Are you spiritual, but not religious? Or grounded in a traditional religious but are seeking something more? Are you interested in exploring new approaches for integrating spirituality in business and other aspects of life ? If you answered "yes," to any of these questions, check out the podcast of the Diversity and Spirituality Network. We interview experts, share our take on diversity and spirituality, and let you know what's going on with the Network. You can learn more about us by going to www.divspirit.com
Archiving the Impossible
Within the halls of academia, the exploration of paranormal activity is for the most part off-limits to serious scientific inquiry. There are a variety of reasons for this, says religious scholar Jeffrey J. Kripal: the rise of behaviorism; the belief that the brain is in essence a biological computer; and the concurrent belief in physicalism - that there is nothing over and above the physical dimension of life.
Kripal here explains why he’s devoted his professional life to taking this phenomenon seriously. He’s one of a small, but increasing number of scholars who believe it’s as important to look at reality from the inside out as it is to examine it from the outside in.
Kripal, the J. Newton Rayzor Chair in Philosophy and Religious Thought at Rice University, is the author of eight books, including Esalen: America and the Religion of No Religion, and Authors of the Impossible: The Paranormal and the Sacred.
Here he explains his latest project, Archives of the Impossible, which is both an actual archive of paranormal materials and a March 2022 Rice University conference.
He also details the evolution of his own interest in the paranormal; his view on the importance of the humanities; and what-he-calls “the flipped” experiences of materialists who changed their perspective to embrace the view or that mind or consciousness is primary and the material world is secondary.
The plenary speakers at the March 2022 Archives of the Impossible conference include Jacques F. Vallée, PhD, the founder of Documatica Research; Leslie Keen, author of the best-selling Surviving Death: A Journalist Investigates Evidence for an Afterlife and UFOs; Whitley Strieber, author of Communion and many other books; Diana Pasulka, Professor of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina, Wilmington; John Phillip Santos, Rhodes Scholar, writer, journalist, and documentarian; Edwin C. May, president and founder of the Laboratories for Fundamental Research, Palo Alto, California. and Sebastiano De Filippi, Italian-Argentinian musician, author and scholar.
Archives of the Impossible (conference page) Kripal's website Sacred Inclusion Network Sacred Inclusion Network's Facebook Group Sacred Inclusion Network's YouTube Channel -- Like the podcast? Support us on Patreon!
Bridging Together Indigenous and Modern Science
The sacred pipe, the Raven, and a peyote ritual were three touchstones of the path of Dr. Apela Colorado, traditional cultural practitioner and indigenous scientist of French and Oneida descent.
In this podcast, she shares stories of how each of these elements formed an essential part of her journey, from growing up as a mixed-race child in rural western Wisconsin to founding in 1989 the Worldwide Indigenous Science Network (WISN).
As she relates in this podcast and in her recently published book, Woman Between the Worlds, she as a teenager followed her grandfather’s advice and attended college, an action that rare for native women at the time. But while climbing the academic ranks and eventually attaining a Ph.D. from Brandeis University, she always remembered another part of her grandfather’s counsel: “Remember the pipe,” he told her, another way of saying “remember your roots.”
In this podcast, Colorado relates milestones from her remarkable journey, from her involvement in Indian Movement, through her encounters with indigenous elders in the south of France, Ethiopia, South Africa, and Central Asia. She also sheds light on native ritual and symbolism, such as the role of the sacred pipe in ceremony.
She also shares some lessons she learned from elders along the way, and mystical encounters with real and allegorical ravens, and how a peyote ceremony transformed her perception of life.
Dr. Colorado is in equal measure shaman and academic, and her accomplishments are many. She's a Ford Fellow, who in 1982 received a PhD from Brandeis University, and went on to create the world's first doctoral program in traditional knowledge at the California Institute of Integral studies. She also directed the Indigenous Mind Program, which for 20 years taught students into ways of exploring their ancestral and earth-based holistic consciousness within an academic framework.
Worldwide Indigenous Science Network (WISN) Woman Between the Worlds Amazon page Sacred Inclusion Network Sacred Inclusion Network's Facebook Group Sacred Inclusion Network's YouTube Channel -- Like the podcast? Support us on Patreon!
When Spiritual Practice Gets Messy
Author, teacher and coach Raphael Cushnir learned from hard experience that the results of spiritual practice aren't always warm and fuzzy or particularly pleasurable. In his case, they included kriyas, or very intense involuntary movements, sometimes accompanied by rapid breathing and non-nonsensical speech.
These were challenging enough to handle in private, but were especially problematic when occuring in public, such as in a meeting with colleagues.
Cushnir, the author of six books and a leading voice in the world of emotional intelligence, here tells a story he previously kept private. Sharing it now, he says, can help others more comfortably navigate the unexpected terrain of the mystical path.
Cushnir here talks about his upbringing, his belief in the importance of integrating spiritual practice and psychotherapy, his work with sacred sexuality, and the surprising things he learned when interviewing professed spiritual teachers about their personal growth edges.
