Leanne Whitney Transcript

Leanne Whitney Interview

Rick Archer: Welcome to Buddha at the Gas Pump. My name is Rick Archer, Buddha at the Gas Pump is an ongoing series of interviews with spiritually Awakening people and discussions about spiritual topics and so on. I’ve done hundreds of them now. And if this is new to you, and you’d like to check out previous ones, please go to BATGAP.com where you will see and look under the past interviews menu and you’ll see all the previous ones organized in various ways. This program is made possible by the support of appreciative listeners and viewers, fans made freely available to everyone, but we do rely upon contributions by those who feel inclined to contribute. So, if you’re one of such people, then there’s a PayPal button on every page of the site. Okay. My guest today is Leanne Whitney. I’ll just read her bio here. Leanne is a she has a PhD. She’s an independent scholar in the fields of depth psychology and consciousness studies. She specializes in the intersection of Western psychology and the eastern liberatory traditions and by liberatory we mean traditions which promote or allow or encourage liberation. That’s what that word means. For over 25 years Leanne has researched the mind body connection, and over the past 15 plus years, their integration with pure consciousness, trained in depth psychology, yoga and cranial sacral therapy. In her private practice Leanne works with clients one on one to resolve mental, emotional and physical blocks, which obscure the ever present alignment of the authentic Self. Capitalized Self. Working with clients online as well as in person, she practices International, spanning four continents. Her clientele is diverse racially socio economically and in sexual orientation. Leanne is the author of Consciousness in Jung and Patanjali, which I’ve been reading. As well as several academic papers. Her published papers include Innate and Emergent: Jung, Yoga and the Archetype of the Self Meet the Objective Measures of Affective Neuroscience, and Jung in Dialogue with Freud and Patanjali: Instinct, Affective Neuroscience and the Reconciliation of Science and Religious Experience, both for the open access journal Cosmos and History: The Journal of Natural and Social Philosophy. So if that all sounds kind of intellectual to you, and the fact that she has a PhD, don’t let it scare you. If I’m able to read and appreciate and understand this book, I think anyone will appreciate this conversation. Leah and I were just talking for a few minutes beforehand about some themes, which we would like to discuss in this interview. And we’re both kind of excited about those themes that I think I think everyone will pick up on that excitement as we have this conversation. So thanks, Leanne.

Leanne Whitney: Thanks, Rick. Nice to be here.

Rick Archer: Yeah, it’s good to have you. Okay, so, let’s start with a little bit of your personal background, just so people know who you are and why you went in the direction you did with your research and your writing and everything.

Leanne Whitney: Okay, well, first I started studying the mind-body connection in my 20s because I became very ill. In retrospect, I can look at it as a sort of psycho-spiritual breakthrough that impacted me physically at the time, I couldn’t have said that. But now in retrospect, I can say that. And then in my early 30s, I had what is known in the religious studies literature as a pure consciousness event. I had never studied any of the Eastern liberatory traditions. Indian philosophy was completely foreign to me. Now, it was in a yoga asana room when the event happened during asana and I after well, not during asana at that moment, but I had just, I had just finished Yeah. And, yeah, I knew nothing of pure consciousness or pure consciousness events. So it came out of the middle of nowhere. And that set me on the path.

Rick Archer: What was it like? What was the experience like?

Leanne Whitney: It was like a burst of light that was self-luminous, all knowing, awareness.

Rick Archer: eyes open, eyes closed, eyes open.

Leanne Whitney: Eyes open.

Rick Archer: And you were still able to see people in the room and stuff or was the light sort of over it just kind of became your whole experience.

Leanne Whitney: I was actually looking in somebody’s eyes at that moment. And just a burst of light- the one way I can describe it as almost like Bindu chakra just burst open.

Rick Archer: Yeah

Leanne Whitney

So nonduality, the understanding of nonduality became incontrovertible, actually the understanding of pure consciousness, that truth, the absolute nature of pure consciousness. And yeah, it was, it was not a long period of time, but very impactful.

Rick Archer: Could be that some chakra burst open at that moment. Yeah, yeah. I imagine you liked the experience. It didn’t scare you or anything?

Leanne Whitney: It didn’t scare me, but I didn’t have a context for it. So it did very much shake the conditions on which I had been previously immersed. I mean, it shook them, just imagine an earthquake of a very large magnitude. So I had to, well, I’ve spent really the last period of time reconciling that experience with the conditions which I was brought up to prior to that experience.

Rick Archer: Yeah, there are great poets and so on, who had just a flash of experience like that. And they spent the rest of their lives writing poetry about it and without ever even having any more experiences. But and a lot of times people have these things out of the blue, they don’t know they haven’t been doing anything which would be conducive to such an experience. It just happens. you have just been doing some asanas, so that helps.

Leanne Whitney: Right. And I had been practicing asana probably for eight months at that time regularly.

Rick Archer: But no kind of meditation thing just asanas

Leanne Whitney: No meditation and no philosophical context to understand that when you move the nerve centers, you are actually opening the possibility. That’s why asanas is one of Patañjali’s, eight limbs, I mean, it in some respects, we could say asana is no joke. If you enter the yogic practice, and you move those nadis and those nerve centers, then a pure consciousness event really becomes available, for sure through that practice.

Rick Archer: Yeah, I am not sure. But I heard that there was a great sage in Indian called Tat Wale Baba and I heard that asanas was his main practice, but he was awesome. He kind of blew people away with his presence and darshan. So it’s possible. I think generally speaking, most people say it’s good to sort of pull several legs of the table at once, not just work on the body with asanas, but do meditation, do pranayama, do various other things. And usually, that’s what ends up happening, right? When you get into something like this?

Leanne Whitney: Well, right, because see, I had no scriptural study at that point. So pranayama and asana kind of go hand in hand, when you’re in an asana room, you’re learning the breathing practices, but is as far as the yamas of the niyamas. I can’t say that that was really infused in the asana practices that was being taught to me at that time

Rick Archer: Right

Leanne Whitney: Hints, hints, but there wasn’t a lot of there was not a lot of, there was no philosophical study.

Rick Archer: Yeah. Oh, during the course of this interview, I want to talk with you about yamas and niyamas. And we can get into it in some detail. So did this kind of flash of an experience inspire you to be more diligent or to learn some kind of spiritual practice and do it regularly?

Leanne Whitney: Oh, for sure. I mean, it radically reordered my life, there was no, there was no going back, because it was incontrovertible, it was, pure consciousness is absolute. It knows. It’s self-luminous it’s self-knowing. So, I then engaged in study and practice in order to merge my everyday reality with that, what seemed at the time very obscure knowing because it’s that pure consciousness is so strikingly absent in all of Western thought, as a woman totally conditioned and grown up in Euro American culture I had no reference for it. So I spent another decade and a half trying to merge the Euro American reality to this knowledge that pure consciousness is absolute.

Rick Archer: I think most listeners here will be familiar with what we mean by pure consciousness, but in case they’re not let’s just talk about that a little bit. What is pure consciousness in your understanding and experience?

Leanne Whitney: Well, I can tell you the qualities of it, which we’ve been discussing already, it’s self-luminous, singular, eternal, absolute. Through orthodox Indian philosophy, there’s a term Brahman that’s often equated with pure consciousness or, or Brahman. It really eludes a simple English translation, but it is translated as pure consciousness or being consciousness bliss, the absolute sometimes

Rick Archer: Satcitananda

Leanne Whitney: Satcitananda. Yeah. S with a capital S Self. So by pure consciousness, I really am alluding also to that, to that term Brahman.

Rick Archer: Right. And then you’ve also alluded to the Western understanding of consciousness, which I think is predominantly that consciousness is somehow produced by the neurochemistry of the brain. Although no one can really explain how, but I think when you say pure consciousness, you mean something very different than that.

Leanne Whitney: I do, I mean pure consciousness as the reality of being, which is why one of the definitions of Brahman would be being consciousness bliss. So being and pure consciousness, or we could say synonymous, if you will. Yeah,

Rick Archer: I think we could. I mean, actually, you can begin to parse these terms much more finely and but I’m not, I usually don’t have the feeling I’m qualified to get really down into fine distinctions is. There’s a fellow whom I’ve interviewed named David Buckland, who writes about this a lot on his website and gets into the kind of subtleties between Brahman and consciousness and power Brahman, and so on, and so forth. So if anyone is interested in that they should look up David’s interviews and look at his website. But in any case, the main idea here is that consciousness is not a route, not merely a epiphenomenon, of brain functioning, but it’s kind of the fundamental reality of the universe and the universe arises from it or emerges from it or appears to, right,

Leanne Whitney: right, exactly. So fundamental, it’s the reality, the reality of our being or beingness. Right, consciousness is equated to that so to speak. So therefore, a reality, consciousness is to know to know it, it has knowledge structured in it. Whereas in the western, many of the many of the fields in the interdisciplinary fields of consciousness studies through a Western lens, as you’re saying, they’re looking at consciousness as an epiphenomenon, or a byproduct of brain function. This idea of pure consciousness is very different. Brain mind, anything phenomenological is an activity in consciousness, so to speak, as consciousness that I always find that preposition very hard. But consciousness, pure consciousness being superior to any phenomena that would then reflect it, or it would use as a vehicle for manifestation.

Rick Archer: Yeah. And a common analogy is that, if you, if you compare consciousness to the electromagnetic field, we’re not saying that they are the same thing, but and then the electromagnetic field can radios and televisions and cell phones and so on can detect fluctuations in the electromagnetic field. And in a similar way, consciousness is universal on the present, fundamental, and all the various forms in creation, reflected to one degree or another. So mosquito reflects it as a mosquito can and a dog as a dog can, human being as a human being can. And as human beings, we have the capacity to improve upon our ability to reflect it. And so that’s what spiritual practice is all about.

Leanne Whitney: Absolutely, about cleaning the lens of perception, and you bring up a very interesting point. Because if you turn away from it, and don’t reflect it, it’s still there vibrating. So it still has you in its grip, regardless of what you’re doing with your instrument of perception. It still has you and it’s perceptual eyesight.

Rick Archer: Yeah. So it’s, it’s there. When you’re asleep, it’s there when you’re dead. It’s just there. In fact, speaking of Tat Wale Baba, someone once said, Do you sleep? And he said, What would happen to the universe if I slept? Meaning, identifying as pure consciousness, how the universe would crumble if that foundation of it were somehow turned off.

Leanne Whitney: Well, exactly. And that, that brings up I mean, my whole work really in depth psychology are my attempts to bridge the approaches to consciousness between the East and the West, by conceptualizing an unconscious, which is ontically real. Western psychology does exactly what you were just pointing away from. It turns the universe off in a sense, and then human beings take ownership of consciousness and reflect it brings consciousness to the world. Do you see what I’m saying there?

Rick Archer: Clarify a little there but in the process define the word ontic because you use that a lot in your book, and I don’t think that’s the word people are familiar with.

Leanne Whitney: So ontology is theories of being so ontic would be the reality of being. And-

Rick Archer: So, for instance, the point we’ve been making about pure conscious being the sort of foundation of everything that’s on the, that’s an ontic reality you would say.

Leanne Whitney: Yes. And Carl Jung, Jung, is Jungian oriented depth psychology that I’m that I mostly work in, in the fields of that. And even though Jung doesn’t have very clear metaphysics to his psychology, he doesn’t. He doesn’t make any metaphysical claims, so to speak, really, his unconscious is real. It’s the reality of being the creator is unconscious and human beings become conscious and bring knowledge back to the creator.

Rick Archer: That’s an interesting idea. I read about it in your book. Yeah, so I guess if the creator is unconscious, then how did the creator create. It’s kind of like a pulling yourself up by your own bootstraps arrangement.

Leanne Whitney: It’s that it’s Yeah, out of chaos out of just going out there. And we just haphazardly happen to come into consciousness ourselves, basically, which puts us in a, it puts us human beings in a more superior frame. And there’s where the jeopardy comes in with nature. It puts us you see where it puts- if human beings evolutionary, all of a sudden gain the consciousness, and we are superior to Nature herself and her own fundamental reality of consciousness. We become superior to nature. And I think, right now, in our time, we can see the ravages of that thought process.

Rick Archer: Yeah. So you think Jung was somewhat aligned with that notion that human beings are in some way superior to nature.

Leanne Whitney:  He was aligned with it because of the culture that he grew up in. He was doing his best to find his way back to it. But he is blocked one of his blind spots was to actually see the cultural piece, he couldn’t see how enmeshed he was in the thought, the philosophy of the unconscious as an ontic reality, he was so enmeshed and immersed in it, and that was his ground from which he was working. He didn’t take note of that. And he kept it in. And for sure, we can say that, that it if you will, emotion, the feminine nature are all things that Jung was grappling to bring forward to humanity, but yet he kept hitting his own Achilles heel, because he didn’t see how the philosophy he was working under, just kept cutting him off at every turn with what he was actually trying to, I believe, trying to bring forward.

Rick Archer: And of course, he was aware of Eastern thought and yoga and stuff like that. But I guess he never was a serious practitioner of anything of that nature. Right? He just was a kind of studied it a bit intellectually.

Leanne Whitney: Yes, he did do asana, for sure, at different times, when he was in emotional overwhelm. And he absolutely studied Patanjali classical yoga, because he gave lectures on it. He studied Kundalini Yoga. But I want to say he didn’t experientially practice it, he more intellectually studied it, as opposed to experimentally practicing it in order to be able to speak to it from that embodied place.

Rick Archer: Yeah. You and I were talking before we started the interview about; I brought up a metaphor that perhaps, is a little unfair to Jung, but maybe not. Where someone like Patanjali and other sages have east who had experiential methods for exploring consciousness and exploring deeper levels of reality, are like scuba divers, who can dive around deep in a pond and see what’s down there. Whereas someone who can just think about it and who doesn’t have experiential methodologies, is more like an ice fisherman or something who’s sitting on the ice, and kind of hoping there’s fish down there. And maybe he’s got a little hole in the ice, and he’s fiddling around trying to catch some fish, but he really can’t explore the depth experientially, because he doesn’t have the tools to do so.

Leanne Whitney: I want to say that Jung’s tools brought about his theories on synchronicity. It in his culture and time to speak towards parapsychology. and that kind of phenomena, it still goes st the grain today even to speak about Parapsychology and psychic phenomena. So, he had tools, yes. But he didn’t have that ground of pure perception. So he was always immersed in the contents of consciousness. And

Rick Archer: So whatever tools he had, they never gave him a glimpse of pure consciousness, as far as you can tell.

Leanne Whitney: No, he kept he, oh, this is a super consciousness, I mean, in every way, he, he’s around it at every turn, he’s almost trying to call it. But because he’s so immersed in the culture and time and the philosophy of the unconscious, he can’t see his blind spots. And the contents were just so engrossing to him, that relinquishing the contents, to relax into what we would call through Patanjali lens, Nirbija Samadhi, or even Asamprajnata Samadhi, Jung’s levels of absorption, always had some kind of content, some kind of object, some kind of conceptualization to it. And he was under the belief that if one meditate continued to meditate towards the Asamprajnata, or the Nirbija Samadhi, that Patanjali points to. Jung felt that Patanjali and the Buddha had their intuition at overreached itself, that you would actually go unconscious by meditating and dropping all objects.

Rick Archer: Well, to be fair to him, I think that initially, when I was just talking to some people last week, who said, Well, we went to this thing, and we, and it really improved the quality of our meditation and that when we meditate, we go into Samadhi, but we’re kind of like, not aware, we’re in Samadhi until we come out of it. And then we were aware that we were in it. But, then I said, I said, Yeah, that eventually that you become more and more aware of it as you’re in it. And one of the guys said, yeah, he’s beginning to experience that. But I guess Jung just thought that Buddha and Patanjali, and the others were, it sounds like he was trying to fit them into his worldview and not really taking the leap to, to believe that they were onto something that he hadn’t realized.

Leanne Whitney: That’s right. He was trying to fit them on his terms. Yeah, into his worldview, which is this idea that the West, if you will, not a huge fan of that term, or Euro American culture was in the midst of constructing knowledge. And therefore anything that came before couldn’t have been as evolved. Because knowledge was evolving. And so therefore, they had a lock on how, how that evolution was happening? Yeah, churning it through their own intellect

Rick Archer: yeah there is sort of this conceit isn’t there about how wonderful and advanced we are, and how all the other cultures must have been primitive in some way. They don’t. And in a way, we know a lot of things that the Buddha didn’t know or that Patanjali couldn’t have known, they couldn’t have taken a rocket ship to the moon or explain quantum mechanics or many other things that we’ve come to understand. But they obviously had an expertise in an area which the West is deficient in. At least to my view.

Leanne Whitney: Yes. Here might be the rub in that though, so, okay, they didn’t have that. Fair enough, but if our search is divorced from the field of pure consciousness, if our desire to go to the moon, or, go micro or macro, is divorced from the field of pure consciousness. That’s the end of the Hatha Yoga Pradipika, then what can knowledge bring to you? Or maybe that’s also that Veda quote,

Rick Archer: It is. People didn’t hear me say that quote, because we’re off camera. But there’s a quote that if well, it’s from the Rigveda, but it says basically, the impulses of the Veda or the impulses the laws of nature, which are which govern creation, are responsible for its manifestation reside in pure consciousness. And if you don’t know that field, those laws can’t help you. They can’t do anything for you.

Leanne Whitney: They can’t, but what but because they’re laws they’re going to get you. Yeah, so if you want to go to the moon, if you want to keep digging up the earth and taking her oil, you just can’t keep ripping off material reality and looking into phenomena for an answer. Because it’s gonna because their laws. See what I mean? you’re going to back up to it. You’re going to destroy yourself. Yeah, yeah.

Rick Archer: Yeah, totally.

And that’s what we’re doing. And so I mean, let’s just kind of put a fine point on this. We’re in a critical phase of humanity with global warming and a million other things that could destroy us. Nuclear weapons, genetic engineering, all kinds of things, which, if they went awry, and many cases are already going awry, could exterminate not only our species, but most species, maybe down to the cockroaches or something. And, this is really the fruit of scientific knowledge, all the things I just mentioned, and many others. So what is it about scientific knowledge that can give us such mixed blessings? Obviously, they have helped in many ways, they’ve eradicated smallpox and a million other beautiful things, but we brought ourselves to the brink of extermination. What is what why I think you’ve just said it, but I just want to elaborate that. Go ahead.

Leanne Whitney: Sure. So okay, we can go to the moon. Why wasn’t looking at the moon from the earth enough? What did you need to find up there, and now you’ve created all of that metal and whatever you needed to get up there. Okay, fair enough. But, if it’s at the expense of the totality of the whole system, it’s not worth embarking on. And I don’t mean to pull that one instance out. But yet, I need an instance to pull out to say, if you pull it, that kind of examination, out of the totality, you may hit a boundary. And she has boundaries, she has laws, you can’t break it down, you can’t pollute your water supply. You can’t toxify your air supply and think your species will stay alive. You can’t kill your habitat. She has boundaries to her. And if we don’t realize that knowledge, that dharma, those laws are structured in pure consciousness, we’re going to just keep spiraling on this building up of knowledge, at the expense of the knowledge that sits right in our heart. And right in our gut, and right in the field between us.

Rick Archer: Yeah, I think it was Thoreau who said, go ahead and build castles in the air, that’s where they belong, but just put foundations under them. And I would say I kind of dig technology and stuff, I think, I think it was kind of cool that we went to the moon. I mean, it gave us Tang, among other things. If people don’t remember, Tang was like an orange flavored powder, you could put in water, they actually developed that for the astronauts. But these, I think it’s natural for human beings to want to know more and be more and expand their territory of influence and all that stuff. But if you don’t simultaneously dig your foundation, build your foundation, and we’re alluding to pure consciousness here, then these efforts can be very misguided.

Leanne Whitney: Right? And that’s why, for me, the logical consistency that I see in Patanjali Yoga psychology, or the six orthodox Hindu philosophies is they call it the ground. Yes, it’s quite literally the ground. If you leave the ground now, and you’re divorced from it, and you’re in the seen without any kind of reference to the seer. Now we’re in trouble.

Rick Archer: Yeah, there’s a line in the Gita, which says ‘“or many branched and endlessly diverse are the intellects of the irresolute.” But the resolute intellect is one pointed. And so, you can go way out on limbs, you can and not see the connection between the limb you’re on and all the other limbs or spokes of a wheel, if you will. But if you can sort of get to the resolute hub of that wheel, then you see all the spokes is emanating from you. And functioning from there. You function in harmony with all the diversity of life functioning out on some branch, you violate laws of nature unwittingly,

Leanne Whitney: I couldn’t agree more. Absolutely. I mean, it’s just another way of making the same point. It’s beautiful, beautiful and tragic at the same time, because we’re not understanding that, like, you and I are having this dialogue. But as, I’ll just speak to Euro American culture. We don’t understand that. We’re way out on branches. Yeah. We have the sap divorced from the tree, so to speak. And, and that is, leaving us in the situation that we’re in with the leaders that were, putting into office with the environmental

Rick Archer: degradation.

Leanne Whitney: that we’re facing. Yeah. And-

Rick Archer: but the fact that we’re talking about it is good. And I think that we’re, I mean, we don’t want to pat ourselves on the back too much. But we might be avant garde, We might be harbingers, have a broader understanding that will be eventually become more commonplace in the culture and that could really reorganize things in a more beneficial way.

