Ishtar (Thomas Howell) Transcript

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Ishtar (Thomas Howell) Interview

Rick Archer: Welcome to Buddha at the Gas Pump. My name is Rick Archer. Buddha at the Gas Pump is an ongoing series of interviews with spiritually Awakening people. I’ve done hundreds of them now. And if this is new to you, and you’d like to check out previous ones, please go to and look under the past interviews menu. This program is made possible by the support of appreciative listeners and viewers. So if you appreciate it and would like to support it, even in a modest way, we really appreciate it and enables us to put as much time into it as we do, which is a heck of a lot of time. My guest today is Ishtar whose birth name is Thomas Howell. And I was Ishtar was recommended to me by a couple of good friends, Sara Taylor and Susanna Murray, both of whom have been on BatGap. And just based on my respect for them, I just decided to you know, get to know Ishtar. And so he came to the science and non duality conference and we’ve had some good adventures there and came down to Sedona here together, we’re oh, we’re in Sedona, by the way at the home of near Mala and Gina lake, but both of whom have also been on BatGap. And we’re going to be taking some hikes and this and that. But I wanted to interview Ishtar, and getting to know him has been interesting. He is kind of a what do they call those people who are really good at a lot of things. Not a polyglot. That’s Language

Ishtar:  polymath,

Rick Archer: polymath

Ishtar: call myself a dilettante

Rick Archer: he’s somewhere between the dilettante and Apollo. Like, you know, he on the on the airplane, he gave me a detailed account of why and how the Roman Empire collapsed. And we talked about all the potential Democratic candidates and the strengths and weaknesses of each one, he mainly talked. I just don’t have such detailed information, he happens to be at one point of professional drummer, I was a semi professional drummer, myself very semi. And he’s a gourmet chef, although he says he’s out of practice on that. And probably among a number of other things, which I would discover, if I got to know him better. But he has all these sort of relative interests, and, and expert areas of expertise. And I say that, to emphasize that, he’s definitely got a foot in the real world, the so called real world, because a lot of the stuff we’re going to talk about today might seem like, it all relates to some unreal world, or world, which many people would consider merely imaginary. And such, I just want to sort of contrast that with the practical side of him and his life. And just so you realize he’s just not total woowoo. But, um, has, you know, is very well integrated, I would say, great sense of humor, we’ve been joking around about this, that and the other thing, and anyway, you’ll get to know him better as we have this conversation. So regarding the woowoo side of it. As you may know, if you’ve watched many of my interviews, I’m very open minded about the all possibilities nature of the universe. And just about anything, anybody were to say to me, I would not necessarily believe it or disbelieve it, I would take it as a hypothesis, which had, you know, varying degrees of probability of being true, you know, and, but some of the things we just are will be talking about, I vary our way up on the scale of probably true, in my opinion. My understanding and to some extent, my experience of creation of life, is that it is multi dimensional. It’s there’s much more to it than meets the eye. And some people have and Jesus who was always saying, if you have the eyes to see it, or the ears to hear it, you know, that kind of statement, which implies that our assessment of the world is very much dependent upon our subjective ability to perceive and understand. That was a big revelation to me when I was about a 17 years old, I kind of thought the world was what it was, and then I took LSD for the first time And realize that the world is vastly different for different people according to what how they experience, it went into a donut shop in the morning and mine was kind of just amazed at how the donut selling ladies were probably perceiving the world as compared to how I was at that point. And they had the advantage in terms of being able to function and sell donuts, I don’t think I would have been able to just then. In any case, I’m getting a little bit long winded here. But there are many subtle realms. That’s why That’s what I’m alluding to here. And there are phenomenon that take place in the subtle realms that are happening all around us in our midst, that the vast majority of us are oblivious to. And certain people start being one have been tuned in to the subtle realms, at least some portions of them ever since childhood really. And his life has been an interesting adventure, of fun functioning on these levels, the subtler levels, as well as functioning on mundane practical levels. And it continues to be such to this day. So I’m thinking that in this interview, we’ll kind of take a chronological Biola biographical approach, which we don’t know what to do with interviews, sometimes they don’t talk much about the person’s life, we just plunge in and talk about their ideas or their awakening or whatever. But in your case, your life has been so interesting. And from infancy, practically, things you remember and things you did that I think it would be fascinating to people to hear it in some detail. So let’s start as early as you would like to start with anything that, you know, began to happen to you as a young child, which perhaps wasn’t happening to other kids your age.

Ishtar: Sure, yeah. And I, of course, I really had no idea until much later that that was the case that that other people were having different experiences. And I, I didn’t particularly a lot

Rick Archer: of people say that. I thought everybody saw angels, and then I started talking about school, and they thought it was crazy or something.

Ishtar: Yeah, you basically accept the world that you come into, you don’t question it a whole lot. And, but I, for one, I think the early memories, I didn’t know that that was odd, until maybe my AP Psychology course and in high school are the memories mean, being able to read being able to remember things you ought not to remember, I, I had a lot of spiritual experiences, early on experiences of Samadhi that I obviously didn’t have any words, I didn’t have any words yet. For any of this, I would just sit in my crib, and, you know, be sensing that I was in this vast presence. And I loved my mornings, I would get up well, before my parents would before the sun would come out, and I would just sit in my crib and, and just chill out. And I would sometimes I would watch my curtains but they weren’t just curtains for me, they had this they were they were like a sort of a dancing emanation of this, this subtle thing that I that I felt connected to. And and it was just very pleasurable, there, there were these be these waves of joy and, and pleasure and appreciation when I would sort of play with this, this kind of awareness as I might call it now. And you know, then then there were all sorts of other kinds of experiences that happened in that little realm of the crib. I think probably, I probably met my my great grandmother who is deceased. You know, of course, with all of this stuff, I was taught that it was that I that I having an imagination was good. So as a kid, I just, I just put everything in that the large folder of imagination. And I think that sort of allowed me to kind of keep those perceptions and not repress them as I think many, many children learn to repress them. They’re quite sensitive to what their what their parents say even off handedly. Yeah. And I was sitting in my crib and this lady came through the doorway, and that was normal enough. And at first I thought, you know, Grandma, you know, but she was shorter than grandma. She had similar curly white hair and she had a blue night gown and a white lace collar and she just sort of walked by my crib and I was just watching her and she she didn’t look at me but I felt that she kind of was reaching out to me in a certain sense and I just wasn’t afraid at all and I just watched her kept watching and then she she did something rather unexpected which was she she walked through the the wall of my bedroom and that that got me quite excited like whoa, you know, like when I when I can get out of this crib. I’m gonna do that. You know, that was that was the plan. Yeah, that was that was it was going going to happen and You know, a few years later, must have been, you know, three or something like that I was sitting on my mother’s lap and we’re going through a family picture album, we turn the page and there was this lady in a blue night gown with a white lace collar with curly hair at the same face. And I was like, ah, you know, like, yeah. Oh, that’s your great grandmother. She would have really loved you.

Rick Archer: So she died long before you were born that a year before it was

Ishtar: a year. Yeah, we missed each other by about 18 months, I’d say. Yeah, yeah. So yeah, that was one of the sort of maybe kind of wanting to be a mystic in some in some way. She wanted to go into the mystical, but she didn’t quite really dive into it. She did in her life in her life. Yeah. And in some ways, I felt a little bit like, like in the least in the family dynamic that I was kind of picking up in the family, somebody somebody else’s work, and she was one of them. So yeah, yeah.

Rick Archer: All right. What’s another experience?

Ishtar: Well, we’ve talked, we talked about these all before, so I’ll have to Well, yeah,

Rick Archer: but these people have. So you’re just attend you pretend you’ve never talked me. But yeah, of course.

Ishtar: Well, I used to have a lot of beings sort of walked into my room as a kid. You know, later, I would kind of throw the label ghosts on to them or discarnate beings, I think there were various types of beings that were maybe discarded spirits, there were beings that were a little bit more what we might call angelic, you they had a they had a brighter light about them. And they were kind of come in and descend and visit, but the spirits were the, I think, the most frequent visitor as a child, and, you know, I wasn’t wholly comfortable with it. So I had to sort of do things that would to kind of protect my psyche. I didn’t want to like overload and my nervous system and so I, I had at age six, for instance, I had a really deep interest in Jeremy Brett’s Sherlock Holmes, that that’s the series from the 80s. And I was just just obsessed with Sherlock Holmes for a while. And it happened that my mother was a big also a big lover of Sherlock Holmes, and years before when she was in England, she’d bought a proper deerstalker hat and a costume. And so probably now, a pipe, I had had a pipe. And so I figured, okay, I want to be like Sherlock Holmes, except maybe kind of psychic and maybe like a Jedi too. And so, and I now sort of deal with these spirits as if I’m working on their case, you know, and so I would, you know, dress up as Sherlock Holmes, I turned my room into a sort of, like, as close as I could make it to sort of a Victorian consulting detectives office, you know, I had to use a lot of imagination there, but I would sit down, and then I would have have this being that came in, sit down, I would close my eyes, I would go into this vast spaciousness, which I knew, and then somehow I would instinctively projected into the room and put it right worthy in front of the discarnate being and when I would open my eyes, the room would feel spotlessly clean. And, and there would be this sort of sense of upliftment in the air and there would be no more No more spirit. And this kind of went on for

Rick Archer: for a while, like you help them transition. Yeah,

Ishtar: that’s that was the idea. That’s what I was wanting to do. Was it

Rick Archer: kind of like the sixth sense where they knew you could see them? And so they came around more than they would come around another person, I would

Ishtar: say that and thankfully, I it wasn’t so scary, that movie, you know, nobody was grabbing for anything, never had their head blown off. Nobody was vomiting green stuff on me or anything like that. It wasn’t so so graphic and scary. And even there was I kind of was wanting to avoid that, in a certain sense. So I would do all sorts of things to try to create parameters about who would come in sometimes, there were a couple occasions where I would sort of commandeer or request strongly request a spirit to sort of, okay, if you don’t want to transition Watch the door. Yeah, no, watch the door. And if you can make sure that only one comes at a time.

Rick Archer: Yeah, there was one particular guy that you assigned to that. That’s right, that

Ishtar: they were the longest serving in that function.

Rick Archer: How did you actually communicate with these beings? I mean, were you was it in English? Was it in just telepathy without any language? Or, or what?

Ishtar: It was both but it was primarily kind of telepathy without any language. Yeah, it was often in pictures and sort of geometric kind of,

Rick Archer: but somehow in encapsulate the message Yeah,

Ishtar: yeah. I mean, I don’t think I was a particularly good medium like some people maybe I you know, kind of broad strokes that maybe not fine stuff. So it was mainly the almost a binary was it would break down to like, want to transition don’t want to transition, you know, like Yeah, like that. Wasn’t didn’t want to know. Yeah, you could tell he didn’t want to surround. Yeah,

Rick Archer: yeah. And then like, did you tell any of your friends or your parents about what you’re doing? No, not at all. Only a private thing.

Ishtar: Mainly private, mainly private sometimes I think I mentioned it and it would kind of be like, Oh, what a wonderful imagination.

Rick Archer: Yeah. All right.

Ishtar: You okay? Thank you.

Rick Archer: Yeah, yeah. So this, how many years did this go on?

Ishtar: Well, let’s see. It was particularly strong at age three. What two? I mean, actually, it will probably stronger than I thought it was before that, but 34567. And then at about age seven, and eight, my sensitivity started to become less consistent. I would still feel feel the things going on. And I think they could sense that I was feeling what was happening. Yeah. But I was, you know, growing up like people do I was developing the, the ego structure, I was falling asleep. And, and I would say, like, I would even was kind of conscious of that. I would say, like, you know, hey, you know, I’m, you can tell I’m getting worse here at this. So like, I don’t know if I’m going to be of a particular help. And I would rather like to sleep tonight because this this gets a little bit nervy for me. Yeah. You know, feeling you over there.

Rick Archer: Please go see me and they would keep you awake in the past.

Ishtar: Yeah, well, yeah, my nervous system would would kind of just feel because keyed up from it heat up and agitated, and it wasn’t comfortable to have the hair on my neck be standing up at all out, you know, hours and then having, you know, like, the sense of, sort of, like, I don’t know, thought forms coming, you know, coming into my like, emotional body would just feel things. I like this feeling. I don’t think this was produced by this life. You know, like, this is somebody else here. That does not feel like my story.

Rick Archer: Yeah. Okay. So it sounds like it was kind of good that it shut down. Finally.

Ishtar: Yeah, yeah. It would reappear. Whenever, you know, there were periods when I would be more in the presence. Yeah, it would just happen that I would be more in the presence and you know, the clouds would lift for periods, and then the sensitivity would would come back, like, okay, it’s the price you have to pay. Because when I would be more in the presence, life would move. Much nicer.

Rick Archer: Yeah. And so when it shut down, I guess you told me you told that door guard guy that. Okay, your time is up. We don’t need you to do this anymore. And he stayed on the appointment.

Ishtar: Yeah, yeah. Well, he actually stayed on through up until age 17, I still had enough activity. I see after eight that I kind of wanted somebody to sort of minimize it. Yeah. Because the activity I did get I was, you know, worse at dealing with Yeah, and, and things really sort of shut down. When I made a sort of a very big shift in my life, when when I decided I’m gonna jump into the spiritual path in a very committed way. I’m gonna throw my, all the throw my hat into this ring fully. And I basically, you know, got rid of most of my possessions and turn my room into a little ashram, and then three, three mornings in a row. Together, I had sort of visitations. Yeah. When I was waking up from from three different spirits. And each each one of those visitations was kind of like, like a goodbye. It was it had played out in the same way I’d be waking up. And I would, when, as soon as my eyes would open, I would see a particular being walking towards me the first. The first one was, was I think he was Mexican. And he had a he had like a shirt that looked like it was from the 50s, or the 70s, some sort of garish colors that they liked in those two decades, the certain red and a certain green and, and yellow or something like that. And he was he was quite friendly. And and, you know, there was a sense of like, a heart connections, like something hit my heart and was like, you know, thank you. We’ve, we’ve enjoyed being here with you. And, and we’re going to go now, you know, we’re going and then the second one was a rather stern lady who I’d seen before, and she would freak me out sometimes, because she, she just had a permanent frown on a scow, and she was one of those where I after a while, I kind of got used to know Oh, she has a scar, but She means well, below that, like, okay, instant freakout but she means when she had she was kind of dressed into what looks like they’re dirty, and were and had a very tender like,

Rick Archer: yield on and Pride and Prejudice. You know, it turned out in the end to be good.

