Judy Cohen Transcript

Judy Cohen Interview

Rick: Welcome to Buddha at the Gas Pump. Buddha at the Gas Pump is a non… I started laughing at myself because I’ve said this so many times and I started thinking about how it sounds to people who’ve heard me say it every week and I thought maybe I should change it. All right, five four three two. Welcome to Buddha at the Gas Pump. Buddha at the Gas Pump is a non… what am I doing? Okay.

Judy: I’m glad it’s you and not me, that’s all I have to say.

Rick: Okay, brain to body, go. Five four three two. Welcome to Buddha at the Gas Pump. My name is Rick Archer. Buddha at the Gas Pump is an ongoing series of interviews with spiritually awakening people. I’ve done nearly 500 of them now and if this is new to you and you’d like to check out previous ones, please go to the past interviews menu on batgap.com, B-A-T-G-A-P, where you’ll find all the previous ones categorized in various ways. This program is made possible by the support of appreciative listeners and viewers, so if you appreciate it and would like to support it in any amount, there’s a PayPal button on every page of batgap.com and also there’s a page about other ways to donate if you don’t like PayPal. My guest today is Judy Cohen. Judy is a former clinical psychologist, former serial entrepreneur, which I presume means she tried a lot of ventures, not all of which turned into the next Amazon, former depressed, anxious, antidepressant taking, suicidal despairer. She used to be a seeker of self-improvement. She used to be a certified facilitator of the work of Byron Katie. In fact, I think there’s still something on your website about your doing that, although you say that you don’t do it anymore, so you might want to update your website. Also a certified senior facilitator trainer of the Living Inquiries, which is Scott Killeby’s thing, right? Okay, so she’s not certified in either method anymore. She was desperate to feel better. Luckily, eventually Judy came to see that the method she was trained and certified in actually perpetuated, strengthened the sense of self as damaged. Several awakening experiences happened. Contrary to popular myth, they didn’t put an end to unpleasant feelings. So all that seeking, the inquiry, the desperation to shift was for what then? Judy finally realized she could give up seeking because this is it, as it is, which sounds kind of Katie-ish, but we’ll talk about that. And what could any teacher or technique give her that wasn’t already there, already here rather, that she didn’t already have? She came to see that every experience, good, happy, bad, or sad, is an awakening. She knew to give up seeking because there was nothing more to get. She’d had it all along. Much more fun this no Judy to fix, nothing to seek existence. Though of course she’s also still here as Judy because human continues and paradoxically that’s better. All right, I told Judy I might not read the whole bio, but I did because it was kind of fun and entertainingly written as are the things on her website, sort of a playful, irreverent kind of tone. Does that describe your personality, playful and irreverent?

Judy: It does. I’m not one of these spacey, all-good types. Yes, I like to laugh. How long, I mean, when do you first get started on the spiritual path? Have you been at it since you were a teenager, did you pick it up later in life or what?

Judy: I spent most of my life miserable and I stumbled on Byron Katie in my mid-50s and so

Rick: like yesterday?

Judy: Yes, 11, 12 years ago. Something like that, approximately then. And I just stumbled on her name on a talk radio station in the middle of the night and until then I would say that and even then I was skeptical and mocking, I would say.

Rick: This kind of stuff?

Judy: Absolutely, I had no interest and when I came across it I found it amusing.

Rick: Yeah, well you must have felt you were getting something out of Byron Katie or you wouldn’t have become a certified facilitator, right? Or practitioner or whatever they’re called.

Judy: Yeah, for sure, I jumped in wholeheartedly. I didn’t really understand it but it came to my neighborhood, I didn’t really know at the time, I didn’t have any background so I didn’t know at the time that she came to my neighborhood several times a year, I didn’t know that and I was all in for a few years there, yeah.

Rick: And so did you really feel that, what did you say here, the methods you were trained and certified in perpetuated strengthen the sense of self as damaged, did it really do that or was there some positive aspect to it, it was maybe counterbalanced by this strengthening of the self as damaged?

Judy: Well, I came to that realization later but at first what I found the work amazingly good for and it definitely was, there were many ways that it was very helpful and I would say that it was my entry point to a real sense of what I am and what I am not, it was the entry point and I think as a way to make the dream world less painful, it’s great and why wouldn’t you want to do that?

Rick: Yeah.

Judy: So, you know, I mean if you did nothing but that, fab, you know, I mean

Rick: Nothing but make the dream world less painful.

Judy: Yeah.

Rick: And by dream world, of course, you mean the world we all live in, you’re alluding to it as a dream world.

Judy: Right, well, you know, it’s not a reality from what I can see, we have all agreed tacitly to accept the fake as real and yet you know we appear to live in it and we have to do our best in it and if we can find a way to not hurt, why wouldn’t we want to do that?

Rick: Yeah.

Judy: So, the work definitely did that for me for a while.

Rick: Sure, I mean I think it’s a universal thing that people want to be happier, not hurt.

Judy: Yeah, yeah, who would want to hurt on purpose? I mean I guess there are people that do but…

Rick: Well, even when they do they somehow derive some sense of gratification out of it,

Judy: right

Rick: in a distorted kind of way.

Judy: Well said, yes.

Rick: So, let’s say that you go and take a vacation in Yosemite National Park and you spend time walking among the redwoods and just you know living in a cabin for a while and being out in nature, is that also the dream world just as much as living in Los Angeles or Philadelphia or is that more real in some way?

Judy: Yes, and I’m going to answer all of these questions as if with a kind of certainty, I just want to be really clear that ordinarily when I’m speaking or thinking for myself, I am aware that in the end none of us really knows the answers to these questions and you know we have strong ideas and opinions but I’m also aware that that’s all it is and so you know is that also a dream world? Yes, it’s all projected, it’s all perception and it’s all smoke and mirrors.

Rick: Yeah, so let me phrase it a different way and see if you agree with this. So, by calling it a dream world are you saying that whatever it is, you know, our particular filtered view of it which is necessarily filtered by the nature and limitations of our senses and understanding is not what it really is, it’s only a kind of a limited peephole into what the full reality of it might be?

Judy: Yes, and I think it’s distorted, ferociously distorted also, so it is a limited peephole. We are limited by what this brain is capable of perceiving, what the hardware is capable of perceiving and you know we have great faith in these brains but they have limits and so we’re not only limited by that but in addition it’s twisted, distorted, mostly by language. Yeah,

Rick: so okay, a couple questions there. So, would you say that it’s distorted to different degrees in different people’s experience?

Judy: Yes and no. Yes in the sense of if you are having, you Rick, the character Rick, is having a problem with a neighbor, you may not see that situation clearly, that will be distorted, but in addition the idea that there is a you, there is a neighbor, there is a home and a next door and a house and all of that, that is also that is kind of a universal distortion.

Rick: I see.

Judy: So there’s the individual distortion that comes out of our apparent backgrounds and conditioning and family life from childhood and there’s also the agreed-on conditioning or twisted perception of all of this that we start training in from the time we learn to speak.

Rick: Which makes life possible. I mean we all agree that there’s a stop sign there and that we better stop at it or else we’re going to get killed or something.

Judy: Exactly.

Rick: Whereas to an ant there’s no stop sign there, there’s something that the ant is climbing but it has no idea what it is, it has a different perspective.

Judy: Right, and who knows what stop signs we’re not seeing.

Rick: Yeah, good point. Meaning that who knows what is there which is beyond the limitations of our perception.

Judy: Right

Rick: Right.

Judy: I mean you only have to have a cat or a dog to experience that in a real way in our daily life because I have a cat and periodically the cat will go and there’s nothing there as far as I can tell and you know dogs hear sounds we can’t hear. Our hardware isn’t built to pick that up, doesn’t mean there’s not a sound happening.

Rick: Sure, same with bats and dolphins and all kinds of animals. You know, it’s said that birds actually migrate by being able to see the magnetic lines of the Earth’s gravitational field or at least that’s a theory.

Judy: Well you know coming from California, just having moved here only a month ago, it was common knowledge that just before an earthquake the number of missing pets increased significantly. So you could almost predict an earthquake was coming by the fact that if you just checked those personal ads, those classified ads, you know lost pets ads increased exponentially, they had some kind of warning that we don’t pick up and whether it’s a gravitational field or what it’s something.

Rick: Yeah, before that big tsunami that happened in Asia five or eight years ago, whenever it was, there were a lot of animals that headed for the hills, you know.

Judy: I remember that, right, they know.

Rick: Rupert Sheldrake whom I interviewed a month or so ago, has wrote a book called Dogs that Know When Their Owners Are Coming Home and it’s all about this kind of phenomenon of how dogs and other animals have these abilities which are really hard to explain by conventional means.

Judy: By human means.

Rick: By human means.

Judy: Right.

Rick: Okay, so you said a minute ago that language is the main culprit perhaps in the distortion of our perception and that would imply that maybe cats and dogs are not so distorted but then they have their own languages. And also obviously they and all animals, a bat, an ant, have very different chunk of the spectrum of potential experience in their experience. So it seems like everybody has a peephole regardless of what sort of being you are, regardless of whether you use any language we would recognize as a language or not.

Judy: The thing is with other species, they don’t have words, they communicate but they don’t have words. And the thing about words is that they are symbols, they’re a step removed from experience, they’re a describer of experience. You know, there’s the word touch and then there’s the touch, they’re not the same thing. And so as we apply words we are instantly removed and that colors everything.

Rick: Yeah, but I don’t think that necessarily means animals are more… well, let’s use the word enlightened for a second just for the sake of economy, than humans. They may be more in tune with nature in certain respects but you know, boy, if the UPS man comes to the door, our dogs go ballistic, which is, you know, I guess appropriate dog response but it doesn’t really make a whole lot of sense in terms of the potential threat that the UPS man poses.

Judy: Right, although they probably have a damn good time at it.

Rick: They enjoy it.

