Neil Douglas-Klotz Transcript

Neil Douglas-Klotz Interview

Rick Archer: Welcome to Buddha at the Gas Pump. My name is Rick Archer, Buddha at the Gas Pump is an ongoing series of conversations with spiritually Awakening people. We’ve done over 670 of them now. If this is new to you, and you’d like to check out some of the previous ones, please go to Bat gap, and look under the past interviews menu, where you’ll see them organized in several different ways. This program is made possible through the support of appreciative listeners and viewers. So if you appreciate it, and I’d like to help support it, there’s PayPal button on the website and there’s a page explaining alternatives to PayPal. I guess today is Neil Douglas-Klotz. He is an internationally known scholar in the fields connecting religious studies, comparative Semitic hermeneutics. And you know, what does that mean?

Neil Douglas-Klotz: Hermeneutics is based on the name of Hermes, the Greek god. And Hermes, the tradition of Hermes is that language can heal you or language can kill you. So he was the trickster. And so hermeneutics is the big language, the scholars word, it’s a language for the whole interpretation theory around languages.

Rick Archer: Okay, so in other words, you studied comparison between various interpretations of the Semitic languages.

Neil Douglas-Klotz: That’s right, that they shared a common worldview and they shared a common way of looking at life, which I can speak about later.

Rick Archer: Okay, good. And Aramaic is one of those languages, I presume?

Neil Douglas-Klotz: Sure.

Rick Archer: Yeah. Okay, so you are so you’re an internationally known scholar in the fields connecting that, and psychology as well as a poet and musician. You are the author of Prayers of the Cosmos, Desert Wisdom, the Hidden Gospel, the Genesis Meditations, as well as co-author of The Tent of Abraham with Sister Joan Chittister, and Rabbi Arthur Waskow. You’re also the author of a new book, Revelations of the Aramaic Jesus, which we’ll be talking about today. You were the past chair of the Mysticism group of the American Academy of Religion and are active in various international colloquia, and conferences dedicated to peace and spirituality. One of your mentors is Sheikh Fadhlall a Haeri, whom I interviewed on BatGap, about a year and a half ago, delightful man. And I want to read a quote from your website before we get rolling, because I liked it a lot. “It is a real blessing if one can find companions on the path with whom one can share honestly, and who are dedicated to the awakening of self to soul through the constant albeit often painful, massaging of the heart by life’s circumstances. When well massaged, any pain of rigidity, the ‘ow’ of life, is superseded by the awe of the souls eyes looking through one’s own.” There we go. So, I’d like to ask you just, if we could spend a few minutes. Some people are pretty self-effacing. They don’t to talk about themselves a lot. But I always like to give people a glimpse of who the person is that they’re going to be hearing for the next hour or two. Because many of them want to know, on what authority or based on what study or knowledge or experience, the person is saying the things they’re saying. And so give us a bit of your background.

Neil Douglas-Klotz: Okay. Oh, anyway, thanks for inviting me, Rick.

Rick Archer: Sure. It’s been it’s been an enjoyable week, you know, reading your book and just thinking about the things that you’ve been discussing. I’m going to have a lot of fun today. I hope everybody enjoys this.

Neil Douglas-Klotz: Everything you want to know and didn’t want to know about Jesus.

Rick Archer: But were afraid to ask…

Neil Douglas-Klotz: Yeah, that’s exactly right. And most people are afraid.

Rick Archer: For good reason.

Neil Douglas-Klotz: For good reason. Yeah.

Rick Archer: You get burned at the stake.

Neil Douglas-Klotz: Well, yeah. You know, I was born in a sort of alternative family in a suburb of Chicago, Illinois, and my father was one of the early chiropractors in Illinois. So my two brothers and I were raised with, we were raised with what I call the holy trinity of Edgar Cayce, you know, the American psychic. And Rachel Carson, of course, the great American ecologist. And then chiropractic. So I mean, I could spell chiropractic before anyone else in my school even knew what it was, I’ll tell you that. So we had this inner family sort of culture. And as most children do, I thought everyone lived that way until I started to go to school, and then discovered that it’s not the case. So we had to have, as I now call it, we had our inner family story, which didn’t involve any theology, really, my parents were raised Christians, but they mainly read us Bible stories at night. They didn’t, you know, they weren’t fussed about that. But we needed an outer cover story, as I now call it, in our community. My father did. We did, I suppose, because he had to work there. And it was quite conservative. So my brothers and I were sent to quite conservative Christian elementary school. This was Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, if any of your listeners know what that was about, or is about, they softened up a bit after that, but we had to learn large parts of the King James Bible by heart and all of Luther’s catechism by heart and all of Luther’s theology by heart and…

Rick Archer: It was Lutherans that Gary Garrison Keillor was always going on about, right? In his Prairie Home Companion?

Neil Douglas-Klotz: Yeah, Garrison Keillor is good on Lutherans, actually. But these were… yeah. So anyway, you know that that did serve me, because I still remember large parts of the Bible, obviously. But when I finally sort of exited all of that and made it to university, I went as far away from Christianity as I could. And I basically became involved as an investigative reporter in the anti-war movement, and because I had a background in it, then in the Food and Drug Administration, investigations of the Food and Drug Administration, and, you know, the adulteration of drugs and all of this stuff. So that’s what I originally started working as was a consumer investigative reporter in New York City. And I wanted to I mean, I’m, you know, he wanted to know, the background, this is where I came to how I’m doing it. But, you know, I had an editor in New York City, one of the bigger consumer publications, and he liked my work, but he said, Neil, you know, this is all too positive. You know, you have to make people more afraid. If they’re afraid they’ll buy more of more of the magazine. This is all pre-internet, you understand, Rick, this is this is all pre-Reagan, actually, too, as far as that goes. So in those days, the US still had, excuse me for saying so, somewhat of a free press. And it took the form of alternative newspapers and magazines, and university and college newspapers all across the country. And I ended up working for an alternative news service that syndicated stories to all this huge network that was active in the well, it was in the late 70s, and the early 80s. And I was one of the investigative reporters. So however, I was working 60-70 hours a week as you do in your 20s. This was happening. I read a poll, a Gallup poll, and it asked people, you know, as Gallup polls used to do, these opinion polls do? They would say, for instance, the poll I was reading, given that there’s no solution to the, to the problem of nuclear waste, is nuclear energy a viable solution for our energy? And 70% of the sample said no. And then about 50 questions later, they asked people, if you had to give up something, because we no longer had nuclear energy, would you be willing to do it? And the same percentage said no. So this I should have known, but I was somewhat idealistic and naive. And I had an early burnout in my mid to late 20s. And then I had to decide for myself, you know, Neil, how do you make decisions in life? Do you may always make them on the basis of facts? Or do you make them on the basis of something else? Major life decisions? And if it’s something else, what is that something else? How do you make decisions? And that led to this sort of inner search that I went on, which would now be called, I suppose a sort of spiritual search, really. And I went to various groups I wasn’t really satisfied with anything was happening there. And then I did end up with the Sufis. And the Sufis were broad enough, at least at that point, they weren’t so institutionalized, that you could go your own way, really, you could try to integrate whatever wisdom you could find from wherever you could find it. And that was important to me. Now, because I had–I’ll finish this story because it takes you to where we can jump off from–because I had editing skills. And I had worked professionally, which few people in the hippie generation had actually in some cases, I was put to work, archiving and editing the diaries of the person who started the Dances of Universal Peace, Samuel L. Lewis. And in his diaries in his letters, he says, I want to do two things before I die. I want to start the Dances of Universal Peace, so people can eat, pray and dance together. And that’s my peace plan. And then I also want to learn to pray the Lord’s Prayer in Aramaic. And he had done the first, but he had not done the second. And that was a moment that struck me. I still can recall the moment you know, right now. It’s just like, it stopped me in my tracks. And I knew that if this if this was something, it would have something to do with sound, with feeling, with the connection of music and sound through the words, which is what the Sufis do. And what most Middle Eastern chanting, all the Middle Eastern traditions have chanting. So they all do this. And so I began to hunt around. I began to investigate. Okay, who knew Aramaic who could help me do that? You know, I didn’t think it was that difficult, because I had been raised hearing different languages anyway, in my household, you know, a little bit of German, a little bit of Polish, a little bit of Russian, mostly English, of course, but, you know, I had to sort of had a sort of ear for language. And I thought, okay, well, you know, how hard could it be? So this is where I began to chase down Aramaic really.

Rick Archer: Is Aramaic, do they… with Sanskrit, it’s considered that the sound value of words is as important as their meaning. And in fact, it’s considered that there’s a correlation between the vibratory quality of the name for something and that thing. So in other words, whatever the word for apple may be in Sanskrit, that somehow that word has a vibratory, the sound of that word has a vibratory quality, which in some way corresponds to the vibratory quality of an apple. Do they have something like that in Aramaic?

Neil Douglas-Klotz: Absolutely. You know, actually, Rick, I would say that most ancient languages have this and if they’ve survived into today, that is sort of been sieved out of them, winnowed out of them, this way of looking at life. The ancient Semitic languages, and here I’m talking about, ancient Hebrew, Egyptian, old Canaanite, Babylonian, Aramaic, and even up until the classical Arabic of Muhammed– the Arabic that Muhammed was speaking before they made up grammar around it. All of these have this idea. We could say they arise from a nomadic experience, a nomadic experience of peoples in this area of the world, Southwest Asia as I think we now call it or the Middle East as we used to call it, traveling, traveling, traveling, always moving. And so all of the languages arise out of this where the sound the letters are sounds, and the letters and sounds are not just naming things that are outside of oneself, but they are making a relationship to those. They are acknowledging a link that already exists between myself say and the apple, or myself and the tree. So it wasn’t like I’m here and the trees there and you know, isn’t that a nice tree and oh, the poor tree or, or you know, it’s gonna be piece of lumber someday or whatever. It’s like, I feel that the tree is part of myself. And the tree is a being that is not just the physical what we call the material object, but it is you could say–you could call it the spirit, the faerie, the genius. I mean, all these words are used in different world traditions. It is the living deva of the tree in some of the Sanskrit traditions. This was not just people making up mythology in those days. This is the way they perceived outer reality. Their outer reality was like a dream life that was on the outside, as one author once put it. And I think that’s a good way to look at it. The inner sense of the subconscious that we have today, my dream life is my dream life, my emotional life is my emotional life. Okay, that evolved over 1000s of years. Before we didn’t have this sort of inner-outer separation, as much as now. The individual self was not so developed.

Rick Archer: And it would seem, based on what you just said, that a language in which there’s a correlation between name and form, or between sound of words and the objects they represent, would enliven the relationship with those objects. I think you were just kind of saying that but, you know, through chanting, or even just speaking the word, you’re kind of creating a fundamental mutuality between yourself and the object.

Neil Douglas-Klotz: Yes. And you know, either the object or the person, for instance, who said the words. Like let’s say it’s a shaman, or a mystic or a prophet, or someone like that –a holy person, you know. If you are chanting–chanting is usually what was used around world cultures– chanting or speaking those words, you could through the language and through a feeling of, for lack of better words we would call devotion or love, you can make a connection with or through that person. And this is, I think, one of the keys of chanting really.

Rick Archer: Yeah. And in the Gita, there’s some verse about through yagya, which is a form of, you know, ritualistic chanting, one enlivens the gods, or the devas, and they in turn benefit you. There’s this mutual sort of…

Neil Douglas-Klotz: That’s right… Reinforcement thing going on. Yeah, there’s a mutuality. So it’s not just, “oh, praise Jesus.” You know, Jesus is up there, and how wonderful. It’s meant to open a channel, if you will. So it’s a two way street, if you will. There’s a communication both ways.

Rick Archer: Yeah.

Neil Douglas-Klotz: One person once person once said, if you believe in angels, you’re saved, but if you actually see them, you’re probably cursed.

Rick Archer: Why would you be cursed?

Neil Douglas-Klotz: Because it’s not acceptable theologically.

Rick Archer: Oh, I see. You might get in trouble.

Neil Douglas-Klotz: Yeah, get in trouble.

Rick Archer: No, I have friends who see them, a few friends anyway.

Neil Douglas-Klotz: People do…

Rick Archer: …and they keep it quiet, you know. In fact, one friend, when I found out that he saw these things, I was in an elevator in the San Francisco airport. And he had told me that he sees them. And I said, you know, are there any I n this elevator? And he didn’t really say much. But when we got off, he said, they just said to me, don’t point us out to people. If they’re meant to see us, they’ll see us. This week, by the way, there were three he said.

Neil Douglas-Klotz: Well, yeah, absolutely. Yeah. I mean, now so called modern science, poo poos all this stuff, Rick, but, I mean, how much do we really understand about most of the way the universe works?

Rick Archer: Not much. I mean, we know a lot.

Neil Douglas-Klotz: How much do we actually understand about the way the so-called algorithms that control the stock market and the economy work? I mean, this is, these are robots, basically. And, you know, they’re determining people’s futures in some way. So, I mean, we put our trust in the economy or this or the markets. But what does it actually mean? I mean, honestly, you know….

Rick Archer: Wasn’t there some Bible verse about not stocking up on all the things of the world because, you know, they’re gonna turn to dust or whatever, and you can’t take them with you? Well, I mean, slaughtering the verse…

Neil Douglas-Klotz: But traditions do say this. Honestly, it’s but you know, we’re living… well, I don’t want to….

Rick Archer: You can rant a little bit if you want to ramble, I rant a bit. You know, we’re a couple of old hippies, we can blow off some steam.

Neil Douglas-Klotz: Human Consciousness evolved in such a way that we have a much more individual human self. That’s where I was going before. We’re much more separated from each other and from nature. And also, we’re much more deluded by the idea that only outer reality, so-called material reality, exists. Those are the two big delusions of modern life. They did not exist 2, 5, 100,000 years ago.  They had other delusions, most likely other challenges. So we’ve evolved in that way you could say. It’s a devolution in some ways. We’ve evolved in the sense of individual human rights. This is an evolution of human consciousness. But along with that goes more individuality, more separateness. And so now our question is: what are we going to do with this separateness? One of the things Jesus–who came at a sort of cusp when this consciousness is really starting to change…. Yeshua, in his Aramaic name, Yeshua came to show us, okay, how to make this shift in a healthy way, so that we don’t end up well, basically, sort of where we are. Not that everyone is there, but mostly what the news reports is the results of, you know, more selfie, selfish, isolated, materially hypnotized culture.

Rick Archer: Yeah, I’ve interviewed a lot of people who are trying to overturn the materialist paradigm, you know, which is that everything is fundamentally material, and the brain creates consciousness and so on. And I’m sure you’re aware, they, they are up against a lot of blowback from academic institutions, and so on, you know, whether they’re a student in them or a faculty. Then it threatens their career course, and their tenure and so on, if they start talking that way. So there’s, there’s a lot of resistance to seeing life from a more spiritual perspective.

Neil Douglas-Klotz: It’s a wrench for people because there’s so much invested in all of this, whether in academia, in technology, the scientific community. Even in the spiritual community, you have a lot of an equivalent sort of thing going on, actually, where people mistake the symbols of spirituality for, you know, actually, anything real. You know, instead of the emperor with no clothes, you have the clothes with no emperor, basically, in in many cases.

Rick Archer: What you were just what you were just saying, kind of reminded me of the issue of polarization that’s rending society these days. And isn’t there some verse in the Bible where Jesus says something about I came to pit, you know, son against father or some such thing? And it sounds like he was advocating polarization or separating the sheep from the goats or something. You know what I’m talking about that verse?

Neil Douglas-Klotz: Yeah, I know. He’s really talking about, in modern terms, of the need to get over one’s conditioning from one’s family, and from one’s culture. And in the time of Yeshua, Jesus, the family culture for most people, was pretty bleak. These were all underclass people, as we would now call them who had been oppressed. Taxed into penury and slavery basically, by empires for generations. And so, in these types of families, a lot of dysfunction appears. What we would now call, people living under this trauma. And so they would have all these what we would now call in psychology, liminal disorders, dissociative states, abuse, all of this was going on. And a lot of what Yeshua’s healings were about was showing people: okay, there is another realm, there is another dimension or other dimensions in the unseen, but here are ways to access them in a healthy way. You’ve had this, this conditioning, so to speak, abuse, whatever. I mean, you have to understand that at the time of Yeshua, there was virtually no middle class. It was all you know, even maybe even a smaller upper class than what there is today, as unimaginable as that may be. And so the local ruler, he could just come and say, “Well, now you owe this and if you can’t pay it, I’ll take your son or I’ll take your daughter. It’s like that and… what is the effect of that on, on a family or on a son or on a daughter. So, he’s pointing out, that you have to, at this point, separate from that. Maybe you can go back and heal it later. But you’d have to separate from that.

Rick Archer: Okay, so let’s shift into our discussion of the book. We’re already sort of doing it but let’s shift a little bit more. Firstly, let’s establish that Jesus actually existed Have you ever read the books by Tim Freke and Peter Gandy about whether or not you know, Jesus even existed and they kind of reference all these traditions which tell similar stories as we’re told around the life of Jesus?

Neil Douglas-Klotz: Yeah, yeah.

Rick Archer: What do you make of that?

Neil Douglas-Klotz: I have to read all this stuff, actually. Because people are always asking me about it. I don’t put much, much… here’s a couple of things. If Jesus did not exist, he wouldn’t appear all over the Qur’an. Unless you believe the conspiracy theory that the Qur’an is just a Christian aberration, which is another conspiracy theory. I mean, you can sell books with these things. But there’s, there’s no reliability to it. I mean, these sayings, this type of wisdom, whether it’s Jesus or Bhagavad Gita, or Gautama Buddha–people don’t make this stuff up by committee. I mean, it just doesn’t happen. This happens when individual people open themselves in a deep way to whatever that is– the “great Mystery”–and something begins to come through them. Later, it gets made into a religion. Later, it gets made into a religion. That’s the whole story, you know, of all these, of all these so-called “great religions.”

Rick Archer: Yeah, no, I agree. And then, when it gets made into a religion, that soon begins to fail to resemble what the guy who established it was actually saying, unfortunately. And we’ll get into that, you know. And eventually becomes, in many cases, the polar opposite of what he was advocating. I mean, I’ve seen you know, memes on the internet of Jesus holding AR-15. You know, with love…

Neil Douglas-Klotz: Absolutely. I mean, look what’s happening with Buddhists in Myanmar. Or, you know, with Hindu nationalism in India, you can go on and on with this. And of course, we don’t even have to mention Islam. So….

Rick Archer: Yeah, I was a student of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. On this topic, he used to say knowledge crumbles on the hard rocks of ignorance.

Neil Douglas-Klotz: Yeah.

Rick Archer: Okay, so we’ve established the existence of Jesus, we won’t debate that.

Neil Douglas-Klotz: Yeah, well….

Rick Archer: Somebody made a splash back there. I mean, wow….

Neil Douglas-Klotz: Somebody made a splash. Yeah, exactly.

Rick Archer: So when was anything first written down? I mean, he obviously wasn’t followed around by a stenographer. And, and there are accounts of private meetings he had with like, the woman at the well and various other instances where nobody else was there.

Neil Douglas-Klotz: No one else was there. I know.

Rick Archer: So who? How did this stuff you know, come to us and when was anything first written? Did it go through decades of you know, oral transmission before went into print?

Neil Douglas-Klotz: I’m gonna put my scholarly hat on here, Rick, even though I’m not changing my hat. This is the stuff that dreams are made of? No, this is the stuff that PhDs are made of, in the religious studies and biblical studies fields, the so-called “transmission history” of the Gospels. How does it go from Jesus’s mouth to whatever was written down on the page? Did it for instance, go through various people make scribbling little notes here in different places? And then did people compile these different notes? Or was there some source document? Or did it simply result from people’s memory? Because we know in non-literate cultures, memory is much, much better than it is in in literate cultures.

Rick Archer: That’s true….

Neil Douglas-Klotz: …from anthropological studies. So the different so-called gospels, perhaps they simply arise from different different groups’ remembrances? “Well, we remember him saying this.” And then Thomas group says, well, no, we remember him saying this. And the Mary Magdalene group says, Well, we remember this. So and it goes on like that. You know, my point with most of this is that, if you look at all of them together, if you look at them through an Aramaic lens, that is through a native language lens, a native Semitic lens, it’s still the same Jesus. Really, it’s still the same Yeshua, just different people remember different things, because we’re human. And we need different things. I mean, look, if you go to your spiritual teachers, and you go to any spiritual teacher, and you ask 10 people, what did you remember from that? They’ll give you 10 things. And this is even given you know, that we have much poor memory then in people’s did 2000 years ago.

Rick Archer: Yeah, that’s an interesting point that we have much poorer memory. And I don’t think that point has ever come up on BatGap before but that’s recognized and other cultures too. You know, for instance, for 1000s of years, the Vedas were just handed down orally, and they weren’t, they weren’t distorted. I mean, and they had these very elaborate methods of memorization. They had to do them forwards and backwards and you know, this way and that, and people devoted their lives to that. And then finally, when we entered what the Hindus called Kali Yuga, Veda Vyasa came along and said, “Everybody’s really gonna get foggy now, so we better write it down.” So he kind of got the whole thing written down.

Neil Douglas-Klotz: It was it was the same with these texts. I mean, whether it is the Hebrew scriptures or the Gospels or things like this. So the earliest? It’s in pieces. But if we boil it down to what we have today, the earliest Greek version is only about 100 years older than the earliest Aramaic version. And if you consult the Aramaic Christian scholars on this, they say, that’s because we never kept old manuscripts. You know, we didn’t want them to get too old, too frayed. So we ritually recopied them, checked them, and then burned the old one. So we didn’t keep… we were not a relic culture…. They’re basically nomads. You know, they don’t keep old things, they keep fresh things. And they don’t carry around old stuff with them just because it becomes a relic or John the Baptist thumbnail or God knows what.

Rick Archer: Yeah, That’s not wasn’t the way that it was done. So the Aramaic Christian scholars, they say, if or when he spoke anything, he spoke it in Aramaic, and our version, is going to be a lot closer than any Greek version. And that’s the sort of the point of view I go from. So did Aramaic. In terms of it being written down, did Aramaic precede Greek or Greek precede Aramaic? Or was it kind of simultaneous, different people writing it down in their respective languages?

Neil Douglas-Klotz: I would say it was simultaneous, really. Okay, because most of all of Jesus’s listeners were Aramaic speakers— remember poor, underclass. Only a few of them would have understood Greek or Latin if they were collaborators with the Romans. And that would be a very, very small minority of people. So…

Rick Archer: Were there many Greeks hanging around in Jesus’s vicinity? Or was it mostly Romans? Speaking…

Neil Douglas-Klotz: Romans. The Romans would have also spoken Greek, because it’s a trade language. a language of commerce all the time. But, but Aramaic is very, very old language in the Middle East, it’s most likely that when, if you remember your Bible at all–I don’t know much you remember—when the ancient Hebrew people were carried into captivity by the Assyrians and by the Babylonians….When those who came back came back, they were speaking Aramaic, rather than ancient Hebrew, the Hebrew that they were spoke before. The people who still speak a form of so-called Ancient Hebrew, not modern Hebrew, are the Samaritans, who live in Israel and other parts of the Middle East. They were the ones who were left behind when these other people were carried off by the empires in the fourth, fifth or sixth centuries BCE. So they say they maintain that older pronunciation.

