Della Transcript

Della interview

Rick: 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. There have been over 330 of them now, and you can find them all archived and categorized in various ways at, B-A-T-G-A-P. We appreciate the financial support of those who feel inspired to offer it. There’s a donate button on the site that enables us to do this show. Our guest today is Della. She has a last name, but she’s just going to go by Della.

Della: [Laughter] Right.

Rick: And Della had the good fortune of a life that many would have wanted to live. She grew up in a loving environment. She went to college. She started a family. She became a doctor and worked in an emergency room. She wasn’t looking for anything. She didn’t have any spiritual beliefs. She was happy. Then, in 2005, during a hypnosis session, she had what could be described as a near-death experience. Her heart was deeply touched by oneness and its unconditional love. Her life was turned upside down by this experience. With this free and loving presence breathing inside of her, all of her identity was put into question. Gradually, she had to surrender to the reality that we are one, and that no label, belief, or knowledge is needed for being, capital B. Her website is So, that was some hypnosis session you had there.

Della: Yes, it’s true.

Rick: Had you been doing hypnosis already for a bit, or was that like your first time you ever tried it?

Della: No, it was my first time, in fact. I went the week before to see a psychologist because there was kind of a situation in the family, and I was wondering if I could help. The psychologist said, “Well, maybe we could do just a hypnosis session and see what comes out of there.” I said, “Fine.” When we started the session, he said, “Well, do you have a question before entering this session?” I said, “Yes, how can I radiate peace in my house?” So, that was the question, and so I went through this beautiful experience, and well, it transformed my life.

Rick: Yeah. Please try to describe the experience itself in a little bit more detail. It seems like even now it moves you to think about it. So, try to give us a glimpse of what you actually experienced.

Della: Well, I went into, let’s say there were many stairs and I had to go to the 10th level. I don’t know, this was the suggestion of the psychologist. Then I opened the big doors and there was this tunnel of light, and I went through the tunnel of light, I went out of this body and I became, I don’t know, a being of light. There were others there with me, surrounding me with this love, and after that it just melted in oneness and consciousness. There was just this beautiful, unconditional love where everything is perfect. So, that was a really intense experience at that moment, and when I came back up there in my body, I was just weeping. It was just so intense, but the experience subsided afterwards. It took about 24 hours to come back home here, but then this unconditional love never left. It’s just part of who we are, who we all are. After this experience, I was accompanied with a voice. There was a voice within me for about two years after that, and the invitation of that voice was always to, “Would I be ready to love and give away my identity, my gifts?” Because there were many gifts given after that, like seeing auras and becoming the other, and seeing past lives and all those experiences that are different than what we used to experience. But they were only experiences, so the invitation was to let them go.

Rick: Let me ask you a couple of things here. First of all, when you went into that state, which you say is akin to a near-death experience, and some beings met you or something, were those deceased loved ones, or did you not know who they were?

Della: No, there was no personal identity associated to them. It was just beings.

Rick: Just some beings of light. Could you just gribe them, or were they just amorphous clouds of light?

Della: It was more light beings, so there was no special form. It was just more a sense of connection with those beings than connection to form.

Rick: Had you ever had anything when you were a little child that was out of the ordinary, or was this the first thing that ever happened to you that was kind of like a far-out experience?

Della: Well, when I was a child I could see auras quite easily, and then after that the adults said that that was not possible, so I stopped seeing them. I was eight years old and I stopped seeing them, so then that was the first time after that that I could open up again.

Rick: Yeah, from the age of eight or whatever until this happened, by which time you were a doctor and everything, had your life remained pretty sane and stable and smooth, or had you gone through crazy teenage years and all that kind of thing?

Della: No, it was a simple life. Simple, I would say, even loving life, easy life. I was good at school, I had a loving husband and family, I loved my job, so there was not much to worry about.

Rick: Yeah, so this voice that you started having after this experience, how would you characterize that? Was it just sort of an intuitive impulse, was it speaking to you in French? What was the quality or nature of that voice?

Della: It wasn’t French, it felt like something higher talking to me, but at the same time there was not much separation between what I would hear and what I would receive. So that was, I think it was only a guidance there, just inviting me to let go of identity. And it was very, very patient, so if I was not ready to let go of something, it was just kind of, I would feel kind of a smile and it would wait and it would come back. I was just so patient, so patient with me, so it was beautiful.

Rick: Do you have a feeling that it was like a spirit guide or something that was in any way different from you, or was it actually just your own higher self or some higher intuitive aspect of who and what you are?

Della: I guess at the beginning it felt kind of different than I, but after time it was just all the same, everything is just all the same. So I was not able to differentiate between what was different and what was reality. This had faded away along the time.

Rick: And so meanwhile, you said it took about 24 hours to come down from the initial experience, and then obviously you had children, you had your job and all that stuff, so you probably had to carry on with those responsibilities. How did your orientation to the world change? Were you walking around as if a whole new person in a way, a whole new perception of your children, a whole new interaction in your job? Or was it more vague and subtle than that?

Della: It was very intimate to start with, so there was not a lot of changes to be observed from the outside. When it started in 2005, the intensity of it became more clear at the end of 2006 and 2007. There I went through this identification quite deep, so I could not recognize my kids. I would go to the grocery store with my kids because they would put things in the basket, because I had no idea what this was all about. But I could totally observe that I could drive, I could go somewhere. Life was living, but there was no one on board. Well, there was someone on board because I could do things, but the identification to logic and thinking was not there. So at that moment I was able to work only one week on two, like every other week.

Rick: Only able to because you were just not capable of doing more? Is that why you were only able to?

Della: No, it was a choice, but it was very difficult at the time to work, because I was working in a big emergency in Montreal in 2005, and then we left for New Zealand to work in the small country hospital, which was really nice because it was not busy. So I did not need to use my mind too much to work. There were those reflexes that were fine, but at the same time it was very difficult for me to work because patients coming in were just perfect. So for me there was nothing to fix. So it was really difficult to play that game of being sick.

Rick: So if somebody came in with a broken leg or a ruptured appendix, you would think, “Ah, they are just perfect the way they are.”

Della: Well, in a sense, in my heart it felt like it was perfect and life was taking care of everything else. So it does not mean that you do not attend a broken leg, it just means that things are just done prior to the idea that we have to fix something, and someone is fixing something. It is just obvious that life is taking care of everything in different forms. So being someone who is taking care of something was just very foreign to me.

Rick: But then you are part of life, so even if you did not regard yourself as someone taking care of stuff, you were part of life taking care of stuff, couldn’t you say that?

Della: That’s true. So I could continue to work for a while, but after a while in October 2007, I went to work one morning and there was nothing left in my brain associated to medical knowledge. So that was something really important that shifted in my life and the voice just told me, “Are you ready to let go of that too?” So I could not prescribe a Tylenol, I had no idea what the patients would have, which is kind of scary, but at the same time it was just so obvious that I just had to let go of that kind of knowledge.

Rick: Yeah. A couple of questions. One is, from the time of your initial awakening, did it inspire you? I mean, did you engage in a mad scramble to figure out what had happened to you and start reading all kinds of books and things like that? Or did you somehow just know what had happened to you?

