Noah Elkrief Transcript

Noah Elkrief Interview

Rick: Welcome to Buddha at the Gas Pump. My name is Rick Archer. Buddha at the Gas Pump is an ongoing series of interviews with spiritually awakening people. I’ve done over 515 of them now and if this is new to you and you’d like to check out previous ones, please go to and look under the past interviews menu. This program, this whole project, is made possible by the support of appreciative listeners and viewers, so if you appreciate it and would like to support it, even in a very modest way, there’s a PayPal button on every page of the site and there’s also a donations page which explains some alternatives to PayPal. My guest today is Noah Elkrief. Noah is an explorer of what is happening in his own experience. This started on the level of mind, and gradually opened to exploring what’s going on in his body, then his soul. This journey has led him to meet, feel, heal, and let go of a tremendous amount of pain. Through this journey, a lot of wisdom and honesty has revealed itself. Noah now shares himself and his insights with others. His website is, what is your website?

Noah: Correct.

Rick: Noah, you’ve been making videos for years, right? When did you first start putting up YouTube videos?

Noah: I made videos from 2012 to 2014 and then stopped for five years and started up again a couple months ago.

Rick: Okay, and we’re going to get into why you stopped and started. And your videos were very popular. You had, what, 119,000 subscribers or something, which is…

Noah: Right now, I have over 200,000 subscribers.

Rick: Wow, so like four times as many as I have. What am I doing wrong? I should give advice on your emotions and stuff. And probably a gazillion views. How many views have you had altogether?

Noah: I have no idea. I don’t know.

Rick: Is that like your profession?

Noah: Something like around 15 million views.

Rick: That’s pretty good. Is that how you support yourself through this

Noah: Well, I was doing one-on-one counseling for many years.

Rick: Alrighty. So, we’re going to get into what prompted you to start making these videos and why you stopped for a number of years and so on, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Let’s go back to, it’s always interesting to find out people who are sort of spiritual seekers or finders or whatever you want to call them, very often have inklings of that even in childhood. They’re sort of things which, if you look back and notice them, you would have kind of guessed this person might eventually get very interested in spiritual development. So, is it like that for you? Was there something when you were even quite young that began to percolate in your experience?

Noah: Well, I didn’t get a chance to have that, because I was raised following an Indian guru.

Rick: Which one?

Noah: I don’t want to say the name. I prefer not to.

Rick: Okay. Your parents were into this guru.

Noah: My father was really into this guru.

Rick: Okay.

Noah: And so, I was raised going to an ashram, chanting, meditating, doing selfless service and things along those lines in most holidays, most vacations growing up. So, I was very into it. I was…

Rick: Was the ashram in the U.S. or some other country?

Noah: Yeah, it was in New York. My father bought a house right next to the ashram so we could go anytime we wanted.

Rick: Okay, I got the guru.

Noah: Yeah, there you go. You got it. Yeah, so I was very into it. I was really giving myself to it, chanting, meditating, and all that stuff. And I thought that I really wanted the truth more than anything else. I wanted to be enlightened from the time I was five or six years old. And it was what I was going to do. I was going to be the next guru, all of that. But in the process of my healing, I discovered I really just wanted my father’s love and I kind of thought that was the way that I was going to get it. So, I deluded myself accidentally.

Rick: But nonetheless, some would consider that to be a pretty wholesome way to spend one’s childhood, immersed in all that spiritual stuff. Do you see that now or do you think it was so?

Noah: Well, there’s two sides to it. So, the beauty of it is, it was really wonderful being around people who were so kind and who were looking at themselves and meditating. It was really amazing to be part of these chanting experiences, to be meditating. It helped me so much growing up meditating. My mind was always functioning really well. I was happy. I was joyous in many ways. So, I was very aware of the positive impact my whole life of being there. But in the process of going through my body, I discovered there was also a lot of drawbacks from being raised following a guru who tells you what the truth is, and tells you where you should go and many, many other things. I could talk for hours about what happens when you follow a guru.

Rick: Well, we have a couple of hours. So, are you implying that, following gurus is in general not a good idea or just maybe certain situations or for certain people or what?

Noah: Yeah, I’d rather be very explicit about it. So, following anyone is very, very useful at some stage along the way, right? That you have no access to your own soul, and you don’t have access to the wisdom that’s already inside of you. So, you need to look outside. And that’s really beautiful when somebody in front of you resonates with you. And when they say something, it hits you, and gives you some movement in a direction that you feel is good for you. But at some point along the way, you realize that when you’re looking outside for the truth, you are simultaneously, energetically putting yourself as smaller and not trusting yourself. When you trust someone else above you, it ultimately gets in the way of you finding yourself. But that doesn’t mean don’t follow a guru. That doesn’t mean don’t follow anyone. It just means at some point, you may discover that it’s not going to get you where you want to go.

Rick: Well, that guru’s famous catchphrase was, “God dwells within you as you.” So…

Noah: The words are often very, very tricky, you know? The words are often very correct and very beautiful, but the energy is something very, very different.

Rick: Yeah, I know what you mean. And there’s a certain kind of group mentality that develops around gurus and people are all sort of, they begin to dress the same way and talk the same way, even similar voice inflections and things like that, and believe the same things, and there’s peer pressure to be this way or that way, and then there’s competition for who can get closer to the guru and who is the most spiritual, and yada, yada, yada.

Noah: Yes, all that and more.

Rick: Right.

Noah: So, I’m very familiar with that from that guru and from going to many others over the course of my life.

Rick: When you look back at all that though, do you feel like, “Ugh, wish I’d had a different traveler?” Do you feel like, “Alright, well, I derived a certain amount of benefit from that for which I’m grateful, and then I moved on and explored other things. So, it had its value.”

Noah: Well, the way I look at things is, how do I say this? So, I chose this, right? So, in my past lives, I had many experiences where I took advantage, where I went back and forth between victim and perpetrator in different ways, and I needed to follow a guru from the time I was born in this life. I literally asked for it in order to bring up some things that I wanted to heal so I could live more for myself.

Rick: Yeah, and  nothing in the relative is perfect, right? And when I think of my upbringing, alcoholic father and mother with mental problems, and just really kind of confused kid, I wouldn’t have minded growing up with a guru. I think it would have been better for me than what I had to go through. Of course, we all go through what we have to go through, but I wouldn’t knock it. It’s like, of course, some gurus are actually abusive in certain ways, and sexually and in other ways, even to young children. So, we have to be careful to sort of not paint with too broad a brush, you know?  To realize that there are differences and distinctions in any category or classification of people

Noah: Yeah, for me, it’s just about, there’s no rule. It’s all about energetically, whether the person, see, the thing is, I’ve been on both sides, right? So, when I put out my book, when I put out my YouTube videos, I said very, very clearly, don’t trust me, don’t believe me, don’t follow me. That’s in the introduction to my book. It’s said many times in my videos. But underneath it, energetically, I’m saying, I know better than you. Follow me, listen to me, trust me, right? And this is a big journey that I’ve had to go on from discovering my unconscious, my shadow power games, my shadow ego, my shadow arrogance. And so, when I speak from that place and somebody is listening, I’m unconsciously putting them down. I’m reinforcing their smallness, their non-trust in themselves, their idea that they are worse than me. And so, you can’t say, like, don’t listen to me, don’t listen to anyone, don’t follow anyone. It’s just, if you resonate with me while I’m coming from that place, there’s a reason. We’re always a perfect match. And if you don’t resonate with me, then we’re also perfectly non-matched, right? So, I don’t have anything against teachers. I have something against following, which is an energy of putting somebody else’s truth above your own.

Rick: Yeah, I like that. Obviously, teachers are valuable. We go through school, we learn mathematics and all the other things we learn from teachers, and if we went in with the attitude, like, I’m not going to listen to anything this teacher says, he’s full of crap, I’m just going to do my own thing, then we’re probably not going to learn very much from him. But if the teacher were heavy-handed and authoritarian and,” shut up and just accept what I say and don’t ask questions” or some such thing, then that wouldn’t be a healthy dynamic.

Noah: Yeah, or even if they’re nice, right? So, I grew up in an institution or schooling where the teachers were nice, but I just was told they know the answers, right? So, unconsciously, I didn’t trust myself that, even two plus two equals four or whatever the case may be, or the earth is round or all these things, that’s not my truth. I didn’t discover it for myself. So, even if what they’re saying is true, if I didn’t discover it for myself, it’s just a belief, which means it’s putting me in my head and taking me out of what my own discovery and genuine honesty is.

Rick: Yeah. There’s a great quote from the Buddha, if I had a couple minutes to interrupt, I could look it up, but I think I can remember it, but basically, he said, don’t believe anything anybody says just because they say it, even if I’m the one who said it. Investigate it with your own understanding, your own judgment, your own insight, just basically don’t take anything on authority, which is not to say don’t listen to me, like I don’t have anything useful to say, but just weigh everything I say in light of your own judgment, your own insight, your own discrimination.

Noah: Yeah, or your own resonance, right? Like, if something hits you, beautiful, that’s your truth, you’ve discovered it, it hit something in you, and if it doesn’t hit, what’s the point?

Rick: Yeah. I think it’s a good way to be, and maybe at a certain level of immaturity, we’re more inclined to just sort of accept everything that someone says hook, line, and sinker, but we kind of grow and after a while, we begin to use our discernment and our discrimination more.

Noah: Yeah, I did it over and over and over and over again, and I thought I learned, and I was doing it in a more subtle way, and I thought I learned, and I was doing it in a more subtle way. So, it’s a big journey to be able to trust yourself more than anything else.

Rick: And actually, subtler and subtler is the way that learning often takes place, especially spiritual learning. We kind of like peel the onion layer by layer by layer.

Noah: Yeah, every time I think something is gone, it’s not.

Rick: Yeah, and what some people do is they throw the baby out with the bath water. They say, all teachers are crap, we don’t need any gurus. Or they make these absolutist judgments, and I think it’s more, that’s an easy cop-out. I think it’s more nuanced than that, and you have to sort of learn how to ride a bicycle, you have to sort of learn how to balance and not go too far this way or too far that way.

Noah: Yeah, and for me, it’s sort of like everything that exists, exists because we asked for it. There’s a reason for it. So, even if I were to tell someone, don’t follow that specific person, it doesn’t mean I would never tell someone that because, so let’s say I have an experience.

Rick: Maybe they should.

Noah: Yeah, let’s say I have an experience with someone, and I clearly, clearly see where they’re coming from is from their wounds, and they’re using other people to try to make themselves feel safer. And then somebody asks me, should I go to them? I’m not going to tell them not to go, right? I’m not going to tell them at all. If it resonates with you, go. I might tell them what I see, if I feel they’re really asking for it, but I won’t even offer that unless I feel they’re pulling it out of me, and I will not tell them not to go because if that’s what resonates, that’s what they need.

