Rick Archer: Welcome to Buddha at the Gas Pump. My name is Rick Archer and my guest this week is Joi Sharp. Joi lives in Ridgeway, Colorado which is a beautiful little town in southwestern Colorado near Telluride and Ouray where I’ve spent some time camping myself. And I met Joi in person recently Amma event Amma, the hugging Saint here in Iowa, and I’ve seen you around over the years anyway at events, you know, your face is familiar. So welcome, Joi. Thank you.
Joi Sharp: Hi, Rick. Thanks for inviting me.
Rick Archer: Yeah. Someone actually recommended you. I think it might have been a friend of ours named Jill. I don’t know if you know, Jill. Or maybe it was Radhika I don’t know.
Joi Sharp: I think it was Radhika she had mentioned this.
Rick Archer: I get these recommendations, and I sort of prioritize these interviews based upon kind of a mixture of how many votes people get from various people recommending people and also just sort of a gut instinct, you know, but I kind of got a good gut instinct when it came to my attention.
Joi Sharp: Well, that’s good. To get started.
Rick Archer: And over the last, since I saw you last week ago, I’ve listened to a couple of your thoughts, songs on audio, they’re about an hour and a half each. And for those for those listening, I should say that there’s a whole bunch of them on Joy’s website, which I’ll be linking to. And I was impressed. I mean, it always impresses me when people can just sit there and rap for an hour and not say the same thing twice. Basically, I don’t know how people do it.
Joi Sharp: Yeah, it’s a nice, I wonder when it’s gonna stop, but it just keeps on coming out.
Rick Archer: Yeah. And then eventually, I haven’t listened to all of them. Maybe if I had, I’d find you repeating yourself. But it all seemed pretty fresh and original and from the heart and enjoyable to listen to. So I also know from listening to those and from reading your website, I gathered that I got a sense of what you’re sort of spiritual history is so to speak. You lived in India for nearly a decade, mostly an Amazon ashram and also interior Obama Ivana malai. And you’ve also spent some time with what’s her name? Pamela Wilson? Yeah, whom I’ll be interviewing in a couple months. And I saw that and I just Shanti Alta Humala we’ll be interviewing. And he came here in April to Fairfield so that was wonderful.
Joi Sharp: Yeah, that’s another nice connection.
Rick Archer: Yeah. So let’s fill in the gaps. Okay, that’s a brief sketch. But where would you like to start?
Joi Sharp: Wherever you want to start? I’m,
Rick Archer: well, like, for instance, on your about page on your website, you you talk about how, you know, when you’re a certain age, you kind of gotten bitten by the spiritual bug, and then that set you off on this whole, you know, odyssey of, of searching and doing things so so let’s start back there. But let’s fill it in a lot more.
Joi Sharp: Okay. Yeah, the spiritual bug, bit me very suddenly, quite unexpectedly. I was about 25 years ago. And previously, I had led a life of
Rick Archer: when you were five, right? Yeah. When I was five, thank you.
Joi Sharp: Oh, older than that. I was living in I was living in Tahoe City. Yeah, I’ve lived in those places. And up until that point, I had lived a pretty wild life. I did what I wanted to do with very little discipline. And one day I was just done with that life. I went down by the river, I lived right on the Truckee River, like I said, and sat down and close my eyes. I had no inclination before that moment to do that. And when that moment arrived, it was the timing was just right on. Something in me let go. And I knew that what I had previously thought of myself was no longer relevant. It was a moment of incredible grace and quite surprising. It surprised me. That life, up to that point was completely over. And a new life had begun. A new life of really, really devoting this life to knowing truth, to living truth. And to, I don’t know, it, it was a level of surrender that I that just came from within
Rick Archer: Have you written any? Have you read any books or anything about spiritual stuff? Or is it totally an inner impulse that,
Joi Sharp: hey, it was a total It was a total inside job. No, no books. Previous to that I had interest in maybe the occult a little bit. Tarot astrology, when I was in high school, you know, I used to write, I used to do people’s charts for Christmas presents, like that. But other than that, there was nothing, there was nothing at all. And this, this impulse that came. It came from it came from a longing, a came from a deep longing to, to, to be connected. To know love, it was of the heart. I really wanted to know, I wanted to break the veil, I wanted to see the other side. And it was a longing to know it was good came from my heart. It was, you know, they say that the true spiritual impulse comes from truth itself. That’s where it comes from. It doesn’t come from ego, ego might come from behind that impulse. It might say, Oh, this, I might get something out of this. But a real true impulse comes from to nature itself. It comes from something that is just it’s just time to, to know, to know it. So that would be what happened. Yeah, so that’s, that was the moment.
Rick Archer: Yeah, I think a lot of us had those moments is sort of like you, you wonder what’s going on. A lot of people I’ve interviewed too. It’s like, were they blessed by an angel? Or was it totally some kind of cosmic intelligence just bubbling up or what, but there’s just this sort of sudden turnaround or sudden sort of knowing that, okay, this this, what I’ve been doing isn’t working. Now, I know, I have a sense of what I need to do, you know?
Joi Sharp: Yeah. I think it’s happened for a lot of people.
Rick Archer: Yeah,
Joi Sharp: a lot. And maybe a lot of people are a little frightened by it. It catches them, you know it because it, it’s, it’s asking for a shift. It’s asking for a redirection of life. And maybe a lot of people even dismiss it as something insubstantial, or irrelevant, just sort of fluke thing.
Rick Archer: In my case, there was nowhere to go but up.
Joi Sharp: The tethers were cut huh?
Rick Archer: Yeah
Joi Sharp: ya
Rick Archer: know, either either turn around and reverse direction or die and
Joi Sharp: Exactly, exactly, you don’t have a choice, it becomes a choice. It’s a choiceless moment, and you’re just you, it used to be your life, it’s no longer your life anymore, or the you that you used to be anyway.
Rick Archer: So what did you do then?
Joi Sharp: What did I do then? I pretty much broke off from all my friends. My friends no longer supported that which was living this and I started to spend very long periods of time in the wilderness. Solo trips, up to eight to 10 hours, eight to 10 days a trip. I just long for the silence, I longed for no distraction. And it seemed to be that that deep connection that I was longing for was coming through in nature. The trees spoke to me for Jay was living in Lake Tahoe and desolation wilderness was right outside my backyard, basically, and which was in this in the 80s 70s. And 80s was a wonderful, wonderful place to be it was very quiet still. And so I went there, and I would not, I wouldn’t see a soul. And I’d go off trail just so I could be that isolated. And I just started to connect, to connect with the essence that is everywhere. And always. And that essence, because I was so open to it, and all the protection was gone. You know, when you’re in nature, you just drop it all. That connection, that communication was able to really establish itself.
Rick Archer: Nice.
Joi Sharp: Yeah.
Rick Archer: Can you elaborate on that experience a little bit. I mean, I understand I have a sense of what you’re saying. And I love to hike in nature and all myself but um, is there anything more you can say about that?
Joi Sharp: When we really stop and be present that presence can be felt in this space around us in the room. But it also can be experienced through objects, animate and inanimate, alive and seemingly and alive. The trees and rocks things of nature of an especially strong tree ans mission because I don’t really know the why of it. But it seems to me that they’re almost their nature is almost there for us to connect to. It’s, it’s, it’s an aspect of the beloved that it’s a gift. And it, it’s a very, very direct way, at least it was for me to get to know presence. And in doing so, because the protection was dropped here, when I was out in nature for those long periods of time, the presence that was in the trees and the rocks and the mountains and the birds and the bugs, was also able to see the presence that was here in this in this being and you in Me, right? So it was being recognized on both on both sides, which was exactly the same that wasn’t one recognizing another, it was one recognizing itself, it was presents, recognizing itself, in both in all expressions, and all expressions. And it became it was extremely enjoyable. For me. You know, it was like, all my years, I was actually wanting that and not knowing that. And to find it was very, very satisfying. And I call this my spiritual honeymoon, because that’s exactly what it was. I was so high on in I mean, and so deeply touched, I felt like I had found the answer to happiness, which I had. But there was a lot more to come. I didn’t know at the time. But this, this truth, this, this life, wanting to experience that honeymoon, that that extremely joyful period of, of knowing itself, on before it started to settle into deeper places.
Rick Archer: It’s interesting, because I mean, I got you sort of implied that you had been doing drugs and stuff during your Wilder days. And you seem to have made quite a sudden shift, you know, to, you know, really being clear and tuning into a deep level of nature. In my case, it took me quite a while to kind of detox before I could really have the clarity to appreciate the kind of thing you’ve just been describing.
Joi Sharp: Yeah, I think that there was a detox of a different level after the the opening the shift. I think part of my experience with drugs, that while part of my life was really, you know, now that I look back, it was there was a drive within it. That was and I think a lot of people have this experience that wants to kind of break the veil, you know, it wants to break through and do something else. If I do more, maybe I’ll break through, I get Wilder in like a war. And it almost felt like there was almost some protection in that, that I there was never any damage done. There was almost an innocence to it. It would never caused any harm. Never heard anything or anyone. But for myself, there was a there was a path. Yeah. And you know, when you reach a culmination of that path, and you’re just done with it, and I’ve seen that happen. And I have embarked upon several journeys in this path. That when it reads it reaches a culmination. It’s just done, you know? And you just know exactly.
Rick Archer: Yeah, interesting. I kind of did the same thing. And I just knew it at a certain point dropped all my friends, but my days walking the dog down to the beach, and you know, that kind of thing.
Joi Sharp: And all your friends wonder what’s wrong with you? And
Rick Archer: yeah, oh, yeah, Ricky’s just off on some new trip, you know, and but, you know, that was it eventually. Eventually, you accumulate new friends who are more in tune.
Joi Sharp: Yeah, like things life brings them to you.
Rick Archer: Yeah. So this, you know, joy in the wilderness phase did that to reach a point at which you thought, oops, that’s done. Now what?
