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 about 535 of them now. And so, if this is new to you, and you’d like to check out previous ones, please go to batgap.com and check out the past interviews menu, where you’ll see all the previous ones organized in several different ways. This program is made possible by the support of appreciative listeners and viewers. So, if you appreciate it, and you feel like supporting it, in any amount, there is a PayPal button on every page of the website. Those who didn’t tune in last week will have heard or will not have heard my explanation of why I have a little bit of a black eye. It’s a little, it’s a lot better this week, but it’s still visible. So, in case you’re curious, it’s a little aside, a little skin cancer removed from there. And it gave me a black eye which is mostly healed now. And it’s not a serious skin cancer. So, nothing to worry about. My guest this week is a Isira. Welcome, Isira.
Isira: Thank you, Rick – it’s lovely to be here with you.
Rick Archer: I think we’re gonna really enjoy this conversation. Isira comes from Sydney, Australia, and here’s a short bio of her. She brings a deep understanding of indigenous ancient and universal wisdom. She bridges the gap between the overwhelming challenges we face in the world today and our spiritual journey. As a powerful advocate for Conscious Change, Isira is highly engaged in today’s social issues. Her enlightened commentary assists us to navigate the divisive world’s politics, climate change, mental health and beyond. And I really like the fact that you talk about that stuff. And because to me, spirituality has always been intertwined with the world and society and what we see in the world. I consider whatever condition the world to be in to be a reflection or manifestation of the collective state of consciousness that all eight billion of us are in. And if we want to change the world, we’ve got to change that state of consciousness. And then when we do, the world will naturally change, which is not to say, we don’t also have to work on things in the world. But if we try to solve a problem from the same level of consciousness at which it was created, nothing’s going to change – right?
Isira: Exactly. That’s so true. I think it’s really interesting that being spiritual is about recognizing what is bringing ourselves back into a conscious relationship with that. However, ironically, very often, the spiritual traditions have gone about that by guiding us to remove ourselves from the real world and the worldly events. And I see that sadly, in many ways that’s contributed to the challenges that we’re facing now today – there has been quite a schism between the quest to be more spiritual, more open hearted compared to surviving, let alone succeeding in the world. And I see that many spiritual seekers find that very challenging.
Rick Archer: Well, you know, use the phrase, “the real world” and a lot of spiritual teachings have emphasized that the world isn’t real. And that might be a useful teaching if you’re a recluse. And many spiritual traditions, the custodians of those traditions, say Shankaracharya, were recluses. And so, they emphasize that the world is Maya, and so on. But it’s really not an appropriate teaching for people trying to live in the world for householders, which is who the vast majority of spiritual seekers are. So, a more integrative, holistic, all-encompassing approach needs to be available for the vast majority of us.
Isira: Absolutely. And I think the word you just use that approach is really key to this. Because it’s not so much that the world is not real. It’s the way we perceive it to be is not real. And that results in us being in conflict because we’re caught in a mental construct that is counter to the way that reality actually is occurring.
Rick Archer: Let’s play with that for a minute. And let’s take a simple thing like a tree. Okay, we perceive it one way a bird perceives it another way a cow perceives it another way, a bat perceives it another way. And yet there is something there that all these beings are perceiving. But despite the fact that they’re all perceiving it vastly differently. So, what is the real tree?
Isira: Well, I think one of the issues for the human mind is that we’re constantly seeking to make something absolute and to pin it down in defined terms, instead of experiencing the phenomenon. Most sages who are awakening or experience a greater awakening arrive at that recognition that we can’t actually put things in boxes, we cannot make things absolute, we can only have an experience of it. And once we have a direct experience of it, then we realize how transcendent, transient, imminent, and existing and non-existing it all is. And then we just have a relationship with that rather than trying to prove something right or wrong, or this or that – we just have a direct experience with it.
Rick Archer: Seems to me that one precious aptitude humans have is the possibility of apprehending the essential nature of the tree, through first having apprehended the essential nature of themselves, and then having that mature to the point where it is seen that everything is that way. So, and in addition to that, one would naturally have the bandwidth that a human nervous system is capable of, you’re not going to see infrared, you know, like some birds supposedly can, or other aspects of perception that other animals might have the capability for. But you do have that ability to see something that is universal and beyond human perception, which is more universal than the perception of any individual being, which is the essential nature of things.
Isira: True. Interestingly, my observation and insights are that the human has radically lost that capacity that we had. Historically, we were living at one with nature, so indigenous people (historically and currently) tend to have a much deeper wiring of this greater, expansive, perceptual field. And that’s because indigenous people were plugged into the whole system, the cosmos, the inner self, in nature, every living thing, and all of those things are an extension of our self, and are also manifesting our self, which means that we have an incredibly wide-open radius of awareness. And I see that there’s a direct similarity between a spiritual seeker or a sage or a Buddha, and an indigenous person – in terms of their state of awareness.
Rick Archer: Yeah, you wouldn’t find too many indigenous people who had retained their traditional values, who would be materialists that would regard the world as dumb matter, without any sentience, without any divinity inherent in it.
Isira: Absolutely, that just does not occur in the indigenous mindset.
Rick Archer: And this is actually a key point that I think we will elaborate on in our conversation, because we’re going to be talking about the state of the world. And I think to a great degree, the problematic nature of our current situation is a reflection or a manifestation of the materialist paradigm being predominant ever since modern science took over. And, you know, the rejection of the notion that there’s anything living or divine or conscious about the planet itself and all kinds of other examples we could cite.
Isira: I’d like to add to that, that not only is it a materialistic basis that we have created now, and most people are living within that mindset, but also, it’s a separatist mindset. So, there’s a profound distinction between indigenous mind and living compared to the modern human mind and living. The indigenous was one of connectivity, wholeness, interconnectedness, whereas the modern human mind is one of separation, isolation, superiority, possession, division, etc. And, actually, materialism arises out of that.
Rick Archer: Yes, you’re right. And actually, Rene Descartes was considered to be partially responsible for the genesis of that way of thinking, you know, just separating spirit from matter or mind from matter. And, you know, and the scientific approach which ensued was an attempt to eliminate subjectivity from our investigation of, of nature. And, of course, quantum physics has shown that the observer actually influences the observed, and that everything is more inextricably interconnected than would appear.
Rick Archer: Okay, we’re getting ahead of ourselves. Let’s learn more about you. And then we’ll, we’ll loop back and talk about all kinds of things. You’ve written a book that I only had the time to read a chapter of, called Buddha on the dance floor, which sounds a little bit like Buddha at the Gas Pump. Perhaps that title was inspired by the same thought, you know, in our case, it was the thought that in this day and age, you’re likely to encounter enlightened people in ordinary circumstances.
Isira: Sure. Whereas I was pointing towards this notion that Buddha consciousness doesn’t exist outside of the dance of life, you know, actually, everything is the dance of life. And if we want to remove ourselves from the everyday dance, then we actually cut off our opportunity to recognize the Buddha within, everything.
Rick Archer: Buddha on the Dance Floor is an autobiography, and up till the age of thirty in of your life. And as I say, I only got to read one chapter. And that chapter was pretty horrific. And you’re going to tell us about that. But why don’t you just take some time now to sketch out, you know, who you are, and what has led you to do what you’re now doing?
Isira: I came in fairly well plugged in to put it simply. So, I experienced a direct awareness of the interconnection of all things. So, my experience was energy. I was able to see and feel the energy of everything as a young child. And, of course, as a result of that, because I was seeing things in that way and feeling and hearing things in that way I wasn’t behaving in a typical manner. So, I was considered somewhat odd and strange and complicated and difficult and wacko, to the point that I was even considered at some stage whether I needed to be in a mental institution, because I would be talking to things that no one could see, I would say things that no one could understand, and it led to a lot of confusion. And aside from that, as we know, most families have their difficulties, most humans, most people have their struggles and my family was certainly having its struggles emotionally, and I suffered quite a deal of abuse. So, from quite a young developing age, I had this clash between the states of being completely connected with everything and the awareness of oneness and this immeasurable love with and for everything, and yet having the experience of something contrary to that played out towards me, and all around me. And that created a really interesting dynamic in me, because on the one hand, I experienced a transcendence and, and an acceptance of the way things were. But on the other hand, it tended to evoke a great sense of rebellion in me. So, I became incredibly rebellious, I didn’t want to be put in a box, I didn’t want to take on the ideas and beliefs that people were trying to impose on me. And that coupled with a fair amount of abuse that I was experiencing, led to a point where I decided I didn’t want to be in that environment anymore. And I left home- at 15. I moved from people’s homes from one place to another, always looking for somewhere to stay that felt welcoming, and belonging and accepting and safe. And all the while I’d been having this recurring dream that I was being hunted down and then violated, basically raped and almost murdered. And it was so vivid. And by this point, I was completely homeless, I didn’t have anywhere to stay. So, I would be sitting up late at night in a cafe. And a couple came in one night and decided that this young girl shouldn’t be sitting there all by herself and asked me what was happening. And I ended up back at their place as a result of that because they said, look, you can come and stay with us. And when I woke up in the morning, I discovered that I was staying in a home that was a drug ring. So, there were people coming and going, who were dealing and using drugs and, and yet, everyone was completely accepting of everyone. And they were all being really friendly, and kind to me and so I felt a degree of welcome. However, there was a man living there who took quite a strong shine to me and was basically following me around everywhere, trying to involve me in everything, to the point that he started to make advances on me after a period of time which weren’t welcomed. And consequently, because he couldn’t get what he wanted, he proceeded to brutally violate me. And my life was on the edge, literally.
