Transcript of interview with Adam Chacksfield
Rick: Welcome to Buddha at the Gas Pump. My name is Rick Archer. Buddha at the Gas Pump is an ongoing series of interviews with spiritually awakening people. Probably most of you watching this have watched other ones but, if any of you haven’t, if you go to BATGAP.com, B-A-T-G-A-P, you’ll see about three hundred and fifty-five of them, at this point, archived under the past interviews menu – archived in about four or five different ways. This program is made freely available to anyone who wants to watch it and it’s all made possible by those who feel like supporting it to some degree financially, so there’s a donate button on the right-hand side of the page – if you feel inspired to help support it click that.
My guest today is Adam Chacksfield. I’ll just read his official little bio here, especially for the benefit of those who might be listening to the audio podcast and won’t have read the bio on the website. Adam is a non-dual spiritual teacher whose retreats and private sessions are known for their transformative power and love saturated depth. He devotedly serves the alive field of awareness as it unfolds, reveals, and liberates — rather than any fixed philosophy. Adam first turned toward spirituality and meditation after a series of profound psychedelic-assisted openings led him to experience the truth that lies beyond all philosophies. At age 33, he left his career as a university professor of political theory, to devote his life to spiritual unfolding. For a few years, Adam struggled to try to piece together all the apparently contradictory teachings and practices. These efforts decisively fell away when he came across the non-dual teaching of Peter Fenner and realized the openness that can never be captured in words and requires no practice.
Adam started inviting his friends to do non-dual inquiry with him and was amazed by the ease with which the direct experience of openness could be shared. In 2010, with Peter Fenner’s encouragement and support, Adam started to publicly share with groups and individuals. Since then, his teaching has been profoundly influenced by the opportunity to soak in Jeannie Zandi’s heart-centered and full-bodied transmission. Adam now shares the direct experience of the heart and mind falling open. In this effortless opening, the suffering involved in resisting feelings and believing thoughts, spontaneously releases. The natural abundance of joy, peace, wisdom, and love becomes apparent and available. Heart-centered, gentle and, direct, Adam offers a path straight into the truth of who we are. In addition to leading retreats in North America and Europe, Adam meets with individuals and is the creator of falling open, a four-month online course. He’s also the founder of the Center for non-dual awareness, a supportive community for those called to share non-duality.
Rick: So, welcome Adam, thanks for doing this.
Adam: Lovely to be here, Rick.
Rick: Yeah, so, you were over in, you’re from Britain, originally, but, then you’ve been in the States for quite a while. You were teaching political philosophy in Macomb, Illinois of all places?
Adam: Yeah, yeah, Western Illinois University.
Rick: I guess you wanted to be near the birthplace of Ronald Reagan, right? That’s why you established yourself there?
Adam: I always thought he was Californian but…
Rick: Well, he was born a couple of hours north of where you were teaching. And, actually, you were not too far from where I live. Did you ever come through Fairfield? You say you went to Des Moines, you must have driven right through Fairfield, on your way to Des Moines?
Adam: Yeah, yeah. I visited the coffee shop in Fairfield a few times.
Rick: Okay, Cafe Paradiso or, Revelations, it might have been Revelations.
Adam: Revelations, that’s right, yeah.
Rick: There’s two of them, competing. Okay, and now you live in the Bay Area, right?
Adam: Yeah, yeah, just north of Berkeley.
Rick: Okay, good. So, I don’t know as much about you, as I often know about people I interview, because, you haven’t written a book and, you don’t have too many videos, but…So, we’ll just kind of wing this and I’m sure we’ll get into all kinds of interesting stuff! But you come highly recommended — Pam, Pamela Wilson likes you so, you can’t be all bad. I have a lot of respect for her! So, let’s do the old chronological bit for a few minutes. And, before we get into the sort of, the substance of what you teach. So, you were teaching political philosophy. That, how did you end up in that?
Adam: Yeah, I was just sort of became fascinated by politics and philosophy and ideas, as a teenager. And, you know, would debate with people, loved to argue, loved to sort of figure stuff out. And, yes, I ended up going to grad school, in political science, and, studying political theory, public policy and, was really passionate about figuring out what the truth was. you know, like I really wanted to like, yeah, work it all out and, I…
Rick: Are you still interested in politics?
Adam: Not so much, no, it’s really dropped away, yeah. I, I paid a little attention, this year, but it’s not like it used to be, at all.
Rick: Do you still like to debate people? But, you know, maybe on spiritual topics? Or, instead of politics? Or, has that tendency fallen off, too?
Adam: Yeah, that’s really, really has fallen away. Yeah, I can be in the midst of an argument, people are arguing around me, and just not, yeah, just not interested in getting involved, yeah.
Rick: Interesting, I’d say that that probably has something to do with this openness word which we’ll be talking about more. It’s, it’s hard to sort of be vehement about a fixed position if you’re in openness.
Adam: Yeah, exactly, yeah. And it’s this way that any fixed position is like missing part of the whole, it’s like it’s sort of advancing a particular posture and highlighting something but, it misses the rest. So, it’s hard to invest in those, now.
Rick: Yep. I’m sure everybody’s heard the blind man and the elephant metaphor. You know, the blind men arguing over what an elephant is like — and one’s feeling the trunk and, one, the leg and, one’s feeling the side and, they all have completely different impressions of it but, obviously none of them has the whole elephant.
Adam: Yeah, and it got to a point in my sort of academic career, where I was like, wow, you know, like I’m like really sincere and smart and, there’s all these, like, super sincere and smart people and, we’re all arguing, we all think we’re right, we’ve all got our lovely, sophisticated, theories and, our arguments against everybody else’s sophisticated theories and, it’s like, you know, what’s going on here? We can’t…You know, why do I believe that I’m right and the other people are wrong? Yeah. And it’s like everyone’s missing something, every philosophy is inadequate.
Rick: You know what I find interesting, is that you can have a political preference or, a preference for any number of things and, yet, at the same time, not be fanatical about it and, realize that you know it’s natural for different people to have different preferences. And, so, you kind of grant others the liberty to have their own preferences, even though they differ from yours. Eileen just said, except for Trump! All right, yeah.
Adam: And there’s a way in like so, now, it’s like, we can sort of feel like, where people are coming from, like this sort of, the way that they’re like, the heart is obscured, you know, like the way that, you know, that people cling to a position to protect themselves or, to like, sort of try to convince themselves they know what the right answer is or, what the truth is. And we can sort of feel like how that’s unfolding through people.
Rick: Yeah, you know, I’ve often thought of this in terms of the little petty wars that people get into on the internet, where they start bickering over you know this or that position. And, I don’t know, it’s kind of like, in a way, people are trying to sort of fortify their egos, you know, or, buttress, buttress their, sort of… There’s an insecurity that they’re reacting against and, trying to protect against, by being so vehement about a particular position, you know, what I mean?
Adam: Yeah, I mean, it’s like really vulnerable to us, to just sort of admit we don’t know. Yeah, like to just, to be sort of like innocently present to what’s here and not be claiming that we know what’s going on that we have, that we, that we sort of hold the answer in, in the mind. Like, you know, we can be the one that knows. It’s like, to really admit that that’s not the case – that we can never grasp the truth with the mind. Yeah, like there’s a real vulnerability in that, in I don’t know.
Rick: Yeah, I was exchanging emails yesterday with a fellow named Lorne Hoff, that I’ve taken a retreat with, who’s a very interesting spiritual teacher – he doesn’t, well, hasn’t wanted to be interviewed, so far, because he’s got enough attention, as it is. I just gave him more but, he was saying, he was saying, you know. I kind of realized, at a certain point, that I was wrong about everything. And, I said, what do you mean, you’re wrong about everything? He said, well, it’s just that, I had all this knowledge but, when I actually had the experience of that, to which that knowledge pertained, I realized that my concepts. And, I’m saying this a little differently. And, he said, that my concepts just bore no resemblance to the realities that they were meant to represent. You know what I mean?
Adam: Yeah, totally, yeah, I mean, it is so surprising when we open to what’s here! It’s, I mean, I’m constantly surprised! It’s like, when I, when I sit and just allow myself to open, it’s like, wow! What’s going on?! You know, like, what what’s actually here? And it’s. yeah, it bears no resemblance to anything we say about it – any of the mental models we hold. It’s like we can sort of like it’s almost like we’re doing poetry, it’s sort of, at most, we’re sort of invoking or, pointing to but, like, what’s actually here is like, it’s just so subtle, so rich, so different, from any way of symbolizing what’s here.
Rick: Yeah, that’s beautiful. Incidentally, I just want to interject for those who are watching the live stream, there is a question form, at the bottom of the page, of the upcoming interviews page, which is under the upcoming interviews menu, on BATGAP. Or, maybe it’s on, maybe it’s called, future interviews. So, if you want to post a question to Adam while we’re doing this interview, you can find the form there, just scroll down to the bottom of the page. Alright, well, this is going well, so far, we’re just meandering, here, but, um. Falling open, I want to get into that more. So. you mentioned that you had a very profound psychedelic experience or, several of them. The truth that lies beyond all philosophies – are those worth mentioning in any detail? I mean, a lot of people have had those sorts of things but, what was it like for you?
Adam: Yeah, I mean, the first psychedelic experience I had was very much sort of the revelation that you were talking about Loren Hoff pointing to.
Rick: Lorne Hoff. L o r n e, Lorne.
Adam: Oh, yeah, sorry, Lorne Hoff. yeah, just this, wow, you know, I spent all this time investing in like, my philosophies, my precious beliefs and, ideas and, like, you know, I’m so sophisticated. And, like, I realized, I can’t affirm a single one! I can’t find any starting point for knowing anything! It’s like, it’s just, there’s just so many like, what is this?! And it’s like, there’s no starting point, no reference point! It’s like we have to make up a reference point. So, it’s just like, really, yeah and, and, like, there’s so much here besides the thoughts, the beliefs, the like, you know – it’s constantly attending to just living inside a story and living inside my beliefs – and it’s like, this sort of the 99.9 percent of reality, that’s not a symbol, was being completely missed! Like, wow – it’s like, there’s so much here, it’s so alive!
Rick: When you came off the psychedelics did you find that your reference point and your certainties were kind of reassembling? Or were you never able to quite? Was it like Humpty Dumpty? And you can never quite put him back together again?
Adam: Yeah, it was, it was like, fascinating, like I was like, like, wow! Something really big and profound and important happened there – it was like sort of a visceral experience of sort of deconstructionism. Like, it’s just, yeah, the end of philosophy. like, meeting reality that’s, that’s not symbolized. But I found that like, the mind wanted to sort of come up with a story, like, an explanation of what that is and then you know the next time take a psychedelic and just be like, wow – this is not at all what I thought it was!