Joi Sharp: I don’t know if it reached a culmination, because it’s still here. I still enjoy that very, very much. And, but what happened first was because of the experience of being close with nature. There arose a desire to kind of do ritual out there. Which is, you know, not something I really relate to anymore. But at that point, really served me because what happened was a spontaneous prayer. are developed. And from the depths of my heart, I spoke to nature and brought it to a conscious level about what my intention was, in this spiritual life. I spoke to God to nature to presence from my heart, and gave myself to that. I think spontaneous prayer from the heart is one of the most powerful ways to get really, really clear about where you’re at. And because this prayer started this resonance with Native American old tradition started to develop your, I really loved the old tradition of Native Americans, how they prayed to the Great Spirit, and to give thanks, and to relate to the interconnectedness of all things and all beings and all relations, seeing them not as separate, but actually have the same. There’s a very, very high level, Native American medicine people that knew this experience this and was able to tap into a very, very powerful way of using and harnessing the power within nature, to do incredible healings. And to, to draw the animals to them for food and sustenance, to work with the powers of the weather, all kinds of things.
Rick Archer: So are you saying that you a spontaneous prayer arose a spontaneous kind of communion with God, and then you sought to find a more kind of a little bit more of a structured channel for that. And so you turn to Native American spirituality in order to give a given expression to that spontaneous prayer?
Joi Sharp: Yeah, I was doing ritual by myself. And
Rick Archer: Just making it up kind of?
Joi Sharp: yeah, making it up. It just came from within, I just seem to know how to do it. There’s definitely some strong past life there. And I and I was doing some traveling. So at that point, I was ending up going to the southwest and going into the ancient sites and doing ritual there. Because there’s definitely a lot of old presence in there, going into the Kivas. And I was on a trip in Arizona. Somebody crashed into the side of my truck. And I had to put it into the shop, and I was going to be stuck in Sedona for three weeks, which wasn’t a bad place to be stuck in the 1980s. It was there that I met my first formal teacher, a Native American medicine man from the Lakota Sioux Tribe. It was, I don’t want to get too into it. But it was a very, very powerful healing experience for about two years. It shook my world. It started that detox. Yeah, yeah. And there was some sort of clearing that needed to be done some sort of healing that needed to happen with this. This specific way and this specific person. And once again, I went through that journey. And when it was done when it was resolved, or finished. It was it was over.
Rick Archer: Can you give us just a couple of highlights from that before we move on? You know, what sort of healing what’s how your world was shaken? You know, what, what sort of changes? You went through those two years?
Joi Sharp: Yeah, you went to you went the grid. Okay, a little bit. It was. It’s kind of a story. When I got to Sedona right after I put the truck in the shop, I met some people and I was sort of staying with them. And I didn’t, I hadn’t met really anybody but I was driving down the road. And all of a sudden, this intense stress and grief and overwhelming emotion started to come up until that point, I had not experienced anything so, so terrifying. I went back to the house where I was staying in and I kind of went into this room and shut the door. And there was no furniture in the room was empty. And this terror came up in this overwhelming grief. was actually the underlying emotion, just waves of waves and waves of it started to come in. And it, I just sort of let go to it and it opened a doorway. And I had what’s called a total past life recall, where I actually relived a moment in a past life. And it was a Native American moment. And it was one where I had lost pretty much all my loved ones and was experiencing tremendous grief. And this person that I had met later was part of that experience. Although I hadn’t met him yet. I’m getting kind of ahead of myself here. The person that I had rented the room from happened to be this kind of psychic person, which I was never really too into before. And she told me that somebody was coming to Sedona to help me with this process. And, lo and behold, about three days later, I went into this EVP ceremony, which is a very, very sacred ceremony of the Lakota Sioux Tribe, where they call an ancient spirits. And this man, I’m not going to use his name right now. But he was the facilitator, the the medicine man of the ceremony. And he led it, and it was a tremendous experience, it was a lot of healing. And then I went away, not thinking anything of it. And a couple of days later, I get this phone call from this medicine man. And he’s inviting me to his house, to have dinner with his family. And this was the medicine man, who was part of that past life who had appeared to help me with resolve that. That specific past life, it goes even deeper and more terrifying than that, and I don’t really want to get into it too much. Yeah, yeah, that’s okay. But it was it was so spontaneous. And it was so full of grace. And it was so powerful. I couldn’t have ever planned on doing it myself. It just happened.
Rick Archer: Yeah, that, to me is one of the biggest things that jumps out from it as the the sort of the way these things are orchestrated.
Joi Sharp: Yeah.
Rick Archer: I mean, your your truck getting hit was no accident. And, you know, meeting these people and going to this place, and all that stuff. And it always fascinates me when I hear those kinds of things, because it makes you wonder about the intelligence. That’s, that’s the puppeteer and all these
Joi Sharp: right
Rick Archer: sorts of events in our lives, you know?
Joi Sharp: Yeah, yeah. Yeah. I mean, that’s part of my life. I look back. And, you know, it’s kind of the things that I experienced were things you would read about in books. I mean, I got to see, the ancient beings come into the room and take up sacred objects and fly through the room. I got to see the medicine man put fire in his mouth and, and sing the songs. Carlos Castaneda cut? Yes, exactly. I mean, it was very, very, very powerful. And to experience that I’m very, very grateful. But I could see that it was something that was coming from the truth itself. It had its own wisdom. And it’s to trust that the keep seeing it happening is is, is really the source of faith, I think.
Rick Archer: Yeah. In other words, it was such far out stuff that it took a certain amount of faith to even hang in there and keep doing it. Right?
Joi Sharp: Yeah, it was tough. It was tough. Native American peoples really don’t like what young white women hanging around. Not too much. The medicine man didn’t have a problem with it. But the rest of them, they didn’t like it too much.
Rick Archer: Well, they must get a lot of wannabes, you know, who sort of come around and want to do the thing, but in that culture,
Joi Sharp: right? Yeah.
Rick Archer: All right. So after a couple of years of that you reached another another kind of transition point.
Joi Sharp: Yeah. The interest then took a radical turn to more of the Eastern philosophies of really wanting to know what the enlightened ones said. I wanted to know, really, what, where it was coming from and I really wanted to hear it from masters that knew the truth and know in a language that maybe I could understand.
Rick Archer: Like malayalam.
Joi Sharp: yeah. What? But it wasn’t until two years after that, that I met Amma and actually, my first about that time, right during the Native American after the Native American experience, I started to get very ill, I had a very, very strong, healthy, vibrant image of myself that needed to get broken down, I guess, due to the fact of that, that spiritual honeymoon that I was given and spending all that time outside, I was very vibrant and healthy and in shape. Well, that didn’t last very long, I got sick, I got very, very ill, to the point of, I had to spend many, many months in bed. And as soon as I get better, and I’ve heard this happening to another, other people, I get up and try to be healthy again and try to go out backpacking and that kind of thing. And I just, I was so weak. And it got to the point where my body didn’t want to take in hardly any kinds of food. That was, it got the ability to ingest food became very, very simple, very, very small amounts. And I went to a
Rick Archer: Similar thing happened Adyashanti, he kept trying to go out and bicycle race and knock, knock back and
Joi Sharp: Knocked back down. Yeah, and it was very, very difficult when you have a very strong image of yourself as being being very healthy. This is the physicalness. And I, you know, I went to doctor and doctors spend lots of money and just trying to fix myself, and that trying to fix myself wasn’t going to happen. If something was getting broken down, no matter what I did wasn’t it wasn’t going to work. And so what it did is it elicited a level of surrender. That’s all that could happen. That surrender. When there’s true, spontaneous surrender happening. It has a very, very powerful way of opening up the heart. And because that prayer was already here, it opened up the heart more, and that’s all I could do was let go and pray. And it’s something started to be born within that, which was a true longing, a true longing for the beloved. I wanted that, because nothing else was going to work. I could see that the the wisdom within knew that. And so when you when you’re pretty incapacitated, you know I would go from the bathtub to the bed, maybe to the floor. There’s not a whole lot more to do. I mean, you can’t tell you that all there is left to do is to let go. So I think that that was really when this devotional more the devotional aspect of my experience really was born. Different beings, I started to connect with Paramahansa Yogananda at that time, I was initiated into into Kriya Yoga from one of his direct disciples. But I don’t know how long that lasted that Kriya Yoga, it didn’t really seem like a very, very strong way for me that the devotional aspect was stronger, it was a little more real was a little more closer to the bone for me. It was at that point where the feminine aspect, the mother started to kind of come into my awareness. And while I laid there, helpless as a baby, weak as a baby, I could feel her holding me. comforting me.
Rick Archer: Sort of the divine feminine.
Joi Sharp: Yes,
Rick Archer: not any particular human manifestation of it, but just the divine feminine.
Joi Sharp: Well, the first one that I really, that I connected with, because it was the only one I knew was mother, Mary. Because she was just the only one I’d really knew of, I didn’t have any others. But she became more than that embodiment or that incarnation, she became mother, just mother, the feminine just being held by mother, my mother had passed away. Just about the time when I had that first shift, when I was 28 years old. And so, it was an eye my father had left a number of years before that and so this parent, this divine parent, was it was a comfort and it was very useful to connect with that to let go to In a way into into something else. And, and this I think this was the beginning of really opening up to the divine in the mother that lasted for a few years.
Rick Archer: Were you sick all that time or to your was your health coming back?
Joi Sharp: It was coming in and out it was it would kind of do that thing of I’d be sick for a few months and then I tried to get better and I get sick and then I could just get better. It was gradually getting less because something that image was getting whittled away, it was definitely getting reduced. And this open heartedness was becoming more of a prominent experience. It’s really, I mean, it was taking it was taking over. I didn’t know that at the time, but that’s what was happening. And to kind of take a few shortcuts, there was a number of other teachers that I started to read about and to connect with Eastern teachers. Women, not so much actually. Yogananda was one just because he was he was actually another incarnation of the Divine Mother, he really connected with mother. Ramakrishna, Paramahansa, also another, you know, beloved of the mother, but also at the same time I was reading, you know, I started to pick up, you know, the Vedas and the Upanishads in the scriptures that atma Botha that talked about the truth of the of the essence, what the Eastern philosophies call the self. And so that was starting to fill in the spaces that were being opened up. And then my, my beloved dog died, which was like my only family, your dog person, you know what they’re like their children. And now
Rick Archer: I’ve got one sitting under my desk right now.
Joi Sharp: That looked a big hole in my life. Oh, and there was a time also, I should mention this. This was a very important time in my life at that time, when I was still sick. I was working with a group called clear light, and they were in Sedona. Oh, by the way, I ended up staying in Sedona. I stayed there. I didn’t. I just stayed there,
Rick Archer: right.
Joi Sharp: Yeah, and I was working in a with a group called clear light, and we would meet and they were all old, older, I shouldn’t say old for all those people that are listening to this,
Rick Archer: Our age.
