Richard L. Haight is an instructor of meditation, healing, and martial arts, and he is the author of The Unbound Soul: A Spiritual Memoir for Personal Transformation and Enlightenment. He began his path of awakening at age eight when he made a solemn promise in a vision to dedicate his life to enlightenment and to share what he found with the world. At the age of 24, Haight moved to Japan to advance his training with masters of the sword, staff, and jujutsu. During his 15 years living in Japan, Haight was awarded masters licenses in four samurai arts as well as a traditional healing art called Sotai-ho. As our Author of the Day, Haight gives us some insights in his latest book: Inspirience: Meditation Unbound: The Unconditioned Path to Spiritual Awakening.
Please give us a short introduction to what Inspirience is about
Inspirience is about meditation as it applies to spiritual awakening, which is the deep sense of connection to all that is.
What inspired you to write this book?
In old-school samurai training, the teacher merely demonstrates the techniques and skills but does not explain how to perform the techniques. The onus is on the students discover the secrets for themselves. Therefore, in the process of martial arts training in Japan, I had to develop my own approach to the skills. During my training, I discovered a way of meditation that ultimately allowed me to master the four samurai arts I was studying.
Through the meditation and training, I began to realize the harmony that comes of a deep sense of connectedness to all that is.
Inspirience: Meditation Unbound, is my way of sharing what I have discovered with the world. The meditations taught in Inspirience are distinct from commonly practiced forms of meditation, in that they are to be practiced during times of action in your daily life, not just when sedentary. This dynamic aspect turns daily life into a powerful path to spiritual awakening.
Tell us more about the title. Why "Inspirience"?
Inspirience is a term that I coined to explain an experience that is entirely unique and for which there is no appropriate English terminology. The roots words of inspirience are "inner," "inspire," and "experience". Held within inspirience are the keys to unconditioned meditation. Inspirience removes our sense of separation from all that is by removing the limiting conditions of our perception, and in the process, a wellspring of inspiration begins to flow.
How do you hope to change readers' lives with this book?
As humans have progressed technologically, it has become easier to survive and live comfortably. With each passing day, external barriers of communication are being removed, making it ever easier for us to be in contact with one another. Yet with all of these improvements, human beings have, counter-intuitively, become more cutoff, jaded, and out of sync with the flow and vibrance of life, each other, and ourselves. With all of this external technology, we have neglected the inner dimension and how that inner dimension interacts with the external - and so we may feel frustrated, anxious, depressed, and alone. Through inspirience we can realize a life of deep aliveness, authenticity, innocence, and authority in conscious connection with all that is, even in our fast-paced, hi-tech lives, for, deep down, that is what we are all truly seeking.
Meditation plays an important role in this book. Why?
Meditation is a vital tool to help us step out of our habitual, stagnant perception of ourselves and the world. Through meditation we can reprogram perception itself to remove the biases and assumptions that make us feel separate, alone, and at odds with the world. And through the process of unconditioned meditation, one is re-enlivened.
Please give us three good things to know about you.
One thing that people may find interesting about me is that I am one of a small handful of westerners to have been awarded masters licenses in authentic samurai arts. I teach two sword arts, the short staff, and jujutsu. While I was living in Japan, I was also awarded the master's license in a traditional healing art called Sotai-ho. I have since combined the principles of those arts and through the study, arrived at what I call unconditioned meditation, which I write about in Inspirience. I live in the mountains of Southern Oregon with my wife, three dogs, three goats, and a flock of chickens.
Your book takes a different approach than the more traditional rules and techniques around meditation and spirituality. Why did you take this approach?
While I think most, if not all, forms of meditation can be highly beneficial, there are very important differences between the approach that I teach and the traditional approaches commonly thought of as meditation.
The first and most obvious difference is that most forms of meditation come from specific religious traditions and cultures, and so quite naturally the meditation practice incorporates rules and aspects of the specific religion and culture from which they originate. But the spiritual awakening path is necessarily a simplification, that at some point will require the individual strip off all that is unnecessary. At some point religion and culture must be left behind. For this reason, the meditations I teach do not incorporate any dogma or tradition.
Another important difference is with regard to intention and direction of awareness during the meditation. Traditional approaches to meditation are biased in their attention, which is to say, they focus on one thing in particular like the breath, one's thoughts, a spot on the wall, a mantra, et cetera. I call those exclusive meditations because of the attention bias. If you focus long enough, the mind tires, and quite naturally attention spreads out, which is the unspoken point of the meditation. Because that tip is not shared with practitioners, people end up more often than not missing it. The meditations that I teach get straight to the point intentionally.
What I discovered through advanced sword training, is that one is more effective when attention is spread everywhere evenly. Imagine being surrounded on the battle field by multiple trained killers. Exclusive focus is ill-advised, and it would be unwise to wait until the mind tired.
During my training, what I found was that if I spread my attention in an unconditioned way that included both inner and outer dimensions in every direction, I was much more effective. As I practiced this method of awareness, I was able to relax ever more, almost to the point where I was about to fall asleep on my feet, and I was even more effective. It is counter-intuitive. Because the meditations that I teach are born of extreme pressure, they can be practiced effectively during our daily lives. And by incorporating meditation in our daily lives, our daily lives become our spiritual awakening path.
Why is it important to connect with your inner self?
Some people are inclined pay attention to the inner, while paying less attention to the external, and others are inclined to ignore the inner and only pay attention to the external world. Both of these approaches are out of context, and therefore disharmonious. The inner and the outer are not actually separate things. Realizing that fact, one begins to live a life that is in sync with all that is. It is a wonderful way to live.
What are you working on right now?
I'm currently working on the audiobook for The Unbound Soul, which is a book that details the difference between mind and consciousness, how to free one's perception from the prison of mind, and how to become consciously aware. The difference between Inspirience: Meditation Unbound and The Unbound Soul, is that The Unbound Soul is a broad brush-stroke on the big picture spiritual awakening, whereas, Inspirience: Meditation Unbound goes into great depth on just one tool of spiritual awakening, specifically, how to use meditation on the path of awakening. Both books are focused on practical daily spiritual awakening.
I am also working on my next book, which will share how to use the body's nervous system as a tool of awakening. I'm hoping to have it published later this year. It is titled Dance of the Soul.
Where can our readers discover more of your work or interact with you?
To learn more about my work or interact with me, readers can visit www.richardhaight.net. I'm always happy to hear from readers!