Rick Archer: Welcome to Buddha at the Gas Pump. My name is Rick Archer and my guest today is Dale Borg them. Dale founded and directed the Hahnemann foundation dying Center in Santa Fe, New Mexico, the first residential facility in the United States to support conscious dying. He has been the executive director of the living dining project in Santa Fe. And since 1986, in the San Francisco Bay Area. He is the co author with Rahm Das, Daniel Goleman, and Dwarka Bonner have journey of awakening a meditators guide book Banta books, and has taught meditation since 1974. They lectures and gives workshops on the topics of meditation, healing, spiritual support for those with life threatening illnesses, and on caregiving as a spiritual practice. He has a doctorate degree in mathematics from Stanford University. And before we get into it, and before my iPod, iPad goes to sleep, I just want to read a couple of quotes that I picked up from reading one of your articles, which kind of just want to throw in there because they’re nice quotes. One was from Don Juan Martinez from Carlos custom made his books he said, death is was for Don Juan death was an ally inspiring us to make each moment more alive. And another quote I picked up from reading some of your stuff is, the dying process is potentially the most direct and immediate opportunity for spiritual awakening of an entire lifetime. So Dale, welcome. And we don’t necessarily need to start with the quotes I just read, although we could if you want. But you’re a good teacher and a good talker. And I’m sure this will unfold naturally and will cover a lot of ground.
Dale Borglum: Thank you for having me. I’m really looking forward to this. Yeah.
Rick Archer: So where would you like to start?
Dale Borglum: Well, the idea that death is a great opportunity. I remember, many years ago, I was running the dying Center in Santa Fe, and I was writing a grant proposal to some foundation in Manhattan to some guy in the 29th floor of a building and I put down death as a wonderful opportunity for awake. And I thought, wait a minute, is this guy going to understand that and I thought, I don’t really think so I have to really tone this down. But my deep understanding and feeling is that we all are enlightened already. We’re free. We’re whole. And what it is that distracts from that truth is our strong identification with body and personality. It’s very difficult right now for us not to be preoccupied with the fact that I’m on a camera, and I’m talking to you, and you’re in Iowa, and I’m in California and all those qualities in the dimension where things are dualistic and change. But when in fact, we’re approaching death in our bodies, and our personalities are falling away. What is it that remains what remains is consciousness living spirit? And in a very real sense, all of spiritual practice is about coming to that understanding that yes, we have a body Yes, we have a personality. Yes, there is this dimension. where everything changes, our bodies change, our minds change. But is there a dimension where nothing is changing? Where each moment consciousness is receiving experience? So when we’re dying, it’s much easier to remember that seconds, dimension that second quality of who we are. And it may sound strange, but the most beautiful Americans that I’ve ever met with very few exceptions are people who are almost dead because they are willing to be more fully who they are. Everything else just being stripped away all of our attachments, all of our identities, male, female, rich, poor, big, small, all those things become increasingly irrelevant.
Rick Archer: Back in 1970, I was training I spent three and a half months training to become a meditation teacher in residence and a couple of concepts. I picked up several concepts that I’ve been kind of carrying around with me ever since. And maybe I could tell you those and you could please dispel them or comment on them or whatever. Was that one was that if you’re the average person and you’re deeply attached to the objects of the senses, then when you die, that that attachment is sort of torn away from you. And it’s it’s said in some Indian philosophies that it’s like the sting of 1000 Scorpions being wrenched from the things to which you’re attached. Whereas if you’re, you know, an experienced meditator of some sort, who has devoted a lifetime to experiencing the trench, diving into the transcendent, which in itself is a form of death in a way because you trans see you individually, ego is, you know, going beyond then dying is just like one great meditation in the sense that you’re really going for it big time. And you’re not you’re so accustomed to, you know, relinquishing the indulgence and sensory experience that it’s no big deal. So there’s another point I’ll bring out, but what do you think about that
Dale Borglum: one? Well, I would agree with that. The Tibetan say that when you die, one of the first things that happens right after you die, is a light appears that is as bright as 1000 suns. So if during your life, during my life, we have practice, not only letting go of all these attachments that will appear as being stung by 1000, bees, we have also practiced dying into the light, experiencing love and joy, then dying will be another moment of dying into joy. So in life, often spiritual practice takes the form of working with compassion, working with stuff that’s difficult, we come to spiritual practice, because we want to be happier. At the same time, there is a parallel practice, which maybe is even more difficult, which is learning to bear how incredibly imperfectly beautiful and love filled existence truly is. So to the extent we can do that, then after we die, and we go into this, after death state where the light appears, if we practiced being in that non dual joyfulness, then we’re home, to the extent that it’s too bright, then all these potential beestings that are exactly what’s making it feel like it’s too bright, will begin to appear. And we have the opportunity then to let go of those attachments. And it’s a much easier opportunity than it is right now. Because we don’t have a body and a personality, and we’re in the white. But it is still our karma that’s appearing at that moment.
Rick Archer: Yeah, I was come, I was talking once with this woman who is Arma as right hand lady, you know, kind of walks around as her shadow and attends to everything. And she was giving, she was of the opinion that not a heck of a lot of people actually get enlightened in this lifetime. But that, at least by her definition of the word, and but that if a person has been devoted to spiritual practice, there’s a fairly high likelihood that they’ll get enlightened upon their death. Because I guess, because it’s such a huge, you know, release as compared to anything else that occurs in one’s life. What’s your thought on that?
Dale Borglum: I would say that’s really true that we live in a culture that’s really preoccupied with the physical with entertainment with accumulation. And this idea of just being joy and letting go into love is going very strongly against the currents that we’re participating in every time we turn on the television set or go out in public practically. So certainly, there are many people who have been on the path for a while and have reached some degree of attainment. But again, and again, get sucked back into being identified with Who am I in relationship to what it is that’s going on out there. Rom Das has this great quote. If you’re a son of a bitch and you get enlightened, you’ll be an enlightened son of a bitch. So that it isn’t that our personality completely falls away. It’s still there. But that as we proceed, we become much less attached to the way we’re manifesting. And I really think that the strongest practice At this time, which is, according to some people, rather, Dark Age, if you will, is some combination of a deep, inner contemplative practice, combined with an outer intimate relationship with dying. And in fact, Trungpa Rinpoche, one of my first meditation teacher said that until one comes in intimate contact with dying, your spiritual practice will have the quality of being a dilettante. Because until we know, we’re going to die in our bones, the very probably, we’re using meditation to become better to improve to do the best we can in the dualistic realm. And in fact, in Buddhism, they have what are called the Four mind turning truths, the truth that if we really become them, not just think about them, but take them into our core, that it turns our mind towards the truth. And the first one is, we’re going to die, but we don’t know when. So you know, you’re going to die, I know I’m going to die. And we’re both pretty much assuming that we’re going to be alive till the end of this interview. But if we didn’t know that, if we, if we really didn’t know that this might be our last sentence together, then how would it affect the way that I’m saying these things to you, Rick, and you’re hearing what I’m saying, Roger Ebert, the film critic who, as you probably know, recently died of a very difficult cancer, he was writing a interview about how cancer had affected him. And he said, as I type this sentence, I don’t know that I’m going to be alive to type the period. So during that trauma, I
Rick Archer: was making this comment that we should live our life like a bird perched on a branch, which might break at any moment.
Dale Borglum: Same, same, same idea, image, maybe even a bit more beautiful.
Rick Archer: I’m sorry, so you were gonna, there were four points, and you had one.
Dale Borglum: Well, that was the one that affects us right now, the other three things that turn us toward the truth, our life is precious. This is the only moment in which we can be together, this is the only moment in which we can awaken. This is the only moment in which we can love. The third truth is, there is karma, what we do what we think what we say, has an effect. And the last truth is if we act with attachment with grasping with, with rejection, then we create suffering. So all of these things are rather obvious intellectually, for anybody who’s done some thinking. But if we gather them together, like a bouquet of beautiful flowers and, and take them inside, then it brings us into this immediacy of living that wants to find the truth in each moment.
Rick Archer: You probably have heard Woody Allen’s quote that he said, I don’t mind dying. I just don’t want to be there when it happens.
Dale Borglum: Yeah, and that’s very funny, but at the same way, it’s a little bit sad.
Rick Archer: Well, yes, and no, I mean, it’s like, I understand this joke, but um, in a way you’re not there when it happens if you’ve really done the spiritual work, because you’ve already sort of died and
Dale Borglum: right. Yeah, but I think the way he’s saying it is that he, he’s, he wants to be checked out somehow. Yeah, he’s, he’s gonna He’s gonna want to take all the drugs or he’s gonna want to be he’s gonna want to die in asleep. Yeah. On Halloween, my brother died of pancreatic cancer. And he died over an eight month period, which was in a way difficult for his family difficult in him dealing with his body and the medical establishment. But at the same time, it gave him this opportunity to really deeply and profoundly let go of the things he was attached to. And by the time that he finally did leave his body, there was it felt to me like he was free that he had let go of clinging to this body that was not really working anymore to this mind that was not needed anymore, and that he was resting in his embrace with the beloved.
Rick Archer: Nice. There’s a couple of assumptions that perhaps you and I take for granted because we both have a background in sort of Eastern traditions. One is the eternality of our essential nature. You know, there’s verses in the Gita like you speak for those who for whom there should be no you grieve for those for whom there should be no grief but speak as do the wise wise men grieve neither for the dead nor the living. And then it goes into verses about reincarnation, which is another assumption that you know, you you take on new bodies, just like you put on new clothes when old ones were out So might be good to lay those out because I’ve actually interviewed some people, like, for instance, Tony Parsons, who says, you know, there is no reincarnation because there’s no ultimately essentially no person. And so when you die, that’s the end of the story. And maybe he’s one of these people who says, you get enlightened when you die? I don’t know. But um, let’s let’s discuss these assumptions a little bit, because they might not be shared by everybody who’s listening here. And it would you say, as a question that it’s kind of necessary to accept these assumptions in order to really approach dying the way you encourage people to approach it?
