Rick: Welcome to Buddha at the Gas Pump. My name is Rick Archer and my guest this week is Ian Wolstenholme. Ian has a little biography from his website: Ian Wolstenholme is an ordinary man who randomly awakened to the realized space in 1969. The assimilation of this process continues to this day, Ian was not transformed into a god or bestowed with remarkable powers. His consciousness was expanded to include the viewpoint from which the human condition could be examined and revealed to be as it is. Ian came to see the extent of our conditioning and the way in which this set of meanings govern life as it is lived. The massive false interpretations continue to be implanted and beliefs into the personalities of every being alive today. Realized space is freedom from belief and meaning and provides a mature acceptance of what is. This is not an easy place to live.
RICK: So that’s what we’re going to talk about today, so welcome Ian.
IAN: Thank you very much, Rick.
RICK: Yeah, would it be appropriate to start with this awakening that occurred to you or is there anything prior to that you’d like to discuss?
IAN: I’m happy to start around that time, definitely, because it’s significant in my story and I think prior to that there were one or two incidents with my girlfriend at the time, who was prompting me to be different in a really good way not in a bad way, because she was aware of my unconsciousness in a way that I wasn’t, and so she was nudging me in several directions. The one significant moment I have spoken about or written about was when she was reading a Samuel Becket play to me and it was happy days and it was about unconsciousness weirdly, and I really connected with the fact that this story was about me and I didn’t know how to show up, how to be, and I was more and more scared by that, and I was hiding, I hid under the covers, I hid under the duvet? Then she continued to read the story…
RICK: You literally hid under the duvet? Absolutely, yeah, I just felt… in a way, I felt so inadequate, because I could see she was asking something out of me I had no idea how to give, and so there were a few priors to that Saturday night, and they all came from my relationship with my girlfriend at that time.
RICK: It was like thought the chick was starting to peck at the egg, attempting to break out.
IAN: Yeah yeah, but I still had no idea about enlightenment, or awareness, or consciousness. I was working for a design consultancy doing corporate design and I was leaning towards being a little of a hippy, but I had no real experience of consciousness.
RICK: You were like in the early ’s at that time?
IAN: Yeah, in my early ’s. And then the spectacular event, I was living in London, close to a place called Hampton Height it’s a big open park, often we go up there, it if was a nice evening, spend the evening sitting up on the park ramp, play some music, people would gather, it was like the end of sixties, and that night, I don’t really remember, probably in the early hours of the morning something happened to me. My description now obviously comes from this point in time, because I see so many things now about what happened. The Gods, chariots, bearded men, angels, all appeared in the sky and they were talking to me and communicating to me.
RICK: I heard you mention this in several interviews and I want really to delve into this for a few minutes. But I have to ask you Were you on any sort of drugs? Marijuana or anything?
IAN: Not particularly, no. There was a little bit going around, but it wasn’t… no, this only happened to me, it didn’t happen to anybody else…
RICK: No but I mean if you had dropped acid or something, then chances are that you could have had an experience like that, which that others wouldn’t have had. Yeah, but no no.
RICK: So… you haven’t done that No no, not to that extent. R…okay..
IAN: And… I was just in all what was happening, and yet at the same time, I could see it wasn’t happening as well. They were appearing and yet, so a double taking me could see that actually there was nothing in the sky out of the clouds and the moon.
RICK: It was like a façade that you could… opaque, you know… translucent sort of thing.
IAN: I mean it was… it was very vivid, I mean not to see an extraordinary thing. It was like… In a way, I could say it was like views. Not now that I am with my development since then, I would say, it is probably two views. I would say that. And what I’ve seen after the event is that those images already existed in me. They were the images that my conditioning and my education put inside my religious box, or my religious folder, and the experience projected them outside.
RICK: So you don’t really think there are any actual entities there, such as angels or anything else, this was all just a fabrication of your own consciousness.
IAN: Exactly, and this I have seen in recent years and I mean, when you look at stories of Virgin Marie coming to visit catholic girls on their bed this will be exactly the same experience. The experience is real, the consciousness expansion is real, it really happened, but the imagery was particular to me. It is my conditioning.
RICK: Yeah, although I have interviewed several people who have had experiences with Ramana Maharshi coming to them, like Pamela Wilson for instance, so she was sitting on her bed, she’s a young girl and she had sort of implored the powers that be, to show her the truth, you know, and then she woke up in the middle of the night there was this Indian guy sitting on her bed, and she had no knowledge of Ramana Maharshi, it wasn’t until some years later that she saw his picture on a book. So you know, was that a fabrication of Pamela’s consciousness or do we actually have sort of these disembodied entities going around and intervening in our affairs?
IAN: Well I haven’t told Pamela about it, so I really don’t know.
RICK: So in principle would you say that there could be these other realms where there are sort of subtler intelligences that could somehow engage in human affairs in order to facilitate some sort of change or awakening or something?
IAN: I can’t rule them out. But I think that they are a lot more fanciful than what I saw actually happen in me. It’s indicative, it’s really indicative of the fact that an awakening took place. However we describe it, and my attempts to describe it have been using as little spiritual jargon as possible, and the reason that was grown up, is that I had no master, I had no teacher, I had no tradition and so I could see what happened to me and I saw the expansion that happened within me moving from something like tunnel vision to degree visibility and I could see that that had happened, but I didn’t know what It meant.
RICK: When you said, there have been people who have had literally degrees of vision where they can see what’s behind them and in every direction. Is that what you are saying?
Ian: Not in terms of sort of unbounded awareness, but actual specific perception in all directions. It feels like I still, to this day, to this moment, have perception in all directions. But it isn’t necessarily sight; my sight is limited to my physical eyes. But the consciousness appears to be the sphere around me and I don’t know where the edge is.
RICK: And so when you had this experience in this was obviously a watershed moment, it was a night and day difference and from what I understand of reading and listening to you, you never reverted back to ordinary Ian, it was…
IAN: There are things in there, it hasn’t changed, my plugginess to consciousness has not changed, but what ordinary Ian is we’re going to have to explore that because it’s one of the most fascinating aspects of the experience. So since that moment, but, because I had no understanding of what it was or what it meant, I found that I didn’t know anybody that I could talk to about the experience and get a straightforward recognition or guidance.
