John Churchill Transcript

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John Churchill 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 conversations with spiritually Awakening people. We’ve done nearly 700 of them now if this is new to you and you’d like to check out previous ones, please go to and look under the past interviews menu where you’ll see them arranged in about four different ways. This program is made possible through the support of appreciative and listeners and viewers. So if you appreciate it and would like to help support it, there are PayPal buttons on every page of the website and there’s a page explaining alternatives to PayPal. My guest today is Dr. John Churchill. Now you can say thank you, John. Considered prematurely before John was born in London. His interest is in psycho spiritual development, integral theory, contemplative studies, Western esotericism and Mahayana, Buddhism, and all that began in his adolescence. During this time John received the esoteric plan planetary Dharma transmissions that would in time unfold as his contribution to a planetary fourth turning teaching. He spent 15 years training and teaching great seal meditation in an indo Tibetan Mahayana lineage. under the mentorship of the late senior Western teacher, translator respected author and clinical psychologist Dr. Daniel P. Brown, whom I interviewed a few years ago. He is also a founding member of the integral Institute led by esteemed transpersonal integral philosopher Ken Wilber, who is also on BatGap. John has received advanced training in attachment therapy, hypnosis, positive psychology for peak performance, and the pointing out style of Maha Maha Mudra meditation. For the last 25 years, he’s developed a fourth turning planetary Dharma practice, which includes the somatically based contemplative practice path embodying the open ground that integrates psychosomatic healing, adult development and meditation. John holds a doctorate in clinical psychology from William James College, and as a practitioner of traditional Chinese medicine, married to his partner Nicole since 2000. They are co founders of Samadhi intergral, and CO directors of karuna, Mangala. Well, we could spend the next two hours John just having you unpack every little phrase that I mentioned in there.

John Churchill: That must have been my wife’s doing she’s,

Rick Archer: she’s comprehend. But that’s good. I mean, you know, it’s good to give people an overview of what you’re up to. And I first heard about you because a friend of mine did a psychedelic session with somebody who had been trained by you. And so we’ll probably talk about that, too. So what do you think is, let’s see, let’s go for the highest first, you know, the principal the highest First, there’s so many things you could do, but you only have time for so many. So you start ticking them off from the most significant, most profound, most important, based on that principle. What shall we start with?

John Churchill: Um, it’s a great question. Well, I mean, let’s, we’re both lovers of meditation. Why don’t we stop, stop? Okay.

Rick Archer: Yeah, you have a new program meditating for decades, right? Yeah,

John Churchill: I mean, once one of the things that what I’ve been working on particularly the last five years is what a new contemplative system would look like, calibrated to the needs of Westerners at this particular point in history. So I feel like different contemplative systems arise based on the the needs of the moment and also the kinds of personalities that design the systems and how the realizations and yeah, I feel like we’re at a, we’re in a unique juncture in history. So I know that we have the opportunity of having access to a number of pretty complete contemplative systems. So what I’ve been interested in is what I would call contemplative engineering meaning, once you understand the the metacognitive and attentional dynamics behind the contemplative path, you can then begin to ask questions like, well, how what would the optimal path look like if you’ve got to design it from the bottom up? And that’s that’s kind of where my interest with meditation is right now.

Rick Archer: Yeah. And every single phrase you mentioned there pop the question in my mind. So we will see, first of all, do you equate meditation with contemplation? And how do you define contemplation

John Churchill: contemplates off? Well, I mean contemplative practices in the Tibetan tradition, I think the term for meditation means like, means literally to familiarize yourself with a particular state. Right. So, that could include both attentional training, right, which is a narrowing of the field, which leads to certain kinds of progressive progressions of, of state and of concentration and of genres, if you will. And then you also have insight practices, right, which are looking in metacognitively, examining the structures of mind, the self structure, the attentional system, time and space and seeing through those to recognize a, you know, a deeper basis of operation. And then you have contemplative practices, which are just really about resting in the nature of mind, or just naturally resting. And all of those are important, because those are all different dimensions of the minds that we have, right? We want to cross train the mind. Now,

Rick Archer: as you may know, you know, my path was Transcendental Meditation, I learned it back in the 60s, and I taught it for about 25 years. And one of the things we always emphasized was that it was unique in that it didn’t involve contemplation, or concentration. And that I’m not a I’m not a drum beater for for Transcendental Meditation, I’m obviously very eclectic in my appreciation of all the different paths that people can, can pursue, or I wouldn’t be able to do this program. And I’ve certainly talked to many people who have achieved tremendous results on all kinds of different paths. But, you know, when I was a teacher that, you know, the idea of contemplation or concentration, they had this bias that they were somehow not as effective because they would disallow transcending, they would keep the mind either entertaining something on the level of meaning contemplation, or they would, they would sort of agitate or hold the mind, using concentration and disallow it from effortlessly slipping into the transcendent. How would you respond to those questions?

John Churchill: Well, let’s look at the transcendent afterwards. But first, if we work with the attentional system, because what you’re calling contemplation, practice, or what the Tibetans would call calm staying, is really about the stabilizing of the attentional system. And the attentional system is at the center of the self structure. So the self by that I mean, recommend, John. And so since it’s the center of the cell structure, it maintains the continuity of the self by attending to the various dimensions of the self sensations, thoughts, beliefs, all of that is maintained by the attentional system.

Rick Archer: And so if we don’t attend to any of those things, then the self dissipates momentarily.

John Churchill: Well, if you Yeah, so if you use a practice where you don’t deal with the attentional system, it’s very easy to transcend the the self and the attentional system. However, if it doesn’t necessarily transform the self structure, and and the attentional system that’s residing within the self. So if we want to have a practice, that, that addresses, all the levels of mind all the levels of brain, we don’t want to transcend, and not include, because if you don’t include the cell structure, and its transformation, then essentially the self has been left out of the meditative technol technology. So in my mind, the function of the practice of contemplation practice has to do with the the process of kind of bringing character development to its fruition, so to speak, and the unification of the sub minds of the personality and the the centering of the of the self structure within, let’s say, the heart. So, and that’s meant to be a realization that continues off the cushion. So that becomes a new basis of operation for the self structure. And then we and then we can have more transcendental practices, that that kind of leave from there. But the truth is, is we’re always going to come back to the self structure. So we don’t want to transcend. We don’t want the self structure not to be integrated into these practices. Otherwise it doesn’t, it gets left behind.

Rick Archer: Yeah, yeah, those are very good points. I mean, you know, when I was teaching, the the teaching was if you transcend everything else will be brought along like pulling one leg of the table all the other legs calm or like watering the root of a tree and all the leaves and branches flourish. But in practice over the decades, and I underwent huge transformations as a result of my practice, but I’ve really come to the conclusion observing people in this community, who have been practicing for decades that that’s insufficient, there, there absolutely needs to be some kind of attention to ethical development, critical thinking skills, you know, various things that therapies or other kinds of methods could help to culture. Otherwise, a lot of those things just don’t seem to go anywhere. Then I’m reminded of Ken Wilber his lines of development theory, which we can throw in here at some point.

John Churchill: So well, so just jotting some notes down so I can hold this. So examine exactly, if you look at that, say, the Tibetan indo Tibetan tradition, it’s a university tradition. So and in the Mahayana, in the, the, the tradition of Maitreya, you know, it was in the text by Mitra Mitra points out Listen, the path of the bodhisattva doesn’t, doesn’t come online unless you engage in what they call the Bible, the sciences, meaning that that meditation itself wasn’t enough for the kind of integral weaving, of pista, Mala G hermeneutics, ethics, medicine, psychology, that actually, the path wasn’t just about states, it was about traits. And, and traits involve the integration of ethics, motivation, psychology, into something that is much more well woven together than just relying upon, you know, a contemplative meditative state,

Rick Archer: right? And you would probably agree that just having stays like going into Samadhi for a minute or two or something like that, does not necessarily bleed into the rest of your life and bring about a changed trait.

John Churchill: It can but why why rely upon one one line of of development when you can rely upon five, five and have them woven together?

Rick Archer: Yeah, I agree. Yeah, I agree. What what

John Churchill: comes to mind hearing as it is, you know, the the insights sister round, what, what can Cause the fourth turning are a number of people call the fourth turning is the integration, particularly of our western, psychodynamic, psychodynamic understanding. So, in my practice, and my work with students, what I’ve come to see is how, you know, in order to stabilize trait development, in order to spur that stabilization to happen, there are various psychodynamic issues that need to be worked for. And the deepest ones are related to the attachment system. i How, how safe does the psyche feel, because of the psyche, if in the background, the psyche, you know, that they’re issues from childhood, and you’re suppressing them, and you’re transcending them. The attentional system is always going to be seeking in the background, some kind of security. So if you don’t address if we use the language of the chakras, if you don’t address the stability of the first chakra, and the second and the third, which were all the psychodynamic issues, are those lower chakras continued to drive cognitions and, and citta, vritties, that you’re then suppressing, when actually rather than suppressing them, what needs to be addressed, are those kind of those lacks those those issues that haven’t been there having a look through, and when they work through the the attentional system is no longer searching for something and the ability to just to just stay and make those states into traits becomes becomes a lot easier.

Rick Archer: That’s great. Please define Citta vritties, for the sake of the audience,

John Churchill: oh, that the fluctuations of consciousness of mind of thought and energy, right? In most beginning meditators, as you know, struggle with a with a monkey mind. The most of the monkey mind is driven in the background by actually a sense of insecurity. So, yeah,

Rick Archer: you’re probably aware of the second verse of the Yoga Sutras yoga, chitta Vritti nirodha, that yoga is the cessation of the Citta vritties or the fluctuations of the mind. And I’d always kind of thought of that as being kind of spontaneous and automatic as a result of transcending, but the Then again, even Patanjali, who wrote that had a whole shopping list of different things that ought to be attended to if you really want it to be successful.

John Churchill: Yeah. And I think that that I just think that that we need to reexamine that shopping list and ask ourselves, what have we learned in the last 100 years? Actually, what have we learned maybe the last few 1000 years as Westerners that support that process? Because clearly, you know, we as Westerners, we also have some insights into how the psyche works. It’s not, it’s not all, not all over there in the east.

Rick Archer: Yeah. So a broader question that’s relevant to all this is, you know, we’ve seen over the last half century, or even earlier, if we count Yogananda for instance, waves of Eastern teachers coming from that culture, Tibetan or Buddhist or Hindu, and, you know, landing in the West, with varying degrees of integration and success. I mean, in some cases, it’s been a total disaster and other cases, it’s kind of successful. And, you know, a lot of these people grew up in ashrams or monastic situations, and then all of a sudden found themselves and a much more worldly venue, and succumb to those temptations. And that created all kinds of problems. So I think what I partly what I hear you saying is that we need to adapt and filter and modify these eastern teachings in order to make them fit in the West, and be more effective and successful that what necessary, what worked in their milieu isn’t necessarily going to work when it’s transplanted here.

