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. I’ve have 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’s a PayPal button on every page of the site and there’s also a page explaining alternatives to PayPal. My guest today is Anoop Kumar. Anoop is a board-certified emergency medical doctor working in an ER in the DC area. He also has a master’s degree in management with a focus on health leadership. Anoop, do you work in downtown DC or out in the suburbs someplace?
Anoop Kumar: In the suburbs in Northern Virginia.
Rick Archer: Okay. Good. So you don’t have perhaps so many gunshot wounds or Capitol Police getting clobbered by fire extinguishers by peaceful tourists and stuff like that, right?
Anoop Kumar: Yeah. Not as many, not as many. We get our occasional share, but not as many.
Rick Archer: How old are you now?
Anoop Kumar: 43.
Rick Archer: Ah, okay. And you’ve been doing – You’ve been ER doctor for a long time, huh?
Anoop Kumar: Yeah, about 15 years or so.
Rick Archer: Wow, you enjoy it?
Anoop Kumar: Yeah, I find it it’s a great place to integrate everything that’s happened in my life and what I talk about. And it’s just, it’s like, where the pedal meets the metal or they say about New York City. If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere.
Rick Archer: Yeah.
Anoop Kumar: It’s kind of like that, if you’re talking about the kinds of stuff I’m talking about. And then if you have to integrate that with emergency medicine, I think that’s a pretty good arena to do it.
Rick Archer: Yeah. Kind of like the battle of Kurukshetra or something. You’d say?
Anoop Kumar: Yeah, exactly. Exactly. In a very condensed, intense form.
Rick Archer: Yeah. Hopefully, it’s not as intense as it is on all those TV shows, with people getting their arms chopped off by helicopter blades and all kinds of terrorists coming in and that kind of stuff.
Anoop Kumar: No, no, it’s not that intense, but it can still be. It’s still intense when you have a seven-day-old in distress and a 97-year-old in distress. And the family’s like, very distressed. Some patients are very sick, but they don’t feel as sick. Some people, the other way around. So you get that whole mix. So it’s its own kind of challenge. No helicopter blades yet.
Rick Archer: Keeps you on your toes. So I understand you, you were born and raised in the US, right?
Anoop Kumar: I was. I was born in DC. And spent I think, a couple of years here. Not exactly sure. But we moved back to India.
Rick Archer: Okay.
Anoop Kumar: And I lived there for a few years in Kerala, and then we came back.
Rick Archer: Hmm. Speak Malayalam?
Anoop Kumar: I do. I wouldn’t say I speak it well. Well, but I can understand it. I can hold a conversation. Yeah.
Rick Archer: Good. All righty. So let me just read a little bit more of your bio here. So, well actually, let’s do it more informally. And all this information will come out. You’ve written a couple of books, Michelangelo’s Medicine, and Is This a Dream? And I’m sure we’ll be talking about a lot of the points in those as we go along. You’re a columnist for something called emergency medicine news. You have developed something called the three minds framework, which we’re going to talk about a lot. And you have a website, in addition to your personal website, anoopkumar.com, you have a health-related website. I’ll be linking to both of those from your page on BatGap. And so we’ll be talking about what’s on your health-related website also. But would it be a good place to start? I mean, you had this blowout experience when you were maybe in college or in medical school, and you were just in your room reading? Would that be a good place to start?
Anoop Kumar: Yeah, sure.
Rick Archer: All right. Let’s start with that.
Anoop Kumar: Yeah, so that was in my late 20s. In medical school, I was at home for a break and was reading in the bedroom. And, yeah, it was kind of like a blowout experience, it was as if an explosion went off. And the kind of world fell away. And it was something like sitting in the sun is the only way I could describe it, which I never would have said that before this probably after well, maybe after it, but not before it. And yeah, whenever it kind of comes into the experience, again, it’s hard to describe, but it’s something like sitting in the sun. And there was a choice. At some point, after some kind of unknown time interval, there was a choice as to whether to keep going or not. And at that point, it was as if there was a reminder, where a thought was instilled in the mind saying, hey, if this happens there’s still work to do. And it wouldn’t be fair, something like that. And that caused a hesitation. And that has almost like, if you were driving, there were speed bumps, you would slow down, it was like that the mind slowed down, and then that caused kind of re-implosion.
Rick Archer: So like those near-death experiences, you were almost given a choice, and you’re thinking you could have actually died if you had chosen to keep going. But, you were reminded that you have stuff to do here.
Anoop Kumar: Yeah, except I wouldn’t say I would have died. It’s just that I would have, let’s say moved on to the next phase of the journey that the body would have died.
Rick Archer: Right.
Anoop Kumar: And then I always think that people would be like, Oh, I could see a headline medical student commits suicide or medical student overdoses on so who knows what the story would have been? Right? A healthy 20-something-year-old or whatever.
Rick Archer: You weren’t on anything? You were just…
Anoop Kumar: Right. No no.
Rick Archer: Yeah.
Anoop Kumar: I was on South Indian vegetarian food at the time. So it would have been unusual, but that was the gist of it.
Rick Archer: Had you had any kind of glimpses of such things previously in your life?
Anoop Kumar: Yeah, with that a lot of memories of prior experiences also came back. There had been times but the mind hadn’t been able to kind of hold on to those in a particular way or recognize them still. But then, so many experiences came back from childhood and other times of different variants of this kind of thing. Do you believe in past lives? Yeah, I don’t, I wouldn’t say I believe in past life. What I see is simply that the identity takes on different circumstances as it’s needed. So for me, it’s not a belief.
Rick Archer: Right. Well, I don’t believe in them either, but it’s more like a, of course, it works that way.
Anoop Kumar: Yeah.
Rick Archer: You move on from…
Anoop Kumar: I mean, I kind of see it like, I wouldn’t say I believe in Rick Archer.
Rick Archer: Yeah.
Anoop Kumar: I’m seeing Rick Archer and interfacing with Rick Archer. That’s all there is to it.
Rick Archer: Yeah.
Anoop Kumar: So it’s kind of like that. I don’t believe in past lives. I mean, I see what I see. This is my experience.
Rick Archer: It’s kind of like, you believe in air? Yeah. I mean, obviously, we’re being a little smug, because for some people, it’s not a foregone assumption or conclusion. But for me, it just makes a lot of sense. And of course, ultimately, it will get to that probably in the first mind discussion. Or maybe it’s the third mind, we’ll get it straight. Ultimately, there is no past lives, but there is no universe either. But on a vyavaharika level, a transactional level of life, it’s a useful way of understanding things. And there’s a fair amount of evidence for… I interviewed a guy named Jim Tucker, who was Ian Stevenson’s successor, and his whole focus has been researching kids who remember past lives. Anyway, the whole reason I asked that was, I think a lot of times people are predisposed to have this kind of awakening without a whole lot of preparation or practice or anything, because they built up a momentum for it, a proclivity for it in past lives.
Anoop Kumar: Yeah, the reason I say that, I don’t believe it, I see it, because I think language is really important. It’s not because I’m trying to be tricky with language, but I feel like it makes a difference. And I feel like it’s important for people to know that there is something like belief that has a role. And there is something like experience like what we’re experiencing, and I wasn’t meaning to be smug when I say I don’t believe in Rick Archer.
Rick Archer: I don’t believe in him either.
Anoop Kumar: I don’t believe that I have a hand. The experience is we have a hand. And so they’re different kinds of experience and based on the kind of experience, the way we experience our lives and how it informs our lives is quite different. So belief is one kind of experience and let’s say perceptual experience is another kind of experience, knowing is another kind of experience. So I’m just trying to make these a little bit more stark through language.
Rick Archer: Now that’s good. It’s good to be precise and nuanced in our use of words. Otherwise, it’s a tower of Babel where one person says one thing and another person hears something else. And there’s actually no communication.
Anoop Kumar: And there’s a lot of that. A lot of that going on. Where…
Rick Archer: Really?
Anoop Kumar: It’s, yeah, I mean, I feel so when I, when people are talking about these things, obviously, words can only go so far, but I feel it helps to try to be precise, and also explain why I use the words that I do.
Rick Archer: Yeah, no, that’s good. So aside from you felt like you were sitting in the sun, which doesn’t really capture the experience. I mean, why? Was it warm? Was it bright? What was the experience?
Anoop Kumar: That’s the bizarre thing about it is to explain why does, it was bright. It was like, saffron,- like that.
Rick Archer: A yellowish color.
Anoop Kumar: Yeah, yeah, it was. The color was there. It was, I hesitate to say warm, but I’ll say warm, but not in a temperature sense in a feeling sense, and
Rick Archer: Kind of a blissful sense?
Anoop Kumar: Yeah, it was blissful in a way. But if you’ll forgive me, I won’t use that word. And just trying to be as descriptive as possible. But more than anything else, more than the color more than all this, I can just say that I knew I was in the sun, for what it’s worth, whatever that sun is, whatever it means or whatever. It’s not because of the color that I’m saying it.
Rick Archer: You felt lit up inside. You could say that maybe?
Anoop Kumar: Yeah, we can say that. But that’s not why I’m saying it. I’m saying it because it felt like this was the sun. It wasn’t just that it was lit up. Because there are many things that could be lit up, like fire could be lit up and lightning could be lit up. But
Rick Archer: I presume you’re using the sun metaphorically?
Anoop Kumar: That would be true. But the way I see the world is metaphor. What I see, like, as we’re experiencing this, now, I see this as metaphorical.
Rick Archer: Okay.
Anoop Kumar: So to me that difference isn’t there, but like what we call the physical world, to me, are metaphorical representations. And so that includes what we call the sun.
Rick Archer: Was it scary at all?
Anoop Kumar: No, it was not scary. There was a point at which I knew that things would change forever. And so there was a hesitation there. But it wasn’t a fear of the sun or a fear of whatever this was.
Rick Archer: Any idea how long it lasted?
Anoop Kumar: I would say in kind of linear time, I don’t know, because there were no, I didn’t happen to look at the clock before or after. But it couldn’t have been, it could have been anywhere between, I’d say, a couple minutes to a couple hours in linear time. In experienced time, it was a timeless experience. So I can’t say.
Rick Archer: Were you oblivious to any external inputs?
Anoop Kumar: Yeah, the body was gone, the environment was gone, everything had kind of deconstructed. And afterwards all that was quite apparent, the kind of deconstruction reconstruction process.
Rick Archer: And you said, you felt like you would change forever. I don’t know if you were feeling that while it was happening, but when you came out of it, things had indeed changed?
Anoop Kumar: Things had indeed changed, the way of perceiving the world had changed. The I had already been predisposed to the interpretation that consciousness was fundamental, whatever that means. And whatever we’re referring to as consciousness. But after that point, it was like, no going back. And, and what that meant was quite apparent.
Rick Archer: I have, had you been reading a lot of Indian philosophy throughout your upbringing?
Anoop Kumar: Yeah, since elementary school.
Rick Archer: All right. So you’re steeped in that stuff.
Anoop Kumar: I was steeped in that stuff.
Rick Archer: Yeah. I have a good friend with whom I have long, very friendly debates about whether consciousness is fundamental or as a product of the brain and related topics, God and all that kind of stuff. And we’re trying to boil it down to his, trying to boil his objection down to as pithy a paragraph as possible, I don’t know if we’ve quite done it yet. But his main gripe seems to be that there’s no way of proving that. And I say well, yeah, but what about out-of-body experiences and things like that where obviously, at least the mind is independent of the body. He said, well, that’s not proven. So I don’t know if you want to get into this. But yeah, if you were talking to my friend, what could you offer merely by way of intellectual argument to substantiate your perspective?
Anoop Kumar: Yeah. Well, this conversation happens on many levels, because it depends on what we mean by consciousness. We’re using an English word for something that has many layers to it. To start off with in the subtlest sense in the deepest sense of what that means he’s right. In the deepest sense, it’s not something that can be proven, because what we’re asking for is something that is non-conceptual, to be brought into concepts for the first mind. So in the end, what we’re saying fundamentally is that that first mind is also a differentiated aspect of a non-local kind of consciousness.
Rick Archer: And by first mind, you mean the sort of more…
Anoop Kumar: The localized individual kind of concretized mind.
Rick Archer: Good.
