Joel Morwood Transcript

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Joel Morwood Interview

Rick Archer: Welcome to Buddha at the Gas Pump. My name is Rick Archer. Buddha at the Gas Pump is an ongoing series of interviews with spiritually awake or Awakening people. There have been over 300 of them now. And if you go to, and look under the past interviews menu, you’ll see them all archived and organized in various ways. The show is made possible by the support of generous listeners and viewers. So if you feel like helping to support it, there’s a PayPal button on the site. So my guest today is Joel Morwood. Joel is the author of the way of selflessness, A Practical Guide to Enlightenment based on the teachings of the world’s great mystics. And through deaths gate, a guide to selfless dying. And there’s a third book isn’t their job, an autobiographical book, naked through the gate, naked through the gate? Yeah, for some reason. That one isn’t on my little bio this year, but naked through the gate. Joel since 1987, Joel has served as spiritual director of the Center for Sacred sciences, a nonprofit organization based in Eugene, Oregon, the Center for Sacred sciences is dedicated to helping individual seekers on their spiritual paths, as well as fostering the creation of a new worldview founded on the mystical mystical teachings of the great tradition, but presented in terms appropriate to our present scientific age. toward these ends, the center offers a variety of educational programs. And you can see that Joel is sitting in a library of some sort, which, in a building, which is the Center for Sacred sciences, which used to be an elementary school, and they’ve turned it into their center. And I must say, you know, I consider every one of these interviews to be a precious opportunity, because I’m spending an hour or two with someone who has lived an interesting life and that life is born certain fruits that I consider very valuable. And I always have a sincere desire to do justice to that life and a two hour conversation and to, you know, just give people the best of the best, you know, to draw out as much as possible that people will find interesting and inspiring and motivating, and so on. And, and I particularly enjoyed preparing for this interview, Joe, because you have lived a very interesting life. And you’re a good writer, and I’ve found your books to be really interesting. And, you know, uplifting and educational for me. It’s funny, because each week, I have a new interview. And that usually means I have a new book to read, and the previous one is in the rearview mirror. And as I was reading this week, as I gotta get through as much of this as possible, because it’s so good, I don’t want to sort of leave it in the, in the dust as I go on to the next week. So we’ll be talking more about your books as we go along. But let’s, let’s start by talking about your life because people always like to know a bit about the person rather than just launch into philosophy and you know, metaphysical ideas, they want to know how the guy get to where he is now, what has he been through? And you have been through a lot, so So let’s start with some of that.

Joel Morwood: Okay, well, I was born in New York City, as you can probably tell by my accent, and I and when I was growing up, it was in the late 50s. And I was a want to be beatnik I hung out at beatnik cafes and listened to beatnik poetry and so forth and, and got into it a little bit in Zen at the time. That was my first exposure to anything other than Christianity as a religion. Basically, I consider myself an atheist, so and then I got interested in films and I started working film documentaries in New York, I got drafted I went to Vietnam spent a year in Vietnam. I came back and I was totally my life had totally been wrenched out of its old orbit and sent into a new orbit. I went to San Francisco and became a hippie for a while and then a Maoist revolutionary. And that lasted a few years, I got disillusioned with that. And so I had still was making film. We were making radical documentaries. And I went to Hollywood, I decided if I couldn’t beat the capitalists, I would join them and started a career in Hollywood and eventually became a associate producer and a vice president. And after about that was about almost 10 years. I realized I was making money and it was very glamorous, and was all the everything I wanted it to be but I wasn’t happy. And I realized Well, you know, it’s just, it’s gonna be more stuff, it’s gonna be more of the same and I’m not gonna get any happier. And not only that, the people I was with were, almost all of them were not only unhappy, but miserable. I mean, people think it’s such a glamorous life. But when you get in there, you find that it’s really you lift the veil, and there’s a lot of tears. So I started looking around for something else to do. And I got interested in mysticism. I, I, my marriage broke up, I was married at the time, and I met this woman named Samantha, and a very mysterious woman. But she was into mysticism, and I kind of got into it for that reason, and had this on and off affair with her for about a year and, and started reading, started reading more New Age kind of stuff, but actually eventually stumbled on the great classic mystics, the Buddhists and the Bhagavad Gita, Meister Eckhart and books like that. And I began to realize, I’d be reading the Bhagavad Gita, and then I’d be reading Meister Eckhart. I’d say, Well, wait a minute, I just read that over here. And so for the first time, I got to start to get this sense that there was this truth that they’re all trying to testify to. That wasn’t just a local philosophy this, this transcended time and place and culture even. And so there was this tremendous intersubjective agreement around these, at least these core teachings. And when I’ve been in Hollywood, I developed this not only materialist, but very cynical materialism. And I began to think, well, maybe there’s something you know, greater than I dreamed of, in my philosophy here. And it was humbling a little bit. And then I was going to workshops and starting meditation, and I started having some experiences that also convinced me there was more to life than just what a materials description entailed. And so I got deeper and deeper into that, and my life shifted, my priorities shifted to, from making money and being successful, to walk in the spiritual path and ultimately to finding Enlightenment. So that was what I started to focus on. And eventually, I left Hollywood. And I bought a van of VW van and got some video equipment, and start traveling around to various community spiritual communities in the western United States. This was 1983. And making this newsletter, The here and now video newsletter.

Rick Archer: Yeah, it was just asked us a question about that, because I read that in your book. And I was curious about what form this newsletter was supposed to take. And I didn’t have the whole chance to read your book cover to cover. But, you know, I read the chapter where you actually had your awakening, and you were talking about this video newsletter, did that ever materialize? And what was that actually supposed to accomplish? Or be?

Joel Morwood: It didn’t materialize? It was I went to these communities, and each community has a 10 minute slot. This is all in the old fashioned videotape, you know? And

Rick Archer: so you would hopefully send out a videotape to whoever

Joel Morwood: know sending out eventually, yes,

Rick Archer: the idea was to do that.

Joel Morwood: Yes, yeah. Then then it was like a compilation. So they’re, like 12 communities each with 10 minutes. So 120 minutes, and then I went back to Los Angeles, and I duplicated them and sent them to the 12 community. So each community could see what the other community was doing.

Rick Archer: So it wasn’t necessarily for them to duplicate and then send out to their followers, or they could if they wanted,

Joel Morwood: they could do anything they wanted.

Rick Archer: They just saw a smorgasbord of 10 or 12 different communities

Joel Morwood:  it was exactly. The idea was each community could see what the others were doing and get a visual, you know, impression, but not just reading a newsletter and stuff like that. So that was the intent of it. And it was also for me, it was a it was a spiritual practice. It was service, I wasn’t making any money out of it. I never charged anybody for it. And, you know, so, for me, it was a spiritual practice. And that’s what I got out of it.

Rick Archer: And you were kind of cross fertilizing your own understanding a little bit by dabbling into each of these communities.

Joel Morwood: I was I was some of the communities I went to the head, like the Ojai foundation, I’m don’t even if it’s still there, but they had Buddhist Lamas come and talk there. And I got to hear, you know, some pretty good teachings.

Rick Archer: That’s kind of what I do with this show. Except I don’t have to drive around.

Joel Morwood: Yes, this is the modern age. Exactly the same thing.

Rick Archer: Yeah. Okay, great. So you’re doing that.

Joel Morwood: So anyway, I was doing that. And I was a couple months into the trip. And I was writing Samantha was still back in LA. And I, one place I stopped and I called her and I realized that she had found somebody else. And you know, in the back of my mind, the idea was, well, if I get enlightened Oh, Really when Samantha you know, I’ll come back and I’ll be enlightened and she’ll be impressed and and all that. I know it sounds silly, but that’s the truth of it.

Rick Archer: promise you’re anything we give her Enlightenment.

Joel Morwood: And so I was just, it was just the rug was just pulled out from under my life, I’d left Hollywood, I left all that. And I gave my house away to my ex wife and whatnot. So I had nothing to do and, and then I, you know, I started looking at it, this is ridiculous. I mean, you know, this is really insane. And you don’t have anything to offer this woman anyway. And you can’t go back to that old life and just nothing to do. And my whole life just started to grind to a halt. I mean,

Rick Archer: and meanwhile, Joel, as you were driving around making this video newsletter, and this, you know, this, what you’ve just buzzed through here with us represents quite a few years, but were you doing some kind of dedicated regular spiritual practice? Or we’re not so much?

Joel Morwood: no meditating,

Rick Archer: meditating?

Joel Morwood: Yeah, doing some meditation,

Rick Archer: something you had learned on your own or through some teacher,

Joel Morwood: know, just through reading. And, you know, started and I’d done a little meditating and see back and as an adolescent, some Zen meditation. So I sort of remembered that and picked up on that I was not a great meditator, though, I must say, I was just starting out. And the most important thing, I think, was this, this trip, in preparing for it, I began to realize all these teachers, these mystics, also recommended following precepts,

Rick Archer: right.

Joel Morwood: And I, you know, I would read the Bible, and Jesus had all these things to do. One of his things is He sent His disciples out, and he said, eat what’s put before you. And so I adopted that as a preset for me on my trip. See, I’ve been eating all this rich food in Hollywood and all that. And I knew most of these communities, were going to be vegetarian. And I realized I was going to have a hard time with that. So I took a preset, what would it be like to go and try to just eat the food without any judgment without any sneering, you know, and it was a really valuable practice. And there were other there were other precepts like that, to be humble, in making the video itself was interesting, because I had arrived these communities. And my idea was, I’m going to run the camera, guys, you do whatever you want. And but you know, they weren’t professional filmmakers I was. So they would start to want to do this. And I had this tendency to step in and say, Oh, let me show you how to do it. And I’m going to direct it for you. So it would reflect on me when the video is over. You know that would it be nicely done. But I had to stop myself and say, No, that’s an attachment. That’s why you’re doing this part of the reason you’re doing it, let that go. What would happen if I just let that go and let them if they want to just drum for 10 minutes, they drum for 10 minutes. So that was part of the kind of thing. So the these practices working with precepts were important for me, and they’re now an important part of what we teach at the center.

Rick Archer: Great. So at certain point, during this itinerant life, there was a story where you pulled into some funky cinderblock motel, and you had a profound awakening.

Joel Morwood: Well, yeah,

Rick Archer: we’re getting ahead of the story.

Joel Morwood: Now, just a little bit, but it’s important to know that I see that when I had this conversation with Samantha this phone call. My life just came to a grinding halt. I mean, I had no I stopped doing any kind of practice. I hadn’t gotten enlightened. It didn’t work, obviously. And, and I, oh, I had one of the precepts I had was not eating fancy restaurants. And when I wasn’t in these communities to camp out, and you know, just eat simple meals, and I thought, Well, okay, so it’s over, everything’s over, my life was over. So I went to a nice restaurant and found this little nice Italian restaurant and I had a couple of glasses of wine. And then I thought I passed the kind of luxury hotel on the way in, and I drove back out and now it’s late, and I’m really tired. And it was just this dump. I mean, that literally cinderblock walls and grungy carpets and all that. And I went in, I just too tired to go looking for something else. And I came in and I bought a few books in and took a shower and gotten the bed and then in the middle of the night, I woke up sinus, very restless. And I tried to read and it was really like, gibberish. I couldn’t even make sense out of the words. You know, my mind was just not working right.

Rick Archer: You were reading done flesh and bones by Paul reps, right?

Joel Morwood: Yes. And that and there was an ad read this book many times before.

Rick Archer: There’s a funny little little inner interlude here, which is that that’s the book that turned me around. Yeah, I’ve been going through all kinds of things and doing drugs for a year and one night I was sitting there on acid needed to focus focus my mind somehow so I picked up Zen flesh and bones and as I read, I thought, wow, you know, these guys are really serious. And I’m totally screwing around. And if I keep screwing around like this, I’m gonna live a miserable life. So I thought that’s it, I’m gonna clean up my act and to meditate. You know, it’s kind of like this watershed moment for me with that little book.

Joel Morwood: I wonder if Paul reps is still alive?

Rick Archer:  I wonder.

Joel Morwood: That book is must have influenced a lot of people.

Rick Archer: Yeah, we should contact him and tell him thanks.

Joel Morwood: Yes, yes, indeed. Anyway, I there was one verse in it. All this full of this is one section of the book, it’s the end, it’s actually not Zen that’s from the Hindu tradition. And it’s instructions from Shiva, today’s consort of moments to look for other opportunities to wake up to see the truth. And so you know, between the in breath and the out breath, and when you touch something and nod and things like that. And then one of them is as you’re falling asleep, when wakefulness has vanished, but sleep has not yet come in that moment being is revealed. So I just read that, but I put the book away, and I’m lying in bed. And as I’m falling into sleep, just at that moment, those words popped up into my mind, and then disappeared. And there I was, and Bing was revealed. And I jumped up, I turned on the light, I couldn’t believe it, I just couldn’t believe it. So that was, that was the, you know, that was the awakening. I mean, I can go on and on about never tell you really what it’s like, but

Rick Archer: but it was a, you know, one thing you say in your book that I’m reading is get to it here. Well, basically, it’s just that Gnosis always happens suddenly. And that’s the way you put it. It’s not something you kind of ooze into. And perhaps we could talk about this a little bit. Because, you know, with all the people I’ve interviewed, and with my own experience, and everything else, I’ve tended to classify people as either sudden awakened errs or losers. You know, there’s even a group called waking down, they use that term losers. You know, some people seem to have these abrupt, sudden, dramatic shifts and other people, it’s like, even Adyashanti says, you know, sometimes you can awaken without having actually realized that you’ve done so and because you entered into it so gently and incrementally, but I kind of get the impression from what you say and write that. It’s gotta be all or nothing, that it’s really quite an abrupt shift.

Joel Morwood: I wouldn’t speak for everybody.

Rick Archer: Right

Joel Morwood: I speak for myself, and then reading through the classic works of the mystics, that seems to be the case for at least most of them. That’s, you know, and, you know, to me, there are a lot of ways you could talk about one of the ways that I like to talk about as this since I was, I don’t know how old before I can remember, every morning I woke up, and I was searching for happiness. I mean, not in big ways, but also just a little ways. Like, you know, what should I eat for breakfast and have the frosted flakes or the, you know, the the apple Crumb Cake or whatever, which one is going to make me happy, you know? And so

Rick Archer: sounds like which one had the most sugar?

Joel Morwood: Well, when I was growing, but they were pushing on kids. So anyway, and so, you know, just a meal or a relationship or your whole career, you know, what’s going to make you happy?

Rick Archer: Yeah.

Joel Morwood: And all my life I’ve been looking for what’s going to make me happy,

Rick Archer: which is true of all 7 billion of us.

Joel Morwood: Well, I I’m that I’m just speaking for myself. Yeah. So this morning, I woke up and I was no longer looking for anything to make me happy. I was happy.

Rick Archer: Yeah, after the way that

Joel Morwood: that search for happiness had just stopped.

Rick Archer: Yeah.

Joel Morwood: So. So that’s, that’s what that’s one way to describe what Enlightenment. Waking up is, or I use the word Gnosis. It’s a kind of a, maybe it’s not so familiar, g n, o si. ES is from the Greek. It’s the word that Plato use. It’s the root of the word that Jesus uses when he says, Know the truth and shall make you free. And in the Greek, it’s, it’s distinguished from other forms of knowledge. So it’s direct knowledge of ultimate reality. This thing distinct from technical knowledge or conceptual knowledge, that kind of stuff. Right? So anyway, so that that was, for me as most personally, the most personal way I can talk about it. Now, I got to say this, I say, we’re going to run into trouble with words very quickly here. So I like to make that Buddhist distinction between the Absolute Truth and the relative truth. Because I talked about personally but you see, one of the aspects of waking up for me is that you Enlightenment is realizing there’s no one to be enlightened. That’s the bad news. The good news is no one’s to be diluted either. So so whenever I talk about me personally, and I woke up and all that that AI is just a grammatical Margarets and necessity for of our language, you know, I have to start trying to get very technical and awkward trying to avoid it. And that still wouldn’t solve the problem because actually, it’s not just the distinction between I and other that is real, that’s imaginary, it’s all distinction. So I opened my mouth, and I’m already making distinctions all of

Rick Archer: that sort of language does. So there’s three points based on what you’re just saying that I want to go into with you. I’ll just say the three and then we’ll go through them one by one. But the first is the sort of, I got it, I lost it syndrome. It sounds like that never happened to you that once you had shifted, there was, there was no losing it.

Joel Morwood: That’s correct. But I will say this. And you know, Rumi has a saying, or the Sufis in general, the journey to God has an end. But the journey in God has no end

Rick Archer: well of that.

Joel Morwood: So the the end of the journey to God is just that you’re looking for God, and then you’re no longer looking for God. But the journey in God is just a constant revelation of the divine play if you like, and I, so I, it’s not like everything came to a stop and everything static or anything like that. It’s just this ever flowing Tibet in terms of ever flowing river of yoga.

Rick Archer: So would it be fair to say that, in a sense that awaken you had the awakening you had in the motel room was a kind of beginning?

Joel Morwood: Yeah, beginning of an endless but not the beginning of going anywhere,

Rick Archer: right?

Joel Morwood: The other thing, so you’re not going anywhere, you’re already there, but you’re just enjoying the movie now, instead of waiting at the end of the movie.

Rick Archer: And I’ll go ahead,

Joel Morwood: I’ll say one of the things that this, and this again, it’s hard to describe, but one of the things that waking up did for me, and I think that’s a lot of people generate this tremendous amount of bliss. So for a couple of months, I was just living in bliss, you know, almost no other motions arose or anything like that. And then I was driving along, and I was heading for LA and I finished the trip, by the way, because there was no reason not to, I’d already contacted these communities. And so I went on, and I made the rest of the video newsletter, and I’m going heading for LA to wrap it all up. And I’ve started to feel I’m losing this bliss. And it’s like, you know, wow, what’s happening here. And maybe I realized, if I just went out and hung out in the mountains and didn’t contact anybody, or whatever, I could probably just maintain this list and live in bliss, the rest of my life. And so there was a moment where I say I but it’s not really an eye, but there’s a choice. Do you go for the bliss? Or do you go for the realization? And then I realized that not the same? The realization is there, whether there’s bliss or not? You see the knowing that the Gnosis is there, whether there’s bliss or not. And then actually, whether there’s any emotion or not. So, so that was a little bit of a choice there. And that was that was it in terms of a wavering of do I go back or not?

Rick Archer: Yeah, a few things to unpack there. One is, you know, is bliss an emotion. And well go ahead and answer that I don’t hit you with too many things at once.

Joel Morwood: Two things, I think we have to make a distinction about manifest bliss and unmanifest bliss. So for instance, in the Hindu tradition, which I understand you’re pretty familiar with, the five koshas, the coverings, the the last one that covers up the truth of who you are, that’s the image of like being in an onion with these coverings, the Atman, the true self, the last one is bliss,

Rick Archer: right?

Joel Morwood: The last obstacle, but then,

Rick Archer: and incidentally, it’s called Ananda Maya Kosha. And Maya means that which is not an illusion. Yeah,

Joel Morwood: right. Right. And then But then Brahman is sweat such Amanda

Rick Archer: right?

Joel Morwood: On the bliss. So how you know so the expectation is, well, when I wake up, I’m Brahman, and I’ll be in bliss forever. Well, there is a certain sense that is true, but it’s not the manifest bliss and to be attached to the manifest bliss is a mistake and dangerous because then you say, Oh, I’m losing this bliss. I gotta get this blissful, bored story of I am getting happy again comes back, you see. So let me just say one thing, I got a beautiful image to this analogy describe the difference because it’s, it’s really hard to describe in any kind of conceptual way. When I lived on the desert after I finished all this, I went I lived on the, in the High Sierras, the Owens Valley for a year and a half and 1/4 of July, some friends and all that got together and we said, we live this little town Lone Pine, we said let’s go out in the desert, you know, 2030 miles between these towns within No lights whatsoever and set off fireworks fireworks. Wouldn’t that be fantastic. So if that sounds great, so somebody got some fireworks and we got a little convoy and we drove out to the desert, and we all put our blankets down, we sat there and the people were going to run the fireworks went out and they, you know, they lit them off. And we’re sitting under the sky, you know, the desert sky with just sparkling with diamonds. Light. Yeah. And they set off these fireworks. And they were they were like little poop. Poop. Yeah, which is immense sky,

Rick Archer: right,

Joel Morwood: this last there was just lost. So this to me, this is demonstrating manifest was an unmanifest was the manifest bliss is fireworks. It’s like, you know, but that the unmanifest bliss isn’t an emotion isn’t a bodily mental feeling. It’s it is just that that spaciousness that indestructible. Awesome, endless, boundless. You know, in the Kabbalistic tradition, they say God is in soft without limit. So it’s it’s not that I go around in bliss all the time. But the the natural state, you know, if nothing else is going on offensive focus my attention on this or whatever, you just, you just, you know, you’re there. I mean, you’re not you’re not there. It just, it’s always the background of what’s going on.

Rick Archer: Yeah, nice. Well, you know, I mean, if, let’s say, the man is a popper is $10 in his pocket, to his name, and somebody gives them five, it’s like, Whoa, big deal. Now, I’m half again, as rich as I was, you know, or loses, he loses five. It’s like, oh, this is tragedy, I’ve lost five. But let’s say you’re Bill Gates, you know, and somebody or you gain or lose a million, it’s like, so what big deal. So there’s this, there’s this whole section, I think it’s a tough to read title view, Upanishad, or something where it takes like a really healthy, strong, young, virile man and in the prime of life and said, Alright, if we take that as the baseline for bliss, now multiply it times 100, and you have this level of bliss, multiply it times another 100. And you have this level of bliss. And it goes on and on and on like that, you know, powers of 100. And each time it keeps saying, you know, that the bliss of Brahman is, you know, greater than that. So, and it just illustrates the point.

Joel Morwood: Yes, I would say you see, no matter how much you multiply it, there’s going to be a limit, right? So the bliss beyond this, you can’t get there by multiplying and multiplying. You can’t get there by expanding, expanding, because it’s the space in which you’re multiplying. That is the bliss. It’s already there.

Rick Archer: Yeah.

Joel Morwood: It’s already you know, this is, you know, this is one of the things when I woke up in that motel room, I just couldn’t believe it. I couldn’t believe all my life. I’ve been looking for this. And it’s right here. And it’s and it is this grungy, dirty, you know, motel room, with a cinderblock walls and all that I just so it was that it’s it’s so much more obvious than anybody thinks it’s not, it’s not more complicated. It’s more it’s so simple. We’re always over looking at literally ignoring it. The tension goes from here to here to here to do to do. We’re always overlooking some Right, right here. My first student who had an awakening, one of the reasons I knew she was awake, were talking to her and she said, Josie, you can’t get away from this, can you? And you know, that’s, that’s it. That’s it, you know, that’s true. You try to get you couldn’t get away from it.

Rick Archer: What do you think would happen to you if you got Alzheimer’s or some some serious thing that really, you know, damaged your physiology in some way? Do you think it could be lost, then?

Joel Morwood: No, this this body mind wouldn’t function the way it does. I couldn’t give teachings. Memories wouldn’t arise in consciousness and all that, but Well, I live with a Dr. Franklin Merrill Wolf, and this one, I was spending this time in Lone Pine. It was a mystic philosopher. He was 95, 96 at the time, and he didn’t have all timers. And he was not incapacitated, but he couldn’t give teachings anymore, you know, and all that. And in fact, on Sundays, we play recordings of he’d made 10 years before teachings, and we’d listen to there and he’d be there. And he’d afterwards you say, does anybody have any questions? Or understand what that was about? But here’s the point, you see, he totally had no no shred of pride about or trying to hide the fact he couldn’t even understand his own teaching was just just totally transparent.

Rick Archer: And yet, if you could conjecture as to what his subjective experience was, at that point, at the age of 95, would you say that in kind of, in his heart of hearts, he was just as clear and as blissful and as whatever, as he was? Much in a much younger age.

Joel Morwood: He now see Here we go, we’re running to language problems. There’s no key there to be just as blissful or clear or anything like that. This consciousness, and that is blissful and clear, no matter what’s going on, even if Alzheimers is going on. As a person as a manifestation. One time he tried to sit down a chair and he fell down and his, there’s helper came running over to help him up. He said, samsara is hell. With a twinkle in his eye,

Rick Archer: yeah.

Joel Morwood: So he felt things, you know, he knew what was his body mind was deteriorating stuff. So this is the idea. See people play, okay, now I’m awake, but there is no one awake. There’s no one to maintain any kind of clarity or, or it’s not a state.

Rick Archer: But this kind of begs the question of what is Enlightenment? I mean, I have debates with friends sometimes who say that Enlightenment is not exclusive to human beings that an amoeba could be enlightened or a frog or something. And I always say, No, it takes us a more sophisticated, complex nervous system, if if by alignment, we were defining that as sort of the ultimate reality, being lived by a biological entity of some sort, that entity has to be fairly complex in its structure with a, you know, massive brain and so on to actually live that reality. I mean, the reality itself has been there for all eternity. And, you know, since before the universe before the Big Bang, or whatever. But for it to be a living reality, doesn’t that necessitate a certain physical apparatus that has a certain degree of, let’s say, sophistication, and purity, and so on?

Joel Morwood: I think you got the cart before the horse, you think the consciousness comes first. And then we construct a world with beings and amoebas and all that, and we construct that by making distinctions in consciousness. And then we turn around and we say, Oh, well, now we’re living in this world. And this is what allows you and me to talk allows you and me to have this conversation, and it allows us to unfold the stance. But this world itself is not the ultimate reality. This world itself is like miles, they say a dream has the same level of reality as a dream, a good dream, I mean, or sometimes not such a good dream, but an exciting dream, a vivid dream, you know, wonderful dream. It’s not necessarily when the mystics say it’s like a dream, it sounds very dismissive. Well, it’s only you know, my dreams are fantastic. By the way, I love my dreams, I got a lot out of them. So I think that when we start reducing Enlightenment, to a, an intelligence to a brain to an organism, we’ve got the, say, the cart before the horse, it’s the brain intelligence, the organism grow out of the consciousness that is already enlightened. We could talk about why we could try to talk about why we get deluded that would be more interesting than even why we get enlightened, because enlightened is always the case. But so really, the question is, how, how is it that we have this that we lose track of this? How do we get deluded?

Rick Archer: Yeah, well, let’s, let’s spend some time talking about that. And maybe start by, even though we’ve already been skirting around it, why don’t you start by defining Enlightenment as you define it?

Joel Morwood: Okay, so aside from the search for happiness comes to an end, I would say Enlightenment is the realization that there is no self and there’s no self to be enlightened, and there’s no self to be deluded.

Rick Archer: okay? And what are the prerequisites or qualifications for that realization?