Della: I had no idea what was happening to me. I didn’t know any spiritual… I hadn’t read anything. So sometimes I thought I was in psychosis because of all those extreme experiences and so my surroundings also thought I was in psychosis.

Rick: Meaning people around you?

Della: Yeah.

Rick: Right. They thought you’d gone crazy?

Della: Well, you know, I’m from a medical background too, so of course those kind of experiences don’t fit in a book. So I was kind of uncomfortable with what I was going through. Sometimes it would be very painful because there was this ego who wanted to know what was happening and wanted to stay on board. So there was kind of a fight. But my brother Don was really close to me during that time and he had some knowledge in spirituality, so he just was my beacon light towards the journey telling me that it was okay. But then, it’s just after all the things went through that I received a video of Adyashanti. And when I watched the video I said, “Okay, I’m not crazy!” You know, kind of a real funny feeling, that this was not… this was really something possible. So it was reassuring to have that video. And I went after that a couple of days in retreat in Australia with Adyashanti and it was just so soothing, just to… yeah, I don’t know, just to bathe in this evidence.

Rick: Oh sure, yeah, absolutely. Yeah, I mean, because there are stories of people, one of the kind of more dramatic ones is this woman named Suzanne Segal who wrote this book called “Collision with the Infinite” and she underwent a really radical, abrupt awakening like that. And even though she had a spiritual background, she was even a meditation teacher, what she experienced was so different than what she had anticipated or understood that she had no idea what it was. And she lived in a state of abject terror for about ten years until she finally relaxed and accepted that it was something good. Jean Klein helped her make that shift. So I guess it’s just worth mentioning that because there are probably other people out there having experiences like this who haven’t necessarily yet found any kind of reassurance or guidance as to what’s happening to them, and they could even end up in hospitals, in mental hospitals and so on.

Della: Yeah, absolutely. I just read an article last week on Facebook about an article in psychology and it was “Difference between Psychosis and Awakening” which was really, really interesting for me, so many years after to see that there was something written on that and on internet available. So anyway, it was really interesting for me to have.

Rick: Yeah, I’d like to see that article. Maybe forward it to me and I’ll check it out.

Della: Sure.

Rick: In fact, maybe people listening would like to see it too. I could even, I don’t know, I could post it on your page on Batgap or something if people are interested. Or you could put it on your Facebook page.

Della: Yeah, whatever.

Rick: People can go there. So, was there a lot of struggle within you in terms of having to let go of your profession and things like that, where you kind of like battling it and trying to hang on and, you know, trying to keep it together on that level?

Della: Yeah, of course there was a part of me who was trying to do something with that but at the same time there was a knowing, a deep knowing that I had no choice. So, I guess one of the things that was very difficult for me is to let go of medicine because I loved my job and it took about eight months. When the knowledge left me, it took about eight months for me to go through the process of… the name is…

Rick: Integration.

Della: Yeah, when someone dies, you know, you go through…

Rick: Grieving?

Della: Grieving, yeah. So, it took about eight months for me to go through that process of letting go of that. And after that it just became really simple.

Rick: Did other things in your life fall apart? I mean, your marriage, did that happen?

Della: Yeah, this fell apart too.

Rick: Because you just didn’t get what was going on?

Della: Yeah, well there were many things but, you know, I was very free also. There was this conditioning that was gone and, of course, there was a part that I was seen as kind of a crazy lady and all that. So, there were many factors that came to that ending. But it was just part of what I had to go through, which is beautiful now.

Rick: Yeah, how many kids do you have?

Della: Three.

Rick: And what do they think about you now?

Della: Well, girls are really really close to me and we have beautiful contact. My son is interested in what I’m teaching. You know, there’s a curiosity but there’s also a distance. But there’s a lot of love.

Rick: Yeah.

Della: There’s a lot of love, so that’s beautiful. I think we all are being transformed with what we live, so it’s beautiful.

Rick: What would you say to people who hear your story and who think, “You know, I don’t know if I actually want to go for this awakening business because I don’t want my life to fall apart. I like my job, I like my family. I’m afraid that if I have an awakening it’s all going to fall apart.” What would you say to them?

Della: I would say, “Well, if it’s going to happen, there’s no choice.” So, if the calling within is so strong, those questions will arise. And sometimes, we have the freedom to say yes and we have the freedom to say no, but if their yearning is there, it’s going to come back. You know, nothing has to fall apart. I don’t think everything has to fall apart, but sometimes it does have to fall apart.

Rick: Yeah. So, in other words, some people in your understanding might undergo a profound, radical inner awakening and their outer life might not appear to change at all, and other people might be more like you where everything changes.

Della: Yes, I think so too.

Rick: Yeah. And would you say that’s because some people have a calling that is not congruent with their current lifestyle, such as yours, such as you did, whereas other people don’t have that calling and they’ll be perfectly happy continuing to be an enlightened electrician or something?

Della: I don’t know. I could not say, really I could not say. I felt real aligned with my life before, and I feel real aligned with my life now, so I don’t know. I think there was a part of me that could not exist in my prior life with this change in my life, so I don’t know. It’s difficult to put in a box, you know, it’s different from one person to another.

Rick: Yeah, and that was kind of a boxy question that I asked, but I guess I just asked it to reassure people that if you have a choice, if you feel an inspiration or an aspiration for spiritual development and spiritual awakening, go for it and don’t worry about the consequences, it will all be for the best and it doesn’t necessarily mean that things are going to change radically in your outer life, but they may, but if they do it will be for the best.

Della: Yeah, I think so too. I think it’s fine. Of course, the spiritual path is scary for identification. I think that’s true, that’s the reality of things because identification does not exist. So of course, there is something really scary, but identification can also exist and the soul of course exists through the process. So it can be gentle, it doesn’t have to be hard, but we can question with authenticity and love what we share most, what is the most precious thing in our lives that we want to go through, you know, if we want to see through identification, of course identification won’t like it.

Rick: Why don’t you define identification for the sake of the viewers?

Della: Well identification is all the idea we have on oneself about who we are in life, our name, our family, our work, all the characters we play to be loved from outside, to be in security, all those characters we play that are kind of limitating all the time, but it’s because it creates security which is good. So of course when we realize that we are free of that or when we wish to realize that we are free of that, well it’s going to be a challenge to look at all those identifications and see if they’re still necessary or not in our lives.

Rick: It sounds like in your case, identification even included things like broccoli and spinach and cereal, because you had to take your kids to the grocery store because you didn’t know what to put in the cart.

Della: Yeah, yeah, it was amazing, but even at that point I could just realize that everything was going great, everything was going the way it was supposed to go even if I was not there, there was nothing there to take control of that, which was amazing.

Rick: So you were kind of on autopilot.

Della: Yeah, absolutely.

Rick: So, would one way of describing what happened to you be to say that there was a radical falling away of the sense of a personal self or personal me?

