Caverly Morgan Transcript

Caverly Morgan Interview

Rick: Welcome to Buddha at the Gas Pump. Buddha at the Gas Pump is an ongoing series of interviews with spiritually awakening people. I’ve done hundreds of them now and if this is new to you and you would like to check out previous ones, go to the past interviews menu on and you’ll notice the alphabetical index page there is under construction. It’s a big project that I’m in the middle of but it works and you can find all the interviews through that. This program is made possible by the support of appreciative listeners and viewers, so if you appreciate it and would like to support it, there’s a PayPal button on every page of the site. My guest today is Caverly Morgan. Hi Caverly.

Caverly: Hey Rick, great to see you.

Rick: Good to see you. I met Caverly at the Science and Nonduality Conference last October and she’s one of these people who when you meet her feels like someone you’ve known forever and I think you all who are watching will get that feeling too in the course of this interview. She gave a presentation there on a program that she started in the Portland public school system teaching mindfulness to kids and it was a fantastic presentation. She was in tears half the time, the audience was in tears half the time, kids were in tears half the time, it was a big sob fest.

Caverly: It was just a tissue box opportunity all the way around.

Rick: But it was really beautiful and everyone was thinking, “Oh God, I wish I’d had something like that when I was in high school.” And so it’s wonderful work she’s doing. But she’s multi-dimensional and has a lot more going on than just that, although that in itself is a wonderful thing. So we’re going to be exploring all these things in the course of this conversation. Maybe before we do that I’ll just read the kind of formal bio that she sent me, at least bits and pieces of it. Caverly is a meditation teacher, a non-profit leader and visionary. She’s the founder and guiding teacher of Presence Collective, dedicated to igniting personal transformation and collective awakening. She is also the founder and guiding teacher of Peace in Schools, the thing I was just referring to, a non-profit which created the nation’s first for credit mindfulness class in public high schools. Caverly blends the original spirit of Zen with a modern non-dual approach. Her practice began in 1995 and has included eight years of training in a silent Zen monastery. She has been teaching contemplative practice since Peace in Schools, Caverly formerly worked for non-profits serving people with special needs. She also speaks publicly at conferences on topics including contemplative practice, social entrepreneurship, authentic leadership and mindfulness education and has been featured in publications such as Mindful Magazine, the New York Times and probably others. I was going to crack a joke there but I couldn’t remember the name of that supermarket tabloid that you always see.

Caverly: Some throwaway — the something Enquirer.

Rick: Yeah, one of those things. No, she hasn’t been in that.

Caverly: Not yet Rick, there’s time.

Rick: Right, might show up there with your arm around Bat Boy or something. She’s dedicated to actualizing possibility, serving love and embodying the truth of interconnection. So here we go.

Caverly: And Rick, since you sent me a link right before we started our call, I’m just now going to close, can I close my inbox out now?

Rick: Yeah, you can close your email.

Caverly: Then other people won’t have to listen to the dreaded email ding.

Rick: Oh, the ding ding coming in.

Caverly: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Rick: Sure.

Caverly: Alright, there we go.

Rick: Okay, great. So you sent me a, you haven’t written a book yet, I guess you have one in progress, don’t you?

Caverly: It sounds like it. I would love to say that I have the kind of spacious lifestyle that has me still in a hermitage somewhere writing a book or being quiet all the time, but that is so not my life now. And if I pull a book off anytime soon it’ll be because we’ve got folks transcribing an online course I did. And so that transcribing process has begun and then we’ll see how much work it takes to turn that into a book. I hope that it happens.

Rick: Good. I sometimes think about it too, but for the same reason as you hardly ever get a time, I don’t even have a chance to check all emails that come in, but there’s a lot of material of all these interviews, could put something together, excerpted all sorts of little passages from various interviews and

Caverly: Absolutely.

Rick: organize them by different themes and you know, threw in a little commentary from me for what it was worth. We’ll see if that ever happens.

Caverly: Absolutely, yeah. I do want to mention, before we jump into anything else, I really appreciate what a service you provide.

Rick: Wow.

Caverly: I feel that this ongoing conversation about the nature of consciousness benefits so many more than we could even know, and just my gratitude to you for holding that flame.

Rick: And it’s a group effort, you’ve already dealt with Irene and Jerry. And there’s various people who… We’ve got a fellow in London watching this right now, forwarding questions during the interview, which is a reminder to those watching live, if you have a question during the interview you can post it on the upcoming interviews page on and it’ll come in. And then there’s one of my best buddies from high school named Ralph Preston, does all the video post-production, he’s done all 450-something of these, just as a labor of love. And there’s a fellow up in Canada named Larry Kelly, who does all the audio post-production. So this whole team of wonderful woman named Mary Salama, that transcribes a lot of the interviews. So it’s just kind of group effort. It takes a village.

Caverly: Yeah, and it’s nice to acknowledge them because they are behind the scenes.

Rick: Yeah, with a lot of podcasts you hear at the end, they say, “Oh, this was made possible,” they name all the people who are involved, like you listen to Krista Tippett or something. But I don’t usually do that, so it’s nice to mention. So as I recall, I don’t know whether you said this in your talk at SAND or I talked to you privately later, but there’s some whole story about you escaping the Zen monastery in the dead of night without any money or phone or anything else. I’m sure that there’s kind of some interesting developments leading up to that, so you might want to backtrack a little. But maybe this whole Zen monastery phase of your life would be a good place to start?

Caverly: Sure.

Rick: Or how you ended up in the Zen monastery in the first place,

Caverly: Yeah.

Rick: because I considered joining one myself back in the but it was something I thought about doing.

Caverly: Well, I never considered joining one. It just wasn’t anywhere on my radar. I grew up in central Virginia and I didn’t know any Buddhists growing up and I ended up in a Buddhist monastery because I met a woman who embodied something that I’d never seen before. And what was significant about that was again, it was a contrast to the conditioned reality that I was so seeped in. And what it was, was that this woman, Sherry Huber, was deeply present and I just hadn’t seen that type of presence. I hadn’t experienced firsthand that type of presence. I’d had these little glimpses, I was a potter and I watched someone throwing a pot at one point and I had one of those moments of water, clay, present moment, just dropping into awareness in a way that was surprising to me in that moment and I had no words for because I didn’t have this language. But yeah, so I met Sherry Huber which was interesting in and of itself because…

Rick: I just want to say, throwing a pot is a potting term, it doesn’t mean someone literally threw one, it means they created one, you call it throwing, right?

Caverly: Thank you, that’s really important to clarify. Yeah, it’s not quite as romantic of a vision if someone’s throwing a pot. It’s not the Buddha in the hot coal story, no.

Rick: Right.

Caverly: There’s that lump of clay on the potter’s wheel and it’s…

Rick: spinning around.

Caverly: spinning around quite organic, quite beautiful,

Rick: Yeah.

Caverly: requires tremendous presence.

Rick: Think of the movie Ghost. Bruce Joel Rubin, whom I interviewed, was the screenwriter for that.

Caverly: Oh very cool.

Rick: Anyway, keep going.

Caverly: Yeah, so it’s actually, it even begins before I met Sherry. The reason I met her was somewhat interesting because I had traveled around the world for a year studying ecology and social issues through the International Honors Program and a friend there had given me a book by Sherry, “That Which You Are Seeking Is Causing You to Seek.” And that book affected me tremendously. And I didn’t know because I’d been given the book that I was then on this mailing list for the monastery. So the way I met Sherry was that I got this flyer. Remember back in the day when you get a flyer in the mail

Rick: Yeah.

Caverly: about going on a retreat? So I got a flyer in the mail and I talked to some friends. I was working at Innisfree Village which is a community for people with special needs. And I was a full-time volunteer there and art teacher. And I got this flyer in the mail and I talked two friends into going down to this Zen retreat. And that’s where I met Sherry. Meanwhile it is interesting to note that I hadn’t read the fine print, didn’t know it was going to be silent. My friends and I truly had no idea what we were getting into. There was, I think we had beer in the car. We thought we would be rooming together. It just sounded nice to go and learn how to meditate. But I just, I was pretty clueless. But meeting Sherry, being around someone who had dedicated their life to being practice was profound for me. Even that first retreat was a tremendous opening. And then of course, on that first retreat it never occurred to me that I would someday be a monk. And organically, I began to choose jobs that would allow me to have enough free time to go on retreats, until the point that my boyfriend at the time was like, “Okay, are you joining a cult or something?” He suggested that I was kind of obsessed with it at the time and I think I was, I think I was just really hooked.

Rick: So I’m pretty obsessive myself, I understand.

Caverly: If you’re going to be obsessed with something, being obsessed with how to be more awake in the world is not the worst Obsession, I suppose.

Rick: Yeah, I actually, this summer will be my 50th anniversary of having learned to meditate and I’ve never missed one in all those years, you know, twice a day, an average of two, three hours a day. So my slogan is, “OCD can be your friend.”

Caverly: Love it. I love it.

Rick: Yeah, all right, so I’m sure there’s lots of details you could tell us, but you ended up in this monastery full-time.

Caverly: So I ended up in the monastery. I really didn’t know I was going to go for eight years. I made a six-month commitment. The idea was to go for six months and then move to San Francisco and meet a dancer and have a life that just incorporated practice. I even remember knowing that.

Rick: Did you have a specific dancer in mind or just any dancer?

Caverly: I would have taken some specific ones at the time, but it was just this vision of a particular life.

Rick: Yeah.

Caverly: It’s funny that you asked that because I remember even thinking, “I’m gonna get a dog named Dakota.”

Rick: You had it all worked out.

Caverly: I had it worked out, you know, and kids were in the picture somewhere. And then after six months, you know, I was asked to recommit or leave.

Rick: Yeah.

Caverly: And I remember being deeply torn, really just suffering deeply over what to do, because I knew I hadn’t even scratched the tip of the iceberg regarding what was possible for what I was doing there.

Rick: Yeah.

Caverly: I knew I had gotten a taste. And so I flipped a coin.

Rick: Really?

Caverly: Yeah, I was sitting outside the meditation hall, and I remember so clearly flipping this coin and thinking, “Well, if it lands and tells me to leave, I’ll do two out of three.”

Rick: That tells you something, yeah.

Caverly: It really tells you something. And so I really did want to stay and surrender to this process, but I needed that encouragement. I needed something to say, “Yes, you can do this.” And then I committed year by year beyond that.

Rick: It’s a good way to do it.

Caverly: Yeah, the running away story that you’re making reference to was just one of the many times I was having an identity crisis, complete meltdown, moment of suffering.

Rick: So was there anything wrong with the place? I mean, were you being mistreated in any way, or you were just kind of like going through something and just decided…

Caverly: Yeah. Not mistreated in any way at all. I just trained in a place in which there was nothing to distract you. We didn’t have… This was a very formal setting. There was no eye contact. There was a lot of sitting every day, total silence. In fact, so much silence that I’ve never been in the space since where the silence is that penetrating. It’s 320 acres in the middle of nowhere. And I was so, in that environment, there’s just nothing to keep you from being with whatever experience you’re having. So often in my training that had included my own struggles, bringing awareness to my own struggles.

Rick: Yeah. I was wondering if we’re gonna have to have a dog break, but I think Irene will get it under control hopefully. Means there’s a rabbit outside.

Caverly: Well, I’ve got two downstairs so they might start any minute and then we can just have a chorus.

Rick: Yeah, did you ever hear about Julian of Norwich or Norwich or something like that? I just heard this story yesterday. She was this woman who had herself literally bricked in to a small little enclave in a church in England and lived there for something like she died. They were able to sort of hand food in to her, but talk about making a commitment and sort of going the distance, wow.

Caverly: Yeah.

Rick: Yeah. Okay, so you left the thing and it’s probably an interesting adventure story about how you left in the middle of the night and went over hill and dale, and I don’t know if we need to spend our time going into it, but I guess it must have been time for you to leave.

Caverly: Well, that little runaway story that you heard in one of our exchanges was actually just very brief. It was just a moment of struggle that manifested with me feeling like, “I just can’t do this anymore,” and walking off the property. But I was back by the end of the day.

Rick: Oh, okay.

Caverly: Yeah, after the eight years, my departure was really about a type of integrating into the world, but that little leaving the monastery for X hours during the day and ending up coming back at night. I mean, I never even interacted with another person because I was in the middle of nowhere, so it wasn’t… That was just a little drama.

Rick: Little jaunt.

Caverly: Yeah, yeah.

Rick: Yeah, well, something that we could touch on briefly, but when you’re on a long retreat like that, stuff comes Up that has been sort of cleverly repressed or concealed or whatever. But stuff starts to bubble up. And the Beatles wrote that song “Dear Prudence” when they were in Rishikesh and they were all doing this long meditation program. If you ever read Prudence Farrow’s account of what she was going through, it’s pretty wild. And I’ve been on a lot of long courses like that, so it’s just interesting to touch upon how these sort of long, intense, focused retreat type situations can really stir up deeper things than easily come up in ordinary day-to-day life.

Caverly: Yeah, and it’s one of the gifts of an environment in which everything’s supporting being with your experience.

Rick: Yeah, and then generally you have to just hang in there and not take the impulses too seriously, like I should leave or I should marry this person or I think I’ll shave my head or whatever. It’s like you have to kind of realize that these impulses are just some kind of release of something and not pay them too much mind. But they can be quite convincing at times.

Caverly: Absolutely, and one of the gifts of a setting like that is it forces you to ask yourself, “How am I going to be with myself in this moment? There’s no one to save me. I can’t change the externals…”

Rick: Yeah.

Caverly: As long as you’ve made the commitment that you’re not going to leave just because you’re having a hard day. So that’s sort of off the table. It’s like a marriage…

Rick: You can’t just go to a movie and distract yourself.

Rick: No, no.

Rick: You have to kind of face it.

Caverly: Absolutely. It’s like a marriage to practice.

Rick: Yeah.

Caverly: So you know you’re in it, and then the question just becomes, “What will I do in this moment? Will I just stew on this story for the next Will I continue to try to hang on to being right instead of being free? Will I drop it? Will I give myself the gift of returning to presence rather than stirring up even more internal drama for my own entertainment or whatever — for the ego’s own entertainment?”

Rick: Yeah.

Caverly: Yeah.

Rick: One thing this brings to mind is something, one of the first points you put in the notes you sent me, your relationship to the progressive path as well as the direct path. And I tend to be more of a progressive path guy myself, I think in terms of my own practice and in terms of my understanding. And most of the people I encounter who talk about direct path as I understand it, and I actually moderated a panel discussion at SAND last year about this. But I keep running into people who say things like, “Well, you’re already enlightened, just realize that, don’t need to practice anything, you’re done.” And that seems to me like just a fantasy. Whereas, real really deep transformation is necessary over a long period of time for the kind of physiological, psychological, spiritual metamorphosis that the word enlightenment or awakening really signifies. What do you think, what do you say to that?

Caverly: Well, I say that my experience is similar to yours in that I can speak to the benefit of a progressive path. I also can speak to what you just pointed out regarding being in situations where I watch people in the room lost when someone, a teacher, says, “You’re already enlightened.” I watch that not land. I’ve also been in rooms of people where due to the skillfulness of the teacher that has landed and it’s been quite powerful. But as you know about me, my current passion is allowing space, room for all approaches. My own practice is so affected by my experience of being on a progressive path, and yet I’d never have the experience of existence in the way that I have an experience of existence in this moment if it weren’t for having come across Rupert Spira.

Rick: Yeah.

Caverly: And he was my introduction to a direct path.

Rick: I actually once got Rupert to confess that the direct path is progressive. We have to pick up that conversation again, but he was getting into a car to rush off from some place and we were just saying goodbye and he kind of like acknowledged that. And there is a thing of cultivating a mentality where you’re forever chasing the dangling carrot and you kind of get it into your mind that you couldn’t possibly be anywhere close to anything significant and you’ve just got to keep cranking it out in the hope that someday you’ll arrive and that someday never arrives, partially because of that mentality that you’ve set up. So there’s some kind of happy medium or balance or something between these two perspectives.

Caverly: Yeah, it seems to me, when I consider my own experience, for example being a monastic, that even towards the end of my stay at the monastery, I still was identified with the spiritual seeker. I really wanted to be doing a good job. I had a certain definition of karma in my mind. And I was very focused on trying to — at that time I would have used the language “burn through” that karma.

Rick: Yeah.

Caverly: And I feel very much like the biggest hindrance of that period I’m able to see in hindsight was that I was stuck in that phase of practice where awareness has been separated from the object, so you become that which is watching.

Rick: Right, the witness.

Caverly: Yeah, and that felt like some kind of eddy. I knew I wasn’t free in that, though I had had many experiences of many fleeting experiences of freedom. In fact, the more fleeting experiences of freedom I had, the more my temptation, my conditioned temptation, strengthened to try to maintain those experiences.

Rick: Yeah.

Caverly: And so that really allowed the separate self to have a full-time job. And it’s been an incredible gift for me to have my practice supported by an approach that really invites a person to recognize that none of that actually was required. That — I mean, we hear it all the time, but that we are that which we’re seeking, ironically enough, coming back to that book title. The place that I am currently passionate about as a teacher is recognizing that it’s possible for us to use skillful means to bring in whatever’s appropriate for a given moment. And my passion for that is one of the things that allows me to be so grateful for the time I had at the monastery, because even though that’s I don’t wish to create a monastery, I would certainly never create a monastery that modeled that structure. I don’t have an interest in a type of guru model. It’s not the way I set up my organization. And I, at the same time, couldn’t be more full of gratitude that there’s so many tools that might support someone depending on where they are. And one of the things that I appreciate so much is all these tools can be… They’re applied differently if they’re coming from the direct path understanding that we are awake, we are consciousness. Those tools are affected, energetically even, by not bringing a mentality of, “Here’s the tool and in a subtle way I’m suggesting a self-help program. I’m suggesting that you through these practices will get better and you’ll get to have this special exotic experience of enlightenment if you apply these tools.”

Rick: Yeah, I have several thoughts here. One is just referencing my own experience, I went through decades of sort of this yearning, seeking, enlightenment or bust kind of feeling. And I think it was largely due to the fact that there was just a lack of inner fulfillment, that it just hadn’t matured enough. And I wasn’t ever one of these people who just have this sudden night and day transformation, but gradually over time that just dissipated and I never feel that way anymore. And yet I still consider myself a work in progress by very much so. But somehow the progress, and obviously with what I do, it shows an enthusiasm for this kind of thing, it’s all I think about practically. [Irene calls out] Well, pickleball, yeah, of course. That too.

Caverly: Our spouses keep us real, Rick.

Rick: Yeah, for sure. But it’s sort of done on a different platform now, it’s sort of done in the sense of adventure and exploration and curiosity and learning and all, as opposed to kind of a — an emptiness that once drove me. Can you relate to that?

Caverly: Absolutely, I think your point is excellent that there’s a difference, you know, I think desire gets a bad rap in practice. People say, “Oh, desire, that’s so bad.” But the place we suffer, of course, is when we assume lack and the desire arises out of that assumption of lack. But in my experience, there can be tremendous desire that arises out of the love and the recognition of our shared being, of oneness, of our inherent awake-ness. And those desires have a very different quality. That, for example, might be the desire to dive into a new tool that could be of service to someone who’s coming at practice through this door. I mean, I these days, like you, get extremely lit up by hearing new forms, new practices, new things that might resonate with someone who comes from a background different than mine. I mean, I meet so few people who have an interest in going and becoming a monastic. And like I said, I didn’t either. But there’s so many people who are looking for a — need a type of resonance that what a beautiful thing to just have tons of tools in our tool belt so that that resonance can be found.

