Rick Archer: Welcome to Buddha at the Gas Pump. My name is Rick Archer. Buddha at the Gas Pump is an ongoing series of conversations with spiritually awakening people. We’ve done well over six hundred 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. 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 a PayPal button on every page of the website. There’s also a page explaining other ways to donate if you don’t want to use PayPal. My guest today is Lynne Twist. I first saw Lynne speak at the Science and Nonduality Conference many years ago and was really inspired by her presentation and have always wanted to have her on. And now we’re finally doing it. I usually don’t read people’s bios because it’s kind of boring to just hear me read. I’d rather have the person tell their own story. But there’re so many things that Lynne has done, and I’m afraid she won’t mention them all if I leave it up to her. I just want to read her bio, and then we’ll take it from there. Over the past 40 years, Lynne has worked with over 100,000 people in 50 countries in the areas of fundraising with integrity, conscious philanthropy, strategic visioning, and having a healthy relationship with money. Her clients include Microsoft, Procter and Gamble, the International Unity Church, Charles Schwab, United Way, the National Black Theatre of Harlem, Harvard University, and others. She is a sought-after speaker. She has presented for the United Nations Beijing Women’s Conference – I listened to your whole book, Lynne, where there were some horrific stories women told. Maybe we’ll get to those that were told at that conference – State of the World Forum, Synthesis Dialogues with His Holiness the Dalai Lama, and the Governor’s Conference on California Women, among others. A recognized global visionary, Ms. Twist has been an advisor to the Desmond Tutu Foundation and the Nobel Women’s Initiative. Lynne is the recipient of numerous prestigious honors including the Woman of Distinction Award from the United Nations. She is a co-founder of the Pachamama Alliance, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to empower indigenous people of the Amazon rainforest to preserve their lands and culture. In addition, Lynne serves on a number of nonprofit boards, including the Fetzer Institute, the Institute of Noetic Sciences, many of whose members I have interviewed, Bioneers, Conscious Capitalism, and Women’s Earth Alliance. From working with Mother Teresa in Calcutta, to the refugee camps in Ethiopia, and the threatened rain forests of the Amazon. Lynne’s on-the-ground work has brought her a deep understanding of the social tapestry of the world, and the historical landscape of the times we’re living in. So that’s Lynne’s bio. Actually, a highly condensed version of it, I’m sure, because you’ve done so many things. Do you ever get the feeling when you hear somebody introducing you like that, are they talking about me? Did I actually do all that stuff? Because don’t you kind of have a feeling that, in some sense, you’re an instrument of something much larger than yourself? Such that you’re not tightly constricted by the confines of your individuality. There’s some larger intelligence or something that’s guiding you and that you’re serving.
Lynne Twist: Yeah, absolutely. I’m always sort of, oh my god, I must be 150 years old. But I just have been so fortunate. I’ll say called, and when you are called the way I have been fortunate enough to be called, you are used well by the universe. You do become an instrument of the future of what wants to happen of the highest aspirations of the universe. And it gives you a lot of freedom. It sounds sort of like oh my god, you get burdened with all these big problems. No, it’s the opposite. You get liberated into service, and you don’t worry about the problems anymore because you’re working on them. When you sit back and look at the world, and it’s such a mess, you can get scared and worry and kind of shut down. But when you get into action on the things that are really challenging all of us, there’s no time to worry, you just are making it happen. It’s as you said, and I’m really saying the same thing you said. I feel that I’ve been become an instrument of what wants to happen or what the universe is trying to accomplish. This evolutionary leap that I feel very clearly we’re on as a human family, that that’s our job now to take an evolutionary leap, or not, and or not would be not a good choice. But we certainly have that opportunity. And we’re certainly being invited, encouraged, asked, and demanded to do so.
Rick Archer: Yeah. I’m sure you’ve experienced that when you step forward and make yourself an instrument like that, you have a powerful wind filling your sails, so to speak, and people might look at you and say, where did she get all this energy? But it’s coming from a really deep place that you are just a representative of.
Lynne Twist: Right, it’s coming through me, not from me.
Rick Archer: Exactly. Yeah.
Lynne Twist: It’s coming through me from the natural world, from the Earth. I was just in the Amazon rainforest in August. That’s where we work, that’s our commitment. As you said, the Pachamama Alliance is designated and designed and devoted to empowering the indigenous people of the Sacred Headwaters region of the Amazon rainforest to preserve that sacred place, their land and culture but moreover, that source of the Amazon system, which is the source of our climate system. I hadn’t been there in two years, and before that I had been going all the time. So, I didn’t realize what a huge source of energy, inspiration, unbounded power that came through me when I was in the Amazon, because I’m clearly an instrument of that ecosystem. The energy comes from there and comes through me as long as I’m clean and clear and open.
Rick Archer: Yeah. Remember that prayer of St. Francis, Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace. You alluded to the shift the world is undergoing, and I’d like to start with that. I’d like to talk about when, if you feel it’s the right place to start, you were first called to the Amazon, which is not something you had thought of doing, because you began having these recurring dream-like visions of painted faces arising out of the jungle. I think that might be an interesting place to start.
Lynne Twist: Okay, well, if we go back to 1994, I was doing a favor for a friend, a donor, who was one of the contributors to The Hunger Project. I was responsible for the fundraising for The Hunger Project, a very large global organization that exists today working on ending world hunger. My focus was Sub-Saharan Africa and India and Bangladesh, or the Indian subcontinent and Sub-Saharan Africa, where the majority of hunger and real abject poverty exists. I wasn’t working at all in South America or Central America. I wasn’t even thinking about South America or Central America and wasn’t thinking about the environment in 1994. Thank God other people were, but I wasn’t. I was working on hunger, really our human condition. I went to Guatemala to support a friend who was a donor and my friend, John Perkins, who had done lots and lots of work with the Shuar people in the Ecuadorian Amazon when he was in the Peace Corps and had become a shaman in his own right. John was a wonderful friend, and he was on the board of this organization that I went to help out. When I went there, John, was there. In fact, John and I led a delegation of some of the donors to this organization to Guatemala. When we were in Guatemala, John who’s very, very bright, and very tuned in, he said, I can tell the projects we’re looking at, and the people who say they’re managing them are working with a shaman. I can feel the energy, the shamanic energies. This has got a magic to it that goes beyond good decision making, effective strategies, good development. No, there’s a magic here. I think there’s a shaman involved. And sure enough, there was. So, we went to see the shaman who was a Mayan shaman. John and I organized a small group of us, including himself and myself to go see this man. Roberto Pose was his name, and he’s a Mayan shaman. He didn’t speak Spanish or English, so John needed to kind of do as best he could translating – he spoke a little Mayan and is very fluent in Spanish – while this shaman orchestrated a ceremony. This took place at midnight on the top of a kind of a mesa on a mountain in the area of Guatemala called Totonicapán near Chichicastenango, which is quite a famous place for people. It was very rural. The shaman had built a fire, a pretty large fire, and created a space for us to lay down around the fire. There were twelve of us with our feet towards the fire like a wagon wheel. There was no medicine involved, just his exquisite chanting and drumming and whistling. His voice was so, let’s see, mesmerizing. He told us to close our eyes and journey. I wasn’t really sure what that meant. This is at midnight now. It’s the middle of the night, dark as can be but a starry sky, no moon, but billions of stars because we were very far away from any light at all, except for the fire that we were sitting around or laying around. I close my eyes at his instruction, and he was drumming and chanting. The chanting was just so awesome. It was so mesmerizing and so hypnotic. You can kind of imagine that I just went into some sort of an altered state, or at least I felt that I did. But then I was sort of bothered by my right arm, it was quivering. I felt it sort of transformed into this giant thing. I realized it’s a wing, and I had to extend it while my left arm was quivering and it, too, was turning into this gigantic wing. Then I felt this weird, beak-like thing growing on my face. And I absolutely had to fly. There was no way I could continue laying on the ground like that. I had to fly, and I began to fly up into the night sky, the starry gorgeous, amazing, celestial sky. I could still hear the shaman’s voice and the drum as if it was right next to me. I remember looking down and seeing the fire and the people around the fire. I even saw myself down there, lying there as I flew in kind of slow motion up into the night sky. At a certain point, even though I still heard the drumming and the chanting, I was now looking down over a vast, unending forest of green. It started to dawn, and it was so beautiful. It was so glorious. It was so vast; it went forever and ever and ever and ever and ever. I was flying like this in slow motion, and I was so happy. I was just in a state of bliss. Then this amazing thing happened. These disembodied faces of men with orange geometric face paint on their faces started to float up and they had yellow, red, and black feather crowns on their heads that were very beautiful. These men’s faces started to float up from the forest floor through the canopy to me the bird. There were three, four or five, six of them, and they were calling to the bird in a strange tongue that I didn’t understand. Then they would disappear into the forest. I kept flying in slow motion like this giant bird which I had become. Then a little bit later, they started floating up from the forest again, calling to the bird in a strange tongue. This went on and on, they would disappear, they would reappear, they would disappear, they would reappear, and they were beautiful. It was so hypnotic, the whole experience. I was so ecstatically happy, and I was in this mesmerized state of kind of bliss as these faces kept calling to me. Then at a certain point, I heard a very loud drumbeat, and it was startling. I remember sitting up and opening my eyes and realizing I didn’t have wings. I didn’t have a beak. I was a human being. I looked across – and the fire had now become embers, so it was a pretty long time – at the shaman and he was giving me this sort of strange look. All the other people were coming out of whatever it is they had experienced, and you could tell everybody had had something major happen for them. So, the shaman as best he could through John’s translation, asked us to share our journey. One by one people shared that they had each become an animal. Every single person – somebody became a wolf, another person became a snake, another person became a deer, another person became an otter. When it got to me, I shared about becoming this giant bird and having this experience of this encounter with these incredible indigenous faces. Then the next person shared, the next person, and the next person shared, and then it got to my friend, John Perkins. He shared almost the same vision that I had. The shaman completed the ritual, dismissed everyone but John and I, and sat us down and told us this was not a normal vision, this was a communication. You’re being called, and you need to respond, you need to go to the people who are calling for you. I was just doing this trip to Guatemala as a favor to a donor, so I didn’t want to get engaged there too much. I had huge responsibilities in Sub-Saharan Africa, India, and Bangladesh. I was ending world hunger. It was a big job. I couldn’t chuck it off. So, I said to John, whatever it is, you do it. He said, I know who they are, Lynne. I know where they are. They’re the Achuar people, they’ve had no contact with the outside world. This is the first contact invitation. It is phenomenal, it is historic, you have to go. I know where they are. I know who they are, because they’re the neighbors of the Shuar that I’ve been working with. I recognize the facial markings. I recognize the crowns. I know we must go. He said, they’re in Ecuador. I said, John, I’ve never even been to South America. I don’t speak Spanish. I need to go end world hunger, you do that. He said, well, they won’t leave you alone until you come. And I didn’t really buy it. I just thought, wow, this was pretty cool, but I can’t do this. So, I went from there to Accra, Ghana, which is the capital of Ghana, to a Hunger Project board of directors meeting for the Ghanaian Hunger Project. We were sitting in the first-floor conference room, a small conference room at the Novotel in Accra, Ghana. I’ll never forget this. There were five men and three women in the meeting and myself. The five and three, they were all Ghanaian people. They had just beautiful blue-black skin. Ghanaian people are very beautiful people, and their skin is very dark. They were sitting around this table, and I’m sitting in on their board meeting from the Global office, and this is their board meeting. I wasn’t leading it, I was just sitting in on it. Then at a certain point, all of the men, all five men started to have orange geometric face paint just appear on their black faces. I thought it was crazy, and everyone kept talking as if this wasn’t happening, there was no mention of it. I thought, oh my god, I’m a little nuts from that thing in Guatemala. So, I did what all women do, we go to the ladies room when we don’t know what to do. I went to the ladies room. I wash my face, I splash cold water on myself, I shook myself to come out of this, whatever it was that I was envisioning there. I walk back in the room, and everybody was normal and still talking. Within 10 minutes, it happened again – orange geometric face paint just slowly appearing on the men’s faces, just the men. I just, I fell apart, I burst into tears. Everybody kind of said what’s wrong, what’s wrong? I said, well, I don’t really know, but I’m feeling very, very ill, and I need to go back to the United States. I’ve been in too many time zones, too many countries. I just, I can’t stay. I was supposed to stay a week. They were all very, very concerned for me, but I said just let me go up to my room. This is 1994, no cell phone, no internet. I go up to my room, I packed my bag, and I just go. I take a taxi straight to the airport. I didn’t know how I was going to get on a plane or where I was going to go, but I had to find a way back home. I get to the airport, and I take the first plane to Europe which was to Frankfurt. Then I went from Frankfurt to New York, and then New York to San Francisco. So, it’s a really long time, this journey home. The whole time the faces kept moving towards me. Whether I had my eyes closed or open, the faces just kept reappearing of the men with the orange face paint and the yellow, red, and black feather crowns. When I got home, I was a total wreck, and I told my husband Bill.
Rick Archer: Let me just ask you, had you ever had any kind of mystical or visionary experiences, or was this totally new to you, something like this?
Lynne Twist: Well, I was on the board of the Institute of the Noetic Sciences. I had been chairman, vice chairman for years and been involved in experiments. I was open to mystical experiences. Yes, I think I was. But this was way beyond anything I’d ever known. This was too, this was too disturbing. It was scary actually. When I got home, it didn’t stop, the visions. I tried to reach John Perkins and he’d gone back to the rain forest, so he was unreachable. I sent him a million faxes. That’s what you could do then and left him voicemails. You couldn’t do anything else. But then he came home, and I told Bill I was losing my mind. He just said, you need to rest, you’ve been traveling too much, working too hard, like any good husband would do. But I didn’t tell him about the faces really because I thought I was crazy. When John came back from the Ecuadorian Amazon, he called me after getting a zillion messages from me. He said, Lynne, I went with the Shuar warriors to see the Achuar. They’re waiting for us, they want us to bring them 12 people from the modern world including ourselves. People who have open hearts, people who have a global voice, people who know the rainforest is critical to the future of life, people who are open to indigenous wisdom, and people who will respect the ways of the shaman. Those were the five criteria. So, John and I picked 10 people. I pick Bill, my husband Bill is number one, and we all went down to Quito. We traveled down the valley of the volcanoes over the eastern side of the Andes range, down the Pastaza River Canyon, through this beautiful corridor to the edge of the vast incredible Amazon rainforest that stretches all the way across the continent, larger than the United States is the Amazon rainforest. We got a military plane to fly us into Shuar territory, and then a Shuar pilot took us to Achuar territory. There are no roads where we went, so a little tiny plane lands sort of in a dirt area next to a river and then flies away. It goes and gets three more people, and then three more people until the twelve of us were there. Then sure enough, they came out of the forest with their orange geometric face paint, yellow, red, and black feather crowns, and spears. They took us in their canoes, up the Cupahuari River and showed us a place to camp. We didn’t really know how to communicate with them, it didn’t seem they spoke Spanish. So, it was a very rough beginning, but after them watching us and us watching them, we eventually got in communication. And that was the beginning of something that’s now called the Pachamama Alliance.
Rick Archer: How did you get in communication? Just by watching? Did you work out some kind of sign language or something to communicate?
Lynne Twist: Yeah. So, if you’ve ever traveled in a country where people don’t speak your language, you figure out how to communicate, you just do. Sign language and talking your language and trying to talk theirs, and especially if there’s a lot of kindness and generosity and people really trying to connect, then you can make yourself known. But after two or three days of us camping over here, and then being over there, they kind of watched us. They killed a wild boar, and they invited us to feast with them. During that first real kind of breaking bread together – it wasn’t bread, it was a dead animal – one of them revealed that he spoke Spanish.
Rick Archer: Oh, there you go.
