Rick Archer: Welcome to Buddha at the Gas Pump. My name is Rick Archer, Buddha at the Gas Pump is an ongoing series of conversations with spiritually Awakening people, we’ve done well over 600 of them now. And if this is new to you, and you’d like to check out previous ones, go to batgap.com – b a t g a p – and look under the past interviews menu. This program is made possible through the support of appreciative listeners and viewers. So if you appreciate it and would like to help support it, there are PayPal buttons on the website. And there’s also a page that explains alternatives to PayPal. My guest today is Angelo, Angelo de Lulo. Angelo is an anesthesiologist living in the Denver area. But that’s not why we’re going to be talking to him, as you’ll see in a minute. And he wrote out a bio here, but I think I am going to mostly let him tell his story rather than just read his bio to you. But let us read one paragraph of it, it became exquisitely clear that suffering is unnecessary among humans, and that any human being who has a genuine yearning to wake up to their true nature has the capacity to wake up to this boundless non-separation, living truth. This led to the writing of the book, ‘Awake,’ it’s your turn. The book is a combination of practical advice to help anyone who is on this pathless path, practice pointers and inquiry tips, and direct pointing transmission through language. So good. All right, Angelo. So it usually helps to start these conversations with a little bit of personal background, just so that people have a sense of who is this guy who’s telling me this stuff, you know, how does he qualify to say what he’s saying? So, you know, you mentioned in your, in your, the part of your bio, that I didn’t read that you underwent years of intense internal suffering and an intuition that something about the way we interact with our thoughts causes a lot of unnecessary suffering. So maybe we should start with that, and how you eventually came to a way out of it?
Angelo Dilullo: Sure. Yeah. So I grew up American family, sort of in the west and Colorado. I would say that my degree of suffering my degree of internal angst, stress, the feeling of just being out of sorts, with life, was very much out of proportion, with the sort of family dynamics that I grew up in and so forth. I mean, of course, there was some dysfunction and so forth. But it was this was just fully beyond that. And it started really when I was a kid, I remember very distinctly, being in presence as a child, most of the time and noticing thoughts, then then it was more than noticing thoughts that felt like the thoughts were sort of crowding in and starting to define me and then I noticed I could push on, the thoughts are almost trying to push them away and would push back and it felt more and more enclosed. And for me, it just started feeling very suffocating. By the time I was probably in my early teens, I felt I felt that there was just something pervasively wrong. I didn’t know what it was. But my assumption was, or my conclusion was, that was wrong with me. And there was a sort of circular thought loop going, What is wrong with me? What is wrong, what is wrong? And I was looking for the answer in thoughts very strangely. And I was taking myself to be thoughts, I was actually taking myself to be some conceptual idea of me and my past and my future and the way thoughts construct reality. And no one ever pulled me aside and told me there was any other way to approach my internal world. So I just struggled with it more and more, and the more I struggled with it, and against it, the more the suffering became intense, more acute. By the time I was about 18, or 19, I learned to meditate to learn from a gentleman who learned transcendental meditation in the 1960s from Ramana Maharshi. Excuse me, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. Yeah. So he taught
Rick Archer: I might know that person, what’s his name? Do you mind telling me?
Angelo Dilullo: He’s passed. His name is Rak, but he’s from Boulder, Colorado. His name is Robert Kragle. But he went by the name Rak, R-A-K, which was his initial so yeah, old hippie guy. So I did learn TM from him. And I learned to meditate. And I really took to it. I mean, it was like water in the desert for me and I meditated every day, twice a day, didn’t have any instruction beyond that didn’t have any spiritual knowledge, hadn’t read any books about anything to do with inquiry or really awakening. I had a peripheral interest in Buddhism, Eastern thought, Eastern traditions, and so forth. But I didn’t really know why I just had an inclination in that direction. So for about four or five years, I’ve meditated religiously, and it helped. But it really just helped in the moments I was meditating, it was a relief, a respite from all the suffering that was going on all day long. I suspected there was something in it that they could, they could shift things in a big way. But I, it was a vague assumption I didn’t really know. And I again, I’d heard of Enlightenment, I’d heard of awakening and so forth in the Buddhist context. But I either the way it was presented to me or just the way I interpreted it sounded like something that could happen in another lifetime. Or if you’re a monk for 60 years, or something, I just never really, it never hit that like, this could actually happen to me, this could happen now. And it’s about me and my own suffering. So for whatever reason, that never quite landed until it did, which, I was 24 years old, and I had gone through like a romantic breakup. And, again, the suffering was just acute, it had been that way for years. And for whatever reason, I picked up this book that I’d had for quite a while and I, I’m pretty sure I’d never read any of it. And I just knew I picked it up, I went to the three pillars of Zen by Kapleau Roshi, Philip Kapleau Roshi, there’s a chapter in there, that’s really amazing. It’s 13, or 11, stories of enlightened I think it’s called Enlightenment accounts by Westerners and Japanese people from the 1960s. So these are accounts of people going through Kensho, or awakening. And they write it in their own words and their own commentary how it played out for them. And I read each one of them, and I said, Oh, this, I don’t know how this is going to happen for me, but this is going to happen for me, I know, if it kills me, if I have to die trying, this is exactly what I need. Because I knew that every way I had tried to solve this problem with myself, every way I had tried to solve, being a human just didn’t work. And I felt in a very deep way I can tell it just it just wasn’t going to work, to continue to try the same way as I had learned about how to make yourself happy to make yourself bring yourself peace and so forth. I just knew I had to go completely beyond that somehow. And that was the first time I actually tasted really tasted the possibility of how I could actually do that. And I sat down with that book, and I figured it out. I figured out how to do that I started just doing self-inquiry in a certain way. And we can talk about that, but ultimately caused a massive, massive shift in the way I perceive everything. And it kind of came in two phases, it was more than that, actually. But generally speaking, there was one major shift at one night while I was meditating and doing this kind of practice, where literally everything was being just pure conscious being there was it wasn’t experiential, it was an identity just dissolved into it. So there was there was no personal identity, really, there was a universal consciousness, identity, an identity of being pure being. And I remember having the thought very distinctly, I thought, ‘Oh, this is what spiritual people are looking for.’ And I kind of thought this is kind of what everyone’s looking for. And I thought it was really weird that I knew that because I didn’t really know spiritual people. I didn’t, I didn’t have that context. But somehow it was just very obvious, it was so more real than real. It was so self-obvious and self-validating, and thoroughly enjoyable. But it also wasn’t a big deal. Like an explosion of ecstasy, it was more like a neutrality that just encompassed everything. And then so I remember thinking, I’ll just do this for the rest of my life. That’s fine, I’ll go, I’ll go to work. I’ll get it, I’ll do what I need to do. But when I have spare time, I’m just going to sit in this. I’m going because this is the only time I’ve ever truly known peace. And this was a peace beyond the story of me. This was a peace that went beyond this lifetime. That I didn’t know was possible at all. So I just stayed with that. And I thought, Oh, this is it. And then the next day, something even more unexpected happened that I couldn’t even begin to describe really, and I’ve tried many times, and it’s not really describable. But all I can say is the whole paradigm of identity and everything that has to do with identity just completely disappeared, and it never came back. So that’s a very hard thing to talk about. I’m sure you’ve bumped into this many times. It’s literally impossible to talk about. You can talk about aspects of it. You can talk about what’s not there, in for the contrast, but the interesting thought that came through my mind at that point was, in comparison to what happened last night, I don’t think people actually want this. This is it’s sort of not wantable, like Adi Shanti has a way of saying it’s not Wantable. And it’s right on the money. It’s, there’s just nothing there. But it’s also not empty. It’s not. It’s not literal nothingness. It’s not empty space. It’s just there’s no identity. At all. And so nothing you could ever want out of that could ever come of it. So obviously, when I didn’t expect this, I had no idea what it was, it has no substance or form, there was no way to even give myself a context for it. And in a way, there still isn’t. So I was just sort of like, okay, this is this, it was sort of like this is home. But it’s even beyond form. So even if there is no form at all, this body could disappear, this universe could disappear, this, this will never change. It’s not, it’s just not even in that realm of change, change or not change or, and it’s home, beyond home. Everything could never be out of place, nothing could ever be out of place, things are just so perfectly okay, whether they’re informed and dysfunctioning, or coming out of form, or it didn’t matter. So from there, I really had nothing to say it was it was kind of over for the for the individual, it was just done. There’s nothing to say about that anymore. So then it’s just a matter of, well, now let’s just go forward and live the conventional life and see what happens. Which, which is very strange, it just kind of came to an end. And there were some refinements of it. But there’s very hard to talk about that continued to happen over time. The one thing that stuck around for me a lot actually was reactivity, which is interesting equanimity took a lot longer for me. But I’m also sort of grateful for that, because I had to really go back through the conditioning in exquisite detail. And I never had a plan or thought that I would ever talk about this to anyone or publicly, it literally never crossed my mind for many years, 15 years, probably. But in retrospect, it worked out perfectly, I was able to explain it in a way to myself and to others that that to me, at least to me, it was satisfying that I could actually show someone, if you really, really want to look at this, you really want to dig in in this way. It’s possible for you. And that’s it, you know, if you’re not, if this is if someone hears this and says this is the most bizarre thing I’ve ever heard, that’s fine. There’s nothing wrong with that at all. But if you listen to this, and you say, I know what you mean. And I know what suffering is. And even if you didn’t know fully before, I can recognize it in myself, the messages there is a way out of that. And that’s ultimately where the book came from. Six or seven years ago, very, very randomly, and sort of by surprise, and organically. I started having these conversations with people. And I noticed they would start having shifts, because they would tell me, they would literally tell me, Oh, that thing you said, Can you write that down? Or, you know, can you talk more about that? And I, I really thought like, I almost felt like I slipped up like, oh, I accidentally said something I shouldn’t have said, because there’s something about this that’s so strange and paradoxical that there’s nothing, there’s no sense that anyone is needs to wake up. There’s no sense that anything has gone wrong anywhere. And yet, somehow it does come forth in spontaneous conversation at times. Well, that just started happening more and more. And I started writing it down, I started emailing to a group of people who were asking me these sorts of questions. And then from there, I had written so much, it really surprised me how much I had written how much volume I had written. But it was really disjointed. It wasn’t coherent, as far as like being able to put in a book or something. So I sort of put that on the shelf for a few years. I thought, I probably won’t write a book with this. But I have a lot of this stuff I had written and I would occasionally send it to people if a certain topic seemed to come up in their experience. And then, literally, I was sitting on a beach in Jamaica, and the chapters of the book downloaded in my brain, it was really, really strange. All of a sudden, I knew the structure of the book. And I was like, Whoa, that’s weird. So I started typing it out on my iPhone, and I was trying it, I couldn’t even type it as fast as it was coming. But I just knew for some reason how the structure had to go. And I typed out the structure of the chapters. And then it took about two and a half years after that to like, fill it all in. Organize it and I revised it many many times because I really wanted the wording to be simple, direct, accessible, not jargon-laden, but effective and true and honest. So, so just a lot of refinements with the with the writing and I published the book about a year ago.
Rick Archer: Hey, that’s an interesting introduction, and synopsis and I’ll just tell you a few thoughts that came to mind as you were saying it all one is just for the record, just so you know, I was a TM teacher myself. I became one in Estes Park right up road from you, in 1970. And what you’re saying about suffering, as you’re saying that I was thinking, in a way, suffering is kind of relative? Because some people might, I mean, obviously, externally, people might have looked at your life and thought, ‘Well, this guy is pretty fortunate.’ I mean, he’s growing up in a nice place. He’s obviously a good student, he’s going to medical school and all this stuff. And you know, what’s he got to complain about? And you might have actually externally appeared to be a happy guy, I don’t know. But I know what you mean about what you’re going through internally. And we can talk more about that, but and it was interesting what you said about experiences of presence when you were much younger. And I often encounter that with people I’ve interviewed, where there was something really profound happening when they were little kids. And then later on, they kind of lost it. That’s the general trend. And there was this angst, which their friends might not have had, because they had tasted something that they knew they had to have. And they didn’t know how to get it back. So there’s that. And what you said about, you know, nobody necessarily has to have this or wake up to this or anything. True. But there’s a couple of rebuttals to that, perhaps one is that everybody has to have this eventually, ultimately, will. And another is that if they are suffering, then sure that indeed, they have to have it, because who would want people to continue suffering? But obviously, everything happens in good time when it’s meant to happen. And what was the other thought? Just, well, I’m interested in how do you go deeper into this method of self inquiry that you deduced from the Zen book? And how that contrasted with your TM practice? How was it different, then? Did you continue to do some form of TM practice? Or did you just shift into doing the self-inquiry as your meditation practice, if you want to call it that? So I guess that’s enough questions for now.
Angelo Dilullo: Sure. Yeah. Yeah, I do. I wanted to just address the one comment you made about the suffering thing, and you make a very good important comment is, perhaps at some point, if we think of things in terms of time, everyone will wake up to this. But I actually see it in a very direct way that they’d already they already are this, there’s no one who’s not Buddha-nature. True.
Rick Archer: But that doesn’t do me any good. If they’re not experiencing it.
Angelo Dilullo: That’s right, exactly. But the reason I make that disclaimer is very specific to that it’s not you because people can listen to this, and they actually know they’re not ready. Or they just they’ll say sometimes I’m just not ready. I know that but I’m not ready. I just don’t want to add a layer of judgment to this. And some, some people can do that they can bring that out with a teaching like as if, well, you’re not you’re not awake, or you know, and that’s not I don’t, I don’t see the world that way. There are people who are waking up, but I don’t see anyone that’s asleep. That’s just how I see reality. So it’s really the reason I say that that sort of disclaimer is just to not add judgment to this, and to very much clarify that someone can hear this, and they may not be ready to for this shift, or whatever. But in five years, they might be and this can just plant a seed sometimes. And you know, who knows? So that’s really why I say that.
Rick Archer: That’s good. Because there are teachers that who sometimes say, ‘Well, you know, you’re already enlightened,’ therefore, just realize that you don’t have to do anything. Don’t worry about practices, forget all that stuff. Just realize you’re already enlightened. And the vast majority of people that’s not going to work, and then they’re going to feel like there’s something wrong with them. Because they are not getting that.
