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 660 of them now. If this is new to you and you’d like to check out previous ones, you can, you know fish around on our YouTube channel, but you might want to go to Batgap.com. BatGap, because we have the past interviews organized much more systematically in about four different ways. This program is made possible through the support of appreciative listeners and viewers. If you appreciate it and like to help support it, there’s a PayPal button on every page of the website. My guest today is Emilio Diez Barroso. I’m getting fancy by rolling the r’s in that. Emilio perfected the art of appearing very successful. This is the bio he sent me: He manages two family offices, a venture investment firm, sits on the board of over a dozen companies and so on. But until recently, he was always trying to get somewhere other than where he was — seeking recognition, achievement, love, success and finally, the ultimate carrot: enlightenment. In his pursuit of enlightenment, he was forced to face what all the seeking had been trying to avoid — his own sense of unworthiness. Defeated at the game of becoming, and humbled by the realization of his true nature, he is now dedicated to alleviating suffering in the world. Emilio is a father to three incredible teachers and resides in Los Angeles. So welcome, Emilio. Good to meet you.
Emilio Diez Barroso: Likewise, Rick, thank you for having me.
Rick Archer: So we thought we would do this in a way that we often do these interviews, which is kind of a mix of autobiography, and going through some interesting discussion points that will naturally come up as Emilio outlines the journey he has been through; and he has done that, also, in a book he’s written, called “The Mystery of You”, which I’ve been reading. Okay, so I got the impression from your book, Emilio, that you grew up in a well-to-do family and you didn’t really have to struggle in that regard. Correct?
Emilio Diez Barroso: Yeah, I did. Quite a well-to-do family actually. I grew up in Mexico City and we were really at the top of this sort of socio-economic scale. If you’re familiar with developing countries and the big gap between people that have resources and donors, and donors very prominent, and we were, we were in that circle of individuals. So lots of money, lots of power, lots of influence, lots of inner poverty.
Rick Archer: Yeah. Not necessarily in a poverty, because you could have both, but I guess you’re saying that the outer fulfillment was a lot more plentiful than the inner fulfillment.
Emilio Diez Barroso: Yeah, I certainly was raised to believe that there was going to be a point when enough of the outer was going to suffice. That that was the pathway under whether a light at the end of that road, at that tunnel, and that if I only ran fast and long enough, then I would be able to rest and be at peace quicker.
Rick Archer: Yeah, a lot of people seem to feel that. I read something the other day, I don’t know if it was in your book or some article I was reading, where there’s a whole batch of young people these days whose aspiration is to become billionaires, you know, because they see Elon Musk or Mark Zuckerberg, and these people, and they think, “I want to do that.” And I guess they presume that these people are very fulfilled or something. But it’s not always the case.
Emilio Diez Barroso: I grew up around those individuals in my family,
Rick Archer: Those specific individuals or people like that?
Emilio Diez Barroso: People like that. Billionaires that were, even back in my early years where billionaires weren’t necessarily that common, and even though there were a lot of signs that would have pointed me, should have been enough to make me realize that it wasn’t going to be enough. I still subscribed to that conditioning. I gotta’, actually because I was raised in this environment where there was a lot of power and money, and my family had set this big precedent, I thought that I had to outrun that and carve my own path, but do it in a big way that was so much more important and meaningful and special; obviously, that had its own implications, too. That’s part of the reason why I wrote the book, really — because a lot of the books that I had read when I started out on my inner growth, before even it became spiritual in nature, were written by people that didn’t match my lifestyle. And I still wanted to be the billionaire, and yet, I thought that I couldn’t have those both, the very much in the world, and the inner peace and freedom that I was craving.
Rick Archer: Yeah. So even books like “Power of Now” or, you know, Byron Katie? That kind of thing? Yeah, very much. So whether it’s Katie, Gangaji, Adyashanti, like non-dual teachers, or Eckhart, that, that are that profile, right, they are the teacher, and they live that archetype; and in my mind, somehow, I really believed that I wouldn’t be able to arrive at a place where I felt that level of inner contentment until I was done with all these modern day requirements: that I had had three kids, I was running businesses, I was, in within my own world, incredibly successful and perceived that way, and sort of the standard societal words. And so I thought well, when I finish this, then I’ll be able to commit time to that. Yeah, so it’s not that, you know, obviously, those people that you just mentioned, didn’t achieve great material success before becoming spiritually awakened to whatever extent they have. But you felt that your particular calling necessitated that, right, given your background, and family upbringing and all that kind of stuff, that was what you had to do?
Emilio Diez Barroso: Well, I felt at the time that I had to choose between really being in the world that I was born into, and in one way or another, honoring that incarnation, or having to go to a monastery if I really was choosing this sort of spiritual freedom that I was so interested in. I just didn’t think that it was possible, and I didn’t have a lot of models for it being possible, that there were, there was a way to have the “yes, and”, have that experience.
Rick Archer: There are famous models that would suggest that you did have to do that. I mean, Buddha was a prince who left the castle, you know, to become a wandering mendicant. And St. Francis of Assisi grew up in a wealthy family; his father was some kind of textile merchant, and he just decided to leave that. So, you know, obviously, these people have given the impression that that might be necessary. And I’m not arguing that it is. But yeah, there’s obviously historical precedent.
Emilio Diez Barroso: Yeah. And I was raised Catholic, right? So the whole orientation that I was operating under was no material possession goes totally against sort of the Christ consciousness that I, I, it was my understanding of it. I’m not suggesting that everyone that subscribes to the religion believes that, but that’s certainly what I was indoctrinated on.
Rick Archer: Yeah. Well, Christ Himself said, you know, “It’s easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than it is for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.” Right?
Emilio Diez Barroso: Yeah. And I think what, what he ultimately, I would imagine, meant by that was not just reaching the terms of financial accumulation, right, but the degree of attachments to identity or otherwise, that we’re holding on to that make us heavier on the journey.
Rick Archer: So why were you reading those books in the first place? How did you get to the point where you thought that you might find something in those spiritual teachers?
Emilio Diez Barroso: It’s a combination of an inner calling that I don’t know that I can explain, that was there from a very early age, that actually was at one point, because I was in this Catholic environment, I thought I was going to be a priest. It’s like, oh, this was, but this will be very telling — I was so type A in my orientation, I was so driven, to be prominent, right? I’m gonna be the Pope! And ultimately, that was, that was, that was really emanating from this sense of not being good enough. I really wanted to be special. I wanted to be valuable to people, I wanted to be perceived as valuable. I wanted to really, deep down, have others validate my worth, and when I really dig even deeper, to not be abandoned. And I thought, well I think I pivoted towards self-growth and spirituality because I was, I became so good at the financial accumulation game and projecting those images, but I realized there was always someone that had more than me. I said, “Well, if I can do all of that, and also be conscious, oh, wow, I’m going to be really special! Everybody’s going to love me.” And so I think there’s a combination of that and an inner calling that was always nudging me on the inside.
Rick Archer: Did you go through therapy at some point? Is that how you got these insights about not having enough self-worth or wanting people to like you? Or did they just cognize the things on your own?
Emilio Diez Barroso: I did a lot of therapy, quite a lot. And then I did a master’s in Spiritual Psychology, with the emphasis on Consciousness, Health and Healing. So I was, I was structured in my approach, again this type A, I knew how to be efficient, and, but as always, driven towards more, right, I think that’s the virus that I, I took me a really long time to, to snap out of.
Rick Archer: Yeah. I think that there’s a positive, you can put a positive spin on the strives towards more. I think every living being has a desire for greater happiness, you know, the, the mind, even from moment to moment has a desire for greater happiness. If you’re sitting reading a book, and it’s not that interesting, and then some beautiful music starts or something, you, your attention naturally shifts to the beautiful music, you don’t have to even use any effort. And you know I think that that drive manifests in pretty much everything we do in life. And sometimes it’s successful, sometimes it’s thwarted. But ultimately, I think it might, we could make, we could say that it leads to what you’ve discovered, which is that there’s no amount of outer success which will satisfy the drive completely. Right?
Emilio Diez Barroso: Yeah, and no amount of inner transformation, because I, I, I was convinced I was going to get to a place when I shifted from the outer pursuit to the inner pursuit, that there was going to be a place where I eventually reached a state, like, the people that I admired. That was going to be, that was going to make me feel enough, and, and whole. And what I’ve come to realize is that as long as the orientation is on the self, as a local identity, it’ll never be enough, will never be whole. And the me that wants to be whole, by definition, is operating out of a partition of a limited sense. So even my inner journey was driven by that me. Yeah. Yeah. So well, I’m glad you clarified it that way, because when you first said no amount of inner exploration can satisfy it, I thought “Wait a minute”, yeah, because that can, but obviously, if it’s just in terms of, you know, making a better individual me, that’s not going to cut it. I think, I think people that are psychologically oriented think that they’re gonna, and this is my experience in a lot of the people that I mentor, a lot of what I do is mentoring, think that they’re going to heal themselves enough, in order to make themselves whole. And in the spiritually oriented people think that they’re going to awaken enough to transcend their humanity, and I pendulumed between the psychological and spiritual realm of trying to get somewhere other than where it was. But there was still, there’s me at the center of this running.
Rick Archer: I have a friend named Craig Holliday, who’s been on this show, who wrote a book called “Fully Human, Fully Divine”, and this is a theme that comes up often because some people seem to feel that like, just two weeks ago, I interviewed a woman who is very critical of the Neo Advaita scene in which you’re, it’s emphasized over and over again, that you are not a person, there is no self and you know, there’s nothing that you can do to further yourself spiritually or anything else. And it’s, she found it very damaging, very nihilistic and very resulted in a lot of disassociation and spiritual bypassing. I think that my friend’s book title is appropriate. It’s “Fully Human, Fully Divine”, you can have it both. It’s just a matter of approaching it right. And it doesn’t involve blotting out your individuality or negating it or anything like that. It just involves supplementing it with something that’s universal, so that you are ocean and wave, not just one or the other.
Emilio Diez Barroso: Yeah, I love the…there’s a beautiful teacher luck Kelly Avenue. And he’s a dear friend and he speaks of waking up, waking in and waking out; and I think when I was, I had heard the wave and ocean analogy many times. And it’s almost like there were two aspects of me that were in competition constantly. I’m the wave, but I’m the ocean; how do I do that? It’s so paradoxical to my mind. I don’t, I don’t get it. And I was still trying to get it. But there was this wave that wanted to be the ocean. And there’s a subtle distinction between a wave that recognizes itself as the ocean and the ocean, living out as a wave.