Leanne Whitney: Right? Well, my whole body of work, I would say, is a voice to bringing pure consciousness into Western thought. I mean, it’s just it’s so strikingly absent. And reading Jung really brought it to light for me, because at every turn, it’s almost like he’s seeing it, he’s getting it, but he’s not getting it, because he’s so immersed in his own culture. So that’s why I use him sort of as a touchstone. In this dialogue, I take this dialogue between him and Patanjali, to show where they diverge, and I think they diverge at very important points that we need to really understand.

Rick Archer: Yeah. Well, we’re gonna keep talking about it, you and I, for the next hour and a half. And I and I do see this kind of conversation and understanding seeping into the culture more and more. And their spokesman on either side, I mean, obviously articulate people who, have an atheistic viewpoint, but are nonetheless brilliant and, and keep butting up st, people who are kind of saying the things we’re saying, but dialogues are taking place. And yeah, I’m sure you’ve read Thomas Kuhn, the Structure of Scientific Revolutions,

Leanne Whitney: I haven’t actually no,

Rick Archer: oh okay. He popularized the term paradigms, and how a paradigm becomes the sort of predominant worldview of a scientific discipline. And he kind of analyzed in depth that the mechanism of paradigm shift, how anomalies come along, which just keep clashing with the established understanding. And initially, they can be dismissed and ignored. But eventually, the anomalies become kind of predominant enough that the paradigm has to shift. And this has happened time and time, in various sciences. So I think there are a lot of anomalies to the materialistic worldview that regards matter as dead stuff and the universe is a random accident of some sort. And consciousness is merely a product of the brain when the brain dies, that’s it lights out forever. For that person, there are a lot of lots of evidence that refute those perspectives. And I think that they’re building and create creating a pressure on those who adhere to those perspectives, that will eventually Well, someone said, science progresses by a series of funerals, but sooner or later, the paradigm will shift in society at large. It has to.

Leanne Whitney: I mean, I agree, I hold out that. But what comes up for me when you’re saying that is orthodox science seems also to be very married to, can I say, predatory capitalism? it’s well funded. It’s very hegemonic. I mean, it’s very entrenched, fundamental, almost become fundamentalist. In many ways. Now, because these two systems are married, especially like in the fields of psychiatry and psychology, then what you, what’s being funded sort of as medication and medicines for people’s anxiety. So instead of encouraging people to say, hey, maybe the worldview was a little off, and maybe that’s why there’s a lot of sick people, psychologically sick people, because an unhealthy worldview can’t possibly have healthy citizens. Well, as of yet, that’s not- I mean, it is happening. But, it’s happening on the fringes. And it will take a lot to move that marriage of money in fundamentalism, to get it to shift. I’m not saying it’s not possible. I hold out absolutely hold out the vision that it is. I’m just saying it is very entrenched.

Rick Archer: Yeah. In your book, you quote Jung as having said that, scientific materialism and religious fundamentalism arose from the failure of religious structures and traditions. And so I think he’s saying there is that somehow that the religious structures and traditions, if they were primarily responsible for providing the experience of transcendence and enabling people to live that in daily life as the foundation of their life, they appear to have failed because that experience has not been very common, seems now to be experiencing a resurgence, but it hasn’t been very common. And, as a result of which you and I have just been saying, scientific materialism and religious fundamentalism arose from that. What is religious fundamentalism? It’s sort of the adamant insistence that a particular belief is correct, without necessarily having the experiential verification of that belief. And that’s why religious fundamentalists are so rigid and strident. They feel defensive because their belief doesn’t underpin their experience doesn’t underpin their belief.

Leanne Whitney: right, it I mean, it really strips, if we could use the term authentic power from them, because it puts power in the theory, it takes power out of the body out of the whole mind-body connection, the wisdom of that system, which we still have a long way to go in order to really, express that in a coherent Mind Body psychology in the West. But by using a priest or a god that’s outside oneself. Where’s the human power in that, as you’re saying, there’s no direct experience in there, you’re having experience with the book with the texts with the theory, but you’re not having a direct spiritual, emotional, physical experience? On the ground, right?

Rick Archer: So what I would like to suggest here, is that anything any religion ever talked about, or any philosophy or any such thing, any metaphysics can be taken, and perhaps should be taken as an hypothesis that can actually be investigated. The whole issue of whether God exists, whether angels exist anything. It’s not something to believe or disbelieve, and I don’t think the founders of religion really wanted you necessarily to believe what they said they wanted you to experience what they were experiencing. And maybe they were providing means to do that when they were alive. But perhaps those means got distorted and lost over time. And perhaps we’re at a stage now where people are rediscovering them. And, being able to investigate experientially, all of these religious, and spiritual and metaphysical claims.

Leanne Whitney: Right, yeah, I think there is a big shift in people looking outside religion, so to speak, organized religion, and finding other organizations or more sort of nature or looking, to their own direct experience through meditation, through yoga practice. I thought one thing that you because of what you said a little bit earlier, I don’t want to segue if you have something else,

Rick Archer: oh, we can keep segue and we can always segue back if we want.

Leanne Whitney: Okay, to me, the arguments between Buddhism, Orthodox Hinduism, and Non-Orthodox Hinduism, are pretty significant. Now, I don’t know if that’s what you were alluding to when you’re talking about these dialogues that are happening current day and atheism and because I know I’ve heard, quite a few speakers who are Buddhists, so to speak, and certainly meditate, but they’re definitely atheist.

Rick Archer: Sam Harris.

Leanne Whitney: Right. You and I were thinking the same person? Yes. Yeah.

Rick Archer: Who, in my opinion, is a fascinating guy. I listened to his podcast, but boy, he’s a tough nut to crack. Anyway, keep going.

Leanne Whitney: And, they hang on to this notion of, of no self. But if you look at the evolution of Buddhism, the self-something absolute, which is the real, which is self-sovereign and self-knowing is brought back in through the Tathāgatagarbha sermons and texts, which derived from the sermon on Buddha’s last day on earth. And that’s brought into Mahayana Buddhism. So I do think it’s important to look at the evolution of Buddhism and, not just certain texts and Buddhism, there’s a lot of texts there and I certainly haven’t studied them all. I obviously went after the ones that I wanted to utilize to bring a marriage back between Buddhism and sort of yoga, because the Buddha was someone who practiced yoga, and you can see a lot of similarities between Mahayana Buddhism and Patanjali Yoga.

Rick Archer: I happen to have one file on my desktop that I hadn’t put away. I always like to keep a clean desktop on my computer, but this one was sitting there and it’s the Buddha on no self. And here, I think this is from Timothy Conway, who’s a good friend of mine, been on BATGAP a couple times, where he said what the Buddha meant by anatta was not no self but not self. He clearly repeatedly taught that the five aggregates of personhood, body sensations, perception, samskara reactions and the personal consciousness, vijnana, are not who I am are not myself. He did not say there are no persons. And this is quite contrary to what so many misunderstanding Buddhists, including many teachers and academics and Neo Advaitin’s teach today. They interpret anatta as no persons whatsoever, which is a recipe for depersonalization syndrome.

Leanne Whitney: That’s right. That’s right and also in that Tathāgatagarbha sermon, when the Buddha explicitly says, If you keep going around in the no self-concept, it’s like a moth going to a flame. Like you just keep getting burnt at some point. Yes, it’s emptiness of the conditions. But then there’s a resting in something deeper, that’s absolute. And, you can find it in Buddhism, but a lot of the atheists who are, could we say co-opting Buddhism for their own means, are not taking a look at the whole evolution of that discipline. In its various factions. But it’s important. Yeah.

Rick Archer: Yeah. Whole thing about let’s talk about atheism for a minute, just for fun, because the idea came up. I can’t, I don’t presume to be able to articulate atheism the way a full-fledged atheist would do. But as I understand it, it’s well, obviously, the term means that you don’t believe in God. And, if I were to talk to Sam Harris, I would probably say, Well, I don’t believe in the same God, you don’t believe it, because he keeps taking potshots at very silly religious some traditions, they got kind of little strange. But to me, when I look at anything in creation, my fingernail, and contemplate what I’m actually looking at, in terms of the subtle, and microscopic structures there and how orderly they are and how they abide by certain biological and physical laws and so on and so forth. It is so obviously not a random accident. So there’s obviously some sort of intelligence that’s governing orchestrating it. And, and that is true of the entire universes as far out as you want to go. And you take any little, tiny point, and there it is. So, I mean, to me, God is kind of like hiding in plain sight.

Leanne Whitney: Yeah, absolutely. Some people do say, right, this is a game of hide and seek. And I think the Sanskrit term is rita like that is that the divine or like, because there’s the written power imprint, right in, in Patanjali. Show, which is the truth bearing imprint? Yes. And so that intelligence that you’re talking about in that order, it’s so here, if this is pure consciousness, and here’s the mind, it’s either mirroring it in this nice, yummy marriage, or it’s like splitting off here. But that imprint, no matter how far away you get from the ground, that imprint remains, because it’s built into the intelligence of the system. So you light up the imprint. And then the mind comes back to rest in its true nature. And I don’t know what meditators are doing, if not somehow accessing, or attempting to access that imprint?

Rick Archer: I think that’s what most meditations aim to do. But let’s now. Okay, let’s segue into that. So the second verse of the Yoga Sutras, yogas chitta vritti nirodha, which means yoga is the cessation of the fluctuations of the mind. And you talk about that quite a bit in your book. And it’s probably one of the; it’s not the second verse of the Yoga Sutras by accident. Patanjali actually considered it significant. So let’s consider the significance of it. I’ll let you take it from here.

Leanne Whitney: Right. So we, I mean, we could say he sums up his whole psychology and philosophy in that one line. So, does this work (hand gesture). So I’m saying this is pure consciousness, here’s the mind when it’s when it’s married to pure. So when it starts moving, and fluctuating, and it’s no longer silent, it’s in its thought forms. That union becomes avidyā there’s their blindness, non-wisdom, misunderstanding, it becomes we become blinded through the vibration, when the vibration is divorced from its ground in pure consciousness. So really, he takes 195 lines to continue to say the same thing. Yeah. And, 195 is already so short as it is. But it was it’s so succinct for him to sum it up in that way still in the silence. In that pure being. That then aliveness is it’s felt it’s embodied the life is known. Instead of now being represented through a thought form, yeah, through a construct.

