Catherine Ingram Transcript

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Catherine Ingram Interview

Rick Archer: Welcome to Buddha at the Gas Pump. My name is Rick Archer, and my guest this week is Katherine Ingram. Catherine is an international Dharma teacher with communities in the US, Europe and Australia. Since 1982, she has led Dharma dialogues, which are public events that focus on directing awareness toward greater well being in an ethical and happy life. Catherine also leads numerous silent retreats each year in conjunction with Dharma dialogues. She is president of living Dharma, an educational nonprofit organization founded in 1995. And her bio goes on, she’s done all sorts of interesting things. But we’ll talk about that during the interview itself. So no point in my just reading it. So welcome, Catherine.

Catherine Ingram: Thank you, Rick.

Rick Archer: You know, when I kind of like, read some of your stuff and listen to some of your other interviews, I just had the feeling to say, congratulations on a what a life well lived. But it makes it sound like it’s over which it’s not. So you know, getting closer to keep up keep on trucking, and the best is yet to come. Yeah, so you have an interesting story. Some teachers and some people I interviewed don’t like to tell their story, because they sort of say it emphasizes the personal too much. But I don’t think you have a problem with that. And so in the course of our conversation, it would be interesting to cover your personal history, which I think is quite colorful, and quite an adventure, in many ways. And also, of course, in doing that, we’ll be weaving in all kinds of philosophical spiritual topics and points. So where would you like to start?

Catherine Ingram: Wow. I have a hard time picking any particular point, you know?

Rick Archer: Well, you said you had a hard childhood, maybe that’s the place to start. Mine wasn’t exactly a bed of roses, either. But how was it hard?

Catherine Ingram: Well, my parents, bless their hearts. You know, we’re young and they really, they really weren’t up for the job, actually, how to say it any other way. And I, at this point in my life, I have nothing but love and forgiveness. see clearly that they did the best they could. All of those things. But, you know, living through it was very, very hard as a child. And so that was, I mean, from a very young age, I was asking questions about justice, about fairness about is there meaning? Is there a purpose, what, you know, I began, I became very attuned to suffering, but you know, wherever I saw it, even as a young person. And that became a huge theme in my life, trying to make sense of my world, which I experienced as unjust and as abusive. So that led me on a spiritual search from a quite young age, like from 12, I’d say,

Rick Archer: this, this hops us right into kind of a metaphysical consideration. But looking back on it, do you feel that there is some rule that like it’s a divine orchestration, and not only in your life, but in people’s lives in general, which, you know, makes such childhoods and experiences not merely coincidental and meaningless in their suffering, but it’s actually a kind of a divine goad to get us on to something deeper?

Catherine Ingram: I don’t see it that way. No, no, I mainly I see it as if that is circumstantially the case for you. Then you’re, you’re the one who’s gonna have to make meaning of it. And some are able to do that by some kind of, you know, fate or luck or whatever, and others not. I feel fortunate, really just fortunate, lucky that I was able, first of all that I lived in the time that I lived in when one could one had access to amazing teachings around the world. You weren’t just stuck in the religion you were born in and trying to make sense of that which never appealed to me. I was born into kind of a Christian household, Christian, one side Catholic, the other, neither of which spoke to me. I mean, really, from the time I remember being in Sunday school and just hating it,

Rick Archer: to, like, ruin my Sunday’s Exactly. So, kind of like Dopey and bummed out the rest of the day.

Catherine Ingram: I would look forward to the snacks there, class. But anyway, um, you know, so I, as I said, I was on this on this search, and fortunately, grew up in a time when there was tremendous freedom to, to find those kinds of things, that kind of information and to travel, and go to the places in Asia where I was inclined to study, you know, and live, live there and find the great teachers. And so all of the things I was doing in those early years, Rick, you know, becoming a journalist and setting up meditation retreats, and running them and so on. It was all in the service of being around those was wisdom holders that existed on Earth. And, and that was my education. I didn’t go to college, I just threw myself into Dharma study, you could say. And at the same time, I came of age in a very free time. For a woman, I came of age in the 60s, you could say, you know, that was a really hot, fabulous time to I don’t know how old you are, but almost 64 Oh, my goodness, you’re much younger. So we’re about the same age. And so you know, very well, going about, you know, just very exciting. Music and the freedom and the hope and the travel and somehow or other we could live on like $100 a month. I mean, I have friends who were living in, you know, Victorians in San Francisco for just nothing, you know, and it was a different time. Yeah. Hard to even explain to anyone how we did it. You know, I can’t You can’t even remember, you know,

Rick Archer: heart is still there. I was just listening to Jimi Jimi Hendrix yesterday, I was

Catherine Ingram: just thinking about Jimi Hendrix yesterday, that’s amazing. He was great. He was great. Yeah, just thinking about him. Anyway. So you know, it was all of those kinds of freedom and the freedom to to study whatever you wanted to study, and to, you know, so I feel very lucky in that regard. Because I was going crazy, was really miserable. And I felt this world was far too coarse and cruel. For my sensitive, you know, nervous system. And finding the Dharma. You know, I say that very broadly. Not that it’s some thing in particular, but that it’s a prospective, and a kind of enhancement of your own experience of yourself. Finding that saved me. Yeah, just just did.

Rick Archer: I think I heard you say that reading be here. Now was your first introduction to it.

Catherine Ingram: Yeah. Reading reading. rhombuses. Be here now is maybe 18 or 19 years old. And I in the back of the book, he had a suggested reading list. Oh, you read all those things? Yeah, I read every one of those books. I just went through them. Some I resonated with more than others, but I managed to get hold of all of them and read them.

Rick Archer: Yeah. There was. Did you do much of a drug phase during that period?

Catherine Ingram: Yeah, I did. Not not. I wouldn’t say I was ever heavily into drugs. But I was always interested in mind exploration. So I did, you know, a number of LSD trips. And when ecstasy came around, I was a real early adopter of that way back in the 70s. Actually. Yeah, and yeah, marijuana in those days, all those you know, mushrooms, etc. I would, I was very interested. I always used drugs, kind of ritually very interested in where it would take me in the in the outer reaches of my consciousness.

Rick Archer: Yeah. Yeah, I did to at least, in theory, I mean, after a while, it got to be sort of just a muddle. You know, and I finally one night, I sat down and said to myself, What are you doing? You know, you think you have the spiritual aspirations? You You’re totally screwing around, you know, time to shift gears here. Yeah, absolutely.

Catherine Ingram: And also as rom das once said, no matter how high he got, he always came down, right. When you’re, you know, if you’re using drugs for that kind of expansion. And it’s a time limited journey, and it has a price to pay a physical price. Definitely. So I that that fell away for me quite quite a long time ago. Yeah, it’s interesting, I

Rick Archer: should, we should be on this topic because just this morning, I was reading a post on my BatGap blog by this old friend of mine who, you know, is claiming that ever since his awakening, whatever that means, you know, drugs are so much more enjoyable. And, you know, my response to that, although haven’t written one would be something like, Well, you know, there are lots of things that you could mean by the word awakening, and there could be many stages of awakening. And, and, to my mind, you know, if you’ve reached something really significant, I don’t see how drugs could enhance it, you know, they could only might muddle it up, it’s kind of like the elephant, it takes a bath in the river, it comes out and throws mud on his back again, you know, it just doesn’t add anything.

Catherine Ingram: Yeah. And well, in the case of the elephant, it’s probably, you know, there’s some actual

Rick Archer: Yeah, some reason for it. Keep the bugs off.

Catherine Ingram: that say to it, is that at a certain level of sensitivity, you would experience what the drug is doing in your system, which I can’t imagine is any good, you know, so, I think that that’s also a part of what people might consider about this word awakening is to be able to be attuned to your own embodiment, and to your own, you know, your own physical system.

Rick Archer: Yeah. And, and ultimately, were our own Pharmacopoeia. I mean, yeah, the whatever chemicals or whatever the body needs to reflect whatever states of consciousness might be possible, you know, we’re wired to be able to produce those.

