Rick: Welcome to Buddha at the Gas Pump. My name is Rick Archer. Buddha at the Gas Pump is an ongoing series of interviews with spiritually awakening people. There have been over 325 of them posted so far, and if you’re new to this, go to batgap.com, B-A-T-G-A-P. You’ll see them all categorized and organized in several different ways under the past interviews’ menu. And you’ll see a number of other things there, including a donate button. The show is made freely available to whoever wants to watch it, but it’s made possible by those who support it financially, who feel inspired to do so. I am really pleased to have as my guest tonight, Andrew Harvey. I have been aware of Andrew and very much appreciative of him for many, many years now. I probably read my first reading of one of his books might have been 20 years ago. And Andrew and I, it’s very funny, we’ve tried about five times to set up this interview and various things have happened. There have been snowstorms, there have been travels. One day we were about to do it and a squirrel shorted out the power lines in my neighborhood, so we were without power that day. But we just kind of kept taking it in stride and we figured that, when the time is right, it’ll happen. And apparently the time is right.
Andrew: Time is right.
Rick: And unless we both suddenly get abducted by space aliens or something in the middle of this interview, I think we’re going to pull it off.
Andrew: That’s entirely possible. I have prepared as many protections as possible, but you can’t be sure of anything, you know.
Rick: Yeah, you should be wearing the tinfoil hat, actually.
Andrew: Well, I prepared my space speech, you know, “Me no enemy, I love you.”
Rick: Great. Let me read a little bio of Andrew. This is a very short synopsis because there’s a lot to say about him and he’ll be telling us more about himself as we go along. Andrew is the founder and director of the Institute of Sacred Activism, an international organization that invites concerned people to take up the challenge of our contemporary global crises, by becoming inspired and effective agents of change. Sacred activism is a form of compassion in action that is born of a fusion of deep spiritual passion with wise radical action in the world. The large-scale practice of sacred activism can become an essential force for preserving and healing the planet and its inhabitants. Andrew Harvey has taught at Oxford and Cornell University, as well as at various colleges and spiritual centers throughout the world. He has written over 30 books. His website is andrewharvey.net. So, what we’re going to do in this interview, Andrew and I agreed, is first we’re going to sketch his spiritual history, going back from when it first began, and touching upon all the significant milestones, which would probably include his disillusionment with academia, his time with Mother Mira, his time with Father B. Griffiths, and probably many other things. And then we’re going to spend quite a bit of time focusing on his current passion, probably will be his passion for the rest of his life, which is sacred activism. He’s written a book here, which I’ve been reading, called “The Hope, A Guide to Sacred Activism.” So, we’re going to talk about what that is. And there’ll be all kinds of, I’m sure, deep metaphysical considerations, but there’ll also be many practical points and things that people can apply in their own lives. So, Andrew, where shall we start?
Andrew: Wherever you want, I’m your slave.
Rick: So, as I understand it from reading and listening to interviews with you, you were something of a child prodigy. You were one of the youngest, if not the youngest, person to be a professor at Oxford. Is that not correct?
Andrew: Well, at that time, the youngest person ever elected to the fellowship at All Souls College. That’s what I was told. And that was a very strange thing to be told, because it was supposedly a great elitist honor, but it turned out to be a tremendous education in vanity, fatuity, greed, madness, the world. And eventually I longed to get free of it.
Rick: You were just in your 20s at that point, were you?
Rick: Yeah. And had you already become spiritually motivated, or were you thinking that intellectual life was the way to go?
Andrew: Well, I was born in India, and spent my whole childhood in India. It was itself a spiritual initiation. Everything in my life comes from that. Because I was born into a sacred world, a sacred culture. I was a child of Protestant parents, but I had a Hindu cook and a Catholic nanny, and a Muslim driver as a child. So, I was part of this seething, gorgeous, spiritual world that’s India. So very early on I learned that God is in everything and everywhere, and all the religions are just refractions of one central mystery, just that light coming through different windows. So, my whole life was soaked in India from the very beginning. Then I had to go to England at the age of nine, which was like being shoved into a refrigerator. And then I had to have a life in England which was absolutely nothing to do with what I had ever experienced in India. And I lost my faith in religion and became a Marxist, because I had a crazy history teacher who was absolutely magnificent. So, I became a rebel. And then I got to Oxford, and then I overachieved frantically and got this glittering prize. And then I realized, “Oh my God, the world up here is really as sick as I thought it actually would be.” It’s full of crazy people doing crazy things, because at All Souls I was meeting people from the highest levels of government, from the highest levels of the intellect, and with a few wonderful exceptions, most of them were certifiable. And when you’re young you have very piercing eyes.
Rick: Certifiably crazy you mean?
Andrew: Certifiably crazy, yes. So, it was a complete disillusionment on so many levels. I’d lost India, I’d come to England, I’d had India taken from me, I had really become a kind of intellectual rebel on many levels. I had come to Oxford, I’d overachieved, I was in the sanctum sanctorum, in the golden house of the elite, and I was desperate because I was seeing an empty world run by madmen. And from very early on I realized that Western civilization was headed for disaster. If these people were the people running it, my God, what on earth would we face? And at that moment I decided when I was 25 to go back to India, not to go into an ashram, not to take on a Sanskrit name, but to try and survive the level of disillusion I’d experienced. The disillusionment with academia, the disillusionment with the powerful, the disillusionment with the elite, the disillusionment with the games of power. They were so frightening to me. And I could see where they ended up in evil, trivial pursuit. So, I was desperate to go back to the sources of my childhood and to bathe in that Indian water and to remember what I had known beyond concept, the sense of unity with everything. But I wasn’t looking for God, I was deeply skeptical. And then on that return when I was 25, I had a series of mystical experiences which just cleaved my mind open and cleaved my heart open and showed me that there is an eternal reality and that nothing else is finally real. And that, to experience that and to embody that as well as you can, is the goal of life. So, I had to change everything. I had to re-imagine my whole career, my vocation, who I was. It was a huge cataclysm, and I didn’t do well. Nobody does well with those kinds of cataclysms. I lived a split life for a long time between the academic world, the creative world, and my own deep mystical world, because I was scared of actually confronting it, living it. But then when I was 35, I had a major breakdown and that took me back to my then guru, and that began how we de-confronted the world.
Rick: So what precipitated these spiritual experiences? Because going to India doesn’t guarantee having a spiritual experience by any means.
Andrew: No, but I think that looking back on my life and what I have done with my life and with my work, I think I was meant to be born in India, in this life, because it made me, from the very beginning of my journey, a bridge person, because I was born to English parents, although my father had a streak of Indian blood, but in India. So, India formed me, but I had the Western education to unite with the Eastern temperament, soul, and heart, and that has determined the whole truth of my work. So, I feel that I had been prepared by being born in India for an opening which flowered when I was in my mid-twenties, when I made the decision to go back to India.
Rick: What sorts of experiences were those?
Andrew: Well, the first really amazing one was when I went into a dream vision and heard the music of the spheres. I can’t put it any other way, the most ecstatic imaginable music, and then experienced an impulse from the center of the Godhead telling all the souls that were singing rapturously that they were having to incarnate now, embody now. And then the music changes to be a music of incredible painful longing, the longing that Rumi describes, the longing of the heart to rejoin its source. And I experienced both at a primordial depth, and then found myself being ejected from that glowing singing mass and falling into my own body and incarnating here right now. So, I experienced something which has taken me years to understand, but something of the process of coming in from the source, carrying this light consciousness, but also going through this tremendous descent into this very difficult medium.
Rick: From your description it almost sounds like you experienced or remembered the process that sent you here to this planet, you know? You’re part of this group of souls and now it’s time to come down.
Rick: Yeah, interesting.
Andrew: I think we’re all part, who are doing the work that I’m doing, and there are many of us, we’re all part of a very broad, rich cohort of souls who I believe have chosen to come to do the most grueling but most potentially amazing work in the middle of this vast evolutionary crisis. We’ve chosen this. It’s a task that we have been preparing for lifetimes. Here we are, in all our raggedness, but giving what we can to really be of help, because this is showtime and any help that’s real is needed.
Rick: Well as the saying goes, “It’s a dirty job but somebody’s got to do it,” right?
Andrew: Yes, and thank God there are lots of others doing it also. But it’s an amazing job because it brings together your whole life and everything you’ve ever learned and everything you’ve ever experienced, and encourages you to gamble your whole life to try and make a difference because you can see exactly just how dangerous things are and how much it depends upon hundreds of thousands of us really being willing to gamble our lives away for the Divine, for humanity, and for this great shift that’s now possible.
Rick: You mentioned being torn for 10 years or so between the spiritual dimension that you were awakening to and the, I suppose, the ordinary dimension of academia and professional practical life and so on that you had trained in.
Andrew: And private life, yes, wanting to live my own passion, passion and sexuality, all kinds of … There are many things in all of us that draw us away from the kind of ruthless concentration that a real mystical transformation requires. You can’t be transformed by the fire of the Divine passion unless you’re prepared to go into that fire. And you can’t go into that fire arsing around and playing games with that fire because that fire will scorch you and burn you. You can only enter it directly, nakedly, and surrender to it and allow it to do its tremendously difficult, potent work on you. But getting to the place where you truly, truly decided to do that work takes the exposure of all kinds of different illusions that belong to your current personality. And I had a whole slew of them, like everybody. I had the illusion that being a real artist would heal the pain that I experienced and that would be an honorable, noble thing to do. And it is. But a real artist can still be ignorant of the nature of reality and therefore, the art will be limited in its power to heal and transform others. I’ve had the illusion that a certain kind of celebrity would also give me the joy and happiness that I’d so signally failed to find in my own life. And I pursued that. That fell apart in ways that made it obvious that was madness. So, I’m so glad I lived those illusions and I’m so glad they all fell apart. I had the illusion too that in my own personal romantic life I would meet the all-transforming, all-transfiguring lover because the first opera I ever fell in love with was Tristan and Giselle which is a dangerous thing to do at 13 because it gives you extremely extravagant ideas of what love is supposed to be. And of course, that kind of mad projection can only lead to heartbreak, despair, betrayal. And I drank deep of those things and I’m glad I did because when I was in the middle of my 30s, I was on my knees. Nothing was working, although everything seemed to be working, nothing was working for me. And I was finally ready to actually plunge into the true transforming fire and give up the games of my mind and the fantasies of my heart and my career vocations and my plans and just realize I was so sick, and I needed help. And the only help that would come would have to come from grace itself because I gambled in the casino and lost all the chips. So, it had to come from somewhere outside the casino.
