Irma Francis Transcript

Irma Francis Interview

Rick: Welcome to Buddha at the Gas Pump. My name is Rick Archer. Buddha at the Gas Pump is an ongoing series of conversations with spiritually awakening people. We’ve done well over 600 of them now. And if this is new to you and you’d like to check out previous ones, please go to, B-A-T-G-A-P, and look under the past interviews menu. This program is made possible through the support of appreciative listeners and viewers. So if you appreciate it and would like to help support it, there are PayPal buttons on the site, and there’s also a page explaining alternatives to PayPal. My guest today is Irma Francis. And the subtitle of “Batgap” is Conversations with Ordinary Spiritually Awakening People. I think I just said that a minute ago. But anyway, emphasis on the word ordinary. (Rick laughs) I interview some pretty famous people sometimes ’cause just that’s the way it is. You find out about them easily ’cause they’re famous. But we really actually like interviewing people who are not famous and not trying to be famous. And they’re just… Because one of the original motivations for starting this show is to demonstrate to people that you don’t have to be special or glow in the dark or wear white robes or anything like that to have had or potentially have a spiritual awakening. It’s not something for extraordinary people. It’s something for everybody. So that’s how I started it. And I’m just interviewing people here in my town, and it’s grown. But we like to have plenty of such people in the mix. So I think we could say that Irma Francis is one such person. And I have a bio here that she sent me, but I think it’s gonna become… She’s obviously gonna wanna say this stuff when we get started. So I think we’ll just get started. And you probably wanna start, Irma, with what happened to you at the age of eight. You wanna start there?

Irma: Sure, I can start there.

Rick: Okay.

Irma: It’s been some time ago, so… (laughs)

Rick: Like 30 years ago, right?

Irma: Yeah, but yeah, a little less than 30. (laughs) Well, at eight, I was sitting in my family’s home, and just kind of sitting there peacefully, not really thinking about too much of anything. And I had this experience where I could was above myself, looking at myself. And my question was, well, if I’m up there and down here, which one am I? And so that puzzled me on one hand, then on another hand, it seemed natural in some kind of odd way.

Rick: – Kind of reminds me of Eckhart Tolle’s experience. Remember that, where he said, “I can’t live with myself anymore.” And then he thought, “Wait a minute. “Are there two of me?”

Irma: Right, right, yeah, yeah. And so I just sat there, kind of having that experience of being above myself, looking at myself, and kind of taking that all in.

Rick: Was it kind of like the type of out-of-body experience you hear about, where people are being operated on, and they’re up near the ceiling watching the surgeons, or was it different in some sense?

Irma: Um, that I don’t–

Rick: I mean, were you actually looking from the ceiling perspective, down at your body, down 10 feet below?

Irma: Yes, yeah, yeah. I mean, I didn’t see my physical self above me, but I–

Rick: No, but it’s as if your senses were up near the ceiling, looking down on this little girl.

Irma: Right, exactly, exactly. And so I just sat in that for a while, and then I felt this kind of loving Presence enter the room, and this Presence told me to put on my shoes and go outside and sit on the front porch. And I had never felt this Presence before, or heard this voice before, so I just followed the instructions. (laughs) And went outside, and put my shoes on, went outside and sat on the front porch. And when I did, it was, all the colors of the sky, and the trees, and everything around me was just really bright, and seemed to be like pulsating (laughs) with an energy that I really didn’t see things that way before this. And so I sat down on the front porch, and when I did, I started feeling this energy kind of coming up from my toes through my body, and kind of going back and forth, back and forth, until it exited the top of my head. And when it did, it was kind of like the sky opened up in a way, and an energy then came from the sky through the top of my head into my body. And so now there was this circulating reciprocal kind of energy going back and forth. And as this was happening, I could feel like every part of me being filled with this energy and light, and then everything around me became this energy and light. And again, (laughs) this felt natural. (laughs) In my eight-year-old mind, I thought, this is what every eight-year-old experiences or a child experiences. So I just allowed this to unfold, and as it was unfolding, I could see somehow that everything my eyes fell upon was kind of like an image coming out of a backdrop of light. And I just allowed all this to unfold, and just trusted it. And as this kind of was unfolding, I heard a voice say to me, “You’re being given a choice to choose your true self, your soul, or if you don’t choose that, you’ll forget your true self, and you’ll believe whatever the world tells you about who you are and what you are.” And the voice told me I didn’t have to, it didn’t matter which one I chose, but I did have to make a choice. And I knew that I had to choose my true self, my soul, which I did. And as I did, kind of all this intensity and this energy around me kind of started lessening and lessening, and the sky closed up, and I kind of was just sitting there. And in this choice that I made, I knew that I was making a commitment to that choice, and that I would always keep that commitment. So that was, yeah, my first awakening, I guess that was an awakening. (laughing)

Rick: Sounds like it.

Irma: Yeah.

Rick: So, throughout history, people have reported awakenings and getting zapped by some kind of energy or power, or sometimes it’s a vision like the children at Medjugorje, or there was that other one in Portugal, I forget who those kids were. Remember that one, Irene?


Rick: Yeah.

Irene:I’ll think of it.

Rick: We’ll think of it. Or like Saul on the road to Damascus, or Mohammed getting zapped by angels and so on. And all of these cases, at least most of them I think,have there’s a kind of a conscious presence or entity or angelic being involved. It’s not just some impersonal energy. And in your case, you know, I mean, you were actually given a couple of messages. One was put on your shoes and go outside, and the other was, okay, what are you gonna choose? So, you know, to me that suggests, and I know that you’re kind of, we’ll talk about Yogananda more later, and Yogananda talks about some beautiful experiences of communicating with Sri Yukteswar after he had dropped the body. And so it suggests to me that there was some kind of celestial intervention or something, some higher being was kind of tapping you like Richard Dreyfuss in “Close Encounters” getting zapped. (both laughing)

Irma: Yeah, I mean, for sure. Whatever this presence was–

Rick: Fatima of, that’s what those other girls were, Fatima of Portugal, yeah, sorry.

Irma: That’s okay. This presence was very loving, and I knew to trust it and to follow. I had no fear at all in the experience.

Rick: Good, yeah, the reason I brought up the point is just that I think it’s important, personally, I feel that there is this sort of divine realm, and it may not be the ultimate, absolute, impersonal level of non-creation, because that’s beyond creation, but it’s what the Vedic culture would call Adi-Daivic level, the sort of celestial level. They have three levels, Adi-Bhuta, Adi-Daiva, and Adi-Atma. Atma would be the absolute, Bhuta would be the gross world, but there’s this intermediary range or field. And I don’t know, it’s good to highlight that, because sometimes in their approach to spirituality, people don’t take that in consideration, and I think you’re a good example of it coming into play.

Irma: Yeah, yeah.

Rick: Yeah.

Irma: And, you know, as I got older and started reflecting back and kind of connecting the dots, I did realize that around seven or eight is kind of when brainwaves are shifting into different brainwaves, and there’s a change that happens in children from seven to eight, and it was kind of… I still wonder to this day if that, you know, was somehow divinely timed that, as I would have been kind of going over into that place of developing a persona…

Rick: Yeah.

Irma: That’s when that stepped in.

Rick: Well, you know, before that age, a lot of kids report having past life memories, or, you know, seeing little angels, or, you know, little subtle beings that they play with, and, you know, different things like that, or experiencing unity, and then it’s kind of around that age that we really begin to solidify, and it’s interesting that you were given the choice, you know, do you want to remember this, or do you want to, like, you know, go into the matrix and forget about it?

Irma: Yeah, and, you know, here I am at this age, and there’s no way I could ever, ever forget that experience and never have, and, you know, as my life unfolded, there were many, many other experiences that continued to happen as kind of reminders.

Rick: Yeah, we’ll talk about some of those. So let’s continue unfolding your story. Do you feel that after having had that experience that day, it was a kind of a watershed moment, and after that, you were a different little girl? I mean, different in perceiving people around you, your classmates and all that stuff?

Irma: Yes, different in the sense of, it’s kind of like I just woke up to this awareness and understanding that I was a soul in a body, (laughs) and I just… the idea of that… I just was in love with life. Everything was like this exciting adventure. It really, really felt like the Garden of Eden to me. It really did. (Laughs)

Rick: And did it keep feeling like that, or did you sort of feel buffeted and battered by the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune and begin to lose it?

Irma: No, it kept feeling like that. Sometimes, just recently, I re-watched, I watch it every once in a while,

Rick: “Brother Sun, Sister Moon?”

Irma: Uh-huh. How did you know? I was gonna say…

Rick: ‘Cause I’m a professional psychic in my–

Irma: Oh, okay, okay. (both laughing)

Rick: Because I’ve heard you mention it a couple of times, so I’ve been thinking about the movie lately.

Irma: Oh, oh, I didn’t know. Yes, and how St. Francis was experiencing kind of like God in everything, that’s what my experience was like, and I’ve never lost that. I mean, of course, trials and tribulations throughout life, but I’ve never lost that.

Rick: Here’s another example of somebody who got zapped and did a big turnaround.

Irma: Yeah, yeah.

Rick: So I take it that you managed to avoid many of the teenage indulgences that a lot of us got into.

Irma: I don’t know about that. (both laughing)

Rick: Well, you know, a lot of people kind of go crazy when they’re teenagers, and, you know, drugs and this and that, and get kind of lost for a while.

Irma: Yeah, no, no drugs or alcohol. I mean, some alcohol when I was older, an adult, but, yeah, no.

Rick: That’s great, yeah. I mean, a lot of us, me at least, I feel like I spent a lot of years doing repair work, you know, after what I did when I was a teenager, and I didn’t have any childhood aha thing like you did, so it’s kind of a real blessing that you had that at such a young age.

Irma: Yeah, it definitely was. It gave me a guidance to follow, an inner guidance that, you know, I still, I have always followed that throughout my life, that inner guidance. Well, not always. Anytime I haven’t.

Rick: Get smacked.

Irma: Yes. (both laughing)

Rick: Did it improve your functioning in the world? Like, did you start getting better grades or get along better with people or anything like that?

