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Rick Archer: Welcome to Buddha at the Gas Pump. My name is Rick Archer Buddha the gas pump is an ongoing series of interviews with spiritually Awakening people. There have been well over 300 of them taped now. And if you’d like to see the whole archive and listen to other interviews, you can go to batgap.com. We also appreciate your financial support without which this wouldn’t be possible and there’s a Donate button on that site. My guest today is Bruce Joel Rubin and I really prepared enjoyed preparing for this interview. Bruce is an Oscar winning screenwriter. For the film Ghost he won Best Original Screenplay Oscar. His films also include Jacob’s Ladder my life, which he also directed with Michael Keaton, wasn’t it? Brainstorm Deep Impact Stewart little to the last Mimzy and the Time Traveler’s Wife among others. I just watched my wife and I just watched The Time Travelers like wife last night. His spiritual journey began with a massive overdose of LSD, which is going to tell us about in a minute in the 60s. Shortly afterward, he began hitchhiking around the world in search of a teacher and then found him in New York City just blocks away from where he began his search. His name was Swami Rudra Nanda, also known as Rudy. Rudy was also the teacher of Stuart Perrin, whom I interviewed on the show a couple of years ago. He was in New York City businessman and a yogi who taught a form of Kundalini meditation he called the work. I should also add that Rudy was a direct disciple, although we only saw him once of Swami Vivekananda, who was Muktananda as guru really died in 1973 in a small plane crash, but Bruce continues to teach his practice. In 2001, Bruce discovered I am that the teachings of Nisargadatta Maharaj and fell into the world of non dualism. He awoke in 2010, during a seminar on awakening, led by Bart Marshall. I thought you’re welcome, Paul Hedeman thing but you’ll tell us that in a minute,
Bruce Joel Rubin: Paul Hedderman was speaking.
Rick Archer: Oh, at the Bart Marshall thing.
Bruce Joel Rubin: At the seminar
Rick Archer: I see. Since that time, he has continued to teach meditation and effortless nature of simple being. Since most people work and struggle in the world, it seemed to Bruce that meditation was a significant tool for living a good and productive life. While waiting for awakening to make itself known. Bruce teaches in San Rafael, California, in Los Angeles and in New York. So thanks, Bruce. This is great.
Bruce Joel Rubin: Thank you, Rick.
Rick Archer: Yeah, thanks for having you. Having thanks for coming on. You know, I, if people don’t remember the movie Ghost that was the one with Whoopi Goldberg and Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore. And that was the one where Patrick Swayze had been killed. And then he came as a ghost and he was trying to connect with Demi Moore and, and Whoopi Goldberg was sort of a pseudo psychic who was just sort of, you know, ripping people off. But all of a sudden, she was able to hear Patrick Swayze. And he convinced her that he was real by or to cooperate with him by singing. I’m Henry the Eighth I Am by Herman’s Hermits over and over and over and over again until she said that alright. Anyway, I thought that was a really great movie, and you won an Oscar for it. So I guess others thought so as well. And, you know, having seen several of your movies over the years, and never given a thought to who the screenwriter might have been, I wasn’t surprised when I discovered that it was you and that you have this, you know, long spiritual background going back into the 60s. Because I think only someone with such a background could be as interested as you have been and as adept as you have been at sort of conveying a sense of the fact that the world we ordinarily see around us is not all that it may appear to be. In other words, it’s much more than it may appear to be. Yes. That wasn’t a question. So I guess you don’t need to respond at length. But um, let’s let’s do the usual chronological thing. And tell us how you get started, because it’s actually a fascinating story. I just read it a little while ago before starting this. So we’re back in the 60s and
Bruce Joel Rubin: Oh, the beginning? Yeah. It’s a long story. You know, I always had an instinct that I was a storyteller. But I was also a storyteller without a story to tell, which is a really frustrating thing when you have the instinct but not the material. And I was a kid growing up in Detroit. There weren’t a lot of stories around these stories that I was able to see. So I, I kept wondering when the stories would have would occur and and I waited and waited.
Rick Archer: You could have done Beverly Hills Cop,
Bruce Joel Rubin: you know, actually like Bennett Hills Cop a lot
Rick Archer: Eddie Murphy was from, from Detroit in that movie,
Bruce Joel Rubin: not only from Detroit, but he was from the same high school that I went to. It was yeah, it’s very, very personal, actually, that movie in that regard. But, you know, I was looking for something I didn’t know what I was looking for. And my roommate at the time in New York City, I was in film school, a man named Barry Kaplan, was very friendly with Tim Leary. And Tim Leary was at that point, doing experiments with LSD in Millbrook, New York. And Barry used to go up there and he started experiencing LSD and came back from that with a very strong impulse to try to get other people to do it. And so he was very encouraging of me trying it. And I have to say LSD in the 1960s, right at this moment in time, was really, still something that was very, very intriguing to the mass audience of Life magazine, did a big story on Cary Grant and all the incredible things that happened to him with LSD. And it was something that looked really intriguing. And Tim Leary and Ralph Metzner and Richard Alpert, who became Baba rom does wrote a book called The psychedelic experience and based on the Tibetan Book of the Dead, and I don’t know why I was just so fascinated by by all of that, it was like another world to me.
Rick Archer: That was my intro book, too, by the way, that one? Really? Yeah,
Bruce Joel Rubin: that’s a great, it’s a great, it’s a great intro. And so Barry gave me a tablet of about, I don’t remember how many milligrams but it was a micro grid. I heard it was a lot, micro and he said, keep it in your wallet. You know, for the night you get lucky kind of you know, it’s like I was waiting to know the night that I should take it. And finally that night arrived, and Barry was in my lived in my apartment as well. So I said, Okay, this is it. And interestingly, that very morning, a man arrived at my house from London. He came in with a jar of pure LSD liquid that was coming from Sandoz laboratory. And he was going to take it up to Tim Leary the next morning, and he asked Barry if he could leave it in our refrigerator. And of course, Barry said yes, he didn’t want to carry it all around New York City and I’ve fantasize, what would have happened if I’d taken that jar and dropped it into the water supply in New York City. We would all be having a very different dialogue today. But But I had this LSD in the refrigerator. And when I took the pill and I had prepared myself and I was sitting in a room and I have a good setting and everything was all ready. I just sat there and nothing happened at all. And Barry said, Well, look, we’ve got this jar of LSD in the refrigerator, and it’s pure, the best stuff ever made. Really. Let me get an eyedropper. And I’ll give you a drop. And he filled the eyedropper. And he goes to give me the drop. And he goes, oops. And the whole eyedropper full of LSD goes shooting down my throat. So we’re talking 1000s and 1000s of micrograms of LSD, which is much more than people are supposed to imbibe. And so I just went oh, well, you know, I mean, really, what do you do at that point, you know, where to run, there’s nothing, nothing to do so. So I just laid there and then this thing began. And I mean, I can talk about it probably for your entire show. But I won’t, I can only tell you that everything I knew about life was immediately almost immediately destroyed as an idea as a concept life as I knew it was gone. I was on a journey that was among other things exceedingly familiar. In other words, I had the sense that I had been here multiple times before I was back on whatever you want to call it, the journey. In those days they called it the trip, but it was it was taking me apart. It was this assembling me on some cellular level. And the process for an ego structured mind is pretty horrifying. It’s very Hieronymus Bosch as the way I describe it, the Garden of Earthly Delights, the sense of having yourself being ripped apart by demons and monsters and watching the whole thing with why eyes wide open, I really felt like that and, and time stopped. Space became something other. While I was still embody, I ran out onto the street in a desperate attempt to call my parents because I needed to know that there was reality out there that somehow there was a world that I believed in, and I got to a phone booth on the street. And and I suddenly was a Where the the world ended at the end of the street, that there was nothing beyond what I could see feel or hear that Detroit where I imagined my parents to be, was not a real place that my parents were not real, that there was no reality beyond this moment. And it was horrifying to me because I was adrift in a kind of total nothingness, nothing, nothing made sense, nothing came together, it was not happy, not a happy experience at all. And somehow, I made it back to my bedroom, and I was lying on the bed, and I entered hell, I actually had a journey into very specific health space was Donald very, very long flight of stairs, I found myself going into this place that had almost neon lit, and I kept saying to these horrible creatures that were taking me there, where am I, and they said, you know where you are. And I didn’t want to believe that. And then I started realizing I’m dead. And I said, I’m too young to die. And they laughed at me. So that’s what everybody says. And they and they were very taunting. And I got into this place, and I was literally being dismembered if you will. But it wasn’t physical. Exactly, it was different than that. It was like, all of my memories, all of my ideas of self, all of my ideas of the world, were all being taken away. And I didn’t know what they were doing. But they were like being fed up molecularly into something I could not see or understand. In a sense, it was interested in me, it was taking me and absorbing me in some very strange way. And all I remember was fighting this thing for a very long time. And then the fighting just the fight was over. I mean, after what felt like maybe billions of years and a realization, somewhere in the middle, that there was nothing but me that the entire universe was me. You know, when you realize that you’re everything, you realize that life was your own creation, it was your total creation. And there’s something remarkable about that, you know, clearly, I mean, I felt I was Shakespeare, I felt that I was the best and the worst that life had to offer. I was everything that ever was or ever would be. And that’s a very powerful awareness. And I didn’t know what to do with it exactly. And then I found myself becoming the entire universe, that everything that ever that all manifestation was what I was. And then I arrived at the place where I was either very large, or very small, like I could have been an atom. And that there was the relativity of it was so powerful, because I honestly didn’t know what size was infinitely large and infinitely small, all the part of infinity. Very cool.
Rick Archer: You know that saying from the Upanishads, anoraniyan mahato mahiyan? It means the Atman is greater than the greatest and smaller than the smallest.