Joel Morwood: There no prerequisites or qualifications, there’s, we can talk about moments when, when that realization is more probable than other moments, for instance, well, now we can’t take that back. There’s one thing we can say, for that to happen all thought and desire and the whole what I call the story of I has to come to a grinding halt, just for an instant, not not as some deep state of Samadhi but just for an instant, you know, Ramana Maharshi. And the Buddhist Tibetans talk about just the moment between one thought and another thought,

Rick Archer: yeah, like experience in the motel room.

Joel Morwood: Exactly.

Rick Archer: Yeah.

Joel Morwood: So Well, that was no that was See, that was a state. This very precious state, by the way, and I highly recommend people cultivating trying to cultivate the lucidity while you’re falling asleep. Because we do this every night. We you know, we pass from waking to sleep, but our minds are distracted usually. And so we’ve just fallen to dream or we feel like we pass out and then we end up in some kind of dream. And we’re not lucid, we don’t notice what’s going on. So what had happened was my had a life. And partly because the practices I was doing brought me to this place where my mind just couldn’t function. So I could take advantage of that state if you like, or the state could be taken advantage of by consciousness realizing itself. So if I really want to get technical,

Rick Archer: it’s good to get technical. Yeah. So in other words, you had gone through a bunch of stuff, years of practice, and you’ve just gone through a relationship breakup, which kind of left you vulnerable and had the rug pulled out from under you. And somehow the conditions were such that and you read that book, and then you’ve fallen asleep, and boom, you have this breakthrough. Right. And, and yet, and it kind of stuck. I mean, it was it was a state, but it was a shift for you that  no,

Joel Morwood: no, no, no, no, it’s something ceases. It’s not something happens. It’s something that was happening all the time ceases. So it’s, there’s nothing to stick. I mean, there’s nothing to hold. There’s nothing to hold on to.

Rick Archer: Yeah, well, okay. So if we can put it that way, then if something something ceased and didn’t resume,

Joel Morwood: yes, that’s a much better way of putting it.

Rick Archer: Okay. So let’s say that they were cockroaches in that motel, which there probably were,

Joel Morwood: oh, I’m sure they were that far north. But anyway,

Rick Archer: yeah. But um, people bring them in their luggage. And so we’re what is there any likelihood whatsoever that any of the cockroaches in that hotel motel could have had the same shift as you had? Or does it? Did it take a human nervous system who had which had been through certain experiences to be qualified for that kind of realization?

Joel Morwood: Well, you know, this debate goes on in the east, for instance, you can only get enlightened in a precious human birth, and you can’t get enlightened and the other the, you know, the cyclic existence states and so forth. Right. And, you know, and I think it’s valuable teaching, because it focuses attention on how precious our human birth is, and not to squander our life and all that, which I completely agree with. But I still think it’s a relative teaching. It’s not an absolute teaching. And even at the relative stage, my understanding is Ramana, Maharshi, great sage of the 20th century, had a cow that was enlightened

Rick Archer: Yeah, people always bring up Ramana’s cow.

Joel Morwood: And I had a cat once actually, we call them Dharma cat. He was a stray cat, he wandered, and he was very unusually, you know, other cats would fight. He’d never gotten to fights with anybody and other cats and sort of, you know, always treat him with respect and this and that he was, you know, so to me, it’s unimportant question. The question is, how about you? Why aren’t you enlightened?

Rick Archer: Who’s to say I’m not?

Joel Morwood: My if you’re not, there’s no, there’s no question that the question is, then the question that just flies through. It’s like, there’s no target to hit.

Rick Archer: Yeah. Personally, I was. I’m sorry, go ahead.

Joel Morwood: What people come to the center are looking for something otherwise, they will be there. And sometimes they’re not looking for enlightening. Sometimes they’re very, you know, suspicious about all this. And but anyway, they’re looking for something. And so my answer in general is you’ve already got it. How come? You don’t know it?

Rick Archer: Yeah. But that’s like, Well, firstly, let me just correct something I just said, I don’t claim to be enlightened. And I reserve that, to me, the term has such a static superlative connotation that I really hesitate to use it for anybody. But like you said, you know, there. I mean, I think you explained nicely 15 minutes ago that once the shift had taken place, something was finished. And yet there’s ongoing sort of reveling or exploration or, you know, within that finish state, that’s not the way he worded it. But you know what I’m saying?

Joel Morwood: Then that in that stateless state, in fact, the Sufis call the ultimate station the station of no station. Yeah. And the Tibetans talk about abiding and non abiding with these are good ways of, you know, getting out of that idea that we’re going to enter some kind of state and then you’re going to stay there and then you got to kind of make sure you don’t fall out of it, or you got to protect it. There’s nothing to protect us, I think, to hang on to it’s just totally open. Now. I think I know what you’re driving at. And in terms of my students, some of my students have had what I call it Gnostic flash, or even a Gnostic episode, where there is this real glimpse or, you know, realization, it’s not that it’s, something’s wrong with the realization, but conditioning returns ourselves centered conditioning is so strong, it returns and if you don’t know, I’m being overly simplistic here, but if you don’t know how to look directly at it and see that that is a manifestation of the divine. Then you get the same thing happens with the bliss that almost happened to me, you know, you say, Oh, I’m feeling this anger, Oh, I must be losing my Enlightenment. But if you look directly at anger, you see Eat That is like the Tibetan say it’s a wisdom energy. You familiar with the transformation of afflictive emotions in the Tibetan tradition?

Rick Archer: Not so much.

Joel Morwood:  It also you can find

Rick Archer: I just started to read it in your book actually, I was getting to that point.

Joel Morwood: Well, it’s I think it’s extremely important to start working on on a path for just for this very reason. And certainly, if you had an awakening, if you have a Gnostic flash, this is the practice you want to be doing. I say, again, you’re not going to be doing it. But if you’re, if you have become familiar with the practice, it will happen, it will unfold. It did to me spontaneously. I mean, I was fortunate. But for instance, I’ll give you one example. After I don’t know, a month or so after my awakening, I’m walking through a field of just grass, pretty high grass, you know, up to my thighs. And I’m just walking along, and suddenly this dog leaps out with that, you know, and the adrenaline rush through my system. And in my mind was crystal clear. And I thought, Wow, isn’t this amazing? This is how it works. I didn’t cause me suffering, is it? I mean, it didn’t. It was supposed to be this way the body mind was responding to a situation and just the way it should. And look at the wisdom in this. Yeah. See, this is why the Tibetans say anger, the afflicted, anger turns into the wisdom of clarity. Because when you’re angry or frightened in their fight or flight, same thing, when you’re angry or frightened, you’re not distracted, you’re focused on what’s at hand, you know what I mean? completely focused. And you just have this, this clarity that allows you to respond appropriately, if you’re not overwhelmed. So I’m sure that you and viewers out there must have had some experience where I don’t you’re in a car crash or some natural disaster or something like that. And it’s a real traumatic situation. And suddenly, time slows down, and you feel completely calm, and you know, just what to do. And you do what you need to do without any distraction with any problem. And then afterwards, you feel oh, that was like Grace, that was some, you know, something, and it has a feeling something took over something said, Okay, you little self get out of the way, we’re going to handle this, you know, boom, well, that is the wisdom. It’s an example of why the Tibetans say these afflictive emotions are actually these wisdom energies, if we if we could recognize. And if you’re trying to get rid of anger in your life, you’re taking a precious jewel, you know, you’re taking a diamond, and you’re just throwing it away. Because if you throw away anger, you’re throwing away the wisdom of clarity.

Rick Archer: Yeah, the flip side of this is that some people have used that sort of notion as an alibi for being abusive, or, you know, just really being obnoxious, and, you know, berating their students constantly, or, you know, just venting, whatever comes to mind. As a matter of fact, and in the spiritual community, there’s been this, what you’ve probably observed, this has been a progression, I think, from a lot of people, over emphasizing that there is no one and that anything that they do is not really being done by anyone, and so on and so forth, then, and often behaving like jerks, to, to a more kind of, I would consider mature perspective of, you know, what, I guess the buzzword is embodiment these days, that it’s, it’s not enough to just be realized, but you need to embody that, and you need to walk your talk. You know, one way of putting it is, you know, people saying, I’m not a wave, I’m just the ocean. And you might say, of course, your wave, you just not only a wave, you know, you are the you are the ocean and the ocean includes waves, and you happen to be one particular wave and the ocean at the same time. And, you know, just stretching the metaphor a bit here. The wave has room to grow, in a sense, you know, in terms of not being a dick, you know, being being a more loving, caring, serving, refined human being. Absolutely, you know, again, there are egregious examples of people using these philosophical notions as alibis for for not behaving very well.

Joel Morwood: There’s a little zen story where this Zen masters that I’ve been interviewing a monk and he, the monk comes in and he says, All right, he says, I’ve realized there is no self the master looks and he grabs his nose. And the guy goes, Oh, this is who said oh, yeah, so yes, I you know, this is this, but this is duality. This is to say I’m the ocean and not the waves. It’s the fall into duality. Non duality means ocean and waves that the whole point of the ocean wave metaphor is there’s no difference between them, right? So if you want to be just a Ocean? Well, you can be just ocean fact, every single night most of us are just ocean for a little while we go into dreamless sleep, we’re just ocean. But you don’t want to stay. You want to just stay in dreamless sleep all your life and calm. Yeah, exactly. And you know, in the I’m going to talk in terms of God because I don’t mind talking in terms of talking to God, if we understand God is conscious, and not some big daddy in the sky, you know, that. There’s a saying of the Prophet Muhammad. And he, he went to God, and he said, when people asked me, why did you create this whole creation? What should I tell them? And God said, tell them, I was a hidden treasure that long to be known. Sometimes it’s translated as love to be known, because long in love are apparently the same. So this is what’s going on here. This is God, longing and loving to be known. And we if we’re going to talk to realistically, we are the way God knows, we are God, knowing God. So God creates us in order to get to know God, because God without creation doesn’t know God doesn’t all the potentiality is hidden. It’s all unmanifest. Yeah, so all this is manifest. And you’ll find this in all our traditions in the Hinduism, it’s the leaflets, the dance of Shiva. If you want to be Shiva, without dancing, that would be boring as hell. You know, Shiva loves to dance. And if you don’t want to dance, you’re depriving Shiva, the dance. And the dance is the full, the full dance that includes all the emotions, they’re not a mistake. It’s out yes, the way we respond to them is, quote, mistake when we’re deluded. And that’s why they’re afflicted, because they cause suffering, they cause us suffering, and they cause other people suffering. So you know, all this stuff about, oh, I can do anything I want. Because I’m, like now or whatever. It’s nonsense. It’s nonsense. And, you know, there’s no way, frankly, that any of us can judge another person, whether they’re enlightened or not, in any absolute sense, but we should pay very close attention to how they behave, how they behave with their students, how they behave when they’re off camera, so to speak, how that you know what I mean? And I, I’m a big believer in that. And there is such a thing as wisdom, energy, wisdom, crazy optimism. And, you know, I’m not going on too long.

Rick Archer: No, you’re fine. You’re doing good. I’ll interrupt you if I have a burning desire to do so. But you know, you’re staying on point. Actually, this is just, you know, you’re elaborating on the point.

Joel Morwood: To Ramana. Right. Okay. Yeah. Again, I’ve never met Ramana. And I just know stories that have read about him or other. So this is this, this is where I’m coming from. But apparently his mother, you know, he left home at an early age, when he got awakened. He was a teenager, and he didn’t contact his family. And he went off and he was in this Ashram and had students by now and all that and his mother family, tracked him down as mother came to the ashram and said, you know, son, it’s me, it’s your mother, and he wouldn’t recognize his mother. She was just another treater, just like another disciple showing up at the ashram. And she was heartbroken you imagine that, you know, and but she finally accepted that this was not going to be a mother son relationship anymore. And she became a student. And I think she woke up. I think that’s the end of the story. But if not, she, you know, she got on a spiritual path for Enlightenment. So this looks very cruel in a way you know, I can imagine his students saying what’s the matter with Rama this your mother, you can’t treat her that way. But the end for for the mother was beneficial. Yeah. So it looks awful but it’s not but and that’s a genuine exercise of Crazy Wisdom energy, saying I’m your baby I want to sleep you because I’m we’re all awake. And you know, that is

Rick Archer: give you some Shakti there was a story about Shankar as mother where his mother died, and Shankara wanted to go and do the proper funeral rites for her. And people said, oh, you’re a sanyasi or whatever, you know, this is not in tune with your vows. You have no family anymore. You shouldn’t do this. And Shankara basically said, Screw you, I’m gonna do it. You know, it’s my mother. I want to do this. So maybe that’s crazy wisdom to just sort of flaunting the the the rules of the tradition and doing what you feel moved to do.

Joel Morwood: Well, Zen is full of that, isn’t it? Yeah. One of my favorite stories, we’re gonna stick this is a little bit off. But there’s a Zen monk is traveling around to different monasteries hasn’t been there before he is on a pilgrimage. And he shows up this monastery. They give him a little room, and it’s a moonless night. It’s at night and he wakes up And he has to take a pee. So he goes outside and it’s very dark, but he is noses outside, you know, and he starts peeing. And the watching comes around with a torch. And the torch lights up the scene and he’s peeing on a statue of the Buddha. And the watchman says, What are you doing? What are you doing? You’re pinning on the Buddha. And he’s, you know, starts yelling, and then the abbot comes out, and the other monks come out. And the abbot says, What are you doing? You’re peeing on the Buddha. And the monk says, Well, we’re isn’t the Buddha. That’s a good this is this, the point of the story is to see the to be irreverent to the very tradition that you’re coming from. It’s a Zen story about Zen Teachings and all that, but to try to cut through to, okay, what’s essential here, what’s essential?

