121 episodes

The Guru Viking Podcast specializes in in-depth interviews with remarkable figures in the world of meditation, spirituality, and self development.

Steve travels internationally teaching somatic practices and meditation, and leads explorations in contemplative, mystic, & relational realms.

Guru Viking Podcast Guru Viking

    • Religion & Spirituality

The Guru Viking Podcast specializes in in-depth interviews with remarkable figures in the world of meditation, spirituality, and self development.

Steve travels internationally teaching somatic practices and meditation, and leads explorations in contemplative, mystic, & relational realms.

    Ep105: Dr Angelo Dilullo - Simply Always Awake

    Ep105: Dr Angelo Dilullo - Simply Always Awake

    In this interview, I am joined by Dr Angelo Dilullo, anaesthesiologist, spiritual teacher, and author of ‘Awake! It’s your Turn’.

    We learn how a profound existential angst in childhood and adolescence propelled Angelo into spiritual practice and, at the age of 24, precipitated a radical spiritual awakening.

    Angelo details the practices, shifts, and consequences of his awakening, and shares the process of coming face to face with deeply held conditioning.

    Angelo also discusses certainty and religious experience, and reveals why he is absolutely certain that not only can anyone wake up, but that anyone who wants to will.




    Video version: https://www.guruviking.com/ep105-dr-angelo-dilullo-simply-always-awake/

    
Also available on Youtube, iTunes, & Spotify – search ‘Guru Viking Podcast’.



    Topics include:

    00:00 - Intro
    00:45 - Profound existential suffering during childhood and adolescence
    05:44 - Transcendental Meditation and a life-changing encounter
    09:56 - Angelo’s awakening
    14:11 - More on Angelo’s teenage existential angst
    19:42 - Anyone can wake up
    20:20 - Awake nature and Angelo’s certainty
    24:54 - Is certainty a valid basis for truth claims?
    31:11 - Certainty = truth?
    41:14 - More on Angelo’s pre-awakening practice and awakening experience
    45:26 - Past life recall and disappearance of the self structure
    50:31 - Sampling Zen
    54:07 - More details on Angelo’s past life experience
    55:20 - Consequences of awakening
    59:18 - Sexuality after awakening
    1:12:08 - Agency and motivation after awakening
    1:21:51 - Facing conditioning, behavioural guard rails, & people pleasing
    1:35:15 - Authenticity and socialisation
    1:44:26 - Differentiating Angelo’s truth claims
    1:54:34 - How Angelo began to teach
    2:02:49 - Paradox, objective claims, and moving beyond concept

    ...

    To find out more about Dr Angelo Dilullo, visit:
    - www.simplyalwaysawake.com

    
For more interviews, videos, and more visit:
    - www.guruviking.com


    Music ‘Deva Dasi’ by Steve James

    • 2 hrs 18 min
    Ep104: Lama David Curtis - Teaching the Tibetan Language

    Ep104: Lama David Curtis - Teaching the Tibetan Language

    In this episode, I am once again joined by David Curtis, a Lama in the Shangpa-Kagyu sect of Tibetan Buddhism and founder of the Tibetan Language Institute.

    In this interview, David shares his passion for the Tibetan language and insights gained from his 27 year career teaching Tibetan to thousands of students.

    We learn about David’s unique approach to language learning, the unique characteristics of the Tibetan language that David loves, and how different approaches to grammar can open up meaning at different points in a student’s journey.

    David also reveals how to approach language learning as a spiritual practice, and shares stories of his interactions with prominent gurus and translators.




    Video version: https://www.guruviking.com/ep104-lama-david-curtis-teaching-the-tibetan-language/

    
Also available on Youtube, iTunes, & Spotify – search ‘Guru Viking Podcast’.



