Rick Archer: Welcome to Buddha at the Gas Pump. My name is Rick Archer. Buddha at the Gas Pump is an ongoing series of interviews with spiritually Awakening people. I’ve done nearly 550 of them now and if this is new to you and you’d like to check out previous ones, please go to bat gap comm bat gap and look under the past interviews menu. This program is made possible by the support of appreciative listeners and viewers so if you appreciate it and would like to support it, there’s a PayPal button on every page of the website. My guest today is Heather ash Amara welcome Heather Asha.
HeatherAsh Amara: Thanks so much right. Glad to be here.
Rick Archer: Yeah, glad to have you. I’ll read the little bio that Heather ash sent me. She is a she is the warrior goddess mama and create tricks of the warrior heart practice. She is dedicated to inspiring depth creativity and joy by sharing the most potent tools from a variety of world traditions. Raised in Southeast Asia. Heather Ash has traveled the world from childhood and is continually inspired by the diversity and beauty of human expression and experience. She brings this open hearted, inclusive worldview to her writings and teachings. Heather Ash is the author of numerous books including the best selling warrior goddess training, warrior goddess wisdom, the seven secrets to happy and healthy relationships with Don Miguel Ruiz, Jr. and the warrior heart practice. Her website is Heather Asha mara.com. And of course, I’ll have a page for this interview on bat gap and we’ll be linking to her website and her books. So I listened to all of your podcasts over the past week which and and we and quite a few of your videos on your YouTube page. With the Coronavirus going, I have plenty of time to walk in the woods and listen to things and got to know you pretty well. And it seems like from what I gather, you’re your main influence. Although probably you would say you’re more eclectic now. But your management influence was the Toltec tradition, which was represented in Carlos Castaneda his books, which were wonderful books, I read them all as he was writing them in the 1970s. Mostly while I was on long meditation courses, like six weeks or six months at a time, I’d be reading these books and sort of getting into that world. And I’ll tell you that the two things that I remember most from those books are one, a warrior has time only for his impeccability I’ve always tried to live by that one. Obviously, it’s always a moving target. But you try. And the other one is the whole principle of the petty tyrant, I find that very handy. And we can even talk about what these things mean during the interviews. I also remember stuff about the tonal inagua Which I believe had to do with the individual kind of soul, the Jeeva and the more universal soul the atman do use Sanskrit terms, but same idea. Is that right? So those two terms mean Okay, good. I forget which one was the tone on which one was the night well, but you know, you’ll tell us so, okay, out of curiosity, did your parents name you Heather ash or did you just adopt adopt that name and at certain point,
HeatherAsh Amara: I adopted ash so I was born Heather and then i My nickname was ash for many, many years because I do firewalking and have a big relationship with fire and transformation. And so at some point, I brought the two together.
Rick Archer: Okay. Yeah, I was curious. I thought it might have some spiritual significance.
HeatherAsh Amara: Yeah, definitely a turning point in my life when I when I was like, Yep, I want I want to be that representation of ash of being able to Phoenix.
Rick Archer: Yeah, and actually the name of Mara kind of sounds like it has a spiritual connotation to it, does it or is that your actual family name?
HeatherAsh Amara: No, I also took that name on and that was after a lot of searching and really feeling into it. So I love that name. Because one way I mean, it’s it’s a form of the word love in Spanish,
Rick Archer: okay. Or like that kind of word. Yeah.
HeatherAsh Amara: And one way it means Amata which is to the illusion goddess Mata. A backwards it says arama which is cool, though.
Rick Archer: Yeah. Nice. Okay. So perhaps many people listening or watching will have read the Carlos Castaneda books if they haven’t, I highly recommend it. They’re really a trip. It’s really fun to. They’re an interesting mixture of sort of wisdom and humor in a way. I mean, the Don Juan, what was his mottos? Medusa, Carlos, his teacher, and his friend, he had a friend who was in the book a lot, I forget. Oh, yeah. They were a couple of characters. And they were always sort of pulling pranks on on Carlos. I remember one time where Carlos dropped a pencil or something. And Gennaro dove to the floor. And he was like fishing around under a bureau and pulling out the most outrageous things that you really wouldn’t expect to find under there just to kind of blow Carlos guts in his mind. Do you think those books were authentic? I mean, some people accuse him of having taking a lot of, you know, liberties with what actually happened.
HeatherAsh Amara: I think the teachings are authentic. And I think a lot of it’s authentic. And he’s a writer. So it was there some places of exaggeration or switching when things happen? Absolutely.
Rick Archer: Uh huh. Yeah, yeah. There was also one of the books, I remember where at the very end of it, he jumped off a cliff, because that was part of his Toltec training. And that was the end of the book. And then the next one hadn’t come out yet. Yeah, as well. Okay, so what is that traditional about? I’m presuming that’s your main focus, and something we should lay a groundwork of here in this conversation? Is it has that really been your main influence in this life?
HeatherAsh Amara: I wouldn’t say it’s one of two main influences. So the first was European shamanism. So I, when I moved to the States, and started studying different spiritual traditions, my first place of exploration was what was what were my ancestors up to. So I looked at that, like earth based tradition out of Europe, and then also really influenced by Buddhism, of course, just from being raised in Asia. And then
Rick Archer: German ism would mean what?
HeatherAsh Amara: Exactly basically Celtic, it’s out of Eastern Europe, but then moved over to Celtic shamanism. So it’s really about the honoring the elements, the seasons, the cycles. Yeah. Was was what I really brought into my being was learning how to be more in relationship to the cycles, rather than the lines that we tend to be in relationship to in the West. Yes. And I met Miguel. So the Toltecs were a group of people that came together in south in central Mexico. And there was when the Spanish invaded Mexico, all the Toltec teachers at that time dispersed. And they made an agreement with themselves that they would not teach in groups anymore, because they didn’t want the Spanish to get the wisdom. Right. And so they did one on one. Yeah, or kill them. Exactly. So the agreement was will only teach one apprentice at a time. But there was also prophecy that the Toltec teachings would come back when they were needed, what was called the sixth son. And so Carlos was the first one, Don Juan basically mandated him to write about what he was learning. And then I’d say the second main teacher was Don Miguel Ruiz, who’s the author of The Four Agreements, and a lot of other books.
Rick Archer: Were really a student of Don Juan, also, he wasn’t
HeatherAsh Amara: he has, he was part of his own lineage. So his was passed down through his ancestors. And that belief is that when the Toltecs went underground, there were actually 12 lineages that scattered around the world. And they’ve been popping back up over time, which is it’s powerful teachings. And so it’s fun to see the differences between the different lineages and the similarities.
Rick Archer: Yeah, I think that might be a worldwide phenomenon where suppress teachings are popping back up, you know, because the time is conducive, or auspicious, or appropriate for them to pop up.
HeatherAsh Amara: Yeah, I think that’s really true. And it’s we’re really blessed to have as much access as we do to so much wisdom.
Rick Archer: Yeah. It’s perfect. But another thing we should probably talk about today is the Coronavirus if you feel like it, because it seems like such a significant event in human history in contemporary human history, and I don’t think anything in the universe is accidental, or random or devoid of some sort of intelligence. And obviously, there’s destructive intelligence as well as creative intelligence, which keeps the universe balanced. But a lot of people are saying that, you know, they feel this is some kind of a catalyst or something for a much needed change that we’ve been anticipating for a long time. And, you know, in saying that, we don’t mean to be glib and, and, you know, trivial trivialize the suffering that it’s causing. But nonetheless, it seems to be instrumental in bringing about tremendous changes in society, which we have yet to see fully unfold.
HeatherAsh Amara: Yeah, it’s it’s quite a time. We’re definitely all going to remember the spring of 2020. Yeah. Future.
Rick Archer: Yeah. So, illustration where it shows this little kid going down a slide. And this is like the 2020 slide. But the slide turned into one of those steel graders that used to grate cheese or something like that. It was he hadn’t quite hit the the blades yet. Alright, so we’ll probably get into that a little bit more to. So when you, you know, you use is there anything more you want to say about European shamanism before we keep going?
HeatherAsh Amara: Yeah, what, what’s I think one of the remedies for modern day human ailments is getting back in touch with nature. And that is what I found with European shamanism and really, all shamanic traditions around the world are deeply earth based, are connected to the seasons are connected to the cycles of the sun in the moon. And because of electronics, because of how much we are inside, we’ve often lost that connection to honoring life and honoring death. And so for me, that was the revelation was really learning how to honor that part of the cycles death part of the cycles, letting go part of the cycle is darkness, and that it is as important as the life part of the cycle. And in the West, we tend to be very focused on the birth and the creation part. And not so much in love with the the death and the letting go and the darkness. But that’s the gift of coming back into relationship with the cycles of just spending time in nature, because nature is such an incredible teacher.
Rick Archer: Yeah, yeah. And you can see that if you go into nature, I mean, first of all, in a bigger sense, we wouldn’t exist if stars had died. That’s how the heavier elements were created, which form our bodies and our planet. But, you know, just walking through the woods, as I did this morning, there are a lot of fallen trees, and they have fungi growing on them. And you can see, you know, if you could speed the timeline up, you’d see them to sort of disintegrating, but nourishing the soil and giving rise to new life. So, I mean, death is as natural as life is just part of the cycle I,
HeatherAsh Amara: yeah, yeah. It doesn’t make it any easier to lose things, but it puts things in a larger context.
Rick Archer: Yeah. And it is used you to lose things. If you understand that, for instance, if we think that, you know, this body is all I am, and when this when this dies, I will cease to exist. It must be pretty scary to have that perspective, you know. And, but if you realize, oh, this is like a society is like a suit of clothes. And if the clothes get really tattered and worn out, I’ll dawn a new suit, and continue on my journey, then it’s like, oh, I can I can relate to that. That’s not scary. That’s scary. Because you read all the new kind of near death experiences, past life, memory experiences, and all that stuff that people have, and people have those experiences are not at all afraid of dying. Yeah, that way they look forward to it.
HeatherAsh Amara: Yeah, it’s so true. And it’s such a gift for us when we really, really learn how to be in right relationship with death. And, and I think one of the things that I’m that I always work with people, because there’s a hope that we create that, well, if I face death, and I’m not afraid of death, any more than I won’t have grief ever. Or if I lose things, I’ll be immune to grief. And I always remind people just because we honor the cycle of death doesn’t mean you’re not going to grieve, or that suddenly you’re not going to feel that it’s part that’s part of life as well. Is that love of grief?
Rick Archer: Sure. I mean, we have hearts, you know, and hearts experience emotions, it’s sort of theirs, they’re designed to do. And if your mother dies, or your dog dies or anything else, it’s natural to feel grief. And, you know, that can be it’s not the only dimension of one’s life. There can be one who can be aware of something more fundamental that is not grieving, and yet at the same time grieving on another level.
HeatherAsh Amara: Mm hmm. Yeah. Yeah. I think that’s the really learning to be in life in a new way is learning how to hold all of it. And that’s something I’ve been really playing with with the with the Coronavirus right now with a pandemic that’s happening is really feeling into myself of like the human experience and the global experience and that place of you know, like, for me It’s been an amazing time of getting to go in and being really quiet and writing, and being in service to my community. And I also noticed a lot of people that are really suffering that are having really different experiences and to be able to hold the beauty of life. And the the grief, the loss, the sorrow, and that they don’t negate each other.
Rick Archer: Yeah, that’s a big one with Malmo was talking about the ability to incorporate paradox and ambiguity and sort of kind of creating a bigger basket with one’s awareness, which can incorporate all the diversities and polarities, and all that. Because if you think about what God is, if we understand God to be all pervading intelligence, the entire universe with all of its all of its contrast, and you know, its dynamism, and all that’s going on is contained within that big totality within that, within that wholeness. And if we aspire to some sort of realization along those lines, then it behooves us to kind of fake it to a naked in a way, you know, just kind of like learn to incorporate, you know, the, the all the diversities.
HeatherAsh Amara: Yeah, yes. Yeah. It’s not easy, but it’s so incredible when you’re able to, to hold, like you said, the paradox and the diversity and the chaos. Yeah, definitely. In a chaotic time, right now.
