Rick Archer: Welcome to Buddha at the Gas Pump. My name is Rick Archer, Buddha at the Gas Pump is an ongoing series of conversations with spiritually Awakening people, I have done about 625 of them now and if this is new to you, and you’d like to check out previous ones, please go to batgap.com and look under the past interviews menu, where you’ll see all the previous ones organized in several different ways. This program was made possible through the support of appreciative listeners and viewers. So if you appreciate it and would like to help support it, there’s a PayPal button on every page of the website and there’s also a donations page which explains a few alternatives to PayPal. My guest today is Colin Drake. Colin is in Australia, he has lived a very well lived life in my opinion. I’m kind of big on the idea of just really focusing on spirituality for the long term. There’s no quick fix and he’s done that over well over 50 years. And a lot of his insights and observations he has recorded in books, I have a bunch of them here, Beyond the Separate Self, A Light Unto Your Own Self – Discovery Through Investigation of Experience, Awakening and Beyond – Self Recognition and its Consequences, Humanity – Our Place in the Universe – The Central Beliefs of the World’s Religions. I’ve read two of these books in their entirety listened to them in audio, actually and I’m sure we’ll be talking about points they contained and points the ones I didn’t read contain. I mean, in addition to these four, you’ve written what 20 or something now Colin?
Colin Drake: Well, there are 15 books on Awakening, of which I’ve turned 13 into books of poetry, one poem for each chapter and then there’s the book on that Humanity. So there’s basically there’s 29.
Rick Archer: Oh, cool. That’s pretty good. You’re like, competing with Louis Lamoure in terms of the sheer volume? No, you know
Colin Drake: I enjoy it.
Rick Archer: Yeah, it’s great. You’re a good writer. I know you repurpose a lot of the stuff because a lot of this was things that you had written in response to people or on blogs, or whatever. And then eventually, when you decided to start writing books, you realized you had enough for a bunch of them already, because you’d written so much.
Colin Drake: Well, actually, I initially decided I would like to write one book, which I literally thought that’s all it would need and I thought about it for many years, about nine years. Then, I realized that I actually written about 10- 15 articles, which I’d sent out on the email group that I looked after for Isaac Shapiro. So I started looking at all these articles thinking, well, there’s almost enough here for the book, all I’ve got to do is put an introduction, prologue, a few things at the end. And so they came together, and they made a book and I published that book. And I thought that was it. I didn’t think I was ever going to write another book. But then people started asking questions, and I started replying to the questions. Each one of those kind of looked like they could be a chapter in the next book. Then I started seeing more things in my meditation/contemplations, and each one of those I wrote about, and that became another chapter in the next books so the next book just grew organically like that. Since then, they’ve all done that, they just grow organically. I’ve never actually intended to write another book. But there’s always one in the pipeline, and the book of poems from the previous book. So there’s always two books in the pipeline, whether I actually sit down to write a book, which I don’t …
Rick Archer: Kind of like getting pregnant without intending to…
Colin Drake: I guess … they’re both enjoyable, joyful activities.
Rick Archer: So let’s backtrack a bit. Because, you know, you started your spiritual path back in the 60s, as did I, or a couple old hippies. Then you’ve had an interesting journey. Well, we don’t need to go through every little nook and cranny of it. But some of the highlights I think people would find interesting and it’ll give them a better sense of who they’re listening to here. So what was your initial kind of impetus to get interested in spirituality?
Colin Drake: Alright, so well initially I came from a very strong Methodist background, and I went to a Methodist boarding school in the 50s. You can imagine what that was like. Obviously, in that milieu there is some kind of spirituality in the background all the time. But it was very easy to actually discount it, because of the way it was presented, anyway, so I came out of that into the hippie era in London, I lived in London, in the late 60s. I started reading Ouspensky and I thought it was very interesting what he said, basically, he was saying that Awakening is the purpose of life and that’s what we should be doing … you know.
Rick Archer: He was a protégé of Gurdjieff right?
Colin Drake: Yes, he was Gurdjieff’s main disciple, he kind of expanded his views and wrote books that were more accessible because Gurdjieff is quite inaccessible to read actually. So anyway, so I was doing that for a bit, and at some stage, during all that I actually came to the realization, there was nothing in existence that could hurt me in essence, I actually had that realization, which was quite profound, actually. The other thing about that was having, when I read Ouspensky, he made it appear so hard what you had to do to wake up, I thought, well, he’s definitely right, but I think I’ll give it a miss for the moment.
Rick Archer: I heard that their technique is trying to remember the self all day long. And correct me if I’m wrong, because I heard this from somebody who had interacted with a bunch of those people back in the 60s. And, you know, he was thinking, this is a spiritual teacher I had had, and he was thinking, what’s wrong with these people? Why is their speech so halting? It’s like, and then they’d speak a word or two, and then they’d pause, and they speak a word or two, and then they’d pause, and he said, “Why aren’t you speaking fluently?” And they said, “Well, we’ve been instructed to try to remember the self.”
Colin Drake: Yeah.
Rick Archer: Well, yes you can imagine if you tried to live like that, how it removes all functionality from life. Divides the mind, I would think.
Colin Drake: Yeah, yeah. When Ouspensky was on his deathbed, he had his main disciples gathered around him, and he looked at them and said, “There is no way”. They spent all this time learning his way to do things, the fourth way, or whatever it was, and then he told them, “there is no way” and then he died. Well, that’s pretty discouraging …
Rick Archer: Ohh … really.
Colin Drake: So anyway, so I just thought, well, I’m sure this is the aim. But I’m in London, I’m a hippie, I’m enjoying life, you know, and I’m just gonna keep enjoying life and see what happens. You know, that’s basically what I did. But on the other hand, during that period, I also had a very strong LSD experience, which actually was so strong that what it did was to open the barrier between the subconscious and the conscious, so that everything that had been drummed into me by my parents, by Christianity, by my school, all that conditioning just poured out. Now that was horrific when it happened. But at the end of it, I just felt totally clean, you could talk about brainwashing. And I felt like somebody had actually brainwashed me, they taken all the shit and washed it all out. And that actually, that has remained that sort of emptiness, all that stuff that was drummed into me that just didn’t really return. So that was pretty profound also.
Rick Archer: A shift then.
Colin Drake: It was actually, and the other thing about that is during the experience, I was in such a state that I thought I was mad. I said to myself “You must be mad” and then I realized there was one small part of my being that was looking at it saying, “Well, this bit can’t be mad, because it’s looking at it saying this looks mad”. I realized that small part of my being was actually the essence of what I am. That’s what I later discovered, I call it Pure Awareness. So at that stage, I had that discovery, as well, which I couldn’t put into words at the time. I just knew there was one small part of me that was looking at the rest of it, and was unaffected by what was going on around, yeah.
Rick Archer: Yeah, I used to be kind of like that in a way too, I was always the one who could still drive a car no matter how stoned we were.
Colin Drake: Yeah, well, actually, that’s interesting because when you drive a car, you basically are doing it totally on automatic. And the body/mind knows how to do it. You know, you haven’t got anything to do with it. Really. The only problem with that when you’re doing that is if you run into an emergency where you so that can be dodgy when you’re really stoned.
Rick Archer: Yeah, it could be overwhelming. Yeah. So that was no matter how severe the confusion that would sometimes be there, there was this little sort of something that was clear, you know.
Colin Drake: That’s it. Yeah, that’s right, and the other thing was like, I took mescaline a few times, synthetic mescaline, which I found to be a very beautiful experience. It’s not like acid, because that can be quite freaky, you know, you can go up and down and up and down … but mescaline kind of takes you up very slowly to a pure kind of high plateau and you just stay on that plateau, it’s beautiful and then come gradually down, exquisite actually. So I did that a few times and when I did that, I actually did that as a purely spiritual experience. I’d like to be by myself and in a very clean environment and just drop it, you know, so that was good. So that was very profound sort of shift, although I then after that didn’t really do anything spiritually for maybe six or seven years but that was very profound sort of shift …
Rick Archer: Did you reach a point with the drugs where you felt like alright, now I’ve learned what these are going to teach me I don’t need to do these anymore?
Colin Drake: With regard to the hallucinogens, I did. Yep. And with regard to the weed I just found that to be, after a long day’s work, I just found that to be a very enjoyable experiences, to get stoned, listen to music and rap. I got passed the hallucinogens, I felt I’d they did given me all I wanted to get from them. And yeah, I just smoked after that for a few years, you know, but once we once we came to live up here because we were living in Sydney at the time. And once we came to live up here in the bush, they call it in Australia, we live in subtropical rainforest overlooking the ocean and we built a pottery up here. So we started off with a very basic, no power, very basic arrangement and we had a lot of work to do. When I came to live up here, which is the ideal place to grow cannabis, if you wish to, lots of people do, I actually gave it up because I was too busy actually, and I had too much work to do. I had not got enough time to smoke. So I just gave it away. That was interesting.
Rick Archer: Yeah.
Colin Drake: Anyway, um, yeah. So you wanted to know a bit about the whole journey.
Rick Archer: Yeah. Just skim through it, whatever you wish to highlight .
Colin Drake: Yeah, so. So when we were living in Sydney, towards the end of our stay there, we started doing yoga classes. There was an ex-Jesuit priest who gave the classes and he stressed a lot of relaxation and meditation. And he would just wander around, quoting from the Upanishads, and the Dhammapada, and all the sacred scriptures of the world. And that was very inspiring, you know? So that kind of got us thinking about this stuff again, because, yeah, and then we came involved with the Raja Yoga, the Brahma Kumaris.
Rick Archer: I’ve heard of them mainly from hearing you talk about them, but I had heard of them before, but I don’t really know anything about them. Well, I think there was some strange belief they had where everything is supposed to repeat itself every 3000 years or something. So I had this conversation before…
Colin Drake: 5000 years ago, we were doing exactly this.
Rick Archer: Okay.
Colin Drake: If this seems like déjà vu, you know why.
Rick Archer: You think you would have worked out your computer problems in the last 5000 years? I mean, what an odd belief, because if that were true, we’d be finding relics of computers buried in archaeological sites since yet.
Colin Drake: Yeah, I mean, we, we started with them, they had a very lovely meditation technique which was very beautiful and very calming. And it was lovely. But then they introduced the dogma, basically, you had to believe the dogma to stayed in the group. We couldn’t, so we left. So yeah, so then when we left Sydney and came up here and built the pottery, we started going to Satyananda yoga classes. Have you heard of Satyananda?
Rick Archer: When you first were saying it, I thought you were referring to Swami Satchidananda, who was actually in US and spoke at Woodstock and everything, but I hadn’t really I’m not familiar with your guy.
Colin Drake: Okay, so he is a direct disciple of Sivananda. Have you heard of him?
Rick Archer: Yeah …
Colin Drake: So he was one of his main disciples and he got instructed to go out and teach. So Satyananda travelled the world for years and he taught. He taught, just taught yoga, Hatha Yoga, Kriya yoga, Raja Yoga, and he taught all these in a very non-dogmatic way. He was teaching the techniques, but not instilling a lot of dogma, which was actually a very nice way to do it, because you’re learning everything by your experience, by doing the techniques rather than having to rely on any dogma, so we did that for quite a long time We still do Yoga Nidra, which is a wonderful technique. You’ve heard of Yoga Nidra?
Rick Archer: Yes, I interviewed a guy named Richard Miller who that was his main thing that he teaches, and maybe a couple other people also have been into that. Lying down, it’s very relaxing, right?
Colin Drake: Yeah.
Rick Archer: Yeah.
Colin Drake: Satyananda was actually the guy who really introduced that to the west. It was his big thing. You know, one of his big things, Yoga Nidra.
Rick Archer: What does it mean, sleep or something?
