Nirmala Transcript

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Nirmala Interview

Rick Archer: Welcome to Buddha at the Gas Pump. My name is Rick Archer and my guest this week is Nirmala welcome Nirmala

Nirmala: Hi Rick. Nice to be here.

Rick Archer: Yeah. Here’s a little bio about near Milan his website which is endless hyphen After a lifetime of spiritual seeking near Milan met his teacher Neelam whom I interviewed a few weeks ago or a month, a devotee of H W. L. Pooja. Papaji. She convinced him that seeking wasn’t necessary, and after experiencing a profound spiritual awakening in India, he began offering sights on and non dual spiritual mentoring with Neelam his blessing. This tradition of spiritual wisdom has been most profoundly disseminated by Ramana Maharshi, revered saint, who was Papaji, his teacher, and nameless perspective was also profoundly expanded by his friend and teacher, Adi Shanti. Okay, so where would you like to begin?

Nirmala: How about right here right now?

Rick Archer: Okay, good. I listened to as I often do, to many hours of your talks, your couple of hours of never not here, and both of your books and a lot of your soft songs. And I know, you said in one of your songs that at any given time, you you tend to have a kind of a theme that you’d like to dwell on your songs, and then maybe over time, it becomes a different theme. So what’s your theme these days?

Nirmala: Actually, my thing these days is right here, right now, it’s just recognition that all there is is this one beingness, that one consciousness, and that every experience of it is, is equally profound, equally beautiful, that all in a sense, you know, we a lot of spiritual seekers are looking for that big spiritual realization. And even even when it comes, then beyond that, is the recognition that every moment is a realization, every moment you’re realizing something about your being, whether it’s your ability to experience the biggest truth, or whether it’s your experience, your ability, your capacity to be fully identified with ego and lost in illusion, that’s, that’s part of the, the capacity of your being.

Rick Archer: So what I hear you saying here, when you refer to your being, is really not an individual thing, we’re talking about our essential being, which is, you know, we could say cosmic, which which sort of, is without limitation whatsoever, and which contains the whole universe, or universes and so on. And, you know, that’s your being, right.

Nirmala: But But within that, within that being, that that includes your, your individual being, right, your, you know, your experience of being a particular human being. So that’s, that’s like a subset within that. So everything that you realize everything that you experience, everything that you discover about this is is profound is mysterious is worth exploring.

Rick Archer: And we might say, Who’s discovering, you know, is it is it just the individuality is discovering, or is it that cosmic being that you know, is has evolved infinite number of individualities as to sensory apparatus?

Nirmala: Different fingertips? Right. Yeah, yeah. And it’s probably both. Yeah, I mean, some some realizations happen right here, you know, some realizations don’t fit within the individual, separate self, you know, to realize it, you you have to be out here, you have to be bigger than that. So, it’s, you know, another theme that actually has lasted for years and years and years is that the truth is, whatever. The way you measure the truth is by how big a sense of self it gives you. And so if something gives you a sense of self like this, that that doesn’t mean it’s wrong. It doesn’t mean it’s not part of the truth. It just means it’s a very narrow or limited truth. When something gives you a sense of self that is, you know, beyond your body beyond your usual identification. That just happens to be a much bigger truth, much more complete. So it’s like the measuring stick you can use to determine how true things are, how real how important.

Rick Archer: So if you go and watch Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and you come out feeling all expanded and wonderful and all, maybe there’s more truth in that movie than if you go and watch some slasher flick, and you kind of yucky and violent.

Nirmala: Yeah, yeah, you know, are evoked a bigger truth and, you know, a bigger sense of possibility, a bigger sense of connectedness to the, to the greater, you know, possibilities and, and realities out there.

Rick Archer: Now, a minute ago, you said something about, you know, even if you’re completely identified and caught up in the illusion, that’s just as profound or maybe in some way, as having some, you know, expanded kind of cosmic experience.

Nirmala: Yeah, it’s, it is, it’s different. When you’re contracted, it’s different than when you’re expanded. When you’re identified, it’s different than when you’re either dis identified or identified with something truer. So, you know, whether it’s equally profound, you know, it just, it just is, you know, it just still has value, it still has reality, some of the experiences we have have very, very little reality, you know, very, very middle truth, my favorite, my favorite example, I always use something that’s true, but not very true, is a lottery ticket. Because if you buy a lottery ticket, it’s it’s absolutely true that you could win, but no one can deny that it’s, it’s, it’s within the realm of possibilities. Unfortunately, it’s not very true. You know, it’s like, unfortunately, it’s like, ridiculously small truths. And so some of our realization, some of you know, when we realize the capacity of our being to become very overly identified, with some, you know, hurt feeling within us. It, you know, it’s Rubio, it’s, it’s meaningful, but not very, yeah.

Rick Archer: They say lotteries or taxes on the arithmetically challenged.

Nirmala: That’s good. That’s not a not a good retirement plan.

Rick Archer: Well, it’s interesting, because, you know, as, as individuals, we have our druthers, you know, I’d rather be sitting on the rim of the Grand Canyon, enjoying the view than in some Syrian prison being tortured, or something, there’s definitely preferences we have as, as individuals, but if you think about it, again, from the perspective of the cosmic self, I’m both of those undergoing both of those experiences, for whatever reason.

Nirmala: So when you know, when you focus on that preference, your sense of self will get very small, it’s interesting how whether you focus on the positive side of it, or the negative side of it, you know, if you focus on the possibility of being tortured, you know, you can get very contracted. But if you focus on the desire, you know, the because you’re not, I can tell not Sitting on the rim of the Grand Canyon right now, you know, if you, if you focus on that to it, yeah, it’s still a couple hours away. But if you focus on that desire, even though it’s a positive desire, even though it’s a positive illusion, you could say, when you focus on it, your your, your, your sense of self, your awareness, your experience becomes very narrow, very contracted, it has to be, in order to stay in touch with something that’s just an image in your mind. That’s a very small reality. So you have to get very small to habit to fully experience

Rick Archer: it. So when you say focus on it, do you mean that when you’re, you’re you kind of dwell on and your your fulfilment is contingent upon the achievement of a desire? And you’re kind of dwelling on that desire and, and with the kind of orientation that you won’t be fulfilled until that desire is gratified?

Nirmala: Yeah, that that’s one of the ways to focus on it, anything that kind of pumps it up, keeps it going, elaborates on it, you know, a lot of times the first thought that we have that takes us into, you know, a small reality is not, you know, it’s just like, you can have a passing thought, like, I can tell you that the, the walls in this room are kind of a party colored beige. So, you know, it’s like, okay, that thought just, you know, it doesn’t, it’s only significant, right. But if I tell you, you know, there’s there, you know, like, a couple weeks ago, there was a solar eclipse that happened on the you know, you could watch it from the rim of the Grand Canyon. If I had told you that two days before. And you were like, Oh, God, I’d love the Grand Canyon. Oh, well, that’d be cool to be to see a solar eclipse on the Grand Canyon, you know, and there’s condors. there, and maybe I’d see a condor and you know, and it’s like, those are each each little thought is, is adding to that sense of contraction just by maintaining, just by keeping you involved with it. It’s not, you know, the default position is for your awareness to open up. Yeah, that’s, that’s what naturally happens when you’re not thinking when you’re not, in a sense focusing?

Rick Archer: Well, it kind of, it seems to me to depend on how you’re wired. And, and you can, you can change your wiring over time. But, you know, there might be some people who are in Iowa, who would love to be at the rim of the Grand Canyon, watching the clips or the sunset or whatever. But you know, it’s not going to bomb their day, if they don’t get to go, you know, it’s like, because there’s a certain certain baseline of contentment, that’s not dependent upon, you know, whether this or the other desire is fulfilled or not. And there are other people whose whose whole, I mean, I know, people who have moved, you know, so many times, because they get to a place and after a while, they feel they’re not fulfilled, and there’ll be more fulfilled if they move somewhere else. And then they go through all the trouble of moving somewhere else. And then the same thing happens again, and they just don’t see it, they just keep doing it.

Nirmala: And psychotherapy, they call it the geographic cure, yeah. Where people go and try and cure all that ails them by moving right,

Rick Archer: or getting a new partner or whatever, you know, the people who’ve been married eight times and whatnot. Right?

Nirmala: You know, you said, you said it’s different, depending on your wiring, it’s also different, depending on your life experience, your conditioning, which things you know, some people you mentioned, Grand Canyon, and they’d get bored, you know, that wouldn’t be invested at all. So the specific content is unique for every individual, and especially this specific stuff that that can get us not just not just momentarily contracted, but can get us kind of like on a roll, you know, where we’re totally engaged with that, with that middle fantasy, or that fear, or that hope, or that reassure that doubt, or that worry, you know, we were just like we’re rolling with it or going with it. And, you know, even you know, even people who are, are very, very free in most respects, you can often find something that will push, like we say, push their buttons, it’s something that will put them into that, into that contracted state.

Rick Archer: I don’t think I’ve ever I’ve met anybody, or very few people who don’t still have some buttons that can be pushed down. I’ve met some pretty enlightened people.

Nirmala: And of course, the good news is that consciousness is not harmed by being contracted. Yeah, like I said, that’s one of its capacities. In fact, you know, if you’re, if you’re eating chocolate, the absolute best thing you can do is contract your the hell out of your consciousness. You know, why? Why be in cosmic consciousness when you’re eating chocolate? It’s like a total waste of good chocolate.

Rick Archer: Well, this is an interesting point. And I actually thought about this a lot when I was listening to your various talks. And it’s sort of I guess, we could frame this point in with a phrase, which would be, you know, the ability letting a dog up. Yeah. The ability to focus sharply, and yet maintain broad comprehension. And, and that, to my knowledge definition, would be what I would call cosmic consciousness. In other words, that cosmic awareness, unbounded awareness is maintained while you’re performing brain surgery or flying an air, you know, flight, landing a 747, and a snowstorm, or, you know, doing something that demands tremendous focus. And, in fact, that the focusing is actually enhanced or improved by the broadcaster by the ability to maintain broad comprehension. Otherwise, the big picture is lost somehow. Yeah.

Nirmala: And, you know, I may I may be say it a little bit differently in that, I describe it as a flexibility. Yeah. And that, and that, you know, in the actual moment where you’re trying to work your way around one of the major blood vessels of the brain, when you’re doing brain surgery, the predominance might be very focused. Yeah,

Rick Archer: absolutely. Laser like, laser, like, you might be standing there for 10 hours focusing like that. Yeah.