John Churchill: Yeah, I do believe that if we look at how many, what the pedagogical six what the educational success was, of these contemplative educational processes, whether it was Patanjali, is yoga sutras or other systems, I think my sense is, is that they were really reserved for an elite,

Rick Archer: very often a monastic elite.

John Churchill: And so coming here to the west, we now these teachings are meeting a different kind of population. And you know, a lot of issues can be quieten down in an ashram or a monastery, you can ignore it or avoid it. And that’s what I meant he could be ignored. I mean, as a father hanging out with two teenagers, I mean, it’s, I mean, nothing can be ignored. Right, so so we have to we need the opportunity of that is to really is not just really about integrating the east, you know, adapting it, it’s actually building new contemplative systems that really are fundamentally an integration of Eastern and Western, from the ground up.

Rick Archer: Yeah. So I suppose that would work both ways. You know, the Eastern teachers could come here and be supplemented or augmented with with various Western systems and then transplanted back to the east and be of even greater benefit there than they were before?

John Churchill: I think so. Yeah, I really believe that. You know, one thing, of course, it’s the is interesting is just around meditation research, which over the last 15 years, it’s just shot way up. But 99 99% of it is, is on Eastern Eastern practices. And, you know, in my mind, there is a, there is a psychological shadow there that the West has, around not really understanding the depth of our own esoteric tradition. And that, that that also needs to be resolved. Because if you don’t really understand where you’ve cut, where, where we’ve come from, you know, if we don’t understand our own history, then it’s difficult to also kind of move forward into into the future.

Rick Archer: Well, what is our western esoteric tradition, when I think of that, I think of the transcendentalist, but they got it from the east, or maybe maybe mystical Christianity or something.

John Churchill: Well, at least for Christianity, you have the, you know, the, the, I mean, as a European I grew up and grew up in the UK, and being x being around. If you and I were having these conversations 300 years ago, 400 years ago, whether you know, we would be part of whether it was the Rosicrucians or the or the Freemasons or the alchemists, those kinds of an old way back to like the the Greek mysteries, you know, the Eleusinian mysteries, the dynastic history is I think it’s important for Westerners to understand how we lost our own indigenous nadis traditions, right? I mean, this is where also the kind of my interest in psychedelics comes from, because honestly, I believe that that was always a part of the Western traditions until they were taken out by the Romans. So, so I, you know, really, I think we’re at this weird an interesting time in history where not only do we have access to all the contemplative traditions of the East, but there were also some significant traditions of the West that had been hiding, because they had to hide either from the church and then, and then they kind of hid from science, because, you know, no one likes to be no likes to be laughed at.

Rick Archer: Yeah, and not, and as you just alluded, not only European traditions of European origin, such as the Rosicrucians, and all that, but the indigenous native American, South America, and so on, has, you know, all kinds of stuff there, including psychedelics, as you just mentioned. So, but it’s vast, of course, there’s so many different things, how do you distill it all and into practical applications? Without being guilty of trying to dig 10 different wells? You know, syndrome? Well,

John Churchill: yes. I mean, I think that that’s where, you know, some degree of mastery in a, you know, one or two systems, and some degree of knowledge around these things is helpful. Yeah. I mean, there’s, there’s always a danger of doing that, and then have slapping something together. But, you know, my mind, if you approach it from a psychological perspective, from a from understanding, the cognitive and metacognitive and affective motivation, we understand it from the, from the science side, and then look at how these practices differ and how they are similar. And, you know, so my, my teacher, Dr. Dr. Daniel Brown, passed away recently. He wrote a book with Ken Wilber Hagen in late 80s. I think it was or growth. Yeah, like transformations of consciousness. Did you ever read that?

Rick Archer: I don’t know, I ended up I read something when I interviewed him. But I don’t know if it’s probably something more recent that he had written I think,

John Churchill: way back, then way back when, what what Dr. Dan did was analyzed, look at the deep structure of three different Buddhist traditions, actually, that was two different Buddhist traditions, Maha Mudra, and the Vishuddha Maga, and then potentially yoga sutras. So basically, with the with the analysis of contemplative psychologists looking at the cognitive and the metacognitive dynamics that going in, so it’s kind of like looking under the hood, looking at the nature of the path, looking at the stages, looking at what those stages are doing, and then converting them all into a neutral psychological language, like the, and then work out, oh, this is where they’re similar. So once you have a technical language that allows you to translate these traditions out of their own vernacular and into a neutral technical language, then you can start to compare and contrast. And from that, that’s when you can begin to get a sense of well, what’s the deep design. So once you do that, with, let’s say, the Buddhist traditions, then you can begin to want to get a sense of that deep structure from that place, you can then begin to slowly move out and look at other paths and look at their deep structures. And slowly but surely, that that tree begins to reveal itself. So I think it has to, obviously has to be done with, with, with intelligence, but it’s a work that I think has been underway for the last 40 years to some extent,

Rick Archer: I imagine there will always be a plethora of different spiritual practices that people will do all over the world, following their natural inclinations, or their cultural upbringing and so on. But at least if they, I think what you’re saying is, you know, you want to make available something, which is readily known as not just some hidden esoteric thing, which will be really effective if people engage with it. And us, as Westerners, of course, yes, we haven’t.

John Churchill: We haven’t. We haven’t read it. We probably haven’t designed a contemplative system. I mean, there’s, there’s, there’s a contemplative prayer, you know,

Rick Archer: Father, centering prayer, yeah.

John Churchill: Centering Prayer, thank you. Yes, centering prayer, and, but we haven’t here in the West had had a new contemplative system for a while. And in my mind, like the Western tradition, I mean, so the kind of Western tradition that I feel connected to is the Gnostic kind of Alexandria, where Where there’s a few where you meet a number of streams a meeting, and it’s about the kind of scientific inquiry around, well, what’s the common denominator here between these various traditions? And using logic and using hermeneutics and epistemology to, to get a sense of what what is, you know, what’s the best thing for us to be practicing?

Rick Archer: For the sake of the audience? Would you please define hermeneutics and epistemology?

John Churchill: Well, let’s, let’s move. So, understanding, you know, how do we interpret experience, understanding how we interpret what it means to be a human being, understand how we interpret texts. So I mean, basically, the, if we apply the social sciences, to looking at the end the psychological sciences, to looking at these various streams that are coming to us, so these various contemplative traditions, in my mind, part of the Western tradition is kind of looking and studying with more of a kind of a scientific approach of like, well, how does that work? And how does that work? And, and what’s the similarity here? And then seeing and then, and then from that, developing technology, which is what we do without the technologies? We’re very good at that. I think for some reason, we, you know, for the last 500,000 years, 2000 years have locked, haven’t been engaged with into internal technology’s in the same way. But there’s no reason that we can’t be right, at least in the West. We haven’t, right we have. That’s right. And in the East they have. But, I mean, granted, there’s always going to be traditions, but my mind, the Western tradition of kind of, of inquiry and science and refinement. That’s, I think that that’s, that’s something important, even in this dimension.

Rick Archer: I agree. And it’s a topic that excites me, I gave a whole talk on it at the sands conference one year, just about the the ways in which science and spirituality could enrich and support and supplement one another core if they were to collaborate properly. And to its credit, of course, Eastern spirituality has had a rather scientific approach with compared to Western religions that don’t expect you to believe something they want you they might tell you some things and say, Okay, now experiment and see if you can prove for yourself

John Churchill: what is true. But what what I have noticed, which has made this is a generalization is that tends to be within a particular system. So let’s say this is one system, let’s say Patanjali is or the Vishuddha Marga, which is the insight system, or option or Mahamudra, or Tantras. But rarely do you say well, okay, well, this is one system. And if you follow it, it works. And this is another system in follow, it works. And now let’s take all those systems and take those systems to pieces now that you have, and see how do these components work? And like, Is this is this a good component compared to that component, and then, you know, you put them together and you run them you like, Oh, that’s a little bit, that works a bit better. You’ve generally, except for, let’s say, the really great masters, like in Tibet, where you begin to see that kind of creativity, generally, you don’t see that kind of creativity. On the other hand, in the West, we have the other idea that, Oh, you’re going to be creative immediately. Right? And then everybody, everybody hangs out their shingle, right? You know, and that happens in yoga, right? You go, everyone’s got their own kind of yoga. But, but that, you know, that it doesn’t have to happen like that you can you can look at these things through a serious perspective, talk with people who have really mastered them, master a couple of systems. And then from that place, you get a sense of, you know, what works and what, what, what works, what doesn’t. And, of course, this my own my own journey, part of that is also being informed, if you will, by something that wants to come from the future, that it’s kind of saying, listen, these are the these are the specific plans. Right? These are the stats, here’s the blueprint, go and get that piece and go and get that piece and put these things together. So So there’s also that piece as well.

Rick Archer: Yeah, I have a question in the back of my mind about this future point. But before I ask that thing you just said a minute ago, if, if these traditions, especially Eastern traditions, are supposed to be about knowing what reality is, knowing what the self is, knowing what the ultimate reality, Brahman or whatever it is, experientially, then, you know, one could ask, well, if you pursue all these different things Hindu and Buddhist and all the different variations of those, are you going to end up all at the same place? But like paths up a mountainside? Or are people all going to be experiencing something different according to which path they took, in which case, it would seem that none of the paths is really working, or at least, because you’re really supposed to arrive? I mean, you’d like to think that all the great adaptation of all traditions in eastern and western could get together in a room with Google Translate or something and be in complete agreement with one another because they’d all arrived at the ultimate truth.

John Churchill: Yeah, well, this service, I think, generally, this this, there’s two piece pieces one is is like is around the kind of perspectives of the meditative takes the for instance, there’s a very similar level of practice from in the yoga sutras. Compared to the Buddhist tradition, it’s a level of practice where you’re beginning just look at how experiences unfold. And as I understand it, in the yoga sutra tradition, it’s about eka tatva, which is about the the unfolding of experience like a like a stream, like a flow. And you can look at experience as if it’s a flow. And a lot of the Hindu traditions do, including like the Kashmir Shavon tradition. And you could also look at your experience as in from the as Sonica, which is the Buddhist perspective, which is momentary. Now, of course, a light is both a particle and a wave. And this is what these two guys were saying the Buddhists were saying nananana it’s a particle, and the Hindus were none. And that’s a wave. And yes, it’s true. Like, if you look at it as a wave, it’ll appear as a wave of you look at as a particle, you will see as a particle, I mean, part of a Santa tree tradition would be to be able to say, Hey, Rick, look at it as a wave, and it will do this, look at it, as a particle, it’ll do this look at as a wave of coal, it’ll do this. Right? So So built into understanding that planetary contemplative science is understanding the contexts of these different traditions. And not only that, but also the context of the type. The type of meditator meaning, let’s say, you like typology. So if you have a master, for instance, who I have a suspicion that some of the great masters of a concentration traditions had Asperger’s. Right? These are dudes who could sit down and like narrow their mind and not move for three days. Okay, and then when they come out of meditation, and they write out the cartography, all the other monks in the monastery, Allah, Oh, my God, like, right, like, I can’t do that this guy is amazing.