RICK: Did you even know at that time that it had a spiritual explication, or you just thought something strange had happened and it took you quite some time to figure it out?
IAN: In one way yes. In one way it felt just a perceptive shift, but of course, I did very quickly, I read and talked to people and I came across the concept of enlightenment and that was the beginning of me shutting down talking about any way, because everything I read ruled out the possibility that I might be awake or might be enlightened. Because, well everyone talked, the masters I read talked about certain attributes of being in bliss, and not wanting anything, not having any personal preferences and, not having a personality. Pretty much everyone that spoke about it, ruled me out. Because from that moment I could see what was going on within, and what was going on is still what’s going on today.
RICK: Yeah you still have preferences, you still have a personality and all that stuff.
IAN: Yeah, but none of that was included in anybody talking about enlightenment or awakened beings, at that time in my life; and so I pretty much stopped talking about it after a few months because people would just glaze over.
RICK: Even now there are people getting up on podiums and talking this way, saying “well there is no person and you don’t have any volition” and everything just happens automatically and give up the search and all this stuff. One thing I like about your messages I understand so far is that it’s not exclusive, it is inclusive and there is that level of reality that those people are describing, but that’s not the whole ball game. There’s a whole other pack of dimensions or multidimensions to life and those have to be included in the entire package.
IAN: Absolutely, and it was my… it was like an experiment. I had to discover this myself in my own language, which I find totally fascinating and brilliant now because I can talk about it in a very simple way and I find the approach you were talking about. It is interesting in one way, if the game that certain people play with people that come and listen to them. It’s a game that’s looking to have an effect on the person but I find it really annoying.
RICK: I agree with you actually. It’s not the full package. And there are people who have played that game who have grown out of it and said “oh, I was so immature in my understanding compared to now”. Jeff Foster is an example; he’s beginning to talk in a much more holistic way.
IAN: Great. The most fascinating aspect of it is seeing what remains. There’s absolutely no doubt, although it probably took me years before I was willing to say to myself, this could not be anything other than samadhi, enlightenment, awakening, whatever you want to call it, but I find all those words a bit disturbing, because they’ve already got such outrageous meanings pasted on to them… and so in one way, I just have to say, it was an expansion of consciousness.
RICK: Yeah, I think that… what you’re doing is really valuable because I have this feeling that even though the ancient eastern cultures had a pretty thorough understanding of consciousness and all the stages of development and so on, and so many different words for so many different things, kind of like the way the Eskimos have a lot of different words for snow (Yeah). On the other hand that doesn’t translate perfectly into our age and culture, and we almost need to not reinvent the wheel, but really take a fresh look at all this stuff and come up with terminology and understanding that is suitable for our days and age and our culture, and a… what else was I going to say… and also to get a clear understanding of the roadmap so to speak because there’s a lot of terms that are thrown around like awakening and enlightenment and they are very imprecise, we don’t know exactly what people are referring to. And are there stages of awakening, or is it am on/off, black/white kind of thing, and all that needs to be fleshed out I think.
IAN: Yeah, also that is the most difficult thing to do, because how do I language it? I don’t know. What is different about me compared to my friends? And that is also incredibly difficult, to identify the difference. The clearest difference that I see is that I don’t suffer, I feel pain, I get hurt, I get emotionally hurt but I don’t suffer.
RICK: How would you define suffering and why don’t you suffer?
IAN: For me, suffering is the processing within us, that keeps the story going. If somebody hurts me emotionally, I feel the pain and then the pain goes. Ouch-pain goes. It does not develop into a story.
RICK: You don’t dwell on it for weeks on end. It’s like Eckhart Tolle tells a story about the ducks having a little fight on the pond, and after a few moments the duck just sort of shakes off its feathers, and then they just go back to being ducks again.
IAN: Yeah, in one way it’s like that but to be more precise it’s rather like my consciousness takes a pause… pause… and there is no continuity as there is in the personality.
RICK: Explain that a little more, it’s not totally clear to me what you’re saying.
IAN: Trying to describe something like this is really difficult, it’s like my perception and my feeling is like an on/off situation like I’m tasting you now, and tasting you again and again and not referring to the last taste.
RICK: I see.
IAN: This is what It looks like, it’s like tu,tu…. rather than, I mean, this is a fantastic identifier which would probably get to telling the difference between being the seer if that term fits, being the function in you that sees what’s happening when it’s happening the quality of the seer is like that, it’s just chk, chk… it’s not keeping the story going. Whereas the personality, the story is a continuum.
RICK: So everybody talks about living in the now, you know, that’s all the ridge. And what you’re actually describing I think is very kind of clear explanation of a practical example of what that might mean. Each moment is fresh and does not reference the previous moment, it’s a fresh interpretation each moment.
IAN: Yeah, it’s like a little taste, now… now…
RICK: Some things must linger. I mean maybe they linger for a while, but not so long?
IAN: Everything in the personality lingers.
RICK: Let’s say your partner gets upset with you, and you feel upset, you are not going to be over it in one second, it might take a little while but maybe not as long as it would have taken previously.
IAN: Yeah, I agree, but I mean, to fully understand that we need to look at the way I have been developing, kind of self-inquiry is that the personality contains the human condition, and if Ana hurts me or does something and I feel pain from it, a part or a facet of my personality is brought into life, and the hurt and the pain takes place in that behavioral cell, and yes it doesn’t just go away, once a cell has been activated it has got a life and it has to play out its life, and that happens inside of me but I wouldn’t say that it, like… I see it. My awareness, my seer sees that this is happening and this is a really amazing thing that I have been working with it, the seer can speak or the personality facet can speak. And if I speak from the seer I can say to Ana “ouch that just hurt!” and “ohh this feels like it will take a couple of hours to process so it’s not a good idea to talk anymore”, because I am susceptible to the part actually speaking through my mouth.
RICK: So in other words there’s we could say detachment or a witnessing quality which gives you some freedom or some discrimination not to be kind of just blindly controlled by that little part that has been hurt.
IAN: Yeah, but unfortunately you are using the language that I have chopped out.
RICK: That was what they were referring to. You can probably come up with better language No, no, it’s brilliant you’re doing this because it gives me the opportunity to examine in the detail that I have and it is the idea of witness, is a poor description of it for me because the seer is actually participating. Whereas the idea of the witness isn’t participating. The action of the seer, the awareness of the seer has an influence, whereas the idea of witness there will be no influence or the watcher, you watching TV, you can’t do anything about the story on the TV. But the seer is an active participation in the life within.
RICK: Are there several components in there? Is there the seer which is the active participant, and there’s an even more sort of silent level that is not an active participant and the active aspect of the seer sort of as an intermediary between that…really deep silence and the situation at hand. Would that be true to say?
IAN: Yeah. I would say that the silence exists in the life force and as the life force comes into the human condition this particular creature, that’s the first process, the first function that’s activated is the seer. So you could almost say behind the seer, although, again that is questionable, behind the seer is the silence.
RICK: As if there were a sort of strata or degrees of manifestation or expression or something and none of them negates or observes the other. Each has its function on a respective level, or non-function as the case may be but most people are kinda locked into the most superficial level and completely at the mercy of these slings and arrows of outrageous fortune getting knocked about, so what you are saying is that a set of deeper dimension dawned in you back in has been maturing ever since and it gives you… would we say a control or a lack of compulsiveness in your life?
IAN: Yes, yes, but the idea of maturing is again fascinating because the seer is prior to meaning. The seer has no knowledge and no meaning and so it was like the seer had to build something in the personality in the human condition that could be relied on, and in a way you can call that maturity.
RICK: So taking it from the infancy in which we don’t know anything, obviously we gained all kinds of knowledge, all kinds of skills, patterns which I suppose could be conditioning and confining but are at the same time essential in order to function in the world.
IAN: Yeah, but it’s definitely conditioning.
RICK: No, go ahead I am sorry.
IAN: It just… what remains and I mean, we probably need to start with the self, because this was the hot potato in my own experience, is that, I mean people talk about living “no-self” after awakening and I would say that’s probably true but by inference, they’re saying well I got “no-self”, you must have self, that’s your problem, but in my exploration, in my seeing, there isn’t a self in life, There is the idea of self, it’s the belief that there’s a self, just like there’s a belief that there’s an ego, what is self? It doesn’t exist.
RICK: So there’s no little kernel that you can find somewhere deep within that is a little nugget that is yourself.
IAN: Exactly, yeah!
RICK: Would you say that we are more like a conglomerate, like a jellyfish for instance? The jellyfish is actually a colony of all kinds of things that are in a cooperative relationship that makes this thing a jellyfish, and like that, we have all these different cells and organs, and each has its own fears and its own intelligence but taken together in a cooperative way we have a being, but there’s nothing in there you could find among all those things that you could say “ok there’s the self”.
IAN: Yeah, yeah, and … it’s… I would use the word personality to encompass all of Ian’s human activity. It’s a reasonable enough word, and for me the personality it’s a whole tribe that individual behavioral cells, just like an excel spreadsheet, and within each cell is a behavioral script that has directives for every system in our body and at any one time one of those cells has got into the director’s chair, and our unconsciousness believes that to be you or me, and yes it is… I’m a whole colony of individuals and each one when it’s in the director’s chair believes itself to be me and often believes that its job is to fix my life; and the whole personality is like an autopilot, it’s a totally beautiful piece of kit, it’s not malfunctioning it always comes out with a bit of behavior instantly to meet what’s happening in front of it, but what it doesn’t understand is that bit of behavior doesn’t meet or is unlikely to meet your needs. It throws a bit of behavior, boom, that is cloned from its parents or the teacher or the girl next door and it uses that bit of behavior, but it has no idea if that is what is really and truly needed to meet the genuine needs, in your case, of Rick.
RICK: So what’s the solution to that dilemma? How do we operate such that whatever is running the show does meet our needs?
IAN: Yeah, I mean that’s what life is about really
RICK: No need to do that?
IAN: Well recognizing the… If I don’t do that, my personality is going to create a habit, but it creates in most people’s lives. But when I meet and ask people “What do you want?”, I mean it’s a shocking question to ask people because nobody really knows. Nobody has been given the opportunity to say actually, is important that you have or you want. it’s important to get what you need and it’s ok, it’s absolutely ok… that you might want something.
RICK: Well most people can articulate all sorts of wants, I want a new house… I want a new partner… I want a new this and that but I suppose what you are eluding to is something more fundamental. Fundamentally, essentially what do you want and, maybe some people might say “love, or happiness, or good health” or whatever, as fundamental as they can conceive.
IAN: Yeah, but they’re all conceptual answers to the question and the work I have been doing is that each facet of Rick needs to be asked that question… and the first answers will be like the ones you just gave me “oh you know, I want a house or I want a nice solly”, and much deeper within that part, within that behavioral cell will be a genuine need of yours and the genuine needs are covered up by all this strategic behavior that you have been constructing since… you know… you were able to come up with these bits of behavior to pretend you are not actually trying to get something that you need.
RICK: So don’t let me take you off the track here but you’re saying that all these different components of the personality each has its own wants and needs, but the more fundamental we go the more they converge into kind of a core more essential “want” or “need” that is the feel for all the rest, or that underlies all the rest?
IAN: Yeah, I would stop it before it got to a core because I think there’s still, it’s still anarchy inside of us rather than hierarchy. The individual cells in our personality are that, they are individuals and again the idea of integration here doesn’t actually map on to it because my parts haven’t integrated, they are all still independent…
RICK: To a point, but they are also cooperative. If they’re not, if you have cancer and certain cells are running amuck.
IAN: Yeah, this cooperation.
RICK: They’re sort of organizing intelligence that enables the brain and the liver and the pancreas and the stomach and all these things to kind of work in a symbiotic way and I’m not sure how that pertains to the point that you are trying to make but there seems to be a greater harmony that coordinates and harmonizes, a greater intelligence that coordinates and harmonizes all these diverse parts, it’s not like anarchistic as you said.
IAN: Yeah, I would say that there are systems in the body that govern the physical needs, like the heart beating, but our behavior which uses the body is the cells of behavioral scripts, and the use of the body, if it were allowed just to function, then it would probably take incredibly good care of itself, but it doesn’t really function in that way because it’s overridden by its use, which is how you behave, how you act, and that’s where the influence comes. Each individual cell. It’s fascinating to see that cells actually have bodily postures, the different cells will make your partner, my partner, sees who I am, very easily and very quickly because different parts of me actually look different and work differently and hold their body differently.
RICK: So let me clarify my understanding of what you’re saying now. So when you say cells at this point you are talking about physical cells in the body or you’re talking about the personality components, and different personality components depending on which one is predominant are going to make you behave differently, walk differently, and so on.
IAN: Yeah, and they will influence the systems that you are talking about.
RICK: The physical systems.
IAN: Yeah, who run the body, because they will use it to its own ends
RICK: Now here’s a question for you can, you know, in its natural state the body is a very harmonious whole, and it’s not opposed to itself, I mean in other words, well, even though 90% of the cells in our body are microbes that are not human but in any case, it’s a cooperative mechanism, not self-defeating or self-destructive and yet I think as you were just saying the personality components that accumulate over a lifetime do tend to have that quality, can we turn that around and say the personality components can be healed and harmonized such that they become just as benign and their overall functioning as the body itself will be in its natural condition.
IAN: Yes, I would say that’s true.
RICK: And is that your goal in working with people? To help them achieve that sort of harmonious function.
IAN: Yeah, yeah. I mean, it’s like a guidance from my part because it’s only worth something to you if you are actually discovering it.
RICK: Right, it’s not like you can’t run around and say, “Ian said”, it has to be something that you and yourself have known experimentally.
IAN: Exactly. And that is really the discovery, that there is a layer of management that is required within. Yes, there is no self and so it makes it a much more difficult situation because the different parts of me want different things. And if there were a self, it would be a lot more straightforward because we could let the self choose, the concept of self would be able to choose between the different parts and say which one is right and which one is the best for me. But there isn’t that function, the different parts are vying to have their way.
RICK: But perhaps ultimately they have a common purpose and if they can learn to cooperate then they can be all pulling the wagon in the same direction.
IAN: I wish that was so, I mean I love those ideas, but mostly what’s discovered is that they are not working for the common good of Rick or whoever is I’m talking to, what’s mostly uncovered is that the parts are often at war with each other.
RICK: I would say from my own experience that as the years have rolled by that has become less and less the case. years ago there was a much bigger battle going on and there is now, if there’s still a battle going on, and I was really doing self-destructive things, now I don’t know if that’s maturation or a spiritual practice but it’s a much more harmonious, smooth functioning.
IAN: Exactly. I’m not really saying that to you because, clearly, you spend your life in this examination also, I mean you have been doing it from your point of experience and you probably achieved a pretty decent amount of stillness within. That’s brilliant. That’s what the guidance that you can give and I can give, can offer to people who are really stuck inside with the concepts of, you have got to be yourself, just that very concept. You have got to be yourself – is almost impossible to explain it to yourself.
RICK: I agree with you about not being able to find some core entity that’s running the show, but on the other hand, just to play devil’s advocate on that, there’s a couple of things which come to mind, reverting back to more ancient traditions that we obviously need to put in contact, but for instance the Gita has a verse which says “Many branched and endlessly diverse are intellects of the irresolute, while the resolute intellect is one pointed” and they have this concept of Shiva which is like this core essence of your individual being and that the Shiva, you know – the thing that reincarnates from life to life and so on – but you know even though that is intangible, it’s abstract, it’s not a physical substance of some kind there is that kind of belief, some understanding of a sort of a governing intelligence that resides within our whole make up and that governing intelligence can either be neglected and you know, sent to the back seat and all hell breaks loose or it can be cultured and serve it’s role more effectively as a coordinating influence that can make our life more… Like you were saying earlier, you know, there’s that witness value… we don’t want to use the word witness… there’s that value that prevents you from flying off the handle if somebody speaks crossly to you, there’s a discrimination that enables you to sort of not be a slave to your condition.
IAN: I agree, but it isn’t… The reality of it doesn’t fit its description in modern spiritual language. It’s true, I recognize what you say within myself and in a way there is an automaticness, I don’t know that I’m choosing anything, I see what happens and there’s a suspicion that I might actually be choosing it but I honestly don’t know and so you could say there’s a kind of ‘self’ in that context, but it doesn’t want anything. That energetic in me doesn’t need anything, doesn’t want anything, doesn’t have an opinion. It sees what’s in Ian and that’s the relevant action or story in front of it and yes there’s a kind of attitude that is for the good and it’s going to encourage me to behave for the good, but there isn’t anything in my belief and my concept, and I was lead to believe… one of the funniest things when I first went to India and I was finishing some therapy I was having at the time and my therapist said to me “be yourself, listen to yourself, trust yourself”, and I wasn’t brave enough to say to he
Rick: “which of the five voices in my head is me???”.
RICK: Haha, yeah this is a battle for the director’s chair going on.
IAN: Exactly, I didn’t have the courage to say, “how can you tell which one is me, the self”.
RICK: “Many branched and endlessly diverse.”
IAN: Exactly, I mean in one way very clearly I am saying nothing different here, I languaged it from my own direct experience in the late century and early century, I’m saying absolutely that, I am constructed out of a host of behavioral cells, many diverse, but hopefully my languaging of it gives anybody that is looking to make a difference inside of himself more help in managing and being what they would like to be rather then what their conditioning is making them behave.
RICK: And how does it do that? How does it help them in managing what you just said?
IAN: Well, it’s like you have to begin from nothing; and the reason I asked you about what you want is… well… how do you decide? Given the possibilities, how do you decide? A conditioning is taught us all sorts of things but when you disengage from that and you look and see that actually there is no right and there is no wrong and that in itself is totally shocking to discover, there’s no morality. All morality and all meaning exist in the human condition and so when you locate as a seer of your experience there’s nothing to go on. How do I choose between that part and that part? And what I see is that if you know what you want, then, to some extent, you can see if that behavior is aligned with what you want and if it isn’t then you don’t use it so much. But just the very question is, isn’t it an easy question?
RICK: And perhaps we can take an earlier step back and say “is what you want aligned with… if you pardon the expression… with the will of God, or the will of nature or the sort of the cosmic purpose; if you acknowledge the existence of such a thing?
IAN: I don’t.
RICK: Well let’s look into that for a minute. I mean we have the universe, and it’s been going on for about billion years and it seems to have an intelligence that structures it, it’s not just random billiard balls knocking into each other creating human beings and stars, there are laws of nature which govern every phase of life animate and inanimate and it’s quite miraculous when you start studying it and realize that this sort of awesome organizing power that seems to be inherent and evident in everything and… we’re getting a little abstract and philosophical here but could we not sort of perhaps conjecture at least that there’s a kind of an evolutionary momentum or direction to the whole thing, you know, stars form and then stars explode and form heavy elements and then those eventually form our bodies and those bodies acquire greater and greater sophistication and eventually can have a realization such as you had in , where consciousness sees itself finally, you know the primeval level of reality wakes up to itself through this instrumentality so there seems to be all this kind of orchestra going on which is playing that tune, leading in that direction and obviously as individuals there are things we can do which thwart that possibility and there are things we can do which enhance it, you know, if we drunk a pipe of whisky everyday chances are that having such an awakening or the clarity of it is going to be diminished, whereas if we did something that was healthy, maybe meditation or whatever, some exercise even, we might be taking better care of this. And do we have a choice to go this way or that and do our choices have consequences? So, there are a couple of questions for you.
IAN: More like.
RICK: I know, there is a game called ” questions…”
IAN: I like it! I like where you’re going with it. I mean… how it is for me, it’s like I don’t know that I have any control in this life, of this life… and I don’t know that I have any control over my consciousness, where it is, or goes but what seems to happen for me is that whatever appears in my consciousness reveals itself to me and that’s an important part of the process in defining it.
RICK: Can you give us any concrete example of that?
IAN: Yeah, I’m leading to a big one. I mean, the central theme to work, more than through the questions is “Is there a God?”
RICK: If you want, yeah, if we understand what we mean by that term.
IAN: Yeah, and for me, the evidence is out. There is no real evidence, this step has no evidence for a creator and there appears to be an intelligence, there’s the appearance of intelligence that you are talking about.
RICK: And you might not be able to see the intelligence itself but you can see its handy work.
IAN: Exactly! It’s only seen by its handy work.
RICK: Right… right…
IAN: That there appears to be the intelligence, but my experience of that intelligence, that it has no morality, it has nothing that you could take from any of your questions. There is no proof. And so what happens, yes, it is governed by certain laws that we are able to see, but those laws aren’t laws of right and normal morality or what’s best for Ian or what’s best for Rick, they are just a number’s game and so what appears to be my discovery is that there is no guidance, there is absolutely no guidance in consciousness for any decision. Or for any preferred direction. That is quite shocking, my experience of these things, I can sit here and say them quite simply and easily to you, but the appearance of those in my system has been utterly shocking. The reverberation of there being no God is so massive because if that is true we have to reorient our existence without all the stories that support choices being made other than by me in my own morality of choice. I can’t refer to anything other than that. This is the right choice.
RICK: Well the word morality obviously is very heavily linked with, you know, human judgment, and there have been a lot of things throughout history that have been considered moral or immoral hat what we look upon is ridiculous! People who thought they were doing the moral thing were torturing people and you know, killing thousands of people and…
IAN: Yeah, yeah!
RICK: That sort of thing goes on today, the guys who flew the planes into the World Trade Center thought probably they were the real moral righteous people, so it’s a word that I don’t want to use very much in a conversation like this.
IAN: Yeah, but there is something essential in that word, now when you refer back to somewhere there must be guidance, is to how to act or what to do or how to choose, you know, there must be something that I can refer to that will guide me “is it right or wrong?”. “Is this thing right or wrong?”. And my discovery is that there is nothing.
RICK: Let me put it this way if we accept that there is some sort of intelligence that seems to be governing things, whatever that may be, and if we see its handy work and its handy work happens to be the evolution of life in great proliferation actually and the tendency of life to evolve to more and more complex forms, you and I are a couple of those forms, then it’s tricky to anthropomorphize it and say or well… attribute human qualities to that intelligence, but there seems to be a direction or a motivation rather than have everything just be a primordial soup for all eternity, to evolve into more sophisticated forms which actually can become self-reflecting, self-aware and aware not only of individual self but of that universal intelligence itself or at least some intimation of it. Where am I going with this thought? So if that is the case then rather than use the word morality we could ask whether it might be possible to discern or intuit as we go along which direction in our life is more in harmony with that apparent tendency of intelligence to evolve more and more sophisticated forms and deeper recognition of itself or which direction is going to hamper that or conflict with that, that would be my understanding of morality and you can even be taken down to simple things, if I am cruel to this person aside from influence it has on them, what’s it going to do for me? Is it going to harden my heart? Yes, probably it will and that will be counterproductive to not only my own purpose but for me as that universal intelligence, its purpose.
IAN: What you say is very genuine and beautiful in the example and what I would say is that it’s your choice, it’s down to you.
RICK: Yeah, we have the will.
IAN: That’s the only possibility, there is nothing other than you able to make that choice.
RICK: Agree, and if there is a ‘me’, who is making that choice whatever that ‘me’ may be or whatever conglomeration of impulses or some kernel of Shiva then that ‘me’ is going to face… is going to reap the consequences of that choice.
IAN: Absolutely! And the more conscious you are the more you see the implications of your actions and the lucky consequences. But there is no external reference or internal reference, and I use the word morality, what else can be used? There is no true advice on how to behave or how to be. There are a lot of stories about akashic records and so many things, all the dash stars. But in reality, you are it.
RICK: But there is an internal reference, isn’t there? I mean do you feel you have an internal kind of barometer or whatever that… kind of in an intuitive sense of go this way not that, or if you do go that way… ups…I better not go that way in the future.
IAN: Oh yes, but I mean, other than you… other than you.
RICK: Yeah, yeah. So in other words you have to be self-referral about it to really be successful you can’t just be relying on the akashic records, or the Bible, or whatever you may take as an external authority.
RICK: Good… So I think we solved that one. More or less…
IAN: And it’s really a question of what are you including? Can you see all the processes that are going on in you in order to make those choices or to have those preferences and the traditional descriptions of what goes on inside of us I find to be pretty much useless? And so what actually, this keeps coming back, what remains at the examination of that and the, I don’t like the word ‘management’, but the management of the processing inside, that’s the work, that’s the recognition, I’m keen to rehabilitate emotions, one of the people who point in that direction, emotions aren’t “you”, pretty much you can ignore them, but I say no, they are incredibly valuable in my life, my feelings, my emotions, I’m very happy to have them! They provide the color to my experience.
RICK: Yeah, I think the people who were saying that emotions aren’t “you”, the crowd you were speaking about earlier, who glom on to sort of absolute value to the exclusion of all relative values and are neglecting the complete package. And to such people, if you say, ok if there is absolutely no “self”, run down your bank and take up all the money and send it to me because there’s nobody around who is going to care.
IAN: Yes, that is a better example than mine. When you allow all the systems inside to be there that increases your work in a way because you have to then pay attention to it, everything that’s going on in order to steer your ship. This is a huge challenge. There are so many promises that something will happen and then your life will take care of itself, but it isn’t like that at all, the more aware you are, the more conscious you are the more you see and you have to pay attention to it, you have to act, now in so many cases that you wouldn’t do in a less conscious life.
RICK: I’d say in a way both things are true. There is a bumper sticker here in the states, probably over there too, let go and let God… and on one hand you can think of people who are desperately trying to control their lives and they are doing a miserable job at it and are very locked into an individual perspective and nothing more and life is very difficult, and friction, full of roughness and friction, the gears are not meshing smoothly, on the other hand, to take it to the other extreme there are people who espouse this notion of absolutely letting go, and you don’t have any choice and nothing matters and I’d say there’s a kind of a balance between those two where you can realize that there is a sort of a deeper larger intelligence that you can tune yourself to and to certain extend trust but on the other hand… to use another god phrase “God helps those who help themselves” and you can do what you are saying and be actively engaged in dealing with emotional things or whatever other ways in which you can enhance the workout things in your personality that are making life difficult.
IAN: Yeah, I mean that brings up something that I find quite important and fascinating is that things are so individual, people are so individual, what we can communicate together, what I talk to you about and what you talk to me about is very particular or can be very particular, and we are talking with a sense of the others receptivity and understanding and capacity and the danger is that we are going to record this and broadcast it and a lots of people will hear things and go “oh, I have got to do that” and that’s for me, it’s worth talking about, because what I say and do with individuals can be so radically different and what I find myself to saying to one person is totally inappropriate to another person and wouldn’t be of any value to many other people and that is the danger of language and of teachings and traditions, is that one of the amazing things that seems to happen when I sit with somebody is that what needs to happen is uncovered, not by me but within them or within you and that is an amazing process that I observe and the danger of what we talk about is that things that we say will sound like really fantastic advice but it isn’t of much value to most people because they will make it mean something, but it isn’t, and then will be stuck with trying to achieve it. For me, the beauty comes from working with individuals because then we can really get somewhere and keep checking it out, what did you make that mean, what’s actually happening for you… That’s such an important part of the kind of communication that we are having. You are making your questions on those feelings and choices for me. You know… it’s working well.
RICK: Yeah, I don’t think we are in danger. We are speaking in pretty broad terms and abstract concepts and so on…I don’t know if too many people are going to try to just steal a practice from any of this but they can always get in touch with you to work one on one if they wanted to.
IAN: Oh yeah, thank you for that. Rather than trying to promote me, I was just making the point of how different what you need is from somebody who appears to be very like your needs. That is the extraordinary thing and spiritual practice, I think, in the same way, doesn’t meet the individual’s needs. It’s like you have got to fit yourself up to something rather than whatever is you’re doing is actually suited to you…
RICK: Well I kind of find that during these interviews that each person has… there are some fundamental similarities but there are so many different paths followed, either formal or totally unexpected like your own. You really can’t sort of lay down and have a strict formula about this is the way it has to be. And at the same time, I would even say that there have been mass popular public teachings that have been very conducive to some people’s development. But then maybe, at a certain point, the mass teaching becomes irrelevant to them or they need some more individuated attention, so it’s like anything goes.
RICK: This is the mascot of Buddha at the Gas Pump
IAN: beautiful …
Rick: walking across my desk here
IAN: Yeah… is it a boy or a girl?
RICK: It’s a girl, Siamese Himalayan mix
IAN: Just the loveliness of your cat, I mean saying that makes my heart go a bit off because I shut my dog out of the room I’m in.
RICK: You might have seen the opening in the room; there are lots of dogs in and out actually
IAN: I can’t reach the door, I wanted to show you my little Tibetan, we call her Lazerapt, so, She’s a beautiful old creature and she’s really important in our life.
RICK: Yes, absolutely.
IAN: And so much happens in her, that I see happens in me
RICK: You know a lot of spiritual teachers (quote, unquote) they have very human things like this Eckhart Toller has a dog and takes for a walk in the woods every day, Pamela Wilson one, Adyashanti loves Christmas and Bill makes a big elaborate Christmas tree in his house every year. So it’s like these people sometimes they are put on pedestals and regarded as not having ordinary personal lives but pretty much everyone does.
IAN: Absolutely. And that’s really been one of the most important things for me to communicate, but I’m just a guy, I’m just some guy. It doesn’t give me anything special, it doesn’t make me special, I have to live my ordinary life every day and just like everybody else. The experience of awakening is probably something a lot more common than we might expect and like myself people have ruled out this possibility because they still have got F-ed up personalities.
RICK: That’s a good point. A lot of people feel like “Oh! I could never be there because I’m not like so and so who seem to float on a cloud”. But if you really look into the life of so and so, they perform the same bodily functions as the rest of us, and actually has a number of the same issues with relationships and this and that, it’s just that there has been some kind of a deeper unfoldment that’s taken place, as in your own case. That awakening took place but you’re still a normal guy.
IAN: Yeah, absolutely. And it’s really important to communicate that.
RICK: I think it is. Would you go so far as to say that probably all these people throughout history who were regarded almost beyond human, part of it is the lifestyle, you have somebody like …Ali Babar or Ramana Maharshi and they basically just sat around in their loincloth and saw students and they seem so different, but that’s really just a lifestyle consideration, isn’t it? As far as the inner consciousness is concerned could you possibly be raising a family and have the same sort of inner development as somebody who chose the more reclusive lifestyle?
IAN: I would say definitely. What we don’t know is what was it that happened in Ramana’s life that made him go and sit in a god-forsaken hole in the ground full of mosquitoes and not dare come out for months. People talk about that as a kind of spiritual experience but I reckon something really awful happened in his life that drove him to that act.
RICK: The story is he went into such a deep Samadhi that he was oblivious to everything and he sat there in that state of Samadhi, while insects bored into his legs and was unaware of it because he was so deep.
IAN: Yeah… I don’t believe that story.
RICK: Could be, I don’t know.
IAN: I mean my experience of Osho and of Barry Long is that they were just like me. They, it wasn’t their intention to portray that fact, they actively…
RICK: Cultured the image of the special guy….
IAN: … yeah, they were just a guy like everybody else, alas what they were doing?
RICK: We know the same thing even happens to rock stars; it’s almost the same syndrome. Mick Jagger or whoever is really just a guy, but when he gets on the stage in front of people everybody goes crazy, there is this sort of charisma thing that happens and specialness…
IAN: It appears to be a need that we have as well, whether it’s our condition need or not, but to make somebody special, and to imagine that there are sacred beings, and I say no there are not, there are only dysfunctional human beings like you and me, that’s all we got to contend with.
RICK: There are degrees of dysfunction but I agree with you more than I once would have, just because of my experience of dealing with various people over the years who I once considered almost godly and I came to realize that there was definitely a human side to it. But it’s like the old paradox thing, I would still say that, sure, we can be special in different ways, Yehudi Menuhin is special as a violin player, although is probably a pretty ordinary guy in other aspects, in the spiritual realm there are some people who achieved a degree of development that we might say is special or might use the word rare or uncommon, but like you say the personality has all these cells in it, and there are still going to be some cells that are pretty ordinary.
IAN: Absolutely. I am more than capable of acting in self-interest.
RICK: So our conversation has been a little bit rambling but I think we have been bringing out some really good themes. Are there some areas that are dear to your heart that we haven’t really touched upon yet? Things that you like to talk about, that you teach, that you work with individuals, or whatever.
IAN: In a roundabout way I think we really have covered it because the most important thing for me to be able to say is that inside of you, everything that is there can be accepted, and in accepting all the different facets of yourself allows those hidden parts of your personality to have their righteous place in life. And so spiritual work takes place inside of each individual and it’s a much more ordinary phenomenon, it’s like rehabilitating the parts of you that are scared to actually come out and say I am here!
RICK: Is there any kind of universal formula for accepting these parts, for facilitating that?
IAN: The universal formula if it exists is you saying to yourself I accept you. It seems that we have some in cord intention and if it’s your intention to accept everything that you are, by doing that, you actually bring it about while making it your intention and by saying inside of yourself I accept you, I accept every part of me.
RICK: In a way, you had an advantage in doing that because you had this awakening in ’ and it gave you a foundation for perhaps being less fearless in accepting things than somebody who didn’t have that foundation. It’s kind of like you had a little bucket of water and you started putting spoons of mud into it, it would become muddy very quickly, but if you did that with an ocean we would never see the mud accumulate. You kind of had an awakening to that ocean hood, it seems to have given you a foundation or an advantage, so what would you say to people who haven’t had such an awakening?
IAN: That is so true, and I had to keep remembering that because in one way my life is so straight forward, and what I would say to individuals is that it is possible, if you have a good look at yourself, inside of yourself, you’ll see that there is a function that sees what’s going on and that function is not the thoughts or the feelings or the emotions or the behavior but your seeing. It is separate from the content and there are many practices that you can do to make the space inside of yourself to see if that’s true Meditation is a primary one and if you can discover the distinction between the seer in you and the parts of your personality, that gives you an advantage. That can be the beginning of you choosing a better life for yourself.
RICK: I’m glad to hear you say that because there is a certain theme in contemporary spirituality that practices are only going to reinforce the notion of a practicer and therefore you should not engage in them. What you seem to be saying is there are a lot of things you can do, find something that works for you and it might be helpful.
IAN: There are so many fascinating things in what I work with. How do you relocate from one part to another part, if that part is actually giving you trouble and I found that there are a lot of ancient tricks. If you look at things like hand mudras you will probably see a lot of drawings of different hand mudras and we have been experimenting with hand mudras since it’s part of my partner’s healing practice when she goes to bed in pulsing healing and the hand mudras are really great little tools to relocate from a troublesome part of your personality, and this was quite an amazing find on our part. They really work. Just like if I’m helping people to relocate from a part that’s giving them a lot of trouble and suffering, you can do it physically, you can do it by actually going out and doing some physical activity, I use the example of me playing table tennis. If I go play table tennis, within minutes the table tennis within me is present, table tennis player in me is present, very very quickly – and not the part that was an emotional turmoil, (Right) and it’s like making the link between a physical activity – can we locate you from a part that you don’t really want to be in.
RICK: That’s a good point. Going out and taking a nice walk in the woods or whatever.
IAN: Exactly. Or doing some yoga.
RICK: The question is… some people say that you shouldn’t try to get away from the thing you don’t want to be and you should actually go into it more deeply and directly and really face it and feel it and hopefully thereby dissolve it. What would you say to that?
IAN: I’d say that’s a great recipe for making a lot of money out of therapy. And I’d say, it’s useful to have a look at your parts, part of the process is having a look at your parts, finding out what they feel like, but once you have done that and you see that that part isn’t taking you anywhere, why would you go in it? If a part makes you unhappy why would you choose to go into that part?
RICK: It certainly isn’t a natural tendency of the mind to go towards greater unhappiness.
IAN: It’s a common theory but it doesn’t work because you can’t clear the behavioral script from within it, from experiencing it. The thing to do is to relocate, is to go into the part that is behaving the way you would like to behave.
RICK: I’ll tell you one thing that might work, let’s see if you agree. Let’s say you have some emotional upset and there is a physiological component to that, let’s say you close your eyes and you start to feel your body and you notice that there is sort of turmoil in my solar plexus or something and you let the attention kind of dwell on that, in my experience that can help to dissolve it and then you find “oh the emotional turmoil seems to be gone” – when I attended it to its physical counterpart.
IAN: Ok, so what you’re saying to me is that by doing what you are doing or sitting how you sit you are locating as the seer of your experience and the seer is allowing that part to be there.
RICK: Yeah, you can say that, rather than trying to deflect your attention and not feel it, you allow it to be there.
IAN: Yeah, you allow it to be there, and when you do that the feeling process thought you, what I was saying is that if you let that script run and take you over, not get into the seer and sit and process it, if you… the idea if you got a feeling, you got to get in there, if you let the script run and it takes over your body, the process doesn’t happen, it’s unnecessary. And that’s a clear distinction between the seer allowing the script to run till it stops as opposed to the personality, the cell getting into the director’s seat and being you for a few hours. There are two different possibilities there.