Della: Yeah, it was a radical transformation but that lasted a long time, it took about a couple of years to let go of everything. And it ended after realizing that I had a lot of beautiful experiences of light and at one point I made meditation and I asked that all those gifts were taken away from me. There was nothing necessary to add to the simple reality of what is. So about 36 hours later it just left me, there was this flow of energy going out of me for about two hours. And when I came back from that experience I could recognize what was a kitchen for and what was a fork for and I could recognize my kids and so it was just an amazing, amazing experience to see how beautiful ordinary reality is.

Rick: So just to clarify, so when you said you’re having all kinds of beautiful experiences of light, I presume you mean like auras and angels and all sorts of nice, flashy experiences, right?

Della: Yeah, yes.

Rick: And so you realized that those things were not necessary, right?

Della: Yes, yes.

Rick: And then when you say you asked them to be taken away and then they left and then you could recognize what a kitchen is and what a fork is, did you mean to say that before they were taken away you had a hard time recognizing what a kitchen is and what a fork is?

Della: I had no idea what it was for.

Rick: Really? So does that mean you were so caught up in or engaged in these beautiful experiences of light that you had a really hard time in recognizing and interacting with ordinary reality, is that what you mean to say?

Della: Yeah, it was kind of the attention went to the extraordinary things.

Rick: I see, yeah. So you’d be in your kitchen for instance and there’d be angels or something, you’d be all caught up in that to the point where you weren’t able to interact properly with the ordinary kitchen that was there.

Della: Yeah, well there were no angels but…

Rick: Whatever these experiences were, yeah.

Della: Yeah, the attention was elsewhere. So yeah, I had no idea what it was a kitchen for, which is interesting.

Rick: Yeah, that’s strange. I mean it must have been very hard to function. If you didn’t know what a kitchen was for, how were you even eating?

Della: I guess it was eating. Well, most of the food was prepared by my husband at that time because I could not organize my mind to cook something, which was okay. There was not a lot of problem with that, but I could totally see that it was functioning fine.

Rick: Yeah, just wasn’t functioning so much in this world.

Della: No. But even my kids did not realize that I was going through all those experiences because the mother role seemed to be fine from their point of view, which was curious because I was living something totally different.

Rick: Yeah, so what was that, about 2008 or 2009 or something when you asked for the beautiful experiences to go away?

Della: 2007, July.

Rick: So nine years ago almost. And ever since then, it’s just been simple reality?

Della: Yeah.

Rick: Okay. Can you imagine or envision a time when those experiences returned again and it was sort of like that stuff is going on, but you’re so grounded in the simple reality of what is that you have no problem functioning, or do you think that they’ll probably never return and you wouldn’t even want them to?

Della: Oh, well they can be there any time they need to be there, but that’s all there is to add to that part of reality. If it’s there, it’s just there and there’s nothing to do with that. It’s just another, let’s say, expansion of the same reality which is there too. But you don’t need to make a story about that and make something special about that, it’s just another simple reality plan.

Rick: Little icing on the cake as they say.

Della: Yeah.

Rick: Okay, so you pretty much gave up being a doctor and now you’re a spiritual teacher. So how did you ease into becoming a spiritual teacher? I guess you would call yourself a spiritual teacher. How did you start transitioning into that? Did people start asking you questions or something and you started talking to them and one thing led to the next or what?

Della: I was quite silent for a couple of years, no impulse to do anything except maybe sharing Adyashanti’s video at my place because of this aloneness I had during the transition. But finally I didn’t do that either, I just went to someone who was offering videos, streets from where I was leaving.

Rick: Adyashanti videos?

Della: Yeah, and so I met those people and I spoke about my experience and then someone heard about my experience and made me meet someone who was giving satsang. And when we met he said, “Well, why don’t you give the four days retreat with me this weekend?” And I said, “Well…”

Rick: Who was that? Who was asking?

Della: It’s Michael, Zyber. And so I was there for the four days retreat and I didn’t say a word I think for four days because there was nothing to say. I just sat there and finally I was asked to give satsangs and to give retreats and that’s the way it just started.

Rick: So when you started giving satsangs and retreats did you feel like you had very much to say or was it hard for you to fill up the time with actually talking?

Della: When I would arrive, always saying that there was nothing to say, and then people would ask questions and then it would talk. So it had something to say obviously because it was talking. So yes, today I think there are so many things to say and at the same time there’s nothing to say. But from a human incarnation point of view I think there’s a lot to say, there’s a lot to discover and to let go, to have the mind help us to let go of things, which is really interesting.

Rick: So, what are some of the main things you say when you talk to people, when you give retreats or satsangs, what are some of your key points or most important points?

Della: Well, I think the first key point is that everything arises from love – the ego, everything we think that is not good or that should be transformed, everything is an impulse of love from an intimate point of view. So that is for me really important to realize because it helps to stop the fight against reality. So that’s the first thing and the other thing that I emphasize on is the security guards we create – the security guards of separation – that is a constant energy that is there to create the idea of separation. So that is really interesting to identify those because we think that we don’t want freedom, we want to control, but that’s not who we are, that’s the guardians of separation that do that, it’s not who we are. So it’s really interesting to see that we are the masters – when I say we, it’s like our inner soul is totally free of those guardians – so it’s really interesting to see this mechanism, so we’re free of that.

Rick: Now in your case, you weren’t looking for this and it just sort of happened to you and you had no control over it, it just happened. But when you give a retreat or a satsang, there’s a room full of people, it hasn’t just happened to them necessarily, and they are looking for it, they’re there because they want what you have. And how successful do you feel it is to give descriptions like the one you just gave and actually convey something to those people, or how should I say, be a catalyst so that the experiential quality of the words that you just spoke can be enlivened in them, rather than having it just be an intellectual concept that’s taken in through the words?

Della: Okay, well I guess for me I’m talking to the heart from the most intimate part, which is free of all the concepts, so if the yearning is there, it’s not a mental yearning, it is something more deeper inside. And so when we connect with this part, this intimate part, there is something that can be seen through the veil, that can be recognized and can be seen through the veil. And of course it’s important to point that awakening is most of the time a wish of the ego, because they want to get something else than reality, and that’s a loving impulse too, you know, we just want to be free. But it’s more like, for me the real path is opening the heart to reality as it is and see what we put in the way of just being touched by reality, because it’s a protection and we can be more vigilant to see what we put in the way of this beauty that is already here.

Rick: Yeah, I think a lot of people want awakening because they’re suffering, like the guy I interviewed last week. He just went through years where he felt like he was really suffering and he was just dying to get out of that suffering, and finally he had a breakthrough and he feels more relieved now. But what do we put in the way? And how much control do we have over putting it in the way? Is it a simple voluntary thing to not put it in the way anymore, or does it take time and deconditioning process?

Della: I guess it depends on people. I usually try to see what is the true intention of the moment, because if you want something else then this reality is going to be interesting to look at that. Because if you want a change, for example, in your life, the changes can occur here, in taking the risk of seeing the refusal that is here in the moment. And this refusal is perfect because it’s there in the moment, it’s protecting something. But can there be enough love in the heart to include this refusal and go and see beyond, in the presence that’s there, can it embrace this refusal. It’s the invitation to recognize the presence that is already here, but I guess if the ego really wants to have a change, a concrete change in the future, well then it avoids the invitation to come back home in that moment, of course. It’s always an open chance every second to open to presence.

