Rick: Welcome to Buddha at the Gas Pump. My name is Rick Archer. Buddha at the Gas Pump is an ongoing series of conversations with spiritually awakening people. I’ve done about 530 of them now, and if this is new to you and you’d like to check out previous ones, please go to batgap.com and look under the past interviews menu, where you’ll find all the previous ones archived in three different ways. This program is made possible by the support of appreciative listeners and viewers, so if you appreciate it and feel like supporting it, there’s a PayPal button on every page of the website. My guest today is Bill McDonald, who was on the show about a year ago, and last time we talked for almost three hours, and Bill told loads of stories about his experiences in Vietnam which were not just Vietnam, but all these kind of far-out experiences that he had as he’s been having most of his life and India, and things he has undergone with surgery, and then the kind of mystical, magical events that took place around that, and all these stories are in the previous interview, plus he’s told them in other places and he’s done over 800 interviews I think. So this time, we’re not going to talk about those kinds of things, we want to get a little bit more philosophical about it and talk about some deeper principles of life topics such as reincarnation, and karma, and free will, and manifesting, and spirituality, and health, and gurus, and all kinds of things whatever else comes up, and whatever the listeners may happen to send in by way of questions. You know, the theme of this show is conversations with spiritually awakening people, and sometimes people complain that I talk too much, and maybe sometimes I do, but this one is definitely going to be a conversation. So Bill and I will be going back and forth, so don’t get too upset if I talk.
Bill: Not at all.
Rick: Bill, oh, I should add that Bill and I have stayed in touch since his first interview. We’ve become good friends, we’ve had a number of Skype chats together. He was at the Science and Non-duality conference last year, hung out there a little bit. So we wanted to have him back for another interview, particularly since, as you may have heard in the first interview if you listened to it, he had a naughty palm reading in India which predicted that this particular year is potentially a dangerous one for him. So he just told me a few minutes ago that if he makes it to his next birthday, he could be around for a while, but otherwise this could be a challenging year. So we want to make sure to catch him again while he’s still on the planet.
Bill: It’s always good to wake up alive, right?
Rick: Yeah, yeah. Or to wake up and find out that even if you’re dead, you’re alive.
Bill: There you go. It’s all good. It’s all good.
Bill: But it was good seeing you at the S.A.N.D. conference, and actually I got to meet some people that have been on your show.
Rick: Oh, yeah, lots of them.
Bill: Kind of elite alumni of souls. And so I wanted to come back on here because I felt last time I might have inspired a lot of people with my stories, that’s not a problem. But once you inspire somebody, what are you inspiring them to do? How do they connect the dots for their own life? What do they take away from that besides, well, that’s a great story and they feel good for an hour. So I’m kind of changing my game plan when I’m doing interviews and things. So I’m thinking people are tuning in. Why? Because what’s in it for them? I mean, let’s get real. What’s in it for them? What gift can they get? What knowledge do you or I or other people on your show, what little pearls of wisdom can we drop to them? What have we learned we can pass along? So that’s kind of like my pathway now. It’s like, no, it’s time to give somebody something. Stop talking about the menu. Serve them a meal, right? Here’s how you eat it, right? So that’s kind of where we’re at.
Rick: Yeah, also, we don’t want people to hear stories about, oh, I touched a helicopter and all of a sudden I realized what was going to happen to this helicopter, or I had this intuition that I should leave work in the middle of the day and then I picked up this hitchhiker and it made a huge difference. I mean, because a lot of people don’t have experiences like that. It’s just not wired that way, you know? But it doesn’t mean that they’re not spiritually evolved and evolving and so on, it’s just that different people are wired differently and you just happen to have all these kind of flashy experiences.
Bill: A freak of nature. You know what I tell people, I tell you who I admire. I admire those people that meditate every morning and every night and they have no experiences. They got no measuring stick to say, wow, I went into this, this happened, I’m getting intuitive or whatever, but they do it anyway. They do it anyway, every day, every evening, and to me that’s great faith. It’s easy to have faith. It’s easy to believe when you know. It’s like, yeah, I know this will happen. That’s easy. That’s like people say, oh, you’re such a hero from Vietnam because I got decorated all these medals and everything. But if you know what’s going to happen, you’re not really a hero. You’ve been there before. It’s like a play, right? You walk through it and people are shooting dad jinks. They don’t get me, I’m okay. But the guy that’s afraid, I mean, can you imagine, and I try to put myself as somebody else, can you imagine waking up every day and not really know what’s going to happen? I mean, that happens to people. The normal people I’m finding out, they wake up and it’s like, wow, how could you be so upbeat? I said, well, I know how it ends. But for people, they don’t know that.
Rick: That’s an interesting thought. Because sometimes when somebody dies suddenly, sometimes it’s a friend of mine or sometimes it’s somebody I don’t even know, but you hear about on the news, they just die. And you think, you know, that person got up in the morning, brushed his teeth, ate breakfast, watched the news, did all this normal stuff. He had no idea that he was not even going to be on the planet by three o’clock in the afternoon. Isn’t that fascinating?
Bill: I’ll tell you what brought this home. I’ll tell a story I had. I don’t think I’ve told the story except in my book. And I was getting all these premonitions about airplanes crashing, people getting into accidents, people shooting people. I mean, all kinds of international and national stuff. I mean, it was coming to me. And it was like, well, if I know all this stuff, what good does it do? If I know all this stuff’s gonna happen and I have no ways or means or contact to help any of these people before it happens, and is that my job to sound the alarm? You know, like on an airplane crash, you imagine calling up an airplane, airport, hey, you know, your airplane flight’s on today. Don’t let anybody on the airplane. I’d have FBI at my house.
Rick: Yeah, exactly.
Bill: They’d be taking me away, right? Especially if it crashed. So I was feeling really overwhelmed by this thinking, why do I got knowledge about this if it’s not serving any purpose? And I actually muttered this, and you gotta realize when you say things sometimes, words and intentions have power. And I go, I wish I didn’t have this ability at all. I woke up the next morning and it was like I was blind and deaf and couldn’t feel anything. I went two weeks without knowing what’s gonna happen in the next hour, day, nothing. Totally shut down. And it felt so terrible. And then I realized, my God, this is how everybody else is. They don’t know, because every decision I’ve made in my life is based on intuition. Well, it feels right, let’s do that. Well, no, the numbers, don’t forget the numbers, don’t forget the data. Here’s what we should do, right? Always go with that. And if you take away that ability from somebody, that’s like taking away their sight. So I went two weeks and I cried and I meditated and I prayed and I suffered. Okay, all right, I take it back. And it did come back. But it was like a huge lesson for me, because two things happened. Number one, I really appreciate the ability. Number two, I found out that almost every decision in my life, from what I eat to everything is gauged on my feelings. It’s all intuition-based. I’m not a logical person at all. And then a huge part of me became very empathetic. I’m going, my God, I’m telling these people all the time, I don’t worry about it. Come on, cheer up. And it’s like, no, the guy says, no, I’m depressed, man. I don’t know what’s happening, all this stuff. And now I get it. I get it. They don’t know. So and as I get older now, I have an expression, it’s getting harder for me to remember tomorrow. People look at you, what? But for some people, they have a hard enough time knowing what’s going to happen 10 seconds from now. It’s like they have no grasp of anything intuitive.
Rick: Yeah, I heard an interesting statistic recently, which was that on 9/11, the occupancy of the four planes that crashed was way below what it ordinarily is or was for those particular flights on those particular days of the week. And they’re just somehow, in a way that they weren’t even conscious of, intuitively it seems people decided not to book seats on those particular flights far fewer people than ordinarily would. So I forget who I heard this from, but it was a discussion about this kind of thing, how we do have an intuition functioning that we may not even be aware is functioning, but it actually does guide us to some extent.
Bill: Oh, I’m a big believer that everybody has it. The question is this, do you want to turn up the volume and listen to it? It’s our own skeptical mind. We choose not to see, we choose not to hear, we don’t believe. Our own belief system holds it out. But you know, sometimes people make some illogical things where they stop, they pause, and it just makes the difference, right? So a part of them is listening, and I really do believe that when you meditate, you clear your mind and you get into that space, you can improve upon and amplify these abilities. And that’s not why you meditate, of course, but it’s an after effect.
Rick: Yeah, side benefit kind of thing. And also, would it be true to say that the more you pay attention to these things when they do arise, the clearer and stronger they get, and the more you ignore them, the more you dull them down?
Bill: Which is true with our children. Our children come in, and I think this is on a high level, they’ve got more concept of what’s going on because they see fairies and angels and all kinds of things, and they believe in everything. And what we do is we just beat them up with reality our reality. There’s no such thing. But we’re telling them, “But Santa Claus is real, Easter Bunny’s real, Tooth Fairy’s real, but don’t believe in seeing angels, come on!”
Rick: Right, “6 o’clock news is real.”
Bill: Yeah, geez.
Rick: Well, that’s interesting. Okay, so we’re talking about intuition here, and we’re going to get on to many other topics. Another interesting thing that we could discuss well, here’s a thought. I mean, a lot of the topics we’re going to discuss reincarnation, karma, free will, manifesting and so on some people believe these things, some people don’t. For me, it’s like I don’t have to be adamantly certain of them. They’re very viable hypotheses which seem to have a lot of logic and evidence to them, but there’s also an intuitive sense about them. You know, you just have a gut feeling that this is kind of the way the universe works. And you might wonder, “Well, is that just because I’ve read a lot of books and thought about it this way, and so it’s just a bias or an assumption that has gotten ingrained?” Or can one really gain knowledge about the universe through kind of an intuitive feeling, so that it’s not really a matter of one guy’s opinion is as good as the other? Some people are actually more in tune with the mechanics of things.
Bill: Well, again, but you have to throw in another factor here time. Einstein comes up with his theory, right? The 1930s or whatever it was.
Rick: Even earlier, yeah.
Bill: There was guys, geniuses Michelangelo and all these other greats, right? They didn’t have that same exact thought. They were still at another level, but they were smart people. And then now we’re talking about things that string, you know, strings. This is evolving. So Einstein’s truth, 100 years from now, that will be altered and changed, perhaps. So as we grow and I think the proper term would be “grow” instead of “evolve,” either way works but as we move, truth moves. So as a child, you had childish thoughts, you think certain things. As you get older, you think you know more. I’m at that stage now where, you know, at 74, I’m looking and saying, “I don’t know nothing anymore.” And the thing is this, if you told me the sky was purple and you were happy with that, I’m not going to beat you up. You don’t have to have my reality. It’s okay to think different. It’s okay to believe different. That’s the problem with this world, because we’ve got political parties that each think they’re right. We’ve got religions that all think they’re the chosen ones, all think they’re right. And whatever I believe, that’s got to be the truth. I said, “You know what? If you believe it and it’s true for you, great. If I believe this, great. But I don’t have any locked in, ‘this is ultimate truth’ anymore other than love. If there’s love involved, then we’re close to the truth, right? There’s something there.” But we’re trying to analyze the material world. Let’s just take the material world. All right? We’re trying to take a look at this material world, which I tell people is not real. I mean, somebody asked me about, I was on some talk show and somebody said, “Well, you believe in reincarnation.” I said, “I believe in dreams. Reincarnation, there is no such thing as reincarnation. It’s a dream within a dream. So if we’re all one, we’re all God, and we’re all having this material world experience, which is his dream or her dream, then how can there be reincarnation? Because within this dream, we dreamt we were somebody in a previous lifetime or millions of lifetimes or whatever, but ultimately we’re all one.” That’s why I always laugh when somebody says, “Well, in a previous lifetime, I was John the Baptist and I walked with Jesus.” And I go, “You know, in the essence, that’s true. But we all were John the Baptist. We were all Jesus. We were all everybody because we’re only one. So therefore, in every existence, all one.”
Rick: Yeah, I think this gets us into the topic of multidimensionality. If we say it’s all a dream and there’s not reincarnation because it’s all a dream, what we’re basically saying is there’s no universe because it’s all a dream. But if we acknowledge the existence of a universe, and actually we are implicitly acknowledging that now by actually having a conversation and wearing clothing and eating food and living as if this is all real enough, then all kinds of possibilities are there within that, you know, call it a dream if you like, but there’s reincarnation or angels or whatever else may exist in this universe, they all exist. Albeit in a relative sense, ultimately at the level of the vacuum state or the unified field where creation has not yet even emerged at any given time, there’s nothing there, but the potentiality for all the emergence is there. And once the emergence has taken place, and it continues to take place I mean, all these dimensions exist simultaneously then, well, let me give you an example. There’s a word in Vedanta called “mithya” and it means “conditional reality” and they use the example of pots. So let’s say I have a room full of clay pots, and you could truthfully say that there are no pots in that room, it’s only clay. But it’s also true that there are pots, even though they’re nothing but clay, we recognize them as pots, we use them as pots, we put things in them or play them as drums or whatever. So there’s this sort of paradoxical, both/and kind of thing that we can do and straddle these different dimensions simultaneously in our understanding and in our experience.
Bill: We can also say there is no pots, there is no clay, it’s atoms.
Rick: We could say that, yep.
Bill: So you’ve got all these different levels.
Rick: And we could say there’s no atoms, it’s only up quarks, down quarks and electrons.
Bill: Time is a factor. In a creative world, you have time, and therefore you have reincarnation, therefore you have tomorrow, you have yesterday, you have things. Without time, you can’t have any of that. So that’s the big thing about the material world, you think about the time and space, well take away the time, you’ve got nothing. And of course there is nothing, you can go that theory too, I mean, what’s space? Space is something, there’s something in space, even though it is labeled as nothing. So ultimately, I come back to this, what you or I believe makes no difference. It doesn’t change whatever is.
Bill: Now, but also, what you and I believe does create a different reality at times as well.
Rick: For us at least.
Bill: Yeah, for us. And what we believe is our truth. And we create a lot of things that we believe. If you believe nobody loves you, or the boss is going to fire you, all these negative thoughts you can have, you believe them, they manifest. Just as if you think you’re invincible, well, you’re a great basketball player and you believe you can beat anybody on the planet, you’re probably going to be pretty good, because if you believe that, you’re going to manifest that as well.
Rick: Yeah, but if you or I believed that and went up against LeBron James, we probably wouldn’t do so well. We’d probably have to adjust our belief after a few minutes.
Bill: His belief is stronger than ours.
Rick: His body is too.
Bill: Yeah, but no, that’s why this whole thing about, “Well, believe something and you can manifest it,” and I’m trying to tell people, “No, I want to beat Michael Jordan in a basketball game and it’s never going to happen. I don’t care what anybody ever says.” But just because you think you can do it, you tell, “Oh, these children, teach them they can be anything they want to be.” That’s not true. I know some children out there, they tie their shoe and they wipe their nose, I’m happy for them. And then I’ve seen people that are geniuses. So there’s all these different packages of potentiality. Now ultimately you can say it’s all for all one, there’s the potentiality, it’s the same for everybody, but in this particular shell, this lifetime, in this body, in these circumstances that we have created, we have created also limitations set by our karma. Therefore my karma says I’m only five foot six or five foot seven, and I got an IQ that’s average, there I am, right? And I can’t play the piano. So if you believe something, well that’s good and well, but manifesting something is a whole different level. But you have to have some basics. You have to have karma. I mean, they talk about manifesting all these beautiful things. You know what? If your karma is a poverty stricken karma, and you got these debts to pay, no matter how much you try to manifest, you’re going to have difficulties.
Rick: There’s a saying, an old Sanskrit saying, “First deserve, then desire.”
Bill: Yeah, and as long as we’re desiring things, we’re hung up in this material world, and it’s only when we reach that level where we’re not desiring things, meaning things, even enlightenment’s a thing. Even being joyful and peaceful, these are all things. But if you only desire to love God, and you see God in everything, everything, and in everyone, then to me that’s the path. The path is being focused on the singularity of the one. And then I get people coming to me and they go, “Well, should I follow this guru? Or I should follow this guru?” And I tell people, there’s only one guru. One. And it’s within all gurus, and within ourselves, this one guru, God. And so be very careful how you treat your guru. Treat every guru, every person you come, treat everybody like God, not just your guru. But treat all with that respect. You don’t have to like everybody, but you do have to love everybody.
Rick: Yeah, and speaking of gurus, some gurus say that basically they see everyone as God or as the self, whether or not the people recognize that in themselves, the guru sees it or some people can see it. And you know, regarding, what was I going to say? I don’t know, we’ll continue.
Bill: Well, we were talking the other day about gurus and stuff, and my whole thing with gurus are this. Number one, do I think you need one? Yeah, I’ve seen the problems with people that try to forego no guru, be their own self-guru. You’re delusional because you really can’t see yourself in the mirror as somebody else could. So it’s always good to have a guru that can see those things and faults in you and help you come to a place. Hopefully you pick a wise guru, you pick somebody that reflects your values, et cetera. That’s not the whole issue. But seeking a guru, an outer guru is a path. And I see people get turned off by a bad guru here or a bad guru there, and then it’s like, “I don’t want no gurus.”
Bill: You know?
Rick: This is sort of throw the baby out with the bathwater.
Bill: I’ve seen this with a friend that was Catholic, and she had a bad Catholic priest, and next thing you know she was anti-Catholicism. I’m going, “Wait a second, you lived 60 years as a Catholic and you run into a bad Catholic priest and now you’re against the whole religion?” You know, and I’ve seen the same thing with people leaving the Mormon church, the Scientist, whatever group they’re with. And then the group that nurtured them for better, for worse, sickness and health, whatever, the group that they were with, all of a sudden they’re at war with, instead of just saying, “Well, you know, maybe I just grew a different way, but I respect what they taught me. I respect what they learned. I honor,” in other words, honor your old teachers. And it doesn’t mean you can’t move on. It doesn’t mean you can’t change, but you don’t go out and bash the old teacher. It’s just not good.
Rick: I think there are shades of gray with issues like this. For instance, there were some people who got out of Jonestown alive. I don’t think they necessarily have to feel like Jim Jones was a great guy or anything, or that that was a healthy environment. So there’s a spectrum from the really sick to the very wholesome and all kinds of things in between. But, you know, I think ultimately we have to, you know, sure we can have a guru or not. I wouldn’t say it’s a universal prescription, at least not for everybody all the time, but we have to exercise and perhaps strengthen our discriminative abilities so that we don’t get suckered into something, you know, that’s really corrupt or corrosive.
Bill: Well, let’s talk about that because here’s what I say. First off, when I say guru, I mean teachers, pastors. They don’t have to be all Hindus. They could be Buddhist. They could be a Catholic priest, but whoever is your religious spiritual guide.
Rick: Spiritual teacher.
Bill: Spiritual teacher, which is a better word than guru. But by using Jim Jones as an example, that’s like, yeah.
Rick: That’s an extreme example of, you know.
Bill: But he’s not alone, and there’s some people out there that are very dangerous. There’s dangerous groups to be with, and there’s a time and a place to use discrimination, judgment and wisdom. So when I use the general term, don’t knock your old teachers, I’m trying to take the broad section here in the middle. But on the fringes of that, there’s some people out there like Jim Jones, my God. Everybody wanted to be his buddy. You know, President Jimmy Carter, all these politicians, you know, all of them had their picture taken with him when he was in San Francisco and California. They all wanted to be with him because he was delivering the minority vote for him, you know? And so, people…
Rick: Which illustrates another point, which is that you can start out pretty good, and then things can go south. I mean, he literally went south, both figuratively and literally. The power, the adulation, the attention can go to your head and you can get more and more corrupt and more and more burned out, and things can just get more and more off the rails.
Bill: Well, what happens is…
Rick: And a lot of people follow along with it because it happens incrementally. It’s not like a night and day difference. It’s like they don’t see the sort of slow degradation of the scene.
Bill: It’s like the frog in cold water.
Rick: Yeah, that analogy, yeah.
Bill: So, but the thing is this, here’s how you avoid that. Here’s what happens with Jim Jones, with the guy in Texas, Waco, Texas, with…
Rick: Branch Davidians.
