RICK: Welcome to Buddha at the Gas Pump. My name is Rick Archer. Buddha at the Gas Pump is an ongoing series of interviews with spiritually awakening people. I’ve done nearly 700 of them now. And if this is new to you and you’d like to check out previous ones, please go to batgap.com, B-A-T-G-A-P, and look under the past interviews menu where you’ll see them organized in about four different ways, including an interesting thing where you can type in a phrase or word, and it’ll instantly show you a list of all the interviews where that word or phrase was mentioned. And if you click on any of the items in that list, it immediately cues the video up to the point where that word was mentioned. You can watch it from there. So that’s kind of a neat thing. Somebody just created that for us this year and just told me he had done it out of the blue. And so we have it. Anyway, so this program is made possible through the support of appreciative listeners and viewers. So if you appreciate it and would like to help support it, there’s PayPal buttons on every page of the website. My guest today is Lissa Friedman. Lissa’s a PhD in art therapy and also has been a psychotherapist for about 40 years in a number of areas, transpersonal hypnotherapy through the Michael Newton Institute, which we’re gonna be talking about that has to do with life between lives, hypnotherapy through the Ericksonian School. And she’s also the founder of an Enneagram School of Awakening, which is accredited by the International Enneagram Association. So we’ll be talking about those things and her spiritual journey and her experience with light beings. Oh, she’s written a couple of books. We’ll be talking about those. One is called “Boundless,” which is about an experiential description of stepping into the boundless and her journey to the boundless. And also “From the Heart of Boundless,” discussions and teachings about obstacles and issues that might get in the way of connecting to the boundless. Maybe you should have called that second one “Son of Boundless,” you know? (Lissa laughing) It was like, “Son of Kong” or something. (both laughing) Lissa has about three different websites, which I’ll be linking to from her page on batgap.com. And again, anyone watching this live who would like to send in questions, feel free to do so, and we’ll be happy to bring them up. So thanks, Lissa. Thanks, Lissa, I should say. Thanks for joining me, and I look forward to this conversation. I listened to the entirety of both of your books in the past week. They were very interesting.
LISSA: Good, I’m glad. I’m glad to be here.
RICK: Yeah, good to have you here. Lissa lives in Asheville, North Carolina, and she grew up in the Bronx, which is not too far from where I grew up in Connecticut. We were just talking about our old times of being TM teachers and stuff like that. She was one of those also. Okay, so why don’t we do this kind of chronologically? And at any point in the conversation, if you have an idea of something you’d like to talk about, and I’m not bringing up a question, feel free to launch into it. It doesn’t have to depend on my questions. But you started having spiritual experiences that you recall since you were about six years old. So why don’t we start there and work our way forward?
LISSA: Sure, sure. One of the things that I like about talking about, especially the six-year-old one, or even as we go, is that I think that all of us have some of these kinds of experiences, and we don’t notice them, and we don’t know what the implications are when something like that happens. So I like pointing that out anyway. So the very first thing–
RICK: And you know that, of course, a lot of little kids have past life experiences. Then when they get to be five or six years old, they forget ’em. So who knows what other experiences we have had when we were that young and we forgot.
LISSA: Yeah, and if you tell an adult, they might say, “Oh, you’re just imagining these things.” So then, of course, you don’t remember. But I don’t think I told anybody any of the things that happened to me.
RICK: I remember flying around the house when I was a little kid and then I told my mother and she said, “You’re imagining it.”
LISSA: Right, I didn’t do that.
LISSA: Yeah, so mine was just that I was walking to school and I looked down at my little feet, which I was wearing Buster Brown shoes, and the thought, it just came in. It was, “I’m here.” And it was like, “Oh my God, I’m in this body.”
RICK: Yeah. – And I wasn’t, I mean, I was not quite in the body, actually, so I was like, “Oh.” And I just watched myself walk to school. And I never forgot it. I mean, I can still see myself looking down at my little feet and realizing that I’m here.
RICK: Yeah. –
LISSA: What? You know? –
RICK: What does that mean to you?
LISSA: Yeah, well, it means that I’m not just this body.
RICK: Right. –
LISSA: I realized, there was consciousness that realized that it was in this body, living in this form now.
RICK: Yeah, I’m also reminded of that saying. I’ve heard it attributed to different people, such as Pierre Teilhard de Chardin and others, that we are spiritual beings having a human experience. And it kind of reminds me of that, you know?
LISSA: Yeah, yeah. – All of a sudden,
RICK: whoa, I’m a meat puppet. What does that have to do with that?
LISSA: Right, here I am, right, yeah. And it means something, depending on what kind of background you have, you might think, oh, the soul just entered, or, yeah. But I just, it was just sort of like consciousness. Oh, it was bigger than just a soul that came in.
RICK: Yeah. – So, yeah. – I think the soul would have had to have entered earlier. You wouldn’t have been walking around. – Earlier. – Yeah.
LISSA: No, without a soul, right? – Right. (laughing)
LISSA: But, yeah, so, yeah. I think that was my first experience of a more than this form.
RICK: Yeah, interesting. Or your first sort of, what do you think it’s like for little, tiny kids who can’t even roll over on their own yet? I mean, I’ve looked in babies’ eyes, and you’ve had babies, and I somehow get the feeling that they are just really out there still, and not at all sort of grounded into the body.
LISSA: Right, yeah. I sort of, I have memories of lying in a crib, just looking, just looking, seeing, just, you know, there’s like an awe, but there’s no understanding of anything. Yeah, I like to use that kind of metaphor when I’m working with people to get them to open up more to like, if you were a baby, and you were just born, you would know nothing.
LISSA: What would that be like? You know, and–
RICK: And then at some point, you started seeing light beings, which is interesting.
LISSA: So that, yeah.
LISSA: So, and I had, I mean, I call them light beings ’cause that’s what they look like to me, but you know, these days, that has some sort of other connotation to it. But from what I remember, it started when I was nine years old, and I think the significance of that was that my parents and I had moved to another apartment. I had my own room.
RICK: Before you didn’t?
LISSA: I think that might be, before I didn’t.
RICK: I see.
LISSA: I slept in the same room with them. Makes me wonder if that’s why it started then. But I would be going to sleep, and I wasn’t, I know I wasn’t asleep yet, but I’d be lying in my bed, and I would feel this energy shift in my room. And then I would feel the weight of beings sit on my bed. – It’s funny that they have weight. – It’s interesting.
RICK: I mean, ’cause they don’t have physical bodies, you know?
LISSA: No, they don’t have bodies.
RICK: At least not physical bodies, they have subtle bodies.
LISSA: I could feel them sit on the bed.
RICK: Yeah, and could you see them?
LISSA: I couldn’t see them, I could feel them.
RICK: Okay, you never actually saw them?
LISSA: I never saw them.
RICK: Okay, no problem. No problem. (laughing)
RICK: You’re passed.
LISSA: But I would feel the energy shift in the room and the weights, and then they would talk to me.
RICK: Yeah, and how would that sound? Just like man’s voice, woman’s voice, English, obviously?
LISSA: It was like in my head.
RICK: In your head.
LISSA: So you could, you know, one could think, oh, you’re making it up, but why would I? But I, and they didn’t say profound things. They would say, so say your name and spell your name. And say, and they would ask me to say certain things and then spell these things, which were just simple things, like my address.
RICK: Why do you think they did that? What was the point?
LISSA: There was something about them wanting me to speak, just to say things. I don’t know why.
RICK: You knew how to speak? Yes, I wonder.
RICK: And they would ask you the same thing every night or something, right?
LISSA: I think it was a little different, but they were never, it was never anything profound or significant. I just, I did enjoy their presence. I liked it.
RICK: There were obviously many, more than one of them, obviously.
LISSA: It seemed like there were four.
RICK: Four, wow. Well, I don’t know what that means, but I, the reason it’s–
LISSA: And then I would feel the energy lift off the bed and leave the room, and I would roll over and go to sleep.
RICK: Yeah. The reason I find that interesting personally is that I feel very much in my own life and in general, that there are hierarchies of beings in multiple dimensions of creation, and that some of them are very much involved in human life, perhaps in positive and negative ways. And I have friends who see them and kind of like hovering around people and stuff like that. But it’s interesting, ’cause we’re not alone, not only in the sense of aliens, but in the sense of subtle beings who are involved in the human endeavor in some way, or they’re angels or guides or whatever. I mean, I think if people, if that’s true, and if people are aware of it, it’s better than being unaware of it or completely blotting out the possibility.
LISSA: Sure, I think so too.
RICK: Yeah. –
LISSA: Yeah. Yeah, and that went on till I was about 16.
RICK: That’s actually pretty old for that kind of thing. Usually people lose it by then.
LISSA: It was pretty old.
LISSA: I mean, it started late. Usually it ends by the time you’re seven. So it started when I was nine. But I had this one time when I was gonna spend the night at a friend’s house, and I thought, “Uh-oh, what if it happens at her house?” And I’m talking out loud because I was compelled to. I couldn’t not do it. I had to say these things out loud. And it did, they came and it happened, and I did speak out loud, and she didn’t say anything in the morning, and I have no idea if she heard it or not.
