Daniel Schmidt Transcript

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Daniel Schmidt Interview

Rick Archer: Welcome to Buddha at the Gas Pump. Buddha at the Gas Pump is an ongoing series of interviews with spiritually Awakening people. I’ve done over 500 of them now. And if this is new to you, and you’d like to check out previous ones, please go to batgap.com Vat gap. And look at the past interviews menu and the sub menus. Under that you’ll find all the previous ones archived in various ways. This program is made possible by the support of appreciative listeners and viewers. So if you appreciate it, and would like to support it in any amount, large or small, there’s a PayPal PayPal button on every page of the site. My guest today is Daniel Schmidt. Daniel is the creator of the award winning film, inner worlds outer worlds. Let me just show you the cover of that film. There it is, inner worlds outer worlds, as well as the ongoing Samadhi series. And he’s also the founder of the awaken the world initiative whose purpose is to bring the ancient teachings of Samadhi back to the world for free. In as many languages as possible. We’ll be defining Samadhi in a few minutes, then approach combined self inquiry with traditional forms of meditation, so that participants have the opportunity to simultaneously realize their transcendent nature, and to purify themselves of conditioned patterns. The pathless path is to realize an ever deepening development process within the self structure. And to simultaneously realize what is always already beyond the self structure. Samadhi is when the world that is constantly changing, merges or unites with the changeless. It’s a good definition. So welcome, Daniel.

Daniel Schmidt: Thanks for having me.

Rick Archer: Yeah. You know, over the years, I’ve kind of glimpsed your movies online, and thought, well, those would be very interesting to watch. But I think I’ll wait until I interview this guy, which I’m sure I eventually will. And then I’ll just, you know, totally immerse myself in them. And that’s what I’ve done over the past week watching just about all of the movies I just mentioned, which are a marvelous creation. I mean, the amount of creativity and ingenue IDI that that went into their creation is amazing. I’d like to, in the course of our conversation, let’s talk about how you did them, and where you got all the ideas for doing them. And so on, because, and hopefully this conversation will inspire others to watch them if they haven’t done so already. It’s and you’re doing more, so stay tuned, everybody. So how’d you get interested in all this stuff to begin with?

Daniel Schmidt: Hmm, so I guess all this stuff. You mean meditation? Yes.

Rick Archer: All spiritual

Daniel Schmidt: stick. Yeah. So, you know, I grew up as a Catholic. You know, so to me, I rebelled against every everything in the religious world. I didn’t really know anything about meditation, yoga, actually thought it was complete nonsense, and, and I was just kind of going about my life. And well, actually, I should back up, like, when I was when I was a really young child, I was having experiences of, sort of, you know, I could lucid dream and travel at night and stuff like that. And I was I was very connected to, you know, the other levels or other realms. But that got shut down. At a certain point, I kind of had to protect myself at a certain point, and just kind of intuitively closed it off, because my family thought I was being really weird. And, and, you know, they thought maybe I had schizophrenia or something. And I knew, like, just for self preservation, I had to shut it down. So

Rick Archer: So you tell them like, these little people were in my room last night or whatever, things like that. And they were just

Daniel Schmidt: things like that went well and in like, yeah, like I would literally see angels above my sister’s beds and stuff like that. But, but also, you know, as, as I was going through puberty, when when energy started awakening, I was having like a Kundalini kind of awakening experience, but I had absolutely no idea what that was or how to manage it or so.

Rick Archer: I The height variance thing as those Kundalini things and what was how do you know, that’s what it was? Now? Yeah, it was,

Daniel Schmidt: in retrospect, now, I know, that’s what it was. But at the time, like, the actual subjective experience was, you know, I would get this, this feeling that there was there was, like, an intelligence inside my body basically. And it was accompanied by, like, my ego structure at that time, you know, which was very undeveloped was terrified, it was like this, this sort of visceral fear would come over my body as I was, I was lying in bed, waiting to go to sleep, and I would know, when this this energy is coming on, it was like something, some intelligence inside and I could feel like an energy moving up the back of the head and the crown. And, and I would actually get, sort of, taken over by by this energy, like, it felt like something moving my body around. And, and it was, like, the, the deepest sense of mortal terror, from the self structures point of view, so my family would, my dad would find me, you know, curled up in a fetal position screaming, or, you know, one time I, I went into their bedroom, and, and I had this profound sense of what, what this world was and what this life was, and I got on top of them in the middle of the night, it’s like, like, two in the morning or three in the morning, and screaming, you’re already dad. And, you know, just terrified them, they thought, you know, I was, I was some kind of an exorcist kid or something. So, wow. And, and, and so I, you know, and as this went on, you know, I was very sensitive to people’s reaction to it as well. So I realized this is not, this is not going well, I need to basically shut this down, whatever is going on. So um, so when that happened, when I when I started down, and I’m not sure how I did that, I just kind of willed with ego to shut it down. So I lost that, that childlike capacity to, to explore in my dreams, and, you know, I used to be able to fly and all that kind of stuff. And, and, and I would have these amazing encounters. So all of that disappeared at that time as well. And I just became like a normal kid, or what, I guess people who knew me might not say that, but but comparatively normal.

Rick Archer: Two quick observations here. One is I’m sure you’ve heard that Kundalini experts say that Kundalini can have awoken in previous lives, and then we die. And when we are reborn, it’s already awake. And it just kind of resumes its process. Yeah, so there’s that I

Daniel Schmidt: totally agree with that. And, to me that there’s something that was happening that, you know, it’s it’s like this, this pattern of awareness, you know, like, somehow there, the whole experience was accompanied by, you know, this, this way of perceiving my inner world, that it’s like, my consciousness would just start to get locked in to the inner world and observing inner energy in a certain way. And I didn’t learn that, but it was like, it came with me somehow it was like a switch got turned on. And, and it was, that pattern was just there.

Rick Archer: Yeah. And just picking up where we left off. And then another thing I’m sure you’ve heard is that, you know, when the energy rises like that, the ego can feel threatened because it faces this dissolution. You have like stories like Suzanne Suzanne Siegel, collision with the infinite if you’ve ever read that book, where there’s just abject terror, because everything you know yourself to be is being dissolved. And if you don’t know what’s going on, it can be real scary.

Daniel Schmidt: Yeah, the terror that I experienced was was like, you know, I can’t explain how palpable it was. It was it was like primordial terror. It wasn’t, it wasn’t like, you know, even if somebody had come up to me with a gun, you know, and put it to my head. It wasn’t, it wasn’t logical terror was more just this blind, irrational and palpable sense of death and of losing myself at that time.

Rick Archer: Well, the word primordial is very apt. There’s a line in the punch, as it says, Certainly all fear is born of duality. So it’s like the very initial sprouting of duality from the unified field. Gives it birth fear at That primordial level. And it’s kind of like an like with crossing, you know, playing breaking the sound barrier when we sort of reverse the process. And, again traverse that primordial level back to Unity. We can experience that that root fear that is primordial, that most primordial thing there is.

Daniel Schmidt: Yeah, yeah. And I’ve only, I think, only in my adult life revisited dot fear once. And that was actually my first 10 Day vipassana retreat. And, and I had that that energy sort of a woke again, and, and at that time, I went to see the, the teacher there and told them about it. And they, they said, you know, just just go back, observe the breath. And, you know, don’t worry about it. But when it awakened there, though, it was, it was interesting, like it was, it was more, I actually felt almost like a coldness in the room, it was so large, but then, you know, the same energy now, when I experienced it, you know, it’s, it’s blissful now, because because my consciousness isn’t inhabiting it. And so, you know, it’s it really, it’s like, the ego just gets used to letting go or dying, or whatever you want to call that. And, you know, so that very same sensation is, you know, it’s we, if it’s contracted, then it’s fear. But if it’s not contracted, it’s it’s just freedom, it’s bliss.

Rick Archer: Well, you know what FDR said in his second inaugural address, he said, The only thing we have to fear is fear itself. And I think there’s several, I think there’s several factors, which can determine how fearful it’s going to be. One is how quickly it happens. If it’s, you know, if there’s a whole bunch all at once, that can be rather dramatic, otherwise, it can just be a very gradual, incremental process, and you don’t notice much happening, and you just kind of ease through it. And then another is, whether you understand what’s going on, you know, because if like, Suzanne Siegel, you have no idea what’s happening, you can be you can be fighting against something which could actually be blissful if you were to relax into it with understanding.

Daniel Schmidt: Yeah, and especially in our society, we have, we have, you know, when when things like that happen to a little kid, for example, you know, I think the psych wards are filled with people, they, you know, you just get medicated in our system where, you know, people don’t know how to deal with us, whereas, you know, in an indigenous culture or some of the shamanic cultures, you know, they may see that as a, as a sign that, you know, you’re ready for some spiritual training or, you know, but, yeah,

Rick Archer: and, of course, I mean, you mentioned Catholicism there, I think, have there been adepts and, you know, mystics and the Christian tradition, who would have understood very well what you’re talking about, because they went through Absolutely, St. John. Yeah, that’s kind of the soul, you know, that.

Daniel Schmidt: Yeah, I’ve come full circle with Christianity, my, in my own path, I really have come to see actually one of one of my biggest influences. My teacher, Nico is he uses a lot of Christian language. And, you know, and I, actually a big part of the next film is, you know, seeing the the one perennial truth in all of these traditions, and I’m particularly drawn to the teachings of John of the Cross, you mentioned, St. Teresa, might Meister Eckhart and St. Francis, I think all of these, these, you know, experiences and awakenings that they’re having, you know, it’s just Christian language, but it’s, it’s the same as in every tradition,

Rick Archer: I think. I could put you in touch with a couple of people. nearby star who wrote who did translations of St. John of the Cross, and, and my friend, Dana Sawyer, who was friends with all this actually and Houston Smith and wrote biographies of them both. They they could probably be helpful to project.

Daniel Schmidt: Wonderful. Yeah, yeah, I’m, I’m right now I’m in that sort of taking in mode, like just gathering and synthesizing and exploring all of it. So there, you know, it’d be a perfect time because things are German right now.

Rick Archer: Great, right. Okay, so you got past the fear phase, clamped it down. I stuffed it. Yeah, becoming a teenager.

