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Bonnie Greenwell 2nd Interview
Rick Archer: Welcome to Buddha at the Gas Pump. My name is Rick Archer. Buddha at the Gas Pump is an ongoing series of interviews with spiritually Awakening people. I’ve done hundreds 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. This program is made possible by the support of appreciative listeners and viewers. If you appreciate it and feel like supporting it in any amount, there’s a Pay Pal button on every page of the site. And there’s also a donate page that offers or explains other ways to donate. My guest today is Bonnie Greenwell. I interviewed Bonnie several years ago and really enjoyed the conversation. In fact, I listened to that conversation this week and thought there was quite a bit in it, we really covered a lot of ground. So if if those listening to this one, find it interesting, you might want to check out the previous one as well. Bonnie is a transpersonal psychotherapist and non dual teacher in the lineage of Adi Shanti. After her Kundalini awakening in graduate school, she wrote a dissertation and book on the Kundalini process. In 2003, she met ADIA and experienced a deep shift in consciousness that led to editing his book, emptiness dancing, so I think I have on the shelf right behind me and an invitation to teach. She has worked as a mentor guide for people in Kundalani, or awakening processes for over 30 years. Her fourth book, when spirit leaps, here it is. Navigating the process of spiritual awakening was released last June. Bonnie was the founder and director of the Kundalini Research Network, and has trained excuse me, and has was and has trained people internationally to work with spiritual emergence and understand Kundalini phenomena. She believes the awakening of consciousness to truth is a natural realization available to all who sincerely long for self realization, and that Kundalini is fundamentally a clearing and transformative energetic support for this process. She offers webinars and consultations on the web, and can be contacted through her website and her awakened living blog, which I’ll be linking to from her page on batgap.com. I often Well, first of all, welcome Bonnie, thanks for doing this again.
Bonnie Greenwell: Thank you for inviting
Rick Archer: I’ve often referred people to you over the years who get in touch with some Kundalini situation, usually something that rather concerns them. And I’ve been in I usually refer people either to you or to Joan Harrigan, Joan is kind of retiring from that now. So I guess it just be you. And also Lawrence Edwards is a good person to refer people to I’ve interviewed him also
Bonnie Greenwell: appreciated that. And I’ve enjoyed all the contacts that I make. It’s been a gift for me to meet all the fascinating people who contact me over the year.
Rick Archer: Yeah. I mean, it’s kind of we and we move in interesting company when we do this sort of thing, don’t we?
Bonnie Greenwell: Yeah, yeah, it is. It’s, it’s really lovely, isn’t it? I mean, it’s just fun. You get to meet the most interesting people and hear the most amazing stories.
Rick Archer: Fascinating. I don’t know if we covered in your first interview, the Kundalini awakening you had when you were in college or graduate school? We want to in case we didn’t would you want to just explain that a little bit what happened to you?
Bonnie Greenwell: First of all, I went back to graduate school when I was about 40. So I wasn’t just a college, a young college student. Personal psychology, and at that time, I had about 15 years of meditation, that I had been doing meditation pretty steadily for a long time, and had done a lot of yoga and sis lot of therapy. I was licensed as a marriage and family counselor at the time. So I had a lot of background, and I went to ITP because at the time it had a lot of you did a lot of body work as well as spiritual teachers would come through and speak. And I was interested in those things. Isn’t that I might as well get a doctorate for doing it. So, when I was there, I went to a workshop with Gay Hendricks. Have you ever interviewed gay?
Rick Archer: No. Gay Hendricks, I believe?
Bonnie Greenwell: No, it’s Katherine. Katherine wrote, okay. Yeah, I know, gay was a US doing something called radiance, breath, work at the time now with relationships. But at that time, he was doing radiates breath work. And I watched him working with someone else. And I immediately knew it had to do with spiritual awakening. It was the first time even though I’d been in many yogic other places, in the strong connection between the body and spiritual awakening before, so I went to gay and asked him to work with me and just told him, I wanted to let go of any barriers to knowing God. And to this day, and after just one intense session, I went back to class, I was sitting on the floor and ITP and those pills on the floor, and my energy is just started rising, just went up over and over. Extremely ecstatic from it. And when the class was over, when meditation room there and just sat for a couple of hours and kind of went into an altered space, and fortunately, I was there, people who are familiar with Kundalini, have fear about it. I knew what it was from watching gay work, and from talking to other people there was also quite involved with to learn in Stan Grof at the time. So I was just on the dissertation, and decided to do my dissertation on Kundalini. And because the experience attended for a very, very wonderful, consistent, credible bliss spontaneously. Walking down the street and feeling connected with everything was a really wonderful experience. And I got curious about the difference between because I kept hearing from people who were having to dip had had difficulties with it. So I wrote a dissertation exploring what’s the difference between someone who has a positive experience, LTC, and search and it led to publishing my first book, machine, Kundalini Research Network with other people that I found that are involved and interested in the topic.
Rick Archer: Someone said, they’re having some problems with the sound, your sound is breaking up a little bit, but I don’t think there’s anything we can do about that. It’s a bandwidth thing. But no, don’t worry, but nothing you can do. Okay, well, that’s a good overview. What kind of meditation had you been doing for 15 years?
Bonnie Greenwell: When I was young, I, I had a union analyst who was a follower of Yogananda. So I did, I used to sit with him, he did meditation during the week. And then I had a friend that was a psychologist that was a student. And so I also sat with him part of the time, then I also got interested in the three pillars of Zen Zen and so I was also explore that. Before that, I had been involved with an organization called Creative Initiative Foundation. And that was my first exposure to the idea of meditation and even also to Union psychology. And when I left that organization, I just had this incredible longing to make a connection, a deeper connection, and that drove me into the sitting for hours. Get the children off to school, and I would many hours a day just sit. Different approaches did different practices at different times.
Rick Archer: There’s a punishing question, which I wasn’t going to ask until later, but kind of relate, I think to what you’re saying. Someone named coolie Clarice from freehold, New Jersey, asked is awakening predetermined? Some teachers seem to avoid answering this question because they don’t want people to lose the motivation to practice this. And she also adds this is perhaps related to the topic of freewill. And the reason I think it’s relevant to what you were just saying is that, you know, some people just seem to come into this life with the seeds of very strong, ardent desire for awakening and Enlightenment and so Elon and and it just consumes them and they pursue it and very often get results. And you know, there’s just aren’t interested. And you know, texts such as the Bhagavad Gita talk about how, you know, we might have done spiritual practice at a previous life and then come into this life and, you know, be born into circumstances that will be conducive to continuing our path. So do you have any comments or thoughts about whether it’s predetermined, and I know you’re we’re going to talk a lot about the significance of practice, I don’t think even if you think it’s predetermined, that you would say that don’t bother doing anything. And, and it’ll happen if it’s meant to happen.
Bonnie Greenwell: I don’t think we can know if it’s predetermined. That would just be an opinion or a belief system. I think that if children are awake, is built into every human, but the longing for it varies greatly. And that many people are just so distracted by other goals and intentions and, and challenges in their lives, that they’re just drawn to those kinds of existential questions that draw meditators. So I feel that, that anybody who has a deep longing, I think that’s kind of the primary primary dynamic that supports awakening is that and a persistence with that, and that, in a way, you could say that that’s what that which is longing is the pure consciousness, and it’s simply meeting that call. On the other hand, I’ve met many people need wakening who weren’t intending it at all. And in those cases, it might indeed be predetermined, or it might, very often it appears possible that it was a previous life, and they were, obviously going to wake up in this life, whether they expected it or intended it or not. So it can happen both ways. There’s many different events. And that can happen that cause at least a glimpse of truth. It doesn’t mean they wake up and they stay awake and enlightened, suddenly, it just means they have glimpses, they’re being called away,
Rick Archer: when you use phrases like wake up, or stay awake, or so on, it kind of sounds black and white, on and off, you know, it’s like, either you’re awake, or you’re not. And I mean, if we take the example of sleep at night, you know, obviously, there is a transition period between waking and sleeping, where we’re sort of trying to wake up, but we’re not all the way there yet. And then, a little bit later, when we’re into our day, where we would say we’re totally awake as compared to what we were when we’re asleep. So do you think that’s a reasonable metaphor for spiritual awakening as well, that it’s, there could be, you know, kind of deep darkness where it’s, there’s hardly any glimpse of it. And there could be very clear realization of it. But there could also be a middle ground, which is sort of foggy, but still some degree of it.
Bonnie Greenwell: I think a better metaphor would be somebody that has to wake up every day, and get up, and then goes back to sleep again, I think that what happens most people, so there’s an initial, and what I mean, in which suddenly they everything falls away, and they’re just standing there in their pure connection with everything or a very clear sense of I don’t exist. I’m not it’s not, I’m not what I thought I was. But then the old psychological patterns and the old identities come back. I believe that most people, there’s a kind of a moving back and forth between the sense of freedom and openness and the sense of contraction and being entangled in some old emotional issue or dynamic. That’s why I think of the energetics of the clearing process. Because it it feels like the energy supports that clearing that has to happen that letting go of, you know, I thought I was really free and now this has come up. So clearly, I’m not free anymore, and people get very upset about that. But that since the awakeness is always there. It’s just that all these other preoccupations. ends and distractions. You could say your your dharma arrives in your life that belong to you, they arise, they have to be met, they have to be understood or, or really accepted in some way, some new way. That light of pure consciousness has more to shine through. So, it goes on, I think for most of our lives for most people it doesn’t is not a permanent state, most people, at least, that audio once told me that the Buddhists say that after an awakening, you should allow about 12 years for it to mature or become more stable. And that’s if you stay committed to your practice. You’re not just saying, Oh, I’m done, and he won’t wander off into other other distractions.
Rick Archer: Yeah. So dwell on this a bit more terms of definition of awakening and versus Enlightenment and so on. You know, I mean, I hear audio himself saying that, even in his own experience, there’s a continuing growth. And, you know, and who knows if or when it ever ends. And some people, you know, would take exception to that, they would say, Well, you know, that to that which awakens doesn’t change, and so how can it grow? And what would be your answer to that.
Bonnie Greenwell: And the awakeness, doesn’t change, I mean, the weaknesses is there. But it, as I said, it gets kind of clouded over by our personal attachments and challenges. And, and so you could think of it more that the sky never change is always there, but sometimes it’s full of clouds, sometimes it’s full of darkness and shadows, and sometimes it’s just bright sunlight. So the ground being isn’t going to change, but your ability to be in touch and move from that it’s going to vary greatly, depending on many different circumstances.
Rick Archer: That’s a good answer. I mean, we could obviously we can even say that a rock has the same ground of being that we do. But the rock has some room for growth, in terms of being a conscious functioning, being of some sort. And by the same token, you know, we have room for growth, perhaps we’re better off than the rock, but doesn’t mean we’ve, we or anyone has reached the sort of ultimate possibility of, of embodiment, embodying pure consciousness. Sure,
Bonnie Greenwell: the, the human that we are, is get patched to our, our, we’re designed in bodies to function as human beings with one another and separation. So when consciousness wakes itself up, the human characteristics that we have that’s just programmed into us to be human beings, is very alarmed by letting itself fall away. So there’s be a struggle between the, the character me first feels very unknown, very much not me that’s coming up through us and be trying to take over our lives. So there’s a sense of straw, oh, for most people for a long time, and go and, and insights and wisdom and potentiality of their true nature to come through. It’s just natural. It’s just natural, because we’ve, we’ve been built as a physiological system in such a way. We believe we’re, and often the people that are going through this have spent many years improving their self image or their abilities to function in the world, you know, they’ve individuated and it’s like, you have the feeling, I’m going to lose all of that. It’s all it’s all been for nothing. But the whole way I’ve been living my life was wrong. And you get into these struggles and that there’s room for growth. It’s, it’s there. There’s room for more.
Rick Archer: When you say that that’s true of everyone that there’s a struggle and a feeling that you’re losing your ability to function or is that just one of a number of varieties of experience that can come up
Bonnie Greenwell: There’s some kind of a dynamic between the old established personal self, and the nature, which has a very different sense of idea, manatee that can vary greatly, for example, somebody that’s been in a very long term spiritual practice, and this is what they’ve been looking on time is, is this awakening sir awareness experience there, then they have a context for it, they might more easily let go, who had a near death experience or was in an activated and they were doing something, you know, they were one woman, for example, was a dentist and activated her energy through some shamanic workshop she went through, and very hard if you’re very scientifically oriented, and all of a sudden, you’re seeing things very differently. So it varies greatly from one person to another how they need. to arise. Yeah.
Rick Archer: But I guess just to summarize, the general point you’re making here is that you awakening entails a real transformation of the vehicle through which awakening is experienced or anything is experienced, namely, the mind, the nervous system, the personality, you can’t pour new wine into old wineskins, that you’re going to have to get a new one scan or transform the old one into a new one. I think that’s what Jesus was alluding to when he said that.
Bonnie Greenwell: Yeah, I think that’s true. It’s, that’s what the energy process does. We have 72,000 lines of energy flow in our body. And I feel that we are energy fields. In fact, I saw a quote by Einstein the other day where he said everything is energy, if you could move as at the command in it. So we’re energy fields, and everything that’s ever happened to us in this life, and maybe even previous lives is, is woven into our energy field. So when Kundalini arises its function is that clearing out of those old knots and patterns and a belief systems and assumptions and created in our energy field and our consciousness because of our past experiences.
Rick Archer: That’s an interesting quote by Einstein, you know, takes what about 2 million years for light to get to us from the Andromeda Galaxy. But if you were a photon, if you could imagine a photon having a perspective, the photon arrives instantly. So for a photon, there’s no distance. The photon you can say is infinite. As Einstein said, it’s, it’s omnipresent. It’s, it’s everywhere, instantly. And I think there’s a kind of corollary between that and the way consciousness is described. Okay, so in your book, you mentioned at some point that, you know, some spiritual people or traditions, perhaps Advaita, or maybe Neo Advaita, people kind of dismiss the whole energy thing as kind of an illusory consideration that we shouldn’t bother dwelling on. You know, we’re just kind of getting ourselves caught up. And then unnecessary complexities or something if we give much attention to it. And you address that question or doubt in your book, so I’ll let you do so here
Bonnie Greenwell: is one of the reasons I’ve written this book and all my last one is that so many of the people who contact me, difficult spiritual system, and often, if they raise energy, or they have unusual phenomena going on in their meditation centers, they’re told that it’s wrong or it’s dangerous, or they shouldn’t be coming to sittings anymore because they’re disturbing people. And they’re not being given the kind of support guidance. And it’s true not only for therapists who often misdiagnose a spiritual awakening, but it’s, it’s true for yoga teachers. It’s true for Buddhist meditation teachers. It’s true for even energy workers, when people go into a transcendent state Kids are particularly energetic activities. Sometimes they make sounds, sometimes their body is doing strange things or they frightened. They don’t have anyone to talk to, because their teachers don’t understand the process. Unless you have a teacher that’s really gone through the whole process themselves, and many have not, they’re not going to have an understanding of it. And the manager of the who does understand it, is that I’ve seen many different systems, people coming out of many different systems with many different kinds of phenomena, where most teachers who teach about Kundalini, this is how we’re supposed to be this is what it looks like. One teacher wrote to inquire and about his difficulties rolled back and said, This can’t be Kundalini, because Kundalini is always positive. So yeah, yeah, it just, it just really, so many people have written in sand, when they found my book, they wish they had found it 10 years earlier, because they instruct the time they think he was they didn’t know how to manage it, they were afraid they were going crazy. And they didn’t know how to bring it. What I found is in the energetic process, they don’t know about waking up, they don’t, it means in a sense to wake up to recognize your true nature and his self, they can continue to move. And once that shift happens, the energy is much calmer, much easier to live with. What’s been important to me, what I’ve learned and been so grateful for is I started out with the yogic model, and I spent some time in India and I did a lot the classical way of looking at Kundalini Yoga, it’s it’s definitely a model that uses the energy body to bring one into an awakened state to bring in or wake up. And when I was in that model, I didn’t know that it had an awakening without the energy. But when I started sitting with Adi Shanti, I started seeing people have awakenings having these great shifts of consciousness. But afterwards, their energy would start to be really blessed and seeing that, that it can happen it from both in both ways. Before gently, sometimes in odd VEDA, or Buddhist systems, there’s not a recognition of the energy and in the energy systems, and awakening can happen first. And I begin to see both sides of that picture,
Rick Archer: pull any one leg of the table and all the other legs will come along. One thing I appreciate about your books, and your whole perspective is that it’s so kind of all encompassing, you know, you’re open to all possibilities as having relevance to the awakening process. And, you know, which I think I also consider that my perspective because I have to if I’m doing a show like this, I’m talking to such a variety of people. And and I hear week after week, you know, significant stories of very significant shifts and awakenings and so on through such a variety of means. And you know, I kind of if I had to summarize it, I would just say that, you know, God is not a one trick pony. I mean, that the diversity of creation that we see in a rainforest or in the world in general, is paralleled by the diversity of spiritual paths or means through which are varieties of experience, which people can have as as they awaken.
Bonnie Greenwell: That’s true. That’s the advanced, like, sale for like me, who gets to us? Because we get to hear stories that obviously come from some practices encounters with life. So you can see that broad range of ways. And that awakening can happen.
Rick Archer: I was talking to a gentleman last weekend and he had gotten some flack from religious fundamentalists at a certain stage of his path and reminded him that there are some 40 billion earth like planets in our galaxy by most estimate. And they’re saying these days about perhaps 10 trillion galaxies in the known universe. And if even 1% of those earth like planets, and who’s to say they have to be Earth, like, have some kind of intelligent life on them, that is, you know, begun to tune into the spiritual dimension, just think how many varieties of, of spiritual experience there are in the universe, and how absurd it is for any anyone to be rigidly insistent that theirs is the best, or the only one way.
