Rick Archer: Welcome to Buddha at the Gas Pump. My name is Rick Archer. Buddha at the Gas Pump is an ongoing series of conversations with spiritually Awakening people. We’ve done over 550 of them now. And if you’d like to check out previous ones, please go to bat gap comm bat gap and look under the past interviews menu. This program is made possible through the support of appreciative listeners and viewers. So if you appreciate it and would like to help support it, there’s a PayPal button on every page of the site. The interview you’re about to see was done in the context of a webinar offered in May by the science and non duality conference entitled wisdom in times of crisis. In addition to this interview, there are dozens of others. interviews and presentations with people like Vandana Shiva, Peter Levine, Gabor, Ma, Tei, Deepak Chopra, Rupert spyera, and many others. Although the webinar is over now, it is archived online. There’s a link to the archive in the description beneath this video and the page for this interview on bat gap calm. So enjoy the talk.
Rick Archer: Welcome, everyone to the wisdom in times of crisis online event where we explore and reflect on the challenges and opportunities. This unique time is offering us. My name is Rick Archer, I do the Buddha at the Gas Pump Podcast. I’m delighted to have as my guest for this hour. Dorothy hunt. Dorothy is the spiritual director of Moon mountain Sangha. She is a psychotherapist, author, poet, mother and grandmother. And she is the author of ending the search from spiritual ambition to the heart of awareness, published by sounds true. As Dorothy puts it, she sees this world as arising from a single heart, the heart of awareness, and our humaneness and as an expression of the infinite mystery living itself through form. I innovate Dorothy about five years ago at the 2015 Sand conference. And in that interview, we went into more of her personal background and we’ll get into today. I just listened to that interview the other day, and it was a good one. We covered a lot of ground in 15 minutes there. So if you like, you might want to listen to that one too. And I’ll provide a link to it on the bandgap page for this interview. For those of you who are watching this during the during the webinar can just go to bat gap and look her up. I want to mention one aspect of Dorothy’s bio that we didn’t cover back then. She recently told me that a few years ago, she took Seth Curry’s Steph Curry’s online masterclass in basketball. She never really played basketball, but tried in her late 70s. She’s probably not going to go pro though, because she said that she could never get beyond the fifth class where you were supposed to practice until you could make five shots in a row from five different positions before heading to class six. But you probably made four shots in a row. No, not that. I ever. Anyway, I thought it was pretty cool that you tried or that you took that class.
Dorothy Hunt: Yeah, I enjoyed it. I enjoyed just watch watching Steph Curry any old time
Rick Archer: that he’s great to watch. And it’s always good to try new things, you know, and to do new things it kind of like keeps the brain lively. The does challenges. So, you know, I’ve been corresponding a little bit over the past few days. And you know, talking a little bit about our personal reactions to this crisis. You’ve been counseling people as a psychotherapist and as a Buddhist teacher also and doco son I guess he put it in the context of Buddhism but and you know, having private meetings with with spiritual people. And you mentioned that you know, they’re having some normal anxiety reactions and you feel drawn to helping them feel more accepting of the what is of life, feelings, expansions, contractions, etc. Bring it all into the compassionate heart rather than obsessing about it through the judging mind. So maybe we can use that as a little springboard for our conversation and let you take it from there. And then I’m sure I’ll have more questions.
Dorothy Hunt: Okay, well, I don’t really consider myself a Buddhist teacher. But, you know, I guess Shanti invited me to teach many years ago. And, and, of course, that was his original trend, tradition. But yeah, I do see people for what we would call spiritual mentoring, I guess, focus on the tradition that he came from, and I, I also follow. But I think because most of the people that I see are spiritual seekers of one sort or another, at this point, at least in my career, if you want to call it that, so many judge themselves for having feelings, you know, if I were really awake, I would never feel and then, you know, fill in the blank, sadness or anger or whatever. And it feels to me like the lack of, of knowledge of who and what we truly are, makes it so much harder for people to accept their humaneness, you know, this unique expression of the mystery that we all are. So I try to couch it in those terms, because that’s how I see, I see the world, you know, that this, that we really don’t even need to name is expressing itself in, in all kinds of infinite forms and flavors and energies.
Rick Archer: Yeah. And how would you characterize someone who does know who and what they really are? What’s different about them from somebody who doesn’t?