Rick: Does one reach a point, or did you reach a point, where you had no choice but to fall into that fire?
You’re holding on to your ideas,” and so on and so forth. But I can only do what I can do. I’m just speaking from my own experience. And I hear some people like yourself say they went through things that are so excruciating and transformational that they had to hang on for dear life. I’ve never quite gone through anything like that, but maybe you get to a point where you have no choice. Or is it like Frodo, you know, you almost have to be pushed in because you’re never going to do it yourself? :
just before we began, you were talking about your dog, and there’s a look of such love and affection on your face. You don’t know yet what you would be able to do for your dog, out of love. You don’t know yet, if you haven’t experienced the dark night, what you’re prepared to do out of love for the beloved. You’re prepared to burn in the fire of the beloved and burn away and have your illusions exposed to yourself and be dragged across broken glass simply because you’ve discovered something that’s greater than yourself, which is your love for the Creator, for the Divine One, for the Beloved of the Universe that is the Universe. That’s the great discovery that changes everything. That’s the discovery that is awoken in the core of the mystical life. So, it’s not courage that gives you the courage to do the work. It’s love. It’s love in saying, love beyond reason, love beyond any possibility of expression in words, but love because of direct, inner, naked experience. :
Rick: Excellent. Because I’ve heard you say that pretty much everybody has to go through something pretty intense, some dark night of the soul period.
Andrew: They’re very lucky, yes.
Rick: Yeah. I mean, do you perceive that the intensity of that, the difficulty of that varies from one person to another according to their makeup, their karma, whatever, and for some it will be like getting dragged through broken glass, but for others it might be a relatively smooth transition?
Andrew: I don’t think the dark night is ever a smooth transition. It won’t be the dark night if it is.
Rick: And is it compulsory? Everybody has to go through a dark night?
Andrew: Everyone in the end will have to go through a dark night because the divinization process, the process that transforms a person from a human being filled with light, to a Divine Being in human form is the death process of the dark night. There is a death-rebirth path that is the central path of divinization and it goes through always the annihilation process and that’s what is so dangerous and what is so exciting and what is so sobering about the authentic path. And this path is the truth of Shamanism, the truth of Vajrayana Buddhism, the truth of Mysticism. It’s the core path. It’s the evolutionary path. So, one of the things that my work has been very concerned about because I have lived through the dark night process and I know that it leads to immense blessing and immense opening and immense empowerment. But my God, you have to know the map otherwise you can get unbelievably lost. And because I was given the map by great teachers and because my own experience led me to confirm the truth of that map, this inherited map from the great mystics like Saint John of the Cross and Rumi, now what I am so concerned to do is to give people the map because we are going into a global dark night in which all human illusions are going to be peeled away by the acid of extreme chaos and extreme suffering. And without knowing the sacred meaning of this global dark night we would be threatened by madness and terrible destruction. We’ll have madness and destruction anyway, but we’ll be threatened by terminal madness and terminal destruction.
Rick: Yeah, let’s talk about that on an individual level first and then take it to the collective level. You mentioned the word “danger,” “dangerous.” On the individual level, is there a survival rate for going through the dark night? Is it like,50% make it and 50% don’t? And what happens to those who don’t?
Andrew: I don’t know, but I suspect that there are many people in asylums, in houses for the mentally challenged, who are actually caught in the middle of a very, very difficult dark night process, whose minds are being exploded by trauma or some terrible event, and who are actually seeing fragments of a new interlinked reality but have no container because no sacred information, no practices with which to work, so as to be able to contain what happens in the dark night, which is on the one hand you’re open much more deeply to the dark forces, to the shadow in its most lethal, horrific, terrifying form, so that you can truly get real about what’s happening in the planet. And on the other hand, you’re also constantly open by revelation and by grace to much deeper knowledge of the transcendent consciousness, which we also see through one way. So, the dark night is doing this, one hand stretching you to embrace the dark, and the other stretching you to embrace the fullness of your divine personality, and trying to create a container in that process is very difficult, but it’s known how you can, and that’s why the information I’ve been trying to give in all the different books that I’ve written, and in my own biographies, and in the way I teach, about the importance of this process, and the capacity that we have to survive this process, is really, I think, sacred to me, because the whole world is now going through this process, and we won’t be able to get to the next stage of our evolutionary birth if we don’t accept the price of really waking up to the depths of the shadow of the darkness within us, so, it’s to work on that, those depths, with the light, but not use the light to bypass those depths and pretend they’re not there, because they’re exploding in a radioactive way everywhere, threatening the future of humanity and the great beauty of nature.
Rick: Yeah, doing this show, it goes out to a lot of people, and people get in touch with us who are going through stuff that is blood-curdling, and in many cases they don’t, well, I guess if they get in touch with us, they’ve figured out that it’s some kind of spiritual emergency they’re going through, some sort of kundalini awakening or something, but for some people it’s extremely incapacitating and frightening and difficult, and they don’t know where to turn or what sort of help to get or anything.
Andrew: Well, there are many, thank God, spiritual emergency systems, and there are people like my friend Dorothy Walters, who has a website called Kundalini Splendor, who herself has been through a big kundalini awakening and who helps people, for the goodness of her heart, because she is an expert in this. So, it’s very important that we create systems of support for people with this, because if you really sit back and consider what we are now facing as a human race, you and I and everybody, the potential end of the whole adventure, because it’s quite clear that all the solutions we’re proposing are failing horribly to address any serious problems in any real serious way. By 2048 there will be no fish in the sea. This is official scientific data. We’re headed into a storm of global climate change, which we’ve done staggeringly little to prevent, and we’re keeping floating a completely fake economy, which is about as flimsy as balsa wood in Bali. And the combination of all of those things ensures something devastating, which is already obvious to so many people but is bound to get worse. So, we need to prepare the deepest level for the biggest evolutionary shattering that we have ever gone through, and we need to get much more serious about it, much more aware of its different ramifications, much more profoundly embedded in deep sacred practice, and much more active together to bring in solutions that we may not have much time left to even have a hope of implementing. That’s what I see very clearly.
Rick: Yeah, I’ve had a sense since the 70s that something like this was coming down the pike, and you probably have too, and many other people have, and it’s taken some decades, but it seems like it’s getting fairly close. I don’t know if you have any sort of a sense of timeline, but I did hear you interview an environmentalist guy from Arizona, I forget his name, and he was saying that given the rate at which methane is releasing in the Arctic now, in a sort of a vicious circle feedback loop, we could be seeing dramatic changes in climate over the next decade, that even the most dire forecasters were putting off a hundred years.
Andrew: That’s it. This is real, and I cannot imagine that in the next ten years we won’t see a series of cataclysms that will bring us to our knees. And what happens then depends on how we prepare now.
Rick: Yeah, I’ve always felt though, when I contemplate this sort of thing, that nature abhors an imbalance, and that some positive things are rising up to kind of meet the challenge. Do you agree with that?
Andrew: Absolutely. There is a birth taking place in and through this death, right now on the planet, and this conversation is part of it. There is a birth, I believe, of a wholly new kind of humanity. A humanity that is consciously divine and dedicating its sacred powers to restoring balance and harmony and justice for all beings on the earth. I believe that there’s a mass movement of people being awakened by this chaos, that is slowly coming together. But I see that mass movement in its fragmentary stages. I see the urgency of the situation, and my job is to say to people, don’t let any kind of complacency about this mass movement not wake you up to how much faster it now has to go, how much more coherent it has to be, how much better organized it has to be, and how much more embedded in universal sacred principles it has to be, to have a hope in heaven of reversing the immense tsunamis of dark destructive power that is now threatening the whole of humanity and the whole of the future. We have no time to waste, and we can’t be complacent about the people coming up and evolving. We’ve got to see that time is running out, and we’ve got to progress our evolution with great intensity and focus now, and express our passion for justice in real action all over the planet, to prevent the forces that are clearly hell-bent on driving us over the precipice of extinction from having that pleasure. That’s not going to happen without a mass movement of beings who are prepared to put love and wisdom into real action in a non-violent, sacred activist revolution. That’s not going to happen as that happens. That’s what I see clearly.
Rick: Yeah, just to carry on with this point a little bit more, for instance since 1990 there’s been a 35% decline in violent crime, there has been certain diseases that have been cured or eliminated to a great extent, malnourishment in the world has dropped from 19% to 11% since 1990, 6.7 million fewer kids under the age of 5 are dying each year compared to 1990. So, there are things like that that are happening. The world is better educated, better fed, healthier, freer, more tolerant in many ways. But, as you say, that is not to diminish the …
Andrew: Well, you could also argue that Syria is an obscene cancer in the middle of the world, these people dying in horror scenes.
Rick: Oh yeah, well that’s what I’m saying. It almost seems like polarities are becoming more extreme.
Andrew: Yes, that’s absolutely right, but we can’t count on the polarity of the light just emerging. The time is converging so intensely that another level of authenticity and seriousness and focus and organization and training is, I believe, absolutely necessary. Because we’ve been very narcissistic about our spiritual practices and the movement that we both come from, very self-absorbed about our goals, very cut off in many ways, you can see this all over the Middle Age, from the deep agony of what the world and the animals and the environment and the fishes and most people are actually going through. And it’s time to get over that coma of narcissistic surrender to the Divine to do everything, because everything is in Divine order. This is madness. When we’re actually in a vast evolutionary crisis in which the whole human enterprise could go up in flames within the next decade, if a major push down from the deepest levels of sacred consciousness isn’t put into practice soon, the global crisis.
Rick: This is good, we’re getting into the whole sacred activism thing now, and at a certain point later on I’m going to drag you back to your history. But let’s just pursue this the way it’s going. You just alluded to those of us who’ve been on the spiritual path for a long time, decades maybe, and there’s definitely been a narcissistic indulgent quality to it for many of us. Just sitting on our butts and enjoying bliss. I’m sorry, what did you say?
Andrew: No, no.
Rick: I’m sorry, you said?
Andrew: I shared that.
Rick: Oh yeah.
Andrew: It’s not something I feel exempt from. I’m analyzing something I know to be true about all of us.
