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Rick Archer: Welcome to Buddha at the Gas Pump. My name is Rick Archer. Buddha at the Gas Pump is an ongoing series of interviews with spiritually Awakening people have done hundreds of them now. And if this is new to you, and you’d like to check out previous ones, go to batgap.com and look under the past interviews menu. This program is made possible by the support of appreciative listeners and viewers. So if you appreciate it and feel like supporting it to any degree, there are Pay Pal buttons on every page of the site. My guest today is an old friend of mine named Dean slider. I know Dean from when I became teachers of transcendental meditation on the same course in Estes Park, Colorado in the fall of 1970. And we have done different things over the years since then, and Dean has been teaching natural methods of meditation, not necessarily TM. Since then, he’s written a number of highly acclaimed books, including one called natural meditation, which was an Amazon number one stress stress management and best seller and number of other books we’ll be talking about one of them today called fear less. Dean has well what the Intel what he’s been up to all these years, but a bunch of stuff. So let me start by asking you I heard you say in an interview with dancer Monday and Phil Goldberg on spirit matters talk that you kind of left the TM movement because he got uncomfortable with how high the prices had become. Is that the main thing?
Dean Sluyter: Yeah, there was that that that was finally the thing that kind of forced me out of the nest which turned out to be a great thing. I kind of Mike career over the years, as you said, doing a bunch of stuff is has been to gradually discovered that any nest I started getting too comfortable in one way or another, I’m going to get kicked out. But you know, when you and I started TM back in the late 60s, you know, 35 bucks, and we were going to, to save the world by making natural, effortless scientific meditation available to everyone. And you know what, that’s still my mission. That’s still, you know, when Maharishi said that, he said, Yeah, that’s what I want to do. At the time. You know, at that time, I was a hippie in Haight Ashbury and, and I am thinking that, Oh, well, in order to bring Enlightenment to the masses, we were going to have to, you know, I knew people who were actually plotting to get a haircut, get a job in the White House in the kitchen, and drop acid in Lyndon Johnson’s coffee, with the idea that he and her Chi Minh would be dancing hand in hand with roses in their teeth in Golden Gate Park. And that’s how we were going to end the war and, you know, bring about an age of Enlightenment. And when I heard Maharishi talk about meditation, in such simple, straightforward terms, I thought, yeah, this is stuff I can bring back to the suburbs. This is stuff I can bring home to mom and dad. You know, it’s like the girl you can bring home to your parents. And so I was able to very comfortably teach TM for many years, a couple of decades that way. But then Maharishi, and the TM program started going into some funny directions. You know, he started appointing people, kings, and printing his own currency. And I mean, you know, all that history. And at that time, I was my day job was teaching English at a very fine prep school in New Jersey. And you know, where I had was teaching the governor’s kids and kids from the families that ran major corporations there, it was great. And I also ran meditation programs in the school and the meditation component was TM. And at that time, the, the fee, I think, was 85 bucks. It’s a great and then one of the sample goes toward it. Yeah, right. And if and if kids couldn’t afford it, you know, we quietly gave them a scholarship, summer of 1993. While I was actually going Back in California with my mom who was dying of cancer. And so that was right there, that was a little bit of a, you know, the death of people close to you has a very clarifying influence on your, your perspective. And you start to realize that, you know, if you’re hanging around at some place, that’s not 100% Really, you maybe want to reconsider that. And, and then I got, when I came home to New Jersey, my wife told me that while I was, while you were out, being the TM movement got in touch and said, instead of charging the kids at $5, you have to charge them $2,500. And so that forced me to move on. And it was great, because, you know, the brilliance of Maharishi is teaching. As you know, it was effortless pneus of meditation, of letting the letting life letting existence pull us into its own nature, rather than us trying to push things. And what I was forced to discover was that Mara, she did not have a monopoly on effortlessness. So I hung out with teachers and Tibetan tradition that teachers and Advaita tradition and found out that, you know, sometimes you have to dig a little you have to listen a little closely that that teaching of effortlessness that teaching of meditation is just being rather than doing it’s there.
Rick Archer: Yeah. Yeah, I remember in my case, it was the summer of 86. I think it was summer I was in India sitting in this kind of garden with marshy and a couple 100 people. And it was like two or three in the morning and they were going on and on and on Marshy. Were talking to these doctors about how much they could get away with charging for a bottle of Amrit Kalash, which is like this, our Vedic thing. And this German guy leaned over to me a little bit disgusted, and said, Here we are in the land of the Veda, in the hour of ghosts, talking about money. It was beginning to get through my thick skull at that point to that something. But I don’t want to spend time criticizing them, when they can do what they can do. But but let’s talk about the principle of effortlessness. Because I think that it’s not necessarily an automatic assumption in many people’s minds, that meditation is going to be effortless. And they may have tried things that weren’t very effortless. And I’ve interviewed people such as Adi Shanti. And what is his name? I don’t know a bunch of people who Shinzon Young who, who went through really arduous practice brought them to the edge of tears, if not past the edge of tears, because it was so difficult. And so let’s talk about sort of effortless versus difficult meditation and whether there’s a legitimate place for both in spiritual practice or whether perhaps, difficult meditation is some kind of a misunderstanding or misinterpretation of what was originally intended by ancient teachers such as the Buddha,
Dean Sluyter: right, right. I mean, when you finally get down to it, all you can talk about is your own experience. And my experience is I tried effort. And it didn’t work. I tried effortlessness, or, actually, I don’t want to say tried effortless, and I stopped trying that effortlessness take over. And that works. And really, where you learn stuff is by teaching, right. And I’ve been so fortunate that I’ve gotten to teach these kids at fancy prep school and I would go up i Seven da to Northern State Prison in Newark, which is the the roughest maximum security prison in Newark, where I have a group that I still supervise, it’s been going on since 2005, teach them the same stuff. And they they get it. These days, I do a lot of workshops around the country. And I hate that word workshop because it has worked we’re going to write it should really be playing something playground. And I get so many people who they’ve, you know, they’re so sincere in their quest for awakening. And they, they come in some of them had been meditating for years, and we do a 15 minute meditation. And you know, you do this for a while you get pretty clear on there’s some, you know, little subtle tricks for pulling the rug out from under people’s habits of of effort. And they just some of them come to me with, they come with tears in their eyes, but it’s just, oh, I had no idea could be so simple.
Rick Archer: Yeah. I think that perhaps one of the reasons that effort was crept into the whole notion of meditation and It wasn’t originally intended is that a description was taken as a prescription. And what I mean by that is, you know, a few describe the state of Samadhi, where, you know, the mind is completely settled, and there isn’t, there are no thoughts, and it’s just pure bliss, and so on and so forth. And then you try to prescribe the elimination of thoughts as a practice, so as to arrive at that state, you’re necessarily going to be setting up a difficult situation, you know, because you can’t just stop thinking,
Dean Sluyter: No, you know, you can’t, and you don’t have to, you know, when the Buddha attained awakening, after his, you know, many days under the Bodhi tree, you know, what’s recorded what it says in the sutras, what he said, was not, how wonderful how wonderful, I finally got rid of all those thoughts. He’s said, how wonderful how wonderful. Everything’s cool, just the way it is. Yeah. You know, which, to me, includes cake thoughts, are there the world is there, everything is there, none of that, you know, the nature of awakening is to be clear that, that the persistence of thoughts, the persistence of the, the apparent physical world, none of that contradicts the the boundless, okayness of Samadhi. It all everything plays nice with everything else.
Rick Archer: So let’s talk about why the mind keeps thinking even if you don’t want it to, and why and why it is and the principle of effortlessness. Like what are the deeper mechanics of why or how meditation could be effortless,
Dean Sluyter: you know, well to the model that I like to use is when people say, Okay, now I’m going to meditate, I need my mind to be quiet. We can like them that to the surface of an ocean, and say, Okay, I’m seeing all this choppiness. I’m seeing all these waves. I want the water to be silent. So I give me something give me give me a big or something, wham, wham, flatten out old waves. And of course, all you do is you turn up the water more, because and to me, this right here, this is the equals MC squared of meditation technique. Any effort to create a non agitated state of mind is itself a form of agitation.
Rick Archer: You’re introducing some something that wasn’t even there before? Yeah,
Dean Sluyter: yeah. So this is why, you know, so many people that so sincere in their aspiration, they just wind up chasing their tails and trying to meditate. And I think what happens in a lot of cases, and this goes back to your earlier question of how, you know, concentration and effort have become, for a lot of people understood or misunderstood, to be the tradition to be the teaching, I think what happens is, you know, people who really have strong motivation, they’ll sit there and they’ll meditate for an hour, they’ll meditate for two hours, just, you know, trying hard to concentrate. And what finally happens is the mind becomes so exhausted. That if you stop concentrating, and finally it slips, and you settle back into yourself, yeah. And then you go, ah, there it is. Ananda. Barrett is Samadhi. Well, I it took two hours of sweat, but it was worth it.
Rick Archer: I remember Ida saying that. His first really big shift happened after he had actually been an ardent practitioner for some years, you know, really giving it his all but in an effortful way. And finally, he just had this moment where he, I forget his exact words, were saying that I can’t do this anymore. And he kind of gave up and then boom, he just slipped in.
Dean Sluyter: That’s it. That’s it, and what you and I were so what made us so fortunate was that early on in our careers, we had a teacher who very clearly showed us a way, not the way but a way to just skip that first hour, and go straight to the last 10 minutes where you’re where you slip where you give up. Yeah. And so you know, I’ll do things like for example, if I’m when I’m leading a group, and, and okay, now it’s time to meditate, and you can see people all setting themselves up and going, and it’s like they’re going, it’s like, okay, here we go. And it’s, and you can see it, you can see it in their body language. You can see you can feel it in their energy. It’s like they’re okay, I’m buckling up. I’m putting the key in the ignition. I’m turning the key. I hear the, the the engine idling. Here we go. We’re going to go somewhere. Right. And that idling of the engine. That’s effort, that’s expectation. So what I tell them is, forget about here we go. We’re not going anywhere. Here instead, it’s here we are Are ya don’t you know, take the keys, throw him in the bushes, roll back the top, this is a convertible roll back the top sit back in the seat, here we are. Now what’s going on, without any contribution from us without any effort from us. And then that that becomes the the so called meditation. Another word that I don’t like meditation, it’s that all those syllables, you know, four syllables and sounds like, it must be some big task. And it’s not. Yeah.
Rick Archer: But, okay, I’m gonna ask a basic question. And people who are listening to this live can send in questions as we go along, if they like by going to the upcoming interviews page on batgap.com. And then you’ll see a question form at the bottom. But, I mean, I think a typical person at this point might say, well, if I just sit there and do nothing, I’m just gonna sit there and daydream the whole time. Right now I’m going to be thinking about what’s for dinner. And you know, what I did yesterday, and my, you know, what my girlfriend said, or whatever. That’s what’s the difference between you know, that’s not meditation.
Dean Sluyter: Right? So I don’t tell them sit there and do nothing. Yeah, you’re right. It eventually comes down to that. But if you give that is the instruction, it’s exactly that. Okay, I’m sitting, I’m doing nothing. Where’s the remote light a cigarette? So what I suggest to people is, okay, well, you know, as we just said, Okay, here we are not, here we go. Here we are, what’s going on? Without me what what’s going on without me is awareness. Without any effort from me, without any help from me? I’m aware of the colors and the shapes, I’m aware of the thoughts that tell me, okay, that color, that’s a blue wall. And you know, that’s a brown floor. So I’m aware of seeing, I’m aware of thinking I’m aware of hearing. So awareness is going on without me without any thought from without any help from me. And in fact, sometimes I’ll suggest, because, you know, if I see people saying, Okay, I’m going to try to be aware, I’m going to try to stop being aware, you can’t do it. Awareness is every moment. And then we might close our eyes and go, Okay, just notice all this stuff is coming and going like the breezes coming and going in the sky, and the sky, this open space, within which all the experiences come and go, This is what we call awareness. You’re already that space, everything’s coming and going within you. So rest, as awareness as you already are. Rest as awareness. So and I tell people, you know, and I like to boil things down to easy to remember, you know, practice slogans. So you can remember three words, just rest, as awareness. And if you find yourself grappling with something, oh, but what about when I’m going to cook for dinner? And what about XYZ, or resisting some feeling or some, I say just okay. Whatever it is, relax your grip on it. Don’t try to push it away. don’t require it to go away. Don’t try to figure it out. Just whatever it is, relax your grip on it. Relax back into yourself, rest as awareness.