Anoop Kumar: So that, in that sense, is true. However, what can be helpful is to look at consciousness in progressively subtler senses. As you said, there’s good evidence for other lifetimes So if you look at the data, and the data is pretty good you have kids describing experiences of how they died, that can be verified by going back and looking at historical records or going back to communities that they had been living in where they had died., There’s so many, there’s so much things. So if you look at the evidence, and at least you say, Okay, well, this is decent evidence, it’s at least possible. And maybe it’s even probable by looking at this. Now, what you have to then confront, is that there is some aspect of identity that is not dependent on the body Whether you call it mind or consciousness, there’s something subtle, that is not strictly physical, that continues from one body to another to another So that is, in a subtle sense, we can say that is our consciousness that is our mind with our fears, our loves, our proclivities and so on. And that goes from body to body. So that is evident.
Rick Archer: If that’s the case, I would say it’s the, what is it? Sukshma Sharira.
Anoop Kumar: Right.
Rick Archer: Right. The subtle body, it’s not our consciousness, because consciousness doesn’t go anywhere.
Anoop Kumar: Well, so I think this is one of the challenges today is that we’re defining consciousness very narrowly. Ultimately, consciousness itself is, if we’re going by the philosophical tradition, for example, of Advaita, consciousness is not finality, but Brahman is finality. And it’s become kind of watered down to consciousness in English, but Brahman is surely not just consciousness, by its existence, it’s truth. It’s what it is, there are many aspects to it. So we use consciousness as a kind of surrogate. So when we talk about, let’s say, x, like we use x in algebra, X moves from lifetime to lifetime. And there’s something subtle about it. And certainly, there’s some awareness in that. Because that is, so at least there’s a component of consciousness we can say there. So at least this can lead us to the idea, to consider the idea Yes, there is something like consciousness or some aspect of consciousness, that does move from lifetime to lifetime and is not restricted to the body. So now, what is that? How do I get to know that? Accompanying that inquiry now has to be an exploration. That mind then has to begin to explore what is this consciousness and having recognized what is being referred to as that which transfers from body to body. Now the next level of exploration can begin. So if that then is consciousness now, how is that different? If that subtlety is a consciousness, how is that different from the world I’m perceiving? Can those two be integrated and like this, it progresses but key to this is understanding that there are different levels and layers of consciousness. And in the ultimate sense, you can’t jump from level one to level five and say, prove it. Because there’s no connection between the two. It’s all kind of absorbed in one.
Rick Archer: Yeah. Well, my friend has quite a few years of meditation under his belt and quite a few psychedelic experiences. And he used to share our perspective, but then he got into a skeptical phase and he said, Okay, well, let’s say I’m deep in meditation, I experience vastness or unboundedness. Does that really mean that consciousness is unbounded? Or am I just having a subjective experience that feels like that? How can I prove it?
Anoop Kumar: Very, very much true. Just because I am having a vast experience, it does not mean consciousness is fundamental and one should be skeptical. You shouldn’t just make the jump from Oh, I feel vast. I feel amazing. I feel expansive. Consciousness is fundamental. No, you can feel lots of things. But there’s much more to that. First of all, if I am feeling vast then what is the differentiation in quality between the sense of I and the sense of vastness, there is a duality there. So one shouldn’t just ignore that duality or spiritualize it and say, Oh, everything is consciousness. No, there is that duality there? How does that get reconciled? Well, if I look at another example, if I’m looking at the world, I clearly experience what we call physical things. And yet I seem to experience something within myself that subtle, maybe thoughts, maybe a subtle sense of joy. There’s so many different kinds of sensations, well, how do I reconcile that physical with this sense of joy. One has to be skeptical. If you are not skeptical, and if you kind of just kind of jump a step or two, there will be a disconnection in experience and there will be this kind of coming and going, it will not be a homogenous and integrated experience, there will still be the spiritual world, and then my life, there still be the scientific world, and my life. And the way all of these get integrated, is by remaining skeptical until that experience and rationale and everything kind of integrates.
Rick Archer: That’s good. And, and I appreciate how you balked a bit when I said do you believe in reincarnation because belief is just a non-scientific word.
Anoop Kumar: Yeah.
Rick Archer: I mean, Einstein believed in his theories of relativity, and he told some reporter that if Arthur Eddington’s experiment with the bending of starlight had disproven his, what was it? the general theory of relativity, he said, I would have felt sorry for the dear Lord, the theory is correct. So he had a certain degree of certainty. But generally speaking, it’s just not fitting word in the scientific realm. And I really don’t think it should be in the spiritual realm, either. I think, any spiritual concept whether there’s angels, whether there’s heaven, anything else, and take it as a hypothesis that you can test, rather than something you ought to believe in, and you’re going to hell if you don’t believe it, or something.
Anoop Kumar: Absolutely. And it has to, today, it has to be that way. Now, it doesn’t mean that everybody has to be a scientist. That’s not what I’m saying. But what I’m saying is, there has to be a place where you say for me, the buck stops with me. Like, I want to know, and I’m not just going to accept something, whether it’s somebody wearing especially colored robes or a turban, or I’m not just going to accept something, because it feels really good to me to accept this. And it feels better than not accepting this. But I’m going to accept this because it integrates every single experience I have, it integrates my daily life, it integrates my sleep, it integrates my dream life. It integrates any scientific inquiry that could happen. It integrates philosophical inquiry, it integrates what all the spiritual people are saying. Then, you can, if you have consistency across all these fields, then the walls of the mind just drop. And then you just see what’s there to see and you can adopt whatever philosophy you want, or whatever to suit the situation.
Rick Archer: Yeah. And you said, well, we don’t all have to be scientists. We don’t have to be anything. But I think that we can, I think it can be healthy, if you’re a spiritual seeker, to be scientific about it.
Anoop Kumar: Yeah.
Rick Archer: And as we’ve been discussing to insist upon empirical evidence for the things that you think might be true, and to pursue that evidence through your direct experience.
Anoop Kumar: Yes.
Rick Archer: Back to your experience. So you had this big, flashy thing. It felt like you’re sitting in the sun after some indeterminate amount of time, you came out of it, looked around the room. I mean, what did you feel like when you came out of it? Was it like, Oh, my God, what happened? Or…
Anoop Kumar: It’s, it’s no, oh, my God, what happened wasn’t there. That came much later. That kind of the kind of reviewing what happened mind had to come in. It wasn’t there at that time. It was as if you take the room that you’re in, for anybody listening now, and if you just take the room and you’re in and you just look around, and you see everything, and just imagine that you could press pause, and everything froze, so the motion picture that is kind of a metaphor for life, if it just froze, and let’s say it’s almost like frozen, frozen water or frozen light, alright, like it’s all flowing and then you freeze it, you pause it and it’s frozen water, frozen light, and then it just shatters and it all falls down into like innumerable jigsaw pieces. And now, somebody takes and picks all these up and reconstructs the set. Puts all the pieces back in and here, here except now it’s not like you’re picking up a piece of the desk or a piece of the floor, you’re actually picking up a piece of the light or a piece of the flow that it was that was actually the substance that was constructing the experience of what we call reality. And you put all the pieces, including this, the pieces of space. We can think of it as crystallized light, you’re putting the pieces of space in, there’s no, because there’s no difference between the space and the objects, it’s all kind of a crystallization. And then you put it all together. And then you look at it, it was kind of like that. Like, you could see that it was all kind of, I don’t want to say pieced together, it’s not pieced together, but constructed from something subtler, and that the things that we see that are independent pieces, like a brick, or like maybe wood paneling, or a rug, like those themselves, and down to like the molecular elementary particle level, like those themselves are representations of something subtler and the body too and the identity that they had been reading. And all that was kind of part of the same puzzle we can say.
Rick Archer: So let me see if I understood that. So what you’re saying basically is that the world that you had taken for granted for 20 odd years as being a certain way had been so fundamentally deconstructed and reassembled that you, your view, was now radically fresh and different. And I imagine, well, am I good? Am I good so far?
Anoop Kumar: I’d say it was much, much sharper and clearer.
Rick Archer: Okay.
Anoop Kumar: Just probably because I had been exposed to some of this stuff before. And there was, there were hints and openings before. So it, it wasn’t, it could have been much more so I think, as it was, yes, it was radical, but it was, it was just much more crystal clear as to everything that had been described and the intimations that had happened.
Rick Archer: So the doors of perception had been cleansed.
Anoop Kumar: Right.
Rick Archer: So what is it? Infinity in a wildflower and eternity in an hour? I think that’s William Blake.
Anoop Kumar: Yeah.
Rick Archer: Yeah. And did that, was, did that impede to an extent your ability to function? Because it was so radically different the way a psychedelic trip would?
Anoop Kumar: Yeah, yeah it did. It did. Initially, there was a period where it was just me in the room then I went into the bathroom. And so I’m not sure how long that period was. So that didn’t really impede it. Because there were no responsibilities I had to fulfill, it was just me. So initially, no. And even, even for the next, maybe a year or two, maybe I’m not sure of the timeline, not so much. But when the level of responsibility really increased, which is, very soon after that, I got married, and I started my training in emergency medicine. So very different life. And we moved to Philadelphia at that time. So then it became very difficult. Because it, I saw at that point, it became very apparent just how much things had changed. And, how much learning there had to be done, how much adjusting and integrating had to happen. And I was on the crash course in the ER
to integrate it all as fast as possible.
Rick Archer: Had you met your wife before this experience happened?
Anoop Kumar: We had met. We had. The first time we met is when I was one year old and she was in the womb. Our mothers were friends. And our mothers met on a walk. And I was, they had both come from India. They didn’t know each other in India, but they had kind of, I guess, met here in the United States. So that was the first unofficial meeting. And then we had kind of played together as friends and then lost touch for many years and then got back in touch. I think a couple of years, maybe three or four years before this.
Rick Archer: Nice. So it wasn’t an arranged marriage. You guys wanted to get married?
Anoop Kumar: Yeah. Yeah.
Rick Archer: And did your wife notice a big or your fiancée at that time notice a big contrast in you?
Anoop Kumar: I don’t know. I’d have to ask her.
Rick Archer: Did she say what happened to you, buddy?
Anoop Kumar: No, I think she had been saying that since the beginning. So I think I was always kind of maybe perhaps strange in certain ways. So I’m not sure that that was distinctly noticeable. But in, once I started the training and everything then it was, yeah.
Rick Archer: Ah Okay. This is interesting stuff. And it’s, I think something that people can relate to, even if they haven’t had anything quite so dramatic because anybody who’s on a spiritual path, we’ll have found that they have to do some integrating to acclimate to changed states of consciousness or perspectives that dawn. And it’s an ongoing process usually happens on and on and on over and over again, they have to keep, unfortunately, it does happen incrementally in most cases, because, I mean, if it happened all at once, we’d just be sitting in a corner drooling. I think not be able to function at all.
Rick Archer: Yeah, exactly.
Anoop Kumar: Yeah. Drooling.
Anoop Kumar: Yeah. Drooling and or we would be diagnosed with something.
Rick Archer: Yeah.
Anoop Kumar: And put as an inpatient which is something that we got to touch on at some point.
Rick Archer: Yes, we’re definitely going to get into that today. In fact, we could do that next. But maybe we should define the three minds thing, because that’s kind of central to your whole. And let me ask you, before we start on that is, as you begin to explain it, is this some, is this sort of a repackaging of some kind of Vedic knowledge that you picked up, such as the Pancha Kosha model, or some such thing, or did you feel like none of those old explanations really worked, and you needed to craft something new and maybe more current to our modern world.
Anoop Kumar: It’s closer to the second in the sense that I had heard all the stuff from advaita from very learned people, I’d spent my time around them since I was a child. And I’m very grateful for all of that exposure. It’s priceless. It’s impossible to overstate the significance of that, and how it has helped me assimilate so many things, and to be able to communicate in the way that I do. I reached a point that it wasn’t enough. And that everything is there in some place, but I wanted it all together in one place, the whole shebang, together in one place. And I realized that probably part of the reason that it wasn’t usually said like this, is because it’s impossible to unpack that in any short period of time, even years. If you’re going to put it all in one place. But for me, I had to have it in one place. And so this came from essentially my own experience, and struggling to try to explain this, and struggling to try to talk to different kinds of people, spiritual people, scientific people, philosophers, patients people who have disease, people who are suffering people who are all kinds of different people who come from different sets of assumptions and will take different assumptions as valid. How do you talk to all of them without having to change the story every time you talk? To some extent, you have to do that. But how do you use the same framework and just start at a different point for each person? So what does that framework look like if it has to be all-encompassing? Now, I didn’t set out to do this intentionally. It was out of a need, because of a frustration within myself of not being able to communicate this consistently because I want to communicate consistently over and over and over as I’m doing down on podcasts. It’s always the three minds framework. And that’s helpful. Because if you say it once or twice, it’s not going to sink in. But if you say it 100,000 times, some more of it will sink in, if you say it in the same way over and over. And if you can account for any experience through this without saying, Oh, well, that’s just spiritual we ought to talk about it differently. Oh, that’s science. That’s an experiment. That’s, .o.. It has to be integrating everything. So that’s where it came from. Having said that, of course, it’s going to touch on the exact same points as any philosophy that is subtle enough. It’s just a matter of how you, how much of it you put together, how you actually talk about it, and how you talk about it in terms of today’s society.