Judy: you know.

Rick: So, but I mean it’s like, you know, chill you guys, I mean everything’s okay here.

Judy: Yeah, but they’re having fun.

Rick: Yeah.

Judy: but you know, to come back to your point, I mean, this is what your show is about, so I understand that, but the question is, what does enlightenment or awakened even mean? I mean, okay, because you know, are they aware of consciousness? I don’t know, I’m assuming not, but is that it? Is that what it is?

Rick: Okay, well let’s spend some time on that and maybe we can start doing that by, you mentioned in some of your writings that you had numerous incremental awakenings, too many to count, and some very powerful. There was one in which you’re on your knees having fallen off the bed and as you put it the planet had moved, and so these awakenings, awakening implies going from sort of less awakened to more awakened. So, what are you talking about here? Describe those experiences, especially the Lollapalooza one where the planet had moved.

Judy: Well, just understanding, I mean we’re having this conversation, this is not how I ordinarily communicate these kinds of things. I tend to avoid the words awakening or enlightenment unless I’m making a specific point about something else, actually.

Rick: Believe it or not, so do I. I mean the terms just have too static and superlative of connotation and you know the fact that even though I talk and think about all this stuff all the time when somebody says they had an awakening I have to say I don’t know what you’re talking about exactly, we have to really get into it and define what they mean by the term.

Judy: Especially when you, especially on your show, you know or anywhere else, when you start to see how huge the variety is of what that experience is supposed to mean, you know it kind of loses its value as a standard or even as a determiner of what’s actually going on. So you know and I know I’m just going to say one more thing about this. When people want to hear mine or anybody else’s experience of awakening, I always wonder what for, because it’s what value is it to them or anyone, what my experience was, it’s not like they’re going to catch it from my words, it’s not like… here’s what I find is that all these stories out there of people who have awakened in some way or become enlightened in some way, as these stories are told, people use them as to perpetuate seeking. They use these stories to evaluate how they’re doing and they compare themselves to whatever the story is and they see if they are better or worse than the story and they start chasing or they continue chasing and I think that the perpetuation of these stories kind of makes people feel bad about themselves or superior which is also not a necessarily good thing. That all being said I do intend to answer your question but I did want to say that I just don’t know the value of telling these stories.

Rick: Well you just articulated the downside of it, I think there’s also an upside. Let’s use Yosemite again, let’s say I’ve never been to Yosemite and someone has just visited there and they start telling me about it, “Oh it’s so amazing, Half Dome is so beautiful and I took this hike up to the top of the cliff and hiked all the way down” and you know they can go on and on describing their trip and it incentivizes me, I want to go there and experience that myself. So you know all these and people have been telling you stories for thousands of years, the scriptures are full of them and so it indicates to people first of all that there is something even though you know there might be a lot of disagreement as to what it exactly is and it sounds good you know and so it’s something that you know one might aspire to.

Judy: Okay, yeah it’s just that I guess there we maybe disagree because I don’t think the aspiring helps anybody and I think it does hurt and especially if the goal is awakening, you can’t get it by aspiring.

Rick: Seek and ye shall find, knock on the door shall be opened.

Judy: Okay, and in your experience is that true? Seek and ye shall find?

Judy: Okay.

Rick: It is and I mean for about a year before I learned to meditate I was you know reading Zen books and reading Timothy Leary and taking Timothy Leary’s advice and doing different things like that and you know I kind of got the deep conviction that there was some higher thing that could be lived or experienced and so it lit a fire in me to realize that and it sort of set a course of my life which proved very beneficial.

Judy: And again I understand that there’s a whole lot of that and my sense is if awakening is being present, how can you get it by chasing something else?

Rick: I get that and I’m sort of playing devil’s advocate a little bit because I also understand the angle that you’re coming from and there’s some kind of a happy medium here someplace between chasing the dangling carrot forever and settling into that which is already here and which you’re already experiencing.

Judy: And maybe being, you can’t impose this on anybody but maybe when you’re not chasing something else that you think is better maybe you can actually find contentment with what’s here.

Rick: Yeah.

Judy: And you know I work with a lot of people who are chasing something and I see the pain that it brings, it’s a lot, it’s a lot of pain because when you’re aspiring or you’re seeking and you’re not finding, well now you’re a failure in addition to not having this wonderful thing that somebody else has. So you’re missing out and you’re failing, you know. It hurts.

Rick: I was a student of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi for many years and I was experienced stuff from day one and my life definitely improved and continued to improve, but I was definitely an eager beaver in terms of like you know enlightenment or bust. And one time I was up on a stage at the podium talking about something, he was sitting there and there was an audience and he interrupted me and he said, “Every day is life.” He said, “Don’t pass over the future, don’t pass over the present for some glorious future.”

Judy: Exactly.

Rick: Yeah.

Judy: What’s the point of that other than pain, honestly?

Rick: You know in terms of that experience he was right. I mean you can make yourself miserable by failing to appreciate what’s here now, what you’ve got and all and just kind of moaning and groaning and pining for some glorious future, but on the other hand it’s I think realistic to understand that we do continue to grow or we may and that you know 20 years from now if all goes well we may be a lot happier or brighter or clearer or whatever than we are now, but you know that is not to say that you should disparage what you’re experiencing now, but that possibility is there, wouldn’t you say?

Judy: What I have found and this is one of the many, many paradoxes in all of this is that when a person, again I’m kind of, I frequently work with people who have tried everything and who have been seeking and searching and trying and aspiring as you said for a really long time, sometimes many decades, and I’m kind of experienced for many people as like the last resort and one of the ways where they’ve tried everything you know and it’s kind of astonishing the amount of despair that exists out there because they haven’t gotten it and despite doing all the right things and going to satsangs and sitting at retreats and giving thousands of dollars to this one or that one or traveling to India and meditating every day and sometimes several times a day, despite that, these are people who are depressed, really depressed, and so paradoxically, the paradox is that there is, when you get to a point where you just say, “Screw it, here now, this is it,” paradoxically there is a relief that comes with that kind of surrender to what is instead of what we want. And so for a depressed person or an anxious person it’s like it’s hard and it’s fought but it’s kind of a miracle almost.

Rick: Yeah, I get that and I agree with you and I wouldn’t dispute it, but it is paradoxical and there is that, you remember Fiddler on the Roof, he kept saying, “On the other hand, there is another hand.”

Judy: Until there isn’t, and at the point that there isn’t, it’s astonishingly a blessed relief. We think that it won’t be, but if what you’re after is improvement and a better feeling, for a whole lot of people it can’t be gotten by seeking.

Rick: Well, in my own case, let me just speak from my own experience, maybe that’ll help. You know, I feel like for a long time I was a seeker, there was this yearning, striving, struggling, I mean I was practicing and I still practice, I still meditate, but there was this feeling of “Ugh, you know, got to get it, haven’t got it, you know, can’t wait till I get it.” And then at a certain point, it wasn’t actually a, you know, one moment, but it just dissipated and disappeared and now there’s none of that kind of feeling, and yet I still meditate, I still feel like I’m growing and improving in different ways and I don’t really care about any particular pot at the end of the rainbow, you know, whatever comes will come, but I also feel and acknowledge, you know, that there are higher possibilities yet to fathom, yet to realize, yet to experience, but I don’t bemoan what I’m experiencing now. You know, it’s like education, I mean let’s say you’re in the fifth grade, you may eventually get a PhD, you’re going to know a lot more than you do in the fifth grade, but that doesn’t mean you should bitch and moan about being in the fifth grade, you have to just fully enjoy that and then enjoy the sixth grade and so on as you progress through your education.

Judy: I guess what we’re talking about here, you know, is you’re obviously not in a place where the idea that there’s more you can get is depressing to you or hard for you or painful to you, but you would be perhaps shocked to discover how many people this is painful for, terribly, life-ruiningly painful for. I mean I’m just hearing from, I work with all these people who you know, as I said, have tried everything and these are very unhappy folks and they, you know, part of what brings this unhappiness up is the idea that there’s something they’re not getting, there’s something out there, they’re missing out and the question is, is that, to quote Byron Katie, is that true?

Rick: Yeah, good. Okay, well let’s keep, let’s probe that. I don’t question that you talk to such people or that there aren’t such people, I totally believe you, but I’d like to understand better why that is and do you find my education metaphor appropriate at all? I mean if you were to talk to one of these people and say, yeah, yeah, there’s more, but enjoy what you’ve got now. It’s not, I mean,

Judy: I would never say

Rick: it’s typical of any field of life that we’re not as good an athlete or as good a scholar or as good in anything as we may be if we, you know, over time, if we continue to focus on that thing.

Judy: You know, all of that is language so contrary to how I work or think that I would never say to anybody there’s more. I would never say to anybody you can, you know, where you are is fine but there’s someplace better or there’s more to be had, I would never say that. And so I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with that, you know, seeking is as good a way to live this life as any, but if the dream world is miserable then something’s, you know, it’s not working.

Rick: No, if it’s making the dream world miserable then definitely.

Judy: Right, and so, you know, what I would say is that there is, I mean I’m very lucky that I have the ability to kind of cut through a lot of the garbage that mind provides people and help people actually see for themselves, not, you know, listening to me spout off for a couple of hours, but to experience for themselves what is actually happening. And in order to do that it’s not a question of chasing something else or learning or educating, it’s not any of that, it’s simply finding a way to experience what is already here. It doesn’t have to be learned, it doesn’t have to be chased, it doesn’t have to be educated, it’s already here, there’s nowhere to go for it.

Rick: Okay, yes I agree with that, obviously what is that verse in the Gita, “The unreal has no being, the real never ceases to be.” So what is real is already here and what you’re saying is the name of the game is to experience that, to experience what is already here.

Judy: If you can and not everybody can, if you can’t, this is good anyway.

Rick: Why wouldn’t somebody be able to?

