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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 …

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DY 030 – “Robert Anton Wilson, High Weirdness, and Buddhist Meditation” – with Erik Davis

Michael Taft speaks with Erik Davis about author Robert Anton Wilson, anarchism in the 1970s, Terrence McKenna, P.K. Dick, psychedelics, cultures of awakening now and then, Zen practice, and more.  Erik Davis is an author, podcaster, award-winning journalist, and popular speaker based in San Francisco. He is probably best known for his book TechGnosis: Myth, Magic, and Mysticism in the …

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DY 029 – What Can AI Tell Us about the Human Mind?” – with Joscha Bach

Host Michael Taft speaks with Joscha Bach about artificial intelligence; the sense of self; building a civilizational intellect; what it is like to be a mind?; the relationships between motivation, emotion, and behavior; the “cargo cult” model of civilization; what is learning?; how artificial minds may be different from human minds, the enlightenment industry, the Tower of Babel myth; and …

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Fire Kasina Hints for Shinzen Meditators

by Michael W. Taft I recently went to the Fire Kasina retreat on Denman Island, in British Columbia. The group was hosted by Lama Shannon Stein, at a tiny Tibetan Buddhist retreat center on the island, called The Hermitage, and the practice was taught by Daniel Ingram. I had only done the Fire Kasina meditation (FK) a couple of times …

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Nonduality, Stace, and the Analysis of Mystical Experience

by Michael W. Taft Walter Stace was a British civil servant who became an important author and a pioneer in the philosophy of mysticism. While serving in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) for many years, including as the mayor of Colombo, Stace became interested in the Hinduism and Buddhism practiced in Ceylon. Stace wrote a number of serious books on philosophy, …

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DY 028 – “Doubt, Faith, and Fun in Meditation Practice” – with Daniel Ingram

Daniel Ingram and Michael Taft talk about the Fire Kasina practice, how making mental objects the focus can lead to deep awakening, balancing wisdom and faith, processing trauma with meditation practice, and how beauty can be a great support and inspiration on the path. Daniel shares about his experiences and spiritual development with Fire Kasina work, co-teaching with Culadasa, the …

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Nonduality, Freud, and the Oceanic Feeling

by Michael W. Taft Western psychology has also described something that seems to be the nondual state, although it appears to have been a direct import from India. Freud first discussed what he called the “oceanic feeling”—which is apparently nondual experience—in what is perhaps his most important book, Civilization and It’s Discontents (1929). How this came about is interesting. Freud’s …

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Deconstructing Michael — an Interview with Michael Taft

(This is a transcript of a podcast interview. If you notice any mistakes, please let me know.) Michael: Welcome to Deconstructing Yourself, the podcast for modern mutants interested in mindfulness, meditation, awakening, hardcore dharma, consciousness hacking, emptiness, and more. My name is Michael Taft, your host on the podcast. And in this episode, we’re gonna turn the usual host and …

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What Is Emptiness? An Interview with Rob Burbea

by Michael W. Taft (The following is a (fairly) verbatim transcript of a podcast interview I conducted with Rob Burbea. Please let me know if there are any errors in the text.) Rob Burbea is a meditation teacher, musician, and author who teaches at Gaia House in Devon, England. Rob is the author of the groundbreaking meditation practice book entitled …

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DY 026 – “Deconstructing Michael” – with guest Erik Newton

Turning the tables on the usual show format, host Michael Taft gets interviewed by Erik Newton. They talk about the meaning of awakening, the paradox of suffering, the end of seeking, the value of personal experience vs. scriptural understanding, Erik’s awakening experience, new technologies of awakening, the genesis of the Deconstructing Yourself podcast, and more. Erik Newton is a lawyer …