Rick Archer: Welcome to Buddha at the Gas Pump. My name is Rick Archer, Buddha at the Gas Pump is an ongoing series of interviews with spiritually Awakening people have done over 500 of them now over the last nearly 10 years. And if this happens to be new to you, and you’d like to check out some of the older ones, some of the previous ones, please go to batgap.com Bat gap. And we come to the past interviews menu. This program is made possible by the support of appreciative listeners and viewers if you appreciate it and would like to support it, there’s a PayPal button on every page of the site. My guest today is Justin gold. Here’s a brief bio of Justin. Justin has been assisting people in their search for inner meaning for 35 years. He is currently living in Sierra foothills of Northern California, where he works with several dozen seekers of truth. Over the years, he has deliberately resisted the trend to become a traveling guru with 1000s of followers in favor of preserving an element that he considers precious, that maintaining opportunities for developing a meaningful teacher student relationship. He is available to anyone who seeks his guidance and ask for no payment in return. So Justin, have you had opportunities to become a traveling guru with 1000s of followers or just didn’t ever put yourself in that position?
Justin Gold: I both never put myself in that position. But certainly when a person reads or writes a book, those opportunities arise. And the first book that I wrote was, which was about 20 years ago, 20 years ago, a lot of those opportunities arose, and I basically resist them. Yeah.
Rick Archer: Yeah. I think as you’re, as people learn, as, as we get into this interview, you know, you’ve been a serious spiritual practitioner, if you want to call it that for many, many years, then you didn’t rush into teaching by any means. You know, it’s something that sort of happened after you had really paid some dues so to speak. And I think that’s a good thing. I think a lot of times people have some kind of an awakening, and they, they rush into teaching and things don’t always go so well for them or further students.
Justin Gold: Well, teaching itself is a learning process. And I think that I would not have even entered the process had I not been told to do so. At a time when I thought that it would be very unlikely for me to, to, to make that move, I just gotten comfortable with being with myself. And being by myself and and then I was told by by a mentor, to go put my picture on some posters and stick them on the walls at University of Oregon, and I did that. And it was uncomfortable and challenging. And I got by the first few months with a lot of marijuana. But sooner or later I got the hang of it and and the only instructions I had were don’t present yourself as being more than you are and to be honest, and recognize that you have a ways to go as well. But you’re two steps ahead of the people you’re running into.
Rick Archer: Yeah. It’s a good attitude. You know, it’s kind of like that. I don’t know if that’s what they mean by it in Zen, but the beginner’s mind, idea that and some, some spiritual teachers, to their credit, say something like, it’s always good to have the attitude of a beginner, you know, don’t consider yourself to be, you know, some lofty person that’s far beyond the people that may come to you for, for tutelage.
Justin Gold: I had some some interesting input at the time, from an acquaintance I had a friend I had was a quite a well known Buddhist, Tibetan Buddhist teacher. And I was I was living on some land in, in Oregon, near here, Eugene. And he called me and asked me if he could use the land for for a ceremony he wanted to have I don’t remember the name of the ceremony, but some ceremonies some visitors were coming from, from Tibet, and he wanted to put on a ceremony. And I asked he was he had definitely adapted his methods. And they were not traditionally Tibetan anymore. They were a lot of additions that he made, he was quite well known. And I asked him, Why are you still having? Having? Why would you still involve yourself in a, in a traditional ceremony, so much of what you do is different? And he said, he said, Oh, you can’t be sure.
Rick Archer: Can’t be sure it’s different or can’t be sure, you
Justin Gold: can’t be sure that there’s not something you missed, you can’t be sure that something you left behind isn’t something that you still need. And I remember that, you know, it’s the whole idea that, that you have the complete idea of what needs to be done is just waiting for you to find out that you don’t. So I, I took that to heart, and I still do.
Rick Archer: Yeah, that’s a good point. I mean, I do talk to people sometimes who seem very sure of certain things. And sometimes, you know, they seem to have had some kind of genuine awakening, and their, their awakening actually seems to view their them with even greater certainty, it kind of fuels a certain adamancy about whatever they happen to think. And, you know, they become fundamentalist in a way, even though I think they’ve actually got something experientially.
Justin Gold: You know, well, if we made up the game, we could be sure of how it’s played. But we clearly didn’t make it up. So we clearly can’t be sure how it’s played.
Rick Archer: Yeah. Do you still smoke marijuana?
Justin Gold: Rarely, but from time to time, but I have a great regard for it. And what his capacity is, I also recognize that it’s a little bit like dynamite, it can be used to create tunnels, which are great, they can use to be able to injure people, which is terrible. So marijuana, there has to be a lot of understanding about the use of marijuana that it can supply a for vision of what’s possible. But anything that’s can supply for vision of what’s possible can also be an addictive way to lean on it for those perpetual for visions. So I’m careful with it. But I do recognize that it has a certain value that is difficult to replace in our culture.
Rick Archer: Yeah, I think it was Alan Watts, who said, when you get the message, hang up the phone. I know, my own experience with drugs in the 60s was okay, that was an eye opener. And I really, I realized, now there’s a lot more to life than meets the eye. And, you know, everything depends upon your subjective perspective of it, and so on. But then I had, I was also such a mess by by the end of the year of that, that I and I learned such an effective practice that was so wholesome and beneficial for me that I, I never looked back. And I’ve kind of felt like I would be muddying up the waters to ever try it again. So I wasn’t tempted. But having said that, you know, I just interviewed a couple of guys a couple of weeks ago, Michael Poland, and Christopher beige, who are, you know, in various stages of who really did some deep, serious experimentation. So they definitely have an open mind to the whole thing. So there’s a in your book, which is called Justin time, which I guess was was a phrase kids teach are not just
Justin Gold: women? Yes, that’s correct. Just in time. Yeah.
Rick Archer: The kids used to tease you with that phrase, when you were kids. Sometimes they did that. They also say just in case, sometimes they said, anyway, in your book, which is a beautiful, interesting chronicle of a very adventurous life. You warn the people, or you ask the people in the beginning to wait until the end to read your, your so called credentials, you want them to just read the book first and then get to the credentials. But if you don’t mind, in this interview, I’d like to, you know, do the credentials at the beginning and kind of lay a foundation for who you are, and on what basis you are going to be saying the things that you’re going to be saying here.
Justin Gold: I do recognize that in our culture, credentials have become important and I don’t pretend like they’re not I added them then I added them to this latest book after some resistance because I think to some degree, although I am okay to go ahead and talk about whatever it is that I have going for me in that in that area. I think it’s not recognizing people’s ability to discern something for themselves. So we read your reviews of movies and think of what we’re supposed to like and supposed to supposed to appreciate and don’t lean enough on, on some innate capacity that we have to make those assessments. And I’d like for those innate capacities to develop rather than to be artificially aided. I also do recognize that it would be infrequent that a person would see somebody talking on a street corner with two people listening to them, and go or to listen. More likely, if there were 200 people listening to that person, that it would be easier to go over. So I do recognize that our culture has that stigma, and going along with it. So what do you want to know?
Rick Archer: Well, to just add to the point you just made these days, there’s a lot of books out there, there’s a lot of YouTube videos and everything. And a person can immerse themselves in that stuff and get pretty fluent with it get fairly conversant with it. And you know, they can sound like they know what they’re talking about. They can sound like they’re a teacher, somebody, they can even go out and start teaching. But that could be deceptive. And noisy. Yeah. And so I think it’s, um, you know, there’s no harm. I mean, somebody could, you know, that movie with, with what’s his name about the guy who posed as an airline pilot, and as this and that Leo DiCaprio. And, you know, he just kind of bluffed his way into these situations. And I think there are some spiritual teachers who sort of bluff their way into the so called profession. So I always like to sort of get a sense of people’s background and just, you know, what kind of track record what what sort of experiences have they gone through to get them to the point where they are now, teaching in whatever capacity or to, you know, to whatever size crowds of people, small or large. Okay. And a leading question and get you going. So, you know, you grew up in Brooklyn, I guess, New York and the New York metropolitan. Bronx, Bronx, I’m sorry, it’s probably a faux pas to say Brooklyn, right. Right,
Justin Gold: near the biggest point that you make on this
Rick Archer: doesn’t get any worse than that. And I recollect a few things from your book. You know, you were amused you were amused musical from a young age. You played the violin with a fair degree of competence. You grew up in a rather large sort of extended family, it almost sounds like these Indian families where everybody lives under one roof, you know, the uncles and aunts and cousins and mothers and fathers and grandparents and all that stuff. And you take it from there.
Justin Gold: Right? Well, I started I did have some musical talent that was committed to Vivaldi until I saw Buddy Holly and Elvis Presley. And then I quickly lost my commitment. So music was a big part of my childhood and in these family situations, the the words come play for us was a frequent frequently in my ears, and I always hated it. So I grew up in a multi multi religious family, which was unusual, the, the people that had come from, from Europe, from southern Russia, near Georgia, near Mount Elbrus, lived in a village there, and they all escaped together, and they were there were Christians, and they were Jews. And there were Muslims, all in the same village. And they were included enough that they got along with each other, and all made the escape together. And so my family had had elements of all these religions. So I’ve I was brought up, I was brought up having to visit each one of those churches, synagogues, which was unusual, I wasn’t really won over by any of them, but I certainly was forced to attend from time to time. But I got a flavor of a lot of different ethnicity and like that and there was a lot of foreign language going on in my family. And very little explanation about the essence of the religion. I could say probably none. And if there was any, it was in a language I didn’t speak so I didn’t really have a religious background or any feelings of that I basically like to play stickball.
Rick Archer: So as you got older, how did you first get interested in spirituality? What what led to that?
Justin Gold: I had I had a family friend that lived in another country lived in South America and I didn’t know what the connection to my family was. But he invited me to come down to visit him one summer when I was about 13. And I did, I went down to visit him and spent the summer with him. And it was interesting for me not so much in a spiritual way. But I had never met anyone who had such different takes on so many different things and was so comfortable with himself. And I had extended exposure to him. And it didn’t probably 10 years or eight years before I recognized there was any spiritual element to his, his teaching or his involvement with me, I would say it was more human than spiritual. And I see that for myself as well that I don’t distinguish that much between, or maybe even at all between a spirituality on humanity, its spirituality is, is an extension of humanity, that happens naturally, when things get finer. And so I am pretty willing to start at the beginning where things are pretty coarse, as I did, and, and hopefully some of that coarseness is left behind, and then we can start talking spirituality.
