Saturday, May 23, 2020

The Mystical Positivist - Radio Show #362 - 23MAY20


This week we feature a pre-recorded conversation with Hokai Diego Sobol in which we discuss the function of spiritual teaching and how this function is impacted when the primary means of communication is an electronic format such as Zoom. Among other topics we also discuss the nature of the Vertical Dimension and how access to this domain corresponds with the alignment both physically and energetically of the Body, Heart, and Mental Centers of the human organism.

Hokai Diego Sobol started practice and study of Buddhism in 1985. After 10 years of exploring Buddhist thought and practicing martial arts, while broadly learning from sources Eastern and Western, mainstream and fringe, Hokai became a practitioner and eventually instructor in the Shingon esoteric tradition of Japanese Vajrayana, under the private tutelage of Ajari Jomyo Tanaka. Hokai founded the Mandala Society of Croatia in 1999. Continuing to explore and cultivate his own Buddhist practice, Hokai maintains an ongoing conversation with a number of teachers and senior practitioners. Starting from 2012, he focuses on mentoring individuals to deepen their practice in the context of their lives – those who pray, learn to meditate; and those who meditate, learn to pray. Hokai’s areas of special interest include mystical principles and esoteric practices in daily life, sacred apprenticeship, and deep semiotics. He is based in Rijeka, Croatia.


More information about Hokai Diego Sobol's work can be found at:

Hokai Sobol's website: www.hokai.info,

A ceremony put together by Hokai during the Corona Virus Pandemic: Medicine Buddha Ceremony,

Hokai Diego Sobol on Twitter: @hokaisobol.

Saturday, May 16, 2020

The Mystical Positivist - Radio Show #361 - 16MAY20


This week on The Mystical Positivist, we feature a pre-recorded conversation with Amir Freimann, author of Spiritual Transmission: Paradoxes and Dilemmas on the Spiritual Path and a doctoral researcher on Living Transcendence: A Phenomenological Study of Spiritual Masters. In this wide-ranging discussion we explore the nature of the yearning for the mystical and of the spiritual path. We also discuss what it means to live a life abiding in an ongoing experience of the transcendent, in contrast to a life punctuated by transient peak experiences of the transcendent. Amir Freimann was born in 1958 in a kibbutz and grew up in a small village in Israel. At the age of 17 he became deeply interested in spiritual-existential questions about the nature of consciousness, freedom, self and the Whole. He served in the Israeli army and became a pacifist after participating in the 1982 Lebanon War. He then studied medicine but at the end of the 5th year of his studies decided to devote his life to spiritual awakening. He spent 2 years meditating in a Zen monastery in Japan and over 20 years doing intense spiritual practice and engaged in philosophical-spiritual exploration in the community of EnlightenNext in the USA. In 2009 he left the community and moved back to Israel. Shortly thereafter he began interviewing prominent spiritual teachers and their students, which led to the publication of Spiritual Transmission, which is his first book in English.

Note: the video of this conversation can be found at www.youtube.com.


More information about Amir Freimann's work can be found at:

Amir Freimann's website: The Freedom to Question,

Amir Freimann on Facebook: www.facebook.com,

Spiritual Transmission at Monkfish Book Publishing Company: www.monkfishpublishing.com.

Saturday, May 9, 2020

The Mystical Positivist - Radio Show #360 - 09MAY20


This week on The Mystical Positivist, we feature a pre-recorded conversation with Zoketsu Norman Fischer and Ken McLeod exploring key questions in contemporary Buddhist Dharma, Western spiritual practice in general, and the potential for transformation in multiple directions inherent in the modern crises of the COVID-19 Pandemic and Climate Change. Among the topics considered are how senior spiritual teachers are dealing with the challenges of the current pandemic, the commodification of spiritual technology in the contemporary Western world, and the distinction between seeking results within the horizontal dimension of life versus the cultivation of depth within the vertical dimension. In addition we touch on the growing importance of technologies such as Zoom in maintaining spiritual connectivity, and we conclude with reflections on what we have come to value and reevaluate after decades of spiritual practice.

