. What triggered this opening, and what did he do to cultivate his experiences? How did the nondual traditions, and other forms of transpersonal work, help him understand his experiences?Dr. Faggin then turns to his quantum information-based view of panpsychism, whether this theory can be tested or not, and its remarkable implications for both science and spirituality. What does “quantum” mean in this context? “Science and spirituality are both right, and both wrong,” he says, but what does that mean? Is mathematics the supreme language of communication these days, or just the best way to talk to the “high priests” of science? What is the relationship between artificial intelligence and artificial sentience, or consciousness? Can a computer ever be conscious? His theory completely overthrows materialism, and offers an entirely new direction for science. Can this theory, based on his experiences, lead others to those experiences – is it psychoactive and prescriptive? What does it mean to say that matter is merely a symbol? What role does light have to play in all this?Federico talks about “consciousness units,” the place of free will, what happens after death, and why spiritual practitioners might be interested in his work. He then discusses his path of practice, and why he doesn’t adhere to any single tradition or teacher. What does he see as blinds spots in the wisdom traditions? Behind his amazing life is the deep quest to know; to understand the nature of reality and consciousness – and to help the world.
Sean Esbjörn-Hargens on How Exo Studies Leads to Endo (inner) Discoveries.
2:03:31Note: This is the second of two conversations Andrew had with Sean Esbjörn-Hargens on Exo Studies. Join the polymath Sean Esbjörn-Hargens in a rich exploration of how Exo Studies – the study of what is outside our normal sense of reality – leads to Endo (inner) discoveries. What is the relationship between inside and outside, and just how psychoactive is the Exo view? Sean talks about being constantly defeated by larger views of reality, and the importance of Right View in opening ourselves to seeing so much more of the world. We are highly contracted beings, afflicted by all manner of centricities, held under the rubric of ego-centricity. Exo studies is integral to the path of Opening Up, and expanding our horizons and potentials into dazzling new dimensions. What is the role of the subtle body, and how many subtle bodies do we have? Are these subtle bodies inside the gross body, outside of it, or both? The relationship of the subtle body to the unconscious mind is explored, and how things like mantra and visualization work to transform the subtle body. How about shadow work in relationship to these subtle bodies? Where does Bardo Yoga fit into Exo studies, and how about the central role of emptiness? Is it dangerous to explore these inner dimensions and states of consciousness; where does protection come into play?Sean talks about the trikaya (“three-body”) principle of Buddhism, and the “interstate commerce” that we can open between all three bodies: gross, subtle, and causal. All this study and practice is about establishing intimacy with reality, and creating a “united states” of consciousness. The conversation turns to the psychedelic renaissance taking place, and how we can use these agents for healing and wholing. Growth occurs through differentiation and integration, and opening the aperture of our awareness to encompass this Wild Kosmos. We live in a multidimensional multiverse, full of magic and wonder. Exo studies shows us how can we become a meta-person, or super-experiencer, and open to these wonders. This is real Edge of Mind material, sure to leave stretch marks on your mind.About Sean Esbjörn-Hargens PhD (from metaintegral.com) Sean is a global leader in the application of integrative thinking to leader development, organizational design, and mixed-methods design. In 2011 he founded MetaIntegral a social impact network that supports change leaders around the world in applying integrative principles. Sean’s passion lies at the intersection of design, integral theory, and embodiment. He has published and edited numerous articles, chapters, and books. His most recent book is Metatheory for the Twenty-first Century. The MA/PhD Program Sean runs which includes a concentration in Anomalous Studies for interested students - The School of Integral Noetic Sciences: https://www.cihs.edu/school-of-integral-noetic-sciences Sean's websites: www.metaintegral.com www.exostudies.org www.whatsupwithufos.com
John Dupuy - An Exploration of the Principles of Intoxication, Addiction, and Sobriety.