Rick Archer: I’ve sometimes said of myself that OCD can be your friend, you know, because I’ve been so regular meditation for

John Churchill: so we’ve so one of the things I’ve you know, over the last 30 years is I’ve looked at as well look at the, who is the Teacher, you know, like young producers, union psychology, Freud produces Freudian psychology, who the who the person is, and that typology expresses itself as a particular kind of path. Now, once we understand that, you know, we can begin to say, oh, okay, that gives us an understanding of what an integral path might look up because we’re no longer bound by type, we can begin to work out what would be an integral approach that would, which would integrate the insights of a number of different types, right? Because, you know, usually it’s a bell curve, right? So if you’re, if it’s a super devotional kind of sadhana kind of practice, maybe it works great for people who have open hearts and who are, you know, natural bikinis. But if that’s not your thing, then no, if you’ve got a really good concentration, because you you know, that then that can be a psychodynamic thing, meaning, you know, you kind of develop really strong concentration as a child because you just didn’t want to be bothered by anybody. Right? So that’s a facet, then you have people like Jhana yoga practices, where it’s all about intelligence. And people who are super sharp minds can penetrate just through, you know, Collins through metacognitive questioning. So, understanding the the various kinds of typologies super important to getting a sense of well, hang on what what was something that integrates, you know, the, the kind of the old typologies, if you will,

Rick Archer: yeah. And would you necessarily need to integrate them all? Or would you naturally have people who pursue different typologies as you call them or different practices, according to their nature devotional or intellectual or, you know, more action oriented Karma Yoga kind of thing. Um,

John Churchill: well that that’s a possibility, a possibility, I think that some, some of some of the different typologies are like natural. And some of them come out of psychodynamic conflict, some of them come out of actually developmental trauma. And the way that I’m going to adapt to my developmental trauma is by behaving really nice, or the way I adapt to my developmental traumas by being really clever, or, or what have you. And the thing there is, if you if you let the if the person then continues along that line, yes, that’s that you might, I don’t think that that’s their natural aptitude, I think that that’s the character structure. And so to some extent, there is I think there was a universal process of going back to some fundamentals, I, everybody has a body, for instance, right. And so this is where the attachment piece comes in, right, the sense of security and or the necessity for psychological, psychological security, which, at the most fundamental level, comes online when the infant is born and just grabs hold of, of, of, of matter of mother. That is a pretty, that’s a universal. And of course, to some extent, people are able to internalize secure attachment or not or unsecure. So, there are certain dynamics that should be addressed universally, in my mind, you know that a path like a, let’s say, like a degree program, is maybe there are some jet, you need to you want to, you want to move through some general work requirements. And then you get to a place where specialization is actually a choice, rather than specialization is a is a habit?

Rick Archer: Well, in terms of regular education, we all pretty much go through the same things up until a certain point, and then maybe when we get the high school, we start taking elective courses. And that’s right beginning some of us are more into math and some into exactly, you know, music or whatever. Yeah, and I guess you’re saying that, I mean, does that correlate with the spiritual path? I mean, there’s certain fundamentals that you want to build a foundation with, and then you can diversify or specialize after a certain after those have been laid down?

John Churchill: Well, I don’t differentiate between psychological development and spiritual development in the sense of as a psychologist and somebody who’s interested in in the dynamics of the human psyche. In my mind, sacred practice is a dimension of education. And so as it was, let’s say, in the gurukula, right, in Hindu culture, so the way that I look at this is like, well, if we’re going to bring these traditions and embed them into the West in a deep way, when we’re curious hear about them as part of educational systems. So what does that look like, when you begin the contemplative journey at seven, and based on what’s possible at seven and then moving through a curriculum, so that by the time you get to, as you said, you know, high school, you’re beginning to get a sense of what your natural aptitude is, that’s, that’s how I, I am seeing how in 100 years, that’s how it’s gonna be. Yeah, I

Rick Archer: think that’s so important. I mean, all the problems we’re having in society could be so much less if children were able to begin unfolding their full inner potential or spiritual potential as part of their regular education. And there are some examples of that David Lynch Foundation, which is headed by a good friend of mine, has been getting Tm into inner city schools. And Kevin Lee Morgan, who’s been on that gap is doing a lot with Buddhist practices in schools out west in Oregon, and so on. But these are, you know, training efforts compared to the millions of kids who are in school. And usually, they’re met with opposition by fundamentalist Christians so they don’t get too far.

John Churchill: Well, I mean, this is where the the tramp, the full translation of these sacred technologies into a neutral language, right, that that allows them for them to be described in terms of metacognitive perspective taking and, and affective positive state development. That’s where that pieces is, is really important.

Rick Archer: Yeah. Yeah. Maharshi tried to do that with the science of creative intelligence, as he called it, and it was in New Jersey public schools for a while some of them And but the only problem was, he insisted that if people are going to learn meditation, there has to be a puja that ended up in court and got tossed out. Right, the school.

John Churchill: That’s too bad. I mean, I think that I mean, I recognize in TM movement, you know, huge movements to try and bring this about, in my mind, the reason why it’s gonna work much better if it’s at a roundtable, and TM is one of them at the table. On that roundtable, you then develop what a Western Tech would look like, and you have buy in from the Buddhists and you’re buying from TM, and you buy in from these other things. And it’s something that is otherwise it’s your precious, this is my sacred cow. No, no, no, this is my sacred cow. You don’t notice mindfulness TM, you know, that I feel

Rick Archer: like, should be collaborative and cooperative.

John Churchill: It needs to be collaborative, much like, you know, it’s much like if we’re going to put a man on the moon, then, right, which, which we, which we can do that involves technology and involves understanding how multiple pieces of tech fit together. That I think

Rick Archer: then they say, no one knows how we did it. Actually, no one person could have obtained all the knowledge of what got us to the moon, because there’s too much.

John Churchill: That’s right. I think it’s the same thing here. Right, I think that it’s it’s been it needs that kind of approach. You know, one of the things that we’re looking into karuna, my organization is as we get into funding is to build an educational, k 12 model, which has that built into it. You know, right from the beginning, but, but the contemplative practice at the beginning, the dresses, you know, the attachment system, it addresses these very early, because you can concentrate on a number of different things, you can concentrate on a Mantra, you know, you can concentrate on your breath. But you can also concentrate on like the fundamental psychological dynamics that creates safety, security, and trust. And then once those are uploaded, if you will, you can then move to the next chakra, and work on you know, the next center, so to speak, and work on meditating on what it feels like to be deeply felt. Right, so a child internalizes their capacity for self regulation by being felt by another nervous system by an adult’s nervous system. So to the extent that you can actually retrain people to meditate on, oh, that’s what it feels like to be felt by somebody else. What you’re really doing there is you’re reawakening the very mechanism that actually allows for in a regulation, and if you meditate on that, then the nervous system becomes is becomes reorganized, and then we can move our way up to, let’s say, the next stage so that rather than having to transcend these various dynamics, we’re using contemplative technology to heal the attachment system, to heal and strengthen the sense of self, that the sense of self is, is healed and strong, and the strong self esteem, the quietens down really easy. You know, it’s, it’s when there’s conflict. So it’s this kind of, you know, meeting of contemplative science, if you will, psychology, and with the, you know, the, with the traditions is that those pieces coming together, that allows for us to give birth to something, something new.

Rick Archer: Yeah. And we were talking about Western technologies and traditions that and some of those are rather modern, like, for instance, Jeffrey Martin and Shinzen Young are doing things with some kind of thing that magnetically stimulates parts of the brain and chins and says he’s had the best experiences in his entire spiritual career as a result of this thing.

John Churchill: That’s a piece of it. But in my mind, I always go back to human development. So how the human how we unfold? I think a lot of the reasons why like growth slows down is not because we don’t have enough, you know, 580 hertz being pumped into it. But but it’s because we get to a certain point, and then the, the the anchors that are pulling us to our complex trauma from my childhood, that’s what slows development down. Yeah, it gets cleaned up, then naturally, the human being starts to unfold, you know, it’s we’re wired to to unfold with respect to that it.

Rick Archer: That’s a good point, I think. Yeah, we are. And I think probably a lot of the difficulties in society are is that that natural tendency to unfold as you put it is thwarted, is not allowed to unfold. And so people feel so frustrated, and they’re all dying of fentanyl overdoses and on Prozac or whatever large percentage of the population are doing these things, because they’re also frustrated, in a deep way. Yeah, it’s not allowed to blossom.

John Churchill: Now, we know a lot of awesome. I mean, that’s, that’s why, in some ways I feel like well, as Westerners, we have to come up with a contemplative solution. Yeah, we’ve been given these so many gifts. And I think I think it’s time for tonight, we’ll have Dama. Again, let’s give it let’s give it another shot, let’s give it a shot.

Rick Archer: It’s a tricky thing, at least in the US in terms of integrating it into the public schools, because we have the separation of church and state. And whenever anything like this comes in, as I mentioned earlier, you know, fundamentalists begin to squawk. So wouldn’t be enough to say, Okay, you could come in, and also the Buddhists and the Hindus, and everybody else, and we’ll all get around the table, because then the atheists would say, no separation of church or state, you can’t do this, keep it all out of here. So there’s gonna have to be some big changes, somehow even constitutional, perhaps, this would be more widespread.

John Churchill: Well, I feel like that’s where psychology comes in. That’s where contemplative psychology comes in, which is, let’s translate all of this, all of these, all of these terms out of Sanskrit, and don’t get me wrong way. I love Sanskrit and love Sanskrit, but to the extent that they are all converted into psychological terms, then we have something that we can work with, as long as it’s, well, this comes from Buddhism, and this comes from Hinduism, and this comes from Christianity. I think that you’re right. But if it’s if this is already a contemplative psychology, that is the integrates the best of the insights of the East and the West, on its in its own way, in his own language, Western psychological language, which is, you know, phenomenological in the sense that rather than talking about using states like the absolute or, you know, Brahman, or the Atman, we use their the, the times, you’d refuse to describe our phenomenological terms, like, you know, the funding the ultimate openness of experience, or vividness or lucidity or intimacy, or if you’re using terms that are more related to the direct experience, rather than a technical language of a particular tradition. Nice. That’s where I find that we that we have success.

Rick Archer: Yeah, well, it would seem that the if so the Western terminology is going to have to become a lot more nuanced and complex and sophisticated, because you know, the old the old example of, you know, the, into itself, 3030 names for snow, and we have one, basically. And if we really wanted to talk to an Inuit about snow, we’d have to find English equivalents for all their names. So I guess the question is, can we really distill the best out of all the Eastern traditions, and couch them in western terms devoid of Hindu or Buddhist trappings, without watering them down and making them less effective?