Rick Archer: Yeah, like your emphasis on refinement, I think along the same lines, as applied to a number of things, even refinement of the nervous system. But he could almost think of spirituality as a progression from appreciation of merely the grosser value of life to subtler values of life. And since the whole spectrum, from gross to subtle, would be present in in everyone, even if they’re not aware of it, then everyone is potentially a great mystic, all they have to do is sort of become aware of the deeper range of their, of their, of their own existence.
Justin Gold: Right? Well, I was fortunate at in my, in my growing up period, in my teens and early 20s, that I was exposed to a lot of different worlds in terms of living in the city living in the country. Being involved with gambling, being involved with business, being involved with traveling. And so I learned a lot of languages, not so much in terms of French, Spanish and Portuguese, but in terms of the language of all those different things of language of cooking and language of camping and the language of hustling in a big city and, and I find that has really made it possible for me to do what I do, because I deal with people from very different backgrounds, and I’ve traveled a lot and lived in a lot of different places and, and starting at the beginning really necessitates having that kind of exposure.
Rick Archer: Yeah, I heard you say that in some of your other recordings that I listened to that you, you consider it very useful for not only a spiritual teacher, but even a spiritual aspirant of some sort, to have had a lot of real world experience. It sort of perhaps makes them a more grounded, or integrated individual or with the potential to be better able to relate to people at all sorts of, you know, from all sorts of backgrounds and walks of life and so on. Whereas someone if someone has been shielded and isolated, and then they just they can’t relate on a personal level to to other people so well,
Justin Gold: right. Yeah, I agree with that. I have a way of looking at things which I wrote about a little bit in that book. But it’s very, very current with me, not so much as an idea, but as an understanding of how things may work and probably do work similar to seeing the seasons of nature that there are seasons of human life. And there is a going out period that can’t be circumvented. And then in that going out period, it’s necessary to explore, it’s necessary to try different things, it’s necessary to be brave and be bold, it’s necessary to bullshit a little bit it’s not necessary, how to learn how to sell yourself with a little bit it’s necessary how to how to become dexterous in several different circumstances so that you would not You’re not adhering to one situation is only being comfortable. And I see that the necessity of that, that period. And I see that it’s also unfortunate to be exposed to spirituality during that period because if you start knowing too much or hearing too much, what happens is your actions start to be censored. And I think this person who was my mentor teacher, was very careful not to inhibit me from be an explorer of ordinary life, whether it was business or gambling or cooking or whatever it I was doing that go to go for it. And because I see that, in that period of life, which you could be called going out ramifying, externally exploring externally, is is very necessary. precursor from what might be called coming home, and also that the equipment or going out may be very different than coming home, which presents every spiritual seeker every aspirant at any stage with the problem of how do you sort through the equipment necessary to come home when all the equipment you’ve used is for bowing out? Hmm.
Rick Archer: Well, um, I think that human beings are wired such that as we move from childhood into adolescence, we do tend to start exploring, you know, and going out and trying all kinds of things. I mean, it’s just typical of a teenager to do that. They go through this, try anything phase, you know, have all kinds of wild experiences and hopefully survive them. And I live in a community, you know, where, well, I live in a town where 1000s of people meditate are used to anyway. And, you know, there’s an attempt has been an attempt over the years to get for the parents to get their kids into meditation at a young age. And there’s a school set up where everybody meditates. And so, and some of the kids have taken to it and have done very well, extremely well. And the width, the school wins all sorts of awards. But a lot of kids just felt like it was being crammed down their throats. And they rebelled against it as kids will do, and didn’t want any part of it anymore after a while. So some of those kids, and some of those kids did well as Irene is adding. So I think that, in any case, I wouldn’t make a blanket statement that a person shouldn’t get into spirituality at a young age. I mean, Shanker was like 12, when he was writing his commentaries on the Brahma sutras in the Upanishads. But according to legend, but I would say that it really has to be one’s own inspiration. And if it’s super imposed, or what if one is coerced into it, then naturally, what is not going to take to it, it has to be has to come from within.
Justin Gold: Right, so so then what happens when a person has to re examine their, their the equipment that they’ve developed, the support systems they’ve developed? And when a person has to do that re examination to see how much of that equipment is and what kind of that equipment is needed for for a more passive or relinquishing life, a more surrendered life rather than more controlling life? How does the person make that assessment? If they haven’t, if they haven’t energetically pursued the equipment to go out? Yeah,
Rick Archer: and if they’ve somehow become complacent in the group, think of an organization or a, you know, spiritual group, and all sorts of assumptions and understandings can become so ingrained that you you never question them, you take them for granted. And, you know, I know in my own case, when I finally left the TM organization that I had been in, there was a period of a lot of reevaluation, of ingrained assumptions. And I have observed actually, that a lot of people when they, when they step away from it ended up having some kind of awakening of some sort, because some somehow just, you know, the, the chick has, has hatched and left the incubator and begins to look around and, and there’s kind of a liberating influence to that to, you know, looking at everything afresh and not taking your assumptions for granted.
Justin Gold: Like somebody once said, everything feels like home for a while. Yeah. And then what? And then you have to re examine you have to see where you’re at, because a lot of the effort that I encourage you, I encourage to efforts, a lot of the people who come to me, there’s not a lot of people that come to me, or a lot of people that I encourage to come to me, I find that they’re the going out process that they took part in was relatively inhibited. It was that this teenage phase that that you may have gone through, or maybe I’ve may have gone through, a lot of people haven’t gone through and they’ve been basically careful and careful So I have to encourage those people, or or inspire those people or assist those people sometimes even in their going out process. And I’ve encouraged a lot of traveling and a lot of experimentation of different kinds with social work and, and different business and building and things like that. Because people, a number of the people that I’ve interacted with, have not had a dynamic going out period. But then some people have. And for those people, basically, there’s a reexamination period of similar to if you lived in the Northeast, where you lived in Connecticut, you ever went to Miami, in the winter, where I would go sometime, mostly to play cards and, and, and gamble and lie on the beach, that since you spend all your time or one spends all one’s time, in the cold, we have all these cold, but other clothes, and we think they’re necessary all the time. So we take them to Florida. And then in Florida, we’re wondering why was sweating all the time. So summary examination of wardrobe has to happen, and there’s a lot of wardrobe going on.
Rick Archer: Yeah. Okay. So stepping back from the metaphors for a second, you’re just saying that it’s good not to let your boundaries get calcified, and your your assumptions good to sort of keep things fresh and alive. And there’s, I’m putting it in my own words to, to not take anything for granted. I mean, there’s a great quote from the Buddha who says, who said, No, don’t believe something just because somebody says it. He said, even if I’ve said it, don’t, don’t believe it, check it out through your own understanding your own experience. So, you know, we don’t want to be cynical or skeptical about everything. But at the same time, we shouldn’t be, just swallow things because somebody says, you know, we should be open minded and be able to explore and investigate with what really is a scientific attitude. I mean, even scientists don’t always do that they get entrenched. But if we can sort of take everything as a hypothesis worthy of investigation, and actually investigate it and determine whether it works for us or not, I think that’s kind of a healthy way to live.
Justin Gold: Yeah, I kinda like the metaphor better.
Rick Archer: You do. Justice when I tried to make it literal, did I do justice to it? Or did I distort what you’re trying to say? I
Justin Gold: think you did an exemplary work. But what I think about metaphors and the value of metaphors and the value of analogs is because, well, maybe I could tell a little story of where I’m, oh, yeah. I had one time had a telephone friendship with a mathematician.
Rick Archer: goeddel. Yeah, I read that bit. Yeah.
Justin Gold: And it’s somebody who was actually a compatriot of Einstein, but really never became well known. But I called him one time I called him from Oregon, and I had read something he wrote. And I was curious, and he picked up the phone, curiously enough in Princeton, where he lived, and he developed something called an Incompleteness Theorem in mathematicians, in mathematics, and also in logic. And the basis of his one of his theories was that you can’t use system a for exploring system a. And that’s my opinion about words that words cannot clarify, a system described in words. So better to use fairy tales. Better, better to use number is better to use stories are better to use metaphors of any kind, because the fairy tales allow a person to extract what they’re capable of extracting literal explanations, which certainly I’m using right now. Literal explanations lend people to think that they understand things that they don’t really understand because they have become adept at putting words together. But do you think about that one?
Rick Archer: That’s interesting. Yeah. Whereas with with a fairy tale or a fable or metaphor or something, you can just sort of extract from it as much as you’re capable. I mean, and obviously, a lot of great teachers have used those Jesus was full of parables and stories and metaphors and pearls before swine and, you know, camels passing through the eyes of needles and all kinds of things. It was a obviously an effective way of teaching
Justin Gold: Yes, I think not only do I teach him that way, but you said your Hermann Hesse fan. I was so yeah. So.
Rick Archer: And we also mentioned Vander post if people haven’t ever heard of Lauren Zander posts, check them out story like the wind and fire off place.
Justin Gold: Yes, I think that’s an excellent recommendation. But in terms of Herman has in his bead game, in his description of the Magister Ludi, there was a crossing of, of, of modalities of music into science and scientists and science into geography and geography into cooking and seeing, seeing the bead game was some formula, which he never described by which people explained one modality through another. And I not only teach in that way, I do think in that way,
Rick Archer: I’m glad you brought that up. Because I remember that when it was, it’s been decades since I read that book. But um, and of course, interdisciplinary studies are popular in certain schools and so on. But what triggers for me, is the notion that it would be good if we could find the kind of common denominator of various fields of knowledge, the sort of the source from which they all diverge. And there are educational approaches which do that. And, and if that common denominator can that can be not just intellectual, but experiential, you know, if we can experience that, that field of consciousness or whatever, from which everything emerges, and thereby from which all fields of knowledge emerge, that would be a great approach to education.
Justin Gold: I totally agree. I think that is, that would be the meaning of education. Really, I, I suspect that the realistic the only realistic way to get at that middle of the onion, use a heavily used metaphor, is to start from the outside. And so I have concentrated a good deal on starting from the outside and peeling that onion, as it was, as it’s been ready to as it’s ready to be peeled. And rather than to start from the inside, which, which is attractive, and certainly in this new age day, extremely attractive, but it does foster huge amounts of imagination. And it has a way of fostering so much imagination and support system, that all these other layers of the onion get ignored and imagined to be circumvented, but they seem to creep back in.
Rick Archer: So give us a concrete example of what you mean by starting from the outside versus starting from the inside, if you would.