Catherine Ingram: Absolutely. And I would say to when we’re, you know, in our sweet spot, there, there are likely really happy chemicals running through as well, that are quite self generated. Of course,

Rick Archer: there’s the famous Neem Karoli Baba story when rom das brought him the LSD and he took several of them and nothing happened. All right, so then you you really got into serious practice 17 or 20 years or something of intense Buddhist meditation. Let’s, let’s talk about that a little bit.

Catherine Ingram: Yeah, so I found this community I Joseph Goldstein was my first my first and primary Buddhist teacher. And he’s wonderful and clear Isabel. And I found this fantastic community. And those all of those friends from those days, many of whom are quite famous Buddhist teachers now are still my very close friends. We went together on a big journey. But for me, there came a point when practice just fell away, I was never, I never was delighted by it. Frankly, I never really enjoyed those rigorous, long days of sitting and just sitting on cushions for eight hours a day, it just never appealed to me. And I would do it, because I thought one had to get anywhere. And because all my friends were into, like dear friends who I loved and trusted, and it was my world, it was my community, it was everything. So when this practice, and this whole program started to fall away, not only was I losing the connection to what, for me, at that time was Dharma, I was also losing a feeling of being on the inside in the in crowd with my friends, because we no longer were agreeing on things, you know, and speaking the same language. So it was a very lonely, scary time for me, whereby I felt not connected to worldliness, and not connected to my dharma community anymore. At least for that phase of transition. And that was a very depressing phase. Very depressing.

Rick Archer: But very evolutionary, I would say, Yeah, because I mean, how would you like to still be sitting on that cushion?

Catherine Ingram: I’m way too old for it now.

Rick Archer: Give me a rocker to sit.

Catherine Ingram: If they have a laying down version, and I could manage it.

Rick Archer: Yeah, I mean, that there’s an important point in this, which is that, you know, that I think dedication and perseverance and stick to itiveness are important qualities on a spiritual path. But a certain point, having the kind of the independence of mind to leave it and do do something else, maybe or do nothing for a while. That’s, that’s also important. And you kind of have to know intuitively which is which you know, what the right time for one or the other is?

Catherine Ingram: Yeah, yeah, I agree. And when something is fun, Following away from my point of view, you know, I love the Gandhi quote, my, my commitment is to truth not to consistency. And to not just force a consistency to something just because you’ve put a lot of time in. Right, right, when it is no longer true, when it’s just no longer true for you.

Rick Archer: Yeah, I left a spiritual movement that I had been involved with for 25 years. And just at a certain point, it just felt like, this is the way to go, you know? And there was no sort of, I mean, there was a little bit of grumbling, like, you know, about certain things, but for the most part, there was just appreciation for everything that I had derived from it. And okay, now, what’s next? Yes, exactly.

Catherine Ingram: Yeah, yeah. Yeah. So for me that what’s next turned out to be, I met I met Pooja Ji.

Rick Archer: After a couple of years of depression, yeah,

Catherine Ingram: exactly. Yeah. Right. I met Pooja Ji. And that was a very happy meeting. And, of course, his message was so simple. And, you know, and it’s not as if there was some landing and awakening as a result of hearing that message and in kind of grokking, and imbibing that message, but rather that it’s it’s been a long process of deeper and deeper relaxation, and non doing and a non efforting. And then just being, you know, to this day, right to this day, yeah. To this very moment. Yeah. Yeah, that, you know, it’s a, it’s, I would say that when I was around him that first time I went three times to meet him in India, the very first time something fell away, and that’s something that fell away was seeking, that seeking that had been gone going on since as I said, I was about 12 years old, when I started asking big questions. And it fell away into the mystery. And I began to realize I don’t even have to have answers to anything. You know, I’m just another creature here, I’m just another animal on the planet, you know, and it’s, I don’t have to know that much to get around. And so all of the seeking and the, the sort of big, what I call the me project, the self improvement, the trying to get better at anything, in terms of, you know, in terms of so called spiritual qualities, all of that just fell away. And in the continuing relaxation, certain qualities just emerge on their own, you know, one gets, as you know, one becomes more understanding, more, more generous, more easygoing, you know, more, more embodied, like, we were saying, you know, you’re tuned into your, to your body, and these this is, this is the subject of my book, passionate presence, that these qualities just emerge, all these qualities that we were looking for, and trying to enhance in some way through spiritual practice. Lo and behold, their innate as long as you’re just resting in the simplicity of being, you know,

Rick Archer: yeah, at some point during this interview, I want to talk about that book and about your seven qualities of awakened awareness that I heard you itemize in one of your talks. Whenever I hear somebody talk about, you know, seeking dropped off or give up seeking and so on, I’m just inclined to sort of add that, it doesn’t mean it’s the end of discovery or expert or expert exploration or as you say, deepening or anything, it just it’s the end of a certain kind of desperation quality. Yeah.

Catherine Ingram: Right. It’s, it’s the end of this motor that’s running you know, that’s like demanding, you know, to kind of seek and find rather one is open of course to like I call it sometimes weeks from the mystery, you know, that the mystery will wink at you and suddenly there’s a little Aha, you know, you know, or something is revealed or or you know, there’s a deeper understanding about something or Yeah,

Rick Archer: yeah, it’s just a sort of a kind of a desperate kind of a straining quality is relaxed out. I remember I was on a long meditation course and some guy got up to the mic and he said, I want to have cosmic consciousness before I leave this course even if they have to carry me out of here on a stretcher

Catherine Ingram: yeah. Wrong way about though, one of the things printed you used to say that was very delightful as you know, people would say, well, all this straining and struggle that I’ve been doing, you know, you’re Are you are you telling me it’s just useless? And he’d say, Well, no, it’s useless that you’ll just coverage just didn’t work.

Rick Archer: There’s also a fine line between a sort of a, an intense yearning and motivation for the full awakening and straining from a kind of an individual perspective. You know what I mean? It’s like you hear stories of some great saints, like, the hugging saint, so and many others who were in their youth were just burning, you know, with this urgency for for awakening didn’t want to live. And if it couldn’t be, but there was, so you guess you could call that seeking, but there was just sort of a there’s, to me, there’s a subtle distinction between something like that, and kind of a more ego based or individuated. You know, trying to break down the gates kind of thing,

Catherine Ingram: when JJ used to call it holy yearning. Yeah, there you go. Yeah. And I would also add that I think for some people that kind of burning might be prereq requisite before they sort of come to the relaxation part that they have to kind of burn hot for a long time before that those coals kind of cool off. But for others, I’ve known many others over the course of years of having my sessions, they can come to it more quietly, they can come to it without having I happen to be one who did have that burning and a kind of desperation because I was trying so desperately to make sense of the intense suffering I was experiencing. But I have certainly met some, you know, many others who, you know, didn’t have to go through that fire.

Rick Archer: Maybe it’s safe to say there’s no universal prescription or explanation. It’s it’s very individual consideration. And, and one size does not fit all

Catherine Ingram: in. Yeah, I think that’s true. Yeah.

Rick Archer: Okay, let’s talk about more about your time with Papaji Panditji. What would you like to say about that? Um, there’s obviously quite a scene. I mean, there’s so many people who are, you know, who have come here, whom I’ve interviewed, and who came, who went to Lucknow, and then came back kind of, like, on fire with what they had experienced there.

Catherine Ingram: Yeah, well, he was he was quite a, you know, a gigantic transmitter of of the message without, you know, even trying, just hanging around him. So, that was extremely beautiful. Sometimes people will ask me, what, what exactly did you gain from what was the what was the transmission, you know, and as I said earlier, the falling away of the seeking and also some kind of confidence, some kind of confidence that one really can just relax and, you know, give up the fight and, and really trust in the deep quietude and the, in the quiet, quiet of the heart, that you can just live from that, that there’s a kind of intelligence that comes from that, that really is the one and only thing you need to really remember. And all the rest of it unfolds, you know. So I’d say that those were the takeaways from the experience, they’re in luck now, and over these many years, and he’s been dead a long time as well now. You know, I would say, I have my own expression of this, I’m not this, I’m not just some cookie cutter, you know, he was his own person and had his own way of seeing and I don’t entirely see it exactly like he does on points, or that he did. But I’m just so grateful for, you know, what he what he pointed out and what he was,

Rick Archer: I would suggest maybe that the the giving up of seeking and the confidence, we’re kind of effects more than causes, they were symptoms of a kind of an inner awakening that got kindled in His presence. And so it’s not like you made some kind of conscious intention to give up seeking, it’s more like it was able to drop away Finally, once that sort of inner awareness was more enlivened in His presence.