Rick: Yeah, I mean, it’s quite similar to like the experience of meditating, as well. When I first started meditating, I would be trying to figure out what meditation was and, I would like, have some explanation of what meditation was and then, you know then, when I’d open to what was true, it’s like, wow, it’s nothing like I think it is! I mean, this is it’s totally different so, just like to do that again and again, in meditation, just, just undercutting any sort of storyline for what reality is or, what I am, or what meditation is.
Rick: Do you find now, you know, having been on the spiritual path for quite a while, that you’ve been able to sort of settle into a clear understanding of what reality is? That coincides with your experience? Or, or, instead, have you just kind of gotten comfortable with, with, the mystery? And, with, with, sort of living in a condition of not knowing and not needing to know?
Adam: Yeah, you said it so perfectly – the second one. You know, yeah, it’s, uh, it’s so surprising and, it’s like, I, I’m constantly surprised! Like, the sort of way in which I sort of, like, imagine like, things will be how I imagined them to be and then, it’s like – it’s just constantly surprising, reality is so surprising!
Rick: mmm, yeah,
Adam: So mysterious, how everything unfolds.
Rick: Yeah, and, when you say, reality, I know words are always going to be inadequate but, presumably, you’re talking about experiences that you’re having, experiential unfoldings. Um, I mean, what sort of unfoldings are these? And I presume they’re continuing? I guess? And is it possible to do justice to them, at all, with words? Or, at least, give a flavor or, taste, an aroma of what it is you’re undergoing?
Adam: Yeah, it’s sort of, like, the way that we can let awareness, like, when we let awareness into our experience, we just sort of, like, open. Like, like, it’s almost, like, a kind of prayer, like, sort of, like, let me know the truth or, something, let me, let me feel what’s here, let me know this, let this be revealed. Like, there’s this sort of intention of opening.
Rick: Mm-hmm, and would the word, surrender, do it for you?
Adam: Sure, yeah, surrender’s definitely a big component of that, yeah. It’s, like, just like, dropping any need to be right or, good or, to know what’s here, like, intellectually sort of dropping, like our opinions, our positions. Just, like, letting ourselves feel what’s here. Yeah, yeah, and, just, um…what, as awareness touches, it opens, it’s like, it, it just like, the mind, has sort of impressions of what’s there and, thinks it knows what’s there and, it’s like, as awareness touches it, it’s just, it feels like, it just, sort of, opens up – like, everything, just keeps opening.
Rick: And keeps opening and, keeps opening and, keeps opening! In other words, some people use the phrase, freefall forever.
Adam: Yeah, yeah, it’s, yeah, it’s, it’s, it’s like, it’s awesome! I mean, it’s like, I’m awed by it! I’m so grateful, you know, to like, for the revelations that are revealed and, it’s like, simple stuff it’s just, like, you know, if we go into a feeling in the body, like, a feeling in the heart or, feeling in the leg, or, feet, or, whatever, it’s like how, you know, we sort of, imagine, you know, I know what’s there, it’s like tightness or, and it’s like awareness starts touching it, if we just sort of, drop our agenda towards it. If we just let it be as it is, it’s like, it, we just know it so much more intimately. It’s like, it’s, uh. hmmm.
Rick: There’s another sense in which, in which I think relates to what you’re saying, about, you know, not really appreciating or, knowing what this is that we’re living in and, you know, interacting with. It’s like, I saw this YouTube video the other day, about the size of the universe. And, they were saying that there are more stars in the known universe than there are grains of sand on all the beaches in the world, that there are more atoms in a single grain of sand, than there are stars in the in the known universe. And, if you think about that, a single grain of sand, all those atoms – trillions and trillions of them – each one of those atoms is like functioning perfectly, as atoms should function, on all of its subatomic particles and, its relationship with all the other atoms in that grain of sand and, and, so on there’s, like, this you know, perfectly orderly thing that, that is existing in complete accordance with laws of nature, that we only partially understand. And then, there are these trillions of grains of sand and, trillions of planets and, stars. I mean, just, I often, I often use this as a sort of a contemplative device to just contemplate the wonder of creation and, the fact that, you know, what we’re actually witnessing, usually unwittingly, is a display of intelligence so vast that we can’t possibly fathom or comprehend it, it’s just mind-boggling! Do you ever play with those sorts of ideas?
Adam: Yeah, I mean, it’s, sort of like when we open, like, as wide, as vast, as we can, it’s like, where’s the edge? You know, like, where’s the edge of what we are or, what we’re in touch with? And we can’t find an edge. And, like, and, just as when we go in and, we sort of say, like, okay, what’s that, what’s there? Like, the point of tightness there? Like, what is that? And it’s like and, it just, it just opens up! It’s, like, there’s a whole universe, you know, and, like, apparently, nondescript feelings and, the body.
Adam: So, it’s, yeah, it’s, I totally get what you’re talking about. And it’s like, the direct experience of that, you know, how we can just, whether we open to the vastness or if we go deep into something…
Adam: it’s, it just keeps opening in either direction.
Rick: Yeah, there’s a, there’s a Sanskrit saying, which is: anor aniyàn mahàto mahiyàn, which is: smaller than the smallest, greater than the greatest. It’s like in either direction you go you know there it is.
Rick: So I think a lot of people when they hear this thing of openness and you know just letting down your guard and relaxing into the vastness and those kinds of phrases they probably feel enticed by that, I think, well, that sounds great but then, they feel that there’s kind of a grip you know it’s like they feel like there’s some bondage or some constraints that prevents them from fully opening even if they want to. How do you address that concern?
Adam: Yeah, and it’s just to make so much space for that experience, to meet that experience, like without any agenda, with so much gentleness. So often.. often we, um, we meet, like, experiences we feel things and we’re just like that shouldn’t be here! It’s like that just should not. Like I can see my heart’s closed, that’s not the way it’s supposed to be! I’m not evolved, what’s wrong? And it’s like, we just, so, when we’re looking at what’s here and we’re exploring what’s here, it’s like, we’re sort of subtly trying to do violence to our experience we’re trying to change it and this, um..yes sometimes I’ll hear people say like I’m trying to be with it or something, I’m trying to accept it. And it’s like and you can just sort of hear how it’s like, I know it shouldn’t be here.
Rick: Yeah. And it’s like rejecting what is.
Adam: Yeah, yeah and, it’s like it’s not just a belief that this shouldn’t be here, it’s like it’s so deeply entrenched in the body, it’s like this sort of like rejection of our experience like this like I know there’s something bad in here, there’s something wrong in here, there’s something wrong with me. So, it’s like, when we meet that place it’s like just softening like being as gentle as we can. It’s like, just letting awareness touch it, just as it is, without any violence, without any movement to change it.
Rick: So, let’s keep digging into this so, to take a more extreme example, let’s say someone has been abused or traumatized in some way or, has PTSD from being a soldier or something like that. So this, you know, that means that there’s a lot of stored impressions or pent-up stress or pain or hurt. And, you know and, a lot of times people with those kinds of problems try to escape it or blot it out with drugs or alcohol or they act it out through violent behavior and so on. So, um, you know, again, that that’s an extreme example but, everybody has some degree of this…
Rick: So, you know, how do you defuse that? I mean you’re talking about gentleness and acceptance but, practically speaking, a person listening to this, you know, somewhere on that scale of severe PTSD to just normal human hang-ups, how do they begin to, on a daily basis, unwind and release and free themselves from that kind of load?
Adam: Yeah, yeah, I mean, it can be very helpful like especially if we have like really severe trauma to have people hold space for us.
Rick: What does that mean?
Adam: Somebody who’s able to maintain that sort of representation of awareness, like they’re resting in awareness, loving awareness. So, like and then the connection that we have with the person that’s holding space with us sort of can act as an anchor and can return us to this sort of benign nature of awareness as we go into difficult places.
Rick: So, just to make sure that’s clear…So, say, someone like yourself or you know, Pamela Wilson, or many of the hundreds of spiritual teachers out there, to sit with somebody like that and have them kind of provide a ground of being in which you feel comfortable to relax more, something like that?
Adam: Yeah, like, I mean, like, when we’re exploring it’s, like, we’re letting awareness meet what’s here. Like, that’s ultimately what’s happening, it’s like, we’re just allowing, like, loving awareness, the field that is, to go to touch these places that, you know, we’ve sort of learned to stay out of, that we felt we can’t meet, we can’t feel. So, we’re like, uh, letting those places that we’ve buried, that we’ve contracted around and contorted around, letting them be here, letting them be felt. So, when we do this, it’s very easy, we can notice sort of shame come in, we can notice, like, the like, this sort of agenda of violence to get rid of what’s here, to push it away, to change it. Like, it’s easy for us to lose that, that sort of groundedness in the field, to lose contact with awareness itself. So, that’s the role and so a space holder can help us sort of connect with that space. Ultimately, nothing’s really necessary so like, the space, the awareness is doing it all. And, so, I’m just saying, in some extreme cases, that people have very deep trauma – I mean, space holding can be helpful, regardless – but, for some people it may not be possible to go there themselves, they may need support.
Rick: Yeah and they may just need the opportunity, I mean, there might, their life might be a rat race otherwise and they need to just get, get away and sit in a quiet place with somebody and settle in. So, are you, are you kind of suggesting that when they begin to do that they might begin, it might initially increase the discomfort because they’re beginning to encounter something that was repressed? And, that they might, without the reassurance and presence of a space holder, as you put it, recoil from that increased discomfort and just kind of chicken out and get back to distracting themselves somehow.
Adam: Yeah, I mean it’s, um, you know, when we open, it’s like we’re going to meet those places, just as you said. Like. what about the people who say they feel a grip, or they feel closed down, it’s like we’re sort of inviting, we’re inviting awareness to meet those places, like those places that we have turned away from, like, we’ve said, like, this part of reality just shouldn’t be here, this part of my experience shouldn’t be here. And, it’s like, there can be habits of just turning away from that, like, I’m just gonna keep my life small and keep my experiences as minimal as possible because I don’t want to run into you know, keep myself numb so I don’t have to feel the stuff that I’m feeling so it’s, um..So, when we sit, like with this intention of opening to what’s here, it’s very normal for difficult things to come up, you know, even if we haven’t, you know, had terrible things happen to us, just normal developmental experiences that we have as human beings, typically we’ll have very uncomfortable feelings come up.
Adam: It’s like these places just want to be met, it’s like..Can I be here? Can I be here? You know, these places that were damned, that were cursed, that were told to go away.
Rick: And, so, you probably meet with people maybe once a week or once a month or something like that? Do you kind of get them on a routine where they can learn to do this on their own when they’re not meeting with you, and continue to sort of, you know, dissolve, and neutralize this stuff?
Adam: Yeah, I find that it’s kind of like an orientation in the world. Like, so, like, once we experience like, wow, actually, like, we can meet this stuff, like, we sort of experience this sort of miracle of, like, what awareness does when it touches these difficult places. When we’re able to just be there and sort of witness the feelings, without trying to shut them down or get away from them, it’s like, once we start realizing what’s possible, how we can open, we can be here as we are… It’s, yeah, like people find this happens in their lives like, this just it just opens more and more space in their lives and there can be all kinds of practices to support that. In fact, pretty much every spiritual practice is supportive of that.