RICK: Interesting. Okay. –
RICK: Well, sounds like we’re done. Now, we’ll get into the Michael Newton stuff later on, and we’ll talk about the fact that there is life after physical death and prior to physical death. What is it the Gita says? It says, I forget, there’s a kind of a cool verse about, oh, yes, “Certain indeed is death for the born, “and certain is birth for the dead.”
LISSA: Ah, yeah, that’s right.
RICK: Yeah, and there’s an in-between period, which we’re gonna talk about. – Okay, great. So, then you say that your spiritual journey kind of really kicked in when you were 19 years old.
LISSA: Yeah, well, when I was 19, yeah, that’s when I started doing TM, and probably it started before, but I found out about, oh, you can actually learn how to meditate, and there’s actually a kind of a path or a journey you can take to explore this. I was reading things. I was reading things since I was pretty young, like Gibran I read as a young teenager, and Herman Hesse, which are kind of spiritual, exploratory things.
RICK: We’re talking late ’60s. Did you take advantage of everything the ’60s had to offer?
RICK: Oh, yeah. (laughs) Yeah, but I did it in a real condensed little period of time.
RICK: Oh, good.
LISSA: And I was done with it. (laughs)
RICK: Yeah, I condensed it into about a year, but it was pretty intense during that year, and then I learned TM also.
LISSA: I mean, I have to say, well, yeah, so probably, and this was before I started doing TM. Yeah, it was. The most significant thing was when I was doing mescaline and sitting in the grass, and I noticed that the grass was breathing, and so was I. And then I noticed that everything was breathing around me, and we were all, everything was breathing as one. And that was, again, one of those, oh, there’s one thing going on here. That’s the most profound thing I take from all of that.
RICK: Yeah, one thing going on, meaning it’s all just like one unified–
LISSA: One unified, yeah.
RICK: Organism, so to speak.
LISSA: Breathing, yeah, everything is alive. Everything is, yeah.
RICK: That’s cool.
LISSA: Yeah, that was cool, and nothing like that happened after that.
RICK: Some guys just won the Nobel Prize for quantum entanglement, which, and I just read an article about it, and quantum entanglement is the thing where something can happen to a particle here, and then something can happen, and then instantaneously, the same thing, the other, its counterpart on the other side of the galaxy changes, not limited by the speed of light. And a lot of these scientists are really talking seriously about the, because of things like this, of the fundamental unified nature of reality, and how space and time and all this diversity is really not as fundamental as we might have believed.
LISSA: Yeah, I believe that. I mean, that’s my experience, actually, so.
RICK: Yeah, that’s the cool thing. I mean, a friend sent me this article, and she said, “Do you think that the mystics,” I mean, “Do you think that the scientists “are gonna sort of get onto non-duality?” And I said, “Well, it sure seems “like they’re heading in that direction.”
LISSA: Right, right. I love it when that happens.
RICK: Yeah, me too. It’s actually, there’s all kinds of interesting implications to that. All right, so you learned to meditate, and did you notice profound benefits from the outset, or what?
LISSA: No, not for me, not right away, actually. No, it took a while.
LISSA: It actually took a while. What I noticed, and I didn’t really think much of it, when I became a TM teacher, and we had to do the puja, the room would become pink every time I did one.
RICK: That’s interesting. So, just explain what a puja is, for those who might not know.
LISSA: It’s a–
RICK: Ceremony of gratitude.
LISSA: A spiritual ceremony, yeah.
RICK: Yeah, and you do it in sense, candles and incense and flowers and fruit.
LISSA: Yeah, so it definitely is a ceremonial thing, and has a lot of components to it, with the incense and the flowers. But the room would always turn pink, the air.
RICK: Yeah, as if it was filled with a pinkish hue or something?
LISSA: Yes, yeah.
RICK: Oh, interesting.
RICK: I never had anything like that, although it was powerful, especially if you taught about 20 people in a day, you’d really be kind of–
LISSA: Really buzzed, yeah.
RICK: It was powerful. But do you have any interpretation of that, room becoming pink?
LISSA: I think that what some of these things imply is that I had an opening to other kinds of dimensions.
RICK: Yeah, I see.
LISSA: You know, the light beings, the pink–
RICK: Subtle dimensions.
LISSA: Yeah, subtle dimensions. There was probably, if I had told the right person, they might have said, “Oh, yeah, that’s when,” whatever, “shows up in the room,” you know? But I never thought about telling anybody.
RICK: If you’d told the wrong person, they would have slapped a straight jacket on you.
LISSA: That’s probably right, yeah, that’s right. So yeah, so with TM, I didn’t have profound, I mean, I felt peaceful, I felt relaxed. It took me quite a few years, and actually letting go of TM and finding a more non-directive kind of meditation, the things that really started opening up for me. Yeah, I don’t know why TM just quite didn’t do it.
RICK: Well, one point you make in your book is that there are as many paths as there are people in the world, and one size does not fit all.
RICK: If I thought it did, I wouldn’t be able to do this show.
LISSA: No, right? (laughs)
RICK: There’s so many different things, and people are suited to different things. And a lot of people are, you know, something is really good for them for a while, and then they sort of reach the end of that phase, and they go into something else, and not regretting the thing they did, but okay, got what I wanted to get out of that one, and here I go in the next thing.
LISSA: Yeah, I would say that’s true for me. It seemed like as life went on, I probably spent something like 10 years in various–
LISSA: With various teachers or traditions or something, and then just let it all, I just let it all go. (laughs)
RICK: Yeah. So you were a teacher? How many people did you teach, roughly? –
LISSA: Gosh, I don’t know, not a lot. That means maybe 30 or 40 people.
LISSA: Not that much.
RICK: So what was the next phase?
LISSA: So, very short phase, and this kind of ended my teaching of TM, was learning about Guru Maharaj.
RICK: Oh, the 14-year-old perfect dude.
LISSA: Yes, he was 14, he’s probably 50 now, right?
RICK: Even older. – 60? – I have a good friend whom I’ve interviewed three times named Tim Freak, and he recently interviewed him.
LISSA: Oh, wow.
RICK: He became quite successful in some way, and he has a private jet that he flies around the world, and I never actually watched his interview with Tim, but Tim was really into him when he was a kid, and it was fun for him to go back and interview him again. But anyway, go ahead about him.
LISSA: Yeah, so some of us at the TM Center found out about Guru Maharaj, and we all got in a car. I think it was my father’s car. I think I borrowed my father’s car, and we all drove to see him. And we were really struck by, everybody was kind of like in a trance state, sort of. But we didn’t have any language for that, and it was like, wow, something’s going on here. So a couple, a few of us got knowledge from the mahatmas that would give the knowledge, and that was very uneventful, and not, yeah, not legitimate, really. And in the process of it, I, or someone I was with, I don’t know if it was I, myself, but I called someone that was the head of TM, and said, “I want to do this knowledge with Guru Maharaj. “What do you think?” And he said, “Well, if you’re going to do that, “just do that. “Don’t do this anymore.”
RICK: Right, yeah, that’s what they say.
LISSA: Yeah, so I went that direction, but it didn’t last at all. And then I think I was left to not quite do TM, but not do the other, and still meditating, but kind of in a limbo place of, I don’t know, neither of these actually are working for me. And let me do this, I’ll tell you a little aside, because I did this in a couple of different organizations, or a few places, where when I realized that something was not quite right, I would do some sort of thing, kind of to call them out on it. And wherever I went, somehow, without my trying, people would, the organization would get me to be the teacher of something or other. So during this Guru Maharaj-y phase, they had me getting up in front of 300 people and talking about the benefits of Guru Maharaj-y, and so there was one of these events with lots of people, and I got up and I said, “It really doesn’t work. “There’s nothing going on here.”
LISSA: That’s great. (laughing)
LISSA: You know, it’s–
RICK: Sorry, dear, I’m just terrified by life. (laughing)
LISSA: I’m still suffering, you know, and it was like there was a hook, you know?
RICK: Yeah, it’s like the hook. (laughing)
LISSA: And a few of them came and dragged me off the stage and apologized for me, and then they tried to debrief me, and I went on my way.
RICK: That’s hilarious.
LISSA: That was part of that.
RICK: That took guts to get up and do that. I mean, I admire it.
LISSA: Yeah, I, yeah. So yeah, I did things like that. (laughing)
RICK: You’re an iconoclast.
LISSA: Yeah, something like that. So yeah, so that was the end of that phase, trying to think what might have happened after that. Oh, okay, so in between, I explored some Native American ceremony and ritual, and I became a firekeeper, and studied with a Native American woman, and I did that for a little while. So crystals, and meditating with crystals, and doing those kind of ceremonies, that was interesting. But the next really long phase was studying with the Eureka School.
RICK: What is that? I only know of it from your book.
LISSA: Okay, and that’s not uncommon for people not to know, because it is a mystery school. So if you find out through people and you get invited in, and it was created by Oscar Achazo.
RICK: Oh yeah, I’ve heard of him. Maybe from your book. No, I think I’ve heard of him before.