Daniel Schmidt: Yeah, so I really, you know, I got into philosophy, I went to school for philosophy at Western. And then I actually went to law school. And you had mentioned before the interview started about how sometimes, you know, it seems like your entire life is, you know, it’s a one point, it might seem like a series of random events, but then later on, you see that you’re being prepared for something. And it really seems like that, like even my my year of law school, I thought it was a complete waste of time at the time, because it was totally not what I wanted to do. Which can be helpful. I mean, learning exactly what you don’t want to do is is, is a teaching. But, but now, like, working with these, these films, there is a legal aspect and deal with contracts and all that stuff. And, and the philosophy is, is part of it. And, you know, and my path led me and I always, I always was creating music. My mom was a music teacher, so I learned music when I was a little kid. So I got into creating music for my friends films that I had from friends in film school. And so I was exploring music all along the way. And that that sort of took me into the television and film world and formed a company with some friends. And we were, we were delivering a series for Discovery Channel. And we were just young, you know, just doing what people do. I was, I was just trying to, I thought it was cool, you know, and I wanted to make money, I was completely embedded in the matrix. I was like, you know, totally, you know, playing video games, you know, drinking lime coolers, and up until three in the morning, and, you know, just abusing my body didn’t know how to feed myself or you know, take care of this, this vessel. So, you know, after years of that, whatever spirit is in me or whatever, however, you want to say it, you know, something rebelled and, and just hammered me and I developed an autoimmune just overnight, basically, an autoimmune disorder, type one diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, like just got hammered. And, and I was forced to try and figure it figure out how to survive or how to get through this. And I basically had to let go of everything, let go of my relationships, my you know, everything moved out of Toronto into a tiny little place in the middle of nowhere to heal was close to nature. And, and, you know, so that was the beginning. And during that time, you know, my, my mind really was the diabetes, what was the biggest problem because my, I just, I was doing everything backwards, everything wrong, like I was, I was doing I thought maybe I had a parasite. So I was doing these cleanses, doing some cleanse where I’m like, drinking, you know, like lemonade with honey and stuff like that. So sugar. Yeah. And so like the, it took me several years to actually get the diagnosis of diabetes. So, so for a couple of years, it was like, my blood was boiling, it was it was excruciating, and I couldn’t sleep. So um, so my mind was was going and worrying and fear and I was losing huge amounts of weight. I went from, like, 160 pounds down to like, 120. And I was at one point, I was like, a skeleton. And so I was worried. And I desperately just wanted to get some sleep, actually. And I had a friend who was he had that afterglow from coming back from a personal retreat. And he said, you know, why don’t you do that? He could, he was very intuitive, and he could tell a lot of my issues where my mind, you know, like, my mind was just pathological at that point. And so I figured I have nothing to lose, and I saw it benefited him and, and I went to the vipassana retreat with no idea what it was I literally hadn’t even read their website. So I just went on his advice. So I had had a true beginner’s mind like totally ignorant of of anything that was happening there. And which was which was good. So it was a SAM going doing the teaching on the screen. And and I just I just kind of surrendered. I just thought okay, I’m going to go with it. He was he was very adamant, you know, just follow the the technique and everything. So I did and, and I, I had, you know, excruciating pain in my body, like the rheumatoid arthritis was down, like, deep into my bones. And I was sitting there, like, trying to meditate and mind going crazy and I’d be collapsing and pain sitting up collapsing. And, and it was like, you know, pushed me 100% Like beyond what I could handle and, and something gave way I guess in that, like I was I was determined I almost left actually after the first day and second day and, you know, couple people talk me through it. And luckily, I stuck with it. I don’t know why, like something, something in me, you know, grace or something I don’t know. But I’m not sure why I was so determined to do it. But the something gave way. And I, you know, I, I see, like some people with meditation. You know, I’ve, I’ve studied a little bit of air Vita, and they talk about the doses and body type. And I’m very vata so my, my tendency is I seem to realize states or realize, you know, energy awakenings and things very quickly, by lose them just as quickly. So, so at that retreat, I had a samadhi experience, what I would now call a Sava kalpa samadhi experience, where I, like I was, so in my body in the energy, you know, doing this body scan, and my, my awareness merged with my energy field, which connected me to all that is basically so during this experience, I was I was walking around, you know, literally feeling the energy of the universe flowing through me. And, you know, I’ve walked outside at night, and, and literally, the consciousness of the stars, were me looking back at myself, I could feel myself in everything. And, and it was, you know, it was everything I ever wanted, it was it was like, total completion, and, and perfection, you know, I just wanted to stay there forever. And, of course, my ego was not prepared for this experience at all. So, you know, like, every, every state, you know, it passed and, and my ego was desperate like to, you know, how do I get back there? How do I hang on to this, and the more I would grasp out it, the more quickly, it started to go away. And I think, you know, I was in that state for, you know, less than 24 hours, it wasn’t, wasn’t that long. And so then by the time I went to bed that night, I fell asleep, and then woke up and it was completely gone. And, and so the next day, I experienced absolute loss, you know, I went from being everything to being this little insect creature again. And, and it was the, I think, the only time in my life, I actually just wanted to not exist, you know, I just, I was I was desperate, like, to get that experience back. And, and now I, you know, looking back at it, I realized, you know, what was missing was I, you know, I was I was walking around in that state, you know, and I was sure I was I was exactly like Jesus or I was exactly like the Buddha like this was it, you know, this is the state and, but, you know, I was identified with that character, I thought, I thought dance this dance structure, was it right? So, so, I hadn’t realized prajna or, you know, the truth of what we are. And, you know, so, so, I had full on identification. So, it was many years later that I, I started to, you know, delve into Zen and self inquiry, non non dual teachings. And then I had a different kind of Samadhi that the Nirvikalpa samadhi were realized form and emptiness as one there’s, there’s kind of a collapse of this, this duality, and I realize you realize it’s all you know, it’s there’s nothing to be attached to. And the challenge over over time is to let these states come and go to encompass them with adequate equanimity and with consciousness.

Rick Archer: Yeah, Ken Wilber talks about states and stages, you know, states are all kinds of things that we can get temporarily at stages or more per Minute abiding conditions that can eventually arise and, yeah, natural.

Daniel Schmidt: That’s a beautiful distinction. I think that’s, that’s exactly it. So, to me, I distinguish between, you know, awakening, which, which is, you know, you know, it’s in the moment, it’s now. And then there’s this enlightenment process that is this, this continuous development process. And it’s like, we rewire ourselves, and we, you know, we create sort of a purified vessel to contain that, that awareness, so that it doesn’t come and go. And for me, you know, I’m still I’m still working on the development process. You know, I’ve had many awakening experiences now, in my my life. And even doing long sets, there’s, there’s, there are little awakenings all the time happening, every once in a while there’s, you know, the complete cessation of, of, you know, the varieties or the whirlpool of the mind, but, but to live in that state is this, you know, I believe, what the, the yogic traditions are talking about, you know, the growing the inner lotus, you know, the chakra is all of that, we were ourselves to create the sort of unconditioned self structure that supports awakening so that the awareness can just kind of shine through. But, you know, so so it’s, it is a paradox, like I talked about, you know, like, exactly what you said to actually, like states of Samadhi. And then there, the, the stages of, of actual living, you know, living life in a stage where that wiring has reached, you know, a new level. And, and there’s, with each level, there’s, there is a change in consciousness. And, you know, those traditions say, when, when the wiring is permanently at the crown, you know, the energy is moving from the root to the crown, then that is it, that’s, you know, and depictions of the halos, and, you know, these, these traditional images, I think, are conveying that as well,

Rick Archer: I think is an important point. I mean, there’s a chance I could shoot a basket from 40 feet out or something like that, you know, but to do that consistently, like Steph Curry, or somebody takes a great deal of training, and probably in the case of this example of a younger body, but, you know, sometimes people in certain spiritual circles poopoo, the idea of practice, because they feel like it is a pupil, you know, it’s like they put it down. Because, because imply, they feel that it’s going to only reinforce the sense of a practice, or, and they feel like Well, the reality is what it is. So just realize that why should you have to beat around the bush and do something. But I think, well, you could probably respond to the, to that. Yeah.

Daniel Schmidt: It’s, it’s, yeah, it’s very tricky. Like, I one of my favorite teachers is Krishna Marty, you know, and he was, he was very scornful traditional meditation, because he saw how, you know, people doing these techniques, it was, you know, a technique is just something conditioned, you know, it’s, it’s something that we learn, it’s within the self structure. And if we’re, if we’re just repeating this thing, you know, people sitting on cushions, you know, doing these practices will will never come to that cessation of, you know, the whirlpool of the mind if, if we’re engaging in these practices. So I totally agree with Krishnamurti, I agree with everything he’s saying, and the way but I also see that these these techniques have value. Like I see them, I love the phrase, a foreign to remove a thorn. You know, I think sometimes, you know, like the Vipassana body scan technique is a great example. Like we teach that at the center, along with many other different techniques. And, you know, some of these techniques work for some people and, you know, others for other people. But, you know, so we can use these I think a good technique is one that is purifying the condition patterns, like it’s allowing whatever is in our unconscious, you know, these these little programs and sub programs in our unconscious or just running and we can’t become free of them until we excavate you know, we have to we basically stop responding to the craving and aversion or the preferences of the conditioned mind, and when we stop, you know, these, these, you know, what they call Samskaras or Samskaras, in the Buddhist tradition, you know, start to come up to the surface and, and we, they, they sort of bloom and die if we’re, if we just are not attached to them or don’t respond to them. So, to me that process that like that is working within the framework of the the body and and you know, dealing with, you know, this these unconscious patterns, which is purifying the vessel, basically. But, but also, I think, you know, what Krishna Murthy says is true, like the absolute awareness just is what it is, it needs no, perfecting it needs no development process. So when you when you have these awakenings, you know, the paradox, or the hard thing to grasp with the mind is that, you know, you awaken and you realize it’s the same awareness that was always there. And it’s been ever present and unchanging, and it’s, it’s spotless, and stainless, you know, but, but we it gets obscured over and over by the mind. So we it gets entangled with mind. And that’s, that’s the game of Maya, what we’re planning here, we, we, it’s this whirlpool of the mind that just just snags us over and over. So. So to me, you know, the, I, the way I teach at the center is, you know, self inquiry and meditation simultaneously. So, so when we’re, when we’re doing a technique, you know, if we’re observing the breath, or observing the third eye, or whatever, whatever doesn’t really even matter. So much, as long as we’re cultivating equanimity, and concentration and freeing these Samskaras. And, you know, but you can also be aware of who is doing this practice at the same time. So rather than, you know, just the mind running with this pattern, you know, I love the the Zen story about the polishing the tile, you know, so we’re not just polishing tiles at the meditation center, but we’re, we’re aware,

Rick Archer: the story being that you polish the tile or polish it brick, you can polish for the rest of your life, it’s never going to become a mirror.

Daniel Schmidt: Exactly. So yeah, I should maybe say the story for that. Yeah. So there’s, there’s a student who, you know, he’s sitting in meditation and, and the Zen teacher comes and says, What are you doing? And the students as I’m meditating, I want to become enlightened. And the teacher picks up a stone tile and starts polishing it. And the student says, you know, what, why are you polishing that tile, and he says, I want it to become a mirror, you know, I want to keep polishing it to become a mirror. And, and the student says, Well, you can do that forever, that’s that stones never becoming a mirror. And it’s the same thing with our practice as well, if it’s just the mind, doing some condition technique will never realize our true nature. Because, you know, in these ancient traditions, you know, it is a cessation of this whirlpool of the mind that is, it allows you it’s in not absolute stillness, this the, this unfathomable experience happens, or it’s not even an experience because, you know, it’s the collapse of experience and experience or so. So, you know, to me, that’s probably the most important thing in meditation is to realize like we’re, you know, these techniques are great, like we are moving from, from gross mind that, you know, full of thoughts to subtler mind. subtler, subtler, subtler using a thorn to remove a thorn. And then eventually, we throw all the thorns away and just come to stillness. And it’s in that stillness that, you know, prajna or, you know, I sometimes say, No, I’ve heard other teachers say this, like, it’s almost like it happens by accident. But we make make ourselves accident prone by doing these, these practices and techniques. So I know for me, you know, if I, if I had never done Vipassana meditation and never done all the stuff I’m doing, you know, there’s no way if I was just watching Netflix, and you know, you know, drinking beer coolers, yeah, it’s not going to happen, right. So, you know, so we, it’s like we’re cultivating this, you know, purifying this, this vessel, you know, and then, you know, maybe there’s an element of grace. I don’t know what it is. What makes this happen? But, you know, it can it can happen, I think all we can do as, as limited ego structures is just prepare, you know, just cultivate the garden, and but we don’t control what grows in it.