Ishtar: Yeah, yeah. Yeah. So she left and then and then the third one who came to me in a much different fashion, those two I think were this carnets who might have been bound to the house in some way, or the property or somehow find their way there. And then the third one was, was was a fellow who, I don’t know if I ought to call him a demon or just someone who was particularly troubled, but when I met him, he was quite dark feeling and, and, you know, thankfully, I’d had a previous experience where it were a similar sort of entity had peered in my room and kind of terrified me and then a voice from my heart kind of came up and said, just open to love, you know, just just open to love and that seemed the best time option at the time. And so that’s what I did in that ran away and, and so after that I knew how to deal with these beings and this being came to me and I kind of just off the top of my head said, hey, you know, like, Ah yeah, I know your I know your ilk. And guess what here’s what you’re gonna do you’re gonna watch that door for me and you’re gonna do a job he became your dog he became my dog I did a damn good job at that place is really clean. I mean, I think a demon is I don’t know what it was, but it felt like a he was probably a pretty good door guy. He

Rick Archer: said ahead of certain intimidation factor,

Ishtar: I had myself my own tough. So so and so that thing came to me and they they had been they kind of when they first came to me, they were like an undifferentiated mass. And I could see no features like a feel a bunch of stuff. But when they left that, that it was as if they had been taking a shower for eight years. Yeah, and so you could see streaks of of other beingness coming through. And that was, that was an especially sort of

Rick Archer: heartfelt so it was real evolutionary time for them.

Ishtar: I’m taking it to be so because they were they sent they told me thank you. And they said just the same as the other, it was been really wonderful doing this and, and guess what I’m going on to, you know, something much better. Yeah. And, you know, I’ll see you later, you know, you won’t, you don’t need us anymore. Because once you turn this place into an ashram, you know, different, a whole different set of set of possibilities, you know, sort of, you know, came into being and you know, you won’t be bothered anymore. That’s

Rick Archer: great. That’s interesting. Okay, so I just want to interject that, I think, the relevance of this to the whole BatGap theme, which is, you know, spiritually Awakening people and the whole topic of spiritual awakening, and spirituality, and what’s real and what isn’t, and all that is that, you know, most people, myself included, and many others, most others are not going to have experiences like this. And that’s okay. It’s not at all necessary. No one should get the idea that, you know, if they don’t have experiences like this, they’re missing the boat, or they’re not as enlightened as somebody who is having experiences like this or any such thing. But there’s a certain segment of the, quote, you know, the spiritual population, so to speak, who do have experiences like this? And I don’t think it’s helpful for them to just sort of brush it aside and say, Oh, it’s just an illusion, or, you know, oh, you’re you have an overactive imagination, if people say, I mean, whatever people’s experience, they should be met with. Kind of respect and not necessarily complete credulity. We don’t have to. I mean, some people do have vivid imagination, yes. And you don’t necessarily want to indulge in that. But, you know, many, many sincere people might be having such experiences, and I’ve talked to some, and, you know, they were kind of freaked out. But I mean, Jac O’Keeffe, when, when she first got into spirituality, she was sitting in a pub, and Dublin having a beer with friends had no kind of spiritual background or anything. And all of a sudden, she kind of shifted into astral perception, she solos all the spooks in the room. Yeah. As I recall, she ran outside the pub, and was like, leaning against the wall. Oh, my God, what just happened? You know? So,

Ishtar: one funny thing is actually, at about age seven, I was having these experiences, but I sort of became a philosophical atheist. And so that was weird, you know,

Rick Archer: because clash of worldviews?

Ishtar: Yeah. I thought, yeah, scientific materialism. That makes sense. You know, that’s, that’s, but at the same time, I was having all these things and saying, okay, you know,

Rick Archer: it’s funny that you would shift into that philosophy, you know, yeah. Because obviously, your whole life had been about the fact that there’s more than materiality to the world. And in my case, it was rather a facet of rebellion against all the subtle stuff.

Ishtar: I think it was a rebellion. Actually, it was it was more to do with my upbringing, and it was a rebellion against the, you know, what I was learning in history about the history of religions, and

Rick Archer: this is at the age of seven or eight. I mean, when I was eight years old, you know, scientific materialism or atheism, all this stuff would have been way over my head. And, you know, I was just thinking about whatever I was at, you’re going fishing and riding my bicycle and playing baseball in the neighborhood, and not particularly liking school or thinking about anything very deeply. So it’s kind of cool that, you know, you were mature enough to be thinking deep thoughts that age.

Ishtar: Yeah, I think we kind of hit the ground running in a certain sense. Yeah, I think I was I was always very enthusiastic to be born and alive and always had a had a sense of a real wind at my back and I wanted to run as fast as I could to sort of keep up with it.

Rick Archer: That’s pretty neat. mean, it’s worth mentioning that people do come into this life at different levels of evolution with different degrees of spiritual momentum. And if it’s for If there has been a very strong momentum established in a previous life, that one can just sort of hit the ground running, as he said. And, you know, that there are like, there’s an example of a statement that can you don’t need to believe this? Certainly don’t believe it, because I said it, but take it as an interesting hypothesis, you know, you can unwind it, alright. You know, is there such a thing as spiritual momentum? Or are there such things as past lives? Do we, you know, carry lessons learned and, and inclinations reinforced from one life to another. And it’s good to initially to think about this stuff.

Ishtar: Yeah. And I always once I, you know, heard about those concepts. Like, I think I came across reincarnation, maybe at age seven from one of those time life book series or something like that, that it had deep resonance, because I had been thinking about why do I have all these, you know, why am I obsessed with Abraham Lincoln, for instance, or, you know, these moments in history and, and then later on, I looking back at my life, I had a lot of experiences of going, just going into the silence, you know, just not doing anything to do it, particularly, it would close my eyes. And even later, between eight and 13, which was kind of an ego development time, if I got in a real pinch, I would just instinctively sit down, close my eyes. And somehow, my awareness would would, my mind would quiet and go into this big vastness. And that was, you know, if I was really frazzled, that’s what I would do. So I could come out of that, and then just kind of, you know, go about in a more coherent Yeah, kind of manner.

Rick Archer: That is so cool. I mean, it’s like you intuitively knew what to do. Yeah, obviously, kind of seems like you’ve probably had had that habit. And

Ishtar: yeah, in the past, yeah. So So I think something Something must have been there. And I would, you know, silly little trivial things like I loved as many people in my generation did the Ghostbusters cartoon, and I would get up early in the morning to watch it before the rest of my family and, and one day I was watching it, and one of the characters they were, they were trying to find something and one of the characters decided to sit down and, and said, the line, like, I know, if you just stay in one place, the whole world will come to you. And when I heard that line, it was just like, my, I was immediately immediately sent back into this sense of vastness and my awareness was was everywhere, and it rang like a bell like that for the for the rest of the day. And there was another time I was at a like a youth camp type of thing, and they have you climb ropes and do team building exercises, try to trust people that you shouldn’t, you know, ever trust with your life. And I was doing this thing called the Jacob’s Ladder. And, and something deep inside me, when I when I was doing it just threw me clicked on somehow, like how to do it properly. And, and it just helped me relax completely let go go into the silence. And, and so I did, and I ended up climbing it upside down, which, which was not the way you’re supposed to do it. But that was the only effective way to do it, it turns out and, and something about that experience sent me into this quiet and that, you know, again, so I had these little moments throughout my childhood that that were just kind of reminding me and pushing me in that direction. I just didn’t kind of put them at the center in the central context of my life until, you know, a couple years later.

Rick Archer: Yeah, you know, the whole story of the Bhagavad Gita is like, our Jhana, this great warrior is about to fight a battle. And unfortunately, the armies were arranged such that he had some dear relatives and respected elders on the in the opposing army. And so he had this moral dilemma. And on the one hand, it was his duty to fight this battle. On the other hand, he, you know, didn’t have the heart to fight these people. And so he was kind of in a quandary. And he just sat down his chariot and said, I don’t know what to do. And Lord Krishna, in a nutshell, after, say many other things, basically said, you know, transcend, be without the three gunas Mr. Dunya Baba Jun. And so it’s like this, the solutions to intractable or insoluble relative problems can often be found by taking recourse to the absolute. And it’s not like you get down there’s oh, here’s the solution XYZ, right. It’s more that you sort of reach a more resolute or fundamental level of functioning, or awareness. And from there, spontaneously, the right course of action will ensue.

Ishtar: Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. And Shakib going through the life. Yeah.

Rick Archer: I just wanted to ask you a little bit more about the scientific materialism phase. So did you have it so worked out The logic of it and everything and you were having little arguments with your friends. And

Ishtar: well, I’m not I kind of found out that not everybody was keen on going to the logical points, eight year old kids, and boring and neither was I don’t think I was particularly had much tact or I needed to develop your face with I think, yeah, too much and I wasn’t diplomatic enough. And I just, and and so, so yeah, that that trouble ensued from from that so I had to learn how to take the gas pedal off of that one. And then I, for me, it was kind of a phase because I, I started looking at some of these phenomena in my life and and elsewhere that that I found interesting. And they, they they seem to be poking holes in the, in the paradigm as Yeah, so

Rick Archer: yeah, that’s one of my favorite topics is the paradigm of scientific materialism and how it dominates our society, and how it’s been, it’s resulted in so many problems in the world, because of our, regarding the world as dumb, insensitive, insensate, you know, matter. Whereas really, the whole thing is imbued with life and imbued with our self, you know, it’s, it’s us, and, but yet we treat it and put it at arm’s length and treat it as dumb stuff don’t get as a resource that we can do anything with. And we’re soiling our own nest, you know, to say the least. But in any case, and so, you know, consequently, I mean, if that is the problem, the solution is to regard consciousness as primary. And, you know, and as being fundamental and universal and all pervading and all that stuff. But that’s a whole nother discussion that yeah,

Ishtar: that that was the answer that was pointing me toward and once I kind of was, you know, once the probabilities were kind of stacking on that side on that answer, then then my great interest started to be like, Well, if that’s true, then, you know, like, how do I experience that? How do I experience that all the time, I wasn’t even thinking about my prior experiences is that they were not crossing and put to put two and two together, because I kind of thought that maybe it wasn’t all that possible. In my life. I’m from Wisconsin, after all. So what are you gonna do? She said, Yeah, she said, I owned one, they’re actually quite quite useful in their own way. But yeah, that that became a, you know, started more and more to become a big interest. And then it became a primary interest after, after I had a near death experience.

Rick Archer: Yeah. And that was, that’d be the next significant point. Yeah, yeah, that’s really, but that’s kind

Ishtar: of the fulcrum on which my, my life moved. Yeah. But yeah, that was that was sort of, for in my life, the great wound and in many ways, the great blessing just together as they so often are, and it involves the death of my mother. And, and we were in a, we were in a car accident together. And it was kind of made a little bit more interesting to use that word is made more interesting by the fact that the day before it actually broken, my arm playing baseball, I got hit by a really real Zinger of a fastball. And that was, that was my big complaint, like, Oh, I’m gonna miss baseball season, you know, and we were standing there in my room just talking to each other, my mother and I, before I went to bed, and like it had happened so many times in my, in my life, I would get these sort of pre cognitive flashes, they had a certain flavor or quality about them that I could recognize. And only this one, the words came out of my mouth and it was mom, I have a feeling or to die soon. And when it came out of my mouth, really unedited it, it hit her, you know, she, she kind of some you know, something was was powerful in it. And then she kind of, you know, shrug, she kind of wipe that off and said, like, I’m going to be around, you know, rest assured, you know, I will be here for you for a long time to come. And I thought, Okay, that’s good. You know, and then I, you know, my fears were allayed and I went to bed. But they must, they came back because the next morning I woke with quite a start, like, they like the doing the movies with the cartoons. Like that, just like that. And like gasping like, like I was running, you know, and it was at the moment that my mother and father were walking right outside my bedroom door, which I like, I like to sleep with it open. And because you’re free it goes. I like I like to have a good escape path. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. Yeah. But it’s better to have it open. Have the tough there then. Yeah. For whatever reason. But yeah, so so they were walking past and somehow there were there was a clerestory window up there and some sunshine was was hitting them. And that was kind of a mystical moment. But I was distraught. I was like, There’s something I have to tell you. You know, there’s

Rick Archer: something I said that. Yes, yes.

Ishtar: I said, There’s something I’ve got to tell you, too. There’s something I’ve got to tell you, but I don’t know what it is. And I was so frustrated. I was so so distraught by that it They had to calm me down so that I could go to school and I had to kill it took me about 2020 minutes to collect myself and to get my breath down. And and it was I felt as if I just been like the guy at marathon running. And only the scroll fell out of my pocket somewhere along the way and, and it felt felt like that. And so they call me down and I went off to school and did the did the school thing and came back home. And then we dropped my Java cast on your arm by this time. No, we were actually we were we were that day. We were going to the same hospital where we ended up to put a cast on ice. But so I just had a sling on Yeah, and and so I went to school and came back home and we dropped my sister off at at at her work. And we were driving out to make a left turn across a divided highway, two lane, four lane divided highway. And you know, it was one of those situations where you had two cars going 45. And the car that hit us was kind of totally obscured by them. But if they were going the speed limit, they wouldn’t have hit us but instead they were going 20 miles over or they decide to accelerate it just that time. And we pulled out and and I think actually funnily enough, my mother was asking me to put the Luther Vandross tape and I was like no more Luther Vandross, she loved Luther Vandross. And I, I was you know, looking over to get it and I look to my left and and about, I don’t know, six feet from where my body is, right now was this big? Lincoln towncar or Continental or something like that? Right outside the door, right outside? My mother was 16, you know, just really booking it. And, you know, in that moment, I it was, to me, it was pretty clear, like the jig was up. Yeah. You know, I was like, Oh, shit, I hope we can swear on the show. Yeah, that was that was the that was the first thought I think anybody would have that. And then the next instead of kind of clenching up by, I completely relaxed. And the next set was kind of from this deeper, sort of play strata. It was like, I really thought this one was gonna go more than 13 years. Yeah. You know, and, and at that point, the whole sort of what I’d read about and boy was interested in the whole kind of life flashing before one’s eyes thing happened. And, and only in this case, it was a little bit richer than the descriptions I had read previously. And that when, when we went through each, it was a seamless whole, not just a bunch of little fragments, but almost like taking a string and pulling it back and experiencing each part of the string and in complete detail. And there was no it was, it was as if I was connected with this sort of completely objective or omniscient part of my consciousness. I had, you know, had dances with that part before, but I would often kind of be like, shut up, like, I’m gonna do it my way. And, you know, kind of go away, you know, and but only there I completely embraced it was, I felt completely embraced by it. And every, every place where there was tension, every place where it was holding a grudge, every every moment where I acted in fear, or acted out of spite, or anything that was kind of really, anything other than love, was just sort of seen completely and then forgiven, and totally accepted myself and everybody out there, everything.

Rick Archer: And, and so obviously, this happened in a split second, but if it had played out in real time, so to speak, it might have been hours to go, all the information you went through God knows.

Ishtar: Yeah, it was it was hyper condensed. I mean, it must not have been, I don’t even know if it was the second between when I saw the car, and

Rick Archer: that’ll be just a fraction. Exactly.

Ishtar: And, and so that was it was all there. And it was a very palpable and visceral sensation to it felt as if we really actually felt as if I had this my whole life, I’d had the sort of like Saran Wrap, you know, constrictive saran wrap, on top of being with each sort of forgiving and release, and an appreciation of the love that was kind of running the show the whole time. In my life there, there was this sense of it coming down off of my body. And by the end, I was I was just completely weightless. I had no fear, no, and even visually, I even remember the dashboard of our Chevrolet, and my mother’s shoulder. And you know, all the details of the scene, the clouds that were in the background that the face of the other driver, who was rather you didn’t notice, you know, really until it was really late. He was he was distracted. I think he was probably drunk, but the car every everything turned, everything seemed to almost reveal that it had this kind of like underlying light underneath it and there was a sense of my heart that everything was love that and my presence went from a little localized kind of you You know, 13 year old body to just being, you know, everywhere, there was a sense that I was everywhere. And I was the whole scene, and that was the whole the whole thing that was happening. And then boom, the crash the crash. Yeah, yeah. And, you know, we were, it was quite quite a crash and we were we were pushed a long way and the car was totaled. And you know, and I woke up came to with the sound of the seatbelt thing going off, and my mother has kind of labored breath and that they got up the giant skill saws, JAWS, or whatever, and they were cutting things out and they were really good. They got that door off quickly. And you know, kind of very professionally pulled me out of the car. And you know, was were really concerned that I had spinal injuries and stuff like that and got us on the gurney got us in the ambulance. And the whole I was I was certainly concussed. Yeah, and and I didn’t know what my name was, and didn’t know a lot of those details. But like I say, That’s my mom, I don’t know anything, but that’s my mom. Yeah, that so I had that. And they put us in the car in the ambulance. And, and I had one of those kinds of experiences that a lot of people seem to report where I had both the awareness of being on the gurney and being strapped down. And also this awareness of still of being everywhere, and my mother, called my name twice. And two times I said MLK mom. And the second time she, she registered it, and it was, it was as if when she was saying those words, those words were happening within my own consciousness, and I could feel her, you know, as the same as my own consciousness fundamentally. And, and I could feel it when she registered it, and, and I felt her just go, Yeah, I felt her leave. And, and after she did, that, her breathing went from this really sort of labored breathing to this really even, you know, relaxed kind of breath, kind of just winding down. And there, I didn’t put two and two together, you know, I didn’t know that that was her, you know, maybe, maybe leaving, and, you know, then they got into the hospital, and then, you know, heard Oh, from my father, you know, your, your mother’s gone, and that those courts that hit like a, like, you know, like a punch to the gut, the biggest one I’ve ever had, and, you know, tears and all that, sure, falling apart on the hospital floor, and, you know, maybe being hugged by the Lutheran Social Services, people that didn’t want to be on trauma, I knew they meant well, and, and, you know, going home and, and, you know, I still had that big, you know, sense of presence, and I just, you know, my brain was coming online, again, I said, Oh, this is shock, you know, this is shot, and, and then, you know, kind of, you know, life life kind of kept going and all the things that happen when when, you know, somebody dies so sudden, like that, where their family gathered, and, and all of that and, you know, you’re going through Elisabeth Kubler Ross stages, you know, like, like clockwork, and it just happened that over that summer, while I was going through all of that, all of that grief, and all, you know, I was also had the sense of, of this presence that was there. That was weird to me. And and, you know, at first I thought it was shocked. But then when it was after a couple months that I started thinking this is something else. And when I would, I could go into it as if it was a vast dimension. And when I would do that, and kind of put my awareness intentionally there, you know, all sorts of joy would bubble up and like bliss would come out. But whoa, what’s, why am I feeling joy and bliss when I am so you know, otherwise, at the same time, so distraught and so. So, you know, so much in the process of grieving. And you had

Rick Archer: had the experience before of presence and being able to go into it and things that evoked that. But this is different somehow.

Ishtar: Well, it felt it felt in some ways deeper, it felt more raw, it felt more fundamental. And again, I was, I was kind of silly, for whatever reason, I wasn’t putting, I wasn’t categorizing them together. I think a lot of my, I knew what I was doing when I was young, and I knew that it was a particular dimension, but it had a different flavor. It seems that when I was 13, than when I was, you know, three or five or, or six, and I think at 13 I’d also fallen asleep enough in grade school, you know, I was, you know, they were I was trying to be a good intellectual, you know, and, you know, become really as heavy as I could be. Because that seemed like how to be in this world. You know, like you just being a walking intellect. Yeah. And so you can fall asleep really fast when you try to do that, you know? And so I think I’d gotten enough. I’ve distracted myself enough from those things that when this came, it was a big, yeah, kind of a wake up call. And

Rick Archer: what do you think were the mechanics of how this accident and this trauma kind of kick started you into a different, more spiritual phase of your life? It was, like a sudden burning off of a big chunk of karma or was it some kind of shock to the subtle body? To the sort of unleashed energies that had been trapped and dormant or what

Ishtar: I’ve well, one, I felt it was almost like a, almost like a pre arranged wake up call. I mean, it felt so it had a feeling of being pre arranged with the with the my becoming prescient of it beforehand, it had the flavor of this is in the script. You know, according

Rick Archer: to rob Schwartz, whom I interviewed a month or so ago, who studies you know, how we plan out our life before we enter into it. Any major event like that is pre arranged, according to him.

Ishtar: Yeah, and I’ve read a lot of the literature and in his field, and so I think a lot of it, there are so many accounts, similar that it seems to shake out that way. And it definitely felt it had that feeling of this isn’t, this isn’t the script. And I think, if I didn’t have that happen, I could have lived a really relatively happy life and had a lot of these things on the backburner and, and, you know, losing my mother, not only tuned me into those dimensions again, but again, the wound blessing thing, it left me with this hunger, yeah, a real hunger because it was a big loss. And I was really hungry to, to kind of fill that hole. And so, you know, with with those things together, there was kind of a desire and direction, you know, to get back to that, and when, when the that sort of, sense of presence sort of faded out, kind of faded out over the summer until I went back to eighth grade and attempted to be a teenager again. When that faded out, kind of after, you know, after my eighth grade year of which was, in some ways, kind of miserable. Yeah. I was, I kind of had the wherewithal after school was over to go, like, I gotta get back to that. Yeah, no, like, you know, like, what was that? Exactly? I’ve got to get back to it, I’m going to just try anything to do it. And, and so that over, over the next few years of, kind of, maybe it wholeheartedly experimenting, maybe half of my time, yeah. A bit eventually, that led me to, to the practice of meditation and, and to, you know, deciding to throw all in in that camp, because I was still trying to be a normal person, whatever that was, and I thought I did want to please my family still, you know, that was still there. I wanted, I didn’t want to, you know, I wanted to do some of the things that I used to want to do. I felt like, that’s what I used to want to do. I mean, not what I’m what I ought to be doing, like, and so it was kind of a transition process to sort of, you know, there was kind of a crazy monk in me, which was what I call it, there’s a crazy monkey, and they’re like, I don’t think we should do that. Because if we do that, if I open that, if I open up to that, I have to go 100% Yeah, you know, that was the sense. And that’s why I was a little bit like, I got to do things 100% And if and everything the whole ship will be scuttled. If I if I go and open that up. And eventually it seemed like I have to open it up, because that’s what I’m here to do. I’m not here to be a politician. I’m not Yeah, you

Rick Archer: mentioned you wanted to be what a politician or actors? Yeah.

Ishtar: Yeah. Yeah. Actually, that Yes. Both of those things. And I wanted to be a musician and a stand up comic politician. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, first it was a politician. Then when I had the spiritual thing, I tried to kind of find middle ground between politician and crazy monk. And I thought, what big artists sounds like middle ground. You know, I have that in me too. So I’ll I’ll go, I’ll try to be an actor. And I also had this desire as a child, I when we do career day, they force that upon kids far too early. Yeah, we do the career day and think I would just go inside and be like, the only answer that was true was, I just want to be everything. Yeah, I want to be everything. And it’s like, how do you do that? And I thought, like, there were two paths. And one was being an actor, which was kind of sorta Yeah, cuz you could be all kinds of things. That’s right. And one was being enlightened. And so I felt like well, I don’t think Enlightenment is in the cards for me. So I’m gonna I’m going to try to be the actor

Rick Archer: that’ll that’ll Yeah, that was you knew but I did. I did. Pretty impressive. Yeah, well, I loved I loved

Ishtar: the Time Life books and the show in search of and the internet started to happen and and all the all that sort of stuff and I would I was a little kid I would open books on on Yogi’s and Buddhist monks meditating in the snow and there was something deeply you know, arresting about that. Whoa, no, like, Could I do that? Even though it was constant? You know, like yes, no one was caught. We do get snow so I you know, I would try my best but you know, somehow. Yeah.

Rick Archer: Interesting. Okay. So you are on this precipice of whether to jump into meditation big time or whether to try to be a real person in the world. Yeah, although I think you can do both is yes. Now discovered. But what how did you we’ll help you make that decision. And then I guess you went in the meditation direction. So how did that go off? drawl when you got into it?

Ishtar: Well, I think I was I was sent some wonderful helpers and guides and mentors along the way in a little town called Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. Only I’ve been

Rick Archer: there. Yeah, yeah. swim in the lake and water skied on it and stuff. You know

Ishtar: it, you know it then Yeah, beautiful little place. But small, you know, maybe yeah, five 6000 people when I was

Rick Archer: living there, they even gave it to them lecture there one.

Ishtar: Yeah, yeah. So, so it was for a small town. You know, at the time, I was quite astounded by all these interesting people kind of moved in. And one day I was must have been the summer before my freshman year of high school, I was going around with my big sister who was kind of, I was always close to her. And I would just go wherever she would go, you know, kind of as a tag a lot happy tag along. And we walked into a metaphysical bookstore, and I hadn’t, you know, not much inclination in that direction. And, you know, I was like, Okay, I’ll come I’ve got go everywhere else. And she was shopping for something in the front. And I sort of gravitated to toward the back and picked up a book. And that was on, on the this whole subject of mysticism and meditative experiences. And it was so similar to what I had experienced in the accident and afterward that I stayed in that bookshop for about two years. I would say, I think I had a tacit agreement says, Do you want to go home? Oh, well, yeah, she’s, yeah. Okay. It was, it was payback for kind of all the places that I didn’t want to go before. So so I think she got the worst end of the deal there. That was a major inconvenience for her. Two years. No, sleeping in the aisles, especially the the bargaining with the police, you know, the eviction notices from the owner. But, yeah, but But yeah, over a period of two years, I was there quite frequently and, and reading all the books, and as long as I seem to be as long as I bought an amulet about every two months, the owner was really cool, whatever they put up with me as long as I and I, but I set this up because it was there that I met some of those guides and mentors. And and one was a lovely, I don’t know if I should mention people’s names, because I don’t embarrass the living but a wonderful friend to me, who was a TM teacher, and named Pam, and she had she was in my town and she was working as a TM teacher, but also as kind of a local clairvoyant. And, and it was just, she was a very human person, you know, and, and, but there was something about her, you know, she had this resonance about her, which reminded me of what I was tuning into before. And I was, you know, I was just glued and totally interested to find out what was going on over here. And so she was, you know, she, she was a wonderful listener, and wonderful at asking these, the perfect questions of me and kind of guiding me into different facets of my experience and sort of telling me like, that’s, that’s perfectly normal. You know, that’s, that’s, you know, that’s something that that’s natural to human beings, and is and is there and it was mainly just the resonance. We talked about anything

Rick Archer: as you tried to foist TM on you are

Ishtar: totally easygoing, sometimes. Well, in

Rick Archer: any group people can be proselytizers No, he is nice that she had the wisdom to Yeah,

Ishtar: she was she was just my friend. And she was also there. She was, you know, I mean, I think a lot of people kind of became surrogate family to me, when they heard my situation, they kind of wanted to, you know, help me out and, you know, kind of pat me on the shoulder and, you know, try to keep me on a good track, and so, or bad track, excuse me. And so, so we were, you know, we were close and then she introduced me to another friend who was a, quote, walkin. And he had the same sort of resonance to him, you know, just a different flavor. But I could tell this is something quite similar about this fellow. His name was Austin. And, and we spent two years as friends and he was, you know, 54 I was 16. And, you know, we just hung out like we were the same age and, and incidentally

Rick Archer: walk in case anybody doesn’t know is when a soul leaves the body and another soul comes in and takes takes that body and sometimes it supposedly happens when you have a near death experience or something in your soul checks out another soul says, Wow, this, this buddy has a bit more mileage in it. I’ll come in here. So, in fact, there was a cool story where Shankar became a walking.

Ishtar: Oh, that’s right. Yes, I’ve heard that story. Yeah,

Rick Archer: it’s true. We tell her I don’t know, just as a tangent. So Shankar was this great sage, the founder of Advaita Vedanta, right. And he used to go around the country debating people and defeating them in debate generally, and then they would become his disciples. So there was this woman who was, I guess, an expert in you know, Amaris arts, Kama Sutra, or whatever. And chakra was like, can’t can’t beat her to debate. I don’t know anything about that. I’m a monk. But then an opportunity came up where he could live that sort of life a little bit. So there was some king who died. And Shankara walked into his body became the king, but it was really chakra. And so all of a sudden the king wakes up from his deathbed. And Whoa, he’s really bright and much more intelligent and everything they had been. So I guess the king had several queens and they were like, This is great big improvement. He seems a little to have forgotten a few things about, you know what to do in the bedroom, but we can work that out. And so anyway, so this went on for a while. And eventually, the Queens found out they got hip to what had happened. And that this isn’t really our husband, this is this other guy, this monk and he’s his body is hidden someplace in a cave. So they sent emissaries to find the body and destroy it. So chakra couldn’t leave because they wanted to stay and be in the king’s body. So as this was about to happen, Shanker His disciples realized that Shankara was kind of losing it in terms of his remembrance of who He really was. And so that some of them came to the king’s court and asked to read some poetry to the king. And so they read some poetry, which had actually been written by Shankar, about the nature of the self, and so on. And so Shankara kind of woke up and remembered, oh, yeah, me, I wrote that. It’s time for me to split. So you kind of left the body, the king’s body dropped. And he reoccupied his own body, which is sitting in some cave, just as the king the emissaries from the kingdom were about the burnout or something. And he kind of hopped up and came back to life and they lived happily ever after. Anyway, fun story.

Ishtar: I could, I could almost believe my friend’s account, because it was a small town. And, you know, everybody knows everybody’s dirty laundry, basically, if you doesn’t take long to find it out. And he had been like a notorious town asshole most of his life. And then when, after he apparently was running at the hospital, doing a stress test and of all places and had a heart attack right there and died on put on the table. And then he, he says, I came in the other guy went out, I came in on the table, freaked people out when I kind of sat up. And and then, you know, it wasn’t long after that he was, you know, deeply into Native American ritual, spirituality, and all this sort of stuff. And, and, you know, I wasn’t, that wasn’t a big part of our relationship was mainly just the presence that came off of him and the, you know, some of the fun things that would happen there, I would just go to his house. And I would go and actually take naps for 20 minutes on his couch, because his house had this electric presence, you could cut with a knife. And I would just go in there, he’d be working in his car in the garage, they asked him going to take a nap. And he’s didn’t mind me using his house in such a way and I go down, and I come up completely refreshed. And I would just leave the house and, and, you know, go swimming or something. And so that, you know, I was kind of sent a lot of even more of these people that I don’t think he didn’t everybody, but sure more,

Rick Archer: whatever you feel is relevant. We have plenty to talk about.

Ishtar: Yeah, yeah. Yeah, there was there was the the, for a very white Wisconsin town, a wonderful man who is African American Chi Gong master, and also named Walter Matthew Brown. He’s he since died a few years back. But he kind of took me under his wing as well. Yeah. And I would go to his classes, and he didn’t want to charge me any, he would teach me these interesting, sort of Chinese style meditations. And he would, and I always thought, well, maybe this is the placebo thing happening. But he would create these big balls of chi and I would be palpably affected by what he was doing and and so there were these people that were that were in there as I was a growing up still as a teenager and kind of at this precipice. And now one

Rick Archer: of when I was recounting your various skills and accomplishments, I neglected to mention that you actually speak a fair degree of Chinese. Well, yeah, it’s

Ishtar: quite rusty now but yeah,

Rick Archer: what did how did you learn that?

Ishtar: Oh, that was late. Much later on.

Rick Archer: Yeah, that would you speak Japanese? Also? No, no, no, because I know your wife is in Japan. Yeah.

Ishtar: My wife she she’s the She’s the real polyglot. Yeah, she’s got all that stuff down.

Rick Archer: You’re the POLYMATH. She’s the polyglot. So okay, so this space stage did you start meditating in some fashion?

Ishtar: I did, I did. I started doing you know, I was taught some breathing meditations and you know, basic kind of effortless breathing meditation then I then I learned some maybe more rigid ascetic type practices, which I my brain was quite tuned into that channel, you know, biased in that direction. So I did these count from one to 10 and not let your mind go on anything else but the numbers and actually became quite good at that and enjoyed it. But while it kind of gave my mind a sort of razor sharp concentration, and kind of was like stressing me out and yeah, in other ways, it was like an athletic strain. Yeah, it was it was quite a strain and, and so I, you know, I was like, recommended by some books like metod if You want Enlightenment, which I was really did like, meditate as much as possible. I was like, I gotta do this 200%. So that was how it was wired. I was very Yeah. Intense it had to be a national board fanatic. Yeah. Instead of like, you know, I knew the line to the intensity vehement soon, but I think I was often vehemently intense. Yeah, you know,

Rick Archer: you know, and so I’m from Patanjali. But the intensity

Ishtar: Yeah, I was definitely intense, a little bit too much. But, you know, this book had me various books, I would be waking up at three in the morning and taking a cold shower, and then doing yoga and then meditating for two or three hours before either being driven or walking off to school, in my last my last year of high school, and, and then I would spend a lot of my lunch hours meditating. And then I would get home and I would do two hours of meditation when I got home or one hour and then do an hour before I went to bed. Yeah. And so I had the schedule, I was like, fanatically devoted to it, and I became totally antisocial, I got rid of my possessions like, I don’t need these around, you know, no, and I wanted I wanted to live in like, I would often as a child have this sort of, kind of came back these visions of my room turning into what looked like a room in an ashram, you know, even visually the walls would fade away, and I would see a completely different room and look out a window. And there were these Himalayan peaks. And I was so in this period, I was so it was that that song was really singing to me is how I could describe it. And, and so I just, I apparently at the high school, I found out later that since I was giving away my a lot of my most precious possessions, and, and becoming antisocial. They put me on suicide watch.

Rick Archer: You’re getting ready to check out his kidney

Ishtar: ready to check out. You know, everybody met very well, I was fasting a lot too. And I was, you know, said fasting is good for you. So my goal with fasting is good, then I’m going to do it.

Rick Archer: There’s so many similarities between you and me. I’ve gone through such fanatical phases, including radical fasting. And all always, like any little instruction that was giving, given doing it like 10 times more. Yeah, I was supposed to.

Ishtar: Yeah, I was told like drink a gallon a day. So like, I will drink two gallons.

Rick Archer: mindset. Yeah,

Ishtar: when I was fasting, so like, I should not stop my running program, I should double it. And I was I was and when it was too easy. It’s like, This is too easy. I need to put rocks in a backpack and run up the highest hill in town. And,

Rick Archer: man, you’re worse than me.

Ishtar: I was a nut, I was a total no way worse. But even though I was in that, and I don’t recommend this, I don’t necessarily recommend this. I think it was good for me because it was in me, it wasn’t me to do it. Yeah, it really felt like I need to maybe burn it off, or I need to express this, I need to really do this, to really kind of, you know, appease whatever is going on whatever I need. And so I did it, you

Rick Archer: probably had some ascetic practices in past lifetimes. And those Himalayan bathing and cold streams and sitting in the snow and all that.

Ishtar: Yeah, I would go out at lunch hour in Wisconsin. And sometimes I would go out into the middle of like the soccer field that was right outside the lunchroom and be covered in snow and be like, I’m gonna sit in the snow and meditate and you know, just the people

Rick Archer: see you i the school authorities. We really got to watch,

Ishtar: I think that probably contributed to the suicide watch. No, it’s a good student, especially that year. Good grades, it’s it was amazing. I always had good grades, but they kind of fell off a little bit. They weren’t like, straight A’s so much. Well, they fell off in high school before the meditation because I was sad and depressed. I know, on the fence. And, you know, like, I was once before the car accident was totally lined up with a plan. And now after I was like, what’s the plan now? And I was really kind of flailing a little bit. And but but when I was meditating, you know, it was I was thinking like, I could just very well fail this year, if I do six hours of meditation every day, you know, like, cuz, you know, I’ve signed up for AP courses and all of these sorts of things. Yeah, it’s a pretty busy schedule. And, you know, I kind of said, like, you know, kind of praying to whomever might be listening, if there were any spirit guides, or God or Baba Ji, or whomever, like, anything you can do to help, you know, you know, I’m doing this because I think this is the purpose of life. And, you know, any help that can come along the way that makes this easier would be great. But there were no problems at all academically, I would read out read, like my psychology textbook and I and suddenly, I could really speed read very well. And there would be some sort of grokking that would happen this global Gropp grokking of the pages. And when I would sit down to take a test, I didn’t necessarily have all of the information in a folder in my mind, but when I would look at the answers the multiple choice questions, I would see the page that the answer was on. Yeah, I would see the number I would see I would see it all in my mind.

Rick Archer: PAGE 323 paragraph two, like Yeah, I

Ishtar: think I did most of the extra credit. I think I finished the year with 126% in that class. Hmm. And and that similar things in in an English class I, teacher, all of these teachers I had them were wonderful, wonderful mentors as well was, you know, I don’t think they put me on suicide watch but if they did they meant well, but they were there for me spiritually as well. Yeah. And and so I had an English course and, and I remember I had a five paragraph five page essay to type to turn in and I hadn’t done it yet because I was meditating. And I was I was I was meditating and so okay, but it helped me out and so 30 minutes an hour, 30 minutes before the class, I sat down with a computer and said, like, okay, and then all of a sudden, you know, kind of like a, like an Bruce Almighty when he’s all those emails. And it just, there was so much coherency in my mind, and it was so clear. Yeah, it was, it was just so effortless and then came out, turned it in. And it was a good paper, apparently. That’s great. So I was, you know, stuff like that isn’t, you know, kind of came into the life.

Rick Archer: Yeah, I mean, so like, an obvious question to ask was, would be, did all that meditation make you Spacey? Because it can be meditating that much, you can’t really function in an activity but it seems like you sort of plunged into activity when you weren’t meditating with such intensity with back rocks in your backpack and all this other stuff. Oh, that it kind of counterbalanced? The long meditations and grounded you focused you

Ishtar: that helped? Yeah, I mean, I certainly could be spacey also because I was I was attempting to be fasting. And the rest of the time I was thinking like maybe I could be a breatharian you know, I was you know proper Wisconsin sought, you know, bratwurst meat eater at the start. And I thought no, for various reasons. I need to I need to be vegetarian. And then I found out about veganism. I need to be vegan. And then I found out about fruitarianism and I thought I need to be a fruitarian then I it kind of escalated. I’ve

Rick Archer: experimented with all those things for terian ism. Yeah,

Ishtar: I just I wanted I wanted to whatever here, whatever the apogee or the apex seem to be I was I was kind of like, wired to try to get myself in position to to Yeah, so are you there?

Rick Archer: Yeah. I mean, you basically attitude was, I’ll do whatever it takes. Yeah, and I’m gonna do it. 200% Yeah, no, because I am so hot to try. Yeah, I’m just not gonna be wishy washy about this. That’s right. It’s a lot of the Bible. You know, Christ said, you know, either be hot or cold. If you’re lukewarm, I’ll spit you out of my mouth.

Ishtar: Yeah, yeah, let that I’d be single and that body be filled with light, you know, I felt like I’m going to be you know, if I’m going to do this, I’m going to do it. And also, I mean, having, you know, seeing seeing one’s mother, you know, kind of go through her life and pay attention to her struggles and the dynamics that have an end at 45 Also, you know, unex unexpectedly was was really put a pile of urgency over my whole life and from that point, and there was always a sense that you know, I could be living on borrowed time here I’m very visceral sense and I was Gather ye rosebuds while you may times 10 Yeah. And and so that that was always in the background pushing me and it was always like if if I could live you know, what is the highest life I could manifest here on Earth? And and then I will do whatever I can, you know, of course fall off the horse quite a few times. Yeah. But nonetheless the long range goal was to do whatever I can to sort of sort of get Baron to kind of connect with that and

Rick Archer: yeah, it’s I think it’s it it can it can be taken to extremes and one can become too fanatical motorcycle going by Yes. In here. Truck.

Ishtar: Nona. Yeah.

Rick Archer: But I think there is something to be said garbage garbage truck is something to be said for the sense of urgency. I’m always says, live your life as though you’re a bird on a branch that could break at any time. And I think I think when she says that I get the implication. She’s saying, Don’t be attached. She’s She’s not saying like, you know, be a fanatic. But she’s saying, Don’t be attached, because anything that you’re attached to could be pulled out from under you at night time. Right. But then others, you know, chakra and others have always talked about, you know, live each day as if it were your last and just do take care of the highest first, whatever the highest and most important best thing you can do do that. Yeah. Don’t waste time. Yes, time is precious. Yeah. Life flashes by Yeah. Yeah. Not that, you know, we can take the long run long view picture and there will be other lives and all but I don’t know, it’s like, there’s a precious opportunity, especially if you kind of realize what you’re realizing here. And you know, that there’s this thing that can be achieved. It’s a precious opportunity to actually achieve it to whatever extent you can That’s right. Yeah. And because if you don’t if you know it, and then you just brush it off, you may not know it next time, and you might have who knows how many lifetimes where you’re just sort of spinning your wheels,

Ishtar: right and you know, you don’t necessarily need the sense of urgency I I’ve known plenty people kind of, you know, folk they’d rather weren’t looking for it. Yeah, and you know, everybody’s different. But I do agree that in general, there’s a, there’s a views and a value to having that appreciation that, you know, right now, you know, carpe diem, know, seize the moment, seize the day, you know, Dead Poets don’t leave, I’ve always my, in my mind was always don’t leave anything on the table, you know, you never know if this is going to be your last sort of interaction with a particular person. So if you if you if you have love in there, if you have songs of your soul in there, don’t leave them on son, you know, sing them, and get them out. And that’s certainly been a big theme of my

Rick Archer: life. It again, just to sort of keep it balanced. It doesn’t mean like, do what the Buddha did is, you know, leave your wife and kids and go off and, you know, perform austerities or something one can within within one’s dharma. Yeah, we have a Dharma we do. And and it doesn’t mean abandon your dharma, and just try to adopt the dharma of somebody else, which you can’t perform anyway, probably. But within your dharma, you have wiggle room, you have leeway. And you know, there are you can always be sort of pushing the envelope in terms of, you know, what the best thing you can do the highest thing you can do the most evolutionary thing you can do within the realm of the possible in your life. Not in somebody else’s life, but in your life. Yeah.

Ishtar: Yeah. And, you know, I, I moved out of the aesthetic phase very much, which was interesting. Yeah, I was I was also a thin non aesthetic, too. So, you know, this is extra credit, probably. Yeah. But, but, but yeah, yeah. came out of that. Yeah. Yeah. And

Rick Archer: so, okay, so you were in high school, you’re meditating six hours a day? Doing okay. Academically, we do need sports on top of all that. Well, you said, you’re running up hills

Ishtar: with rocks. And yeah, that was that was that was a sport. I didn’t have much time. I didn’t have time for sports. And actually, actually, that the whole car accident thing, in many ways for a while, kind of knocked out my competitive drive. And that was kind of I just didn’t have the juice. To do it. I was so you know, which was to me disappointing. I was like, Hey, where is it? Yeah. And instead, I was like, okay, my, all my juices in now trying to go back into this sort of dimension, this inner dimension. And, you know, however, I could do that. So that that kind of changed, but I did. I was in, in our chat traveling jazz band. Oh, well, that’s what you were drummer. Yeah. Yeah, that that. That was great fun. And that that kind of gave me a good like physical coordinating activity to kind of balance out drumming was

Rick Archer: very integrating. Yes. You know, when you’re really been playing for an hour or something, and you’re really into it. The mind gets into this coherent right? Yeah, yeah. Do you ever see the care Hussein play the tablets? I don’t think so. World’s best tablet player. But you watch him play. And it’s just such lightning fast stuff. And you know that none, none of it’s random. It’s he’s like working within time signatures and beat signatures that have to be done a certain way. But it’s like going at the speed of light. And you think, wow, the level of coherence in his brain to be able to do that is unbelievable. Anyway, we’ve gone off a little mini tangents here, but that’s okay. That’s a tangent. So, okay, so what’s the next major phase? We’re getting serious here. We got our shirts off. Coats,

Ishtar: roll the sleeves up now to go to work.

Rick Archer: So, so what was the next phase for you after this whole high school phase? Well, I mean, this obviously didn’t go on forever.

Ishtar: Now. No. Well, you know, for all its merits that my crazy aesthetic path had some wasn’t totally fulfilling. No. And I think there I was, given the Book Autobiography of a Yogi believe it was my my future brother in law who gave it to me, if I remember correctly. And when I when I read that book that biggie for a lot of people, yes, yeah, that sounds something we’re dams broke. Yeah, in my heart, and worlds opened. And there was a sense that there were that I had been quite provincial. And what I thought was, were all the paths out there and all the practices and this the world,

Rick Archer: provincial meaning kind of narrow minded, narrow minded. Yeah. Yeah.

Ishtar: is fairly, fairly myopic. After I realized I was quite myopic after reading that book. And it opened things up for me and I, some, even without any proper kriya instruction, somehow the the tenor and the tambour of my meditations changed and there was this blissfulness that would that which was showing up Yeah, and there was this, the mind would would, would get quiet after a while, and but my heart would start to open and and, you know, noticeably, there’s a sense of my heart opening into the silence as well. And, you know, I would Yogananda made this big promise in the book if you’ve read it he’s he said, you know, if you just pray to Baba Ji, you know, earnestly he’ll answer you of course, from my you would you would guess that I would say like I’m just gonna pray to Baba Ji all the time. Yeah, okay. All right. Yogananda help this promises true. And I and I, you know, started would do that at the end of my earnestly at the end of my meditations, because I wanted to find my path. And I was shopping around for monasteries. I, it didn’t matter if it was Zen or Carmelite or wanted to join one. Yes, my heart said, like, you’ve got to go be amongst somewhere and I knew that that was true. And, and so I, you know, just by happenstance, this this same future brother in law named named Darshan, who gave me this book, new this practice called the shy as ascension. And, you know, at first I was maybe a little bit skeptical of it, because because, you know, the, the name and the tagline for praise, gratitude, love, and they’re talking about stress release as like stress release, I could take more, you know, that’s not interesting. It didn’t, it wasn’t always an initially presented to me as Enlightenment, which was the word that would have sent to my little

Rick Archer: mom. Well, the reason I mentioned stress release is that it was founded by a guy who was a teacher who had been a TM teacher who was on my course when I became a TM teacher. And he picked up some of the nomenclature kept some of the nomenclature and actually altered the mechanics. Yes, practices, I understand. So. And there too, and even in the TM movement, there was a sort of a split personality disorder in terms of, are we a university? Or are we an ashram? Is this a spiritual thing? Or is it a stressful these type of thing? Yeah, you know, and you try to when you gave lectures, you’d sort of try to present real practical things, you know, stress release, and better health and clearer, better behavior, and, you know, stuff like that. But then there’s sort of more esoteric teaching of all the higher states of consciousness that could be attained and so on. But you don’t hit people with that right off the bat.

Ishtar: Yeah. And that was one who wanted to get hit with that. Right. Yeah. So yeah, that was that was interested in Yeah. And, and so, you know, initially, I wasn’t going to do it. I liked I loved having him meditate with with me because I could feel that he was tapping into this presence. And one day I came home from I think, I founded the Lake Geneva Environmental Society, which just consisted of me picking up cigarette butts and garbage and putting into plastic bag and cool and I ruined our probably our hot dog tongs were ruined from any other use by doing that. So

Rick Archer: can you just do that around town? Yeah, yeah. Cuz

Ishtar: I, I didn’t, I thought I gotta do something. You know, I want to be out there showing no, like, tangibly, no making an example.

Rick Archer: You and I have so much in common. I don’t mean to keep talking about myself. But even though as I ride around town on a bicycle, if I see a can, or even sometimes a cigarette pack or something, I’ll just get off my bike, pick it up, put it in my little baskets. And keep writing. You know, just because it’s the kind of thing if everybody did it, we’d have a real clean town a real clean world. everybody’s not going to do it. But at least I’ll do it. Yeah,

Ishtar: that’s right. That my record was 1200 Cigarette butts counted in a day in a day. Yeah. Yeah, I was I was astounded. It got that high. But I was just like, just around like maybe 10 city blocks criss crossed, you know, that was my area that day. And I would go into no pickup cans from the stream. And one time, it was like frozen over and I was reaching out to get a cab. And, you know, I actually felt quite good, but it was quite cool. You used to call him out. So I stripped up my clothes off down to my boxer shorts. And And thankfully, they were friendly with me at the local Starbucks fireplace to warm up. Let me bring my my close up in front of the fireplace. Because I was already kind of crazy. Yeah. So like, Oh, let the let the crazy meditating environmentalist. So great. They gave me a complimentary Chai that day to say, so thank you to that decision. Yes, at 16 years ago. So I came home from one of these forays. And he asked me like, do you want to do you want to come to a course on Friday, go up to Minneapolis, and learn ascension. And he said like, like, there’s 300 extra dollars that kind of showed up in my bank account for it. And when he I was like, notorious for not doing anything but my schedule, I was really rigid, you know, and like, I felt, if you’re an enemy of my schedule, you are an enemy of Enlightenment. You know, it’s very, you know, kind of harsh there. But I found myself totally like, yeah, I surprised myself like what, you know, like, Yep, yeah, we’re doing it. And so you know, that, you know, a few days later, we go off and do this course. And we go into the basement of a chiropractic office, and there’s, you know, maybe 10 people down there, and there’s two teachers wearing out sort of monochromatic garb. And right away, I was going like, Oh, my God, you know, like, like getting into getting into here. I’m scared. I was skeptical. The word workshop, it sounded like something for middle aged people wanted to like have some frivolous distraction and non serious activity, but I was hoping I was kind of trying to go with the spirit of Gandhi, or the spirit of like an open minded spiritual scientist, and that was what I want. You know what I had about me, it’s like, I’m just going to we’re going to be an empiricist and we’re just going to do it exactly. easily tell me and see what happens. And so I was still quite skeptical. And as the teachers were kind of explaining how to do the practice, once I saw the first technique, which was like, that’s going to work, they were like, and it’ll even work if you if you’re critical, like me skeptical, and they just both looked at me at the same moment. It’s like, yeah, good. You know, I said that, you know, as a teenager, we did a meditation course, you know, a little irreverence. And it did. And I

Rick Archer: sort of worked out what, what, oh, yes.

Ishtar: Well, I was, didn’t take for me, and this isn’t for everybody. But for me, it was within 30 seconds. I mean, at first I was, it’s an effortless practice. And it’s kind of a Mantra based practice. So you, you think the technique and then you allow your mind to do what it does. And when you’re like TM, when, then you come back to the technique, and most of the quality of my thoughts were, this is stupid, you know, or this ain’t gonna work. And all of a sudden, I found even while my mind was having this thoughts that this vast silence, just kind of over overwhelmed, me overtook me hourly Roser I fell into it, and my body was completely relaxed. And it was not getting that much relaxation in all this aesthetic stuff. It really wasn’t. And it was, Oh, my God, what is going on with my leg? No. And, and that basically, you know, lasted more or less than that range through the rest of the weekend. And, and it was incredible. I was I was really stunned. And, and I, I kept up with it. And I think by the end of the weekend, you know, I was I was asking them at the end of the course, do you have a monastery that I could join, I could come and join, I could be ready within 48 hours, I just need to go home, I settled most of my affairs, you know, I’ve got my bag packed, you know, and then they were like, what, what? Well, we know like, you know, like, No, we actually it gets sold, you know, and I was like, Oh, shucks, but but here’s some numbers of people you can call we think they’re doing something similar is like, Okay, thank you. And they’re like, don’t do it for six hours. So I’m gonna do it for six hours. And they’d like, you know, and they’re like, Well, you, it could be intensive. I said, like, I am the intensity, something like that, or something like that. I can handle it, you know, I am your father. Yeah. Yeah, you know, I was, you know, really raring to go there. And so I, but I was also like, I’m gonna give this you know, like, a few weeks and see, maybe I stumbled into some sort of anomalous kind of high, you know, maybe, maybe we’ll see if there’s, like, what happens with the honeymoon, if it’s a honeymoon period, or not wanted to kind of give it some time. And it was just, it didn’t take many days after for me to know, like, Oh, my God, no, this is the path I had been praying for this, this kind of has, how to explain it, this, there was a sense my whole life and me that have a connection, almost like a song or an energetic signature, or something that was calling to me, you know, impelling my life that that I had seen in visions as a child or had kind of felt under the surface. And what I ran into this, that was it, you know, there was a sense of that was it and like, there was a before there was a sense of kind of being scattered. And, and but now it was like, No, I think this is quite my North Star. So I’m going to give it a shot and see what, see what happens. And so

Rick Archer: so you join some mastery. Yes, yeah, it was,

Ishtar: it was not long after, it took me about, I think, three months from the time I learned to move out to Seattle with my sister and my brother in law and get a little apartment and I was going to my plan was I was going to work the summer in Seattle. And you know, give it a little bit more time and then see if I see if I could go down to this sort of ashram monastery type meditation center in on the Oregon coast. And only my heart was saying, like, no, just do it now. You know, like, I would I had the sense of what am I doing here, I’m just treading water, I’m just time wasting here, I just need to go. So I, I paid I paid them two or three months rent, you know, cuz I wasn’t planning on that being there. And I came down to interview at this center in Oregon, and you know, kind of, with the, with the idea in my mind, like, well, if they kick me out, I shall just camp in the forest and show them my, you know, my dedication, because that’s how I thought it worked, you know, in the books and movies, and I didn’t have to do that. And, you know, that was right. When I write when I came there. It was kind of clear, you know, that that? Oh, my God, you know, each person I each face I’d meet was like, Oh my God. I know. You know, like, this is like your little soul family. Yeah. Yeah. It was powerful. And it was it’s like

Rick Archer: could also have been that there was some dawning unity and you’re seeing seeing the self in all beings. And so there’s that familiarity.

Ishtar: That could be the case as well. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, I certainly had an I still had some neuroses that I developed. Although I was told I was always told, like, I would tell people Oh, I’ve got to have a lot of stress. You know, like, I’m sure I have a lot of stress. And then people would laugh at me and say, like, you don’t have any stress, you know, or whatever.

Rick Archer: But and by that we mean Vasanas, like, accumulated impressions. Yeah, in the nervous system. That’s all from life experiences. And you were saying you must have a lot of it stored there.

Ishtar: You don’t? Yeah, yeah. Yeah, I was convinced I had an awful lot of work to do. You know, I have to, like, roll my sleeves up. And you know, really, you know, be earnest about all this? And, yeah, yeah.

Rick Archer: So how long were you in this place? And how did it go?

Ishtar: Well, it, it went very well. They just just like with with TM, they, they do these long, very long in residence retreat programs, for I wasn’t quite really interested in being a meditation teacher at the time. I just wanted to get enlightened, you know. And so if I could be in a, in a center for many years, that sounded like a great time and, you know, chop wood and do all that sort of stuff. But they suggested, well, you know, if that’s your desire, you should do this long course. It’s like, okay, you know, we’re dovetailing. Then it was a teacher training course. Yeah, yeah. And I didn’t really have the money to pay for it. But I, they were so wonderful in offering me kind of works, works work exchange program, which was really cool. Because that also matched a very interesting experience that happened the year before. I had been, I wasn’t yet clear that I was going to go be a monk, I thought, I’m gonna go to some college. And I’ll just meditate as much as I can there. And that was the idea. But so I was walking into Walmart in Lake Geneva, and I was I just had the intuition to ask myself, I wonder where I’m going to be a year from now. And then. So by surprise, I had this full sort of visual answer with captioning. And it was, while you’re going to be working in a mostly vegetarian cafe, living with a bunch of monks, many of whom were the color white, and the soul came to came to me was very detailed is like, you will start out as the dishwasher, and then you’ll be progressively trained to do more and more of the jobs and eventually study with a chef and be taught to cook like you’ve always wanted. And, and I was like, you know, I saw that experience, it was like unlikely, and I just kind of through it just kept on with being a happy sort of 17 year old. And then so when I was on the phone call with this group in Oregon, the last thing that my interviewer mentioned was, oh, and by the way, we’re about to open up a cafe, maybe you could have a job there. And I was like, I didn’t want to tell him because I thought maybe if I told him that I’d get kicked out, I too, but you know, I kind of you know, thought that goes like I was just that’s just a coincidence that I think it’s probably just a coincidence, you

Rick Archer: know, but I should have known but then I should have, you know, because this kind of stuff has been I know,

Ishtar: when I was still such a rationalist. I didn’t want I wanted to kind of, in some ways, I wanted to be able to engage with the credible world. Yeah, and kind of build bridges. So I had to always be as scientific as I could. But yeah, I probably ought to have known. Yeah. And so then it was I was doing my sort of apprenticeship program, my work study thing. And I was at the kitchen window shopping one day. And when I looked up, as I’ve been always been a very visual person, I’ve seen things before they happen. It was the exact scene from that Walmart vision. Like

Rick Archer: I was, I see what it was like it’s deja vu thing, but

Ishtar: so strong deja vu times 10. And I was and that that there threw me into this presence. And I was in that for especially thick for like two days, you know, just like whoa, you know? And interesting. Yeah, yeah. So yeah, I

Rick Archer: remember some line from Maurice Sheaths commentary on the Gita where he talks about how the fish the future can cast its vision upon the you know, pure of heart. You can actually have clear prognostications like that.

Ishtar: Yeah, it seems to come with the important the important nodal things, especially in my life, that the big directional directional things and that was, it was almost

Rick Archer: like an opportunity to have a confirmation because you’ve had the vision and then sure enough, here it is, and okay, this must have been yet we’re supposed to go

Ishtar: Yeah, yeah, I was. I was always, you know, kind of an amateur pair of psychologists. So those sorts of confirmations that would blow my logical mind were especially interesting to me to have it so that I couldn’t really describe it in any explain any other way.

Rick Archer: So you cook your chef there in this cafe when you think you said there was a Mexican chef that was your mentor? Yes,

Ishtar: yes, he named named Yogananda.

Rick Archer: Does this mean you can cook really good Mexican food? Well, it means that prove that to me Well, okay.

Ishtar: I think my education in some ways was a little uneven, but I will say that I make a wonderful chill Achilles I could not keep the chili kilos will knock your socks off. So

Rick Archer: I don’t even know what those are. But well, he may have to return to

Ishtar: chips and go to turn into cooking show but yeah, sauteed onions and leftover tortilla chips and some scrambled eggs. You cook them together and I like him with the salsa bear day. The good with the Malay too,

Rick Archer: and we should have that for dinner tonight. Yeah, I’m thinking lunched today are so good. You

Ishtar: know, it’s kind of good peasant worker food. So much of the best food worker. Yeah, me too. Yeah.

Rick Archer: So okay, so how long How long did you stay in that? I was? What did you learn there? Which was yeah, how do you change there,

Ishtar: I changed immensely. And I was I was there for six and a half years, kind of both on the, in the center on the Oregon coast. But then we also had sort of satellite meditation centers where, you know, a lot of students had learned and wanted to have teachers there full time to kind of, you know, be be more available. And so, I was in this restaurant until we until we sold it. I of course, I had that six month long in residence Teacher Training Program, which was wonderful. And that the transformation that happened there is difficult to describe in words adequately, but I would, you know, I would come to some days, you know, go down to meditate, maybe after after doing yoga asanas, and sun salutations, go back to the meditation room and be down for nine hours or something. And when I get up at six, or whenever the dinner

Rick Archer: was just sat there without a break for nine hours sometimes

Ishtar: Yeah, or, and, you know, sometimes, you know, get up and get up, go to the bathroom. But especially with two gallons of water a day, then I was told to stop that. It’s like, it’s okay, if you only do one, is it you Sure? Yes. Like, okay, all right, I’ll only do one

Rick Archer: can actually be bad for you drinking too much water.

Ishtar: So I’ve been told I’ve done a lot of things that ought to be bad for me, that kind of survived him. Luck was on my side. So So yeah, I that the teacher training was incredibly transformative. And it also helped that, that before and I had had very clear experiences through the meditation of, of, you know, what, in TM, you’d call the transcendent, and what my system you call the ascendant or the presence, the unmanifest. And so going into the, the teacher training was just just exploring that and sinking into it and deepening it. In some days, I would wake up in the morning and have this feeling that could only describe as it feels like, you know, two lifetimes have just vanished. You know, like, I didn’t know they were there, but they’re gone.

Rick Archer: Like you work through that much. Yeah, yeah. Some say that. Some say you can work through lifetimes of karma and a single meditation, if it’s deep enough,

Ishtar: you’d see I would feel so fundamentally lighter, that those would be the words, you know, I would use to describe it. Yeah. Yeah. And, you know, all sorts of those. I know that some of the things you talk about on this show, a lot of those things sort of, kind of happened and transpired at the beginning of that course. And, and, and then, you know, after that I was must have been for four more years after that teaching meditation and traveling around and living in the centers and, and going to places that I had as a teenager with lots of wanderlust that always wanted to go, but I gave up my big desire baskets, and I just want this desire. And you can have this and then I found that Oh, my God, that’s the thing I wanted to do. Like school? Yes. Like Switzerland? Yes. Yeah, yeah. And so I had had a strange sudden obsession. Well, maybe it’s not strange, because it’s a beautiful place was Switzerland at age 16. And I’d let that go. And then, here I am, 20 years old, and I’m invited to go for a two week teaching Tour in, in Switzerland and, and I didn’t have a passport. And this was another little miracle that went real fast. I think it went real fast. And I did all the things right. And, and I went to the Lincoln County courthouse to get the passport. And I was gonna pay for it expedited. But then they told me, I needed it the next day, I didn’t know. And they said, Well, this, there’s no way this is gonna get to you the next day is like three or 4pm. And, and that’s because we have to send it to the Seattle Passport Agency, they have to process it, they have to stamp it, then they have to mail it to you, at your cafe in Lincoln city. If you if you expedite it here, the best we could do for you. We think it’s three days. Yeah. And I was so like, destroy a plane ticket or

Rick Archer: something. Yeah,

Ishtar: that plane ticket already did. I acted and I begun an act as if it were so and so. But I was up. I was like, Well, you know, if I if I can’t go, then I can’t go. But I have faith that you know, whatever needs to happen is going to happen. I think the profuse like, they thank you for whatever you can do. I appreciate it. I really hope it shows up tomorrow, nevertheless. And that’s what happened. And I still don’t quite know how that happened. I don’t know bureaucracies to normally work that fast. But it was 11am the next day in the cafe and there were people there. But when I got this package with my name on it from the Seattle Passport Agency, i i definitely said Holy fuck. Really loud. And then No, so join us. So the guy was going with it like, oh, no, no, no, no, it’s like, it’s like, it’s okay. I know you’re joyful. This is great, you know, and so I’m going to Switzerland and the you know, when I got there, it was like another one of those weird nodal points of deja vu Destiny times 10. And somehow I was just completely in a strange bliss by just being there and teaching meditation and being on liquid CERN and all of that, all of that sort of stuff it was just hitting me from so many different angles. And later I got to go back again two years later and live there for about a month and a half and, and had a similar similar ly profound experience and was sent off to different places like Helsinki, Finland and, and Hong Kong and, and Michigan being in Michigan and and so that was kind of my own sort of Shangri La experience for all those years getting to get him to do that. And then

Rick Archer: it’s pretty neat. Yeah. Tell that experience about when you were in burnin. Oh, Switzerland looked up at the cliff. Yeah, that’s right. I used to meditate up there on that in that facility up on that cliff and and Bruna right,

Ishtar: and I may very well have been picking up on your wave. So anyways, that was years late earlier, the early 70s might have been a battery up there. But I was I was sitting in this lovely Lakeside Cafe beautiful day, a little kind of sort of a concrete Jetty out into the water. And I was my seat was oriented right toward this kind of bluff on over Lake Lucerne. And suddenly, I was I was tearing up. And I was we can do it. No. Tears of joy. And my heart was, was like a sun was shining through my whole being. And there was this deep sense of being home, you know, of, you know, like, you know, looking up at that bluff, and it was like, oh my god, it’s that I’m home. You know, and, and I saw this kind of like light coming up off of the cliff and I asked my house like, what’s up there? Like, he’s there. You know, is there anything going on up there? And they’re like, yo, yo, does this know that that is the Swiss accent? Yeah. Sounds Swedish, but it’s not that, uh, you know, that is the old Maharishi place. You know, the Maharishi people they call TM people in the Maharishi people used to, you know, meditate live up there. That is a C Liseberg. Yeah. And I was like, oh, you know, and that and that was just okay. All right,

Rick Archer: incidentally, at the foot of that cliff down by the lake is a place called route D, which is supposedly where Switzerland was founded, and also supposedly where the Apple was shut off away. Yeah. tilshead. Yeah. Yeah, the story goes, yeah,

Ishtar: yeah. The fact that the foundation is Switzerland right there.

Rick Archer: Yeah. Yeah, that’s pretty cool. What year were you born?

Ishtar: 1983. Good year,

Rick Archer: then. Just don’t wonder if you had been somebody in the TM movement who had died? You know?

Ishtar: Yeah, maybe maybe, yes. I never felt that I had a 20. It’s a 20th century life. I just never, you know, I felt like I’m here in the 20th century. Okay.

Rick Archer: Interesting. But, okay, so obviously, then the monastery and the traveling and all that stuff, that phase came to an end, somehow that

Ishtar: had to Yeah, I wasn’t expecting it, it kind of, I felt like I was, I was having these experiences where I was, I was more and more regularly feeling like I was in everything. Yeah, I would look at myself in other people’s eyes. Or I would, you know, like, see people and that was as if I was looking at me. And there was I felt as if I could be up till three in the morning, writing these, like newsletters and just felt like I was being powered by, by by a bunch of juice, like something plugged into my back. And it was just going and it was just so much joy doing living this life. I was so joy, so joyous to do that. And then all of a sudden, now, you know, I would take these midnight walks to kind of kind of like, chill out and and from my heart, I would I started getting this some sort of invitation to like, you should get fired. You know, it’s like what you should yeah, you should, you should get yourself kicked out, get yourself kicked out of the organization. I was like, oh, and it was coming from the same sort of place. And I trusted my whole life and had the same resonance of, you know, that’s what you really ought to do. And just, but I wanted to fight it. Yeah, I was like, no, no, no, you can’t be serious. You know, it’s like when you shake the eight ball, like I’m going to do this again. It was pretty insistent. And I just kind of pushed that away because I really thought like I need to be I felt I did feel a sense of safety being part you know, being attacked tethered to an organization, teachers who had in really more consciousness than me, I had a deep respect for lineage for the value of of like, you know, passing things down as purely as possible. And all the things that sort of attend that I really, you know, appreciated that but at the same time this thing my heart was tingling no get kicked out. Yeah. And and so I think I stayed about a year past my expiration date. I think that was it. And I just And it was funny because after I ignored that I was on such a sort of expanded track it just it just imploded, you know, or it just, you know, think you’re ignoring it because I was ignoring it. I was fighting it, things got gummy. And you know, I thankfully, years before I’d made made a promise to myself that if I ever found myself as kind of a malcontent, if I ever if this, if this somehow was no longer my own Shangri La, if I was not expanding, if I was not, you know, like, able to expand every day and kind of shed the stuff that might accumulate, then it was time for me to go. And I found myself in that place. And it was hard, but I was like, Yep, I’m gonna honor that promise, I don’t want to do it, because man life might really suck, you know,

Rick Archer: interesting. I did it yet another similarity between you and I, because I got kicked out of the TM movement. And, and, and I did it. I mean, it happened because I was just sort of, I was getting involved with ARMA. And I was, I was just sort of doing things like sending out little emails and stuff about little amo events in town, which I kind of knew in the back of my mind could get me kicked out of the TM movement. But it’s like, if it happens, it happens. You know, maybe it should happen. I don’t care. I’m just gonna do this. And I’ll still go to the dome and meditative if they want me to. But sure enough, they got wind of it kicked me out. These are almost like our typical patterns or something. Yeah, both follow up, like tracks. So many similarities that we’ve come up with so far.

Ishtar: Same song structure, maybe different notes. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, well, that’s,

Rick Archer: maybe they’re just sort of reflective of human psychology and how it often plays out in groups and spiritual organizations and with seekers and stuff, you know, fanatical people, and administrative types. And, you know, all this different stuff.

Ishtar: I mean, it’s funny too, because, like, part of the reason why as Vaughn or as I learned to call them MSI gods, all I ever knew him as, you know, part of the, you know, in some ways, part of the genesis of my particular meditation teaching was often presented as moving away from sort of the rigidities or maybe the kind of some of the cultish aspects or facets of the over controlling aspects of the TM world. And then I found that those, you know, kind of crept into that ascension world. Yeah, and I would find myself, maybe, maybe they were totally unimportant arguments, but I found myself becoming so argumentative about stuff that I felt was groupthink or stuff that I felt, you know, like this. This isn’t the important stuff, you know, this isn’t good. This isn’t a good direction. And, and I started to find myself in the minority there. Yeah. And, you know, maybe sometimes characterized as you saying that because you have stress, or because you know, you’ve got a

Rick Archer: Yeah, same thing you just shot here run stressing that. Yeah, yeah, you’re off if your behavior was not kind of Kosher. And some Yeah, at least according to the group mentality. Oh, you’re just done stressing? Yeah,

Ishtar: yeah. And maybe some of that some of that might have been true, because I think I’d certainly was causing myself friction by ignoring the necessity probably to follow the Holy Spirit and leave. But, you know, that was what had to happen. And, and so I I kind of, yeah, well,

Rick Archer: you know, I mean, when the chick hatches, it doesn’t, it’s not really helpful for the chick, or for the other eggs for him to stay in the incubator. Yeah, you know, it’s time to get out of the gutter. He’s just gonna cause trouble there. And, and kind of restrict his own growth. Yeah, yeah. So there’s times to be in groups and movements and this and that, and there’s times to leave. That’s right. And, and a lot of people leave, they leave with sour grapes, you know, they just throughout the just reject the whole thing is having been a complete waste of time. But I think maybe sometimes it has been, but I think it’s usually a more healthy attitude to say, Well, I’m grateful for everything I learned in that. And I’m on to my next phase, but those who are still in it, I wish them well and stay in as long as they want. There. Seems to be working for them.

Ishtar: Right. Right. Same Yeah, I have. I’m in an interesting position, internally, where I have all this love and appreciation for somebody that people who were my mentors, were who were kind of I looked up to, and and were there for me as almost like a, you know, surrogate family in many ways. Second spiritual family. And at the same time, there’s not really much contact and some some of my best friends. former best friend. Yeah, yeah, I’m still I still consider myself friend, but from what I would see and what I hear in the emails and messages sent to me, maybe it’s not, you know, mutual all the time. Yeah. You know that the hand is always open. And this side is kind of a black sheep a little bit. Yeah. It seems to be the case. Yeah. Yeah. But yeah, some people you know, that that monastic experience was essential. Yeah, perfect. For me. It was definitely in my script. Good face for your life. Wonderful. Yeah, it was it was everything I wanted. It’s so much more. And so many experiences that I thought conservatives have, I was going like, well, this could take three lifetimes. So you better start on it now. And to get to certain experiences, and then well, you know, is that what I had read about? And, you know, and wow, I didn’t think that it would happen.

Rick Archer: What were some of the experiences and you know, we’ve been talking about the external circumstance right now, right? I mean, what were some of the subjective stages of advancement. i Oh, hello.

Ishtar: Hello, oh, keep going with the interview. They keep going. Yeah, well, so I would say certainly having little doggie here. Certainly having so much activity and working in that kitchen, it was a wonderful, wonderful ground for experiencing the silence while being very dynamically engaged. And so the witnessing, witnessing was very strong right at point and

Rick Archer: it’s a good stabilization that, you know, to see if it can maintain and to learn how to maintain right in the midst of intense activity. Yes, it was a beautiful, you’re making an effort to maintain No,

Ishtar: no, there was no pain, there was no, there was no sense of like a weird dissociative type. No, it’s just natural. And it would kind of sometimes sneak up on me, I’d be the ticket window. And I’d be kind of considering like, when to put these eggs in and when to start this and doing all the gymnastics you have to do as a chef at lunch hour. But but then I would notice Whoa, you know, what is? I’ve been factored in silence this whole time. Right? And it just kind of on automatic do Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. And then once I would appreciate that, then it was kind of deepen and become thick and I would then start to kind of as soon as I would go in one of those doors I would start to be in the whole restaurant or kind of feel into people and feel into the food and, and you know, kind of be in that space. And it was a wonderful beautiful dance, especially as one of my best friends from Finland. He was kind of my co cook and he did the cold side. I did the hot side. And we I said let’s make it a show kitchen. And and we were really tuned into each other and like it was a ballet he would frisbee tortillas to me and I catch him behind my book and stuff. And I would flip things from the from the saute pan onto the plate and

Rick Archer: people are watching

Ishtar: now they couldn’t see it.

Rick Archer: For more like that Seattle fish Mark Oh, no, no, in the fish, it would

Ishtar: have been nice. If we had an audience, I would have liked that. It would have been fun, but but he was a Wushu train before. And so he was quite good with his body, like as a dancer. And so we just did it for fun. Because there was a, we had a shared joy, because we were both sort of tuned into the silence together. Yeah, knew it. And it was a wonderful kind of play to just just for fun. So that that was one thing that I never sought out awareness during sleep, because I frankly, I’d never read about it. So then took me by surprise when it started happening. Yes, yeah, that was that was I was like, Actually, I didn’t like it. Because many of the times, it was like, I felt like I was stuck inside in the NERT. Log. And I remember I would try to like, it felt as if my mind was asleep, too, which of course later would produce the question. Well, if you’re aware, and your mind is asleep, how do you know? Exactly and, and but I would remember I was like, almost like knocking on my mind. And my mind was going like, like that that’s the best I could describe the thought of nothing. And I was like, hey, you know, like, I’d like to move this body, you know, but it’s like, and then I just would have to give up because you know, nothing would happen. And I would spend however long it was just kind of being in awareness. And I didn’t like it. So I said, if anybody can just like not have that happen, that would be great. And so it kind of stopped. Yeah. And yeah, because I like sleeping a lot.

Rick Archer: Yeah, I’ve talked to friends who have had it start and then have wanted it to stop. And it eventually did. I’ve talked to other friends like Harry alto, who, you know, says he hasn’t slept in 60 years because his body has loved, but the inner awareness just doesn’t get overshadowed or clouded by sleep. Yeah. So I don’t know, maybe it’s optional, or whatever. Maybe it depends on the individual’s makeup. But it’s the thing. And sometimes when people first start having it, they think there’s something wrong with them, you know, think they have insomnia or something. But it’s just a matter of the inner awareness having been sort of enlivened to the extent that the Thomas the dullness of sleep can overshadow it, right? Yeah. And by definition, most people watching this are familiar with the notion that pure awareness is a continuum, it just is always there. Whereas the cycles of waking, dreaming and sleeping kind of go on. And one can reach a stage at which one is aware of that continuum. 24/7.

Ishtar: Yeah, yeah. And then there were also fun experiences with what, at least in our little collective, maybe it was in properly named Ritam Bhara Pragya. Or I might say, manifesting things. But that’s only a small facet of a greater sort of context. So maybe not to use that word, but I’ll just say crazy, weird manifestations. That’s what I’ll use. And so just

Rick Archer: Ritam Bhara. Pragya means that level of intellect which knows only truth, and it’s said that if one can function on that level, then when whatever one wishes to no one will know, with truthfulness and certainty, and also certain things can be accomplished if you can learn to function on that level. So to proceed,

Ishtar: right, so one day again, in this wonderful cafe that I had dreamed up, you know, as a 17 year old that proved again, to be sort of the the witness of America. I was in the kitchen with my budget

Rick Archer: at the end of the unit. Exactly.

Ishtar: I’ve always thought of the unit was the checkers guide. Exactly that that was always in my mind about the Magical Mystery School, which owns the Restaurant at the End of the Universe. But, but I was just there, it was near closing. And suddenly it just came came through me. I was I was in this, we’re in the silence pretty much all day. And then it just emerged out of it right through my mouth. Like, like, Wouldn’t it be cool if like, 20 people, because we never had a table that large? I think we had an eight person party once. So like, wow, it was way beyond any kind of reasonable expectations of wouldn’t be cool if 20 people just walked in the cafe soon. And then it kept going. I was like, yes, in fact, we will. We will. We will. We will be so quick in the kitchen that we will get get everything out within five minutes, and we’ll beat the drink orders. We’ll have to take them out ourselves going and then I stopped and like Mike, my Coke was like, Yeah, okay. And then Then I heard a voice, a phone ring outside. And then the voice of of our colleague and waitress and bar person. She said, like, you better get ready. Because 20 People are about to come and in five minutes, and I thought she heard me I was like, yeah, very funny. No, like, she like play jokes. I was like, you could hear everything that was said in that kitchen. Like very funny. Yeah. Right. And then she came up sick. No, you know, I’m serious. Like, you really better get ready. It’s like, Well, okay. And then I couldn’t believe it. And so I still couldn’t believe it. And then when 20 People stream the door, I was something dropped. You know, that’s what it felt like is like, you know, it’s on. And I was we were so in the silence that I don’t know how we did it. I still it was everything went slow motion. And, and I had we had like four appetizers and 20 plates, hot and cold. And, you know, we were it was just the most efficient thing I’ve ever done anything in my life and the art of cooking. Yeah, yeah. Zen in the art of shorter cooking. And, and we had to carry him out. That was true. Because they were like at the bar. They’re like, mixing the drinks. And when we took them out to the table, they were shocked to how fast it was. Yeah, they we’ve got one accusation half mile. Yeah, like, you’ve just given us stuff that you you already cooked? No, it’s like no. And it came out with like, No, we just made this right now, you know. So, you know, it was very a lot of intensity coming out. They were like, Whoa. And they gave us a huge tip. They clean their plates. And they were like, Whoa, that was that was the best video we’ve ever had. And we clear them out and clear that and then that but then it happened again, like right after I’ve like up same day, while same day for 10 minutes later after we cleared the table. 10 minutes on it, but kind of gamblers streak or something, huh? Would it be cool if 18 People came in and it happened again? 1818 We sent them back there because that’s the only place you could sit people. Yeah, parties of that size was in the back garden. And then 18 came accept only then my prognostications were like, only this time, since we’re almost out of prepared food, it’s going to be a little bit more difficult. You’re going to have to come in here and probably be chopping potatoes, ad hoc and what we’re almost cleaning ourselves out of certain food items. And that’s what happened. And yeah, we serve them with the same sort of bliss. And then I was about to say it again. And then they’re like, we’re closed. It’s like, Okay, you’re right. We’re out of food. You know, we have to restock what you wish for. Yeah, what it was wonderful. And I think part of the reason I mentioned that now is that I had always wanted an experience of that magnitude, which I absolutely would have difficulty rationalizing in a random universe. Yeah, I’d wanted something that big to kind of counter, you know, my mind’s arguments, and I was given to me that day,

Rick Archer: there are a lot of stories in the Vedic literature about this kind of thing where some Yogi will make a vow, or say such and such it’s gonna happen. And because you know that, that Ritam Bhara Pragya, that level of intellect, which knows only truth because the yogi is so truthful, and so in tune with absolute truth, that it has to happen because he said it had to happen. So it happens. And like, there’s a lot of cool stories about it. I mean, sometimes it’s like, you know, like the whole Srimad Bhagavatam was based on a story where this yogi was sitting in Samadhi. And, and some king came along and wanted to talk to him and ask him a question or something he ignored. The king isn’t somebody didn’t know the king was there. And so the the king got really mad and picked up a dead snake with a stick or something and drooped it around the yogi shoulders. So the yogi’s son comes home and sees this insult that has been done to his father and says, Whoever did this is going to die of snakebite in a week. And then his father finally comes out of Samadhi and takes the snake off, I guess, and, you know, and kind of comes to realize what his son has said, and it’s like, oh, no, you said this. It’s got to have to happen, you know, because because of who you are, and you know, the level from which you operate. And so the King gets wind of it and realized I was a jerk. I shouldn’t have done that. Well, I’m gonna die anyway, how can I make good use of this week? And so he gets together? Who was it not or there’s somebody who ended up reciting the whole Srimad Bhagavatam. And the whole thing came out in the week, and it was King got enlightened, I guess. And then snake came along and bit him and the story, but but it’s the thing about Yeah. If you’re operating from that level, with that degree of truthfulness in your life and in your consciousness, what you say, has come through. Yeah, yeah. Anyway, yeah. Okay, so you left there?

Ishtar: Yeah, left there. Yeah, yeah. And I kind of gave myself a hard time after that to be told. I mean, I, I didn’t leave with like that many sour grapes. Yeah, but I did leave with some questions. You know, I was, I certainly even though I tried never to sort of put anybody up on a, some sort of idealized pedestal of perfection, I saw the dangers in that. Nevertheless, you know, it was it was so easy to you want that and to really know want. And, you know, to want this organization that so much of your young life has been part of to, to kind of be perfect, and I didn’t think it necessarily was, so when I left I questioned so disillusioned. Yeah, I questioned my own experience. And, you know, I said, like, well, all these things, all these things I’ve experienced, or they just, you know, they’re more than really real or important, because I would also look at the world and see like, well, I don’t know, when when I meet people, they don’t seem to think, you know, there’s still too much going on there. So maybe it’s not, you know, and maybe, no, I started so young that I also I didn’t have that much contrast, you know, a contrasting experiences to kind of

Rick Archer: think that’s an interesting point, some of us managed to mess ourselves up and get ourselves pretty miserable. And so then we start on the spiritual path. And the contrast is like, such a

Ishtar: really, yeah, yeah, I feel like I almost kind of like, even though I had some, some pain and things that were there. All in all, I kind of felt like I was had a really good life, sort of, gently, kind of, mainly, gently moved into moving into that dimension. And so I was like, Well, you know, I, you know, sometimes I would be jealous, a little bit jealous. But like, a lot of my, my friends, fellow monks were like, in their 50s or 60s, they’re like, Well, I had a job in corporate America. And family, let me tell you, and they after I was really impressed, like, wow, they’ve they’ve lived life, you know, they’ve, they’ve had something there. And I haven’t, you know, I’m just, you know, what, what have I been doing? And so I thought, Well, I’m gonna see what it’s like to try to be like, I want to be a normal personal person, you know, and, and I didn’t really have many wild oats, I really felt inclined to so or needed to so but for me, the wild it was, I’m going to go to university, you know, and like, I’m gonna go to spend some time with my sister and then go to university and then agree of some get a degree of some kind, but I do. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. And maybe I’ll maybe I’ll go, you know, try to see if I can revive some of that old life. And, you know, and it turned out that it was ultimately a good exercise and suffering, I think at the university. Yeah. Yeah. are trying, I was trying to the whole trying to sort of deny a lot of what I had experienced, you know, for the purposes of the experiment, actually, you wanted to do the experiment purely. But it was it was painful. It was like trying to fit into a size two shoe after being the size 10. Yeah. And and so they did end up studying. I ended up with a degree in philosophy. So earned it, I earned it.

Rick Archer: Yeah, that must have been rough. I mean, here you are sort of deeply experienced. Yeah. And you know, the things that a lot of these philosophies are just kind of groping to, to understand and, and, you know, skimming around the surface with all kinds of complex theories. Whereas you’ve already gone down to the depth of the lake and have had the experience, it must have been a little bit difficult to sit in classrooms with all these people discussing this stuff. Yeah,

Ishtar: it may be it did make me depressed. You couldn’t

Rick Archer: just say, Hey, dudes, I’ve experienced this, I know

Ishtar: that we’re not going to do anything. Yeah, I can’t do anything. And actually, at one point, I made the sort of like, res, and I’m kind of a talker, I like, various I’d like to talk with people, but I sort of decided I’m not going to tell any anybody anything about me unless they solicit. And I figured, well, someone’s going to ask me and I realized how I’m curious people seem to be like, I was like, I realized how I when I, when I would talk with people, I love to get to know people I want to Yeah, probe and question and see what they’re

Rick Archer: bound that way to touch their essence or asking them questions right away. Yeah,

Ishtar: yeah, I want to I want to experience people at their essence at the bottom of the lake, we’re in that in that place of unity. But I found I was so I was a little bit maybe naive, because I found that wow. You know, nobody is nobody has time for anything, but they’re all but everything that’s going on their head and just I was I was so I thought in university that maybe people would be curious and be joyful and be, you know, you know, if that conscious be like wild and free enough to be fluid and, and, and kind of exploring, you know,

Rick Archer: have you ever noticed that there’s a lot of people perhaps the majority who, you know, you’ll you’ll be having a conversation with them and you’re Interested, you’re asking them questions. You’re listening. You’re really getting their story. And then you start saying something about yourself. Okay, well, I gotta go. I’ll see you later.

Ishtar: Yes. Yes. i Yeah, yeah, yeah, exactly. I’m so I’m not confused by that. But I’ve certainly found it strange. first encountered that people.

Rick Archer: Yeah. Like they get off on talking about themselves that they’re not really interested in.

Ishtar: Yes. So I kind of wore costume I was I decided I’m going to wear a costume. Yeah, I’m going to wear this costume of Thomas Ward Howell again and see, you know, see, and it was it was ill fitting at the time. It couldn’t have been better fitting would

Rick Archer: you do two years ago? No, I

Ishtar: did. I kind of I five years. Wow, I could have tried to do architecture at the start. Oh, it was a lifelong passion. Okay. And then I realized I do not want to sleep under a drafting table and produce dreary cardboard models of ugly modernist structures, because I had a different aesthetic than the year.

Rick Archer: So you went into the? Yeah, you and I were in the airport yesterday, as I was saying, imagine the amount of planning Yeah, takes to build a place like this. Yeah, we were in Phoenix Airport. It’s just mind boggling. Every little wire has to be taken into account and every little placement of every little thing. Anyway, that’s a tangent, but it’s something I’ve often wondered about when I look at big buildings or bridges or, or anything else that the whole science of being able to do that. Look at

Ishtar: a termite mound. Yeah, so complex, and they’re just doing it or Beaver Dam. Kind of, yeah. We’re just doing it with with a with a different route with

Rick Archer: a termite. No one termite knows what’s going on in its entirety. But somehow they work as a collective because the network gets built. Yeah, that’s, that’s an interesting, wonderful, incredible structures. And that’s also true of manmade attempts. I mean, they say, no one knows how we got to the moon, because it was too much information for any one person to figure out. But through the collaboration in the proper way of all these people we got there. Yeah. According to most people. We’re talking about certain people that I agree with staged in Hollywood. But anyway, okay, so you did this five years of academics? Yeah,

Ishtar: yeah. And then they got out of there. Yeah, I was just cooking with the suffering near the end. And I got to the point where I started waking up, and at night not being able to breathe, and and stifled by the whole experience something Yeah. And so I went to the doctors, I was like, I gotta be sick and dying, right, doc, you know, like, do I have cancer? You know, like, they’re, they’re taking me out, you do not have cancer? It’s like, Are you sure? You know, like, we’re pretty damn sure. And sleep apnea or something? Yeah, we’re always getting Yeah, I was getting to the point where I would have panic attacks in the night. And there was some points where I would kind of go into some of those nd spaces I had before and I was kind of sort of familiar with Am I actually, it’s kind of like in that movie gladiator would see a door, like any theory kind of door and I would start walking to leave my body. And I’d be like, Yeah, I can do this. And then I kind of had some sort of voice talk to me and say, like, you know, you actually could, you could leave right now you’ve accomplished a great deal. And you you could leave it at here and that be just fine. Or you could stay around and go on Buddha at the Gas Pump, going Buddha at the gas pumps two years from now. Not on the horizon. But But or you could stay around and you know, you’re gonna have to dust off the old armor was that made sense to my brain, you know, get out, get back on the horse and kind of, you know, get back, get back into your old, your old shape and, you know, let the whatever barnacles you’ve accumulated come off and live and be of service and I was like, Well, let me think about that. Yes, I will. I will do that. I’m gonna and right when I made that choice, you know, I stopped that it stopped happening. And I

Rick Archer: certainly and you know, just as in NDAs, how very often some guides or something come to people and tell them they have this choice, right. I tend to believe that that that something like that happened to even though you weren’t dying, but some kind of guardian angel or spiritual guide or whatever these things are was sort of talking to you there. Yeah.

Ishtar: Yeah. I mean, I was kind of out of my body. And like I said, it was like that. I don’t know who’ve seen Gladiator. He’s, he’s always walking towards this door. But

Rick Archer: remember, it was that like with Russell, Russell Crowe I’ve ever seen in the movie. And I think he got stabbed, but he still had to fight the fight even Yeah, Bunny, anyone. But

Ishtar: throughout the film, he kept having visions of the other side where his family was on the other side, his dead family on the other side of the gate. Nice long to go there.

Rick Archer: Yeah. So that was a great movie. And I liked Russell Crowe. But anyway, yeah. Anyway, so that’s a gladiator.

