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Group Discussion at Sofia University, Part 1
Rick Archer: Welcome to Buddha at the Gas Pump. My name is Rick Archer, and I’m with a bunch of friends out in California, most of us for the science and non duality conference. But we had a whole day to fill with something useful. And so I’ve been having the impulse to have a group conversation with a relatively large number of people, as you’ll see in a minute when I introduce them. And it may seem a little crazy to try to have a conversation with this many people, but I’m a little crazy. So it seems perfectly normal to me. See, normally you guys, yes. Okay. Welcome to the monkey house. So, we’re just getting started, I’m going to introduce the people who are here. And this whole thing is a little bit informal. Some people will be coming in and joining us as we proceed, some people might need to leave. And we’re just gonna see how it rolls. So just showing up is Susanna Murray. She is a spiritual teacher living in Grass Valley area, isn’t it? Yeah. And she’s here for the conference. Sitting next to her is one of my favorite authors. Mariana Kaplan has written some wonderful books, halfway up the mountain, the error of premature claims to awakening and a couple of books about whether you need a guru and so on. I love Mario’s books and read several of them before I even matter. Dana Sawyer, who is an old friend of mine, I instructed him and threatened down meditation in 1971. And haven’t seen him since nearly then. And he’s gone on to become a professor of religious studies at Maine College of Art. He’s been to India maybe 18-20 times or something speaks fluent Hindi, has interviewed just about every Swami of note in India and done all sorts of interesting things in his life. He just came here from the world Parliament of Religions in Salt Lake City. Next to him is my friend Francis Bennett. Francis was a Benedictine and Cistercian monk for the better part TRAPPIST for the better part of 30 years. And he wrote me from the monastery actually, when he was, had had a spiritual awakening was feeling the impulse to leave and I said, Boy, as soon as you get out, let’s do an interview. And we did and people around the world immediately fell in love with them. And so today’s become one of my best friends. Next to him is Craig Holliday. Craig lives in Durango, Colorado. And, and incidentally, I’ve interviewed everybody on this panel, I think with the exception of a couple of introduce in a minute. So you can look up any of these people as I’m introducing him, and as you hear them speak during this interview, if you want to hear more from them. But Craig lives in Durango, and is a spiritual teacher and sort of a non dual therapist, would you say? I would say, okay, good, has a beautiful daughter, whom he featured prominently in his interview with me. Next to Craig To my right is Kristin Kirk. Kristen, is a spiritual teacher and healer, who has a very fascinating range of experience, in my opinion, kind of multi-dimensional. And she has been living in Western Massachusetts, but she’s in the process of moving to Hawaii. And I’m really glad that she could be here as part of this. And to my left is Claire Blanchflower, whom I interviewed just a couple of weeks ago up in Vancouver, and just got to know Claire lives there and just drove all the way down for the conference. And I don’t know what more to say about your clarity. Great person. To her left is David Buckland. David has been tremendously helpful to BatGap. Over the last several years, he has done all sorts of technical things and fixed all kinds of things that got screwed up and built some important sections of the site and writes a fascinating blog called dividual, which is a play on words, because vigil means knowledge. And his name is David so dividual. And it’s one of the few things that I read on a regular basis. I was learning something. To his left is Chuck Hill, whom I interviewed very early on, and that gap maybe almost six years ago or something. Chuck lives in Virginia, and is I suppose would you call yourself a non dual teacher? Do you actually do much teaching or do you more? Kind of right and, yes, to both? yes to both out Hey, and he gives a very lively presentation and we’ll be doing so at the at the sand conference. His left is David L. Z. David is Oh God, what did you say you were? He’s a performer of mine and stuff like that. But he’s also a kind of a non dual teacher. Right? Yeah.
Chuck Hillig: You can use the word transformational entertainment.
Rick Archer: Transformational entertainment. Good. Yeah. You walk into one of his shows and you don’t know who you are when you come out. Lorrie Moore, well, it just entertaining. Yeah. To his left is Karen, who kind of goes by the moniker mystic girl in the city, have interviewed Karen a couple times now most recently up in Vancouver. And she’s one of these people who wasn’t really interested in spiritual practice or doing anything of the sort. And I think was tying her shoes one morning and all sudden had this profound awakening, and took quite some time figure out what the heck had happened to her. So very interesting story and interesting person to get to know. To her left is someone who is I really need to thank so much for for our being here today. It’s Jeffrey Martin. Jeffrey is a researcher at Sofia University, which is where we’re taping this. And severe Sofia is actually the home of transpersonal psychology. Abraham Maslow was here back in the early seven days, and he and Jim Fadiman and others kind of pretty much started transpersonal psychology. And so I’m grateful both to Sofia, and also to Jeffrey for the tremendous help he’s provided in getting this whole thing set up. He’s bought all kinds of equipment. And we’ve spent all day yesterday getting the equipment working, and so on. So it really wouldn’t happen without him. Someone else who came in just as I was doing these introductions is Laurie more to my, to the right here. And Laurie, I’ve interviewed twice on BatGap. She is, among other things, an animal communicator, but I don’t think that fully defines everything she does. And she also contributed a lot to some notes that we’ve been developing for what we might be discussing today had some very good thoughts to share. So with that, I think we’ll get started. And if I’ve left anything out, from my introduction, and you’d like to elaborate when you any of you speak, then please add whatever you like. So part of the reason for doing this is? Well, for one thing, I’m sort of a, I don’t like downtime, I always like to be doing something constructive. And we plan to another annual conversation with Francis Bennett and Adyashanti for today, but you had a retreat to go to in Tahoe, so I thought what can we do, it would really be different and useful and interesting for people. And we came up with this idea. And Craig and Kristen, and I think maybe David at some point, and I were batting some ideas back and forth about what we might discuss anything like this. And I’m gonna start with, I’m gonna start with another point first, and then get to one of these as our starting points. And then as we go along throughout the day, anything that anybody feels inclined to talk about that we’re not talking about, feel free to bring it up. And we’ll get into it, I think it’ll just roll and one thing will lead to the next. So one thing I want to start with that we hadn’t discussed in our emails, which I think is maybe a little bit irrelevant, is, you know, what the heck is Enlightenment or awakening anyway? Because everybody here in one way or another is either researching it, I forgot to mention Jeffrey is doing EEG research on the neurophysiology of Enlightenment, or they are teaching or trying to help others awaken or in some way, however they define it, or perhaps and in any case, everyone is continuing to pursue their own awakening and unfoldment layer after their and do we actually all agree upon what that really means? Or are we just kind of like talking past each other a little bit using the same words but with different definitions in the back of our mind or in the in the depth of our experience? So let’s let’s back that around for a little while before we get to some of these other points. Who would like to make a comment, Laurie? Oh, you can’t talk in the microphone, or the talking sticks.
Laurie Moore: I think that we do ourselves a disservice by thinking of Enlightenment as some one state that each will experience in the same way when we get where we think we want to go. Because we know From our sharing, many humans share about their experiences of awakening, that there are many states. And we know from history that whatever spiritual path we refer to, there are some shared states, for example, the state of unconditional love, the state of oneness, the state of generating the state of serving and yearning, which leads to all that. But each person is experiencing these awarenesses in completely different ways. If you stepped into the body, and the brain and the heart and soul of any individual, this would take on a different kind of translation as it’s worked through the universe into your eyes. And I’ll keep it short.
Rick Archer: We were talking about that very point in the car on the way up here. Dana, you want to since you were talking about Indiana, Mike?
Dana Sawyer: Well, two things came to my mind when you were saying that one was, back in the 60s, WT stays down at Princeton came up with a typology of characteristics of some sort of omega point and growth of consciousness. In other words, if you look across mystical literature of all traditions, then I think it was seven that he came up with ineffability A sense of timelessness a sense of profound interconnectedness, that when you look across the mystical literature, there tend to be shared qualities or characteristics of mystical experience. But then at the same time, I found myself totally agreeing with you, that even if we look at the traditions, whether they’re in Advaita, Vedanta or Christian mysticism, the paramitas of Buddhism, that they they set the bar at different places, in terms of anything like ultimate breakthrough, I tend to think there is no ultimate breakthrough that you just keep breaking through and breaking through and breaking through. Francis.
Francis Bennett: I think it brings up an interesting point, even just about the word Enlightenment, because I’m more and more and more uncomfortable with it as a word, because I think that the connotation of it is that there’s some kind of final state that and once you get there, you’re enlightened and you’re done. And there’s nothing more to see. And my own experience of this kind of unfolding of divinity, I think the discovery of divinity within and without and everywhere, is that it’s a kind of unending process, and that it really never has an endpoint for a human being anyway, at least in our present state. And so I’ve really come to kind of prefer the word awakening, because you can talk about different like you said, you can talk about different levels of it, different depths of it, and you can talk about abiding awakening, a non abiding awakening. And I think as a word, it’s it’s very functional, just as itself, whereas the word Enlightenment denotes a kind of final arrival. That just isn’t my experience. I mean, maybe it’s somebody else’s here experience, but it isn’t mine. So I don’t even like the word anymore.