Rick Archer: You know how that compares with mindfulness, which is so popular these days? I don’t know myself because I have this mindfulness. But how does that compare?
Dean Sluyter: You know that word mindfulness has become it’s such a popular buzzword. And I’ll do workshops and they’ll build start writing up the description, Dean slider is going to teach us mindfulness. I say, No, no, no, I have no idea what mindfulness is. And then I show up, and they’ve got it on their marquee. And there’s, that word has become so popular that I, I don’t know what it basically it means two things. I mean, one is, you know, is a particular form of practice Southeast Asian practice, which is not my training, and the other it’s become sort of a more palatable, generic synonym for meditation. Like I had a nice talk a couple of years ago with Tim Ryan. He’s this congressman from Youngstown, Ohio. Who is he’s great. I really liked him. He’s a, he’s a totally out of the closet meditator. And he’s very clear about the fact that, you know, we’ve got veterans suffering from PTSD, committing suicide, we’ve got all these problems with the education system. The research is there that we can’t afford not to introduce meditation into these systems, but he doesn’t use the word meditation, he uses the word mindfulness, because for some people, even in the year 2018 it I’m kind of flabbergasted that for some people, the word meditation still evokes, you know, I don’t know flying carpets and beds of nails or something.
Rick Archer: Not as bad as it was when we first started teaching. Oh, no. Yeah, I just want to mention since we were dissing the TM movement a little bit a little while ago, that They’re doing some great stuff with us, you know, in prisons and inner city schools and PTSD sufferers and so on, primarily through the David Lynch Foundation, which my good friend Bobby Roth is the CEO of. So and those people, those people are being taught for free, you know, so it’s not all about the money with the TM movement. And I think you and I are both very appreciative of the benefits we gained from that whole thing.
Dean Sluyter: Yeah, look, it’s all about people suffering less than getting happy more. Whatever does that I’m all for it.
Rick Archer: Yeah. Now, I don’t think we’ve quite nailed an understanding yet of what you and I would understand as the natural tendency of the mind to seek a field of greater happiness. And I think that that’s critical or essential to what you’re implying, or what you’re teaching. So let’s explore that a little bit more. So people understand that idea.
Dean Sluyter: Right. Right. So that is why effortlessness works. I mean, we we’ve already discussed why effort, it doesn’t work or is only going to work with great difficulty, because it’s essentially counterproductive, self defeating. The reason that effortlessness works is it allows that natural tendency of the mind to move toward more fulfillment, more enjoyment, it allows it to, to take over, you know, in every moment, not just in meditation, but you know, you’re in the restaurant, your your mind, is your fingers going down the menu, okay, do I want the cheeseburger? Or do I want the the Caesar salad, I know what you want, you want nirvana. But it ain’t on the menu. So So you settle for the cheeseburger in every moment where essentially settling for the most the nearest approximation to Nirvana, that that we feel we can find it within that, that context that
Rick Archer: and that may be a bit of a leap. But let’s, let’s flesh it out a little bit like you right now, you and I are talking here, and people are listening. And it could be that, you know, as they’re listening, some beautiful music starts playing from the other room, or, you know, the phone rings, and it’s their long lost, beloved friend or something, right? So something that has potentially, as hard as this maybe to imagine a greater intrinsic gratification than listening to you and I talk has presented itself and their awareness, and it doesn’t take effort for them to shift their attention to that other thing.
Dean Sluyter: Right. Not only does it not take effort, but it doesn’t even take a conscious intention, decision or evaluation. Just it just goes there. It’s like, you know, heat seeking missiles, we are fulfillment seeking organisms. Yeah. Now, the thing is that, as we seek fulfillment in those things, let’s say I have a desire, like, oh, I want some tea. So okay, I want some tea, I want some, ah, I got the tea, and it made me more fulfilled. So now I’m going to tend to think, well, there must be fulfillment in the tea, right? Because that’s where I got it from. But if we take the tea into the lab, and we, you know, pull it apart into its constituent molecules, we’ll find, you know, atoms of carbon and hydrogen, oxygen, whatever is in there, we’re not going to find any happiness molecules in there. Okay, so that only leaves one other place where it can be. And that is in in me in the experience cert rather than the experience. So what happens is, at the moment that I get the tea, I’m no longer caught in that desire. So I sink back into myself into my own nature, which was, you know, what all the teachings say in various language, that the nature of the experiencer the nature of awareness itself is such it Ananda is, is being consciousness, bliss. And what we’re doing in meditation, then is essentially eliminating the middleman. Rather than depending on some outer object or substance or circumstances, to trigger the settling back into ourselves. We just settled back into itself. And that comes in handy because you never know. You never know what’s going to happen next. And like, that’s one of the reasons I love working with prisoners. They know they’re not going to get fulfillment from their, their environment because their environment sucks. And they know it’s not going to stop sucking and I’ve had situations where like, one of my guys stopped showing up to our Thursday night meetings and I asked you what happened to him? Well, he got brought up on charges they put him in AD seg, you know, administrative segregation, which is solitary confinement. In this case, they actually shipped him to another prison, put them in a cell above the boiler where it was like 100 degrees all the time. And you know, with no TV, no anything to for three months, so he said, Okay, I guess it’s time for a meditation retreat, he took off his clothes because it was hot. And he essentially meditated for three months. And when he came back, he was, he was really glad that he learned to do that.
Rick Archer: Yeah. Interesting. So what, what we’re implying here is that there is sort of an inner or intrinsic field, or reservoir, or whatever you want to call it of fulfillment, or happiness or gratification, which is independent of centuries experiences, and that you can be happy in solitary confinement with nothing there. Because you’re discovering something within that is not that has nothing to do with outer circumstances, just as recapitulate what you just said,
Dean Sluyter: exactly. And we use the no provisionally, we use this kind of dualistic language and we say, okay, it’s something within us, it’s a field within us. You know, we talked that way for a while. And as the closer we look, the more we realize that it’s not some thing within us right. But it is the very, the very awareness within which right now these words are being heard within which the these computer screens are being seen that that’s, you know, that the on the screen, we see different colors, the words, we hear different sounds, but where’s that all happening? That’s all happening here. And something that has no color has no sound, no location, no gender, no nothing. And that’s yet, you know, strangely enough, I just thought of an interview once with Alfred Hitchcock. And I think it was Truffaut interviewing him. And he asked him, What’s your idea of happiness? And Hitchcock said, a clear horizon. And that really, I think, you know, because we tend to think of oh, this happiness, this bliss, this Nirvana, that it’s going to be some, it’s like, 24/7, psychedelic orgasm, you know, and then I’m going to have purple flame shooting out of my crown chakra and, and, oh, wow, we’re going to be walking around like that all the time. I know, I certainly thought about it that way at the beginning. And as we get deeper into or as we grow in kind of mature into the actual experience of it, we find out that well, that would just be another phenomenon. That would be what happens on the on the so called spiritual path, is we go from looking for happiness and fulfillment and outer phenomena, outer experiences, okay, the Cadillac of, you know, whatever, to inner stuff. Oh, I, you know, I remember a poster once that the TM movement, sent out actually trying to get people to go on a retreat in where it wasn’t North Carolina, or somewhere. And the, and the headline on the poster was have the best experiences of your life. And that was language that would have spoken to me, you know, 10 or 15 years earlier, but at that point, I would think, Oh, this is what Shogun Trungpa called spiritual materialism. You know, collecting experience, okay, looking for some thing that is outside, even if it’s within my mind, or within my body, some things some super cool phenomenon, rather than just settling into what I am, which is non phenomenal awareness. It’s just the best statement on this I ever heard was actually for Maharishi, and you know, how Maharishi would say things over and over and over again, you know, some of these things, some of the things that you were saying earlier, I know, we heard March, you know, about the natural tendency of the mind, right? How many hundreds of times really, did we hear Maharshi say this, but this was just once in 1972, and fugi, Italy, he was trying to describe awakening, he was trying to describe the nature of awareness existence. And he said, it’s just nothing. But there’s something very good about it.
Rick Archer: It’s nice. Yeah. The Gita has that land, the Unreal has no being the real never ceases to be. Yeah. So experiences which come and go. Yeah, you know, however flashy or and, or fascinating. They may be, couldn’t be the real ultimately, because they come and go. Ramona used to emphasize that point, too.
Dean Sluyter: Right. Right. Right, right. Yeah. And especially I know a lot of the people who who watch your your program are really mature practitioners. They’ve been at this for some years. And that can become one of the great challenges when you have some, you know, after years of meditation, and you have some just great, blissful experience and it may You go, this is it, I’ve arrived, you know, stick a fork in me, I’m done. And, and it may go on for hours or weeks. And then it goes away. And I’ve heard Mooji talk about this. I know you’ve interviewed Mooji. And, and I’ve heard Mooji say, you know, we could write a book titled, and them. Yeah. Right. But the but the teaching is, and this is really a hard teaching at that point, which is, anything that goes away, you got to let it go away. Anything that can be thrown into the fire, throw it into the fire, throw everything into the fire, throw the thrower into the fire, throw the fire into the fire, and then just rest in the space that’s left. That’s it.
Rick Archer: That’s there even abiding states, which aren’t the transitory experiences, which seems stable, which are actually not it. I forget who I was talking to recently, but somebody and they’re out there saying how in some tradition, I forget which one, it’s understood that they’re like six or seven stages, each of which makes one feel that they have arrived and nothing more could possibly unfold for right. But then sure enough, that one collapses or whatever, and the next one dies. And they’re like six or seven of these stages.
Dean Sluyter: Right? Right. Yeah. So yeah, we don’t we don’t, don’t be too in a hurry to write the end.
Rick Archer: Yeah. Now, materialists might say that, you know, consciousness is just an epiphenomenon of brain activity, and that there is no sort of field of consciousness or any such thing which is intrinsically blissful, Ananda, or gratifying. And that somehow meditation just sort of settles down physiological activity in such a way that some kind of neurochemical change takes place or something and you feel greater fulfillment, but that you’re not actually tapping into any field of consciousness, because there is no such thing. What would you say in response to that?