Rick Archer: Maybe that’s what’s meant is if you buy that story of if you meet the Buddha on the road kill him.

Joel Morwood: Yeah, absolutely. Another one. Another example.

Rick Archer: Yeah. The reason I was going on a little bit earlier about, you know, can cockroaches be enlightened, and all that stuff is, is that I kind of think it’s important that we be precise and clear, when we use words, especially important words like Enlightenment, and, you know, words like that Enlightenment, awakening, and all are kind of tossed around rather loosely these days, in my estimation, and I think the more we can kind of be rigorous and precise, and, and, you know, work with each other to achieve some kind of mutual understanding of what we mean by this terminology that the better serve will be as a sort of a larger spiritual community. So I, you know, we all have a pretty agreed upon understanding of what maple tree means, you know, or stoplight, and things, things like that. But when it gets to some of these terms, I think they could be defined very clearly. And there could even be neurophysiological correlates to this, you could say, okay, an enlightened person has such and such brainwaves and unenlightened person doesn’t. And they’re actually researchers who have been working on that kind of thing for decades. But um, that’s why I was bringing it up anyway. Because you hear people’s saying, Well, you know, amoebas can be enlightened, or cats can be enlightened or whatever. And I think, well, I don’t know, you know, maybe we better really, if we’re, if we’re dedicating our lives to getting enlightened. Maybe we better understand what it is.

Joel Morwood: Well, let me ask you this. Can angels get enlightened?

Rick Archer: I don’t know. What would you say?

Joel Morwood: Do it Do angels exist?

Rick Archer: I believe they do. I have friends who see them as routinely as you and I see people in the mall. They’re not kooky friends there. These

Joel Morwood: How about leprechauns?

Rick Archer: I don’t know. There are people who claim to have seen them. I don’t know.

Joel Morwood: Yeah. So this is my point, though. See, when you talk about an amoeba or a cockroach, you’re assuming this has a some kind of reality that has, okay, this is a fundamental sort of materialist kind of reality.

Rick Archer:  It’s something that it’s like to be an amoeba or something that it’s like to be a cockroach or a frog. And then they have a worldview, you know?

Joel Morwood: Yeah. So but the point is, in our world, most of us in the west today, don’t typically go around experiencing angels or leprechauns, let’s say even more than angels. We certainly don’t experience I don’t know, wood sprites like they do in Africa. You know, our worlds are quite different from, from society, to society, culture to culture. And that’s a result of how consciousness divides up the world through distinctions divides up its own experience. So it divides it up. In this way, we come out with a an indigenous, Native American culture, we divided it up another way, we come out with the industrial Western culture, we divide it up another way, we come out with a Tibetan culture. So they’re very different. And the experience of living in those worlds is very different. I mean,

Rick Archer: yeah, except that we’re not all living in the same world. I mean, it’s we’re, we’re generalizing if we say Western culture, because within Western culture, there are so many hundreds of millions of people, each of whom has a unique perspective to some degree, and some of whom do experience angels or leprechauns or whatever. It’s just a, you know, a capacity that they have. But obviously, what you’re saying is in other cultures, it might be more calm, more predominant, and more commonly accepted.

Joel Morwood: Let me give an example. In I read this from a book called shamanic voices, and it’s a an account of an Eskimo shaman iua. And how he became a not how he became a shaman, but how he got a spirit helper.

Rick Archer: Oh, about the shark. Yeah, go ahead.

Joel Morwood: Are you know that so

Rick Archer: I read your book.

Joel Morwood: Okay. So the story is, he’s out paddling around hunting in his kayak, and a shark swims up next to him and says, Are you up? And he says he’s astonished. But he’s not astonished at the shark called his name. He’s astonished that there’s a shark so far north out of the normal waters. Anyway, the shark now became his spirit helper and starts giving him advice about how to hunt seals and things like that. Now, okay, so in our culture, supposing your neighbor said, Do you listen to these squirrels? You know, they’re telling me what stocks to buy, you know, you, you think something’s wrong with demand, so you want to send them to, you know, a mental health clinic or something. But in Eskimo culture is perfectly normal. Yeah. So all I’m saying is, if you start from the idea of, of what’s your culture believes in, like cockroaches, and they have brains, and you know, most cultures don’t think of cockroaches as having brains, they don’t know anything about insect brains. This is a very recent discovery and in our culture, if you if you want to call it a discovery, and so now to ask questions about whether a cockroach can get enlightened, that’s why I say it’s putting the cart before the horse. Enlightenment, consciousness gets enlightened, here is another way of looking at, you see, you can’t get enlightened. And we could take two references to you, you the the ego self, the character in the story of AI, it’s a fictional character, it’s created out of thought it goes, you know, all day long, it plays like a soap opera, that character is never going to get enlightened because that character doesn’t exist. And then your true self, the consciousness, that is the ground of all this, the Brahman, the Buddha, wet nature, the you know, whatever, that’s never going to get enlightened, because it is enlightened, it never lost any Enlightenment. You seem talking about I do so. Okay, so So this the point, if we look at it from the point of view, the ground, the cockroaches, and the bush sprites, and the shark, spirit helpers, and all that are all manifestations of that consciousness, it’s not like the consciousness is in them. They are waves on the ocean.

Rick Archer: I totally have that. No argument there.

Joel Morwood: So so if you want to say kind of wave waves don’t get enlightened is what I’m trying to say. You know, and this is why you want to get a really precise definition, you can’t It’s paradoxical. You can say things like I just was reading, rereading garbage door, J. Awareness discovers awareness. That’s, it’s that simple, aware, consciousness discovers consciousness. Another way to looking at his attention is like a wave of consciousness. I’m not talking about the kind of waves like forms, but attention is the power of consciousness to go and focus on different forms, right? So right now, consciousness here is focused on the screen here, right? Now. Can consciousness as long as consciousness focus on the screen, it’s not aware of the consciousness, the ocean of consciousness, in a, in a, a ha sense that that consciousness at that wave, that wave of attention, were to collapse back into the ocean of consciousness just for a moment. Then consciousness discovers consciousness, awareness discovers awareness, aha, and then the waves, you know, kick up again. Yeah, but it’s been discovered, that God has has the hidden God has known God.

Rick Archer: Okay, let me throw in a few things here. So once it’s the, there’s a verse in The Gita, which is the self realizes the self by the self or by itself, I’m sure you remember. And, you know, what you’ve been describing here? And there is something like God playing hide and seek with himself where, yes, you know, this whole creation arises and somehow rather, consciousness. There’s a whole I just wrote an article on this for the science and dwell nonduality website. But there’s a mechanics described in sort of the Vedic literature whereby consciousness is the only reality and there’s nothing other than that, and being consciousness it becomes it becomes conscious, but what does it got to be conscious of other than than itself because that’s all there is becoming conscious of itself a sort of threefold structure is apparently set up between observer process of observation and observed which they call ratio David time John does and and there’s there’s sort of a this Chandra’s value observed value of said to possess a hiding quality, where consciousness appears to become hidden to itself I say appears to because we know it never actually ultimately really does. But it appears to get the whole appears to get lost in the parts. And then this whole sort of hide and seek game ensues in which you know the the parts evolve and grow and become More complex and so on, and eventually a part such as me or you says, Wait a minute, what am I really, you know, and, and that and then, you know, undergoes a whole search and you know, spiritual quest and so on. And eventually in a motel room or wherever, realizes, whoa, I’m just consciousness. I’ve never been anything other than conscious. That’s all there is, you know, what was that all about? So the hide and seek game has come to a certain conclusion, at least for that part.

Joel Morwood: Well, see, that’s where we’re running into trouble is, in one sense, a relative sense, at least for that part.

Rick Archer: Yeah.

Joel Morwood: But there, but there is no part a separate from the whole,

Rick Archer: and there never was  right.

Joel Morwood: And there never was. So, you know, we say, Well, is it? Is it the part or the whole? Well, it’s neither we’re beyond where we can talk about parts and holes. This is where even the distinction between relative truth and absolute truth breaks down. The distinction between non duality and duality. For instance, like, you know, I, I’m comfortable describing myself as someone who teaches non duality, but you know, ultimately, non duality, the non duality we’re talking about is not as transcends even the duality between non duality and duality. You said I mean? So, I mean, once we say okay, reality is non dual. That’s nonsense, because we made a distinction between duality and non duality. And so we’re back into duality, if you want to, for those, we have viewers, here’s this.

Rick Archer: Yeah, there’s like, at the moment, there’s 27 people viewing a question came in, but it’s not relevant to what we’re talking about. So I’ll bring it up in a little while, but continue.

Joel Morwood: If any of you are in the mathematics, go to the Center for sacred science website, and look under publications. And under publications, you’ll find holos journal, and look under holos journal, and you’ll find an article called The play of distinction or distinctions distinction by Thomas McFarlane, and he has done a marvelous thing. He has described the drape process you’re talking about in the Hindu tradition, and you’ll find very similar things. And in other traditions, what was it called, again, the article, the play of distinction of distinction, and he has described it in mathematical terms, he has translated that into mathematics. And you will see that that very moment, we’re talking about that break between the apparent knower and known and all that he’s described that mathematically, but the description is, is a contradiction.

Rick Archer: Do you have to be a mathematician to understand his article?

Joel Morwood: No, actually, no, no, this is this is so simple, just, it’s like Enlightenment. It’s the simplest, simplest mathematics you could possibly do. It’s, it’s free mathematics, it’s just, it’s just distinctions, it’s all done with a few little circles, circles and space. That’s all it is. So anyway, but the point I’m trying to make is if you if you boil all this down into the most abstract language possible, you don’t start with clarity, you start with a paradox. And then you break that paradox open and now you have you have A or not A you see, the beginning is a no not a not a or not that and the whole world and all this take shape out of breaking that and that symmetry if you want to another way put in and and having A and not A and then and now we you know, different traditions will give slightly different explanations of how goes up, but the basic structure is the same in the mall and all the mystical traditions. You know, and, and so, if we, when we get to that point, we cannot put it into words. Theresa Vila, great Christian mystic. She says everything I say fall short of the truth, which is indescribable. And it’s indescribable not because, you know, it’s like your mother’s apple pie. That’s so wonderful. I just can’t. It’s literally indescribable, because the minute you say a word, you create a distinction. So

Rick Archer: not only that, but I mean, what we’re doing Oh, go ahead and show your

Joel Morwood: Glasses case,

Rick Archer:  right.

Joel Morwood: Yeah, my little thing. So if I say glasses case, I named this. And I’ve already created a boundary, imaginary boundary. It’s not really there around this the separates it from everything that is not glasses case. I’ve created a distinction, which is, which is supposed to happen.  Yeah. That is why

Rick Archer: we couldn’t live if we couldn’t function.

Joel Morwood: Absolutely.

Rick Archer: Yeah.

Joel Morwood: But we don’t want to lose track of the fact that it is a imaginary. It is an imaginary distinction. It’s not a real distinction.

Rick Archer: Yeah,

Joel Morwood: it’s we superimpose it on the world through our language, our thought, our concepts, and we carve up the world and that’s the dance. That’s the symphony.

Rick Archer: In Vedanta, there’s a term called lesh avidya, which means faint remains of ignorance and it’s used to describe the state of I would say a very mature state of Enlightenment in which the distinctions between glasses case and this and that and the other thing are only a faint remains predominantly, everything is seen as the self. Very secondarily, things are seen as distinct because they have to be in order for that to be a living reality, otherwise, you’d be on a feeding tube.

Joel Morwood: Yes, I, I understand that. But what I’m saying is, so what? See, this is the point. And not only so what you if you didn’t have any remains, I mean, sometimes you want vivid distinctions. You know, sometimes you want the play to be vivid, you want to see things and in brilliant color and so forth. Sure, why not, which, which is, again, one of the things I really appreciate about the Tibetan tradition, that they bring this out, that, you know, the the manifestations that Buddha Nature takes are wonderful. They’re rich, you ever read a Shogun trunk puzzle, cutting through spiritual materialism, he’s got a whole section describing these five Buddha families which represent five basic qualities of Buddha nature. And he describes them beautifully poetically, in terms of seasons, like, one is a pride is afflicted emotion that transforms into equanimity. And it’s like a forest, an old log and a forest that’s rich, it’s fallen, but it’s rich with all this mushroom growth and all that, but it’s immovable. If you start to try to move it, it all breaks apart. And he’s got these descriptions that are, you know, like poetry and this is the point he and looks at, at the log in the forest, he sees Buddha nature, he doesn’t see something wrong, like it says hiding Buddha nature. That’s it. That’s it, that the hotel room right now, I’m looking at this weirdo screen with all these things on it, that is Buddha Nature manifesting? Sure and nothing’s, you know, the, the no obstacles between it happening and the knowing is happening. And I don’t know, I don’t know how

Rick Archer: you said it. That’s another matter another thing from the Gita, no effort is lost, and no obstacle exists.

Joel Morwood: Very good.

Rick Archer: Now, you know, we, we’ve talked about, we’ve talked about, you know, everything being consciousness, and we could also use the term God, everything is God. And so, you know, you and I are God appearing as Rick and Joel and having a conversation and, and, and, you know, look at the Discovery Channel and watch, you know, water movies of coral reefs, or galaxies, or, you know, all the marvelous things that are in our universe. And, you know, there’s a beautiful quote from Carl Sagan, I could pull it up and read it verbatim. But basically, he says, Why is it that no religion has ever looked at the discoveries of science and said, Wow, God is even greater than we thought he was? You know, so marvelous. So sublime, so creative. So subtle. Pardon? You do that at the center? Yeah.

Joel Morwood: We do at the center? Yes, no, this is, this is why science is a, you know, 1/3 of the our mission here is to help foster a new worldview where we can appreciate science just in that regard.

Rick Archer: I want to get into that with you actually, in a few minutes. Michael Dowd, whom I interviewed him a month or two ago, always says, you know, science is by Scripture. And it’s, it’s God, revealing more, and I mean, you know, more, we’re learning more about the nature of God by whatever science shows us.

Joel Morwood: Absolutely.

Rick Archer: Yeah,

Joel Morwood: absolutely.

Rick Archer: And so there’s absolutely couldn’t possibly be any conflict between what science is revealing and what religion should be concerned about.

Joel Morwood: I couldn’t agree with you more.

Rick Archer: Yeah.

Joel Morwood: But we got another problem there. And that is that science. A lot of scientists anyway, are married to a materialist worldview,

Rick Archer: right

Joel Morwood: Which is an obstacle from that side, there are obstacles from the religious side, certainly, but there’s also that side. So in order for there to be a rapprochement between science and religion, we also have to understand that materialism is, relatively speaking, I wouldn’t say it’s a false philosophy, actually, I would say it’s a closed philosophy with no exit doors.

Rick Archer: Yeah.

Joel Morwood: And it’s like a prison philosophy, or at least the religious traditions, even even the ones that are obsolete now, because they were before created before science, they all at least have some sort of escape hatch. away, you can transcend the whole worldview itself, which is what mystics do, as they are always pointing to the escape hatch.

Rick Archer: And also, science is not a monolith. I mean, there are so many different branches of science and the scientists who insist on a materialistic perspective are actually standing on quicksand because quantum physics has already proven them wrong. And you know, you were talking earlier about everything sort of being that consciousness is primary and fundamental. And there’s another quote, I could pull up from Erwin Schrodinger about that, but basically says we can’t get behind consciousness, consciousness is the bedrock, it’s the rock bottom. And people who have that perspective, don’t see consciousness as an epiphenomenon of brain functioning, they see the brain as a manifestation of consciousness.

Joel Morwood: Absolutely, yes. And that’s why this is one of the big keys in this last century. If it wasn’t for quantum mechanics, there would just be everybody be at loggerheads. But quantum mechanics is at least, I wouldn’t say quantum mechanics has proved mysticism or anything like that, which a lot of people want to say, but I think that’s going too far. direction? Well, it’s certainly it’s removed obstacles, to to mysticism is removing obstacles that re approachment because you can no longer now for well, here’s here’s an interesting thing. See, most people look to, to science to prove their mysticism. So science says this. And so the mystics have said this all is it. But now science says this. We at the center think it’s the other way around it sciences in a crisis. But why does science work? You could explain it under the old mechanical materialistic worldview. But you can’t explain it now. It’s not there’s no question science works. But why? So our our approach is to say, How does mysticism explain science? How does mysticism allow you and understand how science works? And how do you answer that question? Well, I’m going to Well, first of all, let me say for people who really want to delve into it, I’m going to make another plug for Tom McFarlane. And he has a video called Einstein, Buddha and reality, Einstein, Buddha and reality. You can find it on our website, you could probably just Google it, Tom McFarlane, and see if

Rick Archer: I can link to a video on the on the BatGap page. I will link to that video.

Joel Morwood: Great. Great.

Rick Archer: And you can send me the link, so I make sure I have it.

Joel Morwood: Tom can send you that link.

Rick Archer: Send me the link. Yeah,

Joel Morwood: yes. Okay. So anyway, so. So this is our approach. It’s not we’re trying to prove mysticism by science. We’re trying to prove science by mysticism.

Rick Archer: I think I think the two can really help each other and enrich each other. I mean, for instance, you know, a scientist doesn’t say, Here’s my theory. And if you don’t believe in it, you’re gonna burn in hell for all eternity. He’s he says, Here’s my theory seems to pan out for me, you check it out, see if it works out for you see, if you can refute it, you know, he has this open minded attitude, hopefully, about his theories. Now, a mystic, on the other hand, says, Alright, here’s all these books, the Upanishads and the Tibetan books, and all these things, they, they present all these ideas, not as something you’re supposed to believe in, but as theories to explore, you know, these all these ancient people are saying they are living all these, you know, higher states and deeper realities. You try it, see if you can live them too. So there’s something similar, similar about that. And a true mystic proceeds through steps of knowledge and experience, just the way a true scientist does.

Joel Morwood: This is why we call our Center for Sacred sciences because of this just this parallel.

Rick Archer: Yeah,

Joel Morwood: In fact I’ll go farther and you read the mistakes. And most of them, you’ll find, say, belief, static belief is actually an obstacle.

Rick Archer: Yeah,

Joel Morwood: if you settle for just belief that said, Your path is over. Okay, now, I believe this dogma, I believe this doctrine, but it’s not really going to transform your life,

Rick Archer: right

Joel Morwood: So the Buddha is famous for saying, you know, don’t take my teachings just on my word, you test them like a goldsmith test of gold. So you take the teachings out, and you put them into practice, and whatever, and you see for yourself, whether they’re true, which is exactly the attitude of science.

Rick Archer: Yeah. And one of the one interesting thing to consider, I think, is that, you know, whether whether quantum physics is really sort of delving into the same spiritual realities that the mystics have have talked about, or whether that’s just an interesting allegory or metaphor, what whichever way it may actually be. The fact of the matter is that seems to be that scientists, because they use objective methodologies and mathematics and particle accelerators and all that to explore these deeper realities, are never going to overcome the subject object split. Whereas mystics can do that. And, and they can, but there’s an interesting parallel, which is that they too, are using an apparatus and here we get back to the nervous system as an apparatus. The human nervous system is more sophisticated than than the Large Hadron Collider in Geneva. And if finely tuned and properly used, can enable you to transcend the subject object split and arrive at the sort of ultimate reality. experientially would you say to that?

Joel Morwood: Well, the the the finely tuned organism that you’re talking about did not exist 1000 years ago. I mean, nobody conceived of it that way. And so

Rick Archer: No but it still was what it was. I mean, somebody

Joel Morwood: ah,

Rick Archer: gravity worked just fine. 1000 years ago before Sir Isaac Newton came along, same phenomenon.

Joel Morwood: No, no, no, no, no, no. Okay. I’m glad you brought that up. It’s one of my favorite examples.

Rick Archer: Okay,

Joel Morwood: let’s look at gravity. Let’s investigate this. Okay. So before Isaac Newton, under Aristotle’s worldview, gravity was the propensity of a heavy object to go to its natural place in the universe, right?

Rick Archer: That was Aristotle’s understanding.

Joel Morwood: Yes.

Rick Archer: But gravity itself didn’t change from Aristotle attempt to Newton. It still did what? No, it still does what it does photosynthesis.

Joel Morwood: What does it do? You tell me now what gravity does?

Rick Archer: Well, I mean, different. I’m not a scientist. So I mean, Newton talk. I mean, Einstein talked about in terms of the bending of space time, and then we have that example of a bowling ball running around on a trampoline, you know, and so on. But what I’m trying to say is that laws of nature are what they are.

Joel Morwood: No, no, no, wait, wait, wait, wait. No, no, I gotta interrupt you here.

Rick Archer: Okay, good.

Joel Morwood: I gotta go back and then trace it down. So Aristotle said the gravity is the tendency for heavy objects to fall to the center of the earth. Because the Earth is the center of the whole universe. Right,

Rick Archer: right.

Joel Morwood: You’re familiar with that?

Rick Archer: Yes.

Joel Morwood: The fact that he said, right,

Rick Archer: yeah.

Joel Morwood:  And for for 2000 years, people believed it. Right. That was their definition of gravity,

Rick Archer: right?

Joel Morwood: was obvious to that. Then Copernicus came along, and he started to rock the boat. Because if the earth was no longer the center of the universe, then why was everything falling towards the earth, the earth was just another one of these planets. Well, that’s that upset the whole of physics, it wasn’t just the astronomy that upset the whole of the Aristotelian physics. And then there was a crisis, and everybody went to work and so forth. And then finally, Newton came along and said, Okay, gravity is a force that attracts in bodies, that attracts other bodies, and the bigger, more massive the body, the stronger the force. So they’ll track smaller bodies, because it over whelmed their force. And I can, I can actually calculate this force mathematically. And when people said, Wayman, this is spooky action at a distance, you can’t have that. And he said, I don’t know what gravity is. But it’s, you know, it works, right. So it got accepted. And they overcame their spooky action at a distance, and they accepted gravity as a force. And I learned in high school, and I bet most of our viewers there learned in high school, that gravity is some force in the like the earth and it pulls the moon around. And then this the force in the sun pulls this around the sun and all that. Well, Einstein comes along and says no, there’s no force in any of this. Gravity is just as you say, it’s the shape of space. It’s the geometry of, of space, as it’s determined by the presence of a massive object. Now, look, the word has kept the same, but the reference to it has changed completely.

Rick Archer: But the thing itself hasn’t changed. We’ve gone from Aristotle to whatever it is, when we’re just using gravity as a case in point, whatever gravity is, is not dependent upon our on our understanding of it for it to do what it does. You know, it’s been getting along just fine for 13 point 7 billion years. And our it’s our understanding that’s evolving.

Joel Morwood: Okay. This is this is the point, this is the assumption that this gravity is out there beyond what we think about it. It’s just it’s out there.

Rick Archer: Regardless of what we think about it. I mean, in most of the universes, no intelligent life, you know, maybe there is here and there on this and that planet, but gravity works just fine in uninhabited regions of the universe, just as it does here on Earth.

Joel Morwood: Okay. Let me finish this off by saying, you know, there’s a hypothesis now that that Einstein was wrong. The gravity is these little particles called gravitons. And that the interaction of gravitons is which makes these effects.

Rick Archer: right.

Joel Morwood: The point is, the point I’m saying here is these physical theories change periodically. There, there’s no gravity beyond what’s defined by the theory. So we’re talking about something out there, you know, beyond what we think about it, you’re objectifying something that that isn’t. That doesn’t exist until we start to think about it and measure it and all that.

Rick Archer: Wait a minute, maybe I’m misunderstanding you. But are you saying that gravity doesn’t exist until we start to think about it and objectify it?

Joel Morwood: Absolutely.

Rick Archer: So how did stars form and and collapse upon themselves when they reached the end of their lifespan in order to create heavy elements which are comprised

Joel Morwood: that’s

Rick Archer: most Have our bodies.

Joel Morwood: Okay, that’s the theory du jour. Yeah, supposing some, some version of string theory works out, you know, we’re not gonna be talking about any of this, we’re gonna be talking about rips in the fabric of space time.

Rick Archer: Yeah, well, but the point I’m making this we’re all blind men feeling the elephant and the elephant is what the elephant is, regardless of how accurately or completely the blind men perceive him, he remains an elephant. So you know, gravity. And you know, the way photons work and gamma rays and electromagnetic field, although all the phenomenon of the universe, it’s incumbent upon us to understand them. But our understanding doesn’t determine, you know, or dictate how they work. They work regardless of our understanding, and our understanding is admittedly immature in pretty much every single area. And as it continues to evolve, meanwhile, the universe carries on as it always has.

Joel Morwood: Well, okay, I, I would suggest you and any other viewers that are interested READ THOMAS Kuhns, the Structure of Scientific Revolutions,

Rick Archer: about paradigm shifts, and so on.

Joel Morwood: Right, so so this is his whole point, that the body of scientific knowledge doesn’t just keep growing and growing about some world that’s objectively out there, that our paradigms actually determined how the world appears to us.

Rick Archer: They determine.

Joel Morwood: That’s, that’s his main point,

Rick Archer: they determine how it appears to us. But do they really determine what the world actually is?

Joel Morwood: Okay. Is there anything beyond appearances?

Rick Archer: Well, that’s a good question. I mean, let’s say we accept for the moment, the the current understanding of the evolution of the universe, from the Big Bang to the evolution of stars and the collapse of those stars and the forming of heavy elements. And, you know, this, this goes on and on, eventually, we have enough heavy elements to form planets, and somehow or other biological life arises, you know, and all that’s been going on, without there being any biological life to understand or cognize it. And eventually, we’ve gotten to the point where we are the universe getting to know itself better through telescopes, through microscopes, through various types of understanding. But the things we’re getting to know have been going on for billions of years. They they didn’t wait until we got to know them before they could start happening.

Joel Morwood: Okay, you are describing the evolution of the universe from the Big Bang to whatever state we’re in now.

Rick Archer:  Yeah.

Joel Morwood: And, and you are saying, well, that’s, that’s been happening, regardless of what we think about it.

Rick Archer: Yeah,

Joel Morwood: I’m gonna, I’m gonna go out on a limb and not go out on a limb here, but I’m gonna make a radical statement, and we can try it out. What you didn’t what you had for breakfast doesn’t exist.

Rick Archer: Because I’m not having it now or something?

Joel Morwood: Yes, because everything happens now. Nothing happens in the past and nothing happens in the future. Everything happens now. Now, you have a memory. What do you have for breakfast?

Rick Archer: Granola.

Joel Morwood: Okay, so you have a memory of having granola correct. And where’s that memory happening?

Rick Archer: Now?

