Rick Archer: Welcome to Buddha at the Gas Pump. My name is Rick Archer and my guest this week is Mandy Solk who lives in Hebden Bridge, which is a little town in the north of England. In fact, she runs a little group called, what is it? Nonduality North. It’s a big group, especially for Hebden Bridge. It’s a big group.
Mandi Solk: People who visit us come from all over Britain, and from all over the world to join us.
Rick Archer: Yeah. You mean they physically travel there from all over the world?
Mandi Solk: They do. In fact, very few people from Hebden Bridge come. It’s just in Hebden Bridge, It’s been going for about five or six years now. And it’s expanded, it’s really quite big. We have speakers from all over, like Scott from the US.
Rick Archer: Scott Kiloby? Ok.
Mandi Solk: Three times. Yeah.
Rick Archer: Good. Yeah, I interviewed him a while back, I really enjoyed that. And listening to all of his Kilologues these days. I was, you know thinking that you can even do a ‘thing’ – like you might build or ‘hook up’ a Skype thing like this and have guests from elsewhere Skype in and you can have people sitting there and they’d be able to see Scott or someone on a screen and they’d be able to ask them questions, and so on. Something to think about. We’ll talk about that. I’ll tell you later on, we’ll get into technicalities.
But in any case, Mandi wrote a book, ‘The Joy of no Self’, which we’ll talk about a bit, and she says she when she sent me this book, she said that her thinking or way of speaking had evolved a bit since writing the book. So be interested in hearing about that. And we’ll have plenty of time to talk about – you know: ‘there is no one and there is no external reality and it’s all just stories and all that – if that’s the kind of thing you want to say. But I would very much like to have you tell your story also, because as far as stories go, it’s a fascinating one. I mean, you dove through the windscreen of a car and had this out-of-body experience and that. And you’ve had all kinds of other things. So let’s, we’ll talk about those things and whatever else interests you. Incidentally, it’s thanks to my friend Lisa from Texas, who recommended that, that I get in touch with you. She said, ‘I really liked this lady – interview her’ and I said okay, so here we are.
Mandi Solk: Oh, thank you, Lisa.
Rick Archer: Yeah. Good.
Mandi Solk: Do you want me to tell you a bit about my life?
Rick Archer: Yeah, where would you like to start?
Mandi Solk: I can never really remember because things seem to happen sideways, you know, not linear anymore. So it’s like- this sort of this happened and then that happened. So even the memory of something is more sort of sideways. It’s like a loaf of bread with all the slices. It’s all the same, it’s all in the same Love, so, I suppose, I suppose I started being a seeker from a very young age and, and then went through lots and lots of years in different religions, Buddhism, and studying Taoism and Zen and all that kind of thing. And I was a Christian Scientist for about 20 years because, of all the religions in fact, Christian Science comes closest to the understanding of non-duality that ‘nobody’ is there. But back in amongst all this, I had the motorbike accident. I was driving along a road and a lady was coming out from the shops in a little mini car, and she just didn’t look at all, and I couldn’t make the bike go the slower. And I could just see -and thought -oh, right, I’m gonna die now. So I was immediately ‘told’ that I better let go of the handlebars because there’s, – well there’s basically nothing else I can do. And at that moment, there was a sort of feeling of being pulled up and pulled up somewhere. And as I looked down, I saw buildings and people and everything, but I could see through them you know, so when I started to be able to see through them I just thought: “Oh my goodness, everything that I had taken to be so real, so solid, so actual, is just a complete illusion! It’s just a dream! It’s completely see-through! And I couldn’t stop laughing. And as I was going up and up, some very worldly thoughts came to me like, “oh, great, I don’t have to pay my bills anymore, or, I don’t have to finish with that boyfriend, oh, this is great.” And then as I progressively went up, there was a lot of green light for some reason, and then a lot of, well, they looked like trees, but I knew there weren’t trees and in these ‘not trees’, they were doors, and I couldn’t wait to go through one of these doors. I just knew it was really, really exciting, you know, in there. And then, just then – I sort of woke up – on the road. And what had happened was amazing, because my motorbike had gone through the back screen of the mini car and out through the front; it went flying through it.
Rick Archer: The whole bike had gone through? You with it or just the bike?
Mandi Solk: Well, I’ll never know to this day. I mean, some people said I was on it, going through it. All I knew, is that the bike had gone through it, I was on the ground, and believed to be dead. I was dead. And the lady’s car was a write-off, and my bike was a write-off. But when I came round, I didn’t have a mark on me. Not a bruise. I didn’t even have whiplash, you know, in my neck. Not even any shock.
Rick Archer: Were you wearing a helmet?
Mandi Solk: Yeah, but the helmet wasn’t on my head by the time I was on the ground, I lost the helmet, probably, you know. But I know what it was now, it was that letting go, and what I think happens maybe to some people when they face what looks like certain death, somehow they know it, and just do let go. They’re just, there’s nothing else to do, so you let go. Now if you do, do that, something, you know ‘that which you are’, sort of pulls you out of the apparent situation. You see, when you let go, you’re letting go of the dream of any kind of reality. You’re saying to yourself: I’ll let go, and you’re letting go of the whole idea of there being a ‘you’ that can control whether you live or die, or whether you can hold on to life or not. That’s not for you to hold on to life – life doesn’t end anyway-just the belief in a life ending or, beginning. So that letting go, is a very deep letting go, I think, that happens, you know.
Rick Archer: They say sometimes, sometimes drunks manage to come through accidents, less injured than a sober person would be, just because they’re kind of relaxed and out of it, you know?
Mandi Solk: Yeah, that’s true. Absolutely. I think so, and then when you do let go, you’re letting go of that dream of life. And then that dream of life that could hurt you, can’t hurt you, because you become somebody who can’t be harmed. And, and I think this happens to a lot of people when we see horrific accidents; maybe they’re not feeling it the way we think that they’re feeling it. You know, I knew somebody who was pulled along under a lorry, and suffered the most appalling injuries and everything, but nothing really happened to her, you know, she had a letting go as well. You can’t choose it. It just happens or, or not. But then, you know, people say to me: “Oh, so that was when everything ‘fell away?” Well, no. No, because it did fall away for a time. I’ll tell you what did fall away -any fear of death, there’s no fear of death. Now, there’s no belief in death or anything like that. And certainly, you can’t believe in the things that you’ve seen in the same way -they don’t hit you in the same way, so, you can get accused of not caring enough when you see apparent suffering, because on some level, you’re not really buying it, you see. But nevertheless, that was way back in the 70s. And eventually, over the years, I went back into the dream of there being a Mandi who suffered and everything like that.
Rick Archer: Right after that accident, did you – I mean – was there a period of weeks or months right after the accident where you were walking around in a kind of an awakened state of some sort? I mean, did it have a sort of an abiding influence on you? You know, because of that near-death experience?
Mandi Solk: It had an abiding influence in the way that, like I was saying, that certain things I just couldn’t ‘buy’ anymore.
Rick Archer: Yeah, it changed your perspective?
Mandi Solk: Yes, that’s it, that’s right, but then what happens -and what a lot of people do – is they’ll have a massive experience of something, and then they’ll spend the next 20 years hankering back to it, and of course the more that you do that, the further away you get from any possibility of ever having it again, because what you’re doing is you’re actually stoking up the seeking, you think: ‘I loved that -I had that perspective so clearly, and now it’s gone’. But then, when you remain open, that brings you to meet the right people, the right experiences, and the right books. And then, through time, there were a lot more experiences for me; they might have been years apart, but then they started to gather momentum. So there was …..
Rick Archer: Let’s talk about them, because we have plenty of time. And it makes it interesting to hear these, you know.
Mandi Solk: Lots of little things, really, you know. There would be some I’m sure, in common with a lot of people, you know, like one experience was that I looking at a tree, and suddenly, any sense of there being a person separate from the tree, just totally disappeared. There was just the sense of -if you like -me being everything, but not being any-body. And there were more like more experiences like that.