Dorothy Hunt: Well, one thing is, there’s a tremendous freedom to be in the moment where we are, do you now to experience what’s here, because this, that’s our true nature is not is not the same as conditioned mind in the sense that it’s not judging, it just doesn’t judge it just sees clearly. So that clear seeing is available in all of us, because we all have this awake presence, whether we’re conscious of it or not. So that’s one of the main things I think also, just seeing that the world is yourself. Know that really, we’re not an essence them, even though life moves like that in the mind, and the, you know, duality is here, it’s not a mistake, you know, there isn’t non duality and duality, as that’s another duality. So, from my perspective, it’s seeing that it’s all it’s all of the same sort of sex, it’s all coming from the same ground, you know, and when we do see that, it’s so much more difficult. I’m not saying it doesn’t happen. But it’s so much more difficult to judge, you know, to judge what should and shouldn’t be here if it’s already here.
Rick Archer: So in other words, you more naturally take things in stride. You could say that, yeah. Not maybe another way of saying it was, would be that you well go with the flow, obviously, is a common phrase, but you, you begin to sort of trust the inherent wisdom and the way creation arc is orchestrated, and, and you see that it’s not accidental or random or arbitrary, and that there’s a sort of an intelligence to it, that you can begin to trust even.
Dorothy Hunt: Yeah, you, you know, you do trust that the bigger dimension or the deeper dimension of of yourself and of the world. And really, to trust how that wants to move in you. You know, because all of us have that dimension of truth, wisdom, love, whatever words, we want to talk about how it can feel, but, but you know, you trust how life is moving. And that’s sometimes hard in this era that we find ourselves now, you know, there, there was a lot of challenge for a lot of people. But still, there’s some kind of transformation I feel happening on a global level. Really.
Rick Archer: Yeah, I want to get into that with you. But before we do, you mentioned that, you know, even the mostly so called spiritual people that you talk with, some of them are kind of hard on themselves, because they’re having feelings and reactions that they feel perhaps are not, quote unquote, spiritual. You know, yeah, I’m kind of reminded of JP Sears whole comedy routine about, you know, being ultra spiritual. And so, you know, and I’ve heard it argued both ways. I mean, I’ve heard I’ve heard some people argue that well, you know, a person can be so called enlightened and yet, be an alcoholic or be an abusive person or be a womanizer, do all this crazy stuff. And, you know, when I hear that, I think, well, why bother getting enlightened then? And then I hear other people say, Well, no, you’re going to be purified of all that and your behavior will be much more wholesome, much more life supporting much more harmonious, much less harmful to other people. Where do you stand on that argument?
Dorothy Hunt: Well, for the first thing I would say is a person is not who gets enlightened enlightenment. Enlightenment is, is itself, it’s what we are. If we if we discover it, we realize it. It’s what’s already here. So, I mean, that’s step number one is when it actually happens, that you experience this awakeness awakening to itself. Yeah.
Rick Archer: But even then you said when we realize it, and you experience it, and so on, so there’s still some kind of a person involved in there?
Dorothy Hunt: Well, there there is the experiencer. And that’s where we can inquire who that is, who is the experiencer of whether we would call it enlightenment or rage or anything, you know, who or what, who or what. So, you know, if it weren’t for this, that’s awake and aware, in each of us, we would not know our experience at all, no matter what it is. Yeah. So it feels to me as though that’s one thing I would respond to in terms of what you were speaking about. But the second thing is, is to wake up to your true nature, you know, it’s not the same as growing up, you know, those are, those are different movements, we might say. So there’s a maturation on the level of spirit, if we want to say, I mean, spirit doesn’t evolve, but our experiences, shift and change. But then, you know, we’ve all known and you more than any, because you’ve been interviewed so many people over so many years, you know, there can be a deep and authentic awakening. And still, Shadow shadow aspects of the of the human being, are not into the light yet, but life will show what life will show all of us where those where those places of separation continue. And to me, that’s, that’s sort of the ongoing challenge for any of us who who care, and who are devoted to truth.
Rick Archer: Yeah. And sometimes there’s a certain acceleration of life showing us those, those places, those shadow places, you know, once the, once the light has gotten brighter inside, again, sort of keep sweep those under the carpet so easily anymore.
Dorothy Hunt: No, no, and a lot of people think they’ve done something wrong, you know, they’ve had some lovely opening, one time or another, and, and then all this stuff starts coming up that, you know, people say, I thought I dealt with that in therapy 20 years ago, and so forth, and so on. But it’s a to me, it’s a movement of love, really, to show us, you know, where we’re still separating, you know, ourselves from something or show us what in ourselves needs to be seen to be loved to be taken out of the closet, come out from under the rug, we’ve swept it under or whatever it is, in order to come back to the wholeness of being. So that’s what that’s what I would invite anyone to do is to bring those aspects of ourselves into the heart, the heart of compassion, that it doesn’t actually judge it. It just sees it clearly for what it is. And we can have understandings and insights about where it came from, perhaps, but it’s not nearly so important as to allow the experience that perhaps never has been consciously allowed to be experienced. And that’s what I think can liberate an awful lot of, of our stuff.