RICK: Maybe it is going to come back to having the capacity to process this stuff and that capacity is greatly augmented by more universal awareness, more expanded awareness.
IAN: Exactly. But there are very different things, the seer is acting almost like the seer is encompassing a part that’s hurt and hurting and allowing it to be there, while the other one is the part that gets control of you (
RICK: Runs the show…) and it just… builds and builds, and that isn’t a great experience, I wouldn’t advise that to happen.
RICK: That’s a clear distinction and the second one is what generally happens to people, getting led around by the nose by their parts.
IAN: Absolutely, absolutely. It’s painful and it’s suffering.
RICK: Yeah! And the whole world is more or less operating that way. But it does seem, to be optimistic, it does seem to be a kind of a general awakening of the kind of thing that we’re talking about here and in terms of people being able to step back and operate from a deeper or broader perspective where they are not so enslaved by their conditioning.
IAN: Yeah, I absolutely agree. What you are doing is really helping communicate that.
RICK: Trying to, yeah.
IAN: It’s a very valuable part of the process, you are making these interviews and allowing them to be seen, communicating a new language of what’s going on inside of you.
RICK: Yeah, like a Beatle said, “we’re all doing what we can”. That was from “Revolution”.
IAN: Yeah, that’s cool.
RICK: Good, this has been a nice conversation, I really enjoyed this a lot.
IAN: Yeah, me too.
RICK: Very thought-provoking and I hope I haven’t talked too much, sometimes I get flak for that but somehow you seem like the kind of guy that can listen to a long train of logic and then respond to it.
IAN: I did notice in some of your interviews how you naturally were and I can absolutely accept you, it was valuable because you are making really good points.
RICK: Trying to. Sometimes I use to make the same points over and over again; people say “will you stop using the same analogies? I’m getting sick of them” – to watch out for that.
IAN: No, I understand, I’m capable of that too!
RICK: I kind of forget that people are watching the same one every week… good, so, any final words you would like to say before wrapping it up?
IAN: I think you really helped relanguaging spirituality.
RICK: I have???
Ian: Yeah, by doing what you’re doing, because it is a very simple ordinary way of life and what happens inside of us needs a lot of attention, if we want to have the best life that is possible and finding a way to make sense of what goes on inside is really important.
RICK: Yeah, the most important thing in my opinion. And the whole name of this show, Buddha at the Gas Pump, the implication is obviously that, you know, in Europe you call them petrol stations or something,
IAN: Yeah, but I understand.
Rick: Good, because somebody from Australia said, “it sounds like a digestive disorder or something – the gas pump”. But the implication is that in this day and age and perhaps even for all time but especially in these days, it’s becoming more and more common to be pumping gas or buying vegetables next to a quote-unquote “Buddha”, someone who or to be that person yourself.
IAN: Exactly, and it is just that. It’s just something that happened inside or outside, wherever it happened this creature is just some guy. Just an ordinary man and together we can bring to light very simple and straightforward things that people can benefit from. That’s the most important thing for me in what you are doing.
RICK: Yes, and again that was actually one of my motivations in starting to do this because I would meet people who would say “well I couldn’t possibly be anywhere near enlightenment because I’m just an ordinary person, I’m not like so and so…”, who seems to float feet off the ground; but I knew very many people who I felt have realized enlightenment to whatever degree, again the enlightenment word is culture related – but you know what I mean. So, well, I thought let’s get everybody’s story out there and, let people see, people just like them who are living in this way, and maybe that will help those people who thought they weren’t good enough, or Indian enough for whatever it takes to wake up to it.
IAN: Yeah, absolutely. That’s a big part of my motivation too. … Thank you, it’s like… something quite remarkable happens on Skype. My discovery is that the “energetic”, that is part of me, is communicating really well on Skype, is like the feeling component of being with somebody happens on Skype and… it’s a real pleasure.
RICK: Yeah, I would say that distance is really not a barrier of any sort in terms of the kind of things that we are doing here, nor is time, people who are listening to this years after we recorded it – it doesn’t matter because that which we are kind of referring to and dwelling on and enlivening here is beyond time and distance.
IAN: It sounds good.
RICK: So, let me make a few including remarks then…I have been speaking with Ian Wolstenholme and I’ve very much enjoyed this conversation Ian, it was very delightful, Ian lives in the UK but does talk to people all over the world via Skype, right?
Rick: Doing some sort of consult or consulting or therapy or whatever you call it, that sort of thing… helping people to… you want to summarize exactly what is it you do? People might like to hear it.
IAN: In a way it’s guidance. Guidance in consciousness, it’s guidance for whoever I am sitting with to see for themselves, to discover their own inner processes.
RICK: And you mentioned you do kind of like to do that one-on-one.
IAN: Yeah, very much.
RICK: As opposed to big groups and all.
IAN: Yeah, that’s very fruitful.
RICK: And you obviously charge a fee for it, but people can see what is it on your website I suppose.
IAN: Yeah, I mean I will answer those questions on the website pretty soon.
RICK: Ok, good. There is contact info on the website if people want to get in touch with you… and this interview with Ian has been one of the ongoing series as we have been saying and in case this is the first one of my interview’s that you’ve watched, there are over of them now and they are all archived on YouTube and also on Buddha at the Gas Pump website – batgap.com – so if you go there you will see them all, there is an index on the right-hand side with all the names of the people and there is a page where I’ve been announcing the upcoming interviews and they are scheduled for quite a few months in advance. There is also a chat group or discussion group that springs up around each interview and people begin discussing the points that were raised in the interviews and sometimes discussions become very deep and intelligent. Sometimes it gets a little frivolous, feel free to participate in that if you like. There is a donate button, which I appreciate people clicking if they feel the mood to do so. There is also a link to an audio podcast so if you would like to subscribe to the podcast and listen to this while you are commuting or whatever you can do that. That’s about it. Thank you Ian again.
IAN: Brilliant – thank you, Rick.
Rick: Thanks to all those who have been listening or watching and we will see you next week. Next week should be Jan Frazier who lives on the east coast of the US and has a very interesting story to tell.
IAN: Brilliant, thank you.
RICK: Thank you.