Rick: I don’t know if this would be possible for you, but would it be possible to remember a specific person you worked with and where they were resisting in some way and you helped them to break through that and they let go of the blockage that they were putting between themselves and reality and underwent some shift? Can you think of an example?

Della: That’s a difficult question. It’s a problem with memory, which is a concern for me.

Rick: Yeah had a feeling it might be.

Della: We just arrived from a month retreat in Ecuador, which is a beautiful opportunity on the long term because after a few days there are some opening and vulnerability coming up and after that there are waves of the guardians coming in because they say, “Whoa, whoa, whoa, vulnerability is dangerous”. And there’s another wave coming in and then we open up to “what is this refusal, what is at stake here, what is at stake?” and then it opens again. So there’s this beautiful way of fighting and letting go and fighting and letting go and the more you’re conscious about this movement, well, you taste that freedom that is just so sweet of looking at all those reactions of refusal of reality and then it can be totally embraced which is the most beautiful gift we can offer ourselves.

Rick: That’s nice. So you pretty much see everybody going through this kind of pattern, fighting and letting go, fighting and letting go?

Della: Yeah.

Rick: How many people were on the retreat?

Della: 33, I think.

Rick: That’s pretty good, for a whole month.

Della: Yeah, well 33 for the first 10 days which was intensive, and then 25 stayed for the whole month.

Rick: So, by the end of the retreat, how do you think people were compared to at the beginning of the retreat? Really a pretty profound transformation for most of them?

Della: Well, I guess it would be better to ask them.

Rick: Yeah, that’s true.

Della: But I’m really deeply touched by the transformation of the risk going to the heart and being vulnerable. It’s just an amazing transformation for me to witness that.

Rick: Among people you’ve worked with, have you seen many of them go through radical changes in their outer lives the way you did? Job, marriage, that kind of thing?

Della: It happens, not most of the time, but it happens.

Rick: And when you’re working with people, like on a retreat or however you work with them, do you prescribe something for them to do on a daily basis, such as meditation or some kind of self-inquiry or something, or do you mainly just work with them when they’re with you?

Della: I usually do not give homework to do. I’m not into homework. But at the same time, if there’s a thinking pattern that’s kind of destructive or creates suffering all the time, I will probably suggest to put a tag on the fridge and remember just to see that that pattern is coming back. But no, I’m not into homework.

Rick: Well, I was kind of – a little bit earlier when you were talking about just sort of settling into the simple reality and just realizing that everything arises from love – kind of reminded me of Byron Katie a little bit, loving what is. She of course has attempted to have a systematic process that people can practice independent of her in order to realize what she’s talking about. So that’s where my question came from. I wonder if you had any kind of little procedures you developed that people could do on an independent basis?

Della: Well, of course, I have guidelines like suggesting to be authentic, to take responsibility, to take responsibility for the inner emotion that is there, just encountering the emotion from an open heart. There’s many things that I suggest to develop on a daily base, just to open to what’s vibrant inside and to acknowledge what is there. So I suggest things, but I have the strong belief that everybody has inside what is good for them and if it resonates, well, it will happen, and if it does not, well, it can be even violent to say, you know, to give homework that is not aligned.

Rick: Yeah, that’s a good point. So it kind of sounds like you’re saying that any sort of external prescription might be hard to match properly with the needs of any large number of people and that people are going to know from an inner impulse what they can do and what’s right for them.

Della: Yeah, I think there’s an inner wisdom that has to be heard over time – you know, there’s answers there, and so we suggest, but if it doesn’t fit, it just doesn’t fit.

Rick: Yeah. You know that voice that spoke to you for a couple of years saying, “Come on, you want to step in and make this your life’s work,” does that voice still speak or have you actually fulfilled what it was suggesting you do and so it’s just sort of sitting back and letting you do it?

Della: It doesn’t talk to me anymore. It stopped, I guess, in 2008.

Rick: Probably because you had sort of signed on for the project and so it didn’t need to bother you anymore.

Della: I don’t know, I could not give an explanation to that, it’s just not there anymore.

Rick: Yeah. In your observation, do you feel like there’s something happening in society, in the world, on a wider basis that is similar to what happened to you? In other words, people are sort of just starting to wake up inside through whatever means, I mean, it might not be hypnosis, but whatever they’re doing, there’s just sort of this popcorn effect where people are waking up more and more, there’s something in the collective consciousness that seems to be conducive to that.

Della: Well, since this happened to me I can observe that there’s a lot of popping up which is really beautiful. I don’t know if it was happening before because my attention was not there, so I don’t know. Maybe because the internet is there it’s easier to witness that, I don’t know. But at the same time I think society is kind of toxic, more and more toxic for the soul. And so we try to survive this strange society in which we live where we need to have so much possession and we need to build up an image and we have to have the right job and we have to be fulfilled by outside. So I guess that is a real strong motor to come back home, to see the craziness of those movements and come back home.

Rick: Yeah, I have these conversations with various friends about this idea of no-self. I know you’re kind of an Adyashanti fan and Adyashanti gave a whole course about the falling away of the sense of personal self, I don’t know if you saw that course. And yet there are other quotes from Adyashanti – maybe they were earlier quotes – where he talks about the idea that it wouldn’t even be possible to function as a human being if there’s not some sense of a personal self, and yet I have friends who say, “No sense of a personal self,” and I just don’t understand it. So it’s something I actually bring up in interviews fairly often, just to help work out my own understanding. I mean, it seems to me that if you stub your toe and it’s very painful, there’s a sense that there’s some kind of localized experience of it, it’s not happening to some guy in China, it’s not happening to a tree outside the window, it’s happening here to this body-mind, and you’d rather it were happening to the tree maybe, because it hurts. But maybe that’s not what is meant by falling away of a personal sense of self. What do you say to that?

Della: Well, you know, on my journey there was a point where there was no self, no personal self. The experience of it was no personal self, so I can totally understand the point of view that there is no personal self. But then my journey after that was the invitation to let the soul – the free soul, which is the individual part of being – to come back in this body, and for me the part of the soul is quite precious. It’s the most precious thing that we can live here on earth, is just being this individual color of the unknown and radiate what we need to radiate while we’re here. So I think the personal self is really precious.

Rick: So in your experience, when the sense of personal self had totally fallen away, was that the dysfunctional period in which it was hard to shop in the grocery store and all?

Della: Yeah, I would not say it was dysfunctional because it was functional really well.

Rick: Sort of, but you were kind of losing the ability to work as a doctor and you needed your kids to pick up the groceries, and you were not totally functional as you once had been and maybe as you are now.

Della: Yeah, as we are conditioned to be it was different, but it was functioning well I think. There’s a way we see that things are functioning okay, but it seems to function very well.

Rick: But anyway, that was that phase where there was no personal self, right? And then as the sense of personal self began to come back in, what was that like? Did it come in like boom like that or just sort of gradually, incrementally?