Bill: Yeah, Branch Davidians, all these different guys out there doing stuff like that. People don’t follow the inner guru in that person, which is God. They start following the personality of that person. In other words, they worship the person. When you have a group of people worshiping the personality of whoever the leader is, the teacher, instead of saying, “Just because somebody’s your leader and they’re wise doesn’t make them all knowing,” or, “O is 100% right, and they don’t have all the answers, and they’re not infallible.” As soon as you tell somebody they’re infallible, and they say some of the goofiest, dumbest stuff, it’s like Osho in Oregon. He went up there and he had 96 Rolls Royces driving around on a little ranch. That’s nuts! Who in that group was going to say, “Hey, guru, this is nuts! We don’t need a 97th Rolls Royce, and we don’t need a whole barn full of weapons. I mean, what’s going on here?” But nobody challenged him. So it’s the followers who can corrupt the teacher. As soon as you start worshiping them, they can do no wrong, there’s a danger there. But if you worship the God within that person, you know, and realize they’re human beings, then God is always there and God’s always right. You follow God, God’s good.
Rick: Yeah, and you might have the clarity to leave if you feel like the reflection of God within that person is really getting cloudy and he’s not expressing that divine quality very clearly anymore. But the thing is, it’s insidious. Both teachers and students can very often sort of get more and more muddled by degrees, and the interesting thing about maya or ignorance is that the first thing it does is blind you to the fact that it’s blinding you, you know?
Bill: Yeah, well, you know, I try not to judge anybody, and I mean that literally because you read my book, you know the story about me going to India, and I judge these not-yogis as just dirty old drug addicts, you know, and I had this most wonderful experience these guys go, that left me after that trip to India saying, “How can I ever judge who’s spiritual and who’s not spiritual? What’s crazy and what’s not crazy?” So I don’t like to get into that game, but I’m very supportive of people that outgrow the culture of a group, and they want to move on, that’s okay, move on. Be kind to everybody involved, move on. But ultimately, there’s that inner guru within us that we have to listen to, because we’re always looking for the external stuff coming into us when we should be developing the internal, because the source is there.
Rick: Yeah, I agree.
Bill: Every time you go external, you’re separating yourself at another level. It’s being fed to you instead of self-realizing.
Rick: I think there’s a difference between being judgmental and having good judgment.
Bill: That’s it.
Rick: Yeah. And you know, so give us an example, like for instance, could a person really be in tune with the inner guru and yet still benefit from association with an outer guru? Or does one somehow abdicate one’s inner guru orientation if one gets involved with an outer guru? Can you do both?
Bill: Well, I think number one, you have to be true to yourself. In other words, if you have certain principles and things that are affirmative truths for you, don’t give them up. If something’s rubbing you wrong and you’ve got to go, “Well, maybe it makes you uncomfortable,” then you’ve got to start questioning yourself. But having an external guru is somebody that can look at you, hopefully, without any prejudice, without any layers of delusion because your ego is not getting in their way. I see great benefits from, it’s like for example, karate. A guy learns karate, you go to the best karate teacher you can find, right? You learn from them, even though, look at the great ones, you know, Bruce Lee, all these guys, they all had, they all had a teacher. They never gave up a teacher. Tiger Woods playing golf, and here’s the top of his game, and he hires a teacher to teach him how to putt better and how to do his stuff better. And you’ve got to say, “Well, he’s better than that guy.” You can always learn from somebody, something, and the great ones are the first people to go out and seek teachers, instructors, help. And so I think there’s a, yeah, I’m definitely about teachers. Here’s where I kind of draw a line sometimes with teachers. If a teacher believes that they’re always the teacher and never the student, there’s a problem. When you find a humble teacher who can learn from a child in the group or a homeless person or a CEO or anybody else, and the teacher realizes he teaches but also other people teach him, that’s the balance you’re looking for.
Rick: I have a friend named Miranda McPherson who’s been on BatGap a couple of times, and she’s been a spiritual teacher for over 30 years, and just about every month she, you know, sits with a therapist or goes to another spiritual teacher’s satsang or goes on a retreat with some spiritual teacher. She constantly does that to kind of get another pair of eyes on her situation, you know, so it’s not just her own pulling herself up by her own bootstraps.
Bill: Well, it’s like I won’t mention the name of the person or his clients, but there’s this well-known psychologist in Los Angeles, actually in Hollywood area, and he treats all these A-listers, that’s all his friends and clients and stuff, and he calls me up periodically and he lays it out, you know, like how he’s feeling, how he’s thinking and all that kind of stuff. And I go, “You’re a psychiatrist?” He says, “Yeah, but I look in the mirror, I only see what’s reflected back in me that I’m expecting to see or want to see.” He says, “When I come to you, you don’t have too many filters, you just tell me.” And I go, “Well, okay, yeah.” And he says, like, anyway, so he gives that to me, and then I get four or five of these, and I mean the world-famous, world-famous psychics that do the same thing to me, they will call me up. And what’s interesting about psychics, they can read you, they can read me, they can read this.
Rick: Can’t read themselves?
Bill: Not very well.
Bill: Not very well at all. And when you get one to admit it, although they, and who do they got to go to? They can’t go to the public, they can’t lay it out, because, I mean, they’re supposed to know everything, so they got to call me on the sly, right? And so I honor that, but it’s, nobody is above needing a teacher. Nobody is above needing a teacher. Even if the teacher’s just books, or interaction with other people, and getting feedback. But everybody needs a teacher. But it’s the level of the teacher that you’re seeking makes all the difference in how they, for example, when I was working in Folsom Prison as a voluntary chaplain, I got guys in there, the guys I had were all 25 to life. I mean, bad, bad guys. No, not bad guys. They’ve done bad things. I was trying to remember that. They did bad things. Because when you get them individually, you go, “Jeez, what happened here?” Right? I mean, there’s a part of them that is still human. Of course, you meet some guys, you go, “It’s all a con game.” I mean, you got to be, you got to have a little wisdom. But the teacher they’re looking for has to tell them, “Don’t kill your cellmate. You don’t use your shiv on the guard.” The basics, right? The basics. Here’s 10 commandments. And then you meet somebody else down the road that’s, and you have them on your show. I think everybody on your show, myself included, we’re not at the end of the road. We haven’t found the ultimate yet. We’re still in a body. We still have an ego. We still fight daily with temptations of the ego, power, money, all these things. But we’re all students. The people that you interview, and I’ve listened to a bunch of interviews, ultimately, most all of them will even admit it. They’re all students of somebody, something.
Rick: They won’t admit it or they will admit it?
Bill: No, most of them do admit it. Do admit it.
Rick: Yes, of course.
Bill: Yeah, yeah. They admit it. It’s like, I’m a product of, I belong to Self-Realization Fellowships. I’m a product of all that I’ve learned as a child, growing up since the 1940s with that. I’m a product of several other gurus and all these people that I’ve met and some really neat, interesting, sacred moments in my life. But everything’s layered. You meet this guy, you get something. You meet this woman, you get something. And it’s all layered. And it’s, you know, the old expression, “When the student is ready, the teacher will come.” Because at various times in my life, somebody new will come in there and I’ll pick up the person’s book or I’ll meet them or I’ll listen to their video or in the flesh, which is always great meeting somebody eyeball to eyeball. It’s very powerful. But with the advent of YouTube, you have the opportunity to meet some really fantastic people that, think about this, 30 years ago, the average person could have never heard any of these people expound on their life and what they’ve learned. Right? Now, you have a guest on your show, let’s say, and they go on for three hours like I did or whatever, but somebody will pick up on 10 minutes of what I said and the rest of it kind of blurs out. But that 10 minute segment, they go, “Oh, okay, that stirs something. I needed to hear that. I want to hear that. I was looking for that answer.” So you could go through all your videos, you look on there, everybody coming to watch that same video is coming away with a different experience. It’s not the same. Even though it’s on the YouTube video, it’s the same message for everybody, but everybody comes away with a slightly different, you know, reception factor. They’re hearing what they needed to hear, and so their reality is such that they’re a student, the teacher came for them because they needed to hear that. And so, yeah, to answer your question, yeah, everybody has a teacher, everybody needs a teacher, and everybody is a teacher as well.
Rick: Yeah, and I would add that even if they’re not in a formal relationship with a teacher, that you can’t escape the teacher that is life itself, and there’s an intelligence in life and an orchestration of events in life that are intended, we could say, to further your evolution. So you’re going to experience stuff that is probably what you need to experience in order to learn what lessons you need to learn in order to continue to progress.
Bill: Well, what was interesting is somebody sent me a book to review, I don’t know if I have it here someplace, but the book was, it looks like it’s a military book. It’s about being comfortable with the uncomfortable, and it’s written by a bunch of special forces, Green Berets, these kind of Rangers kind of guy, and what they go through in their life. But the guy applies it to every day. In other words, all these lessons you learn, becoming uncomfortable and doing things that are hard to do is where all the growth is at. So if you want to be comfortable, that’s the most dangerous place to be. You’re not going to make any progress. So the people who complain about all these things in their life, you know what? Out of discomfort comes great growth. I think even the Buddha himself talks about, you know, you need all these things in your life to help bring you pain and suffering, to help bring you to God. But in order to deal with the realities of life, we need to embrace them. Good, bad, or indifferent.
Rick: Yeah. Susanna Marie, who’s also been on Batgap a couple of times, wrote a very nice essay, it came, sent it out today in her email about just various difficulties she’s been through in her life, and as much as she didn’t really want to go through them as they were happening, in retrospect she realizes how profound they have been in order to mold her awakening to be what it has become. I think that post is on her Facebook page if anybody wants to read it. In any case, I think, I mean an underlying principle here I think is, and not everybody believes this or feels this, is that there’s you use the word “love” a lot that there is a sort of divine intelligence orchestrating the universe and it loves us in the sense that it wants us and I say “it,” it’s probably more, it’s more of an intelligence, it’s not a thing, but it fosters the evolution of everyone and everything, and things don’t happen capriciously or arbitrarily or accidentally. If you can zoom out far enough and really see it from a God’s eye perspective, I think you’d see that everything is orchestrated to further our growth and evolution. We can talk more about what evolution means, but anyway, that’s my attitude.
