Saturday, October 19, 2019

The Mystical Positivist - Radio Show #340 - 19OCT19

This week on The Mystical Positivist, we present a conversation pre-recorded on October 13th, 2019 with Neil Douglas-Klotz, Ph.D. Neil Douglas-Klotz is a world-renowned scholar in religious studies, spirituality, and psychology. Living in Fife, Scotland, he directs the Edinburgh Institute for Advanced Learning and for many years was co-chair of the Mysticism Group of the American Academy of Religion. He is also co-founder of the International Network of the Dances of Universal Peace.

A frequent speaker and workshop leader, he is the author of several books, including Prayers of the Cosmos (1990), The Hidden Gospel (1999), The Genesis Meditations (2003), The Sufi Book of Life (2005), Blessings of the Cosmos (2006), The Tent of Abraham (2006) (with Rabbi Arthur Waskow and Sr. Joan Chittister) and Desert Wisdom (1995, revised 2010). He has also produced three audio series of teachings on the Aramaic approach to Jesus, published by Sounds True.

Known also for his citizen diplomacy work, Neil led several group trips to Russia and the Middle East and in 2004 and cofounded the Edinburgh International Festival of Middle Eastern Spirituality and Peace. In 2005 he was awarded the Kessler-Keener Foundation Peacemaker of the Year award for his work in Middle Eastern peacemaking.

Under his Sufi name, Saadi Shakur Chishti, Neil also offers spiritual retreats combining his work with Native Middle Eastern spirituality with the lineage of Chishti Sufism. He was a long-time student of the Murshid Moineddin Jablonski (d. 2001), the spiritual successor of Sufi Ahmed Murad Chishti (1996-1971). Saadi was recognized as a teacher in the Sufi path in 1981 and a senior teacher, or murshid, in 1993 in the Chishti Sufi lineage.

More information about Neil Douglas-Klotz's work can be found at:

The Abwoon Network website: abwoon.org,

Edinburgh Institute for Advanced Learning website: eial.org,

Dances of Universal Peace website: dancesofuniversalpeace.org,

Edinburgh International Festival of Middle Eastern Spirituality and Peace website: www.eicsp.org,

European Ruhaniat website: www.ruhaniateurope.org.

Saturday, September 28, 2019

The Mystical Positivist - Radio Show #339 - 28SEP19

This week on The Mystical Positivist, we present a conversation pre-recorded on September 22, 2019 with Fourth Way practitioner Trevor Stewart. Trevor is a student of psychology, meditation, and the Gurdjieff Work. As a young adult, he worked with Buddhist teachers, practicing in an intensive monastic setting for 2 years. Trevor has studied Gurdjieff’s masterwork Beelzebub’s Tales intensively, employing textual, historical, and grammatical criticism, and has authored papers at the All and Everything conference and in other venues. A member of Two Rivers Farm in Oregon, he has worked with the Gurdjieff Movements in both America and Europe, and is an amateur pianist who studies the Gurdjieff/de Hartmann music. In daily life, Trevor runs a Design and Build Construction Firm based in Portland, Oregon. Among other things, this discussion provides a fascinating comparison and contrast between intensive monastic Buddhist practice and the Fourth Way Work of Self-Development in the context of daily life. It touches on the relative nature of deep mystical experiences while at the same time critiquing the sometimes overly intellectualized understanding of the "Awakening Experience" found in some strains of Fourth Way practice.

More information about Trevor Stewart's work can be found at:

The Seeker's Café website: seekerscafe.org,

Two Rivers Farm website: www.tworiversfarm.org,

Lucid Cubed blog: lucidcubed.wordpress.com,

JNT Design & Build website: www.jntdesignandbuild.com.

Saturday, September 21, 2019

The Mystical Positivist - Radio Show #338 - 21SEP19

This week on The Mystical Positivist, we speak by telephone with Mark Matousek, author of the recent book, Mother of the Unseen World: The Mystery of Mother Meera. He is the author of two acclaimed memoirs, Sex Death Enlightenment and The Boy He Left Behind, as well as When You’re Falling, Dive: Lessons in the Art of Living, and Ethical Wisdom: The Search for a Moral Life. A former editor at Interview magazine, he is a featured blogger for PsychologyToday.com and HuffPost, and has contributed to The New Yorker, O: The Oprah Magazine (as contributing editor), Harper’s Bazaar, Yoga Journal, Tricycle: The Buddhist Review, and The Saturday Evening Post, among other publications. Internationally, he offers courses in creativity and spiritual growth based on his book, Writing to Awaken: A Journey of Truth, Transformation, and Self-Discovery. He is a founding member of V-Men, an organization devoted to ending violence against women and girls, and lives in East Hampton, New York.