Rick: Yeah, I’m in that position myself because I do all these interviews and very often people watch them, and they get interested in this or that person. They start going to their courses and stuff. And I’ve had to take some interviews down because I start hearing some rather unfortunate or unpleasant news of what’s going on in these places. And my feeling is, don’t want to, it’s like a recommendation or a referral.

Noah: I get it.

Rick: Yeah, I don’t want to refer people to someone who they might not realize is going to hurt them in some way if they go there.

Noah: Yeah, it’s completely different in that position. I understand. Yeah, I would also deeply consider taking something down if I felt what you feel.

Rick: Yeah, there’s a responsibility.

Noah: Yeah.

Rick: So, a lot of us as kids, we reach a certain age, and we start rebelling against everything. It’s kind of a natural teenager thing. So, did you reach a certain point at which, you know, you began looking around there in the ashram and think, “What the heck with this?”

Noah: Well, I didn’t have it with the ashram exactly. Like, I was so all in on the ashram my whole life, but in school when I turned 10, I started getting suspended in detentions and drinking and smoking and  just being a wild animal, basically. I was really having a good time at the expense of everyone trying to tell me what to do. And I’m really glad I did that. It was really, it was really, really good for me. I loved it. I loved rebelling. It was quite fun. Yeah. So, I went through that, but ultimately, I discovered when I was 16 that it was harming me- the weed and the alcohol. Through meditation, it hit me in a meditation experience what it was doing to me. And so, when I turned 18, I said, “I’m never going to drink and smoke again,” because I couldn’t stop. When all your friends are doing it, it was like, there’s no chance. So, when I turned 18, all that kind of went behind me.

Rick: Yeah, that was the age at which I had the same realization. I just, I stopped doing all that stuff and I actually dropped all my friends and, I thought, because they weren’t going to stop, and so, I thought, okay, I’m not going to hang around them anymore. I’m going to meditate and see what happens. I’ll get new friends, and I did. It took a few months, but I spent a few months alone walking the dog in the morning and eventually new friends accumulated.

Noah: Yeah, similar. Yeah, same thing.

Rick: So, did you, well, help me out here in terms of the timeline and what you feel is significant.

Noah: Yeah.

Rick: This whole ashram thing, and, just keep telling the story and I’ll have questions and inputs.

Noah: Okay, I can tell you a story. So, when I was 12, 13, that’s when I had my first, like, awakening experience where I could see all of a sudden that my thoughts aren’t true, that everything coming up wasn’t me, wasn’t real, wasn’t true, and having that stereotypical, like, laughing, like, “Oh, my God, it’s so obvious what’s happening.”

Rick: Was that drug-induced or just happened to you?

Noah: No, no, I was at a chant, when I was 12 or 13. And then they started happening a bunch. And fast forward, I was, meditating every day. And when I was 22, after college, I went to the ashram for three months in silence, mostly, just meditating a lot. And I started, I was having these bliss experiences, all day,  or many times a day. And I was thought that it was just about having this all the time, right? Bliss all the time, like, this joy and seeing clearly and whatever all the time. And I gave everything I had to it. Like, I gave everything I had. And I wasn’t listening to music, I wasn’t watching TV. I was just chanting, meditating, like, all the time, no friends, like, I was just, this is what I want.

Rick: Pedal to the metal.

Noah: Yeah, and I kept cutting things out. And at this point in my life, I was really disciplined. My whole life, I was disciplined. It was like, anything I say I’m going to do, I’m going to do it, particularly about, spiritual practices. And at one point, when I was 22, or 23 at this point, one of the books that I read told me that masturbation, if you let go of your semen, you’re letting go of the Kundalini energy that makes you awaken. So, I was like, okay, I’m not going to masturbate ever again. And so, I gave my all to it. And I really tried everything I could. And after a few weeks, I just like, at a breakdown, I just, I couldn’t do it. I just couldn’t stop masturbating. And so, in this breakdown, it was my first breakdown of my life. Like, I never even cried other than happy cries before that. And in this breakdown, I broke open, like something in me hit that I didn’t fail. Like, at first, I felt I failed when I broke, that I couldn’t do it. But then I realized I was trying to control mind with mind. And this is what I was taught my whole life. And so, in that moment, it hit me, I’m not interested in this guru, that she actually doesn’t offer what I’m looking for. And so that’s when everything changed.

Rick: So you were the guru’s successor at that point?

Noah: Yeah, I was still with, I was with that same guru my whole life.

Rick: Right

Noah: Yeah.

Rick: Should we stop teasing people and just name these gurus? Because anybody could figure it out, right?

Noah: You can name, but I don’t.

Rick: So the original guy was Muktananda, and then Guru Maya was his successor. So that’s who we’re referring to here

Noah: So I realized in that moment, it’s not for me. So, I was really, really lucky that I loved masturbating at that time. Because if I didn’t, I would have been stuck maybe forever, or something else would have come up. But that broke the, like the, like curse over me, or the spell. And then I was like, “Okay, what do I do now?”  I had been following her my whole life. This is like deep, deep brainwashing, and indoctrination, right? Like when you’re born into it and giving it every day.

Rick: Or maybe you never met Muktananda, because he died pretty long ago.

Noah: He died a couple of years before I was born.

Rick: Oh, okay, there you go. Yeah, I was in South Falls, we had a TM place next door to them back when he was still alive and walking down the street and stuff. Anyway, keep going, I interrupted you.

Noah: Yeah, so for me, that’s a very, very significant moment. And after that, I went to another teacher, Gangaji, who you probably know.

Rick: I’ve interviewed her.

Noah: And I would just watch YouTube videos all the time, and she just would tell me, “Stop, don’t do anything.” So, I stopped like all my spiritual practices, like all trying, all efforting, all like, I didn’t try to figure out anything, because I saw I couldn’t do it from that breakdown that I had. And after about five months, I went to a week retreat with her. And in one moment, bang, like just the vast majority of my mind disappeared and didn’t come back. And then everything changed after that. So that’s kind of, that’s what led to the initial book writing and YouTube videos.

Rick: Yeah. So how did it feel to stop doing all practices after having done them most of your life?

Noah: It just felt right. It was very easy, it was very, very easy because I just, when you give 100% towards something and it doesn’t work, you have two possible conclusions. I’m screwed up, or what they’re telling me to do is screwed up. And somehow, I was either lucky enough or arrogant enough to just, it just hit, like it hit so clearly, that doesn’t work. And so, when she told me stop, I felt so relaxed. Like I didn’t even try to understand anything she said. I would watch for two or three hours a night. And I didn’t listen, actually, I didn’t even listen to what she said. I would be there and maybe once an hou

Rick: I would have this little moment where something hit me. Like I would just feel a little, or whatever. And I didn’t even try to figure out what it was, what it was doing, nothing, because I was just done with that game. And that did it, that did the work like this, like when you get those hits, the hits do the work, you don’t have to do anything. And I was just really lucky that it was so clear for me.

Rick: Yeah. I would conjecture, don’t know for sure, but that all that spiritual practice you did, actually did have an effect and that that effect, contributed to this thing you underwent five months after stopping the practices.

Noah: Absolutely, absolutely, for sure. It was incredibly helpful in many ways towards that. I don’t argue with that at all, for sure.

Rick: Right.

Noah: Yeah.

Rick: Yeah.

Noah: Yeah.

Rick: And so, okay, so let’s zero in a little bit more on this thing you just said about there was this moment on a retreat with Gangaji where all of a sudden, poof, most of your thoughts went away. Maybe let’s describe that experience a bit more and the significance of it.

Noah: Yeah, sure. So, I was just walking in a field, in like a corn field or wheat field, I don’t know what kind of field it was. And I had been, how do I say this, for many months, maybe even years, I wanted to give myself 100%. Like, I had this idea, that I could wake up or discover who I am or become enlightened or whatever it was, in a moment if I was just willing to give up everything. And I wasn’t willing, and I wanted to be willing so bad. I would go to sleep at night sometimes, and I would just think about girls or think about traveling or something. And I wanted so desperately to stop, but I couldn’t do it. No matter how much I traveled, no matter how many girls I went out with, I just couldn’t stop thinking about them. And I knew it wasn’t going to make me happy. I saw it so clearly, but I just kept thinking about it. And for some reason, in that wheat field, I was just walking around. And then all of a sudden, this just popped into my head: there might not be another moment to be willing to give up everything, like as if I could die today or tomorrow. I don’t know why it came up, but it just popped up. And as soon as it popped up, it was like, boom. And I was like, oh, this is life. This is reality. I had no idea. And it was really, really different than all my other experiences of bliss or awakening or whatever, because those ones were either like you’re in this bliss where this like a live juiciness,  takes you all over. And it’s kind of overwhelming joy. And the awakening ones were more like taking a step back and you could see your mind really clearly was still doing its thing, but you’re kind of laughing at it and it doesn’t have any power. Whereas this was just everything disappeared. Like just everything left, there wasn’t anything to be aware of that was moving. And I just chilled and enjoyed myself. And then later, a thought popped in like, shit, I’m not going to be able to function. I’m not going to be able to work. I’m not going to be able to do anything. And I believed it and it took me over. And then I went to Gangaji in the next Satsang session. I went up to her and I was like, “I lost everything”. And she was like, except this one thing. And it was like, “pooh” and then it, that was that. I could tell a little bit more though. I feel like one thing comes up to share. So, the next five or six months, new identities kept trying to be formed. Like it was,  then I was like, oh, I’m an enlightened guy. And then it was like, oh, I’m a happy guy. Oh, I’m this guy. And like new ones kept trying to sophisticatedly, subtly, sneakily, like form and create something. And sometimes I would catch it in an instant. Sometimes I would catch it weeks later, maybe some of them I’d ever caught at all. And it was a very, very interesting journey to, to let go or to watch something already having to have watched a big part of me be gone. Like I went into work and I’m doing Excel and I’m a consultant and all of a sudden I’m just peaceful, but I’m not getting the same highs that I used to because I just don’t care. It turned out I didn’t like solving problems. I like telling myself I’m really so amazing every time I solve a problem. So, it was just, everything shifted. And many of the things that I like doing, I thought I loved dancing, but I was just dancing just to show people how good of a dancer I am. Like everything I was doing, was just trying to get some like ego high out of it. So, I would mostly just lie there in silence and all of my free time or connect with the trees or something for,  many months until some other sort of force started kicking in.

Rick: I think one thing to note is that there are so many different flavors of awakening and almost every awakening is a shift, it’s not necessarily the ultimate final thing if there is an ultimate final thing. It’s a shift and many of these shifts can feel kind of ultimate and final when they happen, but then it turns out there’s other ones. And obviously, and we’re not just talking about a standard set that everybody goes through because everybody’s different, so each person goes through their own flavors and their own variations according to their own conditioning and makeup. Of course, there are similarities across all people, but I think it’s good to just have that understanding because otherwise people tend to look for some finality, okay, this is it., I’m having what the Buddha had or what so-and-so had or whatever, but if you just kind of have this attitude like, all right, we’re all on different roads and there’s all these mile markers and we keep passing mile markers and the road keeps going and we’ll see what lies ahead, it makes you more sort of accepting and open and easygoing about the whole process.