Adam: It’s and, um..for spiritual practice, I think it’s really important for people to be attuned to what’s nourishing them. So rather than, sort of like, this is the true spiritual practice and everyone’s to do this, it’s like, to really notice, like, what allows them to open what feels right because there’s sort of a signature of that opening a sort of turn to the truth.
Rick: Yeah, so, you kind of find what works for you.
Rick: Sure, I mean, some people love going to kirtan singing and they feel a great deal of openness in singing and dancing and that’s a big release for them. And, other people like to sit and just meditate, quietly.. And, you know, and, you know, we could go out and list a whole bunch of things and, some people like to do a whole potpourri of those, you know, just, you know, kind of a toolkit, full of different things.
Adam: Yeah, I think it’s really good to appreciate like, how there’s no true practice. It’s all, you know, that’s one of those non-dual sayings, right, there’s no practice needed. And it’s like, so, given that there’s no true practice, so, we’re not looking for the true practice, it’s like, to really be engaged with like, what’s the reality. Like, so, even we say, like, I am going to meditate so when we sit, what happens? It’s like, different every time, it’s a unique unfolding. So, it’s like, being alive to what’s really happening, what’s really going on in our practice, being there for it. There’s no, like, mechanical solution that will get us there. Like, if I, if I run this particular practice or if I say these magic words and then that will have that will get me there. It’s like, it’s the quality of the presence we bring to our practice, the aliveness.
Rick: I think that’s a good point. And you alluded to something like this earlier but, basically, if a person has the spiritual practice, let’s say, they sit and meditate and sometimes they have really nice experiences, now, if those nice experiences cause them to begin to try for those experiences, again, rather than just being innocent with what’s happening this, you know, other time, the next time, then there’s a kind of a habit of manipulation can grow. And one can get more and more caught up in that and get very frustrated and, you know, it’s quite the opposite of this sort of falling into openness thing that you advocate.
Adam: Yeah, it’s like, what’s really here? It’s like, it’s not, so, this is another part of it that, there’s no true practice, there’s no true experience. It’s like, there’s no right experience that we should be having. It’s like, the right experience is the one that’s going on right now.
Adam: It’s like, yeah, so, like really opening to what’s true, what’s really here.
Rick: Yeah. I think an underlying principle of this also is that, if our practice is really natural, then, it’s not, it’s not, we’re not doing it, you know. It’s not, like, our effort that’s making something happen, it’s more like a cooperation with nature. And, you know, nature knows best, sort of, how to how to handle it. And, if we just get out of the way and let nature handle it, then, you know, different things will happen at different times but, it’ll be sort of optimally effective.
Adam: Yeah, that’s beautiful. Yeah, it’s like, it’s like, the sense of effortless, the effortlessness of opening, it’s like, we’re not forcing anything to open.
Adam: It’s like, so, we just let awareness do what it does. It’s like, let it, let it touch us, let it move us, let it open things. It’s like, and, just like, and it’s not on a timetable. So, people can be, like, sort of, feel like, it’s not moving, it’s not moving. And it’s just like, it’s like, we just get to sit in whatever the truth is for as long as it wants to be here.
Adam: It’s like, just complete surrender, there’s no place to get to anyway.
Rick: Let me take the example of a rose, you know, we’re watching it, it’s not blooming, it’s not blooming. Maybe if I pull this little part off here and kind of pull that open. Nope, we killed it. So, you have to just sort of let it bloom in its own time. Maybe you can provide some nourishment or some fertilizer that’ll facilitate the process but it’s not going to bloom any faster by you’re kind of manipulating it from the outside. Or you could use other examples of a chick hatching or whatever.
Adam: Yeah, and it’s like, again, just that we can become really attuned to that, as well. Like, one of the questions we can ask, when we’re doing a practice, like where’s the effort? Am I trying to do something? And it’s like, to allow that to relax. Again, like not even doing violence to that. Like, because we can so I’ve got to try not to try you know but it’s like so we just like we just notice like oh I’m really struggling like I’m really trying to make something we just…
Rick: …Are you there? Hey, can you hear me? I can’t. Yeah, we had a little hiccup there, in the Internet, yeah, but you made the point that was good. I used to be a TM teacher and one of the principles of it was that, that there’s… The mind has a natural tendency to seek a field of greater happiness and if we just allow that tendency to have its way, then the mind, then, will naturally sort of settle down. And, you know, awareness will expand and so on. But any inception of individual effort or, control or, manipulation, will only interfere with that.
Adam: Yeah, I think that’s really it’s sorta, yeah, like, we’re trying to control something. It’s like we’re being invited to open to the mystery, to like open to the great unfolding that’s happening and it’s and it’s, like, I mean, there’s such a vulnerability in that and, we have no idea what’s going to happen. And it’s like, and, you know, it’s so easy for us to want to, like, I just need it to be this way or, I just need it to be that way. And then, we try to bring effort, we try to control, we try to manipulate. It’s just like, a whole, like this sort of cycle of suffering starts.
Adam: It’s just, like, oh, we just, we just get it, we just get, what we’re given, you know, we get the experiences that we’re given. It’s like, the universe is just like, providing us with all these different experiences, the whole experience of life and, we get to be here for it, that’s, we get to open to it.
Rick: Yeah, that’s a good point. I think it bears repeating from various angles and, I don’t think you’re advocating passivity, or you know lackadaisicalness or anything like that. It’s, you know, one can be quite ardent in one’s desire for deeper truth and, so on but, that ardency has to be kind of counterbalanced with an innocence or an effortlessness. I think that’s what you’re saying, right?
Adam: Yeah, that’s, there’s sort of a paradox in there. It’s like, this sort of, like, there’s nothing we need to do you know? It’s like, I mean, that could be a really good reminder. It’s like, we’re sort of like, involved in trying to get somewhere and we’re trying to achieve something. It’s like, yeah, there’s nothing we need to do. We don’t need to be anything. We don’t need to become anything. It’s just like, just sort of, like, ah, you know, we get to be here, as we are. And then, at the same time, when we, when we arrive here, when we’re at ease with, just as we are, just being here, it’s like, there’s the sort of the call of the heart, in a way. Like, our devotion to, like, what we love, it’s like the heart wants to be here, wants to express it, wants to love.
Rick: Hmm, you were talking a few minutes ago about bringing awareness to, you know, this. And that, that might be noticed in the body or, whatever feelings and things. It seems like, see what you have to say about this, but, it seems like, people have different capacities of awareness to bring. Some people might be like a little cup and others are like a big bucket. And, others, like a lake, you know, and others, like an ocean. And, you know if you had some mud to dissolve, you’re gonna get different results. Whether you try to dissolve it in a little cup or, in the bucket or, in the lake or, in the ocean, in terms of how polluted the water seems to get when you dump the mud in there. And I don’t know whether this analogy is breaking down. But, you know, it’s like some people may not feel they have the capacity to deal with the volume of mud that they seem to be encountering or, are afraid they’re going to encounter and, so on. And, so, somehow, there has to be this balance between encountering that stuff and increasing one’s capacity. And, I imagine, the more we encounter and resolve, the more the capacity expands and, therefore, the more we can encounter and dissolve. But would you like to comment on that?
Adam: Yeah, it’s beautiful, yeah, that, pointing to capacity. And, that fear, that we don’t have the capacity, and that’s sort of like the, in a way, that’s sort of the basis of the grip that you were talking about earlier. The way that we can, uh, it’s, uh, oh, I don’t want to fall open. And it’s, like, we sort of doubt our capacity to be here, like, our capacity to feel everything that’s here to be felt. In a way, we’re doubting the capacity of our hearts. And, as we open, we discover the true capacity of our hearts. It’s, like, it’s like, wow, all of this gets to be met, you know, we can actually be here for the whole experience.
Rick: Yeah, I imagine one could be in, one could encourage a person by saying, you know, I realize you’ve been through a lot and you’ve experienced a lot of trauma and, so on but, trust me, if you begin in this process then, you know, your ability to, sort of, be comfortable with it and to, you know, get more and more grounded in openness will grow, it’s just a matter of taking the first step. There’s a verse in the Bhagavad Gita which says something like even a little of this practice removes great fear.
Adam: Mm-hmm, yeah. It’s, um, yeah, I mean, when we, when people sit for the first time, sometimes, there’s immediately, like, discomfort comes up and, it’s, like, I’m doing it wrong. I can’t do this. You know, it’s, like, I’m out of here! So, yeah, the… to notice how much we want to turn away from difficult things. It’s, like, in a way like, why are we not just innocently here all the time? You know, fully present, open? Because it’s, like, well, it’s, stuff that comes up, that we don’t want to feel. And it’s, like, we just, we just, find a way, to exit. So, like, starting to notice how we exit. So, it might be, like, leaving the meditation room but, it can be, it’s also, like, much more subtle than that. How do we, like, distract ourselves? And numb ourselves? Or what do we do when something painful is being felt?
Adam: And, often, we’ll notice, like, we’re actually running. And, for many of us, that, like, our lives are, like, one big, sort of, like, run away from what we’re feeling. Like, just, stay as busy as possible, stay in the mind, just keep recycling the same stories, you know, reassuring ourselves that we know what’s going on.
Rick: It’s like George Bush said, after 9/11, “go shopping!”. Did you yourself spend a lot of time in meditation practice? And do you still?
Adam: Yeah. I was very devoted to meditation for many years. Now, it’s a little different for me. I mean, the work I’m doing is sort of meditation. So, that’s one of the beautiful things about doing the work I’m doing, I get to, sort of, be open space for people. And, my own practices, yeah, I still, very much, sort of, like, sit down and open to what’s going on explore what’s here. I also do a lot of movement. Like, uh, just, letting the body move how it wants to move the body. It’s not… it’s authentic movement would be the closest word for it. So, it’s like, it’s really, just, letting the body do what it wants to do. So, it’s dropping any agenda about, like, what posture or, position or, stretches or, anything. And just letting the body unfold how it wants to unfold.
Adam: There’s such a wisdom in the body, like, knowing how to move energies and meet things.
Rick: So, do you advocate to people, whom you meet with, to, you know, try to establish some sort of practice? Where they go into a room, shut the door, and sit for 20 minutes, twice a day. Or some such thing? And, you know, get them into that kind of routine, if possible?
Adam: I’m not a big advocate of, like, pushing practice.
Rick: Not pushing. But, you know, do you encourage..? Do you, have, do you, say, that, you know, this might be valuable if you could get into the habit of spending quiet time? And, just, you know, closing your eyes and feeling what, however you would, you know, describe it?
Adam: Yeah. I’m very hesitant to, I mean, often, I won’t, I don’t really talk about my practice my personal practices. Because they change, anyway.