Rick Archer: And so there’d be little flashes that you would have, and then it would go away again.
Mandi Solk: But then they gathered momentum. So I remember turning over in bed, and suddenly, there was no arm – it was see-through -it was a see-through arm, a transparent arm turning over. And then, as it gathered momentum, there were more things like that. I remember driving my car one day on a very, very windy freeway, you know, and there was a Gale blowing, and mine was just a little car, and the car was going from lane to lane, you know, and this was terrifying, actually. But what happened was – the only way I can describe it – it felt like I was encased in a wall of absolute terror. But in the middle of this terror, there was no terror at all; there was just absolute peace in the midst of the terror. So things change like that, because instead of when you buy the dream – you are the terror and the peace – you are the whole thing. But when, when this- well it’s not even a perspective – it just changes, you know. Another big falling away or seeing, was just on one day, just waking up in the morning, you know, and there being no sense of a person. Now, when I woke up that morning, nobody woke up. There wasn’t Mandi there. It wasn’t like an out-of-body experience. There just, there wasn’t any. I mean, it’s not like I could see the body on the bed, and then I rose out of it. One
Rick Archer: Yes. Like there were two entities: the ghost Mandi and the body Mandi, and they were looking at each other. Right?
Mandi Solk: Yeah. Because people do say, ‘Oh, that sounds like an out-of-body experience’. Well, no, no, if that’s what you’ve just described as an out-of-body experience. It wasn’t that, it was just kind of -just being completely Omnipresent, you know? And having no station- no place that,
Rick Archer: No vantage point?
Mandi Solk: Yes. There just wasn’t any. And that was, that was huge that experience because I remember having to think about every little thing. It was like, being sort of reborn as a ‘no body’. Because I was thinking, how on earth do I put my trousers on? How do I, how do I do anything? How do I get down the stairs, and I know I’ve got to – I know that in this world, there’s things I have to do. And I remember how later, I went to the market, and people came up to me, and, they expected somebody to be at home behind my eyes. But there wasn’t anybody home. But I had to pretend to be in, indoors. I had to pretend to be behind my eyes. And you know, that was really difficult, y’know so
Rick Archer: well, just because the experience was so new. I mean, probably now when you go to the market, there are people who talk to you and they presume there’s somebody behind your eyes and maybe there isn’t but you don’t have to pretend anymore because you’re accustomed to this.
Mandi Solk: That’s right. But when it first happened, you know it’s, it was really really weird.
Rick Archer: Yeah, that happens a lot with these things, I think there’s a sort of a newness, and then there’s an accla, What’s the word?
Mandi Solk: Acclimatization
Rick Archer: Yeah, exactly. And after you’ve, you’ve acclimatized, then you know, you don’t think twice about it, if you ever give it a thought, it’s just like automatic.. And also, I think, you know, with regard to your earlier experience of driving on the windy highway, there’s this – what I’ve found anyway – that sometimes in more extreme contrasting situations, you notice the silence a lot more profoundly, just because when you’re just going along, and everything’s ordinary, it’s, you know, as we say, you’ve acclimated, things are normal, but all of a sudden, you’re, you’re running through a busy airport, or you’re falling off your bicycle, or you’re driving down a scary highway, and, and the contrast becomes much more stark.
Mandi Solk: Yeah, you know, people often think that, Oh, you’ve got to have some great event, in order to, you know, see this, but it doesn’t have to be like that at all. It can be a whole series of non-events really, like just waking up that way. Or, you know, I met somebody on a Course who had never done a spiritual practice in his life. He hadn’t read any spiritual books, he was a docker, he worked with the ships, you know, in the docks. And you know, this was very hard-working man who’d spent all of his life outside and lived in a caravan with his wife; he had a very lined skin with you know, being outside all the time, his skin was like leather and he smoked like a chimney and drunk a lot, you know. And then one day, he was just in the pub, and suddenly, he wasn’t there anymore. Yet he was, but he just didn’t understand. Then he freaked out because he didn’t know what this was. And he went on a bender, which is weeks and weeks of drinking and getting drunk
Rick Archer: Trying, trying to blot it out. I said,
Mandi Solk: Yeah, and then finally, I think somebody sent him to some spiritual teacher who explained what was going on. And, you know, it all fell away for him in that single instant. Because people do ask if you know, you’ve got to be an avid seeker. But no, not by any means, no, not at all, because love, which is what we’re talking about, you know, -that which we are, is God. I’m quite happy to use that word.
Rick Archer: Oh me too. And I appreciate the fact that you use it. So we’ll talk more about that. But that’s great. Yeah, but anyway,
Mandi Solk: Yeah, well, if God is like this shepherd that wants to shepherd us back to Itself, I, the I Am Presence wants to shepherd myself back to me. So, you know, why wouldn’t I want me to wake up and see it, you know. One of the things that I often say is that, when you start to look for that, which you are, then that which you are, helps you in the most loving way, it’s so quick to help you actually, you know, just a moment’s stillness -of being present – just a moment of that, and it’s like, it opens the curtains a bit and the light comes through, and then that light -the light that you are, God – sees you peeking through those drapes, and opens them a bit further, and a bit further for you almost automatically. So, love is always bringing you home to it to yourself. And it’s actually so much easier than you think. And people that talk about nonduality are often very – well some of them are a bit set in the ways about whether you should give people things to do (like practices) or not. It absolutely doesn’t matter. Because the thing is, anything that you can do to bring your truth or life to you is Truth, Truth guiding you back to Itself. One of the things that happens is that when we’re always seeing life through the mind, the microscope of mind, if you like, our focus is very sharp. You know, we focus on things in a very sharp way. So, indeed, we don’t like it when things go out of focus. If we think things are out of focus, we try and fix it straightaway. Which is natural, but because we have this sharp focus that we’re always aiming for, we see objects as very, very solid. The thing is that, you know, just sitting and looking into space and deliberately softening your eye focus, and waiting – and just even, you know, just being still, as it says in the Bible: ‘Be still and wait on God.’
Rick Archer: And know that I am God? So basically know
Mandi Solk: ….that I am God. Yeah, because when we are that still – even if you can only manage it for a few minutes, and you soften your focus and gaze into space – what you’re actually doing, is now you are not looking through the microscope of mind, instead you’re allowing that Presence to be seen. It’s so much easier to see ‘that which you are’ – it’s much easier than you think it is. It’s just about resting in this space and having the patience to give it to few minutes. I’m not even talking about meditation or a practice.
Rick Archer: Although it could be.
Mandi Solk: It could be, but I don’t really believe in practices, because that’s like looking for a formula. As soon as, well I mean, meditation is lovely. It’s absolutely beautiful. And why wouldn’t you want to do it, because it is lovely. But that’s not what I’m talking about. I’m not talking about meditation as a practice where we sit down for 20 minutes in the morning, and then 20 minutes in the evening, because that’s not going to get you closer to what you are. Because what happens when you’re not meditating?
Rick Archer: It sticks.
Mandi Solk: Yeah, it’s that kind of doing one thing at a time. It’s meditating. Well, that word ‘Meditation’ conjures up this idea of a formula. I’m really talking about exactly what I said, that whenever you can, just give it a few minutes, look into space, soften your focus, and just wait, wait, be still and “wait on God” and then God – that which you are – always comes, it never leaves you empty, it always comes because there aren’t any spaces in This. It’s like people think they always have to fill the spaces by doing or by talking, or whatever. But the spaces – they’re already full. There’s such fullness, such abundance. And so the minute that you give it a chance, it’s seen, it’s just seen; and what is seen? Well, when people do this, they’ll see it: there’s a spaciousness that happens, you know, and this isn’t a formula either. But it’s something that really can enable you to feel this Presence.