Colin Drake: It means sleep. They call it psychic sleep. That’s what they call it, you’re not actually asleep. But you’re the threshold between sleep and being awake. And you’re just lying in a very relaxed way, listening to and following the instructions. And it’s always in a set format. I’ve actually been doing it every lunchtime for over 40 years now, in say 20 minutes, you could lie down, feeling completely exhausted and pissed off with life and fed up with everybody whenever you know. Feeling like suicide should we say, you lie down, 20 minutes later you get up so changed, totally relaxed, asking “Where am I? What days is it?” it’s just amazing. 20 minutes. That’s all it takes
Rick Archer: After all these years I hope you’re not feeling suicidal, but I know what you mean.
Colin Drake: Well, no, that’s true. That’s a slight exaggeration. But you get what I mean, it just changes your headspace completely in 20 minutes it’s amazing. Anyway, so I’m still doing that. And he taught Kirtan, that’s chanting Sanskrit mantras. We’ve had chanting at our house now for once a month for over 30 years. The group comes and we all chant together with drums , harmoniums, clap sticks, tambourines, we really like it. You get really high on that, actually. So that’s Satyananda, and I do hatha yoga every day. So essentially, he was a big influence on my life. And then it was Ramakrishna, I ran into Ramakrishna, you obviously know about Ramakrishna.
Rick Archer: You obviously you didn’t run into him, but you ran into his lineage.
Colin Drake: Yes his teaching. Yeah, that’s right. So you know about Ramakrishna?
Rick Archer: Yeah, I study regularly with a swami who gives teachings on the Bhagavad Gita and is associated with the Vedanta Society in New York.
Colin Drake: Oh, sure. Is that from this the Vedanta Societies that the Vivekananda set up back in the early 19th century?.
Rick Archer: In fact, the very building I think, which he established in New York City, that’s where this guy is located. Swami Sarvapriyananda and yeah.
Colin Drake: So, you would obviously know that Vivekananda was Ramakrishna’s main disciple?
Rick Archer: Yes. I’m pretty familiar with it.
Colin Drake: Yeah, you would.. So Ramakrishna was an amazing guy as you probably know.
Rick Archer: Oh, yeah.
Colin Drake: I mean, I was at a silent Satyananda weekend retreat, and I just was in the library, looking at the books, you know, and there was a book called ‘The Gospel of Ramakrishna’ and I thought ‘what a pretentious title’. So I picked it out and started reading it. And I’d only read a couple of pages and I was just absolutely hooked, I could not put it down. So then I got initiated by a nun from the Sarada Vedanta society. Sarada was Ramakrishna’s wife. So she was a Ramakrishna nun, basically. And so I spent 10 years, heavily involved with meditating on Ramakrishna and reading everything that was ever written about him, everything he ever said, I ingested it. I just loved it. I still do. He’s amazing, I think he is the most amazing human ever to have been born actually. So anyway, so did that for a long time. And then I ran into a friend of mine at the markets I used to sell pots.
Rick Archer: You’re a potter, your ceramic artist, right? Yeah.
Colin Drake: Yeah, I don’t like the word artist. I use the word artisan because I make ware which we use in everyday life, my wife and I both made 30 different items. We used to make a range and we actually lived on making pots for over 30 years, selling them at the markets and galleries or whatever, whatever. So and they were all different because they were fired in wood kilns. And if you fire something in a wood kiln and you leave the pot unglazed on the outside basically, maybe with a bit of decoration, what decorates the pot is the wood fire itself, the ash and flashing and flames and every one is unique, which is lovely. So I would say the process is the artist, we are just the artisans that put it together. Anyway so yes, so we that’s how we made a living in all these years. So we’re, now I’ve lost my thread. Oh yes, so I was at the markets selling pots. And a friend of mine said ,this is in 1996. Right. So it’s actually 25 years ago to this month. This when all this happened, she came up to me said, “You’re really stuck”. And I said, “I am not stuck, because I was very happy with what I was doing. I was getting a lot out of it, and it was all good. So she said, “I know you’re really stuck” and she gave me this video. Actually that was probably in the October. Yeah, that would have been October. So it sat on my coffee table for about three weeks. Then I had to go back to the market the following month, and give it back to her and I thought, ‘well, I better have a look at it, just you know, to show willing’. So I put it on and looked at it. There was this vibrant blonde from somewhere in the USA with a very strong southern accent.
Rick Archer: Louisiana.
Colin Drake: Yes, Louisiana and her name was Gangaji, as you obviously know her, and I put it on. I thought ‘no, I can’t stand this’ because I was used to seeing Indian swamis… I’ve had two Indian gurus and I’ve been heavily involved with that whole thing. And this is not cool. So I thought ‘anyway, I’ll give her five minutes’ and like with Ramakrishna I was completely hooked. I believed what she was saying and basically what she was saying is something I’ve read many times, in the Upanishads, I knew what she was saying, but it’s just the way she was saying it. She said, “you are already That which you are looking for, all you have to do is stop and look, and you’ll see it … stop all you’re doing all your practices, everything, just stop!” Anyway, so I watched that video for an hour. And then when I went back to the market with the video and I was talking to my friend about it. She said this woman is in Byron Bay at the moment, and she’s been here for a month and she’s giving Satsang. She gave two months of Satsang at a venue in Byron Bay in 1996. It was amazing, every day at the old slaughterhouse, actually the old meatworks, which they turned into this amazing space that would hold up to 700 people. So she was giving Satsang since about 700 people every day. So I went to see her and the very first meeting, I went, I came out I just actually felt kind of drunk. I didn’t want to drive because it was just so strong the impact of what she was saying, you know, and the way she was saying it, you know, and it actually caused me to stop. And when I stopped completely, there It was you know, wow! So then, at the end of that month, she was giving me a seven-day silent retreat, nearby here. So I went on the seven-day silent retreat. That was fun. And yeah, I just came out of that retreat, a completely different person, completely, completely different. I had such a profound Awakening on that retreat that when I said I was slightly drunk, when I went to the first meeting, I actually felt drunk for a year after that seven-day retreat. And after five days, I felt so inebriated, I thought, ‘I’m never going to be able to drive home. How am I going to get home’? So then I think the next day I woke up, and there was a slight pause when I felt slightly normal. So I jumped into my Kombi and started heading home. Even then I was laughing and crying and carrying on but I managed to get home. So that was effect which was very profound. And since then I’ve cultivated staying Awake by doing inquiry and investigation on a regular basis every day; even after the initial Awakening which is actually quite easy. Rama Maharshi said that it’s easy to wake up, but that’s when the work begins …. So you can have an Awakening quite easily. But then you actually have to be vigilant to that Awakening, you have to honor the Awakening by continued investigation.
Rick Archer: Yeah, let me say several things and see if you agree with them. Obviously one thing leads to the next and by the time you met Gangaji, you had already been doing spiritual stuff for 40 years or whatever it was. And obviously, that probably laid a nice foundation for the experience you had with her.
Colin Drake: You may say that but Gangaji said quite clearly, in the first meeting I saw her, “ all your previous practice has been a waste of time , a bad investment”. She actually said that. She said, “Wake Up Now”, we can all wake up now. However, most people would fully agree with you, and I don’t totally agree with her. I think what you said is right, it created a nice platform, a nice basis. Because I’ll give you an example of that. The beginning of my Awakening on that retreat was when I sat down after three days to do self-inquiry for the very first ever time. I hadn’t done that instead meditating with a mantra and the breath and visualization that had been my technique. So finally, I didn’t seem to be getting it as everybody around me seem to and so I thought, well, I should maybe I should try this method . So I did. When I sat down, I did a bit of my normal meditation so when I then entered the self-inquiry I had a very quiet mind, very still mind. And then if you enter inquiry with the very still mind, and you ask, “who am I?”. Then the result for me was actually I was looking into there was the question “who am I?”, there was the radiance by which (Yeah, the illumination by which) the question itself could be seen. There was a nothingness i.e. no thought, relative to which the question could be seen, because every perception requires a background of nothingness for it to occur, and then there was the Awareness which saw the question, so there was basically there was this Radiant Aware Nothingness! I don’t think that would have happened, if I hadn’t had that prior practice as you said.
Rick Archer: Yeah, I don’t either. I mean, and, you know, all the traditional teachers, I mean, Sivananda, Ramakrishna, Shankara, Patanjali, they would all that you can find in all of their teachings and writings, the emphasis on, you know long, dedicated practice or focus on, you know, your spiritual development. And you know that the second verse in yoga sutras: ‘yoga is the cessation of the fluctuations of the mind’. So you had actually, you know, achieved the quiet mind through all the yoga and the practice you had done so far. And that provided a right foundation a right field for the results you had. When you met Gangaji, and she herself, and many other spiritual teachers, who come out and say “Oh, you don’t need to do anything, just wake up”, had done a lot of stuff, you know, before they had some sort of Awakening. So it’s a little bit inconsistent.
Colin Drake: Yes that’s true … however, on the retreat a lot of very young people there who didn’t know, or do, any practice and that she encouraged people to report on that what was happening for them. And these people, these people gave the most wonderful, glowing, and obviously not concocted, I mean, these are true reports of what they were waking up to. I mean, people had no prior spiritual practice. Yeah, so that’s the counterbalance and the other thing about that as well as Ramana said “ Awakening, the initial Awakening is very easy after that, the work begins” so that’s when you have to keep at it, you have to keep at it, you have to keep at it. You can have a glimpse. I mean, I had a at 19, as I was saying that I had that glimpse that nothing could ever hurt the actual essential essence of what I was, at 19 I had that glimpse. But after a glimpse that is when the work begins.
Rick Archer: Right.
Colin Drake: But that was when the work began. So for me, my whole thrust of what I write, what I say is that Awakening is very simple. But then you have to keep at it. And you have to keep at it.
Rick Archer: Yes, now I agree, then we can define what Awakening is, and we can define what ‘keeping at it’ means, we’ll get into all that stuff. But it’s, you know, I just pushed back a little bit on this kind of theme, because there are teachers walking around who say things like “Oh, you’re already enlightened. That’s it, don’t do anything, you know, don’t bother doing any practices or anything else”. And there might be one in a million people for whom that’s a useful instruction. And it really, you know, applies to them. But the vast, vast majority of people, it’s just not going to work.
Colin Drake: Oh, agree with you. I fully agree. Yeah. And I, I’ve actually had interactions with many people who’ve heard that and it’s caused them a lot of problems.
Rick Archer: It’s frustrating.
Colin Drake: Yeah, that’s true. And yet, once again, as I say, I think the Awakening is simple, but then you really have to honor it. You have to stay with it. You have to stay vigilant to it. You have to keep at it to ground that Awakening so that it becomes part of your day-to-day life.
Rick Archer: Yep and yeah, grounded is a good word and integrate it and, and you know, have it so permeate your being that no matter what you go through, no matter what this is, you know, like Christ being crucified. I doubt he lost his Awakening, you know, because it is so profoundly established.
Colin Drake: Yeah, yes, we have to get to that.
Rick Archer: Yeah. But obviously most of us wouldn’t do so well under those circumstances, you know,
Colin Drake: It’s interesting, you can’t really tell until it happens. You know? It’s interesting, you can’t really know until it happens to you.
Rick Archer: know? It doesn’t, but you can’t.
Colin Drake: Yeah, that’s true.
Rick Archer: But you know, I mean, you’ve probably had experience, I had an experience that last summer where I was up at court playing a sport with some friends and I tripped over a chain and fell flat on my face and smashed my nose. And I was bleeding and everything. But it was kind of interesting in a way because, you know, that quiet little thing that you were talking about, there it was, you know. The inner experience was, nothing happened.
Colin Drake: Yeah.
Rick Archer: That was just on the surface.
Colin Drake: Yeah, just more phenomena happening to the mind body, but not to you, you know, not to your essence.
Rick Archer: Exactly. Yeah. So maybe this is a good segue for having you explain what you mean by Awakening.
Colin Drake: Okay, well, okay. So I was talking about Awakening from the misidentification of being a separate objects in a universe of separate objects, which most people identify with. Most people identify themselves as being an object, a separate object in a universe separate object, do you agree with that?
Rick Archer: Yes, yes, they would.
Colin Drake: And obviously, if you do identify like, that, this causes a lot of problems because not only do you objectify yourself, but your objectify all others, that once you start to objectify in that way, then we all know what happens when you start to objectify other people. This causes all kinds of problems, you know, judgments…
Rick Archer: Misery, lack of compassion and all kinds of things.
Colin Drake: Well, yes, I mean, that’s right. If you think you’re a separate object, in a universe of separate objects you treat every as an object, rather than as being of the same essence, because when you fully wake up, you realize actually, that everybody is of the same essence as yourself, there is actually no separation.
Rick Archer: Yeah,
Colin Drake: Now, once you realize that, the thing about compassion is that people say you need to foster compassion, but compassion is an outcome of realizing that everyone is of the same essence, it’s an outcome, it’s not something you foster to get that outcome. It’s the outcome of Awakening itself. If you say, if you think you’re a separate object, and everybody else is a separate object, then fostering compassion for those is going to be quite hard, because you don’t regard them as being you or of the same essence. And they are just separate. We’re all just in it for …, we’re all dancing together, but we’re all in it for what we can get, you know …
Rick Archer: Oh, you know, Jesus said “Love your neighbor as yourself”. I mean, so what does that mean? On the deepest level, you know,
Colin Drake: And your enemy …
Rick Archer: And your enemy, but what it really means is you see your neighbor or your enemy as yourself. You know that verse in The Gita: ‘see the Self in all beings and all beings in the Self’.
Colin Drake: Yeah, that’s right. That’s right. So that’s yes. So that’s why I’m always talking about Awakening from being an object. Yeah to realize who you are, that we all have the same essence. And I have a kind of a process that I take people through to point them towards this. Now. I’m always very keen for people to investigate this for themselves, and to come to their own conclusions. Because I don’t think anybody can, you can’t get it from a book, you can’t get it from another person, it always has to be from within yourself, which is not surprising, because as you know, it is within us all, we all have this potential, we all have the same Self. So it’s just a matter of looking and seeing. So I like to just provide pointers as a ways to look and see. So I have a very easy technique, which I develop called investigation of experience. And all of my books, in fact all of my insights over the last 25 years, have really come out of using that technique as their grounding, their basis.
Rick Archer: So you would like to explain to us how.
Colin Drake: Yeah well, I’ll take you through it. And you can tell me whether you can do it for yourself as we talk about it.
Rick Archer: I’m sure everybody watching and listening can do it.
Colin Drake: Yeah, And then if there’s any questions, anything people don’t understand, we’ll talk about those as we go.
Rick Archer: Yeah, people can send in questions. As I explained earlier, the live audience anyway, can do that.
Colin Drake: Okay, So it’s, it starts off, well, the first thing to do this process, you basically need to be in a very comfortable position, so your body is not causing you any discomfort. So I, mean, basically, I do everything in Savasana, the corpse pose, that’s how I like to do things. So you need to find a very comfortable position where your body’s totally comfortable. You need to, this is a bit tricky … you need to let go of all previous belief systems that you have about anything, you need to actually start with Descartes started, you know, where Descartes started his investigations, you doubt everything and you believe nothing, you start with an empty slate. So as far as possible, start with empty slate.
Rick Archer: Yeah, I’m not sure how you just, I mean, obviously a person might, at least momentarily a person might think are I’m not gonna think about all the stuff I believe, but those beliefs are still rooted in their intellect.
Colin Drake: That’s true, But during the process, we’ll come to very simple technique to deal with beliefs and things as they come up. So it’s not it’s not as hard as it sounds. Okay. As far as you can start off with now. So the process is quite simple. We’re just looking at this moment of experience, this actual moment of direct experience that’s happening, okay? Now, this moment, actually consists of three elements, each experience consists of three elements, there’s mind stuff, that’s everything that comes out of the mind, there’s sensations, that’s everything detected by the body and its sense organs and there’s the Awareness of these. Now, would you agree they are the only three elements of a moment of direct experience? Just have a think about that. Check your own moment of direct experience now and see if you can find anything else apart from these three elements.
Rick Archer: Yeah, say them again, there’s mind …
Colin Drake: Everything that appears in the mind. There’s sense impressions, everything detected by the bodily sense organs? And there’s the Awareness of these. Can you find anything else in this moment?
Rick Archer: Well, there’s Awareness itself, but that’s not something you experienced through the senses.
Colin Drake: No, no, of course not. So all I’m asking is can you find anything else?
Rick Archer: I say I don’t mean to give you a hard time. Nope. I can’t find anything else.
Colin Drake: No, no, I want you to give me a hard time. Okay, seriously, as I said to my last person I was interviewing, who was interviewing me, I’m always looking for people to find holes in what I’m saying.
Rick Archer: Alright.
Colin Drake: I’d like people to shoot it down if they can shoot it down.
Rick Archer: Sounds good, okay.
Colin Drake: We agree that there are the three elements, that’s all there are in this moment. And we can actually only live moment to moment. So we can we actually live moment to moment, from one moment experience to the next we live. That’s how we live. So would you agree with that?
Rick Archer: Yes.
Colin Drake: So when you look at these three elements you have. From now on, I’m just gonna call them thoughts and sensations, okay? Where thoughts means all mind stuff, sensations means everything detected by the body and its senses.
Rick Archer: And that was just for the record. Some teachers say that thoughts are actually a subtler aspect of the senses. So verbal thoughts are a subtler aspect of the sense of hearing, the inner visions are a subtler aspect of the sense of seeing, I mean, you can have a thought of a lemon, and that’s somewhere else taking the sense of taste. And also, it’s basically just a sensation.
Colin Drake: Yeah, that’s fine. But we’re still talking basically, a mixture of thoughts and sensations, objects, would you agree that they’re objects? Yes. Whether they’re subtle or gross? They’re objects. Yes. That objects, okay. And the Awareness is the perceiving presence, the subject. Would you agree with that? Yes. So now we have the perceiving presence and the objects it perceives, that’s what we have in this moment. That’s all there is. Right now. The objects the thoughts and sensations are always changing. They are a flow of ever flowing, ever changing objects. Would you agree that ?
Rick Archer: Yep.
Colin Drake: Whereas the perceiving presence, the Awareness is, is constant, it doesn’t change it just it’s like a mirror that just reflects what’s appearing in front of it.
Rick Archer: Yeah, or the good old movie screen analogy screen.
Colin Drake: There’s lots of ways, I actually tend to regard it as being a two way mirror I’ll get into that later. But it reflects everything that appears in front of it, but it also actually sees it from its side and absorbs it as well as reflecting it, but we’ll get into that okay. So, we have thoughts and sensations which are objects and we have the perceiving presence Awareness, which is the subject, okay. And which is constant. So, now, this whole thing is about self-identity. The whole process is to do with self-identity. What am I in essence, okay, what am I? Am I this flow of ever-changing objects? Or am I this perceiving presence? Okay. Which one am I? Since you were born, ever since your physical body came into being, every thought and sensation you have had has appeared in this presence. Now, do you think you’ve been here since you were born?
Rick Archer: The Presence. Yes.
Colin Drake: Yes. So if you think you’ve been here since you were born, that’s the only thing that’s been here since you were born, because your body mind is constantly changing, the only thing that’s been constantly as you were born is this Presence. Do you agree with that?
Rick Archer: Yup.
Colin Drake: Okay, so what are you then in all this? Are you the body/mind or you are this presence? That’s the logical conclusion from this, you are the presence in which the thoughts and sensations appear. Now, once you can fully grok and get the implications of that, that completely changes everything. Because suddenly the thoughts and sensations are just a flow of objects appearing in this Awareness, which you are. And that is who you are, we’ve always said it’s constant. Let’s just have a quick, investigation of this presence to kind of tease out some of its properties. Because, this presence is constant. We’ve said that it’s still, now when I say still, you would you’d agree that straightaway, you’re nodding your head, because it’s still because, yeah, it’s aware of the slightest movement that’s happening in it. So it’s obviously still, it’s silent because it’s aware of the smallest sound and the subtlest thought, Okay. It’s choiceless, obviously, because actually, it’s always there, you don’t look for it, there it is. That’s what you are. It’s effortless. Of course, it’s effortless, doesn’t require any effort. It’s here before all things appear. Now when I say that is what I’m talking about things in our direct experience. So we’re going to say the word ‘things’ I’m talking about the flow of thoughts and sensations as I’m talking. So it’s here before all things appear. Because as soon as you have a thought or sensation then when they appear in it, and it is the seer of them. Then when as they must they disappear, because all thoughts and sensations come and go, they disappear. This is still always here. So this, in fact, is That in which all our thoughts and sensations arise, by which they are spied, in which they abide and into which they subside.
Rick Archer: That’s a good analysis of it.
Colin Drake: Okay, now, let’s keep going further. And it’s pretty obvious that actually, this is omnipresent in our experience, because actually experience is Awareness of thoughts and sensations, therefore, Awareness is omnipresent in our experience. That’s, that’s a no brainer. Would you agree with that?
Rick Archer: Yeah. I think, yeah, we can take it farther to having it be omnipresent in all creation. But let’s stick to our experience.
Colin Drake: Well, we can get there. That’s further down the track and is easy to get to, but we jump ahead of ourselves. Because the thing about this kind of investigation is if you don’t follow the steps rigorously and start to get ahead of yourself, the brain actually can lose track, so it’s actually good to keep going with accuracy. So it’s omnipresent. We said that it’s omniscient. What I mean by that is, it sees our thoughts and sensations, and it’s omnipotent. When I say it’s omnipotent, what I mean by that is our thoughts and sensations, our experience, any phenomena in fact, have no power over it. They come and go in that leaving it unchanged, so they have no power. Okay. So now, you’d agree with all those so far?
Rick Archer: Yes.
Colin Drake: Now, this is so easy and yet we’ve already reached the still silent, serene, pure radiant … We haven’t done the pureness or the radiance. It’s still and silent, therefore it’s serene, right? And it’s pure because no thing that appears in it can taint it. Things come and go, that they don’t taint it. It’s radiant, in that it provides the illumination by which the things that appear in it may be seen or noticed. Would you agree with that?
Rick Archer: Yes.
Colin Drake: And it’s pristine because no thing that appears it can degrade it. So now we have simply got to ‘the still silent serene, pure, radiant, pristine, omnipresent, omniscient, omnipotent, field of Awareness, in which all things arise, abide are spied and subside’. Okay. And when you look at that that is actually almost a description of the way The Absolute is described in a lot of religious traditions.
Rick Archer: That’s how they came up with those descriptions, based on their experience of that.
Colin Drake: Yeah, with such a very simple investigation. And each step follows on from the other logically, and it’s easy to see. So now, if nobody’s got any questions about that we’ll move on to expanding it to the universal.
Rick Archer: Before, yeah, I don’t have so much a question was sort of a question, which is that, you know, I’m an easy guy to do this with because like you I’ve been at this since the 60s, and, you know, meditating for ages and all. But you say this to the average guy on the street. And he might just say “ I don’t know what you’re talking about. I don’t experience any such thing”. Just as you know, somebody, let’s say who, who came into a movie theatre when the movie was already playing and never saw the screen without movies playing on it might say “I don’t know, you’re talking about there’s always action and dinosaurs and, you know, superheroes and car crashes. And all this stuff is always happening. I’ve never seen anything like what you’re referring to” …
Colin Drake: I agree with that. If you met some ordinary person and straightaway launched into this, they would say “I don’t know what you’re talking about”. That’s why you have to talk with people who are interested in the subject to start with.