Rick Archer: Yeah, I think it can be very helpful to not harbor an understanding that, at some point, you’re going to reach some kind of final thing where you can just rest on your laurels and relax, and you’re done. Because I don’t know if anybody ever reaches that. And I’ve had talks with all kinds of people, including audio about this. It’s somehow more realistic and helpful to you know, consider yourself a work in progress and always sort of realize that there’s growth yet to undergo
Dorothy Hunt: one of my just throw this in one of my favorite quotes, and I don’t remember it was a Buddhist teacher of some sort, said, finished finished. When you’re finally finished, you realize there’s nothing to finish. And so, in the infinite we are where we’re, where could we stop, where can we stop deepening our understanding or seeing, you know, it’s this moment really, that’s the only time we can be awake.
Rick Archer: And a minute ago, you said bringing stuff into the heart that you that’s bubbling up. How do you do that?
Dorothy Hunt: Well, a few ways, I suppose one of the ways I would invite is to let your awareness come into the energy of the feeling or the sensation, as opposed to let the mind wants to deal with it is get rid of it. But if we just let our awareness, there’s a simple awareness, you know, we don’t have to have Big Insights. But just the simple awareness, let it come into the energy of the moment, rather than the narrative or the story, because it’s the energy that’s been held in the body mind, do you know and then gets hooked up with a story. But I mean, you and I both know, the only way to really keep feeling going is to keep telling ourselves the story. Otherwise, it has a kind of a short shelf life, feeling skin out, they come and go pretty quickly. But that, but the story we tell ourselves after the fact can keep it going for a lifetime. So as soon as that awareness comes in, it’s like, let it come into that the energy of the experience without any attempt to change it, judge it, get rid of it, do something with it, just letting it be what it is. And, and that begins to transform things from the inside, you know, one of the hand gestures that I’d used, when I used to go on retreats with them long ago would be like this, you know, when when awareness comes in, it begins to liberate from the inside. Yeah, you know, the mind just wants to pry apart, whatever, you know, keep doing it striving thing to get some result. But this is it’s much more gentle, but it also is more effective, I think, in transforming things. Because every feeling, you know, it has a it has, it has many dimensions to it. And a lot of times, another piece of this is to see what’s underneath. Okay, so there might be sadness. And underneath that there might be anger often angers a great defense might be anger. And underneath that there’s sadness. And if you keep going, maybe there’s fear. If you keep going and keep going, you can’t help. You can’t help if you go far enough to bump into your true nature, because source of all things. So any moment, including these that we’re experiencing in this time, can be a portal to the deepest dimension that we can connect to. So
Rick Archer: let’s take a concrete example. So let’s say someone, you know, they’ve, they’ve lost a job because of the Coronavirus, and they’re watching videos, they’re pretty much shut down, locked at home getting bored getting on the nerves of other people in the house. And vice versa. There are a lot of that. Yeah. And I hear divorces are up in China after the you know, the shutdown is lifted, and feeling kind of scared, you know, maybe they have some friends who’ve gotten the virus may and they’re afraid they’re gonna get it. And they don’t know how they’re going to pay the bills next month. So there’s all this stuff, you know, and you see people on the news kind of reporting that this is the way they feel. And most of the people I see on the news, I don’t think have access to spiritual practices, or meditation or anything. But most of the people listening to this webinar do and most of the people you speak with do so let’s say you’re speaking with one such person, how do you you’re only gonna be speaking to them for an hour or something, and then they’re gonna be on their own for a week. What practical, systematic advice you give them so that the throughout the course of the week, as this, these feelings come up, they can do what you’re advocating. Like, should they sit and close their eyes? And, you know, I mean, how do you?