Bonnie Greenwell: A lot of times, particularly fundamentalist systems. If participants wake up, they’re not it, the whole idea of somebody has variants of the sacred or of God, or the universe is threatening to the hierarchical structures. Because you, you don’t believe anymore, it’s not about believing it’s about experience. And in many systems, you’re really not supposed to do that you’re supposed to go on faith in the system that you want in the particular minister or priest, that is the head of that system. So it’s very hard for in a real fundamentalist system, and often they get terrible advice being told it must be of the devil, or it must be dangerous, or they sound crazy, or, you know, and it can be very damaging. So it’s, it’s very important, I think what you’re doing is very important, I refer people to you all the time. And let people but I’m hoping, you know, I’m, I’m getting old, I’m wanting to get this material out there in the hands of ministers and various people who are in a role where they can tell somebody, get this, give someone a book, or tell them perhaps this is what’s happening to you. And this data fry them today.
Rick Archer: Yeah, that’s great, you’re doing that. Because as I see it, the the sort of pace of awakening and the and sort of a frequency of it, the commonality of it, the puppet in the world is increasing, there’s something in the field that’s getting enlivened, and more and more people are waking up. And, as you say, in many cases, they don’t know what it is, or they get flack from their religious leaders, and so on. So I think it’s, it’s really something that’s going to have to become more common knowledge and is becoming more common. As we go along over the over the coming years.
Bonnie Greenwell: Particularly as it becomes more common knowledge, there’s also quite a bit of distortion on the web. So that is, people need to be cautious. People need to find their own intuitive knowing about what’s right for them, and really develop that, that capacity for discrimination, along with the trust in their own energy in their own area, since a lot of there’s a lot of distortion that are presented to people and and you can get stuck in on the wrong direction for a while. Also,
Rick Archer: before you get off that change points. I just want to say I’ve been thinking about that, as I was reading your book and about the importance of both knowledge and experience. It’s like they’re, they’re like the two legs through which we walk on the spiritual path. And you can’t really walk on one leg. And so experience without knowledge can result in all kinds of fear and confusion and misunderstanding and, you know, taking Thorazine or something, because you think you’re going crazy, and knowledge without experience can be become fanatical and pedantic and dry and one can mistake mere knowledge for the actual experience to which it refers. So I think it’s really an important safeguard and it’s a necessity on the spiritual path to be simultaneously culturing both in a genuine way.
Bonnie Greenwell: I like the one of the by prime intention and create a context so that you have a context for the kinds of phenomena that’s arising, which in my opinion, is that this is an opportunity for human transformation. It’s happening to you because you’ve been invited to, for your consciousness to wake up and live in a new way in the world. and it can be thought of. And, but it doesn’t have to be, it can be thought of as a human potential transformative experience of being more in
Rick Archer: a group people met have the very same experience and interpreted in both those different ways. You know, it’s like we all we look at a painting or we listen to some music, and we have three and different interpretations of it yet it’s the same painting, same music, same sunset, we’re looking at.
Bonnie Greenwell: Yeah, 10 different ways. Pop us, I think, to a new expression in the world, if we, if we stay with it, if we embody what we’ve seen what we felt, it calls us to find a way of expressing it in from our deepest core feels necessary to come through us. And you and that’s why you’re doing the work, you do some something called you,
Rick Archer: actually, in a way audio called me. I mean, I’ve been doing this stuff for, you know, my own spiritual practice for pursuit for decades. But I was out in the garage listening, listening to audio Shanthi, well working out on a Bowflex machine, and the idea popped into my head to do an interview so and then that idea wouldn’t leave me alone. And initially, I thought of it as a local radio show and list the little station we have here, but that that wasn’t really going to happen. And then finally, we got it started and put it on the internet, one thing led to the next but I’ve always felt like there’s a real nice wind at my back and doing this project is something that’s needed and something that supported
Bonnie Greenwell: it, that’s a such a good point. Because a lot of times people who have had an awakened, established, they want to know what to do. And, you know, when we’re younger before, you would say we’re driven by the intellect or the mind or the intention, you know, we have goals in life, and we’re going after those goals. But it doesn’t work that way, after an awakening, it works as a sponsor. To me, after my Kundalini awakening, out of some, I wrote, I took wrote my dissertation, there was nothing else I could have written about, I was so full of his energy. And with the thought that if only one person gets some use out of this, it’s worth my time. And then somehow the Kundalini Research Network evolved. And it was like, halfway through me, I managed it for several years. Effortless, it was just happening. And it it really was not something I decided in my head, I’m going to do this, it was like, just came through, it’s like, Okay, bring people together, or that. And I think people need to understand that if the to do it has to do with listening, really intuitively dropping in and, and waiting for that, and SPIRATION. And if it’s the right thing for kind of bubbling, it’ll keep coming up until you lean into it a little bit and see if it’s, it’s what you’re meant to do.
Rick Archer: Yeah. And you were talking a little earlier about discrimination and discernment. You know, I think some people can swing too far in the other direction, where they, they’re just sort of following their impulses, because they feel like that’s the way the universe is guiding me. But you can end up indulging in whims, you know, you can quit a good job or quit a good relationship or something just because you have some kind of impulse. It all needs to be tempered and kind of counterbalanced with other factors and, and so on.
Bonnie Greenwell: I think that’s true. You have to learn the difference between the impulses, and their deeper potentialities. Usually, I tell people, if something keeps coming up, or you know, repeats itself, maybe it belongs to you lean in a bit, had the results. See what happens. And if it’s meant for you, if it’s the right thing, it’ll unfold in just the right way. If it’s not comfortable, you won’t be happy pretty quickly. And you’ll know, nah, this isn’t going to work. For me, or this was just temporary. I don’t know why but even with the Kundalini and that energy ran out for me, and then it was just over for me. And and when I left that organization within a few weeks or months I met at all The whole new door. And then I helped him with some well with emptiness dancing, I decided to create emptiness dancing that was. And for a long time, I thought, well, I don’t, I can do this, it sounds like I’m just trying to get attention or something. I didn’t know if it was an egoic impulse or not, but it kept coming up. So finally, I just went to him. And we, all these talks had been written, transcribed from his lectures from his South songs, and they were just sitting in the fight. I don’t really like to take some of your talks and put them into a book, I think it would be helpful for the organization, people would find you that. And he said, Okay, so I did that. So that just opened me up to a whole other world really. And so that came, but it came from following something that kind of just pulling in that. So it’s very interesting that you it takes a while to get the sense of how it is to fall into that part of yourself. But you can it it happens eventually, for people that stay in this process does.
Rick Archer: There’s a thing in Sanskrit, I don’t remember the Sanskrit but the English of it is Brahman is the charioteer. And and I think what it means is that, you know, what you can think of a chariot or can think of a car and initially, you know, we’re, we feel like we’re driving it, you know, we’re in the driver’s seat, we’re in control. But there’s you were talking earlier about this transition, one must undergo and the transition entails, among other things, a shift from who’s in control of who’s in control. And eventually, Brahman is found to be the charity or the wholeness, the cosmic intelligence, or whatever is this, we’re just going to go along for the ride. But but that’s when it’s tricky as the transition is underway. And it can take decades, you know, in process, because there can be this sort of gray area where it’s like, you know, what, whose impulse is this? Is this my ego? Is this is this something that’s meant to be in some deeper sense, and it’s kind of a constant discernment that has to sort of work be worked out in order to? Well, yeah, you can’t surrender too much to the point of passivity and indecision, but you don’t want to be sort of egotistically dominant in terms of forcing it, you know, my way or the highway, there’s kind of a balancing thing that that happens over time.
Bonnie Greenwell: Well, what what often happens is if you’re, if you’re moving in, free, you feel crappy. You don’t feel well, you have all kinds of barriers come up, and you’re not you’re both interior and exterior. Most of us, you know, we’re raised to believe we should fight through everything. But instead, we need to actually listen. What’s the message here? Is this the right place for me? Is it I feeling dad and my work now, do I need to really listen, and we need to learn silences. Adi Shanti likes to point out and wait and be patient. Because this is a new that wants to be heard. But unless we go into the silence and the stillness and spend some time inviting it, going to show it’s not show up. It’s through nature doesn’t push through. It doesn’t push through our egoic stuff. We have to kind of need it. To go out we have to get in a cooperative relationship with Yeah, we’re
Rick Archer: there’s some quote that when you said that kind of came to mind. Now remember, there’s something some scriptural thing either from the Bible or some Vedic thing about how maybe you can remember it, but how, you know the Divine is not pushy, it’s not going to sort of beat down the door and insist that it be welcomed, then it’s going to sort of need to be invited. And there needs to be a sort of a way of surrender really, from our side, a coop, cooperative this and it’s not going to force us to do that.
Bonnie Greenwell: That’s true. I’ve heard it Shanti say that too. He just taught it’s it’s that’s why there’s the meditation and the sitting and stillness and the resting is so important. After an awakening,
Rick Archer: Maria she wants to use the analogy of, you know, going in for surgery. Surgery can operate until you’re willing to lie still and be be willing to undergo the process.