Judy: Only because thought often makes that not possible.

Rick: So you make it sound like some people are qualified or capable of experiencing what’s already here and others, sorry Charlie, you just don’t have what it takes.

Judy: That’s not the case. I guess where I come from is that it honestly doesn’t matter if we know it or not, it’s still what’s here.

Rick: True. And it doesn’t matter if we understand. You know all of this, you know, the spiritual scene is full of people trying to understand, trying to learn, trying to educate, trying to understand, and all of that depends on mind/ego/thought, those are interchangeable for me. You can’t understand without mind and I have found ways to bypass that but I have not found that understanding is even necessary.

Rick: Well let’s keep playing with this. No, it’s good. I’m liking this conversation. Hopefully the people watching are also. I think there are different faculties for understanding, you just named a few of them, mind/ego/there’s senses, there’s intellect, there’s intuition, there’s heart, you know, there’s these sort of different aspects of the experiencing mechanism, different levels of it, some grosser, some subtler and this and that, and obviously if one just applies the grossest aspect of them without also engaging the subtler, then the understanding is going to be partial, right?

Judy: And if you’re depending on language, thought is not going to help.

Rick: Sure, well can we take a simple example, let’s say the taste of a mango. Mango actually happens to be the most popular fruit in the world, I didn’t know that until I learned it recently, but maybe in the United States it’s not as common as bananas or apples. But so let’s say a friend tells you about a mango, you have a big conversation about what it tastes, you start reading books on mangoes, you can go on and on for years doing that on that level and never know what really what a mango tastes like and you can become very frustrated in the process, you know, this marvelous incredible thing that I’ve been reading about and thinking about, now I know the whole botany of it and the chemistry, but I still don’t know what it tastes like, so you have to taste it. So obviously you can get stuck on that kind of level of understanding with regard to spirituality without having the actual experience that it’s all about.

Judy: Right, and I think the spiritual community is rife with that.

Rick: So there’s a lot of people stuck in that way you’re saying.

Judy: And they’re talking a good game.

Rick: Yeah, yeah.

Judy: And many of them are teaching, but there’s a whole lot of words coming out and there is not a lot of mango eating.

Rick: Well I agree with you, I mean after I started doing this thing, you know, and I started running into particularly those who are categorized as neo-Advaita people and I felt like, and then I found this Tibetan Buddhist saying which is don’t mistake understanding for realization, and then the second part was don’t mistake realization for liberation, but I ended up feeling that a lot of people have read too many books and gone to too many satsangs and have gotten really good with the terminology and have kind of psyched themselves into mistaking an understanding which they’ve immersed themselves in for their actual realization of that to which the understanding pertains.

Judy: It’s kind of mind-boggling to me because it seems to me that the more one experiences other than the personality or what other than the apparent, the less certain of right and wrong and what is the less certain one becomes. And so you know just earlier I was seeing somebody post on Facebook they posted some spiritual quote and somebody else commented, “No, that’s wrong,” and then they went off into that and then the other one said, “Right, you’re right, that’s wrong,” and I’m thinking, “Really?” You know, I mean, so not knowing the difference between a point of view and the truth, you know, that’s where who knows what the truth is, we all have a point of view, who knows who’s right, if anyone.

Rick: It’s like the blind men arguing over the elephant, right?

Judy: Exactly, and very dogmatically they’re absolutely positive. Yeah. And so you know it seems to me that the more in touch we get with stepping outside as best as possible, stepping outside this limited hardware, the more accepting of uncertainty we can be.

Rick: Yeah, there was a, actually my little blurb on Skype is a line from the incredible string band if you remember them, the line is “Whatever you think, it’s more than that.” And Nisargadatta, everybody’s heard of the Nisargadatta, said the ability to appreciate paradox and ambiguity is a sign of spiritual maturity. I think if you appreciate paradox and ambiguity then you’re not going to be adamant about this or that position, you’re going to have a both/and kind of appreciation.

Judy: Exactly, I mean I would say that both/and is the best I could do. I mean I’ve written a few times about the word simultaneously, you know, that we can live this dream and go to the supermarket and drive on the right side of the road and tie our shoes and yell at our kids and walk the dog, we can do all of that and also you know occasionally have this sense of what we really are which is not this.

Rick: Yeah, here’s a line that you wrote, I copied it down because I thought it was good, you said, “Even when there are triggers there’s always a simultaneous not-duty that is fine with what’s happening, can be riled up and not riled simultaneously.”

Judy: Yeah, you know I moved to Philadelphia last month from beautiful sunny idyllic California to be here with my mother who is sick and you know there’s nothing that famous Ram Dass quote, “There’s nothing like family to set a person off,” and here I am, I have voluntarily moved closer to my mother and so triggers can happen and I can watch Judy react and also not and that’s I think as long as we are human I think that’s it, it’s both.

Rick: Yeah, I think so. I think well we can flesh that out a little bit but I think you’re right. I think that’s what is meant by witnessing, you’ve heard the term witnessing. I don’t think witnessing is something you are supposed to do, I think it’s something, it’s an orientation that can characterize your experience at a certain stage where in the midst of any kind of chaos or situation there’s this sort of not Judy kind of perspective at the same time, you know, there’s this silence that’s unperturbed by it all.

Judy: Right, yeah, and you know knock yourself out, go ahead and yell at the kids or whatever it is you do, but and also, okay.

Rick: Yeah, now the fleshing out I would want to do on that is that I think that there can be an evolution in terms of how readily one is triggered, you know, I mean some people just fly off the handle at anything and I don’t think that shows a very mature development of there we go with the development word again, of a personality or development even in this in the sense that spirituality should ultimately entail. It indicates a lot of conditioning still and a lot of reactivity and that kind of stuff can actually be grown out of in the through the proper means I think.

Judy: It does seem to relax. I don’t know if I would use the words grown out of, kind of going back to our previous conversation, but I think it does relax and you know I remember a long, long time ago Byron Katie, I was at some event of hers and she was talking about, it was just after Thanksgiving, she was talking about the fact that her Thanksgiving turkey had caught fire in the oven and she had gone running through the house looking for Stephen, I don’t know if her husband, I don’t know if those are the words she used but essentially she went running through the house looking for Stephen and I raised my hand and I said, so when you were looking for Stephen and the kitchen was starting to catch on fire, did you think you were really there? And basically her answer was yes and no.

Rick: Yeah.

Judy: And I mean I’ve come to understand that myself, so triggers there’s a fire in the kitchen, yeah I’m triggered, yep, okay. I mean I think that that comes with humans.

Rick: Yeah.

Judy: And in fact if it didn’t,

Rick: There’d be something wrong.

Judy: Right, do we all have to resort to a cave, you know, in order to be able to access or to live the kind of life you’re describing where you’re mature and you’re in touch with that and also do we have to reduce these humans lives to such small stimulus in order to make sure triggers don’t happen?

Rick: If we do then I would say it’s not a very well-established condition, it’s not well integrated. If it can be blown away by the slightest thing then you ain’t got it.

Judy: I mean and why would you even want it? I mean, you know what I mean, like if you have to reduce experience to something so small in order to not have triggers go off, what are you left with as a human?

Rick: Yeah. No, I mean just to quote the Gita again, I mean the whole story was about somebody who was supposed to start a fight a battle and he was told to just, you know, get yourself established in pure consciousness or yoga or the transcendent and then go ahead and fight the battle and the battle is going to be intense but you’ll be able to do it with equanimity if you have gotten this foundation established.

Judy: It’s just, I mean, I guess my experience for whatever that’s worth is that when I can get Judy out of the way, it’s just a little clearer, it’s just clearer.

Rick: And what do you mean Judy out of the way, what’s that like?

Judy: Well, I mean Judy is like everybody else, Judy is a product of conditioning and language and education and happy things happening and unhappy things happening and you know Judy’s like your dog barking at the UPS guy, you know, they learn to do that and then they have a good time and they enjoy it and they keep it up, you know, and so the “and also” is I find the key to peace. Judy was an unhappy creature before understanding that this isn’t all she is.

Rick: Yeah, so to my mind what you mean by getting Judy out of the way is not to eliminate Judy but to not have Judy be the whole show but to have the deeper dimension there simultaneously along with the Judy dimension so that the Judy experience doesn’t overshadow the reality of the situation or that could be phrased in different ways. Yeah

Judy: Right, but essentially I think we’re in agreement. I just want to say too that I’m really enjoying all your quoting all these various sources etc. because I can’t do that, I don’t do that, I don’t have the background for it anyway. So it’s fun for me to hear all that and I’m glad you’re doing it and not waiting for me to.

Rick: Good, well if we keep at it long enough I might quote Curly of the Three Stooges or something, you never know.

Judy: That I’ll be with you right there on.

Rick: Actually he has a great one. He said there was a situation that stooges were involved in and they were trying to come up with a solution and Curly was standing there squinching up his face in different ways and finally said, “I’m trying to think but nothing happens.”

Judy: Right, I mean everybody’s aspiring to that here in the spiritual scene.

Rick: Yeah, he was enlightened, that’s for sure.

Judy: Yeah, and here we could say “nyup nyup” and see right on.

Rick: Yeah, okay, so this is fun, we’re having fun and just to remind those who are watching, if you feel like posing a question that I’ll bring up during the interview, go to the upcoming interviews page on batgap.com and there’s a form at the bottom of that page through which you could submit your question and that’s true of any of the interviews that I do through Skype. So you know you were saying earlier about how you would never say to somebody that there’s more and that it would be depressing to them or you wouldn’t want to depress them by saying such a thing and as you’re saying that I can see your perspective, it’s the both/and thing, but also my reaction when I hear somebody say that is usually that I find it depressing and there are people who say, you know, “This is it, this is all there is, you know, just whatever you’re experiencing, that’s it.” And I guess we’re coming back to the point we’ve already covered a little bit but I just want to cover a little bit more which is to say that there’s a tremendous realm of possibility in terms of the perspective one can have as one lives one’s life, in terms of the inner experience one has as one goes through one’s day and I find it discouraging to say, “Well what you’re experiencing right now, this is it, don’t expect that there can be anything more than that.”