Rick Archer: You just skimmed over in two sentences, what took you quite a few pages to describe but basically, he practically killed you. He beat you to a pulp, broke your nose, beat you for several hours, and you nearly died.
Isira: Right. And, well, the interesting thing is, and, and this is an example of what I was saying before this, this contrast between the reality of what was happening at the physical level compared to the experience I held as consciousness. So, in the middle of that, as this man was literally trying to kill me, I entered a transcendent state. My life was on such a thin edge that I knew if I did not harness every degree of my conscious presence, I would die. So, I completely focused, and became absolute one-pointed awareness and in that moment, I literally became everything. I became the room, I became the space, I was the body being murdered, I was everything. And in that I was able to see that man’s soul and consciousness. And the reason he was doing what he was doing was because he was so disconnected, he was so broken, and without love. And that in that woundedness, he was so desperate for connection. And so hurt from not having had that, that he went about it in a way of violation. That was his own violation that he was acting out. And in seeing that, I just felt the most incredible, immeasurable love for this soul. It was endless this love, and in that immense love I prayed for him: that he could remember and know that He is love, that he is lovable, that he is loved. And literally, in that moment, the entire room lit up. And it was like 1,000 Angels were in the room. And that man, he looked up and he saw this light, and he dropped to his knees, and he said, “Oh, my God, what have I done? I’ve killed an angel.” And he pleaded, for my life to be saved. He literally had an awakening. So, he picked up my body, carried me to the phone and dialed emergency. He told me to tell them – that someone had to save me. But as II cried out ‘he’s killing me… and stated the address,’ he snapped into the realization of what he had done. On the one hand, he had had an awakening – the murderer literally became the savior. On the other hand, he realized what he’d done and that he was in big trouble. So, he did a runner. He ran.
Rick Archer: When I read it, it sounded to me like after he made that phone call, he started beating you again.
Isira: Yeah, he smashed my head again into the wall.
Rick Archer: Right? So, then he took off.,
Isira: So, he took off, and I ended up in a coma. Now. The second insight that came out of that was, so there was the body in the hospital, in a coma, my family has been called, I’m seeing and experiencing everything as consciousness – watching the body in the hospital room. My family comes in, and my father and my mother is standing there. My father lamenting, and I could hear everything he was thinking. He was thinking,” oh, my God, what have I done. I’ve never told my daughter, I love her. I may never get the chance again.” And in that instant, I had this, I don’t even know how to describe it, – it was a timelessness where I saw every previous incarnation. And the purpose of this incarnation – why I had come here and that I hadn’t finished yet. It was all pieced together, I was able to see the whole thing and realize all right, I better get back to it. I’ve got something more to do. So, I slipped back into the body. And you know, through this incredibly swollen, broken face I opened my eyes and my face twitched. And my father saw it. And he just broke down in tears sobbing and told me he loved me for the first time in my life. And what I realized consequently through that experience was that is the root of all suffering in humanity. That fundamentally we are love, and we are oneness. Our true nature is all connected, but that we are living in such a way that we are so disconnected. We are so fractured from our true nature and from love that we don’t know how to love. We don’t know how to act in love. And we don’t know how to be connected. And as I saw that, I realized this is the entire human quest – for us to be reconnected – for us to re awaken, to love and to know that every single violation that is happening on the planet is because of that wounding, is because of that disconnection from our true nature, from our true self, from life, from the universe, from each other, and therefore from love.
Rick Archer: And you can’t really blame anybody because disconnection has been the norm. We’re born to disconnected parents and then we become one ourselves and so on. It’s just this hereditary tradition that gets handed on. And there has been for the most part, no simple means whereby people can awaken, and it hasn’t been offered in the school systems. And so, it’s just been this vicious circle that’s been going on and things have been getting worse and worse, to a point where I don’t think they can get much worse without something changing.
Isira: And here we are, this is where we are right here now today in the world, you know, society is collapsing. We are seeing crisis, endemic crisis, in every single arena of our life. And people are aware of this, people are waking up to this. And people are angry about this. And people are confused and afraid and feeling helpless and lost. And passionate as well. You know, there’s such a magnitude of energy behind the crisis that is happening. And yet, mostly, we seem to be struggling without a clear compass.
Rick Archer: I heard you say something today as I was driving over to the next town to have my stitches taken out when I was listening to some of your recordings. And one thing you said is that the thing about disconnection is the more disconnected you become the more we become disconnected, the more we suffer. And the more we suffer, the stronger – we can almost think of it as a rubber band effect, the stronger the pull will be to get us back to connection.
Isira: Absolutely, yes. So, it’s foolproof in a way that we cannot escape our true nature because our true nature is interconnected, oneness and wholeness. And if we live contrary to that, with beliefs that counter that, then absolutely, we spiral into greater and greater conflict, greater and greater suffering. And the more we suffer, the more we desire freedom from that suffering, until ultimately, it pushes us to search for our way out, that we have not been looking for before, because we’ve tried everything. And so here we are now, this is what we’re faced with.
Rick Archer: Have you ever had the thought considering what you went through in your early years and culminating in this near murder. Have you ever had, there’s a saying, which is regarding spirituality and people who are going to awaken in this life, that when the postman knows you’re going to move, he tries to deliver all your mail? Have you ever had the thought that you just somehow took on a shitload of karma in a really short amount of time, in order to just get it over with or something you could shift into something much more beneficial for everyone?
Isira: Look that’s a really interesting take – a really interesting perspective on it. And I guess from one angle, it could absolutely be that from another angle. One of the insights I had following that event was that this encounter was a collaboration – that his soul and my soul had conspired to enter into that experience, because he was seeking to be awakened to love. And I was seeking to demonstrate absolute love.
Rick Archer: A lot of people say that – who look into past lives and life between lives and near-death experiences and all that. There’s this whole orchestration of the coming life that takes place between significant players. What happened did he end up facing some justice?
Isira: That was interesting, too, because there I was just having this absolute love for his soul and recognizing that there must be accountability for one’s actions. You know, karma is karma. There’s going to be some repercussion. And there needs to be the reconciling. And, of course, because he had run away, there was a case and a warrant out for his arrest and he was under special investigation, because no one could find him. And two years later, when I was more or less getting on with my life, I saw him walking on the other side of the road. It really threw me, and I told my mother, and the dilemma was in that, on the one hand, feeling this incredible understanding and compassion and even beyond forgiveness because I understood how and why he acted the way he did. And on the other hand, knowing there needs to be some accountability. And my mother said, “you know what you need to do.” And I did know, I knew I needed to report him, because he obviously was not right, to be able to act in that way. And he could be a danger to others. So, I contacted the department, and they called the next day. And they said, “we’ve got some good news for you.” And I thought, well, that’s very strange. They said, “well, we’ve tracked him down. And he’s no longer living, he literally died the day before.” He dropped dead on the factory floor, he died of an aneurysm. Which is very interesting, because the most damage he did was actually to my head; he beat my head severely. So, he was no longer living. It seemed to be a fairly decisive karmic reckoning.
Rick Archer: You do have some rather extraordinary perceptions of things, things that people ordinarily don’t see. Have you had any communication with his soul since his death?
Isira: Yes, I did. And it was a continuum on what I was saying before regarding this collaboration, that there had been a quest for his soul to awaken and that he was going to take on a life to make amends for that, that he was now awake to love, and the opportunity to live and act and recreate from love.
Rick Archer: His next life would be to try to make some amends here.
Isira: Yes, and so for myself, I saw that, whilst we can conceptually know the power of love, and the relevance of love it really isn’t a truth unless we have a direct experience of it. And so, the life experiences I have had, really are a foundation of direct experience, direct insight into the true nature of our self and life, and how we can actually transcend the usual conflicts that are existing in our world. I mean, if I can make that connection, and see the relevance of that man’s soul, despite the magnitude of his abuse to me – I’m human, you’re human, we can all arrive at that place, we are all able to reconnect that essence of love and awareness. And ultimately to recognize ourselves in each other. And we recognize the woundedness. And we recognize the same quest. We are all seeking to know love – to love and be loved
Rick Archer: And thinking of Christ, as you say this, who said, you know, as he was being crucified, forgive them Father, for they know not what they do.
Isira: And it was absolutely that.
Rick Archer: So, there you were, you’re still a teenager when this happened. And sure, you’re in the hospital, you know, must have taken you quite a while to even be able to get out of the hospital. And so, you know, how did you proceed from there? How did you discover a spiritual path and pursue it? What teachers have you had? I mean, how did you get to be doing what you’re doing now?
