Chris Beal Transcript

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Chris Beal Interview

Rick Archer: Welcome to Buddha at the Gas Pump. My name is Rick Archer. Buddha at the Gas Pump is an ongoing series of interviews with spiritually Awakening people. I’ve done about 550 of them now and if this is new to you and you’d like to check out previous ones, please go to bat gap comm bat gap and look under the past interviews menu. This program is made possible through the support of appreciative listeners and viewers. So if you appreciate it, and we’d like to support it, there’s a PayPal button on every page of the website. My guest today is Chris Beal read a little bio she sent me, Chris discovered Buddhism as an exchange student in Japan in the 1960s. Given her determination, she was sure she would succeed in getting enlightened, but enthusiasm doesn’t always guarantee success. She went home disappointed, depressed and demoralized. 13 years later, after a spontaneous awakening, she contacted the Buddhist priest who had been her main teacher in Japan, and began a six year connection which deepened her understanding of what she had realized. Meanwhile, she sought a spiritual path in the States, but found nothing that spoke to her as deeply as her first teacher had until she met Adi Shanti, 20 years ago, after almost a decade of absorbing his teachings, she found the realization gradually deepening on its own. Chris enjoys writing about spirituality and spiritual awakening. Her writing includes numerous published book reviews, author interviews, and articles. She is currently seeking publication of her novel enlightenment of the flesh, in which the main characters dilemma reflects that of many seekers. How do you know which way will lead to the ultimate truth when what you’re seeking is not in the realm of imagining. And she sent me a little passage from that book, kind of a teaser. I really enjoyed it and said, Chris, send me more, but she hasn’t yet. She’s a good writer, you’re a good writer,

Chris Beal: I’d be happy to send you the whole 425 pages if you really want

Rick Archer: to read them. Well, unfortunately, now I’ll be on to the next person. I

Chris Beal: know I didn’t have time. Well, I

Rick Archer: had some time this week. But yeah, anyway, it sounded very he was very well, you never know, it was very well written I, if you sent it to me, I might actually get back to it. My eyes are bigger than my stomach, as my mother used to say with regard to things I’d like to read, although she She used that phrase with reference to food. Let’s start maybe just for kicks by having you elaborate a bit on this last sentence that I read, how do you know which way will lead to the ultimate truth capital T, when what you are seeking is not in the realm of imagining? What do you mean by that?

Chris Beal: Well, actually, I was thinking about that this morning. So I’m glad you asked me that question. So the way the mind works, and I know you’re an intellectual type, so you’ve probably thought a lot about these things, the way the mind works is that it takes experiences, turns them into memories. And with the memory, it’s, it evaluates whether it should have more of those kinds of experiences, or less of those kinds of experiences, depending on whether it’s painful or, or, you know, enjoyable. But enlightenment isn’t like that, or awakening isn’t like that. It isn’t really an experience. And you know, when it used to say that I’d like What do you mean, it isn’t an experience, it felt like an experience to me, you know, but I understand now that what he means is that it’s actually it’s a whole an experience, so to speak. I mean, joelly, H, O le, right, your your consciousness, all of the thoughts just drop away, everything drops away. And so my experience of it anyway, is like it’s, you find out that your consciousness has an infinite bottom or doesn’t have a bottom. So there’s no there’s no reference really, because it’s not an experience. And so your mind can’t take it and put it in memory. But what comes what happens is when you come back from that experience, there’s a kind of a flavor of it that’s very blissful. And because of that bliss, you want more of that thing that happened to you. But it’s not an experience. So there’s a misunderstanding right away, I’m trying to have an experience like that again, but I can’t, because it’s not an experience. So there’s a dichotomy between what your mind usually does, and it usually works for ordinary experiences and what it’s trying to do now. And that can lead to all kinds of confusion and suffering, and so on. Until that finally becomes clear that it’s not something in the ordinary realm and you can’t repeat it, you can have more awakenings. But every awakening is dropping out of that. Dropping through the ordinary realm of thought into another into what’s bottomless, really, yeah,

Rick Archer: there’s a phrase I think it’s in the Brahma sutras which says, contact with Brahman is infinite joy. And notice it says contact with Brahman doesn’t say, Brahman says contact with it. So like that, I was reminded of that, when you just said, you know, when you come back from that, you may feel very blissful. But that in itself is not an experience. And if I understand what you’re saying, you know, every every other experience, we have, by definition, involves an experiencer mechanics of experience, such as your eyes and ears, and an object of experience, you know, thing you’re perceiving. But the thing we’re referring to here, doesn’t have that threefold structure, right? So it’s, it’s kind of not, it’s very different from any other experience we could possibly have. And therefore, a little bit hard, hard to define.

Chris Beal: Right? I think it possible to define and that’s also part of the problem that people want to put words on it so they can understand it. And that’s, you know, that’s natural and even necessary, to some extent. But when you have an awakened, those words are literal, you try to take them literally. And that can also lead to a lot of confusion, because it’s, you know, it’s it’s wordless. It’s silence. And there are no words really,

Rick Archer: yeah. And you try to compare it with something you have already experienced, which is what we naturally do if, if someone says, you know, well, I tried to describe what a mango tastes like. And they said, Well, maybe it’s a little bit like a peach, have you ever had a PGR, I’ve had a peach, but it’s different than a peach, maybe it’s a little bit more tangy than a peach or something, you know, as if you mixed in some tangerine juice with peach or something. So you kind of beat around the bush giving people an idea of what you’re talking about. But then if they finally bite into the mango, ah, yeah, that’s what you’re talking about.

Chris Beal: Right? Exactly. Yeah.

Rick Archer: Yeah. In any case, how do you know which way will lead to the ultimate truth when what you’re seeking is not in the realm of imagining? That’s interesting. I mean, we can pick this apart a little bit more. Because I know that, you know, from the time I learned to meditate back in the 60s, my concept of enlightenment, or ultimate truth, and all has, has evolved a lot. I mean, I used to think, Wow, if I were enlightened, I could be in a band, or we could just get up on stage and compose music, spontaneously, we’d all be totally like psychically connected with each other. And we could just do this great stuff without even rehearsing and I had all these ideas, what it might mean, right? You know, you’re naturally mature and grow in your understanding and your experience. But I still think there’s a, you know, it’s, it’s a word, I hesitate to use enlightenment, because there’s such a wide range of definitions of it. And if you want to communicate with people, you actually want them to understand what you’re saying. And so we try not to use words that are going to be misinterpreted.

Chris Beal: Right, and the mind really can’t understand it. Anyway. So it’s going to refer back to experiences like that, like for you it was playing in the band with you know, total total without rehearsing Does knowing what to play and for someone else, it’s something else that is as close as they can get to ultimate joy. You know.

Rick Archer: That brings up another interesting question, and that is that I have a friend who’s been on that gap a couple of times didn’t Dana Sawyer is his name. And he’s been a professor of religions at a university in Maine and he wrote a biography of Aldous Huxley and another one of Houston Smith and was actually friends with Houston Smith. And he and I’ve had this discussion about you know, whether there is some ultimate truth, which people around the world throughout the ages all can tap into and they’re all experiencing the same thing, or whether you know, the the weather What people tap into in quote unquote higher states of consciousness. However, the culture in question defines it is unique to that culture in that time and that person. And you know that if people if all these people who said they have been enlightened, have gotten enlightened could actually step inside each other’s shoes, so to speak and see from the other’s perspective, they wouldn’t necessarily say, oh, yeah, that’s what I was experiencing, there might actually be significant differences. When you think about that.

Chris Beal: Um, well, what it reminds me of is Jung’s collective unconscious. And I think that’s, that is the realm where there’s culture or, you know, you go into a space where you have a collective culture, I think awakening is a step beyond that. So you’re not talking about archetypes anymore. As I said, the, the basis of it is nothing. So only when we get to the place of where there’s nothing, then we have true unity, because there are no, there’s nothing else. There’s no reference. You know, I guess I don’t have anything else to say. Okay. No,

Rick Archer: I actually, I agree with you. And that’s kind of what I argue with Dana, which is that I think that with the way I would prefer to divine enlightenment, is that it’s a sort of a waking up to the ultimate reality, I think you use the term Ultimate Reality somewhere in here, the truth capital T, ultimate truth, and that the human nervous system is actually capable. Unlike perhaps any other sort of nervous system we know of, of enabling the truth to awaken to itself, maybe that’s a good way of putting it because it’s not like you get enlightened, but somehow rather, it becomes a living experience through the instrument of the human nervous system properly cultured. And, and if that is the case, then there would be a similarity, despite the culture the age in which one lived. I mean, yeah, identical in one sense, one, but one would just reflect it differently, according to their language and personality and all.

Chris Beal: Yeah, that’s it. That’s I was what I was gonna add. Yeah, to add it. Yeah, I think it’s gone, whatever I was gonna say,

Rick Archer: That’s it, we’ll come back, feel free to interrupt me if I’m talking along, and you think of something you want to say, cuz I don’t want you to lose your train of thought. Um, let’s turn to your sort of biographical sketch. I mean, you know, what you’ve been through in your life. And we can sort of take little detours as we go, as you describe that to us and explore different ideas. But um, what what drew you to go to Japan in the first place in the 1960s.

Chris Beal: It was actually not a very deep decision. I had, there was an A woman in my dorm who had gone to France, I didn’t think I could pass the language test. And there wasn’t a language test for Japan, because it was the first year of the program, partly because it was the first year of the program. And partly because, you know, in those days, and maybe still, people only studied Asian languages, if they were that major, if they were a Japanese major, or something like that. And they wanted people from a wider background, you know, to apply for the program. So there was no language requirement, and I thought, Oh, I’ll probably get to Europe. Anyway, someday, but Japan. When did I get there? You know, in those days, Japan was a lot further away, you know, psychologically than it is now. Yeah.

Rick Archer: Cool. Do you know Shinzen Young or know who he is? No, I’ve

Chris Beal: never heard that name. Yeah, I’ve been

Rick Archer: young like Neil Young to just Why are you MJ but Shinzen s. Hinz. And I’ve interviewed him a couple times. And he also grew up in Los Angeles. And he ended up going to some kind of Japanese American high school there and spoke fluent Japanese even before he went to Japan. But he might enjoy checking into his Yeah, thank you. Yeah, I will. He did all kinds of really intense Zen practice over there in Japan, you know, just get chewed by mosquitoes and just you know, just persevering. Interesting story.

