Beth Miller Transcript

Beth Miller Interview

Rick: Welcome to Buddha at the Gas Pump. My name is Rick Archer. Buddha at the Gas Pump is an ongoing series of interviews with spiritually awakening people. I’ve done over 500 of them now, and if this is new to you and you’d like to check out previous ones, please go to the past interviews menu on, where you’ll see them all archived in various ways. This program is made possible by the support of appreciative listeners and viewers, so if you appreciate it and would like to help support it, there’s a donate button on every page of the site, a PayPal button. I have a slight cold, as regular listeners will notice, so I sound more like an FM radio announcer than usual, or maybe more sexy – I don’t know, someone once said that last time I had a cold. “You just sound sick”. I just sound sick, Irene says. Yeah, well I try to put a positive spin on it. Anyway, not to trivialize this, my guest today is Beth Miller. Hi, Beth.

Beth: Hi, Rick.

Rick: Beth is a long-time BatGap watcher and very much a qualified guest to be on the show, as you’ll soon see. She was born in Brooklyn, New York, not far from where I was born, Norfolk, Connecticut. Went back to graduate school after raising two sons outside of San Francisco. She had a satisfying, rich career as a psychologist, working in private practice and teaching at the California Institute of Integral Studies, University of California at San Francisco, and leading national workshops on resiliency. She had been convinced throughout her lifetime that there was more to us than meets the eye, and after decades of devoted searching, guided by spiritual teacher Jan Frazier, who was on BatGap in 2013, she experienced a profound shift in consciousness at the age of 70. Beth calls herself a “poster child” for it never being too late. This shift set her course in a humbling and wondrous way to deeper and further understanding, to embodying and most importantly living what had been revealed. In the sweet presence of now, she is along for the ride of intimate contact with whatever life has in store, from moment to moment and day to day. So, that’s nicely written. Thank you, Beth.

Beth: Thank you.

Rick: So, I read a good part of your book, “Waking Up on the Couch”, and when I first read it I thought that was a reference to waking up on a psychiatrist’s couch, but you actually literally woke up on a couch, not with a psychiatrist.

Beth: But I did use that title for the pun as well.

Rick: Okay, so double entendre or whatever.

Beth: Yeah, I mean being a psychotherapist and having spent a lot of my years on a couch. But I did also wake up on a couch.

Rick: True. You just have a thing for couches.

Beth: I have a thing.

Rick: So, your childhood started out a little rough. Your parents were… your father was a World War II veteran, as was mine, and probably had a fair amount of PTSD, as did mine.

Beth: Right.

Rick: And you mentioned that you suffered from inter-generational trauma, abuse, and oppression. And I guess you say it in your book, so we can say it here, but you were actually raped by your father and impregnated by him at the age of 12. So, that’s pretty bad on the scale of good to bad.

Beth: Yeah. Yeah. You know, not to minimize that in any way, shape, or form, which I do not, but I’d have to say one of the more long-lasting wounds that I experienced was one of being disconnected. I think it actually is harder to be disconnected than to even – sounds so crazy. I know it sounds so crazy. But there’s something more profoundly disturbing, distressing, and wretching than not feel connected.

Rick: Would you say that your disconnection was a result of that trauma?

Beth: I’d say it was – well, I don’t think you can have that kind of trauma without a disconnect. There has to be some kind of disconnect for us to act out like that. But I’d say that – I don’t know, it was 1942, it was the Second World War, my grandparents were immigrants.

Rick: You couldn’t have been 12 in 1942.

Beth: No, I was born in 1942.

Rick: Oh, you were born in ’42. Okay.

Beth: I’m taking you back. I’m taking you back.

Rick: Taking me way back.

Beth: To the beginning. Yeah. Yeah. So my entire – my early – childhood living in that kind of oppressive atmosphere of the Second World War, we were Jewish, the Holocaust, immigrants, there was a sense of such powerlessness. I’d say that was probably the strongest feeling that I felt in the atmosphere of my home. And it’s like, what do you do with powerless? What do you do with a whole collective of people that are powerless? It’s not uncommon that you turn it on each other. And so there was just a lot of tempers and outbursts and unhappiness and bitterness. So that’s the environment. In that kind of environment, I did not feel connected to my parents for very many reasons, but I did not feel connected to my parents. And I think that was more shattering than even the fact that I was so violated.

Rick: Yeah. Well, I’ve heard that people who suffer extreme trauma often… well, people who have multiple personality disorder often have suffered extreme trauma. And it’s almost like they’ve kind of disassociated and taken refuge in these other personalities in order to sort of get out of the personality that is experiencing the trauma directly. So do you think, although you don’t have MPD, do you think that you had somewhat of the same influence?

Beth: Oh, I was without a doubt. I was dissociated without a doubt. In fact, for me, the tell-tale sign that actually was agonizing, and I knew this as an adult, is that my heart was completely closed. I was so removed from myself that it was painful. I mean, really painful, because I didn’t feel alive. I appeared alive. I appeared to have a personality. I appeared to be able to be functioning somewhat, but I felt profoundly removed. And I’d have to say – and this is in retrospect, when I look at my own life and I look at our human condition – I’d have to say that every single human being feels the trauma of separation. It’s a given. It’s an absolute given. And so I experienced it like this was my own personal experience of it, and it was also a portal. It was an absolute portal, like, “There’s got to be more than this. There’s got to be”.

Rick: Yeah, and I would agree with that. There’s that line in the Upanishads, which you’ve probably heard me quote, which is that, “Certainly all fear is born of duality”. And anybody who’s not in unity consciousness or better is in duality and therefore has this sort of root fear kind of at a deep level in their life. And the whole world is basically functioning that way.

Beth: Exactly. And I’d have to say, looking back, one of the greatest advantages is that I was very — that was very obvious to me. It was very obvious that I was unhappy, uncomfortable, and out of sync. I also should say something else, because the other… as much as that stream was profound, and it was a profound stream of, like, “This is what my life was like”, I always, from the very — from early, early childhood, I had a sense of there being something greater than ourselves. I never questioned it. I never wondered what to make of it. It just seemed like it was just a given. It was an absolute given.

Rick: Well, yeah, I think it’s to your credit, it’s a blessing that you had those awarenesses, because I don’t think I did, and I don’t think most people do. I mean, sure, people want more, and you’re frustrated, and you’re not cool enough in high school or whatever.

Beth: Right.

Rick: But to have a sort of conscious recognition that there’s something deeper to life than what you’re experiencing, because usually when people feel lacking in some way, they’re kind of externalizing it and thinking, “If only I could have this car or this girlfriend”.

Beth: Absolutely.

Rick: And you seem to have internalized it and realized there’s something within.

Beth: I’d say both is true. I, without a doubt, externalized, but my dream life kept me this side of sanity. You know, when I was an adult, I read this somewhere, Elie Wiesel, when he was in the concentration camps, he speaks of his dreams, and he speaks of the joy and the well-being that showed up every single night in his dreams, that kept him this side of sanity through the camps. That was my experience. That was actually my experience through childhood.

Rick: Do you think that, like him, you had an active dream life because your outer life was somewhat horrific, and that that kind of forced you into a more internalized state, and therefore a more vivid dream life?

Beth: I suspect that’s very possible. Very very possible.

Rick: You’re talking about a lonely child who had nowhere to go. So where do you go?

Beth: And I will tell you, I think it’s probably worth saying, giving details to one repeated dream. I was raised in a one-bedroom apartment, and my bed was in the living room. My parents did actually both work, and so I did spend a lot of my time by myself, and I did come home from school, and I did have to do light housework. All that actually happened. But in the dream, I’m doing light housework, and I’m doing some carpet sweepers. Do you remember carpet sweepers?

Rick: Yeah, we used to have one of those.

Beth: Right. Okay. So a carpet sweeping underneath the, what do you call it, of the bed.

Rick: The foot of the bed?

Beth: No, the ruffle.

Rick: That ruffly thing that hangs down?

Beth: Right.

Rick: Yeah, the curtain or the apron or something like that? Anyway, whatever those things are.

Beth: Anyway. So I’d pick it up, and I’d be putting the carpet sweeper underneath it, okay? And I’d look under, and there’d be a mound of coins. And no matter how many coins I would take out and put in my pockets, the mound would replenish. It brought me, oh my God, I cannot tell you the feeling of that dream. And I will tell you now, retrospect, the experience of unbounded presence, unconditional love, the gold of that. It’s like, well, here’s the dream that said, “look, this is the truth of the matter”. Now, I had no idea as a child. I had no idea. I’m telling you what I’m putting on it way later. All I can tell you, as a child, I felt held. I felt cradled. I felt something. I felt companion. I felt absolutely companion.

Rick: And that dream kind of symbolized it for you?

Beth: I think so.

Rick: Yeah. It’s not like you felt unbounded presence or being held in the dream, but somehow the gold coins symbolized the promise of that. Is that what you’re saying?

Beth: I experienced that, but I also actually physically experienced the joy.

Rick: You had a taste of it.

Beth: I did. I did. I did.

Rick: And that was a recurring dream, right? You had it over and over.

Beth: A recurring dream.

Rick: Interesting.

Beth: Yeah. And the other thing, too, I mean, I’ve thought about this a lot because I think children do get glimpses and just sort of like a bit of like, huh, huh. But it sort of like amazes me that I never mentioned anything to anybody. And somehow, I don’t know, I don’t want to put too much on it, but had a good, strong enough feeling like this matters. This just really matters.

Rick: It’s interesting. Yeah, I wonder if people listening would like to ponder whether they’ve had a recurring dream throughout their life. I’ve always had one that had to do with a mountain, and sometimes I’m hiking up it. Sometimes I’m just looking up at it. Sometimes I’m skiing on it. But it’s always this mountain. I’ve had it for decades. I don’t know what it signifies or symbolizes, but it’s always kind of beautiful and profound and meaningful in some way I can’t articulate.

Beth: But isn’t that the point?

Rick: Yeah, yeah.

Beth: Isn’t that the point? And the fact that it would be unique to our own preferences or experiences, but the same things being said, like, “look, wow, there’s a whole lot more than meets the eye here”.

