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 about 395 of them now and if this happens to be new to you go to batgap.com and look under the past interviews menu where you’ll find them all categorized in several different ways. This show is made possible by the support of appreciative listeners and viewers and if you appreciate it and feel like supporting it there are donate buttons on the site. So thank you for that and thanks to those who have been supporting it. My guest today is Pamela Wilson. I’ve interviewed her before about six years ago and I’ve always wanted to do another one with her, so here we are. Pamela celebrates 20 years of being on the road worldwide sharing truth, clarity, love and the joy of being. Her new book, “A Golden Retriever’s Guide to Joy,” is a distillation of everything she has noticed within regarding the book of life within stillness. She delights in getting to the heart of the matter, literally; finding the intelligent presence within all forms and functions and then showing it its true nature so that emotion, sensation, the body and the mind can also return and stabilize as balanced rooted spaciousness. Join the fun, life is simple within its complexity. So thank you Pamela. So I have a feeling, I may be wrong, but that you kind of had it in mind to write a book for quite some time and you weren’t getting around to it and finally you thought why not just let the dog write it.
Pamela: There you go. There you go Yes, it’s sort of like the lazy girl’s guide to publishing and writing.
Irene: They need to earn their keep Irene.
Rick: Yeah they need to earn their keep alright. It’s sort of the opposite of the dog ate the homework. It’s the dog did the homework.
Pamela: I love it, I love it. Now I wish she could carry some groceries.
Rick: Yeah, yeah. Do you buy into the notion, we’ll talk more about the book as we go along, but do you resonate with the idea that there’s really no end to spiritual evolution, that there’s no sort of terminus point, we just keep on keeping on, keeping on evolving?
Pamela: I thought you were going to say keep on truckin’.
Rick: We do that too, yeah.
Rick: Mr. Natural.
Pamela: Well, as far as I can tell, since the nature of everything is infinite, there is an infinite amount to notice about reality. So I find it still very stimulating and very thrilling and if I miss something then somebody in one of the groups has noticed something and when they speak of it then I go, “Oh, that resonates.”
Rick: So this may be a tough question to answer, but since we spoke about six years ago, would it be possible that, if you could contrast what your experience was six years ago with what it is now, would you be able to say anything about that? How have you grown in six years?
Pamela: I could say that, you know, it’s apparently life keeps weaning us off of subtle identifications. So when I first had the shift almost 20 years ago, I was living as awareness or the joyous heart and I still, the embodiment was still shakable and then that sort of subtle identification is of “I am” or “I am awareness” fell away and then there was just this rooted spaciousness that was a lot less shakable. So I’m very happy to be living that.
Rick: So in other words, aside from certain traffic situations you know, you don’t get perturbed easily.
Pamela: Well, sometimes it’s the little things. Isn’t that weird? I don’t know if you notice that.
Rick: Yeah, it can be.
Pamela: Yeah, and then I’m, you know, one of… If somebody was to ask me what is one of my remaining sorrows, it would be the non-love in the human conditioning. So that sometimes can really affect and come sit with the heart and devastate it sometimes.
Rick: And you don’t only mean your own personal human con… you mean humanity, right what goes on in the world?
Pamela: Yeah, exactly. As, just open the news.
Rick: Yeah, well I want to talk about that as we go along because I heard you make some comments in some of your other interviews that I thought were insightful about sort of the world situation and all. And speaking of other interviews, in preparing for this one I listened to several you did, one with somebody named Lucia or something like that.
Pamela: Oh yeah, Lucia René, she’s lovely.
Rick: Yeah, I thought that was very good and our previous one was an interesting conversation like six years ago. You also did a nice one with Renate McNay. So, you know, if people enjoy this and want to hear some other ones they’ll find on your website links to those other interviews, they’re good. Yeah, about embodiment, you said, and I think it might have been in your interview with Lucia René, you said after awakening you felt angelic and not human for about 10 years, then you came back down to earth, something like that.
Pamela: I think I crashed. It’s the classic sort of, the classic fall to earth.
Rick: Flew too close to the sun. Icarus.
Pamela: Yeah. Well no, it wasn’t about that, it was more that I think life weans us off of the felt sense of divinity and there was a little bit of whining with that.
Rick: What’s wrong, why would life want to do that? What’s wrong with the felt sense of divinity?
Pamela: Well, as far as I can tell, there’s something deeper, which is elemental being, and that is more stable. Because I think for me, human, humanness and divinity they’re a polarity. So, anytime I find a polarity I like to look behind or underneath or in between.
Rick: What that triggers in my understanding is that you know the divine or the celestial realm is wonderful and subtle and beautiful but it’s not necessarily the bedrock, it’s not the ultimate.
Pamela: Exactly, it’s not the substratum. Yeah.
Rick: Yeah, I mean even in the Vedic literature they say, well you know, the denizens of heaven aren’t necessarily enlightened, they just enjoy that.
Pamela: They’re having a lot of fun though.
Rick: Yeah, they earn some good karma or something, they go and they live it but they eventually have to come back and, for final liberation. Yeah. But that’s interesting because very often people have some kind of shift into an impersonal abstract absolute kind of thing and then maybe later on or maybe not, but maybe later on they develop some kind of more appreciation of divinity and celestial qualities and so on. With you it almost sounds like you’re saying it happened the other way around?
Pamela: Yeah, I was just kind of living the big love and noticing the love within everything and so there was just joy.
Rick: Nice, that sounds good. Well you know what… [crosstalk]
Pamela: And now I could say I’m living a sober joy. Yeah.
Rick: Was anything lost or do you feel like the container just got bigger and the joy thing is still there but it’s in a larger context?
Pamela: Yeah, it is but, and now it’s very informed. It’s, before it was like blithe spirit, you know that phrase, and now it’s kind of wiser.
Rick: Maybe because you’re getting older. [laughter] Yes, definitely. I’m kind of reminded of what our friend Adyashanti often says about awakening in the head, heart and gut and he probably didn’t think that up, probably others have said it but they don’t always necessarily go in any particular order, I find, among people and with you maybe it sounds like heart first and then…
Pamela: Yeah, heart first and then the head. It was very funny one day… I talk to stillness occasionally. Not that I’m not that but I asked it, “Hey, you know I’m present with the mind, I gaze at it. I’m, ah, compassionate with it. Why hasn’t it come to rest?” Because it’ll come to rest and open and be quiet but then it’ll you know wind itself all up and it said, “Oh, you didn’t show it its true nature.” And so then I just honored consciousness within, you know the pure intelligence within the mind, and it relaxed open and then I invited it just to root and stabilize as that. So, that was a nice clue from stillness that it’s not just being with or gazing or watching thought like waves come and go. You really… out of compassion you have to show it its true nature.
Rick: And you did that how?
Pamela: Just by honoring it and then inviting it to look behind its files and forms and functions and ideas.