Rick Archer: Let’s use a metaphor to make it more clear for people so the sun is shining. Let’s say the sun is represents pure consciousness and it’s shining on a very still Lake. I’m sure we’ve all seen this kind of thing where the light bouncing off the lake is blinding, because the sun has been reflected so well by the water. But if the wind picks up and the water starts to get turbulent, then the reflection is no longer that clear, it’s no longer blinding. So the idea is that if the mind is agitated, it can’t reflect pure consciousness very well. And so Patanjali advocates, stilling the mind in order to have that clear to restore come back to that clarity that realize at the very foundation of our life or our mind.

Leanne Whitney: right, and if I could just bring the cultural piece back in, we’re as a culture where we live in a lot of agitation. Look, I love technology, too. But, that just even now the instinct to keep picking it up, you have red dots on your application.

Rick Archer: I don’t have one of those, by the way, just so you know. So I have an old clunker, a flip phone that sits in the car.

Leanne Whitney: When you speak about the agitation, you bring up a very rich point, going back to the cultural piece, as a culture, we live in a very agitated state of mind, because everything is running towards the capitalistic markets. Lest the way that I see it, a lot is running towards the capitalistic market, the mind runs, how can I objectify myself to put myself in the market so I can make money because money has become acquainted with wellbeing. And therefore my accumulation of capital is equated to my wellbeing. So there’s a lot of agitation that takes place inside that paradigm inside that culture and that thought structure, a lot of my clients that I see, I mean, they’re heavily filled with anxiety, because they’re, they’re having a spiritual practice, but yet, they’re still trying to fit themselves into a culture that is so chronically busy. Now, this goes back to the point that we’ve been making, almost for the past hour, pure consciousness is strikingly absent in Western thought, it’s not even there as a ground for people to touch into. So they’re just a lot of people without spiritual practices, or without any kind of knowledge of pure consciousness, are trying to find a ground within the agitation within that which isn’t stable and immutable and absolute. Does that make sense?

Rick Archer: Yeah, that’s good. Kind of trying to find an absolute or a rock to anchor to in something which is relative and transitory. Right, yeah. I heard recently that there were only 66 years elapsed from Kitty Hawk, when the Wright Brothers first flew their little plane to Neil Armstrong stepping on the moon. So obviously, there’s been a huge acceleration of technological progress. And I suspect that since Neil Armstrong stepped on the moon, we’ve made at least as much progress, if you could call it if you want to call it progress. But in any case, the pace of life has increased tremendously. And realistically, can we expect that to stop? Can we expect to ever maybe go back to an agrarian society where we’re just all sitting around, things are slower paced, I don’t think so. So, let’s say a donkey has to carry a load, you have two options, lighten the load, or strengthen the donkey, if the load is getting too heavy. I don’t know if we can slow down the pace of society or the pace of change. So I think we need to supplement it or build the foundation under it to allude to a thorough, in terms of this pure consciousness you’re talking about, so that one can manage the pace of change and the constant barrage of stimuli that were, of course, you can limit your own barrage, you don’t have to watch television all the time, we’ll be looking at your cell phone all the time. But nonetheless, the society is in a very agitated and busy state. And I think you can’t squelch that or suppress it; you have to sort of infuse into it the silence of pure consciousness in order for things to become rebalanced.

Leanne Whitney: I hear that. Um, but also if the quote on quote, change falls on the individual, now the individuals make up the collective so let’s dialogue through this here. Yeah. So, the individuals are making that effort towards the silence and towards the stillness, which has everything to do with their nervous system and decompressing the anxiety and being able to breathe and function without stress. Now, what you’re saying is, well, they’re going to have to re-enter the stressful environment. Because what you’re saying they’re going to have to reenter the stressful environment because that pace is going to keep going the way it is. So hopefully, they’re going to be able to reenter now with the calmed nervous system, and be able to negotiate that stress, but in a way where their nervous system stays anxiety free

Rick Archer: I think that’s yeah, I think I’m saying that. But I mean, obviously, there’s a lot of agitation and stimuli that you don’t need to indulge in. And many people do indulge in and looking for some kind of fulfillment, once you start finding inner fulfillment, you can sort of dispense with all that stuff. But nonetheless, you may need to have a job. Most people do, and you need to go to work with people who don’t meditate or whatever. And so you can’t just kind of like live on welfare and hide out in a cabin someplace. Most people can’t. So, for most people, there needs to be some kind of way of managing the pace of life and strengthening the nervous system so that it can deal with the necessary stimuli anyway, without getting stressed out by it.

Leanne Whitney: I wholeheartedly agree with that. That would be some kind of sort of perhaps incremental change, is there a radical change ahead for us? that’s possible too only in the sense that if, if our food supply is tainted, if our water supply is tainted our air supply, there’s going to be more of a radical shift, then there is a gradual shift. In which case, that sort of frenetic pace that you’re speaking of, I believe, would actually shift back to not an agrarian reality like it was before but certainly something closer to it. And, and I don’t know if you know new thinking aloud Jeffrey Mishlove. Channel, but

Rick Archer: I just listened, I listened to both your interviews with him.

Leanne Whitney: Okay. Well, he interviews, psychic phenomena, he’s really into psychic phenomena. And he has a degree in parapsychology. And I believe it’s an interview he did with Stephan Schwartz, where Stephan took remote viewers and had them look into the future. And they do see a return to nature. Now, that’s not to say that that’s what’s going to happen. But that is what I forget the sample size that he took. But what was shown?

Rick Archer: Well, I agree with you, I mean, I think that there’s so many things that are untenable and unsustainable. And that, really, if we’re going to survive, that need to somehow cease to function or cease to exist, but we’re not going to forget all the knowledge, we know, when all the things that science unless there’s some kind of huge, this huge destruction that would destroy all the all the records of human knowledge that have been accumulated. So, when we know a heck of a lot more than we did 100, 200, 1000 years ago, so that stuff is still going to be known. But I think a return to nature will probably mean, a return to sort of a balance, where we are able to possess this knowledge in a way that doesn’t shoot ourselves in the foot, that can render it benign rather than destructive?

Leanne Whitney: Well, right, because it returns to the question we said earlier is the knowledge that we know useful? Is it even beneficial? Yeah, if you have a Monsanto or, some corporation that has the power to perhaps, take the food supply, and take what was organic and healthy, and change it and mutate it into something that’s, that’s no longer that the body can no longer process in a way that’s actually viable and healthy for it. So yes, there’s all this knowledge bank that we built up, but I think it’s gonna come back come to a point where we have to look and say, well, is that knowledge heading us towards something that’s beneficial? Or is it heading us away from the true nature from sitting in something that’s authentic? And natural, which allows our species, our species to survive?

Rick Archer: Yeah. Right. At the same time, I agree. It’s, it seems like what needs to happen is the ambient level of consciousness of society has to be such that anyone who tries to use knowledge in in a destructive way, it will just be so out of place and they won’t get the support or have the ability to do it, that we’re speaking kind of idealistically here. But

Leanne Whitney: I know, I know. But when you look at world leaders, I think it’s really important point. And that speaks to, in schools. Understanding college, how does the mind work? I mean, these are fundamental, especially with all the shootings that are happening now in our culture. Like how does the mind work? What is the psychosomatic unity? I mean, that should be sort of, one on one through elementary school. So everybody has a ground towards that unification of the body and mind. What I would say is pure consciousness, which is a very necessary component.

Rick Archer: Yeah. And it wouldn’t that it’s, I mean, it’s obviously feasible to teach stuff in schools that would enable kids to have access to preconscious. From an early age, it’s actually being done through the TM movement through stuff like Caverly Morgan is doing up in Portland and elsewhere. It just needs to become widespread. And if it did, then the culture could really shift.

Leanne Whitney: Right. Right.

And much more understanding the mind body split that that we’ve suffered under, for so long, could also heal.

Rick Archer: Yep. Yeah. So I mean, it’s not hopeless, that our predicament the solutions are there. And not only spiritual solutions, but many technological solutions are there, in terms of, cleaning up the environment, or having alternative energies that don’t pollute and, and help health related technologies and so on. So, like, if you keep referring to corporations and greed, and a lot of these technologies are suppressed and opposed, because they don’t line anybody’s pockets, at least the people who have control.

Leanne Whitney: Right, right. But as you’re saying, they are emerging, and they are there. And if they get the support, they can come out of the margins and into the mainstream. That would be very beneficial. Yeah, probably for the masses.

Rick Archer: So it was you and I keep doing what we’re doing, and everybody else who’s doing this sort of thing. And maybe society will evolve into that. I feel funny, because I feel like we’re proclaiming ourselves to be the transformational agents of the world, but maybe we are in some small way.

Leanne Whitney: Well, the dialogue is necessary. Yeah. That, that’s for sure. So, wherever the dialogues can take place, you could say, dialogue and transformation at, at this stage, something like this go hand in hand, because the dialogue is so important at this point.

Rick Archer: Yeah. Okay, back to Patanjali. And, at any point, feel free to throw in other things, Jung, anything else you want to talk about as we go. But in terms of Patanjali. He wrote the Yoga Sutras, and he has four chapters, and some of the things he talks about, he talks about various stages, or degrees of Samadhi. And some of those stages pertain to what we were saying that initially, pure consciousness can be a glimpse, but eventually it can get integrated or stabilized. So it’s a continuum in the midst of activity, it’s not lost, no matter what you’re doing. You want to comment on that before we say anything else?

Leanne Whitney: Yeah, I mean, I would say the Yoga is a philosophy of integration. Yoga is a process and ultimately, yoga is both a process and a view of reality in its integrated wholeness, yoga is that union. So anything that has been split off, whether it’s the mind body split, me from you, us from them, the universal from the individual, transcendent from imminent all those splits through the process of meditation and Samadhi, absorption, they have the opportunity to, I want to say reintegrate, even though, in some sense, they’ve never lost that integration. What happens is the sickness is what happens, the illness is what happens but that’s why they are so integrated and can always find their way back home. Because, that return bar imprint never loses its thread. That’s why pure consciousness is pure, it’s pure, it can’t be defiled, there is no other there is no ultimate object, it is itself. So when we take the mind and we coopt it, co-opt consciousness in some sort of potentially in a Yamas What is it non stealing non covetousness. But, in Euro- American culture, that’s kind of what we did we have the ego as the seat of consciousness. And so we steal it so to speak, we’re thief’s and as you break off, what you get now is the dissociation between the mind and the body in the illness in that system, if you will, and but, because pure consciousness is the intelligence and the self-knowing awareness. Do you see what I’m saying where the integration is already there? The integration is the thread that you follow back in for wholeness and healing.

Rick Archer: yeah, that evokes a couple of thoughts in me. I mean, one is the word maya, which is usually translated as illusion means literally that which is not. And Shankara has the famous story of the rope being mistaken for a snake and creates all kinds of turbulence and the fear and upset and everything else, just because the vision is not clear, but the rope was never a snake. And so all this craziness and ignorance and suffering and everything else, that seems so real, if you really get right down to it has always just been sort of a misperception. And that is actually as the Brahma sutra or as the punch that says, all this is that still already, we’re just not seeing the world as it actually is. And therefore, mistaking it we live in fear, we live in upset, we live in tournaments.