Lynne Twist: And then we could communicate. We went to see their shaman, which was scary, but beautiful. We engaged in the sacred ceremony of ayahuasca and had incredible visions. In the morning, we knew this is not just a trip, this was the beginning of a whole other chapter of our lives.
Rick Archer: Yeah. There’s a lot more to say about this, because they have these visions of what’s happening to the world and the role that they have to play and the role that sort of the modern world has to play, and how neither one can make it without the other. I’m going to want you to elaborate on all that, because I find that very inspiring. There’re so many things we can say about this. Since the seventies, I’ve felt that we’re entering into a time of huge transition. And it’s going to be very chaotic, if not cataclysmic, and hopefully, we’ll come out the other side of it with something far better than we’ve ever known. I’ve heard you describe that these people have the same expectation, but it’s not just going to happen automatically, we’ve got to do the right things.
Lynne Twist: Right, exactly. There’s a beautiful prophecy that they tell in the Andes and in the Amazon called the Prophecy of the Eagle and the Condor. They say that this is the time when the eagle people, which are the people like you and me and our listeners here who perceive life primarily through the mind, the ego people at this time in history will reach a kind of zenith in their capacity to use the mind and we’ll even invent tools to extend the capacity of the mind. That’s probably a prophecy about computers and artificial intelligence. We will be materially rich beyond any previous generation’s imagination, but we will be spiritually impoverished to our peril, and our very survival will be at risk. While the condor people, which refers to indigenous people, will live primarily through the wisdom of the heart, the five senses, and inhabit the spirit world as their primary home. They will have reached a kind of zenith and sophistication in their skills and their way of life, but they will be materially impoverished to their peril in any encounter with the ego world, and their survivability also be at risk. They say that at this time in history, the beginning of the third millennium, this is the first century of the third millennium, the eagle people and the condor people will begin to fly together in the same sky, and the world will come back into balance. It will change from hundreds of years of domination of the eagle people over the condor people, which is called the five hundred years of the fourth Pachacuti, to the fifth Pachacuti which is the Pachacuti of Balance and Light.
Rick Archer: Pachacuti is a time period?
Lynne Twist: It’s 500 years, the 500-year Pachacuti. The fourth Pachacuti was called the Pachacuti of Dominance and Darkness, and it began right around 1492 and went to the year 2000. Then this is the beginning of the fifth Pachacuti, which is called the Pachacuti of Balance and Light, but the change from the fourth Pachacuti to the fifth Pachacuti will take they say 25 to 50 years. During that time Pachamama, which is their name for Mother Earth, will humble all her creatures with huge climactic events, earthquakes, temperatures rising, fires, floods, tsunamis, to humble all her creatures. So, they remember their rightful role in relationship with her going into the Pachacuti of Balance and Light. This time of climactic turmoil and huge crisis with our climate has been predicted for 1000s of years by the indigenous people as a way that the Mother is humbling us, in some cases destroying us. But humbling us so that we will find a rightful role of integrity with her as we go into the Pachacuti of the five hundred years of Balance and Light, where the eagle and the condor fly together. That’s very much of a prophecy about this conversation we’re having, a prophecy about the Pachamama Alliance.
Rick Archer: So, 25 to 50 years, that would put us up to either 2025 or 2050. I don’t know if we’re gonna make it by 2025, because it seems to me there’s going to have to be a heck of a lot more change than we’re going to be able to undergo over the next four years.
Lynne Twist: Yeah. They say this is a huge transitional period, this 25 to 50 years where we are receiving massive feedback from the Mother, massive feedback and the pandemic is part of it they say.
Rick Archer: Can you elaborate on that a bit more?
Lynne Twist: Well, they say the pandemic is an announcement from the Mother. So, everything comes from the Earth, everything – this computer, the pen I’m writing with. Everything that we obviously know comes from the Earth, including the pandemic. The pandemic, that virus, it impacts only one species of the millions of species on the planet. Only one species gets sick, and it’s us. Why is that? They say that pandemic is an announcement. It’s not a punishment. It’s an ally. It’s halting us. It’s interrupting our way of life so that we have to stop and think and resource, reset, regenerate who we are for the next five hundred years. I call it morning sickness for a pregnant species that’s pregnant with its own rebirth. When a woman is pregnant, and she doesn’t know she’s pregnant, and she’s vomiting in the morning and feeling tired by two o’clock and wanting weird things and feeling very out of sorts and doesn’t know she’s pregnant, she actually considers herself sick. But if she finds out she’s pregnant, then she’s no longer sick-she’s having a baby. And it’s amazing, you’re still throwing up, but you’re like, wow, I’m gonna have a baby. I say that the pandemic is our morning sickness for a pregnancy that we’re entering as a species to re-birth ourselves, to co-labor; both men and women collaborate into a next evolutionary leap of what it means to be a human being. All pregnancies do not produce a baby; there’re miscarriages, stillborns, and all kinds of things. So, we have to really realize that what this whole thing is, this is a metaphor. The indigenous people say how we hold this interruption, the pandemic, how we hold the climate crisis, it’s not happening to us, it’s happening for us. It’s feedback so that we will make the changes necessary to survive. And if we don’t, we’ll go extinct.
Rick Archer: Yeah, these things are happening for us, but they’re also happening because of us. If it’s true that the pandemic came from a wet market in Wuhan with conditions that were horrific and horrifically cruel, it almost seems like something negative for had to come out of that. Or, if it came from a lab, we shouldn’t have been monkeying around the way we might have been in that lab. Either way, we create these things.
Lynne Twist: Right.
Rick Archer: Do you feel like people are getting the message? Because murders increased 30% in 2020 over the average or maybe the previous year, and there’re a lot of people who still deny that there is a pandemic or who deny or refuse to take things which could prevent them from getting sick. Then in terms of climate change, it seems like half the politicians are still denying that it’s a problem, or blaming it on sunspots, or whatever. So, we seem to be kind of stubborn and slow to learn. In terms of climate change, there’re all these tipping points beyond which it’ll be very hard to recover. How optimistic are you in light of the way we’re actually responding to these challenges?
Lynne Twist: Well, I’m a possibilist. So, I stand for the possibility that this is forcing, maybe it’s harsh, but maybe much more gentler than it could be, a transformation. I think it’s happening. Just like this beautiful metaphor. You’ve probably heard this a million times, but I’ll say it anyway because it so works. When a caterpillar reaches a certain stage of its evolution
Rick Archer: Ah, yeah, Elisabet Sahtouris. I’ve interviewed her, yeah, continue.
Lynne Twist: it becomes, yeah, she’s the source of this insider. There’re many people who say it, but she’s the one that carries it so beautifully. A caterpillar becomes a voraciously consumptive little critter. One caterpillar can consume a whole tree and becomes very obese, and just has to eat, eat, eat. In that stage of the caterpillar’s evolutionary journey, inside the caterpillar’s now over-consumptive little monstrous body, the imaginal cells awaken. Imaginal cells.
Rick Archer: Like imagination, the cells have this?
Lynne Twist: They’re a certain kind of cell, and they need to find each other so they can cluster. Every caterpillar does not turn into a butterfly, only the ones where enough imaginal cells cluster, and it doesn’t have to be the majority. Most caterpillars die fuzzy little brown, little monsters. But if enough imaginal cells cluster, then the rest of the cells – and it’s not the majority of that cluster, just some number – the rest of the cells turn into what’s called the nutritive soup out of which the imaginal cells create the absolute unpredictable miracle of a butterfly. I say your program, Buddha at the Gas Pump with over 600 conversations is bringing the imaginal cells together so that we realize that we have a special assignment, a special responsibility, and not everybody’s going to take this on. But if enough of us do, we can transform this brown caterpillar into an exquisite butterfly. I say that because there are naysayers, yeah, but not that many anymore. There are people who are like, oh shit, what am I going to do? I don’t know what to do, I’m just going to go to sleep or take drugs or overdose myself. Yes, there’re people like that, but there are a lot of people like you and me. I say there’s enough of us, in every country, in every discipline, in every hospital, in every school, in every university in every company, that are doing what they know to do to create the transformation of humankind. I feel certain, I can’t predict, I don’t predict, I just stand for, but with certainty, that that’s the job of our time. That if you’re alive and born at this time in history, you have a role to play. It’s not necessarily a big role or small role, it’s just your role, and if you play it, this transformation will take place. Maybe you’re the nutritive soup, thank God for that. Whatever it is. I feel that I don’t worry about whether or not it’s going to happen, I just work on causing it to happen. I don’t have time to predict. I’m just all about making it happen. And that’s, I think, the job.