Rick: Right, and many people in the spiritual realm, myself included, have felt that all I really have to do is this spiritual practice, and then by virtue of my very existence I’ll be radiating waves of positivity which will change the world, and it’s up to other people to work on all these superficial levels and try to change things. I don’t think you would concur with that attitude.
Andrew: Well, I understand it because I’ve shared it. I understand the temptation to that, the seduction to that, but that is of course outrageous inflated vanity, isn’t it? And once you unmask that shadow in yourself, you really reeled with shame that you could have thought that a few experiences over many years and some kind of decent practice gives you the right to think that you’re more special than other people, instead of actually taking you to the place of illumined love when all you’re concerned about is how you can help other people.
Rick: Well, you know, you read stories in Yogananda and the masters of the Far East and all that stuff about these yogis in the Himalayas by virtue of whom the world is not blowing itself up just because they have this kind of influence, and so, people sort of think of themselves in that light.
Andrew: They are enlightened and they’ve gone through the whole death-rebirth process. People who think like that, like we all did, are just at the beginnings of the beginnings of that process, thinking like we all do because we’re entitled, inflated beings created by a narcissistic culture, that we’ll get it so fast, we’ll come enlightened so fast, we’ll get there, won’t we? It doesn’t depend upon anything but the rigor of our intention and the depth of our passion, the fortitude that we need to actually go through the path and the real knowledge about the authentic path and not the illusory paths. This is the price of authentic awakening and very few people in our movement have been prepared to take that real journey or pay that real price because it’s not glamorous, it’s humiliating and it destroys any pretension that you might ever have of being a guru or an omniscient being because God flattens you the closer you get to God so that you can never play any of those lucrative power games.
Rick: We’ve sort of touched on the idea of spiritual people thinking they can just have the desired influence by virtue of their spirituality, but on the flip side, we’ve all seen instances of activists who don’t have the spiritual component, who are just acting out of anger and self-righteousness and even shooting people or killing people sometimes. So, I think you and I would both agree there needs to be an integration of the spiritual with the active. So, how would you approach both people, the spiritual people who don’t think they need to do anything and the activists who think that spirituality is a lot of woo-woo?
Andrew: Well, I try and say to them that the evidence of the great systems of understanding of the nature of the universe, the great mystical systems, is that there is one reality and that it dances in opposites on every level. That is what we know about reality. So, it’s a marriage of opposites. And a human being can never realize their fullest potential unless they marry at great depth their will and their being, their heart, their knowledge of the nature of reality. And to be a complete human being you need to be able to marry the power of your mission with the depth of your heart and the depth of your way of being. And that I find is actually an exciting way for people to start thinking about it because from that you can turn to mystics and say, “Your narcissism is your obsession with the transcendent aspect of God as the only reality. The light is the final reality and all the creations of the light are an illusion. That’s not true. All the creations of the light are crystallized light and so therefore completely sacred. And the fact that they are frail and vanishing does not make them any less holy. It makes them more holy.” So, what you and I are here to incarnate is the fullness of the divine that is both being and becoming, peace and action. And that is the key to authentic realization. Putting what you come to learn in the depths of meditation and in the depths of your heart’s rapture, putting that sacred burning wisdom into living action in the core of your life, completes your realization and makes you a secret agent of the transforming evolutionary will of God. And to the activists I would say, I completely absolutely love and honor what you are doing. You turned up from the depths of your conscience and you’re risking your lives and you’re giving your energies at a time when so many people are in such a coma of denial. You’re so apathetic. But what I noticed because I spent a lot of time with you, is that so often you’re very close to paralysis and despair and burnout. And I understand why, because you’re facing intolerable madness and pain and chaos, with very few resources and a world largely in the stupor of denial about the situation that you’re trying to help. But you must understand when I say this to you as someone who is both a mystic and an activist, that the only way that I can continue to do the work I do, which is travel wherever I’m asked to stand up for the truth of this vision of sacred activism, and to help and encourage whoever else is trying to do work in an exciting way to ground this vision, I can only do that work because I do the practices that ground me in my essential being. Because it’s so damn hard to do any real work in this completely insane world. So, I’m offering you my practices, the practices I found most effective, and the practices that other sacred activists have found most effective, in the prayer that you discover what I discover, which is that I will continue to serve with joy if I ground myself in my essential self, beyond concept and thought and are fed directly with the resources of peace and energy that are in that self. And they get that, I think. They really know that they need another level of energy. And what I’m trying to open up to them is that this level of energy is waiting for them inside themselves, to be unleashed by simple practices done in faith and devotion, which will work to express towards those who truly walk towards there.
Rick: Great. We’ll talk about those practices a little bit later. To the first group of people that you mentioned, I always like to point out that if we actually think about even what science has told us about what we’re looking at here, what the world is, we can’t help but marvel. Consider your fingernail and what’s going on just in that, in terms of the intelligence that is governing every atom, every molecule, every cell. And then just realize that wherever you look, however far you extend it, you’re not going to find a place in which there isn’t an amazing, miraculous phenomenon taking place, displaying immense, infinite intelligence. So, your point about the world not being an illusion and actually being a manifestation of God, of the Divine, science helps us see that.
Andrew: Yes. Well, one of the reasons I actually admire Dawkins, I don’t believe a word of Dawkins’ atheism, obviously, but he’s a wonderful writer. And when he writes about the wonder that science has awoken in him, he actually writes like a mystic. And I’m going to summon up my courage to write him a cheeky letter about it. But it’s very moving because science can reveal and is revealing so much of what the mystics have been talking about forever, the secret relationship between the observer and the observed, that everything is in a dance of consciousness. Even scientists are now beginning to begin to think about consciousness because so many very strange phenomena are inexplicable without a governing field, which can only be consciousness. They’re still pretending that they don’t want to deal with that, but they will have to and it will reveal many secrets. We’re in an amazing moment.
Rick: So, let’s say a spiritual person, quote unquote, hears this and says, “Yes, you’re right, I should get off my butt and try to do something.” It would almost seem like anything one tries to do is so minuscule compared to the immensity of the problems. For instance, you like to help the white lions in Africa, and that’s a wonderful, laudable thing to do. But what percentage of the world’s problems are represented by the problem of the white lions in Africa? It’s like a grain of sand on a vast beach. So, how do you address that doubt?
Andrew: I don’t doubt that doing anything in love is going to be powerful. I know that the mystic power of one person handing a sandwich to a homeless person in true love is a power that in the end defeats evil in the world. I know that. So, I do what I can with my resources as a way of modeling to others what they could do with similar kinds of resources. They could start campaigns to feed people. They could start to build houses in Kashmir after the flood. They could work with the cause that they know is very sacred and knows is very sacred to them, like the white lions are to me, and give their energy to those, not expecting to change the world immediately, but modeling dignity in extreme situations, modeling turning up and doing what you can with what you have for what you believe in. And if more people did that, the situation would be changed quickly. So, we’re not called, any of us, to save the world personally. This isn’t a Hollywood film in which you just turn up and suddenly, because you’re in the film, everything changes. Dictators yield their power. The corporations decide to withdraw all of their sociopathic tactics and give everything to the poor. No, this is a very difficult, very long struggle that you’re going to be invited into. And you need to get real about what it requires, the kind of in and out of work.
Rick: Do you feel that…
Andrew: Am I reaching you? Am I saying things that mean something to you? Am I speaking the truth, a truth?
Rick: Oh, yes, it is. I’m absorbing it as best I can and also trying to think of the perspective of people who are listening and what they might be asking. And of course, there are, how many now, 33 people listening, and those listening now are welcome to send in questions through the forum on the upcoming interviews page, but meanwhile I’ll keep asking them. So, you know the word “seva” I’m sure, “selfless service” is usually translated as. And a lot of spiritual people do like to do seva, they like to serve in some way.
Andrew: This is not called seva, this is radical social, political, economic work done in what I call “networks of grace,” because if you read my book, The Hope, it ends with a chapter about how you can actually organize yourself to be part of a network that can have much more power than the individuals that join it, that can truly come together to sustain each other, pray with each other, give each other joy. And this is the only way we can organize a worldwide movement that cannot be destroyed because it’s linked as far as we have the internet, as long as we have the internet, it’s linked by the internet. So, these networks of grace are what the planet are, they’re appearing in all kinds of different ways, and what they really are asking people to do is to create groups of between 5 and 15 people who meet together and pray together and love each other and create sacred friendships, and then choose to work for causes they feel very passionate about in their local communities, pooling all of their resources. Amazing things can be done like that, and when people come together like that, they find a source of meaning and a source of joy and a source of support, which God knows they’re going to need if they’re going to try and do something. We’re not called to do it alone, we’re not called to do everything, we’re called to turn up and make groups and we’re called to actually take responsibility for the mission that I believe is seeded in each of us, and that responsibility has something very much, I found, to do with how you answer the question, “What breaks my heart the most in reality?” And I found that when I talk to people who said, “What should I do?” I say to them, “Get up at 3 o’clock in the morning, go through a practice of grounding yourself in the peace and the serenity and the joy of God, and then look around at the world in all of its madness and chaos and agony, and dare to ask yourself one question, ‘What of all the craziness that I’m witnessing actually breaks my heart most?'” Because if you really answer that question with the fullness of your mind, the fullness of your heart, and the pain and love of your whole being, your body, you will find the mission, you will find energy to go on serving, because that heartbreak that you allow yourself to experience at that moment will open you to a fountain of passion that lives inside you, and that’s the great gift of the heartbreak that deep is that it makes you really see that unless you do something to honor that thing that causes you so much heartbreak, you are truly not yet a human being. You must do something in honor of what you know is happening. For me, that heartbreak came when I truly faced the range of animal abuse, which is why I honor the white lions and try and help people get to the revelation that they enshrine with the majesty of sacredness that’s blazing out of them. Nature, you can see it most clearly with them. The ancient tradition talks about the end of the world potentially coming when they are no longer on the earth because they carry this immense power of revelation. This is something that has been known for thousands of years. But the whole point is to really feel the depth of what we’re suffering, to turn up in groups, to get over the Errol Flynn fantasy of taking Burma single-handedly, to turn up to address the one thing that makes your heart the most broken, and to do it with urgency and sincerity. And imagine if millions of people turned up, they would all be doing interlinked kinds of radical service, which would really mean that there was a many, many unarmed Buddha of compassion, Christ of compassion, working interlinkedly in the world, which is, I’m convinced, the only way that we can go forward now.