Rick Archer: Personally, I don’t have a problem with formulas and practices, I don’t, I don’t think they have to be traps of some kind, I think a person can get kind of hung up in a certain rigid rigidness. But on the other hand, I think that I know many, many people who’ve done a lot of meditation, and I would argue that it has, in fact, brought them a lot more in tune with, you know what you’re talking about. So I mean, I’m, I’m just more inclined to say, not this or that, but instead; this and that instead you know, it’s like, as you were saying earlier, that loving presence of God wants us to come home. And as Jesus said: ‘Seek and ye shall find;’ ‘Knock and the door shall be opened.’ And so any sort of thing that one does along those lines can be helpful. It may not be what they will ultimately do all their lives, it might be a stage, but I think personally -it’s my opinion – I don’t want to be argumentative about it, but I think that all these things can contribute to an unfolding, either gradual or rapidly for people and, you know, there’s no universal formula, One size does not fit all – different things suit different people, but, you know, whatever anybody’s doing, I say, you know, good on ya, you know, do that. If you get tired, if you do get tired of doing that, do something else.
Mandi Solk: You know, as I said earlier, meditation’s, lovely. Why wouldn’t you want to do it? Yeah, you know, I’m just sort of saying that I have seen that when people – well, I know people, you know, that live in my area, because there’s a lot of if you like, seeking and this is a very hippy town where I live, and you know it’s lovely. It’s got musicians and poets and spiritual seekers and everything, but sometimes, what I see a lot here, is a lot of rigid rigidity about meditation and thinking that that is the only way. I’m not disagreeing with you at all.
Rick Archer: I agree. I agree with you. I live in a similar place. I mean, I’m in a town of 10,000 people, where about 3000 of them meditate. It’s the, it’s the place where, you know, Maharishi University of Management is found. And so a lot of people are practicing TM here and then a lot of people are doing other things. And some people are very sort of, easy, easygoing about it and open-minded and all, but others are, you know, have a bit of a fundamentalist mentality, which I think you’ll kind of find elements of in any group, and, you know, they may evolve out of it eventually, but there’s definitely that, and it’s where I think a person can definitely get hung up.
Mandi Solk: Yeah, well, anything can. Yeah, true?
Rick Archer: Sure. You can be a fundamentalist non-dualist.
Mandi Solk: Totally. Yeah, I think, I think you can always spot it, you know, when they lose their sense of humor because when you lose your sense of humor, you really lose your sense of any kind of perspective, you know,
Rick Archer: Well we don’t have to worry about you, because you’ve got, you’ve got a good one.
Mandi Solk: Good. Thank you. Yeah, but please understand me, I’m not, – I wouldn’t – put down any practice, it’s just that what we’re talking about here is that, whatever you’re doing, it’s just you just doing that, you know, it’s quite Zen-like, in a way, but we’re not even not talking about mindfulness here where, you know, you pick up a glass of water, and you feel the weight of the glass in the water, and everything, it’s just that, you know, when you want the water, you simply pick up the water, and that’s all you’re doing. And you find that more and more of this – this experiencing of what you truly are -as more of that happens, that the mind is, well we don’t want to get rid of mind – the mind is vibrant – we can’t get rid of it anyway, you know, but it tends to go more into the background, and in the foreground tends to be just what you’re doing. And therefore the need to have a practice of meditation starts to recede; (that need to do something) – because now, there’s a restfulness and oneness with everything that you’re doing, because there’s ultimately nobody doing it.
Rick Archer: Yeah, now a lot of people of course, well, talk about giving up the search – and not being a seeker and so on – and I think that the sentiment behind that statement can mean that there can be this sort of carrot mentality, you know? The donkey, following the carrot, wherein realization is always ahead of you. And that can go on endlessly and you’re always chasing after it. And if you belong to some core organization, there’s always, oh, if I go on this next course, then I’m going to really get it or if I get this new technique, I’m going to really get it and, and y’know I think that a person can spend lifetimes doing that. And, there’s definitely something to be said, for recognizing what’s in the here and now and breaking out of that treadmill of constantly running after something.
Mandi Solk: I mean, to me, this is just about, it’s completely down to earth, you know, it’s just, it’s ‘this is it’. This is what I mean about doing sort of any techniques; it’s not about doing anything special or ceremonial. Because all those kinds of things can make you wear a badge like I am, ‘I’m a meditator’, I am a yoga person, ‘I ‘… you know, I am, I am that, you know, it’s … Everything’s sacred, and it’s also not sacred. Take, eating sausages: if that’s all you’re doing – is eating the sausages – if that’s all that’s going on, you know, what could be more spiritual than that? Because then, when there’s only one thing going on, then there’s nothing about a ‘you’ that’s doing it. That’s when we can really see that. I remember years ago, my husband, when I met him, he’d been a meditator for 14 years. And he was way ahead in all this Spiritual…..
Rick Archer: Was he a teacher or just a practitioner?
Mandi Solk: Yeah, practitioner, really just an amazing guy. And one day, he just ran down the stairs in glee and said: ‘Oh Mandi, I was just tying up my shoelaces – and that’s all that I was doing!’ At the time you see, I hadn’t got a clue what he meant.
Rick Archer: That’s nice. Ha.
Mandi Solk: Yes, and now, of course, I know exactly what that means. It means that the sense of a person that is the doer had just completely gone. God was tying the shoelaces, you know, that’s why I say that God makes the tea. God does everything, about which you are. ‘In Him, we move and have our being’; in IT, we move and have our Being. Being is the only Doer without which nothing really gets done. So when Alan was just tying his shoelaces and that was all that was going on, y’know, he recognized that that was the absence of the doer. And that was such a joyful moment for him. And since then, you know, I’ve been fortunate to experience that, and so the point here, is that there isn’t any carrot which is why I will say to people, there are things that can help that, you know, help you to see it a bit. Like I’ve shown people this thing about not looking so hard through the eyes. You see this business about not focusing – every so often through the day, whenever you can remember – is really good because it stops this belief that you are really looking at something solid – that there’s something that’s you, that’s looking through this matter to see something else, you know, and that the more we can drop that, eventually, there can be more of a true seeing. So, you know, like you were saying, there’s a lot of people make a carrot, out of this enlightenment thing. Also, many teachers say, ‘This’ may never happen to you, and if that happens by Grace only to certain people and blardy blar. But you know, what I’ve seen, is that it’s happening to loads of people.
Rick Archer: Oh, yeah
Mandi Solk: You know, loads and loads of people every second – that there’s, (it’s an old-fashioned expression), there’s a ‘quickening’, and there does seem to me to be a quickening. And, and also, I think it’s like a new type of spiritual teacher, but they’re not like spiritual teachers, because I don’t really tend to use that word spiritual. What does that mean? You know, I don’t really know what that means anymore. You know, because, to me, God is love, and is completely accessible. And it is what we are. And it’s, it’s every day; it’s not sacred and spiritual, it doesn’t need ceremony, it doesn’t need certain times in the day. You know, but, but spaciousness and being present. When you are being present, you are that Presence, you know, there can’t be a you being present. And there’s not a you being present, its simply Presence, getting through; it’s coming through you – it’s what you are; it can take you over, so that the more that you are present – and Still -or just doing whatever you’re doing – but then, you, you take a step back and just sit for even just a few seconds – and then, you carry on doing whatever you’re doing for an hour or two, and then again you just sit, and sometimes it doesn’t occur to you to do that. Sometimes you can go through days and realize that you’ve been completely and utterly lost in thought, well, it doesn’t matter. So what? Y’know, none of it matters, it really doesn’t matter. Now, it’s alright for somebody to say that, who sees it doesn’t matter, but when you think it does matter, then you think it does matter. Well nobody can actually help you with that one, you know; whilst there’s an earnest belief that there’s something to get, then until that sort of drops away, that desire is there. But I just want to say something about that, see, because what happens, is this old-fashioned idea of what enlightenment is, is the very calm, quiet, blissful person giving out simple blessings.