Angelo Dilullo: Absolutely no, you’re right on the money with that. And I make I occasionally get into this conversation with people about the sort of Neo Advaita approach of like, you know, there’s no one there’s no one to wake up. There’s no one to do self-inquiry, there’s no one to you know, yada, yada yada. But you know, Dugan has a wonderful quote, where he describes this, he says, you know, ‘the way is perfect and unsullied. Buddha nature is perfect, all pervasive.’ Who could imagine a way to wipe that clean? And yet, the Buddha took six years under a Bodhi tree, and Bodhidharma sat facing the wall for eight years. And he says directly, so you think you’re going to do better than them by not doing anything? So, of course, in the relative some practices and inquiry and heart based, you know, approach to your true nature actually matters.
Rick Archer: And then there was the Zen guy who said to his students, ‘You’re all perfect, just the way you are, but you could all use improvement.’
Angelo Dilullo: Yeah, yeah, it’s very paradoxical. But yeah, you know, really, what it comes down to for me is authenticity. You know, if you tell me, oh, there’s no one to wake up, there’s no and I say, that’s great. If that’s your truth, if that’s your real experience, if you actually experience no suffering at all, and boundlessness and no sense of self anywhere, fine. But, but if you’ve just learned that, then maybe do some work or look into yourself and see, do I really suffer? Am I really, you know, that that’s the kind of thing like if you don’t start with authenticity, it’s easy to get up in your head about this stuff. And, you know, miss the point in various ways. But
Rick Archer: yeah, there’s a, I guess it’s a Tibetan Buddhist quote that I often have quoted, which is, ‘Don’t mistake understanding for realization. Don’t mistake realization for liberation.’
Angelo Dilullo: Yeah.
Rick Archer: And, you know, a lot of times, people that you mentioned, Neo Advita, all kinds of people, you know, read a bunch of books and listen to a bunch of talks, and they end up mistaking understanding for realization.
Angelo Dilullo: Absolutely.
Rick Archer: And that’s not very helpful.
Angelo Dilullo: Yeah. So as far as the self-inquiry you asked about, or what the process I figured out, and how that relates to TM, or my practice afterwards. It was a very, very simple thing I figured out. But here’s how I figured it out is as I was sitting and meditating, I suddenly became fascinated by what a thought even was. It was I kind of almost took the assumption at face value that, okay, what if all of this really is thought? All every way I’ve perceived my life, my problems my past, my future, what if really all of that is a thought, because the only way I can experience it right now is as a thought, as I’m sitting here with my eyes closed, there’s nothing actually going on in the way my mind it makes it appear that there is in the past and future. So I just became interested in well, what is actually a thought. And so I really oriented my attention to thought for maybe the first time in my life to where I was really trying to get at what it is in experience, as if like the picture movies on the screen, and you see the forms and people, but you get a little closer and it starts looking hazy. And you get even closer until you see the pixelation or whatever, it was like that I was literally waiting for the next thought orienting and watching it arise. And then noticing, oh, that’s a thought. And then I would kind of say to myself, well, what’s next, then, and it will wait for the next movement of mind, whether it’s a thought, an image of visual image of myself a body part, even a label of experience, like, ‘Oh, I’m hearing something,’ but noticing of that as a thought, ‘Whoa,’ and then the mind just got quiet, quieter and quieter. And but it wasn’t an experience of dissociation, I want to make that clear, because a lot of us can dissociate too. And it wasn’t a spacious, it was much more intimate. So as I recognize each thought as a thought, it was as if the substance of the thought got closer to me, until there was only the substance of the thought would it’s actually made of the thinking stuff. You call it consciousness, but I wasn’t calling it anything. And then I was made out of that, then it was like the gap between what I perceived as myself as the thinker, and the thought, closed completely. And then there was only that pure sense of, you can say, the pure sense of I, but I wasn’t labeling it at all, it was just self-obvious. So pure, thinkingness, this pure consciousness, pure light of thinking without any object whatsoever. And I had heard this, like, when you do transcendental meditation training, they talk about this, in a sense, they get out like, you know, pure consciousness and getting to the root of thought. But I was always conceptual to me when this happened. I knew exactly what that meant. And, and I knew what it meant a lot of things meant that I had heard, but stored in you know, informational way. And then it was just Oh, that is what I am. It is just that pure consciousness. So there’s no exact way to say how this what happens. But I could say that the sense of being a thinker, and the sense of being a thought is overlooked all the time. It’s almost like a standing wave in consciousness. As we’re thinking, well, here’s my path. And here’s my problem, here’s the solution, I’m going to, you know, this and that. And we’re actually engaging in reality right in front of our face at the same time, but we’re reflecting back into mind so frequently, that we really don’t notice we’re taking our identity from that thought structure of the past, quote, unquote, present and the future and Doer ship and agency and problems and solutions. So this is sort of a standing wave of the unseen thinker back here, apart from the, the thought structures that we’re taking to be our life and reality. And I’d never looked at it that way. Or I’d never looked at it in the right way to where that gap could close toward the sense of being a thinker, or the sense of being an eye to whom all these thoughts refer. And the thoughts themselves were all literally made out of the same substance. And the moment that closed, it just got completely quiet. It was, again, self-validating that this is it. This is at least in this phase of things, this is it, there’s not there’s nothing more to do. The all of the doing, I had thought I’ve been doing was actually holding on to that standing wave pushing the thoughts away, just enough to interact with them to push and pull on them to keep reinforcing the sense of a thinker or a subject in consciousness. So I point to how to get out this in different ways because it just depends on the person you know, try some things out. There’s no exact right way to close that gap. But you know, Romanus says it Rama Maharishi says in a very clear way, just as just notice the thought and ask yourself for whom does this thought arise? He’s saying look back at Going back are incented to take the backward step. All of these, at least in this first phase are really trying to get back to that sense of subjectivity. And realizing that you’re assuming and overlooking yourself as a distinct entity apart from everything in consciousness without knowing you’re doing it, and the moment it clicks, it’s like, whoa, another way would be notice the space between thoughts, what is it made out of, or follow the thought back to the sense of AI. And then back to the thought and see if you can actually find a dividing line or a gap. If you have access to, or it makes sense, just rest in the sense of pure I am, I am before I on becomes anything. And that’s, that’s one of those things that like, once you’ve done it, it’s so easy. But if you haven’t, it’s so slippery. So I just kind of try to offer different things and suggest to people try whatever, you know, try these different ways of approaching it and find what works for you. But you’re, you’re really kind of looking for ‘aha’ moment, it’s really a eureka moment, it’s not a, ‘Oh, I see things differently now.’ It’s like, the one that sees anything is suddenly a different thing. And it’s a much bigger thing. And it’s an expansive and you know, you know the deal. So with Transcendental Meditation specifically, after that happened for me, I remember I would sit down to meditate. And I would like say the Mantra, like twice, and it would just go into this place. So there was no technique needed. And then it dawned on me that there is no technique to pure consciousness, because pure consciousness is what is always here, regardless of what you take yourself to be. So yeah, any specific practices to meditate pretty much fell away, because meditation became a very accessible thing for me, I guess I would say, yeah.
Rick Archer: It seems to me perhaps that the years of meditation you did do kind of laid the ground for you to have the clarity of, we could call it clarity, or we could call it discernment for this process to work. Because I think for a lot of people, there’s so much inner clutter is like, blooming, buzzing confusion, as I think William James put it, that if they close their eyes, there’s just so much going on. It’s like, you know, using the movie screen analogy, it’s like they’ve been in the theater for so long in the movies and it’s just so intense on the screen, that any talk of sort of sifting through the movie and seeing the underlying screen is kind of fruitless for such people. So and obviously different people are at different stages. But even in the tradition of Vedanta, there’s a sort of an understanding that different people need different preparatory stages in order to get to the point of the sort of intellectual, if you want to call it that discernment that can take you across the threshold or lead you to the threshold.
Angelo Dilullo: Yeah, I agree. I always encourage people to meditate, if for no other reasons, just to relax the body relax the mind. The only thing I would add to that is, you know, if you’ve been meditating for several years, and you really feel like I, a significant shift in identity hasn’t occurred or something still feels stagnant about it, which is kind of how it was me, it was very relaxing, but it was, you know, it wasn’t a shift in identity. You might want to consider self-inquiry of some form or inquiry of some form, looking into what the actual structure of the mind and thought and perception is. But I agree that sometimes you just got to quiet the mind for a while before you even have the capacity to start to investigate this stuff.
Rick Archer: Yeah, I don’t know if there’s anything wrong with me or not. I’ve been meditating regularly for 54 years. And I feel like, you know, if I were to step from where I was, when I started to worry, I’m now some experience the contrast in my subjective state. It would be it would kill me. I mean, if I had to go back to that, I guess. It’s been dramatic, but it’s, it’s been incremental also. So, you know, some people, they have these dramatic shifts and flashes and others, it’s more incremental. But you know, one thing I don’t get, and I don’t think has happened to me, is this sense of no identity, no personal identity. And I, I’ve had conversations with people about this, and I honestly don’t understand it. Because it seems to me that you couldn’t function without any sense of personal identity. You can. I mean, if, you know, if you were given the choice between someone whacking a rock in your yard with a hammer or whacking your knee, you would definitely choose the rock because there’s some sort of association with the knee. Some kind of flavor of identity there’s they’re not or what?
Angelo Dilullo: Yeah, yeah, I would say that is true, like. So much of this comes down to like, really what you’re defining when you say it, and my opinion is, I put the impetus on myself to define it. If I’m going to use a term like consciousness, I better be able to wait, I damn well better be able to define it to somebody who actually asked the question. So I’m, pretty precise with the language. And the reason is, your question is very, very good and important. Like, is there no ability for me as Angelo to say, I prefer Mexican food over eating gravel? Like, of course, of course that’s true, right. But the but it’s true based on a reflection in thought. It’s true based on looking back and seeing, that’s what Angelo tends to do, he tends to like this kind of food better than that kind of food. Now, I don’t think of it that way, in a third person way, either. That would be bizarre, but I can say it in this moment. What really changes is very interesting about choice is that it’s not even that you it’s not even that there aren’t preferences, there’s just nobody that feels like they’re pushing and pulling on those preferences anymore. They don’t, it’s like they don’t apply to anyone. It’s like they’re free floating, everything’s sort of free floating. And it’s even true that I could say choices are made. But if I’m really accurate, it’s almost like the whole environment just makes the choice. It’s a it’s a self-propagating, self-responsive environment of, you could say causes and effects, but it’s more just sensations and visual experiences and sounds. And they just sort of do things. Like they take a step, or they eat. And in that moment, in that happening, there’s nothing that’s going, ‘Oh, I prefer this, or I don’t prefer that.’ It’s just how it’s happening. And so for instance, if pain is felt, in that experience, like if I were to do something, the body is going to move away from that immediately, but what it feels like experientially is the whole environment just adapts, it responds. But it doesn’t, there’s no reactivity, there’s no internal contraction of a self that goes, ‘Oh, man, that was miserable. I hope that did that. My foot is okay later. And I got to make sure I don’t do that again, because I was really miserable.’ And then the fear comes, ‘What if, oh, my God, what if I stepped on a, what if I stepped off a cliff instead of a? Right like that, internal reaction that goes on and on and on, and it’s interwoven in the self, that’s what stops. So, choices can be made. Preferences are there, but the seeming self that’s woven into all of it is what’s gone. And the really weird thing about that is, you’ll never actually get anyone who experiences no self, or when, when the realization is there, you’ll never get anyone to tell you what that self was that went away, because it’s not anything. And so then it’s that weird thing where you see, I know there’s no self in here. But there’s also no self in there. There’s no self anywhere. There’s no I, the identity structure is really a movement of mind. And so I think that drops away on two levels. And the first level is like gross thought, meaning literal thoughts about okay, I can see right now that I can’t experience the past by thinking about it, I still am here, I can have a thought about the past, but I don’t suddenly beam into the past. And then you can really realize, okay, well, those kinds of thoughts are distorting. And then there’s thoughts about, well, I’m sure that person is going to respond to me this way, like my beliefs, so then I respond to them. And then it creates an argument, those kinds of gross thoughts and misperceptions and judgments, those can come down dramatically after we can experience this unbound consciousness and so forth. What I think happens is there’s another very fundamental layer of thought that’s actually still operating. And it can be so easy to overlook, because it actually looks like the world, it looks like the physical world, so that when those thoughts start to fall away, or however they fall away, it actually changes the way the environment looks like, it makes it look like there’s an inside and outside when those perceptual, subtle thoughts are operating. But when they stop operating, you can see so clearly there actually isn’t. And it’s not a wild mind trip, either. Like it would be if you experienced it on Ayahuasca or something. And that’s because of the contrast, as you mentioned. When it’s just seeing it, that’s how it is, and it’s not really any specific way, you can just see that the mind is trying to divide things up in a way that sort of makes sense for that collection of thoughts called maybe the ego or the self. It’s just not happening. So then the formless nature of seeming objects and so forth is just really obvious suddenly, but there’s no there’s no good language for it, because all of our language is really designed to talk about agency, doership, communication among from me to you and, and back and which are all sort of dualistic in their, in their confirmations. So, so this subtle layer of thought, really has a couple of components to it, but one of them is just reactivity. And seeing that the sense of being something, even the subtle sense of being something that’s reacting to the environment. And it’s interesting, you brought up preferences because it really does come down to that and it’s peeling away that the natural preference or the natural, let’s say response or inclination that the body mind has to like this taste versus that tastes to enjoy a massage more than it enjoys slamming its finger in the door, like those, those don’t have to be taken apart or messed with, you just get really clear at seeing what it is that feels like it’s reacting to them, that’s contracting inward, or that’s feeling like a self, or that’s responding and thoughts and turning it into a story. And those can like peel apart. It’s a very strange process when they do. And then once that happens, there’s this pretty pervasive feeling of equanimity. Like, it really does not matter what happens, you know, you care about your family, you care about your health, you care about the world, like those, those concerns are still there. But you don’t feel contracted when it doesn’t go that way. And strangely, you can actually enjoy the kind of, unmanageableness of reality of life, you just see like, it’s never gonna go the way you know, it’s not going to ever go 100% the way we want it to. But that can actually become enjoyable, instead of causing a contraction in the inward movement into thought, and that unhooking makes a huge difference, then you can actually start seeing, ‘Oh, the sense of actually being apart from this, or apart from that, itself is a subtle thought.’ And you can start to investigate, where’s the subject, even common that thought? Where’s the sense of being a subject? And you start to experience things far, far more directly. And that’s where the sense of self starts to unravel. In my experience,
Rick Archer: That’s all very interesting. I can relate to a lot of that. For instance, in a way you can say that the world is like a movie that a really good movie whereas things go on, you think, well, this is an interesting plot twist, you know, I didn’t see that coming. But wow, you know, it’s you just sort of appreciate the, the intelligence that nature displays as things unfold. And you you’re not the doer of them, and you’re not the screenwriter. So you know, you don’t try to interfere because there’s a much wiser screenwriter.