Isira: Well, interestingly, my recovery was considered miraculous. And I understand once again that that was because of the vibration of love and freedom. As when I returned to the body, the most prominent thing in my awareness was, I am unbreakable. I am the infinite energy, life, love, I remain forever whole. And that vibration seemed to result in a miraculous recovery to the point that I have very, very little visible evidence of that abuse. And yet, usually, you would see an incredibly scarred human – physically, let alone mentally and emotionally. And so, my recovery was almost instant. And I recognized the process of healing that was underway for the family as well – it was a catalyst for my family to go through some awakening and then healing as well. And from there my conscious connection only deepened and expanded to the point that people, strangers, were literally coming up to me and asking me for guidance. And I was having constant interdimensional experiences and states, which were, premonistic and operating on other levels to the point that I was very, very active with a group of Yogi’s on some other levels. So, I would just sit and go into these states or, or when I was asleep, I would be awake, fully active with this group of Yogi’s. And we’d sit in this circle, and there’d be these discussions of what was happening with life with humanity. And all very, you know, metaphysical philosophical interactions. And this was the thing that was going on when I was a child, and everyone just thought I was a loony, and I’d start talking in some unknown language… and it turned out I had actually been chanting in Sanskrit.
Rick Archer: Wow. This is when you were a child.
Isira: Yes. So anyway, within the circle, there were two particular Lamas who were constantly present. One I would literally travel with frequently and be in different places. When he visited me on one of these occasions, he told me to be prepared that he was coming to meet me. Now, this is the thing where a psychiatrist would usually say, “Oh, you’ve got schizophrenia, right?” My mother, in the meantime, has met a woman who’s really spiritual, and she starts realizing even more the spiritual nature of me and that there’s something not usual about me. And I started to tell her all about these dreams and visitations I was having. She says, “oh, you should go to Buddha House.” And as soon as she said, it was like a bolt of energy went through me it was like – “Yes, true.” So
I stood up instantly – got out the phonebook and opened it up, and I kid you not – literally the page that it opened on – there was Buddha House. So, I called, and I started telling this monk on the end of the line everything. I was falling out of myself. I couldn’t talk fast enough, relaying everything that had been happening and he said, “you must come, you have to come here.” That was in Adelaide. Right, right. So, I go to this Buddha House. And this monk is telling me that these Lamas are due to arrive within a matter of a couple of weeks. Well, two weeks later, this Lama turns up on the doorstep. And he’s the Lama that I had been traveling with and visiting on these other levels my whole life. And we just laughed and cried.
Rick Archer: He recognized you as well as this person with whom he’d been traveling?
Isira: Yes, absolutely. And we just hugged and laughed and cried. So, my mother found out from one of the women who was very involved in this Buddhist center that the Lamas had literally come to get me and to take me back. So, then I spent time with the Tibetan Buddhist fraternity. I was initiated and ordained by His Holiness Dalai Lama. I spent private time with him.
Isira: I spent time in both India and Nepal. And so that was a period of preparation for me. All my life I had been praying for people who could understand me, people who were like me. I’d been praying for that because I just felt like an alien. I thought I must have taken a wrong turn. I had come into the wrong place, at the wrong time. I was always thinking – What did I do? Did I take a wrong turn in the universe somewhere? Anyway, so that was like a resetting for me. It allowed me the time to put things back together and embrace my own states of awareness and experience., Whereas previously everyone else thought I was just mad. So, it was a period of confirmation and yes, integrating and settling into this incarnation – I don’t really know how to explain it.
Rick Archer: Like with kindred souls who understood you.
Isira: And it wasn’t really a learning something new, it was a settling back into place in the world, and a preparation to then move forward with what I am here to bring. And so that’s what’s set in motion a more official trail of my service. You know, they told me, ultimately, I needed to go back to the west and serve as a guide and a teacher.
Rick Archer: Someone named Debbie from Boulder, Colorado asks, “Would you describe your traumatic experience with your attacker as a near death experience?” And obviously, yes, right. And you mentioned that you had experiences of past lives. So, did you experience past lives as a Tibetan Lama or some such thing?
Isira: Yes. I recalled, the incarnations that I had had in the east as an adept – I recalled the yogic practices that I had mastered, which was why I was already spontaneously practicing yoga and meditating as a kid.
Rick Archer: I don’t think people just come in and do that stuff out of the blue without some background. Speaking of NDE’s, I mean, have you ever heard of Anita Moorjani? She’s this woman who I’ve interviewed who had cancer and was on the verge of dying. She was down to her last few hours, and she had all these lemon sized tumors in her system. And she’s too weak to hold her head up. And she’s down to about eighty pounds. And she had this near-death experience. And she went to the other side and had all these amazing experiences, and then made the choice to come back as people often do. Probably everyone does, who has had an NDE. And then she, like you, healed up within a couple of weeks -the tumors went away. And she regained weight. And she’s been cancer free ever since and she travels all over the world talking about this. But it’s interesting how dipping into that profound state can bring about such radical healing when you come back.
Isira: Totally. And my observation of that is because in that wide open frequency of consciousness, it’s a much higher energy, vibration, and it is actually cohesive and connected. Those of you who know, NLP, and all the muscle testing methods – know that works because there is a vibration of truth compared to what is not true. And so, when we are aligned with what is true, it is absolutely cohesive. And so that’s power. That’s whole vital energy – everything is plugged in and connected. And so that’s actually what happens in an NDE, it’s what happens when we’re in a state of Samadhi. Or when we’re in, you know, a really deep meditative state, or we have an epiphany. We’re literally plugging back into the whole field of truth, and consciousness. So, it’s power. And everything has the capacity to restore itself when we’re in that state of vibration.
Rick Archer: Yeah. So, I have some notes from your book here. And various things have taken down, but I might not even need to refer to them. How many years now have you been teaching or serving in this capacity?
Isira: thirty plus years.
Rick Archer: And mostly Australia and online.
Isira: And internationally.
Rick Archer: Okay, great. And what have you actually been teaching those who work with you- what do they learn?
Isira: So, I would say pretty well, for most of the last 30 years, I’ve been holding a space for people to reconnect with the true essence of self. So, to deepen in awareness, to use the natural tools and physiology that we have that is able to access those deeper states, and it’s from that that we are able to see clearly, we’re able to feel and experience what is. And so, I’ve delivered a vast body of teachings, which guide the way to restore that connection, and anything and everything from basic meditation tools and principles, through to deepening self-reflection, and how to experience our connection with the whole of life. And for all of these works, there’s a whole library in the online platform that I’ve created – The Awakening Place, and there’s layers and layers to those teachings. And I’ve been doing regular satsangs, one day, two-day programs, workshops in many different places, for example, like Africa where I delivered a program to the refugee camps there. So, it’s quite broad reaching, but now I’m really focusing in on bridging the gap between the underlying spiritual principles and what is happening in the world today, and particularly on drawing upon my own indigenous heritage and direct experience of what it is to be indigenous, and an understanding of the universal principles that do underpin all indigenous peoples. So that’s very much my focus now, in terms of all my core teachings is how to re-establish a new cultural narrative that helps us unify, first and foremost. And secondly, how do we actually navigate our way forward? In a world that is so fractured? What do we already know? And what can we draw upon that is going to help us in that process?
Rick Archer: When you say indigenous, you have a fair amount of Aboriginal ancestry and that’s what you’re alluding to there. And in terms of the world, as we find it, \ it seems to almost be an assumption among spiritual people that things are really getting intense. And we’re looking at possibly huge, cataclysmic shifts in society. But I don’t think most people realize it that acutely. Unless you’re right in the thick of it. I mean people who live in the fires of Australia, for instance, must realize that things are not normal. But there’s this out of sight, out of mind mentality that many people go through. In fact, I was telling my friend who is probably at this moment evacuated, her house may be burning as we speak, because I got a notice just before we started that it was there was a fire a kilometer away from her house there in New South Wales. I was telling her that we haven’t even heard about the fires on the news lately. It was a big thing a month ago. And nowadays, it’s the impeachment and Kobe Bryant and, this and that, and all kinds of other news events. It’s like, okay, fires. That’s old news. So, we don’t need to cover that almost seems to be the attitude. And then there’s Syria, and the horrible situation there. And there’s, there’s the Rohingya people in Myanmar, and just all these situations in the world that make the news and then fade from our awareness, but they continue to happen for the people who are in the thick of it. And it almost seems like more and more of those things are going to get more strident in their call to us, that something needs to be done to the point where we won’t be able to ignore them. Ask us not for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee – it’ll be right in our neighborhood.
Isira: Yeah, and unfortunately, what we’re pointing to here are some of the aspects of human nature and it is typical that humans like to stay comfortable. We don’t like change, and that’s part of our hard wiring for survival. We stay with what we know and what we’re comfortable with. And I see that that underlies one of the strongest reasons as to why we’re not changing and acting despite the warning signs. Because until it is right in our own camp, we really don’t relate to it strongly enough, which is well, quite ridiculous. But at the same time, it’s part of the human nature. And this tendency also for things to subside – we let it pass from awareness – because we view it as passe now. Because we’re over feeding our mind, when we repeat, repeat, repeat – we saturate our capacity to digest that information again, and it gets filed away in the “out of sight box.” And what I’m also observing is that these human tendencies are being directly and deliberately used by people who are dominating and controlling our platforms of information and controlling our societal decisions and systems. And that may sound a little like I’m starting to veer down the track of conspiracy theory. But this is reality. \
Rick Archer: Some politicians are quite masterful at it – they know how to play into that mindset and take advantage of it. And get people to think in their narrow groove and to ignore quite compelling evidence to the contrary.