Rick: Yeah, I like to say God is not a one-trick pony. And just look at the fecundity of nature, the diversity and abundance. And why not in human endeavors, including spirituality, why shouldn’t there be just a plethora of different practices and approaches and tools, as you say.

Caverly: Yes. Yeah, and as you point to, it just mirrors the abundance of everything, of consciousness, really,

Rick: Yeah.

Caverly: the outpouring of love and possibility that consciousness is. So for me, it’s never felt truthful to choose one thing. It’s never felt like it’s in integrity with my direct experience of something that’s so vast and infinite, the possibility that’s consistently and forever arising in consciousness.

Rick: Yeah, but even there it’s like to say, I mean there might be people for whom it’s appropriate to just have one thing and stick to that and we would be violating our own statement here to say that they shouldn’t do that. That would be a one thing kind of mentality to say that they shouldn’t have one thing. So there’s that old saying about digging one deep well.

Caverly: I was just going to offer that image.

Rick: Yeah, but how about ten tools to dig one deep well?

Caverly: Well, I think it’s a fair point that we have to, there is some kind of middle way there, that in — especially in this culture of, I can just taste this and then I can go over here and taste this and then I can take

Rick: Yeah, dilettantism, yeah.

Caverly: Yeah. And we’ve seen for example, the shadow side of that. I’m suggesting more, and obviously having been dedicated to one particular approach for for eight years, I can speak to the benefit of just not leaving that path in that practice. But I’m suggesting that once there’s some kind of recognition of our true nature, then why not allow any opening that can assist another in having a similar recognition to come into our use.

Rick: Yeah. And a couple of wrap-up points to what we were talking about a few minutes ago regarding the seeking thing. Patanjali, who wrote the Yoga Sutras, he sort of classifies yogis in terms of mild, medium and intense. And he says those who have vehement intensity will realize most quickly. So there’s something about determination and zeal on the spiritual path. This whole thing about seeking doesn’t necessarily imply that one should be lackadaisical and blasé, you know,

Caverly: Yeah. “it’s just going to happen if it happens,” that kind of thing.

Caverly: Yeah. You know, I think one of the most powerful things that happened for me when I came upon Rupert’s teachings was hearing him consistently, and he confesses now that he was throwing this out specifically for me in these initial moments, because he saw me. I mean, I came in with so much discipline. I wasn’t even thinking I was trying to be disciplined, it was so ingrained in me to have such discipline at that time. And to have a teacher suggesting that discipline wasn’t required was huge for me. And, I can’t help paying homage to the fact that there’s something that served me about having been disciplined for a long time. That it was powerful for me to hear that I could release the discipline, perhaps primarily because I had received the benefit of discipline at that point. I knew how to steady my attention, I knew I didn’t need that object-focused meditation in that moment. And he really recognized what was of benefit.

Rick: Yeah, for some reason images of musicians are coming to mind now. there’s that old saying about somebody walking up to Rubenstein or somebody like that on the streets of New York City saying, “How do you get to Carnegie Hall?” and he said, “Practice, practice, practice.” And yet when one reaches that level of expertise, one can then sort of cut loose a lot more and be more creative and free-flowing. Or, even like a jazz musician who, by its very nature, that form of music is improvisational, has to do a lot of disciplined work in order to get to the point where he can really improvise.

Caverly: Yeah, and again I’m so interested in the fact that I think there’s a different medicine for each of us in each moment even.

Rick: Yeah.

Caverly: That for one person the most helpful thing, one person I’m working with the most helpful thing might be in addressing the trauma that keeps arising, to have a steadying the attention practice and to focus on that. And of course it’s offered again from the understanding that their trauma is actually a creation and it’s illusory, but it wouldn’t be as skillful to say to this person who comes to me, “Well, your trauma is just an illusion.” That’s not — it’s not skillful and it’s not accurate.

Rick: Yeah, I mean you deal with kids who are like suicidal potentially or have had that sort of feeling that they want to kill themselves and you just to brush them off and just say, “Oh, it’s just an illusion, you’re already enlightened,” that would be downright dangerous.

Caverly: It would and I find that it’s dangerous with the adults that I work with too. Again, there’s a way in which… One of the things I love about the teachings of the direct path is, in the way that I’ve received them, there’s an invitation, a beautiful open invitation to simply embody what those teachings are. That’s the directness for me. The directness is that the vibrant alive consciousness that is everything is… We can be that knowingly as we offer perhaps a new meditation technique to someone or as we talk to the Portland Public School Board about expanding our program. Or again, as I work with the adults that I work with, some who have had practice experience for 20 years and some who are newer to any kind of meditation.

Rick: One of the notes you sent me was “skillful means and compassionate concessions.” Is what we’re talking about right now related to that point?

Caverly: To me it is, compassionate concessions is one way I think to talk about recognizing that… Let’s say I’m working with someone who’s had a really traumatic childhood and is very much stuck in their story. It’s a compassionate concession knowing that the story is a complete fabrication, albeit a fabrication that’s of the same consciousness that is able to be aware of the story. It’s a concession to speak to that person as if there’s more reality to it than there is. And yet it’s in that moment I think it’s not only skillful but potentially deeply kind.

Rick: Yeah, so is the point you’re making that one wants to sort of teach at the level of the listener, is that what you’re saying, of the student? In other words, there’s a saying in India that when the mangoes are ripe the branches bend down and people can just easily pick them. So is that what you’re kind of addressing here? Well you have one of your notes here, “the importance of meeting another person where they are.”

Caverly: Yes, and here’s what I’m seeing about it for myself as a teacher, meeting someone where they are doesn’t mean ever that you need to abandon your own direct experience of knowing yourself as awareness.

Rick: Right.

Caverly: But you might speak as if… You might tailor your experience such that you’re not even talking about that direct experience. And that might be useful or helpful to someone. Does that feel clear to you or resonate?

Rick: Yeah, yeah. There’s a line in the Gita where Lord Krishna says something like, “The wise do not delude the ignorant.” Even if they regard in their own experience that they are not doing anything whatsoever and they’re completely detached from the world of activity and all, they engage in activity and they sort of do their dharma and they set an example and they kind of interact with people appropriately according to that person’s perspective and orientation.

Caverly: Yeah, yeah.

Rick: What was this point that you made, “the relative in relation to the absolute?” What would you like to say about that?

Caverly: I just thought it’d be interesting to see where you and I would go, given that I know that something we have in common is this love for exploring the deliciousness of that most vast, absolute, fundamental nature of consciousness. And the part, correct me if I’m wrong, that I believe we have in common is a type of passion for recognizing that we need not leave behind what’s happening on the relative plane as we adore the exploration of the absolute.

Rick: Yeah, no I agree and you can cite examples of people like Ramana or Papaji who didn’t leave that stuff behind either. I mean, Papaji was an avid soccer fan, he would, especially when India and Pakistan were playing against each other, he’d be rooting for India. Or Ramana would read the newspaper and listen to the radio and keep up with current events, which is not to say he was about to go out and start a business, or pull a rickshaw or something like that. He had his dharma as a teacher which was incredibly valuable for the world. But this whole theme of taking refuge in the absolute to the exclusion of the relative and brushing the relative off as illusory and insignificant and unimportant, and that is a theme that comes up often in these interviews. I don’t think it’s a fully matured perspective, but it is a sort of a pitfall I think that some people get into along the way.

Caverly: I do too and it’s been a pitfall of my own so I can speak to it intimately. I know that place where it felt like there was a split in my self/perception that there was the absolute and there was a relative and I didn’t know how to reconcile. You could say going to a monastery was one way of saying I will not engage with the relative. I had no idea what was going on in the world unless the work director posted a note. We communicated through notes. It was that silent at this monastery. So there might be a note on the message board that said the Twin Towers have collapsed due to a terrorist attack and that was your news.

Rick: Wow, you’d want to know more.

Caverly: You’re left wanting to know more just about every day for some reason in that monastery and again what you were always asked to sit with is what’s it like to want to know more? Can you be with wanting to know more? But there was this, I didn’t learn through monastic training how to recognize, excuse me, reconcile the absolute and the relative. And one of the reasons that I think that’s true is that I left that monastery with that split still as a perception and it’s not just that through practice we can hold both. It’s that when we recognize that it’s all the absolute — and I know you talk a lot to people about the consciousness only model. When we recognize everything as the absolute, then there’s no reason not to move in whatever direction is the most authentic outpouring of your greatest love and understanding. And for me that happens to be some type of engagement on the relative plane. So caring about whether people of color are represented at a conference or caring about what’s happening to the animals on our planet, caring about what’s happening to our planet at large.

Rick: Yeah, no, I totally agree and I’m real passionate about those things too. I guess it’s good we’re talking about this because I think it’s just good to get it out there in the public understanding that I have this thing about defining what enlightenment or awakening actually is and — both for myself and for my audience — and just to sort of popularize an understanding of it, not my understanding, but to explore different people’s perspectives on it. But I think it’s really valuable that we have that a more mature and detailed and nuanced understanding because if that’s what all of us are interested in, those of us who listen to a program like this, then it’s good to know what it is, you know, and not to mistake some kind of half-baked version of it for the real thing because we shortchange ourselves if we do that. Go ahead and respond to that.

Caverly: Well, one thing I just wanted to say is as you were pointing that out that what you’re talking about is so rich and it strikes me that we also make enlightenment so exotic. But at the end of the day, even someone who’s not going to watch your show, Rick… I know there are just a few people on the planet that probably wouldn’t want to watch your show. I’m sure, I’m sure the majority of the world would, but really, in all seriousness, those that wouldn’t want to watch the show, don’t they too seek enlightenment? That might not be the way they’d talk about it, but if you’re looking at a desire to address that perception of separation, I think that every human has that. They might be — we might get so confused that that’s what that call actually is, that we might try to meet that call through all sorts of faulty means, but we learn as we go, as we evolve, we learn, “Oh, that didn’t address that longing.”

Rick: Yeah.

Caverly: I didn’t mean to derail you, but that’s just…

Rick: No, you didn’t derail me. I’ve been off the rails so long I wouldn’t even know the difference.

Caverly: We have no rails, that’s great to know.

Rick: I think that all beings in the universe seek enlightenment, whether they know it or not, most people don’t know it. But all streams and rivers flow to the ocean, and some streams and rivers may be quite far from the ocean, they’ve got a ways to go, but others are very close to it. I think there’s an innate desire for evolution, which we might interpret as expansion of happiness, if we want to think of it that way, that drives the whole cosmos, really. And I think when we start talking in terms of enlightenment, then we’re just making it more explicit, we’re kind of getting a clear understanding of what the end game might look like.

Caverly: Sure, if we’re able to articulate that, then we’ve already burnt all the bridges that said, “Maybe I could have happiness through objects.” Maybe it’s the new car, maybe it’s the new wife, maybe it’s…

Rick: Yeah, which is not to say you don’t need the objects, we might have to buy a new car pretty soon, ours is like almost 20 years old or something.

Caverly: Will it bring enlightenment?

Rick: No, but it’ll get us around and not break down and have all kinds of repair bills and stuff. A question came in from Michael in Dublin, let’s ask about that. Okay, this is a good one since we’re joking around a lot. He says, “I am curious about the nature of humor as a path to the Divine. As a practitioner of mindful dreaming, having had several…” Oh, mindful dreaming? And there’s a comma in there, “Having had several mindful lucid dreams in which I wake up in knots laughing,” I’ve done that too. “I’m curious to know Caverly’s opinion on how humor, laughter, can bring one closer to the realization.”

Caverly: Well, I can say that increased laughter in my life is a by-product of a type of letting go that was very much held in place when I described that period of practice. Not that this doesn’t creep in from time to time, but specifically that time where my predominant experience was I’m the practitioner, I’m really… At the Zen monastery there was a phrase, maybe this is a broad Zen phrase of practicing like your hair is on fire. And I really embodied that at the time. And there was very little humor in that, you know. Whether I had had a good meditation or a bad meditation was up for debate according to my conditioned mind, and I always came out, of course, the loser in that scenario. The judge was… The pseudo-Zen master was quite severe, and I just noticed the by-product of that approach is that I didn’t laugh a lot. And it seems hard, and it seems hard to even picture that now. I have such an experience that laughter and joy, laughter just being an expression of joy,

Rick: Yeah.

Caverly: that it’s a natural by-product of not having to live under the tyranny of that pseudo-Zen master.

Rick: Yeah, and shouldn’t joy be considered a legitimate characteristic of enlightenment? I mean, you see that laughing Buddha with his hands up in the air like this. And they speak of ananda, satcitananda, bliss being one of the essential characteristics of consciousness. And we can think of many examples of people who seem to be highly evolved or enlightened who are just full of joy, and not real serious and and ponderous, but just bubbling bliss.

Caverly: Yes — and I think it’s so important that we don’t exchange that as a state that we should then seek. It’s so tempting to say, “Oh, I’ll have reached a certain place if I feel a certain way.” And we forget in that that– we forget the consciousness-only model, we forget that consciousness is just as beautifully fully in every aspect of our experience of depression as our experience of laughter.

Rick: Yeah, that’s where I start to wonder though. I might take exception with you on that one. I mean, you hear people saying, “Well, you can be enlightened and yet be depressed and be angry a lot and be a drinker,” and all these things. My reaction to that is usually that you’re still a work in progress, and you know that those kinds of darker feelings and behaviors really are not going to characterize the life of a truly enlightened person. And you said earlier about enlightenment not being an exotic thing. I think you’re right, I mean it’s not exotic, it’s totally natural, but that is not to dumb it down and just say it’s a ho-hum ordinary thing. I mean, if any one of us could step from where we are right now into the sandals of Ramana Maharshi and actually perceive the world as Ramana did, I think we’d notice a pretty significant contrast. We’d say, “Whoa, this is really something.”

Caverly: I hear you, and I’m wondering… It’s interesting, I think, just to consider where the spiritual master that we idealize, that we would say, “Oh, this person doesn’t experience depression anymore.” I think it’s easy to idealize that vision and hold ourselves to the same standard without recognizing that if we hold that as a standard, that’s not the path to achieve the place where depression no longer haunts us. Do you know what I mean by that?

Rick: Yeah, I think that’s a good point, and I’m not implying that… I mean, I have a picture of Amma behind me here, and if you ever go to see her and you watch her for a while, sit there for hours watching her do her thing, she goes through all kinds of emotions, sometimes tears, sometimes laughter, sometimes anger, sometimes this, sometimes that, and it’s this beautiful display that takes place. But I would be surprised if someone like her or like Ramana or like Papaji were suffering from chronic depression or that kind of thing.

Caverly: Well, surely, because chronic depression is a distortion of truth. And the reason that we admire these people so much is that their direct experience is in alignment with reality. But what I want to point to is it is dangerous to to idealize that state, because then I’m focused, I as the seeker can be focused on, I haven’t reached that state until I get rid of these things. And again, I speak from my own experience of that pseudo- Zen master. Rather, it’s my experience that depression doesn’t weigh on my life any longer, and it did at one point. That’s the natural byproduct of living the recognition of who we actually are. So, if even a moment of frustration arises, to be able to recognize that that is not a separate experience that I actually need to transcend is what leads a person to reside more fully in truth.

Rick: Yeah, that’s good and well said. And do you feel that there’s sort of a depth to your experience such that, using an ocean analogy, that there can be waves of all kinds of human experiences and emotions and whatnot, but your awareness is not just limited to the waves, so there’s a sort of a deeper silence to the ocean that you reside in as well all the time, as in addition to the constant changing play of the waves.

Caverly: Well, I think what’s possible for us through practice is to recognize that we’re all of it, but to not be confused that we’re any one aspect of it. The moment I think I am this depression is the moment the distortion has been glorified.

Rick: Yeah, that’s the thing. I think the term overshadowment is useful here and maybe we could use a sun analogy where the clouds overshadow the sun and it no longer seems to be shining, even though it is still shining from its own perspective. I think one can rise to a state of realization in which one is the sun and one knows one is shining all the time and clouds come and go. But obviously people get very overshadowed by things. I just watched the video today of a woman getting pulled over by a cop for speeding and she completely freaked out. Now you and I probably wouldn’t do that. We’d take it in stride, talk to the policeman, take our ticket if we deserved a ticket. But this woman had a conniption fit for half an hour. I didn’t watch the whole half hour. I thought, man, this woman could use a little meditation or something, she’s so overshadowed.

Caverly: Yeah. And that’s why I have this love for tools because for a person that’s going to lose such full sight of what we’re talking about as the truth of who we actually are, the sun, to lose that much sight of the sun, it can be so beneficial to be able to pause in that moment and for example recognize what my negative self-talk is, just to be able to start with something that simple. One of the first things we teach the teens we work with is that they are not their thoughts. And it’s so significant for them to– you can just watch these light bulbs go off because there’s that moment of of being able to see, “Oh, the reason I’m freaking out right now is because I’m listening to this narrative of negative self-talk,” which leads to… what’s the Buddha quote about thoughts leading to deeds, leading to actions, leading to… It’s that whole sequence. But I think it’s important just to go back to that point because I think it’s an important one. I think it’s important to to name that the cloud is just as valid a part of the landscape as everything else. Because again, just because of where we’re going with this conversation, the temptation for the spiritual practitioner can be, now I have to get rid of those clouds so that I can see the sun more fully, forgetting what you pointed out, that we are the sun.

Rick: Yeah, right. And I guess the question is what is the most effective way of getting rid of the clouds, or what is the most effective way of realizing that we are the sun? Or stretching this metaphor a bit here, is it to obsess about the clouds and try to push them away or something, or is it to somehow just move toward the sun and grab it? I mean we can maybe reference meditation here. One could sit and struggle with one’s thoughts and kind of conduct some kind of inner battle, but is that really going to allow one to settle into the state of Turiya, or realization of pure awareness? I think there’s a more effective way.

Caverly: Yeah, and one of the things that interests me is having come from a monastic tradition where the only focus was on those clouds, how do they form, where in the landscape are they arising, what are they made of, how do they feel as those clouds roll in? All of this sort of present moment examination, not from a heady way but a very experiential awareness of what and where I trained, we talked about the conditioned patterns that govern us, the karmic and conditioned patterns that govern us, meaning who we are when we’re perceiving ourselves as separate from life. The thing that I appreciate so much, and this takes us back to where we were before about the direct path, is the way in that approach there’s so much language given to the nature of the sun. There’s something valid about saying all those clouds are just clouds. Now let’s really unpack what is the nature of the sun.

Rick: It’s good.

Caverly: It sounds like you too have found both those approaches to be enriching in your own life and practice.

Rick: Yeah. Also, I don’t want to go into it in great detail but the nature of the kind of meditation I learned was such that it utilized what was called the natural tendency of the mind to seek a field of greater happiness, which we were talking about earlier actually. And the idea being that pure consciousness or pure awareness is innately blissful, and that if we move in that direction the mind will encounter greater charm or greater happiness. So a condition was set up in the practice where the mind would begin to just effortlessly move in that direction and as it did so it would encounter greater and greater happiness and therefore it was just like falling off a diving board or something, it was just effortless transcending, and no need to muck around in the clouds or worry much about whether there were thoughts or this or that. If there were, you just come back to the practice and take another dive. Yeah, anyway.

Caverly: Because we’re always being called back to ourselves, but we do have to be open to hearing that call.