    Topics include:

    00:00 - Intro
    00:45 - Tibetan Language Institute
    02:26 - Developing language learning materials over 27 years of teaching
    07:45 - Early dictionaries assumed a knowledge of Greek and Latin
    08:43 - David’s approach to teaching the Tibetan language
    11:44 - The connection between enlightened nature and language
    14:07 - The integration of Sino-Tibetan and Indo-European elements in the Tibetan literary language
    22:18 - Chomsky and how to teach grammar
    29:08 - Language learning as a spiritual practice
    33:04 - The three aspects of language, and advice for the intermediate language learner
    39:01 - Resources from Joe B Wilson and John Rockwell
    40:39 - How David sees his role as a language teacher
    41:39 - Benefits of learning Tibetan and some student success stories
    44:33 - The profile of an ideal student


    Previous interviews with Lama David Curtis:
    - https://www.guruviking.com/ep84-lama-david-curtis-hitchhiking-in-samsara/
    - https://www.guruviking.com/ep99-lama-david-curtis-2-making-of-a-tantric-lama/


    To find out more about Lama David Curtis, visit:
    - http://www.bigskymindmontana.org/
    - http://www.tibetanlanguage.org/

    
For more interviews, videos, and more visit:
    - www.guruviking.com


    Music ‘Deva Dasi’ by Steve James

    • 51 min
    Ep103: Dopamine, Meditation, & Fibonacci - feat. Shinzen Young, Chelsey Fasano, & Dr Jay Sanguinetti

    Ep103: Dopamine, Meditation, & Fibonacci - feat. Shinzen Young, Chelsey Fasano, & Dr Jay Sanguinetti

    In this episode I host part 6 of an ongoing conversation between Shinzen Young, meditation teacher and neuroscience research consultant, Chelsey Fasano, a Columbia University neuroscience student, and Dr Jay Sanguinetti, Assistant Director for the Center for Consciousness Studies and Research Professor at the University of New Mexico.

    In this episode we take a deep dive into the dopaminergic reward system, including current thinking on its function and role, and its interaction with meditation practice and Buddhist notions of craving and suffering. We also discuss what to do after enlightenment, and speculate about the Fibonacci sequence as a universal constant.




    Video version: https://www.guruviking.com/ep103-dopamine-meditation-fibonacci-feat-shinzen-young-chelsey-fasano-dr-jay-sanguinetti/

    
Also available on Youtube, iTunes, & Spotify – search ‘Guru Viking Podcast’.



    Topics Include:

    00:00 - Intro
    00:44 - International attention and Sir Roger Penrose
    02:38 - What is the reward system and how does it function?
    06:45 - The punishment system
    09:50 - Social media and the basal ganglia
    11:09 - Meditation’s effects on the basal ganglia
    14:50 - SART and the work of Dr David Vago
    19:37 - Meditation and resting tonic dopamine levels
    22:24 - Knytl & Opitz on meditation and negative reinforcement
    25:14 - What is resting tonic dopamine?
    27:04 - Leigh Brasington and Haggerty’s jhana study
    30:19 - Is the Haggerty study fatally flawed?
    32:21 - More to pleasure than dopamine
    33:05 - The different jhana systems of Buddhism
    35:36- Jay suggests a jhana study at his lab
    37:26 - Integration of ecstatic experience across traditions
    43:13 - Integrating the the top-down Self with the basal ganglia
    45:47 - After enlightenment, what to do?
    49:10 - Shinzen on measuring the endorphin rush
    53:14 - Endorphins, Dopamine, and craving
    55:48 - Hard and soft jhana, wet and dry vipassana
    01:01:02 - Jay on in-brain competition and behaviour change
    01:04:51 - Outcomes from Shinzen’s life of practice
    01:07:54 - The Fibonacci sequence as the universal constant
    01:21:01 - Craving, conflict, and suffering



    Previous episodes in this series:
    - https://www.guruviking.com/ep72-shinzen-young-and-chelsey-fasano-tantra-neuroscience-and-true-enlightenment/
    - https://www.guruviking.com/ep76-shinzen-young-chelsey-fasano-2-the-science-of-enlightenment/
    - https://www.guruviking.com/ep81-shinzen-young-chelsey-fasano-3-orgasm-epilepsy-mystical-experience/
    - https://www.guruviking.com/ep86-bliss-enlightenment-fristonian-physics-feat-chelsey-fasano-shinzen-young-dr-jay-sanguinetti/
    - https://www.guruviking.com/ep94-the-enlightenment-button-feat-shinzen-young-chelsey-fasano-dr-jay-sanguinetti/
    -


    To find out more about Shinzen, visit:
    - https://www.guruviking.com/ep37-shinzen-young-pandemic-edition-guru-viking-podcast/
    - www.shinzen.org