Rick: Yeah. Getting esoteric for a minute. What do you think causes dreams like that? Is it just something all within our own neural network or something being conveyed to us by some higher intelligence or what?

Beth: I have always felt it was a message from God.

Rick: From God, yeah.

Beth: And I will tell you that there was not much mention, if any mention at all, in my household of God. So I didn’t come to this with any kind of schooling or conditioning or being taught anything, but I always felt like I was being – I felt it was a message from God.

Rick: Yeah. That’s nice.

Beth: And to this day. And the other thing that also means a lot to me about dreams is the issue of our ego wanting to be in control. What I’ve always loved about dreams is that I had no say in the matter. This ego – I – had no say in the matter. I think that’s partially what I mean by it comes from God. It’s like it comes from some place that I’m not having a say in the matter. I’m not controlling. And there’s something, if I pay close enough attention, if I listen, if I’m open and receptive, there’s something being said here.

Rick: Yeah, I think that’s why dreams can sometimes be so profound because we’ve released the grip, you know? We’re kind of innocent and open in a way and able to be receptive to deeper levels that we might be otherwise closed to.

Beth: Exactly.

Rick: Yeah.

Beth: Exactly.

Rick: I’ve had the most profound experiences in my life during dreams.

Beth: Really?

Rick: I don’t even think they were dreams. They were these sort of things that happened, but the body was asleep.

Beth: Wow. It’s beautiful.

Rick: Yeah. I mean, some of them would sometimes involve higher beings, and other times I’d find myself sitting in lotus and samadhi and then discover that my body was lying on the bed and things like that.

Beth: Yeah.

Rick: Anyway, don’t want to talk about me.

Beth: Yeah. Well, the other thing too about dreams – maybe you’ve had this experience too – I can actually differentiate when it’s more like a visitation. And I think partially what you’re talking about is there’s some way that we are being visited. And I don’t make a whole lot of it, meaning I don’t try to interpret it, but I’m like, everything in me sits up and takes notice – “Okay. Okay. I’m listening. I’m really listening”.

Rick: When you were a psychotherapist, were you doing dream analysis or anything like that?

Beth: Yeah. Yeah, most of my work as a therapist was any which way to give room and safety for the unconscious to speak, any which way for our natural inclination to integration for it to happen, so be it.

Rick: During most of your therapist years, did you already have a spiritual orientation and that was kind of the emphasis of your therapy or did that dawn later on?

Beth: Both.

Rick: A little bit of both, some of each.

Beth: Both. Some of each, depending on how conscious the whole thing was. You know, going back to what you said about the externalization of like what’s out there that will make me feel better when you come out of a childhood, a rough childhood. I want to say two things about that. One – I’d say that that set me up for, if you can believe it or not, a fondness for disillusionment. Really, because it was actually, so I left my childhood and it’s like, oh my God, finally, I don’t have to be there anymore. Got married early. I actually had a very lovely lovely life, really lovely life. Got a home, two lovely children. We had resources. I wasn’t abused. I wasn’t mistreated. Everybody was kind. My husband was gentle. He is a gentleman. And I wasn’t happy. It’s like, “oh my God. Okay”. So I have that in the back of my mind is one of the first and biggest disillusionments, which at the time felt awful, felt absolutely devastating. But it hit me over the head. I can tell you in retrospect, like, “oh, it’s not out there. It’s not out there”. So the next thing we did, what made me think about it when you just asked me this earlier question is that I got, my whole family got involved in a organization community of people that were looking for higher consciousness.

Rick: Let me just comment on that before you get into that story because I read about that in your book. But when you think about it, the word disillusionment can have a positive connotation because if we want to come out of illusion, which is one of the things that enlightenment is supposed to be, then we should in a way welcome disillusionment. And that is not to say that one has to leave a happy family life or anything in order to wake up or attain enlightenment. One can do that within the context of such a life, and maybe it’s even more conducive to it than a troubled one. But nonetheless, I’ve gone through some disillusionments in my life, and I’m happy for them in retrospect because even though they might have been a little uncomfortable at the time, they enabled me to step back, reassess all my assumptions, and rethink things and move on.

Beth: That’s why I say I have a fondness for it.

Rick: Yeah, yeah.

Beth: It’s exactly that. And I will tell you, it’s carried through my life, and even at the moment of awakening, this feeling of like, “Ah, that’s it. That’s it”. And it’s like this memory of like, “It’s all right to be disillusioned. It’s really all right”.

Rick: Remember that song, “Is this all there is to the circus?”

Beth: Exactly. Exactly. Exactly.

Rick: Yeah.

Beth: Yeah, I’m glad you said that. I’m glad you bring it up because that was my experience, even though the actual disillusionment feels terrible because there’s so much banking on, “Ah, I’m okay now”.

Rick: Well, when you think about it, though, there’s an evolutionary momentum to life, an evolutionary trajectory. And if that were not so, then perhaps we would end up being content with the same old, same old for decades on end. But there’s a reason why you get the new car or whatever, and after a while you feel like, “Hmm, this isn’t really going to fulfill me”, because God or nature or whatever is telling us that there is a deeper fulfillment and don’t be satisfied with trifles.

Beth: Exactly. Exactly. And may we be listening.

Rick: Yeah. And if we’re not, then the message will come louder and clearer.

Beth: Louder.

Rick: Yeah.

Beth: True. Right.

Rick: And so you were about to get into the story about the spiritual group.

Beth: Well, so it was another profound disillusionment because, again, I thought it was out there. And it was this ongoing, like, “Something out there is going to make me feel all right and make me feel okay”. And not surprising, given the rough background I had, there was this ongoing stream of wanting to belong in this dimension and a chronic, not even chronic, like an ongoing question of, “What else is there? I know there’s more. I know there’s more. I don’t know how to touch it any deeper. I don’t know how to make it more alive in me. I don’t even know what exactly it is”. So there was this meandering through… Go ahead. Go ahead.

Rick: Oh, I’m just laughing because when I hear you talk, I’m reminded of Close Encounters of the Third Kind with Richard Dreyfuss. And he knew there was more. I just saw it. It was on TV recently. Of course, I saw it years ago. But that movie is such a perfect metaphor for the spiritual path. You’ve seen the movie, right? I remember it. And it’s like he just couldn’t rest. And he’s trying to eat dinner and he starts mounding up his mashed potatoes. He’s like, “This means something!” Anyway, he just couldn’t rest. And all these people were weeded out who didn’t make it to Devil’s Tower because they doubted or they got discouraged or they believed the people that said it was just a gas leak or something and they shouldn’t go there. But he just didn’t believe it. And he kept piercing through the illusions and the deceptions and the smoke screens. And eventually he was the one that got to go up on the ship with the aliens.

Beth: Amen!

Rick: Yeah.

Beth: Right?

Rick: Yeah, it’s such a cool movie.

Beth: Exactly.

Rick: The whole movie is a metaphor.

Beth: I have to go watch it again. It’s been years since I’ve seen it.

Rick: Yeah.

Beth: It would be worth checking it out again.

Rick: Great movie. Anyway, I’m sorry to interrupt you and train your thought.

Beth: Have fun.

Rick: I just kept chuckling as you were talking.

Beth: Yeah. Yeah. Well, let’s see. The two trains, the two streams here. So here I am in this community confused because part of me wants to belong. That’s all. And part of me is very interested in what are we really searching for? And maybe there’s some kind of clue here. So, again, it was a big disillusionment because it was not where I was going to rest my head. It was not home for me. But I will say that I discovered Jesus there. Now, being raised Jewish, I couldn’t have told you. I remember even during this time of studying the teachings of Jesus, I remember thinking, I don’t know why it was so not kosher. I don’t know why I wasn’t supposed to be studying this man. But I knew it wasn’t supposed to. And I’d have to say, in retrospect, he was my very first teacher. Because the community and the folks that were running it had the presence of mind to separate out his profound being and teachings from interpretations of what he has said. And so, again, being Jewish, I came to him fresh. And something very big communicated to me. Something very big registered. Still couldn’t do anything with it. But it’s like, ah, here’s, I can tell you now, this is what I could have thought. It’s like, this is what it looks like. This is what it looks like. But it was another, the community itself was not where I was going to stay. And so, yeah. Yeah.

Rick: Yeah. It’s funny how just about all spiritual groups are quirky. I mean, some of them really are careful to keep constructive criticism lively and to keep introspecting and fine-tuning and tweaking their direction. And they manage to remain pretty healthy. But it’s funny how things can go off the rails with many different groups. Somehow, this myopia sort of closes in when you’re in your own little thought bubble with like-minded people and egos come into play and whatnot. But anyway, with anything like that, you take what you need and you leave the rest.

Beth: Exactly. Exactly. Yeah. And I don’t know if this is a good point for us to get into it, but it brings to my mind, you and I had a very brief conversation before we got started here about shadow, the shadow material, and I think that’s partially what you’re referring to.

Rick: Yeah, we can get into it. We can always meander around.

Beth: Okay. Because I’d say that for many reasons, turning to psychology made such a vast difference for me. And one of them is because it was a safe enough place to become absolutely radically honest with myself, radically honest with myself. And I don’t know how you can be radically honest with yourself without looking at places you don’t want to look. And so I don’t care whether it’s the individual, a religious organization, the collective at large, our political system, our globe, there’s something singularly about what about what we don’t want to see. What about what we don’t want to feel? Because if you don’t look and if you don’t feel it, we all know it gets projected out, it gets played out. We know what that looks like all too well, all too well.

Rick: Yeah, I’ve been involved with this Association for Spiritual Integrity, which you may be aware of, along with Jac O’Keeffe and Craig Holliday and Mariana Caplan. Craig and Mariana are both therapists of some sort, and they’re convinced just upon their experience that, and I’ve heard others say this too, but that some sort of therapy is almost a requirement for spiritual seekers, at least at certain phases of their lives, that it could be expedient or a catalyst for their growth if they could work through this stuff more directly rather than let it sort of simmer on some semi-conscious level and trip them up from time to time.