Isira: Distraction and deflection. For example, Facebook has admitted, and it’s been proven that they have used psychological research to develop devices that are addictive and distracting.
Rick Archer: Yeah, I’ve heard that.
Isira: So, we are living in this giant echo chamber, which has magnified some of the least conscious human attributes, and the makeup of human behavior. And that’s a very challenging theme, because the general demeanor of the average human already is out of alignment with a more conscious self. And so, you add to that the fact that we’re living in this world that’s like a giant echo chamber, that’s just feeding back all of the behaviors and conditions that create that to start with. And that effect multiplies.
Rick Archer: Well, if you’re in alignment, you wouldn’t be so susceptible to those kinds of tactics.
Isira: Well, one would like to hope so. One of the things that I remind a lot of my audience about, though, is that most of what’s happening in the human experience is at the subconscious level, there’s a whole lot of processing that’s going on, that we’re not even aware of. That happens automatically. And so, we’re transceivers, we’re transmitting and receiving information, bazillions of bits of data that we’re not even aware of, and the subconscious is processing it. And what happens is that the most compelling data takes the most immediate reference of attention. And so, there’s an energy that corresponds with that. And when it is fear based, when it is pain based when it is a dominating energy. It is activated before one even realizes it. It sparks off. How do I put that- it’s like synapses of mirroring. And so those parts of one’s own brain that have those references are sparked into activity. And this is why I remind my audience – you can be practicing meditation, you can be so deeply committed, and have the intention for mindfulness and aware living, yet we are living in a world that you are being bombarded every single day with subliminal messages, and an environment of unconscious mindsets and behaviors. And that pulls the subconscious into that mode. And so, it takes an incredible amount of vigilance, far more vigilance in today’s environment than in the time of Buddha, far more.
Rick Archer: Yeah, I mean, life was simpler, I suppose. I mean, in some senses, we are in a lot better shape. You could die of a toothache back then because they didn’t know how to deal with it. But on the other hand, we’re being bombarded. And the pace of changes is increasing so rapidly, if you look at statistics about the doubling of knowledge, and it’s like this exponential curve, and the doubling of information, I mean, the very fact that you and I are having this conversation we couldn’t have done this 20 years ago in terms of the technology. And so, we’re making good use of something, but the same very same technology is being used to propagate and disseminate this information to feed people with pornography to do all kinds of things that are not in their best interest.
Isira: Absolutely. It’s a catch 22, isn’t it? Yeah. You know, I often reflect on this dilemma, the irony of it that, you know, I’m utilizing this platform, and yes, there’s benefit, and yet the design of the platform is counter to awakening. So, the design of the platform itself, and when I say platform, social media platform, its design is specifically dualistic. It is designed to polarize. And when you engage with a medium that is designed to polarize, you go with the drama. So, drama draws our attention, which pulls us into the least conscious content. So, it takes incredible presence and vigilance to move against that stream.
Rick Archer: They call it clickbait, all these things flash at you, and it’s like, ooh, this looks tasty. I think I’ll click there, and you get sucked in. Some ridiculous story about something or other.
Isira: And that’s just mindless distraction, it’s of no true value. And this leads to one of the biggest issues we’re facing today. And especially with the advent of AI, – where we’re heading with artificial intelligence. And that our world is becoming more and more dominated by data. Humans are losing a sense of value and relevance. And I think most people don’t even realize that within four to five years, we’re going to lose between 40 to 80% of our current existing jobs. And when that happens, we will be faced with an even greater challenge: we are experiencing a value crisis already. Why do you think there’s such a magnitude of depression, the statistics of depression in developed countries is phenomenal? It’s off the charts. And underpinning that is a loss of value and meaning, right?
Rick Archer: And drug addiction as a consequence, and violence.
Rick Archer: There’s a silver lining in this because most jobs are crap, you know, who would want to do that all day. You know, if society could be structured, and it could be, but if it is structured, such that people can utilize their leisure time that they will be having to do spiritual practice, to do something constructive, then wow, there could be this real flourishing in society. So, there’s just it’s just a matter of, part of the whole metamorphosis we’re going through I think is going to involve a complete restructuring of our values, our economic systems, our political systems, all that stuff is completely upside down, and has to be, you know, reshuffled, and made sensible
Isira: This related to one of the central campaigns that I’ve been developing – which is the ‘regeneration campaign.’ We’re all part of this generation. It doesn’t matter what age we are or which background we have or our culture – – we are all a part of this generation here now that is faced with – simultaneously – incredible crisis, but incredible opportunity. And we are all recognizing, we want to restore, reshape, re-awaken, remember, re-model re-vision, re-imagine our society. And that this is our quest. And this is my message about this to the world at large is now faced with the challenge of restoring and reframing all that is broken and dysfunctional., This is why spirituality is so relevant, because our spiritual journey is the very thing that plugs us into greater imagination, greater possibility, and a different level of thinking. You commented right at the beginning that Albert Einstein famously stated, no problem can be solved at the same level at which it was created. And that’s what spirituality provides us with. It is a connection and a way to start accessing a different level of connection and imagining. And without that, we stay in the echo chamber, we just keep recreating our history. We keep reverting to the same old beliefs, the same old models, the same old systems. And you know what they say about doing the same thing and expecting different results.
Rick Archer: Insanity! I think Einstein said that too, apparently. Yeah. And crisis and opportunity. You probably heard that thing about the Chinese pictograph for the word crisis contains a symbol that is the symbol for opportunity.
Isira: And, you know, that’s recognized in nature that whenever there appears to be an event of crisis in nature, it’s in biology, it’s called perdition. It’s this dynamic that happens where it’s incredible chaos. But within it is this acceleration of reorganization in order to birth something new.
Rick Archer: And there’s also in nature, the phenomenon of phase transition, where a system goes through a turbulent phase, as it shifts from one state to another = water as an example, you know, water can be getting hotter and hotter, and you don’t see really much happening with it. And then as it reaches the boiling point, then all of a sudden, it gets really obviously turbulent, and then turns to steam, which is a whole different state.
Isira: Same thing. And so, you know, if we think about it, then isn’t that going to happen at every level, physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually, and spiritual seekers are oftentimes really, really hoping and wishing that if you take on this spiritual journey, it’s all gonna become lovely and comfortable. Yes, it’s gonna be sweet and shiny. And, like hell it is. It turns everything inside out and upside down. And it’s through that, that we get to reawaken and reframe ourselves.
Rick Archer: Yeah. Now, there’s several interesting points here. This is a great conversation. On the one hand, I’ve heard people say things somewhat like you just said, that might scare people away from spirituality – oh, you know, you get into that and all hell’s gonna break loose, your life was gonna be the same, nothing’s going to work for you anymore, you’ll probably lose your relationships and all that stuff. But on the other hand, I don’t know about you, but I think I do know about you and about me that spirituality has been such a godsend. I mean, the quality of my life is so vastly different than it was before I got into this stuff. And I wouldn’t have had it any other way. And sure, there have been growing pains and things that I’ve had to let go. I mean, after I learned to meditate, I basically dropped all my friends and just walked with a dog every day until I found new friends several months later. And so, things are gonna change, but you won’t regret it in retrospect.
Isira: No, and I guess the most important perspective on that is that the upheaval is short term and temporary. And the benefits are long term and far more integrating. And I think people forget that they’re afraid to undergo the passage of change and disturbance, because the human mind keeps boxing everything as if it’s an absolute, you know, as if things last forever. They don’t, everything is changing. One of my favorite stories is about this seeker who goes to the master, and he says “Master Master, I’ve been following your teachings every day, and I try so hard, and I meditate and still there’s no bliss, why what is wrong with me?” And the master just looks and says, “This will pass.” And so, the student thinks great, okay, it’s right. He saying it’s going to change soon. I’ll just keep practicing. He goes back and he practices and “tada” he experiences all the bliss and the wonder, Oh, this sweet joy. And he’s so overjoyed with this release of light. He goes to the master, he says, “Master, thank you so much. Thank you. I have arrived in bliss” and the master looks at him and says, “This too will pass.”
Rick Archer: Yeah. Well, that’s a good story. But we do arrive at something which seems to abide. Which, you know, things come and go. But there but a foundation gets built, which doesn’t come and go.
Isira: Yeah, absolutely. It’s the recognition of that which is unchanged. But I guess that little story warns us against the attachment to the phenomenon on the surface. That we mistake our sense of self or reality for that. Instead of recognizing the underlying nature.
Rick Archer: Yeah, I think it might also warn us against that little story once again – the “I’m done syndrome,” where people have some breakthrough and then they go, ha-ha, I’m done. Okay, now I should go out and save the world or something. And I can pretty much do anything I want now because I’m perfect. And it’s not me doing it anyway. So, I mean, I see this stuff. And personally, I think it’s a much healthier attitude to always have the attitude of a beginner and that I am a work in progress, which is not to say you’re always going to be chasing the dangling carrot and never feeling fulfilled. But there’s always room for enrichment, depth, clarity, stabilization, integration, refinement.