Bruce Joel Rubin: Well, that’s what I was, or that’s what I became. And then, somehow or another during that I ended up becoming nothing, simply nothing, there was no thing left. And there was just all I could say we can call it awareness being presence, but it’s disembodied, it has no reference points at all. It is empty beyond understanding it is it has no quality. So it’s not really beautiful or ugly. It’s either white or black, or darker light. I mean, it’s it’s literally there’s no description for it. And I was that and it was timeless, there was no space, there was no time. So there was just whatever that was. And then And then out of nowhere, something felt like it was like a plop, like a like a stone falling into a pond. And and all I could think was I’ve been impregnated, that’s all I could feel. And the minute that happened, suddenly this, I think whichever whatever, that nothingness was divided in half and went like that. And then it kept dividing and dividing, and then chunks of being not discrete, but like pieces of a room, part of my arm part of my head of floor, planetary systems, everything started to reconfigure itself. And then without knowing how I was back in the room, from whence all this began, and I was roaring roaring with laughter. And then I remember I sat up in the bed and my friend Barry had been traumatized by how far out of all this I was, he just looked at me. And I just kept staring at the room so grateful to be alive for some reason. I didn’t know that would ever occur again. And then I said, Why am I back? Why am I back in this room, and a voice came in to my head. Of course, it wasn’t a literal voice, but it was annoying. And it said, to tell people what you saw. That’s why I was back. And that became the journey that I went on and have been on ever since. Which is to tell people that life is not what it appears to be. And how can I do this. And I’ve always wanted to be a filmmaker. I mean, long story. But mostly, I wanted to be a filmmaker, and tell stories. And I still didn’t know what the story was because I didn’t know how to talk about this stuff. It’s so other it’s so alien to anything people expect. And I couldn’t put it into any perspective. And then Barry gave me the, the Bhagavad Gita to read. And I said, if I had read this a few nights before, I would have meant nothing to me. And now I’m reading it. And it was total clarity. It was like, of course. And then the progression was from that to perennial philosophy by Aldous Huxley. And I started to get the fact that I’d had a mystical experience. And that mystical experiences were part of the human tradition, and in a way of humanity has had these in select people along the way, who tried it, as best they can formulate it into a teaching, not easy to do, because it’s so other. It’s so undefined, doubly real. And yet it nothing that nothing compares to it. So you have to find a language. And I had to figure out how can I talk about this in story terms? And I didn’t know. But I figured I’m gonna have to learn more. And so what what I did, I’m making a very long life into very small pieces here. That’s okay. I just, I decided I needed to go to basically to Tibet, and to find a teacher because I’d had the Tibetan Book of the Dead as a guidepost. And I knew that I’d had Bardo experiences. And I knew that I’d had a death and a rebirth in a sense. So I stuck out my thumb. And I began this journey, hitchhiking. But I ended up in Greece, originally, and living on an island in Greece, with all of these books that I had brought with me to read about everything I could possibly read about and, and it was the wrong place to be, although I loved it, and like Zorba the Greek, I really was taught there that you should be dancing and having a lot of fun. And I had a girlfriend there and wonderful friends, and I could have stayed there. But something kept saying, no, no, Tibet.
Rick Archer: Did you ever read the book, The Journey Home by Radhanath Swami?
Bruce Joel Rubin: No, I have not
Rick Archer: very cool book, he did the same thing you did. He was an American kid doing drugs. And this and that, went to Europe, with some friends ended up in Greece, sitting there in Greece, and all sudden, this voice came go to India. And he like you, He hitchhiked from Greece to India, and fascinating book, he almost dies every other page, you know, while he’s trying to keep trying to get to India. But anyway, so I’ve interviewed and people might want to watch that interview.
Bruce Joel Rubin: Thank you. Those days, though, that trip was was you know, it was overland, you know, to I went to India and then to Nepal. And you know, and you have to go through, you know, Turkey and Iran and Afghanistan and Pakistan. And it’s a real journey. Yeah. And that, and that journey is, you know, fraught with potential dangers, I people who are ahead of me were stoned to death in a village. In Afghanistan, I was aware of, and I thought, I thought, you know, this, I may not survive this trip, but, but didn’t matter on some level. I mean, I needed to get information. And I ended up living in a Tibetan monastery in Kathmandu, and broken off. And they took me in and I lived there for two months. Very, very devoted to trying to be it Tibetan trying to learn from them. But unfortunately, the the two things happened. One is I started talking about the Tibetan Book of the Dead, the Bardo told Hall, and they said, Oh, that’s a heretic work. And I realized I was in the wrong, I was in the wrong sect, in terms of Buddha’s teaching, that they did not go into the mystical side of this. So I, also the Nepalese government, decided that I was CIA, and they told me to get out of the country, so. So I had to get I had two days to get out of the country. And I continued my journey, and I met all sorts of gurus in India, and none of them were my guru, none of them. I mean, I just knew it. I even as I think I described you in one of my writings. I went to see the Dalai Lama and had a private audience with him for because I thought I was I thought I wanted to explain to him what he was going to face when he when he went to the United Nations to talk about the Tibetan problem. I thought he didn’t understand that Westerners saw Tibet as Shangri La that they didn’t have a real concrete sense of Tibet. So I was going to be the one to tell him that, you know, you, you have to know what you’re dealing with. Well, you It was very complicated, but I got an audience with him. And we spent three amazing hours talking and talking. And at the end of it, he said, you know, he would, he was happy to be my teacher. And it was a really difficult moment for me because I love this man enormously. And he’s an extraordinary being. But I said, I don’t think you’re my teacher. And I’m still on my journey. Is it possible that I could continue? And if I don’t find somebody else, that you would still be there? And he said, Yes, of course, which is the only person who ever did that everyone else had no, leave me this. I’m your only opportunity. If you leave me it’s over. He said, Yes. But anyway, I did go. And I did not find a teacher. In the year and a half, I was traveling and lots of people in all throughout Asia, and ended up coming back to New York City with some Tibetan carpets, I call them the magic carpets because they took me to a store an antique store in the village in New York, with a proprietor named Rudy, who was not interested in the carpets at all. But he asked what I was doing in India, and I said, I’d gone to find a teacher. And he said, Did you find one? I said, No. He said, Well, you know, I can teach you everything you want to know. And he said, it was no hubris at all. And I looked at him and I went, I knew, I knew it was true. I just knew it was true. And he, he taught me an exercise of breathing exercise, which I did not want to, I mean, I got like, Oh, come on. It’s it’s good breathing exercise. I didn’t want mantras. I didn’t want breathing exercises, the world the universe was too big for me to deal with that stuff. But he looked into my eyes, which because it was an eyes open exchange of energy, which was very potent. And the next thing I knew I was, I fell on the ground, I fell in love, I fell out of the chair. And I knew something was going on here. And and I became a student of his for seven years. And then he died, as you said, in an airplane crash, and, and I just my work wasn’t done. And, and I was a teacher. And I said, Well, I will continue to teach this. And that’s what I’ve been doing. Until Until the awakening took place five years ago now. And that’s shifted gears. And I can I can talk forever. I don’t I sound like I’m not gonna give you much time to ask me questions, I’ll
Rick Archer: ask you questions, I it’s good to let you go on for a bit. I often get criticized for interrupting too much. So I’m just letting you kind of lay out the story. But we’ll get into a lot of dialogue. I do have a little description here. From what you wrote about this, your meditation that really taught you it’s an eyes open meditation technique in which spiritual energy is transmitted from teacher to student. A class consists of sitting with a teacher during which there is a direct transmission of spiritual energy. It also involves the gentle breathing exercises, you said, that feeds and nurtures the chakras. By cultivating a conscious wish to surrender, students learn to let go of ego centered, striving and move toward a vast sense of timeless and limitless awareness. That fair enough description.
Bruce Joel Rubin: It is, except I always argued with the word transmission.
Rick Archer: I do too. And I was gonna ask you about that. Why do you argue with it?
Bruce Joel Rubin: Because I don’t know that it really is a transmission.
Rick Archer: Yeah,
Bruce Joel Rubin: you know, in my mind, the the physical equivalent that we experienced, is when you’re having a bad day, and someone puts their hand on your shoulder. Is that a true is that a transmission? You know, whatever, whatever that is, that sense of connection, that sense of a kind of shared experience of kind of oneness. Let’s put it more simply a kind of presence gets exchanged. It’s you feel that happening. And that’s a very real noticeable, comforting experience. And that’s kind of what happens Ida i And I often describe it, like two lovers sitting in a restaurant, you know, like everyone else disappears. Yeah. And they’re just looking at each other in each other’s eyes. And they’re not talking. They’re just looking. They’re gazing. That’s what it is. Yeah, whatever that is. That’s what it is. Is there a transmission? I don’t know who’s transmitting to who? That’s another question. There’s something going on. That’s very energetic. Let’s say it’s very fulfilling, it’s very satisfying. And it goes deep. And that’s what we do in the class.
Rick Archer: I like to think of it as entrainment or attunement, rather than transmission. It’s not like you’re getting zapped by somebody. But more like if you have a tuning fork, and it’s humming, and you put another tuning fork up near that starts to hum because there’s a sort of an attunement going on. And so
Bruce Joel Rubin: I often describe it exactly that way as a tuning. It’s a tuning fork.
Rick Archer: Yeah,
Bruce Joel Rubin: but I will I will say, with Rudy and even when I was teaching in the beginning, zapping happens, like major zapping
Rick Archer: That could be a bumper sticker, couldn’t it?
Bruce Joel Rubin: Yeah, I guess it could, but you, you often get this kind of huge, rising of energy that’s very powerful, or you break up a, a, an area inside your chakra, let’s say like the heart chakra or the navel chakra, it breaks apart. And when that happens, there’s an enormous unleashing of energy and that energy goes through a channel that literally goes up your spine and it can literally throw you on the floor, which it used to do to me and it’s very Very powerful. And it’s it breaks up a lot of the stuff that gets in the way of you having a real flow in the world. Oh, yeah. It’s a, it’s a very, it’s a very real thing. And, you know, after my awakening, I went, Well, do I still need to do this? I mean, but what’s what, I had a whole different sense of the universe. And then I kept feeling. But without having done this work without having created a kind of opening to life in the world and channeling a lot of energy through the system. I don’t know that the awakening for me would have taken place. I know it does for others. But I know it was a wonderful preparation for the larger awareness that finally dawn,
Rick Archer: I think that’s an important point. And let me just throw a few things in here and give you a breather for a second. One is, I just wanted to say before I forget that, you know, you have this YouTube channel. And, you know, there’s all these great videos on there. And I noticed they only have 40 or 50 views. And I’ve been listening to them all week, I’ve listened about five hours worth of stuff. And I must say that I think that your your satsangs, if you call them that are among the most interesting and informative that I’ve listened to, you don’t keep saying the same thing over and over again, you, you no one would expect that an Oscar winning screenwriter would be a pretty good talker. And you know, and you are, I really enjoyed listening to him. So I just want to encourage people listening to check out your YouTube channel, and I’ll link to it, because there’s lots of good stuff there. Second thing about this transmission thing, you know, I was on a retreat in September, in which that very thing happened. People were lying on the floor and shaking and crying and all kinds of stuff was going on. But it wasn’t so much I thought, and I’ve been in other situations like that, where the guy leading the retreat was zapping people, it was more like a he was somehow instrumental in enlivening the field. And then this sort of synchronistic mutual enlivenment took place with him perhaps as a catalyst. And then the whole field becomes so lively that everybody begins to pop. So that that would be more my angle on it.
Bruce Joel Rubin: You know, the sort of the problem with that you see it in a lot of Christian Broadcasting hands on people falling over. Yeah. But there’s, it’s a real energy. It’s a real thing that happens. Is it important? I think not. I think I, you know, I think it was very important for me and saying, Wow, something real is happening. Yeah, but, but it’s not ultimately important. It’s definitely it’s an energetic exchange, when it takes place, it almost becomes like, Oh, I’ve got to do that again. Oh, when that happens, then that’s real. And you can get locked into a system of looking for an experience like that, that makes you feel now I’m really having a spiritual life. Yeah, not true. It’s not true. It’s, it’s part of a process. That’s all I know.