Rick: I’ve heard you say a lot of things like that in interviews like using a lot of verbs with regard to things like fear or jealousy or the mind or, you know, this and that. You use words like honor or bow or invite and all sorts of things like that and, you know, I don’t know, personally I don’t quite get how to put that into practice. [crosstalk]
Pamela: It’s more like the heart
Rick: It seems conceptual somehow
Pamela: bowing and noticing the restlessness or the remaining suffering in some of these crystallizations of consciousness. So, the universal language, other than stillness, is respect. And this I got from Papaji. Somebody asked him to sum up his teachings and he said, “Look within, approach everything with devotion and gratitude and then stay as heart.” So I tried that, approaching everything with devotion and gratitude, and we already are that, but when you add a little extra warmth, it really allows the embodiment to self-liberate.
Rick: So, would you describe what you’re saying as a sort of a, a subtle intentional shift like just, sort of, rather than being oblivious to some inner workings, rather just sort of gently put the attention here, have this little bit of subtle recognition and so on and then that kind of enlivens things?
Pamela: Yeah, it’s like treating everything as the inner sangha inside, the inner gathering, because any restlessness is just looking for rest and anything that’s suffering is looking for the ultimate resolution which is true nature.
Rick: So, let me press you on this a little bit more. So, let’s say a person is angry or restless or depressed or something like that, rather than just sort of taking that for granted, “I’m angry because of argh argh,” are you suggesting a little bit more of an introspective thing like, “Okay, now why is this arising?” and “What’s the root of this depression?” and so on?
Pamela: No, it’s not why you’re looking at the root, it’s looking into the essence. Because we can get really caught, as you’ve noticed, this humanity has gotten really caught in the ‘whys’. “Why is this happening to me?” And there’s a lot of beautiful invitations in psychology and many things but this is simple looking into the heart of the matter, looking into the essence of anger. “What’s the essence of anger?” And then honoring that because the essence of everything, you know, are its qualities of life or stillness.
Rick: And I’m asking dumb questions because I’m dumb and I want to make sure everybody gets this. So let’s say, okay, I’m going through my day and something gets stirred up and I think, “Oh, Pamela said look into the essence of this.” How do I do that? Do I sit down and close my eyes? What do I do?”
Pamela: Well, it’s nice you can do it on the fly too. You can, you know, once again noticing the felt sense, you know, say if it’s reactivity or some irritation, just feeling into that and then noticing. For me, the second movement is to notice usually there’s too much of it to be personal. It’s like anger isn’t personal or reactivity or the felt sense of separation. These are all, lately I’m calling them apps, but that’s kind of rude. It’s really the colors of consciousness. In that moment there’s a watercolor wash of fiery anger through the stillness or through the openness. Getting curious, “Wow, what is that?” “That?”
Rick: Rather than just taking it for granted or assuming it’s justifiable or whatever, there’s just a little bit of a questioning of it.
Pamela: Yeah, because then it doesn’t… [crosstalk] It’s coming at this point not to offer role-play services, because before as actors or, we really needed that kind of backup, that, those points of view, those kind of like righteous opinions and then we’re convincing. But now it’s coming, it’s all coming for freedom.
Rick: Yeah, for some reason something Nisargadatta said just popped into my mind. He talked about the ability to appreciate paradox and ambiguity being kind of characteristic of spiritual maturity and that to me means not just assuming that my way or the highway, that my viewpoint is right and everybody else and anyone who differs with it is wrong but just sort of taking the broader view and recognizing that we’ve all just got a fraction or a fragment of the total picture.
Pamela: Yes, yes. And then it’s then, you know, this is curiosity’s own pleasure, to look into the nature of everything, to notice the formlessness in all forms and functions and be curious. And that’s how it informs itself, as we’ve all noticed, is through curiosity.
Rick: Yeah, one thing I… I guess, I don’t know if any survey has ever been done, it’d be interesting, of all the people who are in this world that you and I travel in, you know, all the spiritual seekers and the teachers and the satsangs and all this stuff around the world, but I wonder, it would be interesting to see a breakdown of how many people actually practice something, how many mainly just read books or just listen to teachers. And I know that you’ve done a lot of practice in various ways, TM for years, the Sedona Method, Lester Levenson and working with Robert Adams and so on. And one thing that I worry about sometimes is that people who, and there are teachers who explicitly discourage practice of any kind, you know, they say it’s a waste of time or it just reinforces the practice. A lot of times when I hear… A lot of times I’m concerned that people are just sort of picking up a lot of words listening to things and they mistake that for the actual realization. What’s your emphasis or orientation on this issue?
Pamela: Well, to me the field of presence, you know, is the body. So, if we live above the nose, maybe our recognition can be conceptual, but if presence and naturalness or life permeates its own embodiment down to its toes, then it’s the living truth. And I like to honor everyone’s…
Pamela: Yeah, because they’re following their resonance, it’s usually genuine passion. Even a good Dharma debate can have genuine passion in it, so I mean, I really try not to mess with anybody’s…
Rick: Yeah, and one thing tends to lead to the next. They may be doing something now, but after a while they might think, “Hey, you know, I think I’ll try that,” or whatever.
Pamela: That’s it. We’re all really just following our feet, you know.
Rick: That’s a good point. I heard you quote Robert Adams and perhaps others in emphasizing the value of being able to sit with someone who is really grounded or whatever word he used, you know, really established. And that could be, you know, orders of magnitude more powerful than other options, if you have that opportunity. Maybe it would be good to address that for a moment.
Pamela: Yeah, that was my experience. I had, as you know, done the TM and then Lester passed away and Laura Lucille, who’s Francis’s wife now, Francis Lucille’s wife, she told me about Robert and I just walked into this gathering in the Los Angeles area and it was like hitting a wall of peace but soft, welcoming. And I just sat down and it was the first time I hadn’t mantra-ed or released or done any practice. It was such a relief. I could just rest and savor and be permeated and soothed. It was like heaven.
Rick: Right. Could be that all your mantra-ing and Sedona-ing had actually made you more open to it.
Pamela: Oh, definitely, definitely. And it really clarified, you know, the mind, the tendencies, the, you know, emotional habits. Just very beautiful. I’m very grateful for all of it.
Rick: Yeah, I feel that way too. It’s sort of like each thing we do… It’s like, I’m grateful for second grade, you know. I didn’t stay there but I had a really good teacher in second grade and a really good teacher in sixth grade. Each thing was a step of progress. I think everybody gets the metaphor. So let’s talk about your book a little bit. You mentioned that you ran into Eckhart Tolle up in Vancouver and you had your dog with you and he said, “Do you know your dog is enlightened?” and you said, “Yes, she woke up before me.”
Pamela: Yeah, Neelam actually did the beautiful touching of the right hand on the right side of the chest and the left hand on the head that Ramana had gifted his mother and a few people with and drawing the I-thought out of the head back into the heart. So that was a few months before I woke up. So Honey, my dog, was the living embodiment of love and peace and stillness and strength.
Rick: Okay, now I have a video of me holding our dog Shanti who has since passed away and Amma coming up and hugging and kissing and blessing and doing all this wonderful stuff with Shanti. But I don’t mean to sound like a curmudgeon but I wouldn’t go so far as to say that Shanti became enlightened in the sense that human beings become enlightened. I mean she still liked to roll in cat poop or eat it or, you know, stuff like that. She was still a dog, you know. It kind of begs the question, can a… are we being kind of just poetical here or could..?.
Pamela: No, but we could also say that there’s many sages that have had their shift and everything and still have strange tendencies.
Pamela: Now in this case I have to say… I wouldn’t say that about my current dog but I would definitely say it about Honey. There’s something… and it makes sense because all beings have true nature. The great sutra in Buddhism is all beings have Buddha-nature.
Rick: Yeah, including mosquitoes and amoebas and everything. It’s just a question of where we want to draw the line, you know. I don’t want to get too academic, I mean who knows.
Pamela: I know, I know
Rick: But it’s interesting to ponder because… There’s a thing that Ken Wilber talks about called the pre/trans fallacy where we look at babies or animals and they seem like they have a lot of qualities that we would associate with enlightenment but they have to go through a whole mine field of development before they kind of get to the other side and then regain those qualities but have something so much more.
Pamela: I would say it’s not a mine field, it’s a mind field we all have to go through. You know, kind of like the mind encumbers itself and then gets clarified back to its original pure intelligence.
Pamela: Yeah. No, I’m all for all beings knowing their true nature. That would be great.
Pamela: Living it.
Rick: It would be a different world. I mean in a way the whole spiritual evolution thing kind of recapitulates human maturation. You know we’re all innocent and cute and everything and then we become teenagers and you know we get wild and crazy and do dangerous things. But we sort of have to go through that because we’re gaining our independence, you know, and our freedom and our autonomy, and then if we make it through that then hopefully we become, you know, come out the other side more mature, more whole, more established.
Rick: Okay enough of that.
Pamela: What a long strange trip it’s been.
Rick: Yeah, Grateful Dead and continues to be. So let’s take some points from your book here. There’s a bunch of interesting things. So let’s take, I’m just going to take some chapter titles and let you talk about them, okay, and I’ll try not to talk as much. I’m talking too much. One is, “Who are you really?”
Pamela: Yeah. Yeah, that’s, the final teachings in all traditions is to look into our essence rather than our persona or role or projections from others, who they think we are or who our mind thinks we are, and just looking, just turning around inside. This natural aware presence looks within. And sometimes we have to soothe the body-mind enough so that we can look kind of behind the waves or the movements into this still, innocent, intelligent presence that oddly enough has not been harmed or, that it’s whole and complete and still present, and then just inviting it to uncontain itself because part of the play of life in the natural world and in the human tribe is to protect, defend, and veil that which is precious and a treasure. So that to me is the most important thing, knowing, noticing that we’re not just our body, we’re not our thoughts, we’re not the movements of the emotions, we’re not our personal history and in that moment there’s this just, “Oh thank God,” because there’s beautiful moments that we all can remember but there was a lot of pressure and harshness and confusion and longing to return back to something simpler and truer.
Rick: And I think most people intuitively know that that’s there and you know the polls have shown that a majority of people have had some sort of mystical experience or insight or something. We all have this intuitive knowing.
Pamela: Yeah. So it’s a very specific guided meditation so that it’s a kinesthetic, stabilized knowing in the body in that chapter.
Rick: Yeah, right, and I should add that your book isn’t yet for sale but there’s going to be a thing on your website where people can just sign up to be notified when it becomes available, right?
Pamela: Yes, yes.
Rick: Okay, good and it’s not a long book, you can read it in less than an hour. It has some real nice illustrations of Honey in it, Honey the Dog.
Pamela: Yeah, by my friend Kathleen who’s a very talented watercolorist.
Rick: Yeah, nice. Okay, I’m just going to throw some chapter titles at you and let you talk and let them stimulate discussion. So, another one is Liberating the Mind.
Pamela: Oh yes, this is probably the greatest gift we can give humanity because when we all went to school we just had Sky Mind. We had this open field of bright shiny intelligence in the head that was curious and it loved what it loved, still does, doesn’t like what it doesn’t like, and it, you know, it loves learning, it loves being curious. So, but in school it was taught to concentrate and focus and that’s a gorgeous capacity, that’s our zoom lens really. But then it forgot its wide angle naturalness. So, in that chapter it is just a very simple way to show it and for it to stabilize back into wide angle pure intelligence, practical, creative.
Rick: Yeah, this theme comes up a lot actually in various interviews. There’s a sort of trade-off or tug of war between needing to be focused to drive a car or do, you know, do heart surgery or fly an airplane or whatever one does in life and, you know, wanting to maintain broad comprehension and unbounded awareness and it’s something, it’s not an either or situation, it’s something that can be integrated so you get both.
Pamela: Yeah, it’s actually what already is. So, we’re just inviting the mind just to relax some of the tightness in it because that was just born of pressure and, you know, performance and all that stuff.
Rick: Yeah, but we do tend to be conditioned by repetitive experiences, you know, and also by intense experiences. Something comes at you, let’s say you have a fender bender at a certain intersection, every time you go by that intersection you like flinch a little bit like, whoa, you know, because you have that association. So, maybe there’s, you know, could you speak to how to unwind the conditioning?
Pamela: Yeah, the conditioning lately, you might notice I’m sort of irreverent, but the conditioning has a sort of post-note function which is it’ll maintain history in the body just to remind us that we never want that to happen again. So, I sort of went around within and found all those sort of like contracted post-notes and said, “Okay, I totally agree, we never want that to happen again and you don’t have to hold that in the field of presence because we’re in total accord.”
Rick: Yeah, now there’s another one of those things where you’re kind of speaking to something in your body, you know, you’re like addressing some tendency.
Pamela: Well, stillness is talking to crystallized stillness in the form of conditioning. So, it’s the unconditioned talking to the conditioned going, “Hey, do we have to do this? Could we get a second opinion from the heart?”
Rick: And did that work and was once enough or is it some kind of thing you have to kind of, wait a minute, you’re, you know, looking at the post-it note again?
Pamela: Well, usually if you stay with it more than, you know, five seconds it usually gets it because everything is intelligent and everything actually has a heart. You know, conditioning is actually devotional, it just got weird.
Rick: It’s also physiological. I mean, I’ve had times when I’m meditating for instance and all of a sudden my body will jump and there’ll be this huge release of something and afterwards I’ll just feel like, aaaaah, you know, like something that was really tight had just dissolved.
Pamela: Yes, yes, and that’s what they call spontaneous self-liberation and that’s the body’s talent. Because just as it recorded data it also can just…
Pamela: Yeah, doesn’t need to hold that. You know, once we’re functioning as informed, rooted awareness and then most of that backup can just rest.
Rick: Yeah, and gets cleared out. I mean, you know, you’ve heard the word, most everyone listening has heard the word “vasanas”, which are like these impressions and they’re physiological, I mean both in the physical body and perhaps the subtle body, and the unbounded awareness is like a solvent, you know, which loosens them up and “phew”
Pamela: Yeah because they don’t want… [crosstalk]
Rick: Yeah, but we often experience little flutters as they come out, right?