Zoketsu Norman Fischer is an American poet, writer, and Soto Zen priest, teaching and practicing in the lineage of Shunryu Suzuki. He is a Dharma heir of Sojun Mel Weitsman, from whom he received Dharma transmission in 1988. Fischer served as co-abbot of the San Francisco Zen Center from 1995–2000, after which he founded the Everyday Zen Foundation in 2000, a network of Buddhist practice group and related projects in Canada, the United States and Mexico. Fischer has published more than twenty-five books of poetry and non-fiction, as well as numerous poems, essays and articles in Buddhist magazines and poetry journals. His most recent book is The World Could Be Otherwise: Imagination and the Bodhisattva Path.

After learning Tibetan, Ken McLeod translated for his principal teacher, Kalu Rinpoche, and helped to develop Rinpoche’s centers in North America and Europe. In 1985, Kalu Rinpoche authorized Ken to teach and placed him in charge of his Los Angeles center. Faced with the challenges of teaching in a major metropolis, he began exploring different methods and formats for working with students. He moved away from both the teacher-center model and the minister-church model and developed a consultant-client model. Ken is the founder and director of UnfetteredMind.org. He is the author of Wake Up to Your Life: Discovering the Buddhist Path of Attention, The Great Path of Awakening, An Arrow to the Heart, Reflections on Silver River, and his most recent book, A Trackless Path.

As sometimes happens with energetic conversations with spiritual practitioners transmitted over electronic media, we had an unusual number of unexpected cell phone calls and Zoom breakdowns throughout the recording. Some of this has been edited for continuity and some left as we all experienced it. However, these interruptions do not detract from the quality of the discussion.


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

Norman Fischer's website: www.normanfischer.org,

Ken McLeod's website: unfetteredmind.org.

Saturday, April 25, 2020

The Mystical Positivist - Radio Show #359 - 25APR20


This week on The Mystical Positivist, we feature a pre-recorded conversation with Zoketsu Norman Fischer about his 2019 book The World Could Be Otherwise: Imagination and the Bodhisattva Path. More prescient than Fischer could have known when he wrote it, the book offers an imaginative approach to spiritual practice in difficult times, through the Buddhist teaching of the six pāramitās or "perfections"--qualities that lead to kindness, wisdom, and an awakened life. Fischer points out that in frightening times, we wish the world could be otherwise. With a touch of imagination, it can be. Imagination helps us see what’s hidden, and it shape-shifts reality’s roiling twisting waves. In this inspiring reframe of a classic Buddhist teaching, Zen teacher Norman Fischer writes that the pāramitās, or “six perfections”—generosity, ethical conduct, patience, joyful effort, meditation, and understanding—can help us reconfigure the world we live in. Ranging from our everyday concerns about relationships, ethics, and consumption to our artistic inspirations and broadest human yearnings, Fischer depicts imaginative spiritual practice as a necessary resource for our troubled times.

Zoketsu Norman Fischer is an American poet, writer, and Soto Zen priest, teaching and practicing in the lineage of Shunryu Suzuki. He is a Dharma heir of Sojun Mel Weitsman, from whom he received Dharma transmission in 1988. Fischer served as co-abbot of the San Francisco Zen Center from 1995–2000, after which he founded the Everyday Zen Foundation in 2000, a network of Buddhist practice group and related projects in Canada, the United States and Mexico. Fischer has published more than twenty-five books of poetry and non-fiction, as well as numerous poems, essays and articles in Buddhist magazines and poetry journals. We spoke with Fischer previously on The Mystical Positivist about an earlier book: Training in Compassion: Zen Teachings on the Practice of Lojong.


More information about Norman Fischer's work can be found at:

Norman Fischer's website: www.normanfischer.org,

Everyday Zen Foundation website: everydayzen.org,

Norman Fischer on Wikipedia: en.wikipedia.org,

Norman Fischer on The Mystical Positivist: mysticalpositivist.blogspot.com.

