Norio Kushi Transcript

Norio Kushi 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. There have been well over 300 of them by now. If you go to and look under the past interviews menu, you’ll see them all categorized in various ways – alphabetical, chronological and so on. There’s a donate button on the site there. The program is made possible by the support of appreciative viewers and listeners. My guest today is Norio Kushi. Norio is all over the place because he’s a truck driver, but at the moment he’s in Asheville, North Carolina. And regarding his being a truck driver, he said, “I’ve always loved wheels ever since I was a small child”. Maybe in some past life you actually invented the wheel. Wouldn’t that be cool? “The first set of wheels was a bicycle, which by age nine I was riding 40 miles at a time. Age 19 I drove a taxi in Boston for five years. I began driving a truck as well as Greyhound buses at age 25. I began what I refer to as true inquiry while driving my truck in 2003, thereby being able to see the silence from which “Norio brain” could see all that I thought I am is only an illusion”. So, for those of my guests, I mean those of my listeners who are always criticizing guests for trying to sell books, Norio hasn’t written one. Maybe he will eventually, I don’t know. And he’s not trying to make a buck being a spiritual teacher, which some people also criticize. He drives a truck, so everyone should like that.

Norio: And if not, it’s fine too.

Rick: Yeah, it’s okay too. So, Norio told me a couple of interesting things while we were setting up. He said that his father Michio Kushi was the popularizer of macrobiotics in the United States. I never did macrobiotics, but I was familiar with the name Michio Kushi. And his mother established the first natural food store in the US back in 1966 in Boston and was the first to popularize or use the term “organic” with reference to natural foods. So, that’s kind of cool. So, you must have a very pure nervous system having been raised by such parents.

Norio: I don’t know. All I know is what I have. But it’s been good. It’s been wonderful. I appreciate everything, how life is unfolding.

Rick: Yeah. So, why do you suppose you love wheels so much?

Norio: I just always loved wheels and my mother gave me the freedom to explore. Before I rode a bicycle, even when I was 5-6 years old, she would allow me to – I was born in New York City – she allowed me to wander around riding the subways by myself and stuff at that age. So, and I just love to explore things and wheels was a faster way. The bicycle was a much faster way than walking around.

Rick: Yeah. That’s cool. And you still love to explore things. Do you ever get bored driving a truck?

Norio: Nope. I’ve hardly ever gotten bored in my life and I have to say it’s been many many years since I’ve experienced something called boredom.

Rick: When you’re driving your truck, do you listen to books on tape or music or anything like that or you just sit in silence?

Norio: Well, since the invitation – your invitation – I’ve been listening to your past BatGap interviews while I drive. And yeah, I just have to say thank you so much for providing this platform.

Rick: Oh, it’s my pleasure. I love doing it. I have a friend who lives about a block away from me here who is also a truck driver and he actually taught truck driving but he actually still drives. And I’ve been telling him to listen to BatGap. I don’t know if he started doing it yet but he’s like a long-term meditator and spiritual guy but he likes driving a truck also.

Norio: Yeah, it’s nice. Yeah, I never considered myself a meditator. As a matter of fact, I never had interest in the realm of spirituality and stuff. I dabbled in just for the brief two weeks after I met George Hyatt.

Rick: Oh, yeah, you mentioned you learned TM and did it for about two weeks but your mind wandered so you didn’t like it.

Norio: Well, it wasn’t that. I just move on. I don’t really think about it. I’ve always managed to escape discipline in any form.

Rick: That’s pretty good. Yeah, so if you’ve never really been that interested in spiritual things, how do you explain what you say here, “I began what I refer to as true inquiry while driving my truck”. Did you see that as a spiritual thing or did you just start doing something spontaneously and something happened?

Norio: Yeah, oh, I just wanted to add with appreciating this platform also. I appreciate all the guests you’ve had. You’ve had wonderful guests.

Rick: Oh, yeah.

Norio: Incredible people.

Rick: And it’s really an honor for me to talk to them every week. It’s very enriching to interact with these people one after another.

Norio: And then of course your listeners too, of course. I appreciate them as well.

Rick: Yeah, as do we. I mean, we get wonderful feedback and I’ve made some wonderful friends through this whole thing. And I’ve actually even reconnected with some old friends. One of my best friends is a fellow that I taught to meditate like 40 something years ago and we had been totally out of touch and he stumbled upon that gap and then eventually got in touch with me. And he knows who he is. Hi, George.

Norio: So, yeah, so in answer to your question, I was more focused on whatever is practical or where the rubber meets the road, so to speak.

Rick: An apt metaphor in your case.

Norio: So for me, the idea of spirituality, religion or even meditation wasn’t something that I was interested in. It seemed like some other world that I couldn’t see. So it wasn’t that I had anything negative about it, just I never considered any of that. And the inquiry – well, when we’re children we just inquire about things all the time. We just look at things from this childlike curiosity. And so that’s how I started looking at my life again after a number of different events occurred. I rediscovered this way of inquiry with childlike curiosity. And through that, the question “what does it mean to be human?” showed up and I started asking that, looking at the world through that question.

Rick: So, did you do a lot of this while you were driving the truck? Was it like a contemplative time for you where you would just be driving along and kind of inquiring along these lines?

Norio: Yeah, it wasn’t something that I was doing intentionally. I mean, well, no, let me… I was intentionally involved in the inquiry and I wanted to describe what inquiry is at some point. And it was just instead of listening to the radio, instead of listening to whatever, I just would, just with the hum of the motor and the sound of the road and the wind, just be looking at life, looking at through the question, what does it mean to be human? So, I never considered what I was doing spiritual because I just, I never made that distinction.

Rick: So, how long did this go on, pondering what it means to be human?