Adam: And it’s like, it feels, like, it’s very specific to, like, oh, this is what’s alive for me now! This is what’s helpful for me, this is what, I’m so, like, where the juice is, the nourishment is. So, I’m, like, I’m mining that particular area right now… um, but it’s very personal, it seems, to me, like, how people relate to practice. And, like, what this sort of, yeah, like, what’s going on for them when they practice. So, like, people can sit and meditate and, like, all they’re doing is, like, attacking themselves, you know? Like, I shouldn’t be having this, I can’t get where I’m going, you know, I mean, and they’re calling it meditation but, of course, like…
Rick: Well, you’d want to kind of talk them through that, you know..
Adam: Yeah, but it’s, um, it’s, it feels, like, really important that people are drawn to practice by their love of the truth.
Rick: Yeah, in other words, they should be self-motivated. They shouldn’t feel like obligated or, pressured or, anything like that, they should just feel inspired themselves.
Adam: Yeah, because this, I mean, you know, practice can really have a dark side to it. Like, where it’s sort of, like, I always should be practicing more, I should be practicing more, I’m not, I’m not doing it properly! If I was doing it better or, doing it more, I’d get better! And, you know, this, all this inadequacy, this stuff that shouldn’t be here, all this would be clear, if I was just doing the proper practice. So, I’m very, it’s, like, really awareness is, awareness is what liberates, awareness does it all. So, for people to be alive, in however they’re showing up and alive to what’s going on in their lives.
Adam: They’re really present for it.
Rick: I was listening to an interview with a guy the other day and he was saying, you know, a good way, a good litmus test, for any practice, is whether you actually enjoy it. So, if you don’t enjoy it and you don’t feel like doing it, you’re probably not gonna keep doing it. And, you’re probably going to create strain, if you force yourself to keep doing it. So, that, that might be a way of evaluating how effective a practice is for you.
Adam: Yeah, and it’s sort of, like, is it, is it, in alignment with what’s true? So, we can, like, we can, sort of, trust our own movement, in a way. Like, what’s nourishing us has a signature to it, feels right. So, often, you know, people can end up, sort of, doing spiritual practice because they believe it’s the right thing to do, even though it’s not actually nourishing them.
Rick: The dog is sneezing here. Yeah, say that again, I was laughing at the dog. Repeat what you just said, that was good.
Adam: Yeah, so, it’s, like, we can, we can really trust ourselves to know what nourishes. Like, to notice, like what the experience with our practices is. And we don’t need to be sort of captivated by like a belief system. About, like, this is the true practice or, this is the right practice or, you should be practicing more. It’s, like, to really, just, notice, like, what’s yummy, what feels good, what’s nourishing to us?
Adam: Not in a facile way but, like, you know, it’s, when awareness touches even the painful stuff, there’s, like, this, there’s such gratitude just for meeting it. It’s, like, wow, I get to actually feel this, you know, it’s like, I get to actually present this. It’s like, there’s a sort of a rightness to it, even if it’s, like, not pleasurable or, it’s just, there’s a way in which we can, we, like, the truth so, it has a signature…
Adam: …energetically, it’s just, like, yes, this is the right thing to be for, to be here for.
Rick: Do you find, in your own experience or, in working with people, that, maybe, initially, there’s quite a load to deal with, when you start “letting awareness touch the painful stuff”, to use your phrase, but that at a certain point, you kind of seem to work through the bulk of it and then it’s kind of downhill from there? In terms of downhill, in a good sense, in terms of just, your sort of working off the remnants but, you’ve dealt with the lion’s share of it. Because, otherwise, if that weren’t the case, then there might be the prospect of a lifetime of, like, dealing with heavy stuff and could be a little discouraging.
Rick: Maybe it varies tremendously from one person to the next.
Adam: The way I might characterize it, it’s, like, it feels like there are layers. Like, so, there’s, sort of, like, gross layers. Like, sort of, like, you know, like, I feel, such out of control anger or, grief or, whatever it is. And, like, we, you know, we start to meet that and then, like, new layers show up. So, like, it feels like there’s more and more subtle layers. Of, like, oh, I notice, like, this is, there’s a kind of holding back from reality, you know. There’s, we start, to, like, feel, sort of, like, subtle energetic ways in which we distance. Ways in which we, we’re not willing to be fully present to our experience. So, like, so, certainly some slight forms of suffering drop away, in my experience. And there’s more, sort of, subtle sensitivity shows up. But, it doesn’t feel, like, oh, now, I’m free from pain or something. In a way, it’s, like, we’re actually, like, sensitizing ourselves. So, you, like, feel, we can feel everything, like, at a deeper level.
Adam: So, it’s not that we’re going to, like, sort of, ascend out of this, like, realm of pain and pleasure or, something like that. Or, like, feeling deeply or, feeling heartbroken, it’s, sort of, like, we just realize the capacity for a broken heart. So, uh, you know, when the heart’s open.
Rick: That’s beautifully put. I think you are, you’re still there? Okay, I was afraid your internet froze up but, you’re just standing still. I love that. And the whole thing of, you know, yeah, clearing away the gross and then, working your way toward subtler and subtler levels of it, I think is very apt and wise. And it’s not like you’re never, like, you’re gonna get to a point where you don’t feel things anymore cuz you’ve worked through everything, in fact, you might feel things even more acutely.
Adam: It’s not, like, this, like, this is the program we must be on. It’s like, it’s sort of, like, coming, like, this, this, this place of, like, there’s nothing we need to do. Like, and it’s, like, we just let our hearts unfold. So, it’s, like, we’re called to this by, sort of, the heart. The heart wants to feel what’s here, wants to be alive. We want to feel all the energy of life. So, it’s not that, like, oh, my God, I’ve gotta clear out all this junk and, it’s, like, and it goes on forever and, it’s, like, endless work…
Adam: It’s, like, it’s just, it’s, like, the movement of love, it’s, like, the movement of our hearts.
Rick: Yeah, nice. It’s sort of the natural tendency of life, in a way, to evolve, if you want to use that word. And, I think, it’s, I think, personally, I think, it’s the deepest desire of any human being.
Adam: Yeah, it’s, like, the deepest truth of our heart. So, it’s, like, so, it’s, really, I think, it’s, really good to, like, trust our own hearts, to trust the natural movement. Because it, we can, easily, when we hear something, like, somebody’s story or, like, you know, my description of falling open or, something, it’s very easy for people to say, “oh, I’m supposed to be doing that, what’s wrong with my heart”? And it’s, and it’s like, there are so many seasons to the spiritual path. So, there can be seasons where we just, like, we can be hanging out in bliss. Or there can be seasons where we, where, I mean, there’s all kinds of seasons. But it, it’s, like, to listen to where our hearts are called, like, moment to moment. It’s not, it’s not, we’re not trying to force ourselves into some spiritually evolved box or enlightenment box or awakened box.
Adam: And it’s, like, to really trust our own unfolding. And it’s, like, a different flavor — I mean your show is a beautiful example of that — there are all these hundreds of people involved in opening and they’re all opening in different ways, in very different ways, in very different flavors.
Rick: Yeah, I thought of a metaphor for that the other day. I was, and, that is, that, no two raindrops reach the ocean by the same path. You know, all the billions of raindrops that fall, they all, there might be some similarities, they all go down this river or, that stream but, all, but really when you look at it, every single one of them is unique, to some extent, often to a great extent, in terms of how they reach the ocean.
Adam: Yeah, that’s so beautiful, yeah. And to really, like, and sorta, the, and, for people listening to really, like, to know that the truth is within you. It’s, like, it’s your opening to the truth that wants to unfold through you. It’s not, you don’t have to follow somebody else’s story or, follow somebody else’s guidelines. It’s, like, to really listen. So, even if you’re putting yourself in the field of a teacher or, something, it’s, like, it’s, like, you’re listening to your experience with that. It’s, like, because your heart is nourished by that experience, not because you need to become like them.
Rick: Yeah, that’s important. I’d like to bring, I like people to tell their stories, when I interview them, because, a lot of times people feel, like, “hey I can relate to that, I did that, you know, I’m a bozo, like that guy,”… or, whatever, you know. But it’s also important, in the same breath, to emphasize that it’s, you know, it’s never gonna be the same for you, as for anybody else. Each one is unique, and I think BATGAP kind of illustrates that in a way because you just see every week a different flavor. And everyone is different and, you know, there might be some similarities. But, you know, hopefully, it drives home the point to people that their own path is as legitimate and as valid as any of these people I interview. And, that we’re just, sort of, hopefully, demonstrating that ordinary people, of every description, can arrive at realization or, deeper truth or, whatever we want to call it.
Adam: Yeah, it’s, like, it’s, uh, it’s, like, awareness is here. It’s like, it’s like, what we’re made of, it’s what the reality is made of. It’s, I mean, that’s why I love the word falling open, the term, falling open, because it’s, like, all we have. It’s, like, where it’s where there’s an abiding invitation of reality, like…
Adam: …come here, be here, you’re welcome here…and it’s, like, it’s, like, this whisper. And we’re, like, so busy running around, trying to avoid what we don’t want to feel. We’re, it’s, like, we’re, you know, we turn away from that which, we don’t listen. And it’s, like, and, we’re just being called here, our hearts are calling us here.
Rick: Yeah, it’s like diving, you know. You just get up on the board and it, take a correct angle and, let go and, gravity does the rest.
Rick: Just want to throw something in before we move on, there are some nice questions that have come in. I’ve interviewed Richard Miller, a few weeks ago, who is a psychologist, who teaches yoga Nidra. And, he happened to mention something, which I didn’t know, which is that, he said, that the Buddha was said to be kind of doing some sort of spiritual practice, all of his life, even after his enlightenment. And to actually be processing things that came up, sort of, as you would put it, bringing awareness to various things that needed attention. And this, this went on all of his life. I’ve made a new friend, in the last week or so, named Michael Rodriguez, who I’ll be interviewing, eventually. And he’s written this whole thing about post realization sadhana, you know, which I kind of find that fascinating. So, if people think that, you know, they’re going to have some kind of realization and, it’s going to be the final thing and, they’ll be done and there’s, you know, no refinement or clarification or resolution of things yet to do, [then] they might be in for a surprise.
Adam: Yeah, it’s almost, like, a lot of this, sort of, it’s, like, the movement away from life, like, they attempt to find some fixed position, some fixed experience. So, we can often imagine, like, oh, awakening or, enlightenment or, something, that that’s the end of my problem, you know, the problem of me…
Adam: …the problem of life. And it’s, like, it’s, like, actually, we’re being called to be fully alive, like, to be here, more, to be, to be, like, in the flow of this unfolding. So, it’s not that we’re supposed to arrive at a fixed destination, a fixed point. It’s, like, we’re actually called to open to this, this, the space that’s not fixed, that’s constantly flowing through us.