Mariana Caplan: Yeah, just connect, connect with what you’re saying. I don’t I don’t think I what you’re saying actualization is what you were kind of not coming? Yeah, yeah. I, for me, the word that I that interests me most these days is integration and human integration. And I work as a therapist, I work as a psychotherapist, I work as a spiritual, I’m not a spiritual teacher, I made that choice early on. And I’m very pleased with that. I work as a spiritual friend. And I work as a psychotherapist, and most of my psychotherapy, as with long term spiritual practitioners and with spiritual teachers. And I, I work when I come in when there scandals and I mediate and I mediate between the teacher and the wife and all the people they’ve slept with, and you know, and the disgruntled students and I’ve been doing this for for years and years and years. So, so what I what I know about and it’s, you know, why, why I get to do the work I do is because I have a hermetically sealed container with these people. So I have their confidentiality. So I sit and live and you know, I’m, you know, often suffer suffer these this is this is part of my, my life’s work that I that I love. And, and so my experience says that so many of the people that that the world considers Enlightenment I know I know about I know about the shadow and the depression and the the madness and the deep darkness that it’s not you know, there’s there’s reasons they could share it with the world and arguments for them not to share with the world. It’s that’s another discussion and maybe a point we’ll get to but. But this this Enlightenment, for me now is more like a figment and a projection. And it’s not like a reason not to keep unfolding and yearning and going but but almost almost useless in the the amount of projection we have and to imagine enlightened teachers and my experiences is enormous.
Jeffrey Martin: In the early part of our research project, about 10 years ago, I was traveling around talking to many, many people across all traditions, six continents, the whole bit. And I would often spend six hours 10 hours with a person literally talking all day, I used to say that I would talk to them until they kicked me out of the living room. Because I just wanted to get like every last little piece of information out of them. And it very much was the same with you, it was a human story. For me, you know, I didn’t come out, I came into this as a researcher of well being, not somebody looking into Enlightenment, I was looking for who has the most well being, and I eventually whittled it down to the population sort of sitting around here. And one of the things that unfolded I think over time, in that, for me was that these were ultimately just normal people that I was sitting down with, it didn’t matter if they had, you know, 100,000 adherence or more around the world, or they’d have, you know, they spoke in front of stadiums full of people in some corner of the world, or they had 12, people sitting around a Satsang, in New Mexico or something. They were all they were still just so richly human. And yet they were having this very different experience of how life can unfold and how life can show up, then so many other people would consider sort of normal, or what I was trained from a psychological standpoint to think of as sort of the normal self. So that’s, I totally resonate with that point, I would say I also resonate with the other points, which is that there’s, for us, it was very hard to figure out how to classify individuals over time and across culture, and across different traditions and know traditions, you know, people who were tying their shoes, and had it hit them and people who had tried for 70 years and finally got there in some religious tradition, or spiritual tradition, or whatever. I do think that there’s a common thread. I think Stace, got it. Right. I definitely think there’s a common core. But I think I can also appreciate people like for eras argument about, you know, how there’s sort of many shores around a lake or whatever, it’s, it’s very interesting, because although there does seem to be a tremendous amount of psychological I look at it from a cognitive neuroscience standpoint. So from a cognitive neuroscience standpoint, there’s a tremendous amount of similarity, but how that actually expresses through the meaning of each individual mind that’s rich, and really incredibly varied between people.
Rick Archer: I think Karen had a comment.
Kiran Trace: When I’m thinking about this question, all I can answer is from my direct experience, and my direct experience is having the experience and learning vocabulary later. And so for me, there was a direct experience where what I call my mind blew a fuse. And what it’s very specifically meant was that the filter that could see form disappeared. And then everything that represents form was, was exposed as being pure emptiness. And that pure emptiness moving into form. And so my filter that took all of that raw, empty information, and turns it into chairs, and bodies and humans left. And from that place, there was such a recognition, I always have this little image that it was like, it was just so funny. And I think lots of people know the experience where it’s just so funny, because you think, Oh, my God, I spent my whole life thinking I was human. And suddenly, there was, something happened and my mind blew, and I’m like, I noticed like the arm holding the puppet, and it was a puppet. And then I noticed the arm is like part of a whole room. And then I noticed the whole room. And this recognition that it’s just one vast emptiness, looking at emptiness. And it was so funny to me because it was like cut. I’m not human. I’m not actually breathing. There’s not actually air like all this form, isn’t actually here. And then I went and had a conversation very soon after that with a woman as we were walking to go talk to Eckhart Tolle. This was in Vancouver, we’re walking and she was telling me about enlightened people, with no idea that this was unfolding for me. And she was telling me about people who like walk on air and are all are always happy, and are never, you know, disgruntled and never experience emotions anymore. And this place of eternal bliss. And I remember thinking to myself, because I didn’t know what this word was like, I’d never even heard of this word. So I thought to myself, well, that’s not me. And I sure as heck don’t want to be that. And I don’t want to tell anybody that this is happening to me, in case they project that story on me. Because at this point where there’s just this vast spaciousness, that kind of a story was so strongly full of identity, that it hurt from this incredible effortlessness. But then in my journey to go, what the fuck is this, I called myself this oops, I was such a gutter mouth. Apologies, I’m not spiritual. I’m not spiritual. Yeah. So I used to call myself this strange Angel Buddha freak. And in my quest to discover what the heck had what this was what it was, at the same time, it was so self self authenticating. But while I went to find it, I went to meet all these quote, unquote, enlightened teachers. And I remember the shock of discovering a teacher who
Kristin Kirk: sort of put their
Kiran Trace: sign out as an enlightened teacher, and then spoke very clearly that there was no such thing as Enlightenment. And, you know, there was no true nature, there was, you know, like all of this was a just a ridiculous joke. And in my naivety being incredibly shocked. And what had happened directly for me is when the separate self or the me dissolved, there was no ability anymore ever to identify again. And in fact, it took many, many, many months to even just find the body again. And from that place, a different sense organ opened, and we might call it presence, or we might call it an access to stillness or clarity. And that sense organ was so much stronger than any other sense organ than my nose than my eyes, then touch. It was so huge. And when I describe it to people, I say, Well, I move so normally, that’s what I say, I’m a I’m a sonar ik being. And when I come across other sonar ik beings, like sonar, like a dolphin sonar, which is this other sense that we might call presence, and it’s so strong, I mean, it literally drives the car for me, it turns left or turns, right, like I mean, it’s this huge sense organ. And I can come across other beings with the same sense organ because the sense organ can recognize the others with the same sense organ. And so for me, there was a discernibly recognizable feature to other people who had no more identity, and functioned instead of the separate self with senses from this axe, this other sense, Oregon, and it was so crazily obvious to me. And then I my naivety, I was incredibly shocked to meet teacher after teacher that didn’t have this sense, Oregon, and had a whole conversation about, I don’t know, the fifth Noble Truths of Waka, Waka, waka. And for me none of this had any reality to it. It just had spiritual story, and identity. And that’s all fine. And I’ve learned over the years that there’s such a value to all that, but in my direct experience of the time afford sort of just what is this experience? That’s the experience?
Rick Archer: I think both David’s have comments. So
David Buckland: actually, it might be useful in holding the mic up to your mouth. Yeah. Yeah, there was a point I wanted to make too is is that Enlightenment, awakening, whatever kind of rephrasing you want to want to give it is a transpersonal shift, it’s a shift out of being a person. And so it’s not a person that becomes enlightened. It’s not a, it’s a person that the person is left behind by the process. So that’s also an important thing. It’s not something that’s going to be a solution to your problems or an escape or anything like that. It’s that you’re actually moving more into your life as it is.
Chuck Hillig: So it’s funny when I attempt to answer this question, two things happen. One is I’m in agreement, on a certain level, that Enlightenment is an event oriented implication, you know, it happens and then something begins and it’s over. I don’t believe that’s our human experience. I believe it’s a progressive, dynamic process of living. So I explained it a little different way. But before I do that, I just want to state that for me, whenever we have conversations like this, I always come back to what is is not what is Enlightenment. But literally, in this moment, what is their silence, there’s vibration of vocal cords, there’s hearing, there’s clearing of throat. That’s the totality to me. And so within that if I don’t add mentally, or add storyline or add what I call the add on of any other implication, besides what is there is a real stillness that is accessible instantaneously, because it’s always this background behind all the activity, mental physical sensors and soil. So I always go to that. That in the silence, actually, there is a powerful recognition, there is mind activity, there’s noise. And that’s allowable too, as we begin to understand the background. And that brings me to what I was about to explain. Enlightenment is the implication of an event. And I actually don’t believe that any event can be the demarcation point between knowing and not knowing. There can be a moment of recognition, of expansive presence and awareness beyond boundary beyond thought, but the way I explain it, and Rick, you had said, I’m a transformational entertainer, I cued you to say that and that is part of the way that I live on on stages, revealing in emptiness form, because as a mime, that’s what we do. We create something. Now wasn’t here a second ago, but it’s also gone. So to me, the mime and the study of emptiness in the form that even the body is a deeply spiritual study. And the way I explain awakening, which is my favorite term, also, Francis, is that it’s a progressive process from a revealing that my veil use the word veil, which I really liked. The veil of my perception into the world, my perception of self, my beliefs of fear, my beliefs, that the world is dangerous, whatever I have, we live with this as a foreground for a long time. And when we begin to glimpse that there’s something more than that, or there’s a container, infinite container in which that veil appears, what used to be a visitor peace, self recognition, knowing who we are, comes in visits, and returns back in the veil as the primary experience. As awakening occurs. There’s this changing of location, so to speak, where the first veil, which is what we’re looking through normally, emotionality, reactivity to life identifying with a separate self, is here, what begins to happen is peace visits, there’s a glimpse beyond it with no veil, and the veil comes back with time and that’s the majority of our experience with time, the peace or the absence of the veil begins to be more primary. And the emotionality begins to be a visitor, and comes and gets in the way. So they actually begin to change places so that a fundamental or a foundation of experience of life begins to be more grounded or rooted or stabilized in the truth of our expansive nature. And yet, in our human experience of emotionality, I’m am a life coach. Basically, I work in consciousness coaching, so that we can see the veil that we’ve been unconscious of prior, see through it, and I work with people going through divorce, financial, financial issues that are extreme. Every kind of human experience, this idea of bringing, investigating the veil, the belief system, that we’re unconscious of seeing through it, and it’s revealed naturally, that we are more than that. That’s all my coaching sessions end up being about that, then we have myriad numbers of beliefs that we all have, but they all come down to the little me that has them. So when we look at that, and it begins to the matrix of beliefs begin to disentangle and fall down. So Enlightenment, I agree, I’m not in, in resonance with but the awakening process can be a progressive deepening of knowing who we are.
Rick Archer: Oh, I’m sorry, Chuck, and then Greg.
Chuck Hillig: And this event doesn’t really happen in time at all. It seems to happen in time. But this one moment of now is not leaning forward into the next moment. Simply because there is no next moment. It’s always now and you’re always here. And this moment does not have a past that it’s living out of an it doesn’t have a future that it’s learned, leaning into. This is whole and complete unto itself. Because moments not going anywhere, no place for it to go. And so the piece that is within your heart of hearts really depends on your willingness to align yourself with just this. And is this moment right now whole and complete. Is this enough for you? If it’s not enough, what’s missing? What needs to be added to it or subtracted from it to make it somehow more complete? Better than more brilliant And then. But if this is enough, and you’re you have as your default position in life, a sense of now a sense of Yes. And you will live in that default position of yes, then whatever shows up, whatever arises you are in alignment with, and you’re not saying no to you’re not resisting, you’re not trying to push away and deny. So if you feel happy, you feel happy. And if you feel unhappy, that’s okay, too. And if you feel angry and confused, and frustrated, and read down the whole spectrum of human emotions, each and every one of them in all of their craziness from one extreme to the other, is totally okay with you, because you are always in this state of Yes, bring it on I, it arises within me, and disappears within me, and I’m the source of all of this and nothing is to be denied. Nothing is to be denied ever.
Craig Holliday: Okay. Yes, I very much agree that, that, that awakening is a is a fundamental shift, you know, a shift out of our mind out of our emotions, into something which is, in a sense, on born on manifest. But also when, when I look out at life, when I look out, you know, just into the eyes of, of my baby, or look into the eyes of a friend. And you just see this unimaginable beauty, giving birth in every moment. You know, it’s almost as if God is this vast emptiness, this vast wonder, this vast beauty, which is unborn. But God is also giving birth to this evolutionary nature, a nature which is it’s ever unfolding. And to me, you know, one of the things that when I, when I did have this series awakenings, and I went to my teacher and and he basically said, that’s nothing. And I said, How could you say, this is nothing this is absolutely everything. This is what I’ve wanted my entire life. And he said, Yeah, but but that’s, that’s nothing that’s just just the beginning. And it really shocked me I was actually hurt, you know that how could you say such a thing. But as the years have have gone on, and and what I see is that there’s that God is giving birth in every moment to so much. And that this world is ever unfolding in its, it’s so beautiful and so amazing. I think we we get into so much confusion, because we think of, you know, awakening to God, it is you awaken to that vast, empty presence. But that’s only half the truth. And the other half is that, that God is, is living through all of us, living through this world, this planet, this, this ecosystem, it’s you know, when we were driving here, we were driving down the highway and we we almost got in a car accident, you know, Francis, an angel showed up on his shoulder, tapped him and bled out a holler and I slammed on the brakes and see that that’s got to showing up in this moment in this world in this life,
Rick Archer: holiday, Angela Francis. Stop crying.
Craig Holliday: But it’s a it’s such a beautiful thing. And so to me, you know, a greater question, you know, than even say, say integration. It’s not that we’re, we wake up to the vast emptiness and we’re, we’re integrating our humanity into the vast emptiness. But that our humanity to is an expression of God. Our love is an expression of God, our compassion is an expression of God. And that that compassion is always continually growing, continually expressing ourselves. I think, you know, if the Buddha walked into this room, or Jesus walked into the, into this room, our worldview is so much more enlightened than their worldview. I hope that’s not blasphemous to say. But it’s true that this world is growing, it is ever evolving. And it’s continually evolving, and it will evolve forever. And that that’s an amazing thing. But to include that, in what awakening is that it isn’t just a static thing it did. It absolutely. is a static thing from one perspective, but from another perspective, it is completely ever evolving forever and to include that in our definition of God and divinity and awakening. I think it’s a very important thing.
Rick Archer: I think Dana has a comment, but is there anyone Suzanna or Claire or anybody who would like to say that in the mic there for Susanna? I will get back to you.
Susanne Marie: Yeah, I love what you just said, Craig, about the evolution of the, the evolvement of consciousness. And I really feel like consciousness is evolving in and as in through us, us within our humaneness within our bodies. And even, in my opinion through the Earth itself, which I feel like as a conscious being. So I, I rarely, I don’t think I ever use the word Enlightenment. For me, it’s awakening, in the respect of as if it’s a verb, it’s a it’s an ongoing process. And I’m a little cold. Yeah,
Rick Archer: they might have a jacket or a shawl that Suzanna could have. Oh,
Susanne Marie: thank you. I actually also resonate with the very last thing that Karen said, Thank you all. This is the movement of awakening. In regards to the sonar, I’ve actually used that term before that, it’s, to me there’s an evolution in the in the development and the process of the descent of the realization of the light into the body. And I feel like it moves from mind. And this is my experience, mind, feeling, and then into sensing and that we that in the end, we were really become sensing beings without interpretation, the self reflective mechanism of mind, slowly just slows down and ends actually. And so we just become that we just become the movement of that. And without the need to interpret. And I feel like we are intelligence itself, and that the body opens up, and is a sensing instrument of the Divine. That’s, to me the ongoing delight of awakening and curious to see what’s next. What happens afterwards see now and the continuing evolution of it all.
Rick Archer: I think Claire and Kristen, either do want to say anything on this show, we got it.
Kristin Kirk: I love hearing everyone share, I know this, this is just such a beautiful opportunity for us to hear each other, you know, to to hear each other. And that’s kind of a demonstration of what people are saying what’s what’s the same thread. That’s true. And what’s the unique expression of that. So I just want to say it’s a total delight, total total delight. But I was inspired to pick up the microphone, just kind of tagging on what you were just saying about. It’s like the being the living divine. Right, that we are we are that truth, we are the sensing Oregon, of the singular existence. And I’ve been curious about what Enlightenment was, because I haven’t studied anything. So I don’t have any sort of history of the technical, like, I’m sure and I would just assume in Tibetan Buddhism, there’s like, all these details of these different stages. So there’s a great curiosity on my part of what all those things are, because I don’t have any of that kind of education. And, in, in my experience, there’s been a kind of wild, wild it’s like the the sense of self that’s necessary for everything to maintain its individual illness has been seen as transparent or permeable, so that the I am of the chair and the I am of the body and I am of Craig’s glasses, right. It’s all it’s the same I am. And the fluidity of that in simultaneous pneus with being absolutely nothing. And then the joy of the sensation, like the whole thing, all kind of being seamless, is is part of part of what my experience is. But everything that everyone has said is also Yeah, just another beautiful way of saying a similar thing. Yeah.