Leanne Whitney: 100%. So when we turn that lens back around, come home, so to speak, rest inside the absolute, because it’s always there, it was always there, it doesn’t leave, there’s no way to break off from it. There’s just suffering that happens. And suffering, we could say is a huge marker. It’s just a big red flag, Yo, you turned in the wrong direction.

Rick Archer: Yeah. There was one fundamental principle of meditation, the way I learned it, and practice it, which is that it’s actually enjoyable for the mind to settle down is for this cessation of the fluctuations in the mind. As we get closer to pure consciousness, so to speak. We, and it begins to be experienced more fully, we experienced the Ananda aspect of it more and more greater and greater bliss. So the mind just will naturally fall into that if given the correct angle and allow it to do so.

Leanne Whitney: Yes, absolutely. That’s what also indicates the mind body unity, and why Brahman I believe is translated as, being consciousness bliss, it gives the embodied aspect to it. So when the naysayers look at Hindu philosophy, and they think of it is ultimately transcendent, and otherworldly. And then in something other, I believe that bliss aspects that you’re pointing to is the indicator. No, that’s not what they’re saying at all. They’re saying it’s right here right now. Yeah.,

Rick Archer: it’s a very practical thing. When you get right down to it. It’s not, I mean, maybe there are people who’ve taken it in other worldly direction but as we’ve been talking about this whole time, it has incredibly practical implications for day to day life, as most of us live it.

Leanne Whitney: Yeah, yes. And that brings if I could just sort of bring in Tibetan Buddhism just for a brief second. So all these realities are better than each other and Tibetan Buddhism, they talk about their nirmanakaya the sambhogakaya and the dharmakaya. So the dharmakaya is that knowledge, right of the, of the pure awareness of the, the self-sovereign, the unchanging pristine cognition. But the nirmanakaya, which is the, we could say, what Patanjali would call the worldly experience of the dualistic world of subject, object consciousness, it’s embedded in it. So these are sort of nested realities, that that we can see through the higher yoga tantras or the meditational practices, and then when we see through them, then the choice becomes available, again of which direction to turn towards, am I gonna turn toward a bright and that’s brahmacharya, sitting in that sitting in that celibacy of Brahman knowledge of Brahman. As opposed to do I turn? Am I gonna stay here? Or am I gonna turn away from it? Now, if I’ve learned that this is suffering? I’m not going to make that turn.

Rick Archer: In your own experience, you had that nice glimpse of pure consciousness 30 years ago or whatever. You, but You seem like a very happy, integrated person. So I suspect that you have cultured that experience and allowed it to become kind of pretty clear and foundational in your life. Is that true?

Leanne Whitney: Yes, I would say because that moment was so absolute. In some sense. It became foundational, then, but what I had to do was the practices in order to align my body in a way that that we’re speaking of to, and I’m not saying I never have anxiety in a moment. I mean, all you have to do is talk to my 14 year old son and what I mean? But yes, have I purged? Have I purged a lot of conditions? Absolutely, absolutely.

Rick Archer: Yeah. Did you ever have a moment? Or did you have a sort of a watershed moment where you felt like there was this awakening? And then after that things were different thereafter? Or was it sort of something that has just been growing incrementally? And you can’t really pinpoint any such moment?

Leanne Whitney: Well, I would say they were both so that that pure consciousness event was a watershed moment. And then from there all the conditions the part of me that was completely well, how can that be? Because I’m so in this reality of subject object consciousness that then became incremental towards the mirror coming back to rest in pure consciousness. Does that make sense?

Rick Archer: Yeah, it does. Let’s talk about more about the mechanics of how this integration takes place. For instance, Patanjali, talks a lot about vasanas, and samskaras, and vidis and clashes and all that stuff, which are terms that are related to the conditioning of the nervous system. And, also the reversal of that conditioning through yogic practice.

Leanne Whitney: And in through the lens of Jungian depth psychology, we’d call those complexes. So, there are areas of great similarity between yoga potentially, we’re both concerned with the healing of human suffering, and religious experience as an embodied experience. So in both systems of thought, those complexes and the affect that sits at their core, yes, they have to be, the Yoga Sutras, right, the threads of yoga, so you have to pull, pull those threads of conditioning belief systems construct, there’s an affective core inside, which also impacts the nervous system. And so as those threads as those complexes, are de-potentiated. One is able to take a comfortable seat in the body. Does that make sense? But I think it’s important to understand that those habit patterns are, I mean, their fears, they’re fears, and they, they have us, we don’t have them, they will take us in a get triggered. And before we start this process of transformation, all of a sudden, we’re reactive, and going down a path that we in some sense have no control over, the complex has us and it takes us into whatever that condition is. So it’s being able to spot them. And then over time de-potentiate. them so we can integrate whatever. All those thought forms that were enmeshed together so they can become integrated into the field of pure consciousness.

Rick Archer: Yeah. And so I think what we’re saying here is that all this conditioning has a neuro physiological basis, which is chemical and structural in its nature. And that, bringing about changes in the mind correlates with transforming the physiology, in a deep way. And I think perhaps, when we talk about samskaras or deep impressions, that’s they’re not just mental impressions or subtle body impressions. If modern physiology had the ability to do so they could actually be detected in the nervous system. But I don’t think it does have it. Well, it does in a gross way. I mean, you can do MRI scans of the average person, or someone with Alzheimer’s or someone who’s been taking certain drugs, or someone who’s been meditating 30 or 40 years, and you see really big differences in the way their brain looks. The term neuroplasticity is very popular these days but being able to actually change our brain. So we’re talking about something physiological here as well as mental.

Leanne Whitney: Oh, absolutely. And, Freud was right on this track, even with his first case of Anna Oh, he says, energy had gotten the wrong the long energy had gone or along the wrong lines, so to speak, and that had built up in her system. That’s what they’re the initial clients in psychoanalysis they had seen these patterns., Freud was actually a neurologist, and then he became a psychoanalyst. So yeah, so the early days of depth psychology were a confluence of psychology and neurology, and now it’s coming back in a very, very strong way to the field of Affective Neuroscience. Affect has long been part of depth psychology as an empirical means of entering the psyche, in other words, when that aspect just grips us unawares, that’s showing us the places where the complexes are held in things that are invisible to us. And we see that in Patanjali’s yoga as well, he speaks about grief. And he’s, the sorrowless luminous, he points to the sorrowless luminous. So I think an effect is another way also of bridging, yoga and Jung are bridging. Eastern and Western consciousness Affective Neuroscience may be a way in, in my opinion, for us to bridge science and religious experience in the West. Because that aspect is life as she goes, I’ll give her feminine term there. Affect is beyond conscious control. So it’s life as it’s coming forward. So if you look here, right. As this turns away, and affect builds up around along certain lines, it’s going to come and there’s, quote, unquote, law. So it will come and wake us up, not in the wake way that we’re talking about to spirituality, but shake us up, I guess I could say, because it comes in bursts through we can repress it, maybe for a period of time oppress it, suppress it, but at some point, it has its say, and it breaks through and so affect may be a way now for us to look phenomenologically into I believe spiritual phenomenon, if what Patanjali is pointing to where we say the sorrowless luminous, so it’s beyond grief. So if the effect of grief is symbolic, actually, I can feel this as I’m saying it to you is symbolic of that split. From the home from the ground, then that gives science away in towards reconciling science and religious experience.

Rick Archer: I just want to interject here that those who are wishing watching live, there might be 150 people on right now, if you would like to ask a question, go to the upcoming interviews page on batgap.com. And there’s a forum at the bottom of that page through which you can submit a question. And that’s true anytime I’m doing an interview over Skype or over the Internet. So briefly define the word affect. I’m not so familiar with that term myself. You just used it a lot.

Leanne Whitney: It’s, it’s basically an emotional response.

Rick Archer: Okay. And so you’re talking about conditioning here, and you’re talking about emotional responses based upon deep impressions in the nervous system, that condition our behavior, is that what you’re

Leanne Whitney: So affect is just a natural occurring phenomenon in nature. There’s brilliant work that’s been done by a man who’s now passed away, Jaak Panksepp. And he I’m not a huge fan of studying through other animal species, but he has looked at several other species, and he has found across all mammals, actually, I think he even found in birds, and reptiles as well. Seven subcortical, emotional centers common to all sentient beings, seeking maternal care, joyful play, grief, rage, fear and lust, I think I just think. And also, through this research, it shows that the brainstem is instinctively conscious, whereas the cortex derives its consciousness from the brainstem, the brainstem has an affective core. So, we’re looking across all different species to see how that affect is. Those seven emotional centers reside is part of our makeup. It’s part of the laws.

Rick Archer: So Patanjali actually alluded to this or address this and, and how does this, what you’re saying now relate to the idea of enlightenment or waking up? How would an enlightened or awakened person function with regard to these emotional centers as compared to an average person?

Leanne Whitney: Okay. Now, enlightenment, and awakening all these terms today?

Rick Archer: well I hesitate to use the e word ever, but even awakening you’d have to spend half an hour defining what you’re talking about. But let’s just say we all have some kind of idea of what these means some kind of realized level of realization or, or self, let’s say, self-realization, someone who has sort of landed in the recognition and an abiding sense that they are pure consciousness. They’re not merely an individual biological entity.

Leanne Whitney: Okay, I like that. I like that as a definition for sure. But, because I had that pure consciousness event, but what I didn’t have was an embodied way to actually ground that pure consciousness in my own system, right? To me, that’s a whole different.

Rick Archer: That’s a lifelong project.

Leanne Whitney

But it’s just a, it’s a whole nother gestalt, it’s in, I think that’s what Patanjali is pointing to. See he talks about kaivalya. He doesn’t even he doesn’t even mentioned moksha, he’s kaivalya, which is to rest upon oneself. So

Rick Archer: Also the word means alone, I think it has to do with oneness, the sense that I am alone in this in that I am, I am that and that alone is

Leanne Whitney: Yes, absolutely. It can be translated as aloneness. And I’ve also seen it translated as to rest upon oneself. So, Brahman,

Rick Archer: I don’t think there’s a contradiction there actually. No,

Leanne Whitney: No. So Brahman, pure consciousness, singular, eternal, absolute, immutable. Through the psychosomatic practices of Ashtanga Yoga, and purifying the nervous system, cleaning the complexes, getting at the effect of core, see, how to get a comfortable seat in the body. I mean, that’s one sutra. Now you’re beyond the offices. Now you take a comfortable seat in the body, so that the embodiment is part of Patanjali his psychology and philosophy. I don’t know that that’s true of all Hindu philosophies or practices. I mean, Kashmir Shaivism, I would think yes, yeah. And I don’t know if I’ve lost the thread here. But the why it’s important is because the affect points to the embodied aspect.

Rick Archer: Yes. Okay, I want to talk to you about Ashtanga Yoga and the yamas and niyamas. But first, a question came in from Siguna Mueller in Austria. She asked, you were talking about culture impacting Jung, so that his thoughts and insights were only circling around pure consciousness? Can it be that it is not so much about the presence or absence of thoughts or conceptualization, but about their quality? In one case, they’re about something driven and dominating. But there are all but there are other thoughts as if they are only a part, a partial manifestation of something deeper? These types of thoughts are light, exciting, full of energy, and they don’t create motion or constriction? Or do you think that every type of conceptualization is taking you away from pure consciousness? Good question.

Leanne Whitney: Great question. And no, I don’t think I’ll speak through Patanjali’s lens when he talks about the vrittis, and he talks about pramana. Right knowledge. So there are thoughts that are in alignment, thoughts, dharmic thoughts, if you will, that are in alignment. So no, I would say, all vrittis, make waves. I think that’s, I don’t think we can argue that point. But there are vrittis that are thought forms that are in alignment, what we want to be careful not to do is to get stuck in the thought form. So even though they’re in alignment, so that in that’s what could happen, I feel like with quote unquote, spiritual progress, or being on a spiritual path, at every turn, the mind wants to coopt it, and take ownership of it. And that to me, would just be the caution. With that kind of thought form, you just want to make sure that you’re not coopting it through thought, and that it’s being brought deeply into the body.

Rick Archer: Yeah. And actually, there are a lot of scriptures that say, hang out with the right people, put your attention on the right stuff contemplate knowledge, contemplate higher knowledge, don’t put your attention on things that are going to drag you down, don’t hang out with people that are gonna drag you down. So there’s definitely sort of thoughts that are conducive to liberation or mental activities or put focus, focuses foci? Of attention that are conducive to realization and those which are detrimental to it.

Leanne Whitney: Right. And I mean, Shankara rightly pointed to the study of scripture, I believe, I mean, the study of the Upanishads to him was, was a central path or the path. And that’s thought reading and digesting those scriptures is a form of thought, but that’s pramana. That’s pramana, correct cognition.

Rick Archer: And that leads us into the yamas and niyamas. I’ve been instrumental in helping to form something called the Association of Professional spiritual teachers, which has drafted a code of ethics that teachers can perhaps ascribe to if they if they feel comfortable with them and in an attempt to sort of raise the standard of expectation of what spirituality looks like and what kind of behavior spiritual teacher might be expected to display. Because there have been some really crazy things that have been happening. And in my case, I’ve been engaged in discussions with people who some of whom say, This is nonsense spiritual teachers can be full of rage and grief and all kinds of stuff like that. And you can’t judge their level of consciousness by their behavior. But I think Patanjali and of course, most other traditions, say, well, there are certain behaviors which you should engage in, and certain other behaviors you should abstain from, if you’re serious about spirituality, because you need to amass purity, because a more pure mind and body are more amenable to awakening to realization. So what are your comments on the yamas and niyamas? And the whole thing about behavior or morality or ethics and spiritual development?

Leanne Whitney: Reminds me of that idea of crazy wisdom that no, those teachers, they’re, they’re just full of crazy wisdom. Yeah.

Rick Archer: Which is a literary trope that had no historical basis, in fact, by the way, but hey, we’ll go on.

Leanne Whitney: I mean, when I hear someone say, a spiritual teacher will be filled with rage. Well, this look, anybody can teach from any place and teaching is great. And teaching, is the verb, right? We don’t want to be a teacher, it’s about the teachings coming through, but the teachings coming through an instrument of purity, then the teachings just land in their purest form. I mean, I think that’s kind of very easy to understand. And Patanjali, I believe, he puts the yamas is just the first limb and, and those limbs aren’t meant to be steps as Maharshi would say. They, they’re like limbs of a body, they all

Rick Archer: grow simultaneously. That’s what he used to say. Anga means limbs, Ashtanga means eight limbs, the limbs of our body grow in proportion simultaneously.

Leanne Whitney: That’s right. And then we have the, the Yamas is the first limb: nonviolence, truth, non-stealing non covetousness., the question becomes, where is that rage arising from? And why and it to me, it becomes incumbent upon each of us individually, that purification process. It’s so finely tuned, I’m either doing it or I’m not. If I’m out there being a fraud. Well, God bless. I don’t know how I don’t know how it’s helpful. To me, that’s somebody getting caught in the teacher archetype. Yeah, who wants to be a teacher. But are they facilitating the teachings? And that, to me, is what’s so beautiful about the Upanishads. Like, there’s no one’s name on them. It’s just teachings that are coming through these seers, who see the world this way. It’s beyond any, it’s the universal Yeah, coming through a personal but it’s beyond any personal form. Because it’s ultimate, absolute reality. So why would I take ownership of it? So I don’t know if I’m answering your question. But, my question becomes, what is that rage? I would have to know what that rage was about. I mean,

Rick Archer: yeah, I mean, Jesus kicked the money changers out of the temple, so he had his moods, but he wasn’t engaging in inebriated orgies are the kind of things that some well-known and even well respected spiritual teachers have done. And, for which behavior, there’s been the rationalization that, of crazy wisdom, or that we just can’t understand their inscrutably high level of consciousness or something. And I take exception to that, and I’m doing whatever I can, in my small way to kind of clarify help clarify the understanding and contemporary spirituality of what’s appropriate, and what’s not, what’s conducive, and what’s not to spiritual development, and I think Patanjali was onto it, with his attempt to lay down certain, certain guidelines, not to be moralistic, but to help seekers culture, their mind and body to be more fit receptacles of spiritual wisdom.

Leanne Whitney: So I think what you’re saying is, look, I don’t know that we can have an easy answer across the board. And perhaps why and chapter four potentially says Yogi’s behavior is beyond black and white, right. It’s not so easily categorized because, or as Robert Thurman would say, there is a place for righteous anger. Yes. I mean, clearly to this conversation, or I think it’s clear I’m coming up against predatory capitalism pretty hard. It rubs me severely, in a way that I get angry for sure there’s anger as one of those emotional centers, but in a way that I feel is a righteous anger that fires me to speak towards it. Yeah, I’m not going to lay complacent against it, on my couch and not as a cultural critic, go for it and speak to it if I feel like this body of Earth is being toxified through that system. Yeah, that makes sense. It does.

Rick Archer: I don’t know if you’d chase Sarah Huckabee Sanders out of a restaurant or something like that. But, there’s a point to righteous indignation and anger and getting a little bit of fire in your belly with regard to these things not being pushovers.

Leanne Whitney: Right, right

Rick Archer: A couple of questions have come in. And then I have some more stuff I want to talk to you about. Seamus Broderick from Ireland asks, with regard to self, no self, I was thinking that perhaps it is the language, self, word self, linguistic self, that’s ultimately unreal. What I mean is that the symbol formed person personality is essentially a fiction. But the body and the pure consciousness are both real, what do you think?

Leanne Whitney: I think that’s a beautiful way to phrase it. And it brings up a really interesting point to the style of Jung was engaged in a fundamentally conceptual and linguistic form of consciousness, which perhaps we could say most of the West is engaged in, Patanjali acknowledged, linguistic, and, conceptual consciousness, but he also acknowledges the nonlinguistic and the non-conceptual. So I think the way that he phrased that is beautiful.

Rick Archer: Okay, good. Here’s another one from Susan in San Diego. She asks, Can you speak more about the about unifying the opposites and how that specifically happens for you, in your direct experience?

Leanne Whitney: So unifying the opposites, to me is right, left, up, down, in and out any kind of balance, whether that be psychological, physical, mostly psychological and physical actually. In my own life, what I’ve used is the trigger points. Okay, brought up my 14 year old son, my beautiful teacher, yes. So my most of my trigger points have come through personal relationships. So I watched my reactivity. And it’s Yeah, I mean, it’s, it’s, it’s radical discernment between am I am I being provoked because the other person is trying to power over me. Right? There’s, there’s boundaries, but there’s no boundaries. Everything is ultimately permeable, right? Just like the air comes into our lungs. Like, we look like we’re bounded, but ultimately, we’re not. Because we’re all breathing in and out of this field of oxygen, right?

Rick Archer: It’s true. Every breath we take, there’s some molecules in there that Jesus breathed.

Leanne Whitney: Right, exactly. So although we look like we’re bound to we’re not and I want to say the same is true psychologically, there is no, there’s a functional organizing principle, no doubt, that allows me to be able to see a wall and not walk into it. But it’s a very nuanced perception between, let’s just say, I’m going to keep using my son as an example between me and my son as he grows up, is he trying to power over me? Or, where am I in my own power center, in other words, and I continually used personal relationships as a means to be able to stay in my central channel, dialogue, and engage from a place of what I want to call calm equanimity. And sometimes I have to be fierce. But it comes from a place that’s really grounded and centered, as opposed to reactive and all over the place.

Rick Archer: Yeah. Okay, good answer. You said that your mission in life is to sort of introduce pure consciousness into popular culture more and to make clear to people that that’s who they are, ultimately, that’s the fundamental basis of things. And I think we’ve kind of touched upon, we sort of have, whether. Yeah, we have whether consciousness is just a product of the brain or as a fundamental basis of the universe out of which everything arises. And I think that the whole culture hinges on that question. And we’ve talked about that a little bit, too. Now, the third chapter of the fourth chapter book that we call the Yoga Sutras is all about cities. And a lot of times cities are dismissed as being some kind of distraction or trap and then we should avoid them. But if that’s the case, why did Patanjali devote an entire chapter to them? And if cities are real, how is it that they could be performed? If levitation is possible? For instance, how could that happen? And I think that brings us back to this point of whether consciousness is fundamental or a product of the brain. And I could elaborate, but I want you to respond first.