Judy: Okay, so I wrote a recent MindTickler, my blog, and I did not send this to you and I’m sure you haven’t seen it, about my dad who hit 85 and who felt that there was no more coming, there was nothing to look forward to, was his expression, and you know there was nothing to aim for, there was nothing to aspire to, there was no better place to get to, this was it, and rather than accept that he killed himself. And I’m saying that without any sadness for him, this was what he wanted. Okay, what I found is that when people experience a sadness or a depression or a disappointment or a, “But I don’t want it to be like that,” in answer to “this is it,” and I’m not saying that’s you’re doing, I’m exaggerating some of what I’ve heard, but when people do experience “this is it,” which is simply true, right?

Rick: This is it so far, yeah, based upon what you’re experiencing, this is it.

Judy: This is it. Yeah. Breathe in, breathe out, this is it.

Rick: You don’t have much choice in the moment.

Judy: All the rest is thought.

Rick: So what’s wrong with thought?

Judy: Well there’s nothing wrong with thought except that it’s rarely kind. And so when people, again in my experience, when people experience a sadness, a depression, a mini tantrum to “this is it,” you know, but no, but there has to be more.

Rick: Like the infomercial, “But wait, there’s more.”

Judy: Exactly. When people experience that, they stop there. They don’t, because if you, they get stuck there. If you actually, again I’ll use words I don’t like to use, if you actually accept or surrender to the “it-ness” of this moment, because truly this is all we get right now, this is it. When that is actually accepted and not fought, but no, this can’t be it, but I don’t want this to be it. When you fight that,

Rick: Yeah, that’s not what I’m saying, but continue.

Judy: Okay, you’re bringing it, you’re guaranteed to be unhappy.

Rick: Absolutely, yeah. I wouldn’t advocate fighting what you’re experiencing right now. You know, that’s going to make you miserable, it’s going to be a struggle, it’s going to be unnatural, you’re going to be at war with yourself. It’s like, well, just to go back to the education metaphor, you know, if you’re in the fifth grade, if you think “Fifth grade sucks, I hardly know anything compared to what these Einstein knew or whatever, I hate the fifth grade,” you’re not going to do so well in the fifth grade, if that’s your attitude.

Judy: And you’re going to be

Rick: a miserable kid.

Judy: Dream is going to suck.

Rick: Yeah, but that’s not to say you may not go on to get a PhD in physics and know as much as Einstein did, but you’ve got to do…well, here’s a quote for you, you like quotes. This is from the Gita again, it says, “You have control over action alone, never over its fruits. Live not for the fruits of action, nor attach yourself to inaction.” So it’s saying, you know, this is it basically, this is the thing that you actually have a handle on, make the most of it. There will be fruits but you don’t have any control over those, but the best you can do is make the most of the moment, what you’re in.

Judy: I would even take issue, dare I take issue with the Gita, that we don’t even control the action.

Rick: Yeah, let’s get into that a little bit.

Judy: I mean there’s science showing. Who did I just…I just had this conversation.

Rick: Yeah, there’s that thing where you have the thought to move your arm like five milliseconds before you move your arm, that’s been sort of disproven, but there is…yeah, go ahead.

Judy: Okay, the thing is you have the thought to move your arm. Where did the thought come from? What generated that? Did you do that?

Rick: Yes and no.

Judy: Okay, we got an “and also” going on.

Rick: Yeah.

Judy: Okay, so if I tell you to have a thought right now, go.

Rick: Okay, I’m having one.

Judy: Did you see that second or beat where you had to wait for it to come?

Rick: Yeah, but there’s a reason for that.

Judy: Okay, medication?

Rick: No. The reason is thoughts don’t come full-blown into the mind, they start out subtle and they get increasingly manifest until they reach the perceptual threshold at which we can recognize them.

Judy: What are you basing that on?

Rick: Experience and some understanding that there’s a realm of subtlety to…like an ocean where you have let’s say big bubbles breaking the surface and then smaller bubbles as you go down to the ocean floor. There’s a range of subtlety to the mind that one can explore and traverse and you know one can actually go beyond entirely and reach a state beyond thought where there isn’t any thought. I’ve experienced that many times.

Judy: Okay, so I guess my question for you is does the ocean generate the bubbles?

Rick: Okay, let’s do paradox again and I’ll reference the Gita again. There was that verse I just read, “You have control over action alone, never over its fruit,” and then there are many verses which go on and on about how you are not the actor, you’re not doing anything, all the action is done by the they call it the gunas of nature and if you take yourself to be the actor then you’re deluded. So it’s a matter of I think you know perspective, which where we want to take our stand and both are true, maybe the one you’re advocating here is more true, a deeper truth, but there’s also the relative truth that we experience in practical daily life.

Judy: Understood, and in that relative daily life I think I scratch my nose by choice and that’s okay, I mean you know we need that to function. Again, I choose to make a right turn here, you know.

Rick: Shall I have lasagna for dinner or you know pea soup, let me think about it for a minute. I had lasagna yesterday, I’ll have pea soup.

Judy: Although if it’s slowed down you can see that the preference shows up all by itself and then we claim credit for it, “I did this, I made a decision,” or “I had an idea.” So you know people often ask me because you’ve seen some of those mind ticklers that I’ve written and they scan all kinds of…they jump from subject to subject, week to week, and I’ve long ago given up trying to control what is going to come out of me on those things. I often have a plan and I think I’m going to write about such-and-such today and I sit down and that just ain’t happening and before you know it it’s about my dad deciding that there was nothing to look forward to and you know it’s…again there is a lot of peace in not being the one in charge. And also if your goal, this thing you’re aspiring to, one aspires to, if your goal is to see the not-selfness involved in all of this, then when you don’t see yourself as the one in charge you have perception options you didn’t have before. So this is an example where I said it’s all words, it’s all language, you know, our language is geared to make it appear as if this is me and I am a one and I am a person and you are a person and you are over there and you are not here and we are not the same and language is designed to do that. And so, where was I going with this? I had a place to go.

Rick: I’ll say something for a moment and that’ll trigger your memory. When I started to go through the transition of, you know, feeling like I was in charge, that I was holding the reins, I was running the show, to kind of something much bigger than me, as it were, running the show, there was a lot of sort of seesawing back and forth and a lot of kind of sometimes falling into passivity where I wasn’t taking initiative because I expected just sort of the powers that be to motivate me or something and other times where I would sort of be gripping and pushing and, you know, trying to insist that things happen a particular way. So, there was a lot of kind of like vacillation during that transition period. Now it’s kind of, now it’s pretty smooth but I think many people do go through this where there’s a relaxing of the reins and, you know, letting or, you know, putting the car on autopilot or whatever,

Judy: right,

Rick: and you’re nervous at first, “Oh, the car is going to crash if I let it,” and so you grab the wheel again.

Judy: And there’s also a whole bunch of, “I don’t like this, wait a minute, I can’t control my fate, I can’t control what happens to me,” and so again one of the things that I also work with a whole lot of people who have lost motivation or who procrastinate and this is often common in the spiritual scene where people get a sense of, “I’m not doing it, so what the hell,” and that what the hell piece is a pout.

Rick: Yeah, that’s kind of what I was saying.

Judy: It’s a tantrum, it’s a way for thought or the mind to not accept and not surrender. “Well, if I can’t control this then I just won’t do anything,” it’s basically what that comes down to. So, you know, I agree that you can wait, you know, you can say, “Well, if I can’t control anything I might as well just sit here,” but that’s a trick of thought, it’s a trick.

Rick: Yeah, it comes down to lack of integration again, perhaps lack of real … here’s what it is, I mean if our perspective can expand to the point where it incorporates both the individual and the universal to a sufficient degree then one can be motivated like a son of a gun pursuing whatever one is, you know, wired to pursue and yet at the same time very much surrendered and letting God sort of hold the … there’s a saying, “Brahman is the charioteer,” so that bigger reality is actually guiding the reins, guiding the chariot and yet somehow that’s not incompatible with personal motivation, you know.

Judy: Because what we do, whether we do something or we don’t, whether we tie our shoes or we don’t, whether we get motivated and get that PhD or we don’t, again I’m not a scholar, I’m not an expert, I don’t know exactly how, I wouldn’t be able to define Brahman although I’m getting an idea from what you’re saying.

Rick: Let’s say the wholeness, let’s say, vast intelligence or whatever.

Judy: It’s good with either one, get the PhD or sit on the couch.

Rick: Yeah, but you know I think…

Judy: Does it have a preference?

Rick: I think all of Indian society fell into a kind of a lethargy based upon this misunderstanding that somehow being spiritual meant not doing, not accomplishing, becoming renunciate, not sort of having initiative and motivation and it really had an impact on the whole civilization. So I think that personally I don’t think that spiritual development or whatever you want to call it is at all incompatible with accomplishment and motivation and enthusiasm and any of that stuff. It actually can enhance it if you go about it right.

Judy: Agreed and I think that the key to whether that is torture or painful or not as you are accomplishing and as you are getting to do things, the difference between whether that hurts or not has to do with whether what’s here is good enough.

Rick: Exactly. I agree. Yeah. I once heard humility defined as the quality of not insisting that things happen any particular way.

Judy: You can insist all you want.

Rick: Yeah, right. You know, Katie territory again, you know, just if you argue with reality you lose every time.

Judy: It hurts, you know, and again when I’m working I work with people who hurt and you can keep it up. You know, Brahman or is it something bigger or whatever that is, it’s fine with that, but it hurts. And if you’re going to make, if this dream hurts and you don’t want it to hurt anymore, maybe it’s time to not hurl ourselves at that wall.