Rick: Yeah, nice. All right, let me ask you a few questions, that have come in. This is a little bit of a long one but, I think it’s, it looks like it’s pretty good. This is from Margaret, in San Francisco and, she asks: “Dear Adam, please, could you reflect on a major human challenge I’m facing, pertinent to both personal and massive global issues, in whatever way clarity moves through you. I’m deeply struggling with the fact that much of my daily human existence depends on infrastructures that are deeply destructive to the natural environment as well as that contribute regularly to governmental decisions to wage war and murder innocent people to secure lands with oil. For instance, to maintain our consumeristic economy, etc. So, my inner response is clear and comes from love, a sense of clear urgency to take steps I can to adjust my life choices to more sustainable ones, as well as urgency to be as awake as possible so, life can move through me, in whatever healing, balancing ways, she deems best. At the same time, I have a major murky pain-body response: guilt, shame, self-loathing, both, at all, both, at all the ways I did not feel capable of changing my life, nor being an activist, in the world. As well as shame at how unawakened, despite seeing through the mind illusion, repeatedly. I still live in what feels like a constant haze of mind addiction and, mind decisions, much of the time. So, looks like, let’s see, that okay, that’s a separate question. Oh, yeah, go ahead and answer that one.
Adam: Yeah. Yes, shame feels, like, it’s, in a way, it’s, like, the sort of, antithesis of, like, openness. So, it’s, like, in many, in most cases, I feel like that’s sort of the block in the door, you know. It’s, like, this belief: there’s really something bad here, like, there’s something wrong inside me, there’s stuff that’s here that just shouldn’t be here. It’s, like, and, you know, again, I don’t want to, it’s not a simple, like, just believe something different. It’s, like, it’s so, in the body, it’s, like, to, sort of, reject this, you know. It’s, like, it’s probably been mirrored to us when we were younger, like, by caregivers. And we, it’s, like, a really visceral, like, this should not be here, you know, like, this is so obviously wrong. So, it’s like, to really soften, it’s like, we can’t be tender enough with these places, that have been so harshed upon, so abandoned. So to let ourselves feel that, like, the whole truth of our experience. And, to feel the pain that, that lives, like, that, the pain of the shame and, the pain that lives behind there as well.
Rick: Well, yeah. And, I would also say to her that, you know, we live in a world that, in which many things are not ideal, you know, types of, with the ways we get energy and, the ways we get food and, all kinds of things like that. And, you know, we can do certain amount, within our own lives, to try to live in a more enlightened way, a more sustainable way. But it’s always going to be less than the ideal, at this stage of the game and, you know, don’t beat yourself up too badly over it. Just do what you can and do what you can to… I just, this morning, I heard some beautiful saying, which is, I forget exactly how it’s worded, but you, everyone knows the principle and, that is, that if you want to change the world, change yourself. And, you know, who was it, I think, it might have been Gandhi or, somebody, who said, you know, “it’s easier to wear shoes than it is to pave the earth in leather”. So, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do what we can to change the world but, I think that the greatest leverage we have is self-transformation, in whatever way we understand that. And that, you know, by really transforming in a significant way we’re making a tremendous contribution to a better world
Adam: Yeah, I’d like to. So, this, this shame that the questioner is talking about.. It’s like, that, that’s, like, the violence, you know, it’s like, that, that belief, that, like, “I shouldn’t be the way that I am”, like, “there’s something wrong with me”, that needs correcting, needs forcing, needs to be to be rid of. It’s like, that’s, like–that’s manifest in the world, it’s like, that, it’s that violence: that we need to get rid of the bad people, you know, we need to get rid of the bad things. So, it’s like, and we’re bringing that, sort of, energy of violence, to everything. So, it’s like, the softening, the feeling, the sense… becoming sensitive, to like, what the truth of our experience is, letting it all be as it is.
Adam: It’s, uh, it’s like the, that’s how the cycle of violence comes to an end. It’s like when we meet the truth of it.
Rick: I was listening to an interview this morning, it was actually a panel discussion from the science and non-duality conference — with Peter Russell and, Elisabeth Sahtouris and, Drew Dellinger and, forget who else, another guy — and one of the, one of the participants or, panelists, was saying that or, maybe it was an audience member asking the question, that there are certain things which psychologists say are just un-healable through any kind of psychological method. Like, pedophilia, for instance, they were saying, you know, if you’re a pedophile you just don’t get over it through anything that psychology has to offer. Do you feel that through your approach or, some approach of a spiritual nature, someone with really incorrigible behavior, of some sort, can actually be freed from it? Or, you know, can, you know, a real scoundrel, doing terrible things, can actually rise beyond the possibility of behaving that way, anymore?
Adam: Yeah, I mean, I am, I don’t see any point in holding the opposing, like, viewpoint. The belief, that, like, it’s, it has to, you know, like, “I’m always gonna be this way.” In a way, that’s, like, the sort of hopelessness about ourselves, like, oh, I just… this is just how I am, I’m always gonna, like, do these messed-up things, it’s like, I’m always going to turn away from my experience, I’m always going to run from this particular thing. But it’s like, when we actually open, we start to realize that wow, actually, this stuff can be met. It’s just feelings in the body, it’s just sensations, its energies. It’s like, it can be met and, actually, when we meet it with non-violence, it, like, comes into harmony.
Rick: So, do you feel like a behavioral tendency, such as pedophilia, for instance, actually, if you get right down to its core, it can be located as some sensation in the body, that is at the root of such a tendency. And that, by somehow feeling and healing that sensation, one would find that the behavioral tendency dissipates or disappears?
Adam: Yeah, I mean, if we’re sent, as we become more sensitive to what’s going on, it just feels like our actions just naturally come into alignment. I mean, when we feel like the harm we do to people when we start to, like, become aware of that, like, to take in their experience, it’s like, it just breaks our hearts. It’s like, oh, I don’t want to do that anymore, I don’t want to use a harsh tone, I don’t want to, you know, tell the vibe that this person should be different than they are. I mean, we can, we can just feel how that, like, that, yeah, like, it doesn’t feel good.
Rick: Have you ever considered going into a prison and kind of working with some of the people there?
Adam: No, no I haven’t really, no. It’s, yeah, I just sort of, go where I’m called, where I’m invited, yeah.
Rick: Folsom will be calling, soon. Here’s another short question that came in, and, I have a feeling how you’re gonna answer this but, let me just ask it. Sean, from Illinois — might have been one of your own old buddies from Macomb — asks, “if you could give someone just one suggestion or a piece of spiritual guidance what would it be?”
Adam: Well, I have no idea. Yeah, it totally depends on who it is.
Adam: I mean, I guess, this… yeah, I don’t know that I want to actually…
Rick: You know how I would answer that one? I would say, seek and you shall find, you know? I mean, if you have the motivation to do something, just sort of keep favoring that tendency, that motivation, and various opportunities and options will present themselves to you. Nature is very responsive, yeah, I was discussing this, I think it was last week, with Chris Selene. There are so many examples of people who, once they put out the petition to the universe, so to speak, put out the call, “Hey, I’m tired of the same old, same old and, I really want to know what’s true and what’s real,” you get tremendous response from the universe, from nature, and all kinds of opportunities present themselves.
Adam: Yeah, absolutely. That’s, um, yeah, I mean, like, radical transformation is possible. Like, yeah, I sometimes sort of joke about, like, you know, years ago, being past lives. I mean, it’s just, like, I don’t, it’s like, half of me doesn’t even remember how I was then…
Adam: It’s like, wow, what’s going on? How was it to live in that body? In that in that worldview? And it’s almost like shedding a skin or, something. It’s like, it’s just a totally different universe and a totally different experience. And, in my experience, that’s actually accelerated, it feels like there have been several of these. And it’s all, like, wow, what was it like 18 months ago? It’s like, hard to remember cuz, so much has shifted!
Adam: So, it’s, yeah, like, yeah, we, it’s really, so different than we think it is, it’s, it is just so different.
Rick: Good. Here’s a question from Connor in Jefferson Colorado. Connor asks, “Hello, Adam, your presence is very warm. I have a question for you. When falling into the depth and beauty of here, non-dimensional peace, often the mind rises in reverence and love for the gravity of this beauty. I tend to spin out from there, alternatively, the gravity of not knowing what I am or, what anything is, tends to ignite narration. If you could speak to this I would be very grateful.
Adam: Mmm, narration.
Rick: I think maybe he starts to put a story on it or something.
Adam: Right, yeah. So, it’s like, really getting, I mean, this, hmm, so, there’s no story to land on, there’s nothing to figure out, there’s no, like, truth of this that we’re going to capture in words. It’s, like, so, there’s no, there’s no importance to, like, the symbolization of this. In a way, like, we’re not trying to land on a particular model of the universe or, a description or, philosophy or, anything like that. So, like, really just letting that come to rest. Like, I don’t know, is sort of, like, I don’t know, is the height of wisdom, when it comes to being present with the truth. And, having said that, there is absolutely nothing wrong with expressing the truth. It’s, like, sort of, like, we, like, it’s sorta like poetry, like, we just see it as, we can see it like art. We can see the impossibility of giving words for the experience, like, that, that are accurate, that are complete. And, yet it can be beautiful to express and, it can be evocative and, it can be helpful. And, so, it’s just, it’s, like, the trick is, like, not believing the words. You know, like, not believing that, like, oh, now I’ve given the comprehensive definition of enlightenment or, life or, you know the universe.
Rick: Yeah, you went through a phase where you’re reading a lot of spiritual books and thinking about things and all do you find that you still enjoy reading spiritual books and stuff or have you kind of lost all interest in that
Adam: Yeah, it’s really dropped away, yeah. When I first started having these, you know, had these sort of openings with psychedelics, I then became very interested in people who are writing about spirituality and psychedelic experiences. But, so, that, it gradually went into meditation and spirituality. And this sort of, like, looking for clues as to, you know, what the hell’s going on here, you know, what is this about? Yeah.
Rick: So, you do some retreats with Jeannie Zandi?
Rick: You still do? Or, you have done?
Adam: Yeah, I went on a retreat with her in January, was the last one. I’m not taking her upcoming program but, I’ve been really involved with her work for, like, the last three years, yeah. And, yeah, it’s been, yes, an incredibly powerful transformative teacher for me.
Rick: Yeah, I’ve met Jeannie and every year or two we talk about, hey, we should do an interview one of these days. Then, she always says something, yeah, I think I’m gonna get my website more together, first. So, she’s in no hurry. But one of these days I’ll interview Jeannie. She’s nice.
Rick: And, but, so, the reason I brought that up is, that, you mentioned in your bio, that, you know, it’s very heart-centered, her whole teaching, heart-centered and full-bodied. And, a lot of times non-duality is not presented in a very heart-centered way, you know, there isn’t a lot of flavor of heart, it seems, to be kind of heady or, sort of, transcend, transcendental, you know, just sort of, absolute abstract, “there’s no person,” that kind of thing. And, but you seem like a fairly heart-centered guy. And, so, maybe you could talk a little bit about what that means for you, being heart-centered, as well as being non-dual. And, whether there’s any, sort of, some people might see a contradiction in that, I don’t know, and, probably, you don’t but let’s talk about that for a bit.