Rick Archer: You’ve probably heard of those examples from nature, like 1% of the heart cells are called pacemaker cells, and they coordinate the beating of all the other cells in the heart so that it beats coherently. There’re other examples like a laser; the square root of 1% of the photons in a laser, if they line up coherently, the others entrain with them, and you have one giant photon, so to speak, in terms of a coherent beam of light. There are many other examples in nature like that, where a small percentage of the population of something can have an outsized effect on the rest of the population of it. So that’s kind of what you’re alluding to.
Lynne Twist: Yeah, exactly. I didn’t know about 1% of the heart cells. I like that.
Rick Archer: That’s what I’ve heard. And you’ve probably heard about in the TM world, the whole experiment with getting groups of people to meditate and having some impact. I was in Iran for three months meditating with a group and there did seem to be a correlation between our arrival and departure and the degree of social upheaval there and other groups who were in other parts of the world. There’s another metaphor you use. You’re working on a book called The Sophia Century, and there’s a metaphor about a bird with only one wing. And the other wing is not being used properly, so the bird is flying in circles and the one wing is getting too powerful and violent and such. Let’s go into that one a little bit.
Lynne Twist: Well, that’s another prophecy that I love because I think it’s so powerful. It’s a Baha’i prophecy for the Baha’i people, that’s their prophecy. I’ll just say this again, we’re in the third millennium now, and we’re in the first century of the third millennium. So, this is only 21 years into the first century of the third millennium. When you place us in time like that, it’s helpful to see these huge trends. The Baha’i people say that at this time in history, the beginning of the third millennium, the bird of humanity, which has been flying for centuries, has a male wing and a female wing. The male wing has been fully extended and fully expressed for centuries, and the female wing has not yet been fully expressed, or fully extended. So, sort of folded in as you as you demonstrate it. The male wing, in order to keep the bird of humanity afloat, has gotten over developed, over muscular and in fact, has become violent. The bird of humanity has been flying in circles, thus, for hundreds of years. But in the beginning of the third millennium, the female wing or the feminine in all of us, in men and women, women and men will fully extend which will allow the male wing in all of us to relax, and the bird of humanity for the first time in history will soar. That’s a prophecy about this time also. I love that because it doesn’t make men wrong and women right. It doesn’t say female is better than male. It doesn’t do any of that. It just really acknowledges that we’re in overdrive in the masculine part of who we are including myself. We’re held back and suppressed and not taking seriously our intuition, compassion, heart, tenderness, collaboration, community-all our more feminine, divine feminine values and qualities that are part of every human being. They are sort of second class to productivity, effectiveness, measure, and drive. To put these two in balance in your life, in my life, in everybody’s life, in the way we raise our children, in the way we govern, in the way we walk in the world is what must happen for us to resolve the climate crisis, for us to resolve the political breakdown, for us to resolve and really start educating people in a way of wholeness. I call this the Sophia Century, the century of divine wisdom. It’s when women will take our rightful role and co-equal partnership with man and the world will come into balance. It’s the century that kicks off the third millennium with a rebalancing of yin and yang. It’s the century when divine feminine wisdom, which is what Sophia really means in the Greek terminology, is what’s guiding rather than drive and productivity and more and more and more of everything. We’re living in a world now where we have enough. We have had enough for a long time to take care of everybody, even with growing populations, we’re doing more with less all the time. We now live in a world where we don’t need to compete the way we’re competing. We just need to provide for each other. These feminine values that are in you, that are in me, that are inclusive, that are compassionate, that are connected, that are communal, intuitive, heart based, need to rise to a place that calms down the masculine, uplifts the feminine, and everybody has a balanced, healthy future. So, that’s the Baha’i prophecy. I call this the Sophia Century because it is.
Rick Archer: It does seem that they are rising. There’s a lot of evidence for it. Women are just gaining more and more, or well, you elaborate on how they’re rising. You’d be able to say it more eloquently than I.
Lynne Twist: Well, there’s the women’s movement, which began long ago when I was a young woman, that has really, really, really been a powerful marker. When I think about my daughter and then my granddaughter-my daughter is middle aged, my granddaughter has just turned twenty-two. She’s black-white, she’s mixed race, she’s Muslim. She wants to be an attorney. She graduated from college with a total social justice and environmental sustainability lens on life. She wants to be an attorney and work on human rights or climate justice law. When I went to college at Stanford, a lot of the women went to get a husband, and there were not that many women, it was like four men to one woman. That was what they were doing there. And this is expensive, a very high-level education taught us a lot more than that. But now, there are more women in medical schools than men, there’s more and more women now in business school, more and more women in law school, it’s really a different a different world. Women’s opportunities are vast. We’ve got a mixed-race Vice President of the United States, which is such a huge milestone. So, we’re in a very different ecosystem for women, and ecofeminism is starting to rise and economics, feminomics, feminine economies are starting to be invented. I think it’s happening. Absolutely. And it needs to happen more. As the feminine rises, and not just in women, also in men, and is taken seriously rather than suppressed or considered wimpy or too emotional, we’ll live with more heart. Then the mind and the heart of humanity will start to come together just like the eagle and the condor. It’s like the mind and the heart of humanity flying together. We really need that. We really, really need that. That’s what is happening, and we need to have it happen as fast as possible. I’m so thrilled that I’m alive to see it.
Rick Archer: Yeah.
Lynne Twist: We’re going in the right direction.
Rick Archer: If we can take a time machine to the year 2100, when neither of us will be alive probably, what do you think we’d see?
Lynne Twist: Well, I think we’ll see a world that is a much more balanced with kindness and compassion and heart-based energy playing such a vital role in governance. I think we’ll have a completely different kind of education that will be experience based, that will be nature based. I think we’ll have a kind of a gender-based, gender-equal world where men and women have all have the same choices that are appropriate to their gender. I’m just committed to that we’ll have a world without hunger, and a world without war. War is so obsolete, just physical violence is so obsolete. I think we’ll live in a world where we’ll top off our population at about ten billion, and the planet can handle that. We’ll be much more cognizant about numbers about how many of us there are and how many of us procreate. It’s a great question. I love thinking about it. A kinder, gentler world for sure, and one that’s much more aligned with the natural world and where indigenous people are part of it with the elder statesman guiding our species on Earth. Then a lot of the animals that have gone extinct will start coming back in validation of the way we’re living. So, all those beautiful things, and hopefully, I’m working towards making it all happen. And you are, too.
Rick Archer: Yeah, I don’t know if it’s my feminine qualities or what, but I can’t walk past a worm on the sidewalk without picking him up and moving him to the grass because he’ll die if he stays on the sidewalk. I couldn’t imagine myself going into the rain forest with a chainsaw, or with a flame thrower and burning the whole thing down. The people who are doing that, it’s kind of like, forgive them father, they know not what they do. I should think that if there’s a sort of an upwelling of higher consciousness throughout humanity, people just would recoil from doing anything like that, they wouldn’t be able to bring themselves to do it. Maybe I’m speaking too idealistically, but I’m hoping that can become more the norm because there’s a kind of a numbness or an obliviousness that seems to drive people to behave in ways which are ultimately suicidal. It’s just as your friend Buckminster Fuller used to say, we’re on a spaceship together and if we completely defile it, then we’re stuck to the only spaceship we’ve got.
Lynne Twist: Exactly we’re not just the passengers, we’re the crew.
Rick Archer: Yeah.
Lynne Twist: Yeah, yeah. He saw so many things so early on, he was a real person ahead of his time.