Dorothy Hunt: Well, I think, I mean, just a very simple practical thing is to really pay attention to what you’re feeding your mind. Because so many people, you know, are completely addicted. Well, we’re all addicted to thinking on one level, but are addicted to the 24 hour news cycle and the breaking news about the Coronavirus and it just feeds, feeds, feeds feeds fear and anxiety. We’re not talking about closing our eyes and pretending nothing’s happening in this world. But they’re all of us need a balance, you know, we can become so ingrained with the stories of you know, that are that are tragic. You know, many people are struggling, many people are deeply afraid and affected. But the birds are still singing in your backyard. You know, the trees are still blooming, it’s spring, at least in this hemisphere. It’s you know, there’s there’s, there’s there’s life, and there’s now and now what’s you know what’s actually here now is really a great antidote to the mind just spinning, you know, like, what is the light, like, on the walls right now what is what is out your window, if you have a window to look at, you know, we’re not trying to say this isn’t happening, but, but balance, you know, feels like we all need a balance in a practical way. And the practice, you know, is just to turn your attention to that which is not in a crisis. You know, there’s, there’s a, I mean, what I called for the sand, offering the clear I EY e as well as the capital I in the center of a storm, because there is this dimension of ourselves that it’s not threat. And so the mind can be threatened, the body can feel its response. But something isn’t threatened by anything. And so the more attention we can pay to that even in small doses, you know, it doesn’t have to be hours of sitting, but just to turn your attention to that which really can accept the moment, accept the feelings, bring some kind of understanding and compassion to the moment. And also let us be in touch with what’s already at peace and already quiet in the midst of a storm.
Rick Archer: That’s a good one. I remember I think it was Thoreau who said that he didn’t really follow the news because there wasn’t any it was the same old stories rehashed with just different different characters, you know, because he lived in a cabin in the woods, most of us aren’t doing that. And I think there’s a balance somewhere, but it’s definitely possible to overdose on lots of people. You can sit there and watch CNN, or Fox News or whatever, all day long. And just get obsessed with it. But like you say, there are some beautiful things to put your attention. I mean, I know you mentioned you, you you watch the birds in your backyard, and you watch comedies at night. And I’ve been taking walks in the woods every day and listening to the people I’m going to interview next and just you know, they’re not talking about Coronavirus break from that.
Dorothy Hunt: Yeah, yeah. And I mean, I think, you know, as many other people have noticed, you know, the environment at least temporarily, is clearing up a bit with the factory shutting down and no cars hardly, at least, states,
Rick Archer: you’ve heard the stories. I mean, you can see that away is from the Punjab, but you know, 100 miles away? Yeah. 10 years since that’s been possible.
Dorothy Hunt: Yeah. So that’s kind of the, the possibility that exists, I think, in terms of what’s going on. And, you know, this, this, that we are, it operates as a whole, the wholeness of being operates in service to the whole, not just in service to me, you know, so when you have that bigger perspective, there’s more space, to at least contemplate that something important may be happening. Transformational Lee, I don’t, I can’t tell you how, what the outcome will be. But it does feel like there’s a big opportunity here to learn how to live more simply, to begin to really be grateful for the small things that we’ve taken for granted, you know, to open our heart to each other, you know, many people are doing that. That’s one of the beautiful things that we see in here.
Rick Archer: Throughout this. Yeah. It’s kind of interesting, if you look back on history, to see how profound changes took place, you know, over a course of, you know, a decade or two, sometimes like pre World War Two to post World War Two or the 50s, to the 60s, you know, the 90s, with hardly any internet the way it is now, it’s like whole society is different. And yet, when you’re in it, when you’re in living in the sight of that time, you can’t really envision what it might be like, and you don’t really assume that it will be that different, you kind of take for granted that this is normal, this is kind of the way it is. So it’s it. You know, like you said, you can’t really speculate as to what the future might be. But I think a lot of us feel that some major shift is afoot. And that, you know, it’s going to be interesting to watch things unfold. And we might we might find ourselves living in a very different world and distant future.
Dorothy Hunt: We might indeed, and then, you know, if we look back at history, there have been pandemics and depressions and really difficult difficult times that our ancestors went through. And yet, here we are, yeah, something survived or you and I wouldn’t be here right. And so, you know, we can we can go through it. I think of my my mother in law, who at At the age of 16, during the Depression, had to quit high school to go to work. And she was the only person with an income for a family of seven. At that point, do you know, you look back at what people went through in the Great Depression, and it’s not to say was a piece of cake. It was very challenging, of course. But we do. We do have a very resilient spirit, I believe, you know, all of us as human beings. And we can draw on that we will get through it. Yeah.
Rick Archer: Or look at Londoners during World War Two during the Blitz, you know, just getting the heck bombed out of the city and live, or even what people are going through now in various parts of the world. So how to know we can, despite the difficulties, we can count our blessings.