Beth: Exactly, exactly. You know, it makes me want to fast-forward for just a minute, I think, and then come back to this. How to say this clearly and in a grounded way? And to fast-forward to, I want to talk about integration, that’s where I got from what you just said, this business of integrating this profound unbounded presence and our very humanity and we’re talking about, okay, hold that for just a minute. So that integration, I think I want to start with how I experience that right now. [PAUSE] This intersection of being human and being pure presence, you know what, it’s still to this day, it makes me weep. It’s so gorgeous. It’s so gorgeous. God, it’s so beautiful. It’s so beautiful. And the place of like getting to be human, getting to have the experience of like sitting here speaking with you, getting to be intimate with life in a human dimension. Oh my God, I mean my God, okay. And to have it all permeated and animated, completely permeating, completely animated by pure presence, I mean consciousness, awareness, God consciousness, whatever we want to call it, intelligence, whatever we want to call it. It’s like… it gives me… oh my God, it’s such a hard thing to talk about.

Rick: Do you want me to chime in for a second and give you a break?

Beth: Yeah, maybe even spur something on, yes.

Rick: Sure, well as you said that, I thought the Divine went through a lot of trouble to get to this point. First there was the Big Bang, and then there was a lot of hydrogen and helium, and then at a certain point it started to congeal into clouds and some of those clouds became stars, and the stars lived out a multi-billion year lifespan and exploded, and that gave us some heavy elements and then that formed a second generation of stars. And eventually we ended up with rocky planets and then biological life, and then eventually, well, as Brian Swimme says, “Leave hydrogen alone for 13.7 billion years and you end up with giraffes and rose bushes and opera”. So there’s been this evolutionary project going on for billions of years into greater and greater complexity and vehicles capable of fuller and fuller expression of the Divine as a living reality, or embodiment of the Divine is a better word, as a living reality. And here you and I are, a couple of us, talking about it. And there is something extremely profound and beautiful about that. It’s not just some meaningless, random, accidental thing as some so-called scientists would suggest. It’s the play of God, of omnipresent intelligence doing something remarkably mysterious and profound in order for that deep intelligence to enjoy as a living embodiment, as a living reality rather than just flat, unmanifest being.

Beth: Exactly.

Rick: So that’s one way of putting it.

Beth: And to know that, to know that viscerally, to live that.

Rick: Yeah, to know you are that living as a human being.

Beth: To know that I am that and me are not separate, to know that viscerally, oh my God, oh my God, oh my God. And to have this experience of like this is the instrument, the music is not mine, there is a particular song to this personality, and to be able to completely enjoy that, completely enjoy that. And I think not only because it’s beyond, beyond anything you or I could possibly understand, so that brings me to my knees, but also to remember, for me to remember where I came from, what my life was like when it was so constricted, when I was so locked into and dissociated from, to be in this experience, it’s like, are you kidding me? Really? Really? And you know what, why did I write the book? Just for that, to say, “Look, there is a lot going on here, folks. There’s a lot going on here”. You know?

Rick: Yeah. Yeah, can you remember back to when you were a lot younger? You said, you realized there was something more, which is great, because I don’t know how clear that is with a lot of people, but can you remember a time when life looked sort of dead, the world looked sort of dead and flat and meaningless and kind of devoid of sentience of any kind? And contrast that with the way the world looks to you now.

Beth: Do I know the former experience you’re talking about? All too well. All too well. I will tell you, I can remember even having the conscious awareness of like, I do not know how to love. I feel dead. I feel dead. I am going through motions here, just going through motions. So do I know that experience? Oh, my God. All too well. All too well. And, I mean, people say this all the time, and it’s hard to make enough of this, of we see the world through our filters. So to see the world now through awareness, and because I am a human being and my mind will get active, and I will have backlashes, I even in that moment have that exact experience right there. This is what it feels like when I’m constricted. This is what it feels like. But all the time, it doesn’t have the same charge to it, because everything in me knows that it’s a momentary constriction. But I don’t forget that there were most, it was most of my life where it was not seen as a momentary constriction. It was seen as this is the way it is. This is true.

Rick: Well, you have a foundation now, you know? I mean, if someone has, let’s say, $20 to their name, then gaining or losing $10 is a big deal. If someone is a multi-millionaire, then gaining or losing $10 is, you’re still gaining or losing the same amount of money, but it’s really not a big deal because you have this ocean of wealth, speaking metaphorically. And so, that’s just a little ripple on it rather than a huge crashing event.

Beth: Exactly. I mean, you bring me back to my dream. I think that’s exactly what the dream was saying. The coins, they’ll be replenished. One coin, yeah, one coin is not going to make or break you.

Rick: Yeah. And I think the things that buffeted us in life do so to make us stronger. Isn’t that Nietzsche who said, “Whatever doesn’t kill me makes me stronger?” It’s like, I don’t know, the blacksmith pounding the horseshoe or something. He seems to be hurting the horseshoe, but he’s actually pounding it into the right shape, or the metalworker or whatever, the molding something. It might seem cruel to say that in some cases, because people experience such catastrophic events. But I don’t know, if we zoom out to a big enough picture, maybe we can see the wisdom in it.

Beth: My experience is that both are true. If you zoom in, it’s agonizing, absolutely agonizing. And I think the pain is like the sorrow or the grief. Like yeah, you zoom out, it’s like, wow. I mean, look at the childhood I came through, and it’s like your horseshoe. It’s like your horseshoe. I cannot make a cause and effect here. But I have to tell you, it feels to me like a lot of my compassion comes from having felt so awful. You know, it was pretty bad. My heart goes out. My heart goes out to the experience I had. My heart goes out to anybody hurting.

Rick: Yeah, there are a lot of stories like that in literature, like the prince and the pauper, where you can’t really appreciate what it’s like to be a pauper until you’ve gone through it yourself. And so in a way, having gone through rough times in our lives makes us a better helper for other people. And it’s rather unfortunate sometimes that some spiritual teachers are so glib about people suffering, like, “Oh, it’s just an illusion. Oh, it’s not the real you”. It’s very real to them, and while you don’t want to give them the sense that that is the reality, you do want to convey that there’s something more. To just brush it off, I think, is unkind, and it could also encourage disassociation or spiritual bypassing.

Beth: Yes, exactly. Exactly. Exactly. Yeah. Yeah.

Rick: So, you say, “Unlike many who sought and found an ultimate truth through meditation and/or spiritual inquiry, I fell into my true nature by shedding defenses, mostly in psychotherapy. Being in the room with a loving presence allowed the deep surrender that is common to every spiritual communication or practice”. So how many years of psychotherapy did you do?

Beth: 250. No, no, no. The first time around was eight years, and the second time around was three and a half. But the second time around was three times a week.

Rick: Wow.

Beth: I know.

Rick: And you really found it transformative, obviously.

Beth: I did. I did. I did. I want to say two things about that. Let’s start with how transformative it was. The case I make for things for me in psychotherapy is that there was something about sitting with another person, and a person that was not judgmental, a person that had enough skills, that was kind, and could look me in the eye and hold me in a way that they reflected how I was feeling. You know, held me in a way that I could start to understand what I felt, understood what I was thinking. I didn’t know these things. I just started my own opinions, got into the history of my thing, of my background. I think, too, we often say the problem is our belief system, the problem is our history, the problem is our identification. It’s all true. But it can be dealt with on a superficial level, and it can actually enhance spiritual bypassing, because like we said earlier, it’s like, “Well, that’s not me, so I can go do whatever”. Being in an ongoing presence of it’s safe to keep looking gave dimension to beliefs, gave dimension to history, gave dimension to my motivations, gave dimension to the very fact like, “Wow, there’s nothing else here but self-centeredness. Wow”. Okay? I needed that safe environment. I needed that kind of contact connection in order to be that transparent with myself, without a doubt. And I think that that’s one of the reasons, whether it’s before, during, or after awakening, without that kind of work, you never know when and how it will come up and bite you in the butt, or bite somebody else in the butt.

Rick: There’s a lot of butt biting going on.

Beth: There’s a lot of butt biting.

Rick: In the spiritual community.

Beth: Right, exactly. Exactly. Now, that being said, I will tell you that it’s no surprise to you at all that there’s a major limit to psychotherapy, a major limit, not the least of which it’s based on a belief that something is broken, something needs to be fixed, something needs to be made whole, something needs to be transformed. So to begin with, that perpetuates itself, and it perpetuates in the person sitting there in the office, “Something’s wrong with me”. It perpetuates it.

Rick: Do you think it can not only perpetuate it, but reinforce it?

Beth: And that’s the other thing. The second point is that it’s all, it’s pretty much around the ego. So it’s to make the ego stronger, to make the ego more functional, which, please do not get me wrong, thank you, thank you, thank you for this service, for what I received and what I give, thank you.

Rick: Well, as many have said, you have to develop a strong ego before you can relinquish the ego, transcend the ego. If the ego is damaged and broken and dysfunctional, then you can’t really… just transcending a dysfunctional ego may be difficult and it also may not fix the ego. And I used to not think that, because my teacher, Maharshi Mahesh Yogi, always used to say, “Well, just don’t water the leaves of the tree, water the root, and if you water the root, the whole tree will flourish”. But then there have just been so many examples of, I won’t name names, but people who appear to be highly enlightened and who genuinely did have an obvious, profound degree of conscious realization really screwed up in certain relative behavioral ways, which they never had the proper opportunity or feedback or circumstances to look at and to correct. So as some would say, “If you’re an asshole and you get enlightened, you’re going to be an enlightened asshole, so try to fix it before then”.

Beth: That’s one of my appreciations of Ken Wilber’s work, “Grow up, wake up”.

Rick: “Grow up, clean up, wake up”. Yeah, and the whole thing of lines of development and how tightly correlated these various lines are, and they’re like a big stretchy rubber band, they’re just not that tight. And so you have to kind of attend to all these things.

Beth: Yes.

Rick: For your own benefit, not just for others. Especially if you’re going to take on the role of a spiritual teacher, yeah, but even if we’re really concerned about our own enlightenment and development to have it be as profound as possible, then becoming a better human being in every sense of that phrase is part of the package. And it’s not enough to say, “You’re not a human being, you’re just pure consciousness and forget about being a human being”, because like it or not, you’re going to continue to be a human being on some level, and it’s going to cause you trouble, as we’ve seen so many times, if you don’t address that stuff.

Beth: Absolutely, and conversely, what a marvel to be a human being and to be able to keep cleaning up and enjoying that humanity. Why miss that? Why miss that?