Rick Archer: Yeah, I think I agree. And also, I think, using the Christian example, I think that sometimes people can just whip themselves into an emotional frenzy, and there can be a peer pressure to get into these absolutely things. Whereas, you know, might not be necessary at all, or one could just be milking it, you know, trying to be part of the scene.
Bruce Joel Rubin: I know that I when I work with my own with my students, I the energy, the energy now is very gentle. Yeah, it’s very, it’s almost molecular. So I don’t I don’t encourage or discourage, but I don’t encourage a kind of what you called Popping. I, you know, I just, I just, there’s just, basically, it’s just love When you love somebody, and they sit there and they allow themselves to be loved, which is a big deal. Because that not many people are all that good at it. When you allow that to happen. It has an enormous effect. And when you watch that effect occurring in people, it’s remarkable because they start to accept themselves, they stop fighting the world, they stop fighting their journey. And that’s all it is. It’s fine. It’s just a way of getting them to Yes. So that’s okay, this is this is sweet. And that’s a really wonderful thing to arrive at. And so it’s why I continue to teach because it has, it’s like hugging a lot of people, you know, only it goes very, very deep. And actually, for whatever reason, I don’t know how this works. Something in me, is able to get out to what I would call almost sudden molecular space where there’s not enough going on in people, you can feel it. And I Oh, you do and I don’t know how I do it. But I got this, this little thing, let’s go. And the whole system changes over time, it just changes and people begin to be much freer, much more available to their own daily life or they function better in the dream, if you want to call it that they have a better ride. And I think that’s really important. And it leads you to a place where awakening can arrive and become, from my perspective, a very gentle and very simple. Oh,
Rick Archer: yeah. Well, just one more thing on this Kundalini thing. It’s good. It’s just to play a little bit of debt. also advocate, obviously we it can be indulged in and it’s not necessary and all the things you just said, but it does sometimes happen to people sometimes even without some kind of teacher or group they just start to have this stuff and and it’s good to just know that it’s not necessarily a bad thing you’re not going crazy don’t go and get the Thorazine you know, just sort of get a little guidance or, you know, find a good teacher or something and just work through it. But it’s not going to
Bruce Joel Rubin: be when it when it when it happens in a big way, you will need guidance. Yeah, because it’s a little bit like the LSD without LSD, right? I mean, it really, it’s ego shattering in many ways. And ego shattering when you still have a big ego is not easy. It’s not comfortable, it’s breaking up major constructs inside, and you have to find a way to deal with it. And to, and it’s helpful to find a teacher at that moment, the other thing to do is just breathe through it and just go, Okay, here we go. Yeah, because that can that can help too.
Rick Archer: And by the same token, one around this topic, don’t try to inculcate it. I mean, don’t do like, you know, an hours of fast Pranayama or something trying to awaken your Kundalini, it can be very dangerous. But I really
Bruce Joel Rubin: believe that, that pranayama on that level is really nothing more than hyperventilating. I don’t think that’s Kundalini yoga. I’ve always been thrown by people who try to tell you how that kind of breathing is gonna get you somewhere. It’ll give you an experience. But I don’t know that it’s a spiritual experience.
Rick Archer: Well, I don’t know. I mean, there’s Holotropic breathwork. And I just interviewed Stan Grof, a few weeks ago, and I have read accounts of people who had done that and had remarkable awakenings, you know, even abiding ones. So, you know, but
Bruce Joel Rubin: if that’s the case, then all I can say is I, it’s not the path I
Rick Archer: chose, no, it’s not the path you’ve chosen, I just, I tend to have this very eclectic notion of what’s possible. But I but I agree, it could just be hyperventilation, at least for some people, it might not trigger anything, they might just get dizzy from the hyperventilation. And so we’re just kind of covering our bases here. But
Bruce Joel Rubin: you know, I, my feeling in the end is kind of that works works. That probably is the wisest way to look at it. And not to say one thing or another. But on the other hand, I have watched a lot of people doing hyperventilation and getting what I would call high, but I wouldn’t call it spiritually enlightened or awakened.
Rick Archer: Yeah. And, and then there’s another thing, which is that it might be that you’re meditating. And I don’t know if this is probably happening to you at times, or your students. And the fast breathing kind of thing happens spontaneously, something is getting enlivened in your system, you’re not trying to make it happen, you’re not suppressing it, you’re not encouraging it, but it just happens as your physiology goes through some kind of process. Absolutely, yeah.
Bruce Joel Rubin: I used to find my body moving into it, but like, I would fly it, I would fly into these weird positions. And at one point, I realized these are these are yoga positions. Yeah. But like, my body was just going through these things. And I would go, I don’t know how this is happening. But then I never had a good appreciation for for Vasanas. Because in a way they are, they are a way of arriving at something that sometimes the body will do spontaneously.
Rick Archer: Yeah, it’s like you can move a table by pulling any of its legs and you know, the other legs are gonna come along. So probably the way Austin is originally got discovered was people were having these things spontaneously, and then they kind of codified it and turned it into a teaching that you could, you know, you could you could elicit the same experience by actually going through the motions that might spontaneously occur when the experience dawns, you know, through other means. Exactly, yeah. Okay, so. So you see, now I’m talking more. I’ll try to limit it though. Okay, so let’s see. Well, one point I want to throw back at you and let you elaborate is that, you know, you had this massive experience in the 60s and like you said, you were ill prepared for it. So it was a really kind of a crashing of the gates that took place. And then you you spent decades and decades, 50 years or so practically, kind of culturing and a gradual, natural, systematic way of preparedness, which eventually culminated in an awakening that wasn’t a big flash in the pan. But that was just but there was an unmistakable shift. And that’s not a question but I’m sure you can elaborate on what I just said.
Bruce Joel Rubin: You know, it was very interesting. And I, I found a man named Bart Marshall. And I found him because a son Evans did a documentary called closer than close about some people who had awakened and Bart was one of them. And he sent it to me so I could write a little quote for the package because you know, a lot of people who read spiritual books want me to write little quotes for Have them because they can say from the screenwriter of ghost or something, some validity maybe. And, and I wasn’t all that interested in watching it, but I don’t know why I watched it almost immediately and, and I was particularly taken by Bart’s journey part had had an awakening on the battlefield in Vietnam. And then it completed itself some years later, many years later, after a visit with Harding and in London, headless
Rick Archer: Douglas Harding. Yeah,
Bruce Joel Rubin: Douglas Harding. And, and so I was very intrigued by Bart, and all of a sudden, I got a phone call from him. And he said, I’ve written a screenplay. And he wanted me to see a screenplay. And I went, Oh, my God, awakening and leads you to wanting to write a screenplay. I’ve been spending all my years writing screenplays, I’m just trying to move on beyond that. And but he sent it to me and I said, I would read it and it was really pretty good. And, and it had a lot of, sort of description of his journey. And so I said, we should get together and talk and he invited me to come to his house in North Carolina, actually, Chesapeake Bay, in Virginia. And I went out there and we spent three days together. It was my first time having a one on one dialogue with an awakened being I’d had I had studied with seminars with Eckhart Tolle, who I loved, and
Rick Archer: although it’s really about Rudi?,
Bruce Joel Rubin: I don’t, you know, Rudy was. That’s a whole other story. Whether he was awakened in the sense of I’m talking about or not, I don’t know. I don’t I can’t answer that question. Probably. But he never discussed awakening in the terms of the non dual as community discusses it, I’ve never really, really was always about getting there. And, and never about this, you are there. You know, the here is there. And, and so that always confused me. But but but Bart was, was someone who had arrived. And he was also it was very important for me to understand that in my mind, awakened beings were until I met Eckhart in the Himalayas, you know, there were the great Hindu saints, they, they, they were people of rare achievement, and that it was something that was not available to me, really, although I kept thinking, if I keep working really hard, I will happen to me. But when I was with Bart, he made it so immediate. And he was so real with me, and so simple and so available. And he invited me to come speak at a group that he conducted, for people who were awakened and people who chose to try to find how to become awakened. And I went to this retreat. And I went, for three years. The first year I went, and he asked me to talk, he asked me to give a talk. And I said, you know, I’m not awake. And he said, tough people, you’re your Kundalini class, give them that, give them that information. So I did. And then I did a work, I worked with everybody in the room, including a whole bevy of guys who were awake. And women. And I was fascinated, because when I got to look at them and be with them, I saw, among other things, how incomplete they were, which in terms of heart chakras that weren’t open. Third eyes that were in some cases vast, you know, navel chakras that were constricted, all these different configurations, and I kept going, Wow, you can awaken and not be complete.
Rick Archer: Could you? Could you actually see that? How did you see
Bruce Joel Rubin: what I teach? That’s what I see. I can see the obstruction. I can see the configuration of chakras really. I mean, you can call it chakras, but it’s really who a person is comes across very deeply not story. Yeah, I don’t get story I just get, I just get what the energy system if
Rick Archer: you will, let’s touch on that just for a second. So you don’t get that in the grocery store. You get that when you’re actually in a teaching role, right?
Bruce Joel Rubin: I get I get I get tastes of it all the time, especially now. I can look at, I was just in New York the other day and walking down the street and everybody, everybody came through me. I mean, I got everybody’s energy. And it’s very powerful. You know, I mean, I could feel exactly where the problem is. I couldn’t fix it at that moment. And if I maybe it maybe I could have I mean, I but I, I was I like to do is observe and in a way, find unbelievable compassion for the amount of constriction that most people seem to be expressing.
Rick Archer: Do you feel that that’s sometimes too much for you to gather is too much information. Is that saying goes? Or is it okay? You just let it pass through?