Norio: I started asking that question. Well, first, when I was five years old, my mother told me to always trust my feelings and that I can always trust my feelings. So, I always remember that, so I always was aware of whatever feelings showed up in my body. So, I would always, since childhood I would get insights through feelings and the feelings would just flow through the body and then it would become cognitive – turn into ideas, pictures, words. So, a number of years ago, back in 2004, 2003, I was looking at what am I going to do next with my life. I had lost my job. I was standing in the kitchen, looking out the window. I had already submitted resumes to a number of places. I had one interview at a bus company, selling buses. Anyway, so then this feeling came over me as I’m looking out the window and then the words appeared that said, “Life is not going to turn out”. Okay, and I tell that story and I realized that when I tell that story, people think of it as a negative thing, but to me it was a very positive thing. It was like all of a sudden there’s this weight lifted off my shoulder. Oh, life is not going to turn out and what I didn’t realize at the time was that we’ve been conditioned. Like, what I see now is that the human brain is programmed – conditioned or programmed – to think in terms of linear relative time-space and that’s all made up. Through the inquiry, I was able to see that and I was able to see how reality is created, but to back up a little. So once I saw that, it was like this weight was lifted off my shoulder and then my mind stopped living for a future. We don’t realize that our minds are programmed to live for a fictitious future, that there is no future really. So once I got the insight, boom, my mind stopped living for that way and then it became obvious to me. Ever since then, I never not know what to do because I’m not living for a future. Everything is just obvious what to do in every moment. It’s just one step after the next. So it became obvious. “Oh, I’m going to drive a truck. I’m going to drive a truck. I’m going to drive a truck”. So I started driving the truck and through that and while driving, I started looking at my problems and things and I said, “Oh, that’s it”. And because I was no longer looking for a future, meaning that I wasn’t looking to fix them, I said, “Oh, wait a minute. I’m not the only one with problems. Everybody’s got problems”. So then the next question that showed up was, “Well, is it being human? Is that part of just being human, having problems?” And so the question showed up, “What does it mean to be human?” And so over the course of the next 18 months or whatever, I just looked through that question at the world whenever I interact with people, all their thoughts.. And it was amazing because what I didn’t know, but I returned to looking at the world through a childlike way because children don’t look in terms of getting something for the future. Until I was 13, I didn’t think of the future as something to go for. And I remember specifically the first time I thought this psychological future was real. So now I see that it was like a kind of, we might call it meditation, but I never used that term, driving the truck in that way.

Rick: That’s nice and I understand what you mean about life doesn’t turn out. And I think that we can actually probably use truck driving metaphors throughout this interview because I’ve never driven a truck, but I’ve obviously driven a car and taken long trips and everything, and if your whole orientation while you’re taking a long trip is, “Oh, I can’t wait to be there”, then it’s a boring trip. But if you’re just sort of settled into where you are now and enjoying that, then it just rolls along and next thing you know you’re there.

Norio: Yeah, as a matter of fact, I discovered the whole idea of time through looking through this question. I saw that that was made up too.

Rick: Yeah, and there are physicists who would corroborate that. So, as I understand it, at a certain point you had some kind of a breakthrough or a shift, and found yourself not thinking thoughts for a couple of weeks or something. Can you tell us about that?

Norio: Yeah, well, as a result of looking at the world in this way, different memories would show up, like the memory of breaking up with my wife, for example. Then this grief showed up and what I realized is that I had not seen it before, but there’s this tendency, we’ve been programmed to think that what’s happening out there, what we perceive out there, is the source of the grief and the sorrow. So, because I wasn’t trying to do anything about any of this, just watching, I saw, “Oh, wait a minute, that sorrow…”. Here I have this memory of this and that sorrow is coming up from within myself and I saw that the story… that then we’re programmed to blame the situation and the story on that feeling of sorrow. And I saw, “Oh, wait a minute, that’s not what’s happening. What’s happening is this sorrow is coming into consciousness as a result of the story, but the sorrow was already there. It has nothing to do, it doesn’t have to do with the story itself”.

Rick: Well, let’s take an example. Let’s say your child graduates summa cum laude or magna cum laude from Harvard or something and you’re very proud and happy and so on and so forth. So, there’s a circumstance that evokes happiness or pride in you. Or let’s say, alternatively, your child is about to graduate from Harvard but gets hit by a drunken truck driver, not that there would be any of those, and that’s the end of your child’s life and you’re grief-stricken, you’re totally devastated. Obviously, apparently, external circumstances have evoked one or another emotion in you based upon those two alternative possibilities.

Norio: Yes, absolutely. The thing is that the human body, the body and everything is part of the mind, is part of consciousness. And it’s in its design, it’s designed to have feelings and emotions and all of these. It’s natural that it would have those. But associated with these images, what occurs, say, in those circumstances, like those two different possibilities or ideas, there’s a whole lot of other things that are already going on. The relationship with the son, it’s all part of what we’ve created ourself to be – unknowingly create, unconsciously for the most part. And so the death of a son, it’s not just the ending of a life. There’s a whole identification to who the son is, what I am, etc. All that’s happening. And it’s possible to see all of that as it’s occurring. And so all of that is being impacted, but the capacity for the grief and the sorrow is already there.

Rick: So you’re not saying that a person, let’s say – the word enlightenment is loaded with implications, but if we want to use that word just for convenience sake – let’s say an enlightened person, their son dies. You’re not saying they’re not going to experience grief. You’re just saying that they would have… well, you go ahead and finish the thought.

Norio: Well, so the result of that was when I saw that, then I said, “Oh, okay”. Then the attention, we’re programmed to focus our attention on the story and circumstances, but then the attention fell back to the feeling, to the feeling of the sorrow, and the story fell to the background, like fell away. And I said, “Okay”. And then there was no more energy, there was no longer a sorrow attached to that story. That story no longer evokes sorrow. The next prior story came up where that sorrow had shown up. And then I saw the same thing. So I’m driving east along I-80 in Nevada as I’m watching all this in my mind. And so all my memories that I thought was the cause of sorrow fell away like dominoes. So by the time I got to Salt Lake City, all memories of sorrow completely disappear. There’s no longer any memory of story of sorrow in the no-real brain. And so the result of that was I was able to look at sorrow, the no-real brain was able to see sorrow, pure sorrow, unadulterated with filled stories. And therefore I could see what sorrow was. And there is no such thing as individual sorrow. Sorrow is actually programmed. And the human being, body being, having the capacity and living and feeling takes that sorrow. And due to our programming in creating this self-identity, we take this sorrow and we make it personal – “my sorrow”. But there’s actually only one sorrow and it’s human sorrow. The sorrow that you feel, the sorrow that anyone feels around on the other side of the world, it’s one and the same exact sorrow.

Rick: Would you say that of all emotions, grief, love, hatred, excitement, or whatever emotions there may be, are they all just universal and we’re just sort of concentrating them or channeling them through an “I” sense?

Norio: Yeah, we all as humans have that capacity to experience and express those feelings for sure, absolutely. And yeah, as in your question, and this is what I was able to see through the inquiry was that all that, the idea of hatred and fear, all that sorrow is just universal – the capacity to have that and experience that is universal to our being. And through the inquiry I was able to see how that all occurs.

Rick: So, you’re saying that in the case of sorrow, what you did when you’re driving to Salt Lake City, unraveling all the stories surrounding any sorrow in your life, what were you left with by the time you got to Salt Lake City? Was it just pure unadulterated sorrow without any story or did the sorrow itself dissipate?