Rick Archer: An interesting conversation with the Reverend Bill McDonald this morning, who’s been on bad gap a couple of times, we have a chat every now and then he he says that all these people are calling him and like confessing, he’s not a Catholic priest. But yeah. But here, you know, these, in fact, one of the people who called them was a priest. And he said he had the man said he had abused children earlier in his life. Wow. And he just feels so guilty about it. And he builds cited several other examples and all these people calling him and like confessing, and we were kind of speculating that maybe this inwardness, that the the quarantine of the viruses imposing on us is making people more introspective, you know, and preventing them from being able to sort of suppress things that in the busyness of life they had been able to suppress.
HeatherAsh Amara: Mm hmm. I think it’s so, so good. Yeah, yeah. And if people have a way to put it into that context of this can be such a gift, to let ourselves let what I think of as the oil, all the oil of the gunk that we haven’t known what to do with or that we’ve been repressing, if we can let it come up, so we can witness it with love. We can share it, we can put it out, it’s going to move and allow us to then go forward in a new way. But if we keep busy and doing the same thing we’ve always done, then we’re going to miss an incredible opportunity that we have right now.
Rick Archer: Yeah. This one’s interesting way of thinking one can always play with as the sort of the microcosm macrocosm thing, where individually, you know, spiritual aspirants have actually made a business of discovering suppressed stuff and processing it and, you know, kind of like, cleaning out all the cobwebs in their, in their subconscious or their, their, you know, their storehouse of impressions, we could say, and, you know, now on a macrocosmic level, maybe the whole society is kind of being shifted into a more into a spiritual practice, as it were, and having to process stuff that they had so far avoided.
HeatherAsh Amara: There’s plenty to do. Yeah, yeah.
Rick Archer: Yeah. In fact, some of the people I’ve interviewed like Thomas, who both kind of specialize in collective trauma, and helping he, for instance, he sets up these things between the Israelis and the Germans and tries to help them work out a lot of the, you know, ancestral mess that resides in the collective consciousness of those two peoples.
HeatherAsh Amara: eautiful. Yeah, I think that’s so important and so powerful. And my, my prayer is, at this time that we all get a more of a global vision, we tend to be very self focused and trying to navigate our own emotional body and what’s happening in our life and the busyness. And again, this this opportunity to look up and go, Okay, I want to clear up my stuff with the intent of how do I help also midwife a new paradigm to to help that transformation on a global level of moving the oil? That’s heavy, the places we’ve been neglecting? Yeah, relationships with each other.
Rick Archer: It’s almost like this thing is forcing us to you know, because, like I was listening to a podcast with Sam Harris interviewing us, General Stanley McChrystal. And he was saying that if you know if an arm Army is going to win a battle or, you know, his own troops when they went into Iraq had some like, individual individual sort of there were like rivalries between the various factions of the US military that went in there. And they quickly discovered that they could not allow that, in order. If they’re going to do the task at hand. They were just going to lose if they were divided or fragmented. And so they all kind of merged together and got synchronous or coherent with one another. And I think maybe this Coronavirus thing is forcing the world to do that, you know, you can’t like every single US state can’t go it alone. And every country can’t go it alone, there has to be this collaborative effort. Because if it’s fragmented, is you tamp it down over here? It’s like Whack a Mole. It’s just gonna come up over there.
HeatherAsh Amara: Yes, it’s true. And it has allowed us I think many of us to realize how interconnected we are, yeah, that there’s, you know, on a spiritual level, whenever you do spiritual practice, that realization is always really present of the connection and the lack of boundaries. But it’s good, it’s really easy to get caught up in the ideas of, we’re separate, as individuals, as states as countries. And now we have, again, this incredible opportunity to recognize there really are no boundaries. Yeah. And learning to work together is so key.
Rick Archer: I mean, the spread of it has demonstrated that and the elimination of it, we’ll have to demonstrate that, you know, both ways.
HeatherAsh Amara: Yeah. And hopefully, that will, we’ll come out the other side, I, I have this metaphor of the difference between conventional farming and organic farming and how with conventional farming, you’re constantly trying to kill the bad things. Yeah. So the focus is how do we spray to get rid of the fungicides and the pests, and there’s always this focus of battle out there. Whereas organic farming, there’s one really main focus, which is feeding the soil. If you have healthy soil, and you put all the attention into how do we nourish the soil, the plants are healthy, the plants then naturally resist pests. And the other thing that organic farmers do is they plant a lot because they know some of its going to go to the bugs. That’s okay, no big deal. So we can come out of this going, oh my god, there’s viruses, we need to fight against the things out there. Or we can come out the other side going, oh, right, we need to nourish our soil, which is our own immune systems, which is how we connect as humans our community level on the global level. So I’m always I’m always looking at okay, what are we going to do? Are we going to go to enemy out there? Or are we going to go to Okay, part of life? And what do we need to do to be in a different relationship with it?
Rick Archer: Yeah. It’s like, you know, well, meaning politicians want health care for all. But when you think about why, within you, then you you’re in line in the grocery store behind somebody who’s got a cart full of sugar and alcohol and white, you know, flour and kind of stuff that’s obvious. And they they’re, they’re 100 pounds overweight, and you think health care for all really has to include healthiness for all, you know, somehow people have to become more healthy. And then the the economics of health care for all could be manageable. But if otherwise, you’re like, you know, like you said, it’s like in organic agriculture, where you’re just kind of battling weeds and stuff, but you’re not culturing the soil to grow things in a healthy way.
HeatherAsh Amara: Yeah. And how to help educate all of us around what does our individual soil need to to be the most nourishing and the most? Solid?
Rick Archer: Yeah. Okay, well, yeah, as you can see, when I do interviews, they just, they’re these kind of free flowing conversations. We never know quite where they’re going to go. But feel free to steer it in any direction. If I’m not asking questions about things you want to be sure to talk about. You just bring them up, and we’ll talk about them. Okay, great. Because I really want to be sure to cover, you know, the, the main focus of your teaching, and, you know, what, what people could expect to experience if they got involved in it. So we talked a bit about the European shamanism. So then we haven’t talked too much yet about the Toltec tradition and how, what that is and how that influenced you. So let’s shift into that a little bit.
HeatherAsh Amara: Yeah, I had a dream about Don Miguel. So nobody, this was years and years ago. It’s 1992.
Rick Archer: And you hadn’t met him?
HeatherAsh Amara: I hadn’t met him had a really clear download. You have to find this man. He’s gonna change your life.
Rick Archer: You’re talking about Don Miguel senior here, right? Yes. Yeah.
HeatherAsh Amara: Mm hmm. So I woke up thinking, right? Where am I going to find this guy? I live in no middle of nowhere Northern California little bitty town. And a week later, somebody came into my office and said, Oh my God, you have to meet this man. And my whole body went, Oh, no, I am not ready for this. Because I could see, I knew my life was about to completely change. It took me a year to get ready. And that time, Miguel was traveling to Sacramento, California, once a month. And so a year went by and I was finally like, Okay, I’m ready. Let’s do this. And the moment I walked into the room, I knew I was like, these are my people, like, this is my next step. And, and then met Miguel and was like, Yes, we’re, I’m in. And I was really blessed, because he started an apprenticeship, the next month, and I just managed to step into it. But what drew me so much to that community and to the Toltec teachings is that they’re very practical about how to get free on the inside. So the places that we have beliefs and agreements that are from the past, or from our ancestors, or from our culture, what we call the dream of the planet, and how to unhook ourselves from that. So we can really be living in the moment rather than in the past or in the future, which is where most of us reside. And I really loved how practical the Toltec teachings are, and also how much it was based on watching what you’re doing energetically to learning how to do what we call stalking yourself, which is witnessing what are my thoughts doing what what are my emotions, doing? What’s happening with my energetic body? What am I doing with my physical body? So there’s this deep awareness practice that’s built into the Toltec work that’s very similar to Buddhism, there’s a lot of overlaps between Buddhism and Toltec wisdom that I found.
Rick Archer: Yeah, I mentioned the quote earlier of a warrior has time only for his impeccability if there’s a quote from Padma Sun bhava, the Buddhist sage that I always like that similar, he said, although my awareness is as vast as the sky, my attention to karma is as fine as a grain of barley flour. So like, there’s this sort of sense of yeah, you can be cosmic and unbounded, but you also, you know, to live a an impeccable life have to attend to every little moment in a you can’t be checked out, you know?
HeatherAsh Amara: Yeah, yeah. And then the Toltec language, the tunnel, and then the wall. So the tunnel is the physical manifestations, everything that you can touch, anything you can conceive as tonal. So like the relative world, the relative world, but also the creation. So if I, if we say, God, there’s a great scene in the Casta native books where Don Juan and Carlos are talking and he’s going okay, this table tonal. Yes. Okay. How about this, he’s like, God, that must be Nick wall. And, and done. One is like, nope, tonal, if you can conceive it, it’s tonal. The growl is the inconceivable. It’s the unmanifest. It’s a pure potential. The moment that you try and put it into language or conceive it, we’re back into so now.
Rick Archer: So like that the Vedic cosmology would concur with that, because they speak of the sort of the personal and the impersonal aspects of God. So you know, God can have a manifest value and form and we’re actually this is it, we’re living in it. But then there’s an unmanifest, impersonal, absolute value that can’t be conceived of, or defined by any relative terms.
HeatherAsh Amara: Yes. And I love how science is catching up with all the shamanic traditions. And I remember reading David Boehm, at one point, and there was a he was doing, I think it was a theory that he’d done all of his studies, but he was talking about how we’re in the physical, we’re disappearing into the unmanifest. And coming back into the physical like 1000s of times a second that was like, Whoa, that makes sense. Like we’re in the tunnel, but we’re constantly traveling into the nug, wall and back again, but so quickly, we don’t even realize it. But that’s why we can manifest change. Because if you’re in the tunnel, and you drop into the neck wall, anything’s possible at that moment. How to Travel?
Rick Archer: Yeah. Patanjali talks about something like that. And the Yoga Sutras, talks about performing cities, which, of course, couscous, or Danwon, did, by virtue of that by virtue of being able to sort of drop into the into Samadhi. With the intention with some kind of relative intention. Yeah,
HeatherAsh Amara: everything is so much about intent. That’s the big teaching in the top in the Toltec. Is that our intent, or our focus, our commitment to something is what directs energy. And so we’re constantly work is really how do I gain my attention? How do I keep my attention on that barley flour in this But, and, and also expand into the magwell. And to be travel between those worlds eventually, you know, I’ve seen it as I’ve been working with people and myself. It’s like there’s this feeling sense of going between one and the other. But eventually you realize it’s the same. Yeah.
Rick Archer: Yeah, broad comprehension and ability to focus sharply we could say. So there must be a lot in the Toltec teachings about purifying intent and focusing intent and not letting it be scattered in 1000 directions and stuff like that.
HeatherAsh Amara: Yeah, a lot of things. And a lot of tools like the the petty tyrants a great one is the idea of a petty Tyrant is somebody in your life that can make your life miserable. Now, originally, the petty tyrants were the Spanish, and it was somebody who had life or death control over you. And the Toltec just use the Spanish as petty tyrants as a way to get even sharper, even more present with their awareness. And we’re blessed. Now we don’t have like people who have life or death most of the time. But we have people that can make our lives miserable. And they serve a great purpose. Because they get us to show up and look at where am I getting triggered? Where am I losing energy? Where am I taking things personally? And so for the Toltecs, like, you want a really good petty tyrant. Yeah. You know, you actually seek them out and it doesn’t you’re not using them to punish yourself. You’re using them to get stronger to get more present and in a way, the COVID-19 Hello, petty tyrant. Yeah, of 2020.
Rick Archer: So in other words, the culture our ability to maintain equanimity in the midst of challenging circumstances,
HeatherAsh Amara: yeah. Yes. Equanimity love, presence, and passion. Yeah,
Rick Archer: as I recall, Don, one sort of orchestrated a situation in which his petty tyrant got kicked in the head with by a mule, and that was the end of him.
HeatherAsh Amara: And a lot of sorcery. Yeah. Within the teachings.
Rick Archer: I guess maybe that’s enough of that particular petty tyrant.
HeatherAsh Amara: Like I’m done with you now.