Joi Sharp: Older than 30 years old, years old. They, some of them were direct disciples of Paramahansa. Very, very experienced people on the path. And they had developed this emotional releasing technique called clear light, we would meet three times a week for three hours a session. And they would use kinesiology to unlock these unconscious stories, it was very, very powerful
Rick Archer: is that muscle testing is that
Joi Sharp: exactly it was muscle testing. And they would use this muscle testing to to get into stories that we have locked in about ourselves and about life. And it would just trigger emotional release. And so at that point, I got really comfortable with emotion. It was very, because I would lay on the floor for hours going through this emotional release technique. And that was very, very, very gritty for me gritty time. Because you know, nobody else is laying on the floor for hours.
Rick Archer: Always the extremist. Right?
Joi Sharp: Yeah. So that went on for about two years. And I guess another combination happened there.
Rick Archer: Just out of curiosity, this is a mundane question, but how do you support yourself during all this just sort of doing little odd jobs?
Joi Sharp: Oh, yeah. I was
Rick Archer: waiting tables or whatever. And
Joi Sharp: yes, yes.
Rick Archer: That kind of stuff.
Joi Sharp: Yeah, I did whatever I could. I worked in a bookstore, waited tables. I’ve done everything, you know, landscaping, gardening, delivering phone books, taking care of Alzheimer’s. Working in kitchens. I’ve I’ve never really had a skill. I’ve never had a career. I’ve just done whatever came my way and opened up and that’s been fine. I’ve never felt the need To be somebody that was just whatever, just to keep life going kind of
Rick Archer: basic stuff.
Joi Sharp: Yeah, basic stuff
Rick Archer: Okay. So you’re in Sedona you did the emotional, the clearing thing, the Kinesiology
Joi Sharp: Yeah. And then the dog died. And I had my friends I had heard people talk about Alma amici. And what a wonderful being of light she was, and, and knowing that she was an embodiment of Mother, you know, it piqued my interest. But I wasn’t looking for a teacher. Because I had this heart connection with the mother that was so real, and so intimate, and had been there through all this processing, through all this unfoldment. And through all this loss. I couldn’t imagine. Meeting the mother in the form I don’t, there was a part of me that didn’t think I could survive it. My love for the mother was so huge.
Rick Archer: You mean, you were afraid that if you met an embodiment of it would be like, blow your circuits?
Joi Sharp: Exactly. I was, I didn’t think I could handle it.
Rick Archer: So you kind of acknowledged that she was an embodiment of it, but you, you were like trepidatious, about actually meeting her fate in the flesh?
Joi Sharp: Well, and it was almost as if I didn’t believe she was an embodiment. I didn’t believe she was the mother.
Rick Archer: Okay.
Joi Sharp: There was a part of me because I thought I knew the mother,
Rick Archer: right
Joi Sharp: through my heart.
Rick Archer: And how, how could any embodied being really, you know, embody that.
Joi Sharp: Right, Exactly. Right. And so anyway, my, my dog died, there was a big hole in my life. And I thought I would go and visit my grandmother who lived in California. And I saw on a flyer that Amma was going to be in California, right when I was going to be there. And her center was very, very close to where my grandmother lived. Coincidentally, San Ramon, San Ramon, yeah, my grandmother lived in Santa Rafael.
Rick Archer: Oh, yeah.
Joi Sharp: And so I’ve taken a trip, because my grandma and this, this teacher from India, this saint that I had, at that time, had no connection with but I was really longing for some spiritual nourishment that was I was needing to be in the presence and
Rick Archer: what year are we at now?
Joi Sharp: 1993.
Rick Archer: Okay.
Joi Sharp: So I, I arrived at San Ramon, nobody was there, there was maybe three cars in the parking lot and, and it was in between the the evening in the morning program. And one of the Brahmacharies was there from India. And he’s Shri Swami. Now he’s an orange now, but back then he was in yellow, and he was opening a gate and he turned to me, and he gave me the most beautific smile, you know, just warm welcome. And I know it was Shri Swami he’s a little guy that big beard and he smiles a lot.
Rick Archer: plays the flute that guy?
Joi Sharp: Yes, yes.
Rick Archer: Okay. Yeah, he’s cool.
Joi Sharp: Beautiful.
Rick Archer: Beaming, yeah, blissful dude.
Joi Sharp: Beaming. So I drove in, just going home, you know, so thankful to be there in that moment. And I met some people in the parking lot and cup, a one woman and she brought me in and sat me down. Some more people came in. And Dama came in, and there’s the chanting. And with Alma comes a fragrance. And I’m sure you’ve experienced this yourself. It’s not necessarily a smell fragrance and olfactory. But it’s a sensing fragrance of sweetness. And she walks in and, and that fragrance was something that I recognized from my heart connection with mother. And it stopped me short. It was unexpected. She didn’t she walked in. And she sat down, and you know, just beaming at everybody. And I was right up front. And she never really looked at me. And she started to give Darshan, and she’s giving these incredibly long darshans to everybody. Back then just playing with them, almost, you know, cuddling with them and playing with them and really engaging and similar I turn came to go have Darshan. And she gave me a really short one. Really short didn’t look at me. And I just kind of got up and walked away and went back to my seat. And, you know, and mindset, well, it’s my ego, she’s reducing my ego, you know, that kind of thing. And there was a number of days there and every single time I’d go for my Darshan, she’d give me these really short darshans never looked in my direction. But yet there was something going on there was in there was definitely something going on. And I found myself trying to talk myself out of wanting more. You know, if you ever experienced that,
Rick Archer: yeah, I think so.
Joi Sharp: Yeah. So the programs that San Ramon were over, and she left, and she’s on the way to Santa Fe, and I decide to follow her to Santa Fe. And she comes walking into the hall, and she walks up to me, I’m sitting there, and she puts her hand on my head, and she pushes down really hard. And she goes up and sits down
Rick Archer: with her palm or would like a finger?
Joi Sharp: her whole hand on the crown, the crown of my head, just push them didn’t look at me or anything. All of a sudden, I just felt like my whole universe just cracked. And all that trying not to want something more risk free. And all the longing that was in my heart for the beloved, for God, for truth from other for union for everything just came to the surface like a tsunami. And it was such an upheaval, I had to leave the hall and I went out into the woods and just sat myself down in the trees and gave into that and stayed out there for quite a while. And I came back in for the next program with her. And I went to get my Darshan. And she held me for a very, very long time. And I knew that, you know, she just kind of claimed to me as something had happened.
Rick Archer: Yeah.
Joi Sharp: Then she left, she was only in Santa Fe for a short time. And I went up into the Pecos wilderness in the hills above Santa Fe, and did a an overnight up there. I just sat up there in the hills. And I knew I was going to sell my little Toyota truck and go to India, I just knew it. There was no question about it. That’s pretty much all the assets I had. So I sold my truck. And I went to India the following fall.
Rick Archer: Incidentally, let’s just interject here for a second for those not familiar with ARMA. The reason she’s called the hugging saint, and you can find out more about her if you go to anatta.org. But is that her way of giving Darshan is to literally physically hug people. And when I first heard about that, it seems sort of touchy feely to me, it seems sort of, you know, isn’t that cute? She hugs people, but, but there’s nothing superficial about it. It’s profound. It’s a method or a way of profound spiritual transmission. And, you know, really sort of deeply connecting with the person. That’s just what she does. So that’s what Joi has been referring to here.
Joi Sharp: Yeah,
Rick Archer: yeah.
Joi Sharp: So you want me to continue
Rick Archer: to say that in case I mean, you and I are familiar with Amma. So we’re taking this for granted, but some people may never have really figured out or heard much about her, and so they might not know quite what you’re referring to.
Joi Sharp: Yeah.
Rick Archer: And but please continue. Yeah,
Joi Sharp: yeah. And just to elaborate on that, you know, the Darshan, very few masters have ever really given Darshan through a touch.
Rick Archer: Yeah, usually they’re very standoffish or maybe hit you with a peacock feather.
Joi Sharp: Or a stick or just the gaze. Yeah, just being in presence.
Rick Archer: Some of them are very averse to being touched, you know?
Joi Sharp: Yes. At all. And I think on this way of embracing allows us to let go allows us to open up because a lot of people even sitting in Satsang to get somebody to open up. It’s it’s not an easy process. And this embrace is something that every human being we’re just wired to touch.
Rick Archer: Yeah.
Joi Sharp: It’s it’s something that allows us to feel supported. And when we feel supported, we can let go Um, it’s very effective way of opening up people.
Rick Archer: I’ve seen big tough football player types, you know, go up and just come back come out of it sobbing like a baby.
Joi Sharp: Oh, yes, I know, I know, the policeman, they go up. And yeah, I’ve seen all kinds go up to see online, it’s great. You know, the years of India were I just call it my period of intense deconditioning. Amma, when I first went, or there was very little translation, it was all in Bali, aalam, and you didn’t understand or anything she was talking about. So the options of really connecting with them, were either to try to get as close to her as possible, or really be present with her.
Rick Archer: What’s the difference? Mean, be present, whatever you’re doing, even if you’re off working in the kitchen, just have your attention on her is that what your saying?
Joi Sharp: Yeah. Or, or be receptive, open. You know, there’s the opposite of, of trying to grasp her physically close to her, which many people do, or they’re, which is a wonderful experience as well. But to be able to receive that incredible transmission that Alma is always sharing. that I found to be for myself, the most effective there is a, the, the transmission of trauma is a silent one. But it’s an inside, it comes from the inside, where we think it comes from her. But it’s actually coming from within our own heart, it’s it’s activating that they are, you know, it’s often said that the highest teaching is the silent teaching. And to learn how to receive that is, is really the invitation all the time for us, no matter if we’re in the presence of Arma, or the trees, or are just ourselves sitting in the room, being open and receptive to what this moment is, is offering us. So that was I, I did that all the time, I sat in on this presence and just absorbed as much as I could. I wasn’t a saved, right? I’m not wired that way. There are
Rick Archer: translate that,
Joi Sharp: okay, sevites. There’s a lot of selfless service around on this Ashram. She says most people aren’t able to sit for eight to 10 hours a day in contemplation. Most people need activity. And oftentimes, even when we’re, when we’re going through a lot of deconditioning, I call it, it’s helpful to just go participate, or do engage in some activity. And there’s all kinds of work to be done. And we all had our own little jobs, I had lots of little jobs. I never did lots of work. I did you know, I chop vegetables and clean toilets and water the plants in the yard. You know, I did a lot of little jobs. But for the most part, I was more of a contemplative. So I would either sit in on his presence, or I’d sit on the roof and look at onto the ocean, which the ashram is right on the Arabian Sea. You could hear the crash of the waves. Very, very nice. So this period in India, and I call a deconditioning. If I could describe it, it’s not an easy place to be on the zatia. And back then it was quite us. What’s the word I’m looking at there? Stare Thank you. It. We were very many to a room. The food was very simple. Very spicy, very spicy. And not to mention the climate was very hot and very wet. And I’m used to more of a cool, dry climate. You had to wear all these clothes if you’re a woman. And back then we it was very strict to there was also a lot more rules involved. But it kind of suited me the discipline. I’d get up at four in the morning and go into the hall and do the morning chants and meditation and I liked that structure of a lifestyle it was suited me but for them I was part, it was very hard because I was used to having a lot of my own space. Not being so crowded. I was always my roommates were always people that I wouldn’t have chosen to be my roommates. That was very, very difficult for me. And Moe for most of the time there, the energy was there’s a lot of Shakti Yeah. And it’s I don’t know if you’ve ever experienced it around on the Sufi, like the Debbie Baba, when you’re are just trying to rest and you’ve had two hours of sleep and you know, you need to sleep. But you can’t, right. You’re laying there and all under your skin is a vibration going on. That that went on for about seven years for
Rick Archer: I conk right out. But my wife is always she can never sleep when she goes down
Joi Sharp: She does that yeah. So that was going on for me. And I would bet I would come back every summer and work here in the West.
Rick Archer: Make some money renew your visa.
Joi Sharp: Exactly. That wasn’t an easy process, either. Because when I would come back, I had no place to go. So oftentimes, I found myself sleeping in storage lockers and in basements and in tents and
Rick Archer: Wow
Joi Sharp: Yeah, it was driven. I was I was obsessed. i There was something in me that was quite insane going on.
Rick Archer: During all this time, were you ever sort of attracted to get into a romantic relationship with anybody? Or was that like, forget it? I’m on the fast track?
Joi Sharp: That’s a good question. There wasn’t. There wasn’t room for that. There just wasn’t space. There was. There was some other process going on. And there just was no invitation at all. It was interesting to me because it wasn’t like I was I thought there wasn’t an idea that it shouldn’t be. I did. I didn’t embrace the celibacy of a renunciant. I didn’t I wasn’t a renunciate. I wasn’t even one of those formal renunciation that, that do that over there. I was, I was actually termed a visitor. Because I wasn’t a resident or anything, because it would come and go. But when I was here, no, there was just no room for anything. But what was needed at the moment?
Rick Archer: Pedal to the metal
Joi Sharp: pedal to the metal. Well said.
Rick Archer: Okay,
Joi Sharp: yeah.
Rick Archer: All right. So your that you this went on for 10 years, and you’re going back and forth?
Joi Sharp: Yeah, it was about seven years and then a shift happened.
Rick Archer: Okay.
Joi Sharp: And, you know, before that I did all those North India tours. I did think I did five of them.
Rick Archer: Oh, those are brutal. I understand.
Joi Sharp: Yeah.
Rick Archer: Going on 24 hour bus rides, and, you know, huge mobs, and
Joi Sharp: yeah, but also the blissful moments of swimming every day with Amma.
Rick Archer: Right.
Joi Sharp: And singing and,
Rick Archer: and roadsides, snacks and things.
Joi Sharp: yeah, there was a lot. I had a lot. My favorite memories were during those moments, those breaks. But there was a shift after about seven years. And, you know, I didn’t know what was going on, Rick, I had no concept of what was happening. All I knew was that I was being driven. And, you know, I would meditate a lot. I was in the I was a meditator, and I would sit and I would have these extraordinary, extraordinary experiences.
Rick Archer: Would you do a technique that Amma had taught you or your Kriya Yoga technique or something that just came naturally spun? Whatever, you just kind of made up your own thing.
Joi Sharp: It was something that I was always kind of, I think, had been
Rick Archer: just natural.
Joi Sharp: It was natural.
Rick Archer: Yeah,
Joi Sharp: it was something I’d already I’d already known. And it was very easy for, for me to just sort of let go into its absorption.
Rick Archer: And you say you had some extraordinary experiences with that?
Joi Sharp: Yeah, yeah.
Rick Archer: Like for instance?
Joi Sharp: I mean, total oneness, total. I mean, a lot of times I would actually become the Divine Mother, my my body, I would hold mudras and the body would shake. A lot of Shakti would be going on this. This happened from pretty much the first year in India. And but there was a part of me that knew that the experiences were irrelevant. They were inspiring. They were incredibly in spiring because they were so full of light. And when I was meditating, there was no more meditator. There was nobody doing anything, there was nobody having an experience. So you might want to call them actually, in themselves little subtle shifts of perception. Because I could see that what was the small me didn’t really have a place in the perception of what was the perception of awareness.
Rick Archer: Yeah. In other words, you sort of saw the ephemeral or insubstantial nature of the small me because the big me became so substantial that By contrast, the small me was nothing much to it.
Joi Sharp: Yeah, yeah. There wasn’t much to it. That’s that’s small me didn’t really have a place in this whole path. It didn’t. It wasn’t
Rick Archer: Just hangin’ on for dear life.
Joi Sharp: It was Yeah. And it wasn’t it. It I, I, there would be a little bit of concern, but for the most part, it was really, it wasn’t given much attention to.
Rick Archer: Yeah.
Joi Sharp: And I don’t know how that came about. I really don’t there wasn’t any directive. Coming from Amma. There wasn’t I didn’t have that Satsangy kind of look at the small me doesn’t really exist. But there was a, there was an experience of it. And so this deconditioning that was happening was a deconditioning of self was the of the personal self, of what it wanted, what it needed, and what it thought it’s what life should be.
Rick Archer: Yeah. And it really sounds very automatic. In your case, it really sounds like you are basically being done, you know, you weren’t doing and you weren’t saying okay, now, here’s the next step. You’re just sort of like, Holding on, I’ve been not holding on, but just sort of like being driven along through this process.
Joi Sharp: It was coming entirely from the inside. I had no idea what was going on.
Rick Archer: Yeah,
Joi Sharp: none. It was I was clueless. I was just trying to survive
Rick Archer: Just kind of like Divine Intelligence was molding you somehow.
Joi Sharp: Yeah, yeah. And Amma always kind of describes, you know, what the Master does is she’s like the master jeweler jeweler, she sees in the disciple or the student. The perfect jewel, the potential, and she cuts
Rick Archer: Cuts away all the other stuff.
Joi Sharp: With precision of a master jeweler with absolute precision. She wants the ultimate brilliance.
Rick Archer: Right.
Joi Sharp: You know, and some of the things that I would see happen around me it was like, oh, it’d be so bizarre, but so effective. So ruthless, but so effective.
Rick Archer: Like what? I always like, for instances, like examples.
Joi Sharp: I can’t really think of anything right now.
Rick Archer: OK maybe something will come to mind.
Joi Sharp: I’ll share some more with you I’ll think of some later.
Rick Archer: But you know, actually, it’s interesting to note here that just as you were being done, sort of, I mean, it’s not like you, like some individuality was driving this process here. We’re just kind of rushing down the rapids, you know, but then you were saying, Oh, but what the Master does, but then, you know, the question arises, well, what what the master is, you know, because what is Alma? She’s not just this lady that, you know, was born there in Kerala and was doing her thing in her ashram, you know, she’s sort of that, that divine intelligence, also, the same thing that’s driving you from within, is driving her. But you know, maybe she’s a bit a more powerful engine or something like, you know, same electricity powers a little light here, and a really bright spotlight there.
Joi Sharp: Yeah,
Rick Archer: but it’s the same electricity. But somehow, if you get in the field of that bright spotlight, you know, it’s it’s much more sort of intense.
Joi Sharp: Right. Right. That’s it. There’s 1000 watt light bulbs, and then there’s the little tiny
Rick Archer: Yeah,
Joi Sharp: the flashlights and or actually, there’s a little tiny flashlights and there’s the lightning bolts. Yeah,
Rick Archer: right. Light that is one though the lamps be many According to a line from the Incredible String Band. Oh, yeah. That’s and that’s what it is. We’re just lights, many lights. Yeah,
Joi Sharp: the same.
Rick Archer: But I think the the interesting point to note here is that if you’re in a place like that, there’s a sort of the, the field as it were, is so saturated, so intense, that this sort of evolutionary tendency that you’ve been describing, as having guided your life from your early 20s is ramped up, you know, so it’s, you know, all the, you know, your circuitry is just flooded more and more and more with with that divine energy, which affects much deeper and more profound changes more readily, more rapidly. Would you agree with all that?
Joi Sharp: yes, yeah. And not, and not to be able to understand it allowed it. It wasn’t like I was trying to fit into any kind of concept. You know, because love and surrender allows you to let go to the degree that it cannot be fit into any box. It’s gonna be, it’s gonna be a free for all whatever the whatever the intelligence deems appropriate
Rick Archer: Yeah,
Joi Sharp: deems necessary
Rick Archer: thy will be done
Joi Sharp: thy will be done. Exactly, exactly. And that is that is the beautiful that’s the gift of of devotion, I think is thy will be done. And it’s such a, you know, I have a very, very deep respect for both the non dual Advaita perspective and the devotional, because they’re actually the same. There’s not a difference. It I mean, my perspective changes continuously throughout the day of the two. And, but the devotional aspect allows us to really keep letting go to the degree that it’s being invited. It’s being asked,
Rick Archer: Somebody gave me a quote just yesterday from Amma, he said, he, I think she said this recently, she said, the biggest lesson we should learn from spirituality is how to love and serve others as we would ourselves. This is real Advaita.
Joi Sharp: Yeah, yes. Because we don’t see a difference, do we?
Rick Archer: Right,
Joi Sharp: we don’t see a difference. And you know, and that shift that happened after the seven years was okay, what am I? What really, am I? Why did that spontaneous questioning arise? Because it was just time, it was time to connect the two. And to really see that, oh, this one had to be revealed. It was just, it was just a time.
Rick Archer: And so prior to that seven year point, that question hadn’t been really arising, you just been going along, but then somehow that became, it came to the fore.