Rick Archer: Yeah, that’s a good point about hearing things over and over. I never tire of hearing talks on Vedanta and stuff over and over because I feel that I never get it 100%. And a lot of it goes in one ear and out the other and there’s just, you form positive Samskaras when you just, or impressions when you just keep hearing the same thing. It just gets more and more in your blood more and more ingrained.
Anoop Kumar: Yeah.
Rick Archer: And that’s the way learning happens in many contexts.
Anoop Kumar: Yeah.
Rick Archer: So, in any case, so okay, so that’s a good introduction to the three minds model. So now let’s get into it, what it actually is.
Anoop Kumar: So the three minds framework suggests that, number one, it comes from the premise that consciousness is primary. And it asks the person to consider this as a hypothesis that consciousness is primary. And furthermore, it says that the way we experience the world is relative to our sense of identity. And this second part is really the key, the way we experience the world, what we experience as a world is directly related to how we experience what we are and what the sense of identity is. So, in today’s society, in almost most cultures, you will be told that you are a body. You will not be told this explicitly. But it’ll be subtle through all the ways in which people behave, they’ll say, like, our parents teach us this is your nose, this is your mouth, these are your hands, this is your neck, this is your chest. And they get very happy when you name these things. Like, oh, great your nose your elbow. And so there’s this mind, which is in a, let’s say, it’s in a more potential state, starts to coalesce, starts to thicken, okay, nose, mind, this. And then we keep using Anoop, or Rick, Rick, Rick, Rick, Rick, Rick, when you say Rick enough times and you say, okay, Rick, so Rick nose, Rick body, Rick you put all these things together. And this is how the identity starts to form. Prior to that, the identity is not localized to a body. That’s why very young babies would be very content to crawl off a table and fall to the ground because the identity is not crystallized as the body, I’m not saying that’s good, it’s good to have both views. So what we experience as our identity, and what we experience the world are directly related in this way. The extent to which we experience our identity as distinct, meaning as having a distinct boundary around it. Meaning the experiences that we can say this is what I am, this is what I am, whether it’s a body or this personality, or whatever the this refers to, we can draw a boundary around it. And if we feel that this is what I am, I’m in the head, I’m in the body, I’m near the body, I am the body I am the anything like this. This will translate to an experience of the world that also shows distinctness. Let me say that a different way. When I sense myself as having a boundary around me and being a, distinct things, I will sense the world as being a word of boundaries with distinct things. The only way we differentiate among things is because of boundaries. So I’m looking right now I can see the camera in front of me. And the camera has a very distinct boundary that separates what we call camera from what we call space. And because I’m perceiving that boundary, I can say there’s a thing there, there’s a camera, and there’s no thing behind it. There’s space. But when you look closely, we will see that that very perception of that boundary around the camera is a superimposition of my own identity. Because if you zoom in on the boundary of that camera, you’ll see that that nice smooth line is not there. Ultimately it will be molecules. It’s not a smooth line. And if you zoom in on the boundary of the molecule, you’ll see it’s not there. It’s atoms or its energy. And if you zoom in beyond that, you’ve lost the boundary entirely. So the boundary that we see between any one object and any other object is an interpretation of the human mind. It is a superimposition and construction of the human mind. It’s useful, it’s practical at the first mind level. But it is not fundamentally true, it is relatively true. And why is it that the mind is interpreting that boundary because the mind itself senses itself as being distinct and being a distinct person or distinct thing. And so that distinctness that I feel as me is reflected on whatever it is that is here, which we call the world. And we see a world of multiplicity and things because I’ve taken myself to be a thing. This is the first mind view. Now as identity becomes subtler, as this boundary around the sense of me whether it’s a body or a mind, or a personality, or anything, as this boundary is seen through as it becomes translucent and transparent, then what is seen is that, oh, even the objects in front of me like the screen, or Rick’s body, or the camera that I thought were fundamentally distinct with distinct boundaries, they’re actually superimpositions or their reflections or constructions of something more fundamental. And that thing, which is more fundamental, is actually what the world is made out of. And as that coagulates and as that polarizes, we get this the classic subject-object relationship that I am here and I see you, you are there, and you see me. And this is how space and time are interpreted in human consciousness. So this is a little bit about it. I’ll stop here and see where it goes.
Rick Archer: Okay, so, so far, I have a question or two. Referring back to my friend again, one thing he and I debate is whether these analogies we use, from physics and so on, really apply to consciousness and subjective experience, or whether we’re just trying to lend credibility or to like, for instance, some people say, okay, probably the unified field and consciousness are one of the same thing understood through either subjective or an objective methodology. And he says, Well, wait a minute, you’re just kind of borrowing, trying to lend credibility to your spiritual explanation by co-opting physics terms. And sometimes physicists pull their hair out when they hear spiritual teachers doing this. So let’s have another question. Let me have you address that one first.
Anoop Kumar: Yeah, so I would tend to agree with your friend, not completely, but I tend to agree with your friend. But I would not say that this is the unified field, except to kind of give a flavor for what I’m talking about. So if physicists are talking about a unified field, if they’re talking about something that is integrated from which differentiates the world of plurality and multiplicity, then that is the exact same description that I would give to the second mind. However, I will not say that the unified field and the second mind are the same, primarily because if physicists have defined the unified field, the way they’re defining it is not the way that I’m defining the second mind. I’m simply like, we still have to do that work of translating the mathematical expressions. So they certainly point to each other, there is no doubt that when physicists are if physicists are talking about the unified field like that, that ultimately that is arriving at what we are calling the second mind. And that is why all the physics is, well, not all of physics. But physics is moving towards, moving away from the idea of distinct particular things, and this kind of ocean-like view, or whatever that integrated layer is. So I do think we have to be careful about language, but we can see the parallels, and we can see that what they’re approaching is similar to what spiritual people are approaching. And the way to integrate that the only way to ultimately integrate that and a necessary step is to integrate the identity, because without integrating the identity, that distinction between particle and wave and why something appears to have a boundary, but then it can also be unbounded. How can these two be the case? That reconciliation cannot happen without reconciling the identity boundary.
Rick Archer: Okay, a similar question I often have is you use the example of molecules, atoms, subatomic. And as you go more and more microscopic, you find less and less materiality, until there’s virtually nothing physical. And we often parallel that with subtler levels of consciousness, where we’re less and less tied into the concrete and things become more abstract, amorphous astral, celestial, and so on. And there, too, are we just playing with a metaphor? Or is there some kind of actual correlation? Because obviously, in the spiritual sense, we’re not getting into the more microscopic realms, we’re not starting to see molecules and atoms, but we are becoming more appreciative of the non-concreteness of things ultimately.
Anoop Kumar: Yeah this assumes a fundamental kind of duality the idea that we are going from the physical level, and we’re getting smaller and smaller and smaller until there’s something not physical there. I think that’s just an artifact of what we were taught and how we were taught to think. The very idea that there is a physical world and a mental world is, at best a hypothesis. Somebody called something physical, and now we’re all doing it without thinking about it. Somebody called something mental, and now we’re all doing it without thinking about it. So, in the dream, obviously, the objects are physical. When we’re in the dream, the objects in the dream are absolutely physical. Every scientist in the dream would say it is all physical, although it’s not a scientific question. whether something is physical or not, is not a scientific question. It’s a philosophical question. But every scientist in the dream would say that it’s all physical and guess what? They’re right. Within the rules of that world and the definitions of that world, they are right. But when they wake up from the dream, they would say that yes – what was experienced as physical, absolutely physical, 100% r as physical is absolutely mental, 100% r as mental. It’s simply a different view, a different kind of consciousness, a different stage of consciousness. And so I would bring that light to the idea that we’re going from the physical world to the mental world. No, the world is the world. It is our ideas that superimpose physicality and mentality on that. And depending on how we access it, if people visualize things all the time, that’s what this is. It’s a visualization. Molecules, too, are a visualization. So it’s not that molecules are physical. To go beyond the physical, the physics perspective, we can say molecules are physical – fine. Then we can go down to, if we’re going to talk about just energy, we can say energy is physical. We can say space is physical. I don’t have a problem with that. Because I don’t believe in the fundamental difference of physical, it’s a word that we use, that is convenient and comfortable. But ultimately, when we look at these, we can see very clearly that anything we consider physical can also be interpreted as mental because ultimately, even if we say there’s an external, independent physical world until it is constituted in our awareness, there’s no such awareness of the world. So that’s an assumption without any empirical verification.
Rick Archer: Good. What do you make of the idea, I guess they call it idealism, where people say that the world is just a sort of a fabrication of the mind. But then, obviously, there’s inter-subjective agreement. So it must be the fabrication of a larger mind. Otherwise, we’d have as many radically different worlds as there are people but we all kind of even though we may perceive them differently, we all roughly see the same stop sign maybe somebody’s colorblind, and they don’t see it in red and white. And we all see roughly the same moon or some people might think it’s green cheese. But there’s kind of a reality that seems to transcend individual subjective perspectives.
Anoop Kumar: Yeah. And that’s why it’s absolutely essential to recognize and name the first mind and the second mind. Rather than say, the world is a fabrication, I’d say the world is a representation of the second mind. The second mind represents itself and constitutes itself as the world, a metaphorical world, which is taken as literal and physical at, from the first mind perspective. And so what we call this representation is reality from the first mind perspective, so idealism, there are many different kinds of idealism. And I’m not a philosopher. So I can’t speak perfectly about these. But it’s generally the idea that the world is mental. And even that what we call physicality is mental. So it is consistent with an Advaitic view, it’s consistent with the three minds framework as well. And the key to understanding that properly is to see that there is a first mind, which is the individual view. And it is not that this first mind of Rick’s or Anoop’s is creating the world. Rick’s and Anoop’s mind are themselves differentiated aspects of a broader mind, and has a, it’s a parcel. It’s a parcel of the picture. And we interpret it as our senses kind of develop and contact this world. And so there’s a second mind view, which is why we’re talking we can understand each other right now. It’s not just that you learned English, and I learned English, but there are so many, like our very biology has to be similar, our circumstances have to be similar. We both have to be here. Earth has to be here. There’s so many preconditions for us having this conversation. And you and I didn’t make that happen as individuals, that is this second mind, metaphorically, representing itself as all of these conditions, and us at the first mind level kind of talking as individuals and having a conversation.
Rick Archer: Alright, so let me summarize what I think you’re saying so far. So first mind, is the concrete perspective that most people have. And it takes things as being separate as being physical as being solid, and so on. And I’m sure there’s more we could say about it. Second mind is more universal more ubiquitous and it’s being more fundamental. It’s that which gives rise to the first, the world the first mind or many first minds perceive. It’s more subtle. It’s more fundamental. It’s more causal. Am I with you so far?
Anoop Kumar: The second mind, rather than saying it’s ubiquitous, it is ubiquity.
Rick Archer: Okay. Right.
Anoop Kumar: It is what shows up as what we call everywhere from the first mind perspective.
Rick Archer: It’s all-pervading.
Anoop Kumar: Right. It is all-pervading from the first mind perspective. It’s all-pervading. From the second mind perspective, it is all there is. It’s not all-pervading, because it’s not extended in space until it’s interpreted that way by differentiating.
Rick Archer: So you’re saying it’s all there is not just in a transcendental sense. But if you’re looking at your camera, or…
Anoop Kumar: Exactly.
Rick Archer: …the potted plant, or something, that’s actually second mind appearing as a camera or appearing as a potted plant.
Anoop Kumar: 100%. Exactly. And that is the key. That is the key change that has to happen, where it has to be integrated into the most plain, everyday experience.
Rick Archer: Has to be meaning it would be good if we could see things from a second mind perspective, is that what you mean by has to be?
Anoop Kumar: That’s not what I meant. That would be nice. That’s not what I meant. But what I mean is to understand the three minds framework, and understanding the three minds framework, by the way, is this process, the process happens as one tries to assimilate this, this change has to happen, because it’s only through the change in identity that the framework itself can be fully cognized. And as that happens, the way we see and what we see and how we see also changes.