Rick Archer: But that’s it. Yeah, that’s one of the one of the reasons I’ve remembered that teaching from those books. You know, having read them 40 years ago, is just that it’s such a useful thing in life, you know, because it can give you some distance from your, you know, Gutten reaction or knee jerk reaction to a difficult person or a difficult situation, it can say, wait a minute, what’s the lesson in this? Why am I you know, how to pass this test, you know, not just blow it?
HeatherAsh Amara: Yeah, yeah, exactly. Exactly. And there’s always opportunity, be somebody in your life that’s playing that role. And what I found in my own experience, is that when I took the power back, and said, Okay, what’s my piece of this not punishing myself, but just really witnessing? What’s my peace in the dynamic, it changed everything, because then I had the power and the awareness to shift my responses, rather than always making it it’s that person’s fault. They’re doing this to me,
Rick Archer: I was just gonna say that. I mean, it’s not a one way street, two people can be each other’s petty tyrants. It’s not like, Oh, I’m a perfect saint. And this person has given me a hard time on Aren’t I cool? Because I’m not reacting. It’s like, you know, how is it from their perspective?
HeatherAsh Amara: Yeah, yeah. And how am i How am I creating part of the co creation? Because I think everything’s co creation? Yeah, we can take the responsibility for our part. And this is something else that I love about the Toltec work is this word responsibility, what we often connect it to is punishment. If I’m responsible, I have to feel guilty or punish myself. And for the Toltec, it’s responsibility is the key to being able to transform your life, the moment you say I am responsible for my creation in my reality, not it’s my fault that it happened, or I should punish myself for it, there’s a super clean power that comes back to you, because then you know, you can change it. So there’s a lot of no stripping the language back to the basics is what I’ve seen as I’ve done this work is that we’ve tended to put a lot of stuff on top of the language. And so getting down to what’s the core of what we’re actually doing, and taking the guilt and the blame and the shame out. And that for me is impeccability is that responsibility of what am I putting my attention to? How am I using language in a way that that serves me that supports me or versus that tears me down and that hurts me or others? Of course,
Rick Archer: we’re the Toltec say that everyone is responsible for everything that happens in their life, or what?
HeatherAsh Amara: Here’s how I think about it is that we’re responsible, not necessarily for what exactly happens, but our response to it. We perceive it, what we’re responsible for is our perception of it. You know, sometimes people get into this thing of like, well, if I’m doing it right, nothing bad will ever happen to me. It’s like, that’s not the point you
Rick Archer: end up getting sick or breaking your leg or whatever, then you blame or something.
HeatherAsh Amara: Yeah. And then you blame yourself because it’s like, no. Caught, there’s, there’s consequences for different things, period. You know, I feel like the COVID-19 is a consequence of a lot of different things. But there isn’t, it’s, we have to blame anything. It’s just let’s look at what the truth is behind it. Every action we take has a consequence. Sure. And if we can stay in that place of being responsible, not of saying it’s my fault that I was raped, for example, right, I’m going to punish myself, but to say, Okay, how do I respond to this reality? How do I change my perception around it? If I’m using it to harm myself? Or? Yeah,
Rick Archer: yeah. And obviously, there could be a huge range of possible responses, you know, it could completely ruin the rest of one’s life. Or one could somehow rise from that challenge. I mean, the woman I interviewed a couple weeks ago, had been raped, and she’s doing, you know, many years ago, then she’s this Cynthia jurors, and she’s doing wonderful things. She didn’t let that sort of cause her to go and hide and hide in a room someplace or something. Yeah, define her. Yeah. Define her. That’s a good way of putting it. Yeah. Yeah. Okay. So to summarize what we’ve just discussed, then, so all kinds of things happen to us and happen to the world and everything else. And so responsibility doesn’t mean that you are necessarily responsible for everything that happens, unless you want to get into karma and all that business, but it it actually really means you’re, you’re responsible for how you deal with the thing. You what you do in light of whatever circumstances life throws at you. Yeah, yeah. That’s a great verse in The Gita quote is too often, but it’s it. You have control over action alone. Never over it’s fruits.
HeatherAsh Amara: Yeah, exactly. Yeah. Miguel used to always say to us, you can, you can respond to others. You can be impeccable with your word, but you have no control over what they do with it. Yeah. Oh,
Rick Archer: so did you see Miguel, Don Miguel, as a example of what he taught was he was he walking his talk?
HeatherAsh Amara: Was and one of the things I say the biggest lesson that I got from Miguel, that I continue to get from him when I see him is just alive. Yeah, he’s still
Rick Archer: alive. Great, because I heard you talk about his heart attack. And that was quite some time. So I’m glad to hear he’s still alive.
HeatherAsh Amara: Yeah, he had a heart transplant. He’s He’s doing really well, it’s quite amazing journey he’s been on. But yeah, it was, is the amount of unconditional love that man has. So his he’s a huge heart. And that has, you know, I realized all that, from all the teachings, the underpinning the foundation of all of it was, was his love, and being able to really get from being around him, that I could bring that same unconditional love to myself, and then bring it out into the world.
Rick Archer: So as you were working with him, and as I understand you traveled the world with him and worked quite closely with him for a long time. What sort of stuff did you do? I mean, I’m sure you didn’t just listen to his talks and read his books, but you must have engaged in some sort of practices or, or something? What was your daily routine, like as a practitioner of Toltec wisdom?
HeatherAsh Amara: A lot of it was around building awareness. And being really in that place of mindfulness all the time. Around what what actions Am I taking? How am I responding to things, then there’s also a really deep practice called recapitulation, which is a technique it’s a breathing technique to pull your energy back from the past. So from the Toltec point of view, we’re a lot like colanders we’re constantly losing energy because we don’t know we have been taught how to maintain our energetic. Remember that I remember that from the books. Yeah. And we have a lot of energy that’s in the past. So anytime you’re you fear or in an unconscious way to something, you tend to lose energy. And so if we look at humans energetically, we have all of these trailers basically to the past, and there’s a hole into the past and so recapitulation teaches us how to is the practice of pulling our energy from the past. So it’s absolutely present and available in the present. Oh, that was a big part of the teachings as well and and really the stalking in the dreaming. So the the two foundational pieces of toll tech is stalking ourselves and the best description if you think about a cat, and how cats like big cats will stalk their prey over days and they’ll know where it sleeps and when It feeds in what its patterns are. But they’re incredibly patient hunters, incredibly patient, persistent, quiet. And so it’s that same stocking capacity that we’re learning to do with ourselves, where we’re patient where we’re persistent, where we’re in present moment, and not judging ourselves or wishing things were different, but just like, What am I doing? What am I doing to myself. So that’s the stalking aspect. And that allows us to make big changes, because you get to map yourself is how I think about it’s really a self intimacy, practice of getting to know your thought patterns, your emotional patterns, what you do with your energy, and then start to change your actions and your beliefs and your story. And then the other piece is dreaming, which is around opening your awareness and your perceptions to go out of normal reality. And in the Toltec, there’s something that’s called the assemblage point that usually our assemblage point is really fixed. The assemblage point is how we assemble reality. And we have that assemblage point fixed because we’ve been taught this is the way the world is, and we don’t know anything different. But as you start to do more and more spiritual work, or have different experiences, that assemblage point starts to move. And that happens in dreaming, you know, whenever we have dreams, it’s because our perceptions are moving. And she was it.
Rick Archer: Carlos Castaneda books in which he was instructed to like, see his hands in the dream. Mm hmm. Remember that? And I actually ended up doing that, because I was reading the books and I thought, Alright, I’m gonna try to do this. And I ended up doing it.
HeatherAsh Amara: That’s great. Yeah, it’s like, wake up, wake up. Wake up in the dream. Yeah. Lucid dreaming. Lucid dreaming. Yeah. And what we’re trying to do with a dreaming is wake up in life, like, yes, lucid dreaming, in the dream time. But the truth is, it’s all a dream. And so how do we wake up here? How do we realize this as a dream as well? And start to be in new relationship with that dream?
Rick Archer: Someone sent in a question about dreaming? It’s a good time to ask it. It’s, uh, Francis O’Hara from Ellington, Connecticut asks, Would you be able to talk about beneficial tools or practices for dreaming? Also, how can one access meaning from dreams.
HeatherAsh Amara: So I’ll say again, that for the Toltec, the nighttime dreaming in the daytime dreaming, there’s a lot of fluidity. So we don’t just focus on nighttime dreams. We’re also looking at how we’re dreaming during the day. And so daydreams, the way that you’re responding to the world all that’s part of a dream, as well. And so tools around waking up to dreaming, and what the messages are, is realizing that you’re always getting signs of power. There’s always information that’s coming in. And it’s about learning to tune your body to feel the difference between what’s a message, what’s guidance versus what is normal activity. So for example, there may be something really simple like a red car goes by, and that’s a normal everyday occurrence. And it also could be a sign of power. If you’ve asked a specific question, you may look at that red car and have this deep insight of what that represents for you and what it means. So for us to be looking at what is the dream bringing to me? What are the signs and the information that the dream is bringing to me in the daytime, as well as starting to pay attention to the dreams of the night?
Rick Archer: Okay, so just to reiterate to make sure I understand. So just as you know, for years, psychologists and others have helped people discern the meanings of their nighttime dreams. What you’re saying is that everything in our waking experience is also significant. Nothing is random or accidental. And if we are, I mean, I suppose you get carried away with this instead of obsessing over, you know, a bug just cross the sidewalk. But significant things at least, I remember seeing now from one of Carla Carlos has books where they were talking about something. Don Juan and Carlos and the teakettle started whistling and Don Juan said, Oh, the teakettle agrees. And Carlos is like, yeah, you know, harbor the teakettle agree, but he was sort of reading, almost like omens, there’s a science of omens in many ancient cultures where certain things can happen who actually signify something, and you learn to read that stuff?
HeatherAsh Amara: Yeah, yeah. And it’s signs of power. And there’s a difference. There’s a feeling sense of difference in the body between a normal occurrence that’s happening. And something that to somebody else might look like a normal occurrence, but in your body, you’re like, Oh, that’s a signal. That’s a sign that’s a sign of power to follow. Yeah.
Rick Archer: Interesting. So somehow or other in your practice, how did he help you to culture the ability to recognize the significance of things that might otherwise be overlooked as as insignificant.
HeatherAsh Amara: Thinking, really, by sending us out, like one of the things that we did with Miguel A lot was we traveled to different places, we went to Mexico many, many times to Peru, to Egypt. So we went to a lot of different power spots, and you’d send us out to go learn by being in relationship to places of power, and to look for signs and to see what that felt like. But it was really from that just experience of being out in the world and paying attention and listening and honing our own intuition and our own guidance systems. That, that I started feeling that in my body versus intellectualizing it.
Rick Archer: Yeah, one thing that, I mean, I mentioned the bug crossing the sidewalk, even though I don’t read a lot of significance into that. If I’m walking down the sidewalk, what does happen is that I’m almost continuously aware of the sort of the divinity that is inherent in every little thing. You know, the sidewalk itself, the bug, the blades of grass, the tree, the rabbit that is random. Everything is like this sort of play of the Divine, and there are no gaps or holes in it. It’s just all brimming with intelligence.
HeatherAsh Amara: Yeah, yeah. Beautifully said. But everything, there’s connection between everything that we’re in communion with everything, we can be in communion with everything, from the smallest bug down to the sky, the elements.
Rick Archer: And imagine as if humanity as a general regarded the world in that way, or had that sort of feeling or perspective on it. Imagine how differently we treat the world.
HeatherAsh Amara: Yeah, so differently. Yeah, well,
Rick Archer: the core problem is that we treat it like it’s just a dumb thing. Yeah. And it’s a
HeatherAsh Amara: commodity. Yeah, we treat it as a commodity, that we have the right to do whatever we want to it.
Rick Archer: We also treat it as if there’s no tomorrow that we can keep doing this with no consequences.
HeatherAsh Amara: Right. Right. Yeah. And that’s the understanding to come to is that there are consequences. And how do we start adjusting our actions to take into consideration the consequences, but also the living being? That were that were on the living? That’s the Earth?
Rick Archer: Was there ever a time when in Mexican culture when the Toltec teaching was quite predominant and widespread, and it really kind of structured the quality of general society? Or was it always a more esoteric teaching that only certain adults were tuned into?
HeatherAsh Amara: There was there’s a place called Family walk on, which is about 45 minutes outside of Mexico City. And the belief is that was where the Toltec lived and brought their teachings through. That place was eventually taken over by the Aztecs. But the time when the Toltecs were there, there was it was a huge civilization. This is like a couple 1000 years ago, a couple 1000 years ago. Yeah, exactly. And they LT Lacan was was one of the biggest civilizations in the world. It was the biggest civilization in the in the Americas at the time. And it was like huge septic system. I mean, very, very sophisticated, and sophisticated. Yeah. And the teachings were very deep. And what happened is when the the Aztecs kept invading, and eventually the Toltecs ended up going under the protection of the Aztecs because of all the the different peoples that kept invading. So the teaching of the topics got split between the Mayans and the Aztecs. So interesting.
Rick Archer: History can be a fascinating thing. Let’s see what this question will do for us. This is Barry Cahill O’Brien from Spokane, Washington asks, it would appear that in your teachings, the self capitalist is comprised of an unmanifest self, we’re kind of talking about this before, we know well, until now unmanifest self and a manifest self, and we exist in an oscillation between the two. There you go. Does the Toltec tradition seek to bring a balance of the two or try to move us from the manifest worldly experience to the unmanifest silent experience? Or bring the bliss of the unmanifest to the manifest then spread it around?
HeatherAsh Amara: That’s a great question. Well, I’ll share the Toltec cosmology is that each of us have what we call a big soul, which is the part of the nigra the part of us that is travels from lifetime to lifetime. So it’s, it’s our connection to the nug wall, but it’s our unique ray of light is how the Toltec think about it. Yeah. And then We also get a little soul. And that little soul is our ego, our separate self of identity. And that little soul is connected to the current dream of the planet. So whenever we come into this physical form, your little soul also gets a dose of what’s happening here, through the light, through the light, because that for the Toltec, the light has information. It’s not just light, it carries the information of the current dream. And our current dream right now is based in fear and scarcity. You just look at the news specially right now, the news or advertising, there’s this, this fostering of fear, unfortunately,
Rick Archer: paper we’re gonna run out of time. Exactly.
HeatherAsh Amara: And when we’re young, that little song that Bixler connected, and you see that in little kids before, they learned language, usually where they’re absolutely wide, open, curious, loving, present. And that’s when this little soul in the big solar connected, and then those two things split. And the little soul starts looking outside of itself more and more and forgets about the big soul. The big hustle hasn’t gone anywhere, that connection is still there. But now the little souls attention is elsewhere on the rules and agreements and who it’s supposed to be. So for the Toltec, the work is to bring the little soul back into relationship with the big soul so that they’re communicating to create that bridge between them again, and, and the ultimate is for the little sorted jump into the big soul. So it completely merges into the big soul. And that changes the being completely because now instead of having a narrow perception of human separateness, we now have the perception from the big soul, which is realizing everything’s connected and that we’re part of a much larger.
Rick Archer: So you just said something, which implied that the Toltec tradition understands reincarnation, right? Yeah, true. Okay. So that’s nice. And, but there’s something that I think we maybe could take it a step further, because you you mentioned that the big soul is the thing that travels from life to life. And, but, you know, the more the Eastern traditions, at least the the Vedic tradition, understand that? Yeah, that’s true. There’s a Jeeva, which travels from life to life. But there’s also a sort of a big sort of thing, which doesn’t incarnate, which is more on manifest which is abides, which is never born, never dies, and so on. So where’s that in the Toltec cosmology.
HeatherAsh Amara: So the, that big soul self doesn’t have identity, the way that we have identity as humans, it knows it’s part of that big unmanifest ocean, it doesn’t have the illusion. And it’s also informed. So it’s like, the way I think about it is that the drop of the ocean, like it knows it’s a drop, but it also knows that C ocean, simultaneously and so the soul is the drop, but it’s not the drop separate from the ocean, it’s the drop knowing I’m the ocean.
Rick Archer: It’s probably corresponds to the Atman. In the Vedic thing. I always like to try to find the correlations between these different traditions. Because I mean, the truth is the truth and mechanics of the of life are what they are. They don’t, we don’t each each culture doesn’t get to invent its own mechanics. That is true for them. And for nobody else. So. But it’s fascinating. The perennial philosophy idea, it’s fascinating to see how much different cultures that had no connection with one another Concur on these things?
HeatherAsh Amara: Yeah, it is. It’s really beautiful. Now, I always loved studying deep, deep spiritual traditions like that, because they all come, of course, to the same place because they’re looking directly at energy and creation, and life, rather than the interpretation of it.
Rick Archer: Yeah, you said that in your bio, you’re continually inspired by the diversity and beauty of human expression and experience. And I mean, I always kind of, and potent tools from a variety of world traditions. I actually don’t like to limit it to the earth, I sort of look at pictures of galaxies, and think of all the little dramas that are taking place in all the hundreds of billions of stars in each galaxy. And it seems so important to the people that are going through them and well, I’m one of those people too in this galaxy. And there’s actually a bigger picture that’s much bigger than, than my little thing.
HeatherAsh Amara: eautiful I love. Yeah, yeah. Big expansive consciousness.
Rick Archer: Yeah. Okay, so let’s see, where should we go next? You were just talking about the importance of reconnecting your little soul to your big soul. So let’s talk about that a little bit more. What are some practical steps that one could take to reconnect their little soul to their big soul and Once one had done that, and maybe it’s always a work in progress, and you can never say it’s 100% done, there’s always going to be fine tuning. But once one had done that, to a certain degree anyway, to a great degree, what would like life be like for that person? How, what would their experience of life be like?
HeatherAsh Amara: Yeah, beautiful. So so the first part of the question, I see there’s two main ways to reconnect, little soul and big soul one, do more of what you love. Whenever you’re doing something that you really love at depth, you’re reconnected again. So when you’re super lost in something so deeply meditating, gardening, dancing, being in love, like whatever, what have
Rick Archer: you really love lying on the couch and watching old Netflix movies or something? Do more of that.
HeatherAsh Amara: If there’s a sense of open hearted bliss, beauty while you’re doing that, yeah, knock yourself out. But what most people are doing is they’re like, this glass of wine brings me to that sense of bliss. But it actually isn’t what’s out the whole bottle, right? Let’s go. And then you know, so. So there’s that mindfulness of like, what actually makes me feel brings me into that sense of connection. And that sense of absolute merging with all that is, do more of that, whatever that is. And the second piece is clean the agreements that the little soul has erected and created that block it from the big soul, the agreements, the stories, the beliefs, so each of us create usually these elaborate stories of who we’re supposed to be of what the world is supposed to be like. And we also have a lot of emotional content that we repress, we have a lot of agreements around how we should be in relationship with our emotions. And so the second piece is cleaning up the stuff, basically. And there’s a lot of tools around how to do that.
Rick Archer: Yeah, let’s let’s talk about a little bit more right now. So I know Don Miguel, his book was called The Four Agreements. So elaborate a bit on what you mean by agreements.
HeatherAsh Amara: So an agreement is something that we consciously or unconsciously make. So an example of a conscious agreement is I’m going to sign this contract to work at this job for this many hours and get paid this much. And here’s my job description. So that’s a conscious agreement that we’re making with somebody, we actually make very few conscious agreements. We have a lot of unconscious agreements. So an unconscious agreement, I think about it as sort of the iceberg, which is our conscious agreements. And then underneath is all the unconscious agreements, such as, give us example, as you’re in a car as a kid, and you’re singing and you’re having a really good time and your parent who’s driving says, Stop singing right now stop it. And in that moment, you might make an agreement, I have a terrible voice, I can’t see I shouldn’t make noise. But what’s going on for your parent is maybe there was an emergency vehicle, and they couldn’t figure out where the emergency vehicle so they needed you to stop or they were getting a migraine. And there’s 1000 reasons why your parent could have said that. But you’ve now made this agreement, I have a bad voice, I shouldn’t sing. So you could talk to
Rick Archer: stories out of a situation that that perhaps had no actual reality.
HeatherAsh Amara: Exactly. And we do it all the time. And then we build on the story. And then we
Rick Archer: sort of, we add them to our story, our story, toolkit or something. And they end up influencing everything in our lives,
HeatherAsh Amara: everything in our lives. And you can imagine this, this kid that maybe was five at 21. Their their friends come and say, Hey, we’re going to karaoke for your birthday. Let’s go your first Yeah, the response would be like, Oh, my God, you know, like, no way and my friends must hate me. Why would they make you do this? You wouldn’t go wow, there was that? I why I must have a story about that. I wonder what that is. So that’s part of what the Toltec teaches you to do is question everything, every way you’ve identified every fear to be curious about, is there an underlying agreement that’s limiting me. And the way that we do that is by paying attention to our life. You don’t have to know where things originated. It. There’s, it’s great to know where they originated, but you don’t need to know all you need to do is show up in your life and look at how you’re responding to things. Because that’s going to show you your agreements. I was
Rick Archer: gonna ask you that. So the guy whose friends invite him to karaoke, he’s not necessary. And let’s say he’s practicing told technique. He’s not necessarily going to remember that this happened when he was five years old. His mom told him not to sing. But he’s going to somehow look at his reluctance to go to the karaoke place. And, you know, kind of like saying, Why am I hesitating? I know I can sing. I sing in the shower. I mean, what’s my problem here? You know, that kind of thing. He said, bring some awareness to it.
HeatherAsh Amara: Yeah, exactly. In that moment of pause and witnessing the response of like, whoa, I’m having a huge response here. I wonder what’s going on? Uh huh. Where there’s that curiosity and that witnessing versus just absolutely believing the story. Yeah. And then using the story to even create more stories, basically.
Rick Archer: Yeah. So don’t let your suppress stories on winning we dictate your, your every move you some you somehow unravel them.
HeatherAsh Amara: Yeah, you unravel them exactly. And there’s a lot of tangle. And that’s been some of my, my biggest work is with the wire heart practices. You know, one of the things that I recognize just working with myself and working with students over the years is that we tend to tangle together our emotions and our stories. And we also have a lot of knots in our stories that are tied to older things. So we might think we’re having a response to something in the moment, you know, let’s say you have a friend that’s always late, and you have a huge reaction to your friend being late. Probably, it’s not about your friend being late, there’s an older story that’s gotten triggered, that’s been brought up by the friend being late. And if you’re willing to investigate, you can clean what most of us do is we don’t investigate, we just tie that knot tighter. Because we’re like, I have a right to be pissed off with them, how dare they not respect me. And here we are tying the knot tighter and tighter and justifying our feelings and our behavior. So Toltec work is about untangling and having that awareness to start looking at, alright, what have I knotted together? And how do I start creating spaciousness in it?
Rick Archer: So in your own life, in your own experience? As you’ve been on unraveling thing that are questioning stories all these years? What has the subjective experience of that process? Ben, have you found yourself recollecting things that happened in your childhood a lot? Or do you somehow usually not recollect those things, and you just are able to free yourself from conditioned or habitual responses, and thereby become a freer person in general, by by resolving or unwinding these things?
HeatherAsh Amara: I’d say there’s been a journey, that when I first started working with Don Miguel, it just felt super messy. So there was a lot of processing and a lot of going back to my childhood and looking at the places that I blamed others, or that I had shame around things. And that as I cleaned up more things, that now it’s really different, that I can clean up really intense big things pretty quickly. Because I know the patterns, I know where things tend to live inside of me, and I don’t, I have such a different relationship with my mind now than I used to. You know, I used to just believe the stories and think that that was all there was. And now anytime a story comes up, I’m like, hello. I don’t believe you what’s up.
Rick Archer: So that kind of brings us to the second part of my question, which that I asked previously, which is, you know, having cleaned up a lot of your stuff, I don’t know what percentage you would assign to how much if we end up but, you know, having cleaned up a pretty good chunk? What, what’s your typical day like, and your, you know, your typical interactions with people, you know, things that that happen in your life? How do you find yourself? If you were to snap back to where you were 20 years ago? What sort of contrast would you notice between now and then
HeatherAsh Amara: I’d say the main contrast is the amount of peace that I have in my heart and in my life and curiosity. So no, my days are always like, I wake up in gratitude. And wherever I’m at, I’m so happy to be there. And that that can be you know, I live on the road. And so some days I wake up, you know, mostly live on the road. Some days I wake up, I’m at the, you know, gas station, because I couldn’t find a rest area because they were all close. And I’ve had three hours asleep and there’s a truck next to me that’s super loud. And I’m like, Yay, this is cool.