Della: Gradually it made me realize that it was safe for the soul to come back here. So there was a sense of fear, I think, fear of the soul of coming back here. So I guess the soul was gone, it was elsewhere where life could be safe. So, the scraping of ego and all this period was scary for the personal self, and I guess it just went away to take it easy for a while, and then the invitation was to come back here.

Rick: So, when you say “soul” are you equating that with personal self? Is that what you mean by the word “soul”?

Della: Yeah, I would say so.

Rick: Okay – and just to probe this a little bit more if you don’t mind – when you were in the no personal self phase, if you injured yourself in some way, painful, burned your finger or something, did that tend to bring in more of a sense of personal self or was it still like totally impersonal? There was just no, there was pain but it wasn’t pain felt by anyone or something?

Della: I remember hurting my toe, I remember banging my toe and there was a sense of something happening on my foot, but I had no idea to look at it, no impulse, and the next morning I saw that there was blood all over. But there was no pain, no reaction to that, there was no sense of protecting it. So, that was my only experience of physical problem with that.

Rick: That’s interesting because I often use pain as an example of how there seems to me there must be some kind of personal self, you know, because if you hurt yourself it happens to you, but you just kind of shot that argument down.

Della: Yeah, but that was the only thing, so I didn’t have an arm cut or whatever, you know, it was a simple thing, but it was strange.

Rick: Yeah, so now that the soul, as you put it, has returned, if you bang your toe it’s like, “Ow, my toe!”

Della: Totally.

Rick: And you take care of it, right?

Della: Of course, and it hurts.

Rick: Yeah, and it hurts you, it hurts Della, right?

Della: Of course, of course. And being here, you can be touched by the beauty, by the pain, by whatever arises in reality, which is beautiful. It’s even more painful than before because it’s just so direct, the experience is so direct that it’s overwhelming with intensity, but that’s the beauty of it.

Rick: Yeah, now is it a multi-dimensional sort of thing where, yeah, Della feels the pain but there’s also a dimension which is impersonal, beyond pain, and a large part of your awareness resides there, or is it really just not so complicated, it’s just simple reality, experiencing what you’re experiencing?

Della: I guess it depends, it varies. So I don’t know, sometimes there’s more silence than experience and sometimes there’s only the experience, it doesn’t matter, the point of view doesn’t matter about what is happening in reality.

Rick: Yeah, okay, yeah, that makes sense. The reason I ask that question is some people say it’s kind of like a spectrum where, you know, your attention can move back and forth on the spectrum according to the need or the circumstances and sometimes there might be a real sharp focus on some individual consideration and sometimes it might be much more universal and transcendent and beyond the personal and sometimes there’s a sense of integration of the whole spectrum in one, in one awareness. People describe it differently, so I’m just curious what you had to say.

Della: I don’t know, I think one thing is that I do not discriminate a lot on what is… on how I would experience things. It’s just so different from one moment to another and it’s just very simple because it’s just the way it is, there’s not a lot of discrimination about that.

Rick: Yeah, that’s good. Probably sometimes my questions tend to over-complicate the matter because someone like you is living in a very simple state of awareness and it is what it is and I’m more kind of intellectual and asking all these questions and probing different perspectives and all that. It probably seems like I’m making more of a fuss about it than needs to be made.

Della: No, that’s fine, it’s really interesting. All people experience different things and different perspectives and it’s beautiful, really.

Rick: Do you have a sense of continued progress or unfoldment, like a sense of adventure, like “ooh, this month it’s this and now it’s this” and there’s some kind of exploration still taking place?

Della: I think the human experience is a never-ending story, it’s beautiful. I think there’s always opportunities to open the heart even deeper through all what I go through, so for me it’s a never-ending thing. There is something that is obvious that is oneness and consciousness and there’s only that but from an incarnation point of view it’s a never-ending and beautiful experience unfolding.

Rick: By incarnation point of view, do you mean like reincarnation, like we might have multiple lives and keep on growing or you just mean as incarnate beings?

Della: Well I was talking about incarnate beings but I don’t know if there’s other incarnation. It would make sense from the point of view of time, but I really don’t know, I don’t know.

Rick: You write from, well I haven’t read a lot of what you’ve written because most of it’s in French but you sent me some translations of little bits of it. And you talk about being sort of guarded or protected and in this interview you’ve also mentioned that. So I’m just curious, a snail for instance has a shell and it would die without the shell, it needs the protection. And so I guess we build up a kind of a shell around our hearts or around our person in a certain way due to certain life experiences which we feel protects us from the world. And like snails, do we need to have that protection? And does there need to be a certain development of inner strength before the protection can be dropped? And will the protection just drop off spontaneously once that inner strength has developed? Or are we putting the cart before the horse here and can we just somehow, in some way, voluntarily drop the protection and we’ll be okay and the strength will rise to meet the challenges?

Della: Well I guess there is one point… well the protection can be just fine and most of human beings have their protection and they even don’t question it because it’s just comfortable and that is the way they are. The thing is, the point for me is when the protection are becoming uncomfortable and where we feel that there’s a lack of oxygen because we’re stuck in something. So being strong or not, it doesn’t matter because if you’re suffocating in the protection you will have the impulse to look at that. So I think we totally have the strength because we are alive. There’s nothing separating us from life. That is the protection that is protecting us from this evidence. So I guess if there is this discomfort and this yearning for oxygen and for being and for simplicity, I think that’s the most beautiful gift to see that the protection is not needed. There’s nothing to protect.

Rick: Well we are life, but you use the word “soul” and some souls have been traumatized, have been abused, have been damaged by rather severe circumstances and therefore they throw up protective mechanisms. So I’m wondering if those protective mechanisms are necessary for them and how do you best get them out of that kind of shell-bound existence? Is it just by ripping off the shell or is there some way of inculcating or developing greater inner strength in which case the shell will become superfluous?

Della: Well, I always ask what the people want, because I will never, ever think of removing a shell if the intention is not there. So that’s the basic thing. If someone is asking, well we can discuss together what’s there and is there still something to protect? If so it’s fine, but can we open to the possibility that maybe this time of protection is over or not, you know? But it comes from the inner impulse of each individual to see if the shell is still important.

Rick: Yeah, that’s a nice gentle way of putting it. Back in the 60s and 70s there were these encounter groups that were popular and they were quite brutal in terms of ripping away people’s protections and could be quite damaging for people. But it sounds like you’re going about it – I didn’t even think otherwise for a moment – but you’re going about it in a very gentle, natural way which wouldn’t traumatize people even further.

Della: No, that’s really important for me, not to go through a limit that is obviously there, that is basic. The opening of the heart for me is just associated to security and offering a loving environment to offer whatever is real for the person in front of me. That’s the thing, even if we open totally to the fact that the protection is needed, sometimes it’s just that, that will make the person realize that it’s not necessary anymore because we totally honor what’s there, you know, the reality of the moment. I think it’s simple.