Saturday, April 18, 2020

The Mystical Positivist - Radio Show #358 - 18APR20


This week on The Mystical Positivist, we speak by telephone with Sam Webster, PhD, M.Div., Mage. Sam 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. His thesis was published as The History of Theurgy from Iamblichus to the Golden Dawn.

Sam 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.

In this wide ranging conversation, we discuss the nature of ritual and Adeptship. In addition we discuss a Pagan/Magickal perspective on the current pandemic including the nature of the liminal moment facing humankind.

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

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

Pagan Currents website: pagancurrents.com,

Pantheon Foundation website: www.pantheonfoundation.org,

Sam Webster's Blog: samwebstermage.com.

Saturday, April 11, 2020

The Mystical Positivist - Radio Show #357 - 11APR20


This week on The Mystical Positivist, we speak by telephone with Red Hawk about his latest book from HOHM Press called, The Way of the Wise Woman – Poems by Red Hawk. Red Hawk was the Hodder Fellow at Princeton University (1992-93) and currently a tenured professor of English at U. of Arkansas, Monticello. He is the author of 10 previous books. His book Self Observation has been published in 11 languages. His poetry has been published in The Atlantic, Poetry, and Kenyon Review, and other journals. He has been a member of a Gurdjieff group for 36 years, a student of Mister Lee Lozowick for 22 years, a disciple of Master Osho Rajneesh for 16 years prior, and always a devotee of the great spiritual master Yogi Ramsuratkumar.

In this compilation of 58 short (10-line) poems, Red Hawk skillfully describes those qualities of heart, mind, and action that characterize the awakening of “the Feminine” within the human person. As the Feminine is awakened in both man and woman, the “Mother Spirit” emerges in each one, highlighted by a display of nurturing, kindness, gentleness, generosity, cooperation, and forgiveness of self and others. The Way of the Wise Woman is a catalog of such “Feminine” virtues and behaviors and a series of contemplations to be studied, prayed and enjoyed for their poetic beauty.

As a training-manual of sorts, the poems are far from sweet whisperings, however. The Feminine, as the poet proclaims, is also fierce, strong, ruthlessly honest, and confrontive as well as supportive. This collection may well serve to guide the seeker in self-examination as the poems encourage a refined vision of “what is,” of “what is possible,” and a growing sense of the presence and attention needed to enter the halls of wisdom.

Red Hawk writes from long personal study and experience. His years of discipleship within religious schools of esoteric knowledge, allows him to share what has been gained and lost from following a Path. The inner struggles of this type of work on self are rendered with raw precision, while being beautifully delineated in these poems. Any reader will benefit from the fruits of understanding the poet has gained from these struggles.


More information about Red Hawk's work can be found at:

Red Hawk at HOHM Press: www.hohmpress.com,

The Way of the Wise Women at HOHM Press: The Way of the Wise Woman,

Self-Observation at HOHM Press: Self-Observation,

Self-Remembering at HOHM Press: Self-Remembering.

Saturday, April 4, 2020

The Mystical Positivist - Radio Show #356 - 04APR20


This week on The Mystical Positivist, we feature a pre-recorded conversation with two of our favorite guests, Ken McLeod and Jim Wilson. Speaking from our respective bunkers of the California Shelter-In-Place order, we will touch upon the relevance of spiritual practice in an age of social distancing, as well as the possibility and freedom inherent in moving discourse beyond mere critique and contradiction.

After learning Tibetan, Ken McLeod translated for his principal teacher, Kalu Rinpoche, and helped to develop Rinpoche’s centers in North America and Europe. In 1985, Kalu Rinpoche authorized Ken to teach and placed him in charge of his Los Angeles center. Faced with the challenges of teaching in a major metropolis, he began exploring different methods and formats for working with students. He moved away from both the teacher-center model and the minister-church model and developed a consultant-client model. Ken is the founder and director of UnfetteredMind.org. He is the author of Wake Up to Your Life: Discovering the Buddhist Path of Attention, The Great Path of Awakening, An Arrow to the Heart, Reflections on Silver River, and his most recent book, A Trackless Path.