Norio: Yes. Well, as the feeling is there, I’m actually literally have tears coming down my eyes as I’m driving. So, once I got to the final story and there’s just a pure sorrow, then I saw, oh, all of a sudden there’s this like feeling of connection with everyone because I saw that this sorrow is everybody’s sorrow, it’s all of us. And so, the sorrow translates into like kind of an understanding or compassion or something. So, to be able to look at someone and to know that that’s – and sense that that’s – present in all of us.

Rick: So, it gave you a universal perspective?

Norio: Yeah, it just kind of is there. I mean, what I saw was it’s always there, but it was just unconscious. So, much of our life we’re walking around like zombies, we’re unconscious of what’s really happening.

Rick: So, that was about 15-16 years ago when you had that experience. So, what’s your life like now in terms of, well, sorrow or fear or love or hatred or any kind of emotions? Do you still experience such things, but a story never gets attached to them or what?

Norio: Well, there’s a difference between emotions and feelings, and sorrow I see more as a feeling.

Rick: So, let’s define our terms here. So, sorrow is a feeling. Are you saying the negative ones are feelings and the positive ones are emotions or what are you going to say?

Norio: No. Well, let’s back up a little bit and I want to explain what inquiry is, and the way in which what I now consider inquiry. What occurred is that I’m driving the truck and these questions showed up and then I thought, “Okay, this will be a fun hobby to look at. What does it mean to be human?” So, I intentionally, as like a hobby, picking up, say, this onion. “Oh, what is this onion?” So, I looked, “Oh, well, what does it mean to be human? What does it mean to be human?” So, I have a close friend I’ve been friends with for 41 years now named Stuart and I talk to him every so often. So, I said, “Hey, Stuart”. I called him. One of our phone calls and I said, “Hey, Stuart, I now have a new project”. I said, “I’m asking myself the question, what does it mean to be human?” He laughed and he said, “Oh, that’s great”. I explained to him exactly how I was looking at that and this is something that I really want to share with everyone because the way in which I was looking, I feel is key to be able to see all of these things which we’re looking at. So, I explained to Stuart in this phone conversation, I told him, “What I’m doing is I’m asking the question the same way an entomologist would study a new species of butterfly that had never been seen before. He would look at the butterfly and study its behavior, study in its environment and however it behaves, if it behaved in a particular way, he wouldn’t say, “No, you’re not supposed to behave that way. That’s bad. That’s wrong”. You know, “No, no, no. You’re not”. So, he got the idea. He understood what I was saying and then I gave him a second example. Okay, so the other way I explained it to Stuart, the way that I was looking at this question, “What does it mean to be human?” is I described to him like if I was an ET and I was floating around the galaxy and then I stumbled upon this planet Earth and just started looking, “Oh, this is an interesting planet. Hmm, what is this? What is this planet that I’m looking at? Oh, there’s a beautiful paradise and then, oh, there’s these humanoids or these living on there and they’re killing each other. Oh, that’s interesting”. So, from the ET’s perspective, he’s not going to be judging them. He’s just going to be… unless he’s got preconceived notions of how things are supposed to be, supposedly, ETs don’t do that. If they are further advanced than we humans are on this planet, it’s going to be coming from just this childlike curiosity. So, the inquiry – what I want to point out is that I was asking the question from the place of not judging and no agenda. There was no purpose for asking the question. I wasn’t looking to see anything or discover anything. I wasn’t looking to fix anything. It was just pure curiosity – childlike curiosity. And so, the question that I used was, “What does it mean to be human?” And that question was great because recognizing that we all had problems, that question came up, because then I was looking at this way humanity works and not me personally. So, it depersonalized the whole thing and it turns out that, in fact, there is nothing personal in the universe. Well, the universe is a paradox. Infinite shows up as a paradox. So, everything is personal and nothing is personal. It’s hard for our conditioned mind to be able to hold paradoxes, but it’s a very natural thing now.

Rick: Yeah, it’s hard for me not to hold them. Because obviously, both those things are true and it’s much more comfortable to hold them both than it is to try to fit into one or the other to the exclusion of the other.

Norio: Right, yeah, it’s one and the same thing.

Rick: So, I guess what you’re using with the butterfly example and the ET example, I guess what you’re saying is that everyone acts according to their own nature, you know, and so restraint or judgment or what not are limiting factors because everything is what it is and is perfect as it is. You can just observe it in a somewhat objective way rather than being strongly opinionated about anything. Is that a good summation of what you just tried to say?

Norio: Yeah, what I described with that is the way in which I was looking at everything. And since discovering all of this, where I’m up to now, is I discovered that anytime we’re judging or comparing, I mean comparison is a definite useful tool, not that there’s anything wrong with judging or comparing, but when we do so, we’re not seeing the whole picture. And the inquiry, the space of inquiry which I’m attempting to describe and explain is a way of letting go of all our ideas and being able to see the whole picture.

Rick: Yeah, it sort of reminds me a little bit of the way Byron Katie goes about it, you ever looked at her stuff, you know, loving what is and doing the turnaround where you kind of look at the thing one way and then look at it the complete opposite way, and it loosens up your conviction that things have to be any particular way. So let me ask you a question, this whole thing that you just said, do you have any family or kids?

Norio: Six children.

Rick: Six children, wow. What’s their age range?

Norio: Oldest is 31, youngest is 17.

Rick: Okay, they’re all fairly old, relatively speaking. And this whole thing that you’re saying about sorrow and perhaps other things being universal and not so much individual, has it made you in any way sort of distant from people such as your family or life itself? Or what has it done to your actual relationship, let’s say, with your children, with your wife? Has it made you closer with them or more kind of aloof in some way?

Norio: No, I would say that much closer. I’m not caught up in my own drama as much as I was before, thinking that all my problems were real and I had to go around fixing my problems. It’s all just illusions, or based on illusions.

Rick: So has it made you less judgmental, let’s say, more compassionate?

Norio: Yeah, the automatic compulsion to judge has definitely diminished considerably.

Rick: And if your kids have problems, do you tend to just brush them off and say, “There’s actually no problem, so just relax”, or do you take them seriously and do your best to engage with whatever is troubling them?

Norio: Yeah, I’m a much better listener than I used to be. As a matter of fact, what I like to share with people is that the transformation is in listening, not in the information that we listen to. It’s how we’re listening where the transformation occurs. And so in that way, I don’t discern whatever is being said. “Is it a problem? Is it not a problem? Is it made up or not?” I just listen and then respond to what seems appropriate.

Rick: Well, that sounds good. And the reason I ask those questions is that sometimes people kind of philosophize themselves into a state which is sort of emotionally numb or detached or aloof, and can be rather uncaring about real human concerns because they dismiss them as illusory, or as just a sort of, “Oh, these people are all caught up in their individual perspective and I have a much broader perspective, and poor them, they’re just sort of getting all hung up”. You know what I’m saying? It’s like there’s a tendency to be a little cool or cold even, which you don’t seem like that kind of person. You seem very friendly and warm, but I’m just kind of addressing the point because it does happen.

Norio: Yeah, I would suggest that what’s going on for that person is what I term “phantom selfing”. Well, in looking at the inquiry, more and more of the unconscious came to the surface and the no-real brain was able to see what was really happening in the mind, the thinking. So there are key things that I think is really useful for those who are listening to this program and for all of us as humans to evolve, so to speak. So there’s all kinds of, “evolve” is one of those words, like “God”, where we all have our own interpretation of what that means. To begin seeing much more of what’s really happening is to understand and to see what thinking is and what language is. Those are the two main things that are really useful to see what those things are. And so what was occurring through the inquiry was, I was beginning to see the mechanisms of thinking. And once all of thinking became present, the unconscious and conscious division began to dissolve. Then, in the same way that I could see that the story didn’t create the sorrow, the sorrow was already there, I began to see the patterns of thinking and not the content of thinking. And now I see that there are different patterns of thinking. There are like three different patterns of thinking that occur and I pick up more on that than I do on the content of thinking. And there’s a feeling associated with tuning into the patterns of thinking. So what I consider true thinking is thinking of… there’s our onion again.

Rick: Some spiritual teachers hold up flowers, you hold up an onion.

Norio: Yeah, and I even… I’m not a spiritual teacher by the way.

Rick: Oh, I know, I know.

Norio: As a matter of fact, I saw that the difference between teacher-student and guru – that’s all created in thinking. So here I drew this onion.

Rick: Oh, okay, nice.

Norio: So the outside layers of the onion is the thinking world. And so the inquiry, the natural curiosity that I had was moving the attention towards the center of the onion. The center of the onion is the infinite. So the pattern of thinking, what I just said was true thinking, is thinking which occurs from inside out. Most of our thinking is what I… at first I called it parallel because it was moving parallel to the true thinking. It moves and maintains attention on the surface of it. Okay, but I now call it circular thinking. It’s more just… because it moves in a circular pattern. So I call phantom-selfing circular pattern of thinking. And we’re programmed to think in a circular pattern. That’s part of our programming as we go through from our childhood, our parents, schools, etc.

Rick: So can you give us an example of that?

Norio: Let’s see. Well, the self is a circular pattern of thinking, the self-identity.

Rick: And elaborate on that a little bit. How is it a circular pattern of thinking? What do you mean by circular pattern? What exactly is happening?

Norio: Well, to go back to this onion, what I saw was that… what I now call true thinking… it extends… comes out from the feeling through… there’s the thinking realm and then there’s the… beneath the thinking is the feeling realm and that is silence and into the infinite. And there are other realms in between, but for our conversation that will suffice. What I saw after… once I saw the pattern of thinking, then I saw that this thinking starts – comes, flows – from the silence into the consciousness.

Rick: Via feeling.

Norio: Right. And so therefore I was able to see silence. I was able to… the thinking was able to stop. And once I put the attention, once the no-real brain… there is no ‘I’ doing – it appears, that’s one of the illusions – it appears that there’s someone doing all this. But once the attention moved into the silence, I saw the patterns of thinking. The attention was able to move into the silence.

Rick: So, let me just interrupt to ask you a question about this that might help clarify it. So, would you say that the average person is not aware of the silence level, the silence? They’re not aware of the feeling level that underlies thinking? They just are aware of thoughts as they pop into the mind? “Oh, I’m having this thought, I’m having that thought”, and they translate those thoughts very often into actions, without having been aware of where those thoughts came from. Whereas what you’re saying is that you somehow – and others can somehow – turn it around and become aware and actually reside in that level of silence from whence thoughts arise, and being established there, thinking is much more aligned or attuned in a natural way. One is not blinded by it, it just is a tool rather than a master, and in many cases there will be no thinking at all because it’s not actually called for by the circumstances. Would that be a good summary of what you’re trying to say?

Norio: Yeah, that’s a good way of putting it, for sure, because everything that I now see is that every human being wants the same thing, and that is to be whole and complete. So all this is already present in all of us, you know, this map, this is just a map. So what I’m describing is present in all of us, and it’s just where we’ve been programmed to focus attention on only a very small area, but it doesn’t mean that none of this exists, we wouldn’t be alive if all of this wasn’t present.

Rick: Yeah, so it’s like the tip of the iceberg or the waves on the ocean or whatever, we’re aware of the surface value but we’re not aware of the deeper underlying levels.

Norio: So as far as the thinking, what we don’t realize is that the true thinking which comes from the silence out. And what most of our thinking is – about 90% or more of our thinking is – just what I call circular patterns, they don’t come from the center. Because this energy, everything is… well that’s the other thing we can get into, I saw everything is just energy as well. So most of our thinking is just a circular pattern and it’s just keeping our attention on the surface, and emotions are the feelings which are then taken… emotions contain thinking which is moving in a circular pattern and then we call them anger etc. So the original feeling is actually more of sorrow and anger is then… once the sorrow is felt and it’s turned into a cause and effect story in the surface because of the way that the thinking is operating in a circular pattern, then it turns into… that feeling becomes anger.

Rick: Are you saying that sorrow is more fundamental than other emotions? You keep alluding to sorrow, is it some kind of a core thing in human experience that gives rise to other things?

Norio: In today’s reality I would say sorrow is probably the anchor feeling.

Rick: Let me ask you this, do you feel like we all, or maybe not everybody, but the vast majority of humanity just has this deep well of sorrow down there that they’re not aware of, or is it more like they have the capacity for sorrow and it may get triggered by this or that? For instance, if you think of maybe the Buddha or something, perhaps he had rooted out the capacity for sorrow, whereas the average person has this sort of reservoir of sorrow, if I’m putting it… just trying to understand your thinking, and that a circumstance which would not evoke sorrow in the Buddha’s experience would evoke it in the experience of the average person because they haven’t rooted it out.

Norio: Yeah, thanks, I appreciate your questions because it helps me clarify, looking at it as well. So, the capacity for the sorrow is an inherent aspect of being human. What it is, is the attention. Our attention instead of just being focused in the programming, as it expands we can see much more of what’s really happening. So we still have the capacity to feel the sorrow, but we can see where it’s coming from and what is really happening behind the scenes, so to speak. And so, there is never a need to have to do something about it. It’s just a matter of all problems, there’s never a need to do anything about problems. It’s all a matter of seeing what it is, and when we can see things for what they are, then they dissolve, just from the seeing.