Catherine Ingram: That’s exactly right. Exactly. Right. Yeah. You know, I would I, you probably have a list of things because I can see you’ve done your homework, which I so appreciate. I used to be a journalist,

Rick Archer: we could take this in whatever direction you want. And, you know,

Catherine Ingram: I would I would like to take this in. And it’s because I’m thinking about all the time, and that is, we’re in a world that’s in trouble. You know, we’re really in a world that’s in trouble. I mean, it seems that we could talk about any number of things, any one of which could threaten the survival of our species. Yeah, you know, rogue nuclear. materials and capabilities.

Rick Archer: Climate change, genetic engineering is poisoning the Shaimaa. Yeah, there’s a big radiation cloud floating across the Pacific

Catherine Ingram: and Thompson, hundreds and 1000s of tons of radioactive water going into the Pacific. And on and on. I mean, there is, there is just, it seems no end. And not only that, but more and more humans on this planet struggling for fewer and fewer resources, fewer and less and less clean water. And so, you know, sometimes I feel that the, the focus on sort of personal delight and happiness. I mean, of course, that’s important,

Rick Archer: but self indulgent, or

Catherine Ingram: sometimes I feel so and it was always, it was always my sense, even as a young journalist, I focused on activism, you know. And so one of the things I think a lot about is the ways that we who have been in this sort of spiritual community are going to be called upon in these coming years, and how important it is, for us, and because of our privilege, and how incumbent, it is upon us to really be clear, and to, to not go into any kind of transcendent conversation or perspectives, you know, to really be solid and clear and strong. And I, I feel, I feel that I’m, in my own case, I feel like I’m being honed for that. And how do you feel that?

Rick Archer: Oh, yeah, for for decades. And this is exciting that we’re bringing this up. I’ve kind of touched upon it. In some recent interviews, I interviewed Foster and Kimberly gamble a couple weeks ago, who did the Thrive movie. Yeah. And we talked about this stuff a lot. And I have Llewellyn Vaughan Lee coming up in November, who just wrote a book on spiritual ecology. And, you know, he’s always identified, I’m just using him as a case in point, he’s always kind of identified himself as a mystic who was primarily concerned with inner dimensions and so on. And he now feels called to take on this mission of the the ecology and the climate and so on. And, but the interesting thing in his book, which is really a collection of essays from a lot of different writers, is that they’re all pointing to the spiritual dimension as being the ultimate solution, not the exclusive solution, but an essential component of any meaningful solution. Yeah, that without that there’s a sort of a base lessness, which will cause more material solutions to ultimately fail.

Catherine Ingram: Right, exactly. I mean, Einstein said it long ago, didn’t say that, yeah, that we can’t solve the problem at the same level of consciousness that the problem was created. Something like that. Yeah, exactly. Yeah. And yes, of course. And I think one of the primary things that is desperately needed is a, a worldwide, you know, focus or expansion into empathy. You know, that, that one of my friends Jeremy Rifkin wrote a beautiful book called The Empathic civil impact the empathic, empathic civilization. You know, that that’s what, that’s what we have to have now. And, of course, that’s exactly our our field is in consciousness, there is automatic empathy. And another thing that I speak a lot about is, in the understanding, in the deepening and quiet of one’s own clear space, there’s just more contentment, contentment is sorely missing in this world. And it’s also part of why we’re destroying ourselves. It’s just this constant gulping of the resources because people are just not easily content, especially in the Western world.

Rick Archer: Yeah. Well, both of these things point to really inner qualities, you know, contentment, and, and empathy is, is you can’t superimpose empathy on a person, you know, it has to kind of spring naturally from some inner state way in which it is abundant. reminded that that verse in the Old Testament, my cup runneth over. Yeah, if the cup isn’t full. It’s not going to run over. Yes,

Catherine Ingram: exactly. Yeah, I often speak about letting you Well fill up so that it runs over, you know, that your own inner well fill up and, you know, in all the ways that that we know. Yeah, absolutely. Yeah,

Rick Archer: yeah. And you know, it’s encouraging to me, I interviewed a guy named Jonathan Phillips a few months ago, and he was kind of a activist during the Bush, the Bush years, you know, protesting and this and that. And also, I think involved in that, which we’ll call it in well, the, the, the, the, the thing that happened a couple years ago, occupy Occupy Wall Street, but I could remember, but in any case, what he observed is that there used to be this gulf between spiritual people and the activist people. And you probably observed this too, and they couldn’t understand each other. And, you know, each of them thought the other was sort of out to lunch, you know? Yeah. But it seems to have been bridged now, to a great extent in many people, at least, where they’re, each side is kind of recognizing the validity and significance and importance of the other and incorporating both within their own experience and activity.

Catherine Ingram: Yeah, I see that very much. So and, and it’s and I and I also, you know, honor people’s nature, some people are just, you know, more comfortable in the sort of activist world with perhaps some, you know, influence from the spiritual types. And some are, it’s almost like cast different cast one summer warrior cast summer priest cast, but to have a great sort of tribal, you know, communication and effort together is a good idea. Yeah. Or Dharma

Rick Archer: is you use the word dharma a lot. It often is, it often is defined as that course of action, which is most appropriate and evolutionary for, for you.

Catherine Ingram: Yeah, exactly. Right. Yeah, exactly. Yeah. And, I mean, I’ve known a lot of activist over the years. And, and, you know, if you’re just if you’re just moving from anger and outrage and wanting to stop people that you perceive as evil, you know, you’re gonna burn out. Yeah, you’re basically running on, you know, hate and anger. It’s, you’re doing

Rick Archer: what Einstein said not to do? Yes, exactly.

Catherine Ingram: Yeah, you’ll just just burn out. And, and not only that, it’s not very effective. Right, you know, so it, but yet also, we know, on the other side, you know, just being kind of, sort of spiritually obsessed with yourself and having a grand old time or in some sort of transcendent story whereby you see this world as illusion isn’t so incredibly, to my mind ignorant and, and, and ineffective.

Rick Archer: You said something great in one of your writings that I this is gonna be one of my mantras now, you said you’re regarding dismissing the suffering of the world is illusion, you said, you’re only entitled to do that if you can be burned at the stake and dismiss that as an illusion. You regard the world is an illusion, yet still get annoyed that petty things? You’re a spiritual hypocrite. I’ll agree. That’s great. Yeah. So what are you doing? In terms of, I think you’re doing something to help animals and I remember hearing and then I heard what sorts of ways are you engaging in an kind of a spiritual activism?

Catherine Ingram: You know, it is interesting. Having known so many activists worked as a journalist in in activist material a lot and been on lots of boards for human rights. I find myself the most brokenhearted somehow about what’s happening to the world’s creatures, to the other to the other animals. Because they’re so innocent, because they’re so innocent. Yeah. And because we’re seeing the last of them. I mean, it’s we’re, you know, we are just on a rampage of, you know, I just, I just got it I’m unfortunately privy to so much information about what’s going on with the animals. So I hear you know, pretty much daily because I’m on this board, Global Animal wonderful organization. And just heard yesterday about, you know, all the poaching that’s going on of the elephants killing the elephants just in droves. Now, they’re not even bothering to shoot them they’re poisoning them so it’s the poisoning of water supplies, which is also going to poison a lot of the other animals using those same Well, you know, rivers and lakes. And it’s just, you know, it’s, it’s, it’s really heartbreaking and shocking what we’re doing and so yes, I find myself really, really caring. now much more in a sense about the about the other animals because the humans are over running, we’re running our own population. They’re diminishing, you know.

