Anatta Campbell Transcript

Anatta Campbell Interview

Rick: Welcome to Buddha at the Gas Pump. My name is Rick Archer and my guest this week is Anatta Campbell. Welcome.

Anatta: Hi Rick.

Rick: Hi.

Anatta: It’s a pleasure to finally meet you. I’ve been seeing your face on lots of interviews and I love everything you say.

Rick: Oh great, thanks.

Anatta: Thank you.

Rick: And you’ve written a book called The Ordinary Buddha, which is based upon or motivated by, I would say, to some extent, the same thing that motivated me to do this show, which is to highlight or sketch out, present different ordinary people who have had a spiritual awakening. And you go from the well-known, such as Adyashanti and Byron Katie, to a lot of people whom no one has ever heard of. But it’s a very enjoyable book. I read most of it.

Anatta: Oh, I’m so happy. You know, they weren’t well-known when I interviewed them.

Rick: Yeah, that’s why you were able to get them.

Anatta: Long time coming, that’s why I was able to get them. I was spending time with Byron Katie a lot and hanging out in Barstow, where she was at the time, and I did two interviews with her. And then Adyashanti had just started. He’d been doing it for a little while, but he was so kind to let me come. And my friend came and sat with him and his wife, and it was beautiful.

Rick: Yeah, and they’re good interviews. I mean, I interviewed Adyashanti and I’ve listened to a lot of his stuff and I learned all kinds of things about him in your interview that I hadn’t known.

Anatta: That’s what I’m hoping. It’s personal.

Rick: And Katie too. I mean, there’s a lot of stuff in there that I hadn’t known about her. So it’s enjoyable to read.

Anatta: Good.

Rick: So after all this interviewing and decades of spiritual pursuit, what have you concluded?

Anatta: Ahh, there is a conclusion, and I only recently came to that. I’ve been writing this book since 1995 and my experience was in ’93. So it’s a long time coming and I felt compelled to do this. But just recently I got it. What it’s telling me is that there is no path. There’s no one way. There might be a path for you or there may not be a path. So it’s just very unique to each individual. And also that every awakening is yours, alone and unique, because nobody experiences awakening in the same way, from what I’ve seen and read and heard since then too.

Rick: Yeah, I would agree with both of those conclusions myself. I mean, there are some common elements obviously, but everybody has a slightly different flavor of it.

Anatta: Slightly.

Rick: Yeah, sometimes radically.

Anatta: Yes, but it’s like, you know, my thing was one angle. Somebody else had another angle or side of it. And like I’ve heard it said, like the diamond, where there are many facets. I had this facet of seeing clearly truth and reality and somebody else had this facet. So to me it’s fascinating. That’s an interesting word, facets and fascinating. But each one is so unique. But the bottom line is – there’s a bottom line for me, what awakening is – which is the realization that you are not who you thought you were.

Rick: Yeah.

Anatta: You’re something else that you had no idea, and there was no way you could ever see it until you did. So there’s that commonality and then the differences, subtle or huge or whatever.

Rick: Yeah. I’ve heard it said that we’re all kind of like different reflectors, and according to our makeup, which could be discussed in terms of Ayurveda for instance, or in terms of other models, one or another quality of the absolute might be predominant. So for one person it might be more bliss, and for another person more vastness, and for another more of a knowingness. And obviously all those elements are there, but there could be different balances of them, according to one’s constitution. And even in the whole Vedic thing, the different rishis were said to cognize different aspects of the Veda according to their particular lineage or their shakha, their particular makeup. I imagine it could even be sort of analyzed in terms of genetics, but we’re all like these little filters, which are kind of lenses or something, which are all kind of seeing the same thing, but putting a different flavor on it according to our own constitution.

Anatta: Exactly. See, I don’t have to talk. I really feel like when I hear you speaking and answering and discussing with people, that I go, “Yes!” You know, yours is the one that I have the biggest “yes” for. So that’s exactly my conclusion, without knowing these books and ideas or truths, is that it has to do with… you know, I’m not Gangaji. I like her colors. But I’m not her, because I’m not one to sit in front of people. I don’t have that eloquence. I was listening to Trip’s interview…

Rick: Overholt?

Anatta: Yes, he is a friend of mine. He’s awesome. But it was great watching. But his thing was, “I am as awake as anybody”, you know. And I agree with that. And then you had your side. I might be as awake, because the awakening, where you just lose yourself or know you’re not there, that’s clear and that’s the same. But as far as me sitting in front of a group of people and just emanating what these people emanate, that’s not my personality. That’s where I see the difference.

Rick: Well, we all have different roles to play, you know. I mean, Kabir was a weaver. He just sat and spun his loom or whatever it was, and wrote this beautiful poetry. Maybe it wasn’t his thing to get up in front of hundreds of people.

Anatta: I’m a hairdresser.

Rick: Yeah, there you go.

Anatta: I love it. And it’s satsang all day long.

Rick: I mean, Adyashanti was a bicycle mechanic before he got into being a teacher. And we go through different phases too. I mean, five years from now, who knows? You might be sitting up in front of a crowd. You never know.

Anatta: I’m willing, wherever it takes me. The other thing about what you were saying – about the different aspects of awakening based on personality, and then there’s, like you say, there’s the blissful, there’s the vastness, there’s the emptiness, there’s oneness, there’s all of these aspects to it. And what I’m finding now, and things have been happening still, it’s ongoing, it’s 20 years since my awakening. 20 years until my awakening and 20 years since. So it’s interesting because new things are coming to me.

Rick: Some people might conclude from that that you’re only 40 years old.

Anatta: I’m 42. No, I’m 68. I’ll admit it. I just turned 68. So yeah, a long time on this path. And there’s so many aspects. I already interrupted myself in my brain.

Rick: No, I interrupted you. You were saying it was 20 years in the making and then 20 years since.

Anatta: So what’s happening there is this deepening. And the deepening, what happened to me just recently was through dreams and this and that happened, and different experiences, I realized that my thing was emptiness, no self. That’s what Anatta means and Papaji said, “That means I don’t exist”, and I said, “You understand. That’s exactly it”. That I just didn’t exist. And so there’s so much freedom when you’re not there to worry about what anybody thinks of you, or you can’t worry about anything. There’s just nothing to worry about. So there’s that. But then recently I realized through the things that happened that I was attached to my emptiness. So another identification, like Adyashanti said in the book – and you probably read – you become attached to your own awakening or your identity as an awakened person. And at that time when I interviewed him – I think it was ’99 or something – I was getting that, “Oh yeah, I can see”, but even now, now I’m attached to the nobody. So what I was missing, it started coming in, is presence, and that’s like new. So here, 20 years later, here comes the new facet of the diamond.

Rick: Well, you know, there were several quotes from your book that I wrote down, because I feel so strongly about this perspective and the importance of it, and then several of your interviewees stated it very beautifully. For instance, here’s one from Adyashanti. He said, “Even now with me, the mystery is just beginning, always still beginning”. And then Jeff said, “Lately I have been having this feeling that it’s just beginning, that my experience is just an opening, a start, a door opening, yet it’s a long process to bring that into day-to-day life. It’s like this thing wants to transform my life, so it goes slowly into different aspects of the personality”. And then Ronnie said, “Although it has been three or four years, I still feel like a baby”. And personally, I think this is such an important point, because there’s a tendency for people to hang up their hat at so many different stages of the process and conclude that it’s done, it’s finished, game is over. And I personally have the attitude that, like Adyashanti said, it’s always still beginning. And we don’t know how much wonder and richness there is yet to unfold. On the big scale of things, Ramana Maharshi was just beginning, and who knows what he could grow into. So that’s why I took issue with Trip a little bit when he said, “There’s not an inch of daylight between me and Ramana Maharshi”. I say on the one hand, yes, there’s a level on which that’s true. On the other hand, there is a vast range of possibilities for embodiment and enfoldment and infusion of that absolute value into relative life.

Anatta: That’s it. See, this is why I knew this was not going to be a difficult interview, because I have nothing to disagree with you. I think we’re just on the same understanding. And maybe it’s a maturity, because when I first had my experiences, which were a couple of them, I thought I was done. I was so done, you know? Because 20 years of looking for something, and then you find it, and here’s you open this gift box, and it’s right there. Why do you not need anything else? And so I literally walked around in that for about eight months, and then I went home to visit my parents, and then I crashed.

Rick: You know that saying by Ram Dass, don’t you? “If you think you’re enlightened, go spend a week with your parents”.

Anatta: I know. And then what brought me down wasn’t my family. Actually, my dad had passed, but my mom and my siblings. I brought Gangaji videos because I thought, “Now I’m going to bring this to them. They’re going to wake up. It’s going to be awesome”. And they didn’t even get it. They watched the video. That was generous, but they didn’t get it. And I went, “Oh no, I can’t share this with the people I really want to share it with”. But now here’s 20 years later, and I had a conversation with my sister on the phone from New York, who’s a Christian, although now she does yoga and she’s broadened. We had a satsang on the phone and I was amazed. It was just amazing. She was ready to hear it. So it’s still ongoing. I don’t even know where I started with this point.

Rick: Well, we were talking about that it’s all still beginning.

Anatta: It’s all still beginning.

Rick: And there’s a kind of innate human tendency to sort of want to latch on. You were talking earlier about attachment. There’s a tendency to want to sort of attach to whatever realization has happened and consider that to be final – I don’t know why. I mean, there’s even a strong tendency for people to attach just to the initial understanding of oneness. I read this article in What Is Enlightenment magazine the other day about this guy that was talking about how he was an incorrigible neo-advisor, fundamentalist during high school because he had just hypnotized himself with this notion that it’s all an illusion. And so everything could be brushed off by that notion. Global warming, bah, famine, it’s all an illusion. And he nearly flunked out of high school and that was his wake-up call because he was just so disconnected from the “real world” because he didn’t consider it real. And then he matured out of that. But there’s a tendency to get hung up at that level. And I think there’s a possibility, and it’s not uncommon for people to have had a profound abiding awakening and yet for some reason to just rest there – and perhaps for the rest of this lifetime – and not move on. And yet moving on is possible and maybe next lifetime, whatever.