Justin Gold: Good question. Well, fear is clearly a denser vibration than love. And if we’re going toward love that we’re going toward acceptance and okayness and an intercom, then starting from the outside would definitely have to be dealing with embarrassment, anxiety, fear of different kinds, not so much of a category, cataclysmic kind, but the kind of difficulties that repeat themselves over and over again, through the day competition, feeling that, that winning is so far, becoming first is so far ahead of coming in second, that coming in second is a disaster. To two we’ve all been inculcated with those those ideas and to become aware of them, and to see which ones will fall away just because of the awareness of them. So basically negative emotions, difficulties, anxieties, tensions, that are all representatives of densities. So I don’t think anyone would disagree with that meditation is a is a is a pursuit, at least the experience of meditation, maybe not so much the practice which can be challenging, but the experience is an a, an attempt or a surrender into something that’s very natural and very fine vibration, and to try to assimilate that fine vibration starting with something as coarse, as anxiety and competition and, and, and reactivity of different kinds would be unrealistic without dealing with going coarse to fine in increments rather than in imagination. So you’re saying
Rick Archer: that if someone is wired to be competitive, and if they have a lot of fears and anxieties and this and that, then it’s not going to be so productive for them to just try to dive into meditation straightaway, that they they somehow have to clear away some of that stuff before they can sort of be fit to meditate deeply or something. Is that what you’re saying?
Justin Gold: That is what I’m saying? I think that there, there are elements of discord that do get sorted out with the practice of meditation, but I don’t think meditation is has the capacity in our culture, at least maybe for the farmer in the fields of 1000 years ago, but with the complexity, complexity of our culture, I don’t think meditation for us has the capacity to erase the densities that that you say, if we’re wired? I don’t know, I’ve had not met anybody who has not wired, some kind of discord.
Rick Archer: Sure. Yeah, I think I would have to agree with you in disagree, just from my own experience, you know, because when I learned to meditate back when I was 18, I was what they call a hot mess these days, you know, just pretty messed up kid, having dropped out of high school and gotten arrested a couple of times are tough. And, you know, in psychologically, I was pretty confused. But I got such immediate results, and my life changed so dramatically, so quickly. And I stuck with it without fail for all these 50 years, that it somehow cleared me through a lot of the stuff that had been, you know, predominating in my life, and I don’t know, if I would have been able to clear through all that stuff so successfully otherwise, on the other hand, you know, I don’t claim to have cleared through it all. And I know people who kind of do what they call spiritual bypassing, that’s a popular term these days, where they try to, they kind of try to do an end run around their stuff. And they perhaps even achieve some fairly profound degree of realization, but they’re really kind of messed up still in various ways. And that can linger for decades. I mean, Ken Wilber talks about lines of development and how you can become quite advanced along certain lines and very stunted still, on other lines, and perhaps some attention is going to be needed to each line specifically, you can’t expect, you know, development in one area to drag all the rest long they’re going to retard it is if you expect to do that.
Justin Gold: So has your experience been that you’ve met? People who have had the success that you’ve had starting in the way that you’ve started? Yes, quite a few. I like that word bypassing I, I definitely gonna adopt it into my vocabulary. I had not heard it before.
Rick Archer: Yeah, they’ve even people been people have even written books about, you know, so called spiritual bypassing. And it’s kind of a popular term because there’s been so much of it in spiritual and contemporary spiritual circles. And a lot of times people will bypass in a way where they just obsess on an intellectual understanding of what, you know, Ramana Maharshi, or some other some book or something is saying, to the point where they feel like they they kind of know it and experience it. But really, they’ve just gotten sort of in engaged in an intellectual understanding that they’re mistaking that for experiential realization.
Justin Gold: I think my take on the situation is that dealing with trauma, and dealing with a crisis is less than fruitful because it takes so much energy and it ignores the fact that many crisis’s are happening moment to moment. And so I break down the the difficulty or the densities that that people experience into the microcosm and deal with those more in the moment to moment, being something like I think I use the phrase in some of my books and I have said that embarrassment is a little death. So and everyone has experienced to some degree, doing something clone clumsy I’m looking around to see if you’re caught or anybody saw you and like that. And embarrassment is a very big element in our, in our development that we try to control our image and we do whatever we can to control that image and even seek people who will reassure us that that image is what it is. And so I have seen that every difficulty can be broken down into its microcosmic particle, things that happen numerous times a day. So we don’t really have to examine the past or be psychoanalyzed about our dreams, but pay attention to the pay attention to the present. And should happens.
Rick Archer: So when you say difficult to do mean, like habit patterns that cause people to create difficulties in their own life over and over and over again? Or do you mean external circumstances? Like, you live fairly near those fires that were taking place in, you know, Paradise, California, that was a difficulty for those people? Are you talking about external or internal difficulties?
Justin Gold: I’m talking about internal reaction to external difficulties. Okay,
Rick Archer: so let’s say fires, take no,
Justin Gold: I’d say something smaller, like somebody moved your chair.
Rick Archer: I can live with that.
Justin Gold: And, and the mini difficulty a person has, when they go into the kitchen, and they had reserved something in the refrigerator, and somebody came in and, and chomped on it. And that many negative emotion that a person has, and has many, many, many times during the day, and not even aware that that’s happening and the density that that creates, and being free of those things, those those multitudinous events, is, is a Lightning Experience. And meditation requires some lightning, you can’t be if you use meditation, to alleviate heaviness, similar to if you use drugs to alleviate situations, that probably will be the ultimate of what you use that for. It seems to happen not in every case, and maybe not in your case. But in the years I’ve been around, I’ve seen misuse of methods, who, to you by call itself calm to feel better, rather than to get free.
Rick Archer: Yeah. Well, you know, I’m, I’ve heard humility, defined as the quality of not insisting that things happen any particular way. And that came to mind when you said, getting upset, if someone you know, moves your chair eats your ice cream or something, you know, it’s so there’s a certain tendency, hopefully, to be able to take things as they come and to roll with the way things unfold, without freaking out if things don’t go the way you want them to. And then I’ve also heard you say that humility is a prerequisite to meditation that you if and that, in turn, meditation is the portal to freedom or enlightenment. So let’s talk about humility, a little bit in this context, it seems to me to be a valuable quality in terms of being able to take the little things that might otherwise push your buttons and just let them roll off your back, like, drops on the duck.
Justin Gold: What I what I think is that a lot of the qualities that we aspire to are innate and natural. And we’re there in the beginning, I don’t think there is an arrogant child being born at that moment, I think that we have within us the capacity for, for humility, and it’s not an attribute. It’s a subtraction, of false confidence and arrogance. And as I said, in terms of the going out these qualities that we’ve had to develop, so when we go to a job interview, and somebody says, so how are you at coding? How are you at the typing, we say, I’m good at it, we say no, not so good, then we don’t get the job. So we know we have to be self confident and self confident. Sometimes this false confidence and false confidence leads to arrogance and, and it’s in the going out period, it very well be necessary to have that but in the coming home period, a process, it seems to become an obstacle. So my picture of humility is that it is there. And it can be an uncovered picture I have that maybe I’ve described in my writings and maybe not is an ant wearing a suit carrying a briefcase. And that would be something if it were a cartoon, we would laugh with that cartoon. But of course, in some thing that I read actually that usually said that, how would it look from 50,000 light years away? It would look like we are ants carrying briefcases wearing suits. So I think the natural perspective can be rediscovered, if we remove if we let some of the add ons fall away, we come to the natural humility that was there in the beginning.
Rick Archer: I often have used that as a sort of thought experiment, you know, what if even if even just flying in an airplane, and then you know, seeing a city as you fly over it, and thinking about all the little dramas that are taking place in the people’s lives in that city, and how important they must seem and how big and or, you know, I’m the mayor of this town, and the town is really just this little splotch on the map. And then if you if you resort to astronomy, which you just alluded to, and start thinking about how many, you know, stars there are in the galaxy, and how many galaxies in the universe and all. And I remember this quote from Carl Sagan, where that he commented on that, that first picture of the Earth from some satellite far away, where it’s just this barely discernible little dot, and there was some comment about, you know, just all the wars that have been fought in over this little tiny dot, you can basically hardly even see. And all that is is kind of seems to me a hubris, you know, the, the failure to see the big picture, which is an attempt to make something that’s really very tiny, into something that’s big and important, which ultimately, it’s not.
Justin Gold: I think that question can definitely be explored. And I think the exploration of that question can be fascinating. I’m thinking of a place in I think it’s in Utah desert, and it’s called Old Woman rock. And when you drive at it from the West, it looks like an old woman. When you drive, when you look past it, and you look back, it looks like a Chevrolet, so but it’s called Old Woman rock, but totally from our perspective. And if we start examining the things that we see in relation to our perspective, rather than what we think is that I think that some of that humility can be uncovered. I also think something like a Eclipse is an interesting phenomenon, because people were very excited about this, the the eclipse that happened a year or two ago, and even traveled great distances to be there. But of course, there is no such thing as an eclipse. and Eclipse is something that happens from our point of view, if you are on the moon, the Eclipse would not be in existence or other things would be eclipsed. So where much of our much of our life in our perspective, is comes from, from our perspective, from our point of view, and if we recognize that it’s only our point of view, and it’s that nothing to be confident, or, or pedantic about, then I think that exploration allows humility to come in that we begin to study more of our conclusions and seeing they’re more drastic and less elastic.
Rick Archer: Yeah. Yeah, that point about point of view. What did he say?
Justin Gold: I think, the elastic and the drastic, I think I stole that.
Rick Archer: Yeah, there’s, there’s a theme, which I think is interesting here, which, which is that? You know, we are, as an individual human being, our point of view is necessarily going to be rather tiny with by comparison to the whole cosmos or something this, you know, we’re focused on the specific little things. But, you know, you’ve been talking about refinement than our deeper nature and, and is it sort of, in keeping with your understanding and traditions you’ve studied with, that our deeper nature, if we go deep enough, is cosmic, it’s vast, it’s universal, it’s unbounded. And that that and that we need to sort of rediscover that. And if we do rediscover it, then and if we, if it gets integrated into our experience, such that we live in that unboundedness all the while, even though we’re focusing on specific things like driving a car or cooking dinner or something, then we end up benefiting from the value of focus, which is necessary in order to accomplish things. Well, the same time benefiting from the freedom that unboundedness have towards.