Adam: Yeah, I mean, I sorta, maybe, talk about it into, like, the mind falling open and the heart falling open. And, for me, there was were, sort of, like, two different experiences in a way. And, in both cases, it’s like, it’s a return to naturalness, our natural state. So, the, in the first one, with the mind falling open, it’s like, just giving up this, this, this hope that we’re going to know or, this effort to try to know. Like, to try to capture with the mind what the truth is, you know, like, to figure out what the true practice or, what the true teaching of what’s really going on here. It’s like, just really getting, like, it’s this, is just, so vast, so open, so subtle, totally uncapturable in words. Any words are always partial, always, yeah, putting meaning on this that is prior to meaning. So, just really, like, letting go of that and letting ourselves be here… like, wow, what is this? And, just, like, this open innocent presence and, it, you can, sort of, feel the mind relax when that happens. Like, wow, I just get to be, I don’t have to know, anything! I don’t have to show up with, like, my theory of the universe, my theory of what I am. I can just be here, as I am. Or, whatever that is. And, then the heart falling open this, you know, I sort of experience, often, as like, a softening, like just, you know, just like, letting awareness, like, touch everything that’s here. Just like, all the way into the body, all the way in to, like, the deepest parts of what’s here. It’s just, like, it’s like, the awareness has such a gentle touch, it’s like, there’s no violence in it. It’s just, like, even when it’s like, touching the most tender, sort of, like, agonizing heartbreaking, it’s just, like, it’s like, this sort of, like, wind blowing over a wound or something. It’s like, it’s so sweet in a way. So, it’s like, it’s just, that, that opening to the vulnerability the sensitivity, letting ourselves be here, feeling everything that’s here. And, not, yeah, like yeah, letting the defenses fall away just letting them melt in their own time.
Rick: As you know, you know bhakti, is a major aspect of spirit, of the spiritual repertoire, that, you know, many people are oriented around. And bhakti means devotion. Do you, do you find, that, or, love, to put it more simply.
Rick: Do you, do you find that, you know, in, in terms of the heart-opening thing, that you’re just describing, that, that has resulted for you in a much more profound experience of love or, devotion or…
Rick: …reverence, things like that?
Adam: Yeah, yeah, it’s like, it feels, like, it’s just a natural consequence of intimacy, like intimacy with what is. It’s, like, it, yeah, like, it’s just awesome, like, to know the truth of our hearts. Yeah, like, to even get a little taste of it, it’s, like, it’s so beautiful. It’s, like, wow! You know? It’s, like, so, not what we, what we’ve been taught, you know. We’ve been taught we’re not right and we’ve got to get good. And then, it’s like, our hearts are so beautiful, so precious.
Rick: Do you feel a kind of a sense of God? I mean, what is it, what is your thought of God? Your feeling, your orientation, toward whatever God may be? However you may conceive or understand God to be, you know?
Adam: I’m really, I find that I’m very playful, sort of, in the way that I describe reality. And the way that I use metaphors and, so, like, I’m, like, I’m not holding any, like, sort of, conceptual map of, like, what’s going on. Like, oh, there’s the heart and then, there’s, then, God speaks to the heart and, you know, yeah, so, there’s nothing like that. But, but, like the way some people refer to what God is, resonates deeply. It’s, like, this, this, sort of, surrender to what’s here, like, the vastness of what’s here. The lack of any means of controlling what’s unfolding, um, the way that everything is just being given to us, like, reality, is, like, giving us every moment, every experience, every everything that’s here.
Rick: Yeah, well, like, if you’re out walking in a beautiful place, like, walking in the redwoods or, something, in Northern California, you know, or, on the beach or, something. Do you sometimes find yourself feeling a sense of, kind of, devotion or adoration, for the divine intelligence that seems to be behind this or orchestrating this beautiful play?
Adam: Mm-hmm, yeah. I find myself touched deeply by, yeah, so much of my experience, yes. Yeah, there are so many different aspects to it, you know. It’s like, yes, sitting with people and just being touched by their experience. Like, their, yeah, the beauty of, beauty of their hearts and even the suffering is, like, so beautiful. And, yeah, and there’s, sort of, this sense of vastness, I mean, like, how magical is this, you know. Just the way that this is unfolding, is, it is so mysterious and so deep. And there are just so many endless layers to it, it’s like, unfathomable.
Rick: Yeah, nice. Here’s a question that came in from Chris in the UK. Hi Adam, when are you coming home? No, Hi Adam, if you notice the grasping in meditation, would you advise just opening up to the grasping, at the level of the body, in a loving way?
Adam: Mmm, beautiful, yeah. Yeah, really, it’s like, to meet whatever is here with love. I find, like, the sort of, invitation to meet with love is, like, so helpful when we’re, when we’re, in the, sort of, the place where, it’s like, we’re just totally convinced this shouldn’t be here, you know, like, I’m doing it wrong, I shouldn’t be here, I shouldn’t be having this experience, this is so not what an evolved person has. And it’s like, just to have such compassion for, it’s like, ah, you know, this is the experience that’s here, yeah, this is the experience that’s here, we get to feel this.
Rick: Mmm. There was a song by George Harrison, which obviously, he didn’t coin the phrase but, it was, this too shall pass, you know? And, I would say, that if a person feels like they’re, sort of, hitting a rough patch in meditation or, in life or, whatever, keep that phrase in mind.
Adam: And, to to be, like, curious about what’s here. Not to try to figure it out, like, why is it here and, what do I need to do with it? But, just, like, what’s the feel of it? Like, what’s the, what’s the most intense point of it? Like, what hurts the most about this, you know? Like, really, like, going to exactly the place where we’re trying to squirm away. You know, where we’re, like, this shouldn’t be here, this shouldn’t have been. It’s, like, really, like what’s, like, what’s the most excruciating part of this experience? Like, really, like, allowing awareness to explore that territory. So, what is it I don’t want to feel that’s here? It’s like, these sort of inquiry questions can be really helpful, just, like, pointing us towards the truth. Like, the place that we always run from, that we just, like, skip over and try to ignore and deny and repress. It’s, like, let’s just turn towards that. What is that what is this place I’ve been taught to escape from, to not be present to?
Rick: And, in doing that, would you say, as a principal, general principle, that any sort of emotional or, psychological or, you know, thing that we might be going through, does have a physiological correlate? And that, you can, you know, the best way of dealing with and resolving these kinds of things, let’s say, some strong feelings of anger or, fear or, whatever, is to allow yourself to locate, you know, to allow your awareness to locate the physiological correlate to that? And dwell on that, rather than, sort of, playing, going around in the fear?
Adam: Mm-hmm, yeah. It’s like, to go, to, like, the like, the deepest place, yeah. So, like, so, typically, when we notice an active mind, it’s because the stuff that, like, we don’t want to feel, like, we’re trying to figure it out, we’re trying to, like, get away or, solve a problem. Or we like, make it, sort of, something mental, that we can, we can grapple with in the mind. It’s this, sort of, like, it’s a numb sort of fuzzy like. So, when we go into, like, what’s actually being felt in the body — what’s the energy that’s here, what’s the sensations that are here — it’s like, it’s just, like, a deeper level. We can, sort of, feel how, it’s like, wow, this is not what I imagined, you know, this is not what I thought it was. I mean, the mind’s trying to solve some problem that doesn’t even exist and it’s like, it’s like, oh there’s energies here that want to be felt.
Rick: Yeah, so are you saying, at least, I think you’re saying, that the mind might come up with rationales for some kind of fear or, some sort of thing? That’s being felt, which, actually, have nothing to do with the root of that feeling? They’re just, the mind’s just fabricating something because it doesn’t like to have a feeling without some kind of rationale?
Rick: And then you can, if you can, kind of, settle beneath that and get down to the core feeling which is rooted in the physiology, at some point, then you can, you can really root it out.
Adam: Yeah. It’s like, we, when we, feel fear in the body, typically, the mind wants to, goes out and, like, looks for something to be fearful about.
Rick: Yeah, and it could be one thing or, another, could be any number of a dozen things but, it’s not that.
Adam: Right. Well, it’ll just project out so, it’s like, oh, that’s, I gotta, like, that’s the problem, if I can just solve that then, I won’t have fear anymore, right. And it’s like, as soon as that’s gone, there’ll be something else, you know, yeah, so, it’s like – so, yeah, like, meeting the actual experience of the energy in the body. And often fear is really just, like, it’s, um, it’s sort of, like, it’s something we don’t want to feel, you know. It’s like, an energy that’s uncomfortable or painful or it’s, like, there’s nothing really to it. Like, we imagine there’s something, like, it, it means that some, there’s some serious problem here, you know, there’s really something wrong here. But it actually doesn’t, it’s just, like, an energy in the body.
Rick: I think the said, same, could be said of cravings, like, you know, I need cigarettes or, I need food or, I need this or, that. And it’s really, there’s a physiological sensation [that] can be located and dealt with on that level. And, if it is, the craving can just dissipate, you know, rather than, sort of, directing the attention outwards and trying to consume the thing that the craving seems to be wanting.
Adam: Right. Yeah, it’s like, again, to really let awareness do its work, you know, it’s like, we just, we just point ourselves towards the stuff that, that we’ve been turning away from. And we just let awareness touch it, let awareness reveal the experience. That we, you know, when we’re in the mind, in the mind’s version of what’s happening, it’s like, it’s, so far removed from, like, what’s actually going on, you know? We think, like, oh, I want a cigarette or, I want chocolate or, something, because, yeah, and it’s like, and then, when we start feeling into the body, it’s like, all kinds of stuff’s there. It’s like, it’s a whole different universe, like, a different level of reality.
Rick: Interesting. So, it’s like, it’s, in a way, the body is, sort of, a portal to, freedom. It’s, it sort of tells us… oh, is it Mary O’Malley that I interviewed, awhile back, and I just got an email from someone about her the other day but, she has this phrase, I forget how it goes, exactly, but it’s, sort of, like, that which appears to be the obstacle or, the problem, is actually the opportunity, you know, to resolve something.
Adam: Yeah, that’s beautiful, yeah. And the, um, and, anytime, we notice, like, this shouldn’t be here, this shouldn’t be this way, it’s like, that’s the opportunity, like, what’s being felt there, like, let me feel this place that I’ve condemned. You know, as I’ve been taught to condemn and, it’s even when we say, the body, it’s like, what is the body? Yes, the mind thinks it knows what a body is, you know. It has an image of the body and it calls it, you know, this is the body. But it’s like, when we actually, like, let awareness touch what’s here, it’s like, it’s, yeah, it’s not at all what the mind imagines. Again, there are so many layers.