Angelo Dilullo: That’s exactly it.
Rick Archer: Yeah.
Angelo Dilullo: It’s wonderful. I mean, it’s really just enjoying, it’s just finally enjoying it. It’s, that’s, that’s really the innocence is, it’s that childlike innocence, you know, of like, ‘Why did I ever convince myself I had to manage all this?’
Rick Archer: Yeah,
Angelo Dilullo: It’s just silly, you know, especially when you have evidence to the contrary, constantly, that you can actually choose how everything goes.
Rick Archer: Yeah. And then another thing I really got from what you said, is the obvious quietude of your mind, I mean, Maharishi used to talk about excitations of consciousness. In fact, Patanjali refers to thoughts as Chitta Vritties, or fluctuations or excitations of consciousness. And there’s that versus the Yoga Sutras that yoga or you know, being a union is the diminishment or the cessation of those excitations, Yoga is Chitta, Vritti, Nirodha. So it seems, you know, you describe beautifully how you’re in a pretty much perpetual state where it’s highly efficient, and there’s just not a lot of mental excitation, which would add to the situation anyway. But it just doesn’t happen and not because you’re trying to prevent it from happening, you’ve just shifted to a style of functioning that is more efficient, do less and accomplish more. And that’s where nature functions. I mean, if you throw a ball, there are an infinite number of trajectories the ball could take, but actually, given the laws of nature controlling its flight, it takes the most efficient possible trajectory. That’s the way one’s behavior can, can be.
Angelo Dilullo: That’s exactly how it feels. You know, it’s the thing about this too, it’s like, it doesn’t feel like anything special, but the seeking ego mind, I know how it functions and it wants to, it actually wants to turn this into something to seek later for itself. But it’s there’s nothing special about it. It’s not it’s not an exalted state or anything. It’s so natural. And that’s exactly how it feels. You feel like you feel like a force of nature, just part of nature, like a season like you feel the seasons change. I mean, this sounds a little hokey, maybe but I love the feeling of the seasons changing I can feel the whole environment changing and it’s just it’s the inside and outside of dissolved away. So
Rick Archer: Which they do every day in Denver, you get a foot of snow one day and 70 the next day.
Angelo Dilullo: Yeah, exactly. So it’s very much, it just feels like natural is what it feels like and really a reverence for nature and, just a love of whatever’s there, whichever is in front of your face. It’s such a simple thing. Such a simple innocence
Rick Archer: Isn’t enlightenment sometimes referred to as the natural state and maybe in Zen or in other traditions. It’s not emphasized.
Angelo Dilullo: Absolutely. Yeah.
Rick Archer: And that’s good to emphasize because it takes away the wow factor, you know, where people want to blow it into this extraordinary thing like you’re on some 500 micrograms acid trip all the time or something just aah,
Angelo Dilullo: Yeah. I mean, in the I think those experiences do happen for, for people on occasion when they really have this internal world they’re living in and that feels stable and natural to them. And all of a sudden, something really opens that up. It can, it will be recorded by the mind that comes, reifies itself again, as this massive mystical experience, but the actual experience itself is really very natural, very, it’s like empty radiance almost. So that as you mentioned earlier, contrast, contrast makes things when you when you have sort of a taste of your true nature, let’s say it makes it feel like a bigger deal than it is when you quote unquote, go back into the sense of being the experiencer of it. Right? That’s that funky contrast. But when it’s moment to moment and natural, then it’s just moment to moment natural. There’s, it has a sense of reverence and sort of mystery to it. But you’re not jumping up and down and ecstasy either and you can feel pain like you can definitely experience the body can definitely experience pain, such as all the pain of course. Yeah.
Rick Archer: You’d be in trouble if it couldn’t.
Angelo Dilullo: Yeah, but even that, well, truly, yes. But even that can be really different. I was having a tooth drilled, maybe a few weeks ago, two teeth, and one of them he’d numbed up well, the other side, he didn’t numb it up too well. And I told him, I said, when I was a kid, I don’t know if I have different route. Nerves are something but the dentist was never able to numb it up. And I remember them drilling and it was so incredibly painful. I would have tears coming out and my hands would be clenched. I remember this so well. But the kind of kid I was I didn’t complain. I just sat there. And like we you know wither through it. Well, this time, it was a very interesting, like opportunity. Because the other side he started drilling, I felt I started feeling that intense pain. And just for a moment, there was like something that wanted to run away from it. And then immediately attention just went fully into the pain. And he said, you can raise your hand if you’re feeling pain, and I’ll stop and numb it up or but I was actually like, ‘No, I want to feel this.’ And I wouldn’t necessarily want to feel constant ongoing pain. But it was impressive how when attention fully went into it, I could feel all of the different textures of it. And because it was non-dualistic, meaning it’s, the sounds in the room and the walls and all of it were actually part of the pain. And when that was recognized, it was surprising how actually tolerable it is, it was still very painful. But it was tolerable and actually fascinating in a very strange way. And so just as an example, you know, pain definitely still happens. But the resistance to it can be very quickly seen, and it might just dissolve. And if that does happen, it’s surprising how much we add to the accursedness of physical pain by having a little layer around it that says I absolutely do not want this. I want to do everything I can to get away from this. The intensity of moving attention into mind and trying to distract yourself. And it’s kind of like that scene in Fight Club. Remember when
Rick Archer: I didn’t see it.
Angelo Dilullo: Oh my gosh, it’s so great. Brad Pitt slaps somebody and he says, ‘Quit running away in your mind. This is the best moment of your life,’ but he had just burned his hand with like caustic soda. So now that’s extreme but it is true that pain, like pleasure, like ecstasy and like really intense pleasure has a way of pulling attention fully into the body. And the ego doesn’t like that. Ego wants to be up here and stay in charge. Yeah. But that can be a really uncomfortable movement of that pull into consciousness into thoughts into not wanting to be here when the let’s say conditions of the environment is really compelling to pull attention into the physical sensations. So when I saw that, it was like, Whoa, that’s really interesting. It’s like going the last place you would ever think to go, and it actually made it better. Didn’t make it go away, but it made it far more tolerable.
Rick Archer: Yeah, obviously there are limits to that.
Angelo Dilullo: Yeah
Rick Archer: You’re an anesthesiologist and I don’t think you’d volunteer for major surgery without anesthesia.
Angelo Dilullo: Right, exactly. Yeah, of course. Everything, everything is relative.
Rick Archer: Yeah, one theme that’s pretty prominent in I know In Vedanta and other traditions also is the idea of identification or overshadowment, you know, that’s what the movie screen analogy is about. And you know, the idea being that one’s true nature is shrouded by sensory input or even mental activity. And it needs to be you know, sorted out so that it no longer is or perhaps the, we could say the stability or fullness or clarity of pure consciousness needs to be enhanced to the point where sensory bombardment, even intense bombardment, or the dullness of sleep, even isn’t going to overshadow it. In fact, in when you respond to what I just said, include sleep as consideration because in the TM movement, they made a big fuss about if you’re really enlightened, you don’t pure is consciousness is never lost, 24/7 even during sleep.
Angelo Dilullo: Yeah, no, that’s a that’s a really good question. So what I would say is this, it’s very interesting that being able to experience the sense fields without filters, which are quite non-dualistic, they’re just there’s no sense of subject object. It’s like sound is this whole room, this whole room, world universe, it’s all just sound just sound sounding. But what’s very interesting about this is talking to I’ve talked to people who have they’re on the like, autism spectrum, for instance, and I’ve heard autism described, especially for kids is, as the ability to filter out the senses is not the same as it is for someone who’s neurotypical. So that means, like, you’re walking down the street and your parents talking to you. And they’re upset because you’re not paying attention. But all you hear or see is the sounds of the cars literally just bombarding you, and it’s so distracting, it’s take so much of your attention, it’s overwhelming. And that actually points to exactly what you’re saying. And that is Intel consciousness, and particularly the identity, the tendency of consciousness to form a dualistic identity in thought, until that calms down quite a bit, it’s very hard to it’s not, it’s like you don’t have the capacity necessarily to experience that completely boundless experience of the sense fields. It’s quite radical. And sometimes, if it comes on for people, surprisingly, they first don’t enjoy it, it feels because it’s like, you can’t escape from anything anymore. There’s no way to distance yourself from sounds and sensations and colors and so forth. Now, if it happens over time, it’s more comfortable, the transition and so forth, usually, but for someone who is living in an internal world of thoughts in the self is feels like it has to manage everything, to have that almost inability to filter the senses can be really overwhelming. So yeah, I think it does take a measure of stabilizing consciousness or even you could say the ‘I am’ sense the pure ‘I am’ sense, or the ability to just remain as conscious beingness. Before it’s not like you go from that and go out to discover what non-duality is, or no self-realization is it’s not like that. It’s more like, as the polarities in that space of consciousness calm, the water ripples calm, the movie calms, as it just becomes calmer and calmer, it starts becoming obvious what the subtler movements of reality are. The dualistic mind constructs start to dissolve a little bit and things feel so much closer, more alive, until they literally replace you. My Zen teacher had said this a few times I always loved when he said it, he said, you know, he would say I tried to merge myself with things, I would look at a flower and get so frustrated because I couldn’t merge with it. You know, and the Sangha would laugh. And he’d say, well, it wasn’t funny. You might be funny now, but it was really frustrating for me. And he said, it finally dawned on me, I just have to learn to be quiet through and through starting with the mind and then the body. And when you’re quiet through and through, at some point, the mountains and the rivers and the sunshine literally come forth and replace you. And that is really how it is so I fully endorse really calming the mind, investigating the nature that I am sense, stabilizing, unbound, pure consciousness. Because it I think it reasonably naturally leads into the deeper stages of realization, including the cell structure falling away as well. So and then sleep is interesting. I have investigated that on occasion, one time not too long ago, because a friend asked me, she said, how, how are dreams for you? Do you when you’re in dreams? Do you feel like you’re stuck in the dream and you feel like you’re in this dream story? And I said, you know, it’s interesting. I don’t pay attention to that too much. But let me let me look and see. So for a few nights, I would purposely tell myself, Okay, remember the dreams and try to kind of package it so I could explain it later. And what I found was very interesting. It even surprised me was that when I’m dreaming, when I’m in dream, sleep, versus deep, deep sleep, where there’s no content in the mind, but in dream sleep, it feels just like being awake. And the thoughts, the mind activity, the movements in consciousness feel sort of dreamy and unreal. So it’s just like being awake for me and that I don’t buy it. There’s something underneath it. That’s not a thing. That’s, that’s aware, no matter what it is, whether it’s in deep sleep, dream sleep, or waking sleep. You could call it your true nature, but it doesn’t have a name. And that is always there. It’s so primary though that it doesn’t even self-reflect. And then on top of that you, you can have an experience of conscious experience conscious being. And in the waking state, it’s this. And the dream state is just an altered version of this. But in either state for me now, when I’ve looked at it, there’s no taking identity from it. Like I can think I can, I can have thoughts, the mind is pretty calm, but I can still have thoughts. I can communicate thoughts and ideas to people. So I can use them in those practical ways, let’s say use thoughts and concepts and so forth. But there’s nothing that believes that, strangely enough, it’s like a play. And behind it, there’s not there’s nothingness or emptiness or shunyata, or the undifferentiated or indeterminacy. Like this, undifferentiated aliveness not blankness, or blackness or bear awareness, it’s more it’s the substance of substance lessness, from which substance arises? I don’t know. But that’s underneath it all the time, whether it’s in dream sleep, deep sleep, or waking sleep, or waking wake before waking up being awake.
Rick Archer: That’s interesting. Yeah, I mean, obviously, true nature, or whatever you want to call it is not maintained by virtue of thinking about it. If it were, it couldn’t be maintained, because we can’t think about anything all the time. And anyway, that’s absurd to suggest that it could be. And then, and so, you know, that would apply to waking, dreaming and deep sleep. Deep Sleep is the only of those three states in which you can’t think anyway, the thinking is totally shut down. But I think what I heard you say, is that, even there, there’s something different about the nature of your experience than there was, you know, when you were a teenager, whatever, before your awakening? Because in some sense, you know, even though you’re not mentally active, that true nature abides.
Angelo Dilullo: Absolutely.
Rick Archer: Yeah. So
Angelo Dilullo: That’s a great way of saying it. Yeah.
Rick Archer: Can you make that a little bit more vivid? I mean, how do you know, if you’re not thinking thoughts? Does true nature sort of recognize itself in a non-thinking way? And you’re like, here I am without actually saying that? Or? Or is it? In retrospect, as you come out asleep? You think, oh, that was there the whole time? Or how does it work? What’s the subject? I’m sure it’s gonna be hard to explain. But
Angelo Dilullo: It’s very, very hard to explain. Because all because there’s no subjective experience. First of all, the subjectivity is not there. This is below the below the split between subject and object in actual experience in the physical experience. And it is,
Rick Archer: By below you mean more primordial, more fundamental? More fundamental. Yeah. Yep. And it is not, it’s not self-aware, in any way that we could possibly think about it. So I could almost say what’s not happening is the loudest thing in the room all the time. And I can’t even differentiate right now from deep sleep, literally, in from that place, which is not a place that I there’s not, there’s not even time, there’s not even an ability to differentiate time into slices of this then this then this. It’s not, it’s before conditions arise. So before conditions arise, even the conditions that create the environment where the body mind is sleeping, dreaming or waking. It’s there before the apparent split of those conditions. It’s so hard to talk about this, I might call something like undifferentiated or the unconditioned. And he Let me say very help you out a little bit. Unless you just had something on the tip of your tongue there.
