Saturday, July 25, 2020

The Mystical Positivist - Radio Show #368 - 25JUL20

This week on The Mystical Positivist, we feature a pre-recorded conversation with Anne Sweet, Sydney-based artist and spiritual exemplar of living in the world from a point of view of transcendence. Of her spiritual life she writes:

I had a ‘change of identity’ about 15 years ago. This was very liberating for me, but I wasn’t exactly sure what it was or what had happened. By then I had left my teacher and was pretty much done with spiritual life. After 30 years I’d had enough, and been through enough. I had learnt to take care of my interior world and over time had stabilized my ‘condition’ and had no desire to get involved with another teacher in the hope of having my remaining questions answered. In a sense I forgot all about spirituality.

About 5 years ago I began to become very curious about my ‘state’. I was reading the Masters again in a casual way, and their words seemed to match my experience. I believed there was an excellent chance I was fooling myself however, and it became important to find out. I contacted a well-known Vedanta teacher who I trusted with my ‘story’, and he very kindly confirmed my understanding and helped clear my remaining questions. I was satisfied. After that spiritual life slipped even further into the background.


Recently, after a series of formal interviews with her friend, Amir Freimann, Anne has started speaking openly about her state and her ongoing experience of transcendence of a contracted identification with her personal story. In this conversation, we discuss Anne’s background of deep spiritual practice, the crisis that led her to make a decision to shift her sense of identity from her personal narrative to that within which remains unchanging, and how Anne has come to integrate this mode of being into her life in the world.


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

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

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

Rebecca Hossack Gallery London website: www.rebeccahossack.com.

Saturday, July 18, 2020

The Mystical Positivist - Radio Show #367 - 18JUL20

This week on The Mystical Positivist, we feature a pre-recorded conversation with Michael Nagler, founder of The Metta Center for Nonviolence in 1982, and author of The Third Harmony: Nonviolence and the New Story of Human Nature. The Metta Center provides educational resources on the safe and effective use of nonviolence, with the recognition that it’s not about putting the right person in power but awakening the right kind of power in people. The Metta Center advances a higher image of humankind while empowering people to explore the questions: How does nonviolence work, and how can I actively contribute to a happier, more peaceful society?

As Professor Emeritus of Classics and Comparative Literature at UC, Berkeley, Michael co-founded the Peace and Conflict Studies Program. His previous books include The Search for a Nonviolent Future: A Promise of Peace for Ourselves, Our Families, and Our World; and The Nonviolence Handbook: A Guide for Practical Action. He is a student of Eknath Easwaran, who founded the Blue Mountain Center of Meditation, and he has lived at the center’s ashram in Marin County, California since 1970.



More information about Michael Nagler's work can be found at:

Michael Nagler's personal website: michaelnagler.org,

The Metta Center website: mettacenter.org,

The Third Harmony film website: thirdharmony.org,

Nonviolence + Science = New Story: mettacenter.org/nonviolence/newstory/,

Blue Mountain Center of Meditation website: www.bmcm.org.

Saturday, July 11, 2020

The Mystical Positivist - Radio Show #366 - 11JUL20

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. Amir returns to continue our conversation from May about Living Transcendence and the nature of Spiritual Surrender. Born in 1958 in a kibbutz, Amir 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,

Amir Freimann on The Mystical Positivist: mysticalpositivist.blogspot.com.

Saturday, June 27, 2020

The Mystical Positivist - Radio Show #365 - 27JUN20

This week on The Mystical Positivist, we present a pre-recorded conversation with Sufi practitioner and strategic consultant, Richard Webb. In this conversation we discuss challenge of rising above the cloud of malaise that can so seductively hold our attention, the utilization of breath and the energetic system of the body to support us in this challenge, and how the human biological machine is naturally designed to enable us to rise up to take this all on. Richard brings an earthy and immediate wisdom to our conversation that is both deadly serious yet leavened with humor and compassion.

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 twenty 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.

Professionally, Richard 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.

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

Richard Webb on LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com.


Saturday, June 6, 2020

The Mystical Positivist - Radio Show #364 - 06JUN20


This week we feature a pre-recorded conversation with Hokai Diego Sobol and Tibetan Buddhist teacher Ken McLeod. In this penetrating discussion, we explore the nature of Vajrayana Buddhist practice and its antecedents in the Tantric tradition, the primacy of the teacher-student relationship and the intimacy of spiritual transmission, as well as the body as the foundation for the awakening experience.

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.

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 Hokai Diego Sobol and Ken McLeod's work can be found at:

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

Hokai Diego Sobol on Twitter: @hokaisobol,

Ken McLeod's website: unfetteredmind.org.,

Ken McLeod on Twitter: @kenmcleod.

Saturday, May 30, 2020

The Mystical Positivist - Radio Show #363 - 30MAY20


This week we feature a pre-recorded conversation with Richard Whittaker about the nature of Aesthetic Thought, the connection of Numinous in artistic expression, and the exquisite sensitivity of the human instrument when unmediated by conceptual association. Richard Whittaker is the co-founder, with Rue Harrison, of the non-profit "Society for theReCognition of Art" and founding editor in 1998 of the magazine works & conversations. Earlier he founded The Secret Alameda [published from 1990-96]. He is also the West Coast editor of Parabola Magazine. Although Whittaker has a background in philosophy [BA] and clinical psychology [MA] and has done graduate work at the GTU in Berkeley, his connections with art go back over forty years including photography, ceramics, painting and sculpture.

In answer to the question of why he started an art magazine, Richard says:

A central motivation was my dismay at what I found missing in the art world as I began exploring it in 1980. [Before I'd simply done art on my own.] Nowhere did I find any resonance in the writing of critics and art theorists for what Bruce Nauman expressed (with considerable ambivalence) in an early piece: 'The true artist helps the world by expressing mystic truths.' Such an elevated thought could not be taken seriously in 1980. In 1967, the ground for such a proclamation was already very shaky. Was it a joke? And yet my own experiences in the face of beauty (especially of light) were such that I felt compelled to find a way of honoring them. Surely, the experience of the presence of the numinous had not gotten old. It had only gone missing somehow. What I found lacking in art world discourse was not difficult to find when I turned to artists themselves. A common understanding was often near at hand. And here was the material I wanted to help get into circulation through the public space of a magazine. "Since then, my focus has widened to include broader examples of the transformative power of creativity used in the service of a greater good. This possibility is not limited to artists. AK Coomaraswamy's formulation, taken from his study of traditional societies, puts it well: 'The artist is not a special person, but each person is a special kind of artist.'


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

works & conversations online: www.conversations.org,

Interview with Richard Whittaker on ServiceSpace: www.servicespace.org.

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: