Rick: Welcome to Buddha at the Gas Pump. My name is Rick Archer. Buddha at the Gas Pump is an ongoing series of interviews with spiritually awakening people. I’ve done hundreds of them now, and if this is new to you and you’d like to see previous ones, please go to the past interviews menu on batgap.com, where you’ll see them all organized in various ways. In fact, for the last couple of weeks I’ve been working on a project where I’ve completely revamped the alphabetical chronological listing pages, so check that out. This program is made possible by the support of appreciative listeners and viewers. Aside from those annoying little ads on YouTube, there’s no advertising whatsoever, so we rely on that sort of support in order to do this. So if you appreciate it and feel like supporting it, there are PayPal buttons on every page of the site. My guest today is Jason Schulman. Jason, I’ll just read his canned bio here, and then we’ll get into more personal conversation. Jason is an American spiritual teacher whose original work springs from his Judaic and Buddhist background. He’s the author of A Society of Souls, the School for Nondual Healing and Awakening, or the founder, rather, of A Society of Souls, the School for Nondual Healing and Awakening, based in the US and in the Netherlands. Through the school, he teaches the distinctive body of nondual work he has developed to awaken the human spirit, nondual healing, impersonal movement, and the work of return. Jason’s main concern has been to develop paths of healing the mind, body, and spirit, based on his own understanding of the difficulties inherent in the human condition. Through his studies and practice, Jason has developed a unique perspective on human consciousness and the nature of existence. His work seeks to translate this perspective into a replicable and clearly delineated path for other seekers of truth to follow. He has been especially interested in applying personal spiritual work into methods of transforming society at large. To that end, he has created the Magi Process, a nondual method of working with conflicts between people, institutions, and governments. He is the author of numerous monographs and books and several albums of his work as a singer and songwriter. More about his work can be found at www.societyofsouls.com. So let me just check one quick thing before we continue. Okay, that’s good. So I also want to thank Vera de Chalembert for recommending Jason. Hi Vera, you’re probably watching. I’ve interviewed Vera.
Jason: Hi Vera.
Rick: Yeah, I bet you she’s on there. I interviewed her about a year ago, and people might want to check out her interview as well. So Jason, your wife Arlene sent me a quote that she thought we might want to talk about. I thought I’d start with that rather than starting with the usual biographical stuff, and we’ll kind of loop back and do biographical stuff as we go. But Arlene said, “One of Jason’s greatest strengths, as a teacher and writer, is his ability to put subtle and important concepts into clear language.” I wanted to send this quote of his that I happened upon the other day. Here’s the quote. “Within each human being is both a universe held in common with all other beings, and a unique universe, which is that individual’s portion of heaven for them alone to reveal.” Arlene said, “I love this quotation because it is a statement of true non-duality in which both the individual as a separate being and their unity with all are seen as inseparable and co-arising.” So, we could start with a bang by talking about that.
Rick: Yeah, let’s do.
Jason: What would you like to know about that?
Rick: Well, why does Arlene think that’s such a significant quote, and perhaps, you know, that of all things she could have sent me, she considered to be worthy of sending.
Jason: Well, maybe I can kind of combine some of the biographical material with the philosophical and practical material by saying that that resolution, because that’s actually a quote of resolution, was one of my main preoccupations as a spiritual student, starting when I became a Zen student around when I was 17 years old. So, I had a tendency to oscillate, let’s put it that way, between a deistic point of view, where there is a separate God, and a God who is a personal God, a God who could help me through my difficulties and suffering, and then the non-dual Zen-oriented, Advaitic-oriented material, in which case there was no God that was outside or inside, it was a different approach entirely.
Rick: Yeah, that sounds representative of the Judaic and the Buddhist that I alluded to in your intro.
Jason: Yes, yes, and the oscillation happened because one would wear out, and then the other was needed, so I would have very important and deep experiences from the non-dual perspective, and then at some point that would peter out, and the suffering that I experienced or the confusion that I experienced would come back, and I would need help, so I’d call upon the personal God, and I could help that way, and then that would help, and then that would peter out, because I was very attracted to the open-mind-alone concept. So that experience between my instinct was, which was correct, many people probably have this instinct, that truth has to be truth, that, just to use a cliched metaphor, there are many paths up the mountain, but there’s a peak of the mountain, although in Kabbalah we probably want to go down to the valley, we don’t like peaks so much, they’re too isolated. So I knew in my heart that whatever God was, whatever realization, self-realization and liberation was, that they’d have to be the same thing, and a lot of my early path was trying to reconcile these experiences of oneness that I had in my Zen studies and Advaitic studies, with the personal God which also helped connect to my heart, and to support the personal being that I also was. So that journey took many, many years to really understand deeply enough, so the path that I created really does not reject anything, basically. It doesn’t reject the ego, in fact, makes a differentiation between the separate self or the ego personality, as the unhealed ego, rather than saying that the ego is something we need to either ignore as illusion, or transcend as unimportant, or something like that. The path that we have in a society of souls doesn’t reject the ego. The ego, in fact, is a marvelous and fantastic invention, and as important as our hands and nose, it’s another sense, it’s an executive function, but it has an unhealed incarnation, so to speak, in all of us, and the point is to heal the ego, at which point it takes its rightful place in the panoply of who we are, in this spectrum of who we are. And so I think that Arlene probably liked that statement, because it doesn’t reject individuality, it doesn’t think that we have to become something that is undifferentiated from other people, some sort of smooth kind of attitude, or even, and equanimous to be an awakening person, that it likes the dynamics of personality, but it wants to heal the ego, so that the ego can perceive the world in its totality, which is simultaneously two things and one thing, non-duality being that container that’s big enough that it can contain duality as well as singularity.
Rick: Yeah, there was a great quote from your book, “An Instruction Manual for Receiving God,” which kind of jumped out at me and taught me something I didn’t know about snowflakes. You said, “Each snowflake is actually a combination of several ice crystals, each formed around a tiny particle of soil. The human ego is like that particle of earth, a condensation of the particular within the great expanse of the universe. Without it, the entire journey from separateness to oneness would not be possible.”
Jason: Right. Yeah, thank you.
Rick: There’s some kind of thoughts and issues around this whole thing of healing the ego versus transcending, or killing, or eliminating the ego and so on, that we might want to talk about for a few minutes. As you are aware, in spiritual circles there are camps which champion one or the other perspective or recommendation, and some people say that you’re putting new wine into old wineskins if you don’t somehow revamp or heal or improve upon the receptacle or the vehicle through which the Divine is to be lived. And others say it’s an illusion, you know, just get over it, get beyond it. And then we have examples of people who appear to have achieved a fairly high degree of realization but seem really messed up in certain ways and behave inappropriately and so on, which would tend to support the notion of healing the ego and not just trying to bypass it. So I think you’d probably be in that camp, but maybe you could elaborate on the comments I just made.
Jason: You know, Rick, I would probably say I’ve never met anybody without an ego. There’s always a self that’s apprehending the world, that’s having an experience of oneness, that’s having an understanding, that’s having a misunderstanding and so on. Some egos seem more behaved, have a better behavior than others, but there’s no such thing as a human being, or frankly anything in the manifest world, that doesn’t have a self. And that self is not different from the ego. In fact, from an awakening point of view, even the self that’s asleep is awake. But for our personal experience, to have a personal experience of this awakening, we have to have – I’m getting a kind of buzz in there for a second.
Rick: There was a motorcycle that went by here.
Jason: Oh, we have to have an ego that has the ability to take in things other than its misconceptions. So those misconceptions need to be healed and educated, because there’s a lot of miseducation, and some of it’s inevitable. It’s not only bad parenting and bad culture, it’s inevitable because it’s extremely difficult for an individual to come out of the background into the foreground of individuality. It’s a very hard task for something to become manifest. So it’s an existential problem. It’s not only a bad education problem and a miseducation problem. It’s very difficult for a human being to be both an individual and part of the totality of being.
Rick: Would you say it’s always going to be difficult, or would you say that just the transition process is fraught with difficulties, and eventually, just the way transitioning to breaking the sound barrier results in a lot of turbulence until the sound barrier is broken, and then it’s kind of smooth after that?
Jason: You know, one of the mythologies that I’ve come across, just personally, is that people think after awakening, and by the way, I don’t even like the word “awakened,” as if there’s a demarcation between some sort of state of ignorance and then some sort of state of awakened. I like the gerund form ing, awakening, which I consider an eternal, constant process.
Rick: You know, just to interrupt for a second, the subtitle of this show used to be “Interviews with Ordinary Awakened People,” and after a certain point we thought, “We’ve got to change that to awakening, because it’s never-ending,” and so we did. Sorry to interrupt.
Jason: That’s okay, but that’s the nature of what awakening is. Awakening is not an experience. An experience like Satori or Kensho, to use Zen terms, or the presence of God, to use deistic terms, that’s an experience. It’s wonderful to have these peak experiences, because they shake things up and let us reorient, and so on. But awakening itself is an ongoing change in relationship with the world, according to my experience, and requires effort all the time. It’s a different kind of effort, but it’s an effort nonetheless. So we need to approach everything as we approach it, and look at it and be with it, and it’s not so much of an experience as an ongoing process of living. It becomes plainer and plainer, actually.
Rick: You know, Ken Wilber, whom I interviewed a few weeks ago, distinguishes between states and stages, and I’m sure others talk this way too. States being temporary experiences you may have, a Satori here, a Samadhi there, and stages being more like stable platforms that perhaps get stabilized after repeated states have been, you know, the nervous system and mind have been exposed sufficiently to higher states, and eventually those become … the neurophysiology adapts and those become stabilized, just the way … Well, yeah, that’s enough said. So would you agree with that model, or no?
Jason: Well, I’m more of an analog guy than a digital guy, so even though I understand what Ken is saying in terms of stages and states, you know, those things don’t happen simultaneously. In other words, somebody could be very advanced in one state and very primitive in another state, and another person in the reverse. So that’s why, for instance, you’ll get people who have had fantastic experiences of awakening who also have very bad behavior, because they don’t have … what should we call it … they have uneven development in their spiritual work, in their spiritual life. So they have this fantastic sense of freedom, which they then misunderstand and misuse, thinking in other realms of their life that they can misuse it, and so on. The charisma, the power that comes along with it, and so on. So those stages and states are … to me, a little bit, they’re part of the problem. Because identifying them in that way, you’re kind of standing outside of them and describing them, and that leads to kind of an admiration of various states, rather than a surrender to the constant effort it takes to be a real human being.
Rick: I think Ken might agree with much of what you just said. He talks of lines of development, you know, and there are various lines, and he says – we’re not going to make this all about Ken Wilber – but he says that these lines can get quite out of sync with one another, as you were just saying. So it’s a matter of agreeing with what terminology we’re using. But I want to come back to the notion of taking a lot of effort to maintain a certain way of functioning, because in my experience, it’s kind of effortless. I mean, certainly life has its challenges, and you have to continue to exercise discrimination, and good judgment, and keep an eye on your behavior, and not act like a jerk, and so on. But a certain development accrues over time that doesn’t need thinking about in order to operate from that level, just as you don’t need to think about breathing or something.
Jason: Well, I understand that, but has it been your experience that sometimes there will be a gap in yourself, and let’s say we’re both married men, so we’re spiritual men, and we are of long practice, and discrimination, and mature, and so on, and sometimes we’re idiots. Sometimes we just talk to our wife, and they wonder to themselves, “Boy, did I marry an idiot?” And you have to catch yourself and say, “What do you mean I’m an idiot? Wait a minute, I was, wasn’t I, just then?” And you have to regroup, and so that’s the effort that I’m talking about, which is an ongoing thing. And also, just to continue for a second, certain things get harder.
Rick: Get harder?
Jason: Harder, yes.
Rick: Okay, right.
Jason: For instance, I find that I am more attuned to other people’s suffering, and the suffering of the world. I feel that more acutely now than I did when I didn’t have a lot of this under my belt. So, you know, it’s kind of like, there is a mythology, according to my way of thinking, there is a mythology that when you get to a certain threshold, things become easy, you float in a certain way through life, everything is in the so-called “now,” and no one talks about, or few people talk about the fact that certain things get more difficult. That you feel the suffering of the world, that you want to make amends for your own ignorance all the time, and so on.
Rick: Yeah, I mean, I still feel guilty about things I did 45 years ago, you know, sometimes. I just feel this sensitivity, like, “Oh my God, how could I have treated that person that way?” And also, I mean, I can’t walk down the sidewalk and see a worm stranded on the sidewalk without picking it up and putting it on the grass. And our neighbors have a robin’s nest on their front porch, just on a table, because it fell out of a tree, and I was up in the middle of the night the other night thinking about how to protect it from the local cat, and stuff like that. But I don’t see that as a problem, I see that as a nice thing. I’d rather be that way than insensitive.
Jason: Oh, of course, in fact, here I agree with you 100%. I pretty much all the time welcome all of these moments. I welcome all of these moments, so that’s a very big difference, if we want to call it a stage. You know, I have on my email sign-off, which is a sign-off that I have yet to complete, I may not complete it in this lifetime, but I try my best to complete it every day, it says “Delight in all things.” And I know that there’s a whole facet of human life that I have not yet decided to delight in, but more and more I delight in all of it. When I’m doing my meditations, if a problem comes up in my meditation, or a problem comes up that I’ve discovered in my personality, I welcome it. I’m very happy to meet it. It doesn’t mean it’s not a little embarrassing, it doesn’t mean that it’s not a little painful, but I welcome it. Which is why I think of awakening as more of an attitude adjustment than a trophy, if you will. It’s an attitude adjustment where we have decided to be a total human being in every footstep, in every moment that we walk, welcoming the constant challenges of being a human being and of improving, even as we know we’re perfect in every moment.
Rick: Yeah, there’s a quote from Padmasambhava, an ancient Buddhist sage, who said, “Though my awareness is as vast as the sky, my attention to karma is as fine as a grain of barley flour.”
Jason: Was that the word “clamor”?
Rick: I’m not sure which word you thought was “clamor.”
Jason: My attention to …
Rick: To karma, action.
Jason: Oh, to karma.
Rick: To my behavior. In other words, you can’t go bumbling through life like a bull in a china closet. Your unbounded awareness does not excuse you from, as Don Juan’s teacher would say, “impeccability.”
Jason: Right, exactly, exactly.
Rick: Or rather, Carlos Castañeda’s teacher, I meant to say.
Jason: Right. So for instance, for example, I think it was the 17th Karmapa, that’s the Nyingma sect of Tibetan Vajrayana Buddhism, in answer to a question to someone, once leaned forward and said, “Pretty crazy in here.”
Jason: So I remember that a lot, because it’s pretty crazy in here. I didn’t grow up in a perfect household. I didn’t grow up with perfect parents. My genome, which gives me certain talents, gave me certain deficits. So I don’t have to be … the difference is, I don’t have to be driven by the smallest parts of me. Now, I can know that it’s pretty crazy in there, and it doesn’t have to be my behavior.
Rick: Yeah, let’s keep playing around with this, because even though it’s pretty crazy in there, so to speak, you’re not about to go out and shoot up a nightclub or something. There’s a difference between that kind of craziness and the kind of craziness that you’re talking about.
Jason: We’re talking about unreality of not understanding that you are entirely part of the web of creation, for example. There’s an old story by Ram Dass, who went to see his brother, who was in a mental institution, and his brother thought he was Jesus Christ, which is what brought him into the mental institution.
Rick: It’s a great story, yeah. Well, we’ll see if my version is the same as yours I hope it is. And Ram Dass said, “I don’t mind that my brother thought he was Jesus Christ, he just thought he was the only one.”
Jason: So that’s an extreme example, but we don’t have to go into personalities and stories, but we all know many stories of originally good-hearted and devoted meditation and spiritual teachers who did things that were very split from the very thing that they were going after. And they needed a little bit more healing of the ego at that point.
Rick: Yeah, I’m glad we’re talking about this. I gave my talk at the Science of Non-Duality Conference last year on the ethics of enlightenment, and I know we can talk about what the word “enlightenment” means, but this …
Jason: No, I like the word “ethics,” I’d like to talk about what “ethics” means.
Rick: Yeah, let’s do that. One of the points I brought out, I guess, was that people have this sort of pie-in-the-sky notion of what enlightenment is, and they chuck their discrimination out the window and go way off the rails sometimes with somebody whom they think is enlightened because they doubt their own common sense and look at this guy as an example of an ideal human being. And it’s gotten a lot of people into big trouble and even caused their death. If we want to look at Jonestown or the Heaven’s Gate cult or things like that.
Jason: Or if we want to look at Ozil Tenzin from the Vajrayana community.
Rick: I’m not familiar with that one, but there’s plenty of examples.
Jason: Yeah, I shouldn’t even do that. That doesn’t help the world for me to point out things like that, but go ahead.
Rick: Well, no, that’s just the point. We’re just kind of embellishing the point you made earlier, which is that the ego needs to be healed and that attainments of higher states and so on do not give you a pass in terms of perfect behavior or anything, and that there could be plenty of work yet to do. I guess one question that we could play with is how tight the correlation is. I mean, how high can you get, so to speak, in terms of development of consciousness without there being some commensurate development of ego and personality? Or does the one drag the other along eventually, or can they just continue to get farther and farther out of sync?
Jason: Well, it’s an interesting question. One of the things I like about the Kabbalistic model, as I’ve interpreted it, is that it doesn’t talk … it does, in my Kabbalah, let’s put it this way, as I mentioned before, we go downward. So I would say that the valley, for me, is a better …
Jason: It’s a better metaphor, thank you, than the mountaintop. Because in the valley you have the river, you have the sheep, and you have the goats and the frogs, and you have other people, and you have the homes, and you have the schools and the hospitals, and so on. So to me, it’s a matter of coming down to earth. I had a discussion with one of my mentors, Reb Zalman Shaktar Shalomi, years ago. I went out to spend some time with him in Colorado, and we were getting to know each other, and I was telling him about myself and my Advaitic understanding and my Advaitic passion, my passion for non-duality. And he said to me at that time, he said, “I’m interested in the God of this earth and of this time.” And I took that to heart, and I thought about that a lot. And when you get down, my experience is when you get down deep enough in the valley, that’s the highest as well. High and low are no longer opposite terms.
Jason: And so I think, again, this is all personal opinions. I think for me, talking about high … look, I’ll give you an actual example. In the four-year intensive training in non-dual Kabbalistic healing, one of the things we talk about are the four universes.
Rick: This is something you offer, yes.
Jason: Yeah, yeah. I’m not teaching it anymore. All of my senior staff are teaching that. I only teach advanced students now, and I’m also teaching people the new work that I developed, which went back to my original perspective, which is called “Non-Dual Shamanism,” “Non-Dual Voyaging,” and there’s a book coming out in two months on that, a large book on that. But just a real quick example. There are four universes, and they have different names Asiya, Yitzira, Bria, and Atzilut. In the course, we talk about three of them. Invariably, before people have integrated, understood, metabolized, and lived those three universes, people want to know, “But what about Atzilut, because that’s the highest one?” And they’re attracted to the highest one, which turns out to not exist, because it’s really the manifestation of all of those three universes. The living of it, from moment to moment, the imminence of it, the imminence of God. So, I’m careful with those words, because I know from my own ego that trying to reach “highness” is really not only a misnomer, but a dangerously misguided effort.
Rick: Yeah, well let’s not worry too much about which metaphor we use “high” or “deep,” whichever suits our purposes. But I guess what we’re trying to convey with the metaphor is some sort of oneness or attunement to ultimate reality or divine intelligence or something of that nature. So, you know, whatever metaphor works for you. And we’re considering how a holistic approach, which takes into account the development of all facets of the personality, how critical that might be, or how important or useful or conducive that might be to the development of that, you know, living the Divine as a 24/7 state. If that restates what we’ve been trying to say here.
Jason: Yeah, yeah. Well, in my lingo, I would never use the concept of, this is me, I don’t want to cause controversy on your show.
Rick: Oh, that’s alright, controversy is fine.
Jason: I would never use “ultimate reality.”
Jason: That’s not a happy phrase for me.
Jason: Because “ultimate” implies a kind of ending place or a kind of plateau. As ultimate reality, it’s very difficult for me to understand the difference between ultimate reality and this mechanical pencil. Because if reality is totally integrated, then the totality of reality has to be in this pencil as well. And in fact, my experience is that when I see this pencil, or I see anything, I see what we call “continuity density,” but I see the Divine in all of these things. So ultimate reality would not be something … it implies someplace different from … for me it implies, perhaps not for you, someplace different than here.
Rick: No, it doesn’t imply that for me. When I look at your pencil, a physicist might look at it and say, “Well, ultimately that’s just up quarks, down quarks, and electrons.” Or he might go on to say, “Well, even more fundamentally it’s just a unified field, or the vacuum state out of which this thing emerged.” But he also wouldn’t deny the atomic and the molecular and the chemical and the actual humanly visible expression of the pencil. And I think that’s kind of a corollary to what we might think of in … I mean, the universe is not dependent upon our perception or understanding of it for what it is in and of itself. And so in that sense I have the sense that there is sort of an ultimate reality to things, but actually living that as a human being is probably a never-ending process. There’s no end to the extent to which it can be more clear, more profound, more embodied. That’s my perspective anyway, for what it’s worth.
Jason: So, we’re getting into very fine points of theology here, but from my perspective, the universe does need … there is no objective universe that is separate from us. The Buddhists would call this codependent origination, or mutually co-arising. So, for instance, our egos, which are practical machines, they’re wonderful practical machines, knows that this pencil is in the foreground of this picture right now. It ignores the fact that there’s a background, unless someone asks what’s in the background, in which case Jason’s face is in the background. But foreground and background are mutually co-arising. The concept of foreground doesn’t exist without background, literally doesn’t exist. In the same way, the concept of high is meaningless, unless low is also noticed. And all those words are boundless, philosophically they’re called boundless, or vague terms, that need each other to be nested together to mean something. So, the same I experience, or my feeling about it, is that this universe, there is no universe without … it’s so hard to talk about this … without the observer, who is also part of the universe anyway. So, for me, what I call true non-duality …
Rick: You need to turn that off?
Jason: I did. I don’t know what that was. For me, it’s always two things that are arising, constantly, and not a single thing. A single thing would imply that there is a stage to get to, that there is an ultimate reality, when, for me, reality is cooperative effort. I don’t know if I’ve been clear enough, I hope that I’ve been a little bit clear.
Rick: I think so. I think I agree with everything you say, but we can chew on it a little bit more. I mean, if the modern understanding of cosmology is correct, it probably took a few billion years before there had been enough birth and death of stars after the Big Bang to result in enough heavy elements to generate any kind of life-form that could be an observer in the sense that we are. And yet, somehow, those billions of years of cosmic and stellar evolution had to take place. And they took place without there being any sentient being to observe them, and so they were not dependent upon sentient beings. But one might also say that the Creator itself, or himself or herself, was engaged in a process of observation and self-interaction which gave rise to the universe.
Jason: Well, this is assuming that the type of sentient being that we are is the only type of sentience. If stars themselves, if there’s hydrogen sentience and oxygen sentience and star sentience and galaxy sentience, then we have a different situation entirely.
Rick: I’m with you. Yeah. And also, just to take an example, one might say, “Well, there couldn’t possibly be life on the sun. It’s a thermal nuclear reaction, a fusion reaction.” But how about the subtle levels of reality? The sun, in many cultures, is regarded as a conscious, very intelligent being, which just has a very different gross body than our gross body, but is nonetheless a real impulse or expression of consciousness.
Jason: Sure. It sounds like, you’re going to answer in the affirmative here, but hasn’t it been true for you in those moments where you have had plateau experiences that everything seems alive? Absolutely. Every stone has sentience. I’m looking at pitch pines here, and I’m losing the word for pine cones. Every pine cone and every cut piece of wood on my deck over here and every cardinal that comes by, everything has sentience. So from that point of view, when we’re in touch with that level of life, of aliveness, it seems to me that the somethingness of the universe is quite enough life for there to have been two things going on all the time.
Rick: Yeah. I always like to say, “God is hiding in plain sight.”
Jason: I agree with that.
Rick: Yeah, if you just take a look at what you’re actually looking at and consider what it is, it’s like this dance of vast intelligence in every little pile of dog poop and stone and everything.
Jason: Absolutely, absolutely. It’s life, it’s aliveness, and that to me is what awakening is. Awakening, and you mentioned this before, and we both talked about it, that that level of aliveness is where we welcome, as best we can, because we’re going to fail, because we’re imperfect beings, we welcome the aliveness of the universe constantly coming toward us as we come toward it.
Rick: Yeah, so two sentences ago you said, “And that to me is what awakening is.” So what you’re saying is this sort of sensitive appreciation of the aliveness of everything is what you regard as awakening, or perhaps the characteristic of awakening.
Jason: Yeah, characteristic and also our aliveness, which means the totality of me, for example, there are some very deep understandings of the universe, and places where I’m still ignorant and imperfect and so on, but all of that, from the awakening position, is aliveness. The difference is I don’t have to be a slave to the smallest parts. I can see them with compassion, and in fact they are allies rather than being enemies, because our suffering and our imperfections are the mother of our awakening and are our awakening at the same time.
Rick: You were talking in the beginning about how you used to flip-flop between a sort of a non-dual perspective and then a more theistic or appreciation of the Divine perspective. It always puzzled me, and I’m no expert on Buddhism by a long shot, but it always puzzled me that they somehow left God out of the equation. I mean, how could they have become as awakened as many of them did and are currently, and yet not have the sort of appreciation that we’re talking about here of the Divine intelligence lively in every particle of creation?
Jason: You know, and I wish I could quote some things here, but I’m not currently reading these particular texts, but when you read the original, in English, but the original Pali texts of Buddhism, there’s a very God-like feeling to it. It got more, and there may be Buddhists listening to this who will object to what I say, and it’s possible that I’m wrong, but this is my memory of it, that Theravadan Buddhism, where the Pali texts are kept as sacred, had that feeling, this kind of imminence feeling, that is not so far away from everything else. As it gets toward the Mahayana, and as it gets toward the Chinese and Japanese aspect, it becomes much more austere. And when you get back to the Vajrayana, where the Bon influences are still there, and the spirits and demons are still there, and so on, the asuras and all the different things, you get back again that cosmology that is kind of missing in the pure Zen Chan tradition.
Rick: So it could be that things got diluted or watered down, or that certain branches just split off that were relevant to certain mindsets, just as the way it’s happened in all the Western religions, the Abrahamic religions.
Jason: Everybody has their own idea, that’s why you have a show, that’s why I have people who come to my school and other people don’t. Everybody has an idea because everybody has to confront being the kind of unique human being they are, in the common search for understanding and intelligent life, you know, so there’s always differences.
Rick: Yeah, and God is not a one-trick pony, you know, there’s so many different varieties. There’s a thing in the Bhagavad Gita where Lord Krishna says something like, “However somebody worships me, even if he has no concept of who I am, that is appreciated and recognized.” So, you know, somebody could be in the jungles of the Congo, you know, doing some kind of thing that might seem very exotic and strange to our culture, but it’s still the same sentiment, you know, expressing it in a way that’s appropriate to that person.
Jason: Absolutely, that’s the fertility of existence, isn’t it?
Jason: It’s just fantastic.
Rick: Now, as I said, beginning before we started this, if at any point anything comes to your mind that I’m not asking you and you want to launch into it, just go right ahead. And also, people watching this on YouTube live, if you have a question for Jason, just go to the upcoming interviews page on batgap.com and there’s a form at the bottom through which you can submit that question. But you talk a lot, well not a lot, but quite a bit here and there in your books about suffering. And hey, you’re Jewish, it goes with the territory, right?
Jason: There’s all kinds of Jewish jokes about that. The Christians that I meet insist that they suffer more, the Catholics that I meet insist that they suffer more.
Rick: It’s a competition.
Jason: I’m not sure.
Rick: And I’ve heard some people say, “Well, there’s a distinction between suffering and pain. Jesus felt pain, but he didn’t suffer because he was in such a state as to be beyond the impact of the senses. Even though his senses felt the pain, his awareness was open to a dimension which was sort of beyond that.” I don’t know if you would believe that statement, but let’s talk about the whole concept of suffering and how it fits into the evolutionary process and whether one might ever reach a state at which one is beyond it. Not to say that one won’t feel bodily pain, but it won’t touch one’s innermost core and things like that.
Jason: So this is a really interesting question, Rick. Let me tell you something I’ve thought a lot about. There is, according to me, another mythology that a mark of enlightenment or awakening is the fearlessness in the face of death and also somehow not feeling pain, not feeling certain types of pain. So, for instance, one story that I hear bandied about a lot is Ramana Maharshi,
Rick: dying of cancer.