Dean Sluyter: I would say that that materialist perspective is based on an assumption an unproved and unprovable assumption, which is that outside of our experience, there’s an independently existing universe made out of stuff called matter. Right? No one’s ever experienced matter. Right? No one’s ever experienced it all we experience. And it’s it and some people is they’ll hear this once and they go, right, I get it. And some people just really have trouble hearing this. Because that assumption is so ingrained that of course, I’m experiencing the computer. I’m experiencing the camera, I’m experiencing the mic. But if we take a close look, what are you experiencing? Okay, well, I’m experienced, like we say, okay, experienced the dog. Because I hear the dog barking. Well, we do you really experienced the dog, you experience this barking sound, you know, I mean, just on a gross level, maybe somebody’s standing outside your window with a boombox playing recording of a barking dog. So you’re not experiencing the dog, you’re experiencing the sound of the barking. Okay? There’s, now if I close my eyes, that’s not crucial, but it might be helpful, close the eyes and take a look. Okay. So when I say I hear the barking. Now, what’s the difference between and that sounds as if there’s two different things, the the hearing, and the barking. But see if you can find any line of separation between hearing and barking. And you realized that no hearing it’s just, it’s one. It’s a phenomenon of hearing. Now, what is that phenomenon? made out of? Is it made out of fur? You know, is it made out of doggy DNA? No, it’s made out of awareness. It’s a it’s a, it’s a it’s a modification of awareness. It’s awareness arising in a particular form. Now, I think, Okay, I see the object I see the dog. Well, okay, what is seeing? We, again, we say I see the dog, but it’s just I’m experiencing seeing arising in a in a certain form, what is that seeing made out of? Oh, that’s also a modulation of awareness. And then how much distance is there between that seeing awareness and that hear hearing awareness and this eye awareness? And the closer you look, the more you see that the separation I assumed was there, you can’t find any. Okay, so, you know, this brings us to to non duality. This, this brings us to, you know, all there is, is awareness playing sloshing around in awareness arising in this, you know, these different as these different apparent phenomena, we can’t necessarily deny that there is a physical universe outside of our awareness that’s giving rise to these experiences. But it just is, as far as I can see, it is inescapably logically impossible, to demonstrate the existence of an external universe, when all anyone ever experiences is awareness. So it’s the end. You know, Rupert, I know you’ve interviewed Rupert Spiro, who I think is just wonderfully lucid about these things. And you know, it, he says, you know, people talk about, you know, he, he points out, you know, matter is a concept that was invented by Greek philosophers, and no one has ever experienced it. That’s the assumption is, he says, he says that the scientists are the real myths, they call us mystics, they’re the real mystics, they’ve created this whole idea of a universe around a thing that no one’s ever experienced.
Rick Archer: Now, when you talk that way, though, it sort of makes it sound like the existence of the universe is very much kind of a subjective phenomenon, based upon you know, our, there’s some kind of process that, that gives reality to something that appears to be external, but is basically, like you said, awareness sloshing around with itself. But at the same time, you know, there, there seems to be a sort of a, a template or stability to the external world, which is independent of the any individual perspective, for instance, you know, all 7 billion people in the world presuming they see well enough could see the moon. And we don’t see three moons unless we’re crazy or hallucinating or something like that, we all see this one moon with certain features on it. And we’ve sent people there. And you know, they’ve scooped up rocks and brought them home, and, and so on, and so forth. So, you know, and, you know, 200 years ago, none of us were alive. And now the people who lived then are all dead, but they all still kept seeing the same moon. So there’s sort of a stabilities to the universe, that is irrespective of individual. So you know, there’s this kind of argument that apparently, Albert Einstein and Rabindranath Tagore had one with one another over whether the moon exists if nobody’s experiencing it. And, you know, I’ve played with this and thought, Okay, well, if we all agree not to look at it, we’re still going to have tides. There’s some kind of external phenomenon there, which appears to be external, but which is independent of any of our subjective perspective. Well, here,
Dean Sluyter: here’s the thing. Here’s the thing. The thing is, the thing is, first of all, when you say, you know, does the moon exist, if none of us look at it, or you know, if a tree falls in the forest, and no one hears it, it doesn’t make a sound? How many people have just busted their brains trying to wrap wrap their minds around that one? First of all, there someone is has slipped a joker into the deck there in the way that that question is phrased? See, when you say does the moon exist, if we don’t look at it, the way you have constructed that sentence, when you say the moon, there’s an implicit assumption that there’s this thing called the moon that exists, and then you’re asking whether it exists. But be that as it make. Let’s say you have a dream. In the dream, you see three moons. Okay? And you’ve got all your friends in the dream, see, the three modes, you 7 billion people are actually in this dream. There’s, there’s 100 billion people in, in the world, they look up, they all see the three moons in the dream, you pick up the science books on the history books, and you see that this has been confirmed, you know, for that, and we’ve sent astronauts to the three moons, they’ve explored it, all that is there, we pull out our dream, scientific instruments, we measure it, we bring back geological samples. It’s it’s all there. It’s all there. And, and, but, and it’s all there. And that is your reality. That is reality, until you wake up. And you go, why I thought that that stuff was made out of matter. But it was all just made out of my awareness, Dream awareness. But now here I am in this world where there’s one moon and my seven people, 7 billion friends confirm it, and it’s the same thing all over again. That’s why you know, Yogi Vasishtha, I think In the yoga seashell, yah, yah, yah. The sister said, there are two kinds of dreams, the short ones, and the long one. This, this being the long, but the thing is, I mean, it’s fun to talk about this stuff. But how practical is it? Exactly? It’s not really productive. Because meanwhile, while we’re sitting here enjoying our metaphysical speculation, you know, folks are suffering. Yeah. And that and that’s, that’s, that’s what I come back to him. And my wife is very good about telling me when I tend to start, you know, waxing too metaphysical. So, you know, no, no, you know, people will eventually if that’s the way things are, eventually they’re going to see it. And there’s no use trying to convince people because, you know, until they see, they see it for themselves. They’re, they’re not going to be open to that. And it doesn’t matter. You know, if people if what gets to me, if what gets people into the tamped is my blood pressure is high. Right? Then Then, great. You know, I really found this out in my years at the Pingree school, the prep school where I taught in New Jersey, you know, we had kids who, you know, they just, they were under all this pressure from the parents, you’ve got to get into Dartmouth, you got to get into Yale, you, you know, you need more after school jobs for your college resume, but they were, you know, some of these kids were at the breaking point. And, you know, and, and some of them, a lot of them, you know, I’d be talking about Enlightenment, I actually taught a, an a lecture, an elective course, elective English course for juniors and seniors, called literature of Enlightenment. And, you know, we read Plato’s Symposium and the Gospel of Thomas and Cara Wacken. Salinger, essentially, I constructed the the English course that I wish had been in my high school when I was 17 years old, and it was great. And the kids, you know, a lot of the kids really got into it. And the lab work was meditation. But a lot of kids took the course because they knew I’m stressed. And I thought, fine, you’ll come for the stress relief, you’ll stay for the Enlightenment.
Rick Archer: Yeah. Well, I like to, well, in your last sentence sort of implies that it’s okay to swing back and forth between the practical and the, the metaphysical, you know, because the metaphysical, if we want to call it that does have implications, it can shift your whole perspective on what life is about and what it’s what the potential of life can be, and so on. And we live in a society in which a materialist worldview is predominant, you know, and kind of tightly linked with the whole scientific method and halt technologies, we’ve devised everything, and we’re destroying that world. And it can be argued that we’re destroying it because of the materialistic mindset in which we see the world as dumb stuff as matter which has no sentience, which has no inherent intrinsic divinity, which is here for our, for our use.
Dean Sluyter: Yes, it’s, and we see it as here for our use. And we can never get enough of it, right? Because we keep you know, it’s like the old Irish saying, you can you can drink too much, but you can never drink enough. So, uh, so, you know, and we keep the Okay, so you know, this thing is supposed to fill me up and then it doesn’t Yeah, so as I got to gobble up more, I got to gobble up more.
Rick Archer: Yeah. No, good point.
Dean Sluyter: Again, right. And you see things like, you know, as far as I can see, you know, you know, oil companies that are doing these things to you know, mining companies that are going to guarantee and politicians doing things now loosening up regulations that that look like they’re going to guaranteed that there, there may not be breathable air for their children and their grandchildren. But they’re, but geez, I can make another billion dollars if I do this. And they’re just, it’s as if they’re, they’re hypnotized by that. And it’s as if I used to see this. Look in the eyes, some of the Pingree dads, you know, when I was good here with some of these people who were captains of industry and had as much money as you could ever was way more money than I could ever dream of making. And it’s like, okay, I got the car, I got the trophy wife, I got all that I’ve got my kid go into the best school in the state. And sometimes I felt like I could see in their eyes this kind of panic look like, oh my god, I did everything I was told to do. And I’m still not happy. And now what? Yeah. So I like to give people you know, let’s just to swing all the way from you know, a profound metaphysical speculation. And you know, Maharishi used to say this. I remember, she used to say, Don’t burden equal with your supreme knowledge. So I like to give people stuff like, you know, you’re sitting at the red light, trying to make a turn green faster. And everyone can relate to that, right? We’ve all tried to do it, say, Has that ever worked for you? Well, here’s my guarantee to you over the rest of your life, no matter how many man hours or woman hours you spend doing that you will never make the light turn green, even a nanosecond sooner. Ah, there’s such liberation in realizing that, you know, that’s simple.
Rick Archer: Yeah, if saying it can really go deep enough into a person’s psychology? Well, sometimes it’s more than just the words.
Dean Sluyter: Yeah, yeah, yeah. But you know, you’d be, you’d be surprised. And to a certain degree, and again, this goes back to our training as TM teachers, we tend to have a bias against what marshy called mood making, you know, which, which was very useful to make that distinction, I think up to a point, but his idea was okay, you meditate 20 minutes, twice a day, and then you forget it. And then And then because the change happens on a physiological level, it’s there automatically. But then what that did was, you know, I think that, you know, everything in the spiritual life is a double edged sword. And I think what that did was eliminated the whole other 23 hours and 20 minutes of the day as a field where you could also be doing stuff that opens it up. And sometimes, and I know, again, because, you know, I’ve been doing this for years now doing these workshops, and explained that thing about sitting at the red light to people and a whole lot of people just go, Oh, yeah. And it’s just, you know, and this is what this is, what in the Buddhist world is called view, view, right? And not view as an opinion, but view as in sight, as in perspective, what it actually is, is realizing that what you’ve been seeing what you thought you were seeing is not there, you know, it’s like you come home one day, and there’s a tiger in your living room and you’re terrified, and you’re your blood pressure is elevated, and you’re thinking, Should I take some blood pressure medicine? Should I call the tiger exterminator? What should I do? And then your wife comes home and says, Rick, how do you like the new paper tiger I had installed in the living room, it’s very lifelike, isn’t it? Right? And then you realize that you and your blood pressure goes down? Yeah, and don’t end. And you don’t have to repeat the thing. You don’t have to go around saying it’s only a paper tiger. It’s only a paper tiger. Having seen that with some clarity once you can’t unsee it.
Rick Archer: Yeah. And of course, the more famous example is the snake you know, where it’s sort of dark, and you’re walking down the road and you see a rope on the road, and it looks like a snake and you freak out and you go running back to the village and get a committee to come and try to get rid of it turns out, it’s just a rope. And once you have seen it as a rope, you can’t see it as a snake anymore.
Dean Sluyter: Right. Right. Right. Right. Yeah. And, and that’s physiological change. Yeah, it works. It works both ways.
Rick Archer: It does. And I think a balance is useful, because there is the I’ve run into it a lot. And during these interviews, there is the phenomenon of people sort of psyching themselves up into an intellectual understanding of non duality or something, and in my opinion, mistaking that for the actual living experience of it, yes. And, you know, and had they read too many books or whatever, and then they get on the chat groups and make holy terror of themselves, you know, being as non dual as they can possibly be with others, and so on. And, and so, you know, there’s some kind of, but it’s good to have that intellectual understanding of non duality or anything else.
Dean Sluyter: Well, I like I like, what the way Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj. Put it said, don’t try to understand. It’s enough that you don’t misunderstand. That’s good. Yeah,
Rick Archer: yeah. Yeah. And there’s a Tibetan saying Don’t mistake understanding for realization. Yeah, yeah. Well, let’s see here, a question came in from Kranti in Freehold, New Jersey, of all places pretty near your old stomping ground. And her question is, it is often claimed that awakening happens spontaneously, or by chance, and that you really have no control. But I feel that there are many subtle processes going on to make it happen. And one day we’ll be able to track its progress, like we can do now for a shipment. What’s your take on it?