Rick Archer: Yeah, I got to see him interchange with Maharishi in 1971 at a symposium. It was very inspiring. And I know you had him to dinner in 1976. In fact, recount a little bit of that experience and some of the kinds of predictions he made.
Lynne Twist: Well, Bucky-I saw him speak first in 1976 at the Marin Civic Center here in California. I was a Bucky follower, but I didn’t really understand what he was talking about most of the time. I just loved him. He was a wonderful little, short little man with a bald head with thick glasses.
Rick Archer: Big thick glasses, yeah.
Lynne Twist: He was so loving. I just loved him. That talk was called the Integrity Days, he did integrity talks all over the world, and this one was in Marin County. At one point he had a big table, like a utility table in front of him, and he stood behind it. He always had a tetrahedron, this kind of tinker toy thing on his table, and an icosahedron, another sort of tinker toy like thing. I don’t even know if people know what tinker toys are anymore, but anyway, kind of these structures. He was talking about the structure of the universe with the structure of molecules and atoms, and it was way over my head. I didn’t know what he was talking about, but anyway, he was very excited about it. Then there was a certain point where he walked from behind this table, which had these structures on it, all the way around to the front, right to the edge of the stage, and he leaned down and look at the two thousand people that were there. He said, now I’m going to say the most important thing I’ve ever said, or ever will say, and I thought, oh my god, I got to understand this one thing. So, I sat up in my chair, I think everybody did. Then he said, humanity has just crossed a threshold – and he put his arm out like this – and that threshold changes everything, and we’ve crossed it, and it’s recent. When Buckminster Fuller said recent, he meant in the last 50 or 100 years because he talked in those big swaths of time. He said we’ve crossed it, and it changes everything. That threshold is that humanity is doing so much more with so much less, this was 1976. So much more with so much less, and that is the direction of our science. That’s the direction of our innovation. That’s the direction of all of our technologies, to do so much more with so much less, that we now clearly live in a world where there is enough for everyone everywhere to have a healthy and productive life. We live in a world of absolute profound sufficiency. Everyone everywhere can have a healthy and productive life. That was not always true. Before this threshold, we lived in a world of scarcity where it was either you make it at my expense, because I make it at your expense, because there’s not enough for both of us. But on this side of the line, you and I can both make it at no one’s expense, because there’s enough for everyone everywhere to have a healthy and productive life. He said that changes everything. When he said sufficiency enough, I remember having a Kundalini thing up my spine, I started to cry. I didn’t even understand it, but I had a huge, huge, physical, spiritual, ontological, biological response to this statement that we have enough for everyone everywhere to have a healthy and productive life. We don’t need to compete like mad any longer. We have everything we need. From that moment on, I was changed by those words. Then he said this important thing, that we won’t realize this for somewhere in the neighborhood of 50 years, because the institutions of humankind inside of which we live are all rooted in the you or me paradigm, rather than on this side of the line, the you and me paradigm; a paradigm of scarcity instead of a paradigm of enough. He said that governance is rooted in a you or me understanding of the world. The economy is clearly designed and rooted in a you or me understanding of the world. Education is rooted in a you or me understanding of the world. Even he said, religion is rooted in a you or me understanding the world. He said, these institutions will need to become so dysfunctional that they start falling apart, and we won’t be able to fix them. Then we’ll recreate our institutions, our human institutions, from a new paradigm, a paradigm of profound sufficiency. That will take about 50 years for all this to fall apart. He said this in 1976. Here we are, 2021, and things are totally, completely falling apart. And we can’t really fix them, because they’re rooted in a set of assumptions that are now so, so clearly inaccurate. So, that’s the big lesson I learned from Bucky. Then I began to be a, I’ll say a story carrier, a spokesperson for the distinction of sufficiency, which is not an amount of anything; it’s an experience, it’s a way of being where you are in the experience that you are enough, that there is enough. From enough, we build and grow and expand rather than from scarcity or lack. From enough is just a completely different way of living. That became the source of The Hunger Project, the organization I worked for, for a good part of my life, 25 years, the source of The Soul of Money book, which you’ve read, the source of The Soul of Money Institute, and in many ways, the source of the work we do at Pachamama Alliance. Bucky said, we can make the world work for everyone with no one and nothing left out. Once he said that, I knew that was going to be the work of my life, and it still is.
Rick Archer: Yeah, this might be a difficult question to answer, but if you could put it in terms of a percentage, what percentage have we achieved in terms of realizing his goal? Because it seems to me there’s still a lot of hunger in the world and a lot of people suffering in various ways and a lot of institutions that are destructive that still seem to be going strong. So how?
Lynne Twist: It’s a mindset, it’s a paradigm, it’s a way of living that causes the scarcity. Scarcity doesn’t exist, we make it scarce. It’s just like when you don’t think you have enough time and you race around, and then you make mistakes. When our mindset is off course, we screw up. To really discover that we are enough and that we have enough is something, it’s a revelation. We’re not there, but we’re clearly realizing that the structured systems we’re living in now are failing us and falling apart and aren’t that fixable. I think because of the pandemic which actually halted everything, we have been in a pause long enough to begin to rethink and reset and redesign who we are and what we’re about. That’s in many ways the gift of this pandemic and why in many ways doesn’t go away, because we need to really re-invent the whole world. And that’s a big job.
Rick Archer: It really is. It seems like sometimes something is really on the verge of collapsing, and then we prop it up because we feel like we’ll be in dire straits if we let it collapse. Like at the end of the Bush administration when the credit default swaps and all that were crashing the economy, then Obama came in and gave trillions of dollars to the banks so they could survive because they were too big to fail. He also saved the auto industry, which I think was a good thing. It would have been catastrophic if the auto industry had totally collapsed. Now, they’re all getting around to saying, okay, we’re gonna be all electric by 2030 or 2035. So, there’s an example of something which I think is converting itself into something more sustainable. I don’t know about the financial industries. I don’t have that kind of understanding of things. I don’t know what kind of efforts they’re making, maybe you do because you’re more tuned into that world. Do you see some, give us some good examples about institutions that seem to be metamorphizing into something benign and beneficial, as opposed to the destructive role they had been playing.
Lynne Twist: Well, there’re so many examples and, we’re on our way, but we’re not there. But I’ll just say I’m on the board of Conscious Capitalism, which is a wonderful affiliation of CEOs who are running their companies with values that are consistent with a manifesto to do no harm, to preserve the natural world, to have social and racial equity inside of their organizations, to promote and inspire and empower women, with all these B Corps. There’s a lot of movement, really big movement in business. I would say that there’s a real transformation afoot in peoples’ understanding of the spiritual world and programs like yours, and all the books that come out and all the podcasts. People are really grappling with a much deeper understanding of what it means to be human than they have in my lifetime. We’ve seen the end of apartheid in our lifetime, we’ve seen the civil rights breakthroughs in our lifetime. The George Floyd murder was such a game changer. Hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of videos like that had been shown, but that was the tipping point. After George Floyd, organizations all over this world started rethinking their relationship with race. We’ve seen the whole movement of reallocating resources that have been going to the police when they can’t handle homeless, insane people, domestic violence. That needs to go into different kinds of professions, professions that are more therapeutic where people have psychological training to deal with these issues. These are seismic changes. The change in the energy industry that now solar is cheaper than petroleum. And there’s now the whole battery thing. It’s breakthrough after breakthrough after breakthrough. So, to me, there’s so much happening. Paul Hawken, who is a colleague and a friend and an author and an ecologist, has just written the most spectacular book yet called Regeneration, Ending the Climate Crisis in One Generation. I highly recommend people get it. It came out on September 12. He shows all the ways that we’re addressing the climate crisis, the social justice crisis, the breakdown in health, the breakdown in governance, how they’re being addressed, and how to get on board with the solutions, and stop whining about the problems. The solutions and the website for Regeneration is just spectacular. If you go on there, you’d have to be deaf, dumb, and blind to not be able to see what to do with your life by getting engaged with that material. The alternative health and complementary health sector is now almost as big as the medical sector. It’s amazing how consciousness has really changed. I was in South Africa at the end of apartheid. I was there the last day of apartheid. I went to Mandela’s inauguration. I saw that with my own eyes. Of course, South Africa is still a mess, but people are not slaves any longer. It was the final colonial, the end of colonization really, in that way. Now, we have different kinds of colonization, of course, we’ve got a different kinds of that. So, things are not perfect, but it’s so important to pay attention to the progress. We’re so good at naming the problems, and we don’t really claim the progress enough. And the progress is stunning. It’s spectacular. It’s amazing. Look at what happened in the pandemic, the whole human race, every single living person on this planet had to pivot their life in some way. I’ve never seen in my lifetime, the mobilization of every human being on the planet. That was just incredible. It shows us what we can do, even though we’re arguing now about vaccines and all that stuff. That’s just noise on the surface. What has happened is there was a huge intervention and the human species stopped huge amounts of our activities for a really long time, even at the expense of economic loss and loss of life. It’s amazing what we can do when we put our mind to it.
