The Paradoxes of Ethical Mysticism: my conversation with Jay Michaelson

As long-time readers might be aware, Jay Michaelson is one of my heroes. An author, columnist, professor, meditation teacher, rabbi, and activist, Jay’s book Everything Is God: The Radical Path of Nondual Judaism changed my spirituality — and (I daresay) my life. It’s hands-down the best contemporary tome on nonduality in Abrahamic spiritual traditions, sweeping yet unsentimental.

I’d wanted an excuse to talk to Jay for years, and recently it finally happened! Through special arrangement with the Mystics Summit, I can now share this dialogue with you in its entirety.

In our wide-ranging conversation, you’ll discover:

  • Tools for developing marrying your inner contemplative path with outward love and justice
  • The surprising parallels between New Age spirituality and religious fundamentalism, and ways to prevent the excesses of both
  • How to engage in public and political change without losing your soul
  • How Biblical, Jewish, Buddhist, Pentecostal and shamanic sources each sound important notes in a contemporary mystical symphony.

Our exchange was entirely too much fun, given the gravity of much of what we discuss. But a spoonful of sugar helps the Existential Vastness go down, y’know? Tune in here!

A few months ago, I was intrigued to learn of a new chapter in Jay’s work: founding an organization that helps small businesses and nonprofits obtain a Covid-era stimulus credit called the Employee Retention Credit.  You may have received robocalls or random emails about the ERC (or ERTC), as it’s called, but it is a real program, available to any business or organization that had W2 employees in 2020 or 2021. This includes  churches, retreat centers, small businesses, you name it — even if you received PPP at the time.  (Here’s a one-page summary of the ERC written by the US government.) The rules are a bit complex, and contrary to the hype not everyone qualifies, but I was intrigued enough to talk with Jay about how it all works.

Long story short, I decided to join forces with him. On this blog I talk a lot about integrating our spiritual values and our practical livelihoods, and this is one way I’m doing that. I want to help small businesses and organizations I resonate with obtain the money (which often runs into tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars) to which they’re legally entitled.  Like Jay, I want to do it with integrity and in alignment with my spiritual values. And this is part of my sustainability as well:  we only get paid on commission — there’s no cost upfront — but it is a for-profit venture. In our society, the spiritual work I do is often not sustainable financially; for me, this is a great way to build a sustainable living for myself and others.

So, I see this as a real win-win.  If your small business, your faith community, your anything had W2 employees in 2020 or 2021, let’s talk.  Here’s a form to fill out to check if you’re eligible and learn more.  You won’t be put on an email list, you won’t get annoying calls or emails, and of course there’s no obligation of any kind. Check it out if you’re interested in receiving funds for your organization!



  1. Your congregation, nonprofit, or company may qualify for up to $26k per employee – here’s how to find out. | Mike Morrell - June 5, 2023

    […] if your congregation, nonprofit or business is qualified to receive U.S. government funds. As I mentioned recently, I’m partnering with Rabbi Jay Michaelson to do outreach to faith communities, 501(c)3s, and […]

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