Noah: Yeah, it does, but at the same time, what’s interesting is that it always feels final, like every time. It’s still, I have to admit, like it’s funny even because it’s a joke, the insanity of it, but I have shifts or letting goes of things all the time and every time I think that’s it, done, never again because what I was aware of left,  at each of these finality moments or big shift moments, you lost everything you were aware of. Like I lost all of the unworthiness I was aware of. I lost all the thoughts I was aware of, but then sure enough, you access a deeper sensitivity that makes you aware of something more deep or more subtle you weren’t previously aware of, you know? So, it feels like everything’s gone because everything you were aware of is gone in a sense.

Rick: You’re just getting a respite, but there’s going to be another one. It’s  like, if you eat, if you really pig out at Thanksgiving, let’s say, and you just eat way more than you should eat, you feel like, oh God, I’ll never want to eat again. This is it. I’m full forever. But of course, obviously later on you get hungry again, you know?

Noah: Yeah, like that. Or the next day you poop, and you think, that’s it, I emptied my system completely, but then there’s another one and another one.

Rick: Yeah. So, it’s helpful to discuss this I think because it helps if we have a realistic understanding of the way the path works, because otherwise you get hung up looking for these final moments or assuming that something is a final moment and then assuming that you’re done and you don’t need to, you know, nothing else is possible and all that stuff. And  in my own experience and in all the hundreds of people I’ve spoken with, I’ve never seen an example of that being true.

Noah: Yeah, and done is a dangerous idea because then you stop listening, you know? Like, for me, particularly in my relationship, but definitely with everybody in my life, they’re my mirrors, right? They’re showing me what I haven’t seen within myself. And if I think that I’m done or I’m whatever, it’s not going to go well in my life, right? It’s so important to realize you don’t know what you don’t know and you can’t see what you can’t see. And everything happening in my life is helping me to see what I don’t see.

Rick: Yeah. Now, there’s certain people that take exception to this line of talk and, they say, “Well, all you have to do is realize that you’re already enlightened and that, this alone is, what you’re seeing, this is it,” and stop all this progressive nonsense about stages and degrees of realization and all. It’s all just what it is. And just realize that and you’re done. There goes the done word again. I mean, what would you say to such a person?

Noah: I would say that’s okay for you to believe that.

Rick: Good luck with that.

Noah: But if they asked me, “What is your perspective?” or whatever, then I would share, well, first of all, the idea of progressing in certain stages is still attached to an ego or an idea of you, right? That is trying to get better. So, there are stages where you are coming closer and closer to living from your natural self, but that doesn’t mean you are progressing, or you are getting better. So, from my perspective, it’s one thing to know who you are, right? To see who you are, and it’s another thing for every cell in your body to live and breathe it.

Rick: Yeah. And yeah, we might be able to say that there’s a – see if you agree with this – we might be able to say that there’s a dimension which doesn’t change or get better. It is what it is. But then there’s the whole range of relative dimensions which by their very nature continue to change and possibly improve, or maybe not, maybe go the other direction and deteriorate. Like, if you play a sport or a musical instrument or something like that, there’s no end to how much you can get better, possibly, if you work at it.

Noah: Yeah, I would say it’s more like, so you have to understand good and bad exists in this realm, in this level, right? Improvement and getting worse or whatever. But it’s about whether you attach that to me or not.

Rick: Yeah.

Noah: Right? Or if you put a value judgment on good and bad, right? So, if I score 50 points a game or if I score two points a game, is scoring 50 better in terms of more worthy and lovable? It’s better in terms of just the rules that we’ve defined as part of the game of basketball, but it doesn’t mean that it’s more worthy or lovable. So, within the context of emotions, which is what the realm that I normally live and breathe in, is that do you have – is your fear more intense or less intense? Do you have fear in more situations or less situations? That’s real, that exists, we have to acknowledge that. But whether you have more or less fear doesn’t have anything to do with your worth or lovability or anything like that.

Rick: Yeah. I’ll give you an example from my experience. For the past couple of years, I’ve been playing a sport called pickleball like six or seven hours a week. And while I’m playing it’s kind of like tennis, only better It’s played on a smaller court with a paddle that’s like a ping pong paddle, but larger and a ball that’s like a wiffle ball. Anyway, when I’m playing it, I do my best to play each point as best I can to win each point and to win each game, I just give it my all. And then as soon as either each point or each game is ended, it’s like, alright, that was fun. We all tap our paddles together and go on to the next one. And it’s like, when I go home that day, I say, “Oh, that was great fun.” I don’t even remember how many games I won or lost or anything else, but throughout the whole process there’s a sort of a level of my life that is just fine and is not added to or subtracted from by what’s happening in the pickleball game. It’s just,  pickleball game is icing on the cake. It’s just an entertainment. It’s a healthy thing to do. And so, it’s just a little example, I suppose, that might illustrate the point.

Noah: Yeah. You’re following your pull in doing the action and the action itself isn’t about, it’s not about the result. It’s about the doing itself.

Rick: Yeah. There’s actually a quote from the Gita here. They say, “You have control over action alone, never over its fruits. Live not for the fruits of action, nor attach yourself to inaction.”

Noah: Beautiful.

Rick: Yeah. Alrighty, so speaking of levels and feeling like you’re finished when you go through some transition and all, I’ve listened to a video of yours where you go through, you explain many, many stages that you went through, progressively deeper, more fundamental stages of unfoldment, which I thought was really quite interesting. So, maybe we can talk about that for a while.

Noah: Yeah, that works. So, where were we?

Rick: Well, yeah, go ahead.

Noah: Yeah, so I was sort of, I was living for five years, let’s say, after I lost my thoughts. I was living for five years in progressively kind of more non-existent, in a sense, like just, I rarely had emotions and when they did show up, I could instantly see it was created by a thought in my mind. And as soon as I saw the thought, I could instantly see like 10 different ways that it wasn’t actually true or real.

Rick: Yeah, you make a lot of videos like that, about that topic.

Noah: Exactly. That was my bread and butter before. So, I would instantly see it’s not true, my emotion would dissolve, and I would come back to my normal sort of playful, peaceful, free, relaxed state. And I was also getting involved in non-duality at the time where I just kind of was more and more disappearing, you could say, and I liked it. I felt more and more connected to everything around me.

Rick: Were you tuning in with any particular non-duality teachers or were you just like,

Noah: I was with, first I was with Adyashanti for a couple years and then Rupert Spira. And so, Adyashanti was really supportive when I was coming into a new way of being, directly after I lost my thoughts. As soon as I lost my thoughts, I didn’t have any pull to listen to Gangaji anymore and Adyashanti showed up. And for a couple years, he was really supportive in me living life from a different place. And then I found Rupert Spira and something hit like, whoa, and I just really loved this more and more. I was no longer seeing, like I was no longer me seeing the umbrella. It was just there seeing happening and they came together, or I wasn’t hearing something. It was just the hearing was happening and there was this beautiful connecting and merging. And I went on that path for a while. I really liked it. And then, as I mentioned in the video, I was working with a little girl and in one moment she told me “I hate myself,” And when she said that something hit my chest, like hard. And when I left her, I noticed I was pushing that sensation down. And when I looked in my head to see what was going on, I couldn’t find a thought. And this was the first time I felt a feeling in my body, but I couldn’t find the thought creating it. So out of desperation, I just said, “Okay, do what you got to do.” And I just broke open and cried a beautiful, beautiful, deep cry. And in this cry, I loved it more than maybe anything else I’ve ever felt.

Rick: So, do you think that you had somehow, either because of a certain stage of your development or because of your focus on non-dual teachings, that you had somehow become disembodied or,  maybe indulged in some spiritual bypassing or something?

Noah: Well, I could say my whole life was one big spiritual bypass, sure, up to that point. But spiritual bypass is one word for it. I would call it more disassociation, right? So, my whole life, I was taught, told, right, directed, “You are not your body.” So, what happens to a child when they’re told from the time they’re born, “You’re not your body.” Plus, I had a lot of traumas in my early childhood, physical traumas, where I disassociated, I couldn’t handle them. So, I left my body, went to my head, and I never felt again. And so naturally, when someone’s scared to feel their emotions, they’re pulled into things that are like meditation and non-duality, because they tell you, you don’t have to feel anything. Or if you do have to feel, you’re so far away from it that you don’t actually have to feel the intensity of it. So, it was a perfect match, me and non-duality, me, and meditation. Yeah. So, in this moment that I felt when I broke open to this cry to my heart, it was the most juicy, joyous, beautiful, touching, connected experience I ever had in my life. And I was like, “What the fuck?” I’ve been trying to get away from emotions throughout my whole life, whether it’s through all the meditation or the teachers or my looking to my mind to see what thoughts are creating my emotions, I could sense in that moment, it was all coming from a very deep underlying fear of feeling. So, in that moment, and in the coming hours and days, I was like, “No, enough. I’m done with this game. I want to feel every possible thing. I want to feel everything that everyone told me I shouldn’t feel, everything that everyone told me is a negative emotion, is painful.” And I freaking went for it hard, and perhaps way too hard. Way too hard.

Rick: Natural born extremist, right?

Noah: Yes. And that’s how I lived my life. Yeah. So, I just went for it. I was literally looking for every bit of emotional pain I could find. And even if I had a little feeling, I was like, “Let’s make this bigger. Let’s see how we can go deeper into it. How do I feel it full on?” And because I was so disassociated, because I spent so many years avoiding emotions, it was really hard to even find them and feel them, really hard. And I spent years on my own because I didn’t know anyone who was doing this, like trying to feel emotion and pain at the time. And I spent years until finally, after two or three years, something broke open in me. And it was progressively, like very small, like slowly but surely feeling more and more emotion. But then in one moment, about three years ago, I broke open like so unbelievably deeply I was screwed after that. Like then shit hit the fan and it was like, “Now you can’t get away from it. You’re just going to have to feel absolutely everything.” And I can pause there if you have any questions. Otherwise,

Rick: Well, just a little comment, which is that there seems to be a progression. Remember how Adya used to talk about, or maybe still does, the progression from head to heart to gut? It seems like you’re going through this progression in what you’re describing. You’re all in your head, and so you’re intellectualizing away your emotions. And then you had this experience with a little girl and next thing you know, you’re in your heart and you’re really diving into it and you’re processing all this stuff. And then that broke through. And now I’m sure there’s going to be more in this story, but it seems like you’re following that trajectory.