Joel Morwood: Okay. And what are you gonna have for dinner?

Rick Archer: I don’t know.

Joel Morwood: You’re going to, you’re not going to fast or you know, you’re going to eat something right?

Rick Archer: Yep.

Joel Morwood: Okay. And where’s that? certainty that you’re gonna eat something? Where’s that happening?

Rick Archer: Now?

Joel Morwood:  Yeah. If we look at our own experience, there’s no time outside of now. What there are are our stories that beautiful stories, wonderful stories that we That’s why I call them theories du jour, religious stories about how, you know the garden, God created the heavens and the earth, and then the Garden of Eden and all that, and then there was this fall, that’s, you know, for, for millions of people that was really just as real as the Big Bang and all that,

Rick Archer: Right and there’s even millions of people now who believe that the universe is, or the earth is 6000 years old, and people, people used to ride around on dinosaurs. And God created fossils on the fourth day, and so on so forth, doesn’t make it true just because they believe it, but they believe it.

Joel Morwood: okay, but this is my point. Neither are true. Neither one is true. Unless except in a very limited way, we talked about relative truth in in terms of a given paradigm, like a scientific paradigm, then the Big Bang is relatively true. But but there’s no objective way to stand outside of paradigms and decide which paradigm is true and which isn’t. So to me, these, all the religions and all the scientific theories, they’re like novels that you bring, and you say, this is a great novel. Oh, read this one. This is really beautiful. This got so much insight about life and all that and somebody else brings another novels as though this is this is really great. And then somebody comes along says Yeah, but this is the true novel. So many times is a true novel. I might like at one novel better than another, I might prefer to to another novel, I might be able to give you good reasons why I prefer. In fact, that’s what literary criticism is all about, isn’t it? But when you don’t say about one novel, it’s true. And another and the rest of them are all false. Well, see, this is this is what these conceptual systems, whether they’re religious systems, scientific systems, astrology, whatever. I have strong preferences, by the way of, you know, of certain systems that I think they’re more valuable. I think they’re more useful. I found them to be and I don’t mind having an argument talking about that. But they’re not the sort of question which one is true or not? Because there’s nothing outside beyond what. But beyond the appearances and the appearances that determine how we think about them?

Rick Archer: Well, I agree with all that, I think we’re on the same page with that. And all I’m saying is that there is a reality to the way things work that’s not subservient to our understanding of it. And I would readily admit that our understanding of probably just about everything is quite primitive  by comparison to what’s possible, or what we may have 1000 years from now or something. But 1000 years from now, you know, let’s say we understand gravity totally differently than we understand it now. It will still be the same old gravity doing the same old thing. And I think the reason this is relevant to our, to spirituality and our whole discussion of spirituality, is that, well, why is it relevant? Because, you know, Enlightenment, spirituality is an attempt to understand what’s real, and to know the Ultimate Reality of Things, and perhaps even to understand relative realities, such as they may be, and, and all kinds of people who have considered themselves spiritual have gotten caught up in all kinds of fairy tales, by believing their subjective opinions are, you know, by dolla, dolla, tising, that’s the word, the written word, you know, idolatry of the written word, and so on worshiping ancient texts. And, you know, I think that the level you and I are talking on it is an attempt to move beyond such notions and to just really get real about things.

Joel Morwood: Well, you see, I think that we’re diagnosing at a relative level of problem. I don’t think the problem is because some people have are ignorant about the the truth and the reality and insist on something that that is false. Is this true or something? I think the problem is that is that some people think that their novel is the real one.

Rick Archer: Yeah.

Joel Morwood: So they’re willing to go to war over there, to fight about it. Look at the Middle East today. And they’re just, it’s just a current example. Because there’s certainly nothing specific about the Middle East, we look at a whole history of humanity. And this is a people coming in saying my novel is the true novel, your novels are all false, believe my novel, boom. Now, if if you get the realization, they’re all novels, you don’t treat them that way.

Rick Archer: Right?

Joel Morwood: You treat them with respect, you treat them, you know, and you can still have intelligent discussions about them. That’s my point, isn’t it? Oh, novels are the same. in a relative sense. They’re not some are crap.

Rick Archer: Yeah,

Joel Morwood: some are, you know, some are a great profound works of art.

Rick Archer: Just this morning, I was listening to Ken Wilber, his critique of Bill Maher’s Religilous movie. And Wilbur was talking about his, you know, levels from our character, mythic, and all the different stages that a child goes through, actually in its maturation, but also that’s people go through in their spiritual development, and even societies go through. And he mentioned that the more sort of higher, more mature levels of this, the sequence, people don’t utterly dismiss the more rudimentary levels, they say, yeah, yeah, that’s true from its perspective. But there’s a bigger truth, which incorporates more and which is more kind of paradoxical. It’s kind of like a building, you know, you have a 10 storey building, and if you rise up to the eighth, ninth 10th floor, you don’t say, Oh, the view from the first floor is totally false. So yeah, I see the I understand what you mean by that view from the first floor, but there’s a bigger view, which includes but but extends beyond that.

Joel Morwood: Can you can you see how arrogant that is? Which this idea this this is the progress idea that we’ve come to the place where we understand now we have the bigger view, and all you poor people below us, you know, if you grew up a little bit and you know, this is the this was the excuse for the whole imperialism of the 19th and earliest 20th century these poor primitive people out there had you know, they didn’t really understand the universe so we we are now we’ve progressed to the point we Westerners where we do understand and we can bring civilization and light to the to the Dark Continent. You know, yeah, and that’s, to me, that’s, that’s not a solution to this, to me the solution is to, it’s like here, it’s like a potluck. You know, at the center, we have potlucks to on our video Sundays and to celebrate things, and everybody brings a dish to the potluck, right? And we have several people from different cultures like we have one guy from Arabia, he brings home a samosa all the time, you know, so if you can imagine a potluck with people from different cultures, and you know, bringing their cultural dish, you know what I mean? Yeah, and then you go around and you tasted everything in the potluck you like some some better than others? Sure, no question about it. But but but you’re appreciating you’re sharing, you’re, you’re enjoying the, the multiplicity, the variety of manifestation here, you’re not judging. Oh, this is, you know, we know better now we know how to cook rice, and you don’t know how to cook rice.

Rick Archer: So would you say then that the spirituality of Ramana Maharshi, is on a par with the spirituality of ISIS, they’re just different. But there’s one is not more mature than the other?

Joel Morwood: I wouldn’t I wouldn’t use one is more mature, I would use one leads to suffering and the other leads to happiness.

Rick Archer: So does would you say that there’s a some kind of intrinsic superiority to the one that leads to happiness,

Joel Morwood: no, not

Rick Archer: That doesn’t involve cutting people’s heads off?

Joel Morwood: Not an intrinsic superiority? It’s because to the extent that Ramana Maharshi talked a spoken a Hindu worldview. And you know what the whole point about the Hindu worldview, I’m from mystics point of view is to transcend worldviews not to take this worldview as the best worldview or whatever. It’s that, you know, the Buddha is constantly talking about that you use my teachings is a boat to cross the ocean. When you get to the shore, you don’t need the boat, and you may use the boat to help other people get but you don’t need to carry around the boat. You’ve transcended the teachings, you’ve transcended the worldview. So, at the level of a teaching, you know, you put the ISIS teachings next to Ramana Maharshi these teachings and at that level, no, there’s no difference between them. What’s the consequence of following one teaching or another? Where does it lead? Does it lead to happiness? Does it lead not to truth? Not the truth? Like, oh, this is a truer one, but to the ultimate truth? Oh, yes. Ramana Maharshi leads will lead you more quickly to the ultimate truth, I believe,

Rick Archer: so that it’s more useful, you could say,

Joel Morwood: more useful, I’d much rather say, much more useful. Not only that more useful, I’ll go farther, the others damaging because to me damaging is what leads to suffering.

Rick Archer: Yeah. Well, I know it sounds arrogant to say, well, this spirituality is more evolved than that spirituality and so on. But I mean, we could do that with scientific understandings. It’s Newton was more on the mark than than Aristotle. And Einstein took it a step further, it’s like, and

Joel Morwood: now Okay, I think I my position is squarely based on Kuhn. So rather than us trying to hash this out, I think they’ll go read Kuhn.

Rick Archer: I’ve read them a couple times,

Joel Morwood: and then see if, if, if, if what he’s saying, or maybe you just disagree with Kuhn, because he very definitely is, is criticizing the position, that there’s some sort of objective truth out there that we’re getting closer and closer to by, you know, new and newer theories. He’s saying that these, these, these paradigms are incompatible. And they really literally, the world appears differently. It’s like he talks about the Gestalt switch, you know,

Rick Archer: but he does say that, you know, a paradigm is forced into a shift when anomalies you become so, you know, predominant that the old paradigm can’t be adhered to anymore. It’s like, there’s too much cognitive dissonance, and we and the paradigm has to shift. And it shifts in favor of something more akin to reality, more, more, more, more attuned to what the actual state of things is in the universe,

Joel Morwood: that’s not what he says, is that’s precisely what he criticizes, we’re not shifting to a more tuned to reality, because he’s questioned the whole idea that there’s any reality any independent paradigm independent reality. That’s his phrase, there’s no paradigm independent reality. And that’s the mystics position. And that’s my position certainly, and I think it’s the mystics position, the world appears to us through their our thoughts through our distinctions. And so if you create one set of distinctions the word world appears to this way if you create another set of world appears to you this way, that and one way isn’t more real than another way. The reality is below all this play. Yeah, this is why this is almost every mystical tradition has this analogy that this world is like a dream. There’s no substance behind the dream, the dream is just the play of the mind. So you might have a nightmare one night, and you might have a dream, you’re in paradise. And you might prefer to dream of being in paradise to the nightmare, but in terms of the substance of what the dream is made of, it’s all just made of consciousness, through reality standing behind it.

Rick Archer: But there seems to be some kind of underlying template or uniformity. In other words, like, let’s say, 30,000, people go to a soccer match. You know, it’s not like, each of those 30,000 people are seeing something completely different. And one person is seeing football, another person seeing, you know, elephants running around and other persons, you know, seeing leprechauns, they’re all basically, you know, with taking into account individual differences in perception and understanding. And so they’re all basically seeing the same soccer match, we all basically seeing the same same stoplights and, and so on, we all stop at them. So what, what we’ve been sort of haggling over for an hour is that I keep saying that, there, it seems to me that there is some objective reality, which is, even to the relative universe. I mean, we’re totally agreed upon the the absolute level, but there seems to be the some objective reality, which doesn’t give a hoot what we understand or, or believe in it, or have it, it just keeps on truckin doing its thing. And and, you know, we grow in our understanding of it, hopefully. But if we don’t, it keeps doing its thing. But whatever craters there are on the far side of the moon, were there before astronauts flew around it, and they’re there today, if we care to fly around it again. They don’t depend upon our

Joel Morwood: would you say the same thing about electrons?

Rick Archer: I’m not sure.

Joel Morwood: Well, let me

Rick Archer:  elaborate the question.

Joel Morwood: Okay. So electron has two ways you can study an electron

Rick Archer: particles or waves, right?

Joel Morwood: Yeah. Yes. It’s, well, it’s momentum or its position.

Rick Archer: Okay. Yes.

Joel Morwood: Okay. So. So the materialist assumption is that electron has momentum, and it has position no matter whether how you measure it, right? It’s just out there. Yeah. Like, you know, just like something fight through this glass through space would have position I’ll read moment would have a position. I don’t have a momentum.

Rick Archer: Yeah.

Joel Morwood: Well, quantum mechanics says, No, I can measure the momentum

Rick Archer: for the position,

Joel Morwood: or the position, but it doesn’t have position, when I’m measuring the momentum. It doesn’t exist out there with these properties. So it all depends on how I choose to measure them.

Rick Archer: Yeah.

Joel Morwood: So and by the way, this is not just in quantum mechanics, this is in relativity. And this is in classical mechanics, which is what Tom Macfarlanes video does a wonderful job of explaining in an hour or so. The the Einstein. Yeah. And because this is the point, you’re at a certain level you are. Let’s take the example I think most of your viewers, and maybe you’ve seen this, the Gestalt picture of the the old woman and the Parisian young woman, right? Depending on how you look at it. Yes. So it’s a picture. It’s now. So it’s, it’s a lines on paper, it’s a picture and you look at it, and some people immediately see an old woman on the big nose. And then some people see this elegant, sophisticated young woman with a hat with a feather, right? And then you can’t decide to look one way or the other. But if you look at it long enough, if somebody’s back and forth, you start to switch back and forth. Right? So which is this? Is it that isn’t an old woman? Or is it a young Parisian sophisticated woman?

Rick Archer: Well, that’s totally dependent upon how you look at it. But but the paper itself on which this thing is drawn, stays the same whether I see it as an old woman or a young woman, there’s paper made of wood with ink on it, and, and so on and so forth. And that that doesn’t become something different, just because I don’t understand it or perceive it correct, clearly.