Rick Archer: I heard you say in your book that there were literally hundreds of different gospels, all kinds of different source documents, and that under the Emperor Constantine, it was winnowed down to the four gospels that are widely recognized today. And then obviously, there have been some other finds in recent decades, you know, Gospel of Thomas and the Dead Sea Scrolls and all that stuff.

Neil Douglas-Klotz: Sure. Gospel of Mary Magdalene, Gospel of Judas, all these good things. But they all had to be hidden. They had to be hidden otherwise they would have been destroyed at that time. Now the answer Emperor Constantine is left with a quandary, a conundrum, which is still the that of modern politicians. How do you simplify things for a bureaucracy? If the Roman Empire is going to become Christian, what does “Christian” mean? So we have to boil all this down. And up until that time, as one scholar describes it, what you had was all these little individual groups all over the Middle East, who were Jesus people in some ways. They start out, let’s say, in the Egyptian desert. A mystic who goes into the desert, he has experiences, he has visions–or it could be she, too because there were “Desert Mothers” and “Desert Fathers.” They gather people around them. These ascetics, these mystics, if you want to call them that. And so the community that gathers around them– they’re not really up for going into the desert and starving themselves and seeing visions. They just want a community. So then the question is, how do we determine what holds this community together? So the community begins to write little mission statements –as we would call them today for a corporation. And the mission statements would be like, Okay, we’re going to gather and say a prayer. And then here’s the statement of who we are. And these early mission statements become the early creeds of Christianity. And then Constantine boils them all down, simplifies it all to four gospels, one creed, this is it. Everything else out, that’s it.

Rick Archer: So it’s a little absurd the way some modern fundamentalist Christians say, well the Bible is inerrant word, the literal word of God. And not a word can be modified or reinterpreted or anything. It’s just like set in stone, this is what God said or wants to have said, it just seems kind of rigid?

Neil Douglas-Klotz: Well, it is rigid. And again, people, you know look around…. I mean, you’ve got your midterms coming up in a few days. And this religious right is a very powerful force. It has been for a long time in the US, even when I lived there, it was very powerful. So people are afraid. People are want to maintain control over life, they want it to be the way it used to be. But you know, it ain’t gonna happen. Life is change, face it, friends. You know, get out of the outer selfie, grasping bit. And find where it’s really coming from, find where your self really comes from. That’s what Yeshua was pointing his people to.

Rick Archer: We do it in this country with the US Constitution. I mean, you know, we’re fussing over what these guys thought in 1781, or whatever it was. Who had no idea what we’re going to be dealing with today. And in fact, I read the other day that Jefferson figured that the Constitution might last about 19 years and then would have to be completely revamped. Anyway….

Neil Douglas-Klotz: Would have been a nice idea maybe?

Rick Archer: Okay, well, that’s a little off track.

Neil Douglas-Klotz: You know, that’s us.

Rick Archer: So as I let me try to define what I understand your book to be. It’s an attempt to find fresh interpretations of the words that Jesus may have spoken. By looking at the original Aramaic that he probably used, or the words he probably used in Aramaic. And then considering what the different meanings of those words would have been in the context of his society. And how did you do this? Did you find enough original Aramaic text to work from? Or did you like have to take the English Bible and like figure, alright, what would this have been in Aramaic before it went through whatever it went through to become English? And then, you know, going back to the Aramaic, this is what this verse might mean, as opposed to what it’s usually thought to mean.

Neil Douglas-Klotz: No. The first rather than the second. It’s it makes no sense to go back from English.

Rick Archer: Okay, so you there are there are there original Aramaic renditions of the Gospels?

Neil Douglas-Klotz: Yes. I use the Bible called Peshitta, which is what the Assyrian Christian churches use, or actually all Aramaic speaking Christians today use this Peshitta text of the Gospels. And although that particular Aramaic, if you will, is a little bit newer, that is, not quite as old as the one Jesus spoke, all of the major words are the same. All the words he must have used, if he said anything, remain the same. And this is my main point with scholars, because I often have to lean on them about this. If or when he said anything, he said it in Aramaic. And basically the language–the major, major words, like the word about spirit, or breath, or blessing, and good and bad, and all this stuff, all these words are the same. And they remain the same. From ancient Hebrew, even into classical Arabic. A lot of it remains the same really. It’s a shared cosmology. It’s a shared worldview. So anyway, this this book…yeah, thanks…we’re backing into the book!

Rick Archer: And before you say that, how did we end up with the King James Bible or whatever the various modern versions of the Bible are? Did somebody go back to the original Aramaic and go from there jump to English, or did it go through Greek and Latin before it got to English.

Neil Douglas-Klotz: It went through Greek in most cases, in some cases through Latin, but it went through Greek. It has to do with the Reformation and the invention of the printing press. Again, the Aramaic Christians point out that, “We always have these scriptures, these scrolls, if you will, in our homes for maybe 1500 years, whereas for you Europeans, it was illegal and punishable by death, even to own a Bible if you were not a priest. This is pre-Reformation. So you could be executed for having a Bible in your home. Most people don’t realize this. So they think “well fundamentalism.” So the King James Version was a translation of the King James scholars at the time. It’s actually, in many cases very poetic, although very wrong, in most cases. But in other cases, it’s just theology that has interpreted the heck out of it, and twisted the meaning incredibly.

Rick Archer: Yeah. And I just want to point out one thing, which I think you’ll agree with, which is that is this is not just a matter of translating things accurately from one language to the other. But, I mean, you hear people say, “What would Jesus do?” And when I hear them say that, I always think, well, you kind of have to be Jesus, in order to do that. You have to be in Jesus’s state of consciousness to act as Jesus would act. And if you’re in some low level of consciousness, you simply cannot do what Jesus would do. And the same would be true. Same point applies to translating scriptures from one language to another, if you are incapable of grasping the profundity of some statement, because you’re just not at a level of consciousness, which could grok the meaning of it, then how mutilated is the translation going to be?

Neil Douglas-Klotz: Quite a bit, actually. So as you say, it’s not just a matter of the language itself: “Okay, words meant something different then. The word for spirit actually means breath. So cross out spirit wherever you see it in the New Testament, write in breath, and see if that changes the meaning for you. It’s not just about that, although that’s a good thing. But it’s about the consciousness, it’s about the cosmology, it’s about the way of looking at life that Jesus had. And again, this is, as you say, you have to have this sort of spiritual gestalt, if you will, where you get into the feeling of Jesus. If you read the Gospel of John, which I have in the new book, this is actually what he’s advocating. “Feel it like I’m feeling it, look at it through my eyes, feel it as though you’re embedded in me. And then it’ll all make sense to you. You’ve had me here in the flesh for these years, and now I’m, I’m scarpering off, I’m leaving. So you’re on your own, but you know, you can feel me if you make a connection from your self to your soul. And I think that’s one of the main points of the book, really. I was trying to bring together 40 years of work in one book, really, I started out with his little book, Prayers to the Cosmos in 1990. And then I did various things over the next 30 plus years. And this book is really meant to bring it all together, and place it in one view for people along with–as well as I could do it– some guided meditations, some contemplations, whatever you want to call them, which I think are really some of the keys to the book. Because as `I say, you have to feel it. You have to you have to experience it, rather than just, you know, hold it up here (in the head).

Rick Archer: Yeah. And I think there’s something to be said, for trying to imagine the inner state of a great soul like Jesus, trying to feel into it. But that still doesn’t mean one totally gets it. But Jesus assured people that they could totally get it and, you know, as evidenced by works that they could potentially perform as he did, and even greater works, as he said. But we don’t see too much–well, we see some evidence of that kind of thing. You know, various saints levitating and things like that. But anyway, I think one should always approach this stuff with humility, and not make snap interpretations of things, but realize that one’s interpretation is probably going to continue to evolve as, as one’s self evolves.

Neil Douglas-Klotz: It certainly has for me, yeah, there’s no question of that. Any anything that’s wise, you know, wisdom words, if you want to call them that, they will continue to deepen like seeds, they’ll continue to grow new plants in oneself. Otherwise, I don’t want to be stuck with what I said 20 years ago, or 30 years ago, about something. Why would you do that? I mean, Jesus doesn’t actually point people to him. He says, look through me, go through me is what he’s talking about when he talks about: connect your small self to the source of that self, which Jung would call the capital S self. Or in Aramaic is really called the ruha, the soul, ruha. You know, connect, make that inner connection and then you’ll know what to do. You don’t need me to tell you, you don’t need some scripture or some holy person to tell you, you’ll know what to do.

Rick Archer: So your book mostly consists of taking various verses from the Bible and then looking at the original Aramaic, and, you know, reinterpreting the verse based upon what it might have meant if you understand the Aramaic. And since you just mentioned this thing of Jesus didn’t say to people “look to me.” Why don’t we start with that verse there’s so often quoted of “I am the way the truth and the life, no man cometh unto the Father, but by me,” which fundamentalists use as an exclusionary kind of, you know, thing.

Neil Douglas-Klotz: Yeah, that one plus John 3:16 are the ones that go on the billboards.

Rick Archer: Which one is that the John 3:16?

Neil Douglas-Klotz: “For God so loved the world….”

Rick Archer: “…only begotten Son.”

Neil Douglas-Klotz: Yeah, anyway, I’ve got all that stuff in there. But all these sayings from the Gospel of John, that are translated, “I am,” do not actually say I am. Because, and for this I’ll have to take a pause before I say it for all of you listening. The ancient Hebrew languages do not have a verb that is translated as “am,” or “are” or “is,” a “being verb.” They do not have this. Why? Because as you recall, I said they’re nomadic, they come out of a nomadic experience. So you can’t say, here I am, and this is never going to change.” Everything is changing. So what he’s saying in the gospels, in the Gospel of John is literally an Aramaic, “ina”–I, plus another “ina.” Ina-ina. Two “ina’s” together. That means I and I– like the Rastafarians talk who about the “I and I.” You know, the connection of the individual “I”, to the source of my, my self my “I.” Not my eye, but my individuality. Smallest self to the biggest Self. Smallest self to biggest, that’s what he’s talking about. Yeah. So if you connect this way, this is the way he says. This is really literally the path is what he says. Then he says, ina-na urha–urha is a path. Then shrara is the sense of right direction, which way to go when you come to a crossroads. He uses this word very often. For instance, “you shall know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” He says in Aramaic, “if you know, if you find the heart’s direction, of the ripe direction, then you’re free. You know, that is the truth. So he says here and John “Inana urha shrara… I am the way, the truth– the sense of right direction, or the heart’s GPS. And hayye, which is universal in the ancient Semitic languages, means life energy. He doesn’t mean life somewhere else, or life on a cloud somewhere. This is life energy that is throughout the universes, seen and unseen. So he says, if you make this connection, you will have your path, you’ll know which way to go. And you’ll have plenty of energy to travel the path. Now, on the other bit, the exclusive bit, he says…well, this is– as he understands it– and I’ll give you a gloss on this, it’s more exact in the book. Yeshua says, “as I understand it, this is the way everyone has gone. This is the way everyone gets to where I’ve gone is that they follow this interconnection of small self to big Self, of you could say, of self to soul. So this is his experience. This is the way it goes, you know. You can go directly, or you can have somebody help you, I’m helping you. But you know, you have to start with dealing with your individual self.

Rick Archer: Right. So in other words, you have to if you want to get water, you have to hook the pipe up to the reservoir.

Neil Douglas-Klotz: Well, basically. And some people go, as we say: You can use other people to help you to go through them. Middle Eastern traditions are strong on this, or you can go direct, you don’t have to have you could say help. Some people just– and you have you’ve had many of them on your program. They just wake up one morning and boom, you know, life has changed. And that happens too….

Rick Archer: Yeah. So then to summarize that verse, you’re basically it basically says, you know, if you want to be free, or you know, you can’t even say to reach your full potential you have to connect jiva with Atman. You have to connect the individual consciousness with universal consciousness, and then you’ll be good to go.

Neil Douglas-Klotz: Then then you’re good to go. And the rest of it is all him giving you different stories, metaphors, you know, to help– how would we say it”–corral his students into that experience, if you excuse the sheep metaphor. He does use that at some point. So it’s you know, he uses story language, he uses metaphor, parables, things like this.

Rick Archer: It’s remarkable. I mean, you know, if we, if we believe that Jesus did all the things, he was reputed to do, all the miracles. It’s remarkable how abundant they were, I mean, he must have been making such a stir healing all these people and multiplying loaves and fishes and walking on the water. And I mean, if they were anybody, like doing carrying on like that, in today’s world, they’d be like, all over YouTube. And on the evening news and stuff like that, it’s, I mean, it must have been quite a shock.

Neil Douglas-Klotz: Well, again, you know, remember that we’re 2000 years earlier or so in human consciousness. So the understanding of the, I’ll switch to psychology language here–the understanding of a “liminal realm”, a realm between the realms, between this every day and the unseen, is that more people are open to that.

Rick Archer: I see.

Neil Douglas-Klotz: That’s why you have people who are able to see demons, or devils, or things like this. And these can be shared experiences even. So, I mean, one of the things that struck me about his healings is that it says in the usual translation: Jesus shows up in a village, you know, and he “preaches,” and everybody flocks to him. Well, the word for “preach” in Aramaic just means he announced himself. And so he comes to the village and he says, “okay, here I am, have you heard about me?” It’s not like he’s giving him a Sunday sermon. And because they people were living under this traumatic reality, and they were living in these dissociated states, all these people pour out to be healed. I mean, and some of these dissociated states would lead to, as we would now call them, physical ailments. And so because he can make this connection and healthy connection to the unseen, he’s able to, he’s able to heal them. It’s as simple as that, because how is it that we’re all these ailing people running around in Palestine at the time? I mean, you know, was every other person sick? Well, it’s because, again, because they were all living under a traumatic reality and had been for generations.

Rick Archer: Yeah, I mean, we see that today…

Neil Douglas-Klotz: We do.

Rick Archer: in Afghanistan and places where the people of Somalia. People have been so traumatized by, you know, decades of brutality. That’s an interesting point you made about how that the consciousness of the people was much less what we were talking earlier about the materialist paradigm that dominates today. It was much more subtle than that, in a way or in tune with the, you know, deeper levels at which, you know, things like angels or, you know, all that were considered normal, and, you know, just part of people’s understanding.

Neil Douglas-Klotz: Sure, I mean, it was, I would call it it’s, it was much more embedded, Rick.

Rick Archer: Yeah.

Neil Douglas-Klotz: Everything was more embedded in each other, in nature, and all of this. Now that has a downside if you’re in a so-called dysfunctional family, as we would use in today’s terms, or if you’re living in a terrible reality. But this is why people were, you know, having these unhealthy states, if you will.

Rick Archer: Yeah, interesting. So, let’s take some other verses. So you’ve, you know, interpreted the Lord’s Prayer, the Beatitudes and all kinds of verses that are, I’ve always… you hit some, you know, a lot of the greatest hits, like if a house divided itself against itself cannot stand and all that. So, let’s, we couldn’t possibly cover them all. But–and when those of you who are listening live, if there are particular verses you’d like Douglas to comment on, Neil to comment on, send them in through a question and maybe he can comment on that one. But what one would you like to do next?

Neil Douglas-Klotz: I think the one I want to do is it’s about the words for Good and Evil, which are very key in in the Gospels because, for instance, Jesus is quoted as saying, “A good tree bears good fruit and an evil tree bears evil fruit.” So how does this tree become morally evil?

Rick Archer: Was he speaking metaphorically? He’s not talking about….

Neil Douglas-Klotz: Well, no, this is. This is the King James Version translation. “Good tree bears good fruit or evil tree bears evil fruit.” Well, what he’s saying actually is: the word for good in Aramaic, the word that’s usually translated as good from the Greek actually means ripe, R I P. E. That is, at its right time, its right place. Again, think nomadic reality. You know, think timing, you know, being in the moment, all of this. So a ripe tree bears ripe fruit and an unripe tree bears unripe fruit. And you might say, “Well, Jesus, that’s a no brainer.” But he’s saying to his students, “look around you look at nature, live the way live the way nature is. Live as a ripe tree, don’t live as a as an unripe tree, not in the moment.” Be in the moment: in the right time at the right place with the right action. And then this then becomes the word– the form of the word takes the main word for “blessing” in the New Testament. So for instance, all of these so-called Beatitudes: “Blessed are the dot dot dot…. The word for “blessed are”– we use no “are” because you’ve heard me say that before. But the word for blessing means ripe, ripeness. For instance, in the first Beatitude, usually translated “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” He says, ripe are those– ripening are those– who “lemeskenae b’ruh”– who are able to find their home in the breath. Poor in spirit is the King James translation. But “lemeskenae” means that the person is holding on to the breath, to their breathing, as though it were their first and last possession. Which actually it is. I mean, it’s the first thing that comes into our bodies, when we come into life, it’s the last thing that leaves. He says when you when you hit rock bottom in this way, then things begin to open up for you, then you have, then comes to you “dilhounie”– is coming to you– “dilhounoie malkuta.” Malkuta–not kingdom actually queendom in Aramaic, because it’s feminine gender. Then comes to the sense of empowerment, of vision, vision with empowerment, that is throughout the whole cosmos. You have a much bigger home then. You have a sense of vision with the energy to accomplish a vision in life. So but you have to sort of go to the what, you know, the 12-Steppers call, you know, rock bottom, and start from there really.

Rick Archer: So do you mean rock bottom the way a 12-Stepper would where you’ve just you know, really bottomed out and you’re desperate? Or do you mean rock bottom in terms of some, you know, deeper fundamental level of reality that you connect with? For that can be thought of as a foundation or a rock bottom too?

Neil Douglas-Klotz: Yeah, it can. Either one. I mean, the people to whom Jesus spoke the Beatitudes in Matthew seem to have been, really at rock bottom. They were homeless, they had nowhere to go. They had been driven off their land, they, you know, maybe driven out of their family. And so literally, they didn’t know where to go or what to do. And so he begins to give this, you could say….

Rick Archer: He’s encouraging them. So…

Neil Douglas-Klotz: He is starting a process with them proceeds through the Beatitudes. From starting with finding your home in the breath, to acknowledging the places that are mourning or grieving or confused in you. And then it goes on and on through the different Beatitudes, the so called Beatitudes. Yeah.

Rick Archer: Maybe what he’s saying there is, Yeah, I know things are really rough for you people, but I have something to teach you here, which will actually bring you fulfillment and inner happiness, regardless of your outer circumstances and might in fact, improve your outer circumstances.

Neil Douglas-Klotz: Yeah. And you know, it’s not just the words again, imagine that there is an atmosphere of this person, as one has in authentic spiritual teachers today, where one sort of can feel that.

Rick Archer: Yeah.

Neil Douglas-Klotz: You know, you can feel their way of being with of being and perceiving and living with that.

Rick Archer: What would you like to do next?

Neil Douglas-Klotz: Let’s see, where shall we go?

Rick Archer: I can throw a few out here, but I want you to choose if possible.

Neil Douglas-Klotz: Well, you know, gosh, I started with the prayer of Jesus, the so-called Lord’s Prayer, although I argue there’s no word in Aramaic that is actually well translated as “lord.” That’s a medieval feudalistic concept that gets layered over onto the Gospels. So I just call it the prayer of Jesus, the one that he gives in words. So we can look a little bit at that. I’ll dip into a bit of that. But I’d like to remind people that Jesus didn’t always pray in words. When it says he went into the hills and stayed overnight praying, it doesn’t mean he’s mumbling words to himself all night. You know, he’s talking about in another place in the gospels, “pray just with my atmosphere, that means in silence, you know, pray with my “shem,” the word for atmosphere or light, or the light that you feel through my atmosphere. Just pray that way. Pray in the silence, pray with that feeling.

Rick Archer: What you mentioned the atmosphere around a spiritual teacher like that, you’ve probably experienced it. And I know I have. You can, entrain with the teacher’s consciousness…

Neil Douglas-Klotz: Exactly!

Rick Archer: …by sitting in that atmosphere. And, you know, shift into something very profound, just by mere proximity.

Neil Douglas-Klotz: Absolutely. It’s a human thing. You don’t need any special apparatus. You can, you know, if you feel your breath and feel your heart, you’re there. You don’t need anything special. actually. I mean, the only reason I’m doing all this with Jesus, is because many people will have been burdened with Jesus in their childhood, as I was to some degree, although not as bad as some people. And so when they go into other traditions, Vipassana or anything, Advaita this or that, they may reach a certain point where their childhood comes up to them. And part of that childhood is sort of fear and loathing around Jesus, basically. Jesus phobia, I call it, and that prevents them from actually, you know, going a little further. So, for a lot of people that have come to my work, that’s how they, they found their way to it. They went elsewhere. And then they figured, well, I guess I better heal this too. So…

Rick Archer: Yeah, I was just watching a series on television called “Anne with an E,” which is based on Anne of Green Gables. And there was a there’s a part of the story where the missionaries or this Christian people are taking young Indian kids away from their parents and locking them in these residential schools. Which we’ve heard a lot about recently, because the Pope went and apologized for that. But, and one of their phrases was kill the Indian to save the child. And they were literally killing many of them, but they’re also just, you know, brutalizing their whole traditional understanding in order to supposedly save them. I mean, it makes my blood boil. Sometimes when I think of the number of people who’ve been… the genocides that have been committed in the name of religion. And I’m afraid that Christianity might, if you look at the whole history of all religions, it might be in the lead in that unfortunate regard.

Neil Douglas-Klotz: It is I mean, if I can, we can segue into that briefly. I mean, I would agree in that a misinterpretation, not only of the Gospels but also of the whole Bible, empowers colonialism, racism and ecocide. And one of the key verses I point to, which when I did my book on Genesis, I re-translated was one of the most egregious mistranslations, deliberate mistranslations in the history of translation. Which is the verse in Genesis that’s usually translated, “Be fruitful, multiply, dominate and subdue the earth and rule over…” and then dot, dot, dot, it’s all the other ones that created in Genesis before the human. Well, the Hebrew doesn’t say that. The Hebrew says, Yes, you will be fruitful. And you will multiply. Learn how to manage, learn how to manage your own “earth,” that is, your own earthiness, your own material existence. Learn how to manage that. And then it doesn’t say rule “over” the fish and the animals and the trees. It says, “rule together with,” “rule along with,” or “rule from within” these other beings. This is a total mistranslation of a Hebrew preposition. This preposition has never meant “over” over its whole history, either ancient Hebrew or modern. So this just gets right into it because ruler said. well, it has to say that because we have to dominate. You know, we were, we are now in charge and we’re gonna go…

Rick Archer: to where there’s gold in, you know, among the Incas and we want to we want it so let’s go there.

Neil Douglas-Klotz: You know, you native peoples are not using this land, so you’re not there. You don’t exist. It’s like that.

Rick Archer: Boy. We’re, we’re getting back into rant mode.

Neil Douglas-Klotz: I know sorry.

Rick Archer: It’s okay. I do it too.

Neil Douglas-Klotz: I tend to get into that.

Rick Archer: I mean, it’s just, there’s so many injustices, you know. It’s so ironic, tragically ironic, that so many injustices have been perpetrated in the name of what should be the greatest blessing, you know, that a person could possibly have in life. You know, the blessing of knowing God and experiencing God, It’s just so twisted.

Neil Douglas-Klotz: Yeah, it’s difficult. It’s I say, human consciousness developed in such a way that now we’re stuck with everything that this has resulted in. It’s is in front of us. I mean, it’s all in front of us. So how are we going…

Rick Archer: In other words, like the condition of the world, the condition of the environment, all that

Neil Douglas-Klotz: Everything, everything. How are we going to use this human self, which is now separated? How can we turn? How can we return as the Hebrew mystics talk about. And again, this is where Jesus is constantly giving this, you could say, his mode, his map–although the map is not the traveling– to turn from your small self to the big self, your self to your soul. From the breath, which is only living in this body, this material form for x number of years, and towards the breath, which is everywhere and all the time, and before my birth, and after my death. Before my, you know, my original face, and after my last face, if I can paraphrase the Buddhists on that one. So, we have to, we’re either going to make the shift or we’re not.

Rick Archer: Right. Okay, well, that reminds us of a verse. Because I think of, you know, deep spirituality as being the ultimate solution to the world’s problems. So, you know, the verse says, “Seek ye first the kingdom of heaven, and all else should be added unto thee.” Yeah, let’s work on that one.

Neil Douglas-Klotz: Well, my translation, although it’s not in this new book, it says, “If you’re going to, if you’re going to aggravate yourself and run around and pursue anything, do that first about finding…. And this word “kingdom,” again, it’s “malkuta” in Aramaic–it’s actually queendom, feminine gendered— and it means a combination of a vision with an empowerment. A lot of your interviewees have had this in these awakening moments they’ve had, because it’s not just that they had a vision of something somewhere else. But this was downloaded into them in the sense that was empowering to them, whether they’re a psychic, or you know, an online mystic or whoever they are. So they have this sense of the malkuta. And this malkuta is throughout “shemaya,” he says, the kingdom of heaven. Heaven, not up there, but heaven being the realm of light and vibration that is everywhere around us, underneath us, above us, and within us. As I called it another book, sort of the wave reality that the new physics people talk about, rather than the particle reality. So he says, don’t fuss yourself too much about all the particle reality, find first this connection, this connection to that which is always on, and which you can always rely upon. And then you will have a real non duality, because everything will be included. You’ll have the individual self included, but it will be included in that which is empowering it, every breath.

Rick Archer: Yeah, empowering is a good word. And I see that inner world as being the potentiality from which the whole universe is arises. And if a person is cut off from it, and I bet you there’s some Bible verse about this, then they are like a plant that has cut off from, you know, contact with the ground or the nourishment from the earth. Whereas if they’re deeply connected to it, then it just pours into their individual life and through their individual life, to all whom they contact.

Neil Douglas-Klotz: Yeah, that’s, that’s exactly right, Rick. The verse I think you’re alluding to, is the one where he says… this is like another one of the ones that people make a lot out of in Christian fundamentalism, the so-called sin against the Holy Ghost. Well, Jesus talks about… sin in Aramaic means to cut yourself off from something.

Rick Archer: Does it also mean to miss the mark? I’ve heard it translated…

Neil Douglas-Klotz: It can mean that, it depends on which word for sin. The Greek is actually the same but the Aramaic is more sort of like cutting yourself off. I know I’ve heard this thing about missing the mark…

Rick Archer: Like I said with the plant: cutting yourself off from the source of your nourishment.

Neil Douglas-Klotz: They’re absolutely right. It’s the same word in Aramaic, within and among are the same word. And this again, points to what I was mentioning earlier on in our talk, that, okay, my within-ness, what I now call my subconscious, my psychology, this is also connected to what is around me. It’s not like my inner life is just my inner life and it doesn’t affect anything. No, my community life affects my inner life, my inner life affects my community life. So this “within” and “among,” they had this whole sort of intertwined in the ancient times. I mean, the gospel of Thomas, he talks about– similar verse– he talks about the so-called “malkuta d’Alaha,” the kingdom-queendom. What I have called “the I can the cosmos,” as though it’s arising within you and then spreading around you. So that includes both of the meanings.

Rick Archer: Now, I think, about 15 minutes ago, you were about to start talking about the Lord’s Prayer and then I sidetracked you onto something. So you want to come back…I

Neil Douglas-Klotz: I sidetracked myself! No mea culpa is necessary. Well, the prayer again, you know, the place of prayer, for many people is fraught, that it is difficult, because, you know, devotional practice, while it can be heart opening, it can also lead to its abuses. And one sees that in many aspects of fundamentalist religion, not only Christianity, but other types of religion, because you’re placing God out there somewhere. You know, it’s like up on some throne, or this or that or other thing. And again, I hope I’ve said enough, in the time we’ve talked together to indicate that Jesus was not coming from this sort of place. He’s coming from a place where a prayer is like a chant, if you will, that helps attune you to different realities within your soul. So that you can make that connection that we’ve been talking about, between self and soul. And so he begins with this beautiful word in the so-called Lord’s prayer: “Abwoon…Ah-bwun.” “dbashmaya…dbashmaya.” “Oh thou, oh breathing, oh creating source, oh parenting source throughout the cosmos. And again, why idealize at all? Well, because to idealize, I have to invoke, you could say, my imaginal sense, as Henry Corbin calls it. I have to envision the best of what I can imagine and place that as something for me to grow into. So this is the function of prayers in general, that you know… okay, you’re gonna pray to Krishna, that’s fine, but be Krishna. You want to be a Buddhist, be a Buddha! So praising is about finding a doorway, opening a doorway in one’s heart, so that the heart can turn easily between self and soul. This is the key place of the heart in ancient Semitic prayers or in ancient Semitic culture in general. Again, ancient Semitic languages, they don’t have words for mind, really, or brain or you know any of this other stuff. They only have a word for heart. So he says “abwoon d’bashmaya,” Oh thou breathing life of all, creating one, throughout the whole cosmos. Create a space, empty me a bit, to create that presence here. “Nitkadash shmakh.” What they usually translated as, “hallowed be thy name.” Well, hollow oneself so that that sound, that vibration of the cosmos, can resonate within you there of Reality. And then it goes on from there, basically. And, again, he talks about “malkuta,” then this leads you to this, “I can,” this vision with the empowerment. And then you’re ready–and this is the payoff– then you’re ready to bring heaven and earth together. Then you’re ready to, with your own heart’s desire, hearts will… “Let your heart’s desire come through me.” This is the one translated as “let your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Well, it’s not willpower, and it’s not someone else’s will. It says let your heart’s desire–“nehwe sebyanach, nehwe sebyanach,” let your heart’s desire be done through me. And so that will bring heaven and earth together in my life.

Rick Archer: In other words, God’s heart’s desire, you’re saying…

Neil Douglas-Klotz: Yeah, let the heart of Reality, you don’t have to use the G-word, let the heart of –whatever the great mystery–come through my heart, and then bring my life together. So that I connect, connect, my individual experience in life with my communal experience, my communal experience in life in my world. In other words, what am I going to do now? You know, that’s wonderful that I have this moment of illumination. But what now? And do I have to go out and convert everybody else to my moment of illumination? Well, no, but you have to find out what is yours to do? And then do that very well. And this is what Jesus points to. The rest of it is all about. Okay, now what do we do in our communal life? Well, we can share bread and not hoard more bread than we need to hoard. “Bread,” meaning not wheat, or even gluten free bread, but any food. So the word for bread, “lachma,” can just mean any food. Could be emotional food, mental food, like that. Sometimes I fear I’ve hoarded too much Aramaic biblical food, but I tried to give it away as fast as I can. So I hope people spread it! And then it’s about releasing, untying, forgiving. And the main thing about the line about forgiveness, which is usually translated, “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us”…. “Trespassing” is about going over somebody’s boundaries. The Luke version has again, a sense of untangling knots, a slightly different word in Luke’s remembrance of the prayer. Or maybe Jesus said different ways different times– people do that, go figure! So untangle these knots…. So if you can “unstep” an overstepped boundary, do it. And then everything will be released at the same time. So it’s not as though if you do this, then you get the reward later. No, it all happens simultaneously. It’s not like an if-then thing. And then the words that give people a lot of problem. Mistranslations here. Usually translated, “lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” And why the heck would God lead us into temptation? Well, mistranslation. The Aramaic says clearly “let us not enter” “nesyuna,” which really means forgetfulness. And forgetfulness is a big theme in the Middle Eastern, spiritual traditions. This is why the Sufis have a practice called “dhikr,” which is remembrance. So the “nesyuna” is the opposite of this. We also find it in Arabic, classical Arabic, and it means forgetfulness of where we’ve come from, of our original face, of where we’re going, you know, of the bigger picture of life. Don’t forget, don’t forget! But then he says also “ela patsan men bisha,” “set us free from “bisha”–unripeness. Again back to that word I mentioned half hour ago. Set us free from not acting at the right time, at the right place in the right moment with what is mine to do. And then, you know, it ends with a beautiful sort of praise statement or a dedication. And Semitic languages also had this sort of dedication that one has in Buddhism, too, where you would say I dedicate this now for the benefit of all beings. Well in Aramaic, you offer it up in different ways. And then Jesus offers one way at the end of the Aramaic prayer. He says, “for all of this returns to you”: the “malkuta”–that is, the “I can” and the vision and the energy and then what is usually translated as glory is really song or music. You could say and this music of my life is returning to you. And we move on. Amen.

Rick Archer: Nice. Speaking of fundamentalists, as you mentioned and…

Neil Douglas-Klotz: Speaking of! You know, what do you make of converting people, speaking in tongues, handling snakes, being saved. You know, I guess handling snakes is kind of a rare one. But, you know, some of the… certainly speaking in tongues is more common than that. And then, you know, converting others to save them, because they’re all going to hell forever if we don’t save them. And, you know, we are saved, because we believe such and such. I mean, they derive these beliefs, or they use various Bible verses as excuses for these beliefs. How would you reinterpret some of the common verses which are basic to those behaviors? Well, if we stay with conversion for a bit, there’s a basic misunderstanding of what the soul is for Yeshua, or the real Self. It’s all over the Gospels. It’s called “ruha.” It’s similar and related to the word for breath. It’s that always-on part of us, if you will. And there are terrible Mistranslations or confused mistranslations throughout the King James and other versions of the Gospels, where the word “self” and “soul” and you know, “life” are mistranslated as one another. This confuses things. Because for Yeshua, we don’t need to save our soul. No one needs to save our soul. We need to simply let our soul save us. That is, redeem us, show us what to do. We don’t need to save our soul. Let your soul save you! That’s his basic message. So what does that do to conversion? Well, I mean, if you look actually in the Gospel in the book of Acts, and I ventured a little bit into Acts in the new book–just not too far! But all of the early people who come to the Jesus movement, we could call it that, or one of the Jesus movements, they don’t have theology. There’s no theology being preached to them. The people like Peter, they’re just saying, receive that receive “ruha d’qoosha,” receive the breath, receive the sacred breath. “We received it from Yeshua, this transmission, if you will, this atmosphere. Here we’ll give it to you if you want it. And, you know, end of story, you know. And communities form around this. Only later, as I mentioned, you do have theology, mission statements, on and on and on like this. So it’s all about transmission and people being attracted naturally, not about going out and converting the poor heathen.

Rick Archer: So in other words, the apostles weren’t pushy. They were sort of like, you know, come if you want, here I am. And, you know, if you don’t want, then fine. There’s that kind of attitude, apparently.

Neil Douglas-Klotz: Well, I mean, you could say Jesus was not spectacularly successful in looking at the long history of things. But on the other hand, his immediate disciples seem to have had something. They seem to have had whatever you want to call it, some real–for want of a better word– spiritual magnetism. No doubt, some went off the rails, but they had something that people would be attracted to them, basically.

Rick Archer: Why did what you say Jesus wasn’t sort of spectacularly successful?

Neil Douglas-Klotz: I mean, well, just looking at the long history of Christianity.

Rick Archer: Oh, yeah. I wouldn’t blame him for that.

Neil Douglas-Klotz: Yeah. I wouldn’t blame Jesus for you know, what has been done. And… You could look at that in any religion. It’s true. But you know, we don’t know… the story is not completely written. So we won’t, I won’t pre-judge anything. And that’s, you know, I run into that quite a bit. The thing about snake handling and all that. Well, people like to prove their faith.

Rick Archer: Yeah.

Neil Douglas-Klotz: It’s an interesting phenomenon. There are, although mostly unknown to Westerners, there are some Sufi groups who do things similar, in terms of piercing themselves with skewers, in the same sort of fashion, to prove their faith in the unseen shaykh, basically. So I’m not a member of one of those groups. I’m still you know, unpierced but, I’m not a member of any. But this has been known throughout history, this sort of ascetic practice to show you know I’m going to rely only on “that,” whatever that is. And we’re going to trust that and go for that. So I’m not so down on down on all that. I mean, no one’s gonna force you to go into snake handling, are they? So? Not likely? I mean, the other thing…. I think that’s in Peter somewhere or something like that. And, you know, I think Peter– excuse me, if I am misremembering to those who are better on their Bible than I am– I think it’s Peter who is bitten by a snake and yeah, he’s fine. He’s…no problem a poisonous snake, by the way. So you know, this all gets extrapolated from little bits in the Epistles, that is, the letters that come later from Paul and….

Rick Archer: Okay, let’s get off of snakes.

Neil Douglas-Klotz: We’ll get off of snakes! Snakes are good, but I won’t go into snakes. Okay, never mind….

Rick Archer: I see them on my walks in the woods, they’re really cute. They lie on the sun on the trail. And I’m careful…

Neil Douglas-Klotz: Snakes are sacred in a lot of Middle Eastern cultures.

Rick Archer: Yeah, some relationship to Kundalini there, maybe. So, this is a popular one. “I and my Father are one.”

Neil Douglas-Klotz: Yes. Well, what he says here, this is again in the gospel of John, chapter 10, I believe. He says…. It happens in a sort of a punctuation mark in a particular story. But I’ll tell you the short version. He’s called in front of the scribes, that is, the temple officials, several times, particularly in the Gospel of John. And they ask him by what right are you doing these things. And he says, at one point, “before Abraham was, I am.” Again remember, there’s no “am.” So he’s pointing to, I’ll get to your passage in a moment….

Rick Archer: And Abraham preceded Jesus by 1000 years, or two or whatever…

Neil Douglas-Klotz: Correct. Yeah. And because the Middle Eastern way of looking at time is different than the Western way of looking: it’s as though the past is in front of us. The ancient Middle Eastern way of looking at time, and the future is behind us. And we’re all traveling– again, remember, nomadism. So we’re following our ancestors, we’re following the best of our ancestors. And we want to make sure that we leave something for our children who are coming along behind us, and our children’s children. So there was a sense of continuity and constant travel. So when Jesus says, “before Abraham,” he means you could say, the idea, or you could say, the archetype, to use a Jungian term, the archetype of the human, of the complete human being, the completing human being, was there before Abraham. It was there in the heart of the great Mystery, when all this happened, and when self separated from soul to some degree, and Adam and Eve and all that great stuff. And you know, then we get challenged. And so the idea of a person that could turn easily, turn his or her heart easily, from self to soul, and back again, this was already seeded in the cosmos before Abraham. And then they say, then the scribes say to him, you know, “you’re hardly 30 years old, how are you saying you’re before Abraham? You know, what’s that about?” So he says, Well, you know, then he says, I, “ina” –not I and the Father are one but he says, “ina wa aby had hnan.” Had to pull it out of the memory banks! I and that breathing life of all, the creating source of the cosmos, live together. We are one living together. Now that is a paradox in the sense that how can you have one and be together? This is about non-duality, actually. So you have a oneness, a unity, that is also a togetherness. Possible? Well, for Yeshua, it was possible. So he’s not saying he is God. But he’s saying or he’s not saying he is the great Mystery. Well, how could that be because he’s in a body and you know, his soul is part of that great Mystery, is living within that great Mystery within Alaha (which is the word he uses for Reality or, so to speak, God. He’s embedded within that Reality, that is, living together. And the word “hnan” in Aramaic, comes later into Arabic actually and is a word for love. So there is a love relationship, in this living togetherness with the creating source with the cosmos, you know, with this birthing, fathering, mothering of the cosmos. And that doesn’t get him in, that doesn’t cut any dice with them either. So he “gets out of Dodge” and leaves Jerusalem again.

Rick Archer: It seems to me I mean, aren’t there verses–are there verses in the Bible, which describe God as omnipresent, omniscient, omnipotent, those words?

Neil Douglas-Klotz: All of that is Greek construct from the Creed’s Rick. And we have it and other religions too. I mean, yeah, you know, but

Rick Archer: I mean, is that something that your basic Christian would agree with? That God is omniscient and omnipotent and omnipresent, and all that?

Neil Douglas-Klotz: Yeah. But that begs the question then what is this?

Rick Archer: This is God.

Neil Douglas-Klotz: Exactly. You know that should beg that question. But usually it’s construed in such a way that this omnipresent, omniscient, it’s up in the cloud somewhere, and it’s in some transcendental reality, that is, in what I would call a Platonic heaven.

Rick Archer: Yeah, but then it’s not omnipresent if it’s up there, and we’re down here and…

Neil Douglas-Klotz: Exactly.

Rick Archer: You know, separate.

Neil Douglas-Klotz: Exactly.

Rick Archer: Yeah,

Neil Douglas-Klotz: Exactly. So, I mean,

Rick Archer: There’s God is off in some corner someplace.

Neil Douglas-Klotz: Yeah. So…

Rick Archer: Yeah. Anyway, so let’s see, what shall we do here? I’ve got all these six pages worth of… I took of…. I got I took all the verses, the actual verses from your book, because I put them on six pages and 13 point type, and I’m just sort of whatever would catch my eye. Well, there’s the Only Begotten Son thing so god yeah: “for God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life.” Actually, I’ve had instances where Christian evangelists or something have called me on the phone out of the blue, and I start talking astronomy with him in terms of how many planets there must be in the universe and by odds, how many of those must be inhabited? And then I say, well, is Jesus on tour? And does he spend 33 years on each of them? And, and if the universe is only 6000 years old, and how does he get around that? Is it like Santa Claus somehow? Does all the households in the world on Christmas Eve? They hang up?

Neil Douglas-Klotz: Yeah, I have that with sometimes Jehovah’s Witnesses come around here. Yeah. And I used to say, “Do you want to know, like, the word is actually pronounced. And they run the other way?

Rick Archer: I’d love to see you in the conversation with the Jehovah’s Witness.

Neil Douglas-Klotz: They tried to give me literature and I give them literature back.

Rick Archer: Little do they know whose door they knocked on?

Neil Douglas-Klotz: No, they don’t know. But anyway, where are we with….

Rick Archer: God’s only begotten son.

Neil Douglas-Klotz: Oh, the “only begotten son,” yeah. Well, ask the next time, what “only begotten” actually means. Yeah, what it says, the “only born,” beget, to be got? Anyway, the Aramaic has nothing…the Aramaic says, “fully integrated.” “Alaha loved the worlds of diversity, that is, so-called material reality so much, that Alaha…sends a fully integrated human being. So that whoever has– not “believes in” him, but whoever believes and has trust, “like” he does. This is again another preposition thing. So Jesus never says to people believe in him, he says, “have the same trust, trust with me, trust within me, or believe with me. It’s really not about beliefs or concepts. It’s about having trust that there is this only Reality, Alaha he calls it. And that this is the ground of being, again to use another Buddhist term. This is the ground, this is where we come from and where we’re going. “So whoever has the same trust I do, will not, you could say, will not disappear with their individual form. But they will continue. Like the breath will continue, like your breath will continue from world to world.” And whether that implies reincarnation or not–I don’t know if we want to go there or not. But, you know, you can read it whatever way you want.

Rick Archer: And I would say, depending on how we define the word trust, that maybe trust is the first step. You know, like, if you have as much faith as a grain of mustard seed, that whole idea, then you can move mountains. And it’s more like you get your foot in the door with a certain amount of trust, but then there’s a lot more than just trusting or believing, there’s actually undergoing the transformation necessary to be able to function or experience as Jesus did.

Neil Douglas-Klotz: Yes, absolutely. And, you know, that’s what he keeps pointing people to, you know. While he’s there, they trust Him, they trust his atmosphere, they trust his being. And then towards the end of the Gospel of John, he’s trying to tell them, “Okay, how are you going to do this after I’m gone?” You know, what, what’s, what’s gonna be there for you? So develop that.

Rick Archer: Yeah, right. Good point. All right. I’m going to fire some questions at you, which means we’re going to jump around a bit from one topic back to the next. But of a lot of people send in questions and I want to ask them,

Neil Douglas-Klotz: Okay.

Rick Archer: And I think Irene’s saying there are a lot of them. So let’s not go too long on every one but just say whatever you feel needs to be said. So this this one was sent in the other day. Sarah Page from Ascot, England. Did Yeshua die on the cross? I have had what sounds like “ashea,” come to me in meditations, but I’m still unsure of its true meaning. So can you shed light on this, so two questions basically there.

Neil Douglas-Klotz: Again, as I was just mentioning, you know, I’ve read a lot of books about this, too. That he didn’t die on the cross. He was revived with aloe and went to India. And all of this is possible. I’m not saying it’s not possible. It is possible. On the other hand, already, at the same time, the different gospels report that after his so-called crucifixion, different people had experiences of him, partially in the body or not in the body, or in what we would take as spirit body, or all of this. All of this was there for them. And that should, should not be a surprise because he actually promises this, again at the end of the Gospel of John that he says, you know, “I’m going and then but there will be a place where you can connect with me.” This is the so-called “my house with many mansions.” “I go to prepare a place for you.” And the place is not a physical condominium somewhere in heaven. It’s a state of consciousness is the word that’s used there. In Hebrew, it’s called a “makom,” in Aramaic it’s called an “`atra,” that is, a state of consciousness. Like the prophets go into in the Hebrew Bible, like Ezekiel or Isaiah do, when they have these visions. “There’ll be a place where you can go and contact me. It’s just there.” And then he goes on to say, how they contact him, you know, what methods they’re going to use to do that. So that’s clear, of course. Did he die on the cross? Some part of him, no doubt, died. But not the rest. Not the real bit.

Rick Archer: I mean, the fact that he supposedly came out of the tomb, three days after he was crucified, in reasonably good shape, makes it seem like his physical body must have died, it must be some spiritual body, because he wouldn’t have been up for coming… unless he had some miraculous self-healing abilities.

Neil Douglas-Klotz: There are different theories about this. You can read the books, Rick, and you know, he’s up in India, his tomb is in Kashmir in Srinagar, and it’s possible. I’m not saying it ain’t possible.

Rick Archer: That’s a good attitude. Who knows? Okay, some more questions. So, next one, from Hasim Sadka. Do people from different faiths see angels or divine beings of other faiths? Hmm. And if you don’t know, you’re can just say. I don’t know.

Neil Douglas-Klotz: I don’t know. But certainly, it would be possible.

Rick Archer: Yeah.

Neil Douglas-Klotz: Depends on if you’re tuned to multiple faiths.

Rick Archer: I guess a similar question is if you’re a Christian, you die. Do you see Jesus? If you’re a Hindu? Do you see Krishna? If you’re a Buddhist? Do you see Buddha, you know, when you go to heaven? In other words is the initial, at least the antechamber of Heaven fashioned to make you feel comfortable when you get there?

Neil Douglas-Klotz: Well, again, back to this passage in John I mentioned, he says, “in that place, there are many mansions, many places you can go.” You could you could go a lot of places, and don’t forget about the non-aligned people. They’re not necessarily Christian, Buddhist, this or that. And so, you know, what about for them? They may, you know, anything could happen. And it’s a big mystery out there.

Rick Archer: Yeah. There’s a nice verse in the Gita where Krishna says that, anybody anywhere, if they have any sort of faith or expression of, you know, religious whatever, I accept that. I honor that. I appreciate that. It doesn’t have to be in any particular form or even to him or anything else. Alright, so, question from Travis Rybarski in Richland, Washington. “On your website, there’s a quote from Jung, which states that Christians must create their own yoga, rather than borrow from China or India. Could you explain why you liked this quote? To me, it seems like a very good thing when Christians borrow from their elder sibling traditions.”

Neil Douglas-Klotz: Well, I mean, it’s in the context of what it is. I mean, Jung says, which I basically agree with, if you’re raised in a particular way, at some point you’re going to have to confront that and deal with it, and heal with it. In order to go further. Of course, it’s good to borrow. I mean, it’s good to learn many things.

Rick Archer: You mean, certainly… As the Qur’an says, you know, “seek wisdom even unto China.” So I don’t see any problem with that. But Jung did feel that… well, Jung actually felt if you read Peter Kingsley’s work, that his form of therapy would become this Christian yoga, but then it gets perverted into a you could say, a more materialistic psychological technique. For many people, not all. And the visionary spiritual capacity that he had, that Jung had envisioned for it was sort of pushed aside. And that’s from Peter Kingsley. And I would encourage people who disagree with me to read his book Catafalque, which is about Jung and Jung’s legacy and all of that. He’d be another good one for your program, if you can get him. But… We actually reached out to him years ago, and he was sort of potentially interested and we haven’t followed up on it. So maybe, yeah, maybe one of these days. This is from Daniel Ramirez from San Antonio, Texas. Several prominent Western spiritual teachers talk about the deep undercurrent of unworthiness that plagues us in the Western world, connecting this to our founding mythology of the Garden of Eden, and our supposed core of original sin. Is it possible to be raised in the West and escape that fundamental feeling of unworthiness? Further, is there a path for us to create a new life affirming mythology?

Neil Douglas-Klotz: Absolutely.

Rick Archer: Nice question.

Neil Douglas-Klotz: It is possible I can speak from experience. I was raised with all this original sin stuff, at least in in school. I mean, so it was like that. Again, this is a misinterpretation of the Adam and Eve and the serpent story. And again, I have that in my book, Original Meditation, how that should actually how that one is reading that. But basically, it’s about, you know, if you look at that, it’s again like a Sufi story or a Zen story, you know. You’ve got the original human beings. And they are given a choice. You know, “here, you can eat all of this, but don’t, don’t eat that.” And what is this tree that they can’t eat? Well, the so-called “tree of the knowledge of good and evil,” which is basically about having preference. In other words, I like this, and I don’t like that. So when does that happen in human consciousness? When is the human self become able to choose between what it likes and what it doesn’t like? When does that part of the human self evolve, such that we’re no longer so embedded in this natural reality that I’ve spoken about earlier, that we’ve individuated? And now I have a choice? And who is it that said, I think it was the Buddha said, “the great way is not difficult for those who have no preferences,” something like that. And so this is all about the human self-evolving. It’s not good or bad. It’s not “original sin.” It’s just what happened. And it’s what happens to children as we grow up. I mean, we grow up and we’re sort of embedded in this beautiful childhood, or for many of us, it’s fairly beautiful. Some, obviously, not so much. But at some point, the self of the child, myself as a child, begins to awaken and I, you know, there you go. So it’s the same that humanity goes through.

Rick Archer: I’ve been having some conversations with friends recently about judgment versus discernment. And kind of relates to the question we were just discussing. Jesus said, “judge not lest you be judged,” right? And maybe you can give us a spin on that verse. What it what do you make of that phrase, “judge not lest you be judged” in the whole consideration of having preferences, which are healthy in life if they’re not out of proportion?

Neil Douglas-Klotz: Yeah, it is about having preferences, because the Aramaic word Jesus uses for “judge” here, I mean, in this passage you mentioned and also in John, it’s really about, it’s based on the word “din,” DN, which means to find what is one’s, you could say, what one owes to life. Okay, now I’m in this form, I’ve come into this human form, from wherever, and what is mine to do in life? What do I owe, you know, what is this? What is the preciousness of this human existence? And what do I owe back to life for, you know, for having this life. And this is the word he uses for “judge,” but it’s really more, as you say, it is more really like discriminate. Discriminate what is yours to do what is not yours to do? You know, you have something that you owe to life. Okay, pay it. You know, but don’t try to pay everyone’s debt and don’t try to, you know, convert somebody else to pay your so-called debt to life. And by life I mean, you know, this preciousness of this existence that we have in these names and forms for as long as the breath is in this flesh, as Jesus would call it. So it’s, it’s all about that.

Rick Archer: That’s nice. I wouldn’t have thought you’d interpret it that way or go into that from that comment. But there’s definitely a feeling of giving back. You know, there’s some verses in the Indian tradition of “thy gifts, My Lord, I surrender to thee,” you know, it’s like, these are not mine, these gifts I have. They’re there for me to pass on or to serve as an instrument of the Divine.

Neil Douglas-Klotz: And the main thing is determining what is mine to do. I mean, Jesus could have stayed at home in Galilee and never gotten in trouble. Basically, he was pretty safe there. But he goes in Jerusalem, he throws over the moneylenders’ tables, and all this stuff, upsets people. And he didn’t have to, but he felt okay, that’s mine to do. So he did it. You know, and there you go. Sometimes you have to upset people, and…

Rick Archer: Yeah, that’s an interesting whole topic, too. I mean, one’s dharma, you know, what is mine to do? And to what extent are one’s behaviors or actions motivated by a sort of individual consciousness? And to what extent are they just an impulse of the Divine for being channeled through one’s individuality?

Neil Douglas-Klotz: This is the whole journey of challenge of our lives.

Rick Archer: Yeah.

Neil Douglas-Klotz: I mean, as I see it. Now. I mean, the “din” in the Qur’an– we’ll just segue a little bit into Qur’an. The Quran uses the same word as “din,” which is you could almost is very similar to dharma really, if you look at the way dharma is used, mystically. So the “din” is this, you know, what is mine, what is really my path to do? And unfortunately, in most translations of the Qur’an, this is translated as religion. So people think well, this is all about Islam or about some institutionalized form of Islam. But it’s not. You know, it’s about finding your own, your own “din,” your own way of proceeding, your own way in life. What is mine to do, and what is my path? Doesn’t mean you can’t join with others. And it helps to join with others at some point, but at a certain point, probably not going to be.

Rick Archer: I’m reminded here of Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane, you know, that if possible, let this cup pass from me. And then, after all, let thy will be done. Yeah.

Neil Douglas-Klotz: Yeah. Like that.

Rick Archer: That must have been such a heavy. I mean, can you imagine yourself, knowing that you’re going to be beaten half to death and then crucified. And on the eve of that, and what you would have been feeling or going through? Some people have gone so far as to say that they distinguish between pain and suffering. And they, you know, have said that, you know, Jesus was at such a deep level, that while his body was experiencing pain, he was just residing in heavenly bliss. Deep within and wasn’t actually suffering. Have any opinion about that?

Neil Douglas-Klotz: I think it’s very possible. I’m not there.

Rick Archer: Me neither.

Neil Douglas-Klotz: Yeah, it’s certainly possible. Yeah.

Rick Archer: Because there’s such a fuss made in Christianity about Jesus suffering, and there was that horrible Mel Gibson movie which I spared myself the experience of seeing.

Neil Douglas-Klotz: And, you know, “Jesus suffered for you.” So you’re gonna suffer and….

Rick Archer: Right.

Neil Douglas-Klotz: On and on….

Rick Archer: Some people interpret that as he took on a lot of karma. And if you if you connect yourself with him, then you become the beneficiary of some of the you know, some of that absolving of karma.

Neil Douglas-Klotz: Yeah, I think you know, that’s I have…. I’m not so sure about that. I think Jesus was more about, as I was mentioning, you have to find your own way, basically. He can help you at a certain point. But you go through him, like a door, “go through me like a door,” and then keep going.

Rick Archer: Yeah. Is, “God helps those who help themselves” actually a passage in the Bible. Is that just a common saying?

Neil Douglas-Klotz: I think that’s a fairly common thing,

Rick Archer: But not a biblical passage.

Neil Douglas-Klotz: I could be wrong. I don’t believe it’s in the Bible, but I’m sure I’ll be corrected by someone on the chat.

Rick Archer: Okay, good. Okay, here’s a question from June Waterman in Midland, Michigan. What would be a good resource or book geared toward lay people about the most true or realistic representation of the ministry of Jesus?

Neil Douglas-Klotz: Well, there’s mine! I have to be self-serving and say, I think

Rick Archer: Which of your books? The one we’re talking about here?

Neil Douglas-Klotz: Yeah, Revelations of the Aramaic Jesus.

Rick Archer: Okay.

Neil Douglas-Klotz: I think that is a good place to start, actually. And see if it makes sense to you. That’s all I can say.

Rick Archer: Yeah, I thought it was good. I liked it. It was funny because I use this voice translation software to turn written text into voice so I can listen to it. And you should have heard what it did with the Aramaic. But fortunately, the passages are short, so it’s just like brief little pieces of gibberish. Okay, here’s a question from Rizwati Freeman in Los Angeles. I’m wondering about the scripture in which Jesus tells a woman to go and sin no more, after castigating the men who were chastising her. In other words, “let him who was without sin cast the first stone.”

Neil Douglas-Klotz: Yep, that’s in the book, too. So this is John 8. And as the Gospel says, they’re trying to get Jesus in trouble. And so they bring him this woman, who is supposedly, as it’s usually translated, caught in adultery. And what is usually overlooked is that Jesus starts writing something on the earth. This is in the gospels. He starts writing something on the earth… It’s not clear what he is writing. And then he says, “let the one who is without their own tangles, which is about sin, sin is in this case, the word for tangles, let the one who doesn’t have their own tangled relationships, or doesn’t have tangled relationships in their path, let them cast the first stone. And so he’s writing and writing and writing. And then the Gospel says that the people begin to sort of filter away, the ones who are the accusers, and the oldest go out first. Now, why does it say this? Well, this is speculation on my part, but I would speculate that the oldest have more tangled relationships and things in their past than the younger ones! And so they put down their stones first, and they all leave. And then Yeshua says to the woman, he says, “well, okay, no one has anything against you. No one owes anything against you. I don’t owe anything against you.” Again, he uses this word for usually translated as “judge.” “So try not to get tangled in the future.”

Rick Archer: in the sand, yeah…

Neil Douglas-Klotz: What do you make of– this is a bit of a curveball question– but what do you make the Christian political base in the US, who will support people who are, you know, obviously dishonest, and, you know, are, you know, adulterers, and so on, because they want to get Supreme Court justices appointed, or just get their political party in power? And they really don’t care how corrupt the politician is, as long as they get their way in Washington. I wonder what Jesus would have said about that. Jesus would not be pleased! I mean, I was ranting to my wife about this last night, as we were watching the US election news, and “you don’t know how bad it is,” I told her, you know, you think Russia is bad. Because of the way the Russian Orthodox churches in bed with Putin. You know, you’ve this has been going on for generations in the US from my experience, and it’s just built to a head now where they can completely overlook, you know, all the things that you say, because they believe somehow that God is going to rule the country. Their limited image of God, so to speak, is going to rule the country in some way. It’s delusion.

