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Michael W. Taft

What If?

What If?

Now again, into the sky of liberated utterly joyous, boundless awakeness imagine this fountain again, the fountain of pure, in this case, joy, kindness, belonging, and compassion, love, and picture this fountain radiating out from your body in all directions, shooting out so high and so wide that it’s bringing this love and joy and kindness to everyone everywhere, all people everywhere, all animals everywhere, all beings of every kind everywhere, and by everywhere I mean in all universes, the energy of touching their heart filling them with a real sense of being seen and held and loved and nurtured and cared for and then because it’s an imaginal fountain turn it up 10 times, 10 times as strong, 10 times as gentle, 10 times as sweet, and then even more, and then even more. Soaking universe after universe in divine love and joy and kindness.

Shamil Chandaria

Meditation and the Bayesian Brain with Shamil Chandaria. 

Host Michael Taft talks with philanthropist, serial entrepreneur, technologist, and meditator Dr. Shamil Chandaria about predictive processing as it relates to meditation, our phenomenal self model, recognizing our own fabrication hierarchy, replacing our top level priors as a way to understand nondual enlightenment, and much more.

boundless sky

The Boundless Sky of the Mind

And the image of the goddess and the image of the moon dissolve into the sky and we simply rest as awakened mind, liberated mind now, simply open sky. We’re not imagining open sky, we’re not generating it or creating it, it’s just there. It’s okay to rest here with nothing to hold onto, just being open with no ground at all, just being sky with no ground. If you want something to hold onto, you can just notice the breath like wind in the sky, the breath is simply wind moving in the sky of awareness. If thoughts arise, those are just wind in the sky of the mind that dissolve into the sky signifying nothing at all, just wind passing through the sky of the mind leaving no trace at all. If emotions arise, same thing, simply wind in the sky leaving no trace. 

Giving and Receiving Practice—Compassion Meditation

No matter how much thinking arises in this vast, boundless space, the space of awareness is not disturbed at all. It remains perfectly still. No matter how much emotional difficulty or physical pain arises in this space, awareness itself is not bothered or harmed in any way. This vast space of awareness is not something we create or generate, it’s already there from the very beginning. I would say we just have to notice it, except it’s what’s noticing. So we don’t even have to notice it. It’s always there, all along in every experience. 

Resting as Wakefulness Itself

Resting as Wakefulness Itself

Nothing to do at all. Just resting in being that’s always been there already completely perfect. Rest in this wakefulness you already always are. This vast sky of boundless, timeless awakening, crisp, clear, and bright now notices the sun rising again and in it the sun is radiant and effulgent and powerful, radiating out a kind of tremendous peacefulness and joy in all directions. It radiates out kindness and love in all directions, radiates confidence and nobility in all directions. It radiates belonging and connection in all directions growing brighter and stronger and fuller with each breath, more and more beautiful with each breath.

John Vervaeke

John Vervaeke on Relevance Realization

Host Michael Taft speaks with professor John Vervaeke about relevance realization—the process by which we decide what matters in any given situation—and its application to meditation, how we gain an increased sense of meaning in life, and why there is no panacea in practice. John also answers the question: what is a wise person? 

not a special state

Awareness Is Not a Special State

Awareness is prior to you, it’s prior to thoughts, it’s prior to feelings, it’s prior even to the world. It’s just there and it’s not a special thing, it’s not a special object, of course. It’s empty so it’s not even an object at all. But it’s not special, okay, so you don’t have to generate it. It’s always there. It’s always there. It’s always there. So when we’re not all caught up in something it just makes it easier to rest in that. That’s it.

Rosa Lewis

A Conversation with Rosa Lewis

In this episode, host Michael Taft talks with Rosa Lewis about spirituality, creativity, working with trauma, embracing the darkness, the power of meditation, and more.

Resting naturally

Resting Naturally in What You Always Already Are

It’s funny, you don’t really have to pretend or imagine that you are like the sky because that is the actual nature of your own awareness, your own mind. Already, since the very beginning, your natural mind is wide open, utterly awake and aware and bright: effortless, welcoming, clear, and beautiful. So just notice that nature of your own mind and just rest as that. It’s not something you’re generating, it’s always been there. It’s not something you have to find, it’s the thing that’s looking. Rest as what you naturally always already are, before everything.

Effortless Resting

Effortless Resting in the Vast Space of Awareness

We rest as bright, clear, awake awareness and that we can rest in. And when we’re resting as awareness, awareness is not a tennis shoe and a dryer, it’s a vast sky that is always peaceful, that is loving, that is joyous, that is really bright, that’s really awake, and then if there are thoughts happening? Great. If there are other emotions happening? Great. If there are social feelings happening? Great, right? All that is fine because we’re resting as this natural awareness and it’s spacious, there’s room, there’s room for everything to happen. 

Meditating on the Stream of Thought

Sometimes when we’re just resting as awareness, doing nothing, we want it to be a certain way, we want it to be peaceful. But awareness itself is always peaceful. We want it to make sense or have a pattern but awareness itself doesn’t need that at all. It’s vast, it’s spacious, it has room for everything. We want it to not be distracted or somehow not be filled with upsetting emotions, or whatever. But awareness is never upset. Any emotions can arise and it’s fine. So whatever is happening right now, just let that be okay, just let that be okay. Allow the sky of awareness to just let everything be what it is, without interfering in any way. And yet totally accepting, not ignoring or denying, accepting everything, just as it is.