Rick Archer: Can you elaborate on that?
Emilio Diez Barroso: Yeah. When I had a lot of, I spent, probably about eight years of my life going to ten silent retreats a year, really committed, mostly with Adyashanti and Gangaji and I was, I really wanted to get enlightened. And I had these big spiritual experiences where the veil of conditioned reality fell away. And I think we, many of your listeners probably have experienced some versions of this where, where everything is one, and it’s just this bliss and joy, and everything is so clear, and then it would disappear. And then it would come back up, and, and it would normally disappear the moment that I tried to grab onto it or there was this new intro, the reintroduction of the sense of self. And I was convinced that there was going to be the big experience, when eventually everything changed. The problem is that there was this wave that was still looking to see “Oh, let me remember that I’m the ocean.” And I’m going to do whatever I can to remember that I’m the ocean, and recognize that I am ocean, which makes so much sense. And yet, when you truly know that you are the ocean, then you are the ocean embodying the wave. And it’s a different, slightly different semantically, but it’s a huge difference in experience. Because then, whether the wave remembers that it’s the ocean or not, it’s irrelevant. In that moment, whether the wave behaves in one way or another. It’s, it’s a byproduct of knowing that you’re the ocean, that this wave becomes just love and compassion certainly, and all these qualities that are associated with this state of being, those are the byproduct. And I had it reversed for most of my life. And I noticed most of the spiritual people, spiritual seekers that I sort of have been along this journey with me, still believe that there’s going to be this one moment when everything becomes…and I hear teachers speaking of this, and I think there’s value to it, but it can be very confusing, at least to my mental framework name, I think, to a lot of people’s mental frame.
Rick Archer: There’s a lot of good stuff in what you just said. One is, I don’t think that, well, just using our ocean analogy, the ocean doesn’t have to remember it’s an ocean or think about its being an ocean or anything like that. It just knows itself as the ocean and just carries on, you know, without giving it a second thought. I think one’s experience can mature to that extent that, you know, this is not something you’re looking for, thinking about throughout the day, you’re just living your life. If you actually want to check in “Oh, yeah, there it is”. But it’s not, you just function that way. Ordinarily, normally. What else? Forget what else, I was gonna say maybe you have a comment on that?
Emilio Diez Barroso: I do. I think, I think this ocean is to see that part of the thing that I didn’t say natural, but that’s just because that’s my experience of the people that I’ve witnessed, but by no means the only, there is that value to the transcendent experience of “Oh, I am not this human entity, individual body, mind, I am not this way. I am all of it.” And there’s a comfort in that transcendence because it becomes very distant and very quiet. Very still, very non-active the way, the way I’ve heard teachers talk about it is this stuck in emptiness, and I think most of the spiritual teachings are aimed at that awakening. Very few. There’s more recently, which is very encouraging, talk about sort of the waking out that law speaks of, and the reality that there’s a, there’s a lot of temptation for this new spiritual egoic identity to get lost there. I remember when I, when I first sort of was in that space, there was nowhere to go. There’s nothing to do, there’s nothing to say, there’s like it’s just, it’s all ocean, you know, everyone’s silly. And, and, and that was in the middle of parenting and having businesses and running lots of money and so that really, more the children because the money meant nothing, and losing it or noticing it was not really something relevant. But my children really grounded. And they were this vehicle through which the ocean was able to fully re-embody the wave and with all its humanity with us, because in that spiritual egoic identity, it’s very safe to not get triggered, it’s very safe to sort of feel free from having a bad day. And these enlightened masters never have a bad day. That humanity is, that reclaiming most redeeming, all of these little nooks and crannies of this conditioning become the joy of life.
Rick Archer: Yeah, that’s great. I mean, from my perspective, the whole point of spirituality is really not to escape out of life, but to live life fully. You can make, you could say, maybe 200% of life, 100% inner values, 100% outer values, even if those outer values are not opulent, but they can certainly be enriched and enhanced by that inner being, inner awareness. Suzie, I’m reminded of a friend of mine who has undergone some very beautiful state of awakening. I don’t know exactly how to define it, but there’s tons of bliss and oneness and vastness and, you know, to the point where she’s afraid to look at the sky as she’s driving down the road, because she’ll become so fast, she’s afraid she won’t be able to drive. But she has an eight year old adopted son who has autism issues that need to be dealt with, and, and she’s, and he kind of is her, her teacher, in a way keeps her down to earth. But she’s kind of passed through this phase of, you know, afraid to look at the sky, and it’s become integrated into this very beautiful state with vast awareness, fully open heart, and yet total practicality, you know, in dealing with the vicissitudes of life and, and dealing with them so skillfully as a result of this awakening. You know, her fear was that she would lose the ability to do that. But in fact, her ability to do that has been enhanced many fold, having undergone this transition.
Emilio Diez Barroso: It’s incredible, isn’t it? I would have never believed that I could live the life that I live from the place that I live in, and still be so engaged in everything I’m doing. And it doesn’t mean that I don’t mess up, particularly as a parent with three teenagers. It’s wild, but I love it. And when I do mess up, I, it’s so quick because it’s not personal. So it’s so quick to assume responsibility, you know, that that was reactive. I’m sorry, that’s not how I want to show up. And let’s learn from it because there’s no, nothing that sort of making it mean something about me and carrying all that extra baggage that just becomes unnecessary. And part of that extra baggage was trying to seem perfect.
Rick Archer: Again, the trying word and the seeming word. There’s a verse in the Gita which basically says yoga is skill in action. And by yoga, it means not just physical postures, but unified unit, unit of awareness, or the state of Samadhi is actually not an escape, again, from the world but as a means of being more skillful in the world. And that’s what you’re actually describing.
Emilio Diez Barroso: Yeah, because I used to think that it was going to be kind of like a doormat. Oh, if I’m all love and heart, and I’m in this place where I truly know it’s all a story and it’s all just an expression of, of I, of source, I’m not going to want to do anything, or how am I going to be efficient in the world that I operate in, which is a world of high performance financial markets? And to your point earlier, it becomes your friend, it becomes just so much more interesting and fun and joyful and actually efficient, which is very surprising.
Rick Archer: One way of looking at it, is that you know, nature itself is very efficient. There’s a deep intelligence, I believe, guiding nature. If you, if you throw a ball, there’s an infinite number of trajectories the ball could take. But it actually takes the most efficient trajectory, given the gravity and the velocity and the wind resistance and everything else, it just absolutely the most perfect trajectory it could take. And I think that when we get established in this, whatever we want to call it, unbounded awareness or whatever, we’re actually getting established in the field of intelligence from which nature itself functions. And our individual life can take on the kind of efficiency that reflects the way nature itself functions, because it really is nature’s intelligence that’s guiding it through our individuality.
Emilio Diez Barroso: Yeah, oftentimes, I use the metaphor of hiking for, I mentor a lot of entrepreneurs, like what, how do you, how do you operate and how do you decide what’s, I, I, I don’t find myself making choices. It’s strange to say, and so I tried to reference hiking. So imagine you’re hiking and you have a general direction you want to go up. But it mustn’t be we’re overanalyzing every step. And overthinking, should I go that way? Should I go this way? What if there’s a cliff, which is really how we have normalized operating in daily life, this overprotecting mystic approach to, to that intelligence right that you’re speaking of. And I think most people recognize the way I describe it often is, we’ve learned to have a, almost like an intermediary between ourselves and the rest of life. And then this layer of intermediation is where all our commentary happens, where we say, “I like this, I don’t like this, more of that, less of this.” And to the degree that this layer thins out, and there’s greater intimacy with the moment or absolute intimacy with the moment, to the degree that we would reference it that we’re on, in the zone, or we’re in the flow, or we’re present. And all it really is, is just a recognition of this natural intelligence living itself out. And we have all the reference points for that, I believe, whether it’s getting lost in a sunset or, you know, a newborn or dancing, whatever it may be. I think, I think the body, I didn’t grow up with an awareness of my body. Like the first time that somebody asked me, “Well, how does that feel?” It feels good; I feel it was mental answers. But the body is such a direct gateway into the moment. And it allows me to directly experience whatever is here in that very intimate way, without curiosity, or the experiencer and the experience itself, are not separate.
Rick Archer: Does that tend to be your experience most of the time that the experiencer and the experience are not separate?
Emilio Diez Barroso: Even when it’s not, because I want to be careful of setting it up. Because when I would hear someone describe what their experience was like, I would associate it with the permanent state. And I think, the idea of permanence, we love, we love it as minds. When there’s a contraction, or when that layer is on board and there’s a narrative that comes online, even that is seen as an expression of source, as a wave in and of itself. So then there’s this unconditioned recognition, not even conditioned to how this humanity shows up.
Rick Archer: It’s good. Did you, through all of your courses with Adya, and all that, did you adopt the, an actual daily practice of some sort that you have stuck to? Or did you mostly just live your life and then go on retreats whenever you could?
Emilio Diez Barroso: I was very dedicated to the practice for a while, I was structured meditation and a lot of reading. It’s interesting, because when I was in this spiritual, more spiritual seeking mode, I wouldn’t resonate with Katie’s inquiry, for example, with The Work they felt very…I just didn’t resonate with it. And then, once some of the bigger changes happened, the inquiry came back on, because the inquiry that I was practicing was the deeper inquiry of who am I and sitting with that in silence for as long as it’s not an active approach, is it true and all that. But when, when some of the bigger shifts happen, I gravitated towards Katie, she’s, she’s a very dear friend as well. I gravitated towards her, because it assisted this light in looking for all those little places that were added, or just looking to me to be met and loved. And then, right now, I, I don’t I don’t distinguish between sort of the sitting meditation, the sitting practice and, and just regular life. I don’t have a structure per se, but I find myself sometimes sitting up and spending time in the middle of the night just in what I would have called meditation before.
Rick Archer: And have you found that you know, this kind of yearning and gnawing feeling that used to drive you has pretty much dissipated and has been replaced by a sense of contentment?
Emilio Diez Barroso: Yeah, I don’t, I don’t remember the last time it came up.