Dean Sluyter: You know, there’s, there’s a line in one of Hemingway’s novels, where one character says the other How did you go bankrupt? And he said, he says, well, two ways the first gradually then suddenly And, and I think awakening tends to be, well, it’s different for different people. You know, and we tend to, to, you know, usually the ones that get a lot of play in the literature, or the or the sexy stories, the ones like, like we read, I mean, the wonderful inspiring story and I’ve told it so many times I’ve of Sri Ramana Maharshi is awakening, you know, the 16 year old kid who has a panic attack he thinks he’s dying, and but has the somehow the innate wisdom to instead of panicking to Okay, let it go, okay, there goes the body there go the senses, there go the thoughts. And then when he let everything go away, what was left was my death. It was, it was awakening, it was, you know, as Maharishi said, just nothing but something very good about it. So those tend to be the ones that we look at the dramatic ones. For most people, I think it’s much more, it’s a gradual, slow cook that it’s like, you know, the Apple ripening on the tree. And then, after the years of the apple ripening, maybe a breeze comes along, and the apple falls. Yeah. Right. And but then the usually the stories that we’ll read, are the stories about the moment when the apple falls, right? You know, like, there’s a great story. And I’ve used this in my writing somewhere about a Zen practitioner, who’s he’s walking through the busy marketplace one day, and here’s a butcher. Here’s someone saying to the butcher, give me give me your best cut. Give me the best piece of meat, and the butcher says, it’s all the best.
Rick Archer: Industry is already good.
Dean Sluyter: And the end the month, here’s that employee, he just realizes it’s all the best. It’s all the best. So, so we hear that story, which is great. And it’s beautiful. And it’s poetic. But you know, what we tend to forget is that the monk probably spent years of of meditation before that moment happened, are we there’s another one about a monk of he’s rolling across a foggy lake. And here’s the coining of a crow. And that coining of the crow for him as the MaHA vaakya. You know, the awakening the great utterance that does somehow that’s it the calling of the crow that does it. So and what and the, the mistake would be for people to hear that and go, Okay, I gotta find that lake and go there and wait for a crow to come and that way. And in a sense, that’s, that’s the story of that’s how religions start. Yeah, you know, I once heard, you know, our dear recently departed friend Jerry Jarvis. I once heard him say, Okay, you want to hear the history of religion in a nutshell. One day a guy was sitting out in a tomato patch. And, and he and he woke up. And then 100 years later, people were sitting in tomato patches, waiting for the great tomato to come and wearing little tomato medallions around their neck. Yeah.
Rick Archer: I remember there was a, what they used to call refrigerator quote of Maharishi because people used to put these things on their refrigerators. That was, you know, don’t think that you can’t get enlightened in New York City said, you know, when the time for awakening has come even the stench of a rotten bus exhaust could be the final trigger.
Dean Sluyter: Yeah, you know, I like the Zim stories. You know, of course, there’s a lot of Zen stories where a monk will go to the Roshi to the master and say, and one of the classic questions is, what is the Buddha? Meaning not what is that guy who lived, you know,
Rick Archer: what did he go to nature, whatever,
Dean Sluyter: but what is Buddha nature, what is Enlightenment? What is ultimate reality, but they say they phrase it as, what is the Buddha and sometimes you’re told, well, the Buddha is the beautiful sunset or the Buddha is that the geese in in August disappearing over the horizon? That’s very beautiful and poetic. But I like the stories where the master says, The Buddha is a pile of cash in the middle of the road. Right? Because you know, that’s, you can see it there. You can see it everywhere. You know, I one book that I wrote I got a I want to mention this, we’re gonna
Rick Archer: talk about that. So we’re gonna talk about some movies before we’re done. Yeah, good, good, good,
Dean Sluyter: because this is this is a book I was looking at my sales figures the other day, which you can do online now and like this is this is the my book that sold the fewest copies and I keep thinking one day, this book is going to get rediscovered.
Rick Archer: I have maybe today
Dean Sluyter: maybe so cinema Nirvana Enlightenment lessons from the movie. So when I was writing this one, and people said, Oh, you’re writing about Enlightenment lessons and movies, okay. You need to write about the matrix and you know, all this spirit and our brother son system The Moon. Yeah, right, blah, blah. So I didn’t write about any of that low hanging fruit. So what I wrote about was Jaws, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, all this stuff where you wouldn’t think you’d think there couldn’t possibly be Dharma, there couldn’t possibly be spiritual teaching there. And when I, because I just start with the premise, if the infinite if the Buddha nature, is what it’s supposed to be, it has to be everywhere. Yeah, it has to be in the pile of tallship. It has to be even in a crappy movie, like Independence Day. So I deliberately wrote a chapter about independence day.
Rick Archer: I always like to say that if we actually think about what we’re looking at, you know, including pilot cow shit in the road, and just kind of drill down or zoom in a little bit, you know, to the molecular level, let’s say, you see this marvelous thing happening there, and little bacteria and how immensely complex and sophisticated little mechanisms they are, and, and then take it down to the atomic level, the subatomic the quantum level, there’s all these amazing, you know, laws of nature, which we scarcely, we don’t fully understand, operative in every little particle of creation, near and far large and small. And that’s the divine and play, and we just, for the most part, ignore it.
Dean Sluyter: Yeah, and, you know, to a certain degree, you can do it intellectually, which is kind of what you were describing. And then the other thing that happens, which is more neurological as you just continue to meditate, and then you open your eyes. You know, this morning, I was looking up. And again, I’m so fortunate to be living here in a little beach bungalow in Santa Monica. And there’s these three magnificent palm trees towering above our, our little cottage here. I was looking up at those palm trees on going, what are those things? Those that that’s used to be we would drop acid, that kind of like, that is amazing. But,
Rick Archer: but there’s my arm.
Dean Sluyter: But you know, there’s this freshness of awareness that if you pay a little bit of attention, and that, you know, gently Oh, yeah, that’s a palm tree. I’ve seen palm trees a million times. It’s just a concept. Yeah, you look up at the actual experience. Oh, wow.
Rick Archer: Yeah, it was, like we were saying a few minutes ago with the moon making point, if you just sort of stop for a moment and kind of contemplate the miracle of life and the miracle of what you’re actually experiencing, even though it might be a sort of an intellectual trigger evokes a sort of visceral or experiential change, you know?
Dean Sluyter: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. It’s, it’s all going on all the time. Yeah, under all circumstances. And, you know, one of the great joys of, you know, kind of coming into greater maturity as a practitioner of this stuff, is that the, the apparent dividing line between so called meditation or so called spiritual practice, and so called life, you know, that apparent dividing line more gets blurrier and blurrier. And then you realize, oh, this is what Maharshi was saying, way back when this is what’s posts supposed to happen. This is what he called CC, you know. And he, he did such a beautiful job of, of outlining it in a in a linear way and putting words to that. But again, everything being a double edged sword, that also tended to make us I know attended to make me think of, okay, cosmic consciousness, that’s going to be another phenomenon that I experience.
Rick Archer: And I’m going to be so awesome. And you’ll be able to know everybody’s thoughts and
Dean Sluyter: yeah, yeah, yeah. Although, although, you know, the more and I find that and I’m sure you find that the, the more you become free of all your conceptual noise, I mean, the conceptual noise may still be there, but you become less. It’s got its claws are less deep into you, you become less invested in it. So you what I find is that I think less, which is a great relief, I think less and I or if the thoughts are there, I just know, they’re just, they’re just freakin thoughts. That’s all, you know, they got nothing to do with reality. So there’s less investment in thoughts and that leaves space to see. Yes, go. And then that looks to other people, like you’re reading their minds. You know, like I had a pair of these two friends of mine who were had been, you know, romantically involved for a while, and they, they showed up one day at my door, they rang the bell. I opened the door and I looked at them, I said, Oh, you’re getting married. You know, it’s not that I was drilling into their skulls, it was just, it was obvious. Yeah, you see stuff. And also I find, and I write about this, I’ve got a chapter two about this in in the new book. Again, coming back to the practical level where people get hung up and suffer, but so many people are paralyzed by trying to make decisions. And it’s because they try to make decisions by thinking through all the possibilities, but the possibilities keep branching, you know, I can go this way or this way, well, if I go this way, then that can go this way. This one goes, you know, pretty soon, it’s 248 16. And you can go crazy trying to figure out trying to make decisions. Now, this word decide comes from the Latin, Desi daddy, which means to cut, which I interpret as, rather than, okay, I’m going to follow the proliferation of all those branches, and finally, compute the whole thing. What can you think about that for a while, and then that the moment of decision is a moment where you cut off all the branches, but one, and you do that, not by thinking, you do it by seeing by feeling and feeling, not the sense of some vague emotion, but feeling like, you know, this is one of the reasons why it’s so wonderful to watch great athletes, you know, when LeBron James is charging the net, and there’s five defenders on him, and he, you know, he makes the shot. It’s not think he could think, Okay, this guy’s going this way, you know, it’s all going way too fast to think about what he can, he can see he can feel, by not being invested in his thought he can see he can feel one nanosecond from now where, where the path is going to open up the path between where he is, and the net. And this is one of the reasons why it’s so exciting to watch anything being done at that level. Because it we resonate to that. It’s like, oh, yeah, like that’s, that’s the way I want to be able to do everything. Yeah, that’s that’s that is functioning from the zone. That’s what enlightened activity is like, we we intuitively recognize it, it feels great. Whether it’s, you know, sports or acting, the arts, music, anything, you know, live, that’s why great, enjoy jazz, as you know, you listened to Coltrane going places with the saxophone that no one ever could have would have gone before. And he could never go that way again, a second time. Yeah. It’s just It’s like opening up in front of him. I think that the story of, of the Red Sea parting in front of Moses, I suspect that that’s a metaphor for that same thing, and, and more and more. It’s just that’s what life feels like. I don’t have to think about all this stuff so much
Rick Archer: anymore. Yeah. It’s what Maharishi used to call spontaneous right? Action. Yes, there was another phrase he used to use, which was support of nature and tell you an interesting experience we had yesterday, there’s this Facebook group, which I think is all over the country. But there’s a local chapter of it here called Furbabies. And people use it to report lost cats and dogs that they either find or have lost and sometimes other animals. So So yesterday, somebody reported having found a young possum in a trash can probably it got in there with his mother and the mother got out and the baby couldn’t. And so this is, you know, what should I do with this possum and I read it, my wife is a avid animal lover, and she naturally began to feel like what can we do to help this possum? So we went down to Walmart to get some stuff. And right in front of us, as we were looking for a parking place was a car with Virginia license plates. And the word of the actual thing on the license plate instead of a number was possums. So we know we got and we walked up to the woman and we said, Do you rescue possums by any chance? And she said, Yes, I do. So we kind of connected her with the person who had found the possum and all that stuff. So that’s what I that’s what he used to call support of nature. I think your life begins to click that way sometimes.
Dean Sluyter: Yeah, it does. So sometimes, you know, and yeah, and I’ve experienced a lot of on the other hand, you know, I think it was Mark Twain said, any party that takes the credit for the rain will have to accept the blame for the drought.
Rick Archer: Yeah, good point.
Dean Sluyter: You know, and, you know, like, when I hear that, and this is just me, but you know, I hear the Law of Attraction stuff of okay, I’m going to do my spiritual, whatever it is, and it’s going to make, you know, the money come to me and the but you know, I think I kind of I kind of hope that that doesn’t work.
Rick Archer: Well. It’s too willful and manipulative in those cases. I mean, we had no idea we were going to, you know, run into a woman who rescues possums who happened to just arrive in town for Virginia. It was more like just had the desire, forgot about the desire, and that’s boom. Some kind of fulfillment,
Dean Sluyter: you leave yourself open Yeah, just, you’re, again, you’re just resting back in awareness, you’re resting back in openness. And the stuff that’s needed, does have a tendency to show up. I find this when I’m writing when I, when I set out to write a new book, okay, now I’m gonna write a book about fearing less, or now I’m gonna write a book about movies. And then, like, the stories that I need start showing up in the New York Times where I, where I start hearing the anecdotes that I need from from people. And, you know, I’m just kind of like a little magpie. Okay, I’ll take this little piece of this little gum wrapper and, you know, build a little nest and call it a book.