2:17:17Join the author and Integral scholar John Dupuy in a wide-ranging exploration of the principles of intoxication, addiction, and sobriety. The conversation begins with the origins of his landmark book, Integral Recovery, and John’s experience with the traditional 12 step program. How does alcohol, and other substances, work to alter our relationship to the contents of our mind? Are there healthier ways to alter this relationship, like meditation? He then offers a rich rendering of the integral approach, including a thorough look at quadrants, levels, lines, stages, states (we are all state junkies), and shadow work. Why are all these factors important, and how does one engage them all? What is the difference between distress and eustress, and their relationship to translation and transformation?John elaborates on the use of spiral dynamics as a developmental schema, and the difference between dominator and actualization hierarchies, before talking about alcohol and other substances as devolutionary drivers. How can we use all this information to enhance skillful means for helping others? The discussion then explores the benefits of the Enneagram, as a method to better understand ourselves and others. These are all maps of the prison, and therefore very helpful if we want to make a prison break. The power of projection, enveloped in shadow work, is discussed in depth, including the 3-2-1 process of reintegration that allows us to take ownership of our shadows. Without this inner work, the “beasts in the basement” of our mind will constantly take us down, and back to the bottle.John shares his rich experience with brain wave entrainment, how it works, how to use it, and why it’s not cheating. The conversation closes with a deep dive into how addiction is a matter of degree, and how we are all addicts, whether we know it or not. Andrew shares his experience of “detox” in extended retreat, and the discovery of his addiction to thought and movement. Can one legitimately reduce conventional addiction, intoxication, and sobriety, to fundamental principles? What does “being sober” really mean? Is enlightenment the ultimate sobriety? John’s ability to join heaven and earth, book smarts with street smarts, makes him uniquely qualified to talk about these complex issues, and then bolt them into practical life. This podcast connects to material discussed in conversations with Ken Wilber, Dustin DiPerna, Roger Walsh, and Judson Brewer.
Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche - A Rich Exploration of the Nocturnal Meditations
1:33:32Join the esteemed master of dream yoga, Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche, in a rich exploration of the nocturnal meditations. The conversation begins with why Rinpoche has elected to teach so extensively on this topic, which is rarely emphasized by Tibetan lamas. Why should busy Westerner’s bother with dream yoga, what does it have to offer us, and what does it mean to accomplish this practice? Rinpoche talks about how his teaching of dream yoga has changed over the years, before elaborating on all the new content in the 2nd edition of his classic book, The Tibetan Yogas of Dream and Sleep. The discussion turns to how dream yoga develops flexibility in identity, and why this is so important, before transitioning into the difference between adapting a teaching vs. editing it to suit egoic needs.If teachings aren’t culturally translated and adapted, they go extinct. But if you adapt them too much, the teachings are diluted. How does one establish dream guardians, and create a protection circle for dreaming? Do we need to believe in spirits, and what are the consequences if we don’t? How can you tell if a dream figure is just a projection of your mind, or a real entity? Rinpoche then discusses the role of the subtle body, and the importance of the central channel, before turning to how the subtle body shapes our dreams. How can we work with the subtle body during the day to facilitate lucidity at night? What’s the best thing to do just before falling asleep? Can we use the subtle body to incubate dreams?Dream yoga, and the subtle body, “break all the rules,” and help us live outside the box of the gross body, and our exclusive identification with it. Rinpoche exhorts us not to limit ourselves to the outer body, which grows old, gets sick, and then dies. Transition your identity to a deeper aspect of your being that does not age, get ill, or die. See for yourself why Rinpoche is the premier voice in the world of dream yoga today.
Sean Esbjörn-Hargens Journey into the Field of Exo Studies
2:03:29Sean Esbjörn-Hargens joins Andrew in a truly out-of-this world journey into the field of Exo Studies. Central to this field is the study of what is real, and the importance of expanding our minds to encompass the “high strangeness” of reality. “Exo” implies something outside the confines of contractive egoic domains, and the importance of leaving this limited view behind. The conversation begins with the “problematic,” or the mainstream world view that dramatically limits our perception and cognition. While reductionism has a certain power, it needs to be balanced with “mandatory complexification,” or a recognition of the messiness of reality. Sean ties this into his notion of “doubleness,” or a more integral approach to the study of phenomena. Inherent to the discussion is a critique of the constraints of materialism; its unconscious indoctrination in the virtual hypnosis that takes place up to age seven; and the invitation to open into the more expansive view of idealism. The idea of “ontological flooding” is discussed, or putting everything on the table before you clear the table. The conversation turns to Sean’s key contribution of the “ontology matrix,” or the criteria we should employ to expand our understanding of what is real. Where does evidence fit into the picture, and what is the difference between legal and scientific evidence? What about too much ontological fluidity, and the place of mental illness? Is anything off limits in such an open world view, and is it possible to open too much and too fast? What is the role of bodywork in opening safely? Do psychedelics have a place? Quantum mechanics comes into the