Anatta: I think that’s where life comes in and pushes you off, back into “reality” that we know isn’t. But I was on that, where nothing matters, it’s all perfect, and it’s kind of a nice place to be. And then there’s a maturing. And I think the maturing is… and then when I say, “I was enlightened because I was”, to me, that’s what I was looking for. This thing is it. And then, now I call it an awakening, because “enlightenment” is a word that means maybe more than that. And then the deepening happens. And the deepening is the real thing, for me, is bringing that huge understanding, which is almost like naive. It’s huge and it’s the truth, it’s reality, it’s the reality. But now it brings it into, “Well, why am I on this planet? I’m here for something”. So I think it’s bringing… having that knowing is incredible and then bringing it into daily life like an alignment. And so when you bring that in, that’s the fullness of awakening or whatever you want to call it.

Rick: Yeah. I’m always hesitant to use the “e” word myself because it has this sort of static, superlative connotation. So I like your use of just say, “an awakening”. And there are many awakenings, and some of them are very significant and certain ones are perhaps irrevocable, although you never know.

Anatta: For me, the irrevocable is that I know I don’t exist, even though a lot of times I think I do. It was my second experience, and I was talking to Jeff on the phone, who you mentioned earlier, at late at night, and so I’ll just tell you about this one because it was a second one. I was completely gone, but I didn’t go anywhere because I never had been there. So it was the recognition that I never was there, and even though I thought I was, I knew it just… there was nobody there. There was an energy moving through my body that I saw, literally, and the body was there, but there was no me, no personality, no structure like that. And then I knew immediately that if I ever thought that I was there, it wouldn’t be true. So that’s how I live my life. I think I’m there, but I know it’s just not true. So it’s so interesting. So like we’re talking about the continuing, and it goes on and on and on. So now, 20 years later, I’m getting this presence thing, which I didn’t even know what it was, and I go to a Buddhist hermitage and I talk to him and I said, “I don’t know what’s going on, but this thing keeps coming in”, and he says, “Well, do you want to talk more or do you want to talk less?” And I said, “Well, less”. So he said, “Oh, okay, that’s good”. But I didn’t know what it was, and then other things. I had a dream and I started realizing it’s the opposite of the emptiness, which is what I love so much, the emptiness. I love the desert, I love empty. And now it’s this other thing coming in and knocking on the door, and it’s presence. I have other friends who a friend is writing a book on presence, and that’s what it’s just… I don’t know if it’s more joyful, because you can’t compare children – you know, who you love more – but it’s more joy coming in, filling me. It’s like filling the emptiness with nothingness. It’s nothing either, but there’s a richness that’s coming in now, and my whole expression I can feel it change. It’s like, “What is this? What is this?” I remember Adyashanti saying, “What is this? What is it that I’m looking for? What is it that keeps wanting me to find it? What is this ‘moo’?”

Rick: In Sanskrit there are these two phrases which are juxtaposed, shunyavada and purnavada. Shunyavada is fullness of emptiness, purnavada is fullness of fullness. And there’s that saying, how does it go? I forget the Sanskrit, but “that is full, this is full, taking fullness from fullness, fullness remains”. I’ll remember the Sanskrit later, it’s a real famous one. But in any case, I think these are representative of probably – and it seems to be in your experience – of phases or stages. First one tastes the emptiness quality and then it begins to get full.

Anatta: Shunyavada, is that what you said?

Rick: Shunyavada, V-A-D-A.

Anatta: I like that, I’m going to use that.

Rick: Yeah, except you’re moving into the purnavada phase, which means full.

Anatta: Fullness of emptiness is more what I would describe as my, you know, me. That’s my angle on it. Like you say, however you come into the planet with whatever you have, that feels like my bag. Because it’s full, it’s a full emptiness, yeah. Love it – Shunyavada.

Rick: One thing I thought of while you were talking that I find helpful is to sort of think of ourselves as multi-dimensional. You said, okay, you’re having this conversation with Jeff and you realize you were nobody, you were nothing, there was nobody there, no personality. And yet, we could argue that on some level, you still are somebody. There was somebody talking to Jeff, there were certain personality characteristics that were different than Jeff’s and so on. And I kind of find that, I don’t mean to sound pedantic, but there’s another Sanskrit word called mithya, which is dependent reality. They use the example of a pot. So you have a pot, and there really is no pot, it’s only clay. But there’s the appearance of a pot, and the appearance of a pot does pot things. You can put stuff in it, or use it as a drum or something. And physics comes to the rescue, they’ll tell you that there is actually no gravity at a certain level of nature’s functioning. All the forces and laws and whatnot that we see governing the universe are not to be found if you go deep enough. And yet, at various apparent levels of reality, they’re very much real. If you don’t think they are, go try jumping off a building. So it’s kind of like a both/and way of looking at it, where I have no trouble saying, “Yeah, absolutely, there is no one there, and yet at the same time there is”, and as paradoxical as those two things may be, they can get along quite well.

Anatta: Well that’s true, for me now. Having had that experience, I know that’s true, absolutely. It’s the biggest truth. And then I also know this is true, and I’m here to play and to do whatever. But in that moment, really there was nothing. In that moment, there was nothing. Even though it was talking, there was nobody talking. And I said to Jeff on the phone, “Well, you’re not here. Your electrical impulse is on the phone. You don’t exist, I don’t exist”. And literally, I didn’t know if I would be dead in the morning. I just laid back down, but already before I even laid down I brought myself back. I did that on purpose, Katie says, because I said, “What was that?” She said, “And you didn’t have to”, she said. I didn’t have to think myself, because I was raising a child, how am I going to do that? But now, the knowings that I have, this is the thing that never goes away, that never changes. The self I thought I was, in my first experience I understood that’s just not true, and the second experience, even that, there’s nothing. But I live a really full, full, full, full life. I am so busy, I do so many things, and I raised two extra children after mine, or grown, who I’m not related to, and it just came to me, and it’s what I had to do. And not even what I had to do, but it was my privilege. You know, I think I live a much bigger life. I am more expanded and free and fearless than I ever would have been if I thought I was a self.

Rick: Yeah.

Anatta: So I live more, it looks like, a bigger life, you know? There’s less inside, and that’s what’s been happening lately. There’s a more, even lately, again, yeah, it’s like again, because I think maybe it’s waves, because I was pretty much a personality there for a while, and I went through a lot of stuff. But lately it just feels more spacious, and there’s just this little piece of an Anatta, and I had this dream, and I didn’t know, I was saying earlier, I had a dream and I couldn’t remember my name. What am I called now? I was Garimo – Osho gave me the name Garimo – and then before that I was Patricia. And in my dream I remembered those two, but I couldn’t remember what I’ve been called for the last  And I woke up, I still couldn’t remember. I was awake, I couldn’t remember what I’m called. And that was coming out of some experiences that I had been having about an attachment to this anatta, which means I don’t exist, no self. I was attached to that, like as an identity. So I think it was a gift, and I’m trying to remember, trying to remember, and I thought, “I think it starts with an S”, I couldn’t remember.

Rick: Shunya.

Anatta: So then somebody told me, “Shunya means zero”. I said, “I think I just need a big zero”. And he said, “Shunya”, and I went, “Oh, there’s my S”. So how I remembered my name was to visualize, I said, “Okay, I have a sign at work, I know it’s my hair salon and it has my name on it, let me see what it says”. So in my mind’s eye I went and looked and it says, “Anatta Hair Studio”. So I went, “That’s the only way I can remember my name”. This was fully awake. So I love that experience because now I feel like there’s just more of a… you know, and I look inside, I don’t see that in there now, as an identity. It’s weird. I mean, it’s almost esoteric and it’s a story and all of that, but it’s a good one and it’s fun for me. So I just look inside now and I feel much more of a space, which actually connects me more with the moment, because there’s not so much filter in the way, there’s not so much veil. I just recently spent a weekend with my mom and my niece and her three kids and the cat, and it was blissful, it was just blissful going shopping or being with the kids. There’s just less me to be in the way, to want something else, I think. There’s nothing to want, anything other than perfection.

Rick: Yeah, there’s so many interesting thoughts that that stimulates. I was just talking with a friend yesterday and he was saying, we were kind of agreeing that we had both gone through a period of years where you just felt like, “Get me out of here, I want to get liberated, I don’t want to reincarnate, life is suffering”, and then somehow or other the whole thing turned around at a certain point and now it’s like, “I don’t care how long this goes on, this is fun”.

Anatta: This is fun! I think there’s something from the Course in Miracles that somebody is always posting these things, which I love, because they’re really true in what they say, but it’s like being there, dead, floating with God, or being fully enlightened and not in the world, isn’t better than being present. It’s like, we’re here, it’s not better to be dead and in heaven with God. And I read a lot of stories of people who have died and have gone and it’s incredibly blissful, but this is heaven, when you’re present to it and you’re not trying to get away. It’s both, they’re both good. It’s where you are is the best place to be.

Rick: Also when we speak of people who have died and gone to heaven and all that, we’re speaking from an individual perspective. If we zoom back a little bit and remember that we are that cosmic intelligence in which the whole universe is contained and of which this individual expression that we somehow identify with is just one little tiny tendril among trillions of tendrils that are kind of experiencing, then that’s really who we are. We’re not just emptiness or silence or nothingness, we are kind of an ocean of intelligence that is self-referral and that by interacting with itself creates this wondrous universe. It puts things in perspective for me and it also gives you a sense of how profound the journey can continue to become, growing into the experiential living of that rather than just the conceptual entertainment of it.