Rick Archer: Yeah. I want to loop back to grantees question before we get too far afield, which was about Can you trace the mechanics or something of awakening or Enlightenment, and I think that there’s something we haven’t touched upon, which is worth mentioning, which is that there, there should be I mean, if if awakening or Enlightenment or whatever word you want to use is a profoundly different state of functioning than is ordinarily is the norm, then there should be a profoundly different state of physiology associated with it are correlated with it, and their ancient traditions, which have charted that out in great detail. I have Joan Hagen’s books on my shelf, Kundalini Vidya, and she has it all mapped out in great detail, and I’m sure other traditions have done the same. And it may be something that, you know, modern neurophysiology manages to understand quite clearly over time, I’ve interviewed a couple of neurophysiologist recently who are dedicating their lives to that. And I think it will necessitate an understood understanding of subtle physiology as well as growth physiology to really come to terms with it.
Dean Sluyter: You know, I think on the on the one hand, that’s really exciting, and it’s really great and important that someone do that, on the other hand, kind of from the practical side of the practitioner, which is always my bias, it doesn’t matter. But yeah, I
Rick Archer: mean, you know, we had, I mean, LeBron James doesn’t worry about, you know, what’s going on in his neurophysiology, or how his brain works, or anything like that. He just is great at playing basketball.
Dean Sluyter: And in fact, can you know, I was talking about Coltrane before. Way, who’s the other great tenor saxophone is who did the bridge? I don’t know. I forget right now, but, but the story is that Gunther Schiller who was a, who was a music critic, wrote this essay about, oh, this is what this jazz player is doing this, this brilliant stuff that no one’s done before. And he’s, you know, he’s stacking the chords vertically instead of horizontally or something like this. And then the musician made the mistake of reading the essay. And then he couldn’t do it and asked him up. It messed him up and made himself conscious about but I mean, for example, you know, in the jungles of ancient India, we had Yogi’s doing all these centuries of just, you know, trial and error research and development. And one of the things that they discovered was, ooh, Jai breath, you know, the Darth Vader breath when you do that constriction in the back of your throat, and they discovered that, you know, if I breathe that way, why it’s just really has this profound tranquilizing effect, it’s really a good kind of on ramp to meditation. Now, fast forward many centuries, we find out that, oh, when you do that constriction in the back of your throat, you’re stimulating the vagus nerve, which runs from the base of the brain down to the diaphragm. And that tends to switch off the sympathetic nervous system and the fight or flight response that it elicits. And switches on the parasympathetic nervous system, which is the you know, the stay in play response. So So Okay, fine. We know the mechanics. We know how it works. But we still do dry breath the same way.
Rick Archer: Yeah. So the yogi’s, that you refer to are basically conducting a scientific experiment, centuries ago, and in these days with with modern science experiments have been done to discover what you just explained. And I don’t think there’s any harm in that. It’s just it’s an addition to human knowledge. And since the Pandora’s box is open, in terms of scientific understanding, it’s not going to be closed. There’s, I think there’s a mutual sort of symbiotic benefit to spirituality and science, you know, getting in bed together if we want to mix metaphors that yeah, each one can help the other tremendously.
Dean Sluyter: Right? But I think there’s one or two things to be careful of which which is always true when you get in bed with anyone. You want it you want to use appropriate protection, right. And and in this case, we have to be careful of, you know, as more as the the neurophysiological symptoms of awakening, perhaps are described in greater detail, we have to continue to be vigilant to not mistake one symptom for the cause, you know, this is something that happened back in the 70s. I think with the the popularity of biofeedback right? Oh, but people who are in an awakened state, they stopped alpha waves or whatever, they have alpha waves instead of beta waves. So let me figure out how to produce more alpha waves and then I’ll be awakened, then it doesn’t necessarily work that way.
Rick Archer: Yeah, no good point. You know, a lot of the neurophysiological correlates of meditation or higher states of consciousness are, you can’t consciously manipulate them or try to trigger them in order to evoke those states of consciousness, which is an interesting consideration itself, because a lot of people these days are hoping that there’s going to be some kind of app, or some kind of contraption that you can strap on your head, or something that’s going to, you know, give you a shortcut to Enlightenment. Why go through decades of practice where you can just strap this thing on and you’re golden in an hour. Right? Right. Right. Yeah. Which it’s debatable.
Dean Sluyter: Yeah, yep. Yeah. But you know, again, the desire for something quick, is not a wrong desire, right. And again, this is why and I’m finding myself emphasizing this more and more in my teaching, look, here’s the thing you can do in 30 seconds. Like I’ve got this this chapter from, from from my new book, which is actually it’s running on the Oprah’s website. Right now, it’s on oprah.com. It’s a two page chapter in the book, and it’s called Breathe through your seat, right. And I just point out to people, you know, you just put your attention on the soles, you can do this while you’re sitting comfortably with your eyes closed, or you can do it while you’re there introducing you and you’re about to get up and do some public speaking that you’re nervous about, you’re trying to call the person up for the date or, or you know, whatever it is. And you just put your attention on the soles of your feet and kind of feel kind of imagine that as you breathe in. You’re breathing in through the soles of your feet. As you breathe out, you’re breathing out through the soles of your feet. Now, I’ve gotten letters from people saying, Man, I just started doing this breathing cream through your feet thing, and this is going to replace Ambien. I’m sleeping at night for the first time. You know, one thing that I love is is my favorite Mantra to share with people these days, which is okay, I thought you’re gonna say, Ah, well, that, that’s, that’s another one. But, you know, especially so many people who are caught up in depression or grouchiness, or some, you know, and this makes use of, of something that actually was first studied by Charles Darwin, the facial feedback hypothesis, which is, as you know, tick not Han says, Sometimes our joy is the source of our smile, but sometimes our smile is the source of our joy. It works both ways. So I have people go, okay, 123 way, and you got to have the mudra along with the Mantra 123 We do that three times. And I say, now try to be depressed. Yeah. You know, and, and, and there’s a lot of people walking around depressed, and there really is this simple. And they you may or may not ever get them to sit down and close their eyes and, and meditate for 1520 minutes a day. We know you and I know that anyone can do that. And that it would really help them a lot. And if they would, we can just get them to sit down and shut up and and try it for 15 minutes. And you know, lead them into the effortlessness. They, they would get it, but maybe they’re going to do it, maybe they’re not. But you know, and again, this was something Maharishi said years ago, which is, you know, that he said sometimes he said, he said, When you need change for the parking meter, a quarter is more valuable than $100 bill. So we don’t have to give people supreme Enlightenment all the time, give them something that’s going to soften up their suffering a little bit, give Shama a little daylight and then maybe we can talk about the next thing.
Rick Archer: Yeah, that’s good. While we’re at it, when I was in that section of your book, where you presented breathe through your feet, you I jotted down a few other little techniques like that that you mentioned. I thought I’d read them to you and you can explain to us what they are one another was relaxed at the moment of contact.
Dean Sluyter: Oh, yeah. Yeah, this this one and I tell the story, I got this teaching when I was practicing Aikido this beautiful Japanese non fighting martial art when the person comes at you. The whole idea is instead of opposing them or fighting with them, you use their energy use their momentum to help them sail across the room. So I was practicing for my next promotion test. And I had to do this thing where three attackers, one after another, Come after me to try to tackle me. And they were succeeding in tackling me. Because every time so one of them grabbed me I was tightening up and not and I didn’t realize that I was tightening up because I was so caught up in tightening up. So the next time as the attacker, Rashmi, I heard my teacher’s voice, he was halfway up the stairs to the, to the meme stressing. And he called that Dean, relax at the moment of contact. And for a second, I thought, What’s he talking about? And then I realized, oh, yeah, I’m doing this. And I, and it’s physical, you know. And that’s the wonderful thing about martial arts, you get this physical feedback. And so I dropped it dropped the tension out of my shoulders, the my energy dropped to my center, I was doing the same, technically the same steps you plant your feet like this, you pivot like this, but now it worked. Now the guy went sailing across the wheel. Right? So most people are not going to practice Aikido but the attackers in life are okay as the crazy neighbor who’s given you a hard time about how you set out your trash cans, the, you know, the baby possum, the whatever the the fact that, that, you know, the bad report about your biopsy, you know, these are the attackers of life. And just through long standing habit, we tend to tighten up whenever one of these things comes at us. And you just just, you know, can remember that little practice slogan, relax at the moment of contact again, it, it just opens up space around the situation, you’re not so caught up in it, and you can see your way more clearly to making appropriate responses. Take it easy. Take it as it comes. Make it easy.
Rick Archer: Here’s another one simple that you’ve said, the sweetest dog in the world.
Dean Sluyter: Yeah, yeah, this is a thing. And I actually have this chapter on my website. Because it’s one of my favorite things where I saw this bumper sticker once that said, Dear Lord, please make me the person my dog thinks I am. And the, the, the little technique that I give is to sit, close your eyes, imagine that you’ve got the sweetest dog in the world with you, you guys may have the sweetest dog in the world, actually, within a week or so. So you don’t have to imagine the squirrels don’t think so. But we do. Right? So and what you do is and this is an alternative to on the one side trying to suppress your afflictive emotions, like you know, your rage or your your grief or whatever it is. And on the other hand, like indulging in them and just getting caught up in the story. So instead, you close your eyes and imagine that you’re telling the story to the sweetest dog in the world and just totally indulge the indulge here the better just totally tell the whole thing. And the great thing about the sweetest dog in the world is he’s the world or she is the world’s best listener. Yeah, right. doesn’t disagree doesn’t agree doesn’t interpret doesn’t understand all this waka waka waka you’re doing with your mouth but does understand feelings. Oh my dear human friend, he’s so sad. Let me just and the dog takes it into his heart and just explodes it into space. And then I do a thing where Okay, after that’s all gone. Go take a walk around the block, take a breather, come back. Do it a second time. This time. Imagine that you’re the dog. You’re listening from within all that doggie for looking out through those doggie eyes of love. And and out there. Oh, there’s my dear friend Rick. Oh god, I love him so much. Oh, he’s so trouble. Come on, Rick, tell me your story. And you just take it in, take it in exploded into space in your doggy hartill Till it’s all gone. And people who who have practiced in the vada Jana tradition, Tibetan Buddhist tradition will recognize that this is an update of of a very adrionna approach.
Rick Archer: Here’s another one. I like this one. Would it help?
Dean Sluyter: Yeah. And there’s a great
Rick Archer: Bridge of Spies.
Dean Sluyter: Tom Hanks great, great, great, great performance by Mark Rylance who actually won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar 2015 film Bridge of Spies Steven Spielberg film, and Mark Rylance plays rudolf abel is the true story of a Soviet spy who was captured by the Americans in New York City in the 1950s. And the good news is that Tom Hanks is his lawyer, so you know, how bad can things get? It’s become anxious on your side. And in their first jailhouse meeting, Tom Hanks says to him, now listen, you know,
Rick Archer: Tom is meditating These days, by the way, but it is yeah. Jerry Seinfeld turned him on to it. But go ahead, continue
Dean Sluyter: great, great to hear that he deserves it. He, so he says to the spy, so listen, you know, you’re very inconvenient or to everyone, the Russians, the Americans, everyone wants you to go to the electric chair. So and, and real faithful listens to that. And he says, all right. And Tom Hanks says, You don’t seem worried? And he says, Would it help? Right? And the I mean, boy that, see that’s a another one of these you mantras. If some people, you’ll hear that, and you’ll realize, all this worry that I do. It’s like I give in the in that chapter. Another way that it was said by Shantideva, great sixth century Buddhist sage, who said, if there’s a solution to the problem, what’s the point of worrying? If there’s no solution to the problem? What’s the point of worrying? Ya know, and if you can see clearly, even once the futility, not only, you know, a lot of people, they just, they’re living with this unexamined assumption that if you’re not worrying, you’re not being responsible. And if you can see, clearly, once that worrying is not productive, in fact, it’s counterproductive, then it starts to loosen its grip on you.