Angelo Dilullo: No, I was gonna say it’s, it’s, it’s almost like if you follow the trajectory of how identity deconstructs itself, it starts to make sense that you trust, take reference from and recognize as reality, things that are more and more and more and more subtle, rather than things that are more and more gross and well defined, and thought constructs. So going the other direction. It starts to become more clear, when it’s less manifest when it’s less constructed, when it’s less differentiated. More clearly, just the case. More clearly, instinctually trustable. Let’s say we’re really in the realm of no description talks about this, to be honest, but it can be something you might get a flavor of, is all I would say to anyone listening to this and yeah,
Rick Archer: Yeah. So there’s several themes here. So one, what you just said I think is you become more acclimated to functioning at subtler levels, you’ve become more accustomed to appreciating perceiving, operating at subtler levels, sort of like, I mean, if you’re in the habit of going to, you know, heavy metal concerts all the time, it’ll take a while to get used to Vivaldi or something more refined or anything like that, because you’re used to the intensity of the bombardment. So am I right so far on that?
Angelo Dilullo: Yeah, I think that’s very good. The attunement to subtlety is very important.
Rick Archer: Yeah. Very important. And, and even what you described, when we first started about this process you went through, you know, discerning the arisal of thought, and, you know, following them back to their source, and so on, and so forth. That’s a very subtle process. It’s, you know, you remember the analogy, perhaps of the thinking process being like an ocean where you have, you know, waves on the surface, and then maybe, thought bubbles coming from the bottom of the ocean bubbling up to the surface getting larger and larger, and then popping on the surface. So you know, what you’re describing here is being able to, like be a deep-sea diver, where you’re able to get down right near the source of where those bubbles arise and kind of examine them at that level, rather than sitting on a boat on the choppy surface waiting for the pump.
Angelo Dilullo: Yeah, that’s a good analogy. I would say even once you’re down to that level, then you also realize you’re the you’re the ocean, the water that allows the bubble to form within it, and you’re also the bubble. And this then you start becoming interested in the subtlety of the nature, you could say the bubbles relative in the ocean is absolute or something, you start to become attuned to the subtlety of the dance of nature of the nature of relative and absolute itself. You could also say it’s what is the nature of ‘Ocean-ness?’ What is the nature of what even allows any of that to happen? And it’s something like the aggregates like the Buddhist aggregates. What actually causes experience to even be possible or when it causes appearance to be possible? So really, it’s just like you’re looking closer and closer and closer. And it’s something like those, I can’t think of the name of those computer-generated images where no matter how close you look, it’s another representation of itself. And it just goes inward, infinitely?
Rick Archer: Fractals?
Angelo Dilullo: Fractals. They’re fractal like. So it’s like, there’s no end to how deep you can look, there’s no end to how much subtlety there is, there’s only there’s only a limit to subtlety, in the world of separation where gross and subtle are separated. But the general attunement to the subtle, versus the gross and content laden mind is the key here. And it will, it really will take you through the deeper deeper into your own instincts of what subtlety means your own instincts about, what is being experienced right now? Or What is experiencing it right now? As all of this, you know, and it is very interesting, because it’s this thing about the particular the seeming particular meaning one sound, or one contact point I can feel or the foot on the floor, that is simultaneously that and it’s also everything I can see feel, hear taste, touch, and all of consciousness. It’s one thing and everything simultaneously, and it never loses its oneness, and it never loses its everythingness. And there’s a there’s a sort of, you could say, interplay between those. There’s a term I think, Dogan initially used, he may not have been the first one to say this, but of total exertion. Total exertion is the whole universe is totally exerting itself to create literally one footstep, or one bite of food. And it’s the only time that’s ever happened. That is it
Rick Archer: Does that allude to the complete, interrelatedness or interconnectedness of everything, or?
Angelo Dilullo: Yeah.
Rick Archer: Yeah
Angelo Dilullo: That’s it. That’s exactly it.
Rick Archer: Right.
Angelo Dilullo: And inter the interconnectedness is not as if there’s a bunch of objects with hidden connections, but rather, the potentiality, that appears as all of the multitudes also appears at the same time right now as one singular experience. And the singular experience doesn’t lose the multitude and the multitude doesn’t ever neglect the singular experience. So it’s kind of like being the whole environment, and also being the environment sort of aware of one thing in the environment. And also being that one thing that’s also aware of itself as the environment all at the same time. And this is the value of not having this sense of subject object, which always divides everything into me, and everything else. Conveniently.
Rick Archer: Yeah. So maybe as an example, if you know yourself to be that which is all pervading, which pervades everything, then wherever you look, do you see yourself as in a way in that thing, and, you know, also even if you’re not seeing what’s on the Dark Side of the Moon, you know, that, you know, you pervade that as well.
Angelo Dilullo: That’s exactly right. And you know, beyond doubt, which is very strange. And it doesn’t, this does not make any sense to the scientific mind, it just is not logical. But it from the level of identity, which is identity lessness, or not a personal identity at all, you know that what you just said is absolutely true. This, the sense of the nose, or the blur of looking at your own nose, or a sensation in the hand or foot is just as close and just as far as the Dark Side of the Moon. And that’s, it’s a literal living reality right now. It’s amazing. And it’s always a bit surprising. But it’s also natural and simple. Because we can see that the boundaries that seemed to define the world, really all relating to one central misunderstanding, and that is that there’s a self apart from everything.
Rick Archer: Yeah. Did you find that, that developed, in a way sequentially? In other words, that initially it was with reference to things in your immediate proximity, and that the circumference kind of expanded out over time till eventually it incorporated everything or not?
Angelo Dilullo: For me, I think it was a little bit more like it wasn’t so much expanding outward, it was more situational. So I’d be looking at somebody and thinking in terms of, okay, what’s important to me about that person? What do I think of that person? Or how are they appearing to me? And all of a sudden, it was like, ‘Oh, well, those are all just thoughts in my head.’ And then all of a sudden, I was that person looking back at me at the same time. When I realized all of what they’re concerned about has nothing to do with what I’m concerned about. The way they see the world is completely different the way I see the world. Why in the world is mine more important or more real, or anything else? And it wasn’t. And then that was like, ‘Oh my gosh, I’m here and there at the same time.’ So it’s sometimes just happens situationally like a little taste. And then it can clarify more and more. Through the scent through the senses really, like I think the easiest way to investigate is through sound, sensation, kind of like the ‘Bahiya Sutta’ as Buddha described, ‘In the seeing just the seen, in the hearing just the heard.’ By investigating one sense at a time, even just walking throughout the day, you don’t have to do this while you’re meditating, recognizing Oh, just sound. And then you realize there’s no limits to sound, there’s no barrier to sound indirect experience. There’s no subject and sound and there’s no object, the only way I can perceive a source of sound is to imagine it. The only way I can perceive a hearer of sound is to imagine it, right. I’m not, I’m not hearing my ear, I can imagine the visual experience of my ear. But that’s not the sound. And then it’s just starts becoming clearer Oh, sound is just doing this the hearing, there’s just sound. And then when it starts to apply to the visual field, that’s when things really look different. And my hypothesis on this and why that takes longer. Because often sensations and sound are easier. And taste is easy. You can close your eyes when you’re tasting good food, and boom, it just fills up everything. There’s no, there’s no center, no outside anything. But the visual field, I think it’s a little trickier probably because of brain function. This is just a theory. But our occipital lobe, the back of the brain requires, in fact that uses the vast majority of the oxygen consumption a lot of the time and a lot of there, the thalamus is like what projects the rays or the information to the occipital lobe. But just as many neurons carry it back to the thalamus so the brain, the occipital lobe is adding a lot more into the visual field, it’s actually there to make it look solid and progressing and having defined lines and stuff. So I think because the brain function really concentrates on that, it probably takes people a little longer. But when the visual field is suddenly non-dualistic, it’s like a trip, you know, I mean, it’s pretty wild. Like Adyashanti, described it really clearly in his book. In the second chapter, I think of ‘Emptiness dancing.’ But he talked about when this happened for him, it was wonderful. He said, I got up and looked at the toilet, because I wanted to confirm that was true for everything. It was it was you know, it was I was there. And I was here and I’m literally looking at me and, and it’s like this natural, you know. And again, it’s not a big deal, because once you see it that way, it doesn’t typically go back, it just is that way all the time. And it’s kind of natural. And you can still see how the mind tries to put things together in a subject object way. The minute you can recognize still the minds overlay and how the mind tries to put together subject and object and how it tries to put together space and dimension like, yeah, there’s a room here. And there’s objects that are distant, and there’s objects that are closer, and I’m at the center of it. Like, it’s clear how thought makes it look like that. But there’s no there’s no identity taking itself from that. So, so it’s just a thought it’s a it’s a sort of, it’s like watching a picture on the screen. It doesn’t actually change the non-dualistic nature of the environment at all. And so the example I gave is, I can imagine something like a blue dragon. Or I can imagine a pig right now, but it doesn’t suddenly appear in this room. And in the same way I can imagine separation and boundaries but it doesn’t make them a appear in this environment because they just don’t exist here. So it’s like that. It’s like, you see, so clearly what thought how thought makes things look. When there’s something that feels like an identity, looking through the lens of thought, when there’s nothing looking through any lens and thought isn’t a lens, it’s just a thought, then it’s no big deal. It’s and then usually the mind calms quite a bit because there’s just no reason to take reference from it for these sorts of things.
Rick Archer: Interesting.
Angelo Dilullo: Yeah. Is the bandwidth better?
Rick Archer: Yeah, it was just a momentary thing. But it went away, I want to talk to you a little bit more about the subtlety we’re mentioning a few minutes ago. It, the way you described it, it almost sounds like a lifelong process of refinement, where we’ll just, you know, there’ll be just subtler and subtler and subtler sort of this appreciation of, of whatever your whatever it is, we’re pondering. Would you feel that’s true, in some sense that.
Angelo Dilullo: Oh, absolutely. Yeah, it actually points to an important point, I want to make that to the sense of being a self in time or a seeking self or whatever it would, it would seem that once that self disappears, or the illusion of it just kind of ceases or something that well there’s no there’s nothing to seek, there’s no seeker, which is all true. And there’s no self to want anything. And that’s all true. And there’s, there’s no one to practice. That’s true as well. But I will say this, the fascination and then the interest in and the respect for, call it what you want the Dharma, unfiltered reality, truth goes through the roof, I mean, you because you can’t hide from it anymore. So to say it like comes to an end or something finishes, this never finishes, there’s not this world of this, this world of the formless is not ever finished. It’s all it’s endlessly dynamic. And the refinement and the interest and subtlety and the clarity, it does continue for sure. It’s nice, because nothing, there’s no sense of something depending on it anymore. There’s no sense of my happiness hinges upon this, it that’s gone. So it’s just a just a simple natural enjoyment of I could sit there and stare at the wall for four hours. And that’s probably the best thing, you know, like I love to sit doesn’t even have to be a sort of practice of meditation or anything like that. But just the, the depth of experience is so enjoyable. So you don’t have to do anything special to add enjoyment to your life anymore. Because it’s already here. And that might not sound desirable, or I don’t know what that sounds like to somebody who has a lot of identity built into goals later on in life and getting places. But I will say that it doesn’t mean you stop doing anything, you still can be active, and you know, still engage in things. And you can still make plans, of course, but it’s a very simple thing. It happens in the moment a plan is made, its forgotten about. It doesn’t. My self-esteem does not depend on that plan, whether I’m a good person or a bad person doesn’t hinge upon whether that plan completely blows up in my face or actually comes to fruition. So, so things in the practical sense, continue on the conventional world carries on just fine. But it is infinitely subtle. And it can just be zoomed into at any moment. And it is all the time in a sense, into the sense fields into consciousness. And there are not even boundaries between those really unless I talk about it. There’s not a boundary between self-other bound consciousness, the sense fields, the body, the mind, or the external environment, there just aren’t boundaries. Yeah. So sort of carries really carries itself deeper and carries itself on.
Rick Archer: Yeah, I always feel like there’s my whole understanding so far is that there’s this evolutionary force in the universe or something trajectory or force and that it operates on every level and always will be operating. ‘St. Teresa of Avila’ said, ‘It appears that God Himself is on the journey,’ you know. And like what you’re saying a minute ago, you know, the word ‘Santosh’ came to mind, which means contentment. There’s a contentment, that thoughts and so, you know, it’s not ruffled, it’s not added to significantly or detracted from significantly by the successes and failures in life. But it provides a beautiful foundation, and it doesn’t deprive you of motivation. You can be, you know, very content and yet, at the same time, have all kinds of interests and aspirations and fascination with the subtle explanation you’re talking about, for instance?
Angelo Dilullo: Yeah, I would even say voice for me in my life. With that kind of contentment, things are more certainly more effortless. And in thi sense, everything is effortless. But in the relative, I can tell you for sure the body gets tired if I work long hours or stay awake too long. And so that’s all true. But generally speaking, moment to moment, things just feel enjoyable and effortless. So. So what I probably do more than I ever thought I would do as far as how much I kind of accomplished during the day. But what’s really strange about this is there’s no fixation on that as how I need to be. Because that could change tomorrow, tomorrow, I might sit all day long and presence and just meditate and not do anything at all. And there’s, that’s fine. That’s just what’s happening. I can’t, I don’t need to go against that it feels natural to do that. So shifting gears, expectations changing for you, those kinds of things that are actually quite heavy. When there’s a self that’s always trying to manage everything, suddenly, those are no big deal. In fact, they become enjoyable when it’s like, oh, well, I just blew up. Okay, that’s not going to happen. Yeah, I wasn’t, I didn’t know I was gonna finish the book till I finished it. I wasn’t sure. You know.
Rick Archer: There’s a nice phrase which you might like, which you may have heard, which is, Brahman is the charioteer, meaning, you know, you’re not driving it anymore.
Angelo Dilullo: It’s beautiful.
Rick Archer: Yeah. A question came in, let’s ask that. This is from Michael in Austin, Texas. For my most transcendental moments, I hesitate to label it as experiencing pure consciousness. It seems to me that pure consciousness is more transcendent than the most transcendental moment that I quote, unquote, experience. When you say pure consciousness, are you speaking metaphysically? Or is it more your experience of personal consciousness or other?