Bonnie Greenwell: Right? You know, it helps if you begin to see that you never had any control anyway, that that was an illusion all along. If you, if you look back at your life, you’ll see most of the major events in it, you didn’t call the person you’re married to you didn’t say, such and such, it’s just like this. And, and you had I met my husband in a parking lot. You know, I mean, it wasn’t controlled at all. And your children, when when you have children evolve, you have very little control, you have a lot of influence, emotionally and psychologically. But most of us would say our children have moved into directions that we didn’t didn’t foresee for them. At least that’s been my experience. And I know my mother was a very devout Catholic, she would be quite shocked to see what I’m so it’s not. We, we, we do we have the ability to respond, to accept, we appear to have that ability, although it’s probably based on our conditioning. But our life had many, many of the most amazing things that have happened. Because you are in control of them.
Rick Archer: Interesting that we’re dwelling on this topic as much as we are, but I just reminded of so many instances in which parents demand that their child be a lawyer or something like that, you know, which is completely opposite to what they want to be, like, Dead Poets Society, that was one of the themes of that movie. And in my case, I wanted from the age of four, I wanted to play the drums. And my parents kept saying I should learn to play the piano first. And I hated playing the piano that went on for 10 years until I finally got a drum set. And then I took write off with it. So it’s, it’s sort of, I don’t know, obviously, kids need guidance. But there’s there’s something about letting this verse in The Gita says creatures act according to their own nature, what can restraint accomplish?
Bonnie Greenwell: You know, that’s an issue for a lot of people who have awakenings is that they’re in a career that they chose. Or they’re, maybe they’re college students. One young man I’m thinking of was a an economics major in college, and he had a terrible automobile accident, and it activated his energy. He just didn’t want to study economics anymore. And many people are making, because somebody directed them to that, and said that that would be the wisest thing to do. Because they make more money, or because their family, all their family, does it their family.
Rick Archer: Do you remember that line from the graduate Dustin Hoffman is trying to figure out what he’s gonna do and the guy says plastics.
Bonnie Greenwell: That’s been your story. If this your story has been, you’ve been on the wrong field. Or you’re the people that feel really toxic, you won’t be able to stay in that eventually, you’re going to have to listen to your gut about what do you really want to express? And how would it feel congruent and authentic, and you’re going to have to make some changes, or you won’t be happy, and you don’t have to make the changes. But if you want to be content and free, you may have to make some serious changes.
Rick Archer: I’m going to segue here back to something we were talking about earlier, just want to dwell on that a little bit more than go through some other points. We were talking about awakening. And you said as we as you were talking about that, that it’s kind of unusual for a kind of permanent shift to take place that there’s sort of I got it, I lost that thing. And you kind of implied that, that that’s going to be the norm for most people, but you want to correct that before I go on if that’s not what you meant to say.
Bonnie Greenwell: All I can say about it is that it takes time for that the pure consciousness to be more consistently dominant. One way I it’s like here’s this little self, the me that the person the character you’ve been pretending to be your life without abilities and accomplishments and problems. And here’s the pure consciousness and all of a sudden when you This is and in this case Take our take a week, it may take a few months is about the longest this ever stays. And then this comes up again. And then you’re going like this. And, and eventually if you stay committed, rendering, Faith facing your stuff your cycle, getting your life kind of oriented in a way that feels more authentic and more present. And eventually, this is more dominant, but this might pop up. That’s how that’s how it seems, among all the I’ve talked to 1000s of people. And, of course, the if there are people who just have one simple awakening, and they’re completely free the rest of their life, for me. So are two people that I work with?
Rick Archer: Yeah, I think one thing that people might find helpful is, and I think most people understand this is that you can have a really profound experience, let’s say you’re in meditation, and you have this transcendent, blissful, unbounded, experience, you know, you feel like you’re omnipresent, or something. And every experience of that nature tends to fade. And many things tend to integrate through repeated exposure to them. And as they integrate, they become the norm. And so you don’t really notice, you might even think about it, you could actually be in quite an unbounded awareness, and driving your car and talking to your wife or doing whatever you’re doing. But it’s just kind of the natural state. And it’s not something one reflects upon or remarks upon, upon. So it’s like, you know, the contrast when something initially happens can be quite notable. But Enlightenment is not a contrasting experience. It’s not a flashy experience, it’s more of a natural state, which becomes as comfortable as breathing or something.
Bonnie Greenwell: I feel it is a, it’s a person, it’s a different way of perceiving the world. And the perception is different, it’s more holistic, it’s more in the moments in present in the moment, it’s more intuitive. It’s more than just being present with what is and resistant to what is. Those are some of the qualities that I feel it is that becomes more the norm and how you function. And you’re, I think the thing that really falls away is the what Freud called the Super, the part of your mind, that’s always telling you, maybe you’ve made a mistake, or something’s wrong, or what’s wrong with that person that that collapses, it doesn’t have any. So it’s much more clarity. When you are you’re reading or you’re listening, or you’re it’s just, it’s just being present with what is and responding in a way that feels authentic, that feels it’s coming kind of from the heart or the gut rather than the mind, mind has stored all that information that you’ve picked up over the years like you. But it just kind of comes up. You don’t have to work to think about what you’re going to say. Yeah.
Rick Archer: I know the way Eckhart Tolle operates, he said, he says that he never prepares for his talks or anything, he just gets up on stage, gets in the car, goes to the place, gets on the stage, sits down and send something starts coming out of his mouth. On the other hand, I know when audio prepares a course, he does a lot of research. And, you know, he has books around his house with tabs, and the more he’s taking notes of things and all that stuff. So I don’t think the two are incompatible. I think that and obviously, if you were, let’s say an awakened person, studying to be a doctor, you’re not just going to wing it when you’re you have to do all kinds of Study and Learning and memorization and, and everything to be an effective doctor, airline pilot or anything else. There’s no incompatibility there.
Bonnie Greenwell: Well, what I have found, it’s been interesting. I’ve known audio now for maybe 10 years. And I would say that for many years, everything he taught was spontaneous song. He may have had an idea of a theme when he came in really spontaneous expression. And I think what happened and I’m projecting here because I haven’t ever asked him but I think That began to meet so many students 1000s of students from all over the world, he became much more interested in looking at the cross referencing of all the end. That after a while, and at first it’s everything feels really spontaneous, but and the mind, many people will say their mind is rp QAnon, you can’t really learn academically for a while you don’t, it feels uncomfortable. Well, you can do it. I found for myself, I graduate school and I couldn’t teach from a program anymore. I just I just hated it. I had to just teach spontaneously. And so I quit teaching graduate school. But I believe that after I’ve, what I have seen is that I think after a certain period of time, the mind becomes much more clear and crisp, in a way. And so you can go back to absorbing information, at least if it’s meaningful to your, your spiritual work, maybe for other things, too, maybe you become more brilliant, maybe I Stein was awake and he got his brilliant. He is from bad, I don’t know. I’ve seen adda evolve in that way. And in the kind of programs he has his interest in bringing in many rich research in the world,
Rick Archer: I may interview him again in a week or so if I do I will ask him that because I think it’s an interesting point. Okay, so just to put a cap on it, then. Do you feel? I mean, I hesitate to use the term Enlightenment because it has such a kind of superlative static connotation, like it’s some kind of part of the of gold at the end of the rainbow kind of thing. I mean, do you feel that there is some state that humans achieve? Or have achieved which is worthy of a term with such connotations? Or do you feel like even the most enlightened beings ever walked the planet? We’re probably still still probably had, you know, horizon before them which they could explore? Or do you feel that that’s just something that you can’t none of us can really speculate on? Until we get there?
Bonnie Greenwell: Question this, everybody has a different story about what it means the problem? If you say to me
Rick Archer: that way, I mean, there must be something that that term relates to in human experience. And, as as is the case with most words, I mean, we shouldn’t all have an opinion as to what 55 miles an hour means. There’s some kind of, you know, it means something that we have to abide by. So it would be nice if words correspond to to actual realities, and we agree upon their meaning.
Bonnie Greenwell: I think it’s easier just to say what you mean by it, and then the constraint, but he gets in, because some people will say, Oh, it means you can walk through walls, it means you can translocate like rah, sent to somebody, their teacher, the teachers, some of them and classical traditional, say, oh, there’s you can’t possibly become enlightened in this like, like, you’re not ready. Or they say they take up some pride, like you mentioned the other day or some type of pitcher you interviewed. He said, he never sleeps, some will say you never dream. So you know, people will say, Well, gee, that’s not true for me. So I’m a long way from transmitted by locate and I still have dreams occasionally. So I like to think of Enlightenment more as important in the world that feels very free. Very, very, coming from Love comes through, sometimes spontaneously for no reason at all. There to having particular results. Let’s get reactive, wanting to be of service and some of the other qualities that we’ve talked about. A people don’t become enlightened Enlightenment. Rice’s just just becomes more present. Don’t believe in individual All, most people will not tell you they’re enlightened, they won’t use that phrase, it’s not the personal little me that talks doesn’t feel like that’s even possible. You can always find a dozen reasons why you’re not enlightened. But consciousness can come through and at times and be very, very beautiful. And for some people that happens more consistently, permanently for some, I think the other thing that people get confused about and wonderful, me with my friendship with ADIA and, and mukti, too, and there’s is that they’re willing to be normally normal humans. Sure. They’re willing to, they’re not pretending to be on a on a some elevated level that normal people can’t relate to. I was in took packaging for the Sangha. And the postmaster saw the name on the package and said, Oh, Steve, he’s, you know, send it’s just like, be how to, or bury. And even though he’s not just ordinary, he’s he’s got a perspective and a capacity to bring that to the average person.
