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Rick Archer: Welcome to Buddha at the Gas Pump. My name is Rick Archer, Buddha at the Gas Pump is an ongoing series of conversations with spiritually Awakening people. I’ve done quite a few 100 of them now. And if this is new to you, and you’d like to check out previous ones, please go to batgap.com Bat gap and look under the past interviews menu. This program is made possible by the support of appreciative listeners and viewers. So if you appreciate it and feel like supporting it, to whatever degree there’s a PayPal button on every page of the site. Thank you for that. I’m I’m really fortunate and honored to interview such wonderful people every week. I take the responsibility very seriously and spend many hours preparing it’s been very conducive to my growth over the years. And I’m especially honored to be interviewing James D this week, and I’ve really been inspired and enriched by what I’ve read and listened to. Since boyhood, James has dedicated his remarkable life to alleviating the suffering of others and he’s done so deep mystical foundation. James OD is the award winning author of conscious activists cultivating peace, soul awakening practice and other words. He is a former president of the Institute of Noetic Sciences, which was founded by the astronaut Edgar Mitchell who spent about eight hours walking on the moon and had a profound mystical experience on his way back from the moon, which is why he founded the Institute ions. James is also the Washington office director of Amnesty International and CEO of the Seva Foundation, which was founded by rom das and dedicated itself to alleviating blindness to cataract surgery in poor areas of India and Nepal. Has taught peacebuilding to over 1000 students in 30 countries. He’s also conducted frontline social healing dialogues around the world. He is a founding member of the evolutionary leaders group, and is on the advisory board of the peace Alliance, Cosmos journal, and the Laszlo New Paradigm Institute. I’ve just reviewed the notes I took while reading James’s book, The conscious activist, and every single one of them could be a springboard for an extended conversation. I’m afraid we won’t get to all of them. But I think you’ll be inspired by what we do get to. And I really hope to do justice to James James’s inspiring life and work and the conversation you’re about to hear. James mentioned that he would like to start this conversation with an invocation. So and we’re going to end with one also. So please do that. James.
James O’Dea: Thank you. What a joy and pleasure to be with you, Rick, I think you’re doing an incredible service. Thank you, the depth and quality of your interviews and wonderful and your own spiritual president’s presence, very evident. So thank you. I’m a work in progress. And so that’s for us all. I want you to begin with an indication because I’m beginning to put together a book of indications and we’ll talk more about that process a little bit later. How I can condense, transmissions, if you like, in I’m not a poet, per se. So I call them poetic indications. And they’re designed to transmit teaching and learn. So this opening one is called this consecrated hour. Do you not see them? The ashen ones, the gray ones? The starving orphans, the seduced innocence, the decimated specters of conflagration, all the beings trampled in degradation, crowding our collective shadow field. Go find them, in this, this consecrated hour of human becoming. Find your estranged your lust and abandoned found Family and embrace them into the vital marrow of your life. Kiss them until the ashes of their betrayal turn from gray to red, and the blush of love blows through the ones so, the one life of all. Do not feel them. The snakes have poisoned the necrotic plastic, the oceans, dead zones, the cancers, the tumors, the die offs, the daily extinctions, the breath of life, suffocated on a genocidal scale. Do you not feel them in your own flesh and blood? Go heal the pain in this, this consecrated hour of human becoming. Field your rivers, your lakes, your mountains feel their freshness their pure lifeforce coursing your veins, opening your heart, to the one mother, the one so of all. Do not know them. The Guardians of the moment, the secret listeners, the agents of truth, the instruments of solo awakening consciousness raising light resurrecting power of Transfiguration, in the center of your own compassionately ripened awareness. Go manifest this power. In this this consecrated hour of you and becoming, sing the communal choirs of collaboration, showering our wounded world with the divine the fated or die, Audacity to celebrate one stone, one life of all.
Rick Archer: That’s beautiful. What that evokes in me is, well, firstly a memory of John Donne’s poem where he says, No man is an island, you know, and
James O’Dea: entire unto himself, but is a part of the continent.
Rick Archer: As not for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee. And, you know, if we aspire to Enlightenment, if we aspire to living, non duality, and so on, then we’re asking to incorporate within our being, all all that is in the world. And that includes a lot of horrific things that you have witnessed in your life and that are still going on. And I don’t know if we can truly call ourselves or not that we would brag about it, but truly sort of consider ourselves enlightened or awakened or non dual or whatever. And totally resting in that state, without the need for any kind of remuneration or elimination of the suffering. Until, until it has been eliminated. You know, there’s going there’s seems to be there’s naturally going to be in an overflowing of whatever fullness we achieve, in an attempt to bring our world into that same fullness and joy.
James O’Dea: As well said, I love those words of the Dalai Lama, when he says, It is not enough to be compassionate. Wow, really? Are you telling me it’s not enough to be compassionate? It is not enough to be compassionate, if he says, Why must I am so it’s that expression and, and gathering of the inner and the outer together, even the Bhagavad Gita says, You cannot resolve activity by any form of inactivity. So even though our actions are going to create Samskaras, we’re going to mess it up. My own life is a story of development. I look forward to sort of going through some on stages with you, but we do Bongo we miss them are we have to grow up. And when we do, our action becomes more refined and more aligned with the inner. And I think the vibrational level is affected, even when we live in such sordid, difficult betrayal times as we live in yet, I think beneath the radar screen of all the melodrama and nonsense and cruelty and confusion in the world, there is some music to be heard, there is something rising through the good, spiritual aware of people who say, it is time to bring it into the world.
Rick Archer: Yeah, and you mentioned that, you know, we can’t act without accumulating some scars or impressions or, you know, bundling it up in some way. But since you evoke the Gators as we, as we know, in that story, you know, our Jr said, take my chariot out between the two armies, I want to see these people that I’m supposed to fight. And Krishna took him out there and he said, Wait a minute, these guys are my relatives, I don’t want to fight them. I’d rather just live on arms and then kill these, you know, respected elders and so on. Then Krishna said well, but you have to fight. incursion Arjuna said, Well, I don’t want it. And then finally, you know, Krishna said, well, established in yoga – Yogastah kuru karmani – established in being, then perform action. And then you’ll perform action in accordance with Dharma in accordance with the will of God, the flow of the universe, and you’ll be able to do so without creating some scars.
James O’Dea: As well, that’s a very Sri hour of Indian approach through that, when you go back to the earlier stages, one thing to act, there can be too much enthusiasm for the fight, because rather than seeing your relatives, on the other side of the battlefield, you see the other, you see the bad guys, you see the ones you want to take out, you see the ones who are the source of the problem. And by God, you are going to get on our high horse. And, and for legitimate reasons, in some ways, you are going to do battle, but spiritually, that creates a crisis.
Rick Archer: So
James O’Dea: both the mystic and the actor have a long road of development. And I had a thought I shared with friends on Facebook a few weeks ago, it was really deep wreck, and legitimate. And it came to me, after all these years of struggle and work on both the mystical side and the active side. And it came to me and I said, it is thought that it may take 10,000 or more lifetimes, before we can be liberated may take a million years. And I had this feeling of right. It’s okay. I’m ready for that. I want to walk that path. I want to walk every step of the way. I don’t want to get a quick, get out of jail free card. I don’t want to get a quick miraculous, jump to transcendence. I want the sobriety of every moment, not the ecstatic process, which I little ecstasy to have them is that sense of being consciously aware that I am making every step towards a goal of dissolving in the Beloved. And that has been a profound growth moment for me.
Rick Archer: Yeah, one thing I think about when you say that is that, you know, it took a long time for the universe to get where it is today. And for us to get where we are today, Although who knows what our whole evolution, evolutionary trajectory has been, but it’s probably been going on for a long time. So you can say that God has a lot invested in us? And should we really be in a hurry to just sort of snuff it out and get out of here and cease to exist? Or would we be? Would it be a more mature perspective to say, use me Lord, for, you know, in whatever way I can be used for as long as you would like to do? So you’ve spent a lot of time developing this instrument, and I’m happy to offer it in service for as long as it is useful.
James O’Dea: Right? And behind some of this conversation, is that troubling issue of why do we come here in the first place? You know, what, what sort of a day to your divine entity creates this place of such appalling cruelty of such deep misery and deep suffering? And then says, Oh, yes, and I’ve given you some escape routes, you know, you could get out this way or that right. But why did you create that in the first place? As a good Catholic boy, I learned about original sin, you know, Adam and Eve being thrown out of the garden, because of their curiosity. And so, one has to come to, I think, some understanding of what that story is, and for me, and for, for many mystics, of different traditions, it becomes there is a purpose. The great Sufi mystic movie The Hypno Araby, many people don’t know of him they know of Mevlana Jalaluddin Rumi, who in Sufism is called the pole of love. And no, he didn’t even know Araby is called the pole of knowledge, and very difficult to read. So most people don’t go there. But he starts his great work, the basil’s of wisdom, the wisdom of the product, by with this thought, that God wanted to know, his own most beautiful and powerful qualities, God wanted to know, he wanted to know himself as the whole story, The Good, the Bad, and the ugly. And so then, you look at creation, and the imminent Oh pole of creation. And say, we can be the eyes and ears and hands of the Divine, maybe we can be the autonomous What m&r Because the principio autonomy of the Divinity, we can be instances, we can be moments we can be motivations of the Divine, and that then we can express beauty and truth and justice and these qualities that express through us. And that, for me, changes the story. It says it’s not about escaping. You know, this hellhole of a world. It’s about discovering the beauty. You remember the vinegar story? Buddha is asked when he tastes vinegar. He says it’s bitter. And this is a reflection of his understanding of the bitterness of human suffering and the terrible pain. This is sort of an symbol of that. And then confusions is as to taste the vinegar and it says it’s sour. And the sourness is a reflection of the injustice of the world the corruption, that’s what I’m no and so he is brutalized by others out of bitterness is compassion infuses five out of sourness is to create structures that wreck ruin representative social order and high levels of governance. And love to is asked about the taste of vinegar, and he says it’s sweet. And for him, that’s a reflection of the Dow and the sweetness of the Dow, that if you look deep enough into it all, there is sweetness, there is sweet truth in the way of nature. And, and for me, that journey has been decidedly bitter, sweet, I have a saying, Let the bitter, be bitter. And the sweet, the sweet until the bitter and the sweet one. And what happens when we don’t let the bitter be better? We really get into force and that’s the try. That’s the past default. When we create the false positive, don’t worry about the negative. Our world needs positive and negative. And negative you can see negative and positive positive. Is that false positive or the dangerous? Again in Suisan Mallord up trowel simply says Your heart must face its test until some sweets turn bitter. In the end, your heart won’t answer. Yes. Why won’t your heart answer yes. In this innocent because the heart is in Oregon that perceives the homeless that lives in homeless if cannot be a partisan of the sweet. I know some people really believe that it’s the all the journey through sweetness. And that if you’re if you’re acknowledging the bitter, the Giro being negative, oh, my goodness, you know, be positive all the time. I’m sorry, but I cannot do that. That is I would not be faithful to what I have learned on the path. I need to say torture is horrific nightmare of human immorality and cruelty. And I don’t think that I am being negative by saying that I’m pointing out the negative unveiling where the false truth lies.
Rick Archer: I think this is a distinction between what you just said, you know, where you’ve dedicated your life to trying to eliminate horrific things. And so in in, in order to do that you’ve had to put your attention on those things. And kind of indulgence in negativity as a form of entertainment. You know, like a person like porn or violent video games or something like that, which are only going to pollute our minds and hearts. So in that, that sort of thing. Yeah. Don’t put your attention on the negative. But if people are suffering, starving, you know, being abused, mistreated in any way, then how is that going to be solved unless some well meaning people put their attention on it and try to do something about it.
James O’Dea: Right, I think you’ve got it there. There are very deep nuances in everything in all of these stories that if you take for example, a story that I often share because it’s so powerful about social healing that It was convened, that I have to convene, and present were was Garfield leaf and former Hitler youth. And Mary Rothschild, daughter of Holocaust survivors. And she adds to this, she describes what happens to 23 members of her family extended family. And she asked him for his, what he did in the store. And he said he was active Hitler Youth you want and like Pope Benedict, apparently was somehow connected to he was old enough to punch up people and burn things and be nasty. And now we’re in the zone and having to clarify around false positives, negatives, what negative you pay things, etc. And she says to him, she’s hunting. She says, Then what if you had been 10 years older? Would you have taken my family and put them in the gas chambers? A question. And you can do that in a dialogical environment of social meaning you can get to the heart of the matter. And he paused for a long time. And then he said, I just don’t know. We were so caught up in. And Mary said, that was the moment, one of the most important moments in our lives. Because she heard truth being spoken, either Liars by the representatives of former representatives of Nazism or whatever. And she heard she heard the voice of truth speaking through saying I could have been a mass murderer. See how far we can take this conversation?
Rick Archer: Yeah. And you and I could have been boys in Nazi Germany, or soldiers in Nazi Germany and have fallen into the same mindset that was predominant, and that we probably would not have had a choice to, you know, to opt out of. So it’s good not to get too self righteous.
James O’Dea: I asked if I could just share from my early life journey to try to bring in this developmental aspect. That you know, first of all, I’m, I’m conceived, days before my sister died. And my mother, when she is in the mourning process, discovers that she is caring. And so I am conceived in mourning. So my experience and we know from contemporary science, health signs that a lot happens in utero. So I’m in utero of a woman who’s 11 year old daughter is died and she is mourning. And yet, there is new life coming.
Rick Archer: Suddenly and unexpectedly. So it was a real shock to her.
James O’Dea: Right and alive in your own life. So that sets the whole story for me. That’s there’s the bitter and the sweet. Right in the womb. I am coming into this world. sort of born out of the bittersweet. And yet, there is something in it. That also tells me because I’m born after this. I’m born into my mother’s love. And so I can go through these house stories. Because I know it’s not the end of the story. And there’s something else that you carries me forward, where I want to take you to. We’re talking when you said you and I. So, as a young boy, I had a fervor and mystical path. For people who really bang on the Catholic Church, I say, wait a minute, he has a mystical training for her children, you really need to value. I mean, having Christ enter your body and feel the mystical union, being told God himself is in this process, whether you believe that or not, as a child as I went through my own story with it, you have a communion with communion, is a beautiful process. So I told my parents, I wanted to become a priest. And they said, ages 10 and 11. No, you’re way too young. Wait till you’re 18 reiterating. I was on fire. And I eventually won and went to a Catholic seminary. And, again, it was unbelievably rich for me. The days of silence were days, as I think we should really write eyes, childhood spirituality, can be much more potent, and it’s often portrayed, but things unraveled. And I would just say that part of the unraveling was a psycho spiritual crisis that I had from early one morning, vomiting up the communion host. And here, you know, with all the seminarians standing around me, in the entrance to the church, you know, we’re looking at the floor at these white particles of vomit, that I had just vomited up. What was that? What kind of mystical crisis was that? And in the body of Christ there, right, exactly. And then priests, you know, ushering all the seminarians out, and huddling, conferring with the rector of, you know, how do we deal with this? And I heard whispered to me, and then said to me, whispered in and said to me, and this was an unpremeditated sacrilege. And I was like, wow, I had to investigate the whole process. But where I want to take you is my struggle with and the crisis that I should have written to my parents and said, I’m, I’m I need to leave. Now. Things are unraveling. And it’s not right for me anymore. But probably the sin of pride. Probably that other factors too. But I went into this incredibly interesting criminal Protic process, where by I studied, how to steal money from the versus office, leave in the middle of the night, take a plane to Ireland, or in my family, I’ve already moved to England. And when you said, you know, each of us could have been in the hitter youth. I get it, because there was some perfection in this criminality and the execution of this, that maybe I got it, I got rid of it at age 13. And I didn’t have to become a criminal in this life. But each of us, I think, have capacities whether or not they get in the way.
Rick Archer: It’s something ironic about the fact that they were so shocked about you you’re vomiting up the wafer, you know, because I mean, if you think about it, everything we eat usually comes out the other end. I don’t see how that is any, you know, less shocking than have then occasionally having it come out the end it came in, but perhaps they don’t follow everything through to its logical conclusion right Catholic church
James O’Dea: but what happened to me was, again, being thrown out of the garden. I mean, after I my family brought me back to London, there was this incredible grayness. I mean, London can, the suburbs of London can be gray and foggy and, but there was this spiritual grayness I was thrown out, I no longer had those spiritual days of retreat, and where my soul really wanted to go, and that I had was responsible for casting myself out. And so, again, in my development, here is this intensification process that’s beginning to work its way up through adolescence, which is very interesting, of communion, early childhood, deep spiritual contact, loss, a self review, and, and longing, then the beginning of a deeper longing, what have I done in my life, to lose the impulse that was so rich for me, and, and what happened. And I think it was meant to happen. And I don’t know how you feel about those kinds of things in life, but I started getting channeling that energy into activism, into work on behalf the poor and senior citizens. And, and it was both related because it was compassionate. But it was also the beginning then, of my learning as an activist, and I got a teenager of the Year Award for my activism, and got a lot of prominence as, by this time 60 neuron in the media for things I would say. And then Minister responsible for social welfare wrote to me, and said, you know, it seems as if you have a serious critique of our treatment of senior citizens. Would you kindly come and discuss it with us, I’d love to beat you. And I wrote back and with that, viciousness, that is, can be in the activist in which I said, you know, what you have to do, and when you do it, we can meet. And that sort of refusal of dialogue is acceptable in adolescent, but my goodness, there is a long way to travel as an activist until you get to the point that happens later in my life, where you’re about healing, where you’re about dialogue, where you’re about reconciliation, or you’re about forgiveness, or you’re about bringing the parts together and believe that the intergenerational trauma transmission of wounds can be drought dealt with. That’s a that’s a marker isn’t the learning trajectory?
Rick Archer: Yeah, wonder how much? Well, let’s see what how you answer this question. To what extent do you think that learning trajectory resulted from ordinary maturation that we all go through, regardless of what we experienced? Or was it a result more of the sort of various trials and tribulations you went through as an activist which taught you humility and sort of imbued you with greater wisdom?
James O’Dea: I think every step of the way, right, I think you know what I said earlier about Mr. Go Bad every step of the way. That’s what I when I look at my own life, every step of the way, seems given. And I can celebrate that I can celebrate and say openly on a call like this, I was a thief. You know, look at me look at where I came from hiker, I could have been a really good thing. But I learned something in the process, and my heart learn something by being crushed, I would say by tasting the bitterness of loss. I thought I had lost my god, I thought I know there was a really deep sense, I never completely thought I had lost God, or lost the mystical, but in to then vitalize the energy. And then as you progress, you see how each phase helps, goes on mystical bias and activist refine. And when I had my next sort of really significant mystical experience, I would like to share that,
Rick Archer: yeah, for you that is going to come in and what you just said about each phase helping. And we were talking a little while ago about, you know, God created creation, as it were, to experience of his powers or qualities or something like that. And as you were saying, that I was thinking, you know, that show me a place that in which God doesn’t permeate, and which actually is anything other than God, you know, from the tiniest, to the, to the largest aspects of creation, it’s all just sort of the Divine playing or interacting within itself. And so you can’t sort of blame God for doing bad things to people, because God is doing it to himself, so to speak. And, and I also was thinking that, you know, if there’s going to be a creation at all, it seems to me there have to be relative qualities. If there’s going to be diversity that, by definition means there’s going to be, you know, hot, cold, fast, slow, big, small, pain, you know, happiness and all the polarities and that we can think of. And so how does that relate to what you’re, so in terms of what you’re,
James O’Dea: we’re in a zone here, as I like to respond to that. We have to be so careful in this discourse. Because we have a theological, cosmological discourse, and we have an existential discourse. And there is never a moment when we are not invited to try to end the cruelty or the suffering. We cannot in any way say, well, it’s it’s God’s experience. So it’s okay. I wasn’t implying that. No, no, I didn’t say you were I just was flagging it because that’s where things can get hairy. And people make a choice or a decision to go spiritual and religious, and mystical or whatever. And say, it’s, you know, it’s all inevitable anyway, is this is God’s self discovery process? And, you know, boy, do I like to invite people to really say, then let God and you be powerful in manifesting the supremacy, of compassion and the power To change and transform the world, and that energy, as you know, is an energy that feeds my life. Because I’ve seen people rescued from the torture slab, I have seen the power of mobilizing consciousness and conscience and dramatically changing the story. So we can say, in, in this I, my cosmological take on this is that it’s all related to evolutionary process. It’s all related to those impressions. I was a tiger. I was a vulture. I was, you know, I was a murderer. I was a thief. I know, in my lifetimes. As you know, Protagoras had a mystical school. And he was, we don’t know what they were, but He taught his students he could remember back, even prior to human lifetime. So rather than being a force of autonomous evil, which, believe you, me, I’ve had to explore deeply in my life, is there autonomous, evil, and that sense of evolutionary process that we, we gain all of these impulses, these instincts, and then there comes a moment that comes a lifetime, like a lifetime, you and I are having now when we wake up sufficiently to begin to see that we are actually, you know, vast and we have, we are our source, our basis is love, and truth, and compassion. I know, this is a big conversation, we have time.
Rick Archer: And I don’t want you to forget the story that you were about to tell, but just to carry on with the point you just made for a minute. So if everything if, you know, if everything has a sort of evolutionary purpose to it, if that’s God’s agenda, so to speak, then how do you respond to somebody who says, Well, tell me how the Holocaust had an evolutionary agenda perspective, a value for those who suffered from it. And I’ve heard people give rationale, like, well, the Jews took on the karma of the world and made in making the sacrifice or it was somehow instrumental in their, in their personal spiritual evolution and in the big picture, and that can seem very glib for somebody who doesn’t kind of share that, that philosophical perspective. So how do you respond to such questions?
James O’Dea: I go back to I guess, my take on the evolutionary process, which is as mirrored in my own life, it’s a developmental process. So what we are seeing in things like a holocaust, our developmental may have nothing to do with God’s wanting to be this way. Or that. I’m, for example, very influenced by spiral dynamics, and looking at the evolutionary process of the social order, through no, tribal affiliation, and then empire and victory. And then through truth, gods, I’m sure in your conversations, you’ve gone over spiral dynamics,
Rick Archer: with Ken Wilber and some others. Yeah.
James O’Dea: Right. And gone back, of course, the master teacher. And what you see in that theory, is that there’s a positive and negative for each phase of our social development of evolutionary development is a species that can you take the red code, the warrior code, the phase where militarism dominates society, the positive of that is a great positive is that there are beings who are willing to offer their life to protect their Rest of the social order. And then the shadow of that is domination. Is ethnocentrism is no power over. And moving through that is very, very challenging. And, and so that’s how I see these genocide of periods is moving through those social evolutionary phase changes that now, we can go down another road and talk more about those. But does that answer your question sufficiently?
Rick Archer: Yeah, let’s, let’s leave it at that for now. Because there’s so many things we want to get to. And in five or 10 minutes ago, you were about to tell us a story. And I interrupted you,
James O’Dea: I wanted to tell you a story of moving up in the refinement process in the mystical area, and that was by 1977. So I’m now 26. I read, Trump was cutting through spiritual materialism. And as you read in the book, or conscious activist, I read those riveting lines of Trump, when he says, better for some that they not even entered the spiritual path, in this lifetime, that it will be so challenging. It’s like having your nerves raw and exposed to the universe. And there was something in that, that said to me, is my guy, this is what I feel. I want to go through that burning off, that, you know, peeling away process to the truth. Not that I want, I’m a masochist. But of course, it’s also very, very subtle. And our growth in the subtle and I think we need to spend a little time talking about the subtle domain. Yes, I’ll tell you the story. First, because I think there’s a lot of confusion around the sort of domain.
Rick Archer: Some people don’t even acknowledge its existence and yet consider themselves spiritual teachers are, you know, they say things like, there’s only this and you try to discuss any kind of subtle domain with them, and they, they think you’re just off in Fantasyland.
James O’Dea: So here’s the story of the beginning of my deeper refinement. I go to this book says I can’t get to Tibet, but I can get to the Tibetan community in exile in Dharamsala. So I headed off to Dharamsala in 1977 That’s when McLeodGanj in Dharamsala were two separate times. Now it’s all one big sprawl and it’s an a mecca for spiritual hunters. But it was during the monsoon period, and I needed to buy an umbrella. So I went through the umbrella store. And there was one very beautiful umbrella with like rainbow panel of colors on it. Right, it was expensive, and I thought I’m only here for a short period studying at the Tibetan library. And I bought a cheap black umbrella. And one day outside the Tibetan library, is all changed now that there was a huge open bat here. And it started the rain and thunder guards started pouring. I got put my umbrella up and then ran to lean to where there were some monks and others and in the middle of the patio, was Assad who sitting in the rain with the rain pouring over him. And I thought oh my goodness, either activists. I need to go rescue him. I know I needed to go take my umbrella. So I go over with my umbrella. And I feel His silence, I feel the center of his being. He is not worried at all about any drops of rain, he is in another place. And it’s my first contact with that density or that subtlety of being that I backed away. And, like, Okay, I rushed into this now, I need to move. And as I moved away, you lifted up his hand so gracefully. Like again, he seemed to be in contact with the inner and the outer, it was just fluid, he lifted his iron, like, take my hand and lift me up. And I have picked him up. We went to my little cell. And he lay on the floor, and then we went up to McLeodGanj for dinner. And I was somewhat radiated by his presence, as I mentioned, that we ordered lossy. And the owner the Tibetan owner brought the lassi. And the sadhu said, sipped it and said, take it away. It’s watered down, it’s really watered down, take it away. And I looked at the owner with embarrassment with I mean, we have to get into the sunlight here with that superiority. Like I’m paying for dinner. I’m so embarrassed by this guy, behavior. And even when he brought the Lassie back, I tried to kind of indicate like, sorry. And, but the last is that were brought back or thick and creamy. And when we walked down the hill back to my cell, he was going to go on down into Dharamsala, the Shakti pot moment came, and he turned, and it’s it’s a wonderful moment for a beginner. Considering myself even though I’ve had some development, a beginner, one’s always a beginner. And he said, Because I choose to live without a house over my head does not mean I do not appreciate true quality. When it is given when it is presented, live time with you, my beloved games. It was a combination of stabbing the heart and breaking it open. I saw there my shallowness, my arrogance, my superficiality. And it was given to me with a love was pierced with love and a beautiful teaching. And I just wanted to finish the story by saying how the umbrella comes back in. I the next day that I saw him, I gave him a bunch of money. I don’t know. I think I was feeling guilty or something. I go I’m just going to give you money we’re going to eat, you’ll take the money and you’ll go get the food you need. And the last day before the last day, in Dharamsala I was out in the town and I saw him we never connected but he had taken the money and he had bought the big
Rick Archer: Rainbow umbrella
James O’Dea: Rainbow umbrella call and that was a teaching both the opening and again the teaching of quality that you know your quest my friend needs to be around quality. What is the deeper quality and it does it’s not about umbrellas. It’s not about anything like that right? By the way, universe can teach you and deepen your process. And so you see at each phase, we get this growth and deepening and remain, at some point, get to Turkey where it really breaks open before and then later where it really comes together.
Rick Archer: Before we go to Turkey, I’ll tell you a story. This is marshy Mahesh Yogi guru who was Swami brahmananda Saraswati, who became Shankar Acharya of geothermal, who lived most of his life in the jungles. And you know, as Assad who eventually became Shankar Acharya, and one time he was traveling on a train, and he was in the first class compartment. And someone came up to him and said, You’re a Swami, you know, you should be living a simple, humble life. What are you doing in first class? And he answered, I’m a first class Swami. Kind of like the colorful umbrella. Yeah. So let’s, there’s all kinds of things I want to talk to you about. And we’ll interweave those with the stories you tell, for instance, I want to at some point, I want to talk to you about the deeper meaning of forgiveness. And we want to do right now,
James O’Dea: whenever you’re
Rick Archer: okay. We’ll get to Turkey and all that other stuff, too. I don’t want to leave those.
James O’Dea: You know, by the way. This is wonderful. Because in Ireland, we weave a conversation.
Rick Archer: Yeah,
James O’Dea: it’s not linear.
Rick Archer: Right? Yeah, well, give us you know, I mean, I was thinking about this, as I was thinking about our interview, and I was remembering some examples of like, for instance, about a decade ago, some guy shot up an Amish schoolhouse and killed a bunch of children. And immediately the Amish people for you know, he, I think he was killed or perhaps killed himself. But the, the Amish people went and baked pies for his widow, and, you know, just forgave him and all this stuff, or like, you know, a couple of years ago when Dylann Roof shot those people in the church and Charleston. And, you know, immediately the, the surviving church members were expressing forgiveness for Dylann Roof and so on. And I wonder when I hear that kind of story, you know, are they really forgiving? Or is it just sort of the way their spiritual tradition works? That you’re just supposed to say that and, you know, how could they? So instantly, feel forgiveness? And and what effect is that having on Dylann? Roof does it does it humble him? Does it shame him? Does it make him realize that perhaps he didn’t do such a good thing? And so you’ve encountered so many experiences in your life where people who’ve been severely affronted by others, such as the people who are hacked by machetes, and Rwanda, turned around and forgave their, their murderers their attackers? And so how have you come to understand the deeper significance and mechanics of forgiveness.
James O’Dea: Somebody wrote to me a little while ago, and asked about a man in prison and had to do the forgiveness with them. I said, do it in a way that makes it real and valid for you don’t, because there are books out there that say, the only way is total unconditional forgiveness. Don’t fall into that trap. Because it’s about to it’s about the process between you and the other. And so make it real in dialogue, you know, at one point with Father, Michael Lapsley, who was the ANC pastor at a religious magazine that blew up in his face, and he lost his hands and he lost sight in one eye. And he is in one of the dialogues were convenient for the young man from Northern Ireland, who had a rubber bullet pointed at his face, and he was an 11 year old boy, and he was blinded. And they’re talking about forgiveness. And the boy says, I believe in unconditional forgiveness, and my collapses as well. I believe in forgiveness I created Institute for the healing of memories. But I have a good idea who sent me that letter bomb. But they’ve never come to me. They’ve never asked for forgiveness. And also, how am I supposed to forgive them, he said is like somebody who steals your bicycle and comes riding on the bicycle and says, you know, what, give me and then they go off on your bicycle doesn’t make sense. It’s got to be real. And the Irishman said, Sure, I would have put a crazy little bow on the bicycle for them. They said, Because I gained so much. From my bind blindness, I became an international voice. My destiny was revealed for me through this process. And, you know, ever, ever had Worthington for many years taught forgiveness to couples. And then he came home and his mother was found beaten to death with a baseball bat. And he talks about releasing the toxic poison of unforgiveness, that, that are you going to live your whole life as a subject to this travesty. And in the end, they were not only the victim, but they were new. And, you know, so you see, see that from total, unconditional, to make it real and give apology to you know, release the toxin that’s poisoning you because if you don’t forgive, you’re going to be in a very wounded state. And finally, to the example of, I’ll be sacks, in South Africa, again, had a bomb, blow, an arm and an eye. And during the Truth and Reconciliation, process, his he was also in prison and tortured, his torture admitted before the commission, I was part of the reconciliation process. If you went up and you spoke the truth, truth, reconciliation and the truth could out, literally set you free. And he told the torture, torture told the committee how you tortured Albie Sachs. And after his testimony, Alby went after him. His right hand was blown off with his left hand. He shook his hand. And the torture is said I’ll be heard, went away, and cried convulsively for two weeks, and Albie Sachs, in forgiving him, I had my vengeance, my vengeance, he called it soft vengeance. You know, he could, he said, much, I got more out of that. He cried. When I offered him forgiveness, then they will be put in jail and punished. And that opens up the arena then of the larger, emerging restorative justice movement, which again, says it may not be just as simple as some. And they do. You’ve probably seen their book, some people say, unconditional forgiveness. It may not be the way unconditional, I don’t want to deprive anybody of unconditional forgiveness. But as you can see, I’m trying to paint a larger framework in which make me forgiveness, meaningful. And restorative justice process says, How are you going to atone? How are you going to show that your life has been changed? You know, that’s a restorative justice process was there in Rwanda. It was not simply a matter of forgiving those who initiated you, in the god chop chop process, you know, the perpetrator is, is brought before the community and is asked to speak the truth. And if they speak the truth that’s heading in the right direction. If they are really want to atone, and they agree to atone, then the forgiveness classes, well, now I need some help with my house being built, and I need some farming help. So there’s the rejoining of the community, it is not done in abstraction, or without these other elements that come together.
Rick Archer: Nice. So perhaps, in conclusion, we might say that whether or not the perpetrator knows he has been forgiven by the victim. If he does, it may have a transformative effect on him as with the case in South Africa, but even if he doesn’t forgiveness, if it can go deep enough, freeze the victim from carrying a burden of his life. You know, it liberates him and cultures, his heart, and so on. Would that be a fair synopsis? Yeah.
James O’Dea: Okay. And then just that other element of the restorative right. process and the bringing the community together? Yeah.
Rick Archer: There’s some, certainly some situations in the world that could use that.
James O’Dea: Right. It’s really on the rise. Yeah. Restorative justice in schools. And in some countries, it’s it’s much more prevalent.
Rick Archer: Somebody sent me a documentary of this groups of Israelis and Palestinians who are kind of reaching across and, you know, connecting with one another and creating a fairly sizable and growing bubble of harmony in that intractable situation,
James O’Dea: the bereaved families forum, if that’s what you’re referring,
Rick Archer: I’m not sure if that was it
James O’Dea: people who on either side, have had experienced violence come together and keeping this reconciliation
Rick Archer: will tell us another story. I think you were going to tell us about Turkey, but I’m not sure whatever you would like to say next.
James O’Dea: I want to say that just before Turkey in terms of the activist developmental process of really going, you know, in a place like amnesty, and seeing the power of mobilization, but what led me to amnesty was working in Beirut during the war. With the Middle East Council of Churches, and being there during the Sabra Shatila massacre, where children were found murdered under their beds by Oh my family, who murdered them started while the Israelis invaded West Beirut. Okay, then they encircled the Palestinian camps. Then they allowed in the Falangist right wing, Lebanese militias who wanted to a sponge they were ethno centric, hatred filled people, expunge all the Palestinians from them. And so they, the Israelis whole Kahan Commission dealt with this crime and Israel’s role and they allowed him the Falangist who murdered you know, our families, and I won’t go into the whole story in depth as much to cover. But some weeks after that, I went to another Palestinian camp, and it had been bombed the round when you think of camps, by the way, you think of bricks and mortar, established since 1948. And while camp was I was blown, resist rubble. And in the middle of the rubble, black flags morning all the women and children were being killed. And it was particularly deep betrayal because the Israelis had agreed to the PLO, leaving Beirut, all the men, young fighters had left men they massacred the women and children. And in the middle of this rubble was a man who was calling to me and some of the medical doctors on his way. And he, we went over, I thought it was going to show us a body or something. And then he said, I’d like to make you coffee. And I couldn’t believe it, like he had a car gas drove a little. At first we said no. And then it was clear for his dignity, we needed to do that. And so he apologized, the cops were broken track with incredible dignity. He had come from Jaffa now called Haifa. And he made the Arabic coffee. And at that point, Rick, I was at the lowest point. I really thought humanity was evil. Things were lost, the world was too dark for me. I said to God and my prayers, I, I cannot live in a world this room is dark this difficult. And then slowly as I watched this man, I had an epiphany, which resulted in my ending up in Amnesty International. Because I saw in this man, the indestructible inviolable nature of the human spirit, I saw that no bombs could blow apart this dignity. Like here in the rubble after the massacres after the war. After all of this, I was allowed to see the human being rising, he didn’t say a word of hatred about Israel. He talked about the beauty of Jaffa and the orange trees. And that’s when I saw it’s possible. Because at our core, we have an indestructible spirit. We’re spiritual beings having a human experience. And out of that, I was able to call out of the darkness, and this desperate cruelty and start to work, mobilize action, and do that incredible work that organizations like Amnesty do, calling people off the torture slab saving lives, alerting the world to out helping the world become a better world. And really mobilizing young people and people of conscience everywhere. And linking that rather old fashioned word conscience was consciousness. But before I went to amnesty, I had my final experience in Turkey, where I lived and taught I was, you read the book, I was nine I had all those experiences, but there was a period and I suspect for many months, there is a period in our spiritual development, where it gets very concentrated. And I feel that this was really the place where my spiritual mystical life was anchored was really deep into a very powerful extent. And it was meeting with different spiritual masters. One the Sufi master and empty bookstore, Sheikh Mustafa Arif and the great rank being after that meeting, Hassan Chu should author of a book called masks years of wisdom in Central Asia. And what happened was Sheikh Musa fare was, I spent this time and there was deep transmission, but he did not initiate me into his Sufi mystical path. And this is why I’m telling the story this way. And with through his energy, I believe that his grace, I was, and, and magical synchronism I was led to this other master, who was the most protein, I mean, he could change his body, he changed his body in front of me. I had never, ever seen him. This kind of cities before, what way did it change it? He was a little old man who told me on the phone, I’m too old, and I don’t take students anymore. Then he said that there’s something in your voice that tells me we’re going to meet and quite balding and small and petite. And then at a certain point in the conversation, he moved towards me because he was going to give me the transmission of the Zikr, or the prayer practice, and the instructions. And as he moved towards me, I couldn’t believe my eyes. At first he was extraordinary. He started to change, his face started to change. I was and as he stood, actually sat close beside me, there was a young Mongolian, Central Asian, or Tibetan phase, it was that part of the world, it was young, it was luminous. And he started to give me the instrument. The breathing process and and when the whole instruction was complete, he sort of pulled back and there was that level of man. And I went into the most intense period, it given me the breathing experience, gives fast do night vigils, pray through your Zikr, fast night visuals. And that’s all I could do. I have a day where I lived for several months at this intensity of as much nitrogen LNG as I could do, fasting as much during this breathing and Zikr. And at that time, and I thought this was complete other I found my spiritual master, and I am so grateful. After all, the journey of these years I was now but 32 that I had been given the grace of a master away and and this young man who is a spiritual colleague, said, I want you to meet my teacher, he’s almost your age and older than you. And at first, I put him off saying no. And then I sort of agreed to go and I could feel the intuition on the day of the meeting, you know, Mayor Baba says, intuition, inspiration, illumination, realization, that’s the path and so the intuition click and I’m going to meet a great soul. And I bought honey and herbs as sort of traditional the other herbs were more inspired. But in Turkey often give the master something like honey as your another tradition and he was in the back of a pots and pans straw. And this meeting totally transformed me again, and was became the new new anchor and probably the lasting anchor of my spiritual journey. As the as I approached him in the back of his pots and pans drawer, he said He brings herbs and honey to the Baptist in the desert. And I sat. And he said, without any introduction. When Jesus Christ was on the cross, yes, he spoke to his mother and the beloved disciple. And the beloved was John. And he said to his mother, Woman, this is her son. And to the beloved disciple, he said, Son, this is your mother. He said to me, could you tell me why? He said, Woman to his mother, and son, to His disciples. I said some words, or he said, well try this hypothesis. At this moment, Jesus is entering the cosmos becoming the Cosmic Christ. He is leaving all of those filial relationships with his mother. But he, why this is the woman who has been his mother, and he wants her to be taken care of. So he says, Woman, this is your son. And when he says some to John, he is at that moment where he pours the fire of His love, unconditional fire into the only heart that could bear the unbearable intensity of this person, the fire of Jesus. And you can imagine, even in telling the story of the Shakti that’s in the room. At this point, I’m feeling the Shakti. And we think So James, or the the reason you’re here is that the game is that there is no religion, there is no formula. There are no set of practices for you. There is no way to hunt that fire you my friend, or a hunter of that fire, and key, you will keep hunting. And at the next meeting, he said, stop praying, stop fasting. Don’t make yourself the same. Then for six months, completely abstain from any kind of spirituality. Don’t even think about God. Don’t ever get on your knees. And let the page empty down. Very Zan in some way. So that you can be written on. He said at the moment, your book is too full. And it’s got a lot of different chapters. So empty. And that and he said when you after six months, it will be clear. Six months after I did that practice when I started with Amnesty International. So I don’t know if you have any commentary or reflection on
Rick Archer: Well, I do have something. I don’t know if this is the man you were just alluding to. But you said there’s an excerpt from your book where you say, the bishop lifted his head with measured deliberate deliberateness as if about to speak. He threw a glance at me that ruptured forever the membrane of the separate self gold threads poured from his eyes into mine. The threads were finally braided. They entered through the portal of the eyes and gathered in a pool in the center of my chest. I had witnessed the divine and human being was that the same manual just
James O’Dea: the same time, the same time now, he wasn’t a Sufi master. He was a Suryani Syrian Orthodox preacher. I won’t go into the whole story. But what I learned from reading a mayor Ababa Volk, who’s my central teacher at the moment, just about two months ago, is that that transmission through the eyes is a particular transmission that is given to someone who has reached what he refers to as the sixth level. So of initiation or consciousness. So 02 First, is the gross level. levels two, three, and four are the subtle levels. We said we’d Get to the subtle, so maybe here it’s coming. The fourth level is the end of relationship to any form of energy, or subtle energy. And the fifth, sixth, and seventh levels are the causal level, or the mental level and the different, different aspects of mental levels. And if you get that you said, even you might discover that the seating has been arranged. So you’re given this i transmission. And in the book, I didn’t know this at all, but I talked about the seating in an interesting way, I am the dinner between four people. And I’m sitting opposite, made to sit opposite provision. And this initiation, I in Sufism, we would be called a wildly someone who has reached the six, the mentor, the pure mental consciousness, no relationship to subtle energy at all, but causal of all that happens in the southern plains. And that’s where I, I entered the sixth and seventh level, there bonuses, you can see the divine, you know that you merge, I’ve merged with the divine that comes later that you see, the divine. And that experience, Rick, was something that was a profound mystery to me for many years, he was feeling like I had been, I had seen the divine, these golden threads that come through his eyes. And I had experience Shakti as never before, but beyond shocking, getting to see the edges of the edges of beginning to see the divine face. And that is something that feeds me and will feed me all my life.