More information about Mark Matousek's work can be found at:

Mark Matousek's Website: www.markmatousek.com,

Mother Meera's Website: www.mothermeera.com,


Saturday, September 7, 2019

The Mystical Positivist - Radio Show #337 - 07SEP19

This week on The Mystical Positivist, we present a conversation pre-recorded on August 18, 2019 with long-time Fourth Way practitioner Federico Balsa. Federico Balsa is a retired Argentine high school teacher, who has been a sincere and persistent practitioner for over thirty years, and is a founding member of The Seeker’s Café website. He began his Fourth Way practice through the lens of an absolutely skeptical, formatory-mind, "intelligentsia worshiping” personality. After 11 years of practice, he had the Fourth Way equivalent of a kensho or satori, which was the point at which his skillful practice of intentional suffering really began, as he realized that his previous arrogant, self-aggrandizing views had no reliable foundation. His subsequent Fourth Way practice deeply informed his work with his high school students, and his own children. His passion, humility, and humor, makes this an energetic and often surprising conversation.

More information about Federico Balsa's work can be found at:

The Seeker's Cafe Website: seekerscafe.org,


Saturday, August 31, 2019

The Mystical Positivist - Radio Show #336 - 31AUG19

This week on The Mystical Positivist, we speak by telephone with Sotantar Suraj, a widely recognized Gong Master Teacher, Kundalini Yoga Teacher, and Kundalini Yoga Teacher Trainer in his home base of Los Angeles, Orange County, and San Diego, as well as in Europe. Sotantar Suraj has practiced and studied yoga, meditation, and healing since his childhood in Spain till present day. The Hermes Kybalion, The Patanjali Sutras, The Vijñana-bhairava Tantra Sutras, and the words of Carlos Castañeda became important influences in his life. By his early twenties he moved to the United States where he continued his study in yoga, tantra, and meditation. Later he found his connection with the Planet Gongs and he devoted himself to learning the ways of the Gong, Kundalini Yoga and Tantra. He was privileged to meet and receive teachings from the Master of Kundalini Yoga, Yogi Bhajan. Sotantar has worked with and had the opportunity to learn from world-renowned Gong Master Teacher Don Conreaux, and world-renowned Tantra Teacher Mahasatvaa Ma Ananda Sarita. He is also a Reiki Master Teacher, Sound Therapist, and Hypnotherapist.

Sotantar Suraj brings the vibration of the primordial sacred sound of the Planet Gongs to honor our ancestors, their sacred places and traditions to workshops and retreats around the globe. He is dedicated to raising awareness, inspiring passion, creating balance, and spreading love, joy and peace to the universal community. His passion is teaching Kundalini Yoga, Tantra, and bringing the healing and transforming sounds of the Gong to the world. He has recorded a series of CDs and DVDs that include powerful and transformative Kundalini Yoga Kriyas, Gong Immersions, and Meditations.

More information about Sotantar Suraj's work can be found at:

Gong Avatar Academy Website: www.gongavataracademy.com,

Sotantar Suraj on YouTube: wwww.youtube.com,

Upcoming Gong Academy Workshops: Gong Academy Workshops.


Saturday, August 24, 2019

The Mystical Positivist - Radio Show #335 - 24AUG19

This week on The Mystical Positivist, we speak in the studio with Nick Egan, Ph.D., an educator, award-winning leader and executive coach who uses his deep understanding of positive psychology and Buddhist philosophy to encourage personal and organizational growth. In addition to coaching, he has taught meditation techniques for more than a decade. His newly released book, Shift: The Art of Transforming Limitations will form the basis of our conversation today. Nick regularly leads expeditions to various Asian destinations including Bhutan, Mongolia, Nepal, Thailand, and Tibet. Nick holds a BA in psychology, and MA in comparative religion, and a Ph.D. in Buddhist philosophy. He had a stint as co-host of the Mystical Positivist earlier in this decade.