Jason: who is emblematic. And when he was dying of cancer, they said, “It was no different, although when he was sleeping he moaned.” I made a practice, since I considered Ramana one of my teachers, of trying to get contemporary little pamphlets that were written by people who knew him. And in one of them, by his attendant, a little 46-page pamphlet, he leans over to this attendant. Once he came down from the mountain, from the cave, to the ashram, he was on a little bed, a day bed, and he would lie there on this bed, reading and talking, and people would come and ask him questions and so on. And after a day of that, he leaned over to this attendant and said, “I feel like I’m in jail.” Now, for me, that’s just as important, maybe more important than some of the things he said about the self and who am I and so on, because it gives us, and it’s been filtered out of the literature a lot, I think by preference, not by a censorship, but because it’s his humanity, the same time as he is a highly evolved being, he feels he’s trapped, being a specimen, having people look at him on this day bed as he talks all day. So, for me, the mark, and this is something I’ve battled with myself for many years, that I wanted to achieve some sort of mark of not being, of having those marks of not being afraid of death or so on and so on. One of my teachers was Dainen Kadagiri Roshi, the Zen teacher, who’s passed on now, and he said, “There’s no right way to die.” That’s a terrific statement for me, because some people die in their sleep, and with angels around them, and not in pain, and some people die in horrible pain, and there’s no correlation between being an elevated spiritual person and having a good death. You can have any kind of death, you can have any kind of, as one type of human being or another. So, Kadagiri’s statement, for me, was very broad and very beautiful, because it takes everybody off the hook. You die the way you die, and you face what you have to face, and so on. So I think I might have lost the point of what I was saying, but you’ll have to remind me again by saying something.
Rick: Sure. Well, we’re talking about suffering and whether one could actually reach a state at which one was still feeling pain, if you put your hand on the stove you feel it, but not suffering because it doesn’t go to the core of who or what you are. I mean, I feel this in my own experience. I could give you examples. I remember one time falling off my bicycle and scraping my arm on the gravel, and it was painful, but I was actually almost bemused while it was happening by the fact that there was some deep, silent, unshakable, rock-like awareness that just sort of witnessed the whole thing and wasn’t impacted by it. And I could say more, but I’ll bounce it back to you.
Jason: Sure, sure. I’m sorry you fell off the bike.
Rick: Oh, it happened. I made a stupid … I turned into a gravel driveway going way too fast.
Jason: The tires went out.
Jason: Yeah. We have a work called “The Work of Return,” which you mentioned before. The Work of Return has a basic understanding, which maybe I’ll take a minute to explain. I often ask myself, “Why, when someone has a peak experience of Satori or Kensho, it disappears?” If you get a peak into the way the universe and yourself works, why doesn’t it remain at that point? Why does it disappear? And I realize that the ego, in its unhealing state, in its unhealed state, only likes homeostasis. It wants the next moment to be like the last moment. That’s what it wants. So that means that negative experiences it clearly doesn’t like. It’s having a negative experience, let me get back to homeostasis. But it also doesn’t like positive experiences, because that changes the ego and our relationship to the ego as well. And it’s fearful of that type of change, that it means annihilation. So even change in the positive sense, the ego resists because … the unhealed ego resists because it feels it means it’s annihilation. The aim of work of return, besides personal exploration, this is a work that I created that people use as self-healing. Sometimes the problem that you work with, if you’re working with a disease or an injury or a thinking problem or an emotional problem, sometimes those things, by the end of the work of return, remain exactly what they were, but they don’t interfere with your life. They don’t interfere with your life force. They don’t compound themselves into secondary suffering.
Rick: Yeah, that’s a good point.
Jason: They’re just the primary suffering. “Oh, look at this, that was stupid, I went too fast, I hurt my arm.” Okay, it didn’t go further, it didn’t say, “Oh my God, why are the gods against me? Why am I so stupid? My mother always said I was stupid and this proves it,” and so on.
Rick: I came close.
Jason: There was no secondary suffering, or much less secondary suffering. So I agree with you, but I don’t take it as far as seeing that as a mark of … what’s the word? A mark of enlightenment or a mark of attainment, that’s the word I was looking for. It’s something that happens, that we work toward, but if we hold out that as the goal, we’re going to be disappointed. Because you may not have the genome that does what Ramana made, how he lived. I may not have that, but we are both capable of being fully awakening beings. I’m not going to hold out his particular brand with his karma, his genome, his culture, and so on, as what it should be for me. That would be a failure, a mark toward failure, a disaster spiritually.
Rick: Yeah. A couple of things which come to mind. One is, there’s maybe the philosophical framework in which you understand life and death and so on. We’ll talk about that in a second. And another is just the moment-to-moment, visceral, experiential orientation you have. Like when I fell off that bicycle, it wasn’t a time for philosophical speculation about whether I’m separate from my arm and all that stuff. It was just sort of an instantaneous experience of what happened. And like you say, there’s a thing called secondary suffering, you know that story of the princess and the pin, where she was told she was going to get pricked by a pin. And she went through all sorts of hand-wringing and moaning and groaning about the anticipation of this thing. And then finally it happened and she said, “Well, that wasn’t so bad.” So all that was unnecessary. So with regard to the philosophical suffering, I remember hearing about Raymond Burr, who played Perry Mason. And when he was dying, he was so terrified of death, probably because he thought that was going to be the end of any existence of him whatsoever, that he kept forcing himself to sit upright so he wouldn’t pass away, slip away. And you can imagine that a large percentage of the population doesn’t believe that there’s anything after the body dies, and others do. I should think that believing that something continues even after the body dies would have a profound impact on how you view death as it approached.
Jason: Well, you don’t like little questions do you? So, for instance, there are people who are Christians, for example, who have a deep connection to Jesus. And I love Christians who are really loving hearts, I think they’re fantastic people.
Rick: You sound like Donald Trump there for a second. “Fantastic person!”
Jason: They’re fantastic people because they go out and they help people a lot. There’s a lot of people who are in the arms of Jesus who will go out and just help any soul. They’re the exact opposite of the Trumpian version of Christianity. So those people, I’ve noticed, have a totally different relationship with death. Because they know, they feel and they know, they believe, but the belief is so deep that they know when they die they’re going to go be with Jesus. Not only that, they’re going to go be with Uncle Henry and Aunt Martha, who are also with Jesus, and they’re going to have a second life over there. So there’s no question that people who have this kind of deep belief have less fear, it seems to be true, or at least they believe they’ll have less fear about dying because the continuity of some sort of life after death is sustenance. It sustains them, right? And on the other hand, people I’ve met who are complete atheists, also have, some of them have had no fear of death because they may have fear of getting sick and having pain, but not of death. Because they’ll be gone. They’ll be gone. There’ll be nobody there to have death. It’s us guys in the middle that have all the tsuras, you know? It’s us guys in the middle who have to think about what this happens to be. The Hindu belief about life after death and the transmigration of souls is very different from the Buddhist, but I want to clarify that it’s very different from the Mahayana Buddhists, because in the Pali scriptures, Buddha talks about reincarnation. And the Tibetans in Vajrayana talk about reincarnation as well. So it gets very confusing. I had a private practice for a while, and by private I mean it was not public. It was not something I charged for or did. Because I found that I had the ability to contact souls after death, I would contact people to help them with their psychology after dying. Because there’s after-death psychosis, there’s after-death neuroses, people are frightened and so on.
Rick: Are you saying that people who have actually already died have psychoses and neuroses, or are there the loved ones who are still alive?
Jason: No, no, no, the ones who have died.
Rick: Okay, so they’re in a scary place and they’re all mixed up.
Jason: All mixed up, some died in accidents, some died suddenly, some whatever. They’re just in tremendous pain. I never thought that I was in charge of all of this, because there are plenty of guides and helpers and so on, but I would help as best I could, and I would always also ask for, what’s the word, checking.
Jason: No, no, not intercession, no. Because I had doubts about myself and my ability.
Rick: Verification of some kind.
Jason: Verification, exactly. Thank you for those words. Verification, and so they’d say, “Yes, please tell her to go look at, in the back corner of the second drawer, there’s a locket that I put,” and it would invariably be true. That was just for my own edification, my own verification, to calm me down. Because at the same time, as I had that ability, I grew up in a family that was very afraid of death. And I found myself being very afraid of death, the pain and suffering and being, again, it’s like the princess and the pin, the anticipatory anxiety, because I haven’t died yet, the participatory anxiety that would make me afraid of leaving my loved ones and so on and so on. So I’ve come down to, especially since I’m deeply involved in non-dual shamanism now, I’ve come down to a kind of agnosticism, I guess I’d have to say, about the whole thing. Even though I can still do this particular thing and get very detailed and exact information and so on, really I don’t know. I really don’t know, so I don’t count on that to ameliorate to give me suker, I was going to say. Sucker? Sucre? I don’t know.
Rick: Sucre is like sugar, I think.
Jason: So there’s artificial sucre then, isn’t there?
Rick: Well, I’m reminded of a couple of Woody Allen quotes. He said, “I don’t mind dying, I just don’t want to be there when it happens.”
Jason: That’s right.
Rick: And he also said, “I don’t want to achieve immortality through my work, I want to achieve it by not dying.”
Jason: Yeah, it’s an example of uneven development, isn’t there?
Rick: Yeah. Well, I think not knowing is a good attitude. I don’t think it means that one can’t know, but I don’t know. It’s like the scientific method. They never achieve absolute certainty about anything, if they’re really doing it right, because they’re always open to the possibility that something could come along, some anomaly, that refuted what they believed to be true, and this happens over and over again in science. So I think it’s a good approach to take with spirituality too, where you take everything as a hypothesis, perhaps worthy of investigation. You don’t invest a lot of energy believing or disbelieving or whatever, but if it seems worth your while, you investigate and see if your experience supports or refutes the hypothesis.
Jason: My business card says, “Not knowing but paying attention.”