Nirmala: Yeah. And, and yet, in any moment, like when you put down the scalpel, and for a minute, you know, take a drink of water, you’re just, you know, the nurse is wiping your brow that’s sweat from your brow, you know, in that moment, you can just slip back into a much more expanded state. And so, whether it’s whether it’s like a simultaneous thing where you’re focused and expanded at the same time, or whether this just this flexibility, a sense, you know, to me the, the value of the big expanded states, is when they bring you to this place where it just doesn’t matter anymore. Yeah, and they’ll bring you to a place where, you know, that’s what you are, you know, that’s what lets, you know, that’s possible in any moment at any time. And so it doesn’t matter anymore, whether right now you’re doing brain surgery or eating chocolate or whether right now you’re just literally sitting on the rim of the Grand Canyon and just logging the spaciousness, the literal spaciousness in front of you.

Rick Archer: I think I think the word flexibility is very apt. And I think it’s something unique about human beings, that they’re able to incorporate within their experience a very broad range of spectrum spectrum of reality. Yeah, and, and to do so in such a way that it’s not a black white on off kind of arrangement. But you know, you’re performing the brain surgery yet, that sort of broad awareness can can be there, kind of like, in the background, it’s not like you have to sort of sit and just dwell in that you’d kill the patient probably did. Exactly. But that it’s there, you know, despite the sharp focus or candy, I mean, maybe it isn’t for many people. In fact, I want to get onto that a little in a little bit about, you know, you mentioned illusion earlier, and it seems that the vast majority of people in the world are, you know, very much in the matrix, you know, very much caught in the illusion to the exclusion of or unaware of the fact that there’s a sort of a deeper, more expanded reality that they’re, they’ve kind of were like, focusing machines, we humans are all beings, I think and, and, and but the the focusing becomes so ingrained, you know, so habitual, so conditioned, that the, the broad awareness, the unbounded awareness is just kind of lost.

Nirmala: Sure, yeah. At least the capacity is never lost, but right and be lost.

Rick Archer: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, for lifetimes.

Nirmala: Good thing, we are eternal.

Rick Archer: Good thing, you know, yesterday, I, I watched this video presentation about the fact that they’ve now determined with the Hubble Space Telescope, that the Andromeda Galaxy is moving toward our galaxy. And then in about eight and a half billion years, the two galaxies will collide. And they spent the whole thing up, and you could sort of watch the Andromeda coming in, and then kind of circling around and colliding with our galaxy, and then kind of going out again, and then coming back in again, and eventually just forming one big galaxy. I just kind of love that stuff. Because it puts it in perspective, you know,

Nirmala: yeah, let’s start planning a party where we all get together.

Rick Archer: And you can you can imagine, you know, as that’s taking place, all the lives and all the billions of inhabited planets, spinning out their destinies, thinking that this little thing that I’m experiencing now, is it you know, this is, this is what’s real. Whereas really, from a broader perspective, there’s something yeah, there’s a different person.

Nirmala: Yeah, yeah. If consciousness is eternal, then all of that is good play. Yeah. You know, there’s, there’s a definition of illusion I came across recently, that illusion is something real, that simply appears to be something other than what it is. And so all of this illusion, including the illusion of galaxies colliding, you know, ultimately, is, it’s something that there’s reality there. And yet, the appearance of it is the illusion, the idea that it you know, somehow that something’s lost, or something’s gained, because the, you know, with all those people who’s who’s, you know, middle solar system gets all disrupted because another star comes into it, and their lives are changed or their lives, you know, life on that planet is ended. It’s like, that’s, that’s the illusion that that’s somehow a problem. But that will, you know, that will end consciousness that that will end the play. So it’s a great

Rick Archer: definition something say it against something real that appears to be something other than what it is, is the threat. Yeah.

Nirmala: Yeah. But like all the magic tricks, you know, that when you get right down to the the nitty gritty of illusion, you know, for doing illusion for a living, you know, a magician is using real smoke and real mirrors can make it look like something’s happening. That’s not actually happening.

Rick Archer: Yeah. Or the Old Snake and string analogy and Vedanta, you know, I mean, there’s really a rope lying on the road. Yeah. But but you see it as a snake. And so you get all scared and you know, heart rate speeds up and everything, but it’s just a rope line. It’s a real rope, so to speak.

Nirmala: You probably wouldn’t see a snake there if there wasn’t a rope. Yeah.

Rick Archer: And of course, they use that analogy as a pointer to what we’re all doing what everyone does. which is mistake, you know, what is really essentially, Brahman or consciousness as being something, you know, that’s not that’s not that.

Nirmala: Yeah. Anything anything that we leave out? You know, I find it kind of ironic how in the current Advaita scene, you know, the current non duality seem that they’re people who seem intent on are, you know, determining what is not part of Advaita? And, you know, if if there’s something that it’s not part of Advaita there’s something that’s not included in Advaita, then it’s not a beta. I mean, how could that be invited? It’s, you know, non dual, only one. So, as soon as you have something that’s not included, you’re no longer actually speaking about non duality.

Rick Archer: Yeah. Actually, the, you know, the founder of Advaita. Well, the whole tradition of it really, they use the word Brahman, and Brahma is supposed to be not just the absolute, but the absolute. And the relative contained within a larger wholeness. Yeah,

Nirmala: yes. Yeah, both both. All in all, everything’s included.

Rick Archer: Yeah. You use the word, space a lot in your talks, with reference to consciousness. And that kind of bothered me a little bit, not not bothered, but it’s sort of I kept thinking, there must be a better way of phrasing it because space, although you can attribute quality of spaciousness to consciousness, because it seems, you know, there’s this feeling of expansion and vastness and so on an emptiness perhaps. But in reality, space itself is a relative thing, you know, it’s considered to be one of the five elements in the Eastern perspective. And, you know, in Einsteinium, physics, space is something which can curve and, you know, if you move through it fast enough, then time will dilate, and so on. So, maybe you don’t mean it, literally, maybe you’re just kind of using that as an adjective to,

Nirmala: yeah, probably both, you know, because the space is a quality of our being. And it’s a, it’s a very fundamental quality, because it turns out that that’s, you know, actually, every, everywhere you go, there’s space, you know, even if you can bend it or curve it or, you know, experience in different ways, it’s still always always present. And so, I feel like I speak up awareness is actually a fundamental quality of our being. And often we, we just do that we use the adjective, we use the quality, the particular aspect of something, too, as the name for it, you know, so like, somebody, somebody who’s a doctor, you know, that’s a, that’s an aspect of their person hood, you know, that’s an aspect of their, of their individuality. But we sometimes refer to them as a doctor, because that it might be a fairly predominant aspect of their of their experience in life. And so awareness is, this is so fundamental to what we are that it’s always present, it’s always happening. And, well, always is maybe a little strong, but almost always, always, almost always present. It’s obviously present in every experience. Because without awareness, there is no experience. And, and so that you can say the same thing about space, it’s actually present in every experience. Without space, there is no experience. And so it seems to me it’s a little, it’s a little bit more fundamental, than some of the other qualities like the other four elements, if you want to say,

Rick Archer: well, that’s actually considered to be the most fundamental or subtle of the, of the Yeah, yeah. So

Nirmala: that’s, so it’s tricky, because sometimes, like, you know, in just then my languaging and my speaking I use a word like that, that’s actually a quality of this mystery, to try to describe the, or use it as the label for the entire mystery.

Rick Archer: And that’s fair enough. I mean, you know, that’s, that’s done traditionally also they speak of such Chetananda For instance, you know, call it qualities of consciousness and bliss and existence, you know, attributing those to consciousness, or to being

Nirmala: just using that as a name for being Yeah, and you know, the real names that my you know, beings a good example, but the probably the best names are the ones that no one can define, right, you know, oh, it’s like being or presence or, or source or that, you know, that the more vague and hard to pin down a word is, the better it is for describing that which you know, includes everything and beyond.

Rick Archer: Yeah. Okay, good. Yeah.

Nirmala: And Spaces Spaces because it’s so precious. And everywhere, you know, because it’s such a such a fundamental quality, it’s a wonderful, like touchstone, it’s like if you, if you focus on it, if you bring awareness to the space, if you even just notice the space around your body, the space within your body, if there’s a strong emotion or something really stirring things up, and you literally give it space, you know, or just notice that there is lots of space for that emotion that, you know, it doesn’t matter if that emotion is, you know, bigger than the state of Arizona, there’s still space for it. And so by noticing the space, that it brings you more in touch with that bigger truth. Because this is like a handy one to use, because it’s not like you can ever forget to bring it with you or misplace it or run out of it or something like that. Like, oh, like awareness, you know, you can, by by noticing awareness, you can get back in touch with something that’s bigger than the particular experience you’re having.

Rick Archer: Yeah, there’s, for some reason, your space thing reminded me of a story from the apana shots where the teacher tells the student to go and get abandoned seed and he comes back with abandoned see, and he said, Okay, I’ll break it open. And what do you see inside? He said, I don’t see anything. It’s just empty. And the teacher says, well, that that huge, mighty banyan tree came out of that emptiness.

Nirmala: Yeah, yeah. Ultimately, space is the source or emptiness is the source of everything.

Rick Archer: Yeah. And on the flip side, that emptiness is fullness. So physicists would tell us that in every cubic centimeter of empty space, there’s like incredible energy at a certain level, you know, more than all the atomic bombs and you know, everything else, just energy inherent in every tiny bit of space. Yeah.

Nirmala: It’s really, really cool hip. Physicists out there name Nassim Harriman. Oh, yeah. And he’s, he’s, like, figured out the structure of space. And the structure of space means that within that little, you know, kind of tiny little cubic centimeter of space, there’s infinite energy, but this is where it gets really weird, there’s actually infinite space, just at the structure of space, the structure of space is like a, you know, as a Russian dolls, where the structure of space is like that, whenever you wherever you are in space, then you there’s a, there’s a similar structure, smaller structure within that, and then similar smaller structure within that, and and it goes on to infinity. So not only does infinity extend this way out into, you know, out into space, but infinity is actually here. It goes this way. Awesome.

Rick Archer: Interesting. I love I love it to pondering that stuff. It’s like a spiritual practice, you know? Yeah, exactly. That and astronomy, in fact, anything I mean, even I think of it, I think, how could a doctor be an atheist, you know, a doctor who’s this incredible, you know, intelligence? How could they not believe it’s not see it?

Nirmala: Yeah. Genius. I’ve been listening to Bruce Lipton. And he was a, he was a very rejected religion, all that kind of stuff and became a scientist and started studying the cell. And when he when he started realizing what’s really going on in the cell, which is, you know, the usual idea is that the DNA controls the cell, you found it, that’s not that’s not true at all, the DNA is just like a blueprint that’s stored on the shelf for when you need to make protein. But what controls the cell is the inner all the interactions happening on the membrane of the cell? And so, he, by when he got really into studying the cell, he started having this mystical perspective, that the intelligence was the whole field that these tiny little individual cells exist in. And membrane was the like, the the key element, not not the DNA, not the nucleus.