Rick: Yeah. Here’s a question that came in from Dan in London. He asks, “It sounds like Della had a journey from ‘having a sense of personal self’ to ‘having no sense of a personal self’ to ‘having a sense of personal self’ again. Can Della explain the difference between the sense of personal self from before and after the awakening? It sounds like the pre-awakening personal self was more influenced by conditioning from society whereas the post-awakening personal self is more influenced by her eternal soul.” That’s a really good question Dan, thank you.

Della: Well I think that’s right. I think the previous personal self was a conditioned self. It was conditioned, it was limited, it was functioning according to society and family and personal beliefs, so it was really a limited expression of Della at the time. And it was fine because I was happy and it was a nice life, so there was nothing to say about that. But then afterwards you see there’s this free soul who’s here and is just enjoying moment by moment the reality of what is, and unfolding this joy of being here and being vulnerable and being touched by life.

Rick: Yeah, Dan’s question kind of reminded me of a nice metaphor which is that the caterpillar has a personal self and the butterfly has a personal self, but in between in the larva stage it’s all mush. There’s no sort of distinguishable entity in there, it’s just mush, and then the imaginal cells kind of create the butterfly and we end up with a beautiful butterfly. So, you kind of have to go through that metamorphosis stage I guess.

Della: Yeah, I guess so.

Rick: That’s very interesting. I imagine that if you were to – don’t let me put words in your mouth – but if you were to describe your sense of self now and how it functions with your sense of self then and how it functioned, that now there’s a… I’ll let you carry on with what I’m saying here, but there must be just a night and day difference in terms of spontaneity and freedom and qualities like that.

Della: Yeah, I think the first word that would come is spontaneity, because everything is fresh. There’s this laugh inside to discover the moment as it is, there’s something really free and laughing. And you know, there’s a way of seeing life as everything is a surprise and an invitation to open my heart more all the time, so there’s not a lot of thinking about, evaluation, and judgments and stuff like that. There are thoughts, there can be a lot of thoughts sometimes, but it’s just passing, you know, I cannot adhere to those processes of thinking most of the time, it’s just funny to see all this popcorn going on, it’s just amazing, amazing to see how life is generous of experiences. So yes, it’s quite different.

Rick: Yeah, with regard to thoughts, would you say that your mind tends to be generally more quiet than it was before the shift? That there might be some extraneous popcorn, as you say, some flurry of mental activity, but is there much less inappropriate or extraneous or unnecessary mental noise going on?

Della: Yeah, I would say it’s really quiet.

Rick: A lot of silence.

Della: Yeah, there’s a lot of silence, yes. But even when there’s no attachment to what is going on, it doesn’t matter what’s going on. I do not believe what’s there… even when I talk to you, everything I say, I know that that’s a story and life is more simpler than that, it’s just a moment and then we play a role in discovering what is beautiful in that experiment we are doing.

Rick: Yeah, I said this the other week, that in a way there’s a handicap in doing interviews like this because we’re talking about something that is kind of so simple and intimate and natural, but if we’re going to actually have a conversation we have to use words, and words are a far cry from the actual experiences. If you and I were to sit here for an hour and talk about what a mango tastes like, and what its chemical composition is, and what its biological or genetic background is, we can go on and on, but it would be nothing like actually eating one.

Della: That’s true.

Rick: But that’s the nature of the medium, we have to use words here.

Della: Of course.

Rick: And, you know, one of my motivations for doing these interviews is that by using words it inspires people to go for the experience, and we get many many reports of people who have had awakenings listening to interviews or going off and spending time with someone I’ve interviewed and undergoing some profound, beautiful shift of some sort, so that’s kind of what motivates this thing.

Della: Yeah, of course it’s beautiful. I think it’s important to have some media to help people going through this stuff, it’s an amazing journey.

Rick: Yeah, yeah. One other thought about thoughts that came to mind, a thought about thoughts, is do you find that your thought process is such that very kind of quiet, gentle impulses just arise from who knows where, and that you find you can trust them to a great extent, they are probably a hundred percent, that they are just kind of a natural impulse of what’s right in the moment, and perhaps creative ideas that come up, “I think I’ll do this,” but they end up just having a kind of a rightness to them that you have come to rely on as being trustworthy.

Della: I think so. I think just listening in silence of what arises is quite some wisdom there, there’s quite some wisdom there. So yeah, I think it’s good to put our attention on what’s arising before all how we should think, but just listening from silence I think there’s a lot of wisdom there.

Rick: Yeah. Okay, what else would you like to tell us? I know you’re probably not going to come up with a lot unless I ask you questions, because that’s the way you operate, but are there some major things that you’d like to talk about with people that I haven’t thought to ask you any kind of question about?

Della: Well I guess the main message for me is that there is the awakening which is, for me, is overrated in the sense that there’s a lot that ego puts on what is awakening and how it should be and the experiences and the freedom and everything. But reality, coming back to reality, can be a step-by-step thing where we can just open our hearts to be touched by life and to meet the emotion that is there and to stop just projecting to others what we’re feeling and bringing this back inside and opening more and more and more. And for me it’s a beautiful, lovely path to take responsibility for the oneness we are. Because we play at being two all the time, but the invitation, and it is possible to bring oneness inside by taking responsibility of what we go through and what we live and questioning the beliefs that create separation and bringing love and light to what’s there. It’s possible and it’s a very gentle path to open ourselves to what’s inside. Totally beautiful, there’s nothing to protect. We can totally embrace protection and realize that there’s nothing to protect.

Rick: So, when you say bring oneness inside, I think what you mean by that is to experience oneness or live oneness, right?

Della: Yeah, yeah. Become this oneness inside that is already there, because it’s just that the attention plays at two, at being two all the time.

Rick: Right, being fragmented.

Della: Yeah, and the invitation is really to take the chance to see, is it really necessary to play duality?

Rick: Yeah, and the thing you said about the ego kind of projecting what awakening is supposed to be and all that, I think that’s an important point too. Well, I kind of see it both ways. On the one hand, a lot of times people dumb it down in the sense that they think, “Oh, it’s just this, whatever you’re experiencing, that’s all it is, that’s awakening, you’re enlightened.” And I don’t know if they’re necessarily actually really experiencing things as richly and deeply and clearly as one might. On the other hand, sometimes people think, “Oh, it’s this incredible thing, if you could see the world the way Ramana Maharshi saw it, you would just be blown away, you’d be seeing angels and you’d be communing with devas and you’d be able to levitate,” and all kinds of marvelous things, which probably are not going to ever happen to the vast majority of people, in which case they’re going to wait forever for this marvelous thing that they might actually be much more in tune with right now than they realize.

Della: Yeah, yeah, well it’s true that of course we can see that there’s a shift, you know, there’s something that happened, but at the same time, from my point of view, or it happens spontaneously or it’s a by-product of surrendering to reality. But if we check all the time, we surrender, we surrender, we surrender, and then we see “Is there a shift? No, okay.” So then it’s not a total surrender to reality because there is a condition, “Okay, I will surrender up to the moment where there’s a shift.” So that’s ego again, that surrendering to reality and being touched and taking responsibility, that’s the way for me, that’s the way, and the shift is a by-product, it’s something happening when the rest has… there is no attachment anymore that is more important than reality.