Joi Sharp: Yeah, it came to the fore, there was still that interest in the non dual perspective, I was still I, you know, my books, when I would read them would kind of go between. I love the atma Botha, which is knowledge of self. It’s a little tiny book about this big. And I would read that a lot. And these would just read little passages each evening and, and dwell on that. But there hadn’t been a real, direct natural inquiry, and up until that point. And once again, a spontaneous invitation arose. I was in a little guest house in Chennai after landing in India, Amma was somewhere else in Europe or something. And I met this couple who were Amma devotees, and they had been spending a lot of time in Tiruvannamalai. And at Ramanashram, Ramana Maharshi’s ashram. And they invited me to come along, they had a taxi at a taxi paid for, and I thought that would be wonderful. I wasn’t in I wasn’t, I was cooked. I just didn’t want to go to Amazon without her there. And I just was I, I was ready for something else. And when I arrived at Ramana’s ashram, I didn’t have a reservation to stay at the ashram, which is a very small place. But they let me stay there. And immediately, there was a very deep, deep connection with the energy of Ramana. And the mountain and the people that were there. I felt like there was another place that felt very familiar to me. And they, I could see that, well, I spent a lot of time in the meditative meditation hall. And I could feel them almost like looking out for me there because once again, all the experiences started happening. They pretty much would happen whenever I closed my eyes. But I would sit in that hall for hours in this place. Of no meditator No, no one and receiving this incredible grace of Ramana Bhagwan when Amma came back,
Rick Archer: just reading a book about him last night,
Joi Sharp: When Amma came back, I went to her and I asked her if I should stay there. And she told me yes, you go there. And this is a very rare thing for me to give her blessing to do that. She didn’t. She told most people everything is here. You don’t need to go anywhere, but she told me to go And I had experienced some, I there was a readiness to no self and you know, without a physical form of Ramana. There, there’s pictures everywhere. And there’s the Samadhi. There, which they do the poojas on and people walk around. And there’s the hill. But it’s very much the transmission of the formless of inquiry. The inquiry of Ramana, it didn’t work for me, right? Well, right away it the What am I? Or who am I was his, it didn’t really work for me. In those words, it actually had to, it actually came from a different place. At first, it was more of a sensing presence within my own being. And just putting my attention there.
Rick Archer: I think this What am I who am I thing is often taken very superficially anyway, you know, it’s not like you’re supposed to just repeat those words. It’s a much deeper thing than that.
Joi Sharp: Yes, yes. And a lot of people use inquiry to get, it’s almost as if I, what I see is they’ll use those questions to get out of their experience. You know, who is it that’s experiencing this in a moment of identification, or a moment of uncomfortability. And let’s say even more, so uncomfortability? A lot of people use the inquiry to help them
Rick Archer: To kind of escape?
Joi Sharp: Yeah, to move back into a more of a comfortable place, maybe a place of expansiveness or presence.
Rick Archer: Detached.
Joi Sharp: Yeah. But this, this spontaneous awareness of presence of being really wanted to be experienced in a place that didn’t have any distraction of form, wanted to really be known. And that’s, so I spent two years at Romanus. And that was wonderful. And then Amma called me back,
Rick Archer: Non stop, or do you have like visa problems? And you have to keep going home?
Joi Sharp: I did. I went home, I went home. Once you know, when I would come back, it would just be for a few desperate months of working.
Rick Archer: Yes. And then back to India. So you spent a couple of years there, and then I’m gonna call you just out of the blue or were you sort of going over to Amazon from now on then and touching base? Or are you completely out of sight out of mind for two years?
Joi Sharp: No, I would go back periodically. But there were times when she would be in India in her ashram. And I’d be in tears of anomaly. And the mind was having trouble with that. It was kind of going your masters over there.
Rick Archer: Yeah, what are you doing here?
Joi Sharp: And you’re here why?
Rick Archer: Yeah.
Joi Sharp: But there was something in that wasn’t moving over there. And it wasn’t going there. And I struggled with that a little bit. And then I went to see her in the Chennai. She has an ashram in Chennai, and I went to see her there. And which was only a few hours away from Ramona as and I just knew, and I in the thought came in, Oh, Amma wants me to come back. And she looked at me with a beautiful smile. You know, she does that. As soon as you know something, she’ll look at you and smile and affirm it. And it’s, and I went back in that last year. It was my last year with Amma. It was wonderful. Because I was with her in a place of love, but also having my own sense of presence. But also being with Alma.
Rick Archer: Yeah,
Joi Sharp: I knew something was coming to a close. But also I knew that that that my time in India was coming to an end, I knew it. And it made me sad. Because I didn’t know how else what else. I didn’t know what else to do after that, but that last year, I went on a North India tour Amma would look at me constantly, constantly for for about nine months.
Rick Archer: I heard you say that there was a time when she didn’t look at you for two years.
Joi Sharp: There was yeah, I didn’t mention that. There was
Rick Archer: Yeah, earlier on.
Joi Sharp: yeah, there was a period when she didn’t look at me for two years. That was tough. And I wanted her to look at me desperately,
Rick Archer: Right.
Joi Sharp: She didn’t give me much of anything.
Rick Archer: So for nine months, she’d looked at you constantly.
Joi Sharp: Yeah, yeah. And I knew that I was
Rick Archer: What did you make of that? I mean, what was going on there?
Joi Sharp: It was a almost like a sense of she was giving me myself. It was there was it was a sense that all that longing. It was very different. I couldn’t conjure it up. It wasn’t there.
Rick Archer: You didn’t have longing at this point.
Joi Sharp: I didn’t have longing at this point there was full. Yeah, there was it was a completely different experience. I was coming from myself. I was coming from myself. There was, there was a sense of fullness more.
Rick Archer: Yeah. Incidentally I just want to say that, you know, people who haven’t actually lived with a master been with a master might find this talk of oh, she looked at me, she didn’t look at me all that kind of stuff. They might find that kind of funny. It’s like, what’s the big deal? But it means something for someone who is in a master disciple relationship. It has significance. And it’s it’s not like a superficial high school kind of, oh, she looked at me, she didn’t look at me kind of thing, that there’s some there’s some powerful stuff going on.
Joi Sharp: Yeah. And you know, and I would invite that those people that would question that, to imagine themselves sitting with their teachers in Satsang.
Rick Archer: Yeah,
Joi Sharp: and not being looked at for two years
Rick Archer: Or never having been called when you try to ask a question,
Joi Sharp: right, or maybe dismissed? Or maybe having their question dismissed?
Rick Archer: Yeah.
Joi Sharp: Or, you know, we’re kind of shunned, you know, pushed aside to see how that would feel to them.
Rick Archer: Yeah.
Joi Sharp: Because something in you is gonna get shook up, right? Something is gonna say, Well, why are they looking at me, they’re not giving me the respect and, and the, you know, the, that kind of recognition that I deserve, that I should have. Who said, and this brings up a lot, you know, this not being looked at not being even, I mean, sometimes not even a glimmer of a glance, right. And meanwhile, you’re just in your own deconditioning your own process, and know where else to go. No nice little sights on the place. Right? A can’t escape that. You’re encountering yourself to the fullest degree. And that’s what a Master does. She gives you the or he gives you the opportunity to encounter encounter yourself and only yourself, not what your self wants. And that’s really the difference. Because boy, it’s so easy to get in there in this experience of Oh, I am that too. And I should be recognized as that.
Rick Archer: Yeah. So you went from you know, all kinds of yearning and longing and seeking to a place of feeling full and not feeling you know, that that that yearning and seeking anymore Was there ever a sort of a clear demarcation or did it just sort of sneak up on you? And did you feel like something was missing like why am I not yearning and seeking anymore? Did you realize that oh, this is good this is you know, this is what I’ve been moving toward?
Joi Sharp: No, it wasn’t mature enough for me to feel it this is good. I knew it was I was on I was on the right path though. I mean, I knew that this was part of it I was I was experiencing the other side of the coin
Rick Archer: Did you feel you were becoming lackadaisical or something like hey, where’s my old fire, you know? I’m just no because to content here
Joi Sharp: love because love was still very present the love hadn’t left love was still very very strong very intense and that’s what my this being you know a the experience for so long if that left then I would be concerned there was no there was more of a sense of completion. There was now there was something else another door was opening. It was time to come back to the west the time with Amma was wonderful. She gave me I wasn’t burned out in any way I should really say that I I never felt like I was burned out with India. I would love to go back and visit I just haven’t in a long time is I think it’s a remarkable place. But the sense of this wanted to know itself even more through living it. I hadn’t I didn’t know though. What had really taken place here. And I think that now looking back and you know, you always know by looking back in retrospect, I can see I needed to come here to get to understand what had taken place because I still didn’t really know and for us to really be on track. I feel the mind needs to understand a little bit of what’s taking place. It because it actually starts to get on board it actually starts to cooperate with the process.
Rick Archer: I think you’re right. I think I think understanding has to supplement experience.
Joi Sharp: Yeah. And I didn’t I didn’t have that. At that point. I didn’t know what had happened. It wasn’t until it really I sat started sitting with Adya that, Oh, he would say something to me and look at me, and it would go click, click. Oh, of course, and I would see it Oh, of course. And everything started to really fall into a how do I put it? This is something started to coordinate, work together, you know, the mind and the presence?
Rick Archer: What attracted you to Adya? And did you feel any sort of loyalty conflict or something, you know, should I start running around with other teachers if Amma’s my guru? Was there any of that? Or did you actually get explicit blessings to visit other teachers? Or was that irrelevant?
Joi Sharp: Well, I sat with a couple of teachers first before I met Adya. I liked it. I liked sitting in their presence. That was when the recognition, I could see that there was hear what they were talking about. I there was, at that point, I didn’t know it. But there was really nobody here to say, Oh, I’m awake or anything like that. It just doesn’t happen. When it’s gone all the way through, like it did here. There was nobody that said, gosh, am I awake? Here? There was nobody left to do that.
Rick Archer: Right.
Joi Sharp: So, but sitting in the present, there was a recognition that, oh, there is something going on. Then there’s sort of a little series started to happen. One person asked me to give satsangs. I kind of laughed, I said, There’s no way I’m not going to do that. I was still very much my own reclusive person. You know, I wasn’t used to a lot of people.
Rick Archer: And did you feel unqualified? I mean, did you feel like why should I get up in front of a group of people and start talking?
