Saturday, May 21, 2022

The Mystical Positivist - Radio Show #399 - 21MAY22


This week on the show we feature a pre-recorded conversation with Dean Sluyter, author of The Dharma Bum’s Guide to Western Literature, published this year by New World Library. Some of us were lucky enough to have one passionate, funny, inspiring English teacher who helped us fall in love with books. Add a lifetime of teaching Dharma — authentic, traditional approaches to meditation and awakening — and you get award-winning author Dean Sluyter. With droll humor and irreverent wisdom, he unpacks the Dharma of more than twenty major writers, from William Blake to Dr. Seuss, inspiring readers to deepen their own spiritual life and see literature in a fresh, new way: as a path of awakening.

Dean Sluyter (pronounced “slighter”) has led meditation workshops and retreats throughout the US since 1970, at venues ranging from Ivy League colleges to maximum-security prisons. For thirty-three years he taught English and Literature of Enlightenment at the Pingry School. He lives in Santa Monica, California, where he sings with the Threshold Choir, plays old songs on the ukulele, and happily zips about on his Vespa.


More information about Dean Sluyter's work can be found at:
 
Dean Sluyter's website: deansluyter.com,
 
The Dharma Bum's Guide at New World Library: www.newworldlibrary.com.

Saturday, April 9, 2022

The Mystical Positivist - Radio Show #398 - 09APR22


This week on the show we feature a pre-recorded conversation with Roger Jackson, author of Rebirth: A Guide to Mind, Karma, and Cosmos in the Buddhist World, published this year by Shambhala. This first-ever guide to ideas and practices surrounding rebirth in Buddhism covers the historical context for the Buddha’s teachings on the topic, explains what Buddhists believe is actually reborn and where, surveys rebirth-related practices in multiple Buddhist cultures, and considers whether all Buddhist traditions agree about what happens after death. The book also addresses interpretations of rebirth in modern Buddhist contexts and recent scientific attempts to document reincarnation in conversation with Buddhist beliefs. It is, in short, the first truly comprehensive overview of rebirth across the major Buddhist traditions, written by a leading scholar and teacher of Buddhism.

Roger Jackson is Professor Emeritus of Asian Studies and Religion at Carleton College. He has nearly 50 years of experience with the study and practice of Buddhism, particularly in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition. His special interests include Indian and Tibetan Buddhist philosophy, meditation, and ritual; Buddhist religious poetry; religion and society in Sri Lanka; the study of mysticism; and contemporary Buddhist thought. Roger is a highly respected and beloved scholar, Dharma teacher, and writer. He has authored many scholarly books and articles, and is a frequent contributor to Lion’s Roar, Buddhadharma, and Tricycle magazines.


More information about Roger Jackson's work can be found at:
 
Rebirth at Shambhala Publications: www.shambhala.com,
 
Roger Jackson at Lion's Roar: www.lionsroar.com,
 
Roger Jackson at Tricycle: tricycle.org,
 
Roger Jackson at Carleton College: apps.carleton.edu,
 
Roger Jackson on The Mystical Positivist: mysticalpositivist.blogspot.com.

Saturday, March 26, 2022

The Mystical Positivist - Radio Show #397 - 26MAR22


This week on the show we feature a pre-recorded conversation with Dr. Asa Hershoff about his development of what he calls the 5-Element Energy Healing and Elemental Psychology system. This system posits a three-self model of the human being (Spirit, Essence, and Persona) in which the Essence has five modes of being corresponding to the five traditional elements (Ruler, Creator, Lover, Warrior, and Guru). These modes are in turn reflected in the Persona as expressions of Empowerment, Loss, and Shadow. One therapeutic aim of this system is to support practitioners in moving from a Persona-centered life to an Essence-centered life.