Justin Gold: Yeah, I agree with that, I think that we’re, we have some, some considerable obstacles which are peculiar to the culture that we live in, and especially in the US, because we have been presented with such a large territory, in relatively homogenous territory, we use the same money, everywhere, we have the same language everywhere except Spanish is a little bit, it’s a bit come more, but at one time, it was that really considered either the language that Americans spoke, whereas people in a country that I just came from visiting Georgia, which is a very small country, and a lot of people don’t even know where it is, within 50 miles of any given city, there are people that speak Russian, and people speak Armenian. And people speak Georgian. And people speak Farsi, Persian. And so any word, any word that’s used is not, you can’t explain something by saying the word is the thing, because the word is clearly not thing. The thing? So if I hold up these reading glasses, am I holding this? Can you see this? If I’m holding up the reading these reading glasses, and I say, this is an apple, or I say this is a reading glass, there are no more reading glasses in their apples, they are what they are. But in our culture, they are reading glasses. Reading Glasses are not a term we use to describe them, they are reading glasses, whereas for this Georgian person, the Georgian person can hang on language so much. And I think the result of that is that we become more explainers, then we become explorers, because we can explain with language, or at least we imagine that we can explain with language. And the when, when one explains and comes to an explanation, which is viable, and people agree with that explanation, or even people disagree with that explanation, then exploration is very difficult. So one of the things I teach is that language is for exploration, it’s not for explanation, let’s try to use language for what it’s for. It’s a representative, medium, that we put letters and words to things so that we can explore the nature of those things. Now, certainly, when you’re cooking, and you say, this needs more oregano, there’s an understanding of what oregano is and what more is, but a lot of the more sophisticated communication, and certainly spiritual communication is reduced to terminology, in equations that have maybe three or four or even five variables, and anybody who’s studied even junior high school, math knows that the more variables that you include, the less, the more challenging the equation becomes. Does that make sense?
Rick Archer: It does. And it’s a point that I’ve thought about quite a bit, and even gave a talk on one time at the sand Conference, which is that, you know, our cultural, collective understanding of the spiritual territory is somewhat akin to what Lewis and Clark understood about American geography, you know, when they set out on their expedition, Expedition, expedition, and all these terms are thrown around in popular spiritual parlance, which I don’t think there’s a really clear agreement on our common understanding of, and you have to sort of have a common understanding of words if you’re going to use them for their intended purpose, which is to communicate, but it’s hard to communicate about things that you haven’t experienced. And we, you know, you mentioned the reading glasses, everyone’s experienced that. And so everyone has a picture of what those are. But if you talk about Samadhi, or, you know, Brahman consciousness, or various other terms that, you know, non duality that are used in spirituality, there seem to be a lot of interpretations as to what those might actually mean. So, you know, getting back to the Lewis and Clark metaphor, I would like to see it would be interesting to see our culture evolve to the point where we are understanding of Geography Now is where we have satellite technologies that map out every square foot, then we really understood the whole territory that the spiritual quest is supposed to enable us to, to traverse. does that relate to what you said? And did I go off on that? Okay, good.
Justin Gold: No, I, I I follow. Good.
Rick Archer: Up question came in from someone that’s related that relates to some stuff we’ve been saying that you were saying earlier. This is from Barry Cahill O’Brien in Spokane, Washington. He asks, well, he mentioned that I have sometimes previously previously spoken of Eastern mystics that sometimes fall into greater temptations they find when they come to the west, and he asks a viewer, Justin, do you think this approach of going out prior to spiritual development would help shield people from temptations? When spiritual development is then later obtained?
Justin Gold: I think that’s an interesting question. I think I did meet a, a Catholic, the A monk or a priest, who had been initiated into priesthood when he was maybe 9019 years old, and had a very reclusive and secluded life and become became disillusioned through his whole through the process, he took part in and when he, when he was finally freed of the restrictions of, of, of the order, he was part of, he went wild. And I see that the the idea of, especially in our culture, where so much is dangled in front of us, you can do what’s never been done, you can win what’s never been won, you know, it would be very difficult to avoid it, avoid that growing up with TV, and having some of those aspirations of being a superhero of some kind, that if, if a person doesn’t exercise those muscles, to some degree, they are going to remain there. And it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter what you’ve done, they are going to remain. So I do think, in response to his question, if I haven’t, if I’m clear about what he’s asking that, that anything that you do on the way out, and I’m not saying doing things that hurt other people or are, are aggressively harmful or out of the middle of the road in any way. But anything that you do, to explore life and to be bold and to take chances and, and live out the parts of you that have desires that are reasonable, the less weight that you’ll be carrying into the spiritual pursuit.
Rick Archer: Yeah, I mean, speaking of your Catholic friends, I mean, think of all the scandals in the Catholic Church, from these people who are living a lifestyle that perhaps is not natural to them, and they’re suppressing natural urges and causes them to behave very inappropriately. On the other hand, you know, when I look back at my youth, I, I kind of wish I could have been a more disciplined person and a better student and things like that, instead of instead of such a goof off, and I wouldn’t mind having gotten a much better education and so on, but and I feel like I did things that actually harmed me and took some years to repair. So there’s, it seems
Justin Gold: like you caught up, yeah, I’ve
Rick Archer: been working on it. It’s been a project. But you know, you you look at some of these Whiz Kids, but then again, I mean, we’re getting a little off topic, perhaps. But no, they’re kids, they’re just, they have these helicopter parents, as they call them, and they’re, they’re loaded with pressures have to do so well, to get into the best colleges and everything else, they never get a chance to be kids or to breather, and the stress ends up, you know, resulting in all kinds of problems for them. So then, you know, I mean, if, if you could somehow, I mean, my whole understanding of meditation is often always been that it’s something that can be integrated into an active life with all kinds of responsibilities and, and accomplishments, and it can help to relieve the pressure and give you a respite, you know, a way of releasing stress and becoming more relaxed physiologically as well as psychologically so that you can plunge in and do a lot without getting burned out. In fact, it’s being used in police forces and with soldiers who have PTSD and stuff like that to great benefit.
Justin Gold: Yeah, it should be used on the soldiers before they go.
Rick Archer: Good idea. Yeah.
Justin Gold: Yeah, I agree with I basically agree with what you’re saying, I have maintained the school that I maintained, is based on activity and we, we take care of a lot of land and we and we traveled together and we have had some considerable social work projects, which we started about maybe 2020 or so years ago, and a lot of interaction and not not secluded and not protected at all. And I think that’s really important. And it’s also possible, I agree with you it is possible to, to combine the introspective parts of life and the surrendered parts of life with external activity. And I, I find no problem in that whatsoever.
Rick Archer: Yeah, balance perhaps is, I mean, even the Buddha talked about balance the middle way that the Gita talks about balance, you know, you know, just sort of everything, you know, Ecclesiastes, you know, to everything, there is a season Turn, turn, turn. So everything has its place. And, you know, I just think spiritual practice can be part of a balanced, integrated life, or it can be taken to extremes to the exclusion of things which you should actually be putting attention on, and you’re not.
Justin Gold: Can I ask you a question, please? Yeah, I noticed that a lot of your references are come from Scripture. And from from Good deal. In the past, I have written in one of my little blurbs or maybe more extensively than that, that in order for a person to be a viable spiritual teacher, they have to be able to do two things, they have to be able to pass the salt to you. And they have to be a mail letter, mail a letter. And that would eliminate everyone who has ever lived before. So it would mean a person would be a more viable spiritual teacher that you met on the street corner, who happens to be alive? And could you could conceivably learn something from rather than someone who’s lived hundreds or even 1000s of years ago, because they their, their works, or their sayings have been made public. But do you think about all that? Well,
Rick Archer: let’s say you want to be a physicist, and but unfortunately, Albert Einstein is dead. And Niels Bohr, and, you know, and what’s his name Polly, and all those guys are dead. Does that mean you can’t study their works and their writings and their knowledge. But you know, you also need a living physics teacher, if you really want to be a good physicist, you need a PhD advisor and so on. I just, I think it’s important to have a living teacher, as someone once put it, dead gurus don’t kick butt. But at the same time, I think that there’s a value in traditional knowledge. And perhaps again, the word balance comes in there can you can derive. I’ve also heard you quote, this line, you know, you take what you need, and you leave the rest. So I think value can be derived from ancient teachings. But a living teacher and a living practice is also necessary. And you can’t just sort of thought, well, and stuff that happened a couple 1000 years ago and expect to get really far. Okay. That’s my, you know, anything I say, of course, this subject is just my opinion, and it’s maybe wrong. But that’s what comes to mind in response to your question,
Justin Gold: it would, it would only be relevant. And I called a lot of those stories, the biblical stories, the farmer in the field stories. And although very few of us are farmers in the field, I happen to live with some farmers in the field, but they’re growing things that I don’t think they grow back back in the Bible. What I what I do think is that if those stories have not been updated, then we have been that those those ancient scriptural stories are important. But if they have been updated, if they have been made more current, if some of these people that you’ve interviewed of these 500 people you’ve interviewed, have understood, and said things that are that are updated versions, because it comes from their personal live understanding, I would see those as the current scripture that we have, and I would value those because they’re the product of our time. Not to dismiss the ones that happen before but if they can be replaced, I think they should be replaced.
Rick Archer: Yeah, I you know, as you know, I was a student of Marsha, Mahesh Yogi and he used to say something that he called Three Rica’s. He said that there are three criteria by which, you know, our experience can be judged, it should be able to concur with the ancient teachings, but it should also concur with modern science. And it’s and it should also be actually our experience and not just some imagination, and said, all three of those things can can be corroborating evidence, so to speak for the legitimacy of something. And he also said only a new sealed seed can use his gives me only a new seed can yield a new crop. And he felt that ancient teachings had eroded and deteriorated to a great extent and had lost their original potency. And that there needed to be a sort of a fresh infusion of knowledge for our contemporary age.
Justin Gold: It’s definitely a challenge sorting through all the seeds to find out that that seed,
Rick Archer: yeah, and there’s so much that was lost in translation, and it got corrupted and distorted over the passage of time. And also, you know, you can glean little tidbits from all this ancient stuff. But you know, don’t take it as gospel truth, I would say, because who knows what was originally said or written. So, let’s learn a little bit more about you, if we may. You’ve had all kinds of adventures and people can read about that in your book. But in terms of your spiritual practice, you did some pretty significant stuff over in Iran and Afghanistan, and, you know, South America. And I think it’d be interesting for people to hear about that, if you don’t mind telling us.
Justin Gold: Well, I would have, but since I wrote about it, I got to talk about it.
Rick Archer: Yeah, right.