Rick Archer: Yeah, I think that’s one reason knowledge is so popular with a certain. Yeah. And it’s a safety factor also for him and for students, because I know of a number of teachers who get into this specialness thing, and it gets more and more inflated, and they end up you know, creating a weird scene around them. Students have a weird relationship with them, they ended up end up crashing and burning in some way, because Pride goeth before a fall. And so I think it’s a safeguard for both the teacher and the students, his students or her students, to keep it grounded, you know, keep it real, I
Bonnie Greenwell: think it’s very important, I don’t think I think anybody that’s truly free. And maybe we can talk about it more as freedom, or liberation and Enlightenment, anybody that’s truly free, does not need to be worshipped by anyone doesn’t even want to be worshipped, doesn’t want to be considered special. And, and they’re likely to look at everyone else is having the same source and the same potential. And they’re, they’re not likely to put themselves on a pedestal or have people throw flowers, and all of that. That’s kind of that’s kind of the old, the old, ancient classic way of honoring your guru kind of thing. And it’s just not. Maybe it was useful at one point in time, because what you were doing during this devotional, but it’s not relevant today. It’s not helpful with the kinds.
Rick Archer: Yeah, I would temper that statement a little bit. It’s a little bit on nuanced, you know, I would say that, firstly, this whole devotional thing has is somewhat of a cultural thing. It’s more normal in India than here, for instance. But secondly, I would say that even here, there are people for whom it’s still relevant. I mean, you go to see Alma, for instance, in the scene around her is rather is quite devotional, although first thing she does when she comes to the hall is bow our head to the floor to everyone else. So I don’t know I’m just careful not to make blanket statements.
Bonnie Greenwell: And that I agree there. Age of Spiritual, evolving. Very powerful devotion is very helpful. And this is true in Christianity, Devotion to Mary or Jesus or a saint. In the India, many people’s special being that you choose that you throw all your devotion to, and it’s very important because it opens the heart. And if you’ve had that channel opened in your life, and you wake up, you’re much more able and embodied awakening, so almost some approach to opening the heart. So yeah, I don’t I surf through a very strong sell with Yogananda and I’ve seen it many other people I takes you all the way A to realization, but I think it prepares the it opens.
Rick Archer: Yeah. Yeah, there’s an age old debate about that between the sort of the, the vice Ninevites. And invite them is about whether, you know, devotion and maintaining some separation between you and God is state you’d want to perpetually be in for the bliss of that relationship, or whether you’d want to sort of go for full merger and union. And as some teachers have put it, it’s not really none of your business at this stage decide that when you get there. It’s not, it’s not something to argue about. So, okay, so we were talking earlier about the relevance of awakening, of energy to awakening and you were saying how, you know, some teachers sort of dismiss it or can say, Don’t consider it terribly relevant or don’t know anything about it. And you know, others would consider it instrumental. And I think you would be one of those who would say that it’s definitely something that needs to be understood and dealt with, because it’s going to happen to so many people. But here’s a question that kind of extends that a little bit and that is that is, is, is a Kundalini awakening, or opening? Even if it comes to some completion, if there is such a thing of, is that sufficient for true Enlightenment? Or does one need some teacher or other influence to fully come to rest, even after Kundalini has fully awakened?
Bonnie Greenwell: Well, that’s a challenging question. There may be people who have had all on their own complete realization of truth through Kundalini activation, who don’t have never had a teacher that does don’t tend to the people that call me. So I can’t say that I’ve met a lot of people like that
Rick Archer: phrase, the question slightly before you go on, and that is that is full awakening of Kundalini tantamount to correlate perfectly correlated with full development of consciousness or Enlightenment? Or is there is it just sort of one stage of it, and there there might be something more that needs to be done after that, or needs these to happen?
Bonnie Greenwell: I believe it’s the stage. The, it’s the art for Enlightenment or liberation. But usually, in the system. Specifically, the goal seems to be Samadhi and Samadhi. Samadhi is, is a great sense of consciousness merged with universal. Simplify it by saying that quite enough, that’s it, people can go into Samadhi. And they just spend all their time laying down or leaning against a wall and can disappear, disappearing. There’s a need for return, and bring the energy back down below the net. And to begin to at sometimes there’s a great need to clear out your old psychological stuff. If you have unfinished psychological business you’ve never worked on, everything is going to come up eventually. So you have to, sometimes people that are capable of going into samadhi states or Satori, and they, because they feel very sad, escaped out of their body and their lot. The next step is to come back to your life, to be awakened life. And that sometimes you need some guidance, you need context you need, you don’t have your next your parents aren’t going to help because they they’re, they’re detached. So you need some someplace a community or some kind of guidance to get a context. How do I be alive and have How do I live it? How do I connect with whatever this wants of me to build and to do it in a way that is, it’s going to be unique to you, but you have to have some kind of a guide. It might be a teacher, it might be a community that is working this together in a way supporting one another I know my PA have good friends on there with you. I can’t say, I wouldn’t say that no one can teach, because that just makes no sense. But it’s probably rare for somebody with no guidance.
Rick Archer: I just wanna say one thing about Samadhi. There’s a number of different kinds of Samadhi is different terms for different stages, there are degrees of Samadhi. And I don’t claim to be an expert, but I believe it’s Nirvikalpa samadhi, isn’t it which is supposed to mean without break. So that it’s, it’s an integrated state, which one can live in the midst of dynamic activity, and yet there is a sort of continuum of pure awareness, regardless of the circumstances or what challenges you may be confronting.
Bonnie Greenwell: Things that would become vital to living from an awakened or enlightened Yeah, it’s not as dramatic as the kind of Samadhi where you’re kind of out of your body.
Rick Archer: Yeah, I mean, when Ramana first. Yeah, when Ramana first woke up, he went into deep samadhi. And that pit and that temple and insects were chewing his leg. And he was oblivious to that and all but later on, after years in a cave and, and integration, he was fully functioning and yet in that state of Samadhi, while talking to people and running an ashram. So I think that’s an important point is that, you know, that which initially might require complete sense, inward turning of the senses and inability to function eventually can get integrated and stabilized and lived in the midst, in the midst of all functioning, that doesn’t mean you’re living in a sense of, in a state of not having your senses functioning, it means you you’re there functioning, and yet that pure awareness, which once required complete inward absorption is now stabilized in the midst of anything. You Yeah. And I was listening to audio last night, and he was on a recording, and he was saying something about how there are degrees of situations which might test that and he was referring to his his health problems and the severe pain that it caused them. And he, you know, so there are certain things that you can tolerate without losing your equanimity. But he said, even in his own experience, at times, it went past a certain point. And, you know, he was less established maybe than he would like to have been
Bonnie Greenwell: to great physical pain, or, I mean, it’s not that I don’t believe awakened or liberated that you never have feelings, either people grief. I remember when Baba hardass at Mount Madonna center, when one of his primary students, everybody thought that probably take his role eventually died. And, you know, he felt it. He talked about feeling it, you know, but what he said what he would say he didn’t talk, but he would write him his little chalkboard. He said that you when you’re awake, and you don’t, it’s not that you never have hold on to it. You don’t carry it around, it’s flows through you. And I thought that made a lot of sense.
Rick Archer: Hopefully you have more of a buffer. I mean, let’s say you’re a billionaire. And you, you gain or lose $1,000 It’s no big deal. You know, you’re a billionaire. But let’s say you, you’re homeless, and you’re living on the street, gaining or losing $1,000, even though it’s the same amount of money would be a huge deal. So, you know, this sort of pure awareness or whatever we want to call it is, is like, kind of inner affluence, which results in natural equanimity
Bonnie Greenwell: to get by putting in
Rick Archer: Oh, okie dokie. So there’s a lot of practical advice in your book about, you know, sort of preparing for awakening, getting grounded, getting stabilized, you know, preparing the vessel. And so maybe we could talk about that a little bit. If someone has a deep yearning for Enlightenment or awakening, they have a longing. What can they do to prepare for its dawning to support it?
Bonnie Greenwell: Now, I think that, of course having a consistent meditation plan Have to illness that addiction is a good place. Other schools of meditation or if you have a center near you that does mindfulness or something like that, or TM, or whatever is having a sistent meditation, which you’re sincerely using it to connect with your longing for truth. It’s a longing for truth, it started out for me as odd. But, but everybody has kind of a different longing or they’re seeking, seeking inner peace or something of that sort. But I think that the longing for truth, not caring what the truth is, I want to know what’s true. And then dropping it and going into deep stillness is helpful. Something to open up your body a little bit better, like yoga or to goom, something that opens up those energy flows in the body is very helpful to a trauma pad, a kind of a rough time as a child, or young adult. If you’ve had psychotherapy, it’s very helpful. Because look, things up everything, and it’s going to bring up meditation and yoga will eventually burn up that you are holding on to. So if you’ve learned how to look at that, and hold it and work with it. Already, it’s much easier to deal with the territory and already have some tools for coping with old memories or just distressing habits and things like that. It’s good to be healthy to take care of your body. I think those are the basics. Those are the basics. I’m gonna drink a little water. Sometimes I cough and I talk so
Rick Archer: it’s important to be healthy, you coughed
Bonnie Greenwell: out some throat blockage.