Rick Archer: That’s a beautiful point. And it sort of touches back on several things we’ve talked about so far. And, you know, sometimes we speak of existence or being or consciousness or whatever, in a very kind of it doesn’t have much life in it the way it’s referred to, you know, but but it but what we’re touching on now is that it’s actually percolating with with intelligence percolating with infinite you know, creativity and it’s this kind of

Nirmala: that’s that’s another fundamental quality of it actually is the aliveness Yeah, is the movement is the Create creation within it the endless creation endless, you know, that dynamic liveness and that and so that that again, everywhere you go in, in your Consciousness in the Universe inside your body, what you find is this incredible activity, movement, aliveness, you know, and so that is a fundamental quality.

Rick Archer: And actually, you know what you were saying a few minutes ago about when we were talking about the rope and the snake how illusion is looking at something, and you know, mistaking it for some, something other than what it really is. And if we kind of consider for a minute that consciousness is omnipresent, that everything is just this ocean of consciousness, then what are we actually seeing when we see the world and all the things going on in it, we’re actually seeing in a sort of a manifest form the aliveness of consciousness,

Nirmala: right? And so we’re, no matter what you’re seeing, you’re to some degree, you’re seeing an illusion. You know, if you’re looking at a physical object, you’re you’re seeing a certain it appears to be something other than what it is what it is, is this alive consciousness appearing to be a chair or a table. If you’re, if you’re even more like, involved with your, with your mental experience with your thoughts, then you know, and yet so involved with them, that you’ve since forgotten that their thoughts, you see them, you think that they that what you’re imagining in your mind is actually there, you know, you’re having a conversation in your mind with your boss, and, and it’s, and you’re getting all upset, because you’re in it. And, and, you know, you’re going through all these mental gymnastics, and it’s like, for a moment, you’ve forgotten that they’re just thoughts. You think that you know, and so you’re, you’re involved with them in a way that is, in a sense, lost in the illusion, you’ve lost track of the reality, that it’s just a thought.

Rick Archer: Yeah, taking them very seriously.

Nirmala: Yeah. And we, you know, we do that we take our thoughts, but you know, like that, I mean, I love how, even in an argument people will that will be, like justification for their position, like, well, that’s what I think. Like, somehow that makes it infallible, accurate, but the ultimate truth, because that’s, that’s what I think I heard did Cheney do that? Interview? You know, they were asking him why? Why, you know, something like why we had to invade Iraq, you know, and he said, Well, that’s, you know, and he gave his reasons and person said, really? Yeah, well, that’s what I think. Like, okay, and ended discussion.

Rick Archer: It’s funny, as you mentioned, Dick Cheney, because just this morning, I was really listening to an interview by Bill Moyers with a fella named Jonathan Haidt Hai Di T. Maybe I’ll link to that interview from the BatGap page. But he was talking about how, you know, people get locked into political perspectives. Yeah. And, you know, and to the point where they demonize the other side, because the other perspective seems so polar opposite that it couldn’t possibly have any value in it. Because there’s so Right, right. There’s the righteous, true one and the other ones evil.

Nirmala: When you’re in that narrow, contracted identified way of viewing, it does seem like that, that other stuff. I mean, clearly that stuff is illusion. But this this is real. Because again, that’s what I think. Yeah. You know, when I, when I heard that Cheney say that I was it was, it was, it struck me and then there was this kind of moment of humility and realizing how many times in my life have I said that many times, or just had that or just assumed it? You know, assume that because I’m thinking something? Well, that I must be right.

Rick Archer: I quoted this just last week, but there’s a line from a Dylan saw. Yeah, I’m right. From my side. You’re right from your side, and I’m right from mine.

Nirmala: Yeah. Yeah. Maybe Maybe it all there is is rightness. Yeah. And that doesn’t, you know, the danger in that is to assume that therefore, all truths are equal. No, I think all truths are true. And some are much more true than others. Yeah. You know, it’s like, you know, they were they were they were right, that if Iraq had been able to they would have, they would have had lots of weapons of mass destruction. You know, there was some truth in that that was, you know, that was within the realm of possibility. It was something that you would expect Saddam Hussein would be interested in, you know, and some people even suggest that he was being misled by his own scientists into thinking that they were developing weapons when they when they had no clue and they just they just said, oh, yeah, we’re working on that we’re getting Yeah, don’t worry. Well, don’t kill have one soon. Yeah, right. Exactly. So, you know, there’s always some truth. And then But then, you know, that can be a little or that can be a lot you So to, you know, in the media when they present both sides is a way of being balanced. Well, if this is a small truth, and this is a big truth, then you know, presenting them as equal is not balanced, you know that, that that argument, like, falls over because this one is much bigger you when you put them on the scale, it’s gonna go like this.

Rick Archer: Yeah, I mean, to take an absurd example, you can say, Okay, well, Hitler was nice to his grandchildren or something, you know, so Well, yeah. You know?

Nirmala: Yeah, he deserved to continue killing off all the Jews. Those are equal truth.

Rick Archer: Yeah. Interesting. I mean, it’s kind of funny, we’re talking about this, because it’s, to me, it shows that all this spiritual talk, and spiritual practice and Satsang and all that it, it actually does have relevance in the relative world and politics and morality and, you know, socialist social issues and stuff like that. And, you know, personally, I think it is, I mean, certainly a person who’s really gung ho about spirituality can become very fundamentalist, but perhaps if it really ripens and matures, it sort of enables you to bring a kind of a softer, gentler approach to these issues, which is not to say, as he’s just said, that you’re going to become totally wishy washy and not take a stand. But you will take it so adamantly,

Nirmala: right? You don’t have to hold it so rigidly or make the other person wrong, or, you know, go to war about it. Yeah. You know, first of all, that, you know, this this discriminating how true things are, ideally, it’s, it’s not a mental activity, it’s more an activity of, of your heart of your be, you know, it’s it’s almost like a visceral response, when we can tell whether something is true or not, is very true or not very true. It’s not really true or not true, because again, all there is this truth. So even something that is, in a sense, total imaginary total illusion, is still true in the sense that you can imagine, you know, but it’s just not very true, it’s like less less true than a lottery ticket, you know, less less likely than a lottery ticket. And so, you know, that’s very, very little truth, you know, and are being response to it, or it’s not, or it’s not, or it’s not by logic, and get out, I always say to the mind, everything looks equally true. The mind is like a electron microscope, whatever you put in it, it looks big, what ever you look at, it looks true, whatever you think about it in that moment, if that is your experience, so it seems just as real as what you were thinking about a moment before, whether it’s a fear or desire or a memory, you know, all of a sudden, that’s your reality. And the thing that measures how true it is, is really more heart more are felt sense of being and whether that gets contracted or expanded. So it’s, you know, it is possible to weigh these things like you said, to bring the, the this spiritual reality into play in the world, and really discriminate how true things are what’s true for me, is it true for me, you know, to eat that whole plate of cookies? Is it true for me to marry this woman? Is it true for me to move to Hawaii and live off the land? You know, it’s like you can you can actually weigh all these relative truths in, in your heart and your being and that, and so, you know, it turns out this that capacity, this capacity, to not just be alive in the world, but to but discriminate to distinguish to that that’s another fundamental quality of consciousness. Yeah, you can’t, you can’t have awareness without being able to distinguish differences.

Rick Archer: Or it’s either quality of consciousness maybe or it’s a faculty which becomes more finely tuned and and reliable. When consciousness is more clearly reflected in the in the physiology. Yeah, it’s

Nirmala: a fundament, you know, all these qualities of consciousness are like fundamental capacities. Okay. Yes. You know, it’s like, able to be aware, it’s able to be infinite in space in terms of space, it’s able to be, like you said, exquisitely, discriminating. And, like I say, I always point out that it’s not the mind that has that the mind discriminates in another way the mind discriminates, the content of experience, but the mind is what tells you you know, has learned when something’s red and when something’s blue, the mind knows those kinds of differences. But this this is a like you said a more subtle capacity to weigh difference to to engage with this The world by by distinguishing what’s real, what’s true. And when when you encounter a big truth, you know, I think you can use it to decide whether you to play the cookies or not, right. But when you encounter a big truth, of course, your sense of being goes way out there, your sense to being gets to the size of the truth that you’re experiencing. So it’s also discriminating, when you can no longer you can no longer find a sense of me. Because the sense of being is so all inclusive. So, so vast, that’s, that’s that same discriminating capacity.

Rick Archer: Yeah, but then at the same time, you know, there has to be the capacity to function in that vast Yes, yeah. But one time many years ago, like 1971, I was giving a Satsang, or a presentation to a group of TCM practitioners. And we played the film powers of 10. I don’t know if you ever saw Yes. Yeah. And it stretched me so much, that by the end of it, I couldn’t speak. Yeah. But I had to, I had to speak, you know, because I was supposed to be talking to these people. So for like, for about 15 minutes, all I could, the best I could do is, say a word or two, and then just kind of like, you know, kind of zoom out again, and then focus it a bit and say another couple of words. Because obviously, there wasn’t somehow very well developed capacity at that point to be sort of unbounded and focused at the same time,

Nirmala: or, again, the flexibility just to let go of this. Yeah, it was probably, like, so cool to be out here. It’s like, I couldn’t come back. Yeah. Thorazine and I think that happens a lot, you know, that, you know, and somewhat, you know, spiritual people kind of idealized that, like, you’re about how Ramana sat there in the, in the little hole in the ground and had rats chewing on his legs? And somehow? That’s right, that’s cool. That’s like, wow, you know, that’s, and that becomes the ideal. And, of course, if you if you haven’t experienced that, it’s kind of it’s kind of premature to talk about, well, you know, it doesn’t matter. And it is an thing that really matters, this flexibility, you know, when you’re stuck here, yes, it’s, it’s absolutely important to be able to do that, to be able to let them move, you know, a movie, sunset, some anything, or even for no reason to be able to go like that. But, you know, if you then get stuck there, then you’re right, you’re you’re you know, you are, I think in this culture, it might not be there might be a lot of cases of people who do end up in just parked in a mental hospital, because they got out here and they said, Well, I’m not going back. Why should I go back? I’m saying that there was there was some something about that experience that they just never again, came back into, into functional. Functional orientation

Rick Archer: is interesting. I want to come back to this point about the ability to discriminate and discern truth, but it so happens that somebody sent in a question that they wanted me to ask you. Which, which hits on the point we’re talking about just now, and that is, why don’t any of the non dual people have regular jobs? Why are they all just traveling around and talking about the self can one lead a normal life if one is really dissolved, not just speaking of awakening, here, but you know, not just speaking of awakening here, but true end of the line? Enlightenment? You know, could you be a brain surgeon or a 747? Pilot? And, you know, and yet be truly enlightened? Or does it kind of render you incapable of doing anything? So, so gross and practical?