Rick Archer: I was a student of marshy, Mahesh Yogi for many years. And he talked about stages of consciousness also as mayor Baba does, and others. And he referred to a stage after Self Realization actually, which he referred to as cosmic consciousness, but stage after that, as being the unfurl the blossoming celestial perception. And he said, it’s as if prior to self realization, we have, you know, foggy glasses on which is like the Bible, you know, seeing through a glass darkly. And then with cosmic consciousness, the windows of perception have been cleaned, so the glasses are clear. But then through deeper the, through the growth, a deeper appreciation and refinement, comes a phase where it’s like having golden glasses on and, and everything. Yeah, and as you know, as your day I presume I haven’t reached this stage, but I presume as your day to day 24/7 reality, there’s this sort of appreciation or perception of the celestial field, which is a very subtle field of the world that we all perceive. But ordinarily, we are stuck on the gross level of perception. But beneath or that gross level, our strata have greater and greater subtlety. And the most refined level is one which we might call celestial. And the perception of that would be one of sort of a golden glow, characterizing or shining through are all the objects of perception.
James O’Dea: Beautiful. That’s wonderful. Thank you. And I, I agree, and since we both agree that maybe there is there is something about the subtle level that I think is really important, and they may say no, we mentioned earlier, Sri Aurobindo, Sri Aurobindo says in this conversation around mysticism and activism, that you don’t worry in the beginning about the path of service or activism. We serve others be compassionate. I focus on growing through those planes and then Bring down the supramental into the world. So it is it’s a very powerful story for anyone interested in spiritual activism to explore Sri Aurobindo. It’s not exactly the path I’m taking, I’m taking the more a simultaneous switching between the two. And eventually, we get to the merging, that I think that green down is so important, whether whether it’s going up or bringing to acknowledge where you are and what you’re learning, and what you’re receiving and where you’re growing in relationship to the subtle. I mean, I love that expression by Mozart when he went to see the Emperor and he said, to the Emperor, Your Imperial Majesty, I am vulgar, man. But my music isn’t another one he says, from whence this music comes, I do not know. But I thank the good Lord is Mozart. And or Mozart obviously does not realize is or is is trying to articulate is the subtle, the beginning of the subtle plane. In Sufism, many paths, as you were saying, there’s a move from the growth to the subtle, and the spiritual path is the entrance to the side of your head is your vast and dear friend of mine a while back can be around Minsky. And this society is called the threshold society, the threshold between Sharia and Tarika, between the world of logic, order reason, even intellectual prowess, they’re all in the ground level. And then the subtle level is where the music really takes off, where the cities begin. And where as we go through the illusion, they’re still part of the illusion. But they’re the entrance to the illusion that draw us deeper into the story of God as sending, but also, I believe, and passionate about is the brain of those powers into the world. After all, this story about illusion can get very illusion or not illusion, kind of. And they have the illusion of is, is horrific behavior in the world and massacres and things like that. And you have as the illusion, Mozart’s music, which do you want, which serves to, to bring eye contact with the subtle powers into the world. So that we can transform and this is where, you know, it gets very exciting. You know, where I think it does, this story does come together, and we’ve meandered through parts of it in my life. But when health and healing start to say it’s all about the subtle. Do you a, you go to the doctor and the doctor says, Do you meditate? Can you meditate? I mean, 20 years ago, a doctor wouldn’t have asked you that. Because Are you Empath thing. Do you have to serve other people? You know, are you bringing down those subtler states into your body? Nourish your vendor said the suit Proventil has to be taken into the cellular level. So we have a story, whether in science and how, in education that really can bring these worlds together. I mean, look at science, science is, is exploring the subtle round, like nobody’s business. And, and begins to tell us that what we thought was the vacuum is now the plenum, you know that the subtler it gets, the more powerful it gets. Same metaphor, same analogy, with spirituality, the subtler and more refined it gets, the more powerful. Okay. So
Rick Archer: there’s several things I’d like to say in response to that. But before I do, I just want to remind those who are watching the live interview that if you have a question you’d like to have me ask of James, go to the upcoming interviews page on batgap.com. And there’s a forum at the bottom of that page through which you can submit your question. So a couple of things you just said about, I just want to comment on Have you comment back but um, one is about the what Aurobindo said about the Super mental being brought into the cellular, which brings to mind the the thought that what we’re talking about here, in addition to its other aspects, is a physiological transformation. You know, the whole physiology has to be re structured in a way in in subtle and subtle ways, in order for it to be a fit vehicle for what we’re talking about here. And the and that goes right down to the cellular level into things which are understood in Eastern traditions, you know, as energy pas, noddy’s, Sushumna, Kundalini, all that business has its relevance. And another thing is, that I think that something that is clearly associated with this growth of subtlety is growth of the heart, you can’t really imagine a hard hearted person having sort of refined subtle perception, there’s a kind of a melting of the heart and a blossoming of deeper values of the heart that correlates with being able to function perceive and act on a subtler level. I have more to add, but would you like to react to that?
James O’Dea: Absolutely, that sense that we understand more fields and fields around the body. And so, when the heart shifts deeper into empathy and love, the field of the body, the electromagnetic field in the body changes, the vibrational tone, the limbic resonance in a group. So, you have the subtle and the physical, affecting the psychological and emotional and the cellular level of the body, in these social healing dialogues. And in deep dialogue, the dialogue does not mean with to, it comes from the word dia, which means through and logos higher mind. So dia logos, through higher mind, how do you get to a space of such communion with people that they can really leave the platform of the rational and those sequential linear mind go into that higher state where they are experiencing through listening field and so on this communion with each other? It’s physiological, you it’s it’s got, you know, we know that the electromagnetic field around the body is holographic fascinating, and that it extends outwards fields. certain fields can be measured to a certain degree, but they extend quite far. So now you will die. Non locally, have created a field together and the hologram of the electromagnetic field becomes the hologram of the too. And so we change the fields of rooms and we change the bodies field and change all of that electric, the heart is 5000 times the electrical strength of the brain, for more neural ganglia going from the heart to the brain, and the other way around. So the heart plays a central role in helping create these resonant fields, where massive, deep, psycho spiritual work can be done in healing ourselves, and the planet, and ending the transmission of our woundedness. So thank you.
Rick Archer: Now, there’s two things I want to talk to you about. One is complexity and simplicity, which I think relates to the topic of subtlety that we’ve just been discussing. But now you brought up the topic of fields. And that’s another thing. And so I’m not sure which one we want to do first, but maybe we should take a crack at fields, since you were just mentioning it. And then we’ll come back to the topic of complexity and simplicity, with regard to fields. I think we’ve all heard the phrase that, you know, consciousness is a field, the field of consciousness. And, you know, we’ve heard of that term used in physics, there are fields such as the electromagnetic field, the gravitational field, and so on. And some physicists, you know, like to speak of a unified field, which may underlie all fields and give rise to them, then some physicists go so far as to equate the unified field with consciousness. There’s a fella named John Hagglund, whom I’ve interviewed who wrote a whole paper about that. And, but also, I think, human, well, humans are, are rooted in and influence various degrees and levels. And, and, and so conferences of fields. For instance, in a family, there’s a sort of a group consciousness in that family, which you could think of as a field that is contributed to by all of its members, and which influences all of its members. And same with the community, you know, a state, a nation, the whole world. And and just as in, let’s say, you know, the atmosphere of a cloud, enough, static electricity accumulates in that field, to result in a sort of an imbalance between positive and negative forces and lightning strikes in order to neutralize it, I think that there are there can be a building up of tensions of negativity and so on, in the, in all these other types of fields, I just mentioned, family, national and global, and so on. And often, the when we see an outbreak of strife in a family or war among nations and so on, it’s it’s kind of like the lightening effect of neutralizing the accumulated tension, or stress or negativity in that field. And in this, but in the same vein, we can do something which Patanjali recommends in the Yoga Sutras which is avert the danger, which has not yet come by neutralizing the tension that is built up in the field, through meditation, various spiritual practices, and thereby, perhaps some circumventing the, the inevitability of a gross physical outbreak. In other words, we can tone it down within neutralizer and diminish the the, the tension that has grown in the field, I’ve I’ve actually participated in groups in Iran and places like that, that were attempting to do this. But anyway, that’s enough of me talking. Go ahead and respond to what I just said.
James O’Dea: Yes, yes. Yeah. I know. I believe Maharishi a bag that has been tested in various places. is evidence of this that the violence level can be brought down. The field can be softened. Lynne McTaggart work on the field, the intention experiments that she does the work she did on Sri Lanka. Large scale. She’s done one on the issue of soon have the results on terms of softening the field in Cleveland, bringing down the violence in Cleveland, us so how fields are interpenetrated I do not know. We know that the important thing. One important thing is the nonlocality dimension of fields, that they are not dependent on spatial time relations the same way that material reality is?
Rick Archer: Sure, we see that when we turn on the radio, you know, I mean that’s just we’re we’re seeing that the electromagnetic field is carrying a signal from perhaps 100 miles away and playing it on our radio. So there’s, we can’t see that field, but the radio can see it so to speak, and, you know, transmit the influence that’s being propagated through that field and turn it into music.