Justin Gold: I was I described the relationship I had with this man in South America. And he basically pointed me in all the directions, everything that I had done, that I had done, as a young person I had done and his recommendation and things I wouldn’t have otherwise done. So they weren’t necessarily personal preference. But he did. He was connected. He lived in South America, he had a school of a few people or a following of a few people there. And people came from Europe to visit him and spend time with him. And he had a history of, he was actually the son of an Indian diplomat. So a Pakistani diplomat, so that Pakistani diplomat, I married someone from South America, and he, so he grew up there. But he was very worldly and, and I had a connection to a school in Afghanistan, where he sent me to go and I went there on a few occasions for a few months at a time.
Rick Archer: And what did you say there? Can you? Can you tell us like what what kind of practice or lifestyle or whatever I
Justin Gold: wrote to lifestyle was lifestyle was coming, you know, and there were maybe, maybe 100 people there at any time, maybe 80. It was out in the middle of nowhere. And it was an arduous journey to get there. Northwest of northeast of Cabo. And a good way out, in the Nowhere was a decent school. I’m gonna stay away from that, really why? As I said, language can only be misunderstood, it can’t be mis understood. So I would say it was a school for exploring obstacles, and they were exercises and things that I took part in and things that I didn’t take part in. And it was interesting to me, a lot of it took place in English, because they do speak English in that part of the world, because the Brits were spend so much time there. But a lot of it wasn’t in English. So I learned a little language. And it was mostly the exposure to people who are disciplined, and me going there at a time where I was not disciplined, which was interesting, I’m definitely instructive to me. But the particular things that I did there, I’m sure they had a value, but I would find it difficult to quantify that value other than it was an exotic part of my resume. But I did see of death that was definitely a value is after a few years, a few years after that. And I did spend some time in South America, probably a total of if I were add up the the months and like that about three years, I spent with him in South America. And then he he suggested that I go and he set up this retreat for me where I, where I basically lived, I was taken a truck out to the middle of nowhere and desert in Iran, central Iran, and they left me there with plenty of stuff to do. And, and it was an extraordinary explosive exploration for me because I started off anxious about what I do, and I ended up feeling like I could stay there for longer. And when the truck came to pick me up, which was the only other time three months later. I was not anxious to leave you slashed the tires. I didn’t flash the tires, I did go back, because that’s what was supposed to be doing 100 days. But it was. It was a wonderful development of meditation experience for me and passivity for me, and lack of content, which is for any Westerner crisis, because content is so much of our lives activity and stimulus. And the probably the greatest stimulus I had was about 15 miles out because I was on. I was above the plane and an outcropping of rocks. And every once, maybe every four or five days a caravan came by of horses and camels and people. And I had binoculars, and I could see them through my binoculars, and that was my entertainment for the week.
Rick Archer: Wow. And you had food and water and all
Justin Gold: that. So I was definitely I had plenty water and plenty of food, not the food I would have ordinarily eaten, but I learned to eat raisins and dates. And that’s and stuff like
Rick Archer: that. They have good reasons. I’ve spent three months in Iran, myself, they have great pistachios and great stuff. And so you were just spending your days in some little hot or something meditating,
Justin Gold: I was a cave, which was a lot more than a cave, because, you know, they used for that purpose before. So it was very comfortable. And I was comfortable. So it was not challenging in a physical way at all. Because I had been used to camping and living out and hiking and in much more arduous search circumstances. But sometime, when if we ever get together, I’d like to hear and share Iran experiences because the only people that I run into that are from Iran are poker players, because I play from time to time. And there are people who have escaped and have a lot of animosity to who are the, for the current regime, which is understandable?
Rick Archer: Well, I’ll just tell you in a nutshell, as I said, I was in the TM movement. And at one point, and Margie had this theory that, you know, that if groups of people are together meditating, then they will sort of create a subtle influence which will radiate throughout the environment and hopefully, you know, improve things there, especially if there’s some kind of war or something going on. And so one point, I guess it was like 1979 or so groups of us went to the, you know, Central America and Nicaragua where there was trouble and, and ISRAEL PALESTINE area, and I don’t know South Africa, because there was trouble down there and, and Iran, my group went to Iran and spent three months in Tehran in a hotel meditating most of the time, and left about two days before the Shah did. Researchers kind of got involved and looked at various social indicators of economics and war deaths and other kinds of things, and claimed that there was a correlation between our presence and changes in these in these indicators. I don’t know how objective the researchers were, but some of the research got published. Peer Reviewed Journals and all that was my adventure there. It was interesting. I mean, things started to really fall apart towards the end, I remember standing on the rooftop of our hotel watching banks, and liquor stores, and movie theaters all go up in flames. And it was good to get out of there.
Justin Gold: It’s a really beautiful country, really similar to California. It has a lot of natural beauty. And, and the people are extraordinary. And I put some effort into learning the language after as I stayed around for a while. And it’s it’s really too bad that it’s out of the range of our travel capacity. Yeah. And
Rick Archer: I hope we don’t go to war with it. And that’s, yeah. And then you spent quite some time. Oh, before we get on to that. So, you know, I’ve been on long meditation courses. And very often when I come off a long course, I feel like I kind of went in with a rusty old Volkswagen and came out with a nice new Mercedes, I feel like there’s been a nice change and over a number of months of intense practice. So did you notice anything like that from what was your whole experience of being in that cave?
Justin Gold: Well, I eventually came back to Oregon. And that where I was living with no, maybe, maybe the woods of somewhere in the Santa Cruz in California, and I had, I felt very much like, I was okay being alone, which I didn’t have that experience before. I was definitely habituated to being around activity and people and I had a very different feeling about being alone and being around decreased stimulus. It was a wonderful feeling, not feeling I had to do things to be okay. And unfortunately or fortunately many maybe a month into my honeymoon I’m feeling those feelings is when I got the message that you should start moving toward passing on what you understand. So, which was very surprising to me because I thought I was going in the other direction, I thought I was becoming a hermit. Well, let’s
Rick Archer: talk about more about what you understand what you’ve been passing on. I mean, if you were to give us some main points we can go through, we can spend an hour if you like going through various points of that you consider most important that you’d like to you know, work work on with people, I don’t want to just say in part because I’m sure that it’s not just a sort of a, that’s to appear, you know, that I’m sure you’re you’re hoping to touch people much more deeply and have a more transformational influence with them.
Justin Gold: I, I think that it’s important to understand from my perspective, that is, spiritual unfolding is an uncovering process. And no creation is really necessary, not a creation in in either an external or an internal way. In other words, we’ve been presented with human life, we’ve presented with tremendous diversity, tremendous opportunities, different colors, different sounds different nature. And we don’t really have to create a school, a school called human life has been created for us. So I don’t put, I put minimal energy into creating circumstances, I put a lot of energy into learning how to maximize of circumstances that we’ve been given. Because if we can maximize that school that we’ve been given, which is human life, then we can all the things that we see that we need to leave behind, will become obvious to us. So I have developed tools, I have developed some methods which I have been refined over the years that I’ve been doing this, basically, for the purpose of exploring these obstacles that need to be removed, defining them, noticing them, recognizing them, and developing the ability to see them without reacting negatively developing the impartiality, to see that the human condition is not our fault, and that we have not to blame and we didn’t do anything bad. But we did assimilate some destructive tendencies for the coming home process, which may have been useful for us to accumulate the things we needed to accumulate to feel grounded, as you say. And that it’s it’s a an exciting process for some people is a depressing process. For other people. It’s a challenging process, for some people to the degree that they don’t want to do that exploration because it seems to eroding for the foundation that they’ve created. But some people are excited and interested, although not many. And those are the people that I have stayed with and have stayed with me. And new people come from time to time, but not many. And we we involve ourselves, in all the things that people do in life, you know, we, we do a little business, we do a little cooking, we do a little traveling. And in the last 20 or so years, we’ve not from my initiative because I was not a social worker kind of guy, but from somebody else’s input, who happened to be in my circle of influence, suggested that we take on some, some children’s international kids, that they advertise on TV 15 bucks a month, and you can save a life and like that. So we took on a whole bunch of those kids, and then we ended up visiting them. And then we ended up staying for a year and being involved in and from that time. Before that time. All my explorations and I’ve done quite a few, quite a bit of an adventure traveling, had been adventure traveling. And but since that time, all the trips that I’ve taken have either been focused around that not only to do good because there are people that are hurting that can use some very basic help. But because it has been enriching and informative and helpful in perspective and humility for the people that have gone with me to these places, whether it be Cambodia, Thailand, Syria, you know, different places where people have trouble. So that has become part of it. And that’s part of what our world surprise, we haven’t had to create it. So that has become part of the program here. Even so much so if not going on too long about it, this last trip that we took to this little country, Georgia. It’s it’s a country that’s trying to move very quickly into, into western consciousness and be part of Western Europe. And, but it’s a very ancient culture with some very ancient religion and very ancient buildings. And so in traveling through there and seeing some of it, we tripped over some grouping of people, some community of people called Duke Gabor’s, which I had heard the word before, but I didn’t know anything about that. Some Christian orden originally, Christian people that developed in Russia and and were expelled from Russia have developed their culture Elsewheres, but some very unique ideas of no church and no ministers, and everyone has God within them. And no Jesus and no, like that very interesting development. So we went to visit them, and they’re all there. Young people, of course, have left. And mostly it’s the remnants of the old religion. And so we spent some time and found that what they needed and put some money into helping them out. Not so much, because we’re good, and we’re kind, but because it’s there. They’re there were there, and it’s there. And it helps them and it helps us. Yeah,
Rick Archer: absolutely. You know, you’ve probably heard the word saver, right? It. Yeah. And so what you’re doing, it’s a form of saver, which just means selfless service, is probably a good translation of it. And even though it’s selfless, you know, you’re not doing it to sort of aggrandize yourself in any way. It it’s conducive to developing more selflessness, you know, that it attenuates the ego somehow, I would say, to be focused on the welfare of someone else other than on your own welfare. And I think that’s probably why certain some spiritual teachers emphasize it so much, it’s actually a spiritual practice.
Justin Gold: I think my experience has been that, that it’s so enriching, to travel and to give, rather than to travel and to take the cream of the crop of the sights and, and, and the foods and like that, and I think anybody who would involve themselves in it, whether it’s a spiritual pursuit or not, we find it hard to go back to the surface type of traveling.
Rick Archer: Yeah, it must culture the heart a lot. Right?