Angelo Dilullo: I would say it’s, it’s a very experiential designation or description I’m using. And there are other ways to say it, I don’t have to use the term pure consciousness and feel depending on who experiences it. Some people would describe it as the pure sense of I am, very clearly. That’s, that’s what it is to them. And it’s just undeniable, not, it’s not questionable, because it’s, it’s the primary sense of knowing and it’s I, yeah, so that that’s how some people experience it. Other people would describe it as pure being. But I think the key factors, I say consciousness, because to me, you enter this through the thought gate, through the thought space, through the thinking place, that’s usually where you come in contact with this unbound consciousness. When I say Unbound, I mean, not bound by subject, object or thinker and thought, or by it’s not divided up by thoughts. So, so the labels don’t matter so much as some of the qualities of it. So one of the qualities of it is that it’s like, no matter how far you go, in that, you never stop being that, you never come across anything that’s not that. So it’s whatever direction even if there’s not really directions in which there kind of isn’t, but it’s deep, you know, infinitely deep, infinitely up, down, back forward. It’s all the same stuff. It’s purity of experience. And it’s the primary knowing of experience as anything you take yourself to be. I would say that the litmus test for what I would call an initial shift, or awakening, or Kensho, which can be quite dramatic, but to be honest, it can also happen slowly over time. It definitely does that, at times, when you really pound on it with self-inquiry, it tends to be a pretty dramatic shift, but it doesn’t matter. But the litmus test for that, in my experience, is that something about who you take yourself to be, has significantly changed. And it may have changed so much that you don’t even take yourself to be anything specifically, it just feels like what felt enclosed, small, thought-based suddenly feels like boom, it’s just all around everything all around. When I sit and meditate, I can just go into the space so easily. Because I’m already there. Yeah, I don’t it’s not a me having that experience. What I used to consider the experience of consciousness is now primary. And it can turn into a bunch of thoughts. But the identity is primarily the consciousness, or the substance of thoughts or the being space or the thinking space. So that’s, that’s the best way I can say it at the moment. Sounds good. Let’s, let’s spend a few minutes on definitions, which probably should have done this in the beginning, but doesn’t matter. We can do it now. Because we’re throwing around a lot of words and there are more words we might throw around at the end. You know, words are only useful if everybody shares their definition otherwise, or it’s like ‘Tower of Babel’ kind of thing. So, you know, there’s ‘Awakening,’ and you distinguish that from ‘Liberation.’ I picked up in your book, and maybe we should just start with those two. And then you also speak of stages of awakening. And then there’s the word ‘Enlightenment,’ which, you know, I tend to avoid because it has this sort of superlative connotation. But maybe it fits into your, you know, your lexicon somewhere, one of those words. So let’s, let’s do that. Yeah. So when I use the word ‘Awakening’ and you’re right, some people use these differently, I’ve heard and met people who use the word ‘Awakening’ for ‘Liberation’. It’s not common, but I’ve heard it used that way from people who know as far as I can tell, so. So it is important when you’re interacting with any given individual who’s written something about it, to really ask them, if you don’t know what the heck they’re talking about. When I say ‘Awakening,’ I usually mean, the first shift in identity. You could call it stream-entry, depending on how you define stream-entry. If you’re a Buddhist, and looking at the federal model, or whatever, you can define it. In Zen, it’s called ‘Kensho.’ And in Zen, especially ‘Rinzai Zen,’ it’s very typically marked by a, quite a dramatic shift in a huge emotional outflow. But I think there’s a reason for that. And that’s the way they typically approach it is through a Koan called Mu. And it’s also approached through very intense practice. So when you put that much effort and intent into something like Mu, as you’re supposed to, that’s how it’s designed. That’s how it works. It’s, you get a sense, you actually concentrate your frustration, you concentrate your struggle, you concentrate your suffering. So it’s very dramatic, when all of a sudden that just stops happening. When that when the all of the struggle stops all and you see the causeless truth, you see what ‘Mu’ is. You see, you know, that’s how you break the claw and move, you’re not gonna go tell your teacher when it is you’ll walk in and sit down in front of your teacher and your teacher will know, ‘Mu’ just walked in and sat in front of him. It’s that dramatic of a shift. So. So that’s called Kensho, or
Rick Archer: It’s dramatic for that person.
Angelo Dilullo: Yeah
Rick Archer: But if someone has taken a different path where there’s a gradual, incremental, subtle, you know, development, then they might I heard Adyashanti say this to that they might not even recognize the shift has taken place, and yet something profound has taken place.
Angelo Dilullo: I’ve seen that a couple times that people I’ve worked with where I talked to them, and they feel very clear, in the sense, I feel like I’m talking to someone who’s gone through that, but they don’t think they have and I’ll sometimes talk to them for a while. And it’ll actually come up and they’ll say, oh, yeah, seven years ago, no, I had this thing happen. And it changed my entire life. And like, you know, that was an awakening. And they think about, oh, is that what that was? Because if you don’t have context for it, and by the way, I’ve met many people who have awakenings who have no background in this at all. They don’t, they don’t know. They don’t have spiritual backgrounds. They haven’t been practicing. And they haven’t been doing any kind of self-inquiry really, or they’ve accidentally done self-inquiry. Somewhat like Eckhart Tolle, he described in his first chapter, he says, suddenly just dawned on me to ask, ‘Well, who am I then?’ you know. ‘Am I this?’ or ‘Am I that?’ So, so people do kind of come across this almost on accident, and it’s a sort of self-inquiry, when it happens to you in that state in that setting where you really have no information or no knowledge. I’ve heard it interpreted as I thought something went wrong with my brain, I thought, you know, the world just disappeared, or, but they don’t equate it to spiritual awakening, necessarily until later when they learn about it. So I’ve seen that a few times as well.
Rick Archer: Yeah, I interviewed a woman a few months ago, named Lucy Grace in New Zealand, and she had undergone some really profound shifts, but she didn’t have the context. You know, she didn’t have she had a rather difficult life, you know, rough neighborhoods and so on. And make a she was sort of like, what is happening, what’s going on? And she was waking up one morning. And just as she was waking up, she heard a voice, say, Buddha at the Gas Pump. And she said, ‘What? What’s that?’ you know, but she googled it and found this and started watching all these interviews and filling in all this information that she had. There are other stories like that, too. There was one woman, Karen, who was tying your shoelaces one morning, and also boom, big shift, had no context for it, wasn’t thinking about spiritual things. So you know, it’s kind of in the air these days, and people do have awakenings. And I think we can talk about this too, that there’s a real value to knowledge as well as experience to keep everything balanced and you know, not freak out over something, which is actually a blessing.
Angelo Dilullo: Yeah, absolutely. And just knowing it’s okay, what you’re going through, that’s, I’ve had so many people tell me, the biggest thing you did for me was tell me, it’s okay what you’re going through. Yeah, not only is it okay, you know, you’re not an alien. You’re not the weirdo of the world. Like it’s perfectly okay. And you can attune to it and you can turn your attention to that instinct. I’ve had people reflect that back to me a lot. And so it’s also I don’t try to enforce a structure on this. A rigid structure or terminology stuff, it’s helpful, but I really tell people to hold it lightly because it’s a very intimate experience too, it’s a very intimate process. It’s, it’s about you, it’s about your identity, so on and so forth.
Rick Archer: When you say awakening, Your breakthrough, big, nice thing. Are you also suggesting that it is perpetual after that? Or is it more like, could be really beautiful, but then you lose it again?
Angelo Dilullo: Yeah So once that’s happened, there’s a, there’s almost always a honeymoon period that follows it, that lasts. Usually a few months, at least, I’ve heard of people having it for like two years where they literally felt like they were enlightened for two years, and then then it kind of went away. And then they had to do some other. So but there’s a honeymoon period where you really do kind of feel enlightened meaning that feels like there are no boundaries anywhere. And you feel the sense of nondoership is obvious, and, and the clarity and the flow. And you know, you’re like a child again, and it’s really wonderful time. And that that’s quite typical. What happens after that is, I think, a point of confusion in this whole process. And that is, you’ll actually start feeling maybe even a little bit worse than you felt before ‘Awakening’. But a different kind of worse. Before ‘Awakening,’ a lot of what I’ll just talk from my own experience, a lot of the suffering that was there was just massive avoidance patterns. I was avoiding everything was avoiding my thoughts, I was trying to push everything away. There’s this massive struggle that sucked. But after ‘Awakening,’ you know, that stops largely. And it might start a little bit again. But what starts happening actually, is that you start feeling things very intensely, and very directly, especially emotions. And when that happens, it’ll your mind will even interpret that as worse because that’s what you thought you were trying to avoid before awakening with all the mental activity and noise and struggle. And you weren’t doing any of this, this is all just conditioned stuff. Maybe call it pain body or whatever. But it’s this is conditioned in human consciousness, and it’s transmitted from person to person. So you never decided to do any of this. But that massive avoidance mechanism that was there before ‘Awakening,’ causing all the suffering. Now, the mind sort of interprets that a different way says, ‘Wait a minute, I can avoid anything now. Now, I don’t want this, I don’t want to feel fear as fear, where I can’t talk myself out of why I shouldn’t be feeling fear.’ You just have to feel it right? So you go through this period, which could be called a dark night of the soul. Or it could be called ‘Shadow Work.’ I usually say, ‘Shadow Work,’ ‘Emotion work,’ where it’s really helpful to start to do some very practical things in the human realm. And that could include therapy, you know, lots of authentic communicating with yourself, being real about what’s happening, what you’re feeling. And the hard part about this is what you really want to do now is you want to go back and have the ‘Awakening’ again, you want to go into that mind expanded space that you remember about what ‘Awakening’ was. So there’s a funny struggle that happens here. And there’s also a flip-flopping that typically happens. It’s like ‘Me’ and ‘Being’. There are periods where uncaused peace and being are just there. You’re like, oh, yeah, of course. Yeah, I remember this. Yeah. And then all of a sudden, everything contracts back down, and there are intense emotions, and it starts to contract and then expand and contract and start to feel like you’re on a roller coaster ride. And it’s, maybe I’ve called it like the spiritual no person’s land where you’re like, do I practice anymore? Do I not do anything? How do I practice? Is there any more? Is this it? And that starts to calm down. Again, attunement to the subtle willingness to feel everything that you feel, realizing that you’re not in the driver’s seat anymore is really helpful. Because things can shift so quickly. And once you learn, okay, if I actually shift with things, I don’t resist things so much, then you come to this place where you can start to address the sort of relational or reactive self. And this is the first layer or the grossest layer of self, I would say, that can it can remain hidden for the rest of your life, you may not even realize that there if you just identify as the one who woke up, and that was it. Like there’s nothing more. You can convince yourself of that easily. And live reasonably comfortably after that. That really intense roller coaster calms down. But if you kind of steep keep looking go. No, I definitely feel like something’s here. There’s something that’s still reacting, there’s still contractions happening. There’s a reactive tendency, there’s a relational self that’s keeping itself seemingly around in when it relates to all the time, it’s pushing on things. It’s like keeping life at a distance and various at various times, even if that’s not happening all the time. The fact that it’s happening some of the time can be a clue that you can start to investigate that a layer of identity or an aspect of self. That’s the relational self or the reactive self. And once you’ve worked through that, however, that happens, sometimes it just happens through presence through patience through lots of meditations and self-inquiry, maybe therapy or different kinds of work. Once that calms down, when the next barrier falls, the seeming barrier between self and others varies quite a bit. For some people, it actually falls very early, and for some people, it remains for a long time, the sense of being a subject to a world of objects in the actual world, in the actual experience, moment to moment. The sense of, Well, yeah, I know that I’m everything, and everything is the same stuff. And it’s all consciousness. Like, I know that. And I can even experience that. And yet, I’m still experiencing objects out there, literally like that seems like it’s out there, that seems like it’s out there, I still feel like I’m in here somewhere, even though I can’t really find it. And that’s the subject-object construct. And when that dissolves, then you start to truly experience what I would call non-duality, not like Neo Advaita type non-duality, which is a sort of teaching style, but literally not experiencing the division between you and everything that’s not you. When that’s gone, things become very different looking like they’re the sense of distance, and space can be almost nonexistence, or nonexistent, the sense of intimacy is much more pronounced all the time, you feel intimate with things much more. But things can still look solid, they can look literal, like objects, and there can still appear to be boundaries between things. Now, sometimes that can even go away at the same time. So there’s, literally you’re experiencing a world of formlessness. That would be clear non-duality. And that also can come with or without a sense of self, that completely dissolves. If there’s a sense of self remaining, after you’re experiencing boundlessness, which you wouldn’t be experiencing boundlessness, there’s just boundlessness. There can still be a subtle sense of self hanging around, and you know it and feel it, but you can almost ignore it or not notice it. And it doesn’t seem to cause any trouble because it doesn’t really solidify. But it can still feel like a shadow over experience or something that is sort of just waiting to come forward and contract experience a little bit or something like that. And when that goes away, I would call that liberation. That’s the end of personal suffering because it’s the end of personal anything. So I would technically call that liberation, when the sense of self in all of its forms, or all of the selfing mechanisms, dissolves or stop or drop away. I would probably call that Enlightenment, although I don’t use the word either. Because it sounds like an exalted state or something. It liberation to me is liberation from personal suffering.
Rick Archer: Yeah, I find this all very interesting. It’s interesting because one reason is that a lot of times, spiritual awakening has the connotation of being a state in which you are detached from everything, and you are, you’re hiding out in your sort of transcendental bunker. And, you know, you’re not really impacted by stuff. You know, and there are even some verses in the Gita, which make it kind of sound like that. And what you’re saying is a kind of a permeability, where, you know, you actually feel everything much more viscerally or much more intimately. And, and yet, you have the sort of superfluidity to absorb it or let it pass, it can pass through you as opposed to crashing into or something.
Angelo Dilullo: Yeah, it’s quite the opposite of that sort of watcher state or the, you know, I’m pure awareness
Rick Archer: Witnessing Yeah.