Rick: Yeah, you know, when you said, that you said, what is the body, you know, I sorta flashed on the perspective of physics as to what the body is, which is essentially empty space, you know? With some virtual particles bubbling around. It’s like, ultimately, it’s not this flesh and blood thing if we get right down to it. It’s sort of an energy field or, a, you know, an accretion of probabilities or something. So, and, as such, it’s not etched in stone, it’s malleable. Yeah, I’m sure you’ve heard the word, you know, what is it? Neural plasticity,..
Rick: …you know? Where anything in the, not only the brain but, the nervous system is plastic, it’s malleable, it’s changeable, it’s healable.
Adam: Yeah. And, I mean, this is, this is so my experience having that, that we can, we can have a totally different experience of reality. And it’s not even, it, when I say this, it’s not, like, you know, five years from now, you can have a totally different experience with reality. It’s, like, just turning towards reality, it’s like, everything shifts.
Adam: You know, it’s like, it’s just, it’s like, not at all what we imagined. It’s like, it’s, it opens up.
Rick: Nice. Here’s another question, this is from Scott, in Half Moon Bay California. After having a major spiritual opening, why would I find myself being drawn back into old bad habits, such as drinking, again, for the first time in 15 years?
Adam: Yeah. Yeah, I’d like to ask follow-up questions with these questions…
Rick: Yeah, you can, you can, say something and the person can send in another follow-up thing, if you want, if we have, if we go along…
Adam: I mean, it’s, you know, if I’m working with somebody, I would, I would, like, really be curious about what’s going on so, I’m gonna, like, sort of, just guess. You know, like, I mean, it feels very so, like, yeah, this is something I’d like to talk about maybe, like, when I sit with someone, it’s not, like, I know what the truth is, and you don’t know what the truth is. It’s, like, you have the, sort of, inside seat on, like, experience, like, the reality that’s unfolding in you, through you. And, so, I’m, like, supporting awareness, exploring what’s there, opening what’s there. So, that’s what I would do, in this case, with someone who says, who comes in and says that sort of question. Like, why would this be happening is that we’ll explore what’s going on. I mean, just to, sort of, conjecture I mean, yeah, I’d be very happy for the person I was sitting with to say, oh, no, that’s not it, there’s nothing like that. It does feel like there’s sort of an adjustment to opening. So, it’s like, um, when we have, like, a big, sort of, like, radical opening, often, like, we want to contract, hide again. Like, it’s just, like, we’re just not prepared to have all that energy to be this wide open, in an ongoing way. So, sort of, it feels like this sort of, uh, like, an acclimatization to openness. Yeah, so like, we open and then, it becomes more possible. A bit, like, you were talking about, the cup gets bigger, right, it’s the resource that we have to be open. It’s like, we just, and there can be, they’ll, it’s, very normal for there to be opening and closing. Like, it’s, sort of, a natural rhythm. And we just, we just, get to, sort of, realize, like, how wide open we can be, you know, how vast we are, how much capacity there is here. And it just, it, again, it just grows so organically. It’s like the flower blooming that you’re talking about, it’s not something we have to force or, um, yeah.
Rick: Yeah. Maybe I’ll just throw in that, you know, you were saying, earlier, about, sort of, the strata or deeper layers of impressions, that we might work through as we go along. You know, there could be stuff that’s, sort of, built into our makeup that is just peacefully slumbering and, you know, it has, kind of, like, it’s not being, it’s not caused any problems, kind of, like, a sleeping elephant or, something, it’s just lying there sleeping. And then, we have a big opening. And, that opening, I would say it, in a way, it wants to be sustained, we want to have a, kind of, a, we don’t want these openings to just be, sort of, flashes in the pan. It would be nice to, sort of, live that way, in an abiding way. But it may be that there’s a lot of stuff lodged in our physiology and our subtle body, however we want to understand it, that is really not compatible with living in that open way. And now that we’ve had an opening, the time has come for stuff that was slumbering, to kind of wake up and be cleared out. And then, so, there might be an old habit and an old tendency or an old thing that we thought we had put behind us years ago that is, sort of, sprouting up, again. And, I mean, maybe you tell me if I’m wrong, but, as if you were working with Scott, you might sit with him and have him, kind of, go into whatever deep sensation or feeling seems to be associated with this desire to drink, again, you know? There must be something there which could be discovered and perhaps resolved without recourse to alcohol.
Adam: Yeah, and, um… Yeah, yeah. And just to really be innocent about the exploration. So, it’s very easy, when we notice a behavior, like, oh, I shouldn’t drink or, I shouldn’t watch TV or, whatever. It is, it’s like, to be very, sort of, harsh, we’ve got to, like, attack, like, we’re gonna find the solution and go in there and, sort it out. And it’s like, to really be, to let awareness, like, innocently, reveal what’s there. It’s, like, um, to not know in advance, that, like, you know, we should not be drinking or, we should not be watching TV or, whatever. It’s, like, to really, just, like, explore, like, what is here, what’s, like, what’s the actual experience. So, like, there’s no condemnation, no, you know, we’ve got to kill this off or, stop this. But, just like, really feeling in, like, what’s actually going on here, what is our experience? Because, like, the truth will liberate us, anyway, it will. And, again, the path can be so, yeah, there can be different seasons, you know. It may be the season for closing down, right now, you know, after a big opening. So, it’s, so, there’s no violence to it, there’s no, like, we gotta force you open, we’ve got to, like, change what you’re doing or, something. It’s like, it’s really just letting awareness do its work.
Rick: Yeah, that’s nice. It’s a very compassionate way of putting it. I mean, guilt-tripping yourself over it, is obviously not gonna help. And, I mean, if a person had a serious problem, maybe, they need to go to AAA or, something, as a support group for, you know, what they’re going through.
Adam: Yeah, I mean, if you’re, sort of, like, burning down your house or, something, then, it’s like, you know, well, let’s put down the torch and..
Adam: But, you know, if you’re just watching a lot more TV than you think’s good for you, you know, we can, we can just be really gentle about that and, explore what’s going on.
Rick: Yeah, just don’t do it with a lot of beer. Here’s a question, from Marin, in Portland Oregon. She asks, I see the brain as an organ and, the mind as something else, entirely. I also understand PTSD as an event that injures an organ of the body, the brain, in addition to having an effect on the mind. How does awareness heal the brain if it does?
Adam: Hmm, yeah. I tend to, like, to speak just from my own direct experience. So, I mean, I just notice that there’s, you know, I’ve been hurt, there’s reasons why, you know, that my body contorted and, closed down and, numbed out and, distanced from the heart. I mean, when I was involved in that philosophy, I had no idea what love was, what my heart was. I mean, I was, like, oh, I’ll give you a theory of what love is or, something. So, it was, like, total BS, I mean, nothing connected to the direct experience of love. So, there’s, you know, there’s stuff that was there, you know, like, that had been put there for a reason, you know, because of whatever experiences I have when I was younger. And, again, I didn’t have, like, deeply traumatic experiences but, I had, you know, a normal human, sort of, upbringing, with imperfect parents and imperfect environment, and so on. And this, this stuff does heal, it can fall away. I mean, it’s, I feel so blessed, so grateful, for the gift of opening that’s happened.
Rick: And, just, in Marin’s question, that, you know, there is definitely a correlation between mind and body. I mean, that’s pretty well-established in scientific circles. And, between behavior and brain, also. I mean, they’ve done MRIs, you know, on people who have certain types of criminal behavior, chronically, and they find that there are actual, sort of, functional holes in their brain, in terms of, you know, in terms of brain activity, certain things are more shut down, than in the average person. And there’ve been studies on, you know, various kinds of meditation, showing that those functional holes, so to speak, can be healed and can be re-enlivened and, you know, brought back to, sort of, normalcy and, consequently, that, that behavior changes. So, you know, it’s an interesting area. There are researchers who are working on this kind of thing.
Adam: Yeah, I mean, everything’s interconnected. There’s nothing separate in the universe. Everything’s affecting everything all the time.
Rick: Yeah. Here’s a question and, Dan who sends me the question, says, location not given, but it’s a lovely question. So, here’s a lovely question, “Hello, Adam, you mentioned that you practice something like authentic movement. What advice would you give for someone who would like to start opening up to their bodies and their own bodies intelligence?”
Adam: Yeah, I mean, it’s really, like, the invitation to let awareness into the body. And, so, I guess, I’ll just describe, like, what I do, which was taught to me by Jeannie Zandi, which is, I’ll just close my eyes and let my body move however it wants to move. And I’ll keep my eyes closed for the entire period.
Rick: Will you be standing up, in the middle of the room or, something? Or?
Adam: Could be, could be lying down, could be sitting — the body will just move however it wants to move so, it’s different every time. And, yeah, and just letting myself, like, just be completely immersed in the experience of the body, the feel of the body. And, just, letting it, letting it, move as it wants to, letting it be still when it wants to.
Rick: So, if we were to watch a videotape, of you doing that, what would we see?
Adam: It totally depends.
Rick: Would you, like, be dancing around the room? Or, you know, gesticulating in different ways?
Adam: Ha-ha, yeah, this, it can be, it can be, entirely, yeah, there’s so many different ways. Like, I could be lying on my back, like, yawning, like, not moving, hardly, at all. I could be, do, all kinds of poses, that look, a bit, like prayer or, yoga or, something or, Tai Chi. But it’s like, but there’s, no, it’s not, coming from the mind. The movement is not, like, oh, I should stretch out my legs or, I should do… It’s like, it’s just, like, really being in the body and, like, letting the body, like, lead. So, just, letting the body do whatever it wants to do and letting myself be surprised by what it does. I mean, it just does crazy things, I mean, it’s like, the weirdest sort of stretches and contortions.
Rick: Interesting. Well, you know, yeah. I’ve heard stories of people having, like, Kundalini awakenings and then, without really knowing much about yoga or, anything, spontaneously going into various yoga postures. And some may actually speculate that, that’s how the yoga postures got developed. It wasn’t, it wasn’t, like, well, let’s see what my body can do but, it’s more, like, the body, some Yogi’s body, was spontaneously going into these positions and took note of it, you know?
Adam: Yeah, it feels like that’s what all the practices around the body, like, Tai Chi and, Qigong and, yoga, they’re, like, they’re, sorta, like, pointing at, to that, like, the aliveness of the body, like, the way the body, the body’s intelligence, the body’s wisdom.
Rick: Yeah. So, let’s see, I read a bunch of your essays, that you recommended, just see if there’s anything in them, that we haven’t covered, that’d be interesting to touch upon. Um, mostly, we’ve talked about all this stuff. Here’s one, that we didn’t talk about, I don’t think, “only the dropping away of the fear of loneliness, makes us truly available for intimacy. Now, we are free to open to others because they don’t need anything from them.” That’s kind of an interesting point. What would you say to that, anything?