Dale Borglum: Yeah, that’s a great question. And the longer I’ve done this work, the less I think it’s about dying, and the more I think it’s about healing. So that whether you believe in reincarnation or heaven and hell, or Shirley MacLaine, or whatever metaphysical viewpoint you might have come to have. What interests me is, what can I or you do right now that will help us awaken and die into our identity as love? So, actually, one time somebody asked the Buddha does reincarnation exist? And the Buddha said, Well, if it does exist, then how would you live your life? And the fellow said, well, because I would want a good next birth. I would meditate a lot and study the scriptures and be an all around nice guy. And the Buddha said, Well, if reincarnation doesn’t exist, how would you live? And he said, well, because this would be my only chance, I would really meditate a lot and really study the scriptures and be it all around nice sky. And the Buddha said, just so it doesn’t really make any difference. It’s all just metaphysics. So the fact that death exists, whether that’s the end, or whether it’s the beginning of something new a transition into the next thing, what practices, what attitudes, what ways of living, can we find right now, that will heal us bring us into wholeness, so that our approaching that eventual and inevitable moment of dying, will not be filled with fear will be filled with love and openness? Yeah.
Rick Archer: Somebody asked marshy, Mahesh Yogi whether he believed in reincarnation, he said, I’m opposed to it. Not everybody gets the joke.
Rick Archer: Yeah, doesn’t matter. One thing about the fear bit is that I, I often think I would not be afraid, I’m not afraid of having died. I think everything will be just hunky dory. But the dying process or, or, you know, my impending death could be very unpleasant, or, you know, like, if he dangled me from the Golden Gate Bridge by my heels, I would be very fearful. And you know, as philosophically convinced as I am that no one ultimately dies. I’d be you know, shitting the brick, so to speak, you know, under that circumstance, so no riff on that. That thing where, you know, intellectually, we might be totally convinced about the eternality of the soul and all but when we’re actually confronted with it, especially in a very immediate sense. Maybe our intellectuality doesn’t hold up so well.
Dale Borglum: Well, I’ve been around a lot of people who have died. And I’ve been around a lot of people who have been unconscious for periods of time. Before they died, people have been demented. At the end of their lives, people have been in a great deal of pain at the end of their lives. And my deep belief is that consciousness, the function of consciousness is to grow and change. And it doesn’t care how it gets you there. It doesn’t care how long it takes or how much it hurts. So if in fact, you’re somebody who has been in control all of your life, you’ve been an executive or very organized person, and toward the end of your life for maybe a few months or even a few years, you are experiencing dementia. It might be expensive for your family, it might be painful for your family, to compare who you are now with who you used to be. But you are learning somewhere deep in there to let go of control. You are being forced to confront mind states that before you were successful in avoiding. Maybe somebody is a very busy person, and now they’re bed bound for a long time, they have to learn to receive, they have to learn to allow other people to love them and take care of them and to be quieter. So these might not be easy lessons. And I would certainly agree that being hung by once heals from the side of the Golden Gate Bridge. Unless one were a very great yogi would be a very frightening thing. But right now, the living dying project has at least two clients who have ALS, Lou Gehrig’s disease. And one of the ways people often die with Lou Gehrig’s disease is as they become increasingly physically paralyzed, their lungs begin to fill up with fluid, and they don’t have the muscular ability to cough. So they almost drowned. And then they’re suctioned out, maybe put on a ventilator, and various things happen, and then they almost drowned again, and they almost drowned a bunch of times till they finally drown. And if you can imagine, I don’t know if that’s quite the same as being hung upside down over a long fall. But it would take a very great yogi, to not be frightened by almost drowning again and again and again. But what is happening to this person if he or she has skilful, loving, compassionate support, they’re learning to deal with that fear, the fear that is there, when they’re actually going to die. All fear is fear of death. And fear of death is exactly equal to lack of enlightenment. Because it’s the place where you or I are identified with our separateness
Rick Archer: and there’s no punish. It says, Certainly all fear is born of duality.
Dale Borglum: Yeah, exactly the same thing. Yeah. So the part of you that’s hanging upside down and is concerned about hitting a brick there is your fear of death. And one way of another way of defining spiritual practice is learning to heal our fear of death, learning in fact that we aren’t separate. Yes, yes, we have the body Yes, we have the personality, but we are pure living spirit, we are presence. So that fear if one is working deeply enough, with enough motivation, is food for growth. Now, it’s not the kind of growth I would wish on you are on me. But if it’s there, it’s there. So that before we begin practice, in Buddhism, one of the first things that people do is they cultivate those for mind turning through is because that creates motivation. Such a strong motivation that even hanging upside down is an opportunity for saying, who is it that’s afraid right now, what’s really going on here?
Rick Archer: I can think of a couple of examples of great saints who went through some fear when their death was impending. One was Christ, of course, in the Garden of Gethsemane, you know, you know, if it is possible that this cup pass from me, and I think it was true, you have to Shuar Yogananda, his master Yogananda said in his book that when confronted with his death, there was a sort of involuntary reaction, you know, And his point was that no matter how enlightened a person is, you know, just as biological beings, we have an innate fear of death that we’re hardwired with. And so I don’t just making that comment, perhaps you have something to say about it?
Dale Borglum: Well, just because the body has reaction, it isn’t necessarily the case that the being is is attached that are identifying with. So I’ve been around people who have been just as an example, they have tumors, cancer tumors, pushing on organs wrapped around spinal cords, in an incredible amount of physical pain. And I say, how are you today? And they say, I’ve never been better in my life, even though their body is writhing and physical pain. And actually, the people I have seen dying in a great deal of pain seem to have an easier time dying, that people that don’t have pain, because the pain is ejecting them from identification with their bodies. And why it is the Christ said that I am not privy to his motivations, but it isn’t necessarily clear to me that he was afraid. I mean, maybe he thought there was some other way to do this. That might be better for everybody. I don’t know but if question If If Christ really was the Christ, I believe him to be I have a hard time believing he said that because he was frightened.
Rick Archer: Yeah, maybe I couldn’t really say. But that’s interesting what you just said about pain, you know, because I would sort of think of myself think that if I were in a severe amount of pain, so you’re saying that there’s sort of an innate kind of tendency for if one is in severe pain to, to sort of become detached from it or something like you hear about people in car accidents, who, just as if rise above their body and witness the whole thing, and don’t feel the pain and in the, in this, you know, from the injury is so? Yeah, go ahead, talk about
Dale Borglum: that. So physical pain is a fascinating topic. I think many people learn a lot about who they are and do a lot of their spiritual practice through their relationship with their physical body. And you brought up really two things. One, the the really sudden, intense traumatic pain, and there seems to be a lot of evidence that there is some self protective mechanism that when somebody is in a horrible accident that consciousness separates from the body and is outside of it. People who have near death experiences again and again, recount that even though their body was burned, smashed, cut, whatever it was, that they were not experiencing the pain, even though the medical personnel were treating it, like it was a big emergency. But the other kind of pain, the pain of going to the dentist, or the pain of having arthritis, or the pain of some kind of more chronic pain can be used as a way of learning how to let go of an automatic rejection of the unpleasant. So is it possible to go to the dentist and have the dentist drill on your tooth and you’re feeling something that is unpleasant. But you don’t need to turn that into something that causes you fear. So I watch what happens when small children fall down and skin their knee for example, a boy is running across the playground, his mother’s there, he falls down. And the more fuss he makes the more attention and comfort that he gets. So he’s been conditioned that I should treat pain as an emergency as a big event. So then I get a lot of love. And we kind of take this conditioning into our adult lives. To me though, it seems that pain is an emergency signal from segment 23 being the body to the brain saying hey, there’s there’s scraping, cutting, burning going on here, stop stop immediately. But once you get that emergency signal, can you just be with the unpleasant sensations and learn to open to them. And then even let that habit in your life extend to being with unpleasant emotions or unpleasant thoughts without immediately closing down pushing away getting caught in identification, so that I can go to the dentist and have her drill on my tooth. Without Novocaine she pleases me to take Novocaine for her sake. But I would rather have 60 seconds of this intense sensation that I just relaxed, let it flow through me. Rather than get that shot in the gum that makes my mouth feel crazy for the rest of the day. And just even the idea of needles in my gum in the first place isn’t particularly pleasant. So the other example is,
Rick Archer: what would you do if you had to have an appendectomy?
Dale Borglum: Well, I probably have to be anesthetized to a certain extent because the doctor needs me to be completely still when he’s doing or she’s doing the cutting.
Rick Archer: Oh, why don’t you say you know, strapped me down though so I can’t move.
Dale Borglum: Okay, well, a number of years ago I had hip replacement surgery. And there was a period of time about an hour after the surgery when the surgical anesthesia wore off. And the post surgical anesthesia hadn’t kicked in. And they had cut through the largest muscle in my body my my gluteus maximus, and I experienced the most intense pain I’ve ever felt in my life for about half an hour. Now I did have the advantage of knowing that was going to go away soon when the morphine kicked in. But during that half hour I was in ecstasy The pain was so intense that all I could do was be with a pain, there was no distracted thought. There is no worrying about anything else. My whole universe was those sensations. And I can’t say that I enjoyed them, but they were so intense that it was ecstatic.
Rick Archer: Interesting. So, but you probably wouldn’t do it again, just voluntarily.
Dale Borglum: Well, then let’s, let’s take another example. Somebody is a meditator. And you’re meditating for an hour, you’re meditating for a couple hours, and you start feeling pain in your knee, or in your hip, or wherever it is. Sometimes it’s nice to do a meditation where you say, Okay, I’m going to be kind to myself today. As soon as I want to move, I’m going to move. But why don’t you also sometimes say, I’m going to investigate these sensations, I’m going to really see if I can love my experience, love myself in the context of my body, having unpleasant sensations. One of my first meditation teachers was this guy go Nxg. In India, he teaches the sweeping technique. And he had us do what was called a vowel hour where you vowed for an hour not to move. And my meditation turned into after about two thirds of an hour, not screaming, and sitting with that really intense pain. And I thought, well, maybe I’m just being a masochist. But I had made that vow. Later on, I found another teacher, I was at a longer retreat. And he said, How’s your how’s your meditation going? He said, it’s really great. But I’ve got a lot of pain in my right knee. He said, Would you like it to go away? I said, Yeah, sounds great. So he said, Okay, Let’s meditate. And I sat up nice and straight. And we’d been meditating at that point for maybe a week or so. So I was pretty focused. He said, Tell me about the pain. I said, Well, it’s in my right knee. And he asked me, What does it feel like? It was kind of hot, and it’s kind of read? And he said, Is it attached to anything? I said, Well, yeah, there’s a tendril that goes up my thigh into my butt. And then there’s another tendril that goes across over to the other side of my lower back. And he said, Okay, well push it through your lower back down through your hip, out, you’re down through your knee and out your foot. And I did and the pain was gone, and never came back.
Rick Archer: Interesting. So just mentally, you went through that, I did that. And I did
Dale Borglum: that pain for like, 10 years. Interesting. So it kind of made me wonder what actually pain is because it just disappeared. So I’m certainly not here to say we should try to create pain. I’m not I’m not a masochist. But we all do experience, pain, physical pain, emotional pain, mental pain, so many times each day. In one way, we are living this life to prepare to die, to be a fully loving, open being by the time we die. And if each time pain arises in whatever body, the physical body, the emotional body, the mental body, that it arises that we push it away, we’re just perpetuating, we’re deepening that conditioned process. So to begin to be with perception before cognition arises, to be with the energy before we analyze and say, here’s something I’ve got to fix. If we’re always in that mindset of improving, fixing self improvement, we’re caught in duality, we’re caught in the part of you and I, that is going to die. Whereas if we can be nakedly directly with our bodies, with our minds with our emotions, without having to categorize understand, the Bible talks about the peace that passes understanding, then we’re preparing to die we’re preparing to be love.
Rick Archer: So we can get into a discussion about how one can do that, because it sounds good, like a good thing to do. And let’s do that in a minute. One explanation I’ve always given for pain is like, let’s say you burn your hand on the stove and say it’s a kind of a series. Well, first of all, your immediate reaction is to remove your hand. So pain has that value, because if you had some kind of condition, and there are people who have it where you didn’t feel anything, you could seriously injure yourself by leaving your hand on the stove. So it has this sort of warning value. But then obviously, if it’s a pretty bad burn, it’s going to hurt a lot and it’s going to hurt a lot for some time. And so I’ve always sort of thought of that as nature’s way of calling our attention to an area that needs healing, so that it will heal more quickly, and that if we put our attention elsewhere and try to become oblivious Do it, then the healing won’t be as efficient. And that I suppose could also apply to, you know, emotional pain and other kinds of pain that that you’ve been alluding to. So is that in line with your experience?
Dale Borglum: It is. But there is, I would like to make the distinction between putting your attention on the pain and not liking us. And putting your attention on the pain because it’s drawn there and being open. Yeah, Stephen Devine developed some really wonderful pain meditations, that really are about saying the same thing about physical pain that meditation teachers talk about when we’re talking about we’re working with the mind. So that there’s a difference between awareness and loving awareness, there’s a, there’s a difference between having compassion for the the physical pain in the body, rather than just knowing it’s there. And in a very real sense, in my experience, compassion, with passion, is at the center of moving from a dualistic I’m practicing, I’m trying to be a better person to a non dual surrendered, dying into love. Part of the practice that compassion allows us to stay open, to keep our heart open in relationship to suffering, whether that suffering is physical pain, or any other kinds of suffering. And the Dalai Lama very beautifully says, If you want others to be practiced, if you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion. So imagine if your motivation for each action in your life where compassion, not, does it hurt? Do they like me? Am I getting enough? But what is the compassionate response to this, this particular moment, then life becomes very simple. And when we think about people that we really honor and venerate, it’s almost always people who we identify as having a very strong, compassionate nature. Martin Luther King, Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, people who are compassionate beings. Now, we don’t all have the opportunity to be political players in the way that they were. We all have bodies that hurt at times, we all have minds that hurt at times. And we have that opportunity then to cultivate compassion, which is not just some nice, warm, soft, fuzzy thing. But compassion is the work of a warrior, it takes being very brave, and daring to work with the unpleasant with an open heart. Hmm.
Rick Archer: This brings up an interesting point, which is that, you know, you mentioned these great compassionate figures, it seems to me that compassion is a is a quality or a capacity that needs to be cultured over a lifetime, and that there’s no end to how profoundly it can be cultured, as would be the case also with wisdom or love or many other laudable qualities. And I see what you’re what you’ve been doing with your life as a really powerful technique, if you will, for developing compassion, but you must have had a fair degree of compassion to begin with to even undertake doing it. And so I guess the question is, how do we develop compassion and such qualities? Is there you know, is there a way of approaching life that can enable us to develop it more effectively? And is there kind of a deeper causal level of fulcrum, if you will, that? It would, that would enable us to develop it more effectively. In other words, like, if you want the leaves of a tree to be green, just watering them might not be as effective as putting water on the root from which they ultimately derive their nourishment. So is there a root of compassion that we can water to make it flourish more readily? Or is it just a matter of not worrying about roots and just just engaging in compassionate activity being the most effective way of developing compassion?
Dale Borglum: Well, there’s a lot of questions in there. I don’t know quite where to begin. Well, first of all, I didn’t start doing this work with a dime because I felt particularly compassionate and not
Rick Archer: have felt it but you must have, you know, had a bit of a compassionate nature and you well, you’d been around a great guru and it had woken something up in you, but geez, I mean, the average person, you know, doesn’t have the qualities innately, or at least it’s not their dharma to do what you’ve been doing.
Dale Borglum: Okay, well, let me just tell you briefly about myself. Okay. When I was real young, I have a couple of very severe electrical shocks. Putting a hairpin in an electrical outlet putting a fork in a toaster kind of frying my nervous system and getting the lesson that that the world is not a safe place. I grew up I became a mathematician, I went off to India I met Maharajji I had some awakening experiences with meditation teachers in India and certainly being around Maharaja Neem Karoli Baba was a whole interview in itself, what how that affected me in my heart and my being. But I will say that I came to practice because I was suffering so much, I was so unhappy. I felt that I had gone to Stanford, I had all these all these blessings and benefits, but that my heart was not happy. My heart was not full, that there was something else that I needed. And when I met Maharaja and I had these meditative experiences, I knew exactly what it was that I was looking for, but still was not able to manifest that wisdom, that love in a moment to moment way you would come in, it would go. And as time went on, I began, as I was working with dying people. And as I was a meditation teacher, I began to really deeply believe and understand that these eastern practices that are so wonderful, were designed by and for Asian people 1000s of years ago, who were grounded, who were centered, who are under erotic and love their mommy and daddy. And that is not to many of the people I ever meet. So that when Eckhart Tolle a was on Oprah a number of years ago, in the late 80s, I believe, I mean, the late 90s There. Maybe I’m sorry, I got my time wrong here. But anyway,
Rick Archer: that I watched the whole series myself, you know, it might have been early 2000s, or Yeah,
Dale Borglum: I think it was, there were millions of people tuned into his pomp, his his podcast. And he’s a wonderful teacher, I think he’s a pure living example of what it is that he’s talking about. He’s talking about the truth. But my deep belief was that of those millions of people, a fraction of 1% would be able to take that wisdom, and rest in non dual wholeness, because we have these, this neurotic conditioning, growing up in the West. And that when a, when a child develops in the early stages of childhood development, the first thing that happens for the first couple of years is learning to be grounded. To trust the Earth, the mother image, Mother Earth, to trust, the fact that you’re held, that you can be dependent, that I can surrender into being dependent, that I don’t need to be hyper alert, that I can relax in the arms of the mother, when whatever you mean by the mother with a with a capital M or with a small hammer, just taking a step on the earth is going to be there to meet you at the age of boat tour. So the terrible twos begin and the child learns to be autonomous, independent, learning to inhabit the belly, the horror of a second chakra, the seat of strength from which martial arts are done. And as time goes on, then, at the age of seven or eight, we’re skipping a few things here at the age of seven or eight, the heart begins to open in terms of having appropriate relationships, learning to have appropriate boundaries. But if in fact, you were I have not gone through these initial stages of being grounded and centered, being able to be present. Like the pasta into practice being completely present, or being down in your belly being an independent being, then the heart will not have this foundation, the heart of compassion. So compassion will be there, the heart will feel free to be open. Only when it feels safe only when the environment itself is supportive. And sometimes the environments not supportive. Sometimes you’re dangling upside down over the Golden Gate Bridge. Sometimes you’ve got cancer, sometimes you’re at the dentist office, sometimes your partner hasn’t been very kind to you today. Sometimes you’re sick. Sometimes you’re frightened. So if you don’t have this foundation, the heart is going to be opening and closing, opening and closing. Suffering is going to be too much to bear. Thomas Merton said love and prayer learned in the hour when prayer becomes impossible, and the heart turns to stone. So we all know that feeling of the heart turning to stone, in that moment, can we find compassion? Can we have compassion for that stone like quality in our heart. And what I’m suggesting is that until we’ve learned to be dependent on the beloved on the earth, on the mother, and be independent, realizing that the strength of the Beloved is flowing through us, then having the heart open is going to be a sporadic event. And that, just certainly, there are a few remarkable people who can go directly to the non dual state, they hear the teaching, they hear what Eckhart totally had to say, what Ramana Maharshi had to say, what Christ had to say. And they awake. Because it’s the truth. It’s obvious, of course, this is the truth. But most people hear that and they say, yeah, I get that. And then something arises, some emotion arises in their life, and they get caught, they bite the hook again. And they need to go back. So I’ve I’ve developed a, a developmental, integrated spiritual practice and process that I teach where we work through motivation, those mind turning trues, realizing that at times, you are suffering, invocation.