LISSA: Yeah, maybe. And he, I consider him like the granddaddy of the Enneagram, but he didn’t just teach the Enneagram. It was, we would meditate, we’d meditate on yantras and mantras, and there was movement, and it was connected to a Tai Chi school, and there was the Enneagram of like personality, but then the Enneagram of various things. And we would do workshops and retreats and meditate for long periods of time. And there were several levels and stages. It was a hierarchical kind of thing, where you would complete a training, and those below you didn’t know what you were doing, and those above you, you didn’t know what they were doing.
RICK: Sounds like Scientology or something in that respect.
LISSA: Yeah. So I was there for about 10 years.
LISSA: Pretty heavily involved. – For a while. – Pretty heavily involved. Again, if I was teaching, but you would teach by, they would give you a manual, and verbatim, you would just read from the manual.
RICK: What was in the manual, yeah.
LISSA: And yeah, it had to be verbatim from that. So the next iconoclastic thing that I did was when I left that school, two or three years later, I realized that the Enneagram was really important. I was a psychotherapist. I started being a psychotherapist when I was 30, so now about 40, and not now, then.
RICK: I know. (laughing) Like Jack Benny, you’re always 39, right?
LISSA: I know, right? So I was about 40, and I’m doing psychotherapy, and I realized that, wow, my clients, including myself, we’re making all these changes, and letting go of things, and then we get to a wall, and we can’t go any further. And I started remembering my training with the Rika School, and I thought, this could be that pattern, the Enneatype pattern. This could be the type, and we can’t get beyond that. So I started learning and relearning the Enneagram from lots of different people, because when I was part of the Rika School, I had assigned things that said that I would never talk about what I learned in their school. So I started studying with other people. There’s a lot of people out there, so I wasn’t limited to only what I learned from them. I could learn from other people. So I started learning again, and relearning, and I started teaching the Enneagram.
RICK: At this juncture, maybe you should explain what that is, ’cause most people will have heard of it, but who knows, a lot of people don’t know what it is.
LISSA: So it really, so yeah, this is a good place to say this, because it’s very popular these days as a personality tool, or how to find your mate, or work with people in a corporation, and that’s not where it came from. It came from Sufi mystery schools, and it was an oral tradition, and it was only for people that were in the process of learning to be liberated or awaken. And the most important part of the Enneagram is that each type, there are nine types, has an essence that is an essential quality from the boundless.
RICK: From the boundless, okay.
LISSA: Right, and so–
RICK: Nine different qualities.
LISSA: So there’s nine different qualities of boundless, but it’s like, if we think of boundless as formless, and just, it’s boundless, open, spacious, consciousness, we think of it as that, the first step of coming into form before it’s even in form would be an energetic vibration, and there would be nine different kinds of energetic vibrations. Some people call it facets of the diamond. So that’s the most important, is that, and then the pattern contracts as that essence contracts because of life and conditioning, it contracts into a personality type that has limited qualities.
RICK: This doesn’t have anything to do with the diamond approach of age,
LISSA: but it’s very connected.
RICK: Is it, okay.
LISSA: It is connected to that.
RICK: Yeah, I’ve interviewed him a couple of times, met him at Sands.
LISSA: Yeah, he’s a, yeah, Almas.
RICK: Almas, right, Hamid Ali, right?
LISSA: Yeah, he’s one of the main people that teach the essential nature of the Enneagram. Other people teach less, you know, more contracted or the patterning. But what I was realizing was that, so there’s nine patterns, and whatever that pattern is, it has some qualities that limit us because it’s a description of the ego of the limited person, if that makes any sense. So it tells you, when I first started teaching, I would say often, “What we’re gonna learn is what we’re not. We’re gonna learn about this type, and this is not what we are.”
LISSA: “This is a box that we’re already in, and the work of the Enneagram is to open that box so we can come out.” So by the time I was 40, I had been meditating since I was 19, and I’m relearning the Enneagram and realizing that with 20-something years of meditating, I wasn’t working on this limited ego pattern. You know, I might’ve been working on it every now and then when I’d be in therapy, seeing a psychotherapist, but meditating didn’t touch it. I was still really entrapped and entranced by the pattern that was limiting me. So I started relearning the Enneagram and teaching people what the patterns were, and working on it in myself to release the patterning that was, you know, that, yeah, from there.
RICK: That’s important. And even if you had had some kind of profound abiding awakening, you wouldn’t necessarily have purged all of the ego patterns. I was just reading something by Rupert Spira this morning about that very thing, and many others have talked about it, that awakening does not by any means equate with a complete purification of all of our stuff.
LISSA: No, it doesn’t. It doesn’t. So yeah, and I had, by that time, I had had some profound awakening experiences, but, and that was what really struck me was, oh, wow, I can open and be real expansive, but in my interactions with people, I’m interacting from this place of a type with limitations. And so I started using it for myself and using it with clients. So, and what I noticed, and which is important for how I work with people, what I noticed was each type, each pattern, all the nine types, and there are subtypes and centers, and so I’m giving you a real condensed version of this, but each type has its own energetic component. So I began to realize that I could feel the energy of each type. When I would sit with someone, it would be like, oh, I can feel that energy.
RICK: So you were able to determine which type they were before you even talked to them very much ’cause of the feeling?
LISSA: Yeah, sometimes, and sometimes it was more complicated, but I could feel the energy and I realized, oh, each pattern has an energy, and if I can embody the energy and release it from my body, I might be able to share with someone else how to release it from their body. Where this actually came from originally, I realized as I was putting this all together, was as a therapist, if I couldn’t understand where a client was coming from, usually I could, and I could empathize and like, oh yeah, I get that. I can see why they’re acting like that. But every now and then I wouldn’t understand how is this client thinking like this? Where is this coming from? And so when they would leave my office, I would kind of sit like them, I would, you know, and then I would use their mannerisms and I would walk around my office talking like them and I would realize, oh yeah, I get it. If it felt like that in my body, these thoughts go with that feeling in my body and these energies. So then I would understand it.
RICK: That’s interesting.
LISSA: It is.
RICK: It almost sounds like a good actor, like, you know, Dustin Hoffman who becomes Tootsie or something, getting into the role and feeling like that.
LISSA: When I started teaching the Enneagram, I would embody each type and act them out like it was mine.
RICK: Huh, you mean when you were in front of a group teaching, you would sort of get into–
LISSA: I would become the character.
RICK: That’s pretty cool, that’s a bit better entertaining.
LISSA: Yeah, it’s a good act. (laughing)
RICK: And so understanding these types and so on, I mean, how does that change you? I mean, how does the Enneagram affect any fundamental change?
LISSA: So, just understanding doesn’t do much, but if you understand and realize that when I behave like this, I’m in the trance of a limited person. You know, I’m not connected. It’s me against you. It’s me, each pattern, when it feels like it’s the separate self pattern, it separates so that, and they’re defensive in certain ways, they’re reactive in certain ways. So learning it, you notice how you’re reactive, how you’re defensive, and you begin to learn how to let that go so that you can know the oneness of everything, or even begin to sense the essence of the pattern and even beyond that. So just learning the type, I don’t think is useful. It’d be like just learning your astrology sign. I don’t see that that’s useful either. But if learning it means that you’re gonna work on the ego patterns that make you feel like you’re separate and alone, yeah, that’s a good thing. I don’t think it’s necessary. You know, I think that any path where you’re really looking at the identity, what limits me and what I identify as separate, if I’m looking at that and letting that go, that’s all we need to do.
RICK: Yeah, whatever works for you.
LISSA: Yeah, exactly.
RICK: And in terms of the Enneagram, you founded a school or an association, and it’s still very active, right? It’s trained, certified people.
LISSA: Yes, there are certified people and there are people teaching in it. And my daughter has just branched off on her own teaching purely essence. And there’s other teachers teaching embodiment. And I just retired from the school, so I’m not teaching the Enneagram anymore. I just wanted to focus on Bambus.
RICK: Yeah, but if a person wanted to pursue it, they could get in touch with that school, which I’m gonna link to from your website, and from my website. And good, okay.
RICK: Did it come from Sufism originally, the Enneagram?
LISSA: Yeah, that’s what we think.
LISSA: We don’t really know, but that’s where we think it came from. Not as a personality tool. (laughs) – But as a– – You know, we don’t know, as a spiritual tool for path, yeah.
RICK: Yeah, and I think it’s, I mean, I often talk about this with friends about, is it sufficient to just sort of go into the transcendent and then live your life and expect all of your hangups and whatnot to be worked out? And I used to think it was, in fact, in TM world, it was taught that it was. But I haven’t seen it in practice over all these decades. And I really think people very often need to do something or rather to work on their stuff, or else they can carry it around for decades, while meditating regularly or whatever.
LISSA: I agree. I mean, and I think it should be obvious to people when they have a transcendent experience and yet they’re still being reactive in their relationships.
RICK: And it can really help having those. I mean, my life transformed dramatically after I learned to meditate and has changed a lot over the years. But, you know, we’re always works in progress and whatever is helpful should be considered.
LISSA: I agree.
RICK: Yeah. Yeah, this is a theme that, this theme comes up a lot in Backgap interviews. You’ve probably heard it, but the fact that we’re works in progress, the danger of considering oneself done. I mean, there was a famous–
LISSA: There’s always more.
RICK: Yeah, there’s always more. There was this famous spiritual teacher whom I won’t name who was adamant that he was perfectly enlightened. There was really nothing more for him to realize. And his whole world became so out of balance and abusive and his whole teaching, his whole organization crashed and burned. It happens often. So it’s good to be humble and realize that we always have more to learn.