Noah: Yeah, I would say.  I don’t know what his journey is. I can’t comment on it. But one way of viewing it is like the chakra system, right? Like that all your centers, like I’ve had to do a lot of work on my throat, my chest, my solar plexus, my gut, my balls, right? And I’m not doing it any particular order, it seems. It’s just whatever feeling shows up in a given moment, I try to be as honest with myself as possible about it, explore it, feel it, and let’s see what happens. And so, it’s kind of this zigzag all over the place thing that works out as things opening up to different centers of experience, different centers of viewing and truth and yeah, like that. So, um…

Rick: Yeah, I don’t think they’re necessarily strictly sequential.

Noah: Yeah, I will say that.

Rick: Although there might be an overall sequentialness, if that’s a word, but…

Noah: I see different people going in different order. Some people fall back from the bottom up, you know? Everyone has different centers that are naturally more open than others.

Rick: And most people, like you say, it moves up and down and all around, as different things are needed to be dealt with.

Noah: It doesn’t have to go in order, but I will say that my root has been the thing I was too scared to go to. I needed to open my heart before I could go to my root because my root is where my power is or one of the sources of like this deep, primal power. And I was deeply afraid to go there until I felt I was connected enough to my heart because when the root isn’t connected to the heart, then some not nice things happen sometimes. And so…

Rick: In other words, there could be power without compassion or something.

Noah: Yeah, when the power is not connected to the heart and it’s not clean, like you haven’t undone all the shadows yet, it’s a dangerous game. So, there was something in me that always Knew, stay with the heart, stay with the heart, stay with the heart, like before you go other places.

Rick: That’s good.

Noah: Because I don’t want to do what I’ve done in past lives and everything.

Rick: Yeah, and what some people are doing in current lives. That’s very wise.

Noah: Yeah, I was lucky in that way. So, where was I?

Rick: Well, just off. Go ahead, if you’re ready, go ahead.

Noah: Yeah, so about three years ago, I opened up to past lives and I had no idea what the hell I was doing, like no reference point at all. And just every day, just screaming, crying.

Rick: And it’s not like you tried to, it’s not like, “I think I’m getting into past lives now. It’s like, it just started happening, “right.

Noah: No, it was… So, I was at a retreat with someone and it was a silent retreat, so there was no discussion of past lives or anything. And all of a sudden, I’m in my cabin and bang, my eyes are closed, I’m just chilling. And then all of a sudden, I’m in a war and I’m seeing everything and I’m screaming and like,  everything from my friends dying to me killing to my fear, like it’s so, so detailed. And the smell-

Rick: Was Noah actually screaming in the cabin?

Noah: I was, after 20, 30 minutes, I was like, I need to record this. So, I actually put on a recorder and I started speaking what I was seeing. I said to my parents afterwards, they were like, that deeply disturbed me. So, yeah, so that happened just out of nowhere in a moment.

Rick: And you went through a whole bunch of those, right? Different lives.

Noah: Well, yeah, hundreds and hundreds of them. But what happened then the next day, I was doing what I always do. I was interacting with the retreat owner, and I noticed I was afraid while talking to him, like I was playing small. And so, I do what I normally do and I look like, what’s going on here? And normally I would see something from my childhood or teen years or whatever, where somebody did something to me or something happened and I didn’t process it. And I would undo it and I would feel better. But this time when I looked at it, all of a sudden, I watched myself stabbing somebody in the chest in a past life. And I was like, whoa. And when you watch yourself kill someone, it’s like the most intensely shitty thing ever. It’s just so unbelievably horrible. And in the moment when you’re at war or you’re in a violent interaction, you don’t have the space and freedom to feel your emotions. You’re so in the fight or flight that you have no choice but to bury that emotion and pretend it’s not there. So, once I felt that, I kept myself small when I was interacting with him because I didn’t want a confrontation, because I wanted to avoid the pain of having to hurt him. And so, I undid that and then I come back and all of a sudden, I’m comfortable in the conversation. And then it just went on and on like this and like everything, everything is all of a sudden taking me back to past lives instead of my childhood or whatever.

Rick: Yeah. It’s interesting that you could go through that whole little process right in the middle of a conversation.

Noah: Oh, I didn’t. I left.

Rick: Oh, you went away and came back.

Noah: Yeah, I left. It usually takes me, I mean, in that time, five, 10 minutes or something like that. Yeah, no, in the middle of the conversation would be a disaster.

Rick: Okay. Yeah. I thought it was like, all right, past life, stab the guy. Okay. Okay.

Noah: the way, my life, I do it with my partner or with friends, because we process in front of each other because it’s okay. But in a normal society thing, no, I wouldn’t do it.

Rick: if people are listening to this and have any questions about this whole past life thing or anything else, feel free to submit a question. But –

Noah: I know it sounds crazy.

Rick: No, it doesn’t sound crazy. I take it in stride. It makes total sense to me. I find it interesting that your experiences of it have been so vivid and clear. I’ve all my years of spiritual practice and whatnot have had a few little things, but nothing like what you’re describing. But again, we’re all wired differently. I had a war thing where I was, it was more like a dream, where I was running along a beach at night and there were bombers lumbering overhead and I was in a panic running for my life and then I kind of woke up out of this sleep of this dream I had been having, feeling a huge relief and I thought, wow, that must have been a past life. But that’s about the extent of the kinds of things I’ve had.

Noah: Yeah. I mean, it’s not necessary for everyone, right? This is just happens to be- nothing starts in this life, right? Nothing starts here. But you don’t have to find the root. So, for example, if I’m feeling fear now, one way to do it, just let out what’s here now. Maybe that gets rid of a hundred percent of what that thing is. Maybe I have to go to like, when I was two, when my mom yelled at me and that does it. And that’s the root seemingly in this life. Or maybe I have to go to when I was in the womb and that was actually her fear and not mine. And I have to give it back to her. Or maybe I have to go to a past life. But even if I go back to a past life hundreds of years ago, maybe it started thousands of years ago. Like you don’t have to go to the first one in order for it to be undone, but different emotions require different solutions, you could say.

Rick: So, what is it that undoes it? Let’s say you go back, and you had that experience of stabbing a guy, just the recognition or the re-experiencing of that event helped.

Noah: One of the simplest ways and not the only way, one of the simplest ways is just to feel, right? And that was the initial journey that I was on was just to feel what couldn’t be felt. So, the reason why the emotions stay with us and carry as karma is because you couldn’t feel it. It was just too intense. The same if you think about a baby, right? Or a child who gets scared or is yelled at, that’s way too intense of an emotion for them to feel. So, they disassociate and it stays in their body. But the same thing happens when we’re adults, when something is a really intense experience. So, the thing is now is when we feel safe enough within our experience here and now, that’s when these deeply painful, intense experiences can arise to be felt, right? And so, all I have to do is just to feel really, really intensely shitty, right? Like just to feel intense pain. And sometimes it’s massively sharp and sometimes it’s just massively big, or massively Heavy, or like you have to scream or whatever. It takes various forms, but one of the ways, the simplest thing to look at in one sense is to just feel what you were too scared or incapable to feel.

Rick: When you’re feeling these things, is there usually an event associated with it, like past life type event? Or sometimes is it just a feeling without any rationale for it?

Noah: Yeah, I think it took me a long time to let go of trying to find what created it. I got sort of like hooked on, attached to, addicted to finding what created it. So, I thought that that was the way to bring it up. I also wanted to understand it. I thought I needed to. I was very, very attached to it. And the last year or so, I don’t have to do that very often. When a feeling comes, I can just invite the fullness of the experience and feel it without seeing anything of what created it or why it happened in the first place. Sometimes I still do, maybe 30% of the time, it’s just I see it, or I hear a sound like, “Stop doing this to me,” or “Why?” or whatever, and it’s just a voice and I don’t need to look at it or anything. I don’t care. I just have to feel what I have to feel.

Rick: Were all these past life experiences negative or did you also experience some beautiful past life memories from spiritual settings or whatever?

Noah: Yeah, well, the vast, vast majority of them are horrible. It’s just alternating.

Rick: Maybe because those are the ones that create the deep impressions, maybe.

Noah: Exactly. I’m finding them through pain. So, when I’m feeling pain now or uncomfortable now, I’m like, “Whoop, where did it come from?” So, the only ones that are nice is when something triggers it like a sound. So, the other day I was at a festival, and someone was playing the drum, and all of a sudden, I’m in a drum circle in a past life. And it’s just such a deeply beautiful, sacred, amazing experience. So sometimes if it’s music or nature or a person, my partner, a few weeks after, maybe a month, month or two after this opened into past lives, and I couldn’t talk about it with anyone. I didn’t know what I was doing. I see this girl across the room. I was living in Bali at the time. And something just said, “Go to her now.” So, I run across the room, jump over a couch, sit down.

Rick: And she goes, “Ah!”

Noah: Exactly. But then we settled, and I was like, “How are you?” Something. And I said, “What do you do?” And she said, “I’m a past life therapist.”

Rick: I’ll be darned.

Noah: And I was like, “Are you fucking kidding me?” And so, we started spending time together. And the next day when we went out on a date, I saw a life together where we were together like the whole life. And it was beautiful. So, I instantly tapped into the love and safety and beauty of our connection from that life. And at that point, that was the first time that I had a nice experience. But it happens sometimes when I meet people, I feel something beautiful, a sibling, an experience, or something that we had together. But it’s not the majority by any means at all.

Rick: Okay. Is that the girl that you’re still with?

Noah: Yeah, still with her.

Rick: Great. Match made in heaven, so to speak. One thing I found, you said about 10-15 minutes ago that I thought was interesting, was you made some comment about something about how you had a certain habit pattern that had gone across multiple lifetimes and you didn’t want to commit the same habit in this lifetime. So, you were holding back, maybe it was the thing about stabbing the guy in the chest or something, so you were holding back in a certain way so as not to –

Noah: That was about the heart and the power, right?

Rick: Yeah, yeah. I think that was it. So, maybe you could say a few words about how past lives might not only be a repository of stresses and impressions that need to be healed, but also how we go about learning from life to life and carry whatever wisdom we’ve accrued in a particular life into subsequent lives.

Noah: Yeah. Give me a second. Yeah, so what I am, what you are is a soul, right? And –

Rick: Maybe you could tell us what a soul is while you’re at it.