Rick Archer: Yeah, that’s good. There’s gonna be a conference next week called “The End of Seeking”, an online conference, and I’ll be interested to see how the people in it define seeking and how they define the end of it. But my, my knee jerk reaction when I hear that phrase is there may be an end of seeking in the sense of, you know, this kind of feeling of emptiness and you just have a desperate need to fill it or to, you know, be relieved of it. There’s an end of that, you know as contentment, genuine contentment dawns, but there’s no end to, to spiritual development as I understand it. I mean even St. Teresa of Avila even said that it appears that the Lord Himself is on the journey. So, it seems to me that all beings in the universe can still learn and grow in every respect, but that doesn’t mean that you’re always chasing the dangling carrot, you know, and feeling unfulfilled by any, by no means at all do I mean that?
Emilio Diez Barroso: Yeah, I like, I like sort of the, the way that it’s often framed as it’s not that the seeking goes away, is that the seeker loses its place, loses its grip.
Rick Archer: Yeah. Yeah.
Emilio Diez Barroso: Because if in the absence of a seeker, whether seeking arises or doesn’t arise, it’s irrelevant. Because the seeker has an identity around getting somewhere or even the spiritual seeker is very invested in stopping the seeking. Yeah, good point. It’s like a dog trying to catch its tail or something. Yeah, and what was really valuable for me, you know, there’s, there’s, I don’t know if there’s more gears, someone once mentioned, and I don’t know if it’s a Zen koan, or, or I just made it up, not the image, but that it is a Zen koan, it’s a figure of an individual with a stick in their head, and in front of it is that carrot, but in the back is a bag of poop. And I think we’re all very familiar, I certainly was very familiar with the idea of, “Oh, you’re chasing the carrot.” And, you know, no matter how many times you get there, it won’t be enough. And what I wasn’t as familiar with the fear behind me as, and the framework that I already operate, and the feel that arrived for me with the “I must outrun that”, whatever that was, and sometimes externally, that was, I must outrun failing, I must outrun disappointment, I must. But internally, it was I must outrun the feeling of not being good enough, I must outrun jealousy, I must. And no matter how much psychological work, I was still imprisoned by this whatever current bag of poop was, and what I really take from that image, and I’ve had moments in the past where some of the things that were jealousy was one of those really gripping energies in my system. I grew up in a situation where my parents were separated, but they didn’t really tell us they were separated, because they thought it was better for us as kids. So I grew up associating this loyalty with intimacy, and all these things that were very confusing. So as jealousy would show up, and at one point, I had to fully let the experience of jealousy be met in my body. And it was so liberating, but it’s become a, a, that’s why I speak of the body that’s become this doorway, into everything I noticed, I’ve never experienced tiredness before, or hunger, these things that are so familiar to me, had always experienced the desire for tiredness and stuff for hunger unassisted. And to, to discover this sensation that had been along for this journey with me for so long, for the first time directly, what is hunger actually like in my body when I’m not immediately trying to get rid of it? And it feels like that’s what the relationship is to every arising energy now.
Rick Archer: That’s interesting. So the body is like a barometer, thermometer or some kind of sensing instrument, which enables you to navigate life more viscerally it sounds like, more sensitively. Not in your head but kind of in your gut.
Emilio Diez Barroso: Yeah, not as a tool to orient because also time doesn’t hold the framework that it used to, but more as a, as a constant invitation to the moment, as a constant invitation to what’s here. Because it’s not, it’s not operating in the same way that the mind does in time. The body is, and these energies are so here, that it becomes a love affair with the instant through the origin of sensing, as Meister Eckhart used to say it’s an intuitive regard with oneself.
Rick Archer: That’s interesting. Not too many people talk about this, I don’t think; have you heard many people talking about this?
Emilio Diez Barroso: Not many, no. But I find it very interesting. It is fascinating because then, then it takes it away, and you know, I’m very, I operate in worlds that are very mental. And so I became very proficient and very top heavy in sort of this logical rational and, and when I speak to people about these things, it’s very easy to fall in the category of woo-woo. And I have found it, even for my own mental orientation, so helpful to be very grounded, even with my children, right? Because children don’t take concept; they come up, what are you really talking about? It’s very primary and elementary language and examples and, and the body is so here. They say, “Okay, let’s, let’s discover”, because a lot of entrepreneurs experience anxiety and stress and some of them, I’m not talking about enlightenment or waking up or not being themselves. But if I invite them to explore whatever is present, or how do they feel that stress, which is usually sort of in solar plexus or in the core of their, their belly, and then get so intimately close to it, where the boundaries between them and this energy disappear. And they’re essentially, they are bringing the light of consciousness to something that was previously held with resistance. And I don’t even need to say the word consciousness or spirituality or, and ultimately, that’s, that’s where all of this leads, right? Because we don’t need more beliefs. We don’t need more people telling us that all is one or because then our mind idealizes it and considers it a goal. And that’s where the premise of you, what you were sharing of, it’s always unfolding, is so challenging for the spiritual persona. It’s like, no, I need to know that I’m gonna get somewhere where now I will be okay.
Rick Archer: I like to think of it as being like education, and in the ordinary sense, which we’ve all been through. And nobody ever reaches a point at which they say, “Okay, I’m educated, that’s it, I can’t learn anything more. I’ve reached the pinnacle of human knowledge.” There’s always like a next horizon. And that doesn’t, shouldn’t, that doesn’t frustrate, that doesn’t frustrate somebody like Albert Einstein, or, you know, one of the geniuses of, that we’ve that we’ve seen it. It’s more like it, exciting. It’s like an adventure. Oh, boy, what can I figure out next? And I don’t know, I just see spirituality that way, too. That is, there’s no end to the deepening and the refinement. And the, I mean, think of it this way we have all these faculties, we have a heart, we have a mind, we have an intellect, we have senses perceptual abilities; what is the full extent to which all those things can blossom? How, how loving can a heart be, you know, how compassionate can it be? How subtle can sensory perception be? I just think there are no end of these things. And some people might say, well, all that stuff that pertains to relative phenomenon, and those are illusory, so you don’t have to worry about all that. But I don’t think so; I think that the, the whole package is involved in genuine spirituality, absolute relative, everything in between. Yeah. It’s, it’s very comfortable to assign no meaning to the form. When you, when you, when you are in the formless, form really is perceived as so translucent and nonexistent and impermanent. And, and yet it is through those stories, that the mystery gets revealed. So, so these stories, this form, these appearances, are what, are where that heart gets to, to connect in the apparent separation. That’s why the title of the book is “The Mystery of You”, it’s, is an ongoing discovery, not there’s value to the accumulation of, of more knowledge, more experiences more, but it’s, it’s more a journey of continued discovery, like a, like a big freefall where you at some point decide that you’re going to stop grasping and start smiling. You know what I thought of, as you were saying, that, is that, um, and I’ve heard references to this in various, you know, spiritual literature, but the relative life is actually grist for the mill so to speak. It’s, it’s a means in and of itself, for further advancement. And I think that applies not only to, I mean, even to, how even to recluses, but certainly most of us are householders. And as you say, you refer to your children as your teachers. I think that it can be a handicap not to have engagements in the world for most people as a, as an aid in their spiritual growth. Kind of putting that in negative terms, but um, I didn’t used to see it this way. I mean I used to have a rather escapist attitude toward the world than just wanted to get out of it. But I found that when I ditched that perspective, finally my growth really accelerated and became much more significant. You’re kind of saying that, too, in terms of your relationship with your family, your children, your businesses. All these things are like spiritual techniques, if you have the right orientation to them.
Emilio Diez Barroso: Yeah, yeah, absolutely. Life is intelligent. And I think we’ve got the perfect set of circumstances always presenting themselves to help us. Either, I like this word “redeem”, because all we really are is redeeming. We’re, we’re taking these previously, most like, stories that were lacking some of that dimensionality of their beingness and we’re infusing them with this light through living them consciously. Even, even if what we are infusing with light is our unconscious. And even if we, and that’s why, from this perspective, where there’s nowhere to go, whether it’s really, we use the word “advancing”, but there’s, there’s no one advancing. It’s all, it’s all just reclaiming, reinfusing the parts of ourselves that are represented everywhere with a state of consciousness. Because then it’s, I think where it where it gets tricky is where I still think that I’m a spiritual individual or an individual that will advance spiritually, and I need to make sure I’m using everything for my advancement, which I think is incredibly helpful. But then it becomes one more way in which this identity as the spiritually advanced or spiritually advanced advancing one gets, gets engaged and invested. And, and that’s not wrong, but then it’s like can, can the light of consciousness infuse even that, that impulse towards, towards getting somewhere, that impulse towards the me that is, that is interested in this advancement? Because that’s just what we get to be.
Rick Archer: I mean, what you’re implying or I think, at least I infer, is that spiritual people can be notoriously selfish, self-indulgent, you know, about my, my, this and my, that my, you know, my meditation and my diet and my, you know, kind of prima donnas, fussy about it. And but the idea of spirituality is, you know, my cup runneth over. One is a blessing to everything. And you stated that very nicely too. And I think that the impoverishment of the world, whether it be financial or ecological or sociological, all the different problems that beset the world are, is symptomatic of the lack of what you just described, which is the infusing of the inner values into the world. By most people, I mean, not enough people are doing that. And I think if more people were, if, then all these problems would just be found to vanish, which is not to say there wouldn’t be actual concrete solutions, such as better technologies and all, but those, too, would come up if enough people were tapping into their inner wisdom.
Emilio Diez Barroso: Yeah, I love, I love speaking of, because I am on a lot of boards of nonprofit companies and a lot of people that are trying to change the world, and my, my experience with most of the activists is that they have some inner wound, as we know the world is a projection from a psychological perspective, but even more from a spiritual perspective, inner wound that they’re trying to resolve, and it’s almost like if they’re able to change the world enough, then it’ll justify their inner hurt. It will make it worthwhile. It’ll, it’ll somehow make it okay. If I can’t fully heal here, I’ll heal out there. I think it’s an incredible motivator but there’s very few people, I can really think of one right now, Jane Goodall, who seem to operate from an inner cohesion. She’s also a dear friend, and she is, I was, I don’t think I asked her, a friend asked her, “What do you do with, with poachers? You know, how do we, how do we, what do we do with these poachers? Because they’re killing the animals.” And she’s known for caring for the animals. She’s like, “How can I judge the poachers? Why wouldn’t I just focus on giving them better jobs?” Just saying, I feel goosebumps. It’s like, if we were able to operate from that inner cohesion, then, then every time I would look at the world and say, “Oh, it’s a mess.” I look at “Oh, what is my inner mess?” It’s clearly, and that doesn’t mean that I lose objectivity, I’m very engaged in trying to make things better, but, but if I can operate from that coherence, it’s just so much more enjoyable, more effective. I attract individuals and parties to the mix that are able to create change. So I like to pay attention every time I’m looking out there and thinking that something needs to be different. And I like to start with, “Oh, what is, what is that reflecting in me?