Rick: Right, or make sure that you’re actually experiencing what all these concepts signify rather than just dwelling on the concepts. Here’s a question that came in from Jay in Victoria, British Columbia, which is right up your alley. He said, “I’ve read dozens of spiritual books and know the jargon. I have focused on a couple of books on surrender. However, I still struggle with depression. My main focus for the last six years is on being present, although I find that I am disassociative and not interested in anything.” This is what we were talking about. He said, “How do I infuse joy and happiness in the present moment?”

Judy: You’re not the boss of that. You can’t aim for joy and happiness and expect to reach it. And I’m making that face as I say that because I’m sure that you have countless listeners out there going, “That can’t be right.”

Rick: Well maybe it depends on how you aim.

Judy: Well again, I’m going to refer to it as mind and I’m going to refer to it as a real thing. It’s not, it’s another concept, but we experience it as if it’s real, just like we experience this as if this is what we are, and it has a million tricks and if you’re experiencing depression when you think you are surrendering, you’re not actually surrendering. You’re fighting it. And not that there’s anything wrong with that except that it hurts. And so what I have found is that you can’t come at this stuff head-on. You have to trick mind. You have to trick it. It’s not going to relinquish its domain happily.

Rick: How do you trick it?

Judy: Well I’m going to be careful how I answer this because if I say too much about how I trick it, it won’t work. And I don’t, in other words, once mind is aware of what’s going on, it won’t work anymore. But you keep it busy with a project and you let the grown-ups talk. You know that means nothing.

Rick: You might need to explain what you mean by that.

Judy: Let me think of an example. I often, when I’m working with people, will ask a bunch of questions and I get their mind busy with answering the questions. And at the same time I am

Rick: Dogs.

Judy: Is there a UPS man in the room?

Rick: No, they were just let into the room and that was a cause for excitement.

Judy: One of the advantages of cats is they’re quiet.

Rick: Yeah, well not the Siamese.

Judy: Oh see, I don’t know that.

Rick: Yeah, we had one. Okay. Yeah.

Judy: So while, you know it’s kind of the way hypnosis works, although I am not hypnotizing people, I am not a hypnotist, but this is how hypnosis works. Essentially is that with words and with a few possibly actions, but mostly with words, the hypnotist occupies the conscious mind with a task and at the same time simultaneously directs the unconscious, so to speak, because I’m going to put that in quotes, direct another part of the brain or another part of the experience in a different direction. So the mind is all very busy solving this problem, clucking like a chicken or whatever it happens to be, and yet there’s an access of something else. So that is, you know, essentially you’re accessing the right side of the brain when you’re hypnotizing people. You’re keeping the left side busy and you’re accessing the right side. So that’s how hypnosis works. So when I’m working with people I really understand, I mean I work with a whole lot of people who say what Jay from Vancouver said, which is that he’s certainly trying everything, but doing this yourself, the mind just simply will not let you see its roadblocks, it wants the roadblocks to work. And so you need kind of an outside that mind way of accessing something else. You need to keep it busy.

Rick: Yeah, interesting. What you said kind of reminds me of the way a mantra works or can work, which is that you actually do engage the mind in thinking this thing, but it begins to settle down to more and more refined impulses of the thought and you know sort of becomes a vehicle to take one to a deep state, but it’s an activity. It’s sort of like one might say they’re standing in the middle of a mud puddle let’s say and someone is out at the edge of the mud puddle, the person in the mud puddle says, “How do I get out of this mud puddle?” and the guy says, “Well, take a step.” “Wait a minute, you’re asking me to step in the mud again.” “Yeah, but just take the step.” “Okay, now take another step.” Eventually you’ll be at the edge of the mud puddle, you’ll be out of it.

Judy: Right. So it sounds very similar. Again, I’ve got limited experience with meditating, but what you’re describing does sound similar, if you occupy the rational mind with a task.

Rick: I mean, it’s not rational in this case, but it is an activity of some sort.

Judy: The thinking mind, that’s what I mean by rational.

Rick: Yeah.

Judy: You know and you can do this all kinds of ways. I remember years ago there was a workout program I was doing. I still kind of do it once in a while and it still functions the same way, where I’m so focused on the pain of that workout that the whole thing becomes a kind of meditation. It’s, you know, you’re pulled to the mantra, you focus on the mantra and it frees up a different, let’s call it a different part of the brain.

Rick: Yeah.

Judy: So, you know, you can do that with hypnosis, you can do that with a workout, you can do that with some kind of creative thing like painting or making music or whatever, all kinds of ways. It doesn’t have to be meditation and it doesn’t have to be spiritual, but you can occupy the thinking mind with a task and finally get it out of the way a little bit.

Rick: Yeah, it’s true. It’s kind of like you put a sign on the wall saying “post no bills” you know and then that keeps people from posting all the other signs.

Judy: Right, even though that is of course a post.

Rick: Yeah, a few minutes ago you said something about you can aim at the target but you won’t necessarily hit the target. You remember what you said just then?

Judy: I think I may have said that you can’t go at it directly, you can’t say I’m going to aim for joy.

Rick: Right.

Judy: It’s going to be very hard to hit joy by aiming for it directly. I’m not saying it’s impossible, nothing’s impossible, but it’s going to be hard and when you have somebody with a question like Jay’s, I just want to say that Jay, that is extremely common what you wrote and it’s what I do all day, you know I hear from people with that exact story all day long, that’s what I do.

Rick: Well I have a metaphor for you on that one. Let’s say you have a bow and arrow and you can aim the arrow at the target but you’re not going to hit the target unless you pull the arrow back on the bow before letting it go, then chances are you might hit the target and so how that relates is that I think what all the scriptures say about kingdom of heaven is within you, Sat Chit Ananda, you know inner bliss and all that stuff, from my own experience I fully ascribe to that notion, having experienced that inner bliss, but you don’t just sort of get there by wanting it now.

Judy: Right.

Rick: There has to be an artful means.

Judy: Yes, you can’t go at it straight on.

Rick: Yeah.

Judy: And I will just say, I mean this is not to your point, I don’t know if you … I don’t want to take too great a detour with this, but the idea of inner, I think is an additional roadblock.

Rick: Kind of, yeah, I mean because yeah, where is it? In the middle of your brain or something or in your stomach?

Judy: Right, you know I mean I ask clients this all the time, if we took you to an MRI or we took you to a surgeon and we cut you open, would it be in there? You know, so when it’s … this was one of the flaws in my opinion of the work and the Kilby inquiry, is when your focus is inward, you are focused on this character.

Rick: Not necessarily, you can go beyond the character. There’s a verse from the Gita that describes it like being like a tortoise withdrawing all its limbs, sort of within its shell. There’s a sort of a thing that can happen where the senses which are ordinarily outer directed can take a 180 degree turn, not permanently, but just for the sake of sort of you know having that inner experience and then come out again and you end up sort of soaking it up as it were and then it plays out in daily life.

Judy: Which again I do understand of course because I live in this world like everybody else, but I think that you know if what you’re looking for is enlightenment, the concept of inner and going inwards, well get in your way, in my opinion, in my experience. Because again it was

Rick: you end up fixating more on your individuality if you do that, right?

Judy: Yes, and how it feels and how it thinks and whether it’s thinking good thoughts or stressful thoughts or too many thoughts or not enough space between thoughts and whether it’s … but this is what I mean by the head-on thing, you can’t get at it head-on and so when we’re looking for inner bliss, the language alone solidifies what is not solid.

Rick: Yeah, and language has its limitations as we both know and when I say inward, I don’t mean an actually solidification of individuality, I mean more of a relaxing of it and an arrival at something which is not individual at all but universal.

Judy: And I do understand that this is not where you were headed with it, you know, that what you were saying is that you know if you’re going to look outward for your bliss, you’re going to have a hard time. I mean here’s the thing that seems to me from working with all these people is that you know we all have our preferences for how we want our lives to go, we want our children to like us and we want the dog to not bark and we want you know we want our wives to not have lung conditions and we want to have lasagna instead of pizza or pea soup or whatever, I mean we all have our preferences, I like green and not yellow or whatever, right? And then when we want the outside world to supply our likes and dislikes, I want him to love me, I want my children to get along, whatever, when we move our preferences out and then we are dependent on the situations to happen in order for us to be content, we’re kind of screwed.

Rick: We are, yeah, because we don’t have control over that stuff.

Judy: And things happen, bad things, things we don’t like, things that don’t measure up to our preferences happen every day.

Rick: Right, which is why all the traditions say don’t put your eggs in that basket, you know, I mean don’t expect your fulfillment to be found in the outer world because it’s always going to change.

Judy: I’ll be happy once my husband is nice to me thing, you know. What happens is the husband starts being nice to you, you know, if you’re lucky, and then it’s something else, you know. And then so, you know, if you have to describe that bliss as inner or not, it’s more accurate I would say to say inner, but in my opinion it’s a potential roadblock.

Rick: Yeah, well the word has its limitations and like any word if we’re going to use it we better make sure that we’re defining it the same way or we’re talking past each other. But I think that way you and I understand it is just that, you know, there is, well, what’s that rumi quote, you know, “Beyond right and wrong there is a field, I’ll meet you there,” something like that. So the traditional understandings is that there is a field which is fundamental to the universe and fundamental to who and what we are and that field has some qualities and that one of those qualities is bliss or happiness and that if you can get in touch with that field you will enjoy that. And that’s my experience and the experience of many, many people. So I’m not just speaking hypothetically here and neither have all the hundreds and thousands of people throughout history who have described their experience.

Judy: So I have a question for you.

Rick: Yes.

Judy: I mean I’m not taking issue with what you said and of course if we get to have to experience bliss as opposed to anything else why wouldn’t we want bliss?

Rick: Yeah, and bliss again one of those words that we better be careful how we’re saying here, but go ahead.