Asa Hershoff has practiced Mindbody medicine and Vajrayana concurrently for 40 years. Completing the traditional Tibetan 3-year meditation retreat under the auspices of Kalu Rinpoche, he was later ordained as a lay Lama. A pioneer in the Canadian holistic health movement, he is founder of the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine (1978) and currently author of 3 books on holistic health. Asa has developed Elemental Psychology as an integration of Vajrayana, humanistic psychology, bioenergy medicine, and a pan global perspective on the 5 elements. This transformative methodology of self-healing, therapy, and spiritual growth is represented in his many current book projects, You: True & False and The 5 Ways of Wisdom.


More information about Asa Hershoff's work can be found at:
 
Asa Hershoff's website: www.asahershoff.com,
 
The 5 Wisdoms website: www.the5wisdoms.com,
 
5 Element Energy Healing website: www.5elementenergyhealing.com,
 
Asa Hershoff's Healing Practice website: www.drasahershoff.com,
 
Asa Hershoff on Facebook: www.facebook.com.

Saturday, February 26, 2022

The Mystical Positivist - Radio Show #396 - 26FEB22


This week on the show we feature a pre-recorded conversation with returning guest Ken McLeod in which we continue our ongoing discussion about the degree to which a transactional mode of being permeates our lives, relationships, and spiritual practice. We explore goals in relationship, the transactional as the currency of the Horizontal Realm, what a non-transaction way of living might be, and the unconditioned nature of the Vertical Realm.

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.


More information about Ken McLeod's work can be found at:
 
Unfettered Mind website: www.unfetteredmind.org.

Saturday, February 12, 2022

The Mystical Positivist - Radio Show #395 - 12FEB22


This week on The Mystical Positivist, we feature a pre-recorded conversation with returning guest Stephen Aronson about his new book, The Search for Meaning and the Mystery of Consciousness – A Psychologist’s Journey Through Gurdjieff and Jung, published by Karnak Press in 2022. This book explores the existential questions of reality, one’s purpose for existing, attention, consciousness, and the nature of the Universe all from a scientific and psychological perspective grounded in over 40 years of practice in the Gurdjieff work.

Stephen Aronson is a psychotherapist with an eclectic training background ranging from cognitive behavioral therapy to the alchemical approach of Carl Jung. His spiritual life has been a search for verification of a deeper reality underlying the ordinary world of our senses. His personal aim has been to find a reconciliation between science and spirituality which would allow reconciling the concepts of Universal Intelligence with rationality. The arcane language of specialized methods, although necessary for advanced training, is often a barrier for those seeking an initial understanding. After dozens of years in Jungian analysis and four decades of study and practice in the system of transformational psychology introduced to the West by G. I. Gurdjieff, he has sought to find an approach to illustrate these deep and complex ideas and methods in common language and universally shared experiences.

Steve lives in rural Maine where he retired in 2013 from forty-three years in the private practice of psychotherapy, education, and training. He has published on the work for G. I. Gurdjieff in Proceedings of the Annual All and Everything International Humanities Conference as well as in Parabola, a magazine dedicated to myth, tradition, and search for meaning.

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 Mystical Positivist: Show 350 - 08FEB20, and Show 332 - 20JUL19.


Saturday, January 15, 2022

The Mystical Positivist - Radio Show #394 - 15JAN22


This week on the show we feature a pre-recorded conversation with returning guest Ken McLeod in which we delve more deeply into the nature of the Vertical and Horizontal dimensions of life, what this means in the context of spiritual practice, the nature of transaction as the currency of the Horizontal realm, how we might relate to a spiritual practice in non-transactional terms, and what it means to say that a spiritual path is a “way of living”. This episode is another installment in an extended conversation that we have been having with Ken over the last couple of years.

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.


More information about Ken McLeod's work can be found at:
 
Unfettered Mind website: www.unfetteredmind.org.


Saturday, December 4, 2021

The Mystical Positivist - Radio Show #393 - 04DEC21


This week on the show we feature a pre-recorded conversation with Michael Allswang, author of Symbolism: Modern Thought and Ancient Egypt. After much study, reflection, and also visits to many ancient Egyptian monuments, Michael has come to the conclusion that the development of consciousness was the essential project of the priests of ancient Egypt, and that one of the means they used to achieve this end was the expression of spiritual truths by means of symbolism. Modern thought and ancient Egypt are both based on symbolism.