Bill: I’m on the same page with you, because my philosophy is “it’s your karma, deal with it, embrace it.” When something happens to somebody I go, “hey, they don’t want to hear it at the time because there’s so much pain, right? They can’t see the end of this thing.” But I tell people, you know, it’s from that, from that fire, that’s where you get that steel. I mean, it creates who you are. You take a look at somebody, they always say that the character’s revealed not when people are facing normal times, but when they’re under stress and great difficulty, the real character comes out. That’s who you are. And I’m telling you that the stress and all that brings out the good character. And of course, some people give up and that’s where the problem is at. But I firmly believe that whatever happens is supposed to happen. So therefore in my life, nothing ever goes wrong because everything is supposed to happen. That’s good. Okay, I got to cut this, do that. You know, I got to change jobs, whatever it is, it’s all okay. You got to look for the gift. What are you going to make of that? Because you know, you got people, you know, you got friends and there’s several people in the family, like four or five brothers and sisters, and all raised in the same house basically. Of course, there’s nothing exactly the same because of your birth order or anything, but let’s say basically everything’s the same and you’ll have them come out. One guy’s a millionaire, one guy’s in jail. I mean, it’s like all over the place. They’re all over the place, same household, same basic stress. Things happen in that household, like, “Oh, it was terrible, they had poverty.” But one guy came out and came very successful. That motivated him to do great things. Somebody else is crippled and they’re handicapped and they got all these problems and they come out and they, “And to hell with it, I’m going to do it anyway.” In spite of that, they become stronger. So it’s all about not giving up. It’s about seeing everything having purpose to get back to your thing.
Rick: Yeah, some people say that we choose the life that we are born into. There’s a guy named Paul Schwartz or something, Schwartz on BatGap, that kind of is into life between lives and the whole scene that we go through before we take another birth. And he kind of emphasizes that we choose a lot of, any really significant event that happens in life an accident or a disease or winning the lottery or the person we marry or anything significant we’ve actually pretty much scripted that in, because we know that that particular thing is going to be conducive to our evolution. And someone might say, “Well, geez, why would somebody be born with a retardation or cerebral palsy or some terrible thing?” Again, if the universe has an evolutionary agenda in the biggest of pictures, then there must be some kind of evolutionary significance to anything that happens. And if you think that that is not the case, then I guess you have to concede or have to feel that there is something the whole thing is just kind of random and accidental and God’s not really there is no sort of omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent intelligence. But if you look more closely, there it is. It’s actually functional in every little iota of creation right in front of your nose.
Bill: Even chaos has order.
Rick: Yeah, exactly, perfect.
Bill: There’s an order to chaos. And no, we can’t judge karma because we don’t know all the facets that go into it. You see somebody that’s, they’re born and let’s say they’re retarded or let’s say they’ve got major issues, you know, they’re not going to lead a normal life. Why? What, are they that bad of a person? Do they have really terrible karma? Or did they choose to speed up the revolutionary process by taking that on to help burn a lot of smaller karma? Just let’s burn all this stuff. Give me the worst crap. Let’s get it over with so in the next lifetime I can really jump. Or there’s some kind of saint or sage coming into this world and they’re burning it for us or someone else. So you can’t judge that. Just like some of the great saints, you know, they go blind, they’re burned at the stake and Jesus is nailed to a cross and he’s able to, did Jesus deserve that? No, he did that for us. How about all these other people? Do they deserve? So you don’t know. So passing judgments on people when they have all these things happen in their life is, that’s a useless game because you have no idea. And I’ve seen children that have major physical defects and things bring about and manifest such love in that family. Everybody helping them and coming to their best game and loving back and forth. I’ve seen some families just transformed by having this child that some would see as a burden but that child played a role in making love in that family. So everybody serves a purpose.
Rick: Yeah, there was this kid on the news last night in Australia who I believe the term is dwarfism, you know, he’s kind of one of the little people. And he was getting bullied and picked on at school and a video came out of him crying on the school bus because the kids are bullying him and it went viral. And now Hugh Jackman and all these famous people are kind of chiming in and people have sent in like $400,000 for him to go to Disneyland and get a college education. But he’s inspired this, he’s brought like millions of people to tears and inspired compassion and love in them through his situation, you know?
Bill: Oh, that’s right! And when people like that come into the world, there’s an empathy, a national and international worldly empathy that helps all of us get something out of this. That’s a gift to all of us. And so when you start looking at a bigger level like that, you realize, yeah, there’s a rhyme and there’s a reason. Otherwise, you wake up in the morning and think you’re a victim of everything happening, everything’s random, everything’s chaos. It’s just, I don’t live in that world. I live in a world where even though it may appear to be chaotic, it may appear to be random, it’s not. And I always look for the gift, I look for the purpose. And it’s not like somebody’s just going to tell me what it is. I think it’s up to us sometimes to discover it, to create it, to manifest it. Okay, I lost my job, I lost my health, what’s going on here? How can I use that to help? How can I use that to better other people myself, right? And that’s the difference between us and animals. Animals, they’re instinctive, they graze, you know, you pet them, whatever. They live, they die, end of story, maybe. Maybe, maybe. But when you take on a human soul, you’ve taken on the whole, you’re part of the whole cosmos. You’re part of it all. And it’s like a giant jigsaw puzzle. You got one piece missing, you’re never going to finish the puzzle. It’s got all the pieces in there, they all got value. No one piece of the puzzle is worth more than any other piece on the table, right? So yeah, I’m sure there’s people out there in this conversation, they’re going to say, “Oh man, if you knew my troubles,” because I get people call me all the time. “Well, Mr. Reverend Bill, if you knew the troubles I had, and my boyfriend left me, and this has happened and that happened.” And so I give them advice, tell them, you know, and they come right back again, “Well, you don’t understand if you really do.” In other words, they don’t want to be taken away from that, they don’t want to be shown anything, they just want to vent their problems because they’re comfortable being a victim and they don’t own it.
Rick: You know the story of the Chinese farmer, I’m sure you’ve heard this story, but I’ll tell it for people. So somebody left the corral gate open and his horse escaped. He only had one horse and he depended on it for his subsistence. And all the neighbors came to him and said, “Oh, this is terrible, your horse escaped. What are you going to do?” And you know, what was his response? Something like, “We’ll see.” And so, but then the next day the horse came back leading a bunch of other horses, wild horses, and they walked right in the corral and they shut the gate. All of a sudden this guy is wealthy, he’s got all these horses. And the neighbors came and said, “Oh, this is wonderful, you’ve got all these horses. Isn’t that great?” And he said, “We’ll see.” And then so his son is trying to train one of the horses to break it and ride it and everything and he falls off and breaks his leg. And the neighbors go, “Oh, your son broke his leg, that’s terrible. Now who’s going to help you run the farm?” The Chinese man, the old farmer said, “Oh, we’ll see.” And then the next thing you know there’s a war on and the army comes through and it’s recruiting all the able young men to make them be soldiers and take them off to war, but the son can’t go because he has a broken leg. And so the story could continue on and on.
Bill: Yeah, it’s like when you start labeling things and judging things, good or bad, like I think I talked about this before, but I was dealing with somebody that was stage four or stage whatever, I think stage four is it, right? Stage four cancer. And the guy was, “Oh, tell me I got six months.” I said, “Well, first off, if you believe you got six months, you got six months.” I mean, you might as well set it on your calendar, right? Because most people, whatever they’re told, they pretty much watch it. They pretty much make it to that time length. But I’m looking at the guy and I said, “Well, you haven’t talked to your son in 10 years. You got three ex-wives you got no relationship with, you got all this anger going. You got a daughter that you never visit. You got all these people that used to work for you when you were the boss and they think you’re terrible, you ruined their lives.” So I said, “You got an opportunity to mend all those fences now.” You got an opportunity to develop a little love with your ex-wives, with your son, reach out to them. So then I saw the guy about five, six months later and he didn’t get any healthier, but he was happy. And he tells me, he goes, “He had a relationship with his son. He didn’t tell any of these people he was dying. He just did it. He found out his son needed some money and some help. He helped his son out of debt with no strings attached, no nothing. Didn’t ask for anything. Then he had a conversation going, he went and checked on his daughter, made friends and apologized to his three wives. It was kind of like a 12-step program for him, like make amends and all that stuff. It’s exactly what he did. And none of these people knew because he didn’t want sympathy. None of them knew when I went around what come time to do his funeral, I hear from all these people and they didn’t know that he had that. And that’s when I found out, “Oh, he didn’t tell these guys he was dying.” But when he left, everybody had something kind to say about him. It’s like, wow. So his gift was life-changing. Instead of him just dying as a begrudged old guy with everybody hating him and mad at him, he left having some beautiful relationships. And it’s all about love.
Rick: That’s a nice story.
Bill: So you can’t judge it. Like a guy getting a divorce. How many people don’t get a divorce? “Oh, it’s the end of the world.” Or their wife dies or something happens, it’s the end of the world. And you come back three years later, they’re remarried. They’re happy, they got a new family, everything’s going well. It’s like, okay. It wasn’t the end of everything. You moved on. And those people that move on best are the people that don’t hold grudges, forgive, forget, make amends. I really do believe in that. That’s one thing about it makes the 12-step program such a beautiful thing. Because I see these 12-step programs out there for everything. And the big thing is not just trusting that there’s a power greater than them, but it’s about helping others and it’s about making amends. You can’t just help others and not make any amends. You got to clean up the karma as best you can. And so that’s kind of the nature of life.
Rick: Yeah. Hey, before we get too far away from our discussion about teachers, a nice question came in from a fellow named Paul in New Jersey. He said, “Is it necessary to be in the company of the teacher, or can one be connected at subtler levels or through intermediaries? Also, does the teacher-student relationship end with the death of one of the two?”
Bill: Great, that’s a great question. Paul’s his name?