Rick Archer: And there’s so many other examples, you could you know, the, the clear cutting of the around around things, natural habitat, and just so many things. I mean, so many species go extinct every day. Yeah, that’s right. Yeah. So so when you get right down to it, though, you know, is that is the sort of the presence of spiritual people on earth somehow going to change the hearts of the poachers and the clear cutters? Or do we have to get in there with, you know, Uzis and go, you know, the rain park rangers go in there and try to fight these guys and stop them? Where do you?

Catherine Ingram: How do you do it?

Rick Archer: I know how to do it,

Catherine Ingram: where it’s a race, Rick, we’re in a race. You know, there’s, of course, a lot of a lot of evidence for an awakening of consciousness on the planet, whereby, you know, more and more people are saying certain types of behavior is simply not okay. But at the same time, the rate of destruction is such that it takes your breath away. So, it’s hard to know, I would be, I can’t venture even a guess as to as to how it’s gonna play out and what in specific cases we should do?

Rick Archer: Yeah, it’s it’s tricky. I mean, and there’s so many other examples. I mean, the whole big debate about Syria right now, you know, what do we do? To me, it’s not as black and white, as most people are thinking, I can see that the argument for going in there and doing some strategic strikes as a, as a slap on the wrist or whatever, for using poison gas. And I can also understand, you know, people not wanting to do that, but ultimately, is there any solution to that and so many other problems? on that level? Any. Like, in the Gita, Arjuna said, you know, I don’t want to kill these people, I would just assume live on arms in this world. And Christian Christian said, No, you have to fight fighting is what’s called for in this circumstance, you have to

Catherine Ingram: do your duty in this circumstance. Yeah, I know. But this is, so this is always a hard one. And this one who I mean, I, you know, having been in Gandhian thought, for much of most of my adult life, I have tweaked my, my fanaticism about it, because there are times when I think, yeah, you know, we’re gonna have to just fight the fight, you know, I’m not sure this is one of them. But I have had those thoughts and feelings about certain circumstances. You know, and I mean, the classic one that’s always used is Hitler. Of course, it’s, I’m glad we stopped Hitler, you know. And there are plenty of other times when I see some, you know, bad actor get stopped, and I’m, however you stop, I’m fine. It’s fair, you know, because it’s, you always want to look at what is the greater good. And, you know, what is the least suffering? You know, so those are the questions. I don’t know that any strike in Syria is going to ultimately work out well, for anybody, you know, I just don’t know. It’s certainly not been the case, in the last 12 years of our interventions,

Rick Archer: but then nothing in the relative is 100%. You know, good or bad is always a sort of mixed bag. Yeah, that’s true. Yeah, sure. Yeah. Lorenz Vander post is one of my favorite authors. I used to read all of his books. He was a South African writer, and he wrote some beautiful books. Have you ever read him? Yes. What was a story like the wind and a far off place? Yeah, story like the wind. And he was such an interesting guy, because on the one hand, he was a soldier and an adventurer, and he lived this very sort of active, you know, life. And on the other hand, he was best friends with Carl Jung, and he was like, really deep spiritual man. So he managed to kind of blend these qualities together very nicely. And one of his lesser known books was one was called the prisoner and the bomb, and he was a prisoner in a Japanese prisoner of war camp during World War Two. And they had a little clandestine radio that they were listening to, you know, the Japanese didn’t know that. And they heard about this event that had taken place in

Catherine Ingram: this book, or is it in your life?

Rick Archer: It’s a book. Well, it’s a true book. It’s a true account of his experience. And he heard that they heard about this, this kind of miraculous this awesome event that had taken place in Hiroshima. And the Japanese were talking about it as if it were some kind of divine, you know, thing not in a good sense, but just so you know, this. And, and he went on to argue in the book that in favor of having use nuclear weapons there. He, you know, he said, Well, if we hadn’t it would have become a ground war in Japan and a million US troops would have died. You know, and and how, however many Japanese, so it’s another one of those kind of sticky wickets where, you know, it’s like, it’s so hard to be moralistically certain, on one side of the other.

Catherine Ingram: I know, it’s true. It’s like, the fortunate or unfortunate story. And you know, that that one, the fortunate ones fortunate where the farmer has two horses and

Rick Archer: whoa, right, right, right. Right, right. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. So we’re kind of leaving ourselves in a state of uncertainty, which I think is great. You know, this is just

Catherine Ingram: what it brings us back, you know, it just brings you back to your own, your own goodness, your own commitment to goodness, however it plays out, you know, you can’t really have it attached to outcome, it has to be only for its own sake, every single day, there’s a quote I love from from ws Merwin, who has become a friend, when I was living on Maui. He said, on the last day of the world, I would want to plant a tree. And I just love the sentiment of that, that the, that you just keep doing it for its own sake, you know, and, and do it from the sweetness of your own heart, you know, whatever, whatever your actions in the world.

Rick Archer: Yeah. What I just what I kind of think it comes down to is, well, you just sort of said it, but you just keep, you know, stoking your fire as best you can. And, you know, as best you know, how, give give plenty of attention to your spiritual development. But, but that’s not all one does in life, one has to eat, one has to sleep one has to work. And so naturally, there’s the activity phase of your life and, and that

Catherine Ingram: saying, and all that stuff, like bread and all of those things. Yeah. And

Rick Archer: that will be nourished by your spiritual life, and, and perhaps aligned more kind of evolutionarily, you know, and so you can kind of life can kind of come into a harmonious balance where you can be fighting the good fight, but doing so not from a standpoint of righteousness, because that’s, that has a kind of a moralistic implication, but from the standpoint of kind of natural law, my mind might say, or just attunement with Divine Will or

Catherine Ingram: some such things. Natural empathy. Yeah, yes, indeed, yeah.

Rick Archer: Would you like to say anything more on that whole theme of, you know, the state of the world? And, and what I mean, most of the people who listen to the show would consider themselves to be spiritually motivated people, you know, yeah. And so what more can you say about Buddha at the Gas Pump? Right? What more can you say about what a spiritually motivated person might do? Or would want to know, you know, when, when confronted with all the horrors of the world?

Catherine Ingram: Another Well, another aspect that I think a lot about in this regard, is the intensification of letting go as one goes along in this world, you know, that at the one time at the one on the one hand, you’re, you’re showing up and you’re celebrating, and you’re giving it your all, and, and so on, but at the same time, you’re also saying a lot of goodbyes, you know, you’re you’re, you’re getting pretty adept, aren’t we letting go, we’re getting pretty much the hang of it here. And it seems that you know, you can hardly get through a week without some new thing to be letting go of some big situation, you know, especially at this age, I, you know,

Rick Archer: hear about you mean, like friends dying and stuff,

Catherine Ingram: friends, dying diagnosis of this and that and just, you know, you know, just and also just a sensing of loss on the horizon, you know, so, that is, that also has a very powerful effect on I think, one’s perspective, one’s capacity for love for appreciation for generosity, for for not holding on to things unnecessarily for truly not sweating, the small stuff, and so on. I’d say that’s another component of, you know, it’s I had said something many, many years ago in an interview where I talked about seeing the glory with tears in your eyes, you know, that the truth that there’s a way in which, you know, I’m looking at all of this, you know, all of this, seeing it and feeling it and loving it so much. And at the same time, I often have to See my eyes? You know?

Rick Archer: Yeah, that I have a quote from me here seeing the divine and everything the beautiful and the horrible. And you talk a lot about sort of being broken hearted, wide open, you know, just kind of letting everything flow through you.

Catherine Ingram: Yeah, that’s true. Yeah, get seemingly get more and more brokenhearted.