Rick Archer: Yeah.
Colin Drake: And are prepared to undertake the investigation. Okay. However, I have met, I’ve taken various people who’ve got no spiritual background through this, just talking to them once I’ve got them mentally prepared for it. And they have seen it just like that. But by taking them through this step-by-step process, they’ve got it. So this is not difficult.
Rick Archer: No I can see how they would. And then like you said earlier, then starts the project of actually stabilizing and integrating it which is long term composition.
Colin Drake: It is because once you fully grok, this, you realize that, in essence, you are this Pure Awareness. We have been conditioned over many, oh, ever since we were born, that we are separate objects, with lots of different properties. You know, your name is Colin, you’re Christian, you’re white, you’re a Taurus, etc., etc., just layer upon layer of labels on this so-called objects that everybody thinks we are, we’ve been conditioned to think we are, so to suddenly discover that, in fact, you are just Pure Awareness, you might understand it… But this burden of labels that you’ve accumulated will continually come back in and swamp it.
Rick Archer: I would say that it’s not just a matter of labels. Certainly, yes, we’ve been told all these things, all of our lives, and we’ve had a million experiences all of our lives. But there’s a neuro physiological component to that, which is that all these experiences register as impressions in the nervous system, which I think in the Sanskrit they call it, Samskaras, and, and those impressions are actually chemical and structural, you know, changes that have taken place in our nervous system. And so part of the project, which is I think, it’s been there in these ancient philosophies for 1000s of years, is to undergo, you know, not only a change in one’s attitude or beliefs, or but to undergo a sort of thorough, subtle purification or transformation of the neurophysiology. I mean, it’s been explained in terms of Kundalini and various other models. But the whole mind body system has to be transformed. And, you know, you’ve heard the term neuroplasticity, and they’ve done studies on people who’ve been meditating for a long time, and they have thicker prefrontal cortex and various other changes in brainwaves. So the whole we’re an instrument, you know, through which experience happens and the instrument gets damaged, we could say through all the stresses and strains of life, think of somebody with PTSD from war, and that damage has to be reversed and spiritual practice can do that. And even the thing you’re describing here can do that if it’s practiced regularly, I think and obviously, various other practices can do it as well.
Colin Drake: But yes, I fully agree. And that’s why I say you actually, once you’ve had the initial Awakening, you actually have to carry out this practice. I mean, I recommend that you carry out this investigation at least three times a day spend about 20 minutes three times a day doing this investigation.
Rick Archer: So this is what you do as your practice.
Colin Drake: Although I yeah, I mean, I don’t do quite such a simple investigation. Now, I’ve moved on, although similar to the one I’ve just taken you through, so I do that every morning, actually.
Rick Archer: Do you do it in your own mind? You go through you just go through the points that you just went through with me or do you play a tape of yourself saying these things or what?
Colin Drake: No, I go through it in my own mind and I’ve gone to deeper levels now, because I’ve been doing it for so long. I’ve been basically doing this for 25 years.
Rick Archer: Well keep telling us about the whole thing. And when you get to it tell us about the deeper levels too.
Colin Drake: I will, So anyway, um, the thing about what you’re saying about the samskaras, the things that come up that are deeply ingrained, is that you get to the point, when you’re grounded in this, that you just immediately see them as objects appearing in the Awareness that you are. So although they continue to come up, actually, you can just see that it’s just an object appearing in That which you are, and therefore it has no power over you. It might keep coming up. It might keep coming up for a long time, but it has no power, it loses its power, as long as you stay awake as the Awareness in which it appears.
Rick Archer: And eventually these things work themselves out and they don’t come up anymore?
Colin Drake: That’s right, because they lose their power, because they’re not being fed. And after a while they just disappear.
Rick Archer: And I believe that actually a neuro physiological changes taking place. Whereas once there was some kind of impression in the system, that impression is gone. So the system is functioning more normally.
Colin Drake: I mean, I think this whole method does actually change the brain itself, you actually develop new neural pathways. You start to see things in a different way. So I’m quite convinced this does actually change the brain.
Rick Archer: yeah, they’re doing research on that kind of thing. I mean, there’s been a lot of that done.
Colin Drake: Yeah. So I fully agree with everything you said, I think this is a method of doing that and I think it’s a very easy method of doing it. Because it’s very easy to understand the process. There’s nothing complicated about it and it requires no dogma or belief systems and you can apply it minute by minute, minute by minute.
Rick Archer: Now, one question I have about this, and maybe we’ll get to this when you get to the deeper stuff. But all of this is a form of mental activity, you’re recognizing this, you thinking that you know, and so you’re keeping the mind active, but there are deeper levels where the mind could actually settle into complete quiescence. And, and that would have its unique value as well.
Colin Drake: Yes, that’s true. So what I mean, if you do this process, by the end of it, the mind is basically finished with all of the day-to-day stuff that fills it and then the mind is very quiet. Yes. In fact, I always reach the stage of Pure Aware Nothingness when there’s that’s all there is. It’s total quiet.
Rick Archer: You do always.
Colin Drake: Yeah.
Rick Archer: That’s pretty good.
Colin Drake: I don’t spend hours in that state. Um, I actually, I enjoy experiencing the world.
Rick Archer: Oh, yeah. You don’t spend hours in the bank getting some money, you just go in there for five minutes, get the money and then spend hours in the market …
Colin Drake: Yeah, that’s true. So and I’ll get to this later. But people talk about forcibly stilling the mind to get to this stage. Whereas I say that Awakening actually stills the mind. Awakening is the precursor …
Rick Archer: Agree with you. Yes, it’s a cart before the horse thing. And a lot of people put the cart before the horse.
Colin Drake: Yeah, a still mind is the outcome of Awakening. I’ll get to that later. But just quickly on that, once you’re identify with Pure Awareness itself, then all of the background programs that run in the minds to do with self-image, to do with the small self, stop altogether. In fact, all those programs that keep running all the time, they all stopped running. So the mind immediately becomes quiet. Because all of this stuff that we thought about ourselves, about the past, about the future, about anything relating to ourselves as an object, the mind actually stopped running those programs because it realized it’s not an object … It is that Pure Awareness.
Rick Archer: And you’re talking about during the practice itself.
Colin Drake: I’m talking about day-to-day living.
Rick Archer: All the time, it stops running
Colin Drake: All the time, I don’t think about the future. Apart from planning things. I don’t worry about the future. I don’t wallow in the past. I don’t worry about anything. I plan things. I’m a great planner. I love solving problems. I love all that shit. But I don’t wobble in the process. I don’t think about the process. I don’t worry about the future at all. I don’t think much about the past, although when I do I think of it fondly. What I’m saying is that these programs just don’t run in my mind.
Rick Archer: Right. In other words, you have really transformed over time, your whole mode of functioning. It’s become second nature to you now you don’t have to like think about it all day long. This is just your natural state.
Colin Drake: I mean, I still spend three periods a day doing different investigation or yoga nidra or whatever. Yeah, and to me they are total joy, those periods I love them. I can feel them reenergizing my whole being actually.
Rick Archer: You are in good company and I know Shankara , the Buddha, many others are Sri Ramakrishna, they all spent time in meditation every day on a regular basis throughout their lives.
Colin Drake: Yeah, I love it. But I only spend, I don’t spend hours. I don’t go into long Samadhi suspended, you know, vanished. Really, because I enjoy life. I enjoy. I tell people I try to squeeze every drop I can get out of nice, you know? Yeah. Anyway, so I’ve got a bit sidetracked. So we’ll get back to where we were. Should you want to carry on from there? Or?
Rick Archer: Yeah, somebody asked a question, but it might throw us off a little. So I’ll get back to him. It has to do with psychedelics and stuff. So let’s keep on your thing here. And I’ll ask you that later.
Colin Drake: Okay, so we’ve reached this point where we’ve, I’ll just recap. We’ve got the still silent serene, pure, radiant, pristine, omnipresent, omniscient, omnipotent field of Awareness in which all things arise abide are spied and subside, we’ve reached that point. Okay. Now, this is purely talking about our direct experience of this moment. That’s all we’ve done. We’ve analyzed that direct experience okay. So, now we can expand this from this individual experience of this moment to the universal. And the way we do that is, at this stage, up to now everything has actually come out of our own direct experience and logically looking at that, you know, now we have to bring a bit of science in because it’s been proved that Awareness saturates the universe. Now, when I say that I use as examples, these are the not the easiest, but for me, the most cogent example is entanglement, you know about entanglement?
Rick Archer: Yeah, quantum entanglement, the up particle, the down particle, they immediately switch even though they could be on the other side of the galaxy, and so on.
Colin Drake: Yeah. I’ll put in layman’s terms. Subatomic particles become entangled in such a way that each one of the pair is aware of what is occurring for or to the other, its partner, irrespective of how far apart they are.
Rick Archer: Yeah, now, just to poke back a little bit of physicists might say, well, the word aware is too anthropomorphic, we don’t know if they’re aware of each other. But we don’t even know how this works. But somehow or other when, when one of them changes its polarity, the other does so instantly, and they I don’t think they have a ready answer as to how that happens.
Colin Drake: Oh, well, that’s right. They won’t say they’re aware. But logically speaking, how could one possibly know what changed when the other one changes if it wasn’t aware of what’s happened to the other one? It’s just logical, it’s a cogent argument.
Rick Archer: Yeah. But then the interesting question is that it happens faster. And this happens instantaneously, even if the two particles are light years apart.
Colin Drake: You know, what happens is because they exist in the same field of Awareness, there is actually no separation between them.
Rick Archer: Yeah, no, I would agree. I mean, I think this is something this is an anomaly that physicists should really should make them look deeper into the mechanics of Consciousness.
Colin Drake: That’s true. They should, yes. So and then the second example I’ve used is the fact that electrons change their behavior when they’re observed.
Rick Archer: Photons.
Colin Drake: Waveform, electrons.
Rick Archer: Really, the Heisenberg uncertainty principle.
Colin Drake: No, no, you know, consider the double slit experiment.
Rick Archer: Yeah, the two-slit experiment, those are photons, I think going through and they particles are their waves.
Colin Drake: It doesn’t matter which particles they are. You said photons and I said electrons, it doesn’t matter.
Rick Archer: We’ll look it up.
Colin Drake: These subatomic particles change their behavior from a wave form to a particle form when they’re being observed. So the only way they can do that is if they’re aware of being observed. There’s no other logical explanation if they don’t know they’re being observed, then they wouldn’t change their behavior.
Rick Archer: I mean I agree that the Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle is very important for understanding Consciousness. And I don’t know again, if we can say that the photon or electron, if you will, is actually aware that it’s being observed or somehow that observation collapses the wave function. But anyway, there’s no hemming and hawing is a little bit is that sometimes physicists really pull their hair out where they when they hear spiritual people, coopting quantum mechanics and so on in order to explain spiritual principles and kind of butchering quantum mechanics in the process.
Colin Drake: I agree, although David Bohm did, you’ve heard of David Bohm?
Rick Archer: Now, there’s a bunch of physicists who were on board with this stuff.
Colin Drake: I mean, he talked about electrons in a plasma field. Each electron behaves as if it is aware of what the other trillions of electrons in that plasma are doing. he actually uses the word aware, and David Bohm maintains that Consciousness actually pervades the whole universe.
Rick Archer: Here’s the guy who came up with the hard problem, right? I mean, that’s that was his phraseology, the hard problem of Consciousness.
Colin Drake: I don’t think it was him because he wouldn’t have any problem with it. He wouldn’t have any problem. The hard problem of Consciousness is trying to define Consciousness in a purely physical way,
Rick Archer: Figuring out how the heck it arises from brain functioning and so on.
Colin Drake: Well, but he wouldn’t have any problem with its arising. It pervades the whole universe. This is what David Bohm thinks.