Rick: Why 3 o’clock in the morning?
Andrew: Because that’s a time when the madness of the day has fallen quiet. And it’s also a time, the mystics of all the traditions know this, this is a time when the veils between your human self and your Divine Self are thin. And in the silence of that hour, you can make enormous spiritual progress in prayer, but you can also make enormous psychological progress if you wake up at that hour and really ask yourself the difficult testing questions because you’ll be clear enough and peaceful enough to stand the answer.
Rick: Yeah, I’ve actually found myself over the last couple of years that I wake up around that time and I can’t go back to sleep then if I want to. I have to get up and go meditate in the other room. And then after I’ve done that for quite a while, I’ll go back to sleep a little bit more because I couldn’t quite go through my whole day having gotten up at 3 in the morning.
Andrew: But you love that time.
Rick: Oh, totally. It’s the most silent time of the day.
Andrew: And the mind naturally falls into the great plague of silence, doesn’t it?
Rick: Yeah, yeah. These networks of grace, I think you called them?
Rick: That’s I think a term you’re using for the thing you are trying to organize. Would you also extend that out generically to all kinds of people who are collaborating with one another in various ways?
Andrew: Yes, it’s just my work and I’ve got a particular form that people do, who love that particular form, but there are other ways that this is happening. I think the paradigm of the new humanity is a paradigm of deep cooperation and collaboration. No one has the complete answer. The gurus obviously don’t, the religions obviously don’t. There’s no such thing as omniscience. There is such a thing as awakening. But awakening makes you understand you know nothing. That’s what awakening is. But you’re prepared to learn, and you’ll be given the information that you need through grace. So, you stay humble and stay alert and listen and grow. And that is a feminine vision of how awakening needs now to propagate. It has to be, I believe, in this very sacred group of sacred fans that encourage each other’s awakening and support, putting that awakening into action. So, you have cells that are both personal and spiritual support, real furnaces of friendship, and cells that plan naughty, mischievous, but peaceful, radical action. This is the way I think that we can go forward bringing heart, mind, body and soul, transcending the feminine, deep prayer and deep political practice, active practice together.
Rick: I once heard it said, I don’t know who coined this phrase, but if you want to get something done, give it to a busy man. And the reason I say that is, what would you say to people who say, “I’m already stretched pretty thin. I’ve got my job, I’ve got my kids, I’m so busy, I can’t really take on any projects. But sure, I care about the world, but boy, somebody else is going to have to do it because I’m just really maxed out.”
Andrew: What I’d say to him, “God, I understand you. I get it. It’s terrifying how much you have to do just to put food on your table and nobody’s going to help you. You’ve got to do the whole damn thing yourself. I get it. The culture is a complete nightmare and you’re exhausted. And you’re also scared, I would say. Because if you’re taking anything that I’m saying seriously, there will be no world for poor children whom you love so much and whom you’re working so hard for, if you don’t model to them a way to stand up that can have dignity, but also focus and also be effective in trying to prevent the policies that are now destroying the environment, creating, and fostering racism, creating horrific poverty and lack of job opportunity. This has got to be addressed. You can’t hide your head in the sand. You mustn’t. So, I have a proposal for you, that you really get up half an hour earlier and just pray and meditate 15 minutes to God in any way that you choose. Any God, any way that you choose. But just connect and ask for the energy, not just to spend your energy on what you have to do in the day, but the energy also to start working with other like-minded, like-hearted parents who must be very alarmed for the future. Start working together to do something to try and prevent the killing machine from creating a vast desert of blood and misery for your children.
Rick: I might add to what you just said, that based on what you were saying half an hour ago about the sort of very trying times that are on the horizon for us all, that putting yourself in the stream of the higher consciousness and so on, I would say is the best way to enable you to ride through those times relatively unscathed.
Andrew: Don’t set it like that because we’re not on Oprah. We don’t have to tell people that transcendental consciousness is all bliss and peace because it isn’t. If you’re in authentic oneness you will also be in authentic oneness with the pain and the heartbreak of the world, but you should be able to stand it because you’re held in the great peace. So, the most important thing is, as you say, and you said it so beautifully, when you said there is no other way to ride the waves of this, we won’t be unscathed because what’s coming down is going to scathe everyone. It’s going to be terrifying to see the last of the lions in 15 years if we don’t stop whatever we’re doing, everything we’re doing as far as they’re concerned. It’s going to be terrifying to see the millions on the streets because the refugee problem is going to get worse, etc. I don’t have to go on. And we’re going to have to know how to be strong enough to be able to stand the level of repeated and repeated and repeated heartbreak, which will also be necessary to keep us dignified and human and able to respond. And that means we’ll have to really go for enlightened consciousness because it’s the only one that’s strong enough, adamantine enough, clear enough, self-clear enough, to remain calm, sane, focused, passionate, compassionate in every single eventuality, however dreadful. That’s what it’s about to me.
Rick: I mean you said earlier on that if all hell starts breaking loose, even more than it already is, and people don’t have a clue as to what’s happening, they’ll just think, “Oh my God, the world is just going totally crazy and I with it.” But if you have a broader perspective that actually something really profound is happening, it’s this kind of … I’ve heard you and others like Elizabeth Sartorius use the example of the caterpillar, you know, who finds himself turning to mush and thinks, “Oh my God, I’m turning to mush,” but it’s a necessary metamorphosis that’s taking place and it’s just you have to go through the mush stage to get to the butterfly stage.
Andrew: Well, you could put it in another way, which is really where I am at now. You could say, looking around at the world as it is, with all these madmen in charge and these completely insane consumerist corporations running everything, and the billionaires clearly dictating policy of every kind, what possible outcome of this madness is there except extinction? Because they’re not paying attention to climate change, they’re not paying attention to the cries of really important environmentalists and ecologists and scientists who say that we have to change almost everything to have a hope in getting through the crisis. They’re completely insane with greed.
Rick: Some of them are paying attention to climate change. They’re saying, “Hey, great, the Arctic ice is melting, more places for us to drill.”
Andrew: Right. Doom capitalism is mainly climate causes, but this is really important that people see that that world ensures our extinction. So, we have no option who have seen that or have woken up to that, to try and do whatever we can to create an alternate reality together soon. Because seeing the devastation of that power and what will result if it continues its unfolding, what else can we do? What else would be a dignified response? What else would be human? But to try and truly find out what it is you’re here on the earth to help, and then to get strong enough to choose to do something real, so that you can model to your fellow human beings how to turn up in joy in extreme circumstances, as your last gift potentially to them.
Rick: This next question has a sort of a David and Goliath theme to it, but some people might think, “Oh, these spiritual people that are talking about being able to change the world through sacred activism and all, they are just this tiny little handful, and then there are these huge multi-billion dollar corporations, and these huge military industrial powers and so on. And are we joking? How can we, in such small numbers and with so few resources, hope to have any kind of significant impact on these huge, powerful things?” What would you say to that one?
Andrew: Well, the impact is not going to be on the powerful corporations. The impact is going to be on ourselves and on the people who are influenced by us. The truth is that the corporations are going to create a situation in which they are smashed to smithereens. The whole economy will be smashed. The world is going to fall apart. So, what people who are inspired by the vision that I am giving them are not working because they think they are going to change the corporate system. They are working because they know that the whole system is coming down and there has to be viable beginning cells, beginning alternatives, when everything becomes insane, to show people that there are alternative ways of being and doing everything that are beginning to grow. We are not going to have an alternative system in place while this system collapses. The most we can hope for now is that there are many, many groups of devoted people turning up to try new kinds of solutions so that when things collapse, they will be vibrant, they will be alive, they will be inspiring because groups of people will be attracted to them. That is how the human race is going to continue, if it is going to continue.
Rick: Do you think that as things do collapse, as the pace of this transformation quickens, that people who are, I don’t know what term to use, but who are sort of spiritually oriented, sacred activists or whatever, will find that just as the collapse accelerates, they will find an acceleration of the sustenance from within, kind of an upwelling of greater and greater energy and grace and whatever?
Andrew: I think they would if they do the work. I don’t think you just feel it gratuitously. It is not something you can just buy in a weekend in California. It is something you have to prepare your being for. There is a great evolutionary impulse coming from the center, I believe, the source, and that evolutionary impulse is saying, “Either you transform or you die out.” Here is the transformation. It has to be putting love and wisdom into action on every level for all sentient beings. The transformation of the institutions and arts and sciences and ways of being and doing everything very fast. Either that transformation or it is curtains for you. So go for it. I will support you. If you choose the transformation that is the one that is in our evolutionary next stage, and that is the transformation of birthing the divine in the human and enacting that birth in radical acts of justice and compassion that truly alter the balance of power and the abusive systems of power completely so that we can begin again in a new way, what else can we do? What else could possibly work at this moment?
Rick: Would you agree with this way of putting it, that those who choose to engage in some sort of sacred activism, to apply whatever wisdom and spiritual awakening they have gained in some compassionate or humanitarian or practical way, will be given more? In other words, if you just sit on it, it sort of stagnates, but if you throw it out there and do what you can with it, then you are supplied with, as if the gods say, “Okay boys, we have a live one here, let’s give him more juice.”
Andrew: Yes, exactly. It is the wine, and Rumi says that it is the wine that is held up to the real warrior. It is the wine of bliss, it is the wine of meaning, it is the wine of truly knowing that with all of your flaws and faults and follies you are turning up, you are giving your all. That actually is what makes somebody the most happy. People aren’t made happy by celebrity or fame. They are not. They are made happy by turning up in the fullness of themselves and going on a great adventure. And it doesn’t matter whether you make it or you fail, what matters is that you turned up with the fullness of yourself and that is the way you taste the excitement of life, the thrill of life, the glory of life. And then you die, maybe an abject failure in a ditch, but with a smile on your face because you know you took all the dice, everything that you have been given, and you flung them with both hands on the board of life and you played your hand for the one you love the most, the Divine Beloved. What an amazing joy comes from that.
Rick: And I think that by doing that you definitely diminish your chances of ending up dying in the ditch.
Andrew: You don’t know. Somebody I know died on a cross, which would be worse than that.
Rick: Yeah, that’s true, it’s worse than the ditch.