Rick Archer: The second mind sounds pretty cool. It sounds like a tough act to follow. So what’s third mind?
Anoop Kumar: So the third mind is… I always get caught here because all the language that we use stops with the second mind. So the second mind is, what would be… the deep second mind is what we would call as the absolute. The deep second mind is…
Rick Archer: Okay, so there are layers to second mind. There’s shallow second mind…
Anoop Kumar: Yes.
Rick Archer: …mid-range second mind, deep second mind. Okay.
Anoop Kumar: Yes, and this is a good point is that these are not three different, like there are no walls between these three. We’re describing ranges of experience. It’s like if you stood on the beach and looked out at the sea You see the subtle hues of blue and green that don’t really have names. You can say that’s blue, when Oh, that’s blue too or that’s blue too. At least me, I don’t have the vocabulary down, say, oh, maybe it’s a blue-green, maybe it’s aquamarine. But there’s so many subtle hues that go beyond language. And at some point, that’s kind of like the second mind range, there are these subtle ranges of experience of polarity, of what I am, of how I experience, of what the world is, that is all in the second mind range. But that range extends from seeing oneself as an individual and seeing through that boundary, all the way to simply seeing the world as potential, seeing the potential world. However, what differentiates the second mind from the third mind is that as the second mind, we can still say that there is this, what the second mind is. Whether this refers to light, whether this refers to bliss, whether this refers to potential, whether this refers to something like this, there is still some experience. Some unified experience, we can say that can be referred to through language, even when we come out of that deepest layer of the second mind. But as a third mind, that is no longer true. Because there’s no, What do you say after bliss? Or what do you say after all these things? Another distinction I would draw is that with the third mind, light and dark are also completely integrated. So from the first mind perspective, we see light as, like coming from a light bulb, or light is reflected from an object. So there’s a there’s a light source in front of me now. And it’s coming reflecting from the face and you see it and same thing for me for you. So that’s light from a first-mind perspective. Light from the second mind perspective is even that which is unreflected is light. So even the light that is absorbed by the object, and even what the object itself is, is a kind of light. It’s a different definition of light. And so, the world in a sense is crystallized light as the second mind. From the third mind perspective, even this light and dark is totally integrated. So what we are is neither light nor darkness, it is what it is. So these are two differences between second and third mind – the understanding of light and the understanding of that, which is beyond even this potentiality that it is representing itself as the discrete objects.
Rick Archer: So I understand light as photons, which may behave as waves or particles, depending on whether someone’s observing them. But photons are different than the wood of your cabinet shelves there. So I’m a little puzzled when you refer to the world as light, because the cabinet shelves have carbon and various things that aren’t photons.
Anoop Kumar: Yeah. So I want to be very clear that I’m talking about light completely differently when I talk about it as second mind. I’m not trying to equate the light as the second mind with photons. There’s no scientific equivalency there.
Rick Archer: Okay, so you’re using light in a different sense than…
Anoop Kumar: In a metaphor, in a, in simply a descriptive sense…
Rick Archer: I see.
Anoop Kumar: …and not in a scientific sense. So even in a descriptive sense, in the first mind perspective, light is in some places, and not in other places. In a dark room, there’s no light, for example, in a first-mind perspective. From a second-mind perspective, a dark room is full of light. Alright, so it’s, that’s a different light. So I don’t want to give that impression that we’re talking about the scientific understanding of light. I’m simply saying the experience of light. From a third mind perspective, even that light, like the apparent darkness of the room, and the fundamental light, that is the second mind that is representing itself as darkness is integrated.
Rick Archer: Okay, here’s what I get from that. So your experience when you had that reading, while reading was like you’re sitting in the sun, or sitting in the sunlight or something, obviously, you weren’t referring to some external source of light, there was some field of light or realm of light or something that you were tuned into. And in spiritual traditions, the word light is often used to refer to spiritual experiences or subtle experiences. And sometimes the word celestial is used. And it is said that from the perspective of celestial, or perspective or world, everything is made of light. It’s made of subtle matter, which is self-luminous, I guess. So, is that the kind of thing you’re talking about?
Anoop Kumar: Yes. So that is a range of the second mind where you see the distinctness of objects. And you see that from which that is constituted.
Rick Archer: Right.
Anoop Kumar: That’s the second mind range.
Rick Archer: So objects may be seen as distinct and yet be constituted from what we might call light, which has no distinctiveness, which is sort of all-pervading. So it’s one and appears as many simultaneously.
Anoop Kumar: Yeah, objects can be interpreted as distinct, can be usefully interpreted as distinct, are seen as fundamentally non-distinct, but are interpreted as functionally and usefully distinct.
Rick Archer: Good. And one can live from this perspective, this isn’t just an abstract discussion, this can be once daily, living reality.
Anoop Kumar: Well, on earth, we have to. There’s no other choice. I mean, if we’re, the very fact that we’re on earth, earth is a particular way of seeing, it’s a particular way of experiencing. So if there is identity associated with this, then it has to be operating in the first or second mind range. Operating in the third mind range, the body falls off. Because that’s not this range of experience, that kind of earth range of experience.
Rick Archer: Now, obviously, most people function exclusively in the first mind range.
Anoop Kumar: Well, let me jump in. I wouldn’t say that’s true. I think there are, like I said, there are no walls and that that boundary of identity is always changing to some extent it changes. For example, when you dream. When you dream, you’re a different character, you might be a different age, might even be a different character, maybe an animal, so the boundaries shift there. When we sleep, the boundaries shift. So nobody is living strictly as the first mind. Nobody’s living strictly as a second mind. It’s not a strict thing to begin with. But so things are changing. But the difference is that being aware of that, and the degree to which like how much of that range is occupied for how long, that’s what’s different. So being aware of that, many people, in fact, I would say all people experience this to some extent, but they either don’t have the story, the metacognitive story to go with it, so they can’t actually talk about it as if it’s real, so they have to push it away. Or it’s, the society says it’s weird or it’s strange, and it can’t be true. So you don’t really talk about it or your religion says How dare you, you can’t do that, or whatever it may be. So for many of these reasons, these are the most popular reasons why it’s just not out in society because we don’t have stories for it that people consider safe to explore.
Rick Archer: Right. So I use the word exclusively a minute ago, we shouldn’t use words like exclusively or strictly, we should perhaps use words like predominantly and things like that.
Anoop Kumar: That’s more helpful.
Rick Archer: Yeah. Where there’s, you’ve always got a few toes in the second mind, even if you’re predominantly in the first mind.
Anoop Kumar: Yeah, we all have toes everywhere. Big toes.
Rick Archer: Yeah. And they’ve been Gallup polls and things like that about a high percentage of the population having had some kind of mystical experience or…
Anoop Kumar: Yeah.
Rick Archer: …impersonal breakthrough or something at some point.
Anoop Kumar: Yeah, at some point it has to, for all such people who have had these, and everybody has had them. But again, if you ask people and only a certain number say it, it’s because of what we talked about. They don’t have a story for so they can’t even identify it as a mystical experience, or their mind doesn’t allow them to call it something like that. Because it’s not allowed, 100% of people experience it to different extents. But you’ve got to have the story to go along with it and the safety, the safe space to explore that.
Rick Archer: Yeah. Which is why some people end up in the ER, which we’re still going to talk about because they have something like this. And they’re freaked out.
Anoop Kumar: Yes.
Rick Archer: And so just as maybe the majority of people are predominantly in the first mind, with a few toes in the second mind and third, there are some people who are predominantly in the second mind. With enough first mind if, unless there’s enough diversity in second mind to be able to avoid speeding buses and ride a bicycle and stuff. But still, their primary orientation is in this subtler realm.
Anoop Kumar: Yes. I would get a little bit more particular and say that it’s useful to talk about it this way. And also to see that when we say some people, the meaning of that strictly depends on what we are superimposing on these people. So if I see second-mind people, it’s because the second-mind orientation is what’s happening.
Rick Archer: Yeah.
Anoop Kumar: If I see first mind people, it’s because the first mind, subject-object configuration has been solidified. So it’s not that people are in one configuration, or one range or the other. It’s just where whatever the sense of identity is, is what is reflected. So it’s an interpretation of what is happening to kind of interpret that this person is that, this person is that. It’s actually only saying, what this identity, what we call I, what I is experiencing.
Rick Archer: So where would you categorize people like mystics, Jesus, and Meister Eckhart or whoever. Would you say those are predominantly, will you go ahead and answer the question? I don’t need to elaborate.
Anoop Kumar: Yeah. I don’t think it’s useful to categorize that. I think it’s much for, if you, the problem with categorizing that, in the typical sense, is that the answer would be well, these people are in the second mind. And that is a confusion. That’s going to confuse people because it is not that these people are in the second mind. It is that whatever we see of ourselves is what we see of them. So if I say somebody’s in the second mind, then my understanding of second mind is hampered by my own experience. It’s more useful to see that there are three I’s, there are three me’s. We can say there are three you’s, there are three he’s and she’s and they’s. And all of these exist simultaneously. The first mind he, the second mind he, the third mind he, and depending on where my own I, where this I, this first mind I or second mind I or third mind I, wherever that is living, depending on what range it is living, is what it sees as what we call others, or what we call the world. And I think that’s a much more useful view than saying that this person is here and this person is here, this person is here because it’s not just not useful and causes problems. It causes problems because it’s inaccurate because it fails to see that the world the universe, which of course, includes all people exists at different levels of reality. And it’s not that this person is this or that person is that. It’s that they’re existing across different layers of reality. And when I, this experience of I exists and appreciates the different layers of identity, then there’s no interpretation of what somebody else is.
Rick Archer: Well, I agree that I and perhaps no one is qualified to say precisely where somebody is at in terms of level of consciousness or level of evolution or something. But it’s tempting to categorize or at least ask for examples, because we’re talking about first mind second mind, and it’s like, okay, well, who’s an example of somebody who is mainly in the second mind? And then you naturally think of saints and think, Well, is that what we’re talking about? Or somebody living in a higher state of consciousness? Are they, have they shifted their orientation from first to second mind to a great degree or whatever?
Anoop Kumar: Yeah, I agree it’s tempting. I’m with you, 100%. It’s tempting. And it can be useful. But I think to the extent that it is useful, it has already been done. Like people would say, saints are the second mind. They don’t need me to say saints are the second mind. Everybody already assumes that.
Rick Archer: Just for the sake of people understanding our conversation.
Anoop Kumar: Yeah.
Rick Archer: Examples of what you’re talking about might be the saints.
Anoop Kumar: Yeah. I have said that sometimes. And I would say that sometimes, but since we’re going through this with a fine-tooth comb, I’m not going to say that. I think what we call a sinner also exists as the second mind if we’re going to draw contrast from a saint. I would say that my fingernail, which may be broken and bleeding also exists as the second mind. It just depends on what kind of identity is accessing this reality. And depending on that identity, it sees that. And if it, like you said, I agree 100%, it’s useful, to some extent, to say that this person, this saint is, as the second mind, or in the second mind range, it’s useful, but the usefulness of that is already in society. And so at some point, that very usefulness is a limitation. And I think we have reached there in society, where the stories of Enlightenment and spirituality and everything have reached this point where their usefulness of seeing somebody else has enlightened or not, is now becoming a hindrance. There’s enough and many thanks to your podcast, which is just doing great work. You’re telling all of these stories. And that helps take us to another level of understanding where it’s not that this person is enlightened, and this person isn’t. But we’re just seeing what’s happening. And how we see depends on how our own identity accesses.
Rick Archer: Yeah, so I’m with you most of the way, obviously people probably listening to this will also agree that on some level there’s no difference between Hitler and Jesus, because they all had, and everyone has this range of their existence, from gross to subtle to transcendent, or first to second or third mind, whatever model we want to use. But, what is, when the rubber meets the road what it really comes down to is what level have you managed to live from in your day-to-day life? And how does that manifest or translate into your behavior, and your qualities such as compassion, and kindness, and so on. And obviously, there’s a big difference between Jesus and Hitler in that regard. And there are some teachers around who say things like, Oh, you’re already enlightened, everybody’s already enlightened, you don’t need to do anything, you don’t need to practice. Just accept that you’re already enlightened, you’re done. And that’s not very useful. And people sit and listen to those kinds of things and walk away scratching their heads and think, Well, it’s fine for him to say, but it’s not my experience.
Anoop Kumar: Yeah.