Rick Archer: Yeah, it was like forced introspection or something.
Lynne Twist: Yeah.
Rick Archer: Like a worldwide spiritual retreat. As you’re speaking, let me interject a nice question here that someone sent in. This is from Corinne in Nashville. She said, “I really appreciate your feminine shamanic perspective that is so much softer and heart centered than most worldviews, even spiritual ones. At this point in time regarding all of the issues you mentioned, specifically COVID and climate change, how can we serve and help you? I know we each have to do what we feel to do, but we’d love to know how you would feel most supported and served.”
Lynne Twist: Oh, my God, how nice.
Rick Archer: Yeah, isn’t that nice?
Lynne Twist: Thank you, Corinne. How wonderful. Well, let’s see, I’ll give you three avenues. One is the Pachamama Alliance, Pachamama meaning Mother Earth, the alliance between indigenous people of the Amazon rainforest, and conscious, committed people in the modern world like all of you, like you, Corinne. If you go to pachamama.org, you can take our courses. Awakening the Dreamer is one, another is called the Game Changer Intensive, and now we’re developing a Leadership and Action training to get in action in your community. Awakening the Dreamer and Game Changer Intensive educate you about the environmental, social justice, and spiritual crisis and how to engage with it in a way that’s personally meaningful for you and personally productive for the planet. The Game Changer Intensive looks at systems and structures that keep us stuck in old ways of thinking and being that need to be dismantled and opened up. The Leadership and Action training has people work on their local watershed, their local forests, things that are right there in front of their nose. To take any of those courses and start getting in action in your local community would be one recommendation with Pachamama Alliance. Of course, you can always make a contribution to Pachamama Alliance. It’s a public benefit, social profit organization, and you can just donate whatever you want. Then the Soul of Money Institute is my small business. I’m about to lead a course on the Sophia Century called the Sophia Circle. It’s going to be small for thirty women. If you’re interested, just go to my website soulofmoney.org, and you can sign up for it. It’s six months long. We’re going to work on feminine values, divine feminine wisdom, unlocking it in ourselves, and recognizing how important is for women who are awake, like you, Corinne, to get engaged in the big issues of our time. It’s a six-month online course, then three days in person with me and my colleague, Sarah Vetter, to really unlock the power of women for the Sophia Century. I would love for you to take that course. You could also read my book, The Soul of Money, and it’s available on our website and on amazon.com and other bookstores and stores.
Rick Archer: It’s also an Audible which is how I listened to it. I listened to the whole book while I was walking in the woods.
Lynne Twist: Oh, you did? Okay.
Rick Archer: Yeah, it was great.
Lynne Twist: Then the third track is I work with Nobel Women’s Initiative. That’s website is nobelwomensinitiative.org, I believe working on stopping violence against women and girls. If you go on that website, you’ll see all kinds of things that you can do. Obviously, you can donate to that as well. We’re working on particularly sexual violence against women and girls and stopping it in wherever we can. Those are three ways you can help me, but really help you and our world. And thank you, Corinne, for that wonderful question.
Rick Archer: That’s great. I’ve heard you say a number of times, both in your book and in today’s conversation, that there really is enough to go around, there is no absolute reason why people should be hungry or cold or anything else. So, it seems to me that it’s a matter of political snafus or greed where people are holding on to too much and not distributing enough. How would you explain why it is that although it’s possible for everyone to be well fed and properly sheltered, so many people still aren’t? What’s the hang up?
Lynne Twist: Well, we live in a mindset. It’s almost like an unconscious, unexamined mindset of scarcity that there’s not enough to go around, we really, really, really think from there. And when you think from there, you hoard, you take more than you need, you think consuming is the way to live. Thus, we have people who have billions and billions and billions of dollars, a handful of people, and then more and more and more and more and more of the rest of us are marginalized. That is the outcome of a mindset. It’s also all of our systems are organized that way. So, wealth gets drawn to the top, at the expense of everybody at the bottom. The Soul of Money book and The Soul of Money courses are all about breaking that mindset open so that when you know you’re enough, you have total confidence and trust in your life in the universe, and you don’t hoard, you don’t take more than you need. In fact, you become someone who shares who gives, who serves, who contributes, because you realize you have enough. What you appreciate appreciates is a phrase I use when you really appreciate what you have, and you want to share it. It’s really all in the way we see the world. If we see that there’s not enough to go around, then we hoard and massively accumulate and out of fear. But if we know we have enough, then we share out of love. It’s really very Buddhist, it’s very much what your what your program is about. I’m sure your six hundred speakers, we’re probably all saying in our own voice some of the same things that what we need is a transformation of our consciousness. Greed is really a behavior that comes out of fear, but there’s nothing to fear, we have enough, we’re okay. Obviously, there are places in the world where there isn’t enough food. Obviously, there are places in the world where there isn’t enough water. I worked on hunger and poverty for 25-30 years, I know that up close and personal. I know that very deeply. I worked with Mother Teresa. At the same time, each and every human being is enough in their own right. It’s the systems and structures that are driving us to take from each other, rather than share with each other, driving us to accumulate rather than allocate. I want to be known for what I allocate, not what I accumulate. Why would I want to be known for that? But a culture that’s hell bent on consumerism and commercialism, and more and more and more and more and more, is the water we’re swimming in. We need to shift not only our mindset, but the water we’re swimming to see clearly that we’re okay just the way we are. The job now is to build communities, caring communities that manage our resources in ways that ensure everybody has what they need and want, but not way more than they want or way more than they need, but what they need and some reasonable amount of what they want. That’s a very different world than the one we have now, but we can do it. We can do it. I’m sure that’s what you’re working on in your own right, everybody who’s listening, and I know you are, Rick, because of the kind of people you’re asking to come on your show.
Rick Archer: Yeah. I remember when I used to teach meditation, I would sometimes say, you know, we don’t have an energy shortage or food shortage or anything else, we have an intelligent shortage. The thing is, we’re actually all sitting on an unlimited reservoir of intelligence at our very essence and our very core, and we can tap into that. In my own experience, once I started meditating regularly, I just found this upwelling of energy and creativity. Having been a high school dropout and getting in trouble and all, my life just did a 180. I started getting all productive, got a job and joined a band, and did all kinds of fun stuff. Think how people feel if they’re exhausted, and they’re not sleeping well, or something, and it’s hard to do anything and accomplish anything. But if you’re really well rested, you kind of go at the day with enthusiasm and you accomplish a lot. My experience is that it’s possible to sort of retune your makeup such that you operate that way more naturally and automatically all the time. Your life becomes like that phrase in the 23rd Psalm, my cup runneth over. You begin to feel so full that you overflow. If everyone were doing that, we’d just have this mutually reinforcing abundance in the world.
Lynne Twist: That’s right. That’s what money is actually designed to help with. It’s a current. That’s why it’s called a currency. It’s designed to move, not to get held and hoarded, but to move. That’s exactly it. I love what you said, and that’s so true. Yeah.