LISSA: I agree.
RICK: Yeah. Okay. So there was that. Then the Michael Newton thing, that’s an interesting chapter. Is that, you wanna do that next?
LISSA: Sure. That was interesting. – That was interesting. So let’s see. So on my spiritual journey, my background probably from Maharishi and other places where I studied, but I think it originated with Maharishi. And I think this changed maybe while you were still involved. I’m not sure. But we pretty much knew that any kind of phenomena that happened, just ignore that and keep going. – Yeah. – Don’t get involved in any of these sidetracks of maybe past lives or light beings or any of these other things that were sort of peripherally going on around me. But it was like, no, just stay really focused and keep going. Don’t look at these things.
RICK: Capture the fort. Remember the capture the fort analogy?
LISSA: Oh yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah, so.
RICK: Don’t go after this or that in the territory if you don’t own the territory. Make sure you capture the fort that commands the territory and then you can explore the territory.
LISSA: Okay, I didn’t hear that then you can go out. I just was like, no, you gotta stay in. That would have been helpful maybe. But so I was in a session with a client and this happens pretty regularly and it’s always a little uncomfortable. She comes in with a stack of books and I was like, oh gosh, she’s gonna want me to read all these books. And so I just, these books are really important to me and I wanna see if you know of them or what you think of them. So luckily it was like, oh yeah, oh, this was good. Yeah, I read that one. I read that one. And then I say, oh yeah, I come to a Michael Newton book and I think it was–
RICK: Journey of Souls.
LISSA: Could have been Journey of Souls. And I said, oh yeah, I know about this. She said, she looked at me really seriously and she said, no, you don’t. (laughing) Like, oh. I mean, it really got my attention. And I look in and I look at the back and I look inside and I go, you’re right. I’ll borrow this one. So I took that one and I was about to take a trip to Florida and I thought, oh, I’ll get an audio version. I’ll just listen to it. That’ll be good. So I listened to it all the way down to Florida, all the way back. I’m just fascinated. It’s like, oh my God. You know, yeah, I had gotten to the point where I was having really profound experiences of boundless and kind of beginning to integrate it to some extent. And I thought, I want to know about these other things. You know, I get the, you know, I get the expansion, I get the oneness, but what about all these other things? And I had not even given a thought about the light beings and all that. It’s like, yeah, I don’t have that kind of opening that other people have around these kinds of things. So I want to explore that. So I found someone that was doing it in Asheville. There’s always in Asheville, whatever you’re looking for, there’s at least one person doing it.
RICK: Kind of like Alice’s Restaurant, yeah.
LISSA: Yeah, there was one person doing my, ’cause I wanted Michael Newton hypnosis. And so there was one person doing it and I did a past life regression with her and a life between life regression with her. And then I went and studied in New York with one of the Michael Newton teachers and studied in that school.
RICK: And did it work? I mean, I always think that if I ever got hypnotized, I wouldn’t experience anything.
LISSA: Yeah, it did work in that, yeah, I wondered, meditators have a hard time with it, by the way.
LISSA: Do they, yeah?
LISSA: Yeah, because they just get quiet and still. And it’s like, there’s nothing. But for some reason, what really got me was there’s a process of taking you kind of back in time and then they take you back into an experience where you’re in your mother’s womb, which of course you can’t, with your conscious mind, imagine that. So you have to kind of suspend your doubt to some extent. But she takes me back to the womb thing and the energy of the light beings are there. It’s there.
RICK: The old thing from childhood.
LISSA: Yeah, and I hadn’t thought about it.
LISSA: In so many years, 30 years or something. It hadn’t happened since I was 16, but there were times when I would go to a teacher and say, “These things happened to me. “What do you think that was?” And they would tell me something and then I’d forget about it for another 10 years. But I’m deep in trance and this energy of what I call the light beings is there. Now, with that energy, I’m actually seeing them as light forms. And so the rest of the experience to me was interesting. I had a lot of visuals. I don’t know if I made them up. I saw past life. I don’t know if it was mine. You know? And I have to say that the past life I saw was, continued to be interesting to me. I kept learning from it. The most important thing to me was this reconnection with this energy of these light beings ’cause it’s really specific energy. And so for me, it was like, yeah, it worked for what, and I became certified with that school. And when I’m working with someone, I really don’t know if what they’re seeing is their own past life. What’s more important is, it doesn’t give you something that is gonna help you. Are you learning from it? Is it pointing out something limiting? And in this state of trance, can you see the opening of that?
RICK: The main thing about Michael Newton, right, is the life between lives thing.
LISSA: Yeah, that’s the most important thing that he did.
RICK: More so than the past lives.
LISSA: But also what he did that I really like is that it’s not just, oh, here’s the past life. There’s like, he brings it, like, what are you learning? What do you learn from it now? What have you brought with you? What are you still learning? So there’s a healing component to the Michael Newton work that attracted me.
RICK: Yeah, otherwise it’s like just entertainment or something.
LISSA: Yeah, it’s just interesting. But the life and the life between lives thing, looking at it now kind of in retrospect, it’s really felt like I was in a really, really expanded state. And I would say really boundless and being able to see things coming into shape and form and understanding them in a different way than I had before. So like seeing within the boundless how things form and unform and like aspects of this life coming into shape and why they were there and what I’m learning from them and things like that. I mean, there were phenomenon that I saw, crystal healing rooms, but I have an imagination, I’m an artist. – Well, yeah, but one interesting thing about,
RICK: oh yeah, we didn’t mention that you’re an artist. I guess I did mention you have a degree in art, but one interesting thing about Michael Newton’s work to me was that he found this concordance or agreement between all these hundreds and hundreds of people that he regressed to their between lives stage in terms of what the setup is there. Some kind of panel of judges or teachers or all kinds of things, different rooms where we learn and things, rehabilitation. And there was a lot of agreement among all these people. So that gave it some credibility.
LISSA: Yes, but it’s not as concrete as it may seem. But if I describe it, it’ll sound like it came out of these books as well. But there was a space where there were these light beings and the energy of the light beings was there and they asked me questions and I asked them questions. That did happen, but it was like slivers of light, slivers of light. It wasn’t as, what seems like is implied is here are these forms and they’re talking to you. But there were these slivers of light with vibrations coming out.
RICK: What were those supposedly?
LISSA: That was like the–
RICK: The light beings?
LISSA: The panel of guides that were–
RICK: I see, right, right.
LISSA: So there was that.
RICK: Well, we wouldn’t expect it to be concrete in an earthly sense because we’re talking about–
LISSA: Not in an earthly sense, yeah.
RICK: We’re talking about an astral or celestial kind of realm.
LISSA: Yeah, it’s very visually internal and you’re using a different way of seeing.
LISSA: And so, yeah.
RICK: And it may be that if you were actually there, it would be a whole lot more vivid and identifiable and everything than it is when you’re in a hypnotic state here trying to sort of tune into it.
RICK: Incidentally, there’s a guy named Rob Schwartz that I interviewed who was a protege of some sort or student of Michael Newton if people wanna hear a whole interview just about this topic. He’s back in the back archive.
LISSA: Yeah, he’s good. Yeah, he’s good.
RICK: Yeah. It’s interesting that some people might listen to you and consider you to have been a bit of a dilettante, leaving Tune TM, Guru Maharajah, Enneagram, Michael Newton and all this stuff, but it really paid off for you. And I’ve seen that sometimes. I mean, there are people who are dabblers and who never get really serious about anything, but there are others who just sort of glom onto something, digest it, okay, got it, move on to the next thing, and they end up building quite a toolkit of wisdom and it really pays off in terms of their awakening.
LISSA: Yeah, and I really did spend a concentrated amount of time with mostly everything that I did.
RICK: Yeah, you didn’t just go for a weekend and then slid on to the next thing.
LISSA: No. Yeah, there was always a real in-depth exploration.
LISSA: For years. Yeah.
RICK: Are you focusing on something new right now or just kind of resting on your laurels and teaching what you know?
LISSA: Well, no, I’m not. It’s not new, but, okay, let’s talk about this.
LISSA: So the reconnection with, quote, the light beings happened during that past life regression and the life-between-life things, it continued. It was like something opened for me there. And it wasn’t, I experienced it as an opening, but I didn’t think to do anything with it or about it. It just became something that I would appreciate in my life. And then one day I was taking a walk, and this was about four years ago, pre-pandemic, couple of years before the pandemic. Now that’s a marker, right? I was taking a walk and I heard very clearly in my head, it’s time. And it was like, my first reaction was, oh yeah, I’m sure it is. You know, and then I thought-
RICK: And for what?
LISSA: For what? (laughs)
RICK: I must come today.
