Julie Yau

Website

Julie Brown Yau, Ph.D., SEP, is a certified NARM (NeuroAffective Relational Model) practitioner living in California. Julie has a diverse 30-year background in spiritual, psychological and somatic traditions which she combines with Eastern wisdoms and the latest neuroscientific and psychosomatic findings in her work with clients and groups. Julie provides support to the actively dying to awaken to the multilevel cosmos. She is also the director of education and program development at CCALS and lectures for hospitals, schools, and SAND audiences.
“Until recently, trauma was thought of as an occurrence from extraordinary events such as acts of terrorism, human rights violations, war, and so forth; yet trauma may occur from any event that overwhelms our capacity to cope, and leaves us unable to recover our sense of connectedness. Trauma is a normal part of life. Trauma often occurs in our early years when we are lacking the necessary resources to fully recover. Early trauma is the constellation that forms the limited self. This limited self continues to recreate itself throughout life, often hidden in the unconscious, until the trauma is resolved. Traumatic states have the power to throw us into deep despair, yet are also capable of radical transformation, in which compassion and expanded consciousness may emerge. --Julie Yau, from the SAND video 'Spiritual Dimension of Trauma'
What's been helpful: With great compassion and clarity, Julie Yau helped to educate me about the nature of trauma. Not the trauma of the big events - bombings, natural disasters, wars - most of us imagine when we hear the word, but the trauma we all carry within our bodies. Julie teaches her audiences how this suffering originates, how we disassociate from it, how it gets stored in the body until it can be embraced and then finally, how to accept and heal from it. It was hearing the truth of her teaching that helped me discover another level of compassion for the difficult thoughts and emotions I was experiencing post-awakening.

Trauma, the Imaginal and Awakening - this video was my introduction to Julie's teachings and the first time I heard an explanation of how early trauma creates the separate sense of self. Julie shares a number of her insights on suffering in this video before illustrating her teachings through the inspiring story of a man experiencing the dying process. The SAND YouTube channel hosts additional videos featuring Julie's teaching.

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Cheri Huber

Website, Twitter
“You've been taught that there is something wrong with you and that you are imperfect, but there isn't and you're not.” --Cheri Huber, from her book There Is Nothing Wrong With You
Cheri Huber, author of 20 books, has been a student and teacher of Zen for over 35 years. In 1983, Cheri founded the Mountain View Zen Center, and in 1987 she founded the Zen Monastery Peace Center near Murphys, California. She and the monks at the Monastery conduct workshops and retreats at these centers, other places around the U.S., and internationally. In 1997, Cheri founded Living Compassion, a nonprofit organization whose primary work is the Africa Vulnerable Children Project, based in Zambia, where the project team has been helping the people of Kantolomba turn a slum of 11,000 people into a self-sustaining community. And Cheri also hosts a weekly podcast, the Open Air Radio show. Links to all this work and more are available on Cheri's website.
“At some point, now or later, you're going to have to risk being you in order to find out who that really is. Not the conditioned you, not the you you've been taught to believe you are, who you 'really' are. And this perhaps will be the scariest, the most loving, the most rewarding thing you have every done." --Cheri Huber
What's been helpful: At a time when I was first fully realizing just how intractable egoic conditioning can seem, serendipity handed me Cheri's book, There Is Nothing Wrong With You. After I zoomed through the book - which is all I know so far of her teachings - Cheri became one of what I call my 'comfort teachers', those whose words are especially good at helping me find my inner kindness. Her books are published in a style she calls 'loose organization'; short chapters printed in various large-text fonts and illustrated with simple line drawings, almost more of a note format at times. This makes her book both easy to read (it's like binging on compassion!) and good as a quick reference full of short lessons. There Is Nothing Wrong With You is 230+ pages of positive affirmation delivered with a sense of certainty that I found pulling me along and I'd recommend it to anyone in need of a boost during their spiritual journey.