Rick: Yeah, and the senses have a natural tendency to draw the attention outward, that’s what they’re designed to do, and so a good practice will set up a condition where, as the Gita says, the senses withdraw from their objects like a tortoise withdraws its legs into its shell. It sort of turns them around 180 degrees and just come back to the self.

Caverly: Yeah, Rupert uses that phrase “allowing the attention to sink into the source of awareness” rather than — I mean just think about how often our attention is habituated to be moving outward, even outward to the object of the breath, for example in traditional Zen meditation.

Rick: That’s good, yeah I like that phrase Rupert used. Rupert is so soothing, whenever I’m at the same conference I’m usually a little tired because there’s so much going on and I sit in Rupert’s thing and I fall asleep because he’s so soothing.

Caverly: You just rest.

Rick: Yeah, his voice…

Caverly: Well, and he’s also got that British thing to his benefit. We have a guy who works on our team named Barnaby, he’s got this British accent and he’s definitely our most popular meditation teacher voice, if people are putting in a vote for who reads a meditation or leads a meditation it’s going to be Barnaby.

Rick: They want Barnaby, yeah. Part of the reason the Beatles became so popular, aside from the fact their music was so great, everybody loved the accent. In your notes you say, here’s another point we’re going to bring up, how ethics right action fit in, having a moral compass, the compass that naturally arises when we recognize ourselves as awareness indivisible. What would you like to say about that?

Caverly: I think when I was considering our conversation I was just recognizing it might be a rich place to explore this notion that it’s actually along the lines of what we’ve been talking about. For example, the precepts, the way that the precepts were so useful to me when I first became a monk because I found them, it was like something I could lean into. Here’s this spiritual code of conduct that will hold me. But the more that I’ve practiced, the more recognition there is that when we’re resting in the awareness of who we authentically are, when we’re recognizing and knowing ourselves as consciousness itself, a natural byproduct of that experience is to do no harm. And, I think that the danger of a morality being blended with maybe the early stages of practice approach can be for a personality type like mine, it’s easy to reinforce the idea of right and wrong rather than support the moving beyond the concept of duality.

Rick: Hmm, well what you just said there was very nice, that if we’re resting in our true nature then it’s where we’re naturally disinclined to do harm. But having said that, what do you make of all the teachers and gurus and spiritual leaders and whatnot that have done harmful things? It seems to be a syndrome.

Caverly: It does, doesn’t it? My take on it is that when I look at my own experience, I see the places. As you talk about a work in progress, I have the same experience that no matter how many different ways the lights come on, practice will be part of my life for the rest of my life, not from that seeking place but from the non-practice practice.

Rick: I think the Buddha practiced all his life.

Caverly: Absolutely, because all of life to me appears to be at this point in time a constant refinement of how to have our actions in the world be in service of our greatest understanding and how to have complete attunement in that way. And there are all sorts of subtle ways, even maybe just in thought form, that that might not always be the case. And to me, it’s just very engaging to be able to be present to that and to notice that. So it seems, yeah, am I projecting or did you have a little something you wanted to say about that real quick?

Rick: Oh, I also have things I want to say but I’m letting you go on as long as you want.

Caverly: Please — no please. No, no, no, say and then we’ll bounce back.

Rick: Well, I like the word “refinement” that you just used. I think that there’s a tremendous range of possibilities in terms of refinement, even after self-realization. Refinement of the senses, of behavior, of the heart, of the intellect, of all kinds of different facets of the personality. There can be tremendous potential for purification and refinement and one can culture the aptitude to function from an extremely refined level, which is not to say one is going to be sort of ultra-sensitive and incapable of functioning in the world. It’s that one can integrate that development such that one can be extremely refined while functioning in the world.

Caverly: Absolutely, beautifully said, very well-articulated and is reflective of my own experience. And to me there’s a real joy in that refinement, like I just had this image of a guy who collects Mustangs and nothing brings him more pleasure than going out and polishing up his Mustangs and getting like little added parts. Maybe I should make this a girl by the way, so we’re we’re going to make it a — instead of a guy that has his Mustangs, this is going to be a woman. But she has her Mustangs and she goes out and she’s constantly tinkering with them just out of the love of this beautiful car. And I feel the same way about wanting to bring as much love, compassion, consciousness to where the ego hides in the body. You know, there’s that old Zen story about the Zen master who’s on her deathbed and someone says something like, “Do you have any parting words for us before you pass and how are you doing?” And I believe that she says something to the effect of, “Well, my mind is ready, but my body has some catching up to do.” So where is this sense of separateness lodging in the body? Perhaps we’ve brought a lot of attention to those conditioned patterns of the mind and to being able to release and let go, recognize ourselves as the sun, but what’s hiding out on other realms? What’s happening energetically?

Rick: Yeah, I just have to interject that I interviewed a man named John Sampson a few months ago who was in his 90s when I interviewed him, who I know he designed the Ford Thunderbird and I think he had a lot to do with the Mustang also.

Caverly: Really?

Rick: Yeah, and then he ended up having a spiritual awakening and we had a whole talk, but I just had to throw that in.

Caverly: I’ll have to check that one out.

Rick: Yeah. As you were speaking the word neuroplasticity came to mind, I’m sure most people have heard of that, which is that, and I’ve also heard the term brain sculpting, and it’s well known now and becoming better and better understood that regular spiritual practice actually physically changes the brain in ways that show up quite dramatically on fMRI scans and things like that. And that kind of thing doesn’t happen in a snap, it takes a long time to culture. And I’ve also been listening to more lately to Joan Harrigan who runs the Patanjali Kundalini Yoga Care thing down in Tennessee. I’ve interviewed her and she has a really sophisticated understanding of all the subtle mechanics of the physiology and the Kundalini and all the channels that it can flow through and how it can become deflected or stuck or… It really helps to make sense of a lot of the experiences we hear about with people experiencing all kinds of things or teachers behaving badly for instance, who seem to have so much charisma and Shakti and even Siddhis and yet are really screwed up in certain ways.

Caverly: Yeah.

Rick: So all that stuff needs I think to be understood more commonly.

Caverly: Yes, because I realized I didn’t fully come back to what about these Gurus

Rick: Yeah.

Caverly: that are conducting this behavior. Well, in my experience one of the reasons we’re working with this refinement is because it’s when a person says, “Oh, the lights came on, I recognize my true nature, therefore I’m done,” that dangerous things begin to happen.

Rick: Yeah.

Caverly: Someone might perceive that they can’t spread AIDS because they’re an enlightened person, which is sort of a horrifying thought, but it’s happened.

Rick: Oh, yeah.

Caverly: So it feels to me that…

Rick: There was even a spiritual teacher whose interview I had to take down, I had interviewed him, who was pressing — many years ago when he was already functioning as a spiritual teacher, was training young girls, underage girls, to work as strippers, telling them that the body is an illusion and it doesn’t matter what you do with it and the world is an illusion and things like that. So what a crazy thing.

Caverly: It’s an incredibly crazy thing and that is one of those dangers. You and I pointed to the danger of saying, “Well, we’re all enlightened and therefore anything goes,” without real discernment around the nature of what is, the recognition of what is the ego, what’s on behalf of an illusion of a separate self and what is a manifestation of the heart or truth.

Rick: Yeah, key word, discernment.

Caverly: Yeah.

Rick: We were talking about zeal before. I would say if there’s one quality that would be the most valuable tool in your spiritual toolbox, it’s discernment.

Caverly: It’s incredibly important because, you know, without discernment, it seems that it’s very hard to have an experience of clarity because the hologram that I’m inside of whatever my story is feels as real to me as anything else. And it requires discernment to be able to say, “I know this feels real and can I come back to the recognition of myself as awareness? Can I experience in this moment the way in which perhaps this story can’t be trusted the way that I’m conditioned to trust it?” I mean, when we look at our culture’s addiction to the matter model, what we see is a lack of discernment around how that matter model is being perpetuated and maintained and adhered to across the board.

Rick: Yeah. There’s a book by Shankara called “The Crest Jewel of Discrimination,” I think it’s called “Viveka Chudamani,” and discrimination I think is closely related to discernment. But I think what he’s implying with that title and goes on to elaborate in the book is just being able to sort of have this sort of scalpel-like intellect or discernment in terms of subtle distinctions and gradations… because as you know that Somerset Maugham, “The Razor’s Edge,” which was actually based upon his visit with Ramana Maharshi, that book, as the path progresses I think that the need for discernment becomes more acute. Go ahead and respond to that.

Caverly: Absolutely, and I find that it becomes, for me it’s become even more acute through teaching, to be able… I’ve had plenty of unskillful moments where after an interaction I’m able to see, I can discern that there might have been a more skillful way to have supported a person that I’m in this, or the person that I was in that interaction with. And again, what interests me is what shifts when we love that process of refinement. Because it’s no longer — we keep looping back around, it’s interesting to me. Because it’s no longer coming from, I need to polish this stone so that it’ll be as shiny as possible and I’m not enlightened until it’s fully shiny. I mean, I really appreciate the way that Rupert talks about enlightenment as like chapter three, and that recognizing our true nature is chapter three and there’s a lot beyond that. And when the “beyond that” isn’t coming from the energy of filling a hole that will never be filled because it’s… the seeking’s on behalf of this separate self. When the energy is coming from the love of the refinement process, when it’s coming from wanting to be the most clear, open channel for consciousness and to be an agent of love in the world, it has a very different energetic quality.

Rick: Yeah, I think we’re kind of getting at it, but it would be interesting maybe for you and I to the extent we’re able. I’d also like to hear Rupert talk about what all those other chapters might be. It’d be kind of cool to have a kind of table of contents of the whole book, if enlightenment is chapter three and there happen to be 15 chapters.