Nirmala: That’s a good question. I think it’s totally within the realm of possibility. And I’m sure if you’re, if you like Papaji himself, he, you know, until, until he was in a sense that at retirement age, you worked, you worked as an engineer, he traveled all over, you know, had a normal job. I don’t think there’s any contradiction. And I would also add from my own experience, that traveling around giving Satsang turns out to be incredibly ordinary, in that you still have to schlep yourself to the airport, be there on time, get you know, find the right gate, get on the plane, you know, organize it, send out that email announcements, you know, either either you’re doing that, or someone’s doing it for you, in which case, if someone’s doing it for you, you still have this kind of very ordinary experience of being the boss and you have to deal with all of their stuff. And when they’re, you know, they call in sick or they, you know, do something that’s not quite the way you wanted them to do it. You know, it doesn’t, no matter what you you know, in terms of your the specifics of what you do, you are still doing you are still in a sense, managing this this ordinary world unless again, you’re you are just sitting in a car In which case, yeah, which case that, then? You know, and to me, it’s, I guess it’s the flexibility. You know, the ideal is not one or the other. The ideal is, is to discover your capacity for all of that.

Rick Archer: Yeah, I think it’s a matter of Dharma to to some extent, you know, yes. Ramana Maharshi, perhaps it just wasn’t his Dharma to go out and run a business. He wasn’t that kind of guy that wasn’t his manifestation, you know, it was. But see,

Nirmala: that’s a great example, because after that time, when he sat in a cave and the rats today, his legs, then, you know, binding, some people have discovered him and dragged him out of errands or beating him in, you know, chewing rats away. And, and then later, this is much later in his life, he, you know, there was this big ashram. And he was, he got up every morning at 3am. And, you know, made the breakfast, or 4am. I think it’s about for him occurring, the story I read, but and I’ve also heard that he was an absolute tyrant in the kitchen, that he you know, that you did it the right way. Or you got you got it from Ramana. He was actively involved in the building program, that was one of his little pet projects, he was always you know, that there was this guy Animalize swami who was in charge and ramen every day, Ramana would check in with animalized Swami and see what they were doing and make suggestions or given instructions. And so, no, he had, he experienced this place where it didn’t matter if rats chewed on his legs, and then he also became, you know, functional. And, you know, it’s not like he was he ran the ashram totally himself, but he but he was involved with it. He didn’t he didn’t leave it all to the, you know, to let the the Yeah, the forces of cosmic consciousness, determinate everything.

Rick Archer: Good point. And I’ve had a fair amount of experience with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and amici both and both examples of, you know, highly enlightened beings who were, you know, just like, working like dogs, you know, take, yeah, manage all kinds of

Nirmala: when it gets that big, you know, I was sitting around this was, you know, years later, after I was sitting around talking with audio one time, you know, and, and I suddenly realized, like, I was really curious, like, what’s it like to have, you know, 400 500 people come to an event and have this big staff of 10 or 12 people, you know, I was just kind of curious about that, you know, like, how do you how is that for you? And, and then what I noticed is that he I could tell he was feeling really nostalgic. For the good old days, for the good old days, he was like asking me all these questions about so you guys, just do it all yourself, don’t you? And I was like, yeah, pretty much we do it all. He was like, oh, yeah, that was great when I could do that. And so, you know, it’s like, and I was saying, Would it be great to have 10 people do everything for me, and he was thinking wouldn’t be great not to have anybody doing anything for me.

Rick Archer: grass is always greener. Yeah. So to get back to this point about using, you know, having the capacity to discriminate with the heart and determine the truth, no, there’s this. There’s this saying and Sanskrit Ritam Bhara Pragya, which means that level of intellect which knows only truth, and Shankar wrote a book called The crest jewel of discrimination. So this word discrimination and being able to discern truth from non truth that a very subtle level is kind of real central to spiritual his tradition. And in that case, of the phrase, I just use, it’s the word intellect is used, but I think at the, at the level we’re talking about, there’s really no distinction much between intellect and heart, we’re talking about a deep intuitive faculty,

Nirmala: right. And, you know, I use the word heart just because it can tend to bring people into a more, you know, more complete experience of their being than just the intellect. And, and so it’s more like the, the whole beings intellect, the whole beat, they call it heart wisdom in some traditions. And, and it is the, you know, energetically the center that responds most subtly, most directly to these two, either this sense of expansion, softening, opening, or the sense of contraction, tightening, rigidity, and, you know, that’s that’s the that’s the discrimination right there, the movement and it’s, you know, it’s, I would say it’s working perfectly. It’s not something that anybody needs to get better at your whole life, your your being has been exposed, either expanding or contracting appropriately to the moment. And when someone when someone lays a really small truth when someone lays a bit, you know, a trip on you and it’s and it’s not very true, the right way for you to feel in that instant in that moment is to contract. That’s, you know, it’d be, I always say it’s like the little kids game where they say you’re getting warmer, or you’re getting colder. If you were playing that with someone, and no matter what they said, Oh, you’re getting warmer. It’s like, after a while, you’d want to, you’d want to slap them, you know, you’d want to say, no, wait, how can I? How can I play this game? If you just always say, I’m getting warm? Yeah, I would have found it by now. Yeah, exactly. And so you need that capacity, you need you need to notice to trust to acknowledge the sense of contraction, when something is is narrowing, or limiting or distorting the truth. And, and just, you can also, obviously, trust it when your heart when you’re being when your sense of being opens and softens.

Rick Archer: Yeah, I totally agree with all that, except the part about not being able to get better at it. I mean, you know, I’ve made some pretty lousy judgments in my life. And over the course of, you know, the decades, I feel like my capacity to, you know, be kind of sensitive to what’s right, and what’s inappropriate has refined tremendously. And

Nirmala: when I say you can’t get better at as I’m talking about the raw, the raw response of your B, because that’s always been there, it’s just that for much of possibly much of your life, you either you didn’t pay attention to it. Or even if you even if you were experiencing it, there’s this funny thing we do, which we learn to do, we were taught to do it, but most of us when we get contracted, we our response to it is to try to contract our way out of that contraction. Most of us, like, you know, we, we, that contraction itself is does feel limiting, you know, it does feel constrictive. And so, we, we move into a position of judging, whatever was happening, or we reject it, or we try to find, or we, you know, grasp out for something different, you know, and we don’t actually just experienced that contraction, you know, stuff like you were saying, subtly discriminate, all right, this is just not very true from without any, any need to get away from the contraction. It’s ironic how, you know, trying not to be contracted contracts you and allowing contraction to be here expands you. And then by the way, the reverse is true to trying to get expanded contracts you and, and see what that points to right there. You know, again, I’m talking about this visceral response, anyone who’s ever tried to get expanded has gotten more and more contracted, right. And so what that’s pointing to is the, the that being expanded is not actually better. It’s just different. And I would, I would take that so far to say that you are more subtle, you are discriminating more subtly, but that that’s not actually better. It’s just different. It’s just, you’re experiencing it in a different place. Better is one of these. It’s one of those experiences that’s purely conceptual. There, there isn’t really anything called I always say that, you know, if there really was a thing called better, something called better, we’d all just go to the store and buy it. You know, we don’t just go get a big cup of butter and rub it all over our bodies, and we’d feel better. Right? It’s purely conceptual. There’s nothing that it actually nothing that it actually points to. Yeah. It’s a useful concept.

Rick Archer: Yeah, you can say, oh, hold it. But when you say that, though, I say, Okay, well, I can get that as long as I’m looking at it from the sort of the broad perspective that we’re talking about, you know, beginning creators of galaxies. But, you know, is it is it? Is there a, is there a qualitative difference from an experiential standpoint, between, you know, the Enlightened sage and the psychotic and a mental hospital? I think that enlightened sages have a kind of a smoother ride, you know, more enjoyable state of being than someone whose mind is completely confused and psychotic and crazy. Yeah. So, you know, maybe you can use the word better there.

Nirmala: Absolutely. And like I said, even though it’s purely conceptual, it’s still it’s against still true, it still has its usefulness. And that’s a good example, you know, especially in orienting why not, why not use this concept of better, you know, why not move towards things that are better, but, like you said, rep, either through, you know, when you step out and you realize, hey, you know that that that psychotic, identified experience is not actually harming the consciousness. It hasn’t taken way that, that, that beings capacity, that sort of individual expression of beings capacity to transcend all that stuff. And sometimes, you know, surprisingly, it even happens in those most psychotic moments that people have awakenings. And, also, you know, the, this, not only can you get that perspective from there, but you also can get that perspective from just from having been through a lot of life experiences, big ones, small ones, that after a while you start to use or to hold this whole idea better, you know, you just hold that very lightly, because realize, who can say, what’s what’s better? You know, that’s true. You know, I

Rick Archer: mean, I have a friend who got sent to jail for five years. And, you know, I wouldn’t trade places with him, but it’s probably precisely what he needs for his evolution, his growth could be

Nirmala: profound, you know, along with all of the horrors of that, you know, all of the terrible aspects of it, but again, terrible, so you better and worse are both conceptual. So even those things that are worse might be like you said, this, what he needs, like a really good, you know, Zen stick on the side of the head, just to really shake him loose in a way that you were, I can only imagine, because I’ve had that experience.

Rick Archer: Well, like you say, I mean, nothing can harm consciousness. I mean, an asteroid could crash into the planet, and we’d all be dead in five minutes or whatever. Yeah. Consciousness isn’t perturbed by that it just, it’s unshakeable. And,

Nirmala: yeah, and like I said, so you know, you can still take on this small truth and better and use it to orient. And like I said, if you do that, though, you start discovering that you make a million dollars, and you discover Well, yeah, it’s different. You know, it’s not better i years ago, I had a friend, you know how heroin dealer, a drug dealer will give you the first couple doses for free, right? It’s because they figured that they have a customer for life. That’s a good business practice. And so this friend of mine who his job, he reviews, high end stereo equipment, right. And so a couple of many years ago, he gave me a pair of $2,500 speakers, and just said, Here, these are my garage, you can have, you know, and I brought him home. And it started me on this whole journey. Because once I had $2,500 speakers, I needed a better amplifier. And then it turns out, but it really matters what the wires are that you hook your speaker up to your amplifier, Debbie’s

Rick Archer: big fat ones go Yeah, and stuff. Yeah, exactly. So

Nirmala: you know, I went on this whole journey, searching for better sound, right. And then, at a certain point, I started to notice that no matter what I did, and literally it gets, like ridiculous, no matter what you do, even rearrange the furniture in the room or what you ate, be, you know, for lunch before you sit down to listen, everything, even very, very subtle energies, you know, affect how your system sounds. And so I found that, you know, I was making buying things, trading things in you know, I used eBay a lot to sell stuff, so I could buy other stuff. And I started realizing no matter what I did, all it did is it gave me differences that could no longer economically actually tell you what better sounds

Rick Archer: because, well, you reached the we reached the fringes of Yeah, quality.