Angelo Dilullo: Yeah. Kind of witnessing everything. And that is a phase I think people can definitely go through and that’s in that in-between phase. This, this is very much not that it’s, you can’t even make that anymore. You can’t make that happen anymore. You can’t objectify anymore. So, one way of saying it is, because of all the suffering, we have a very natural, very normal human inclination to want to escape the suffering. But the way our minds are put things together, we think we’re going to escape by getting out somewhere way out, you know, out, and then when you get to experience that transcendent experience, then you think, oh, I need to go farther in that direction. That’s kind of a mistake, actually. Because that’s not where the real releases the real release is when it comes back in. Meaning. There’s you it’s again, it’s like everything comes forward and replaces you. Or the boundaries in your environment go completely away. So now there’s nowhere to escape to anymore. So what you find is you really want it to escape into reality, but so far in and penetrated so far that you’ve dissolved into it.
Rick Archer: It’s interesting. And then the second thought that came to mind is that what you described a minute ago, kind of describes my experience in a way where, you know, there’s this nice sort of inner, settledness or relaxation, or contentment, or fulfillment or, you know, in a sense of not constrained or bound or anything. And yet, you know, when I walk through the woods, trees are trees, I don’t see, I don’t get the sort of oneness thing that you’re describing, or that that other people describe. So it doesn’t bother me, I just assume, well, it’s somewhere down the line, but it has, hasn’t really become my living reality. And
Angelo Dilullo: Yeah so, a lot of people, a lot of people are there. And very simple. The thing about this is two things, I will say, to contrast to the ways we normally think about waking up more spirituality. One is, it’s not about a weight, it’s not about meditation so much, but you know, keep meditating. That’s great. But that inquiries you do with this are actually when you’re walking through the woods, or when you’re doing work, or when you’re washing dishes or anything. And the other thing I’ll say to contrast it is, the work here is exquisitely simple. It’s so simple. It’s like walking through the woods, and you see the trees, and something in the mind says, ‘Okay, well, I know I’m moving towards those trees,’ and then look at the experience itself, and just it’s pure, raw, visual data, and say, ‘What in this is actually telling me that I’m moving toward those trees, and they’re not moving toward me?’ And it can be bizarre because the mind will go, ‘Well, no, no, I know this.’ But then if you really look, you go, ‘Wait a minute, I learned that that’s actually a thought, overlaying my experience of walking through the woods right now.’ So again, when I look at the visual data of this, how do I even know those are trees? And how do I know I’m me walking towards those trees, there’s just that visual experience. And then you just keep peeling those labels, thoughts, and interpretations away from it little by little in with these little like empirical questionings. You can look at say, you look at some trees, and you just say, Okay, there’s a bunch of trees over there. Right? I know that. Why do I know that? Well, there’s like, I have labels that say trees, and I learned that okay, but what am I actually taking reference from? And then you might say, Well, I see some lines, and I see some color patterns. Okay, can I go inside now and find the place where those lines and color patterns actually turn that into trees? Or, or make them out there? Or put them out there? And when you can’t find it, it’s very strange. You’re like, oh, how do I know they’re out there? And then it’s like, you start to perceive them inside and outside at the same time. So these kinds of very simple empirical investigations will start to show you how quickly the mind actually reflects back into thought. It’ll grab that visual experience and turn it into a thought pretty quick. But by practicing this, that can actually change. And the other point I would give for anyone who wants to work with this stuff, would be use another sense like sound. So if you’re walking say, through the woods, or doing some dishes, just put your attention fully into sound like I’m just going to take in every sound of the environment right now. It has 100% of my attention. Not differentiating sound as just sound. Okay, now, can I just put my attention in the visual field and do the same thing, just seeing colors and forms, nothing else. And just take it in that way. And you can actually teach yourself to experience the non-dual aspects. Because they’re more available in sound, usually, in the visual experience, and it might start looking a little strange like pixelated. Some people say, ‘Oh, I’m seeing visual snow now.’ Or it might start to feel more intimate, it might look the same. But you almost feel it in your body, like, oh, I can like feel what’s over there. So these are just things that start shifting and changing a little bit. But if you just keep at it, usually, usually those that sense of the self and other will just actually collapse. But you know, it’s just a matter of doing the work and looking into these things.
Rick Archer: go ahead I should probably turn my iPod off once in a while, because I’m always listening to something while I’m walking through the woods, you know, getting ready for the next interview. A question came in from my friend Conley right here in Fairfield, which is related to what we’re saying I think. She asks or says, ‘There’s a background hum or a dynamism behind round and enveloping everything. I can see the tree as the tree and nothing else. With a shift of attention, I am the tree and with a little bit more openness, I can feel what the tree feels. Could I be making this up? Should I doubt the doubt?
Angelo Dilullo: You’re not making it up? And if you keep doing like those little exercises I described, don’t be surprised if all of a sudden there’s a pop and you are the tree all the time and then you’re the dirt and then you’re the sky and then you’re the footstep and then you’re the sound. So, that’s someone who’s experiencing non-duality kind of intermittently and thoughts are just kind of coming in doubting it here and there. But you can, you can certainly clarify that very easily. And I would just do those simple exercises, just sit there and ask yourself, How do I even know that’s a tree? Oh, there’s a thought label, but then attention back to the visual experience. Or you can think about it, like a newborn baby sees the world. You know, I love it. When I do the C sections. You know, I do the anesthesia for a C section, when the baby comes, put on the mom’s chest, and mom and dad and baby are there and we take family pictures. It’s so much fun, but I love looking at the baby. Because it’s just looking straight out. Absolute wonderment. It’s not going Oh, there’s the ceiling. Oh, there’s my mom, there’s my dad. It’s just a full-on experience. And holy Whoa, yeah. Yeah. And, and when you start to just approach the sense fields with that kind of awe, then this, these barriers start to collapse. It’s also the other, the other little clue I’ll give is, it’s not so much, I’m going out to that. Because the mind tends to think about things like I’m doing something to reality, I’m doing something to my visual experience. It’s like meeting it halfway or even letting the visual experience be what it is, and then come to you in a sense, and just let it remain in its raw form. And don’t turn it into a distant object, don’t turn it into a labeled object, don’t even turn it into a color or shape. Just let it be what it is, and its raw data form. And that really, that really helps. I think.
Rick Archer: I suppose one thing you want to be careful of which people might get the impression from what you’re saying that it would be advantageous to kind of monkey with their minds all day, you know, playing with their perception and this and that. Seems to me, one could get a little obsessed with that and disrupt the innocence and spontaneity of one’s life.
Angelo Dilullo: Yeah, I would, I generally don’t recommend doing too much of this before any kind of shift or before you have access to this sort of unbound conscious state. But beyond that, if you do and you become naturally interested in this, then I would say by all means, investigate it, even throughout the day. It is okay. Like, it turns out to be okay, but if you do this, like too early, if you really, really push on this, you might be able to start dissolving these barriers before you’re ready. But I think it would be an uncommon person to do this, just because it’s usually uncomfortable to get out of the mind that long. So it’s more like do it when it starts to feel natural when you start to already pick up on it. Like the last questioner said you start to pick up oh, I actually can feel myself in the tree and I can feel the tree and me. So this brings us to practical consideration. I get asked about this. And they’ll say things like questioners will say like, Is it bad to do this driving, and I usually say don’t do this driving, really don’t do this while driving. But once the shift has happened for people to where they don’t experience boundaries anymore, or they don’t experience a subject and an object, driving usually goes okay, but you really should be careful at first, like, truly, it’s, it does change your perception and the way things appear, you will get used to it. But like if you just have this big shift, and all of a sudden, you’ve seen no boundaries anywhere, the first thing I would do is not get in the car and take a road trip, like be mindful, focus, pay attention, turn off the radio, when you’re driving your car, right after this, this happens. But most people are basically okay with it. And they say driving is easy.
Rick Archer: And when you’re working as an anesthesiologist and making a mistake could have life and death consequences. I mean, are you monkeying around with these contemplations? Are you just focusing on you know, what I’m administering to this person watching the monitors and all that?
Angelo Dilullo: Yeah, no, I don’t, I don’t really have to do that, like as far as investigating it, because once the non-dual experience is clear, it just stays that way. So when I’m working with patients, when I’m you know, working, it’s actually nice, because it’s so easy to focus. There’s not the background thoughts of oh, God, who would have thought what am I gonna do later, when I got off work, I’m hungry. Like, there’s so much less of any of that stuff. That is just quite enjoyable. And it’s actually very easy to focus. But with driving specifically, the reason I say that is because it actually can affect your depth perception for a while, like close and far is fundamentally not actually different than you know that. But you still have to, you know, keep using the way the thoughts put things together to operate in traffic and stuff. Again, this isn’t that big of a deal, but just be cautious. Like you know, when you’re going through this stuff, and you’ll know when you’re going through it, it’s not subtle when things start looking different in that I’ve never seen anybody go crazy with it. I’ve people if I’ve seen people at first go, it’s kind of uncomfortable because there’s no escaping from anything. It’s like everything’s in me all of a sudden and I’m everything. But usually pretty quickly, they’re more than comfortable with it and they start to enjoy it quite a bit. And I have seen I have seen people tell me, ‘Yeah, I had to really focus driving more. I had to be careful driving,’ just because, you know, distance and stuff does look different. But usually after a time, they’re fine even doing that.
Rick Archer: But for me
Angelo Dilullo: Yeah, go ahead. I was just gonna say a funny thing for me is the food, I noticed it isn’t driving anymore. If I’m driving and someone’s talking to me, though, I kind of ignore them because I really have to focus because it’s very easy to in complex environments. Like if I’m in a city I’ve never been in, like, I really have to focus because it does affect your distance perception and stuff. But I don’t get near misses or anything. I just have to out other things. But what it does get me it’s kind of funny. Sometimes I’ll wake up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom. And I literally, I’ve done this a few times I walk right into the wall, because there’s no wall there. And then I’m like, Oh, that’s right. There’s a wall there. Okay, I have to remember, no thoughts tell you there’s a wall there. So you have to remember, there’s a wall there. So I have done that, which is really hilarious. Actually.
Rick Archer: That’s funny No you.
Angelo Dilullo: when it happens, you know
Rick Archer: I was wondering whether this used a phrase a minute ago that everything’s in me. I was wondering whether this results in an increase in compassion or commiseration, you know, like, when you watch what’s going on in Ukraine, for instance, do you feel that much more viscerally or poignantly than you used to?
Angelo Dilullo: Yeah, that’s really interesting. With compassionate, it does evolve in different ways. There was a period where my heart opened so much that like, I felt so much compassion for everything in the world, that if there was a foreign event, something like what’s happening in Ukraine, or like a disaster, I would want to go there, I would have to talk myself like, no, no, you’re in med school, you can’t just leave and go, I would have to remind myself, I have to prioritize Angelo and the people around me and my responsibilities because it was so easy to follow my heart in a way. What’s interesting is later on, that actually changed. And I thought something went wrong with me, because I it’s not I didn’t have compassion. But I didn’t worry about anything anymore at all. So like, unless I’m watching the news about Ukraine, I’m not like contemplating it necessarily. And all I can say is, presence just becomes so compelling, that you just have completely digested and realize that the most compassionate thing you can do is to be fully present, ultimately, and I can’t control all those things that go on other side of the world, I care for sure. I’ve donated some money, I watched the stuff and I, my heart does go out to people in those situations, friends who have family there, who were from Ukraine, like that, yeah, of course, it’s a tragic thing. But the moment you and I start talking about it, I’m not going to be preoccupied with it, I’ll just be involved in whatever’s in front of my face again. And what I find is, in the moment, as the moment-to-moment flow of life occurs, there’s definitely a deeper appreciation of everything. Undifferentiated. Like I, it’s picking and choosing, when it comes to love is not really possible anymore. It’s I just can’t help but love what’s in front of my face. And in not in a naive way, either, like, I still have boundaries, if someone didn’t seem trustworthy, or physically dangerous, I wouldn’t put myself in a dangerous environment. And yet, I still love them. Like I can still feel love for that person and everything they’ve been through in this lifetime. And the suffering they’ve gone through this brought them to where they are like, I can feel those levels. And, and because I can feel them in myself, of course, so. So yeah, they’re definitely a feeling of love, they just be it starts to cultivate itself more and more and more, in the simplest of things in the simplest of movements of life of being human and even in the complexities. And yeah,
Rick Archer: It’s nice. How when you say love, do you feel that at times, it even takes on? Not religious, but devotional quality in terms of, you know, the God the divine, you know, some higher intelligence like that, that one can, you know, surrender to or feel deeply devoted to?
Angelo Dilullo: Yeah, I would say if somebody feels that way, or they’re inclined that way, then absolutely. That’s completely relevant for you and authentic, for sure. I wouldn’t say it in that way for myself, because it’s not something out there. It’s something in here. It’s a deep reverence for the amazing ability of the unconditioned to bring forth any physical experience at all. Any appearance at all is so incredibly, in a sense, fragile, but also miraculous. So as far as devotional aspects for me, I would say when you started asking the question, what hit for me was, I feel a deep commitment to turning the ‘Dharma Wheel’ so to speak. That to looking for anything that could be remaining in here that that’s still causing filters that can decrease the chance that this message could go out to somebody who could actually hear it. Again, I don’t have an agenda for who hears it, but as you read in my book, I really tried to take out things, jargon and so forth that would turn certain people off because I really want anyone who is suffering to know like, it doesn’t matter if you’re blue-collar, white-collar spiritual, not spiritual. You know, if you’re a scientific, if you’re atheist, if you’re Christian, if you’re Buddhist, all of those people, it doesn’t matter like you have this capacity because it’s your true nature. And it’s with you already. And always. So I have a devotion to that. And yeah
Rick Archer: Good. A question came in from Michael Moran in Ireland. What is the relationship between being awakened and the ability to experience Samadhi? Is the experience of Samadhi a predictor of awakening in this life?