    To find out more about Chelsey, visit:
    - www.chelseyfasano.com

    To find our more about Dr Sanguinetti, visit:
    - https://www.guruviking.com/ep102-dr-jay-sanguinetti-cults-science-the-dalai-lama/
    - https://www.jaysanguinetti.com/

    For more interviews, videos, and more visit:
    - www.guruviking.com

    Music ‘Deva Dasi’ by Steve James

    • 1 hr 26 min
    Ep102: Dr Jay Sanguinetti - Cults, Science, & The Dalai Lama

    Ep102: Dr Jay Sanguinetti - Cults, Science, & The Dalai Lama

    In this interview I am joined by Dr Jay Sanguinetti, Research Professor at the University of Arizona, Assistant Director at the Center for Consciousness Studies, and co-director of the SEMA Lab with Shinzen Young.

    In this episode, Jay recalls his upbringing in Mississippi, falling in love with science, and how his work synthesising MDMA as a promising undergraduate brought him o an ethical crisis .

    Jay recounts a life changing encounter with the Dalai Lama that radically altered his research path and inspired him to personally take up the practice of meditation.

    Jay reveals how a profound meditation epiphany led to an existential crisis, and the role that psilocybin had in reintegrating his body and mind.

    Jay also discusses Olympic level meditators, the role of identity in self-transformation, and what it’s like to collaborate with noted meditation teacher Shinzen Young.



    Video version: https://www.guruviking.com/ep102-dr-jay-sanguinetti-cults-science-the-dalai-lama/

    
Also available on Youtube, iTunes, & Spotify – search ‘Guru Viking Podcast’.



    Topics Include:

    00:00 - Intro
    00:59 - Research resources and recent media interest
    03:12 - Jay’s upbringing in Mississippi and falling in love with science
    06:00 - Manufacturing MDMA and an facing an ethical crisis
    10:04 - How Jay’s upbringing affected his life and career
    13:11 - A profound encounter with the Dalai Lama
    18:58 - Discussing the Dalai Lama’s spiritual power
    25:40 - Jay’s life-changing spiritual epiphany and ensuing existential crisis
    32:22 - Reintegrating the psyche with psychedelics
    36:26 - Lasting consequences of Jay’s epiphany
    42:14 - Olympic level meditators and becoming the Dalai Lama
    51:04 - The malware of religion and science
    58:28 - The bias lensing mechanism
    01:01:21 - Identity and spiritual bypass
    01:13:25 - Jay imagines the future of contemplative neuroscience
    01:15:01 - Cults, conversion, and meditation progress
    01:21:38 - Inner resources and reducing cognitive load
    01:27:15 - Jay on Shinzen Young



    Previous episodes with Dr Sanguinetti:
    - https://www.guruviking.com/ep86-bliss-enlightenment-fristonian-physics-feat-chelsey-fasano-shinzen-young-dr-jay-sanguinetti/
    - https://www.guruviking.com/ep81-shinzen-young-chelsey-fasano-3-orgasm-epilepsy-mystical-experience/



    To find our more about Dr Sanguinetti, visit:
    - https://www.jaysanguinetti.com/

    Jay’s TEDx Talk
    - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rGEjmwaIPZk

    Jay at USC
    - https://youtu.be/ljl7tapTCh4

    Jay and Shinzen in the Guardian
    - https://youtu.be/spukj-4sYS0



    For more interviews, videos, and more visit:
    - www.guruviking.com

    Music ‘Deva Dasi’ by Steve James

    • 1 hr 38 min
    Ep101: Henry Shukman - One Blade of Grass

    Ep101: Henry Shukman - One Blade of Grass

    In this episode I am joined by Henry Shukman, award-winning poet, Zen teacher, and author of ‘One Blade of Grass, a Zen memoir’.

    In this interview Henry discusses his upbringing in Oxford, as the son of a don and a graduate of the illustrious Dragon School, and how in poetry he found the liberating aspect of literary life.

    Henry reveals his first awakening experience, the breakdown that occurred thereafter, and how finding meditation saw him begin a quest to deepen his spiritual life.

    Henry discusses the importance of finding a teacher, how he overcome a childhood-learned distrust of men to do so, and why his Zen practice brought an end to his professional writing career.



    Video version: https://www.guruviking.com/ep101-henry-shukman-one-blade-of-grass/

    
Also available on Youtube, iTunes, & Spotify – search ‘Guru Viking Podcast’.