Bill: Paul, excellent question. And if you belong to a group like Self-Realization Fellowship where their guru, my guru, has been dead since 1950-something, the answer to that is they don’t have to be alive. If you read their books, you follow their lessons, you follow their teachings, there’s people that belong to Anandamai ma, her group that’s out there. She’s been dead for what, 40 years, 30 years, whatever. There’s people that follow her to get great blessings, having her as a guru. So a living guru, a dead guru, you can still get what you need from that. Now in India, following a dead guru is okay, but they all kind of want to have a live guru too. They want somebody to look them in the eye and say, “Hey, talk to them.” So I see value in doing both. But you don’t have to be 24/7 with your guru. If you have his book, if you have him in your heart when you meditate, and when you finish your meditations, you know, here’s something a lot of people don’t do because the guru doesn’t need anything. As a disciple, you should be praying for the wisdom and the spiritual mental health of your guru, your teacher. You want them to be better. You want them to be doing good things. And so as a disciple, your responsibility is to be a good disciple, but also to pray for them because they’re humans. They walk, they talk just like you do. And even though they may be more evolved in many ways, nobody ever gets too many prayers. And I’ll tell you a story. All right. So I was with Yogaraj Gurnath, and it’d been a long time since I’ve been with him. And it was, I didn’t go to India for a couple of years. And I was feeling one day I was just, I was laying in bed after my meditation. I was feeling really, you know, you can actually love your, you can love your teacher, right? I mean, you’re that lovely, you feel love in your heart for him because it’s a friendship. If it’s not a friendship, then you’ve lost something. So he was my friend, he’s my BFF. And I’m laying there after meditation and I’m missing him because I haven’t seen him in a couple of years, you know? And I wake up about four o’clock in the morning and I’m crying out to him. And all of a sudden it’s like two masculine strong arms wrap around my back and lift me into a sitting position in my bed. And I’m getting this hug. I mean, it’s a physical hug, my skin, I feel it. It’s a hug. And I’m feeling such love in my spinal cord. It’s just like, Kundalini is going crazy. And it goes on for like 10 minutes. And I knew it was him. But I hadn’t seen him, I hadn’t talked to him, no letters, no correspondence, no phone calls. I was just off the radar, right? But I loved him. And I wanted to touch, have him touch me that night, you know, just to be connected. So I got up the next morning and I wrote an email to a guy named Robert Mackey and Dan Kogan and a couple other people from the group that know me. And I said, “Well, you guys know me, you know, I’m kind of crazy and I have crazy stuff happen to me. And here’s what happened last night and blah, blah, blah.” And, you know, I told him the time and everything else. So Dan Kogan, Dr. Dan Kogan was in India at the time and he printed out the message and he took it to the ashram and he read it and all the guys, “Oh, yeah, yeah, tell Guru.” Because what they were thinking was the guru is going to say, “Well, here’s one of my wacko, crazy disciples that thinks I’m there for him.” And so they were waiting for me to be, I guess, laughed at. And so Gurunath was told about the letter and he goes, “Was that at four o’clock in the morning on whatever day it was?” And Dan looks and says, “Yeah.” And he says, “I was there for him and I’d be there for any of you if you had the same love and faith and trust in me that he does.” And they all kind of just, you know, it was like, and so I got a message back that, “Hey, Dan, the guru says that he was there.” So because I don’t normally share stuff like that, but for them it was a private email and I didn’t realize it was being shared. And I certainly didn’t do it for the guru to find out. But there was a fact that I felt the guru’s love more than I did when I was in his presence. Because when I’m with a guru, I was with Yogaraj, let’s say, and I’ve spent several months at his ashram for many years, several years in a row, I’d stayed two, three, four months. And I never ask any questions. I’d sit there at the ashram and all these young people, all these people come and da-da-da-da-da-da-da-da. And they all had a question. They couldn’t just sit with the guru without any conversation. And so I’m going, “Wow, I wonder if he feels, what if I should be asking questions? I was feeling bad about it because I never ask him any questions or nothing.” So all of a sudden, 30 or 40 people got up and left that were sitting in this room, where I was outside on a bench. And it was just me and him left. And I go, “Okay,” and I didn’t say anything, but he’s picking up on my thoughts. And he goes, “Bill,” he says, “there’s a reason I like to hang around you because you never ask any questions.” And he gets up and walks away. I didn’t throw that out, right? But that’s what my whole thought was, right? And I’m going, “Okay.” So I would take trips with him. We would drive around India. And I went to a wedding with him and we left Pune and we drove three, four hours cross country. And I sat in the back seat with him, but I never said a word. He never said a word. Four or five hours, and it was not uncomfortable. It was a quiet, comforting silence.
Rick: That’s nice. I can definitely learn a lesson from that. Because if I were in that situation, I’d probably be peppering him with questions.
Bill: No, you do. And as long as you’re asking questions, your heart is not listening. And I get more from a quiet guru manifesting his love and energy just by his being. And you can tell when you’re around somebody, the energy they have. And I think part of that is also the disciple’s receptivity.
Rick: For sure.
Bill: Because there’s people hanging around him, they don’t see it. “What are you talking about? I don’t see that. I don’t feel that. He’s just a jerk.” I mean, they don’t see it. But in India, if you read the old books on guru-disciple relationship, it really says how the devotee, how the disciple sees his guru as a reflection upon him. If you see the guru as a crook, a sexist, a cheater, a liar, boring, ignorant, whatever level you see him, he will give you that. That was like Yogananda. Like there’s a guy was going to come visit him, some rich guy was going to come visit him and everything, make a donation to him or something. But the guy goes, “I don’t know if I want to donate.” He said something to one of the people before he went in there. “I don’t know if I want to go in there.” I said, “He’s so vain, he’s so vain, I bet he brushes his hair all day long.”
Rick: So he went in and Yogananda was brushing his hair?
Bill: And counting, all the way to 100, 200. The whole time he was there, he was brushing his hair, looking in the mirror.
Rick: That’s funny.
Bill: Looking in the mirror, right? And then the guy finally got it. The guy finally realized it. So it’s like, if you see, there’s a saying in India that the only time you’ll see the face of God is when you see the inner guru as God inside your guru. And you see the face of God. Now whether the outside guru, the body, that character, right? If that person’s ego lives up to that or not, that’s on them. You are worshipping the God that’s in them. So it’s really important how you treat the guru.
Rick: Yeah, now let me just interject here, because we kind of covered this earlier, but I think there’s a certain responsibility a teacher, I mean the responsibility is twofold, the student and the teacher. You just described the student’s responsibility, but I think the teacher has a responsibility to not be a hypocrite and to live up to what he purports to be. But if the teacher is behaving like a scoundrel, then maybe he should seek another profession.
Bill: Absolutely. Then it’s time to leave.
Bill: I mean, there’s a real guru, if you don’t believe in that guru anymore, you need some other level of whatever it is, you tell the guru, “I’m leaving.” And a real guru will bless you and maybe even advise you to go see so-and-so or so-and-so if you’re looking for a certain type of guru. But a real guru won’t stop you. Go.
Rick: Because they don’t need you, yeah.
Bill: No, just go forth, seek out whoever’s comfortable for you. But yeah, you’re talking about finite things here because it’s like all these rules don’t apply to every single example, because there’s stuff going on out there that we all know about or hear about. Whether it’s true or not, we don’t even know at times. It could just be rumors. I mean, my gosh, I don’t think there’s a guru out there that doesn’t have a rumor about him. So, it’s like, so now you’ve got, do I judge this? So there’s a lot involved in that. So my thing is, just see God in all and you can’t go wrong, and don’t worship the character, don’t worship the individual ego. Worship the God within. So it doesn’t matter what holy man you’re with, you will see the same God. R; And you’ll see it in the beggar in the street.
Rick: Yeah, everybody.
Bill: So I hope I answered Paul’s question about that.
Rick: I think it is.
Bill: That’s a huge area. And this whole thing about you have to be with your guru all the time is, no, not necessary. But being with them emotionally and spiritually is different. Because you could be with them and not be with them. I’ve seen people in the back of the crowd, they’re texting or their mind is elsewhere. They’re there but they’re not there. So just because you’re with somebody doesn’t mean you’re with somebody. That’s true across the board.
Rick: The thing you just said actually segues into a question that Akshay from Pune, India just sent in. He said, “How to recognize the present moment, how to be in sync with life?” You know, there’s the power of now and all that, and living in the now and being in tune with the present moment. So Akshay’s asking, “How do you do that?”
Bill: Well, you have to actually live it. You can’t just, you can’t fantasize about tomorrow or worry about tomorrow or put off everything you have to do until tomorrow. And you can’t live in the past, you know, regrets, things that have happened to you, you’re a victim, all that kind of stuff. So if you actually wake up and every time you take a breath, that’s your life, that’s the moment. The only thing that’s real in your life is the moment that you’re in right now, right now. Now we can go into parallel dimensions, you can go into the past, the future, it’s all happening at the same time, but ultimately everything is right now. So how do you learn to focus on that? I’m going to tell you, it’s like all these questions that somebody will ask, there’s only two answers. Do more Kriya Yoga and meditation, and it’s your karma, deal with it. So I listen to all these people at the Ashram where they’re getting advice and it may come out sugar coated a thousand ways, but basically it gets down to two things. It’s your karma, deal with it. And that could be sugar coated a lot of ways. And do more meditation, right? The answer really is within. You can’t enjoy the moment until you really know stillness. You have to quiet, not just your mind, but quiet time. In other words, when you’re in a meditative state, time slows down, ultimately disappears here in Samadhi. Therefore you are always in the true now, which is an enlightened state. I hope that answered the question. That’s a tough question. I mean, it’s a good question, but it’s a really tough question. And you may ask 10 different people on your show that question, you’ll get 10 different answers. But the thing is, meditate, get to that meditative state where you close down time, and when you close time, you’re in that higher state of consciousness. That is the true now.
Rick: Yeah, I think we could say that meditation, in most forms of meditation, they aspire to allow you to settle into a state of pure consciousness and settled awareness, or whatever you want to call it. And through regular practice over a period of time, that state becomes more and more permanent. It’s not just something you dip into during your meditation, but it sort of becomes a And then that is the now, that’s presence. It doesn’t mean you can’t think about the future, you know, if you’re going to take a trip you have to plan your itinerary and so on and so forth. It doesn’t mean you can’t reminisce about your mother or something like that, but there’s always, whatever you do is always on the foundation or the background of a continuum of pure awareness.