Mandi Solk: But life is like this all the time. However, sometimes, people with a lot of problems come to nonduality meetings thinking that this is the answer, and it will solve their problems. But the biggest misunderstanding that there is, is that one state of mind is better than another. And this is quite radical, isn’t it? Because somebody will say, are you telling me that a busy worrying mind is not worse than a calm mind? Are you telling me that a calm mind isn’t better than a worrying state of mind? But you see, whatever is arising right at this moment is just the way that it is. And it’s as soon as we push against it and resist that moment, is when all the trouble starts. Now, if we’re in an anxious, fearful moment, the worst thing is to crave to be – to wish, you were enlightened – or to wish for a peaceful moment, because the more that you wish for that, the more you’re coming away from the present moment, and you’re elsewhere – thinking, that you’re a person that can get this peaceful moment; yank it out of midair, and then everything will be alright. But if anger is there, then just let anger fill the entire space, let it fill every single millimeter of space. Let it be there like a Big Red Cloud, because, that’s what’s happening. Most of us try and pull it in, bite our lip, or do anything. This causes awful illnesses, and we know what I’m talking about, you know, it can. Most of us spend our life trying to get to this ‘other place’ that doesn’t exist whilst we’re in this place. So you know, what the worst thing you can do really, when all this stuff comes up for you, is to try and pull away from it. I find that if something comes up, if, if fear comes up or an anxiety – well for instance, there was an earthquake last year, and in my area, something very rare. It’s never happened before. Wow, I’ve never lived through one. And I’m very fortunate then because it can be terrible. But, anyway, so I’m totally unused to this. I’m in bed, and suddenly the bed shakes. Like from the exorcist. You know, the whole thing is the middle of the night, and I live on my own. And although I’ve got a dog, the dog was two flights downstairs, and so I put the light on. But the fear was present but it didn’t seem to belong to me. So I could watch it. So I stood up. And, it’s a really hard thing to do but it felt like that I was aware of something terrifying going on, but the terror wasn’t in me. So I’m watching the bed, with this kind of mixture of terror and amusement, watching it go up and down and shake, and the pictures rattled on the walls and the mirrors and everything. And I just thought like I did when I was in that motorbike accident: there’s nothing I can do, it’s completely out of my control, so I just watched it and just waited till it was over, in fascination. And then there was actually no fear because it was just a complete acceptance of what was happening. So, I’m not interested in just standing at the front of a room, like loads of other teachers, and repeating ‘there’s nothing you can do, there’s nothing you can do’. Because then what happens is, it keeps people seeking forever and ever. But, there’s kind of something you can do but ultimately, there is nothing you can do; ultimately there isn’t, because there’s no ‘you’ doing it. However, on the level of human experience which we are having, otherwise, we’d fall over things, chairs and tables and stuff – on the level of human experience, there are certain things that can help to see this. So, one of the things is, that faced with whatever’s coming up for you, simply live it fully. And then when it’s lived fully, it starts to become seen that there is no ‘you’ living doing it. So for instance, if anger comes up, you just see it and allow it to be there – just feeling it fully; feel where the vibration is in your body, feeling your whole body vibrating with anger, like an erupting volcano, you know, and, and imagining that, also that the room is full of red mist and that you are seeing red and just feel it fully. What soon happens is, that it becomes unreal, because there’s no reality to it. Something about that gets seen – that there’s nobody actually behind that. Am I making any sense?
Rick Archer: Yeah, I think so. You’re just advocating naturalness. And I think a lot of times people who get into seeking mode and start going to talks and reading books and so on, they are trying to, you know, they want this experience. They’re trying to figure out how to get it. And very often they take descriptions as prescriptions. You know what I mean? In other words, they hear somebody describe their state of experience, that’s the way life is lived by them. And they’ll take certain symptoms of that or characteristics of that and try to appropriate them, and in the process, they become very unnatural. Like you’re saying in your book, you know, you’ve run into a number of people who you get on the nonduality bandwagon and then they become very apathetic and they start losing interest in relationships or in their job or, or other things. And I would suggest that the mistake they’re making is that, you know, the natural state of detachment is not a detachment of our individuality from our circumstances. It’s the natural state of detachment that exists between universality and circumstances, you know, between the unbounded awareness and the phenomenal world. And you know, if that is actually being lived, one can be fully engaged. I mean, if we go back to the Gita, Lord Krishna told Arjuna to, you know, once established in yoga, perform action. And by ‘yoga’ he meant established in Universal Consciousness or unbounded awareness, go ahead and fight this battle that I want you to fight, but he was not being all peaceful and ‘blissy’ about it. And then he’d be fighting a battle, you know. That’s pretty intense activity.
Mandi Solk: Exactly right. I was saying, that often, when people go to meetings, yes, it is a prescription for detachment. And it’s not de-tachment – which is a forced thing, as in ‘I believe I can detach myself.’ Instead, it’s really about non-attachment. Now, when non -attachment happens, that is a natural thing, because it can only happen naturally, that there is no attachment.
Rick Archer: Yeah. And what is being unattached from? What, you have to ask, you know, in the ideal state -in the state that you’re really referring to here, in the state that perhaps Ramana Maharshi wrote about? What is it that is actually unattached? From what?
Mandi Solk: Yes, well, it’s when people get this idea, that they’ve ‘got it ‘about nonduality, then they become often quite cold and detached from their feelings and emotions. But that’s because they think that emotions aren’t part of this, but emotion – everything’s part of this, everything’s included, every great, wonderful, lovely, awful, rotten, squalid thing, every single thing that arises is, is included in it, and also, very banal things. So regarding ‘Nonduality North’: I’ve handed it on now because I’m busy with my own things, but, when I was running it, and getting speakers coming over and putting on these events, I always arranged for a meal afterward. Everybody wanted to go because it was always a really nice thing. You know? Anyway, one woman who used to be so much part of it and have such fun, stopped coming to the ‘Saturday night meal,’. She’d actually come to the events and then take herself off to this place in the woods, she’d booked. And I know that she loves eating. And I know that she loved socializing and everything, I couldn’t understand why she stopped coming. So anyway, I rang her and, asked her: ‘Why have you stopped coming? I mean, you use to love the meals.’ And she said, Oh, she said, ‘Well, the thing is, that you know, you sit down to eat and then people start talking about such trivial stuff, she said, and I just can’t be bothered talking to them’. So I said to her that, you see, it doesn’t matter what anybody’s talking about, it absolutely never matters, whatever anyone’s talking about. Because there’s always a subtext with what’s going on. And the subtext is nearly always about love. If people are talking to you, that’s because they want to engage with you. If somebody says, ‘Oh, I like that shirt you’re wearing’ or, or whatever, they’re basically saying, ‘I love you’. Because every, every time that you are engaging, we’re actually engaging with ourselves, you know, that’s it.
Rick Archer: Also, I would suggest that, I always suggest that enlightenment doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with talking or thinking about profound things. I mean, an enlightened person could be reading the paper, talking about football, or something like that.
Mandi Solk: Eating sausages. Ha!
Rick Archer: Yeah, eating. So an unenlightened person could be just sitting there, you know, talking about the most profound philosophies. So I mean, the content of one’s speech and thoughts has little bearing on the state of one’s consciousness.
Mandi Solk: But you get people don’t you, who’ve been to non-duality meetings, and they’ll say, ‘Oh, I can’t talk to my partner anymore because they just don’t get this’ or all that kind of thing. And so, you know, it’s not to do with that, it’s really about living life fully. Life tends to be lived more fully with all its rocks and pebbles and beautiful bits as well, yeah. There’s nothing to run towards. We’re already here.
Rick Archer: Or from, Yeah, we’re already here.
Mandi Solk: And it’s so tiring seeking, after years and years of it, you know. Actually, a lot of people are seeking, but they don’t need to be seeking anymore because they actually see it, but some people I’ve met have seen this now, yet it becomes a habit to seek, maybe they …
Rick Archer: Oh yeah. I was, I was a student of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi for many years. And I was like your stereotypical seeker, I was really pretty desperate about it. And one time, I was standing on a stage giving some little talk, and he was sitting there on his couch, and, and he kind of interrupted me and he said: “Every day is life”, he said, “Don’t pass over the present for some glorious future”. And he went on a little bit more, but it was like, you know, chill, dude. You know, just relax. I mean, enjoy the moment. Don’t, don’t sort of feel like …he said it in a nutshell, I thought it was very profound. And I’ve always remembered that, yeah,
Mandi Solk: Ah, that’s lovely because you’ve nowhere to run to because wherever you run, God’s always ahead of you, God’s behind you, at the side of you, within you. You are IT you know, you are That. So, whether you know it or not, it doesn’t matter. And people that are seeking will say, Oh, don’t say it doesn’t matter, it matters to me terribly. So all you can really say to that, is well, ‘how would you be without that thought?’