Nirmala: Yeah, my, my sound was very good. You know, I mean, it was it’s still using that concept. You know, it was gotten to a point where now all I was doing was making these like, little, you know, unremarkable changes. And yeah, and when I realized that I got I just got bored with it. It’s like, you know, what, what, you know, if I want listen to music and listen to music, but I don’t, this idea of better sound. It’s like I wore it out. I wore out that concept, not by transcending it, but by wearing it out in the in the in the literal sense.

Rick Archer: Well, does it really matter to Mark Zuckerberg that he lost a few billion dollars in the last couple of weeks? You know, he’s got 30 something billion and few few billion here. They’re chump, chump change.

Nirmala: Yeah, and of course, you know, saying the truth has all these different sizes. It’s always relative, you know, and that brings up an

Rick Archer: interesting point, which is that, you know, if you’re a popper, you know, then any slight loss and gain is a big deal. Yeah, if you’re a multimillionaire, then you can lose and gain large amounts and it doesn’t shake you that much, right.

Nirmala: Unless you’re unless you’re like, focused still, like so identified with it. Yeah, years ago. I was a long time ago. I was a massage therapist, and I lucked into this, all these. My clients were some of the wealthiest people in Boston, and of course, they told their friends so it was pretty soon I had A lot of very, extremely wealthy hundreds of millions of dollars type wealthy clients in Boston. And what amazed me was, as I got to know them, you know, because they were they were, they’re wealthy enough, they were weekly clients. And as I got to know them, I discovered that they worried about money more than I did. They thought about it more than they were, you know. And so, you know, there’s this this other dynamic at play, which is how identified are you with it? How do are you able to step outside of that truth? Yeah, because money by itself is a very small truth. You know, it’s real, it exists, it happens. But does it really make that much difference? You know, how real is it in terms of how happy you are? How fulfilled you are? How exciting your life is? Doesn’t doesn’t? Doesn’t seem to really have much impact on. Yeah, turns out to be a small truth.

Rick Archer: So what happened to you? I mean, you were it says, you know, in your bio that you were an ardent Seeker for many years. And then you you met Neelam, and she told you to give up seeking and, and then you had this profound awakening in India. Can we talk about all that a little bit?

Nirmala: Sure. For sure. I eventually, I got so tired of telling this story that I just put it on my website, so they won’t have to tell it again, but I’ll make an exception.

Rick Archer: I just see that like the the short paragraph version of it here. I don’t know. Yeah. elaborated version.

Nirmala: Yeah. So how big a timeframe you want

Rick Archer: as much as you feel like yes, so for that time you got over potty training from then

Nirmala: that’s the best part. All those accidents so, you know, I’ll dress for said that statement. I was a life long spiritual secret. It seems it does seem like it was something I was engaged with, like I years later, I kind of reflected on this, you know, when when you were a kid, and your kids want to be firemen, or baseball players and stuff like that I want I wanted to be a minister. That’s what I wanted to be my mom, I actually had my mom, my mom told me to talk to our Minister about it. And he actually gave me great advice. He said, Well, if you want to be a minister, then you should for the next, you know, until, until you’re an adult, you should just, if possible, be as curious as possible about everything.

Rick Archer: Wow, that’s very open minded ministers. Some of them say, Don’t think too much. And it’s the devil.

Nirmala: No, this guy, this guy told me go out there and learn everything you can. Chris, he was talking to a fifth grader. So it was like, perfect advice. And so that was my motto for a long time was to be curious. And, and then the actual, like, directly spiritual focus, again, when I was about 15, and I and I stumbled on a book by Alan Watts. And, you know, back then that was that he was one of the few things out there, you know, in the West. And so I stumbled on this book, I read everything. And I said, you know, I read everything I could buy him. I was very involved with all this stuff, as a teenager, going to meditation groups and studying, practicing tai chi. And I still remember in their interaction with a, just an acquaintance. Not it wasn’t somebody that knew that well, but an acquaintance in high school where he walked into one of the classrooms that I was saying, it was just the two of us in the classroom. And he, and he said, So how are you? And speaking very, genuinely, very sincerely, from my experience in that moment? I said, I’m not. And it was great. He literally ran out of the room screaming, really?

Rick Archer: Did you go through a drug phase? And we’re talking about late 60s here.

Nirmala: Yeah. You know, I only thing I ever used was a little marijuana and even that it didn’t do much. I think I was I don’t think I just something my system needed it. In fact, in fact, another story from high school when I ran into an acquaintance a few years later, and we were talking about high school and, and, and you know, about all the drugs that people were using at that time. And, and I said, Yeah, you know, it’s funny, I was probably only stoned at high school and this was marijuana. You know, maybe once maybe twice. And any time really. I thought you were like tripping on LSD all the time. So I get that maybe I didn’t need it. So anyway, so that that was I was precocious in that way. I was very involved in all this stuff. Very interested in it. But I think it was a another just another aspect So my being another another something else that needed to be experienced. And so, it’s like I needed to, to, you know, make it in the material world, I needed to find out what and so I needed to have a career I needed to get married. And so I did that. And I ended up marrying this woman, and we, you know, firstly was massage and then it was moving into, I was going to become a naturopathic physician. And I was very wrapped up in things and, and so that all the spiritual stuff kind of went on the back burner came like a hobby. I had, you know, at one point we had in our massage office, we had a floatation tank. And at night, I would go in there for four hours, five hours at a time, you know, but all that stuff was, like I said, just sort of, like, this sort of, like, stuff I was just interested in, and then, but my real life was about trying to make my marriage work trying to make my career thing work, you know, and, and that was, that’s kind of the, the trajectory of my life until partway through the first year of naturopathic medical school, when, and by the way, they don’t tell you this in the medical school brochures, but over half of all marriages don’t survive medical school. And so halfway through the first year of medical school, my, my wife suddenly announced that she had fallen in love with another man. And that, that it was sort of like that whole illusion, that whole dream, like suddenly wasn’t there anymore, if I could, and, and in the process of trying to, like, sort through that, you know, what happened was, that all of a sudden, you know, up to that point, I could kind of keep a lid on all the, all the stuff inside of me, you know, all the feelings. And when that happened, I suddenly the feeling suddenly got turned up, you know, the volume got turned up to 10, to find the volume scale of feelings. And, and what I realized was, it had all these like, equal and opposite feelings. So, you know, the fact that she was leaving me was both the scariest thing I could imagine, it created all this fear. And at the same time, I was really excited. And the problem was, both of those feelings were so strong, you know, I would have moments of terror and moments of like, uncontrollable excitement. I was totally devastated. That was totally sad, you know, you know, distraught, you know, devastated by this by this loss. And at the same time, there was this huge sense of relief. And they were both huge, huge sense of relief, huge sense of devastation. I was like, spinning, like, you know, every which way. And, and around that time, I’d heard about this thing called the Sedona Method. And the Sedona Method, at least at first, it’s all about releasing, and, or just allowing feelings. And it’s like, wow, that sounds perfect. You know, this sounds like just what I need. So I sent away for the, it was, at that time, you could take a home course on video. And I sat down and went through this whole Sedona Method Course, letting go of emotions, there’s one point in the course, where they teach the first thing they teach you, you know, let go of all the negative emotions, right? And then the, and then they interject this new thing, where they say, and what happens then is you start having more positive emotions, feelings of peace and, and courage and acceptance and things like that. And then, and they suggest that then you let those go.

Rick Archer: Is that more easily said than done? It’s,

Nirmala: it’s, it’s surprising when you just kind of do it, you know, like, I took, it was a week, it was a week between semesters in medical school, you know, and so I had this whole week, I just, like, immersed myself in this process, watching the videos, and I would, you know, like, like, after, after that loose section about letting go has the feelings. I actually went for a walk and as I’m walking around our neighborhood, and you know, letting go of feelings, letting go letting go letting go letting go and then I started having these positive feelings. I said, okay, and I started letting those go letting those go letting those go. And I got to this moment, where it was incredibly quiet. There just wasn’t any there was like, the stillness was remarkable. And, and not only that, but then suddenly, I could really hear the birds and really see the colors everything like was like suddenly much more vibrant and alive than I was used to. And it was so remarkable. That experience was so strong that I literally turned around, walked home and picked up the phone and called hailed Luskin, who, who runs the Sedona that and said, You know, I see that there’s this advanced retreat coming up. And I said, I’m, I’m a total beginner, I’m just at the beginning towards, can I come to the cancer treatments? And he said, Yeah, sure, come on. So, so took a week off from me, it was in the middle of the semester, you know, the next semester, I just didn’t go to class for a week. And, and I went up to Sedona for this advanced Sedona Method retreat. And what I didn’t realize when I signed up for it, you know, to me, that that moment, the Sedona Method was mostly like, it’s like this really cool stress reliever, you know, this really great way to handle my emotions. You know, what I didn’t realize was that Lester Levinson, who developed the Sedona Method, actually developed it as a as a tool for awakening. That’s what that was the real intention. And, and it turns out that at this particular treat, which is going to be led by hail, and also by Pamela Wilson, who you you’ve interviewed, that there was all these old time Sedona Method, people who had been, you know, desperately seeking trying to awake and, or some of them are decades, we’re all gathering together, because the word word was out that Pamela had had this big awakening. And so they were all gathering together to see, you know, to check out one of their, one of their gang who had made it. And so I, so I come into this room with 40 other people who are all desperate to awaken, right? That’s, that’s their remaining suffering, because they’ve let go of everything else, but they’re still like, desperately wanting to awaken. And then there’s Pamela. And she is, like shining in a way that I’ve never experienced. She’s just just, you know, she’s in, especially in that first flush, after big awakening, it’s a lot of fun to be around, you know, so she was just incredibly beautiful presence. And so

Rick Archer: as she still does, by the way, but she’s working some stuff out still, you know, that’s been actually quite challenging. But, you know, that she does, that doesn’t detract from her beautiful presence. And yeah,