Andrew: He was free up there as far as enlightenment. You have no idea where the game is going to take you. And look at the Hasidic rabbis, those wonderful, wonderful men who danced to the Avants. They didn’t know when they were studying their Torah that their last act would be dancing and singing as they go to the Avants to encourage all those to dance and sing with them so that they could understand that there was something that the Nazis couldn’t take from them, ever, the deathless truth of the soul. How would they know that their lives would have to culminate in that kind of witness? But they seized that moment, and they carved that moment in the heart of the ones who witnessed that and who were baptized in a truth beyond the world through that amazing experience.
Rick: Yeah, there’s a beautiful story in your book about the woman in South Africa whose husband and son had been tortured and burned alive by some guy and then she’s in the courtroom. Do you want to tell that story a little bit?
Andrew: Well, it’s such a killer of a story, in a way against everything that I’m trying to say, because as you know Desmond Tutu and Mandela brought in the reconciliation stuff and that meant confronting the victims with their torturers, and in this case this amazing old black woman and the man, literally, the Dr. Verberg, who had personally tortured both her husband and son to death. And the judge turned to the…
Rick: And she witnessed it, didn’t she?
Andrew: She didn’t witness it, but she knew that it had happened. And I think in the case of her husband she did witness it. So, there she is, asked by the judge, “What would you like to say to this man who has cost you so much suffering?” And the first thing she says to him is, “Dr. Verberg, I would like it if you told me where you tortured my son because nothing remains to me of him, and I would like some dust from the place where he was tortured to death.” That was the first thing she said. And then she said, “Dr. Verberg, I am an old woman and I have lost my child and my husband, but I have a great deal of love in me left to give and I would like to give it to you and I would like you to visit me as my son twice a month in my shanty park so I can give you this love.” And she started to walk towards him, supported by other black women, and as she walked towards him, he fainted.
Rick: She wanted to hug him.
Andrew: And he fainted and the whole courtroom sang, it said, “Amazing Grace,” because the force of that unconditional forgiveness, that mercy that she took on him and then the unbelievable Christ-like offer to just give him who needed it so desperately, because otherwise, why would he have done these terrible, terrible things, to give it to him. That force that was under his prayer just struck him down and he began to relight potentially. That’s the force we all have if we connect with this fire of divine passionate truth that lives in us as our essential truth. That’s what is our true nature. It’s the Buddha nature and the Christ nature and one nature. It’s the flame of the heart and the peace of the mind coming together in a mighty presence of true love.
Rick: That’s a beautiful story.
Andrew: It’s happened.
Andrew: It’s in life. It can happen if you are in that state of love when you act from it. It takes beyond anything that you could ever imagine will be affected because it’s not you acting. It’s love acting in you as through you. And when love itself acts like that it has a huge force of blessing and transformation. This isn’t poetry. We’ve seen it in history. We’ve seen how Gandhi could shift the whole situation in India. We’ve seen how Martin Luther King could create a moral framework which prevented a civil war breakup when the whole question of civil rights erupted as it had to. We’ve seen amazing beings like the Dalai Lama model rigor and unconditional compassion. So, we know that things can shift if someone is brave enough to turn up in that level-headed but total commitment to the balance of great peace and great passion and action.
Rick: And we know from the examples you just cited that one individual, if that individual is sufficiently on fire with love, can be a catalyst for huge social change. So that kind of addresses the point I brought up earlier, what
Andrew: can I do? I’m just one little guy. And then as you said, if we can assemble in groups and start, having this kind of influence as a larger network, then why not change the world?
Andrew: Why not? Why not put your passion into practice? Why not face your heartbreak, realize the world is potentially ending, get real about your responsibilities to love, and get real too about how you can’t possibly be happy in a world like that unless you’re truly reacting, unless you’re truly doing something. How else could you be happy? Because all that you will ever think about yourself is that “I did very little when the world was burning and the lives of my children and grandchildren were at stake”. How can you live with yourself as you have to live with yourself as you cross over with those thoughts? Take the great gift of the situation like ours, its extremity. Make champagne out of lemons and throw your life away in a sane way to do as much as you can before the fat lady sings or takes a torch to the whole of reality. That’s what I would say.
Rick: Amma, the hugging saint, always says, “I’d rather wear out this body than rust,” you know?
Andrew: Yes, absolutely. But my actual experience is honestly being that the more you give, the more energy you have. The more you give up, the more you can effect change, the more you’re actually given to do, the more you can do because you’re learning through the Spirit’s own wisdom how to balance action with contemplation and peace and retreat, and you’re learning a new dance, a rhythm, which makes you very powerful and very peaceful and feeds you, doesn’t deplete you. This is why it’s sacred activism. We cannot have an activism that just exhausts and burns people up. It has to be fueled by the sacred sources so it can be sustained during this great evolutionary nightmare we’re going through.
Rick: Let’s talk about how to sustain it. Let’s talk about practices a bit. I know you have a whole thing about hot practices and cold practices and all that, and to segue into that I want to just pose a couple of questions that came in from the live viewers. The first one doesn’t have too much to do with what we’ve been talking about, but there’s a second one which gets into ways of developing a more enlightened consciousness, and then that could lead into your whole thing about the different types of practices you advocate. But the first one is, what is his position on cause and effect in relation to reincarnation and experiencing suffering in a given life because you were the perpetrator in another incarnation? We were talking about the Nazis for instance, and so if you inflict harm on others in another life, do you believe that you somehow reap that karma in this one or in another one?
Andrew: I think you cannot be that neat and mathematical about karma, which is such an unknowable mystery. And I think that when people explain karma in that way, what they’re often doing is sanctioning their lack of conscience about the pain that people are experiencing, the injustice. Vivekananda was once presented by a group of fat priests who said, “Well, I don’t know why you’re getting so upset about this famine. It’s their karma to starve.” And Vivekananda said, “Maybe it’s your karma to feel their pain and feed them.” So, whatever the nature of karma, and nobody actually knows how karma works, your responsibility to seeing pain, seeing injustice, is to turn up to the karmic challenge that you’ve been given by seeing it and actually do something.
Rick: Yeah, good point. Okay, now we’ll segue a little bit more into practices, a question came in from Justin, he said, “What are his thoughts on psychedelics and can they be implemented spiritually?”
Andrew: I think anything can have a deep spiritual effect if you’re in spiritual consciousness, and I certainly know that psychedelics can open a door to essential reality, but you cannot rely on them to keep that door open or to take you permanently into the room that that door is showing you the way into. Because in order to keep that door open and to live in that room of wonder and of unity with experience, you’re going to have to do what everybody has to do, which is to get down on your knees and do a serious daily practice and go through the torments and the ordeals of the dark night and be born by grace itself, through a natural and very demanding process of transformation into your Divine Self. So, wonderful to use psychedelics as a way to open the door, but watch out, because the shadow of something so delightful is that it can become addictive and you can find yourself pushing that door open again and again, instead of doing the serious work of keeping that door open and going across its threshold to live in the room of your essential truth.
Rick: Yeah, I interviewed Stanislav Grof a few months ago and he’s done plenty of serious work in addition to having done a lot of psychedelics, but I got the sense, at the age of 84 he had this sort of subtle lament that he had glimpsed marvelous things which he hadn’t been able to make permanent or stabilize.
Andrew: You can’t make anything permanent or stabilize it without the most vigorous inner mystical discipline. It is simply impossible, because the level of concentration on the essential reality that you need in your mind and your heart to stay in enlightened consciousness is simply not possible except through years of intense, tender, focused training.
Rick: So, what would that training entail? I know you advocate various types of practices that you recommend for people.
Andrew: Well I think, let’s keep it simple, because if people want to read The Hope “They’ll See My Five Parts” scheme, I would really like just to say there are three essential forms of practice for every human being. If you can find one in any category that truly helps you experience the essence of these practices and really use them in the goal of your life, you will find your whole experience deepening immeasurably. The first is that no one can get anywhere near their essential self or their divine identity except through meditation. You’re going to have to go through a discipline that enables you over time to still your mind so you can experience the spacious, alert, calm, white consciousness, the divine light consciousness that is actually manifesting in your mind. Otherwise, you’ll be condemned to being trapped in your mind thinking that’s your whole identity. The second kind of practice that is absolutely essential is heart practice, to practice devotion so that your heart can stop being a narcissistic, self-absorbed heart, terrified of suffering and allow itself to fall in love with the splendor and the magnificence and the glory and the madness and the beauty and the wild, wild passion of the divine beloved. And so that through that allowing yourself to fall passionately in love you can experience the vastness of the divine heart that you actually have within you. And so instead of being terrified of facing the world’s pain, instead of being terrified of risking yourself in real action instead of being terrified and paralyzed by what you have to face in the world, you can actually be strong enough to feel what you have to feel and not be defeated because your heart has been grown by devotion to become a divine heart a heart capable of loving through everything. And the third kind of practice is so important for this time because one of the great strengths of the New Age movement you don’t hear me praising the New Age movement very often, but one of the great strengths of the New Age movement is that it really called for a celebration of the body and said enough with the body hatred, enough with the dualism about the body and many wonderful and some crackpot modalities were invented. So, everybody who is trying to stay strong enough to serve in a time like this needs a passionate and energizing sacred body practice. And that’s why I wrote Heart Yoga when I joined with the wonderful Yogini and Dakini Kapilona Erickson and we married the great light practices with conventional yoga asanas in sequences so that people could actually experience yoga as a transforming, transfiguring force. And I’m working on a book with the great sacred dancer Banavsha Syed now to bring the dance community to this realization because I discovered like many mystics have discovered that when you do a physical discipline with mystical intensity the soul and the body come closer and closer together and you realize their unity at a much deeper level and that gives you a great deal of passion and a great deal of energy and a great deal of power to do your work in the world. So, choose the mind-stirring practice that really works for you. Choose the devotional heart practice that really works for you. Find a sacred physical discipline like sacred dance or sacred yoga or five-star, the five rhythms what are called Reiki. Find something that will enable you to experience your body as a sacred temple. Bring them together in your life and you will discover a whole new level of joy and meaning and power and presence and energy, a lot more energy will be given, direct access to a whole new level of energy which will change the quality of your life.
Rick: Good point, good point. Oh I’m sorry, go ahead, you weren’t finished?