Bill: Yeah, because the only place of time that you can do anything, take any action to take that trip to plan, is in the now. You can’t plan the trip in the now tomorrow, you’ve got to do it now, before you go on the trip, right? So it’s always in the now. So yeah, when we understand the basic concept of why we’re here, let’s go to the basic concept of why we’re here, because I think that’s the ultimate question. I know my grandson Gianni, one of his teachers is very philosophical and asked him to write an essay or something on which came first, the chicken or the egg, that turns out to be an evolved question, right? Because it’s like, “Well, who came first? Before Adam and Eve, how did you get this?” It’s all everything. Everything happened in the now, that doesn’t satisfy anybody when you say that, because philosophically it’s easy to say that. There’s no way with the creative process of thinking with the brain in this consciousness, in this material world, that anybody can answer any of these questions, because you’re using a material mind to answer a question that’s beyond creation.
Rick: I’ll tell you something interesting. We were talking about time earlier, and we’re sort of talking about it now. Time is relative, actually, and if you could travel at the speed of light which you can’t because you have mass but a photon which does travel at the speed of light and has no mass, actually time and space completely collapse. So from our perspective, stationary here, it seems to take 2 million years for light to reach us from the Andromeda galaxy, but from the perspective of the photons coming from the Andromeda galaxy, they’re here instantly, and there is no “here” actually, I mean there is no “there” that they’re getting to. It’s sort of time and space become kind of like, completely collapsed. So the whole thing is, I find that such an interesting kind of little factoid, it’s based upon Einstein’s theories, it just shows that the universe is very different according to the perspective of the observer.
Bill: How about this? People say there’s nothing faster than light, and I’m saying yes there is. Thought. You could pick up, if you’re a powerful enough being, you could pick up a thought that was a billion light years out there. It’s instantaneous, because there’s one cosmic consciousness. So thought is instantaneous. In fact, fast, of course, you have people out there now, this next generation, everything’s fast, right? I had a guy, he was doing a satsang in Southern California, and somebody had a sign, it goes, “Instantaneous is not fast enough.” He doesn’t want instantaneous satisfaction, he wants something faster than that, right? I thought that was so funny, but it was like, “No, really, everybody wants it right now.” The only thing that’s right now, possibly right now, is enlightenment. And unfortunately, we’re in a stream world where it could take a billion, trillion years to reach that. But in the ultimate reality, it’s now.
Rick: Yeah, it’s already there.
Bill: It’s already there.
Rick: There’s a thing called quantum entanglement, where two particles that are paired can become separated from one another, even across an entire galaxy, and when one of them changes its polarity, the other instantly changes its polarity in sync with that, even if they’re a hundred million light years apart. That drove Einstein crazy, that one. But it kind of shows that there’s some level of creation that interconnects everything and that is beyond all limits of time and space and speed of light and everything else.
Bill: Well, think about this. Remember years ago, there was a study done where they trained these monkeys, a certain type of monkey to do a certain thing use a little stick as a tool or something? And then six months later, they go to this isolated island off Japan or something, and the monkeys had learned that themselves.
Bill: They picked it up through what Rupert Sheldrake would call the “morphogenetic field.”
Rick: Yeah, and there’s been a lot of instances of that, where a species will learn something. And even with the human beings, think about this. In the old, beginning of time, you know, we’ve got caveman and all that stuff, primitive cultures, native cultures. Every culture had drums, flutes of some kind, string instruments of some kind, they sang. Laughing has the same exact meaning in every single culture around the world. A laugh is happiness. Tears and crying, same exact. It’s interesting how a species could be all over the planet, separated by thousands of miles, yet the basics, everybody had the same.
Rick: Yeah, it is.
Bill: And you know, so I’m always amazed at things, and also never amazed. Anyway, so, what else you got for me, young man?
Rick: Yeah, well, you and I talked the other day and you said you didn’t necessarily want to make this a really long one, so I don’t want to overstay my welcome, and we can end it any time you like. But there are a couple more topics you said you might want to cover. And we’ve covered most of them that we talked about, but there’s, I don’t know, we don’t have to cover all these, but free will, manifesting, health, do those things interest you to talk about?
Bill: Yeah, let’s talk about free will, because that was a subject I talked about at SAND. You know, is it free will? When you get a naughty palm reading done, right, the star charts or something, right? Is that predestined? And there’s some people that argue that, well, it says this is going to happen and this is going to happen and that’s going to happen, and that’s your destiny, that’s your fate. And I’m saying no, since all time is now, right? That that guy writing something 5,000 years ago saying that this is going to happen to Bill McDonald in 2000 or something, he’s just tuning into now now. That’s all. He just looked and see where I was at now. He’s just writing where I got myself. And whatever choices I made in old nows, it all led to where I’m at now. All he had to do is tune into where I’m at. It’s not like he’s predestined that this is going to happen to you, this is going to happen to you. No. It’s I predestined that. So I made a whole, whole bunch of free choices. What I ate, what I thought, who I associated with, what jobs I took, what careers I had. Did I go to war? Did I stay home? Did I get married? Well, all these things, lifetime after lifetime, created level after level of karma. So these things happen. You go, where’s your free will in this? You got cancer and all this stuff. I’m saying you created it all. Even though you can’t see a relative connection, you can’t connect the dots because you can’t go past birth. Right? You don’t have any reliability. And some people just assume that everything starts from birth. So that shuts them down. So I’m telling you that everything that’s manifested in your life was through your own free will. Everything through your own free will. Now once in a while, I guess you can have some wacko crazy, some crazy guy goes down the street and shoots somebody and it looks random. And I even wonder if that’s not someplace along the way manifested as some karmic thing. Because even though it appears to be a random, innocent people got killed, like in Las Vegas, who knows the backstory and all that. All those people together getting the same fate. What was going on there? We don’t know.
Rick: Yeah. Or if a plane crashes or something. How does that work?
Bill: All these people ended up with the same destiny, but free will is what separates us from God. In other words, that’s our ego. And our ego decides to do this, this, and this and that. It’s when we are able to meditate and surrender, consciously surrender our free will to the divine. That is the best use of our free will, is to give it back. But see, God, the divine has everything it needs. Doesn’t need anything from us except, and this is my smallness saying this, except love. So when you give your love to God, that’s the only gift you can give God. God can’t manufacture himself. He’ll never force you to love him. But since it’s him anyway, it’s like you get back to the same argument. It’s like, well, God loves God? Of course God loves God. So anyway, so free will is like with the naughty palm reading. If you believe that’s not your choice, I think you’re mistaken, but I’ll let you believe that. Again, whatever you want.
Rick: You’re free to believe it, right?
Bill: You’re free to believe it. That’s your free will to believe that, right? It’s not going to change anything one way or the other. But the fact that, for example, some people say, “Well, I had my naughty palm reading done in India, and all this stuff was supposed to happen and it didn’t happen.” Well, there’s a lot of reasons for that. First off, it says, “Yeah, I was supposed to get lung cancer and all this kind of stuff.” I said, “Well, when you found out about that, what’s the first thing you did?” “Well, I gave up smoking.” Okay. Use your free will. You’ve already changed the course of some direction, right? And the thing said you were going to get a divorce. So what’s the goal?
Rick: There’s a saying in the Yoga Sutras, Patanjali, it’s “Avert the danger which has not yet come.”
Bill: So when you have an awareness of a potential fate based on karmic or whatever, just the fact that you know, it’s like, get back to your atoms, you know, if the other atom is aware of the other present. In other words, as soon as you start looking at atoms, they’re not there. Things are changed just by you observing them. And I think it’s the same thing when you get a prediction. It may be correct when it was made, but the fact that you now know about it, think about it, and you’ve also altered what the potential is. Very few, mine has been pretty locked in and stoned, but it’s only for a short period of time. So the longer time period they give you, the more chance you have to alter and change it. So especially the predictions of health, people go out and they work out, they change their diet. I mean, nobody waits around for it to become true. “Oh, I’m supposed to diet this way, I’m going to exercise.” So subconsciously you will change things even though you don’t know you do in your relationships. So yeah.
Rick: Yeah, my sense on free will is that we have a certain amount of wiggle room at any given time, and we can either strengthen our conditioning and get ourselves more kind of in a rut, or we can kind of loosen our conditioning and attain greater and greater freedom of choice. And ultimately, what would it be to have complete, utter free will? Well, I think it would be kind of to get out of the way and be in tune with God’s will, the divine intelligence, divine will, because that would probably be in the ultimate best interest of everyone, and that’s ultimately what we would want if we could choose whatever we wanted.
Bill: No, I think we’re on the same page on that. And again, people will disagree with us. Here’s the thing, there’s nothing that we’ve said that can’t be argued about it and people can make a case and debate it.
Rick: Oh yeah, and has been.
Bill: And it’s like, does that make them wrong, does it make them right, does it make us wrong or right? No, neither. It’s just stuff.
Rick: Interesting to ponder the stuff, you know? I’m not saying that you and I are absolutely right and anybody who disagrees is out to lunch, but learning as we go.
Bill: Yeah, there’s just too many things out there. People scare me off when they go, “This is the ultimate truth. This is the ultimate truth.” And I’m going, “No.” Because all the stuff I roll out, right? People come back with an argument and they say, “Well, like you come back and you say, ‘Well, sometimes a guru is wrong, you gotta leave.'” I’m going, “Yeah, there’s other edges to this. There’s other angles at that.” I’m just kind of giving an overview, but there’s all kinds of angles on all this stuff. There’s millions of ways to find God, and just because I chose this path to go up the mountain doesn’t mean there’s other trails. Look, aren’t quicker, better, harder? You know, once it’ll get you lost, but there’s other trails.
Rick: It’s interesting, a lot of times you say something and it provides a perfect segue into a question that someone has just sent in, and what you just said segues into this one. This is from Manuel from Vienna, Austria. He said, “You’re a great storyteller. I have the feeling that part of me is resonating with your stories. Listening to you, I realize how strict your opinions about drugs are. Personally, I have had extremely positive experience with plant medicine.” He means like ayahuasca and stuff. “I was bathed in love, shown that everything is connected with everything and in perfect order, like the system is learning and nothing is lost. What do you think is a good way to cultivate and retain faith in the divine?” i; That’s a separate question.