    Topics include:

    00:00 - Intro
    00:47 - Henry’s learned upbringing in Oxford
    06:30 - An award-winning career as a poet and author ended by Zen
    09:13 - Henry’s education at the illustrious Dragon School, Oxford
    15:12 - Poetry as the liberating aspect of literary life
    17:17 - Henry as a poet and ‘is poetry high-brow’?
    22:56 - First awakening experience
    28:11 - Post-awakening breakdown and despair
    30:26 - Discovering meditation and unwinding the nervous system
    35:00 - Distrust of men and finding a spiritual teacher
    43:49 - Inside the teacher-student relationship
    51:31 - Did Zen kill Henry’s writing process?


    To find out more about Henry Shukman, visit:
    - https://www.mountaincloud.org/about/henry-shukman/

    
For more interviews, videos, and more visit:
    - www.guruviking.com


    Music ‘Deva Dasi’ by Steve James

    • 57 min
    Ep100: Dr Ian A Baker - Emancipated Passion of Kaula Tantra

    Ep100: Dr Ian A Baker - Emancipated Passion of Kaula Tantra

    In this episode I am once again joined by Dr Ian A. Baker, international fellow of the Explorers Club and the Royal Geographic Society, author of 7 books, and an initiate of Buddhist, Taoist, and Hindu Tantric lineages.

    In this interview Ian recounts a life-changing encounter with a Shakta tantric Siddha in Nepal, who healed Ian of severe climbing injuries and initiated him into the Kaula Tantric order. Ian compares the hitherto secret practices of this sect - such as pranayama, asana, and kundalini techniques - with their Tibetan Tantric equivalents.

    Ian reveals the surprising reactions of his Tibetan teachers to his initiations into Kaula Tantra, including Chatral Rinpoche and Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche, and shares a drinking practice taught to him by his Kaula guru.

    Ian also discusses Himalayan Beyul, the thin places of the Scottish Highlands, and how a trip to the Isle of Skye brought him into living contact with local Faerie lore.

    ...

    Video version: https://www.guruviking.com/ep100-ian-baker-emancipated-passion-of-kaula-tantra/

    
Also available on Youtube, iTunes, & Spotify – search ‘Guru Viking Podcast’.



    Topics include:

    00:00 - Intro
    01:02 - Recent research into esoteric Burmese spiritual elixirs and the Soma tradition
    09:55. Exploring the thin places of the Scottish Highlands
    15:15 - Encountering the human the faerie tradition of the Isle of Skye
    18:21 - Psychoactive substances in Buddhism
    22:32 - Tantric Buddhism in Burma
    28:38 - Ian on Mike Crowley’s book ’The Secret Drugs of Buddhism’
    34:12 - Initial interest in Kaula Tantra
    39:59 - Padmasambhava and the Nyingma Sects of Tibetan Buddhism
    41:41 - Love vs renunciation and the Indian roots of Tibetan Tantra
    47:18 - Emancipated passion, Yab Yum, and Maithuna
    52:14 - Touring the sacred Shakta sites of Kamakya, Assam with Sakya Trinzin
    59:29 - Ian’s first Kaula Tantric initiation
    1:03:05 - Meeting a Shakta master and experiencing Siddhis (paranormal powers)
    1:05:06 - Extensive physical healing by the Shakta master after Ian’s climbing accident
    1:16:05 - Ian’s second Kaula Tantric initiation and Maithuna practice
    1:20:11 - Tulku Urgyen and Chatral Rinpoche’s responses to his Kaula experiences
    1:23:50 - Ian demonstrates a pranayama drinking practice
    1:29:58 - Criticisms of mulabhanda and visualisation practice
    1:35:08 - Comparison of Shakta and Tibetan pranayama practices
    1:37:46 - Integration of Sahaja and the core practices of Dzogchen
    1:41:32 - Comparison of approaches to the pelvic floor in the esoteric traditions
    1:49:04 - Female masters and the overlooked roots of Tantric practice
    1:52:14 - Ian recommends some recent scholarship

    ...

    To find out more about Dr Ian A Baker, visit:
    - https://www.ianbaker.com/

    
For more interviews, videos, and more visit:
    - www.guruviking.com


    Music ‘Deva Dasi’ by Steve James

    • 1 hr 59 min

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