LISSA: Yeah, and it was something, I knew that it had to do with my spiritual work or my spiritual journey. And I’m thinking, well, I have a practice, I’m meditating. I don’t really know what this, it’s time for thing is. So I, but, you know, so it sat with me and I thought, well, let me meditate and connect to the light beings and see if I get some guidance or something happens that gets clear here. And when I did that, I was filled with a really profound energy. The energy shifted in my body, in my being, and in the room. And I was like, oh, wow, okay. Well, that’s interesting. And that stayed and I just was with that and thought, okay. And then I had the thought, okay. Well, it seemed like I’m getting, now I’m getting some guidance that says, you bring some people together to meditate with and share this frequency with them. So I did, I called a few of my friends and I didn’t tell them about the energy, just seemed a little strange. I just said, you know, I would like to have a meditation group, let’s get together and meditate. So we had three or four people, five, six people, and we would meditate together. And when it would start, I would just sort of let go and the energy would shift and I could feel the shift in the room. And I didn’t know if anybody else felt anything, but I did. And when we were done meditating, I’d say, so how was that? And they would say, well, it was really nice. Did anybody feel a shift in energy? Oh yeah, we, yeah, felt the shift in energy, the frequency changed. And so, okay, that’s great. And I go home and some of it was journaling, like I would journal like, okay, I had the meditation group. And then I get this clear message of, you have to tell them about this energy that’s coming through you. You have to share what’s going on. I said, well, then I don’t really wanna do that. That seems kind of weird. And it was such a strong message that, you know, the next time I went, I said, so let me share with you what’s been going on. There’s a frequency that’s coming through that I can feel. And I think some of you are feeling it. And it seems to be connected to these light beings that have been with me for a very long time. And just wanted to share that with you. So, and everybody was really open to it and more people started coming and some people would feel it, some people wouldn’t, a lot of people would, but some people wouldn’t. But it really was clearly changing the energy in people’s bodies and their nervous system in mine, for sure. But there were no words. So one of the things that I would go home and I would journal about was, okay, I’m doing that. And are there any words? Because, you know, anything, any teachings, any words? And no, the point is to share the frequency. It will change this frequency in their nervous system and it will change where they live their life from.
RICK: They said, we will change the frequency in their nervous system. Is that what they said?
LISSA: It will, it will. – It will, the frequency will.
RICK: It will. – I see. Okay, good.
LISSA: It will change, yeah. Not that, yeah. And, you know, they were like saying, that’s what needs to happen now. The frequency needs to change. You know, it’s really dense on the earth. It’s a lot of fear and anger. And this is like love and peace and light. And so just sharing the frequency is all that you need to do. And so we did that. We did that. I did that for a couple of years and then the pandemic happened, everything shut down. And slowly I, no, actually, before I started coming back into doing groups again, I wrote “Boundless”.
RICK: Uh-huh, your first book, yeah.
LISSA: Yeah, so during the pandemic, I spent a lot of time to, you know, I’m seeing only clients on Zoom and not doing groups. And so “The Boundless” came, “The Boundless” came through. And so there were words. So the next time I started doing a group, there was this energy coming through and now there’s words coming through. So the way that it happens though is the same shift in energy, the same shift in frequency happens that happened before when there wasn’t kind of a teaching coming through. But I do leave my eyes closed and people ask questions and I leave them closed because it feels like I’m receiving information from “The Boundless” itself. And if my eyes are open, it doesn’t feel as clear.
LISSA: It feels like there’s some interference going, especially if I am looking at the person.
LISSA: I think that that, I keep thinking that’s a step that needs to happen where I can have my eyes open and do this, but there’s something that happens where I’m connecting in a more personal way with a person than in this open, expanded place. So I leave my eyes closed and people ask questions and there’s answers that come through. I can actually see the answers taking form before the words come out of my mouth.
RICK: That’s interesting. Does it sometimes surprise you what comes out of your mouth?
LISSA: Completely. Well, yeah, and I usually don’t remember what’s said when it’s done.
LISSA: I am conscious of it while it’s happening. You know, I hear the words, but it’s like I’m somewhere–
RICK: You just know what to say to them, yeah.
RICK: Yeah, yeah, and the elicit personality is somewhere behind, and so there’s something much clearer there. So that’s got my attention now.
RICK: That’s cool. I was teaching a TM teacher training course in Belgium once in 1974, and I talked to Marci on the phone and I would say something, I asked him, I said, “Sometimes people ask me a question. “I don’t really know the answer, but I’ll start talking “and then the answer will just come out.”
LISSA: That’s right.
RICK: And he said, “Yeah,” he said, “That’s what I do. “That’s good.” (laughing)
LISSA: That’s right, that’s right, that’s right. Yeah.
RICK: Of course, I guess this is what channelers do, but maybe this is a little different than channeling. Would you say?
LISSA: Yeah, I could say that it’s channeling just because if you ask me in my ordinary state of consciousness a question, I may say, “Oh, gosh, I don’t really know.” But in an expanded state, the knowing is there. I do notice that if I decide to like, okay, wait a second, let me just take a breath and, okay, it’ll come through. But if I’m just chatting with someone and they say, “You know, I wonder why I’m neurotic in this way,” I may say, “Yeah, I have no idea.” But in that more expanded state, the information is there. So it’s channeling only in that the personality of Alyssa is not there answering, something more than that is.
RICK: Yeah, I remember reading a thing about Eckhart Tolle one time he was talking about how he doesn’t prepare for his talks, maybe he prepares for some of them, I don’t know, but he said, “I’ll get in the car “and someone will drive me to the lecture hall “and I won’t be thinking about the talk “and I’ll get up on stage and sit in the chair “and then I’ll just start talking “and the whole talk comes out.” I really hadn’t planned anything, but something comes out.
LISSA: Yeah, I’ve heard Eckhart Tolle talk about that too. It feels like that, it’s just for some reason, right now at least I do it with my eyes closed.
RICK: Yeah, well, it’s more conducive. And like you say, maybe later it’ll be more stabilized or something and you can do it with your eyes open.
LISSA: I think so. I think that there’s something about stabilizing for all of us of being able to speak from that place. I think there’s something that integrates and stabilizes to be able to do that.
RICK: Absolutely, yeah. Since we’re talking about Maharishi here ’cause we were both TM teachers, one of his major themes later on, probably after you left, was integrating the boundaries and boundless. And he was actually presenting it in terms of business. He was saying, “Okay, so many business activities “or jobs require routine work.” He said, “But routine work just stultifies. “It kills the genius in man. “It sort of reinforces the boundaries “doing the same thing over and over again.” So he said that this antidote is to have access to the boundless and to integrate them so that the boundless is there even if the activities are repetitive or routine, and then the creativity will flow. And you’ll have, the solutions will come when you need them and so on.
LISSA: Yes, yes, yeah. I do feel the boundless most of the time now. Sense it, feel it, notice it.
RICK: Maybe you can elaborate on that. Like people might say, well, what exactly do you mean by the boundless?
LISSA: So yeah, what do I mean by that? There’s a quality of, so I call it boundless because there is no limit to it. I can’t find an edge. So if I, and if I look into my mind, I look into the field of mind ’cause the mind is not here, right? The mind, where is it? There’s a field, it’s pretty expansive. If I look into the mind, I find no limit to the mind. Boundless, right? It just goes on and on. If I look into the heart, if I look into the emotions that I find an emotion in, I wanna find the limit of that, I don’t find that either. And there’s the body, there’s an aliveness in the body that’s animating the body. If I just touch my body, it has boundaries. There’s a form, there seems to be a solid form which science is telling us is not solid, but it feels solid, looks solid. But there’s some aliveness that’s animating it and without that aliveness, it would be a dead body. So this aliveness, if I feel into that, that keeps going too, just keeps going. And so as I tune into that, there’s like this deep abiding peace that I feel and I can’t find boundaries to that since then. So there’s some of that that I move along with nearly all the time. So sometimes my personality is more forward and that’s like just a backdrop, but all it takes is a little looking and there it is. And sometimes it’s completely forward and the other is in the background. And there’s this sense of that these words in our conversations, it’s all appearing in the boundless. And that’s always here. Just sometimes something is more forward, something is more in the background.
RICK: That’s good. That’s very good. I sometimes think of it like a camera. Like right now, my image is in focus and my background is a little bit out of focus, but the camera could be adjusted so that I’m out of focus and the background is in focus.
LISSA: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. That’s exactly right.
RICK: And it sort of depends on the circumstances. Let’s say you’re a jumbo jet pilot and you have to land the jumbo jet in a snowstorm. Okay, you wanna really be focused on what you’re doing. But if you’ve undergone this kind of awakening we’re talking about, the boundless is gonna be there, but you’re focused on landing the plane. And after you’ve landed, maybe you close your eyes and ah, just the boundless. You’re not looking at instruments anymore.
LISSA: That’s right. That’s right.
RICK: But it doesn’t go away.
LISSA: Doesn’t go away. Doesn’t go away.
RICK: Another analogy is like a tone. Imagine that it were a tone that was just going (hums) like that all the time. At first you’d notice it. And then after a while, you’d be paying attention to other things, but the tone is still there. And if you wanted to, you could say, oh yeah, it’s there, I hear it. But you don’t have to pay attention to it in order for it to stay there.
RICK: Exactly, exactly. And initially, yes, I did have to. R:: Right.
LISSA: You know?
RICK: Eventually, you don’t. – Yeah.