Rick: I suppose it depends on what you mean by a problem. If a pipe breaks under your kitchen sink, it’s a problem you better do something about.

Norio: Our mind has been programmed to look at life as a series of problems. It’s just a pipe bursting and of course…

Rick: It’s something to deal with.

Norio: Yeah, it’s something to do.

Rick: Yeah, yeah. I know what you mean, rather than getting all freaked out and, “Oh my God, what are we going to do? The pipe broke!” You know, you just get the wrench, call the plumber, do something, but don’t make a big deal of it.

Norio: Right, it’s one of those things, you know, you don’t have to… Take one step at a time. It’s like, just walking through a forest and see what you see, and you just take one step at a time. If a pipe breaks, okay, pipe breaks.

Rick: Deal with it, yeah. Or you blow a radiator hose in your truck or something.

Norio: Right, exactly. Yeah, it’s great because it’s wonderful, you know, because I break down, it’s never a problem. Just something, that’s just the next step.

Rick: Yeah, no, I can totally see that, and that’s a good way to live. I tend to be that way too, and some people… or a more likely example, you’re stuck in traffic. You’re going up I-95 through Bridgeport, Connecticut, and it’s bumper to bumper, and you’re basically just sitting there. Some people would be blowing smoke out their ears over the situation, you know, it doesn’t get them there any faster.

Norio: Yeah, exactly. And the key thing that I want to share with everyone is that what I described as true inquiry and then also that the self is an illusion. And I was able to see that once, so, and this relates to what you just said. It may seem like I’m going on a different tangent, but once we see that the self is, let’s see. Here’s a…

Rick: You have all kinds of props there, don’t you? Now he’s holding up a Monopoly game now for those just listening in the audio.

Norio: Okay, so here we are, and hey, let’s play Monopoly,  ET Rick. Hey, let’s check this planet out and play Monopoly with these humans. And then, so what does it take to be a human? It’s a game, we need a game, and we need a piece.

Rick: That’s the one that I always used when I played Monopoly, I always wanted the car. I imagine you did too.

Norio: Absolutely, I always wanted the car. I didn’t want to be a hat or a symbol.

Rick: Who cares about those things?

Norio: So this game board and the game piece is created out here. So it’s like everything we’re looking at.

Rick: And actually, let me just interrupt to say that when you say out here, you say anything that you’re describing, describe it for the sake of the people who listen only in audio, because there are as many of those as there are actual viewers, so you’ve got to elaborate a little bit.

Norio: Okay, so as we’re looking at the layers of the onion, all the energy, cause and effect is actually infinite coming to the surface of the onion. But time is created out in the surface. And what is this tool of creation is language. Language is what’s creating our reality, our languaging and language. That’s the infinite tool of creation.

Rick: Does a squirrel have a reality or a cat? Do they also have their own language and that’s how they have a reality?

Norio: Well, they have a… the universe is kind of languaging them into being, but they themselves don’t have a language, a conceptual language in the way that humans do. They do communicate because everything in nature communicates, which is different than language. Humans are the only animals that the no-real brain observes that has language.

Rick: Yeah, except for maybe whales and dolphins. And actually, even… well, this would be a tangent. They say that even all animals have language, but it’s just more simple and not something that we can necessarily understand. But anyway, don’t want to take you off track.

Norio: Yeah, well I want to make a distinction between language and communication. Communication is inherent, everything communicates. It’s an inherent aspect of existence and energy. All there is, is what the no-real brain is able to see once there’s… through the silence. To me, the silence was no big deal because it’s something that I’ve gotten to many times in my life. My mind has shut off in silence, so that was no big deal. This inquiry was the first time that I deliberately moved into the silence, step by step, so to speak. So, I discovered it in a whole new way, where there’s this joy and presence and this unconditional love and all that’s there. And also as a result of that, the attention remained in that silence for a couple of weeks. And for an extended period, greater than before, the mind had never been silent.

Rick: Okay, this brings up an important question. So I’ve been thinking as you’ve been talking about the people listening, as I usually do, and I’ve been thinking, “Okay, what are they going to be able to take away from this or get out of this?” And you just described that you had learned how to intentionally settle into the silence rather than have it just come about spontaneously for who knows why, but you actually were able to evoke it intentionally or dip into it or settle into it intentionally. And so, is that teachable, is that translatable to other people?

Norio: It’s translatable, absolutely it’s translatable, but it’s the simplest, easiest thing that one will ever do and it’s the hardest thing one will ever do.

Rick: Have you ever tried to teach anyone to do it?

Norio: The place where I had the greatest success – and I don’t like the term success, because success implies failure, and there’s no such thing as success and failure – but for the sake of our discussion, where it seemed that people were most open were or not that they were, I was invited to talk to inmates in a prison for a period of a year. And that was one situation where I felt that they seemed to be open to what was being shared and one of the inmates actually, when he was thrown into solitary confinement, started looking at this and actually moved – his attention was able to move into that. And there, I had actually dated someone, a girl, and she now gives talks as well.

Rick: Having learned this from you?

Norio: Well, she didn’t learn it from me, I’m not a teacher. She heard about it.

Rick: She heard about it, she somehow got onto it and was able to do it.

Norio: Yes, it piqued her curiosity, she started looking at it and she actually went and listened to other people, so maybe the other teachers had much more influence than I did.

Rick: Yeah, so if you feel that for the most part you haven’t been able to transmit or convey this to other people and that your greatest success was a guy who got thrown in solitary confinement, what is your motivation for talking about it and having a website and this? Is it just because your own experience is interesting or are you hoping to inspire people to somehow make a similar inquiry themselves?

Norio: Well, for me that’s what life is about, on a personal level as well as on a level of humanity. We’re all looking for the same thing, we’re all looking to be whole and complete. Health. Health means whole and complete. And to use the analogy of the onion again, to be whole and complete is for the awareness of what we are to be conscious and have its attention on the complete, infinite to the outer layer. So that’s what health is. And disease is just where that energy isn’t flowing smoothly. And so regardless of what we’re looking for… before I was looking for success in this relative world, this linear time-space relative world, I was looking for, which meant so many millions of dollars and a number of fast cars, race car, whatever. I had all these images of what success meant – as a relatively well-appointed house, not a mansion. But ultimately underneath all that surface stuff, what we’re all looking for, what I was really looking for, so to speak, was to be whole and complete. And as the attention moved into the lower layers, the inner layers of the onion, I began to see, “Oh wait, I’m already…?” It’s like a cosmic joke, I saw I already was whole and complete.

Rick: That’s nice. Do you find in your experience now that the wholeness and sense of completeness is pretty well established or is it still something that you taste occasionally and then lose?