More information about Nick Egan's work can be found at:

Nick Egan's Website: www.nickeganphd.com,


Saturday, August 10, 2019

The Mystical Positivist - Radio Show #334 - 10AUG19

This week on The Mystical Positivist, we present a conversation pre-recorded on August 3, 2019 with Zeke Badger, a long-time Fourth Way practitioner, a writer, blogger, and a founding member of the Seekers Café. Zeke is a career educator whose work focuses upon developing and implementing nature-based educational experiences that inspire and challenge individuals toward personal health, and a healthy relationship with the natural world through the use of adventure education, long distance walking adventures, and Rite-of-Passage endeavors.  He owns and operates a small family-run business offering herbal products. He was an adjunct faculty member for the University System of New Hampshire, teaching courses in Environmental Ethics, Natural History of Northern New England, and Outdoor Skills. Zeke has 30 years of class teaching experience developing and implementing outdoor programs and environmental education experiences for adolescents at the secondary school level. He is currently working on two books: Going Wild: Commentaries Upon Thoreau’s Walden, Walking, and Youth’s Adventure and Long Walking as a Rite-of-Passage.

More information about Zeke Badger's work can be found at:

The Seeker's Cafe Website: seekerscafe.org,

Native Roots LLC Website: nativerootsnh.org,


Saturday, August 3, 2019

The Mystical Positivist - Radio Show #333 - 03AUG19

This week on The Mystical Positivist, hosts Stuart Goodnick and Rob Schmidt launch into an impromptu conversation after a last minute cancellation by the minister of The Church of Conscious Harmony, a contemplative Christian community in Austin, Texas. They discuss the Sacred, Esoteric Christianity as embodied in the Fourth Way tradition, Magnetic Center, and modern obstacles to valuing the Sacred. They also explore distinctions such as Life as an End as contrasted with Life as a Means. Friction generates heat as our hosts discuss whether the Fourth Way notion of Magnetic Center is really all that useful in explaining why some people value the sacred more than others. Finally they dive into the question of whether any of us can actually DO anything, or whether our sense of agency is more an illusion and a reflection of the action of Being at a higher level than our conventional scale of awareness.

Rob Schmidt, Ph.D., and Stuart Goodnick co-direct Tayu Meditation Center, owner and operator of Many Rivers Books & Tea. They studied intensively with Tayu founder Robert Daniel Ennis, and are working to complete a book of his teachings this year called, Living Life As A Work Of Art: The Spiritual Work of Robert Daniel Ennis.

More information about Tayu Meditation Center can be found at:

Many Rivers Books and Tea Website: www.manyriversbooks.com,

Conscious Family Festival Website: www.consciousfamilyfestival.org,

Tayu Meditation Center Website: www.tayu.org/~tayu/,

Old Many Rivers Blog: www.manyriversbooks.com/blog1/.


Saturday, July 20, 2019

The Mystical Positivist - Radio Show #332 - 20JUL19

This week on The Mystical Positivist, Rob and I present a conversation pre-recorded on July 20th, 2019 with Stephen Aronson. Steve received a Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the University of Connecticut in 1970. He taught as assistant professor of psychology in the early 70’s at Arizona State and Alfred University. He also served on staff at hospitals in Phoenix and Maine. After three years of community mental health practice he founded North Country Consultants, LLC in 1975 to provide training and clinical services throughout Maine. He taught family practice to medical students at Maine Medical Center and designed and taught the first year of Behavioral Science at New England College of Medicine. In 1979 he co-authored a pioneering book, The Stress Management Workbook: An Action Plan for Taking Control of Your Life and Health with Michael Mascia, MD. In the late 1990’s he co-founded Mental Health Associates of Maine, a multi-disciplinary psychological/psychiatric practice. Steve retired from clinical practice after 43 years of practice in 2013.

Intellectually and emotionally, Steve has always been drawn to the mystery of existence. His interest in consciousness, as one of the most profound of these mysteries, led him to psychology as a career. He submitted himself to nearly 20 years of his own analysis in a variety of disciplines culminating in 12 years of Jungian analysis, during which he came to ‘see’ the reality of the Collective Unconscious and the universality of symbols in religion and dreams.

In 1982 Steve experienced a ‘vision’ that was an overture to a series of synchronous events culminating in his discovery of the Gurdjieff Work. He has dedicated his inner search to the methods of G.I. Gurdjieff since that time, accepting the responsibilities of ‘leading’ groups studying this system. Steve’s immersion in ‘spiritual’ psychology led him to an interest in esoteric religion, particularly esoteric Christianity, and a recognition of the universality of the core of all traditions. It also profoundly influenced his understanding of the structure and function of the human psyche and his practice of clinical psychology. He has made a number of presentations to the All and Everything International Humanities Conference and participates in groups in Portland Maine, Moscow Russia and Toronto Canada.