Rick Archer: He’s the one who hung out with Krishnamurti a lot, right? I was thinking of David Chalmers. I’m sorry. He’s the one.
Colin Drake: David Chalmers. I’ve written about him too. I wrote to him actually about hard problem Consciousness. Because basically, they’ve got it all arse about tit … Yep. Don’t let’s get controversial here. Let’s just go back to my supposition that Consciousness saturates the whole universe. Now, the two examples I’ve given to me are quite cogent, but scientists might not think so. So let’s just move up the chain of existence to single cells, now a single cell will change its behavior when the environment in which it exists, changes. And that is because it is aware of the changing environment, there we are good. We’ve got Awareness at a single celled level even if don’t have it at an atomic level, but we’ve got it a single cell level now as you come up the chain.
Rick Archer: I’m not even refuting or disputing the timeline. I’m just saying let’s just be a little hypothetical here.
Colin Drake: That’s fine I have been expecting people say that. So well, you’re the first and I’ve been expecting it to come. So if you go up, the up the chain from single cells to say white corpuscles in the blood, now they attack viruses that invade your body? Well, the only way they can do that is because they can become aware of the viruses in the body. Would you agree with that?
Rick Archer: Yes.
Colin Drake: But if whichever way you look at it as you go up through the whole chain of existence from subatomic particles, with which the physicists might not agree, to single cells and then all the way up to us as human bodies, Awareness saturates the whole of the universe. Would you agree with that?
Rick Archer: I would agree with that. And I would even up the ante and say that the whole universe is Awareness, that it’s nothing other than Consciousness appearing as.
Colin Drake: Yes, that’s right. I agree, so alright we’ve now said that Awareness saturates the universe, and in fact, I like to define Awareness as being Consciousness when it’s still aware of the movements taking place within it. So in terms of our direct experience, it’s Consciousness when it’s still aware of the thoughts and sensations that appear in with you, would you agree with that as a definition?
Rick Archer: Sure.
Colin Drake: So at the universal level we said it saturates the universe. So this is the universal aware stillness, in which all things … Now all things in existence are consists of energy, which means they’re in motion. Would you agree with that?
Rick Archer: Yes.
Colin Drake: Okay. Now all motion arises in and from stillness. Do you agree with that? All motion exists in a field of stillness. It can be seen relative to that stillness. And finally subsides back in stillness.
Rick Archer: And I might add to it that dynamism and silence kind of interchange or interact in a way that there’s silence within dynamism and dynamism within silence.
Colin Drake: Because they’re actually the same essence. Just in two different forms, there is no separation there, all is Consciousness at rest or in motion.
Rick Archer: Yes. I was trying to think of a Gita verse where Krishna says something about “he who sees action in inaction and inaction in action, he is a yogi” or he is established or something like that. And it’s actually two ways of seeing the same thing. There’s dynamism in silence. And there’s silence in the dynamism of creation. The two are kind of two sides of the same coin.
Colin Drake: They are exactly different sides of the same coin. So okay, we’re just carrying on now with the same investigation, but we’ve upped the ante now we’re in the universal, okay. So we have the universal aware stillness in which all things arise, abide, are spied and subside. So this once again is still by definition, therefore silent and serene. It’s pure in that the movements, the things that occur in it, the movements or series of movements that occur in it, don’t actually taint it in any way. They just occur in it, they arise abide and subside back into it, it is radiant in the way that it provides the illumination by which these movements may be seen or noticed. And it’s pristine in same way, nothing degrades it. It’s omnipresent, because it saturates the universe, is omniscient, because by definition, it’s the aware stillness in which all things arise. It’s omnipotent in that no thing that arises in it has any power over it.
Rick Archer: Let’s do that last one again, it’s omnipotent in that no thing that arises in it has any power? In other words, it has the upper hand.
Colin Drake: Nothing has any power over it, it doesn’t change, things come and go in it, but it is the container of all things, but they do not change it in any way.
Rick Archer: Because if it change then it would be a thing. And it’s a thing, then we wouldn’t have a foundation to the universe.
Colin Drake: That’s very good.
Rick Archer: Because the thing is, by definition, localized and relative, and it is the all-pervading, you know.
Colin Drake: Yeah. So now, if you look at it, now we’ve reached exactly the same point that we’ve reached by investigating experience, the still silent serene, pure, radiant, pristine, omnipresent, omniscient, omnipotent, but in this case, ocean of Consciousness, in which all things arise, abide and subside.
Rick Archer: Yeah. Here’s a poem for you ‘one unbounded ocean of Consciousness in motion’
Colin Drake: Very good! So now from that, once you’ve realized that, and you realize that you actually we are purely emanations of that, expressions of this Consciousness. Not only are we expressions of this Consciousness, but we’re also instruments of this Consciousness, in that every single thought or sensation we experience appears in Consciousness itself. So Consciousness experiences the universe through us. And there is no separation between any of us, we are all just Consciousness, in essence, we are all Pure Consciousness, and the outcome of that once you investigate that fully, there’s always more discoveries to be made, because what would you’re looking at, or investigating is the infinite and you’re investigating it with the finite, that’s the finite mind, you never run out of things to discover. And it just changes your being, which happens as you ground yourself in that by continually rediscovering that and finally brainwashing yourself into seeing that you are just Pure Awareness.
Rick Archer: There is something to that I mean, the whole study of Vedanta, for instance, or Gyana, yoga is you just deeply you ingrain the, these understandings so deeply that they become second nature. I mean, they’re, you know, auxiliary practices and all that can help you do that. But that’s essentially what that path is accomplishing.
Colin Drake: They actually become new samskaras that become like part of your being, you can’t, you can’t look at the world without looking through them because they don’t require you to do the Ouspensky practice of remembering that you’re That all the time. You don’t do that because you are That and what you have to remember is what is the trigger to the fact that you’ve lost your connection with That for a small amount of time is when any mental suffering occurs to you, or when you cause suffering to any other being. That should be a wakeup call to the fact that you are falling asleep again. Because as when you’re awake, there is no separation. And when there’s no separation, there’s compassion. It’s not really the right word. It’s just this oneness, If you upset somebody else, and you know, you’ve done it, and it’s been caused by your lack of Awareness. You only do that when you fall asleep and start to miss identify.
Rick Archer: Yeah, forgive them. Father, they know not what they do.
Colin Drake: Yes, that’s right. So for instance I was playing a game I my son, we play this fantasy board game called Talisman. The other day, I was playing with him and we got very near the end, we were both just about to win. And I had two spells which I used, which completely robbed him of all his power, I went on and won. And I’m very competitive. So I love to win, but I felt bad about it. I felt bad about it about doing that to him in such a brutal way, you know.
Rick Archer: For example I was thinking of earlier, when you first brought this up is, you know, look at what we’re doing to the environment of the world, and to the forests, and the animals and all that stuff. And, you know, if we as a species, as humanity, were awake to a high degree anyway, we, you know, we couldn’t possibly be doing that. I mean, the world would be a heavenly place, really.
Colin Drake: The way to actually overcome environmental degradation is to Awaken, to help as many people to Awaken, then it would happen by itself … there’d be no wars …
Rick Archer: It doesn’t mean that somebody is not going to invent a better solar panel or whatever. But the fundamental, the fundamental appreciation of everything as the Divine, and you just would not, you know, you’re not gonna cut God’s fingers off, you know what I mean …
Colin Drake: Actually that’s one of the side effects of Awakening is so when, I live in a very beautiful environment, you go outside and look at the environment, if you’re not identified as a separate object, in a universe of objects, in which case, your mind is completely full of these filters, self-interest, whatever, that have been installed by the small ego itself. But when those are removed, suddenly the world is a very much brighter, more wonderful live place, because you are seeing it as it is, rather than seeing it through this egoic filter.
Rick Archer: Who was it? I forget where it is, in the Bible speaking of seeing through a glass darkly, you know, yeah. And then later on the glass is clear.
Colin Drake: When you see most people, nearly everybody, who are identified as being a separate object and ego, then they see everything through that glass, that dark glass of the ego. And as soon as you Awaken and realize that this is not the case, then that it’s completely removed, however, it still comes down again, when you misidentify again.
Rick Archer: Yeah, we’ll keep coming back to that theme, because obviously, it’s not snap your fingers and you’re done. There is continual opportunity for refinement and clarification and purification and so on.
Colin Drake: Then purification is an interesting one. For me, being pure … all that means is having a mind that’s still and one pointed enough to follow a stream of investigation without getting sidetracked by anything else. So it’s got nothing to do with moral behavior or being good, or anything, it’s purely about having a mind that can run … yeah we’ll get to moral behavior in a minute.
Rick Archer: But yeah, we should because it does have something to do with that.
Colin Drake: Well it does and it doesn’t. To me. Yeah, OK let’s go let’s get on to moral behavior. whatever Sure.
Rick Archer: You want to say something or do you want me to?
Colin Drake: You say something and I’ll respond, okay.
Rick Archer: It’s another one of those cart and horse situations, right? Because obviously, one can only act according to one’s level of Consciousness and, and if the level of Consciousness is quite polluted, and overshadowed and lost, then you’re going to act accordingly. You’re not going to act like some kind of Saint. But then again, you know, we have a certain amount of freewill, we have some wiggle room. And you know, we can actually either to certain extent, we can choose to engage in things that lead us toward the light or deeper into darkness. And if you know, spending your time, mistreating people and hanging out and bars and strip joints and just doing, you know, indulging in trying to gain satisfaction through those kinds of sensory indulgences, then you’re going to be creating more of those some samskaras we’ve talked about earlier. And that’s why in just about every tradition, they speak of some form of purification as a valuable asset on the spiritual path, because, you know, a sattvic mind can realize the Self more easily than a tamasic mind. So that’s in a nutshell.
Colin Drake: Yeah, and that’s been the kind of classic path … Your religions actually they all have these moral rules that you should follow. I tend to think that as long as you misidentify as separate objects, then this is going to be a very hard path to follow, because you’re actually trying to do things that go against the grain of your egoic self, okay? Whereas, if you can wake up, and then nurture your Awakening by continuing investigation by staying awake once you’re awake, then these negative behaviors basically vanished spontaneously, because Awareness itself never puts a step wrong, Awareness itself, Consciousness itself does not put a foot wrong, and as long as you are identified with and as That, then you can just live spontaneously. And if you do put a foot wrong, or you cause yourself or anybody else suffering, you will immediately know it. And you can use this as being a Dharma Bell, a wakeup call to reinvestigate and discover that you are Consciousness Itself.
Rick Archer: It’s true, you get smacked. If you …
Colin Drake: Yes, yes, you do. You can feel it. Actually. It’s like instant Karma, in fact,
Rick Archer: And it gets more and more fine-tuned. I mean, you know, you if you could you can do things that wouldn’t have made a difference whatsoever, 50 years ago, yes. Because like, you know, if you’re wearing a dark suit, for instance, you can go walk through a coal mine, and you’ll look about the same but if you’re wearing a white suit, then you can’t go anywhere near one, or you’ll get splotches all over it. So as purity grows, one has to you know … Well, let me quote Padmasambhava, whom I’ve heard you quote, in your book, he said, “although my Awareness is as vast as the sky, my attention to karma is as fine as a grain of barley flour”. So he was an enlightened guy who was at the same time being careful, you know, scrutinizing and there’s so many more examples …
Colin Drake: Yeah, I mean, the thing about that he said, his attention to karma was as fine as a grain of barley. Yeah, I would agree with that. But just from a slightly different viewpoint. I mean, I don’t spend all my day staying awake as Awareness, reminding myself of that, and trying to make sure I don’t do anything. I don’t do any of that …
Rick Archer: No, me neither.
Colin Drake: I just live spontaneously, but if I put a foot wrong, I know it.
Rick Archer: Yeah, exactly.
Colin Drake: That’s right And that is that attention to karma that’s the vigilance actually.