John Churchill: Yeah, you feel we can? Well, that’s what my doctoral work was on my doctoral work was on me, essentially. And I remember what it was, we

Rick Archer: would have been smoking,

John Churchill: metacognition, ego development, and contemplative psychology. Right? So this is like describing what are the what are the metacognitive mechanisms of ego development, all the way from early on, and then all the way up and showing how, at a certain point, when the these contemplative meditative operations kick in, actually, you can see that they are part of a singular developmental process. And I don’t have to you don’t have to even use a religious language to do that. It’s you know, it’s a human developmental process.

Rick Archer: Yeah, you might have to somehow coin new terms. Yes. And, for instance, I don’t know if there’s an English equivalent for Brahman, which is just basically the, the totality and the ultimate reality. And so unless we want to say unified field in physics, which is what the TM movement tried to do, but then that that’s controversial, whether there’s actually an equivalence but anyway, that we have like, like with the snow example, our our lexicon is rather limited compared to the traditions we’re trying to bring in.

John Churchill: I don’t think it has to be

Rick Archer: okay, so we can coin new terms and define them.

John Churchill: Now when you define terms that are also about the Direct X so so what is the direct experience of Brahma? Right? Because not not what what is Brahman, but the direct experience of it? Yeah. And then when you use the descriptors of that, and you begin to get a set, you know, like, oh, like, fundamental, unbounded wholeness, right, the experience of a state of being where there is no center, you know, it’s like a circle with no center, no circumference, right? Like, like, radical wholeness? Yeah. You know, there are there are ways there are ways of describing these experiences, that are the language that if you use that descriptor, a mystic from five different traditions would be able to nod their head.

Rick Archer: Sure. And hopefully, you can not have to have a whole paragraph in order to describe it. Whereas in, in India, they might just say, Brahman, and now they know what you’re talking about. Anyway, maybe,

John Churchill: yeah, once we have a contemplative psychology, that’s well, that’s well built, that these these terms begin to mean something, of course, you know, the sign of any sophisticated technology is a sophisticated terminology. Right. But But just because we don’t have one isn’t a reason not to develop one? Oh, absolutely. Right. Yeah.

Rick Archer: So, you know, you’ve mentioned the word the future in terms of how you, you know, you have a vision for how this all might develop and eventually mentioned how things might be 100 years from now and so on. I mean, if you could envision what you probably have, you’ve probably envision the ideal of what you’d like to see this develop into? What percent do you feel has been achieved in, in developing it, like a way just 5% level in terms of what you hope to see happen or what?

John Churchill: Well, it’s a great question. I mean, I experienced reality is unfolding like a flower. Right. And so what percentage is that has unfolded? Well, it’s never going to stop unfolding. Right. Right. So So I guess the question for me is, to what degree are we aligned with that? You know, are we aligned with an unfolding process? I mean, I think for a long time, that part of the issue has been like resources, right? Getting funding to, you know, to move these things through. I think that we are, I’m full of hope. And at the same time, I am aware of a real, dire sense of urgency. Yeah, me too, in the sense that we’re coming, we have this fourth industrial revolution rolling out. And if we don’t have a fourth turning of the Dharma to meet it, which is as sophisticated as the outer technologies. I am I yeah, I don’t want to look at that future. So

Rick Archer: we also have the sixth grade mass extinction happening. Another way of looking at it.

John Churchill: So So I mean, the last, you know, the last year I’ve, I’ve noticed a speeding up of the synchronicity, uh, in the projects that I’ve been doing, and the projects that my colleagues have been doing, and so that, for me is always, you know, a good sign of is the wind blowing, you know, is the human psyche unfolding? Yes, I’m like this is I think things are moving in a way that that made me that I feel good about.

Rick Archer: Yeah, I did, too. Yeah. And your website, Samadhi. intergral, is a headline saying the world needs us to awaken to our true nature. That’s just what you’re saying here. And it is urgent, I think, as you say, and I, I don’t know, I have a feeling that it’s happening and not merely by virtue of the efforts that people like you and I and many others are making. It’s happening because it’s just a shift in world consciousness that’s independent of individual contributions to it, there’s some kind of an upwelling of consciousness in the world. I don’t know whether we’re getting zapped by subtle energy from the, you know, central gas of the center of the galaxy, or what’s happening. But I do think it’s quickening as you said, and I think that it may have a couple of different effects. You know, they say how a rising tide lifts all boats. I think people who are putting themselves in the stream of of this rising consciousness will feel continually uplifted, but I think those who, you know, who failed to raise the anchor of their boat may end up capsizing and we can see a lot of chaos in the world.

John Churchill: Yes, I mean, from my perspective, part of what you’re describing, as has to do with the cosmology of what we’re talking about, you know, I mean, one of the, I think one of the challenges, at least that I see with this, a Tibetan Buddhist practitioners is, they have access to this amazing sacred technology, but the cosmology hasn’t been interpreted into what is a Western variation of that cosmology, that that is essentially the cosmology, the perennial traditions, right? And so, what you’re sharing is it the way I see it is this, the Dyer is a multi dimensional beer, right? We are, we are hosted within the various dimensions of this being and those dimensions include the, the often, you know, the heavenly realms, if you will, the astral dimensions. And so Gaia, as a as a sentient intelligence is also at a particular level of, of its spiritual practice. And, you know, clearly Gaia is a bit confused, you know, like the humanity, if you will, as a reflection of that, you know, it’s like, it’s a little confused.

Rick Archer: A lot of fleas on the dog and Guy scratching.

John Churchill: But, but, but that kind of awakening to this kind of interconnected field, and, and the kind of synchronic dimension of that, where that those kinds of insights are being transmitted simultaneously to the whole speak a whole species, in my mind is because that’s a dimension of the planet, waking up. You know, in the Buddhist tradition, they talked about the Commodore two in the Dama data, these are various descriptors of these cosmological layers, planes, if you will, well, that will translate in Ayurvedic medicine is tissue. So in my mind, the Gaia is a multi dimensional beings with multi dimensional tissues, right? These tissues go through cycles of maturity, just like you and I do. And we’re at a moment now, where a particular tissue is awakening. And of course, when, you know, you can’t stop that, but that is a force of nature. And of course, you’re right, that those human beings who are holding on to, like, new ways of seeing the world, there’s there is going to be it’s going to be, it’s going to be really uncomfortable for certain people. Because, you know, if, if that is happening as part of the field itself, but you’re not in touch with any sort of teaching or skill set to help you make that transition inside to align with that, that’s going to Cause you to probably tighten up either more.

Rick Archer: Yeah. And if you can afford it, get get yourself an underground bunker in Montana and lots of food, you know, that kind of thing?

John Churchill: Yeah, yeah. Yeah. Yeah.

Rick Archer: There’s a verse in The Gita where Lord Krishna says, when, when a Dharma flourishes, and dharma is in decay, I take birth, age after age, basically, to restore dharma. And we can, we could translate that into just sort of an influx of higher consciousness or divine consciousness or whatever, like you were just saying, in terms of Gaia waking up. And, you know, like we’ve just said, with the crises that are happening in the world, environmental and, you know, extinction of species and all the rest. You know, many people realistically predict that we’re just not going to be around much longer as a species if we continue in the way we’re going. So I sort of feel there’s an intelligence to nature that that is responding to the crisis we’ve created, and that the antidote might be bitter for some people as we’ve been alluding to here, but it could save us.

John Churchill: Yeah, I also feel like the the that the outer circumstances and the inner circumstances are inseparable. It’s a non dual reality, the crisis this is a crisis in in the interior of ourselves individually in the interior culture, and in the exterior in the in the financial systems and ecological systems, the whole thing is and, in my mind, this is the reason why method of practice is so important to particularly developed developing a new path where it explicit explicitly articulated how the metacognitive dimension of meditation facilitates higher levels of cognition. That So part of part of my work is is the integration of East and West is not only is is it about the the metacognitive dimension, whether that’s through, you know, through meditation, but as that shifts, new capacity for cognition comes on. So, you know, the, you know, the capacity for cysts for systemic thought. I mean, they did research on this the TM folks in terms of, you know, the effect of TM meditation on ego development,

Rick Archer: right, skip Alexander, I

John Churchill: believe. Yeah, that’s right. So so now we have now that that material on ego development has actually gone further. So now now, we’re actually going to have a larger scale. And that scale is really that scale of ego development now really goes into the spiritual realms. And it also shows us that the capacity for multisystemic cognition and then paradigmatic cognition and multi paradigmatic cognition comes online along with this medical cognitive capacity for the you know, for for being the field and fluid of term you want to, for a trait capacity from meditative development,

Rick Archer: you might need to define some of those terms that we’re going to leave somebody, even metacognition and paradigmatic cognition all you might want to flesh it out a little bit. And

John Churchill: yeah, okay, plain English. So obviously, what metacognition means is, there’s one kind of method there’s metacognitive thinking, which will be thinking about thinking, right, so you get to a certain level of development, where in adolescence form or what we call full operational thinking, where you can start thinking about, am I going to think about, am I going to think about this this way? Or am I going to think about it that way?

Rick Archer: Yeah. What do I believe? I mean, do I believe religion? Or do I believe what’s my political affiliation? What do I think? That kind of stuff?

John Churchill: Yeah, so that even the capacity to do that 30% of the population can’t even do that cognitive operation, they don’t have enough perspective or capacity to be able to ask themselves that question. So, so contemplative, and metacognition would be,

Rick Archer: for instance, they kind of believe what they’re told and just go with the Yeah, with the crowd,

John Churchill: basically, because developmentally, they don’t have third person perspective yet. Right. And you have second person perspective, which, and I might add,

Rick Archer: that they’re often frightened into believing differently, you know, I mean, their pastor might say, you know, if you start thinking outside the box that I’m creating here for you, it’s the devil, that’s true. It’s tempting, you

John Churchill: will generally second person perspective in any culture in any situation is them and us cars, cold, concrete, operational, black and white, are you in or you’re out. And so it’s very fear based, it’s, it’s highly susceptible to fear third person perspective, objectivity is much more, much more rational and can can agree upon you and I can agree upon a third thing as being, look that that measuring device says 3.5, you see, 3.5, it should see people that’s 3.5. What metacognitive awareness is, is the ability to take perspective, on your experience, not by thinking, but but with awareness, right, so many meditative instructions, or metacognitive instructions. So for instance, you know, put your bring your awareness, and notice the ongoing flow of sensations in your body, that that is you’re bringing your awareness and you’re having a look at something, right? Or, look, keep looking at those sensations and begin to notice how those sensations are going in and out, but they’re not stable. So another kind of, okay, now examine the boundaries of what you think is a solid structure of your body and notice how the boundaries are pulsing, that they’re insubstantial, that they are constructed. So that kind of looking that is a metacognitive activity, right? It’s not it’s not thought you’re doing it with awareness. So, so all the various kinds of meditative injunctions or metacognitive injunctions look at this in this way. Look at this and this way, right. And of course, every path has a sequence of metacognitive injunctions, you know, look at Mantra this way, look at look at the breath this way. So that’s what metacognition is, is is like taking a perspective, a meta perspective, on your experience. And not only is that important in in meditation, but it’s vitally important in psychological development. So for instance, the kind of psychopathology that let’s say a borderline injury or In narcissistic injury, in both of those instances, there’s a particular lack of the mind to do a particular kind of metacognitive perspective taking. So for instance, people who have a borderline injury are able to be aware of their experience, but they’re not able to be aware of their experience in such a way that it organizes their experience. That’s a different kind of way of being with experience, you can look at experience, like I’m looking at you, you can just stare at your experience, that isn’t the same thing as relating to your experience that organizes it. In a case of some somehow reminds

Rick Archer: me of Robert Burns poem or he said something like the woods, some god that gift give us to see ourselves as others see us. Because a narcissist, as I have seen, some on the national stage seems to be oblivious to, you know, what a, what a clown they are, and they’re just kind of blind to, to their, their own behavior.