Bruce Joel Rubin: Yeah, no, if I owned it, it would be too much. Right? But there’s no one. There’s no one to own it. Okay. It just it just goes. So so let’s not always have All right. So anyway, I’m with I’m with, I’m teaching this class for the group. And people seem to get a lot out of it, which I found interesting. I came back the next year to teach again. And I kept thinking, Well, who am I and all this? And I said, Well, I guess I’m the token unenlightened guy. That’s who I am. So I’ll be, I’ll just teach what I know. You know, I just sit there and tell people what I know. So I just I gave a class, that’s the second year. And a whole group of people came up to me afterward the awakened guys and girls, and said to me, you know, you’re awake, and you don’t know it. And I went, well, that’s terrific. You know, I didn’t know what to do. I don’t know what to do with it. I will tell you this, I had arrived at a point, which was really, I think, ultimately essential, which was, I didn’t care anymore. I just gave up I gave up trying to get anywhere. I just said, if I’m not awake, I am very grateful, happy, alive human being. I have a spiritual practice, I’m able to sit in myself, you know, when you go deep into yourself into your chakras. I hate using even that word, but you sit in your heart, let’s say and you just be. It’s, it’s so deliciously beautiful. It’s so real and present. And the depth of it is unendingly. revealing itself, it just keeps happening. I can’t I could never hold on to it for more. I mean, I would have days or weeks and even months of being in that space, but I could never keep it. And I finally realized, well, if I’m doing something wrong, I don’t know what it is. And then I said, I don’t care. That when everyone told me, you know, you’re already there. I said, that’s great. Okay, you know, but I didn’t know what they were talking about. The next morning. Paul Hedeman is giving a talk. And I’m sitting there in the audience. And I don’t know how you’ve interviewed Paul. So you may have a sense of this. I cannot process what he’s saying. It’s too fast. It’s too much. It’s too big. And it’s so real. It’s so immediate, and it’s so vibrant. And I listen to him talk, and I’m going, like I’m breathing out, but I can’t analyze any of it. So something in me stopped trying. I don’t know what it was. It just stopped trying. And when the talk was over, I sat there, and I went something was missing. And I knew it was Bruce. Bruce had been washed out, just had been washed out with the flood of Paul’s words. It was there’s no Bruce left at all. And I went I don’t know what to do with it. I want to give him a hug and say, you know, something happened. He said, great, man. Great. That was, so I went to the bathroom. I said, that wasn’t enough, something major is happening. And I went to give him another big hug. He said, Great, that’s terrific. And I said, okay, and I went to BART, and I said, Bart, and he was standing with some people, something happened, he started crying. And then all the people around him started crying. And I started crying. And, and then I, I just there was a sense of what what it’s just it’s so it was so beautiful, and so big and so vast and so simple. If there was nothing about it was a little bit like the candle being blown out the description, you kind of hear, or suddenly you’re the light bulb and the sun comes out, you know, yeah, you’re no longer relevant. Really, it wasn’t, it wasn’t like Bruce was gone. Exactly. It’s just there was everything else. And BARTON I sat in, tucked away into the night. And kind of what I understood was that the awakening took place on LSD, at that point, 45 years before. And it took all of these years of what I call processing or ego diminishment or, or, or destruction, to finally get to the point where there were like, six bricks left. And during the course of those that weekend, five of the bricks fell away, or taken away. And then when Paul was talking, the last one was gone. There’s just nothing if there was no structure left. And I truly appreciate it at that moment, the whole journey I’ve been on, and the years of seeking and the finding of Rudy and the teaching and the energy work, the Hollywood experience, which is you have to understand Hollywood is a really fascinating place. And it was the only place I could go for this. But Hollywood is an ego crushing environment. It absolutely works to crush you into nothing. And the writer in Hollywood is the least important character in the entire environment. I always talk about it as if there was a totem pole with all of the various structures of the totem pole. The writer is the part they stick in the ground. There’s nothing visible, and that’s who I was and that that information was given to me over and over. and over and over. So Hollywood had served an amazing function, which was to absolutely crushed the ego or work on the crushing of the ego. So that I finally, when that when the eat when that when this last little moment happened when the last little drop of ego just sort of fell away that I was like, Oh, of course, course, there was nothing holding on nothing grasping for to come back, it was just gone.
Rick Archer: Let me tell you about a friend of mine. I’ve been engaged, I conducted a panel discussion when I was out at the science and non duality conference with like 15 participants, and it’s just been on BatGap. Now for a couple of weeks or so. And we’ve been having a little chit chat with all these people ever since then through email. And one of the people, a woman says, you know, that she had, she’s had all sorts of beautiful awakenings and openings over time. But last spring herself, she went through some rather difficult things with her health, and the and some her living situation and a bunch of stuff with all kind of topsy turvy. And she said, it just sort of kicked her not into a complete unity state in which she no longer has any sense of there being a personal self, which is kind of what you’re saying, I think. And so I showed her your video of one of your songs where you were using the analogy of a candle in the sun, it’s like, it’s not like the candle, the candle light is no longer there. But in the light of the dazzling light of the sun. It’s, you know, it may seem that it’s not there. I mean, a similar analogy is like, we’re right now, today time where you and I both are. And if we go outside and look up in the sky, we’re actually getting just as much photons just as many photons from the stars hitting our retinas, as we do out in the desert on a pitch black night. But we don’t see them because there’s so many photons from the sun coming in that they totally overshadow the ones from the stars. So not a good example. So do you really feel that there absolutely is no Bruce. But or do you would you rather say more accurately that yeah, the Bruce, there’s still a Bruce but in the in, he’s taken a backseat, and that your predominant sense of self is a much more vast universal thing. So one more little analogy, there’s still as a wave. You’re not only a wave, but you’re still a wave. But primarily, you’re the ocean, which is also arising as a wave.
Bruce Joel Rubin: I talk about light, light is a particle in a wave, and Bruce is the particle. And so when I want to focus on the particle, it’s there and what I want to focus on the wave, it’s a wave, it’s the same thing. It’s just a matter of how you perceive it. I think it’s when you talk about the word the absolute or totality, which has become very powerful for me. Bruce is definitely a part of it. Yeah. And Bruce keeps playing. There’s a, there’s a body here. There’s, there’s, there’s a history, I don’t engage it very much. You know, one of the things that fell away is, I have storehouses of memory, but I don’t engage them. But they come up. So every so often, something will come up to be in present tense consciousness. Yeah, and I go, Oh, and, and future I don’t future is very uninteresting to me. But sometimes future comes into the present tense and has to be addressed, as you know, like planning an airplane trip or something like that. There’s a body that definitely has suffering pain. But when that pain happens, it’s not like I need to live in a projection of that pain as some future event is just in the moment. And it normally passes, I will say, if you’re in extraordinary pain, in the moment, that’s hard. And you will be very, you will be very aware of your mortality and your body and you will become very aware of ego minded persona. You know, and I talk I talk a lot about Christ on the cross. Yeah. Because, you know, Christ suffered on the cross. So why have you forsaken me? You know, that this is, you know, if we’re talking awakened entities, you know, this man, this Bing is suffering. And then he does the most extraordinary thing on the cross, which which is, he goes from suffering into something and we this is not documented, but he goes from horrible pain and to forgive them for they know not what they do. That transition, whatever that is, is the core of spiritual practice. That thing of reaching into a place where you go beyond your personal agony into something where you again, have feelings for compassion for the totality that you are, because what your suffering is, we will all know it’s all of our suffering. Christ literally suffered. He suffered for us because that teaching It is so powerful, it’s so powerful because every one is going to go through probably some moment of agonizing suffering, probably, maybe not. But those people who do, where can they go for help? Where, and the best place I know for them to go is to Christ, because Christ is there, as a reminder that something follows that suffering, something goes beyond it. And that’s a very important teaching. And I’m, you know, I’m Jewish, you know, I was not born a Christian that
Rick Archer: was so as Christ, you know, that’s true.
Bruce Joel Rubin: He was, you know, and Buddha had a different passing. So there’s so there’s a lot of teachings on the planet about how to deal with the fact of being a separate entity, Buddha ended up with food poisoning. Yeah, you know,
Rick Archer: for me rancid pork.
Bruce Joel Rubin: Yeah. And I, you know, when I was in India, I had food poisoning, you go through a lot of ego stuff, when you’re when your body is in a lot of pain, but the spiritual truth of it, the presence of it is a liberating factor. It doesn’t remove you from it, it helps you to go even this, even this, yeah.
Rick Archer: Well, the reason I bring up the point and dwell on that a bit, is it it confuses me, when people say, there is absolutely no one here, you know, I am not a person, there isn’t a person because you know, I’m talking to you, you’re using personal pronouns, you might want to tell me about your grandchildren, or the, you know, the operation that you had a few years ago, that was very painful, and this and that. And, you know, they’re not the grandchildren of some guy in China. They’re not the operation. It’s not wasn’t the operation of some guy in India, it was you Bruce having these experiences, which, you know, you in some kind of localized way identified with more than, you know, some being on alphas and tourists, it seems to me that no matter how universal one is, there is still the individual entity, which is like an instrument through its universality is lived, and it has its individual orientation, no matter how cosmic one’s awareness may be there’s still in In Vedanta, they use the term Glacia video, which means faint remains of ignorance. And they say that without that, without some sort of individuation and sense of it, you couldn’t live I mean, this couldn’t this couldn’t be a living reality.
Bruce Joel Rubin: I’m totally on your wavelength. Okay. First of all, I will tell you, in the end, there’s nothing.
Rick Archer: Yeah. And I’m on that wavelength.
Bruce Joel Rubin: Yes, there is nothing we come out of nothing. How do we come out of nothing? It’s a mystery. Is it a mystery, that that envelops you that you care about? It’s all I care about? I am I am totally enveloped by the mystery. I don’t come away from any of this with knowledge. I mean, I have moments of knowledge that you might even call wisdom. But the wisdom is, there’s no way to know, there is no way it is so vast, and so big. And so beyond this, all I can do is walk around in a state of what I call gratitude and amazement. All the time. Yeah, that’s, that’s, that’s my state of being most of the time. Is there a Bruce in totality? Of course, there’s a Bruce in totality there, you know, there’s a Rick, there’s all of us. There’s Irene, we’re all we’re all we’re all part of totality. You know, and does that go away? No. But what happens is, that molecule becomes aware of the grain of sand becomes aware of the beach, yeah, much larger context. Yes, and but you’re still there still functioning within that context. But it’s a very different functioning. It’s, it simplifies, it gets quieter and quieter, and doesn’t need to do very much. You find a way of arriving at simplicity. That is stunning to me, because I never imagined I would get there. But simplicity is for me, I’ve described it recently in my talks, I have a little swing on my front porch. I just what I have nothing to do, I don’t pick up the newspaper, turn on some music, do something else, I just go sit on the swing. And that’s all I do. And it’s absolutely stunningly Wonderful. Wonderful. I don’t need to do I love to be I love to be and when Bing is taken away from me, I described in a talk the other day, a car crash that we just went through my wife and I and my brother and sister in law, and we survived it, but it was pretty dramatic. And the car was totaled. And for a moment I thought well being may go away. And I was really fascinated by Oh, Oh, am I the only thing that came up to me was so inconvenient that that was the line that is so inconvenient because I was loving being basically but did it go away? No. The,
Rick Archer: the Bing I mean, you’re, you’re in the car crash but I mean, no one knows about during the crash.
Bruce Joel Rubin: I was telling my students there was no fear. There was no time for fear. There was just a sense of now. Really, really this you know, that was kind of all that was how I got really, you know, and then that was still there, you know, aches and pains and things, you know, but I was still there and What did that do to me? One, it made lunch very random, which I think is really important. It made me infinitely more gracious grateful for every instance good because I love being, I think being loves being Otherwise, why would it work so hard to become? Or to be? I don’t know, you know, I mean, I, I, I’ve been so aware that I don’t know anything. I’ve been so aware that I don’t everything I think I know. And everyone who tells me they know, I just look at them. I go, okay, you know, everyone who breaks down, you know, awakening who breaks down the universe in terms of striations and this level of awakening and this level on that? Well, I go what what, you know, maybe, maybe, but who cares? You know, here’s what I think you know, the science is tells tell us, as you said a minute ago, it’s all molecules, you know, so Okay, I am I am more molecular empty space than I am solid. Okay,
Rick Archer: well, you’re not solid at all. Because if you go even deeper, there’s nothing solid.