Rick Archer: And that seems to be a kind of universal spiritual characteristic to at least you hear a lot of people talk about it. In fact, I have one friend who said it after he had a profound awakening, he couldn’t go to movies anymore because he’d make a scene, you know, crying. Even in movies that weren’t really that sad, he just gets so

Catherine Ingram: I know, and sometimes someone will be telling me something sad. And I’ll have tears running down my face, you know, and I, it’s sometimes I sometimes want to say to them, don’t worry, this happens all the time. I’m not really

Rick Archer: beautiful, I mentioned I’m not really right, we, my wife and I go to see a couple times a year and essentially to watch her in that respect. Because you know, person after person after person will come come to her. And and she’s just like, clouds, you know, moving along, and one person will come in and they’ll be tears running down her cheek and you know, she’ll be mopping and next person will come and she’ll be laughing uproariously and next person, and then something will happen and she’ll get a little angry over here, you know, and it’s just like, boom, boom, boom, without any kind of rigidity or stagnation,

Catherine Ingram: great fluidity, Pooja had that. And it’s something I so admire. And I see it as it as a condition of condition of really being in your, your truest, deepest self, which is that it would be like weather flowing all of these emotions and feelings, they move through very quickly, when you’re letting yourself be this kind of expanse in which nothing is really sticking. And, yes, I love that. I love that, you know, that one could be crying one moment and laughing the next, like a child. Yeah,

Rick Archer: yeah. There’s a there’s that old Sanskrit or I don’t know, if it’s it’s sort of Indian philosophy thing about line on stone line on sand line on water line on air, you know, in terms of the flexibility of the nervous system and how with some people, they’re very kind of rigid and impression stay. And with others, they just kind of, you know, you can make a deeper line on air than you can make on stone so that the experience is rich, but it just passes by.

Catherine Ingram: Yes, that’s great. I’ve never heard that before. Yeah.

Rick Archer: Yeah. And also, I mean, just mentioned Shama, again, it’s like, here’s someone who, if anyone is qualified to do so probably concede the illusory nature of the relative world. And yet, you know, exert every ounce of strength to do something to improve it. Yes, you know, trying all these practical things, you know, trying to get young girls out of prostitution and, you know, taking care of widows and, and building houses for tsunami victims, and just all this stuff. So, you know, this whole thing about spirituality, leaving you in some kind of dream world where, you know, you don’t care about the world. In fact, somebody else was posting something like that on my blog the other day saying, I’ve gotten to a point where I just don’t care about anything. There’s a sort of, you know, indifference and, and I didn’t respond again, because I’m too busy, but my feeling was, you know, don’t consider yourself done dude.

Catherine Ingram: Yeah, it’s like, it’s like, you know, the Hermann Hesse book of Siddhartha you know, you basically find yourself or the or the or the ox herding pictures the town’s and obviously you find yourself back in the marketplace, you know, the whole journey you know, then you’re going to be back in the marketplace caring about the other beings here you know, of course, if you’ve truly see it as all your own, you know, self as true as short as the manifestation of whatever Blaze this into existence, you can’t help but feel it as that you know, and, you know, there’s, you know, incredible tenderness for it.

Rick Archer: Hey, would you mind if I interjected completely off topic? Irrelevant? Trivial comment? Sure. You look a lot like Jackie Kennedy Onassis.

Catherine Ingram: Do people have been telling me that they came into power, like, you know, when I was in second grade or something? I’ve been hearing it my whole life, okay. Just want to say okay, so that’s stopping me at restaurants and told me that that’s funny.

Rick Archer: So let’s say what segues us into another thing I’d like to talk about and feel free to loop back to anything else that occurs to you, you know, in terms of things we’ve covered like this whole activism and animals and environment stuff. But um, you you went into quite a lot of during your dark night of the soul phase, I guess we could call it after you came, walked away from the Buddhist practice. You went into a phase which perhaps you’re still in to some extent where you didn’t believe anymore, and a lot of things you had believed in Karma, reincarnation and whatnot. Would you like to discuss that a little bit? Would you say you don’t believe in them? Or is it more that certainties became theories? You know, like, the jury is out? Who knows if there’s reincarnation or Karma? I can’t say there is, but I can’t say there isn’t?

Catherine Ingram: That’s exactly. I’m completely agnostic about it. I don’t believe it, per se. But I certainly wouldn’t rule it out. I wouldn’t claim that it is the case that I that I could have any access to know that you know, but but I don’t, I don’t have those beliefs. They. I used to have them. I used to entertain them, I could say, for many years, because they made the world just so I really liked them and helped to make sense of things helped me make sense of things. And so but they began way, and I couldn’t speaking of some of the furry creatures,

Rick Archer: she wants her breakfast.

Catherine Ingram: Those those beliefs fell away. And yeah, they they’ve never come back.

Rick Archer: Yeah. I’d say Speaking for myself, I believe in Him. Because they do make sense. It’s like I believe in all kinds of things that I haven’t experienced, I believe that extraterrestrials have visited our planet and perhaps are still doing so. But I have no proof of it. No, but just get it kind of makes sense to me. So it’s like, but if somehow someone were able to disprove it entirely, this is more like an intuitive thing. But who knows, it might just be my bias. You know, there was a story of Einstein, speaking of Einstein, again, where they sent an expedition to South Africa, Southern Africa, someplace someplace in Africa to measure the bending of starlight by the sun’s gravity during an eclipse. And that would prove or disprove his theory of relativity. And it turned out, you know, Starlight was bent, and it proved the theory. And they came to Einstein and said, you know, what would you have done if the theory had been disproven? And he said, I would have been sorry for the dear lord to prove that the theory is correct. That’s great. Because he just had this intuitive knowing, you know, and so perhaps that, you know, that’s the way in which these things were referring to, if they can be known. That’s how they can be known. In fact, you know, Patanjali talks of a city where you remember your past lives, when Adi Shanti, had his second significant awakening all these past lives flashed in front of him. And one could say, well, that’s in your DNA, or it’s just something from watching too many movies when you’re a kid or something, but

Catherine Ingram: who knows? Yeah, who knows? I know. Yeah. Again, I don’t, fortunately, I don’t, I used to think a lot about all of that, you know, when I was younger, and somehow I’m spared a lot of, you know, consideration about these, these matters, I just am content to not know. Yeah.

Rick Archer: You talked about, you know, at our age things falling away. If, if, if you experientially though, if you really, if it were your experience that all you are is this body, and when this body dies, you’re finished. If that were really solidly your experience, I don’t think you would be able to let things fall away as easily, or as you know, effortlessly as you do. I think they’re through all your spiritual practice and development. There must be some innate experience, that you are something deeper than that something less transitory.

Catherine Ingram: Well, this is an interesting discussion, because sometimes I say in my sessions, that in this recognition there is a there’s an experience of eternity, like you’re recognizing something that is eternally manifesting itself, right. And yet, you’re only recognizing it for a short time. It’s like you’re it’s like an experience of eternity, but for a very short time,

Rick Archer: during your lifetime. Amen. Yeah.

Catherine Ingram: So it’s as if you’re, you’re recognizing something that is blazing away, but that the expression of you and this is my view, the Explorer Have you is just this momentary flash of it? And, you know, I’ll be happily surprised if I find myself continuing on in any form that it’s recognizable that I could remember or whatever, you know, but I don’t really have that expectation. And as a result, every one of these moments become incredibly precious, right? I mean, incredibly, their stock goes way up. And, you know, the very transitory pneus of it, intensely enhances it. In my view,

Rick Archer: yeah. And along these lines, I heard you discuss how in your experience, there’s this sort of dual kind of paradoxical simultaneous dwelling in eternity along with relative, you know, temporary stuff. You phrased it much more nicely, but I guess that’s what you’re alluding to, that one kind of has a foot in both camps, so to speak. Yeah. Right. Now, a number of people say that. They go through a phase where it’s like, they are recognizing this eternity, they’re recognizing the silence, and then something shifts or turns. And suddenly, that’s they’re actually they are that silence. They are that eternity recognized. And perhaps from that perspective, from that vantage point, recognizing transitory world recognizing individuality, but the the orientation shifts so that that’s really where they have taken their stand. And as such, they know themselves to be something which isn’t going to be influenced by the death of the body.

Catherine Ingram: Um, you know, I’ve, I’ve had so many experiences that are hard to give words to over the course of my life. And I’ve heard people describe similar types of experiences in hundreds or 1000s. Perhaps these experiences come and go. You know, they’re, they’re rarely a steady state.

Rick Archer: examples in which they are though, do you? Yeah, yeah. I mean, I have one friend, for instance, who hasn’t says he hasn’t lost this sort of establishment is pure awareness since he was 1012 years old. Now. He’s in his mid 60s. He 24/7 I’m talking, you know, throughout the night, he’s he hasn’t been asleep and 50 years. Yeah, I mean, obviously, his body goes to sleep, he probably snores. But inner awareness is never overshadowed.