James O’Dea: Yes. So we have this nonlocality, and we have memory. We know that electrons that meet and spin together, seem to potentiate back when they’re when that spin is recalled. So just think of all of your journey through spinning electrons that have spun through you, and your family and others, and the inter foliation interconnectivity interpenetration of creates the resonance, where we get synchronicities, and we get extraordinary things that happen. I encourage people to read the book if they’re interested in major event that happened to me in Bolinas, oh, I want
Rick Archer: to tell that story. Actually, you could tell it now if you want, or whichever.
James O’Dea: I’ll tell you quickly that I was on my way to a spiritual heart of service meeting in Kalamazoo. When I got to Chicago, they canceled it because of snow. I came back, took the day off work and went out to Bolinas. And here, from the get go, you begin to see massive levels of field connectivity. I’ve also written about this in an essay that is coming out in the book by Ervin Laszlo early next year on spiritual insight and scientific insight that I was going to meditate as the common real Institute, above and above the plateau above Salinas, but I went into the town got out of my car, and this how seem to dance and we just seem to recall, I went over. And this inner voice said, Go inside and introduce yourself. And my feet took me running in the other direction. And my rational mind said, you too, you get arrested for that. What are you going to say? What you know? And then there it is, again, Mayor Baba has formula, intuition first stopped strong intuition. For whatever reasons beyond the rational mind was the right thing to do. I went in to the gate, up the door of the house was a glass door. I knocked on the door. There were three women sitting on couch and sofa. And as one woman came towards the door, she screamed out, its gym OD. And when she opened the door, she said, What are you doing here? And my jaw would not work. I could not be I was in distress, like, what is going on? And she said, You’ve missed the meeting. Everybody’s left. I’m totally confused. What evolves or what unfolds is that I have known everybody who had been at a meeting in that house. They were the leaders of the human rights movement in the United States. They’ve come together because another friend Larry Cox, at Ford had said we’ll give you a million dollars to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Universal Declaration of Human Rights. If you work together. They have discussed that They, and they had all left. And I was very angry inside. I was disoriented. This is a time when the higher powers really taught me. Because I said to them in my inner voice sitting with these women, no, you are not pulling me back to Amnesty International, and the human rights movement. You know, I gave you my best I really did. And I have another path to follow. And I got up and I said to the woman, it’s been fascinating. I don’t know how this happened. But I’m growing up to meditate. And this young woman, Christy Roedelius, Palmer, I mean, how could you forget a name like that, from the Minnesota SOTA Lawyers Committee for Human Rights said, just before you go, I have a question for you. What is the relationship between spirituality and human rights? And it was as if I was pulled back into the room? It was as if this was the question that I really wanted, is, and I spoke about healing and bringing spirit and action together, all of these things that I’ve now been doing since that day. And that was a pivotal day in my life. And, and then I left and went away. So what was happening in terms of the field? There was clearly, since I had been together with many of those people in the house. We had had field experiences before. Remember what I said, field is non local and has memory. So not enough to kind of take shape in my consciousness, where I got out of my car, and I can say, Oh, yes, there are some people, but enough to, to jolt the subconscious mind with like something I remember what was it, there is a connection here. And a very passionate and deep connection with people I had worked with and gone through intense experiences, in other words, intensified that field potential. All we have to know about fields is there potentiation that get actualized when there’s an observer, when there’s actualizing, potential ating circumstance, and here it was me with a quest. They with their vibration, the feeling that they’ve created. But it gets fascinating to look at the layers of consciousness that are out of this meeting. We won’t go into too many details of the Fetzer Institute funded a meeting. And I was allowed to invite anybody I wanted on spirituality and human rights. Very shortly there afterwards, I started these social healing dialogues, looking at the perpetrator as wounded. And how do they view much different place than I’m asleep? Which has to stay in a more binary? who’s right who’s wrong relationship. So you could look at linking me into fields of health and healing by then becoming president of the Institute of Noetic Sciences. And its fields within field that got activated by I missing a meeting on the spiritual heart of service, but in some ways, bringing me to the spiritual heart of service.
Rick Archer: Now, the thing about fields is that they’re not just homogenous, amorphous things. They are full of dynamism and impulses of intelligence. You were referring earlier to David Bohm talking about how in I think it’s said that in a cubic centimeter of empty space, there’s there’s more energy inherent than there is in the entire manifest universe. At the subtlest level at the level of the vacuum state. But there’s also obviously or not So obviously, inherent in this sort of more fun, most fundamental field, all the impulses of intelligence that give rise to the whole universe otherwise, where does all this creativity come from. And part of what we are discussing about subtle subtlety and subtle perception is that when that really dongs and a person’s experience, they discover that a world of beings inhabit the subtle realm, and the who, which are every bit as real as you and I, they just don’t have gross bodies, they only have subtle bodies. And those beings from the accounts of people I’ve spoken with, who preceded them routinely, are constantly engaged in interacting with us in various ways. And I wouldn’t be at all surprised if, you know, whatever these beings may be, if if you were, if many of the intuitions we have are actually promptings from them. So you know, the desire to go up to Bolinas that desire that voice in your head that said, go go back to this house, could be this little angel on your shoulder, say, James, this is what you’re supposed to do, because they have a kind of a broader vision of the whole course of events and interconnectedness of of everything that we do and can guide us if we’re open to that guidance.
James O’Dea: Yes, I fully agree with that. And that sends in the earlier parts of the subtle round, these beings are very much identifiable as being themselves. Just as you clearly said, Without bodies, without
Rick Archer: bodies, they still have full bodies.
James O’Dea: Right, right. And but are interconnected in a more conscious, facile way than we are, you know, we are interconnected. We know we’re interconnected, right? Where we’re finding ways to insistence thinking and our communal development, I acknowledge the interdependence. But if we could lift the veil, we would see how vast interconnection and independent tration of realities and it goes back to bringing these realms together. That thought that they need to be there in potential form, that need to be actualized. So a willing heart, an open heart, a meditative state, is not about somatic relaxation, and taking it easy. And having a nice time. It is to be receptive, not passive, to be receptive vehicles of, of the subtle power of radiate, radiating through that really can be an enormous resource in the evolution of humanity. And that leads us to the tantalizing question of Are we a new species in development, when Mayor Baba and KR are shut down, Sri Aurobindo, and many others say a new humanity will emerge. A new humanity that experiences love, that knows love, not as any form of forcing or coercion, but as the force, as the state that can spontaneously connect being to being that we will illuminate as a species. You know, it’s certainly very tantalizing. I think the universe is deeply structured to hate. There’s so much more to come. And there’s so much of the story gets so much better. Which is, again, when we started with my story of the bittersweet in my childhood, that sense in me of this is not the end of the story. Whether we have a sociopathic president or whether we have, you know, terrible crises in different parts of the world and CRO leaders in politics. This is not the end of the story.
Rick Archer: Yeah, and that’s No, you know, trivial comment coming from someone who is seen far more than most of us ever will see of horror and, you know, terrible things. I mean, did you find that some of your associates and Amnesty and just became bitter and disillusioned and discouraged and even suicidal? Seeing all they saw? I mean, are you kind of rare in terms of coming out coming through that whole process with the optimistic outlook?
James O’Dea: I would say burnout, rather than bitterness, just, you know, when every day you deal with torture, murder may have and you’re trying to alleviate it. At some point, it takes a toll. Yeah. And I think living in the polarity takes it all, is a deep, healing moment for me when I began to see that you can talk about impunity. And that topic is very big in the human rights movement, more human rights laws, get those responsible stop impunity. But it doesn’t feed me if as much as the perpetrator is wounded. Where did that wound come from? How did the perpetrator get so wounded, that they would do these things? So the paradigm moves from right and wrong, which we need morally, you know, in non duality, we still have right and wrong, right? And Phil have torture is bad. We don’t want to do that. But moving from right and wrong, to who’s hurt, and how can they heal is, is a big element in my own transformation. And that brought together to me the worlds of spirituality and action. Once you talk about healing, the root of the word here is to make home to make Hello again, we can be we can. As I said earlier, you know, the heart is not healthy. If it’s made to be a partisan of the part. The heart is an organ of home as it says in the Quran. universe’s cannot contain me, that I am contained in the heart of my beloved servant. In other words, the heart of my beloved sermon is wider and bigger than universities.