Rick Archer: Yeah. Now a question came in that’s a little bit similar to the last one, but maybe you can put a different spin on the answer. This is from David in Berlin. He’s asking, “Could you elaborate on how we can help ourselves to step into our personal service? I experience it as very difficult to clearly understand and develop my service. Thank you so much.”
Lynne Twist: Well, I’m going to tell a story. That’s probably the best way to answer that question. Thank you, Mr. Berlin. Dave?
Rick Archer: David from Berlin.
Lynne Twist: David from Berlin. Yes. Well, I’ll just say that one key to all this is gratitude. I once had a wonderful conversation with Brother David Steindl-Rast, who’s a Benedictine monk from Austria. He has a website called gratefulness.org. He’s in his nineties, and he’s just the most amazing guy. He writes about gratefulness, that’s his kind of signature. I once asked him what’s the difference between gratitude and gratefulness? He gave me the most beautiful answer, and this might be helpful to you, David. He said, gratitude has two great branches; one is gratefulness, and the other is thanksgiving. Gratefulness is the experience of life when the bowl of life is so full, that it’s almost overflowing, but not quite. The bowl of life is so full that it’s kind of bowed at the top, but not yet dribbling over the edges, and that’s an experience of the ‘great fullness’ of life. When you’re in the ‘great fullness’ of life, you’re one with God, one with the universe, and there is no other, it’s all one. It’s so fulfilling that the bowl of life starts to overflow, and that puts you over here on the other branch of gratitude called thanksgiving. When you’re in the branch of gratitude called thanksgiving, the bowl of life is like a fountain, it’s overflowing. All you want to do is give and serve. You’re so grateful to discover there’s an other so you can give and serve and contribute and share. And that’s so fulfilling it puts you in the ‘great fullness’ of life again, and you’re one with God, one with the universe, and there is no other. Once again, it becomes so fulfilling that the bowl of life starts to overflow and to puts you over here in the branch of gratitude called thanksgiving, and you’re so delighted to discover, oh my goodness, there’s an other, so all you want to do is give and serve and share and contribute. These are the two branches of gratitude you can live in these two branches of gratitude. It’s so powerful to live in these two branches like Brother David does. All of us can. But sometimes when the bowl of life gets so full, almost overflowing, we think oh, I gotta get a bigger bowl, rather than realize this is enough and out of enough, natural bounty or natural abundance flows. Abundance is different than sufficiency. This is sufficiency. This is natural abundance which flows from sufficiency, never from lack, and not even from more. Real sufficiency flows from the profound recognition of enough. There’s a beautiful definition of the word sufficiency, actually, it’s a principle. I kind of made it up, but I think it’s a principle. And it’s this, if you let go of trying to get more of what you don’t really need, it frees up all that energy tied up in the chase, to turn and pay attention to what you already have. When you pay attention to what you already have, when you nourish what you already have, when you make a difference with what you already have, and when you share what you already have, it expands. I’m going to say it again, when you let go of trying to get more of what you don’t really need, it frees up oceans of energy to turn and make a difference with what you have. When you make a difference with what you have, it expands. This is another way of saying what you appreciate appreciates. So, what you love, David, what you long for the world and what you love, where you feel hurt in the world and what you care deeply about, where you see the world is longing for your participation and what you’re drawn from your heart to do something about those, you put those two things together, and you’ll find your path of service. I think was Albert Schweitzer said, the only ones of us who will be truly happy are those of us who’ve sought and found how to serve. So just get involved in whatever makes your heart sing, touches your heart, and keep engaging in things until you find this is it. This is mine. This is why I was born. This is why I’m here. This is what I stand for. This is my dharma. This is my karma. This is my service; this is who I am. I’m sure you’ll find it because you’re longing for it, and you’re asking for it. It will come, and it’s probably already there right in front of your nose.
Rick Archer: That’s great. People who are just listening to the audio won’t have seen this, but as you were saying that you were gesturing. And you were saying when you sort of try to get more, you gestured like with your hands as if reaching outwardly. But when you were talking about what you already have, you gestured toward your heart inwardly. I was thinking about that as I was listening to your book. And there are kind of three myths in your book: there’s not enough, more is better, and that’s just the way it is, right?
Lynne Twist: Yeah.
Rick Archer: I was thinking about how people ordinarily seek fulfillment. Ordinarily, it’s something outside of themselves, this partner, or this car, or this job, or this vacation, or all sorts of outer things that we experience with the senses. But, when you adopt an effective spiritual practice you discover, whoa, there’s this deep reservoir of fulfillment within me. I’m not even experiencing anything right now; I have my eyes closed, and yet, there’s this upwelling of bliss and happiness and fulfillment that gets integrated and stabilized over time. I think when it does, then life comes into balance where you can still enjoy the outer stuff, but you don’t crave an excess amount of it, because you’re already fulfilled. And being already fulfilled doesn’t deprive you of motivation because again, if you are full within, as Brother David was saying, you overflow and your fullness can bless others or enrich others without being depleted, because there’s no limit to that inner fullness.
Lynne Twist: Absolutely, yeah. The three myths are what I call the Three Toxic Myths of Scarcity; what we live in, that’s the consumer culture, the commercial culture, tells us that there’s not enough and we’re not enough until we acquire something more. That’s myth number one, there’s not enough. The second is more is better. That’s just like an unquestioned answer for everything, more and more and more is better. The culture is so intensely focused on more and more and more that we don’t notice what we already have, we just don’t even see it. I like to use the words, the two industries that are huge growth industries – waste and storage – are two poster industries for a culture that’s lost its way. We create so much waste, and there’s no waste in nature, we create waste. Then storage is just this huge industry. Why does anybody need storage when in fact we have homes, but we have another home for the stuff we can’t fit in the home we already have? It’s just crazy. So, the first toxic myth is there’s not enough, the second toxic myth is more is better, and it’s a toxic mythology, more, more, more. The third is that’s just the way it is which is a source of our resignation and our just giving up and giving in and buying in, you could say. So, when you realize that there’s enough, that’s a very different space; that you’re enough, there is enough, we have enough. That’s a very different space to live in. It’s so fulfilling to let go of the myth of scarcity. But it’s the culture we live in, so it’s always going to come and haunt us. However, we don’t need to buy into it.
Rick Archer: No, but we can change the culture, and hopefully, we are changing the culture. I watched the little animated cartoon on the Pachamama website about this young girl who was wondering. There was this vision of two possible scenarios. One was this toxic city with all the smoke and everything. The other was this beautiful green city with farming and people riding around on bicycles and stuff. She got involved and took the courses and one thing led to the next. Then it kind of led to a conclusion of several things that you would like to accomplish. One was to amend the Constitution. They showed her clipping through all these brambles with clipping shears in order to get to the Constitution to be able to amend it. So, what amendment to the Constitution are you proposing?
Lynne Twist: Well, we propose that the corporations not be considered people.
Rick Archer: Aha, that would be a good one. So, you can’t buy politicians and be secretive about it, and so on and so forth.
Lynne Twist: Exactly. And also in the legal system that you can’t, it’s not one person going up against a whole corporation, that corporations be non-entities, non-living entities. We also recommend that money get out of politics altogether. That the Constitution really needs to be amended, because it’s now not ‘We, the people’ any longer it’s ‘we, the money.’ That’s currently how people get into office, and all of our elected officials spend 50% of their time raising money for the next election, and they can’t do their jobs now. Then they’re beholden to all these big, big financial entities. We’ve lost our democracy to money. There’s an organization called Move to Amend, which is an organization that’s really, really brilliantly looking at the Constitution, and what amendments we could make to this brilliant document, the Constitution, that would get money out of politics, and that would get a corporate power tamed so that corporations are not running the government, but people are. So, that’s really amending the Constitution. Move To Amend is a wonderful organization plus, the CELDF, the Community, Environmental, Legal Defense Fund, I think it’s called. There’re a lot of people working on changing the very fundamental laws. In Ecuador, where we work, we worked on something very, very beautiful, which is now in Ecuador under the Constitution, nature has legal rights in courts.
Rick Archer: Oh, yeah.