Dorothy Hunt: We certainly can. And I think also, you know, this is one of the gifts of this time, is that we can’t help but be face to face with impermanence. Now a lot of minds don’t particularly like to be faced with the truth of impermanence. But this is where we can maybe begin to learn to live more comfortably with paradox, you know, there is this dimension that’s not threatened. That’s never been in crisis. And then there’s whatever’s going on in this human human expression of the of it. Do you know, from my perspective, the Divine is you’re having a human experience. So, you know, we’re not excluding any of that experience. How could we, in the wholeness of being, there’s darkness and light, you know, there’s all kinds of aspects, you know, infinite expressions of the infinite, we could say, and there’s always paradox. Yep. Do you have you found
Rick Archer: that you’re dreaming more at night?
Dorothy Hunt: I don’t know that I’m dreaming more. But I had experience of waking up sometimes a little bit more during this time. And then you remember dreams more? If you wake up right after them? Yeah,
Rick Archer: I just the reason I ask is that, you know, my wife and I, and many people I’ve talked to say, Yeah, my dreams seem so much more vivid and intense. And they actually did a story on ABC News about this, everybody’s dreaming more. And they asked some doctor, and she said, Well, that’s because people have been sleep deprived, and now they’re sleeping more, so therefore, they’re dreaming more, but I’m not sleep deprived. And yet, I find that the intensity of my dreams is more, I have a theory that there is some kind of a quickening of collective consciousness, you know, of the field. And it’s, it’s, it’s intensify, and it’s showing up as more intense streaming. But I also think that it that it offers greater opportunity for rapid spiritual growth, if one pursues that there that, you know, spiritual practice will be even more fruitful now, than it might have been in a different time that somehow there’s a wave that we can ride, you know, because of some kind of awakening that’s taking place in collective consciousness.
Dorothy Hunt: I think that many of us don’t appreciate the power of energy, the collective energy. And it can be the collective energy of fear, which there’s a lot of, but it can also be the collective energy, of awakening of opening the heart of feeling more love and compassion. People singing to each other, and, you know, when they get off their ships, people any anyway, they’re lovely stories in that respect. But yeah, I think there’s an opportunity. I mean, people that I talked to say that being home as, at least in California, we’re still sheltering in place as a state order. But so many people I talked to feel like they’re on retreat. Yeah. Do you know that you don’t have the usual places or, or types of distractions, you know, you don’t can’t go to a restaurant, you can’t go to movies or concerts, so forth. And so you’re really at home with yourself in in a way that, that draws, I think, draws a lot of people’s attention to contemplate what’s the most important thing? Yeah. And, and that’s, that’s a very important question. For all of us.
Rick Archer: Yeah. It’s interesting. So the world is sort of doing a Forest Retreat.
Dorothy Hunt: Many people are, yeah, of course, sometimes you’ve got your, if you’re a parent of young children, you’ve got your kids at home. They’re all you know, taking their classes online. So you got the homeschooling thing going. And I’m not saying it’s a quiet retreat, but there is a there is a retreat atmosphere for a lot of people.
Rick Archer: Yeah. Yeah, so it is an opportunity. I’m sure we’ve all heard that. Chinese pictograph for the word, what is it crisis that contains within it the symbol for the word opportunity or something?
Dorothy Hunt: Exactly. Yeah. minds don’t like to hear that in times of stress. This is a great opportunity. Yeah. Right. It’s like, but it actually is, it actually can be. Yeah,
Rick Archer: you can make it that. I think you and I, both in the emails we’ve exchanged, we both kind of commented that, you know, we’re not feeling grief and fear ourselves. And although we were interested, we’re in touch with people who are. And I wouldn’t say I feel guilty, but I also don’t want to feel or be come across as insensitive or smug or saying, I’m not afraid. Because obviously, my our situations are probably very different than many other people’s situations, we have different types of ways of getting income and getting food and shelter and all that stuff. So I’m not sure where I’m going with this point. But you know, what’s, what’s your reflection on that? That just that you haven’t really, it’s like you said in one of your emails that if you weren’t watching the news, you wouldn’t even know there was a crisis going on. Because it hasn’t really changed your life very much.