Dale Borglum: In terms of the mind, it’s awareness, practice, in terms of the heart, it’s expressing your yearning, in terms of the body is getting grounded, moving, then into being down in your belly, and then finally, going up into the heart. And then after that, we can go into empowerment, becoming the beloved and finally, the non duality that all true teachers have talked about. But for most people, it is really necessary to realize that when things get difficult enough, and we’re caught enough that we do need to do some of these foundation practices.
Rick Archer: Cool. So here’s your saying, you can take somebody who didn’t go through all those developmental stages in an ideal fashion, maybe was an alcoholic parent or was abused, or, you know, this, that the other thing that so many people go through, and so they’re now 3040 5060 years old, and there’s really just no foundation or basis for their hearts to be very open, or, you know, for them to display a lot of compassion. And you’re saying that you can work with them, and enable them to kind of do remedial repair and body of work kind of Yeah, kind of establish the foundation that should have ideally been established as they were growing up. And then they can proceed from there is that what you’re saying?
Dale Borglum: I am saying that, but I don’t think it has to be even as serious as being abused as a child, that we live in a culture that is very much fixated on the external in a certain way, so that even if you had pretty good parenting, that probably you still come into adulthood, and you still come into your spiritual practice, if that’s what you’re choosing to do. Without the ability to stay grounded and centered and aware, and present through all of the vicissitudes of life, so that then the super ego rises, and one beats oneself up and says, I’m not a very good meditator. Why I’ve been doing this for so long, and I’m not making much progress, or look at how great a meditator I am today, whatever it might happen to be. And really, if we can do some of these foundation practices, it creates a foundation for the heart to remain open. So whether we’re talking about neurotic meditators, or whether we’re talking about somebody who’s approaching death, it’s really pretty much the same thing. That to be able to be present, enough to be embodied enough so that the heart feels safe and remaining open, which then allows us to really get that that which we’re invoking when we pray, when we begin taking refuge when we open in the beginning is who we actually are with the beloved can only be everything the beloved can only be me and you and going to the dentist then out of that then we can with some confidence possibly approach, non dual non practice so that I’m not saying there’s a shortcut here, but what I am saying is, maybe we can avoid a lot of detours and roadblocks, that we still have to be with our stuff. But to do it in a very skillful way, so that we’re moving directly toward, through these developmental stages toward this place of wholeness that we are already and have always been, and always will be. And if one can die without understanding, dying is a very, very different experience, than if one is dying, thinking I’m the body and oh my God, what’s going on here?
Rick Archer: I remember hearing that the guy who played Perry Mason, what was his name?
Dale Borglum: Richard Burr,
Rick Archer: Raymond Bremen, Berea that he was so afraid of death that even though he was extremely sick, he would like sit on his edge of his bed and refuse to lie down for like, really long amounts of time, because he was kind of like forcing himself to stay alive. Good luck. Yeah, really? That threw me off the other question I was gonna ask. Yeah, okay, I know what it was, you know, I know plenty of people who’ve been meditating 3040 years, and who are still very neurotic, and you know, I’ve got a few screws loose myself. And so it appears from my observation, that just meditating even even, you know, hours a day for decades, isn’t necessarily going to work it all out for you that there there really, perhaps needs to be some supplemental things to, you know, help you do this remedial repair we’ve been referring to. So can you get a little bit more explicit about what the supplemental things are? That that you do? And and have you sometimes taken people on students or something who have been on a spiritual path for decades, but feel like they’re still kind of deficient in certain ways and would like to be more whole?
Dale Borglum: Wonderful question, kind of a complex question.
Rick Archer: A lot of my questions are that way,
multi part questions.
Dale Borglum: So it isn’t necessarily the case that you have to become a neurotic to get enlightened.
Rick Archer: And that’s an interesting point of debate. And maybe you don’t and like Who was it? He said, ROM das that said, you can be an SOB. You know, if your sob beforehand, you can be an enlightened sob. But, um, yeah, that’s an interesting, fascinating thing to me. Because it depends in a way on what you define enlightenment to be, if you just mean kind of, like, you know, getting a foot in the non dual realm. But really not having worked out all your stuff in, in the more in all the other strata of existence. I wonder if that really qualifies or deserves to be called enlightenment, I kind of pretend to reserve the term for something more profound, more holistic, in which you’ve actually not only established gotten established in the basis of life consciously, but there has really been a purification and a lot of spiritual, you know, approaches emphasize this, that you really need to purify that only a really pure heart and a pure mind, are qualified to enter into, you know, really full realization.
Dale Borglum: Well, I hear what you’re saying. And let’s go back to what I was saying before, but physical pain, one can be feeling the pain and be identified with it, or one can be feeling the pain and just letting it pass through you. So that if you have an erotic structure, and you’re believing it, and you’re acting upon that, then you’ve got more work to do for sure. And some of these practices that I’ll talk about in just a few minutes of learning to be grounded, centered, have boundaries and things will bring a lesson neurotic personality structure. But at the same time, there are beings, I believe, who are highly awakened beings who have rather strange personalities, but they’re not identified with that at all. And what they’re doing there, they’re doing still, with the motivation of awakening those people around them, they’re, they’re not there. They’re not coming from a place of this is the way I have to be. I think we’re getting into a bit of a metaphysical swamp here. Maybe, maybe,
Rick Archer: but I mean, I agree with you about highly enlightened beings who really seem to have some strange behavior patterns, but I wouldn’t I’m troubled by the notion that whatever they do is necessarily for the benefit of those around them. I mean, I can show name you knew as examples of gurus sleeping with their disciples, you know, and and seriously disillusioning some people, both the direct partners and others who found out about it, and and yet these people are off the charts in terms of the being that they seem to radiate. So it’s been a conundrum for me for about 10 years, it’s kind of like, wondering what’s going on with that, and whether they really are only half baked, and there must be a much more complete development that they eventually somehow will reach.
Dale Borglum: Okay? Well, my understanding is that if one is enlightened, one’s heart of compassion is fully opened. And if you are doing things that are hurting other people, you’re not an enlightened being.
Rick Archer: Well, there you go, I mean, that my idea of a more kind of superlative definition of enlightenment that’s alluding to here.
Dale Borglum: So you can still have a kind of a strange personality structure. But if you’re hurting if you’re doing things that hurt people, you’re not an enlightened being, because the definition of enlightenment to me is that one is in union. One is there, there’s no longer separation, your your pain is my pain. Your love is my love your body is my body, we’re all one being. So I can’t do things that are going to hurt you. It just is beyond the realm of possibility because I, because there is no separation. So why don’t we talk about some of these ways we can create a foundation, okay, to keep the heart open in that way.
Rick Archer: Okay, so now we’re going to get into these ways of was it? Thoreau said, go ahead and build your castles in the air, that’s where they belong now just put foundations under them. So so why don’t we put a foundation under under one’s life, even though it may have been, you know, not ideal in terms of developmental stages in order to really develop the kind of compassion that that you’re alluding to?
Dale Borglum: Okay, well, first of all, I’m going to very, very briefly summarize things that I’m not sure. We’ll we’ll be able to go into enough depth in the time we have here to really flesh this stuff out, if you will. I, I do have a website where a lot of this stuff is described, living dying dot o RG.
Rick Archer: Yeah, I mean, all these interviews are like, you know, a couple hours, and we don’t expect people to be able to tell us everything they know, but let to give people a snapshot or a taste so that they can explore in greater depth if they want to.
Dale Borglum: And actually just now we’re starting to have these groups of teaching locally with online streaming, and a training program for people who want to support the dying. So that will be available online in a few weeks. The first thing to do is learning to be grounded. And as much as I look at Eastern teachings, they never talk about this. Because I think these these teachings were developed by people who were walking around barefoot, and sleeping in the same bed with their parents that they were of a certain age, and we’re really connected with the earth. And nowadays, we’re in automobiles, or in front of computer screens. We’re doing things that keep bringing the energy up, the energy is always going up. And you and I and probably a lot of the people viewing this make our livings by being able to make very skillful distinctions in our minds, which is a great thing to do to use the mind as a tool. But often people get lost in the mind and particularly, when anything difficult happens in life, particularly a life threatening circumstance with you or someone you love. We start thinking about it, what can we do? What can we do rather than being able to drop down and become embodied? So to become grounded, there are there are traditional grounding exercises where you visualize your energy going out through the base of your torso into the earth. You can visualize almost like you’re laying an egg as you breathe in and you push out down into the earth below you tightening those muscles at the base. And for the longest time, I worked with Hara down in the belly trying to get down in my belly and had a really hard time doing it, and only eventually realized that this grounding piece comes before the session. During peace, so one has to learn to be dependence before one learns to become independent. And so, first of all, inhabiting the base, the root chakra being comfortable down there, and even being able to like right now, can I talk to you? And not be up in my mind thinking, what am I going to say next? What’s going on here, but keep dropping down to the base, letting the words come through me from a sense of embodiment, trusting the consciousness in my body. Okay, so for the longest time, I worked with getting down on my belly. The Japanese talk about the hara, the Chinese, the don t n, the Sufis, the cough. And I really had some sense after being a mathematician that I lived up above, I needed to learn to live in the whole body. And I had a very hard time getting down in my belly sensor
Rick Archer: until I you doing practices in order to try to do this, but it
Dale Borglum: wasn’t. There’s a wonderful book called ha ha era by Carl free. Vaughn Durkheim, where he’s a Zen teacher talks about inhabiting the belly. And
Rick Archer: do you think that sometimes, just doing getting out in nature and stuff is really effective for that? I mean, you know, like you say, we sit around computers who drive automobiles, you know, back about 15 years ago, or so we used to go, my wife and I used to go on these month long camping trips, and we’d spend an entire month day hiking in Glacier National Park or something. And boy, you know, after a month of that, you just feel so it like sets, the reset pushes the restart button on your nervous system, you know, I come back home, I couldn’t even remember the combination of my bicycle lock, everything would be I feel so grounded. And I’d people would see me in a restaurant saying, Wow, what are you been doing? You look like something greatest happen? So you think it’s a? Do you think you really need to take breaks in nature? Or are you really talking about more meditative tightening techniques you can do to get grounded, equal with equal effectiveness.