Justin Gold: Yes. Yeah. Can I say a little more about this, please ask me about the, the program here is very much focused on, on identifying obstacles, of the of the nature of the kind of that we talked about, and seeing if they’ll fall away just by recognizing that they’re there. And numerous ones do. And I’ve given the example if you, if you stepped in dogshit, and you see the dark shades there, you’re not going to do it again. If you call it mud, you might do it again, if you call it call it chocolate, you might do it again. But if you call it dogshit, and you see it as it is, and you call it what it is, you’re probably not going to do it again and you’re going to avoid it. So I’ve seen that there are a lot of a lot of obstacles that we have to lightness and freedom and the finer vibration are do dissipate from noticing them and calling them what they are. Of course there are some that are more ingrained. And they take more recognizing and more internal, let’s call it intention to leave those behind because we recognize their self destructive, but I recognize the importance to not say that it’s not okay with me as a teacher for you to manifest that way. It has to become not okay with you. Because I never noticed a child or a teenager change their behavior sincerely because it wasn’t okay with their parents, right. Once if I never did
Rick Archer: that it would increase that that sort of behavior.
Justin Gold: Get there go very much part of the program is, is to give people the tools and the equipment and the reflections so that they can explore and examine and come to their own conclusions. I I’m very adamant about not telling people what to do.
Rick Archer: It’s good. So you’re up there in Northern California. And, you know, people are right now there’s like, 160 people watching this, and there’ll be 1000s, who watch it later. And they’re all over the world. I presume that if somebody wants to work with you, they kind of have to be in your they have to kind of come to Northern California, right? You don’t do anything long distance.
Justin Gold: I’m a 25 mile guru. Yeah, right. Well, that’s
Rick Archer: about all Jesus was, you know how much he could cover with walking around in in sandals?
Justin Gold: I’ll stick with me being.
Rick Archer: Yeah. And so let’s say you’re, someone decides to come there. And they actually, you know, come for a month, maybe stay in an Airbnb, and then they like it, and they decide to move to the area so they can work with you. And there you are in a group of 20 people or 30 people or something. And you have this process you just described of helping to sort of work through things. How do you do that with people? What steps do you take to enable them to invest
Justin Gold: and actually, there’s someone in that category right now who’s probably watching this, this broadcast, they came to visit somebody else, who happened to be a friend of a friend and stayed for a while. And we’re pretty open with people coming around, we have a lot of land and a lot of houses and, and are fairly flexible. And he stayed in one of the houses for for a while, and decided he really was interested in what was happening. So came back a month later and stayed for a few more days or a week, and then went home to his his life, which was 3000 miles away and and heard that we were going down to South Carroll to North Carolina, to give some help to the flood victims there. And came down to help us there he was, didn’t have really any of the preparation that all the other people that have been around me for years had, but it was worth it’s tried to see what happened. And he came down and, and became enamored of the dynamic and, and the humor, and that we play music a lot. We love to play music, we play music together, we play rock and roll. And we play other stuff. And, and so he he got to like our dynamic. And so now he decided to evolve his life from what it was. And he’s coming out here, I think, next week or the week after that, and kind of give it a give it a try for a more permanent basis. But people do communicate with me and by email, and I’m fine with that. And I respond. And I’ve tried to respond positively and encouragingly in whatever way I can. And people can read my books or listen to the stuff on the website, but I’m really not so much. So listening, I’m not looking for the money or the the exposure, you know, I see that it’s, it’s a lot of people have come and gone. And certainly more people have come and gone than have had stayed. So I am realistic about that formula. And I am okay with that. And if somebody comes around that I don’t really think I can help them. I’ll tell them that I don’t really think I can help you. And sometimes it even happens for people who have been around a while, I see that it’s necessary for them to move on to have a different experience. And and I tell them that I’m not looking to create longevity in that in that regard.
Rick Archer: So how does the whole thing get supported? You said you have a lot of land a lot of houses that cost money, especially in California. What funds it?
Justin Gold: Well, to a degree I do i Some years ago, invented the the pieces of paper that you put on the toilet seat and public toilets, that you know what I’m referring Yeah, yeah. Yeah, I invented those. And I have the design pattern for the pattern and pattern for that. Yeah. Right for that. And I sold it to a big paper company. And I still have a good royalties. They’re very small, but I still get royalties. So I’ve asked people instead of donating money just when you go into a public toilet double up.
Rick Archer: That’s great. What a funny story. It’s amazing how you can invent some little thing like that and you know and be supported for life more or less
Justin Gold: Yes, I made up that story. No, you did? Or didn’t happen?
Rick Archer: Okay? I believe
Justin Gold: it’s a good story. No, it’s a good story. Yeah, it could have happened. But it’s a fun thing to say. Because the, the, the actuality, is much less believable. So, so I’ve said that story, but I always tell people, I make up the story because I’m not trying to create some illusion of something that we work together. People we work together, we have a construction company we have, we have a company that does, that does derivatives from, from CBD derivatives. And we, we have that company. And we have different phases of things that we’ve done to make money. And we have gotten really generous contributions from people that have lived there, I have value, but we do and it seems to work out, okay. We, we don’t have mortgages on the property, we bought them all, and built our own houses because we have the capacity to do that. So we own a lot of real estate. And we get some contributions. And we, we work together, we pull cars, and we pull food and we pull housing, and it seems to work out really well.
Rick Archer: So like this little communal, communal group, if someone were to join it or to get involved in it, do they have to like take all their savings and throw it into the kitty? Or can you can you sort of still retain your own possessions and stuff.
Justin Gold: I don’t see the the the idea of having requirements for participation as being viable. I see that it could be it could be attractive to somebody. But I have a curious view on that is that it really should be my responsibility to take care of the people who come here, because I know why they’re here. They are just finding out by they’re here. So I make no requirements of any kind, whatsoever. No dues, no requirements. If you like to cook, you can cook, if you don’t like to cook, you don’t have to cook, if you I have no requirements whatsoever. Now, naturally, a person has to be copacetic with cooperation to some degree, but there’s no requirements for giving up anything surrendering anything at letting other people use your car, until you’re at a point where you really feel that that’s what you want to do. So it’s almost that story’s almost hard to believe. But because I know, it’s so difficult to to have cooperations and communities tried to develop what is that term where everybody agrees to something? Whatever that turns into consensus, yes. Which consensus in democracy is really an ideal, very unrealistic, ideal, but it’s an interesting idea. We don’t deal with consensus. And I do practice. I do practice when I feel it’s necessary, which is infrequently, that authority position of a tiebreaker. But it’s infrequent that I have to do that. But I do do that. I did do that, in this case, in what I wanted to be behind me when we had this interview, and I decided that other people said, well, you should have this a picture of Hahnemann, or whatever it is. I said, No, I want to have the fireplace.
Rick Archer: Yeah. Well, it’s nice. You got your guitar back there. Are their families there with kids? Or is it mostly, you know, single people or people without kids?
Justin Gold: There, there are kids here in Oregon, I had a predominance of kids, which happened during that time, which was years ago in the 1970s. I had more kids than adults. And we ended up starting a daycare school just to because we were losing the focus in our daycare attempts. Here. There are there there are kids and some of those kids are older now. They’re, they’re in high school, and they’re some of them are in college, one of them went away to to Korea to go to college. One of them was in Santa Cruz went to college we have had, we have had kids and it’s an interesting dynamic. It certainly is what I consider if you don’t have kids, I don’t know if you personally have kids, but if you don’t have kids, you have to find some way to have kids. And that doesn’t mean you have to have children, right or children. You have to have something that you take care of to that degree that you leave yourself behind. And that is part of my teaching as well. There is no, there is no way to circumvent the self importance that in the self absorption that Western culture has, has fostered without having something that you are surrendered to taking care of. And I know pets can do it. Oh, yeah, for some people,
Rick Archer: we’ve had cats and dogs ever since we’ve been married for over 30 years. And for eight years, my wife friend, the dog adoption program at the local animal shelter, and we’ve had all kinds of adventures of taking care of dogs that have been abandoned and all kinds of stuff like that. So that’s been part of our Seva. There’s a couple of questions people sent in, let me ask you these and then some more things I want to talk to you about. But I want to make sure to get to these. So one is from Sybil Buck Walter from Randallstown, Maryland. And she asks, how can we use the power of our thoughts to create our individual and world reality? As in affirmations or positive thinking? Can we use our thoughts to heal ourselves physically?
Justin Gold: Well, that’s a good question. Theoretically, yes, practically, I think no, because our our thoughts are so unoriginal and so subject to the influences that we’ve had on us that, to say that this is a good influence, this is not a good influence, all the influences that we’ve had go into a common pot, so that and all if you could see my hands within this really minimal space, thoughts of everything in this head, all swimming together, and then we’re supposed to be able to sort through these thoughts, and think which ones are constructive, which ones are destructive? And the the, as I talked about, in girdles theorem that we’re going to use our thoughts to sort through our thoughts has been proven to be unrealistic. So I’d say that much more realistic would be to have to stop a person on the street, who’s a total stranger and say, What do you think about what I’m doing? Then it would be for you to sell say to yourself, What do I think about what I’m doing? Now, this is a fairly radical statement. But if a person hasn’t gone through a considerable amount of sorting, through their own thoughts, and seeing how many how many are limiting, and self destructive, and and derive the humility that comes from that confrontation and seeing that, if a person hasn’t gone through that study that exploration, then I am not not serious when I say that you’re better off asking a total stranger, for reasonableness than asking yourself now of course, if you have gone through that considerable exploration, and you can sort through because you have moved aside from all the you might call it selves in you there have all disparate and and disparate and desperate intentions for themselves. And you have been able to separate them from each other, by moving aside from them to some impartial place where you would actually been able to look back at that and seen which are constructive on which are destructive. If you haven’t gone through that training, then I stick to what I’m saying, if you have gone through that training, then it may be with a support system of people who can tell you when you’re slightly going off course, then I think you can use your thoughts and exploration with the thinking process. Because I think in my opinion, the thinking process, as it probably you properly used for exploration is an incredible gift, an incredible gift and incredible tragedy that we haven’t been used to been able to use it for that incredible gift.
Rick Archer: And that thing you say about us trying to use your thoughts to sort out your thoughts. Remember that quote that’s attributed to Einstein about, you know, trying to solve problems at the same level of consciousness that with which they were created is, you know, his definition of insanity or futility or some such thing that you know, the whole thing has to be approached from a different level than the level at which the problem has been entrenched or established.