Isira: And change, and evolving, because even, if one is fully awake, and aware of the true nature of existence, the way in which we are experiencing or living, or sharing, that whole journey is constantly evolving and changing.
Rick Archer: Yeah, I mean, it has that full awakeness if there is such a thing? Is it as clear as it could conceivably be? Is it as integrated as it could possibly be into our relative life? Have all of our various faculties, you know, blossomed in their fullest possible potential? I don’t think so.
Isira: Because it can always be expressed in so many more ways.
Rick Archer: Now, back to our central theme, the science and non-duality conference in California, which I’ve been going to for about 10 years now, the theme of this coming year’s conference is going to be living and dying. And I’m thinking of giving my talk about the following, which is that if you look at the science without necessarily having in your awareness, every possible, trick that nature might have up its sleeve. But if you look at the science, a good argument can be made, that we’re really heading for a difficult time, primarily due to climate change. There are some people you know, Katherine Ingram is one whom I have interviewed, and she lives in Australia now actually Byron Bay, who feel like we’re heading for extinction. And it’s not going to be that far off. And so, we should just adjust our psychology to that. And if you read a long, beautifully written article that she wrote, she lays it out pretty logically that, this is going to happen, there’s these tipping points, the methane is releasing the ice caps are gonna melt and all this stuff’s gonna happen. There’s gonna be mass migrations, and, you know, you can’t say with certainty that she’s wrong. And there are people like Greta Thunberg, and others who really seem to feel it acutely and are blowing the trumpet. But I think that if in the absence of an end game, you know, a Hail Mary pass, which is a football term, by nature or by the Divine, they would be right, but I just have the feeling that this spiritual awakening, which seems to be epidemic in the world, yet subtle, and not so blatant as so many things, is going to somehow save the day and that somehow it’s going to bring about just what is needed in order to avert the catastrophe that people see coming. So, as I mentioned, the Sand conference because this I want to talk about this next year and play with how it could actually do that. What is it about spiritual awakening that could avert catastrophe? So, what are your thoughts on that? That was a rather long statement I made there, but I think there’s a lot we can unpack on this on this topic.
Isira: Certainly. Well, I guess, what I observe is two different dynamics that are c- occurring. We have an upward spiral of this awakening movement – that certainly there’s a far greater percentage of our populace on the planet that are more awake and seeking greater awakening. And then on the other end of the scale, we have this descent t into misinformation, the lies, the ego, the corruption, the distortion, the control etc. And it’s like this overlapping, momentum is happening. It’s not all clear or all one way.
Rick Archer: with polarity increasing.
Isira: And the ego will go to its nth degree before it turns around – Typically we take ourselves to the absolute depth of an experience before we’re done with it. So, in general, that’s the nature of the ego. And my observation is that it’s much more nuanced than ‘spirituality is going to save the day,’ or that things are going to completely collapse. I think our world and existence is far too complex, in its makeup and nature to say it’s going to be absolutely one or the other. I see that there are going to be different examples of each extreme, and also a whole range of things in between. So, I see that there are some places and populations that are going to evolve into a more conscious model. We have eco villages that are developing governance systems based on conscious principles. And then we’re going to see other parts of the world that are just going to collapse into absolute anarchy. And maybe there’s going to be entire populations that vanish.
Rick Archer: Yeah, I don’t know how I know this, but I have a feeling that you’re right. That’s my intuitive sense. And obviously, you can think of examples, if sea level rises are two or three feet, and it could rise a lot more than that, but if it’s just two or three feet, huge metropolitan areas are going to have to be evacuated. And they’re going to have to be evacuated in the midst of various other climate catastrophes that are impacting them, like, if the glaciers dry up, and the Ganges doesn’t flow very much anymore, then there’s a huge water shortage and drought in India, and yet, Mumbai, and Chennai, and various huge cities like that have to retreat inland – how’s that gonna go?
Isira: I just see that there’s going to be such a vast array of different dynamics happening in the world over the next decade.
Rick Archer: And so, what do we do? I mean, do we stock up on canned goods and bunker ourselves in some underground shelter? Or what – I mean, you talked about these little communities, but can they really be insulated or isolated from the rest of society?
Isira: Well, at this stage, no not entirely. And everyone will choose their own way of coping or responding or creating. And my own recommendation is that we look at the underpinning principles and dynamics of life itself – those that bring life together and create wholeness and growth and thriving, not just surviving. If we start to realign ourselves with those principles, we will begin to access imaginations, solutions, new ways of living and creating that we can’t yet imagine because we’re not accessing all of the points of information that we need. And so, for those of you who might be interested in what I’m really talking about, this is in a work I’m delivering called the Four Sacred Pillars of Lore. And it’s looking at the core principles that underpin all indigenous life. And the central tenet these lores revolve around is: all life is interconnected. So, everything is interdependent. When we know and understand that, and we look at the four paradigms in which that is made known we can see a cohesive model., The first and foremost is earth, nature, place, country, our relationship with it. The second is, kinship, not just ourselves with our human family that we’re born into, but all the living creatures that are part of our environment. Thirdly, is our soul or self, the underlying essential spirit of all things all creation – that within our self as equally within our life, and fourthly, the cosmos, the patterns of the cosmos – the relationship between microcosm and macrocosm and when we know and understand that we recognize cause and effect. And therefore, we recognize the necessity of a commitment to our responsibility, not just to ourselves, but to all life. And so, if we understand these four principles, and we start to restore our relationships with them, more consciously, and model education, and model systems that incorporate a relationship that unifies all of those in our life, we begin to generate a totally different dynamic. And it’s well known (in indigenous wisdom and law), that these are four primary threads within the fabric of our wellness, when one of them is severed, the fabric is weakened, when two are severed, it starts to fall apart, when three are severed, it begins to collapse and when four are severed – it’s done. And what we’re seeing in society is actually we’ve been all four of them. So, we wonder why our society and systems are collapsing. That is why, because we’ve drastically severed and fractured these fundamental relationships – the four sacred pillars have been deeply disrupted.
Rick Archer: The thing we were talking about earlier, regarding the more disconnected we are from self, or from one’s inner nature, the more one suffers, and therefore the stronger the incentive or impetus to discover or rediscover our inner nature, I suppose, a dynamic like that may play out in the world, and perhaps may even be responsible for the fact that there is this upwelling of interest in spirituality in the world, perhaps it is due to the fact that life as it has been lived, it has been so unsatisfactory and is becoming more so.
Isira: Absolutely. I agree 100with that.
Rick Archer: But boy, there’s people who really dig their heels in, aren’t there? I mean, half the politicians in the United States, one particular party, for the most part, denies climate change, they and Trump says it’s a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese to gain some economic advantage. So, they completely disregard science, and, and they craft policy accordingly. And Trump has reversed and dismantled so many environmental things. He just now today, the news came out that there’s some beautiful wild areas in Utah, that he’s going to open up to mining and other kinds of economic exploitation.
Isira: I don’t believe they’re actually in total denial and totally disagree. In fact, I believe a lot of their activity is because underneath it, they do know what is real. But there is an extreme attachment to the way things are. There is so much invested interest for them in the way things are that they are doing absolutely everything possible to protect that and to prevent a change. The system is designed to protect the corrupt system.
Rick Archer: I think you’re right. I mean, that’s what the word conservative means. Basically, it’s trying to conserve or maintain the status quo, and not let things change. Whereas the word progressive, which is this antonym is let’s progress. Let’s change, and I think there needs to be a counterbalance there needs to be a healthy relationship between the two. You know, but at the moment, I think it’s way swung to the other extreme.
Isira: There’s another angle to this as well, and that is that there’s certainly a part of these minds that don’t get it. And this comes back to the makeup. I was talking about this difference between a more indigenous mind compared to a modern human mind, or a more spiritual mind compared to a materialistic mind. So, the spiritual or indigenous mind has connectedness, it actually has a connected relationship with life and it’s able to see and feel and experience the interconnectedness whereas a modern human mind has actually been narrowed in and dumbed down, to be disconnected and stuck in very narrow pathways of thinking. So, the modern human mind and the materialistic mind is actually working in that mindset, and therefore doesn’t feel, see, know, experience, the interconnectedness. So, a lot of our politicians and leaders literally are incapable of truly understanding and comprehending the gravity of our situation, or the reality of our situation, or the relationship between coal and what really is happening in our environment, they just cannot, and they don’t want to. So, you’ve got two things coupled there. One is the absolute will against it because they’re very attached to the way things are, and the other is the inability to get it. To get it really deeply.
That points to a very, very important catalyst for the change we’re seeking. And that is, our hearts. It’s about love, kindness, and empathy. Because unless we create an experience of connectedness with each other, and our environment, we don’t have a direct personal, and emotional, relationship with it. Without this we can’t and won’t care. That’s why our current political models cannot and will not work because they are centralized. And when things are centralized, they’re disconnected. And when things are disconnected the emotional element is lost. It’s not a connected fabric. Indigenous societies lived in small clans. Governance was local and they had an emotional relationship and connectedness with what was actually happening, and therefore a deeply heartfelt sense of responsibility. We need to radically reawaken this throughout all societies. And that means we’re going to have to consider decentralized government.