Dale Borglum: consciousness doesn’t care how you get there. And if you have the advantage of living in a place where you can be in nature, for a chunk of time, every day that will really cultivate and strengthen the processes, ease of being grounded and being done in your belly. But it’s also necessary, I believe, to learn how to carry that sense of embodiment into activity in a busy world. So a lot of my life is sitting in front of rooms full of people and talking in a room with walls and the ceiling and the floor. So in that, in that circumstance, can I carry that sense of groundedness I feel when I walk on the mountain that’s right outside the front of my house here. And so yes, being in nature will certainly strengthen those qualities, but how can we integrate that feeling into driving a car on a crowded road or talking to a roomful of people or dealing with a difficult emotional situation in your life? Because when you are dying, it might not be you’re in Glacier Park feeling grounded
Rick Archer: unless you encounter a grizzly bear?
Dale Borglum: Yeah, okay. But it’s so then you’re in Glacier Park, but grizzly bears eating your leg? So Can Can you be grounded in that moment. So like when you’re dying, it could be that the person you love the most, maybe your wife is in a car with you and the car is spinning out of control, and she’s screaming in terror.
Rick Archer: That reminds me of a joke is someone said, I just want to die peacefully in my sleep, not screaming and terror like, like my grandfather did not screaming in terror like the passengers in his car.
Dale Borglum: Okay. When you’re dying, you may have so much morphine in your bloodstream that you can’t concentrate your mind right. When you’re dying, you might be on the floor of a store, and strangers are tearing your shirt off and pounding on your chest. So if we’re if we’re counting on being in some lovely, supportive, natural environment to create the support, open our hearts, then good luck because that might not be the case. And becoming a master means being able to carry the sense of groundedness, centeredness, open heartedness into any circumstance at all in one’s life, and particularly to be a guide for people who are dying. requires one to be able to carry these qualities to the bedsides of people who are often frightened, angry, confused. And often even projecting those emotions on anybody who happens to be around them.
Rick Archer: We probably should have covered this 10 minutes ago, but let’s make sure everybody really understands what groundedness means. I think centeredness and open heartedness are more obvious to people. But in case there’s any confusion as to what you mean by groundedness define it a bit.
Dale Borglum: So groundedness means inhabiting the base of my body, the place where I am connected to the earth, that I feel a sense of solidness mountain like stability in the lower part of my body.
Rick Archer: So just an antonym would space being spaced out, you know, or just kind of emotionally neutered, be like antonyms to groundedness.
Dale Borglum: Yeah, so like, for instance, when I meditate, I feel like, my lower body feels like a mountain and my heart and above that feels like the sky. So that the mountain is supporting the sky, and then the there are clouds go drifting through the sky. But if my window frame is big enough, if my identification of my mind is big enough, then the clouds can come and they don’t fill up that chunk of a sky. So just imagine say that you are embodied, that you’re grounded in the sense that you you feel a connection that there’s enough energy coming from the earth that each moment is workable. Each moment is open to awareness. No matter how Radek or chaotic or sad or whatever the world tends to get, you’re connected to a source of infinite grounding, nourishing supportive energy.
Rick Archer: Okay, so like that Rudyard Kipling poem, you know about not losing your head while everyone is losing theirs, you would say that groundedness, the symptom of groundedness would be maintaining your integrity. This amidst the onslaught of everything life throws at you, including death.
Dale Borglum: Yes, okay. You’re connected, you’re grounded, and then getting up into the belly, then there’s all the strength in the universe. So like when people are doing martial arts, they do it from their belly, and a tiny, frail, elderly, martial arts master can defeat a hulking, huge, strong novice, because he is not doing it, the energy of the universe, not his energy is flowing through his belly and coming through him, so that when we’re meditating, we think I am meditating. This is my energy, look at how good I’m doing right now. That’s, that’s thinking about meditating. That’s not really meditating. Okay, so we have this support, grounded, centered, lower body stable, then the heart can begin to open, the heart can remain open, the heart can flow, regardless of what pain is in the body, or joys in the body, or what person is in front of you, somebody that loves you deeply, somebody that doesn’t like you, you’re not depending on who’s out there to have an open heart. You’re not depending on what your body feels like to have an open heart. And then the wisdom mind begins to open. And let’s just imagine that our mind is like the sky. Certainly, almost all of these traditions say that the awakened mind has the quality of emptiness, emptiness, of self, vast, spacious in this boundless, boundless mind. But until we get there until we get the complete awakened mind, let’s imagine that our mind has a chunk of sky that’s bounded by a window frame. And into this window frame comes a cloud, a cloud of happiness, a cloud of anger, a cloud of fear, a gray cloud of black cloud, whatever. But if the cloud is big enough, and the window frame is small enough, all we see is anger, fear, happiness, we identify and say, I am happy. I am angry. I’m frightened. But if through this, these practices where we have a strong enough Foundation, and the heart opens enough, then the window frame gets bigger and bigger. That same size cloud can come and it’s a very different experience because the cloud is now contextualized in the blue sky And we see that it’s moving. So instead of saying, I am afraid, we say, oh, fear is here, fear is coming and fear is going to go. We don’t know how soon it’s going to go. But it’s, it’s a temporary changing experience. And some of the bigger ones, oh, dying is coming. Death is coming. The death of my friend is is coming. So these are very, very big clouds. Can we do enough foundation practice? Can we open our hearts enough that we can stay open to even life and death itself, even wellness and illness, happiness and sadness? Is there a joy that transcends happiness and sadness, life and death. And obviously, all the scriptures say that there is. So that being around dying and watching how some people able to die into that joy can be a very deep inspiration to practice. And I would, I would deeply suggest to people if you have the opportunity to help someone died and Be or Not even help but to be with someone who’s dying, someone you love, even if it means taking some time off from your work, it can really deepen your practice can really deepen your understanding of what non duality isn’t, isn’t, if you will, so that our culture has really lost this notion of having guides for the dying or somebody who has died before they have died as St. Paul said that the indigenous cultures have people who go out into the wilderness and spiritually die so they can come back and be with people who are dying, and guide them into the next realm, if you will, we have lost that. And it’s truly a shame so that
Rick Archer: well, yeah, it seems like such an important thing, really, I mean, when you think about it, and it kind of harkens back to that whole thing, he said in the beginning about how most people kind of are oblivious to the fact that they are going to die. But, you know, we have so many professional specialties in this world, you know, for every little health ailment and every type of financial advisor, and there’s a million different specialties. And here, you know, every single person on the planet is going to die within a matter of decades, and or years. And there’s four minutes or minutes. And there’s hardly any, there’s really hardly any specialty in dealing with that. So what a glaring omission from our cultural milieu.
Dale Borglum: So the New York Times did a survey, what are you most afraid of? Number one was speaking in public number three was dying. Which, which might be kind of funny, but the part of you or me that would be afraid of speaking in public is the part that’s separate from the audience. And that’s the part that’s going to be afraid of dying. Yeah. So a way each moment, whenever any fear arises, we have an opportunity to practice dying, not in any morbid kind of way, but actually being more fully alive. So that what’s really being said here is that, that when you meet somebody, and you look into their eyes, you kind of get a sense of how much of their fear of death, they have already processed, how much they’re still holding on to their fear how much they’re kind of pulling back from life, because it’s a little too much. It’s overwhelming. And when you meet somebody who’s really been intimate with death, they are then intimate with life. They’re intimate with you. And even though I teach these workshops, in person here in the Bay Area, and online, through our website, to train people to be guides for the dying, the dirty little secret here is that I really can’t train people. To do this. I can I can show techniques I we can explore attitudes. We can talk about what might be blocking these things. But really it is how much in your life. You’ve been willing to be alive. You have been willing to confront your own fear of death. Walt Whitman said, sometimes touching another human being is almost more than I can bear.
Rick Archer: What did he mean by that?
