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:,

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, 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: