This rough draft generated by Otter.ai contains errors. If you would like to correct them please contact me.
Rick Archer: Welcome to Buddha at the Gas Pump. My name is Rick Archer, Buddha at the Gas Pump or BatGap, as people call it is an ongoing series of interviews with spiritually Awakening people. I’ve done 399 of them as of today. So next week, this guy has the distinction of being number 400. If you haven’t seen this before, and would like to check out previous ones, go to batgap.com. And look under the past interviews menu and you’ll find all the previous ones interviewed, I mean, organized and categorized in in various ways. This program is made possible by the support of appreciative listeners and viewers. So if you appreciate it and feel like supporting it, there’s a Donate button on every page of the site. Today’s guest is Mike Jenkins. Hello, Mike.
Mike Jenkins: Hello.
Rick Archer: Mike is in the UK. He was trained as an actor and has worked in theaters in London and around the UK. He later worked as a performing arts teacher and customer services trainer and now creates and manages websites to help people connect with their audience. But that’s not why I’m interviewing him. He is written two stage plays a growing collection of poetry, and is a good writer by the way that there was I really liked your dark Cafe story, which
Mike Jenkins: Oh, yes,
Rick Archer: pertains to awakening at all. But maybe we’ll talk about that. And and he’s always been drawn to expressing his own perception and perspectives and exploring that of others through the creative arts. Mike loves to talk, sing, walk, read, write, cook, eat, and sleep, not necessarily in that order, no. And to help others feel and know the deep joy, grace and peace at the center of all life. After many years of mental and emotional distress in his 20s and a diagnosis of cancer at the age of 29, Mike began an intense spiritual search that led him to teachings on non duality, that sparked a series of awakenings, and set him on a journey to integrate those shifts into everyday life. So we’re going to talk about that. I particularly like that last sentence and last part of the last sentence, a series of awakenings that set you on a journey to integrate those shifts into everyday life. Because sometimes awakening is presented in such a way that it sounds like a black and white cut and dried on and off kind of thing, oh, I awakened, you know, I’m done, I’m finished. And to my experience, personally and observationally, it seems more like a series of awakenings is more appropriate terminology. And also, integrating those shifts into everyday life is huge. And perhaps a lifelong undertaking.
Mike Jenkins: Yeah, exactly. And that’s very much how I feel now. I’ll be honest, I didn’t initially, you know, when, when, when the first sort of experience occurred, the first sort of effective awakening. For me, it was powerful, it wasn’t one of these, you know, angels and sort of dramatic moments that some people describe. But it was powerful enough to sort of make me feel for a while at least that, that that that whole game of you know, seeking to be something outside of myself and seeking for completion outside of myself was over. But definitely in the last couple of years, it’s become very clear to me that if you’re coming from a place of clear seeing, seeing things clearly seeing things as if you’re awake and certainly seeing things as if for the first time, there’s definitely a process of integrating that into ordinary life. That I’m seem to be surrounded by quite a lot of people who really aren’t interested in in this journey. There’s ordinary people in my ordinary life, family, friends, co workers, who might have some sort of interest in it, but they’re not and it’s quite a good marker really for those of us who do collect together and go to meetings and retreats and, and listen to teachers and read experiences. It’s quite a good litmus test really to be surrounded by those people. And I have a lot of them in my life who say, Oh, so you know, where’s your awakening now you know, where so is this how is this what awakened living his life then you know, you getting angry about something insignificant by traffic or you know, these sorts of things. So it’s it’s definitely a process of integration for me and and I say series of awakenings because As, for me, it’s just been that way, you know, I felt very, very much early on, I began blogging about these experiences in 2010. And I spoken a lot then that it was my sort of gut feeling, if you like that, for me, Awakening was a gradual thing that it was gradually unfolding, that there was, you know, it felt very much like a structure of egocentricity, if you like, was like this big building is solid building. And initially, there was this sort of collapse of part of it, and some of the central structures through that initial waking up, they they became destroyed. And so, you know, some of the stronger elements just were knocked out in that first first event, if your first awakening, and then over the years, you know, over the following seven years, there’s just been this series of little sort of, if you like, final collapsing of that structure. And I don’t really have any sense that the structure is completely gone, or what bits of it is still standing. But it seems to me that the if I really want to get analytical about that, I just have to look at my my life, I just have to look at the relationships I have. And the way that you know, the way that things are different in my life as a result of that.
Rick Archer: They’re around us said, if you think you’re enlightened, go spend a week with your parents.
Mike Jenkins: Yeah, exactly. Or anyone who pushes your buttons, you know, interestingly enough, it seems to me that the minute we really move into a space where we can handle if you’d like more than we did before, because to me, you know, I’ve often described, you know, being in an awakened space, or just a way of awakening itself, as you know, this, this infinite endless capacity. In fact, that word seems to be coming to me a lot lately, and other people have used it, but this capacity to allow and to hold all this sort of infinite openness, this open space, that gives rise to everything. And so interestingly enough, when when, for me, my experience has been if I remain open to that, very quickly, things come into that space, almost a tested, you know, almost a test, the sort of stability in that that ground of being. So some of some of my new friends that I’ve made over the past couple of years, interestingly enough, seem able to sort of push those buttons in May, that in the past, might, I just might not bear to deal with it much more readily. And interesting enough, I’m thinking of one friend in particular, I’m not going to name any names, but this friend in particular. Also, I will she actually, but also spends quite a lot of time in my opinion, you know, residing in and exploring an open space. And interestingly enough, we seem to sort of almost like teachers for each other, trigger each other and, you know, test that that stability. So yeah, going live with your family for a week. Most definitely. And, and also, what just kind of rambling on about this, but what I find interesting is that, it seems to be that you know, those figures like the people, that test is the most, when you’re establishing yourself in this awake space, it seems to be life doesn’t seem to hold back on sending those people to you, in whatever form your children. No, I have no children. I was wondering,
Rick Archer: because there’s a little pictures on the wall behind you. I was wondering if those are little kids pictures or something?
Mike Jenkins: Are these? No, no. They’re postcards, actually, that people send me for their little cards that people’s birthday cards and
Rick Archer: things. Because I was just thinking children are also a good little testers.
Mike Jenkins: Absolutely, absolutely. Yeah. And I’ll be honest, I I’m, you know, yes, obviously, if I had children come into my life, that there’d be an acceptance of that. But I don’t feel in the place where I would willingly have children. I’m gay. I’m in again, in a same sex relationship. And where I am at the moment, I don’t feel, you know, called to adopt or attempt to have children. Right.
Rick Archer: It was just a curious it was just a case in point kind of example, because, you know, yeah, kids are a great, you know, button pushers.
Mike Jenkins: Oh, definitely. Yeah. And animals sometimes. Yeah.
Rick Archer: Yeah. Although less so I think that’s why a lot of people really, like animal relationships, because they, they’re not as complex as human beings.
Mike Jenkins: You know, definitely. That’s an interesting point. Because, certainly for me, awakening is really sort of most useful, I think, in relationship. Yeah, you know, in relationship to other people, but even in relationship to our environment, to the world, to other people, to animals, to to ideas, you know, it certainly does seem to be whether you know, the sort of the rubber hits the road or you know, we walk our talk.
Rick Archer: Yeah, so, on your openness point, you know, there’s a lot of synonyms we could use, you know, pure consciousness or unbounded awareness or vastness or open Nelson, I think people know what we’re talking about. But they often think of that as a kind of a solvent in a way because to whatever, you know, when it when it dawns, I mean, when that sort of inner freedom dawns, it tends to begin to dissolve things that are calcified, or, you know, read rigidly set in one’s own makeup perhaps and in one’s in one’s larger world, and, and then, you know, the muddies the waters can get muddied a bit as things are dissolving. And then you kind of work those things out. And maybe there’s another expansion and then more dissolving of stuff. And that cycle can just continue on for even Yeah, even post, you know, if we want to delineate a demarcate and awakening point, which is, you know, then post awakening, it seems to continue, you know, you
Mike Jenkins: just, I agree, yeah, I agree, I have to agree. And that’s how it’s been, for me is that, and that you’re right, it’s a very good way of describing it, when I think of things dissolving, I think of, you know, liquid, I think of, you know, sort of an open, you know, vast sort of space of liquid, and stuff comes into that. And it just, it just dissolves, much much ease more easily, much quicker. And so, it’s my sense that, you know, let’s just say we were able to sort of click our fingers, and the entire human race was living from an awakened space, the same way that you know, Christ figures or Buddha figures were doing, I would imagine that this is just a guess I have no way of knowing. But I would imagine that stuff would still come into those waters, it’s just that we’d be operating from a place that would just deal with it much more skillfully and effectively, and deal with it in an awakened way, you know, because life is life, isn’t it, neither there’s, there’s still going to be death, there’s still going to be suffering, what we might call suffering, there’s still going to be things that we don’t like happening. It’s just that the way we kind of process that and deal with it and respond to it. It is different from from from a different from an awakened perspective.
Rick Archer: Yeah. So I think it’s very high, very hypothetical, to suggest, of course, that we could click our fingers and the whole world would awaken. But, you know, if that were to happen, I think that 99% of the suffering and troubles that exists in the world with would dissolve very quickly, because most of them are manmade. But you know, there could always be an alien invasion or an asteroid strike or something like that, that would threaten us all and
Mike Jenkins: yeah, exactly, exactly. But interestingly enough, you know, what, what would that be, like, knowing that that threat could potentially be there? What would it be like, if we weren’t living every day under the fear of that, you know, I think, certainly, for me, I mean, all through my 20s the way I live was in reaction to a sort of generally constant sense of unease and discomfort, you know, either in the extreme form of anxiety and very sort of in a tense upset with myself and how I was feeling more on the more mild side, just to just a background sense of, you know, this unease Dino’s sort of sense of something missing, you know, which certainly when I was much younger, wasn’t very loud. But I was thinking this morning, actually about, about where I was sort of go back, before I started writing the blog, you know, back about eight or eight or 10 years. What seemed to happen before this big sort of first awakening experience was that that sense of something really missing in my life, although I just didn’t know what, you know, I tried to, I’ve moved from job to job I’d, you know, I attempted to sort of find completion in relationships, you know, things that we’re bringing the pleasure I would chase after and, you know, constantly seek to have better things and nicer things and improve stuff, like everybody can be like, like, this is normal sense of just, you know, acquiring in the world, or going out there and, you know, living in the world, and getting and wanting and doing and being. But in the end, the last of a couple of years, there was just this intense, like the volume had been turned up really loud, of just longing with actually often with no object in mind, like a state of perpetual feeling like I was hungry, and needing something, but actually never really known what it was. It’s almost like just feeling that sense of desire, if you like, or craving or, you know, feeling of lack, feeling that in isolation without actually you know, so if anyone was to say, well, what is it that you want? I wouldn’t have known what to say I just knew what actually what I wanted was for that feeling to go away that feeling of being empty to die, which eventually did happen.
Rick Archer: Yeah. Well, that’s a that’s a stage of progress, I would say because most people couldn’t answer that question, they would say, Well, if I only had a boyfriend or a new car, or a better house or a better job, you know, they can actually put a label on what it is they think they want. But you had apparently gotten to the point where you’ve done all those things. And still there was that craving or longing or wanting, and you began to realize that it was something more fundamental that maybe wasn’t gonna get fulfilled externally, although you probably wouldn’t have been able to articulate it that way at the time.
Mike Jenkins: No, no, exactly. And how I feel now is that I still want things for for comfort in life. You know, and you know, that there are things that I go out into the world and seek to create or make happen. But I think if I was to describe it, the thing that the the shift has been that I don’t want them because I think it’s going to give me something I don’t have already. Yeah, it’s like wanting them for completion, like icing on the cake. Yeah, exactly. So that feels much better. In fact, in a way, it seems to make our efforts in the world and certainly for me, and it makes my efforts just much more skillful, I guess, are just much, much more organized. I don’t know, I’m struggling for words, but just less sort of chaotic, you know, when I was when I was seeking to sort of, you know, look for a new job, or, you know, write a play or do something in my life, you know, attract a partner or whatever, when it was coming from that place of, you know, just desperation, you know, I was often wasn’t working well, which is, you know, surprise. Well, there’s
Rick Archer: an analogy that might help. Let’s say you’re penniless, and somebody gives you $10 It’s like, whoa, $10 Fantastic. Or let’s say, you know, you hardly have a pen in your name, and you’ll lose $10 It’s a tragedy, it’s, so your, your world really gets rocked up and down by little gains and losses. But let’s say you’re a millionaire, you know, somebody gives you $10 Any thanks, no big deal, or you lose $10. No big deal. So you have that baseline of wealth. Yes. And, you know, little relative gains and losses are just like ripples on the surface of an ocean. So I think yeah, people get the metaphor.
Mike Jenkins: Yeah, yeah, definitely.
Rick Archer: So when you had when you discovered you had cancer? What kind of cancer do you mind me asking?
Mike Jenkins: It was mouth cancer. So it was on the floor of my mouth?
Rick Archer: Had you been smoking?
Mike Jenkins: Yeah, I’ve since I was about 17. Probably. Yeah, they reckon it was a lifestyle cancer. So smoking and, and I didn’t drink. Yeah, wasn’t an alcoholic, but I drank a lot as a student in my 20s.
Rick Archer: So that freaked out pretty bad when you discovered your house.
Mike Jenkins: Yes, it did. I mean, when I, I didn’t really freak me out, to the degree that some of the mental and emotional distress freaked me out in my 20s. My early 20s. But yeah, it did. And in a way, I think that, you know, I’ve often mentioned before in my blog, that that period was was what I consider to be the beginning, really of a very conscious and intentional spiritual search. So when I think back to that time, there was certainly an element of shock. And, in a way, just letting go and, you know, going along to the consultations, you know, sort of surrendering really, and letting the doctors take care of things. And also, in that time, there was if I think back and, and I placed myself there again, there was certainly a sense of, I suppose, peace or, or quiet within me, emotionally, I’m really speaking emotionally and mentally. There wasn’t a lot of mental noise at that time. And there was a lot of generally just peaceful sort of feeling, which isn’t uncommon in people who have been given, you know, sort of frightening diagnosis.
Rick Archer: But this was pre awakening, though. Yeah,
Mike Jenkins: it was really. And then, you know, the, the treatment for that went well. I had an operation, which was 12 hours long, I had to, well, I had six weeks of radiotherapy. And during that six week period, two sessions of chemotherapy, and that was all I needed. I went back for, for consultations every, every month, really for about five years. And each time they said, Well, you’re healing Well, nothing’s come back. There’s been no recurrence. And then after five years, they gave me the all clear during that period, in that five year period, then certain I would say, my spiritual search began in earnest, and I was, you know, a rampant sort of spiritual consumer in that sense, a lot of stuff I’d never come across, you know, I was brought up as a Catholic, we’re Irish mother. So Catholic upbringing, and not particularly strict, you know, but, you know, went to a Catholic school. So God was something that I was for me But I still now can’t quote the Bible. I’m not a great Bible scholar and none of my family are. But certainly, you know, I began to meditate. I began to read quite widely spiritual texts. Not a great deal of classical spiritual texts. I’ll be honest. I followed some teachers on YouTube, I listened to audiotapes. Listen to Eckhart Tolle a lot for a couple of years, experiencing shifts through that. And then, you know, in my own life, you know that that sort of recognition started to come about, you know, 2010, which was really just four years after the cancer,
Rick Archer: just for the sake of illustration, God forbid, if you were to get another cancer diagnosis now, recurrence, or whatever they call it. How do you think how would you contrast how you would probably react with how you felt the first time around?
Mike Jenkins: That’s an interesting question. And I have thought about that. And I do think about it. I don’t really know. I think probably I would be there’d be a different sort of response. Now. Perhaps, perhaps some of it would be similar. I don’t know.
Rick Archer: I have a feeling you’d have. You’d have more equanimity now. You know, and kind of a broader, broader perspective on the whole thing.
Mike Jenkins: I certainly would feel that. But whether or not I’d still feel, I think I’d still feel some fear and some anxiety. And yeah, but I do feel in a way, you know, what, what was clear to me, you know, a few years after this is what really happened in that period is I sort of made peace with my own death, you know, I contemplated death a lot in that period. And, you know, even now, I’ll still get back to, I think it’s actually a very good practice. If people want to sort of experience what it’s like to have a sense of no self, well, then you can kind of almost just sit and meditate and think about and contemplate your own death, you know, and in that, in that, in that meditation experience, some people can experience a falling away have a sense of self
Rick Archer: as Ramana had his awakening. Yeah, exactly. Lay down the ground and pretended he was dead, even held his breath, you know? And, yes, caused a shift. Yeah.
Mike Jenkins: Yeah. And I think it can with a lot of people, you often see those pictures of
Rick Archer: monks holding skulls and contemplating, you know, the ephemeral nature of life and so on.
Mike Jenkins: Yes, yeah. And there’s something quite beautiful about that, because, you know, our culture just doesn’t want to look at it, you know, it’s, it really doesn’t want to deal with it, because it doesn’t feel nice, you know. And I think certainly, for me, now, I’m less, I’m less judgmental, I guess, about what comes into my world, whether it’s internally feelings in the body, or thoughts or situations or externally in my life, I’m kind of less judgmental about it, it’s not that I don’t make judgments, but I kind of don’t mind so much what comes because I, I sort of feel just more sure in the, just in the knowing that it will go as well, but everything has its depth, you know, everything comes and everything goes. And when you mentioned that, you know, awakened, you know, mind, if you like are awakened self as being like this, this this space where things dissolve, and where things are healed and resolved. You know, that, that that’s what in a way, well, it’s like stuff comes in, but it’s also free to go, I used to describe it very early as feeling like I was slippery inside, you know, things would come in and, you know, I might, you know, have a, you know, an experience of sadness, or grief or loss or anger or whatever it was, and then it would just sort of go, be free to go.
Rick Archer: Yeah, that’s very nice. I can think of so many examples of things that, you know, various teachers and so on have said in that regard, you know, but Nisargadatta comes to mind of describing how he experiences something that might be upsetting. He said it, you know, just causes this momentary fluctuation and kind of passes through me, or Eckhart Tolle, since you mentioned him, it, it gives that example of the ducks on the pond getting into a fight. And then they shake off their tail feathers, and a few seconds later, they’re back to just being ducks.
Mike Jenkins: And you know, what, it really is like that, you know, it’s that, that doesn’t mean to say it’s always easy to for people to be around me, you know, and I’m not special in that regard. I mean, I know, I know, several of my friends, you know, would never think of themselves as awakened and would never never describe this sort of process in this way. But they might, you know, have a spat about something and then you know, what, it’s gone and it’s forgotten about it’s had its moment, you know, it’s resolved it’s seen through it’s passed on and and returned to this space and that, that in a way, you know, if if anybody said to me Why Why would you talk about this, you know, Why would you write about it. And one of the reasons is, because that’s just such a wonderful, you know, approach to life, if you if you can live life in a way, where you know, you can get to be all the things that you are, do all the things you do as a human being, but you don’t hold on to them and that they’re not, you know, they’re not causing any dysfunction in you, then that’s freedom, it’s sort of free, you’re freely being as we are.
Rick Archer: There’s actually physiological research on this sort of thing. There’s studies on meditators where they subject them to stressful stimuli. And, you know, measure the reaction in terms of galvanic skin response or various other measures. And compare that to people who don’t meditate. And, you know, there’s, there’s an initial reaction that’s appropriate, but then there’s a very rapid adaptation among the meditators where they don’t continually get triggered by the stressful stimuli once it has been adjusted to, you know, once they’ve added, the physiology sort of learns to adapt, and it doesn’t hold on to the, to the stress or the or the agitation that that was caused by the stimulus, which, of course, has tremendous implications for PTSD and things like that.
Mike Jenkins: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, in a way, since we were talking about the cancer, in my mind, I’ve no real doubt really that, that, you know, there were a combination of factors that led to that tumor appearing in my mouth. One of them was obviously smoking, and other one was probably drinking. I mean, some people just don’t have that some people’s physical, biological systems are more sensitive than others. So although I wasn’t a rampant alcoholic, I probably drank more than my system could really handle as a young man. So smoking, drinking, staying up late, you know, eating all the wrong foods, bad nutrition. And add on top of that, about 10 years of sincerely, sometimes wishing just to be dead, in a sort of suicidal thought way, and being depressed and unhappy, and anxious and constantly, often on sort of high sort of intensity alert in terms of my nervous system, there’s no doubt in my mind that they were all contributing factors to the appearance to me, you know, stuff takes
Rick Archer: a toll. So how do you figure that, you know, through all this, and this cancer? Excuse me, how was it that spirituality came on your radar? Me because some people go through the kinds of things you’ve just described in their 20s? And they continue to go through them in their 30s 40s 50s 60s? And, and so what do you think was that got you on to spirituality?
Mike Jenkins: I don’t know, really. I guess I’d always been interested in things that I mean, certainly, I was always interested in philosophy. I never studied it. But, you know, kind of, I would like to philosophize with friends been interested in the bigger questions, even as a young person, I love poetry, I like to write poetry. And I read a lot of poetry as a young man. And a lot of the plays that I was interested in. As an actor, I didn’t always perform in the sorts of plays that I loved. But um, but a lot of the plays that I was drawn to, to read and to go and watch are often dealt with life’s big themes. So I guess there was always an openness to that kind of thing. And I think really, once I started to discover there were lots of spiritual writings and teachers talking about spirituality. But it wasn’t talking about religion, it wasn’t talking about some sort of prescriptive path, then I kind of, you know, that sort of piqued my interest, really. I think certainly growing up and coming out as a gay man at the age of 18, I was really quite anti, traditional organized religion, simply because to my mind, it has done a great deal of harm to, to minorities in society or, you know, sections of society that just didn’t fit in with their normative view of things. Yeah.
Rick Archer: How old are you now?
Mike Jenkins: I’m 40. I turned 40 at the end of last year.
Rick Archer: So that was like 22 years ago, and, and obviously, views on that were much less tolerant than than they are now. Yeah, they still got a ways to go.
Mike Jenkins: Did they have? Yes, yes, they were less tolerant, although, interestingly enough in England in the 1990s, which is when I was a student, and you’re sort of casually like, coming to terms with my sexuality and discovering who I was. You know, things are generally a bit more relaxed in the 1990s here in England, but, you know, legislation hadn’t really come that far. I think during my, during my teens, the age of consent was reduced from 21 to 18. I think. So equality wasn’t quite there until a few years later. But interestingly enough, and we do still find this in certainly an obviously an organized religion. But sometimes even in spiritual circles, you know, sense of maturity and deeper understanding around sex, sexual identity, sexual activity, orientation, gender, identity, all those sorts of things, is still quite a sort of uncomfortable, you know, topic for for many of us, partly, I think that’s cultural, there are some cultures that are just sort of more reserved about the body and sentence, you know. But, yeah, I do think that, you know, that, in a way, sort of turned me off of organized religion, you know, certainly the faith I’ve been brought up in the Catholic faith, had such a horrific and, you know, horrible record in terms of walking its own, you know, walking the truth of its own teachings, you know, horrific abuse in the Catholic Church, of children, and just in general, it just didn’t, you know, I know that it’s not been everybody’s experience. I know, there are lots of people who’ve had, you know, and I’ve met Christians who’ve had a wonderful experience of a Christian upbringing, you know, before in my life as a young young man, and since then,
Rick Archer: well, you are the victim of that. And the drug? No, no, no, no,
Mike Jenkins: I wasn’t no, no, thankfully not. But and I don’t really know anyone who’s had but I mean, it was always in the papers, you know, even in the 90s, you know, and recently, even more, so. I mean, I know, I think one problem with with, you know, our modern connected world is there’s so much news, constantly rolling news that it’s easy to miss a lot, and I don’t certainly don’t, you know, sit with the TV or the radio on constantly or read every paper. But, but definitely, you know, there’s, you know, dozens and dozens of cases of historic, you know, there’s lots of inquiries and trials and investigations going on in the UK into historic instances of child abuse in the corridors of power, ensure local authorities and all sorts. So actually, I think, weirdly enough, being you know, coming out as a gay man at the age of 18. And I think this is similar for lots of people who are in some kind of minority doesn’t have to be around sexuality. But funnily enough, I think that we somehow seem to sort of spend so much longer as an outsider, if you like, to, you know, sort of norms of society, or to the majority, you know, kind of always being on the outside somehow, that, that, interestingly enough, I think, in a way that gives some sort of, you know, grounding, in, in a sense of freedom, if you like,
Rick Archer: I think I know what you mean. I mean, that wasn’t my issue, but I was kind of my eldest, a lot of kids are like this, but as kind of rebellious as a kid, you know, it’s like I dropped out of high school, I would, I would, like, on a whim, go and hit the road and stick my thumb out and go to Boston or someplace, you know, without any without any money or plan or anything else, just kind of like, trusting in whatever to make to work things out for me. And so there was a certain set of following ones impulses, which of course, can be very reckless at times, but
Mike Jenkins: and would have been frowned upon. Yeah. Since lots of ways. Yeah, but
Rick Archer: I don’t know. So. So, do you think that just to wrap up what we were just talking about? So we’re all aware of how horrible established religions have been, and in many respects, still are with with regard to a number of things, but sexuality in particular homosexuality? But what do you think about the contemporary spiritual but not religious scene, you know, the non dual seen all the various teachers, you think that there’s a big improvement and attitudes and, you know, generally people have more accepting liberal perspective?
Mike Jenkins: Yes, I think I think in a way that the contemporary spiritual scene kind of tends to attract a more liberal mindset, but although not always. So I think for most people, probably in the contemporary spiritual scene, whether it’s non dual or slightly more new age or whatever, I think probably, you know, sexual identity and sexual orientation and all that sort of thing. It’s probably just a bit of a blind spot. You know, it’s something most people don’t think about, you know,
Rick Archer: haven’t really worked through the issues in their own minds. You mean? Well,
Mike Jenkins: no, I don’t necessarily mean that. And maybe they haven’t. But in a way, you know, most people, you know, often don’t need to, you know, because they don’t see a problem with it, you know? I mean, yes, I think people can experience problems around sex and sexual expression. Whatever their orientation Gay Straight by anywhere in between. But I think probably it seems to sit. For me, it seems that, you know, issues of sexual expression and sexual just sexuality in general seem to sort of sit under the surface in most, most sort of scenes I’ve come across, you know, whether it’s, you know, non duality, Western non duality teachers in London or, you know all groups that meet for meditation and what have you
Rick Archer: said on the surface, meaning it’s just not discussed or meaning it?
Mike Jenkins: Yeah, it’s gospel. Yeah, that’s my, that’s my perception and a repressive
Rick Archer: sort of way, or because it’s just not relevant to what they’re saying.
Mike Jenkins: It may be probably for the most, because it’s not relevant, although you’d have to really speak to individuals, I think, to get a sense of whether or not that was a repressive, you know, pushing down on things. But certainly, I mean, I feel generally, if you sort of paint a picture of the United Kingdom, as you know, the sort of English sensibility about it, is there’s a real discomfort, I think, as a culture around sex and sexuality. Although that’s changed, ever changing, as every human
Rick Archer: is a case in point. I mean, our friend, Francis Bennett is undergoing a transition these days. And to be being a woman, and he has just done a tour over there in the UK and other places in Europe. So how’d that go in terms of audience reaction? And you know, where did where people just sort of shrugging their shoulders and say, Okay, fine, let’s get on with the Satsang? Or was it an issue for a lot of people?
Mike Jenkins: It wasn’t an issue at all, you know, nicely enough. I mean, that’s not to say people probably don’t have questions, and people do, and we’re able to ask them. And what was lovely for me being involved with Francis, in this recent tour, actually, was to see how, really, you know, it’s the communication of a truth really, it seems that actually, that’s the most powerful thing. And so while there may be some people who just find, you know, the concept of the idea that a person could be born into a body that doesn’t quite fit their identity, their sexual identity, their gender identity, it can seem alien, or seem, you know, like some sort of confusion. Actually, me for First of all, Francis spoke about it very, very well. And gave people the opportunity to ask questions. But in actual fact, certainly, from my understanding Francis, as I do in and spending a lot of time with her, it’s made the communication clearer. For what she’s talking about, you know, which for me, you know, is a wonderful thing, because, you know, having met Francis, one of the things that has happened in my life is that there’s been much more inclusion, and less of a sort of spiritual bypassing of the stuff that I just didn’t want to deal with, which often was personal, you know, it was often the stuff around, you know, personal history or personal characteristics. That, you know, certainly two or three years ago, I probably would have rather just explained away, as, you know, oh, just, you know, passing phenomenal, or whatever. But in actual fact, you know, being being awake, if you like and returning to an awakened space just facilitates a much more honest, dealing with with the stuff we need to deal with, you know, the stuff that comes up. And stuff just does keep coming up. You know? I think
Rick Archer: So are you saying that Francis’s example kind of enabled you to deal with your own issues that might have been unconscious or subliminal to some extent, to sort of cure you of some degree of spiritual bypassing? Is that what you just said?
Mike Jenkins: Certainly Francis’s teaching. And I think it now it’s really impossible to separate Francis’s teaching from Francis’s example of living in the world now, which is what, which is why I find what she’s doing such an incredibly courageous thing to be if you’re like, a living example, of everything that she’s teaching, which is that, you know, the absolute is appearing here, as clear, open, you know, unconditional love. And that includes it transcends but also includes the personal sense of self, which is, you know, the egoic self, the characteristics of self including every, everything that we used to think of as our identity, and then maybe saw that that wasn’t our identity and then initial awakening is then sort of welcomed again, in in the latest stages, because for me, I had no had no real understanding of the structure of these things and what what’s been nice for me spending time with Francis and reading Um, you know, the things that she writes, and the teachings is that there’s a very clear sort of Anatomy of that that journey of awakening, which I just didn’t come across before, because I just haven’t read it so scholarly. So and it seems to make sense in, in my own experience, that there’s this period where we sort of, you know, initially you wake up out of this, this sort of confusion of being attached to things that come and go and are sort of being attached to feelings and thoughts and the past and all of that into this clear space, but then that’s not the end of it. Because, you know, you can’t sort of, if I, in a way, I tried to cling to that probably a bit too long, that witness conscious space, or that space of, you know, the absolute, there was a sense of not really wanting for me not wanting to come off of that mountain and into the mess of my life again,
Rick Archer: you know, like, a refuge to just hang out there. Yeah,
Mike Jenkins: exactly, exactly. And it’s not to say that, I mean, I really enjoy peace and silence. And if I can go and find it, I will, you know, I love silence now in a way that I just couldn’t handle. And I was a young man, I, you know, and I meet a lot of my, I’ve got teenage nephews, and they just have to have noise the whole time. But, but having said that, now, in the last two years, and I say, was related to meeting, Francis, because that was two years ago, and I think just by osmosis, you know, helping with the website and having you being close to that it’s had that effect. And certainly most recently, you know, the, you know, in her transition has made if you like, you know, our identities with with with sexual identity and sexual orientation, so much more on on on the talking topic, really, because you can’t it’s, you know, it’s something that in Francis’s life, you can’t didn’t you can’t sort of not ignore it. It’s a it’s a physical, you know, thing in front of you. Yeah. So, so it’s been incredible really to be to be around that.
Rick Archer: Yeah. Since we’re on this topic. And since this is a topic that I don’t, this doesn’t get discussed that much on BatGap. Let’s pursue it just a little bit more, because it’s interesting, and it might be very helpful for a lot of people. I mean, as a, as a gay man who came out 22 years ago, and for the last four or five, six years has been has had this spiritual orientation, and it’s something of a spiritual teacher. What kinds of assumptions or stereotypes or misconceptions or, or attitudes have you found prevalent and kind of ingrained in people’s mentalities regarding the whole issue of sexuality and spirituality that you feel could use more enlightening, more clear clarification or straightening out? You know?
Mike Jenkins: Yeah, sure. Well, I think the main thing that comes to mind is just an obsession on sex itself. You know, one, one of the bigs which is kind of assumptions, I guess, and this this happens happens, has certainly happened in my life. And to me long before, long before any sort of interest in spirituality. Was that, that, you know, depending on your sexual orientation, so, you know, people would meet me and they’d either realize, or they’d ask, or they’d know, and they’d, they’d see that I was gay, or that I would tell them I was gay, if they asked. And then there’s such a sort of over overly inappropriate fascination with with that, meaning that that they saved. And also some, some people think that they can understand who you are, because they know now that you’re gay. We’re all there is to you. Yeah, exactly. Exactly. And, frankly, you know, the way I feel is that a lot of you know, a lot of the gay community if there even is such a thing anymore. have done a lot to sort of, you know, yes, really, that’s the word reinforced that, you know, because and I understand why I’m certainly not having a go at any gay community for that mean, frankly, because for so many years, gay people, you know, transgendered people, LGBTQ, I whatever the acronym we’re using these days is really didn’t have anywhere to go where they could safely express themselves.
Rick Archer: So they’re letting off steam, so to speak.
Mike Jenkins: Exactly, or even just, you know, being in a in a space where it’s safe to do so. Yeah. So so that’s, I think one of the biggest stumbling blocks but for most people is that there’s this sort of obsession on what people do with their bodies in a sexual manner, or in sexual activity and a huge number of assumptions about first of all, whether that’s right or wrong, or natural or unnatural. And secondly, that you can sort of somehow, you know, make make make sort of an assessment of someone based on their sexual orientation, you know, which just doesn’t really happen, you know, when, among straight people, you know, you straight people could meet each other, you know, a straight guy could meet another straight guy, you know, first of all, the conversation would never go, oh, by the way, you just must know, I’m straight. And that’s one thing. And then the other guy, and then the other thing. Ah, I see. All makes sense. Now, a stray loves ours, loves cars, and loves football, you know? It’s so when I tell people, you know, oh, I don’t know, I don’t really like, you know, a lot of Western musicals, or you know, or Judy Garland is okay, but you know, it’s not, it’s a bit boy, you sort of lose your sort of gay credentials.
Rick Archer: You could actually write a really funny skit of some sort, you know, kind of reminds me of that scene in The Birdcage, where Nathan Lane and Robin Williams were in that cafe having breakfast, and he and Robert really was trying to teach Nathan Lane, how to act straight, but you can create a great skit, you should do this.
Mike Jenkins: Yes. The interesting thing is, I think, most what, what certainly the kind of deeper sort of richness in going through that experience is more akin to what you were talking about, in the sense of feeling somewhat like a an outsider, you know, or somewhat other lead to a lot of people. And I think that’s, you know, much more common among all people, you know, it just, it’s just sort of on the surface much more, you know, as a man or woman or LGBT person, because, you know, we’re sort of constantly having to sort of realizing that, I mean, for me, there were no role models really, growing up, you know, there was nobody that I could look at and go, Ah, right, okay, that they’re like me, we had John, right. Yeah, you had sort of entertainers, who often aren’t the best. And also, I mean, for a very short time I am I taught in a school, I taught drama, in a school. And, interestingly enough, you know, I, I sort of it was an interesting experience for me, because I sort of had no real I’ve been, you know, I’ve worked mostly as an actor, I’ve been around creative people. And so that’s really a very generally quite a liberal, you know, experience, creativity by I always used to say, every artist or a creative artist has to be blasphemous, I used to use that word and say, because you can’t be worried about offending anybody really, if you’re creating great art. But, you know, being in a school, you know, in a community was a completely different experience. And I’d already spent a bit of time in the corporate world, you know, before that, so I was very well versed at being able to, you know, adopt a very professional attitude, which I did, but I was certainly it was very clear that we weren’t, you know, I was not allowed to tell the children that I was gay. And, you know, although I never personally came across any, you know, severe prejudice directed at me, there was certainly this sense among, you know, sort of parents, if you like that, well, it’s alright, for Graham Norton, on the television, or that entertainer is making a clown of themselves, it’s fine for them to be gay, but I wouldn’t want to gay teach, or a gay doctor or a gay, or I wouldn’t want anyone dealing with my children was. And that’s another sort of difficulty because, you know, we’re just sort of there’s this there’s this assumption that it’s a perversion or a dangerous thing that, you know, that we’re all running around, you know, doing unmentionable things in the world.
Rick Archer: Yeah. Well, I, I was, I saw the cover of a Time magazine the other day, they didn’t get a chance to read the article, because it’s just walking past it. But it was, the whole cover story was something about how the whole concept of gender is is at least for the younger generation is really getting redefined. I don’t know if blurred would be the right word, but redefined redefined. Yeah. And I’m just wondering, from a spiritual perspective, in terms of, you know, you you alluded earlier to if we could snap our fingers and the whole world would be enlightened. Right. So if we could snap our fingers and the whole world would be enlightened. You know, what do you think the whole gender issue would look like in such a world? I mean, in an ideal society, if there were such a thing composed of highly awake individuals, you know, how would that contrast with what we have now?
Mike Jenkins: I think There will be much more fluidity around much more open and accepted. And I’m threatened fair sense of being on threatened by the fluidity of gender identity and the fluidity of sexual orientation or sexual preference or sexual desire. I’ve never really met anyone, if I speak to somebody for long enough, you know, I mean, providing that they’re not completely closed, I can either sense or get a feel for all, they’ll tell me that they’ve had sexual feelings for a person of the opposite sex, doesn’t mean to say that, that they are confused about that, but you know, I can look at, I can look at a female and the female form and find it beautiful or even erotic or, you know, appealing in that way, it doesn’t mean that I’m going to go and, you know, live with a woman and marry a woman. And that’s going to be my identity, I think, you know, gender identity and sexual orientation are my, in my opinion, in my opinion, a much more fluid than we would like them to be. You know, so if I look within myself, I can find elements within me that are very, very feminine. And I can also find elements within me that are very, very masculine, and that they’re in a dance, they’re not fixed. And there are times when I, you know, naturally, what what’s called out of me is a very strong, you know, clear, masculine sense of being in the world. And what other times there’s that what is called out of me, or what appears as me or how I axes might be very feminine. But it might be a very strong, commanding clear, why is feminine sense? You know, so I think actually, these binary, I mean, I don’t know much about gender politics, I don’t read much about it, and there’s probably plenty of other people more qualified to talk about it. But my sense of it is that the world we’ve created, the society we’ve created for ourselves is quite binary, it is black and white, you know, it is it is, you know, it functions in that way. It’s almost like it sort of suits, you know, the, you know, the those who lead us as a population to have it that way. But anyway, that’s another topic. I think that probably all of these identities are much would be much more fluid. And actually, there’d be no, there’d be no fear around that. Yeah.
Rick Archer: I mean, if you buy into reincarnation theory, that whole understanding, we’ve all been everything, you know, we’ve we’ve been women, we’ve been men, we’ve been what you know, and yes, and we we go from lifetime to lifetime and incarnate and turn as what we need to be in order to learn our lessons, the next lessons we need to learn.
Mike Jenkins: Yeah, and definitely, you know, we can experience just with the, you know, with our imagination, a lot of what that’s like now, you know, I find that it only takes a little bit of time to intentionally sit with someone or something, to sort of see yourself in it, or in that person, you know, I would kind of imagine that an enlightened race of beings would probably resolve conflicts that way, you know, they would somehow meet that person or that entity on the level of absolute reality, first of all, recognize that the absolute reality and you is the same absolute reality and me and that is our, excuse me, our common sort of inheritance, our common identity, our common primal sense of beingness. And then from that resolve differences, you know, and sort of learn to live alongside each other. It seems to be that, that actually, you know, when we really love something, we’ve come to see ourselves in it, you know, whether that’s a rock or a stone or another person that you actually use sort of meet that person on a, you know, on a deeper level, but at the same time, in form also, through the meeting, I guess, meeting them in emptiness. And then, you know, you’ve meeting them in form at the same time.
Rick Archer: They’re reminded that Rumi quote about that the field beyond I’ll meet you there.
Mike Jenkins: Yes, yeah, exactly. It’s a beautiful, beautiful quote. And I think of that one off, and in fact, I often write it on my blog at the end of things and it’s so beautiful because actually in relationships
Rick Archer: tell us the quote since you probably can have it have it memorized and
Mike Jenkins: I think probably out beyond our ideas of wrong right and wrong doing there is a field I’ll meet you there probably not done it justice about it better. It’s a roundabout that isn’t it? Yeah. So yeah. So I guess gender identity, sexual identity, orientation, all these things really, I think, are probably much more much more fluid than than we’d like. It’s like when things it’s like with anything, isn’t it? You know, we we don’t really like it when things change too much because it threatens our sense of it. As security if we don’t know what things are, but coming from this space, you know, it doesn’t take much to just return and remind myself what actually I don’t really know what anything is, you know, it’s sort of not knowing it facilitates this incredible capacity to sort of accept and to deal with, to be open to and see things in a new way. Which can be healthy and helpful.
Rick Archer: Yeah, I think that’s a really good point. I think that the, the ability to not not grasp at adamant certainties or conclusions about things. I mean, there’s, there’s often that, you know, there’s that don’t know, mind phrase, and, and it’s not that one doesn’t know anything, you know, we know all kinds of things, but it has to do with the sort of rigidity, or adamancy, with which we think we know things, you know, be? Yeah, because who actually does know anything with absolute certainty? And, you know, namely, anything that you can know with absolute certainty, it’s,
Mike Jenkins: yeah. And there’s nothing you know, when you really look. So then it’s like, you were saying earlier that this sense of, you know, being, you know, being this space in which stuff comes in, and it gets to be in it if it dissolves and transforms and moves.
Rick Archer: There’s a here’s a Bible quote for you, Jesus, Jesus, since you said you didn’t know any. Jesus said, Judge not lest you be judged.
Mike Jenkins: Yes, yeah. Yeah, exactly. You know. And, yeah, there are probably many others that would, would would seek that as well. So yeah, for me, I think, you know, identity, if you like, is something that is play in it. It’s not ultimately, who we are, you know, what I mean, but certainly, I mean, this is interesting, talking about sexual orientation. For me, it was very clear at the age of 18, that what the world thought was a gay man was not who I was. And I think that’s probably what I was clumsily trying to get out earlier by saying, you know, if you don’t fit into, you know, something where you really know who you are, because it’s confirmed all around you, you might get a sense of this freedom a bit earlier than others is because, because I’ve never felt like any label has ever described who I am. And I used to say that as a 1920 year old man, you know, the first, the first gay bar that I walked into, I looked around, and first of all, I thought, well, this is good, because there are people here holding hands. And it’s okay, they’re not going to get beaten up. But the second thought that came in straight after that was that I don’t feel like any of that. I don’t feel like I relate on a really profound level to any of these people here. And I saw on that very first night, some of the same prejudice from from some gay men towards lesbians. And I just thought, how, and obviously, we know how, you know, but initially, as a young 18 year, I thought, how can you, you know, have gone through life, from older gay men towards, you know, younger lesbians. And it wasn’t, it wasn’t cruel, it was, you know, playful sort of bitching. But, you know, it wasn’t particularly nice for me, I didn’t, I thought I’d come to somewhere where I could finally sort of, you know, it be free of all that sort of judgment, and, you know, their stuff and, and I just thought, how can you go through life, you know, being so sad, how, you know, that person will have gone through some prejudice, and then sort of be so sort of unacceptable or bitchy towards the lesbians in the barn, I just thought, and even at that age, I sort of realized, you know, you can’t, can’t really, you know, that’s, that’s just the way people are a lot of the time and, you know, labels, just labels are for clothes, not people.
Rick Archer: And in case anybody listening is wondering, at this point, what this has to do with awakening, or spirituality, and all that, I kind of think it does, you know, it’s, as we started out the interview by discussing, it’s one thing to realize one’s true nature to have a taste of transcendence, or unboundedness. and whatnot. It’s another thing to integrate it into life into the personality into one’s behavior. And, you know, there are so many ingrained tendencies, I think they call them Vasanas in Sanskrit, that are deeply etched in our psyches and our nervous systems, and that stuff has to be worked out. And you know, what Mike and I are discussing here is one area of such tendencies. One such Vasanas, which is kind of a big deal in our society these days. It’s a big cultural issue, political issue and, and so it’s something that I think pretty much everybody has to come to terms with in one way or another, whether they like it or not.
Mike Jenkins: Exactly, and it’s a big due for that, you know, on the one level, you know, I am not my sexuality. So, you know, my sexual feelings and desires. That’s not who I am just in the same way. It’s not friendly person,
Rick Archer: right, you know, your body, you’re not your any of these individual expressions, you’re bigger than that.
Mike Jenkins: Yeah, yeah. And yet on the other hand, you know, for me to be able to sit here and talk to you knowing that this is being broadcast, and it will be on YouTube and potentially seen by more people normally see a video of mine. It’s a huge advance for me to talk about these things, and not feel within myself any sense of shame, or guilt. You know, or embarrassment. That that’s an that’s a massive development in my life. You know, I always felt ashamed of myself in that way. Because that, you know, I didn’t, that was being reflected back at me, you know,
Rick Archer: people were people were making you feel that way.
Mike Jenkins: Yeah, there were certain, you know, certainly it’s, it’s not so bad now. But there is a general view, you know, that still in lots of parts of society around the world, I mean, in injection at the moment, there’s horrific.
Rick Archer: All right, I signed some petition about that the other day, yeah.
Mike Jenkins: rific acts of violence against people because of their sexuality. So we’re not as a race completely gone, that limb, we’re not beyond a lot of things. So certainly, for me, this is this, you know, this is related to, you know, awakening and being in the world as an awakened being because, you know, awakening, on the contrary to what we might sometimes think, at the beginning of our search for Enlightenment, or the beginning of our spiritual life to seek a different way, it doesn’t rub out all of these difficult things, you know, it’s certainly not the on one level, you know, it’s winning, it’s sort of living, the greatest, most valuable prize of all, but it looks nothing like, you know, what we thought it might do at the beginning. Yeah. I, one thing I’ve been expressing a lot lately, and this really seems to sum up where I am in terms of, you know, living a life, that’s true to this essence of peace and joy and unconditional love within me to be true to that you. I am living going through a period of just integrating all of that understanding in every part of my life. And one of the things that’s been really clear to me is that initially, I began my spiritual awakening, because I was I began seeking spiritual awakening, because I was suffering. And I wanted to awaken from that I wanted to wake up or front, wake up out of that, and be free of it. And initially, there was that temporary, you know, maybe even for sort of four years, I would say, I kept dwelling in that place of, you know, non conceptual awareness, you know, whatever we call it. And yet, the journey wasn’t over. Because now it’s taking that understanding and that experience of non conceptual awareness, or witness consciousness or clear, you know, no self, taking that understanding and experience into the world of my own life into the personal life. So I’m waking, I feel very much now that I’m waking up to my life, not from it. You know, which is wonderful, because, you know, not everything about that. I mean, a lot of people will describe, you know, just dwelling in no mind is a very dry, distant place. And yes, it is on some level. But for me, I spent about two years, you know, in a different flat, I was living in at the time, a different apartment, just in love with, you know, the cupboard door and, you know, really simple things, you know, and I can still find that now, you know, I can still, you know, go out into the world will just simply sit with something long enough and you experience its essence, you know, including people.
Rick Archer: Yeah, a friend of mine, Susanna Murray said that one time to that she just went through a phase where she would find herself just sitting and staring at a rock or something like that. And just sort of loving it and having this deep experience.
Mike Jenkins: Yeah. Which is lovely. Because in a way, when you when you sort of realize that that’s within you, you know that that’s what you are, that in a way what you are is gazing at what the rock is at the most elemental level, then you have this confidence, it certainly feels like to me, you have this confidence in the world that actually nothing can take that away. Once you establish that, it’s like, it’s like, you can never really, you know, be sort of bored or lonely. But it might you might get periods and of course, get times I sit here and I think oh, you know, I want to do something interesting. Sure. Trees are really isn’t anything to do. You know, if I can’t then, you know, just sort of sitting with that is a beautiful thing. And it’s wonderful. This kind of
Rick Archer: segues us into another thing I want to talk to you about, which is actually an elaboration of what we started with. And you know, if anybody listening has more questions about the whole gender identity, sexual stuff that we’ve been talking about, feel free to send in a question. And we’ll come back to it. But last week or so I was listening to a talk that Steven vodien gave at the Science non duality conference. And he was talking a lot about the contrast between the direct and progressive paths. And I thought that would make a great panel discussion for the sand conference. And so I started chatting with Stephen about that. And we I just submitted a proposal yesterday, and hopefully, we’ll have Rupert spyera and Robert Thurman involve two, although they haven’t been told yet. But and the panel discussion. And the reason I think it’s interesting and relevant to what you and I are talking about, is that it’s a perennial discussion. I mean, it’s been going back probably 1000s of years about, you know, direct realization versus this long drawn out, you know, path that that one has to take in order to reach Enlightenment. And I think that it may be a false distinction, in the sense that one can, from the outset, one can have a clear glimpse of one’s true nature. But that doesn’t mean you’re finished, there can then be, you know, no end to the clarification and integration of that in one’s life. So, I don’t know, it’s your thoughts on that? Yeah.
Mike Jenkins: Yeah, I can I agree with where you’re going with that, actually, you know, is it a question? Is it a question of a direct path or progressive path? And I would say, well, both because I think even if you take a direct path, you take a direct path to one’s awakening, well, then after you awaken, the progressive part comes in, because you’ve you’ve to sort of still live, you know, have many years in the body. So that would be my thing. I know that perhaps the question isn’t necessarily asking that, that maybe you just take longer the progressive path to gradually awaken. But I would say that even if you take the direct path, and the direct path is successful, and you awaken in a direct way, very quickly, then there’s still the job of living an awakened life, which I think can only be progressive.
Rick Archer: Yeah. Well, I wonder how many examples there actually are of people who just awakened just like that. I mean, there are people, there are people who read books that say, you’re already enlightened, and they say, Oh, great, I’m already enlightened, you know, got checked out off my bucket list. You know, you wonder how if you if they were able to pop into Ramana Maharshi his perspective suddenly and contrast it with theirs? would it really be the same?
Mike Jenkins: Yeah, I think I think each each, each sort of expression of awakened living would be different. But um, but I see what you’re saying, I think probably that, that no one really has an instant awakening. And even if they do, I mean, in a way, every moment of awakening is out of time and is instant anyway, because it’s sort of, you know, occupying a timeless realm. But I would say even those sort of familiar stories that some of us may have heard about stories of instant awakening, when you really sort of read deeply into those, if the person has written a lot of books, if the teacher has written a lot of books, or there’s a lot of material to look through, you probably find somewhere that you know that. I mean, I’m thinking particularly of Eckhart Tolle, you know, I listened to loads of talks of his, like, hours and hours worth, that I think sounds true produced. And, you know, he mentioned you have to listen to, you know, 2030 hours worth of stuff or review, because he’s not written that many books. But you do hear him say, you know, well, after that initial awakening, there was a period of three or four years where I had to get used to living that way, you know, gay, readjust. It’s like, it’s like, sort of, you know, wearing a new you getting into a new skin, almost. Not only
Rick Archer: that, but even now, I bet you if you were to talk to him, which I hope to do one day, he would say, Yeah, I’m still growing. You know, I’m still Yeah, bawling, audio. Shanti certainly does. And actually, I heard from somebody who I forget who it was, but they somehow rather knew Eckhart back in the day before he had his awakening and became famous and everything and they said he was an ardent seeker. He was reading all kinds of stuff and, you know, practicing this and that, so I don’t know for sure, but I did hear that and so it wasn’t completely out of the blue and then there’s always the issue. You know, I happen to think some disagree with this that these People have these sudden profound awakenings, something is fruit defying, which they had actually built up to in previous life. And yeah, there had been a lot of spiritual practice. And then, you know, they hadn’t been much interested in it in this life, but then all sudden kapow, and it was just the resumption of momentum that they had already established.
Mike Jenkins: I could see, I could see how that could be the case. And also, I would say, even if you even if you sort of leave the question of past lives to one side, I would say that, that, that we can be practicing in our lives without really thinking of it as practice. That’s a good point, you know, for me, the constant dissatisfaction with the way life was, was my main practice, yeah. Sort of, if you like suffering was my main practice, or, or dissatisfaction and feeling unfulfilled was my practice for many years. Because that brought me if you like, to the period where I just, you know, that was all I felt. And that almost got so sort of loud to the point where we just zeroed everything else out.
Rick Archer: That’s a very good point that you created an intense yearning. Yeah,
Mike Jenkins: yeah, exactly. So kind of, I mean, I’ve had probably, you know, several dark nights of the soul in that sense that I’ve had very many periods in my life where everything just seemed to have gone wrong, you know, that everything went dark, you know, no money, no job, no relationship, nowhere to live. And on several occasions, you know, that within that situation, and, you know, it can only get so dark before it starts to Dawn starts to come. Yeah. And so, you know, I think often, we and also, you know, I mean, I, I’ve I do encourage people to practice in their lives, you know, I mean, I’m not a great one for routine meditation. But that’s not really the point of it. The point is that, you know, I might take what I experienced in meditation into a feeling of unease in the body, you know, or if I have an argument with somebody, you know, is actually using that, using a sort of sense of just exploring the time there. So unconditional love in those instances, which is, which is sort of a practice as well. But what I was gonna say is that I feel that a lot of people don’t think of themselves as practicing very much, but, you know, reading Facebook, commenting on spirituality blogs, and talking about spirituality, watching YouTube budgeting, that stuff. Exactly, exactly, it all amounts to, like you say, building up momentum, if you like, and a will and a desire and an intention to, to wake up, you know, to see things a different way. Yeah. And I, I agree, sorry to go on. But I, I agree that along with Adyashanti, and probably a lot taller as well. And I know Francis thinks this way. Is that my sense is that, you know, yes, there may be a sort of, delineated period, where you might say, well, that’s when I began to wake up. But actually, from that point onwards, and I think even in the clearest, most enlightened, you know, awakened being, there’s still in a body is still here on the planet and the body, then that just goes on. It’s like awakened, like you. Actually, I think the type the subtitle of, of your website of Buddha at the Gas Pump says it perfectly. It’s Awakening people, you know, it’s not awakened, it
Rick Archer: used to be awake, and then we change it, I realized that that was wrong.
Mike Jenkins: Yeah, exactly. And that’s it. Because Because it’s like we awaken in every moment, then, you know, it’s being awake every moment, and it just doesn’t end, you know, yeah. Possibly even on the metaphysical, non non physical plane, is to say, you know,
Rick Archer: yeah, I tend to think that, I mean, it’s just an assumption. But, again, I get that sense. And also, like, you know, well, around this point, there’s, a lot of times the whole notion of seeking is poo pooed, you know, oh, give up the search, stop being a seeker and all that stuff. And I think that does a disservice to people who are in that phase very strongly, who, who are yearning and aren’t satisfied and are looking for something. It’s like, you can’t just stop looking, it’s like saying to a hungry man, oh, give up the hunger, you know, you just, you actually have to fulfill it with something and then it’s naturally going to drop off.
Mike Jenkins: Yeah, I think so. And I read a lot of those teachings and listen to a lot of teachers for, you know, who the council that encouraged that, you know, who suggested their teaching was, you know, stop seeking, or see that actually, what you’re looking for is the seeking itself. And I’ll be honest, a lot of that helped me. That was very helpful. The flip side to that argument, yeah. However, it didn’t ferment for a number of years. It didn’t stop me seeking, you know, seeking did stop, have its own record, it seems you know, that. That did drop away. And in fact, the biggest thing I was just reflecting on what has been different in my life. Since And then I think the biggest, most noticeable thing for me is that this sense of feeling unfulfilled, this nagging sort of background sense that, you know, feeling dissatisfied, or unfulfilled is just not there anymore. And as I say, it’s easy for me to tell that because it was almost like that was up full volume before, I couldn’t rest for a minute, you know, I was constantly, you know, even if I was sat, still, I would constantly, you know, want something, I need something, I’ve got to do something, you know, and I was never written out. I never had any sort of serious addiction to drugs, but it was like that within me, you know, it was like a sort of sense of, you know, just couldn’t rest. And that’s that that’s gone. You know, there’s a sense now of, well, this is enough, you know, yeah. And I still do things. But you know,
Rick Archer: and did it go? Because at some point, you decided, hey, I’m tired of seeking, I’m gonna stop seeking, or was it more that you kind of found, somehow some fulfillment dawned? And then almost in retrospect, you realize, hey, I’m not I’ve that seeking craving thing going on anymore?
Mike Jenkins: Yeah, yeah, it was. It was really in the recognition that, that what I what I was looking for was already here. Yeah, that was, that was a huge, that really was was was sort of the, the initial breaking away, like I say, this, it felt like this big landmass of suffering, or, you know, some might call it this, the big element of self structured just fell away. And that was upon the recognition of, Oh, my goodness, knew it’s here. Yeah, you know, like, the whole glasses on the top of the head thing, or that actually what I was looking for in everything even. And I would say, even in our worldly seeking, you know, I might say, I want to go out there and buy a new car, or you know, look for somewhere else to live. But if, and that’s fine to go and do their absolute no problem with that. And I’d like to do some of those things. But it’s like the essence of what I want, you know, if I think about that, was really I want those things so that I can feel something, I want to feel more satisfied, more fulfilled, you know what to enjoy that you know, what the comfort it might bring. But really, the essence of all of that is already it’s available now, you know, and what I was seeking through, I just know, it didn’t occur to me until it till some of you know, the sort of more modern non duality, teachers have non dual wisdom, if you like, you know, Advaita Vedanta teachers that we see around this set that pointed in that way, you know, that what what you’re looking for is already here. And you are you are what you see, you know, that was a huge, huge shift to me, because I hadn’t considered that before.
Rick Archer: Yeah, let me just make one quick point. And then I want to talk about what you just said. And that one point is just that, for me that a helpful way of phrasing it is to just say that, you know, the seeking energy or seeking tendency gives rise to or gives way to just a, an ongoing sense of wonder and adventure and exploration and words like that, where, you know, certainly the journey continues, but it can use on a platform of fulfillment, rather than a platform of, of emptiness.
Mike Jenkins: Yeah, exactly. Or lack. Absolutely. Yeah, I completely agree. So it’s almost like them. It’s not so much seeking any more. It’s more just being in the world or
Rick Archer: create exploring, having fun.
Mike Jenkins: Yeah, exactly. Exactly. Not seeking. I mean, it was always the distinction for me that now find five seeking for something, it’s to it’s to enjoy that in and of itself, not to find some sense of completion within it, you know, that what’s gone is the belief that I must have that thing, or I must do this or be that to feel whole and complete and satisfied,
Rick Archer: because you already feel whole bit unsatisfied, regardless of whether or not you get that thing.
Mike Jenkins: Yeah, exactly. And that’s what’s lovely is that actually, then everything you do in the world is an expression of your wholeness and completeness and your beingness. Right, like you say, from that platform, from a platform of complete already being whole, already been completed, everything you do in the world, and is an expression of that completeness. Yeah, I just feel so much better. You know, the relief of that is just still now when I you know, if I look again, I think oh, yeah, it’s like, discovering that for the first time.
Rick Archer: I find it fascinating that you and many others, experienced such a radical shift, just by hearing the teaching of you know that what you’re seeking is what you are, you know, that kind of talk. It’s like, it’s almost like, you were primed for that, you know, you were you’re ready for that you’d gotten to a point. I mean, maybe if you’d heard it 20 years before it wouldn’t have done the trick, but you had reached a point at which just that knowledge evokes a big reorientation in you
Mike Jenkins: completely, it did feel like that. And I didn’t go to loads of meetings I went to, I went a few times to hear Jeff foster speak and sat with him in meetings for a few times. And maybe one or two others, but I did. But I watched a lot, you know, and read a lot. And it was like that. I mean, certainly when I first read, in fact, the first time I picked up the Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle, that a friend had come to stay with me. And she was reading it, and I was intrigued, and I picked it up. And you know, it was like, looking reading a foreign language, it made no sense to meet, you know, I was interested, you know, and I thought, What is it, but I just couldn’t follow it, you know, it wasn’t making any sense. And then a couple of years later, are actually while I was recovering from the cancer, and I was now really spiritually interested in seeking these things. And I’d heard about Eckhart Tolle. Ah, that’s that book that Laura was reading. And so I went, got it. And it was just like, it was just speaking my language, then, you know, and it was to do with that it was, I think, I probably was primed and ready. And was was, there was a willingness to hear and a willingness to see. And the same thing with, you know, with Tony Parsons, with Jeff foster a lot of those, those teachers sharing things, you know, 10 years ago, seven years ago, really, for me, it was the first time I encountered a lot of that. It just suddenly was like, this is just making total sense. And I’ve shown those videos to other people, and they just come up, they’re like, it doesn’t make any sense to me whatsoever. Yeah.
Rick Archer: All part of the whole rationale of BatGap is just to throw out so many different voices, that, you know, people can find something that resonates with them. And very often I’ll put out an interview and you know, we’ll get feedback. So one personal say, that’s the worst one you ever did another personal say, that’s the best one you ever did. Because it just, you know, different strokes for different folks.
Mike Jenkins: Yeah, different flavors, and different different things resonate at different times. You know, there have been some, some expressions I came across seven years ago. And I just think, Oh, I just don’t get it at all right. So I don’t like the way it’s expressed. So it doesn’t, doesn’t feel right to me. And then you know, five years later, you read it again, and go, ah, actually, it’s the SEC, because it’s the same with poetry or Shakespeare, anything that’s got some ring of truth to it, you know, some real depth, you come back to it later in life, it just goes deeper, it’s got layers layers to that no, yeah. That unfold.
Rick Archer: I mean, there are all kinds of books, you know, like the Bhagavad Gita, or, you know, books like that, that you could read for the rest of your life, and it becomes a new book every time because there’s a deeper understanding that resonates these books, one of these lists knowledges. It’s crafted in such a way that it appeals to people at whatever level of Yes, experience they have.
Mike Jenkins: Yeah, I agree. But it does seem to be that there needs to be a kind of readiness, I think, is a good word, a readiness to, to hear these teachings or to hear what’s been pointed to me, particularly in that sense, that you are true.
Rick Archer: Yeah. And a lot of the traditional teachers have said that to Shankar Ramana. You know, they don’t say one size fits all they say, Well, if, you know, Ramana would say to somebody, you know, you were that and if they didn’t get it, and then you say, well do self inquiry. And if they couldn’t relate to that, and say, Okay, well do some service, go work in the kitchen, feed the hungry, you know, so, you know, there are different things that are appropriate or suitable to people at different stages of their development and also to different types of people. And one thing leads to the next.
Mike Jenkins: Yeah, exactly.
Rick Archer: So in your own case, has it been primarily sort of watching videos and reading and contemplating and thinking or did you and have you and do you engage in some sort of spiritual practice to any extent?
Mike Jenkins: Yes, I did. I’m meditate. Now, still a bit. I don’t have I don’t have a timetabled meditation practice, but I spend time in silence sitting. And, and even, you know, seven years ago, I, I, in fact, yeah, 2010 through till about 2013. I was unemployed, I wasn’t working. So I had a lot of time. I wrote a lot reflected reflective writing. I’ve always written a diary in a journal, but I was reflecting on self inquiry processes and methods. I was reflecting on the teachings that I’d been listening to. And I was exploring, you know, existence within myself sense perceptions and, you know, just just sort of experience and yeah, so I guess I do a lot of different types of practice that You know, they’re not perhaps all very thought of as strict kind of methodologies. But certainly I do, you know, I mean, to me, you know, just sort of spending time in the park or going, going out for a walk in nature, mindfully, you know, and sort of presently and, you know, consciously sort of just being in a space without thinking, and and that’s, that’s another incredible, you know, for me place to be at because when I first you know, the advice from Paula to say, we’ll just stop thinking. That’s, that’s the key just stop thinking. And I thought he said that. Yeah, he did. Yeah, it’s actually in some of the books, you know, easier said than done? Well, yeah. And I just thought, Whoa, you know, there’s no way I can do I try and try and run. But interestingly enough, you know, even before 2010, I was reading, so this is talk from 2006 to 2010. Really reading, you know, Eckhart Tolle a lot and listening to his stuff. And interestingly enough, with more sort of just practice, it did become easier. Whereas now, I feel that when I don’t need to think, if I don’t need to think it just seems to be quite quiet. Yeah. And if there is thought going on, you know, if there’s a momentum of thought going on, in a way, it’s more like, you know, I don’t really listen to it that much, unless I really think I need to.
Rick Archer: Yeah, like, you don’t have three radio stations going in your head at the same time. It’s relatively quiet.
Mike Jenkins: Yeah, I’ve heard it. And I go ahead. No, I was just gonna say, I just don’t really take it all that too seriously. Unless it’s something quite serious. You know, if I hear you know, if I hear some commotion on the street, and I think, oh, something’s going on in the street. No, sounds like, you know, police cars and sirens I should get out of here. You know, I’d obviously take that. Sure. But yeah, I just generally don’t take anything too seriously that I think about. And if I do, I’ll go away and decide to think about the arco but actually, I need to go away and contemplate this and think about it, sir.
Rick Archer: But this brings up an interesting point, I think that, you know, if we could describe the enlightened mind, it’s not a mind that’s utterly free of thoughts. But it’s a mind that that is efficient in its in its thinking that thoughts occur as and when they’re appropriate. And aside from that, the mind isn’t cluttered with a million other thoughts that aren’t appropriate. And so this is tremendously if conserve conserving of energy. And, and the thoughts we do think can be much more powerful than the actions we take on those thoughts much more appropriate, we’re not kind of scattering our, or energies in every direction.
Mike Jenkins: Yeah, exactly. And it’s like, yes, exactly. So. So, yeah, it feels like you’re just less attached to the thoughts that come into the mind, you know, they’re not. And, you know, there’s less, I feel I make less conclusions about what I think, you know, when in my 20s, I had real real problems with with mental health issues, you know, and, and emotional disturbances, and had some quite frightening experiences in my very early 20s, around, you know, sort of nervous breakdown, mental sort of emotional collapse kind of experiences. And they were terrifying, because on some level, I was believing what my mind was telling me. And there’s just less investment in that, you know, as a creative, you know, my mind’s always been quite creative. I can sit here and imagine a wonderful creative world and, you know, think about ideas and things, but but then that’s, that’s sort of allowed to just play and then, you know, go its own way. So it’s not, it’s not that the mind is not capable of that. It’s just that it doesn’t really conclude too much more, unless he’s asked to make a conclusion. In
Rick Archer: other words, you don’t take your thoughts, all that seriously. They happen. But it’s not like you’re totally convinced that what you’re thinking, therefore, it must be true.
Mike Jenkins: Yeah, yeah, exactly.
Rick Archer: Which is what a lot of people do, you know, I think such and such about Muslims or about gay people, about Republicans or whatever, therefore, it must be true.
Mike Jenkins: Yeah, definitely. I mean, and interestingly enough, I’m, I’m challenged in that, in that sense. In by the people around me, you know,
Rick Archer: who are more certain of their opinions.
Mike Jenkins: Yeah. Or, you know, if there’s something I really care about, you know, I can seem to really stick to it for a while. So when I really want to do this, you know, and there’s reasons I don’t want to do that today. Because we don’t have time to do that. And I want to go there and that’s, that’s what I want to do. And to can seem like it’s really really important to me, which in that moment, it might be which is might be why I’m sort of, you know, going out for my version things. Yeah. Um, but really, when it comes down to it, it’s it doesn’t it? There’s, there’s less concern, you know, over what the mind says about things, you know? Yeah, there really is. And, you know, like we were saying earlier, there can be this dance of activity in life, in our lives, you know, our conversations, interaction, just life live together with others. And all of that entails disagreements, arguments, whatever, I’m quite fiery, and feisty person. As well, as you know, enjoying being peaceful and quiet and generally unpredictable. You know, sort of, um, you know, a lot of people who know me might say, well, you know, Mike’s really, you know, interesting person, but he’s not consistent, you can’t always predict how he’s going to be on a particular day. And, you know, there’s just less investment in all of that, which funnily enough, if any of that is dysfunctional, which I think when I was younger, you know, that way of being in the world was pretty dysfunctional. It wasn’t necessarily serving me that well. And a lot of the people who cared for me, you know, found it difficult. But there’s, there’s more a sense that, you know, that’s more just more functional, when there’s less investment in the thinking that goes with it. And also, the attachment to that as who I am.
Rick Archer: Yeah, I think another good point comes out here, which is that, you know, we’re talking about how more I don’t know what terminology, let’s just say more enlightened mind, for the sake of convenience, is less attached to its opinions, and less sort of adamant that my way or the highway, that kind of thing. But on the other hand, that is not to say that such a person is going to just be wishy washy, or whatever goes, you know, you can see many examples, if we want to take well known examples of people like Papaji, or Ramana, or Nisargadatta, who had you know, fiery determination when they set their mind on something and weren’t about to be swayed by others opinions, they say, this is the way I want it to be, this is the way it’s going to be. On the other hand, they could just totally turn on a dime and be go with whichever way the wind blew, when it went. So it’s it’s a little unpredictable. But let’s not stereotype and say that it has to be this way or that way. And let’s not, let’s not assume that you’re just going to be a pushover necessarily. If yes, in a state.
Mike Jenkins: Yeah, that’s a very good point to make. Because I think that certainly, I kind of wanted more peace and more more relaxed experience of life when I began, you know, seeking to awaken. But in actual fact, as I said earlier, like awakening to my life, it’s very clear to me that there are some sort of core aspects to my character or personality that haven’t, you know, they haven’t sort of dissolved in a puff of sort of, you know, enlightened smoke, you know. And actually, and actually, I’m glad they haven’t, because they, you know, they’re sort of particular unique flavor to who I am. And I think that that’s a very interesting point that that actually, maybe, you know, we become more sort of, you know, determined in our, in our, in the things we care about, from an awakened space. Yeah, you know, I think this idea that, this idea that, you know, being you know, having an awake mind and body and being being awakened, well, just means that you’re just oh, you know, just very passive, you know, everything’s fine. It doesn’t matter. There’s, it’s all okay, anyway, you know, there’s nothing really happening, you know, sort of, is, you know, there’s some peace to be had in that. And there’s some, there’s some deep truth in that, that sort of perspective. But actually, I think sometimes, you know, coming from, from a more enlightened, more awake, perspective, almost always, I think will bring out will call out the best in us. Yeah. So,
Rick Archer: what I find and observe, is that there’s a paradox here, where both of those things can they can live in one life. At the same time, there can be this sort of laser like focus on and, you know, determination to achieve a certain thing. And at the same time, this this sort of surrender to God’s will. Yes. And and even on the very same point, sometimes there can be the, it’s like, What is that verse in The Gita, you have control over action alone, never over it’s fruits. So there can be the laser like focus on achieving a certain thing, but surrender to the fruits of that action, which however, they may turn out.
Mike Jenkins: Yes, yeah, exactly. Which again, is the freedom, the freedom to create it and be from that space, because you’re not necessarily clinging doggedly to the outcome. Yeah, that’s you. Yeah. And you’re even maybe not, you know, certainly, I often feel like this is you’re not totally invested in the idea that you’re wholly doing that yourself, right. Important point is you’re not Yeah, whenever I’ve written Anything that people go wow, you know, that was a really good poem or, you know, how did you come up with that idea in that play? Or how you How did you do that? You know, I have to if I’m really honest, I know my I don’t really know. So that element of mystery to it, you know? Yeah. Because in actual fact, when you’re really writing well, most of what you’re doing is letting go and getting out of the way. And you’re kind of you know, there’s there’s one write writer who writes about the process of writing called Julia Cameron. She’s written the artists way. And probably some people have heard of her. And she talks about it as taking dictation. Yeah, you know, when she gets out of the way, she just listens. And she almost isn’t what she’s more listening than writing, writing down what she hears you just writing down what’s coming through her, then it’s really fun. It’s really playful, because it loses its seriousness. It’s not like, well, yes, of course, you know, I’m very clever, because I wrote that. And, you know, the only way I could do that is because I’m incredibly, you know, creative and intelligent. Aren’t I wonderful? Never felt right. It is actually I don’t really notice strange mystery, you know?
Rick Archer: Yeah. That’s, that’s, and that ties into the whole thing of, you know, no, no, no personal self and no sense of self. And it’s like, you know, which, again, is one of those nuanced understandings, ideally, we’re sure there’s some sense of itself, but it’s not like, predominant, and at least for me, anyway, and for many people, like, Oh, is it? Francis? Oh, it says, he says, you know, of course, you’re a person, you’re just not only a person.
Mike Jenkins: Really, you’re not merely a, you know, a person, you know, yeah, you’re not just not just a person here, you know, you’re, you’re the absolute appearing is the relative, you know, yeah.
Rick Archer: So your relative personhood is serving as an instrument, or a conduit or something, but there’s a much larger intelligence that’s actually running the show,
Mike Jenkins: which is a completely different way of experiencing life. Compared to I’m only this little me, you know, it’s just me here. You know, nothing means anything, you know, there’s no point to nothing, because, you know, life’s hard and uncomfortable and we’re all gonna die. You know, it’s a completely different as, as you know, is it completely different to just being nothing? Well, I’m just pure consciousness, pure Being, there’s no one here, no self here. It’s all just an illusion, you know, which on one level it is. But it’s relatively real illusion, you know?
Rick Archer: Yeah. Try telling that to your partner, if he or she has a problem with something that you’re doing. So you’re just an illusion? And I’m not really there’s really no me doing that. Yeah. So like,
Mike Jenkins: a quick way to lose a lot of friends. You didn’t turn up? We had a meeting to drink the other day that? Oh, no, no, I wasn’t not really here.
Rick Archer: There is no meeting I wasn’t. Exactly.
Mike Jenkins: So, yeah, it’s, it’s, to me, it just feels very much like part of a part of it, just, you know, much larger, more enjoyable process, you know, that I really feel that this point in my, my own journey. This is this is where the real juice and PIF and, you know, zest of life is is, is just in, you know, what’s it like? You know, because I constantly think now well, you know, if I’m experiencing something, what, what’s it like, to live in an awakened space with that it’s just a different word user. But, you know, if I feel anxious about something, or bored, or you know, if there’s a problem in my life or situation or difficulty with somebody, a relationship problem, whatever, is what, how is where’s my awakening now? And what difference is that making? Yeah.
Rick Archer: And you’re able to sort of shift into a little bit more, yeah, kind of fall back on the self, so to speak.
Mike Jenkins: Yes, exactly. Is that it’s always you know, the solution. Now, yeah, the solution is always at the root, the root, the solution is always the same. And it might be that something resolves itself. Just because I spend a little bit of time just being, I might meditate for 20 minutes, or just sit and write, you know, sit and look at the trees, go and sit in the park and just look at the sky, or go and do something which you know, is enjoyable, yet doesn’t really require an awful lot of mental focus. And some of these things can resolve or even taking something into, you know, a practice of surrender. You know, Francis really teaches a lot about surrender. And that’s a huge part of integrating any kind of deep awakening I think is that you go through this process of allowing accepting letting things be and you know, I can feel in my own beer when I’m not doing that because it’s suddenly things become, you know, constricted and diff The calls and things just aren’t working well, there’s less flow, you know, there’s things aren’t flowing as well. And then you realize, okay, I’m obviously holding on to something,
Rick Archer: yeah, it’s kind of like riding a bicycle, there’s always a balance thing going on, you know, and it becomes almost automatic after well, as it does with riding a bicycle, you don’t have to think about it, but you’re still balancing, you know, you’re still kind of steering around potholes and correcting for things and this and that. And what I mean by that analogy is just that, you know, there are a lot of things which do have to be dealt with, and you can’t just sort of hide out in the transcendent, I remember, I was driving along with my mother one time and the car broke down. And I kind of just sat on the side of the road and opened a chakra book and started reading it. This is back and back in the 70s. You know, it’s like, I wasn’t dealing with a situation, I could probably think of many other examples in my life like that. So there are times to sort of fall back into the absolute or into the, you know, the more unbounded perspective and, and you know, things are going to kind of work themselves out. And there are times to take action. I mean, it to quote the Bhagavad Gita again, Arjuna at one point said to Krishna, can I just sort of like, you know, live on alms and forget about this whole battle thing that you want me to do? And, and I just said, No, this is something you’re going to Krishna said, No, this is something you’re gonna have to deal with, actually, but, but the way he put it was well get established in being first and then perform action. And then from that foundation, you will do the right thing.
Mike Jenkins: Yeah, exactly. And that is just such a great comfort, you know, when when you when you sort of know this on a certain level, because for me, I knew this for a couple of years, very much on the level of the mind, you know, I, you know, I think this is just my opinion, but I think a lot of modern expressions of non duality, or modern expressions of spiritual teaching, sometimes, I think they actually require quite a good intellect, yeah, in order to follow the conceptual sort of game of unraveling the mind with the mind, you know, sort of using that thing. And so, you know, I had a good mind in that sense to be able to conceptually follow the sort of ABS sometimes quite abstract, you know, sort of expressions. And so definitely, for a while, there was this clarity and understanding in the mind about this, and almost, if you like, an awakened mind, but then there had to be some, you know, embodiment of that. And that’s really where this process of, you know, like you say, balancing and, you know, surrendering and returning to, and trusting it as well, you know, because I feel that there’s a, there comes a point, when you know, all of this stuff, if you’ve had, if you’ve had a deep awakening, genuine sort of insight to things, and that’s starting to become an abiding thing, then I, I think there’s a sense that, you know, this through being it, you know, there you sort of, were just knowing it through the being of it. And then that is, I think there’s what you’re talking about that there’s this sense of, you just sort of adjusted, and you’re doing that, like you save from the perspective of being the ground of being. And so that’s just such a comforting thing to me that I think I Okay, if I, if I feel I’m getting, you know, carried away here, or sort of, you know, swept up, I keep thinking of this analogy of being swept up by the river of stuff, I can just remind myself that actually, you know, there’s less than an element of my beingness, which is untouched by any of that, it’s, it’s sort of undisturbed, and is the capacity holding all of it, and then you got our course you know, then it sort of becomes easier, I think, and more skillful and more effective. Even if part of that balancing is you’ve got to go out there into great battle with something or someone.
Rick Archer: Yeah. Interesting. There’s a couple of stories which come to mind. One is from I forget, some, these are both sort of Vedic things. But one is that it was said that when Brahma the Creator first emerged from the unmanifest, and he, he looked around, and he, he was supposed to be the creator, but he couldn’t create didn’t know what to do, or how to do it. And, and the voice came to do tapas or to, you know, go within, and so he kind of went within for any stories for you know, eons and, and then from having drawn back like that he was able to come out and create. And there’s another say that another saying, which is, I think from Krishna, I people, pardon me, please for quoting all these Hindu things, but it’s kind of what I’m familiar with, where he says, taking recourse to my own nature, I create again and again. So that’s, again, there’s the principle of, you know, taking recourse it’s like drawing the arrow back on the bow and then shooting shooting it forward, taking recourse way on nature at create again and again.
Mike Jenkins: That’s beautiful. And that that I think is very, very nicely sums up what we’re talking about. Yeah, that that she will withdrawing from, you know, being if you’re like God is creating out of itself again and again and again, for the sheer joy of it. Yeah, the thrill of that and the enjoyment of it, you know, for the love of it, you know, because it can, you know, and that’s just such a, it’s such a completely different way of experiencing life, to previously where I felt life was happening to me, I couldn’t get ahead, things were just difficult. The way was always blocked, never satisfied and fulfilled and just dreadfully unhappy and, and, you know, stressed and tense all the time.
Rick Archer: And if that’s the way God operates, and if we’re made in the image of God, God, is another Bible quote, yeah. Then then, you know, we’re like, a little miniature version of the principles I just explained. Yeah, it works that way in us.
Mike Jenkins: Yeah, exactly. Which is, you know, which is the great good news. You know, that’s, that’s what it is. It’s not, you know, when we do look around the world, we’ve got all these, you know, these sort of, you know, ideas of God, and you know, what they’re telling us to do in this church and that church? Well, really, that’s just us having created God in our image, you know, the God who says, You can’t do this, and you cannot the other way around? Yeah, it’s actually you know, and there may be, there may be an inherent ethical approach, and, and, and the morality that comes with, you know, being this free creating force, I’ve no doubt in my mind about that, that there is an ethical nature to this, this beingness this, this, you know, this Brahma that we are whatever we would call it, but that, you know, but not in the way not in man’s idea of morality or ethics, you know, sort of siddhi Yeah, we do create it, and are expressions of it. But I think it’s God given in that sense. So, yeah, yeah. Interesting.
Rick Archer: If I were to try to put that ethical nature that you just alluded to, in two words, it would be that there’s an sort of an evolutionary imperative to the universe and evolutionary trajectory. Yeah, that might seem ruthless and cruel at times. But if you step back far enough, and see the big picture, there’s this sort of ever evolving, ever complexify thing? Never Deborah more full expression of divine intelligence in the world through the world.
Mike Jenkins: Yeah, indeed. And that whatever that, you know, ethical framework or essence, is it it’s intelligent, like you say, it’s a divine intelligence, which is very different, I think, often from the morality that, you know, human beings concern themselves with in terms of, you know, conflicts and debate and this is right, and that is wrong. And you know, that there’s a sort of like, an almost like, an unquestionable, you know, to a provenance and unquestionable such a ring of truth about that sort of ethical approach, which actually, in a way, it’s like, if we are this beingness, if we are the, you know, the essence of God, if we are this open heart is clear, unconditional openness that we might call God, well, then it’s its own authority. Yeah. You know, it’s almost like, well, in a way, you know, that’s what informs your ethical approach in the world. That’s what informs, you know, your, your relationships to other people. So like you say, coming back again, to what was that quote about the
Rick Archer: critic taking recourse to my own nature? I create again and again,
Mike Jenkins: yeah, yeah. It’s like going back each time returning to that essence of ourselves, reminding ourselves remembering who we are, and then going out again, in the world, it’s like that, it seems to me that’s the, that if you like, is the the cycle of of all of this is, you know, and it just goes on kind of deeper and deeper levels as, as a person’s life. Unfold?
Rick Archer: Yeah, very good. So you get meetings around the UK, and you do Skype consultations with people? And what do you actually do with people in these meetings and
Mike Jenkins: consulting? Well, well, I don’t really give many meetings in the UK,
Rick Archer: maybe more.
Mike Jenkins: Maybe if I was invited to talk on something I might. And I, initially, when I first started writing the blog, I was invited to give a few talks. And initially, I felt that the role of teacher just wasn’t for me. In hindsight, I realized there was an awful lot I still needed to sort of integrate within myself in order to have any sort of real confidence in you know, in teaching such. But I’d certainly you know, will write my blog and talk to people via that and on Facebook. And for a while I was consulting with people via Skype that’s still available. People if people want to talk to me via Skype, and you know, discuss or ask questions, or ask for guidance in this awakening journey. I will do that. But for a number of years, I decided to just step away from all of that and focus on living my own life, aside from sort of putting myself out there is someone to talk about things and tickets. And I, I get a sense that, you know, probably my own expression will naturally fall more into the creative field. I don’t know. But I like talking about this. And I certainly have a passion for, you know, assisting people who have perhaps already on this journey. And for but just talking from my own experience and what works for me. Yeah,
Rick Archer: you know, one thing you might enjoy doing is just in you have the technical skills to set this up on Zoom or whatever, it is just doing a little webinar thing once a month or something where, you know, people can either join for free or you ask her modest donation or something voluntarily, and you just talk for a bit and then let people throw in their two cents, and you just get a little discussion going and 15 or 20 people. Yeah, they might enjoy that.
Mike Jenkins: Yeah, indeed, no, I’m sure I would. Yeah, that’s definitely good. Certainly a good idea.
Rick Archer: Great. Well, thanks, Mike. Is there anything that comes to mind that we haven’t covered that you want to mention before we wrap it up?
Mike Jenkins: I don’t think so. No, I was gonna read one, one poem I’ll please do, which is just difficult to know which one to choose, but I’ll choose. Actually, this one I’ll choose because it’s one of my favorite ones. So. So this is something I wrote probably about six months ago, maybe seven months ago. And I just often write poetry, expressing this stuff. You know, sometimes it’s not always this stuff. But so this is called gloriously I am. If you are here, as the prickles in my skin, and as the sensation of my own breath, entering and leaving my body. And if you are here, as the carpet and the sofa, and the dwindling bottle of wine, and the ticking or marching or bending of time. And if you are here, as the memory of autumn beach leaves, and of conquerors, and of my dear sweet friend, Peter, walking twins, like with me round and round the playing fields. And if you are here as the sound of these fingers, tinkle tapping their darts across the screen. And if you are here as the beautiful face, I kiss and the beautiful hand I hold, and the soft sweet care of his heart. And if you are here is the ground on which I walk, and the skin in which I’m in. And the crazy screwed up messed up wired up mind that just does its own bloody thing. And if you are here, as everything that could be named, or not named, or claimed, or not claimed, as every thought, every memory, every person, movement, sound, taste and smell. Well, I am gloriously loss for words.
Rick Archer: That’s great. That gives people a nice taste of your writing ability. You know, listen to another number of things. Last few days of that you had written that were just really nice and enjoyable help you keep writing. Yes. So thanks. Really appreciate it’s been a really enjoyable conversation for me. And hopefully for the listeners.
Mike Jenkins: Hopefully, yep, I really enjoyed it too. Thanks Rick.
Rick Archer: make sure. Let me make a few little wrap up points. So I’ve been speaking with Mike Jenkins, those of you who are familiar with the show, know everything that I’m about to say those of you who are new to it, I’ll just say a few things. This is an ongoing series of interviews. If you’d like to be notified of future ones, go to batgap.com. And you’ll see a place to sign up to be notified by email when new ones are released. Or you could subscribe on YouTube and YouTube will notify you when I put up new ones. And explore the site there. BatGap look under the at a glance menu and you’ll you’ll see a summary of some of the things that are available. And donate button is there, as I mentioned in the beginning, enables us to devote all our time to this. So I really appreciate your attention, listening to or watching this. And we will continue to schedule them and do this we’ve had we’ve got them scheduled through late September now not entirely every week, but some some go that far out. And it’s a great honor and pleasure to be able to produce this series and to meet so many wonderful people. I’m I’m the prime beneficiary of this. My selfish little secret. So I really, and it’s been great getting to know you, Mike, perhaps we’ll meet in person one of these days.
Mike Jenkins: Thank you. Yes, that’d be nice.
Rick Archer: Yeah, that’s it. Thanks, everybody who’s been listening or watching and we’ll see you next time.
Mike Jenkins: Thank you