Clare Blanchflower: The way that I was experiencing it is is that there’s something here that we all recognize the stillness Since the silence which is is here, which is the ever present now is the is what we awaken to. And however, the uniqueness flows from that is the expression, the living of being. But the place that we all agree is that there is this presence, which is known as the, as the ever present now, and it’s that that’s the place that we all agree that we that we all come together. And from that flows, all of these individual expressions and this unique living expression, which is the humanity, the humanity being expressed from the divinity. So that’s the beauty. And that’s Yeah.
Dana Sawyer: Then struck me as we were going round is, I agree with Claire, there is this shared moment of non dual experience and shared moment of, there’s an aspect of us that a lot of people aren’t aware of, perhaps you know, that scene, an Alice in Wonderland, when the White Rabbit says to her, don’t just do something stand there, that, you know, be there and be present in it. But I also think of a interview with George Harrison one time when, after 20 years after the Big Beatles face somebody asked him, Do you still believe it’s true? All You Need Is Love. And he said, Yeah, I’m gonna stick with it. All you need is love, and a sandwich, a sandwich to made with love. But my point really, is that sometimes I see almost a toxicity and the non dual experience. And what I mean by that is, sometimes it’s such a powerful experience, and such a compelling experience, that we think it’s the whole story of growing up as people and people will kind of warehouse themselves in the experience. They will, that even, you know, when the kleshas does Buddhists call them when emotions like anger, fear and jealousy, envy arise, because those can be witnessed from one level, you know, from a sort of a God’s eye perspective, there isn’t enough maturity to say okay, but there’s also the sandwich level in which things have to get done and the rubber meets the road. And you’ve got to go to the bathroom, and you got to feed the kids. And that goes on to and so where is the not only waking up, as Ken Wilber says, but the growing up of unpacking those problems and facing those dark aspects of the psyche that the non dual awareness is witnessing. That’s the, you know, alarm, Surya das call you call that halfway up the mountain and he calls it premature emasculation, right? That the rest of the work isn’t done. And there’s not a responsibility for being embodied that altered states of consciousness are wonderful, but if they don’t lead to altered traits of behavior, so that we realize the kingdom of heaven is within but we’re also responsible to manifest it. Right? Yeah.
Rick Archer: Francis, then Laurie.
Laurie Moore: I, as you’re speaking, a lot of heat and joy was rising in my body. I have full agreement of what you’re saying. And I’d like to just expand it some more. Throughout history as life evolves through the human form, and I’m speaking right now only of the human form, because each species is quite unique. There is a tendency I’ve noticed to try to obliterate make wrong or decide that what was before we can even see it from the 60s to the 70s and 80s. What’s wrong? That wasn’t right. This is right. However, if we’re really honest with ourselves, we’re living in a multi multitude of experiences we all got here. Yes, maybe universal, enlightened, awakened, whatever words maybe there was a complete release of identity and but there was some there was some recognition of how to get the key into the car and there I don’t believe one person here didn’t have some thoughts of their identity on the way over if you did, awesome, although I don’t think that’s actually where we need to go. Words are, perhaps we could have an inquiry of what is the value of words what is the beauty of words? What is the gift of having words while in the Incarnation it’s allowing us to connect on this level, which is just as beautiful as levels of complete release of all words, no thought. And there is a way of existing where this oneness deeper than identity occurs. And yet at the same time, a recognition of within that identity and identity allows me to put her coat on when she was called for you to offer a coat. And for us to give each other food and ask how is everyone on the planet going to eat? And what are we going to do about war with on the outside and the inside? So there’s a way to experience life where emotions are the weather, they’re just passing through, and they’re just heat and joy. So speaking of rising in the moment,
Rick Archer: well, Francis is getting ready to speak, I just want to say something Francis often says, which is in response to those who say, you’re not a person and all that, which is, of course, your person. You’re not, you’re just not only a person, you know, you’re just gonna act good. So, so, yeah, so, of course, you’re the, of course, your way, if you’re just not only a wave, you’re the ocean. I have a mic. So anyway, go ahead.
Francis Bennett: Yeah. Yeah. And piggybacking on what you said, is, it’s like a perfect segue into what I’m about to say. And it really struck me very early on when I’m listening to other people. And several times I heard this, this phrase of, I’m not a human, or I’m not a person, which I really, really don’t feel comfortable with. I really don’t like those phrases. I understand where they’re coming from, I really, really do I get it, that you wake up from the from the illusion that all I am, that I’m merely this separate human being with a body and a mind and particular personality and a gender and, you know, fill in the blank, the whole thing. And I think that’s absolutely important, that transcendent movement up and out of the merely human. But then that’s something that I’ve taken to calling the awakening from Awakening, because we have to, we can’t stay in this vast emptiness. I mean, we can, but like you say, it makes it hard to go to the grocery store. And, you know, I mean, it’s like, and people can reframe that all they want, and you hear it a lot, you know, well, I’m not going to the grocery store life is grocery storing. No, I’m not. I’m not I’m not Francis, life is Francis seen, you know, and it’s like, okay, that’s reframing, but that you’re still there, you’re going to the grocery store. You know, it’s like, I think that there’s, I think that there needs to be a kind of new approach to this, that I can see it coming in teachers who are maturing spiritually, and maturing just as human beings. And they’re realizing, okay, it’s important to wake up to that transcendent reality. And to realize I’m not merely this person, I’m not kind of confined to this. But then there’s a kind of awakening down into, again, the humanity, and even my talk here at Sand is going to be integrating humanity with divinity, that I think that awakening has two movements. One is up and out. And one is down in into, and the up and out, as you say, it’s only half the journey. It’s not it’s halfway up the mountain, which I love that I’ve used that phrase, I have to admit, maybe I should send you royalties. But I love that phrase, halfway up the mountain, because it’s like, there are two sort of movements of awakening at least two, I would imagine there’s more. But the two that I’m aware of, are this movement into transcendence, up and out of the imminent, but then a movement back into, and that’s where I think the Christian mystical tradition has a great image and model of the incarnational energy of Jesus of divinity becoming a human being. And I think in awakening, that’s the movement, it’s like, okay, you awaken up and out of your humanity and realize I’m not merely a human being, I’m not limited to that. And then you awaken from that awakening, and awaken back down and into fully your humanity. And just in there’s this kind of effect, then in the world that can be quite lovely and beautiful, and, and solving problems, like, you know, world hunger and war and things like that. If we’re just going to hang out in emptiness all the time, then let everything go to hell in a handbasket. Well, that’s not you know, that’s fine for me. But that’s not so great for the person living in a drain tile, you know, in India or somewhere. So anyway, that’s, I could go on and on because this guy,
Rick Archer: we have to over here, go ahead. Yeah, I
David Buckland: just wanted to make a comment about that too, is one thing I’ve observed is that people as they mature into and awakening, they actually become more distinct, more unique, more individual and more. Eccentric is the right word, but they’re not the sort of the shoulds and the musts and all this sort of conditioning falls away, and you have this very unique person, and it’s just the perhaps the expression of that, but it’s still there. There is still a person in the dance
Chuck Hillig: I’m reminded of something which I’m sure some of you know better than I. But it’s a brief Zen story, which is that prior to Enlightenment, there are trees, oh, man, right there, trees and mountains, right during Enlightenment, there are no trees and mountains. After Enlightenment, there’s trees and mountains. But the purpose to spell it out a little bit as I see it that’s touching of my heart is that suddenly I know that the trees and mountains are the same substance, in essence, as I am. So that’s profoundly what you’re saying, in a way is that there’s this transcendent, this, this tendency in a lot of spiritual traditions and to be lost at the transcendence stage and say, I’ve arrived, but you’re speaking of the integration, are there many words we can use, but returning to the common day living, knowing now that essentially we are in union in our deepest core of being, and that’s the transformational understanding that I feel in that third part of that story, which is important, and touching.