Michael Allswang, after obtaining degrees from UCLA and the University of Wisconsin at Madison, made his career as manager of Documentation Services for software companies in the U.S. and France. At the same time, he was, and still is, an independent writer, translator, and researcher in the fields of ancient civilizations, Egyptology, psychology, and spirituality. He has published various articles on these themes in European periodicals. He is also the translator of Pierre Gordon's The Original Revelation. He now makes his home in both Paris and Provence in France.


More information about Michael Allswang's work can be found at:
 
Michael Allswang on BookBaby: store.bookbaby.com,

Michael Allswang on Facebook.com: www.facebook.com.

Saturday, November 27, 2021

The Mystical Positivist - Radio Show #392 - 27NOV21


This week on the show we feature a pre-recorded conversation with Elliot Cohen, author of The Psychologisation of Eastern Spiritual Traditions: Colonisation, Translation and Commodification. This essential book critically examines the various ways in which Eastern spiritual traditions have been typically stripped of their spiritual roots, content, and context, to be more readily assimilated into secular Western frames of Psychology.

Dr. Elliot Cohen is a Chartered Psychologist and Senior Lecturer in Social and Interdisciplinary Psychology at Leeds Beckett University, UK. He worked as a Psychotherapist for several years and then worked in Psychiatric units and therapeutic communities in and around Manchester; specializing in Psychodrama, Dramatherapy, Music Therapy and Mindfulness-Based Therapies. He is the current Secretary of the British Psychological Society’s Transpersonal Section and an active member of the Discourse Unit, which promotes more critical/radical approaches to Psychology. Elliott has traveled extensively around the Far East where he studied Daoist, Buddhist, and Hindu philosophy. He is an authorized teacher of Buddhist meditation and Mindfulness-Based Approaches from the Dhamma Nikethanaya Buddhist Academy.


More information about Elliot Cohen's work can be found at:
 
Elliot Cohen at Leeds: www.leedsbeckett.ac.uk,

Elliot Cohen on Academia.edu: leedsbeckett.academia.edu,

Elliot Cohen on Facebook.com: www.facebook.com,

The Psychologisation of Eastern Spiritual Traditions at Routledge: www.routledge.com.

Saturday, November 20, 2021

The Mystical Positivist - Radio Show #391 - 20NOV21


This week on the show we feature a pre-recorded conversation with Steve Taylor, author of Extraordinary Awakenings: When Trauma Leads to Transformation. In this book Steve shares dozens of amazing stories of individuals who “woke up” to profound transformation following bereavement, deep depression, suicide attempts, addiction, military combat, imprisonment, or other intense encounters with mortality. Along with the amazing stories of shifters he shares throughout the book, Taylor uncovers the psychological processes that help explain these miraculous awakenings.

Steve Taylor is a senior lecturer in psychology at Leeds Beckett University, and the author of several best-selling books on psychology and spirituality. He is a past chair of the Transpersonal Psychology Section of the British Psychological Society. His other books include The Clear Light, Out of the Darkness, Back to Sanity, The Calm Center, The Leap, and Spiritual Science. He also writes blog articles for Scientific American and Psychology Today.


More information about Steve Taylor's work can be found at:
 
Steve Taylor's Website: www.stevenmtaylor.com,

Steve Taylor on Facebook: www.facebook.com,

Extraordinary Awakenings at New World Library: www.newworldlibrary.com.

Saturday, October 30, 2021

The Mystical Positivist - Radio Show #390 - 30OCT21


This week on the show we feature a pre-recorded conversation with Richard Payne, editor and contributor to the 2021 Shambhala publication, Secularizing Buddhism: New Perspectives on a Dynamic Tradition. This collection of essays explores how secular values impact Buddhism in the modern world, what versions of Buddhism are actually being transmitted to the West, whether it is possible to know if a given interpretation of the Buddha's words is correct, and whether "Secular Buddhism" is purely a Western invention. Contributors to this volume include Bhikkhu Bodhi, Kate Crosby, Gil Fronsdal, Kathleen Gregory, Funie Hsu, Roger R. Jackson, Charles B. Jones, David L. McMahan, Richard K. Payne, Ron Purser, Sarah Shaw, Philippe Turenne, and Pamela D. Winfield.