Andrew: No, I just said richly because the lights will come on, the engagement of the heart will really happen, the beloved will help you, you will be given so much more tenderness and joy in the course of your life, in the core of your life. So, this is an amazing experience but you have to be willing to pay the price, you have to be willing to do the work and you have to be willing in the end to die into life, to keep anything back. It’s going to demand everything but what you get is so much, it’s beyond any words to describe. I think if anybody has even touched it, like I’ve only touched it, will tell you the same thing. That’s why Rumi is so ecstatic, that’s why the Dalai Lama is smiling, that’s why Mother Teresa had this great joy even though she was suffering so much. You must get to know that because you’re going to need that joy in the configuration that’s everywhere.
Rick: Yeah, and I’m prompted to also add, touching upon your point about the body, I live in a community where thousands of people meditate, and many have been spending hours a day for decades sitting in meditation. And a lot of these people, their bodies are just falling apart, they have digestive problems, they’re having all kinds of health difficulties and they were led to believe that meditation is supposed to make you really healthy, but they’ve neglected to exercise their bodies. It’s one of the most obvious things, but there’s a saying that sitting is the new smoking. So, you have to actually get your heart pumping a little bit and be physically fit and healthy to a reasonable extent.
Andrew: And love being in your body and also incorporate the sexual element, the transformed sexuality. That’s what gets the body’s juices flowing so that they can be filled with the energy of love and action. That’s the key, the tantric key. And I have evolved a three-part practice which is actually really helpful for people I find. And it’s so simple, you get up in the morning, you do 15 minutes of imageless meditation, when you just watch your breath and you allow your mind to still. Then you do 15 minutes of saying the name of the beloved, by whatever name you love the beloved, with devotion in your heart. Just say the name, loving the mystery, without expectation, just with devotion. And then for the last 15 minutes put on some dance music that rocks your world. And I’ve got all kinds of suggestions, but whatever really speaks to you. Sometimes it could be Bach’s dance music, it could be Beethoven’s dance music, these great cosmic dancers, great masters who know the dance as the central experience of reality. Why not Tina Turner? Why not something that truly makes you connect with the ecstasy and pain of life? Put it on and dance what you’ve experienced in the first two practices into your body and empower your body for the day. People are doing these three and I do! And it’s an amazingly beautiful, energetic, simple workout for the whole being, and over time it results in you turning up very much more authentically and passionately, and with sometimes a rather sweet but kick-ass attitude.
Rick: It sounds like a great routine.
Andrew: Yeah, it is. We’re not left helpless in this situation. What’s so amazing is when you really do the practices, the simple practices like the ones I’ve suggested, you discover how powerful they are, because grace will just pour down upon you to meet you. Grace will help you. It’s dying for us to turn up in this simplicity of need. It’s waiting with the great fats and golden milk to pour down our throats, but we’re not doing the right kind of work.
Rick: If I may, let’s loop back to your personal life. And feel free to take me off into other things if you wish.
Andrew: It is an open book, most of it.
Rick: Actually the first time I became aware of you was when I read a book about your time with Mother Meera, and later on I read Journey to Ladakh many years ago. Recently preparing for this interview, I listened to some recordings, and I like where you ended up with your attitude toward Mother Meera, because you were with her and then there was a rather difficult breakup, so to speak, but you seem to now primarily feel gratitude and appreciation for what you gained from that episode in your life, even though you’ve moved on to other things. And towards the beginning of our conversation you mentioned you had a breakdown about the age of 35, and I think then you went with Mother Meera, so let’s go from there.
Andrew: Well, of course, at the age of 35 my world fell apart, and I’d already met Mother Meera at the age of 28, I think 18, and I’d been amazed and very deeply moved by her, because her purity and the quality of the power coming from her, and the fact that she taught in silence, meaning it very much, because I knew I needed to be taken out of my mind, which was too brilliant, turning in many directions, and here was somebody of complete simplicity, radiating great power in silence, that was huge. And I went back to be with her and had a very intense awakening through my devotion to her, and that changed everything for me, because at the end of about two years of deep meditation in her presence, in her arms around me, I had a vision of the whole universe vanishing into light and reappearing soaked with light, and I’d been in a state of deep meditation and really seen essential reality, and then everything has been created out of essential reality, including myself, obviously, and everybody else. And then what happened was that she wanted to separate me from the man I was in love with, and she told me in the kingdom of the Mother there were no homosexuals, and that completely floored me, and I realized that she couldn’t possibly be the Divine Mother, however awake and enlightened she was in certain parts of herself, and I knew I had to stand up and tell the truth of what had been said, because so many people had come to the whole adventure because of the book I wrote about her. And at that moment hell broke loose because she told a lie about me never having said that, and then I was attacked and we had death threats, and you can read about the whole sordid ghastly saga in the book I wrote called “Summit Midnight,” but what I’ve come to, is that when you think about somebody who’s had a massive effect on your life, both good and bad, you have to marry justice and mercy to be awake in that situation. So after many years of prayer, I came to a position where I could say I was so grateful for the years that I had when I was in a state of being evolved to the moment that I could see the Divine Light manifesting everything. I’m so grateful for that projection because it enabled me to do some very serious work, but I’m not grateful for the craziness, the injustice, the lying, the madness, that then visited three horrific years upon me and nearly killed both me and my husband. I’m not grateful for that because that would be to condone abuse. However, I am grateful from a mystical point of view for the horror and depth of that experience because it sprung me free of the addiction of the guru system. It baptized me directly into my direct connection with the Divine. It got me radical about the nature of power in all of the existing world systems and how lethal and dangerous and full of corruption they are. It woke me up, got me going, and really enabled me to do the work that I can sense. So, when you turn the situation in all of those different angles, you get a very rich statement, which I hope that was. I forgive her. I know exactly what she did. It was unconscionable what she did. I forgive her. I’m grateful for the time I spent with her, but I’m also very aware of that level of abusive power that she’s enacting, and the fact that it’s epidemic in spiritual circles. It’s not only Mother Meera who’s doing it, it’s a whole slew of gurus and many celebrity teachers doing that, and worse. And it’s time that we had a real discussion about the levels of abusive power, including the abuse of account power, which I also experienced.
Rick: I just had to take down a couple of interviews recently that I had done, because the people that I had interviewed were sort of going off in directions, or I was discovering things that they had been doing and are doing that I just didn’t feel like I wanted to be a part of promoting. But you know, one thing I would say about Mother Meera and many other gurus is that however enlightened they may be in whatever way or to whatever extent, they still seem to be a product of their cultures to a great extent, and of their upbringings, and they don’t totally break free of that.
Andrew: That’s true, and that’s very important, but I think that what really needs to be understood about gurus is something actually more scary, and that is this. When you go through the big awakening process, towards the middle to the end of the process, you’re given great powers. You can see reality, and you can influence people, and charisma grows, and maybe even you get the power of healing, or the power of appearing, omniscient and all-loving and all-protective. If at that moment you choose to exercise those powers for power, you actually sink lower than you ever were at the beginning of the path. You consign your soul to the furnace of illusion. But you might get very rich, you might write all kinds of best-seller books, you might have a following of millions, but you will never, ever realize the divine in this foolish nature because you cannot. Because until at that moment when you’re given those powers, you make the choice to dedicate them all to the Divine, come what may, whatever happens to you in the course of that dedication, because there are all kinds of examples of people who don’t end up well, who have dedicated their whole lives to the Divine, like Jesus, like so many of the great heroes of love. If you really give yourself like that, then you will be rewarded by the revelation of your divine identity, but that revelation is not given, cannot be given, and will not be given, for those who choose to exercise their powers for power and not for love. And that’s the great insight that the spiritual world needs, because a lot of people who are revered as omniscient gurus or enlightened gurus or great masters, are actually people who are manipulating those powers for their own benefit, and that’s how manipulation works.
Rick: Can you think of any contemporary exceptions to that tendency?
Andrew: Oh yes, absolutely. For me the Dalai Lama is not… is in a category all of his own. It’s quite obvious to me, and I have had the honor of being with him many times, it’s quite obvious to me that he’s in the deepest and most grounded and illumined consciousness that he is truly loving, and that he is absolutely doing this from the most selfless passion of compassion. It’s obvious that he’s shown that through so many years when he’s been under such scrutiny. I would say that he models many things, including the ability to say he’s wrong, he changes his mind. My God, .. he never plays into the notion that he’s the enlightened one and everything he says is truth. He says, “I don’t know,” or “I used to think this, but now I think that.” He’s… he modulates the softness and flexibility before mystery of the enlightened mind. So, I would definitely say he’s showing this.
Rick: One thought that came to mind as you were talking about your breakup with Mother Meera is, I know you’re a cat owner, and if you’ve ever seen a mother cat, when the kittens get to a certain age, she starts behaving really nasty towards them, hissing and hitting them, and the kittens are like, “Whoa, what’s going on?” It drives them away, but it’s… in the bigger picture, it’s done out of love. The kittens need to go out and become cats on their own… in their own right. So, I don’t know whether Mother Meera orchestrated that thing intentionally, or whether it just sort of happens in the play of the Divine, but it seems like it was just what you needed in order to move on.
Andrew: Yes, I very much doubt she orchestrated it intentionally. What I believe is that the real mother used her as a tin opener to open me, and then appeared when that tin opener was turning the contents of the tin into septic. But I needed to be released from an illusion, and see through the way in which brilliant people with powers can manipulate a whole rhetoric of enlightenment to ensnare people, in fact to vampirize them, their souls. This happens in spiritual circles. This is the power of many gurus. Look at the scandals that have erupted over the last 30-40 years. What we’ve seen has gone on behind these sanctified halls. It’s unbelievable when you add to that the scandal of the Catholic Church. I think we must now have a more adult discussion of what enlightened power truly consists of.
Rick: Yeah. I want to ask you about Father Bede Griffiths, but before we get in … maybe we should go right into him. That’s a wonderful segue, because there is somebody too, who had immense mystical power, but who lived a totally humble, totally bare, absolutely simple life, radiating humility, real humility. To be his friend and to love him as my heart’s beloved, and to be taught by him in the way that I was taught by him, was not only a revelation, it was an instruction at the deepest level, how to continue on the path as humbly as that. Because if you didn’t model that, you were off the note. You were betraying something that was sacred to those who know the truth of Divine Love, as he did.
Rick: Was he pre-Mother Meera or post-Mother Meera for you?