Dale Borglum: Well, what I think he meant by that is, I’ve had the experience and I would I would strongly guess that you have to that sometimes we’re so alive, that when we touch another human being it’s the love is almost unbearable, that there’s so much life that just being with another human being is there’s so much life. And yet how often do we feel that how often do we feel that joy? How often do we, on the other hand, take our partner for granted or herself for granted? Believing the voices in the mind that say You’re not quite good enough, you’re, you made this mistake or you’re you ate a little bit too much yesterday or whatever the whatever the mind is telling you. And if in fact we we can get this intimate relationship with death, and it can, it can jar us into that quality of the Unbearable Lightness of Being or this unbearable quality, when we look into the eyes are touching other human being, or even better when we can do that with ourselves. And the other thing that I found in my teaching, Rick is that a lot of these practices like compassion, for instance, are traditionally taught as learning to have compassion for the other. But really, in the West, most of us also need to have compassion for ourselves. There’s a practice called taking and sending Tong Len, maybe you’ve heard of it, but it’s really taking the suffering of another and being willing feeling so much compassion for someone, that you’re willing to take their suffering into your heart of compassion, and give them that which is most precious of you, your loving kindness. But what I have found is that for many people, it’s very useful to learn to do this for ourselves. So that rather than using meditation, as a practice to get calmer and more efficient in things, I use meditation as a healing practice that we begin to uncover these habitual condition patterns. I mentioned before I had those shocks. So I would notice that as I go to meditation retreats, there’s a lot of my distracted thoughts are about planning, planning, how to not get the next shock, planning how to be safe. And for a decade or two, I would go to long retreats, I get calmer, I’d feel better. And I’d have a thought, and I’d say, Here’s a thought come back to a breath or whatever it was, and the thought would go away. But then I come back into the world and those planning thoughts would keep arising, I finally noticed, after doing this grounding and centering work, that there was this part of me that didn’t feel safe. And if instead of just watching each individual thought and losing the forest for the trees, I began to do compassion practice for the part of me that didn’t feel safe. That after only a day or two of doing that this unsafe place started to relax. It felt met it felt embraced. So that even that question before we were talking about, can the neurotic person be enlightened? As long as this neurosis was preventing me from being present and kept throwing out these habitual unconscious thoughts? No, I can’t. So what I needed to do then was begin to bring compassion toward this part of myself embrace with kindness and mercy, this part of myself that I had been trying to get away from in the service of, hey, I’m a meditator, I shouldn’t be having all these thoughts. The thoughts were trying to tell me, Hey, pay attention to this place that you’ve been avoiding for so long. And that even distracted thoughts or messages are blessings that are pointing toward what can be healed. What is arising right now is what is the the quality that can be healed? So that I began to notice in my meditation, it particularly when it I’m at a retreat, or it’s getting really, really deep and quiet, that there would be extensive spaciousness, awakeness, presence, aliveness, the beloved. And then a thought would arise. And I’d be aware of the thought after a short amount of time or not, so short amount of time. And the wareness would quiet the mind and there’d be that spaciousness and I go through that cycle of
Dale Borglum: spaciousness, thought, awareness of thought spaciousness, thought, awareness of thought. And I began to notice that right before, I had the thought there was fear of death, in a very, very, very subtle way that there was part of me that believed my ego structure believed that as long as I was thinking that the ego who I believed myself to be was real, that I was reifying myself so that in a way, meditation was learning to die. And if I’m not grounded in center, that’s going to be pretty scary. My heart’s not open, that’s going to be kind of impossible. But being coming right to that edge of being able to let go of believing that I’m somebody separate, and being afraid that I might disappear and bringing love and embrace that place, to me was what really transformed my meditation practice into non practice into resting in presence.
Rick Archer: Yeah, I’m glad you said that last bit, because I was as I was listening to you explain all that, I was thinking, Well, it sounds like there’s a lot of control going on here I’m doing this I’m doing that I’m observing doesn’t, it’s like, you know, but ultimately, we want to just be resting in presence, which is a very innocent non doing kind of thing. And, you know, so meditation practices in which one is just going crazy trying to, you know, do this round. Like, it’s like, you try to still a pan of water by pushing on the little ripples, you only create more ripples, you know,
Dale Borglum: but But it’s kind of like riding a bike. I mean, once you learn to be embodied, grounded and centered and open hearted. I mean, that takes some practice. But until you’ve done that, resting in presence is going to be very ephemeral, coming and going experience. So yeah, in the beginning, there is doing, I’m doing something because I believe I meet. And as long as I believe I, me, I’m this neurotic guy, and I’ve got these issues, then I work with them until the point there’s enough stability of mind and heart, that I can then dissolve into pure consciousness into presence, right?
Rick Archer: So people whom you teach and work with, what’s their daily routine? I mean, how much meditation or some kind of practice Do you have them doing? And do you universally advocate working with the dying in some way? Or is that just sort of like a extracurricular thing If one chooses to add that to the repertoire?
Dale Borglum: Well, I kind of wear two hats. I’m a meditation, spiritual work teacher and I run the living time project,
Rick Archer: right? They’re kind of intertwined. Also, aren’t they? I mean, because this,
Dale Borglum: they’re intertwined. But there are certainly people who are working with the dying, and we ask they have a daily spiritual practice. So basically, the living dying project matches up meditators with people who are dying and want spiritual support to the benefit of both. Okay, and the
Rick Archer: same, these people might be all over the world really? Not well.
Dale Borglum: They’re, they’re in the bay area here. And what I’m hoping to do now is just as you suggested, do this all around the world so that the the training program to train people to be volunteers, is going live online streaming next month after the holidays, so that I get calls on a semi regular basis or emails saying, my mother just died, I’m living in London, I helped her die. It changed my life, being with her and I want to do this work. How can I get some training here in London, so that I can go to the local hospital or be with dying friends, and bring a deeper spiritual perspective to what I’m doing. And up until now, I’ve said, as far as I know, there’s, I mean, there are books, there are videos online and things but there’s really no direct training that I know that you can avail yourself off. And hopefully, that will change. As I say in about a month from now, if people want to sign up, then that would be great. So the people here locally though, we they take a training, and then there’s ongoing support groups where we talk about what’s going on with your clients. And my experience has been even people, fact, I’ll just give you an example. A friend of mine, became a volunteer a few years ago, she’d been a Buddhist meditator for decades, she was a Berkeley psychotherapist, who had been in practice for many years. And finally, a client came that was appropriate for and I called her up and said, Barbara, I’ve got a client for you. And she said, I’m not ready to do it. I’m not ready. And I said, Barbara, he needs you. And you’re the only one of vailable today. You’ve had the training, you’ve got to go do it. So almost everybody until they’ve done this and had somebody hold their hand for a few moments. Feels like dying is a the unknown, something that’s out of control. What can we do here? And it’s really my sense. And in fact, what happened there with with Barbara and her client, he was a young guy dying of Hodgkin’s, non Hodgkins, lymphoma, whatever it is, and He said to her all my life, my mother’s told me I can’t do anything, right. And now I’m not even dying. Well. He was. He said this only a few days before he died. So he and Barbara worked with him letting go of that voice in his head. That was telling him he couldn’t do anything, right. And he died very peacefully. So we have support groups to talk about what’s going on with your client. On the other hand, there are these ongoing small groups where we meditate, we talk about the Dharma, we explore groundedness, centeredness, open heartedness, non duality, and being together in a very supportive, trusting, loving kind of way. And a lot of these people because of the other work I do, maybe they’ve had cancer, maybe they’ve had someone in their lifestyle, but those groups aren’t really focused on end of life issues.
Rick Archer: In your own experience, I mean, one thing that it occurred to me that some people might be feeling as they were listening to this interview, is that, yeah, you know, I can be compassionate with certain people, but it’s really hard to be compassionate with others. And a lot of people love to have pets, because it’s really easy to love a dog or a cat compared to a human being. They’re much simpler and more innocent. So like, has that been the case, in your own experience in working with a variety of dying people over the world over the years? And, you know, if you were assigned to sit at the bedside of Bernie Madoff, when he dies, how would you react to that?
Dale Borglum: Well, I guess you know that I lost my life savings with investing with Bernie Madoff. I heard about that. And I have absolutely no animosity toward them. And I think he’s ill I think he’s probably a sociopath. I don’t, I really don’t think about Bernie too much. And certainly,
Rick Archer: seriously, if you got invited to come in and be the guy who was going to be there when he died? Would you welcome that opportunity?
Dale Borglum: Yeah, it
would be. It would be lovely, really? pair of pliers where there’s something
Dale Borglum: really, you know, I can I mean, I guess what I’m saying is, yeah, it’s certainly the case that that that my personality fits together with some personalities better than other personalities, which is true of all of us, of course, and yet in working with dying, it doesn’t have hopefully, we get beyond how our personalities are intertwining rather quickly in the process that the personality is going to die. So when I’m with somebody who’s approaching death, or might be approaching death, I don’t even like to say a dying person, because I’ve been around too many, quote, unquote, dying people who had miraculous miraculous recoveries. But so here’s somebody who might be approaching death. There are there are two things I can do. One thing is I can bring to them, dualistic practices, talk about being embodied, talk about opening your heart, talk about what dying might happen to be about. But the best thing I can do is be there in a full, non dual non practice kind of a way that I am being a living model of what awakeness is about. And whether or not they can respond to that is up to their karma. Sometimes they can and sometimes they can’t. But I really try trying his right to work. right word, my, my approach to this is to be open, and let the practices come out of that. Rather than thinking I’m here to save you, I’m here to fix you. Here’s the way to die. I know what better way to die than you might know how to die. But coming there in as much fullness and love as I can and letting letting the words and the actions come out of that. And I have so many so many stories about being at the bedsides of different people. There was one woman who I met 27 days before she died. She was a remarkable woman. Everybody loves her. She’d never done a day of spiritual practice in her life. But she was really an erotic very open hearted and it was my experience that she got enlightened. In the few days before she died. She just dissolved in To light there was nothing left of her other than light.
Rick Archer: That was gonna ask you about that. I remember when I heard that when Steve Jobs died, his final words were Oh, wow, oh, wow. Oh, wow, you know, three times. And, you know if, as you were just saying and as you were saying earlier, and like dying is a golden opportunity for rapid evolution and no pun intended, yeah, right, and possibly even enlightenment, then, and you’ve been with so many DYING PEOPLE, let’s talk a bit about the various experiences you’ve had that would prove that to you or that would you know, reinforce that idea that that a lot of people may take a huge spiritual leap as they’re dying. Seeing angels, for instance, I mean, people say that all these beings come and they open up to the celestial realms, and all kinds of beautiful stuff happens. So let’s, let’s talk about that a little bit.