Anatta: Yeah, that’s what it feels like is happening. I like what you said before, “Who knows where it’s going?” This whole thing of this presence knocking, it’s like, “What is that?” It’s just new. It’s not not ordinary, it’s, I don’t know, who knows what’s going to come up. But it’s not even to look for that, it’s not even to, “I want bigger and better”. This is pretty great. I mean, I look out there and I have white squirrels out there, because we live in an area that has them. There’s a squirrel hanging off my bird feeder right now. It just doesn’t get better than this, and yet, we’ll see. I’m open to whatever. I have nothing but an openness at this point.

Rick: There’s that beer ad where two guys are sitting in a boat fishing and drinking beer and one of them says, “It doesn’t get any better than this”.

Anatta: I’ve seen that and I’m like, “Right!” You know, what you were saying before, we were talking about near-death experiences and I do read that because they’re similar to awakenings. They’re very similar. It’s the same understanding. When they come back from that and we come back from our awakening experience, you live life differently, you’re changed. And yeah, somebody asked, “Well, what do you get out of this?”. My sister, when I was talking to her in New York, “Well, what good is it to be awake?” Well, there’s a list, and actually there’s a list. I had this book that I … this is from like ’99, I gave this to my daughter, “The Ordinary Buddha”.

Rick: This is like an early…

Anatta: It’s a manuscript. And December 20th, 1999, and AdyasShanti wasn’t even in it yet, so I interviewed him after that. Here’s a good little poem on the cover, though. These are some things that are not in my book now that I want to put back in. John has some poems in my book, and it just goes by John. And on the first page I put, “I am just a container, empty inside, and a suspicion is dawning that only the space is truly alive”. I thought that’s a good one.

Rick: Nice. You know how you were talking a few minutes ago about how full your life is and how busy you are and how much you’re doing and all that stuff? I was kind of reminded of an analogy, and maybe you can tell this to your sister in answer to the question, “What good is it to be awake?”… And that is that a shallow pond can only rise up in little ripples. It can’t really rise up in very big waves, but an ocean, a deep ocean, can rise up in huge tidal waves. So awakening is kind of like recognizing one’s oceanhood, and it bestows the capacity to live life with much greater richness and fullness and even enthusiasm than if we’re constricted to narrow awareness.

Anatta: Yeah. I used to, before awakening and then after awakening, and I still had this tendency a little bit after, but I would get very depressed at times, and I would just – not clinical because it would go away – but I would go to bed and pull the cover over my head and not want to move and just disappear. And it’s kind of good because I did disappear, in a way. But I used to really have that a lot, and then afterwards, it would creep in a little bit, but it would just leave because it wasn’t sort of needed. The thing about releasing my book now after all these years, I wasn’t ready, I think. I was trying to get it released and it wasn’t happening and all this stuff, but I think that my ego was still present, sort of too much. I didn’t want to be exposed. So it’s really interesting about the bigness and fullness and deepness and all of that, that allows you to be and do, because now I don’t care if you think I’m an egoist because I’m saying that I had an awakening or I’m telling you my experiences, because I don’t care, it doesn’t matter. There’s not enough there to care what you think. So I just think that was part of the maturing, that finally this book came out, now it’s like it is what it is, this is just what happened. But there are a whole bunch of things that I have in this old book that I don’t have now. The first response is tremendous relief, the search is over. That was huge for me, it was just like, “Yay!” And such a celebration, you know? We have discovered our true nature. I’m going to read it all, but freedom from the small self, the detachment from the ego. It’s just this freedom of not worrying about what that’s doing as much. And I used to want, in the beginning, I used to want that to go away, you know? Because I had this other. It was the Buddha is what I saw in my first experience. It was the Buddha, me the Buddha, and what I got from that was, “You’re the Buddha and there isn’t anybody that isn’t”. So I recognized that the energy of the Buddha, the peace and the contentment and the freedom, the beauty, that’s everybody. So that’s what everybody gets when they get awake, they get that download, like Adyashanti said, of insights. But then there was this personality, it’s like, “Well, just get away from me!” It was just annoying. But now it’s like, “Oh, well, I don’t even care about it, it’s still there, we’ll just love it”.

Rick: Yeah.

Anatta: And then the search is over, so there’s the freedom there, a sense of peace, a sense of trust, a tendency to act spontaneously. So that’s huge. It’s like whatever comes to me, like Adyashanti said, “How do I know what to do?” He said, “The next obvious thing”.

Rick: Ah, you know, I love that too. In fact, there’s a book I was going to mention earlier by Suzanne Siegel called “Collision with the Infinite”.

Anatta: I read that.

Rick: Have you? Yeah. So that’s one of her catchphrases. And the reason I was going to mention it is you were talking about the realization of emptiness, and in her case it was so sudden and unexpected that it induced great fear because she kept looking for a self.

Anatta: I was afraid too.

Rick: Yeah, couldn’t find one.

Anatta: When I disappeared, I didn’t know if I was going to die. It wasn’t a good experience.

Rick: Yeah, like you said. Right.

Anatta: But afterward it was.

Rick: When you adjust a bit.

Anatta: Yeah, afterward it was like, “Oh, it’s freedom”. But it was scary.

Rick: And in her case she went on for ten years until she got with Jean Klein, who was Francis Lucille’s teacher, and he sort of made her realize that, “Hey, this is a good thing. Just relax”.

Anatta: Yeah.

Rick: Stop looking for a self.

Anatta: Yeah, because it’s clinical. I mean, it’s a psychosis to not know who you are. And people go to mental hospitals for that, when they disconnect with, you know, but that’s not what we’re really talking about. There’s a couple of things. Acceptance of all life’s good and bad, gratitude, enjoyment and love. Those are things. And what I don’t see in here is creativity. You open up to so much more creativity. I wasn’t creative before this, and then afterwards I was.

Rick: Yeah. Well, look at the universe again. Look at a single cell and look at how much intelligence and creativity, or a plant or a bird or anything, goes into forming that expression. And if that source of all life and all creation is also what we are – which I think intuitively we know it is – then think how much creativity is there. Think how much intelligence is there. And to what extent can we be a channel for that, a reflector of that. The possibilities are endless. When you mention bliss, that’s another characteristic. Satchitananda – that’s one of the characteristics of that. And so if a person is feeling depressed, maybe there’s just some blockage that’s preventing the bliss from flowing. Because there should be no room for depression if the bliss is unobstructed, the flow of it.

Anatta: And these are all things that have, with the maturing or deepening process, have grown and become more and more.

Rick: And will continue to grow.

Anatta: Will continue. But I went through a really difficult time. I have, like I said, these two children. They’re the grandchildren of the man I was living with. But that relationship wasn’t going well, even. And it was really hard, and we ended it, which was a good thing. I remember just being so down, and still the bliss is there, and I know it. And this is years later, after all these experiences. But there’s an alignment. This is Adyashanti. He did a group with him early on, which was called “Embodiment Group” he did early on. So people who came already had had these experiences and now you want to embody it. And that’s what really goes on. And that’s why I think life kicks your butt and throws these things in, like this relationship, which was good. And I got these two children to raise, so it was perfect for karma for me and them. It was good. It’s interesting that I could still be in, “This is hard”, but I never lost myself. It’s always there. So getting rid of that relationship was a way to bring me back into alignment. That was off, and I knew it was off and I did it anyway. So you kind of know, I think after you wake up, or even probably before, we all know what’s right and when we don’t do it, we’re off-center, off-kilter, and we don’t feel good. And I went to Brian, who you interviewed, starts with a P, Piergrossi, I don’t know how to say it.

Rick: Oh, Brian Piergrossi, yeah.

Anatta: Piergrossi. I picked up the equipment from him because he’s in Asheville, and he had the last interview, which was really fun, and I had wanted to go to one of his meetings. But one of the persons there – it was a beautiful meeting with him, young people, just beautiful young people and some older, but here’s these kids that I was in India with in 1980, here they are again, you know, the same kids they look like, and they’re just beautiful. But one of them was talking about addiction and how you can be awake, but if you’re in your addiction, you’re not going to be… they didn’t even use the word “awake”, but you can be really good and all this wonderful stuff happening, but then you have this addiction which is taking you away. And I relate to that because even for me, it’s food, so it’s sugar and the white stuff and all of that, and if I really let myself be in that, I lose my alignment. So it’s interesting. So we can still be as awake and like Trip says, not a breath of air between me and anybody, but at the same time, if I’m in my addiction, I sure don’t feel that way.

Rick: Yeah. Well, Nisargadatta was apparently addicted to nicotine, and it killed him.

Anatta: Yeah, and Papaji… I was with Osho and with Papaji, they were both diabetic, it’s sugar. They said that Osho, I heard, could eat 20 apples a day, they had to keep him from eating  And I know Adyashanti, I mean Papaji, ate candy because he fed us candy which I ate when I was there. If he’s giving me candy, I’m going to eat it. But you know, they still have that. But for me, if I want to stay really free and stay awake, I have to watch how I live, what I put into my body, who I associate with even, and bring your alignment back into the wholeness and the happiness that you know. And like I said, I think whether you’ve had an awakening experience or not, you know what’s right for you, and it’s important to live what you know is right and have the courage to do that.

Rick: Well I think if you listen to it, the inner barometer or whatever becomes more and more sensitive and you get more intuitive. The discriminating faculty is not alien to enlightenment, in fact it’s, I think, instrumental in bringing it about and you can begin to trust your intuitions more. In fact, there’s a Sanskrit phrase called “ritambhara prajna” and it’s that level of intellect which knows only truth. And it’s said that if you’re operating from that level, then you can clearly discriminate between anything and recognize, and even to experience something. You can take the thought of an apple on the mental level and experience the apple in its fullness even though there is no actual apple. Although perhaps extrapolating beyond that, that could be instrumental in how people can manifest apples or loaves and fishes or whatever, if they’ve got that developed to a great enough extent.

Anatta: I believe in miracles. I mean I think there are some things about this awakening and all of that where Osho used to call it “esoteric bullsit”, because he couldn’t say “S-H”. “Esoteric bullsit”. And so I’m not a New Age kind of person because I’m not into all of that, and yet I’ve had experiences that are those that people talk about, so I don’t discount anything. Everything is possible.