Joi Sharp: I didn’t, I didn’t know anything. What do I say? I had had no teachings. I had nothing taught. So what what am I supposed to teach? i There’s nothing here to teach. That meanwhile, this presence would, when I would sit in the company of others would be just as overflowing love and recognition.
Rick Archer: So are you kind of saying that you had awakened. But you didn’t. You hadn’t quite realized it. And it was not until you sat with some Western teachers that it kind of dawned on you that this had taken place. Is that what you just said?
Joi Sharp: Yeah, it’s it’s not even I wouldn’t even call it I had I had awakened. That kind of
Rick Archer: Yeah the terminology is very
Joi Sharp: that concept wasn’t here. It just wasn’t here. It was a silent recognition of presence. I would when I would sit in presence with Pamela or Neelam. There was a like, oh, it’s the same thing.
Rick Archer: Yeah.
Joi Sharp: Oh, look at what they’re talking about.
Rick Archer: And of course, you had had you had noticed that presidents ever since your very initial thing. We had gone down into the stream and Truckee and then going off into the woods, that very same presence, right?
Joi Sharp: Yeah. Yeah.
Rick Archer: So what’s the difference?
Joi Sharp: Because they are putting it to words. And I hadn’t heard it in words before coming from that. And, you know, I never heard words. And so my mind was starting to kind of say, Oh, I understand what they’re talking about.
Rick Archer: It could it would it be fair to say that it had matured and you are ripened or become the the living of it, the experience of it had become much more full than it was in those very early years. Through all this thing that you had been doing,
Joi Sharp: I could say it was it was much deeper,
Rick Archer: deeper.
Joi Sharp: But I don’t know if it was mature yet.
Rick Archer: We’ll have to get to what we mean by mature here or
Joi Sharp: Yeah. I think that the maturity the understanding of what what happened. I needed that first, for the maturity to happen. And that needed to be through very, very eloquent teaching.
Rick Archer: Such as Adya’s.
Joi Sharp: Such as Adya’s. He’s helped me tremendously understand what happened here. And what’s continually happen beautifully enough. The Satsang that comes through this is also teaching this to understand.
Rick Archer: Yeah. In other words, you understand more as you teach it. Yeah,
Joi Sharp: very much very much
Rick Archer: The teacher always learns more than the taught.
Joi Sharp: It’s, it’s wonderful, what a gift.
Rick Archer: Yeah. So, so you would say that I’m not putting words in your mouth, but I’m just saying this in order for you to respond. And, you know, correct me if I’m wrong, that presence is presence, but the depth to which it can be appreciated, and the clarity with which it can be understood, has a great range of possibility.
Joi Sharp: Yeah, thank you so much for this is, this is so important. It has a great range. Awakening. And this is one of the things that I’m hearing Adya talk about, if it’s authentic, if it’s really authentic, goes through the whole personal so that there’s nobody here that has really any ideas about what it is. It’s a lived perspective. It’s not an experience. It’s something that goes through to the point of you see, through the personal, completely. Right?
Rick Archer: It’s the essence of all experience as opposed to being an experience, correct. I mean, it’s that by which everything is experienced,
Joi Sharp: it is it is, but it’s also the first step isn’t it kind of it’s in
Rick Archer: What do you mean by that?
Joi Sharp: well. It’s always something that we come back to looking from this presence from awareness, it’s always something we come back to it’s very, very elementary.
Rick Archer: fundamental,
Joi Sharp: fundamental, right. And so even though it happened 23 years ago, it’s still happening right now, only what’s happened is that from this presence, the inquiry is still is is able to see very effectively, there, there’s still a structure in place, not much. But there’s still something of a self, a small self, that maybe has fear, or maybe wants to hold on to something, or maybe has expectations. It’s not doesn’t fall away completely. But from the perspective of awareness, we just see it as nothing but a structure
Rick Archer: do you feel that if it were to fall away completely, you would actually be able to function as a human being?
Joi Sharp: I think we retain a little bit of it. But when we’re very, very rooted in this presence of being, it doesn’t fool us.
Rick Archer: Right
Joi Sharp: You know, and the ability to, to see it. Of course, we don’t see it until it’s here. Meaning we’re, it’s in our experience.
Rick Archer: Yeah.
Joi Sharp: In the beautiful, the concept of the way to truth is through the illusion. I mean, this is so important for us to realize we’re not in a transcendent state, we’re not in a place that we don’t ever experience the structure. We’re not in a place where the illusion doesn’t come in. And we experience a moment of some holding or some sort of resistance or or some sort of hope or anything like that anything human okay, but that that structure, that structure of self as it passes through from awareness, we can see it into the and how much we want to see it. You know, that’s how, how honest we are with ourselves. And to ask a question, is there any self here? Is there any holding here? Is there any resistance here? Is there any hope here any expectation here?
Rick Archer: There are a couple of things which come to mind. One is that when I was trained as a teacher of TM, Maharishi gave a long lecture about what he called lesh avidya, which means faint remains of ignorance and he said that it’s, it’s necessary to have some faint remains of ignorance in order to function and you should never expect that, that it’s going to completely disappear. And that there won’t be some, you know, kind of remnants or ten, you know, human tendencies of knotch that, you know, it’s just necessary as long as you’re in a body. And another thing he said in a different lecture, which reminds which I was reminded of, and the next thing you said, was a phrase, I don’t know what the Sanskrit is, but the world reveals Brahman. In other words, the physical the structure of the physical world is, is instrumental in revealing totality to us.
Joi Sharp: It’s true, I think it’s absolutely necessary. Without this without this structure, how would we know ourselves, we almost need it, we need it did become more rooted in this awareness, this presence and from awareness, we can’t see, we need the duality to experience the truth.
Rick Archer: And stepping back to a much bigger picture. Why did the universe apparently manifest to begin with? Well, you know, what, who is the self that’s getting to know itself? Through this through the instrumentality of this whole universe? And, you know, in us as an individual in this little expression of the universe?
Joi Sharp: Yeah. And why would it want to stay in some sort of transcendent state? I mean, to me it’s boring, I mean, you know, your I love your title at the gas pump, because it’s so true, we get to experience the rising prices of gasoline, and our and the noisy refrigerator, which I turned off, incidentally, you know, and the plumber coming through the door, and, you know, in the, in the concern for the lighting about with the web camera, but all these little things that are part of it.
Rick Archer: Yeah,
Joi Sharp: you know, and because we get to use that, we get to use that to see, am I trying to control my experience in any way to try to get to some sort of enlightened one. Where is really the true experience of, of presence is, in the middle of this human experience? If we’re trying to control it in any way, you know, it’s not it. That because that’s, that’s going to be actually the structure of the self, trying to control our experience.
Rick Archer: You know, what comes to mind is that, I mean, when we keep saying, We, at this point, you know, what I keep thinking of as well, really, I mean, if God is omnipresent, then there’s nothing but God. Because if there’s any place where he doesn’t exist, then he’s not omnipresent. So that that we that we keep referring to. It’s, it’s that is the divine intelligence, you know, speaking is me speaking as you excuse me, living as the dog, the cat, the plumber? Squaring my throat again. Yeah. Yeah. And, and so all of this, this whole, vast, complex, fascinating show, is, you know, sort of Krishna is leela, so to speak, it’s God playing in the diversity that he creates in order to have that entertainment. And sometimes it’s a pretty dark movie. You know, it may be, it may be Auschwitz, but it’s not always butterflies and pussycats but it’s part of the whole diversity, the complexity, the I’m talking too long now, you should
Joi Sharp: No, you’re fine. I know. I know. I enjoy listening to you. I really do.
Rick Archer: I do that sometimes, I get energized and I get carried away.
Joi Sharp: Now, you know, my dilemma. But you know, the experience of it when we speak, we’re speaking from experience, we know this is true. And, you know, when we’re in Satsang the awareness that everybody is, we’re, there’s there’s equal amounts of this presence available to all of us. And to take that out into the world and to experience that everywhere all the time. There’s equal amounts of this grace, this presence experience available to everything to everyone to experience. It keeps everything kind of democratic, you know,
Rick Archer: yeah,
Joi Sharp: even. And there is no hierarchy. There’s no more or less. It’s just, are we available for it? I mean, it’s, that is really the question.
Rick Archer: Yeah. Maharshi used to say the reservoir is full. It just depends on how big of a hose you want to hook up to it, you know, to draw from it?
Joi Sharp: Yeah, yeah,
Rick Archer: little drinking straw or big fire hose.
Joi Sharp: And I just watched myself and in the mid limiting this experience in any way by trying to one anything I mean, there’s this really a life coming from a limited perspective, we don’t know, we don’t know what’s on the other side of that hose. We don’t know what’s coming through the hose. Do we? We don’t know the reservoir that’s back there.
Rick Archer: Right
Joi Sharp: It’s coming through this, because that’s the life. That’s the life. It’s coming through.
Rick Archer: Yeah. I have an interesting question for you, this will change the direction slightly. You know, you’re you’re experiencing this fullness and contentment and living presence and teaching satsangs at all. And yet, you just, you know, you drove from Ridgeway down to Albuquerque, and then you drove all the way out to Iowa,
Joi Sharp: I did
Rick Archer: a two day drive in order to spend two, two days with Amma sitting in the front row glued with your eyes glued on her. And then two days drive back to Ridgeway. Now, what would be the motivation for going to all that trouble and driving 2000 miles? If there’s already fullness and contentment?
Joi Sharp: Isn’t that a beautiful question. I can’t answer that. Because I know, I know, I know, as I was called. When I went down to Albuquerque, which is happened to be the only time I see her all year, it’s like my time to check in with my master, who will always be my master. I don’t ever want to lose that relationship. If I, I can’t imagine that happening. Maybe it will, I don’t know. But anyway, so I go to Albuquerque, and there was four days of program. I went with my girlfriend, and we said, let’s just bring our camping gear just in case. We had an idea we might come we just had an idea. Usually I don’t go anywhere else on this whole seven week tour, I only go to this one city. When we were done with Albuquerque, with the Debbie Bob and Albuquerque, we went back to the room. And she came through the door. And I said, I think we should go to Iowa, she said, I think we should go to it, there’s no who’s to say why. But when I got there, I knew that there was some sort of something that wasn’t quite, she wasn’t done with me there was there was definitely there was definitely a very deep more letting go happening here. Letting go as the name of the game. Sometimes we get to a point where there’s a lot of ways that this can get hung up. There’s lots of ways there’s a lot of places we can hold on for dear life, because we just do not see anything more than more possible. And that’s really where this goes, you just, you get to a point where every speck of the end, every speck of what you know, you think you know, is is is falling into this, this heart that is just unknown. When I this is where I’ve been that those last few specs have known. They get the structure wants to hold on to something that’s known. Right? So to go, I know you’re here. I know. When I go
Rick Archer: Letting dogs in and out.
