During the Science and Nonduality pre-conference, Rick Archer organized a large panel discussion at Sofia University.
From the left:
Laurie Moore, Susanne Marie, Mariana Caplan, Dana Sawyer, Francis Bennett, Craig Holliday (speaking), Kristin Kirk, Rick Archer (moderator), Clare Blanchflower, myself, Chuck Hillig, David Ellzey, Kiran, and Jeffery Martin (host). Canela Michelle Meyers arrived during the afternoon session. She was seated on the left.
Most of the group are prior BATGAP interviewees and many where speaking at SAND. The panel was too large and long to do at SAND itself so Jeffery offered us Sofia in nearby Palo Alto. For links to the speaker’s BAT interviews and web sites, see the BATGAP summary. The discussion is also available there as audio only or a podcast.
There is some mic cable and connection noise here and there. They’ve also had some trouble getting the audio synced to the video as it was shot with 2 consumer camcorders. This also means a great deal more editing effort to prepare than the usual interviews.
Rick started by asking the group about definitions and the discussion flowed from there. Some Topics:
-What is awakening and enlightenment? Are we on the same page? Discussion of direct experience and the progressive, dynamic process of awakening.
– Identity vs identification in the evolution of consciousness and the journey of the dissolution of self
– Words & Semantics
– Is awakening lost in our brokenness? In the face of deep emotional trauma or when life shatters, what happens? Is there an abiding, unmoving stability that is unshakeable in all circumstances?
– The evolution of our humanity as an expression of the divine and the importance of continued growth and refinement in the awakening journey.
I quite enjoyed that, in spite of the diversity of backgrounds and perspectives, there was a deeply common thread. Many of the points raised I’ve discussed on this blog and there was little I would have reframed. In fact, one of my comments was better reframed by Francis. We connected well as a group and individually, and have continued to correspond. It also worked out that all 4 of us that Rick interviewed recently in the Vancouver area where there.
Part 2 – the Afternoon:
– The panel reflects on the morning session from direct experience after meditating together.
– Discussion of spiritual teachers and how awakening can come with new charisma and confidence along with an ability to enliven others which can lead to ego aggrandizement. Panel discusses what to be aware of and how to share with humility and grace.
– Spiritual Maturity – Importance of ongoing psychological growth and healing post-awakening. Benefit of peer check-in, therapy, and support.
– Sharing of ideas of new paradigm for spiritual teaching to include humanness and meeting students as equals. Importance of honesty and sharing humanity and personality and not playing a role.
– Experiences of subtle realms and beings, psychic powers, siddis that can naturally arise. Refinement and exploring dimensions of consciousness,
– Skilfully sharing gifts and graces that arise with awakening for the good of all.
– Importance of developing spiritual maturity and continued growth and healing.
– When is mystical experience useful and the benefit of guides in such openings.
– A discussion of healing and wellness in association to awakening.
– Are awakening and healing interrelated or separate journeys?
– Is it important to heal before awakening or can healing take place afterwards? Refinement and purification of physiology.
– Is healing necessary for an abiding awakening?
– Functioning in daily life after an initial awakening.
– Panel shares their leading / learning edge right now to enter the conversation with vulnerable truth.
While the quality of the media isn’t high, a lot of effort went into recording and editing this. I’m very grateful Rick gathered us and happy it was recorded and can be shared. A lot of beautiful expressions and found commonality. Thanks also to Ralph Preston, Rick’s video support whom I happily also met during the trip.