Ishtar: I got that into a Buddha at the Gas Pump. Score. Yeah. But But yeah, when I made that choice, you know, it was like, stuff started falling off, you know, and there was a senator and I just needed to finish at university. And it must have been a week later, I met my wife. And the whole time in Portland, I was thinking, What the hell am I doing here? And when I got to the monastery, I felt like I’d had all these things that I thought were going to take me three lifetimes I’ve experienced all this. I’m sure bus is just going to come and kill me soon. You know, he went to university in Portland in Portland. Yeah, yeah. And so because you that that was the nearby town. That’s where my sister lived. And I, you know, decided, oh, let’s just get going as fast as I can. And years later I, a week after I made my decision to sort of stay, I met my wife and she just had, she had the, you know, I don’t know how to describe it, the energetic signature of that forward path all about her, it was so clear that, you know, as part of like, coming back in here, you know, she’s there, cool, you know, and so in so many ways, she, she, you know, helped me just by being herself kind of shed these barnacles, come back to, you know, come back to life and come back to my path. And when I am coming back, I felt like, truth be told I, I was able to come back in a much deeper sense than I then I had left off. Yeah, mainly because before I would often feel this sort of creeping kind of sense of judgmental insularity, the sense that, you know, that the teaching is, you know, like the people outside the walls of the teaching. Even if you felt one, there was a sense, even a subtle, very subtle sense of like, people were somehow less than and that was barbarian. And when I would feel that strongly

Rick Archer: unwashed mass, yeah, we get

Ishtar: right, right. And when I when that would come through my nervous system, I would feel myself like talk or act from that space. Yeah, I would, I would want to go and take a shower with ScotchBrite. I’ve been

Rick Archer: through phases like that. Yeah, I was I started this conversation with a couple of fundamentalist preachers recently, because there’s this big controversy because one of them was trying to raise $40 million for a new jet or something. And they had this conversation with the two of them. One of them saying, Yeah, you got to have a jet Gulfstream such and such. Because otherwise you have to fly commercial and you you know, you have a big tin can a bunch of demons. I remember that. Yeah. Yeah. Like that. Yeah. Yeah. It was like it. Obviously he had gone farther, farther down that rabbit hole, I think so perspective, was that anybody who’s not a fundamental is such and such in his ilk. Yeah, was a demon. That’s right. And you start looking at people like that around in society, and what a terrible way to see the world. Yeah, yeah. As opposed to seeing them all, as your brothers and sisters and people that you can feel love for. Right?

Ishtar: I feel like maybe I had sort of screwed up enough. Yeah. And bent enough of an idiot, that like, it was it became, like, there’s much a softness in my heart. Yeah, softness in my gut, you know, and like, and I was like, okay, you know, and, and that was, it was gone. You know, what, something that bothered me in my first tenure as a monk. And then I was like, Okay, that’s great. And so I gradually, sort of, I didn’t know I was going to be meditation, teaching again, because I still had a lot of, regardless of any objections, or whatever, I still had a lot of respect for doing things properly. And, you know, I wanted to make sure that I would teach from a very good place, but you know, as time wore on, it became gradually more apparent that that was going to be part of my life again, and that that I ought to be doing that. And I started teaching, you know, teaching folks for donation, I had to have some guinea pigs like, well, you know, you’re gonna be my guinea pig here. You cool with that? You know, cuz I might suck, you know, like, Oh, that was great. You should you should go back to doing that. You know, like, you know, professionally again,

Rick Archer: so that’s what you’ve been doing. You’ve been teaching meditation. Yeah. Yeah. And you also are somewhat of a gifted astrologer? Yeah. I haven’t, haven’t sampled your wares in that department yet. But I’ve heard you talk about it a little bit. And as I gather it, we don’t have the time to really go into justification of Australia, how it might work, and whether or not we’re valid, and all that business. But you do it. And you and you sort of bring intuitive skills to it as well. So you’re not just going by what? A regular astrologer.

Ishtar: Right, right. Yeah, it’s quite different. Yeah. Yeah.

Rick Archer: And your wife is in Japan, teaching English as a second language. And the two of you kind of go back and forth. And so you know, we’ve we’ve kind of swung between subjective experiences you have had during your life to objective external events, right, and things you did. And so like, let’s take another swing toward the subjective mind at this point. And, you know, like, what is your experience these days? Do you feel like you’ve attained some awakening or liberation or anything else? Do you still have all that subtle perception stuff? Do you feel like you’re still very much a work in progress? And in terms of your, the evolution of your subjective experience? And you know, what’s going on in that way?

Ishtar: Of course, the latter thing, I think, is has always been the case. Yeah. And I would hate to be, I would hate to ever think that there would be a sense of doneness or end because you know, that that that’s always ongoing. Yeah, the wonders that are out there to experience certainly, coming back afterward, it didn’t take too long. There were some rough patches to get the newly encrypted barnacles kind of off and maybe some deeper stuff that I never really touched. The beginning a lot of stuff that was much more normal. more visceral, more like, heart level and gut level type stuff more, you know, like, I never quite relaxed enough to get that stuff out. And so there was a process of having that clear out and, and and after that there was a sense of just being able to relax more fundamentally into that sense of consciousness not only being this kind of like witnessing place or this kind of thing I could, you know, see kind of like, behind me the words I would often use but, but the sense of it being getting relaxed enough to like feel it pop up and pop up in Rick Archer and the chair or in the Yeah, in the in the rock. So

Rick Archer: it kind of went from witnessing to unity more.

Ishtar: Yeah, I, you know, I never kind of know, all taxonomies seem to be imperfect, and, and a little bit loose. And so

Rick Archer: I kind of just words in that very imprecise different delivery precise.

Ishtar: Yeah, so I might say that that’s a part of the ocean that I seem to be visiting much more frequently than, say, 12 years ago, or 14 years ago or, and, and so that that seems to be a more consistent experience. And actually, along with that, almost at the same time came this sort of explosion of what, what it’s often called celestial perception, or some people call it the socket stuff, you know?

Rick Archer: Or was it different than the stuff you had when you were a kid when you’re seeing spooks? Is it more of a more, but there’s a difference between astral and celestial? Right, right? Maybe you can explain that difference and explain the difference. In your experience between the two,

Ishtar: I would say there were a lot of similarities. But much more precise, or exacting, what the were the experiences that I’ve had in the last two years, then, as compared to maybe the stuff I had, as a seven year old, or an eight year old, or a nine year old, there’s much more of a kind of know how to kind of quite describe it, the a golden kind of a golden light. And underneath that was subtle, more subtle. Yeah. And, and there was almost often a sense of, not everybody gets this or how I’ll describe it, but a sense of like, almost being able to, like, investigate different stories of great building, if this universe had a lot of different strata, Father’s house, there are many men. That’s right, that’s right, and kind of going to them naturally, and kind of a sense of kind of having my being sort of expand out. And then every once in a while, I’ll start to notice, like, Hey, what’s this room I’m in? I haven’t noticed this one before. But here it is, and kind of Yeah, you know, looking around, and there, there have been interesting experiences with kind of, like, going up the top of my head, and kind of being kind of like a golden door up there. The where people place the crown chakra and kind of going up this long sort of channel, and there are beings up there, and they’re kind of golden beings, and you know, kind of, you know, saying hi to them, and when I look sort of horizontally, this is getting really weird, I apologize. But when I look horizontally, there are kind of worlds that are like worlds that these different beings with different energetic signatures that these different beings kind of exist on. And so those those things have been, in some way spontaneous and mundane. That’s, that’s been, I would use the word mundane, they’ve been almost as normal as, as me kind of, like, having a memory. Yeah, thinking about this or that. And so that that has been an interesting feature, they have not kind of like, slammed me and made me incapacitated or, or anything like that. They’ve just been almost like, being ushered into or invited into exploring more and more. What’s what’s happening right here.

Rick Archer: Essentially, the way the way marshy laid it out was get get self realization established as a foundation, and then begin to develop the capacity to experience the full range of the relative gross to subtle, and, and I remember him saying one time, he said, When you open up to that subtle perception, you discover that a world of being is there, you can say worlds of beings worlds. Yeah. And you know, they’re sort of right here in but just sort of in a different dimension from our gross world. Right, right. It’s not like you’re going off to Alpha Centauri or something, right? 20 No, no, you know, all this. There’s just all these strata, it’s almost like it to take an example. I mean, this, this goes in terms of big and small, but you know, you have your body. And it’s neat on this level, and you go down to the molecular level doesn’t look so much like meat anymore. It’s these little molecules, even on the cellular level looks very different than this level, then you get down to the DNA level or the molecular level, and and then the atomic level, and each one of those worlds as it were, is is on its own level, is would be unrecognizable, by any other worlds. It’s so dissimilar, and yet those are the building blocks of this world. So the The whole subtle realms thing? I suppose you can speak to it better than I, but I suppose you would find it did? Or do you find it? Have you found it to be very different in certain respects than our conventional world? Or are there differences and similarities?

Ishtar: Well, in some ways, I might contextualize it differently. It’s almost like it has kind of become part of my conventional. It’s

Rick Archer: true. Yeah, good.

Ishtar: It’s more like my Mike, you’ve incorporated it. Yeah, yeah, it’s more like my definition of conventional world has has sort of banded accommodate this new sort of

Rick Archer: types of data, if you will, you’re functioning several worlds at once.

Ishtar: Yes, and often that’s the case, sometimes it’ll be the case of kind of like being a classically physical sort of experience and human digging, digging a hole in the garden. But just as equally, sometimes I find myself doing some very physical work, like working on a house or planting a garden, and then there’s good lord, you know, like, you know, the plant is talking to me, and I start to sometimes phase phase into different time periods, and my clothing will look different. And, and but it’s never been too much to sort of distract me from being able to, you know, function, and, you know, appear as if I’m functioning in just the same manner as anybody else. Yeah. And so, you know, that’s kind of been how it’s gone.

Rick Archer: So, you know, to take another example, perhaps, and this will just catch you unawares with this one. We’re here in Sedona, Arizona. And Sedona is notorious for having all kinds of vortexes and all kinds of woowoo taken on taking place. So have you have you noticed anything here in Sedona since we arrived that I probably haven’t noticed?

Ishtar: Well, lately, I haven’t noticed, I don’t like to assume anything, but now you’ve taken care of my fear of assumption. Yeah.

Rick Archer: I mean, yeah. Well,

Ishtar: you know, besides a certain sense of feeling that there are these columns around where probably people reckon there a vortex is I don’t know where people reckon they are. But I see things. There’s a sense, I’ve seen large tracts of lines of gold that seemed to care, energy and information, kind of connecting these points and have a sense of subtle beings walking around in town, who aren’t discarnate spirits, but seem to be of a different sort of, like celestial, like celestial, a different sort of function and in the universe, and it seems to actually be quite a city here, you know, a celestial.

Rick Archer: Interesting. So kind of, like celestial siddhi superimposed on a terrestrial city, kind of a terrestrial

Ishtar: city superimposed on Yeah. Yeah, could say it either way. Yeah. Yeah, I had the same experience with Mount Shasta. I actually, funnily enough, I visited both of these cities about 13 years after my last visit or so. And so coming back for the second round has been a much different experience. As far as all that sort of stuff goes. That’s cool. But yeah, I can see why humans, human beings want to put beautiful, you know, stone houses in this environment, because there’s something something interesting in the sauce here. Yeah, for sure.

Rick Archer: I mean, just as a, as an aside here, but related to our point, all this all these records in the religious literature, and all artwork about angels, and so and you get it in Christianity, you get it in Buddhism, Tibetan Buddhism, especially all these big, fancy murals with all these beings with various appearances and all that stuff. It’s not just folklore, you know, it’s not just myth, that people have these experiences, and probably did their best to put them into some kind of graphic form. But it’s kind of almost a record of, you know, humanity’s familiarity with their acquaintance with the subtle realms. So if you’ve kind of taken in that light and not just brush it off as some kind of artistic imagination, gives you a deeper appreciation of these traditions and of life itself. Yeah. Yes, absolutely. Okay, so anything else? You want to say that I’m not thinking?

Ishtar: Yeah. Well, there are certainly more campfire stories as it were, but in the in the files, but it seems like we’ve probably, yeah, brought enough out

Rick Archer: right here. And so I suppose if people want to get in touch with you and get involved with you or learn something from you seems to me there are two main things. Yes. Right. Unless you want to go cook in a restaurant someplace. There’s the, you know, the meditation instruction things which I imagine you’d be happy to travel around and do over Skype. I

Ishtar: love traveling around to do it. Yeah. And I’ve never really done it over the internet. I’ve done it in a way. That’s another big no no for my organization. But I’ve done it in a couple a few cases recently and found that people have had quite good experience with it that way. I was skeptical.

Rick Archer: I imagine it might be a little nicer, though. If people can get a group together. And you could go and be

Ishtar: with the group. But that’s that’s optimal. Yeah, yeah. Yeah.

Rick Archer: So there’s that and people could link to your websites and they could get in touch with you and invite you to come here and there. Yeah. Yeah. And then there’s the whole astrology thing. Yes. You still like to do that professional? Oh, I love doing that. Yeah, yeah. And and you have a website dedicated? I do, right? Yes, you describe how you do it a little bit more than you’re telling you saying this morning breakfast, like how much time you put in and preparation for an astrological reading, you want to just quickly buzz through that. So people get a flavor.

Ishtar: Sure. Yeah. I mean, I really roll the sleeves up for it, you know. And so I’ll do these in person or over zoom, or Skype or whatever video thing we use to do a 90 minute reading with with the clients. And then I mean, usually, as I get better at probably my preparation time, probably will shorten. But I like to put in at least have two to three hours available for my own preparation of the chart and looking into the person intuitively. Before the reading itself. Yeah. And so you know, that that’s,

Rick Archer: you know, three and a half to four and a half hours of spending on each one. Yeah. And how much do you charge for that?

Ishtar: 150 us here that that’s pretty good deal? I hope so I try to make it a good deal. Want to be accessible? Yeah, it’s

Rick Archer: like less than $50 an hour. It’s, it’s pretty reasonable. Yeah. And you were saying to me, and I appreciate this, that you just didn’t want to have it be all about money intentionally charged less than the going rate for such things. But not because you’re trying to compete with other astrologers. Because that’s your, that’s your mindset.

Ishtar: Yeah. And if I become if I become so busy that I and you know, well known or something that I have to raise my prices, I’ll try to do that as moderately as I can. And I always, whether it’s been meditation, or anything else, I always have sliding scale options, I always put that on my website. So like, if you don’t have two dimes to rub together, you know, I, if you really want to do this, I really want to find a way to make that happen. So that it now works for you. So same with the meditation and I think I charge a very reasonable rate for that, like $300 for I think, a very, very a weekend class or very involved class and, and I also kind of go out of my way, you know, to to be available after the class as follow up as much as possible. I’ve typically never charged for that. You know, and so, yeah, great.

Rick Archer: Okay, so I think that gives people a glimpse of the Ishtar tamas phenomenon. So, thanks. I really appreciate it. I’m glad you’re able to be here with me in Sedona. We’re gonna go do some hiking over the next couple of days and have a potluck dinner with some friends and bunch of other stuff before we go flying off back to our respective cities.

Ishtar: Yeah, this was great. Thank you, Rick.