Rick: Jet planes are miracles. Go back 150 years and have a jet plane fly over and see how people would react.

Anatta: How am I talking to you right now?

Rick: Yeah, right, exactly.

Anatta: Radio was a miracle. I mean I was walking around one day years and years ago and I just went, “Oh my God, television! How is that?” All of a sudden it was like in the 1800s and I was looking at it from that perspective and looking at the world and just, “How? This is all a miracle”.

Rick: So-called miracles are just utilization of laws of nature which are not very well known so we call them miracles. If it’s possible to walk on water then there must be certain laws of nature which, if one can master them, would enable one to do that. And we’ll see, but obviously it’s something very rare and so we call it a miracle. If we lived in a society in which everyone had that kind of mastery then it would be like, “Oh yeah, so what?”

Anatta: Exactly. But you know, for me, I was talking to a lady who had, when I said, “When I’m doing hair”, it’s like satsang often, because somebody will ask something and I’ll say something and then they’ll answer, and then it’s like, I say there’s a new coming out of the closet thing. It used to be, well, if you’re gay, you know, you didn’t let people know. Now you come out of the closet and you can be a little proud of that and whatever, but now it’s like, “Oh, I’ve had those experiences. Don’t tell anybody, you know, but I’m going to just tell you”. So it’s like they’re coming out with these amazing things that have happened that just haven’t been discussed. It’s a whole new coming out of the closet. But this lady was talking about – her dog died and she came back to her at a time when she needed her, and she was there, and there was the golden fur and it was a beautiful experience for her, and she helped her with another dog that was sick that she couldn’t get to take his eardrums. She just couldn’t, it was a 150 pound dog and all of this stuff. And then she said, “The dog said, ‘I’ll help you'”, you know, came to her and said, “I’ll help you”, and she’s like, “Okay”. So the next time she went to the dog, the dog laid down on the floor and I thought to myself, “The dog was sitting on him”, and that’s what she said. I get chills. That’s what she said. She said, “I asked her, she said, ‘I was sitting on him'”, so that’s why he laid down and she put the eardrums. But that’s just one thing that she doesn’t tell anybody but me. Nobody’s going to…

Rick: Because people are going to think they’re weird or something.

Anatta: Yeah, but for me, so my experience was one of a woo-woo kind of experience of seeing my dad, who had died when he was 54, and I went into a meditation because somebody else… because like I said, I’m not new-agey, but I went into this meditation and she was looking at what the spirits are around us and I said, “Okay, that’s interesting”. So I went home and I started looking and I looked for Osho and he was there, you know, I could feel it, but then my dad came in and it was him! It was truly him because for one thing there was a fragrance that I realized I always knew was his, but when we’re in this plane we have an actual smell, a vision, and all these things get in the way of the essence, so there was like a flavor, a fragrance, that I knew it was him. And then I said, “Well, now you’re going to be sorry. Now you’re going to apologize for all the times you smacked me or did…” – he’s Italian you know, and he never beat me or anything. It was just all the things I was mad at, you know? And he said, “No”. And he didn’t say it in words. It’s like, you know it’s the thing, because it’s not words, it’s not imagination, there’s a fragrance there, and then instead of apologizing – like I said, now he’s with God, he’s going to apologize because he knows, he’s on the other side, he knows what he did wrong – e said, “I did it perfectly. I played my role perfectly”, and I was shocked. I couldn’t have made that up. How would I? I don’t believe that, you know? So that was so huge for me because, number one, it showed me there are other things other than, you know, what is that Shakespearean thing?

Rick: Oh yes, “there’s more in this heaven and earth than is contained in all your philosophies”.

Anatta: Yeah, or imagination or anything else. So yeah, that came to me, so now I knew there was more. And I don’t know if he’s there or what that was, but I know that I got a message and it was his fragrance, that was huge. But the other thing is, I can’t do it wrong now. I can’t do it wrong. And I’ve done a lot of things that I shouldn’t have done, I don’t think, you know, or acted as. And from that I just felt like, “Well, none of us can do it wrong”. So I was thinking about this interview, it’s like, “Well, people don’t go there with these things in this non-dual thing”.

Rick: Do you mean to do agey stuff?

Anatta: Yeah, but there’s also more things in heaven and earth.

Rick: Oh, a lot of my interviews have been pretty ooga-booga.

Anatta: Oh, have they?

Rick: Yeah.

Anatta: I miss those.

Rick: Well, Anita Morjani, for one thing, she’s a well-known near-death experience person, so there’s that. And there have been a number of others, just because I kind of have this attitude that it’s, like you say, there are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are contained in all your philosophies. And I think the reason you and I both probably are a little leery of the new age scene, which seems a little passe now, I mean, it’s been a while since that.

Anatta: It’s still there, though.

Rick: Yeah, well, maybe especially in Nashville, is that if that becomes one’s predominant focus, one can get lost in all this extraneous stuff, which is ultimately not the ground state that we’re looking for. But if that ground state has been established, then perhaps there’s a little bit of freedom to explore some of these things without getting lost in them. And Maharshi always used to use the analogy of capturing a fort, so that it’s like a territory and there’s all these mines around the territory, gold and silver and diamond. And if you go after exploring those mines, but you haven’t first captured the fort, then the territory doesn’t belong to you, and you’re just going to be wasting your time going after one little thing, as opposed to owning the whole territory. And you could also just get lost endlessly in this, that, and the other thing, without really getting to the goal.

Anatta: That’s a great analogy, I love that. But I actually did a few talks – on my bike, I just hit it – about my book, and I really wanted to get into awakening, you know, what is it for you, and that you are the ordinary Buddha, and how to discover that. But there were some people who were just in the New Agey realm, and really took it off topic for me, and took it into, “Well, we’re going to go and we’re going to do this thing, and then we’re going to change the weather because there’s a storm coming”, and it’s like, “No we’re not”. You know, the point for me is, there’s a storm coming, yay!

Rick: Yeah, get out the skis.

Anatta: And I’m with Katie, who says, “I don’t argue with God, because I’m always going to lose”, and she says, “Haven’t you noticed?” We’re always going to lose, haven’t you noticed? And I have noticed, and I don’t want to argue with God, I don’t want to make it different, you know, I want to celebrate this, right here, right now.

Rick: Yeah, and there’s that Alcoholics Pledge, or that saying, “Changing the things you can change, not changing the things you can’t, and having the wisdom to know the difference”. So, you know, get down to the real nitty-gritty, and we are God, we are that entity. And so we have a certain latitude, a certain freedom to exercise influence, but only to a certain extent.

Anatta: That’s my favorite prayer. God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, and change the things I can. And that’s such a great prayer, because it brings the absolute and the relative together, and it brings it into alignment, because on this planet, raising the kids I’m raising, I can change something there, I can do something. And not to say, “Oh well, it’s all nothing, it’s all in God’s hands”, it’s not. Yeah, we are God.

Rick: Yeah, and we’ve seen people go to either extreme.

Anatta: It’s the same with weather, I just like, “Why?”

Rick: Yeah, and in either pole you can see some people, “I have to control everything”, and they’re like, practically their heads are exploding, they’re trying so hard to control everything. And then on the other extreme, you see people like you just said, “You can’t do anything, there’s no one to do it, everything happens all by itself”. There’s a kind of a balance point between those things.

Anatta: I think I’m pretty balanced now, because I’ve had both of those. I’ve had both of those, trying to control everything until my head explodes. You can ask my friends and family. I have really done that, and the other just completely surrendered. But that’s the balance and that’s the alignment, and that’s the play. Somebody said, “We’re here to play this, we’re here to play and to celebrate rediscovering that we’re God and being on the earth as well, and fully present here”.

Rick: Yeah, and as God, having rediscovered that to whatever extent we have, God obviously is orchestrating things, and in a certain small sphere he can orchestrate things through us within our capacities. We just have to know what we can orchestrate and what is not meant for us to orchestrate.

Anatta: Well, I think that’s the Adyashanti thing, the next obvious thing is to say yes. And that’s what I’ve done the last bunch of years – I just say yes, and it leads you somewhere. And you are creating and you are doing, but you’re saying yes to what’s obvious to do. It’s not fighting anymore, I don’t really have a fight in me which way to go or how to do anything, it’s just obvious.

Rick: But I’m sure you can be decisive. If one of these kids you’re raising says, “Hey, I think I’ll become a meth addict”, you’re probably going to intervene in some way.

Anatta: Believe me – I can be loudly decisive, very loudly. Yeah, they’ve heard it. But you know what’s nice is, it’s come around lately to just a nice place where I don’t have to be as loud. But no, it’s being fully in the world, doing everything we do. I asked Gangaji about my daughter – at the time, I was raising a teenager then as well – and I said, “Now what do I do?” Because now that I know it’s all perfect and I’m all awake and all that, and she said – maybe this was even answered by somebody else – she said, “You’ll hug her or you’ll shake her, you’ll know what to do. You’ll hug her or you’ll shake her”. And that really hit me. I don’t know if I would shake her, but I don’t know.

Rick: Metaphorically speaking.

Anatta: I use bad words and that really gets their attention. When it’s up to here, you’re pushing it. Then she said… But she’s growing her ego now, how does that work? And the girl I’m raising now, she’s growing her ego. You have to get that fully developed, and I know when my ego was grown enough to let it go, I remember things that happened to me that I needed to feel full and whole and accomplished in the world first. But she said, “And the rest she’ll get from you”. And when she said, “The rest she’ll get from you”, that was my acknowledgement, because I had had my experience the day before I saw her, and I knew, “Okay, I have it to give, I have it to share”. That was planting in me, and yeah, this is it.

Rick: Yeah, this interesting theme about growing the ego versus diminishing it. I remember talking to somebody recently in one of the interviews about how gurus might serve sometimes the role of humbling you, and at other times the role of emboldening you and giving you confidence. So it’s funny, I can’t make a simplistic analysis of it, but it seems that both things are needed perhaps at different times, perhaps even at the same time in certain ways.