Rick Archer: Yeah. And you see, a lot of teachers sort of neglect that point and get themselves in trouble. You know, yeah, that’s true. Indulging in things, and then actually using alibis such as, ‘oh, I’m just, I’m not doing, God is the doer and, you know, God happens to want to have sex with these young girls’ or whatever.
Colin Drake: Yeah, I mean, that’s an interesting, a whole interesting subject that he I mean, because we, I mean, I agree with you thoroughly, however, in a way you sometimes you could, I’m just thinking about something Rinpoche …
Rick Archer: Chogyam Trungpa?
Colin Drake: Yes that’s right. He slept with many of his women followers, right. Yeah. Many of them and I saw an interview with the husband of one of these women.. The interviewer asked the husband “Aren’t you jealous?” “Yeah, I’m jealous”, He said, “But I’m not jealous of her. I’m not jealous of her sleeping with him. I’m jealous of her because she can get nearer to him than I can”. That’s actually what he was very jealous for. She could get completely close to him. And it was he who was on the outer. And you know, at his funeral, Chogyam Trungpa’s funeral, people flew in from all over the world. There were famous Rinpoches and llamas. He was very highly respected and his teachings are beautiful. So it’s often difficult to necessarily judge a book by its cover in all this … you just have to use it.
Rick Archer: It is, but call me judgmental, but I just feel like someone who is a an alcoholic who dies of alcoholism in his 40s or, you know, who takes all kinds of drugs and does all kinds of weird thing; that to me is not the ideal I’m aiming for in life. You know, if that’s the standard, if that’s the standard of enlightenment, I think I’ll do something else with my life.
Colin Drake: Yeah, I can understand that. But actually, this is interesting, Ramakrishna was asked a similar question. One of his devotees said “Oh, my guru is a woman and she’s, she’s drinking and she’s having sex. And she’s just generally, you know, living an immoral life. So, you know, what should I do?”, because they have regard the guru disciple relationship, it’s very sacred in India, you know, to him, this was a big thing. Ramakrishna said “Well, are her teachings beneficial to your spiritual life?” And he replied “no, yeah, that’s fine. They’re good”. To which Ramakrishna said ‘don’t worry about it. Just follow the teachings”. So forget about the person.
Rick Archer: I can agree with that. I mean, and there might be other teachers who have even better teachings, but you can look back and you can look back on a relationship with a teacher like that. And even though they had foibles be grateful for what you derive from it. That’s right.
Colin Drake: I mean, that’s exactly how I feel about Satyananda who has been exposed as having basically a harem of western women that he treated very badly.
Rick Archer: Yeah, which unfortunately, is sort of the rule rather than the exception.
Colin Drake: Yeah. So I mean, I’ve got no respect for him in that respect at all. However, the teachings – the yoga nidra, the kirtan, the hatha yoga, I mean, you know, they’re beautiful. So it’s an interesting question. But from the point of view of morality and behavior, this is once again, to me, like putting the cart before the horse, as you were saying earlier on, when you wake up, then you naturally become compassionate because there’s no separation. You naturally don’t cling, I don’t like the word detachment very much, because it makes you feel like you’re just negating the world. You don’t cling to things. You’re not gripped, you don’t cling that’s when you naturally become detached in that way. I mean, the thing about attachment and detachment for me, you get to the stage where you love everything in the world so much that you become totally attached to everything. Right? I’m not detached. I’m attached to everything. You get this?
Rick Archer: Yeah, I’m getting I’m kind of looking at questions coming in. And also, but I’m listening to you. But another way of thinking about it is a simple analogy, let’s, let’s say you are Elon Musk, you have $300 billion. And you know, your accountant tells you well, you lost 5 billion today, because the stock market went down. It’s like, Alright, whatever, now get on with my day. But let’s say you know, obviously or for a poor man, you have $20 in the bank, gaining or losing five bucks is a big deal. So I think when the inner fulfilment becomes really rich, then you can move among the senses and among the experiences of life, and you just have equanimity because gains and losses on the relative level are just not that impactful.
Colin Drake: Yeah, yeah, not clinging.
Rick Archer: Yeah. You don’t need to cling because you’re content. Santosha, contentment Yeah, yeah,
Colin Drake: Yeah, well, it’s just another way of looking at it; once you fall in love with the universe and everything in it, then if anything vanishes from your existence, it doesn’t leave a hole because you’re still surrounded by That. There’s no separation. Whatever goes, it comes and goes, it comes and goes, it doesn’t leave a hole because there’s no separation. You know, so yeah, but basically, that’s what you’re saying in just in a different way.
Rick Archer: I don’t know who said it, but you know, that phrase ‘for men may come and men may go, but I go on forever’.
Colin Drake: Yeah It goes on forever, That goes on forever, for we are That. Detachment and compassion automatically come out of Awakening, love for your fellow man and love of God come out of Awakening and so on and so forth. All of these qualities which a lot of spiritual digital traditions say you have to foster to Awaken, they are the outcome of Awakening itself.
Rick Archer: I totally agree. So Awakening is the horse and those things are the cart.
Colin Drake: So that’s why with my approach, you start off with this very simple investigation, and you stick with it and it produces a very simple Awakening which you then have to nurture and the more you nurture and foster that the more these other qualities will naturally come up.
Rick Archer: Yeah. And at the same time, you know, one can be, like we were saying, one still has choices to make in life, you know, Should I have this big bowl of ice cream on top of pizza? Or I’m pretty full already should I call it? You know, whatever. That’s a stupid example. But, you know, should I say this to this person? Because I’m angry with him. Or should I just, you know, refrain from expressing it and things will probably go better? You know, we have choices like that which have consequences.
Colin Drake: With regard to that, I like to quote what Saint Augustine said, he said, “do whatever you like, as long as you do it with love”.
Rick Archer: There you go.
Colin Drake: Simple. I mean, it’s just so simple. Yeah. To me the word love means no separation, that’s actually what it means ‘no separation’ and once you realize that no separation, then there is only love. That’s all there is.
Rick Archer: Yeah. Good. Let me ask you some questions, a bunch of questions came in. So we’ll, we’ll probably jump around a little bit. Because there’s different questions from different people. Let’s just do it. So this is from Brian Lund in Colorado Springs, he said, “I’ve heard many say that ego death experience of psychedelics, specifically psilocybin to be analogous to the experience of spiritual Awakening. Maybe I never took enough mushrooms, but nothing they did to me ever came close to the experience or the profundity of my initial Awakening”. So he must have had an initial Awakening off drugs. Comments on comparing the two?
Colin Drake: Yeah, I would agree with it that, I’m thinking mainly of my mescaline experiences here, they’re very beautiful, but…. They produced the side effects of Awakening, like things like seeing the world bright and vivid and alive, I was talking about that. That’s what happens on mescaline. So they produced a lot of the, yeah, the side effects of Awakening, but they didn’t have the same profound effect on my being, you know, they didn’t reduce, they didn’t completely remove that burden, that self-imposed burden imposed by the nonexistent small self, which when you Awaken completely, that just falls off completely. And it’s, I mean, that’s what I call enlightenment. For me, enlightenment is you, you have been lightened of that burden, of that nonexistent, that nonexistent burden, which you’ve been carrying all your life, which is all to do with the small self and the ego. When you wake up, that actually just vanishes completely, as long as you stay away. Yeah. And that didn’t happen on mescaline, no. But a lot of the side effects did …
Rick Archer: I would say that the best experience someone could possibly have on hallucinogens, enlightenment, just to use that word for simplicity sake, will be better all the time. But it won’t be like a hallucinogenic experience all the time, and you won’t be incapacitated in any way. But you could compare them side by side, you would say I’ll take this, I’ll take the enlightenment state rather than the best thing that drugs could ever do for me.
Colin Drake: That’s true. I mean, the thing about being incapacitated is once you’re awake, then you solve the problems of day-to-day worldly problems much more easily, you’re more awake, because the mind is just ready. And it’s not overburdened with all the other stuff it used to run. It’s there ready for the when the problem arises. Like that. It actually makes life much easier to handle that. Exactly.
Rick Archer: Yeah there’s a verse that which is ‘yoga is skill in action’ and by yoga it means union.
Colin Drake: Yeah, It produces skill.
Rick Archer: It does. Yeah, you can. And so that’s something for people to consider if they think and I’ve heard you say this, too, you know, people might say, I have I’m so busy. How can I spend three sessions of 20 minutes every day, you know, just lying there with my eyes closed or something. But you do that or you do an effective spiritual practice and you find that you’re more efficient in your activities, you actually get more done. Yeah, you don’t fritter away your time with you know, scatterbrained, you know incoherence. And so it’s, you end up with more time, and maybe you don’t even need to sleep as much at night. So you have more time that way also.
Colin Drake: Actually, yes, that’s true. Both of those are completely true. You get so much rest and relaxation out of those 20 minutes, those three 20 minutes in sessions, that you can literally afford to have an hour sleep. You can get the hour immediately like that. And then on top of what that immediately what you said becomes apparent and you get more time because you become much more efficient, much better at solving things.
Rick Archer: Yeah. I’m sure everyone’s experienced, you know, being in a kind of foggy mental state where their mind is just not very clear and they’re at work or something, and they’re just not getting much done. It’s hard to get anything done. And then you contrast that with a time when you’re feeling really clear and focused and coherent. And you just get 10 times more done than you did in the foggy state.
Colin Drake: Yeah, that’s true. I wrote an article called ‘the elasticity of time’. And once you’re awake, it seems that you can get an amazing amount done. And when you look back at it, it almost seems like a miracle that they happen, but it just happens. Everything just happened and then when you find suddenly find you’re not getting much done, because you’ve actually fall asleep again, you’re misidentified and your mind’s spinning …
Rick Archer: But you ‘do less and accomplish more’ was a phrase…
Colin Drake: Yes. Like the Taoist wu-wei, or whatever, you know, action in non-action.
Rick Archer: Yeah, exactly. Okay, here’s another question. This is from Ty Succar in Philadelphia: “it seems not everyone gets enlightened, even if they meditate for decades. Is it a luck? Or karma thing? Is it worth the time committed?”
Colin Drake: Yeah, well, you know, from my point of view, it depends how you define meditation. If you’re just sitting watching the breath, or doing one of these rote activities, which is mainly designed to just quieten the mind, but not do anything else, then you might get a quiet mind, you might get more peaceful, but you won’t, they won’t necessarily Awaken you unless you take the next step. For me, investigation is much more important than having a quiet mind. So because if you have an investigative process that works and is very easy to follow, and your mind can follow, the mind has to accept it and see it, then, basically, that eventually, if you keep following that and keep doing it, it will change you completely. Whereas if you just meditate to get a still mind and have a peaceful time, then sure that that might happen. And it will make your life better, but it won’t change your being because meditation has to be combined with insights, as you know…
Rick Archer: Yeah, I think both are important.
Colin Drake: Yeah, but for me, the investigation is the most important thing, you need to discover that you are Pure Awareness and then abide by that discovery. And by that repeated discovery, you slowly change, you convince yourself, you convince your mind that you are That which sees it, okay. I mean, this is where Descartes got it wrong. Well, you know, Descartes, Descartes started with this, ‘I know nothing’ and total doubt. And then he discovered that there are the body and the mind and he also discovered there is ‘innate Awareness of the body and mind’. He said all these things. But then he had to come to a conclusion and of the three things he chose the mind. He said I’m the mind and “I think therefore I am” … so he completely came to the wrong conclusion of the three.
Rick Archer: But now, he could have said, “I am therefore I think” and you might have …
Colin Drake: That’s exactly how I put it: “I am therefore I think”.
Rick Archer: Yeah. Because being is more fundamental than thinking. Silence is more fundamental than activity.