Rick Archer: Lets you sleep in their parking lot. By the way, you probably
HeatherAsh Amara: are great. Yeah.
Rick Archer: Yeah, but so let’s click let’s explain what we mean by this. So you have a when Airstream trailer, one of those silvery aerodynamic ones, and you been traveling around the country in that for how long now?
HeatherAsh Amara: For almost two years now
Rick Archer: just living there. Yeah, yeah,
HeatherAsh Amara: I do have a home base in Santa Fe, but I’m mostly on the road. Yeah,
Rick Archer: interesting. It’s just going to national parks and beautiful places. Mm.
HeatherAsh Amara: Yeah. And also spending a lot of time in no rest areas and yeah, in between places. So all of it and and that’s really I think the difference of you know, in my experience now is I find joy in pretty much everything that I’m doing cleaning the toilet, dealing with a really difficult person or a really challenging situation. It’s it’s, there’s joy in all of it, and there’s a much faster capacity to untangle things so even when I deal with hard things, it doesn’t mean there are not challenges they’re still challenge lunches. But my capacity to untangle those is like five minutes versus weeks or days or years.
Rick Archer: There’s a metaphor, you know, drawing a line in stone, etching align the stones hard to do, and it lasts a long time, drawing a line in sand, it’s easier to do, and it doesn’t last as long drawing the line and water, even easier to do, and it doesn’t last as long as the sand or drawing a line in air, totally easy to do it, it’s instantaneously gone. So those things would represent degrees of sort of conditioning of the nervous system, versus a more unconditioned nervous system, how experience registers in various nervous systems, depending upon their degree of conditioning.
HeatherAsh Amara: Yeah, it’s a beautiful, beautiful metaphor, and is really that Freedom is the freedom to shift your state the freedom to be able to navigate in a fluid resilient way, whatever’s arising.
Rick Archer: Yeah. So regarding the tonal and well, do you feel that somehow in your subjective experience be that well has become widely in your awareness so that both tonale know, well, individual and universal? are residing simultaneously in your awareness?
HeatherAsh Amara: Yeah, I would say that’s true. And that there’s more of that. Because I’ve had the blessing of having what I would call NIC wall experiences of being merged with all that is and dissolving the forum and opening to that possibility. I know it’s there. I don’t touch it all the time, honestly, because I’m, like, immersed in the world. And I know it’s there. It’s the underlying, and I know at any time, I can stop and drop into that. Yeah.
Rick Archer: Yeah. And I bet you even find when you’re in the midst of hectic situations, that there it is, you know, I mean, you don’t like you know, sort of, it’s not there by virtue of putting attention on it. But it’s there as an undercurrent, as if, you know, if as if it pretended to tone, you know, the tones going on all the time. So you’re not always paying, oh, there’s a tone, there’s done. But you could always do that if you wanted to check in.
HeatherAsh Amara: Exactly, yeah. And the way I think about it is that I love this idea of the river that if you put any pollutant into water, you can always take it out, like water can always be brought back to its purest form. And I do feel that in my life, there’s always that that clear current of the river, there may be stuff that gets in it. But I also, I always know how to drop beneath it as well. Yeah, had a purifying out or the same thing with stillness. Like there’s, no matter how loud things are. There’s always that stillness. No, I did a practice once was so fun. Where I did a 40 day meditation, and part of the meditation was you’re supposed to do it at the exact same time every day. And you’re supposed to be outside with your thumb on the earth, like physically on the earth. And because I traveled so much, it was super interesting. That one time, I had a week where I was in New York City. And so I would wake up at 4am Every morning, because that was the the time that happened to be that time in New York City. And I would go out into Union Square and find my little patch, and put my thumb and plug in. And then life would start happening around me which some some days it would get louder and louder. But there is that always that feeling sense of the stillness is always there no matter what. And I loved living in New York City, I lived there for a year, people would be like, it’s so loud. And I’m like, It’s so quiet. Yeah, it’s I can feel that depth.
Rick Archer: Yeah, yeah, I can relate to that. I like sometimes I mean, traveling is fun, for instance, because you go through a busy airport. And it’s also crazy and all but there’s this juxtaposition of the craziness with the, with the silence. It’s it’s just kind of fascinating to, to see that. And it shows up even better, sometimes in more intense situations.
HeatherAsh Amara: Yeah, yeah, it’s true. And I think that’s the thing for me is that, to have that love of the silence and the stillness, and be in the world and love the chaos and love the mystery of what’s going to happen next and love the conflict even. That is what makes things so rich. So there isn’t a split inside of us of like, the silence is good. And this is bad. Right, right. I see a lot of spiritual I used to feel that way. Yeah, yeah. It’s just a super recipe for suffering, right? Kids stop at the world. Yeah. And for people getting in the way of your spiritual practice, to really embrace we’re informed for a reason. We’re informed and learn and how to navigate conflict to learn how to be in that tender place of how poignant this life is, how temporary it is, how cruel humans can be to each other, how much suffering there is and how to learn how to love that as well open our hearts be present, and really listen to what’s my peace to bring the help relieve some of the suffering, that we can’t do all of it. What I’ve seen is that the more that we clean up, and I’ve had this experience, the more that I clean up my own content, I have less attachment to this body’s experience, and more of an opening of how can I be in service? How can I show up in in a supportive helpful way, but also the old, you know, when I was young, and I was an activist, it was like, I have to save the world. There was so much struggle around that and anger. And now I’m like, I’m a little drop, and I’ll do my piece. And I don’t know what’s gonna happen to the world. I don’t know if it’s gonna get better if it’s gonna get worse, but I’ll show up. And I was thinking that about the pandemic, now, I was talking to a friend of mine, and she’s like, I hate humans, like, we’re so terrible. And, and, you know, I was just like, I love humans so much. And the truth is, I don’t know, if we’re gonna wake up, I don’t know if we’re going to be better to each other. I don’t know if this pandemic is going to do anything. I really don’t, I hope. But I’m, I’m also like, and I’ll show up with whatever we do, and bring my love. And I don’t have an expectation of like, we’ll use this in a good way. I don’t know. I hope we do.
Rick Archer: Yeah. But just do your bit. We’ll just
HeatherAsh Amara: do my bit, whatever that. Yeah.
Rick Archer: I remember seeing a video of some Yogi in India, and someone asked him, you know, do you want to sort of, you know, get off the Wheel of Karma and not ever be reborn again. He said, I don’t care. So whatever God wills, you know, I’m happy to get off. I’m happy to come back a million times in order to serve, you know, but I just I just want to be in tune with God’s will.
HeatherAsh Amara: Mm hmm. Yeah, I really feel that as well. Yeah, I’ll show up and do what I’m asked. Basically, I, I listened. Well, people were like, you have such an amazing life. I’m like, I listened. Well, that’s really all. I listen to spirit and listen to the Divine and listen to the mother. Yeah,
Rick Archer: a couple questions came in which look interesting. This is Dan from London, asking, as a father, what you mentioned in regards to unconscious agreements is really important for parents to understand in terms of the unconscious agreements that a child can make in reaction to their parents, it’s so important to talk to children gently and kindly with an explanation for direction you give them in the example you gave, and that situation in the car and the incident with saying, it may not have been possible, but a parent should explain to the child afterwards why they spoke harshly to mitigate the possibility of the child making unconscious agreements. What do you think about that?
HeatherAsh Amara: I think that’s true. And I also think parents have to understand that their kids come in with a predilection for particular experiences. So let me explain that. So in the cosmology, what happens when we die is that the little soul, just explain it really quickly. So big soul and little soul, the little soul makes all these agreements that are based on a judgement, victimization, fear. And every one of those agreements that we don’t clean up this lifetime, makes a little divot mark on the big soul. So there’s a resonance. So the little soul goes away, this personality is gone. Like we do not keep the personality, the agreements go away as well when we die. And there’s still a resonance. But this is, I’m sure you can relate to the karma, right? So the little, the big soul then travels, we get reborn, we get a new little soul, we have new parents, we have new experiences. But those resonances are there, which means we’re going to pull in particular experiences to help us later clean them up. So it’s this beautiful game, if you if you want to call it that of, we get to use the physical manifestation to help us clean up those old resonances and those agreements. If you clean it up completely, it doesn’t come back again. We don’t have to deal with it the next round, which is why, like for me, I’m like, let’s clean up as much as we can this round, right? So we have less to deal with next time. And so parents, if parents understand that, you’re going to also understand there’s going to be some times, nothing you can do. Your child’s going to take on agreements, from your responses from their friends, that is part of their work. And I just see a lot of parents suffering because they hold this if I raise my child, right, then they’ll never have any suffering that they’ll never make their own agreements and it’s just not true. So they Is this this love that you can have of watching your child take on those agreements and know they’ll figure it out. If you have the trust in the long term, and you teach them the skills to really look at their stories and look at their emotions, then they can untangle. And you can work with them. So I really agree. Yes, talk to your children. Absolutely. Explain to them what happened. Help them to feel what are they feeling, and also understand they’re going to be on their own journey.
Rick Archer: Author, it’s good. Some people say we choose our parents, you know, and that we choose the life we’re going to live and pretty much script out all the more significant events in it in order to facilitate clearing up of these agreements. Yeah. Yeah. Here’s a question that comes in from Timo from Helsinki Is this the life is the life we live really a dream? What kind of tests could we do for testing the life is a dream hypothesis.
HeatherAsh Amara: Your life is based on how you perceive the world around you. So one way that you can test this is you can think about an experience that you had in the past that you really, really suffered around, that you’re not suffering around now. And see that just by shifting your perspective, you have a totally different relationship to the reality. So the way it’s a dream is that we’re constantly filtering everything. So if I have a belief that I can’t sing that I have a really terrible voice, I’m now dropping a filter over my eyes. And anybody that says, I love your voice, Heather, Ashley have such a beautiful voice I ignore. I’m creating that dream. And anybody that says, Oh, my God, your voice is terrible, because I believe that I’m like, got it. Right, the image I use is if you can imagine somebody that was afraid of conflict and wanted everyone to like them and didn’t like anger, and you put that person in a room of 99 happy people. And there’s one angry person, where’s our attention going?
Rick Archer: Go hang out with that person. Right? Yeah,
HeatherAsh Amara: you’ll be like, somebody is angry. Oh, my God, I have to fix this. Yeah, you’re dreaming it. Whereas if you were dreaming, yay, that person gets to be angry, hey, look at all these fun people to play with your your experience will be completely different.
Rick Archer: Yeah. I think when people say life is a dream, or sometimes people say life is an illusion, or the world is Maya, things like that. I think we have to understand what we mean by dream or illusion. My best guess my best understanding of it is that the world is real. But it but we don’t perceive it as totally as it actually is, you know, we have a kind of a filtered view of it. So in that sense, you know, we’re not seeing the reality of the situation. Just as we don’t just actually, you know, I don’t know. I mean, it seems to me that the world that we experienced in the way he said is more real than the then whatever we concoct in the sleep, state and dream, you know, dreaming during the night? Seems to me, maybe you have a comment on that. But nonetheless, we always under appreciate or misinterpret whatever our waking state experience to some extent. And you say,
HeatherAsh Amara: yeah, absolutely, absolutely. Because we’re clouded by our stories, and we’re clouded by emotions from us. So to learn how to be in relationship with reality, means we’re showing up in the present moment with what exactly with what’s happened without putting a story on it without saying good, bad, right? Wrong, of really being like, this is what’s happening, how do I want to respond? Then we’re navigating the dream, we’re directing the dream rather than being dreamed. And most of us are being dreamed by our own beliefs, conditioning, ways we’ve learned to respond habitually, to things. And so really, the Toltec world is about claiming your capacity to capture your own attention to choose where you’re going to put your intent and focus. And to really be in relationship with with truth. What is true here, and there’s lots of layers of truth, which is very fun to play with.
Rick Archer: There’s that thing in the Bible about seeing through a glass darkly, you know, and then later on, the glass gets clearer, and we see things as they are as opposed to some obscured clouded version of
HeatherAsh Amara: Yes, yeah. And the Toltec that’s the smoky mirror.
Rick Archer: Yeah, same. Same metaphor. Really. Yeah. Yeah.
HeatherAsh Amara: Cleaning up your of our ocean. Yeah. Yeah. And the, the way your heart practice that I created is, you know, and it’s interesting because somebody just wrote me about doing this with our kids. So I’ll share the story. It’s working with our capacity to start to separate out the feeling from the story, the story from the truth and the truth from our intent.
Rick Archer: If you think through those again, a little bit more slowly.
HeatherAsh Amara: So the first chamber is the feeling chamber
Rick Archer: chambers. Yes, I was gonna ask you about chambers. Yeah. So
HeatherAsh Amara: though I, I built it on the chambers of the heart that we have four chambers in the heart that all work together. And that when we’re working with these four chambers of the warrior heart practice, we recognize they’re all important, they all work together. And so in the feeling chamber, the question is, what am I feeling? But that question is separate than what am I telling myself? What’s the story. And so the first part of the, the really getting ourselves free, is learning how to feel our feeling separate from the story. And so give us an example. So let’s just use the example of friend being late. Okay. So instead of, like your story might be, they’re always late. They don’t really appreciate me, they don’t respect me. Nobody ever listens to me. And then all of a sudden, you’re into this whole thing of I was the youngest kid, and I was always pushed to the side, you know, like, the whole story grows, right? Because it’s connected.
Rick Archer: And all that actually happened was they get stuck in traffic or something. Exactly.
HeatherAsh Amara: Exactly. We’re such good storytellers. So what you would do is you would start with what do I actually feel? Close your eyes breathe? Not what’s the story? What do I feel? And you might feel I feel frustrated, and that frustration feels like a pressure in my chest. I feel scared. Wow, I didn’t see that before. There’s fear in my belly. I feel and then your mind usually goes to the story. How dare they? It’s like, no, just come back. What do I feel what’s what’s the feeling sense in the in the moment. And once you’ve just let yourself feel it’s radical, what starts to happen as you separate the feeling from the story, because most of us are running away from our emotions, we’ve we’ve learned to exit our emotions. And so the power of learning to turn towards the emotions and listen, what’s happening and to be with your emotional body separate from the story is a huge piece of getting free. And then you go, Okay, what’s the story and then you can start looking at how big the story is that you’ve created. What’s actually the story that I’m telling myself, not what you wish the story was? And so same thing with the feelings you’re really looking at. What am I feeling? Not? What do I wish I was feeling or let me intellectualize my feelings, or let me justify my feelings just have your feelings, which sounds easy, but it’s often not, not for, you know, as modern people that have gotten them all tied together. And then you get curious about your story, like to tell people be an archaeologist, like dig, look, be curious. And then once you start to explore what the story is, then you go to what’s actually true. For the chamber, it’s the truth chamber. And the truth is always super simple. So in this example, my friend is late period. The data you have is your friend is late. That’s all, you know, true. Truthfully, they were they were late three times before period. Okay, that’s true to anything after that you’re back in story. And it’s really beautiful. To do this with a pandemic, I’ve been doing this process with people with a pandemic of having like, what do you feel like when you close your eyes and really go into your body? What’s your experience around the pandemic? What is it bringing up? What are the feelings that are happening? And then what’s the story that you’re telling yourself? And then what’s true? And what’s true is there’s a pandemic period. I don’t know when it’s gonna end period. So the truth is always super simple. One sentence.
Rick Archer: Yeah. This kind of reminds you, Byron, Katie, a little bit of your stuff.
HeatherAsh Amara: Absolutely. And it’s an inquiry practice. So it’s just like Byron Katie’s work, it’s an inquiry practice, to untangle to get more information, to get free, and to get
Rick Archer: out of the habit of embellishing things that you think
HeatherAsh Amara: zactly and going into what I call disaster mind, which we have all have super developed disaster minds, you know, like, I’m gonna go bankrupt, and we’re never gonna be able to hug anybody again. Right? Right. It’s like, we’re all gonna die. Like, come back, sweetheart. What’s true? I don’t know, what’s happening next period. And then the intent chamber and that your intent is one word. What do you want for yourself? Where do you want to put your focus?
Rick Archer: To give us a concrete example here, too.
HeatherAsh Amara: So you may say, okay, my intent is compassion. My intent is presence. My intent is peace. And then you bring that back through the chambers. So you grab your intent. Let’s say your intent is peace and you go back into the truth chamber and then you look at is there any other truth I can see and select Say with your friend, you may say, You know what, they’re always late period. And, you know, you’d have to really check that. Is it true, they’re always late, hey, but most of the time they’re late period. Okay? If your intent is peace, your intent is not they should never be late. So I feel peaceful. Your intent is I will choose peace,
Rick Archer: whether they’re late or not, whether they’re late or
HeatherAsh Amara: not. And then you go back into the story. And that’s when you get creative of like, okay, what do I do, and you may then realize, you know what, I actually don’t care that they’re late, I’m going to bring a book and read and stay at peace, whether they’re late or not. Or you might realize, you know, what, this is so important to me that people are on time that I’m going to end this relationship. And there isn’t a big emotion around it. This just like, this doesn’t work for me. And you can do that with love. Because this is what will bring me peace.
Rick Archer: Or you can say, Hey, friend, you know, you’re seems like you’re always late. And, you know, I understand that life is busy. But could you leave 15 minutes earlier in the future when we make a date? You know, says that so that I don’t have to just sit here.
HeatherAsh Amara: Yeah, exactly. And you have that communication. And maybe your friend says, Absolutely, I can totally do that for you. And they may be able to adjust their behavior. And they may not. Just because you have super clear communication with someone you both agree doesn’t mean they’re able to shift it. Maybe they will be and those communications are so important. But what I see sometimes is people have those really good communications, and then they’re pissed because the other person is still late. And like, if you want peace, you let go of whether they’re late or not, or whether they can even be impeccable with our word. You hold peace. So yeah, and yes, for those communications, and then we end the practice in the feeling chamber. So you go all the way back through to land with okay, how do I feel now. So it’s, it’s a beautiful practice, because you can use it on the little things like the My friend is late, I’m frustrated. And you can use it on big things like the pandemic, and start to get some separation of what like, what’s actually happening?
Rick Archer: Is it the kind of thing that you want to do in a kind of settled, meditative way? Or could you be doing it in the midst of taking a walk or, you know, something more active drug
HeatherAsh Amara: of all of the above. So I’ve done it while sitting and meditating. I’ve done it while going for long walks in the woods. I’ve done it talking to friends, writing. So there’s a lot of ways some people, it’s easier for them, if they’re moving to drop into more truth, to really be able to explore their story and drop into truth. Some people want to sit, some people want to write. So yeah, it’s a really versatile practice in that way. And it’s just separating the pieces to untangle the knots to get clarity so that you then have a you have your intent, then you’re then intent, focused.
Rick Archer: Some people say with Byron Katie’s work that it becomes second nature after a while, so they don’t have to kind of methodically go through the the four questions, but you find that to that, it just becomes more of a way of functioning.
HeatherAsh Amara: It does. It does. Yeah. And I’ve been dealing with something that’s been pretty challenging process of buying some land, from a land partner. And it’s just it’s been, it’s taking a long time. And I’ll watch myself go into frustration, and I’ll be like, Hi, sweetheart. Alright, breathe. There’s some frustration, there’s anger. What’s the story untangle, and it’s literally two minutes, and I come back to a sense of peace again. And sometimes that happens instantaneously. Like, I don’t even have to go through the practice at all. Because just like any practice, any inquiry practice, the more you do it, or meditation practice more you do it, the more ingrained it becomes in the nervous system, the faster you can access it, but you have to do it consistently. Like anything. Like when my dad was dying, he had leukemia, and he was a Buddhist. And I watched him want to meditate, except he didn’t have a meditation practice. And it was too late. He was dealing with incredible body stuff. And he didn’t have the capacity to meditate because he had no foundation. And that was a huge lesson for me. I was like, right you don’t wait till you’re in crisis. To get the skill, you build the skill? Daily, daily, daily, so you have it when you need it. Yeah, that’s
Rick Archer: an important important lesson I sometimes in India, you know, they have these four stages of life and some people have the attitude that will spirituality can wait till the last stage of life then my will have raised my family and then everything else I can just relax and focus on spirituality. But you know, many spiritual teachers say no, no, that the spiritual focus should be there at every stage of life all the way through. For one thing, as Omma often says, you should live your life like a bird perched on a branch that might break at any moment. You know, you never know when you left next breath, who and your last breath is going to be? So, you know, in my perspective, from my opinion, spirituality should be a routine part of spiritual development of some sort should be a routine part of life, like sleeping and eating, breathing. I mean, it’s just as important. And it’s not something that it’ll enhance your entire life. It’s not something to just sort of entertain yourself when you’re old.
HeatherAsh Amara: Exactly. Yeah.
Rick Archer: It’s all life go better.
HeatherAsh Amara: Yeah, it really does. Yeah. And it’s, it’s like cleaning I was, you know, share with people, we have this. Like, you wouldn’t say to yourself, I floss my teeth once I never have to floss again. That was, I’m so glad or Yeah, I jot today, I never have to do that again, or I wash my dishes, I’m done with that, you know that that’s going to be a part of the rhythm. And if you can make the cleaning part of your spiritual practice, all of it, whether you’re sweeping the floor, or whether you’re cleaning, the agreements, and the beliefs or the stories, it’s all spiritual practice. And they start to merge in a really incredible way.
Rick Archer: Good. So we’ve talked about, you know, big, so little. So we talked about the four chambers, just now. And then there’s some other chapters in your book, which I think might make good little bullet points to elaborate on. There’s integration, integration of intent and truth. Or maybe you’ve already covered that. The art of stalking yourself and expansion. Let’s let’s cover some of the points that you include in those chapters. Yeah, so
HeatherAsh Amara: working with the chambers, that piece of taking your intent and going back into your life is what creates a transformation because now instead of being at the, I think about the difference between a ship that’s in a storm that doesn’t have a set, direct rudder, anchor rudder, yeah, exactly. You’re intense your rudder, you’re intense, what keeps you stable? Because you’re going back into your life to the challenge. It’s not like the challenge goes away. But now the challenge arises, and you go back to what am I, right? I’m working on peace. Okay, how do I bring peace into this situation now. So you have a focus to put your energy towards and to learn how to do and this is a really important part about the intent, you don’t need to know how to bring your intent into your life. Now I had an extreme situation where my intent was unconditional love. And I was like, I have no idea how I’m going to choose unconditional love in this situation, because it’s so messed up. But I didn’t have to need I didn’t need to know how I just had to have the commitment. And the spirit and life showed me how over time. So there’s, there’s a beautiful piece of being dedicated to your intent. And trusting that life will give you the exact lessons to help you manifest it. So you’re embodying it rather than just thinking about it
Rick Archer: seems to me, there could be hierarchies of intent them and there are there are hierarchies. There must be some kind of fundamental intent in one’s life. And you better hope it’s as fundamental as can be if you think that making money, for instance, is your fundamental intent, look deeper, because there are deeper levels of intent you want to realize, but then making money is a legitimate intent that has to be there. And then there’s relationship intents and all kinds of things. But they all have all the spokes of the wheel have a hub. And so in that scenario, what would you say is, is there one core ultimate intent for all human beings? Or does it actually vary from one person to the next?
HeatherAsh Amara: Think, good question. I don’t know. So I would say that I feel like we each have a different piece. And so those intense very mean, we can say that there’s a larger intent of moving towards consciousness, awakening, spiritual development, spiritual development. And I also feel like each of us is here to learn a different piece of it. And so it’s what I call our true work. And that your true work is the under the under foundation of everything so that every act you’re doing, you’re basing out of your true work, and that it’s one word, it’s one quality, that you’re learning how to embody this lifetime. And really, all of those qualities are going to lead back to opening consciousness spiritual development, whichever one you pick. So whether it’s compassion, unconditional love presence.