Rick: Great one, yeah.
Jason: So that’s what that says, and in non-dual voyaging or non-dual shamanism, we have a statement that we try to use a lot that came from my ninth grade biology teacher, which is “interesting if true.”
Rick: Yeah, yeah.
Jason: And in fact, everything that the great Mr. Leo Steinberg taught me turned out to be pretty much untrue, forty years later, or whatever, how many years it was. But “interesting if true” and “not knowing but paying attention” means that you’re going to have a, hopefully, vastly open panoramic view of what’s going on, not knowing exactly what’s important until it’s important.
Rick: Yeah, and I think “interesting even if not true” is viable. I find it really interesting to think that extraterrestrial life has been visiting the earth for a long time. Maybe it hasn’t, but the fact that it might have been is intriguing.
Jason: It is, it is, and I think it’s probably true.
Rick: I think it’s probably true too, but I’m not going to stake my life on it, because why should I?
Jason: I just asked my wife the other day, I said, “If there was a civilization a million years old, do you think we’ll ever find an artifact, or is so many earth changes that nothing can be found, even some sort of whatever?”
Rick: That’s a whole other topic of discussion. I think I might like to get Stephen Greer on the show sometime. He’s the one who set up the nondisclosure project and got all these pilots and military people to testify as to what they’d seen. He’s also an old meditation teacher, so he has the spiritual angle. So, I managed to read pretty sizable chunks of several of your books, and one of them was the book entitled “Kabbalistic Healing.” I don’t know much about Kabbalah, or Kabbalah, or Kabbalah?
Jason: Kabbalah, okay, in America people say Kabbalah.
Rick: Oh yeah, right. I don’t know much about it. I always think of it as Jewish mysticism. I remember once reading a fascinating book about the Baal Shem Tov. He was remarkable. But let’s talk about that book a little bit first. Here’s a quote from it, “The Torah, a description of the interaction between oneness and duality, a vehicle for finding and cleaving to this unity often called God, and a profound explanation of the reasons and direction of creation.” So that gives us a springboard.
Jason: Did I say that?
Rick: I believe so. I got it out of your book, I think.
Rick: Unless you plagiarized, I don’t know.
Jason: No, I’m impressed, that’s good. So, Kabbalah. I’ll tell you a very brief story about this. When I was 17 and had just gone to college, I grew up Jewish. I went to Talmud Torah, so I went to–I had a Jewish education and so on. But a Jewish education did not include any mystical stuff, because, you know, we want to watch out for that and get that out of there, because it’s unreliable.
Rick: Spooky, yeah.
Jason: Anything might happen. Someone might blurt out the truth, who knows? So I started sitting Zen when I was 17, and I was also reading–
Rick: Good, that Zen Center down in midtown Manhattan, by the way.
Jason: Do I know about it, you said?
Rick: Is that where you went?
Jason: No, no, no, I didn’t. I was actually went to a–it’s interesting you ask that question.
Rick: Well, because I went to it once in 1968, and I was just curious whether you might have been there or something.
Jason: Right. Was that Tai Shan? Was that Edo Roshi at that time?
Rick: I forget. I only went once, and it was somewhere around midtown Manhattan. We got our car towed and had to go and sleep in the towed car lot until we could get money. It was a whole adventure, trying to cash a check in Times Square and asking prostitutes if they could cash a check. And they said, “No, my man doesn’t take checks.” It was one of those teenage adventures.
Jason: Yeah, yeah, I could tell you, we could share a few of those sometime. Anyway, where was I?
Rick: I threw you off track.
Jason: Yeah, no, it’s all right.
Rick: You started sitting Zen when you were 17.
Jason: Yeah, so 17, but I always kept going back to Judaic stuff because I was reading Ramakrishna, I was meditating, I was having profound spiritual experiences, and I guess I felt somewhat a little guilty or something. I would go back to Kabbalah and I would read that, Kabbalah, and it always seemed very intellectual, very dry, while the Buddhist stuff and the Advaitic stuff was very expansive and very beautiful to me. And this continued for many years with this battle between theistic and non-theistic perspectives that I talked about before until one day, and by that time I had become a healer and I was teaching for a particular healer and so on, and I was up in the White Mountains of New Hampshire and brought along some Kabbalistic books and I was reading them, and suddenly, it was a sudden experience, the entire thing opened to me. I understood it opened in a specific way about healing, and I realized that there was a healing modality implied in Kabbalistic work that had never been unfolded, and I began unfolding it. I started writing about it and I started experimental groups, I wrote curriculum. Actually, I only wrote curriculum because I started developing healings from that and people started having very powerful experiences and said, “Teach me this stuff.”
Rick: And this was when you were 17 or a little older?
Jason: No, no, no, no, no, no. This is now when I was in my 30s.
Rick: Oh, okay.
Jason: So I had never wanted to be a teacher. I had no interest in it. I was too egocentric and I suffered too much.
Rick: You had a seven-year health crisis, didn’t you?
Jason: I did, I did. A very serious health crisis during that period. But I started teaching, so on and so on. So the point is this, that traditional Kabbalah is a path of, in a sense, trying to divine what heaven wants from us, in a certain sense, and following that so that we can cleave to God much more. But the Kabbalistic thought that I started developing was from a non-dual perspective. So I had to deal with a lot of paradoxes. Paradox number one, and we’ve alluded to this in our conversation, was God is very far away. God is hiding. The other half of that is in plain sight, as you said before. So that’s a paradox. What does that mean, and what does that mean for our daily life, if God is completely missing and completely present simultaneously? How does that happen, and what is it about?
Rick: Let me interject a question here. You know, Jesus was always saying, “Those who have ears to hear, let them hear.” And I think the same could be said of eyes. You know, God is hiding in plain sight, but it’s plain to see if you have the eyes to see. And a question came in from Dan in London, who asked, “Can you talk a little about the visual sense in the exploration of reality? I find such beauty in the true subtlety in the visual perception. The oneness is palpable. What are your thoughts?” And I hope I didn’t throw you off the train of thought you were pursuing there, but I think you can weave his question into what you were saying.
Jason: I’ll try to do that, I’ll try to do that. So just to go back to your quote about Jesus, and I’ll try to talk about Dan’s question as well, to go back to your quote about Jesus, I was very interested in how can you help people gain the eyes to see and the ears to hear? Because it’s all well and good, and I love Jesus, he’s a friend of mine, but it’s all well and good to say, “Let him who has the ears to hear hear this wonderful stuff.”
Rick: But how can you help them develop those ears?
Jason: Exactly. So my work was specifically, how can we make the … let’s just call it this, I’ve never called it this, spoken about it this way, but let’s call it the opening of the ear, the shema, the opening of the ear and the opening of the eyes, how can we make that a replicable and reliable experience for people? How can we give them the meditations, the conceptual insights, the practice, and so on, so that people can become awakening beings doing whatever they do in the world?
Rick: Yeah, I mean Jesus also said the pearls before swine quote, and we don’t want to just brush people off as swine and say, “I’m not going to give you these pearls.”
Jason: Right, and we have to remember these are Jesus’ words through various disciples.
Rick: Yeah, hundreds of years before they wrote anything down, whatever.
Jason: Yeah, so by that time a little swinishness can come in, which I suspect Jesus didn’t think of anybody as a swine, since he hung out with the poor and the prostitutes and so on. Yeah, I mean, you know, like what? What’s that about? So that was my desire. My desire was how can we create the cradle for this, so that people, if they follow the path, can have replicable and reliable experiences of awakening and understanding, and so on. Now, different people will do that in different ways, and here, the thing that I’m talking about is the total bodily sense of what awakening is and what a connection to the truth and totality of our being is. Along the way, all the senses have to be healed, strangely enough. Because, just to use eyes as an example, if we take Wilhelm Reich’s work, the great psychologist, psychiatrist actually, Wilhelm Reich, he said that the oculus segment is the first segment that gets distorted and armored and blocked in a human being. So we think we’re seeing stuff, and we’re not. We’re seeing memories, we’re seeing prior conditions, we’re seeing anticipatory things, we’re not seeing actually what’s in front of us, because we’re armored, we’re protected. In fact, just as a little aside, if you’ve ever been to a drawing course, where they teach you to draw things, the hardest thing to do is actually to draw what you actually see. If you actually do that, it suddenly comes out looking like this thing that you never thought you could draw. Instead of saying, “Well, there’s a face, and I’m going to draw a circle.” Do you see a circle? No, not actually. I see a thing here and a… draw that. So we don’t see, we don’t really hear, we don’t really…
Jason: Smell, and so on. And then different people have different predilections. If you happen to have a predilection for actual visual sight, and that begins to open up, then you get a situation like Dan’s, where that happens. But I’m very careful to know that there are different learning styles among all of my students, and some of them need to… So we call it “perceive.” We don’t call it “see” in the way Don Juan calls it “seeing.” We make sure to call it “perceiving” because someone’s going to smell the truth, someone’s going to hear the truth, someone’s going to see it, someone’s going to touch it. Someone’s going to feel it as rhythm. Someone is going to feel it as heat. Someone’s going to feel it as cold. So it’s not that we’re aiming toward those specific things that I mentioned, it happens along the way as the body-mind-spirit is trained to be an open sensorium for living the truth. You alluded to this before, I hope I’m not going too fast here, but you alluded to this before. People also have the mistaken notion that awakening is new information that can be put into you as you are. So now I’ve got this new information or new experience, and now I’m awakening, or awakened, whatever they want to call it. When the neurological, endocrine, structural things of the body must change in order to have and hold that experience, you’re not the same person that you were with new information laid over it. That’s another reason it takes a long time sometimes. You have to make new neurological, neuronal connections in the brain, in the intestines, in the body, and so on. You have to grow.
Rick: Yeah, neuroplasticity.