Although loving theoretical exploration of both psychological and spiritual questions, he remains dedicated to making the esoteric ideas come alive as actual subjective experiences. He believes that only through direct experience can such ideas find real meaning so that the system becomes the ‘teacher’. His primary objective has been to discover and share the practical application of these ideas and methods to the inner world of people. Steve is a founding member of The Seekers Café, a website supporting an online community dedicated to creating a effective portal to genuine spiritual practice.

Note - There is a slight electronic distortion on this recording.


More information about Stephen Aronson's work can be found at:

Stephen Aronson at The Gurdjieff Club: Preparation for the Third Line of Work

Stephen Aronson on The Dr. Lisa Show: Viewpoint, #96


Sunday, July 14, 2019

A Strange Brew from the Seekers Cafe - Part 1

Rob Schmidt and I have recently become involved in a fascinating experiment in conversation called The Seekers Café. Conversation participants are senior spiritual practitioners primarily, though not exclusively, drawn from The Fourth Way tradition. Currently, members of this group meet on a weekly basis for a Zoom video conference to explore matters of interest in the Work as well as planning for the introduction of a public website to offer what the Café has been creating to a larger community. What distinguishes these group discussions from the many other forms of group conversations that I encounter in everyday life is the ability of the participants to listen and receive communications from others, the willingness to make space for all participants to express their views, the shared intention for the conversation to ascend the scale of meaning, and the leavening of all of this with a sense of humor born of decades of intensive study into the vacuous nature of ordinary mind.

In addition, The Seekers Café is providing a rich source of guests for The Mystical Positivist radio show and podcast. For example, recent Mystical Positivist guest Richard Webb demonstrated a remarkable combination of edginess and vulnerability in his recounting of his extensive spiritual training in the Sufi tradition of Reshad Feild, his initiation and practice within a Shamanic community, and his initiation into the Tibetan Chöd tradition. What made this an engaging conversation was in part the sense of danger that it elicited, as we weren't sure where Richard might go next. It was like sitting on the knife's edge between a richly sensitive vulnerability and the transformative potency of a gruff and brutal honesty. In short, the conversation recounted, and effectively evoked, the flavor of genuine spiritual apprenticeship and the products of such apprenticeship.

As I was describing this conversation to the other members of the Seekers Café this last Saturday, I was reminded of a lesson from my Shakuhachi (Japanese bamboo flute) teacher, Masayuki Koga. On a number of occasions, Koga-sensei has described the quality of sound that can be conveyed when one pulls one's lips back slightly from the edge of the Shakuhachi at the end of one note, before bringing one's lips back forward for the initiation of the following note. Sonically this action has the sense of a slight increase in pitch coupled with the diminishing of breath at the end of the first note, a letting go of the sound, and the arising of the subsequent note out of the space left by the previous one. 

The Shakuhachi is a very sensitive instrument and has a reputation for being difficult to play. Small variations in the air stream, the angle of the flute, and the tension of the lips translate into profoundly different expressions of sound. Because of this sensitivity, it is very easy to lose the thread of the sound entirely; in other words, for a note to be lost entirely. An audience can detect this sensitivity at a feeling level even if they might not be able to articulate it at a cognitive level. This quality of feeling that Koga-sensei has described, which can be evoked with this technique of almost losing the sound at the end of one note before proceeding with another note, is that of danger. When the audience senses the risk that the performer is in and the danger that the performer may lose the sound in the next moment, audience attention perks up. The audience is drawn into the performer's willingness to stretch out the tension between safety and danger, and the performance becomes interesting at a feeling and instinctive level for the audience.

In contrast to this dangerous sound is a safe sound. I know from my work with the Shakuhachi that the closer my lips are to the edge of the flute, the more reliably I can be assured of making a sound and controlling the note. As my lessons with Koga-sensei have given me ample opportunity to observe over the years, the majority of the blocks I have in expressing greater subtlety with the instrument arise from the many micro tensions throughout my face, neck, and torso that collectively operate to keep me in the safe zone where I can reliably make noise. The downside of this safe zone is a flatness of tone, and a dullness that in subtle ways lets audience attention wander. 