Rick Archer: So whereas on the one hand, we can acknowledge that, yes existence, our makeup, our existence spans the entire range of reality, from top to bottom. On the other hand, what spirituality is all about, as I understand it, is having that deeper, the deeper levels of reality become a living reality, or to put it another way, incorporate, expanding the range of our capacity to experience and know and function so that it takes in the whole ocean and not just the level of the waves.
Anoop Kumar: Yeah, so let me try to explain it better. You make very good points. One is, so I would never say there’s no difference between Hitler and Jesus. What I’m saying is that…
Rick Archer: At some level, there isn’t. In fact…
Anoop Kumar: At some level, there isn’t. But I just wouldn’t say that because it’s so prone to misinterpretation and I understand what you’re saying. I know you’re not saying that, I’m just wanting to clarify that.
Rick Archer: In fact, Hitler had a lot of molecules in his body that had been Jesus’s body.
Anoop Kumar: Yeah, right. Right. So at some level, but I just think in general in society, I wouldn’t say that. I think it can be too easily misinterpreted. So to account for your perspective, and just to say it in a way that’s more helpful. If a person says that Jesus is enlightened, or Jesus is the second mind or some saint or some person is the second mind or is enlightened, what it means, the way in which it can be true, is that what we are seeing as Jesus from a first mind perspective, is not all that Jesus is. So Jesus is not a person who has done great things and has taken us to a better level of understanding. Krishna is not a person who has done this or such and such, it’s not a person. The understanding from the three minds perspective has to be that even this thing that we are calling Krishna, or this body that we are calling Krishna, is not the entirety of what Krishna is. And that recognition can only come without exception that can only come when that same recognition is there in the preceding identity. I may believe Krishna is more than just a body, I may believe that this great person is, of course, more than a body. I may believe in body, mind, spirit, and soul, and lifetime, I may believe a lot of things, but none of it comes home to roost until the perceiving identity, the interpreting identity itself has made that change in its own recognition. And only at that point, is the statement that Krishna is the second mind true. Until then that statement is not true. It is an opacification of what is actually happening. And that’s what I’m trying to convey by not getting into is a person this or that, because the very understanding of a person is different. It’s like when I think it was Einstein, who asked a question about whether the moon is there when you don’t look at it or something like that.
Rick Archer: Yeah, Einstein and Rabindranath Tagore got into a big debate.
Anoop Kumar: Right. So is the moon there when you don’t look at it and the interpreted moon, the seen moon, what Anoop, the first mind is referring to as the moon. Is that there when I don’t look at it? No, of course not. Because it’s my interpretation. Somebody else looks at it from over there and sees something else. Or forget the moon, let’s make it simple. I have a cup of coffee on my desk. Is that cup of coffee, as I perceive it there when I’m not looking at it? Of course not. Because nobody else has that view, nobody has that distance, nobody has the exact same interpretive process. So somebody else has a different view. And you can put a million people around this cup of coffee. And each one will see a different view of this cup of coffee. And our interpretation of that in the first mind world is that there is a cup of coffee there independently of what we see. And it is only that we are seeing different views. And what I’m saying is no, we are seeing is many, many, many, many different views. We stitch it together cognitively and say there is an independent cup of coffee there and it exists, despite if everything else goes away and all perceiving goes away. It exists independently of that. No, it does not exist as that cup of coffee without perception. However, there is something there. We’re not saying that there’s an absolute void, if we’re not looking, that’s not where, there is something there. But what is there is the second mind, and what is here is the second mind. And it is then interpreted as that first mind perspective from different views. Similarly, when we’re talking about a person who we think is great, what we are seeing, what we are interpreting and saying that person is great, that greatness is not the person. That greatness is that which is fundamental, and what I’m super imposing as Krishna or as Jesus or as this great person or that great person and saying that that is great becomes, in my view, a confusion and it becomes a limitation. It was useful up to some extent. And now that has to be gone beyond to see that that which is fundamental, is always there. And it is there as everything and every person, depending on how this I accesses it.
Rick Archer: Yeah. I think I agree with everything you just said. And, regarding the moon, I mean, if cosmic rays zap the earth and we all went blind, there would still be tides, you could sit at the seashore and feel the water come up against your feet. So there’s something out there that’s pulling on the water, even though nobody can perceive it, you can perhaps just perceive the consequences of its existence. And I’m not sure if that gets to your point or not. But then the main point is that yeah, I totally agree that it doesn’t matter how great Jesus or Krishna or anybody else was, doesn’t do us any good unless we ourselves rise to that level of experience. And they said that, and that’s what they tried to do. They didn’t just say, Oh, I’m special. And, you can’t be like me, they said, Jesus said all the great things I do, you should do even greater things. And, all the saints and sages and gurus and everybody else there, if they were genuine, their main aim was to enable their students to have their level of experience or even better and sitting and staring at them or praising them or singing songs to them or all doesn’t really cut it.
Anoop Kumar: Yeah. And that very understanding of greatness. When I say this person is great. And in this sense, if somebody is saying in the sense of spirituality or second mind, the very sense of that person is great, or this person, that itself becomes distorted because it is a first mind representation of what is, what we are calling greatness. And that is not what is actually intended. And that is that whole process. I want to speak to one more thing that I forgot about before that you said, which is it’s how we live it, and how it actually influences or changes our lives that matter. So yes, even in this framework, then the point is that the focus is on the sense of identity. And that’s where the work is. There is real work. It’s not just that everybody’s enlightened, and it’s done. There is that work from the sense of identity. It’s not to see whether that person is great, or how great they are, whether A is higher than B, or C, but rather, what is it interpreting the greatness of A, B, or C. And that’s, that’s what we call me. And now let me work with this, me, I have this clay, I have this model here, let me start to massage it and work with it, and see what happens. Because when that is massaged and worked with, then the way that we perceive others and the world and things also changes, and then all of the questions and doubts start to clarify.
Rick Archer: Yeah. And I would zoom out and speculate that that’s why we have a universe because I mean, somehow rather, the third mind, or Brahman, or whatever we want to call it. I don’t want to anthropomorphize it too much but wasn’t content to just sit there and marinate as the unmanifest. But there’s something there’s some value added to having a manifest universe and having beings through which, who can be instruments of that and through which that can funnel or channel or it becomes more than what you started with, you know what I mean? Do you share that speculation?
Anoop Kumar: I think that’s one way to look at it. It’s kind of a fun way to look at it. That can be very useful. Yeah.
Rick Archer: Yeah. A little bit more on third mind. What? Oh, Irene sent a question. Maybe it relates to what we’re talking about. Let’s see here. This is from Prabha Agrawal, Agrawal, in India. Mind one and mind two are different, two terminologies to denote states of no mind or Satori. Not quite clear. Do you get what he’s asking?
Anoop Kumar: Maybe. My understanding of Satori, I’m not too familiar with all these words, but my understanding of Satori is kind of like a glimpse of like, a fuller picture of reality. And so it can be that Satori’s are gateways to second mind if that helps with a question. But a Satori itself tends to be, from my understanding at least, that’s like a glimpse or an opening.
Rick Archer: Yeah.
Anoop Kumar: But as the window remains open, and then as the frame of the window goes away, it’s the difference between opening a window closing the window, then you open the window, then you knock down the wall.
Rick Archer: Right.
Anoop Kumar: So these are just levels, different levels of integration. And what we’re talking about is the second mind when the wall is knocked down and yet we can still represent and function by recognizing the superposition of the window and the drapes and the scenery.
Rick Archer: Yeah. So satori, as I understand it, is Buddhist terminology. And Hinduism has its own terminology and in Patanjali, for instance, there are samadhis, which are fleeting and temporary and then there are some samadhi states which are integrated and stable where, as you’re saying, you can be functioning in the ER and yet living in that state. You don’t have to be sitting with your senses withdrawn. Irene says it’s a good thing. Yeah. So let’s see, I was getting at one final thing before that question came in. Oh, about third mind. I think we haven’t quite covered it enough yet. What I gather you’re saying is that it’s far more. It’s so fundamental that you really can’t say much about it. And it’s…
Anoop Kumar: What I’m simply saying is that there is no experience to be described.
Rick Archer: Right. There’s no diversification. No subject-object.
Anoop Kumar: Right. And it’s not light. It’s not just everything is light, all is light. There’s nothing other than light. It’s not this. So it’s that integration of even what is called light, darkness, light appearing as darkness. It’s that.
Rick Archer: So I mean, again, Hindu terminology, but we have Brahman, Atman, and Jiva. And that kind of sounds like first, second, and third mind. Third, second and first, in that order.
Anoop Kumar: Yeah, so first mind is something like Jiva.
Rick Archer: Right.
Anoop Kumar: But it’s more than Jeeva in the sense that Jeeva is the individual self. The individuated experience. First mind is not only the individual self, the first mind is the condition of the universe. That is expressly related through the individual first mind. So it is the foundation…
Rick Archer: The condition of the universe as the individual perceives it. Is that right?
Anoop Kumar: Yes, it is the bounded multiplicitous nature of the universe. And the first mind perspective draws the explicit and primary, let’s say hypothesis, that what we experienced as a world is directly related to this sense of identity. Now, those concepts are all there in the Advaita philosophy too, but this just makes it, just brings it down to nugget form and makes it very explicit. The second mind…
Rick Archer: So you can have two guys sitting on the edge of the Grand Canyon, and one is just in awe with the beauty and the other is just, because of his subjective misery, is just saying, Oh, this is boring and horrible. I want to go home.
Anoop Kumar: Yeah, yeah, exactly.
Rick Archer: Same Grand Canyon.
Anoop Kumar: Right. So, similar Grand Canyon.
Rick Archer: Yeah, good point.
Anoop Kumar: So, the second mind perspective, we can say is closer to saguna Brahman. So it is Brahman, which can also be experienced as having qualities. So in the deepest nature, it’s not with qualities, it’s more like nirguna Brahman because it’s, there’s no other. And it’s flowering in its expression, it expresses as the world of multiplicity as well. So it’s kind of that boundary of saguna Brahman, nirguna Brahman,, depending on what range of the second mind we’re speaking about. And the third mind would be something more like nirguna Brahman. I wouldn’t call it nirguna Brahman, because even the deep second mind we can say is quality less. It is as it is, we can call it, we then kind of reduce it and we call it bliss, or we reduce it, and we call it this particular thing. But in its prior to expression form, it has no fundamental quality that we can say in language. But that integration of even darkness and light and all of those qualities as the third mind, that is closest to nirguna Brahman, so the three minds we can say, parallel Jeeva, saguna Brahman, and nirguna Brahman, with some differences.
Rick Archer: Okay. And saguna Brahman is often equated with God. And so we could almost think in terms of, there’s another three things Adhibhuta, Adhyatma, Adhidaiva. No, Adhidaiva, wait. I got them in the wrong order. Adhibhuta – the world, Adhidaiva – the celestial or divine, Adhyatma – the absolute or ultimate. There’s so many models that are kind of similar to one another.
Anoop Kumar: Yes.
Rick Archer: And I sent you that article by Timothy Conway. And…
Anoop Kumar: Yes.
Rick Archer: The gist of that article, about three levels of paradoxically true, different levels of nondual reality are, that you could, you can say that at one level, as espoused by let’s say, Mandukya Upanishad, or Ashtavakra Gita or something that nothing ever happened. Boom. There’s no universe, never has been. Another level, there is this divine play, and everything is perfect and pure and divinely orchestrated. And it’s all field of intelligence and so on. And then on another level, we have individuals and some of them are starving, some of them are injured, and there’s all kinds of apparently concrete, practical stuff that needs to be dealt with. And the point of Tim’s article is that all three of these are true. And if you try to take refuge in any one of them to the exclusion of the others, you have a problem.
Anoop Kumar: Yes, I agree with that.
Rick Archer: Yeah.
Anoop Kumar: Absolutely. And that’s where I think we need to move as a society to that kind of understanding, it almost seems like the last few decades were like the spiritualizing to just get some of these concepts, and now like, a lot of people have these concepts and have these experiences. And so we need to kind of take that subtlety to the next level where it’s not like, I have to be like this. And success equals being like this, whatever that is. No, it’s okay. I exist, in many ways and an experience here, and whatever I’m experiencing, is directly related to, like, what I am and how I am, and who I am. And that’s all there is to it. Maybe not, that’s all there is to it. But that’s a very opening way of exploring much, much more.
Rick Archer: Personally, I think that’s the solution to the world’s problems. I think the reason we have so many problems is that most of us are stuck in first mind. And we lack recourse to or access to these deeper levels, which actually we could think of as an unlimited source of potentiality, which could infuse the first mind world, so to speak, the gross world with so much richness and, yeah.