Rick Archer: You said that what the longing for God or to know if there’s a God was your one of your initial impetus is what’s the plural of impetus in Betye? In any case, how did that go? I mean, what’s your orientation to that question? Now.
Bonnie Greenwell: Be a back in the days when I was in that organization called Creative initiative that I mentioned. I take logical work. My mother died, suddenly, I was 14. My Catholic and to me, If God could do that God was at the very best if God existed, he was indifferent. That was how he was very devotional and brain hemorrhage that she didn’t she expected. And in those days, they didn’t have the ability that they do today that she might have survived. So I was pretty shut down for Tim. And when we started to do personal work in this organization, I began to open up to the pain I worked on, and began to see that there was kind of a hole in me. I discovered it wasn’t just the missing my mother, but it was missing God because I had had a strong devotion as a young child. People said, Well, I said, Well, I don’t know how to fix this. And people said, Well, why don’t I meditate? So that I had never began to do all that serious meditation I mentioned earlier. But it was really with that deep desire to know if there was a God. And I had a major during that time, in which I just the question went away. It wasn’t as if God appeared, it was more like some kind of an expansion happen. That that I just the question disappeared. I did. God was no longer some person out there that I was looking for. And I felt connected, I guess you could say, and I felt very blissful. It was very blissful. Very happy. And what happened is I was about 28 or 30 at the time, and I was washing dishes one day, and I was feeling wonderful. And I thought I’ll never think Wonderful washing dishes. And so I decided to go back to graduate school and become a counselor. And so during those years of going back to graduate school and taking on all of the all of that starting work in that field, I kind of had lost that deep connection. And, and that’s one of the reasons I went back to graduate school but had a spiritual component because I wanted to reconnect. And by then my question was more, I take me further, let me bring me to truth. So that was really the driving force in my own story.
Rick Archer: Would you consider yourself a seeker now? Or do you feel like that whole seeking energy has dropped off just as the god question dropped off?
Bonnie Greenwell: Have an interest in seeking but but I keep staying open to possibilities. But I don’t, it’s not an attachment. It’s like, I’m happy where I am. I want to be of more use to people that I work with. So I still stick as much as I can. But I’m not attached. i I just want to stay open to what life wants to give me.
Rick Archer: Do you still meditate or do some kind of spiritual practices?
Bonnie Greenwell: Often not. With the consistency not with there’s no drive, but that I’ll feel like it sit down and drop into that space. And I just stopped. So I’m also do a sock here, so
Rick Archer: if anything from from the I had my 50th anniversary of learning to meditate this summer and done it very regularly ever, ever since. And sometimes people I actually got a little flack when I announced that on Facebook because some people said geez, you know, 50 years haven’t you sort of gotten it by now. You still seeking after all these years, like Paul Simon’s still crazy after all these years, but um, you know, I don’t relate to it that way. It’s more like a kind of like what you were just saying about a ongoing interested fascination and exploration and adventure. And then this, you know, so much to learn and experience and it’s no longer driven by the sort of empty craving feeling that you kind of may start out with, it’s more like feeling a great deal of fullness and contentment, and yet no diminishment of, of enthusiasm and fascination with this whole this whole field.
Bonnie Greenwell: Three, I feel like it’s I think of it as like a marinating, in the truth, marinating in that deep stillness. And, and. And it’s like going totally. I feel like it’s, it’s just going home. And, you know, I just doing a program right now on a three month meditation program that I’m participating in. And one of the things he says, if you if you’ve had an awakening, don’t just assume it’s done. And you know, that’s it, I don’t need to do any more. Keep sitting keep meditating, because unlimited potentiality that kind of that the language you use, but that’s my interpreter. Don’t Don’t stop, keep sitting. He recommends. And I think that’s really true. I always tell the people that come to me with their issues. See what what’s next, you know, just let it it helps you to embody that place more and more. And you can drift away from it if you never
Rick Archer: Yeah, I’m, I’m no expert on the Buddha’s life. But I’m told that he practice some kind of meditation and all of his life, you know, some hours a day, and yet he was already liberated. And
Bonnie Greenwell: you know, if you’re, especially today, I think we’re living in a really intense world. You know, there’s data being thrown at us all the time. Most of it here to make us frightened or worse. There’s crowds there’s traffic Uh, you know, you you’re not we’re not living in a fireman for the most part in and I think meditation gives you a a center gives you a connection so that you can move much more from the, from the far from the from the deepest point of connectedness in the world. And that it’s very easy to get. There’s always something on the television or the radio or the driver next to you that’s, that’s wired. That’s, that’s throwing negative energy, your way ferrying people in an awakening process, usually your sensitivity becomes very heightened. And it’s sometimes it’s really important to do is to avoid as much as you can toxic input, whether it be people that upset, going big box stores or watching too much television, some people can’t even read the newspaper today. Because your sensitivity all your senses are due, at least for a
Rick Archer: while. Yeah, for a while. I mean, it depends on what what what your what you can handle, I went through a phase where I would just feel scatterbrained and drained if I went to a Walmart or something No, no, it doesn’t bother me. Yeah. Yeah,
Bonnie Greenwell: actually. But it’s just important to I think the meditation gives you a home base, you know, it helps you grow that stillness inside of yourself. And that makes it more and more tolerable to be in environments that are static.
Rick Archer: I find it rejuvenating. I also find it interesting to challenge it in ways that aren’t deleterious such as, you know, playing really intense sports or something like that. And just and, and kind of finding the juxtaposition of silence with that intensity is, is just fine. You know, it’s not not shaken by having pickleball slammed in my head. The term spiritual emergence, you know, when I first heard that term, I thought it was sort of a play on the term emergency, because you hear about people having kind of emergencies with Kundalini awakenings that they can’t handle and so on. And I guess that’s part of what Stan Grof was trying to help people with. But I guess what you could tell me in a second if that if that sort of is if there’s some synonymous SNESs there but but emergence really means some like a chicken merging from an egg, it means a sort of a plant emerging from the ground, it may mean sort of a blossoming forth, and I guess that’s the sense in which that term is used enough phrase.
Bonnie Greenwell: It’s, you could say consciousness, or something. And the energies emerging, there’s a there’s a, something new is emerging and changing the system more more often it’s equated with butterfly, emerging from a cocoon.
Rick Archer: There you go. That’s why you have that on your book cover. What’s a little butterflies? Do you often deal with people? I think I’ve heard some people to you who were having a real hard time. I mean, and what percentage of the people you you’ve talked with? are having a difficult time coping with Kundalini awakening that they’re experiencing?
Bonnie Greenwell: Oh, gosh, well, it depends on what you mean by a hard time. So there’s a huge range with some people, most of the people I talked to once they have a context, and they begin to make friends with the energy to make friends with what’s happening to them, did it in a more neutral way and let go of their fear. Then a lot of the issues stop I mean, they still have difficulties, figuring out what to do about oh, their head is jerking a lot or they’re, you know, various things are happening. But once they develop a cooperative relationship with the I don’t want to have this happening. Stop it. Sometimes people go for a few days without sleeping and that’s going to make them look very psychotic. And those are the ones that often end up hospitalized. The ones that end up specialized are usually they’ve had the Awakening on a psychedelic, they have gone they’ve gotten very, very wired excited. Maybe they were in India. You They mature about it. And they didn’t sleep for two or three days. Well, anybody who doesn’t sleep, it’s going to look psychotic. It doesn’t require Kundalini awakening. But, and or they haven’t experienced and there’s this book, one woman was a psychiatrist, she had a very dramatic experience with chin after an opening that occurred during I think, during Labor Day related to birthing a baby, and her husband hospitalized her because he was so alarmed by it. So she, you know, if that happens, it’s hard because people have this little gnawing feeling something’s really seriously wrong with me. And they really, but gee, I had this ecstatic moment of total unity. And you know, what does that mean?
Rick Archer: Yeah, well, that kind of relates to what I was saying earlier about the importance of knowledge and experience, if you know, without adequate knowledge of what’s happening, your head start shaking or something, you think you’ve got a neurological disorder. But if you wish, you may, and you might need to get it checked out. But there are all kinds of phenomena like that that happened with Kundalini awakenings that could be could be really disconcerting if if you have no idea what it is, but which are just you take it in stride with a shrug, if you know that that’s what it is. So okay, fine, something good is happening, nothing, this is not dangerous, I’ll just kind of go with it.