Jason: Thank God for neuroplasticity.
Rick: Yeah, several things came to mind as you were saying all that. You know, we’re not going to develop the … well, there’s two things. There’s how acutely or clearly we perceive, and there’s also how we interpret. Those are two things. And I would say there’s another thing, which is the subtlety of perception. So, for example, we’re not going to develop the nose of a bloodhound or the eyes of an eagle or the ears of whatever animal hears really well.
Jason: A bat.
Rick: Yeah, we’re not going to hear ultrasonic levels of pitch. And it’s said that there’s some theory that birds actually navigate by being able to see the earth’s gravitational field, and they navigate by that. So we’re human beings and we have human perception, but I think that there’s a vast range of potential development of human perception that most people don’t tap. And we were talking earlier about subtle beings and, you know, devas and angels and stuff like that. I know people who see that stuff routinely. So there’s a potential dimension for development of perception that we could say has a vertical thing, in terms of increasing subtlety. And I think perhaps Dan is moving in that direction from what he described there.
Jason: In the training that I’m doing now with advanced people called non-dual shamanism or non-dual voyaging, one of the things that we do is to develop all of that. But the attitude that we have toward that is something that we call a single world. And what a single world means is that this is it. This is it. Every subtle dimension that we can apprehend or think about, we’re able to do that because there is a physical analog in our brain. It all comes down to that, whether it’s regular neurological acetylcholine, electrical stimulation, or whether it’s quantum processes in the brain that we have yet to discover. Every subtle state or understanding eventually migrates down toward a physical apparatus that can apprehend this. So the attitude of our approach to shamanism is that all of this, all the dimensionality, all the angels, all the devas, everything, are here, though this plane of existence is infinite in every direction. So it’s not constrained, but it’s here. And that’s a good thing for a shaman because you don’t have to go anyplace else, you have to learn how to be here, with all this sensorium opened up.
Rick: That makes sense to me, and obviously it’s all here, but we’re not necessarily equipped to experience it all. I mean, just using the bloodhound as a simple example, the bloodhound will walk into the room and smell all kinds of things we’re never going to smell, but that isn’t necessarily even relevant to human evolution in the spiritual sense. It’s not like we have to somehow develop the capacity for experiencing everything in the relative creation that could possibly be experienced in order to … well, you know where I’m going with this.
Jason: Yeah, I mean, I’ve got to tell you something else. The first Zen teacher who I met was a guy named Bishop Nakajima, and he’s never left me, because if there’s such a thing as a spectrum of charisma and presence, Bishop Nakajima was minus 10. He had zero charisma, and he had zero presence, and he gave me my first zafu, my first cushion, or I bought it for him, I don’t remember. I loved him, because there was no display of anything. His plainness was of a transcendent level, if we can mix it together, you know what I mean? It was kind of like, the plainness was a beautiful thing. So I lost the track of why I brought that up, you said something that made me bring that up.
Rick: I was just talking about how you were saying in this room, for instance, it’s all here, all the dimensions, planes, whatever may exist is here, we don’t have to go someplace and i was saying, yeah, it’s all here and people shouldnt assume that getting to experience it is some kind of essentail criteria of spiritual advancement.
Jason: I agree, 100%.
Rick: Because we’re human beings, we don’t need to experience the ultraviolet range of all that.
Jason: I see, yeah, yeah, yeah.
Rick: In terms of angelic or subtle perception, I remember I was talking to Adyashanti once about this, and he said, “Well, you know, we were having an interview with Francis Bennett, and Francis does experience this stuff,” and Adyashanti said, “You know, I kind of remember choosing as I came into this life that I didn’t need or want to open up to all that kind of thing.”
Jason: Right, right. So I agree 100%. That’s exactly why I brought up, thank you for putting me back on track, Bishop Nakajima, the anti-charisma teacher, because that’s not what awakening is about. You know, Chögyam Trungpa would have called that, he would have put that under the rubric of “spiritual materialism,” where we want to gain powers, so to speak, and feel that we must have these powers, to be you know, we must be like what was the name of that? He was popular in the ’60s, now no one talks about him.
Rick: Sai baba?
Jason: No, no, no, it’s not a real person. It’s this yogi who’s lived for 600 years.
Rick: Oh, Babaji or something?
Jason: Something, yeah, something. And well, that’s good, that he could live for 600 years in the Himalayas someplace and so on, but it’s not going to happen to me, and I have to eat, and maybe eat a little less, that might be helpful too.
Rick: And live a few years longer.
Jason: Yeah, yeah. So, yes, we don’t want spiritual materialism. It’s not about gain, or … it’s actually, if anything, it’s more about loss. It’s about the loss of our illusions, it’s the loss of our pride, the loss of our self-judgment, and so on. Those are good things to lose.
Rick: So, for those with a Jewish background, do you feel like the Torah has as much sort of richness in its tradition, with regard to oneness and non-duality and so on, as Vedanta or any other tradition, and it’s just hidden and buried? And are there living examples of that, or is it just that it sort of lost all that long ago if it ever possessed it, and if you’re really looking for that sort of appreciation, you might be better off looking elsewhere?
Jason: You know, first of all, I’m not sure that it’s a choice. I think that people are … like I kept going back to my Judaic roots, because somehow I was programmed that way. I had to do that. So, any of the holy books, so-called, work. They work.
Rick: If they resonate with you.
Jason: If they resonate with you, but also things do have a way of being accentuated in one age and depressed in another age. So, you mentioned the Baal Shem Tov before. I happen to be reading a book on the Baal Shem Tov right now, too.
Rick: Oh, cool.
Jason: And I see that what he was doing with the Torah was a very non-dual approach. And his, what became Hasidism at that time, although I don’t think he was an actual founder of it, I think he was the inspiration for it from people who came contemporaneously with him. But in any case, what happened was, and this often happens with an initiator or founder, while that founder or initiator is still alive, people start getting it. There’s a glow that comes and this non-dual perspective. He still used the word “God” and still understood God as being “Hashem” and the name and so on, but there was this unity that he was after. Hasidism went that way for a while, and then it became more and more, according to my way of thinking, more rigid and further away from that particular impulse that the Baal Shem Tov had. So, can another person rediscover it that way? Absolutely. I have students who are rabbis, who are wonderful rabbis, who have that attitude. Zalman was a tremendous mentor for me and was filled with that unity between the dualistic and non-dualistic, non-dual and theistic, rather is the way I should say it, kind of thing. So, if someone’s attracted to it, they can find it, and there are guides who have walked that particular path. You know, there are people who read the Bhagavad Gita who are orthodox Hindus, who have many limited and strict views about things that are not very open. So, some people can read the Bhagavad Gita and find an excuse for the caste system, and some people can read the Bhagavad Gita and concentrate on the parts that are about unity, openness, non-duality and human life.
Rick: It’s true, I mean, and you can take any book like the Gita or any book that has genuine depth to it and read it over the course of your life as you grow spiritually and continue to discover a new book each time you read it.
Jason: Absolutely, absolutely, that’s beautiful, isn’t it?
Rick: Yeah. A question came in from Jason in France. Hey, two Jasons. Jason asked, “Earlier you were talking about God as if he/she were an individual entity. Why personalize God? If all is God, if we can see God in all, why narrow it down?”
Jason: Great question. I would love to answer that question directly.
Jason: One of the understandings, and this is Jason, right?
Rick: This is Jason in France.
Jason: Yes, and this is Jason here.
Rick: Yeah, in Cape Cod.
Jason: So, one of the understandings that I had was that we have different “who is’s.” Different “who is’s.” On one end of the spectrum is a “who is” where subject and object are very separate. I’m here on Cape Cod, you are in Iowa, I think you said, yes?
Rick: I’m in Iowa, yeah.
Jason: You’re in Iowa, and we share many things, a deep interest in spirituality, but I’m really aware that you’re over there and I’m over here. And when you talk to your wife, you’re not talking to my wife.
Jason: And vice versa, we’re separate. On the other end of the spectrum, what’s accentuated is our unity. That’s a different “who is.” And all along the way are different “who is’s.” Each “who is” is a valid way to be. But each “who is” sees God and spirituality from the lens of the “who is.” So a person at this part of the spectrum, who has subject and object very separate, sees a personal God. Sees a God that relates to me, so there’s some sort of divine force or presence, and who cares about me. Since I am viewing life and spirituality through the “who is” of the personal self. Someplace in the middle, we might have somebody who says, “Yes, God is personal, but God is also inside.” Because my “who is” is more psychological, and I see that God is also a flavor, a fragrance, a feeling inside of me. And maybe outside too. And that’s a different “who is.” At a certain point, there’s no talk about God. There’s talk about universal presence and things like that. The thing that’s really interesting about this is that if we give up our prejudices, we realize that the totality of the divine is in every single position. It’s not like the person who has the completely subject-object point of view is less enlightened, or has less God, or access to God, than the person all the way, my hands all the way out of the frame, all the way out of there, or any place in between. That’s just our pride and our prejudice. So, when I was talking about Christians before, who are very subject and object, they don’t say Christ is in them. They say, “Jesus is over there, and I want to follow Jesus.” They can have, if they are good people and have really penetrated the mysteries, they are fantastic. Same thing with Jewish people who have done that, Muslim people who have done that, so on and so on. And then you get people all along the spectrum Ibn Arabi, a different who-is, so on and so on. So that’s my answer, because I’m going to come from different who-is’s, and I’m comfortable coming from the whole spectrum of who-is’s, because that was my path.
Rick: Yeah. Incidentally, I guess Jason’s name is Dirk from France, the fellow who forged me the question got mixed up and put your name in there, so it’s Dirk from France.
Jason: I see.