Anatta: That was Osho for me.

Rick: Oh, the humbling?

Anatta: Both.

Rick: The emboldening?

Anatta: Giving both.

Rick: Okay, yeah.

Anatta: The humbling was one day when I was walking around living at the ranch in Oregon, and he had just given a talk on motherhood and how it’s just bullshit, basically. And I was like, “What?!” You know, that’s my identity. So that wiped that one out, and I remember going around there just in a daze, just throwing me off this motherhood thing. And after that identity, I could let that go. I was a much better mother, a much better mother than having an identity, “I’m the mother”. But then, so that was some of those things. There were other things too, he would just slap you. But then when I said this thing about lifting me was when I worked in the ashram in India as a massage therapist, and you wore black robes and everybody else wore maroon. And so the black-robed people were the higher-ups, the higher-sought-ups. I kind of needed that. So when I did that, and I was more respected, it kind of gave me a respect I’d needed since childhood, when I didn’t feel respected, I think. I needed that wholeness. So whatever you accomplish in your career, whatever, and I was a good massage therapist. I got acknowledged, and I really felt like that was the thing that I needed to fill a hole that was missing. So I got both of those. He was a good guru for me, a good master.

Rick: Hey, on that note, let’s retrace your steps a little bit. People like to hear the story of what a person has gone through in addition to hearing whatever philosophical insights they may have to offer.

Anatta: Yeah, I like it. It was a good story.

Rick: Yeah, I get feedback from people if I don’t include that in interviews. So let’s kind of start at the beginning and take us through what you consider the significant and interesting phases of your journey.

Anatta: There have been a lot of them. I was like a Jesus freak in the Catholic church, and I was married to a man that I shouldn’t have been after the years that it just wasn’t working.

Rick: Of course it was perfect.

Anatta: It was perfect. I’m divorced a lot, I’ll just say that. But I’ve been single for years and years and years now. I was a Jesus freak. I was in church like in tears over my love for Jesus, who I see was just my first guru. And yet I knew I needed to get divorced, so then that took me out of the church. But then I was reading a book by Osho, and it said, “You have missed in many lifetimes”. And the vision I had was of being with Jesus in a lifetime and being in the back of the crowd, and he said, “Follow me”, and I didn’t. And I said, “I’m not going to miss. I’m not going to miss in this lifetime”.

Rick: So a Jesus freak ended up reading an Osho book because she had been ostracized from the church?

Anatta: No, no, not quite. I was a seeker since I was a teenager. I used to want to be a nun, and then I found out boys were more fun, so I didn’t become a nun. I was always looking for God. I really feel that from young, you know, young. I was in love with the saints who were children and all of that.

Rick: So when you say you were a Jesus freak, do you mean you were fundamentalist and everybody was going to hell except for…

Anatta: No, no. Oh my gosh, no.

Rick: Not that thing. You were just an ardent devotee of Jesus.

Anatta: I was in love with his awakened self, and none of that. When I was eight years old and they told me, “You can’t associate with…” – literally, somebody said from the church, “You can’t associate with divorced people”. I had an aunt who was divorced. I said, “Oh no”. I was like eight years old or seven. I said, “No, that’s wrong”. I never bought into anything. I always had an open heart, I think, and I kind of got what was real and true. So I was looking for a real truth. So anyway, then I found Osho because I was a seeker. I was reading about Easter Island, I was reading these books, I was doing yoga. I had a yoga teacher from India that would come and I would do all these things, seeking. I was married and I had children. I was like a hippie but in a kind of a more, you know… I didn’t do drugs, not that way. Anyway I found this book that said, “You’ve missed”, and I said, “I’m not going to miss. I’m going to follow this man”, so I did. I wound up, I saw Meetings with Remarkable Men one time, that wonderful movie about Gurdjieff. I said, “I have to go to India”, and that was it. I went to India. Me, a housewife with kids, what am I going to India for? I had to go. I was so compelled. This path has been dragging me, you know, like there was no way I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t. I went to India, I had kids, I shouldn’t have left my kids and I did. I was with Osho there, I went many times with him. He knocked off, like I said, attachments and identifications, right and left. It was a great experience. It was a lot of fun. No, I didn’t have orgies. I didn’t see that happening. I didn’t do those groups or else I just missed it. That wasn’t my thing. I wasn’t interested in that. And so then from there…

Rick: Before we move on from Osho, looking back on your whole Osho period, what do you make of all the Rolls Royces and the laughing gas addiction and the Howard Hughes-like phobias and all that stuff that he’s reputed to have had? Do you see it as a man who got older and as enlightened as he may have been, got a little wacky as he got older or…?

Anatta: I don’t really care. I don’t really care because the Rolls Royces were fun. Who cares? It’s cars. I mean, it was an investment. He didn’t own them. They were owned by the community. They were a so-called investment, whether they were a good one or not. It was just fun and wacky. I read also “After the…”, what is it?

Rick: After the Ecstasy of the Laundry, Jack Kornfield.

Anatta: Yeah, After the Ecstasy of the Laundry, he was as awake as anybody can be, and he was human. This is the thing, you know, if I eat too much sugar, I go off. It’s like I have to watch out. The laughing gas – he was having work done on his teeth and he liked it, so I don’t know. That is the part that I don’t know about. I wasn’t there. I know him from his speaking, and he would say a lot of contradictory things, and what I love about that is he would say one thing that was absolutely true and another thing that was absolutely true like you’ve said – I’ve heard you say – and that’s my understanding now. They’re both true.

Rick: Even though they can contradict one another.

Anatta: Yeah, and I could see then what he was giving me was not a black-and-white, but a roundness. I could see, I got so much from him. He was really my master. I’ve never had another master. I’ve had a lot of teachers and still have a lot of teachers, but he was incredible. I don’t know about the laughing gas. Somebody sent me – a friend Morgan sent me this thing – a book on it, and I read it and it was kind of fun. It just didn’t seem like that big of a deal. He wasn’t killing anybody, he wasn’t raping children, and I’ve had that in my life and around me, and I know that that happens. Terrible things happen, but he didn’t do anything that I would ever consider terrible. He was amazing.

Rick: The way I’ve come to terms with it – actually I haven’t completely, but not only him, but so many gurus and so many stories, which seems to have some substance to them – is first of all, take what you need and leave the rest. Secondly, don’t try to idealize people to the highest heaven. You’ve got to realize that we’ve all got our warts.

Anatta: And what is your ideal? That’s your opinion.

Rick: Could be a very human judgment.

Anatta: Whether he’s doing laughing gas, how does that affect me? Why do I care? He’s not hurting somebody. I mean, I think it’s a little weird, yeah, I could say. I don’t want to do it. But yeah, I think we judge. Who are we to judge? You don’t know what’s going on inside of somebody. So I think this judgment thing, one of the things about what happens after awakening is a decreased ability to judge others. A decreased ability. You can’t even do it so much. So I just don’t go there so much. But yeah, if there’s something that really doesn’t feel right to you and you’re with a teacher – leave.

Rick: Yeah. And another thing that I find helpful is just to realize that a lot of these Indian teachers were raised in a certain cultural context and may not have ever completely adjusted to the West when they came there, and to understand the cultural differences and so on. And perhaps had actually been able to retain blind spots – shadow stuff – in their Indian culture which didn’t come to light until they were transported to a Western culture. And then these things kind of tripped them up a little bit. Which is, again, not to say that they didn’t make a tremendous contribution and an impact on people’s lives. It’s just that it’s worth considering these things because a lot of people, when that kind of stuff comes to light, they just wash their hands of the whole thing. And that’s sort of too extreme for my taste. It’s more like, again, take what you need and leave the rest and appreciate the good in it.

Anatta: Exactly. These are human beings.

Rick: Exactly.

Anatta: And I think that’s the great thing about my book. It’s the ordinary Buddha. You’re as much a Buddha as anybody else, and this is where I agree with Trip on that, and yet there’s so much more. And I don’t put me in a category with Ramana Maharshi or something, but still, his understanding – when I read what he says, that’s my understanding, fully. I don’t have any argument, I don’t have any wonder at what he says. It’s like, yeah, that’s what we know.

Rick: And if you had had the opportunity to live with Ramana Maharshi day and night and observe everything he did, that might have been totally…

Anatta: I would have done it.

Rick: I’m sure it would have been marvelous, but even then you might have said, there might have been certain things where you said, “I don’t agree with that. I think he shouldn’t enter into that area. He doesn’t know anything about it”. Because being enlightened doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to know everything about everything.

Anatta: It doesn’t make you smarter, I’ve noticed.

Rick: Well, I don’t know about that.

Anatta: I think you get smarter, maybe a little wiser, but I don’t think I’m book learning smarter. So there was Osho, and he was wonderful for me and very controversial, and people have so much to say about it. I lived there, and I lived on the ranch for three and a half months at one point, and it was just pure love. And yet, there was Sheila, and stuff was going on with her that I could see she’s going off. I could see she was losing it, in my experience with her, literal experience. But Osho stopped one day – just a little story – my beautiful daughter was there, she was four years old at the time, and he stopped to give her something. He would stop for the children – he was beautiful – and he didn’t have any more candy, couldn’t find anything in the car, so didn’t have anything for her that day. And so a couple of days later they called me, and we had to meet at a certain place, and he tried to give her a bottle of wine, because he still had no candy. You know what’s interesting? Well… I won’t go there, but anyway, she said, “No, kids don’t drink”. So he gave it to me. But what was interesting about this whole human thing, was he had his hand on the dashboard. I gave him a little gift, somebody had given me, little shoes that walked, and he put it on his dashboard, and it was cute, and all that. It was a very sweet moment, because you didn’t get to be close to him, so that was wonderful. But he had his hand on the window, and it was a little brown hand. Now when we see him, he’s up on a stage and now he’s just in a big screen, so he looks like a big guru in white or whatever gold he’s wearing and amazing stuff. I have other stories, I have a lot of stories about him, but in ways I saw him that I shouldn’t have seen him, connections. But that little brown hand blew my mind. I thought, “Oh no, oh no”. It’s like finding out your parents have sex and you’re 15 years old or 12 or something. And it just blew my mind. I wanted to leave the ranch, I thought, “This is ridiculous, he’s just a man”.