Rick Archer: Interesting. Wow, there’s a lot to discuss there. Let’s keep going. There’s an American author, who’s since deceased a long time ago, named Upton Sinclair, who wrote a book called The Jungle which is about the meatpacking industry and the horrors of that, and he’s famous for some saying that’s something like, you can’t convince a man of something, if his income depends on not believing it. And I don’t know how it is in Australia, but most of the American senators and members of the House of Representatives have to spend most of their time trying to raise money in order to get elected the next time around, they spent hours and hours and hours on the phone, and they have to kiss up to all these big donors, many of whom are the oil industry and the pharmaceutical industry and there are more lobbyists in Washington DC than there are politicians – and lobbyists come with big pocketbook saying, hey, I’ll give you money if you do my thing. So, they’re bound in like that. And there’s lots of this. And if we know, rather than paint the lobbyists and the industries that we represent, as demons look at it from their perspective, they’re thinking of the next quarter, they’re beholden to their shareholders, the next quarterly profits have to look good. And if the oil industries have five times the amount of oil ready to drill, then we can allow it to be burned. If we want to stay below two degrees centigrade. Well, who knows? If that’s really true, you know, I mean, that’s so far off. And decades from now, I think we can go ahead and burn it. And we need to make the shareholders happy. So, let’s go to Alaska. And it’s great, the ice is melting, and the Arctic now we can drill in more places. So, this is this weird, short term myopic logic that drives what you were saying that the mind has been narrowed down. And, you know, they’re like a horse in a race with blinders on that can’t kind see that they could run other places. They have to just run on this track, leading them towards who knows what.
Isira: And that’s fundamentally materialism, so that’s, largely, unfortunately, part of the human makeup. Now, at large, we know, that most humans have been overtaken by materialistic values, as if that’s our God. That’s our measure of comfort, success, happiness, security. And along with that has come the “more mind.” So, separation creates fear. And where there is fear, there’s a need to possess and control. And so, if we’re seeking to possess and control, we’re going to look to accumulate and acquire. And also create the opposite – lack. So that’s materialism in a circle right there.
Rick Archer: Here’s a quote from the book, he said, through fear, we seek to protect ourselves and provide for our own individual needs. We don’t believe we have enough for ourselves, let alone for anyone else. So, God forbid that anyone should come along and say that wealth should be redistributed, or you know that everyone should get health care or something like that.
Isira: Exactly. And again, I’m going to make a comparison between the indigenous spiritual mindset compared to modern human, materialistic mindset. In our indigenous culture, it is we don’t see separate me and you. I can however also use that language because I recognize there’s a unique you. And my fundamental experience is “we” – it’s a whole collective. So indigenous people operate as a collective ‘we.’ And everything is owned by the we. Whereas with materialistic, it’s me versus you.
Rick Archer: So, I think Bernie Sanders campaign slogan is actually something like, not me, us, or not me, we – he even has that on his bus.
Isira: And despite even the good intentions of this, most people are not living as if this is true, because we’re caught in a system where we are controlled by a materialistic model, which means we have to keep protecting our own assets, protect our own survival needs, etc. And that’s also generated a subconscious, ‘more’ mind. And so, example, the whole manifestation movement is based on this mind; I want, I want, I want, I want, I want, which is a never-ending cycle. What is most deeply needed and critical on the planet is a shift back to a ‘sufficiency’ mindset. So, in the indigenous mind, everything was sufficient, everything belonged to everyone, we didn’t have to fight and argue over who owned what part of the land, because no one owned it, it was the collective reality. And in our current world model, if we continue down this track of trying to protect more, and not reestablishing a recognition of what we truly need, what is truly sufficient, and what is of true substance and value to our life, to our wellness, to our happiness, we’re just going to continue creating false models.
Rick Archer: Yeah, well, it’s very, very evident in collective consciousness that there’s a, a frenzy to acquire many things which we don’t really need. It’s particularly evident at Christmas time, where they always do news stories about the riots at the store is where people are fighting over the latest big screen TV or something. Or people sleep on the sidewalk for three days to get to be the first to get the latest iPhone.
Isira: And it’s a never-ending chase, you know… You get that object and then you’re told, “Oh no, there’s something newer and better and bigger and fancier.” And then, you get that object, and it doesn’t really satisfy one’s deepest needs anyway. So, there’s this emptiness still, there’s this sense of lack still, and then something else shiny gets dangled in front of you.
Rick Archer: You know, it’s almost the addictive mindset. I mean, you get a buzz when you get the new iPhone and oooh this is nice. And then after a few days, again, you know, like you said, some new model comes along or something, but people live for that sugar high that you get at this and get doing that, and always going for the next sugar high, and then it always fades. Next thing you know, you’re cranky.
Isira: Absolutely, absolutely. And so, I think really, life itself is going through a process of re awakening us to the truth. It’s an inbuilt design. It’s foolproof. We actually cannot fulfill ourselves, through material possessions. It’s impossible. And so eventually, we are going to be smothered by it to the point where we suffocate and we completely lose our life as a result of it, or we are woken up to realize that’s not it.
Rick Archer: You’ve alluded to, you know, little self-contained communities. You know, who keep living ecologically and you a few minutes ago, you spoke of decentralized government. Do you feel that actually, a time will come and some, I don’t know how long – maybe a decade two decades, where that becomes quite prevalent, and governments have been decentralized, or do you think that people will just go off the grid and live in their own little communities despite the fact that they still live in United States or Australia or someplace?
Isira: Sure. I think the same answer applies here when we were talking about whether it is going to be a complete collapse. Or is spirituality going to save the day? It’s going to be very nuanced. There are going to be a lot of different examples and versions and degrees of these possibilities. I do believe we’re already working with groups that are involved in redesigning governance models and involved in Eco Village Development. And I see that (within the next decade) there are going to be well developed existing decentralized villages, for want of a better term, and potentially even nations that take on that structure. I think there is one in the northern European, mainland Scandinavia.
Rick Archer: Greenland or one of those places, you know, aims to be completely Alternative Energy based? Yeah. heading in that direction. Yeah. And Germany is doing very well with that.
Isira: I know that there’s a lot of controversy around it. And a lot of people don’t fully understand it, etc. But this whole blockchain development, crypto-currency development, is an example of this emerging mindset. That there’s this recognition, that actually centralized systems are closed systems and are doomed from the start. Because existence itself is not actually a closed system. It’s an open system. So, you know, that is an example of this emerging mindset of being decentralized in the way we work with our resources and develop our systems.
Rick Archer: That’s interesting. Another thought that comes to mind and you also alluded to this is that we have tremendous, untapped potential. Last week, I interviewed a woman who specializes in studying autistic savants, and you know, people who have these incredible abilities, like being able to sit there and recite pie to 22,000 digits, you know, and or, you know, sit down and play Tchaikovsky’s first piano concerto, having heard it only once and never taken piano lessons and things like that. So human beings have amazing abilities. And I don’t know whether it’s somehow inherent in our brains, or actually, our brains are an interface to a larger field of information and intelligence, which I think is the case. But if we develop these marvelous instruments that we each own, sufficiently, it seems to be that all kinds of marvelous innovations and technologies in every field – politics, sociology, that you know, energy, alternative energy, and so on, which we can’t even imagine yet, will blossom.
Isira: Totally. Now there’s a few little things I’d like to expand on from that, because that’s a great little topic to investigate. So, this untapped potential. Firstly, we know that the human brain operates through different modes or frequencies. And in general, we know there’s beta, alpha, theta, and delta brainwave activity, we know that if we operate at certain brainwave states, we get certain experiences. And so, meditation corresponds with alpha, beta, and even delta, but there’s another brainwave state called gamma. And that is an activity state where we’ve gone into a state of entrainment and we’ve accessed a higher frequency and all of a sudden, our range of consciousness or access to intelligence expands dramatically. Albert Einstein was very plugged into that. He deliberately put himself into gamma brainwave states. So, by the way, this is some of the stuff that I’ve taught through programs like mastering meditation so people can intentionally access and use these different brainwave states. But there’s another factor that is really important to recognize. and Which is that, because we’re still primarily operating in this mindset of ‘me,’ the isolated human, we’ve actually lost touch with the way that nature evolves, and exchanges information. So, again, in comapsrison: indigenous learning and development was experiential, direct, connective development, which means it involved the entire landscape, the environment, and all of the people and all of the animals and creatures and the cosmos. It was ‘whole brain’ living, thinking engagement. And so, there was this massive channeling in and connecting of information. And, by way of absolute present moment, engagement, naturally indigenous people were experiencing and activating gamma states of brain activity. So, for example, if you’re focused on creating a tool, and you’re so completely present, creating that tool, just shaving down that wood, you’re in such an occupied state, that there’s this greater sensitivity, and information comes in. But the point I’m making here is that we’re oftentimes attempting to arrive at these higher illuminations in isolation. And we haven’t yet worked out that if we recreate a way in which we’re interacting with the whole environment, with each other, establishing a deeper connected relationship with life, the cosmos, and each other and activating those states, then we’re really going to access a very different level of imagination, of new possibilities that we haven’t even begun to imagine.
Rick Archer: Yeah, I mean, you’re alluding to the 100th Monkey principle here, where once a certain threshold is reached, once a certain percentage of society has, has begun to access these states, whatever we want to call them, there could be a radical shift in the collective.