Norio: Oh no, it’s always present.

Rick: It’s always there, that’s great. And let’s just emphasize one more moment what you mean by whole and complete. I think you just defined it as having your… and you also equated it with health, that it means having your awareness open to the full range of life, from the silent foundation through the various strata up to the more active phase of life, right? Thinking and action and so on.

Norio: Right, it’s being conscious of the true nature of being human. Typically the way that our brain has been conditioned, we’re not “human beings”, we’re “human doings”, and we’re defined by what we’re doing. And so this is to get in touch with what’s really happening which is we’re human beings.

Rick: Yeah. Some fellow sent in a question. He said… let’s see, his name is DJ and he’s from Nelson, British Columbia in Canada. He said he checked out your website, particularly the page entitled “What is Enlightenment?” “That page presents as more like a brief discourse on what enlightenment is not. In his final estimation, is there anything he can affirm about enlightenment?”

Norio: Well, the power of language, this is where I mentioned earlier, to see what thinking is and to see what language is. And what we don’t realize is there isn’t a reality out there. There isn’t something that’s real out there which is independent of this human entity, whatever we want to call it here. It’s language which is creating the reality, the world out there in which we find ourselves. And that reality is a reality which has existed before this particular human being was born. I did not create English. English has existed for thousands of years and given that I was born in New York City…

Rick: Well, not thousands, but anyway…

Norio: For however many years. It’s evolved and we’re speaking in English. So this linear time-space reality in which we are born out of – we’re actually not born into, we’re born out of like a seed grows out of the earth – that we’re born out of is already pre-existed before we’re born. And then through our parents, school, society, our brain is programmed into this reality that we’re born out of. And so the language… so if I say up, I don’t have to say down. Up doesn’t exist without down. If I say left, I don’t have to say right. Both exist simultaneously. One doesn’t exist without the other. And so this linear realm is a world of contrast in which we find ourselves. So if I say good, I create bad. If I say evil, whatever, etc. Then low… anyway.

Rick: I’m following it.

Norio: So what I saw was the self, everything that we think we are is a linguistic distinction. So everything that I thought I was, after I was in the silence for three days, this is what I call being hit over the head with the cosmic two by four, all of a sudden, oh my God, I saw I didn’t exist. I saw that everything I thought was “me” was just, was a linguistic, was a distinction, time-space distinction in this linear time-space realm that we lived in. And that’s not what we are, because in the silence that disappears. And it took the no-real brain three days to all of a sudden realize I wasn’t there. So, and to make a long answer, to go back to his question, so when we use the term enlightenment, when I say tree, there’s the word tree, but it’s not the object in which we’re viewing. The object out there is just this energy. So this word tree freezes this energy into its form. So, the word once…

Rick: And even for the squirrels living in that tree, it’s frozen into a form. They’ve got their nests there and they’re running around but they don’t think tree, but it does have a concrete substance to it for the squirrels and the birds.

Norio: Yeah, yeah. And then there’s the individual human that’s watching all that and labeling all that and all that interaction of energy happening. And so, as soon as we say enlightenment, we’re already creating what’s not enlightenment. So it’s…

Rick: I know where you’re going with this. It’s like the Tao Te Ching, what is it that Lao Tzu says, something like, “The Tao that can be described is not the real Tao”, or something like that. You just can’t describe it in any way that’s going to do justice to it, and anything you can describe is not it.

Norio: Right, so the seeking, the whole mechanism of seeking is something that’s programmed into our brain, because we need to have the idea of time programmed in order to seek, because we need to create a future. So then, whatever that is, it’s $15 million or it’s enlightened, it only exists in the thinking world. And so the term enlightenment only exists in the thinking world. And what we’re all looking for is true freedom, the thinking world is just a narrow spectrum we’re looking at. And so the term enlightenment only exists in that thinking world. So when we mistake the word for – when we see it’s only just a word – then it becomes a block for the attention to move into the inner layers of the animal.

Rick: I think it would be fair to say that words are a convenient communication tool, but like I think you were trying to say, they never do justice to the objects to which they correspond. I mean, if you say anything, I mean, tennis ball, we all know what a tennis ball is, but that’s just some sounds we make to convey the idea of a tennis ball. Actually, if you look what an actual tennis ball is, or onion for that matter, let’s take onion, I mean, the billions of cells in it and the intricacy of those cells and the chemistry involved and the DNA and the genetics and just all this stuff that makes up an onion, boy, I mean, that’s actually a far more vast and complex and mysterious reality than the word “onion”. And so, like you say, we’re just kind of scratching along on the surface using words to refer to commonly experienced objects, but the words are a far cry from the reality of those objects themselves.

Norio: Yeah, and what I invite people to do is actually look at what language really is. And because, yes, it is used for communication, which we are using it, but it actually, it’s language which is creating the human being, it’s the language which is creating all of reality. And then language is also used, the way in which the human brain is using language is also used for communication as well. So language is… as I moved into the silence and then there are worlds beneath the silence as well.

Rick: Oh, let’s talk about that. What worlds beneath the silence?

Norio: Another analogy that we can use is like, I was living, my whole world was living in this place. As I started to explore this place more…

Rick: What place?

Norio: Well, all of what I consider the world that I existed in. As I began to explore this space through the inquiry, I came upon walls. I was able to then see walls and then, okay, then as I saw the walls, then, and as I explored what are these walls in defining this space, then I noticed there was a window. And I looked out the window and there’s this garden out there. And I see I’m in this room, in this house, and there’s this doorway and I walked through the doorway into the garden.

Rick: Are you speaking metaphorically now or are you talking about natural situation where you’re in a house and you walk into a garden and everything?

Norio: Metaphorically.

Rick: Metaphorically, okay, keep going.

Norio: And this is the way actually I visualized it as it occurred. The garden was then what I considered a silence. So the silence is an empty, but the attention was able to move into the garden because the thinking stopped. So it’s not empty, it’s alive and it’s full and it’s joy, it’s a joyful place, it’s a place that we all recognize. It’s not since it’s always there. Well, after exploring the garden for three days, it turns out there’s a gate.

Rick: Being in that silence for three days, yeah, there’s a gate.

Norio: It turns out there’s a gate beyond the silence. And I said, “Oh, what’s this?” And I walked through the gate. And then that’s when the attention moves into the realm, being able to see energy. And then the attention turns around, looks back and sees that the garden, the silence, the garden, the house and all that isn’t even there. It’s all just an illusion. But as a result of languaging it’s able to recreate it all and here we are having fun Skyping each other.