Rick: Interesting.

Anatta: And then I did one of his meditations, dynamic meditation, and that just blew away and I knew it’s just my idea of how I thought he ought to be more special. I have a small brown hand.

Rick: Well there’s a certain showmanship around such people too, that almost intentionally conveys that impression of specialness.

Anatta: You know what really got me there? The book saying you’ve missed, and I did want to miss because I’ve missed with Jesus, I really felt that. And his eyes, it wasn’t the showmanship, it was his eyes. I thought, “What’s going on there?” I never knew what enlightenment was, I wasn’t even curious about it. I was looking for God, like I said, I was a seeker, but I didn’t know what enlightenment was, that you could have something here in this life. And I saw his eyes and I said, “Something’s cooking there”. And I’ve seen that with other gurus too, like there’s a woman – forget her name – but a beautiful woman with the same eyes. I saw a photograph and I went, “She has Osho eyes”. This was before I had my own thing, but there’s something more there. So all this stuff about cars and all this stuff, it’s something else, it’s way deeper, and who cares about the outside? That’s why my book… and I say, it’s not some guy with a beard and a white robe, it’s you, it’s the little guy down the corner. You don’t even know, it’s ordinary.

Rick: I’ll tell you a little story. My mother tried to commit suicide three times and she was in and out of mental hospitals for most of my adolescence. And so when I learned to meditate when I was 18, I was really keen on getting her to learn so that she would come out of all that. I was not too successful, I was very heavy handed about it, but finally at one point I was over in Switzerland with Maharishi and she, unbeknownst to me, had learned to meditate. She had already learned, but she had started doing it on her own and had undergone this big transformation. Then she got in touch with me and said, “I’d like to come to Switzerland”. So she came over, I asked Maharishi, he said, “Yes, you can come”. The first night when she got there, he walked into the hall and from a distance she saw him coming down this line of people and she said, “He’s so small”. He’s only about five feet tall. Then he got up to us and she handed him a flower and he handed her a flower and he told me to keep her happy and then he moved on. She turned to me and her face was flushed and she looked at me and she said, “He looks right into your soul”. So your story reminded me of that. She stayed there for nine months and really underwent a lot of transformation.

Anatta: Oh, hallelujah, really. That’s what I was wishing for when I had come down from my high initially, hoping for that for my family. But I had to come down from that high. So then there’s Osho and then he passed away and I wound up with Papaji. My awakening experience was standing in the room of my little house. Osho was gone. I wasn’t with anybody – I don’t think I had been. I hadn’t seen Papaji yet because that was after. I was in this little tiny house by the beach in Encinitas and I was in the middle of my living room and I said, “I’m sick of this”. I was demanding. They say, “Surrender”, but I was aggressive and I was saying, “Tell me now. What is reality?” It wasn’t even, “God, give me peace, truth”. What’s real? And literally I didn’t know if real was anything good or if it was going to be horrible. I didn’t know if I was going to die and I was absolutely willing. I just had to know what was real. I couldn’t stand it anymore. Twenty years. Gangaji.00 was coming the next day and I said, “I’m just sick of this”. And I’d never met her before. It’s kind of big, you know, but it was like, “Kill me right now or tell me the truth”. And I didn’t say, “Kill me”, but “Kill my life. Everything in my life that I have, you can take it all away. Everything. And I have to know what’s real. I’m not going to move”. And I knew, I wasn’t going to move my foot until I knew, and then it was just right there. Because looking back, I didn’t know why, what, but I had surrendered everything that I thought I was. So what’s left is who you really are. When you take everything you thought you were and you are willing to let that disappear, the real is just there. And I saw it as a Buddha right here. It was a little Buddha and it told me everything. Interesting, it wasn’t a female, it was a Buddha, like we all look at the male.

Rick: So you actually had a little visual?

Anatta: I had a visual, because I’m a visual. These are my paintings behind me I did, since I had my creativity opened up. I didn’t do that before. But it was a visual, it was a Buddha, and it was total peace. You know, total presence, like nobody home who wanted anything else than what was. But with that came, like Adyashanti said, downloads. And I had mentioned before, then I knew that you were also that. And I would call it that to myself. “I’m that, oh I’m that”, that’s what I got. “I’m that, I’m not this”. And my personality literally just kind of went, boom, you know, I could see it and it just went to the side. That was my big one, because it was something I wanted for all these years, since I was a kid. And this was me, I could cry right now.

Rick: You can cry if you want.

Anatta: Okay, it’ll be better. But I cry easy, I cry really easy. My daughter just told me a story about something, and I didn’t even know the person and I’m already bursting into tears.

Rick: Maybe you can become Speaker of the House, you know, we’ll get rid of John Boehner.

Anatta: I would cry right now. We would be interesting Speakers of the House, I’ll tell you, one of us. But so all the downloads of everything, that is true. I mean, I can’t even tell you. But love, you know, is the primary thing. I literally thought, if it’s a monster, if it’s an ugly, horrible monster and it’s going to eat me up – because I used to be afraid to meditate because I was afraid things would come in. And so I forced myself to sit on a rug in my living room when I was married still, and just sit there, don’t meditate. And then I was afraid, you know, the ego is terrified because it is going to get eaten up. That’s what happened. Actually, now that I think about it, but it wasn’t a monster, it was this pure peace. And so that was the first experience. And then…

Rick: Just on this fear thing of the ego getting eaten up, one observation I’ve noted is that some people, it’s like, just nibble that, you know, and it just sort of gets nibbled away to nothing, rather gradually, and there’s never any big drama. Because it’s so abrupt and sudden that they’re just abjectly terrified, and so it can be different for different folks like that.

Anatta: That’s why I love my book, and that’s why I was compelled to do these interviews and write this. I was compelled because I was so fascinated about all the different ways, and like my friend Denise, who’s in the book, hers was very gradual, very soft. She’d had experiences as a child, which isn’t in the book though, which is interesting. She had a near-death thing, an out-of-the-body thing, and so this kind of led up. But they’re so completely different, and some of them say, “You can’t go demanding”, but that’s what I did. So that’s why I thought, “But it’s interesting”. So anyway, that was that. And so I was able to move my foot because I found it. And it was a celebration, like, “Oh my God, here it is, this thing I’ve been looking for”. And as I’m saying that, I’m thinking of Troy in my book, and he says, “This thing I’ve been looking for for eons, and there you are”. I looked in the mirror and I looked in my eye, and there you are. He thinks all the time, “God”. So these things, I’ll have something and it triggers, you know, we’ve all had. But then the thing with Jeff, which I told you – just lying in bed at night and seeing this energy, because I had said, “Why am I having these psychic experiences? I was having these experiences, having dreams that were telling me things that I shouldn’t know, but they would be absolutely true”. And I asked a friend of mine, Dean actually, a very wise man, “What’s going on?” I was actually having meditations in my home at that time. And he said, “Well, you’re just giving out so much energy that it’s coming back”. And I’m saying this to Jeff – that’s what triggered it – saying, “Dean says, ‘I’m just giving out this energy'”. And I saw the energy moving through my body and that’s all there was, and then the personality was literally seen to not exist. So anyway, those are my main things, and then the deepening, which is when I went to see Papaji. And the interesting thing about the no-wrath of difference that Trip says, when I was getting ready to go see Papaji with my friend Yudhishtira and stuff, I knew that if he didn’t recognize me, then he wasn’t the real deal. I just knew it, because the knowing is there. It’s not even an understanding, it’s not intellectual. You know it, like this is a table, more than that. And of course he did recognize it. And he said something to me too, which is interesting, so when I met Papaji, that was a whole… I’m going to write a book on all my teachers, because it’s so much fun. I have a lot of little stuff about them. When I talked with him, I spoke with him in the main group, and he said, “Oh, you know your own beauty”. I said, “Oh, I didn’t know that, but yeah, that’s what it is”. I didn’t have those words for it. I knew I was that, I was Buddha.

Rick: That’s what he meant.

Anatta: Yes, that’s what he meant.

Rick: It’s just his way of saying it.

Anatta: That word was another facet. “Oh, I know my own beauty”. Because I don’t think I had that growing up. I was kind of a person who wasn’t – a child – who wasn’t very confident, who had inferiority complex I labeled myself at 14. And so to know my own beauty was another beautiful aspect that other people have said, and I said, “Yeah, that’s what he said to me”. And then it just goes on and on from there.

Rick: Nice. So those are really the main chapters, huh? The Osho chapter, the Catholic chapter, the Osho chapter, the awakening chapter, and then it just goes on and on from there.

Anatta: And then writing the book.

Rick: And writing the book, yeah.

Anatta: And that’s been my meditation for all these years.

Rick: Is the book a work in progress? You continue to revise it?

Anatta: This one is done.

Rick: Okay.

Anatta: No, it’s done. It says everything that I ever wanted to say in there, as far as that. I’m writing one on “Nobody in India”, “Walking the Inner Path”, which is about being in Arunachala, and sitting in front of, in Ramana’s ashram, in front of the big wall that has his awakening experience, I would just sit there and I would start to read it and I would go, “Boom”. I couldn’t read anymore and I would drag myself back and read it and go, “Boom”. So it’s still, even though I have those experiences, it’s something else that keeps coming in. So and then, like you said, what is my conclusion now? So now the conclusion is, there is no one way. I can’t tell somebody how to get away. Don’t do it my way, unless that’s where you’re compelled. You know, you can’t follow Troy, who was a drug addict, alcoholic. That was his way. Don’t maybe do that, or unless you feel like that, you know. His was spontaneous and Byron Katie’s was spontaneous out of nothing, out of not knowing the word “enlightenment”. He didn’t know what meditation was – Troy – and I love that, you’ve got to read that part in the book. If you haven’t, you guys out there, read Troy, because it was his inner voice that said, “Sit down”. And so he sat. He said, “So I sat”, and then it said, “Breathe. So I breathed, and then I noticed that there was some nervousness in the breath”. So then he worked at calming his breath, and he was moving into meditation, moving into yoga, and he didn’t know it. Now he’s like a fabulous yoga teacher in Encinitas. He’s just a beautiful guy, and coming from nothing. And here I was a seeker for 20 years, and I was like, “I’m sick of this. I’m going to find out”. And they say, “That’s not the way. You can’t go for it”.