Bonnie Greenwell: You know, one of the things I’ve really tried to do with my book, and I’m not sure if it comes across is, is show the general good health of most people who go into a spiritual awakening process, that, that most of the people I talk to have had successful lives at some level, they’ve either been raised a family of professionals in their field, I’ve talked to judges, psychiatrists, teacher, professionals, IT professionals, there are people who are not people who have disorders or, or other kinds of problems before this happened to them. So look at what’s happening with a little bit of distance, instead of being totally immersed in it, the way that you might be if you’re more 10. This, they’re seeing these weird things, and they’re saying, What’s going on here, I don’t understand it, I don’t, I don’t care about my work anymore. I’m having all this energy, I can’t sleep at night, as my interviewer is revving up and running through me. I’m scared because I had this this vision, I don’t know what it means. So they’re trying to understand it. And they’re not unhealthy people, once they get a context to them, and they can see some things they can do to kind of ground the energy, or maybe they need to do less of some kind of practice they’re doing, they need to get a new context, because somebody told them that they were crazy, or that they were, the devil was after them. And they knew they couldn’t be so and so that they don’t have any context. But once they get that, then they can work with it. And I do with people that I do assessments with is doing webinars where I bring them to me, they love it, because many of them I’ve had people in Norway and Switzerland and China, Taiwan, and I mean, they’re, they’re all alone, they don’t know a single person, they can talk to about this. And if they do try to talk to people in their community, the people that the very best don’t understand what they’re talking about. They may be supportive, because Oh, I really care about you. Sorry, you’re going through I have no way of helping them get any kind of understanding. So they’re so happy to meet other people and see that these other people look just as normal as you and I they’re just normal people. There’s interesting people, then they start to feel more Okay, okay, well, all right. I guess this is something important I need to understand better that’s happening to me and, and maybe when I was meditating, and this was what was I didn’t know yet. But this is the process. And so once they understand that, things calmed down greatly getting rid of fear is the most important thing anyone can do. And then there’s a lot of the things you can do to trust the energy itself to accept and trust, it makes a huge difference. You can tivities to try to express some of that energy, that’s very helpful. There’s many things they can, if you get them some energy practices that open you up more. So once they get a handle on, there’s actually things I can do to get in a more cooperative relationship. They feel a lot. That doesn’t really take very long. It’s, it’s really just knowing
Rick Archer: good oh, that’s an interesting point. I’m glad we keep coming back to that the value of knowledge. It’s really there’s that saying a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. You know? I think that the more one can understand this whole process without, you know, becoming obsessive about it. But the better serve on eBay. But it’s interesting point you just made about most of the people who come to you are fairly accomplished people, professionals of some sort, something, you’re kind of saying I guess that there’s seems to be a correlation between having one’s act together having one’s life together being a coherent, mature person with a well developed sense of self or whatever, and having some kind of awakening? Or is that what you’re saying?
Bonnie Greenwell: What I feel is any, anybody can have an awakening, but most of the ones who contact me are, it shows that they were pretty functional, very functional, or an exception is, like 10, or 20 year olds, and they’re usually often it’s because of a psychedelic, that they’ve had this opening. And they haven’t really yet developed their place in the world. And you know, they’re still in either transitional phase of I’m going to be, and it’s a lot harder, in a way for some of them, because then it is, I don’t know, I don’t know how to quite explain it, but it’s good. You know, you’ve probably seen that several of the Buddhist teachers have said that it’s much better to have a good ego before you go through this process, then not to have it if you’re, if you’re kind of borderline or, or bipolar, cunning, but it’s much harder to figure out how to cope with it because your your way of functioning is more erratic. And so it’s, you know, you really need to take care of the underlying. Just before you sure the awakening process. And, you know, it’s a kind of a mix of learning, you know, how what do I have to do to take care of myself, so that I can deepen my awakening and live with more deeper peace and presence in the world.
Rick Archer: So what’s the point? If you have you take a dim view of psychedelics, I think in your book, nice, that’s the feeling I got as I was reading that section. And yet at the same, yeah, these days, there’s a lot of interest in it. People are micro dosing, and there’s popular books out Michael Polin, whom I hope to interview has a book called changing your mind in which he compares the mind to a snowglobe. And he said, you know, at a certain point in your life, it’s good to just shake up the snowglobe, which is precisely why I would be very reticent to use anything like that, because I feel like it’d be playing Russian roulette with my brain. I think there’s been a certain amount of brain sculpting going on to use another popular term neuroplasticity all these years, and why gamble with it. But for some people, it seems to really precipitate an awakening. And yet, as you say, you know, taking the 60s as an example, if, if people go about it in any kind of a reckless way, or if they’re not mature and healthy, psychologically healthy, they can get into big trouble. And one more statement before I bounce it back to you. And yet, in spite of what I just said, psychedelics, apparently they are being used to help people with suffering from PTSD and alcoholism and stuff like that. So there’s some conflicting evidence in there. And I think since it’s been illegal, it’s been hard for adequate research to be to be done, but there’s certainly growing interest in it these days.
Bonnie Greenwell: I think that it’s quite possible to have very expansive experiences on psychedelics. The difference is that it’s you don’t have any once you take it once you that substance just gonna do what if knowing what it’s going to do. So if you’re a very adventurous person, and you’re pretty stable, you know, maybe it’s not a problem. But it’s totally unpredictable ride some positive things and negative things about it. I’ve run into a number of people who had openings when they were young in the 60s, and one, randomized me under on the beach, babbling and totally out of control and was hospitalized. And that whole experience stunned him so much that it was years before he was willing to go back to any kind of the threat of meditation and spiritual things afraid it would throw him into that same place. A number of people that have happened to now know rom Das is a case in point that he decided to let go of the psychedelics and go to India and find some real teachers about this stuff. And that worked out well for him. It’s it’s really a crapshoot. For some people, it’s gonna be helpful. And for others, it’s not and there’s a new drug seems to open a part of God’s appeal. This one can go into very beautiful connectedness that people are experimenting. If people Yeah. I’ve known people that have done that, that are mature that that it seems to last about 15 minutes. minutes. It’s not like four or five. microphone and the people I know that have used it are very mature kids. Both very experienced it. They’ve appreciated the the boost, but I don’t know generally. i There’s no research on that kind of thing right now. And and who knows? Whether its impact on the brain that’s positive or negative, we won’t ever know till we are able to research this
Rick Archer: thing. I also wonder, although I’m in favor of marijuana being legalized, because I think it’s ridiculous that people are being put in jail for it. As I was a couple times back in the 60s. i At the same time, I wonder what it’s what the long term effect is going to be of its use. I know what the long term effect on me would have been had I been doing it all these years, I would be a very different person in a bad way than I am now. So but who knows maybe it’ll be like it was for us. Maybe it would be a stepping stone for some people.
Bonnie Greenwell: Rana is particularly good for people who are in a spiritual process. I think the people I’ve known a few who have had spiritual experiences while smoking marijuana, they meditate on it, who became quite distorted it a little more a little more psychotic, tighten our discrimination, I cite one in my book, a man I met many years ago who had been on and he would do practices looking at looped in on this picture in an airplane, and he decided he had to bless everybody. So he’s walking up and down the aisles, blessing everybody. And of course he wouldn’t sit down. And he had other tendencies like that, that got him in a lot of trouble. And it’s like the brain. I don’t think the brain is going through changes in long term meditation. It’s slowly evolving and opening up new brain center. Throw in a substance that creates images allows you to have kind of a hallucination. It’s that you don’t know what’s real and what is your discrimination isn’t so good. So I can’t speak from experience about marijuana because that isn’t part of my history. But I’ve certainly talked to a lot of people that use it in the summer attached even though they’re waking up they the other thing a yogi wants told me is that it leaves toxins in the body. It stores in the fat cells. And one of the things that Kundalini is trying to do is release your toxins. So if you’re smoking pot regularly, you’re going to have probably need to release energy But then other people have told me it calms the energy down. So it’s kind of it’d be interesting it would be to some relevant, serious research. And
Rick Archer: I remember seeing some research that indicated that there’s some kind of chemical gunk deposited in between in the synapses between neurons, you know, if people smoke a lot of pot, but I don’t know, it’s, it’s this whole topic is somewhat a matter of opinion, although I think it’s something that could be researched more, but I have friends in India who who are of the opinion that 99% of those sod who’s who sit around the Ganges smoking pot or just bumps, you know, they’re just kind of their potheads, there’s nothing, nothing, no real serious significance to their realization.
Bonnie Greenwell: Of a Christina Grace book, The such about the something. She talks about her own addictions, and how important it was for her to get off of alcohol and drugs, in order to how much it messed up her spiritual process her awakening process, as well, I can’t remember the full title of the book, but it was by Christina Groff, if any of your listeners are just well, the
Rick Archer: body is the temple of the soul. And it’s the instrument through which anything is experienced then, and through which awaken is experienced. And so, you know, I think what you and I have been talking about for two hours is there’s importance to cultivating or culturing the vehicle. So it’s better and better able to support this experience, which we’re interested in. And by experience, I mean, you know, perpetual, an abiding state, not just some flash in the pan, and drugs tend to be flashes in the pan, by definition, there, they you go up, you come down. And so it’s just something to be approached, if he was gonna approach it at all with tremendous caution and respect. And, you know, I had this realization when I was 18, on LSD one time, and it was the last time I ever took drugs, which is, I was sitting there reading Zen book, Zen flesh, then bones, three in the morning. And you know, it just kind of struck me, I thought, wow, now these guys are really serious. And I’m just screwing around. And if I keep, if I keep on like this, I’m going to live a miserable life. And what’s more, I’m stuck in this body. And if I damage this body, I’m going to be stuck in a damaged body. It wasn’t as I wouldn’t have been able to articulate as clear as clearly at that point. But that was the essential realization, I thought, That’s it. I’m gonna stop taking drugs, learn to meditate, and see what happens. And I’m grateful that I did. So I’m open minded. I want to interview Michael Pollan and some other people on that topic I’ve done so before, but I’m just very cautious and reticent on on the topic, because I’ve seen so much damage in so many problems.