Joel Morwood: Yeah. So this is my exactly my thing. So let’s, this is very crude, but let’s look at the paper as consciousness,

Rick Archer: okay,

Joel Morwood:  the pure consciousness. And let’s look at the lines on the paper and forget that there are distinctions right now, but let’s look at them as they’re the waves. So there’s form and formlessness. Right? So form and pharmacists are there. But the form doesn’t have isn’t conceptually interpreted until you look and see what your conditioning has produced you to say you say to me, yeah, you could say and you could say that Enlightenment is, is not saying the old woman or the young woman, just saying, the paper and the lines, right? And then when the old woman pops up, you go, Aha, Oh, I get it. It’s imaginary. And the young woman pops up says, oh, isn’t that marvelous? It’s imaginer. And maybe somebody could see a lot more stuff than that, you know what I mean? And constantly seeing it. But but all there is, is just consciousness and form, and you see it. And even, that’s we’re spending way too much, because I’m making distinction between consciousness and form. So I’m but I’m really at the bottom line, saying it’s just what it is, is just the suchness, as the Buddhists would say, the suchness of things. So, so, you know, we and then we, part of the play is to prefer one or the other. As long as we understand what we’re preferring, I like the story better than that story. You know what I mean? And I’ll even discuss it with you, I can tell you why, you know, that story is boring. And, you know, I didn’t I couldn’t relate to the characters and you know, this and that. And, and you could disagree with me. This is what goes on is this is the truth of what does go on, right? Yeah. When I talk to a fundamentalist Christian. Now, what I try to do here is not have in my mind that this fundamentalist Christian is somehow wrong. And this is primitive level of development. If they only had a little more education or got more mature, they would see things the way I see them. No, I want to meet that fundamentalist Christian eek as an equal.

Rick Archer: Absolutely. I had a lovely conversation with a Hare Krishna the other day, it was wonderful. I couldn’t tear myself away from the guy. It was like we just had this heart to heart sort of connection.

Joel Morwood: Exactly.

Rick Archer: Doing this thing for 42 years handing out leaflets. Marvelous, good on Yeah,

Joel Morwood: I worked in a paint factory. Most of them were Christian Sunday Christians, but there was a one guy there young guy who took his Christianity seriously, you know, and he say, Joe has said, you know, the Bible says, Don’t let the sun go down on your anger. But I’m so mad at this guy I work with what you know. And we’d sit down, we have great conversations, great conversations, and I didn’t try to talk him out of his Christianity, I tried to point out things in Christianity that might be helpful to him like, you know, how to look at anger or something like that. So, this is this is why I, I get respond to when people say, Well, now we know this. And now we know that, and the the even within establishment circles and stuff like that, like Kuhn, there, people are beginning to discover this whole postmodern movement with deconstruction and all that is about trying to trying to see Is there really an object out there? And this is mystics been saying all the time, there isn’t really an object out there, the subject object division itself, that’s the crucial fundamental division that makes everything happen? Everything’s built around that, but it ain’t real. That’s it? If you want to know another definition of Enlightenment is just to see that that’s not that not that it doesn’t appear, but that it is imaginary.  Yeah, it certainly appears

Rick Archer: looks like a snake. But it’s not really a snake.

Joel Morwood: It’s Yes,

Rick Archer:  it’s a rope.

Joel Morwood: Yes, yes. But but it does look like a snake.

Rick Archer: And it gets your adrenaline going, and you jump back and react to it.

Joel Morwood: In fact, I saw just that when I was living on the desert, I was walking home on this path, and there was a piece of rope discarded. And I did just that. And I was exactly as described in the literature.

Rick Archer: Yeah. A couple of questions that have come in, I want to ask them, but I just want to throw one more far out there philosophical question at you. And then we’ve, we’ve sort of been around this and God’s playing hide and seek and so on and so forth, and the universe never actually arose. It just appears to have arisen, and so on and so forth. Why do you think it has appeared to have arisen? What what is this game all about? Why, you know, why does there appear to be a manifest universe? Saint Teresa of Avila, whom you quoted earlier, once said, it appears that God Himself is on the journey, meaning that there’s, you know, some kind of cosmic evolution taking place. And just one more quick thing to throw into the question, we can think of ourselves a sense organs of the infinite and no one sense organ, gathers all information, each one gathers a limited subset of possible information. And so this whole thing about there being some grand objective truth out there, and you know, it being dependent upon what we understand, as we’ve been discussing in this in this interview, we’ll never understand it all as relative sense organs of the infinite. It’s not how what we’re wired to do. So it’s about two or three questions in there, but go ahead and run with it.

Joel Morwood: Well, the first part, I already said I was a treasure I was the hidden treasure that longing to be known. I don’t think you can. When you ask the question, you know, what’s the meaning of all this? What’s the purpose of all that? I think you have to answer it in terms of poetry or mythology or whatever I don’t think you can answer in any scientific sense. And I’m perfectly satisfied with that. I appreciate the the wisdom in these mythologies and, and that kind of explanation. But I will go a little bit farther and say, one way to try to understand why God has to manifest the world in order to be known. In dreamless sleep. There’s no awareness of awareness. Normally, there’s no awareness of awareness because there’s nothing to contrast it to. So if I have a dream arises, and then it goes, disappears, I go, wow, look where that came from, look where it went to. If it doesn’t go well, well, I don’t know. I don’t know nothing. So I need to go boop, boop. The Tao Te Ching says, this is a practice to do by the way, I maintain silence, I maintain stillness. I watched the myriad creatures. That’s all phenomena. I watched their rising and I watched their return. They arise from the constant and they return to the constant, something like that. Well, so there you are sitting in meditation, okay. You don’t get enlightened sitting in meditation, you get enlightened, when a myriad creature rises, and you watch it rise, and then you see where it came from. And you see where it goes, Oh, my gosh. So the whole universe is doing this. And I like to say it this way, you know, the universe is trying to wake you up. All this is God, see, God appears to you and say, Look at me in this form. You don’t get it. That’s fine, guys, very patient, you know, God up here in some other form, you know, a cockroach or go across the room? Here I am. Oh, you didn’t like that one? Well, you know, on and on and on, very patient waiting for you to wake up every moment. Every as a great catalyst. Joseph, Ben Shalom of Barcelona medieval combo said, God in His nothingness, God in His Insaaf is appears between every transformation of every phenomena. This is very zen. I mean, you read that you can’t believe it, he knows exactly what the Zen people know, between every transformation. There it is, it’s a boom. And that’s why in Zen, particularly, they’re famous for waking up, you know, somebody slaps you on the face, and boom, it’s like, suddenly, something suddenly happens, something’s there, it’s not there, and it’s revealed. And whether that happens, and deep Samadhi, you’re never going to get enlightened in deep Samadhi, you’re going to get enlightened, just as you’re coming out of deep Samadhi, or something comes into your Samadhi, like the Buddha sitting under the Bodhi tree. You know, he sat all night, and he understood intellectually all karma and the laws of this and so forth and so on. He wasn’t awake yet. And then dawn came, and the Morningstar up here, woke up, woke up. See, he needed that Morningstar something, something and nothing, it’s both. You want me to go on a little bit and you want to go to a question

Rick Archer: you can let me just throw in a little quick something here. marshy, Mahesh Yogi used to say that the expansion of happiness is the purpose of creation. And you think about like if you’re lying in a bathtub, and you’ve been lying there for a while, and it doesn’t feel warm anymore. But then if you slosh around a little bit, you start feeling all the warmth. So you and I were talking about bliss earlier. And you know, perhaps, I mean, this is very speculative, from my perspective, but perhaps, you know, God is sloshing around, because there’s bliss in that. And that’s what we see as the universe. It’s like, why, you know, no fun and loneliness, why just have flat on manifest if we can have this Phantasmagoria of, of forms and phenomenon arising, through which God can live as turtles and cockroaches and human beings and, and have kind of this whole marvelous experience that perhaps there’s some intrinsic, from God’s perspective, some intrinsic fulfillment, in in doing it this way.

Joel Morwood: Chin intrinsic delight,

Rick Archer: the light,

Joel Morwood: fulfillment. Well

Rick Archer: lit Lila, remember,

Joel Morwood: Lila Lila, or Sufi say, this whole universe is a divine self disclosure. And God never repeats himself,

Rick Archer:  right.

Joel Morwood: And they also make a point of saying it isn’t going anywhere. See, this moment is no better than the next moment or the past moment is equally divine self disclosure, right now is just as much a divine self disclosure. If I was sitting in a cathedral listening to Gregorian chants. At that level, they’re equally Divine Self disclosures. So it’s, it’s it’s the unfolding of the delight, the inherent happiness of the Divine.

Rick Archer: So what do you make of St. Teresa’s saying of at appeers that God Himself is on the journey. You don’t think there’s possibly some kind of evolutionary direction going on in the grand scheme of things?

Joel Morwood: As a relative way of looking at it, I don’t mind that. But I would say it’s like this. Let’s say, you wake up and you’re just unreasonably happy, right? In the morning just for no reason, particularly just nothing’s going wrong, and just had a great night’s sleep, you wake up, you’re just really happy, and you get in the shower, and you start to say, you know, I got plenty, and nothing is planning for me. Now, you’re not singing in order to become happy, you’re not singing to get someplace, right? You’re just gonna just enjoy expressing, you’re expressing the happiness that’s there. So in that sense, I guess God’s on a journey of how much it’s an artistic thing

Rick Archer: How much fun can I have?

Joel Morwood: Yes, yes, you could put it that way. You know, how much can I express? And, and in how many ways infinite ways and constantly changing? You know, I once heard a Zen master give a little talk. And the whole talk, he started by saying this day will never come again. This day has never been before, and it will never come again. And the whole point and he talks and he’s circling around, you always come back to that. I always come back to that. Because this is it. This is it. And our problem is we’re looking for what’s coming down the pike. You know, where’s this? Where’s this all going? And when I’m gonna get there, and you know, and so we’re, we’re missing it.

Rick Archer: That’s nice.

Joel Morwood: This day.

Rick Archer:  Yeah. I like your singing in the shower analogy. I mean, if everything is God, then somehow the qualities of God must be getting revealed through His creation, and, you know, look at an artist or a jazz musician or something. They just revel in creativity. And always doing something new and creating, you know, they’re like, little little gods in a way, expressing that that thing that we see happening on a grand cosmic scale.

Joel Morwood: I mean, one of my favorite analogies specifically jazz and, and jazz improvisation,

Rick Archer: right.

Joel Morwood: God doesn’t know what’s coming next.

Rick Archer: Yeah. Chick Corea or something.

Joel Morwood: Yeah. Yeah. You know, just its structure. It’s not chaos. Yeah. And you know, there’s discipline, it’s like you were talking about there’s order and you know, we can talk about it in that sense. So it’s not just anything goes kind of thing. But that freedom in the discipline, they’re not separate. freedom is freedom isn’t the opposite of discipline, freedom comes from the discipline, and God plays and this is the whole point

Rick Archer: of like, Harrison Ford in, in Raiders of the Lost Ark, you know, someone said to him, Well, what’s the plan? He said, I don’t know. I’m making this up as I go along.

Joel Morwood: Yes.

Rick Archer: Let me ask you a couple of questions that came in. This is Dan from London, dance this question take me a minute to read. Dan says, you mentioned that you had an experience of being lucid when falling asleep. Every night when I go to sleep, I have a practice of watching what happens when I fall asleep. If I go into a dream, one of the things I noticed is that everything starts dividing into different dream characters. It’s interesting to notice that the experience of those characters is as real as the experience of people in my waking life. I’m kind of proving to myself that everything resides within within and the experience of others the duality is an illusion. Do you have any guidance on what kinds of other sleep slash dream practices I can do? Have? I’ve kind of created these practices myself, but would love to get some guidance? I find it wonderful that we have this sleep time to explore reality in a different state of consciousness.

Joel Morwood: Wow, very good. The Tibetans have dream practices, you might check them out. Definite dream practice what to do they say that any practice you do in the waking state is nine times as powerful if you do it in the dream state. And because this because the dream state the emptiness of phenomena is obvious if you’re lucid and this is why this the whole analogy the dream is so universal, because when we’re not lucid we take it to be have a reality it doesn’t have when we’re lucid, we realize it’s not that the dream disappears, but we realize its true nature is just a manifestation of consciousness. Now, here’s my suggestion, since you can be lucid in dreams, which is great. This is half the practices to become lucid. One of the things you can do is try to make the dream more vivid. In other words, let’s say your dream walking through a forest right? So listen and see if you can get the sounds of the birds near me. See if you can maybe even smell so you can get a little smell of rain or something going and wreath particularly reach out and touch a tree and touch the tree and see if you can’t make that tactile sensation as vivid as possible. And then you will see more that how this world awaking world appears to be so real And yet it’s made of consciousness. So it will really deepen that insight into the what the Buddhists called the emptiness of phenomena, the emptiness of the world. And then I have one other suggestion after you’ve done that for a while, try to dissolve your dream. But stay lucid. Let your dream as it dissolves, take you to dreamless sleep, the state of dreamless sleep. And when you get there, Stop, Drop everything, surrender everything, don’t go looking for something, because there ain’t nothing there. Just completely surrendered to that just completely allow everything to dissolve with the dream. That’s it. See, one of our problems we have, when we encounter the the opportunities to see the formlessness we always see the form, but the formlessness is we don’t recognize what we’re seeing. So our attention skips over. So it skips over the whole night. You know, we go we fall asleep, we have some dreams and falls, there’s nothing there and dreamless sleep. So we thought, okay, there’s nothing to see. I mean, we don’t think that way, but our attention doesn’t, doesn’t stay there. So and do this and don’t, you know, be patient, it may not work the first time or whatever, keep coming back. Keep deepening that sense of the emptiness of the phenomena in the dream, and then allow the dream to dissolve and allow the dream to do just that the dream is a myriad creature. And you watch how it arises. And you watch how it disappears and where it disappears to cool. That’s my suggestion.