Kiran Trace: So the, the place that I work at all day long, we all work with people. So I’m not a teacher of Enlightenment or awakening, because personally, with my own direct experience, I could give a flying fuck about it. I don’t think we need to awaken out of and then come back into because for me, it’s so clear and so obvious that formlessness is doing one thing here, it’s coming into form. And for me, the direct experience is that that’s the point of formlessness. It’s, it’s love. It’s it’s devotion. So there isn’t actually an experience where there’s pure Samadhi, that stays forever, and all of us have probably experienced Samadhi for long periods of time. And it ends, it’s not a sustained thing. It eventually moves into form because the form is formlessness. It’s the one in the same. So when I’m working with people I don’t talk about I talk about reality and true nature. And there’s not a movement in for us to like, dissolve out of something to come back into it. For for, in my experience, it’s very much about where is suffering happening for you? And what are what’s the story that’s happening there, that basically you’re believing about lack and limitation at its most fundamental, which doesn’t exist in reality. And I don’t have to teach you about reality for you to know, lack and limitation doesn’t exist in reality, because your own direct experience, you know, that there’s so many places we can go back to our lives, in our own direct experiences and know this incredible movement of constantly moving, constantly thriving, constantly living const. It’s like this constant movement. And so for me, when I work with people, I find it takes a very, it’s very small, to just pull out the lack and limitation stories. And then they come face to face with freedom. And the piece for me that I actually really feel is a is a is a factor maybe really worth talking about here is the word identity. Because for me, it’s very clear that identity isn’t here. But I really respect what Laurie saying, but what we have identity to put the car in. Now I don’t have an identity to put keys in the car. And I don’t think there was an identity to put you know, a coat on, on someone who’s cold. We don’t need identity to do that. It’s a movement of love that does that and awareness. So it’d be really great to just look at the semantics of what we mean by identity. Because I think that’s a sticking point when I’m working with people directly to find their own freedom, and to live their own freedom. And it’s quite specifically when I talk to people basically had to pick up the phone and I asked them, what’s your mirror look like? What’s your day to day? What was the day last week what you know, what’s your week, like? And when they report to me, I’m looking at the external mirror of their world. And I can see from their where their own Lack and Limitations are making them stuck. And I really could give a fuck about how much they under Sorry, I keep saying this word, I could really give a fart about how much they know God because they are God. And as soon as lack and limitation is out of the system, they come face to face with God. And it’s irrelevant about climbing up a mountain or down a mountain because there’s only one thing happening. But these are semantics because I think all of us have a deep agreement on the same plane about what we’re speaking about. But it’d be fun to talk about what is identity.
Rick Archer: Kristen, and then Suzanne might hear
Kristin Kirk: so I have a little hesitation in saying this right? When we start talking about identity where there’s identification there can be there can be a reaction. So Um, I think what I love, I love your sharing and how you’re speaking and how you’re offering it. Part of what happens for me and doing the healing work that I do is I’m conscious through all these different layers of I am. And then each at each of these different dimensions, there’s a level of functionality, and that it’s different in each of the dimensions. And when people are functioning from typical humaneness that hasn’t recognized itself as the divine, there’s a level of identification with the function of the hand and the key in the car. And so there is a sense of identity that’s needed to do that, from When consciousness is identified at that level. And for me, in that surrendering through these different layers of I Am, that there’s a there’s a layer of I am that does not need any identity that knows itself as a hand and as a key and as a car is a direct reflection of how you’re articulating, right. So I completely understand that. And when I’m working with people, I’m doing a similar thing of seeing, where is identification contracted, and that and that, in that releasing, in terms of evolution, I will witness that release of identification through these layers of the Divine. And so everyone’s experience makes sense to me how people are articulating it, and that I guess I was just wanting to reflect that place of where I’m seeing the truth of what everybody’s saying. I’m not seeing a contradiction, and that
Francis Bennett: it’s semantics, like she said, I think it’s semantic.
Rick Archer: Susanna, just a reminder that no one should ever speak without a microphone that heteros won’t hear him.
Kristin Kirk: I don’t think I’m quite done a second, just sort of like just Just be quiet for a second. Right, so in surrendering into nothing, it’s not the personality of the mind or the the thinking that that place of identification that speaking it’s a deeper, it’s, it’s it’s God, that’s speaking, right. It’s but but when when? I mean, the whole Yeah, the whole game is identification. Right, like in terms of my experience of evolution, of everything being God’s fingers, right, we’re all we’re all Gods fingertips is God experiencing, and that in that awakening, or surrendering through these layers of identity? We wake up over and over and over again, through these layers of of Gods sensing Oregon.
Rick Archer: Give us Suzanna the one oh, well, the one with the orange cord. Yeah.
Susanne Marie: We have a cell phone going on. Okay. Great topic. Yeah, I think that there are that’s part of the evolution of consciousness within a human being is the journey of the dissolution of self. And that is the journey of the I Am the AI. And in the beginning, it seems like the natural formation of the ice, the sense of AI is to be fused with mind and body, and to imagine itself as being a separate aspect of self, and that it has this, this awareness of being separate in the world, this I’m here and that’s that. And so that’s the journey of what I saw. My own children go through being a mother. And it feels like the maturation is to die, dissolve over time, it just it it, there’s like a hole that follows the appears in the center. And that’s the experience of emptiness. And as that appearance expands. There’s one of the awakenings is the descent, the feeling the experience of unity consciousness. And in unity consciousness, the eye is included in the vaster sense of self, that there’s the eye, but it’s part of the whole and it’s not seen as separate. It’s not seen as a problem. And it’s, it’s something that is easily experienced and maneuvered within life. But I think there’s a continual another evolution and touching on what Karen was talking about, and that’s something that I myself have a experienced as well is the falling away of the soft center where the sense of unity consciousness actually falls away and it dissolves let’s see how to explain that pattern word Well, there, there’s not a sense of having an identity any longer. The sense of of AI is not necessarily it’s not included anymore in the, in the totality. It it’s known that it exists there, but it’s not sensed here anymore Mariana
Mariana Caplan: it, I would do we have some water anywhere, I didn’t bring any water. So so I’m, I’m shifting the topic a little bit, but I want to speak on behalf of of, of our brokenness, the part of us that that’s, that’s, that’s broken and the part of most most of us and if it hasn’t been probably, will be. And I wrote about in in one of my books and eyes wide open, I thought I had I thought I was at the most broken that I’d ever been. But I didn’t know. I didn’t know it was gonna happen again. And I think I’m due for it every 10 years or more my life could get shattered. And, and I know it’s not only my life, and I one of I work I work more in the yoga world than in the non dual world. And I think there was a couple of points that I wanted to make as I was listening here. And I usually end up speaking on behalf of the underworld and these kinds of conversations. And one of the points I wanted to make is just how much we separate ourselves in the name of spirituality, like how much in the yoga world and the non dual world in my experience, because I kind of work cross traditions were some of the, you know, the, the VA, it’s what happens most frequently. And it’s such a subtle, it’s such a subtle thing. I mean, in the name of union, we separate ourselves from the people who, who, who don’t feel union, and it just happens all the all the time it happens with our families, it happens with her are relating with, with going out into the world and as us who are spiritual and those who aren’t spiritual. And that that isn’t the main point I wanted to make sure I I wanted to speak about the half of the part of us it’s broken, because I think it happens and, and it happens unexpectedly. And and we find out how broken we are and how you know psychotic we are and in different parts, I remember my Oh, thank you so much. And I remember I happened to be driving across the Golden Gate Bridge when I had one of the deepest being driven across the Golden Gate Bridge because I couldn’t even drive when I was in a really really, you know, deeply fragmented state. And it was the most powerful, one of the most powerful experiences of oneness I’ve ever had. And I felt at one with, with everybody broken in the world and everyone, you know, everyone on the streets and everyone in the psychiatric hospitals and,
Rick Archer: and go online.
Mariana Caplan: There’s a crack and everything. He there’s so many that says there’s a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in. Yeah. And that was that was oneness and it was a it was a it was a it was it was as as as equal a oneness experience as as all the highs and for me it more important one because I I think again as my work in my work as as a psychotherapist, particularly but I think just as a person. That’s that that’s, that’s what makes me more compassionate living through these experiences. And, you know, if I was given the choice to be less compassionate and not have to live through them, I probably would choose to be less compassionate, because they’re so hard to live through. But again, tracking these communities over time because my teacher had me starting to write these books in my 20s and I didn’t know what I was doing and tracking now communities over 20 years I mean, teachers have we have severe breakdowns we have we have psychological breakdowns. We have psychotic breakdowns, we have you know, borderline schizophrenic, we have these breakdowns and, and it for me it it strangely doesn’t. It doesn’t contradict it doesn’t contradict the the awakening. It’s just it’s just part of tolerating the complexity and no one
Rick Archer: immune to that. I mean, there’s are there teachers that you can think of that have move beyond that, I wouldn’t say possibility, but probability.
Mariana Caplan: I think there’s teachers that had more balanced upbringings. You know, I really do. I, I, I’ve talked with some of them. It’s no, you know, there’s no point in naming any. But I remember talking about this because it’s circles like this. And I’m like, you really don’t experience that. And but but, you know, like, they were, they drank from cow’s utters, you know, that’s really drink milk, and their parents were always happily married, and there was no arguing in the house. Like, there’s a few people that don’t get broken in the way that most of us do. And, um, you know, of all the many teachers I’ve interviewed, it sounds like you’ve we’ve done similar tracks. I mean, there’s been a lot a lot over the years. You know, there’s one I can think of, but even you know, nobody knows the real story of what happened. And just one more thing on that I interviewed Joan Halifax for this book, and I was doing the research for halfway up the mountain when I was in my 20s. Baskin, Joan Halifax, famous Zen teacher about this. And she was she said, premature claims to Enlightenment, that’s such a terrible thing that people do that she’s like, Honey, I work, you know, I work with prisoners on death row, you know, and, and they’ve got real problems. And she said, when people are doing this, like, dress up as Enlightenment, and I’m non dual, and I do this, she said, it’s like, it’s like going in your mom’s closet and playing, you know, playing dress up. And again, none of it negates these these profound conversations, I just, I just want to be, you know, let that voice be be here.