Bruce Joel Rubin: Right? Right. Exactly. Exactly. So let’s say my awakening is to that fact, which in a way it is. So okay, someone that takes a hammer and smash it smacks my hand with it. Yeah. That knowledge didn’t do much for me. Right? It really didn’t do much I could walk around going well, you know, we don’t exist, we’re empty. We’re empty space. Great. But at the same time, there is a kind of configuration in this world and whatever you want to call it. Illusion, dreamscape reality, I don’t care what you call it, that still is functioning and often in ways that cause what Buddha said was suffering. And, and what do we do with suffering? What do we do with it, it does diminish dramatically in awakening, the causes of most suffering are really identifications with the past, and identifications with the future. And the true refuge of being is present tense, you come into the present, and you really let go of that stuff. And what happens is, through through meditation, you practice letting go of it, after awakening, it just happens. You just are not identified with past and future in the same way. And that refuge becomes a living presence that you can be in as often as possible. Sometimes it will pull you out of that sweetness and that ease. And a lot of people who do meditation, they think, Oh, I’ve just lost, I’ve just lost it. That’s when people say, I’ve lost it. What did I do? I’m not working hard enough. I’m not going deep enough, something is wrong with me. And it took me a long time post awakening to go, No, losing it as part of having it. It’s all part of the one. It’s all part of one. The idea that it’s only the blissful part, that’s real, is a huge mistake. What’s real is what is it’s not what it’s not what you what feels good. It’s what is, is real, and just say yes to this. And it’s also transitory, because it all keeps moving. It has nothing. You have nothing to do with it really. Except that it’s making it’s it’s you happening. You’re in it. It’s happening all around you. It’s happening everywhere. You’re you’re one of the happenings that are going on. And how did that happen? How did that happen? How did nothing become something? That’s that’s the question I wake up with every morning. How did you become something?
Rick Archer: A few comments and questions on that. Firstly, before I forget, I want to encourage people to listen to the song Let the mystery be by Iris Dement di m en t look it up on YouTube. It’s a great song about this very point of you know, let the mystery be. And you do. Yeah. And I think you know what? Second thing I want to add a question came in Dan from London. And well, we could talk about this over the over at the end too. But he just asked, Does Bruce do any teachings via Skype with his assessment of someone’s chakra system work remotely? Once you answer that first, and then we’ll get back to what you’re saying?
Bruce Joel Rubin: Normally, no, I don’t I’ve done it a little bit. And yes, it would, yes, it would. But I don’t. I don’t assess chakra systems as such. I don’t, I wouldn’t give you a written diagnosis or something like that. I just sit with you. I just wish I would just be with you. You know, I mean, clearly I can’t be with millions of people you know, and I don’t know that this energy would work stadium wide you know where the big audience I have never ever advertised what I do anywhere. In fact, this interview today is the first time I have ever if you will come out into a larger space and I didn’t do it happily. Exactly. I I actually thought Why should I do this but I only reason I did it is because it came to me. It arose in consciousness. And I had a choice of saying yes or no, but I never find anything valuable comes out of saying no, ever. So I don’t ever I just don’t I try not to say no. Okay, so hey,
Rick Archer: I want you to after this interview, I want you to run down the bank, withdraw everything and send it to me. No. Now Bruce, that’s not valuable.
Bruce Joel Rubin: I just say I almost never say no, but I actually know when to say no. comes out.
Rick Archer: Okay, good. So you may experience the BatGap up after this interview, which, you know, an influx of so since we’re on this point, I mean, would you feel like you wanted to do Skype sessions with people here and there and everywhere? Or would you rather just keep it to the local people who can come to your thing in San Rafael or LA?
Bruce Joel Rubin: Yeah, no, I think that that’s how I would do it. The local show, if people show up locally, that’s fine. Yeah. I’m not looking for I’m not looking for an audience at all, never have been. I don’t even understand what we’re doing. Because because, you know, so much of the Bruce identity went away. And it seemed to me the minute I did this, it’s all about creating a new identity about being something, you know, teacher, whatever, I used to be a filmmaker, now it’s a teacher. I don’t need it. I don’t need it at all. I’m not all that interested in it. On the other hand, what’s interesting to me is it wants to be spoken. That’s all I can tell you. It wants to be shared, I have very little to do with it. I will not obstructed. But I also don’t encourage it or engage it particularly, I just show up and it happens. If it can, you know, I do these, I do these interviews, I do these talks on replays on YouTube. I don’t post it on YouTube, so I can get a mass following. I do it because I have students in New York and students in LA, and students in San Rafael, who can’t attend all the classes. So I put them there. And you say why so few numbers? Because because it’s just your students. It’s just my students. Yeah.
Rick Archer: Well, as I said earlier, I think I found them very valuable and interesting. And so I think others may as well. And so you know, people can enjoy those and if they ever get out to the Bay Area, LA area, or where is it New York, you do things?
Bruce Joel Rubin: Well, usually upstate, they’re big Indian, Rudy had an ashram and big Indian.
Rick Archer: Okay, is that in the Catskills or someplace? Yeah, Catskills Yeah,
Bruce Joel Rubin: I go there, I go there a few times a year and give a class and occasional go into the city. There are other Rudy teachers in the city, and I’ll sit my go to their place and teach.
Rick Archer: Okay. This is the kind of thing I usually discuss at the end of the interview, and we’re not finished, but it’s good to let people know that, you know, they can do those things if they want.
Bruce Joel Rubin: Okay, let me let me just also, a lot of great, there are a lot of great teachers. Oh, yeah, they’re all over. So, so many, and you interview almost all of them? I don’t know, I’m happy to have them go to all the other teachers. And a lot of those teachers have more of a lifestyle where that’s what they do. You know, I don’t I don’t I don’t do that. And I would say, you know, if you can go to Eckhart and go to Audio Shanthi. I mean, there’s so many people, I’m a Jeff foster fan, you know, he’s a wonderful, wonderful people, you know, and just just go, go, go sit with them.
Rick Archer: Sure. And it seems to be the nature of the age that we’re in where the model is kind of a smaller group thing, where it’s more of a peer to peer arrangement, rather than so one teacher up on stage with 100,000 people in the audience or something, you know, it’s, although there is some of that too, but there’s a tick not on, you know, he said, The next Buddha is the Sangha. Oh, beautiful. Yeah, what are you gonna say?
Bruce Joel Rubin: We’re just gonna say that, you know, it’s the big teachers on a stage, every one of us, every one of the non duelists, as far as I can tell, is saying basically the same thing over and over and over, the only thing that’s important is saying it in the moment, because it’s enlivened by presence. It’s very powerful. So hearing it in a moment where you’re actually in the presence of it being spoken, has great power, it has power, even on tape, you know, as you know, from your, from your interviews, there’s real, there’s real power, but having it in the moment, having it arise in the moment, even though you’ve heard it 1000 times, it comes up, in a way, vibrant and fresh and important. You know, that’s, that’s, that’s valuable.
Rick Archer: I want to come back to something you said a few minutes ago about, you know, you were pre awakening even, you had this ability to see to see people and kind of see, oh, well, they’re this chakra is open, this one’s closed, and yet they’re awakened, but they’re still sort of shut down in various areas. And that kind of begs the question of what is awakening? You know, it’s we It has this kind of static superlative connotation sometimes. And yet people can claim awakening or, or legitimately be said to be awakened by most definitions, and yet still have a vast range of possible development yet to undergo. So please, please come in on that.
Bruce Joel Rubin: Well, first of all, well, awakening is not a big deal on some level. I mean, I mean, yes, I know, it’s presented as that. And there really is a kind of idea of a hierarchy of the awakened and the unawakened. But of course, we’re all present one way or the other. So it is a kind of, are you aware of it or not? And are you aware of it momentarily? No, you read a Rumi poem, and for about a 10th of a second, you’re awake. I know what happens whenever I read Rumi. It’s just it would always spark for me, and people talk and you got a spark. In time that spark just expands and it becomes more of an awareness, but it does not separate you from human beings. It definitely doesn’t elevate you. It just It just makes you one with human beings, it makes you one with, with humanity in a way that’s so precious and touching and beautiful and wonderful. That’s all it does. It doesn’t make you special. It just makes you more joyful and more grateful to be in the presence of this mystery. That’s what it does. And so the idea that people will try to sit on a Dyess and say I have it and you don’t becomes a real problem for people. And also, there’s a huge thing of people who are pursuing this deifying, the awakened person, big mistake, there is nothing to be deified than an awakened person, and you are no different than an awakened person. It’s just a matter of give it. me put it this way. There’s work to be done. There’s work to be done.
Rick Archer: Yeah. So you know, you were talking a few minutes ago about how people complexify if that’s a word, the whole awakening thing with all these levels and stages, and, and it seems so complicated. And yet you also were mentioning, awakened people whom you could see were shut down in certain areas and open and others. And Adi Shanti. Talks about levels of awakening head, heart and gut and, and in Mahayana Buddhism, there’s a vast detailed understanding of various stages of development. And in Hinduism, they have a similar thing. Nine jhanas, I think they call it myanna. Ken Wilber talks about, you know, reaching non dual consciousness of any depth is only one piece of the puzzle. And he talks about waking up ads that we also have to clean up and grow up. And we’ve seen examples of people who have apparently woken up but are definitely not cleaned up or grown up. So I would tend to say if I had to define awakening, that the way it’s commonly used is a stage and I believe you even said, Rudy, have a note here that. Didn’t you say that Rudy even talks about awakening as a sort of the beginning in a way that and that there’s much possibility after that, or am I mistaken?