John Churchill: Well, then in a narcissistic injury, what never happened metacognitively. So when I say it never happened, let’s say subway, let’s say you’re like four or 5678 years old. And somebody never said to you, Rick, how do you feel? Rick, what do you think about this? Rick? How do you feel about these things? So if somebody cognitively never gave you an operation, which was like, oh, I need to reflect right now on my experience. If, okay, if that never happened to you, your mind cannot do that.

Rick Archer: So you haven’t learned to be self referral or self reflective or introspective,

John Churchill: literally content that perspective. So, you know, if you when you see people who have narcissist, narcissistic disorders, literally that they don’t know, how to be aware of their own experience,

Rick Archer: right? They’re just outer directed No, no introspection, no self.

John Churchill: Yeah, right. So that is a metacognitive. Damage. Right, so you can see how important metacognition now that that process goes all the way up. So for instance, I could say that, not under not recognizing Brahma is a kind of narcissistic injury, at the most fundamental level of not recognizing the fundamental nature of reality,

Rick Archer: you could say, perhaps, that you haven’t been able to probe to the core of your being something is blocking it,

John Churchill: or it has been pointed out to you. Yeah,

Rick Archer: although pointing out is could be more than a matter of pointing it out, because it takes some inner exploration.

John Churchill: Well, in Tibet, in the Tibetan tradition, these things that, you know, they’re described, they’re called pointing out instructions. Right? Right. I mean, they are they are metacognitive instructions. Much like, you know, John, how are you feeling today? Oh, I’m feeling good. John. Notice Is there a boundary in your visual perception between inside and outside? On fire when they say and when of course you repeat the injunction drone? Can you find a boundary and insider outs? No, I can’t find one. Shawn. How do you feel today? Oh, I feel good. How do you?

Rick Archer: It gets it gets a betrayal. It gets clearer. Yes. It gets wired in as as, as a perspective as a way of functioning as a

John Churchill: way of functioning and if it’s part of the education of how people grow up. The only reason why the only reason why we we don’t do this is because it’s just not part of our education. But you know, if I say to my son, Bodie, do you recognize the fundamental openness of reality? He’s like, Yeah, whatever, let me play my video game. As part of so So you asked, I was so metacognition is fundamental. At the fundamental building blocks to the psyche very early on, but it goes all the way up. Right? And so that’s, that’s one dimension and then so as, so let’s say as the sense of identity becomes disinvested from thought, right, so most people’s sense of identity is fused to the attentional system which is fused into thought. But as that dis embedding process happens, and as that becomes stabilized as a trait, which which as you know, it does, if you practice is stabilized. Well, what changes then is how cognition arises within that field changes because if you’re no longer holding on to a thought, like Gollum holding on to his precious, if we know how we’re no longer holding on to thought And suddenly released in the field, the movement of thought is synchronized with that very dynamic that’s happening on the planet. because thought is impersonal is an expression of a planetary shift the planetary tissue. So there, whereas

Rick Archer: you become aligned with the sort of planetary Dharma are the, the higher consciousness that’s attempting to awaken on the planet, and you become an instrument of that, due to that alignment.

John Churchill: That’s right. And it has a cognitive dimension to it as well, meaning, meaning it has a capacity it thinks it has, not only is higher consciousness non conceptual, it’s also conceptual, the idea that meditation is about No, no thinking, that is only necessary at a point where you have to learn how to get beyond thought. Right. But once it’s stabilized, I mean, there’s no great thing about having no thoughts, because

Rick Archer: well, you can have no thoughts and thoughts at the same time, actually, because you have different dimensions.

John Churchill: Yeah, exactly. Yeah. And so so as that becomes more stable, these more creative, more reflective, and higher perspectival capacity, cognition comes online. And that’s what I meant that way of thinking, those ways of thinking of going to come up with the solutions in ecology, finance, medicine, psychology.

Rick Archer: Oh, that’s a great point. Yeah, yeah, that’s really good. So what you’re saying, I’m just translating it. So to make sure I understand what you’re saying, and maybe it’ll help the audience that there’s a cognitive element in, in the higher consciousness that’s, that’s dawning on the planet, that if you can align yourself with that consciousness, you can partake of that cognitive element. And then wisdom and creative ideas can come through the you as though you were a channel or a conduit. For those. Like, I sometimes think of guys like Steven Spielberg, you know, who will make some great movie and all sudden, it’ll awaken everybody up to the possibility of extraterrestrials or something, I have a feeling like, okay, that’s not just Steven Spielberg, he is somehow channeling an idea that has to be enlivened in collective consciousness.

John Churchill: Absolutely, in my in my mind, you know, the, the next step, the next clear stage or trait in human development, because often if you actually if you try to shoot too high, you actually go

Rick Archer: too low, right, because it’s not ready for that,

John Churchill: it’s not ready for that it’s not operational. So then all you do is sit under a tree with a smile on your face, and it’s like, a very useful, good for you. So, so, the next stage, you know, if I use technical language, you know, using the macula I used, the budak claim or the, or the meta aware, tear of development, its capacity is, it is dis embedded from thought. It’s a it’s a, you know, the ability to kind of reside in that in that field like, state of being, but it is the nature of that particular field is it is, it is the information, transmission system of the planet, meaning synchronicity, the factor of synchronicity is how that level of cognition works. First thing, it doesn’t work, the technical term in Buddhism is valid, non conceptual, direct cognition. So there’s a technical term for a way of knowing where you’re at, it’s no longer stored in memory, it’s stored on the cloud, so to speak. And you’re not you’re not pulling up based on the past, you’re pulling up based on now. But you’re accessing an intuition or field but it isn’t a gut intuition. It’s the hearts it is the heart field. Right, the the information field that synchronicity flows on universal love. So to the extent that your practice is opened up your bodhichitta your your heart, is to the extent that that synchronicity begins to become more and more readily available, not only in the outer life, which would be how the planet is kind of talking with you. But also in cognition, the thought itself begins to become synchronistic. Right, it begins to become intuitive. begins to like be an expression, as you said, of the field itself.

Rick Archer: Yeah, that’s beautiful. And again, to translate it, and to my terminology, just have another spin on it. There is a wisdom in the field in nature’s intelligence. And if we can attune to that field, then we become a conduit for that wisdom. And so, you know, we’re able to appreciate and they’re not coming from your own gut as you say they’re coming from the God’s gut. And we’re able to reflect or channel or higher knowledge that really wants to come through. It may be some philosophical, spiritual, psychological kind of knowledge. Or it might be better solar panels or, you know, some battery that lasts forever, you know, different things like that, that really have to have to come according to your aptitude you that’s going to, you know, bring you through whatever you’re best suited to bring through.

John Churchill: Yeah, and if and if it’s somatic intelligence, you’re an amazing improvisational dancer. Yeah. And if it’s, you know, sighs you’re

Rick Archer: another Beethoven or something. Well, that’s right. So,

John Churchill: so that but that that So, the multiple intelligences of that matter, were to have that Buddhic dimension. And but it feels like Buddha as a as a bodhisattva the awakening I like how you say these are people who are awakening, yeah. So, so the difference between a Buddha and a Bodhi Bodhi is awakening and a Buddha is awakened. So so this dimension is the awakening dimension, where the human beings become an awakening, synchronous synchronized with the awakening process of the right candidate is awakening. It’s that dimension of the planet, which is awakening. Yeah, yeah.

Rick Archer: Speaking of beta, I just want to mention one quick thing. So I interviewed a guy named Steven cope a couple of years ago, who was at Kripalu Institute, I think. And he written a book about dharma. And he, he was talking about a number of famous people throughout history that who lived their dharma. And he mentioned Beethoven and Beethoven had a difficult life and at times wanted to end it, but he just had this compelling feeling like there was this great music that had to come through him. And he couldn’t, he couldn’t cop out, he had to stay on the planet in order to bring it through. And that I’m just throwing that in there, because it’s interesting, but based on what you were just saying, Now, you know, we’re kind of alluding to vaguely two rare individuals who have achieved some exalted state of consciousness who can really reflect collective consciousness, like, like we’re talking, but imagine jump jump to, you know, having 90% of the population functioning this way, and what the world might be like.

John Churchill: Yeah, I feel like I felt that’s doable. I mean, part of what needs to change is the pedagogy of how we’re going to deliver these teachings. They can’t be delivered to adult, yes, adults, but we have to think about how to fundamentally rebuild education in such a way that the children and the parents simultaneously go through an educational process.

Rick Archer: Yeah. Do you have any kids in public schools? Do you have self homes?

John Churchill: Well, we’ve they were they did the Waldorf system for a while. But that, unfortunately, my sense is is Waldorf was calibrated for the 1920s and 30s. And so that’s problematic because you need an update. Yeah. So I mean, gosh, Rudolf

Rick Archer: Steiner, I believe that that was yes.

John Churchill: Yeah. Yeah, my kids were in public school. So I get to it’s difficult to find that the cultural, the cultural influence that flows through the schools is,

Rick Archer: yeah, so how do you deal with that? I mean, at home, you have this, you know, heavy emphasis on spiritual development. And you and your wife and the kids are out there in public school where?

John Churchill: Well, you have to, I guess, I guess that was the journey that I went on, right. It wasn’t like I was born. I wasn’t born in natural

Rick Archer: history. It didn’t turn out to be right. That’s right. So the secret is to

John Churchill: like, you know, not introduce any of this stuff to them. Oh, no, no, no, we’re just, you know, like to really, and then and then slowly but surely, like my, my 15 year old daughter went on our first meditation retreat. And she came back and she was like, these are my people. Right now. Now had I tried to like she was like, so excited, because finally, she’s super, super relational. And finally, there’s a bunch of teenagers, she went with IB knee, and they’re sitting down and they’re sharing and they’re meditating together. It was a revelation. She came out with a beaming smile. Right and She’s the same. So. So I think you’ve got to be really skillful about

Rick Archer: it. Yeah. Kind of like Tom Sawyer. No, you wouldn’t want to paint this fantasy. I better do it. You know, it’s really important.