Rick: So, anyway, regarding what you just said, I mean, in traditional Vedic teaching, there’s sort of the impersonal and personal aspects of God, you know, Brahman and Ishvara, and it’s thought that sort of the ocean quality, omnipresent, you know, uniform quality of Divine intelligence, which pervades and permeates all creation, can also arise in specific expressions or impulses of intelligence.
Jason: It has to. It has to. It has to. They co-arise.
Rick: They co-arise, and all those impulses are actually instrumental in the orchestration of the universe, and they have their functions that they perform, and that one can establish a personal relationship with them, and so on. And the two concepts don’t conflict with one another.
Jason: No, the ocean must have waves.
Jason: There’s no ocean called “no-wave ocean,” even if the waves are microscopic. The ocean’s nature is to have waves, gold’s nature is to be yellow and heavy, and so on. The nature of the universal God is to have a personal expression, and the nature of the … because they co-arise, they’re responsible from the non-dual point of view of codependent origination, of co-arising, one … just like foreground and background, one is responsible for the existence of the other. It’s easy for people to see that the universal, so-called, or the absolute, so-called, is responsible for the particular. It’s a little harder for people to see that the particular is also responsible for the universal absolute. But they co-arise. There’s no separation between the two, and can never be any separation.
Rick: Yeah, well maybe a good metaphor is if you put a dot on a blackboard or something, it sort of creates a contrast between the specific and the universal of that particular medium.
Jason: Right. Before the dot is there, there’s nothing called “space.” As soon as you put the dot there, you say, “Oh, look at all the space around it.” And that space comes out of the plenum as if it was created, and it was created by the particular, and vice versa. There was space there so we could put a dot. If it was all black and filled, we couldn’t put the dot. So this mutual co-arising is an extremely dynamic and alive thing.
Rick: Yeah, good. Let’s move on. Keep going on that point, but maybe we’ll even come back to it. When I read your intro, I read a part about the Magi process. It said, “You have been especially interested in applying personal spiritual work into methods of transforming society at large.” And Mark Peters from Santa Clara, California sent in a question asking, “In what practical ways has your awakening process affected, if at all, your concern for the welfare of the planet as a whole? Do you think we can reverse the effects of global warming, deforestation, nuclear proliferation, etc.?” And I think perhaps the Magi process has something to say about that.
Jason: Yeah, you know, what’s the name of this fellow who asked this question?
Rick: Mark Peters.
Jason: Mark. You know, Mark, I don’t know. My wife and I have divided up pessimism and optimism in different ways. She’s pessimistic about certain things and I’m optimistic, and I’m pessimistic about a lot of things that she’s optimistic about.
Rick: You’re like a tag team.
Jason: So I think we should get married. So here’s the thing. So for absolutely no reason that I can think of, I’m optimistic about our survival and about the planet’s survival. Contrary to everything that seems to be happening, I might add. I am because I find it so dynamic. I find life so dynamic and filled with possibility that I hold the irrational stance that it’s going to be OK somehow. Yet we know from the past that things have not always been OK, that millions of people have died. Now we’re at a critical mass with pollution, global warming, for instance, that Mark talks about where the planet could die or large portions of the planet can die. So, you know, I’m going to hold on to my irrationality there, but because I’m committed to it, the Magi process. It’s very it’s a little difficult to describe, but it is a 38 step imagistic formula, actually, for working with conflicts, questions and problems. So there’s a I won’t go into detail with the process. There is a book called The Magi Process, a non dual method for I forget the subtitle, a non dual method for conflict.
Rick: I got it here. It’s a non dual method for personal awakening and the resolution of conflict.
Jason: Right. By the way, these things can be there’s a foundation that has started to support the publication and dissemination of my work, and it’s called The Foundation for Non Duality. And it’s at nonduality.us.com. nonduality.us.com. You can get the book there and on Amazon as well.
Rick: I’ll be linking to it. I’ve already set up a page where I’m linking to all these books.
Jason: Thank you. Thank you so much. I appreciate that. So this is a dynamic 38 step process where we first take our question and do a process called bracketing with it. So let’s say I say that I want all the countries in the world to sign on to the Paris Protocol, for example. Sounds like a good thing. But then I kind of challenge that. Is that good? Do I know for a fact that’s going to be good? I think it’s going to be good. It’s a start and would be better if the US was there. We’d be moving toward it. And even though I’m the furthest thing you can imagine from a Trumpite, do I know for sure that his opposition to it might not force something else later, even if it’s a crisis, that something much better will come out of it? I don’t know. So I start going through a process of rewriting my question until the right one feels true. And sometimes I go back to the original question and sometimes it comes out to be a different question. Maybe it wasn’t about the Paris Protocol at all. It was just about global warming and some other formulation. Once you have the right question, you go through and do little mini meditations on each of these steps. And it’s extremely powerful. There are people, not large numbers, but maybe hundreds of people around the world doing this process for both self-working with self-conflict and working with conflict with others. A couple of whom are in government here in the United States. I’m not sure how they are using it because this is a process that when we do run a course for it, we give it away for free. So you could always check back to the Society of Souls site, the school site. But that’s what I can say about this. It’s a very dynamic process that someone can read this book, learn the process. And I think that the more people who learn this process, the more dynamic and more hope we will have. So even though this is a tiny grain of sand in an entire Lake Superior, in a huge lake, it needs to start someplace, and this was my contribution to that.
Rick: Is it complicated or difficult to learn or time-consuming to practice?
Jason: No, a session takes about 20 minutes to do this. The book, as you saw, was rather slim, so you could read that book in a couple of days. And then if someone wanted to practice, they could contact the school through the info button for SocietyofSouls.com. And I don’t know if there’s somebody there who will hook people up with other people practicing, but I’m sure something can be arranged. It’s not a difficult process, it’s actually an exciting process. It’s a little mysterious, because it has to do with action at a distance, something that you would like from Bell’s theorem and all of that spooky stuff.
Rick: Yeah, that’s what Einstein, the word Einstein used, “spooky action at a distance.”
Jason: He didn’t like that, I know, I know. I’m beginning to think that he was right about that. But anyway, that’s another story over some, we’ll call it tea right now, a little cup of tea. We’ll have another discussion. So that’s my contribution, and you said it was Mark, right?
Jason: Mark. If you take a look at that book, Mark, I think…
Jason: I know, I heard it, but I tried to avoid noticing. I think that you’ll find it useful.
Rick: Yeah, I think it’s an interesting question. I often talk on this show and think in my own life about the fact that spirituality has an important role to play, perhaps a critical, perhaps the most critical role to play in the resolution of these dire problems that afflict the planet. And I was talking last week in my conversation with Kavli Morgan about the analogy or metaphor of a forest, in which if you want the forest to be green, each individual tree in the forest has to derive nourishment from the ground in which it’s rooted. And if it’s not doing that, then that tree is going to be brown, and most of them are brown, and it’s going to look like a brown forest. So you have to establish the nourishment with each individual tree, and enough of them, and then you’ll have a green forest. So I really think that spirituality is the establishment of that connection with our deepest source of nourishment, and that if enough of us do it, then these problems which seem so intractable when we look at them macroscopically, will somehow find solutions and begin to diminish.
Jason: And here’s where I think the individual is very important, because you’ll get some individual who has the charisma, who has the presence, who you want to also have the deep spiritual education, who can go out and form – because I don’t know if it’s going to be a spiritual movement that’s going to do this, or a spiritually astute man or woman who’s going to start being able to talk about this in a way that will attract a lot of people, and governmental change as well. So both are important, what you said, and the macro and the micro, both important.
Rick: Well you have guys like Elon Musk, who happens to practice meditation, but that’s neither here nor there perhaps. I think that you could have Jesus Christ as President, but he wouldn’t be able to accomplish much if the general collective consciousness were rather low.
Jason: I agree, I agree with that, I absolutely agree with that. Of course we both know the progress on that level is very slow. We are actually in better shape now than we were 2000 years ago.
Rick: Sure, in better shape than we were in the 60s or 50s.
Jason: That’s right, we are, even though people are still killed and even though all these things are happening, there is incremental change, but it’s very slow. I’m sure you’ve asked yourself this question, we had Jesus, we had Buddha, we had Moses, we had Zarathustra, we had all the unnamed people who were geniuses of spirituality during our history, and look how slowly it’s gone, and how easily things can be distorted.
Rick: But you know, the pace of change is accelerating, and a thousand years ago during the Middle Ages, people were being burned at the stake routinely and tortured for believing that the sun was the center of the solar system and things like that. And so we’ve come a long way, baby, to quote the old cigarette commercial.
Jason: It’s true, it’s true, it’s just not fast enough for me sometimes.
Rick: Yeah, but also it’s subtle though, it percolates up and we may not realize the extent to which it has progressed. It’s like I sometimes use the example of water boiling. Water can be at 99 degrees centigrade and it just looks like water, but as soon as it does one more degree, you have a phase transition and all of a sudden it turns into steam. So we can be closer to that boiling point, or phase transition point, or tipping point than we think, and not know it.
Jason: This is why I’ve always, this is half a joke, I’ve always wanted an alien to come to earth. Because if the aliens show up, even if they’re benign, benign aliens, let’s make it that way, the earth is going to unify. We’re going to say, “Holy moly, these aliens, now we’re the earth, we’re not countries anymore, we’re the earth in this universe that has other intelligences.” So I’m waiting for this, I’m not really waiting for it, but if they’re coming and they’re nice people, I’ll have them over for dinner.
Rick: Yeah, or they’ll have you for dinner if they’re not nice people.
Jason: No, no, they’re nice, to serve man.
Rick: Yeah, Twilight Zone.
Jason: Yeah, that’s right.
Rick: Well you know that photo of the moon taken from earth did a lot to enliven that perspective in human consciousness.
Jason: It did, it did for a while. That’s the photo of the earth that Stuart Brand put on the Whole Earth Catalog. Because I think it was him, by the way, who got NASA to release that picture.