Rick: Yeah, and also if you’re surrendering and surrendering and surrendering, if you’re kind of beating yourself up with the notion of surrendering all day long, haven’t you kind of spoiled the spontaneity and innocence of living? Is surrender really something you have to do?

Della: No, of course not. If you have to do something, there’s a problem because reality is full right now, but it’s important to see the position you are in at the moment. Are you in refusal of reality or not? Because if you are in refusal you feel duality all the time, so it’s interesting to look at, but the refusal is totally welcome also if it’s there. There’s nothing to change really, but it depends on what people want.

Rick: Yeah, well what do you mean by what they want?

Della: Well if the yearning, not what ego wants, but if the yearning is to discover reality even prior to the awakening shift, if there’s something, a yearning of discovering the true nature of life, this is going to be interesting to look at, this position of refusal, because that’s the veil. We refuse what we want because what we are is already here, so the only thing in the veil is the refusal of that, because we say that’s not enough. So that’s ego, that’s ego in the way. And so I say ego, but it’s a guardian that is playing with us to refuse the moment, so to keep in control and to keep a safe area of knowing what is happening, so it creates a net, like a web like that, so we don’t dive into the mystery of life.

Rick: So it kind of sounds like you’re saying that the more we assert control and try to maintain control and so on, the more we isolate ourselves and keep ourselves constrained and contained and blocked from the larger reality that life as it is.

Della: Yes, yes, we play at that and we don’t even realize that we play at being constrained like that. So it’s interesting to look at.

Rick: Yeah, I mean, couldn’t you almost say that that’s the crux of it right there? By definition, awakening or enlightenment or whatever word we want to use, is a relinquishment of individual control and individual constriction and a relaxation into that which is, and a surrender into allowing nature itself to run the show rather than us meddling with it. And so, in a way, individual effort is counterproductive.

Della: It depends. If it’s efforts coming from ego to get something else than what’s already here, well it has the positive effect of going towards exhaustion. So if that’s the path, that’s the path, there’s nothing to add to that. But if the impulse, the yearning is to feel a sense of truth and reality, well then there are tools that are really helpful to see this game of duality and protecting ourselves from our true being. It’s really beautiful.

Rick: It’s interesting what you say about exhaustion because there have been a number of cases of people I’ve spoken with, such as Adyashanti for instance, who just really applied effort. He was like busting a gut trying to get enlightened and finally he just sort of gave up one day and then he had this big shift, this big awakening. So in a paradoxical roundabout way, effort can be effective, but it’s not the effort itself, it’s the relinquishment of it ultimately that does the trick.

Della: Yeah, but at the same time, if the impulse is to work really really hard, that’s the path because it’s there. There’s nothing to argue about having one path that is easier than another. Just look where you put your foot and that’s the path. There’s no way you can mistake yourself. Rhere’s no way. We’re always on the right spot all the time.

Rick: Yeah, and it’s worth mentioning that there are paths that are effortless from the outset that don’t involve hitting yourself over the head with a hammer because it feels so good when you stop, but that are effortless from the beginning and very effective. So if one can find a path like that, all the better perhaps.

Della: Of course, if it talks to the inner wisdom, that’s great.

Rick: Yeah. Let’s see, a question came in here and my editor friend hasn’t sent it to me yet, but sometimes he doesn’t get them, so let me just take a crack at it. This is from Susanna, again in London, there’s a lot going on in London today. Regarding your initial experience with hypnosis, did the hypnotist come across other clients who had similar reactions to his or her sessions with you? Did he or she believe in alternative paradigms such as past-life, after-life, spirituality, transcendence, which would have influenced his or her way of working with you? Was he or she intentionally guiding you towards extraordinary expansion of consciousness or was it just a happy accident during a standard routine that wasn’t spiritually inclined or oriented? And if it was an unusual result for him or her, was he at all interested in exploring what happened to you and how he could use it in working with others from then on? Good question.

Della: I don’t know, I haven’t talked to him after that. I know that he heard what happened to me because he was a friend of friends, but we didn’t talk about it and I don’t think that he was on a spiritual path when we met, but that’s all I know, I cannot say more about that.

Rick: Yeah, it sounds like you were kind of primed, you know, you were just hot to trot, you were ready to go and it could have been something else that might have triggered it for you, but it just happened to be this.

Della: Yeah, I think so. It feels like that, but you never know.

Rick: Yeah, okay. So let me just ask you one more time, is there anything else we haven’t covered that you feel is important? After I finish interviews, I always think to myself, “Oh, I should have asked that, I wish I thought of that.” So is there anything we’re leaving out here that you want to convey to people?

Della: I don’t know, I think that everyone is perfect just the way they are right now and it’s just a beautiful gift to offer ourselves to see the perfection we are already, and to see the loving impulse in every action and every thought we have, there is this loving impulse prior to the experiment. So I think it’s just so nice to offer ourselves the possibility to see ourselves from a loving impulse.

Rick: Yeah, that’s nice. I remember reading some line from a Zen teacher recently, he said to his students, “You’re all perfect just the way you are and you could use improvement.”

Della: Yeah, well it’s fun to realize it too.

Rick: Yeah, it kind of works that way, you know, I mean everything is imperfect just as it is and yet there’s more to explore.

Della: Yeah, I think there’s a natural yearning to open, to experience and experiment and to our true nature. I think everything is just here for that, the suffering that is here, everything in society I think is calling us to open to who we are, which is beautiful, even if you can see that there’s dark energies and stuff like that, which I do not see them like that. I see more like an awakening impulse of life to open to reality.

Rick: Yeah, and if in the big picture opening to reality is sort of the ultimate motivating force of the universe, then even the dark energies must in some way be in service to that.

Della: Yeah, that’s my feeling, I don’t know if it’s true, but that’s my feeling.

Rick: Yeah, mine too. You don’t seem like the speculative type, but do you have any sort of feeling about where we’re headed as a society? I mean, any kind of new-agey perspectives on whether some kind of more enlightened age is on the horizon or don’t you want to go there?

Della: I don’t know, I think it would be fun that there was more consciousness arising, I think it would be really great. I think the invitation is here for that. Where it’s going I have no idea, I think everything is fine, but I have no idea where we’re going.

Rick: Yeah, but it’s interesting to be part of it, isn’t it?

Della: Yeah, it’s really fun. I think we are in this very special era here with everything arising and happening and internet and ego just with giant structures and stuff, it’s really amazing to look at.

Rick: Yeah, that kind of point is what leads me to believe that we are headed for big changes, just because it seems to be somewhat unprecedented that we’ve had such a kind of explosion of spiritual teachers, and people having awakenings, and a technology to disseminate this information all over the world to millions of people. There’s never been quite that combination of factors before and I kind of feel like it can’t help but have an effect. Everything has an effect and the changes that take place in individual consciousness do ripple up to the larger society. So it gives one hope, I think, for a better time coming, but also pretty major changes coming because there are so many things which won’t fit in really well with a more enlightened society by most people’s definition.