Richard K. Payne is the Yehan Numata Professor of Japanese Buddhist Studies at the Institute of Buddhist Studies in Berkeley, California. During his dissertation research into tantric fire ritual (Homa) on Mt. Koya in Japan, he also completed training as a Shingon priest (ajari). Clustering around his core research program on tantric ritual are broader theoretical concerns about the conduct of such research. This includes the study of ritual across cultural boundaries and over long durations, and the use of language in tantric Buddhist ritual. He also serves as editor-in-chief of the institute's annual journal, Pacific World, and is the chair of the Editorial Committee of the Pure Land Buddhist Studies Series. His other publications include, Pure Lands in Asian Texts and Contexts: An Anthology, co-edited with Georgios Halkias (2019); Language in the Buddhist Tantra of Japan: Indic Roots of Mantra (2018); and Homa Variations: The Study of Ritual across the Longue Durée, co-edited with Michael Witzel (2016).


More information about Richard Payne's work can be found at:
 
Richard Payne at the Institute of Buddhist Studies: www.shin-ibs.edu,

Richard Payne's Blog: criticalreflectionsonbuddhistthought.org,

Secularizing Buddhism at Shambhala: www.shambhala.com,

Mystical Positivist episodes with contributors to Secularizing Buddhism and related guests:
 
Gil Fronsdal,

Stephen Batchelor,

Roger R. Jackson,

Kate Crosby.

Saturday, September 11, 2021

The Mystical Positivist - Radio Show #389 - 11SEP21


This week on the show we feature a pre-recorded conversation with returning guest Ken McLeod in which we discuss the role of Imagination in spiritual practice, the distinction between the Vertical and Horizontal dimensions of life and the modern struggle to imagine the Vertical dimension, how we might imagine a non-transactional embodiment of spiritual practice, and much more.

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.


More information about Ken McLeod's work can be found at:
 
Unfettered Mind website: www.unfetteredmind.org.


Saturday, September 4, 2021

The Mystical Positivist - Radio Show #388 - 04SEP21

This week on the show, we present a pre-recorded conversation with author, Peter Russell, about his latest book, Letting Go of Nothing: Relax Your Mind and Discover the Wonder of Your True Nature (An Eckhart Tolle Edition). Peter Russell is an author, speaker, and leading thinker on consciousness and contemporary spirituality. He believes the critical challenge today is freeing human thinking from the limited beliefs and attitudes that lie behind many of our problems — personal, social, and global. His mission is to distill the essential wisdom on human consciousness found in the world’s various spiritual traditions and to disseminate it in contemporary and compelling ways. Russell earned a first-class honors degree in theoretical physics and psychology — as well as a master’s degree in computer science — at the University of Cambridge, England. He also studied meditation and Eastern philosophy in India. He coined the term global brain with his 1980s bestseller by the same name in which he predicted the internet and the impact it would have on humanity. He is the author of twelve books including Waking Up in Time and From Science to God.

More information about Peter Russell's work can be found at:

Peter Russell's Website: www.peterrussell.com,

Letting Go of Nothing page: Letting Go of Nothing,

Online course on Meditation: How to Meditate - Without Even Trying.

Wednesday, September 1, 2021

Rationality as a Necessary Ally to Mystical Experience

Recently in an online discussion, the thesis of our podcast came up and was the subject of some back anf forth comments. We state:

The thesis of the show is that rationality is in no way the antithesis of deep mystical experience, in fact, we assert that it is a necessary ally.

I realize that this description is provocative, and it is provocative in the sense of provoking the sorts of questions that came up in my recent online conversation. One objection that this formulation tends to provoke is that the thinking mind cannot by its nature know or understand presence or awareness.