Rick Archer: There we go. Byron Katie. Oh, did she say that? Oh, that’s a that’s part of her. Oh, she’s great. You’d love her. That’s one of her things. She, she has this what she calls ‘The Work’.
Mandi Solk: Oh, yes, I’ve heard of that.
Rick Archer: And you know, if a person says a thing, like, you know, I hate my husband or something like that, she says, ‘is that true? ‘And the person said, ‘Yeah, it’s true’ And she says, ‘Can you absolutely know that that’s true?’ And then, the third thing is, well, ‘where would you be without that thought?’ In other words, what if that weren’t true? What would that do to your world? And then she eventually turns it around. And it’s kind of a nice way of kind of unraveling one’s tendency to take one’s thoughts too seriously.
Mandi Solk: Right. Yes. Oh, I remember. You know, I’ve got a friend, I think you’re having him come to talk here, Jeff Foster. And we went through some of her stuff once. That’s right, you know, but Yeah. How would you be without that thought? Yeah. Without that thought of seeking, you can just enjoy whatever you’re doing- eating chocolate, watching the television, talking with friends. You know, that’s it, though. That’s it. That’s all, that’s all, that’s necessary.
Rick Archer: But I do want to interject one thing, and that is that there’s, there’s that old word ‘paradox,’ you know, which, to me means that you can often take the will, let me make it more simple: Just the fact that you might see somebody doing a spiritual practice, being interested in reading spiritual books, things like that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re in seeker mode, they, they could very well have found, you know, found something and they’re just enjoying it and it’s just something they’d like to do. So that it’s sort of like we were saying earlier, about mistaking descriptions of the state, for the state itself. You know, it might be easy to mistake a person who is maybe engaged in devotional practices, for instance, as someone who’s still, you know, very much seeking, whereas they could very well have been very well established. I mean, Rama, Rama Krishna, for instance, was said to, you know, well after his enlightenment to sort of engage in a variety of devotional practices and to explore them in order to understand the different paths that people go through. And a person might have said, Well, why is he doing that? You know, hasn’t he already found it, but it’s sort of it’s just icing on the cake. Shankara said, you know who Shankara is? Ever heard of him? He was Shankaracharya the original Shanker who wrote ‘The Crest Jewel of Discrimination’ and books like that. He lived a couple of thousand years ago in India and he was really the father of nonduality. But um, he said, at one point, the intellect imagines duality for the sake of devotion.
Mandi Solk: Right.
Rick Archer: Let that sink in for a second.
Mandi Solk: I mean, I just think that we all love being around it, you know, I mean, when Scott comes to town, I love listening to Scott because it’s just lovely being in that.
Rick Archer: Oh he’s great, yeah
Mandi Solk: It’s lovely, you know, listening to people who can talk about it so clearly; it’s a beautiful thing to be part of, and a lot of the practices are lovely. Most of them are lovely, aren’t they?
Rick Archer: Yes. These days his, Scott’s latest thing is he’s doing shadow work. You know, because he feels like he needs to sort of unravel kinks in his personality which might be hampering his relationships and things like that. And you know, I wouldn’t say to Scott, ‘Oh you shouldn’t be doing that Scott, you’re, you’re still sort of getting caught in the, in the game if you’re doing, if you’re doing that, you’re getting caught in the dream. But Scott is arguably a very awakened person, but he sees a need – or a purpose, in kind of, in enhancing his personhood, which, you know, he would acknowledge is ultimately a dream. But why not make it a better dream? You know, why not? You know, why not be a better person. I mean, there are gurus, for instance, who have behaved atrociously toward their disciples and, you know, gotten involved in sexual scandals and money scandals, and all kinds of things. And very often it is just sort of written it off as ‘Oh, it’s all Maya’, or ‘It’s all just an illusion’, and ‘I’m not really the actor’, ‘I’m not really doing this’. And it’s, ‘I’m just doing it for you to help you work out your karma’ -, all kinds of rationalizations, which, to me are just cop-outs, and it’s like, those people actually could use some kind of improvement on a relative level.
Mandi Solk: Well we all can. We can see this is, that it’s this mess again, isn’t it? If you think, you know, this idea of the end of the road, you know, this enlightenment, is the end of the road, it’s misguided because nothing can be ‘the end of the road’, because that would be thinking in a linear way of: ‘we’re here. And now we’re here. And then that fits there. That’s the end of the road. There’s no future. I mean, that would be death, wouldn’t it, like a real death? You know, of which there isn’t any. So, you know, that’s a dead way of looking at things. I mean, because life is always fresh, and so the way that one is – or reacts to things -is also open to constant change, and evolvement and everything, it’s like you were saying at the beginning, about how I’ve said that the things today perhaps a little differently from my book. They’re not really different. It’s kind of like, they’ve sort of blossomed out more, I think everything goes that way, blossoms like, like a flower. It’s like I was saying last week, if you ever tried to clean a mirror, you know, when you look at a mirror and you try and clean it, you look at it from one angle, and you think that’s it, I’ve got it. Now, you just go to another angle, and you see finger marks or streaks. So then you clean that off, and then you look from another angle, and then you can see, ‘I thought I’d got that, but there’s another one there’.
Rick Archer: Oh, that’s a good metaphor.
Mandi Solk: Why wasn’t it clear? You thought you’d got it? You know, the humility is in knowing that you can never, ever know anything. Now to some people, even saying that is because some people will say, ‘Oh, the latest thing is to say: ‘I don’t know anything’. Really, you’re there when you realize you really don’t know anything. It’s such a relief. And that’s why, sometimes I think you can really tell the people who truly see this, from those who don’t yet, because there is sort of a down-to-earthness and humility about them. When you know there’s nothing that you could know, then you can’t be telling other people that you know it, either. There’ll be fingermarks on that mirror no matter how much you are cleaning them, and every so often you get a few more off and then a few more and then wow, there’s another seeing you know, it. It’s onwards, it goes on forever. That’s the nature of aliveness.
Rick Archer: Yeah. And if you and I were to have a talk five years from now, you might say, Whoa, it’s blossomed so much more since the last time we spoke, you know, that now I’m seeing it with this degree of richness and subtlety. And I’m able to express it, you know, so much more clearly in this way. And all that, it’s just, it’s the nature of life to evolve.
Mandi Solk: I always hope to express it more clearly.
Rick Archer: Yeah, me too. And even when I do these interviews, I always feel like, you know, my understanding and depth of experience only goes so far. And I always feel – at the end of the interview – that I’ve failed to kind of really fathom the person to the degree to which they could potentially be fathomed and enable them to really state it. But we just do the best we can.
Mandi Solk: That’s the reason I often refer to Scott (Kiloby) because he’s just so clear. And he’s got a beautiful way of speaking about such things with real clarity. He’s done a lot of meetings and it’s great. But exactly, like you were saying, with every interview I do, I think ‘Oh God, I’ve probably confused people;’ because it is very difficult to describe, and you fall over yourself, with every word you say.
Rick Archer: And yet, you know, we could say this in the same breath, that it doesn’t mean that you’re not dwelling in a state of presence, in a state of contentment, in a state of pure awareness, or whatever terminology we want to use. So this is all this paradox thing, you know. You can be, in a sense here, and you’ve arrived home You’re at the goal, so to speak. And yet, there’s still unfoldment to take place.
Mandi Solk: Well, yeah, because you know, I’m still apparently here. It’s still going on. And it’s lovely, you know. But, I mean, there’s an ease because things aren’t taken so seriously, but having said that, it doesn’t mean that things can’t come up that, that would be painful, it’s just that there doesn’t, feel like there’s some-body that’s experiencing it. It’s a bit like standing near a fire – and you can feel the warmth – but you aren’t the fire. Like, in the past, if I was upset about something, it was me that was upset, I’d be absolutely ground down by it. But it feels different now like the fear is all around you – as if you can feel heat from a fire, but it isn’t ‘you’ anymore. You don’t feel that it’s you anymore. And this, as I said earlier, is happening to so many people, and it’ll happen to loads more people. And it can happen to every single person that’s listening, because it’s just an evolvement of, well, it’s actually more of a diminishing, really, it’s an evolvement of the diminishing of the ‘I’. Because also, if you are a seeker and you are open to this, there are levels, like in one way; like we hear it on the intellectual level first, you know, and you might have resistance to it, but then if you can get past your resistance, then you intellectually understand it. And then it makes a bit more sense. And then it goes a bit deeper, until – if you’re exposed enough to it, and you’re interested enough in it – life starts to unfold at progressively deeper levels of awareness. And even though it might have just started from that intellectual understanding, like you were saying before, it can happen in any way to anybody. The way to God is so generous, IT’s not going to put up barriers just because, at first, somebody comes at it through the mind. (Of course, you can’t ultimately come to the mind to this), but eventually, when you’ve seen – or witnessed – beyond the mind, the mind just gives up. There’s got to be a giving up at some point. Of course, we do see people who are so locked into the mind, and it’s clasped them and it hasn’t let go yet. But also, nobody can afford to feel superior to those people, because sometimes those same people who were so ‘tight’ could suddenly burst wide open. Like when Eckart Tolle said he was about to commit suicide and then, you know, BAM! He just burst open. So nobody can judge another as to how near or far they are to the actual seeing of this truth, of what they are
Rick Archer: very right. I mean, look at your dockworker friend, you know, I mean, who would have guessed?
Mandi Solk: Ha. I thought you said, ‘look at my dog’. But my dog’s really got it!
Rick Archer: Yeah, totally, yeah. Actually, I have some book that my sister gave me about dogs and enlightenment. And what is it? I don’t see it on the shelf right now, but some beautiful quote about this book and with all these enlightenment quotes in it, and then pictures of dogs that kind of exemplify the quote.
Mandi Solk: Ah really. I mean, you know, that in dogs, what they see is that every moment is just so exciting. I mean, every single day. Like Howard, my dog, has his meal twice a day, I put the food down and he does this little skip for joy every day, even though it’s same food y’know. The same at the park we go to, and it’s just thorough enjoyment.
Rick Archer: I think that’s why people love animals. There’s this innocence, you know, we tune into their innocence and their spontaneity and it teaches us something. So kind of like, in your story of the evolution of Mandy, we kind of left you rolling over on your bed and not seeing an arm or something like that. I mean, are there more? Were there more significant milestones? And was there any sort of point at which you had a major breakthrough, a hot kind of thing that never seemed to revert back?
Mandi Solk: It was a building up with me, you know, it was a building up of more and more of those things until they all sort of gelled together, until I sort of realized: Aha. It had all gone. But it wasn’t. I’m not talking about quite what you’re saying now, not a big realization. I, I remember, I was just cleaning the kitchen surface, I was cleaning it, and it was a bit like that event when my husband had seen he was just tying his shoelaces. And that’s all he was doing. And I suddenly realized, kind of gradually over the session of cleaning, that this had been going on for some time. This, this -the fact that there was nothing going on but this, and I hadn’t sort of realized it, you know, hadn’t, hadn’t seen that I was seeing it now. It comes so gradually. It was just more and more of these events, lots of little events, you know, like looking at the tree and suddenly not feeling that there was a separation between me and the tree; and watching the dog one day and not seeing there was a separation between his jumping and my seeing. Christian scientists always say- well, they never say ‘I’ve got a cold’, or ‘I have got boils’, or ‘I’ve got arthritis’, instead they always say ‘I have a belief in boils’, ‘I have a belief in arthritis’ etc. . Which means that you’re not really buying the idea of it. So if you have a belief in arthritis of the hip that’s completely worn away on one side and is wearing away with arthritis on the other side, and arthritis in my knees and things like that. So
Rick Archer: -you’re speaking of your actual body at the moment? Ok.
Mandi Solk: Yeah my body at the moment, is, is having some apparent challenges, right. I mean, this has been going on for years, since I was little, having problems in that area. But one day, I remember – I was watching – I was quite immobile, and I was watching the dog playing in the park and running – (I was throwing the ball for him) and there was just a, (this was just one of these moments), there was a complete loss of the idea that I was anything. I was the dog – I was that playing and jumping and running around. I was it. You know, that was just another of those things; that was a really lovely one. I loved that one. And then it was just like more and more of these little, little seeings. The biggest one, the BIG one -was the motorbike accident.
Rick Archer: Well, that was pretty early on.
Mandi Solk: I mean, yeah, that was years ago. That was back in the 90s, that thing with the bed, you know, getting up, waking up and there was nobody there, you know. And then it was just sort of more and more little awakenings and mini revelations. I hadn’t even realized that a lot of people are seeing this now – that they haven’t actually realized yet that they’ve ‘got it’. Don’t let me use that word, but, y’know…..
Rick Archer: Yeah, that’s okay. I know what you mean.
Mandi Solk: That’s the good news for everybody though. That’s the good news. But people say to me, oh, y’know, you had a motorbike accident; Tony Parsons walked in the park, somebody else had this, etc. But no, no, no, it really doesn’t have to be that way.
Rick Archer: There’s a saying that, you know, there are two ways you can get drenched while taking a walk. One is you can be walking along, and all of a sudden, you get caught in a sudden downpour and you’re drenched. And another is – and this one is probably quite common in northern England – you can be walking in a heavy mist, and after a while, you suddenly realize ‘I am really drenched’. But you don’t really know when it happened, you know?
Mandi Solk: Oh, that’s brilliant!
Rick Archer: Yeah, when did I get drenched? You are just as wet both ways. I think most of the people have the heavy mist kind of way of going about it, you know, they just sort of realized after a while, you know, hey, this never leaves me now, and, you know, I’m different than I used to be. And then also, you know, occasionally I have the people who have the sudden Satori or something, but they seem to be the exception rather than the rule.
Mandi Solk: Yeah. And it doesn’t matter which way it happens, you know? Because if your desire to wake up to what this is, is so strong, why wouldn’t ‘You’- (which is ‘I’ this ‘I am Present’), why would I want to resist Myself? You know, why would I want to hurt My Self or withhold from My Self? You know, I can’t do that. And the more that we see that that which I am wants me – the me – to see this. It’s embracing us – it’s shepherding us home the whole time. I remember a building up to, sort of, this whole seeing – that there’d be times when there would be despair, and so I’d just do this thing I said earlier, just sit and wait on God, but fully expecting It, whereas before, when I was younger, I didn’t expect it. But now there’s full expectation that ‘ask and I shall be given’ immediately -really within seconds of just softening my focus and just sitting, sitting back, back, back, back-this Love would just fill the room. You know that a lot – many, many people have written about it and talk about it – just this absolute love. It’s there for everybody. It’s almost, you know, you just scratch below, a little bit below the surface – (like scratching a little bit of paint off) you know? And it’s absolutely there! Nobody gives it a chance, that’s all. It’s written: ‘be still and wait on God’ – it comes, you know, because it’s what you are, you can’t not be there for IT, for yourself.