Rick Archer: Yeah, let me respond to a few of those points. Firstly, regarding grace, you know, there’s that saying, God helps those who help themselves. And there’s some some cool stories in various scriptures about the disciple or the student putting forth a certain amount of effort. And then once he has done enough effort, then the guru or the, or some or God or something, rather, just blesses him with grace. And that, you know, accomplishes that, then with regard to, you know, realizing that you’re that you’re all that enlightenment was always the natural condition, once enlightenment has been attained, it’s like, the sun is always shining, the sun doesn’t care whether there’s clouds or not, because the sun is not obscured from its perspective. It’s not obscured by clouds. But it makes a difference to the person on the ground, so to speak, whether there’s clouds and wind can help blow them away. So when wind is like a technique, and then once they’re blown away, then boom, there, oh, the sun, it’s always been shining. So there’s that. And then we regarding regarding Krishna Murthy, he was a good example, because he spoke from his level of consciousness and his listeners listen from theirs. And the twain never really met. You know, he sat there and sort of criticized techniques, and people were with him for decades and ended up continuing to be frustrated, because he had no way of sort of conveying or enabling them to rise to the level of his experience. So there’s a setting in India when when, when the mangoes are ripe, in the branches bend down so that people can easily pick the fruit. So there’s something to be said for teaching in such a way that it meets the student, where, where they’re at, and enables them to sort of begin to progress. And regarding progress, you know, you’ve alluded to the notion that we’re talking about something very physiological here, all these some scars and impressions that we’re talking about how if physiologists knew how to do it could be located in the neurophysiology as perhaps chemical or structural imbalances. And so the release or the working out of the Samskaras is a neuro physiological process or transformation. And has been plenty of research to show that during different types of meditation, there are significant physiological changes. And also with with long term meditators, and again, in various traditions and practices, there are significant changes that are abiding whether the person is meditating or not, the brain itself is significantly restructured, as can be seen from, you know, thickening of the frontal cortex and phase coherence between different parts of the brain. In other words, synchrony between the brainwaves in different parts of the brain, the healing of functional holes and brain functioning, which are revealed by fMRI scans. There’s so we’re really just through spiritual practice, were really transforming the physiology to make it a fit vehicle for living. This higher state of consciousness, whatever we want to call it, and there was one final point I was gonna Oh, yeah, you’re talking about polishing the brick. And it was something you said there made me feel like, well, the measure of an effective practice should be how effectively it enables the mind to settle into Samadhi. Yeah, I’ve heard you allude to the second verse of the yoga, sutras yoga, chitta, vritti nirodha, the, the Yoga is the cessation of the fluctuations of the mind. Okay? So why would that be a good thing, so it’s the cessation of fluctuation in the mind, because then the next verse says, then the seer is established in itself. So it’s like choppy water can’t reflect the sun very clearly, still, water can reflect it perfectly, sometimes see these photos of still water, and it looks like the same scene above the lake and below the lake, you know, because the, the trees or whatever are being reflected perfectly. So a still mind can allow the self to shine forth freely without obstruction or disturbance. And so that’s the purpose of that type of practice. And so you could perhaps, you know, measure the worth of practices by how effectively they accomplish that, and you could measure that physiologically, as well as by subjective report. So there you go. There’s some responses to what you said, Wow.

Daniel Schmidt: Wonderful. It’s some it actually seems like you’re using so many examples that I use all the time. So you know, it’s I forgot that you were speaking extra. So yeah, that’s wonderful. Right, Daniel? So yeah, it’s, it’s, I think it’s a wonderful use of science, you know, I think, like if science can start to, to really, you know, have objective measures for these things, we can we can open so much up so quickly. And, you know, there there are amazing things being done. I know, I was just checking out, David Vargo is one who he’s at Harvard, he’s doing studies with fMRI and doing I think he came to some conclusions on the default mode network, which is, you know, just the, basically, when when we’re just being here, you know, what’s going on in the mind, like, just start or kind of default processing in the mind, and they’ve found, you know, conclusively that, you know, meditation, like meditators just have less going on, there’s, there’s less interruption happening just as you’re existing in the present moment. So, you know, I think these these things are great just even just to get people excited about meditation and see and see that there is an objective value. Because, you know, really people like that, that, to me is kind of my job with these, these films as well is, you know, I can’t convey really what happens in meditation, there’s nothing I can say, or depict or use, use fractals, or, you know, but, but if I can get people curious about it, you know, I think science has has an IT, there’s an incredible possibility there. For science to get people curious to look within themselves.

Rick Archer: One example I’ve sometimes used is, you know, picture yourself working really hard, you’re like, you’re working these 812 hour days, or whatever, 16 hour days, and you’re under a lot of pressure, and you’re all frazzled, and your mind is just crazy, and you can’t sleep properly, and you’re drinking a lot of coffee, and you’re in that state of mind. And then you go on vacation, and you’re there a couple of weeks just sort of lie on the beach, just relaxing. And by the end of a couple of weeks of vacation, you just feel so mellow, and so clear. And so kind of happy inside, compared to the way it felt. So contrast those two conditions. Now imagine that you could sit twice a day or whatever, and enter into that state that you feel after two weeks of vacation, you know, for half an hour or an hour or whatever, and then come back to your daily activity, you would not only enjoy that hour, or whatever, where you sat, but your daily activity would carry over into your daily activity with feel the influence of it throughout the day. And if you were to do that on a regular basis, the influence would accumulate such that you could never get sort of so perturbed by things as you once did. There was a sort of a stable equanimity that would develop, and again, there would be a physiological reason for that, as well as your sort of inner subjective experience.

Daniel Schmidt: Yeah, yeah, absolutely. I see my own. You know, if I look back, 20 years ago, when I, when I started meditation, you know, I was full of anxiety and stress, fear and all kinds of stuff. And if I measure, I think the only measure of a meditation practice is, you know, like, like the Buddha said, you know, it’s about freedom from suffering, or freedom from the self. And, you know, if I just look back over my life, I just have less suffering, you know, to me, that’s, that’s the measure, you know, there, it’s also opened up all these, these other other worlds and things like that. So it’s like, you know, I think the your antenna starts to, you know, be able to receive, you know, from Okay, so you have an expanded experience of life. So, so, you know, so I guess there’s two things, there’s, there’s freedom from, you know, freedom from suffering, but then there’s freedom to, so you’re free to explore all these other aspects of being as well. So I guess it’s kind of going in two directions where we’re at, in some ways, we’re, you know, through this process and wiring, we’re expanding the self structure, but but we’re also realizing the emptiness of the self structure at all of these levels.

Rick Archer: And that imagine if you look back on your life, you would say that a lot of the suffering you want to experience was self inflicted. And, and you’re now there’s a sort of a skill in action. The Gita says yoga, was it yoga, karma, Shu Kosha love yoga is skill and action. There’s a skill in action now which you conduct your life in such a way that you don’t create methods for yourself. You know, you don’t you don’t inflict suffering on yourself.

Daniel Schmidt: Yeah, yeah. And, you know, Krishna Murty, spoke about, like, the collective ego, you know, as, as the problem like we on this planet are, the suffering that we’re experiencing, is due to the collective ego and, you know, identification with whatever, whatever we define ourselves. As soon as we create a definition, we create a limitation and we create an other, you know, if I say I am this, you know, I’m, I’m Christian, I’m Jewish, I’m Muslim, I’m American, whatever it is, then, you know, because of that label, there’s, it means some people aren’t that, you know, and it creates this disconnect. And, you know, I love when he said, you know, the ego is inherently violent, you know, it’s a violence, it’s a, it’s a cutting, or a fragmentation of consciousness from itself.

Rick Archer: Yeah, this interesting point you just made a minute ago, which is that even though there’s a sort of an emptying out taking place, remember your exact words, at this at the same time, almost ironically, or paradoxically, there is a sort of a fuller and freer expression of your uniqueness and of your individuality. I guess, you could say your individuality. I mean, you see that and your own experience and in the, in the lives of sort of people we might respect to seem to have achieved a high level of consciousness, like the Dalai Lama, or whoever, there there’s a sort of richness to their personalities, you know, they’re not just all plain vanilla sort of empty, flat, you know, yeah, Atlas, saps sort of vibrancy and charisma, and, you know, fascination that you, you feel in watching them function. So it’s kind of like it frees up what is beautiful within us, not only in the sort of universal sense, but even in terms of our individual qualities.

Daniel Schmidt: Yeah, yeah, absolutely. I think the like in the Upanishads I love you know, in some of these really ancient teachings, you know, they, they, they talk about all these different levels of existence. And you know, really we are living in this, this limited reality on the level of the mind and the physical, but there are these these other levels of, you know, the, the energy like when somebody starts to tap into their Kundalini energy, you see it in their face, you see an aliveness and you see it shining from the eyes. And you know, and the Upanishads talk about these other higher levels, like the coaches to vinyasa, Maya, Kosha, Ananda Maya, Kosha, these are whole whole realms of existence, you know, that we can experience in life. And when we start making connections with them, you know, there’s, there’s, there’s knowledge, there’s wisdom, that’s it’s tapping us into stuff that is beyond just our self and our culture. And, you know, it’s there, there is, I believe, you know, I, to me, it’s mysterious, where, where a lot of its comes from, but, you know, I talked about Akasha in one of the films and, you know, this idea that, that everything is mined, you know, the first hermetic principle, all the all is mined, and, you know, even what we think of as deep space, you know, with the, the Millennium runs simulation, we now know that, when you start to map out dark matter, you know, it looks exactly like a brain, you know, with complete with neurons and everything so, so it is all mind and, and we can, you know, I see it, as you know, this, this whole energetic structure that we’re inside of, can be like an antenna, and we can connect to those higher levels of mind. And, you know, the Dharma and and, you know, these these ancient teachings, I think every every, every being who has, you know, made that connection, they’re sort of bringing in the same truths, but in different ways and different expressions, different unique truths. Based upon what

Rick Archer: you’ve just said, this would be a good time to ask a question that came in from Manuel in Vienna, Austria. He has in an interview with Cheryl sits, you were talking about higher levels of reality, beyond the mental and physical level, like the energetic level or the angelic realm. This question is, how can we be sure that altered states of reality experience through meditation techniques or psychedelics are not just illusions made up by our own mind?

Daniel Schmidt: And I think, you know, this, this entire game that we’re playing here, this entire universe and existence is all mine. So we can’t it’s all, you know, I love. Schwann Sue, there’s the story about him at this dream of the butterfly. And, you know, it’s so real. He was questioning, seriously questioning, you know, am I a butterfly dreaming that I’m a man or a man dreaming that I’m a butterfly? You know, and this is the question. And I, to me, it’s, it’s mysterious, like, as we, as we go deeper, you know, into the meditation world and on the path and, and, you know, to me, like, my, my experiences of the dream realms, and, you know, like, dreaming wake, like, as opposed to waking, you know, or, you know, these, these, sometimes we call them communications, where we have these connections to the higher self, you know, it’s becoming more and more real, seeming real, like more solid, and, and, but simultaneously, it seems like this, so called real world is becoming a little more dreamlike, a little more permeable. And, and, and it’s all it’s sort of blending, you know, and, but, but the, the awakeness, that is at the center of it, you know, the awareness, which is unchanging to me, that is what we are, that’s the essence of what we are, that’s the truth. And, and, you know, this is my, like, in the apana shots I was describing, like, they, they use the word Maya, you know, in the description of these things. It’s, it is all my and, you know, it’s, I’m thinking about the, the Heart Sutra in Buddhism, where he says, you know, the awakening, or the awakened one realized all the emptiness of all the levels, I think he was talking about the five skandhas. But, you know, it’s the self structure, basically, I like all levels of self. So when we realize that it is, it is illusion, it’s all illusion. So, you know, so I’ve had, I’ve had weird experiences of these different levels. And, you know, some of them, I wouldn’t want to share because people think I’m insane. But, you know,

Rick Archer: that at the beginning of the interview, right, when you’re jumping on your parents,

Daniel Schmidt: yeah, so I got nothing to lose. But the, you know, to me, you know, I, I see it all the same way, right. It’s a play of form, it’s a play of consciousness. And, you know, to me, like my teacher, Nico, he experienced, he talks about the imaginal realm. This is this is a term kind of coined by a writer named Henry Corbin. He writes about the higher worlds and he does an exhaustive study, which is fascinating. Carl Jung actually, his his active imagination, a lot of his stuff is based on Henry Corman’s work. And so So Nico distinguishes between imaginal which is the what’s going on on the higher mind, and imagination, which is a project and product of the lower mind. And the way that we distinguish between the two in our subjective experience is that when things happen on the imaginal level, there is an actual concrete, energetic change, you know, like we can, these, these, these symbolic or these these archetypal experiences that can be hard, you know, interacting with, with deities or netters, or, you know, strange beings, you know, whatever, whatever’s happening there, you know, what, to me, there’s, there’s some sort of symbolic thing playing out. And if we can kind of dance with it, or, or play with it, sometimes, you know, we may face our fears, we may face different aspects of ourselves, and it can make huge shifts in our actual life in our actual energy. So, to me, you know, I don’t really care, you know, about real or unreal to me, you know, that distinction is just a distinction of the dualistic mind. But, but what what matters to me is, you know, if I’m doing a pure investigation, it’s not I’m not just manufacturing something with my mind. I’m, you know, when I when I work with Nikko, you know, he’ll, he’ll say, you know, if you start thinking he’ll kick you out, you know, so he’ll, he’ll be like, you know, I just want you to report What’s actually happening, you know, empirical investigation into what is actually happening. And, you know, if you’re, if you’re just observing reality as it is, you know, what you’re perceiving through whatever faculty mind senses, the organs of higher perception, you know, you you are just looking at what is and, and then it can can change your your subjective experience in life. And it’s exciting, you know, so, so how whether we label it as, you know, real or unreal, I think I think that’s just, you know, that’s just the mind playing its little game.

Rick Archer: Yeah. With regard to Manuel’s question about whether, how do we know these things that people report, angelic realms are what are made up by our own mind or not, the whole scientific enterprise started out as an attempt to circumvent the FAL ability of human subjectivity. In other words, to try to determine what is objectively true, regardless of our understanding or misunderstanding of it. And there, you know, there are several methods which are employed in that which are, you know, repeatable experiment and empirical experience, if someone says, comes up with a hypothesis and test it and get some results that seem to confirm the hypothesis, he then says, okay, all your other scientists test it also and see what you get, and others, and if they keep, if they also keep confirming it, then it sort of lends greater and greater, greater credibility to the hypothesis. And if, if they start poking holes in it, then maybe he has to go back to the drawing board and come up with a better hypothesis. But it is an attempt to understand how the universe actually works. aside, and because prior to that, there were all kinds of kooky ideas about how the universe works with and, you know, I mean, geez, Earth is the center of the solar system, Galileo developed a telescope, which, you know, through which he could disprove that the Catholic hierarchy refused to even look through his telescope, because they said, No, that violates the Bible. So there’s a, I think we’ve, we’ve made a lot of progress by through this method of understanding what’s really happening, as opposed to our subjective fantasies about what might be happening. Yeah,

Daniel Schmidt: definitely. And I see, like Aldous Huxley’s work on the perennial philosophy, you know, and, and just my own understanding of, you know, these different traditions, like you see, at the root of it, there is there is one sort of perennial teaching that is coming back, you know, there’s these traditions, they talk about chakras, or the Sephora, or, you know, these, they’re these different different angles, different languages to describe one thing. So, I think, you know, there is an, you know, I don’t want to say objective truth, but there, you know, to me, like, when, when Plato was speaking of the realm of forums, you know, there, there is a sort of form to the awakening process, you know, there’s a forum to, you know, whatever it is the spiral the extends from our DNA to the galaxies, you know, there’s, there’s an intelligence that’s embedded there. And, and it’s expressing in in different ways, and we can, we can see in these different traditions, how they, they’re reflecting, you know, some of them are reflecting part of the evolution, some of them are, you know, reflecting the higher levels and, you know, who knows how, how far goes, but so, to me, I feel like my, my investigation, you know, with with these, these films is to, you know, there is sort of a form to, to what is happening or a truth. And, you know, I think I think science is about getting at that truth. And I would love to see, you know, the convergence, like in the time of in the Playtonic period, like Pythagoras, you know, in his time, there was just a search for knowledge and wisdom. And, you know, now, you know, like, back then, you know, music and mathematics and, and, you know, searching the heavens for knowledge, it was all one endeavor. And it wasn’t we didn’t have this, this fragmentation that we have now, and I’d love to see, you know, these these different fragmented aspects of science come together with with this genuine inquiry, and you know, and and at the same time, that being said, like in in philosophy, I also, you have full phosphors like, like Berkeley, who, you know, where, you know, to be is to perceive or or be perceived, you know, there there is a truth and not as well, you know, so we can we can use these empirical tools, but at the end of the day, you know, what, at what am I here, you know, I am a mind, senses, you know, an energy and this filter, you know, or what Huxley called the reducing valve, you know, it is our interface with with the odor. And so, so to me, there’s, there’s truth in both of those things. And, and, you know, I always approach it from the relative and absolute, you know, from the relative perspective, you know, we can we can go into, you know, these sort of objective, you know, worldly knowledge of the forums. But then, you know, from a Samadhi point of view, like when when you’re in that place where there is no subject and object, there’s the actual collapse of subject object duality, then, you know, this whole investigation becomes just play, basically.

Rick Archer: Yeah, one thing I find inspiring about your films is the discussion. Well, you quote Plato, for instance, you say, there’s a golden key that unifies all the mysteries of the universe, the intelligence of the Logos, the mind of God, the intelligence of the universe. I find that inspiring because a lot of people in spiritual circles seem to just talk about consciousness in kind of a plain vanilla way, without recognizing the the intelligence inherent with it. You know, I’ve interviewed someone recently, who, you know, kept insisting there is no such thing as God and your brain creates the universe. But then how do you account for the marvelous, you know, orderliness that we see displayed in the universe? Like you talked about lead patterns in one of your films, Arctic, Arctic, tick, excuse me, are typical patterns found at all levels of nature. And here’s a quote from Gerda that I picked up from one of your movies beauty is the is a manifestation of the secret natural laws, which otherwise would have been hidden from us forever. So a close look at what’s actually going on which science helps us do, to me, gives me goosebumps, because it sort of shows that there’s some profound level of intelligence and organizing power. Orchestrating every little particle of creation. And and if we extrapolate throughout the whole universe, we realize that wherever we were to look, we would find it functioning there. So what do they say about God? God is supposed to be omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent, as exactly what I just described, in terms of that omnipresent intelligence, functioning at all levels, from the vast to the, to the ultra microscopic, and without an error in complete accordance with beautiful orderly laws, which, interestingly, correspond with mathematics. Well, that’s a whole nother topic. But go ahead and respond to what I just said.

Daniel Schmidt: Yeah, well, I actually I actually brought a little prop, you talked about leap patterns. And this is a little something from the next film actually put it up against my shirt. But it I don’t know if you can see it was like the branch thing. Yeah. So this, this is called a Lichtenberg figure. And it’s very beautiful. It’s I don’t know if it’s showing up really well on the screen there. But But basically, what this is, is they so they zap this acrylic block with like a million volts of electricity, or some huge amount of electricity. And so So basically, this, this structure is the the path that the energy took in just like a millisecond. And, you know, so this, this is one of the lead patterns that with the branching patterns, and, you know, when people get hit by lightning, you’ll sometimes see these these Lichtenberg figures on their body or, you know, but everything everything in nature is, you know, this, the spiral that it extends through through all these different levels, like the energy is moving in these these branching patterns, and it’s exactly what’s happening in our mind. You know, so to me, like the, the path that energy took through our minds, is, is actually us, you know, like that, that that energy is, you know, it’s just the path where the mind is just the tendency for that energy. To repeat again, just like a river is being carved out. So, so it’s, it’s, you know, when you when you see that, you know, and this is this is one leaf pattern, you know, this is one aspect of this, this primordial spiral we’ve just carved off and started to look at it. And, you know, so this this intelligence, you know, to me, I have a profound sense of not knowing, you know, when it comes to you know, what this is, you know, it’s, it’s an all I actually had, you know, like, when I’m to me, like, sometimes people, you know, they these, with these films, there’s a lot of information, a lot of stuff and people are like, how did you figure all that out? And, and I don’t know, I don’t, I truly don’t know, you know, sometimes, like, you know, when I, when I was working in television, you know, we had, it was very cookie cutter and templates, and the way I’m working now, you know, I just meditate and information comes through, and, and I just start writing and, and, and then, and then it gets filtered I work. Like my partner, Tanya is a huge part of the process as well. Because I seem to be like, just tapped into this information and it just keeps coming and coming and coming. And, and it’s mysterious, I’m in awe, I’m literally I’m like a little kid just like, like, you know, kind of marveling at what’s happening. And and so so I’ll be writing but for it’s there’s sort of a Shiva Shakti aspect to the way we work. So she, you know, she’s, she’s very clear on what will kind of connect with people or what What’s touching her heart. So, so I’m getting all this stuff and it just keeps going, like I have hundreds and hundreds of pages that I just keep writing in. If I go back and look at it, it’s like I’ve written the same thing over and over, like, 10 times. And, and, and I’ll even do that on the film, sometimes I’ll recreate the same part so so it’ll it seems like this endless sort of thing going on. And then Tanya comes along and and somehow there’s something operating through her where she she just sees you know, she she’s kind of ruthless. She she was like, cuts through all the nonsense. And she’s like, what, what is really going to connect with people what’s going to hit hit their heart. And, you know, like, you’re, you’re going off into abstract land here. But, you know, I have this tendency, I’ll do like a 20 minute section on Buckminster Fuller’s vector equilibrium and, and people will be like, falling asleep. And she’s like, you’re losing it, you’re losing everybody. Like you can’t do that. And so so she’s, she’s like, executive producer. And, and, and it literally, I couldn’t I couldn’t be doing these films, they would not be what they are without her. And they were they were just sort of stagnating until she came along. So. So, yeah, so to answer your question, like, I think that, you know, if there’s one thing I’ve learned on this path is the value of not knowing, you know, what, like, learning the limitation of the egoic mind? And, you know, it takes me back to the the Playtonic or the Socrates, you know, the only thing I know, is that, I don’t know. And, to me, that’s the, that’s the truth. Like, that’s what meditation is teaching us is that, you know, when we when we stop, you know, the pattern, this endless searching, endless, you know, processing in the lower mind, that energy becomes free and, and it can connect with with the higher realms. And, and so, you know, in the moment from the egoic perspective, we don’t know where we’re suspending our knowing, but then you know, if we trust we we just allow this connection to happen. You know, something something greater is is out there, you know, there is this world of forms, there is a Dharma, there is big mind, whatever you want to call it, and we can be like, overall little node, not mine. Yeah.

Rick Archer: He says he just says these these guys these days, whom term they refer to as the new atheist, you know, Sam Harris and Daniel Dennett, Christopher Hitchens who died and one other whose name I forget at the moment, but um, when I hear I like listening to them, actually, but when I do, I think you do, you can’t be both an atheist and a scientist. You can be an agnostic and a scientist. But if you insist that things are a certain way then you’ve shut down, you know, you’re not, you don’t have a scientific attitude. And there are all kinds of anomalies which challenge your, your conviction, and you must be not listening to them. So,

Daniel Schmidt: anyway, I think, I think language language is so divisive. You know, we like those labels like atheist or, you know, believer or whatever it is, you know, it’s, it limits us and it and it creates division. And, you know, half the time, you know, I this was a big thing with with Buddhism, I found one of my, one of my biggest challenges was reconciling this, you know, the idea of annata, you know, no self with with the soul. And it’s like, you have half the teachers talking about, you know, there is a soul and half of them are saying, there’s no self, there is no soul. But but when you really look at what they’re actually saying, they’re saying the same thing, you know, the NATA is, is, you know, realizing the, the emptiness of the, the self structure, and but it’s, it’s not nothing, you know, it’s not, it’s not like a void or emptiness, it’s just a non local consciousness that is everywhere, omnipresent. And, you know, and the soul at, you know, in, depending on, on who’s describing it, you know, if you look at the Upanishads, and the Sheaths of the soul, you know, like, the phenomena of the soul, all these different levels are obscuring the, the essence of the Atman, from itself, which is, it has no form, it has no place, it has nothing, it only it can only know itself or see itself through all these manifestations. So so to me, they’re identical, you know, and, and, you know, but then, but you’d look at history and look at the descriptions. And, and it’s, you know, it’s like, going head to head, but I think when you when you look at the, you know, the the true mystics are all in agreement, they’re using different language, but, you know, but then, you know, people who are not realizing it within themselves, or, you know, they’re, they’re holding on to an idea concept. And I think

Rick Archer: even sometimes people who realize it with a fair degree of clarity, experientially, could have different takes on it, apparently, according to the flavor of their experience. For instance, in the Vedic knowledge, there’s a thing called Shu Nevada, and another called poor Nevada, and one refers to the sort of emptiness and the other to the fullness, and it actually refers to the same thing. And but perhaps, you know, different nervous systems depending on which which Gooners predominant, or which dosa, or whatever, could have the very same experience, and interpret it differently. And also, in terms of other things, like some, you know, person might have transcendent experience, one for one bliss might be predominant for another, the sense of vastness might be predominant, for for now that the sense of emptiness might be predominant. So it all depends on kind of the instrument through which that is experienced. And if we grant if we have the generosity to sort of recognize that, you know, we’re all basically talking about the same reality, we’re just you know, like blind men and the elephant feeling, feeling different aspects of it, then a lot of arguments can be dissipated.

Daniel Schmidt: And I think, you know, the interesting thing is, like, they talked about the, the jhanas, in, you know, states of absorption as well into the one, you know, so, you know, people will often sometimes have, you know, a Jhana experience on awakening, like, to me each, each Jhana each state of meditative absorption, I should maybe clarify what that word is, it’s, it’s, like in the yogic tradition, it’s, it’s deonna or, it also means Chan. In Chiang Buddhism, the word Chan is that and Zen is the same word as well. So, so people, you know, you can you can add, like, when you get into meditation, sometimes like, your level of absorption will happening, work happen, where the mind, you know, part of part of the minds operation will stop, you know, just one one, some of the programming will stop and there’ll be an increase in energy. And it’s, it’s an awakening experience. And, and there are many, many different levels many different John has many states of absorption and, and there can be, you know, incredible blissful experiences there can be you know, deep peace there can be you know, and I’ve watched, I’ve been fascinated you know, with people who come to the meditation retreats because there’s such a variety of experiences some people are experiencing their chakras and colors. Other people are you know, they are seeing different beings and, you know, it’s a whole cornucopia of, of experience, but I think they were at all converges, you know, like these, these jhanas you know, they talk about the material jhanas which are to do with form and I think that’s where we get these these ecstatic experiences and bliss and such at Ananda and depending on how you how you use that word, some people are referring to it in different ways. But the the immaterial jhanas, as you start getting into, you know, these experiences of total dissolution, where you start to experience consciousness and everything, and you start to experience emptiness and everything, then, you know, you get to what they call, neither perception nor non perception, which is this, essentially big, big mind, which is, is sort of, you know, that’s getting to that point is, you know, the self structure is it has basically become this, this big mind or dissolved into big mind, that drop dissolves into the ocean. And that’s when the indescribable happens, then we’re, you know, it’s not even happening, but something, you know, it’s that’s like the garden laying the groundwork for awakening to happen. And that thought awakening, you know, is so indescribable, but but yet, you know, like, the, like, in the border said, you know, that realization is form, you know, all form is exactly emptiness, emptiness is exactly form. And, and, you know, these, this ultimate truth, you know, when you hear the Zen masters talking about it, it’s unmistakable. If you’ve experienced it, and, and there’s, there’s no difference in what they’re saying. But the problem is language, like, language is so slippery, you know, even even saying form is exactly emptiness, emptiness is exactly form. That’s not it, you can’t, you can’t describe it in words, we’ll never get a definition, there’s, there’s something that happens, you know, but it’s not even happening. It’s, that’s not even the right word. Because it’s just, you know, it’s like the black hole that I described in Samadhi. Part Two, you know, there’s an event horizon beyond which, we, we cannot talk about this stuff. So we can, you know, to me, like, in the meditation center, what’s exciting to me is not talking about this stuff, and, you know, trying to figure it all out, but actually taking people through this stripping away, you know, going through the jhanas, the states of meditative absorption, and, and, you know, having a direct experience of this, and, to me that, that is what’s valuable. So, you know, I’m, I can hear myself with all these words, and it’s like, like, I just want to slap myself. Because it’s so

Rick Archer: thick enough, don’t you do it?

Daniel Schmidt: Yeah, yeah. She slaps me pretty good. Laugh me right before that’s actually good. Yes, wake you up her advice to me before this was don’t be an idiot.

Rick Archer: Yeah. I mean, serves that function very well, over here, keeping us in line, mate, preventing us from acting like idiots. Um, one thing that I find fascinating about all this is, you know, that we’re talking about realms that are experienced by, you know, relative fraction of the general population. And, you know, it could be argued that the whole thing doesn’t even exist, that nobody has these experiences there, there are the Jews hallucinations, or something like that. You can imagine, let’s say, like, only 1% of the population dreamed, you know, then the general consensus would be that there’s no such thing as dreaming. There’s a few oddballs who talk about something that they think is dreaming, but you know, pretty much everyone experiences dreaming. So even though it itself is in a kind of a losery experience, we all agree that it happens. So with regard to this stuff that we’re talking about, you know, a pretty small percentage, experienced it and throughout history, there has been a pretty small percentage, but there’s this historical record of people experiencing it. And there’s a lot of concurrence, a lot of agreement among all the various records from various parts of the world. Now, you know, perhaps what’s going on these days is that that which has been a rarity is becoming commonality that, you know, through the media through the kinds of things you and I are doing, through all the proliferation of teachers and teachings, which used to be kind of a, you know, secret hidden thing that are now going public, perhaps, you know, reach a time, the next one to 300 years, where, you know, people would listen to a conversation, like we’re having and think, Well, these guys were really sort of, you know, beating around the bush. I mean, obviously, everybody knows this stuff. Now, you know, I mean, what’s, what’s the big deal? So like anything else, it’s, there’s a limitation in terms of how much concepts and words can do justice to experience I mean, what can you say about the way an apple tastes or the way a flower smells, you know, you really have to experience it yourself to know. But if things become a common experience, then, you know, people who have their senses intact, can all agree upon the way a flower smells, or looks, or the way an apple tastes. And it could get like that with spirituality, it could become so predominant in the culture, that it’s an agreed upon thing. And, and I think, if such a time were to come, we’ll be living in a very different world than we are now.

Daniel Schmidt: Yeah, you know, it’s, it’s exciting. I think, you know, even films like The Matrix, you know, they start to permeate the, the collective unconscious. And, and, you know, if you talk to somebody about, about living in the matrix now, you know, most people will have some concept of what that means. Yeah,

Rick Archer: we’re starting, may the force be with you, it pot. Yes. The notion of a sort of ubiquitous field of, yeah, energy or something that interconnects us all?

Daniel Schmidt: Yeah, yeah. So I think there is a sort of a climatization, that that is happening, for sure. And I see, you know, just the internet is, is an incredible thing, like just being able to, you know, like, years ago, 20 years ago, if I made a film, and went through the normal film festival circuit, I could maybe reach 15,000 people, you know, and now it’s like, millions Can Can, can find out about this stuff. And these ancient esoteric teachings that were were taught, you know, only only by masters to students after 10 years of practice, you know, you can get them on Amazon for for 10 bucks now. So, it’s, it’s, it’s an amazing time, it’s almost too much information out there. Because a lot of these things, I think, get lost in the chaos. And of, you know, what’s, what’s out there. And I think there’s a danger with with meditation. Like, it’s, I think it’s wonderful. What’s happening with meditation, like mindfulness going into hospitals and schools and different things as well. But, but what my hope is, is that the, you know, the Samadhi aspect of it doesn’t get lost, you know, in this proliferation of meditation.

Rick Archer: The next, you know, people go in, because they want to lower their blood pressure. And a couple years later thinking, well, there’s more to this than lowering blood pressure, you know, and yeah, they start getting into the more profound aspects.

Daniel Schmidt: Yeah, yeah. And I think so, too. There are many entry points and stepping stones. And so what, that’s why I think it’s all fantastic. I think it’s, it’s really good. And, you know, the side benefits are, you know, very well known. So, you know, I think, for me, I got into, I think the first kind of teaching I ever got was Deepak Chopra, it was some kind of guided meditation had music on in the background and, and everything and it was at the time, it was perfect. It got he got me into, you know, looking into inside myself, and, you know, so it’s, it’s all good. I think there’s, there’s a place for everything on this path.

Rick Archer: Yeah. A question came in which I will ask now, it’s a little bit out of context of what we’re talking about right now. But we’ll, we’ll just do it. It’s from John Francois in Paris. He asks, having watched both your Samadhi movies and greatly appreciated them. I wonder what is your view on the Kundalini process, and it’s linked to Samadhi the different degrees of Samadhi start to happen once energy reaches Ajna Chakra, or the mocker point, as described in some literature by Joan Harrigan, who has been on that, yep. Can one cultivate this phenomena to reach its full development and make it a positive one? Or is this something that just occurs naturally and spontaneously with spiritual practice?

Daniel Schmidt: Mm hmm. It’s a great question. So I think, you know, my, my understanding of, of Kundalini and you know, a healthy kind of developmental process is that you know, the Shakti and Shiva has to kind of grow hand in hand. And so, you know, if someone has kind of, you know, traumatic event or you know, sometimes when people have have, you know, experiences in life, the will prematurely open up Kundalini, and that’s when you start getting into, like, Kundalini syndrome. And it’s like Pandora’s Box, basically, it’s very, very difficult, I met a lot of people who went when that energy is opened up, and they don’t have the consciousness to, to encompass it and have and inhabit it. You know, just like I did when I was a little kid, you know, it can be terrifying it, it can cause you know, if the ego structure is just determined to do what it wants to do in your life, and the Sunergy is guiding you to do something else, you’ll get sick, you’ll get, you know, all messed up in all different ways. Digestive, endocrine system, everything, you know, there’s all kinds of stuff written on that. So, so to me, you know, it, the, the integrated way of, you know, it growing is to just, you know, live the conscious life, you know, like, it’s not separate from your life, you know, like, all of this, this wiring inside of us is, you know, like, if you think about what the chakras are these these psychophysiological centers, you know, like you, they talk about certain energies being, you know, like, the second chakra related to relationships, you know, your sexual sexual centers, being able to bring consciousness to that, like you need, in order to open these things up, you need to go experience these things, you need to, to experience life, you need to experience your power to manifest in the world, you need to, you know, do things to push against your heart and open it up, you know, you need self expression, and, you know, so living your life, you know, learning to play piano, whatever it is, you’re creating wiring inside you, that’s all the noddy’s it’s all, you know, part of this, this energetic growth that is happening. So I personally, I don’t, I don’t agree with these practices, you know, designed to prematurely you know, it’s like, I think I used talked about in the film, it’s like trying to force a flower to open, you know, don’t force your flower to open, like, explore life, like live your life, and you will be wired. And, and if you’re doing meditation, as part of that, you know, like, You, you, you grow these centers have free the energy, like in Tantra, I love the tantric approach. You, you know, you’re, you’re, you’re not pushing any anything away. You know, like, my Christian upbringing, like a lot of a lot of things were considered taboo or bad, you know, but in tantric approaches, go into these things, explore open up this energy, but do it consciously. And then, you know, you’ve you’ve learned to free the energy and the energy becomes available for the higher levels, the higher chakras, so you go into your, you know, your sexuality, you go into, you know, experiencing the sensual pleasures, opening up the senses, if they’re, if they’re repressed, you know, and you’re just like, you know, I’m going to be a good little meditator. And, and, you know, just push away all this, this body stuff, you know, those, those centers will be shut down, and you’ll never, you’ll never free that energy. So you have to kind of go into life first. And then, you know, you experience it and, and you experience, you know, what causes suffering, you experience the, you know, the my aspect of it all, as well. And, you know, and experience the joy, pleasure like this, this is life, right? This is the juice of life as well like the, you know, these these experiences to me are not, you know, they’re not separate from life. So, you know, so. So, you know, but in my experience, like 10, to get back to the question, I guess, you know, every every samadhi experience I’ve had, has been accompanied by an energetic opening or an energetic almost like dying, you know, I remember my, my Zen Center experience where it was the first time I really understood this whole system of no escape for the ego like you’re locked in, and you can’t move and something has to give way inside something has to literally die inside and, you know, or you get the hell out of there. But if you’re, you know, They don’t let you move. So, so. So the energy gives way. And, to me there’s, there’s always a shift of, of, of energy, or every every shift of consciousness is accompanied by a shift of energy. And to me, it’s, it’s just common sense, you know, if your energy is going into the old conditioned pattern, it’s not available for, you know, this, this higher new experience, so. And if you remain in that veil, or you know, the clouds in front of the sun, essentially,

Rick Archer: what you just said about enjoying life, I agree, I mean, life is here to enjoy. But there’s also something to be said for sensibility and moderation. The Buddha talked about the Middle Way. And there are a lot of verses in the Gita about you know, this Yoga is not for him who eats too much or too little, or doesn’t sleep enough, or sleeps too much, you know, that kind of stuff. So, and there have been some gurus, you know, where the scene around them is basically just an ongoing Orangey. Crazy stuff happening. So what we’ve talked about earlier in the interview about culturing the nervous system and treating it as a, you know, the body is the temple of the soul, as it says someplace in the Bible, treating it as a vehicle, which can carry us to the other shore, you can damage that vehicle through all kinds of behaviors. So yeah, enjoy life, but use a little common sense. Maybe at this. Yeah.