Rick Archer: Yeah. And again, this is that cart and horse can under more, you know, are you in a natural state in which you spontaneously Don’t worry? Or are you inclined to worry, but you actually do something to sort of break the habit of worrying? And it kind of works both ways, you know,
Dean Sluyter: yeah. And again, and again, you know, it’s funny, I was actually having this conversation with Phil Goldberg, who, who lives about six minutes from me, and we take, you know, we’ll both be in the middle of writing books, and we go, we take walk and talk on the beach together. And, and we were noting how, even though, you know, we were both years away from our old days of being involved with, with teaching TM and being involved with the TM organization, that so much of Marsh’s wisdom, just, we appreciate it more than ever. And so one thing that Maharshi said in this case was he said that it’s like, it’s like a table with four legs, you pull on any one leg and the other three, come along. So pull. So it’s not really a conundrum. It’s it’s a wonderful, you know, ample illness of opportunity that you can find, improve the physiological or improve the psychological view, improve something and the rest comes to go along. Yeah.
Rick Archer: Here’s an interesting question. This is from Mark Peters in Santa Clara, California. Mark is a regular viewer, he always posed a question. He said, Can you point to a particular experience on your awakening journey that permanently and dramatically shifted your perspective? Or has it been more of an unending series of subtler aha moments? We were talking about that earlier about the subtle versus the dramatic and sandhill bonder uses the frame losers a lot of people are losers.
Dean Sluyter: Yeah, yeah. Or Mooji says you know, most people are on the slow cook plan. Yeah. I’ve had some dramatic experiences for sure. Some of them were in in childhood. One of them the most dramatic the most fun one to talk about. I actually got to plug another one of my books this this books actually out of print, but you can find copies online why the chicken cross the road? And other hidden Enlightenment teacher? He’s
Rick Archer: finally answered that question.
Dean Sluyter: Yeah, yeah. Yeah. So and this is chapter one of the of the book, which is what me worry. So our premium and that’s right. So here we go. True story. I’m 12 years old. And my mom sends me out to the garage, because we’re going to be going to drive in movie later that day, which dates me and, and I go out to the garage to the to the Nash Rambler. stationwagon. Right. And by and by the way, the the movie we were going to see was Parrish with Troy Donahue. So 1961. So I go out to the garage, and I’m picking up all the toys and the comic books, in my mind, even at that age of 12. My mind was just tricked into taking all that branching and well what if that and that if that happens, that happens, that happens. And the next thing that I pick up is a Mad Magazine, with Alfred D. Newman’s idiotic grinning face on the cover and underneath as always, his slogan what me worry. And my mind went boiling oil. And it was like, it was like the top of my head opened up and this I fell into it. And it because what happened was, I saw that this thing that I was doing this bla bla bla bla bla was, is something called worry. And that on some level I was, I had been choosing to do that I had been flipping that lever over and over, and that therefore I could stop. I could and that really in a nutshell, that’s the Buddha’s Four Noble Truths right there in that experience, yes, suffering happens, but the sufferings not because of what’s going on outside, it’s because you keep pushing that button, all you got to do is stop pushing it and, ah, that’s cessation of suffering. And the fourth noble truth, but then, you know, we tend to fall back into the suffering so it takes some practice over time for most people. So my mind just opened up and I was just I was just completely it just like cut it with a knife, eat it with a spoon. Such it Ananda bliss. And we went to see this dump movie and the whole thing, the whole movie, I’m just floating in bliss, we go home, I get in bed and fall asleep, floating in bliss. And years later, of course, I read about the you know that there are names. Of course the names are not really what that thing is, that thing is what it is in its purity. It is what what I experienced. And, and so, so that gave me some some, I wouldn’t say that I that it was irreversible. And I never went back to worrying. But it gave me such a. And I think it’s actually more useful from a teaching point of view that that did not happen to me. Yeah, that, you know, they say the worst person to study the violin with is the person who was the violin prodigy. Yeah, the person who didn’t have to, you know, you get the lesson then you lose it The beautiful thing that I heard Rupert Spiro say, on a retreat once this really brought me to tears, actually, he said, he said, getting the thing getting the open and getting the bliss getting the simplicity of of non dual awakeness. He says getting it is grace. Losing it is grace. And the losing it is actually the greater grace, because then you have to find your way back. Yeah.
Rick Archer: So I hope you have a picture of Alfred E. Newman on your puja table.
Dean Sluyter: I’ve got I have to actually not at the moment I’ve had, I should he’s my route guru. As the as the Buddhists would say the one who first gave me the juice. I will we do have Hello Kitty.
Rick Archer: Okay. Yeah, speaking emoji, that I know that you’ve resonated with Mooji and spent some time with him and all he’s a very sweet man, I’ve really enjoyed having a couple of conversations with him. There’s a rather devotional scene around him now, which some people makes some people a little nervous. Let’s talk a little bit about devotion, not necessarily exclusively with reference to Mooji. But you know, it’s in some traditions, it’s considered to be a sort of a more a riper stage of realization than so called mere Self Realization, a blossoming of the heart that eventually happens because the heart is one of our faculties, and it’s bound to develop in time. But I guess the reason it makes some people nervous is that it’s gotten a little weird sometimes. And it’s been abused. And, and yeah, that sort of adulation has gone to the heads of teachers to whom it’s directed, they haven’t been able to handle it maturely. So you have any thoughts or comments about that whole topic?
Dean Sluyter: will actually let me talk about the scene around Mooji a little bit because I have spent considerable time with him I’ve gone through I think, I think I’ve been on trips and within five different countries or something. And you know, I said, at the outset of this, it seems like the story of my spiritual life is that every nest I get comfortable in, I wind up getting kicked out of, and, and I must say, When, when, when my wife, Jada, and I, when we first met Mooji. And it was it was before he became so well known, so popular. We went on a treat with him in southern Italy, in this little old beat up, Villa that had become kind of a hippie artists coming in or something. And it was only about 50 people there. And I think that besides us, there was maybe one other American, most of the people were Italians, which was great because we were supposed to be in silence, but the Italians couldn’t keep silence to save their lives. And they were smoking cigarettes everywhere, and the food was great. And it was very, very intimate. But when we first came there, we you know, first week we flew down from Rome, and then there was a train and then there was a bus going through this little village of Lecce and on the way there and it was this hot July day and There was a religious procession and the old Italian widows in black and they’re carrying the crop. It was like being in a Fellini film. It was just terrific. And then we get to the villa with our suitcases. And the fellow who drove us there, the Italian fella who was hosting us said, and we were early, that retreat hadn’t started, we were some of the first to arrive, he said, Would you like to meet Mooji? And we said, well, sure, we’ve been seeing him online, I’ve never met him in the flesh before. And we go out to the veranda and he’s sitting there on this little couch, and we walk up to him, and we sit and we sit down, and I can to save my life, I can’t tell you what the conversation was. But all I know, is I just sat down, I kind of put my hand on his knee, he put his hand on my hand, and we just time fell away, space fell away, cause and effect, that idea of the ridiculous laughable idea that I’m an entity stuck zip and ego zipped into this bag of skin, just why everything fell away. And, and I really felt, this is it, I found, you know, at the end of that, that retreat, I said to him, I you know, in tears, I always knew there had to be someone like you, you know, it was and, and then he started making more videos, and I would send them out, you know, I’d see these teachings, these five minute videos. And I’d send it out to everyone because, you know, oh, everyone’s got to see this. It’s so simply so powerful. And just his Darshan, his, his presence just comes through the screen. And, you know, that was very point in experience for me. And then, as you say, there started to be this scene around him this devotional scene and everyone dressed in white and singing, you know, hymns to him and, and I don’t know if I’ll ever go back there. I don’t think it just it. The thing is, I mean, I could feel that devote that devotional thing swelling in my heart. But I don’t want other people telling me that I’m so upset, I’m supposed to feel that I just when it’s when it’s it. And the other thing is that what I see is whatever role I have as a teacher you know, the Buddha shortly before he died, said to his disciples, Go throughout the land, and teach the Dharma, right, teach the awakening path, go throughout the land and teach the Dharma in the dialect of the people. Okay, my people are, you know, middle class Americans, right? And the length the dialect of my people is not wearing white robes and singing hymns of adulation and touching the Guru’s feed, so I can, and and he still puts out, he does these wonderful, because teaching is the same as far as I can see. And it’s still that same, but I can’t send out the videos anymore, because they start and end with these hymns that I know, as, as, whatever responsibility I have as a teacher as a guide. I can’t be responsible for turning people off.
Rick Archer: Yeah. Well, he could put a lid on that sort of thing. If he wanted to admit, perhaps he feels that it’s legitimate expression of the people who have become His devotees, and he doesn’t want to quash it.
Dean Sluyter: Yeah. Yeah, I don’t know. You know, and again, I can’t say it’s right, or it’s wrong. But I know that it’s not. It’s not.
Rick Archer: I mean, you see all kinds of there’s beautiful literature in the Vedic tradition now Srimad Bhagavatam, and the various bhakti sutras or whatever the different things and it’s it really, and you know, there’s all these beautiful expressions about the sort of devotion people would feel in the presence of Lord Krishna or their guru or whatever. So it has a legitimate thing. It’s just a little alien to our culture. Although I guess in the Catholic, Christian and particularly Catholic tradition, there’s something along those lines. But it just it’s easy for it to go off the rails. I guess that’s the thing that you’re being you’re squeamish about here. And it also clashes with as you said, your your clientele the people that you primarily interact with. So, you know, it may have its place for those people, but it’s not really going to be something you can promulgate.
Dean Sluyter: Yeah, you know, I gave a talk the other day, I was invited to give a talk at at a local Yacht Club. Yeah. And I’ve given workshops for CEOs, I’ve given workshops for lawyers, workshops for, you know, for medical groups, and, and some of these people have kind of a healthy American skepticism. And and that’s, that’s great. That you know, The dialect of the people is American. I teach this stuff in American and a once in a while, usually I’ll throw in, you know, a reference to the teachings of the Buddha or the Bhagavad Gita or the Gospels. Just so people know. I’m not making this stuff up, right? This stuff is road tested. Over 1000s of years, it’s been handed down through venerable traditions, but you don’t have to sing mantras in Sanskrit to to get it now. I personally, I love singing mantras in Sanskrit. I do it every day, sing them in the shower. You know, but, but I just feel that my main responsibility is to have to make the gate as wide as possible. Yeah, and just remove the the turnstiles, that’s what attracted me to becoming a TMT, you know, I never would have even started TM, I knew I was going to be a TM teacher, before I started TM, I never would have started otherwise, because I knew I wanted something that I could share with everyone. Oh, simple, natural, innocent procedure and do for 20 minutes twice a day, right? You can still say those words in your sleep. And, and it was great. And but then, you know, they made the gate. Again, this was just my take. They made the gate too narrow. They made the turnstile too hard to get through. So I had to go elsewhere, which was, which for me was perfect.
Rick Archer: And the gate has gotten wider against Yeah, yeah, good. I mean, just scribbled a note here, when I made that reference about, you know, devotional scenes going off the rails, and she said, it’s not like an intellectual teacher can can’t go off the rails because you know, that that can happen to where, right, yeah, but anyway,
Dean Sluyter: but But back to the heart of your, your question, which is the, the cultivation of the development of devotion. Yeah. As a as a very, maybe a further ripening of, of awakening, you know, in Maharishi to talk about that terms of well see, cosmic consciousness leads to God conscious, right,
Rick Archer: right. Appreciation becomes superlative or Sublime and, and then there’s naturally a great upwelling of love and even devotion.
Dean Sluyter: Yes. And that’s it right there. You just use the key word appreciation. That’s really, you know, when I described before, looking up at the palm trees that grow on trees. Wow. Yeah, it’s right. And the thing is that, you know, I think that if you have an especially a beautiful, charismatic, sweet teddy bear, you know, enlightened teddy bear of a teacher like Mooji, it’s so easy to feel devotion for him. But then, you know, the moment it gets bound up with persons, the moment it gets bound up with personalities, and that, that the feeling is that the devotion is specially for this person, specially for this teacher for this thing for this palm tree and not for this, you know, ficus tree over here? Yeah, then it starts to be shaken. Yeah. But it’s a shortcut. And that’s why it’s tempting
Rick Archer: to align that marshy said one time about God. He said, Well, wherever you find him there he is found for the first time but later on, he is found everywhere.