Justin Gold: Yeah. I like Like, a lot of his explorations because they came through mathematics. And I think mathematics is an interesting language, because it it tends to limit distortion. It doesn’t eliminate distortion. It tends to minimalize distortion. And interestingly enough, in in the time that I had that exposure to Kurt girdle he recommended I have very little to to clarify very little school training in mathematics. Any school training I had, was really surface. I did study physics and algebra, etc, and calculus, but very surface, and very not not as a willing participant as someone who wanted to get into a good college. But in my conversations with him, he recognized some ability that I had, I guess, because he perpetuated as did I, the relationship that he suggested I teach a theoretical math course, at the University of Oregon, where I was having my meetings. And it sounded ridiculous to me. But he suggested it, and he recommended me, and I wasn’t pursuing it. But I got a call from the head of the math department, that Kurt girdle who he knew, of course, knew I communicated to him that I should teach a math course, so he was soliciting me to teach the math course, at University of Oregon in theoretical mathematics. And I did for one semester, and it was one of the most fascinating, six months I spent, because we were using this language of, of numbers, and formula to explore all kinds of things that the students were not expecting to be part of their course. But we did it. And I did learn in that, that if you can reduce the complexity of your issues, into some metaphor that is less complex than the issue, you have a better chance of figuring them out. Then if you try to do as you describe that Einstein said, yes, because Einstein also said, Einstein also said, if I can get this quote, right, I went in a conversation he had with a married friend that I don’t think I’m going to get this right, that he he was, was jealous, or envious of his friend, who spent a lifetime with one woman where he had failed twice, to spend a lifetime with one for him.
Rick Archer: That’s the whole quote. Yeah, I
Justin Gold: didn’t get it quite right. So
Rick Archer: yeah, Einstein was a bit of a ladies man, then I watched a bio of him recently on TV series. Interesting. Another cool thing about Einstein, which I think relates to our discussion, about, you know, breaking out of the kind of out of the box in terms of thinking not not being sort of in the same group all the time, is he would do these thought experiments, and he would just come up with stuff and other physicists, his jaw would drop jaws would drop them say, how did he get that? Where did that come from? And it would take a thing like, you know, being in, you know, in an elevator and having it accelerate. And, you know, would you know, whether it was gravity, or would, you know, know that it was actually accelerating, and he realized that you couldn’t actually tell the difference. And this, he came up with one of his theories of relativity based upon that thought experiment. So he would just sort of have this imaginative way of looking at things, that ordinary things from a new angle, and come up with whole new realizations about the way the universe works.
Justin Gold: I have a tremendous value for that capacity, and have definitely tried to emulate, study, explore and manifest that capacity. I have had some success, but it in my opinion, is the creative capacity that human beings have to explore in that way.
Rick Archer: Yeah. Here’s another question. This one came in from Kyle Hilding. In Minneapolis. Is there a difference between the meaning or purpose of my regular self, and the totality of existence itself? What is it if there is a difference? And then there’s a follow up question, but go for that one first.
Justin Gold: Okay, yeah, this this question was was put to me in an email by this fellow, okay. But recently, he he didn’t know what the dynamic was, and he wanted to make sure he addressed the questions, so I’m going to give it my best shot. And maybe not answer his question, but to answer the question that I think he answered that it would be might be helpful for him to hear because I do recognize this and 70 of his effort for getting in touch with me and then getting in touch with you to try to ask the question. It seems to me that, that esoteric questions of that nature can foster long discussions. But the the accuracy, and the conclusions reached from those discussions, although sometimes satisfying, are more like, I’m not going to say Chinese food because I’m a big Chinese. Say, you’re hungry of a while after not necessarily any food I eat and not hungry after right. So, but but you get the analogy, I think that it’s not, it’s not the best way to go about answering those questions. I think the best way to go about answering those questions, is to break down those questions into some microcosmic particles, or at least manageable particles that reflect the the ideas that he’s talking about. So he’s talking about, say, the say the question again,
Rick Archer: he said, Is there a difference between the meaning or purpose of my regular self, and the totality of existence itself?
Justin Gold: Yes, the idea of totality, and regular self, and existence, they’re all such variables, and can be interpreted in some very different ways. In fact, the whole idea of the self and selves as has been understood in so many different ways. And the idea of totality, definitely is a subjective concept. So I would say, if, if he could find some way to find in his life, some reflection of that understanding of that question, that he would be much more likely to be able to get an answer that would further him to the next step. Because, in my opinion, as I said, anything that I would say, would be an explanation of that phenomenon. And, in my opinion, the best way to deal with that phenomenon, it or the, the question that he asked, is to open to use it to open doors to something on the other side of it, which would be another unknown and another unknown and another unknown, till there are so many unknowns, that a person feels comfortable with being in the realm of unknown, because we are basically in the realm of unknown, we are never the Creator, we’re always the created, would never the Creator, we’re always the created. And if we can, because we can throw up heart and build a building, we can imagine that we are the creator. But even then, we’re given the energy to do that. So we’re always the created. And that feeling of humility that comes from always being an explorer, and never, never finding the final answer is, in my opinion, a tremendous opening to growth and possibility. So I know that doesn’t answer his question directly. But I do know that a person who’s trying to get an explanation for that phenomenon is much more served from seeing the size of that phenomenon. And trying not to reduce it to words, but through reduce it to experience is the best I can give.
Rick Archer: I would say that a few. If we regard our regular self, to use his phrase as being confined to this corporeal frame, then keep exploring because the totality of existence as he is another of his phrases is actually what the self is. And if if the ocean has been squeezed into a drop, it’s not going to fit, it’s going to feel very confined as a drop, because it’s really the ocean and it needs to awaken to its birthright or to its true nature as the ocean. It’s weird, but
Justin Gold: like the I like the ocean part.
Rick Archer: He had a follow up question, let me just see if we can extract something from this. He said once one has spiritual knowledge regarding the meaning of the universe, how does one connect that meaning in one’s personal life as a regular self, with Karma suffering triumphs in perfections, etc. So I guess he’s saying if you actually gain deeper spiritual insight, or you know, cognition of the subtle mechanics of the universe, how does that percolate into or translate into the practicalities of, of you know, mundane life?
Justin Gold: I think it happens very naturally. It certainly has happened naturally for me. I have a an interesting history. Maybe a unique history for a spiritual seeker is that I was Were a professional gambler for a while. And I did well,
Rick Archer: is the guy in jeopardy right now? Who’s up to like pushing $3 million? Now? He’s a professional sports gambler? Yes. When is not on Jeopardy?
Justin Gold: He’s a Vegas guy. Yeah, I was I, in my youth, I organized and ran poker games in New York City. Similar to the movie that’s come out that that depicts that and, and also horses and brace tracks and things like that. So I have that history. And really everything that goes along with it with the connections to people that you make that are less than
Rick Archer: unsavory. Yeah.
Justin Gold: Thank you. And so I have that background I also have been involved in in sports and boxing and, and
Rick Archer: being as a boxer, as someone who’s in the fringe training, training with
Justin Gold: boxers, okay, I have a box, and never enjoyed being hit my head as much yeah, I can agree. But did practice and had some good experiences with that. And, and so I have, I have lived, I grew up in New York City, and I grew up in the Bronx. And speaking of the Yankees, from the roof of my building, which is about three blocks from a Yankee Stadium, I could see into, I could see into Yankee Stadium, and the the superintendent of our building, would sell tickets for the World Series for people to come up to the roof. Of course, we live there, so we didn’t have to pay so. So I grew up in New York City and New York City is a it’s difficult to go to grow up in New York City and not develop an amount of cynicism. And which I did, and that a lot of that has changed. I’d say all of that has changed. The the idea of kindness, the idea of sharing the idea of goodwill, all the feelings that go with that the the the actual manifestation of those things seem to come from me, and I never really sought out. To get them I want to be kind, I want to be kind I want to be giving. I think it’s a byproduct of the fineness that comes from leaving the denser obstacles behind. I think it’s part of the natural spiritual progression of things that people find them selves doing things, and not as selfishly, and having a broader view of the world, a more accepting view of the world, a more open view of the world. I think all those are products. I’ll give you an interesting example. I don’t know how you will, you’ll relate to this one. But last year, I wrote an article about the the Olympics, or maybe it was two years ago whenever the last big Olympics happened. And so I wrote a an article about the Olympics. And it’s submitted to a couple of magazines that I know that either I’ve written articles for them before they’d like articles, and had a very, very negative response to my article I wrote, and I’ll give you a thumbnail sketch of the article was that why is it so fantastic, that we are competing in these and excelling and priding ourselves and holding people up to their accomplishments in the excelling of things that leopards do better in terms of running? And monkeys do better in terms of climbing? And where are the Olympics? Where are the Olympics, other than perhaps Jeopardy, where our our depth of feeling is put, held up on a pedestal, where our ability to think creatively is put up on a pedestal. So I wrote that article that work that what has happened is that our culture has been a and I think this is the phrase they they didn’t want in there that we’re competing with. With animals, animals. Yeah.
Rick Archer: I thought about that article. And I thought, yeah, but show me an animal that can ski like Lindsey Vonn, or I skate like Kristi Yamaguchi or even you know, hit a hit a baseball like Mickey Mantle that there are but I get your point. I mean, obviously they’re, they’re human attributes. Let’s
Justin Gold: stick with the point. Because I am in awe of the especially the ice skater because I’ve done that with little bit, and how they do that. And I’ve even been on a cruise ship where there’s an ice skating rink. And while the cruise ship is moving, they’re putting on an ice show. Wow.
Rick Archer: So you’re moving ice skating on
Justin Gold: moving ice, and it is phenomenal to watch. And there’s no one thing I can say. It’s not a phenomenal accomplishment. Yeah, but how about how about those other accomplishments? Sure. Yeah.
Rick Archer: Yeah. And actually, in a way, there’s no Olympics for it. But the people who are, you know, the, the gold medalists, have the intellect or have the heart or have the, you know, the pen and so on, ended up becoming prominent in their own right. I mean, you know,
Justin Gold: maybe maybe on your show, but I don’t think so. The ones that discover them become famous do but how about all those undiscovered one?