Rick: Oh, interesting.
Jason: It was he who got, I think, unless that’s an apocryphal story, but seeing the earth, I remember distinctly, I think I’m older than you are.
Rick: I’m 68.
Jason: Okay, so I’ll be 71 in August. So just a little bit older, but old enough to remember when we saw that picture. And a lot of the astronauts were deeply moved by seeing that from space, this blue marble of life, and from that perspective it was like, “What are we arguing about?” We have this, and that’s again, uneven development. We can get to see something like that because our technology is so advanced, but it doesn’t stick yet.
Rick: Yeah, there’s a great quote from Carl Sagan where the shot of the earth taken from the Voyager as it was leaving the solar system, all you can see is this teeny-weeny little pinprick of light. And I forget the exact wording, but he commented about how emperors and conquerors and all shed so much blood in order to get a little bit more territory for a little bit of time on this little tiny pinprick of light, and how absurd that is.
Jason: Right, right, right.
Rick: Well, we’re a couple of old geezers, I’m carrying on about this stuff.
Jason: That’s good, that’s good.
Rick: I think it’s fun to contemplate these things.
Jason: It is. You know what? What we’re really talking about here, from my perspective, is our hearts. We’re really talking about love. We’re really talking about the fact that we love being alive most of the time, we love our planet, we love other people, and we’re constantly trying to figure out how more of this love can be opened up, sustained, increased, and shared. So whether we’re talking about seeing the blue marble or Carl Sagan’s quote, these are all things that touch the heart. When you say that, I can feel your heart, and you feel mine. I’ve always said that the end result of spiritual work should be openheartedness. If it’s not that, if it still stays at an intellectual level, or it still stays at a conceptual level, then the person hasn’t taken the steps that are necessary. Because when it comes down to it, tenderheartedness, openheartedness, is really the ultimate purpose of our spiritual search.
Rick: Yeah, that’s nice. And you know, one thing that I find very inspiring and gratifying is that when one engages in the spiritual search, either for oneself, if it can even be conceived of as merely benefiting oneself, or more consciously and explicitly for the benefit of others, either way, it kind of plugs you into a power source, so to speak. And to mix metaphors, you begin to get the wind at your back or in your sails, and you receive support from whatever it is that is in favor of the evolution of the universe, and evolution of the species, and so on. And you know, life just, I don’t know, it gives you a greater … you know what I’m trying to say? Have you experienced this yourself?
Jason: Sure, sure. I mean, the attitude that I take with my students has always been, in even the most distorted behavior, what they are actually reaching out for is wholeness. So part of my job is not to judge that particular behavior. I might want them to stop if it’s dangerous or deliberatorious to them, and so on. But I do see, I don’t even have to try, I see directly how they’re trying to reach for God, wholeness, liberation, freedom, even in the most distorted way, because they don’t know how to do it at that point. The Pure Land Buddhists put this moment in a slightly different way, which is … can you hear me okay?
Rick: I can hear you. We’ll get a little dog action in the background, but it’s okay.
Jason: Okay, all right. So, which is, that’s the call of Amida Buddha.
Rick: Say it again?
Jason: That’s the call of Amida Buddha. Amida Buddha is always calling to us, and we’re trying to reach the Pure Land, we’re trying to reach this wholeness. And so even in the most difficulty, that’s always present as well, and the more we can get help for somebody seeing that and pointing that out to us and taking a chance to walk toward that, the more progress we make.
Rick: Yeah, and it may be a rather radical and controversial thing to say, but I would take the statement you just made to its extreme, which is to say that kid that just shot up the high school in Texas was seeking, how did you put it, was seeking oneness and wholeness and so on, but just in an extremely distorted way. Everybody’s seeking that, but the ways in which they seek it get really warped sometimes.
Jason: I understand that, I understand that, and dangerous and horrible and so on, but I do understand your motive in saying that that way. I actually agree with it, as horrible as it was, there’s no excuse for it, but that’s why spiritual education is so important at every level of our life.
Rick: Yeah, I just want to mention that, I want to have you itemize a little bit more in a minute what you have to offer for people who are interested, but I just want to mention again what I did last week with Kavali Morgan, who’s teaching a program of mindfulness in the Portland, Oregon public schools, and it’s growing and having tremendous results.
Jason: That’s fantastic.
Rick: Yeah, I think that any school which implements a program like that automatically will greatly diminish the likelihood of some kid coming in with a gun and shooting at it.
Jason: I hope so, I can’t guarantee that, but in general, whatever happens, that’s a great thing.
Rick: Yeah, it’s wonderful what you’re doing.
Jason: That’s a great thing.
Rick: Yeah. So, okay, so people have been listening to this, hopefully for a couple of hours almost, and they think, “Okay, I like Jason, I like what he has to say.” How can they plug into what you’re doing?
Jason: Okay, so currently the four-year program in non-dual healing is being taught in Boston and New York, Copenhagen, and soon in Dubai.
Rick: And that’s an in-person kind of thing you have to do?
Jason: That’s an in-person thing. It’s a four-year program, and you can find out about– I think that people cannot join the one in New York or Boston, those are already going. Copenhagen just started, so that’s still a possibility, and Dubai doesn’t start until September, if I remember correctly, so that’s definitely open. All the information they need is on the school website, which is www.societyofsouls.com. We also teach a movement work called “Impersonal Movement,” which is designed to give people a bodily experience of the unitive state. That’s taught infrequently, it’s taught as part of the four-year program, and occasionally we do a standalone version of that. I’m currently teaching two of my advanced students to teach that, so that we can have more standalone. It’s a fantastic practice, I love it.
Rick: That also sounds like an in-person thing.
Jason: That’s an in-person thing as well. Again, the school website will have any information, or people can just query and get on a mailing list to find out. Then the work of return is taught every once in a while for free, and people should query that because some of it may be taught online, and some of it in person, I don’t know. One of our teachers, Eileen Marta Merman, is in charge of that, so you can just query about work of return.
Rick: Do you have a mailing list people can get on, and then they’ll be notified of any of these things?
Jason: Yes, yes, on www.societyofsouls.com they can do that. Then there’s the foundation. The foundation is a not-for-profit called Foundation for Non-Duality. That’s where my publications go at this point, and the new one will be the Non-Dual Shaman that will come out in the summer. That’s www.nonduality.us.com. In terms of working with me personally, I’m only teaching advanced students right now, although next year I’m playing with the idea of– we’ve had two years of non-dual voyaging, non-dual shaman work. I’m thinking of opening it to the general public. I haven’t done that. I’ve only worked with advanced students in Society of Souls, but now that we have two years under our belt and have learned how to do this properly, I might open this. So people should check with the Society of Souls site, and they can check with the Foundation site also, although as a not-for-profit they’re going to just direct you back to the other one. So I think that’s it. I think people should look at the books. I think that the Instruction Manual for Receiving God is a very accessible book that gives an idea of my work. The Magi Process is specifically with people who want to work with interior and exterior conflict. Ecstatic Speech is kind of an advanced book–I don’t know if I sent you that– of texts that we use in our advanced work. Kabbalistic Healing is available, A Path to an Awakened Soul. I guess if I had the power to change that I would call it an awakening soul.
Rick: Yeah, maybe the next edition.
Jason: The next edition. So all of those books you can find on the nonduality.us.com site.
Rick: Did you adequately explain what was in this upcoming book?
Jason: The Nondual Shaman is an extension of the work that I started doing. That was my predilection, my perspective, when I first started spiritual healing. I was very shamanistic. And then because I was very interested in having a replicable and–what were the two words I used before?– replicable and reliable way for people to get in touch with the healing aspect of nonduality, I set that aside for many years and created the curriculum for all of the other things that I just mentioned. Now that that work is safely in the hands of my most advanced students, teachers who are teaching it now, I went back to take another look at shamanism and decided to completely revamp my thinking about it from a nondual point of view. From the point of view of someone who is not going to imitate Native American stuff or Siberian stuff or so on, I had to ask myself, “What does shamanism now, at this point in my life, mean to me? What does it look like? And what does the training for it look like?” So, the Nondual Shaman–I think the subtitle is– “A Contemporary Shamanistic Path and Thoroughgoing Approach to Awakening the Self.” So, it’s really kind of my magnum opus, in a sense. It takes in all of the material and all of the stuff that I’ve understood in my own life and teaching all of these years, and that’s what I’m beginning to teach. It’s been by invitation only, and if I open it to the public, we’ll require an application and an interview, because it’s deep stuff. We want to make sure people are ready for it.
Rick: Great. Well, thanks. I’ve really enjoyed having this conversation with you.
Jason: Me too.
Rick: A lot of fun.
Jason: Me too. Yep, me too. And I can tell people they can go on your website and see it, if they want to see this, right?
Rick: Yes, it’ll be up possibly by tomorrow, if not tomorrow, probably Monday. And if they come to the website, there’s a place they can sign up to be notified every time a new interview is posted, if they want to.
Jason: That’s great.
Rick: They can also sign up to subscribe to the audio podcast version of the show, if they like to listen to things while commuting and so on.
Jason: Oh, that’s nice. That’s really nice. Wow. There’s a few other things on there. There’s not too many things, but if you just take a few minutes to explore the menus on the site, you’ll see what’s there.
Jason: Yeah, wonderful. Well, I’ve really enjoyed meeting you.
Rick: Yeah, likewise. It’s been an enjoyable couple of hours.
Rick: So take care and thanks again to those who have been listening or watching. Next week I’ll be interviewing a fellow named Dean Slider, who teaches meditation and is an old friend of mine. I’ve known him since 1970, haven’t been in touch for years. I think we’ll have a fascinating conversation. So see you next time. Thanks again, Jason.
Jason: Bye for now.