Daniel Schmidt: I think, you know, I don’t know if you have ever interviewed David data at all or no, no. Okay. So he, I heard. Yeah, so I heard a great story about him meeting his teacher, and, you know, the teacher, the first thing he did, because he was, he was like, really, kind of good, you know, meditator being, you know, all the Buddhist virtues and everything. And the first thing the teacher did was, you know, sat him down with the case of beer, and suddenly we’re gonna drink. And, and my teacher, Nico is a little bit that way, you know, way he sees it is, you know, the weight of freedom, you see what conditioned patterns are running? You know, it’s not about any, any particular thing that you have to do or not, do, you know, so for one person, you know, drinking beer might be their condition pattern, right? Like, they might be, you know, craving it, and they’d like to go unconscious, you know, so, so for them to awaken. It’s to break that pattern, obviously.

Rick Archer: But to break that pattern by indulging in it, I think alcohol a would beg to differ with you.

Daniel Schmidt: No, no, I’m not saying you break it by indulging. And so for that person, the path is to, to stop it to cut it out. I say no. So, but for another person, who, who is like afraid of it, you know, and they’re there, they’re, you know, they’re afraid to lose control, they’re afraid or they’re afraid to, you know, their, their, their, their head is full of all kinds of virtuous ideas, right? They’re not there. It’s like, oh, my god, I can’t I can’t do that, you know, so they’re not, they’re not free. Right. So, so that so that particular particular thing that you’re doing, isn’t it? Like, what’s what’s going on in your head is at right, like, so the, so becoming free is not about you know, I fell into this, you know, with with attachment to things, you know, at one point I was, I was like, going absolute minimalist with my, my possessions, and I had a grand piano and I was like, Oh, this, it’s such a, you know, it’s such a big thing. And, you know, I want to have no attachments, you know, but then I realized, like I was I was becoming attached to having no attachments. So, you know, it was like, the the piano wasn’t the problem. It was me, it was my mind, you know, so, so

Rick Archer: moderation balance, there’s no wrong, no harm and being wealthy this and that, you know, just don’t do things which damage your nervous system. And that was one of my realizations. What before I started to meditate, because I was I’ve been taking drugs for about a year and I was, you know, been arrested a couple of times dropped out of high school. So I’m sitting there one night on LSD reading of Zen book to study steady my mind. And, and I thought, you know, these guys are really serious, and I’m kind of screwing around even I’ve been thinking about enlightenment for a year meanwhile, taking drugs the whole time. I thought if I continue on like this, I could really do some damage. And I’ll have to live the rest of my life in a damaged nervous system. My think my bleeding my thought process wasn’t as coherent as it is the moment as I’m explaining it, but that was the idea I got. So I thought, That’s it. I’m gonna quit taking drugs and learn to meditate and hopefully things will improve and they did. So I’m just cautioning A bit, you know, I mean, I was standing in a grocery store yesterday, and waiting for our man to come from a different part of the store. I was standing there happen to be looking at a case of beer on the floor because it had this interesting picture on the on the case. And this friend of mine who walked up who’s an awakened dude. I mean, he, you know, witnessed this sleep. She’s aware 24/7 And he said, I bet you’d like a beer. I said, I had one about 10 years ago, after cutting the grass. I was really hot. One day, a friend offered me one. And he said, I happen pretty often, you know, I like to have pieces of pizza and a beer. And so maybe I’m a little bit repressive, but, you know, yeah, my father was an alcoholic. So I have an aversion to the whole scene anyway. But

Daniel Schmidt: yeah, yeah, no, I totally. I hear what you’re saying. And I agree. And my tendency in the past was, you know, even in meditation retreats, I pride my nervous system, just, I’d be going in with guns blazing. And, you know, and trying to storm the gates of heaven, and yeah, it doesn’t work. So yeah, and, you know, with the beer examples, maybe a bad example, like for me, I’m, you know, I don’t drink beer, just because it I don’t appreciate the way yeah, like, it just doesn’t, you know, it, my body doesn’t like it. And, and I don’t, I prefer to be more awake than then in that state. But I was just kind of using that as an example to, you know, just to illustrate that, you know, the particular object is not it.

Rick Archer: Yeah, there was a story about Shankara. I doubt this is a true story. But it illustrates the point. He was walking along with some disciples, and He was walking ahead of them. And they saw him stop at something and drink it. And then he kept walking. And when they got up to it, they say, oh, it’s beer. The way I heard the story, it was beer, and so that they drank some, and they all kept walking. And then they got to another thing and they saw Shanker stop and drink something, and they got up to it. And we’re getting ready to drink it. And they saw that it was molten glass. In other words, you won’t even elaborate on the point of the story. People probably get something out of it.

Daniel Schmidt: Yeah, yeah.

Rick Archer: Okay, let’s talk about some other points you sent me that are that look interesting. I want to loop back to one just for a second that I continue to always find fascinating. And that is the the sort of intelligence of the universe which you illustrate so beautifully in your movies, that there’s a saying by Brian Swimme, who’s a cosmologists, he says, Leave hydrogen alone for 13 point 7 billion years and you get giraffes and rose bushes and opera. Love that. Yeah. You probably heard that before. Yeah. And so the question is, and they’re actually materialists who say, well, the universe is random and meaningless. And the only reason we have all this order and beauty and structure is that there are an infinite number of universes and we happen to luck out and be in the one where randomly through through chance it everything just kind of came together. But that doesn’t make sense, because we have the second law of thermodynamics in this universe in it. And there’s no reason in terms of that law, why all this order should have arisen out of chaos. And so, again, I’m fascinated and awed by the orderliness of that arises out of, you know, hydrogen, that gave us stars that ended up exploding that ended up creating heavier elements that ended up creating biological life eventually, then ended up with us having this conversation. It just thrills me and intrigues me why all of this should come out of apparent nothingness.

Daniel Schmidt: Yeah, yeah. I think for some reason, I’m thinking of something that serene Nisargadatta Maharaj spoke about. He spoke about, you know, how when fluids come together, and the I am appears, have you heard about that? Okay, well, yeah, it’s to me, you know, when he says that, what does he mean by that? Yeah, what he means by that is, you know, there’s this sort of self organizing aspect to existence. So he’s, he’s talking, he’s talking about, you know, within the framework of his body, you know, to me, I don’t maybe know I experienced what feels maybe like cerebral, cerebral spinal fluid, no moving, moving. You know, so with like, in certain awakening experiences, you feel that the energy is conducted.

Rick Archer: There’s a guy named Montrose Zapatero, who talks about that about that a lot if you google him Cerebro spy fluidly, he speaks at the sand conference anyway, continue. Oh,

Daniel Schmidt: interesting. Okay, I’ll check that out. So, yeah, so you know, and to me, you know, I would say, even, you know, like, energy comes together, and the I am appears, you know, it depends how you frame it, right? Like you like, there are all these different different levels, right, like the physical, there’s this fluid aspect, there’s, there’s the chronic aspect, you know, there’s whatever, whatever it is, that is happening, you know, this, this convergence happens. And there’s, there’s an intelligence there, it’s, it’s an intelligence, so great that, you know, the consciousness comes into being in the sense of in the center of it, you know, and, and the unfathomable thing is that, you know, in a Samadhi, state, everything is that, like every atom, you know, there, there is an eye, in every atom there there is, you know, at the center of everything of every star, every every, you know, my cup on the table, it’s, it’s all that, you know, so So somehow, this consciousness is at the center of it, and, you know, in the Upanishads, they, like, you know, like, we’re so we’re so enmeshed in this filtering, but when we go beyond the filter, it becomes, you know, I don’t want to say clear, but it’s, you know, the Upanishads they say, not that which the eye sees, but that by which the eye can see, you know, not that which the ear hairs, you know, so that by which the mind thinks that by which the eye sees, you know, what is that? What is that now, and

Rick Archer: why should there be eyes and ears and cups, and all this stuff? What is that? How does it? How does all this come into being or into apparent existence, at least?

Daniel Schmidt: Yeah, yeah. And

Rick Archer: Maharishi Mahesh Yogi had an interesting take on this, he said that, you know, until the self is realized, there’s really not much talk about really understanding or appreciating what the world is, because who is who understands it, who appreciates it, you don’t even if the knower doesn’t know it himself itself. There’s really no knowledge of any veracity. But he said, once, once the self is realized, then, you know, naturally, one begins to appreciate the universe more appreciate the world more. And one begins to have the desire to know how this came about when how, who created all this, what is that intelligence that gave rise to this, this beautiful creation, he said that that desire becomes more and more intense, or more more profound, or deep or whatever. And at a certain point, that that creator, whatever we wanted to find that as being reveals himself or itself to us, and he said, it’s like an artist who keeps hearing that there’s this guy in this town who just loves my artwork, you know, and he keeps hearing this more and more and more, finally, he thinks, I need to go meet this guy, you know, I’ll go to him. Because I, there are so few people who really appreciate my artwork. I’d like to like to know this person.

Daniel Schmidt: Yeah. Yeah, that’s, I love what you said about the Maharishi I think, it’s, it’s such a true thing. It’s like we we can’t, you know, I like that the answer to the question can never come in the mind. But we can we can be the answer, we can literally become the answer. So, you know, so there’s no more questions when you are the answer. You know, it’s only the limited mind trying to figure it out. And there’s, you know, it’s like, to me, my, the closest I’ve come to that is, it’s like the the limited self is in a state of awe, you know, a state of just absolute awe of what what is coming out of nothing, you know, coming from from this unfathomable center, you know, that unfathomable intelligence that’s so far beyond, you know, like to say that we’re like a monkey watching it is not even, you know, we’re it’s just, you know, yeah, it’s, it’s, it’s mysterious. And

Rick Archer: remember that Einstein quote about all that you put in your movie.

Daniel Schmidt: Generally, I remember it’s in there. I can’t remember exactly how it goes. But yeah, you know, we’re like little children, you know, trying to read this book in a foreign language, you know, and, you know, that’s, that’s it. You know, I have a, it’s a really amazing book by a guy. Alexander Lotter, Wasser, he’s, he’s an expert in somatics. The book is filled with. It’s called Water sound images, and it’s images of vibration. And, and, and when you when you look at these things like page after page after page, you know, he’ll show he’ll show like a gong, you know, vibrating the water and what it looks like, just showed some of that in one of your movies. Yeah, yeah, yeah. And like some of it, you know, like, there’s one, I think it’s a didgeridoo, and it looks like, you know, some kind of Sanskrit language by Brady, you know, and, and, like just unfathomable complexity arising out of just simple sounds, you know, and these interference patterns, creating, creating this unimaginable complexity, but, but when you see these things, you know, and these are, these are just simple sounds. And, and, and you see the complexity and the intelligence in it. And then you think about how, how much there isn’t a human being, you know, you know, like, this is a, this is just a plate of water being vibrated by note, like, there’s so much more going on within us, you know, so it gets to levels of complexity that are just, you know,

Rick Archer: unfathomable. Yeah. And I think both the Vedas and the end physics would say that the whole universe arises out of vibration. So, you know, this plate water thing is just a little sort of, you know, home example. But, you know, the, the whole, the Vedas themselves are supposed to be sort of vibrate, vibratory impulses that reside in what is called actually the transcendental Akasha. And that through self interaction, somehow this this whole process where the universe emerges, and then eventually collapses and emerges again. And physics has corresponding understandings in terms of something they call sequential, spontaneous, symmetry breaking, where there’s a sort of primordial harmony, or wholeness, which gets broken into more and more fragments, different more and more diverse and specific laws of nature through the process of manifestation.