LISSA: It still feels to me, so let me go back to light beings connected to frequency, frequency coming through. And at some point, I think writing the boundless was when it, when it actually really happened. I just went directly to boundless, and I don’t notice light beings or any of that anymore. And it, yeah, there was this initial frequency, but the boundless has an energy to it. It’s not flat. It’s alive. There’s a definite vibration. Now, I know that I’m more tuned in to energy than a lot of people are, so that may not be the language that resonates with people, but like with the Enneagram, I feel the energy of each individual person, of the patterns or clients. I feel their energy. So I do feel the energy, the alive kind of vibration that comes with when boundless comes more forward. When it’s in the background, it’s just a white little something, but it’s still there.
RICK: And there will still be, I mean, I think you’ll find that there will be unfoldings upon unfoldings with this, to the point where the boundless is just sort of on the surface of everything, so to speak. Everything is the boundless, and you can barely detect any solidity to forms or your body.
LISSA: That’s exactly, yes.
RICK: Yeah, I have a friend who’s going through this, and she’s like, “Does my body still exist?” And I said, you know, she actually went to get a fork to sort of stick herself to see if it’s real.
LISSA: Oh, gosh, yeah, no.
RICK: Is it real?
LISSA: I know what she’s talking about. Yeah, I know there’s, yeah, things don’t look too solid to me.
RICK: Yeah, and physics tells us they’re not, but it can–
LISSA: And they tell us, yeah, but they don’t. And yeah, there’s a, I mean, so somebody in one of my groups was asking me, so what’s your experience like when you go shopping in Trader Joe’s? It’s like, well, it’s pretty interesting. You know, there’s this kind of feeling of boundless kind of floating through and picking this item and picking that item and saying hello to that person. But there’s like this spacious thing going on, and I’m buying food.
RICK: Yeah, the way my friend Harry Alto described it, he’s been on “Batgap” three times, if people want to look him up. He said, you know, it used to be I walked down the street when I was walking down the street, passing things. Now, everything just flows through me. I’m not moving.
LISSA: Oh, that’s great.
RICK: The street, the people, the cars, it’s all just going through me.
LISSA: Oh my God, yes, oh my God. Doesn’t always happen that way, but that’s another way of saying that, that I get that, yeah.
LISSA: Yeah. That’s interesting. – Interesting. – Yeah, yes, I expect, I shouldn’t expect anything, but I know there’s always more. So, you know, this is what’s happening now, but who knows? I don’t know what, yeah.
RICK: Never a dull moment. That was another thing I was talking about with my friend. She was, you know, ’cause someone, she’d read some teacher who was saying, well, it’s gonna become ordinary after a while. And she said, well, it’s certainly not ordinary for me. It’s just so, everything is so beautiful.
LISSA: See, that’s what I’m, that’s, you know, I keep saying that, you know, I keep saying that to the few people that I can say that to, because, you know, I also don’t wanna sound like I think that I’m really special, you know?
LISSA: So I can only say it to people who know I’m not special. (laughing) And, you know, like, I know this is supposed to be ordinary, but there’s a quality here that is not ordinary, and it’s still here. I think what’s ordinary maybe about it is that we can all do this.
RICK: Yeah. And I think that a better word than ordinary is acclimated, which is what I said to my friend. I said, you can get acclimated to heaven, but it’s still gonna be heavenly.
LISSA: I like that. That’s good. Yeah, that’s really good.
RICK: Yeah, won’t get boring.
LISSA: Yeah. (laughing) Yeah, I don’t, I mean, yeah, get boring. I don’t see how–
RICK: Yeah, how does bliss get boring?
RICK: Yeah, right, right. – Yeah. But anyway, this is fun, talking about this. And I hope what people are picking up on is that, you know, sometimes some spiritual teachers kind of dumb down the whole idea of awakening, and they even say things like, what you’re perceiving right now, this is it. Don’t try to expect anything else, or there’s only this. And maybe that’s right on some level if you interpret it properly, but that can be very discouraging to someone. And in fact, I mean, the whole point of spirituality, as I have always understood it, is that there’s a tremendous potential for living a very full life, and very blissful, and enjoyable, and full of blessings, and wisdom, and creativity, and all this stuff. And it needs to be unlocked, you know? It needs to be discovered and unfolded in us.
LISSA: I do agree. You know, I think that when someone says, it’s just this, just this, how that might be relevant is don’t add anything to it. In other words, something happens, and most of us say, oh, I like that idea. I would like more of that. Oh no, why did it happen like that? I wish it didn’t happen like that. You know, like the mind starts making more meaning. Oh, she said this to me, that must mean that. And this happened, it must mean this.
RICK: Complicate it.
LISSA: So, you know, if you peel away everything, peel away all the extra meaning, all your beliefs, all your concepts, you peel away everything, and what’s left is just this. (laughing) But to peel it away, but it’s not, it’s not just this in the way we used to think about it.
RICK: Yeah, exactly. Like, you know, you say to a person who’s chronically depressed, well, this is it.
LISSA: That’s it.
RICK: It’s just this. What a discouraging thing to say. But, you know, if by that we mean, you know, is-ness or the boundless, to use your word, is just this boundlessness, then that’s a more meaningful statement.
LISSA: Yeah, so that’s what I do with that. I just like tear it down to, well, maybe they’re saying just boundless.
LISSA: Yeah, don’t add anything to it. Just, you know, let everything appear within that, appear and then disappear. Let it all appear and go, just as it is, and don’t do anything to it. You know, maybe that’s what they mean. But I also think that while there’s nothing we can do, there’s a lot we can do.
RICK: Yes, I agree. And another thing about this, thus this thing, and then I want you to elaborate on that, another interpretation of just this. I was up on a stage one time in South Fallsburg, actually, with Maharishi there, and I was shooting my mouth off about something. And he interrupted me and he said, “Every day is life.” He said, “Don’t pass over the present “for some glorious future.” Now, that was an interesting comment for him to make, ’cause he was always talking about how glorious higher states of consciousness would be.
RICK: But I think he saw me clearly in that I was like, not accepting or satisfied with what I was living now, and I was always dreaming of this higher thing. So thus, thus, this could mean, doesn’t mean it’s not gonna get any better, but, you know, enjoy what it is now and build upon that.
LISSA: Yeah, I think that that’s part of it, too, is, yeah. Because people are doing, yeah, it’ll be better in the future, and maybe–
RICK: Chasing the dangling carrot, you know?
LISSA: Yeah, yeah. So no, no, don’t go there, just be here, just this. – Yes, misunderstood if we think that we, you know, just being depressed is the way it is.
RICK: And you were about to say something really interesting, but I interrupted you ’cause I wanted to get in that point. What was that, do you remember?
LISSA: While there’s nothing we can do, there’s a lot we can do.
RICK: Oh, perfect, let’s elaborate on that, please.
LISSA: So there’s a point where doing absolutely nothing, or like my friend says, doing less than nothing, is really powerful and profound in the truth. But on the way to doing nothing is peeling away layers of something. What my identity is, that would be a layer to peel away. You know, I’m a psychotherapist, I’m an artist, I’m a spiritual person, I’m, you know, like peeling all the identity away, good, bad, neutral, peel it all away. So that I’m not identifying myself as anything at all. So if I can peel that away. And locating the identity gets subtler and subtler and subtler, right? You know, like it can be really pretty gross to say, you know, like, oh yeah, oh, I see myself as my job. Oh yeah, I should let that go, you know? But do I see myself as, you know, smart? Or do I see myself as insecure? Do I see myself as, you know, those identities need to go too. I’m a nice person, I’m kind, anything at all goes.
RICK: Yeah, I mean, you’re the boundless. That’s what you are.
LISSA: Yeah, so uncover that, you know, and then even uncovering all beliefs. And there’s a point where, so I was, you know, I was talking to a friend about this. And, you know, she said, “I don’t know how to let go of beliefs.” And I sat down, I sat with myself and I thought, oh, I don’t either, you know? I don’t think that I sit there and say, what are all my beliefs? I have to like pick each one and get rid of them all. Really, if I get to the point where I can just lean back into boundless, there are no beliefs there. So, and that’s like the doing nothing thing is just like, oh, if I just lean back, everything is gone. But until you get there, it can be useful to notice the things that keep me as a separate person, separate from you. You’re not like this, I am, you’re like that. That’s what you are, you know, and labeling somebody else, labeling myself. So, identity, beliefs, concepts, because this boundless thing, you can’t believe in it.
RICK: I mean, you can believe that it’s possible to experience it, I think you could say, but believing in it alone isn’t going to do you much good. Like believing there’s really good food in this restaurant, you could starve to death doing that.
LISSA: Exactly, exactly. Yeah, so any belief, and it might help open something if he’s like, oh, I really believe that there’s more than what I’m experiencing. – Yeah, that’s good. – Okay, that’s a good one.
RICK: Yeah. – Start, first step.
LISSA: Right, right, right. So that’s a good one. So maybe beliefs that don’t limit at first, to like let them keep opening and opening. But it’s like, I think that that’s what going back to the Enneagram did for me while I was working with it for myself, was it showed me identity. It showed me identity that I didn’t even know I had, which, shadow work, right? You know, like, okay, I didn’t even know that I was walking around carrying all this with me. So it showed me that. It showed me beliefs and identity and patterns of behavior that didn’t need to be there, or, and some patterns of behavior that are still there, but I know they’re not what I am. And so they show up, oh, well, you know, but it did help with that. And any kind of tool like that, a good psychotherapist, some psychotherapy is not so good, but.