Jim Wilson was a monk and abbot under the direction of his teacher Seung Sahn, a Korean Chogye sect Zen master. He served as a Buddhist Prison Chaplain, studied western philosophy, co-founded Many Rivers Books & Tea in Sebastopol, conducts a website devoted to syllabic form Haiku, and has penned and published many books of poetry. In recent years his spiritual practice has centered on the Quaker Christian tradition. In addition to his many poetry volumes, he has published several books on spiritual matters, including On Trusting the Heart, a commentary on a famous poem by the third Zen patriarch, and An Annotated Edition of a Guide to True Peace.


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

Unfettered Mind website: www.unfetteredmind.org,

On Trusting the Heart - A Commentary on the Xin Xin Ming: On Trusting the Heart,

An Annotated Edition of a Guide to True Peace 2nd Edition: Guide to True Peace,

Shaping Words Poetry Website: shapingwords.blogspot.com.

Saturday, March 28, 2020

The Mystical Positivist - Radio Show #355 - 28MAR20


This week on The Mystical Positivist, we feature a pre-recorded conversation with Diana Rowan, author of The Bright Way – Five Steps to Freeing the Creative Within, published this year by New World Library. Diana Rowan is a Creative Alchemist and founder of the Bright Way Guild, a virtual learning environment dedicated to transforming and inspiring a global community of creatives. The classical inquiry of “what makes a good life?” has driven Diana from her youngest years, and sharing her hard-won discoveries with others is her mission. Having recovered from a soul-crushing case of stage fright and other challenges, Diana believes that by shining light on the darkness we fear, we can all become courageous purveyors of bright knowledge and live the good life.

Diana was born in Dublin, Ireland to college student parents, setting the stage for a lifetime of lively learning and seeking. Soon thereafter, her father became a diplomat for the Irish government, taking his family all over the world in a cosmopolitan pilgrimage. Respect for the arts has always been second nature in Diana’s family, along with a deep streak of mysticism embodied by her astrologer mother.

This unusual combination of intellectual seeking, cultural bridging, mystical opening and artistic engagement are the hallmarks of Diana’s life, whether that be in composing music, teaching, writing, or choosing a wine. Diana holds an MM in classical piano performance and a PhD in Music Theory.


More information about Diana Rowan's work can be found at:

Diana Rowan's website: www.dianarowan.com,

Diana Rowan on YouTube: www.youtube.com,

The Bright Way Guild on Facebook: www.facebook.com.

Saturday, March 21, 2020

The Mystical Positivist - Radio Show #354 - 21MAR20


This week on The Mystical Positivist, we feature a pre-recorded conversation with Rory Miller, author of Living in the Deep Brain – Connecting with Your Intuition. Rory Miller is a seventeen-year veteran of a metropolitan correctional system. He spent seventeen years, including ten as a sergeant, with the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office in Portland Oregon. His assignments included Booking, Maximum Security, Disciplinary and Administrative Segregation, and Mental Health Units. He was a CERT (Corrections Emergency Response Team) member for over eleven years and Team Leader for six.

His training has included over eight hundred hours of tactical training; witness protection and close-quarters handgun training with the local US Marshals; Incident Command System; Instructor Development Courses; AELE Discipline and Internal Investigations; Hostage Negotiations and Hostage Survival; Integrated Use of Force and Confrontational Simulation Instructor; Mental Health; Defensive Tactics, including the GRAPLE instructors program; Diversity; and Supervision. Rory has designed and taught courses including Confrontational Simulations; Uncontrolled Environments; Crisis Communications with the Mentally Ill; CERT Operations and Planning; Defensive Tactics; and Use of Force for Multnomah County and other local agencies.