Caverly: Yeah, well he might — he’s so beautifully articulate with words and maps, creating maps, he might have some very specific chapters there. For me, I would say it’s just an ongoing refinement and as we talked about that means addressing the energy, it means addressing the energy body, it means addressing the physical body, it means addressing the mind, it means using everything in our experience to see how suffering is created in order to drop that and and end suffering through recognizing who we actually are. It means letting… it’s just chapter after chapter of nuanced experiences, of letting our expression of our greatest understanding in the world manifest in in the most authentic and pure way possible. And we see that, to go back to your mention of Amma, we see that in the way that Amma embraces everyone equally. It’s astounding to watch, isn’t it?

Rick: It is.

Caverly: I mean, everyone that comes to her is embraced equally. And that was a huge, huge beautiful open heart experience for me in watching her as you did for a period of time, just seeing that the embodiment of all is welcome because I am that. I recognize myself as that, which doesn’t turn anything or anyone away, which cannot be disturbed, which was never born, which will never die.

Rick: Yeah, it’s kind of an amazing experience. She’s in the States, I don’t know if she’s here yet but she will be soon, if anybody wants to check her out, she goes all over the country. But your jaw drops after a while when you see what she does for 14, 18 hours at a stretch without getting off the couch.

Caverly: Yeah, you might get a little chuckle out of the fact that, you know, so I come from this Zen monastic lineage where there’s a lot of — I mean, we didn’t even have couches on the property. There’s just, you know — you’ve got the image of the kind of traditional Zen setting for training. And then the man that I ended up marrying had spent years in ashrams through Amma’s lineage and has been a devotee since he was to collide has been quite interesting and quite beautiful, quite enriching for both of us.

Rick: Yeah, nice. Here’s a nice point, I want to, before we’re done and we’re not about to be done in any time too soon, I do want to talk about what you’re doing in the schools and there’s a website people can go to watch some videos of your program in the Portland School and kids talking about what their experience is of the program. And also, I think maybe what I’ll also do is put a link to your talk at the SAND conference on your page.

Caverly: I’d love that.

Rick: Yeah, on your page on Batgap because I just listened to it again the other day and it was such a great talk, not only the talk but then little clips from kids talking about their experience. It’s really remarkable what you’re doing. So, well, since I’ve introduced it like that, well, let’s talk about it now. What would you like to tell us about that?

Caverly: That for me, that work is just the current expression of of love that feels the most engaging regarding the reward of watching lights come on. And, just this morning we got another edited video of a student of mine, Nanong, who goes, his real name’s Christopher, he goes by Nanong, and it’s just two minutes of him talking about no longer having to walk through the world with his smile as a mask, but the experience of being able to release that and move through the world more confidently standing in who he actually is. And it just, I mean, I dare someone to watch it and not get moved. It’s so, it’s so touching. And as you heard me say in that talk, these teens are not as crusty as adults. They don’t have the same, you know you and I were talking about the clouds, they don’t have 80 clouds on top of each other, generally speaking. There’s… the veil is so much thinner between who they see themselves to be and who they authentically are. And it’s incredibly rewarding and rich and beautiful to watch teens experience that. And one of the reasons that I’m so excited about how it’s blossomed here in Portland is because I don’t know of any other program that goes beyond just teaching a teen how to direct the attention to the present moment without judgment. Not that that’s not a beautiful thing to teach teens. It is, it’s incredibly wonderful that mindfulness at large is spreading around the world and with young people and I think it’s a really important and beautiful thing that’s happening. And, I feel so deeply honored to be part of a program that because it’s a semester-long experience, we’re witnessing real transformation. And I think as you said about the brain, it might interest you to know, and you actually probably already know, that that’s the most plastic window that there is. The brain’s plasticity when we’re teens. I mean, we used to think, you probably know this, we used to think that once you hit 25, the brain’s not plastic at all anymore. And of course now we know that’s not actually the case, but it does seem to still be the case according to science that that window, it’s just so plastic. And I definitely see that in my experience and it’s just very touching to have an insight about an exercise I might do, bring it into work with some teens, to watch this sort of opening and full embrace and real recognition of a sense of self, an authentic sense of self versus just the illusion of all the identities that we’re trained to, indoctrinated to create and maintain. It’s incredible to watch that and do the same exercise with a group of adults and sort of sometimes be met with this, well I don’t know, this kind of squirrely resistance which is fine, sometimes that’s an important part of practice to resist what is so close to home we’re not ready to take it in yet, but it’s pretty inspiring.

Rick: It really is. And it’s really saving lives literally and enriching lives and kids are doing better academically as a result of it and just… I mean high school is such a crazy time, sometimes I think I wouldn’t mind being reincarnated again, I mean serve the world and all that, but then I think, oh but I’d have to go through high school. But then I think, okay.

Caverly: I think most people say that.

Rick: Yeah. In fact I dropped out of high school.

Caverly: Did you?

Rick: Yeah, and then I picked up things afterwards, you know once…

Caverly: Yeah, yeah.

Rick: once I learned to meditate I kind of got it together, but it was such a difficult time, and it is for most kids, it’s really intense and so, it’s such a valuable thing. Do you get any opposition to it, from fundamentalist Christians or from anybody else who thinks that you shouldn’t be doing it in there?

Caverly: Well, I’m glad you brought that up because it’s always important for me to clarify that while teens through this course are getting this, knowing, learning how to get in touch with their experience of who they are, we’ve done a really good job paying a lot of attention to how we bring that about. This is the sort that we talk about, the tailoring and the compassionate concessions. And because we put so much focus on how this course takes place, it’s equally accessible to a Christian, to an atheist. My Muslim students get as much out of the class as my students whose parents are Buddhist. And so for that reason, because of what the teens experience in terms of personal transformation and sort of collective transformation in the classroom, we’ve only had folks come to us and say thank you so much that I can — that my teen is now part of this community and able to recognize… People will use different language for it. Some people might just, who have no background at all with any kind of meditation, might say, “All I know is Johnny’s confident now. He’s not walking around afraid all the time.” So it is important to acknowledge that as I mentioned before when I was talking about, I do a lot of work with adults as well. And in working with a teen or adult, there’s so many moments where it’s not actually useful, helpful, or appropriate to just say, “Okay, you are awareness, now let’s start the conversation from there.” But to direct a person to experience what’s most primary about their existence, our own being? That is not something that when it’s skillfully shared, that’s not in contradiction to any Christian faith, it’s not in contradiction to… It’s actually not in contradiction to anything because it is the recognition that we are everything.

Rick: Yeah. Do you find that in addition to the personal transformation and development of confidence and diminishment of confusion and things like that, the kids experience, that there’s a big blossoming in terms of their respect and appreciation and kindness toward one another?

Caverly: It’s monumental.

Rick: Yeah.

Caverly: I really didn’t know when this program started that I would be able to witness in a sense what we would hope to see in the world but in a classroom. So one of the ways that happens is that for Susie Q, who’s always felt, maybe Susie Q is the popular teenager and maybe Johnny’s the class nerd, but for Johnny to see that Susie Q has the same self-talk that he does, it’s so bonding in an authentic bonding way. Think of how unhealthy ways that we bond with each other as adults and ways that we bond with each other as teens might be. We might bond over, “Let’s do drugs together,” or we might bond over, “Let’s bully this guy together.” But we’re often in this conditioned society, we’re often not taught on how bonding could be a reflection of our inherent interconnection. It could just be an outpouring, a recognition of what’s inherently so. And that’s what happens in the class. The class arises out of this context of an environment of care and confidentiality, acceptance, reverence, and empathy. And that tender environment of care really is conscious community. That’s so inspiring to me because it’s one thing for a teen to go to therapy and maybe get some new understanding of his conditioned survival strategies and coping mechanisms, because we do. We go over those kinds of things in this class, like how are you conditioned to survive the stress of being a teenager? But yeah, it’s really the community that allows the flourishing of the teachings.

Rick: That’s great. I keep thinking about my high school experience as you’re talking, and we were just kind of, I at least, was really kind of a lost little guy in my own little bubble, and I had my little group of friends, usually the more nerdy ones. But just kind of like walking around in a daze, and there wasn’t, at least from my perspective, there wasn’t this sort of openness and bonding and inter-clique communication and empathy and any of the kind of stuff that you’re alluding to, and that made it all the more difficult. And I remember myself picking on kids that were different than me in some way, and I regret that to this day. I still feel guilty about stuff that I did over 50 years ago. So I don’t know, I just think it’s so wonderful what you’re doing.

Caverly: Well, thank you, and I relate to we can regret these things later because it hurts the heart. We know that those behaviors, we know deep down, and especially young people know it. Like as adults, we get so hardened that we might know it, but we might not actually feel the impact of it in the same way anymore. But these teens really feel it. Something happens and they see, like, “Oh, that’s…that just…” There’s just again, it’s like less layers of crust.

Rick: Yeah.

Caverly: And it’s incredible. It’s like I feel as though all our program actually does is offer ways for teens to be the expression of who they actually are. Whereas, everything else in high school — that’s a little dramatic, not everything else in high school, but a lot of other influences are saying who you should be and what you need and what you don’t have enough of and how to form your identity and what you need to be planning for your future and what you need to be afraid of. And then we wonder why we’re not happy later because, we’re under the thumb of all of this conditioning. The most high school suicides, last time I checked, that I was at least privy to hearing about were all in areas where there’s like high pressure to get into really good schools. And I know one area is like the Palo Alto area where there’s just this sort of cluster suicide epidemic from teens not being able to function under the pressure created. All of the conditioned pressure, all of those clouds.

Rick: Yeah, if anyone hasn’t seen the movie “Dead Poets Society” with Robin Williams, they should watch that movie.

Caverly: That’s an oldie and a goodie, isn’t it?

Rick: Yeah. Yeah, well in a way this kind of segues, and as a reminder I’m going to link to Caverly’s presentation at the SAND conference because she explains the program very nicely and talks about how it developed, but she also has some nice clips in there of the kids talking about the impact it’s had on them. Is there any kind of, I know it’s grown quite a bit in Portland, I mean is there any sort of indication that it might branch out even further? Other states, do people get in touch with you from Ohio and places like that?