Irma: I think I always got along fine with people. I wasn’t that interested in school. I wanted to be outside in nature. Yeah, and, you know, being in the city of Chicago, kind of the center of Chicago, there was a lot of diversity, and in my high school years, it was during the time of a lot of chaos and violence around racial injustice, and my high school was total violence every day. Yeah, I mean, I’m laughing. It certainly was not funny. People were being harmed and there were violence, but there was violence. I just wasn’t afraid, though. I just wasn’t afraid. My sister was at the same high school, and sometimes we would try to go to our class and couldn’t get in. I mean, there were, (laughs) there was tear gas and knives and guns and…

Rick: Wow.

Irma: Yeah, my sister would come running and trying to find me, and then she would find me, and she said, “We would have to run. “We gotta run. “We have to get out. “We have to,” you know? And I would run, but I wasn’t, wasn’t afraid.

Rick: That’s interesting. Yeah, I think it was, at least one of your blog posts was about fear, and I was reminded of a verse in the Upanishads, which is that certainly all fear is born of duality, and it seems like you had clicked into a unity experience which made you fearless.

Irma: Yeah, yeah. I remember, I don’t know if it was the same blog you’re talking about, or, yeah, but I remember one day thinking, you know, we do live in a world that can create a lot of fear and cause us to be afraid, and it just dawned on me, well, what if we loved fear? It kind of just evens things out. I mean, that is possible to love fear.

Rick: Or anything. Are you saying that, you know, the way you had been functioning, whatever arises, you love that?

Irma: Pretty much, pretty much, yeah, yeah. And I didn’t know, as life was unfolding, I didn’t know anything about spirituality. I didn’t know anything about religion until my parents sent me to church. After that experience, I didn’t have any awareness of unity consciousness or what that was.

Rick: So in other words, you just had a nice experience, and you didn’t even know what it was, and it sounds like you didn’t even wonder too much what it was, you just enjoyed it.

Irma: Well, yes, I did enjoy it, and I thought everybody had that experience, and that’s when things started getting a little rough when I would run into different circumstances, and it’s like, well, how could you say that or do that? I mean, that doesn’t match. And so I really, it took me a long while to understand what was going on with other people.

Rick: Did you try to explain your experience to other people?

Irma: I didn’t, I didn’t, and actually, I think the first person I told, I was in my late 30s before I ever shared it with anybody.

Rick: That’s a long time. I mean, such a profound experience. I should think you would have tried to talk about it with your best friends.

Irma: Well, what I did, yeah, and I don’t, looking back, I don’t know why I didn’t. I think I just accepted everybody. Best friends are, of course, kind and caring and loving.

Rick: Irene just passed me a question. She wants to know what was your earliest memory. Do you mean like earliest in her whole life, like when she was two years old or something? What would have been your earliest, earliest memory that you can remember?

Irma: I kind of remember around two and a half, three.

Rick: Anything significant or just some trivial thing?

Irma: My memory is I just was kind of observing the people around me in a place of peace.

Rick: You felt peaceful.

Irma: Yeah, yeah, I did.

Rick: Interesting. So (speaking to Irene) you can hear the answer later, but you’re gonna have to listen to this if you wanna hear those answers. So back to your teenage years, I mean, kids are kids, and were kids like pressuring you to do things like drink or take drugs or have sex or the things that teenagers start getting into? And did this sort of spiritual awakening, if we wanna call it that, just give you a sensibility or a judgment to not do those things and perhaps to gravitate toward friends that weren’t interested in them?

Irma: Well, I had the same three or four girlfriends all the while through grade school and through high school, and we just, you know, we’re all kind of good girls. (laughs) And I do remember, I didn’t think of these things then, but sometimes, you know, reflecting back, I do remember always wanting to like, raise the energy, like raise the vibrations and just kind of, I wanted to bring them into this higher place. I didn’t know what I was doing at the time, and they used to call me, what did they used to call me? The Pied Piper. Just follow her, she knows where she’s going. I’m like, I don’t, but I do know how I wanna feel. And yeah.

Rick: Yeah. So like, for instance, if your girlfriends were all depressed about something or if they were caviling, you know, and being petty or something like that, you would try to shift the atmosphere and lift them to a higher level of functioning.

Irma: Yeah, yeah. And I didn’t know as I was going, especially, you know, through grade school and high school, I didn’t know what I was attempting to do with people. I never shared my eight year old experience because I still thought everybody had that. But I somehow was always wanting to kind of bring people together and lift energy higher.

Rick: That’s great, that’s great. You mentioned your parents sent you to church sometime after this happened. Did their doing so have anything to do with this experience or was it more like, all right, she’s old enough, she should go and experience church?

Irma: I’m not sure why they waited until I was about 10. And I don’t remember if my other brothers and sisters were going to church before that. My parents had no idea about this experience. None at all. So yeah, they sent me to a Baptist church and up until that point, I had never been taught any religion or taught anything about God or anything. And so, I’m in this church and it was kind of a church of God fearing, hell damnation kind of. (laughing)

Rick: Fire and brimstone.

Irma: Yeah, and that we’re all kind of born sinners and that kind of stuff. And I would listen to this and this, it might sound terrible, but I thought maybe something was like mentally wrong with them.

Rick: Yeah, I think you’re right.

Irma: It sounds terrible to say, but I’m like, that’s not possible because I did make the connection that what they were trying to teach was connected to this experience I had had. And I’m like, well, maybe what I experienced was God related, what they’re calling God, but there was no fear, there was no hell and damnation, there was no punishment, no any of it. So it was such a contrast and that really was a turning point. It’s like, what is going on here? (laughing)

Rick: Yeah.

Irma: Yeah.

Rick: Yeah, I mean, if I could put it in a sentence or two, what is usually presented in terms of religion is a thoroughly distorted remnant of what was once a profound, beautiful spiritual awakening that somebody had, Jesus or Buddha or somebody, but it just gets like the old party game where you whisper something next to the next, to the next, to the next, goes around and gets completely distorted. That’s what’s happened over the centuries.

Irma: Yeah, yeah. And I knew not to question, I knew not to say anything. Well, I didn’t feel safe.

Rick: Yeah.

Irma: I didn’t feel safe there.

Rick: I mean, did you just go once or did you actually have to go for a while?

Irma: No, we kept going, went to clubs and I just made the best of it.

Rick: Yeah.

Irma: (laughing)

Rick: Did, at some point you must have realized, I mean, you just said a minute ago that you dimly realized that what these guys were saying was in some way related to this experience you had, but at some point you must have thought, some people must be able to express this better than these guys. And did you begin to seek out clearer sources of spiritual knowledge?

Irma: Well, I didn’t know how to. I really didn’t know where to look or who to turn to.

Rick: There was no Google in those days.

Irma: Right. (laughing) What I did do is when I was around 10, because I did recognize that I most likely wasn’t going to be understood and it was really, really important to me because I took my commitment seriously to remember. And so I would write poetry and I would journal about the experiences that I was having so I wouldn’t forget.

Rick: And how is it that writing poetry helped you remember? Just to kind of by expressing it?

Irma: Mm-hmm.

Rick: Huh.

Irma: Yeah.

Rick: Yeah, some people say that writing their spiritual experiences helps to integrate and solidify them.

Irma: Mm-hmm. Well, it was, and I just, it was like honoring, honoring my experience and honoring the oneness that I felt with everything, especially nature and animals. It was an honoring of that, kind of talking to them.

Rick: Yeah. Now you mentioned that you continued to have transcendent experiences. So it wasn’t just a one-off deal when you were eight years old, but there continued to be glimpses and flashes and awakenings?

Irma: Yeah, yeah, lots of things happening. I would see spirits sometimes.

Rick: Like what? How do they look like?

Irma: Kind of…

Rick: Diathanas?

Irma: Yeah, not solid, but always friendly. Never anything bad. And I’m pretty sure, I don’t know, but I’m pretty sure, I mean, I always knew what people were thinking. Like if what they were saying and doing wasn’t a complete match, I could see it. I knew it all the time. And I didn’t always say anything, but I could always see that.

Rick: Must be kind of painful to watch presidential debate. (laughing)

Irma: Well, I mean, somewhere, I think, in what I sent you, there has been throughout my life, this experience of a blessing and a curse.

Rick: Yeah, elaborate on that.

Irma: Well, there is just this heightened awareness that I can always see beyond what’s happening on the surface level. And in some ways, that’s done me a lot of good. And you can’t always confront people when you know that what they’re saying isn’t necessarily the truth or whatever. (laughing)

Rick: Kind of reminds me of that Jim Carrey movie, “Liar, Liar.” (laughing) Yeah, but it’s kind of handy. I mean, geez, you could go to Las Vegas and be a great poker player, ’cause nobody could bluff you.

Irma: Well, that’s possible. (laughing) That’s possible.

Rick: No, but seriously, it seems like, I mean, I bet you, despite the fact that that might’ve sometimes been awkward or unpleasant or something, I bet you would never have traded in that ability or never thought you would rather not have it.

Irma: No, absolutely not. And in fact, even if I tried–

Rick: Couldn’t go away, no.

Irma: Mm-hmm, no.

Rick: And imagine what the world would be like if everybody functioned that way.

Irma: Yeah, yeah, I actually do imagine those things. (laughing)

Rick: Yeah. There’s a Sanskrit phrase, “Ritambhara Pragya.” It means that level of intellect which knows only truth. And it’s said that if a person has that attainment, then just what you described, that they can easily discern truth from falsehood. And if they wanna know about something, they see it in a true light. They’re not easily deluded or misled by appearances or other things.

Irma: Yeah, yeah, and that is part of what I would call a curse, although–

Rick: Yeah, not really.

Irma: I don’t usually think along those terms, but there was this extreme passion for truth.

Rick: Yeah.

Irma: Extreme passion, and still is for truth. And I don’t, I’m calling it a curse ’cause I can’t think of another way to put it right now, but I can clearly see in our world today, truth versus not truth, and the curse is how can this be? How can we have gotten this far and still be doing what we’re doing?