Rick Archer: Remember the Beatles song Revolution? You know, a little bit before your time. But you know that one of the lines was “We all we all want to change the world”, but then another line was “Better free your mind instead”.
Emilio Diez Barroso: Powerful lyrics? Yeah, yeah.
Rick Archer: But again, it’s, it’s worth reemphasizing that I think the world such as it is, including whatever problems we’re having, environmentally, the war in Ukraine, everything else is just symptomatic of the inner wounding, if you want to use your phrase, of billions of people. And billions of people are emanating that kind of inner quality to the outer world and creating that outer world, in the image of that, and so that’s why I mean, like you said, we, we have to keep doing stuff to help in the outer world. I mean, people need to be fed this and that. But the inner wounding has to be healed in significant numbers of people in order for real change to take place.
Emilio Diez Barroso: Yeah. And I, I think of it as my inner wounding. I, I, sometimes when there’s something like, it’s, it’s almost like seeing this wave that gets to play a particular role as ahhh, what’s, what’s my role as this individual entity in redeeming that part, and reclaiming, and bringing more love to that part within me, because you’re right, it is symptomatic, it is we, we witness everywhere. Just the byproduct of, of that incoherence. That forgetfulness.
Rick Archer: Yeah, in your bio, you said, you are now dedicated to alleviating suffering in the world. And I don’t think you meant by that, that you’re just gonna sit and work on your inner wounding, and that’ll be your contribution to the world. Yeah, I think that you can even walk and chew gum at the same time. You’re, you’re working on that. But you are also seeing what you can do to help others do that, or to help others and in various other ways, right?
Emilio Diez Barroso: Yeah, very much like what you do. No, I, I just, I show up and I, it, sometimes the mind gets ideas of what that should look like. But most of the time, it’s just right here. It’s driving, it’s walking. It’s answering an email. It’s, yeah, it’s everywhere. And, and to your earlier point, things just happened. This divine intelligence happens to, to bring opportunities forward that just mirror that resonant. This is the direction.
Rick Archer: I know, isn’t that something? I mean, it’s beautiful. It happens. And you have to have initiative in life, but at the same time, you have to sort of have counterbalance it with surrender, so that you can be receptive to the direction that, you know, is being orchestrated for you by that divine intelligence.
Emilio Diez Barroso: Yeah, it’s like that hike analogy, right? You got to put on the right shoes, you’re gonna start before significant amount of time before sunset. But then, you know, you’re on that, you’re on the walk, and you’re on this exploration. And it is, it is that balance, and I always struggled with the word surrender. Because I was always approaching surrender in the same way I approached everything else. That and I thought I needed to surrender. And, and I wrote this, I don’t write much, but I read something that I wrote eight years ago, and it said, surrender is the last will to be surrendered. And there’s will to surrender ultimately, it’s just one more way in which I wasn’t surrendering.
Rick Archer: Yeah. I think one way of looking at surrender is just as a quality of humility, which might also be described as the quality of not insisting that things happen in a particular way. This is, you know, just sort of being willing to, and again there’s a balance between that and being a pushover. One can have determination and conviction and so on, but at the same time, be like you were saying with your body sensitivity, being sensitive to the hints, the impulses, what happens and, and being willing to shift direction if necessary if that’s the indication of the way things should go or are going.
Emilio Diez Barroso: Yeah, yeah, it was what I hear when you say that is an agility of deep listening. And I think the, the things that burden that agility and that listening are, for me, the, the narrative that has a particular identity attached to it. Because when there’s, there’s an identity, there’s a, there’s an attachment, a greater attachment to defending it or having a particular outcome. I love how you, that sensibility that you speak of.
Rick Archer: When you use the word agility, for some reason, I thought of a pro basketball player who is really in the zone, you know, and he wants to get from here to the other end of the court. And, you know, he can’t just plow his way straight down the court, he’ll get blocked or, and have the ball taken, but he has to sort of have the forward momentum and yet, and he doesn’t know exactly what he’s going to have to do to get from one end to the other. But as he goes there, you know, according to circumstances, he’s able to just adjust instantaneously and get to the other end.
Emilio Diez Barroso: Yeah, I love that. Because if I was going to ask, if I was studying, because I thought this was sort of a basketball player that I was interested in becoming better at my game, right, I would try to break down his movements. And I would ask them, “Okay, explain to me, so how do you, what did you think the moment you were gonna do this?” I wasn’t thinking! But he was at that place that you’re describing, where he was just agile, sensitive, where and he’d done his part to be, to be ready to not have that layer of protaganism get in the way.
Rick Archer: That’s a good point, too, he had done his part, obviously, to be able to play like that. He had put in a lot of practice, and, you know, cultivated the ability to do that when the time came. So there’s something to be said for that, too.
Emilio Diez Barroso: And it’s so tricky, right, to talk about time, and timelessness, because, and then if you break it down, did he ever prepare, or was this, was every instance, just a function of the same intelligence, and it’s an obviously from one perspective, we have, we operate in a world of, of time, so we need to speak that language and, and yet it can often be used. The fact that we operate in this world doesn’t mean that it’s the only reality. And, and I think it’s important, even as we speak of, he did his work, it’s important to remember that every instant of that timeline was just that instance. And, and that we don’t see, because if, if I set it up in my mind like I need to do something before something happened. It’s this constant, oh, but he did his work. Oh, but that teacher did that and that’s why they can do that. And, and how it was set up in me was that there was this process that would lead me somewhere. And while that is true, that can also get in the way. Because it becomes this always, always then phenomenon. And that’s where we’re back to the body. If in this instant, I can access the moment right here, in whatever is present in my system. And then I’m in the same place as that basketball player, maybe I couldn’t run and do that move, but I am in that same place of inner hereness.
Rick Archer: Yeah, but paradoxically, and you feel free to dispute this, but paradoxically, there are things one can do to be, to eventually be more in that state of inner hereness. I think that’s the way you phrased it. You know, like all of the retreats you went on, the practice you did, and all this and that, you’re a different person, that you function differently now than you would have if you hadn’t done all that. So, I mean, because some people, you know, so especially the Neo Advaita, people said, you don’t need to do anything, if you do any kind of practice, you’re only reinforcing the sense of a practicer, and uh, so you’re already enlightened. Just realize that and you’re done. That I think, that’s very unrealistic. And I don’t know if there’s really any, very many good examples of that having succeeded that, that approach.
Emilio Diez Barroso: Yeah, I uh totally, it is so paradoxical, and thank you for bringing it; I think what I, I, part of me wants to tell people when I’m along this journey with them and just accompanying them as they do their own inquiry, I get, I get that impulse so you really just drop into right now. You really don’t need to go anywhere. And I certainly did my running. So then what I’ve come to realize is that I support people in getting to the solution as quick as possible. Because that’s really where all of this led me to.
Rick Archer: Not disillusionment, but dissolutionment you said dissolving is what you’re the word you’re using, right?
Emilio Diez Barroso: No, no, this illusion.
Rick Archer: This illusion. Okay, that’s a good word, too, in the sense that we want to come out of illusion.
Emilio Diez Barroso: Yeah, and I mean it more in the sense of, um, yeah, I guess, I guess it is like that. I mean, in the sense also, of where all of the strategies fail. That place of defeat, and if we can sit in the defeat for a moment, before the next energy kicks in of okay, listen, your strategy, that’s stopping. I think it was, first heard it from Gangaji and her teacher Papaji to just stop. And I never, I never resonated with a stop, stop. Just the way it was stop, I’m going. And, and I only stopped, I didn’t stop because I trusted her. I stopped because I got tired. I stopped because I fell on my face. Well, I fell on my face many times. But at one point, I fell on my face enough where it was harder to get up. I wasn’t that dramatic fall on my face, it was probably gonna happen in half an hour of silent meditation, but, but that inner experience of defeat that I had previously overwritten really quickly with something new, was able to have an impact of snuffing out a flame.
Rick Archer: You remember Adya’s story about that?
Emilio Diez Barroso: No, there’s nothing.
Rick Archer: Oh, he pretty much I mean, he was, he was like, you know, professional bicycle racer, and he brought that competitive spirit to spirituality. And he was pushing himself really hard and going on retreats and I’m going to be the best meditator on this retreat. And, and he, you know, he got to a point where he felt like he was about to crack. And he left in the middle of a retreat and went home and went to his parents backyard or something where he had this little meditation hut. And he went into the hut and said, “That’s it, I give up”, and then boom, he had his first big awakening.
Emilio Diez Barroso: Yeah, I hear him talk about failing at Zen. And that’s really all we can do, I think is, I have so much love and appreciation for Adya because he holds such a clear light of not taking anything and not pretending that he has anything that is needed by a student. And I think as a teacher he encouraged me to run faster. He encouraged me to, to use that type faith, like, “Okay, you want to, you want to really get somewhere? Okay. Go for it. Go as quick as you can”. One two, maybe get nine golf coaches he could have, it’s a very, and I noticed that temptation is very easy as someone that is guiding someone or just accompanying someone on this spiritual journey to provoke a spiritual experience. You just need to notice this transmission that can happen if you just sort of really sit in that stillness and there’s a, an energetic, even just as I’m doing, I can feel energetic just flow through and, and I can, I can, and the temptation to do that, to provide a quick experience, is there an Adya? I seldom see him go down that path because he recognizes the transient nature of that experience. And he doesn’t dismiss the value of those experiences, but he, what he knows as are just experiences, and he’s like you got to run your run, you gotta, you got to go and do your thing, whatever that thing is, and his was the Zen tradition. And that’s certainly been my experience, I really had to exhaust all these mechanisms of control. All these ways in which I thought that I was gonna get enlightened.
Rick Archer: Yeah, I remember he told me this thing, one time, about how he felt. He, he was, uh, he, he found that he could, he could give a person an awakening experience. He could awaken them in some way. And he eventually realized that that wasn’t what he should be doing. And so he kind of changed the way he thought.
Emilio Diez Barroso: I must, I must have been more exposed to him after that conversation.
Rick Archer: Yeah. I think maybe he was somehow eliciting something prematurely in people, maybe he felt that they needed to do more groundwork and that the experience would dawn naturally when it was ready to. There’s a quote from Nisargadatta that I saw the other day, it said “The fruit falls suddenly, but you know, it, it takes there’s a long process of maturation before it’s ready to fall”.
