In this interview, Michael describes his spiritual path of Zen Buddhism and subsequent awakening experience(s) that led to an end to identification with the sense of a separate self (aka ego). He talks about how this shift influenced the way he interacted with clients as a clinical psychologist. We also discussed the scientific evidence that dispels the idea of free will, and what the implications are of that discovery. Michael's book, Awake and Alive: Being What You Already Are, is available in hardcopy and Kindle. He is currently hosting regular online meditation group meetings through his Facebook page.
These questions are not designed to be answered with the mind. They are intended to invite exploration into the questions, to the experiential answer. They are intended to invite attention to explore its Source of Awareness and become familiar with it. In other words, we want to explore the nature of Awareness with our attention.
Am I aware?
What does it feel like to be aware?
What does the experience of just being aware feel like?
Is there a stillness here?
Is there a sense of peace here?
Is there a sense of just being aware here?
Is there a sense of aliveness here?
Is there a sense of existing here?
What is it that’s aware of all that?
Is this aware stillness what I am?
Am I just Awareness?
Is this person I call “me” just an experience in Awareness?
What is it like to just be Awareness?
Does this Awareness feel contained by the body, or is the body contained by Awareness?
Does this Awareness have a location, or is it everywhere?
Does this Awareness have any limits, or is it infinite?
Does this Awareness come and go, or is it ever-present?
Does this Awareness ever move, or is it always Here?
Does this Awareness have any preferences, or is it all accepting?
What is it like to just be aware?
What is it like to know yourself as Awareness?
After I ask each of these questions, repeat them over and over again (out loud or in your mind) and direct attention to where they are pointing. There will be a one minute pause after each question, but you are welcome to pause this and sit with each question for longer if you feel so inclined.
Sights and Sounds
You can use these questions to explore your current perception of the world.
What is looking through these eyes?
What perceives what’s being seen?
Is what I’m seeing being seen from behind my eyes, or is it being seen where it is?
What hears these sounds?
Are these sounds being heard in my head, or are they being heard somewhere in space?
Direct attention toward the feeling of aliveness in the body. Close your eyes and get a feel for the energetic experience of the body. Once you are feeling its alive energy, ask the following questions:
What is experiencing the body?
Is the experience of body just a sensation floating in an aware space?
Is the body is being experienced from all around, both from inside and out?
Am I this aware space that experiences the body, or am I the body?
The following questions become the thoughts you are investigating when you think of each question.
From where do these thoughts arise?
What hears the voice of these thoughts?
What’s here prior to and in between thoughts?
Where are thoughts being perceived from?
Are these thoughts appearing in my head, or are they just appearing in an empty, aware space?
Am I this aware space, or am I the thoughts?
In this episode, Trey interviews Tammy Hendrix and Tom Marino on their experience with the Enneagram. Tammy teaches workshops on the Enneagram of Awakening and shares how she has used the Enneagram with her clients. She talks about the various blind spots that people with different types tend to fall into. Tom shares how his life was permanently changed for the better thanks to his experience with the Enneagram.
(My apologies for the background noise in places. One of the microphones was being rustled without me noticing.)
In this episode, Trey, Tammy and Dan talk a bit about their personal experiences with spiritual awakening. A discussion about tantra ensues and will be explored in more detail in a future episode. (2/11/2019)
Trey interviews author and spiritual teacher, Dan Kelso, Dan shares how his 30 year spiritual search eventually ended in a final shift in identification from the body/mind to pure awareness. Dan shares how he finally discovered the right questions to ask, which eventually led to the creation of the Deep Self Investigation approach to awakening that he currently teaches. Learn more about Dan and DSI at http://deepselfinvestigation.com.
In my discussion with author and spiritual teacher, Mary O'Malley, she talked about the depression and suicide attempts in her younger years and how her suffering contributed to her finding the peace that we all seek. She demonstrates how our challenging issues (or spells as she likes to call them) are actually Life's way of guiding us to the light. You can learn more about Mary at https://maryomalley.com.
[Due to a connection issue there are a few places where the audio drops out and a bit of background noise in places.]
Alaya is a spiritual teacher in Asheville, NC who has been offering satsang since 2011. I sat down with her in July, 2014 for an interview. We discussed a bit about her awakening journey, as well as her perspective on the meaning of non-duality. Learn more about Alaya at http://theabidingheart.org.
In this lively interview, Fred talks about his struggle with alcoholism, subsequent recovery, and how that played a role in his awakening. He is now a spiritual teacher who has written several books and is helping countless others wake up (without hitting rock bottom). You can learn more about Fred's work at AwakeningClarityNow.com.