Noah: Okay. We all come from the same place. We are all made of the same thing. And at some point, we were all birthed as a soul. So, we come from this infinite oneness where there is just one consciousness, one everything, and then our individual consciousness is born, is birthed. And from that birth, we each have long journeys, different lengths of time for different ones of us. And part of that journey is here on Earth. And what happens as a soul, for me, and I don’t want to talk about other souls because there may be different types who have different journeys and different intentions, but for me, I come here to create in the physical. So, I can be other places. I can be outside of Earth as a soul in the non-physical, but ultimately, I came down here to experience what’s possible in the denseness of energy that creates the physical. So, that’s the emotion, that’s the beauty, that’s the connecting with outside physical, creating something physical, like there’s the five senses. I came here for this. But in order for me to experience that in its fullness, I have to undo, let go of the pain that has been with me throughout a long, long time. And it’s a beautiful, beautiful journey. And there are many themes, but the biggest theme for my history is the perpetrator-victim theme. So, it’s in this life, is the first life I have the opportunity to not be a perpetrator or a victim. It’s the first time I have the chance to actually live from my heart. I can only live from my heart if I feel safe. Safety is the prerequisite to live from the heart because if I don’t feel safe, I have to go into fight or flight. And then I’m either a perpetrator winning that or a victim losing that. And so, I come in with this massively strong intention for every cell of my body to be heart-centered, heart-based, love being. And in order for me to do that, I want to undo all these themes and tendencies to be a perpetrator or a victim. And I have both of them in equalness. I feel incredibly small and worthless piece of shit, the same that I feel like the biggest, best, most powerful human being that you ever met. And I’m simultaneously meeting both of them and saying, what do I need to do to let go of you? I’m not sure if that answers the question or not.

Rick: I have follow-ups, but that’s a good part of it.

Noah: Okay.

Rick: Yeah. So, I presume that thing you said about you could be a being in some kind of otherworldly, non-earthly realm or something like that, you mean not necessarily during this life because you’re here, but in other lives and other incarnate.

Noah: Other times before I came to earth in between when I’m here, right? We have a choice always. So, we chose to come here for a reason.

Rick: It’s probably true of all of us, don’t you think?

Noah: Yeah.

Rick: I mean, if you’re here.

Noah: I can say that for sure from my experience, I literally watched myself choose and saw how I chose and everything.

Rick: You remember that?

Noah: Yeah. And so, I can say that my soul did that. I don’t want to speak for yours. And I know why I came here. I don’t know why you did. I can only speak for my own experience.

Rick: Yeah, no, that’s good. Do you remember actually conversing with some council of advisors or some such thing prior to coming to this life?

Noah: Yeah.

Rick: Can you tell us a little bit about that just for fun?

Noah: Yeah. I had this experience maybe six months, eight months ago, something like that, where it’s just all of a sudden, I’m watching this screen. And it’s kind of like an iPad or an iPhone, how sometimes if you zoom out, you can see multiple screens. And I could see millions of screens all at once somehow. And I’m seeing all the potential parents that I could have. And somehow when I’m looking at them all at once in no time at all, I know what their themes are. I know what their wounds are, what their beauty is. I know everything without someone telling it to me. Like I just see it and know it all at the same time. And then I chose my parents from this. And it’s so beautiful to see yourself choose it. Because it’s like, any idea you have, why did that happen to me? Or they shouldn’t have done that. It’s just like, I chose it. And I have that all the time with isolated experiences, right? Where I see once I see it clearly, I can literally connect to when my soul asked for that experience. But to see it holistically of when I chose these parents and everything that I kind of mostly knew they would do. It’s deeply relaxing and empowering,  because I’m not a victim, I chose it.

Rick: You may not want to answer this because you want to speak from your own experience. But do you feel like people who are born to drug addict parents or people who like in Bermuda or the Bahamas who just got hit by that hurricane and all their homes were destroyed, do you feel like everybody chooses everything or what?

Noah: Well, I can say that all the worst things I’ve ever gone through, I chose, right? That I’ve done, like I said before about perpetrator victim, this is one of the big themes of being a human being. How many people have I killed? How many people have I raped? How many people have I robbed in these past lives? So, and equally, I’ve had all the opposite happen to me. And it’s horrible, right? It’s so painful, it’s so shitty. And to feel like a victim of it adds another layer of shittiness on top of it. And so when something-

Rick: In other words, a victim meaning, “Oh, poor me, why did this happen to me?” The universe is meaningless and cruel. Or if God exists, God’s like not a very nice guy, that kind of thing.

Noah: Right. So, in this life, I don’t have the intensely pain. I have some, but I don’t want to go into it. But let’s say just the generally not nice things, like someone hits your car or someone yells at you or fires you or whatever. Every time something happens or I get hurt or something physical happens, every single time something happens to me that my automatic reaction is, “This is shitty or bad, or why did it happen to me?” My instant response to that is, “Why did this happen? Why?” And then I luckily, like over time, as my sensitivity grew, I can literally see why. And when I see why, I can undo it so it doesn’t keep happening. Because if I don’t undo it, it’s going to keep happening and it’s going to get worse every time or progressively over time until I get the lesson. So, my job or my intention is to get lessons as easily and quickly as painless as possible. So, I listen very, very acutely so that I can live easily.

Rick: Yeah. I like this line of thinking. For me, it makes, things make a lot more sense when you kind of see it this way.

Noah: Everything. –

Rick: Yeah. It can be used in a rather heartless way. I mean, people can say, “Oh, you have cancer? Well, you must deserve it,” you know?

Noah: But you see, like that, I would love to speak about that for a moment because it’s something so, so important. Anytime we only identify with one level of experience, we’re screwed. And that exists, and let’s say the primary two is like soul-level truth and emotional experience. So, let’s say somebody is fired or broken up with, I won’t use a more intense example in this moment, right? I can see exactly why it happened to them. I can see the wound they have. I can see why they asked for it. I can see everything about it.

Rick: You can? You actually cognize that about other people’s lives?

Noah: It depends, but let’s just say that I can in a particular moment. Sometimes I can, sometimes I can’t. It depends how they’re opening up to me and what I can sense in the moment. But let’s say that I can sense it in a given moment. Then, if I only go there, right? Then I’m like, I’m not a human being. I’m completely absent from my heart. So, when I’m hearing them, I’m like, “I hear you, and I feel you, and maybe I cry. Maybe I’m there with them joining in on their emotional experience because I understand it feels horrible, and it’s not nice, and I’m sorry that it happened to you. And at the same time, I’m holding the truth of, “Whenever you’re ready, we can look at why it happened to you, so it doesn’t again, and so, you can move through this more powerfully and free.”

Rick: That’s good.

Noah: So, it’s really dangerous and shitty when people meet us from only one level of experience. So, if they only, like, everything happens for the best, or you ask for this, like, that’s true, and it’s also bullshit if you only go there. And at the same time, if you only meet from the heart, and you only meet from your emotional experience, but don’t understand the higher wisdom, then you’re going to get stuck in this victim and drama of the pain. So, one of the hard and important things, is to be able to hold both of them at the same time that are seemingly paradoxical, but are also very, very both true and connected and not paradoxical at all.

Rick: I really like that. This fall at the Science and Non-Duality Conference, I’m going to give a talk on this very point, which is that knowledge and experience are different at different levels of consciousness or different levels of reality, and if you lock into any one of them to the exclusion of the others, it’s a lopsided view. So, you have to just sort of take this broad perspective that incorporates or encompasses all the different levels of reality, even though they might be some, they might appear paradoxically opposed to one another, but the larger wholeness can comfortably do that. It can comfortably subsume or incorporate all the diversities that exist in creation.

Noah: Yeah, exactly. Exactly. We’re human beings, right? We’re human beings. I’m a soul and I’m a human being, and while I’m a human being, I want to feel you and hear you and see you and connect to your heart and hold you and whatever else that gets pulled out of me, and at the same time, I know why it’s happening, and that’s beautiful. So, this is happening for you, because if I only go there, I don’t view you as a victim, right? I’m not going to view you as a victim. I will feel your pain with you and have compassion and connect with you in it, but you are never, ever a victim.

Rick: Yeah. A few questions came in, which we should probably ask. Here’s one that’s relevant to what we’ve been saying, and you’ve pretty much answered this, but maybe you want to just say a little bit more. This is Patricia Harder, not sure where she’s from, is asking, “Every past life experience I have heard is about something negative or violent. Shouldn’t past lives also be joyful? Sounds like our soul is doomed to total suffering.”

Noah: How do I respond to that? Of course, in our past lives, there were many joyous moments. There was many beautiful moments of connection and play and everything else that we have here and now, and for me, I want to experience those now. I’m only going back in time so that I can experience something beautiful now. I have no reason or intention to go to a past life to experience the memory of joy and feel some of it in my system. If I want to feel joy, I will open up to it right here, right now with what’s going on in this moment. If it’s spontaneously something here and now triggers that, okay, beautiful, and I don’t care. Here and now, if something triggers pain and I happen to see that it comes from a past life, okay, I will look at it also, I don’t care. In the past of human history, there also has been a lot of pain, perhaps a very disproportionate amount when you talk about the level of sensitivity that I’m talking about. Maybe I’ll say something about that for a moment. Until I was, I don’t know, five years ago, I thought I was happy my whole life. I thought I was just a joyous little kid all the time. What happens is as you lose more and more layers of suffering, you discover deeper and deeper, more and more subtle layers of suffering. In what seems like the most amazing life in the world, the kid who smiles all the time, gets the girls, has friends, is smart, all that, it seems like he’s a happy person, but underneath there’s a tremendous amount of fear, pain, and unworthiness. When I go to past life, I’m not just seeing this surface of two people playing together, I’m feeling what’s going on in that moment to a degree that I wasn’t aware of at the time. That means maybe on the surface it looked nice, but underneath it, I felt deeply, deeply afraid of my father or the people around me, and I wasn’t safe. The future, from my perspective, from my experience, the here and now and moving forward, is more and more beautiful because there’s more and more consciousness being brought to pain.

Rick: Well, this is a good segue into the next question that came in from Siguna Mueller from Austria. She asks, “You mentioned emotions. Any recommendations for those experiencing physical pain? For years I have been following the pathway of negation, ‘I am not the body,’ but it turned out difficult to ignore physical sensations themselves. Lately, it has been dawning on me that what I have been wanting is oblivion and unreality, so I have become interested in actually knowing the physical pain. I have been trying to lovingly connect to it and get to know it, what it wants, where and how it is experienced, etc. I have been weeping, curious, and everything else, but medical conditions seem to be getting worse. Any suggestions?”

Noah: Yeah, I understand that experience very, very well, and that’s one of the traps of non-duality is when you say you’re not your body or just be aware of it, the physical body requires often a lot, lot more than that for it to heal. And sometimes when we just are aware of it and watching it, we’re distancing from it, which is treating it unkindly. And so, when something arises, like you said, a pain, the first step is you want to have compassion towards it. And sometimes it’s really, really difficult to have honest compassion towards what happens in our physical body, because when we were young throughout our whole life, we didn’t get much gentle compassion to our bodies or gentle touch. So, the first step is definitely that curiosity and compassion and to drop into that deeper and deeper. But I would also say that the other way to go about it is to explore the emotional cause of it. And one way you can do that is by asking the pain, like, “What do you want to tell me? What do you want to say? Is there anything I can do for you? When did you start?” So, you can go there. You can also go to a body worker. Maybe there’s an energetic block and they can help. Or you can look at books that talk about what emotions cause what physical symptoms in your body. I know one called metaphysical anatomy that sometimes  I refer to when I can’t intuitively detect what’s causing what. But it’s really frustrating sometimes working with the body when you can’t figure out what’s causing this pain. And that happens to me too. Sometimes when there’s physical pain, I can just go bang, bang, bang, undo. And I’m like, “Yeah.” And sometimes it takes years, and I still can’t find the source of it. And I’m really sorry if you can’t. I know that’s really painful.

