A deep dive down the rabbit hole of our astonishing, non-conceptual experience of what IS.

John Astin is a health psychologist, meditation teacher, musician, and the author of four books on spiritual practice, including This Extraordinary Moment. His guided meditations can be found on Sam Harris’s Waking Up app. He has a Ph.D. in health psychology and is an adjunct professor of clinical and counseling psychology at Santa Clara and Notre Dame de Namur Universities. Find his books, teachings, and more on his website. Here’s our prior interview with John. Here are all our videos on consciousness, meditation, and awakening.

Topics & Timecodes:

0:00 Intro

1:52 What are we? How consciousness identifies with its contents

6:33 The thought/conceptual world vs. the experiential world

11:25 Concepts can’t capture raw experience, quantum physics vs gross reality

16:24 The conceptual world and the spiritual “journey”, the nature of impermanence

23:37 How “long” is NOW?

28:06 What is living truth relative to the thought world, the pragmatic benefit of realization

34:43 Integrating absolute realization into daily life

41:09 Mind reduces infinity to finite and a sense of lack, non-duality

44:47 Coming off retreat and “reintegrating”, the “commentary” of thought consciousness

52:31 What IS anxiety experientially?

57:04 Conceptual thought world removes “magic” from experience

59:30 The power of attention and discernment in inquiring into experience

1:06:20 The apparent spiritual “journey”

1:10:38 Awakening and realization over time

1:12:52 We are wired to seek enjoyment

1:19:48 The radiant beauty of everything regardless of mental labels, what is art?

1:29:37 The miracle of what IS

1:40:17 A guided meditation/inquiry on presence: intro

1:42:19 Guided meditation on presence

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