Caverly: Every day, every day we get an email from somebody else because we have a woman doing a dissertation project in the fall on the program from Johns Hopkins and as we put structures in place to show the efficacy of what we’re doing, I mean we know the efficacy of what we’re doing and we’ve never actually had a principal or administrator in in Portland ask for outside research because they just see what’s happening. But as we put things in place so that other people can see on paper from afar what the effects are, we’re getting, in a sense, overwhelmed by the demand. And it’s a good problem to have because what it shows me is that there is actually a thirst for a program like this to be, I don’t know, Rupert said it’s going to be worldwide in five years. And I said, “Oh my gosh, don’t say that.” And the reason I joke about don’t say that is we have decided just recently that we want to have Portland be a showroom of sorts before we go beyond Portland. So there are a lot of nuances to doing what we do. And so we’re in seven Portland public high schools now with this semester-long credited course and then in the fall we’ll be in ten. And then very soon we’ll be district-wide in Portland. Once we can build out this whole school model that we’re forming, and most importantly once we can build the next level of our adult training program so that we can have more people teaching this very intensive and deep curriculum, then I think we will be ready to bring this outside Portland, which I’m very excited about.

Rick: Yeah, that’s great.

Caverly: The way I see it happening is that each city could have a different hub point person that will hold the vision, hold the integrity of the depth of this curriculum. And then that person can train more teachers and have it expand that way. And I already have some cities with those people lined up and ready saying just let us know when you’re happy with the showroom in Portland. Because we’re a program that’s focusing on scaling in depth, versus just we need to scale in breadth. Because obviously, there’s the need and there’s the push and there’s demand to scale in breadth. But I just really don’t want to water down the integrity of what we’ve created by going too fast.

Rick: I was just thinking that it could easily become diluted or distorted or perverted or something in some way.

Caverly: Yeah, it would be a shame.

Rick: You really have to have some kind of quality control as it grows.

Caverly: Exactly, yeah, that’s just really important to us. But yeah, who knows maybe someone’s watching that would love to see it, see us build out that infrastructure so that it can expand more fully. And I appreciate you bringing attention to Peace in Schools because it does let me get to say we’re always looking for folks to support that vision.

Rick: Yeah, a good friend of mine is the CEO of the David Lynch Foundation which is doing something somewhat similar with TM in schools, especially inner cities and things like that, also PTS… I mean there’s a lot of other applications for what you’re doing like veterans with PTSD and homeless people and there’s all kinds of things where you could apply the same principle I suppose.

Caverly: Totally, and just offer up all these tools. I mean our curriculum is very dense with tools, so teens learn how to recognize the conditioned mind and learn how to have the discernment to know whether they’re identified with the conditioned mind or whether they’re coming from a place that in that curriculum we talk about as “center.” In a way, it’s all the things that course, that semester-long course, has all of the tools that I find that the average adult I work with could benefit from having in the tool belt, in order to feel, practice, be able to flourish.

Rick: Yeah, it seems to me that I mean building on the thought I just mentioned, with certain modifications you could take this and insert it into all kinds of situations, like again the opioid epidemic, which is huge. I mean and a lot of authorities are desperate to find a solution to that. Here again, this could be extremely valuable.

Caverly: I couldn’t agree more. And I have a type of excitement around just watching what will organically unfold because I’m so clear that I’ve been a midwife for this.

Rick: Yeah.

Caverly: But that it’s, it’s… Even though I would be lying if I hadn’t said I’ve worked really hard, it’s so clear that it’s not — that the project isn’t due to my hard work. There’s something that has organically evolved that now it’s just a train I try to stay on because it moves quickly and we have a team of people that are just extremely dedicated.

Rick: Yeah, isn’t that cool? I get that to a certain extent with Batgap too, where you have this feeling like what you’re doing has an impact and therefore whatever the intelligence governing the universe is kind of like gets behind you and gives you support.

Caverly: Absolutely, I think for us the same thing’s been happening around Presence Collective, which is the Presence Collective is a DBA of Peace and Schools. And I’m doing the teaching, leading meditation retreats and workshops through the book that I put out will be through Presence Collective. There’s just this momentum of the community and then what’s beyond the community that seems to have a life of its own for sure.

Rick: Yeah. Okay, shifting topics. Another nice little note you wrote here which I’d like to talk about is exploring the foundation of world peace. I think actually we can segue into this pretty well from what we were just saying. “The greatest gift we can give is to wake up to our true nature, it has to begin there. True justice and world peace can only come through starting with the recognition of what we all share, it can only come through the realization that our very being is in fact shared.” And I always kind of remember the analogy of if a forest is to be green then all the trees have to be green, each individual tree has to know its true nature, that is it has to be in touch with its ground and derive nourishment from there in order to flourish as an individual tree and then the forest will be green. But you know to neglect the nourishment of each individual tree and try to impose greenness on the forest by spray painting it or something isn’t going to work.

Caverly: Absolutely, I love that, I love that analogy. Yeah, it really points to the importance of nourishment. So what if instead of seeking enlightenment, we nourished our recognition of what’s most directly our experience of existence? Yeah.

Rick: Yeah, and that is certainly not incompatible with seeking enlightenment, I mean that’s by one definition what seeking enlightenment is.

Caverly: Yes, I was just referring to the earlier part of the conversation for that that seeking from the place that assumes some sort of separation,

Rick: Right, right.

Caverly: which in fact even though that process is required on some level or certainly often seems to be the case — there are people who just seem to have these spontaneous experiences. But for most of us that seems to be required. But even in that case where, where it seems to be required folks always say the same thing, “I turned around and realized that there was no separate self that achieved anything through that striving.” I mean in a way isn’t enlightenment just the greatest disappointment for the ego? It’s the ultimate letdown, it’s the ultimate letdown that I’ve worked so hard and yet this isn’t an experience that is mine to have. It can’t. It can’t have it.

Rick: No, it can’t have it. I mean it’s like saying the the drop wants to have the ocean.

Caverly: Exactly, exactly.

Rick: Drop just has to sort of relax into knowing that it is the ocean.

Caverly: A hundred percent.

Rick: Yeah and there really isn’t any loss because I mean let’s say you go from your garden into your house and obviously you sort of leave the garden, but then you’re enjoying the house. Or to use another example you live in a hut and there’s this beautiful palace and and you go to the palace but you don’t regret the loss of the hut when you’ve moved into the palace. Just throwing metaphors out.

Caverly: Yeah, yeah, yeah. No, I’m hanging with you.

Rick: Yeah. Here’s another nice thing that plays upon the world peace point that we made. You say “Practice is the deepest contribution that it is possible to make to society.” I read some quote from Ramana along those lines recently. “Eradicating poverty would be a natural byproduct of waking up,” for example. I think that all the problems in the world are a symptom, are symptoms of the fact that people haven’t woken up by and large and that if there were a mass awakening, which hopefully is in its fledgling stages and will happen, that all these problems will just sort of dissipate as you know like as those trees of the forest begin to suck up the nourishment from their ground.

Caverly: Yeah, I mean would you say that that’s your experience when you look around?

Rick: It’s my experience in my own life.

Caverly: Yeah.

Rick: And if we extrapolate from our individual lives to the world which is not that far-fetched to do, then I really think that everyone has their basis in an inexhaustible reservoir of potential whether they know it or not. And if they can somehow know it then that potential will begin to be channeled through them and they’ll become more successful, more productive, more creative. And all the problems that are created by virtue of the fact that people are deficient in those things will just fade away. I mean and even on a level of cool new technologies being discovered that could get all the extra carbon out of the air or better solar panels or alternative energy and all kinds of stuff. There’s no end to possibilities. It’s just a matter… We don’t have an energy shortage, we have an intelligence shortage. And I don’t mean intellectual intelligence, I mean sort of attunement to divine intelligence.

Caverly: Absolutely, and the more lack of attunement there is, the greater the lack of attunement, the more problems

Rick: Yeah!

Caverly: we seem to have because as you pointed out, that’s what happens personally. The less attunement, the more suffering, right in here.

Rick: Yeah.

Caverly: And then that’s what’s happening societally too. If you look at our conditioned world right now, it’s actually a perfectly accurate brushstroke representation of the conditioned mind. What’s happening on the level of our conditioned world is just such an accurate representation.

Rick: Yeah, well I mean the conditioned world is the reflection of seven billion conditioned minds, like the forest analogy again, whatever the overall appearance of the forest, it’s due to the condition of all the trees that make it up.

Caverly: Absolutely.

Rick: So let’s change the trees.

Caverly: Yeah, they can’t be separated, they can’t be separated out. And I love that one of the themes that we’ve bounced around and kept coming back to in this call is it doesn’t even require changing the trees, it requires recognizing that which leads to a lack of nourishment.

Rick: Yeah, nourishing the trees, I didn’t mean putting in new trees.

Caverly: Yeah, yeah. Keeping the better trees.

Rick: Yeah, there’s kind of a drought, ending the drought.

Caverly: Yeah, absolutely, allowing the trees to be trees without all of the ways that we interfere with the wondrous nature of what is. All of the ways that the conditioned world and the conditioned mind interferes with the wondrous nature of what is.

Rick: Yeah, and this is not a Pollyanna-ish kind of discussion we’re having here. I really think that something of this nature is percolating. It’s in the works and what you’re doing is an example of it. And, if we all just keep doing it as we feel moved to, and each in our own way, I think it may be an unstoppable force.

Caverly: Yeah.

Rick: I think that the time is such that something of this nature is obviously needed and also is something whose time has come.