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Dorothy Hunt

Website

Dorothy Hunt, a psychotherapist since 1967, is also an author, poet and a nondual spiritual teacher practicing at the request of Adyashanti. She is serving as the as Spiritual Director of Moon Mountain Sangha and also founded the San Francisco Center for Meditation and Psychotherapy. Dorothy has posted several articles and poems on the SAND website and also has a few videos available on their YouTube channel from previous conferences.
“How long have you been standing at the edge of the Unknown, wanting to realize or consciously embody what is true, but time and again distracting yourself? You may have had glimpses into your own timeless Presence. Yet, right at the edge of shifting identity, right at the edge of awakening more deeply, the mind keeps selling its wares, its fear of the unknown: “Don’t go any further.” “You’ll disappear.” “You will die, or if not, you will go crazy.” “You will not be able to function.“ And so you keep finding ways to postpone discovering or living more fully as What you truly are by remaining attached to the stories of what you are not.” --Dorothy Hunt, intro to the SAND video Standing at the Edge of the Unknown.
What's been helpful: After awakening, I was relieved to find dozens of spiritual teachers and scientists available (via the web) to help make sense of the shift in my consciousness. But after a few months of instruction and practice, I recognized that in order to learn most deeply, all the teaching in the world would not be a substitute for making time to bring silent awareness to the unexamined conditioning accumulated by my egoic identity. But don't be fooled by how abstract I just made that sound; it's hard work. Emotionally hard. Physically stressful. Actually, it's neither of those things, not really. But the egoic conditioning pulls up the stories and emotions that make such examination feel difficult. And endless! The egoic self seems to have access to an inexhaustible energy supply; it's like being possessed by the voice of the Energizer bunny.

Right as I ran into my first really discouraging patch, a time when I was wondering if all the meditating and reading was ever going to produce lasting change in my psyche, I also ran into what I came to call 'comfort teachers'; women and men who had written or recorded a message of some kind that helped me deal with my discouragement. They acknowledged the emotional pains and offered warm words of encouragement. They heard my inner voice of failure and showed me I had already succeeded by having simply awoken. In short, they brought a few words of warm light into my self-imposed grey. Dorothy may have been the first such voice I encountered (on the SAND site, natch), though I don't recall if it was a video or one of her posts. I haven't yet read her books but her SAND contributions always seemed to show up right when I needed her warm virtual hug. Besides the video linked above, here are a few more of Dorothy's articles and poems: Longing and Seeking, Are You Available? and this post on 'living without a map', which contains wise words for those of us removing our 9-to-5 cultural conditioning, Living From Our Deepest Knowing.

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Julia Mossbridge

IONS website, Facebook

Julia Mossbridge, PhD is a neuroscientist interested in how time is perceived by the conscious and unconscious mind. She currently works as a visiting scientist with both IONS and Northwestern University and is also involved with the development of focus@will, a music app designed to focus attention. And because she apparently still had a spare 30 minutes in her day, Dr. Mossbridge recently founded the Mossbridge Institute, for which she is leading projects about teach and learning about love and time.
“We are in the midst of a sea change. Receding from view is materialism, whereby physical phenomena are assumed to be primary and consciousness is regarded as secondary. Approaching our sights is a complete reversal of perspective. According to this alternative view, consciousness is primary and the physical is secondary. In other words, materialism is receding and giving way to ideas about reality in which consciousness plays a key role." --Julia Mossbridge & Imants Baruss, 'Transcendent Mind: Rethinking the Science of Consciousness'
What's been helpful: In this culture, we split teachings on 'science' and 'spirit' into entirely different houses - literally and figuratively - and this divide reflects the choice many believe they must make in order to find answers to the deepest questions about life's meaning. What I instantly appreciated about Julia's SAND presentations was how she linked her scientific research in neuroscience to spiritual insights that followed. As someone who thought I was as going to have to confine myself to spiritual texts to explain my awakening, it was a relief to learn that many sciences are investigating consciousness and that some of these explorations are revealing the same profound truth and provoking the same genuine wonder and delight I experienced as part of awakening. This in turn revealed a whole other library of options for learning about consciousness, in addition to the spiritual texts. So though I've only seen a few of her lectures (video) and haven't yet read any of her books, I've added Julia to the 'Teachers' page in appreciation for how wonderfully she epitomized for me the power of science to amaze and inspire.

Science as a Spiritual Practice, Julia Mossbridge ~ Julia looks at how we speak about and teach science today and argues for applying the tools of spiritual practice when conducting scientific analysis.
 