Anoop Kumar: I mean, it could, it could. Two things that it can only do if we really investigate and are skeptical and do the work. You can’t do it, just by me sitting and meditating….
Rick Archer: No, I agree.
Anoop Kumar: …and not integrate that with, I know you mean that. But I think it’s really important to say that because we’re not saying, Oh, come be like the second mind. The Cult of the second mind, it’s wonderful to meditate and be the second mind, and then the problems will disappear. No, not at all. What we’re talking about is appreciating the second mind is a lot of work. And it requires integrating our fields of knowledge in society. And not, yes, as that happens with one’s own identity than whatever you’re connected with. If you’re a philosopher, or scientist, or a physician, or whatever it is, that will need to be integrated as well. It can’t be that as my professional life, and this is who I am, no, the whole thing will have to be integrated. And only then will we achieve Rick’s vision, what he just talked about. And also that process needs to be looked at finally, I’m saying the same thing in a different way that, that all aspects of that have to be looked at. And there’s something else I wanted to say, which I forgot, we’ll see if it comes back.
Rick Archer: It’ll come back. Yeah, I heard you say in one of your videos, something about the need to provide a unifying foundation for all fields of knowledge. Where without which they’re fragmented, and scattered, and so particularized, that we don’t have, those who specialize in them, can’t be fulfilled, first of all, and maybe I’m saying more now than you actually said. But, that they don’t appreciate, they can act in such a way as to be oblivious to the consequences of what they’re doing and the knowledge they’re gaining and the technologies…
Anoop Kumar: Yeah.
Rick Archer: …that apply that knowledge, and we see abundant examples of that in terms of so many wonderful technologies that have changed the world, but at the same time have polluted it and, caused climate change and so many other things. And so, hopefully, ideally, if all fields of knowledge and human endeavor could be grounded, and maybe we would say third mind or the deepest level of reality through the direct experience of those who engage in them that these mixed blessings of technologies would be rendered much more unmixed, much more benign.
Anoop Kumar: All fields of knowledge are the result of interpretations of perception and reasoning. Perception comes first like we see, and then we have experiences in relationship with what we see, smell, hear, taste, and touch, either pain or pleasure. It either works or doesn’t work. And from this, we start to form reasoning. If I touch fire, it is hot, I will not touch fire. We create a reasoning structure on top of the experience. The experience is just Ouch, Then we create a reasoning structure on top of it – fire is hot. If I apply hot things to other things, they will change, they will burn, they will melt. So a reasoning structure develops on top of this. So this is how all of our fields are created. Medicine, physics, spirituality, all of this, all of these fields are the walls between these fields are our own superimpositions from our own reasoning. We say, well, philosophy ends here and science starts here because that’s how we’ve constructed the field itself. But all of these depend on perception. There’s not a single field that doesn’t depend on what you see, what you hear, what you taste, only then can you come up with constructs for the world. And so what we’re saying is that perception itself depends on the sense of identity. Perception itself, what we’re seeing, how we’re seeing depends on the sense of identity. So all fields are dependent on and if a person has done a psychedelic trip, or had what we call mystical experience or any of these, or even had brain surgery and seeing the world differently, they can see that as their identity is, so the world corresponds. We may not see the extent to which that’s true. But for example, in a dream, the identity shifts completely. Guess what? The world shifts completely So we know there’s a correlation between the identity and the world, but we just haven’t focused on it enough to see just how much perception would shift and therefore reasoning and rationale would shift if we were to investigate and play with the sense of identity. So that’s the sense in which, that’s the rigorous sense in which we should be looking at all the different fields. We’re not just saying, in a blasé superficial way that, oh, everything is one, everything is related and so if we just got it together, we’d all be happy. And, the world would be blissful. And there’s a truth to that. But the truth to that the pathway to that comes from recognizing how and why that is actually true. And not just that, because otherwise, you have different groups that believe one thing and believe another. But guess what? Everybody’s beliefs doesn’t matter if you consider yourself intelligent or non-intelligent, or spiritual or scientific, or it doesn’t matter what – all of your constructs and reasoning about the world derive from your initial perceptions and your experiences as responses to those perceptions. And so if we all looked at perception and its relationship with identity, and if we could see how intimately and deeply and profoundly these two are connected, then it would have implications on the fields in society. And there would be a common fountain of knowledge that differentiates and can integrate all of these fields, hopefully, to serve all these layers of identity.
Rick Archer: Yeah. I’ll give you a concrete example. And hopefully, this relates to what you were just saying. Upton Sinclair wrote, “it is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it”. And I just watched the three-part Frontline series on climate change and the role of the fossil fuel industry in creating confusion and obfuscation about what their products were doing to the environment. And they had all these video clips of executives talking about expressing their viewpoint with great conviction and, and you can just see that their identity was so wrapped up in their product and in the money they made from it, that they, I believe, they sincerely believed, unless they’re just blatant liars, that they actually had convinced themselves of what they were saying. And convinced themselves that the potentially catastrophic consequences that scientists were telling them couldn’t be true. Is that an exact concrete example of what you’re trying to say?
Anoop Kumar: Yeah, I think if the situation around you is very comfortable, then it can become your truth. And then one is not open to different perspectives, because the situation is very comfortable and you don’t want to change it. And this, you can see this in medicine, the way we depict the human being, the way we diagnose, the way we treat, the way, all of these things are dependent on a way of seeing, of course, it’s dependent on a way of seeing. It’s not a truth, it’s a way of seeing, and there are other ways of seeing too. But as long as, for those of us in healthcare executives, physicians, and so on, as long as our salaries are dependent on this way of seeing, I don’t want to go without a salary for five, six, ten years. So I’m going to be highly likely to keep seeing this way, even if there are compelling reasons to see otherwise.
Rick Archer: Yeah. So that’s a good segue into, we want to talk about your health-related website and all the knowledge that’s there. We want to talk about mental health and mental illness and the relationship of those things to spirituality. And let’s also in the next half hour weave in something that just came in and a question from Pawan Kumar, your cousin, I guess, in Chandigarh, India. He’s wondering what practices or exercises can help us to understand our true identity better or broaden our perspective. And the reason I thought his question might be relevant to things I just mentioned, is that a lot of spiritual people want what spirituality has to offer, and they start doing practices and exercises and various things. And a lot of times their lives improve. But sometimes, these things destabilize them, or get them into strange mental states, or sometimes so strange that they end up committing suicide. So let’s talk about all those things, mental health, spirituality, whether it reliably enhances mental health or could actually disrupt it. And yeah, that’s enough starters.
Anoop Kumar: Yeah, a lot to touch on.
Rick Archer: Yeah.
Anoop Kumar: So spirituality can either enhance or worsen mental health, no doubt about it. The way I’m using spirituality, I know many spiritual people will disagree with me because spirituality is only good. But again, this is like what we talked about, is this person great, or the second mind or not. I think we need to go beyond this level. And I think we’re ready to go beyond this level of understanding. Now, the, at the heart of what we call spirituality is one experience. At the heart of everything we call spiritual, the linchpin, the cornerstone of all that is the sense of identity and the extent to which it is malleable and changes. Everything that has ever been written about spirituality or understood or experience, the core of that is the sense of identity, what I am, who I am, and as an extension of that, what is possible, what the world is, or their past lives, on and on, all of this stuff, So guess what? One of the key things that happens in what we call psychosis is a change in identity. And not knowing what exactly I am and how I fit in with the world. Coincidence? No? So I’m not saying they’re the same thing. I know, there are people who write about spiritual emergencies and talk about the difference between psychosis and spiritual emergencies. I think we need to look at what is common among these two. And I’m just giving one example. Psychosis is basically a label that talks about not fitting in with reality. Whereas all of spirituality talks exactly about your reality is not this, and reality is something else. So let’s not be silly let’s not ignore the obvious thing, the elephant in the room, which is that fundamentally, these two are talking about the same thing, the way they develop, and the way they’re integrated. And how they affect our lives and how we function is different. And that’s where we make the distinction between the two. But before we make that distinction, let’s talk about what is in common. Because that is everything. That is everything, ? If you, so, for myself, when I went through this period of change, I could have gone through every experience that would be listed as a disorder. Consciousness is everything is a delusion. Seeing other, let’s say, realms or dimensions, or seeing the very thing that’s in front of you in a completely different way is hallucination, right? You could even say believing in past lives is a delusion, depending on how far you want to take it. If you were really adamant about it and enforced your view on everybody else you could say that is too. Not being able to give attention to what other people want you to attend to, because there’s a deep integrative process happening is attention deficit. All right? So what I’m saying is, all the processes that a person can go through during this experience can also be given a diagnosis depending on the knowledge of society, depending on the support around them, and so on. So for me, I had this tremendous, I was fortunate to have a couple of decades of initiation into what is possible into different ways of seeing the world and understanding the world. I was incredibly fortunate to have a medical background, so I knew how physicians would think about this. I knew exactly how they would see it and interpret it. I was incredibly fortunate to have a Swamiji nearby that I would see once in a while, who would see when I was kind of going a little bit off course and would adjust, would make an adjustment. A subtle adjustment. So because of those three, I could, it was still incredibly difficult. Don’t get me wrong. For me, for about the first six months especially but then, the, about over a 10-year period, it was it was a tremendous adjustment.
Rick Archer: After your big awakening.
Anoop Kumar: After that, yes.
Rick Archer: Right. Right.
Anoop Kumar: Especially once I started training, the initial part of training was the most difficult. And then over 10 years or so it kind of slowly and it’s still happening, as you said it’s ongoing. So I was very fortunate in those senses. But I know there are so many people who are not. And so they go down the path of being told this is mental illness something that is suffering. There’s no doubt they’re suffering, there’s difficulty. There’s confusion. But does that mean mental illness? In my view, no. It is suffering, it’s difficulty. And it’s confusion. Because the societal structures are not in place, the societal knowledge is not there in place to help this person through this transition in their life that’s making them question things. And that can happen because of what we call a shift in identity that happens apparently, spontaneously. I want to make sure we say that it’s apparent that it happens apparently, spontaneously, or it can happen because the mind is powerful. And because at least from the three minds framework, the world is fundamentally non-material and representing itself as such, so that that power is there in the nature of the world. And so difficult experiences from my past that I haven’t been able to deal with can be reconstituted as experiences that I’m having now, which might be what we call hallucinations, which might be what we call delusions, which might be what we call personality disorder, which might, these are all kinds of frames or ways of seeing certain things. But if we have such a shallow understanding of the mind, which is what is happening today in medicine, maybe in society in general, but society is generally more open-minded. People try different things, but within medicine, understanding of mind is virtually non-existent, or it’s at least in a very narrow range. And so once you subscribe to the human being as physical model, which is our model of anatomy, then you’re forced to physicalize experiences, because that’s where your credibility is. That’s where your salary is, in physicalizing stuff. And then you have to start calling these illnesses because we don’t have the insight to see what is actually happening, nor the skills to actually help these people beyond just prescribing or doing a typical kind of psychotherapy.
Rick Archer: Which yeah, is, as I understand it, prescribing drugs is pretty much all that psychiatry does these days. I mean it’s their main thing, right?
Anoop Kumar: Prescribing drugs is a big part of it. Psychotherapy is also part of it, depending on who we’re talking about. But again, for all physicians, including psychiatrists, remember, our model of the human being is physical.
Rick Archer: Yeah.
Anoop Kumar: Just pause for a second and just think about that. The way you are represented, the fundamental map of being human in medicine and allopathic medicine, is that you are made up of protons and neutrons, right? Where’s the mind in that? Where’s joy in that except to say protons and neutrons formed molecules and that molecule is, gives the experience of joy. The fundamental experience of joy as joy isn’t there, it doesn’t fit in our paradigm. The experience of identity as fundamental who I am my dreams, my hopes as fundamental doesn’t fit in my paradigm. It has to be a consequence of molecules and protons. So guess what? When I’m suffering, the suffering has to be about molecules and protons. Now I can go outside of that with psychotherapy and say, Well, let’s look at your experience. Let’s dive into that. And that’s great. But that is not where our credibility is, as physicians. We’re biomedically trained. And so we have to physicalize to kind of retain that credibility. So that’s what’s happening.