Joi Sharp: I know when I when I go see Alma the love and the devotion that I have for her gives me the strength to let go of those last bits of known. I don’t think it would be possible without devotion and it doesn’t mean that you need to be devoted to a master or do something. But that devotion is going to get tested and again and again and again and again. Devotion to truth, devotion devotion to what you know is true. If I that to go see the love and the devotion that is here for her gives me the strength to let go of those last knowns and it’s not like the structure lets go of known. It’s the awareness lets go of the structure sure that holding on to the known. Does that make sense?
Rick Archer: I think so. So So in other words, you’re saying that when when you refer to known, you’re, you’re probably referring to sort of an ingrained assumptions or ways of thinking and so on that our condition conditioned and that are restricting you, perhaps even without your being aware that they’re doing so. And you’re saying that when you sit in on his presence, or focus on her for a couple of days or whatever, it helps to root those out, it brings them to light or loosens them up or purchase them or some such thing.
Joi Sharp: Yeah, and it’s almost as if, Rick, it’s, it’s that transmission of Amma, that is
Rick Archer: just works its magic
Joi Sharp: works its magic.
Rick Archer: Yeah.
Joi Sharp: It is part of the unknown. It is part of the mystery. You know, why do they call it a mystery, but it brings something conscious, that is also there is a holding. And to align ourselves with that, which it’s like, I know where I’m going. And where I’m going. This little speck of known can’t go.
Rick Archer: So knows you have a, an intuitive sense of where you’re going. And but the baggage that you’re carrying can’t, can’t be taken there.
Joi Sharp: Yeah. Right. The luggage
Rick Archer: the airline only allows so many bags.
Joi Sharp: Yeah. And where you’re going doesn’t allow any bags actually,
Rick Archer: right
Joi Sharp: You know, the Eye of the Needle doesn’t, there’s not too many bags that can fit through an eye of the needle
Rick Archer: True
Joi Sharp: And in this known, you know, you asked a question about what is it that’s known, it can be anything, it can be like, basic stuff, like, I need money, or I need a place to live. I mean, it can be that when we don’t see past this moment, and you can’t imagine anything past this moment. It kind of puts you into a little bit of a predicament sometimes because you can’t imagine what’s next.
Rick Archer: Yeah, so I would regard those as assumptions, expectations, things like that. It’s not like you’re gonna forget how to ride a bicycle, you know, something, you know, but but things that imply or, you know, not completely trusting in, in divine guidance or in presence or whatever. Those are the kinds of things you’re talking about.
Joi Sharp: Yeah. Yeah. And this, this letting go of the need to know.
Rick Archer: Right? The need for certainty,
Joi Sharp: yeah, the need for certainty, the need to know the need to feel security. I mean, that mean that there really is not such a thing. But then the need the structure of self. It needs. I mean, those are the known is what the structure holds on to.
Rick Archer: Yeah,
Joi Sharp: and it thinks it needs to know. And I mean, that’s without those needs, it wouldn’t exist. It survives on holding.
Rick Archer: In Zen, they speak of don’t know mind, you know,
Joi Sharp: yeah,
Rick Archer: probably heard Adya use that phrase.
Joi Sharp: Yeah. And this don’t know thing. It becomes basically what you are not an unknown and unknown presence. Because it’s, it’s just being it’s just, there’s no known. But there’s a sense, like you said, like an intuition, that this is where it’s going, it’s going more into the unknown, it’s going so deep into the unknown, that you could never have imagined it would go so deep into the unknown, because you could never have imagined that the unknown
Rick Archer: Was that deep.
Joi Sharp: Was so unknown.
Rick Archer: somebody quoted Nisargadatta saying that the degree to which one is sort of comfortable with paradox and ambiguity is a good measure of one’s spiritual maturity.
Joi Sharp: Yeah, it does get tested to a great degree, if I had no idea.
Rick Archer: So what I kind of hear you saying, I mean, there are a lot of people these days who seem to speak of awakening as as like an on off switch, you’re awake, you’re not awake, one or the other. And you are referring to it, I’d say more as a rheostat. You know what a rheostat is, it’s like those knobs you can turn the light gets brighter and brighter, and instead of just an on off switch, and you know, because what you’re saying is, you know, you’ve I know terminology is is clunky, but there’s there’s been a sort of an awake state for for some time now. But there seems to be a continual deepening and enriching or whatever. And I mean, if you were to contrast yourself with someone like Amma in terms of degrees of awakening, it would seem to me that yeah, sure, it’s the same presence. But wow, you know, there’s an interesting example of how bright the bulb can get.
Joi Sharp: Yeah. And we have no idea how bright that bulb is. That’s, she’s beyond even. I can’t even talk about it. It, she just seems to me to be the source of the universe. That’s, and I mean, when the experiences that I have in her presence, always simply amaze me, because they support you right where you’re at. But yet they draw it out of you. To the degree that I have never experienced possible with anybody else. And you talked about this, this light getting brighter. You know, of course, there can still be a little bit of in out, it gets, it’s like, yeah, brighter and brighter.
Rick Archer: Yeah and then a shadow comes and Yeah, sure,
Joi Sharp: yeah. But the maturing is, would be really would be the vacating of the structure, as the structure vacate this space, this vessel, or the known, which is the same thing. This presents, it’s it’s like it moves forward, it moves, it moves forward. So that it’s very conscious of itself as it’s living here. It knows itself. It’s is here, here, this is?
Rick Archer: Yeah.
Joi Sharp: And this is what
Rick Archer: So when you say the structure vacates this vessel, what you’re what you’re referring to, I think, is that, you know, as long as the ego is, you know, intact, then it doesn’t, then then the vessel is not as fit a reflector of that presence as it might be. Is that is that a way of putting it?
Joi Sharp: It’s more, it seems like, it’s to me, it’s more like it fills up the space. You know,
Rick Archer: It crowds out the presence?
Joi Sharp: It crowds out the shot? Right. Yeah, you know, when you’re in identification, and you’re just so convinced you’re right, something.
Rick Archer: Yeah.
Joi Sharp: I mean, you’re so full of your shit, you’re so full of your known what you think, you know,
Rick Archer: Right
Joi Sharp: There’s not a lot of space there, then there’s just what you think it’s your space, your your vessel is filled with what the structure thinks it knows, the ego thinks it knows. I know. And this is right, and I know it, right. There’s, that’s that’s filled.
Rick Archer: And some people seem to think that they’re finding security and that, you know, I think, well, if I can really figure this out and come up with a theory, and this is where that person is at, and this is where this is, you know, and so and so is wrong. And then there’s a sort of a sense of, okay, well, I’ve got my world intact, I’m secure. But ironically, I think it’s quite the opposite, because you’re on shaky ground as long as you think that way.
Joi Sharp: Yeah. And that’s, that’s, I’m so glad that you, as an interviewer are aware of that. This did not. Because we can’t know where another person’s at is, it’s just not possible. Maybe Amma does, but didn’t know another person’s experience and what they’re actually seeing from and what their presence is seeing from within themselves. Right now, I don’t know, if I know that’s possible for myself,
Rick Archer: right
Joi Sharp: To know what another person is actually experiencing. All I know is what is happening here. And it’s my responsibility to see what’s happening here. Am I full of known or is actually there a place of emptiness. Whereas so that this this hose or this pipe can be clear and empty of known and so that this presence can move forward. One of the experiences that I had and I think you’ll be interested in knowing this when I was sitting with Amma and I don’t usually like to share this but this was really neat. And I sitting with Amma being this and looking out through eyes. I could feel Amma looking at me and with her eyes, pulling presence out even more through eyes. Really bizarre. Very, very cool. She did that a few times.
Rick Archer: just here in Iowa. I mean, obviously,
Joi Sharp: both in Iowa and Albuquerque she just this this this theory, though.
Rick Archer: Cool.
Joi Sharp: Yeah.
Rick Archer: And, you know, and I get the sense that, you know, this thing you keep talking about of, you know, removing the vestiges of the known. It’s not like it’s I mean, just to make sure people understand what you’re saying, it’s not like you’re becoming a dummy in some sense or, or that you’re becoming wishy washy, like, oh, I don’t know, anything, whatever doing. I’m sure you have direction and purpose and, you know, you, you can apply yourself with certainty when the situation calls for it, can you not?
Joi Sharp: you become more conscious that you’re just being moved, you’re being you’re being moved by something that’s very, very intelligent. That’s one of the one of the reasons I still love to hike so much, is when I’m hiking, I really feel this. Maybe you’ve experienced this too, when you’ve experienced presence, moving your body leaning, picking up a glass of water, scratching your arm, moving your legs when you’re walking. Talking,
Rick Archer: yeah,
Joi Sharp: seeing and the more conscious we are of being embodied. Right? There’s, it’s not a dummy. It’s, it’s something that’s quite I don’t even know what we’re to put to it. It’s something that’s so tangibly intelligent, and wise, and compassionate. It can’t go wrong, it won’t let you go wrong.
Rick Archer: I think that what bothers some people is that they, they get the feeling that what you’re talking about is a loss of that which makes them special or unique, or, you know, interesting as as a person that you’re going to become, become a sort of a color the sap. If, if you undergo the process you’re talking about, but, you know, my experience of people who are living that presents very fully is quite the opposite. I mean, you know, our audio or you are just anybody who is really living that fully, they become more interesting, more vibrant.
Joi Sharp: Well,
Rick Archer: more animated, and,
Joi Sharp: and just more authentic. Yeah, maybe to the special is something that’s imagined, we, you know, when we tried to be special, we imagined what being special is, and then we tried to act the role. And it takes a lot of energy to maintain that. Especially when we’re not feeling so special. That that taking that takes a lot of breaking down to those sort of self images in the long run. They’re not very, they’re not very satisfying. And, and to be really honest, am I trying to conform to my idea of what awake is or what specialness is or what spiritual is I’ve seen Amma act anything but spiritual. I’ve seen her be very, very rough. But it was needed. And then then right and it was just an act. And right underneath it was It wasn’t an act as in a pretend it was just presence playing a function in order to break somebody crack them open. And then right after that is love and compassion.