Adam: Yeah, um, just to, like, I think, early on, in the essay, maybe, it’s, just, like, to be really gentle about the feelings we have about, you know, being rejected or, feeling lonely or, unloved or, unwanted, around being unworthy. It’s, like, this is, sort of, like a, I mean, we could call this, sort of, the core wound, in a way, like, many of us have a place like this. And it’s like, to just, you know, the sentence you read just sounds a little, sort of, like, yeah, we gotta get rid of that. But it’s, yeah, it’s just, to be so gentle, to really let ourselves feel that place. And, like, it’s not, it’s not wrong, that we, that we have this, this feeling. Like, this was put here, you know, this is the way we coped with our early experiences. And, when we, when we act from, like, trying to get rid of that by, like, grabbing hold of a partner or, like, you know, trying to, like, have as many friends, as we can have or, something, it’s like, we’re like, just to see how that, that wound is not, it’s like, we have to let awareness touch that, we have to turn towards that experience. Like, it’s not, there’s nothing, out there that’s going to take care of that, that’s going to fulfill that, satisfy it, heal it.
Rick: Yeah, interesting point. I guess, another way of putting it is, that if we’re kind of empty within ourselves, nothing outside of us and no one outside of us is going to be able to fill that emptiness, you know? And, any relationship we get into, if we’re empty and, the other person is empty, it’s, like, neither person is in a position to give, both are in, kind of, in taking mode and, no and therefore, nobody gets because nobody gives. All right but, if we’re full within ourselves, my cup runneth over kind of thing, and, if the other person is, then, obviously, that could be a very different experience.
Adam: Yeah, and again. I just, you know, I’m always really, like, attuned to the way that we can condemn ourselves, you know. It’s so, it’s, like, so, I really hate for someone listening to this to think that, like, that what we’re saying is, like, we have to be full of love and light and cleaned out, entirely, before we engage in a relationship. Or that, that we’re only doing harm to other people by the way that we’re loving or, something, like that. So, it’s like, you know, most of us have this place, some form of this, some way that we’re thrown into this, by particular events. You know, if a partner leaves us or, something, it’s often, like, a direct line to this pain. So, it’s like, really being so gentle, so compassionate, with this place, and, and giving it the loving awareness that, that it wants, that it’s asking for.
Rick: That’s nice. I think, if we were to summarize this whole interview or, to summarize you, in a couple words, it would be, gentleness and compassion. I mean, your whole persona really exudes those qualities, which is nice. And, you know, I mean, those are beautiful qualities to have and, it also, kind of, like, you know, summarizes your teaching. You know that you just have this real gentle, compassionate, non-manipulative approach. Refreshing.
Adam: Yeah, and, I just say, that, like, so, the experience, here, is, like, that, this is just, like, the, it’s, like, what the universe wants to do through me.
Adam: It’s like, it’s not, uh, it’s not, like, I’m trying to be loving or, something. It’s like, it’s like, this is, this is, how awareness appears to me, you know, like, it… So, this is the way that it’s, like, it’s so amazingly gentle, it’s, like, you know?
Rick: Were you often gentle, even as a child? Like, were you, like, really kind to animals? And, you know, just, you didn’t bully your friends at school or, anything like that? You’ve just always been a gentle guy or, did you really transform into a more gentle person?
Adam: Yeah, when I was a child, I think, I was fairly gentle. But, I was, um, I had, sort of, a, when I was a teenager and, the years after that, I mean, there was kind of a harshness in my tone. And, like, the especially with, sort of, political debate. And, so, I was very, like, you know, like, I don’t understand why you’re crying, I’m just like, being rational. With, just, like, very identified with the text and, not really, like, attending to, like, what’s actually being felt or, what’s the sort of energy that’s vibing.
Adam: I was really kind of shut down to that, that aspect of reality. So, it’s something that I’ve, sort of, become re-sensitized to, um – yeah, it’s, yeah. And, just, the way that, for me, there was this, sort of, sense, in that time period, like, that there, it wasn’t ok, to be the way that I am. Like, it was, like, there was, like, it was, a struggle to show up and not be and not be condemned. Like, it’s, sort of, like, to be okay where I am. And, like, there, to realize, like, how benign awareness is. It’s like, it’s already, sort of, blessed our existence, you know — as messy as we are, like, with all the wounds that we have, with all the, the clumsiness and clunkiness, of being a human being — it’s like, we get to be here, as we are. It’s like, we get, and, like, there’s a, there’s a, sort of, “welcome” in awareness. It’s like, when awareness touches, it just, like, opens and soothes what’s here. It’s like, we, it’s like, wow, we get to be here!
Rick: That’s nice. It’s very soothing just talking to you. And I’m all, I’m not always as mellow as this, during interviews. I’m just kind of like sitting here, like a blob. Here’s a question, that came in from someone named Eli. Could you please say something about the falling away of emotions, if you have any experience with that?
Adam: Yeah. For me, it’s like, what we call emotions — again, it’s sort of, like, there’s gross emotions, so, like, this, sort of, like, there might be anger or, like, sadness or, fear or, something — and it’s, and it like, as we open, like, the more subtle layers reveal themselves so, it’s like, it, there’s a mutation that, that happens. Like, uh, but it’s, like, we find, like, the, sort of, the layers of truth, that are deeper than the, sort of, manifesting emotions, you know, that the mind would call and think it’s, it thinks it knows. So, it’s, like, we get in touch with, sort of, the openness of what’s here, like, this, sort of, the holding for everything that’s here, everything that we are so, there’s not an identification with emotions, might be another way to put it. Like, so, when things show up that are uncomfortable, we often, like, immediately, like, I don’t want to feel this, this shouldn’t be here, oh, it’s bad that this is here, I’m unevolved, I’m not, not what I’m supposed to be. And then, as we open to it, when we allow it to be here, as it is, it, sort of, opens by itself. It’s like, this, this shift into, like, open space, where we’re still really present, like, really sensitive to what’s being felt, all the different things that are here. But there’s no, but there’s nothing, it’s almost, like, it’s impersonal. Like, there’s no, like, this is good or, bad because, it’s here. Like, there’s no one to take the credit and take the blame for any of it. It’s just, like, this is what’s in the field, this is what’s being experienced, this is what’s being felt.
Rick: Not judging.
Adam: Yeah. Yeah, it’s like, so, intimate with what’s here.
Rick: Yeah, it’s kind of one theme that, I think, that underlies everything you’re saying, is that there’s a there’s just a deeper dimension to life, if you, like. Call it a vertical dimension, although, that’s just, oh, yeah, you know, a word. But, you know, what appears on the surface is — I think, you said something, like this, in the very beginning — what appears on the surface of life, is just the tiniest fraction of what’s really going on.
Rick: And your whole approach seems to be to settle more and, more and more and more deeply, into the heart of things.
Adam: Mmm, yeah, beautiful way to put it, yeah. Yeah, it’s like, yeah to really give ourselves to life, like, just to let the universe have us.
Rick: That’s great. All right, well, I think, I don’t know, if any more questions have come in but, I think we’ve covered quite a bit of ground. Is there anything that comes to mind that you want to just throw out there?
Adam: Yeah, I think, maybe, just to speak to shame, just a little bit more. Like, how, like, everything we feel is, like, innocent, it’s, like, so innocent. And we, when we identify, we, like, from shame, it’s, like, we’re often, like, oh, this means I’m bad, like this feeling that’s here, it means I’m bad. But, like, how could a feeling that we’re experiencing, like, that’s just coming into the field, how could that make us bad? It’s like, we’re so innocent, everything we experience is so innocent. So, it’s like, really that, yes, it’s so impersonal, in a way, it’s like, this is what the universe has given us to feel.
Rick: Yeah, by innocent, you, do you, sort of mean, like, everybody’s doing the best they can? And, even if we do something that, you know — like, once in a while, I’ll have, I’ll remember something I did 30, 40 years ago and, I’ll just, sort of, cringe, like, god what a thing to have done — but, you know, it’s like, that’s, you act according to your level of consciousness, your level of maturity or, whatever. And the fact that I cringe, now, rather than just saying, oh, that was cool, you know, probably means some progress has been made.
Adam: Yeah, and, like, and, yeah so, it’s not, it doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t have the experience of remorse. Yeah, you know, like – like to deeply feel that, like ah, you know, yeah, and, and, just yeah, without condemning ourselves. Because it’s like, just, and, we can see, again, it’s like, innocent. It’s like, yeah, like, you say, how could I have done differently, I didn’t know.
Adam: You know, it doesn’t mean we don’t, yeah, we don’t have the experience of remorse, that we don’t, sort of, feel like heartbroken for, like, what we’ve done. But it’s, but we can see the innocence of that, it’s like, actually, a return to our heart. It’s like, that feeling of remorse, it’s like, we return to, like, the beauty of our heart. Our heart so wants to, like, own everything we’ve done, that betrays it.
Adam: It’s, like, returning to the truth.
Rick: We have a follow-up question from Scott, in Half Moon Bay, who was the fellow that, you know, was tempted to drink, again.
Adam: Oh, great.
Rick: He says, “thank you. Inquiring into the desire to drink, brings me to lots of emotion, moving in my heart. It feels good to be open there and it’s intense. Maybe I can allow this and love myself.”
Adam: Oh, beautiful, beautiful.
Rick: Yeah, well, Half Moon Bay is not terribly far from where you are and maybe you and Scott can get together and have a session or two.
Adam: Yeah, that’d be lovely, yeah.
Rick: Okay, well, thanks, Adam. This has been, for me, a very relaxing and peaceful kind of interview. That, you know, you just have an air about you, that’s mellow and soothing and, I really appreciate it. Not that I don’t like the more intense conversations I sometimes have but, this has been really enjoyable for me and, hopefully, for the 131 people or, so, who are watching the livestream and sending in questions. And many people will obviously watch the, watch the archived version, over the coming weeks, months, years.
Rick: And, so, I’ll be linking to your website, as always, AdamChacksfield.com, right?
Adam: Yeah, yeah.
Rick: Through that, they can, people can get in touch with you, go on your email list, I suppose — you know, see what you’re up to, in terms of retreats, this and that, and the usual. So, I’d like to just, sort of, thank you, again, and thank those who have been listening or watching. And, as you know, this is an ongoing series so, if you’d like to get on my email list, there’s a place on BATGAP.com to do that. You’d be getting about one email a week, every time a new interview is posted. This also exists as an audio podcast so, there’s a page for subscribing to that. There’s the donation button – as I mentioned, kind of necessary and, much appreciated – and, a bunch of other things, if you just explore the menus, you’ll find some interesting little tidbits. So, thanks for listening or watching. Next week, I’ll be interviewing someone named Annette Carlstrom, over in Sweden. So, thanks, a lot, Adam, and, uh…
Adam: Yeah, thank you, Rick. Yeah, really, really lovely sharing with you.
Rick: Great, yeah, I really appreciated it. So, talk to you later
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