Rick Archer: One of the key things that I think you just said in the last couple of minutes was that spirituality either results in or necessitates a restructuring of our inner workings, a restructuring of our makeup. And psychosis is also a restructuring. And in both cases, there can be, it’s like, here’s an example. I used back in the 70s mostly, I used to go on these long meditation retreats, sometimes six weeks, sometimes six months, and, we’d build up more and more and more, and then in the middle, you’d be doing a lot of meditation all day long. And during that phase, it was like too much to go into town to buy toothpaste. I mean, it was overwhelming to just have any kind of ordinary thing. And then you take on the long course, you take at least a month, maybe more to taper off gradually and get more and more stabilized and integrated in activity, but you’d feel on those courses like jello that hadn’t molded yet. It was in its liquid state. And depending upon how you tapered off, you could mold in different ways. And there was one course where I had to come down much too quickly. And it took me many, many months to get stabilized. And during those months, I was kind of erratic and impulsive and more obsessive than I normally am. And so in any case, the point is that spirituality is a restructuring of our whole makeup, and it necessitates kind of loosening things up before screwing them back together again.
Anoop Kumar: Yeah.
Rick Archer: And like you were saying, you need, you sometimes need guidance, or else they get screwed back together wrong, or they just stay loose, and you end up in some kind of dysfunctional state permanently.
Anoop Kumar: And we need guidance, because of, because we’re in a society. It can be, and it also depends on the intensity of the experience. If it’s not so intense, then some guidance is needed. I think of it no differently than for me to learn emergency medicine, that was basically in an apprenticeship. That’s what residency is. I was around very experienced emergency physicians. So like, I knew all this stuff, I knew what to do. But there’s so many things you can’t communicate in words, and somebody will say, Hey, wait, look at that. What about that see that a little differently. Don’t do that. Just don’t. Trust me. Don’t do that. Check this out. And you say, Yes, you’ve done this for 20, 30 years. And I’ve done it for two years. So yes, let me see what this person is talking about. And it’s no different here. If we’re talking about something subtle and I’m meditating and feels good, and then I come back, and I do my work in the world, and go back and forth. And that’s fine. It doesn’t need any kind of guidance. But depending on the intensity and the rapidity of integration, given the fact, this is key, given the fact that we are in a society that expects certain things, that assumes certain things that as a particular view of what is right or wrong, etc. There has to be some kind of pointer to bring us into some kind of equilibrium with that. Otherwise, you’re going to be seen as not working or ill or bad or something like that.
Rick Archer: Yeah. And unfortunately, there’s no sort of Board of standards or anything for spiritual teachers. It would be difficult to form one, it’s more of a kind of a, like herding cats, everybody’s different. It’s a wild, wild west kind of situation. There’s been some real bad actors who have been very irresponsible and abusive and harmful to their students. So it’s a tricky situation. This, there’s something I helped to found, which I’ll tell you more about later called the Association for Spiritual Integrity, which attempts to establish a kind of a standard that spiritual teachers could be expected to meet. And so that students aren’t bamboozled and into thinking that some misbehaving teacher must be expressing crazy wisdom, and they should just ride along with them. But the importance of, like you said, you had this Swamiji in the vicinity that you could turn to and, apparently, he was a good one and could be trusted and knew what he was talking about. But unfortunately, not all teachers are like that. So I don’t know if you want to comment on that. But it’s just something that I think is a need in our current time to separate the wheat from the chaff. And…
Anoop Kumar: Yeah, well, this is another reason for what I said before about not saying that this person is enlightened or…
Rick Archer: Right.
Anoop Kumar: …that person is such, that we all exist at these, in these three ranges, we can say, we all do, every single person, the greatest person, and the so-called worst person, all exist across these three ranges, no matter how much we heard the word, we hear the word absolute, we hear the word relative, these are all, for the first mind, to, in this kind of scale of graduated understanding these kinds of things are helpful. But to assume that one person is fundamentally greater than the other, maybe expressly greater, maybe most of the times greater or even, maybe greater at some thing, but just fundamentally and absolutely greater. No, it’s just, that’s just not, just a contradiction to the universe. The universe is the universe. It’s not something else. Now, relative to what I expect, relative to a society, of course, yes. But I think we have to get to that place where we’re starting to see that this all exists at three levels. Regarding spiritual teachers, I don’t see myself as a spiritual teacher. First of all, I’m describing my experience, and I’m communicating something that I think is useful. So at least for myself, I don’t see myself as a spiritual teacher. I’m communicating something; I’m trying to communicate something. And I don’t know that you can set standards I think what is better is for each person to set their own standard in terms of as a learner. So if I’m learning, every person should retain their discernment It’s not that somebody who’s learning shouldn’t hand over on discernment. Oh, I’m hopelessly lost. I don’t know anything, I could never understand anything. No. Each of us is fully capable. Of course, sometimes we’re overwhelmed. Of course, there’s a great deal of suffering sometimes. But we’re also aware. We are that same thing that we’re looking for in the other person. So retaining that sense is also helpful. And in terms of a general broad message that you could broadcast, I think that’s the best we could do.
Rick Archer: Yeah, well, discernment is the most important thing. Ultimately, the student needs to develop that and then they will not let themselves be taken advantage of by misbehaving teachers. But unfortunately, we’re not all born with perfect discernment. And it’s something that does need to be developed.
Anoop Kumar: Yeah. Yeah.
Rick Archer: Anyway, that’s a whole kettle of fish we could get into about the ethics and so on, maybe another time. A bunch of questions have come in. I want to make sure we get to them. This is from, another one from Anand Kumar, in…
Anoop Kumar: All the Kumar’s are writing, huh?
Rick Archer: Yeah. You got a lot of cousins.
Anoop Kumar: I tell my patients Kumar is like Smith.
Rick Archer: Right? Yeah. As a visionary of holistic healing, what are your recommendations to seekers who travel to gatherings of gurus and their successors? Or to those who undertake pilgrimages to temples in the Himalayas, etc.
Anoop Kumar: If it calls you, enjoy it. Keep your discernment, enjoy it. Certainly, these places are different. These are, rather than seeing these as different places, you can just see these as different ranges of mind, the Himalayas are a kind of mental space. And if you go there, your mental space will be different than if you’re in New York City. So go there and discern, enjoy, and reconcile it within yourself. Why not?
Rick Archer: Yeah. Okay. Talking about reincarnation, here’s one from Vincent Van Gogh. Actually, it’s Vincent Gogh. I’m just kidding. Hold on to that ear, Vincent. How do the various religions integrate under the theory of one consciousness? Why are there so many religions, then?
Anoop Kumar: Well, when three people look at a coffee cup from different angles, why do they see three different kinds of coffee cups? They imagine that there is one. Why did they see three different ones because their interpretations of the second mind are different. And so similarly, when we can think of all religions, I don’t know enough about religion to say this. But generally speaking, loosely speaking, we can think of all religions as describing paths from the first mind to the second mind. And so if that is the case, of course, the terminology will be different. What are the fundamental assumptions? Who we, sometimes it can help to say, that is really great, I want to be great, I want to go on this path. That can be useful. It’s also limiting. And it’s also useful, depending on the stage. So everybody sees that a little differently, some person will dress up and say, Look, I am the way. Some person will say, it’s not just I am the way, everyone is the way. Some people, like you said, enlightenment is – everybody’s enlightened, or they’re all, so many different ways of seeing it. The point is that all of them are for a particular kind of mind. And all of them are not absolutely good, or even very good, or even good. They can be harmful in some cases, because they work for a particular kind of mind in a particular stage. And that’s all that they work for. And so somebody else might say, oh, that’s rubbish. You know, okay, good. That person is on a different path. Eventually, they might see that what was called rubbish was actually a way of trying to phrase something that didn’t work with their own mindset. So in that sense, these are different paths to what is here.
Rick Archer: Yeah, different and also a different kind of mind can predominate in certain, at certain times, in certain places. So there might be a culture that’s predominant in a certain age and a certain place and a religion forms there that caters to that mindset, the mindset of that culture.
Anoop Kumar: Yeah.
Rick Archer: And then it’s problematic when you try to transplant that religion to a completely different culture and mindset and geographical and climatic situation. It’s very often a not a good fit, putting a square peg in a round hole, so to speak.
Anoop Kumar: Yeah, and if you read religious texts, people who are insightful and have practice and have investigated their own identity will see that, Okay, I see the truth in here, I see what’s true in here. And they would probably also say, Ooh, I would never say that.
Rick Archer: Right.
Anoop Kumar: With that particular phrase, I would never say that because it was within a particular culture, particular time. And all of that changes. But anything that has to do with identity, and what a person is, is always going to be true, because ultimately that goes beyond the culture at the deeper levels.
Rick Archer: Yeah, you take what you need, and you leave the rest. Here’s a question from my friend, Landon Hall in Cambria, California. You stress the importance of integrating second mind into living everyday life and work and relationships and community. Could you offer some specific examples of what that integration would look like or looks like for you, and your work as an emergency room doctor, in your family life with your friends and your community? And how does one cultivate that integration?
Anoop Kumar: So the biggest thing is the sense of ease. The biggest sense that what I’m doing at work in emergency medicine, though, when practicing medicine, I practice the principles that I learned in medicine. Allopathic principles of anatomy and physiology and diagnosis and treatment, that can be done. And that does not fundamentally contradict a second mind perspective, expressly it does. And at the expressed level, there’s work to be done in integrating, which is why I’m doing this interview, for example. But at a fundamental level of experiencing, there does not have to be a contradiction between that, and being a husband, and being a son and being a father, and being silly and being serious. And being blissful. And just kind of sitting there, these, like, all the contradictions are apparent, and at the expressed level. So in experiencing this, the biggest thing is a sense of relaxation and ease, that comes in, in crossing these apparent boundaries of life, the personal life and the professional life, ? Or scientific life and the spiritual life or the practical life and some other life. So that is the biggest thing is that sense of ease. In terms of how to do it, we can say there are a few ways. In some sense, some things just happen at certain times. That really isn’t helpful. So let’s set that one aside. One is by inquiring into the sense of identity. And what I mean by that is literally just feeling like when I say I, I or me, me, what is the sense of that? What does that feel like? To say me? What does this word me correspond to? If I had to draw an arrow from the word me to what that actually is? What it is representative of? What would that be pointing to and getting a sense for this what this is, because this will be the boundary of the first mind. This will be the boundary of identity, it’ll take some time for somebody who’s not used to doing this, because we’re so used to boundaries being physical things out there, and not thinking of boundaries as superimpositions. And what this will feel like is something blurry or something not so definite, but there’s this kind of sense of what me is. Spend a lot of time with that. Spend a lot of time with what me is, and that sense of boundary will slowly start to change and shift. And your experience of the world will also start to change and shift. Important to know that this isn’t magic, or this isn’t like, oh, wow, it’s so easy. There’s a reason that this is doesn’t happen all the time. Because all the beliefs are caked into that boundary, all the experiences, all the traumatic experiences are caked into that boundary from this lifetime in any lifetime. So when we’re talking about this boundary of identity, it is tremendously significant. It’s not just a metaphysical, kind of cool, philosophical abstract term. It’s incredibly real, because it contains all of these beliefs, experiences, fears,, etc. And so as that changes, you’ll see emotions will start to come up, like memories will start to come up, you’ll have to face what belief that you’ve been carrying for so long. All of this, like about work about home all the boundaries between personal life, professional life, all of that will come up. Every single thing that is kind of an assumption in society and undeclared implicit assumption will have to come up and be integrated. And that is what this process is of seeing through this boundary. So that’s another one. A third way, and the most perhaps, concrete way that like anybody can jump in is through what I call the four engines. And this we also use on Health Revolution. These are the four engines of health and healing. And it just so happens that these four engines also facilitate this process. And that’s nutrition, movement, rest – nutrition, movement, connection and rest. All right, nutrition is food. So yes, the first two are incredibly powerful that I talked about. If we want to facilitate it further and help the integration process further, nutrition, plant-based nutrition specifically will facilitate that. As opposed to eating animal and dairy. Those two will require more integration, because we’re also taking in the animal mind. So that just, it’s just a lot more work now. You need a lot more CPU power to integrate that too, whereas that could be going towards other kinds of integration. So nutrition and all of these occur across the body. So it’s not just the physical structure, its nutrition of the body in terms of plant-based nutrition, and its nutrition of the mind. This nutrition of the mind, hearing different ideas, considering different hypotheses is nutrition of the mind, like turning off the same old thing. The news or something else that’s been saying the same thing for 20, 30 years in different ways. What are we actually learning from that? Maybe check the news once a week, read the headlines or something, but just watch what information you’re taking in and what you’re not. Now, I’m not saying shut out the world. I’m not saying go into a cocoon, I’m not saying any of these things, I’m just saying, be aware that everything is everything, and everything influences everything. So what are we being influenced by. Make sure that we’re taking in the proper nutrition. The other thing is movement, take your body through your full range of motion. Move the joints that should never move like the tip of this finger. Just do that. That tip of that finger. Because if the body is the representation of the Deep Mind, which is what the three minds framework suggests, then range of motion of the body is opening, is moving something in the mind. And if there is a part of the body that we’re not moving, then there’s a part of the Deep Mind that is not being moved, and that is stagnating. And that is going to lead towards concretizing and less towards seeing through boundaries. See, so even something like this…
Rick Archer: So you practice yoga asanas yourself, or recommend them?