Colin Drake: Yes. So he started with the investigation in the same way I do. Unfortunately, he came to the wrong conclusion. So when you investigate, you might need a few pointers along the way to get started. Which is what I’m always ever trying to do is provide pointers along the way to help people get started, once you get started, go for it. Each one has a different way of looking things and different investigative methods. And we all need to go for it and come to the conclusions that we come.
Rick Archer: Yeah. But as a general rule, I would say, quoting Shankara, here, actually, that it takes a certain mental clarity to do the sort of yoga or investigation method. And if you find that’s difficult for you, because your mind just isn’t clear enough, then, you know, there are methods for getting to that point of clarity, Karma Yoga, you know, alternating action with deep meditation, will bring a certain clarity and then later on, perhaps, you’ll have you’ll be able to pursue Gyana yoga and as the Gita says, “knowledge is the greatest purifier and that that can be extremely potent”. But it’s not something that everybody is able to do. You can disagree with me, but it’s not something everybody is necessarily suited for at the outset.
Colin Drake: Yeah, I agree. It doesn’t suit everybody, but I think it suits a lot more people than people have thought, I think, because if you go through this process that we went through at the beginning, starting off with this moment of experience, that simple investigation, forget about the universal just going to this simple investigation. That was a very simple step by step investigation. And I maintained that anybody can do that. Literally, anybody can do that. Yeah, I think.
Rick Archer: You have some audio recordings of that, that you that people can download. Right? And they can just do their yoga Nidra and listen to you taking them through the steps. Yeah, I do. Okay, so that’s all on your website.
Colin Drake: Yet some of that. I’ve given you various links to some of them …
Rick Archer: I think you did. I’ll make sure that those links are in the show notes.
Colin Drake: Yeah, as there’s my email address, if they can’t find them, they can just email me.
Rick Archer: I’ll put that on your page, too.
Colin Drake: Yeah. Because I’m happy to talk to anybody.
Rick Archer: Yeah, good. Okay, here’s another question. We got several more ready to go here. So this is from Jenn Rowsell in New Zealand, she says: “recently, I feel clearly that I am living a dream, feels like the end of 70 years of searching feels great. I see the proof of this by observing everything happening around me coming together as if putting a jigsaw together with no effort. This ease is like being in perfect tune with myself and my soul journey”. So it’s not really a question, but it’s a nice, nice report.
Colin Drake: Yeah, it’s lovely. This is lovely. Yeah, I can fully appreciate what she’s saying is gorgeous. Beautiful.
Rick Archer: Okay, lovely. And 70 years of searching, you know, it’s like, we don’t want to give the impression like some other guy said you was asking earlier, you know, what, if you don’t get it after decades of meditation, or decade, let’s just say decades of spiritual search, I think it can be sci fi to agree with this, it can be a bit of a hang up for people to think of some glorious endpoint that they’re supposed to reach. And I think it can always give you the feeling that you’re still going for it, you haven’t reached it, it’s out there on the horizon someplace. If you define enlightenment, that way it can, it can kind of trip you up. But if you sort of, I think, as you were saying earlier, just realize it’s here now and enjoy that and then there will be continual refinement and development as you as you go along.
Colin Drake: yeah, okay. Yeah. Yeah,
Rick Archer: I know, I was that way for a long time, too. It’s like, oh, God, if I don’t get enlightened, I’m just gonna die…
Colin Drake: I was like that too,, all those years with Satyananda , or with Ramakrishna, and whatever, you know, and I got lovely states of peace and trance and whatever. But I never felt I was awake until I met Gangaji who said, “stop and look within and see what you are”. And that’s the method of self inquiry. Yeah. And I’ve just refined that slightly, turning it into a simple investigation, but it’s still self-inquiry, everything boils down to identification. What are you in essence, it all boils down to that, once you’ve discovered your essence, then it’s ‘all over Red Rover’ as long as you stay with that essence. You have to be vigilant to that.
Rick Archer: Yeah. Which takes culture and time. I mean, Gangaji’s teacher Papaji, you know, was famous for saying “give up the search”. And I think some people misinterpreted that in a way to think ‘Oh, what the heck, yeah, I’ll just kind of rest on my laurels. I’m good’. But I don’t think he hopefully meant that you’re all totally enlightened, just as you are. But just that sort of, well, firstly, that he said that the people who are sitting in his living room so and if they were kind of looking for something he was saying “Hey, I’m here!”.
Colin Drake: But I don’t know. I mean, he was kind of saying, “once you’ve seen it, stop looking elsewhere. This is it. You’ve seen it’. Yeah. It’s you know, that’s because it’s true. If you keep searching when you’ve seen the truth, then it’s soon going to be obscured by something else. I mean, this method is very basic, it doesn’t produce initially, but it doesn’t produce amazing powers or ecstatic experiences or whatever, you know, and if you continue searching for those objects, like Spiritual Materialism does, then that will take you away from your own presence.
Rick Archer: Ty from Philadelphia, who has that earlier question is wondering if you recommend a meditation style or regimen. Now, does that mean I guess he probably means in addition to the yoga nidra you’ve already Okay, so do you recommend anything else?
Colin Drake: Well, this simple investigation we did at the beginning. It’s available in, it’s the foundation of all my books, I give it in the appendices of all the books, I recommend that you do that at least once a day and then I do yoga nidra. But forget about yoga nidra that’s a relaxation technique, like I employ, I do lots of different things, actually. I have a great love and joy for spiritual practice, and I get higher and higher. I’m a bit of a bliss junkie. Anyway, that aside, apart from the investigation, which I recommend you carry it out every day, first thing in the morning before anything else, to ground yourself in the fact that you are the Awareness in which everything appears. There’s a very simple meditation technique that I use, sometimes. I think it’s the most simplest meditation of all, you just sit or lie totally comfortably. And you notice that you are aware of your thoughts and sensations, that’s all you do together. Now, when I say notice the word ‘notice’ means become aware of. So what you’re doing in this situation, is you are becoming aware of Awareness and that’s what you do, you don’t do anything else, you just notice…
Rick Archer: What are your sort of noticing, okay, I feel my stomach. And I feel that.
Colin Drake: You don’t notice anything, you just notice that you’re aware of your thoughts and sensations, that’s all you do. And you just stay with that noticing. And as soon as, as soon as you start to follow a thought and sensation, you will realize that you’re no longer noticing it. So you come back to the noticing, you’re just noticing you’re aware of your thoughts within seconds. And that grounding of spending that time just in Awareness of Awareness, what happens is a couple of things happen. The main thing with thoughts is that they slowly start to die down because they’re not being followed. Yeah, they slowly slowly start to decrease. And just the becoming aware of Awareness, which is that’s what you are, that’s your base, that’s your essence, the practice of Awareness of Awareness nurtures that seeing that you are Awareness itself, because you can see quite clearly what’s going on in this mode of experience. There’s thoughts and sensations, there’s the Awareness of those. So you become aware of Awareness. And it’s a very simple practice requiring no you knowledge or beliefs. And the only thing about that practice can be that you can lose time, because once the thoughts get very quiet, and you actually lose all sense of time. Because time is noticed by what occurs in it when there’s nothing happening there is no time.
Rick Archer: They might get stuck there for two hours. You may know what …
Colin Drake: Yes you could, I said, Oh God! an hours gone, you know, without thinking. I just sat for 20 minutes and suddenly times gone, you know, because I wasn’t aware of time because …
Rick Archer: That sounds good. I mean, you know, they say a watched pot never boils. It’s because it’s boring watching a pot. But if something’s fulfilling the time just flies by.
Colin Drake: Yeah, yeah. Because the aware of Awareness, actually nourishes the seeing of Awareness itself, and the fact that you are Awareness, it just grounds it for you. And it’s such a simple practice.
Rick Archer: Here’s another question. From Michael Moran in London: “Does the experience of Samadhi necessarily mean one will be realized in this lifetime?”
Colin Drake: Okay, that’s a difficult question in that there’s many different levels. There are many different types of Samadhi. But for me, if you’re Awakened to the realization that you are Pure Awareness, then that’s all you need to do. This discussion of the different samadhis can be quite technical. And people have lots of this. There are many different scenarios, There’s Nirvikalpa Samadhi it which you vanish completely, you become unconscious. And in fact, Ramakrishna used to fall into that state very easily. And he, he didn’t like it, because in that state, you have no experience of the world or of anything, he basically wanted to enjoy life with his devotees and enjoy, just enjoy himself. He would bang himself on top of the head saying “come down, come down” to avoid going into Nirvikalpa Samadhi, which people spend lifetimes trying to achieve. And then there’s the state that Ramana Maharshi talks about is Sahaja Samadhi, which means just living spontaneously from Awareness itself. Right. So that that is certainly self-realization.
Rick Archer: Yeah. I remember hearing a story about Vivekananda where he was sitting in Samadhi, outdoors under a tree and his face was black with mosquitoes, but he was completely oblivious. You know that all these mosquitoes were biting him. So it’s possible to enter a state that’s so inner directed that you’re … and even Ramana Maharshi, when he was when was first got to Tiruvannamalai he sat in some dank basement or something insects chewing on his legs, and he was oblivious to that. But obviously, those are kind of rare and special states. And but even the some of the stuff you described today, and in the practice he took us through, those are types of Samadhi. It’s just, you know, a deeper, more settled, more inner-directed state. That’s, that’s the type of Samadhi And I would just say to this, this fellow that you know, there are temporary Samadhi. And then as you were saying, there’s, you know, all time Samadhi, which basically just means that Pure Awareness has been stabilized and you enjoy it while you’re functioning in activity, no matter what you’re doing. Okay, here’s another one. This is from Jenith Joy in India. “I feel, like I’m stuck on the spiritual path. I know what I’m not, but don’t know what or who I am. Is there a stage like this? How can one move forward from there?”
Colin Drake: Well, yes, there is. There is a process as you know, in the Indian tradition called Neti Neti, where you just you basically say ‘I’m not this, not this, not this’, in theory, eventually you find out what you are. Because you negate everything. And what’s left is what you are. Which is a valid technique. But it’s, it’s quite hard. I mean, just think of how many different things you’ve got to negate I mean, you can spend lifetimes at it. Where with my approach, this particular investigation that I recommend, you very quickly come to the realization that Awareness is the basis in which thoughts and sensations appear. I mean, that’s pretty obvious, actually. In fact, I was going to call my first book “The Bleeding Obvious” I decided for a few reasons not to do that, I didn’t want to put people off. However, if she does this investigation of her own direct experience which reveals the Awareness of thoughts and sensations, and then going through the elements and deciding whether she is that or this, you only have to negate two things, thoughts and sensations, not everything in existence. And when you negate those two, what’s left, there’s just the Awareness of those. That’s all there is. Now, if the Awareness is the only thing that has been constant since you were born, therefore, if you think you’ve been here, since you were born, she must be the Awareness and not the thoughts and sensations. It’s so simple. Why does she want to go from there?
Rick Archer: Yeah, I would say probably where she wants to go from there is for that Awareness to be more, you know, vivid, more clear, more bright, so that it’s not so easily overshadowed by things, because if it were more full and clear, then there would be a sense of self knowledge and she would know who she is …
Colin Drake: So for that fullness and clearness to come, she has to keep doing the investigation, because her own mind or own conditioning has samskaras that are crowding in on top of that, and they’re actually continue obscuring it. She might see it, and then immediately it’s gone like that , like that …Yeah. So she has to keep with the investigation.
Rick Archer: And, you know, I’m quoting a lot of Gita verses today. But there’s that great verse which says, “No effort is lost and no obstacle exists, Even a little of this Dharma removes great fear”. So it’s not possible to get stuck forever. And if you feel you might feel stuck for a while, but I think if one sincerely wants this, and to make sincere efforts, to you know, progress, it’s gonna work and I mean, you’ll seek and you shall find, you won’t be stuck. You move along. Like that lady who said she’s been on the path for seventy years and is just feeling wonderful or something. It really pays off.