Andrew: He happened towards the end of Mother Meera, so I met the truth as the lie was ending.
Rick: And since some people, many people, may not have ever even heard of him, say a few things about him. So, introduce him to my audience, and maybe people would like to go out and get his books, if he’s written books or whatever.
Andrew: Well, Father Bede Griffiths is, by anybody’s real imagining, one of the two most important Christian mystics of the 20th century. First is Thomas Merton, who at the end of his life opened to the East but died very soon afterwards. And the second is Father Bede Griffiths, who in the middle of his life, in his 50s, went to India and spent the next 35 years of his life, truly integrating at the deepest level, his mystical Christianity with Hinduism and Buddhism, and created a whole series of absolutely extraordinary books, which he wrote with unbelievable elegance and simplicity, called, for example, The Return to the Center, The New Vision of Reality, The Courage of East and West. But even more important than the vision that he gave us, was actually his own living, burning presence. Because when I met him at 85, he was going through a mystery, a mystery of transfiguration, which was being transformed in heart, mind, soul, and body. And he knew this, and he knew that this was the central mystical secret of the Christian path, the source of great knowledge of the next stage of evolution. So, he wasn’t just a brilliant mystic who could write, he was somebody who was in the furnace of great transformation, who could speak from that furnace with the simplest, most humble eloquence. So, if you want to see him directly, go to the film, A Human Search, which you can find on the Internet. Go to also the 45-minute session that he gave on the sacred famine, when he talks about this transformation of the body, and allow his presence and the beautiful simplicity of the words he says, to penetrate your soul. You’ll be amazed at what you’re watching. Somebody who really is filled with tender, brilliant, blissful certainty, someone who loves.
Rick: That was called A Human Search?
Andrew: A Human Search, and the other one is a film about the sacred feminine.
Rick: I’ll try to find those and link to them from the page of this interview that we’re having. Sacred feminine, Bebe Griffiths. Okay, I’ll link to those people, find out more about them. A couple of questions have come in. Here’s one from Kuribo. He says, or she, I’m not sure if it’s a man or a woman, “How can one have a fixed image of what sacred activism should look like? Shouldn’t one have a flexible view rather than a fixed mindset of how things should unfold?”
Andrew: Oh yes. I think what my job was, was to produce this clearer map of what it should be like, and to look at the mystical systems teaching on how you act sacredly, and to try and bring it together, because I believe the more information we have, and the more rigorously we apply that information, the deeper and richer the transformation is going to be. But if you read my book, you’ll see that there are many different kinds of sacred activism. I wouldn’t have opened up Networks of Grace in the way I had, did I not believe that sacred activism will have a life of its own. It will be as creative as it is. But it was very important to define certain things about sacred activism, because otherwise you can go at such an important task without the right information, without the laws that come from the study of the mystical traditions, and that can set you back from truly being able to incarnate and vibrantly express it in your own unique way.
Rick: Good. Here’s another good question. I’m not sure the name of the person who asked it, but he or she says, “Does grace only show up when you’re doing these intense practices, only during sacred activism? Is there no room for grace to be present while enjoying mundane everyday joys, such as hiking, camping in nature, spending time with one’s friends, singing in the choir? Does every moment have to be about saving the world?”
Andrew: No, I love what she says. No, I think grace is actually what’s always appearing, and I think grace is smiling at us in the flower, grace is the laughter of a child as we go down to Starbucks. And if you look at my book, you’ll see that really one of the things I stress endlessly, and I stress it to myself and to all my activist friends, is we have to do this work from joy. It’s got to be joyful. And how do we preserve joy in our lives? By really constantly inspiring ourselves with exactly the kinds of things that you’re just describing, the mundane, happy, simple things that give us strength. But you will need to really take on a serious spiritual journey if you want to experience the higher transforming levels of grace, because they are so astounding that they can’t really be revealed until you’ve shown yourself sincerely willing to receive them, and able to receive them, because some of the ways in which grace can appear at the higher levels of the path can be overwhelmingly painful or overwhelmingly ecstatic, and unless you’ve created a principle to hold that grace by practice, you won’t be able to do so. So, believe me, I’m not saying don’t enjoy life. Enjoy life! But also really take the mystics seriously when they say there is another life even within this life, which will give you access to a bliss that will make even all these beautiful joys seem small. And go for that, because if you can go for that, and if it can become real to you, you’ll be able to not only love your life with a deeper love, and all the mundanities and banalities and ordinary flavors of it, you’ll also be able to build your whole life as a manifestation of that joy and action, and realize the sacred purpose of your life. Why not have the most amazing joy available?
Rick: I appreciate your emphasis on the fact that practice and some sort of spiritual discipline has an important role to play. Sometimes people accuse me of emphasizing that merely to justify the fact that I’ve been doing spiritual practice for almost 50 years. And then there are people who say things like, “All you have to do is realize that you’re already enlightened, and then you’re enlightened,” or “The ordinary everyday perception is what it is, just accept that and stop searching,” and I just feel like they’re kind of like missing the boat.
Andrew: Yes, they’re missing the real boat. Unfortunately, they may not have had the really towering, crushing, gorgeous, terrible, and amazing experiences. So, what they think is the last step is actually the beginning of an intermediary journey. It’s not the last step. That’s one of the things that happens when you study the mystical traditions. I’ve been lucky enough to study several of them, especially the Tibetan tradition, which I co-wrote for Sogyal Rinpoche, the Tibetan for Good Living and Dying. One of the things that’s incredibly moving about the Tibetan tradition is how precise it is about the dangers of thinking yourself enlightened, and how many levels you have to travel through from their observation, before you get anywhere near true, full awakening. And we need those kinds of clarities and those kinds of rigors, because otherwise people get trapped in very minor experiences, think they’ve finished the path, and never unfold the full potential of what they could be.
Rick: I hardly agree. Do you think there is any such thing as full, final awakening, or do you think that there’s always a dexterizing?
Andrew: I always think, no, I think that that is a patriarchal folly. I think there is definitely a moment of entry into the enlightenment field, when you have access directly to Divine consciousness and to Divine information. And in a sense, at that moment you do know everything, because you do know that everything is made out of light, and that is to know the essence of reality. But what you also know is that you’re in the hands of a vast, transforming, evolutionary love, which will take you from deeper and deeper integrations of that knowledge, into the core of your mind, heart and body. And that process is endless, can never end, because the transformations of love are infinite because love is infinite.
Rick: Are you speaking from your own experience here? Did you sort of have a watershed moment like that at some point?
Andrew: Yes, absolutely. Yes, because you come to know by the immensity of what you’re in love with, that you could never incarnate all of it until you’d expanded it to become as large as it, which may be your destiny, but it’s going to take you a few million incarnations, as God knows what.
Rick: So then that would conflict with the notion that once enlightenment is attained, there are no more incarnations?
Andrew: No, I think you are able to choose your incarnation at that moment, and you probably choose something that would enable you to evolve even more. I believe the Dalai Lama, for example, 14 births ago had achieved a level of enlightenment which stupefied most people, but something in his great, great heart must have chosen that he had to come back again and again and again to the world and develop final powers of unlimited compassion, because only extreme difficulty and suffering could help him evolve those. Maybe he made it just like that.
Rick: So it sounds like you’re giving me a kind of a both-and answer, which is good. You’re saying that yes, there is a final enlightenment, there is some superlative level of achievement or realization, but paradoxically there is continuing refinement and deepening and so on, for all eternity, even after that.
Andrew: And even that may seem a very limited realization later on, when you have completely different ways of absorbing and receiving. So, it’s an entry into the miracle, but the miracle continues to expand and explode in ways that you don’t know until it’s happened. That’s why the greatest mystics tell us, and they all tell us this, from Lao Tzu to the Buddha to Jesus to the great Nicholas of Cusa, who wrote a book called Holy Ignorance, they all say that the only form of divine knowledge that can stand the test of time is the knowledge that you ultimately know nothing, because your knowing has been purified of the desire to over-explain the mystery, and the mystery itself has come to live in you, and you’ve been so awed by the constant fusions and outflowings of miracle and grace and transformation, that finally you’ve been silenced and face it with absolute or radical humility on your knees in wonder and ecstasy, and wow, that’s the entry into the waking consciousness.
Rick: sounds like a good stopping point. I don’t know if we can do any better than that.
Andrew: I wish I was there all the time, but I do know it’s real, and I know that the less that I claim to understand about the divine, and the more I surrender to the mystery, the more joy I have and the more effective my actions are, because finally you can give up the mystery, everything, and let it live your life.
Rick: Well you just provoked another question in me. You said, “I wish I was there all the time.” Do you feel that there is a stage of enlightenment from which you can’t regress, which you can’t lose?
Andrew: Yes, I do, and I think there have been very few people of that level, but I truly believe someone like Ramana Maharshi was of that level. All the people who stared at him in full public view for 40 years said, “This man never wavered from a level of kindness, compassion, clarity, luminous power,” but that’s incredibly rare.
Rick: Yeah, and he was living a life which didn’t place a lot of relative demands upon him.
Andrew: He lived a life of the most terrible sacrifice. Can you imagine being at that state of awareness, being up on a mountain where you have nobody to bother about, you’re one with the one, coming down and being gawked at all your life, being a kind of miracle in a cage? That was agony!
Rick: That’s true.
Andrew: He gave it as a sacrifice of pure love so that we could see what a life of beauty was.
Rick: Yeah, and he kept it real. I mean, he worked in the kitchen.
Andrew: He did completely really chop vegetables at 4 o’clock every morning. He didn’t own anything. He never asked money for himself. He left two sandals. I mean, that’s it. If you want to see it, there it is. That’s what it looks like, that level of mastery, majesty, simplicity, purity, holiness, and complete lack of goodness. An absolute purity of teaching. Everything is consistent in his teaching and it’s very universal. And he lived it. The force is still around him.
Rick: It’s true, he really created a wave that’s still rolling around the earth.
Andrew: Absolutely. God, if you go to his ashram, there’s no doubt that he’s there. You know, when he was dying, they all got very traumatic, and one of them said, “Don’t leave us.” And one of his last words was, “Where would I go? Where would I go?”
Rick: It reminds me of something the sage Tawtwala Baba once said. People asked him, “Do you sleep?” And he said, “What would happen to the universe if I slept?”