Bruce Joel Rubin: I don’t remember really talking much about awakening as such. He did say real Enlightenment doesn’t happen till you die. And and I don’t I don’t agree with that. I mean, I think there’s I mean, there’s something really does happen when you die, I’m sure. I mean, my sense of it is, I mean, we don’t know until we’re there. But my impression is that there’s a continuum. That’s certainly been my experience in the in the world that I’ve been in. That I mean, everything you’re saying. And I think articulating so well, it’s exactly how I feel. There’s no one there’s no one rule and, and any rule and every understanding, and every teaching that we have, is an approximation of something that cannot ultimately even be approximated. It’s just, it’s just helping us get through the way the world works. I mean, we’ve learned rules, we know how to build a house, you lay one brick on top of another, we’ve created cement, you build a room, you build, you have windows, we’ve learned how to function pretty well, in a material space. This is how to function in an immaterial space. Yes, there’s things to learn. Yes, they’re all valuable. But in the end, as you were saying earlier, it’s just emptiness. It’s just emptiness. What is it? So? Do we not therefore learn how to function in this space of I think it’s really important to function in this space. And yeah, and I think I think it’s really important to, to live your life as fully as you can. And that means open heartedly open mindedly, your gut willing to risk things for, you know, the unknown in front of you, instead of protecting yourself against, you know, the dangers of life, you know, the, the whole pursuit of safety is probably the biggest cause of suffering in the world. Because, you know, because there’s no such thing. Helen Keller said, There’s no such thing as same as safety in the world, how can there be you’re going to die, and you’re going to be taken apart and everything you’ve ever had is going to be lost, everything is going to be given up. Once you know that. I mean, I remember when I hit 70, and I, and I, I suddenly felt kind of old, and I and I thought, wow, what have I been doing all I’ve been accumulating and accumulating and accumulating, and now I just have to give it away. And even my kids don’t have enough room to take what I have. What what do I do with what do I do with all the stuff and it’s like you feel so stupid because you suddenly realize all of this midlife need to get and have and be something and all that ultimately resolves itself in letting it all go and just being who you are. And the incredible thing about arriving at who you are is like how inevitable and satisfying it is to get there. And but I see many, many people who are getting old who are living completely in the past Chesed are still think there’s a fear they’re fearing the future. And they’re not, they’re not. There are just so many people who are never here, they never get here. And you keep. So my my thing to whatever degree I can present it is to try to encourage, be here. And one of the things that keeps you from that is an obstructive, third eye chakra. Your third eye to me is not about third eye, Majid magical anything. It’s about awareness and understanding. And if you have a very open third eye, you will see life deeply around you and within you. And I talk about third eye and all the chakras is plant like the branch into the world and they root into you and they mirror each other. So if you’re very, very open minded about the world, you’ll be very open minded about yourself. If you’re close minded, you won’t see deeply into who you are. I can go on and on about chakras, and I won’t right now
Rick Archer: we can we can touch on it a bit might be interesting. I remember the only time I ever felt old in my life was when I turned 30. And I thought, Oh, 30 Man, I am getting old. But ever since then it’s I don’t really have a sense of it. You know? There’s I feel.
Bruce Joel Rubin: I played it out pretty well, but 70 Hit me.
Rick Archer: Yeah. Well, I haven’t I have about four years away from that. So we’ll see what happens.
Bruce Joel Rubin: All of my friends as well. It was it was it was a day of reckoning.
Rick Archer: Yeah. But it all depends on what you know yourself to be. I mean, if you think that all you are, is this body, which is probably what most people feel, then yeah, it’s getting older, and I’m gonna die, I’m going to cease to exist. That’s scary. But if you know, your if, as you had said, you have a deeper kind of sense of things and clear experience of the deeper nature of things, then, you know, you know, you’re not going to die. And, you know, I also want to say about you lose everything as you get old. You know, I mean, obviously, you know, you don’t you if if you are everything, how can you lose everything?
Bruce Joel Rubin: That’s exactly right. What the loss is a game and every instance. Yeah, you cannot there is no there is no loss. You know, there’s a loss of stuff. But the gain in what works. What, what fills the space is amazing. It’s remarkable. Yeah. And it’s and it’s kind of what you live for
Rick Archer: know that to be indeed indestructible, by which all this is pervaded, none can work, the destruction of this immutable being.
Bruce Joel Rubin: I mean, that’s the teaching away. It’s a good teaching, it feels good. I’m not even convinced of any of the teachings. I mean, I think again, they’re all that resonate with your experience. Yes, it does. But But I have zero certainty.
Rick Archer: Yeah, you don’t need certainty. You don’t.
Bruce Joel Rubin: I just I just I just walk around going. It is thus.
Rick Archer: Yeah. I mean, I forget who said that consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds. But he could have said the same about certainty.
Bruce Joel Rubin: Well, I just, I’ve become kind of, how can I say I can’t be around certainty. It’s for me, it’s like, That begs the question, how do you know? How do you know any of this? And and the only thing you kind of do know, in a sense that unspoken, is that I am? Yeah,
Rick Archer: you do know that? You know, Nisargadatta, I believe said that uncertainty and a sense of ambiguity are characteristics of spiritually advanced person that you don’t need to claim to? certainty.
Bruce Joel Rubin: Right? Well, that that definitely is. More and more the experience that has been taking place here, I’ve described it as the awakening is the end of seeking and the beginning of discovery. And that’s in the discovery keeps happening, that I’m not seeking anything. Yeah. But I am constantly aware of more and more and more and more and more, you kind of floods in and you go, like I said, you keep going, Wow,
Rick Archer: yeah, you and I really are in a very similar wavelength. I’ve used those very same words, any number of times that there’s no seeking, but there’s all this sort of sense of adventure and discovery. Whoa, it’s so great.
Bruce Joel Rubin: And in a way that is like, like, you’re a five year old. Yeah, kid in the candy shop all the time. It’s so exciting. And it’s so beautiful, except when it’s not. And when it’s not, it’s even beautiful and exciting because it’s teaching you a whole new level of, of, of what is and what is is it’s indescribable, and what I mean it’s what is we’re all seeing and experiencing all the time. But what gets me is that people are looking into the face of you can call it God or being or truth or wonder and they’re missing. Yeah, looking right at it all the time. It’s and it’s not even you looking through your eyes it’s the very wonder of being is looking through your eyes into itself. And you’re sitting there owning it as this tiny little person who’s saying no, not so interesting. Oh, I’m tired I go I don’t like this. I don’t It’s like what what what do you why would you live like that when you when you are the vastness of truth itself? Yeah, it’s It’s so it’s so infuriating, but at the same time, you definitely have compassion for everybody who’s doing that, because you were one of them. We were all one of them. We are all one of them.
Rick Archer: We were talking about that before we started recording that, you know, if you even in terms of what science tells us, if you look at what’s going on in every single molecule and fiber of creation, I mean, I’ve said this before on the show, but if you take a single gram of hydrogen, and make the atoms as large as unpopped popcorn kernels, they would cover the continental United States, nine miles deep. And every single one of those atoms and then the sub atoms are huge compared to the subatomic particles. But every single one of those is this perfectly orchestrated little thing, both within itself and in core in its collaboration or coordination with every other thing. And it just goes on and on and on like that throughout the entire universe. There’s no gap in the, in the immense intricacy and complexity and infinite intelligence that orchestrates every single iota of creation. And that’s what we’re immersed in. That’s what we’re walking around. And that’s what we are. Yeah, that’s what we are. And
Bruce Joel Rubin: how, yeah, it’s like, you know, yeah,
Rick Archer: I mean, God droppingly Astonishing.
Bruce Joel Rubin: Yes, yes. And, and you can actually have that jaw dropping astonishment, all day long, every day of your life. Yeah, except when you bang your hand, or you get in a car accident, and even then you can have it. That’s what’s so incredible. And this learning, learning to just be the learning to exist, without interpreting it without making it one thing or another without making it about, you’re, you’re better than others, or you’re less than others, or that you want more, you shouldn’t have had that, get rid of that noise. And you just are, if it’s getting rid of the noise, it’s kind of everything. And that’s where meditation comes in. Because
Rick Archer: we should talk about that a bit. I just want to throw in a quote from Kurt Vonnegut, he said, I don’t know about you, but I practice a disorganized religion. I belong to an unholy disorder. We call ourselves Our Lady of Perpetual astonishment.
Bruce Joel Rubin: You know, that’s, that’s perfect. I mean, I again, I’m a part of that religion. Yeah. And I really think that if you’re, if you’re, if you’re living in a world of endless perpetual distraction, if you’re always into the telephone, and the TV, and the radio, in the car, and on and on and on the noise of your own mind talking to you and telling you, you’re better than and worse than and all of this stuff, if you’re always doing that, you will never in the course of an entire lifetime, even get a glimpse of who you are. Yeah. And that’s, that’s terrifying. And in our culture today, it’s becoming more and more for, for everyone to be lost. And how does a voice come through? That starts to say, Whoa, wake up. Whoa. And I think that’s why there’s so much awakening taking place, because we need voices out there. Just offering those people who are ready, the opportunity to sit still and find who they are. That’s why I’m doing this show. Yes, exactly. Exactly.
Rick Archer: And it’s good to have lots of voices too, because then it gets away from thinking that oh, it’s a special thing that only, you know, Swami, big, big deal and deal Ananda is experiencing, it’s more like all these people that are just like me are having this.
Bruce Joel Rubin: Yes. And it’s all and there’s very, very, there’s a lot of languages to describe it. And there’s a lot of variety to the experience. And there’s no one right way or wrong way, there just is this thing happening. And you can start to listen to enough people thanks to your recordings, you can listen to enough people who you start to go I get the general, universal trend that’s going on here. You don’t have to be this and you don’t have to be that we’re all part of something that’s unfolding. I don’t know who has the answer. But I think we’re all part of some answer. And we all have something to offer. And so you gravitate to the one that speaks to you. Yeah, do listen, do listen to it.
Rick Archer: And, personally, I also it also makes me optimistic about the world, which otherwise one could be rather pessimistic about because, you know, this stuff doesn’t make the news. But there’s this sort of global epidemic of awakening taking place, which, to my way of thinking is the ultimate antidote to the world’s problems. And I think
Bruce Joel Rubin: we’re, I think we are we that’s what that’s what this is, you know, there’s a kind of, of cancer and coming into the world in a way of wherever you want to call it of disorganized thinking, you know, and, and there were like, the, like, you say, the antidote where the serum, we are the serum that’s trying to fight it and and change it. And it may be a real battle. I mean, I don’t know exactly what’s going on. And, you know, people like Eckhart talk about the new world order may be happening, you know, I don’t know if that would. Seems nice to me. But, but I do know that something is moving through those of us who are speaking and listening to this material that is trying to change the way it is. And you only have to change a little bit at a time. You don’t have to go out there and change the world. You don’t have to be a world leader. You don’t know who you’re going to impact at any given moment. You just, you just don’t know. I have a story, which is kind of interesting. I made a movie that when you mentioned with Michael Keaton, nobody, nobody wants to see it. It opened the same weekend as Mrs. Doubtfire. And so I remember looking at the New York Times on a one page is Michael Keaton dying of cancer. And the other page is Robin Williams and drag. And it’s a Friday night, you just got home from work. And what do I do? Where do I go? You’re not gonna go see Michael Keaton dying, you’re just not. So I made this movie. The reviews were below the belt painful, they were so negative. And that was awful for me. And I really thought What did I do, I’ve wasted my time, I’ve spent years trying to write this make this movie, which actually is very good and very moving. And I did this movie. And I suffered for nine months afterward, because it was such a failure. And then a woman comes up to me at a party. And she says to me, I have to tell you a story. My husband died three years ago, and my 10 year old son and I never spoke about it ever. And he is he has been completely shut down. And then she said, I found out I am dying of cancer. She said, and I thought how am I going to leave this world with my 13 year old son, and I never having the dialogue we need to have. And we went to the movie theater, and we saw your movie my life. And when we came out of the theater, my son was sobbing, and we came home. And he crawled into my lap. And she said I had the dialog that I needed to have to leave this world. And I thank you for making that possible. That’s beautiful that that’s what happened one person and I said, Here I made this incredibly big movie for the masses, and it spoke to one person and it was worth it.