Rick Archer: It’s beautiful. As is perhaps a final topic, I want to talk to you a little bit about complexity. And it’ll be clear in a moment why I want to do that. Here’s some quotes from your book. He said, If you really tried to obtain a comprehensive analysis of every problem before you decided to act, you would end up being paralyzed. There’s actually no end to the analysis of how things got to be the way they are reminded of a verse in The Gita which says that karma is beyond the complexity of karma is beyond the capability of human intellect can’t be grasped. Then you go on, how can we change the world but it is what it is so entangled in complexity. Again, a quote from the Gita, this verse, it says, For many branched and endlessly diverse are the intellects of the irresolute. But the resolute intellect is one pointed. So take a field of knowledge. For instance, if you study chemistry, or statistics, or any, any field that it studied in college, you discover as you learn that, the more you learn, the more you realize how little you know, that is if the ignorance increases faster than the knowledge does as you study. And you know, you realize that you could not possibly incorporate all knowledge within your awareness because it’s just too vast and complex and you have to specialize, you know, more and more and more specifically, more precisely, if as you advance in your learning, but, you know, the saints, the saints and sages talk about, you know, what they might call the simplest form of awareness that which is the home of all knowledge that which, from which all the branches of knowledge spring, and to which they ultimately, in which they ultimately merge. And kind of like the way the spokes of a wheel. You know, they seem real complex if you’re out on one of the spokes but if you get back to the hub, you You see all the spokes emerge from that hub. So the reason I’m saying all this? Well, here’s a bit more, I’ll read a bit more from you before they respond, you said, take away this noisy and opinionated mind and you create a vacuum into which the energy of the universe will flow in an orderly and coherent way. Rather than setting out to fix things, we need to cooperate with a masterfully creative universe by getting out of its way. When we switch from ego to witness, we become so much more receptive to the creative agency of the universe, ready to help us transform. And it is in that state of receptivity, that epiphanies occur, and synchronicities abound. So, the reason I wanted to set the stage with that is that as an activist, as a, you know, head of amnesty in Washington and so on, you must have often felt frustrated by the political complexities and, you know, cultural complexities and clashes that, you know, seems so intractable, so hard to sort out. And if it seems to me that if we could function from a simpler form of awareness that that ground state of awareness from which the universe itself emerges, and if enough of us could do that, then the the sort of simplicity of our consciousness and the cooperation with the universe, which you mentioned in the quote, I just read, which would result from that simplicity, would sort of spread through the collective consciousness, and all these, these problems, which seem to impossible to solve on their own level, hopelessly impossible, hopelessly complex, would somehow begin to diminish, perhaps we had to actually find specific solutions, or perhaps we’d find that a problem which seemed intractable, we woke up one morning, and it was no longer there, it seems simple, a lot simpler than it seemed the night before. So kind of in my own course of life, you know, when when I was back in the late 60s, early 70s, and everyone was protesting and all and I had learned to meditate, I was thinking, well, that’s fine for them. But I think I’m going to try to take as my approach consciousness and explore that. And hopefully, my exploration of that will enable you to contribute to the world in a way which will bring about peace from a more fundamental level, which is not for a moment to diminish what you’ve done, because I completely honor it. And I think it’s essential. And I, I feel a little ashamed that sometimes that it didn’t take more active course. But I think what you’ve gotten to in your life, and your understanding is that a marrying of the two is in order. And that one without the other development of competence without compassionate action in the world, or vice versa, is just not going to make it just like he can’t really walk without two legs. And those are the two legs. So please comment on all that. And relates to what you said a minute ago about your optimism that a better time is coming, I think a better time is coming because of that sort of more full bodied approach of spirituality and compassion, and then the the translation of that spiritual development into compassionate action.
James O’Dea: I first have to acknowledge you as the teacher here. That was a beautiful riff that you just gave. I get
Rick Archer: inspired every now and then.
James O’Dea: Thank you, I think you, you said a lot. There isn’t a lot to add. There is that contemplation that Thomas Merton as the trying to solve every problem, the the kind of frenetic part of the activist, is it a form of violence, it’s a form of violence to the south, trying to, to run at every problem in the world and think that you can just throw more energy at it and be the savior is, is really violent in its core.
Rick Archer: And there’s also that quote from attributed to Einstein about trying to solve problems from the level of consciousness at which they were created is not going to work.
James O’Dea: Right. And complexity is hugely terrifying to me. Because I’ve experienced that I experienced it in the Iraq War and having testified in Congress, but how brutal Saddam Hussein was, and then have the administration get up and say, We won’t. We don’t acknowledge your pattern of gross human rights violations in Iraq. And then three months later, say he was the Butcher of Baghdad, and we needed to know, how do you stop a forest like that? There’s existential crises that are created by the level of complexity. And it’s only gotten deeper. But as you so eloquently said, and I think it’s true that there is a way to bring it down. I think that in the second tier of consciousness of the spiral dynamics, there is this feeling now that I’m the final tier of the final level of the first year, the green level, that the millennials and others are exhausted with the complexity. There’s so much complexity, there’s good well, we want to save the planet, want to do good things run human rights, but it’s all run so complex? How do we get out of it. And so the path forward is a leap, new humanity theme, it’s a leap to the next year of consciousness that says, there are solutions, we have to organize out of a global framework. But up pops this word, Glocal. I don’t know if you’ve ever heard global and local combined global, right? You live locally, you build community, you build sustainability, had its roots, part of the reason I came to a place like crest that is spiritually conscious, building community, eco ecologically focused, that you try to enact in simple, verifiable ways with your neighbors, in your community, or do you want for the world to that? That second year of consciousness says, You have to be world conscious, you have to have global systemic things. But they have to be based on inner values on being the change that you seek. And that’s a good kind of synthesis. If you become the change, if you are the change you seek in the world, it does bring that complexity down to I know what I can do to be a part of it. And somehow, those resonances make it real. Yeah, I know we’re finishing up and I, as I said, I did want to end with
Rick Archer: before you do that, I just want to tag one comment on to what you just said, which is that I think if we can become one with that, intelligence, which governs the universe to which we’ve been eluding, and function from that field, as an agent of that field as an instrument of the Divine, then our actions will kind of incorporate or embody the intelligence of that field, even if we don’t completely comprehend. I don’t, I don’t think we can begin to comprehend the vastness of that intelligence but without even knowing it, our influences will sort of reflect the the evolutionary value of divine intelligence will be will Well, Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace will be an instrument of that peace. quite spontaneously, even unwittingly. Human Yeah. Okay, let’s, let’s hear your invocation.
James O’Dea: So one of the things that’s really fun for me is that I’ve been collaborating. I think collaboration is not a thing we dealt with in a major way, but it’s one we would definitely agree is part of the new paradigm. And it’s dialogue and collaboration are going to lead us forward. I’ve been collaborating with a An artist who is deeply inspired by Sri Aurobindo is majorly immersed in Sri Aurobindo. Her name is Marika Papa boots. And she paints paintings about consciousness and states of consciousness in the Akashic field, and all of these almonds, brilliant, brilliant brandy. And I sit with the Bailey’s. And then write in vocations on, I don’t write descriptions of the paintings. I go to, if you like the same source that she painted, and painted, and paint my words. So I wanted to close out with an honoring and celebration of that work. And that work, by the way, has now been picked up by dancers. famous choreographer of Martha Graham has done a dance performance, interpreting the paintings and the power their invocation. So it’s again collaboration within collaboration. The title of the painting and the invocation is the eternal instant, which is a quote from Sri Aurobindo, the eternal instant is the birth of yours, I believe, is the forecourt, the eternal instant. The universe has a center and you’re standing in it. They burned your Donald Bruno to death. For this idea. The center is everywhere. Everywhere you go in the universe, you’re in the center. The same could be true for time, there is no moment, which is on the periphery, no moment, which is not harvested by eternity, not a single heartbeat, as a solitary domain, that is pulse by all live and belongs to all families of being. Come here then stand here. Even here where Dr. danos stood. As his body was torched by ignorant hatred. He stood wide open to immortal truth, knowing that times masks of past and future melt in the fire of the eternal instant. Stand here in the burning center of your own imagination, and see the infinite rhythms, brilliant flourishes, and subtle dimensions of times, masterful illusion, all orchestrated for you, to come alive, for you, to offer your own gift to eternity, to sharpen the convergence of every instant of your existence, where inner and outer, conjoined to vivify body. And so I’m dissolve every grasping achievement of minutes, days and years, until all that is left is the luminous essence of your true self glowing, forever glowing with the freshness of a new dawn, and a new day to rise up and greet your immortal destiny. Thank you so much for the time with you. Oh, thank you, you’re such a brilliant listener, you create such a deep field of resonance. It’s really been wonderful to spend time.
Rick Archer: Well, it’s been an honor, spending time with you and preparing for this interview. I’ve just, I feel blessed, you know, and it just it’s been a very profound experience for me just having this conversation with you. So I’m really grateful. Thank you. Thank You.