Judy: But the question is, by the way I have something in my eye, I’m not winking at you.

Rick: My bliss level just dropped a few notches.

Judy: The question is, if you are consciousness, would you have a preference for bliss over pain?

Rick: Relatively, I think you would. You know as Jesus said, if it is possible let this cup pass from me. He didn’t want to get crucified, he knew what that was going to be like, but then eventually he just said, all right, God’s will be done. Sure, and you have a preference of being in a nice comfortable bed rather than sleeping on a bed of nails, I suppose.

Judy: Right, but I guess what I’m asking is

Rick: You still have your relative druthers.

Judy: But the relative is the key word there because is the preference coming from, is it consciousness’s preference or Rick’s preference?

Rick: Good question and I think I know where you’re going with this because I read one of your blog posts and you talked about, you know, all the yucky stuff that happens in the world, you know, the Holocaust and all the horrible things that we could enumerate and if everything is consciousness, if everything is God or whatever, then it seems like God doesn’t have a preference because all that stuff happens.

Judy: Here it is.

Rick: Yeah

Judy: Yeah

Rick: And, I don’t want to be glib in trying to answer this but let’s reference our own experience. I mean would you rather sort of sleep under a bridge in the freezing cold or would you rather sleep in a nice warm bed?

Judy: Well, are you asking Judy?

Rick: Yeah, Judy.

Judy: Judy has definite preferences. Judy would much rather sleep in a warm bed, Judy would rather be in California. Judy would rather experience bliss than pain. Right. But I’m asking you if what you understand consciousness to be, if it has a preference?

Rick: My understanding for what it’s worth, and this is just an understanding, is that if you’re going to have a relative creation as we apparently have, a universe, then there are going to have to be pairs of opposites. If there’s going to be fast, there has to be slow, hot, cold, you know, big, small, all the various pairs of opposites we can enumerate and we could go on and on for hours enumerating them. So suffering, happiness, you know, misery, joy or whatever, there’s going to be this spectrum.

Judy: So does that mean consciousness endorses suffering?

Rick: I think it means that in consciousness incorporates all the diversity and duality within itself, consciousness, Brahma, God, whatever. It incorporates all the diversity.

Judy: So we’re in agreement on that and so the question then is even when there’s suffering can it be enough?

Rick: Now here’s my answer to that, which is that…my answer is…when I say things like that I don’t mean to say that I’m somebody

Judy: oh no

Rick: there’s no authority here or anything like that. Yeah, my best understanding of the situation is that there is…all beings possess a natural tendency to want to experience greater happiness, greater joy, greater fulfillment and so on. And that I kind of see the whole universe as one big evolution machine in which greater and greater complexity and forms has evolved out of homogenous hydrogen over billions of years to the point where we can have a conversation like this or we have Mozart or we have Einstein or we have all these amazing realizations in which consciousness is able to sort of live, enjoy a living reality as opposed to just being flat unmanifest. And so I think I strayed from your question.

Judy: Well that’s okay. I mean I thought to myself before we started this call that I have to be careful not to turn this around and start interviewing you and it looks like that’s where I’m headed because I spend my time asking a lot of questions and so I guess what…let me make this as a statement instead of a question.

Rick: Yeah, and I got too spaced out on that last answer, I kind of got out there, but go ahead.

Judy: No worries. What it seems to me is that the imposition of preferences and even what you’re calling realization, that consciousness needs none of that. It is what it is, it’s enormously infinite and that it includes every color, every feeling, every sound and every preference.

Rick: Yeah.

Judy: And so it appears to me just simply by the fact that it exists that suffering is welcome and that bliss is not…that the desire for bliss is a human thing.

Rick: You may be right. I’ll revert back to Maharishi again here. He used to say that the purpose of creation is the expansion of happiness and they use the term “lila” in the Sanskrit or Vedic tradition which means play and play is usually associated with happiness or fun and obviously Shakespeare wrote comedies and he wrote tragedies. You know, King Lear was not a happy camper. So, and back to my point about necessity for pairs of opposites, if there’s going to be diversity, the play is not necessarily always going to be pretty or enjoyable and if God alone is the ultimate reality then, yeah, God has preferences because we have preferences and we are ultimately that and obviously, so preferences are being had and others have a preference for heroin or for sadomasochism or for murder or for rather dark things. Presumably, they get some kind of perverted pleasure out of those experiences but do they get bliss, I guess is the question.

Judy: Well, I guess where I’m going is that I think the aim for bliss leaves out a whole lot of experience.

Rick: Yeah, but do you want all that experience that it leaves out?

Judy: Well, again, now we’re talking about preference and I think that when we are run by, driven by our preferences for happiness and bliss, we eliminate … this becomes less available to us.

Rick: For the sake of those just listening in audio, you’re kind of gesturing to signify the the unboundedness or the Brahman or whatever.

Judy: Yeah, right, it’s less available while we’re aiming for bliss. We are eliminating vast quantities of experience that obviously, again I’ll use words I rarely use, consciousness has no problem with, as a matter of fact consciousness experience endorses this or it wouldn’t exist.

Rick: Yeah.

Judy: So, you know, when we’re … I mean, I’m all for bliss, I’ll take bliss over as much as the next guy, but the drive to bliss is a human limiting, often comes with pain, non-essential. I’m making this face because I know this is not your point of view.

Rick: No, I’m not disagreeing with you, it’s a subtle thing I think we’re trying to put our fingers on here. I think there’s a verse from the Rig Veda, it says something like, “The frog desires water, the physician disease,” and it goes on, enumerates of different types of beings desire or enjoy different kinds of things. I mean, let’s say we have a choice between listening to Beethoven’s sixth symphony or some really intense heavy metal thing. Now, you know, maybe you and I would prefer Beethoven, but there’s some people who are going to get more enjoyment out of the heavy metal. So, there’s individual preferences and as they say, there’s no accounting for tastes. But I think what I’m getting at is that aside from all those relative preferences and individual considerations, there’s a fundamental intrinsic reality to the universe and one of its characteristics is said to be Ananda or bliss. And if one can get in touch with that, regardless of one’s individual proclivities and interests and pursuits, there will be sort of an innate fundamental happiness that dwells in the heart or wherever it dwells that is abiding regardless of the changing circumstances of life.

Judy: I think that’s a nice theory.

Rick: But it’s also something that people experience.

Judy: We were talking about a bliss and intrinsic happiness.

Rick: Yeah, whether there is any such thing inherent in the fundamental nature of reality or whether it’s all just brain chemistry and dopamine and serotonin and this and that and a chemical thing perhaps. That might be one angle of looking at it.

Judy: I mean, just like I’m not a spiritual scholar, I’m not a scientist or a biologist either, so I don’t know. I think that when, again, all I can speak of is my experience. And as long as I think I am this and as long as I’m focused on this is experience and what it thinks and whether it likes it and how it feels, I am going to miss what you’re calling that intrinsic happiness. These characters are by nature, the mind is unhappy I guess, and I realize I’m inviting an argument with that, that as long as we think what we are is this, I am Judy, you are Rick, as long as we think this is what we are, intrinsic happiness is going to be an elusive goal.

Rick: I totally agree. In fact, as an Upanishad which says there’s no joy in smallness.

Judy: You know, but aiming for bigness is good luck with that. I mean, again, you have to come at it sideways and I understand that’s not necessarily your experience and I understand that that’s not necessarily everybody’s experience. One of the things that I have found and was a great relief for me when I came to see this is that the experience of this existence is there are so many versions, it’s completely infinite and so whatever you have discovered for yourself in terms of what bliss is, what enlightenment is, what understanding is, that’s been done, it’s not going to look like that for anybody else. And so, you know, when you talk about intrinsic happiness and inner bliss and you’ve experienced this, I think that when people listen to these kinds of things and they start aiming for that for themselves, they’re aiming for your experience and and good luck with that, you know.

Rick: No, I agree. We shouldn’t aim for somebody else’s experience, which is not to say there aren’t sort of universal truths or patterns or whatever. I mean, there are not, there probably are an infinite number of ways of driving from Philadelphia to San Diego, if you take into account all the different roads that exist, but there are certain tried and true methods that are going to get you there faster, you know, certain I-80 or whatever. And so, I mean, there’s a lot of, you know, who is it, Houston Smith or Aldous Huxley, one of those guys talked about the perennial philosophy and how the same sort of truth seemed to come up in one culture after another, cultures that didn’t have any communication with one another, people discover the same things.

Judy: Well, yeah, and I mean, it’s hard, on one hand that’s hard to argue with, on the other hand, I think that, again, as long as we’re focused on what this thing wants, and I get that this thing wants bliss, we are bound and limited and driven and missing vast quantities of experience. So, and again, I realize this is what your show is all about, but the idea that bliss is the goal and bliss is really essentially the only thing acceptable, you’re basically saying

Rick: I’m not saying that.

Judy: Well, I mean, well, I don’t know, when you talk about, even when you talk about happiness as intrinsic, what does that mean? I mean,

Rick: Yeah, go ahead.

Judy: I mean, is it intrinsic to the human?

Rick: I’d say it’s intrinsic to the ultimate reality and that the human can interface with that ultimate reality to greater or lesser degrees of clarity and the greater the clarity of the interface, the more inner joy will be experienced.

Judy: Okay, so again, I’m landing on that inner word, but so if you

Rick: Well, as opposed to through the external, you know, objects brought to us through the senses.

Judy: I understand. I really think it’s a limiting word though. Well, that’s absolutely true. One of the ways that I do work with people and that I do come at this sideways is via the words that I hear because they’re so … the limits of the language are a way to trick the mind. For instance, let me just give you a quick example. So if somebody says to me, “I feel like I have an elephant on my chest. I feel heavy,” and I say, “Well, is there an elephant on your chest?” and they say, “It feels like it,” and they think that’s an answer. And so I’ve come to see that when somebody says to me, “Feels like” or “Seems like,” what they are basically saying is that they know it’s not true and that they’re willing to pretend.