Emilio Diez Barroso: There’s a quote about bankruptcies like, how did you go bankrupt? Gradually, and then all of a sudden. That’s kind of how it happens. And it’s, you know, I can, I can point to it and I can speak of moments when really big shifts happen, but it’s very hard to, very hard to narrow it down to what it was this moment, when everything really – because it is it is a chipping away to some degree. A lot of things.
Rick Archer: Yeah, I heard a nice analogy. You could be walking, and there could be a sudden downpour, and you get drenched. Or you could be walking along and like, in Great Britain, let’s say and this is heavy pea soup fog, misty thing, and after a while, you get just as drenched as if you were in the sudden downpour, downpour, but you can’t really say exactly when you got drenched you know. Where was the demarcation between dry and wet?
Emilio Diez Barroso: That’s a great image.
Rick Archer: So there’s some, I printed out the table of contents of your book, would it be useful to go through some of these points? And you know, just discuss the points that you discussed in various chapters?
Emilio Diez Barroso: Oh, of course.
Rick Archer: So I’ll read them. And, you know, maybe we set maybe some of them we’ve already discussed, but if not, this will give us some food for thought. So the first chapter is called the Operating System. Why’d you call it that? What was that about?
Emilio Diez Barroso: A lot of the people that I, I work in the tech space a lot, I invest in a lot of early stage venture, and, and a lot of these individuals understand the premise of technology evolving exponentially. And, and, they’re very focused, some of these very high performing individuals, very focused on disrupting large industries, and disrupting large companies, and creating something that essentially changes the way that things are done. So I started using this language with them where imagining that their conditioning was software, and that their body was this hardware. And how, when was the last time their software went through an upgrade as this operating system, and how much of the old operating system, which is just the language that they really understand from the days of survival was still running in their, in their bodies. And the reality that most of these individuals are not happy and that finding a way to disrupt themselves was a good investment of their time. And that’s, that’s the languaging around this operating system and where it came from.
Rick Archer: You find a lot of them are, I mean, you’ve heard the story, we’ve all heard of burnout, and people working 18 hour days and stuff like that. Do, I mean do some of these people actually use performance enhancing drugs or cocaine or stuff like that to just, which would be very short sighted because you’re not going to get, I heard that June Cooper, the drummer was using cocaine because he was competing with Buddy Rich, who was a really great drummer, but it eventually just ruined him. So very short sighted to use artificial stimuli like that. You mean because they don’t want to, or…?
Emilio Diez Barroso: I’m sure they there’s lots of different ways in which people enhance and, but I think what’s more apparent to me is the ways that they cope more than the ways that they depend, and because it’s a lot of really, some of them are running on fumes. And they’re, and I can relate in some ways, and they’re very concerned with stop or slowing down. Yeah, I hear stories about people, you know, thinking that, “Oh, since I had such a profound experience, I’ll do it every weekend.” And then next thing, you know, it’s really throwing their lives out of kilter They don’t want to, they feel it’s so, it feels so threatening to stop or slow down. They feel that everything will fall apart. And kind of like in your musician analogy. There’s this always someone running next to you right here, or right here. And it’s such a highly competitive environment, particularly sort of in the Silicon Valley world of technology, things are evolving so quickly and you can be irrelevant so quickly in that framework that people just run as fast as they can until they, until they hurt. So they hurt deep enough to try something new. And you know, plant medicine has become a lot more popular in these circles, because it provides a glimpse into a different reality. And it snaps them out of this sort of very narrowly focused approach into like, oh, wow, there’s something completely and, and it can be so disorienting for a lot of them. There’s no, no, no healthy process of reintegration when it’s not done in a, you know, in a way that’s intentionally unconscious. That’s an important thing they have to go back to operating. It becomes, it becomes as new, because that’s the way that they’ve approached things through. And I’m not, I’m not, I think there’s incredible value in plant medicine, and conscious journeys, as a way to, where there’s probably a lot of therapeutic and healing properties, but just as a way to show something else as possibility. But then when we, when we get, it’s like going to watch a happy movie all the time that you’re sad.
Rick Archer: Yeah, Allan Watts said with regard to those drugs, he said, “Well, once you get the message, hang up the phone.”
Emilio Diez Barroso: Yeah, and I think we’re so conditioned to pursue experiences. And we’re so conditioned to think that somehow we think that there’s going to be some experience that’s going to really stick wherever, like I’m going to do this, and I’m going to see this and then when I do that, then I’ll see everything like that forever and I’ll be at peace forever. And when I hear some of the spiritual teachers speak of their way of orienting around life, and they speak of everything as one, it can be very easy to misunderstand that as a constant state of experience.
Rick Archer: Yeah, well, in a sense, it is a constant state of experience. I’ll hit back at this just for a second, I mean, if you could, let’s say step inside of Hodges head, or Ramana Maharshi for that matter, you’d find that there is, was, a constant state of experience, that is really nice, nice state to be in. But that doesn’t mean that it’s jaw droppingly flashy or anything, it’s just, you know, we acclimate, it becomes natural, it’s our natural style of functioning, whereas, you know, psychedelics, and things like that tend to be flashing and overpowering. And if somebody thinks that a state like that is going to become the norm, that really wouldn’t be desirable. I mean, who would want to be in a state like that all the time?
Emilio Diez Barroso: I would even question, I’m not obviously in Adya’s or Ramana’s experience, but I would question that it’s a constant state of experience.
Rick Archer: I think the experience, let’s, let’s find a better word. Because you know…
Emilio Diez Barroso: The, the orientation through which life is lived maybe, maybe a non-localized, and at times localized, so even when it’s localized, it’s non-local. So the aperture is such where, where it can afford small apertures. And what, what becomes the loop of the spiritual seeker is the moment there’s a small aperture, he thinks that it lost it. But the big aperture allows for the smaller apertures to exist. So Adya, Adya is not as likely now going around saying “There is no tree. It’s all, it’s all one.” So the small aperture of the individualized self that may even have agendas and preferences, temporary and seen as illusory, and just what I think when we believe that the enlightened master is always seeing everything as one and no separation, it keeps the seeking in place, it keeps the seeker in place.
Rick Archer: Yeah, I get you. And you use the word aperture, it’s a good word, because I sometimes think of it as like, a zoom lens, like right now my camera’s focused on me, and the background is a little blurry, but the camera could focus on the background, and I’d be a little blurry like that, you know, cameras work that way. And I think that a person functioning in a, let’s say, higher state of consciousness, for lack of a better phrase, it’s kind of like a zoom lens, where they’re not always just, you know, zoned out, you know, in some kind of blissful state, they could be driving a car in a rainstorm and having to, you know, totally focus on what they’re doing. But there’s a general frame of reference from which one functions that is different than it otherwise would be like, in your own case, you know, snap back to when you were 15 or 20 years old. Compare that with the general state in which you function now. You did, you probably did many of the same things you do now but it’s from a different general orientation. And it’s not a flashy experience you’re operating from. It’s, it’s, if anything, it’s an unflashy experience because you know, this sort of deeper grounding and being in inner silence. Feel free to disagree with anything I’m saying. I’m just sort of.
Emilio Diez Barroso: Yeah, no, I think you’re absolutely right. I, I it is, it is very different. And it includes everything. And I think when the spiritual seeking mind associates awakening or Lemonwood, or want to call it with, with one particular experience, it’s, I noticed a lot of people could just keep looping around that.
Rick Archer: Yeah, like bliss or unboundedness or some such thing.
Emilio Diez Barroso: I think Adya calls it the, the sales pitch for enlightenment.
Rick Archer: Sales pitch. Yeah. I know Ramana was big on talking about those things which come and go as not being the reality. Like when Papaji first came to him and he said he had just been having visions of Krishna and playing with Krishna and Ramana said, “Is he here now?” Papaji thought, “Oh, no, I guess he’s….”
Emilio Diez Barroso: Yeah, I love, I love the face of the spiritual teaching that is just cut. Here, who is asking who? Okay, so disarming, and so helpful. My wife hates it.
Rick Archer: Your wife and kids? I mean, what did they think of you? They think dad’s kind of a nutcase, or are they on board with some of this themselves?
Emilio Diez Barroso: I think they, they’re kids, so they love it. They really, but you know, we all have our, our journeys. And I think there is no such thing as sort of a perfect childhood. So they will, they will often in the conversation, we have very open conversations, oftentimes, what they’re working on is not seeing me as, seeing me more messy. So I have to, I have to be very attentive to showing all of my humanity to them. And so they, they really, they’ve grown up with it. So they’re very comfortable with it. My ex sometimes calls me the teenage whisperer. But my wife, my wife actually introduced me to a lot of these teachings. I was very much in the, in the psychological realm of sort of healing myself. And when she first gave me “Emptiness Dancing”, Adya’s book, and our lives kind of flipped a little bit, because then I went deep into spirituality. And she has been raised with much more spirituality, but then went deep into work. So we were just at different age stages of our, our sort of lifecycle. And we, we speak the same, the same language. And yet there’s a very distinct, and I noticed it with Adya and looked at the, there’s almost like a texture to the feminine teachings that is so heart oriented, it’s a big generalization, they just feel so heart centered. And so engaging of the form, like it brings all the little pieces into the fold. It’s very different than the Manjushri quality of who’s, who’s feeling, who’s talking, who’s sensing. And oftentimes, when, when I noticed my wife going through something in the past, she would be sharing something and I go with a Manjushri approach. And then I noticed that that’s not really what she was looking for. And I would, I would ask her, you know, you, how can I support you? Just listen.
Rick Archer: Yeah, that’s a good point you make about the feminine qualities; yeah, we, here on BatGap, we, we have a rule that we’re going to interview as many women as men. And they’re actually, for some reason, there are a lot more men in the database of potential people to interview. But we really stick to that rule. And I think a lot of people feel that the world needs a lot more feminine energy and wisdom from feminine sources. We’d all be better off if that were more plentiful.
Emilio Diez Barroso: Yeah, I think that’s spot on, particularly because a lot of the masculine is about the stillness, right? It is about the formless, the mature masculine comes back into the form, but because so much of the teaching has been done by masculine figures, it is very much about getting to that nothing is real state. And, and the feminine is really, I think that cycle could be a lot quicker in the feminine expression.
Rick Archer: Another thing is that all the various scandals that happen in spiritual circles, not all, but the vast majority are men that are screwing up. And you know, the women are pretty impeccable by comparison. So, there’s something that can be learned from that.