Catherine Ingram: Oh, I see. Well, in any case, you know, maybe there are some exceptions, but but from my point of view, it even a steady state is not even required, or, you know, that one’s awareness can sort of dance around and relative and in, you know, in more sort of expansive, what’s called the absolute and easily move back between the territories, and one infuses the other just like the Yin Yang symbol, you know, that that’s good enough, you know, that’s, that will transform your life having having those, you know, those places from which you move. Sometimes it’s really cool to just be very, very relative about something. I mean, in fact, being with puncher J. Yeah, he would care about how much you were paying for the bananas, you know, and he would tell you which banana cellar to go to, and which train to take, right. And he and I would constantly discuss the news, because he was an avid reader of the newspaper

Rick Archer: as Ramana

Catherine Ingram: Maharshi. Was he I didn’t

Rick Archer: used to probably as following the events of World War Two, but he’s to read the paper all the time, or listen to the radio. So

Catherine Ingram: I didn’t know that. Yeah. Important point. Did you the same and so, you know, to, you know, to give, give it its due and to and to participate into care. You know, it’s admirable to me. Yeah.

Rick Archer: Well, you know, what, the Yin Yang symbol, there’s always a, the black and a, the white, but I meant, yeah, but it’s kind of a question of ratio. Who is to say that I mean, that when Ramana Maharshi, or for that matter, Punta de was reading the newspaper worrying about the banana sellers, that, you know, that could have just been the a much larger wholeness that was perpetual and predominant.

Catherine Ingram: I assume that Yeah, I absolutely assume that and I feel the same in my own case, when I hear as I have recently, one of my best friends has pancreatic cancer. There’s a part of me that is that is there’s a part of my awareness that is tracking that on a daily basis. But I would say that it’s like that dots, you know, it’s strong. And it’s very obvious in the, in the screen of the awareness. But it’s, you know, it’s, there’s a lot else going on. It’s and it is in the mix is just the understanding that everybody dies, you know,

Rick Archer: no one gets out of here alive. Right. Exactly.

Catherine Ingram: And and of the stories, everybody dies, you know.

Rick Archer: And obviously, from the viewpoint of the objective observer, you really don’t know what a person’s inner reality is. Yeah, you know, I mean, people looked at Christ on the cross and must have thought, Oh, what a horrible experience, he must be suffering so much. For all we know, that was just a a much larger reality that was, you know, not suffering.

Catherine Ingram: Well, in contemporary time, we’ve seen you and I grew grew up in a in an era when we saw on television, Vietnamese monks and self emulating, you know, setting themselves on fire. And sitting there, sitting there remember that? Yes. And they’re still? Yeah, yeah. So yes, of course, in the deepening of this understanding it it, it saturates all the experience and all of the perspectives. That’s why I was saying earlier, when I, when I’m crying with someone, I want to save him, don’t worry, I’m okay. That’s not that big a deal. It’s just some part of myself is in the is in the moment of grief.

Rick Archer: That’s beautiful. And it’s important. And so what we’re saying is that it’s not that you kind of swing from one pendulum extreme to the other. It’s that within a kind of a larger wholeness comes to contain all these polarities, and swings and different experiences. But that larger wholeness is not perturbed by them, just the way the ocean isn’t perturbed by the fish and the currents and all the other things that are happening within it.

Catherine Ingram: That’s right, I often speak about what I call coexisting awareness whereby we have different types of awareness that co exist, just as we all know, when we’re watching a movie, we know we’re in theater, or else we’d run out of the theater when they started shooting on the screen. We don’t do that. Because we know we’re sitting in the theater and we’re very involved in the movie, or sometimes use the experience use the metaphor of, as you alluded to the ocean, you can have a storm on the ocean, but the Marianas Trench the depths of miles down in the ocean is very still, you know, it’s it’s the same ocean, but there’s different activities happening. And in this expansive awareness, especially as it gets quiet, it has it gets generally quieter. And it’s just letting whatever arises arise and flee away as they do. It can this there can be a lot happening, talking about, you know, just passing through very, very quickly and very freely.

Rick Archer: Reminds me of something I was about 19 years old, my girlfriend left me and went back to taking heroin and I went to my meditation teacher and I was really upset about and she said, Be an ocean.

Catherine Ingram: Very good advice. Did you take that advice? Did it work out for you

Rick Archer: as best I could. I didn’t want to make a mood of it. Because I felt like the real significance of that is not just to walk around thinking I’m an ocean, I’m an ocean, but I continued my spiritual practice to become more ocean like

Catherine Ingram: lovely.

Rick Archer: Yeah, yeah.

Catherine Ingram: She had a few little ocean drops, maybe from your eyes.

Rick Archer: I did actually i i She kind of left during an encounter group I was in and I just completely broke down. I don’t cry easily, not as easily as you do. But it was one of the few times in my life when I just completely sobbed, you know, and fell into somebody’s arms and just sobbed and sobbed and sobbed until it. It was just like, it wasn’t even about her. It was about it’s just some it triggered some catharsis.

Catherine Ingram: Yeah. Yeah, I understand.

Rick Archer: So, are you still keen on the seven qualities awakened awareness that I heard you talk about? Yeah. Let’s talk about that a little bit, because that was very interesting.

Catherine Ingram: Yeah. And I would also say, I call them seven. In the very in my first book, The, the publishers made me put experiencing the seven qualities of awakened awareness. I never wanted that subtitle. And so

Rick Archer: when I want to be six, there could be a, it could be 1000. Sounds

Catherine Ingram: like when I redid the book, I made it my own and just just call this passionate presence, seven qualities of awakened awareness and point being that I began to notice in my retreats, that people would come and they were all we were doing was hanging out in this free space, you know, just emptying out and you could say and livening up. And I would notice these qualities, these qualities would just emerge and people you know, just generosity and authenticity, people would speak more often or authentically, like, really say the real stuff. tenderness, delight, wonder, all of these qualities, seven of them, probably forgetting one or two discernment. They would just come they were just arise. And I found that true then when I wrote the book many years ago and true to this day, I just gave a talk about it at a local Unity Church here.

Rick Archer: Do you feel that somehow those qualities are inherent within awareness as as as if kind of components of awareness itself? Or do you feel that it’s sort of when the interface between awareness and our individuality gets nicely connected, then somehow awareness, then somehow, those qualities are just kind of expressed more by the relative personality,

Catherine Ingram: I think that’s a really interesting and good way to see it. And of course, as with any of our various talents in life, we’re all on a spectrum. So some people might be in their quietude, they might be extremely tender, and maybe less discerning, and others vice versa. Um, but I would say all of these qualities are very typical. And I like your expression about how the relative kind of brings them out, you know, that living in the world and in in engaging with people. Some of them, there were two that I had on that list silence, which is just the falling into or the way that the setpoint of the awareness is basically just very quiet. And wonder, which is also a component that is not necessarily engaged with other people, but it’s is just sort of looking at the whole picture in a kind of appreciation of its mysteriousness.

Rick Archer: Yeah. So in terms of your own experience, now, is another doggie doing there?

Catherine Ingram: You have two dogs.

Rick Archer: Yeah, we do. One of them sleeping here. When I’m standing here, I can almost lift him up to say hello. Oh, oh, here’s about eight or so. And the other ones pretty old, like 14 but they’re, they’re in good health. And then we have a very old cat also,

Catherine Ingram: you know, I, I love having animals around, you know, they’re these they’re these reminders of what unconditional love looks like, you know, yeah, pure love, you know,

Rick Archer: they really enrich your life. Yeah, they do. They also well, they also have this sort of innocent quality that you kind of been trained with, to a great extent, you know, I know. And it kind of enlivens your own innocence and childlike like playing with children, you know, you get down on the floor, and you become like, a little child and culture or something. And you

Catherine Ingram: Yeah, I was about to say and what it feels like when you’re like, with a baby. Yeah, you know, when there’s a baby in the room. It’s like this direct line to that purity of being.

Rick Archer: So animals are kind of like that all the time.