Colin Drake: Yeah, I regard myself as being very fortunate actually, to have actually run into all this, you know …
Rick Archer: Yeah, me too, saved my life. Really? Yeah,
Colin Drake: That’s true, that’s true… I’ve had emails from people who’ve actually literally said that being reminded and returning to the fact that they are Pure Awareness has actually saved their life.
Rick Archer: Yeah. Yeah. It’s very powerful.
Rick Archer: Alright, so Let’s see, we have about 15 minutes left or something, we started kind of late because of our technical problems. So I have a lot of notes in front of me, but I want to make sure that from your side, whatever you feel is most important, we get to cover. So think about it. In terms of what we’ve covered so far. Are there some things that you really like to talk about that we haven’t talked about?
Colin Drake: I mean, yeah, the main thing, I think, is the fact that we haven’t talked a lot about, about living as an instrument of That.
Rick Archer: Yes let’s do that.
Colin Drake: Yeah, which we all are, because we are literally expressions of Consciousness. And all of our thoughts and sensations appear in That as well as to our own mind. I mean, that Awareness is like, it’s like a mirror in that it reflects everything that appears in it, and the mind, the mind looks at that and picks out the things that it thinks are important. But I liken it to a two-way mirror, it is reflective, but they’re also absorbed by that, That experiences everything through us. So, once you start living as an as an instrument of That, then really this changes life quite dramatically. Because a lot of paths talk about denying oneself, being ascetic, you know. Whereas for me, I am an instrument through which That can enjoy its own manifestation, which is the creation. So everything, every piece of joy, that comes through this mind, body, and that this mind, body can help other people experience also, all that joy which is felt is goes into that Consciousness that we are instruments of. So for me, the creation of joy for myself, and for as many other people as I can point towards that joy, this is the purpose of life, the purpose of life is joy; and that purely comes from being an instrument of That, seriously …
Rick Archer: Oh, I totally agree. I couldn’t have said it better. So people might think, Well, that sounds great. How do I feel that way? How do I do that? I don’t feel like I’m an instrument of That. I mean, how do I get to where Colin is?
Colin Drake: Well, this, it all comes back to where we started, where we first started, once you fully realize that the Awareness is your essence, then the joy which is innate in Awareness itself and the joy and peace and love which is innate in Consciousness itself, actually bubbles up from within. Okay, so it’s an internal process. It’s not anything you can find externally. It’s purely internal, but, but that joy is never missing as once you Awaken. It just has to be re-accessed by reawakening when you fall asleep. That’s the continual investigation, the continued waking up. Well, that’s the other thing about doing the three practices a day, you know, is that each one is a joy it becomes a joyful experience, you come out of it full of joy, you know, so, yeah,
Rick Archer: I mean, so spiritual practice is not a chore, it should it should be enjoyable, and that, you know, both in and of itself and the consequences of it. At least that’s been my experience. And yours, too. You sound like you’re like you said, you’re sort of a spiritual practice junkie.
Colin Drake: Yeah, that’s true. I mean, I am, I’m very one pointed in that I’m only actually following one area, you know, I don’t follow lots of different paths. But within that I have developed lots of different practices, which I follow and they just come through investigation into insights and whatever. I mean, I have one practice which involves lying down and actually feeling the blissful experiences in the body at different levels and actually going through them. And doing this for some time concentrating on each of the feelings in the body. And as I do this, because of the words that are used, I can feel the endorphin levels in my body actually rising.
Rick Archer: So interesting. It’s very interesting.
Colin Drake: Yeah, I and it really works. For me, it works. It’s very strong, actually. And the other interesting thing about this practice is if I get distracted while I’m doing it, as long as I keep with the practice and keep using the words and keep feeling the feelings, if other thoughts come in, which normally would distract my one-pointed investigation, they don’t affect this practice. These words and these feelings, they do continually increase the endorphin levels my body, and you can leave you feeling blissful for hours, literally.
Rick Archer: Yeah. It’s like, I see you as a scientist. I mean, you really, you’re doing what a scientist does. You sort of, you know, have a certain understanding that you’ve gained, and then you use empirical methods to live the reality of that understanding. And you’re not satisfied with mere beliefs. It has to be an experience, you know that? Yeah, sure. I mean believing that a restaurant serves good food, you could starve to death doing that you have to actually get in there and eat the food.
Colin Drake: Yeah. It has to work! Like I said, before, squeeze every drop of existence, of every moment, squeeze every drop … it’s a beautiful life, once you start doing that if you can do it.
Rick Archer: And were talking about, you know, the kind of phase of I got it, I lost it, you know, losing that Awakeness was it kind of contrasting and painful? Was it sort of like you really had it, but then you felt miserable, or, and did the contrasts even out over time? So you really, you know, there’s not a huge shift from having it to losing it?
Colin Drake: Well, to start with, I was very lucky as I had such a strong Awakening on that Gangaji retreat that basically I felt so semi-inebriated for about a year. So I didn’t ever felt I lost it for that year, you know. I mean, but the thing about being painful, as soon as any mental suffering, as soon as any pain occurs, that is a wakeup call to the fact that you’re misidentified. Because when you identified with as Pure Awareness, there is no mental suffering, okay? It might be mental pain, but there’s no mental suffering. There’s difference between the two. Do you understand the difference? Okay, so as soon as any mental suffering occurs, which nearly always relates to the ‘small I’ that I think myself to be, right. And that that is a wakeup call to the fact that you’re mis-identifying. And if you treat those as wake up calls, and immediately restart the investigation, and rediscover you’re not the small self, then that mental suffering vanishes. It’s the same with angst about the future that vanishes. So the answer your question, it really is that I didn’t. I never, I never experienced any long painful periods. Because mental suffering always brings you back to Awareness. It’s actually a win-win situation, mental suffering can actually bring you back to Awareness of Awareness.
Rick Archer: Have you ever had a disease or an injury or something like that? was really kind of painful or and how did it? How did it hold up under those circumstances?
Colin Drake: Okay, so this is this is fascinating, because I’ve often wondered about pain because I woke up in 1996, which is 25 years ago. And I basically I’ve got a very healthy body. I’ve been very lucky, I do yoga every day and I look after myself, I’ve been lucky. So I hadn’t really experienced anything like this. Until two or three years ago I got very bad toothache. I discovered that if I settled somewhere, quietly, and notice that I was aware of the toothache, okay, this is like noticing you’re aware of thoughts and sensations, that practice I’m talking about, I noticed that I was aware of the toothache. And the more I noticed that I was aware of the toothache, the more the Awareness came into the foreground, toothache went into the background, it was just something appearing in the Awareness. And the less it bothered me, right. Until finally I got to the stage where the toothache was still there, but it was of no consequence whatsoever. Okay, and I fell asleep, because I was in bed to sleep. So that was quite, that was quite interesting, quite interesting. And then, about a year later, or two years later, just a couple years ago, I sprained my ligaments, in my arm really quite badly. This is a silly story. But I live in the Australian outback in the bush and wild dogs, dogs in this place are a menace and they killed a wallaby and bought the dead carcass into my pottery. So I had a dead wallaby in my pottery and I picked it up with a shovel because I thought I’m going to get rid of this. So I took it out to the scrub and I just threw it into the weeds, we’ve got very long weeds, I just thought I’d chuck it in there and forget about it. And as I did that, I’m quite old 73, I should have had more sense because I had to carry it quite a long way. And it was quite heavy. So I should have just put it down and taken a rest. But I didn’t and I strained the ligaments in my arm and such strains take quite a long time to recover, and they’re quite painful. So as you know, I like to lie in Savasana to do my practices and it was painful, my left arm was painful. So every time I did my practice, I would lie there. And I would notice that there was awareness of the pain in my left arm, and I continued to do that it wouldn’t take very long and the pain would totally go away for about 10 or 15 minutes, then I could resume the practice or investigation or whatever. And when the pain came back, I just did that again. So this Awareness (noticing) of Awareness can actually be used to completely remove pain, which is quite interesting.
Rick Archer: I bet it accelerated the healing too.
Colin Drake: I’m sure it did and these endorphin boosting practices I do, I’m sure they accelerate the healing too. Because if you boost the endorphins in your body that reduces virtually all inflammation in body. In fact, I think it’s amazingly good for me, I’m just waiting to see I’m fascinated, I’m 73 people say, they’re getting near the end …
Rick Archer: So I’m 72 I’m just your little brother, you know? I don’t feel old.
Colin Drake: For anybody watching this you and I should be living examples of how spiritual practice is so good for you.
Rick Archer: Yeah. And I don’t know, well knock on wood. But I think if I’m in my 90s, or something in my I can barely get around. I still don’t think I’ll feel old. Because, you know, I mean, it’s not a concept. It’s an experience, you know, you are not the body.
Colin Drake: Yeah, the body’s just something appearing in you, that’s right, yeah yeah.
Rick Archer: All right, well, your life is an inspiration and your books are inspiring and full of great knowledge. And I highly recommend them. And there’s a ton of stuff we could have talked about, we can only talk about so much in a couple of hours. But um, I’ll you know, put up your webpage, your whole thing on Batgap, you’ll have a page and I’ll link to whatever you want me to link to. I think you’ve already given me a bunch of things. And if you think of anything else that you didn’t tell me earlier, then let me know and I’ll have that. But people can download audios of you leading this meditative practice that you taught us earlier. And you said people can get in touch with you. So I’ll put your email address on there. And do you ever like to just actually talk to people on Zoom or Skype or something ?
Colin Drake: In general, I don’t in general because it can be pretty time consuming and I do have a pretty busy life. I’ve got a pottery which is still going a little bit. I’ve got an old macadamia farm of 10 acres, and it’s complete, continually overgrown with weeds. We live in the rain forest, everything grows like madly like ‘Day of the Triffids’. Yeah, so, so. So I am quite busy. And so I prefer to keep my correspondence to certain times a day, and I prefer, I find writing things, actually. Sometimes it’s clear when you write it, and the person can then reread it.
Rick Archer: So plus it gives you book material, you know, if you write this stuff.
Colin Drake: Every single interaction I have with somebody, if it’s something on a new subject that I haven’t done before, becomes a chapter in a book.
Rick Archer: Yeah, that’s great. I should I learn a lesson from that. I actually, I have a folder on my computer, which whenever I write something interesting, I throw it in that folder, I think one of these days I’ll sort all that stuff out, turn it into something
Colin Drake: I am continuing telling everybody to write down anything they discover and put it out there so we can share it.
Rick Archer: Yeah, good. Well, thanks so much, Colin. I really enjoyed this whole week of listening to your books, and this nice couple of hours of talking to you. It’s been a lot of fun.
Colin Drake: Yeah, I’ve enjoyed it, too. I knew it was gonna be fun. Yeah.
Rick Archer: So and thanks to those who’ve been listening or watching and those who are listening to the live stream. Sorry about all that delay. In the beginning, we had a couple of hundred people on watching. But we were working out some technical things. Now, as most of you know, this is an ongoing series. And we have we usually scheduled in two three months in advance and there’s an upcoming interviews page where you can see what we’ve got scheduled. So I hope you listen to some more or watch some more. There’s an audio podcast of the program too. So if you’re watching this on YouTube, and you would like to subscribe to the audio podcast, there’s a page for that on BATGAP and other things that you’ll find interesting if you poke around through the menus there. So thanks for your time. And thank you, Collin. And we’ll see you all next time.
Colin Drake: Okay, one quick question. Is there a written transcript available of this?
Rick Archer: Yeah. We could create one. If somebody wants to proof read it. I could create one and you could proof it if you want.
Colin Drake: Yeah, that’d be fun. That’d be fun. That’d be great. Because then it’s another chapter for my next book.
Rick Archer: Yeah. Okay, good. Alrighty, so thank you. See you next time.