Rick Archer: Yeah. That kind of reminds me of a house divided against itself cannot stand because I mean.

Neil Douglas-Klotz: Yes. Get into that verse just a little bit. Well, again, there’s a similar thing in Thomas, too, where he says…. Remember this thing that we talked about this “only begotten,” this fully integrated human being where self and soul are turning easily from one to another, the heart is turning. So this is the fully integrated human being, this is where we want to be. And so it’s all one but the heart is turning easily. But the “house divided” you know, you’ve got part of you over here and part of you over there and part of you doing this. And this can happen on the inner could say the so called inner as we now call it or it can happen on the outer. We know one can be very divided in one’s outer occupation, too much so, but one can also be very divided inside if one does not become more integrated whole, on the inside. And again, just as a parenthetical, the word that’s used for “perfect” in Aramaic in the Gospels is this word to become “whole” or “complete.” Not to be according to some exterior standard perfect.

Rick Archer: So when Jesus said, “be ye therefore perfect,” he was saying “be whole and complete.”

Neil Douglas-Klotz: Complete and completing, because you’re never really complete. It’s just that you’re completed in the moment. And then as life unfolds, this life unfolds, more completing will be required.

Rick Archer: Yeah. And of course, this house divided against itself cannot stand is within the context of Jesus being accused of Satan giving him the powers that he had. And he said, Satan doesn’t good, do good stuff. If Satan is doing good stuff, he can’t stand because

Neil Douglas-Klotz: Exactly.

Rick Archer: It’s counterproductive. But the flip side of that is these politicians who are doing, you know, lying and cheating and stealing and, you know, corrupt in various ways. How can they be representatives of anything worthwhile? It’s like, no, that won’t stand.

Neil Douglas-Klotz: No, but you know, this is again, we see this happening with Christian, some aspects of the Christian tradition, not all by any means. Some aspects of Buddhism. Again, I mentioned Myanmar. Some aspects of Hinduism. Of course, Jewish religion. You can go on about this. Just as with the human self, there’s a tendency now for spirituality to be all sort of “out here-ness.” You know, it’s all about the symbols. It’s all about the trappings. It’s all about how much control I feel I have over my external life, my so called material life. Well, of course, you want this, because the soul already has control of everything, but you’re looking in the wrong place. The soul already has freedom, and everything, you’re looking for, the “ruha.” But you know, you’re looking to try to control this outer reality. And it ain’t for that. It’s for learning how to turn back and how to return.

Rick Archer: Course this, this reminds me of the verse, “you shall know them by their fruits.”

Neil Douglas-Klotz: Yep. Yeah. Ripe or unripe, he says. You know them by their ripe fruit or their unripe fruit. So. But there’s a lack of awareness of what unripe fruit is, it seems, in the instances you’re speaking of.

Rick Archer: Seems like it should be common sense. But then sense isn’t very common. So here’s a question from Jason Harms in Manhattan, Kansas. “Thank you for sharing your insights, Neil. It’s fascinating. It’s fascinating. In your research, have you found that the original meanings of any of these translated texts support or do not support a non-dual understanding of existence?

Neil Douglas-Klotz: Yeah, I did mention this earlier in the talk, I’m not sure if it ran by people. But what you have is what you have is more of a view of–not a split-ness, not a two-ness but a continuum, a polarity of all these qualities. Self and soul, everything. And this continuum means that, okay, here I am individual, in this time, space, and here, I’m everywhere and all time. And then there’s a place where they both come together. So it’s like the North and the South Pole. The magnetic field of the two poles, it meets somewhere. And then in this middle, you have attraction from both. Similar also to what the Chinese tradition has as the yin and the yang– there’s a little bit of this, and a little bit of that. we’ll add a dot in this and a dot in that. So it’s more like this in the ancient Semitic languages. And so that makes the Unity you see. You could say that the Yin and Yang is dual, but it’s not actually because it’s nondual. It’s just this is a way of viewing life, so that you’re not in denial and just in an abstract, so to speak, mental non-dualism that, you know, refuses to recognize what the needs of this moment are. And Jesus was all about the moment.

Rick Archer: That’s an important point, because a lot of modern nondualists or neo-Advaitins, as they’re called, have this sort of mental concept of it which they mistake for realization, and do not give proper importance to the relative world. And you know, dismiss it as illusion and you know, continually emphasize that there’s really no person. And so I thought that it becomes very harmful for people. I did an interview with a woman named Jessica Eve, a couple of months ago. And that was our main focus was the downside of conceptual non-duality versus the genuine article.

Neil Douglas-Klotz: And again, one is led to a certain sort of passivity with that.

Rick Archer: Yeah, nihilism.

Neil Douglas-Klotz: Yeah, and what’s the use of doing anything?

Rick Archer: Right, exactly.

Neil Douglas-Klotz: On and on.

Rick Archer: All right, here’s a question from Aaron Fish in London. Jesus said, pluck out your eye or cut off your hand if they offend you, as this is better than what you will experience in hell after you die. I’m not quite sure that’s the way he said it. But the times Jesus talks about hell make it hard for me to reconcile what he was saying with the universal and compassionate God. Do you have any thoughts on this?

Neil Douglas-Klotz: Well, on the hell bit, yes. Again, this is a reading of a later Christian notion of hell back into the ancient Semitic afterlife, which has nothing to do with this hell of punishment actually. And again, even into the Qur’an, this notion survives, that the afterlife is more like: the initial as a time of purification, anything that the individual self is holding on to, this is gradually for one of a better word, purified, sweated out of you can I say? And then the soul, the eternal part of one’s being, travels further, travels on and on and on. So Jesus sometimes uses quite extreme language. And again, it depends on who he’s speaking to when he tries to shock people. He does use shock therapy. He’s like a Zen master, he uses some sort of shock phrases. But he’s trying to point out that, you know, whatever you do here, in so-called this life, this will have an effect on your experience of the afterlife. And they very definitely have a feeling about the afterlife that there is mercy and compassion and there is time to purify and then for the soul, you can say that individual self, to be gradually dropped. And then the soul to travel onwards, if you will. And that’s just a very loose cosmology of ancient Semitic mysticism. There is a bit more in the book on that.

Rick Archer: Speaking of the afterlife, and we mentioned, you mentioned, reincarnation earlier, some feel that reincarnation was part of early Christianity, but was edited out. Like Yogananda says it was edited out at the Council of Nicaea. As you’ve been poking around in all these ancient things, have you come across it?

Neil Douglas-Klotz: It’s very possible. There are, you know, little bits of allusion to it throughout the Gospels. Because if you recall, there’s one instance where Yeshua asked his students, well, who do people say I am? And then the students, the disciples say, “well, some people say you’re Moses reborn, and some people say, you’re this person reborn and

Rick Archer: Elijah or somebody.

Neil Douglas-Klotz: Elijah or like this. So, if that notion was in the culture, that a particular being, a particular prophet could–or some quality of that prophet or some aspect of that prophet– could be reborn in a new body, so to speak.

Rick Archer: What does Sufism make of reincarnation? Is it part of that?

Neil Douglas-Klotz: Sufi? Well, again, there’s no one Sufi point of view on that. And some well, you know, it’s again, similar. I mean, one of the great Sufi teachers of the 20th century, Hazrat Inayat Khan, once said, “the afterlife is like a recording, and it plays the music we created in life.” And so we’re going to at least at some point–and this is early in the process, as he imagines it–we’re going to hear this music that we created in our life. Is it great music, is it harmonious music, not so much? Or you know, it’s going to be there and then we keep traveling further on. And Inayat Khan…. I don’t think this is this is necessarily a generally Sufi point of view, but Hazrat Inayat Khan talks about that, in his cosmology/cosmogony, there are souls leaving and souls coming. And they exchange things, sort of like a Middle Eastern marketplace on the way, and so Mozart’s heading out and somebody else is heading in, and he says, “Hey, here, you can play the piano like me.” So, and he goes on like that. So I get I hope I’m not making this too…. But I think that’s a rough paraphrase of what he talks about.

Rick Archer: Who knows? All right, well, we’ve been going on for a pretty long time. And it’s been a lot of fun. Are there any concluding thoughts that you want to leave us with? Or anything? Or even a song if you want to sing something?

Neil Douglas-Klotz: A song? Well, let me see if I still have a voice, Rick. I’ll turn on “original sound,” and I’ll play you out with a little bit of the original, one of these chants that came to me.

Rick Archer: Okay. What do you mean, it came? You kind of cognize it or something?

Neil Douglas-Klotz: Well, all of the chants that go with this work, and people can find them on my website, they all happen on spiritual retreat. So this is an aspect we haven’t talked about, but music as inspiration. You know, this is the way chants, authentic chants that have a deep effect, they come when they’re being given, so to speak, in inspiration. And so this came to me on a retreat 40 years ago, actually. And it’s the first line of Jesus’s prayer in Aramaic. And I heard a voice and the voice said, “you know, this isn’t just for you, share this with other people. So I went home and I said to my wife, “well, you know, am I crazy, what’s going on here?” So she said, Well, it’s just try it, you know, see what happens. You know, that’s all, just try and see what happens. So that since then, a lot of this has spread. And a lot of groups do this sort of chanting now along with Taize’ music or other chanting or interfaith chanting, things like that. But anyway, this is the first line of Jesus’s prayer and the words are “abwoon d’bashmaya.” And I’m going to have to for your engineer here…

Rick Archer: Almost sounds like Om Nama Shivaya.

Neil Douglas-Klotz: “Abwoon” is a bit like Om, yeah, and “shemaya” is a bit like Shivaya. But he’s got these “oo” and “ah” sounds. So this is the sound of the first line which is usually translated “our Father which art in heaven,” which is as I already mentioned, not that at all. There’s no “in” only but this reality is moving to and from the reality that is in space and light and all around us so. Let’s just do a wee bit of that. [Chants Abwoon d’bashmaya] “breathing the words”

Rick Archer: Very nice. Thank you. Nice guitarwork, you weren’t even looking, had your eyes closed the whole time.

Neil Douglas-Klotz: Yeah, takes practice.

Rick Archer: Yeah. Great. Well, thank you so much. Really? Dog is coughing down here. I’ve really enjoyed this whole conversation and getting to know you and reading your book and I’ll and I’ll be… I’ve already created a webpage on BatGap for your interview, which I’ll post when you’re when I get your interview ready to post, and it contains links to several of your books and also to your author page on Amazon, which lists all of your books so people can get, and also to your website. So

Neil Douglas-Klotz: Fabulous.

Rick Archer: Yeah.

Neil Douglas-Klotz: Thank you. Thank you, Rick.

Rick Archer: Oh, you’re welcome.

Neil Douglas-Klotz: Best wishes to you and your work and your continued helping people find their way through all these wonderful interviews.

Rick Archer: Yeah, it’s a joy. And I’m the prime beneficiary, you know, I mean, you just, it helps.

Neil Douglas-Klotz: Yeah, sure. It changes you too.

Rick Archer: It really does. It’s kind of a powerful technique. I’m usually high as a kite all day after an interview.

Neil Douglas-Klotz: That’s how it should be.

Rick Archer: Yeah. All right. Thanks. And thanks to those who are listening or watching and my next guests is going to be a very dear friend of mine named Robin Chaurasiya, who lives in? Well, at the moment, she’s in London, but she spent a lot of time in Himalayas but long story with Robin, but she, her primary thing that she has been doing in recent years, is helping children who are born in the red light district of Mumbai, get out of there and get a good education and live a good life. And she’s knocking herself out helping people all over the world in the midst of, or in the face of, daunting obstacles and challenges such as getting beat up by corrupt policemen and all kinds of horrible things that she’s had to face. But I just love her so much for what she’s doing. And anyway, that that will be my next interview. So stay tuned.