Rick: Oh, that’s a separate question. Okay, so there’s one about plant medicine.
Bill: Okay, well let’s talk about this because he’s right. He’s right, because you find a lot of places where I talk against drugs. I’m not an advocate to go do them. Now my trip to India, one of my trips to India, my first trip in 2004, I had an encounter with these Nathyukis, where these guys were sitting around this sacred fire at this temple and they were just being crazy. I mean, just passing this big pipe around, looked like Cheech and Chong movie, one of those big fat rocks, just inhaling the stuff. They’ve been doing that for three days, I was told. Three days they’ve been outside this thing, no sleep, doing drugs. I’m with this guy, an old army friend, a lieutenant, that when he got out of the army, he lived in a commune for 17 years in the San Francisco Bay Area. All right, so we’re on different planets, right? And he’s always telling me, “Oh, no, Bill,” he says, “you know, mushrooms and plant-based stuff, you know, marijuana, all these other things.” He says, “No, I’ve had some great experiences. Even shamans and all these guys have this great experience.” I said, “Okay, great.” I said, “But it’s always artificial. It’s always less than the other direction.” So I had all these great opinions. So we go there and we’re past this thing, and he’s smoking it, and I’m not smoking it because I’m dead set against this. And then finally, after about an hour, I finally asked the guru, I asked him for some advice, and I said, “Look, I come all the way to India seeking the guru on a mountaintop experience. What pearl wisdom can you give me?” Before he opened his mouth, the most screwed up, messed up guy that he had in the group, the guy had ashes all over him and his hair wild, like he was from Jamaica or something, you know, and he was smoking his stuff, and he goes, “Guru, Guru,” and he could hardly speak English. And he says, “Let me answer. Let me answer.” And I’m going, “Okay, God, have fun with me. I mean, this is just, yeah, this is ludicrous, but go ahead, right? Okay, go ahead.” And then if you read my book or you heard me tell the story before, you know that when I first got to India, my first morning, I got into a spiritual discussion with some Sikhs, a part of the Blood Society, and these guys have certain things they believe in and everything, and they gave me a list, you know, with getting a job, a career, health, physical fitness, all these things. And when they gave me the list, first thing I said was, “Well, what I really like, what I really believe in is not on your list.” They’re, “What? No, that’s all the things you need, these 10 things.” I said, “Without love,” I go this whole thing about love, “Without love, health doesn’t matter, wealth doesn’t matter, all this. You have to have love, right?” So I go with this whole thing about love, and they all got mad at me, and they left me, and my friend was laughing at me about how I ticked off everybody. Within 24 hours of India, I’ve already ticked off all these people. And anyway, so this is several, this is about a month later, and we’re in a mountain, 750 miles away from where that happened. And this guy was told to tell me the secret of life. And what does he tell me? In perfect English, perfect English.
Rick: This is the wild pot smoking guy.
Bill: The wild face guy that couldn’t speak English, right? All of a sudden, he gives me back my exact words that I told those Indians three weeks before. It says, “Love is the most important thing,” and it goes right down the list of all. And I’m going, not just gave me back the same basic philosophy, he gave me back word for word exactly what I said 750 miles away three weeks before to different people.
Bill: And I’m going, and I’ve already judged these guys as all just drug addicts, and I’ve already passed judgment on them. I mean, I was just, I mean, you could just cut the air with my judgment. I mean, I was just already judging these guys, right? And I was just going, “What? What, what?” And so it totally destroyed my whole concept of being able to judge a spiritual person from a non-spiritual person at a glance. And then this whole thing about the drug things was like, anyway, I’m at this point in time now, I believe in meditation because the side effects are, there are no bad side effects. You take these drugs, I don’t care what drug it is. I’ll go out on a holiday and do this. I’ve seen guys that do marijuana every day. I got friends that do Icoxa three times a week.
Bill: Ayahuasca three times a week. And they tell me they’re not addicted, but they’re doing this for 20 years. At what point do you say, “I don’t need this. I don’t need mushrooms. I don’t need that.” So do I say that it doesn’t help some people? I mean, Timothy Leary and all those guys claimed that LSD helped them. I’m not going to argue with them, but I’m telling you what, they would, in my world, and it’s my world, my prejudice, my judgment. I understand that. I’m trying to answer his question. From my smallness, I don’t look at those, I look at those as dangerous helpers. If you’re given it through the guidance of a teacher or a guru, perhaps, that changes it, that alters it. But I would not recommend for the most normal people out there to do that because you get hooked on this stuff. And now you’re going for the experience of getting high instead of going for the experience of God. And that’s the whole thing. Now, where their minds at during this, I don’t know. Maybe they’re transcending this at some level. And how do they judge that from when you’re doing it? How do you judge that this is good and bad? So I leave it alone. I don’t go down that road anymore. For example, I was really against marijuana. And my Vietnam veteran friends and the vets coming back with bad burns and stuff and some really horrible stuff, losing their legs. I mean, they’re pain, a lot of pain. And they were giving them all these drugs at the VA, which I felt were so terrible for them, changing their personalities and side effects on organs and other things in your body. And I finally come to the comfort zone of, you know what, you need medical marijuana. It’s better than this. Go do it. Don’t abuse it, but go do it. And they’re able to get their lives together. So I’ve seen on that level, a change in me. So I’m at this place now where I don’t condemn anybody. I just caution people. Is there a better way to do it? Do you really need it? Is it addictive to you? Are you still seeking God within? And they don’t have to answer those questions to me. They don’t have to answer them themselves. So that’s one of those questions that if you’d asked me 20 years ago, I would have had a “No.” Now I’m saying, use wisdom, great wisdom and caution.
Rick: Yeah, I doubt that there are many, if any, examples of people who’ve attained the sort of level of awareness that Ramana or Yogananda or Papaji or Nisargadatta or many of these great sages have attained through the use of external chemicals that they’ve imbibed. But, you know, obviously there’s great research taking place at Johns Hopkins and NYU about psilocybin helping people with depression and PTSD and alcoholism and stuff. Some people have good experiences on ayahuasca and so on. I just don’t see it as a long-term solution for anybody. Who was it? Alan Watts said, “When you get the message, hang up the phone.” There’s only so much you can learn from these things. After that, it’s necessary to kind of discover it, I think, in a more natural way. The fellow that I interviewed last week, Roger Walsh, is going to give a webinar through the Association for Spiritual Integrity, which is www.spiritual-integrity.org on the topic of psychedelics. He’s a therapist and he’s going to do it with Marianna Kaplan who’s also a therapist and Craig Holliday is part of that, and he’s a therapist. All these people have told me that as therapists, a lot of people have come to them with serious consequences from having taken this stuff, despite the fact that, again, many people have good experiences and it really is an eye-opener. But as you said, it’s a bit of a dangerous path. It’s not as natural and gentle and organic, we could say, as meditation can be, and it should be approached, if it’s approached at all, with very great respect and caution and prudence. I would, just my personal opinion is, if you do try it or have tried it, as Manuel has, then think in terms of it not being something you’re going to do for the rest of your life. You know, you’ve gotten a certain glimpse, now find a way of developing a state of consciousness that will be 24/7 for you and that won’t depend upon continuing to take things in order to have that state of consciousness.
Bill: Yeah, your intentions and where your consciousness is at are the real key factor. But I’ve seen a lot of the downside of it. But I haven’t met anybody doing meditation where there’s a downside. See but doing meditation to reach these high levels is work, versus you’ve got to do a chemical or a drug or a plant, it’s instantaneous. So we’re back to that fix, you know, we’ve got to have it now.
Rick: The meditation is enjoyable, or very much can be. I mean, I’ve always enjoyed it. It hasn’t felt like work to me. It’s like, “Ah, I get to do this for half an hour or an hour or something, how nice.” Pleasant experience?
Bill: But there’s people out there that it’s work, they’ll tell you.
Rick: Depends on how you do it, partially.
Bill: They’re fighting the restless mind and all that.
Rick: Yeah, you shouldn’t fight it.
Bill: So they go this other route. So it’s hard to tell somebody that’s never gotten high on meditation, the beauty of it, because they still got to fight that restless mind, and so they go for an alternate source. So I don’t know when I come out, I’m coming out of this thing thinking I’m not judging anybody that does it. I wouldn’t recommend it to anybody who came to me. I see it as with pitfalls, and if you’re going to do it, do it with great caution and wisdom and get some advice from somebody that’s a higher level, somebody you trust.
Rick: Yeah. I interviewed Michael Polin some six months ago or whatever, and he wrote a book called Changing Your Mind. He’s a well-known author, and he experimented with a number of different psychedelics, and he also interviewed all the top researchers and all in the field at Johns Hopkins and so on, and traced the whole history of the thing. But in any case, he approached it with such great caution, and the researchers and so on that he spoke with, the people who were doing these studies, they take such great care that the set and the setting and the guidance and the whole circumstances are just so ideal. There’s no kind of party drug kind of mentality involved, you know, we’re whoop-de-doo, we’re having fun. very judiciously and carefully. And you know, we’re not just saying this to be prudes, I mean, people get damaged. People have all kinds of serious consequences sometimes, especially if the whole thing is undertaken with any degree of triviality or frivolousness.
Bill: Well, I’ll give you an example. There was a guy that was, he was staying at a Self-Realization Fellowship, he was trying to become a monk, and he spent three years there and decided it wasn’t for him, and he left. And I took him into my house up here in Northern California to help get his feet back on the ground. And he says, “I want to come up there.” He says, “I want to stay at your house for a while, because I haven’t seen my brother in a long time.” I said, “What’s wrong with your brother?” His brother lived in Galt, which is 10 miles down the road. He was at a group home. The guy did drugs, he did LSD one time.
Rick: His brother or this monk guy?
Bill: The monk guy’s brother.
Bill: His younger brother did drugs one time, LSD. He was a top graduate, you know, valedictorian and all that in his high school. And he went to Europe and did LSD and never came out of it. I mean, the guy’s been in a loony bin or a group home since the 1960s. He’s still there. Never came out of it, just unlocked something. That’s the worst case I’ve ever heard. I couldn’t believe it one or two times that would happen. But who knows who that one or two-time person’s going to be?