In 2008 Rory Miller left his agency to spend over a year in Iraq with the Department of Justice ICITAP program as a civilian advisor to the Iraqi Corrections System. He has a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology, a blackbelt in jujutsu and college varsities in judo and fencing. He also likes long walks on the beach.

His writings have been featured in Loren Christensen’s Fighter’s Fact Book 2: The Street, Kane and Wilder’s Little Black Book of Violence and The Way to Blackbelt. Rory is the author of Meditations on Violence: A Comparison of Martial Arts Training and Real World Violence; Violence: A Writer’s Guide; and Facing Violence. His latest book, Living in the Deep Brain was published in 2019 by Wyrd Goat Press.


More information about Rory Miller's work can be found at:

Chiron Training website: www.chirontraining.com,
Rory Miller on YouTube: www.youtube.com.




Saturday, March 7, 2020

The Mystical Positivist - Radio Show #353 - 07MAR20


This week on The Mystical Positivist, we feature a conversation pre-recorded on February 28th, 2020 with Rupert Spira. From an early age Rupert Spira was deeply interested in the nature of reality. At the age of seventeen he learnt to meditate, and began studying and practicing the teachings of the classical Advaita Vedanta tradition under the guidance of Dr. Francis Roles and Shantananda Saraswati, the Shankaracharya of the north of India, which he continued for the next twenty years. During this time he immersed himself in the teachings of P.D.Ouspensky, Krishnamurti, Rumi, Ramana Maharshi, Nisargadatta, and Robert Adams, until he met his teacher, Francis Lucille, in 1997. Francis introduced Rupert to the Direct Path teachings of Atmanada Krishnamenon; Jean Klein and the tantric tradition of Kashmir Shaivism; and, more importantly, directly indicated to him the true nature of experience.

In his meetings, Rupert explores the perennial, non-dual understanding that lies at the heart of all the great religious and spiritual traditions, such as Advaita Vedanta, Kashmir Shaivism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Mystical Christianity, Sufism, Zen etc., and which is also the direct, ever-present reality of our own experience. This is a contemporary, experiential approach involving silent meditation, guided meditation and conversation, and requires no affiliation to any particular religious or spiritual tradition. All that is required is an interest in the essential nature of experience, and in the longing for love, peace and happiness around which most of our lives revolve.

Rupert is author of: The Transparency of Things – Contemplating the Nature of Experience (2008); Presence, in two volumes – The Art of Peace and Happiness and The Intimacy of All Experience (2012); The Light of Pure Knowing – Thirty meditations on the Essence of Non-Duality (2014); The Ashes of Love (2016); Transparent Body, Luminous World – The Tantric Yoga of Sensation and Perception (2017); The Nature of Consciousness – Essays on the Unity of Mind and Matter (2017); and The Essence of Meditation Vol. I – Being Aware of Being Aware (2017). He is also a notable English potter and studio potter with work in public and private collections.

Rupert Spira will be LIVE STREAMING his upcoming Mercy Center Retreat from March 20th - 27th, 2020. For more information, use this LINK.

More information about Rupert Spira's work can be found at:

Rupert Spira's website: non-duality.rupertspira.com

Rupert Spira's YouTube Channel: www.youtube.com,

Rupert Spira's Ceramics Website: www.rupertspira.com.




Saturday, February 29, 2020

The Mystical Positivist - Radio Show #352 - 29FEB20


This week on The Mystical Positivist we speak in the studio with our good friend Christine Skarda, an ordained Tibetan Buddhist nun, a philosopher and scientific theorist whose professional career has spanned the fields of philosophy, neurophysiology, and cognitive science. She has both drawn on and contributed to the insights of these fields in her quest to understand the nature of perception. This quest eventually propelled her out of the research laboratory and onto a meditation cushion, where Skarda turned to methods of inquiry drawn from the Tibetan Buddhist tradition to study the perceptual process from another angle. An ordained nun, Skarda has by now spent over a decade and a half in meditation retreat in the United States and India under the guidance of some of the greatest living members of the Tibetan Buddhist tradition including His Holiness the Dalai Lama and His Holiness Chetsang Rinpoche. She returned to America in 2007 and continues her retreat in California. Occasionally she leaves retreat to lecture or teach to a diverse audience, offering her scientific background to Buddhists and her Buddhist insights to scientists and philosophers