RICK: Yeah, we’re gonna talk more about psychotherapy before we’re finished here. Couple little pithy things about beliefs. I remember Oprah Winfrey was interviewing Eckhart Tolle, and she had him do this thing where he was finishing her sentences. And so one sentence was, I believe, and he said, nothing in particular. (both laughing)
LISSA: That’s it, that’s great. Yeah, that’s right, yeah.
RICK: Another good one I heard from Suzanne Giesemann, whom I interviewed a couple of times, she said, turn your demands into preferences.
LISSA: Okay, yeah.
RICK: Yeah, it’s like, you know, I will be done kind of a thing.
LISSA: Right, acceptance.
RICK: Another thing is to be scientific about it. I mean, scientists don’t put much stock in belief. They form hypotheses, and certain hypotheses are more substantiated, better substantiated than others. But the belief is really not part of the lexicon for someone who’s proceeding in an empirical path.
LISSA: Right, exactly, exactly.
RICK: So psychotherapy, you just brought that up, and that was one of your points that you wanted to be sure to talk about. How can it be useful, especially on a spiritual path?
LISSA: Yeah. So one, I think psychotherapy probably is the most useful if the psychotherapist has at least had some taste of boundless. When it’s, I’ll talk about, when it’s not so useful, it’s when the client is repeating and talking about the old stuff over and over and over again. You know, this happened in my childhood. My mother did this, my father did that, and, you know, and now my husband does this, and he reminds me of my father, and you know, but it goes on and on. You can do that for years, just remembering. So I think when psychotherapy is useful is when you can begin to see patterns of behavior, and you begin to learn how not to do that, how to go beyond what happened to you, and how to release that from your, you know, like from your thoughts, from your emotions, from your body, and not follow those trains of thought. And just feel all the feelings, feel the feelings deeply, but not always believing what the thoughts are and repeating things over and over. So it’s to move you out of that, to move beyond. And if a therapist knows about what, that there is something beyond, then there’s a place to move to. But, and I think then it can be really useful.
RICK: Do you still do psychotherapy with clients?
LISSA: I do. I prefer to do psychotherapy with people that are on a spiritual journey.
RICK: Yeah, I was gonna say, right.
LISSA: That way.
LISSA: Yeah, so, you know, we call it psychospiritual or transpersonal, but yeah, I definitely prefer that. So that the person comes in knowing that I’m gonna look for patterns, I’m gonna help them see how to release the patterns, and I’m going to also gently, if they’re open to it, move them into that boundless place. And I shouldn’t say move them, you know, like facilitate the movement to that, ’cause I’m not gonna do anything. It’s just like peel away the layers so that they can begin to rest and know the boundless itself.
RICK: Yeah. Now you yourself, of course, have done over half a century of spiritual practice. And, you know, after a lot of that spiritual practice, the boundless just became, you know, kind of welled up and became the norm for you. How do you work with somebody in the shorter term? And do you have like a grab bag of practices or techniques or things that they can do on their own to facilitate the process?
LISSA: Yeah, I do. One thing is what we talked about earlier, where I will talk about find the, you know, like put your attention in your mind. Is there a boundary there? You know, and they can do that on their own. So it’s like, put that attention there. Another thing that I really like to do with people is have them put their hands on their chest, close their eyes, breathe, and feel the pressure of their hands on their chest and feel the aliveness of the breathing inside, and then take their hands away and notice that it keeps going. But it brings you out of thoughts into body. And if I say to people, take your attention out of your mind and put it in your body, oddly enough, most people will say, where’s my body? I don’t know how to do that. You know, so it’s like, do you feel your hands? Do you feel your breathing under your hands? That’s where your body is. Take your attention, put it where you feel the pressure of your hands.
RICK: Interesting that you would say chest because Ramana talked about meditating in the heart, you know, or on the heart.
LISSA: Yeah, so yeah. So from the end, from there, the opening, and I’ll tell people to do that a minute a few times a day, just a minute, because you can’t, you usually can’t space out in one minute. (laughing)
LISSA: But you know, you could say, just meditate for 10 minutes and people could space out for 10 minutes. But you know, like, wait, oh, just a minute. I can do that for a minute. You know, so that, and I also have people exploring, what are your beliefs? What do you notice? And question all of them. Are they true? Do you know that that’s true? Do you really, really, do you know that it’s the truth?
RICK: Of course, there are loads of things. There are all sorts of teachings and practices and techniques and–
LISSA: Yeah, but the other thing that I say to people is there’s usually something that they do in their life where they are expanded. And they may not realize it, but I’ll start listing, like when you’re listening to music, when you’re dancing, when you’re walking, when you’re running.
RICK: Looking at the stars.
LISSA: Yeah, when you’re hiking on the mountains, when you’re, you know, so it’s noticing and bringing your full attention to those things and just kind of like resting in them as you’re doing them. They bring you there anyway. So then begin to notice what that shift is when you’re on that hike and you got to the top of the mountain and it’s like, wow, what just happened? Could that happen while you were washing the dishes? You know, could that, ’cause what happened was everything fell away. Everything fell away right then. And there was the boundless, as I say. So bringing it into your everyday life, but first tuning in in ways that are really natural to you. Some people love to meditate. Some people meditate while they’re walking and that’s what does it for them or fishing or, you know, like there’s so many things. But the other thing I wanted, I did want to talk about is that there are times when I think everybody does that shift into the boundless. Everybody has a way where they’ve just had that awe kind of experience when they’re hiking or wherever. And it’s like, oh, oh yeah, that was cool. I like that. But I really feel like it’s important to notice and take in and say, oh wait, that was, I let go of everything. It was like I wasn’t even there, but something else was there. Like to notice it and take note that that might’ve been the oneness. Maybe I just had one of those moments. And then you’re going to be more likely to notice other times than you’ve had that moment.
RICK: Yeah. You know, the Gallup poll has done polls of people and a large percentage of people in this country have had some kind of mystical experience. It hasn’t become the norm for them. And I think one thing to throw in the mix is that spiritual awakening is not just a shift in consciousness, it’s also a shift in the neurophysiology that corresponds to consciousness. And that’s why it doesn’t necessarily happen overnight. And so some kind of regular practice which has a physiological influence as well as being a subjective state or experience can be very valuable. And a lot of types of meditation, they’ve done tons of research on different kinds of meditation and they do just that. Psychedelics can do that, but you can’t do those all every day.
LISSA: No, and I wonder if it really, I mean, if you were going to do it enough to change your physiology.
RICK: What, psychedelics? You’d probably end up in a halfway house or something.
LISSA: I don’t think you can actually use it like that.
RICK: No. I mean, I think it was Alan Watts who said, when you get the message, hang up the phone. In other words, he can give you a glimpse of, whoa, there’s more to life than meets the eye. Okay, now let’s get down to business like Ram Dass did and find a natural way of culturing it.
LISSA: Yeah, I think that that’s what happened in that very first experience that I had where everything was breathing. That was great. – A question came in from somebody here. Let’s read this. This is from Rita. Don’t know where she’s from. How would I find a therapist with an openness to counsel spiritually? Thank you, she’s listening to one right now. I’ve made use of counselors all my life. It’s difficult to find. It seems like it would be a nightmare with regard to legalities in the world of psychotherapy.
LISSA: No. It’s not really a nightmare. So what I would do is I would go on Psychology Today. It’s an online site. It’s also a magazine, but you go on Psychology Today. You look in your area if you want someone near you, if you want a person-to-person thing, and read their bios. In my bio, you would pretty much know that my approach is going to have a spiritual tone to it.
RICK: Are they categorized there? ‘Cause there must be thousands of them.
LISSA: Yeah, and so, I mean, you can put in some key words. You could say psychospiritual, and the psychospiritual therapist will come up.
RICK: Okay. Another thing is that on BatGap, under the past interviews menu, we have a categorical index page, and there’s a whole category of psychologists and therapists and people like that, and you can check out their interviews on BatGap and go to their websites. And of course, there’s you. Listen, we’re talking to you. You could do this with them, with her. What else? Is there anything important we’re leaving out? You mentioned, I’m looking at your notes here, and we’ve covered most of these things. There’s the word surrender here. Have we talked about surrender sufficiently?
LISSA: We talked around it. I think, yeah, we could talk a little bit more about surrender. So how we’ve been talking around it is the letting go and peeling away of identity or beliefs, and in that process, in the letting go or the peeling away, there’s a deeper relaxing that happens inside the body and the nervous system. Surrender is a letting go. It’s a deep, deep relaxing of everything. So the acceptance of things in the moment, not adding to it, we talked about letting go of all these things, but there’s this feeling of deep resting that to me is a surrender, a letting go. And sometimes there’s even, when things get really, really difficult and you really don’t know what to do and you’ve meditated and you’re just really stuck, there’s a deep resting, and I might call it surrender, that you can do, but it has to be very real. It can’t be, well, now I’ll try the surrender thing.
RICK: How do you elicit it? How do you evoke it?