Bonnie Greenwell: Yeah, I agree, I feel the same way. I’m not opposed to it. But I think it can go in any direction, and you’re really taking a gamble, if your might be worthwhile for you. But if you really want a functional, stable life with deep inner peace, if there rather than drama, you might want to do meditation. And still,
Rick Archer: I think another thing is, you know, whatever drugs do to our brain chemistry, to enable to enable us to have certain experiences. I think recent most researchers would say we have the capability of producing those chemicals or those those brain states without any substances there sort of subjective methodologies such as meditation and other spiritual practices, which can elicit those things, and but will only but will do so in a more safe way when the time is right. You know, when you’ve actually built up the degree of purity, or clarity that would naturally support such an experience, but like you said earlier, I mean, someone, young person, no spiritual background or anything else, they can pop anything in their mouth, and is that are they, you know, might elicit all sorts of changes in the brain, but are they really prepared for that all the deep conditionings and impressions and impurity that everything else that may be in the system, they’re still going to be there? And you may, you know, stir up a hornet’s nest, if you just, you know, embark on such a thing without the kind of preparation that serious spiritual traditions usually advocate.
Bonnie Greenwell: The soul transformative process with meditation or breath practices, Isn’t yoga, it’s a slow, evolving and changing of the brain with a drug, it’s sudden, and you just have no predictability about what’s going to get changed or how you’re going to feel afterwards, or is going to fall away. It’s going to get it added, like these visions and things that you that are going to be more of a nuisance than a benefit.
Rick Archer: I don’t know. I mean, how are you going to stabilize it? That was one of the complaints of ROM das and others? Well, you always come down. And, you know, you’re gonna take LSD all your life in order to in order to stabilize the state of realization? I don’t think so I don’t think it’s going to have that effect. So you kind of have to think long term. And you know, what is really going to serve me over the course of my entire life?
Bonnie Greenwell: Yeah, I agree.
Rick Archer: Well, I don’t know if we want to end. On this note, we’ve been talking about all kinds of things in here. Now, we’ve been talking about drugs last 1015 minutes. Is it? Is there anything, you know, that we haven’t talked about that you want to be sure to mention before we wrap it up?
Bonnie Greenwell: Well, I would say that, in my book, I offer a lot of solutions, solutions potential for various phenomena that arise. But generally, I just want to say that, that there’s certain cornerstones that really, to meditation, working directly, being friendly, curious, instead of being afraid, meeting and clearing up your own psychological stuff. Trusting This is a process that wants to bring you to a new level. Or peace, much more clarity, it’s not out to harm you in any way, using creative expression to express some of it, take good care of your body, and to be authentic. And those are kind of the cornerstones that I’ve been using, really, and looking at what does somebody really need. And if anybody listening is a therapist or a real good roga teach meditation teacher, those are the things that people need, in order to a more balanced and harmonious place with their energy. So just want to make sure people know if you’d like this, to get that information out there.
Rick Archer: Those are pretty useful prescriptions for life, anybody’s life, you know, spiritual aspirant or not.
Bonnie Greenwell: That’s true.
Rick Archer: A question just came in from a listener in Austin, Texas, and I was asked this, she says Kate from Austin, oh, he just said, she said, I had a drastic change of personality much more open and relaxed. I would like to, I would shake and lie still for hours in a night or day, didn’t need to speak for days at a time felt lovely. However, a lot of sexual energy, which was fairly alarming. And I still have, I still have to swim but she’s not using punctuation here. And I still have to swim a mile and do yoga once a day. What’s all that bit about?
Bonnie Greenwell: Oh, did she comes up from the pit get stuck in any of the chakra areas or can over activate any of them. So sometimes it just gets stuck in the sexual area in the second chakra, and it can be very sometimes when it’s in really active, you can feel a difficulty with your heart with your chest beating to harder or trouble breathing, some of the funny neck movements. What I usually tell people is there’s a there’s two possibilities. We’ll learn the beach mantras, big mantras, those are told to activate each of the chakras and you can use them to move energy from one chakra to another. You can find people doing a couple of places on the YouTube or classical yoga sounds for each chakra. Ohm is the one year with home. There are long Vaughn rom Yom homme home, those are all listed in my book. The other thing is on my website, my Kundalini guide.com website, there’s a meditation for harmonizing chakras that I put on there that I felt would be useful to help people learn that through attention. You can move energy to different areas. is so that coming relation in a relationship with your own energy, it’s your own lifeforce. It’s your own energy, but you can get in the concern to kind of when it’s too much in one area, bring it out of the prison system. And patient, my website was designed for it. Some people have said it was helpful. So I would suggest that. The other thing is if this person is doing, they need to look at their life and see if they’re doing anything that’s overcharging them, it’s good to be a detective, you know, like, when I have too much sexual energy, what was I doing that day, or when I have, I’m awake all night with too much energy. Where, who was free to something what was going on, so that you can kind of learn to adjust your data that to the things that feel more balanced and harmonious. And you can recognize in a way that more, because think of the energy, it’s stress from your body, it’s trying to release everything, it’s trying to make you very, very open. So the more you’ve got in there, that’s stressful or anxious, or you’re preoccupied with something, the more it’s going to need to work out and it usually chooses it to. So that’s, that’s what comes to mind anyway, right off the top. I do. Usually I do consultations, where I send people a questionnaire so that I can get background information. Like the guidance I offer, if I know someone’s history, I’m always looking for correlations between certain behaviors or beliefs or history, and the kind of phenomena that they’re striving for. Okay. That’s kind of Yeah, they can say, is based, there’s a contact on Kundalini guide.com, or awakening guide.com. And then I’ll send them the questionnaire and other for me about the assessment, that’s the best way to
Rick Archer: link to those things from your page on BatGap. Also, I think it sounds good that she swims a mile a day and does yoga, that’s, that’s great. I’m a big advocate of physical activity, a lot of times, spiritual types sit around their butts too much and don’t. In fact, I was just talking to a friend the other day here in Fairfield, where, you know, 1000s of people have been meditating for years. And he, he saw a bunch of people recently that he hadn’t seen in a long time, he was shocked at how old they looked. And he happens to be a tennis instructor and I see him up at the gym all the time, because I grew up there. And we both thought that, you know, partners is inactivity, these people sit around too much, their diet might be inadequate, you know, and they don’t get enough sun. And, you know, it ages here. So it’s again, coming back to this theme of the body is the vehicle, you have to take care of it and balance in all things.
Bonnie Greenwell: I agree. So it’s very good to do something physical to, to keep in your body healthy and as open as possible.
Rick Archer: Okay, great. Well, um, that’s, that’s a pretty good wrap up point. Thank you, Kate, for that question that enabled us to sort of ended on that interesting practical note. And I presume those who are have been listening, understand that, you know, you can get in touch with Bonnie if you feel that what she has to offer might be useful to you. And I think just about everybody at some stage of their spiritual practice might find it useful. But in any case, there are books and I have read two of them now, one for each of the interviews that I’ve done. And I’ll be listing them all on batgap.com linking to them, so people can check them out. I feel like I found them. Very, in fact, this one, there’s this guy named Rick Archer, who said, you’ll find this one of the more useful and memorable spiritual books you’ve ever read. My little blurb on the back. I was I like practical advice. And I like people who like it when people have kind of a they don’t have a one size fits all attitude, they realize that there’s so many varieties to spiritual experience and, and everybody’s just not going to fit into the same mold and, you know, different people are going to need different bits of advice or practices or remedies or, or what therapies or whatever, in order to deal with whatever they’re going through. I think that’s kind of a realistic. That’s the reality of situation. Okay, great. So let me just make a wrap up point or two. You’ve been listening to an interview with Bonnie Greenwell. And this is my second interview with her and if you enjoyed this one you might want No, go back and listen to the first one as well. I’ll link to that from a link or interlink them on on BatGap. And obviously, I continue to do these, if you like to be notified of new ones, go to batgap.com and sign up for it to be notified by email, or you could subscribe to the YouTube channel. It also exists as an audio podcast for those who like to listen while driving and stuff. Next week, I’m going to the sand conference. You’re going there, Barney.
Bonnie Greenwell: I won’t be there this year. I’m going
Rick Archer: out and I’ll be doing a bunch of interviews there and panel discussion, whatnot. And I’ll be putting them all up on BatGap. So there’ll be the usual post sand flood of material when I get back. So thanks a lot for listening or watching and we’ll see you for the next one. Thanks, Bonnie.
Bonnie Greenwell: Thanks a lot. Appreciate it.