Pamela: Right, and they don’t want to be vasanas, what a drag. You know, “Okay, I get to do this, another repetitive movement, for another
Rick: 35 million, now you mentioned Papaji as having mentioned 35 million years and I was wondering what that meant. Was he saying that our individual existence goes back 35 million years through reincarnations or what did he mean by that?
Pamela: I don’t think he meant just reincarnation just as human… [crosstalk]
Rick: Yeah, might be dogs.
Pamela: …but you know this element, the five elements having come into form and been subject to the laws of, the laws of gravity, the laws of the opposites, all sorts of things.
Rick: But the universe is much older than that so I was just wondering what he meant.
Pamela: Yeah, so maybe it was the human tribe, maybe we’re all skulking around, who knows. Somebody teased him once and he said, “Why do you always say 35 million years, why not 16 million years?” And Papaji just gave him such a look.
Rick: Like, yeah…
Pamela: “Keep quiet.”
Rick: Like, “Lighten up dude.”
Pamela: Exactly, no smart-ass, relax.
Rick: Yeah, in other words, long, long time.
Pamela: I don’t know, it sounds great, 35 million, million years, it’s such an eternal wow to me.
Rick: Yeah, okay, good one. So, here’s another little teaser for you, “The body is not what it appears to be.”
Pamela: Yeah. Yes, thank God. Once again, it’s an invitation to look a little deeper. My joke used to be, I used to treat my body as a third world donkey. Really, it was more the mind was treating the body like that, hurting it through time and space, pressuring it, you know, if it didn’t function well or didn’t obey, there would be like mean, judging thoughts to harass it into movement. So, it’s so lovely to look into the field that we call the body, setting aside all the ideas about it, and as we’ve all noticed in moments of relaxation, it doesn’t feel like it has, you know, containment or… it’s more just a field of stillness, intelligence, responsive sensitivity and resilience. So, it’s pretty mysterious. I’m such a lover of looking deeper. Yeah.
Rick: Yeah, on this note… I’m sorry, go ahead.
Pamela: No, so there’s also a guided meditation in that one, which is just an invitation to be curious.
Rick: Yeah, on this body point in your book, it’s funny you say, “Humans are funny. They love their bodies and treat them badly.”
Rick: Okay, a bunch of chapter titles, but I also had some other little notes that I took as I was going through your book. I’ll read you some of these because they’re things that jumped out at me as being interesting. “If we think there is something to do in order to just be, then it starts all over again, the cycle of unrest.”
Pamela: Yeah, so in school we were trained very beautifully to be high functioning and the mind has brought that mild to medium to strong pressured intent on the great quest for freedom. So actually the mind contracts to look for something that’s relaxed and open. So it’s just, you know, once again we get back to just honoring all these innocent misunderstandings so that they can relax, open, and then notice what is.
Rick: And on the theme of rest and relaxation, this is a quote from Honey the dog, “Give yourself lots of space to rest,” and there’s a picture in the book of Honey sleeping. “The secret to my boundless energy and enjoyment is I know how to rest.”
Pamela: Yeah, so rest is an absence of movement. One can be in high functioning during the day or on a long hike and still have that felt sense of rest, because rest within… The word is the Latin beingness. Already our true nature is already at rest. I’m looking out the window at the trees, they’re experts.
Rick: They’re at rest. Yeah, I guess we could say rest is the basis of activity.
Pamela: Lovely, yeah, and it animates all activity.
Rick: Yeah, and it’s interesting to notice that a lot of sages and saints and so on who undoubtedly were in a very natural rested state, subjectively, and I bet even physiologically if you hooked them up you would find that there wasn’t a lot of extraneous inefficiency in the way their bodies were working, have boundless energy. You know, they can go and go and go and go and apparently not get tired.
Pamela: I love that. I’m happy to get some extra transmission for that. I’m sure that my friends would say that about me, but sometimes the felt sense is more like clunk.
Rick: Yeah, that too, I mean, you know, we have our limitations, but I’ve read studies about this where kind of a body that’s full of all sorts of pent-up stress and impressions and so on just operates very inefficiently. It’s kind of like a car that has all kinds of rust and stuff in the motor, it has to really work hard to get anywhere. Whereas a really nicely finely tuned engine, it has better fuel mileage and it just runs more smoothly and all.
Pamela: Yeah, so just, you know, that’s another lovely thing about inviting the unconditioned to liberate the conditioning because it eats up a lot of the ROM of the biocomputer. So just to maintain a contraction in a field of deep relaxation requires a little extra juice.
Rick: Yeah, and again the word naturalness, we’re kind of throwing that around a little bit here. I think maybe you would say that naturalness and… I think what you’re alluding to here is learning to function in a state of naturalness, which is what your whole book is about, really. I mean, dogs are natural, they’re not neurotic, most of them. Irene is saying they can be, yeah, they can be really neurotic, but a dog that hasn’t been neuroticized by its owners tends to be just very natural and that’s why we love them, you know? There’s an innocence.
Pamela: That’s it, and a natural joy. They’re like following their feet and their nose and you know, their whole body is moving, following its interest. I love it.
Rick: Yeah, I think that’s why children are so charming, and saints and sages. I mean, they sometimes are just so charismatic, you know, just so you can sit and watch them for hours, just their facial expressions, just because of a certain naturalness that you don’t ordinarily find. Freedom.
Pamela: That’s it, you know, because life, that’s the arc of life and it’s not just an arc, it’s probably two arcs that make a circle where life just, you know, it can apparently encumber itself and then its great delight is to unencumber itself, so it’s a great journey.
Rick: One thing I like a lot about what you say, and I think it was in your introduction that I read also, is your appreciation of the intelligence of life. I think I’ll just let you talk about that a little bit rather than asking a big long question.
Pamela: Yeah, that was the first time I noticed that, it probably wasn’t the first time, but it was with my dog Honey and we were on a mountain trail that was very narrow and we were above a cliff and I’m, you know, really noticing where my feet are and being naturally cautious in a healthy way and she is just galloping down this path and my body contracted out of worried love and I’m going, “Oh no, my dog,” you know, and then I noticed that every part of her being and body was intelligent. That was the first, [gasps] like her paws were intelligent, all the muscles, you know, her eyes, her balance, everything. It was completely the movement of relaxed intelligence just galloping down this path and it allowed the worried love in me to relax and then I started noticing, “Wow, everything is intelligent.”
Rick: Yeah, not just animate things, not just biological life.
Pamela: I know, the road I’m driving on is intelligent, it’s been engineered to have these curves, you know. The car is intelligent, my glasses are, my body is. That was very relaxing.
Rick: Yeah, I mean people tire of hearing me say this because I’ve said it many times, but if we think about what science has told us about the way things are working, I mean a single grain of salt has like a billion, billion atoms in it and every single one of those little atoms is a marvel that we don’t fully understand but somehow it’s humming away, you know, and along with its billion, billion brothers and sisters. And you know in a single grain of salt and it just goes out from there to the whole universe where you’ll never find a spot that isn’t like that with all this amazing intelligent complexity in it, so it boggles the mind, you know, it’s awe- inspiring.