Catherine Ingram: No, I know. In fact, one of my great emphasis on on my retreats and and in my sessions is to be more and more like an awake animal, a conscious animal, just that simple, not have to be for anything fancy, some kind of fancy spiritual, you know? Hoo, ha, but rather just just another creature, right? A human creature, which is a more complex creature than most. And just be that, you know, just let yourself be very simply that and, and I, I encourage people to watch their pets, their dogs and cats and whatever kind of pets they have. And to entrain with that, that kind of consciousness

Rick Archer: Do you on your retreats and all do you advocate any sort of practice or do you just talk to people and you know, somehow, it’s a nice weekend.

Catherine Ingram: My retreats, how they’re first of all, they’re silent retreats with the exception of sessions of Dharma dialogue. So for instance, we’re having one in Italy. is soon a residential retreat, a seven day retreat. And other than the two sessions with me, and then there’s two yoga sessions in which the yoga teacher gives instruction during the day, there’s no talking, everyone is in silence and the silence, I always say does all the work, you know, you just start to get on a frequency of deep inner quiet. And you, you don’t have to manifest your personality because you’re not having to engage. So there’s a way in which you you do become like an awake animal you’re wandering about, you’re feeling the breeze on your face, you smell things, you know, when it’s time to eat, you know, when it’s time to move, you know, when it’s time to bathe, all of it becomes very instinctual, intuitive. And, and you also begin to see how unnecessary most of the activity of mind actually is, you know, that most of it is really spam, you know, and, you know, and you start to parse out easily and quickly, what is unnecessary to pay attention to, and that becomes a habit. And you really start to live in such a way that you see that you don’t have to pay attention to most of what’s going on. In your head. I don’t know why evolution has gone this way. I think it’s it’s pretty contra indicated for our health. Probably at one time, it was great for us to be such thinking creatures, and to be constantly on problems and anticipating stuff in the future and on so on. But I don’t think it’s useful now. And I’m wonder sometimes if another aspect of our evolutionary journey as humans might be that we train ourselves in a sense to ignore most of the extraneous thought that is just causing trouble.

Rick Archer: That’s an interesting point. The pace of life is so fast these days. There’s so much information impinging on us, I once heard, heard the presidency described as like trying to drink from firehose, but I’ve also begun hearing people refer to their life and everyone’s life as being like that, you know, there’s just so much coming out. Yeah.

Catherine Ingram: Wow. Yeah. And sting metaphor. Really? Yeah. Yeah.

Rick Archer: And, you know, I think that

Catherine Ingram: trying to drink from Niagara Falls.

Rick Archer: Yeah. And if you’ve never taken recourse to silence, you know, if you’ve never tried, if you’ve never established any kind of connection with that inner silence, then that’s all you’ve got is this, you know, this deluge of stuff coming at you. And you can see why people are so crazy.

Catherine Ingram: Exactly. And also, why more and more, I think it’s necessary to really deliberately unplug, you know, just to really, I mean, it’s almost like, you have to force yourself into it, you know, because otherwise, if you’re just living your normal life, even with a relationship to your own inner quiet, it’s still very hard. You’re under a douche, almost all of us, you know, it just the, you know, I mean, you and I know very well, that much of our life, we grew up, there was no email. I mean, I even remember when phone messages came online, you know, it used to be that the only time you got a phone call was when you went home and you were at home and the phone rang, you know, you could answer it, you could answer it. But otherwise, you didn’t have to walk in the door and find out who’s been calling you while you were gone. And now, we all live in such a way that even when we’re sleeping messages are coming in waiting for us, you know, when we wake up, we’re never really off. And so to really sometimes deliberately, empty out, completely unplug, and be away from all of that, you know, sometimes people will now go on their vacations, but they have to be somewhere where there’s Wi Fi connection, because they have to be online. And I think it’s generally unhealthy to to have to be collating information, just all the time. Yeah.

Rick Archer: And you know, people don’t have to quit their jobs or their families or any of that other stuff. You can but as you say, if you can take a break from it. And you can take daily breaks if you have some sort of meditation practice. But then also occasional weekend breaks or week long breaks or things like that can really make a big difference.

Catherine Ingram: Absolutely. I think almost everyone needs that. And there may be people for whom they can be still in the middle of a tremendous amount of movement, you know, like a center of a tarp or the eye of a hurricane. But I think most of us I certainly count myself in this category need to unplug now and again, and to varying degrees.

Rick Archer: Yeah. I was a student of marshy, Mahesh Yogi’s for a long time. And the first time I ever went to a course with him, the first lecture he gave was he said, survival of the fittest is the law of nature, and we have to be fittest. He said, there’s so much pace of modern life, it’s so fast now, that, you know, you have to, you know, deepen the silence in order to counterbalance it. And he said, you know, this, if the, if a load is too much for a donkey, there are two things you can do lighten the load or strengthen the donkey. Hey said, you know, we may not be able to lighten load of our lives, but we can strengthen ourselves so as to be able to make it seem lighter by you know,

Catherine Ingram: yeah. Interesting. Yeah. I would have been trying to lighten the load.

Rick Archer: Well, sometimes that can be done too. I mean, people do a lot of stuff that they might find is not so useful, if they, you know,

Catherine Ingram: yeah, that’s true to that there are ways of simplifying often that people don’t see. And I think that in this quieting of heart, one of the other things that comes with it, one of the things I talk about in my book, in the category of discernment, is you begin to see elegant solutions often, that are much simpler and easier than the way you’ve been doing it, you know, those those make themselves apparent?

Rick Archer: Well, you know, it’s like you were saying earlier, with regard to the world situation, and all the dire, you know, problems and challenges that we face. So much of that is symptomatic of a kind of a craving, you know, for for more and more, which is going to ride, which is really kind of unnatural, which is never going to be fulfilled in the direction that people are pursuing it. You know, and perhaps, ultimately, the solution to all these problems is for enough people to fulfill that craving in a more inward natural kind of way to find that inner fulfillment, and then we’ll you know, all these other symptoms of the kind of crazy outer craving will just kind of crumble and disappear.

Catherine Ingram: Yeah, I like that.

Rick Archer: Another thing I think that will happen is that intelligence, you know, I’m an if that was one of your qualities of awakened awareness, but there’s an innate intelligence in the silence. And if the more more that wakes up, the more we’re going to see brilliant inventions and ways of accomplishing things in a much more

Catherine Ingram: sustainable, sustainable

Rick Archer: and benign way.

Catherine Ingram: Yeah, yeah, I actually use the phrase in my book quite a bit interchangeably with awakened awareness. I sometimes call it awakened intelligence.

Rick Archer: Beautiful. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. So I mean, there’s there’s not a sort of a shortage of natural resources, there’s a shortage of intelligence. And if we, if we could really have an abundance of intelligence, then I personally, I believe that we could have all sorts of wouldn’t be like, we wouldn’t go back to an agrarian society, we’d have kind of a complex technological society, but it could be so harmless, you know, so, so harmonious.

Catherine Ingram: Yes, absolutely. Yes. Yeah, I think I think what you’re pointing to is, in the use of this word, intelligence, because there is we do see intelligence. But it’s not wisdom, intelligence, we see quite a bit of cleverness, you could say

Rick Archer: on IQ kind of intelligence. Yeah. And people inventing

Catherine Ingram: all kinds of nefarious things, you know, that are that are just harming us. Yeah. And, but the wisdom intelligence is a bit in short supply.

Rick Archer: Yeah, I mean, let’s measure say, Yes, please. Yes. Yeah, as

Catherine Ingram: you’re saying, then that, you know, there certainly, I think exists a possibility. And your show is, was a part of that whole movement, whereby more more and more people will start to see that if we don’t get this more together, and if we don’t start to, you know, rechannel and direct the attention in more intelligent ways, we literally won’t survive. So that may be the, you know, the tipping point, it may be that enough people, and apparently, according to those who study these matters, that you only need like 10% for tipping point.