Daniel Schmidt: I had recently we invited a fellow who does Iboga retreats to the center, and I had a sort of a teaching or an experience through through that I don’t I’m not sure if you’re familiar with it, it’s an entheogenic. Right? Yeah, sort of, like, along the line of ayahuasca, but as very different different properties. There’s, there’s a real, it’s a, it’s an amazing meditation tool, actually. Because there’s a real kind of truth component to it, where it shows you kind of the stuff you don’t want to see about yourself. And it showed me in a beautiful kind of visual visual experience, but also energetically within my body. You know, there were these, these forms, like the this, this sort of ether, and forms just being birthed out of it over and over and over endlessly. And, and then I felt like, you know, the consciousness that I was, was sort of dancing, no, and you just do this little dance, and then you dive back into the ether, and another form is born. And that that dives back in. And, you know, and but it showed me, you know, there were some beings that they had, as they were diving back in, they had a look of terror on their face, you know, they weren’t, they weren’t just kind of going with this dance, you know, so it really showed that, you know, what we’re doing our fears, you know, everything that we’re resisting, in this world, we’re not really dancing, not dance, for the most part, you know, we’re, we’re, you know, life and life and death is just arising over and over and over and over. But unless we’re unless we’re aligned with awareness, we don’t we don’t see it as dance. We’re fearful of this little me getting dissolved back in the primordial soup.

Rick Archer: Well, that’s the key point is being aligned with awareness. Yeah. Which of course, Words fail because you are awareness, but somehow aligned with yourself or in tune with yourself or awake to yourself or whatever. And then when we say yourself that has an individual connotation, but it’s not really individual. So, you know, you have to sort of take a leap of understanding when we use words because words are relative and limiting. A couple of questions came in. This is from Rez Abasi from New York. He says when you say live life, doesn’t that come with attachments? The thing we’re advised not to get sucked into. How do you gauge if you’re leaning too much into life itself? Or the objective world?

Daniel Schmidt: Yeah, I think we kind of talked to you, I think mentioned mid, the middle, the middle way, the balance, right. So so it’s it’s just, you know, it’s not it’s not repressing anything denying anything that that is, you know, like if I have, if I have, you know, passions if I have something, you know, I don’t want to close that down, you know, but I don’t want to indulge it. And, you know, my teacher talks about the little bosses, you know, that are inside of us. And you don’t, you don’t want to feed those little bosses, you know, you don’t want to be, you know, having these, these autonomous patterns running in you that are ruling your life where you’re grasping at things either. So so the middle way is to, you know, realize it’s like, you know, I love the the Old Buddha statues, like the really old ones that you find in the ancient temples that have the, the Nagus around them, so yeah, like, the, the border, figure in the center, and then you’ve got these, these, you know, sometimes they’re like, the chakra is the ones that potentially have, you know, the seven chakras or sometimes five, but, and, you know, but they’re, they’re at attention, you know, so it’s, it’s, you know, these, these lower instincts, these these, you know, the serpent analogy is that, you know, they’re, they’re these lower forces, that, that have their own agenda, right? Like, they’re, you know, they’re cravings, they’re, they’re, these these little bosses that govern our life lives. So we, you know, when we awaken as awareness, you know, the, like, in those statues, they’re out of attention, they’re, you know, the master is in the center, and they’re out attention. So you don’t, you don’t get rid of the Naga as you don’t, you know, that’s, you know, you don’t cut their heads off and, and, you know, but you harness them, they become, you know, the, the lower, you know, the, the devil is the angel, you know, that it’s, it’s all one being, right? So, so we have to learn to allow these things to coexist inside of us if we’re pushing one part of ourselves away. And, you know, we’re fighting with ourselves, we’re fighting with our own, with what is inside of us. So, you know, so to me, it’s like, we, it’s the marriage of heaven, and hell has to happen inside these, you know, there’s a couple of

Rick Archer: Gita verses that I think address his question. chapter two, verse 45, says be without the three gunas, which means transcend, which means meditate, which means go into samadhi, right. And then three verses later, it says established in yoga, we could also say, establishing Samadhi, perform action. So it’s not just saying, Go fight this battle, you saying, prepare yourself by getting established in the self getting established in Samadhi, then do it, and the outcome will be completely different. It’s like, if you want to shoot an arrow, you just put it on the bow and let go, No, you have to pull it back first.

Daniel Schmidt: Yeah, yeah, exactly. And I think, yeah, there’s something there, where you know, like, once you’ve realized your, your true nature, you’re not identified with the self, then you can play with these things as well. You know, at the beginning, there is huge value to you having no preference, you know, cutting like to, because not having no preference is the stopping of the varieties and stopping of this, this endless cycle of craving and aversion. But, but then once you’ve realized the true self, then you’re free to free to play and, and you have to be careful still, you know, like, I had, you know, I love my dance structure loves chocolate, you know, and, you know, I can eat chocolate, and I, you know, the tastes amazing, and it produces a nice kind of heart feeling. So, you know, why wouldn’t I eat it, but I have to keep, there’s a little boss, that I have to keep an eye on that, you know, if I if he starts to get strong, he’ll eat too much and it’ll start to hurt my liver and it’ll, it’ll, it’s not good for me in excess. So, so it’s, you know, so we get an understanding of these different parts of us that are in play. And we just, we manage them it’s like having a pet kind of like, you don’t want to overfeed your pet you know, but you don’t want to starve your pet either.

Rick Archer: That’s true of just about anything you know, I mean, little salt on your on your vegetables, make some tastes better dumped the whole salt shaker on and you ruined them. You know, there’s so many examples of things that are good in a certain proportion, but too much of it is not good.

Daniel Schmidt: Yeah, the golden mean, the middle way, you know, it’s it’s all this is how the yin and yang operate. It’s, you know, And then there is, you know, there, there is a wisdom that we can connect to that sort of guides us, to me, it’s very connected to energy. Like when when, for me, you know, I just feel when things are off, you know, I can just feel in my body that, you know, a certain situation is not right or a certain thing is not good for me. And, you know, the the energy can be, you know, kind of like a, the canary in the coal mine kind of thing. You know, and even relationships, you know, sometimes the energy, like before, before, you know, before I even know, consciously the energy is already deciding things for me, you know, it’s already moving in a particular direction.

Rick Archer: The question came in, we’ve kind of covered this, but maybe you can elaborate a bit from Roderick rodrygo. And Liz Lisbon, Portugal, asks, What was the process of writing the script of Samadhi?

Daniel Schmidt: Yeah, I didn’t mention so a lot, right. A lot. It came out of meditation, basically. So yeah, to me, there’s, you know, they speak about, you know, in with music, like, there’s the muse, right, there’s, there’s a, there’s a part of us, and it’s, it’s unfathomable. Like it’s, you know, sometimes it’s just you feel drawn,

Rick Archer: you feel like a channel sometimes, or, like, you know, this is bigger than you don’t you just kind of go along for the ride your, your instrument of the Divine or something. Yeah, much wiser, larger than yourself.

Daniel Schmidt: Yeah, yeah. And, you know, and I’m even saying that, you know, I’m not, I’m not a particularly good instrument, I’m just a normal, that’s it. And that’s one thing I’d like to talk about a little bit maybe is that, you know, I don’t know, if I’ve really conveyed like, I’m, you know, I talk about a lot of this, the stuff that has happened to me seems like extraordinary experiences, but I’m a pretty normal, regular person, you know, like, I, most of my life, I was, I was pretty embedded in the matrix. And, you know, I feel truly like if I, if, you know, just through meditation, it’s opened up this connection, but you know, for different people, it can be art, it can be music, it can be whatever, you know, it can be, you know, a gift to communicate with people in some way or to open your hearts. So, you know, these, these channels are just, you know, they’re, they’re there, I think it’s like, we have seeds of possibility within us. And, you know, the bringing awareness, you know, and stopping the flow of energy into these conditioned fears and patterns and jobs, and, you know, all this stuff. It’s like, the stuff that we put all of our energy in life, you know, like, you can bring that into alignment with these these seeds and grow them together, potentially.

Rick Archer: Nice. Rodrigo also wonders what your daily practices

Daniel Schmidt: it’s right now, I would say, like, it changes because like, right now I’m in the middle of a 10 day retreat, which we do. So I’m doing a lot of meditation, obviously, at that, but Tony and I do about two hours every morning. And a lot of times a lot of seated meditation. So you actually do it. So So yeah, when I when I meditate I’m so basically for me meditation now. It’s really changed over the years. So you know, it’s me it’s it’s in terms of what Krishna Murthy speaks about as choiceless awareness I think his his description of choiceless awareness is probably the best description of where I’ve ended up. So for me it’s there’s no doing in the meditation whatsoever. So there’s, there’s it’s there’s a penetrating into what the mind is already doing. And then letting it go once the like the problem the challenge like is most of what the mind is doing is unconscious. So so we have to penetrate into the the layers of mind, you know, by being present, single pointedly aware. But there’s no doing that. It’s just being aware. And and then, you know, mind patterns will become visible and then we can we can drop those patterns or they just sort of self drop once once they’re conscious because that you realize you’re doing it and then it’s like, why am I doing that? So?

Rick Archer: So the two hours go pretty smoothly. Is it enjoyable? Are you sitting there kind of struggling for a couple hours?

Daniel Schmidt: It Again, depends, you know, it’s it’s some Like the practice is to be a quantumness. So, you know, things come and go. And, you know, sometimes there’s incredible bliss, sometimes there’s there’s pain. But for me, like the the practices has, has changed a lot over the years, like, at the beginning, there was definitely at the beginning of the practice, there was a lot more pain and struggle, and you know, slogging through the mind. Now, like, like, if I, you know, if I look at what’s happening in my mind, during the meditation, there’s a lot less mind activity, a lot less varieties of thought. And there, I would say, the actual droppings, the sensations are more frequent now than before.

Rick Archer: So we’ll come to your center and learn to meditate and do a retreat, are you able to save them from a lot of the pain and struggle you went through? Because you’ve kind of learned things that enable you to teach them in such a way as to do it more effortlessly? From the outset?

Daniel Schmidt: Yes, yes. Or no, you know, I think, you know, there, anybody who comes like you’re, you’re going to have to learn to surrender inside, you’re going to have to face your pain. So you know, you’re going to have to learn to stop this process of craving and aversion. And, you know, that when you’re not reacting, that’s a that’s a painful process for everyone. You know, people go through that they have awakenings and, you know, emotional releases, and they want to leave they want they think this is hell, you know, they take their little strolls through hell, you know, and, and, but I think there are, you know, I see, the value of, if somebody has had previous experiences, I think there is value in being able to speak about what’s going on, there are certain traps certain pitfalls on the path, I think people can end up with concepts in their mind about what meditation is. And, you know, if those concepts aren’t dispelled, they can spend a lot of time just, you know, polishing tiles or with, you know, some one thing that often happens is people will, you know, they get some idea about a nata or no self, they go into almost like, a stupor state, you know, we’re like, a adult state, and there are a lot of a lot of pitfalls on the

Rick Archer: help to help to sort of dispel some of those notions. Yeah,

Daniel Schmidt: yeah, that’s, that’s really, you know, I see as my, my role, you know, at the center is to just share, you know, what, what I’ve learned, and I still constantly learning from people, you know, understanding how this all works. And I feel like I’m still just at the beginning of my, my understanding that it’s a good attitude.