Nirmala: I’ve stayed in touch with her through the years, when she and I, during that time frame, she and I became good friends. But so here I am. And at one point, you Hale even, like gives this, this talk about the different the different desires or wants and how, you know, it’s kind of like, because eventually, when you, after you let go of feelings, you start letting go of desires, because it’s like, letting go at an even bigger and deeper level. And then he gave this whole chart of desires, and turns out the, the final desire is the desire to awaken. And eventually that has to be let go of also, that has to follow away also. And so that’s the whole milieu, and I’m kind of looking around the room and saying, I want to be like Pamela, but I don’t want to end up like all these other people. I want to be like, like, somehow have a whole new way of suffering. And so, so one night, by myself in my room, and late late at night, and I’m kind of, you know, like weighing this dilemma, like, you know, and then I remembered what Dale said about you know, that, in the end, you just let go of the desire to awaken itself. And I thought I had, like, great idea, like, Oh, I got it. I’m just gonna be like, Oh, the desire to awaken first. And that, you know, I’ll just skip all those steps. It’s like, why not go for the golden ring? The first on your first timeout, you know, and so, but a minor, and then the food, but the food that comes in like, oh, I don’t know if you can do that. Now, is that kosher? Is that like, allowed? And so I thought, well, maybe I’ll ask Hale about it in the morning. And then, and then then I remember that when you ask Hill, a question like that, mostly what he does, he just has you released until you get the answer. He has you do the Sedona Method until you get your your answer. And so I say, Well, I guess I have to, you know, I can do that. I don’t have to wait for hail in the morning. And so in some insight, it’s like on some, I just had this, you know, sense. Okay, I’m just gonna I’m just gonna go in and hold that question. You know, really hold the question is, can I just bypass all of this struggle to awaken and just and just go there directly? And I got really quiet. And, and the answer came, and it was slick, totally unexpected answer that came from Sunday. placed within my being that knew this not just wasn’t just intellectual, it was like a deep knowing a deep truth. And the answer was, there’s nothing you can do about it. It’s not up to you. And at the same moment, I really, really got that. I also really, really got that I already did want it more than anything else, you know that I was kind of like, I was playing a game with myself saying, I’m not going to end up like those other people. No, I would. That’s where I was. I was that’s like those other people around. I was like, I’d probably been like that my whole life. But being Camela and having it be that real, in a sense, had reignited that desire inside of me. And so right at the same moment, I realized that I wanted it more than life itself. I also had realized in a very deep level that there was absolutely nothing I could do with that. And the combination of those two things, it just broke me open. I just, I literally was not just crying. I was like, wailing, just in my room, just like, this whole thing was just tearing me apart. It’s like I said, it was like somebody’s doing open surgery, open heart surgery without anesthesia. And it was just, it was just this hugely devastating experience. And yet, I couldn’t like undo it. I couldn’t stop it. At that point, it was already it was already the way it was. And something in me had become very humble, very, very tender, you know, very soft. It turns out, you know, at that, and that very same week, that the Sedona Method thing was happening. There was also Pamela actually kind of arranged this it also turns out that Neelam was in Sedona giving Satsang every night. And I had never even heard the word Satsang. Ever heard of Ramana Maharshi. And never, you know, fell this stuff. And so, but everybody in the group, after we did the Sedona Method all day, everybody would pile into cars and drive into town and go to Satsang with Neelam. So I got in the car and went to Satsang with Elan. And I got there and whatever it was, that I saw, and Pamela, you know, it was there, maybe even more so. And she had she been doing her thing for a while. And she was she just was, you know, just it’s like I couldn’t it’s like, it’s like a when you get older, something that you can’t get ahold of, you also can’t let it go. And so is it after after seeing Neelam I actually came back another weekend. A few weeks later, she came back to Sedona and did a weekend retreat. And I did that and partway through that weekend. The only way I can Scribe is like, she moved into my heart. It’s like she just, it was just like, I just, and suddenly I knew, you know, it made no sense. had, you know, like, was it didn’t I? Last place on our earth I ever wanted to go was India. And that’s where Neelam was going. And I suddenly knew that wherever Neelam was going, I was going. So all of a sudden, I was going to India. And, you know, it’s like, wait a minute, I’m a medical student, and running up all the big student loans trying to become a doctor. And no, I’m going to India. And so

Rick Archer: I would say this talk about talking about deciding something with the heart. Yeah, yeah, it was it was I say,

Nirmala: it was like a choiceless. choice. I made the choice, but I had no choice. And, and by the way, this part, no, this part really, you know, it’s not it’s not like a formula. Nothing about this is a formula. Everyone.

Rick Archer: Everybody shouldn’t just pack up and go. Exactly.

Nirmala: But I did I, you know, by this point, my wife and I were really splitting. And I had kind of argued with her so that I could stay in the house we had just bought. So I went back to her and said, Well, if you’ll take the house back or take over the House, again, pay the mortgage, you can have all the equity. So basically, I gave her all the equity in our house. I dropped out of medical school and packed up to go to India with Neelam the last place or they ever wanted to go. And so, you know, there’s a couple more points along the way. Like there was one point where we were in at Satsang, in London, actually on the way to India. And Neelam said something and it was another one this kind of deep knowings. And it was like the complementary truth to the knowing that there was nothing I could do about it. And it was this knowing that there was nothing I had to do about that there was no that there was this whole project of doing something about it was not like it was like the wrong question. And so that that was this huge sense of relief, like, oh, right, I don’t have to, I can let go of this whole project of becoming, becoming either becoming a better person or which had become becoming awakened, you know, and, and so that all fell, fell away. And as I said, that was kind of like the thing he was actually talking about where that desire to awaken fell away in that moment. And, and so from that moment on, I just kept getting happier and happier. You know, I ran the sound system for Neelam in one time in the middle of Satsang. It just completely stopped working. And I just got really happy. I mean, I kept trying to fix it. Right. And I couldn’t fix it. And that just made me really happy. Where I just felt really happy, happier every moment.

Rick Archer: There’s a book out called Happy for No Reason.

Nirmala: Yeah, yeah. That was that was what it was like. Yeah, a

Rick Archer: friend of mine ghost wrote it. Oh, yeah.

Nirmala: That’s, that’s so anyway, so to just finish the story, I I traveled with Neelam to India, ended up falling in love with India. And we and we went to Richie cash. And we spend all our days and sad song and singing bhajans at night and, you know, read the ashram era is right was right at the junction of the gold River and the Ganga can do now, of the name everybody uses for

Rick Archer: Confluence or the song.

Nirmala: It’s Ganges. That’s right. Yeah. Right. So, you know, we were right on the banks of the Ganges River right at this section of these huge rapids. And every night, after everybody else, pretty much had gone to bed, I would I would go down and I would sit. But you know, five feet away from these guys, gigantic whitewater waves. And I just sat there. And this went on for several nights. And then one night, I was sitting there Leaning, leaning against a rock, just taking in the sound of the presence of the river. And I suddenly noticed that the rock was inside him. No longer no longer was outside of me, it was now as much as much a part of me as my as my shoulders. As my, as my legs. You know, it just it just, it wasn’t, it wasn’t intellectual, it was just directly experiencing the rock inside of me as me. And then it this was kind of like logical, but it was also experiential, in that if at Rock was inside of me, what about this whole big field of boulders right here along the river? And oh, yeah, those are inside of me, also. And then if it was this field of boulders, what about the field, the boulders on the other side of the river? Oh, right. Suddenly, that was not intellectually but experientially it was me. And Chris, Edmund, it was both sides of the river. Suddenly, the river is this these whitewater rapids where there was like, so natural, so obvious that those were inside of me, that that was me. And then, and then it kind of like it’s sunny include the entire river, which meant the entire continent of India. And it just kept going like that, you know, the entire planet, entire solar system, everything it was, was, totally obviously be inside this thing called me and not at all intellectual, totally experiential. And then this weird thing happened where

Rick Archer: it just expanded out eventually to the stars and the whole whole university

Nirmala: way beyond what I could conceptualize, right, I actually directly experiencing it inside of the inside of Malibus. Huge me but still excited. And, and then it did this weird thing, where it it led pop, so that it was not just all space, you know, it was inside of me. But it popped in time. And suddenly, it was like really obvious that that’s, that’s what I’d been all along. That you know, for forever, you know, and, and suddenly I started laughing, like, like literally rolling around in the gravel. Just laughing my head off. Because it was suddenly so funny to me that I ever, ever thought I had a problem that I had ever like believed that I was really suffering or that there that I had, you know that I never thought I was anything else. And that went on for like half an hour and just laughed my head off for half an hour. It took It took me, I think, like, maybe an hour to walk the 100 yards back up to the ashram. Because this was a I think I stopped in hug some of the bigger rocks and all of this, this sense of presence, the sense of completeness. from that from that day, you know, it just started happening where people would, would ask me, come come to me to ask lots of questions like people catch me even before after one in Neelam Satsang. So it would drag me aside and, like, just want me to, you know, to explore with them.

Rick Archer: Had you told the group that you had had this awakening? Or did they somehow just sense that you, you know, somebody could give them a decent answer if they asked.

Nirmala: I think the word had gotten out, because I did. Sure. I didn’t hide it from anything. And, and so, you know, that was happening. And it happened even when I wasn’t around you. And so people just, you know, it was just everywhere I went, it was happening. So at one point, I went to Neelam, and I said, you know, I told her what was happening? And I said, you know, the thought has come to give Satsang. But I don’t know how you do that. I don’t, you know, what do you do to give Satsang. And, and Neelam always, always gave me really, really good advice. And her advice was, don’t give it another thought. She said, If it’s meant to happen, and there’s nothing you can do to stop it, if it’s not meant to happen, nothing you can do will make it happen. And I’m, you know, have a very, basically lazy, so I really liked that kind of advice. So I just say, oh, I’ll just let whatever happens happen. And the very next day, one of the people who had been on this whole trip to India, came up to me and said, Hey, Nirmala, how would you like to? Come and give Satsang at my house and in Seattle? And so, you know, as I was, I was saying, yeah, yeah, I’ll do that. Inside. I was going, Oh, this is how it happens. And that is basically how it’s happened. Ever since. Just Just wait for the invocation.

Rick Archer: So that awakening that you had there on the banks of the Ganges? Did you? I mean, is that still your experience, that everything is contained? Everything is the self, everything is contained within the larger sort of,

Nirmala: you know, back back to what we were talking about before the flexibility that expect that experience is, like, is, you know, as easy for me as planning my day for tomorrow? You know, if I sit down, and, and just give that a little bit of attention, it starts

Rick Archer: to open up. Yeah, but it’s not like in your face all the time.

Nirmala: Right. It’s not, it’s not like because like I said, I could barely walk during that experience. So yeah, it fluctuates in intensity. But there’s also that, that deeper kind of conviction, that, that that is that it’s always here, that that’s what I am. And that’s what I always was, in fact, I sometimes call it my non awakening. Because it’s like, I realized that’s what was always true. And so it’s like, realizing that all there is is awakeness. And how does that awaken? That is awakeness awakened? Like, you can’t, you can’t do that part. Yeah, so it’s sometimes call it my non awakening.

Rick Archer: That’s interesting in terms of the word flexibility, it’s, it’s like, you know, it’s, it’s there that that aspect is enlivened, you could say, and, and it kind of informs or enriches or inspires, or guides, maybe the more manifest specific aspects of your life. You know, kind of like, just to take a crude example, if you had completed medical school, you wouldn’t always be dwelling on the facts of that you’d learn in medical school. But if someone came to you with a problem, you’d be able to deal with it, because there was that sort of knowledge and instilled in you.

Nirmala: Yeah, we’re just come after you. Yeah. And, you know, I think I’m even more the more central thing is not the not the sense of you know, is this experience continuous is is whether or not you’ve developed a sense of trust, in that, in that reality. And the example I always use like, I’ll ask you right now, Rick, do you have a car? A car? Yeah. Yeah, sure. Can you see it right now where you’re sitting? Nope. Do you doubt that it exists?