discussion, and the participatory nature of reality, which Sean explores with his “mutual enactment hypothesis:” how phenomena, including things like non-human intelligences and extra-terrestrials, bring us into existence as much as we bring them into existence. Along the way Sean talks about possible blind spots in Buddhism; thought responsive domains; out-of-body and near-death experiences; meta-objects; the path of freedom and the path of fullness; and a vast array of mind-bending topics. See for yourself why Dr. Esbjörn-Hargens is the leading voice in the world of Exo Studies, and why you may want to blast off of this planet with him. About Sean Esbjörn-Hargens PhD(from metaintegral.com) Sean is a global leader in the application of integrative thinking to leader development, organizational design, and mixed-methods design. In 2011 he founded MetaIntegral a social impact network that supports change leaders around the world in applying integrative principles. Sean’s passion lies at the intersection of design, integral theory, and embodiment. He has published and edited numerous articles, chapters, and books. His most recent book is Metatheory for the Twenty-first Century.The MA/PhD Program Sean runs which includes a concentration in Anomalous Studies for interested students - The School of Integral Noetic Sciences:https://www.cihs.edu/school-of-integral-noetic-sciencesThe "Our Wild Kosmos" article referred to in the conversation:https://whatsupwithufos.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/Exo_Studies.pdfSean's websites:www.metaintegral.comwww.exostudies.orgwww.whatsupwithufos.com
Daniel Goleman and Tsoknyi Rinpoche Discuss Their Book "Why We Meditate"
1:01:29Join Tsoknyi Rinpoche and Daniel Goleman as they discuss their new book, Why We Meditate. This conversation follows the structure of the book, with Rinpoche responding to questions from Andrew, and Daniel offering the science behind what Rinpoche covers. The podcast begins with the aspirations behind this book, what they both want readers to walk away with. Rinpoche then talks about his notion of “beautiful monsters,” and gives the example of how to work with anger in a new way, distinguishing between useful and useless anger. Rinpoche connects this to “essence love,” and his wonderful “handshake” practice. Daniel and Rinpoche then talk about balancing the two views behind meditation: are we training to achieve certain qualities, or dis-covering them? What about the sense of hollowness that so many feel today? Where does that sense of lack come from, and what can we do about it? Rinpoche and Daniel then go into depth about the “Four I’s” – the mere I, reified I, needy I, and the social I – and how this relates to the issue of egolessness. This acts as platform into the topic of reification, and its central role in creating suffering. Both guests talk about the contribution of Western psychology, and therapy as an indispensable tool for benefiting meditators. More about the book "Why We Meditate"
Bernardo Kastrup - Part II - The Nature of Reality
1:28:32Join Bernardo Kastrup for Part II of the discussion about the nature of reality. The conversation begins with a discussion about evil. Where does contraction fit into this topic, and why do we have such an infantile relationship to evil? The discussion then moves to explore: if reality is of the nature of mind, what exactly is this mind? What are the dangers of reifying the mind, and the hazards of reification altogether. If mind is not a thing, what is it? Emptiness comes into the picture, and its relationship to quantum field theory. What about authentic philosophy, and how do philosophers go astray? Bernardo talks about Nietzsche, and the importance of embodied philosophy, before turning to the topic of transformation, and how to effect it. How does one transform? How far can intellect take you? What are its strengths and weaknesses? Is there a place for psychedelics on this journey? The gifts and gaffes of relational quantum mechanics is discussed, and its relationship to the philosophy of Nagarjuna – the King of Emptiness. What is the “vertigo of eternity,” and can one avoid this vertigo? Bernardo closes with personal stories of the role of praxis, or the process of applying and practicing ideas. He shares his fundamental practice of “recognizing the movements of the impersonal within, and don’t resist it” (ie., nurture your contact with the child within). He summarizes his practice in two words: pay attention. Be in the service of “the diamond,” and find ultimate freedom in that “slavery.”
Bernardo Kastrup – Part I – A Rich Exploration of Idealism
1:30:38Join Bernardo Kastrup for Part I of a rich exploration of idealism, the radical proclamation that reality is of the nature of mind. As a scientist and academic, Bernardo shares how he found his way into this view, and relates some of its tremendous explanatory power. If idealism is the right view, why is there so much resistance by the intellectual elite? Is it a psychological and developmental issue? And why is the standard view of materialism so wrong? The conversation turns to the nature of the transpersonal mind – is it benevolent in nature, or is it naïve to see the world this way? Bernardo talks about dissociative identity disorder (formerly multiple personality disorder) as a potent analogy for “dissociative alters,” or the generation of the self and the personal mind. He then elaborates on the image of a whirlpool, and its relationship to the stream (or “mind at large”). Is death the dissolution of the whirlpool back into the stream? Bernardo says that we really have nothing to fear at death, because the end of the alter is not the end of the world. Death is not the reduction of consciousness, but its expansion. Where does contraction and fear fit into this, and how about spiritual practice? What is healthy vs. unhealthy contraction? The discussion then turns to the relationship between the conscious and unconscious mind, and how metacognition fits in. What is enlightenment in terms of the conscious and unconscious mind? See why Dr. Kastrup is causing such a stir in the academic, scientific, and spiritual community with his razor-sharp insights into the nature of mind and reality.