Rick Archer: I sometimes wonder if this sounds a little morbid, but, you know, if, if torture could be considered a litmus test for Enlightenment, like, you know, Jesus, on the cross, I mean, it’s easy when everything is smooth and nice, and your welfare and everything. He’s got a mic, but I’m eternally Mike. You know, but it’s sort of like, you know, under what conditions is Enlightenment, sustained, or whatever, if we’re using the word. And perhaps we, you know, those of us who were fortunate enough to be able to coddle ourselves and live relatively smooth lives, or sustain something, which we feel might be permanent, but if really put to the test, or if we were injected with some weird chemical or whatever, I mean, maybe Susanna and others are saying or sense organs of the infinite. If Enlightenment or awakening lost if the if the if that sense, that particular sense organ of the infant becomes sufficiently damaged or compromised.
Mariana Caplan: Simple things like a child or loved one, I mean, you know, think something’s gonna, something takes us is likely to take us down. And it doesn’t seem to be the darkest,
Rick Archer: deepest sort of phase of that, though. I mean, you said you felt this oneness driving across the bridge, but did you feel like,
Mariana Caplan: it wasn’t a happy oneness? It was a broken one.
Rick Archer: But did you feel like there was some dimension of your experience, which was in perturb bubble? Or was everything shattered?
Mariana Caplan: No, I was shattered and I’ve been shattered again. And, and, you know, I think there’s probably people who who maybe that doesn’t happen for they may, you know, may maybe that’s maybe that’s a maturation I don’t, I don’t need to be there to be there yet. And I just, I just know that so many of the people, even the famous people that we project on to and imagine that’s not happening for that it actually is regularly and they’re on meds, and they’re, you know, like sometimes, I did a lot of intervention in the big, big recent cache Michael scandal and like, stuff happen, it’s like real bad stuff happens.
Craig Holliday: Greg, I think one of the things that we really forget about when we’re speaking about Enlightenment is that that we live in an evolutionary world and everyone is growing. And I think we all have this desire, you know, to get to a place where we will be ultimately free from growth but if we really look at that, that’s like the egos biggest desire to get to a place where we’re untouchable to get to a place where we don’t have to grow where we don’t have to, you know, where we can just rest forever. But if we if we would look at our life and you know, like you’re saying it’s just like, teacher after teacher and I mean, I went and saw, you know, Swami Sai Baba and an Indian He’s incredible master and he could manifest things out of his hands right before my eyes. And then you hear about these these scandals. I mean, when them Iran would walk into, you know, a space of 20,000 people, the air was filled with tremendous grace. And, you know, part of us could say, Well, how could something like that happen? And to me, it’s tremendous arrogance on our part, to think that anyone on the planet is outside of the realm of growth. It’s a ridiculous thought that we’ll get to a place where we’re no longer growing. It’s, it’s denying that God is continually growing forever.
Rick Archer: St. Teresa of Avila said, it appears that God Himself is on the journey,
Craig Holliday: that God absolutely is the very force in nature of evolution. And so I think in our definition of Enlightenment, there has to be the sense that yes, it’s always growing. It’s always expanding. Yes, there is the vast emptiness. But even that, too, is awakening. Forever in every direction, that our humanity is awakening and growing in every, every direction. But I think what you’re saying, right, could can absolutely be possible as well, that this this last May, my father died unexpectedly. And, and, you know, I got this phone call. And, you know, you know, Craig, your your father died, and I hit the floor, and cry and grieve. And yet the grieving is happening in this, this vast space. But am I sad? Hell, yeah. am I sad? Absolutely. It’s painful. And it’s difficult. And so I think it’s, it’s very important just to acknowledge these parts of ourselves that, you know, like you said, they are broken, but, or then they can break. But yet, even the breaking itself, is included in the unity of God in the expression of God, that that the breaking is that evolving edge of God, you know, growing in compassion, growing in love growing and, and this non dual understanding that, I mean, look how crazy the world is. I mean, it is absolutely crazy. There’s wars going on right now, people are being bombed. And yet, those wars are arising in incredible beauty and space and peace. And that there’s this, this ongoing paradox of, of both are continually arising together, in every moment.
Chuck Hillig: I’ve been a devotee of Ramana Maharshi, since 1970. And since that time, my life has shattered maybe four or five times seriously just collapsed, exploded and imploded at the same time. And I’ve noticed that in the heart of all that there’s something that remains constant in the middle of my mess in the, in the center of my chaos, swirling around me with everything just being taken away from me and ripped away from me, I felt something was unmoved, something that was unchanged, something that was constant, I think that’s the maybe the best word of it. It always was there always present. And there was nothing that I needed to do to or couldn’t do to change that in any way. And that there was always an okayness about it. And the peace that I would feel, with just relaxing down into that, and just collapsing down into that, somehow made it yes, it’s part of the dance, it’s part of the craziness and the chaos and everything is leaving, that was somehow part of the dance. And I felt okay with that. I felt I would wear like a mantle, I would go yes, okay, I’m in the drama, I’m in the melodrama of it, I’m in the tragedy of it. And when when weeping and wailing, and gnashing my teeth seemed appropriate, I would just do them grow myself and do it, I would not hold anything back, I would be 100% into it, it wouldn’t be authentic and it would be valid and it would be a place of authenticity and integrity. And it would be powerful. And then eventually it would it be it would begin to modify in something else would show up and replace it with something else that would show up and I got clear that it wasn’t like I am feeling this pain or I am having this this this agony it’s really I am is having this pain I am is experiencing this. So if I if I inject the word is between I m and whatever followed that. It seemed to put them in a different in a in a much greater context in which everything that showed up wouldn’t be exactly as it needed to. And I did not need to sit back and try to figure it out and make sense out of it. And come to terms with it. All I had to do in a sense, is to love it. I mean, like love it, just love it being exactly the way that it was showing up in exactly the way that it wasn’t showing up. But to love it fully with every fiber of my being to throw myself into that somehow was transformative and freeing at a deepest, the deepest possible level. And it just, it would blow me away again and again and again. And we’re just back and forth, and boom. And it’s like never ending. And if I align myself with that, and have that, yes, make that Yes, as a default position, then there’s no difference between myself in the flame at all, if there’s any kind of separation between the flame and myself, then the shadow appears. And that’s okay too, because it shows up, it shows up. And I, I love it the way it is, and it loves me the way that I am. On into that. And it’s all beautiful and I it’s it just does finally collapse totally into love. Just love Susanna
Susanne Marie: I’m, I resonate with what you’re saying, I think it was that Osho maybe someone here knows says Have your yes be so big that all the nodes are contained within it. And it’s just beautiful. To me, the whole alchemical process of this evolutionary force of the dismantling process of what I think of as a self Center is a movement of love is a movement of allowance. And that is what allows for the resistance to fall away, too. So that everything is known as that everything becomes known as that.
Rick Archer: Jeffrey, I haven’t heard from Jeffrey for a while.