Rick Archer: Nope. Yeah.

Nirmala: And like that’s like it’s up and say, Even if God forbid, you went out to where you parked your car, and it wasn’t there. Would you would at that moment, would you doubt that it exists?

Rick Archer: I think Good existed somewhere. But yeah, exactly. If you’re no longer in my position by possession, yeah, you

Nirmala: call the police. Right? So we all have most of us have developed a really strong trust in physical reality that actually allows us to function. Without having, you know, we don’t have the sense that you have to experience it all the time, in order for it to be real. And you know, which were sometimes you know, when somebody when the first time in their life, they buy a brand new car, there’s, suddenly there’s a little bit of that, again, they’re always like peeking out the window and saying, Yeah, I looked at my new car, because it can’t quite believe it yet that they own a brand new car. But for the most part, we just trust that when we put something in a drawer, and we go away, and we come back, it’ll still be there. And that trust is that trust is based on a lot of experience, that that’s what does build that sense of trust. And so my sense is, that’s the same thing that can happen with these bigger experiences and being is that you need to experience them. But the real gift, the real freedom that they bring to you is when you’ve had so many experiences of them, when you’ve had so much, you know, about it’s been so available to you that after a while you just trust, yeah, just you just on a deep level, you know, that’s true, whether you’re experiencing it or not, just like, you know, your car exists, whether you’re experiencing it or not. So that’s a bigger freedom.

Rick Archer: They say that the final stroke of realization is the is the dispelling of doubt, you know, the elimination of doubt. And that’s just what you’re saying. I mean, I don’t doubt that I have the car, although I think my wife might have taken it.

Nirmala: Don’t stop it exists.

Rick Archer: Yeah. And so this, like, you know, you can sort of picture the classic seeker. It’s like, Oh, my God, when will I ever get there? And it’s, like, My life sucks. And I have to get enlightened and yada, yada, maybe I should go on another retreat. But

Nirmala: then even when they have a big experience, yeah, it was that it was that, you know, and they tried to hold on to it, which of course, making the go away faster, you know, and, and they try and get it back, you know, and so they’re still in that place of doubt, they still, they still don’t really trust what they experienced.

Rick Archer: Yeah, so what you’re saying is doubt kind of, was dispelled. And now you just kind of live in a simple, natural, easy state of trust, and you know, it’s there.

Nirmala: And what’s been really sweet, really rich, and that is, it comes back to what you’re talking about, I spoke about right at the beginning of a conversation that there now is this ability to really enjoy and explore and appreciate the simplest of ordinary experiences, that that appear in life and even experiences of, you know, physical difficulty getting ill, or having an argument with my wife or losing something, you know, really precious, a good friend or something, and actually experiencing all the very human emotions. And because there’s this trust, is no, there’s this, this willingness to just go with that experience, just dive into it, you know, like, like, that minister told me, you know, just be really curious about everything. And it turns out that, you know, that all of that, again, is, is like a facet of the jewel, all of that is, is real, is part of reality. It’s all it’s all sacred. It’s all beautiful. It’s all worth

Rick Archer: this, this guy brings up a couple of points, when one of the things I heard you say in the songs I listened to was, you know, you can just kind of plunge in, you know, just sort of don’t worry about exhausting awareness or running out of it. Yeah, just just go for it, you know, and I thought, well, you know, I thought that might be misinterpreted as sort of advocating hedonism, you know, I can snort, I can snort meth, I can go to prostitutes, I can do all kinds of crazy stuff. And I’m not going to run out of awareness. You know, people are gonna pay the price or something like that. So, probably, that’s not what you meant.

Nirmala: You know, but the antidote to all of that, the antidote to the indulgence side, you know, is if you really are, in a sense, plunging in with full awareness that, to me, that’s the antidote to Addictive processes, stupid things, doing stupid things and, and also if you’re really paying attention, you know, a share you know, your This was 30 years ago. For most of my life, I had this really, really intense sweet tooth. Yeah, you earlier use the example of the plate of cookies because, you know at that time and my Like, if there was a plate of cookies, this is, you know, they ended up inside here. They ended up in my stomach. And, and yet, I was also extremely sensitive to sugar. Like I was, you know, this probably, you know, they say, on a physiological level, you often crave stuff that you’re kind of, like allergic to or reactive to. And so I did you know, and I and, and the antidote, the thing that that like shifted that whole experience for me was, it’s like a, it’s like I expand my awareness in in terms of distance, it’s more like a, it’s kind of like what it’s saying about popping in time. It’s like, suddenly, I learned to, when I looked at a plate of cookies, to imagine how I would feel in half an hour, if I, if I eat them, you know. And when you do that, especially if you’re somebody who gets really nauseous and often ends up with a headache when they eat sugar, then it was like, it’s like, if I you know, if I held that a pill to you and said, Here, take this pill, it’ll make you nauseous, and you’ll have a headache, right? No, thank you, you know, I’ll pass you know. And so when someone hold that a plate of cookies, and I included in my awareness, you know, I was, so I was more complete in telling the truth about that plate of cookies by saying, I’m not going to feel that good if I eat these, especially if I if I’m on an empty stomach, or if I haven’t. And then with that greater awareness, I suddenly was no longer eating cookies, and no longer.

Rick Archer: And of course, the obesity epidemic is on the news all the time. And, you know, you kind of get the feeling that people are trying to trying to sort of fill themselves. Yes, you know, by more and more, the mayor of New York City just outlawed the super soda drinks, you know, because there’s such an obesity problem. But perhaps if people had that inner fulfillment, then there wouldn’t be this craving to get fulfillment from more and more and more and more

Nirmala: food, right. And also, again, even in a more relative sense, you know, in between those two places, if there was just more awareness of the actual experience consequences, yeah, the, you know, within a slightly bigger timeframe, then, you know, some of those some of those cravings, like I said, was just this weird thing, suddenly, whenever I looked at sweets, I would, I would do this mental calculation that included how I would be on half an hour. And you know, what’s nice about that, too, is that it did actually allow me to be flexible. Because if, if I had a full stomach by just a big meal, I discovered I could eat a little bit and not have all those symptoms. You know, it was it was so, you know, if I ate a lot, I still would, but if I ate a little bit, I was okay. So it’s like, I found a balanced way of experience experiencing sweets. It’s not that it wasn’t like, I never had to go cold turkey. You know, it just just found a balanced way. And it also allowed for moments where, like, when my grandmother had just baked me a plate of cookies, I could eat a cookie. Right? Not not grandmother. Yeah. And maybe say, Gee, Grandma, can I take the rest home in a bed? And then throw them out when I got home?

Rick Archer: Yeah, it’s actually verses in the Gita where yoga is defined as a state of balance in which, you know, you don’t either overly indulgent or overly shun various experiences.

Nirmala: Yes, yeah. Yeah. And that, and then, and then the relative truth can sort of unfold and function and, you know, keep it balanced is more like a balancing.

Rick Archer: Yeah, maybe that’s what Buddha meant, by the middle way.

Nirmala: Yeah. Yeah.

Rick Archer: harkening back to a few minutes ago, when we were talking about, you know, whether that experience you had in Rishikesh was retained and stabilized, and so on and so forth. Somebody sent in a question about abiding in the self. What that really means? And would it be truly abiding if if one is still doing a regular meditation program twice daily, which is a jab at me because I’ve been meditating regularly for 44 years, and I happen to really enjoy it. And she’s saying, Well, if you really were established, you wouldn’t need to do that anymore. And I said, Okay, fine, maybe I’m not really established, but I really enjoy it. It’s extremely, you know, nourishing, so would you say that? I mean, different people have different paths and different habits and so on. Some people awaken without ever having meditate, and some people, you know, meditate regularly and so on. And maybe you keep doing what you’re doing. But would you say that meditation is likely to drop off when awakening has really dawned? Or is it hard to?

Nirmala: It’s great, it’s great that you asked me this question because my experience is the complete inverse of what you might expect in that I discovered meditation after my awakening, and and have fallen in love with it and and I meditate regularly and have never meditated before. Cool. So my experience again, the, you know, I, I can’t speak for anyone else’s experience, and I don’t doubt that it’s possible to move into a particular experience of, of a, you no contact with it fullness of the self and in a sense never, never lose it even experientially, let alone you know, not that it’s sort of separate from whether or not you have this deep abiding trust in it. But that’s, that’s not my experience. And like I said, what my experience brought me to was a place where that doesn’t even matter. And it’s like it does, it’s so it’s so available, I trust it so completely, that I don’t, I don’t have any sense of lack when when it’s not happening. It’s just like, you don’t feel the lack of a car right now, this doesn’t continue, because you know, you got one, when your wife gets home, you can go to the store if you want to. And so, you know, from that place, I just discovered how sweet how amazing it is to meditate. And so indirectly, in response to that person, you know, I would, again, my perspective is that we all abide in the self, that we all are the Self, before we realize it, during our realization of it, and after our realization of it. And so, you know, whatever she’s experiencing, whatever you’re experiencing, while you’re meditating, whatever somebody down the street is experiencing when they’re eating popcorn, watching a movie. It’s all part of this. It’s all it’s all worth experiencing. And, and, you know, it might be kind of a truism that it seems that consciousness feels that way true, too. Because consciousness seems to go to a lot of trouble to have different experiences. You know, it never never makes a snowflake the same way twice. It never has this, this whole experience were thinking of called awakening the same way twice. You know, like I said, Here I am this guy who never meditated. And now, I love it. Now I’m, you know, I mean, I don’t think I’m addicted to it, because it doesn’t really matter to me, if I if I don’t, you know, then I just don’t but, but whenever, whenever the opportunity comes, I’d love to.

Rick Archer: I think there’s the word meditation has different meanings to it, just as the word liquid has different meanings, you know, I mean, you’re drinking some water right? Now, if you’re drinking motor oil, it would be a different experience. So I mean, there are kinds of meditation, which are very, you know, I mean, I’ve read descriptions of certain types of Buddhist meditation, where you’re supposed to clench your teeth and force the thoughts out, and you know, it’s just like this really intense kind of thing. So if a person has even a flavor of that kind of association with the word, which I don’t think my question or did, but, but if, but I can see why one would prescribe a practice.

Nirmala: Yeah, why not? Why not try that. And, you know, it’s sometimes by exaggerating something, you that, that, that thing I talked about, where the awareness suddenly becomes more complete, you know, so you exaggerate the effort, you know, any kind of efforting. And that can that can pop you out of the illusion that the efforting is, is going to make you happy.

Rick Archer: Another question, the same person sent in all these are actually specifically for you. And I don’t know if you can answer this or not, I don’t think I’d be able to because I’d have to look him up in some books and make sure I really understood my definitions here. But she asked what is the difference between a Yanni and a yogi, there is a massive confusion around this issue. No felt sense of mission except to transmit the silence I guess that’s what Yanni would have according and peep and help people wake up from the dream. Only a Jani can awaken another. She’s gonna she’s asking for you to contrast that with a yogi. And he comments.