Rick Archer: Yeah, one thing I sometimes wonder is, people who have spontaneous awakenings or they all of a sudden find themselves catapulted on to the spiritual path like, like the dock-worker, friend, and in a number of people I’ve met, like this woman in Arizona that I interviewed a while back, and she’s – her interview is very popular on my site, and more people listen to it than any other. She’s a housewife, you know, living a normal life with a couple of kids, and her grandmother died, and she thought to herself, you know, I wonder what there is after death, you know. She never really thought about it before. She wasn’t a philosophical person. The next morning, she woke up with this sort of funny energy in her head, and within days, she was having this major kundalini awakening, and she didn’t know what the heck was going on. She thought she was going insane. She started looking on the internet, she found Kundalini, which matched her symptoms, she thought she had Kundalini disease, and, in any case, what I find puzzling or curious is, that I wonder if, if people are sort of on the verge of an awakening, and therefore, they start to seek because they’re on the verge of it? Or if somehow, you know, it’s like which is the cart and which is the horse? You know, the kind of person who sort of say, ‘by golly, I’m going to find this out’ and they start seeking and eventually it comes to them, or the two kind of go hand in hand, and it’s really hard to say, which is the cart and which is the horse?
Mandi Solk: I don’t know, I think that’s a really interesting question. I don’t know, I think both can be true. Absolutely y’know. You can feel completely on the verge of something sometimes, or you can feel that things are so bad, but you realize that, well, who’s feeling that they’re so bad? Who what? Who was it so bad to?
Rick Archer: Yeah, you know, kind of like Eckhart Tolle saying, I can’t live with myself anymore. And then he thought, wait a minute, are there two of me? And then, then he had this awakening, or Byron Katie, this woman that we referred to, she was in a halfway house, she was so totally nonfunctional, she’s sitting on the floor, lying on the floor, because she didn’t feel like she deserved to be in a bed, and some kind of a cockroach crawled across her foot. And she had this awakening, and, you know, she ended up becoming a very profound spiritual teacher, it just sort of happened. So you wonder sometimes whether people are, I don’t know -this is speculative and maybe it’s silly to even speculate like that – but it’s kind of fascinating sometimes to see these people who have these spontaneous awakenings and you wonder whether they have prepared for many lifetimes, and it’s finally blossoming, or what the heck is going on?
Mandi Solk: I think that I don’t know really, because I don’t think mine’s really very exciting to say. Mine’s more of just – it’s just a sort of an absolute expansion really, that’s what mine – well, it’s not ‘mine’, is it? You know what I mean, it’s that experience of absolute love -of God being there all the time, you know? And em …
Rick Archer: Yes, let’s talk about God a little bit more, you know, you’ve brought up the word God a little bit. And that word is a little bit of an anathema in some non-duality circles, but you seem to be comfortable with it. You know, it does sort of give a personification to this presence that we talked about. It’s not just sort of a flat, absolute nothingness. There’s a sort of a love, quality, intelligence, quality, and all that. What would you like to say about that?
Mandi Solk: I suppose it’s because my understanding of what that God is, is exactly what people are describing when they say ‘Being’, what else do they say – ‘consciousness, awareness.’ All these words don’t work: ‘Consciousness’ well who is there, there to be conscious? Who is there to be aware? ‘God’ translated into a lot of other languages, just means ‘good’. But to me, it’s the same thing we’re all talking about. It’s that life that we are; that ‘I AM’ Presence. that – yes, that Ultimate. Not a man in the sky; but ultimate intelligence, it’s the Life: Life, Truth, Love, which is why I was so interested in Christian Science is that they have seven synonyms for God: Life Love, Truth, Principle, Mind (with a capital ‘M’ – not little mind, you know)? It’s what we are. It is that ‘I AM Presence, but because I’ve always understood Got to be like that and not a man in the sky, to me, it’s just very easy, I’m very comfortable with it.
Rick Archer: Well, I mean, religions do say that God is Omnipresent, and if he’s really Omnipresent, then he can’t just be in the sky and he’s got to be in the chair and he’s got to be thoroughly permeating us, and you know, exactly. He’s got to be that, in fact, He’s got to be that consciousness that’s looking out through our eyes.
Mandi Solk: Exactly. So at that time when I woke up, and ‘nobody’ was waking up, and there was just this Omnipresence, I knew myself AS that, you know, that’s, that’s what we are. So, not Mandi, but just that, just that Presence – that Being – so that, that’s what it is. It’s just an easier – term.
Rick Archer: Yeah, as a matter of fact, that statement: ‘Be still and know that I am God’ isn’t that the way it goes? It doesn’t just – it’s not necessarily referring to another person, another entity that is, that being God. If you’re still, it can very well mean: Be still and know that – I AM God.
Mandi Solk: Yes, that’s it. Yeah, you know, and there’s ‘Be still and know that I am God’, and there’s something ‘Be still and wait on God. And anyway, you don’t have to wait long, that’s the thing, maybe a minute at the most -until ‘that which you are’, gets the call, you know, – it’s just so accessible. That’s the thing, it’s so accessible. When people have got a very worrying mind – a very, very busy mind, well that’s a luxury that we can’t really afford, you know, when, when it’s very busy like that, the tendency is to not want to be still at that moment, but to be really engaged with the thought and engage with it. It’s almost like a sick sort of magnet that pulls us down, you know. But, you know, that’s just another thing that you can just STOP or you can imagine a big, massive alarm clock with those big bells on the side, just ringing and just go STOP, you know, and just sit back and just give yourself a second of this soft-focus and everything, and then what happens is there is an expansion, you see – there’s an expansion there, that we can always have. It’s almost like the ‘I’ that we are, rewards us every time we STOP it. So every time we just say ‘STOP’, we stop buying into this dream. When you notice yourself doing it, you do this say STOP. Many years ago, before I even knew anything about nonduality, I used to say, ‘stop the world I want to get off’. It’s just a little sentence I used to say. I think it’s from a show or something.
Rick Archer: Yes it is from a show or some there is a play or a movie or something.
Mandi Solk: Yeah, that’s right. So I used to say that. And, and I used to notice how there was a real sick desire to keep on in the trap of the thinking, and I started to see that it was a luxury that I couldn’t afford, you know, this kind of – ‘hang on a minute, I’ve still got to finish this thought! Hang on a minute…’, you know, it’s important, it’s important. And I just had to pull the plug on it, I started to see, I just kept pulling the plug on it until I got used to being able to do that more and more often.
Rick Archer: And it’s kind of interesting. Yeah, I mean, because a person shouldn’t feel discouraged, if they hear what you say, try to do it and doesn’t work, because there’s a great deal of conditioning that, you know, has been ingrained in our nervous systems, and to just sort of be able to turn on a dime and become a completely different, you know, to function in completely different ways. It’s rather improbable.
Mandi Solk: But it took me years, but I did it.
Rick Archer: Yeah, but you didn’t do it in a moment it took you years. And if this is just the way we’re constituted, I mean, it does take a while to change, ingrained habits and ways of functioning. So a person who just proceeds patiently and diligently and, you know, with sincerity, can get results.
Mandi Solk: Yeah. And you may not, you may not get results, but there’s no reason, there’s no reason to think you shouldn’t either. Why shouldn’t you? Why shouldn’t ‘I’ see ‘My’ Self? Why, Why shouldn’t I? Of course, it’s extremely possible, extremely possible, you know, that, that it can be seen by anybody. I’m just an ordinary human being. There’s nothing extraordinary. There’s never, anything extraordinary about any person. There are no people that are extraordinary. It’s the Spirit. It’s the love. It’s, it’s that which we are – truly are. That’s extraordinary.
Rick Archer: Like you were saying earlier, I think there is, there is some sort of global quickening or epidemic underway, you know, in which it’s becoming more and more easy and likely for this sort of thing to happen. Whether or not one seeks it, you know, I think we’re just seeing a lot, a lot of waking up taking place. Whereas a couple of thousand years ago, you know, it’s like someone put it when I was interviewing them, they said it was as though in Buddha’s day, there was a very thick membrane that had to be penetrated in order to break through to the other side, so to speak. Whereas these days, it’s been broken through more and more and more and more, it’s getting very porous. And it’s, it’s much more conducive to awakenings.
Mandi Solk: Absolutely, because I mean, even on your website, on the logical level because of, like you say, YouTube.
Rick Archer: Yeah, exactly. Look what we’re doing.