Rick Archer: Well, I’m sure it spoke to a lot more people that you didn’t run into at a party. And that brings up something I’ve, I’ve often thought of over the years, and I wanted to run by you. And that is that, you know, often when I’ve seen a movie, like, I don’t know, close encounters or Star Wars or in various movies, I think wow, you know, I don’t know if the people who made this movie realize it. But they are serving as a conduit for something to be infused into the national consciousness that’s really going to shift things in a fundamental way. And that’s very important. And you know, yourself said, when he came down from that LSD trip, a voice said to you, you know, why am i You said Why am I still alive or something you said, well, because we want you to tell this story. And I think you’ve dedicated your life to telling stories, and most of them have been stories that have a profound content to them profound in
Bruce Joel Rubin: asbestos as best as I could get through the Hollywood system. Yeah, you know, sure. When there was a lot I wanted to say, right, and you get one, you get one idea, per per one sentence, I call it or per movie. And if you have a big career, you have a paragraph. Yeah, that’s how I look at it. And I’ve tried to put stuff out there some of the movies more effectively than others. You know, I did movies like Stuart Little to hoping to talk to children, which I think I did. You know, I did Jacob’s Ladder, which is a very real depiction of the Tibetan Book of the Dead. It’s really it’s an incredible journey. It’s really, really potent tool. Go speaks to people, they all they all have their their message, they all have their reason for being and, and the universe paved the way for me to do that. There was no reason this kid from Detroit should be making movies. There’s no reason in the world. I should have gotten there. But I had to, I had to do these things called leaps of faith to get there. You know, I was living in Illinois. My wife was a professor. I had a film open in Hollywood called brainstorm. And after it opened, I had while I was there, I had a friend who was a filmmaker Brian De Palma. He said, Bruce, if you want this career, you got to move to Hollywood. And I went, I my wife never wanted to live in Hollywood. But we went back to Illinois and my wife went to the department, head of the university and quit her job, went to the the a&p supermarket and put a picture of our house with little tabs underneath it with our phone number and said for sale. And we with nothing, nothing. moved to Hollywood, we took this we did this leap that had no security and what’s all at all with two children. Not enough money to live for two months, once we got there. And my wife, my wife said, we’re going to Hollywood.
Rick Archer: That’s impressive. That’s an it’s also a tribute to your wife and to your marriage that you
Bruce Joel Rubin: are. Yes, my wife, my wife is why you and I are talking I mean, she’s the she’s the backbone of my whole of my whole life. But what what happened really was, I learned that you have to take these synaptic leaps, you cannot leap with security, you have to follow the deeper instinctive truths of your life to get where you really want to go. And if you’re opting for safety and security, you will not do it. You have to be willing to just go and embrace the unknown, and it will embrace you much of the time, not all of the time, but much of the time, it will embrace you. And if nothing else, reaching for the dream, in the dream, makes the dream come to become a wonderful experience. And if you’re lucky, by becoming wonderful, it takes you to a place where you wake up from the dream. That’s really that’s, that’s a wonderful journey to be on.
Rick Archer: Yeah, I was kind of reminded as you’re speaking of the prayer of St. Francis, you know, Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace, whether it’s hatred, let me sow love and so on. It’s like you, I often think of myself and people like you, and perhaps everyone, as instruments of the Divine.
Bruce Joel Rubin: That’s, that’s how I look at it. Yeah, and some of us are, some of us are our instruments in a surrendered way. And some identified with being an instrument. And some, you know, have very limited, open mindedness, a very narrow mindedness that goes into becoming an instrument, and it creates havoc in the world, yet we are all instruments. Even the Havoc produces our, our instruments. That’s all part of the story. American storytelling is such a powerful tool. And stories have to have bad guys, they have to have obstacles, they have to have mentors, and you have all these sort of classical elements and storytelling, and those elements are really crucial. And we have all of that in our world culture, we have it in our individual day to day life experience, we have we are based on story. And story is what we live for everyone is living here, everyone is living to turn the next page, what happens next. That’s everything for people what happens next, and the idea of turning that into thy will be done, meaning I will just be here. And what happens next will happen without me having to know it, and having to initiate it, I will just be. And that’s an enormous release from story. And when you get released from story, you really start to find yourself, because you’re not your story. That story is important. It has a journey. It has value. But the real journey and the ultimate climax of a real story is awakening from story. And that’s the great journey for all of us, you know, to finally go aha, there was no story there was just this, or the big story, which is that we’re all living this amazing journey, both in it. And back, stepping back from it. My mother taught me great wisdom as a kid in the movie theater. She said, Honey, it’s only a movie. And that really was helpful to me nice, because you do that in life too. But you can choose it as you will.
Rick Archer: But she didn’t like cheese.
Bruce Joel Rubin: That’s right. You’ve listened to a lot of talks.
Rick Archer: I heard I don’t know about your mother and cheese. Yes.
Bruce Joel Rubin: Yes. You never would never eat cheese. I don’t like cheese. I always said how could this have a life and say, at the age of five, you don’t like something and never try it after that? How could you? That was her? What she did.
Rick Archer: A question came in this is from Eli in Denver. Bruce, during a tat foundation talk online. You mentioned briefly that you invited darkness into your experience that Enlightenment wasn’t all light. Will you please elaborate on that? What sort of darkness are you referring to? Exactly.
Bruce Joel Rubin: So that’s a big conversation.
Rick Archer: We can have it for a while.
Bruce Joel Rubin: Okay,
Rick Archer: We’ve gone to the bathroom.
Bruce Joel Rubin: When, after my awakening, I had what used to what I call the four o’clock in the morning. I don’t know what you want to call it. terrors, maybe something comes used to come into my life and tell me that I was less than nothing. I was a meaningless, imperfect it was it was always diminishing and demeaning and kind of soul destroying it was kind of dark night of the soul experience. And I said how can this happen? After awakening? How can darkness come in after awakening and I had to really process this in a really big way. And and at that particular time, I talked about it at that subgroup when this thing started coming into my head, and I used to cower under the covers before because it was so terrifying. And I have discovered many many people have this four o’clock in the morning terror because you have no ego defense at that point. So the mind can just really get in there and get you. And in the old days I used to look for anything that could help me and it was always like a little pinpoint of light way in the distance that if I would just hold on to it. It would open up into love. We just be love. But this time when it happened I just went Hello darkness my old friend. I’m here to talk to you again. I started singing to this thing and I start I was singing, and it went, well, it didn’t know what to do, because nobody ever, ever turns around and confronts it. Nobody ever sings to the darkness. So I sang to the darkness. And I just suddenly said, you’re part of me. And you’ve been living in the basement of my being forever. I’ve opened the door, come in, live with me, come into my life. So I invited darkness into my life. And unfortunately, when it comes in it, there’s darkness in your life. So we’d have breakfast with me, it would be around all the time. And I and I could feel the dark, the dark along with the light, which felt a little bit yin yang, kind of like, maybe not such a bad thing. And then, interesting story, I did a musical of ghost, which was very successful in London. But New York City was different. And we were having the critic screening, that screening presentation in the theater. This is the big night for the critics to be there, and the set broke down. The set broke down right near the end. And it was like the worst thing that could happen. And the critics were like, gleeful you could feel like, because it was a very complicated setting for this show. And the minute it happened, I said, the darkness that I have led in which I called Shiva energy destroyer, the energy had come in, and it did exactly what it does, you know, it’s the scorpion on you know, this, it will sting you. And the darkness came in and it destroyed the play, and the play got terrible reviews. And it closed, within three or four months of that. It took away all but what I had dreamed of is future income, like this is going to be some big massive hit. And it wasn’t, I had a beautiful house in upstate New York, which I realized, without that income, I probably shouldn’t hold on to. Luckily, I had new grandchildren who I wanted to be with more than I wanted to be in a big house. So we moved to be with grandchildren and sold the house. And I began the contraction of my life. And I began the contraction, which has proven to be really meaningful, because ghosts failed. And what happened to the night that that screening took place, I said, I’m gonna go to bed at 4am. And this voice is going to come laughing at me saying I told you, I told you, I you know, you invited me in, I’m just doing what I do. This is I’m the darkness. And what happened at 4am is that the awakening happened, I woke up. And this voice said to me, that was God at work. And, and that’s when I understood it as Shiva. You know, it had to take this thing apart to begin the next phase of my life, which was also astrologically, I was going from Jupiter to Saturn, its contraction, all these things were naturally taking place. And I had to give myself over to it. And the universe had to do what it was doing. And I just I understood it, and I appreciated it. And so I embraced the darkness, I’ve now come to understand a lot of things. But one of them is that darkness is the human mind. It’s corners of the mind. It’s not out there as a separate entity in the it’s not the devil. It’s not demons out there. It’s all part of the psyche, it has great power over us. And it really is trying to re emphasize its control is trying to create it as most, it controls most people. And it does it very easily by again, safety and all of that sort of security that you want. It has control over you. It started out when you were a little baby, as a gift, as if mind is a gift helps protect you as you go through life. But it takes over as we all seem to know. So it had me and then all of a sudden I started to understand that the ego mindedness, the dark side and the light side needed to be embraced together, that you cannot just look at awakening as bliss itself. You can but that not it’s not my experience. My experience was its bliss and darkness together, that it is yin and yang. And it’s not even yin and yang, like big balancing. Yin and Yang like this. It’s always happening in its totality is light and dark. And when I went to the next SIG conference, and told them that told him that story, they were like, Oh, don’t say that. We don’t want to hear that light. Awakening is light and bliss and freedom from fear and freedom from everything. And they did not want me to talk like that. And I said well, okay, but but the truth in my mind is that you awaken to totality, not to a part of totality. You awaken not just to light, you don’t transcend the darkness, if even if you transcend darkness, it’s there. You have to in some way say yes to the vastness of being and everything that contains and that’s where freedom lies. true liberation is saying yes to, to what is not yes to part of what is. And that was very important for me. And that’s, that all came out through the experience of the dark side impacting me very strongly after awakening. Now it has it’s a very different thing. I mean, I really, it’s, it’s part of the equation He doesn’t attack me the way I used to. But if it does attack you, and there are a lot of people who are attacked by it, try singing just really, really works.
Rick Archer: The ultimate try meditating, we should talk about meditation a little bit, I’m usually meditating it three or four in the morning, it’s a good time to do it. And I’ll sleep some more after that. But you’ve talked about the value of it in kind of quieting the mind and so on. So and there are people running around out there who say, Oh, you’re already enlightened, you don’t need to do spiritual practices, practices, you’re only going to get hung up if you do practices. And, and so, you know, I don’t think you have that orientation. So, you know, what would you say about the value of meditation?
