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Am I Awake Right Now?

by Michael W. Taft Sometimes when we talk about awakening, we are talking about an event in the past, with the implication that that awakening is permanent or still happening. “I got awakened two years ago, and now I am awake.” It’s as if you said, “Look at my cool tattoo, I got it two years ago.” This is not …

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The Liberating Practice of the Fire Kasina – with Daniel Ingram

In by Michael W. Taft4 Comments

Author and meditation teacher Daniel Ingram speaks with host Michael W. Taft about how the Fire Kasina practice can be used as an insight practice. Subjects include: the background of kasina practice in the Thervada tradition, using kasinas to go into jhana, how vipassana practice interacts with jhana practice, meditation on the Three Characteristics, and detailed instructions for doing the …

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How to Enter Jhana – a Guided Meditation

In this program at the San Francisco Dharma Collective, Michael Taft leads a guided meditation (approx 44 min long) on the method for getting into the first jhana. Then a talk on how to to get into jhana, followed by a Q&A session. Contains the rare teaching of how entering a jhana is like going to an Iggy Pop concert …

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Meditation, Madness, and Psychology, with Tucker Peck

In by Michael W. Taft2 Comments

Tucker Peck, meditation teacher and clinical psychologist, talks with host Michael Taft about how whether awakening (both in the traditional “stream entry” sense or in other definitions) actually “fixes” a person’s psychology or not. Topics include: the validity of the Progress of Insight model, Tucker’s hellacious Dark Night experience and the dukkha ñanas in general, when to switch from shamatha …

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Buddhism as Complete Culture

by Shaun Bartone What I found stifling about Western Buddhist practice is the obsessive focus on meditation as the paramount practice. What is completely lacking in modern Buddhist communities is a culture that is creative and productive, that grows and transforms, that generates new cultural forms, new ways of life. The singular focus on meditation becomes, as Vince Horn called …

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Deconstructing the Sense of Self – Feb, 2019

In this program at the San Francisco Dharma Collective, Michael Taft leads a guided meditation (approx 43 min long) on the “focus in” technique (aka “Deconstructing the Sense of Self”) . Then a talk on how to deconstruct the sense of self, followed by a Q&A session. Subscribe to Michael Taft’s Youtube channel to get more great videos as they …

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DY 032 – “Embodying Awakening” – with Mukti

In by Michael W. Taft1 Comment

Nondual spiritual teacher Mukti talks with host Michael Taft about the debate between the Direct and Progressive paths of realization, working with energetics and embodiment, her childhood background in the Self Realization Fellowship of Paramahansa Yogananada, pointing out the sense of space in realization, her own experience of awakening, and more. Mukti is a spiritual teacher, whose name originates in …

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Meditation, Psychedelics, and High Weirdness

A Conversation with Erik Davis Note: This is a transcript of a podcast episode. If you find any mistakes, please let me know. Michael: Welcome to Deconstructing Yourself. My name is Michael Taft and in this interview I’m delighted to be speaking with the one and only Erik Davis.  Erik Davis is an author, podcaster, award-winning journalist and popular speaker …

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This Sucks: The Fierce Grace of Chronic Illness

by Jessica Graham I’m sitting in my room and it’s getting very boring waiting and waiting and waiting for something exciting to happen…And I am sick. I mean I have a very bad headache, and achy joints, and I’m tired all the time…and I have to get a blood test and I hate blood tests. They are my worst enemy, …

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DY 031 – “Deconstructing the Heart Sutra” with Jayarava Attwood

In by Michael W. Taft4 Comments

Buddhist scholar Jayarava Attwood speaks with host Michael Taft about the history of the Pali Canon, how ideas about karma & dependent arising contradict each other, the shifting grounds under the apparent solidity of the suttas, monism vs. pluralism, meditation as a subjective or objective practice, and the fact that the Sanskrit Heart Sutra is a forgery, Jayarava is a …

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Awakening & Psychological Growth

by Michael W. Taft Awakening and psychological growth are largely orthogonal. While one can definitely help the other, they are entirely different things. You can be very awake and still be a total asshole (as well as anxious, depressed, conflicted, avoidant, etc.). From my viewpoint, awakening is just the beginning of the path, and nothing like the end. Waking up …

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Awareness and Attention

Michael Taft leads a guided meditation (about 40 minutes) and then answers questions from students. Topics center around aspects of attention in practice, using Zoom In and Zoom Out techniques — i.e. narrowly focused attention vs. broadly focused awareness.

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How to Deconstruct Yourself

by Michael W. Taft The next time you’re talking to yourself, in your mind, ask yourself this question: Who or what is talking to whom? Are there two people in your head, one that is talking and one that is listening? If not, then it’s kind of weird that you would need to have a conversation with just yourself in …