Angelo Dilullo: It’s interesting question, I think that being able to develop states of Samadhi is powerful. It’s, it’s a good thing. As we were describing before, it calms the mind calms the spirit calms the body. When you talk about Buddhism, and the Dhyanas, or Jhannas, these are very specific ways of concentrating and meditating that bring about states or experiences that correspond to stages of realization. But they aren’t in and of themselves realization. But Buddha literally said, learn to cultivate these states, and I can’t quote how he said this, but ultimately, he’s saying, because at some point, you’re going to realize this is your true nature. So any, any practice with Samadhi, and so forth, I highly recommend, The only caution I will give is, after a significant identity shift, if you’ve come to the place where we brushed on before, where you have a tendency to sort of avoid or escape life, by going into Samadhi, by meditating, you know, into yourself into nothingness, or spending all day meditating, kind of like I wanted to when I first hit on it, if you’re inclined that way, but it wouldn’t tell you there’s anything wrong with Samadhi. But I would say, you know, balance that with other areas of your life, like really, look, look at your relationships, look at your work life, look at all those things and see. Are there ways I can I can actually become more authentic? Are there ways that I’m repressing emotions? Look at the practical human stuff. And also be honest with yourself about your drive or desire to deepen your experiential insight, your awakening, if that if that’s how you move, instead of just trying to be nowhere, because we can’t try to sort of meditate ourselves into oblivion, but that’s not Enlightenment. I’ve said to people before, if contentless mind or Nirvikalpa samadhi is equivalent to Enlightenment, then every time you went to deep sleep, you’d wake up enlightened, every time I give someone propofol and they have, you know, basically brain suppression and no brainwaves, no thoughts, they wake up enlightened. But having no content in the mind does not equate to Enlightenment. But it does come to mind for sure. And it can give you access to experiential tastes through the Jhannas, and so forth, if that’s your practice, of what non-duality is actually like, or formlessness.
Rick Archer: Yeah, I once got a colonoscopy, and they gave me propofol. And I joke that I was able to moonwalk afterwards. Sort of an inside joke.
Angelo Dilullo: No, I got I gotcha.
Rick Archer: So there’s lots of cool sections in your book. And you don’t have we don’t have a heck of a lot of time left. But want to make sure that I mean, I’ll just mention a few. And you can zoom in on anything you want to talk about more like, there was a whole chapter about paradox, which I found fascinating. Attention chapter on ‘Attention’, there was a chapter on ‘Teachers’ and you know how to, if you’re going to have a teacher how to kind of make sure you don’t get burned, you know. And then there were a few chapters that I didn’t get to yet because I only got, I read most of it. But there, there’s a whole, I actually heard you mentioned the beginning of the book, that this book is kind of about awakening, but your next book, which you may write is going to be about post awakening. And I think maybe we’ve talked about some post awakening stuff today. But you know, the things I just mentioned those three, four things. Do you want to go into any of those a little bit more or many, maybe something I didn’t mention?
Angelo Dilullo: Yeah, the paradox chapter was like my favorite chapter to write that I remember right now, at least, because this is so paradoxical this that we’re talking about it, you know, just the fact that we’re sitting here talking about it, and someone’s watching it, it can look like we’re talking about some special thing or something you can get or some mystical state, but it’s so right here. That’s the weird thing about it. It’s, it’s, it’s nothing. It’s everything in nothing. It is undifferentiated reality, but it’s also a hand and it’s taking steps and it’s all the conventional things. There’s no need to separate out conventional from absolute or relative or absolute at all. Unless it’s practical. Unless I’m working with somebody or we’re talking in this way, then we can unpack it, but in the immediate experience, it’s just simplicity, there’s nothing special going on at all. So it’s, it’s miraculous, it’s radiant and luminous, this experience. And it’s also completely normal, completely just regular stuff happening. Regular guy, I go to work, I do the things at work. I have, you know, girlfriend and go on vacations, and it’s just regular life happening. It’s, it’s fun, you know. But it also can sort of unpack itself in a moment’s notice into these incredible conversations with other people. And when I’m talking with someone, and they’re sort of in process or waking up themselves, there’s no experience of I’m waking you up, or I’m helping you. It’s nothing like that. It’s a it’s a energetic experience in the energy field just unraveling itself. It’s a it’s a dance, it’s wonderful. And, and yet, it’s fine. It’s normal. It’s nothing. There’s nothing special to be said about that. There are paradoxes all through this, and it becomes more and more paradoxical as realization clarifies, let’s say. No, self-realization is very, very paradoxical. Because there can still be even a thought of self. There’s just no one it refers to. And that’s explicitly obvious. It would seem like well, if there’s no self, then there’s no, you’re not going to do anything or you’re not going to, you would become lazy or just disappear from life. And yet, that doesn’t happen. There still are appearances. And conventionally speaking, they can look like a self or a person, you can still answer when someone calls your name. You still know what people are talking about when they say self and other. Like, I don’t have to pretend I don’t even know what that means or something because that would be kind of nonsense. Like, of course, I know what it means. Self, I know what other means. I know how the mind makes it appear. And yet, this is formless, there’s no boundaries anywhere. There’s no there’s not even time, actually, which is another really strange one. But it there’s no time. And yet, I can make a plan, it’s easy to make a plan, I don’t have to negate things that suggest there’s time when it’s clear that there’s no time. I don’t have to negate things that suggest a self when it’s clear, there’s no self. So the conventional functions perfectly well. There’s a really cool Zen master who used to just say over and over again, everything is perfectly managed in the unborn. His name was Bonnke. And that’s sometimes the most simple sayings like that can penetrate the deepest. Another paradox, but everything we’ve been talking about sounds so complicated. There’s these levels of things and all this, man, it’s so simple. And to anyone listening to this, don’t ever compare your own experience to anything I’ve said, or Eckhart Tolle said or anyone said, because your immediate experience is the best thing there to wake you up your own immediate experience, just as it is. Without the shroud of doubt, without comparing it to anything. That’s it’s that simple. And, and the again, another paradox, but it’s true. And trusting yourself is so valuable, but not your thoughts about yourself, and not your judgments about yourself, and not what you’ve learned about yourself. Go farther, keep going trust your instinct, until it’s just a subtle voice until it’s just an impulse. And that kind of simplicity. You don’t need anyone else to help you wake up, it’s just there, you know.
Rick Archer: I love that everything is perfectly managed and the unborn. I mean that that sentence itself is full of paradox, because how could there be things in the unborn? How could there be? How could there be management going on? If it’s like born, you know, and so it’s like, and actually, I went when you said that, what flashed in my mind is that we’re seeing it, I mean, everything we’re seeing is in the unborn, and it’s being perfectly managed, which implies that there’s some sort of managerial intelligence in the unborn, like, latent or inherent with within the unmanifest there are, there’s intelligence or impulses of intelligence, which men which manage the apparent manifestation, which has to be taken seriously but actually isn’t manifest it just appears to be and so they go back and forth of these paradigms.
Angelo Dilullo: I totally agree. I love the way you said that and you know, there’s sometimes there’s a people will balk, like, especially if you know, if you’re like hardcore Buddhists or something, you might balk at intelligence as if it’s like a higher power but the way you said it is right on the money it has, how can you say it doesn’t have some sort of intelligence coming into being it’s intrinsic to the expression of the unborn itself, the intelligence but it’s, it’s miraculous,
Rick Archer: Look at one of the animated videos of what’s happening in a cell. You know, you I’m sure you’ve seen those studies, that kind of thing. It’s just like, mind boggling, and we don’t we have just a miniscule understanding of what the totality of what’s going on in the cell. That’s not random billiard balls just sort of banging into each other. There’s some incredible intelligence orchestrating that organ and that’s just one of trillions of cells in one body, and then there’s everything else in the universe. Going on.
Angelo Dilullo: Cosmos, I agree. It’s really, really humbling. Astounding awe inspiring.
Rick Archer: Yeah. Yeah, that’s one of my predominant kind of places, you’re talking about contemplating things as you walk along and stuff, you know, I can just be walking the dog down the sidewalk looking at blades of grass and thinking of the miracle that is taking place within every cell in the blade of grass and then expanded out, you know, to everything. It’s just like, we’re, we’re little fishies swimming in that ocean of intelligence.
Angelo Dilullo: Absolutely.
Rick Archer: And we are that ocean of intelligence. At the same time, we’re not just little fishies. And so you kind of keep going back and forth like that.
Angelo Dilullo: Yeah, it’s a symphony, expressing itself and enjoying itself.
Rick Archer: Yeah. Self-interacting. So, in terms of post awakening, is there isn’t? I mean, I’m sure there’s tons of things. This is just a little sampling or two hours together today. But is there anything that you’d like to say about that? I mean, that’s, that’s really the remainder of your life is exploring all the nuances of post awakening. But you said, you’re going to devote a whole book to it. So why don’t you give us a little trailer on?
Angelo Dilullo: Yeah. Yeah, the book. So the book I wrote here is 130,000 pages. And that’s me trying
Rick Archer: What? 137,000?
Angelo Dilullo: 130,000. Yeah.
Rick Archer: 130,000. That’s a lot of pages.
Angelo Dilullo: Yeah. When you said you didn’t read the whole thing. I was surprised you read as much as you did, because it’s a very long book, yeah. So
Rick Archer: Wait, 100. And you can’t mean, you made 137,000, 130,000 words. Couldn’t mean
Angelo Dilullo: Oh not pages. Oh, my gosh, I’m so sorry.
Rick Archer: I didn’t read that thing. A book.
Angelo Dilullo: 130,000 words? Yeah. I only sent you that about the Library of Congress or something. That’s hilarious. That’s 130,000 words. And so as I was getting, I was realizing how long this crazy book is. I meant to write, I want to just include everything in it. I don’t know why my mind came up with that idea. But so. So then I thought, well, the next one, I’ll just put some, I’ll just make another book for sort of post awakening, but the specifics of it, it will be a much shorter book, because a lot of what when I’m working with people who are going through stuff, post awakening, and clarifying these filters, and so forth, are dissolving these like identity filters. Much of what I work with is really in the book, and it’s pretty basic stuff. It’s beliefs, emotions, so the belief and emotion chapter and thoughts, those are all those are all really, really helpful. And so much of the post awakening stuff that that is just the turmoil of reactivity and beliefs and emotions, that that we don’t realize we can actually address them in a pretty direct way. So a lot of the work is that stuff. So this book does have a lot of that in there. The biggest piece of advice I probably have for someone who’s had a shift, and maybe they don’t call it awakening, but they’ve definitely had a significant shift in their life. Maybe they may even have perceived it as a sort of curse of some kind, or some something went wrong, occasionally even see that if you didn’t have any context for it, but my biggest piece of advice is be kind to yourself, you know, just realize, like, suddenly experiencing a ton of like, shame and regrets and fears. And this is actually totally normal, it just comes to the surface, a lot of repressed material comes to the surface. I know it’s normal, and you’re okay. And this is what happens after awakening, as you know, you’re gonna have periods of bliss and being able to just stay in presence for a long time. And then you’re gonna have periods where things are really heavy, a lot of struggle, a lot of emotion work to do. And that’s normal.
Rick Archer: No That’s fair. It’s not like, in my case, not struggle. But I find myself feeling guilty with the way I broke up with a girlfriend 50 years ago and stuff like that, you know, it’s like, no, how could I have done behave that way? Weird stuff.
Angelo Dilullo: Yeah, so something like that. It can be as simple as looking at what I think causes most of the struggle and suffering that we experienced throughout the day. It’s really a simple formula. And that is, here’s what’s happening in life, or here’s what did happen. And then here’s what we want to be happening or we what we wish happened. And it’s amazing how with the complex minds we have with it with the good experience we have in the knowledge we still don’t put that together. We still don’t realize that I actually make myself suffer when I look at what is and I say but that’s not how it should be. I really wish it was like this. So if it’s an ancient memory of something, you know, breakup or whatever, it can be something as simple as, you know. I wish I would have handled that in a more conscious way and I didn’t handle it in a conscious way, compared to what I would have perceived right now. So maybe
Rick Archer: That’s what Will Smith is thinking right now,
Angelo Dilullo: Totally, yeah. I hope you are listening. But yeah, you just say to yourself, you know, I, it could be something as specific as okay, I walked up and slapped somebody, say I, I actually did harm to somebody or I treated them unfairly, I treated them unkindly, that happened. And if I’m really honest, I want to pretend that didn’t happen. I want to believe the world is this way where that did not happen. And yet, no matter how much I want, that, they will never change that actually happened, I treated someone unfairly. And if you’re able to, like, feel into and see both of those perspectives, the actual perspective or the conditions that are that are there, and the perspective that but I really just don’t want to, I want to know, I’m a better person than that, I want that to not have been the case. When you feel that discord, look into the body and find like, do I actually find like an energetic contraction or some something that’s trying to escape the body, something that’s that feels really uncomfortable, kind of like, if you were to distill human discomfort down into like a serum and pour it into your body? It might feel like that it’ll feel really uncomfortable, sometimes like this restlessness of something that’s just saying, no, no, no. But the really good news is, if you’re actually able to do this, and find that, and just stay with it, not like dissolve into senses or something, but actually just hold that, that discord hold that unknowing of the fact that I just cannot control life, and that what does that make me feel like, it’s just uncomfortable, you know, staying in that discomfort gap, that in and of itself can be really, really powerful. It’s the kind of thing that does not feel good when you’re doing it. And it’s not where you would think to look, especially if you’re, you know, if you’ve had some shifts, and you have access to consciousness, that’s where you tend to go, you don’t tend to go back to the root of discomfort. But if you go to the root of discomfort, and you just actually feel it in the body, and you let it be there, let it move where it needs to move into the body. And just show yourself that you can actually stay with it. What most people will notice, if they do this consistently, with contracting experiences, is later on, you’ll be in a situation where something would have caused you to react or be upset that things didn’t go your way. And all of a sudden, very noticeably, you have no reaction to it. It’s literally like something’s missing, like a sense disappeared. And then it’s a very simple thing, and it’s a very neutral thing. But you realize, oh my gosh, that’s what I’ve been doing all these years, I’ve been actually overlaying my belief that life should be a certain way, in very discrete instances, over how life actually is. And that is what’s causing me to react. That’s what’s causing me to feel non-equanimist or, you know, whatever, it’s what’s been hiding equanimity from me. And the more you do that, the more the equanimity will just start to clarify. And it just feels enjoyable to be in any condition. And the other, the other thing to look at would be frustration, and impatience. These are so common in people. And it’s very easy to find where you become impatient or frustrated, just when you’re in the grocery aisle, when you’re in traffic, and you’re thinking about where you’re going to be next in the grocery aisle is a good one. Because what happens is you pick up the your empathic tendency, you can see people around you shifting, you can see their faces, they look frustrated, the person behind me is frustrated. So I’m feel frustrated, like I feel responsible to hurry up through the line, and you start to pick up like, Oh, I’m producing the experience internally, because I’m reacting to the environment for interpretation. Can I actually find a place of stillness right here, where this is perfectly okay, everything that’s happening right now is perfectly okay. And if you work that way, and you’ll start to notice you feel less impatient, you feel less frustrated with how life’s going. And then in moments where, where you really would normally want to be fully engulfed or engaged in life or fully experiencing. And for whatever reason, the mind doesn’t let you do it all of a sudden, you can, and oh, wow, this is what it means to just inhabit my life in a simple and enjoyable way. So that’s a that’s something I would probably consider working on for almost anyone if they’re feeling contraction. And I’ve met, I’ve met people who have pretty clear non-dual realization, like they don’t experience boundaries, and they still contract and they still have reactivity. It’s very easy to overlook this because it’s not an enjoyable thing to investigate. It’s like kind of like looking in the last place you’d look. But if you’re willing to just look there, and it can take a little while it’s like flexing a muscle. You know, you won’t want to your mind will want to do everything but this, if you just go there you go okay, I feel I feel like right here in my gut, like on the left side, there’s a little bit of a contraction, and it’s just saying no, no, no, no, no, no And what I’ve found is that the energy signature in the body, that contracted area, it’s kind of been classically conditioned, or maybe abruptly, conditioned with your interpretation. So the body sort of stores it. The body sensations store that, that sense of saying no to life, but you don’t notice it. Because the attention wants to go to the mind. It wants to distract. It wants to go into the future, the past, it wants to rationalize. So you’re overlooking it all the time. So when you reverse that tendency, and you start to actually go into the contracted area, and just feel that that nervous restlessness that it’s kind of like helplessness is what it is, when you realize I can’t actually control reality. And I can’t control that. I’m like, I can’t make myself be a good person all the time. I am what I am. And sometimes, you know, if the cognitive dissonance comes where I want to be a good person, but I didn’t act like the best person, I don’t have to avoid that I can actually go down and find its root. What makes that uncomfortable for me? And that’s the kind of work I would I would recommend.