Pamela: Yeah, I think that’s the great invitation from life if we slow down enough just for a moment, not forever, to notice that life is just always saying, “Hey, you know, A) you are me and B) I have your back and I’m always carrying you and I’m looking out of your eyes and every cell of your body is humming away doing its thing.” And that was another fun noticing many moons ago, is that I’m not doing anything. I’m not breathing, I’m not digesting, I’m not thinking, I’m not, you know, I’m basically just along for the ride. Life is doing everything.
Rick: Yeah, let’s talk about that a little bit. I wanted to talk to you about this. You know, obviously there are certain functions, I guess they call them autonomic or something, that happen without our even knowing it. The way our liver is working, the way our heart is beating, the way our stomach is digesting, and if we had to actually run all that stuff consciously we’d die immediately.
Pamela: Yeah, in one day we would fall over. “It’s too much.”
Rick: In one second we would fall over, you know, if we had to run that stuff like keep your heart beating, ooh, beep, beep, “Wait, my liver, I forgot my liver.” But then there are, and sometimes people use that as an example of how everything is running on automatic but then there are all the other things that we do seem to have a choice over, at least most people do, seem to. You know, I can raise my arm or not raise my arm, I can throw a baseball, I can cook lunch, you know, there’s all this sort of willful conscious intentional stuff.
Pamela: Yeah, but the cool thing is…
Rick: Oh, Irene mentioned I can’t cook lunch, she’s right about that.
Pamela: [laughter] Oh it’s good to have discernment in the background.
Rick: Grilled cheese sandwiches maybe.
Pamela: Well, as far as I can tell, the impulse to play baseball or the impulse to go for a walk arises from stillness, presents itself to its own embodiment or awareness and then there’s a yay or a nay, there’s resonance or not, and then off you go to play baseball, or not. So, even that impulse and that apparent willfulness is not ours, it’s like a menu inside, “How about this?”
Rick: Yeah, I remember hearing Timothy, not Timothy, I’m about to mention him in a second, I remember hearing Nisargadatta say that, you know, he was speaking to his audience and he was saying, you know, for you, things like digestion and heartbeat and stuff, breathing, are automatic. He said, “For me, everything is that way.” This whole issue of free will versus spontaneous nature running the show, you know, and you know from the outside it looks like, okay, well this guy has a compulsion to smoke cigarettes, there’s an individual desire for those, and yet he has all this wonderful wisdom. And at a certain point he decided to stop smoking them and Timothy Conway said they cleared a path in the darshan hall and he would pace up and down between all the people, up and down that path, because he was so restless from the nicotine withdrawal. And so I’m just sort of wondering about… I mean people say there’s no sense of personal self, for instance, it’s fallen away, and but I’m not quite there in terms of my…
Pamela: No, it’s more that the body was restless because it wasn’t getting its… nicotine, yeah. So that’s why for me it’s very practical to include the body because you know the body has habits and it has habits of how it sedated itself in the past. And true nature, this naturalness that we are, you know, we’ll start to notice, wow, there’s some habit or a contraction or something that doesn’t serve that’s no longer required.
Rick: But I mean in your… I heard one interview in which you were talking about the sense of Pamela having fallen away or the sense of personal self. Do you mean that sort of absolutely, ultimately, thoroughly or is there, did it more like take a back seat and there is still some sense of personal self but it really is nowhere near as predominant as it used to be?
Pamela: Hmm, see I speak about it differently. So the apparent role of Pamela fell away and it was very abrupt, in a beautiful satsang with Neelam, and then… aaaah… then pure being was just enjoying itself. It wasn’t terribly informed or rooted yet but it was a delight. I would say that the persona falls away. The essence of the persona is uniqueness. So the uniqueness and the genuine interests remain. I think the reference to the restlessness of Nisargadatta having quit smoking is a reference to his body, not him. It was his body that smoked and somehow true nature was enjoying until it wasn’t.
Pamela: So decided to quit.
Rick: But… so you’re saying there’s a uniqueness that’s Pamela, some kind of individual expression that is unique to you, unique to me and so on.
Pamela: I would say it’s actually not… I would say it’s the uniqueness of life. Pretty much anything life comes into form is a unique expression.
Pamela: So, you know, because if I track backwards, when I was young, I would notice awareness being drawn. Of course I didn’t have the words for it, it was just I could have been crawling on the floor and awareness was moving the body towards something that intrigued it. So saying that, that’s actually always what’s happened. We’re just following resonance and interest. Unfortunately for most of us, the mind co-opted that and then started to script and direct and insist.
Rick: Well, let me just persist a little bit more at the risk of being a pest. But, you know, if I see you at the SAND conference and I say, “Hey, Pamela,” you know, you’ll turn around and say, “Hi”, and somehow or other, you know, you realized, there was some individuation that realized I wasn’t calling somebody else, I was calling you. Or if you, you know, stub your toe, it’s like there’s some kind of localized recognition of… which is not, you know, the tree outside isn’t feeling it, Pamela, the thing we look at and call Pamela, seems to be feeling it.
Pamela: And I’m happy for that. Thank God.
Rick: Yeah. We’d probably kill ourselves if we didn’t have that. So, I’m just kind of getting at whether there can really be a complete obliteration of all sense of personal self or whether it really can be… just diminishes and we identify more primarily with something more universal.
Pamela: I think, you know, the impersonal is animating the personal. Just as it’s animating everything. And as far as I can tell, it edits what it no longer needs. So, consciousness clarifies its own instrument because it’s no longer its genuine interest to do role play or feel separate or whatever it was playing before. Now its genuine interest is… what Robert Adams said, pervading everything, rooting everything, clarifying everything, returning back for anything that’s suffering. So, that’s how I see it.
Rick: Okay, I think that makes sense. So, in other words, consciousness is calling the shots.
Pamela: Oh yeah, it’s doing everything.
Rick: Yeah, and I like that phrase you said, it’s… I forget exactly how you said it, it’s purifying or it’s refining its own instrument. It’s continuing to evolve the instrument through which it can enjoy life as a living reality rather than just some abstract, absolute thing.
Pamela: Yeah, and we actually all have that experience. It’s not about awake, asleep. Oddly enough, it’s based on how relaxed the embodiment is. So, in those moments if we’ve, you know, have our feet in the warm sand on the beach and you’re gazing at an ocean and nothing is required of you, the entire body relaxes and opens and the mind relaxes and opens and oh, there’s just true nature. So, what we talk about, and probably in all the interviews, is just about a relaxed field of presence.
Pamela: And it doesn’t matter if it comes home through golfing or long distance running or… I call it the grace of exhaustion.
Rick: Yeah, I think that’s one of those, perhaps the most fundamental innate human drive is for that, to return back to that restful, relaxed natural state, you know.
Rick: And there are all kinds of things which delude people into thinking that they might provide it such as, you know, opioids, which are now epidemic, and various things like that which kind of cheat you, you know, they don’t really do it.