Emilio Diez Barroso: Absolutely. A part of my journey has been as a man who grew up in Mexico City where a lot of behaviors were pretty normalized, has been reclaiming things that are, that I notice still operate in the masculine.
Rick Archer: Society, macho stereotype kind of stuff.
Emilio Diez Barroso: Macho, how we relate to women, which I guess is macho. But for me, I grew up in a world in a culture where integrity was very different than how I define it now. And, and part of what happens, or happened for me, as this sort of deeper elements of truth started breaking me from the inside was that there was a lot of discomfort with anything that wasn’t entirely honest or true, or in integrity. So all those things that I grew up being able to get away with all of a sudden were impossible to ignore.
Rick Archer: Yeah, that’s good. There’s an association, there’s an organization called The Association for Spiritual Integrity, which I helped to found along with a few other people, and has over well over 400 members now, but it’s an attempt to raise the bar a little bit or popularize the, the notion that ethics and integrity are very important components of the spiritual path and shouldn’t be ignored or rationalized away with some kind of, it’s all an illusion, and I can do whatever I want. Because the world isn’t real kind of nonsense, which some people actually do. They try to use things, say things like that.
Emilio Diez Barroso: It’s so tempting, right? For the, for the remnants of that egoic structure, because all of a sudden, a lot more capacity comes online with these awakenings. You’re able to have a lot more influence, and exert a lot more energy and manipulative capacity on people from that place. So there’s, there’s a part of you that’s not in integrity. And I think that’s where you hear a lot of these scandals, right, because there’s a lot of these spiritual teachers that are able to create that allure and that stigma, and are able to coerce people into doing things in the name of something or just simply because they become more attractive beings in and of themselves, because this light is attractive.
Rick Archer: Yeah. Yeah. So I mean, I think the more that that happens, you know, the more attractive one becomes, the more charisma one has, and so on, it’s really incumbent upon the teacher to be more careful, more circumspect, more impeccable in one’s own behavior, because it’s a great responsibility being, being a spiritual teacher. And it’s, I think, a great crime to violate the trust that people place in you. And use, take advantage of your position, to take advantage of your students.
Emilio Diez Barroso: Yeah, it almost, I’ve always admired therapists and the process works and marriage and family therapists and training. But the process of how much integrity is infused into those, into the training of becoming a therapist, and how the dual relationships and the transference and how much that is really talked about, it almost feels like as some of the people that are coming upon these realizations and getting ready to share them or teach. There’ll be, there’ll be value in addressing that a little bit.
Rick Archer: Yeah, that’s the kind of thing we’re trying to do with that organization to some extent, but unlike, like your wife, and who is training as a therapist, and there’s a formal part of her training, which involves these issues, there’s nothing like that with all the spiritual teachers that are stepping forth. I mean, it’s just a kind of a free for all. And there’s no overarching organization that grants or revokes licenses the way there is with psychologists or doctors or lawyers or other such professions. And our little organization, ASI, is certainly not going to take on that authority. But um, it is a bit more of a wild, wild west, you know, comparison, in comparison to these more established professions.
Emilio Diez Barroso: Yeah, that’s why I really was lucky enough to gravitate towards teachers that always encourage that inner discernment. It’s like whatever I say here is, you know, just test it out for yourself and check out what works and any teacher that essentially claims that they’re the, the one or the doorway or the means towards, that’s probably a really good red flag.
Rick Archer: That’s really good. I’m glad you’re saying that. And the Buddha himself said something like that. He said, “Don’t believe something just because I say it.” You know, check it out. Check it out for yourself, just the way you just said. And, you know, so anyway, I hope that spiritual teachers will grow and spiritual aspirants will grow more and more, and that kind of discernment and the wisdom to not adulate someone just because he sits up on a pedestal and seems to be enlightened. But you know, use your common sense and walk away if the guy seems to be going off the rails.
Emilio Diez Barroso: Yeah. Easier said than done. Right? I just was gonna say that I’ve had my share of adulation for people that I really look up to, and I’ve just been graced by they’re giving it back and saying this. I’m not taking any of that.
Rick Archer: Which not all of them, some of them, they just, it goes to their heads. Okay, a question came in from gentleman named Pawan Kumar, in Chandigarh India, Chandigarh, Chandigarh, India. “Will every seeker eventually surrender once he is exhausted of seeking? If yes, should they just run towards exhaustion with full force?”
Emilio Diez Barroso: I wish I knew. That’s a beautiful question. What I do know is that all of my spiritual practices, and my spiritual dedication to put a word to it prepared me for those moments of deep exhaustion. I, I understood the value of them and I was capable of holding enough inner stillness, that when those moments happened, I wasn’t quick to replace them with something else. So I think we all have our walk to walk, if you’ve got energy to run, run, there’s no one to say that you shouldn’t pursue what you want. But I do think there is a gift in that disillusionment that is often overlooked.
Rick Archer: Yeah, I also think it’s good to keep the principle of safety first in mind because I’ve run into instances, including one quite recently, where people, they’re pedal to the metal, you know, and they’re just saying enlightenment or bust, and then I’m gonna meditate 10 hours a day or something. And then they end up having some kind of psychotic break, or, you know, serious problem. So you have to stay balanced. Get proper exercise and sleep and, you know, the food and all the, all the normal things in life, you’re not going to storm the gates of enlightenment by force.
Emilio Diez Barroso: I thought I could. It was very silly. And thank you for sharing that because it is, it is important to recognize that we, our bodies, this instrument is just as divine as the most magical spiritual experience you could ever have.
Rick Archer: Yeah, and the body is the temple of the soul, you know, you have to take care of it, and that’s your vehicle, really. So if you damage it in some way, then you’re, you’ve, you’re stuck with a damaged vehicle.
Emilio Diez Barroso: And I would just suggest that there is, there is this element of grace, that seems to respond to this inner commitment. And that inner commitment doesn’t mean necessarily the 10 hour meditation days, it’s just, just that capacity inside to say this is, this is what’s really important to me.
Rick Archer: Yeah, that’s really good. I mean, there’s a difference between sort of gritting your teeth and just being you know, enlightenment or bust, or just having this sincere, ardent, deep, heartfelt desire for this and, you know, not necessarily struggling and straining and, and you know, doing all that, but just, you know, it comes from a deep place. I can think of examples of both. One of them actually seems rather ego, egotistical. You know, where you, it’s like, dammit, I’m gonna get this and boom, boom. It does sort of fulfill the Neo Advaitin’s thing about reinforcing the sense of a practice or, but I can think of other examples that it’s much gentler and heartfelt and effective terms of the outcome.
Emilio Diez Barroso: I can really only directly speak of my experience. And even that is probably already filtered through my memory and my terrible recollection of things. But for whatever it’s worth, it was very helpful because I met fear, and fear that was unconscious and often didn’t really have a story, sometimes that story at the, at the pit of my core, often. And my impulse was to get to that edge and move away from that edge, because it was way too scary. And I think this spiritual commitment to what truly is important, supports us in staying at that edge. Where, where everything in us is a big no, because it does feel like, like death to some part of us. And to just go back to that inner, inner commitment in those moments. In a way that holds in context the larger picture of your, your body and making sure you’re taking care of yourself, but being able to let that precipice approach inside of myself, and stay with it. This was incredibly valuable at one point.
Rick Archer: That’s good. I like the way you speak. I can see you’re, you’re kind of, there’s this self-reflective care and how you choose your words, and although you’re speaking spontaneously, but there’s a kind of a thoughtfulness, it’s good. Um, a question came in from Peter Buckley in Vancouver. “Do you feel that the masculine approach to spirituality dismisses the need to heal the heart heal trauma on the spiritual path?”
Emilio Diez Barroso: I wouldn’t necessarily call it the masculine approach dismisses that, I would, oftentimes the feminine has it more front and center. And that the, in general, the masculine directive is more single pointed. And, and in my experience, it made very little room for anything else other than that single pointed direction, like anything that wasn’t, I remember, at one point, there was an Adya talk or something, but it was, it was the invitation was, “What do I know for sure to such a degree that I would bet my loved ones life on it?”
Rick Archer: The teacher and that?
Emilio Diez Barroso: Yeah. Didn’t, didn’t ask it to me. It was part of a top general question kind of thing. Yeah. And it really struck me, because it, all the answers that I could come up, and that was in this sort of spiritual, so I went to “I am, it’s all consciousness”, and but even these answers, when I was thinking of my children’s life, just weren’t holding muster. And I got really, really quiet. I love those questions, they get me really, really quiet. And to me, that’s, that’s both a, what I would call masculine leveraging the feminine aerobics, it’s the, it’s the cutting through illusion. But it’s bringing in the heart and the love, like I love this being so much that I’m holding that up against the solution. And I’m using that deep love as a way to see through all the things that are not real. So I thought that was a very skillful way of merging these two,
Rick Archer: Did you come up with an actual answer that you could have expressed?
Emilio Diez Barroso: No, I stayed quiet for a long time.
Rick Archer: Yeah, interesting question.
Emilio Diez Barroso: Because I, I know that every answer is filtered one way or another, through my sensing organ mechanisms. And if I was unaware of somebody giving me any kind of substance, I know how my mind gets altered. I know that I can’t necessarily believe, I know that it’s operating in time and that time, by definition, involves either imagination or memory. So like, what, what fits into that? And a part of why I love that question is that it leads into this examining of time as the canvas of our reality, because any answer would be, would have to be placed on this canvas. But if the canvas is seen as just this fabrication of past and future, because every story needs a little dimensionality, it was like, painting in the air when the cameras is not there.
Rick Archer: Nice. Let’s take another chapter of your book. We may have covered a lot of this stuff so we can always move on to the next one but, um, irrational discontent.
Emilio Diez Barroso: Yeah, that’s the, that’s the discontent that doesn’t make sense. The one that, that is “I should be happy.”
Rick Archer: Like you’ve got everything down for you.
Emilio Diez Barroso: I have all of this family, friends, I’ve got financial security. It’s the, it happens I think many times throughout our life, it’s sort of exemplified by this midlife crisis phenomenon. But, but it’s this, this moment when it’s similar to what we were speaking of the strategies when, when our strategies seem to have failed. When the promise of whatever it was that we were embarking on is seen through as impermanent. And you’re speaking of the Buddha, I, I, I imagine Siddhartha’s experience of discontent was one where like, well, I’m living in this palace, as was Francis of Assisi. There’s, and there’s something missing.