Della: Yeah, I think it’s so precious to have someone with a distance from ego that can be just transparent and authentic and being free and spontaneous. It’s just so much fun to look at and I think it’s refreshing for everybody to have people around coming with this new energy. I think it’s really precious to offer authenticity to our society today.

Rick: Yeah, I think it’s what we really need in terms of… well there was a song years ago, “What the world needs now is love, sweet love,” you know, that’s the only thing that there’s just too little of.

Della: Yeah, that’s so true, you know, we’re lacking of this joy of just being and I think we’re invited to, why not, to play a little bit more of that.

Rick: Yeah, let me just, I was about to wrap it up but another question just came in so let me just see what this one says, it’s again from Zella in London. Yeah, okay, this sounds like a good question. Regarding your transformation, it sounded from your conversation with Rick as though the process was sort of happening, unfolding and running its course within you, so to speak. A guidance that was later recognized as none other than you, led you itself to greater freedom, authenticity and recognition of reality as it is and its ultimate perfection. Do you think that had it not been for the initial wake-up call at the hypnotist that it would not, that it would have found another way of waking itself up? Can we force it or are we ultimately at the mercy of a process that is beyond us? It will wake us up when it wakes us up and not a second earlier, not a moment later. Is there really anything that we, it, can do before it decides it’s time, before it is ready?

Della: Well that’s a really interesting question because it depends on what is talking inside the inner wisdom. Because if the mind wants to be in control, if the ego wants to be in control, there is no way because it’s the obstacle of opening to our true nature, but inside at the same time there is this oneness, it is who we are. So if there is a yearning, there is a calling, well there is no way we can avoid doing the steps we do. Even if the mind will say there is nothing to do, it will do, it will go towards the yearning, whatever strategies you will find right, but it will happen. So it can be a guardian of the mind saying “there is nothing to do”, because saying “there is nothing to do” there is also a refuge where there is not opening – because there is nothing to do, it’s a safe place for the guardian to do, there is nothing to do. But at the same time if it comes from the heart and there is humility of the heart that says there is nothing to do and there is nothing to add, that’s different.

Rick: Yeah, I think you’re making a very subtle and profound point and it’s one I’ve thought about a lot. Because there are a lot of people around saying there is nothing to do and nobody to do it, and it can lead to a sort of passivity or sort of defeatism or something like, “Oh well, there is nothing to do, it’s just going to happen if it happens,” and kind of a spiritual laziness in a way. But there is a deeper, more profound sense in which there is nothing to do, which is very much associated I think with the word you’ve used a lot in this interview – surrender, which is a totally different matter than when that phrase is used superficially.

Della: Yeah, it comes from the heart, from a deeper place. Of course there is nothing to do and there is everything to do, but for me the most important thing is to take the risk to see what we’re playing. Are we playing? Are we taking refuge in the ego’s mind or are we really willing to open to taking the risk of surrendering? So it’s really important for me to see. Not even to do, because doing is already doing itself, it’s happening, whatever we think. But are we hiding from our true nature? Are we playing duality? That’s interesting.

Rick: Yeah, and the point you made about in response to Zuna’s – whatever the name was – question, “Is it just going to happen when it happens?” and without our having any say in the matter, thought came to mind that a lot… and you said, “Well, if you have the impulse, if you have the inspiration, or if you have the motivation”. But looking at it in a larger sense, if again this sort of awakening or evolutionary development is built into the very purpose of the universe, then everything that happens to us can be seen as being in service of that, and even the difficult stuff can be a kind of a goad or an incentive moving us toward seeking release from it, seeking freedom. You know what I’m trying to say?

Della: Absolutely, yeah, absolutely. I think that we have so many opportunities. Of course, if our life is happy and we have joy, so there’s no question about the meaning of life and what is true, but if we have difficult stuff to go through, well, we have sometimes the question arising, “Well, who am I and what is this for?” And so, from a psychological point of view, we can have so many explanations, but from a more intimate point of view, that’s the way, you know, to come back home and to see “Who am I?”

Rick: Yeah, I don’t know if this story is just sort of metaphorical or actual, but there are some spiritual teachers who have said that the angels don’t have very much incentive in heaven for spiritual enlightenment because they’re so comfortable there, it’s so nice, and human life is much more conducive to it, because it’s not just an easy ride like that.

Della: Absolutely, I think there are so many opportunities. Every day we have something that is refusing reality, so that’s it, you know, that’s it, that’s the moment, that’s the moment.

Rick: Nice. Okay, well I don’t think there are any more questions that have come in and this has been a great conversation, so I think we should wrap it up. Any final words before I do that? And they don’t need to be final. (Dog barks) Hey, now, the dog is excited about something. They don’t need to be final if we get going on something again, but if you have any little wrap-up words you’d like to speak.

Della: I think like everybody can just trust their inner wisdom and they’re just on the right path right away, already in this moment.

Rick: Nice, and since Luna just introduced herself, let me introduce Luna. Come here, Luna. There we go. This is Luna.

Della: Whoa, nice dog. Hello.

Rick: Yeah, we adopted her about a year ago, after driving hours and hours all around Iowa looking for the perfect dog. We finally found her down at a shelter somewhere down in Illinois.

Della: Beautiful.

Rick: Yeah, over the years I’ve introduced various pets of ours on the show. All right, so Della’s website is and I’ll be linking to it from her page on You have a book in French, don’t you?

Della: Yeah, I just went to libraries in January.

Rick: So, is it on Amazon or anything like that?

Della: Yeah, Amazon.

Rick: All right, so I’ll link to it also on Amazon so people can get that and they can go to your website. And there are parts of your website that are in French and some in English. When you conduct retreats and stuff, do you do it in French or English or both or what?

Della: Well, for now we have French groups, but we’re open to English groups if there’s a need for that.

Rick: Yeah, I’m sure there’ll be interest, so you might need to set up both. Your English is probably as good as your French, I mean you speak English perfectly well.

Della: I feel it’s not my mother tongue.

Rick: Right. I suppose training as a doctor you had to learn English or speak it well to go through medical school.

Della: Yeah, well I worked in British Columbia and New Zealand so I had to, I learned to speak English, I had to.

Rick: Okay, so thank you Della, and people can go to your website to find out more about you, you probably have some mailing lists they can get on and so on.

Della: Of course.

Rick: Yeah, so and thanks to those who’ve been listening or watching, let me just make a general wrap-up point or two. This, as I said in the beginning, is an ongoing series and if you found this interesting then go to and look under the past interviews menu and you’ll find hundreds of other interviews categorized in various ways. And if you’d like to be notified each time there’s a new one then there’s a sign-up form on the website for that. There’s also an audio podcast of this and a page that you’ll see a link to where you can sign up on Android devices or Apple devices and so on. And the donate button as I mentioned in the beginning helps support the thing. It’s important that it have that support because it’s pretty much a full-time occupation for my wife and I. And that’s about it, so thanks for listening or watching and we will see you next week. That’s it, thanks Della.

Della: Thank you so much.

Rick: Alright, enjoy it.

Della: Thank you.

Rick: Enjoyed it.