Chris Beal: Yeah. So that. I don’t know if you want to talk about this, but that, for me, one of the themes of the novel, you know, how much do you have to suffer in order to get enlightened or whatever? You know, and certainly the belief when I was young, and my character genies belief when she was young, she somewhat reflects me is that you have to suffer or it’s not going to happen. And you know, I mean, that’s karmic stuff. You believe you everything that’s worthwhile. You really have to work for it. And if it’s too easy, it’s not real and you You know, so I think that’s, that’s a worthwhile while discussion, you know, to what extent it

Rick Archer: came up. Let’s talk about it now. And then like I say, we’ll take a little detour. And we’ll just keep coming back.

Chris Beal: Okay. Well, can it be too easy? You know, you see this, I remember when I was looking for a teacher kind of casually, I found it on a bulletin board. It was a flyer thing, thought songs, and I studied the flyer, and I thought he seems genuine. You know, and I don’t know what it was, but I think that he wasn’t claiming too much. Yeah, you know, it was that, you know, I don’t just come and see what it’s like, it’s not, I am the big teacher, I knew there wasn’t like a bunch of gold around his head. And, and so I think there’s also a tendency for people of maybe the opposite personality type, to go for what’s easy, you know, the easy promise, the easy, you know, I have all the answers come to me, and I’ll give you the answer. And then you get involved in a cult or something like that. And so it’s just an interesting. It’s an interesting question, which I tried to explore in the book, you know, what is it that? What’s the real way? Or is there one way? Or are there multiple ways for different people? And how can you be misled? What causes people to be misled by a teacher who’s promising to help you wake up? And I think this is not part of the novel. But I think one of the one of the signposts of a genuine teacher is if they know how to turn you away, if they know how not to give you answers, and turn you back on yourself. And not only at the end, but during the process. And I think God is very good at that he knows how to say just enough, without, you know, because if if you look into the teacher for all the answers, you’re never going to find it inside. Yeah.

Rick Archer: Yeah, those are all interesting questions, which I think about a lot myself on the question, and we’ll unpack that. But on the question of suffering, obviously, the Buddha went through a lot of suffering right before his enlightenment. And the reason he got enlightened finally, was that he decided to, like cut himself some slack. You know, he’s just said to ease up a bit. And then kind of, then he taught the middle way after that, which, you know, which is not, you’re not a lazy slob, but you’re also not, you know, killing yourself trying to get like you, you found a sort of a balance.

Chris Beal: Yeah, and I think there’s two kinds of suffering. One is the kind that is karmic that you have to undergo anyway, because it’s just, you’re who you are, you were born in this circumstance that you were born in. And then the other kind is the kind that you decide you need to impose on yourself in that that comes from the will that you need to, you need to do this in order to earn it, so to speak, you know? And I don’t remember, if I had another thought after that, it’s okay.

Rick Archer: Go back to Earth. But yeah, now suffering. So obviously, there are different kinds of suffering, there’s sitting in a Zendo being chewed by mosquitoes, and it’s freezing cold, and you’re tired. And, you know, and you know, somebody comes along waxy with a stick every now and then it’s, it’s not everyone’s idea of a picnic. And then, obviously, so that’s a sort of a self imposed austerity or discipline. And obviously, then there are all kinds of diseases and other circumstances in life that can cause great suffering. Maybe this is what you meant by, you know, there are certain karmas that people have that are escapable, it seems, and others that we might take upon ourselves. Willingly. Right, right. One interesting question, though, is, we mentioned bliss earlier, and you mentioned how one can slip into the transcendent or whatever word used and, and maybe you don’t experience much while you’re there, because it’s not really an experience per se, but afterwards, you feel this blissfulness and one way of looking at it, is that that innermost nature is blissful by its nature. All the traditions say that the kingdom of heaven is within Nirvana supposed to be blissful and you know, the Samadhi different terminologies are not such an Ananda. Ananda means bliss. So if it’s blissful, shouldn’t there be a diminishment of suffering as one moves toward it? Shouldn’t there be sort of greater happiness or greater charm and less suffering?

Chris Beal: What do you mean by moved toward it? Do you mean before the first awakening or after the first awakening? As awakenings are deepening,

Rick Archer: or as well? Yeah, awakens your deepening or as one progresses toward it like Let’s say you sit down to meditate, and your awareness starts to settle in and settle down. Perhaps, I mean, perhaps one would find that, if it’s done naturally, perhaps one would find that to be increasingly charming. And enjoyable, actually. Whereas there are some kinds of practice that one does, where one is, kind of from the outset, setting up a struggle, you know, oh, thoughts coming, I got to stop that. You know, and so that can be very unpleasant. So that has to do with kind of the mechanics of meditation, I think meditation is like the word Enlightenment come, it’s defined very differently by different people. It’s like the word liquid. I mean, there’s so many things that are, that are liquids, but they’re very different in their properties.

Chris Beal: Well, I’m not a meditator. And I think Zen cheered me of meditation for so. So you know, one of the attractions of audio for me was that I believed him when he said, You don’t have to do anything. And I mean, I can just feel it. Now, as I’m saying it, you know, that I believed him. And that’s what I needed was to believe him. You don’t have to do anything. It’s already your true nature. And so there is a when you say, Is it already blissful as you’re moving toward it? Not in my experience, but I wasn’t meditating. I think as after you have the first awakening, everything relaxes. Yeah. The way I experienced it, and is that you always feel like you’re too small for the container that you’re in. And once you have the awakening is just blows up. And you’re like, you realize you’re as big as you’ve always wanted to be. And not in the grandiose way, but in the real way, in a genuine way.

Rick Archer: Nice. So I get the you kind of, I get the impression that when you were in Japan, you were trying to meditate a lot. And like you say, that cured you of the desire to meditate and that you came home disappointed, depressed, demoralized. So it sounds like it was kind of a struggle, and that it wasn’t terribly fruitful. Is that right?

Chris Beal: It wasn’t fruitful at all. Although some seeds were planted.

Rick Archer: Some seeds were planted. Yeah, obviously. How did you even glom on to the idea that there was such a thing of enlightenment because because you didn’t go to Japan with that thought in mind. You must have discovered it over there.

Chris Beal: No, actually discovered it on the ship on the way over Oh, really? Okay. Had a book. No, that’s, that’s actually not true. There was a book called written by Southern California. I can’t remember the name of the book. Now. It’s on the tip of my tongue. He wrote about the beatnik culture in Los Angeles. And I read that book, maybe a summer or two before I went to Japan. And that was rent and they were all doing Zen. And that was the first I heard about Zen. So I didn’t know about it. But when I was on the ship on the way over, I met someone who was going there to do Zen. He was from one of the Ivy League schools, it just graduated. I can’t remember the one nail and so you know, I, I was reading, Suzuki’s dissected Suzuki, not the one in San Francisco. Zen Buddhism, and it was on our list of readings for, you know, in cultivating us for for Japan, you know, and so he started talking to me, and I said, Okay, if I ever want to contact you, so I can, you know, visit your Zen Center or something, is there a way I can do it? He gave me his contact information. And so after I’d been in Japan a short time I contacted him, he was in Kyoto. I was in Tokyo. But I went over there and I talked to his teacher whose name I don’t remember. It’s not alive anymore, of course. And he gave me contact information to go for in Tokyo. And I followed up that information and ended up doing Zen at incoco G which was dissected Suzuki’s temple, he was actually there. So

Rick Archer: cool. And then, you know, he came home demoralized and all that. But then 13 years later, you had a spontaneous Awakening was that actually, that was still pre Agha I would assume a way before way before. So how, what, what, how did this spontaneous awakening happen and what was it?

Chris Beal: Um, let’s see if I can say it in a simple way. So I was longing for somebody I had a crush on somebody who wasn’t returning my affections. And I kept hoping and this was the realization Oh, No interest there. And so I remember I was lying on my bed and feeling oh, and there was for me. I don’t know if it’s for everybody, but with rejection, there was also a kind of self blame. Like, maybe I shouldn’t be wanting this, and that’s why I’m suffering, you know, and somehow that just went. And it was okay to have every feeling that I had, I didn’t have to push it away. And then I kind of went through into something else where it’s okay, whatever my body is doing and feeling. And by body, I meant mind body, everything, you know, it’s okay. And that was the was just a little hint. And but that it was enough to know what that space was like. And then I wrote to my teacher thinking I couldn’t, you know, I had no relationship with him, but I had no one else to tell.

Rick Archer: So, even though it was this little hint, it was significant enough that you counted as an awakening.

Chris Beal: Yeah, he counted it as an awakening, he wrote back and said, you’ve entered Nirvana and gotta die. And I’m like, Oh, I thought this was just a little hint. So I think it was deeper than I was able to recognize at that time, you know, the, the sense of the sense, I think a big piece of moving into the awake space is stopping the inner struggle. And that struggle stopped for a moment. And I fell into that space. But I didn’t recognize it. Because I’d never been there before. I had no reference, you know? Yeah. And I had no teacher to tell me.

Rick Archer: I think that I agree that that’s a big piece. And you remember all these stories, certainly, of how he was, like, you know, struggling like a son of a gun, and, you know, just like really pushing himself to the limits. And, you know, he got to the point where he thought he was gonna crack up because he was pushing so hard with his meditation and his retreats that he was doing and everything. And finally, he just went back to his little meditation hut in the backyard of his parents home and sat down and thought, how could I give up? I can’t struggle like this anymore. then poof, major awakening.

Chris Beal: Right. That was after he left that retreat? Right? Yeah, I

Rick Archer: think he, he, like split in the middle of it, because he just had reached his limit. Right. Well, I think that’s interesting. I think it’s also interesting just to throw in here that, I don’t think one has to beat oneself over the head with a hammer to see how good it’ll feel when you stop. To use that metaphor. I think one can can approach spiritual development in a non struggling way from the outset. But that’s kind of another story. Um,

Chris Beal: yeah, that? Well, that’s an interesting question, isn’t it? Can I think, again, that that’s karmic, I think there are some people who really feel the need to push themselves, they don’t feel it’s real. If they’re not struggling, they don’t feel like they’re really getting going to get somewhere. And there are other people who have had maybe a more gentle upbringing, and don’t necessarily think that you have to, you know, go through suffering in order to get there.

Rick Archer: Yeah, there’s another phrase from the Vedas, it says, Be easy to us with gentle effort. And in my own case, I happened upon a teaching that was explicitly discouraged as any form of struggling it was emphasized in terms of being effortless and natural, and all that stuff. So I never went through a struggling face. But I imagine that people who get together with idea at any time is teaching. We’re never encouraged to struggle by him. His approach SAT is we’ve had discussions about this, but it’s seems very natural and effortless. You know, he’s not trying to amplify any kind of inner turmoil that people might be habituated to,

Chris Beal: right. Yeah. And I think, you know, once I had had that first awakening, and then there was a subsequent one that was a lot deeper that my teacher in Japan, precipitated from 5000 miles away, miraculously.

Rick Archer: Shortly after the first one,

Chris Beal: yeah, it was shortly after this one, keep going higher, but describe

Rick Archer: at some point, describe that one too.

Chris Beal: I can. So after I connected with him, and this is actually an important theme. I think so, guys, we’ll talk about it now. One of the one of my the things that I have done repeatedly in my journey is project that project that perfection onto the team And so as soon as he wrote back, there was just this huge attachment. Oh, he gets me he knows what it’s like, you know, and, and I became really dependent on him. Every letter he wrote in writing, you know, communicating in those days, he didn’t speak English. And I didn’t write Japanese well enough to write in Japanese. So the letters have translated translated in both directions. And it took, you know, and then you had the mail, it took, like, I guess, three weeks is about as quick as I could get a response. So I was just hanging on every word, you know, when is the next response going to come? Will he still accept me? You know, and so I finally got a letter. And I wish I had it here, because I don’t have a good memory of what it said right now. But he was essentially saying, I don’t have anything for you. And it just, I dislike, oh, it’s gone. And everything was gone. Everything was gone. I couldn’t i How could I function without him? I had become by that time, so dependent on him. I felt my whole life was him. And he was gone. And and then I don’t, gosh, I wish it would come. Maybe by the time we’re finished talking, it’ll come clear, because I forget it right now. But something happened where there was just I, he Oh, he said in the letter, you got to stop looking for love out there. You know? And I said, Well, I said to myself, Well, I would if I could, but I don’t know how to do that. I don’t know how. And then just something kind of there was just this little turn of my mind. And there was it was just asking the question. And there it was that thing that I’d been looking for how to find love inside. And and it was just, it was so deep. That one I mean, that was no question that there was an awakening there, you know, was like, yeah, so that was the second

Rick Archer: know that song looking for love in all the wrong places. Yeah.

Chris Beal: Right, right. But you know, it didn’t start, I didn’t stop doing it. Interestingly, there was still that projection onto teachers. For a long time. By the time I met audio, it was much, much less, because I’d been through so much by that time, but and because of that my relationship with audio was relatively painless. Yeah. But yeah,

Rick Archer: I’ve definitely been there myself. So I can totally relate to it. And I think it’s natural at a certain stage, there’s so many different stages of growth that people can go through. Even in ordinary life, you know, I mean, there’s a certain stage at which you’re totally dependent on your parents, and you see your parents as like invincible or, you know, all knowing or something like that. And then you get perhaps disillusioned with that, and you go through your teenage years, you start getting rebellious and distancing yourself from your parents. And then later on, you begin to feel like, well, they weren’t so bad after a pretty good job. They’re doing the best they could. And we go through all these phases. And, you know, you can go through that with spiritual teachers, too.

Chris Beal: Yeah, and I don’t think it’s wrong. I think the projection is natural. Yeah. But that’s why it’s so important to have the right teacher because the wrong teacher will encourage that, and the right teacher will turn you back on yourself.

Rick Archer: Very good. Yeah. You said that earlier? Yeah, I mean, it becomes this sort of negative feedback loop with the wrong teacher where their ego gets amplified. And then, you know, you get more dependent on them. And there’s more and more of an emphasis is I’m the one who’s doing this for you, and I’m the one who’s creating the Shakti hair or whatever. And then, you know, I don’t know, it just becomes like a self reinforcing sort of situation that can get very unhealthy. I mean, we’ve seen how far off the rails some of these situations can get. But, you know, it’s, it’s good to sort of not throw the baby out with the bathwater, and to kind of keep a balanced perspective. I mean, there’s so many, many people who sort of, they go through something like that, and then they say, That’s it. No more teachers, teachers are no good. Nobody should have a teacher. You know, they kind of go to that extreme.

Chris Beal: That’s one of the dangers of having a bad teacher that in this loop once you Yeah, you get disillusioned and maybe turn away from the whole spiritual project altogether.

Rick Archer: Yeah. Which I think is probably not good karma for the teacher who causes that to happen. Probably not. So I don’t know. I don’t mean to talk too much here. But so you always interrupt me if a thought comes to mind, but we’re just kind of going back and forth. But yeah, that what does come to mind now is the value of culturing discernment. In fact, Mariana Kaplan wrote a couple of books along this these lines one was called eyes wide open cultivating discernment and the spiritual path. And another was do you need a guru? It analyze the whole question in great depth. And her conclusion was yeah, basically do at least at some point. And then she wrote another one called halfway up the mountain the error premature claims to awakening.

Chris Beal: Oh, that’s an interesting, I don’t know her. I have to take a look at her books.

Rick Archer: Yeah, the title alone. She’s been on that gap of times. The title alone gives you a real summary of what that books about.

Chris Beal: Uh huh. Right? Well, there is, you know, you don’t know what you don’t know, when you don’t know it. Exactly. And so it’s, it’s natural that after people have had an awakening, they feel like, this is the end all and be all of everything. You know?

Rick Archer: Did you ever get to a point like that? Did you ever feel that way?

Chris Beal: I’m trying to think. I never felt that I wanted to teach. When I wasn’t ready. I think. And I don’t even know if I’m ready. Now. You know, I think there’s a certain natural illness that happens when when you come to a place where it comes to rest in you. And there’s no more struggle. On the other hand. I mean, it also can be said that, so far as an awakening goes, for people that haven’t had one. Anybody can be anyone who’s had one can be a teacher in a way, you know, as long as they don’t get attached to that idea that they’re the teacher, you know, yeah.

Rick Archer: I mean, you know, somebody who’s in first grade can teach his little sister ABC, you know,

Chris Beal: exactly. Yeah, I think I think that one thing that happens, and I mean, I did talk about this, even though he had had multiple awakenings when he started to teach, but one thing that happens with the first awakening, or the second or the third, is you think that’s the way and I look at teachers who have a, that’s the way attitude and you’ve interviewed some of them, although I’m not going to name them as people who haven’t really had a full panoply of awakening, because awakening experiences, because once you begin to see all the different ways it can manifest, there isn’t any just one way people wake up a myriad of ways. And everybody’s totally different. So there has to be a, there has to be a way to recognize underneath the multiplicity of experiences, what is the genuine awakening? You know?

Rick Archer: Also, I’ve said this so many times that people have been telling me I shouldn’t say it so often, but, you know, I kind of feel like, I’ve kind of come to the conclusion that there probably is no final awakening, saying, I’m, I’m totally awakened, it’d be like saying, I’m totally educated, you know? Yeah, and possibly learning another thing.

Chris Beal: I agree with that. I don’t know, I may, you know, I may change my mind in the future. But I think there’s a certain basic realization that you want to have had, and maybe enough, you might be familiar enough with that territory, that you know what it looks like, you haven’t just had a few glimpses. But in the end, it can always be deeper, you can always go, you can always say, Oh, I never saw that before, you know. Yeah. And

Rick Archer: according to Kundalini video, interviewed a woman named Joan Harrigan, son back, yep. There’s, you know, in terms of that, understanding the once the Kundalini reaches what they call them a car point here, or mokara, it doesn’t go down and it won’t go down again. So that stabilized. It’s not all the way up, you know, there’s more, and even when it is all the way up, there’s plenty of refinement that can continue to take place as long as you live. But according to that tradition, there is a point at which you’re beyond the possibility of slipping back.

Chris Beal: Oh, that’s interesting. It brings up you know, at the time that I was involved with my first teacher, I was having a lot of Kundalini experience. Just this whole I mostly it happened in dreams. I’d wake up from a dream and have all these streamings going all through my body. It was like energetic. Energy flows. Yeah. Yeah.

Rick Archer: Yeah, I mean, that. That whole body of understanding is that we have this vast network of subtle curves. Energy conduits, Nadi as they call them throughout the body, and they all have to be purified in order for awakening to be fully embodied.

Chris Beal: That’s interesting. I don’t know if that’s true, I don’t know that much about it. It’s, it’s, I guess, for me, and this is probably a personality thing, but I react to this. I react to the word purified. I have a negative, you know, sort of idea of that. To me. And again, this is probably just a personality thing. I don’t want to state stated as any ultimate truth or anything, but for me, it seems as though the path is more about everything being okay. You know, so it’s not about getting rid of certain things, or it’s an I don’t know whether everything being okay is has anything to do with awakening itself. But it opens the door because the struggle, the psychic energy that’s involved in the struggle to get rid of certain things. Yeah. Keeps you shackled, somehow psychologically shackled somehow. So when that relaxes, like, like it did with that very first awakening where I was like, It’s okay, it’s okay. Love is okay. It doesn’t, I don’t have to get rid of love just because I didn’t get it back in one on one occasion, you know, it’s okay. Everything I’m feeling is okay. And so, I tend to go more in that direction. I know you’ve interviewed Pamela Wilson. Because actually, that’s how I discovered that gap. I was in a satsang with her and somebody said, made reference to her bad gap interview, and I said that gap, what’s that? And afterward, he told me what it was. But she is so you know, that, Oh, this open arms, everything comes in, everything comes in. And I when I discovered her, that was my, you know, it was the next place. I had to go, you know, that feminine energy? I think I just returned 2008 Something like that.

Rick Archer: That was even after you’ve been involved with it for a while.

Chris Beal: Yeah. Yeah, it was quite a bit after. And, and you know, and I felt that I there was that little bit of sort of feminine, inclusive energy that I needed. You know, it was? Yeah, so,

Rick Archer: yeah, you know, it’s, it’s like, we all need different things at different times. And I kind of think of it like, you know, if you fly from here to, let’s say, someplace in, let’s say Katmandu you, you’re not going to do it in one plane flight. There’s no plane flight that goes directly from Iowa to Kathmandu. First, you’re gonna fly to Chicago, and then probably New Delhi, and then New Delhi to come and do. You wouldn’t say that one of those slides is better or more important than the others. Each one is necessary and is an important, you know, leg of the overall journey. So, you know, obviously there some people stick with one teacher for their whole lives, other people just move. No other people are totally dilettantes. And they just jump around too much without going deep. But others I think, you know, go seriously, enjoy or derive benefit from what a teacher has to offer. But at a certain point, maybe a different teacher has to offer something they need.

Chris Beal: Yeah, well, for me, it was also a practical thing, because I came in to the Sangha just just I just Sangha, just as it was really growing very, very fast. And at the very beginning, the first couple of years, I was able to have one, one on one talks with him, but then he just cut it off. There were too many people, he couldn’t see them all. And I felt I needed that. I needed that. And I found Dorothy Hunt, who was in the Sangha. I actually found her when she was still a student. You know, she was not she was not a teacher then. But she was sitting in the front row, and I saw her and I thought her you know, and, and I went up to her at lunchtime. I never did that. I always wanted the silence at lunchtime. I never wanted to talk to anybody. But I went up to her and I said, Will you have lunch with me? And she said, Well, I’m manning this table, but if you want to keep me company, I’d be nice. And so. So I did. And I told her the story about my first teacher who had there’s a long story behind that, but I lost him. And I was still going through this ache that I had lost my first teacher and so I was just telling her the story of my spiritual journey. And that then the next that night, it was an intensive so it was all day Saturday and Sunday. Afternoon. That night, I thought I’m going to ask oggi about this ache I still have about losing my first teacher. And so I did. And I asked him, I said, you know, I’m just tired of giving it to him. All that love is going over to him. I’m tired of it. And I’d already been through that the first awakening, you know, so you see that the pattern didn’t stop at that point. And, and he said, so I said, I want to get it back. I want it. I want to recognize it here. And he said, Well, it could be over there, or it could be here. But really, it’s just love. And that was it. Just my mind is split open. And that was the first awakening with Anya. So she not only you know, she, she was important to me, because she precipitated that by just listening to my story and taking it in, you know? And yeah, she was one of the important people to me, because I was able to see her one on one.

Rick Archer: Yeah, that’s good. Let’s let me ask somebody question here, a question came in. This is, and then we’ll be back to more stuff. This is from a guy named Prakash in Redmond, Washington. And it touches upon some of the things we’ve already talked about. And others we haven’t. He said, well, first part of his question is, Can any stage of consciousness be forced.

Chris Beal: So I’m not sure what he means by any stage of consciousness,

Rick Archer: because implying Well, here’s the second part that elaborate the basic seeking that arises in an individual’s a natural process. And the stages of consciousness achieved are also natural. So many people feel that they’re progressive stages of unfoldment of higher consciousness, right. And some of them have been, you know, given in some traditions have given them specific names. For the Yoga Sutras, for instance, there’s always degrees of Samadhi, and so on. So I guess he’s asking, Can you? Can you kind of storm the gates of heaven as it were, and force yourself into a higher state or more awakened state or some such thing? And well, here’s let’s read this whole question because he goes on. He said, I experienced a level of consciousness when I had some trauma, when the trauma stop the experience of consciousness and love exists in my memory, and continues as a meditation practice, advancement in my level of consciousness is not in my hands. So I guess he feels it’s not forced, it’s not in his hands. And I guess he’s saying, you know, could he have willfully made this progress earlier or on his own or whatever? Or was it really just sort of a matter of circumstances that triggered the progression that he has experienced? Now, if you can answer this, but it’s, you might have an opinion about it based on your own experience?

Chris Beal: I do, but I’m not sure I’m right. I, I think. And for me, it’s always been about finding the right setting. So I know there are some people and he seems to have been one of them that just woke up. And I did have a spontaneous awakening. So that’s a little bit more about I said, I just have to eat my words a little bit here. But I think when you’re in the right setting, and especially when you have the right teacher, it does happen naturally. You can’t force it beyond that, you know, but if you’re just out in the world, and you’re surrounded by people who are, you know, not awake. It’s pretty hard. Yeah, no, you don’t have a you don’t have any reminders that there is a deeper place. You know, and so I don’t think, you know, I’m not very familiar with the yoga, the different types of yoga and the different philosophies around them and all of that, but it seems to me that the deeper thing that drives you, most people that I’ve talked to say they had it from the time they were children, and they didn’t know, in my case, I didn’t know about it, you know, but there’s always some kind of, this isn’t enough. This isn’t enough. There’s some kind of lack and that lack drives the forward thrust to awakening and then just to deeper experiences. I think from what he talks about, he’s had I not there didn’t experience it with him, so I don’t know exactly, but it sounds like it’s a hint of what where he needs to go. And if he doesn’t put, you know, impediments in his way he’ll go there. You know, he’s had an opening already. So he knows that place exists. And in that sense, yeah, I think once you’ve had an opening, there is a kind of a driving force to move you in that direction, because it’s so blissful. It’s so this. Yeah, yeah. Right.

Rick Archer: Yeah. That’s a very helpful answer. I think. His final comment was when you’re ready books, teachers and experiences find you, you know, the old saying, when the student is ready, the teacher appears. And what you said in there about, you know, putting yourself in circumstances conducive to an awakening is an important thing. A lot of the traditions say, it’s, if you’re interested in enlightenment, or whatever words they use, it’s really important to hang around the right people. Hang around kindred souls who are also interested in if you hang around people who couldn’t give a darn and are kind of going on a different direction. I mean, when I first learned to meditate, I basically dropped all my friends and just didn’t have friends for a few months until I began to accumulate new friends. Because my friends were getting in heroin and doing stuff that wasn’t conducive to what I wanted to now do with my life.

Chris Beal: I’m glad he did that. You might not be sitting here right now, I

Rick Archer: know, I came close to not. But it’s there is definitely something to I think Jesus has said things like that it’s in the Vedic traditions that, you know, being around spiritual aspirants is conducive to spiritual development. And, you know, obviously, that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t visit our family or, you know, be just to be holier than thou around people or anything, but, you know, going on spiritual retreats, having friends that we can discuss these things with and so on reading the appropriate types of websites or whatever, putting your attention on it. I mean, I do this all week long. And while I was putting my attention on this stuff, yeah, cuz I love it. And talking to you, you know, because I love doing it. Right. And I feel like it’s a powerful evolutionary influence.

Chris Beal: It is great with you.

Rick Archer: My next question is just a wrap up of something I mentioned purification of the knot, and you said, I have this association with the word purification, and it does have sort of, you know, moralistic implications, or, you know, you know, all kinds of puritanical connotations, and so on. So, I don’t mean it in that sense. I mean, it’s more of a, in a neuro physiological sense. And, you know, it’s, it’s said that we have all these deep impressions in, in our makeup in our neuro physiological makeup, and that those impressions, they conditioned us and even in Western psychology, this is understood, you know, one can become deeply conditioned into certain habit patterns and behaviors and so on. And so, you know, part of the whole knowledge of this is that the neurophysiology can be transformed. And that transformation could be understood with a word like purification, just basically would mean restructuring the chemical and structural makeup of the system and eliminating, you know, abnormalities in that, in that realm.

Chris Beal: Which factions make obstructions? That’s

Rick Archer: a good word. Yes. Because they’re, you know, the body could be thought of as an instrument through which we live, whatever we do experience, no experience anything surfing, or watching a movie or eating a meal. We’re using this instrument. And so certainly an experience. I don’t mean to say experience, because we’ve already talked about how inadequate that word is, but let’s for the sake of convenience and experience as profound as enlightenment must require a profoundly different state of neuro physiological functioning than ordinary waking state.

Chris Beal: I think I have a lot of you had so many things in there, I don’t even know where to start. I think first of all, that there is certainly a necessity for the body not to be holding patterns that keep the I guess the thoughts or the karmic. The karmic energy in place so there isn’t room, there isn’t room to fall through to that groundless place. So in a sense, and I don’t really know very much about it. I I was doing a kind of body work at the time I had the original opening, and I still think it was Reichian work, and I still think that it played a role. It it opened up places where I had been holding on and allow that to happen. One of the things that you brought up is something that I’ve been moving more and more toward, I guess I could say is that the body isn’t just a vehicle, but the body is it. The body is the awakeness. itself, manifest. It’s the awakeness manifests as the body. And this was when I might most recently acquired teacher, although he doesn’t know he’s my teacher is referred to spirit. He’s great. Yeah. And I listened to both of your interviews with him. But my interest in him is because he focuses that he focuses that so clearly, you know, that. It’s not just a vehicle, but it is. And as long as you think of it as just a vehicle, you’ve got a subtle duality going on. You’ve got, you know, the awakening, which is somehow insubstantial. And you’ve got the body that’s substantial. And one of the things that I realized is there is no substantiality. Everything is empty. Yeah. And I remember exactly where I was when I had that realization. And so, I remember taking it to audience saying, How can this be? And how can this be, it was so such a miracle. And I remembered, you know, I used to chant. In Zen, we used to chant Form is emptiness is form, form is nothing but emptiness, emptiness is nothing but form. And I suddenly understood what that meant, you know, there’s nothing substantial. And that’s why when I touch something, it feels like I’m touching myself. Not always, but when I’m focused on it, when I mean, not, not when I’m making my lunch, but when I’m, you know, when I’m, I remember the times, in the very beginning, when I keep touching a table, or I would touch Harry’s dashboard, he remembers this, I’m sure, he’s nodding, I would keep touching his best dashboard. And I found that his dad was that, because at first I didn’t know, I couldn’t figure it out how it felt funny. And it helped me a lot with this, because he got it got, even though I didn’t have the words for it, he got he got what I was experiencing that. That lack of separation, he got it. And yet, he didn’t say too much. Because if he said too much, it would have gone into the mind, you know, he let me discover it experientially, what it means when you touch something, and it’s not other anymore, you know, and so this body, I think, is already awake, but it’s not substance, the way we usually think of the body. You know, it’s, it’s something else that I can’t define in your

Rick Archer: that’s very interesting. And not only is this body that that substance that we can’t define, but Harry’s dashboard, or the sidewalk or they track the tree or everything else. I mean, if we, you know, people use the word non duality, okay, well, if non duality is really the reality, then there, then everything is really just one thing. Oh, it’s not a thing. So thing was thing. Just listening, once like that substance lists substance as it were. And you know, Rupert’s speaks of that eloquently in terms of consciousness, everything is consciousness. And it may be consciousness appearing as a computer monitor, as appearing as your body or appearing as a pile of dog poop or whatever. But it’s all one thing. And, of course, physicists, you know, chime in here, some of the more enlightened physicists and corroborate that with their understanding that if you get right down to the real nitty gritty, there is no diversity. It should diversity is an appearance in Unity.

Chris Beal: Yeah, there’s no diversity in I mean, in substance, but there there is diversity. And I mean, that was, I don’t know, you only read the first chapter where I don’t know if you do ask me that question. My novel. To you, I really will. Yes, that quote, she’s she’s asked that question by some of her. The students in her at her college, she’s asked, you know, what do you mean by sameness? I wouldn’t want everything to be the same. And she realized she’s really confused about that. She doesn’t know whether everybody everything becomes identical or what but you’re right. Exactly the way you said it’s, the appearance is everything is diverse, but there’s a fundamental suchness Yeah, and that’s, this is identical for everything.

Rick Archer: And there’s always a paradoxical thing where Yeah, it’s the tallest Same but it’s not. I use the this analogy last week, but I’ll use it again because it’s germane here. But the In Vedanta, there’s a term called mithya myth ya, and it means dependent reality. And they use an example of clay pots, where you might have a whole shop full of clay pots for sale. And you go in there and you see the big pots, little pots, red pots, brown box, whatever. And there seems to be a great deal of diversity in in the shop. But if you get right down to it, there’s actually nothing but clay. You know, you can you can, you can truthfully say there are no pots here. It’s only clay. And you wouldn’t be wrong. It’s just like you wouldn’t have the full picture because the very same time there are pots, and it’s absurd to deny that there are.

Chris Beal: Exactly, exactly yeah, I’m familiar with that analogy. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah,

Rick Archer: I continue.

Chris Beal: There is something that, you know, there’s a way of, I’m starting to see it now. Can you see it? Can you feel what we’re experiencing right now? Sure. Yeah. So there’s a way that you can connect in an energetic way and feel that that field where there isn’t a diversity, or there’s something underneath that? Yeah.

Rick Archer: reminds you that Rumi quote, remember the there’s a field beyond right and wrong. I’ll meet you there. That nice little quote.

Chris Beal: I love her me. Yeah.

Rick Archer: And of course, the field isn’t just in some transcendental realm, the field is all pervading. Yes, I think there’s a stage at which you can seem like, okay, that’s in this transcendental realm, and everything else is separate from that. And the, perhaps a later stage at which the field becomes all subsuming. Right, Irene sent over a question. Unfortunately, she’s left the room, but I’m gonna ask. We were talking about based on that Prakash guy, we were talking about forcing stages of consciousness. And all that means question or comment is, the only forced awakening I can think of would be a moment of complete surrender to the divine. At a time of hitting rock bottom with no place else to go, a person will seemingly plead or try to force the divine, but it is really a complete lack of any force, or total surrender. Does that make sense?

Chris Beal: It does make sense. That often happens. I

Rick Archer: mean, you know, alcoholics talk about hitting rock bottom before they have a turn around. And I just heard of hit rock bottom. And it’ll be when he left that retreat, and thought he was gonna crack up and then finally surrendered. I think a lot of times we we push it as far as we can think, in terms of thinking we can do it. Exactly, exactly. I give up. I can’t do it.

Chris Beal: When when you give up it releases, and that opens the space. At least that’s the way I interpret it. Yeah. When you give up, it opens the space up for the real divine to come through.

Rick Archer: Yeah. Which gets us back to the original topic of does one have to struggle a whole lot before giving up and realizing that the divine can do it for you? Or, you know, and there is that phrase, God helps those who help themselves. Or can one sort of said that anyway, Ben Franklin, in the Bible someplace, I think, or maybe not, it might have been Ben Franklin. Someone will tell us or Ken one sort of bypass a lot of that struggle. And, you know, it’s like, you know, let’s say you’re on a train. You just go ahead. Go ahead.

Chris Beal: No, I think it’s karmic. I think there’s some people, they they have to have that struggle. They can’t let go without that struggle. And I mean, you’ve interviewed enough people, you probably know that there’s a huge diversity of people in the ways they wake up, some people could just be walking down the street, suddenly, they’re you know, it doesn’t happen that often. Because we have, our minds are so programmed that we tend to push it away when it gets close. But there are a few people for whom it’s not been a struggle. You know, it’s very, so there’s so there’s nothing that says it has to be it’s just usually, the mind is so programmed. And it gets back to kind of what we were talking about in the beginning that the way that memories are formed, and the ways that we’re taught to interpret experience. Those all go against awakening. Yeah. And so you have to have us because of that usually have to be pushed, but I don’t think there’s anything inevitable about I’m sorry, I interrupted you go ahead.

Rick Archer: No, all right. I’m kind of reminded this point of professional athletes who work really hard to become the best, you know, but then when you see them play, there’s this naturalness and this f almost it seems like effortlessness even though they’re working really hard, you know, playing tennis or basketball or whatever. doing, but there’s this grace. And that’s one we usually like watching them as there’s a sort of beauty of the of the naturalness of their performance. But boy, a lot of work went into getting to that point.

Chris Beal: Yeah, yeah. But I don’t think I don’t think awakening is that much analogous?

Rick Archer: No, not it’s a loose analogy. Because

Chris Beal: yeah, because it does rely on memory. Although it’s muscle memory to a large extent, if you’re talking about sports, but it’s still memory, it’s still learning. And you learn and you learn and you learn, and you put that in the bank until you can draw it out naturally. And awakening doesn’t work that way. And again, I guess I still want to emphasize this because it’s been such a hard learning for me that it doesn’t work that way. With awakening, you can’t learn how to do it.

Rick Archer: Although ironically, at the end of the Bhagavad Gita, or June it says, Lord Krishna says, My memory has been restored. I know who I am.

Chris Beal: It’s all but that’s a different memory, a different kind

Rick Archer: of memory. And a lot of people all you probably heard this a lot of people say, you know, I’ve always known this somehow, I just, it’s so obvious now. But it always in I never noticed it. But here it is, boy, plain as the nose on my

Chris Beal: face. Right. Right. Right.

Rick Archer: question came in from Vic from Tim and Victoria, British Columbia. He said, in my experience, the desire for and pursuit of fundamental truth seems to exaggerate a tension or division. With this kind of what we’ve been talking about exaggerated attention or division between the focus and intimacy of the immediate human experience, centered in the mind, body memory was perfect. And the sense of vastness and utter transcendence evoked by direct unbounded awareness. It is my intuition that these domains are not truly separate, yet this painful discontinuity persists, can you express how true awakening reconciles this paradox?

Chris Beal: I love that question. Could you read it once again, a lot,

Rick Archer: is worth rereading. So Tim, from Victoria says, in my experience, the desire for and pursuit of fundamental truth seems to exaggerate. So in other words, the yearning the striving seems to exaggerate a tension or division between the focus and intimacy of the immediate human experience centered in the mind, body memory, and the sense of vastness and utter transcendence evoked by direct unbounded awareness. It is my intuition that these domains are not truly separate, yet this painful discontinuity persists. Can you express how true awakening reconcile this paradox?

Chris Beal: You know, I would go into that place more deeply where he says, It’s my intuition that this doesn’t really exist, because there’s a place where he knows that already. Yeah. And and, of course, that’s right, it doesn’t truly exist. There’s nothing there preventing awakening. And as I said, for me with audio, that was what I heard. And, you know, you don’t have to do anything. And that don’t have to do anything was a deep relaxation, you know, so that that tendency, if I’m reading is if I’m getting this question, right, that tendency to, to contract, it’s a kind of contraction to that relaxes. When that’s actually heard. You don’t have to do anything. It’s already there. And he already knows it’s there. He already knows it. So. But it relaxes on its own in its own time is my experience. You know, you can’t say relax now.

Rick Archer: Yeah. Really gonna relax. It’s like having a choppy pail of having a pail of water that has little ripples on it, and you want the waves to start series, trying to push them down. more weight,

Chris Beal: I have something else I want to say about that. That that pushing toward is not really in the way it just seems to be in the way it’s not really in the way so yeah.

Rick Archer: You know, if you get on a train, you might be tempted to keep holding your suitcases. But the train is actually carrying them for you. You know you you can put them down. Nice analogy. To make that up. That’s very good for that one before I can They might have an AMA that said that one. I’ve heard it. Again, that phrase be easy to us with gentle effort. Papaji used to say give up the search. And a lot of people parroted that and a lot of people sort of interpreted that to mean like, oh, I, you know, I’m done, I’m enlightened, I don’t need to do anything. I think there’s a sort of a balance between, you know, intentionality, or motivation, or, you know, to grow spiritually. And getting in the way, by injecting too much individual effort into the process, you can actually throw a monkey wrench in the works if you get too far.

Chris Beal: And I think that give up the search is something I don’t know the context in which property said it, but it’s something that would be said at a specific time for a specific student.

Rick Archer: Right. It’s 20 feet of him in that room, you know, who’s saying that to them then?

Chris Beal: Uh huh. Because I would think it would even be more specific than that to the specific person who, it’s time. It’s time for you to give up the search. Yeah. Because if you say to anybody who hasn’t barely started the search, they’re not going to get anywhere, you know, important. Yeah.

Rick Archer: So Tim, if we didn’t fully answer your question, feel free to ask a follow up. Yes, please. Yeah, cuz that was a really good question. Here’s one that just came in from some initials BB. Isn’t that the name of that little robot and Star Wars? A little wrapper on that rolls? Maybe something BB from Vermont. Please speak of free will. And choice, or is there? Is there only ever a continuing unfolding where one is not choosing their actions? This is an eternal debate.

Chris Beal: Yeah, I I actually don’t know. Yeah, I know that. For some people. This is a really important question. I think if you look at the, the structure of the universe, as I understand it, at this point, there can’t really be individual freewill because there’s no individual’s. So what is that? What is that will then on the other hand, there seems to there seems to be just as you would say, there’s nobody making lunch because there’s nobody there. But nevertheless, I’m gonna go hungry after this interview. I’m happy to go get some lunch. So operationally, there’s freewill. But in terms of this structure of the universe, there can’t be. There can’t be it doesn’t make any sense. If there are no individuals. There can’t be individual freewill. So that’s as best as I can do with that.

Rick Archer: Yeah. I think it’s like the pots, you know, there are no pots, it’s only clay. And yet there’s pots. You know, on one level, there are no individuals on another level there are and the bigger reality is that these paradoxes can be comfortably contained within within that bigger reality.

Chris Beal: They will tell what were the three things that he posited at the very end of that question again,

Rick Archer: I just stated it. Oh, well, well, hang on. I gotta get it back. i It’s not

Chris Beal: important. I just thought it’s okay. I’ll just get sure I answered the question thoroughly.

Rick Archer: Yeah, here it is. Please speak of freewill and choice? Or is there only ever a continuing unfolding or one is not choosing their actions?

Chris Beal: Okay. You know, I might hit on it is that the latter is the truth of it. But it seems that we are making choices in our everyday life. Certainly. When you’re in when you’re in ordinary consciousness, in the psychological realm deciding, you know, do I want to go to a movie or do I want to stay home tonight? I think the more important thing is what’s underlying the question?

Rick Archer: Yeah, maybe Bibi can tell us what’s underlying the question for him or her. I also think one has to be true to one’s own experience. You know, someone says, you know, I don’t have a sense of a personal self. I don’t feel like there’s no I’m making choices here. Everything seems to be on automatic. Fine. That’s their experience. But is it your experience? And can you really live the experience that another is describing if it’s not actually your own?

Chris Beal: That is so important, and I think it’s worth talking more about that whole question of wanting to have dinner Do the right thing in order to make progress. I have seen that I mean, I was I was around I just Sangha for most of a decade. And I saw that the people who made progress were the people who always went inside, instead of comparing themselves to what other people were doing, and it’s really hard not to do, it’s so hard not to do you see somebody who seems to be awakened, you’re like, Okay, tell me how you did that. But it’s really important not to compare and not to say, and I still have this tendency to do it sometimes, you know, I see. Somebody says, Oh, I’ve experienced so and so. And I’m like, Oh, I haven’t what’s wrong with me? Wait a minute. It’s, it’s so important to stay true to your own experience, and not look at what other people are doing? Or how they did it. You know?

Rick Archer: Yeah, very true. It was even worse, in the TM movement. I started a six month course one time, and marshy said to us, okay, this is a competition to see who can purify the fastest. And, you know, fasting and doing all this stuff. And I naturally being the fanatic that I am, went totally overboard, and, you know, got down to 120 pounds and doing all this weird stuff. And then, and then later on, he actually grouped everybody into A, B, and C groups, like a was sort of a middle group. And C, D was sort of people with sort of good experiences. And the end, the a group was like people with really good clear experiences. So there’s a huge sense of like, Oh, my God, I want to be like them and all this stuff. It was, maybe it was to burn us out from that way of thinking, I don’t know, but don’t think that way anymore.

Chris Beal: Yeah, that’s horrid. It’s a good

Rick Archer: principle not to compare oneself to others.

Chris Beal: And I think that something came up a little bit earlier that you hinted about, or maybe said explicitly, is that there is something inside, especially after the first awakening that knows where you’re going. And it’s really, really important to trust that. Yeah.

Rick Archer: It’s also important, I think, to, you know, these days, there’s so much information coming at you, you know, there’s so many things you can watch on YouTube, in the spiritual realm. And then, you know, political realm, all these, you know, the whole thing with COVID-19, and all these different conspiracy theories flying around, and you can, you can spend all day watching that stuff, and get, you know, rather influenced by it, if, especially if you’re rather susceptible to being influenced by things. And you can kind of get off on these tangents of, you know, thinking about stuff without really discerning or discriminating clearly, as to what might actually be true. And, you know, it becomes an addiction for some people. And I see a lot of spiritual people doing that. And, in fact, I see some people saying, Oh, how can spiritual people be so gullible as not to believe that this is a giant, you know, plot by Bill Gates to overtake the world? And on the other hand, I’m thinking how can spiritual people be so gullible as to believe that it is a giant?

Chris Beal: On Facebook, so we probably see some of the things just yeah,

Rick Archer: whatever it is, I think it’s important that when cultured discernment and discrimination on the on the spiritual path, you remember that book The Razor’s Edge by W. Somerset Mom,

Chris Beal: I don’t, I probably read it, but probably too long ago, to be able to tell you

Rick Archer: a famous book, I think it was based on his experience around Ramana Maharshi. But the implication of the title is that the spiritual path is a bit of a razor’s edge. And one can sort of easily go off one way or the other. And it’s important to sort of be on your toes and be discerning and discriminating and

Chris Beal: cold actually, in the beginning, I think any talking about? No, I don’t think so. I think once you’re, I think once you really have established, at least in my experience, once you’ve really established that place in yourself, you really recognize it, then it doesn’t, you don’t get pulled anymore.

Rick Archer: May not you know, I see people who’ve been meditating for decades are on the spiritual path for decades, who were kind of often lala land with, with, in my opinion with some of these ideas, and, and we were talking earlier about spiritual teachers who get a little bit carried away with themselves, you know, because they begin to be adulated by their students. And they might have been, you know, they might be all their old timers. So I think no matter what stage you’re at, remember Yogananda in Yogananda his book autobiography Yogi his when he met his teacher, Shri, you have to show or you have to show said to him, he said, If at any point I seem to be falling from my status of you know, God consciousness or my realization, said, you know, Help Me give me feedback. Don’t you know, he so he was saying right from the outset of his relationship with Yogananda, that I’m not impact. I’m not infallible either. And, yeah, no matter how you may be, yeah, to sort of be careful.

Chris Beal: Yeah. Yeah. Well, infallible is nothing infallible is different, though. Isn’t it then falling for cookie things?

Rick Archer: Yeah, well, maybe it’s a matter of degree. Mm hmm. There’s a quote from Padma Sam bhava, which I’ve said many times on this show, which is that he said he was a great Buddhist teacher. But he said, although my awareness is as vast as the sky, my attention to karma is as fine as a grain of barley flour.

Chris Beal: But that’s your what that means? Well,

Rick Archer: it means you know, well. Another quote from Don, one of the Carlos Castaneda books. He said a warrior has time only for his impeccability. In other words, sort of not being sloppy, being precise. In one’s behavior in one’s thought in one’s you know, in life in general, not much work. So what you’re what you’re getting?

Chris Beal: I will lazy spiritually.

Rick Archer: What did you say? Well, so what you’re saying then is you No, one can spontaneously just sort of? No, I think there are dangers, I think there are dangers. But but you don’t want to be browbeating yourself all the time. Yeah,

Chris Beal: it seems to me that you just have to, once the awakening is there, you know what’s true, you know what’s true? And so it’s just a matter of turning to that. Don’t forget to go there. You know, don’t forget to go there. And it seems to me, that’s the simplest answer I could give to that. You know,

Rick Archer: okay. Well, once the awakening, is there, is it something you have to go to? Or does it become an abiding sort of foundation?

Chris Beal: Eventually? Not in the beginning? Okay. Not in the beginning. So you in the beginning, you have to remind yourself to go there. Yeah. You know, yeah, eventually it abides. Eventually, it depends what you mean by a by? I know, it’s always there.

Rick Archer: From your experience, let’s, let’s speak my experience.

Chris Beal: But, you know, I will forget it when I’m having a ordinary conversation or, you know, whatever. Um, it’s always, it’s always there, I can always find it, but I’m not always attending to it. Let’s put it like that.

Rick Archer: And you shouldn’t need to, should you? Oh, I don’t think you need to don’t need to attend to breathing. It just keeps happening. Yeah, exactly. I guess that we were talking a little bit about the spontaneity of right action. And, you know, there are examples of, you know, fairly advanced teachers who have gotten in trouble big, because perhaps they don’t have enough critical feedback from students, perhaps they refuse to, you know, accept critical feedback, and they kind of get carried away in their own grandiosity, and, and, you know, these could be fairly fairly advanced people with, you know, multiple levels of awakening. So I don’t know.

Chris Beal: Yeah, fatal flaw. And it’s, I don’t know, obviously, there’s some ego stuff that hasn’t been taken care of, you know, and that can exist side by side with awakening. So, but I don’t have an answer to that, you know, I see it, and I’m appalled by it, you know. And in, and it’s also hard to discern, like, what take somebody’s dead, so we don’t get in trouble. Trungpa was genuine teacher, or was he? Did he have ego stuff? I think he was a genuine teacher. But I know there are people who say genuine teachers wouldn’t do this. And that and the other thing, you know. I think it depends on where it’s coming from. Yeah. You know,

Rick Archer: well, just people don’t know he died in his 40s of alcoholism with his body completely destroyed in a state of delirium. So, you can we have to sort of define what genuine teacher means, I think, and a lot of people benefited from their association with him, you know, a lot of Pema children and many others. Same with Adi Da, who is another one. You know, I’ve interviewed a number of people who were his students. And so, you know, my way of reconciling the paradox is just to think of everyone as a work in progress, and someone can have great, you know, spiritual gifts and still have, like you said, all kinds of shadows or unresolved issues. Ken Wilber uses the phrases wake up, clean up and grow up

Rick Archer: Yeah, you need all three?

Chris Beal: Yeah. Is there a connection? I mean, I think that’s part of idealizing, a teacher that we expect that the teacher has a completely, either totally transparent ego or no ego at all. And so you know, that projection onto the teacher of no ego is a problem. And does the ego ever really go anywhere? Or does it just? I mean, I don’t have an answer to that I know, I still have an ego, I have a pretty big one, as my friends will tell me. But

Rick Archer: otherwise, no wife will tell me?

Chris Beal: Or does it just become less important? Because it you know, it’s not who you are? You know, it’s not who you are. So there’s not as much investment in it? Or maybe for some people, it totally disappears? I actually does, I just don’t know, I want to try to stay with my experience and not, you know, compare myself with people out there who claim not to have one.