Rick: Also, if we like to think of ourselves as instruments of the Divine, if we have a sense of wanting to serve the Divine, then we want to be nice, effective instruments. We don’t want to be sort of like dirty glasses or broken hedge clippers or whatever kind of tool metaphor we want to use. We want to be in good working order so as to actually really be of service.

Beth: That’s lovely. That’s really really lovely. Especially since the Divine treats us so well.

Rick: And to anthropomorphize it, I think the Divine really needs effective instruments or servants or whatever term, especially in this day and age where there’s sort of a dire kind of situation in the world, and the fact that there are so many people waking up and teaching and so on is probably in response to the dire straits of the world situation. But we all want to be sort of… when I was on my teacher training course, becoming a TM teacher, Maharishi said, “When there’s a war on, there’s no time to train sharpshooters. Just give them a rifle and send them out”. So we were a bunch of bozos, they gave us rifles so to speak and sent us out. But I think now, 50 years later, we can train sharpshooters – pardon the military metaphor. We want to be sort of effective marksmen, spiritually speaking, rather than just shooting wildly and having who knows what kind of mixed effect.

Beth: It makes me think too that after the awakening, I’m so glad that some wisdom arrived in me, it’s like, “There’s more, there’s more”, and this whole period of embodiment is as important – no, maybe even more important, maybe even more important – cleaning up the instrument.

Rick: Yeah. Describe what led up to your awakening. So far we’ve only gotten as far as psychotherapy really, and it’s sort of an inkling when you were a child that there was something more, but how did it get more explicit in your life that there was this spiritual attainment to be had, and what were the steps and practices or teachers or whatever that led you to that attainment?

Beth: Yeah. So I’ll go back again to the psychotherapy because basically what it did over the years is it helped shed defenses. And so, much of my experience seems to center around my heart – closed and then just keep opening and opening and opening. By the time I’m actually a therapist myself, I’m single, my kids are grown, and there’s this kind of inkling – I have to tell you, I’m in such better shape, such better shape, but there’s this background inkling of, “Hmm”. And I don’t even know what the “Hmm” is, but there’s a “Hmm”. And one day I have a break in my office and I have the Sun magazine on my desk and there’s a picture of Adyashanti on the cover. And I read the interview and I am actually through the pages, like, sit back like this, “Whoa”. Not only his presence, which came right through the pages, but he put words to something that had been in the background my whole life. And he put the words, “Spiritual awakening and enlightenment”. I’d never heard the words. My intuition all the way through my life is like, I would say to myself, “I want a personal relationship with God”. I had no idea what that meant. I had no idea where to even look for it. And then when I heard those words, it was like, “Ah, ding, ding, ding, ding, ding, ding”. Okay. So, and then I make a joke on myself because I didn’t know that Adyashanti was well-known. I just go, “Oh, look”. Like I feel like I just found somebody that nobody else knows about. And he’s local. I live in San Francisco, so he’s local. So that was the beginning of a more concerted, “Oh, let’s go check things out”.

Rick: What year was that, just out of curiosity?

Beth: I want to say, I don’t know, maybe 2008. I’m making it up. I mean, I’m guessing. I don’t know. And so my experience with him was very remarkable because having been physically and sexually abused, my body was tight, just tight. I’ll tell a story of myself. I gave talks several times because of my first book on cultivating resilience. And three times when I was speaking – three separate times – a body worker came up to me and said, I didn’t ask, I mean, this is unbidden, said, “Have you ever thought about doing body work?”

Rick: Because you’re so tight.

Beth: It’s only in retrospect that I’m aware of what they were looking at or what they were seeing. So I’m just giving you a sense of how come it was so remarkable to me to be sitting in the audience at Adyashanti and feel everything in me, my entire body just open wide. And I’m looking at myself going, “Who’s this? And what’s this?” And recognizing, being able to recognize that I was in a presence that was familiar to me. And I didn’t even know what the meant. I didn’t know what it meant, but I knew it was familiar to me. So I went to his satsangs for, oh, I don’t know. I’m going to guess a year. I’m going to guess a year. And a friend gave me Jan Frazier’s book, When Fear Falls Away. I read her book and I had the same experience with the presence. Like it communicated off the page, off the page. And my body did the same thing in reading her book that I felt when I was with Adya. And Adya wasn’t taking any individual people at the time. He was only working in groups and satsang. And so, and having read Jan’s book, I contacted her and then I started working with her. And that’s when things started to get like, wow, quick and quick and quick. And it’s a fascinating thing to me because my understanding, my experience of how transmission works, it’s like being in the presence, and I mean intimate, close contact in the presence of unconditional love and complete openness. What it did is it activated something that had been known in me, but not accessed. And so the more time I spent with her and the more time I stayed quite attentive, I watched it grow. And so there was this kind of dance that went on because the more the love and the more that pure presence started to grow, the more the defenses could thin out, dissolve, and actually really, actually disappear to a large degree.

Rick: There’s an interesting cart-and-horse question here, which is, does presence grow because we’re dropping defenses or defenses drop because presence is growing?

Beth: Right.

Rick: Or both, or could it be either or both or a combination or maybe it depends on the circumstances.

Beth: Or both? Yeah. Yeah. I don’t know exactly that, but I will tell you there is a relationship. There is a relationship. And I’d say that’s one of the reasons I still feel that being intimate contact with people who are open, undefended, awake, alive, makes a difference. It makes a difference.

Rick: Oh yeah.It’s contagious.

Beth: It’s contagious, for real. For real. Yeah. Thank God.

Rick: That’s why I still go to see Amma after all these years. You know, it’s like, what is it, a 30-second hug or something? But after three, four days of getting a few of those and just being in that atmosphere, you feel totally shifted.

Beth: Yeah.

Rick: And uplifted.

Beth: Yes. Yes. Exactly. And then speaking, then going fast-forward to the actual awakening, the thing that is still pinch me, like feeling like a marvel is that that’s what we are. That’s what I am. That love, that like, yeah. So it’s like, then it goes from, it’s no longer out there only, it’s fully here. Okay, wow.

Rick: That’s an important shift because you can get kind of addicted to Shakti experiences, you know, and this teacher is radiating this, and this teacher is radiating that, but at some point it has to shift to the point where you realize that that’s what I am, you know, it’s everywhere.

Beth: Exactly. Exactly. Yeah, and that’s when it becomes so real and so grounded and so, like, no matter what, for real, no matter what.

Rick: Well, I’m going to use the example of, if a burning log, if a log that’s not burning is placed next to a log that’s burning, then eventually the other log will be burning just as much as the first log. So, but there’s a value to that proximity until the other log gets ignited, you know?

Beth: Yeah, exactly. Exactly. Exactly.

Rick: Okay, so then you’re with Adya for a year, and then you met Jan.

Beth: Met Jan.

Rick: And what did you, did you have to like commute to Vermont from San Francisco or what?

Beth: I did go once. I did go, I gave myself the gift for my 70th birthday of going and spending a week in Vermont to sit with her for about two, three hours every day for five days. And it was wonderful. God, it was wonderful. And it left me in a state of bliss, came home, and it’s like, wow. That’s why I, I don’t know, but when I said it to you, it’s like, I really can’t understand that the temptation to stay there. I get that. I get that. Because wow, it’s so blissful. It’s so blissful. It’s so easy. It’s so lovely. It’s so absolutely lovely. And I get the shatter side of that too. I get the shatter side of being stuck there. And so anyway, so there was that period of time. And then, and I spoke to her on the phone frequently, very frequently.

Rick: And sent a lot of emails back and forth, which is a major part of your book.

Beth: Exactly, right, right. That was the other thing – I wanted to offer and communicate is like what that kind of being seen does for us.

Rick: Yeah, it’s nice to be able to have a relationship with a personal teacher like that, which again is I think maybe one of the blessings of the current culture where there are all these teachers, maybe none of whom are the most enlightened beings ever to walk the planet, but still have something valuable to offer. And you don’t need a Nobel Laureate in physics to study physics, to have as a high-school physics teacher or a college physics teacher. You kind of move up the line as the need develops.

Beth: Yeah, yeah. And we are fortunate that there are people like that. We are very fortunate, yeah. Well, then Jan came out for a retreat. I don’t know, there were maybe about eight of us in a home for three days.

Rick: Out to the West Coast.

Beth: Yeah, she came to California. And we were together for three days. So sweet. And on the very last day, the very very last day of our three days we’ve been together, several things happened. I don’t think it was in this order, but I’m going to start here anyway, because it still tickles me because there was this spontaneous prayer that came up to me is like, “wouldn’t it be something to awaken in the midst of other people, like with folks here?” And the reason I say it to you that way is because again, given my personality and given my conditioning, being alone was a “falling off the Grand Canyon” kind of feeling. And so the period of this thinning of defenses, I have to say there was some harrowing, harrowing experiences of my ego going, “No way, no way, no way, no way, no way”.

Rick: Is that what you mean by the falling off the Grand Canyon thing? What was it about being alone that was like the Grand Canyon?

Beth: So like three o’clock in the morning, I would imagine myself letting go fully. And it would feel as if I was going to fall off the edge of the Grand Canyon cliff.

Rick: It was like scary. Sort of like…

Beth: That’s an understatement.

Rick: The vastness was scary.

Beth: Oh my God. The vastness was scary. The unknown was scary. And there was this part of like, “And I’m all by myself. And I’m all by myself”. So given that was in the background, I thought it was absolutely hysterical that that would be the prayer because I could appreciate like, “Oh, maybe it could be in company, this profound, ultimate letting go. Here’s one last veil. May it be with other people”. The actual experience of being there that day, there were several things that happened. One was I lost all sense of boundaries, all sense. And because we were in a room and because we were all together, it showed up with each other. It’s like there was no separation between you and me – none, none whatsoever. And it wasn’t about being empathic for you. It was like, “I am you. I am you. I am you. I am you. I am you. I am you”. And the thing that caught my attention about that is that it couldn’t have been more natural. There was nothing extraordinary about it. It couldn’t have been more ordinary like, “Right, right, right”. So that was one of the things. The other thing is that there was something very real burning in my gut to such a degree that I would have assumed it would be visible. Like you would have seen red hot all over me because something was burning so intensely. The biggest, the most probably hardest to put into words was the love that showed up from within me. It was uncontainable, inexpressible, beyond immense, like to my knees and familiar, like so, so, so familiar, so familiar.