Jeffrey Martin: Let me add to Marianas some of Marianist point and maybe provide a different voice. In recent years, I can speak to this from personal experience as well. But I think I’ll speak from the 1000s of people that have participated in our research, and kind of tried to bring their voice into it a little. And one of the things that I noticed in the early days, we dealt with a lot of spiritual teachers and major religious leaders and minor religious leaders and whatever else, at a certain point, were able to actually reach into the general population, we were able to actually find people in the general general population, you know, programmers and you know, janitors, and you know, you name it just sort of ordinary people experiencing this. And one of the things that I noticed was a very different narrative among those people than among the spirit, spiritual teachers and religious teachers and spiritual teachers and religious teachers, we’re often talking about stuff that we’ve just heard like a moment ago, right. But the, you know, I’m thinking of very specific people like a business owner or a janitor, a programmer spread across the United States, different people, they had a very different perspective on this from the sense of they were trying to kind of balance their life and balance how far they could really sort of go in the direction of whatever we want to call it today awakening non duality, Enlightenment, we I use an academic term for it called persistent non symbolic experience or persistent non symbolic consciousness. So what PCNSE is how I abbreviate it. So I might use that term today, just accidentally, I do. That’s what I mean. I try to remember awakening, the, one of the things that I’ve noticed is that people, so we have a taxonomy that, that comes out of all of this research, and we have we call them locations instead of levels, because we don’t think one is necessarily better than another one. And we think that they are basically great. And they all deserve sort of equal respect. One of the things that I’ve noticed is that sort of ordinary individuals, they’ll often have a look at our taxonomy, they’ll find our taxonomy online or something and read some paper that we’ve written. And they’ll say, oh, yeah, I’ve been there and there. And you know, when I was there, I just really wasn’t a very, I just wasn’t really able to make my family situation work. And so I went back to this, or when I was here, I really couldn’t run my company. So I found that I had to be sort of in this other location. And they have a very practical viewpoint around this. Oftentimes, there’s this sort of very practical integration that they bring into their life. Like there’s a Silicon Valley engineer out here, who’s a brilliant problem solver. He’s sort of known to be one of the great problem solvers out here. And for it, so I’m just going to use some of our terminology a little bit, which they location for location so you don’t have to know what any of these mean, just think of them as different categories of this different ways of experiencing this much some of which we’ve already heard around the circle today. And he would say You know, in, in location four, I just can’t be as effective a problem solver, you know, I need to go in and I’ve got one year to solve this major problem, there’s nobody else that can solve this problem, I’ve got to be in location three, in order to do that, but now I’m sort of in this problem where because I’m being tasked to lead the startup, and I’ve got to be a manager, but I can’t be a manager in location three, because I tend to just sort of like the end of the Christian path, you just have so much compassion and giving and love, that you just are kind of giving away the store, which doesn’t make you a very effective manager of a startup in Silicon Valley, right? It allows you to go in every day, and take an extraordinarily difficult, you know, engineering problem or something and just spend 16 hours straight trying to tackle it, and then go home and get a bite to eat and sleep and wake up and do it the next day. But it doesn’t allow you to actually say no to people or, you know, have have an effective organization that you’re building. So one of the things I think there’s there’s this one dimension of deepening, that we’re talking about here. But I think there’s also sort of a question of, of life integration, involving deepening as well. And there’s so many different circumstances that are out there, and life and people finding all sorts of different ways, you know, people saying, Okay, well, you know, I can’t really if I go this deep on this dimension, I just can’t really function, the way I want to function in my family. If I go deep and such, so deep in this dimension, I can’t really function the way I need to function at work. And some people just choose to leave their family, right? I mean, divorce is not an uncommon thing. And people who have an awakening experience or whatever, or if someone wakes up and they wake up in a place where they don’t have a motion, sometimes their partner is very bothered by the fact that they can’t love them anymore. And so their partner will leave them. And there’s all sorts of these dynamics that go on. So people are kind of making decisions out there that aren’t necessarily to put the pedal to the metal, and see how much this can unfold. This is just another aspect to them of psychology, that sort of being integrated into their life in different ways. In the same way that other things, other personal growth, things other self help things, other psychological growth type things are being integrated in. So I just thought I’d slide that voice into this
Rick Archer: field that people have the choice of changing locations to use your word, I mean, or do people sometimes find themselves so immersed in a particular location that they are just going to have to face the consequences in their relative life because they can’t shift locations.
Jeffrey Martin: So we think that that’s changing over the years, there seems to be an acceleration of people waking up around starting around 1996. And the best guess somebody looks looking at our data one time, and they said, what seems to sort of track Internet growth? And so it’s possible that there’s something with the connectivity. And I didn’t think about that, you know, I’m like, I went back and looked at it. And it turns out, it did actually track Internet growth. And so I think there’s something to this enhance connectivity, we could have never done this study. I mean, it’s there’s nothing great, you know, we’ve done this sort of amazing study, right. But it just happened to be that I was the one that came along at a certain point in history when communication was at a certain level and travel was at a certain level there, whatever could have been done 100 years ago, if that had happened 200 years earlier. So what we found is that basically, prior to that time, people often landed in a location. And they could, you know, there wasn’t like a starting point is everybody here, I think knows, there’s all sorts of different places that you can land, so they would land in a location. And oftentimes, they would just stay there, they would, you know, there would be such a deep sense of truth. And they would deepen in that location. And there would be these unfolding, there’s two different ways, I think, to talk about deepening, you can talk about it by going sort of further along to later locations you can talk about, it’s going sort of deeper, and to your existing location. And most people sort of, from a certain era, if you will, of awakening went deeper, every now and then somebody would sort of fall further along the continuum, like Bernadette Roberts, who’s speaking from the Christian tradition, the Catholic tradition, I mean, she fell kind of off the end of the Christian mystical tradition into what we would call location for, and she spent a lot of time trying to grapple with that and trying to make sense of it, you know, from her traditions perspective, or whatever. So it didn’t happen. But it was rarer. And now we find that it’s much more common, I think it’s much more common, because people have cognitive frameworks for it, you know, you can basically go out to the internet, and you can see that people are having all this sort of diversity of experience. I mean, you can find papers by us, you can find, you know, work being done by other people, or just lots of sharing goods going on and all of these different communities, and it provides a perspective for people. And they realize, oh, you know, well, I can recognize where I’m at. I’m at here, I’m sorry to hear. But then there are these other people talking about over here, and they’re these other people talking about over here. And it’s almost like it sort of opens their mind to the possibility of movement. And so, past a certain point, I think there’s a lot more movement that you see, but prior to a certain point, there’s a lot more, sort of, I guess, almost personal dogmatism in terms of what’s right. And I think that’s also loosening conflict. One of things it’s been great to see on this group today is I how flexible you all are with everybody’s different experiences. You know, there’s a certain there’s other groups that you can sit in, where if you were to put that group together, they would just be fighting Catan. Right? It would be like, you know,
Rick Archer: Richard Dawkins?
Jeffrey Martin: No, no, I don’t mean atheists. But it’s just, you know, they will be saying, I have this experience. And I know that it feels completely true. And I hear your experience, and it sounds so close, you know, I feel like you’re so close to knowing the truth, if only we could write. And so then these conflicts develop. And there’s almost like this new generation of dialog and some way started by the sand conference and other gatherings that have been, that have sort of dampen that. And and so to me, this conversation is amazing, because 10 years ago, you know, when I started doing this work, it was a lot of conflict between a lot, there was a lot more conflict, I feel between a lot more individuals, Dana.
Dana Sawyer: Well, one thing that I was thinking about most of my time, in a very different setting, you know, because of an academic, that I’m always at conferences, where people are saying things to me, like, because it’s such a strict materialism still in academia. Quantum physicists can talk about metaphysics, but philosophers can, you know, it’s a strange world, actually. So people are saying, you know, aren’t you tired of pretending you have a soul, and you’re tired of pretending you don’t. And so to be here, in this kind of context is very strange for me. But one thing from that context, because as I keep listening, I keep listening to and I’m thinking about is that part if all of us, if the 14 of us were stranded on a deserted island together after a shipwreck, then we would find identity very quickly. Whether its identity is expression, and nobody’s in the way of that expression of whether we’re identifying with that identity is semantics, but who would be useful, who has a shoulder to cry on, who knows how to get fish, those things that would become very clear to us and very important to us very, very quickly. And so like you say, sometimes the location of non dual consciousness is a very useful place to be. And sometimes you need fish.
Mariana Caplan: Lord, Shadow shadow would come out really quickly, very quickly,
Dana Sawyer: inevitably,
Francis Bennett: the guy who could get fished would think he was all that.
Laurie Moore: I’m deeply appreciating each of the sharings. And the opportunity for us to sit among one another and feel and hear something that’s part of each of us as when another speaks. I appreciate Karen, your comment about Cymatics because I do think there was a somatic. And with your response, I did identify that there was a somatic difference and how we were using identity. And I would like to say I just appreciate each person’s unique flavor and essence. To me, that is your identity. And that’s why there’s something precious about being incarnation, that there is a oneness that there is an awareness that comes from me, it comes and goes, I don’t profess to live in it all the time. And I understand most people here don’t make that profession either. But in even in states of that, there’s a recognition of the mysterious, awesome, amazing wonder that has each of these flavors here. And from each of these flavors, unique creations, inquiries, explorations activities are occurring, and how how incredible how wonderful.