Isira: And leaps of consciousness.
Rick Archer: One thing that I think a lot of people feel when they hear of indigenous people, and their wisdom and so on they think that was cool. And well, the Hopi Indians, they really had a profound attunement to nature and the Aboriginals of Australia and the Bushmen of South Africa, and they wouldn’t want to live like that – and I don’t want to just sit in the dirt and loincloth and have to go out hunting for breakfast and that thing. I mean, there’s so many modern technologies and comforts, and so I think many people would hope that somehow, we can get the best of both worlds.
Isira: Absolutely, yeah. And that’s really what I’m proposing. And I know a lot of you know, my indigenous brothers and sisters, uncles, aunties, and elders, are all proposing as well, you know, we can’t go backwards, we’re here now. We can only go forwards. However, there are underlying principles that are relevant to all time, all place, all people, all things. And it’s in honoring, and valuing those, and restoring those in the way we are living with life and meeting our challenges and our problems that will lead us forward to work with what we have now. What is serving us, what will continue to serve us, what isn’t, what do we need to let go of? And what do we need to restore that is relevant, that we know from past experience? So, I certainly do not propose for one moment that we were meant to abandon our comforts and our modern technology, but rather that we need to instill these unifying and universal principles into our lives.
Rick Archer: I mean, there’s certainly things we could do without and hopefully we’ll do without, but we can’t unknow what we know even unfortunately, certain things we know, like nuclear weapons technology and stuff like that. Unless there’s such a complete erasure of, you know, the data banks of human knowledge that that knowledge is always going to be there. So theoretically, there’s someone could take it and build a bomb. But I think that we need to align as a species with higher consciousness, then that knowledge can be thought of it in the dustbin of history, and we won’t conceive of using it. And yet, we’ll have all kinds of knowledge that we can use that could make life better than it’s been for the Aborigines. And for modern men, that the best of both can be distilled into something that’s better than either.
Isira: Sure. On that point about even nuclear, you know, weaponry at war, for example. This is one of the spiritual ideals we have. We desire or think that we can create a world that is free of violence, and that we need to do so. And I in my observation, I see that that’s actually one of our misguided, unrealistic hopes, because inherent to all nature, existence, including the human, is a destructive force. And it’s when we deny that and when we don’t understand it, and live in balance with that destructive force, that it actually becomes either suppressed or concentrated. When it’s suppressed, it becomes internally destructive, and when it is concentrated, it becomes, well, explosively destructive. So, if we don’t live in a state of balance individually, and then at a smaller scale, collectively, with our destructive tendencies, or the destructive qualities of life, then we’re actually living a delusional pathway. Imagining that we can somehow live without an element of violence and destruction is unrealistic. Creation is destructive.
Rick Archer: And we wouldn’t exist unless stars had lived out their life cycles and exploded and spewed out heavier elements throughout the galaxies throughout the universe. And that we’re, as Joni Mitchell says, Stardust. So, destruction serves a purpose as does death. I mean, we wouldn’t live very long if cells were not continually dying, and being regenerated within our own bodies, and neither would the earth be a very pleasant place for very long if no one ever died. And yet they kept procreating, it would, it would get a…
Isira: It would get a bit boring,
Rick Archer: And a bit crowded. So, but so that, it seems to me that there’s a proper balance of destructive and Creative Forces, which and then there’s an improper balance and these days the destructive is too predominant and it just hasn’t been channeled in a way that that’s really benign. As, as it could be.
Isira: Yeah. And that’s because of the imbalance, either there’s a denial of that destructive force, or there’s a possession of it, and a concentration of it. And so, what we’re seeing is exactly that, that we think, oh, if I don’t kill this animal to sustain my life. I’m doing good. And I’m not suggesting we should farm in an inhumane manner, but that there’s a circle to all life. We are consumed, consumer, consuming. That’s part of the circle. And the thing is, if we’re avoiding that, we’re just displacing that element of destruction, and it’s actually placed on someone else.
Rick Archer: For instance, are you’re saying something like, well, if we don’t kill our own cow in order to have food, then we’re hiring somebody else to do it for us? Is that what you’re saying? Are you saying something different?
Isira: That’s one example. Eating consuming plants, farming with plants, is apparently measured to have less impact environmentally. Nonetheless, 1000s of insects are still killed in the process of farming plants, for example, and the way we go about that is displacing something somewhere else. You know, when we live in a peaceful society, and we deny our own destructive tendencies, and we don’t own up to that, we allow another country to assert a concentrated force onto a different country. And this is where we see these regimes arising. Because the ownership and the balance of the shadow self is not sitting at a stable, present level equitably. In ourselves individually and as a society.
Rick Archer: So, envisioned for us a society, which it was properly balanced, and the destructive and creative forces were in proper proportion. How would that look? How would that play out?
Isira: Well, again, I would imagine that we’re living much more in accord with the natural forces that we see the sacred relationship between all things, and we respect it, rather than abuse it. And so, I see that it’s not so much what we eat that’s the problem, it’s our relationship with life resources, that is the problem. That’s one example. So, if we restore a sense of sacred respect and balance to the way we live, and the resources we use, for example, you know, come back to a sufficiency mindset, then we’re not going to be greedy, and we’re not going to rape and pillage the planet, we’re going to live in greater harmony. For example, permaculture, or there’s also free roaming. Animal farming, where we raise livestock in a manner that is free roaming. It doesn’t use anywhere near the resources or create the devastation that our current farming models do.
Rick Archer: Very true. I mean, I have a friend named Phil Scott, who’s been on the show who is a carnivore, and advocates that diet for those who he thinks it’d be good for everybody. But he says, you know, it’d be so restorative of the land to allow ruminants to just wander around on the land, like in the US, they we used to have, you know, millions of bison or Buffalo roaming the prairies, and there was, thick, deep, rich topsoil. These days, it’s all corn and soybeans, feed a lot of it to the animals so that we can eat them. And the topsoil has been depleted and depleted to the point where, you know, at the current pace, it will be unusable in some decades,
Isira: But actually, you know, really, we’re going to have to address the elephant in the room at some point. And that is that we can be talking about all of these issues we’re dealing with, and how to adjust ourselves with farming, resources, consumption, etc. And you know that we’re constantly going around in circles because of the bigger dilemma of the human population. We are overpopulated. And as a consequence, we’re not able to live in a greater balance with the environment, because actually, there’s too many of us occupying the space and too many mouths needing more consumption. And so, the question is: how can we actually restore a balance, when the ratio of human occupancy on the planet compared to a natural ecological system is out of whack?
Rick Archer: Well, it’s interesting I’ll pop in a question here from Melissa in Perth, who just said, who just sent in a question, how do you see sufficiency mindset working today, perhaps easier, with smaller numbers of people and with nature’s resources respected? Now nature’s resources are either under strain with the demands of population and providing for a global or global population? Is sufficiency mindset enough given the global population?
Isira: I guess I’ve just alluded to that point, haven’t I? And I see that like I say, I call it the elephant in the room, because who really does want to go there and admit the fact that we are actually overpopulated and what are we really going to do about it?
Rick Archer: If all the unfertile places in the world were fertile, then perhaps we could sustain this population? I don’t know. Perhaps there could be an adjustment to the environment through alignment with the natural law that would render a lot of inhospitable places fertile. But on the other hand, you know the Coronavirus is spreading, we were talking about what might happen if sea level rises or if temperature rises, temperature rises to six degrees centigrade, we’re all dead. But if it rises to three degrees, it could kill off hundreds of millions of people, billions, actually. And I don’t mean to sound gleeful about that, but it’ll be a horrific, horrific process. But if population really does need to be reduced, and if we’re shifting into a world in which is going to be ideal in terms of its, its numbers of occupants and all of its other practices, perhaps there will be some catastrophic reduction of population that takes place.
Isira: Well, it’s one of the things that has been prophesied.
Rick Archer: It has. Yeah,
Isira: …through many indigenous societies, and not just indigenous societies, but some of our prophets,
Rick Archer: … Casey people like that.
Isira: So, my sense is that it’s inevitable in some degree that there are going to be some
reductions and readjustments in terms of human population, as well as what’s happening with our environment. And I don’t mean to say this in a way that sounds cold, but rather from the perspective of just purely what is, observing what is. Nature/ existence is not precious, it’s not attached to any one thing or place. And I think humans have become way too precious and attached to our own existence. And our own self, or our own small circle You know,
Rick Archer: …suppose its superiority? Well, nature wasn’t attached to the dinosaurs, they were, they were doing fine for a couple 100 million years, and all of a sudden, that asteroid came along and boom, change the page. And I’m sure that in this vast universe, there that happens on a regular basis to planets populated by beings much more highly evolved than dinosaurs. So, it could happen suddenly, it could happen slowly. And we have a very, constrained vision of our history.
Isira: I think it’s important to strike a balance between an acceptance and an acknowledgement for the much bigger picture and surrender and trust in that, and also hope that we can respond consciously. And with greater imagination and with love, we can bring a new vision to what is happening in the world. And each of us who, you know, consider ourselves on a spiritual journey, are central to our own ability to recognize ourselves, each other, and the nature of existence, enabling us to access a greater love, and a more conscious response to what is happening in the world.