I certainly agree that the "thinking mind" cannot be aware of, know, understand, or access presence, but I do not equate rationality in the sense we use it in our podcast introduction to the "thinking mind". Nothing can know presence (i.e. make presence into an object) because presence is the ultimate subject. In our use of the term, rationality is more akin to "awareness of distinction" whereas thinking mind is composed of sequences of verbal and imaginal symbolic forms which may or may not map onto memory formations born out of direct embodied experience.

Awareness of distinction can be useful in a number of ways in support of mystical experience. One of these ways is awareness of the nature of distinction, of the ultimate emptiness of distinction, and (paradoxically) of the distinction between distinction and presence. This mode of the awareness of distinction is the basis of the classic "Neti Neti" practice in which we respond to each and every verbal formulation our thinking mind throws up to try to objectify presence with the reminder "Not this, not this". The process continues until the mind exhausts itself and our attention can abide in a profound silence.

Another way in which awareness of distinction is useful is to help make subtle aspects of our embodied experience conceptually accessible. Though our fundamental nature may be knowing presence, in this realm of time and space, we manifest in bodies and enjoy gradations of embodied experiences that range from the very course to extremely sublime. But not all of these experiences are necessarily conceptually accessible. A simple example of this is to consider a palette of shades of the color yellow. When seen as a collection of shades, we can easily distinguish between different tones of yellow. However, if we are shown these same colors one by one, we will typically have a difficult time recalling which color is which.

Another example that I have found in the study of Japanese bamboo flute is the degree to which I can distinguish, recall, and reproduce extremely subtle variations in tone color today after more than 20 years of practice compared to what I was able to distinguish in my early days with the instrument. When our experiences are conceptually accessible, we have the possibility of returning to those experiences as a matter of choice. In my early days of playing the Shakuhachi, I might accidently find myself in a relatively transcendental place of playing, with very little sense of how I got there. Now, with years of practice and a host of injunctions planted in my memory by my teacher, I can access those places by will (needless to say, there are plenty more places like that for me to work on).

This musical example is a good analogy for spiritual practice. At The Mystical Positivist, we hold that the aim of our spiritual practice is to "live transcendence," that is, to bring the abiding awareness of the truth of our ultimate nature into our day-to-day embodied experience. As such, it is useful to learn to make the subtler aspects of our embodied experience conceptually accessible so that we can reliably return to such experiences "as the spirit moves us." The rational mind is constitutionally incapable of knowing anything per se, but it can help to organize and direct our embodied attention so that we can reliably bring an experience of the transcendental into our most ordinary of daily activities. This is the sense in which we mean that the rational mind is a necessary ally in the mystical quest.

Saturday, August 7, 2021

The Mystical Positivist - Radio Show #387 - 07AUG21

This week on the show, we present a pre-recorded conversation with author, Pamela Logan, about her latest book, Compassion Mandala – The Odyssey of an American Charity in Contemporary Tibet. Pamela Logan can usually be found with her head in the clouds, moving uphill. At the age of 19 she took up karate while pursuing an engineering degree at Caltech. She later got an aerospace PhD from Stanford; but then left her career as a scientist to investigate the warrior tribes of the eastern Tibetan plateau, in a region known as Kham. Not long after that, she worked for the China Exploration & Research Society restoring Tibetan temples and probing Silk Road ruins. In 1996, Dr. Logan was named Woman Explorer of the Year. The following year she started Kham Aid Foundation, a nonprofit that operated for 14 years assisting people in eastern Tibet with their needs for education, health care, cultural preservation, and economic opportunity.

In 2007, Logan started a third career when she took a job with the US federal government as a cleaner-upper of radioactive contamination at the Hanford site in Washington State. Later she moved to a different agency where she her job is to stop federal contractors from gouging American taxpayers. In her spare time, she still teaches karate and continues to advance the cause of assistance to Tibet through publication of books and articles that raise awareness of the needs of Tibetans. She now holds the rank of fifth degree black belt and teaches at Boulder Shotokan Karate. In 2020, responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, Logan began producing a series of training videos called “Karate at Home, Alone.”