Rick Archer: Yeah, it’s always good to do. You know, you’re saying earlier about being a little bit more self referral, in terms of not investing all your hopes and dreams and beliefs and everything in a teacher, but sort of looking, you know, checking in with what you think and what you know, and stuff like that, and not being dependent. You know, that stuff you were saying? Well, you know, with regard to these teachers like Trungpa, or others who are, you know, I mean, the scene around him was everybody was having a drunken Orangey. Because that was his

Chris Beal: the way to get enlightened

Rick Archer: saying, without a doubt, now, you know, seems to me, one could say, well, you know, I mean, see, what often happens is people say something like, well, this doesn’t make any sense. To me, this seems really crazy. But this guy is supposed to be enlightened, and I’m not. So what do I know? So what do you do is pop a cork and, you know, get into it. Whereas I think the more healthy approach would be to say, well, you know, there’s something wrong here. And I don’t know, if this is enlightenment, maybe I don’t aspire to this kind of enlightenment, and maybe I’ll just go, you know, hop in the car and find something.

Chris Beal: Wait, I think it’s a little more complicated. Because because the people who’ve met Trungpa, and you interviewed them, I’m sure. Although I don’t think I’ve watched those interviews, but they, they more than impressed. More than impressed. You know, it’s the same as when I did. It’s the same as when I met ah, do you recognize, yeah, you recognize there someone who’s awake. And so that is the confusion because you recognize the awakeness, that you see the behavior? Yeah. And so what do you do is that is the behavior, you know, contradictory or is it just behavior? I mean, he the way he described it, as I understand it is, it’s just my behavior. It doesn’t matter. You know, it’s just my karma.

Rick Archer: Yeah. I don’t know if you’ve heard about the Association for spiritual integrity. It’s a it’s an organization that I founded with, along with Jack O’Keefe, and Craig Holliday and Mariana Kaplan. And she said, her name is slipping my mind at the

Chris Beal: moment. I have heard it, and I don’t know why it might have been I went on your website and found

Rick Archer: it. Yeah. In any case, it’s because of this issue, because it’s been so rife in the spiritual community, and it’s done so much damage and disillusion so many people and confuse so many people. So we thought to just kind of establish some sort of code of ethics, you know, not not that we’re in a judgmental position, but just some kind of points, which might reasonably be expected to, you know, be to align with spiritual teaching and spiritual studentship. So people can go to that website, they want spiritual hyphen, But I don’t know, I’ve thought about this a lot. And given talks at Sand about it, Stephanie, I just sort of feel like, again, work in progress. Everybody’s working progress, someone. I mean, you know, there have been some great scientific geniuses who were morally off the wall. And Einstein said to be, it’s kind of a bit of a womanizer. So and then this gets a whole question about morals being relative and who’s to say what’s right and wrong, it gets it gets complicated, but I don’t know maybe I’m naive and idealistic. But I’ve always felt that that enlightenment should imply a blossoming of holistic develop the kind of thing you see in someone like God, yeah. Who just really seems to have his act together in so many different ways. At least You know, if there are different kinds of enlightenment, then that’s the kind of I want.

Chris Beal: Yeah, well taken. Yeah. For sure. And I know, I have talked to students who are very grateful for his, you know, straight arrow if I could use that terminology, you know that he doesn’t. He doesn’t do messy stuff. Yeah. No.

Rick Archer: Yeah. And and he and some other teachers are very good about, you know, call me on my shit. You know, if I if I seem to be, you know, they’re not close to any kind of constructive criticism or feedback. Right? Yeah. Right. They’re not lorded over you and say, you know, you’re too stupid to understand someone like me.

Chris Beal: Yes, that can be a response. Yeah. That’s a tricky response.

Rick Archer: Oh, there was a teacher whose interview I took down who is slept with hundreds of his female students and I, when I took the interview down, he was very upset. And he said, Who are you to judge what an awakened person is supposed to be like, you know,

Chris Beal: hundreds? Oh, my God, is the guy. Yeah, he’s

Rick Archer: got a lot of energy. Alright, let’s get ourselves off this topic. I have another follow up question came in from BB in Vermont. He said, My question on freewill comes from hearing so many teachers speak about what needs to be done, etc. If you cannot choose, then you are a person who gets to do there is no, right. Yeah, it’s a little bit, watch the editing here down, then there. So then there is no one who can choose to do whatever teachers say needs doing? Okay, so teachers are saying to do this, and that and the other thing, but if there’s no doer, how can you? How can you choose to do it? I think that’s what he’s saying.

Chris Beal: What comes to me? I don’t know how good of an answer I can give to this. But what comes to me is someone asked audio question like that one time, and he said, I’m just moving energy around. So it’s like, there’s a myth that there’s a human self in here, and that it’s doing what the teacher is saying to do. And that there are two discrete entities, my hand is gets big, when I do this doesn’t know screen. There are two discrete entities, the teacher and you. And the teacher is telling you, the self with a small f to do something. But really, it’s just energy happening. And so the teacher who’s in that deep place, and you know, anybody who goes into that space with audits that’s on can feel it immediately know, can move the energy in another apparent form. And that’s what’s happening. That seems the clearest explanation to me, you know? Yeah. Is it like that? Yeah,

Rick Archer: you know, the term catalyst, a catalyst in a chemical reaction facilitates the chemical reaction, without itself, changing or something, I forget exactly how it works. But it’s sort of a, it’s, you know, when when the catalyst is introduced, then the reaction is facilitated. So the spiritual teacher like God, you can be thought of as a catalyst, perhaps, who, you know, in, it’s not hid that he is doing stuff to people, or even that they are doing stuff to themselves because of what he says, but somehow he he sets up helps to create a, an energy field, in which awakening and transformation is more, more likely to take place.

Chris Beal: Right? Yeah. And so there’s a little bit of a, I guess, a philosophical contradiction, because audio is also not a separate person. And yet, most of it has, most of us have experienced that field that surrounds people that are awake, and most of us, some of us know how to generate it also. And so. So there is something that the form embodies some kind of energy that the form embodies. And there is some way in which that energy is can be thrown out seems a kind of the wrong kind of word, but I can’t think of another one.

Rick Archer: Yeah, there’s an entrainment that takes place

Chris Beal: in treatment. What do you mean by in? Well,

Rick Archer: the entrainment works as well. Let’s let’s think of tuning forks that you know, you have a tuning fork that is struck and the tuning fork nearby if it’s the right frequency or note of a tuning fork begins to read begins to resonate also. Yeah, yeah. Or a burning law. You know, you put another log near it, and that block starts to burn. So it’s not like something is there’s like a well, it’s like even in this is a weird example, but They say that in nunneries, and so on, all the women end up getting into having their menstrual cycle. Oh, yeah, I’ve heard that same time. It’s sort of this kind of entrainment that takes place. And we were talking an hour ago about the the value of being in the company of spiritual aspirants if you are one yourself. So there’s something that there’s kind of a mutually reinforcing, influence take place when the field gets enlightened, enlivened, and everyone within that field benefits mutually. Right? Yeah. And the teacher can just be a some somewhat someone that kick starts the enlightenment, or helps to accelerate it more than it would if you weren’t there.

Chris Beal: Yeah, I think that is what a teacher is that it? For some of us who like to do a lot of projection, it takes a lot of time to, to figure that out. Yeah.

Rick Archer: Yeah. But that’s kind of cool. I mean, enables us to conclude that there is definitely a value to a teacher. But it’s not just the teacher. That is, I mean, if that is doing it, it’s it’s more like a field effect. And the teacher is just a catalyst for helping to enliven that field effect, but if he were all by himself, but I don’t think the field would get enlivened in the same way it takes the whole Sangha the whole confluence of people to do it.

Chris Beal: Right. I think so. Yeah.

Rick Archer: Interesting. So Bill, or BB? I know a BB from Vermont, Bill Brunel. I wonder, probably not. But in any case, hopefully, that we answered that question.

Chris Beal: And many more anymore. Yeah.

Rick Archer: And I hope people don’t mind that I’m talking so much in this interview I get I get flack for that. So

Chris Beal: they just stop apologizing for that what you say is perfectly Interesting. Well,

Rick Archer: I get criticized pretty harshly sometimes by people for for doing it. And I try not to but it’s different in different interviews. I mean, we’re having this conversation. Yeah.

Chris Beal: Well, you want to say you want to say what comes up for you otherwise, it’s not a natural interchange. Yeah.

Rick Archer: I just don’t want to overshadow the guest. And, you know, depends. Some guests, they go on and on and on, you’re giving short answers. So I have to say something.

Chris Beal: I do want to talk a little bit about the role of fiction as I do it. Yeah. Because I think that’s something different that other people are not, you know, most most spiritual people don’t read fiction. They think it’s not true. And I’m in heaven to truth. So I would I read fiction, and I sort of look at it. Hello, you broke up a little bit on me. Okay. It’s okay. Okay. I sort of look at it a different way. I think that because the ultimate reality is beyond appearances. You really can’t define truth. And so fiction is actually a better means of under understanding, ultimate reality. And it doesn’t have to be I mean, in my novel, there’s a character who’s trying to get enlightened. But it doesn’t have to be that direct, it can just be that action points you to that deeper truth that can’t be said in words. And I mean, sometimes I read a passage, and I’m like, how did he do that? How did he get so perfectly? what reality is, not by saying it in we’re in definitions, but somehow creating, you talked about fields, I think you can create a field with words also. So I’m putting out a pitch there for not only my novel, but for Fiction in general, I think it’s important to sort of expand the way we look at what we read, And and see that there’s a way that language can can work. It’s only it’s almost the same way that Adi uses language in satsang. You know, he talks around truth. He doesn’t say truth, because you can’t say truth. Yeah, you know, and so I think I think literature does the same thing. It points us in that direction, without defining it. Yeah.

Rick Archer: Well, I think there’s a lot of great works of fiction that have been very spiritual Siddartha had a big effect on me, when I first read it, Herman HESA.

Chris Beal: Yeah, me too. I think my novel is a spiritual, contemporary, female version of Siddartha and much longer.

Rick Archer: And then I went back and read all let’s let’s just from it, let’s just mention some of our favorite spiritual fiction books, and maybe the audience will want to read some of those. What’s another one of yours?