Rick: Well, they’re using a metaphor.

Judy: I know, but what is a metaphor? It’s a step removed from experience and in the metaphor they are creating an experience. And so

Rick: They’re probably trying to describe some heaviness or some pressure or something like that they’re experiencing. Maybe it would be better to use more precise words than elephant.

Judy: Okay, so what I’m trying to say is when we refer to bliss or happiness as intrinsic or as inner, we are basically saying suffering, no, only bliss will do. And here is existence or consciousness or God or awareness, whatever you want to call it, providing so much more than that and we’re saying no, no, no, no tears, tears bad, no bad.

Rick: No, not necessarily.

Judy: Or no realization good, no realization bad. That’s a human value judgment on experience.

Rick: Let’s take Ramana Maharshi, he died of cancer, it was very painful. He was definitely experiencing pain but people would ask him about his experience and he would make it perfectly clear that the pain was rather superficial by comparison with his predominant experience which he probably would have felt comfortable using the word bliss. So, the two were somehow coexisting and the deeper dimension was his predominant reality.

Judy: So, this is an example I use often with clients, occasionally I guess, there’s an American Indian tribe, I want to say the Sioux, that have a ritual called the sun ritual.

Rick: I have friends who’ve actually done it and have the scars to prove it.

Judy: Okay, so here they are intentionally and purposefully bringing torturous physical pain to their bodies in order to occupy the mind with the pain so that they can transcend it and experience what you’re calling bliss. They did this on purpose and that was the only reason that they did this ceremony was to experience that, you know, I’m using these words, again these are not words I often use, but that sense of connection with something bigger, that transcendence, that sense of what they really are as opposed to this character hung by their nipples in the bright sunlight. Right, okay, so you know what you’re describing with Ramana is really something similar, when the body is occupied with sickness or pain one can it occupies the mind, gets it out of the way and one can get in touch with something outside of this person, this self, this character, you can do that through pain. It’s one of the ways that you can and so when you’re emotionally suffering are you sure it’s a bad thing?

Rick: Good point, I won’t refute that and obviously ascetics have inflicted pain on themselves in all kinds of traditions in order to do the very thing you’re saying there.

Judy: Exactly.

Rick: And in Ramana’s case he was already enlightened years before he got the cancer, so it wasn’t like the cancer gave him some new experience.

Judy: No, no, no, but I understand that, but you know that is one of the values I said to a client the other day who had developed shingles, you know, thank goodness for the shingles, thank goodness for the pain. She was more peaceful dealing with that than she had been in quite some time feeling much better physically. So is happiness intrinsic is the question.

Rick: Well some would argue that all the painful experiences that everyone goes through, in fact all the experiences have an evolutionary significance or value and I wouldn’t argue against that and it may not seem it at the time but that they do. Your mother’s scrubbing the dirt out from behind your ears and you’re a little kid and you hate it and you’re struggling and screaming but it’s actually good for you.

Judy: So I mean I think most of us have had experiences where we look back and while we were in them they were absolutely torturous.

Rick: And then we look back on them and think well it’s good that happened.

Judy: Yeah, yeah, awful, you know, I wouldn’t wish it on anybody and also not a bad thing. And so I mean here is existence, consciousness, awareness, whichever word you want to put on it, providing this vast range of experience, not just bliss. And here we are saying yeah okay but I just want the bliss please.

Rick: I agree with what you’re saying and there’s a bunch of good questions that came in that I want to get to. So I’ll just say one thing which is that this bliss word does not refer to pleasure or relative happiness, it refers to something that sort of is beyond the pairs of opposites. And in fact someone named Pat from Storrs Connecticut said something similar in a question she just sent in, “Maybe you’re confusing pleasure and bliss. Intense pleasure can create addiction and intense craving. For me bliss is the peaceful place, the peaceful balanced place where a quieter sort of joy comes up.” So that’s well put, it’s something that is beyond the sort of relative pleasure thing.

Judy: I get it, I get it of course and also I think the difference is in the value of all experience I guess.

Rick: Yeah, yeah. Okay, let’s rest that for a few minutes.

Judy: Okay, you had some other questions? Yeah.

Rick: Erevik from Glendale, California asks, “Is self-realization an attainment or is it something that just happens?”

Judy: I don’t think anything’s an attainment.

Rick: Okay.

Judy: I think it’s all just something that happens, everything in this experience. And so I mean I think you can busy yourself with trying to get there and I realize this is not your point of view. One can busy oneself with that for many years and still not attain.

Rick: Right.

Judy: So what is the difference between the guy who does 50 million satsangs and meditates every day and the other guy who does 50 million satsangs and meditates every day, what is the difference between them? One attains and one doesn’t. Does it have to do with them is the question I guess. So I consider it all a happening and not an attainment.

Rick: Yeah, also an attainment implies that someone is getting a something, you know, this thing that you get. And you know universally when people wake up almost universally they say “Wow, this has always been here, I just didn’t recognize it.”

Judy: Exactly, but that last piece of that sentence is the key to it, “I didn’t recognize it.” So while we’re waiting for realization and while we’re waiting for understanding it’s here. And so that’s what I meant earlier when I said we don’t need to understand this, we really don’t, it’s here already and whether we get it or not still here.

Rick: It’s true, we’d be in trouble if it weren’t.

Judy: Yeah.

Rick: Here’s a question from David in Fairfield, Iowa which is where I am. He says, you mentioned, I presume it’s Fairfield, Iowa not Fairfield, Connecticut which is where I was grew up, but he said, you mentioned that the mind wants the roadblocks to work. What are the roadblocks and why does the mind want them to work?

Judy: Well, I mean, when we talk about the mind as if it’s a real thing, it’s not, but it can help to use the words in these ways as a way of understanding and dramatizing and picturing it. And so if you picture the mind as if it’s a real thing, it wants to survive. What happens to it if you see that it’s full of crap? It kind of goes poof and it’s not going to do that voluntarily.

Rick: Yeah, I mean, are you alluding to the thing people often discuss about how the ego has this sort of desire to survive and it feels threatened when it begins to dissipate or dissolve and a lot of fear can arise and people cling to their life.

Judy: They’re afraid of the void or they’re suddenly hungry for cookies or again, I see this all the time and the thing is it’s a trick. Those feelings that people spend so much time, some of these methods, and again this is why I don’t do the Kiloby thing anymore, all that focus, you know, “Oh, I have a feeling come up,” and then they stop there and they put all their attention on the feeling. Mission accomplished, you don’t go any further than that and that sense of self is alive and well. So, you know, fear does come up. Okay, so what?

Rick: Yeah, incidentally I don’t disagree with your premise that many, many things that people do probably reinforce the sense of self or individuation rather than enable one to relax into a more universal or unbounded state. I think that’s probably very true. But you can’t sort of lump everything together in one big basket. There are just so many different things out there that people do, you know, you have everything from Jonestown to some real healthy scenes that are techniques and practices that have really been fruitful for people. So, I’d say maybe it’s good to be discerning and discriminating and practical and if something doesn’t seem to be working then move on, you know.

Judy: I mean, for me, you know, inherent in what you just said is a basic common sense. You know, if somebody has been seeking for 30 years, time for something different, because it’s not working, right? And when I hear about these various gurus and ashrams, you know, with all this sexual abuse and all this other stuff, I’m just kind of astonished at people following. I don’t understand the following thing and I should understand it because I kind of did it with Byron Katie for a while. But there’s, you know, I think this is what happens when we’re looking to these teachers for answers, is where we’re rife for being, you know, taken advantage of. Yes, do something different. I know people who have done the work of Byron Katie for 30 years and they’ll very happily say, you know, I’m going to do it for the rest of my life. Why?

Rick: Yeah, I mean, I’m going to keep eating for the rest of my life because it seems to be necessary for me. And I enjoy it, but if for some reason it weren’t, then it’s not a good example. Like the Byron Katie thing, if you don’t seem to be benefiting anymore, you’re just going through the same rote thing over and over again and you don’t seem to be…

Judy: Well, and I’m sure they feel like they’re benefiting, but the question is, the thing is, there’s always another thought, there’s always another stressful thought, there’s always another thought, there’s always another feeling, and if we get stuck focusing on that, you can never access anything more than the self and you can make the… you can give the self a happier dream and again, yay, but if what you want is to access what you’re calling that intrinsic happiness, that bigger… you know, how do you get there by worrying if a thought is true or not?

Rick: Yeah, you know, I guess one way of putting it is if you think of traveling, let’s say, someplace and maybe it’s a flight where it’s a trip where you have to take three different flights, you know, a smaller commuter flight, then a bigger flight, then another smaller commuter flight or whatever, you know, each flight is essential to the journey. You wouldn’t get there if you didn’t take all three, but if you try to stay on any one of the planes, you know, after it has landed or after it has taken you as far as it’s going to take you, then you’re not going to get to your destination.

Judy: So, I think that not everybody’s destination is the awakening, again, using… these are words I do not use ordinarily, but you know, this is what I do, I speak your… I do my best to speak your language, but if your destination ideally is that sense of awakening, can you get it by focusing on what you’re thinking and what you’re feeling and whether it’s a good thing or a bad thing, can you get there that way?

Rick: Maybe not, maybe you can get… or maybe some can and some can’t and others need something different.

Judy: And again, I’m all for anything that makes the dream less painful. Why wouldn’t you just do… in that case, you know, do it for the rest of your life. I mean…

Rick: Yeah,

Judy: yeah. So, are there more questions? Because I know we’re…

Rick: Well, no more have come in from viewers, although they’re welcome to send them if they want, go to the upcoming interviews page, there’s a form there. But my sense of Byron Katie is she kind of reverse-engineered her experience, you know, she had a certain experience and then she thought, well, how can I derive something practical for this that I can impart to others? And so she came up with this method.