Logan is also the author Among Warriors and Tibetan Rescue. She is an accomplished public speaker, having delivered invited lectures at Columbia University, Wellesley College, Royal Geographical Society of Hong Kong, Asia Society, Explorers Club, Foreign Correspondents Clubs in Hong Kong and Beijing, and others.

More information about Pamela Logan's work can be found at:

Pamela Logan's Website: www.pamela-logan.com.

Saturday, July 24, 2021

The Mystical Positivist - Radio Show #386 - 24JUL21

This week on the show, we present a pre-recorded conversation with Zimbabwan healer, Mandaza Augustine Kandemwa. Mandaza is a spirit medium and medicine man from Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. In Shona, his native tongue, he is known as a Mhondora, Svikiro, and Gombwa. He was initiated through the tradition of the njuzu, the water spirits. Mandaza carries with him in his heart the Central African spiritual tradition of healing and peacemaking. He is known internationally for his loving presence and for his preservation of the old ways. He stands for Truth, Love, Justice, and Peace in this world. Mandaza was raised in a Christian home, trained as an educator, school administrator, and police officer in Apartheid Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe. During this time, he became actively involved in the liberation struggle.

Currently, Mandaza travels internationally offering teachings and healing counsel in churches, schools, prisons, and hospitals. He co-authored, with Michael Ortiz-Hill, Twins From Another Tribe, one of the few books that discuss Shona cosmology and traditional practices.

More information about Mandaza Kandemwa's work can be found at:

Mandaza's Website: www.mandaza.com,

Mandaza on Dharmagiri: www.dharmagiri.org,

Mandaza online seminar series: www.pathwayteaching.com.

Saturday, July 3, 2021

The Mystical Positivist - Radio Show #385 - 03JUL21

This week on the show, we present a pre-recorded conversation with Fiona Denzey, a long-time practitioner and teacher of the Gurdjieff Movements. Born into the Work, Ms. Denzey’s parents were founding members of the Gurdjieff Foundation of Toronto. At an early age, she was introduced to the Gurdjieff movements and received direct training from Mr. Gurdjieff's designated Movements teachers, Alfred Etievan and Jessmin Howarth. Ms. Denzey’s mother, Elsa, was an accomplished pianist who worked with many musicians from all over the world in a series of seminars exploring how to accompany sacred dance. Fiona Denzey, herself, has over 50 years of experience in the direct communication of Mr. Gurdjieff's Movements.

Of the Gurdjieff Movements, the Foundation of Toronto writes:

In the early years of his search, Gurdjieff spent time in various hidden monasteries and temples in Central Asia, where he experienced ritual dances and ceremonies. In studying their essential structure, he came to the understanding that these dances were being used as a language to express knowledge of a cosmic order. This language is a very exact one. Everything in it is measured, every movement has its right place, duration and weight. Combinations and sequences are mathematically calculated. Positions are arranged to produce definite, predetermined emotions or states. In the creation of such movements, every small element matters. Each detail has meaning, nothing is left to chance. Nothing is the result of mere imagination. There is only one possible gesture, attitude and rhythm to represent a given human or cosmic situation. Another gesture, another movement would strike a false note, would not produce the impression of truth. Should there be the slightest miscalculation in the composition, the truth is altered, the dance desecrated, and fantasy has taken the place of knowledge. In a lifetime devoted to study and questioning, Gurdjieff mastered the principles of this art and was able in his turn to use the movements as a vehicle for the transmission of his understanding.

(Note: the audio quality of the podcast is limited at times due to some connectivity issues)

More information about Fiona Denzey's work can be found at:

Gurdjieff Foundation of Toronto: Society for Arts and Ideas Website: www.gurdjiefftoronto.com.