John Churchill: Yeah, that’s right. Exactly. And, and I mean, the thing about parenting obviously, is it’s a, it’s a role that never ends. So I think you just have to not see too many allergies. Right, right now, I mean, obviously, if we have a different kind of educational system, where that they are doing that with their peers, I think what I saw with my daughter’s cases, and actually, this is also true for adults, that it’s the sharing in the contemplative space, which is so important, the way that we actually stabilize, at least the, you know, kind of culture at this next tier of development is through communication. Most people aren’t used to talking whilst in an altered state. They’re not used to stabilizing their, their meditation and communicating to other people, because it is communication that creates the community. And you know, the communion?

Rick Archer: Yeah. Well, I mean, that’s integration is the name of the game, you and I are talking in an altered state right now? Well, we wouldn’t call it an altered state, it’s our normal way of functioning. But you know, after decades of practice, it just seems natural. It’s second nature, you just, I mean, you know, I sometimes say to people, if you could snap from or if I could snap from where I am now, to my normal style of functioning 50 years ago, I even though I was able to function, okay, then, relatively speaking, I would die. I mean, the contrast would be so huge. And conversely, if I were snapping from there to now, suddenly, I would probably just be rolling on the floor drooling with bliss and wouldn’t be able to do anything. So we acclimate?

John Churchill: That’s right. Yeah, I think what I was trying to say is, one of the things I’m really curious about is teaching people speeding up that process by deliberately having people work with speech in groups whilst maintaining them as a practice. Because, and the reason why that’s so important is that the combination of every tear of development involves engaging in a weed at that level. So So for instance, at the concrete tier of development, where where a child is just working with concrete things, right, just stuff, and slow, and when they first start is just purely narcissistic, you know, it’s my stuff. And then they slowly realize that there’s other objects, they’re cool people. And then there’s a, there’s a collective there. And slowly, they have to adjust to that concrete collective on the playground. And then that process repeats itself at a more subtle tier, as cognition becomes more sophisticated, and you go to college, and you have to begin to learn how to participate in a subtle tear, where it’s not just you that have ideas, but hey, you have ideas too. And we’re passing ideas backwards and forwards, right, that’s

Rick Archer: enriching each other by doing so.

John Churchill: That’s right. And then the next year of development, where basically, not only is that we were passing ideas backwards and forth right now, but my field and your field are communicating. Right? And we are, if I’m aware that you are also someone who has a field of awareness, then there’s also a quality of relatedness that is different than if I just thought that I was the only awakened person. I was just like, oh, Rick, you need to understand right? Relating to you like you were just, yes. Right. That’s much better. Right. So so that process that if that can be sped up for people? Yeah. I think you can speed up the integration phase, from a from, let’s say, a couple of decades to a couple of years. Oh, that’s

Rick Archer: interesting. Yeah. Yeah. Good point. And, and that needs to happen to because you just don’t have forever for this job. Yeah, so what kind of things are you doing? And, and with whom and how many people you’re working with? And, you know, I mentioned my friend who did a psychedelic journey with someone you had trained apparently, I don’t know if you’ve trained her in psychedelic stuff or therapy or, or what so what’s your your cornucopia? Your was the word? Yeah, to your toolkit, and when he’s okay.

John Churchill: It’s, it’s okay. Well, you know, I, my, my apprenticeship phase with Dr. Dan ended maybe five years ago, he passed away recently. Parkinson’s, I believe. That’s right. Yeah. I, you know, I was I was actually going to continue, I was going to continue that lineage. But it got to a point, maybe it’s the whole teacher apprentice thing where it’s like, actually, there’s some glaring holes here, Dan. And, you know, and of course, we got to talk. And that wasn’t, that wasn’t where he wanted to look at. So that was time for me to them, you know, time for me to leave.

Rick Archer: I did the same thing with the TM movement.

John Churchill: Right? Yeah. So that’s, I think that’s a that’s a necessary part of maturity, maturity.

Rick Archer: When chicks crack out of the egg, it’s time to leave the incubator. Yeah, if you stay in the incubator, you just make trouble for the other eggs.

John Churchill: So, yeah, so. So for like maybe like, an in 15 years, I’ve been working one on one with the students. So that was a really rich time of following people’s contemplative practice, interviewing them over, you know, maybe an hour interview every three months, and tracking people’s long, you know, that their growth over some people like 1015 years,

Rick Archer: and you have them doing practices regularly in between your sessions with me? Yes,

John Churchill: exactly. They were doing. The I’m doing, we’re doing a Maha Mudra, which is one of the Tibetan stages of practice. And actually, Dr. Dan, and myself did a research project with a Judson Brewer and some other researchers, which was on basically the the neurological signature of each of these stages. And so we got the kind of the brain signature of each of the stages. So that was a so that, that apprentice ship of interviewing a lot. You know, maybe six people a day, five days a week for 10 years.

Rick Archer: Wow. Different people are no you rotate? Well, so as you’re checking up on their progress, yeah. So

John Churchill: I basically beginning this in January, I’m beginning the process of we basically started a, a four year training program. So that the point is, is now it’s time to move out of that phase of, of working in that way. I mean, that was an amazing apprenticeship because I got to see how people grow and track them. But now the question is, well, how do you do that at scale?

Rick Archer: And so what will people learn if they do this training program? Well,

John Churchill: the system that, you know, the contemplative system that we’ve been working on, which is, you know, the kind of a integration of the Indo Tibetan meditative tradition with psychodynamic kind of ego development perspectives. Yeah. So that so that’s, we’re beginning that process has begun, you know, we have, I don’t know, 120 students who are on this four year.

Rick Archer: That’s quite a few.

John Churchill: This year, it’s quite a few. And

Rick Archer: until they all have to start together it can people come in at any point.

John Churchill: No, they’re gonna, it’s, it’s gonna be every year. So next year, we’ll start another year one as we have a year to

Rick Archer: reflect the way a college would be some

John Churchill: Yeah. Actually, this is what I’m, this is my mind, what a bachelor’s degree of contemplative right, what would be like the Western level bachelor’s degree, right? That’s a model, a four year model of a mock and bachelors level education.

Rick Archer: And presumably, these people are scattered all over. And you’re doing it online? Yes. Yeah. Online, maybe with some occasional retreats

John Churchill: or so that’s right. Yeah. So that’s that. So that’s, that is one of the dimensions. And then within that there’s an integration of kind of integral integral studies, contemplative psychology.

Rick Archer: You have faculty other than yourself?

John Churchill: We do. But we’re, we’re slowly. It’s a it’s a, it’s an emergent process. Because in order to build it, I have to like, get people to enroll, to enroll. And so So now, it’s right now that is rolling, we can now begin to add more faculty. The intention, what I like to do is really build that kind of four year contemplative education and what you know, what’s the best system that we can bust education that people can have? Who wants to get a really deep dive and contemplative studies?

Rick Archer: Yeah, and I’m sure this will be evolving all your life, you know, it’s not going to be cut in stone.

John Churchill: No, no. And part of that part of that will be psychedelic work. I was

Rick Archer: gonna ask you about that. So say something I might have a question. To Well,

John Churchill: you see, you know, my understanding of the Mystery Schools, the academies and so we’ll ask the Tibetan indo Tibetan mystery schools or the Vedic mystery schools or Gyptian, or the South American, and actually given to that extent, actually the Western esoteric tradition, that chemistry. No, every subject has a sacred has a sacred in sacred version. Right. There’s the sacred mathematics is sacred architecture, their sacred chemistry, right, like

Rick Archer: medicine. All. Right, exactly.

John Churchill: So that’s the first thing. I also really believe that the price cycles of time, prior to the last few 1000 years that we’ve been in, there was a major emphasis on levels of consciousness that we might recognize right now as being more shamanic. Right, and that that level of development as the planet as a planet evolved, there was a necessity of, to stimulate the mental capacity of humanities has been super stimulated for a whole cycle of time. But I do believe that we’re coming to a time of integration, the pot of this synchronistic intelligence, integrative intelligence is now to also reclaim what we’ve lost from the past. Because in order to really move forward into the future, you actually have to, you have to integrate the past as well. And that the interaction with the plant kingdom, and that the sacred time, the first dimension, real dimension of the sacred, other than the mineral dimension, is the plant dimension. And in my kind of cosmology, the way I see it, and some of the other perennial traditions do as well, that plant you know, we have the we’re also plants, you know, I mean, human sexuality comes evolved from from plant

Rick Archer: stamens and pistols.

John Churchill: Exactly, you know, it’s like, springtime, it’s terrible, I mean, all that semen. So my mind that the dream state, the what the, the esoteric tradition would call the astral plane is literally the veg, the vegetative dimension of the sacred, it is the tissue, the Datu of the planet. That is that the, the plants are particularly attuned to. And if you’re, you know, somebody who’s practiced and interested in in traditional medicines, the plant if you are humble enough to open your heart to the plants, it will tell you, they will communicate with you.

Rick Archer: I met a man one time, while it was a he was in front of a fairly large crowd, but he was then was ball Raj Maharshi. And he was in India, northern India, and he could just walk through a forest and the plants would speak to him and tell him what they were good for.

John Churchill: So that is asked that’s the astral and that’s the astral intelligence that we’ve that we’ve lost. Right now. We’ve lost a particularly in the West because the Roman Catholic Church went up went after that, right they they liver and

Rick Archer: people at the stake for you know, messing with herbs and things.

John Churchill: Well, that’s right. And some of the lists in the in the even in the, in the Inquisition, right, they list the her list the herbs that these guys are being burnt at the stake for. And a number of these herbs are Western psychedelic herbs. Interesting. So we we had this tradition, right, like, the Dionysian wine was a psychedelic wine. Right, the Elysium this was a psychedelic and even to some extent, psychedelics used in the, in the Jewish tradition, the Christian, the jurists, I mean, this is not even that if you actually go back and you research and look into some of the early Freemasons, and alchemists, a lot of what they were trying to cover up in my mind was they’re working with psychedelics. Now. So, so that’s so that so that, that dimension for me is, is is a part of herbal medicine. It’s is a part of the sacred, the next layer of the sacred, that opens up to the personality, not the level of sacred that opens up to higher consciousness, like way up. But in terms of like opening to sacred world, the problem that we have, is not a lack of higher consciousness from meditating. I mean, granted, I said that, you know, it affects cognition, that’s important. But the other problem is we left behind the sacred. So we left behind the shamanic sacred, where oh, look, I can see spirits, right, like, like, you know, I can, I can talk to plants like if our culture was able to You know, when we some of the the greats in our culture like a gutter or Paracelsus, or even Isaac Newton, we’re engaged with an alchemical, you know, engagement. And I’m really curious about how the various kingdoms of the planet communicated. So

Rick Archer: the whole thing was done down in terms of turning lead into gold and stuff. But obviously, that was maybe even metaphorical for something.