Rick: That’s very interesting, actually, in terms of current events, because there are so many things in politics, in healthcare, with the whole thing around COVID and vaccines, with the whole thing with QAnon and conspiracy theories, everything that’s going on with Ukraine and what Russia is saying versus what the allies are saying and so on. And a lot of people get polarized into different perspectives around these issues, and they usually feel that they have the truth and everybody else doesn’t. So, when you’re exposed to those things, do you usually have what you feel is an attunement to the reality of the situation that is not just colored by Irma Francis’s personal opinions, but that really has some kind of objective reality to it?

Irma: Well, I mean, it’s been such a major thing with friends and family, going through all of that and the division that it’s created. And I actually kind of reignited my passion towards expressing myself because of the pandemic and politics and all the intensity and the darkness and the division, it’s like, I’m not getting pulled into it. Not that I’m not aware, I am aware, but I’m not getting pulled into it. And I want to bring light and unity instead of division and darkness. And I have family members that are divided and friends that are divided and I just remain in a neutral place. I don’t take a side.

Rick: Do you feel that there are no sides or that each side is equally valid? I mean, if somebody says the earth is flat and then Neil deGrasse Tyson says, no, it’s not, do you feel like one side actually knows a little bit better what’s going on than the other or what?

Irma: Well, I mean, I don’t know this for sure, but I would think both sides, if we’re looking at it from that perspective of sides and needing to be right, it’s based on fear. It’s based on fear, so…

Rick: Yeah, but there’s this little thing called science, you know, and the whole purpose of science as it was formulated was to get us out of being governed by subjective opinions, which may or may not have any correlation with reality. And, you know, it was an attempt and is an attempt to establish what’s actually what, you know, irrespective of what people would like it to be or, you know, think it might be and so on. And I think we’ve done pretty well with a lot. I mean, we don’t always get it right, but we have amassed a great deal of knowledge about the way the world works, which, you know, some people might disagree with, but is there opinion on an equal footing with the findings of, let’s say, you know, astronomers in the case of the shape of the earth?

Irma: Yeah, I hear what you’re saying. I’m not saying there’s not more valid perspectives. (laughs) There certainly is, but in my position and in my life, I don’t feel like in personal matters that I ever have to take any kind of stance.

Rick: Right. Okay. So you’re saying that there are degrees of validity, but you don’t really have a dog in that fight, so to speak, and don’t want to get into arguing with people about these issues.

Irma: Yes, absolutely. I love to dialogue with people, but I don’t like to debate or argue, and I simply won’t do it.

Rick: But what did you mean a few minutes ago when you said that given all these, all the strife and differences and polarities and so on, you have felt moved to be more outspoken or more assertive? I don’t know if you use that word. You’ve just sort of, in what way have you been more outspoken?

Irma: Well, starting up a podcast to connect with people that are wanting to bring a positive outlook to things. Yeah.

Rick: Yeah, okay. So you’re just trying to, to use an analogy, in a dark room, you’re just trying to light a candle which can dispel darkness. You’re not arguing with the darkness or fighting against it or lamenting it. You’re just trying to infuse a second element into the situation that might create more coherence.

Irma: Yeah.

Rick: Okay, gotcha.

Irma: And I wasn’t expanding out into science. I was kind of focusing more in on the political divide and the vaccine, vax versus non-vax, and all of those taking a side and feeling that each person is right on the side that they’re on. I kind of was focusing in on that, saying that that’s coming from a place of fear.

Rick: Yeah. So you discussed that on your podcast some?

Irma: Some, yeah.

Rick: Okay.

Irma: Yeah, I have.

Rick: Yeah. All right. I guess we’ve done justice to that. Don’t want to spend too much time on it ’cause there’s lots of interesting things here. I do feel that there’s kind of a, I don’t know what you’d call it. I don’t want to call it an insanity, but there’s just sort of this thing where people are susceptible and impressionable, and there’s so much information flying around on the internet and so on. And we just watched this two-hour documentary last night, in which all these people ended up committing suicide and under the influence of this, I wouldn’t consider him charismatic, but they did, leader who just went further and further off the deep end into insanity, and everybody just drifted along with him. But there’s kind of a lot of that on a mass scale these days, I think, with all the misinformation that flies about, and people are kind of easily kind of brainwashed by it, I think, but then it’s a whole can of worms because who’s to say who’s brainwashed and what is the truth? And, you know, ’cause both sides think the other is brainwashed. I don’t know, it’s just this whole thing that goes on. It’s been kind of interesting.

Irma: Well, I’ll have to watch that. I haven’t seen that, but how do you handle that, Rick?

Rick: I’ve given a lot of attention to it, and I do like to listen to podcasts and things where both sides are presented. For instance, I’ve become friends with this guy, Dr. Dan Wilson, who’s a molecular biologist, and he has a YouTube channel called “Debunk the Funk with Dr. Wilson.” He takes all these points about vaccines and COVID and things like that, and in a very calm way, systematically takes each point and then debunks it or presents what he considers to be the most up-to-date scientific information about it, and then provides references beneath that. And generally, you find that the people he’s debunking can’t provide those kinds of references, and there are so many holes in what they say, and you wouldn’t know that if you didn’t have the scientific or educational training to know it, but when you hear somebody who actually does, shining a light on these different statements, and the reason I find that interesting and important is that it bothers me that thousands, hundreds of thousands of people are dying unnecessarily because of this misinformation. It’s so unavoidable in so many cases, and that bothers me. I just don’t like the idea of people dying unnecessarily, and it’s not a pleasant death. So, and I know it’s controversial, and I’ve done podcasts on Batgap, on conspiracy theories and stuff, and usually they only get about a 70% like compared to my usual topics, which are in the high 90s, but I just feel like sometimes it needs to be said.

Irma: Yeah, yeah. I’ll have to listen to that podcast. It sounds like a good one. You know, even in my own little family, I have one son, my eldest son and daughter-in-law who are vaccine, and my daughter-in-law has a health challenge, so they really felt a strong need to do that. And then I have my middle son and his partner who are on the other side of the fence, and they will not get vaccine. They won’t have the vaccine. I don’t wanna say anymore ’cause my son’s very private, but so there’s that, and now the two of them are divided over that because my middle son who won’t get vaccine, my eldest son feels like he shouldn’t be around the family without being vaccine. And then I have a youngest son, just three boys, three adult sons, and he’s so logical and so rational and always kind of is able to speak his mind without ever taking a side, but he still says what he wants to say. And then here’s mom kind of like, I love all of you unconditionally. (laughing)

Rick: It’s interesting. I commend you for that. It’s a beautiful value to be able to have such an all and embracing awareness and heart that you could just sort of take them all into your arms and not judge them. I mean, Christ is a good example of that.

Irma: Yeah, absolutely.

Rick: It doesn’t mean Christ liked what everyone was doing, but he just loved them nonetheless. Okay, we’re gonna continue along here. One of your points you sent me was what brought you to Batgap and why you want to share your story.

Rick: Yeah, well, I just find it so interesting. Well, you know, what I shared with you over email about-

Rick: Yeah, tell people. (laughing)

Irma: I don’t know if I should bring that up or not. I had watched a couple of interviews, of your interviews, and as I shared, your style of interviewing is just, you’re so inquisitive and so humble. And in what I’ve watched so far, I gain just as much from what you’re sharing as your guests. So, and I just want to thank you, Rick, for the work that you and Irene are doing. It’s unbelievably touching to me based on how long I’ve been on this spiritual journey. And it’s like, wow, they’re so dedicated to their work. It’s just really wonderful.

Rick: It doesn’t feel like work, really.

Irma: I’m sure, I’m sure. But yeah, so I had watched a couple interviews and-

Rick: Irene says it does to her. (laughing) I get to do the fun stuff.

Irma: I’m sure. She has to do all this mundane administrative stuff. (laughing)

Irma: She sounds very supportive, which is wonderful to have. So I was just relaxing…

Rick: She gets to pick the guests. That’s not too mundane, ’cause she has this really good intuition.

Irma: Oh, how wonderful.

Rick: Like she liked you right away.

Irma: Oh, I felt a connection with Irene as well. I hope we actually get to chat someday. That would be really, really lovely. So I was sitting relaxed at home, and no TV, kind of just in a peaceful place. And I saw you interviewing me. It was like a holographic vision. My eyes were not closed. It was just there. And I’m like, huh. And I never would have thought to be a guest at all. Never… it wasn’t on my radar screen. So I kind of just put that out of my head. And it was either the next day or the following day, I was guided to go to BatGap. And again, I saw this interview happening as if it had already happened.

Rick: Did I have on this turtleneck? (laughing)

Irma: I don’t know what color or fabric you had on. (laughing) That would have been interesting. I should pay closer attention. So I went on BatGap and kind of started looking around. I’m like, oh, that’s interesting. People can apply to be guests. And I kind of just was following, following. And so I applied, and I just totally put it out of my head. And I’m not sure, it seemed like two days. It could have been longer. It was pretty quickly that I got an invitation from Irene in my email. And that’s part of why I’m here. I just followed and listened like I’ve been doing kind of my whole life. And that’s what happened.

Rick: That’s great. I’m glad you did. And that vision is another example of that. I mean, it’s a Sanskrit word, the ritambhara prajna thing. I mean, we might just call it really good intuition, but intuition can be so refined or fundamental that it kind of aligns, it could even be a product, foretelling of future events kind of a thing. One can see, you may have had other, have you had that other times in your life where you flashed on something that ended up coming to pass?

Irma: Many times.

Rick: Oh, really? Would it be worthwhile telling a few examples?

Irma: I can, this is a silly, small example. And there’s been many, many. One night I was just laying in bed and I felt a text from my middle son kind of coming through the ethers and landing in my cell phone. And there it was.

Rick: All of a sudden your cell phone, ding.

Irma: Yup. But I mean, that’s just a little example, but yeah. And actually, honestly, I’ve toned down a lot of that strong intuition, probably leaning into actually being, having psychic experiences, I toned it down. It was really, really strong when I was younger, but I toned it down ’cause I really didn’t know what to do with it.

Rick: Was it distracting or upsetting or?

Irma: Well, I was kind of alone in it. So, and I didn’t know, you know, who to turn to.

Rick: Was it the kind of thing where you’d walk through Walmart and you’d kind of get whole information downloads on people that you’d walk past?

Irma: Oh, no doubt, no doubt. And no doubt, eventually as my life unfolded, I learned how to read the Akashic Records and kind of realized that I had been doing that not knowing that’s what I was doing. And still to this day, I have to actually kind of mentally keep that door closed.

Rick: What would happen if you let it be open?

Irma: I’ll see into a person’s soul energy. I’ll see the story of them.

Rick: So, do you feel like invasive or something?

Irma: Yeah, I think it is.

Rick: Like it’s none of your business. Like Superman wouldn’t use his X-ray vision to see women naked or something like that. (laughing)

Irma: Yeah, yeah, and I think it is a kind of intrusion. Yeah. – I do.

Rick: But can you turn it on when you want to? Like if there’s a particular circumstance where it would really help the person?

Irma: Yeah, or if somebody that knows me were to ask, can we kind of go into—

Rick: “Can you help me out here?”

Irma: Which I have done and it’s, yeah, has never gone wrong. There’s a lot of healing that can come up and happen in that.

Rick: Yeah, I mean, does it interest you or have you ever considered doing that kind of thing semi-professionally where you have clients and you talk to them for an hour and you let that ability just turn on full blast and you just really tune into them and give them all kinds of useful feedback?

Irma: I haven’t gone that route. I actually used to teach people how to read the Akashic records. And what I realized in that teaching that people were at so many different levels of understanding that it was really hard, really hard to teach because of that.

Rick: Yeah.

Irma: Mm-hmm.

Rick: You can’t just teach a level of consciousness just like that.

Irma: Right.

Rick: You can impart information, but you can’t just, yeah.

Irma: Yeah, and so many things I haven’t, it’s really hard, I think, being in the spiritual arena. I have a really hard time thinking of creating a business of some kind. It just, I don’t know, it doesn’t align with me, I guess.

Rick: Well, I trust your intuition on that. I mean, and if you said that you wanted to do it, I’d trust that because it really does seem that you’re following a reliable inner guidance and it’s served you well all your life. And so I wouldn’t dream of trying to convince you to do something different.

Irma: Yeah, of course not, yeah, yeah. But it’s just interesting. So back to what called me here besides the vision and everything I just shared, you just had, your last guest was Emma Bragdon with Spiritual Emergency. I mean, what beautiful work she’s doing.

Rick: Yeah.

Irma: That’s just beautiful. And it really touched me because a big part of my life experience, I have felt alone in these understandings and these awareness. Eventually, I would say in the past 10 years, people started showing up, mentors started showing up and things started kind of falling together. So I’ve made some wonderful, solid connections. But up until then, yeah, just really felt alone in what I was experiencing and really couldn’t find a community that I really had a strong connection to.

Rick: Yeah, yeah, Emma uses the terms and she’s borrowing from Stanislav Grof, but “spiritual emergency” and “spiritual emergence.” And in your case, I would say it’s an example of “spiritual emergence,” where you had the stability and the maturity to handle it well. But some people have awakenings and there’s just a lot of housekeeping that it would have been better had they done that first. And since they hadn’t, they’re terrified or they’re thrown into some kind of psychotic state or they’re just not ready for the voltage to flow through the wires. I don’t know, have you ever, you can’t really relate to the term “emergency” in your case, can you? I

Irma:No, no.

Rick: It’s always been pretty, you’ve taken it in stride.

Irma: Pretty much, pretty much. Although it does sometimes feel like a lonely path.

Rick: Yeah, it can be lonely for sure. Now, you mentioned Yogananda and you said you’ve had holographic and telepathic encounters with Yogananda. And when I hear an experience like yours, young child, all of a sudden having a big spiritual awakening, I think past lives. They had undergone some development and now it’s time to carry on.

Irma: Yeah, yeah. And you know, again, so much of this I haven’t shared with too many people.

Rick: How’s the time?

Irma: And you know, I’m usually the listener, not the one talking. So this is a very unusual experience for me. I’ve known from that first experience at eight, sound odd even to say out loud, that this very possibly could be my last lifetime.

Rick: That came to you even then.

Irma: Yeah, and so that’s why it’s, you know, such a strong passion for me. It’s this understanding of, you know, what it takes to rejoin, become one with God and not return. And that’s what I’ve known. And so that kind of, you know, does intensify everything. It’s like, oh, I won’t get to experience this again in human form, you know, the senses and the experience of, you know, the human experience.

Rick: You have a preference?

Irma: As far as what?

Rick: Would you like this to be your last lifetime or not? Or do you want to just kind of, do you kind of put it in God’s hands and say, “Thy will be done, whatever is best?”

Irma: I feel like I need to do the work in this lifetime that I need to do. It’s not that I wouldn’t, I love life. I love life. It’s not that I, you know, wouldn’t want to return. I just know that I don’t think I will.

Rick: Huh, yeah, you may be right. In my own case, I used to not want to, and now it’s sort of like, I have no idea. Probably I will return, And, but I sort of feel like there will be some kind of higher guidance or something that’ll work it out. And I’m happy to do whatever in service to the greatest good, you know?

Irma: Yeah, yeah. I mean, you know, what you’ve shared about your experience that, you know, you were kind of going in one direction and had this kind of understanding and awakening. It’s like, well, if I keep going in this direction, it’s not gonna go well.

Rick: No.

Irma: And then you, you know, you turned in the direction of meditation and how your life unfolded from there. I mean, to me, that is such a great example of how we can choose. You changed your fate into a destiny that you have become. I just think it’s such a beautiful example for people to have.

Rick: Yeah. I mean, some people argue that we don’t have free will. And my feeling is that, you know, we don’t have absolute free will in any moment to do anything, but we have a certain amount of wiggle room, you know, a certain window within which we can operate, and we can either push it this way or push it that way. You know? I mean, if a person, you don’t suddenly become a world-class tennis player, but if you use your free will to apply yourself and practice and assuming you have the physical aptitude to do it, you can, you know, move in the direction of becoming a champion. On the other hand, if you wanna go out partying and goofing around and not practice very much, you’re not gonna become a champion.

Irma: Right, right. And it’s like you consciously chose. You consciously chose your direction and then dedicated yourself to it.

Rick: It was, yeah, it was kind of an intuitive thing. And it wasn’t like, I mean, I’ve been a crazy guy in many ways all these years, going through this and that. And, you know, I learned to meditate and then I was a drummer in a rock band and doing this and doing that. But there was always, once I had that kind of realization that there is such a thing as higher consciousness, I could never forget it. And also I enjoyed meditation so much. It was just always so blissful and that it didn’t take a lot of discipline, which I didn’t have a lot of to begin with, but it didn’t take a lot of discipline to just do it regularly. You know, it was just very self-reinforcing. So what do you think your connection with Yogananda might be?

Irma: You know, I’m not real sure. It keeps unfolding.

Rick: Do you think you might’ve been one of his students back in the 1930s or something like that?

Irma: Oh, I don’t know. I don’t know. My first meeting with Yogananda, how old was I? Probably early 20s, maybe. I was at one of my sister’s house and in her bathroom, in her magazine book stand, there was an “Autobiography of a Yogi” and Yogananda’s picture on the front. And I saw that picture and I don’t know what happened. (laughs) I’ll try to explain what happened. I just, it’s like I recognized him. I knew him. I knew, and it’s like looking into his eyes, even from this flat book cover, it was like I was seeing into the universe. And I just, that was actually probably the first time that I felt like, if he was alive today, somebody might get me. (laughs) R What do you mean ‘somebody might get you’?

Irma: Might understand.

Rick: Oh, he would get you in other words, yeah. (laughs)

Irma: Yeah, yeah. So I mean, it really was this odd feeling of love, not odd, it was a feeling of love, just a feeling of love and connection and I know you. Yeah, that was my—

Rick: Good. You did mention in your notes past life experiences and how they related to your current life, but I guess they weren’t past Yogananda life experiences, just other types of things.

Irma: Yeah, I’ve never seen a past life with Yogananda.

Rick: What other types of past life experiences?

Irma: You know, I was thinking about this, reflecting on this interview today and I’ve had ongoing past life experiences, but as I was reflecting on it, I’m wondering if they are past lives or am I picking up in some kind of mediumship way because each of these experiences, I’m shown how the person died in each experience.

Rick: But you feel like it might not have been you, it might just been somebody else’s experience?

Irma: I always thought that these were past life experiences. It’s possible that it’s a mediumship of some kind, I’m not sure.

Rick: Could be.

Irma: Yeah.

Rick: I mean, let’s say somebody got hit by a car or they drowned or something, do you feel some sort of emotional or energetic reaction when you witness that experience? Like you’re going through it yourself in a way?

Irma: You mean just in life in general?

Rick: No, when you have had these things that may or may not be past life experiences.

Irma: No, I know everything that the person is, that I’m having a vision of or being shown their life story and how they died. I feel everything that they’re feeling, yeah.

Rick: Well, whether it was or wasn’t you, it seems to me there would be some purpose in your having these experiences. Like if it was you, you’re working out some deep impression or if it wasn’t you, you’re helping somebody else work something out. Otherwise, why would you have these experiences?

Irma: Oh, sure, no doubt. I don’t doubt the experiences at all and that there’s a reason for them. I’m just not 100% sure that it’s, yeah.

Rick: Yeah, and some people, the whole idea of reincarnation, they don’t feel that, and Buddhists seem to feel this, they don’t feel that it’s the very same jiva going from life to life, but it’s more like somehow we come into a life and take a bucket full of karma out of the ocean of karma or something and then live it. I don’t understand how that would work that way. I tend to think of it more as a particular soul stepping along, progressing to higher and higher levels of embodiment of the divine. I think Yogananda saw it that way. That tends to be more the Hindu perspective.

Irma: Yeah, and there are times where these experiences, they seem to happen, all of my experiences seem to happen when I just get in a very relaxed state. And I think I shared somewhere, one night I was watching a music award show and Kenny G was playing, and he hit this one note. And when he hit this note, I became one with the note, and that opened a portal to this experience of seeing this very muscular man with this torn shirt, bare feet, running through this dark passageway, and he was being chased by a mob that they were gonna kill him because he was being accused of murdering somebody. And I felt like I was this man, and I could feel his feet hitting the ground and the puddles. I could feel his heart beating. I could feel all the veins throughout his being. I felt everything. And then it went from that back to sitting on the sofa, and there’s Kenny G. (laughs)

Rick: Wow. Yeah. I mean, who knows? But to my understanding, when we say that we have a lot of deep conditioning and impressions and all, and we have to work them out, they’re not just from this lifetime. So I wouldn’t have any trouble believing that that was you, that muscular man. And who knows, the mob may have killed you, or maybe you got away, but in any case, it was kind of an intense experience that would have created a deep impression. Maybe you did get killed by the mob, and then you died, and then you were left with that deep impression, and it has to be worked out sometime.

Irma: Well, yeah, and the connection that I made to that, I would have very strong, before this experience, I would have very strong reactions to being falsely accused. And I kind of made that connection to this man, if it was me in another life, being falsely accused. And after that experience, it seemed to go away.

Rick: Very interesting.

Irma: Yeah.

Rick: Yeah. Yeah, there’s an interesting mechanics to that in itself, I mean, aside from any past life considerations, but it’s these impressions that we store and kind of condition us to react or behave in ways, which we wouldn’t if we were free of them. If we were a clean slate, then we would operate, I think, a lot more the way you tend to operate, which is just spontaneously, intuitively, in accordance with the circumstance, rather than some conditioned response to things.

Irma: Yeah, yeah. And that is some of the things that can come up in an Akashic Records reading is being shown what this person needs to be shown from a past life to create a healing in this life.

Rick: Yeah, well, since you brought that up several times, let’s talk a little bit more about that. I interviewed a woman named Gabrielle Orr, who teaches Akashic Records reading, and I heard some feedback from people that some said they did well with it, others said, eh, tried it, I couldn’t do it, it wasn’t for me. And you said something like that too, that people have mixed degrees of success according to their receptivity or ability, but how did you initially stumble upon that ability? And what are some examples of, I mean, maybe you should even define Akashic Records, because who knows, maybe some people here won’t know what we mean by that term.

Irma: Well, my understanding, it’s the energy of our soul from when it first left source, and however many lifetimes that it’s had in between.

Rick: Yeah, and it’s not just our soul, is it? I mean, aren’t the Akashic Records like this ocean of information of everything that ever happened, and it could be tapped into, and various things could be learned? Like, if we really wanted to know whether there was an Atlantis and what happened to it, and we could actually tap in and discover that?

Irma: Yes, yes. And like with so many other things, I think it’s a natural thing that we have the ability to do. I think it’s natural in all of us. A lot of these things get kind of conditioned out of us, or kind of dulled in some way, but I think everybody can easily do that.

Rick: Easily?

Irma: Well, it seems like it’s a natural thing.

Rick: Natural?

Irma: Natural, it does.

Rick: Yeah, I think that everybody can naturally levitate, but the ability to do that has been pretty far off for most people, ’cause they just haven’t reached a level of development at which that could happen.

Irma: Yeah, yeah.

Rick: And perhaps the world hasn’t reached a level at which such things are going to be commonplace. Obviously, it hasn’t.

Irma: Yeah, I guess I have a tendency to believe that we’re kind of all born with this connection and abilities and it gets conditioned out of us. I mean, I don’t know that for certain. There’s no way I can know that.

Rick: No, I agree, but I think most people are much more occluded than you were. I mean, obviously, that’s what happens. Most people don’t have experiences like the kind you had. They’re more heavily conditioned, so they don’t have those glimpses and breakthroughs. But I think everyone has that same source of pure consciousness at their core, and everyone has the potential to have realization of it. It’s just that people, they realize their potential to varying degrees. Like the Bible says, some through a glass darkly and others more clear.

Irma: Yeah, that makes sense.

Rick: Yeah, so the whole name of the game is to culture the ability for it to be clear.

Irma: Right, right. There was a time in my life where I kind of was shocked to realize that not everybody wants to do that. Not everybody wants to wake up in a sense or reawake to their true self, their soul.

Rick: I think that’s true too, but getting to the point of wanting to is also a certain, it’s a milestone in a person’s evolution. I think ultimately, fundamentally, everyone does want to, but that desire doesn’t get manifested or articulated in the mind until a certain stage of your progress, don’t you think? I mean, some people might think life is all about, you know, Bitcoin or getting fancy cars or beautiful house or whatever, all the things that people chase after hoping to find happiness. And you have to sort of go through a lot, it seems, before you realize, you know, “these things as nice as they may be, they’re not really doing it for me. They don’t provide anything as deep or as abiding as I really do want.” You’re doing too much talking here.

Irma: No, no, I, yeah.

Rick: Everyone says, mm-hmm. (both laughing)

Irma: No, it’s a puzzle. It’s a puzzle for sure. And you know, it definitely has been a lifetime of me trying to figure out how to navigate life, you know, in a balanced way of kind of connecting the formless with the form and the dance of that and trying to understand. And it’s taken me a long, long time. (laughs)

Rick: It seems like you connect it pretty well. I think maybe you’re saying that you don’t understand why others don’t connect it as well. I mean, why isn’t Vladimir Putin sitting in Lotus right now and doing his mantra rather than invading Ukraine, right? What does he think he’s gonna get out of that?

Irma: Well, I mean, you know, of course, I don’t know the answer to that, but it seems to me when somebody goes that far off, there’s been major wounding, major wounding.

Rick: Of them, you mean?

Irma: Mm-hmm.

Rick: Yeah.

Irma: Mm-hmm, yeah.

Rick: Right. And with that major wounding comes major blindness. You know, as Jesus said, “Forgive them, Father. They know not what they do.” So they’re oblivious to the fact that they’re, in most cases, that they’re so far off the mark.

Irma: Yeah, because the wound is so deep that they totally lost a connection to any true self.

Rick: Yeah, and I was just, I think it was Yogananda’s book. I was just… I recently interviewed Phil Goldberg, who wrote a nice biography of Yogananda, old friend of mine. But someone, something else, it might have been him, but he was just saying that, you know, as lost as you might get, you can never get so lost that you’ll never be able to sort of come back and discover or rediscover your true nature. The tie can never be ultimately severed.

Irma: Wow, yeah, and you know, throughout my life at different times, I’ve known some really, really, you know, very, very depressed people. And they have told me that it got so dark and so they were so depressed that all that was left was one little spark, one little spark of light, but that spark was there. And eventually things, you know, because that spark was still there, started turning around and, you know, getting bigger and bigger and bigger. And things changed for them.

Rick: Yeah. And what would your thoughts be about why we play this game? You know, why this hide and seek? Why do people get so lost? Why are there these cycles of delusion and then coming out of delusion? It must serve a purpose.

Irma: Yeah, of course I don’t know. You know, for sure, my perspective on it is if you lose that connection to your true self, if you aren’t able to kind of connect to your higher self and from that higher self to the source of all that is, then you believe that there’s something in the external world that you need to do, be, get to make yourself feel complete. And so looking in the wrong place, not knowing that it’s within you.

Rick: Looking for love in all the wrong places.

Irma: Yeah. Yeah, and I mean, you know, there’s so many things. There’s so many things and so many reasons. I know the importance of meeting someone and getting to know someone that can mirror back to you that unconditional love. And then it kind of ignites within the other person.

Rick: Yeah, you mentioned something about having had a mentor or still having one or something. And do you want to say who that was? Or if not, then at least what was that all about? Who’d you find?

Irma: Well, eventually I took a course, spiritual coaching intensive with Bill Epperle.

Rick: Name’s familiar. He’s actually on the board of, it’s called ‘Sacred Ground’ in Chicago. It’s a wonderful connection for people if they’re looking for spiritual direction and programs and meditation groups. It’s a great place that maybe a lot of people aren’t aware of, ‘Sacred Ground.’

Rick: Yeah, I’m only vaguely, I wasn’t aware of that at all, but the name Bill Epperle rings a bell. I took this spiritual coaching intensive with him and it was based on Ken Wilber’s Integral. Yeah, and I so needed that. I so needed that piece to, the integration of the absolute with the relative. I needed that. And so that was, gosh, maybe six years or so ago and we’ve stayed connected all this time. And then I came across this podcast called “The Soul’s Intent.” And it was the person, the host of that was Ernie Vecchio, who’s a trauma psychologist. And he wrote this book called “The Soul’s Intent” based on his trauma patients and what he saw kind of coming out through their trauma that the soul has an intent. And he would see this and he eventually wrote a book about it and started doing podcasts about it. I connected with him and he kind of shifted from that into psychospiritual teachings. And we just had a strong connection and I would say for years, we would spend hours and hours in conversation because I just, it was like, I was soaking all of this up, like, understanding why humans suffer and what is the human condition and the psychological piece of that. So it was like, these mentors would come along and add these different understandings to give me a clearer sense of wholeness. It just, I just was blessed by that, just really blessed by that.

Rick: That’s great. And once in a while, if today you’ve said, “Well, I don’t know for sure,” but, and I just wanna add that, if I sometimes sound certain about something, I really should add that proviso ’cause I’m just not hemming and hawing and adding a whole lot of extra words to what I’m saying, but I’m not insisting when I make some comment about reincarnation or something, that that’s the way it is.

Rick: Well, sure, sure, of course, of course. You know, sometimes I’ll find myself and I try and catch myself when I do this. Well, most people feel this and most people think, how do I know that? How do I know what, I don’t know. (both laughing) I don’t know what most people think or feel. I only know my experience and that’s it.

Rick: Yeah, I mean, I like to treat all such, all ideas as hypotheses. And that means that, you know, they’re open for exploration and we don’t have to treat them at all as equally credible or valid. We can accumulate evidence to strengthen certain hypotheses or weaken them if they’re not, if they don’t really hold water. And, you know, but it’s kind of a handy way of looking at, it’s kind of a scientific way of looking at spirituality. Is there reincarnation? Are there angels? You know, do we have an immortal soul? All these things, well, let’s find out, you know, let’s explore that experientially and see if such ideas hold up.

Irma: Yeah, don’t you think at some point that science and spirituality, don’t they kind of meet?

Rick: Oh, they very much do. And that’s a big, hot topic for me. In fact, you know, since you’re a Yogananda person, kind of, two weeks ago, I interviewed Joseph Selby on the physics of God. And we’ve talked a lot about how science and spirituality might dovetail. And I really do, I think that they each have something to offer the other and that the other needs, each is somewhat incomplete. And I think, you know, maybe 100, 200 years from now, we’ll have just sort of one body of, one method of gaining knowledge, which incorporates both dimensions.

Irma: Yeah, that makes total sense to me. It really does.

Rick: Okay, here’s some good things. This is from Nick Conior in Pennsylvania. What have you, oh, go ahead, what?

Irma: Hi, Nick, I know Nick.

Rick: Oh, you know Nick?

Irma: Yeah, yeah.

Rick: Small world. (both laughing) So Nick asks, “what have you found helpful living as both a soul and a human, particularly when life is challenging?”

Irma: Most helpful. I think because of that experience at a young age and ongoing experiences, it helps me stay in a place of allowing, a real mindfulness, allowing and being very open. So there’s not a resistance or an attachment or holding on. It’s this open, allowing, unfolding. And it works. (laughing) It works really well.

Rick: It helps you deal with challenging situations.

Irma: Yeah, a lot.

Rick: Sure. Yeah, that’s kind of what I was asking you in the beginning of, you know, as a teenager, I mean, a lot of teenagers commit suicide or they, you know, they get into destructive behaviors because they’re so besieged by the booming, buzzing confusion, to quote William James, of life. And you had this buffer with this inner awakening that made it so much smoother for you.

Irma: Yeah, yeah. And you know, what would be really, really helpful, I think for sure is, you know, to have somebody in your life that can mirror back to you that connection. Because once it’s mirrored back to you, then it connects in the other person. And even in teenagers, I mean, I haven’t worked with teenagers other than, you know, my three beautiful sons and now two beautiful grandsons. The importance of that, the importance of having somebody mirror back that connection.

Rick: I think you’re right. And if I understand what you’re saying, there are a number of spiritual traditions that place great emphasis on the importance of the company you keep. You know, being able to be around like-minded people, if you’re a spiritual aspirant, it’s said to be, you know, just a really powerful aid to your advancement.

Irma: Well, yeah. And just think of all the children that, for whatever reason, you know, not only do they not get that unconditional love and a connection from their parents that they have mirrored back to them, but they aren’t seen and heard as something unique, someone unique. And, you know, to have that flower and unfold, not easy if you don’t have those people around you. Not easy at all.

Rick: Yeah. Imagine if our school systems could teach meditation or, you know, related types of things. Some of them do actually in very isolated cases, but, and there’s some wonderful programs. Kavalee Morgan, whom I’ve interviewed, does that in Oregon and so on, teaching mindfulness to kids with, she has a whole documentary about it that, you know, it’s amazing the value kids get out of that. But if we all had grown up through a school system that, you know, valued that and emphasized that, and seems to me we’d have a different society.

Irma: Oh, for sure. For sure, an absolute different society, because who knows what has gone untapped because a child wasn’t seen for the gifts and the uniqueness that was inside of them.

Rick: Yeah, absolutely. Here’s a question from Cheryl Folds in Panama City Beach, Florida. “Have you ever felt critical of yourself or divided internally?”

Irma: Divided?

Rick: Yeah, like inner conflict or kind of some, it were difficult to reconcile or resolve, you know, tug of war going on in yourself. You’re having such a hard time answering, I’m guessing the answer is no.

Irma: I don’t, I don’t, I don’t think so. I mean, there’s times, you know, that I have doubt and I don’t think I criticize myself and I don’t think I feel, I’ve felt divided.

Rick: Yeah, I mean, you know, some people feel like, oh, I’m no good, I’m a jerk. I talk too much during interviews, you know. (both laughing) I’ll never amount to anything, you know, they beat up on themselves. And I think maybe she’s getting, and a lot of people suffer depression in the United States. They’re, you know, half the population is on some kind of medication for it. So, or some kind of thing to modify their mental state, you know, so that kind of thing.

Irma: But you know what, as I’m thinking about that though, there were many years that I would go into therapy trying to figure out why I wasn’t the same as everybody else.

Rick: Oh, you did, huh?

Irma: Oh yeah.

Rick: Wow. Did you meet any therapists who got you?

Irma: Actually, what would happen is, you know, I’d go in there with all these questions and at some point I would start talking about these spiritual things and they would become so interested in that we usually would end up being friends. And I don’t think I ever got any kind of true therapy. And they would say that, well, “there’s nothing wrong with you. In fact, you’re pretty grounded and balanced.” And I’m like, “but there’s gotta be because I’m not like everybody else.” And so I kept, you know, going back and trying and it’s like, “well, sorry to tell you…’ (laughs)

Rick: Well, that’s sort of an example of being critical of yourself. You’re kind of saying, well, there’s something wrong with me, you know?

Irma: Well, I wanted to understand. I wanted to understand, you know, these experiences that I was having. I wanted to understand, “Is this normal?” Yeah, so I guess that would be.

Rick: And there must’ve come a time when you finally just resolved it. You just settled in and realized that something good had happened and you’re living a blessed life and you no longer cared if you were kind of different than most people, right?

Irma: Oh yeah.

Rick: That probably was decades ago when you finally reached that point.

Irma: I eventually got there.

Rick: Yeah,

Irma: yeah. Okay, here’s a question from Iman Acosta in Missouri. “Irma mentioned earlier that following her inner guidance or intuition was crucial in her life. I tend to struggle a lot when it comes to being in tune with my intuition, especially when making a decision. What is the best way to differentiate the voice of the ego from intuition?” Good question.

Irma: I think ego usually comes with doubt of some kind. Intuition, I think intuition is more, it’s more felt. It’s a felt experience versus a thinking experience. I don’t know if that makes sense.

Rick: So it’s not verbalized thoughts of “shall I do this or shall I do that?” It’s not the voice in the head. It’s more of a feeling level thing.

Irma: A felt sense, yeah.

Rick: Yeah, good, yeah. And have you ever doubted those? Did you ever have a thing where your thinking mind, your discursive mind started to question the deeper feeling level that was prompting you to move in a certain way?

Irma: Most of the time I trust it.

Rick: That’s great.

Irma: Yeah.

Rick: And it’s probably earned your trust.

Irma: Yes, and it is. It’s interesting how you said that because it is a kind of relationship, a communication.

Rick: Yeah. I guess my version of that is there’s some of that, but there’s also a kind of a trusting of the way circumstances unfold in the world. At least in the world as I interact with it, there’s a kind of a feeling like there’s all is well and wisely put. And if things happen this way or it happened that way, I think, “okay, that’s interesting. This must be the way things are supposed to unfold ’cause it’s the way they are.” And so I’ll just kind of roll accordingly with this.

Irma: Yeah.

Rick: Know what I mean?

Irma: Yes. And there’s a resonance, an energy, a vibration, I think, when you’re going towards your intuition. For example, you know, that vision of this interview happening, I think that came from kind of being on the same resonance or vibration or kind of an energy wave I don’t, and to me that–

Rick: Same as what?

Irma: Like to trust your intuition, how do you know to trust it? It’s it felt sense. It’s like tapping into a resonance. When something resonates, it means go in that direction.

Rick: Yeah.

Irma: Go in that direction.

Rick: Good. I think people understand that. And I think there’s a sort of a underlying supposition to what we’re saying here, which is that the universe is not just dumb stuff. There’s kind of an intelligence permeating and orchestrating everything. And the more attuned to and one with that intelligence we become, the more our desires and its desires, if we want to call it an “it”, are aligned. And therefore we can trust them because there’s an intelligence much vaster than our own that knows best and it’s like a guiding hand or something that we can rely upon.

Irma: Yeah, absolutely.

Rick: Yeah.

Irma: Yeah.

Rick: Good. Okay, here’s one from Bill Epperly, who was just talking.

Irma: Hi Bill.

Rick: “I’m curious if Irma has ever tried to help others into a realization such as hers.”

Irma: I don’t think that can be done.

Rick: No? Well, what did Bill Epperly do? Or what did Yogananda do? Or Ramana Maharshi? Weren’t they trying to help others into a realization such as theirs?

Irma: I think the way I look at it and live it is as things unfold, if somebody crosses my path and it’s meant to happen in that interaction, then it naturally unfolds.

Rick: Yeah.

Irma: Yeah.

Rick: You’re not up on a soapbox in other words, but if the circumstances are such that you’re interacting with somebody, maybe you can help them.

Irma: Let’s see, I think I get hung up on the word “help.” And I think I get hung up on the word “me,” me helping.

Rick: Those are both good hangups there.

Irma: (laughing) I’m serious because the way I experience life, it’s a trusting and an unfolding. And if something’s meant to happen, there’s a destiny almost between that interaction. And it just, and I see everything that way.

Rick: Right. Yeah, I think that makes total sense. That’s what I was kind of saying about the intelligence orchestrating everything and your oneness with that. And that you’re just, you could say, I mean, you might say you’re an instrument of the divine. And so it’s not you doing it. It’s just you’re serving a function.

Irma: Yes, I’m an instrument of the divine and so is everybody else.

Rick: Yes.

Irma: And so, I have had many experiences being with other people and where they’ve told me, it’s like, okay, I came here and I met you for coffee and we’re chatting. And all of a sudden now I’m in a different place. Like there’s the world out there and there’s this and they’re not the same. (laughs) And I’ve seen it. You can, I can see it like happening within the person. It’s very, very cool experience. It’s like shifting into this dimension, the soul dimension where it’s very cool.

Rick: Entrainment is the word.

Irma: That is the word. Yes.

Rick: And you were talking earlier about education and kids having someone who could mirror back to them and so on. I think that, you know, awakened people, it’s not like they’re zapping people, transmitting something from A to B. It’s more like they help to facilitate or enliven or hold a field in which, like tuning forks, in which, you know, the one tuning fork can get the other going at the same frequency if that tuning fork is receptive Or, you know, to use the analogy.

Irma: Yeah.

Rick: And that’s the way Ramana Maharshi and a lot of these teachers taught. They basically just sat there and marinated and being and others in their field rose to their level to whatever extent they were able.

Irma: Yeah, I so get that. And I just wonder though, if possibly sometimes people can become dependent on that.

Rick: For sure.

Irma: Not know it, like they leave the presence of this person that’s making this transmission and then they don’t feel the same and they don’t have the same feeling. And so they have to go back and kind of get another fix or something to feel that again. And not knowing how to generate it on their own.

Rick: Yeah, well, from my own experience, I’ve had this regular meditation practice all these years, but I’ve enjoyed visiting saints from time to time. My wife and I saw Amma quite a bit over a couple of decades and you definitely have an uplifted kind of experience when you’re in her presence. And when you go home after a while, it seems to wear off. But I think it’s kind of like transformative every time you have any experience like that. Like even the one you had when you were eight years old, something shifts and you get used to it after a while, you integrate it, but still, and so it doesn’t seem contrasting, but still a shift has occurred to whatever extent and such shifts are cumulative.

Irma: Yeah, yeah.

Rick: But any teacher worth his salt will at some point, if he sees people dependent upon him, kind of like, you know, “go away for a while. You need to sort of be able to live this on your own ’cause I’m not gonna be here forever.”

Irma: Yeah, yeah.

Rick: Here’s a nice comment. This is from Dara Kral in Yolga County, Cork, Ireland. “No question…” that wasn’t an Irish accent, it was a lame attempt. (both laughing) Can’t do an Irish accent. “No question, Irene, just wanted to say a really great guest and Irma, really love the energy, thank you both.”

Irma: Aw, how sweet.

Rick: Yeah, thank you, Dara. Next one, nice, John P. in Illinois.

Irma: Hi, John, I know John as well.

Rick: Another one. And you’re in Illinois too. John wants to say, or ask, “Speaking of mirroring, ask Irma to talk about the couch event.”

Irma: Oh, he didn’t. (laughs)

Rick: What’s “the couch event?” (both laughing) I don’t know if I’ve seen that one myself.

Irma: It’s so odd and honestly, this is true. I just had that in my head to bring it, yes.

Rick: Oh, John.

Irma: So it, mm-hmm.

Rick: You tuned in.

Irma: (laughing) John is a good friend of mine for many, many years now. We became friends and up until that point, I had not shared my complete eight-year-old experience with anyone and we became friends. And one night we were listening to Native American music and had a candle going and there was this shift where everything became one. Everything became one. And I actually ended up writing a little bit about it afterwards.

Rick: John was there too? This was like you and John?

Irma: Yeah.

Rick: Okay.

Irma: Yeah, and at one point we were looking at each other and there just was this, everything became one.

Rick: For both of you?

Irma: Yeah, mm-hmm, he shared it as well. And it was after that, that I thought, I think possibly he might understand if I shared this experience and ongoing experiences that I had, and he did. And John and I have gone on to share some… something happens when we get together. There’s just a shift, we shift and go into these other dimensions and it just naturally happens.

Rick: Nice.

Irma: Yeah.

Rick: Reminds me of that thing Jesus said, “Whenever two or more of you are gathered in my name, “there I will be,” or some such thing.

Irma: Yes, yes.

Rick: There’s a kind of an exponential reinforcement effect when groups of coherent people get together.

Irma: Yes, yes, and John has done, you know, a lot of spiritual work and he’s very disciplined in that in his life. We had this one experience where we had lunch together and then we decided to go to this other place to have tea and just in this high, kind of joyful energy, and we walked into this place to have tea and we sat down. And, John turned his head and he looked kind of out into where people were getting their tea and coffee and walking around. He looked out and then he looked back at me. And, I reached over and took his hands and I said, “I know, I know,” ’cause I did. And what I knew was we had somehow shifted into this dimension where everything we were experiencing in that moment… it’s so hard to explain… It was like this perfection of everything, kind of an experience of heaven on earth, where everything was in perfect harmony. And this has happened so many times with John, where I, we are, we shift into these other dimensions. And, I call it kind of “shifting into the place of soul.” And one of our last experiences, and I’ve never sought out a teacher, but I certainly would like somebody to help me with this one. We were in my home. He was on one sofa. I was on another sofa, and we thought we fell asleep, and there, we had this experience. We both had the same experience, where…, it’s hard to describe. We were in a place where there was nothing, but we were aware that we were there, but there wasn’t a sense of “I.” And this nothingness went on. There were no boundaries and it just was perfect peace. And then we both came back and looked at each other and he said what he had experienced And I had been to that same place. and we both had this feeling, coming back, of, “I don’t want to go back.”

Rick: You don’t wanna come back to this, you mean?

Irma: To the form, yeah, yeah. And as I do, when experiences like this happen, I started researching “what is that?” The closest I’ve come to possibly pointing to something is something called “Turia.”

Rick: Sure.

Irma: And I don’t know if that was Turia or not but I do know that it never left.

Rick: Right.

Irma: That it never left.

Rick: Well, “Turia” means fourth and waking, dreaming and sleeping being the first three states of consciousness and Turia is like a fourth state which underlies the three…

Irma: mmm hmmm.

Rick: …and you spoke earlier about integrating absolute and relative. So Turia would be dipping into that absolute level or the experience of which they call “Samadhi” I’ mmm hmmm.

Rick: and basically you can’t sit in Samadhi forever, you do have to integrate it and so you do come back but alternating experiences like that with activity, back and forth, back and forth, tends to integrate the two…

Irma: mm hmmm.

Rick: …so that it’s not gonna be an either or situation. You can maintain that absolute silence in the midst of dynamic activity.

Irma: Yeah, yeah, that makes sense, that makes sense. I do feel puzzled by how can two people have an experience like that at the same time? That I don’t really understand at all.

Rick: Well, again, in trainment, I mean, there’s – you’re both of us of a mindset or of a state of development where you can easily slip into a state like that and, you know, perhaps just the togetherness of the two of you made it more likely that you would both slip into it together, even perhaps more likely than if you were, one or the other of you, were alone. That’d be my explanation. I mean, I’ve been in groups of 8,000 people meditating together and boy, the influence of that many people, even though not everybody was sort of in a state like you are, but so many people doing such a thing in one place just has a palpable effect. I mean, the atmosphere is just thick with some kind of bliss or coherence and makes it very conducive to just close your eyes and be gone.

Irma: Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, based on what you said, it just makes me wonder what we’re capable of.

Rick: Oh, yeah.

Irma: What we’re capable of. I mean, to try and function through life and go through your life, letting this little, small self lead the way versus connecting to your higher self and from that connection to the source of all that is and what can come through that. I mean, I’m so inspired by your program and what you’re bringing people ’cause I think that is what can change this world.

Rick: Yeah, and of course, a lot of people are doing things like this or things in their own way, which are, we’re all on the same team. What you’re doing is making a contribution in your way. So I’m just doing my thing in a way that suits me and my capabilities. But there are people all over the world doing wonderful things that are, hopefully, gonna save us from disaster. I’ mm hmmm.

Rick: You know the phrase “heaven on earth.” A lot of people like to use that term. I mean, you’ve experienced “heaven is already on earth.”

Irma: Yes.

Rick: But for it to be kind of really on earth in terms of the way what’s happening to the environment and animals and the poor people and sick people and all that stuff, for it to kind of really percolate into the manifest realm, so all of that becomes heavenly, really just needs a lot of people living at a higher or deeper level of consciousness, I think.

Irma: Yearh.

Rick: Again, this is one of these statements that I’m stating as a fact, but this is my opinion.

Irma: I think that’s absolutely true. And I believe that it’s possible.

Irma: Yeah, I was just gonna say it’s very doable. And so maybe we don’t want this to be your last lifetime, we might need you to stick around a while. (laughing)

Irma: Well you know, hopefully I pass some things on to my sons and my grandsons and daughter-in-laws and friends.

Rick: And you know, it might be your last lifetime on earth, but it wouldn’t necessarily mean the end of your existence because there are, as you may have experienced when you were eight years old, and you were zapped by some higher intelligence, who was that higher intelligence? Where do they live?

Irma: Oh yeah.

Rick: Had they been a human being before and now they’re operating on that level?

Irma: Yes, that’s true, that’s true. Sometimes I think, and I’ve said this to people, and most people that I’ve said this to, not most people in the world, but most people I’ve said this to, that don’t seem to understand what I’m saying, but from the awareness of soul, before life, life, and after life, it’s all the same. It’s all the same.

Rick: Yeah.

Irma: Oh, you get that.

Rick: Yeah, of course.

Irma: (laughing) I mean, even, and you get that, even during life. I mean, you don’t have to, sort of, think “past” and “future” to get that because there’s a level of life which is just a continuum that is unperturbed by the waves on the surface of life. And nothing perturbs that flow. Well, nothing perturbs that continuum, to repeat myself, and therefore, I see… I mean, injury doesn’t, sickness doesn’t, and I don’t see any reason why death would either.

Irma: Yeah, yes.

Rick: And there are plenty of people who have near-death experience who say, “No, it doesn’t. Being in a coma, being under surgery, and yet I was in this beautiful state,” you know? “Doctors say I was unconscious, but I wasn’t.”

Irma: mm hmmm, yup.

Rick: Why do I feel higher consciousness gives us access to versions of intelligence and information that we cannot access at lower levels of consciousness? Did we cover that adequately?

Irma: Is that something I had–

Rick: Something, one of your notes, yeah.

Irma: Could you repeat that?

Rick: Yeah, I read it kind of fast. “Why do I feel a higher consciousness gives us access to versions of intelligence and information that we cannot access at lower levels of consciousness?”