Rick: Yeah, I’ve known Siguna for a number of years through email correspondence and she’s really had some difficult physical conditions and I really hope she can find a solution to those.

Noah: Yeah, it’s painful.

Rick: Yeah. Here’s a question that came in from Andrew McMillan in the UK. “Does Noah see himself having done spiritual work or meditation in his past lives? And if so, does he think that a certain amount of spiritual work in past lives is necessary or I might add, advantageous to awaken in this lifetime?”

Noah: Um, yes, I’ve seen many lives in spirituality. That’s the first answer. As nuns, as monk, as imam, as like a follower of gurus, as witch, many, many different types. And all of them have, what I am in this life and what I’m aware of and what I see in this life, all is based on the foundations. I’m picking up where I left off from all of those experiences. So, I come in with the sort of mental clarity or stillness of a monk in some sense, but I also come in with a lot of disassociation and detachment from my body because the vast majority of my spirituality was not about emotions in the body. So, is it required? I can absolutely not say anything about what’s required or not because different people have different journeys. There are younger souls and older souls. There are different people, like there are souls that are made differently. Sometimes I meet young people who didn’t do any spirituality. Maybe they are surfer, or they’ve been a lot in nature and they’re just so deeply being themselves. I’m like, “How the hell did you do that?” Maybe they had past lives where they did it. Maybe they’re just a different type of soul that I’m not. So, I don’t know that, well, I cannot say whether you need this or not, but certainly whatever we have in past lives contributes and we build off of that in this life, both the pain of what happened and the beauty.

Rick: Yeah. Okay, sounds good. Andrew also wondered what your opinion is of free will. I know that some teachers emphasize that we don’t have it, that there isn’t any such thing. The impression that we do have free will is just sort of an illusion, but what’s your take on it?

Noah: Well, I used to have that perspective so unbelievably deeply. Like, I was 1 million percent sure. I made videos about it. I told my clients about it, because I was, my only realm of knowing and experience was my head. So, I thought I was my mind and then I see I’m not my mind and mind has absolutely no free will. That’s very, very clear and obvious because everything that comes in through the mind is built off of a program from the past, you know? So, everything that goes through your mind is a program. It came from something in this life, a past life, your parents, your ancestors, whatever. And so if the only voice you have in your head or the only voice you have access to is thoughts, then there’s absolutely no free will for you. But, nobody only has access to that. It’s a question of how much access you have to your soul because as a soul, there is only free will. Everything that you get is what you asked for, understand? Including the thoughts and programs that are in your head. So, if you only know your mind and you seem to be like going in circles and not knowing what you’re doing and creating your own suffering, but all of that is part of a larger game that your soul is playing that asks for this in order to move forward into more joy and love.

Rick: Yeah. some teachers emphasize that there is no, ultimately no personal self. And when I hear the word “soul,” I associate it with some deep level of our personal identity, that there is a personal self if we want to call it that, which, actually is the thing that goes from life to life. The Hindus call it the jiva. And they then conclude from their conclusion that there is no personal self, that you couldn’t have free will because that implies a you to make choices. And you also couldn’t reincarnate because that implies a you that could reincarnate. Tony Parsons argues that line of thinking. But in any case, what’s your spin on that line of thinking?

Noah: It’s just identifying with one level. That’s true and it’s not true, right? Like, am I looking at a screen? Yes and no. I’m completely fine with somebody viewing it that way, but they’re simultaneously negating another way to view it, another level of viewing. And did I, for me, I chose to come here not to identify as nobody because why the hell would I do that? Right? So, everyone has the right to choose what level of identification that they choose to live from, even if you think you have no choice. And so that’s fine.

Rick: Yeah. I really appreciate your both/and way of looking at things. I think it’s great that you’re able to sort of say, “Yeah, I see that. That’s true, but also this,”  which is different than this other thing, which is true.

Noah: It took having a serious girlfriend to get that one. [Laughter] Because it took me time to be like, “You’re wrong! What do you mean?” and like that, you know? Because when you’re in a serious relationship where it’s deep, like, where you’re being asked within yourself and from the other to commit to the depth of open love all the time, then whenever something comes up in the way, you better look at it. And so, so much of my humility or my being able to see multiple perspectives at the same time came from my partner being the exact opposite of me in every way.

Rick: That’s great. Good. Okay, so I’m at a momentary hiatus here in terms of questions coming to mind, but what are some things that you would like to talk about that we haven’t touched upon yet that are important to you?

Noah: Hold on a moment. Yeah, I think something that’s important to me is that there is no path and there is no destination. Like, that it’s all about meeting this moment now and feeling what resonates, right? So, it’s like, I’m not trying to get somewhere, and I have no idea how to get where I’m not, don’t know where I’m going, right? And I’m just as lost in a sense as everybody else in that I only know what comes up now, right? So, if I’m here now, maybe I feel the pull to eat this or go there or do that. Or maybe if some pain arises, I feel the pull to explore it and meet it. And so, I don’t have like any, everyone should do this or do that. My invitation always is just to try to meet this moment as honestly and as genuinely as possible. And one of the big parts within that is our relationship to emotions, our relationship to pain, because it’s easy to follow your pulls to do something. It’s very hard to meet the pain that arises within us because it’s much easier to escape in one form or another. And I understand that I still escape sometimes, and we all need that. That’s why the tool of escape was given to us. But emotions, I feel like saying one thing about emotions, emotions are so programmed into us as unlovable, bad, too intense, can’t handle it, not accepted in society. And they’re beautiful, and they’re lovable and they’re not signs of unworthiness. They’re not signs. We’re not enlightened. They’re not signs of anything. They’re just a part of experience. And I just love to invite people to one, go there, experience them. And two, don’t just dive in unless that’s what you feel. Sometimes there’s no need to feel them at all because they’re not yours and you don’t have to. You can give them back to your ancestors, your parents, to society, and you don’t need to feel it. So, it’s this beautiful balance between like, okay, I don’t want to run away from them. I don’t want to view them as like any signs of weakness or stupidity. But at the same time, I’m not going to unnecessarily try to feel and dive into every emotion that comes my way. Because if I do, my life isn’t going to work and it’s going to be very unenjoyable. You can give back a lot. You can give back to where it came from. When an emotion comes, we have to use our own discernment and our own intuition about what’s the wisest way to deal with this right now. And am I being honest if I’m going this way? Or am I just trying to not feel?

Rick: That’s interesting. So here too, there’s a balance thing. We’ve talked about balance before between just totally indulging in the emotion and trying to feel every little thing, or completely disassociating yourself from emotion and trying to hang out in some transcendent state that emotion can’t touch. But you’re saying that there’s sort of a balance thing and maybe some need to be felt more deeply, some could perhaps be, as you say, tossed back to the ancestors, and there’s no sort of pat formula for how every single one should be dealt with. You kind of have to discern or discriminate each time.

Noah: Yeah, yeah. And that’s a journey. For me, I needed so deeply to feel everything for a while, right? Because I was so scared of them, and I had so many associations that I’m stupid, weak, non-masculine, non-enlightened, not perfect, like so many ideas, or it’s dangerous, right? If I had fear or anger as a child, I’ll be yelled at or hit or whatever, right? So, there’s so many deep associations with why we want to avoid and run away from emotions. So, in some way, you have to stop fearing emotions in order to know that you’re telling the truth when you say, “I don’t need to go into this one right now.” Right? Because as long as you have that deep, subtle, unconscious fear of emotions, you never really know if you’re avoiding emotions or you intuitively aren’t going there right now, because you choose to identify somewhere else. And I went very far and deep into pain where I was just crying all day, every day, from the morning I woke up to the moment I went to sleep, and sometimes couldn’t sleep at night, screaming, crying, shaking, for a long time. And I thought I was doing the right thing. I was trying to be honest. I was trying to meet what comes. I was trying to not run away. And it took a lot for me to realize, “Wait a second. You don’t need to do this, actually.” You know?

Rick: It’s interesting that you had the choice to do it. I don’t think I could do that if I wanted to. –

Noah: It took a long time to get to the place where I could do that.

Rick: Oh, okay.

Noah: It took a long time. Years.

Rick: I mean, I kind of feel like I’m numb,  compared to you. Because when I hear you say that, I think, “Geez, I must really be shut down. I could never feel anything that much.”

Noah: But that’s the point, is that the first three years, I was trying so hard to feel, and I would feel something once every two weeks.

Rick: Ah, I see.

Noah: And once every week. I was trying so hard.

Rick: You were just trying to focus in on it.

Noah: And then maybe I could feel once a day after three years. And it wasn’t even so intense at all. And then, bang, the floodgates open. And all of a sudden, I’m feeling way, way too much. Way too much.

Rick: Better watch out for what you ask for, right? –

Noah: Exactly. But eventually, I realized, “I’m glad I went through that.” But in the moment, sometimes you’re like, “Shit. I can’t handle this.” And I just eat a Ben and Jerry’s every day. Just a huge one. Because I have no other way out. Sometimes it’s so intense. You’re like, “What the hell? That’s the only thing at my disposal. Sex, drugs, or ice cream.” And I choose ice cream and cookies.

Rick: Well you didn’t get fat.

Noah: I didn’t. And I was like, “Look, I don’t get fat on it as well. Just give me the ice cream.” Yeah. Luckily, I’m out of that stage now.

Rick: Don’t leave it entirely. There’s some really good ice cream out there.

Noah: I stick mostly with Ben and Jerry’s.

Rick: Yeah. I have this stuff that’s based on coconut. I forget what it’s called.

Noah: Oh, yeah. Kinney’s is the one we have here.

Rick: Something like that. Anyway, it’s delicious. Yeah, they make this a kai berry popsicle with chocolate coating on it. It’s really awesome. Anyway, so you have like over 20 hours of YouTube videos up on your channel, and you’ve actually sort of outgrown most of them. You made most of them at a stage which you’re no longer at. So, I guess, did we talk about this in the beginning or maybe we talked about it before we started the interview? You leave them up there because you feel that they’re still relevant for people at a certain stage of their development or a certain stage of their growth, but you would not necessarily be making those kind of videos these days, right?

Noah: Yeah, I feel one is that whoever resonates with it, it’s perfect for.

Rick: Yeah. –

Noah: And it still resonates with a lot of people.

Rick: If they don’t, they’re not going to watch them probably.