Bruce Joel Rubin: Well, I don’t meditate so much. I don’t meditate regularly at this point,
Rick Archer: I guess for a long time, or not
Bruce Joel Rubin: 40-45 years,
Rick Archer: yeah,
Bruce Joel Rubin: I sat every day, twice a day for 45 minutes, and had great experience. Yeah, post awakening, let me put it this way, oh, meditation happens. It just happens. I don’t, I don’t have to sit to get anywhere,
Rick Archer: right.
Bruce Joel Rubin: Because the place I’m trying to get to, I am.
Rick Archer: You’re already there, you’re it.
Bruce Joel Rubin: I’m not going to arrive at something, you can arrive at a deeper version of it if you want, by meditating. And I think there’s something beautiful in that. And when I want to do that, that’s what I do. I just sit and I go deeper and deeper and deeper. And it’s really beautiful, and really wonderful. And then I just I have that serenity, if you will. But then you know, the problem is, you don’t want to leave that in the depth of your being and then come back into the chaos of the world, you want to be able to be in the chaos of the world with the same serenity that you have in your sitting still. Or you just want to accept chaos, as being as valid and meaningful and as wonderful as the other. So that you don’t make one more desirable. You don’t you don’t think sitting still in depth is somehow a better place to be than being shopping at the supermarket. It’s all it’s all. It’s all. It’s all. It’s all one, it’s just one. And this idea that I mean, you can’t know the glory of shopping at the supermarket, if you haven’t done the work, to know the glory of doing nothing. But once you know that, once it’s manifested within you, then you live, then you just live in the state of whatever it is, period. You don’t make it this or make it that it will become what it wants to become. And it will you will meditation when it wants to happen. Trust me, it will, you won’t be able to do anything but sit down and let it happen. Because it wants to be there. And it’s and you’re We’re guided in such a remarkable way by the forces of the universe. We’re just, we’re guided we are. And I don’t mean it to be dualistic like we NF you know, but there it just does it. What it does, naturally is amazing. It’s just amazing. And appreciate it. Just walk around saying thank you. You know, because it does, it does everything you know, and it also is incredibly I don’t know how to describe this. It keeps changing. Yeah, I was trying to get a cab the other day in New York to go to the airport and I walk out of a hotel and they didn’t have doorman at this hotel. It’s like a club. And it’s like walk over to Sixth Avenue. And I often had bad taxi karma in my life waiting hours to get a taxi. So I’m walking out and I’m going Oh god, I’m gonna take a while to get a taxi. And I said, Well, okay, don’t worry about it. Because there’s no rush. There’s nothing. There’s, I mean, even if you missed the plane, who cares, I just let myself relax. And I walk out the door. And immediately a cab pulls up and woman gets out and there’s a cab in front of me. So I get in the cab and I go, Oh, wow, the universe just delivered the cab. And the next thing I know the cab driver first the most smelly fart I’ve ever seen in my life. And I’m like, okay, so you think you’re so blessed, and you’re so lucky. And it never ends. And it went on like that all day. It was like such a joke. Good turned into bad that turned into good. It kept kept going and going and going. And that’s kind of what it is. It’s just life. It’s dualistic. It’s dualism. We’re in a dualistic world. And either you sit down and say yes to that, which makes it non dualistic in a way that makes it whole, or you fight it and then you become, you know, complaining or thinking you’re extolled for one great thing and, and you’re being punished for another thing, because you, you just identified with a good thing. And now it’s a bad thing. And, you know, it’s how it’s how you choose to live, you know, and awakening makes it easy. You just go get it. I get it. It’s going to keep on it’s going to oscillate forever.
Rick Archer: Well, you know, I mean, Rudy called his thing the work which is of course what Byron Katie calls her thing and the essence of her thing is just don’t argue with reality because you’re always gonna lose.
Bruce Joel Rubin: She even says love she says love what is love? What is Yeah, yeah. And so you know if I can step on her back and say that’s my teaching, too.
Rick Archer: Yeah. Um, I found that thing I was referring to when I was thinking that Rudy had said something about awakening being the beginning. I think it was something you wrote, you said, it was now dawning on me that awakening is not the end of the story. It is the beginning of something altogether different. It is a story that in many ways has yet to be written. The although Buddha allowed to Rumi and others have tried to give it a voice. It is not the story audiences hunger for root for hope for it is not the happy ending audiences crave for it, because there is no ending in it. It is if anything, and eternal beginning it up roots, all the rules. Well, that’s beautifully written. Yeah. I wrote that. I believe you did. I think I pulled that out or something you wrote? Yeah.
Bruce Joel Rubin: Well, well, that’s that’s how I feel. Yeah, it’s nice. It’s really hard feel. Yeah, you know, even when I give a talk, I have no recollection, minutes later of anything that was said, but I often have to give it a title, I have to go back and listen to it. Even if it was just minutes before. I don’t have any I don’t have any investment in what was, uh, I mean, I just don’t feel that. And I don’t have a lot of expectation for what is except for what we’re talking about here, which is the wonder of what it will be, you know, it’s like, and it won’t be it’s not like it will be in a week, you know, it will be right now. Because it’s I mean, even this interview, you know, I don’t know moment to moment, what you’re going to ask, I do know, that I feel I feel lucky to be in your presence, I feel that there’s something extraordinary in being able to share this kind of dialogue that you make that possible, what a great, what a thing, and I’m just sitting, I don’t know what’s coming next. But I trust I just trust I trust you. I trust the process. And I trust being and that’s a nice place to be in terms of how to live. It’s just it’s much better than not trusting it. You know, although there are moments where I don’t trust it. Honestly, there are there are moments, like I said, where I don’t know if the cavalry will come. And that I have to say, is still a part of the whole. You can’t look at that and go oh, well, I guess I’m not awake. I guess I’m not enlightened, because I worry about whether the cab will show up. No part of being who will be proud of being alive and being whatever you are, is maybe going maybe the cab won’t be here. You know, it’s just, it’s just what and once you accept that even that’s okay. The whole thing is okay.
Rick Archer: Well, you know, the old alcoholics pledge or vow or whatever that thing is called that, you know, changing the things you can change, not bothering about the things you can’t change and having the wisdom to know the difference.
Bruce Joel Rubin: Right, right. Well, I think that’s, I mean, yes, that’s what I feel like. I’m I feel like the message here is so unbelievably simple. So, so easy to communicate on some level. And yet, hearing it is so hard hearing the message is Oh, yeah, I get it. But there’s no, there’s nothing. It’s like it has to go in. Yeah,
Rick Archer: the ears to hear it as Christ so often said, That’s right. Yes. Right. And again, I mean, words, first big pearls before swine is he also said, I mean, if there’s not the sort of depth of being to actually live what you’re talking about, then these words are like the, you know, reading a recipe and expecting to be nourished by it, instead of actually being able to eat the food?
Bruce Joel Rubin: Well, my guess is that’s where suffering comes in. Because suffering is the one tool that will make you pay attention, and will get you to look at what is existentially meaningful, and it’s a hard way to get there. It’s not required, really. But unfortunately, it’s one of the ways that works. Yeah.
Rick Archer: Yeah, I mean, if, if we think that, you know, we’re kind of biological robots in a meaningless mechanistic universe, then I suppose suffering must seem like just part of the, the sort of the cruelty of it are, are the sort of, you know, people actually have lost faith in God or a belief in God based upon suffering that they see happening in the world. But if, if instead, we see things, as you described a minute ago, that, that light and dark positive and negative Yin and Yang are all part of a much greater wholeness, and that if you’re going to have a manifest universe, you have to have pairs of opposites in it. And these things are going to be continually moving around and interchanging and interacting with one another, then you can kind of still see the divine hand and everything, even if the going gets rough, which it I mean, you know, in the 11th chapter, the Gita and Arjuna asked Krishna to see his divine form essentially, he’s asking I want to see it from God’s perspective. And so when he began to see all the sudden is all these heads getting crushed, and people dying, and all this kind of weird stuff that he couldn’t handle, but that’s obviously I mean, they’re in the, in this vast universe of hours they’re probably inhabited planets getting hit by asteroids every day. And you know, all the the death that that entails. Just part of the mix.
Bruce Joel Rubin: Well, I know that whatever liberation I have experienced, it’s not a liberation from any of that. It’s a liberation, if you will, into all of that. It’s allowing me to be one with all of what it is. And not to try to single out one thing from another thoughts and move toward the better or, or to run from the worse just to be, and to have a kind of clarity. As I’ve said, Now, maybe 30 times on this show of amazement, and wonder and gratitude at all of
Rick Archer: it. Yeah. Beautiful. Well, that might be a good stopping point. And knowing the way you operate, if I asked you was anything else you want to add? You probably will say no, not not unless you ask me a question. But um, is there or is that a good stopping point?
Bruce Joel Rubin: stopping points happen, and I think you found it.
Rick Archer: Okay, great. Well, thanks, Bruce. This has really been enjoyable as I knew it would be listening to your your talks over the last week or so. I’ll be linking to your website, as I always do, and also to your YouTube channel, because I encourage people to watch some of those they’re really good. As you said, you you have small groups going in and you know, center fo LA and Catskills someplace.
Bruce Joel Rubin: I have students who teach for me up in New York, I have students who teach for me in LA, and I teach pretty much regularly in San Rafael.
Rick Archer: Okay, so mainly you’re in San Rafael. So,
Bruce Joel Rubin: right now,
Rick Archer: yeah,
Bruce Joel Rubin: that’s what the grandchildren are. So that’s where I am.
Rick Archer: Yeah, great. Well, if people want to catch you in person, they can do that. You haven’t written any books have you?
Bruce Joel Rubin: I have not a dear friend of mine, Joe Madri is writing a bio biography of me as we speak, not my idea. I didn’t seek it out. He thought it would be worthwhile. He’s done some amazing biographies of like, TS Eliot and other people. And he wanted to write it. So I said, Fine, cool. So there is a book that will be out, I don’t know when, but it will be out. Okay.
Rick Archer: And obviously, you’ve done a bunch of really neat movies, so and I encourage people to see some of those if they haven’t, because that they’re kind of eye openers, some of them. Okay, so thank you, Bruce. And thanks to those to those who’ve been listening or watching, we’ve got about 41 people on the live stream right now. So for future reference, if I’m doing an interview over Skype, it’s live stream, and you can watch it as we do it and send in questions, we got a couple of them today. And otherwise, these interviews are all archived on batgap.com Bat gap there, I think you’re going to be number 314 or so. And under the past interviews menu, they’re categorized in a variety of ways. So you can check that out and, and, you know, explore, you can be if you’d like to be notified each time a new interview is posted, then sign up for the email thing, you’ll see a tab there. Also, just about as many people listen to this as an audio podcast as watch it as a video. And there’s a tab to sign up for the audio podcast. So check that out. As I mentioned in the beginning, there’s a Donate button this there’s no compulsory admission or payment for any of these videos, but we do rely upon voluntary donations from those who feel to contribute. So appreciate that. So thanks for listening or watching. Thanks again, Bruce. And see you next week.