Pamela: Yeah, they sedate the body temporarily but they don’t liberate anything.
Rick: Yeah. There’s an interesting quote from your book related to this, you say, “What agitates the mind is not circumstances but being contained. The mind is vast and it is in too small space, your head.”
Pamela: Your head.
Rick: Yeah, it’s like, you know, you see those animals at the zoo, they’re in a cage and they’re just all sort of pacing and restless because they’re constricted, they’re contained, it’s not natural.
Pamela: They say that a tiger can wear a sort of channel into the cement of his cage a foot deep.
Rick: Wow, just pacing.
Pamela: In the cement just from pacing. And that’s true for all of us. I mean life has such a high vibratory rate. And we see it in kids. I mean they can’t stop dancing or moving or exploring or running or jumping and then as we get older it gets contained and that’s where the frustration comes. It’s not so much with circumstance because when we’re relaxed sometimes okay, I don’t really like that circumstance, but it’s not such a big deal, but when the body is like oooh, there’s no room.
Rick: Yeah, there’s something in the Upanishads or someplace that says there’s no joy in smallness.
Pamela: Oh, beautiful.
Rick: Yeah, I don’t know if that’s precisely the way it’s expressed but that’s the idea, that you know, we’re meant to be unbounded and anything which constricts us is, we’re not going to be happy with it.
Pamela: Yeah, so when we were teenagers maybe we were unbounded without discernment.
Rick: Yeah, we might have needed a little constraint.
Pamela: But now we can be unbounded because we’re street-smart and we have discernment.
Rick: Yeah. There was, in one of your interviews, I think it was Lucia, you were talking about the number of neurons in the heart and the gut, as well as the brain, and I got curious and looked that up. There are about a hundred billion in the brain, about a hundred million in the gut and at least 40,000 around the heart. And I typed out a thing here, printed out a thing. It says, “It turns out that butterflies and that sinking feeling in the stomach have a neurological basis. Neurons lining the stomach are filled with neurotransmitters, chemicals that help nerve cells communicate with one another. One key neurotransmitter is serotonin, which plays a major role in mood regulation. While serotonin is also found in the brain, stomach.”
Rick: Yeah. “This abundance explains why drugs like Prozac, known as SSRIs, help elevate mood by increasing serotonin levels but also cause stomach disturbances.” I thought that was interesting.
Pamela: Yeah, and I think the newest research is that there’s actually more neurons in the heart.
Rick: More than the 40,000? Yeah, 40,000 doesn’t seem like very many.
Pamela: Yeah. So, we’ll see, we all have listened to that, you know, gut intuition and at least in my case, I overrode it regularly. I used to tell the still small voice, “Hey, you better speak up because I’m not listening.” So, now I’m listening.
Rick: Now you listen, good.
Rick: Um, okay. There’s something you talked about in one of your interviews. You got into this thing of talking about the elementals and gods and how they thrive on devotion and that was kind of interesting. It was you know talking basically about subtle realms and the beings who reside there. I mean, was that just sort of a little sidelight or is that something that actually interests you and you think that’s significant?
Pamela: Well, now when I think of elemental beingness I think of one of the ways to speak of it is the five elements. So, we have earth and water and fire and air and space. But see it’s the space element. Robert Adams called it spaceless space. So, to me it is the one that is holding all the other elements and of course all of existence and non-existence and whatever you want to call it. So, to me, when I feel into what resonates for me as a word, it’s elemental beingness or I’m this warm, warm space, spaceless space. So, to me that’s what I talk about when I speak of elemental beingness. Not so much gods and mischievous nature spirits but the, the building blocks of life itself.
Rick: Which, according to some teachings, are intelligence, they’re impulses of intelligence. They’re not just laws of physics or something. They’re actually…
Pamela: They have a supreme intelligence.
Rick: Yeah, and obviously they have names for them. Like, you know, when you talk about the Hindus and they have a name for the god of fire and the god of air, Vayu, and so on. But, you know, they’re actually pointing to intelligence conducting these various phenomena in nature.
Pamela: Yeah, and it’s animating everything very benevolently and without any effort. I mean, I’m just struck by formless… the formlessness that’s holding all the planets up. It’s not efforting. It’s not like scrunching its shoulders like Atlas. It’s just totally relaxed.
Rick: It’s taking the path of least action.
Pamela: There you go. I mean, if you’re the supreme… you’re the omnipotence of the universe, absolute strength, then you can be absolutely relaxed.
Rick: Like if you throw a tennis ball, there are a million different paths it could take, but it actually takes the most efficient path. It takes the path of absolute least action and, you know, the parabola it follows, you can calculate that in terms of it being the most efficient parabola that it could possibly take.
Pamela: I’m sure my dog knew that.
Rick: Oh yeah, that’s how he catches them. Or she.
Pamela: That’s right, because it’s the same intelligence.
Rick: Yeah, she just does this little algebra thing in her head and runs over there and ‘pop’, gets it..
Pamela: How lovely.
Rick: Here’s a phrase I like from the book, “The divine often moves at the speed of molasses.”
Pamela: Yeah, no rush, no time or space. And it also, I mean, we look at our dogs, if there’s a rabbit or a squirrel, wow, that’s impressive.
Rick: They move pretty fast.
Pamela: Yeah, I once saw a stag in the forest go from absolute alert stillness to a bound, that I couldn’t quite figure out how far away it was, but it was almost like there was just a little contraction, like it had springs in its legs. It went from stillness to a breathtaking bound in a heartbeat and there was no thought. It was just boing. So that’s our friend life. It’s gorgeous.
Rick: Yeah, you mentioned the word benevolence a minute ago and you know some people wouldn’t regard, well some people don’t regard the orchestration of the universe as having any intelligence to it, they think it’s mechanistic. In fact, that’s the predominant scientific paradigm.
Pamela: That’s very rude.
Rick: Yeah, but in spiritual circles we tend to say, well it’s benevolent, there’s a kind of an evolutionary purpose to things, a kind of a cosmic motivation or intention and so on, but then a lot of people have a hard time reconciling that with things that we see happening in the world, both on individual levels and societal levels. And that kind of ties in with the phrase, “the divine often moves at the speed of molasses.” I mean, do you have a kind of a sense that there is a an evolutionary trajectory and that there’s, the whole thing is sort of, although it may seem unkind at times, there’s a benign or beneficial evolutionary purpose to the course of events?
Pamela: I don’t know, I mean I’d have to speak of it the way that resonates for me. If we set aside the human tribe for a second because there’s a noticing of benevolence and malevolence. But just in nature, if we think of nature, nature can be as extreme and giving and gorgeous and frightening because everything is eternal. There is no death. So that’s why a lot of sages invite folks to sit with the illusion of death. And for ones, friends that have sat with loved ones, like I got to sit with my grandfather as he passed, it’s very convincing, death. And yet we want to look at what dies, so even as, you know, a volcano can explode or a village can get covered by the the lava, even though it appears that beloveds lost their lives, you know, this that we are is eternal. It’s not subject to birth or death or existence or non-existence. So that to me is why I can say life is benevolent. Its original gift was eternal life, which is why it can play hard and be extreme and thunder and lightning and also soft summer days.