Andrew: Well, when you think of these kinds of beings, you have to feel pretty small about the evolution of the world so far. That’s why it’s so important to have these sacred standards in our world, not to worship everything that Ramana Maharshi said. But for example, to choose Ramana, to develop the inner senses that can actually make you so humble in the presence of such amazing presence and beauty, that you always know what you still have to work on to be as completely transparent as what you’re seeing. And I met Bede, who was a similar kind of being. So, it’s very hard. I love what I’m doing and I honor the progress I’ve made, but having those two in your heart line puts everything that I think sometimes about myself into a very, very sobering, humble perspective, and that’s wonderful. It keeps me truly striving.
Rick: Yeah, you just brought up a very important point which warrants extending this a couple more minutes, which is humility. I mean, you just brought up three examples � Dalai Lama, Bede Griffiths and Ramana Maharshi. And we’ve also discussed earlier about gurus who get carried away with themselves, or spiritual teachers, which almost seems to be the rule rather than the exception. And so, it would seem to me that humility is the key to preventing that from happening, and how do we develop it?
Andrew: Well, humility is the sign that you’re realized. If you’re realized, you realize that everything that you’ve ever thought about yourself is a complete fiction, including the fact that you exist as a separate, important identity. That’s the most flattening realization of all. It completely incinerates vanity and illusion.
Rick: Is there anything we can do to intentionally culture humility?
Andrew: Oh God, yes. That’s what you practice in your practices. You practice the adoration of the One, you practice truly surrendering, you practice trust, you practice service of the One in humanity, and you practice shadow work, constantly committing yourself to unveil your dark motives, your crazy tantrums, your neurosis, your addiction to power, and slowly, if you do all of those things with a great deal of focus, you will have a chance of a chance of a chance of developing something beginning to look like real humility. That’s my experience. I think that it’s very hard to begin to contemplate how vain and how proud and how narcissistic our minds and habits have made us. So, when you start to realize just what enemies you have within yourself to this humility that you know is the essential truth of life, you’re appalled by what you have to face in yourself, in the world, and others, but you have to go through that, you have to make it conscious because that’s part of your being humble.
Rick: I would also say that the universe kind of conspires to make us humble. You know, the bigger they are, the harder they fall, and it may not happen overnight, obviously, it might take lifetimes to happen.
Andrew: It will happen.
Rick: Yeah, it will happen. And would you agree, I love talking to you so much it’s hard to stop, but would you agree that there’s this sort of, we talked earlier about an evolutionary force or trajectory that ultimately the universe is sort of, it has our evolution in mind, so to speak, and will continue to orchestrate circumstances and situations, as painful as they may need to be, which will bring us to higher and higher and higher expressions of the Divine?
Andrew: I think that’s one side of the universe, and I think the other side has exactly the opposite intention of completely undoing all the work of the evolution. So just as the One has two sides � the ultimate light, which is of course the final reality, but when it manifests, it manifests with the light and the dark, and they’re both holy. So, if you wake up to the great evolutionary light that wants to birth a new world, you’re also going to wake up to the great power of darkness that wants to destroy all hope and possibility of that new world, and then you’ll understand a lot more about what’s actually happening in the world, which is the people who are consciously employing or unconsciously instruments of that dark, and are now causing terrible suffering and need to be addressed, but from a sacred consciousness, with its love in action.
Rick: But a house divided against itself cannot stand, so might it not be that in the bigger picture, the light and the dark are both components of God, of one greater wholeness? So even the dark ultimately has an evolutionary purpose.
Andrew: Yes it does, but it is so dangerous that it’s only when the light comes with deep shadow work to understand and integrate the dark into itself, that the potentially all destructive powers of the dark can’t unleash destruction. After all, we have nuclear weapons and biological weapons at our disposal. Jung said that the whole humanity now hangs by the psyche of man, and that psyche is a thread by a thread, and that thread is frame. So, you have these vast powers of destruction in the hands of people who are at a very narrow, bleak, crazy level of evolution � that’s very scary. It’s not something that we can think blithely about. We have to react to it because that’s part of the evolutionary challenge, to react and bring our creativity, bring our compassion, but bring our souls and hearts and minds and bodies in action to create a wave that can transform that.
Andrew: It’s a dance between being and becoming, between the masculine unattachment and the feminine committed passion. We have to be united in a being that is capable of holding the horror and the great love and the great joy in one embrace, and then living from that fullness of life and expressing that in sacred action. That’s the new divine human. That is, I believe, the kind of human being that is being awoken in hundreds of thousands of us, and we need to really feed him and her now, and really train for that emergence because time is running out for the birth. The powers of the dark to destroy this birth are clearly overwhelmingly intense and we’ve got to get rid of that because this birth depends upon us turning up consciously with it working, consciously with its laws and suggestions and mysteries and deep sacred trainings. It won’t just happen. It can’t just happen. We have to choose it. We have to be brave enough to do the work. We have to risk it. We have to give for it. Otherwise, we wouldn’t be able to be transformed by it because the divine doesn’t work except through deep sacred free will offering you what you need, but you have to have the courage to grasp it because what the divine is about is establishing the primordial love relationship through which you can learn how to evoke yourself again and again and again if you stay in the flood of love.
Rick: Good. That was an inspired little statement there. I should probably wrap it up at this point because we’ve been going for about two hours, but I hope we’ve given our viewers and listeners a taste of Andrew Harvey.
Andrew: Please write to me and tell me how you feel about this because it’s lovely to speak to you. You’re a lovely person. I’ve been speaking to you for hours, but we’re having this conversation to model sacred conversation between two adults who have love and respect for each other’s position and knowledge. And what would be lovely is if people wrote to me about how they felt about this conversation between you and I.
Rick: I’m sure there will be all kinds of comments on YouTube and also if I link to your website, is there a place to contact you through the website there?
Andrew: It’s on my website so people can contact me.
Rick: Your email address or a form to fill out or something? Okay, great.
Andrew: It’s good to know because we can’t talk in a vacuum. I need the wisdom of people to tune what I’m saying because so many spiritual teachers make the mistake of not listening to what people are saying about what they’re saying, so they don’t have the chance to actually tune in to listen to points of view that they may not have thought of. We’re all struggling, including and especially the teachers at this moment. We need your wisdom, your help too.
Rick: Yeah, and some of them actually intentionally isolate themselves because they don’t want to hear it. And you know where that goes. So, we can all use constructive criticism.
Andrew: We can.
Rick: As a matter of fact, sometimes people accuse me of …
Andrew: Constructive praise too! Why do we have to come into terms of criticism? That’s such a wild idea of our culture. Why not send a message? I’m not saying to me, but when somebody does something wonderful, I send them the most glowing message. “Great, you gave a great talk! It’s fabulous what you said!” You want to encourage people.
Rick: Both, both.
Andrew: “Hey, we’re doing a difficult workout here!” Trying to keep sane and make sense at a time of complete lunacy collapses. It takes a lot of guts to do this work and you’re bound to fail. Because evolution is so mysterious, but at least you’re turning up and you have full mind and heart and clarity trying to give the instruction. From a position of humility, sharing the laboratory’s fruits with those in the laboratory. That to me is what I learned from my great teachers, how to do this work on the ground with other people, giving away everything, knowing that you’re giving it away to yourself on the part of God and giving it away with joy.
Rick: Well, you are a life well-lived in progress.
Andrew: Very much in progress.
Rick: And you know, I’m sure you often have the feeling that you’re an instrument, you’re just an instrument of the Divine and you want that instrument to sort of just be as effective as it can be, to make the maximum contribution that it can make.
Andrew: Yes, but I also know that I have no idea what that would be, because sometimes in a culture like ours we think in terms of money and power and millions seeing you, but that’s all horseshit, that’s part of the illusion. Bede Griffith sat in a room in South India, he influenced the whole of science by changing the life and spirit of Rupert Sheldrake, great discoveries in the way in which science is done through his love of Bede Griffith, his relationship with him. He changed the whole inter-spiritual movement because of Wayne Dyer’s wonderful friendship with him and he changed my life and the whole vision of sacred activism and Christian mysticism that I’ve been privileged to give. So one person turning up with the fullness of their whole being can actually have a subversive effect on the transformation of a whole culture.
Rick: Yeah, and you never know what effect you might be having. I mean a lighthouse doesn’t know how many ships it might be saving from hitting rocks, you know.
Rick: It just shines its light and …
Andrew: And then amazing things happen by just turning up and doing your devotion in public for devotion’s sake. That’s how people change.
Rick: Yeah, beautiful.
Andrew: God bless you. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
Rick: Oh, thank you so much Andrew. I’m so glad that we finally got around to doing this. And I’m sure we’ll meet sometime and we’ll do another one sometime.
Andrew: We could introduce our animals to each other.
Rick: Yes, well I don’t know if your cats would like my dogs very much.
Andrew: She’s quite sophisticated, but when she’s still the center of our attention she will be fine.
Rick: So, let me make a couple of general wrap-up points. I’ve been speaking with Andrew Harvey, as you know by now if you’ve been watching this interview. And as usual, as always, I’ll be creating a page on batgap.com for this interview and it will contain links to Andrew’s website and some of his books and this thing we were talking about, about Bede Griffith, the human search and sacred feminine and so on. I’ll try to find that and link to it. And Andrew is very easy to get a hold of through his website and he offers all sorts of programs that you can participate in, which also you’ll find details of on his website.
Andrew: And there are videos for free too, because I love, I feel it’s so important that people can have things for free. There’s lots of stuff for free.
Rick: Yeah, me too. I mean that was my founding intention with this thing that I’m doing, is that let’s make it freely available and if anybody really appreciates it enough they’ll donate something and hopefully it will become self-supporting that way.
Andrew: Yeah, I totally agree. Thank you for doing that.
Rick: Yeah. And so, speaking even more generally, as I mentioned in the beginning, Buddha at the Gas Pump is an ongoing project and there have been hundreds of interviews so far. So if you explore the website you’ll see them all categorized, you can see what ones we have upcoming under the upcoming interviews menu. There’s a place to suggest guests, all sorts of things. Just explore around the site, you’ll see it all. So thank you for listening or watching and we will see you for the next one. Oh, I just also want to mention there’s an audio podcast and almost as many people, if not more, listen to it in audio as watch it in video. So, check that out too. So thanks for watching. See you next time.