John Churchill: It’s like when you read the the Tantras in India, right? There’s the Twilight language, right? Well, you know, keep the idiots out by using metaphor, right?

Rick Archer: Even Jesus did that he spoke in parables, because he didn’t want everybody to understand what he was saying.

John Churchill: Right. So so well, I’d like to get less the alchemy, for instance. So let’s, if we understand that we do now the how I perceive something, affects it, right. So if I’m engaged first with a plant, and I’m relating to the plant, as if it’s alive, and as if it has something to tell me. And then I’m going to assist the plant in its spiritual evolution, by putting it through a sadhana I am going to put it I’m going to distill I’m going to put it into a process a chemical process, which is an outer version of an inner sadhana. And while I’m doing that, I’m going to relate to the liquid in there in a non dual way, I’m going to spend hours because I don’t have any TV, I’m going to spend hours, like relating to this liquid in a particular way, we now understand imbuing it with Shakti or something we use, it was Shakti right, that’s how that’s what alchemy was. And then if you if you understand what the plant is

Rick Archer: what you got in that glass, by the way, I say what do you got in that glass? By the way?

John Churchill: Sunday water,

Rick Archer: okay. Holy water now.

John Churchill: Yeah. So, so alchemy was basically non dual chemistry, right? Non dual, just both in terms of the relationship with a mineral and the plant kingdom, in terms of treating them as being sacred, but then also how you are relating to the chemical operations that you’re doing. Imagine if, if our chemical system was non dual chemistry, just imagine what kind of, we would open up a whole discovery of, of a completely different understanding of, of, of chemistry and of how herbs and substances and compounds influence the human body. So anyway, not sure

Rick Archer: you’re gonna convince the chairman of Monsanto but anyway, I’m sure I

John Churchill: run it. I thought it was a father was a was a was a chemist. So I grew up in that environment. So the it’s really important that not only do we develop the higher consciousness but we reintegrate the lower consciousness I that we reintegrate the understanding of the ancestral worlds, the indigenous worlds, because otherwise if we don’t, then spirituality has a danger of being like some sort of fascist kind of, like, from the head up. So so we have to both open up above and open up below.

Rick Archer: That reminds me of something Thoreau said, he said, go ahead and build your castles in the air. That’s where they belong, but put foundations under them.

John Churchill: Yeah, that’s right. Yeah. fluid. So so my mind you know, think like every tradition, I really believe that there was a relationship with plants for healing. So as a somebody who’s worked with people and healing people with plants, there’s no difference for me like healing with plants, the body or the emotions of the mind, and the ones the pathogens that help the mind heal. You know, like, I’m always surprised at the kind of like, fundamentalist spiritual people, you know, who, who just don’t understand the fullness of what sacred culture is that actually Of course, there were plants. Of course, there is you know, that we want to learn to relate to the intelligence of that kingdom, which is also within ourselves. So that I think I think it’s super important as part of developing capacity. You know, if you think you’re a good meditator Well, let’s see how you’re doing with meditating and resting and the nature of mind in a you know, psychedelic experience.

Rick Archer: Yeah, you probably heard the name karate Baba story right where rom das brings him some LSD tablets. And the employee Baba says give me the tablets, he takes them.

John Churchill: So the point is, is you should be able to take the tablets and nothing happens. Yeah. And if you’re faced that is useful, if your face that’s useful information that you’re not ready to die, like, you know, so it’s it’s humbling, right? I mean, it’s very important. I don’t know about you, but as you as we continue the journey to continue to be humbled.

Rick Archer: Oh, yeah, that’s a big one.

John Churchill: Right. So I find those kinds of medicines deeply useful for obviously healing and helping to integrate trauma. My my wife, Nicole is a psychedelic therapist, she works with an A clinic here in town. Yeah, so So in my mind, these medicines I use can be a useful to help initiate at particular phases by offering something up and now follow through with a practice. They also

Rick Archer: I have a few questions about all this. I was one of those spiritual fundamentalists for a long time, partially because I had used psychedelics rather recklessly in the 60s and gotten kind of messed up. And then meditation was so healing, that, you know, I thought, you know, but now I’m much more open minded about it. And I have friends who have had good experiences with it. And I’m aware of the research at Johns Hopkins and NYU and all kinds of great stuff happening. And so I guess one question I have for you is, and this is along lines of what you’re saying, Do you think that psychedelics Well, firstly, I think the very fact that they exist all these plants means that people are supposed to take them? Yeah. And do you feel that they could play a major role in as a catalyst in changing the collective consciousness of humanity, whereas meditation practices, you know, not that many people are going to take to them and stick to them? And it might take too long? Just using those?

John Churchill: It’s a great question. I think that there is, there is a need for a new academy, so to speak, where meditation and psychedelics are different departments. Right. And this is part of what we’re we’re trying to build, we’re building. On the psychedelic side. You know, I have peers who are involved in developments of new psychedelics legally. As you know, Secretary of Commerce, psychedelic pharmaceutical companies. I mean, the kind of alchemy that I think that I’m interested in, is if we take the Maharishi Effect,

Rick Archer: right, so you want to explain what that is?

John Churchill: Right? Well, the research done by the TM ProCon to the effect of meditators on the larger social field,

Rick Archer: right? So I participated in a lot of those with groups anywhere from a few 100 to 1000. People all meditating together and doing their thing together. And then guys like David arm Johnson, and others were trying to measure the effect that was having on social indicators.

John Churchill: Right, so So that’s, I think that’s very real. I believe that the soma, so So the Vedic Soma, so let’s say we have, let’s say we have a laboratory environment where you do have highly capable, you know, highly capable meditators, and even 1000s of them, I do believe that you can actually structure water, like, you know, like, and that the psychedelics that are produced inside of that water based psychedelics that are also programmed by the intentionality of the kinds of practitioners that are meditating that they will be able to develop a new class of psychedelics much, much more refined, right? Because it’s all about intentionality, the intentionality of the alchemist or the chemist, and the intentionality that those are brought to that particular what that thing is, then there will be a new psychedelic with a new contemplative system. Interesting, a new wafer. Right, and I don’t think I don’t think it needs to be like super bloom, right? It’s really, the question is, is what kind of experience do people need to have, I think they need to have something that is hot, but roots them in the heart, opens them up, allows them to feel a deep sense of belonging, and connection, but also a certain kind of intelligence. So I do believe that there is there was always a role for psychedelics. I do believe that the Ayurvedic doctors in London, you The first university on the planet had their own psychedelic department. And just, you know, that’s that’s my intuition that this has always been a part of the the academy now, so if it’s at that level, yes, absolutely. If it’s like people, you know, is haphazardly experimenting, so partying and so on. Yeah, that’s yeah, that’s not what we’re talking

Rick Archer: about. No, no. And so do you feel that psychedelics have some form of some sort might be a useful tool, all along the spiritual path, even at high stages of attainment? Or do you feel like their usefulness is only within a certain range? And after that, you go on without the

John Churchill: worse literally saying, Do you think the chemistry is useful? As people’s chemistry changes, as they progress along the path of more refined states of chemistry?

Rick Archer: Well, there’s always chemistry going on inside of us, you know, every time you eat lunch, you depend upon chemistry.

John Churchill: Of course, all of these states have a chemical dimension to them.

Rick Archer: Right? Yeah. Oh, there’s a neurophysiological correlate to all states of consciousness. But do you think that at a certain stage, psychedelics would be superfluous or counterproductive?

John Churchill: I think, I think that if we had had the kind of Academy for the last 2000 years, that, you know, that was cut by the by, like, 2000 years ago, if we had that Academy, they’ve been running for 2000 years, I think that we would have very sophisticated chemistry, I think we’ll even find, we would even find out that actually part of human humans are designed to ingest certain kinds of, of chemistry that we just don’t have access to, is the same thing right now that you know that if you if you if you have a lack of you know, magnesium, or a lack of calcium, my senses, yes, that the human beings, our chemistry will evolve. Right that this right now, the chemistry, the chemistry of the of the vehicles that you and I were born into, we have to spend a lot of time just trying to get that chemistry to a place.

Rick Archer: Yeah, it’s pretty crude by comparison to what that could be. That’s right. So

John Churchill: yes, I think that there is, but I don’t think we’re talking about the kind of crude psychedelics we have now. Right? I think, you know, the, after 1000 years of refinement, or 2000 years, it would be a very sophisticated, very, very sophisticated kind of science.

Rick Archer: And even so, I mean, psilocybin might always be very useful, just the way it is.

John Churchill: Well, yes, I think what will happen, as you’re

Rick Archer: suggesting that it can be, you know, some hybridization can it can be bred into a more potent or more, you know, refined thing. Well, if that’s the way marijuana has been,

John Churchill: well, that’s one perspective, the other perspective as you do that, but the other perspective is actually that this plant intelligence and as human be, as we start to engage in these substances, more, we will realize, like, if you look at how the I mean, how they train in the Amazon, with the actors, right, where the shamans will just go on a diet of a single plant, to learn and then commune with that plant. And of course, then you help communicate to the plant, how it is that you would like them to evolve, in order that they could be a benefit. Well, we could be mutually of benefit. Interesting. So there’s a level there’s a level of, of science here, but not just out of science, but more importantly, hypnosis, of reawakening a whole astral intelligence, a whole vegetal intelligence of relating to sacred world. Yeah, sacred world is not just up there, we’re gonna find out, Oh, the mushrooms will start growing and like responding, that there is a psychic field that is the, you know, a psychic mycelium related to the mushrooms. And as we are engaged with them, they will mutate not just their genes.

Rick Archer: In other words, we and they will evolve together. That’s right, and mutually supportive of

John Churchill: one another. And that’s what alchemy was all about them. Yeah. The the evolution and stuff is supportive of helping the Anima Mundi the Soul of the World, evolve, it’s the most non dual of it is like practical non duality. very engaged with with the plant kingdom.

Rick Archer: Are you in favor of, you know, the legalization of marijuana? It’s like it’s legal in Colorado now. Right and other places, or how about site? How about psilocybin as decriminalized out in Oregon, Oregon and so on. We’ve been fighting

John Churchill: the war on drugs. CES is 2000 years old.

Rick Archer: Okay, if you begin predates Nancy Reagan,

John Churchill: okay? It begins with the Romans, the Romans deliberately took out the Dionysian mystery schools took out the illegitimate. And I think the Elysium Mystery School was an operation for like, 1000 years. Right. And so the Romans took it out, they took out there was there was, you know, we’re coming to understand there was a whole trade in these medicines in the Mediterranean in the, you know, in the ancient world, it’s like, I mean, granted, I don’t want to, we don’t want people to be misused. We want people to be educated. I mean, what I want to see is is like education, and attendance, and the Academy and be able to walk into a pharmacy, and there’s 50 different type of mushrooms and 52. Beautiful marijuana, and like, that kind of education. But that’s no, that’s yeah, of course.