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Dean Radin

Website, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Wikipedia page

(From his website) "Dean Radin, PhD, is Chief Scientist at the Institute of Noetic Sciences (IONS) and Associated Distinguished Professor of Integral and Transpersonal Psychology at the California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS). He occasionally gives lectures in the Department of Psychology at Sonoma State University and has served on doctoral dissertation committees at Saybrook University and CIIS. His original career track as a concert violinist shifted into science after earning a BSEE degree in electrical engineering, magna cum laude with honors in physics, from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and then an MS in electrical engineering and a PhD in psychology from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. For a decade he worked on advanced telecommunications R&D at AT&T Bell Laboratories and GTE Laboratories. For three decades he has been engaged in frontiers research on the nature of consciousness. Before joining the research staff at IONS in 2001, he held appointments at Princeton University, University of Edinburgh, University of Nevada, Interval Research Corporation, and SRI International."
“As science attained unprecedented power through its ability to predict and control certain limited aspects of nature, it also began to overshadow our understanding of ethics and values. History has shown that decisions affecting millions were made on the basis of industrial expediency, technological imperatives, and economic pressures. Just as the absolute power held by the church for centuries had been seductive, the growing power of science had seduced as well.” ― Dean Radin, 'The Conscious Universe: The Scientific Truth of Psychic Phenomena'
What's been helpful: I wouldn't normally just cut/paste a bio from someone's website but I did so in this case to make clear that Dean Radin is no amateur scientist fascinated by the possibility that magic's real. Instead, Dean is an accomplished academic who's attempting to do hard science out on the edges of consciousness studies - it only looks like magic. Dean's goal is to aggregate centuries of psi-related anecdotes and experimental data into a recognized field of consciousness science that will inform a new model of reality, one continually shaped by data from a new class of psi experiments. And despite how dry I just made that sound, it really is fascinating to hear his rap, as you can tell by the view count on this first video - it has a podium, power point slides and everything and still has over 630,000 views. So on that note …

New Experiments Show Consciousness Affects Matter ~ Dean Radin PhD ~ Dean reviews the pivotal 'double-slit' experiment and then details the recent work his team has done to measure the effects of directed consciousness on matter, results independently replicated recently at the University of Sao Paulo as documented here. Fair warning - Dean has a quiet, steady march to his presentation style that informs but doesn't necessarily excite; I suspect it reflects the patience one must have when challenging conventional wisdom. Or maybe it's this measured pace that give his presentations a certain convincing weight. At the very least, his ideas pique the curiosity.

Dean Radin's Extraordinary Synchronicity Story ~ And a fun little story about more coincidence that coincidence can explain ...
 

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Sam Harris

Website, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Wikipedia page

Sam Harris is a neuroscientist, author, philosopher and public speaker who is probably most known for his outspoken criticisms of modern monotheistic religions, particularly Islam. His books on the topic, The End of Faith, Letter to a Christian Nation and Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion, have gained widespread notice for both their thought-provoking concepts and the resulting backlash - from both religious communities and free-speech advocates (this guy knows how to hit the nail on the head!). As a young man, Sam studied meditative practices with teachers in India and Nepal and the spiritual insights he gained from these practices (and the occasional psychotropic) clearly inform his opinions on the many topics he discusses in his articles, podcasts, books and elsewhere.
“My mind begins to seem like a video game: I can either play it intelligently, learning more in each round, or I can be killed in the same spot by the same monster, again and again.” ― Sam Harris, 'Waking Up'
What's been helpful: Until recently, most of what I knew about Sam Harris was through his appearances in various public debates with the late Christopher Hitchens. (I went on a 'Hitch' tear a few years ago after chancing upon a video in which Christopher expertly constructed and then eloquently delivered a fact-filled oration during a debate that subsequently left his opponent a quivering pile of shredded grey matter.) Prior to the awakening, I felt strongly that organized religion in all its forms was a major cause of our cultural divisions and Hitchens gave a clear and compelling voice to many of the rationales running around in my head. But while Hitchens always seemed skeptical about the existence of anything spiritual, Sam seemed more inclined to argue that humans can and must evolve to discover their spiritual nature without the religious doctrine that perpetuates the intolerance and violence we've been witnessing for millennia. Sam's continued advocacy for - and energetic practice of - critical public discussion on all religions has touched many a nerve in the collective consciousness.

Having recently recalled hearing about Sam's book Waking Up (now that I had managed to do just that) I've started picking up his work again, focusing this time on his spiritual insights instead of his religious critiques. Sam also hosts a podcast, Waking Up, which has archived a number of interesting interviews I'm looking to binging on in the future.

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Loch Kelly

Website, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter

Loch Kelly is a spiritual teacher who, like many on this page, cultivated his insights by investigating a variety of wisdom traditions: Buddhism, meditation disciplines, Advaita, and Dzogchen and Sutra Mahamudra. Loch is a practicing psychotherapist and founder of the Open-Hearted Awareness Institute, a group dedicated to teaching the methods Loch's developed to access what he calls 'awake awareness'.
“The big realization when we go beyond the ego is simply seeing that we've always been ok.” --Loch Kelly
What's been helpful: I first came across Loch as part of the large group of teachers I found linked to the Science and Nonduality site. His guided meditations focused on bringing the listener to the 'small glimpses many times' experience of the awakened state. While listening to Loch, I noticed something that seems unique - his use of entirely secular language. Many teachers will use at least an occasional religious term - or terms from numerous religions - when sharing their nondual insights so Loch's rap is likely to appeal especially to those trying to avoid the mental baggage tied to words like God, soul, or spirit (I'm raising my hand right now).

Since I had already accomplished all my 'small glimpses' in one 'long drop' down the magic mushroom rabbit hole, I was eager for answers instead glimpses and so moved on to other teachers after listening to Loch. As I continued browsing, I noted that Loch Kelly's name appears often within the nondual community and he's clearly regarded by many as an effective teacher. Loch has also published a book, Shift Into Freedom, in which he details his approach to experiencing 'open-hearted awareness'.

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Alan Watts

Alan Watts Organization, Store, Wikipedia page

Alan Watts was a British-born philosopher, author and speaker. Though he gravitated towards teachings from Zen Buddhism, Alan was deeply knowledgeable about several spiritual traditions, even completing seminary school at age 30 and spending five years as an ordained Episcopal priest. Feeling the need to choose between the Christian and Eastern traditions, Alan later elected to leave the ministry and moved to San Francisco in 1951 to join the faculty of the American Academy of Asian Studies. He remained with the academy for only a few years before leaving to try his hand as a freelance writer and radio show host in the mid-1950s. The local popularity of his weekly radio show, Way Beyond the West, during which Alan shared his interpretations of Eastern philosophies with his Western audience, brought him national attention and by the time the counter-culture movement of the '60s was in full swing, Alan was in the perfect position to emerge as the spokesman he became. Alan went on to publish a number of books and essays on Zen Buddhism and continued to speak and write until his death in 1973.
“Jesus Christ knew he was God. So wake up and find out eventually who you really are. In our culture, of course, they’ll say you’re crazy and you’re blasphemous, and they’ll either put you in jail or in a nut house (which is pretty much the same thing). However if you wake up in India and tell your friends and relations, ‘My goodness, I’ve just discovered that I’m God,’ they’ll laugh and say, ‘Oh, congratulations! At last you found out!” --Alan Watts
What's been helpful: I tend to think of Alan Watts as 'The Richard Burton of the Non-dual Teachers Club'; he has a voice you at once imagine coming from some Shakespearean stage. I came upon a video of Alan while surfing the net for 'consciousness' content and the first thing that struck me was his voice; it is the epitome of whiskey-and-cigar-soaked. Then he laughs and you can hear it - the man is full of whiskey and cigar smoke. A whiskey-drinking, cigar-smoking non-dual spiritual teacher who sounds like a Shakespearean actor and can knowledgeably cite various theological texts at length? ... Sign. Me. Up.

In the first few months after awakening, I was still confusing 'religion' with 'spirituality' and so was immediately drawn to (and relieved by) Alan's frank and amusing approach to spirituality. But soon after this initial contact, I moved on to focus on other teachers, I think largely because Alan refers to such a wide range of theological concepts that I was getting distracted by the details. Now that I've spent time developing my own understanding of the nondual view, I've come back to find I'm really enjoying Alan's more flamboyant - but always educational - lectures and books. And the amount of esoteric information running around in this man's head is not just a wonder to behold, it also adds a richness to his stories that is uniquely Alan Watts.

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Eckhart Tolle

Website, YouTube

Eckhart is a German-born spiritual teacher now living in Vancouver, BC. He may be one of the most popular non-dual teachers in the world and two of his several books - Power of Now and A New Earth - have each sold millions of copies. His teachings, which are informed by many traditions, focus on helping the individual recognize both the egoic sense of identity and the core awareness as separate entities within the mind. Eckhart provides a number of instructions to help one minimize the energy given to the ego in favor of bringing forth awareness, true insight and awakening.
“Life will give you whatever experience is most helpful for the evolution of your consciousness. How do you know this is the experience you need? Because this is the experience you are having at the moment.” --Eckhart Tolle, 'A New Earth'
What's been helpful: First, there are a lot of Eckhart's teachings available - his website features hours and hours of presentations, meditations and interviews and YouTube offers a whole bunch more. While I had earlier come across snippets of his videos and writings, I was not aware of the nature of his teachings until early this year - and then they were like a balm for a confused psyche. Eckhart's style is usually calm, quiet and largely non-dramatic and his insightful, powerful teachings include effective lessons about the ego; how it is formed, how it negatively influences our perceptions and therefore our actions, and most importantly, how to extricate oneself from egoic control. I found his writings and seminars as more like practical advice and less like spiritual texts; things I could do instead of just new ideas to contemplate. I consider Eckhart's teaching to be an excellent primer on the nature of ego and awareness and the role each play in the human life.

Eckhart is conversant in a number of spiritual traditions and asserts that, in their basic form, these traditions are all pointing to the same truth of a single shared awareness, a message which deeply resonates with me post-awakening. And he is careful to remind his audience that his own words are also just pointers to help you find your own truth. Having studied so many texts and teachings, Eckhart often gives examples from multiple traditions when illustrating a concept, providing the uninitiated with interesting glimpses into a number of ancient beliefs and how their messages are related.

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Terence McKenna

Wikipedia page, Facebook

Terence McKenna was an ethnobotanist, mystic, author, psychonaut and lecturer. He was born and raised in Colorado but managed to extricate himself to Los Altos, California while still in his teens and so was on hand during the Haight-Ashbury heyday. And yet he never seemed to join it directly and in 1969, Terence headed first to Nepal and then to the Amazon in 1971, where he encountered the psilocybin experiences that would shape him into the psychedelic bard he became.
“Nature loves courage. You make the commitment and nature will respond to that commitment by removing impossible obstacles. Dream the impossible dream and the world will not grind you under, it will lift you up. This is the trick. This is what all these teachers and philosophers who really counted, who really touched the alchemical gold, this is what they understood. This is the shamanic dance in the waterfall. This is how magic is done. By hurling yourself into the abyss and discovering it's a feather bed.” --Terence McKenna
What's been helpful: I suspect anyone drawn into the world of psychedelic experiences is eventually going to come across Terence and Dennis McKenna. After hearing Terence's name mentioned in passing by several others, I finally got around to looking into the matter - and instantly became a fan. If you also appreciate hearing the English language expertly managed, then Terence is one of those people you'd listen to describe the cover of the phone book for an hour. And then to marry his language skills and the world of the psychedelic!? Well, that's just a match made in Magic Mushroom Heaven, is what that is. Terence often drew upon an extensive knowledge of art and human history as a backdrop, making his stories especially interesting and informative. In fact, that's often what I've enjoyed most about his lectures, the historical insights that come from his being so well read on the subject.

Terence gained and revealed a number of insights from his many psychedelic experiences, a few of which resonate deeply with my newfound take on reality. One is his 'novelty theory' - in general, the idea that the increasing complexity emerging throughout the universe signals the evolution of the collective consciousness, a process which will culminate in the birth of our next stage of consciousness. He connected a number of theories about time to this idea, all of which did not click for me after having experienced 'no time' as part of awakening. But this idea of novelty continuing to increase towards something - this is an idea that comes up in a number of guises from various teachers, and this idea definitely resonates. By which I mean it sounds like a truth I don't understand but do recognize.

His other insight that I found 'familiar' was about the existence of what Terence called 'the Great Eschaton' or the 'Transcendental Object At The End Of Time'. Terence spoke often over the years of the one large event/change/shift in the future that is sending 'shockwaves' of a sort back through time, prompting awakenings and intuitions that are quickly heralding changes to the millions of minds looking for a different way. As it happens, this concept actually aligns with new data coming from lab experiments which demonstrate an ability in humans to sense events, especially painful or negative ones, in the immediate future, which prompts the body to start reacting to the stimulus even before exposed. This is, of course, something we've all experienced as a sense of intuition or 'gut feeling'.

The Transcendental Object At The End Of Time - besides his books, the main reservoir holding Terence's teachings appears to be hundreds of YouTube videos from various lectures, retreats and the like. I'll be posting several of these links over time but to start, here's a compilation video (three and one half fabulous hours!) that offers a nice variety of video snippets from throughout Terence's career. An excellent segment on DMT starts @ 1:12:50 (no one describes these events like Terence) and another on the psychedelic experience here @ 1:45:25

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