Saturday, June 12, 2021

The Mystical Positivist - Radio Show #384 - 12JUN21

This week on the show, we present a pre-recorded conversation with Robin Bloor about his latest book, Gurdjieff’s Hydrogens – Volume 1: The Ray of Creation. About the book, he writes, “Gurdjieff clearly wanted his pupils to try to understand Objective Science. He left two accounts of it. One adorns the pages of In Search of the Miraculous; the other merges itself into the text of Beelzebub's Tales to His Grandson. He described its study as a necessity - one of five obligolnian strivings. And yet, most books about The Work steer clear of the topic. This book moves in the opposite direction.”

Robin was born in 1951 in Liverpool, UK. He obtained a BSc in Mathematics at Nottingham University and took up a career in the computer industry, initially writing software. From 1989 onwards, he became a technology analyst and consultant. He has thus been a writer of a kind ever since. In 2002 he was awarded an honorary Ph.D. in Computer Science by Wolverhampton University in the UK. He currently resides in and works from Austin, Texas in the USA. In 1988, after drifting through several work groups, Bloor met and became a pupil of Rina Hands. Rina was a one-time associate of J. G. Bennett, a student of Peter Ouspensky's, and later, a pupil of George Gurdjieff. Following Gurdjieff's death, she remained part of J. G. Bennett's group for a while. Subsequently, she formed groups both in London, where she lived, and in Bradford in the North of England-initially in conjunction with Madame Nott. She was an accomplished movements teacher and an inspirational group leader. She died in 1994 and is buried next to Jane Heap in a cemetery in North London.

Robin leads a group, The Austin Gurdjieff Society, in Austin, Texas. Robin is the author of To Fathom The Gist Volumes I – III which demonstrate methods of reading and comprehending the contents of G. I. Gurdjieff’s master work, ALL and Everything: "An Objectively Impartial Criticism of the Life of Man" or, BEELZEBUB's TALES TO HIS GRANDSON.

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,

Gurdjieff's Hydrogens Seminar Series: Seminar Series,

The Seekers' Cafe Website: seekerscafe.org,

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

Saturday, May 29, 2021

The Mystical Positivist - Radio Show #383 - 29MAY21

This week on The Mystical Positivist, we feature a pre-recorded conversation with Professor Kate Crosby, author of Esoteric Theravada: The Story of the Forgotten Meditation Tradition of Southeast Asia. Theravada Buddhism, often understood as the school that most carefully preserved the practices taught by the Buddha, has undergone tremendous change over time. Prior to Western colonialism in Asia—which brought Western and modernist intellectual concerns, such as the separation of science and religion, to bear on Buddhism—there existed a tradition of embodied, esoteric, and culturally regional Theravada meditation practices. This once-dominant traditional meditation system, known as boran kammatthana, is related to—yet remarkably distinct from—Vipassana and other Buddhist and secular mindfulness practices that would become the hallmark of Theravada Buddhism in the twentieth century. Drawing on a quarter century of research, scholar Kate Crosby offers the first holistic discussion of boran kammatthana, illuminating the historical events and cultural processes by which the practice has been marginalized in the modern era.

Kate Crosby is professor of Buddhist Studies at King’s College London. Her work focuses on Sanskrit, Pali, and Pali-vernacular literature and on Theravada practice in the pre-modern and modern periods. Her other publications include Theravada Buddhism: Continuity, Diversity, Identity and The Bodhicaryavatara.

More information about Kate Crosby's work can be found at:

Esoteric Theravada at the Shambhala: www.shambhala.com,

Interview with Kate Crosby at Tricycle: tricycle.org,

Kate Crosby at King's College London: www.kcl.ac.uk.

Saturday, May 8, 2021

The Mystical Positivist - Radio Show #382 - 08MAY21

This week on The Mystical Positivist, we feature a pre-recorded discussion with returning guests Anne Sweet and Amir Freimann about spiritual transformation through conversation. As Anne and Amir have found in multiple conversations with a number of spiritual exemplars that the interviewer/interviewee dynamic can somehow dissolve and give rise to a truly intimate and profound shared experience. It is this shared, intimate, profound spiritual friendship that Amir and Anne are discovering is the most compelling aspect of their respective spiritual endeavors and at the very heart and soul of their work. We cover such topics as risk taking and vulnerability, the giving up of control, spiritual practice as the Art of Living a Life, and conversation as creating an invocational space.