Noah: Exactly. Even when I met my partner, and a few months later, she found out I made videos and she looked and she was like, “I hate them. They’re not like you at all.” And I’m like, “Okay.” So, it was just, if somebody feels it, they feel it. And I really distanced myself for a couple of years from it. How could I make videos like that? And I was so naive. And eventually I saw, “Wait, those are beautifully true on one level and they’re really helpful.” And eventually I could have love for that and understand its usefulness and validity. So, that’s not who I am now, but it’s still one piece that I understand. Just like if another teacher, like we spoke about, has this perspective or that perspective, I understand that that’s true on one level and so are my old videos. So, I debated for a long time taking them down and eventually I realized that’s denying and not accepting a part of myself.

Rick: Yeah, that’s good. I mean, with my whole collection of all these interviews, everyone is a different flavor. And it’s funny, I’ll put up an interview and I’ll get emails back from certain people saying, “I hated that one. That was one of your worst ones.” And then another email from another person on the same interview saying, “I love that one. That was one of your best ones.”

Noah: I know, I love that. I love that.

Rick: So, you got to realize, different strokes for different folks and everybody has something to contribute. We’re all flowers in the garden and all the different flowers each have their own contribution to the overall colorfulness of it.

Noah: Yeah, and part of me was waiting, like I kept writing books. I wrote a lot of books and like I just kept writing them and then realizing by the time I was done with it or edited it, I didn’t agree with it anymore. I’m like, “Shit, there’s another thing deleted.”

Rick: You got to write it faster.

Noah: Yeah, apparently. And then I kept wanting to make videos or do workshops and I would come up with something that was so beautiful and then two weeks later, it’s not true anymore. Sometimes a few hours later. And so eventually when I made these videos in July, these last five videos, I was like, “Come on, just share what’s here now. Like, it’s okay. It’s helpful for someone. Like, if you’re waiting for this like end point where now you’re stable, this is your truth.” And  because I was scared that if I share something and people look to it and rely on it and then I share the exact opposite a week later, they’re gonna be like, “What the hell?” So, it’s sort of more, I’m just trying to present it as an invitation that you can try and there will be other things that may be contradicted or say something completely different the next week. And I’m still trying to find my way with that, with finding some stability in myself that I can actually offer anything.

Rick: Yeah, you can find certain teachers, like even Ramana, I think, where you can see, hear certain things he said and then you can find other things he said that contradict those things. It’s like I was reading the Ashtavakra Gita a while back, about a year ago, and right within the same little book there are all these contradictory statements. And it’s kind of like, it relates to what we’ve been saying, which is that reality is multifaceted or multidimensional and paradoxically, apparently opposite or opposed things can both be true. They’re just different facets of the same thing, different sides of the same coin.

Noah: Yeah. So, let’s see what happens.

Rick: Yeah. I wanted to comment and question on something you said about five, ten minutes ago. You were talking about somehow no path, no destination, and obviously the path/destination metaphor, if we convert it to like a map metaphor or something like that, it has its limitations in terms of the actual reality of our lives, but there does seem to be a stream, if we want to use that word, that our life flows in. And maybe we don’t know where the stream is ultimately going to end up, we don’t know if it’s ever going to merge with the ocean, if it is, or whatever, but there’s, if we look back at our lives, we can see a trajectory and we can see how we sort of move through different learning experiences and had different things that sort of led up to where we are now and we can imagine it going somewhere in the future, we don’t know where. And I just wanted you to comment on that, if that triggers something in you.

Noah: Yeah, well, the first thing that comes to me is everything is happening for you. You asked for it, it’s all happening for you. So, it’s moving in a direction of you coming closer and closer to yourself, which is, let’s say, love or connectedness or freedom or peace or everything or whatever word you want to call it. And so, the way that it looks, I have no idea and where it ends up, I also don’t know, but it’s going in a beautiful direction, it’s basically what I know from my own experience and those around me, right? But on this journey, you meet many, many, or for me, I meet many, many different types of healers and people who are embodying different types of states or experiences or aspects of being that I know nothing about. And so, I don’t know if there is some way that you could be where you’re embodying like every center open, or I have no idea. And I’m also not trying to be like them or like them. I have no reference point or model, I want to be like that. I don’t know anyone who has something where I say I want that. But every once in a while, like I was just at a dance festival, and I meet someone, and all of a sudden I’m talking to him, and I feel afraid and I’m like, what the hell is happening here? And so, I go off to myself and I see he’s embodying something in some center around his stomach, I think, where he says so much force and power in a beautiful way. And I’ve never met someone with that energy. So, I tap into that and open and let go of some blocks in the way. So, I can live that. And sort of life is constantly bringing us people or things to help open us up to more and more of what we want in this life. But we don’t know what that is until the moment it shows up. Like I didn’t know that that was possible, that energetic reference point. I didn’t have it. So different things come along our journey, either like a beautiful reference point that helps us to remove the blocks to get there, or pain, which brings up something that removes the blocks and we didn’t know what was on the other side of it.

Rick: Hmm, that’s interesting. There’s an old Indian saying which is that for the wise, only an indication is necessary. So, in other words, if you’re open, if you’re sensitive, perhaps even just a subtle influence or subtle hint will suffice to

Noah: It’s all hints. It’s all like, it’s just a hinting game. It’s very fun. You just like, what’s happening if I’ll stub my toe? And I’ll be like, what’s happening? It’s like, you’re scared to take the next step. It will just come to me, the words. And there are so many metaphors and hints in it. And when we start getting them, it becomes everything is your teacher. I don’t have anyone to listen to. I don’t have anyone to like try to get something from. Life is constantly offering me the thing that I want next through something working out or not. Or if I contact someone and they don’t reply, or they reply negatively or whatever, all of this, even if it’s not pain, anytime something isn’t flowing, something is taking longer than expected or anything, it’s always telling us something. And for me, I’m in love with that. That’s my hobby.

Rick: Well, it’s cool that you see the universe as meaningful and as pregnant with wisdom and-

Noah: It’s beyond brilliant. The brilliance is absolutely incredible when you tap into the brilliance. Sometimes if I can’t get the answer within myself, I’ll go into nature, connect with a tree and then the brilliance will come. And I’m like, there is no way I could have connected that through my physical soul, whatever. The earth, Mother Earth is so unbelievably brilliant and how it’s all interconnected. Everything is you serving you. And it’s just unbelievable.

Rick: I love that. Look at a housefly under a microscope and you see this miracle, the eyes and the wings and everything about it is just this amazing structure that human ingenuity couldn’t develop. There’s no way that all the great scientists in the world could make a housefly out of the raw materials that comprise them.

Noah: Yeah. And the sophistication and magic of it is just, for me, life.

Rick: And we kind of tend to take it for granted, you know? We sort of blunder through life, for the most part not realizing or appreciating the miracle that we’re actually swimming in.

Noah: Yeah, because we don’t have access to it.

Rick: Yeah, but I think we can gain greater and greater access to it. We can become more and more open to appreciating it.

Noah: Yeah, and for me, it’s not about appreciating, it’s more as I undo blocks, as I undo karma, as I undo emotions that aren’t mine, whatever. That’s when I just see it more and more automatically, you know? It’s just the less blocks you have, the more sensitivity you have, and then it’s just there in your face. And sometimes I don’t want to see it, and I’m like, “Shit, I have to.”

Rick: That’s a kind of a form of appreciation. If you just – I can remember times when I was, 50 years ago when I would look out at the woods, for instance, and I was feeling numb and flat and depressed and empty, and it would just be this sort of bleak, ugly kind of scene, you know? Now if I look at woods anytime, it’s beautiful, it’s wonderful. It can be a rainy day, but there’s just this sort of richness to anything, to everything.

Noah: Yeah, and it’s a reflection of your relationship to your internal world, you know? And it’s beautiful that you get to experience that outward. Whatever our relationship is to what’s going on inside, that’s how we see it outside.

Rick: Yeah. Huh. A question came in from Vijay in Charlotte, Virginia. Vijay asks, “Where does discipline fit in with your current lifestyle? Do you think it’s required for growth spiritually? For example, sitting down every day for 15 minutes to meditate or doing some other practice consistently?”

Noah: Hold on a moment. Discipline is an interesting subject. And basically, I don’t know the answer, right? Like, everyone has to stay so close to themselves on a subject like discipline, because I’ve seen what happens when people dishonestly drop discipline, and it doesn’t go well.

Rick: Like give us an example.

Noah: Well, let’s say somebody has a disciplined routine. I do this every day at this time and that at that time. And it gives them a sense of safety and structure. And then they hear that discipline isn’t needed, just follow your intuition. If that’s not their truth, and they drop discipline, it can really go into a downward spiral, because it can take away the structures that gave them the illusion or sense of safety. And so, I never recommend now, after understanding how this works for people, I never recommend dropping discipline. But at some point, maybe you feel maybe that it doesn’t serve you anymore. And maybe it always serves. I don’t know. I don’t even want to say that like, you’re going to get to some place where you don’t need discipline. Maybe the ultimate place does have discipline. I don’t know. I don’t use discipline in my life. It’s not something that I resonate with or relate to. But maybe I need more of it. I’m not sure. So, I don’t want to even make it seem like I’m further along that I don’t need discipline. I used to have it. It turned out, for me, discipline was trying to… Discipline for me, I was coming up with an idea of what I should do or is helpful from my mind, and then trying to impose that on my body. And that created an internal war or a conflict. And I don’t like force. I don’t like to force anything to do anything within my system. But that being said, if the discipline is coming from your heart or soul, where it’s like conviction, because I so much associate discipline with mind and mind being the dictator, that I don’t like it really. But maybe if we talk about commitment or, yeah, like this, I’m going to do it. But it’s coming from your soul. I want this so bad. I’m ready for this. I see what meditation does, and I’m going to do it because I want to. And it comes from so deep that it’s like that nothing can stand in the way. There’s no fight. There’s no battle. Nothing can stand in the way. And maybe you check in on it every day. Like, is that still my truth? But to hold the truth from today and carry that into tomorrow and the next week, that’s not something I resonate with. But at the same time, if you find it helpful and it works for you, do it. You always have to try what works for you. It feels like the question is posed in a way like, “What do I recommend?” I don’t recommend anything. Do what works for you. It’s not… Yeah, I can’t say more than that.

Rick: That’s a good answer. Again, different things for different people. In my own case, I was not a very disciplined person. When I learned to meditate, it was so beneficial and I enjoyed it so much that I had no problem doing it regularly. I’ve been doing it ever since. Somebody gave me a lecture on the value of using dental floss about 48 years ago, and I thought, “That made sense,” so I started using dental floss. And I’ve done it every day ever since. So, habits can be a good thing. They’re not necessarily binding or restricting if they’re beneficial. Plus, I have OCD, Irene says. Yeah, so OCD can be your friend.

Noah: It gives you the sense of safety in some sense.

Rick: Yeah.

Noah: It doesn’t give you actual safety.

Rick: It preserves your teeth, actually, in the case of dental floss.

Noah: That too. Maybe.

Rick: Yeah, some dentist once said, “It’s not that important. Just use it on the teeth that you want to keep.”