Dale Borglum: Okay, well, there’s a great deal of literature about the near death experience that’s remarkably consistent. And almost everybody comes back and says, I’ve had this most remarkable experience, you don’t have to be afraid of dying, it’s completely safe. There’s light I dissolved into the light, but it wasn’t time to completely become the light. So I’m coming back here. But I’m, it’s my life has been changed because of that experience. And there are also experiences of people who have died, who come back and contact the living. And everybody says, the same thing was said, they say I’m okay. Now, nobody comes back and says, I’ve died. And it’s really horrible. Everybody says it’s great. So the other thing, though, is that I’ve had the great grace to be around some of the greatest saints of the latter part of the previous century. And they said, so many things about living, that all turned out to be true. And they pretty much said the same things about dying. So I’m just assuming that those things are true that, that as we die, consciousness leaves the body, it dissolves into the light we and to the extent we’ve been able to bear the light to the extent you and I can love each other right now, then to that extent, we can die into the light. But to the extent that it’s a little too bright, then what we’re attached to what we’re identified with, that keeps us from being the light, that’s there, and we have a chance to just let go of that and not identify with it in that moment. And, and die into the light. And because we don’t have a body or personality, it’s much easier to do then than it is now when we are so embedded in the sense of solidity, that his physical existence. So maybe I’m drifting a bit from your initial question, which I’m even trying to remember what it was, it was
Rick Archer: about you having had experiences of with all the people you’ve been with when they died, which kind of reinforced for you the idea that many people do get enlightened, or at least make a huge spiritual leap when they’re dying. Okay. Just some anecdotes, if anything comes to mind, and you know, I just want to throw another, we’ll go ahead and answer that question. And
Dale Borglum: so I mean, the other thing I can say is that I do have some ability, that after someone dies, that my consciousness can travel with their consciousness for a little while, and then because I’m not fully realized, I bump into a wall and they keep going, right? But my sense is that as someone dies, and they’re leaving their body, that there is most of the time not always most of the time, a great sense of release, relief, love joy. Sometimes people are so frightened that occasionally they really fight dying. And things get a little bit complicated or messy, but the the the number of times that has happened in my experience has been very, very small. Yeah. And even I mean, I’ve been around some people who were, they’d never done spiritual practice. They were very angry people. They were very bigoted people. I’m thinking of one guy in particular, all he would do is swear about the call his wife obscene names. But as he was he had the great blessing to die rather slowly. So finally, he got too weak to be angry at his wife. And the last three or four days she crawled into bed with him. They cried and loved each other. And he died in a very beautiful way. So that this, this process of dying is twofold. There’s physical dying, that happens in a minute or two in your brain and your heart stopped functioning. But there’s the spiritual dying process that takes place over several days. If you don’t die, suddenly it begins before you fit, physically dies, consciousness is gradually leaving the body. But even if you die, suddenly it continues after physical death. There’s this disengagement period, if you will. And I’ve talked to many nurses and doctors and hospice workers, who all say the same thing that after somebody dies, you can feel the consciousness around the body for a period of time. They’re in the room, they’re inhabiting the space where the body is after they’ve left the body. And then just in a moment, all of a sudden, the spirit leaves and the body then seems to have nothing to do with the person that used to be alive.
Rick Archer: Is that period of time a matter of minutes or hours? Are you talking about even possibly something longer?
Dale Borglum: Usually hours hours? Up to half a day? Maybe? I don’t know it differs.
Rick Archer: Yeah. Because in our culture, we wouldn’t keep the body around too long anyway. But I’ve, I’ve heard it said that. Sometimes, depending upon how attached people are their bodies, you know, they may hang around for a long time. And, you know, cremation or something could be traumatic for them, because they’re still hanging on to it or whatever. But I don’t know. It’s not really a question. It’s just that some kind of one of these things you hear but you know, one thing I do want to throw in as his recommendation actually, if for people if they haven’t done so, is you read a bunch of these books like by Danny and Brinkley, or Betty Ed, or, you know, James Vaughn, Prague, or I need the more Johnny, whom I interviewed on this show, you know, people who have had near death experiences. And it really kind of loosens your attachment to the notion that this life is the only thing if you have such an attachment. And also another another guy whose books are great is Michael Newton, who specialized in hypnotically regressing people to the period between lives. And there’s a remarkable consistency in their accounts among, you know, many, many people that that he interviewed or hypnotized. So you kind of like put this stuff into your awareness a little bit. And it does give you a broader perspective on the whole thing. Like you’re saying with that window metaphor, your window becomes larger, and it’s less easy for clouds to obscure it.
Dale Borglum: Exactly. I’m not familiar with all of those books. There’s certainly a book now called Proof of Heaven by Eben Alexander. Yeah, that’s very popular. And it kind of since he was hooked up to all these machines, and had these experiences, when he was brain dead, it seems to counter act, the scientific notion that all of these out of body experiences are really just the brain doing things because of biochemical imbalances, right?
Rick Archer: You know, one of those guys I mentioned Dannion Brinkley is an interesting one, he he was like a, an assassin and sharpshooter in Vietnam and, and, you know, kind of a really nasty guy in his own estimation. And he got struck by lightning a couple of times. And it’s and had this near death experience. And he came out with all kinds of psychic abilities and a compassionate heart he works with with dying people and so on, in rest homes. And that reminds me also of theirs in South America, people whom they call lightning shamans who have been struck by lightning and it’s opened up some kind of channel in them where they become shamans. So I’m wondering if you stick your fork in the toaster and your bobby pin in the wall socket might have actually set you on a course that you would not otherwise would not have taken.
Dale Borglum: We all have certainly changed things. i It’s, of course, it’s impossible to go back and say who would I have been if that didn’t happen? But you know, in a way, I wouldn’t, I wouldn’t change anything that’s happened in my life up to this very moment.
Rick Archer: Yeah. Well, if if life really is divinely orchestrated, then, you know, I guess the divine knows better than we as to how to orchestrate it.
Dale Borglum: Well, the one thing we really haven’t talked about is how those electrical shocks brought me to India and to Maharajji let’s do that. And being around a being who was the complete embodiment of love was profoundly transformative that
Rick Archer: those soft happened when you were a little kid, I mean, they did they were you influenced in a way Throughout grammar school, in high school, and so on, you were still kind of like, affected by having had those shocks.
Dale Borglum: Well, what happened was shortly after the second shock, which was much longer and stronger than the first one, because they couldn’t let go for about three quarters of a minute told my mother came from a faraway place in the house to unplug the toaster, I started stuttering. And my life now is about talking. And between the ages of about four and I don’t know, well, up until about 30 or so I stuttered pretty badly. Which stuttering is a I don’t know what you’d call it an illness. It’s not really an illness, but it’s a it’s an activity that makes it very hard to be in the non dual, you keep it keeps drawing you into I can’t talk and look at the way people are looking at me. I mean, it, it very much kept me embedded in an uncomfortable relationship with the people around me in a very, very dualistic way. And yet, at the same time, it drove me with even desperation to find something that was deeper than that sense of duality that there was so much embarrassment and pain and humiliate maybe not humiliation, but it was very uncomfortable. And so that was Stanford and the late 1960s. And I was fortunate enough to meet rom Das, we became drinking buddies when I was a graduate student, and I followed him off to India and met him kraly Baba Maharaj. He
Rick Archer: wasn’t at Harvard, it wasn’t on the East Coast.
Dale Borglum: Well, this was after this was after you’ve gotten kicked out of it, okay. He had gotten he and Tim Leary gotten kicked out of Harvard already. And he was the Johnny Appleseed of psychedelics, I guess, traveling around America talking about these things. But then he went off to India, and became, I think, a profoundly articulate purveyor of Eastern wisdom in a way that Westerners could really understand. Because in those days, I mean, I was I was a yogi back in those days, but I was reading translated texts that were contradicting each other. And it was it was it was very, it was very confusing in a certain way. And I was doing intensive yoga practices like swallowing claws, and doing Koreas and standing on my head for long periods of time and eating fruit and nuts for months. And, you know, really, what could I do? What could I do to find peace? And but what, what Maharaj ji said and what Maharaj Ji was was, you don’t have to do all these complicated things. Love God, serve people feed people take care of people, and your Kundalini will go up all by itself. You don’t have to stand on your head all day. You don’t have to do all these crazy things. But by by the grace of God, it a few really open to that grace, see grace in every moment. And through that receiving of grace, serve humanity, the embodiment of Holloman, the god of selfless service, if you will, then spiritual practice happens by itself that he didn’t really he didn’t encourage people to meditate. He didn’t encourage people to be Yogi’s, he encouraged people to love and to serve to love God and to serve other people. And so I feel, for instance, that the living dying project is my devotional practice. Yeah, that when I’m at the bedside of somebody, it’s Mother Teresa talks about seeing Christ in His distressing disguise when she picks up she’s dead now but when she would pick a leper out of the gutter in Calcutta or something like that, so that instead of instead of, okay, I’m, I’m the glorified social worker here or I’m, I’m Mother Teresa and drag, I’m this good guy. I’m really trying to do this as my, my relationship with God, how can I stay awake and use the suffering of others and the suffering of myself as a way of coming more deeply in contact with God and with all the people I’m with? And that’s what Maharaja embodied.
Rick Archer: Yeah, it’s worth mentioning. I think that service or Seva, didn’t run the server thing called the seva foundation. At one point,
Dale Borglum: he and Wavy Gravy, and Larry Brilliant. founded a nonprofit called To save a foundation save a means service, selfless service in Hindi. And the first thing they did was create these eye clinics where they went to India and places in South America and did cataract surgeries and gave people their sight back and I forget the numbers, but you could give them I think, like $7 or something, and you could heal one person of blindness, some like remarkably small amount of money. Yeah. And they, they brought sight to 1000s and 1000s of people.
Rick Archer: Yeah, I just wanted to say, I mean, this is implicit in this entire interview, and in some of the stuff we’re talking about, but um, this one emphasize that this idea of selfless service or saver is traditionally considered to be a very important and effective spiritual practice. And perhaps for some people, if not many people, the most effective spiritual practice they can do, you know, because a lot of times spiritual people become kind of self absorbed, narcissistic, maybe. And it’s all about, you know, my experience. And, you know, it’s kind of a self indulgent kind of orientation that develops, and selfless service can really pull you out of that. And, and, you know, people are all spiritual people, I was talking about killing ego, or, you know, diminishing the ego. I mean, if you really want to do that, what better way than to, you know, have your, your focus be on the better the welfare of others, rather than all about me, me, me, and you know, what, what am I? What kind of flashy experience can I have next?