Rick Archer: I think we should all do that. And people I’m sure aren’t kissing your feet.

Daniel Schmidt: No, and, and, you know, it really, like I try and set up the relationship, as well as I can. This this is one of the things Tonya slaps me with all the time, because people people do come and they think, you know, that I’m something. Yeah, some kind of teacher. And, and, you know, like, to me, I just want to be, I just want to be free, you know, I don’t want to be playing out some teacher archetype. And if I am, I’m not free, if somebody has that, that label on me. You know, they’re not free, and I’m not free. And, you know, I truly see myself more as just, you know, I want to be in more like a friend relationship with someone, you know, just helping them on the spiritual path.

Rick Archer: Yeah, question just came in from someone named Chitra. And California, she asks, meditation lately has been in different forms. If I do choiceless awareness, my mind is raising random thoughts, which I am aware of, and then I feel mantra or one pointedness helps that. Otherwise, I guess just mantra is more helpful than random awareness, or choiceless awareness. What do you recommend for general people to do to make rapid progress?

Daniel Schmidt: Well, the way we teach it at the center, like we, we kind of feel it out with every individual and every every group. So kind of try and meet people where they’re optimized it so yeah, so you know, there there are people who, you know, really get the non dual teachings and that’s, you know, what’s going to help them at that particular point. Other times, you know, we have tons of different techniques like if the mind is racing, you can, you can you can start to You know, really turn awareness towards thoughts themselves and, and start to penetrate into that pattern. So you can, you can see, you know, thoughts are either visual auditory, or sometimes they’re both. So you can, you can start to observe these, these different qualities of thinking. And and you start to see whatever’s going on, you know, any hindrance that’s coming up, you’re kind of doing the same thing, you’re penetrating into the pattern in different ways seeing the movement of the pattern, and, and then you it’s not like this, this gross kind of thing that’s just overtaking you in consciousness, but you can start to keep an eye on the movement, you know, and so there, there are a lot of tools like that, or, you know, their passion, techniques of noting thoughts as well, like, starting to understand what’s happening, all of these, these tools can be useful, I think, at certain points in the journey to, to start to really bring awareness inside of the pattern and and, and start to break it up, you know, start to start to get a sense of the energy of it, and the movement

Rick Archer: of it, you do some yoga there. When I used to do long courses, like you know, six weeks, six months, we would break it up. Like we’d meditate for an hour or whatever, and then you know, do you do 20 minutes of yoga postures, and then meditate another hour, and then do 20 minutes of yoga postures just so as to kind of integrate? Yes,

Daniel Schmidt: we do. We give it basically, it’s self directed. So we have an area in the Zendo, where people can do walking meditation between sets, or they can, they can stand up. We do. Not every day, but every second day, we do like a yoga stretching kind of thing, as well. And, you know, for me, like, the way I teach at the center, where the the structure that we’ve created, there is very self directed. So if people are, you know, they’re free to do what they want. And as long as it’s not during, you know, times where it’s going to disturb other people. But I’m trying to snow from Yeah, like, for me, like the whole, the whole yogic thing, like I, I did two years of Hatha Yoga, which was helpful for me to be able to sit on a cushion comfortably. And that’s about it. I’m not, I don’t really go into all the asanas and stuff like that, that’s not really part of what we’re doing. We teach it more as just kind of stretching for the body to prepare it for setting basically. And, you know, my, my, and yoga to me, what, what does that for different is different for different people. Like for me, you know, I’ve tried different different types of yoga, and where I’ve ended up actually, it’s completely changed over my lifetime. At one at one point, I was, you know, I was doing more traditional yoga, but now, I feel like my yoga is what grounds me and brings me into my body and living on the property. You know, I work with wood, we heat our buildings with wood to chop down the chopping wood and chainsaw, I actually like to use a chainsaw, you have to be incredibly present and grounded. And, and, and it brings me right into my body. So So I’ve, you know, my yoga is is chainsaw yoga, and it’s it’s um, you know, if I if I do a few hours of that, and then I go sit like I’m, it’s it’s amazing to me, it’s it. It brings me because I tend to be like my data Doshi, I tend to be just ethereal and going off, you know and to be here is is important for me. Whereas for other people, it’s about lightening up. It’s about the the opposite. They want to be breaking up the pattern. So you know, somebody who is a different OSHA, they might, you know, a Kundalini yoga class might be better because it’s like creating all this upward moving energy. And so, you know, I think we try and try and meet people, give them the tools that will work for them.

Rick Archer: Be careful that chainsaw I sliced my leg open with one last year because I wasn’t being mindful enough. Like like you just said, you need to be mindful. And I would recommend wearing protective gear too.

Daniel Schmidt: Yeah. Good advice.

Rick Archer: Paul from San Marcos, California wants to know, did your Vipassana experience heal your physical ailments?

Daniel Schmidt: Yeah, interesting. Like my first of all, my idea of what healing is changed dramatically. So at the beginning In my life, I just wanted to be able to go back and eat the crappy foods, eating my body. And that that to me was what I thought healing was. So, so my idea of healing completely changed. And I started to tune into what my body actually wanted and not took many, many years. But yes, it like the for me in that Vipassana experience like the pancreas area was, you know, when you do the body scan, it was completely offline, there was no sensation. And then at a certain point, after after quite a bit of meditation, it started to wake up and and incredible pain, you know, like, like a sword turning and for hours and hours and hours and, and eventually, you know, it would it would start to dissolve as I as I got into deeper states of absorption. And the first moment when it at those retreats, you know, sn Goenka is always saying, you know, everything arises and passes away, it’s all impermanent. And, and he even says, you know, you probably think your, your pain is different, you know, yours is going to last forever. And, and I really did, I really thought this one is never going to go away, because this is like a serious bodily, you know, problem. And it was it was quite amazing when it actually dissolved the first time. And of course, it came back and had to dissolve it again. Over and over and over

Rick Archer: your type your type one diabetes and your arthritis are gone now.

Daniel Schmidt: Yes, yeah. So I have I have no symptoms. And I was told that I had to go on insulin for my the rest of my life. And I’m done. So yeah, that’s awesome. So yeah, yeah, so I’m symptom free. But if I went back to eating KFC and drinking lime coolers, I’d be back. You probably shouldn’t say anything bad about KFC.

Rick Archer: Okay, so here’s one final question that I’ve been sent over to me. I’ll ask this. And then then we’ll just sort of wrap it up and have you tell us about how people can get in touch and what what they can do. This one is again, from Rez in New York City, he wants to know, I’ve heard that there are many paths to enlightenment, but some point in the wrong direction. Even while speaking of enlightenment, don’t we need to exercise discretion in an age of the internet?

Daniel Schmidt: Mm hmm. Absolutely. Yeah. I think like skepticism for me, I’m, you know, I would say don’t believe anything at all good luck, period. You know, I seriously do not believe anything and find out within yourself.

Rick Archer: Whether Buddha said that, you know, you’re quoting the Buddha there. Have you heard that quote?

Daniel Schmidt: Yeah, I think we do know the quote,

Rick Archer: basically, it’s just, you know, don’t believe anything, because somebody said it, even if I say it, the Buddha, don’t check it out in your own experience. And within reason and understanding. Yeah, like, I’m

Daniel Schmidt: a total skeptic. Like I’m, you know, I hear about, you know, all these these different things. And, you know, I don’t disbelieve anything, but I don’t believe anything, either. I want I difficult dude. Yeah. Verify, and, yeah, see what’s true. And I wouldn’t believe a word that’s coming out of my mouth, you know, if I hadn’t, if I hadn’t experienced it. So, you know, check it out, like do the meditation, if there’s one thing, you know, that will convey to someone I’d love to get, you know, high level scientists in the room, doing this type of meditation. And, you know, like, to me is this, this is where it gets interesting, you know, and to see the nature of reality, but find out, use the body, use yourself as a laboratory.

Rick Archer: I think that science and a scientific attitude has a lot to offer spirituality. And I also think that spirituality has a lot to offer science, because a lot of science is never going to be able to explore without the spiritual techniques and, you know, and the proper utilization of the ultimate scientific instrument, which is our own mind and body. Yeah, yeah. So let’s talk a little bit about the Samadhi Center. I’m just going to show the website on the screen here. We have the Samadhi center up there somewhere between out in the boonies somewhere between Toronto and Montreal looks like a beautiful place where we are, or may 6, and you tell me there’s still have a foot of snow on the ground in the woods. Yeah, so details about that.

Daniel Schmidt: About the snow or

Rick Archer: not the snow about the Samadhi center and just you know, like if people have become intrigued by listening to this interview, what can they do both in terms of just visiting your website that firstly, they can watch your movies which are online, free, they can visit your website? I think there’s some meditation techniques they can learn from there if they want to go in further they can come to Canada, right? Yeah, yeah,

Daniel Schmidt: we do personal retreats. So you can just come and do a self directed retreat. Basically, you’d be meditating with Tonya and I in the morning, and we’re available for instruction. And then the more formal retreats like the 10 day retreats or intensive meditation, which you’re you’re basically doing meditation most of the day, and you know, it’s broken up by, by different things, we use sound as well.

Rick Archer: Would you advise that someone who’s ever really done meditation come in cold and just plunge into something like that? Are you sure? Yeah, man, there’s there be some kind of experience versus building up? No,

Daniel Schmidt: I think I think any any one, sometimes having experience, you know, and people who are really holding on to techniques and traditions sometimes have a harder time because they have to let go of that first. So I’d say anybody can do it. And it’s, it’s an amazing way to get grounded in a meditation practice. So I would say, you know, we encourage all levels, beginner to advanced.

Rick Archer: Great, well, I’ll link to your website, and I’ll link to your films and everything. And people can get in touch with you and watch the films and what have you got plans for the future with your reams and reams of notes? What’s what’s gonna happen with that?

Daniel Schmidt: So the next film, the working title, is the pathless path. And so part two, we kind of left off by saying, you know, there’s, there’s no way to the way there’s no, there’s no how, you know, that the mind can can grasp, you know, so part three, we’re gonna tell you how

Rick Archer: I was like, paradox and contradiction. Yeah.

Daniel Schmidt: So, you know, so part three is going to be going into the perennial teaching, you know, really looking at what is happening in the different meditation traditions and contemplative traditions, and trying to get to the essence of what is happening, you know, to to strip away this self structure, so that that the awareness can shine through.

Rick Archer: Wonderful. Well, I think it’s a it’s a great service you’re doing and I hope you do it for many, many years to come. Obviously, a lot of people are watching it and getting inspired and benefited by it. So keep it up.

Daniel Schmidt: Thank you. Thanks for the opportunity. Sure.

Rick Archer: So as anyone still watching, realizes, I knows I’ve been speaking with Daniel Schmidt, who has made the inner worlds outer worlds and Smarties Samadhi films. And I’ll be creating a page for him on BatGap, which links to those things and to his website, and everything else so you can get in touch with Daniel. Next week, I’ll be interviewing Michael Polen, who wrote how to change your mind. And Christopher Bosh, who also wrote a book about psychedelics. I think it’s called diamonds from heaven, is the subtitle. And I think that is going to be a fascinating discussion that we’ll be talking about psychedelics. And what these two have experienced. Michael is relatively new to it. Chris Bosh spent 20 years taking quite high dosage, LSD trips in an extremely controlled way. He stopped doing that about 20 years ago, but he did it for 20 years. And so check it out. If you’d like to be notified of new interviews, when they’re posted, sign up on BatGap comm. There’s a little mailing list thing. If you’d like to listen to these as an audio podcast, there’s a tab for that on the site. And a number of other things just explore around and stay tuned. Hope to be doing this, like Daniel for many years to come. So Thanks, Danielle. Thanks, Rick. Okay, stay in touch you too. Bye bye.