Rick: Yeah, water cannot wet it, fire cannot burn it, weapons cannot cleave it and all that.
Pamela: That’s it, death cannot touch it.
Rick: Yeah, and I think we’re not, at least I would say, we’re not just talking about death cannot touch the absolute pure consciousness, but there’s something, that essence we were talking about earlier, there’s something indestructible about that, too. Not just the absolute essence, but the essence of Pamela, the essence of Rick, something which, if this body dies, gets carried on and the path continues.
Pamela: Yeah, and to me the the way I was curious about tha,t because, like my dogs I have a dogged curiosity, is I was looking into, you know, the individuality of myself and other friends and when that word fell away I noticed that what I appreciate in my friends and in nature and everything is the uniqueness. And of course we all also love the sameness, the oneness, because it’s just sublime. And then when I was looking into the nature of uniqueness, all of a sudden I saw, oh, so oneness is animating uniqueness. And then I was curious. Does uniqueness fall away when you die? So persona and belief systems and all that sort of thing do, because the mind is resting. But natural interests and resonance, I think they’re eternal because they’re life’s pleasure. Now I’ve had a little Dharma debate with a very strict Hindu Swami and he goes, “If you think that, you are confused.”
Rick: What does he say?
Pamela: Well he thought I was confused. [laughter]
Rick: I mean what does he think is different than that?
Pamela: Oh, you know I think it was more he wanted to celebrate the absence of the persona and you know I agree with him because the persona is role play so it’s, after a while it’s like a shredded garment and it’s such a blessing when it relaxes.
Rick: But Hindus are all into reincarnation, I mean that’s like second nature for them.
Pamela: Oh yeah, yeah, yeah, but we didn’t even touch that because, you know, that’s one of the taboo subjects in Advaita. But it was more like, you know, it’s life’s own pleasure, it’s life’s own pleasure, you know its, its interest so I don’t think that subsides.
Rick: Yeah and I don’t think it should be a taboo subject in Advaita. I mean I don’t know about Nisargadatta but I think he actually, at one point in his teaching, said it didn’t work that way and another point he said it did. Ramana certainly referred to it, you know, “My cow was the reincarnation of so-and-so.”
Pamela: Yeah, when Robert went to sit with Ramana, Ramana confirmed they had known each other the earlier round, or life, yeah.
Rick: And if you read or listen to David Godman’s stories about the things Ramana said, and Papaji for that matter, they’re all talking about this stuff. I don’t know, it’s like…
Pamela: It’s really, if we call it eternal life nobody can quibble.
Pamela: But you know that the human mind it likes to quibble.
Rick: I was interviewing a Buddhist fellow last week who was very charming but we had this quibble, a little bit, between us about this topic. But somehow I think these kinds of understandings really shape one’s worldview and they are significant. I mean you can think whatever you want but I kind of like to know how things actually work.
Pamela: Me, too.
Rick: And I don’t think the universe rearranges itself according to our whims. It’s really incumbent upon us to figure out how it works, not for the universe to jump around and say, “Oh, you think the earth is flat? Okay, boom, there it is.”
Pamela: Thank heavens, thank heavens. Yeah, no, to me it’s just often the quibble is about the words, not the essence of what the conversation is about, and no one, everyone in their heart knows they’re eternal and that’s why people are surprised when they hear they’re dying. “What? But I’m eternal. How can I be dying?” Anyhow.
Rick: I think they may know that in their heart of hearts but I think a lot of people, that knowing is very much occluded by doubts and misunderstandings and some people really feel like when this body dies that’s it, lights out.
Pamela: Yeah, I don’t know about that.
Rick: Which is scary. I mean I know people who have thought that way and they’re kind of scared of…
Rick: Either that or they’re looking forward to it because they feel like that’s it, you know, I’m out of here and I won’t have to suffer anymore. There’ll be no continuation.
Pamela: Like an eternal time out. Oh my.
Rick: Yeah. Here’s a good line from your book, “While we dogs rely on lots of awareness and some barking, humans rely on lots of barking and some awareness.”
Pamela: Yeah, yeah. I have a lot of compassion for the, for humanity, and just because we didn’t get any of the defenses animals got, we didn’t get the size of the elephant, we didn’t get the claws of the tiger or the night vision, we didn’t get any of the camouflage. So you’re sort of like this soft little instrument that, you know, if something dangerous happens what, you can maybe jump up and down or run away but that’s about it. So now that barking, that’s the defenses. So I like honoring them because they’ve been on duty forever.
Rick: Honoring the barking?
Pamela: The defenses.
Rick: The defenses, right.
Pamela: Yeah, because their essence is pure strength, so I don’t want them to go away, I want them to root down and be unshakable strength other than lots of agitated reactive barking.
Rick: That’s an interesting point because some people talk about vulnerability, just being open and, you know, letting it all wash through you and I think that that has to go hand in hand with the establishment of strength, invincible strength, because otherwise you can just get kind of, you know, ripped to shreds by stuff if you haven’t established a foundation.
Pamela: Yeah, and everybody has that, you know, because we overlook our resilience and only notice the sensitivity but if you really feel into behind sensitivity or the shakability there is this unshakable, resilient mountain strength.
Rick: Yeah, it’s there but, you know, it has to be cultured. I mean it has to, it’s there, it’s like water in a well, it’s there but you have to kind of send down the bucket and, you know, make it…
Pamela: Say hello, “Hello, I need you.”
Rick: Because we have to think of people who, you know, it doesn’t help them to say, you know, you’ve got this great strength because they feel very vulnerable, they feel very weak and somehow that they have to tap into that strength and integrate it into their experience in order for it to be a practical Consideration.
Pamela: Yeah, yeah.
Rick: I mean look at the soldier who goes to Iraq and he’s big and strong and ready to fight and he comes back, you know, basket case with PTSD. The nervous system, the mind have been so assaulted by the intensity of the experience…
Pamela: Yes, yes.
Rick: …that the inner strength has been totally lost and it needs to be rediscovered.
Pamela: Yeah, and that’s the gift of nature. There’s a beautiful story or even so many of the new trauma work that’s out but there was a story of elephants that had been in a circus and some innocent billionaire decided to liberate them back to Africa and…
Rick: They weren’t ready?
Pamela: Well, you know, he had them flown over. I think there were three of them. There’s a mother and then two younger ones and they were in a holding area for a little bit just to recover from jet lag, get the lay of the land. And then the first thing she did, the big female elephant, is she took them into the woods. So they basically went on a forest retreat for two years to recover from being around humans, stressed humans. And then at the end of two years she came back down with her two friends and literally said thank you and then went back to the forest. So it’s so beautiful. That’s what we do need. We need these natural retreats for some of us. It might be just a quiet weekend at home or going for a walk in the woods or just being with our dog. We do need those natural retreats. They’re healthy.
