photo: Laura Caitlin Burke at the JiXiang Szechwan restaurant in Halifax, NS. I chose this photo of Laura because as a performer she has different looks depicted on her Facebook site, and this was how she looked at our interview, minus the Spicy Water Boiled Beef, unfortunately.
Laura Caitlin Burke on Nonduality Talk Radio. Laura is a Mental Health Peer Support Coordinator at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. She also works as Peer Support Facilitator, Program Manager with the Schizophrenia Society of Nova Scotia. Laura holds a Master of Arts in Drama Therapy from Concordia University in Montreal. She’s a writer, playwright, poet, actor, performance artist, student of Shambhala Buddhism. We talk about mental health from the nondual perspective. Laura’s blog is at http://lcburke.wordpress.com/. She is on Facebook as well.
Listen to the interview at http://nonduality.net/19march2014_lauraburke.mp3
0:00 – 5:47 Laura’s role as an activist. What it means to support others. Promoting new ideas, new ways of doing things. Drama therapy. Perceived danger of creative arts therapy. Choosing of one’s own narrative and power of creative work.
5:47 – 11:07 Laura reads a poem inspired by intense non-conceptual experience. Speaking to the longing to get closer to the experience of nonduality rather than just pointing to it. Some commentary and response follow.
11:07 – 15:50 Social activism. Discussion of a program on creating an enlightened society featuring Sakyong Miphan Rinpoche, Pema Chodron, and others. Going beyond dualistic concepts and making an impact from the perspective of interdependence and ever-changingness of all things. Limitations of traditional activism and meaning of nondual activism.
15:50 – 17:29 Anti-stigma movement as limiting and dualistic. A nondualistic acceptance rather than acceptance via being against stigma.
17:29 – 28:28 Experiences of psychosis. Shambhala Buddhism and meditation. Meeting with Alan Sloan. Nature of egolessness in psychosis. Fleet Maull mentioned. Perception that there’s a whole world beyond the world of concepts and a change in relationship with psychosis. Ken Friedman’s view that in psychosis there is a hypersensitivity to the space beyond concepts and it leads to a jump back to ego, self-centeredness, and unusual behaviour. An inclination toward the nondual that people diagnosed with mania and psychoses appear to have.
28:28 – 31:39 Maria MacKenzie-Cann, a psychiatric nurse and shaman, as a mentor. Laura seeing that she was rejecting her calling toward healing. Mindfulness work.
31:39 – 42:07 Laura talks about and reads, “I Am Not a Superhero.” (aka Superhero). Commentary follows. Laura talks about the origin of the poem and its intent. Impermanence as a theme. It is available here as a visual poem: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=23a18HKYLW4 . We reflect on the interview as it is happening.
42:07 – Thomas Merton quote discussed. Its application to an upcoming conference in Toronto Laura is attending and speaking at: Ontario Shores Research Day – 2014. Laura’s experiences with conference audiences. Ardath Whynacht mentioned. Pushing boundaries. David Whitehorn mentioned, author of Navigating Mental Disorder and Recovery. Topics of Laura’s speech at the conference and its inclination toward the nondual. Power of relationship and intimacy at the level of nondual experience. Michel Foucault: Madness and Civilization. Conclusion.