LISSA: So you might say, I don’t know how to do this. You might even ask for help and you don’t even know what you’re asking help from. It’s better if you don’t know. You’re not asking of anything in particular. You’re just saying, I need help. I don’t know what to do. As soon as that is real, you have let go, you’ve surrendered. And you’re not trying so hard and you’re not working at it so hard and you’re not frustrated with it. And so it’s in that, ugh, I just don’t know.
RICK: Yeah, that’s a good point. There’s a whole thing, it’s got an interesting dynamic in the Bhagavad Gita where Arjuna is saying to Krishna, I don’t wanna fight. I’m not gonna do this, this and that and the other thing. And then, but then he finally kind of comes to his wits end and he says, I give up. I take refuge in the, I am thy disciple, teach me. Tell me what to do. Because he’s tried everything. It always kind of also reminds me of Winston Churchill. He said, Americans always do the right thing after only, but only after trying every other alternative.
LISSA: Right, right. (laughing) Yes, yes. So that’s the asking, like, I don’t know. That’s the asking for help. But you know you’re not really doing it. If you do that, you go, oh, I really don’t know. Why isn’t it different yet?
RICK: Yeah, yeah.
LISSA: Because the surrender really is an acceptance of everything just as it is, and you don’t know. You don’t know what to do next.
RICK: Sorry to keep quoting the Gita, but there’s another great verse that I love that’s on this point, which is that it says, you have control over action alone, never over its fruits. Which is great, because I mean, whatever’s happening, okay, we don’t have control over that. It already, whatever caused it to happen, it’s happening now. We can’t say don’t happen. But we do have control over what we’re doing now, and now, and now, and now. And that can result in very different fruits somewhere down the line.
LISSA: Right, that’s true. Well, I guess the website will show the different things that I do that probably covers that.
RICK: Yeah, and you have three websites, right? There’s the Boundless website about your books. There’s one about your art. Is that your art up behind you on the wall there?
RICK: Imagine it is. That’s really nice. And then you have an Enneagram website. You say you’ve retired from that, but you can–
LISSA: But it’s still there, and the school is still there.
RICK: Yeah, good. And you have openings if someone wanted to do some Zoom sessions with you?
LISSA: Limited, but yeah. I could squeeze somebody in. So, oh yeah, okay. So yeah, I have limited openings individually, but I do have some here and there, ’cause they’re kind of random. But I do do, once a month, I do a Monday night group, and that’s on Zoom and in person. –
RICK: Oh, nice.
LISSA: And there’s retreats.
RICK: And is the Monday night group listed on your Boundless website?
LISSA: Yes, it is.
RICK: Okay, so people can figure out how to sign up for that.
LISSA: Yeah, yeah. And there’s actually one this Monday. This is the once a month thing.
RICK: Okay, good. Or every month. Oh, just once a month.
LISSA: It’s just once a month, yeah.
RICK: All right, this interview won’t go up before this Monday, but the people listening in the live audience could get to it.
LISSA: Right, that’s true.
RICK: And did you just say something about retreats?
LISSA: Yeah, I do. Actually, I do, once a year, I do a retreat in Florida, and twice a year, I do retreats in the Asheville area. Flat Rock, Weaverville, Asheville, around there.
RICK: People come in from all over the place?
LISSA: Yeah, mm-hmm.
RICK: All righty, so I think Irene just sent this question over. Let’s see what it is. Here it is. This is from someone named Joseph Murphy. Regarding the self-talk diagnosis, how you describe being with the feeling emotion present and not attaching to it, letting it go by. My question has to do with what feels like a negative energy as panic, fear, stress, without a conscious awareness of what’s causing it. Impractical to let it go because it’s constant. Is there a technique to find its root and diagnose it to heal and release?
LISSA: It’s always gonna come with a thought. Now, the thought might be subtle. It might be an underlying kind of pervasive belief that is being held. Panic, fear doesn’t come without any cause. There’s always gonna be some belief or thought connected to it. It may take a little bit to, if it’s been pervasive in a real long habit, it may take a little bit to tease out, to actually focus in on what is that belief? And then to take the attention out and just put it in where you feel it in your body, it doesn’t mean that the thoughts stop. And I should always say this because people always misunderstand me to be saying stop thinking and just feel the feelings. And we can’t stop the thinking.
RICK: No, the mind’s gonna keep going, yeah.
LISSA: Gonna keep going, but you can take the attention away from the mind and put it in where the feelings are. And that would be the hands on the chest because feelings happen lower in the body. Emotions don’t happen up here, thoughts happen here. Emotions happen in the body. So taking the attention and putting it fully on the feelings, we pop out and like, oh God, I don’t want that feeling. That’s like really so uncomfortable. Put it back, put the attention back. That’s more thought.
RICK: Yeah, would you agree with the statement that feeling something is nature’s way of calling our attention to where it wants our attention to be because the attention can have a healing influence. And so we need to allow it to be, to dwell on the place that we’re feeling.
LISSA: Yes, and to stay. So we are ruminating when we’re thinking a lot about the feeling that we’re having and the thinking makes more feeling and then the feeling, you know, then the thinking. And there’s this like mind-body thing, but if we really put all the attention in the feeling, that’s when it can be released.
LISSA: It can’t be released if we’re feeding it with a constant feed of thought.
RICK: And you keep bringing your hands to your heart as you say feeling. So are you suggesting that primarily it’s going to be in the heart area that we’re going to be feeling these things?
LISSA: It’ll be anywhere from like the bottom of your throat down to your solar plexus.
LISSA: It’s in this area.
RICK: Almost sounds like different chakras, it could be in there.
LISSA: Yeah, yeah, right, right. And there’s a different energy. Each emotion has a different energetic component.
RICK: Yeah. Do you ever deal with people having spiritual emergencies, Kundalini awakenings that they’re scared of and stuff like that?
LISSA: Sure. So not frequently, but some, yes.
RICK: Yeah, that comes up surprisingly often. I often have people getting in touch saying, I’m freaking out, what am I going to do? I can’t sleep. I’m living with my parents ’cause I can’t hold down a job ’cause the Kundalini is going wild. I have a kind of a short list of people and references to refer people to when I hear that.
LISSA: Yeah, that’s important, that’s good.
LISSA: Yeah. Yeah, it can be scary.
RICK: Yeah. – It can be very disruptive.
LISSA: Yeah. The other thing that happens when I’m, sometimes when I’m working with someone doing psychotherapy, and I think it just happens when there’s a readiness in the other person because there’s nothing that I do, but that energetic shift will start happening and filling the room with this energy. And the person that calls me like, whoa, what just happened? I’m feeling something is different in here. Someone, people will feel that. And of course I know it’s happening, but I don’t say anything unless they do because I always feel like, oh, did you feel that? So, but sometimes that energetic shift happens when I’m with someone. And I think it’s because they’re ready. And so we both start resonating in that way together. And I know that it’s affecting the nervous system. I know that it’s helping a shift go on.
RICK: Yeah. – And I can feel it in my nervous system.
RICK: Yeah, that’s great. Okay, well, I don’t know if that’s like a good wrap up point but we’ve been going on for a couple of hours. We’ve covered a lot of points. And I think at this stage people have a pretty good sense of what you’re up to. I recommend your books. They’re very entertaining and interesting. They’re available in print and on audible. I’m kind of an audible kind of guy. I always like to listen to things, but they’re available either way. Each one takes a little over three hours to listen to if you’re listening to the audio. But I think there’s a lot of wisdom. In fact, as I was listening, almost every single chapter I was thinking, okay, we could talk about this. All right, we could talk about this. (laughing) ‘Cause there’s good stuff and it was very well written. So I guess, thank you. And thanks to those who’ve been listening or watching and feel free to check out Alyssa’s websites and books if you feel like it. And there’s a lot of kind of some good stuff in there.
LISSA: Yeah, thank you so much. It’s so good to sit and talk to you.
RICK: Yeah, and thanks for being a Backgap fan for the last couple of years, which you told me before we connected. And again, thanks to those who’ve been listening or watching, the next interview is gonna be with this guy. Maybe just bring it up real fast. I think he’s Irish in his name. And he’s this interesting, here it is, Sean O’Leary. And he has a website called Spirits in Space Suits. And he seems to have had a very interesting path, mystical Christianity for the most part. And a lot of people were requesting that I interview him. So I’m gonna do that for the next one. So stay tuned. And those who are listening, if you’d like to be notified once we post an interview, there’s a mailing list you can get on. That’ll notify you that the interview is up. You can also subscribe to the YouTube channel. And if you hit the little bell thing when you subscribe, then it definitely notifies you each time something is posted, a new interview is posted. And I would suggest exploring the website because there are all kinds of resources on the site that we’ve been building up over the years that you may not be aware of if you’re just watching it on YouTube. So that’s batgap.com. So thanks again, LISSA. And thanks to those who’ve been listening or watching.
LISSA: Thank you.
RICK: Irene says, “I said that three times.” Okay, you never say it too many times. (laughing) Hope to meet you in person someday.
LISSA: Yeah, let me know if you’re in Asheville, seriously.
RICK: Will do. I have a good friend there who runs the TM Center. Haven’t seen him in ages either. Tom Ball is his name.
LISSA: Yeah, well, let me know.
RICK: Alrighty. Talk to you later. Thanks, everybody.