Dean Sluyter: Right? Right. Right. Right. Yeah. So it can be useful, okay. If I if I can, you know, start off I see, okay, here’s this, here’s this. Here’s this person, that I mean, that and that actually, that teaching of my rishis. I mentioned before, I used to teach Plato’s Symposium in my literature of Enlightenment class. And in the, in that book, Socrates very systematically describes that as a path to Enlightenment, you start by loving the beauty that you find in one person, and then we’re one and then from there, you expand you find that that in many different people, that same quality of beauty, right, it’s something more abstract it’s, it’s, it’s not just that person, it’s some quality that shared by these other peoples and then you start to find it in the arts and in institutions. And so and eventually he describes where it’s just this vision of, of just the cosmic beauty of of the whole universe that is completely in and and you read it, and you go, Oh, my God, it’s an exact description of of Enlightenment. It’s just It’s a beauty that doesn’t it doesn’t get bigger, it doesn’t get smaller, nothing can be added to it. Nothing can be taken away from it is completely independent of any you know, material circumstances. And you go right on Socrates
Rick Archer: Nice. Yeah. So movies, I guess a fella named Declan Cooley from Krakow Poland send in a question say, Hello, do you know enjoyed all your books, including cinema nirvana? In reference to the book? Are there any more recent movies or the like that have caught your attention in a similar way? You ever get into Breaking Bad?
Dean Sluyter: You know, I haven’t seen Breaking Bad is next on our list. We’re catching up. We’re in the middle of Deadwood right now.
Rick Archer: Okay,
Dean Sluyter: it’s pretty dark. You know, transparent. If you’re talking about these TV, Netflix, or HBO, or whatever it
Rick Archer: Is that the one about with what’s his name? Yeah. Yeah, transgender guy,
Dean Sluyter: the transgender parent, but it winds up going deeper and deeper into the lives of the conscious. There’s a lot of exploring identity in terms of sexuality, not only for the transgender parent, but then each of the children. Well, you know, am I straight? Or am I gay and when, and, and for a while, you might think that Jesus, this thing is just about sex and sexuality. And really, there’s more to identity than sexuality. And after a while, those characters start to realize they start getting deeper into themselves. It’s beautifully done. There’s a new film that I actually have only just seen the trailer, but my wife saw and my wife Jada is a film editor. She works in documentaries. And so we go to a lot of screenings of of documentaries. Vin vendors has this new film about Pope Francis, about that. Yeah. And even if you just watch the trailer, at the it’s the last moment of the trailer, he looks right into the camera, and smiles and you go, where there’s the Darshan right there. Yeah, this guy’s got some juice.
Rick Archer: Nice. Yeah. I listen to some of your analysis of some of these movies, which one would think of a spiritual like The Godfather and jaws and so on? And as I listened, I thought, all right, well, you can do that with anything. I mean, you can read as much, much as you want into anything, it wasn’t necessarily the intention of Francis Ford Coppola or whoever, or Steven Spielberg to have all that meaning on there. And I’m just using that as a vehicle for bringing out some points.
Dean Sluyter: And I say that explicitly in the introduction to the book, okay, say I assume they did not intend that. Right. You know, people say to me, Oh, they always miss that part. I’m not saying that’s what they intended. But if they did intended, that would make this less significant. My point is that, just as you said, you can do it with anything, because it’s everywhere. Because if the Buddha nature really is what it’s supposed to be, then it’s gotta be everywhere. And if we look at things slantwise just the right way, we can we can find the Buddha in a pile of kalscheur. And we can and, and, but also there is something more, which is why do certain films and books persist as classics, you know, there’s something in Casablanca, there’s something in Jaws, there’s something in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, that keeps us coming back to them. There’s something for that matter in Macbeth and Hamlet, and, and the Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, and there’s something that keeps us coming back. And, and my sense is that it the, the creators of those works, were just kind of so in that zone, that the juice came through them with somewhat more clarity than usual. Yeah, and just like watching LeBron James, you know, rush the net, in the same way we feel that we respond to it. It’s like the one tuning fork vibrating in sympathetic resonance with another when when we we respond to it for the same reason.
Rick Archer: Another thing I often think about with movies is that you know, certain movies really inject an awareness of of some something interesting or deeper into the national consciousness, like you have a movie like Close Encounters of the Third Kind that comes out or Star Wars or these movies and all sudden everybody’s talking about, you know, intelligent life in the universe, or the force, you know, this universal field of intelligence and, and you kind of wonder whether the movie makers are just serving as conduits perhaps even unwittingly, for some higher wisdom to be disseminated. Much as some scientists sometimes say that they just feel like they are a conduit or a vehicle for some knowledge that is ready to dawn and if they didn’t discover it, someone else would have because it had come.
Dean Sluyter: Right. Right. You know, there’s that famous story about a I’m Stein, in his later years when he was teaching at Princeton. And he, in his general theory of relativity, he had posited that if the theory was true, one implication of the theory is that lightwaves had to be bent by gravity. And so
Rick Archer: theorem was anything went down to Africa to do the observation. Yeah, right. Take
Dean Sluyter: the photographs on there. And the student comes rushing into Einstein’s classroom and Princeton saying, Professor Einstein, your theory is has been confirmed. And he was very blase about it. And he said, Aren’t you excited? He said, No, if he, if
Rick Archer: any students say, What would you have done if it hadn’t been confirmed? And Einstein said, I would have been sorry for the dear Lord, but theory is correct. Right?
Dean Sluyter: Yeah. And he knew it, he knew it. He knew it. Because you as we were saying before, it’s less thinking more seeing he could see it.
Rick Archer: Actually speaking movies, we watched a great one the other night called The Man Who Knew Infinity with Dev Patel and Jeremy Irons. And it’s a true story about an Indian mathematician, who came from very humble village life in India, who was to this day he is theories are being used to understand black holes and all and he’s just totally brilliant. And, but he just said, he, his God just gave him all these things. He said, How do you know this stuff? And we need to find proofs for it. And he would, he kept saying, Well, I don’t, it’s not my worry, finding proofs. I mean, I just this stuff just comes to me and I express it.
Dean Sluyter: It’s great. That’s great. That’s great. You know, and that’s why, you know, you can have the most brilliant film critic or literary literary critic, and they can’t necessarily produce a great film or a great work of literature, they can understand it from from the outside, they can do brilliant commentary on it. But you know, and, and that’s a book that I’ve got to write some damn, you know, I’ve got to do. I’ve actually written a couple of chapters of not, you know, you know, okay, here’s, here’s the, here’s the Dharma teachings of Macbeth, for instance. But when Shakespeare was writing Macbeth, he was, he was just he was in the zone, presumably, and, and for that matter, he was in the requirements of Elizabeth and theater, hey, we need some exciting stuff here, we need to wake up the audience at the beginning is that let’s have a some thunder and lightning, let’s bring in some witches to get people excited. But within the form of that the, you know, the juice came through.
Rick Archer: Yeah. A couple more things I want to discuss with you before we wrap it up. One is that you mentioned that towards the end of your book, there are some chapters which get into some pretty profound stuff. And I didn’t get that far into your I didn’t finish the book. So I didn’t read those chapters. So maybe we can talk about some of those things. But before we do, there was one thing I did read, which was about Bill Wilson, the founder of AAA, and how, I guess, the the final step of the 12 step program was supposed to be some kind of spiritual awakening or spiritual cognition or something. And he was always looking for that. And he actually, you know, did psychedelics with Aldous Huxley. And he eventually, in the early 70s, learned meditation from a friend of yours was probably also a friend of mine. And we wanted to tell that story a little bit. And then we’ll segue into some of the stuff in the final chapters of your book.
Dean Sluyter: Right, so So Bill Wilson, and by the way, this isn’t a chapter of the book titled 12 steps to thorns. And I’ve done a lot of work with people, addicts and alcoholics. There’s a lot of meetings that happen here in LA, and a lot of people from those from those meetings, those 12 step meetings have found their way to, we have Tuesday night meditation here in our home in Santa Monica. And it’s free, it’s open everyone, anyone in the LA area, get on the website and come here and come on Tuesday night. And I actually I tell the story in the book about one girl who came maybe about 20 years old, and she sat through the meditation. She came two weeks, three weeks and, and didn’t say anything. And then one night as she was about to leave, she pulled me over. And she said, I just wanted to tell you. I am a heroin addict. I’ve been sober for six months. The meditation tonight was so deep and profound and blissful. I didn’t think I could ever feel that way in this life without drugs. You know, and you hear something like that. You go, Okay, I’ve not been I’ve not been selling people, an empty bill of goods. The stuff really does work. Thank God. Yeah. And it’s and I really do believe that it is the lack of that the lack of that, that coming home on to that bliss, which is inherent in our nature that makes people addicts. I think addicts are there just like everyone else. But more. So I think addicts are born spiritual seekers, you know, they go, okay, I get some happiness from driving the car, I get some happiness from work, you know, but where’s the bigger rush? Where’s the bigger thing? Okay, so
Rick Archer: relevant point with the opioid epidemic being what it is these days, it’s like people are crying out for what you’re describing. Yeah,
Dean Sluyter: absolutely. And, and until that is supplied, whether it’s by the David Lynch foundation or you know, everyone who can pitch in, you know, the people that I get to, you know, until people get that it’s going to be just like shifting the, the, the deck chairs around on the Titanic, you know. So Bill Wilson, the founder of a the one who first laid out the 12 steps in the 1930s, by the 1950s, realized the it’s the 11th step where which is okay, through prayer and meditation, we had conscious contact with the higher power. So it’s the 11th, everything else, the first 10 is kind of cleaning, you know, clearing the path for the 11th step you make amends to people that you’ve heard and evaluate yourself, you do all of this 11 Step conscious content. By the 1950s. Bill Wilson realized that the 11th step wasn’t really working. People weren’t really getting the GFC were making true conscious contact, they were having some they were, they were mood making, you know, they were trying, they were having some nice sentiments saying some nice prayers, but they weren’t getting the stuff. And he was he was, you know, astute enough to realize that there had to be real stuff away to really get the juice. And he wound up with all this Huxley and some of the other early psychedelic pioneers dropping acid with him. And apparently, he got real excited. He ran back to the organization said, Okay, we’re gonna modify the 11th step. And apparently, they went whoa, slow down. That that’s, that’s, that’s not good. You know, the old man’s gone over the edge. So so that never happened. But then in 19, I think it was 1971. He was he was dying of emphysema as a result of of heavy smoking of, by the way, the 12 step drug of choice, which is cigarettes. Yeah. And you know, around here, you can always tell where the meetings are happening. Because outside on the sidewalk, people are smoking cigarettes, which, by the way, in this country, every year, cigarettes kill 10 times as many people as opioids, just saying. So,
Rick Archer: so they’re a nicotine is just as addictive? Probably. Oh, yeah. You just can’t overdose on a cigarette, but it gets you in the end.