Rick: It sounds like you’re pretty ripe, you know? I don’t know if everybody else in the room was having that experience, but you were ready to pop.

Beth: Exactly, exactly, exactly. Exactly right.

Rick: Yeah, but there is definitely something to be said for an assemblage of people on the same wavelength, like that higher wavelength. There’s a synergistic effect, you know? And it’s extremely conducive to everyone’s awakening, and there’s so many different verses from various scriptures that emphasize that and that are worn against the opposite of hanging around darker, more incoherent crowds of people, situations, if you’re interested in spiritual awakening.

Beth: That’s actually very lovely. I hadn’t thought about it, hadn’t thought about that experience in that context. It’s actually very lovely.

Rick: Yeah.

Beth: Yeah.

Rick: There’s a whole beautiful thing from the end of the Rig Veda. I’ll send it to you later. I don’t want to interrupt the interview by looking it up, but it’s just a beautiful thing about the assemblage is significant in unity, and know your minds to be functioning together from a common source. And it’s a nice quote, but it’s just a case in point, because almost every spiritual tradition emphasizes the value of being with like-minded people, spiritual aspirants, and it’s like if you’re in a perfume factory, you’re going to come out smelling like perfume. You can’t help it. But if you’re in a, let’s say, a coal mine or something, no matter how careful you are, you’re going to come out with coal soot on you. So the company one keeps is considered to be extremely important for spiritual aspirants.

Beth: And don’t you know that inside out? I mean, can’t you just feel it?

Rick: Oh, yeah. I mean, I’ve experienced it both ways.

Beth: Right, exactly, exactly.

Rick: Yeah.

Beth: Yeah.

Rick: Which is not to say one should be snobbish and avoid people who are suffering. I mean, some of the most wonderful people in this world, like Mother Teresa and many others plunge right into the suffering and give of themselves all they can to help to ameliorate it. But it’s not like you’re, I think people get the point of the difference between that and just sort of hanging out in bars and hoping to somehow get enlightened.

Beth: Yeah, yeah. However we might be staying unconscious, I think that’s part of the point too.

Rick: Yeah. So anyway, so you’re on this retreat with Jan and you’re having this kind of unity experience, but that wasn’t the watershed moment that you later experienced. So let’s take us on to that.

Beth: What are you thinking? Because it really was.

Rick: Well, there was something on a couch where you were alone and you’re sitting on a couch and all of a sudden, quietly, it was the quietest gentlest thing, but that was the shift.

Beth: Okay. So, yes. So, that, what I just described was the last day of the retreat. We all went home. I thought it was very, I mean, I actually, I don’t even know if I gave any thought to it at all. Got up the next morning, lay down on the couch and it’s like, “Oh my God. Oh my God”. Because it was a dawning of like, “The shift just happened. It happened”. I think that’s partially what you’re talking about.

Rick: It had happened the day before the retreat.

Beth: It had, exactly.

Rick: You hadn’t recognized it, but then the next morning you thought, “Oh yeah, I’ll be done”. There it was.

Beth: Exactly. And what then got clear is that the shift that had gone on is what was looking through my eyes was radically different.

Rick: Okay. Here it is. Irene just sent me the quote I was looking for.

Beth: Good.

Rick: I’ll read it just for fun. It’s, “Go together, speak together, know your minds to be functioning together from a common source in the same manner as the impulses of creative intelligence in the beginning remain together united near the source. Integrated is the expression of knowledge and assembly is significant in unity. United are their minds while full of desires. For you I make use of the integrated expression of knowledge by virtue of unitedness and by means of that which remains to be united I perform action to generate wholeness of life. United be your purpose, harmonious be your feelings, collected be your mind in the same way as all the various aspects of the universe exist in togetherness, wholeness”. There you go. Thank you, Irene.

Beth: Yeah, yeah.

Rick: That’s kind of the crescendo, grand conclusion of the Rig Veda, the 10th mandala of the Rig Veda.

Beth: Well, out of many there is one.

Rick: Yeah. And there’s all these, you see all these Vedic pictures of all the rishis sitting around together or the master sitting there with all these disciples and all. So, I don’t know why we’re talking about this so much, but it looked what effect it had on you. You just…

Beth: Exactly.

Rick: You know, there you were in this assemblage and I don’t think you would have had the same shift otherwise.

Beth: Who knows, but I’m sure glad it worked that way.

Rick: Yeah. So, that’s the value of satsang.

Beth: Well, that’s what I was thinking as you’re reading this. I was thinking about retreats and satsang. No wonder.

Rick: Yeah.

Beth: No wonder, yeah. And even what you’re saying about Amma, about the, you didn’t say horse. What did you call it? Would you say what’s activating another?

Rick: Oh, like logs, one log getting another one burning?

Beth: Exactly.

Rick: Yeah, that kind of thing. Yeah.

Beth: Yeah.

Rick: Yeah, so that’s the value of these things. And there’s a downside to it. There could be in terms of group things and cultish ways of thinking that develop them. You know, you need to kind of get outside the box and kind of keep your balance and keep your perspective and not let yourself get all sort of weird. But don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater either.

Beth: Yeah, yeah. I mean, we have to stay real with ourselves.

Rick: Yeah, and integrate. There we go with the word “integration” again. You know, and integration isn’t like nothing is happening for 20 years, then you have an awakening and then you’ve got to integrate. It happens every step of the way, you know? There are incremental degrees of spiritual development or development of consciousness, and each increment needs to be counterbalanced or integrated as it happens.

Beth: Yes, yes. That’s actually my experience. Very much, very much. And you’re going back to like, and so how does presence enhance that? And it does, you know? The deeper and more present, the easier that kind of integration. It’s like, I don’t have to do anything anymore. It is actually happening on its own. My job is to stay honest with myself, you know? To stay real with what’s going on.

Rick: Well, this line I just read “By virtue of unitedness and by means of that which remains to be united, I perform action to generate wholeness of life”.

Beth: Wow.

Rick: So the means of that which remains to be united would be the whole relative world which may not yet appear united. But you interact with that, you engage in that, and continue taking resource to the unified value, the presence, and the presence gets more and more infused into that which appears or may have appeared to be disunited. It just permeates it more and more.

Beth: Exactly, exactly. And I’m saying it that way because that’s my experience. That’s why I’m saying it.

Rick: Yeah, it’s your experience, right.

Beth: It’s like, “Yay, right!”

Rick: Yeah, and so it’s interesting to note that you had this experience and then this waking experience on that weekend with Jan, and then you realize it the next morning. But then, in the ensuing years, you realize that there was still stuff to work through. And this is sort of a recurrent theme, but I don’t know if everybody quite realizes that because a lot of times people think they’re going to be home free once they have some sort of awakening and never have to deal with anything again or something. So let’s talk about that.

Beth: That’s what I thought.

Rick: That’s what you thought, yeah.

Beth: And my surprise, like, “Oh my goodness”.

Rick: “I’m going to be perfect”.

Beth: “Well, I’m going to be just, I’m going to be all right”. Especially remember how many years of psychotherapy. It’s not like I didn’t understand this human condition, okay? So imagine my shock. And in retrospect, again, looking back at the whole thing, it makes so much sense to me because there was an embodiment that wasn’t going to happen conceptually. Partially what I think where my illusion was is that it would just clean. I would just be cleaned out.

Rick: At the moment of awakening, you would be cleaned out.

Beth: Yeah, I’d be cleaned out. So it wasn’t even, I can’t fault myself for like missing a boat here. It’s just like, I just thought I’d be cleaned out. And at the risk of delineating something that is not really accurately delineated, I’d say the next five years was about the body waking up. And again, maybe because of the trauma, who knows, who knows what, but I can tell you that there was an ongoing processing of this realization through the body. And the body had a mind of its own. I often bow to and say thank you to Scott Kiloby. I think you interviewed him as well.

Rick: Oh yeah, a couple of times.

Beth: Yeah, ’cause he said the body did not get the good news. And I could have kissed him because that’s right. The body did not get this good news. But the point being is like, oh my goodness, of course, of course. Now I have to say, there’s also the part that I reveled in almost like a child discovering something I had not ever known. And that is like, what’s it like to walk in the woods? What’s it like to do yoga? What’s it like to be sick and not be afraid? What’s it like to move? All this was like, from this state, this kind of like, oh, I’m not removed any longer. I’m not dissociated any longer. There is a congruency that’s going on here. That means I feel things I’ve never felt before. So easy? No. But something about it was like, wow.

Rick: So you’re experiencing everything for the first time in a way with fresh eyes.

Beth: Right, exactly.

Rick: Nice.

Beth: Exactly. Really nice. Really nice. Like, okay, very, very nice. So I went to yoga. I went to cranial sacral work. I went to Feldenkrais. I did hiking. I did full body meditation. I just like began a whole process of becoming familiar with and friendly, not to underestimate, friendly with my body and deaf. You know, because the one thing, it’s almost like, again, it’s not a real thing to delineate, but there was a way that my psyche had died. There was a way of a profound surrendering and letting go over time of a mental construct, and now there’s this kind of like letting go of a body, of this body.

Rick: Yeah, about the body, I mean, obviously the body is the instrument through which anything is experienced, including awakening. And as Jesus said, the body is the temple of the soul. And I think there’s a certain degree of opening or purification that would be necessary for awakening to dawn, or that would at least be conducive to it, make it likely. But that’s not necessarily a complete transformation of the body to the extent it can be transformed. But having done that… Remember Peace Pilgrim? Did you ever read her book?

Beth: No.

Rick: She was this great woman who just sort of walked around the United States with just basically a sweatshirt and sneakers and just totally trust, no possessions, no money, no nothing, and just completely threw herself on the mercy of the Divine. But she was in a very high state of consciousness. And I remember this chart she drew where she said about how evolution sort of goes, but then once awakening happens it sort of takes off like the global warming hockey stick. And because you have that sort of foundation of pure consciousness, which is like a solvent for cleaning up everything much more efficiently than it can otherwise be cleaned up. And that’s what you did. You just sort of engaged in all these things to accelerate the purification of the body.