And there is a further difficulty due to the unique construction of the Shakuhachi. Musical expression requires modulation of dynamics, lest the sound take on the mechanical quality of a player piano. An expressive note often has the sonic shape of a tear drop. There is an initial attack, a subsequent rising of the sound, and the smooth diminishment of the sound into empty space. To make this initial attack requires the lips pressed more closely to the edge of the Shakuhachi with greater air pressure. This is relatively easy to do, and at least with respect to my own practice, lies more in the safe zone. However, to attain the elegance of the end of the tear drop requires that the air pressure diminish, ultimately to zero. With the Shakuhachi, pitch is both a function of air pressure and the distance of one's lips from the edge of the flute. The higher the pressure, the higher the pitch. The closer the lips, the lower the pitch. And herein lies the challenge. To effectively convey an elegant diminishment of sound requires both the reducing of air pressure and the increasing of the distance between one's lips and the edge of the flute. This combination takes one uncomfortably into the danger zone. If one plays it safe and substitutes security for elegance, the pitch of the note will go down, the tone descends.

This same principle holds in the art and practice of conversation. What made our conversation with Richard Webb interesting and engaging on our podcast is precisely his willingness to stay in the danger zone where certainty is sacrificed in the interests of possibility. Our ongoing conversations with The Seekers Café, at their best, embody this principle when participants set aside the tropes with which they are most comfortable for the possibility that something new can enter into the mix. This is certainly the quality of conversation that Rob and I aspire to create mutually with our guests on The Mystical Positivist podcast. Our favorite guests are those who are most comfortable hanging out in the danger zone because it is in that space where passion, enthusiasm, and vulnerability conspire (as in "breath together") to produce something truly new.

Saturday, July 13, 2019

The Mystical Positivist - Radio Show #331 - 13JUL19

This week on The Mystical Positivist, Rob and I speak with two previous guests on the show Sam Webster and Gus diZerega about their new project Pagan Currents, an online open source creative commons journal for serious Pagan work intended for practicing Pagans rather than academics, while acknowledging the overlap between the two groups.

Sam Webster, PhD, M.Div.,Mage, hails from the Bay Area and has taught magick publicly since 1984. He graduated from Starr King School for the Ministry at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley in 1993 and earned his doctorate at the University of Bristol, UK, studying Pagan history under Prof. Ronald Hutton.

He is an Adept of the Golden Dawn, a cofounder of the Chthonic-Ouranian Templar order, and an initiate of Wiccan, Druidic, Buddhist, Hindu and Masonic traditions. His work has been published in journals such as Green Egg and Gnosis, and 2010 saw his first book Tantric Thelema, establishing the publishing house Concrescent Press. In 2001 he founded the Open Source Order of the Golden Dawn, and in 2013 founded the Pantheon Foundation. Sam serves the Pagan community as a priest of Hermes.

Gus diZerega combines decades of work in Wicca and shamanic healing with an academic background, including a PhD in Political Theory and extensive teaching and publishing experience in mainstream academia.

He is a Third Degree Elder in Gardnerian Wicca, studied closely with Timothy White, who later founded Shaman’s Drum magazine, and intensively practiced Brazilian Umbanda for six years under Antonio Costa e Silva, as well as integrating it into his own healing work afterwards. He has given workshops and talks on Pagan spirituality and healing in the United States and Canada as well as organized international conferences and taught internationally in the social sciences.

Gus’ book Faultlines: The Sixties, the Culture War and the Return of the Divine Feminine, received a 2014 Silver Award from the Association of Independent Publishers. Pagans and Christians: The Personal Spiritual Experience, won Best Nonfiction of 2001 from The Coalition of Visionary Resources.


More information about Sam Webster and Gus diZeriga's work can be found at:

Pagan Currents website: pagancurrents.com

The Open Source Order of the Golden Dawn website: www.OSOGD.org

Gus diZerega's Website: dizerega.com


Saturday, July 6, 2019

The Mystical Positivist - Radio Show #330 - 06JUL19

This week on The Mystical Positivist, we present a conversation with Richard Webb. Richard Webb has been driving the development of cutting-edge solutions in global Fortune 500 environments in the high-tech industry for over 20 years. He brings big-picture vision to both operational and digital transformation by applying lean concepts to optimize systems, streamline processes, and reduce costs while managing multi-million-dollar budgets and corporate change. Additionally, he cultivates collaboration to bridge development, operations, and implementation while building highly productive teams that increase enterprise resiliency and security.