Anne Sweet has been involved in spiritual life for over four decades. During that time, she lived for many years in ashrams and committed spiritual communities in India, the U.K and America. She has studied with both Western and Eastern teachers and completed thousands of hours of spiritual practice and enquiry. Anne writes, “I was no closer to finding what I was looking for, however, until 2004, when utterly disillusioned with spiritual life I struck out on my own and in the midst of an ongoing crisis and the intense period of self-enquiry that ensued, finally discovered the truth of my own Self beyond the personal identity.”

Anne lives and works in Sydney, Australia with her partner Dr Jesse Shore. Together we have created Sweet+Shore, an art/science collaboration. She is also an exhibiting solo artist under the name of Anne Penman Sweet and is represented by Rebecca Hossack Gallery, London. Most recently, Anne has been creating a website called The End of Seeking: demystifying the spiritual path - a straightforward, no frills, no cost, guru-free guide to Self- knowledge, which aims to assist the (often weary!) seeker, not from a teaching position in the usual sense, but as a fellow traveler and spiritual friend.

Amir Freimann was born in 1958 and grew up in a village in Israel. After studying Tai Chi, medicine, and the Philosophy of Science, he lived for two years in a Zen monastery in Japan and for more than two decades in a small community with a spiritual/philosophical orientation in the United States called EnlightenNext. These days Amir lives with his wife, Ruti, and Corgi (their dog) in the village where he grew up, earns a living by translating pharmaceutical papers from Japanese to English, serves as executive director of an NGO called The Education Spirit Movement and writes books. He has published two books on the connection between formal education and philosophical/spiritual inquiry, Education: Essence and Spirit and Education: The Human Questions, as well as his recent, Spiritual Transmission: Paradoxes and Dilemmas on the Spiritual Path. In 2018, he began studying for a Ph.D. at the University of Haifa and writing a Doctoral dissertation (and a book) on the subject: Enlightened Life - a Phenomenological Study of Spiritual Masters.

Note: a Video version of this conversation is available here: www.YouTube.com

More information about Anne Sweet's work can be found at:

The End of Seeking website: www.theendofseeking.org,

Anne Sweet's website: www.annepenmansweet.com,

Sweet + Shore Collaboration website: www.sweetandshore.com,

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 1, 2021

The Mystical Positivist - Radio Show #381 - 01MAY21


This week on the show we feature a pre-recorded conversation with Trevor Stewart, practitioner and writer in the Fourth Way tradition. Trevor Stewart has experience in both the Zen Buddhist monastic and Gurdjieff Work buy-a-farm-and-try-to-fix-it-up traditions. A longtime Beelzebub's Tales practitioner, he leads private online study groups. He presents regularly at the annual international All and Everything Conference, has written for Parabola Magazine, and is a returning guest on The Mystical Positivist podcast. In daily life, he runs a design and build firm in Portland, Oregon.

In our conversation today we discuss two of Trevor’s recent papers for the All and Everything Conference, A Universal Language: Gurdjieff’s Exact Language and New Tools for Insight into Beelzebub’s Tales and Unity and Multiplicity: Observation, Remembering, and Objective Consciousness in Beelzebub’s Tales. We cover how Gurdjieff’s writings demonstrate and reflect the operation of our minds while at the same time training us to stand beyond this operation, how Dual and Non-Dual perspectives show up in the Tales, and points of tangency between Buddhist and Fourth Way understandings of Awakening.


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

All and Everything Conference website: aandeconference.org,

PDF: A Universal Language: Gurdjieff’s Exact Language and New Tools for Insight into Beelzebub’s Tales,

PDF: Unity and Multiplicity: Observation, Remembering, and Objective Consciousness in Beelzebub’s Tales,

Lucid Cubed blog: lucidcubed.wordpress.com,

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