Beth: Yeah. I like that word “solvent”.

Rick: Yeah.

Beth: Yes.

Rick: Yeah, it is like that.

Beth: Exactly.

Rick: I mean, if you think of water as being a solvent. You’ve heard me use this example, you dump a little mud into a glass of water and it can’t really handle it. There’s not enough water to dissolve the mud. But you throw the same handful into an ocean or even a swimming pool and it kind of dissolves because there’s enough vastness of the solvent of the water to dissolve the mud. So once pure consciousness dawns, or even if we can have momentary access to it, it’s very conducive to the purification of all these samskaras, they’re called, these impressions.

Beth: I’ll bet you anything that’s why it feels so effortless, because it’s happening on its own in that regard.

Rick: Yeah, yeah.

Beth: It’s just, it’s this, yeah.

Rick: You’re kind of on automatic and you’re not doing it.

Beth: It’s a natural process, exactly. It’s a natural process, yeah.

Rick: Yeah. As a matter of fact, how could we do it? It’s too complicated, you know? I mean, we couldn’t keep ourselves alive for two seconds if we had to sort of manage our heart and our breath and our blood flow and all that, our liver and all that stuff. But there’s a sort of a natural process for all this that we actually fully turn on once awakening takes place.

Beth: Yeah, isn’t that a relief?

Rick: Yeah.

Beth: Oh my God, oh my God, exactly, exactly.

Rick: A question came in from your namesake in Spokane, Washington, Beth. She wants to know, “In your experience, do you think that we/humans try to overanalyze enlightenment and try to interpret spirituality from the limited intellectual part of our mind instead of experiencing the universal loving force that manifests life all around us spontaneously and for no other reason than unbounded love?”

Beth: It certainly is something we do do. Absolutely something we do do until we don’t, until we don’t. And who knows what force or purpose it does in the meantime to try to get some kind of grokking of what this is all about? I don’t know. I mean, people wake up like that. People have my experience like applauding. It’s like, “I don’t know”, you know?

Rick: I think different people have different proclivities. You know, some are jnanis, some are bhaktas, some are more intellectual, some are more emotional or devotional. But I think there’s nothing wrong with any of those things according to your inclinations, and there’s certainly nothing wrong with an intellectual understanding of all this as long as you don’t mistake it for the actual realization.

Beth: Exactly. I think that’s a very good point. And let me add to that too. I don’t know whether I’m just making this up or not, but I would say for someone like myself with the level of trauma I had, there’s a way that I had to trust life over time. And part of that trusting was trying to comprehend something. And so it’s like, this is so big. It was a bit much to, without any kind of understanding, just go, “Okay, I don’t know if it’s true or not, but it’s possible”.

Rick: Also without understanding, there have been cases of genuine realization which terrified the person. They didn’t know what it was. I mean, the classic example is that book, “Collision with the Infinite” by Suzanne Segal, where she shifted into this awakened state. And although she had a background in this kind of stuff, she’d sort of left that behind a few years ago and she didn’t know what this was and it just totally terrified her. She couldn’t find a personal self anymore and she spent 10 years trying to find one until she finally relaxed with some help from Jean Klein and came to realize that she had actually shifted to an enlightened state. So intellectual understanding is important. It not only inspires us on the path to realize there’s something more, as you felt since childhood, but it also supplements and can safeguard the path to make us realize that something good is happening, which might otherwise be interpreted as something bad.

Beth: Horrifying.

Rick: Horrifying.

Beth: Horrifying. And to Beth’s point, in Washington, as you said also, until that’s no longer needed, and then it’s in the way, and then it’s in the way big time from any kind of direct contact with whatever is going on right here, right now.

Rick: You don’t need the crutches once the leg is healed. You don’t need the boat once the river is crossed.

Beth: Exactly. Right.

Rick: Beth had a follow-up question, which is, “Is suffering due to our lack of awareness of this love of all things or a feeling that we are not worthy of this love?”

Beth: Can you repeat the question, please?

Rick: Sure. “Is suffering due to our lack of awareness of this love of all things or a feeling that we are not worthy of this love?” And I’m not sure that necessarily is an either/or question. Maybe those are two facets of why suffering occurs. Go ahead and see what you can do with it.

Beth: Yeah, no, I think it is both. I really do. I think it is both. I think this business of feeling unworthy – oh my God, it is so ubiquitous. It is so… I wanted to cuss. It’s so ubiquitous. I mean, I understand. I really do. I mean, I don’t know how we would not, considering that we are taught that we are puny, we’re taught that we’re not connected, we’re taught that we’re not anything, we’re not whole. So how can we not? How can we not? That’s an inadequate… That’s a short-handed way of saying that. So without a doubt, we suffer as a result of that. My God, we suffer because we think we are inadequate. We suffer because we think we are unworthy. We suffer because we think we are alone. And I also think we do suffer because we are disconnected from the depths of what we really are, which is where the profound all-rightness is. So I think both are true.

Rick: Yeah, that’s just what I was going to add. We suffer because we’re constricted. And we sort of, if we think of ourselves or experience ourselves as only being this isolated little thing, then that is very conducive to suffering. Whereas if we realize that we are the field, we are the vastness, then things can happen to the little thing, the individuality, which might have been devastating. But if we’re sort of grounded in that, in being, then we can take them in stride so much more easily.

Beth: Absolutely. Absolutely. And I’ll add one other thing to suffering. We suffer when we interpret our pain. We suffer when we interpret our discomfort. So the very pure sensation of pain, the very pure sensation of grief or whatever, any emotion is not suffering. It does not feel like something is so massively wrong. And I think there’s a big misunderstanding about that. I don’t suffer, I don’t feel. And to me, the opposite, the exact opposite. The more awake I am, the more I’m feeling.

Rick: You’re not shut down anymore, like you were saying.

Beth: Exactly, or removed. Exactly.

Rick: And yet you have the capacity to feel. So if a person doesn’t have the capacity, then you don’t want to just impose feeling on them to any, maybe it’s a healthy protective mechanism that we shut down if we haven’t developed the capacity. But once the capacity is developed, then the armor can be taken off. We don’t have to lug it around anymore.

Beth: Well, you say that, I go back to one of the advantages of sitting with somebody is that somebody can be there with you as you increase your capacity. You’re not alone in this kind of, “This feels really bad”.

Rick: And spiritual practices can also increase capacity. You meditate regularly or something and you just get more and more deeply grounded in being and therefore more invulnerable in a way, but not because of your being closed down but because of being oceanic.

Beth: Yes, I think more vulnerable and invulnerable all at the same time.

Rick: Yeah, I remember seeing some verse about the sensitivity of a yogi is like that of the eyeball or something, just acutely sensitive. So feeling everything but having the sort of vastness to let it flow through and not be overwhelming.

Beth: Exactly, exactly.

Rick: A question came in from someone whose name is going to be very hard to pronounce. I’m sorry, I won’t do it right, I don’t think. It’s from Kosh or Dean Batotok or something like that from an even harder to pronounce place in Sweden. But anyway, he said, “So if you live in a kind of a ghetto or literally in a low energy place and meditate every day, is there any hope?” Yeah, I mean, I interviewed a guy a few months ago who was on death row for 18 years and kept himself sane through intense spiritual practice. It doesn’t get much worse than that.

Beth: Wow, nothing to add to that. Wow.

Rick: Look up that interview, Kosh. It’s Damien Echols. You’ll find it in the past interviews menu on Bad Cap. He was wrongly accused of murder and spent 18 years from the age of 18, ages of 18 through

Beth: Wow. Can I add one more thing to that? So there’s something about letting our hearts break open that is a gorgeous portal too. So I mean, it isn’t inconducive to be in a place where it’s so heart-breaking as you meditate and you can let yourself be open to it. The beautiful thing. Yeah.

Rick: Yeah, I have a friend, not a close friend, but someone I’ve known over the years in the Amma group and I just saw her in New Mexico and she has been doing spiritual practice since childhood and she is a nurse now and she started out her first nursing stint in the emergency room in a bad part of Albuquerque with all the sort of shootings and drug overdoses and everything coming in. And she just felt like she just had the capacity, having… I’m sure there are all kinds of people who don’t do spiritual practice who have that capacity, but burnout is a problem among teachers and nurses and policemen. I mean, look at all the police violence stuff that happens when they’ve just gotten so… And soldiers. I mean, all these people, they don’t necessarily have a way of releasing all the stress they encounter. And so it bottles up and eventually something erupts.

Beth: Well, especially if you’re giving from an ego rather than from vastness, we’re more prone to being burned out, you know? So far you can go.

Rick: You really have to recharge your batteries.

Beth: You do. You really do.

Rick: Yeah. Okay, here we go on to the next point. You’ve been very helpful in providing some good talking points here that we’re working our way through. So, let’s start with you, David.

Beth: Okay.

Rick: Well, maybe we’ve covered this. Let’s just see if there’s anything more to say about it. There’s an important conversation going on right now that I would love to be involved in, not only from the awakened perspective, but also from my decades of being a depth psychologist. I’m looking at the importance of facing, being with, and feeling our very real human pain, suffering, and experiences instead of the ubiquitous spiritual bypassing and not getting bogged down or stuck in the psychological inquiry and healing, missing the deeper essential reality of our true nature, the space between, this eternal openness that melts the paradox of “we are not here and we are fully here”. So we’ve kind of covered this, but I bet you there’s a bit more we can say about it before we move on.

Beth: Do you want to say more before I’m thinking about it?

Rick: No, I want you to. Oh, you’re going to think for a minute?

Beth: Okay. Yeah.

Rick: Let’s see if I come up with anything. Well, the stuff we’ve been saying about developing the capacity to feel pain, because perhaps being shut down is a protective mechanism that we are wired to do and we can’t help doing and maybe it has its purpose. The snail has its shell for a reason, the turtle has its shell, but if we really want to become – I mean, the notion of Brahman or the totality is that it encompasses or engulfs absolutely everything. And when the Upanishads say “Tattvamasi”, they’re saying, “You are that Brahman. You encompass or incorporate everything within your being”. So imagine the depth of strength as well as delicacy that one would have to have to really live that.