As a young man, Richard entered into an intensive apprenticeship with noted Sufi teacher Reshad Feild and ultimately worked with Feild and his community for almost fifteen years. Having established himself in the world both professionally and with a family, he found himself at a crossroads in the early 2000s that led to his initiation into a shamanic tradition. His work was soon complemented with the initiation into the Tibetan Chöd tradition which weaved in a web of community support into the sometimes wild and elemental work of the shamanic tradition. Throughout these epochal shifts in his spiritual work, Richard maintains a clarity of about the nature of practice and the essence of spiritual transformation. He brings an earthy and immediate wisdom to our conversation that is both deadly serious yet leavened with humor and compassion.


More information about Richard Webb's work can be found at:

Richard Webb on LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com,


Saturday, June 22, 2019

The Mystical Positivist - Radio Show #329 - 22JUN19

This week on the Mystical Positivist, we speak in the studio with LGBTQ+ community leader and Kundalini Yoga practitioner, Jacob Rudolph. Jacob Rudolph made international headlines in 2013 when a video of him coming out in front of more than 300 of his classmates went viral with over 2,000,000 views on YouTube. Soon after, Jacob was featured on national TV interviews with Anderson Cooper, Thomas Roberts on MSNBC, Don Lemon on CNN, and with Joy Behar, as well as in the LA Times and other print media. Inspired to continue speaking up, Jacob successfully assisted local civil rights groups that same year in passing a state law that bans conversion therapy on LGBTQ youth in New Jersey. Since then, he has been selected for the Point Foundation Scholarship, the John Lewis Fellowship for diversity and activist change, and was selected as the student commencement speaker at his college graduation-- University of Miami, 2017. He currently serves as the Executive Director of The Pride Network, which offers young LGBTQ+ leaders opportunities for personal transformation and professional development to create change within themselves and in our communities.

Jacob is also known as Manush Baldr, a name given to him by his spiritual teachers Trinity Devi and Sotantar Suraj. Founded by Master Gong Avatar, Sotantar Suraj, in Newport Beach, CA, the Gong Avatar Academy is a growing community around the world. In addition to the original community in CA, the GAA has also expanded to the East Coast with trainings in Miami, FL led by Trinity Devi and in Switzerland led by Sekhmet Mera. Through a process of direct apprenticeship, Jacob has dived into a journey of self-study of the Force Within and in All. Using the Gong as a mirror, Jacob studies and applies ancient and modern practices to awaken himself within the matrix, using the principles of nature and the universe, sound and vibration to enjoy the totality of who we are.

The Gong Avatar Academy is a journey towards Awareness and Self-Empowerment; raising participants in consciousness as individuals and collectively; discovering a beyond mastery state; commanding and accepting all our thoughts, emotions, feelings and actions; cultivating the Avatar State; and embracing the One and the All.

Jacob/Manush is a loving friend, spiritual student, and a passionate advocate for LGBTQ empowerment as the foundation of a compassionate American society.

More information about Jacob Rudolph/Manush Baldr's work can be found at:

The Pride Network Website: www.thepridenetwork.org,

The Gong Avatar Academy Website: gongavataracademy.com,


Saturday, June 1, 2019

The Mystical Positivist - Radio Show #328 - 01JUN19

This week on the show, hosts Rob Schmidt and Stuart Goodnick discuss some of the spiritual practice issues that they have been examining in their personal lives, within the context of their Tayu Meditation teaching responsibilities, and that have arisen in some of the Mystical Positivist shows over the last few months. In particular they dive deep into the sense and meaning of the Ephemeral and the Transcendental, and they discuss to what extent it makes sense to configure spiritual practice as a systematic shifting of attention from the Ephemeral to the Transcendental. Also on the show is a discussion of some recent material on Physicalism versus Idealism and the epistemic cost associated with a commitment to a materialistic (physicalist) point of view.

Rob Schmidt, Ph.D., and Stuart Goodnick co-direct Tayu Meditation Center, owner and operator of Many Rivers Books & Tea. They studied intensively with Tayu founder Robert Daniel Ennis, and are working to complete a book of his teachings this year called, Living Life As A Work Of Art: The Spiritual Work of Robert Daniel Ennis.

More information about Tayu Meditation Center can be found at:

Many Rivers Books and Tea Website: www.manyriversbooks.com,

Conscious Family Festival Website: www.consciousfamilyfestival.org,

Tayu Meditation Center Website: www.tayu.org/~tayu/,

Old Many Rivers Blog: www.manyriversbooks.com/blog1/.


