Monday 27 April 2015

An Interview with Francis Bennett 

Francis Bennett was a Roman Catholic, Trappist monk for a number of years. He lived in two monasteries of the Trappist Order in the US and was also a member of an urban, contemplative monastic community originally founded in Paris, France in 1975. He has lived in France at several monasteries, and in Canada at a small monastic community in Montreal Quebec. He received a five and a half year monastic/spiritual formation with the Trappists before he made his vows as a monk at Gethsemani Abbey in 1983. He has worked in ministry in the area of spiritual Care in the hospice movement, as a hospital chaplain and in spiritual care of the sick and dying in parish settings.

In 2010, while in the middle of a Church Service in his monastery in Montreal, Francis suddenly experienced what he has come to call, “a radical perceptual shift in consciousness”, in which he discovered the ever present presence of spacious, pure awareness. He came to see that this awareness is actually the unchanging essence of who he really is and always has been; the Supreme Self. He also came to see simultaneously, that this vast, infinite sense of presence at the center of his being (and at the center of the being of everyone else on the planet) is actually not at all separate from the presence of God, which he had been looking for during his many years as a monk and spiritual seeker.

Francis will be interviewed for by Iain McNay in London on Wednesday 6th May
An Interview with Linda Clair 

Linda was born in Sydney in 1958. She had virtually no interest in meditation or spiritual matters until the age of 37, when she was introduced to Peter Jones, who became her first teacher. This meeting was an intense experience for her. There was a depth to the communication she had never experienced before, and it triggered a search for freedom, which was soon the major focus of her life. At this time she had two teenage children and was running a small business, but she managed to make time for intensive meditation. In 1997 she had a profound awakening during a ten-day retreat in northern New South Wales. She later described the experience as ‘deeper than bliss’.

There was a marked change in her after the awakening, which was really a very strong glimpse of enlightenment. She knew now what was possible, and she also knew that she would not be satisfied until that state became permanent. She maintained the humble attitude of a student and continued to practise. She meditated with Peter whenever she could, and also regularly spent time with the teacher Barry Long. During this time she met the Japanese Zen Master, Hogen Yamahata, who also impressed her with his deeply enlightened presence and humility. Early in 2003 Peter told Linda that she would reach the depth of enlightenment with or without a teacher. She still had a strong desire for extended periods of meditation practice, and at that time Peter was not able to offer this, so she started attending retreats led by Hogen Yamahata. For the next two years she practised with Hogen-san and attended his Zen retreats as often as possible.

In 2004 she travelled to Japan and spent six weeks at a Zen monastery with Hogen-san’s Master, Harada Tangen Roshi, known as Roshi Sama. Her time with him was intense. She sensed she was close to the culmination of her journey. She returned to Australia in a deeply detached, peaceful state. Roshi Sama gave her the name Dai’an Jishin, which translates as ‘deep peace, compassionate heart/mind’.

Her search ended during a ten-day retreat with Hogen-san at Springbrook, in the mountains behind the Gold Coast in Queensland.

‘Everything changed. All fear disappeared. I was left with nothing and nothing to lose. The depth of peace and satisfaction overwhelmed me, and it continues to deepen every day. Life is immediate. There is no desire for anything more or different. This is enough.’

Linda will be interviewed for by Renate McNay in London on Wednesday 6th May

Sunday 15 March 2015

An interview with Nicholas Hagger 

Nicholas Hagger is a poet, cultural historian and philosopher and is the author of more than 35 books including his two latest just released: ‘My Double life 1 - This Dark Wood and ‘My Double Life 2  - A Rainbow Over the Hills. 

In this interview with Iain McNay, Hagger will talk about his life, his spiritual awakenings and how they have changed the way he sees reality.

In Hagger's words:

"I asked Japanese poet Junzabuto Nishwaki in 1965 for a distillation of the wisdom of the East – he wrote on a business card +A+-A=0. The Great Nothing. He explained that the Universe is a unity that reconciles all contradictions, that the One combines day and night, life or death."

"Libya accelerated my drastic purgation and remaking of myself. I was on the universal mystic way without realising it – I didn’t know that my dark night of the senses would help me back onto the right path of detachments, illumination and transformations – I would have to traverse hell before I could reach inner serenity – I now felt more intensely than ever that I had lost my way in a dark wood and was still searching for my right path."

"This was my first glimpse of the celebrated golden flower, the centre and the source of my being. White light flowing upwards, a spring opened up inside me, visions wobbled inside me, I saw a fountain of light... finally I said to myself , 'I surrender’ and I was drunk with flowing light."

Iain McNay's complete interview with Nicholas Hagger is now available on Conscious TV through this link

Sunday 8 March 2015

An interview with Jah Wobble 

Jah Wobble was the original bass player in the band, Public Image Limited (PIL), which was formed by former Sex-pistols singer John Lydon (Rotten).  Jah was 17 when he joined the band having never been in a band before. He came from a tough and at times violent East London background. When he was young, he developed a taste for short wave radio oscillations, they put him into a state of trance and he could sleep better. In Jah's words, the wave radio oscillations 'felt like listening to infinity.’  

From an early age, he had a strong spiritual bent having discovered the Upanishads and was captivated by ancient teachings. As a result, music, especially the bass guitar and his spiritual life became indelibly intertwined.

When you truly accept the bass as an emanation of God, as the ground of existence, you make a friend of impermanence, a state of flux, therefore the fear of losing what you have diminishes…you truly ride the rhythm – you will reside in the residence of ‘OM’, you can ride the sonic boom to heaven.