Nirmala: You know, even if you did look up the definitions, you would find a lot of different ones. You know, I often say that the, you know, we were talking earlier about different sizes of truth. And I’d say there’s a shorthand way to tell whether something’s true or not. And if or how true something is, and if if there are words, then it’s not very true. You know, but once you put it in words you left out you by just by definition, you’ve left something out. And so whatever I say about a Yanni, whatever book you open up and read the description of it’s a partial description. It’s not complete, and even that even her description, you know, which is very, very beautiful, very, I’m sure true in a lot of cases. But also, I’m also sure there are lots of Ianis who don’t have any desire to transmit or teach or awaken anybody because you know, what’s the point is like we’re, you know, a certain a certain depth of realization. Everybody you look at is so, so incredibly awake that what what are you going to teach them? What are you going to show to them? And and so, you know, that’s another definition right. But that is that the definition of Ianis? Is that the experience of every yawning No. Yeah, and, and sensing anything you say about a yogi, it would be would be true of some Yogi’s, but not all, I mean, what about Yogi Bear?

Rick Archer: I heard a funny story about him yesterday, he was being interviewed by Brian Gumbel. And Brian Gumbel said, okay, just give me a kind of like a one word answer to all the following things. You know, just I’m gonna give you some names. I want a one word answer. So he said, Okay, Mickey Mantle. And Yogi Berra said, What about him?

Nirmala: And I was actually referring to Yogi Bear the cartoon character.

Rick Archer: Oh, yeah, Yogi Berra is a source of great spiritual wisdom, actually, if you look at some of his quotes.

Nirmala: And so you know, I mean, you know, that’s just playing with the word yogi, but it is just a word and it is in no one can really give a final definition. And know and you know, why. And if you do, you know, in a sense that can be used to then deny or reject, you know, the experience of a yogi who is having a different experience, or to deny or, you know, reject the experiences of true nature that somebody’s having, just because it doesn’t fit, you know, your definition of a Yanni. And people do that, even to their own experience. You know, it’s like that like the question before about, is it an abiding experience? You know, when that’s held so rigidly that and people who are having genuine experiences and genuine realizations and then they wake up the next day all contracted, and then it’s like, they just throw the baby out with the bathwater. They say, Well, that can’t have been a true realization, because look, I’m not abiding. And so that it’s like that, that rigidity of definition is is the, who are they’re

Rick Archer: expecting the sort of profundity and flashiness that it had initially to be with them all the time. And when that kind of gets integrated, and they kind of take it for granted, then, you know, where did it go?

Nirmala: Exactly. And so you know, it, it’s not that there’s anything wrong with words, you know, or with definitions or with even even, you know, like, Finally, discriminating and coming up with an even finer description of something, there’s nothing wrong with that, as long as you recognize that, you know, it’s just once it starts coming out of your mouth, once it’s in a book, it’s just, it’s by its nature, not complete, you can enjoy it, it might, it might be the piece of the puzzle, that you that is just what was missing for you, perspective and understanding that definition. And that, you know, in that moment is actually a fairly profound truth. Because again, it allows your being to relax. Now, the other the other experiential quality of something, when you experience something that’s truer, is it quiets the mind? Because you, you have less to think about, you know, even if I even if I just give you directions to the post office, you suddenly have one less thing to think about. And if I, you know, somehow life or I somehow evoke in you a really, really big truth, you suddenly have nothing to think about. There’s nothing left to figure out even, you know, who isn’t isn’t a Yanni, what isn’t? From, from actual experience of a really big truth, those those things kind of fall away.

Rick Archer: Now, the point that came to mind when you were speaking, which is that there there are degrees of realization, you know, I mean, when you get your bachelor’s degree, let’s say that you got a bachelor’s degree, then you go on to get your master’s degree, you still have a bachelor’s degree, you know, and then you go on and get your PhD, you still you still have your masters and your bachelor’s degrees and so on. So, you know, there can be an unfoldment when which I don’t know what the exact order would be, but there’s, you know, the sort of the IANA aspect and the bhakti aspect of devotion and, and, you know, the sort of Yogi realization oneness aspect and what they’d all be but, so it’s kind of like not an either or kind of this or that kind of situation.

Nirmala: My sense is, you know, what, any, any experience that at least that I’ve had so far, always just seems like the New Beginning. Like, okay, you know, now what? Because it doesn’t stop nothing, you know, life. Like I said, one of the fundamental qualities of being is this movement, this aliveness. And, you know, it’s very possible. I mean, sometimes even, like, hypothesis hypothesize, you know, like, okay, let’s say, consciousness itself has completely woken up. And all illusion has has, in a sense fallen away, because it’s like, it’s all. It’s all being been seen through so completely, that it’s like my sweet tooth, the whole interest in in illusion has fallen away. It’s just this pure stillness, infinite presence, nothing happening. My sense is that somewhere in there, somewhere within that consciousness, your wants back in or out. Somewhere within that infinite pure stillness, that there’s like, basically a thought something’s going to arise something like, that was fun. Let’s do it again. Yeah. And then the universe pops into existence, again, only this time, you know, gravity works. The opposite, it pushes things apart, you know, you know, it just says, Let’s do it again, on the different, you know, let’s try it all again. And so, I don’t know, when you get even on an individual level, it seems like from a certain place of expansion, there’s really only one way to go, which is to kind of get wrapped up in something again. And from a certain depth, I think that’s, I think that’s why sometimes people have these big openings, big awakenings in the most contracted moments of their life. Because from a place of like, utter unbearable contraction, there, there really is only one direction to go. That it’s like a certain point, it’s like, maybe you can connect a little more, but you can’t do it anymore. And it’s like, sometimes, then when you stop, it’s like, it’s like, it just goes all the way, you know, it drops away completely in that moment in that instant. So who knows? You know, it’s like, what is it again? Is it better to be expanded? Or is it just different? Is it better to be Yanni or just different?

Rick Archer: I’m glad you brought that up. Because towards the end of my interviews, I usually ask people, you know, where do you go from here? You know, how do you have a sense of continuing unfoldment? Or, you know, development or whatever? And some of them say, no, they say, where could I go? It seems like this is it. And, but a lot of them and many of whom I would consider to be very spiritually mature, say, I don’t know where it goes. Continue to lodge Ashanti, for instance, just seems to be unfolding more and more, you know, deeper and deeper into the mystery.

Nirmala: You know, there’s all kinds of new challenges that that you as an individual, or have to face, you know, like, like getting old, you know, yeah, it’s like to save it that you’re done with getting old? Well, I don’t know, you know, and even if you are literally done with getting old, then guess what that means you’re dying. And it’s like, then wow, yeah, and Benoit, who can who can say what, what, you know, what happens after that, especially if there has been a huge realization, and it’s like, maybe the, the doorways that open that depth are much more profound, you know, the possibility that present themselves, you know, I hope that was greeted by a

Rick Archer: little committee, who says, very well done now waiting to see the next assignment.

Nirmala: You know, I hold everything lightly. But there’s that guy. There’s this guy here in Sedona where I live, David Hawkins, who created this scale of consciousness, yeah. Yeah, numerical value. And he just arbitrarily said, zero to 1000. But then, at some point, he explains 1000 is just the highest level of consciousness that the human form can withstand. Interesting. And, you know, he was, you know, he uses a busy part of hold very lightly, but he uses muscle testing to determine things. And he, in one of his later books, he actually talks about how they got curious about it. And they started discovering that when they checked, there actually were beings that went way beyond 1000. They’re just not physical, you know, that we can’t do the walking around on this planet. And in fact, beings that go up to 50,000 that they identified. And you know, it’s interesting because it’s a logarithmic scale.

Rick Archer: So I have friends who actually perceive those beings as clearly as you and I perceive ourselves. And I’m going to be interviewing one anonymously in a month or two. But in the Vedic cosmology, they have what they call 16 columns, which are supposed to be like level of evolution. You know, it starts out with rocks and stuff like that. And humans are supposed to be within like, maybe, I don’t know, four and eight between the greatest saint who ever walked the planet would be eight. But yeah, there’s another eight.

Nirmala: Yeah, I mean, who knows what bats like, beyond all of this beyond, you know what we call Enlightenment? It’s like, Wow, what a what a trip.

Rick Archer: Nice. Yeah. So

Nirmala: check, check with me in a couple of 1000 years. I’ll tell you what it

Rick Archer: will do. Yeah. All right. We can have spiritual arm wrestling or something.

Nirmala: Yeah, there you go. Well, like I said, we’ll be sitting in a bar watching the galaxies collide.

Rick Archer: Yeah, the Restaurant at the End of the Universe, right. That’s a Douglas Adams thing. Writers Guide to the Galaxy. Right. Okay, on that profoundly fruitless note, let’s let’s wrap it up. This has been a joy as I knew it would be a real pleasure. Yeah. Let me just kind of make some concluding you want to make any concluding remarks before I do?

Nirmala: Just this. Thanks. I really appreciate having this time to chat. Good.

Rick Archer: So to those who’ve stayed with us for the last two hours, we’ve been listening to an interview with Nicola who lives in Sedona, as he said, But travels around occasionally and gives sat songs and also has a website. What does it endless?

Nirmala: MF dash Go ahead. I was just gonna say, you know, you were probably going to mention is there’s all kinds of free stuff in there. Their whole books they can download for free and videos and audios and articles. And you know, you could spend hours on there just poems. Yeah. book of poetry that they can download the whole thing for free. There’s also a pointed out because we talked a lot this time about the way our hearts are being discriminates, how true things are by the expansions and contractions. And one of the free downloads on the free ebooks page on my site is part two of my book, Living from the heart. And part two is all about the hearts wisdom. It’s all about how, how we naturally discriminate how true things are, if we listen to our heart.

Rick Archer: Nice, yeah, listen to that when I was last week or so it’s very enjoyable. Yeah. Good. So I’ll be making two in case you driving your car and didn’t have a chance to write that down. I’ll be linking to his nameless site from mine So you’ll see that there. And also, of course, this is an ongoing series. So if you go to BatGap, you’ll see all the other ones archived, and each week, a new one is posted. And so if you’d like to be notified, each time a new interview is posted, you can just sign up for the email newsletter there. It’s just one week email. And if you if you’re listening to this on YouTube, you can just subscribe to the YouTube channel and YouTube will tell you when there’s a new one. It’s also available as a podcast so you can listen to just the audio while you’re riding your horse or whatever. So great, thank you. And thanks to those who are listening. Oh, there’s a Donate button there. I should mention that I don’t like to be crass about it. But it does help to have a regular flow of donations. And there’s a page which explains what I do in them. So thanks to everyone thanks to Nirmala and we’ll see you next time.