Rick: Yeah, so okay, so let me translate that into non-metaphorical language to see if we all got that. So you were ordinary Norio in the house and then you moved to the garden and experienced pure silence for three days, which is what the garden represents in this metaphor. Then there’s a gate and you go through the gate beyond the garden and turn around and look back at the garden and the house. And so you’re now seeing from this new vantage point that everything you thought was the real world, including the silence underlying the real world, is illusory, ephemeral, unsubstantial.

Norio: Yeah. So what it is is that the gate into this world of energy was what I call being hit over the head with a cosmic two-by-four. While this Norio is luxuriating in the joy and the bliss and the unconditional love, there’s still someone that’s doing it. There’s still a separate…

Rick: There’s Norio doing it, enjoying it.

Norio: Experiencing it. And then when I got hit with a cosmic two-by-four, when I thought, “Oh, wait a minute, there is no Norio, that’s just an idea”, then that was the gate and the attention then moved into that. And prior to that I had experiences of silence, not intentional, where it could be for a few seconds, it could be for… and one time I was robbed at gunpoint, so that was about

Rick: So being robbed kind of triggered the silence?

Norio: Yeah, yeah. And it just focused the attention on the immediacy of the situation.

Rick: Yeah, isn’t it interesting how that happens? I had a car accident one time, I was zipping along through Edison, New Jersey and somebody pulled right in front of me in a big car and then when he saw me coming, rather than accelerate to get out of the way, he stopped, so I just broadsided him. I was in this little Subaru compact car. And it’s funny, the whole thing, time seems to stop. I mean, I had a bowl full of fruit and cottage cheese on the seat next to me and it flew all over the dashboard, but the whole thing happened in such total slow motion, it was like you just get kicked into silence by the extremity of the situation.

Norio: Yeah, and that’s one of the things – one of the interesting things is when there’s no thinking, there’s no fear. Here I am with a gun pointed to my head and I’m in bliss.

Rick: Not the typical reaction that everyone would have, but nice that you could react that way.

Norio: Yeah, it was a non-reaction.

Rick: I wonder if you could say anything more about this state through the gate, because a lot of people might think, “Okay, well silence is the ultimate, it’s the foundation, what could be beyond silence?” Is there anything you can say about it? I mean, is it something which would contain, which would be a larger container, so to speak, of both silence and dynamism and activity? Or I don’t want to put words in your mouth, but is there anything you can say about it?

Norio: Well, what I would say is that yes and no. What is… where we come from in looking at all of this, for the most part, is… Well, number one, I never considered that being human is a life of suffering. I had heard the term associated with certain religions and stuff, but to me that was normal. Now I thought I was suffering, but I say that in hindsight. And that suffering shows up in many different ways, and one of them is the result of the way the brain is programmed.

Rick: So, you were saying that some religions say that life is suffering, like Buddha said, “It’s all dukkha, everyone’s suffering”, but you never thought of yourself as suffering, it just seemed like normal life to you. But in retrospect, having undergone the shifts that you have undergone, you can see what he meant by that, that everything is suffering, and by contrast to that, it’s not suffering now. Is that a fair summary of what you just said?

Norio: Yeah, yeah, definitely I never focused any attention on any kind of religion, so these terms never meant anything to me, but upon hearing them, after the fact, I can understand and appreciate them in a way that I wouldn’t have before, that’s for sure.

Rick: Okay, so I’m just reading some of the notes you sent me, and you’re actually doing a pretty good job going through these notes. We’ve covered a lot of the things that you sent me – the influence of the effect of language on creating the phantom sense of self, and circular pattern of thinking, and true and natural thinking, versus the circular pattern type thinking. Actually, this warrants reading here – “True and natural thinking moves in a wave-like motion, originating from silence and returning to silence, as opposed to the circular pattern that is phantom selfing”. So I suppose you would define phantom selfing as not having anything to do with silence, being excluded from silence, whereas natural or true thinking starts and ends in silence.

Norio: What I refer to as phantom selfing is a circular pattern of thinking, as opposed to the thinking which begins in silence and moves through feeling into our cognition to the world of concepts, and then that thinking naturally just returning back into the silence in the same way a wave returns back to the ocean. The circular pattern of thinking, it is possible to see this pattern once we recognize, once we can see what thinking is, is that it remains in the outer layer of the onion. And so it doesn’t return to the silence. And that’s what I refer to as phantom selfing, because everything is just energy and everything is becoming, becoming, being, being recreated moment by moment from the infinite to the material. And there’s really solid objects. This is where I see the emphasis of language, because it’s language which is…Nouns don’t exist in nature. Nouns are created as a concept, construct of language. So the material, the things, the self is created through language, is a linguistic distinction. And so there is actually no thinker, there’s only thinking happening. There is actually no…

Rick: Thinking is a noun too, isn’t it? No, I guess you’re right. Thinking is a noun. It’s also a verb.

Norio: Verb.

Rick: I am thinking, but thinking, you can refer to thinking as a thing also.

Norio: Right. And so there’s actually no experiencer either. It’s only experiencing. And so the beauty of seeing this circular pattern of thinking is that I now see like addictions and things like that. It’s all just phantom self and it’s all just thinking and moving in a circular pattern which creates the illusion of addictions.

Rick: Yeah, you made an interesting list here of things that are symptoms of a human doing brain trapped in a linear time-based reality. Shall I read them?

Norio: Sure, yeah.

Rick: Or do you have the list right in front of you?

Norio: No, no.

Rick: I’ll read them then. So here’s some symptoms by Norio of the human doing brain trapped in a linear time-based reality. I’ll just read through them quickly. “Time, exceptionalism, creating problems, opinions, positions, judging, comparing, seeking, hierarchy, attachment, ownership, sorrow, loneliness, fear, violence, avoiding pain and moving towards pleasure, reward and punishment, discipline, effort, resistance, significance of truth”, I’ll have to ask you about that one, “cause and effect, victim perpetrator, griefs, addictions, habits, desire, poverty, feeling empty, feeling something is missing”.

Norio: Yeah, I just threw those in there, just thought you’d have fun with those.

Rick: What do you mean by significance of truth?

Norio: Truth doesn’t matter to me anymore.

Rick: In other words, investing things with a great deal of significance and this is true and that is not true, you mean that kind of thing? Is that what you meant?

Norio: Yes, I do definitely mean it in that way, yes. But also there’s this idea that we all hear, that the truth will set you free and the way I look at it as well, big deal, truth. The only thing real is truth and it’s not static, so whatever isn’t true, why put attention on it so the whole package turns out to be, truth is no big deal.

Rick: Yeah, the Bhagavad Gita says, “The unreal has no being, the real never ceases to be”.

Norio: Yeah, so what’s the big deal?