Rick Archer: Yeah, that’s great. I mean, what you just said, I hope people really picked up on that, just that any kind of impatience or frustration or anything else, there’s some kind of contraction stored in the body. That’s, you know, causing you to react that way. And, you know, rather than sort of, externalize, and you know, feel resentful about the grocery store line, or the traffic or something like that. If we internalize and locate that stored contraction, which is causing us to be frustrated externally, then it can be resolved right there, but it can never be resolved, externally.
Angelo Dilullo: That’s right, it’s absolutely we externalize. We externalize our sense of, say, agency, or doership, in an imaginary way, like I can, I can imagine that into not having happened, but it already happened. And when we do that, what we’re overlooking is this, this subtle sense of helplessness, like I’m helpless to the situation, like this situation is just what it is. Helplessness is an interesting thing, because to the to the egoic mind to the sense of agency, it’s the last thing it wants to experience. But to natural reality, in a sense, everything is sort of helpless. Everything is sort of innocent and helpless, animals are helpless, we’re helpless. And, you know, the Buddhist tenet that, you know, we’re all of the nature to grow old, be diseased and die. You know, it sounds, quote, unquote, negative, but it’s also a very important thing to recognize and realize and integrate into your life that life is fragile. And then you start to when you’re able to operate from that helplessness, or at least acknowledge it in yourself. That’s when you really start to feel love for others, you can see their helplessness and their fragility and the fragility of literally everything. And you can approach life with a much, much more gentleness.
Rick Archer: Yeah, I think the patient’s point is really important to on the spiritual path patients is really important and in general, but I mean, if you’re impatient, then you’re definitely ignoring what we were talking about earlier, in terms of nature, having a governing intelligence and all as well and wisely put, you know, I mean, if you’re in a traffic jam, or you’re in a grocery store line, I mean, maybe you can decide to commute in a different hour or shop at a different hour or something. But if you’re in that situation, now, that’s the situation you’re in, and you don’t have any control over it. And so you got to recognize that, okay, well, this is the way the divine players orchestrated at the moment, and, and this is the part I’m playing in it, you know, sitting in this car. And so let’s, you know, listen to the radio or, you know, workout, you know, do something, you know, just, you know, marinate in ‘Being’ for a little while.
Angelo Dilullo: Absolutely
Rick Archer: While the traffic moves.
Angelo Dilullo: Yeah, and that’s it. That’s exactly it.
Rick Archer: Yeah. I think also in terms of spirituality, if, you know, I, myself have at times in my life had an Enlightenment or bust attitude as you did when you were a teenager. And it can be useful, but, you know, there’s a kind of a strain element, which I think is counterproductive.
Angelo Dilullo: Yep. Yeah. Again, another paradox is, you know, my book’s called, ‘Awake,’ I talk about awakening. And then I have a retreat and people start saying or asking questions, okay, well, I haven’t had my awakening yet. And I say, don’t worry about that. Don’t just don’t, don’t worry, don’t think about awakening as a future event because there’s no future that’s going to happen in it doesn’t, it’s all whatever it is, it’s already here. You may or may not shift the lens or the lens will shift but even that you probably can’t directly control. You can, you can till the soil and fertilize the soil, but what you can do is learn to enjoy the moment, you can learn to enjoy the presence and being alive like of course, and then you know, serendipity usually that’s when it strikes or often when it strikes
Rick Archer: Yeah, when I was in my Enlightenment or bust phase, marshy Mahesh Yogi once said to me, every day is life don’t pass over the present for some glorious future.
Angelo Dilullo: Hmm. Yeah, yeah.
Rick Archer: Okay, so a question came in from Gloria. Gloria is curious if you have any thoughts on God, death, and reincarnation?
Angelo Dilullo: Well, so generally these kinds of questions I often tell people, I don’t want to rob you of your own discovery of it in your way. But I, since you asked specifically, I’ll tell you with, with God specifically, I would say that’s something to investigate yourself, for sure. It’s like really investigate what is God to you? You know, God’s certainly can be a concept, it can be an idea of some things you’ve learned about, that’s fine. But there’s probably a more intimate experience of God for you, I would imagine. So feel into that, really feel into that. Can you find where you end and it starts? Come in contact with that direct experience of God as close as you can get as unguarded as you can get as surrendered as you can get? Which will be beyond thoughts, hopefully, beyond concepts of God? And I would say, find the answer there. The ‘Koan’ could be what is God? That could be it, it’d be a wonderful ‘Koan.’ So I would say investigate in that way, you know, to the degree it feels relevant to you. Death is an interesting one. There are certain things that are that I know can be triggering for people. So I’m careful how I talk about him. And when I talk about him, one is no self. But interestingly, no self is starting to become more accepted. It seems like in pop culture, it’s less of a triggering thing than it used to be. It seems like maybe because science is starting to kind of point to that as well. And these sorts of things, but doership is another one agency and freewill and choice those can be really triggering, depending on how you talk about them. So I’m a little careful. Death is another one. Of course, you know, what I would say about death is my experience, I’ll really direct my experience of death is it’s yours all the time. This true death is here all the time, it’s this moment is never coming back, it’s gone. It’s so precious, it’s so fleeting, these conditions will never be here again. And so it’s like a living death. It’s like being a walking dead person or something. And in one way of speaking, I have a friend who said, she said, I feel like an infant, like a newborn baby, and a dead person at the same time. And that’s how it is for me all the time is what she told me. So I have a reverence for death. But I also can’t decouple death from birth. One way of saying solving the problem of birth and death is seeing very clearly through experience that they’re not two things. They’re not they’re separate in any way. But in a personal way, for anyone who’s listening or curious about it, I would say investigate it. Look into it. Look at your fears, look into your fears of death. It worked really well for Ramana Maharishi, right? When he was 15 years old, he laid down and died because he had just lost his father, which is a very intense, emotional thing to go through. And he literally went down and went through the death process himself. Now, most of us probably can’t just do that. But you can investigate, like, what would it actually be like to not be here? Or what would my face look like before my parents were born? Or what continues on, if this body drops dead right now? you know, these things can be really good entry points. If they spark an interest in you. Everyone’s different. For some people, this is not a tasteful thing to talk about. But if it is, I would say definitely investigate. What was the third thing? Reincarnation
Angelo Dilullo: Reincarnation, another one I avoid talking about, for a different reason, not because it’s triggering, but because it really can give someone a cookie to chase like, Oh, I really want to experience my past lives and stuff. And all I can tell you is that when this second big part of this shift happened that I described earlier in this interview, it was very clear that there had been multiple lives. You going through this process? It wasn’t a memory of like who I was, and those energetically very, very obvious that there were there were lives where this had happened and it ? each lifetime.
Rick Archer: Say that sentence again. You had a bandwidth thing.
Angelo Dilullo: Sure
Rick Archer: There were lives where this had happened, and
Angelo Dilullo: Yeah, this this experience of realization had clarified more and more over several successive lifetimes. And this was, in a sense still is in the energetic experience. It’s not in the conscious experience. It’s not in consciousness, like a visual thing, or an imagination. And I’ve never even said that to anybody until someone told me they had it. And I said, Oh, okay, cuz I was not that I was embarrassed, but I it could be so easily misinterpreted. And I can also say that I can’t even guarantee those are past lives because from that place, time doesn’t exist. So they could almost be like parallel lives or something. I don’t really know. But that was very obvious. So energetically, I have experienced that. So I know it’s some in some semblance of energetically true. But it’s but I will say it’s nothing to do with the contemplations and inquiries I talked about, it’s nothing to focus on necessarily, because you’re more likely than not to either confuse yourself or be chasing the wrong thing. It’s like chasing cities or chasing magical powers or something like that it can just be too much of a distraction. And I say, clarify the insight, clarify realization, and then from there, you might be really surprised how you see these things, they might become exquisitely clear suddenly, for you. One thing I found helpful, and not distracting, is, you know, reading some books and interviewing people about near-death experiences. Just because it kind of thins the veil, you know, between the physicality of this life and what may come beyond it or after it. And you know, it doesn’t, it doesn’t incline me to want to figure out what my past lives were to have a near death experience myself or anything, but it’s just interesting to hear what people go through, and the insights they feel they gain very often when they are on the other side, so to speak briefly. Yeah, and just the broader perspective that they have. And then how that changes their life when they when they survive and come back. And it’s a big shift, you know, usually, Yeah, yeah. So, yeah, let me just restate that. And you make a really good point, when I said that, I don’t necessarily mean that there’s no value to that, because I don’t believe that. But with the awakening process itself, it’s something I think maybe parallel to that, like, if you’re interested in those sorts of things, that’s fine, explore it. Just don’t mix it up. If you mix the two up, it can just get confusing. I think that’s, that’s my best advice.
Rick Archer: What do you mean by when you say that?
Angelo Dilullo: Doing so like, if you’re trying to wake up and trying to clarify your insights, by trying to do astral projection or so?
Rick Archer: Oh yeah.
Angelo Dilullo: Yes, or something like that? I would say they’re, they’re parallel interests. Well, it’s sort of like science and awakening, like, if you want to understand consciousness by understanding the default mode network and all those things, that’s great. But don’t mix that up with awakening, because you can know everything there is to know about brain neurophysiology and not wake up. So just know that there is a there’s a different possibility here. That that is really apart from any other kind of learnings that have to do with understanding in the in the human realm, I guess.
Rick Archer: Sure. And I don’t think you’re saying that it presents a conflict. If you want to study the default mode network and do spiritual practice. You’re
Angelo Dilullo: Right
Rick Archer: You’re, just saying don’t, don’t jump to the conclusion that the intellectual study is going to be adequate for the experiential realization.
Angelo Dilullo: Yeah, that’s exactly what I would say.
Rick Archer: Okay.
Angelo Dilullo: And I also am fascinated with the past life things. Have you seen or interviewed people who talk about children who remember their past lives in such clarity that it’s, like, irrefutable, essentially?
Rick Archer: Yeah. Jim Tucker. I interviewed Jim. He’s, he’s the successor to Ian Stevenson. And they, they, you know, studied all these 1000s of children basically have experiences like that. So there’s a categorical index on Batgap under past the past interviews menu where you can there’s a category for this kind of thing, and, you know, various categories. Check it out.
Angelo Dilullo: Yeah. Yeah. It’s fascinating stuff.
Rick Archer: Yeah. Well, we’ve reached that point in the interview at which the dogs are starting to wrestle on the floor, because they’re getting frustrated with me. I was just sitting here. They always give us a signal. We better stop. So anyway, this has been great Angelo. I really have enjoyed, you know, talking to you and getting to know you.
Angelo Dilullo: Yeah, yeah. I’ve enjoyed it as well. Thanks so much for your time and taking so much time to unpack all of this. And I hope people get a lot out of it.
Rick Archer: Yeah. And when is your next book going to be done? Do you think?
Angelo Dilullo: A couple of years, probably, I don’t even know
Rick Archer: Let me know what it is, you know.
Angelo Dilullo: Oh for sure.
Rick Archer: We can do a follow up.
Angelo Dilullo: Yeah.
Rick Archer: And you have a bunch of YouTube videos, which people can watch. Do you have anything else do you have like webinars or anything like that?
Angelo Dilullo: No, I have a YouTube channel is ‘Simply Always Awake’, if you want to check that out. And I also have a free meditation app of guided meditations I made with music I composed. It’s called, ‘Simply awake’, and it’s free on Apple, or iPhone and Android, so.
Rick Archer: Okay, so I should make sure to mention that on your BatGap page. I have already created a link to your YouTube channel, but remind me by email later on, then what you want me to put as a way of people accessing that App.
Angelo Dilullo: Okay.
Rick Archer: Okay, good.
Angelo Dilullo: Awesome.
Rick Archer: Good. So thank you, everybody, for sticking with us. And as I just alluded to there will be a page for this interview on BatGap where you can go to and then from there, you can bounce to Angelo’s YouTube channel and, you know, links to his books and things like that. And next week I’ll be doing a second interview with a very sweet gentleman named Sebastian Blakely. Blakely who lives in Rio de Janeiro. And anyway, if you want to watch my first interview with him before, next week, you’ll be all primed for listening to that interview. So, talk to you later. Thanks, Angelo.
Angelo Dilullo: Thank you