Beth: Yeah. And to develop that capacity seems to me requires a very strong willingness to feel. And I think that if… the most part, I think most people, most of us, we don’t want to feel bad. We don’t want to feel bad. And I think part of the spiritual bypassing is this, like, maybe I don’t need to feel bad or feel hurt or feel grief or crumble because somebody I love died. Like, you know?

Rick: They’re hoping that the bliss of enlightenment will sort of overshadow any pain or suffering that might arise in life, perhaps.

Beth: I think so, and also, as I’m sinking into it even more, it’s like there’s also something about becoming very transparent and clear with ourselves about our motivations and our biases and even just this kind of humility of, “There’s more I don’t know about myself. There’s more about being human than I don’t know”. So this kind of, again, back to that intersection of, “There’s nowhere to hide”. I think that’s really basically like a big bottom line. There’s nowhere to hide. There’s nowhere to hide in the denial of our humanity, and there’s nowhere to hide in the blissfulness of enlightenment. We are all here as beings, feeling beings with a certain sense of movement and energy that behooves us to be familiar with. It just behooves us.

Rick: Yeah. I have a friend who was on BatGap years ago who says that, decades ago, he awakened and he’s been living in that state ever since. But he says, still, he always had a gnarly sort of personality, didn’t get along well with people, and he was prone to depression and all. And after awakening, he still had a gnarly personality and was prone to depression. He actually has been going to a counselor and trying various medications in rather microscopic quantities because he seems to be very sensitive. And he finally found something which actually shifted him, and he feels like his whole behavior and his depression has changed for the better. But if we take him at his word that he has shifted, he’s in some enlightened state, fairly high, and yet experienced this stuff, it sort of might shift our conception of what enlightenment is or can be or might be. Maybe this kind of stuff is not necessarily wiped out by…

Beth: Exactly.

Rick: And certainly, I’ve seen certain enlightened people, I would say, get angry, shed tears, you know, all that stuff.

Beth: But you know what I think, I think where the profound shift is, is our orientation to that. Like I don’t identify with it.

Rick: Yeah, but it’s going on.

Beth: And I don’t judge it. And I’m not hard about it. And so there’s something about, and there’s where to me, unconditional love works its magic. But the idea of it not being there, I don’t know, that can really – talk about gnarly? That could be pretty gnarly, you know?

Rick: A question came in from Gloria in El Campo, which I presume is California, it doesn’t say. She said, “Hi Beth, you were going to speak of what you noticed looking out of your eyes after the retreat but were interrupted”, probably by me, sorry about that. “I wonder, what did you notice looking out of your eyes as you sat on the couch after the retreat? Thank you”.

Beth: How lovely, how lovely. So let’s say this is a very subtle experience because actually where it was mostly noticeable, I got up off the couch and I walked down to Fillmore Street, which is about a 20-minute walk from my apartment. I can’t tell you how many times I have walked down to that street. I cannot tell you how many times I have walked on that street. I cannot tell you how many times I have seen the stores, the people, da, da, da. So that was what was so remarkable to me, is like I’m walking down and I’m seeing the same trees, the same stores, the same sidewalk, in some case, maybe even the same folks who are still walking the street, and it’s like, but I’m seeing everything in this kind of direct contact that I can only say is like awareness is looking at it, not this kind of like, “Oh, I like that”, or like, “Whoops, yuck”, all that kind of like, “Oh, maybe I’ll get that”, all that kind of – I don’t mean this pejoratively – ego chatter.

Rick: Yeah, I was just going to say chatter, yeah.

Beth: All that kind of ego chatter that would go on, that would indicate, interpret, perceive, comment on everything was gone. It just wasn’t there, and it was just sort of like this breath of fresh air, like a cool breeze, a cool breeze, and I think what made it so cool is that it was everything that was so familiar. So I couldn’t say, “Oh, of course, I’ve never seen this meadow before, and isn’t it gorgeous?” No, it’s everything familiar, and it’s really lovely. Simply just, there it is. So like that.

Rick: Yeah, yeah. Jesus talks about being like little children, except you be as little children, you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven. So it’s kind of like you were looking at things with innocent, fresh eyes without all the overlay of interpretation and conditioning and stuff. And has that persisted, or did you get back into more of a chatter mind?

Beth: No, it persisted, meaning that when the mind starts chattering, it’s like this awareness watching it.

Rick: Yeah.

Beth: It’s another lamppost on Fillmore Street.

Rick: Yeah, you’re not caught in the chatter.

Beth: Right, and even if I do get caught, even there, it’s like there’s a knowing of like, “Oh, so pay attention. Maybe there’s something that needs to be revealed here”. But again, I cannot emphasize enough how different it is to not judge myself, to not have that kind of like both interpretation and judgment and shame. Oh my God.

Rick: You had done a lot of that, I take it.

Beth: Oh my God. And so just this like, “Oh, okay, okay”. And not that it feels necessarily good. I’m not trying to make it, like sanitize it, but the orientation to it is to me a game changer.

Rick: That’s nice. It’s well put. How many years ago was that awakening on the couch?

Beth: Five and a half.

Rick: Five and a half.

Beth: Almost six.

Rick: That’s pretty impressive. You’re like almost 76. You really look great.

Beth: I’m almost 77. Thank you so much.

Rick: Almost 77. Yeah, you look fantastic.

Beth: Thank you. Thank you, consciousness and good genes.

Rick: Good genes, yeah. I never would have guessed.

Beth: Yeah.

Rick: I never would have guessed. So, if you could sort of track the past five, five and a half years, do you see a kind of a course that your life has taken? I mean, maybe it’s the same thing at deeper and deeper levels, but do you, I mean, let me ask it another way and see if this helps. You know, if you look at the way your life has gone over the past five years, you could perhaps tell us about that a little bit, but then if it continues to go in this way, how do you see it going over the next five years? Or is that sort of, do you not think in terms of so much outside the present?

Beth: I don’t think outside of the present, but I think I can actually respond to what I think you’re asking. Because I’ll tell you something that has happened recently that got my attention big time, big time. It started about January of this year. Let me give you a little bit of background. I had breast cancer twice. The second time was 10 years ago. So this January, I developed a pain that got my attention and did not go away. It was in my back. And I said, and I had this like, huh, I have to wonder, I just have to wonder, might this be cancer? So I called my oncologist and it was about a two or three week period of time before I could get an appointment. And the first thing that I noticed is that I didn’t push that. I didn’t call back and say, “oh my God, do you have anything sooner?” Okay? That was the first thing. In that period of time, whether it was two weeks or three weeks, something went on that actually was completely delightful. Again, unbidden, absolutely unbidden. It was this ongoing deepening, deepening, deepening of me being gone. Gone. I mean gone. And so real. I mean, this really real. And then I started looking around my apartment at the different things that I have and almost everything that I have has some kind of association to someone I love or somewhere I’ve traveled or something that has meant something to me in my life. And I found myself again, unbidden and in this very kind of sweet rhythmic process of saying goodbye. Okay. Saying goodbye to this and goodbye to that. Getting to my kids and oh my God, just like that was heart-breaking. I mean, that was just heart-breaking. On and on and on and on. Time comes for me to go to the doctor. So this went again, this went on. But I think maybe I’m being able to communicate to you how real this was. And I think the reason I keep saying it that way is because it was like, I’m going, this is really real. Okay. Oh my God. Okay. So I go to the doctor, she tests my lungs, she tests my back, and I am cancer-free. And I find myself disappointed.

Rick: I went to all that trouble saying goodbye to everything and now I’m not going to die.

Beth: And that was part of it. Part of it because it felt so real. It felt like, okay, this is what’s happening. Okay. But then the other thing that it occurred to me is like, there’s some way I feel finished. Like I came – this is how it feels to me- I came to wake up. Okay. Yeah. Meaning in a very very very deep way. Okay. And I don’t mean this in any kind of light way. There’s nobody in my life that cannot be all right without me. And I’m not talking about not missing me. I’m not talking about, oh my God, but I’m talking about, am I leaving anything unfinished here? Am I leaving anyone in the lurch? No, no. Okay. So I sat with that, like that was, I sat with the disappointment. I sat with like, huh. And I often hear like, what might be needed and what I heard at that time is like, be still and know that I am God. Be still and know that I am God. And I must’ve spent hours. I have a very lovely state park close to my home and there’s a eucalyptus grove. I call it my cathedral. I must’ve sat there for hours and hours and hours. I wasn’t sleeping well. I was very tired and I just sat still, still, still, still, still. One day shortly after that, I got up for breakfast. I started cutting up a strawberry and I look at the strawberry and I’m like – I’ll see if I can even capture what that moment was like. I can’t capture the moment, but I will tell you the knowing that came out of that is like, oh, I’m here to eat strawberries. Nothing else, nothing else. And I’m going to say something like almost conceptual in retrospect. It’s like some kind of doing, some kind of like here for a purpose must have just dropped away because it’s not like being in direct contact is new for me, but it’s a depth of being in direct contact with nothing else mattering, nothing else mattering that sort of like went, oh, okay. That’s it. There’s nothing else. And so it brings me in the present into a here and now in a deeper way, in a deeper way. So to respond to your question, it’s like I could almost make a case for a five, almost six, year process of embodiment and a realization in an embodied kind of way. And then this kind of like, oh, okay, nothing, there’s nothing needed, but right here, this right now, that’s it. That’s it. And not conceptually, you know?

Rick: Yeah. Well, all is well and wisely put. And there was a song by this jazz guy who years ago, I think it might have been Miles Davis or Cannonball Adderley or somebody said, “The creator has a master plan”. That was the name of the song. And it’s like it’s not in our hands. And also, even if you’re just eating strawberries, the very presence on earth of an awakened person is quite a rarity. And I think it makes a tremendous contribution to humanity to have such people around, even if they’re just living ordinary lives out of the public eye in every respect. We’re all linked, we’re all interconnected, and every single awakened person is undoubtedly stirring or enlivening something in the collective consciousness which very much needs enlivening.

Beth: Amen, right?

Rick: Yeah.

Beth: Amen.

Rick: Yeah.

Beth: Amen. Exactly.