Rick Archer: Yeah, and we’re also wired differently. Like Mother Teresa had one way of functioning that served, I’d say, a deep evolutionary intent and Mahatma Gandhi had another he served in his way and you know, Even a military man or a businessman or somebody, you know, we all have our different roles to play. But I still say that regardless of the diversity of our roles, there’s something fundamental about life itself, not even human life, but life, which has to do with sort of evolution of consciousness and, you know, more and more full expression of the innate creativity that resides at the heart of things.
HeatherAsh Amara: Yeah, I would really agree. And that we then have different prisms of color of that one light that we’re
Rick Archer: putting in. One way, a friend of mine often uses the phrase that we’re sense organs of the, of the infinite. You know, obviously, different sense organs have different functions and capacities. But, you know, they are sort of all like tendrils are extensions of who we are. And like that the infinite has a million trillion billion different extensions, you know, from rocks to caterpillars to aardvarks to to us.
HeatherAsh Amara: Exactly. I love one of my spiritual teachers once said, if, if God is made out of Plato, God needs to use Plato to make everything. Everything is Plato. And I was like, I get it like that? No, the the manifest of all of us is the divine. And if we can recognize that foundational, we’re all Plato.
Rick Archer: Yeah. And, and if it’s not all Plato, then God isn’t on the present. There must be holes or something where God somehow didn’t manage to permeate. Right, which doesn’t make sense.
HeatherAsh Amara: Yeah, exactly. So Plato, yeah. Nothing but Plato. In the tonale, land, and the unmanifest. So it’s fun. Yeah. And I think that that place of really navigating, going deep into ourselves to see what is my true work? What is that essence that I’m wanting to bring through this lifetime. And again, you don’t need to know how it’s not something you’ve already mastered. It’s something that you’re going to use every experience in your life to help you bring up inside of yourself. So no, I always say, you know, it’s your true work. If you’re picking up dog poo in the backyard, if you can do it while you’re picking up dog poop in the backyard while you’re going to your job. And while you’re, you know, nourishing your kid, that you’re practicing every thing that you do bringing that true work through or that that intent. And I think life has intent that’s moving through all of us. And the more that we surrender, the more that we’re aligning our little intent with the larger intent, and we just start being guided, we stop thinking we have to figure everything out and direct everything we realize it’s all directed. Listen, yeah.
Rick Archer: That’s nice. You just sort of take it easy. Take it as it comes, and you end up you know that you end up allowing a larger intelligence to sort of orchestrate your life. Yeah, stay out of its way.
HeatherAsh Amara: They have its way. Yeah, it knows better than you.
Rick Archer: Yeah, and picking up dog poop can be fun. I do it every day. It’s sort of like an Easter egg hunt or something. Yeah, exactly. That example is I just, I read is like, oh,
HeatherAsh Amara: there’s so much. But that’s such a life, right? There’s always gonna be the cleaning. And so how do we make the cleaning sacred?
Rick Archer: So what kind of things do you do with people? You know, I mean, it’s kind of cool that you’re managing to do all that you do well, living out of a camping trailer. And being on the road most of the time. Thank God for the internet. So what sort of programs do you offer? And what what do people who enroll in them end up doing with you?
HeatherAsh Amara: I do a lot of different things. I do weekend workshops. I do apprenticeship programs. I take people down to Mexico and Peru used to do that. Yeah, exactly. Right. Now I sit and look at the camera, right? Yeah. When the lockdown first happened, my friend Mary, who’s with me here. I’m at a friend’s house right now that has really good internet, which is why I stayed here. We live streamed for 24 hours, seven days a week for the first week of the lockdown. And I like literally I would walk everybody down to the creek and set the my camera up on the creek and we had an altar and we set up the camera up at the altar all night. And so there’s a way that for me,
Rick Archer: I mean, even when you were sleeping, you were live streaming. Mm hmm yeah. was boring.
HeatherAsh Amara: It was intense that we can have for a week and then we’re like, Okay, well, we did that. That’s something else. So now we’ve we’ve downsized, but I felt really, like it felt really important for me to to be in that much community with that much contact with my community to help everybody into the first week.
Rick Archer: In any time, and there you were,
HeatherAsh Amara: anytime, yeah. And people were like, thank you so much. I woke them a little late. And I had anxiety and I was able to tune in and see the altar and remind myself that it was all okay. And remember the prayers we did before bed. So it was really sweet. And so for me, it’s my work is so much around helping develop community helping people find other people that are on similar paths, so they can have support and guidance and giving really good tools. So they feel like that’s my How do we we share the tools like my work is so much around the here’s a tool to help keep you centered, here’s a way to navigate in a different capacity to build resilience to build present to build more joy in our systems and more of that ability to hold everything. As
Rick Archer: you mentioned, trips to Peru, do entheogens play a role in what you’re doing. And I know that, you know, there was a phase in Carlos customers training where he was taking psychedelics. And then later on Don Juan said, Okay, enough of that said, you know, she kind of shakes you loose, but it’s bad for the body. So you’re gonna stop doing it? Yeah,
HeatherAsh Amara: exactly. Yeah. So no, I don’t do plant medicine on the journeys. And I have done plenty of that type of medicine. And I really agree, like it can be very helpful to get people shake people out of their narrow assemblage point or their narrow perception. And there’s a way that it’s very helpful tool, and then it can get become a crutch really easily.
Rick Archer: Can not only have diminishing returns, but also start to do harm.
HeatherAsh Amara: Yeah, yeah, exactly. So yeah, we do a lot of direct work with with the energy of places and with the ancestors and with the teaching. So I have an amazing friend in Peru that we do a lot of the, the ancient Incan practices of connecting to the land. And just plugging just helping people plug like unplugged from their day to day world and plug into something different is such a gift. So I want to do more of that when we can all travel. I just bought lamb in the process of buying out my partner in New Mexico, we have 180 acres of land. So really excited. It’s outside of Las Vegas, New Mexico, which is about 45 minutes an hour from Santa Fe.
Rick Archer: North.
HeatherAsh Amara: It is exactly east. So you go down around the mountains. There’s a huge national park there. The South Bay National Forests. So yeah, the backyard is 1.8 million acres. Cool. So exciting. So yeah, yeah. So I’m really looking forward to when we can all travel again, is bringing people there and just letting people be on the land unplugged to get direct guidance.
Rick Archer: Do you think you’ll develop some kind of a retreat center there?
HeatherAsh Amara: Yeah, that’s the plan is to slowly start working with the land to figure out what it wants, and what kind of buildings to build. And, yeah,
Rick Archer: sounds exciting. You know, you mentioned assemblage point again just now. And I think maybe I didn’t probe into that point as much as we might have. So let’s, let’s revisit that. Well, I can ask you a question. But explain, again, for the sake of the viewers what the assemblage point is.
HeatherAsh Amara: The assemblage point is a place of perception where we create our reality. And the assemblage point is created by how we learned to view the world. So there’s what we call first, second and third attention. So first attention is how you learn the first time. So what’d you learn to be like? I’ll just do a really brief example. Like both my parents that making this up, both my parents were lawyers. So I know that I need to be a lawyer or a doctor, and I have to go to college, and I’m supposed to have kids. So we create all these agreements around who we’re supposed to be. And that’s first attention. And your assemblage point is super fixed, because you believe this is the only option. And then in the second attention, you start to step back and go, Oh, wait a minute, I don’t have to be what I’ve been told to be. I can create who I am. And so at that point, the assemblage point starts to get more fluid and you realize, wow, there’s different ways of being and there’s a lot of excitement, there’s a feeling sense of power, there’s a sense of freedom. But the second attention can also be really dangerous because what happens is we can get our assemblage point stuck someplace else, where we now create this new reality like this is now reality. You’re supposed to meditate all the time. You’re supposed to love people. You’re supposed to To, you know, not be attached to things and we create this whole new identity that creates just as much suffering. But now it’s spiritual is what? Judge collecting other things. Yeah. And also because, you know, the judge will do things like, well, you weren’t very loving there, you’re obviously not doing this, right? And oh, you’re not meditating four hours a day, like your friend just said they were You really suck at this. Or we get spiritually smug, I call it, which is where we start judging everybody else. Oh, well, you know, there’s four other humans that aren’t doing life, right. If they just, you know, open to their third eye, they would understand so we get into this whole smug area.
Rick Archer: JP Sears is this ultra spiritual guy.
HeatherAsh Amara: Exactly. And that is the perfect spiritual smugness. Right, right is parody. Yeah. And we all are guilty of that sometimes. Yeah, that’s a second attention where we get stuck thinking I’m now doing it right. And everybody else is doing it wrong. Third attention, you are completely fluid. So you’re able to take your assemblage point and move it many different places. And that allows you to see different perspective, different points of view, you’re not fixated on a story. And in third attention, you’re living in direct relationship with life.
Rick Archer: So you’re adaptable. You adapt to the needs of the of the moment. Yeah, super fluid way. Yeah,
HeatherAsh Amara: exactly.
Rick Archer: So obviously, some people get stuck at these different attentions points. Sometimes for a whole lifetime or more. Yes. You know, they never break out of it.
HeatherAsh Amara: Never break out of it. And there the truth is, there’s something super comforting around first attention. Yeah, it’s never happening besides secure in a way. I mean, it’s terrible suffering, too. But if you if you think you’re right, and you never have to question that. Yeah. And there’s tremendous suffering, because we’re not living to our capacity. And we know it. So.
Rick Archer: Yeah. Actually, a question came in from Akshay and Puna, India, that kind of relates to this. I think in light of the pandemic, he said, In the current times of this pandemic, do you think people at large will understand that fragility and limitation of life? Will they start thinking beyond these material aspects? In short, will they start turning inwards? So what he’s to say saying essentially, is, you know, if people in general are stuck in the first attention point, will this crisis somehow create a more of a massive shift to the second or third attention points?
HeatherAsh Amara: I think it definitely has that capacity. And I think it will definitely shake a lot of people out completely, to start questioning their life to start recreating it to really look at what they’re doing. And if it actually serves them, if it’s actually what they want to do, and sort of starting to learn to listen to their hearts and step out at first attention. I do think it’ll shake a lot of people up. And I think there’s going to be people that also go right back to sleep. You know, so it’s, for me, it’s really how many people will get shaken up and stay awake? That’s what I’m curious about.
Rick Archer: Yeah, I’m sure you’ve heard of the 100th. Monkey. Story. Yes, I don’t know if that’s actually a true story. But the idea is that once a certain percentage of the monkeys started washing their sweet potatoes to get the sand off, monkeys on other islands began doing it to just without having to learn it incrementally the way the monkeys on the first island did. So it could be that a certain there’ll be a certain critical mass in humanity that will always all of a sudden precipitate a huge shift.
HeatherAsh Amara: Yes, we can we can pray for that we can hope for that we can open to that. And who knows if the trends are ready or not? Or if there’s enough, enough people waking up?
Rick Archer: Yeah. Here’s a question that came in that relates back to something you talked about earlier. This is Jackie, from Cape Town, South Africa. We’re getting questions from our world today. Jackie is how do you pull your energy back from the past, practically speaking? Is it merely noticing when you were thinking in the past tense? Or is there another technique that is used?
HeatherAsh Amara: So really brief description of recapitulation? So that’s the practice and recapitulation is a breath and an intent practice. So your intent is to gather your energy from the past. And the breath is important of using the breath to pull that energy? What’s something you teach? Yeah, it’s something that I teach and what’s beautiful is that you’re being recognized as its energy. So your being is out there going is that my energy is that somebody else’s? When you tap into your energetic being, it’s like not mine, not mine. Oh, that’s mine. And you’re able to pull it back. And so really, the the practice of recapitulation is around sorting, and letting go of what’s not your energy because that’s something else we do constantly as humans as we pick up other people’s Energy, other people’s thought forms other people’s emotions without realizing it. And then we also give away or leak, what’s not ours. And so we’re learning to sort. So that we’re I see it that there’s three things we’re learning how to do pull our energy back in, gather our energy up, learn how to hold that energy, because you can pull a bunch of energy back in and you’ll watch yourself, you can have a whole bunch of energy and be like, Yeah, I’m doing great. And I can almost guarantee three days from that point, you’ll do something to blow all the energy out again, because your being is familiar with a certain level of energy. So we also have to learn how to stabilize and hold the energy that we’ve built, and train the nervous system to hold more energy. And then the third piece is to learn how to direct energy in the present. So that we’re, we’re learning to gather our energy back, hold it and then choose where we’re going to put it. So there’s three parts and it’s incent intent practice.