Dorothy Hunt: I do deeply Miss hugging my grandchildren. That’s very different. They used to come to my house after school every single Monday. So it’s not as though nothing’s changed, or that there’s never a moment of anxiety at the beginning. I think a lot of us felt anxious about what was happening. Do you know and then as time has gone on, more and more people if they haven’t gotten sick themselves, you know, feel more and more comfortable? Perhaps, maybe to a fault? I don’t know. We’ll see. But But yeah, you know, it’s, it’s sort of like he was talking about Thoreau. Or I remember reading, you know, Thomas Merton long ago, and how in the monastery, they didn’t even let them read the news. And I’m thinking, there’s a war going on, then there was a war going on, I can’t believe they couldn’t do. And then I remembered, you know, people asking Ramana Maharshi, why aren’t you out preaching? Why aren’t you going here and there? And he was saying, you know, if you think words are powerful, silence is the great, great grandfather of words. And how much more powerful is that deep silence that we truly are? And what is it? What is it to put that energy into the world as opposed to more words or more fear or war ideas? You know, none of that is wrong. But yeah, I think there are a lot of ways that we can be responsible and contemplatively. Think about what we’re putting into the world right now. What is the energy? What’s the energy? So I don’t I don’t think anyone should feel guilty if they feel peace. You know,
Rick Archer: no, incidentally, it’s interesting to note that Ramana Maharshi, used to read the newspaper and listen to the radio. And, you know, he went through World War Two, I mean, not not so much in India, but he was tuned in to what was happening in the world. Thinking about it and concerned about it. Yeah.
Dorothy Hunt: And, and did that disturb the deep peace of that? silence? Yeah, FBI protection. Yeah.
Rick Archer: But what you just said, What was your What did you just say before that? Just maybe it was about the deep peace and the deep silence? Oh, yes. The peace. You know, and what we’re contributing to it, I’m sure you’re probably everybody listening to this is familiar with the notion that we’re all sort of like little transmitter receivers. And that, you know, we, we interact with collective consciousness and that we, we emanate a certain influence, we exude a certain influence. And it happens, even, it happens on a subtle level, it’s not just who we talk to, or, you know, what we do overtly or obviously, that, you know, collective consciousness radiate our influence, our contribution, we can say, to a collective consciousness continues to radiate out. And so, you know, getting grounded in, in our own deep inner peace, which is there to be grounded and if we can, if we can find it is a tremendous contribution that we can make to the world would really help to smooth this whole thing out.
Dorothy Hunt: Yeah, I mean, we’re always transmitting where we are, you know, and of course, that can change from moment to moment even, you know, energetically, but the more we are grounded in that unnameable ground, you know, the more that peace will come forth in some ways. And if you listen, you know that the title of this gathering for sand is wisdom in times of crisis. And I would just point people to their own inner wisdom, you know, it doesn’t reside in someone else, some OUT out there, it’s here, it’s there in your own heart, right there in your own heart mind. And listen, and just to listen to that and see what wants to come from, from that dimension of our being. Yeah.
Rick Archer: Now, this is, again, a conducive time to make spiritual progress, not only because perhaps the energies that are influencing us have gotten more enlivened, but also just because of the circumstances of most people’s lives, many people have an opportunity to do some kind of spiritual practice, where before, they might have been too busy to do it. And you and I have probably been meditating for many years, and we have our own ways of doing that. Some people listening to this might not have a specific meditation practice. I interviewed Donald Hoffman the other day, and he meditates like three hours a day, but he never actually got any formal instruction, he just sits and goes into deep silence. And things kind of get processed in that deep silence. And it’s he said, it’s been utterly transformative to him. So what would you say to, you know, people who either have had maybe had some practice but weren’t able to stick with it, or else don’t have never learned any formal practice what can be imparted in a, in a conversation like this, that people can try on their own and just start to sort of spend 1020 minutes, once or twice a day doing and seeing what influence it has?
Dorothy Hunt: Sure. Well, I always love to invite a meditation with Ramana Maharshi. His words were, these were words, he used himself, he said, enter with love the temple, that is your own heart, silently, allowing the deep within, to flow on and into the deep beyond. And if I invite you, or anyone to put your attention to your home ground, there’s almost nobody who will say that home ground is up there. And I can’t tell someone else how to reach that. But we all know. So it’s a matter of shifting attention from here to this deeper. For some, it’ll feel in the heart for some, it’ll, it’ll feel deeper than that. For some people, there won’t be any location at all. It’s not important, what it looks like, but that you have a felt sense of, of this, it’s already at peace, it’s already, okay, it’s already present to whatever’s here. Do you know like, the mind takes the idea of presence to think it’s something it’s supposed to do, or allowing everything to be as it is, it’s what this is supposed to do. But there’s something already doing that. There’s something that’s already present. And so if we put our attention there, instead of trying to be present, then I think we have a much better chance of experiencing these deeper dimensions that are in every single person. So whether you’re mean, I don’t think one has to have a formal sitting practice. But some of the best meditations are sitting in the backyard or sitting with your cat on your lap or holding a baby or do you know, I think we need to expand our view of what meditation is, it’s really being fully present to what’s here. Now, you know, it’s being present to what’s here. And that’s a pretty simplistic definition. But I think that’s what our true nature always is. It’s illuminating the moment at hand. And so to be that silence to be that presence, rather than the one who’s trying to be silent, or the one who’s trying to be present, do you know, we have a much better chance of bumping up against our true nature?