Leanne Whitney: Okay, well, first, I’ll say he, yes, he talks about them quite extensively, it is almost a whole chapter. But at the same time, it’s either in that chapter at the beginning of four, I do think it’s in that chapter though, he also says, But wait a minute, you don’t want to get hung up here. Because these can also become conditions of which you’re sort of wrapped in. And that pure seeing the pure consciousness gets co-opted through the cities. So he brings them in, but he also makes sure that he disclaims it in a way. I think it’s really important that he brings them in. And very interesting. Jung tried to bring them into Western psychology. And we still don’t have them. In a Western psychology, I think it’s crucial to bring them in. Because through the vision of yoga, we’re talking about universality, what Maharajji maybe we call cosmic consciousness, the cosmic mind. There’s no way to really approach that because Western psychology is so built around individualism in the individual mind and co-opting consciousness to the ego. It doesn’t have space for psychic phenomena, because the cosmic mind isn’t actually acknowledged. So I think it’s, it’s, it’s brilliant. It’s a stroke of genius. It’s another element that makes Patanjali psychology so far superior, so logically consistent. Because, he’s opening he’s cracking the small not of the individual mind into the universal into the cosmic mind. But he’s not leaving us without a ground. He talks about the body. And he talks about these powers that come through clairvoyance, clairaudience, clairsentience, but also he keeps it real in physical form. So he doesn’t leave you spiraling out into the cosmos, into another kind of psychic trip. He takes you there. And he grounds you. And I and I think, to me, I think it’s important, I think it’s important to acknowledge as a depth psychologist, because Jung was trying to do that. He really was, but he didn’t succeed in doing it.

Rick Archer: may not have had the tools.

Leanne Whitney: Right. He was trying to do it through a synchronicity hypothesis, pretty much. I mean, psychic phenomena engaged Jung, from very early on his mom was quite psychic, he had a medium cousin. So he was surrounded by it all his life, surrounded by religion, too. I mean, he had pastors, his dad was the pastor and a lot of uncles. So psychic phenomena and religion were two of the things that really he was seeped in, throughout his life. And through his study of parapsychology, eventually he came up to his theories of synchronicity, and he just never completed them.

Rick Archer: I think there are a lot of things which can happen to you spontaneously. And you can get hung up in them or not, or which you can actually culture intentionally. And for instance, with the cities, people do experience such things spontaneously, but Patanjali actually gives a formula for culturing them intentionally. If you samyama on this, you’ll get that if you just send him a dharana dhyana, samadhi together on this, you’ll get that. So it seems like he was addressing them as a serious thing, which people might actually want to culture intentionally. But, he gave the proviso of not getting hung up on them, because that could easily happen. And they could end up being an impediment to your path rather than some form of integration, or culturing of enlightenment of different facets of one’s entire makeup.

Leanne Whitney: Right, right. And the samyama that the concentration, meditation and absorption correct me if I’m wrong, but, that’s something even just those three limbs in themselves are absent in Western thought, This idea of having something to, to concentrate on, meditate on and absorb into two. So you get a vision from the inside, right, instead of a vision from the outside as an object going all around it, right? A real vision sort of Prajna at times, I would use the term Prajna, which is a sort of non-dual sense of knowledge. It’s a feminine term for wisdom and insight, which I believe is more than what we would indicate as intuition. It’s really It’s that nondual knowing

Rick Archer: I think it’s kind of related to that point I made earlier about resolute intellect. It’s a state, that it’s a state from which one can function or at which one can reside, from which, when you say something, it becomes true. Or if you want to know something, you know it with clarity and certainty. Right? Yeah.

Leanne Whitney: Right. Which, the body, the body has resonance to truth. And I think that’s an avenue that needs to be explored more in Western psychology. And perhaps I’m saying that by opening the door through this affective of neuroscience, and I give the world’s leaders and the people who were allowing to run large countries with a lot of power, I do believe we really, we really need to understand how the mind works. And how the body knows, if this isn’t a time to understand Truth. with a capital T, I don’t know what time on Earth would be look like to understand what that means.

Rick Archer: yeah, it’s critical. I mean, what do you think of the notion that the spiritual epidemic that seems to be spreading around the Earth hopefully it is, is kind of like the immune system of the planet kicking in? And we’re like little white blood cells, what, you’re kind of getting stronger in order to kind of gobble up, change the functioning of the entire entity that we call Gaia?

Leanne Whitney: Yeah, absolutely. I think that’s a great way to look at it. Another way perhaps in would be, it’s like the activation of buddha mind., it’s an imprint, so it gets activated. And it’s, we’re all completely interdependent. So it’s not it’s global mind. Yeah, it needs all of us. Or at least what do you call the 100 Monkey principle, it needs enough of us

Rick Archer: Yep. Another point I want to discuss with you is, which we’ve sort of alluded to, but we could sort of take it head on a little bit more is, the relationship between science and spirituality. Like a lot of times you’ve said in the course of this interview that, well, the West has been deficient in being able to understand the kinds of things that Patanjali was talking about. And even Carl Jung was kind of deficient and didn’t really get the depth of it the way Patanjali and other such Eastern sages did. So, I happen to think, and I want you to talk before I go on saying anymore, that science and spirituality both have something great to offer one another, and that they need each other.

Leanne Whitney: I mean, they need each other today, because there’s no going around science. I mean, it’s just way too embedded in the culture. Yeah. There’s a quote I use, I believe in my book, I know I use it. In the chapter I wrote in Deepak’s book on brain mind, Cosmos. Boy, where it says, in the end, scientists will have to give up their instrumentation and to relax into absolute subjectivity in order to really know pure consciousness, there’s no amount of objectification or representation, or othering that will ultimately bring the knowledge that Patanjali points to and to be fair, Jung was also pointing to direct experience, he got that point for sure. So although science, is brilliant at what he what it does, and I don’t want to take anything away from neuroscience or any of the discoveries there. But this embodied knowledge that we’re speaking of will never come through reading a Science report, it must come through direct experience. Does that make sense?

Rick Archer: It does. What if rather than saying that science will have to give up its instrumentation, we could say science would have will have to expand its concept of, of legitimate instruments of experiential investigation, to include the human nervous system, and to use it in a systematic way to explore the kinds of things that Patanjali was talking about. And in the same breath, we could say that Patanjali was a scientist because he proceeded empirically to experience and elaborate, articulate these realities. He wasn’t hanging on belief.

Leanne Whitney: Oh, I mean, absolutely. I couldn’t agree more. I believe I even say that in my book, I guess what I’m trying to say is that direct experience that happens in the person, whether they have nodes on their head because they’re in a chamber, that where some neuroscientist is trying to map it, ultimately, it falls on the experience of the individual. So if what you’re saying is if science will allow in, quote unquote, that qualitative data of people’s direct experience. Yeah, beautiful. And in some sense, we have made a slight turn from quantitative to qualitative data. And in the field of consciousness studies, that’s where this all sort of gets a bit muddled, because there is no way ultimately to fully objectify consciousness.

Rick Archer: Yeah. Well, I mean, B.F. Skinner rejected any sort of subjective experience as being sort of unreliable and non-scientific. But everything is ultimately a subjective experience. Any instrument which a scientist wants to use, he’s using his subjectivity, to use that instrument. And the kinds of things Patanjali is talking about, and if we keep mentioning Patanjali, because that’s the topic of this interview. But obviously, we can replace his name with many different say saints and sages are subjective experiences, but obviously, they’re real ones, legitimate ones, important ones. So well, go ahead.

Leanne Whitney: Oh, well, I think what I hear you saying is, so science, as it stands now, is, is deeply embedded in our culture, which is, which has a dualistic framework, it’s based on a subject object distinction, and it does not acknowledge that perhaps reality ultimately, isn’t that, that it really isn’t broken down into subject object. But science uses that as its tool. A lot of Western philosophers would look at Patanjali and they would look at orthodox Hindu philosophy. And they would say, oh, yeah, well, that’s a product of culture to, okay, I hear that argument. But when I read the text, and when I live Patanjali sutras for 15 years, in my opinion, he’s below culture, that seeing it’s behind the veils of the seen, like the culture would be in, in the seen, but Patanjali isn’t pointing towards the scene. He’s pointing towards the seer. So he’s not saying, necessarily don’t have a culture. But he is saying, if you have a culture, that’s in duality that is divorced from this ground of pure consciousness, you will ultimately have a problem. And that to me is exactly what we’re seeing.

Rick Archer: Yeah, for sure. And the problem has gotten worse, because the divorce from pure consciousness has perhaps gotten more severe.

Leanne Whitney: I mean, it’s so severe, you can’t even find it in western you can’t find it in the European canon.

Rick Archer: Yeah. Well, that. And that points to the sort of the greater urgency of reestablishing pure consciousness or establishing it for in the first place, as the foundation of everything, because, we’ve gotten so far out on a limb, or we built such a high castle without a foundation that, that the castle is going to crumble unless we somehow establish that foundation.

Leanne Whitney: That’s right. That’s right. And, maybe the castle crumbles first, and then we gain ground. I don’t I don’t know

Rick Archer: that too. Rebuild whatever it was, it was good about the castle and forget about the rest.

Leanne Whitney: That’s right. I mean, when you try to build something, on sand, they might all have to come down. And then that acknowledgement of okay. We were so split off from nature as she goes, and she’s got pure power. She has pure pure power.

Rick Archer: Yeah, you’ve alluded to that during the interview, and I’ve mentioned it in other interviews, just that there are so many structures in our society that you can’t imagine them just kind of kind of quietly, sort of dismantling themselves and saying, Okay, we were wrong, we’re gonna get rid of this. There might have to be some greater pulling out of the rug from under them in order for them to just collapse and no longer be predominant.

Leanne Whitney: Right. There’s, there’s, there’s people very, very enamored with their power with their identification. They’ve become objects to themselves, their business cards, their representation, in other words, right they’ve stolen consciousness into an egoic tight container. And they don’t want to give that

Rick Archer: Up their name on big, tall buildings

Leanne Whitney: And water bottles

Rick Archer: And stakes. And universities. Anyway, okay, well, any stray thoughts in your head right now before I bring in another question.

Leanne Whitney: No, I think we’re good as we are. Okay.

Rick Archer: So a couple weeks ago, I interviewed Thomas Hubel, who’s a German teacher, and that interview will be going up later in December on BATGAP. And he’s really big in terms of the, healing the trauma and collective consciousness. He gets together groups of, for instance, Israelis and Germans because he feels like there’s this traumatic residue left over from World War Two that needs to be healed in order for the culture to progress. One question I forgot to ask you, which I’ll ask you is, what is the nature of collective consciousness such that such that trauma can be stored in it? What is the medium? What is the substance such that something such as trauma can be stored in it? And what is the nature of that? That’s trauma that’s being stored? What are these things? Are they real things, but very subtle, that can’t be observed in a kind of conscious way? Or are they just sort of concepts? And I think this is very Jungian, and this is probably your answer to this question.

Leanne Whitney: Well, the storage piece, I mean, for me, I would say it’s- trauma is definitely stored in the nervous system. Because you when there’s cathexis, when people go back, and they re-experience that traumatic moment, and they’re able to release the energy out of that complex, where it’s been stored, then energy can go flow along. Better lines, if you will, clean lines, so the nervous system is able to come back to its still point into its central channel below that. Where would it be stored? I couldn’t speculate on anything like that.