Irma: Yeah, yeah, we were just kind of talking about that, trying to live life from the small self versus opening up to your higher self and then a connection to ‘all that is,’ because, in the awareness of the small self, it’s kind of, it is kind of like we’re kind of just passing around information on a certain level of understanding. And there is this intelligence and wisdom that’s available to us beyond that small self that we could never access with our small self.

Rick: Yeah, some people compare the human makeup, the brain and nervous system and mind as like a radio transmitter receiver, you know? And in that sense, the brain doesn’t create consciousness. It intermediates in a way between consciousness and the relative world. And like when I was a kid, I put together this little crystal set radio and I used to lie in bed at night listening to New York Yankees games. And it was just this little cheap thing, but it was good enough to hear the game. But obviously compared to that little contraption, there are, you know, there’s a Hubble Space Telescope, or there’s all kinds of things we’ve built that, you know, the Arecibo radio receiver in Puerto Rico and other such things that are infinitely more attuned to subtle and distant fluctuations in the electromagnetic field. So similar, I use that as an analogy to the range of possibility that nervous systems have for tuning into consciousness and embodying it. I mean, we could start with an amoeba, you know, which actually has some such ability, but pretty small compared to a dog and then up to the human level. And then at the human level, such a range, you know, from Jack the Ripper to Ramana Maharshi.

Irma: Yeah, yeah, that’s a really good way to describe all of that. And yes, that’s so true. I just, what we’re capable of just is amazing to me.

Rick: Yeah.

Irma: And the possibilities are endless.

Rick: And that really means “endless,” because we’re not only talking about inner experience possibilities, but what we could do as a species if we all, if we all had access to that level of our potential.

Irma: mm hmmm.

Rick: Yeah, it could be so different. I mean, you know, people, we tend to sort of feel that the world isn’t gonna ever get radically different than the way it is now, despite our interest in science fiction movies and stuff. The people in the 1800s with their horses and buggies and railroads, they couldn’t have imagined what things would be like today, with jet travel and landing on the moon and the internet and all this stuff. And everybody says that the pace of the accumulation of knowledge is accelerating. It’s not just, it’s getting faster and faster. So, even within our lifetimes, we could see, perhaps, perhaps see changes that are as radical from now as now is from the 1800s.

Irma: Yes. That would be something to sit and ponder on and imagine. Yup.

Rick: I think Irene’s gonna send another question over. She’s just tuning it up a little bit. The dogs are starting to have a wrestling match down here. (laughing) It’s almost like at a certain point, they’ve said, “Oh, enough of this interview business. We wanna have some snacks.” (laughing) So, you’re writing a book, right?

Irma: Yes, I had to. (laughing) I had to, kind of, connect all the dots.

Rick: And will it be kind of the stuff we’ve been talking about today, but all nicely written out?

Irma: Yes, and a lot more detail of…

Rick: Yeah.

Irma: …of, you know, of my experience of kind of seeing life and experiencing life as I have. And, the experience of, that experience of things being so different, people being so different, and what that was like, and yeah.

Rick: And you know, I just wanna throw in the point when you say people being different. I know what you meant by that, but no one should think that if everyone in the world were in some higher level of consciousness, that we’d all be the same, that we’d all wear the same clothes or talk the same or act the same or anything. I think that there’d even be greater variety than there is now.

Irma: True, true, yeah, yeah.

Rick: Like you have the Amazon rainforest where the ground is so fertile, and look at the fecundity and diversity of life forms there. I think it would be kind of like that in the world with people, with cultures being much richer and people’s creativity being so, you know, developed, and it would just be a much more rich world. I mean, it’s the lack of our full potential that dampens everything down and makes it kind of dull.

Irma: Yeah, yes, yes, for sure.

Rick: Okay, here’s a question. This is from Harsha Rao in Granger, Indiana. “Would Irma recommend a specific sadhana? If everything is destined, then could we presume that continuing on the path of sadhana comes via the help of God?” You know what sadhana is, right?

Irma: No.

Rick: Okay, I’ll tell you. “If so, is there a way to attract that grace or blessing?” Sadhana just means ‘a spiritual practice’ or ‘a spiritual path.’ Like if a person meditates regularly, that’s a sadhana, or if they do yoga, that’s a sadhana. I don’t know what the Sanskrit translates, but that’s what it means. So they’re asking, “Would you recommend a specific spiritual path or practice?”

Irma: Hmmm, ah, what I would recommend is to tap into your own self and ask that question. Because, I think it’s unique to each person.

Rick: Yeah, that’s a good answer. And she’s saying something about the help of God or grace of God, and is there a way to attract that grace or blessing? How can one augment or amplify the grace of God in one’s life?

Irma: That’s a good question, because I do see so many of these experiences that I’ve had as grace, and I’ve never sought them out. And I think that’s why they come. It’s living in an openness and a surrender and an acceptance that these experiences of grace come, I think they’re a given. I think they’re a given. I think grace is always there. We may move away from it, but I think it’s always there. And when you are in a place of surrender and openness and allowing and acceptance, it kind of comes together.

Rick: Yeah, and I think to get yourself into a place of openness and allowing and acceptance more, some kind of sadhana can be helpful. Harsha obviously is Indian, and Harsha, you may have heard the term, “the means collect around sattva.” I don’t know what the Sanskrit equivalent for that is, but that’s a saying. So, the understanding is that if one cultures or cultivates sattva or purity, then circumstances, the means, just sort of collect around you. You know, you don’t get up on the wrong side of bed. You don’t have a rain cloud over your head. Things just tend to work out more and more. You feel like your life is more and more blessed. So, there are all kinds of spiritual practices. So, shop around and see what works. Try something. If it doesn’t work, try something else. See what resonates with you.

Irma: So, when you just said “purity,” Rick, what do you mean by that?

Rick: I don’t mean it in a moralistic sense. I mean it in terms of what we were discussing earlier, I think, is the nervous system as an instrument through which life is lived and through which the divine is lived. And we can do things that damage the nervous system or occlude it, behaviors, substances. We might consume various things which actually increase what they call tamas, T-A-M-A-S, which is a sort of an occluding or a dulling or a clouding influence. And it makes the nervous system less, like you say, you’re doing the boundaries thing. It makes it, boxes us in more, limits us more. Or we can do things which purify the nervous system, which work out some of those deep impressions as you have experienced working out. And that opens us up more, it makes us more of a high-powered radio instead of the little crystal set that tunes us into the divine more, allows us to be more tuned.

Irma: Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. And I think it is, there are so many different practices that one can turn to, but I think you have to go towards what resonates for you. I don’t know that somebody could tell you what that would be, although meditation certainly is a great one, whichever type of meditation you choose to do because it is, meditation is that surrender.

Rick: Yeah.

Irma: It is that releasing and letting go and allowing and opening up, which does calm the nervous system. And for me, it’s, I kind of go about my life and I can feel kind of like when it’s time to go into that place and release kind of like what I’ve picked up along the way. It’s just another natural allowing kind of way of living that I do. It’s not a forced discipline, but even allowing my intuition to say, “Okay, it’s time.”

Rick: Yeah.

Irma: You’ve taken on too much, it’s time.

Rick: That’s good, yeah, you gotta keep it balanced.

Irma: mmm hmmm.

Rick: And there’s some spiritual teachers who say, “Take one step toward me and I’ll take 10 steps toward you.” And sometimes that phrase is attributed to God, and Jesus said, “Seek and you shall find, knock and the door shall be opened.” So I’ve seen so many examples of where if a person has a sincere desire to realize more deeply the kind of thing we’ve been talking about today and just makes whatever efforts seem to make sense to them, read this book, listen to that teacher, do this meditation, whatever. And maybe you move from one thing to the next, maybe five years from now that book seems trivial compared to what you’re interested in now. But if you make the effort and just sort of have your attention on this stuff, God takes 10 steps toward you, things just unfold.

Irma: Yeah, and that’s just been proven to me. There was one point where I was studying Emma Curtis Hopkins, and I just was drawn to her and her work. And when I started studying it and reading some of her books, it was like I was reading a foreign language.

Irma: nothing was sinking in at all. I’m like, I know this is English, but it’s not. And then a few days went by where I kind of released it and then picked it back up and I absorbed it like a sponge. I just resonated with that.

Rick: Okay, shall we end with Albert Einstein? (laughing) Life is like a bicycle, to keep your balance, you must keep moving. Got that quote from you there. (laughing)

Irma: Yes It sort of relates to what we’ve just been saying, just take one step toward God and God will take 10 steps toward you, just move.

Irma: Yeah.

Rick: Do it.

Irma: Yes, that’s so true.

Rick:All right, well, thanks so much, Irma. Any more questions coming in Irene? Nope, no more questions. So this was great. I really loved this conversation with you and so nice to spend this time and I hope we get to meet in person. We don’t live that far apart. Maybe if we’re ever, if there’s ever an end to the pandemic and we’re up in the Chicago area, maybe we can get together.

Irma: I would love that. I would absolutely love that. And when my book is complete, I’m definitely sending one your way.

Rick: Great, thanks. And so on your website, it has actually your phone number and your email address. Are you ready for the BatGap bump?

Irma: Sure.

Rick: All right.

Irma: Sure.

Rick: You may get a little bit deluged, but anyway, those are there and I’ll link to your website from your page on And do you have any kind of like a mailing list signup thing on your website?

Irma: Um, I don’t, I probably should.

Rick: You should, you know, because when you post a new blog post, you can notify people and when your book comes out, you can notify people of that. So you might want to start, set that up right away before I put this up.

Irma: Yeah, I will do that.

Rick: Yeah. Okay, good. You can use something like MailChimp. They have a real simple signup form for email lists.

Irma: Yeah.

Rick: All right, so thanks so much, Irma. And thanks to those who’ve been listening or watching and we’ll see you for the next one. If you go to the and look at the upcoming interviews page, you’ll see what the next one is. And if you’re watching this five years from now, you’ll see what the next one will be then. I don’t know if I’ll be doing this five years from now. We’ll see. (laughing) But in any case, we appreciate your attention and your time and take care.