Judy: Or even, you know, and again I can’t speak for her, but if only how can I understand what has happened, again, where you start getting the mind involved in an experience, how do I understand? I agree with you, it was reverse-engineered. Yeah. You know, an experience happened and then there was an explanation.

Rick: Right.

Judy: And a method. But it didn’t happen to her via the method.

Rick: No, you know, she was in a halfway house, a cockroach crawled across her foot, right, and she had some kind of awakening.

Judy: Which is, you know, I mean the cockroach was coincidental, it was incidental to the story, you know, it just something.

Rick: Yeah, just something that happened.

Rick: Yeah. Yeah, you’re not going to get there by keeping cockroaches and letting them walk across your feet.

Judy: Wouldn’t it be funny if people derive that from that story that, “Oh, I know what I need to do.”

Rick: Well, you know, I mean that’s a sort of an absurd example, but people have done that for a long, long time. They try to emulate the external behaviors or appearances or habits of teachers.

Judy: Yep. Yep. I mean that’s all over the place. It’s in every ashram, right? All the folks sitting in the right position for the right length of time, for in the right uniform. And you know, are they meditating right? Are they thinking right? Are they disciplined enough? If their mind wanders to sex, “Oh, no, no, no, no.” You know, it’s like, “Okay.”

Rick: There’s a story of Shankara. I don’t think this really happened, but it’s one of those stories that illustrates a point where he was walking along with some disciples and he got a bit ahead of them and they saw him drink something and it turned out to be some alcoholic beverage or something. So, they all drank some and then he walked a little farther along and they saw him drink something else and they got up to the point it was molten glass. And the point was, “Don’t mimic me.”

Judy: I mean, I love that and don’t you wish you could send some version of that message to all those gurus being arrested right now and all those disillusioned, painful, pained followers hoping that this person has what they want. I mean, you know, it’s a hard way to live.

Rick: Yeah, and there are a lot of teachers who are trying to get away from that hierarchical sage on a stage kind of arrangement, you know, making it more of a “we’re all one, you know, sitting in a circle” kind of mentality. But it’s one of those another both/and things because it’s not to say that some people haven’t sort of progressed a little bit further in terms of their the depth of their experience or the clarity of it and that they might not have something valuable to impart. But boy, if you put them on a pedestal and all kinds of problems begin to arise for you and them.

Judy: Right, right.

Rick: So, we don’t have a hard and fast ending to this show, Judy. I mean, if there’s anything that you feel like, you know, we haven’t touched upon that you would like to, we could take a few more minutes.

Judy: I’m completely in your hands, you know. The only thing I would say is that I have taken over my poor cousin’s house since I have the toddler over my head in my own and so I won’t be able to steal their house indefinitely, though it’s a thought.

Rick: Yeah.

Judy: But I guess I guess I would just want to say for the folks that are listening that feel like they’ve tried everything and really given it a good go and if they’re still feeling stuck, that I think they can come at it sideways.

Rick: Yeah.

Judy: And you know, I think that’s hard to do by yourself. It’s hard to see straight by yourself. Sometimes, you know, that old expression about how you can see other people’s stuff but you can’t see your own. It helps I think to have an outside your particular loop, thought loop person and you know that is a contradiction I think because in that sense I think that’s how people can fall into following a guru.

Rick: Yeah.

Judy: They are outside, it is somebody else but I don’t think they, you know, this I guess I’m babbling. I don’t know.

Rick: I understand what you’re trying to say. No, it’s coming across clearly.

Judy: Okay.

Rick: I think it’s another one of those here’s a little doggy who just jumped in my lap.

Judy: Sweet baby, noisy little thing for such tiny little character.

Rick: He likes to growl. It’s another one of those things where there’s a balance point where you know something can be helpful but too much of it or approaching it in the wrong way can be harmful like anything like you know water or anything.

Judy: Right.

Rick: Teachers can be helpful, we shouldn’t just brush off the whole value of teachers or guides or helpers or whatever but obviously there can be wholesome and twisted versions of that dynamic.

Judy: So I’m just going back to that.

Rick: He’s growling at you actually, he’s looking at you on the screen and growling.

Judy: You know what, it’s been known to happen. I mean it’s something about this. I guess I was just thinking about how the dichotomy between none of it is me and all of it is me. I mean it’s all a realm of paradox and contradiction and I don’t, again I think that these brains, these minds, they’re too limited and that was one of the things that was very clear in one of those so-called awakening experiences of mine. I even have this one recorded as a matter of fact, I was talking to somebody and it was recording and it became very clear that we’re just not big enough, we’re limited by this, by all of this, we’re just not big enough to be able to understand.

Rick: Yeah, true, I mean can anyone honestly claim that they understand everything there is to be understood?

Judy: And especially when it comes to awareness and I always kind of crack up at these because this is a common theme, the idea of being aware of awareness.

Judy: What?

Rick: Yeah, what is the awareness that’s aware of the awareness?

Judy: Exactly right, and all within the limitations of this hardware there is a point at which we don’t have the capability.

Rick: Right, that’s why the Gita says the self realizes itself by itself but it doesn’t, but there’s actually no duality in that, it’s not like this thing over here realizes this thing over here, it’s more like a sort of a relaxing into oneness.

Judy: That makes sense.

Rick: Yeah, okay one final question. Virginia Harry from Stouffport-on- Surburn in the UK wants to know, this is a good concluding question perhaps, I struggle to incorporate what I know spiritually into my daily life. Can you offer any guidance?

Judy: I do know Virginia actually and I’m sending her this answer with love. Actually the integration of all of this into daily life, I mean that’s all it’s good for. If we can’t use it right, if enlightenment doesn’t bring something lighter, what’s the point, what good is it? And so I do spend a fair amount of time, I actually have a class coming up, I’ve given this a few times on integrating so that daily life is less painful, possibly more productive or whatever, just simply better. But you know again, for the dream to be a little easier is who wouldn’t want that. So you know, how do you do that? Again, it’s hard to do alone because the mind isn’t gleefully willing to help, but a lot of it is just a question of seeing where the limitations are of thought. And oh God, these words just are not doing the job. It is possible to integrate and just have a better life. I’m not saying that you’re going to sit in a cave and be blissed out all the time, but it is definitely something that is the point of all this. Again, if there is a point, otherwise why bother?

Rick: Yeah, you know I interviewed a woman last week who was a disciple of a man who was a disciple of Yogananda, so she’s in that tradition and after the interview I thought of one thing, a point I would like to have made. This is Ellen Grace O’Brien that I interviewed and that is that spirituality is not a compartment of life, it’s not a sort of an aspect or it’s the whole basket and everything else is contained within and enhanced by it. If it genuinely develops it should just sort of have an enriching or enlivening effect on everything. So this whole thing about you know sitting in a cave to experience bliss or something that makes no sense to me. It’s not, I mean maybe a few people are cut out for that kind of life, but for the vast majority of us it would be extremely counterproductive and totally unnecessary.

Judy: I mean in the end we do as a rule have a preference for this dream to be a satisfying one, a better one, an easier one, a more peaceful one and in the end without that, without the integration, what is spirituality and understanding and all of this education and learning etc. If not for that it’s kind of like what for?

Rick: Yeah, I totally agree.

Judy: It’s about the dream and why not want it to be better?

Rick: And some people use that as a point of criticism, they talk about people wanting to just have a better dream rather than getting out of the dream, but I think the way to make the dream really better is to get out of it while remaining in it as we’ve sort of discussed here.

Judy: It’s your only option because we don’t turn into vapor as soon as we get there, we don’t vanish, we still have to go to the grocery store. It has to be both.

Rick: Yeah, all righty. So I just want to say, Judy, that I’ve really enjoyed this conversation. I don’t feel like I’ve disagreed with you at all, it may have seemed like that at times. I feel like I’ve just tried to in every case say, yes I agree but how about also this? You know, the both and thing and we did get some complaints during the interview that I was talking too much and I did talk more than I usually do in interviews I think, I hope. I hope I don’t usually talk this much, but it was a conversation and it was a lively one and as you said at some point you were kind of interviewing me asking me what I thought which is why I went on a bit.

Judy: Which is not your fault, that was mine.

Rick: But I apologize to anybody who doesn’t like me to do that and all in all I think we had a really fun time together.

Judy: I agree and I enjoyed it very much.

Rick: Great.

Judy: And I just want to say one more thing. Even if we did, and I hear you, but even if we did disagree, I am used to being disagreed with. So that’s not a problem for me.

Judy: Well it’s like you said in the very beginning, you know, it’s one thing to sort of say well yeah I kind of get what you’re saying but there’s also this and I also think that. It’s another thing to say no you’re wrong and I’m right, you know, to take this adamant rigid kind of stance and I think neither you and I are inclined to do that.

Judy: So thank you.

Rick: Good, thank you. So I’ve been speaking with Judy Cohen. As always she’ll have a page on batgap.com where I’ll say a bit about her and then link to her website. What is your website? You might as well just say it also.

Judy: My website is irreverentmind.com and I guess I probably should say, you know, if anybody is intrigued at all, I do have a class coming up sometime in February, I think February 24th maybe on integrating all of this with real life.

Rick: Good, so they can go to your website and find out about that.

Judy: Yeah.

Rick: And this is 2019, January 26th people will be listening to this 10 years from now. So anyway if you catch that class, great and you probably have some kind of email thing people can sign up for to be notified of future things, right?

Judy: Absolutely. The Mind Tickler, they can again on the website just click on any of the very various links to subscribe to the newsletter which comes out every every week and is designed to just spark some new ideas.

Rick: Yeah, they did for me. I enjoyed reading those.

Judy: Thank you.

Rick: Okay, thanks. So thanks to those who are listening, who have been listening or watching and we’ll see you for the next one hopefully.