Rick: Yeah. I mean, there was a young woman on this show in the very early days of my doing it, within the first month or two of my starting this project 10 years ago, who was really bright and apparently really doing very well. She ended up subsequently getting into ayahuasca and doing quite a bit of it. And she has been really seriously mentally ill ever since. Every time I see her parents in the grocery store, I say, “How’s she doing?” They say, “Well, you know, it’s difficult. She’s coming along.” But it’s just, you know, again, we’re sounding a note of caution for people who are listening to this and who might be tempted to try this stuff. It’s just … and I mean, your brain can produce all these chemicals, your brain produces DMT and it can produce it and it’s there for a reason, the fact that it produces it. And this stuff can be cultured naturally, and whatever experiences drugs can give you that are worth having, and again, it’s not about having specific experiences and seeing astral snakes or whatever you end up seeing, it’s about self-realization and knowing who ultimately you are and having that be a permanent realization, permanent feature, foundation of your life. So that should be the priority, I should think, or the orientation.
Bill: No, it’s a serious subject, and I think we’re both treated that way, and the question was outstanding, because that question is being asked by a lot of young people and they see this as the way, and I always come off as, “Well, you’re an old guy who proved you never did any drugs,” you know, whatever. And he’s right, I was hardcore, because if somebody asked me directly, “I don’t do them, you shouldn’t do them.”
Rick: Well, I did them. I’m not much younger than you are, and I was in the 60s and I did them for a year. And by the end of that year, I had dropped out of high school and gotten arrested a couple times and my life was kind of a mess, and then I learned to meditate and things turned around and got a lot better. And I had great they taught me something. They taught me ultimately that the world is not the same for everybody, it really depends upon how you perceive it, and there can be radical differences in how different people perceive the very same world. And so, my whole orientation became, my whole motivation became to sort of shift my perspective to the ultimate extent, if that were possible, and see the world as it ultimately is, and live in that state permanently. And it didn’t take me too long to realize that drugs weren’t going to do that for me.
Bill: And again, you used your free will, and then you made judgments, and actually, the drugs were a teacher to you. Things could be a teacher even in a negative way, they still teach you something. So anyway, so this guy, Paul, his name?
Rick: The guy who asked the question, yeah. Oh, Manuel, I believe, in Austria.
Bill: Manuel. We probably given you a roundabout answer.
Rick: More than you wanted to hear.
Bill: But the bottom line is, if you’re asking me if this is a safe course to follow, I would say it’s risky, and meditation, pure meditation, it’s not risky. I mean, the worst you’re going to do is fall asleep, you know, relaxed. So you’ve got to look at the potentials, and I would never, not anymore, not anymore am I going to be black and white on issues, and this is it or not for people. That’s up to your free will. But if you were asking me, so-
Rick: Which he was, yeah.
Bill: Which he was. So I’m telling you, I would be very, very cautious. Very cautious. It’s a slippery slope.
Rick: Yeah, and you know, you don’t have to tell yourself you’re never, ever going to do it again no matter what, but find yourself a good spiritual practice, you know, find something that really works for you, some form of meditation or something that is not a struggle, that you find is productive of results, and see if you can get into a regular routine with it, and see how you feel after a month, two months, three months. What happened to me was, in a very short period of time, I felt like, “Wow, I’m feeling better all the time than drugs made me feel temporarily, so why would I ever want to take them again?” I lost the desire.
Bill: Well, you’re a better example of me because I didn’t go there, so you got the comparison. I’m speaking of something I haven’t partaken in, which is not as valuable as somebody that’s been there. It’s like a 12-step program. I’ve officiated a couple of them, you know, there’s no reason around, you know, for a homeless camp or something, I’ll do one, but it’s like, I have to tell the guys, I’m not a 12-stepper, I’ve never done the drugs, I don’t do the alcohol, and they’re not going to get the same thing out of it as if they listened to one of their own. And that’s why 12-step works, because 12-steppers listen to somebody that had the problem and has now gotten rid of it. And so you listen to somebody that’s been there and done that. So I’m not having the same impact messages as you would on this message, because I’m just saying, “No, I saw how bad it looked from friends, I didn’t have to live it. I saw it in other people, something they don’t ever want to do.” So okay, we beat it today.
Rick: So yeah, I was just going to say, we probably exhausted that point. Okay, so is there anything else that you would like to say before we conclude?
Bill: Yeah, let’s just talk about it, because people always want to know about manifesting. But most people want to manifest a new car, a new job, a new wife, a new whatever it is, right? They always want to manifest things. And I tell people, try manifesting love and peace and compassion in your life. And if you spend all the time and energy focusing on manifesting love for the people around you, like everybody’s got dysfunctional family. I don’t care what family you’re from, everybody’s family is a little bit dysfunctional. And in-laws, out-laws, everybody that’s in there. So give your time and attention to visualizing love in your family. Pray for every member of your family, especially those people that are having problems, especially those people that don’t like you. Pray for them and expand your family. It’s not just your family, it’s the family of man. So I’ll go back to what we originally talked about earlier. You manifest everything that’s in your life now. So people, I don’t know how to manifest. Yeah, you do.
Rick: You did it. This is it.
Bill: Yeah, you manifest unemployment, you manifest your divorce, you manifested your alcoholism. I mean, you’ve done it. I mean, if you’ve manifested that, even if it’s negative. So the good thing about it is change your thinking first and your actions. And in time, never back to time, in time you can change things. Now you can’t overcome karmic debt so easily. That’s like if you eat 16,000 calories a day for a year, you’re going to be 200 pounds overweight and you can’t go on a diet for two days and think, “Well, I’ve been dieting for two days, how come I’m not back?” So you got to get rid of some of the fat. You got to get rid of some of the karma. And how do you get rid of that? You can live it, go through it all, or certain forms of meditation will help you burn it and lessen it. And because God knows how long it will take forever to live it all. So that’s another thing about why meditation is good. So good kundalini meditation will help on that. So manifest love, become love, be love, give love, breathe love. I can’t think of any other reason why we’re here. If people have heard this conversation with us today, I hope they come away with that. I know we got off on some crazy subjects today. But if they come away with nothing else, realizing they have manifested their own lives. Now knowing that, manifest a loving life. It’s just as easy to manifest a loving life as it is one filled with troubles.
Rick: Yeah, and it’s like you say, I mean, life is kind of like an ocean liner. It has a certain mass and momentum and you’re not going to turn it on a dime and necessarily miss the iceberg. But you start turning and then the turn kind of picks up speed as you go. So you’re not going to become St. Francis of Assisi overnight or anything like that, but whichever direction we sort of steer the ship of our life, it eventually ends up going in that direction.
Bill: But I think, you know they got the expression down in Hollywood, “fake it till you make it,” and it always reminds me of Yogananda’s story that he told in one of his lessons. Where a hunter, he wanted to hunt on the king’s property in India, right, the Maharajah or something. And he noticed every time he went out there with his hunting outfit on and his weapons, all the animals would run from him. But he watched a monk go out there and a monk would walk around and all the animals would come up to him and he’d feed him and he’d pet him. And he says, “Ah, if I could do that, I could pretend to be a monk out there and all these animals would make friends with me, then I can hunt them.” And so he spent six months pretending to be a monk and he’d go out there and he’d walk and feed the animals. Next thing you know, he realized that he had no thoughts of hunting them anymore.
Rick: That’s interesting.
Bill: He loved these creatures. It changed him.
Bill: So I’m telling people, “fake it till you make it,” meaning pretend to be a holy person. Do everything a holy person would do. A holy person wouldn’t harm this person, wouldn’t say that.
Rick: That’s a sweet story. It’s like that song from The King and I, “Whistle a Happy Tune,” remember that one?
Rick: I hold my head erect and whistle a happy tune.
Bill: I love it. Let me get my ukuleles.
Rick: Yeah, get your ukulele. All righty, well, it’s great talking to you, Bill.
Bill: I will see you at SAND.
Bill: And you take care, blessings and everything. And if anybody’s got any late questions, any more questions we didn’t answer on there, we got them all.
Rick: Yeah, I’ll forward them to you. Well, no others at the moment, but if any come in, I’ll forward them to you and maybe you can email the person.
Bill: Yeah, I’ll do that. That’s a courtesy.
Bill: But so is a friend, and a joyous thing, friendly thing, and a joyous thing to spend time with you.
Rick: Yeah, me too.
Bill: I thank you for the opportunity, and I hope we covered some territory.
Rick: Oh, we did, yeah. And speaking of SAND, next week I’m going to interview Zaya and Maurizio Bonazza, who are the mother and father of SAND, the founders of it. I’ll be reading part of their book this week, and we’ll just be talking about SAND. We’ll talk about all kinds of topics, but anyway, I thought I’d mention that since that’s the next one coming up.
Bill: Well, you know, interesting, that’s kind of an interesting karma that’s going. It’s like you with this show. You’re introducing the greater consciousness of all of us out here watching this, by input from all these different people. They’re doing the same thing in Italy and in San Jose, and I guess elsewhere. And the more people doing things like that, I mean, not everything’s a great pro-wisdom, there’s some people do stuff, but there’s a level for everybody. I’m sure that somebody’s getting something out of everybody that goes those things, because everybody’s looking for something different. And you offer a variety of people on here. I mean, my gosh, you’ve got thoughts going in every different direction, especially the subjects we talked about today. You can get 10 different people and go different directions, and that’s good.
Bill: You’re all the sides. So you’re exposing the world to all this.
Rick: Yeah, and exposing myself to it too. And I find it very enriching to kind of get input from so many different perspectives. It makes my perspective more multifaceted and broader, you know?
Bill: Well, what you do is, you’ve opened up the teachers to the student, and you’re getting inundated every week, right?
Bill: What are you going to learn this week? You never know.
Rick: It’s a good gig. Great fun.
Bill: All right.
Rick: All right, thanks Bill. Take care, I’ll see you in about six months out at Sand, and this interview will be up in a few days, and we’ll be in touch. We’ll probably have some more chats on the side over the coming months.
Bill: God bless you.