Caverly: Yeah, the time has come and specifically there’s so much thirst and hunger for truth because the distortion is so severe. So I was thinking the other day about how when storms are brewing on the horizon and just very, very dramatic storms, we can sometimes forget that those storms can leave a deep quenching of the earth and can be part of this nourishment process. Because we’re just so perhaps triggered into seeing the storm and then feeling like we have to batten down the hatches. And I appreciate your point that that’s not a Pollyanna recognition. It’s not to say, oh, everything always turns up good. It’s sunny. It’s recognizing inherent goodness, which is not the opposite of bad.

Rick: I heard a great metaphor the other day. Someone was talking about, it may seem that how can you be so optimistic when there’s these politicians doing this and this corruption here and these corporations there and all that. And the metaphor presented was, well, when you make chicken soup this scum kind of bubbles to the surface and you can skim it off.

Caverly: Okay, as a vegetarian I’m not quite saying I can come from experience on that one, but I get the idea. It’s the kind of lotus mud thing too, isn’t it?

Rick: Yeah, yeah.

Caverly: Yeah, I’m totally following it.

Rick: Okie-dokie, what do you got here in terms of additional points? I want to cover all these points because they’re so good. I really appreciate you sending me these.

Caverly: Oh good, well since I haven’t got that book out yet I just figured I’d toss out some things that I’ve been looking at. And Rick, I appreciate that, it’s fun that those are engaging things for you too. I appreciate the alchemy of our connection.

Rick: Yeah, a lot of these points are just things that I’m passionate about and that I’ve thought about for decades and I think we’re both on to something here.

Caverly: We’re not alone, that’s for sure.

Rick: Okay, so here’s a point I don’t think we’ve quite covered. You’re currently interested in the collective conditioning we have, so the collective conditioning as women, the collective conditioning as men, recognizing the power of collective presence, hence our new name you have this thing Presence Collective, in the face of that collective conditioning. I guess we’ve maybe sort of touched on it but maybe there’s a little bit more we could say about it.

Caverly: Yeah, anything specific arise for you as you read that just to start us off with it?

Rick: What comes to mind as I read it is that conditioning can seem very ingrained and intractable and hard to change. But it can change and even an individual’s conditioning can change dramatically. I just don’t think that things… I mean there are certain things that are calcified and have been for thousands of years, like certain… Shias and the Sunnis for instance have been going at it forever and and the Palestinians and the Israelis. Some of these situations just seem so hard to resolve and there are deep kind of collective conditioning. So maybe we could talk about how what you’re introducing here and what we’re talking about here could actually be an antidote to those long-established patterns.

Caverly: Yeah, something that’s just interesting to me right now is I’ve spent so much time as a monk bringing attention to the conditioning of this body mind. And as I’ve said it’s, there’s so much benefit that’s come from… You know, I know my Enneatype. And not that I know everything about like what it means to be a One on the enneagram or… But I know I know how the… I know the shadow sides of my own conditioning and how that can create this distortion that I’m, that I’m something other than the sun, for example. So to have that immersion in understanding of personal conditioning, something that’s interesting to me is how does that relate to collective conditioning. And so I’m lately found it really engaging to look at structures of conditioning. So just to bring back that that point that I tossed out at the beginning of our conversation. How has the oppression of minorities how has that collective conditioning stayed in place? And how does something like the kind of awareness practice, which is a again a non-practice really at its core, but how does something like that address these large system institutionalized structures? Because I believe it’s the only thing that can. We’ve proven to ourselves that just, for example, fighting racism isn’t the answer. It’s deeply dualistic it doesn’t take us to another degree of understanding.

Rick: Yeah, so I think it’s just kind of a matter of I mean I think that the kind of thing you’re doing and things like it could easily become mainstream. And so it will… As we’ve been saying with all of our metaphors of forests and stuff, you just can’t really — political solutions have never really been long term and the same patterns keep cropping up again. I mean there certainly they’ve been good advancements, women’s suffrage and certain… the abolition of slavery and the Voting Rights Act and all kinds of good things have come along. But I tend to see those things as more like reflections of shifts in collective consciousness than as causes in themselves. They’re more like symptoms of deeper changes that took place. And I think that what you’re doing and the kind of thing you’re doing if it proliferates can transform collective consciousness more profoundly or can accelerate the transformation of collective consciousness. And then all kinds of laws and relationships between warring factions and so on will just kind of dissipate.

Caverly: I think that was beautifully said. I have nothing to add to that other than to say thanks for articulating it so well. It’s just so, it’s so, I think, helpful when we recognize that way in which as the consciousness… Now of course consciousness is never actually shifting, but you and I know what plane we’re talking about.

Rick: Yeah, we’re not talking about the absolute changing in anyway.

Caverly: Exactly, exactly.

Rick: Yeah, right.

Caverly: But I always have to preface that if I say, “shifting consciousness.” But as we experience that evolution of consciousness or that shifting in consciousness, it seems so important to see what the kinds of things you just pointed to — the women getting to vote all of that — as byproducts. Because it’s so… What that allows us to do is refocus the attention on the heart really. So as we focus the attention on the heart the natural byproduct is policies that don’t alienate to other people and the list goes on and on.

Rick: And that is not to say that we can all just sit on our butts and meditate and then the politicians are just going to wake up one day and make all the beautiful changes we’d like to see them make and so on. I think you have to sort of be multi-dimensional in your approach to this stuff and you need to vote and you need to engage in various sorts of activism that you’re passionate about like you were saying animal rights and and things like that, all that stuff needs to be done. But no one component is sufficient unto itself. All the different levels of, that one can — from sitting eyes closed meditating to getting out there and joining a protest or something. They all have their relevance on their own respective levels.

Caverly: Yeah, and imagine if all of the forces for change were united through the recognition of our shared being. So then folks over working on the environmental field are coming from this deep recognition. And folks working over with institutionalized racism are coming from this recognition. It would create a very different quality to the change that we actually do already see happening around us.

Rick: I think that’s kind of happening. A few years ago I interviewed Proctor and Kimberly Gamble who made the Thrive movie and we were talking about how back in the 60s there was the meditators who just sat and meditated and thought all these Vietnam War protesters were crazy and that they weren’t going to accomplish anything. And then there were the activists and protesters who thought that the meditators were escapists. And now it’s more like there’s a marriage between activism and spirituality. In fact the term spiritual activism is in vogue. And there are people who kind of have recognized that both are insufficient without the other.

Caverly: Yeah, I think as you said before I think you pointed to the way in which it’s not lasting change if it’s just coming on that level. I mean we saw that with the last administration and then this administration, it’s like, oh okay this guy signed this so I’ll unsign this. I mean it’s just like if you can step back to find the comedy in it. It’s comedy, I mean it’s a tragic comedy.

Rick: Yeah, okay I think we made that point. So how do people plug into what you’re doing? Obviously, they could support it financially I imagine, but you also teach, I mean your whole schools thing, but you also teach retreats and things like that. So if people are inspired by this and want to plug into what you’re doing more what do they do?

Caverly: They would go to And so we have… I’ll be leading two, actually three retreats this summer. And then our winter retreats listed but the registration is not up for that yet. And I’m going to be doing a collaborative…

Rick: Is it mostly on the West Coast?

Caverly: That’s a good question. Those four are on the West Coast of the United States. And, I’m doing a lot more online these days too. So SAND invited me to do a webinar in the new year. My schedule just couldn’t fit it in until the new year. So I’m doing a lot more teaching beyond the comfort of my own home. So for years now our Portland community of practitioners has been very strong and very intimate. And it’s just newer that I’ve been teaching through other centers as well. So I just finished teaching at Against the Stream in that community in San Francisco, and the Insight Meditation Community of Seattle and Charlottesville, Virginia, and the New York Zen Center. So I’m starting to bop around just a little bit more as we make a really important transition with Peace in Schools. And that is that I’ve been the executive director and then and I’m now becoming the founder and guiding teacher of Peace in Schools. And I’ve been totally willing to play the role of executive director in that organization. And it’s pretty liberating for me to be moving in a direction where my energy can be freed to focus on creating new curriculum, guiding the teachers for Peace in Schools, as well as focusing on teaching adults which is a great passion. Peace in Schools is obviously a huge passion and we have, and that’s why we have now a passion that’s been contagious. But offering teachings, practice to the world at large, meaning adults as well, is… That hasn’t dimmed for me, I just haven’t been able to have my attention on that as fully over the last few years. But it’s just now shifting. So it’s actually becoming less and less hard to to find me on that front for those who would wish to.

Rick: Good, well they can go to and I’m sure you have some email they can sign up for to be notified of things. So I really love what you’re doing and you’re a bright light in the world. And the world needs more people like you. It’s beautiful.

Caverly: Well I’m very grateful to speak with you today, Rick. And like I said at the beginning, I think what you’re doing is beautiful because I think in terms of contributing to that shift in consciousness, I think it’s really important that people from all over can access these teachings. One of my greatest passions that led to Peace in Schools is for practice, awaken teachings not to be reserved for the privileged. And that’s really done through means like this where folks can be anywhere as long as they can get their hands on a way to get online, which could even happen at a library really.

Rick: Sure.

Caverly: These teachings are so much more available and accessible than they used to be and I think that’s an incredible thing. And so I just appreciate your contribution to that.

Rick: Yeah, well as the Beatles said, we’re all doing what we can.

Caverly: We’re doing what we can, out of love and service.

Rick: Yeah, all right, well thanks. So I’ll see you in October.

Caverly: Great, yeah, see you at SAND.

Rick: Yeah, let me make a couple of wrap-up points. So I’ve been speaking with Caverly Morgan and this is an ongoing series of conversations as most of you know. And I’ll have a page on Batgap for Caverly for her interview and links to everything. And then, obviously, there are hundreds of other interviews that I’ve done over the years. So if you’re not familiar with the site, just go there and poke around through the menus a little bit and you’ll see what we have to offer. It also exists as an audio podcast, some people like to listen while they commute and things. So thanks.

Caverly: Thank you. Until next time.

Rick: Until next time.