In the first hour of this unusual conversation, Christine describes the relationship of imagery to intensive Tibetan Tantric Practice and her cataloging of how key Tantric imagery appears in a variety of traditions. In addition, we get into the nature of emergence and dissolution as it pertains to modes of Being in Tantric practice. In the second hour, we discuss the unique nature of verb structure in the ancient Greek language of Homer and Plato and how such a process-oriented form in this language makes it unusually well suited to take on the philosophical problem of Being.

More information about Christine Skarda's work can be found at:

Christine Skarda's website: christineskarda.com

Christine Skarda in Lion's Roar magazine: www.lionsroar.com.


Saturday, February 22, 2020

The Mystical Positivist - Radio Show #351 - 22FEB20


This week on The Mystical Positivist, hosts Stuart Goodnick and Rob Schmidt feature a recording of a talk that they gave at Many Rivers Books & Tea on Thursday February 20th, along with some additional remarks recorded in the studio after the talk. Entitled “Defusing the Human Comfort-Seeking Missile”, the pre-talk publicity described it this way: "What provides comfort to the afflicted? What provides comfort to those who are dissatisfied despite possession of material wealth, fame, or power? How does comfort differ from joy, equanimity, or happiness? These are some of the themes this talk will explore. Most 21st century western cultural imperatives strongly reinforce natural inclinations to seek out comfort and avoid discomfort. The cultural imperative of our time, to seek out that which we hope will comfort us, manifests powerfully as a host of technologies intended to ease human life, technologies that simply did not exist throughout most of the human story. Labor-saving devices were just the start. Now we have algorithms to find experiences and even mates that will satisfy desires without challenging our own foibles. Yet despite the undeniable benefits of some of these technologies, and despite generally longer lives and greater health, we see little evidence that human happiness has increased in recent generations."

Genuine spiritual traditions offer methodologies and ideas designed to affect the inner life rather than outer circumstances. Such methodologies were the only game in town in past times when changing the material circumstances of life was impractical if not unimaginable. In a time when skepticism toward religious and spiritual authorities seems not simply justified but even necessary, is there a path between cynicism and hope for something that will help us touch the higher dimensions of the inner life? Join us for consideration of such possibilities.”

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 upcoming 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, February 8, 2020

The Mystical Positivist - Radio Show #350 - 08FEB20


This week on The Mystical Positivist, Rob and I present a conversation pre-recorded on February 2, 2020, with Stephen Aronson, Fourth Way group leader, writer, and retired psychologist. 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.

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. Steve is a founding member of The Seekers Café, a website supporting an online community dedicated to creating an effective portal to genuine spiritual practice.

In this fascinating discussion, Steve provides an extended meditation on the developmental origins of the seemingly vampiric inner voices of negativity which plague our default modes of conscious experience, as well as a discussion on the ways in which intentional Work on Self can bring in the necessary sunlight to dissolve such automatic factors. This is long form conversation at its best.

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

The Seekers Café website: seekerscafe.org,

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

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


Saturday, February 1, 2020

The Mystical Positivist - Radio Show #349 - 01FEB20


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.

In today's penetrating conversation, Ken elaborates on a recent posting on his blog about Vajrayana and Archetypal Imagery. Rather than concerning ourselves with the ontological status of Buddhist cosmologies (i.e. are they real?), Ken describes in detail how archetypal imagery acts on much deeper parts of us to instill or imprint the possibility of peace and freedom beyond both the conceptual and the emotional. In addition to all of this, Ken and Rob provide a spiritual analysis of the recent movie, The Two Popes.