Cushnir has shared his unique approach to personal and professional development with millions of readers in O, The Oprah Magazine, Beliefnet, Spirituality and Health, Psychology Today, and The Huffington Post.
He is the author of six books, lectures worldwide, and is a faculty member of the Esalen Institute, the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health, and the Omega Institute for Holistic Studies. In addition, he coaches individuals and teams at Fortune 100 companies, governments, religious organizations, and leading non-profits.
The kriya experiences he shares here are elaborated in his most recent book, Surviving the Divine: A Memoir of Rude Awakening.
This podcast was recorded in advance of Cushnir's 12/9/21 Sacred Inclusion Network Event, "Navigating Spiritual States."
Cushnir's website Surviving the Divine Amazon page Sacred Inclusion Network Sacred Inclusion Network's Facebook Group Sacred Inclusion Network's YouTube Channel -- Like the podcast? Support us on Patreon!
"Matrix Man": An Interview with Whitley Strieber
In 1985, a strange incident occurred that would totally transform the life of Whitley Strieber, at the time best known as a writer of horror novels, including The Wolfen and The Hunger.
As memorialized in his book, Communion and the movie of the same name, this was his abduction by a group he calls "the visitors." Communion and Strieber's subsequent work has gone a long way towards changing the world's perception of paranormal phenomena.
In this podcast, Strieber describes the childhood incidents that foreshadowed his later Encounters of the Third Kind; the biomechanical implant visitors placed in his left ear, and the "sensing" meditative exercise he believes has facilitated his ability to communicate with "the visitors."
Since the publication of Communion, Strieber has become one of the world's leading investigator and chronicler of paranormal activity through his Unknown Country website (https://www.unknowncountry.com/) and his long-running Dreamland podcast.
Inner Work and the Path of Leadership
For Robert "Bob" Dunham, the art of effective leadership is as much as inner game as an outer one. It begins, he says, with the leader identifying what h/she cares about, what h/she'll will do to respond to that caring, and then engaging with others about shared meaning.
When beginning his work with prospective leaders, Dunham often begins by asking them to define what they care about, a question which many find perplexing. Many can only answer it in simple terms, for example citing their need to take care of their family.
"But how is that going to inform your value satisfaction in the domain of your work life, your action life?," he asks. "There's a deep part of us -- many traditions would call it your soul -- that has one concern and that concern is, 'are you alive?', 'are you really living?'.... But that's where we have to go, and that's where we meet Spirit," Dunham says.
In this podcast, Dunam explores the art of mastering what he "generative conversation" for answering questions of caring, and developing shared commitment in teams and organizations. Generative questions -- ones that elicit commitments -- can have a transfomative effect in personal, workplace, and societal contexts.
Dunham is the founder and director of the Institute for Generative Leadership and the the co-author with Dr. Peter Fleming of The Innovator's Way: Essential Practices for Successful Innovation. He holds two degrees from Stanford University, completed three years of postgraduate work in Ontological Design, and four years in Somatic Leadership with the Strozzi Institute. Early in his career, he led the onboard software development team for the Hubble Space Telescope.
A New Look at American Spirituality
Although the US is nominally a secular state, the majority of its citizens think of themselves as spiritual.
That's one of the central findings of a recent major study of spirituality in the United States.
"About three quarters of the respondents said that spirituality is either very important to them, or somewhat important," said Bob Boisture, the president and CEO of the Fetzer Institute, which sponsored the 2020 report, What Does Spirituality Mean to Us.
"As we probe more deeply in terms of what that translates to.... we found that it's not just important in the abstract, it manifests in these very real ways."
In this podcast, Boisture discusses the different ways that people define spirituality, how they express it within and apart from organized religious frameworks, and the degree to which spiritually-oriented people get engaged in civic life.
Among the report's conclusions: 86% of survey respondents considered themselves spiritual; about 66% aspire to be more spiritual; and people who identify as spiritual are more liable to be civilly engaged,, get involved in politics, and vote.
"A cross-cutting theme of what spirituality meant to people was around this theme of connection to a higher power, to other people, to the natural world, in whatever combination. And that connection was not just a physical connection, it was a connection of moral significance," Boisture said.
The Institute funded the study as part of its core mission of helping build the spiritual foundation for a living world. The Kalamazoo, Michigan based organization has a long-standing commitment to supporting research that deepens our understanding of spirituality and how it can animate concrete and positive change.
The Fetzer Institute - https://fetzer.org Interactive Spirituality in the US Study site - https://spiritualitystudy.fetzer.org/ PEW Religions Landscape Study - https://www.pewforum.org/religious-landscape-study/ Sacred Inclusion Network -- https://sacredinclusion.com Sacred Inclusion Network's Facebook Group -- https://www.facebook.com/groups/sacredinclusion/ Sacred Inclusion Network's YouTube Channel -- https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCptUrK9qMlIPIA3I4gbntpQ Like the podcast? Support us on Patreon!