Rick Archer: Yeah, there’s what you said, those of us who consider ourselves on a spiritual journey. I was once on a boat ride on Lake Lucerne with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in 1974. And we were talking about this topic of society, you know, radically shifting and a possibly cataclysmic phase transition in the world. And someone said, “well, how can we survive that? How can we survive the phase transition?” And he said, “Hold on to the Self.” And what he meant by that was, you know, get in touch with your innermost nature, and then come hell or high water, no matter what happens, you will have a foundation, you know, you may move on to another plane of existence, you may stay on this plane, but whatever happens, you will be rooted in that which just is indestructible.
Isira: Absolutely. That is it. And that’s the way that we ultimately, know peace and our ability to respond emerges from that. So, you know, oftentimes people think,” oh, it’s a resignation,” if we say it is the way it is. No, it’s not a resignation, it’s a recognition. And when we know our true self, we have a poise in the midst of that, it’s both trust and surrender and acceptance of what is and what will be, and this incredible loving, conscious capacity to respond. And to respond here now because that’s all we have. We can only respond here now. So, it’s not who am I? It’s what am I? What am I this moment? I am energy. I am love. I am consciousness. I’m present here.
Rick Archer: Yes, interestingly in the Bhagavad Gita Arjuna said, well, I don’t want to fight this battle. And Krishna said, well, you have to fight this battle. This battle has to be fought. In fact, I’ve already killed all these warriors. You just have to actually act it out. And then Arjuna says, I’m not going to do it. But then finally they came around to the point where Krishna said, established in yoga, established in union, perform action. And then you’ll be performed, you’ll be acting in accordance with Dharma, you’ll be doing the right thing, even though on the surface, some people might say it’s the wrong thing. So, \ this whole thing we were talking about destruction earlier, this this, whatever our role is, I think, if we’re truly not just intellectually, or in some mood, if we’re truly established in in the Self capital S, then we will act out that role in accordance with nature’s intelligence or intentions.
Isira: And, again, it points to the tendency for the mind to want to preempt and define things and say, “all right, if this happens, then that’s what I’m going to do.” And or if I’m going to do that, then, if ever I meet that, in another moment, I’m going to do the same thing. No, you know, it’s like, well, what does the yogi do in the moment he’s confronted by a scorpion? You know, in one moment, there might be a scorpion there, and there’s a little child, two feet away, and the yogi will just instantly stomp on the scorpion. In another moment, the scorpion is there, and he just waits, he stands still, and the scorpion just moves away. And it’s not that there is a right or wrong, there’s just this moment with awareness.
Rick Archer: Right, which points to the principle of spontaneous right action – you can’t intellectually calculate all the ramifications of any action. But if you’re attuned to that level of intelligence, which is orchestrating the whole universe, and acting in accordance with that, then action can actually be as perfect as if you did have all the information in the universe, even though you don’t you just act in accordance with an intuitive impulse, it turns out to be the right thing.
Isira: Yep, absolutely.
Rick Archer: Just tell you a little story about the yogi and the scorpion. So, there was this, this is a little bit of a segue, topic change, there was a yogi sitting by a ditch, and a scorpion had fallen in and was drowning. And so, he lifted the scorpion out, put it on dry land, and the scorpion stung him. And then, the scorpion crawled back into the ditch and was drowning again. So, he did it again. And somebody observed him doing that said, “what are you doing with this scorpion – it keeps stinging you over and over again? Why don’t you just leave it there?” And he said, “it’s in his nature to sting and it’s my nature to save.”
So, tell us a bit about what you have to offer. I know that we’ve been in touch with Leelani. And she was saying that, you know, you’ll set up some page where people who’ve listened this interview can click through and get some discount on your courses or something. If people have felt feeling inspired to get involved in what you’re offering, what is that? And what would that involvement entail?
Isira: Sure, so the primary platform that you can engage with everything I’m doing now is called The Awakening Place. And that’s where you can join in, the regular talks that I offer, for free at a deeper level, if you actually join membership, you get the highlights of talks, you get access to the body of works that I’ve produced as content and products and programs, etc. And there’s a huge amount of content in there. So it’s hours and hours of interesting discoveries, and support for your own journey, to find that deeper connection in yourself and to make sense of this whole journey, because let’s face it, it’s not always easy to navigate or to understand how and why we are experiencing what we are and, and how to align ourself in a different way, how to come back to our true nature. So, on the one hand, you know, we know all sages or teachers say the same thing that fundamentally it’s very simple in truth and principle is simple, but in practice, it’s complex. And so that platform is a way for you to discover multiple tools to understand that process for yourself and to take more steps into being more consciously present. So that’s the Awakening Place. And then of course, there’s the books. So, my latest book, is called Awakening You which is a compendium. It outlines the root conflict of all humanity. So, what is underlying, what’s the root cause of all conflict, and then the six symptoms of conflict and how that it’s relevant to every single one of us. And so, it draws a circle around our individual self and how we got into a state of conflict to start with, and how that trickles through, from ourselves into relationships, into our relationship with the environment and resources and as a collective society, and then what’s happening on the earth, and really what our quest is now, how we can address that, how we can navigate our way to a place of restoration. And then the other thing is, take a look at the website, because there’s some new material on the website that you may not have seen before. It’s more current, that is the regeneration work, which is a collaborative campaign to bring more and more people together, to be unified. On that same quest, we all have to regenerate what is happening in our lives and in the world, and the Four Pillars of Lore.
Rick Archer: Great. You know, a lot of spiritual teachers and spiritual people these days talk about integration and embodiment, which I think means, you know, integrating the depths of our experience into our relative life into all facets and phases of it. So, I think you’re a great example of someone who’s doing that, not only in terms of your individual life, but in terms of all the societal things we’ve been talking about, you know, and ecological things and so on. Because ultimately, I think that this ocean of inner potential is the nourishment, which all aspects of life draw upon to sustain themselves. But unfortunately, in most cases, the flow of nutrients is really minuscule. But it can come as a flood or something if we if we managed to build the connections that are needed into all the manifest aspects of politics and economics in agriculture, and technology, and military and everything else. So, it seems like you’re really on the forefront of doing that.
Isira: And look, it is, it’s a challenging time. You know, life is life, certainly, I’m faced with challenges, we all are. And, you know, you hit on that really relevant point earlier. And that is we all continue evolving. But at the same time as that is challenging, it is exciting. It’s an incredible time to be alive and to be expanding our awareness. Because always at the time of great, great crisis, and challenge is a time of incredible possibility and opportunity. And that’s my message now is to continue to believe in yourself even though it doesn’t always seem like you are progressing. Your connection to your inner self, and your knowing of that awareness is going to carry you all the way, it is a compass for you, for all of us. And we’re in that together. So, the more we encourage each other and acknowledge and honor that, the better because that’s what we need now, more than anything.
Rick Archer: Very important. And you just said it, but find likeminded souls, they’re out there. And if you live in the boondocks, someplace, then you can find them online these days. Because it really does help to have a community of people who are on the same wavelength. Whether you’re with them physically in the same spot or you’re connected with them, you know? Yeah, electronically.
Isira: I think that’s so important. We are not alone. You are not alone. You’re not isolated. And I love the way you call it the boondocks, here in Australia, we have a similar term, but it’s woopwoop you’re out in woopwoop.
Rick Archer: That was actually one of my initial motivations for starting this thing is I was meeting people who, even though I live in a fairly spiritual community, where a lot of people meditate, I was meeting people who had undergone an awakening. And they would tell friends, and the friends wouldn’t believe them, because they seem like the same old person they’ve always known. And so, I wanted to get the message out there, this is happening to people, and they don’t have to appear to be floating 2 feet off the ground, or, super special is happening to ordinary people, and therefore it can happen to you.
Isira: Exactly. And after all, we are all human. And I think, it’s really, really important that we dispel a lot of the old baggage that goes along with spirituality and teachers, as if you’re meant to look at someone sitting up on some great big pedestal or throne. As if it’s numinous and ethereal and beyond human and it’s not. It’s not. And we have to really embrace the truth that this whole process of awakening is about really being with what is real and bringing that imminent consciousness from within ourselves and into the world. It’s not about escaping it. It’s about being here.
Rick Archer: Well, we could go on all night, every time you say something, I think of several other things about which we could talk. But we should probably wrap it up. And I really enjoyed this conversation.
Isira: Me too. Thank you so much, Rick. It was just wonderful. The work you’re doing, what a great opportunity and platform for people to hear more of these different experiences and journeys, and you know, reflecting back how really, it’s the same for all of us. We’re in it together. So, thank you.
Rick Archer: You’re welcome. It’s a pleasure. So those who have been listening or watching Isira will have a page on BatGap as all the interviewees do. And from there, you’ll find links to her website and some of the things she’s spoken about her books. And while you’re on the website, if you poke around a bit, you’ll see that there is a link to an audio podcast. There’s several other interesting things under the menus, just explore and you’ll find what we have to offer. Next week I’ll be speaking with I think it’s Roger Walsh, who has come very highly, highly recommended. So, stay tuned, and we’ll see you for the next one. Thanks, Isira.
Isira: Thanks Rick