Dale Borglum: Exactly, Britney said it better myself.
Rick Archer: And, as people know, I, my wife and I, I mean, go to see amo a lot. And that’s her big thing is selfless service, and just doing what she can to alleviate suffering in the world, despite her own suffering. I mean, if you realize, if you hear an account of how much pain she’s actually in, the average person couldn’t get out of bed, if they were in that much pain from the repetitive motion of hugging 30 million people. But she never lets on, you know, and she just keeps doing it. And, you know, people have told her, she should stop or tone it down or whatever. And she said, you know, once given I can’t return a gift, and I’ve given my life to the world, and therefore I can’t take it back. That’s what it takes to not return a gift. But take it back, I can’t take back this gift that I’ve given. So until I breathed my last breath, I’m going to be doing what I can to, you know, lay hands on the suffering and you know, just alleviate people’s pain.
Dale Borglum: She’s a remarkable being.
Rick Archer: Already, it’s just my little plug for ARMA here, people haven’t gotten to see or they might enjoy doing that. What more should we know? You were gonna say? And I kind of sidetracked you and I don’t know if he totally covered it. But you’re going to say you’re going to maybe maybe have but if you haven’t, you were you’re you’re going to tell us about how these electric shocks lead eventually to you’re going to India and being with Neem Karoli Baba, did you actually cover that? Or did we get sidetracked?
Dale Borglum: Yeah, I’m it’s kind of halfway in between there. I mean, as I said, I because of feeling so uncomfortable in my body. I and yet having some deeply intuitive sense that there was peace, there was wholeness, somewhere that I didn’t quite know how to find. And I began through inner exploration to have a very deep sense that it was through meditation and devotion. I really believe that connection with the guru as a matter of grace, it’s not something that I did particularly. But in India, they say that the work of a girl takes place in the first second that you meet her or him that you see the possibility of human existence and then it’s up to you. Through grace to embody that. And so the story of me getting from Stanford to Swami Muktananda zash ROM and then leaving that and going to Maharaja is a very long story. It’s rather dramatic story that I don’t think we really have time for. But I will say that the effect of having been with Maharaja and in a very, very real sense never having left. That whenever I do have my faith waver that I think oh my god, what am I going to do now? Just a few days ago, something happened to my car that is going to be kind of expensive that was totally unexpected. And for a moment, I thought, where’s the money going to come from. And then I realized, well I made this is I do what I can do. But at the same time, there is this process of surrender, that any moment of doubt, any moment of worry, is only cutting off that flow. And in a way, then each event becomes a blessing each, whether you’re saying it’s coming from Maharaji, or saying it’s coming from God, or just coming from the universe, whatever language is comfortable for you doesn’t really make much difference, that even a cancer diagnosis or something, is an opportunity to be more deeply in embrace with the beloved. And that’s why I choose to be around dying people I’m not, I’m not interested in dying, per se. I’m interested in transformation of consciousness. And I remember a number of years ago, I got on an airplane to go back to New York to teach a workshop to teach. Meditation, hey, is there it happened. So I went back to New York to teach a meditation workshop, and I got on the plane. And a businessman sat down next to me. He said, Where are you going? Why are you going to New York? I said, I’m going to teach a meditation workshop. And he said, Oh, isn’t that interesting. And that was the end of our conversation. He didn’t want anything to do with meditation. A month later, I got on another plane to go to Seattle to teach a conscious dyeing workshop. And another businessman came and sat down next to me. And he said, Why going to Seattle, I said, I’m going to go there to teach conscious dyeing workshop. And he said, What an amazing coincidence, my wife just died of cancer. And we had a conversation, he started quietly weeping on the airplane. Now, the point of the story is that I say almost the same thing, at the conscious dying workshop, as I do at the meditation workshop. But that dying, conscious dying, is a spiritual practice, it devolves very quickly into one’s spiritual work. And so having the niche or having the the context to talk about God, in terms of dying, makes it much more accessible to people than if I’m going around talking about meditation and gurus and all those kinds of things that people say, wait a minute, I’m not so sure I want to buy that. But almost everybody has been touched by death. And if you haven’t been yet you will be. So
Dale Borglum: that can be thought of as a very morbid thing, or as you quoted, in the very beginning of the interview, as Don Juan said that death can be the advisor, death can be our ally, death can keep awakening us. Because I don’t know if I’m ever going to see you again, I don’t know if I’m ever going to talk to you again. This is our moment for Rick and Dale to be in love. And here’s the next moment of that. And here’s the next moment of that.
Rick Archer: Nice. You know, speaking of things that were talked about, in the beginning of the interview, I was saying that, you know, maybe there’s some fundamental assumptions here, like, you know, life, what the self and its essence is indestructible or reincarnation, and so on. And you kind of alluded to another thing, which I think is a valuable fundamental assumption if one can culture it, which is that, you know, the, the Divine is all pervading, it permeates everything it orchestrates everything from the, you know, the subatomic to the universal. And if one can culture that perspective, then then when the develops a sense that all is well, well and wisely put, you know, and that nature is not just this material, cold materialistic thing that things don’t happen capriciously. But you know that the universe is one giant evolution machine, and everything that happens is, you know, meant for our highest good ultimately, even though it might not appear to be on the surface.
Dale Borglum: Well, if somebody were to ask me what religion I am, I might even end up saying, I’m a Christian. But what I find a little difficult about Christianity is that they, Christian Christianity has a hard time taking into account the dark, whereas in science and in Buddhism and in Hinduism, there is Kali there is Mahakala there is she There is a, an understanding that the dark can be worshipped equally to the light that each moment is some face of the Divine no matter whether it’s living or dying wellness or illness. And I’ve always been drawn to Shiva, I’ve always been drawn to the Dark Mother. She has a very difficult bed may mean
Rick Archer: Kali or to Shiva. Shiva is not a mother but you mean Kali,
Dale Borglum: Kali and Shiva together. Okay, yeah. Okay. Shiva Shakti that. And in actually Han, Oman. Holloman here is an incarnation of Shiva. He destroyed the abode of the demons. So that even though he’s like selfless service, Han Oman is about cutting through that which prevents us from serving. And I have a hard time with a god that’s only the good stuff, that it’s all God’s grace, everything that it can all be seen as blessing it can all be received a hole, if you will.
Rick Archer: Well, you know, you might remind Christians that according to their own teachings, God is supposed to be omnipresent, omnipotent, you know, and, you know, I’ll do my best if he doesn’t pervade everything. Then he’s said he’s, you know, he’s banished off into some corner and excluded from, from, you know, a major portion of the universe. So,
Dale Borglum: I can think of Mr. Heat, right, of course, it’s
Rick Archer: just a way of speaking. Anyway, we’re getting a little waxing philosophical here, but it’s good stuff. So is there anything else you’d like to say, before we conclude, that we haven’t said
Dale Borglum: I’ve deeply appreciated being with you, and having the opportunity to be with so many people. The work of supporting the dying of selfless service of devotion through action is a wonderful, wonderful path I’m graced to be upon it and to be able to do this work. If there’s any way I can serve any of the viewers through the work of a living dining project, we have a lot of great information on our website, we’re trying to be the website, that’s the go to place with information about conscious dying. There, as I said before, now the possibility of online streaming of meditation groups, and training to be with the dying. I do Skype or telephone counseling to people all around the world, and would do a free short session with anybody who felt they wanted to find out a little bit more about that the phone numbers on the website. And I want to thank you, I think your website is a great service and has helped many, many people.
Rick Archer: Well, thank you. And thanks to our friend, Kelly moland, for setting this up, connecting us. And so I’ll just make some concluding remarks, then I think, one is a quote from Jimi Hendrix that I haven’t had a chance to mention, but it’s been kicking around the back of my mind, he said, I’m the one who’s got to die when it’s time for me to die. So let me live my life the way I want to. In any case, he died at the age of 27. So hopefully, he got to fulfill that.
Dale Borglum: Oh, if I could put in a quote from one of my favorite musicians, Bob Dylan said, what price do we have to pay to get out of going for all these things twice? I think that’s what we’ve been talking about today. Yeah.
Rick Archer: Interesting. And Joni Mitchell said life is for learning. So I’m sure death is too. Got another comeback from a rock musician. Didn’t say I’m sure death is too I added that.
Dale Borglum: I’ll let you have the final word on the rock musician. I
Rick Archer: think I’m done. So let me just conclude. I’ve been speaking with Dale Borglum, who is the director of the living dying project. And as usual, I’ll be linking to in that and including a bio of Dale on his page on batgap.com Bat gap. So go there, if you want to, if you’re just hearing this and you want to sort of easily find whatever you need to find about Dale or about the other 260 people so far that I’ve interviewed over the past five years, that they’re alphabetized and categorized and If you just explore the menus on the site, there’s a Donate button on the site, which I appreciate people clicking, which is how we support this whole thing. There is a place to be notified by email each time a new interview is posted. And in fact, we’ll be sending out a kind of a Christmas newsletter that we’re holiday season newsletter that we’re working on, that you’ll get if you if you subscribe to the email. There’s an audio podcast of this in case you don’t feel like sitting in front of your computer for two hours, you can listen on your iPod or whatever. So you’ll see a link to that at the bottom of each interview. So I think that’s about it. Thank you for listening or watching thank you Dale.
Dale Borglum: And let me just give our website living dining dot orgy living dining dot orgy. Okay, good. Thank you so very much. It’s been a real pleasure.
Rick Archer: Thank you and thanks to those who’ve been listening or watching and we’ll see you next week. Next week is a woman named Marie mana sherry. I think she pronounces her name. And I listened to an interview of her with Tammy Simon of sounds true, which I found very interesting. She she was a healer, a nurse. And she went through some really profound changes and began to have all this subtle perception of guardian angels and also we’re going to talk about that kind of thing next week. So see you then thanks