Noah: There you go. Yeah, I feel also with that, it’s like with discipline, you can use it, and also, you can use it as a question, which is, “Why don’t I want to do it? Why do I need discipline?” Right? Like you play that game every week.

Rick: Pickleball, yeah, pickleball.

Noah: Pickleball. You don’t need discipline because you just have the natural desire to do it every day or whatever. So, the question for me is, if it’s not a natural desire, why do you want to do it? Who says? What do you think it will get? And is it possible that there’s another direction or another pull which feels more genuine and might actually be better for you? Or maybe not.

Rick: Let’s say I decided it would be good for me to run five miles a day, and I started trying to do that, but my hip would start hurting and my knees start hurting, and I keep forcing myself to do it. Next thing I know, I’ve done damage to my body. So, maybe that would not be a good application of discipline.

Noah: Yeah. Or maybe every day you feel fear that you’re going to get hurt, but you don’t actually get hurt, and then you don’t want to do it because of the fear. So, I would use that as an opportunity to say, “Okay, I want to do it, but there’s some opposing force, which is the fear, and then I will use that as an opportunity to meet the fear so that it’s natural to want to go running instead of pushing myself to run to try to overpower the fear.”

Rick: Yeah. Okay, good. So, maybe a concluding point on that whole discussion is that yeah, certain disciplines can be beneficial, but don’t force yourself to do something unnaturally just because other people are doing it or because you think you should be doing it or something.

Noah: Even that’s okay. Even that’s okay.

Rick: But judge by your experience, see if it’s having a good effect or not. –

Noah: Yeah.

Rick: Yeah. And I mean, sometimes, you know, discipline can save a person’s life. Let’s say they’re an alcoholic. It might take discipline not to go to the bar and instead to go to the AA meeting. Better use the discipline, you know? If you feel inclined to drink, call your sponsor and get some coaching.

Noah: Yeah, perfect. Exactly.

Rick: A follow-up question from Siguna in Austria. She asks, “I’m having difficulties accepting a cause-effect relationship between an illness and the underlying reason, such as emotions, choices in previous lives. What if there is no cause-effect relationship? Could cause-effect be arbitrary?”

Noah: I don’t want to tell you or anyone that there is a cause-and-effect relationship. Maybe there is not. Maybe, I don’t know, maybe it’s coming up, not as an effect of anything, but it’s happening for you for some other thing. Like for me, I had back pain that prevented me from meditating. Now, separate from, let’s say, the cause of it, for years, I couldn’t sit down to meditate. And it turned out that was supporting me. I hated it. I couldn’t sit to work. I couldn’t go to a movie. I couldn’t sit to poop. I couldn’t sit to eat. I couldn’t sit. But it was also stopping me from meditating, which helped me to stop disassociating, to go deeper into my body and emotions. So, if the idea of cause-and-effect doesn’t feel good to you, don’t take it. Maybe there’s not a cause. Maybe you don’t need to look that way. And maybe you can ask a different question. “Why is it happening for me? What can I get from this?” Take what resonates with you. I don’t want to tell you that there’s a cause. It’s about exploring your own experience. And maybe you want to just… Maybe none of that resonates for you either, and that’s okay. And I’m really sorry that I don’t have a solution that maybe helps at all.

Rick: Yeah, that’s a good answer. You give good answers. I like them.  You and I agree on certain things, reincarnation, soul, and past lives, and all this stuff, but a lot of people don’t believe that and wouldn’t agree, and I don’t think we’re saying here that everybody should believe this stuff. Take it as a hypothesis. Take it as an interesting possibility of the way the universe may work and explore it if you feel like it or reject it if you feel like it. We’re just, that’s kind of somehow worked for the two of us and a lot of other people, but if it doesn’t work for you, then find something which does.

Noah: Yeah, that’s it. Yeah, I have no stake in the game of whether somebody believes it, because also, even if you believe something that’s true, it won’t do any good, right? Like, if I tell you, you have so much buried loneliness or unworthiness and you believe me, even if it’s true, that doesn’t do you any good, right? Like, things only have an impact if you feel it, if you know it, if you sense it. So, to believe that there are past lives does nothing. It doesn’t help anyone at all. I didn’t believe it when I discovered it, right? I thought it’s possible, whatever, but at that point, I was like, I don’t believe in anything. Nothing is real. So, I thought even if there was a past life, who gives a shit? It’s not real. It doesn’t matter. It’s not here and now. So, it doesn’t matter.

Rick: I’d like to take a scientific attitude toward it, which I think is what you’re saying, which is that anything which anybody proposes, which any religion has proposed or any philosophy or anything else, take it as a hypothesis, you know? Don’t say, “Oh, I totally believe it because this religion said it,” nor should you say, “Totally reject it because I don’t believe in anything,” but alright, maybe, maybe not. Maybe I’ll investigate it. Maybe I won’t bother to investigate it because it doesn’t interest me, but everything is, we don’t really know everything there is to know in the universe. So, let’s keep an open mind and, , we can actually perhaps believe some things more than others because they make more sense to us, but still, we don’t know for sure if they’re true or not.

Noah: Yeah, and sometimes it feels good to believe in something because it, like, some part says, “Yeah, that feels good,” or whatever, and then believe it if you have to, you know? Like, it’s like, it’s interesting beliefs. I hold the same perspective as you that it’s a hypothesis until you trust with your own experience, until you discover with your own experience, and sometimes even me, something comes and I just believe it unconsciously and it feels good, and later I discover it wasn’t true or it is true and now it becomes my truth. So, belief can be helpful sometimes also.

Rick: It’s funny, questions are coming in today that somehow relate to the things we’re just talking about. Here’s one that came in from someone named Johnny, don’t know where he lives. He said, “You were saying we choose which family circumstances we come into and how it relates to past life lessons. If I choose to join a strict Jehovah’s Witness family that shuns me for the rest of my life for leaving the religion, what exactly would be the lesson there, and how could a person change that energy so they don’t lose their family?” Sounds like he’s speaking from personal experience.

Noah: Yeah. I’m sorry that you had to go through that, and I don’t, I just want to be really clear that I don’t mean to say that just because you might have chosen it, that it’s not painful and really not nice, so I’m sorry that you had to go through it, and it sounds like it’s a theme of being outcasted and abandoned, and probably in past lives you were outcasted because you didn’t follow the rules of the religion or what your society expected of you, and maybe that’s not true also, who knows, but the way to, doesn’t really matter what the past life theme is, what matters is here and now, you check in with what you feel. You feel abandoned, you feel hurt, you feel alone, you feel whatever it is you feel, those feelings hold the doorway for you to find your freedom and your truth, and so rather than focus on the physical, what they did to me, and how I can’t see my parents or my family, which is really painful, I invite the attention to go closer to yourself and your own pain and see what happens, because in this life, in this time, maybe you have the safety and luxury to actually feel the pain, whereas in past life, maybe when you were outcasted, you were immediately burned or gone into the forest, and you had to focus so much on your survival that you didn’t have the luxury to feel your emotions, so once you feel that abandonment, that loneliness, that betrayal, that I’m a horrible human being because they told me it, once you start undoing that, feeling them or giving them back, then you might see the situation differently, but I don’t want to tell you that you chose it, and I don’t want to tell you that it comes from a past life or whatever. I want to invite you to feel your emotions about it and see what truth comes to you from that.

Rick: Good. So, you’re an interesting guy, Noah. I enjoy talking to you. How old are you now?

Noah: I’m 34.

Rick: Cool.

Noah: It was nice speaking with you, too.

Rick: Yeah. So, what are you doing these days in terms of interacting with people? I don’t know if you’re still making videos, or do you still do one-on-one consultations, or how do you … if people found this an interesting conversation and they’d like to follow up with you somehow, what are the opportunities?

Noah: I don’t really have anything right now. I stopped doing one-on-one sessions about a year and a half ago because I just felt that it wasn’t right for me anymore, and I’m not sure what’s coming next. So, maybe eventually I do groups, or maybe eventually I do something online, or I don’t know. But in this moment, there’s not really an opportunity to get more from it, other than to subscribe. Subscribe to my YouTube channel, subscribe on my website to my blog, and eventually I will probably post something that gives you more of what you saw today. And I’m sorry I’m not offering more right now.

Rick: That’s okay.

Noah: But it’s just not my truth.

Rick: Yeah. Maybe you’ll become an Amway salesman or something, you’ll start sending out …

Noah: Who knows, you know? Every once in a while, it’s like, “Maybe I just want to be a gardener.” I like playing with the dirt.

Rick: But personally, I think, I bet your one-on-one sessions, if you were to do them, would be very useful for a lot of people, just to be able to just talk with you for an hour and kind of work through stuff, because you seem to be very insightful about things and offer feedback in a way that’s both compassionate and honest.

Noah: Thanks for sharing that. Yeah, I did them for seven years or something like that. And it just hit me a year and a half ago, there was some patterns that were being created by me spending so much time giving one-on-one sessions.

Rick: Doing the same thing, yeah.

Noah: Like the pattern of people looking to me for answers or the pattern of the dynamic being one-sided or being used or whatever. Many things that I didn’t realize were there until I stopped doing it. And then I saw why, like it just came to me, “Stop,” and I didn’t know why. And then over time, I’m realizing all these things. And maybe once they’re undone enough, I can go back into it, or maybe something else comes. But I don’t know.

Rick: Well, I think you’ve learned that you can trust your intuition.

Noah: Yeah, yes, I’ve learned that. I’ve learned that. Yeah, it’s so fascinating how it works, because in the short term, it’s often painful. It’s often no fun or a mystery or confusing or overwhelming. But after enough times of following your intuition, when it’s painful and your logic goes completely against it, and it works out well, the trust just builds and builds.

Rick: Yeah, great. Well, I’ve really enjoyed speaking with you. It’s been fun, and I think probably people listening to this will enjoy it too. So, thanks for your time.

Noah: You’re welcome. Thank you for having me.

Rick: So, I’ll be creating a webpage on about this interview, as I always do, and it’ll have a link to your website and people can go there. Also, your YouTube channel, a link to both and people can go there, as you said, to subscribe. And for those listening or watching, you probably realize this is an ongoing series. Next week, I think I’ll be speaking with Cassandra Vieten, who is, if I pronounce her name right, who is in some significant position at the Institute of Noetic Sciences. So, it’ll be a more scientific conversation. And we have,  usually scheduled several months in advance. You can look on the upcoming interviews page to see what those are going to be. You can subscribe on the website to be notified every time a new interview is posted. And if you subscribe to the YouTube channel, you’ll also get a notice from YouTube when a new interview is posted. And I think you’ll also get a notice whenever I set up one of these live streaming things, which I usually do, you know, four or five days before the event. So, you’ll probably get some notification or reminder that one of those is going to happen. We live stream pretty much all the interviews unless they’re done in person. So, check out the website and see what’s available there, and thanks for listening or watching, and we’ll see you for the next one. Thanks, Noah. Bye.

Noah: Bye.