Rick Archer: Sure, I’m sure there are all kinds of unsung heroes. But you know, then we people who have people like Shakespeare and Beethoven and all who will always be remembered for their greatness because of just what they achieved. Which, you know, obviously, well, Holly, and Buddy Holly, of course, who died here in Iowa. After playing at the I believe it was called the surf ballroom. And clearly, I think it was called the certain ballroom. Now, there’s an interesting chapter in your life, which I hope you’ll talk about a little bit, which is that you were certain send a sort of a stealth agent to see what guru Maharaji was up to. Because through intermediaries, you know, he instructed 1000s, with minimal preparation into the same meditation that was historically presented under very strict circumstances, in I guess, the school that you had studied. And I was familiar with him at the time, because I was like setting up TM courses on my college campus, and a bunch of people were into guru Maharaji. And more recently, someone that had been encouraging me to interview him, because he’s still around flying jets all over the world, somehow has become very successful, and likes to fly jets. But that was an interesting chapter. I mean, do you have anything you could share? About that, hoping that
Justin Gold: people would definitely an interesting chapter for me. And I was instructed to do that the history is that this mentor of mine from South America had connections in Afghanistan through a generation with his father, and with a barrage his father. And so they had some connection in, in learning meditation and being subjected to this some of the same teachers. So part of his part of this, this mentor of mine, whose name is Raya, his attitude was that as much as he knows, or I know, or somebody knows, the possibility for the, let’s call it the Creator, or the creative energy, or whatever we were talking about this maintaining this whole thing isn’t restricted from throwing a new element into the mix. Now, certainly, in football, the rules were set. And when the game starts, people don’t throw new things into the mix. But the commissioner of football and the league, over the years have changed the rules. And they have licensed not during the game to change the rules. But in the in the offseason, they changed the rules, and they say, forward passes or like this, or you got to protect the quarterback or things of that current. So it’s not in my mentors, teachers opinion, if it was possible that, that the Creator threw a new element into that and there could be a finger snapping that happened, or an instantaneous enlightenment that happened where a person could be introduced to meditation with no preliminary preparatory preparation, purpose, what, whatsoever process whatsoever, and somebody was saying that’s happening, it’s happening. And in fact, they were people that were maybe hitchhiking with somebody else and going to one of these knowledge, revealing sessions or meditation, revealing sessions and waiting outside for the their hitchhiker, their their ride to finish and they happen to come inside. And they get initiated also, that if that were possible, it would mean that the, the creative force has thrown a new element to things because that didn’t make sense. So he asked me to explore this question. Now since then, I have seen other reasons that he could have asked me and for my own for my own process, because I certainly learned a lot From being part of that process, in terms of humility and, and exposure to people that I would never been exposed to otherwise. But so that’s what happened. He said, Without I had been I had started a group a year or two years before. And I had the meeting with people in Oregon. And when he told me that I should do this, so I had to spend suspend my group which was, which was a challenge for me, because I was really getting into it. Teaching, I was starting to feel more comfortable about it. And so he said, take some time a year or two and, and present yourself as an aspirant, and no special qualifications and no, saying that you’re on any different level than anybody else. Even though I had been practicing the identical meditation, or more or less, the identical meditation that they had been presenting in two minutes, I had taken it take me four years to get it. So I did that, and I became premmie, which is what the devotees and I got involved, and I got involved in all different parts of the process. And I worked on the the major festival that they had in the the Astrodome, and I am, became fully involved in that and restricted myself from bringing up anything like, well, that’s interesting, which is not part of the program. And although it came to my thoughts, that I was making observations, that I was fairly well disciplined, although it’s did leak out every once in a while, where I couldn’t keep myself from it. Bringing up the understandings that I had, because it’s very well, very much is not a path of understanding, it’s a path of devotion and love and really following. And so that’s why I did that for a while. And I got exposure personally to Morarji. And, and got the evidence that I needed. And I asked him, it was okay, am I done? Now? I got the word that I’m done now. And so I stopped doing that.
Rick Archer: Just because people were wondering, he was the guy, many people listening, this won’t even have been born then. But back in the early 70s, he was like, famous as the 14 year old, 14 year old, perfect guru. And he made a bit of a splash. Back then,
Justin Gold: it was 16. At the time I got involved.
Rick Archer: Okay, so, I mean, did you feel like it was a legitimate thing that was being presented and that people were benefiting from it? Or do you think it was a pearls before swine kind of arrangement where people just due to lack of preparation couldn’t really benefit from what was being thrown
Justin Gold: in such large things. And my understanding is that his program has come to involve a lot more preparation, and a lot less this dissemination and numbers. So I can’t say I would restrict myself from saying, I believe his awesome sincerity and his awesome energy, and his goodwill and his history. So anybody who’s going to put themselves in that position, I find it very remote to be critical of, even though I may disagree, and probably a number of the people that you’ve interviewed, if I’ve listened to their, their, what they have to say I would disagree with them. But you know, it’s the life of trying to put forth what you understand and have people follow it in the way that you understand it, is it ain’t no honeymoon. So anybody who’s doing that I have respect for and I’m not gonna be critical about
Rick Archer: I kind of feel that way too, which is sort of an underlying premise of this show. You know, I don’t necessarily feel that anybody has all the answers. But you know, all these people are contributing what they can and I’m trying my best. Yeah, and people naturally have an opinion, my best for
Justin Gold: you to, I’m trying my best for you to make an exception of Mike.
Rick Archer: Okay, so you have all the answers, right? I didn’t say that. I’m just joking. But natural affinities with different people, and one size does not fit all. And, you know, it seems to be the case these days, that there’s just this proliferation of teachers around the world for whatever reason, and if we, if we assume that that’s not some kind of mistake, then perhaps the reason is that there’s a kind of a rather than one to the masses arrangement, maybe there’s some benefit to you know, much smaller configurations, where people can work more closely with teachers and and find the teacher that is a good fit for them, and benefit from that relationship in a more intimate way. So, anyway, that’s what seems who was it that tick, not Han said, perhaps the next Buddha will be the Sangha. In other words, not some Superman figure that’s just going to enlighten the whole world, but lots of little groups that will serve that function for people who resonate with that group.
Justin Gold: I think that’s an interesting formula, because it’s a challenging formula for people in our culture, because we’re so much, if you look at a rock concert, that’s very much in our culture that we like to, we like to look up, we like to look way up. So somebody who can, I’m around a lot of musicians, and we’re all mediocre musicians, and we can we play well enough to have fun together, and we do have fun together. And, but if somebody would come to hear us play, they would certainly hear the effects. And we have played out, we played in a few bars, and we played for a few events and like that, and if somebody would listen to us, certainly we’re not, we’re not a band compared to a band of people who have dedicated their lives to that. But that venture, and we’re very much programmed to look at, at something called perfection in an area that perfection is so subjective, but is recognized as somebody who doesn’t make mistakes, somebody who doesn’t come in second, somebody who has mastered whatever they’ve done, and everybody else is kind of not quite there. But in actuality, if you want to learn something, if you want to learn about car mechanics, you just need somebody who knows more than you do. You don’t need the the car mechanic master of all times. But since our pride is so much a factor, and our programming is such a factor about that we can only learn from, you know, the perfect one, then it really limits us and really causes us to see defects in people when there’s no need to see the defect in our car mechanic. Instructor, because their family situation is not what it could be. Because we’re trying to learn something from them, that we need, we recognize that we learn to, we need to learn, and we recognize that they know more than we do. So I like that formulation about that you just described from Yeah.
Rick Archer: And what you just said also inclined some people to you know, gravitate toward teachers who proclaim themselves as being perfect or ultimate or the best or some such thing. And that can be a tricky situation, because those that you know, you want to hitch your wagon to a star, but then it turns out to be a falling star instead of a an ascending star, then people can get dragged quite far afield by a teacher who you know, goes off the rails and who all the while proclaiming himself perfect. Or, you know, impeccable or irrefutable or whatever, and it can be ordered may
Justin Gold: not have may not have even claimed that we have near our community as the amount of community which was started in fact, the original Ananda community is about five miles from from where are places. And this started by Yogananda clearly remarkable person and, and continued by some of his disciples. And it’s very possible, although I don’t know the subtleties of the history, but some of the people from there. One in particular is lives here with us now, and has told us some of the subtleties of the history is that that person was more projected into that position of presenting themselves in that way than they chose to present themselves in that way, you’re gonna honor the person who set up you know, the, the, the descendants, yeah, okay. And that’s unfortunate when that happens. Because if everyone’s telling looking at you, like you are, you may very well feel the necessity to project that image. And, and that’s very tricky. I think that it’s more realistic. And my situation is, has a very strong failsafe on it, because I have dealt with the same people and similar people and even the new people that have come around, I live with them, I work with them, I cook with them, I fix cars with them, I do carpentry with them, I you know, mow mow hay with them, and we do our stuff together. And if there are any defects or or shortcomings that are going to be they’re gonna see they’re gonna see them. That’s good. So good model. It’s like being married. It’s very much like married, except there are some limitations that I have.
Rick Archer: Right now. Good, good point. Already, well, if I ever come out there hope you have a drum set because I used to be a drummer and I’m 50 years out of practice, but I’m sure I can still play him not only
Justin Gold: do we have a drum set we have, we have a music studio that we’ve set up. And we go in there and we we play rock, rock, rock out, and we just write some of our own stuff, which is fun. And when we were in Georgia, we adapted one of our songs in Georgia, the country for to sing for them. And they’re, they’re a singing culture. And what we’ve done is what we did was when we present ourselves to them to hear their singing and their ritual, we sang our song, which we had adapted to their language and their places and they loved it. Cool. You could
Rick Archer: have sung back in the USSR. That meant that song mentions Georgia.
Justin Gold: Yeah, it does. But the USSR disbanded. Right? A little bit. Not in such good terms anymore. I
Rick Archer: say, right. Well, there is no USSR, Georgia used to be part of it. Now. There’s just Russia and all the other things that have broken on Russia has
Justin Gold: taken some big chunks, big bites out of Georgia.
Rick Archer: Yeah. And the is in the Ukraine. And Ukraine as well. Yeah. Anyway, we’re getting into politics. So we better wrap it up. So it’s been great talking to Justin.
Justin Gold: I’ve enjoyed it as well, yeah, me too.
Rick Archer: I will set up a page on bat gap calm, where, you know, your interview will be in your bio and your photo and links to your books on Amazon and link to your website. And so people can go to that page, and then follow up on all that stuff. And they can get in touch with you if they’re interested in getting more involved. And I’m sure there’s some kind of contact form or something on your website. All right. Good. And let’s see, just about covers it. So those who are familiar with the show, I don’t don’t need to hear all this, but those who, to whom it may be new. Just want to mention there’s a audio podcast of it. If you’d like to listen to subscribe to that and listen to just the audio. There’s a email thing where you can be notified of each new interview once it’s posted. And then a number of other things if you just poke around through the menus on gab calm you’ll find them. So thanks for listening or watching and thank you again very much, Justin. It’s been wonderful spending some time with you.
Justin Gold: I appreciate it. I learned some things. And I hope you have to
Rick Archer: Oh, definitely. Always Learning as Jeremy said in the Yellow Submarine so little time, so much to know. Yeah. All right. Thanks. Thanks for those who are watching next week I’ll be speaking with a young woman named Leah Cox from the UK