Lynne Twist: Our river system can be defended in court before it gets damaged. We feel that living entities need to have legal protection, but corporations are not legal entities, and they get protected more than nature does. There’re a lot of things about law that can make a very, very big difference in changing the way we live.
Rick Archer: Yeah, it seems like a catch 22 in a way, because all these powerful money interests are controlling the guys who would have to change the Constitution, so they’re not going to want to change it because they’re getting the money. But a lot of impossible things have happened throughout history – the Soviet Union fell and slavery was ended, women were given the right to vote, which is a no brainer, but for most of our history, they didn’t have it.
Lynne Twist: Gay marriage.
Rick Archer: There you go. No one would have predicted that it was going to happen as soon as it did, but it did.
Lynne Twist: Right. There’re a lot of things that we’ve seen. We’ve seen miracles in our lifetime. We just have to keep realizing we’re making progress rather than falling backwards. We’re going forward.
Rick Archer: Yeah. And I just want to interject here because sometimes people wonder, well, what is all this about? I thought this show was about spirituality, aren’t you getting all into politics and economics and all this stuff. But my conception of spirituality is that it’s a holistic thing. It certainly includes the transcendent, the divine realm and all that. But it also includes the world in which we live, which is also divine. The great spiritual leaders, most of them that I can think of, have not only spoken about the kingdom of heaven within, but they’ve been quite outspoken about treating each other fairly and feeding the poor and making the world a better place. So, in my book, that’s definitely part of spirituality. I think you’ll see it that way too.
Lynne Twist: I do. I don’t think we can ignore it. Politics has such a kind of dirty name now, because of all the things that we’ve seen in the last few years. But it’s a very noble thing to take responsibility for governing ourselves, and we need to do it with a spiritual root, otherwise, we won’t do it well. It needs to be part of the conversation. Spirituality needs to be part of that conversation, and that conversation needs to impact the way we look at our spirituality. As you know, because you’re doing this wonderful show, you can’t just meditate everything away.
Rick Archer: Yeah.
Lynne Twist: It certainly makes a huge difference in keeping us centered so that we work from a wholeness and respect and a deep place when we’re working on the things that we are challenged by, but we can’t do it without coming together in community and without being engaged from a taproot of spiritual power. That and our love for the natural world is so key here. I was just watching a very beautiful video by Joanna Macy, the great ecologist and Buddhist scholar. She’s very clear that love is the driving force that will heal this planet and heal our relationship with the planet. The planet will be fine, but our relationship with the planet needs to come from love and that’s one beautiful dimension of what it means to be spiritual.
Rick Archer: Yeah. On the point of not meditating things away, there’re a couple of verses in the Bhagavad Gita relating to this. One is when Krishna instructs Arjuna to be without the three gunas or to transcend, but then three verses later he says, okay, now established in being, established in yoga, perform action; get out there and do something with this inner reservoir that you’ve tapped. I think that someone like yourself has been really doing that all your life and it’s inspiring. I just listened to your talk at the Bioneers Conference, I’m not sure what year it was, it might have been back to 2010 or something. You were crying, and it was this beautiful talk. There’s something so spiritual about enterprises like that, that to me, are just really essential. If we don’t save the world, we’re not gonna have any world to live in, should we become enlightened. So, improving the world is part of the package of developing ourselves spiritually.
Lynne Twist: Yeah, pretty important, I’d say, to have a world to be spiritual in.
Rick Archer: Yeah, absolutely.
Lynne Twist: Indigenous partners, you know, that’s where they come from. They live in a deep spiritual relationship with life, and they don’t really live in the material world very much. They live in the spirit world, and that’s their dreams and their plant medicines and their relationship with the spirit of the rain forest. I was once walking behind a man, a Sápara man named Manari Ushigua, and he was walking very silently through the forest. I was following him, and he had a machete, and he was cutting a path for us. Then at a certain point he stopped, and he said to me in a very soft voice, “Do you do feel them?” And he looked around like this, and I thought, who? “Do you feel them?” he said. We were very alone in this vast, vast, beautiful rainforest. And I didn’t know what he meant, and I just waited and I, what do you mean? And he said, “The millions and millions of souls.” For him, every leaf, every branch, every ant, every termite, every snake, every monkey, every flower, every everything had a soul. So, do you feel them, the millions and millions of souls? I started to cry after that because I realized my God, I didn’t. I didn’t ever realize that they have a soul too, and I just was so moved by that. From then on, and I’ve been working in the rainforest for a long time, when in the forest, I actually do connect with millions and millions of souls. If we think about life that way, that’s the way they live in the spirit world of souls, that everything has a soul, and everything deserves our respect, our reverence, our love. I never forgot that. It’s life changing to be with indigenous people that are so connected to their ancient traditions and their spiritual power, it’s amazing.
Rick Archer: And I would go so far as to say that not only does biological life have souls, but mountains have souls, and the sun has a soul, and the Earth has a soul, and everything is imbued with spirit.
Lynne Twist: Absolutely, absolutely. Yeah. When you see life that way, it’s so fulfilling, everything’s so abundant.
Rick Archer: Yeah.
Lynne Twist: It’s extraordinary.
Rick Archer: It’s all just one kind of unbounded ocean of the Divine interacting within itself.
Lynne Twist: Absolutely, yes.
Rick Archer: Well, I promised you we’d keep it to about an hour and a half, and we’ve reached that point. Are there any, like really pithy things that you feel like we didn’t cover that you’d like to say, or anything you’d like to say in closing?
Lynne Twist: Well, in closing, I’d like to say anyone listening to this program is someone who’s awake, who’s on a spiritual path, who’s intrigued and engaged with how they can make a difference with their life, and I want to bow to that. I want to bow to you, Rick, for hosting a conversation today, all the conversations that you’ve had, which I’m sure draw the best from people, and certainly, you were really effective with me. And then I want to say that I think we’re, poised and engaged with the greatest transformation in the history of our species, and it’s such a privilege to be alive and participate. Whatever participation people have chosen, thank God for your participation. Thank God for your energy, your love, your spiritual power, and staying connected to this kind of conversation which affirms us and keeps us on track at a time when we’re going through some sort of a huge, you know, transformational change, almost like a wormhole. We’ll make it if we hold hands and stay together like the imaginal cells clustering. So, thank you for including me, and thank you for being so engaging and so respectful and so fantastic.
Rick Archer: Well, thank you. The pleasure is mine. You’re working on two books, as I understand it. One about living a committed life and the other about the Sophia Century, which you spoke about earlier. Is that right, two books?
Lynne Twist: Yes. I haven’t started Sophia Century. So that’ll be a while, but a Committed Life is underway and probably will come out next year.
Rick Archer: Okay, great. Well, when you publish them, if you’d like to do another interview, just get in touch and we’ll do it.
Lynne Twist: So much I would love to. Okay.
Rick Archer: So, thanks so much, Lynne. It’s really been a pleasure. The whole week has been a pleasure listening to your book and listening to some of your other recorded talks. Every week, when I interview a guest and I prepare all week long, I kind of get to know them by tuning into their work. And it’s really been a delight getting to know you. It’s really so enriching.
Lynne Twist: Thank you.
Rick Archer: It just kind of lights up my life.
Lynne Twist: Thank you so much.
Rick Archer: All right. Well, thank you. And thanks to those who’ve been listening or watching. The next interview is going to be on Saturday. It’s going to be a real gear shift from this one. I’m going to talk to an old friend who is very skeptical about everything. He’s written a book called Tempted to Believe about why we believe what we do and whether we really have the justification for believing many things. Like reincarnation, do we really know that that could be a thing? How do we know? Stuff like that. So, it’s gonna be a lively, kind of a debate, probably because I believe a lot of things that I haven’t necessarily confirmed. But anyway, that’ll be the next one. And many more to come. Look at the Upcoming Interviews page on batgap.com. You’ll see what we’ve got scheduled. We usually schedule about two months out. So, thanks for listening. And thanks again, Lynne. It’s been marvelous.
Lynne Twist: Thank you. Bless you.
Rick Archer: Have a good day.
Lynne Twist: Okay.