Dr. Jeffrey Kripal’s new book connects his interests in the paranormal and erotic elements of mystical religion.
photo by: Skeptiko
(Indian music plays on bus as tour operator speaks) Alright, so welcome to Tantra Tour: The Heart of India.
That’s tantra guru, Laurie Handlers from the film, Tantric Tourists. She’s telling her brave band of loyal tourists how her tips for a better sex life can lead to spiritual enlightenment.
(Laurie Handlers) In tantra we use our sexual energy to fuel our bodies with our vital life force…
Well, at least if we can get the guys to go along…
From then, they’re usually shooting it out and when they shoot it out it robs them of their vital life force. So in tantra, men learn to experience their sexual energy internally, like women already naturally do.
Maybe I shouldn’t be too quick to throw Laurie under the tour bus. As you’ll hear from today’s guest, the very excellent Dr. Jeffrey Kripal, the link between the esoteric and the erotic goes a lot deeper than we think.
In this interview, Jeff and I not only talk about his new book, Secret Body
, but also the role that academics are playing in this struggle we have over religion and spirituality. We talk about UFOs since Jeff has done some incredible work in this area. But the main focus of this interview is the connection between the esoteric and the erotic, the moral and the stuff that we maybe, sometimes, too quickly discard as being immoral.
Alex Tsakiris: Is there a hierarchal nature to consciousness, because there sure as hell seems to be? I mean, that’s what all the near-death experience research says, research says. That’s what the past lives research says. That’s what the medium research says. It says there’s a hierarchical structure to consciousness.
Dr. Jeffrey Kripal: Sometimes people have profound life-changing religious experiences in situations, which are dangerous or deadly or traumatic, and sometimes, deeply charismatic spiritual teachers, who can change people instantly with a touch or a look, can also engage in abusive, sexual abusive or physical abusive behaviors.
What I’ve seen over the years is people who want to say that it’s all either pure light and happiness and love or it’s all nonsense, it’s not real. What I’m trying to plead for is, actually it’s messier than that and sometimes we can have profound religious experiences in amoral or even immoral situations.
Stay with me, my interview with Dr. Jeffrey Kripal is up next on Skeptiko.
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Click here for to Dr. Jeffrey Kripal’s website
Alex Tsakiris: The underlying question seems to be, okay, if we get to the point where we accept that we’re in a post-materialistic world and that there’s this extended consciousness realm, which you accept as, kind of, a given in your work,