Monday, April 18, 2005

Geoff Stirling

Geoff Stirling (born St. John's, 1921) is the owner of a number of radio and television stations and a weekly newspaper in the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador. In some circles, Stirling is regarded as an eccentric for the way in which he has used his media outlets to promote a variety of personal interests such as eastern mysticism and intestinal health. For example, he devoted many hours of, often unscheduled, broadcast time to conversations with gurus such as Ram Dass and Swami Shyam and to a variety of esoteric subjects ranging from pyramids to unidentified flying objects. When he watched his own television station he would sometimes phone the studio to order that a favorite tape immediately preempt the current broadcast or that the technician apply a particular effect to the screen.
He appeared in the 1974 documentary film Waiting for Fidel about a trip he made to Cuba along with former Newfoundland premier Joey Smallwood and director Michael Rubbo.
In 2001, Stirling was inducted into the CAB Broadcast Hall of Fame. He currently lives in Scottsdale, Arizona.


A nondual philosophical or religious perspective or theory maintains that there is no fundamental distinction between mind and matter. In Western philosophy, nondual views are often called monism. The term "nondual" is a literal translation of the Sanskrit term Advaita. Plotinus, Nagarjuna, Shankaracharya, F. H. Bradley, Aurobindo, Ramana Maharshi, Ram Dass, Ken Wilber, and Stuart Davis subscribe to nondual views of reality. Zen and Advaita Vedanta Hinduism are nondual views.
To the Nondualist, reality is ultimately neither physical nor mental. Instead, it is an ineffable state or realization. This ultimate thing can be called "Spirit" (Aurobindo), "Brahman" (Shankara), "God", "The One", "The All" (Plotinus), "The Self" (Ramana Maharshi), "The Absolute" (Schelling) or simply "The Nondual" (Bradley). Ram Dass calls it the "third plane"—any phrase will be insufficient, he maintains, so any phrase will do.
It must be pointed out that technically there can be no such thing as a nondual view or theory or experience, only a realization of Oneness or nonduality. That is to say, nonduality can only be achieved through a mystical union with all. Thus, technically, there cannot truly be a verbal account of this union, only words that insufficiently point to the realization.

Ram Dass

Dr. Richard Alpert (born 1933), later known as Baba Ram Dass, was a professor of psychology at Harvard University who became well known for his controversial research program which studied the effects of LSD. He later converted to Hinduism and is currently one of the most prominent American Hindus. He was born to a prominent Jewish family in Boston, Massachusetts. His father, George Alpert, was one of Boston's most prominent lawyers and was also a railroad executive. Richard Alpert has two older brothers. He received a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Tufts University, a masters' degree from Wesleyan University and a doctorate degree from Stanford University.
Alpert worked closely with Dr. Timothy Leary at Harvard, where the two conducted many experiments on the effects of LSD. The pair were dismissed from the university in 1963 due to their controversial research on the Harvard Psilocybin Project. They relocated, and continued their experiments at a private mansion in New York (see LSD).
In 1967, Alpert travelled to India, where he became heavily involved in meditative practice and yoga. After meeting and becoming a devotee of Neeb Karori Baba, a Hindu guru in Uttar Pradesh, he changed his name to Ram Dass, meaning servant of God.
Upon his return to the United States, Alpert founded several organizations dedicated to expanding spiritual awareness and promoting spiritual growth. In February 1997, he suffered a stroke which left him with expressive aphasia, but he continues to give lectures at a variety of places.