Rick Archer: Well, yeah, sure. It’s stored in the nervous system. And there’s some speculation that trauma is handed down in the DNA. And there’s been discussion and studies of that. But, Jung spoke of the collective unconscious, and that presumably, is a field that’s independent of nervous systems, just the way consciousness pure consciousness is independent of nervous systems, which nervous systems are nonetheless, kind of tapped into or plugged into, in which they influence and which influences them in turn. So can you elaborate on that? Any?

Leanne Whitney: Sure. So well, if we could take the cultural complex of the Cartesian split? So the rife, I think, therefore, I am the mind body split the subject object split. That’s a complex that’s very, very rife in Euro American culture. It gets passed on for sure. From generation to generation. And yes, I’ve also read the experiments where they track the trauma through the DNA makes complete sense. Unless we can release it on an individual basis, if we acknowledge it. So there’s the individual, there’s the family, and then there’s the culture, right? It’s like concentric circles, where if we just for sake of the dialogue, count them as three bodies, you can release it on the individual level, and see through it, but you keep coming up because you’re living in it. That’s the ocean you’re swimming in. And so this comes back to the point that we talked about earlier, okay. So, people come and they do they sit with me, or they get on the table, or they do their meditation, and they do their work, but then they’ve got to go back out there and swim in that same cultural complex.

Leanne Whitney: The only way I can see it getting de-potentiated in the culture has people in the ivory tower or in science, people at the higher levels are going to have to see into his in order to de-potentiate it at the at the level of culture.

Rick Archer: Okay. Yeah, I mean, I guess I was asking you sort of a metaphysical question. That is, you can only we can only speculate about the answer. It’s just like, what, like water for instance. I mean, we know what water is, and we know what salt is sodium chloride, and we’ve put so salt in water, it dissolves in the water become salty and it changes, other properties of it, such as buoyancy of objects floated in it, and we understand that so what we’re saying is that collective consciousness is some kind of a field that can have stuff dissolved in it, the collective unconscious, in the form of trauma. And so I’m just wondering, what the chemistry of that is? As Oh, what is it about consciousness that can be that it can be a medium in which stuff can actually get absorbed?

Leanne Whitney: Well, it’s certainly the twisting of thought form, right? So consciously, it’s, it’s sutra 1.4. So let’s, we’ll go over the first four, right, first of four. Now here we are an exposition of yoga, second sutra, yoga is the stilling of the mind, third sutra, then pure consciousness abides in its own true nature, for sutra, at other times, consciousness is taking on the modification of the mind form. So the mind can appropriate consciousness, it can take it, it can steal it, to a degree, and it takes it wraps it, it wraps it and twists it around these thought forms that are no longer anchored in pure consciousness. And those thought forms, from psyche, the psyche, the psyche, as people are born to a culture, that it just becomes part of their own psychology, so to speak.

Rick Archer: Okay. Would it be fair to say that the mind doesn’t take over or change consciousness, just as the movie doesn’t change the movie screen, but it appears to because mental impressions overshadow consciousness?

Leanne Whitney: Yeah, your consciousness is never changing. It’s immutable and absolute. So even though right, the mind is appropriating it, that’s where this it ultimately gets slapped back into the field out of which it arose because it doesn’t have the ultimate power. Does that make sense? Right? It doesn’t. Yeah, it thinks it does. It appropriates it, and it twists and turns contorts it. But at some point, the gig is up.

Rick Archer: Yeah. And your book, you say avidya or ignorance is not the absence of knowledge, but it’s obscuration. So, the pure knowledge, pure consciousness, whatever pure Self is never destroyed or absent or eliminated, but it gets obscured, overshadowed, lost in our entrapment and relative experience.

Leanne Whitney: Absolutely. And in some ways we could say, I mean, that’s part of the beauty. So at any moment, if we what if and when we turn our sights to it, it’s just there underpinning in supporting all of this form. So all of the regeneration and the healing in the wholeness is immediately there to come forward once that acknowledgement is made.

Rick Archer: Yep. Kinda like to think of us as all we’ve all won the lottery, we’ve got a lot of money in our bank accounts, just a matter of accessing it. But unfortunately, many people are kind of living under bridges, because they don’t realize they’ve got that bank account to pay taxes, and you got to pay taxes. I mean, says. Yeah, I mean, just the point that we all have this. There’s no as someone put it, there’s no energy shortage. There’s an intelligent shortage. But there really isn’t that either. Because we have this vast reservoir of untapped potential just lie in wait for us to tap it. Right?

Leanne Whitney: it’s just the blockages right? In the fourth chapter Patanjali says, you remove the weeds. Yeah, if that’s what we’re just or the, the clouds move away from the sun that’s self-illuminating self-knowing, pure intelligence. That’s their shining. Yeah, yeah.

Rick Archer: There’s a verse in the Yoga Sutras someplace where Patanjali says, heyam dukham anagatam, which is avert the danger, which has not yet come. And, you and I have been talking about the dire predicament that the world seems to be in. And I think that might be a good point to end on. Because, we can all play a role in changing the course of, of destiny. I was emailing with a friend who said that she’s kind of gotten a little pessimistic about whether awakened people or awakening people are actually having any effect whatsoever on the world. Because it doesn’t seem like it when you look at the world. So, do you have any thoughts on that?

Leanne Whitney: To me, it has to do with this idea of the margins versus what’s in the mainstream. And if the margins if people would, let’s say, knowledge and understanding of pure consciousness around the margins, if those numbers grow, and there becomes greater and greater infiltration or pressure on the mainstream, then, things will change. But if, if we can’t infiltrate the mainstream, then yeah, there wouldn’t be a problem there.

Rick Archer: Yeah, I think it was Margaret Mead, who said something like, I can’t even quote it. But I can maybe roughly paraphrase the idea that, don’t think that, some handful of people thinking way outside the box, can’t have an effect on changing the culture. She said, that’s the only thing whichever has.

Leanne Whitney: Beautiful. Yeah, yeah, but it right. It’s got to get in there. It’s got to infiltrate into the culture to change it not stay outside of it. Right. Not be some fringe. It’s got to actually get in there and infiltrate and penetrate to make the change.

Rick Archer: Yeah. Okay. I think we should wrap it up. But one more question came in, which is kind of unrelated to what we’re just talking about. But I want to just ask it, because she was kind enough to send it in. This is Fiona from Cedar Park, Texas asks, how can one bridge the gap between being in the world and out of the world in terms of financial issues, particularly when trying to support loved ones? In this unsettling time? I have no doubt that I am that, meaning Brahmin or whatever. However, the lack of money is taking away my freedom. How can you advise, where should I turn?

Leanne Whitney: Right. Well, I think she’s speaking to the conundrum that we spoke about earlier, at least at the moment, the way things are, it’s about having that spiritual practice, and embodiment and then also entering into the workforce. Because the capital is needed. So we can have a home and so we can put food in our bellies. But with it at least with acknowledgment, perhaps that, the aim isn’t to feed. Are you still with me?

Rick Archer: Um, I did, there was just a little glitch in the video. Go ahead.

Leanne Whitney: So, yeah, it’s necessary at this time to remain centered, and have the job so one can it’s the way that we exist in this culture. Yeah, there isn’t an alternative at the moment,

Rick Archer: Says in the Gita, yoga karmasu kaushalam; yoga is skill in action. So it’s not like spirituality and practicality are somehow opposed to one another. Spirituality, if it’s approached in the right way can actually enhance practicality and make you more successful in your job, or whatever you need to do.

Leanne Whitney: Yeah, and it’s about being present right here right now. And these are all the Legos that we’re all working with, like we don’t, we can’t shut them off. Like, this is the way that it is. So it’s being present, if you will, Krishna on the battlefield. I mean, it’s being present to what reality that we have, and doing our best. Yes, to pay our mortgage or pay our rent. And finding, if we could just say maybe, because a lot of the clients that I have, who are millennials, they want to be working in jobs that are sustainable, that have some sort of eco sensibility. So I think it’s the workforce, also making choices to look for those companies when and if possible, that are doing the work to make our environment sustainable.

Rick Archer: Yeah, good point. Yeah, I mean, somebody could be kind of dragging along at job that they really don’t enjoy, that doesn’t seem to be meaningful, but there could be something they could be doing, which would be really light their fire. And, sort of what I’m doing now, I love it. But what I was doing for quite a few years, it was a way of paying the bills, but it had no intrinsic significance to it. So, you can turn the corner at any age and perhaps and find something that really inspires you.

Leanne Whitney: Absolutely. Yeah. And works towards the beneficial aspects of our world. And then there’s not so much of a split between what’s inner and outer. You’re living, you’re using your work as a means of also speaking your truth, so to say,

Rick Archer: Yeah, I mean, just to take one simple example. Trump, pander to the coal miners of West Virginia, like, we’re going to dig more coal and you need your coal jobs. What a horrible job. I mean, why not say hey, let’s bring in, manufacturer of wind turbines or solar panels or something and really revive the economy and a long term sustainable way and you won’t get black lung disease and it’ll be you’ll get to see the sun. There are all kinds of possibilities if we just have the right approach?

Leanne Whitney: Absolutely.

Rick Archer: So, um, you mentioned your clients. So what do you have to offer in terms of your therapist? You do that over Skype? What, how can people plug into what you’re doing if they wish to do so?

Leanne Whitney: Yes, I’m a transformational coach. And I work with clients here or on Skype. And I work mind, body. So I also utilize cranial sacral therapy with clients who come to me, because it’s my understanding for sure that the nervous system is a key component regulating the nervous system is a key component of our spiritual practice, so to speak. So what did you say was my recommendation?

Rick Archer: Oh, well just, how can people plug in so I’ll link to your website, and people can just see what you have to offer there. And a lot of create a link to your book, which I found very interesting. People probably gotten a sense of the flavor of that book from listening to this interview. And I’m sure there’s a contact form on your website where they can get in touch if they want to.

Leanne Whitney:  Yes, they can. Yes, good. Well, thanks

Rick Archer: So much. The and I really enjoyed this interview, both preparing for it and doing it. It’s really been a lively conversation, I think.

Leanne Whitney: Yeah, it’s been great. Thank you. Thank you for inviting me.

Rick Archer: Sure. And thanks to those who’ve been listening or watching. Next week, I will be interviewing Rupert Sheldrake, who is a British scientist to has written about morphogenetic fields, among other things on the idea that, they’re sort of, kind of things Leann and I were discussing about consciousness being a field and a medium through which information can be transmitted. He even wrote a book about how dogs know when their owners are coming home. So that’ll be interesting. And the week after that is a woman who is into shamanism, Sandra Ingerman, and then after that, we’ll be releasing a bunch of interviews I at the SAND conference, so you can see all those on the upcoming interviews page on BATGAP.com. So thanks for listening watching. Thanks, Leanne. I will see you all for the next one.