Rick: I mean, no man is an island. You know, we’re not isolated as we may appear to be. So we radiate an influence all the time.

Beth: Yeah, yeah.

Rick: A question came in from Aaron in Dunedin, New Zealand. Aaron asks, “Where is the knowing of your experience? Does knowing of what is happening right now shift somehow? Is it your personality that shifts?”

Beth: Wow, great question. Great question. I’d say it’s awareness that’s knowing, and it just depends upon what awareness is attuned to, and it just moves from that to that to that to that.

Rick: So you mean if awareness is object-oriented or object-referral, then that’s one thing, but if it’s self-referral, that’s another thing? That’s how the self is known by self-referral sort of mechanics?

Beth: I don’t quite get that question, and maybe I didn’t get his question well.

Rick: Well, it’s like there’s a verse in the Gita which says, “The self knows itself by itself”. So what else can know the self? Because if we could step apart from it and know it, then it couldn’t be the knower, just as the eyeball cannot perceive itself. So what is the knowing of your experience? And your answer, I think, kind of addressed it in that way, sort of awareness of self-referral awareness kind of thing.

Beth: Thank you. Yeah, yeah, gig yes. I guess I’m going to say the same thing again, maybe a little different way. It’s like if awareness, what’s awareness attending to, that’s what it’s knowing. So like right now, I’m knowing our conversation. Sitting by myself, I might be knowing how I feel, I might be knowing the sunshine coming through, you know? But it just depends upon what’s being attuned or attended to in this moment. That’s what’s known.

Rick: And would it be true to say that living presence is not a matter of reminding yourself of it or checking in to make sure it’s there or any such thing? It’s kind of like breathing or any really automatic process after a while, it just abides regardless of whether you think about it or not.

Beth: I think that’s the gift of awakening. That’s the remarkable gift of awakening is that it’s effortless. Awareness is on its own, present, 100% of the time.

Rick: And obviously it’s not a thing that can be thought about anyway, that would just be a concept. So what it actually is, is something which would have to be spontaneous and automatic once realized, because otherwise you’d lose it when you fell asleep or when you burned your hand or something. It would just be – and if there’s that – I keep quoting the Gita here – but there’s that saying, “The unreal has no being, the real never ceases to be”. So how could the reality actually come and go? If it could, then the universe would be on very shaky ground.

Beth: Yeah, yeah. I think that’s also the humbleness of the whole thing. I have to say when you say that and I think back about not knowing that when it was true all along, even when I didn’t know it, it was still true. So there’s something very – I find it deliciously humbling. Like, yeah, great.

Rick: Was that part of the realization when it dawned, which often people say, which is like, “Oh, yeah, this has always been here. I just didn’t notice it”, that kind of thing?

Beth: Honest to God, honest to God. Right? Tutankhamun, that was my association when he found that the tomb was true, what he had been looking for all those years.

Rick: You mean the archaeologist who found that tomb? Is that it?

Beth: Yes. Yeah, yeah. Sorry. Yeah, unclear. Yeah, but from childhood I’ve had this…

Rick: Think of it.

Beth: I know, I know. I don’t know what I know, but I know I know. And so there was that moment, it’s like, “I’ll be darned. It’s true”.

Rick: Yeah.

Beth: And I have to tell you, I still feel a little bit of a pinch me, kind of like, “It’s really true. It’s really true”. And you might relate to this, living in the world we live in, it’s like, this is not the currency. So that too makes me even more like, “And look, it’s true”. Even though nobody’s talking about, well, most people are not talking about it. And it’s often put into some kind of pejorative lens or box. So that’s also what makes me pinch myself, like, “It’s true. It’s true”. And thank God, like you said, that others, like, “Right?” It’s like, “Oh, okay. The many singing this song, many singing this song, thank goodness”.

Rick: Right, and have been for thousands of years.

Beth: Forever.

Rick: And have sometimes been crucified or burned at the stake for singing it.

Beth: Exactly.

Rick: Because people were expecting a different song. They thought, “Well, our books tell us the song should go this way, and you don’t sound like you’re singing that one, so let’s kill you”.

Beth: Absolutely. Absolutely.

Rick: I mean, that’s very true. There was an age only a few hundred years ago where you and I would have been killed for talking this way publicly. So fortunately, we live in a more enlightened age.

Beth: Well, one of my ongoing reflections over the years has been around Jesus’ crucifixion for that reason, for many many reasons. But it’s like it was in the back of my mind for years and years and years and years. What is that, really? What is that?

Rick: Yeah. Well, one thing it is pertains to something we’ve been talking about, which is, could that realization be maintained in the midst of such a dire circumstance, in the midst of such a horrific experience?

Beth: Exactly.

Rick: Did he have the depth of realization to maintain it? And if so, did he actually suffer? Or was he actually residing in a realm that was beyond the reach of suffering?

Beth: Beautiful. Well, I mean, who knows?

Rick: It’s just a question.

Beth: No, but I can tell you for myself personally, that’s been the question. I mean, that’s definitely a question. And it’s like, I think that’s the other pinch me. It’s like, oh yeah, it is real, even in the midst. It is real. It is, even in the midst. And even in the depth of feeling and the mishagas of this crazy, chattering mind, like, you know, it’s still real. It’s still real.

Rick: And we may hopefully reach a time when people would listen to this. Maybe this interview will be online for a hundred years or more, and people will listen to it and say, “Isn’t it weird that the way they thought this was such a big deal back in those days?” You know, it’s like, isn’t it obvious? Doesn’t everybody know this now? Society could shift to that extent.

Beth: May it be so.

Rick: Yeah.

Beth: God, may it be so.

Rick: Yeah.

Beth: May it be so.

Rick: I really hope it will be. And there are various predictions who say it will, that we’re going to shift into a much brighter age. And there are ancient records of ages that were like this, when it was more common knowledge. So things move in cycles, and hopefully we’re on the upswing. Seems like it.

Beth: We’ll see. We’ll see, yeah.

Rick: I mean, actually, they’re contending forces. It seems like we could also be on the downswing, if we want to look at it that way. So.

Beth: Yeah.

Rick: Yeah. Well, I think we’re on the right team. At least, it’s the team I want to be on.

Beth: Me too.

Rick: Yeah.

Beth: Me too. Me too.

Rick: Well, thank you for talking to me. Your website, which I’ll be linking to, is And what do you have to offer people? How do you interact with people?

Beth: I do see people one-to-one in my home. I do see people on Skype. I probably, I think, thought about this before you and I spoke. I think it’ll be obvious from our conversation that there’s a way that I can help people psychologically. But I also think, especially as an integration embodiment of awakening, from the perspective of what’s still happening in the human condition, what’s still happening, I would like to offer myself there.

Rick: Okay. And it says on your website that you actually offer a free half-hour consultation to begin with.

Beth: Yes, I do.

Rick: People can take it from there if they want.

Beth: That’s right. It’s true. Yes. Yeah.

Rick: Well, that’s nice. You may find yourself a little bit overwhelmed with those free half-hour consultations for a while.

Beth: I’ll be bowing to you, Rick.

Rick: All right. It’s like, “Oh, my God. I should have taken that off the website”.

Beth: I’ll be bowing to you or I’ll be calling you at 3 o’clock in the morning.

Rick: Edit that out, please. Yeah. Well, good. That’s nice. All right. So to those who have been listening or watching, you know who I’ve been speaking with, Beth Miller. And as always, I’ll have a page up on BatGap about Beth, and with a link to this interview, link to the audio podcast of it, and a link to her website, which you can go and explore. And if you feel so inclined, perhaps take her up on that offer. And do you ever do retreats or anything like that?

Beth: I do writing retreats.

Rick: Writing retreats.

Beth: I do writing retreats. And actually, I can well imagine doing retreats.

Rick: Okay. It could evolve into that.

Beth: I think it could evolve into that. Yes.

Rick: Yeah.

Beth: Yeah.

Rick: Good. All right. Well, we’ll see how it goes. But anyway, stick around. I’m glad that you decided not to die. It’s good to have you here. I mean, you hadn’t done your BatGap interview. That has to be on your bucket list, right?

Beth: Yeah. [Laughs] I so thank you for your service. So thank you. So thank you.

Rick: It’s a joy. You know, it’s…

Beth: I mean, it’s a… yeah.

Rick: It’s not work.

Beth: Yeah. Well, that’s what makes it such a pleasure.

Rick: Yeah.

Beth: For us, too. For us, too.

Rick: Right. And you’re thanking a bunch of us. You’re thanking Irene without whom…

Beth: Yes. Yes.

Rick: And Dan and Jerry and Angel and various people who help with all this. It’s…

Beth: Thank you.

Rick: Couldn’t do it without them all.

Beth: Thank you. I had some lovely encounters with Jerry. I think we’re fast friends.

Rick: Oh, good. Yeah, a lot of people say that about Jerry. Jerry’s the guy who helps ahead of time getting people set up technically with their camera and their microphone and all that stuff. And so often I hear from people, “Wow, what a great guy Jerry is. You know, I really enjoyed meeting him”. Sometimes they end up with having long philosophical conversations with him and stuff.

Beth: No, he was a godsend. He couldn’t have been sweeter and he couldn’t have been more helpful. And I don’t know anything about technology. So he took me from zero to this.

Rick: Yeah. Great.

Beth: Yeah.

Rick: Okay. Well, thanks so much, Beth.

Beth: Thank you.

Rick: It’s really been nice getting to know you better. Hope to see you.

Beth: Thank you.

Rick: Maybe we’ll see you out at the Science and Nonduality Conference or something if you feel like going there. But in any case, we’ll stay in touch. And thanks to the…

Beth: Thank you.

Rick: Yeah, thanks to… I just want to thank those who’ve been listening or watching. Next week I’ll be interviewing a woman in Israel named Georgi Johnson. And so stay tuned for that. And if you’d like to be notified of future interviews – of new interviews whenever they’re released, there’s a mailing list sign-up thing on And I’ve mentioned the audio podcast, which you can do. Some people don’t have time to sit in front of their computer. And also I mentioned the PayPal donation thing if you feel like contributing. There’s a PayPal button on every page of the site. So thanks for listening or watching. And we’ll see you for the next one.