Dean Sluyter: Yeah. So. So he’s in his his, his house in New England. It’s a cold December day. He’s a couple of weeks away from dying, actually. And he had some friends and relatives there. And they had an old friend of yours in mind. X, this was Lincoln, Lincoln, Norton, Lincolnshire. Yeah. And they had Lincoln over. And he taught them all natural meditation in the form of TM. And the story is Lincoln left, Bill Wilson, sitting in the upstairs bedroom, meditating for 10 minutes, you know, the procedure and then came back 10 minutes later, open the door, the room was empty. And Lincoln comes downstairs and says every Has anyone seen Bill, and just then Bill burst through the front door. And what had happened was, and here he was really just so weakened near death, he opened his eyes out of the meditation, run down the back stairs, run out into the snow to breed, the Chris winter air, came in through the front door, burst through and said, this stuff works. That’s great. Yeah. So you know, if if he had not already destroyed his body, if he live beyond just a few more weeks, who knows what would have happened whether meditation would have come into the been incorporated, I mean, real effective meditation, not just the kind of, you know, lip service that’s done, frankly, and most 12 step meetings and for that matter, most martial arts places and a lot of churches, but you know, just the real technology, the profound, letting go, the profound effortlessness that really allows the sinking into bliss to take place. If if Bill had lived long enough to really bring that to the 12 step program. You know, things might have been different. So okay, now we’re doing whatever this is 3040 something years later, now we’re bringing that
Rick Archer: Yeah. And as far as Bill is concerned, the way I see things, that was a nice springboard for him, and I’m sure he’s doing fine And yeah, no nice pic carried on from there.
Dean Sluyter: Yeah, no nice that he nice that he got that actually you’re talking now about the more heavy chapters at the end of my book, one chapter is called The valley of the shadow, which is about dying. And again since this is a book about fear, fear less that’s a big that’s a big one for a lot of people because you know if you think you’re this thing if you think you’re the wave and then oh my wave this wave that I’ve identified with is melting then that’s catastrophe. That’s an isolation. But if you’ve practiced, you know, if you’re sitting down for your, you know, 20 minutes twice a day or 10 minutes once a day, or, or 30 seconds while you’re sitting at the red light, just anything, you’ve just getting some practice of K melting down into yourself and discovering Wait, I’m not wave I’m ocean. Then when death happens? Oh, yeah, okay, I’ve done this fire drill. I’ve done this before. This, this feels familiar. It’s the same kind of melting.
Rick Archer: You probably your you probably quote in this book, that verse from the Gita that even a little of this Dharma removes great fear.
Dean Sluyter: Yes, yes. Yeah, that’s, that’s in chapter one. Yeah. Yeah, even a little bit. And this is what unites it, you know, so I throw out all of these little things. Okay. Breathe through your feet, relax at the moment of contact, say we what, you know, it’s something to start to let some some daylight in and then go from there.
Rick Archer: Yeah. What are some of the other you know, heavy duty things that you get into towards the end?
Dean Sluyter: Well, I have a chapter which actually, some people have told me is the most useful thing I’ve written. And the chapter is called Lord Shiva kicks ass. Okay. And of course, as you know, Lord Shiva is the Lord of Destruction, or I prefer to say dissolution is a little gentler. You know, everything that you have, everything that you’ve identified with as important is going to go away, your favorite shirt is going to be a dust rag. You know, you’re having a good hair day today, you’re gonna be bold tomorrow, guaranteed. Everyone, you know, everyone you love is gonna die. Right? All, you know, all this, this, this, this, this offer is good for a limited time only, you know, whatever it is.
Rick Archer: 5 billion years from now the whole planet is going to melt because the sun’s going to expand and absorb it.
Dean Sluyter: Yeah. So where this really comes into play in our own lives is something that something or someone who’s very precious to us vanishes. And the story that I tell us about the death of my first wife, Maggie, and you know, Maggie was this just wonderful, buoyant, funny. Put, you know, her her idol was Lucille Ball. But Maggie was also she was a former fashion model, very beautiful. And she was, she was a kind of a junior teacher in the Buddhist organization that we were connected with at the time. And you know, her death was an incredible teaching for me. One thing that happened, as she was, she was dying. She, you know, a few weeks before she died, and, you know, I’m dealing with all the, you know, incredible physical indignities. She was dying of colon cancer. And, you know, it’s a lot of it’s not pretty. And she said to me at one point, you know, how do people who don’t meditate, deal with this stuff? You know, and I just, I don’t know. No. And at another point she, a friend of ours from this Buddhist organization, we were connected with call called her up, he was very excited. Listen, I made arrangement. I can get some Tibetan monks to come to your hospital room and chant you know, the Bardo, total and blah, blah, blah. And, and she said, Oh, gee, really, thanks so much. But you know, what? That’s not been a part of my practice. During my life, it would not be authentic for me to do that. Now. She said my practice is just being without hope or fear. Right, right. Because everyone wants to be without fear. I mean, that’s why I wrote the book fear less every but you know, no one wants to be without hope. But hope and fear are their their flip sides of one another, you know, II hope is this invest Seeing your happiness in a particular outcome. Right? I hope if this thing happens, then everything will be okay. Fear is the is this The flip side is the same investment? Well, if I don’t get that outcome, then life is not satisfactory. Right? But what if we can just be right in this moment, which is all we have just be in awareness, which is all we have, and realize that hope and fear are, they’re just thoughts. Just thoughts and let those thoughts go. Like anything else. There’s profound liberation in that.
Rick Archer: Yeah. And now, go ahead. Go ahead. Yep. And then the other piece of it, but I just don’t hope and fear has neither one actually pertains to the present, you know, right. They all pretend to hypothetical future which we have no control over.
Dean Sluyter: Yeah. And not only we have no control over but which which never arrives, you know, the future lies ahead. And always will, ya know, the future is this thing we call the future is like the the carrot dangling in front of the donkey, which we keep it the donkey never catches up to the x by the way, or all the tin cans tied to the donkeys tail. And if you can just okay, whatever carrot, whatever, Kenton cans, whatever, just rest, okay, I’m the donkey, here I am, then then then we’re getting somewhere. Now, the other thing I talked about is after Maggie died, and you know, that was very hard for me, it really hit me was going to the ANP and buying groceries for one. And but after a while, I started to notice. You know, there’s a famous story about a samurai poet named Masahide, in medieval Japan. And he became very wealthy and he had all his possessions. In a storage barn. Of course, this was before the days of insurance, and the barn burned, he lost all his wealth. And his response was to write a haiku, which said, barns burned down. Now I can see the moon. Right? So the time of loss, is also if we pay attention, if we pay attention, gets the time of loss can also be a time of seeing a time of, of liberation. Yeah. And that’s why Lord Shiva is the Lord have traditionally the Lord of Destruction, but also the lord of Enlightenment.
Rick Archer: And is often associated with pure silence, you know, Transcendence, and so on, which is kind of what you’re aiming to have people experience with through natural meditation. Yeah, yeah. So basically, you’re sneaking Shiva in the back door here.
Dean Sluyter: She she was the last one out of the building. Right? Yeah.
Rick Archer: So if people go to your website, I understand that they can actually kind of learn to meditate there. Yes. Talk a little bit about that, what they can find on your website.
Dean Sluyter: Okay, so on my website, in addition to my touring schedule, and people are watching this live, I’m going to be soon in Louisville, Cincinnati. Chattanooga, Big Sur. Couple things back here in LA. So I’m all over the map,
Rick Archer: I just want to mention that we have a page on BatGap, which will be sending you information about where if people type in their zip code or their city or whatever, it shows them in radiating outward from that location, and the events offered by anybody I’ve interviewed who has put in the necessary information. So if they’re in Louisville, or whatever they they put in, you know, there’s Louisville zip code, they would see your event coming up. Oh, that’s great. That’s under the Resources menu on BatGap.
Dean Sluyter: Can I just say, Rick BatGap Thank you. What a great thing this is. And everyone watching this if you’re watching this, you’re like this, send these guys some money. Right Thing? Come on. Yeah. So yeah, so on my website, which they can get to fear less book.net Fear less book.net or Dean words.com With however, then
Rick Archer: D words actually redirects to Dean slider.com. Yes,
Dean Sluyter: exactly. No one spelled slider.
Rick Archer: And I’ll link to all this from your page on BatGap. Also,
Dean Sluyter: good, good, good. So if you’re watching this, you’re on BatGap, you can get to my site. So on my site, I’ve got one page called meditate now, where I have guided meditation, audio tracks, so it’s the you know, just gently pulling the rug out from under your effort so that you can just slip naturally into through this letting go of doing and just being which is natural rotation?
Rick Archer: Can you even download an mp3 or whatever to put on your, your iPod or something?
Dean Sluyter: Yes, you can you can stream the stuff for free or for a few bucks. I think it’s seven bucks or something you can you can download the the mp3 into your phone.
Rick Archer: Great. All righty. So, yeah, so I’ll be linking to your website and people can go there, and you probably have some kind of email list that people can sign up for to be notified of things. Right. And all that. And great. Well, it’s great connecting with you again, Dean, after all the years.
Dean Sluyter: Really great, really wonderful. And really, thanks for doing what you do. It’s just, you know, no one else does this in the way that you do. And it’s really just terrific.
Rick Archer: Well, I can say the same to you. You know, we’re all doing what we can, and doing what kind of we feel naturally moved to do. And I don’t think I could do what you’re doing. But but I can do this. Yeah, I’m doing it.
Dean Sluyter: Yeah. You know, I said to my wife the other day, you know, it’s a good thing I can write and I can talk, because that’s it. That’s my skill set after the beyond that I’m completely useless. Out of the gene pool. And it’s
Rick Archer: nice to be doing something, you know, that you feel can really help people. And as you certainly are, and as as we as BatGap seems to do from the feedback we get. It’s very gratifying. Yeah. Yeah.
Dean Sluyter: You know, you get up in the morning, you got to do something. So you may as well liberate sentient beings from suffering,
Rick Archer: right? And yourself in the process. Yes, yes.
Dean Sluyter: And you know, and that’s one final thing that Maharishi always used to say to us, which is the teacher always benefits more than the student?
Rick Archer: Yeah, it’s true. You know, just to belabor this point a little bit more, don’t you have the feeling that, you know, once you sort of get on this bandwagon of doing something, which appears to be evolutionary, and help conducive to people’s Enlightenment, and upliftment and alleviation from the suffering, it’s like, you start getting the wind at your back, I mean, you start getting this sort of support and opportunity. And, and, you know, it’s like, it’s as if the powers that be say, Hey, boys, we got a live one here. Let’s give them some juice, you know?
Dean Sluyter: Yeah, it seems to be you know, it’s the, you know, the universe is made out of Buddha nature, the universe is made out of such it, Ananda and it in the sense to anthropomorphize a little bit, it wants to realize itself, yeah. And we can see all the workings, the whole cosmic creation, the whole, okay, now we’re going to have the solar systems we’re going to have all of that is I think it’s just all beingness trying to fully realize being this is to try and wake wake up to itself. And so I do think that when something or someone comes along, who for a while, in some way, in some region of the creation, is helping to facilitate that, then there tends to be some some confluence of support for that.
Rick Archer: Yeah. It’s like there’s a cosmic purpose, and you’re helping to serve it. Yeah. And it’s, it’s much bigger than you are. So it’s not like you’re kind of like making it happen. But you’re just kind of cooperating with it as you like, you know, that old story of the people holding up their sticks to help Krishna hold up the mountain, you know, yeah, right. Christians work, but. But they feel like
Dean Sluyter: they’re helping. Holding up my little stick. Yeah. Yeah. All right.
Rick Archer: Great. So thanks for this. And thanks to those who’ve been listening or watching into those who sent in questions, and for those who have been supporting that gap. And for those who haven’t been but have been enjoying it, thanks to you. Well, this is part of an ongoing series. And if you go to batgap.com, you’ll see several things that might interest you, you can sign up for an audio podcast of the whole thing, or you can sign up to be notified by email when new episodes are released. It’d be good if you subscribe to the YouTube channel if you feel like it. Because having more subscribers on YouTube helps the whole channel get makes YouTube makes it easier for me to talk to YouTube representatives if I have a problem, and it just helps the whole thing. So do that. If you feel like it, hit the subscribe button. All that means is YouTube’s gonna notify you when I put up something new. And if you’re listening to this on some podcast thing like iTunes or Stitcher if you leave a review of it on those platforms, that helps also it makes that podcast the podcast more more prominent. So those are some things you can do to support it if you feel supportive. So thanks for listening watching and stay tuned for the next one. Thanks, Dan. Thank you