Rick: But you can go for it. You did go for it.

Anatta: I did. So there’s no one way, there’s no right, there’s no wrong, and so I think that’s my mission is to just say, “Live your life fully, and follow that voice that Byron Katie talked about, and go where you’re compelled to go”. And then I also heard somebody say, maybe in one of your interviews, because I’ve been watching them, “If you have an open heart and you’re interested, you want to know what truth is, you want to wake up, or you want to know reality”, like was my word for it, whatever it is, “If you want that and you have an open heart, just follow your life and move into it”.

Rick: Beautiful. Yeah, I share… again, as you said in the beginning, we concur on things pretty seamlessly.

Anatta: That’s why when I first saw your site, that you were doing this, I went, “Oh my God, that’s what I’m doing”. I didn’t know anybody else who was doing that from an ordinary perspective. A beautiful book, and I wish I knew the title, but it’s a book about people who followed Papaji. That’s another beautiful book about ordinary people, but it’s still based on a Master. It’s based on one way to go, and mine is like, there’s no one way to go. And I hear you say, “So anyway, I saw what you were doing”, and then I started watching and I went, “You really are kind of… ” You know, it’s accepting, it’s acceptance of so many things that look contradictory, and like I said, I kind of learned that from Osho early on, but it’s not non-dual, it’s not dual, it’s just not… you can’t put a… when I read John Troy was having this group and it was a non-dual group and I started reading what people were saying and went, “Oh, those are my people”, but I wasn’t coming from that background. So I went and I met them and went to some of their things, which I adore, and they’re wonderful people, but I can’t put a box around it. Then they get into all these philosophical things and it’s just bigger, bigger, bigger. Can’t bring it down to that.

Rick: You may have noticed on my Skype, a little Skype identity, it says, “Whatever you think, it’s more than that”.

Anatta: There you go.

Rick: That’s a quote from The Incredible String Band. Just yesterday I posted, the latest interview that I posted, which is with the guy who has been very involved with ayahuasca and even had a profound awakening when he took ecstasy. I kind of had a pretty strong anti-drug bias over the years, having indulged in them in the ’60s and then spent a long time repairing the damage they did, despite the fact that they opened me up to a lot of things. Now I find it hard to judge, like you say. This guy was very intelligent, creative, and although I would approach such things with a cautionary note, and things can be done recklessly and frivolously without proper seriousness and get one into trouble, who am I to say that that’s not exactly what he should be doing and that it’s not producing a very genuine evolutionary influence for him, which apparently it is.

Anatta: That’s why I say it’s the way that he’s compelled to go. He has to follow that. He can’t follow your way of not doing drugs. It won’t work for him.

Rick: And will he be doing that 20 years from now? Who knows?

Anatta: Probably not.

Rick: Maybe I’ll be doing ayahuasca 20 years from now, if I’m still around.

Anatta: Olaf, in my book, did ayahuasca and he called it the death drug. They call it the death vine, because if you don’t use it right, that’s where you get it. And he did it in a ritualistic context with shamans in South America. So that was one way for him. I don’t argue with it. I don’t argue with God.

Rick: One thing I want to suggest, to kind of zoom out again – I like to play cosmic zoom lens in my mind. I’m always kind of zooming out to the galactic level and zooming down to the Planck scale, and it’s just in my imagination, but it helps me to keep things in perspective.

Anatta: That’s the truth. That’s what it is. It’s as big as the universe, and I wrote a little poem called “This”. It’s that, and it’s the cell on the tip of my nose. It’s that intimate. So I like that.

Rick: Here’s another Sanskrit phrase for you. It goes, “Anor aneeyan mahato maheeyan”, which means, “Smaller than the smallest, bigger than the biggest”.

Anatta: You know what I love? I’ll interrupt you and we’ll get back, but the things that you say, the Sanskrit phrases that are from eons, are my experience, my direct experience. And when I hear that, that’s why I know when somebody says something, I recognize that they’re there, because they go, “Oh yeah”. And that you’re telling me stuff already new, in a more beautiful way. I love hearing all of that.

Rick: Great, yeah. I do too, and I’m pretty much a…

Anatta: Truth is just truth, whether it’s from eons ago or it’s from today. Truth is only one.

Rick: And there are people who are much more qualified to do this kind of thing than I am. I have friends who are like encyclopedias of this kind of stuff, and who can really come out with all kinds of gems.

Anatta: I think you do really, really, really well.

Rick: I’m doing my best. One thought I’ve been having lately, I wanted to bounce it off you and see what kind of discussion it stimulates. I’ve been sort of thinking that, this is kind of abstract, but it’s like oneness needs duality in order to know itself. Does that make sense?

Anatta: Yeah.

Rick: And in a different… because if it were just oneness, then who would know what? And there’s another flavor to that, which is that it seems – and I’ve heard this said, I’m not making this up – that pure existence has a self-referral quality inherent in it, such that it kind of looks at itself. And in that process…

Anatta: Say that again?

Rick: It’s like pure existence has a self-referral quality inherent in it, and it knows itself by that quality. And in doing so, immediately the knower, the process of knowing, and the known are set up. In Sanskrit they actually call this rishi-devatah-chandas. There’s this sort of diversification that takes place by virtue of that self-referral quality. And then the whole bifurcation and diversification continues and we end up with a universe. And that is contained within our nature as well, we have the seeds of that in our makeup. And that’s why we go through… at a certain point there’s this yearning to wake up. We are oneness having diversified so that it could eventually know itself as a living reality, as a breathing, loving, eating, living reality, which ends up being more than just flat oneness without any sort of diversification. It somehow… whole becomes more than the sum of its parts. Brahman is sometimes referred to that way, as being more than the sum of all the parts. So anyway, that’s just something I’ve been toying with lately and I just wanted to see what you thought of that and any kind of insights you might have or anything.

Anatta: You know, it’s like what I’ve heard people say, “Yeah, I agree”.

Rick: What he said.

Anatta: Yeah, that’s good. So I think that that’s the whole point. And you know, when you talked about it, it’s like, “What is this longing? What is this intense longing like, ‘Just kill me or tell me truth? I have to know what it is.’ And what you know is, ‘Oh, I’m God, I’m that huge thing, but I’m in here'”. So yeah, I mean, that’s what I hear people say and that sounds right to me. And it feels, you know, what is this longing to know itself? That’s what it is. Why else are we here? I mean, that’s I think the whole point. And yet, it’s probably more than that, because it’s also to live, like you say, bifurcated, to create a lot of different stuff here. We’re creators, and like you were saying before, well if God’s creator of all of that and the cells and the birds and the beauty, and we’re part of God, so then we’re here to create. That’s what I think we really are here for, to discover ourselves and to create out of that. And you know, almost all poetry and paintings, the really best stuff is what’s describing that experience. So if that’s what you’re saying.

Rick: I think it is. It’s just something I find myself pondering a lot, and I’ve heard it discussed before by people much more articulate than I, but I’m just coming to own it more and kind of chewing on it.

Anatta: Yeah, but the piece that really hits me is that longing for God to know itself. It’s that longing for the immensity to know itself as all the diversity and this one, you know, and this one is unique and is real, you know? I mean, on the planet, I’m here and you’re there. And the other exciting thing is, you know, there’s the oneness that we know we’re all ocean, but then the diversity of each individual is, how does that happen? That there is nobody like you, there’s nobody like me exactly, and even if somebody looks a little like you or a lot like you, it’s not you. It can’t be. So to me, that’s as much a miracle as the oneness.

Rick: Yeah.

Anatta: The diversity of each individual, that you’re unique, so play it, do it as best you can. We’re here to create, and when I’m happy is when I’m creating, and that’s why I like doing hair, honestly. I’m making people beautiful. I’m literally making them as pretty as they can be, or good-looking, if it’s a man. But I love that, it’s like creating the paintings on people. It’s creation, and if I didn’t have that, I’d have to do something else, I would be painting more.

Rick: I find that too – I used to go hiking on vacations and I’d find myself writing books in my mind, I had to do something creative.

Anatta: Yeah, or drawing a leaf.

Rick: But that thing you said about longing, I think everything in creation is imbued with that longing. Rocks, stars, frogs, everything has that force of evolution permeating them and moving them along in the direction of fuller and fuller manifestation or embodiment of source, of being, of pure consciousness. It’s fascinating to ponder that even. Our bodies are made of stardust, as Joni Mitchell sang. We’re stardust, we’re 14-billion-year-old carbon.

Anatta: I just put that on Facebook. We are stardust, we are golden, and we have to get back to the garden. I said, “Oh yeah, we are here. Oh yeah, we’re already in the garden”.

Rick: So think of that process, and think of the patience, that intelligence doing it all is beyond time anyway, so I guess patience doesn’t come into it. But there had to be stars, and how long did it take for stars to form, and then to live out their lives and to explode and to scatter heavy elements throughout the universe that could eventually become bodies, that could eventually evolve to the point where they could know that garden, know that essence as themselves. So it’s this marvelous dance that’s going on. It’s just fascinating.

Anatta: And then the other thing, that’s that painting, it’s like light for me. It’s that everything is coming out of this, like a star.

Rick: Like a supernova.