Rick Archer: Possibly even less there, you know, that 100 100th Monkey example and, and they’re examples, you know, such as in a laser, the square root of 1% of the photons, if they become coherent with one another, the rest of the photons join in and the whole thing becomes as if a single photon. Really, yeah, that’s interesting. And in the heart, 1% of the cells are pacemaker cells. They regulate the beating of the other 99% of the cells. Wow. Yeah. Interesting. But I like what you say about wisdom intelligence. You know, fracking is very clever genetic engineering is very clever and very sophisticated technologies. Nuclear Fission is very sophisticated and clever. It took a lot of brains to come up with the atomic bomb. Right. But, but but, you know, it’s sort of intelligence up here, it lacks the wisdom Foundation. And, you know, I think that when that foundation is sufficiently enlivened, maybe this is wishful thinking, but I think it may actually work this way, then these more superficial expressions of smart intelligence will kind of align with the wisdom intelligence, and then we can still have very sophisticated technologies and stuff. But they they’ll kind of be in alignment with wisdom. Not not suicide, suicidal, you know,

Catherine Ingram: right. Exactly. That would certainly be good. That would be a good use of our of our cleverness. Yeah. Yeah.

Rick Archer: Personally, I think that’s the way it’s gotta go. I mean, I don’t see. I don’t see solutions in any other. Yeah,

Catherine Ingram: I know, I’ve, I’ve been a part of a conversation for many, many, many years about, you know, kind of looking at technology itself, as one of the major problems, right, that we keep, we keep hoping that technology will save us and instead, it just deepens the problems. But the truth is, I mean, I’ve had to kind of come to see that you’ve got to ride the horse in the direction it’s going, we’re not going to go back to, you know, agrarian life, you know, and give up compute. It’s just not going to happen. I don’t think. So we better work with what we’ve got. And I think, you know, there must be ways that we can figure this out and not rate bar resources system and turn the Earth into a smoking ruin with no fresh water. You know, Yeah, seems like that could be possible.

Rick Archer: Yeah. Well, you know, the rudder of a ship is a fairly small thing. Compared to the entire ship. Yeah. Turn it a little bit. Yeah, turn a little bit and the ship doesn’t turn instantly. You know, I mean, the Titanic couldn’t miss the iceberg because they spotted it too late. Maybe Maybe we’ve spotted our iceberg too late. But, you know, if you turn it in soon enough, this series 1000s of tonnes ship goes in a completely different direction. A different direction. Yes. Yeah. And so the rudder, is this deeper dimension, this wisdom, intelligence?

Catherine Ingram: Yes. Yes. Yeah. And just inching it just a bit is going to make a difference in the course. So, yeah,

Rick Archer: so we’re getting somewhere here. This is good. I think it’s good for people to kind of acknowledge, to know this, to sort of think about this kind of point, you know, because I think spiritual people can kind of can forget that their spiritual life can actually make a difference in the world. And like you say, it can become narcissistic, where it’s all about me and my fulfillment, and, you know, don’t touch my deerskin. But the spiritual activism thing, I think the whole principle, the whole kind of awareness of it is starting to wake up more and more.

Catherine Ingram: Yes, I do, too. And, yeah, happily, so. Yeah, it’s, it’s, it’s definitely the the focus, I would say, of my, my thoughts that I pay attention to is, is this a lot about what we’re facing and what is going to be needed and the importance of really staying steady? Just as you know, I mean, the, the example that just came through is, you know, like a parent who maybe has a very ill child, you know, you’re on a two fold demand. One is to be taking care of the child as best you can and to be applying wisdom intelligence to the decisions. And the other is to be maintaining your own quiet and strength and love and clarity for that child. And it’s, it’s, it’s those riding those two horses, in a sense, you know,

Rick Archer: and this phrase, you just use staying steady. You know, there, there are so many structures and institutions and systems in the world that really have no right to exist ultimately, in any kind of sane and harmonious world, but they’re so entrenched, and if the world is going to change, you know, if we are really turning this ocean liner in a better direction, then those things somehow or other are going to either call lapse or be dismantled or crumble or something. And it could there could be a lot of dust kicked up in the wall that happens, you know, it could seem like all hell’s breaking loose. Yeah, no doubt, and maybe it’s already happening to some extent,

Catherine Ingram: it is happening, I think it is happening, I think we’re seeing a lot of shaking up of a lot of the systems, you know, and we will probably see a lot more in our the rest of our life.

Rick Archer: Yeah. And that can be frightening people, for people, if they don’t have this perspective, that ultimately something good is happening.

Catherine Ingram: Yeah, or I’ll say that, again, whatever, whatever is playing out, you know, because let’s say it again, using the example of the of the mother or the father, or the parents very ill child who might be actually dying, you know, that it ends up the child dies. It the work is the same, that the inner the inner life is the same, you still are maintaining this, you know, this love this appreciation, this generosity, this carrying all the way to the last moments, you know,

Rick Archer: so what you’re saying is that, regardless of the outcome, whatever it may be, the course of action is more or less the same. He’s just, you just have to do it.

Catherine Ingram: That’s right. Whether whether it’s gonna work out, or whether we are seeing, you know, the last phases of mammalian life on the planet.

Rick Archer: Yeah. As the Gita says, You have control over action alone, never over it’s fruits. There’s not for the fruits of action nor be attached to inaction.

Catherine Ingram: Yeah. Beautiful. Yes. Love that.

Rick Archer: Great. Well, is there anything we haven’t covered? We figured out all the problems.

Catherine Ingram: We covered quite a few of them. I don’t know if we figured out any, but we surely appreciated the dilemmas.

Rick Archer: Yeah. Are there any kind of closing thoughts you’d like to leave us with?

Catherine Ingram: I, you know. I was thinking, thinking yesterday. In fact, Leonard Cohen is a friend of mine. And he was in an interview somewhere, he said that, you know, as many years as he’d been kind of struggling with depression, there came a point in his life where happiness overcame him. And I was thinking about that yesterday, in the context of, you know, getting older and noticing that things just don’t really stick. I mean, even the saddest things, like I said, one of my very best friends is very possibly dying. And it’s, it’s, it’s, it’s very much in my heart, and I’ve already grieved a lot over it and had shut up quite a few tears, you know, and I expect there’ll be more. And yet I have happiness keeps overcoming me, you know that. So I would say to be kind of happiness prone as soon as possible, you know, just to let your light blaze through. Appreciate this day, this moment, your cup of tea, your walk around the block, whatever you’re touting your dog, every single bit of it, let it let let that fill your walls so that you can be ready and, and a gift in this world.

Rick Archer: And if you don’t know how to do that, investigate, because there are ways Yes, definitely. Yeah. I mean, don’t feel like it could never happen to me, you know, be a little proactive. There are ways there ways of

Catherine Ingram: bumping it up. Yeah, yeah, absolutely. Definitely. Yeah, find way find your ways through to joy, and not see that as some selfish activity. But as part of this whole picture that we’re talking about, that, you know, it is for the good, the greater good that you stay in your strength and in your joy.

Rick Archer: Beautiful, great place to end it. So let me make a few concluding remarks. First of all, thank you very much, Catherine, I knew I’d enjoy this interview, and I very much did, you’re a wonderful person to talk to. And thanks. Those who are listening or watching, you’ve been listening to or watching an interview in an ongoing series, I think Catherine is in the 190s range in terms of the numbers of ones that have done and they I contend, intend to continue doing them for the foreseeable future. So if you’d like to be notified of new interviews as they’re posted, just go to And there’s a little place where you can put your email address and you’ll get an email once a week or so whenever I post a new one. You can also subscribe to an audio podcast tasks which many people do. There’s a discussion group there, which I mentioned earlier, if you feel like getting into that melee can get a little crazy at times, but that’s the way the internet works. There’s a Donate button, which I rely upon people clicking occasionally if they feel the motivation and have the means. And I think that’s about it. I’ll be linking, of course to Catherine’s website, and you can get in touch with her through that link. And that should be it. So next week, which for me is in a few minutes because I’m going to do today to today is in a very interesting guy named a naughty whom I met, or whom I became aware of just a couple of weeks ago, with apologies to those who’ve been waiting for years to get on this show. I just had to interview him right away because I was so excited by what he was saying. So that’ll be the next interview. So thanks for listening and watching and we’ll see you then