Anoop Kumar: I do like a version of surya namaskar. I don’t do the original, I kind of modified it a little bit. And I do not much, maybe do it four or five days a week. And I do it for maybe 5, 10 minutes. But just to keep the body limber, I do that. And then I try to play some tennis and things like that. But here, what I’m talking about is not just exercise, but every single joint, make sure you’re moving it because every movement is significant. It’s representative. So I move all my toes like this, I open and close my feet, like this. And when you get into the deeper structures of anatomy, and energetic anatomy, all of those have effects on the flow of energy in those areas. So doing all of that, this is like a cheat sheet. It’s like cheating and opening up the mind in a cheating way because nobody believes that the body is the mind. So you’re kind of just taking advantage of very easy things. But nobody does it because they don’t believe it. So that’s movement of the body. Then there’s, of course, movement of your creativity. Like your creativity has to be expressed. Like, it doesn’t matter if people think it’s crazy, or people think it’s wild, write it down. Talk to people about it. The way Health Revolution started is I was telling people, I have a dream of starting a school and it’d be for health. And then I just started telling people. Just express it in some way. Maybe it’s music, maybe it’s art, maybe it’s pottery, maybe it’s just making paper airplanes. So whatever your creativity is, or maybe you’re thinking, I see the world differently, I see my own profession differently, speak about it, talk about it, that’s moving your creativity, moving your emotions. This society tells us Don’t cry, shut it down, put the smile on your face, especially if you’re spiritual, you better put a smile on your face. Otherwise, that means you’re not enlightened. So, all of these ideas, the emotions have to be moved, they stagnate. And they again represent as the physical structure. And there’s no way to ultimately see through this boundary in a healthy way, rather than in a very staccato, intense, like disruptive way without integrating all of these things. So that’s another one. Connection, three kinds of connection. One is, of course, connecting with oneself. But this audience already knows about that. So I’m not going to talk much about that, whether it’s meditation or your own practice. The other two are connecting with others. Alright, so what we’re experiencing, talking about it with others, because if the world is us, and if the world is this representation, then that contact has to be there. That integration has to be there. The wall has to come down. So it has to be also in relationship with us, and I can guarantee you no matter how wild your thinking is, there are other people thinking the same thing in some way. So find those people. Get that relationship moving with others. And then the third is connecting with the planet. So that is feet in the soil, feet in the ocean, the sun on the skin, fresh air in the lungs, direct contact with the planet is essential. And one of the most overlooked things. Because people forget, by the way, I should mention this here, Rick, that what has been talked about as I’ll just talk about the last one quickly, we just rest. Rest, not only sleep, but also knowing how to just set the mind aside, and just be like, yeah, just gonna be here for a while. It doesn’t have to be meditation. It doesn’t have to be it can just be like, yeah I’m gonna sit here. It’s quite nice to sit here. So nutrition, movement, connection, rest. What we talk about, Rick, what many of the monastic traditions did is exactly this, but they won’t talk about it in such ways. Why do you remove yourself to the Himalayas? Because there are too many stimuli making us do too many things. That’s where you can have rest. Why are they barefoot walking around? Because there’s electron transfer between the body and the ground. There’s connection, they have incredibly fresh air in the lungs, there’s, why are they in a loincloth? Because there’s sun on the skin, and there’s air breathing through their skin, It’s not strangeness, it’s because they intuitively knew these, what these four engines were. Why are they eating primarily plant-based food? Why are they primarily not eating so much to begin with? Because they know that food is modified as thought and depending on the kind of food, certain kinds of thinking are associated with that. So what we consider to be a monk, we kind of bring that into daily life. And that’s what the four engines are, but you’ve got to modify it for your own personal use as well. So these are the three ways sometimes, apparently, spontaneously, by feeling into the sense of identity, and all the things that come with it. And then most explicitly and concretely through the four engines of health and healing, which is for this, but it is also for health and healing of the body and mind.
Rick Archer: Great. And that’s all on your website, which I will link to, and you have some testimonials there of people who got over autoimmune disease or some different things, diabetes or whatever.
Anoop Kumar: Yeah, that’s is on, actually, just now, it’s May 7th 12:02, we just launched on healthrevolution.org, I have to see if all, everything I did actually happened and the podcasts are up. But if you go to our YouTube channel, we are launching The Healing Is Possible podcast. So Health Revolution is the application of the three minds framework in healthcare. And the idea is that what we call the body is the representation of the mind. And so, therefore, that is why there are people healing from all kinds of things that we say it is not possible to heal from an allopathic. Because we have physicalized the human being into a physical structure, and we say the body is it, we don’t understand what’s happening in rheumatoid arthritis. We don’t understand what’s happening in cancer. We don’t understand that because we’ve completely physicalized it, or we understand it to some extent, but not completely. But when you look at the human being at their full anatomy, including the mind and subtler structures, then you have many more levers to work with, into changing that body. And that’s what these interviews that show people who have healed that are all over the place, but we don’t write up the case reports. So we think that it’s impossible to heal from these things. That’s what Health Revolution is going to change.
Rick Archer: Make sure I have the latest information about that. So I can put it on your page on BatGap. Few more questions, if you have the time. You got a little more time?
Anoop Kumar: Sure. Yeah.
Rick Archer: This one is from Ravi Dadlani. I think we have two questions from him. I think he’s a neurologist or neurosurgeon or something. He’s in the United Arab Emirates. Why do so many people who have a spiritual awakening feel the need for newer descriptions of the model of the universe? It’s kind of what I was asking you in the beginning, Why newer models of understanding? Why not pick one from the ones available: Vedanta, Buddhism, etc.?
Anoop Kumar: Well, for two reasons. If you ask people, What is the model of the universe from Vedanta? Very few people will be able to tell you what it is. And very few people will be able to do it justice without using Sanskrit. And it’s not going to be there distinctly in one place. If we want to say that three minds framework is Vedanta, that’s perfectly fine. We can say it’s a translation. Ultimately, what is true, or let’s say what is most useful, is most useful. They’re going to be similar across whatever tradition, but we have to account for the society at this time, and we have to put it in those terms. And we have to make explicit certain aspects that may not have been made explicit before because that was not necessary. So that’s the three minds framework, but it is not brand new. In a sense, it is Vedanta, it is Buddhism, to the extent that these are all useful and true, they’re the same.
Rick Archer: Okay, good. Yeah, I mean, on the one hand, nothing is new under the sun. But on the other hand, only a new seed will yield a new crop. So weed has been around for a long time, but you have to sort of plant a fresh seed. Another one from Ravi, can you please touch upon your understanding of the default mode network as a neurological correlate of identity?
Anoop Kumar: Yeah, I don’t know much about the default mode network. I know it’s used as an, I think, Ravi, if you are a neurologist, please contact me through the website. And then we can talk more about it and correlate. But as far as it is a kind of functioning or particular function of an area of the brain, I can’t speak to how that relates to identity. It is certainly true, or it can certainly be true that certain, of course, certain aspects of the brain correspond with certain functions. We know that from the homunculus, which is, it shows like which part of the body is controlled by which part of the brain, it’s perhaps an oversimplification, but generally, it’s true. So similarly, we can say with the default mode network that there is an area of the brain that is associated with identity, but I can’t speak more than that, because I don’t know enough about that.
Rick Archer: Okay. Okay. This may be the final question. This is from Shabnam Mirchandani in Pittsburgh. Intuition springs from our corporeal well, as well as our Oh, yeah. Excuse me. Intuition springs from our corporeal well as our mental faculties. In other words, like a well, intuition is springing up as our mental faculties. Is it a good spiritual guide? So in other words, is intuition a good spiritual guide?
Anoop Kumar: As it is refined and as it is tested against the circumstances of our life, it is good. I wouldn’t say intuition is good, follow it on all circumstances. Because what is the quality of that intent, of that intuition? Where’s it coming from? What are we calling intuition? So it has to be tested against our experience, and it has to yield consistently beneficial results. And the more and more that happens, the more and more we can trust what we’re experiencing as intuition. And furthermore, it is not just intuition that comes from the deep well, it is everything that comes from the deep well, even the body itself is a representation of the deepest kind of intuition.
Rick Archer: Yeah, oh, good point. I mean, I’ve seen many examples, probably in my own life at times too of interpreting something as intuition, whereas is really some kind of whim or some kind of conditioned response or, yeah, and it could be anything. So you got to really make sure.
Anoop Kumar: Yeah, me too.
Rick Archer: Yeah. Alright. So is there anything important that you feel we haven’t covered? And is there any sort of concluding wrap-up remark you’d like to make?
Anoop Kumar: Yeah, I like to associate everything that we’re talking about in terms of spirituality or awakening and integration with healing. ? And with Health Revolution, what we say is healing is possible. And by healing, we mean becoming whole and becoming integrated. And that requires a whole human approach, seeing all of what we are, addressing and engaging all of what we are, and in doing that engaging and addressing all of what the world is. And so healing is possible is true at the individual level, for the mind, for the body, for what we call mental illness, which, again, I think is a misnomer. We should have better phrases, simply call it suffering or experience. Healing is possible for all of this. And that very same thing externally is what we call war and strife in the world to the point that you were making, Rick, earlier that we can, by seeing more deeply integrate all of this, we can do this, we can heal. It requires us doing the work. And I hope you’ll join me in this process.
Rick Archer: Yeah. And so how can people plug into you? There are, I was listening to some recordings where you had an audience and people were posting questions and you’re answering them. Is, there’s that, if that’s still going on. And in those recordings, you also mentioned that people can contact you for a private session. That, is that still going on?
Anoop Kumar: Yeah.
Rick Archer: Okay.
Anoop Kumar: I’ve done a lot of different kinds of programs. That’s a good question as to what is online and what’s not. Right now, the central hub is healthrevolution.org So check out healthrevolution.org We have the podcast started, we’re going to start a live stream. And that’ll be a place where we can engage live likely weekly, to explore this content in a very kind of human sense of health and healing and completeness. And through there, we can definitely do Q&A and other programs through there. So check out healthrevolution.org, and subscribe, and we’ll take it from there.
Rick Archer: Okay and stay in touch with me. So like two years from now, if you do some new thing or something, let me know. And I will put that on your BatGap page. And those listening to this, two years from now or whenever, check Anoop’s BatGap page to see what the latest is, because we’ll keep it up to date.
Anoop Kumar: Great, thank you.
Rick Archer: Okay, great. Yeah, thank you. I’ve really enjoyed this conversation. It’s very enriching for me to have these conversations with people. And you were a good one.
Anoop Kumar: Thank you, I think we need to see when you’re going to be interviewed, Rick, I mean, you’ve interviewed…
Rick Archer: I can send you a file of a whole list of interviews that people have done of me. And we get requests once or twice a week. And Irene generally turns them down, because she gets tired of hearing the same things over and over again. But…
Anoop Kumar: Because you have unique insight, as someone who interviews what we call awakening people. So what does that actually mean? And it just reminds me, like two or three topics popped up we didn’t talk about, but we’ll do it some other time. But it, I think that’s really important knowledge, not just people representing themselves, but what’s the other side of it, too?
Rick Archer: Yeah, well, let’s do another one a year or two from now, maybe. And when we do, we can review this one. And each make a list of things we want to cover that we didn’t cover so that we don’t just repeat ourselves. So thanks a lot, Anoop. And thanks to those who’ve been listening or watching, and we will see you for the next one, go to batgap.com. Explore the menus, there’s things you can do there and that you’ll find interesting. Lately, I’ve been having all the interviews transcribed and proofread if you feel like volunteering to help proofread, let me know. There’s an audio podcast of this there’s an email list you can sign up for to be notified. There’s a Facebook group where, with 14,000 Plus members, where people hash this stuff out endlessly. So whatever appeals to you, we’ll keep them coming. Thanks.
Anoop Kumar: Thank you.