Saturday, May 25, 2019

The Mystical Positivist - Radio Show #327 - 25MAY19

This week on the show, we speak by telephone with Robin Bloor, author of To Fathom The Gist: Approaches to the Writings of G.I. Gurdjieff and The Arch-Absurd. This conversation ranges from the writings of G. I. Gurdjieff, to how to approach their seemingly impenetrable nature, to the cosmology of the Gurdjieff tradition and how to translate such considerations into practical work on Self.

Mr. Bloor was born in Liverpool, England in the 1950s, studied Mathematics at Nottingham University, and eventually became a computer consultant. Aside from his consultancy work he has established a reputation as an international speaker on technology topics and as a writer by virtue of many magazine articles and technical publications. In April 1999 he published his first book, The Electronic B@zaar, which was about the dot com revolution. Much to his surprise it was a UK business best seller and was published a year later in the US, just as the dot com boom turned to bust. It received several accolades, being referred to as "a classic" by Publisher's Weekly in the US.

He has been involved in The Gurdjieff Work since 1982. In 1988 he met and became a pupil of Rina Hands, an accomplished Gurdjieff Movements teacher, and an inspirational group leader, who died in 1994. In recent years Mr. Bloor has turned his attention to writing about The Gurdjieff Work, and is widely regarded as an expert on Gurdjieff's writings. His series of books under the common title of To Fathom The Gist deal directly with the inner meaning of Gurdjieff's writings. They are gradually being rolled out year by year. Robin is also an attendee and participant in the All & Everything International Conference which takes place every year and focuses on Gurdjieff's writings.

Robin immigrated to the US in 2002, settling in Texas. In 2003 he was awarded an honorary Ph.D. in Computer Science by Wolverhampton University in the UK in recognition of 'Services to the IT Industry'. From 2004 to 2007 he participated in writing three Dummies books on technology: Service Oriented Architecture for Dummies, Service Management for Dummies and Cloud Computing for Dummies.

More information about Robin Bloor's work can be found at:

Austin Gurdjieff Society Website: austingurdjieffsociety.weebly.com,

To Fathom the Gist Website: www.tofathomthegist.com,

Robin Bloor's email address: robin.bloor @ gmail.com.


Saturday, May 11, 2019

The Mystical Positivist - Radio Show #326 - 11MAY19

This week on the show we converse in the studio with Ken McLeod , founder and director of UnfetteredMind.org, a website offering resources on practical Buddhism. Ken trained in the Tibetan Buddha-dharma, translated for his teacher Kalu Rinpoche, and has written books that translate and comment on Tibetan texts. His books include A Trackless Path, Reflections on Silver River, An Arrow to the Heart, and Wake Up To Your Life. Ken’s work focuses upon making the Buddha’s teachings relevant and accessible to western practitioners.


More information about Ken McLeod's work can be found at:

Saturday, May 4, 2019

The Mystical Positivist - Radio Show #325 - 04MAY19


This week on the show we converse by telephone with Roger Lipsey, a biographer, art historian, editor, and translator. Roger Lipsey earned both his MA (1966) and Ph.D. (1974) from New York University. His Ph.D. was in the history of art at the Institute of Fine Arts at NYU. Dr. Lipsey has served as the director of the Society for Myth and Tradition, the publisher of Parabola magazine. He is also the author of Coomaraswamy: His Life and Work; An Art of Our Own: The Spiritual in Twentieth-Century Art; Angelic Mistakes: The Art of Thomas Merton; Make Peace Before the Sun Goes Down: The Long Encounter of Thomas Merton and His Abbott, James Fox; and Hammarskjöld: A Life, which has been hailed as the definitive biography of Dag Hammarskjöld. For many decades, he has been a participant in the Gurdjieff teaching. His newly released Shambhala book, Gurdjieff Reconsidered - The Life, the Teachings, the Legacy is the subject of this episode's discussion.

More information about Roger Lipsey's work can be found at:

Saturday, April 20, 2019

The Mystical Positivist - Radio Show #324 - 20APR19

This week on the show on the show we present a Skype conversation with Brad Warner. Brad Warner is the founder and head teacher of Angel City Zen Center and Dogen Sangha Los Angeles. He is the author of the popular Hardcore Zen blog as well as several books on Zen Buddhism including Hardcore Zen - Punk Rock, Monster Movies, & the Truth About Reality; Sit Down and Shut Up - Punk Rock Commentaries on Buddha, God, Truth, Sex, Death, & Dogen's Treasury of the Right Dharma Eye; and Don't Be a Jerk - and Other Practical Advice from Dogen, Japan's Greatest Zen Master. He plays bass in the hardcore punk band Zero Defex (0DFx), is the star of the movies Shoplifting From American Apparel and Zombie Bounty Hunter M.D., was director of the film Cleveland’s Screaming! and is a former vice president of the US branch of Tsuburaya Productions, the company founded by the creator of Godzilla.