Rick Archer: Yeah. And I think implicit in what you’re saying is that it shouldn’t be a struggle, you don’t have to, you know, furrow your brow and clench your teeth and in order to, you know, settle into your, your, your true nature. In fact, I think that there’s a natural human tendency to want to experience true nature and it’s evident in the natural human tendency to want to experience greater happiness, which which we all have, you know,
Dorothy Hunt: absolutely. And one of the things that I’ve been playing with, you know, in these days, is reading The asking of oneself in the moment, you know, what does this What does peace feel like in the body? What does it feel like in the heart? What? Where’s happiness located? Show me happiness rather than how do I get happy? It’s like, it’s here. And so just the right questions when we’re when we’re not trying to figure it out, how do I do something? But where is it? Like if I asked you? What does awakeness feel like right now and your feet? Probably you have a sense of low energy that will move just by moving your attention. And the question will evoke an experience. And so often we’re looking here, instead of actually inviting, what’s already present waiting, waiting for us to get interested. Yeah, yeah. So there are lots of ways and me for some people saying, for some people running for some people, you know, your natural ways of connecting to spirit aren’t always the rigid sitting on your cushion, facing the wall. I mean, there’s, there’s a great value in that for some. And like your friend that you interviewed, I would say as well, that sitting practice, if you want to call it that has been like the best form of psychotherapy, because whatever needs to come up to the surface has an opportunity when we’re open to you know, and when we’re not trying to manipulate, and control and so forth. So I’m not suggesting that other forms of psychotherapy aren’t useful, because they certainly can be but I do feel like we have within us a deep understanding deeper than anyone else will ever have, of who and what we are, and, and how, how this moment, wants to move.
Rick Archer: As it what you said, indicates respect for people’s own wisdom and judgment. That, you know, one size does not fit all. And, you know, you’ll you’ll know within your heart of hearts. You know, what works for you or what you’re attracted to? There’s a book by Suzanne Siegel, I don’t know if you ever read this called collision with the infinite? I read that book?
Dorothy Hunt: Yes, I was in a group with Suzanne for for quite a long time. Oh, cool. And she would call us all her playmates in the vastness
Rick Archer: nice. And her little catchphrase that she kept repeating through that book was do the next obvious thing, you know, and that it can apply to everything in life, but it can also imply apply to our spiritual progress.
Dorothy Hunt: Exactly, exactly. I’m today was supposed to be the beginning of a silent retreat that I was teaching advisor piny in Institute in the Santa Cruz Mountains here in California. And of course, it’s been canceled. But I’m sending emails every day to those people who signed up of teachings and meditations and and that’s one thing, I really am encouraging people to find your natural way. Natural Way is not striving. It’s much more organic than that. And I think we’ve put, we’ve put meditation in such a tiny little box. Many, many minds have done that. And it needs to come out of the box because our life is meditation. Yeah, you know, I founded a center called the Center for meditation and psychotherapy, here in San Francisco and the first meditation group I ever offered there. It was that noisy as noisy this evening, you know that cars and trucks and I’m thinking, What did I do? You know, this is awful. But then over time, I began to realize, no, meditation and psychotherapy are not two different things. And how perfect to discover that deep silence, even in the midst of a busy city, or in my neighbor, my neighbor had recently there’s a lot of construction that’s now now being allowed to restart. So we have a lot of jackhammering, and so forth. But the silence is still here. Yeah. Yeah, go ahead.
Rick Archer: I was just when I first learned to meditate. I learned in New York City when I was 18. And I had gone through this whole rigmarole to get into the city to learn but there was a huge thunderstorm broke out in the city as I was being instructed in there, all these in addition to that there’s the usual cacophony of New York City with sirens and horns. And I just sank into this deep, deep silence like I’d never experienced in my life. So noise was no barrier whatsoever.
Dorothy Hunt: Exactly. Yeah, the garbage truck chewing up the remains of your week. You know, and and the birds singing. You know, they’re just two expressions, two expressions of the of the have the same ground, you know, it’s like a field with so many different flavors of flowers and trees and whatnot, but all coming from the same ground. So yeah, in fact,
Rick Archer: as that ground gets better and better established the, the juxtaposition of the the blooming, buzzing confusion of the world and the inner silence can become quite fascinating.