Rick Archer: There was one from Carlos Castaneda to Don Juan said, just see if you can see your hand in front of your face in your dream. And that’s it. That’s a simple one somebody can try. So here’s another question. This one? Let’s see. I realized you personally knew Franklin Merrill Wolf, can you help me to understand what Franklin Merrill wolf meant by his concept of, quote, high indifference.

Joel Morwood: And I say the truth, I never said this directly. But I think he regretted his choice of words, because he always had to defend the indifference part. So for those of you who don’t know, Franklin, Mara Wolf, he was a mystic philosopher, he had a realization in 1936. And it lasted, he called it a nirvanic realization, you recognize or he actually liked preferred the term recognition. And then there was a period of 33 days, where, again, he was filled with this bliss. This is really strong for him, he was he called it a current of bliss. And he actually had to try to manage it so he could continue functioning. And this culminated in an experience, and I shouldn’t say experience of us be more careful. And another recognition, which he called the high indifference. And in the high indifference, it was a state of perfect equilibrium. No good, no bad, no grasping, no pushing away, and no desire and just absolutely perfect equilibrium. And he could have stayed there forever. This is like a state. But the only movement there was was compassion, and natural compassion. And this wasn’t him doing I’m feeling compassionate. It was just out of this high indifference, this compassion arose. And he carried on and became a teacher and wrote his books. And so it was like, it was like, what a little bit talking about before is like, even letting go of that bliss, even saying, okay, the bliss is ain’t Yeah. And that’s what he meant by high indifference.

Rick Archer: It’s interesting that compassion should arise out of indifference, because ordinarily, we think of indifference as like, I don’t even care, you know, whatever happens, you know, everybody can die or whatever, you know,

Joel Morwood: right.

Rick Archer: But you know, so there’s a sort of a paradox between those two words,

Joel Morwood: there is and that’s why he always had to defend it now didn’t mean it at all in our normal definition of indifference as being above everything and all that it was. It was the indifference was the suspension of all judgment, being one way to put it.

Rick Archer: There’s a nice section in your book, which I just finished reading, not didn’t finish the whole book, but it finished this section about Ghana versus bhakti. But you know, knowledge versus devotion, and it would seem that and I think you say this, too, that it’s not necessarily whichever path you take, you kind of end up with both. And there are examples of great nannies great, you know, enlightened people, knowledgeable people who were also great Vak This such as Ramana, Maharshi, was devoted to Arunachala and Nisargadatta was, you know, I was singing poojas and Bob Jones and stuff like that. And, oh, there are many other examples. So you feel like we’ve gone on pretty long, but you feel like talking a little bit about it because sometimes, you know, non duality and talk of Enlightenment and all has a kind of a dry connotation to it, and motionless. And I think you mentioned in your book, sometimes even Guyanese people with a knowledge orientation kind of ridicule doctors as being sort of moody or emotional and in a kind of making concessions with with illusion by by creating dualities, and in order to be devotional and just throw a final point. Shankar himself said, the intellect imagines duality for the sake of devotion, and he too, was a great, great devotee, in addition to being an incredibly knowledgeable man,

Joel Morwood: right? So, for those who don’t know, these are Sanskrit terms, Janata and bhakti simply means Janata means knowledge, but we’re not talking about the intellectual knowledge. We’re talking about Gnosis in fact, does, by the way, the same room. I call it I pronounce it Jnana. You can pronounce it.

Rick Archer: It’s kind of like as if you’re holding your nose. Yeah,

Joel Morwood: I know. And I’m terrible. Languages. If you listen to my tapes and stuff, I butcher these words.

Rick Archer: You’re born in New York City, why can I say

Joel Morwood: yes, right. But anyway, g n o of Gnosis is the G and A of Guyana,

Rick Archer: right?

Joel Morwood: These have the same route and then bhakta is the bhakti is the path of devotion. So these are recognized in Sanskrit as two different approaches to the divine. The Bhagavad Gita also talks about karma yoga. But anyway, these are the Bhagavad Gita is a classic example of how a Texas says, you know, either way you get there, it’s fine. But the bag of a Gita says something interesting also says, bhakta is easier for people than Jnana. And I think it’s historically true that more mistakes have been bought these about this than genomics. But these are also two ends of a spectrum. They’re not actually different. Totally different roads and my experience and the experience of people I’ve worked with an if you read through the literature, they start to come together. That Catherine of genuis, CNN race, yeah, anyway. She says that, the more you know, God, the more you love God, the more you love God, the more you want to know, God. So it’s, you know, they start to work together. And anyway, but here’s the thing, people start off because of their temperaments, or because of their experiences, usually in one camp or the other. And the anybody who’s curious about life and who they are, and what’s that all about Alfie or whatever, it can be a Jnana. But you can’t really be a bhakta unless you’ve had some experience of the divine in some form. And because you the whole energy, the whole movement of Bach is to fall in love in the form of God. So if you’ve never had an experience of God, you know, just, if you’ve never been in love with another human being, while you don’t know what that’s about, you can’t just make yourself fall in love with somebody. But once you’ve had an experience of God, ah, that devotions, aroused, and so forth. So people have that. I call it initiation, I don’t mean a ritual initiation. But that initiation can come through many ways it might be through in flesh guru that you meet, like in India, that’s very common way, it might be just an experience of overwhelming love. That happened to Simone de was a Christian, Western Christian mystic. It might be a sense, even more Bhamati like the and the intelligence, the marvelous harmony, the the way things fit together, you know, and that’s the beauty. Let’s put it that way. The Plato was, you could say his bhakti element was this following the beauty of creation. So there are a lot of ways you could do this. But the idea is that you you start to have something some form of the Divine, that you surrender yourself to the Jnana goes and looks for this self. Well, who am I is the central question for Janata, Pat. So, who am I really and you start digging in and you do practice of inquiry and meditation and the Jhana bhakti path is more devotional singing and stuff like that. But then prayer in the heart and whatnot, it’s all about surrendering self, but finally, you get they get first of all, the reason they go the same place is because who you are is God. That thou art you know, the Atman is Brahman, as they say in the Hindu tradition. You know, you have no other nature than the Buddha nature’s when he says Buddhists and so forth. So the Come Together, the two roads come together at the end. But they, they, they both end that a paradox really, the for the Janani, looks for the self and never finds herself. Okay, this is the whole point you think you’re an ego self? Well, so start looking for, and you’re never going to find one and the bhakta wants to surrender the self. But you know, as long as you’re there surrendering the self, the self isn’t surrender. So I’d be very sincere and all that, God, I love you please, you know, take me, here I am, take me Well, here I am taitneamh, the me is the one that has to get surrendered. So both paths and in, they don’t achieve Enlightenment, but they self destruct, they end in a place where you can’t go any further. And so Ramana Maharshi, I think says this most beautifully. He says, sadness practices are needed, as long as there are obstacles there for the end as needed, as long as you haven’t realized they are for putting an end to obstacles. But then they’ll come a time when you cannot do the sadness. The much cherish sadness anymore. And that’s when the self reveals itself. Now, there’s a key phrase in there, you cannot do them. It’s not like you decided to give them up, say, Well, you know, I’m beyond that I get these high states, I don’t need to do these practices anymore. No, they’re much cherished you, you’ve come to depend on the sadhanas these practices, and then you just cannot do and now you’re stuck. Now you’ve gone out on the limb, there’s no going back, and the lightning strikes and you fall. So I look at whether it’s marked the origin on and that’s the way I look at a spiritual path and why? First of all, it’s necessary, what works and all that, but it doesn’t produce Enlightenment. In fact, if you got a moment more, I’ll tell you an analogy, this favorite analogy, it’s like, see, I’m sitting on a side street really, in Eugene, Oregon, wait quite far away from any freeway. And I’m sitting here and the chances of my getting run over by a Mack truck are very small, very small, it’s possible one could come down the hill and, and be speeding and lose its brakes and crash in this building kill me. But it’s not very likely. However, if I go down to a main street in Eugene, with a lot of Mack Trucks, and I sit in the middle of Main Street, I got a better chance of getting run over. And if I dress all in black and go out on the interstate five freeway in the middle of the night, and sit real good chance, really good chance I’ve increased it. So a spiritual path is like like that. It’s it’s the vesting yourself more and more of the conditioning, the obstacles that prevent your Realization. But in the last analysis, it’s beyond as the Buddhists say it’s nothing that can be created by human hands. And of course, all the theistic traditions say it comes by grace, ultimately, there has to be an element of grace.

Rick Archer: Yeah, there’s a friend of mine who, well actually, there’s an old Zen saying that Enlightenment may be an accident, but spiritual practices make you accident prone. For the way a friend of mine puts it, as you know, there’s a good chance. I mean, there’s a chance that if you enter the lottery, buy a ticket once a week, you’re gonna win and you’re going to be rich for the rest of your life. But I wouldn’t necessarily make that a retirement plan. You know, so they’re, you know, certain, it could be that you’ll just get enlightened by not doing anything and just go about your life. And

Joel Morwood: well, even that, though, essentially, because if you read people who didn’t do any practice and got enlightened, I think you’ll tend to find that life itself brought them some crisis like Eckhart Tolle, for instance.

Rick Archer:  Sure, yeah. He was nearly suicidal. Right?

Joel Morwood: Right. So life ended, I think, and was on a park bench someplace.

Rick Archer: That was after his awakening. It took him a couple of years to integrate. So he basically fed the squirrels for a couple years while he figured out what had happened to him.

Joel Morwood: But um, that’s another reason to practice so you don’t have to you gotta spend the time either side, you know?

Rick Archer: Yeah.

Joel Morwood: So. But anyway, that was he described some point where he was just he was saying, you know, I can’t stand this anymore.

Rick Archer: I can’t live with myself anymore. He said, he’s a women are there two of me who is a self with whom I can’t live in.

Joel Morwood: So life brought him to this place of being out on the highway on the freeway dressed in black, you see,

Rick Archer: yeah,

Joel Morwood: that he didn’t have to bring practices but we don’t have to wait for that. We can we can do that to ourselves, we can take up a path of practices that self destruct, they destroy themselves, but they also destroyed the delusion of self.

Rick Archer: Yeah. I also happen to think and if we agree with the Gita, the Gita says that, you know, you may have done a lot of spiritual practice in past lives. And that’s and when you come into this life, you’re gonna pick up where you left off. So I think a lot of these people who have these spontaneous awakenings have actually paid their dues at some point, you know,

Joel Morwood: may well be in a relative sense, yes indeed.

Rick Archer: All right, well, this is great. I could talk to you all day. I say that every No, I don’t say that to everybody. I particularly enjoyed this conversation. Yeah. And your books are great. I’ll link to them on your BatGap page that I’ll create. And I highly recommend them that the autobiographical one is very interesting. The sort of details of what you’ve gone through in your life are kind of fascinating. And the, the the other one, what’s the one about? The second one was called getting

Joel Morwood: through death’s gate?

Rick Archer: No, the other

Joel Morwood: Selflessness

Rick Archer: Yeah, we have selflessness. That’s the one I’m reading now. And it’s really a rich book. I mean, they’re literally maybe, I don’t know, 600 different quotes in there from all kinds of beautiful sources. And the whole thing is laid out very systematically, and really interesting book to read. And I’m not just in the game here to promote books. But if you know, sometimes people ask me, was there one particular book I should read, and that’s one of the good ones, I think it really takes you through a lot of interesting points and lays it out in a, in a clear way with reference to all sorts of different spiritual traditions and authorities from all over the world.

Joel Morwood: Well, in my path, I just say say the reason that ends up this way is because I told you, I was reading books from different traditions, and finding the same almost word for word from, you know, traditions and places of 1000s of miles and years apart. And that really made a strong impression on me, and was very persuasive to me that there was some sort of inter Subjective Truth that these people had realized. And that really motivated me. So I just tried to reflect that in the book and say, you know, the, hey, they’re talking about the same thing here, even though they come from different backgrounds.

Rick Archer: Yeah. Great. All right. Well, thanks, Joel. I’ve really enjoyed this conversation. Do you have any final little wrap up points you want to make in terms of like, I’m gonna link to your website and all that, but do you have anything in particular going on? Do you want to call people’s attention to?

Joel Morwood: I would just say I would sum it all up by saying selflessness.

Rick Archer: Okay.

Joel Morwood: selflessness is the way it’s the truth. And it’s the fruit.

Rick Archer: It’s the way the truth and the life. Good. So let me make a couple of just general wrap up points. If you’ve been watching another in a series of interviews with spiritually awake or Awakening people, I always say both because I don’t know seems to me everybody’s still awakening no matter how awake they are. But we could, we could get another hour of debate about that. And as I mentioned, in the beginning, there are over 300 of these now, so go to And you’ll see them all organized and categorized in various ways under the past interviews menu. Thanks for the 36 or so people who’ve been watching the live stream, we have some technical difficulties with that sometimes, if you try to do that in the future, and things aren’t working properly, we try. I will update the link on the upcoming interviews page to one which does work if I have had to create a new live stream. So if you refresh that page and click on that link, it should work. There’s a Donate button I mentioned earlier, there’s the place to sign up to be notified by email each time a new interview is posted. There’s an audio podcast to this whole thing. I just was talking to a friend this morning who said he’s driving to Fremont and I explained to them all you can download the whole thing as a podcast and get it on your iPhone and listen while you’re driving. So that interested me didn’t realize it. And a bunch of other stuff, explore the menus and you’ll see some interesting things. We even have the BatGap theme song as a ringtone that interest. So thanks for listening. You’re watching we’ll see you next week. Next week is Loch Kelly. See you then.