More information about Brad Warner's work can be found at:

Saturday, April 6, 2019

The Mystical Positivist - Radio Show #323 - 06APR19

This week on the show we feature an in-studio conversation with Antonio Ramirez Hernandez. Antonio Ramirez started learning about shamanism in 1982 when he started to have experiences that were difficult to understand with rational logic. He started to seek guidance until he found the Foundation for Shamanic Studies. He studied with Michael Harner, taking several workshops including the Three Year Program in Advanced Shamanism. Antonio eventually found Medicine Person, Lorin Smith, from the Kashaya Pomo tribe. He became a student, and Lorin expanded Antonio's views about shamanism. Their relationship lasted until Lorin's death on January 15, 2019. Part of Antonio's training has included with plant medicine in the Amazon, in the Mazatec mountains, and with Huichol healers. He is currently writing two books: one about learning from Lorin Smith and another called Contemporary Shamanism.

Antonio holds a Master's degree in Psychology with a concentration in Drama Therapy and a doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology (both from CIIS). He is nationally and internationally recognized for creating CECEVIM, a methodology for working with Latino men to teach them how to stop violence to their partners. He is the author of Violencia Masculina en el Hogar (Masculine Violence in the Home) (2000 - Editorial Pax, Mexico) and of the chapter "CECEVIM - Stopping Male Violence in the Latino Home" for the book Programs for Men Who Batter (2002 - Civic Research Institute). In addition to his shamanic work, Antonio's academic interests include gender studies, especially concerning masculine identities; the psychological impacts of culture on individuals and families; and transpersonal psychology.

More information about Antonio Ramirez's work can be found at:

California Institute of Integral Studies website: www.ciis.edu,

EMAVoicesOfTheEarth interview with Lorin Smith on YouTube: www.youtube.com.


Saturday, March 30, 2019

The Mystical Positivist - Radio Show #322 - 30MAR19

This week on the show we present a pre-recorded conversation with Terri Daniel. Rev. Terri Daniel, MA, CT, CCTP is a clinical chaplain, certified trauma specialist and end-of-life educator certified in death, dying and bereavement by the Association of Death Education and Counseling. The focus of her work is to assist dying and grieving individuals to discover a more spiritually-spacious understanding of death and beyond.

Terri conducts workshops throughout the U.S. to help the dying and the bereaved find healing through meditative, ritual and therapeutic processes that focus on inner transformation rather than external events. Her work is acclaimed by physicians, hospice workers, grief counselors, clergy and the bereaved for its pinpoint clarity on the process of dying and grieving, and its heartfelt depiction of consciousness beyond the physical body.

Terri's interest in the journey of the soul through birth and death began at age 12 when she began having mystical visions that sparked a lifelong interest in spirituality. But it wasn't until the death of her 16 year-old son in 2006 that she immersed herself in studying multi-cultural religious traditions and metaphysical practices that help the dying and the living find healing through meditative and ritual processes that open a conduit to other dimensions. Her unique form of "radical mysticism" incorporates elements of Buddhism, Shamanism, ancient pagan practices, gnostic Christianity and other spiritual traditions to break down limiting beliefs about forgiveness, divine judgment and negative experience.

Terri is the author of three books on death and the afterlife: A Swan in Heaven: Conversations Between Two Worlds (2007), Embracing Death: A New Look at Grief, Gratitude and God (2010), and Turning the Corner on Grief Street: Loss and Trauma as a Journey to Awakening (2014)

She is also the founder of the Afterlife Education Foundation and producer of the annual Afterlife Awareness Conference. Her academic credentials include a B.A. in Religious Studies from Marylhurst University, an M.A. in Pastoral Care from Fordham University, and a DMin [Doctor of Ministry] from the San Francisco Theological Seminary.

More information about Terri Daniel's work can be found at:

Spirituality and Grief website: www.spiritualityandgrief.com,

The Afterlife Awareness Conference website: afterlifeconference.com,

Conscious Grieving: Turning Loss into Light talk at Many Rivers Books 7 Tea: www.manyriversbooks.com.