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

Saturday, January 25, 2020

The Mystical Positivist - Radio Show #348 - 25JAN20

This week on the show, Rob and I speak by telephone with Roger R. Jackson, the John W. Nason Professor Emeritus of Asian Studies and Religion at Carleton College in Minnesota, where he taught the religions of South Asia and Tibet. He has published many articles on the philosophy, ritual, meditative practices, and poetry of Indian and Tibetan Buddhism, and has written or co-edited several books, including The Wheel of Time: Kalachakra in Context; Is Enlightenment Possible?; Tibetan Literature: Studies in Genre; Buddhist Theology: Critical Reflections by Contemporary Buddhist Scholars; and Tantric Treasures: Three Collections of Mystical Verse from Buddhist India. He latest book is Mind Seeing Mind: Mahamudra and the Geluk Tradition of Tibetan Buddhism from Wisdom Publications. He is also the past editor of the Journal of the International Association of Buddhist Studies and the Indian International Journal of Buddhist Studies.

In this conversation Professor Jackson provides an overview of the Mahamudra tradition in various Tibetan Buddhist traditions and discusses some of the larger questions that have emerged in the Tibetan tradition (as well as many other traditions). Such questions include the nature of negation as it pertains to emptiness, ethics and the Mahamudra, and the role of reason in the practice of Mahamudra. Professor Jackson succeeds in making a very deep and complex topic approachable by the listener.

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

Saturday, January 18, 2020

The Mystical Positivist - Radio Show #347 - 18JAN20

This week on the show on the show, we speak by telephone with J. Brent Bill, a Quaker minister, retreat leader, writing coach, and photographer. He’s written more than twenty books including Holy Silence: The Gift of Quaker Spirituality, Mind the Light: Learning To See With Spiritual Eyes, Life Lessons from a Bad Quaker: A Humble Stumble Toward Simplicity and Grace, and Finding God in the Verbs: Crafting a Fresh Language of Prayer. Brent has served as a local church pastor, denominational executive, seminary faculty member, and go-cart track operator. He lives on Ploughshares Farm, which is forty acres of former farmland being reclaimed to tall grass prairie and native hardwood forest in Indiana.

His latest book is Beauty, Truth, Life, and Love: Four Essentials for the Abundant Life. "Do you long to live the abundant life that Jesus promised his followers? If so, then you will want to weave the threads of beauty, truth, life, and love into the tapestry of your life. When these essentials are each present in some measure in our relationships, ministries, vocations, and life choices, then we are more likely to find ourselves living a good and abundant life with God."

More information about J. Brent Bill's work can be found at:

Saturday, January 4, 2020

The Mystical Positivist - Radio Show #346 - 04JAN20

This week on the show on the show we present a pre-recorded conversation with Brad Warner about his latest book, Letters to a Dead Friend About Zen. 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 other 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.

Brad moved to Japan in 1993 where he began studying Zen with the iconoclastic teacher Gudo Wafu Nishijima. After a few years, Nishijima ordained Brad and made him his dharma successor.

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

Saturday, December 14, 2019

The Mystical Positivist - Radio Show #345 - 14DEC19

This week on The Mystical Positivist, hosts Stuart Goodnick and Rob Schmidt feature a recording of a talk that they gave at Many Rivers Books & Tea on Thursday December 12th, along with some additional remarks recorded in the studio after the talk. Entitled “Pimples on the Butt of the Absolute: Awareness and Awarenessing”, the pre-talk publicity described it this way: “In the contemporary spiritual scene, "awareness" can be as much a buzz word as "mindfulness." Awareness derives from the concept of being watchful or vigilant. Thus, to beware-to be wary of-something implies guarding against the arrival of a potential danger. From this root, awareness has developed into the common idea of a mental status where one observes the inner and/or outer realms, without any necessary object of awareness implied. But there is an unexamined assumption underlying this idea, which is that it is feasible to maintain a kind of vigilance as a more or less unitary, ongoing state. In this talk, we examine this assumption. Can a "state of vigilance" or "awareness" ever be more than a string of unique moments that we retrospectively link together in the mind? When we watch a sunset, are we not "awarenessing" the rising and passing of discrete perceptions, emotional responses, bodily sensations, and thoughts? Is it possible to relax the flow of awarenessing such that serial fixation upon each unique pimple on the butt of the Absolute gives way to something more like an appreciation of the contours of the overarching butt that graces the Absolute?”