Mandi Solk: There’s more and more and more, we are having … I remember Eckhart, years ago, before, before this or anything like this ever happened, he said: “wouldn’t it be great if consciousness came to TV?” Well, we have got, you know, ‘Conscious TV.’ ‘Conscious TVs’, even on TV. Yeah, has its own channel and all, and this site and so many sites, you know. So Nonduality is accessible to people in the furthest reaches and in the most isolated islands.
Rick Archer: Yeah. look at my Google stats, and there are people all over the place in really little out-of-the-way places.
Mandi Solk: Yeah, that’s so, that’s beautiful, isn’t it? It’s, it’s got to happen. It’s got to happen. And it’s happening more and more as people see that, that it’s nothing special. It doesn’t happen to special human beings, there aren’t special human beings. And, for many years, people thought there were special human beings – but the special thing is that which we all are. That’s, that’s what unites us.
Rick Archer: That’s a very good point, I was just exchanging emails today with a friend whom I’ve known for years. And unbeknownst to me, she had had an awakening a couple of years ago, which, you know, has persisted. And she said, she’s only told four or five people, but she’s telling me because I have this show. She lives here in my town, she’s only told four or five people because after telling the first several, she got such blowback from people, you know, they’re very skeptical and doubtful, and because she’s, you know, an ordinary person, like she doesn’t float two feet off the ground, so how could she be awakened? You know, I don’t feel like I go into samadhi in your presence or something. And so she, she just stopped talking about it. But one of the motivations I had in starting this whole thing was to, you know, have person after person after person who are basically ordinary people tell their story, so that people can see that, hey, I’m like her. I’m like him, that why not me? You know, if it can, if that can happen to him or her? Why not? Me? It’s you don’t have to be some kind of Superman.
Mandi Solk: Absolutely, that’s, that’s how it needs to be you know, because if people have decided it’s somebody special, and then it happens to your friend next door, then you get jealousy involved, and that blocks the way for people as well, you know, how come she can see it and he can’t see it? And blahdy blah, you know,
Rick Archer: Yeah, the Bible says, ‘A prophet is not without honor, except in his own home’.
Mandi Solk: Yeah, y’know, you can’t be a Prophet on your own doorstep. It’s best to keep quiet about these things.
Rick Archer: Or not, you know, I have this other friend that I was talking to earlier this morning on the phone, he lives here in this town. And he has been awakened, as long as he can remember from the age of four, I mean, throughout his teen years and these days is his experience. He’s in his 60s now. And he has such a sublime level of realization, such richness and depth, and detail. And I would love to get him to come on the show, but he’s just very private, you know, he doesn’t want to make a fuss, doesn’t want to be, you know, liberal. He works in a factory and he has a family with a couple of kids and he just wants to keep it that way for now. But there are people among us who have profound degrees of realization, some of whom have the inclination to talk about it. Others don’t.
Mandi Solk: Yeah, absolutely. It’s just, it’s just a kind of a weird expression. I mean, some people that talk about this, just never stop talking about it, they’re writing about it all the time; they’re blogging, they’re, they’re writing, writing, writing and stuff like that. It doesn’t really happen that way for me, I mean, at the moment I’m doing a book because it’s just arising slowly to do that. Doing a new one, but God knows when it’ll be done. I’m doing it and I’ve got a great editor helping me by listening to all my recordings and you know, writing and stuff like that, so we’ll get that out there sometime but, It’s more just about living an ordinary life for me.
Rick Archer: Yes ‘chop wood carry water’.
Mandi Solk: So I don’t do many meetings – I mean, I do meetings when I’m asked I’ll go, but I don’t really ’market myself’ – I’m not very good at self-promotion.
Rick Archer: Yeah. Well, you know, you have a bunch of talks on the internet, and people see those and you know, things like this. And you’ve talked to Scott Kiloby, Richard Miller, and different people. And, you know, so it gets out there, we’re all doing our bit. And
Mandi Solk: that’s it. When I’m asked, it’s just such a lovely thing to be asked. It’s a real privilege, and it’s so nice. But if it doesn’t, I don’t sort of seek it, you know, but when it happens, it’s lovely. With the things on the internet, there’ll be one afternoon, and something comes up to say, and so I’ll just say it, you know, hope for the best and sort of thing.
Rick Archer: But as Christ put it: ”Don’t hide your light under a bushel”, you know?
Mandi Solk: No, it’s just that it’s, just that sometimes I will and sometimes I won’t, yeah, there isn’t, there’s no will involved, you know.
Rick Archer: Yeah, well, we all have different functions to play y’know, a lot of different tools in the toolbox.
Mandi Solk: Absolutely.
Rick Archer: And you can’t use a hammer to do what a screwdriver is supposed to do. You know, so each of us has something to contribute. And some people hear this voice. And some people hear that voice and, you know, people gravitate towards what resonates for them. And that’s, I think, part of the value of having such a diversity of, of perspectives out there and voices.
Mandi Solk: That’s why it’s so wonderful that there are so many people sort of talking about it now. It’s just that there seems to be somebody every day that’s sort of blogging about it and talking about it. And it’s great, because there are so many people, you know, in the world that need it, and they can have various that they gravitate towards like you say: there are horses for different courses, you know, there needs to be.
Rick Archer: There’s a rock group in the US years ago called Sly and the Family Stone, and oh, yeah, remember them? And one of the lines from one of their songs was “different strokes for different folks”. Yeah. And then the name of the song actually was ‘I am everyday people’, which is kind of germane to what we’re talking about here, too. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Good. Well, this has been delightful. We don’t have to end it. But do you feel like there’s more that can be said? Or have we pretty much done justice to what you would like to say at this time?
Mandi Solk: I think I think I have nothing else to say at the moment, just that I’ve really enjoyed it. I’ve really enjoyed it. I really enjoy talking to you and inviting me into your space, the space, you know, to, to talk about it. It’s lovely. It’s always a pleasure.
Rick Archer: Yeah, it’s really fun. I was gonna interview Jeff foster next week, actually, but he’s moving to a different house or something. So we’re putting that on hold until he gets his thing sorted out.
Mandi Solk: Right. Yeah. Ah, that’s good.
Rick Archer: So let me just wrap it up by saying that I’ve been talking with Mandi Solk
Mandi Solk: Do you have a website? Yes, it’s: www.healingbyrevealingsoul.com
Rick Archer: okay. And that’s healingbyrevealingsoul.com. And also, I will be putting your photo and a little bio and link to your site and everything on batgap.com, which is an acronym for Buddha at the Gas Pump.
Rick Archer: And incidentally…
Mandi Solk: I also have a blog site as well.
Rick Archer: Okay. So you’ll give me the link to that too. And this, this name Buddha at the Gas Pump actually fits in with what we’ve been talking about, which is that in this day and age, there are Buddha’s at the gas pump there, you know, awakened people in, in everyday circumstances, then somebody next to you in this in the shopping line, a supermarket might be, you know, might be a, literally a Buddha, having realized their Buddha-nature, so to speak. A friend of mine came up with that name, I didn’t think of it, I’m not that creative. But in any case, so that’s batgap.com. If you go there, you will see all 60 or so of the interviews I’ve done so far. And perhaps more by the time you listen to this, and there’s a podcast, you can subscribe to; There’s a mailing list, you can sign up for us, you’ll get an email every time I do a new one. You can watch it on YouTube, Facebook, right there on BatGap, whatever suits you. So, that’s about it for this week. Next week, I am interviewing a very interesting fellow named Raven, who is a trauma and, and kind of a crisis counselor in Tucson, Arizona, as you may have heard Mandi, we had a tragedy there a couple of months ago, a shooting and a congresswoman was shot and so on. And he had to cancel his interview because he had to deal with that many people needing his services. He’s had a very colorful life, and I think, and also very profound degrees of awakening. I think people enjoy hearing his story. So, tune in next week, and sign up for the emails if you’d like to be notified when that comes up. And I’ll see you then thanks for watching.