Anatta: Yeah, but the thing about animals, everything evolving, this is another woo-woo thing that I was talking to this lady about yesterday, about being inside of animals’ heads and knowing what they were thinking. So I’ve had that too.

Rick: It’s one of the Yoga Sutras, it’s one of the siddhis of Patanjali, knowing the minds of all beings. I’ve had several friends who told me that they were all of a sudden picking up on the thoughts of a squirrel or something like that.

Anatta: Yeah, that’s exactly… it was my dog that I had before in California, and he was a standard poodle and he was about nine months old, or maybe a little younger, but he was pretty big, but he was still a puppy. And I was on the leash behind him on the sidewalk and I was talking to him and he wasn’t paying any attention to me, and all of a sudden I was in his head and I was experiencing his thoughts or his awareness, because it wasn’t like thoughts, but it was like, “Wow! So much going on here! Wow!” It was like the trees, the birds, the cars, me talking behind him, and visual. There was so much to see and to hear and so tight, and the smells. I didn’t tune in on smells now that I think about it, but the visual and the sound and everything, but it was so much. And he was just on the corner, just, “Wow!” And I’m trying to talk to him, and he’s like, “Whatever”. He doesn’t hear me at all. So I was in there, and then I got it. I’m like, “Oh, I get it”. So then I came in front of him and I went, “Alvis”, which is his name, “we need to wait here”, or whatever I needed to say, and then we’re going to cross the street. And he’s like, “Oh, okay”. And then I knew, and I wasn’t in his head anymore, but I knew I could get how to talk to a dog, get down to his level, because he didn’t differentiate me from anything else. He didn’t have that ability at that age. And I have a dog now that’s amazing, and it’s like watching her become human, you know? Just get it. I say, “I’m sorry, I can’t take you today”. So she backs up and sits down. I don’t say, “Sit, stay”. I say, “Sorry”. She’s like, “Oh, yeah, whatever”. So she sits down. You know, she backs up two inches and sits down, it’s so funny. They’re so wise and they are growing, and they grow with us, you know? And then I had a cockroach. I put that on Facebook too.

Rick: You had your own cockroach?

Anatta: I had a cockroach. I was literally sitting on the john in California and this little cockroach ran across the wall and I just got him. I just got it. He just wants to live.

Rick: Yeah.

Anatta: He wants to live.

Rick: Exactly.

Anatta: He just wants to live life. He wants to be alive and find some food and some safety. It was like I was… but I, you know… it was a smaller awareness than the dog. So now that you talk about evolving, now that I didn’t think about that before, but it was like a smaller awareness, and yet it was very full. I mean, it was really like, it was as big as me wanting to live and eat and find shelter.

Rick: Sure. It’s the same impulse.

Anatta: It was.

Rick: Same impulse and same consciousness. It’s the same consciousness in the cockroach as in you and I. It’s just a different reflector, you know?

Anatta: I think I told you all my woo-woo stuff. I think I’m…

Rick: Well, you’ll have to cook up some more.

Anatta: Some will be happening.

Rick: Yeah. But it’s so true. And it’s the complexity of the nervous system that enables it to be more… that really characterizes what we mean by evolution. I mean, a human nervous system is so much more complex than a cockroach. And the brain is so much more complex and so on. And it’s just that more sophisticated instrument is just capable of embodying divine intelligence so much more fully. And who knows, we might be cockroaches by comparison with some nervous systems that are out there in the universe, in terms of what they can know and do and be.

Anatta: I think what that gave me was more of a respect for life, this kind of life.

Rick: Beautiful.

Anatta: Yeah.

Rick: Cool. Well, we’re sort of reaching that magic moment, I suppose, when we can begin to think about wrapping it up. This is the kind of thing where we can just get cups of coffee and sit around all day and keep shooting the breeze.

Anatta: It’s so much fun. There’s a Suzanne Marie, who I’m Facebook friends with. You might be finding her. I recommend you interview her. I don’t even remember her background, but we went and met for coffee after meeting on Facebook and like, “Whoa, who are you?” Because we were right in the same alignment and she’s just beautiful. It was two and a half hours over coffee and then like, “Maybe I should go now”, you know? Because this is the most exciting thing there is to talk about, is your own reality, the essence of who you are. So I do want to say, like I had said during our little break, my book is an e-book. It’s available through Barnes & Noble and Amazon, Kindle and whatever. I think mostly Amazon is where it’s really being sold, but I am looking for a hardcover publisher, so I would love to have that happen. I have like three other books. One is almost done and the other is spinning around here that I would love to get done, but I think that getting a publisher for this one is going to encourage me to finish the other.

Rick: Good. I don’t know if any hardcover publishers are listening to this interview, get in touch. Also I’ll be linking to your book on BatGap, on Buddha at the Gas Pump, so right directly to the Amazon page where it can be bought.

Anatta: $4.99, such a deal.

Rick: Such a deal. So people can follow that link. I also wanted to say, just unrelated to this interview, but I get requests and recommendations every day, several a day for various people to interview. I always say, “Okay, we’ll put you on the list, but I’m only doing one a week and I don’t know when we’re going to be able to schedule it”. So I really apologize to people who have sent in recommendations or requests and I haven’t gotten to them yet. I’m hoping to gradually get to the point where I can do even more of these, more than once a week as this becomes more my day job than my day job is. There’s hopefully signs of that.

Anatta: What do you do for a day job?

Rick: I do search engine optimization, bringing more traffic to people’s websites.

Anatta: Ah, okay.

Rick: That’s what that is.

Anatta: I could use you.

Rick: Yeah.

Anatta: Do you need a haircut?

Rick: I’d have to come to North Carolina to get it. That’s what I do. is my business website. So I spend most of my time doing that and this is a part-time thing, obviously.

Anatta: This is such a gift to everybody who sees it. I just love your show. I get a lot from… I’m up in the middle of the night, two-hour interviews, and I’m like, “I woke up at 3 and now I’m up until 5 because I have to hear the ending”. I’m really enjoying them.

Rick: That’s great, I really appreciate it. You can also get it on, if you have an iPod, you can get it on that as a podcast and just go take a walk in the woods and listen to it or something so you don’t have to sit in front of your computer.

Anatta: I need to get hooked up.

Rick: Yeah, have your daughter, one of those people. It’s very handy. I spend at least an hour a day. I’ll go out this afternoon cross-country skiing and I’ll be listening to something as I’m going through the woods. So let me make some wrap-up points. I’ve been speaking with Anatta Campbell, and she lives in Asheville, as you’ve gleaned from this interview.

Anatta: Actually, near Asheville.

Rick: Near Hendersonville.

Anatta: I live in the woods.

Rick: Beautiful. I once spent five weeks meditating in a cabin down there in Boone, North Carolina. Nice area. I was with some friends, we were high as a kite after five weeks of meditating. We went out for this Fourth of July kind of thing at this place called the Houndears Lodge and Club, and we felt like we were from outer space. We felt totally like space aliens, and all the people said, “Hi, how are you?” In any case…

Anatta: There are beautiful people here.

Rick: Yeah. The Ordinary Buddha, Stories of Awakening, we’ll link to that from my site. If you want to get in touch with Anatta, I’ll be linking to her website and so on. You can get in touch with her through that, friend her on Facebook, or whatever. This show, as most of you probably know, is an ongoing series. I do a new one each week. Hopefully before too long I’ll be able to do more than one a week. We’ll see how that goes. If you’d like to check out the others, go to You can find an alphabetical list on the right-hand side of the page. If you scroll down a little, you’ll see all the interviews available. You can sign up to be notified by email whenever a new one is posted. There’s also a chat group that springs up around every interview that gets quite lively sometimes, so feel free to participate in that. This is also, as we were saying a minute ago, available as a podcast. There’s a link to the podcast on every interview, so you can go there and subscribe to it. In case you don’t know, the way a podcast works is if you have an iPod, you subscribe to a podcast and it brings it into iTunes, which is a free Apple software that runs on Macs or PCs. Every time a new thing shows up, like when I post this interview for instance, and you open up iTunes, it automatically downloads. As soon as you plug in your iPod, it automatically transfers it to your iPod if you’ve set it up to do that. Then you can unplug your iPod and listen to it while you do other things. It’s very handy. In case those are unfamiliar with the way podcasting works, that’s the way that works. I’m kind of getting to the point where I’m getting long-winded. I get energized in these interviews. It’s like coffee. I get really talkative.

Anatta: I feel that way too, like buzzing at certain points.

Rick: Good. So, the donate button is there. I won’t elaborate on that, but the implications are clear. That should just about do it. Anything more?

Anatta: Thank you so much. Thank your wife Irene for emails and support back there, because I know she’s a good support for you and the other people who are supporting you. It’s just a wonderful show. It’s such a pleasure to talk with you.

Rick: Yeah, Irene helps with scheduling these days. I have a friend up in Canada who helps also with keeping track of a lot of things, and a very good friend who was my best friend in high school who is actually from the Asheville area, although currently he’s living on the coast in South Carolina, who does all the post-production. He spent hundreds of hours. His name is Ralph Preston of Snow Hill Video. I’m totally grateful to him for everything he’s been doing all these several years. I couldn’t have done it without him. Thanks to everyone. Thank you, Anatta, and thanks to all who have been listening or watching. We’ll see you next week. I think next week is going to be me, actually. Some guy wanted to interview me, so in case you haven’t heard enough of me talking, you’ll have an opportunity to hear more next week.

Anatta: You know what, one more little thing I was just remembering. Yukio Ramana was supposed to be the next week. Brian was the week before me, so I’m bookended by people who I know, but Yukio Ramana is a good friend of mine and he’s coming down the list a few weeks down.

Rick: Yes, he is.

Anatta: He’s in my book and his way of going about it was very scientific, so it’s just another completely different avenue. His talks are wonderful and at the end of his article, his story is when I wrote this thing called “This”, where I just got it in a group with him that I’m just so intimate as well as so vast. Thank you so much.

Rick: Thank you, Anatta. See you later.