Rick Archer: Remember, Don was talking about energy leakage a lot in those books.
HeatherAsh Amara: Yes, yeah. One of the biggest pieces that we’re working with is how to witness where we’re leaking energy and pull it back. And really the biggest place we leak energy as humans is in judgment, self judgment, or judgment of others, or feeling victimized, and you can watch, but you have to witness what most of us do is judge ourselves because we’re judging or judge ourselves because we’re leaking energy. And then the energy that we would take to go, oh, no, sweetheart, bring it back, is gone. So I’m a big proponent. So the biggest one of my favorite teachings, and one of the most simple teachings that I have as well, is this idea of that what most of us do is run on senses, we have disaster mind, and we’re worrying about
Rick Archer: that, again, because there’s a little glitch in the video, what most of us do is,
HeatherAsh Amara: what most of us do is we have disaster minds, does that mean, we have run on sentences run on sentences, that’s true. So we’re, we’re worrying about things that might happen in the future, or we’re thinking about things that happened in the past. And there’s a lot of story that gets woven. And so the practice is super simple. Put a period in the sentence, as soon as you become aware that you’re thinking it’s the punctuation solution, so period. So you’ll notice yourself thinking that you’re thinking that you’re judging yourself because of what you’re doing. Period, take a breath, and back into the moment. And I found that to be one of the most powerful, really simple practices of witnessing the mind. Put a period in, take a breath, come back into the moment, and then your mind is going to start up again, period come back middle mind, it’s like training a puppy, you don’t beat the puppy you don’t, you know, you just correct the puppy over and over again. And we need to treat our mind more like a puppy rather than something to judge or punish of just like recurrent recurrent, you have immense patience, and presence.
Rick Archer: And you know, the best way to train a puppy, I suppose, is not to just restrain it forcibly. But to give it some kind of reward. You know, if you watch the Westminster Kennel Club show, they’re always giving the dogs these little snacks. So you know, you can give the mind some reward. Right.
HeatherAsh Amara: Exactly. Period. Good mind. Good mind. Yeah,
Rick Archer: yeah. I was gonna say, oh, about energy. You know, and energy leakage. Obviously, there’s many things we can do to squander our energy. But um, I think that, although, you know, we shouldn’t regard our energy as unlimited and therefore squandered all we’d like, at the same time, our energy is unlimited. There is a level of our life, which is an unbounded reservoir of energy. And perhaps that is akin to the nagual. We can tap into that get established in that, but that still doesn’t give us liberty to squander it still has to be harbored? Or what’s the word husband did or you know, treated? responsibly,
HeatherAsh Amara: responsibly? Yeah. And I’d say it this way is that we have lifeforce energy and then there’s universal energy or earth energy or however it because there’s a lot of ways we can access energy. Your physical being has a limited amount of energy, and you’re going to burn it out by the time, you know, period. Like there’s a limited amount of energy for this physical body. The more that the of that lifeforce energy that’s in the past, the harder it’s going to be to actually access the universal energy or access the earth energy or whatever the larger sources Sun trees, like there’s so many ways to access the energy. And so what I found is the more that people are able to bring their lifeforce, their personal lifeforce energy into the present, the more they’re also able to access other forms of energy and keep it going. So they go together.
Rick Archer: I have a good friend who’s a spiritual teacher, quite a popular one. And she has a tendency to go like a bat out of hell, you know, just high energy just going, going going. And the next thing I know, she said, Oh, I’ve been sick for two weeks, and I just got to crash. So I really got to rest. And finally, I just said to a reasonably an email said, can’t you kind of find a happy medium? I mean, it’s slow and steady wins the race. Maybe you got to sort of take it one step at a time and not get yourself so so fried.
HeatherAsh Amara: Yeah, it’s so true. And that’s something I’ve had to learn how to be sustainable. Yeah, it’s I tend to be like, Let’s do everything now. 24/7 live streaming, let’s start there. But what I’ve learned is that if I don’t monitor my energy, that I’m going to burn out and get sick. So for years, I would have that pattern. And I finally was like, Okay, wait a minute, there’s got to be a more sustainable way. And what happens, what I’ve seen is that you like, I’ll know, there’ll be particular instances where I’m like, I’m going to give everything and it’s going to have a consequence, but it’s worth it. But if I do that all the time, not sustainable. So
Rick Archer: yeah, we’re not saying coddle yourself, right. I’m a has a saying, you know, I’d rather sort of wear out than rust. Yeah, wear out the body, then just let it rust. But there, you know, there has to be a balance, there has to be a sort of a there’s all kinds of verses in the Gita about not, you know, not just getting the right amount of sleep, the proper amount of food, you know, not too much, not too little. And that, you know, this balanced life. And Buddha talked about the middle way. Just not going to extremes.
HeatherAsh Amara: Yes. Yeah. Exactly. And, and knowing that sometimes you’ll go to extremes, then you need to balance it out. Yeah. Compensate, compensate for it. Yeah. Yeah. And it’s, it’s also so beautiful, because there is that balancing of the physical body, like needs particular care and love, Miguel talked about this with us. Like there’s your animal body, there’s your human body, and there’s your divine being, there’s these three beings that we’re all navigating. And your animal body is the instinct, like the sleep the food, like the basics, and we need to be not nourishing that physical being that we are that. And then there’s your human self, which is all around how we communicate and, and the talking self, how we’re in relationship to the world, and learning how to to heal the mind of the human self, because the mind is really in meshed with the human, we have a lot of cleanup to do around the mind. And then there’s our divine self, which is tapped on big soul universal consciousness. And if you just try and live from here, I can take care of your body. Right? I know, people are like Alma, you have to eat. I remember the story of her doctor finally saying that you have to eat more, like during your time because she’s like, No, I don’t need food. It’s like your body needs food, Mama. So there’s that place of like, opening up to the Divine more and more. And how do we also open to the animal and take care of this animal to be sustainable as well.
Rick Archer: Someone named Sandra from Riverside, California asked, Can Heather go through a heart practice demonstration? Is that something you could do within a few minutes as a nice way of wrapping this up? Or is it more long term take?
HeatherAsh Amara: We can do a quick?
Rick Archer: And how do you do it? I mean, you need a guinea pig.
HeatherAsh Amara: We can do it, I can actually been doing it around the pandemic. Okay, whatever challenge people have. So I can just do a mini version of it. And then then people can take it and go deeper with it if you want to.
Rick Archer: All right. Why don’t you do that? Include? Okay, perfect.
HeatherAsh Amara: So if you want to close your eyes to focus your attention inward, you can or you can keep your eyes open, whatever works best for you. And we start with go into the feeling chamber. So just come into relationship with your body right now. And ask yourself in relationship to the pandemic or a challenge that you have, it can be any challenge. How do you feel? So really bring up a time when you had an emotional reaction to either the pandemic or to the challenge in your life. And just take a moment we’re just going to take one minute to breathe into your body to notice what you’re feeling in relationship to whatever the challenge is. And be really curious. Where is it in your body? What does it feel like? What’s your somatic experience with all your presence breathing into wherever there’s tension or discord Word, or there might be joy, whatever is happening in your being right now take a breath and be with it. You’re not trying to change it or fix it or understand it, you’re just being with the feeling.
HeatherAsh Amara: Good, there’s, there’s a way what we’re doing is dropping into our heart, opening our heart to what we’re feeling, being with it. And then imagine that you can step into the story chamber. Again, we’re doing an abbreviated version. But now you’re stepping into the story. And you’re asking yourself, what story? Am I telling myself? Around the situation? What’s the be curious if the stories connected to a deeper, older story at all? So where the places of fear were the places of upset? What’s the story?
HeatherAsh Amara: What are you thinking about the situation? You’re simply witnessing it. Just be curious. What’s my story? What am I telling myself right now?
HeatherAsh Amara: And then stepping into the truth chamber. So asking yourself really opening your heart? What do I absolutely know is true here. I always have people start with this one truth. I am breathing. So just take a breath into your heart. I am breathing that’s true. With that truth.
HeatherAsh Amara: Then asking yourself what else is true? So just one sentence with a period very simple. What else is true? What else can I see as true here?
HeatherAsh Amara: Again, you can keep delving in deeper into as you move through the rest of your day, what else is true? Just starting the process here? What is true.
HeatherAsh Amara: And then stepping into the fourth chamber, which is your intent and pick one word where you want to put your focus and be any word might be impassion. Love, Peace, play. Anything, what’s your intent? Where do you want to commit? Where are you willing to commit your attention to put your attention? One word, and let it just drop in opening to that quality and then bring that quality into your body. So you’re really feeling that quality? Rather than just thinking about it. What does that quality feel like in your being to breathe that in? And then take that back to the truth chamber, the now you’re holding your intent. Imagine your intent is a guide and your truth is a guide whatever truth that you saw before whatever new truths arise, use those as your new allies. Go back into the story chamber. As you go back into the story as you go back into your life. Hold that commitment that you’re going to bring truth. You’re going to bring your intent, and how else can you perceive the story? How can you open to a new vision of the story? How can you use this story to help you grow get stronger, more resilient, rather than using it to hurt you or to punish you or others. That’s your work bringing your intent and your truth back into the story
HeatherAsh Amara: and then we close stepping into the feeling chamber and just take a breath and notice how you feeling right now. Really opening your heart to yourself and to this moment
HeatherAsh Amara: good then when you’re ready, you can open your eyes. So that was a super super version that you can play with
Rick Archer: a taste of it. Yeah, a taste
HeatherAsh Amara: of it. Yeah. Yeah. And it’s it’s beautiful to go into your world and start Gathering what’s actually true period? And to start looking through that lens of what can I see is actually true here? What do I know is true? Versus what I’ve heard what I think what I wish?
Rick Archer: Yeah, yeah. That’s good. Okay, thanks. So I gather you have all sorts of offerings from, you know, tons of stuff that one can just watch and listen to online for free, and so on. And then there’s more involved things. It’s like a whole year long program that you do, and, and all that stuff, so that I’m imagining that’s all explained on your website, right? Yeah,
HeatherAsh Amara: yeah. So I had some online things that are happening now and a webinar that’s coming up, you know, free webinars that are coming up, and then longer programs as well. So there’s lots of different layers.
Rick Archer: You probably have a mailing list people can get on if they want to. Yeah,
HeatherAsh Amara: yeah. And I do something called Daily Spark, which is really sweet, which is a little teaching every day, five days a week. So that’s a great place to enter into the world. Yeah,
Rick Archer: that’s good. I listened to some of those. Yeah. Well, thanks. It’s been good getting to know you. Maybe I’ll see you in person sometime down in New Mexico or in some random truckstop or
HeatherAsh Amara: Exactly, yeah, never know. Thanks so much was great interview. And yeah, I look forward to our paths crossing and I also look forward to where we can all travel again and hug and connect.
Rick Archer: Yeah, play knuckleballs playing pickleball I can’t do it these days. Like tennis, but different.
HeatherAsh Amara: Yeah, I know. For me, it’s too stepping. I’m like, no dancing for me.
Rick Archer: Yeah. Stop dance by yourself for a while. Yeah, exactly. Doing that with pickleball. I hit him Hit him against the garage wall.
HeatherAsh Amara: Practice. Good.
Rick Archer: Good. All right. Well, thanks. And thanks to those who’ve been listening or watching. I really appreciate the great questions that came in from all over the world today. Questions? Yeah. So obviously, most of you know this is a ongoing thing. So it’ll be another one next Saturday and the Saturday after that and so on into the foreseeable future. So you know, if this is new to you, and you’d like to learn more about this show, go to bat gap calm and just check out the menus. And, you know, this is it, you can sign up for an audio podcast or, you know, explore all the previous interviews that have been done and so on. So, thanks for listening watching, and thanks again. Heather ash, thank you. Bye bye.