Chris Beal: Oh, go ahead. If you have some,

Rick Archer: I think we have some. Well, obviously, there’s some well Firstly, the works of Laurens Vander post. There’s a book called, yeah, store like the wind and a fire off place. About section two. Oh, yeah, I didn’t post there as best I read all these books, but those two are just absolutely beautiful. They’re setting in South Africa. And it’s about the friendship between Oh, you know, South African boy and a bushman.

Chris Beal: I remember that those are his prison, because, you know, he did Xin in Japan.

Rick Archer: I knew he went to the east I didn’t.

Chris Beal: I read his, his his memoir of doing Zen in Japan. And I don’t I didn’t know at the time that he was a novelist, but I forgot about that part of it. Yeah.

Rick Archer: And actually, as we’re talking here, if people want to send in a little question about, you know, through the question from their favorite works of spiritual fiction, we’ll mention them. But another would be, well, some of the great movies. I mean, Star Wars is a very spiritual thing, inspired a lot by the works of Joseph Campbell. And, you know, close encounters, I think, is a tremendous allegory for the spiritual path. Remember that how that movie went? Yeah, I

Chris Beal: did see that one. I don’t know if I remember

Rick Archer: Richard Dreyfuss who he was zapped, and he had this experience, and he couldn’t let it go. He knew there was something more. And the whole society was telling him No, give it up. Forget it. You’re crazy. And you know, he eventually got out to Wyoming and he’s going towards Devil’s Tower. And the government had staged this great big thing. There’s a poison gas leak, and you got to get out of here. It’s gonna kill you. And he said, Wow, I said, No, I have to go. I know there’s something there. This means something and finally prevailed. And he ended up being the only one to get on the spaceship because he was the only one that didn’t get waylaid by all the naysayers.

Chris Beal: Uh huh. I know, I have to see that again. It’s been, you know, many years.

Rick Archer: fantastic movie. Yeah. Yeah. And I read a good one recently, that’ll be published pretty soon. I forget the title of it. It’ll, but it was it was really cool. I shouldn’t go into it. But it’ll maybe I’ll mention it. I’m bad. Yep. when it actually comes out, they, they asked me to write a blurb for it, which I did. It was first it’s a novel. Yeah, it’s a novel for a spiritual fiction book I’ve read and yours, but it involves the Mayans and the Pleiades and all kinds of cool stuff.

Chris Beal: Well, I was I did reviews for a website that’s coming back. It’s, it’s called the Buddhist fiction blog. And so I’d like to know about that book when it comes out. And maybe I’ll review it. It’s, it’s all kinds of different things. I mean, when you say Buddhist fiction, you can mean a lot of things. A lot of the books are just books that have a Buddhist setting. You know, it’s not really about people on an enlightenment journey. Other ones are people on an enlightenment journey. Other ones are, it’s a whole hodgepodge of different books. But it’s amazing how many there are actually, that relate to Buddhism.

Rick Archer: You could probably think of a lot of the scriptures of different religions as fiction, because I mean, it’s very unlikely that many of the stories in these books are true. If you read the, the, the Puranas of the Vedic literature, there are all kinds of fantastical stories and events and people doing all these amazing things. And, and, you know, it could have been embellished by some someone with a bit of imagination. But, you know, but there’s a tremendous wisdom imparted by these books. Sort of

Chris Beal: more, more like mythical. Yeah, mythical. Yeah. And I think there was a time when there wasn’t really that kind of differentiation between what was what’s true and what’s not true that there is now. So, you know, history was mythical. It wasn’t. You know, research is going back to find out what really happened in the past.

Rick Archer: I’ve never really read Philip K. Dick, but I’m told that he was a very spiritual guy that is science fiction works. We’re, you know, really had a spiritual bent to them.

Chris Beal: Right, right. Yeah, I haven’t. I haven’t ever gotten into science fiction. Oh, some people keep sending me things and saying this is really good. Yeah, to try it. Yeah. Yeah.

Rick Archer: That book I would just turn remember the title of that I read and wrote the blurb for was originally called, it was, I think, something like awakening the story of Ania. And I got back to the authors and I said, Anya, is I said, this this sounds like it’s a biography of Anya, and I checked with RDS and you okay with this, you want this book to go out with his talents and nice people gonna think it’s my biography. And they changed the title, but they were students of ideas. And so they were just kind of honoring him by ID was the name of the planet in the Pleiades where this guy was supposedly from, but they changed science fiction. Yeah, that they had they made, but they changed it to a different name.

Chris Beal: I can see why he wouldn’t Got that? Yeah. But there’s also, you know, it doesn’t have to be about a spiritual journey to be spiritual. Give us example, there was a book I read, I think it was a couple of years ago called Beautiful Ruins. And I can’t remember the author, I could, unfortunately, I could get to get it to you later. But that doesn’t do any good for this interview. And it was about it was a whole journey to place mostly in Italy. And the characters, it was one of these things where all the multiple characters and the story converges in the end. And I got to the last chapter, and I thought, I don’t want this to end. Should I even read this last chapter. And then I read the last chapter, and it was so transcendent, there was something about it. And when when this happens to me, I can’t put my finger on what it is, no matter how many times I go back and read it. That does it. But it’s something like, life is perfect, just as it is, no matter what you think. You know, when I read a book that has that essence, in it, it seems like the writer has seen something that, you know, through all the things this is, this is the appearance and the appearance is perfect, just as it is you don’t need to go rearranging the pieces. And I don’t even understand how somebody can write like that. You know,

Rick Archer: that’s, that’s great. And, of course, then there’s not only spiritual literature, but there’s spiritual music. I mean, there’s some you listen to Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony or something and get yourself in the right mood, and it can just send you out into the stratosphere.

Chris Beal: Right, and all those things relate back somehow, to what we fundamentally are. It’s touching in, I think, to what we fundamentally are, and the reason that it works is because we don’t have words for it, we can’t define it in a pigeonhole. And

Rick Archer: that’s sort of a point. You know, I think the perhaps the greatest works of art of any kind music, art literature, are they sprang from that field, which we fundamentally are, the artist is in tune with that field to a sufficient degree that the expression of the art enlivens that field in us and helps bring us back to that.

Chris Beal: Yeah, yeah, I think so. I think the greatest art, that’s what it does, it really

Rick Archer: does, you sort of evokes the Transcendent is through a form.

Chris Beal: Right. Right. Exactly. And it’s, you know, it’s interesting, because when you see that everything is appearances, then it makes sense to read a novel, where everything is made up. Yeah, everything is appearances. And it’s just another version of that.

Rick Archer: Yes, true. So many things we could say about this. But I’m glad you brought that up. Because I don’t think that topic has ever come up in a bad gap interview talking about art and, and literature and so on in spiritual context, which is a huge area that I’m not really that qualified to talk about, but I think is very real for millions of people and has been for a long time. I mean, look at, you know, the PA TA or something like that. It’s just a bunch of marble, but it has sort of embodies the transcendent. Huh, right. already. Well, um, what else? Is there anything else that you you’d like to cover that we have neglected to talk about?

Chris Beal: I’m sure there will be after we quit.

Rick Archer: Right after I hang up. Oh, God, we should talk about that. Or I shouldn’t have done that.

Chris Beal: I can’t think of anything. It’s been a lot of fun. Yeah.

Rick Archer: So you have a blog, and I’ll link to it. And there’s lots and lots of entries in it. And people might enjoy reading it. And I guess it’s interactive, right? If people want to leave comments or questions or whatever, they can do that.

Chris Beal: Yeah, I hope they do. And there’s also there’s also links within that blog, too. I have a literary blog, too. Okay, great. Focus on

Rick Archer: both, so they don’t have to hop from one to the other. Okay, send me the links. And I’ll just link to both.

Chris Beal: Okay, and then the Buddhist fiction blog just came back online. So I’ll link to that to

Rick Archer: give me everything you want me to link to. And, and that chapter of your book that I read was very enjoyable. I think the whole book is going to be very interesting.

Chris Beal: You really want to read it.

Rick Archer: Well. Crack you know, it’s not a matter of one it’s a matter of finding the time, right because I you know, I’m in continuing continuing battle with my inbox. I never managed to empty it.

Chris Beal: You’re busy person. I can see from what you have listed.

Rick Archer: Then I have tons of stuff to read and tons of stuff to listen to, but I like it that way. It’s kind of like, you know, an idle mind is the devil’s playground.

Chris Beal: Right? Yeah. No, I didn’t send it to you because I didn’t want to, you know, people feel obligation when you send them something, and I didn’t want you to feel like, oh, you know, no time to read this, but I gotta read it. You know, that’s

Rick Archer: nice to do. But I read as much as I can. Yeah. And then I Yeah. Yeah. Okay, good. So thanks. And so those who’ve been listening or watching, there’ll be a page for Chris on bat gap calm as there always is for each interview. And I’ll include the links that she’s talking about. You know, you might want to even do some analog. So at some point, some interactive video thing where you can have a lot of people doing that these days where they just have a Zoom meeting, and anybody wants to join in and talk like, you could talk about spiritual literature, or Buddhist literature, whatever. Yeah. And you don’t even have to charge money for it. People enjoy that kind of thing. Just a suggestion.

Chris Beal: Oh, that’s a good idea. I mean, I do do some zoom stuff with friends. But yeah, it’s people I know. So at this point, so yeah, we

Rick Archer: make some new ones. New friends. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. All right. Well, Chris, and thanks for your flexibility. We made Chris jump through some hoops in order to get the right level of video quality here. But it did get it. Yeah, we did. It looks very good. And thanks. Thanks to your friend, Harry, for letting you come to his place and make this thank you to you. And so I’m glad we had this chance to meet and hope to meet you in person one of these days.

Chris Beal: Thank you very much. Oh, you’re welcome. You’re good questions.

Rick Archer: Thanks. And thanks to those who have been listening or watching and next week, I’ll be speaking with Landon Zelinsky, who also lives in the Santa Cruz area. And who was one of the founders of liberation unleashed. But she hasn’t been doing that for a number of years. But she wrote a book called Buddha on a bull I guess, which is reminiscent of the Zen ox herding pictures or something. Yes. But then again, she’ll be my guest next week. So thanks for listening watching, and we’ll see you for the next one. Thanks, Chris. Bye bye.