Francis Bennett: Something that Jeffrey said it’d be interesting to see what his response to this would be. But okay. Something that Jeffrey said, and it might be interesting to hear his response is that, I mean, I get that idea that, okay, there’s these different states of consciousness and people can kind of move in and out of this state or that state and this state is good for getting fish in this state is good for getting a date in this state is good for driving the car in this state is good for doing zozen or whatever, you know, and I can understand that in a way but like what I’ve experienced, though, in my own kind of direct experience, was that reaching a point where there was no more this sort of either or kind of thing. It was like, there’s this sort of spacious quality. And when you were talking, I was getting this I was remembering when I was in the I was in the hospital a couple years ago and had a very bad infection in my foot. I’m a type two diabetic, I happened to get an infection in my foot, who got really bad, they thought it went to the bone, there was talk of amputating part of the foot and stuff. And on one level, there was this sort of upset about that, like, I wasn’t thrilled when the doctor came in, said, Oh, you may lose your foot, and I didn’t get up and do a dance because my foot hurt. But also other than your last chance, yeah, I there was a kind of pain, psychological pain, a sense of loss, all that stuff. But I noticed, interestingly, that it arose in this huge, vast kind of space. And, and a rising in this vastness, it kind of did, it’s a little dance a lot more quickly, in an analogy that came to me was, if you had a teaspoon full of black, thick, dark, noxious poison, and you poured it in a little cup, it would overwhelm the cup, the cup would feel like, you know, I’m this big, black noxious poison, the whole cup would look like that. But if you pour in the vastness of an ocean, the experience of the black, thick, noxious poison, poison would be vastly different, it would be very, very different, it would hit the ocean a lot different than it’s a cup. And my sense is that what’s happened with me is that there’s this like huge vastness that’s appeared that does stay, I have to honestly say, I mean, it’s here all the time. But it’s no longer it doesn’t then negate the brokenness, the pain, the humanity, the all the or identity, for that matter, any of that, all of that is appearing and disappearing in that space. And so, for me, it’s no more like, Oh, you’re in this state, which is good for that. And you’re in that state, which is good for that. It’s like any number of states can arise in that vastness and do all the time. It like the whole identity thing. It’s like, for me, it’s not so much that identity is some problem that you need to get rid of, or something, it’s, it’s fine, as long as it’s seen for what it is a fluid coming and going. I often think of it in terms of like putting on, like, if I play baseball, I put on a baseball uniform. If I, if I wrestle, I put on a wrestling leotard or whatever, you know, if I, if I go to the office, I put on a suit, you know, and I just put those on and take those off. And I’m not totally identified with the idea that I’m in a suit. But when I’m in a suit, I do move a little differently than when I’m in a baseball uniform, you know, so, for me, it’s like, it’s not either. No, it’s not. So for me, it’s like, it’s like, well, you it’s not either or anymore. It’s both and it’s always both. And it’s like, yeah, on one level, there’s no self on another level, there is a self, you know, on one level, I don’t know what I can’t think of another analogy. That’s a good one to self because we were talking about it’s not Kiersten, Kieran Kieran Kieran Yeah, Kieran brought up the idea of of talking about identity. And that’s why that kind of spurred me because it’s funny because we have so many people that somebody brings something up, and then you kind of want to respond to it. But then there’s four things in between. So that it’s hard to like, remember, okay, what was one? But anyway, so I’m just rambling now. Because I was curious. All right.
Jeffrey Martin: Karen, also want to say something or have. So now I want to ask me. Just real quick, I agree with you. And there’s, there’s many forms of this that are persistent like that. So I was meaning like that, like, that’s one form of persistence, I probably in our taxonomy, probably put that call that like location to not having talked too much more about it, I don’t know. But then like, for instance, and location three you might have, you might have a single emotion that really feels like a combination of love, and compassion and joy, that’s all the time there and it feels like it’s really turned up quite loudly. And then in location for, for instance, you might have no experience of emotion as we normally think about it. And so, but in throughout all of this, there’s, there’s persistence, and then there can be that spaciousness, a deep sense of peace, all of that. But there’s sort of other factors, that sort of change. And so that’s what I’m meaning with them. Yeah.
Kiran Trace: So I want to bring the conversation back to brokenness. And back to what Susan Marie was talking about, and bring it take it out of the analytical and the mental place and bring it back into what Rick had sort of asked, which is, is there a place fundamentally is there like an enlightened place or a place where I think this So what you’re saying is where we’re not harmed or broken ends or something like this, at least
Rick Archer: some core stability, stability, eternal hell, maybe breaking loose, like, like Chuck was saying is there, you know, I mean, could one characteristic of Enlightenment if we want to use that word be a sort of a deep in perturb ability under any and all circumstances which may not be apparent on the surface? You know, I mean, I’ve heard it said, by marshy, Mahesh Yogi used to say Christ never suffered, you know, he appeared to be suffering greatly, but from his subjective experience, he was beyond that.
Kiran Trace: Yeah, and I think I think, what I want to weigh in about that, as I want to add the good news that I actually totally agree with that, and from the place that I want to bring the optimism to people who are listening, and those of us that have lived these experiences and what it can what it can mean for you. And essentially, you know, I come from a very extreme and severe abusive background, I have ritual abuse in my background and extraordinary pain and the liberation in my life didn’t come because one day my mind blew a fuse. without, without any identity with pure unfiltered form, there was still conditionings in the body mind towards tremendous men I lived torture for most of my life. And I have to say that my liberation came from recognizing there was this movement in clarity, which was found in the stillness, that always lead towards healing, abundance, thrive, safety. And if I chose clarity, I wouldn’t go there. If I chose fear, if I chose pain, if I chose stories of limitation, I could go there. And in terms of a really think it’s such a beautiful conversation to say, Yeah, pain can be experienced, and fear can be experienced, but there does. All of us can access awakened or not awakened, we can access clarity, and clarity brings us to wholeness. Regardless of the extremity of it, it doesn’t bring us brokenness and brokenness, what breaks is our identification, our habit, of fear, and our habits of pain and our habits of limitation. And those aren’t actually true, in reality, their conditions of limitation. And our our healing journey rips that stuff away from us. So what we might call these broken moments are where we’re literally being ripped free of Our fear and our limitations. And as we do that, as these leave us as we have less and less experience of this, and more and more, we stand in clarity, what I call, we clean our karmic house, we clean out all these areas where there’s lack and limitation, in our practical lives, we then have an ability to make choices from clarity, again, my no mind, you know, like, regardless, you can do that. And that does not bring us to places of brokenness, it brings us to places of wholeness. And it brings us all the way to such a deep, profound wholeness of what Francis was saying what Susan Marie was saying, which is where it’s like, yeah, I still have a body and the body ages, and there’s still pain or injury, but it never again contracts in the same way, when there was still fear in the system, or it was still bouncing against this sort of separate self of meat. Because when that’s gone, it’s actually an expression of love. And it’s so seen and experienced. And I mean, that’s so directly, like so directly. And with the people that I work with all the time, we see this again, and again, we’re stuff that looks like devastating. Like, you know, I have students right now who their their baby, their infant is life and death right now. You know, and their experience of it is an immense dance of love and joy. It’s not broken, it’s not breaking. It’s an it’s an immense dance of, it’s just an unbelievable amount of love. And everybody around it’s a little bit like a wedding, quite frankly, it’s like people, people going to the hospital, it’s like this unbelievable love. And that’s an experience of freedom, where life is moving and having life but there isn’t movements of lack and limitation and fear inside of there. Now, I’m not throwing this up as an ideal, I’m saying that this is actually possible for every single one of us. And I know it directly for myself and with the 1000s of people that I work with globally all over the world also. So I feel like I just want to say yeah, there is absolutely there is a place and oneness is a whole place where life moves, but it moves as Francis was saying, in this unbelievable movement of love. Very, very practically not theoretically.
Rick Archer: Thank you. Okay, I just wanted to make a comment that kind of wraps together some of the points that have been made, and that I’ll be talking about this in my sand presentation tomorrow lot. And that is that if we, if we think about what’s actually going on, we take things for granted. But if we think what we’re actually looking at here, and if and science can help us do this, it’s only the divine, it’s only consciousness. And so it it may appear that I’m sitting here talking to you, or looking at a camera, but it’s really just consciousness interacting with itself. And through that interaction, giving rise to the appearance of forms and shrouding itself in the subjective experience of those forms, to some extent. And so, to me, Enlightenment is a matter of thinning that shroud more and more and more and, or evolution, spiritual evolution is a matter of that. And that’s what the divine does for if we want to anthropomorphize and say that it has a purpose that we can understand as human beings, it would seem that its purpose is to enjoy itself as a living experience as an embodied experience, rather than just being sort of flat featureless unmanifest consciousness. And that the we’ve talked about the, the kind of continuous evolution of life and our spiritual unfoldment of embodied forms. And we I mentioned the phrase that appears that God Himself is on the journey, there’ll be no end to the refinement and evolution of the forms that the divine gives rise to, in order to have this enjoyment of embodied experience. So when we asked, you know, what is Enlightenment, what is awakening, and so on and so forth. It’s we’re all just God, having human experience or a dog experience or a flea experience or whatever form the divine has assumed. And there could probably be and just spiritual traditions have defined milestones of the human experience of the unfoldment of divine consciousness. But from the perspective of the Divine, there, there’s no terminus, there’s no end point, there will always be room for further refinement of its various expressions. Does that kind of make sense in light of what people have been saying? That’s my perspective on what Enlightenment is. Time to change subjects or time to go to lunch. All right. Let’s do lunch.