Rick Archer: Yeah. Well, Christ in the temple overturning the money changers’ tables, you know, he wasn’t being all Blissy there. You know, he was expressing anger and and, you know, being pretty, pretty decisive.
Joi Sharp: Yep. And sometimes this decisiveness this ruthlessness is needed to crack us open. I mean, I experienced that
Rick Archer: or even our regular earthly mothers just because we get spanked doesn’t mean they don’t love us know.
Joi Sharp: Exactly. Exactly. And I mean presence or this vast divine presence that’s everywhere always only once what’s best it’s it’s good. And it’s not about it’s not about to hurt but it knows what’s it’s so efficient. When we really open up to it it’s so efficient it it’s got the right formula down
Rick Archer: Yeah. Well, you know, if you’re a little kid and you get mud all over your face and your mother comes to scrub it off with a washcloth you don’t like it you know, you squirm and you resist and you cry and you push push her away and everything but you know, you’re you’re gonna be better off I have had the feeling that you know, when you talk about stuff getting removed and all it’s just tarnish you know, there’s nothing of value getting removed. In fact, that which is most valuable will actually show up a lot more brightly when the tarnish is removed.
Joi Sharp: Right, right. And if we come from presence, if we’ve watched that, and what is it that’s resisting? And what is it that’s holding on? And what is it that doesn’t like it, if we come from presence and see that, I mean, we can really have some very, very profound inquiry going on. But if we stay in that place, where we think we know what we need, and what we think should happen, that’s, that’s delusion.
Rick Archer: Yeah.
Joi Sharp: And we have to be careful with this teaching, this teaching can be very, very effective, that you are That. It can also be very dangerous.
Rick Archer: How so?
Joi Sharp: because it’s so easy to own that concept. It’s so easy for the individual person, to identify with presence, to identify with awakening, I have awakened
Rick Archer: And to assume, therefore, that the deal is done. I know I, you know, this, I am complete, there’s nothing more to gain, and to And so forth,
Joi Sharp: and almost kind of build up new. A new structure around that.
Rick Archer: Yeah.
Joi Sharp: Almost a new parameter about what it expects. So
Rick Archer: It’s interesting, almost a lot of times when I interview people, I always haven’t needed to do this with you, because you’re saying it, but with a lot of people I have to bring in this point of well, don’t you think there could be something more some more progress, some, you know, greater clarity, or depth or removal of inner, you know, hindrances and whatnot. And a lot of them just, they do have this sort of on/off black/white sort of approach to awakening, they know, I can’t imagine any more progress. This is it. This is there’s no one home. This. I just, I wonder sometimes if such a person were somehow magically to step into the eyes of Ramana Maharshi, or an Amma or something, they might be a little bit startled by the contrast between what the completeness that they thought they actually had, and what the potential is for a human to live.
Joi Sharp: I’m so grateful you say this, I’m really grateful. It’s, it’s it’s a touchy subject. Because a lot of people, they want to think awakening is it. They want a
Rick Archer: It’s endemic in the whole Satsang movement.
Joi Sharp: It’s very endemic, and they want it to be the final arrival. And then they want the recognition from it. And my experience was with Amma, she didn’t give a shit. She didn’t care. So what you had an awakening now we can get started?
Rick Archer: Yeah,
Joi Sharp: that’s the foot in the door. That’s the first step from presence, you can see things much clearer. So that’s the gift. You know, I love how Adya says it. Awakening is a freebie. You don’t need anything, you don’t have to It’s a gift. Once you learn to move from presence, then then you can see the work that needs to be done, then, and this is what he says as well. I mean, he says that, really, to dismantle the whole structure costs everything. The Awakening is a freebie to go the distance to really embody this is going to cost everything.
Rick Archer: And it’s like the awakening is a prerequisite to the really significant dismantling.
Joi Sharp: Yeah. And I heard him say, and please forgive me if I’m wrong. I heard him say that his teacher when he had his first awakening also told him now we can start.
Rick Archer: Yeah, I heard him say that, too.
Joi Sharp: Yeah. And this is something that there is a maturing process. That takes years, years. If you if somebody’s had an awakening, it’s a very, very important, vital, essential step, or the essential shift is it? It’s so important, even if it happens for a glimpse. I’ve had people come to Satsang that have had these glimpses that we had, were not ready for it. They didn’t, they weren’t ready. They were ready for the glimpse, but they weren’t ready to keep going with it. And so they just shut it down and went back with their life. And that was enough for them. Yeah, for the time being for the time being, and that’s fine. There’s nobody that says, once you had a glimpse, you should keep going.
Rick Archer: Right
Joi Sharp: And there’s, there’s nobody, there’s, it’s hard to say who’s gonna keep going and who’s going to just sort of hang out in a nice place when things get tough. They can pull out presence and look at it.
Rick Archer: I think you know, some people need a breather. Some people need to sort of just chill and be be comfortable for a while. Everybody can’t do it the way you did it.
Joi Sharp: Oh, no,
Rick Archer: It would be a pretty crazy world
Joi Sharp: somebody’s got to hold down the fort. And thank goodness that I had a couple people hold down the fort,
Rick Archer: Somebody’s got to design webcams and create Skype and
Joi Sharp: And tell me how to work it. You know, I always need somebody around to kind of give me a hand with these things.
Rick Archer: Yeah
Joi Sharp: You know, and there isn’t. In. And for myself, even I’ve had to check in with myself and say, Look, you know, everybody has got their own design, and where they go is fine. I’ve seen some pretty crazy things. I had one student that, bless his heart, he was he was a little kind of bipolar. And he had a tremendous opening. And very deep, very abiding. And for him, it was such a relief coming from where he came from. And so we let them hang out there for a while and out for about a year or so. And I just started to nudge him a little bit. Okay, now you get to keep going. And he wasn’t ready. And so he stopped coming to Satsang. And, and I had to let that go. I because I cared for him. He was very close. And he ended up about a year after that having an accident. And he fell off. He had a climbing accident and he died. And it was almost as if his lifetime said, Okay, this life is over. It’s done. This is where you’re going to stop. So next time we can resume. Yeah, right. I mean, this is an extreme case. But it’s an to me, I found it. I was sad to lose him as a friend. But I found it very interesting.
Rick Archer: I don’t think that you’re implying that if he had kept going, he wouldn’t have had the climbing accident. I mean, who knows? You know, it’s impossible. Karma is unfathomable. There’s a verse in The Gita that what you just said reminds me of which is that “Because one can perform it one’s own Dharma, though lesser and merit is better than the dharma of another better is death in one’s own dharma. The Dharma of another brings danger”.
Joi Sharp: Wow. That’s powerful.
Rick Archer: Yeah.
Joi Sharp: That’s very powerful.
Rick Archer: And so everybody is, you know, I don’t know whether it was in their dharma or not, but people are doing the best they can.
Joi Sharp: People are doing the best they can. And that’s it. And it was funny, because I was talking with a friend yesterday. And that’s what we do. We do the best we can.
Rick Archer: Yeah.
Joi Sharp: And, and there’s so much grace in that. You know, just to talk about that makes makes my being happy. You know, it is it feels like Yes, exactly. Look around. Everybody is doing the best they can right where they’re at.
Rick Archer: Yeah.
Joi Sharp: And it couldn’t be any different. And it keeps it very interesting too.
Rick Archer: it does.
Joi Sharp: Yeah.
Rick Archer: Well, there’s about a million more questions I could ask you because I never run out. I mean, I could sit here for the next all afternoon and continue doing this.
Joi Sharp: You get a break.
Rick Archer: When we get to about the two hour point, I begin to think allright
Joi Sharp: okay,
Rick Archer: we better wrap it up.
Joi Sharp: Yeah,
Rick Archer: you know, people are gonna people don’t have the same attention span, listening to this as they might actually
Joi Sharp: Right when we’re just engaged in the conversation.
Rick Archer: Right. So but before we close, is there anything? I don’t know, whatsoever that you feel moved to say that we might not have touched upon?
Joi Sharp: No,
Rick Archer: It was pretty complete. I think it was,
Joi Sharp: yeah,
Rick Archer: nice conversation.
Joi Sharp: It was wonderful. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Rick Archer: Me too. It’s kind of good in a way that we didn’t get to do it when you’re here in Iowa. I mean, that’s that would have been fun, too. But somehow there’s this Skype thing works very well. And in a way it almost works better than setting up a camera and doing it in person.
Joi Sharp: Yeah, once you get used to it,
Rick Archer: yeah.
Joi Sharp: Once you get used to not being you know, you’re there. It’s almost like you
Rick Archer: You are there.
Joi Sharp: you are there, and you’re more focused, and this is all there is.
Rick Archer: Good.
Joi Sharp: But then,
Rick Archer: yeah, so let me just wrap it up by saying to people who have been listening, that you’ve been listening to an interview with Joi Sharp. On this series, we call Buddha at the Gas Pump. And there are different ways of listening to it or watching it but if you go to batgap.com, which is an acronym for Buddha at the Gas Pump. You’ll see all these ways you’ll see all the ones that have been done and you can subscribe to an email newsletter, you know, refer to future ones. There’s a way of clicking together to sign up for a podcast and so on and so forth. So do that there’s also a page there, you’ll notice a link on the right where it says upcoming interviews, and you’ll see who’s scheduled to be interviewed. And there’s, you can click there, if you wish to recommend people, I often base who my interview on who’s recommended to me. So that, feel free to do that. So and also now you will see a link to Joi’s website. They’re on en BatGap. And if you go to her website, there’s a section where you can read things she’s written and this you can download hours of audios of songs that she has given. They’re free for free, and they’re very good. I listened. As I mentioned in the beginning, I listened to a couple of them. So if you like listening to this sort of thing, I think you’ll enjoy listening to Joi’s satsangs. So thanks, Joi.
Joi Sharp: Thanks, Rick. I had a wonderful time.
Rick Archer: Yeah,
Joi Sharp: yeah.
Rick Archer: Well, we’ll see you next time we see you it. Yeah, maybe we’ll make it down to Albuquerque next year.
Joi Sharp: Okay, good. I’ll see you next time too.
Rick Archer: All right. Thanks.
Joi Sharp: Okay Rick. Bye
Rick Archer: bye.