Rick Archer: Yeah. Well, you know, the story was his father, he was predicted by some astrologer that he was either going to become a great king or a great spiritual leader. And his father wanted him to be a king so he tried to sequester him in the palace and not allow him to see anything negative in the world outside. But Buddha got out one day, and, and he was going around, and he saw a sick person, and an old person, and a dead person, he’s like, what’s wrong with these people? And he was told, “Well, this is what happens to everybody including, is going to happen to you someday.” And so then he thought, “Okay, that’s it. I have to leave and find out the truth.”
Emilio Diez Barroso: Yeah. Yeah. Which to the rational mind makes absolutely no sense.
Rick Archer: Yeah. So let’s pick another one: unnecessary roughness.
Emilio Diez Barroso: I think that’s all the stuff that we put ourselves through, you know, all the, all the way. I, as I mentioned, having grown up in this Catholic landscape, in a Catholic school, I associated learning with judgment. It’s almost like the premise of lashing yourself, it’s like, oh, if I do something wrong, I must hold on to this strong judgment otherwise, I won’t learn. And if someone else does something wrong, I must really hold on to that grudge or otherwise it will happen again. And it’s all the ways in which we create this unnecessary hurt. Because we think it’s going to help us out. And we think we must keep our grievances top of mind. And we truly believe that if we were to forgive, bring compassion to those places, that then we would not learn, the other individual would not learn; we would go through something like that, again. That’s not my experience at all. I think it’s unnecessary reference.
Rick Archer: Yeah. I, I’ve heard philosophies of prison reform. And they do this in Scandinavia, some Scandinavian countries, in which they try to give the prisoners as good a life as possible, you know, comfortable setting and nice food and, you know, nice fresh air and the country and just everything as good as possible. And they even you know, let them work in the kitchen with sharp knives, all kinds of things, but um, it turns out to be much more healing, and they have much better success rates, then, kind of a real punishing kind of criminal justice system.
Emilio Diez Barroso: I love that. Its’s, it’s hard for the, again, for the rational mind, or for the, for the mind that’s justified in its righteousness to not think of punishing someone that we, we associate in ourselves and each other, the behavior with the individual. And we think that, we think of themselves as criminals, or wrongdoers, whatever it may be, promiscuous, or liar, or as opposed to individual, I think there’s a tribe somewhere that I was, I was reading that thinks of people as having caught a virus: the virus of lying, or the virus of stealing, and then the individual is not necessarily a liar or a thief. The individual is someone that caught this thing that needs to be cured. And that is an approach that feels a lot more, makes a lot more sense. Suddenly, our current system isn’t working in the way that it’s punishing; and I see with children, also, I, in this identity of a parent, I think, “Oh, if, if I don’t punish them, then they’ll never learn”. Not my experience at all. I don’t think I’ve ever punished my children.
Rick Archer: So what do you do if one of your kids misbehaves in some way? What if you catch them stealing something or lying to or, you know, being mean to their little sister, whatever? Yeah, there’s a larger book about that, actually. And they made it a little easier.
Emilio Diez Barroso: Yeah, yeah, I first, I check my energy, right, because most of the time, I’m bringing my own baggage to the mix. So if I’m bringing my own baggage, it’s really difficult to create any value out of the exchange, because I’m just projecting my stuff, and I’m holding my own, my own issues into it. But if I’m, if I’m not triggered in that way, if it truly is just a, this is something that wasn’t supposed to happen, according to sort of our understanding, I found them to be incredibly capable of having full on conversations from very early ages, where I sit down, and I say, “You know what, this is how I felt when you did this, this is why it doesn’t work, this is why it works. Let’s come up with a strategy together so that that doesn’t happen again.” And it becomes such an incredible, and sometimes they’ll do it again. And if they do it again, then come up with them with a strategy with how, what consequence needs to be. And it’s incredible, they’re a lot more difficult on themselves then I would be, right, there consequence maybe, oh, the next time I do this, I should, and we write it down on a piece of paper, it’s like, okay, if I ever do this again, then this is what I’m gonna. And it’s like, oh, I would have never, I would have suggested one day, not a whole week, but okay. And it’s, it’s incredible to, to, to be able to treat them in a way where I really honor their humanity. And take along the way, I’ve healed so much of my upbringing which was more, much more authoritarian. And I noticed that every time I’m triggered it’s because there’s a younger part of myself that wishes he had received something that needs, needs to be brought forward. Oftentimes some version of feeling disempowered.
Rick Archer: Yeah, it was, as you’re saying that I was thinking about how this works well for you. But I wonder if it would work as well as a parenting method for somebody who hasn’t done as much work on themselves as you have, you know, who hasn’t undergone as much transformation. Because you know, another person who is full of all kinds of tension and wounding and whatnot could say the very same words that you were, that you were saying to your kids in these circumstances and it might really not have the same effect.
Emilio Diez Barroso: Yeah, I think that’s likely. And yet, I think our children are not looking, our children, our relationships are not looking for us to be perfect. And not be messing up. But if we can model how to be when we mess up, if, if, if we can, if we can show up in ways that are less than optimal. But then say, hey, you know, what, I kind of really didn’t show up right there. I think that’s more powerful than not messing up. So it doesn’t matter where if, if there’s the slightest capacity, even significantly after the fact, to take responsibility for how we showed up in any relationship, truly letting go of the other side, like taking 100% for how we showed up, not conditioning, and yes, but you did this, so I did this, but truly just say, you know what, that way that I did this, I could see how I could have done it differently, and I’m sorry. That’s so powerful. And children understand that language very well.
Rick Archer: That’s great. It’s a really humility kind of thing, where it’s not like, I’m your father, and whatever, whatever I say, that’s what is gonna happen. I mean, there are people who function that way. But it’s like, you know, hey, we’re all bozos on this bus. And I’m doing my best and let’s, you know, yeah, better.
Emilio Diez Barroso: Yeah. And I was so invested in appearing as a really good dad. Oftentimes, I didn’t, I didn’t, I purposely didn’t mess up. Or if I was having a difficult experience, I would hide it from them. And I noticed what uh, how I was handicapping.
Rick Archer: Yeah. And they, they could probably see right through it. Okay, so we’ve talked a bit about surrender. You have a couple chapters here, what is possible dynamics surrender, have we covered those points? Is there anything more I say about those things?
Emilio Diez Barroso: No, I think we’ve moved on. I mean, I’m sure there’s things that we can talk about it.
Rick Archer: But then there are a bunch of different freedom chapters: mental, emotional, physical, spiritual, and have we covered those?
Emilio Diez Barroso: I think we’ve covered aspects of them. Certainly, we’ve covered a little bit of the physical when speaking of, and there’s, I just tell stories about people that I’ve mentored and how I’ve seen them sort of evolve and share some of these tools that are really helpful in liberating different aspects of ourselves at these various levels. Right at the, at the mental there’s a bunch of things. We’ve talked a little bit about Katie’s inner work and inquiry. But there’s, there’s a lot of other things that we can do to, to deal with sort of our mental chatter. On the emotional level, there’s a lot of, sort of that resides in the psychological realm of, you know, of doing, even healing of memories, of being able to observe misunderstandings that we subscribe to and the meanings that we made. So that’s a lot of that work on the, on the spiritual, because we’ve spoken quite, quite a bit of it, but I, I frame it as the spiritual part that is still looking for an outside figure, for comfort. It’s the spiritual freedom is really, ultimately a freedom from these ideals, from this enlightened self, are more conscious of.
Rick Archer: I think there can be a distinction between a dependency on an outside figure to try to fill some vacuum within oneself, and then just the enjoyment of associating with, you know, highly spiritual people. So, you know, there might be some people who go to a spiritual teacher, and there’s like, “Oh, my God, I have to get as close to this person as possible. And I feel so miserable when I have to leave.” And then that, but then there’s another orientation, which is, you know, it’s nice to enjoy the company of such people when the opportunity arises, but my, my world doesn’t crash and burn when I’m not around them. And, you know, I don’t have to sort of strong arm my, my way to their immediate proximity and things like that. I’ve seen, I’ve been that through both of those myself. I mean, I’ve been that I’ve been both of those types of person in my life.
Emilio Diez Barroso: Me, too. Me, too. And at first, it was, I think, we, we use so many different things to create ideals. And now, there’s one version of it, which is Ramana and the natural, you know, and that was sort of an externalized reference, when you say, “Well, how contradictory is that?” You say that there is no, no self, no separation. And yet here you are sort of having a love affair with this mountain. And, and I think it’s paradoxical in so many ways. You’re right, it gets tricky. It’s like the idea of God, right? Relationship with this figure that we call God, or this symbol that we call God is, is incredibly beautiful. And I think it’s so valuable at different stages. And at some point, in my own journey, I had to be willing to give up the concept of God, to claim and I own autonomy. That doesn’t mean that I wouldn’t recreate an idea of God and pray to that God. But it would be a very different relationship than the one that I grew up with.
Rick Archer: Yeah, and perhaps a very different, even if you had a concept that would be very different than the concept that you learned when you were a kid. You know, some big scary guy in the sky, some thunderbolt or something.
Emilio Diez Barroso: Yeah, I remember when, when I first was having these bigger revelations, knowing that was more than that emptiness, formless space. My, my father, who was also Catholic, would always sort of do the cross right now that what are you call it in English? But he would, he would say goodbye…
Rick Archer: Genuflect, isn’t it? I think that’s the word Anyway, go ahead.
Emilio Diez Barroso: But he would do that anatomy in Spanish. And, and I wouldn’t do it back. And if because I’d be like, No, he wouldn’t, he’d understand. But it’d be, it’d be like, sure, pause on Holy Spirit. Amen. But I wouldn’t do it. And, and then at one point, I just started doing it again. And I found so much love and joy in it. And, and it was this beautiful exchange. And I think that’s, that’s the possibility of religion. Right? I think some of us have to have those teenage years, where kind of like in that transcending our humanity, we, we move away, we judge it, we think it’s the worst thing ever. And if appropriate, we understand it at later point and go to enjoy it in a different way.
Rick Archer: Yeah. And you know, speaking of devotion, and God and all that, most of the well-known Indian spiritual teachers anyway, um, had no problem enjoying both non duality and devotion. And I can, every single one of them, Ramana you’ve already mentioned, Shankara, Sri Ramakrishna, he in fact, he said “I’d rather taste honey than be honey.” Papaji, Nisargadatta they all have these devotional things going on, in addition to their intellectual teachings, which were more likely to end up in books.