Dorothy Hunt: Absolutely, absolutely. And in to discover what’s right here. In each moment, if we have eyes to see, or a heart that’s open enough to receive, to know that, I mean, even fear, what’s the energy of fear? If you experience it, you know, what’s the energy of anger, I mean, in the Buddhist tradition, there’s a way of practice called, you know, that’s really a transmuting an emotion, so that you, you stay so so still in the midst of the feeling, you know, that you come to what is its essential quality. So, you know, anger can be an essential quality of clarity, for instance, and, you know, we all can find it out, find out for ourselves what it is, but, but it’s, you know, with regard to fear, I often think of it as you know how the gargoyles on the old medieval churches or, or the, you know, Tibetan, Buddhist, Tonka is with the, you know, the
Rick Archer: scary guys,
Dorothy Hunt: you know, that fear is often guarding the gates of our deep silence, you know, we don’t we don’t we don’t enter just because, oh, I’d really like to have that experience. You know, it takes some real authentic interest, I think and desire, devotion, really to know, to know truth. And, and will have to go through layers of fear in all probability, you know, to face into the unknown. Yeah. And that’s, that’s what is here.
Rick Archer: I remember Yoda saying to Luke Skywalker, you know, Skywalker says, I’m not afraid. And Yoda says you will be.
Dorothy Hunt: Back. Yeah, yeah. And it’s, you know, it’s it. As I said, to some people, you know, on some level, we would rather be a deficient, somebody that could perhaps, improve so much strive to be better and better, better improve. We’d rather be deficient, somebody who maybe one day could be worthy of this love of this unconditional love and acceptance. We’d rather be unworthy than to face into being Nobody. Nobody separate. It doesn’t mean there’s not a unique and precious expression here. But that piece of ourselves that really doesn’t have to be seen as an image that’s free. That’s what’s free in
Rick Archer: us. Yeah. And we’ve all got it. You know, we’ve all got that birthright birthright deep inside just a matter of locating it and living it. Exactly. Now, we only have about three and a half minutes left, and I wanted to have you read a poem before we wrap it up. So you have a poem handy?
Dorothy Hunt: Well, I do. Our interview, for those of you who are listening comes very much on the heels of Mother’s Day. And so I sent this poem to some friends on Mother’s Day. And as you know, spirit doesn’t really have a gender. But I do think of all of us as being pregnant with the divine Jinhao carrying that infinite potential that’s just waiting to be born in each of us and lovingly given to the world. So anyway, there’s a poem I wrote called motherhood of the Divine. She has no face, yet holds us all in her gates. We came from her darkness and are birthed into her light. She assumes many shapes, tells many stories, wears many masks. She is the space behind them all that has no beginning and no end. She is the 10,000 Arms tenderly compassionately holding the world. Sometimes she sits serenely as a mountain, singing the melody of the songbird, and yet, she lives in the valley of the ordinary, extending her garden to the ends of the earth. She is a mystery from which we were birthed the mystery to which we are returned. She is the night sky wearing a necklace of the Milky Way, with 1000 sparkling jewels in her hair. At dawn, she is the morning star that appeared when shocking money became the Buddha Her wind blows a single moment into form, and then blows it on into the vast beyond. She is a vessel of all, the one who lets all things be. She spins stories from eternity and passes them on to her children. She is you. She is me. She is unceasingly pregnant with the divine. And each of us. You can hear her as the running stream and see her when you look into a mirror. She is gazing through your eyes.
Rick Archer: Beautiful. It’s such a such a gift to be able to write like that. When I did that first interview with you out at Sand, someone asked you to read a poem and you didn’t have one handy and you actually made a poem out of the pattern and the carpet
Dorothy Hunt: was impressive. I do remember being asked her to say a poem and I’ve never memorized a single poem. Yeah. Alright, so
Rick Archer: I better wrap it up here. We only have a few seconds left. So thanks so much, Dorothy. It’s been wonderful having this talk with you. For those watching this during the during the sands conference, the sand webinar, if you’d like to see my other interview with Dorothy go to bat gap. And of course, there’s many other things there. For those of you watching this later on on that gap. If you want to see the sands webinar, it will be archived and there’s a way of having access to it. So I’ll provide a link to that. So thanks for thanks for listening and watching. Thanks a lot, Dorothy. And yeah, and everyone enjoy the rest of the webinar.
Dorothy Hunt: Okay, nice day.