Rick: And here’s the cosmic joke as you put it, “We have everything, always have and always will, with absolutely nothing missing. The human brain’s only requirement is seeing the one who is searching does not exist”.

Norio: Yeah, because everything I thought I am turns out to be a linguistic distinction, it turns out to be this image and memories all packaged up. And once we’ve been programmed to believe that’s who we are, then our entire lives becomes one of always justifying that this self exists and who I really am.

Rick: Which takes a lot of effort.

Norio: Yeah, absolutely. And that’s why the true inquiry is completely effortless, it’s just a relaxing. And just seeing things for what they are. It’s the easiest thing to do and it’s the hardest thing to do because it goes against the phantom self in solidifying what I am.

Rick: It’s a good point though. I know people who sort of attempt to practice self-inquiry and they go about it in a very effortful way, you know, “Who am I? Who am I? Who am I?” kind of pounding themselves over the head with that question. And I don’t think that’s what Ramana Maharshi had in mind. And I like your emphasis on effortlessness and naturalness. I think it is much more efficacious. I mean, nature itself doesn’t make an effort. Nature operates by the principle of least effort.

Norio: Yeah, yeah. And all effort just reinforces that there’s someone doing the effort.

Rick: Efforting, yeah. Effort actually calcifies or further individuates the doer.

Norio: Yeah, exactly.

Rick: Good point. And paradoxically one can do things…

Norio: Well, yeah, the doing just happens.

Rick: But yeah, effortlessly.

Norio: Yeah, the doing just happens. One step at a time, one mile at a time, with a bicycle.

Rick: Keep on trucking.

Norio: Yeah, up a hill, down a hill, whatever.

Rick: Yeah.

Norio: Or driving, yeah.

Rick: Well, I think we probably should quit while we’re ahead before the internet freezes up again. So, is there anything you’d like to say in conclusion?

Norio: Yeah, let me see what else. One more point I wanted to make is there’s attachments. Attachments are all about justifying the separate self. And I wanted to emphasize for the one attachment which has the biggest hold on us – which we may not even realize is an attachment – is beliefs.

Rick: I believe that.

Norio: Excellent. So, I just wanted to point that out because in our society there’s such an emphasis to believe in something.

Rick: Yeah.

Norio: And if we look at what is a belief, a belief is an idea that we accept as truth, that is accepted as truth, which doesn’t mean that it’s true, but it becomes something that narrows the attention. So I look at – and to answer your question about truth again – I look at certain things in terms of what’s useful and what’s not useful. And what is useful, what I consider is useful is one that expands our awareness, the attention of our awareness, into the lower depths of our true nature. And what is the opposite side, what’s not useful is one that focuses our attention on just the thinking realm.

Rick: Yeah, to the exclusion of our true nature, because sometimes you have to focus. I mean, you’re driving your truck, you have to focus on what you’re doing, but you don’t want that narrow focus to exclude or obliterate the deeper universal silence.

Norio: Yeah, perfect. Yeah. So that’s where I was saying that truth is no big deal, to answer that again. So the more useful focus is to see whether it’s useful or not. Here I draw this map, but the map is not the territory, it may be useful for going – say, if I want to go to California, I pick up a map, it’s useful – but then once I’m there, I throw it away, it’s no longer useful. So it’s always whether it’s useful or not, it’s more what I look at.

Rick: Yeah, that’s a good point. And I mean, you said earlier that you never have been particularly interested in religions, and religions as they’re commonly presented are mostly about beliefs – believe this, believe that. And I think that ultimately the founders of all religions weren’t really overly concerned about belief, they were interested in experience and having others experience what they were experiencing. But then in lieu of that over time, it became all about beliefs, and that’s why religions clash with each other so much, because on the surface level of beliefs, you know… oops, we lost him again. Yeah, I was in the middle of a good riff there. Okay. Yeah, I’m going to. We should have quit while we were ahead.

Norio: Yeah. So I wanted to point those things out. And let’s see, so I want to emphasize that when we’re judging right and wrong, good and bad, we’re not seeing the whole picture. Which is not good or bad either, it’s fine. But be aware that that is focusing the attention on the narrower spectrum that’s happening. So, effortless life is effortless. So resistance and struggle, they’re good teachers. I’ve used resistance and struggle in many ways to see what’s really happening underneath. I mean, I’ve been able to do that because my mother always told me, trust my feelings. So whenever I feel effort and struggle, “Oh, what’s that about?” So it’s always been a teacher for me throughout my life, like, then look at what’s going on underneath or, you know, attempt to. Let’s see. And then, yeah, and what we all want to be whole and complete and free, we’re already there. It’s just a matter of seeing… our attention just doesn’t see it right now because of the way the brain has been conditioned. But it’s all there, we’re already there. That’s the cosmic joke.

Rick: Yeah, yeah.

Norio: It’s that we struggle our whole life for this and it turns out we’re always there. We’re the only ones that get in the way.

Rick: We’ve all already won the lottery, we just have to get the ticket out of the sock drawer and go cash it in.

Norio: Yeah, and it’s in this linear time-space reality in which we find ourselves, this relative time-space reality. Just a game, like Monopoly.

Rick: Yeah.

Norio: And we’re just about having a good time. For all those musicians out there, use the tuning instead of what’s considered standard tuning A440, use A432.

Rick: Okay.

Norio: Because that puts the pitches, the different notes, in line with our chakras.

Rick: Oh, that’s interesting. What was it again? A442?

Norio: No, A432.

Rick: A432. Interesting.

Norio: As opposed to A440, which is standard today.

Rick: I heard that Joni Mitchell used a completely different kind of tuning in her guitar.

Norio: Yeah, John Lennon used A432.

Rick: Even with the Beatles and everything?

Norio: Not with the Beatles, but my son was telling me that A432 was the tuning that John Lennon used.

Rick: Cool, interesting. All righty, well on that note, pun intended, I better summarize and wrap it up. I’ve been speaking with Norio Kushi, he’ll have his own page on, as everyone always does, and from there I will link to his website and have a little bio of him and stuff like that. So thanks to those who’ve been listening or watching, and especially to those online who’ve been patiently watching as we had multiple internet interruptions. This show is part of an ongoing series, and if you go to you’ll see all the old ones, you’ll also see a place to sign up for the audio podcast, email notification, donate button, a bunch of other things. And that about covers it. So we’ll see you next week, and thanks again Norio, I really appreciate having a conversation with you.

Norio: Thank you Rick, thank you for this platform, and all your other guests and listeners.

Rick: Hey, it’s been good talking to you.

Norio: Likewise.

Rick: All righty, bye bye.

Norio: Bye.