Emilio Diez Barroso: Yeah, I often wonder how, how much of that was not for them, but for completing the circle of love coming back for itself. And, and how much of that outward display of that reverence and devotion was a way to model the mature expression of that nondual experience of being.
Rick Archer: Could be both. In other words, they enjoyed it. Shanker or one of his disciples said something like the intellect imagines duality for the sake of devotion. And Shankar wrote all this beautiful devotional poetry and stuff, and yet he was the founder of Advaita Vedanta. So there’s, like I said, earlier, we have different faculties, and one of them happens to be the heart. And the heart enjoys love and bliss and, you know, stuff like that which devotional qualities or activities can stir up.
Emilio Diez Barroso: What do you find yourself currently in devotion to?
Rick Archer: That’s a good question. Well, you know, I’ve had a couple of different spiritual teachers in my life: Amma, whose picture’s behind us there, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi earlier on and went through a very emotional phase with both of them. These days, you know, if anything, I would have to say, it’s just kind of a sense of quiet awe at the intelligence that I see functioning in everything. As I walk down the street, you know, looking at the sidewalk, or the grass or the telephone pole, I just, I’m constantly reminded that, you know, the, all of this is infused with the divine and it’s, it’s functioning on every level, from the subatomic to the galaxies. I love looking at pictures of galaxies and just contemplating the vastness of creation and the vastness of the intelligence, which dwarfs the size of creation by virtue of its omnipresence. And so I don’t know, that’s kind of mental the way I’m describing it, but there’s a feeling associated with that. It’s fun to think about, it’s fun to feel. How about you?
Emilio Diez Barroso: My humanity.
Rick Archer: Humanity, that’s a good one. I should have said that, too. Yeah, go ahead. You want to say more about that?
Emilio Diez Barroso: Just as you see images, I just keep seeing images of my children, and the love that I have for them, and, and I think what you’re describing, the awe, even when there’s like a pattern; I took my kids inner tubing the other day. So I rented a boat, and it was Labor Day weekend and I’m in this bay that is so crowded with jet skiers and everyone. I’m pulling them behind my, behind the boat on one of these little inflatables. And I find myself so stressed, because I’m pulling them and there’s jet skis whizzing by and I’m barely able to keep up and are they okay? And I just caught myself. Actually, I didn’t catch myself, my daughter caught it, said “Dad, if we’re going to be stressed, we don’t need to inner tube.” Brilliant! But, but it’s this awe at how, how this humanity operates and how it finds its way. And when there’s an attachment to a particular outcome. And in my spiritual dimension, or persona, I’d be like, well, there shouldn’t be attachment. Like, I’m very attached to my kid right now being seven. And the fact that that is part of it. I find so much awe in that.
Rick Archer: Yeah, that’s beautiful. I’m really glad you’re saying that because, I mean, I interviewed a woman two or three weeks ago, named Jessica Nathanson, she calls herself Jessica Eve. And she, she’s kind of on this campaign to point out the shortcomings of Neo Advaita. But she said she deals with people all the time. Like there was one guy who said he’s, he had become so emotionally numb and detached as a result of his indulgence in that approach that he felt he didn’t have any feeling for his kids anymore and he was even, because they’re illusory, and, and he was even becoming, you know, suicidal over it. And you know, but what you’re saying is, I think one can feel, you know, the most intense, ardent love for one’s kids, and that, that’s not a symptom of spiritual ignorance. I mean, I’ve seen, you know, Amma, for instance, I mentioned Amma, just with tears rolling down her cheeks when presented, when someone presents their sufferings to her, or you know, their child, someone says their child died, or their husband beat them, or some such thing, and she just feels it intensely. And yet, I’ve never met someone who, at the same time, is so free within herself, you know.
Emilio Diez Barroso: Love the distinction that I once heard Adya give around freedom, because you said one thing is to be free from and the other is to be free to; it sounds what you’re describing in Amma is she’s free to experience deeply.
Rick Archer: Yeah. It’s like an ocean can rise up in much bigger waves than a shallow pond can. You know, it’s free to do that, because it has the capacity.
Emilio Diez Barroso: Yeah, the ocean recognizes the attachment of the wave of like, oh, survive, kid must be safe. I must not crash, all these and, and the spiritual way says, no, no, no, well then you’re confused. And then you’re believing in separation, and you’re in. And, and it’s so understandable as part of the journey and I relate to this individual that you’re sharing that sort of just is so in this transcendence, nothing matters mode. And it can be so tempting to, to linger there. And I want to encourage anyone listening that is lingering there is to not make that wrong, or to recognize there’s maybe a little opening in the heart and see what the heart in the body feels like at any given moment. Because there’s a, there’s a dropping from this transcendent experience being which tends to be sort of over here. It’s just settling into the body, into the heart. That’s a little more texture.
Rick Archer: Yeah, it’s like, as you know, Adya likes to talk about awakenings and head, heart and gut. And I presume he means sequentially. But I think a lot of people have achieved some degree of awakening on the head level, but so far the heart for some people has been neglected or just hasn’t, hasn’t blossomed yet. But I think when it does, it can be, you know, far more sumptuous. And a mere head awakening.
Emilio Diez Barroso: And it’s so confusing for the one that was so invested in escaping, like, What do you mean, we’re going back into Storyland? You put so much effort moving away from that. And it’s not real, what would it mean, we’re gonna start indulging stories? And it is kind of like the dreamer analogy, right, recognizing the dream as just a dream. And then it’s like, I’m gonna go back into that character. And…
Rick Archer: Yeah, the soul not real. You know, I think it’s not even really a valid thing to dwell on for a householder. If a person wants to sit in a cave in the Himalayas and just go, you know, really heavy into the world is an illusion, then fine, that, if that’s what they’re cut out for, but I really don’t think it’s compatible with householder life and that’s part of the problem with Neo Advaita is that this kind of teaching is being propagated willy nilly to audiences for whom, for most of them, it is not really appropriate or ideal.
Emilio Diez Barroso: Yeah, and, and any sort of, it’s very easy for the egoic structure to hijack that.
Rick Archer: Okay, well, that’s not necessarily the most inspiring note to end on. Maybe we can throw out something else, but like for instance, you know, you’re running businesses, you’re raising your family, what are you doing anything else? It’s specifically in the spiritual realm in terms of like, well, you still go to retreats once in a while, but then also, um, you’re not setting yourself up as a spiritual teacher, as far as I know. But you do say that you want to alleviate suffering in the world as much as possible. So what do you do and what’s your, what’s your aspiration? What are your activities?
Emilio Diez Barroso: It’s so moment to moment. I am, I’m not a spiritual teacher. And wherever I’m finding myself, I’m just in almost like being this reclaimer of all those parts of our humanity. And like this book is a version of that, all the, all the proceeds go to a foundation called Contentment, Contentment.org. And that develops curriculum for school children. I co-founded that. And I’m in a lot of education boards and a lot of different nonprofits that try to address homelessness and poverty. And I noticed a lot of that it’s just, it’s great, but where I find that phrase of alleviating suffering most relevant is, isn’t just my immediate circle. Isn’t anytime I’m creating separation in my own experience of, of the world or those around me. And then by definition the byproduct of that is just a lot of love and compassion and responsibility.
Rick Archer: Yeah, I mean, charity begins at home, I guess they say, and think globally, act locally. Yeah, I want to make sure that one’s own life is in integrity. Is it Carlos Castaneda’s teacher had a saying he said, “A warrior has time only for his impeccability.” And by a warrior, he meant sort of a spiritual dude. But, you know, I think you’ve got your priorities straight. Sounds to me.
Emilio Diez Barroso: Yeah, it’s, it’s, I got my compass straight, I think the compass, and a lot of people in the circles that I move on, people speak a lot about purpose. And I encourage them that can be so tricky. I encourage them to get clear with their how more than their what. Because if you’re clear with your how, then wherever you find yourself, you’re living that purposefulness.
Rick Archer: That’s good. You do consult with people, I’ve heard you say in your book, you’re consulting with various businesspeople. And I don’t know if that’s a formal thing you do, or maybe it’s just with the people whose companies you invest in. But it sounds to me like you’ve had fairly good success helping, you know, type A business executives push the reset button and chill out a little bit.
Emilio Diez Barroso: Yeah, that’s, that’s not a business. That’s just something I do. I write a blog every now and then.
Rick Archer: Which is on your website?
Emilio Diez Barroso: Yeah.
Rick Archer: Okay, good. Well, I’ll be linking to that from BatGap. All righty, well, this has been fun. Is there anything else you want to say in conclusion before we wrap it up?
Emilio Diez Barroso: Gratitude.
Rick Archer: Thank you. Yeah.
Emilio Diez Barroso: Thank you for all you do and all you’ve been doing for so long.
Rick Archer: Well, it’s the only game in town, at least for me. It’s where, you know, it’s fun. It’s enjoyable.
Emilio Diez Barroso: Thank you. And I’m honored to be here with you.
Rick Archer: Well, thank you so much. And thanks to those who’ve been listening or watching. And I’ll be linking to Emilio’s website and to his book, if you’d like to read it. And I guess it, can they contact you through your website, if they want to?
Emilio Diez Barroso: I don’t know, I’ll find out.
Rick Archer: All right, if you want to. Maybe you got enough going on. You don’t want everybody emailing you.
Emilio Diez Barroso: I’ll create something on my website so there’s a way to capture an email and respond.
Rick Archer: Okay, great. If I ever get out to Los Angeles, I’ll get in touch.
Emilio Diez Barroso: Please do, please.
Rick Archer: And next week, everybody, I’ll be interviewing Brian Swimme, who is a cosmologist and I, I love that field. I love the kind of stuff he talks about. And I’ve been wanting to interview him for years. And finally, I think Irene emailed him a few months ago and said, “Alright, one last time to do an interview.” And he said, “Yeah, okay, I’ll do it.” So, I’m reading his book at the moment, which is called Cosmo Genesis, and it’s about, as the name implies, it’s about the Genesis or the origin of the cosmos. And as far as I know, his, his theme is that the universe is suffused with intelligence and that, you know, there’s an evolutionary trajectory to it. A famous quote from Brian is that you leave hydrogen alone for 13.7 billion years and you end up with giraffes, rose bushes and opera. So looking forward to that conversation. All right, well, thanks, Emilio. And thanks everyone who’s been listening or watching. See you for the next one.