Rick Archer: Yeah. I’m just saying though, I mean, it’s a little blunt the way it is now, it’s just being legalized in places and people can just, you know, go at it. Without the necessary without the nuance and sophistication and subtlety. And that you’re, you’re recommending, what a win win, maybe maybe this legalization, even though it’s blunt, initially will lead us to the more responsible kind of thing you’re talking about?

John Churchill: Well, I think it’s part of the chaos that we’re talking about. It’s the chaos from the bottom, it’s gonna be like, Yes, this is going to be indicative of the situation that we’re in right now. It’s like, you know, like, cry havoc, let loose. Let loose, you know, the plant kingdom. You know, we, Nicole, my wife, who is, as I said, she’s a medicine worker. We’re, we’ve been developing together a psychedelic Dharma curriculum, which is basically, okay. So if you’re, if you’re a Dharma practitioner, and you’re interested in using these substances, as part of your dharma practice, how do you do that as part of sadhna? How does that How do you relate to this happening? It’s not just about using Substance using drugs, it involves a whole a whole appreciation of ritual and of attention. Then I, you know, I feel, I feel, I think this is this is a really, really important development.

Rick Archer: Yeah, one thing I encounter quite a lot, because people reach out who need help, is people who either have had powerful Kundalini awakenings, and they can’t get the genie back in the bottle, so to speak, and it’s messing messing up their lives, and or, you know, experiences with ayahuasca and so on that left them in a sort of dysfunctional condition, they haven’t may well adjust back to, to regular life. And sometimes those two things are related like the IOL, school kickoff, a Kundalini awakening. And there seems to be a there’s a little network of people who can help with this kind of thing. But it’s, it’s not adequate to the magnitude of the experience, the number of people who are having these kinds of problems.

John Churchill: Well, that’s exactly why I say that they have to be integrated into long term initiatory systems. Right. So right now, we’re gonna build the building this four year program, really what I’m interested in building is a 14 program. Yeah. Because as you well know, that’s how long the journey is. And why once you’re planning for a 40 year, roll a 40 year journey, then you can build the kinds of institutions that support that kind of journey.

Rick Archer: Yeah, it’s a lifelong thing. Really.

John Churchill: It’s a lifelong thing. So

Rick Archer: in fact, they could be useful on your deathbed as they’re being John Thompson.

John Churchill: Yeah, but the point, the point is, is that then I was asked if it was part of a journey with people who are tracking you, and part of an educational journey, what you’re, what you’re what you’re bringing up, I think, a cases where people go to an Ayahuasca circle, have a Kundalini awakening, and then a lead, and then that’s it. There’s no follow up. There’s no path. There’s no integration. Right? So these are incredibly powerful, initiating essence, and they need to be respected.

Rick Archer: Yeah. So do you feel that the scene in general these days is a little bit too haphazard and irresponsible and not not? Not as careful and refined as your Whoa, suggesting here?

John Churchill: I’m actually very much like you like you recover. I’m actually quite Americans. I’m quite quite conservative in the sense that you know, I am somebody who’s interested in like, an architect Qing architecting long term curriculums. I don’t see any of that. So that’s right. So in my mind, it’s it is chaos, but that’s okay. Right. I mean, frankly, I’d rather see that than the opposite, which is, which is what we’ve had and

Rick Archer: which is repression and people in prison. Right, crazy. I went to prison a couple of times in jail a couple of times for this very reason. When I was a teenager.

John Churchill: Yeah. So. So obviously, there’s amazing work being done. In terms of, you know, maps, and in terms of right, are, you know, was at King’s College London? I mean, yeah, I think that I think what we’re going to see is things are going to are going to start maturing quickly.

Rick Archer: It’s good. It’s yeah, I’m impressed with your vision, you just have this vast vision, which involves completely transforming every aspect of society. So good luck.

John Churchill: Well, that’s I mean, that’s the that’s great. That’s what a bodhisattva. Yeah, at least in my tradition, that’s what a bodhisattva does, right? It is being given an impossible task. If you don’t have an impossible task in my mind, then you’re not really a bodhisattva. Because actually, part of the path is being given the impossible task to do. Like, that’s not not not even intentionally meaning. The synchronous the synchronistic nature of the level of mind that you open up at a particular point in the path will present you with a challenge. Yeah, that challenge will seem unsurmountable. But it will, but it is engaging with that challenge that continues your character development, and your and your growth. So, yeah,

Rick Archer: I think it’s really good that people like you have a grand vision. Because if enough people have it, then collaboratively, even if we’re not directly working together, we will manifest it. And so it’s good to think big.

John Churchill: Well, I just had a meeting, you know, this this week with, you know, people in the corporate world who they want to have this level of training, right? So they’re talking big sums of money. So my sense is that it’s really about the, that if you have the integrity, and this and if you also have the devotion, the love, and it’s the right time, and I do think that now is the right time, I think that something is changing, right. I think that things are speeding up. Yeah. That one of the dimensions of the academy is sacred finance. And it will, it will if you, if you do what you’re meant to do, it will show up. So I have no doubt, I have no doubt that the resources will will show up. Because they are they are showing up. And because as you said, this isn’t about it’s not about you, and it’s not about me, this planet wants a new culture stat. And enough already, right. So, so if that is an interconnected intelligence, it is more than just you and me. But if it isn’t we and that we is woven, even even after the plants and the plants are going go for Rick Kabbalah right, that circumstances will reveal themselves and allow, you know, for this for this for this new culture to arise. Yeah.

Rick Archer: And you know how with bees or ants, each each beer ant is doing what it needs to do, unbeknownst to all the other bees and ants, but they also have this collective mind where they all do the right things, and everything gets done the way it needs to be. So it’s like, I think I kind

John Churchill: of like, pardon. Yes, I agree. That’s happening. Yeah, it’s happening with us. For sure. What I’m what I’m interested in is the next order of that is to begin to go from coherence to cohering. Right from from where the next level is, is how do you then bring that into organizations because actually, like TM, you actually do need to build organizations in order to have the coalescing of resources and departments to be able to put somebody on the moon, right to to take the culture from one time to another time, which is what we’re talking about. You know, you need to build a custom, what we call in the Tibetan tradition of a color chakra, a time wheel, a mandala. A mandala is an organization that helps facilitate changing from one time to another time. And, and I think that’s, I think that that’s what’s happening around us right now.

Rick Archer: Yeah, it is. It’s fascinating to see it unfold and I want to live a long life in part because this is all So interesting. Want to see how does this movie end? You know? Pardon what you say, John,

John Churchill: May you live a long rice?

Rick Archer: Yeah, I’m working on it, walk five miles a day and meditate a couple hours do all kinds of good stuff. A couple of questions came in, which will be abrupt segues. We’ll wrap it up after these questions and maybe make some overall points. So let me think here this. Hopefully you’ll understand this question. I haven’t even read my book thoroughly yet, but it’s from someone named Quinn, Berry in Canada. Question with an infinity of options. Why choose a skull to inhabit your personal space? What is the significance and or intent? It matters in what it communicates to others as well as what it reflects back to your unconscious? A skull is always resonant with death, but not necessarily negative? How would it affect you if you chose the symbol of a son or a smiling face? What do you have a soul behind you in the living room? Or was referring to ever ever

John Churchill: ring with us? Come on?

Rick Archer: I have a ring a skull, okay, I’m

John Churchill: a Buddhist. Right? So So for me, I live in a culture that is in such complete denial of death, right? And such complete denial of life. In fact, I wouldn’t I wouldn’t. Death and life are inseparable to me. So you know that the suppression of repression of life is the suppression of repression of death. So a little reminder about how precious every moment is, yeah.

Rick Archer: You know, the yogi’s that meditate in the cremation grounds and this salubrious Christian monk, there’s a famous painting of a Christian monk contemplating a skull and, you know,

John Churchill: yeah, it’s a very, it’s a very important part of my practice is to recognize how precious Yeah, like it is, it is this moment. And we live in a culture that communicates so much deadening right. And also the, you know, the, there is also the fear element, you know, like, I come from I have Jewish ancestors, you know, I have like, facing horrific genocide, like I have to stay connected to the fact that on this planet right now, people are dying and suffering and to like, not to kind of numb yourself out with, you know, feeling good and warm in my cozy room and not remember, by the reality of life. I think that

Rick Archer: yeah, I mean, 10,000 Americans are dying of COVID every month still. And there’s still people who deny that it exists. So that

John Churchill: Yeah, so I need, I need a little reminder, because I’m still in. I’m still in middle school.

Rick Archer: Here’s another question from John QAnon, in Strasbourg, France. What do you think Jesus meant when he said, unless you become like little children, you’ll you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

John Churchill: What he meant was the fact that the deepest level of mind the separation from ourselves, and the fundamental field of reality is caused by fusion to the attentional system, because the attentional system is always looking at what you know, it’s always searching and the fundamental release from being fused with the attentional system where the mind is released into the hole. One of the qualities of that is profound innocence, profound innocence. Center. lessness, right. insubstantiality not knowingness. So it’s a very technical term, very technical process around unless you, if we don’t release from grasping onto the attentional system, and release into the hole. We’re never going to see the holiness of the obits always right ahead. Yeah. Good. Yeah. What do you think?

Rick Archer: Similar? When the views such fancy terminology, but innocent? Simplicity, you know, lack of Guile, lack of complexity? Just, you know, humble humility, all kinds of qualities like that are extremely conducive to spiritual progress.

John Churchill: Absolutely.

Rick Archer: Yeah. Good. Well, I have a feeling that, you know, we could spend another six hours and still have find new things to talk about in terms of all the different facets of your work and, and we, we didn’t really get in much to the ethics thing, and I know, that’s an important part of it all. But um, you know, this is, uh, give people a taste of who you are and what you’re doing. And I’ll link to your websites and, you know, people can explore there and even go so far as to join your, your four year program if they want to, or your 40 Year program or whatever it becomes. It’s been a pleasure, Rick. Yeah, it’s really good, John.

John Churchill: inviting me.

Rick Archer: Yeah. And I often feel this and say As at the end of interviews, but I hope to meet you in person someday. It’s, there’s something it’s, I mean, it’s great that we have the internet and all but there’s there’s nothing like kind of little personal contact. That’s why I used to love the science and non duality conference just getting together with everybody once a year. But

John Churchill: maybe you need to have a like Buddha’s at the gas pump.

Rick Archer: I don’t want to organize it and doesn’t believe me. Somebody else can do it. Somebody else can organize it. Yeah. All right. So thanks so much. Thanks to those who’ve been listening or watching and we’ll see you for the next one.