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 upcoming 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, December 7, 2019

The Mystical Positivist - Radio Show #344 - 07DEC19

This week on the show we present a conversation pre-recorded on December 7th, 2019 with Rick Lewis, author of Confident Under Pressure – The Hidden Advantages of Stress. Rick Lewis is a motivational speaker, thought leader, author, comedian, and entertainer par excellence who delivers a world-class presentation for meetings and events of all kinds. In the world of meetings where attendees have "seen it all," Rick is the ace in your meeting hand; a fresh, surprising and delightful experience they never saw coming. He makes his living by putting leaders, executives and organizational teams into challenging situations to help them see the habitual ways they respond to stress. He then offers unique guidance in the practice of "stress production," rather than stress reduction revealing how to make a dynamic turnaround, an attitude of YES to stress.

His book, Confident Under Pressure, weaves colorful personal stories, recent neuroscience, the research of human performance experts, and the inspiration of leading business executives into a compelling and lucid argument for moving toward stress, conflict and change in order to become more creative, effective and happy in life, on the way to making our highest contribution in the world. The result is an eminently readable and practical book that anyone can use, at home, on the job, and in one-on-one relationships. Rick is also the author of 7 Rules You Were Born to Break: How Intelligent Misbehavior Can Help You and Your Organization Thrive, The Perfection of Nothing: Reflections on Spiritual Practice, and You Have The Right To Remain Silent.

More information about Rick Lewis' work can be found at:

Saturday, November 30, 2019

The Mystical Positivist - Radio Show #343 - 30NOV19

This week on the show we present a conversation pre-recorded on November 29th, 2019 with OM C. Parkin. OM C. Parkin studied psychology, but dropped out of university studies after three years, because it gave him no real insight into human nature. In parallel, he worked intensely on the spiritual traditions of Sufism and the Enneagram as a mirror of the cosmos, especially the human psyche. In 1990, at the age of 27, he suffered a serious car accident, crossed the threshold of death, and woke up again to life, egolessly. Shortly thereafter, he met his spiritual teacher Gangaji, who helped him process his transformation, which cut through the everyday world of experience. Gangaji sent OM to her own teacher H. W. L. Poonja, a direct disciple of Ramana Maharshi, who gave OM his spiritual name.

OM has been teaching orally and in writing ever since, accompanying people in their search for truth and self-knowledge at spiritual events (Darshan). In addition, he is the author of a variety of books, writings and articles, including the recent English publications of The Digital Age, The Birth of the Lion – Non-Duality as a Way of Life, and Intelligence of Awakening – Navigating the Wisdom Path.

OM founded the first major German-speaking mystery school of the present time in the '90s. Since 2010, the school is located at Gut Saunstorf, a splendidly restored historic manor house near the Hanseatic city of Wismar, that has been known as the "Ort der Stille" (Place of Stillness). As a modern monastery, it is also open as a retreat for people who are on the inner path.

OM C. Parkin's spiritual teaching, also referred to as Inner Science, is based on the Eastern Advaita tradition (teaching of non-duality--the best-known representative of this tradition in the West is Ramana Maharshi). This teaching also encompasses Western experiential paths (e. g. Christian Mysticism, Georges I. Gurdjieff: The Fourth Way) as well as modern psychological and psychotherapeutic methods. The goal is self-knowledge through inner work, which ultimately leads to the realization of the true human nature. OM is also preparing for an American tour in October of 2020.

More information about OM C. Parkin's work can be found at: