What is Spiritual Awakening?

Have you  have had some kind of shift or waking-up-experience or are you are curious about the experiences of people who have had awakenings?

It can be hard to find honest spiritual teachers when you are on a spiritual path. You have to be cautious and do your own reserach rather than just accept what someone else tells you.

If you have been searching for a teacher or method to reach an awakened state you  might really like Buddha at the Gas Pumpor “Batgap” as it is called.  this is a podcast and youtube show with hundreds ofinterviews with teachers and spiritual seekers catagorized by location, and type of spiritual teaching.

The Weird Phenomenon of Buddha and the Gas Pump

Batgap is an interview show with over 500 guests who claim to have merged with, experienced or somehow found or popped into various levels of awareness, oneness, awakening, or enlightenment, using many different terms,  to try to describe that ineffable thing.

What I like about it is that many of them are direct path teachers who don’t believe in taking thousands of lifetimes to wake up.

The batgap site is broken down by guests, and cross refrenced with categories of teachings.

How I stumbled upon Batgap and went down the rabbit hole

When I first decided to start a holistic health website the first article that I wrote was about a few short, mini awakenings I have had over the last 40 years.

These were times when I was briefly freed from the limited ego personality and all the worries and fears that go with it.

Suddenly everything was right, and there was freedom from self with a calm, stillness and stability amidst daily life.

I don’t know why that was the first article I wrote. I guess it is an important subject that doesn’t get talked about in polite company.

Mind-Body Clairty wasn’t going to be about meditation, spirituality, or awakened states primarily but somehow this was what came out first.

Awakening, enlightenment, Satori, what’s the difference?

When I was trying to think of a title for the article, I looked up the terms; awakening, enlightenment, satori and other words I had heard over the years in meditation courses and in books to describe that shift in perspective where you suddenly just know you are not just the body.

Different schools use different terms for various stages and permanent states or non-states.

levitating indian business man in lotus position

I came across a list of enlightened people by the writer Matthias Pohm. I went through the list and recognized many of the people he listed but there were some new ones. And there were many he left out.

(Here is another interesting list of enlightened people with lots of silly amusing comments)

The Pohm list was very strange with little commentaries that seemed flippant and “unenlightened”. It was all about the personal appearance of some of the people, their hairstyles, Buddha belles, etc.

It was translated from another language so maybe that was why it seemed so crude. The irony of the way he had done it tickled me.

I looked up some of the people I had not heard of because the descriptions sounded interesting.

Wayne Wirs was someone who had been interviewed by Rick Archer on this show called “Buddha at the Gas Pump. Rick Archer taught TM for 25 years back in the early days but has since moved on to dedicate all his time to his own meditation and doing his interview series.

A spiritual renaisance

At Batgap I  found 400 plus interviews which I spent a year listening to as I worked at my cleaning gigs, food delivery gigs and driving to and from work. It has been like a year long course on comparative religions and spiriutal practices.

Rick Archer regularly asserts that people are “popping” or waking up randomly, even people who have not practiced any kind of spiritual practice.

I listened in facination to the experiences of other regular people who had come to a permanently shifted state of awareness. All of them are different but most of them have some similarities to the brief experiences  I have had.

Interviews on how to wake up

Rick Archer is a non-dualist and goes to the Science and Nonduality (SAND) Conference every year so over half the people he interviews come from the nondual backgrounds.

Rick is openminded and interviews people from many different spiritual paths or un-paths from such diverse teachings as A Course in Miracles, to channeling, to Zen, to Scientists who are delving into the nature of consciousness and more.

He does a pretty good job of screening guests so most of them are legitimate people who really are not “faking it”. There are many genuine interviews with regular people who have had shifts in consciousness that are lasting.

Fairfield Iowa the TM capital has lots of awakened regular Joe’s

Rick started interviewing people he knows in his town of Fairfield Iowa who have had spiritual awakenings after meditating for years. They felt shy about talking about it because they had been ridiculed by family and friends. Rick thought this was closeminded and wanted to set the record straight.

When he ran out of locals, he began interviewing people from all over the world including some well-known spiritual teachers.

It is a remarkable collection of people and interviews. It has its limitations and biases because of the interviewer’s beliefs and background but he does a pretty good job of drawing forth the information.

Searching everywhere for “IT”

levitating angel in lotus position

I have been searching for the most direct system for me to wake up out of the dream permanently and have found a couple of centers in located Oregon where I have been planning to relocate.

 The Center for Sacred Sciences founded by Joel Morwood blends science and spiritual teachings that I am the drawn to as a system for learning and practicing because it updates some ancient teachings and attempts to interlace science in the teachings or at least recognizes that science exists.

Tired of trying to make sense of ancient practices

Many teachers are Buddhist or Zen or Hindu or follow specific ancient teachings straight without any real translation or updating.

I have trouble doing practices from other cultures that have not been synthesized somehow into a modern context.

It seems like usurping or faking it somehow.  After exploring Siddha Yoga, Muktananda, Yogananda, Tibetan Buddhism, TM, Zen, and Vipassana I decided to find something that seems more appropriate to the culture I am in.

Picking out the Gems

I know you will have your own favorites if you listen to Batgap, but I have made a list of people I especially liked for their directness and simplicity and systems that are accessible and affordable for long term practices.

Some of the very first interviews Rick did back in 2009 are the most profound and interesting stories but they don’t have books or websites. Though the first year has not been uploaded to the podcast but they are listed on the site and well worth clicking back through the many pages to listen to.

sand with yin and yang stones

Most direct and unassuming Batgap spiritual guests


Linda Clair is in Australia. Her site is Simple Meditation. Linda is unusual in that she was fairly happy before she woke up, and had no interest in anything spiritual.

But then her partner dragged her to a meditation workshop. She saw something in the teacher she recognized.

Suddenly she really wanted to become enlightened and wasnt afraid to admit it to herself. She had a real connection with her teachers and sat for many long hours using a couple of different types of meditation and teachers.

She had no doubt in her mind that over time it could happen in this lifetime. For the next few years she did as much meditation as she could and it worked.

She felt like she was “in a fairy tale come true” when she finally realized she had dropped the old self.

I had an hour skype interview with her. She is very normal and unassuming. Not flashy in any way. She gives simple cues about what to do to wake up.

She has YouTube videos and a short book.  The way she talks about meditation, enlightenment, and about the fear of death is very direct and understandable.

Gail Brenner has written several books and does private sessions. She is unusual in that she comes from a background of psychotherapy and trained as a psychologist. She went into this field because she wanted to stop being miserable.

She feels it was all wasted on her because what she really needed was a spiritual healing. She feels there is a direct path and that self-help just keeps you stuck in the idea that there is something wrong with you. She has a lot of resources on her site.

Enza Vita has two books and does private sessions. Her Interview on Batgap is inspiring and simple. She somehow clarifies what waking up is. She read a lot of spiritual books and went to tons of Satsangs and gradually woke up over a period of years.

Cindy Teevens has an interesting story about her direct path. She found that she could use her suffering as a trigger to experience amazing joy after being in a dark night of the soul for years after her father had committed suicide. It is a unique approach to happiness and waking up. Her first book is called Alchemy and she is working on another book. She has lots of videos on her site using her process with private clients.

Judy Cohen is very unique. She kind of bitch slapped Rick Archer during their Batgap interview by refusing to talk about her awakening experiences. In a 15 minute free skype consult with her she told me she was trying to be gentle with Rick during their interview.

Judy doesn’t feel that it is helpful because it just propagates the myth that this is a rare event that is hard to get to that only a few special individuals can have after 40 years of meditation.

She feels that this longing for and searching for enlightenment makes a lot of people more unhappy than they would otherwise be.

She helps people who have spent years doing spiritual practices without relief to get free from the idea that there is something in the future that they need to seek. She has a knack for getting beyond thoughts and showing what is here already.

She offers an amazing email newsletter and blog and has online courses and skypes with small groups and individuals.

If you are looking for a direct “path” without waiting years for enlightenment she just might be your ticket.

Benjamin Smyth is the guy who used to hold up signs to make people feel better. He was another one who bitch-slapped Rick Archer into silence during their interview and was just so direct and not interested in being a “spiritual teacher” or in spiritual labels.

I don’t think he does anything formal or has his own website. He thinks it is wrong to charge for spiritual teaching or counseling. The only way to participate with him is on YouTube or Facebook.

David Thomas is amazing to listen to becasue he can riff on his experience in a way that helps you understand.

He is one of the few people of color on Batgap. He doesn’t have website, but he does private skype sessions with people. You can contact him through YouTube or email from his Batgap page.

Interesting systems, websites, books, and teachings

There are too many too list but I have a few that I am digging into one by onepapers and inkpen


Mooji: very direct simple teachings

Gary Webber: Science of mediation

Davidya, David Buckland: on the different stages of enlightenment

Sri M: The Satsang foundation

Tim Freke: evolutionary philosophy

Paul Levy: Synthesis of quantum physics, and spiritual teachings

Shinzen young: Science of enlightenment

Rupert Spira: Non-Dualist

Roger Castillo: Non-Dualist

Jeannie Zandi: Does her own thing

Duane Elgin: Does his own thing, science universe as a living system

Jean Houston: PhD Ashland Oregon, philosopher, scholar, shamanism

William Meader: Esoteric philosophy

Fred Davis Modern Non-Dualist, I did his online course

Jurgen Ziewe: Astral Travel

 Culadasa, John Yates: Dharma Treasure

Ishaya’s Ascension: spin off from TM

image of levitating man

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I'm a natural health writer and designer at mindbodycopy.com and mindbodyclarity.com and MindfulJoyful.com a creativity blog. I'm also a former Pilates trainer and sports massage therapist, currently working on my Plant-Based Nutrition certification.

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