My bass playing relies first and foremost on intuition – it is necessary to remain innocent – intuition is directed from the solar plexus – the knowing sun in the guts.’

After years on the road with bands, he became an alcoholic ‘Whenever I drank, all the fear disappeared and the tension left my body’ but he couldn’t go on like that and became completely burnt out.  His Marriage broke up and he was left with a crushing sense of failure.

After joining AA and finding a real depth in his spiritual path life, he remembers:

‘I found I was grateful for every drink and drug I had taken because it was because of them I now had a beautiful and stable life which in turn led to a great productivity. I felt really alive and sensitized, I had simply grasped what it is to be human. 

Everything in life was sort of emptying out and becoming simpler. I was now at the stage of developing a meditative mind. There came a point where there was no difference between making music and spirituality – the world might have been getting crazier but I was getting better.’

Iain McNay's complete interview with Jah Wobble is now available through the link here

An interview with Jenny Boyd 

Jenny Boyd is the author of ‘It’s Not only Rock ‘n’ Roll’, a book where she presents interviews with 75 musicians about how their creativity functions. Jenny works as a psychologist and addictions consultant in London. In her book, she wanted to understand how the minds and souls of the artists could create such great music.

Her own spiritual awakening first started when she was 18...

‘A tingling sensation rippled through my body, everything appearing crystal clear. I felt like a channel for the deeper parts of myself, as if I was watching myself from above. There was also a feeling of unity. My search for enlightenment had begun, I was now on a path from which I would often swerve but never leave.’

In 1967 she travelled with the Beatles to India to spend time with Maharishi Maheshi Yogi (her sister Pattie was going out with – and later married - George Harrison at the time). Here she learnt to meditate. She became a successful model in London, and later married Mick Fleetwood, the drummer in Fleetwood Mac.

‘After many years of being involved with everything that went along with rock ‘n’ roll, I decided to go to college and study psychology.’

In this interview, Jenny will talk about her own journey as well as the fascinating process she discovered about musicians creativity.

‘Peak experience can happen when the artist is totally in the here and now.  A time of complete concentration that overtakes the mundane  - the experience of eternity right here and now  - by completely concentrating on the music, they are able to open themselves up – the result can be songs that come from nowhere.’

Iain McNay's complete interview with Jenny Boyd is now available here

Sunday 18 January 2015

An interview with Kristiina Helin

Kristiina Helin is from Finland. She is an Opera and Music Stage Director and a Mother. A few month ago Kristiina wrote us an email where she said: "Thank you for running Conscious.TV. I have seen all your programs and my solitude ended when I saw there are others with the same realization.  Until then I felt there was only me and Krishnamurti..."

Kristiina had many "Out of Body" experiences as a child which were frightening but these experiences also gave her a taste of her true Self. After entering Acting School in London where they were trying to reach the unknown by questioning radically their perception and reality, she coincidently found out about Japanese Butoh dance and traveled to Japan to study its philosophy. The most important exercise was Bisoku movement that is an extremely slow movement, dancing for example to the smell of a flower and different images. Through the slow movements, she entered witnessing, awareness becoming whatever was in front of her. After a long period of silence, Kristiina attended a gathering with Rupert Spira where she had a profound shift in her perception...looking into the mirror she was neither in her body nor in the mirror, she had disappeared. In her own words: "Relaxing the body is crucial...Life is fully moving through me as me"

To watch Renate McNay's complete interview with Kristiina, please click here

An interview with Giles Hutchins 

On January 30th, Iain McNay will interview Giles Hutchins. Giles has written two books: The Illusion of Separation and The Nature of Business.

Here are few excerpts from Giles' books:

On Separateness

"Our patterns of thinking and learning are all based on a world of ‘things’ which we are encouraged to think of as separate building. The dominant world view allows us to count and measure objects without their having any relational value for us. It provides for neat definitions and a sense of control over life yet projects a logic that sets humans apart from each other and from Nature itself.
Yet the deeper we look into nature, the more we realise that nothing in life is separate; everything is a dynamic interplay. Life is essentially co-creative, fluid and connective. Separateness is an illusion we have created which has fast become a dangerous delusion infecting how we think and relate in business, politics and beyond.  It is becoming increasingly apparent that the critical problem facing our planet cannot be resolved with the same thinking that created the problems in the first place.’

On Meditation

"In Devon, my daily meditations and yoga were supplemented with sitting against trees I got to know intimately. I learnt a Druidic tree meditation and healing practice which I practiced daily with the trees. I also started writing short articles while sitting next to trees, blogs for a personal website. Then the Guardian newspaper offered to pay for me to write blogs for them and soon after that a publisher approached me about writing a book on business inspired by nature."

On Leaving the Corporate Life 

"Leaving corporate life was all contrary to my conditioning of security, career, status, financial income, etc. and while my earnings have been pathetic in comparison since, it is with no regrets. I gave myself the vital space and time to deepen my inner psychic connection to Nature and also to recover from years of shell-shocking global travel, stress, burning the candle at both ends, etc. I underwent something of a metamorphosis from 2012 to 2014, gradually healing while letting go of old mentalities, going through a ‘dark night of the soul’, embracing the unconscious depths of my imaginal realm and making friends once again with the stillness within."

Iain McNay's complete interview with Giles Hutchins is now available on Conscious TV through the link here