Rick: Yeah, and there can be cycles of retreats too, like little daily retreats, half an hour here, half an hour there, or weekend retreats and week-long retreats and you know, whatever we can arrange.
Rick: Oh, even going to bed at night, that’s a sort of retreat.
Pamela: Oh, it is. Deep sleep, yummy.
Rick: Here’s a nice little phrase from the book. And incidentally, those listening, we’ve got about if you feel like asking a question, go to the upcoming interviews page on batgap.com and scroll down to the bottom, there’s a form. So, here’s a nice little phrase. I just clipped little bits from the book that I like, that jumped out at me, that I thought would be nice little stimuli for conversation, but, “Everyone blooms with respectful, spacious attention and contracts with disapproval, disinterest and disrespect.” These are all things that you’re quoting your dog as saying, or the dog is actually…
Pamela: And then the dog says, “Don’t diss the divine.” So, all beings are divine. Robert Adams used to start his satsangs with, “You are not who you appear to be, you are divine.” And the first time I heard that, my whole body relaxed. So, yeah, we’re all the same really, animals, humans, nature, we like feeling honored and respected and seen or listened to, and we bloom that way. And then we’ve all remembered those moments where we’ve encountered disrespect or harshness, and there’s an instant contraction in our body and in the heart, because it’s unnatural. It’s unnatural.
Rick: Yeah, I’m sure we can think of examples of the way children are treated, you know, for good or bad, and you know, scenes in grocery stores and so on, where children are treated one way or another way, and the reaction it gets from the children. But, you know, I think there’s a saying that you attract more flies with honey than with vinegar or something. Sweetness and love and so on have better effects.
Pamela: Well, it’s just genuine respect. It’s no different than… It’s nothing over the top. It’s like walking down the street and seeing a stranger and just like a little nod of the head, “I see you. Hello.” It’s, I think, part of the human tribe because of the separation app, which is a protective app. You know, a lot of the human tribe is so cut off from healthy community and, you know, natural respect, and that’s one of the irritants.
Rick: Yeah, so it’s a nice sentiment. I guess it always comes back to the question of well, how… Is there… There seems to be a paucity of love in the world. You know, there’s that song, “What the world needs now is love, sweet love. That’s the only thing there’s just too little of.” And we all kind of know intuitively and philosophically that God is love, there’s a vast reservoir of love, and it’s a question of why is there such a drought, you know, and how can we maximize our contribution to eliminating the drought?
Pamela: I would say that probably in maybe half of humanity, love is under house arrest, meaning the love is there, but the defenses know it’s a treasure and have contracted around it, and then the mind is saying things and wanting to push so-called others away to keep that love safe. So it’s kind of, you know, we do need a little… some ray of sunlight, somehow, to break that habit, and it’s not breaking it, it’s softening it. And a lot of sages, I met a sage in India, and he said that’s all he did all day was, when he wasn’t in Satsang, was pray for humanity. So he was in that prayer honoring the innocent naturalness, the healthiness of humanity, so that it would rise up, and because when that naturalness is fed somehow through music or art or dance or golfing or following what it loves, it starts to open, and as it opens, its vibratory rate starts to liberate the conditioning and the defenses and the contractions. So…
Rick: I saw this story on the news the other night about these kids in some inner-city school and somebody had funded a music program. You know, there’s so much attempt these days to cut music and art and things like that out of school curricula, but somebody had funded this music program and all the kids were learning how to drum and play clarinets and all this stuff, and it just had a huge effect on their behavior, you know, truancy and behavioral problems, and even academics, it was, you know, really enriching. So I mention that because music is kind of the language of the heart.
Pamela: So important.
Rick: Yeah, it’s like there are certain factions that feel like all we need is mind education, we don’t need heart education.
Pamela: Yikes! No thank you to that.
Rick: Speaking of love, in the chapter on love, you say in the book, “We noticed the heart is omnipresent and permeates and soothes all realms of existence. It is compassion and holds all beings. It is the mystic.”
Pamela: So that’s within everyone’s heart, no matter what role they’ve played. Yeah, so it’s there. It’s the great treasure, of course, so it will be defended. So one of the great, fast ways to liberate the heart is to notice if there’s any tension in front of it or around it or behind it, and to go inside and just a little respect to the protection, the tightness, because the defenses, they actually relax with respect rather than, you know, with the wisdom teachings. And then we can look at what is of such great value in the chest area that it’s under house arrest or protected. And then the more you honor that, and it can be in your absolute own unique way, then it starts to uncontain itself and notice its vastness. Because if the heart feels, and it’s the mind’s view of the heart, that it’s a small, fragile instrument, then it’ll stay small and protected. But when we honor it, it starts to stretch out and open and can even root. And then we’re going, “Yes!” That’s the gift we can give humanity, because then it it actually touches all hearts everywhere and invites the heart to say, “Hey, you’re huge. You don’t have to play small.”
Rick: So I have a question about whether defensiveness is ever really desirable. You know, it’s like taking examples from nature, so many different animals have protective shells, for instance, and they would die without them. So, you know, perhaps if all of us have built up protective shells around our hearts to some extent, maybe that’s the way it was meant to be. And, you know, it doesn’t mean we have to be encased in them forever, but maybe they’re there for a purpose and there’s a certain art to being freed from them. Perhaps it requires, we wouldn’t want to be freed instantly, that could be catastrophic, but there’s a, we want to sort of…
Pamela: Or not.
Rick: Yeah, maybe or not, but maybe there’s some art to dismantling them as quickly as possible. What do you think?
Pamela: Well, I love what you’re saying, because you’re basically honoring, inviting us to notice that healthy, natural caution is wise. It’s wise, it’s discerning. Yeah, I think life protects itself until it knows its big strength, and until the discernment is really unveiled, and then the defenses can fall away, and then there’s just a healthy natural caution that remains, and that’s part of discernment, and it’s part of understanding, you know, the body and life.
Rick: Yeah, so if I could summarize a point out of that, it might be don’t be so concerned about removing the defenses, be more concerned about increasing the strength.
Rick: Yeah, and as the strength increases, the defenses will naturally fall away, kind of like, you know, a snake shedding its skin or something.
Pamela: Yes, exactly, they’re just there until we know our rooted strength. I love that you confirm that.
Rick: Yeah, the snake wouldn’t want to lose its skin until it’s ready to shed.
Pamela: Yeah, good point. Naked, yikes.
Rick: Yikes. I’ve often been asked, and I’ve often wondered, there seems to be a lot of spiritual teachers whom I respect a lot, and who really go through some health stuff. You know, Adya has his issues with, you know, Bell’s palsy and various things, and various other people. Neelam has her issues with chemical sensitivity and EMF rays and all that stuff. What do you think about the whole thing of waking up to whatever degree of enlightenment we have woken up to and having to deal with all kinds of health issues as a consequence?
Pamela: Well, it would be unique for everyone, but we don’t want to turn it into a belief.
Rick: There does seem to be a syndrome or tendency or pattern.
Pamela: But it’s not true. I mean, bodies are sensitive and they’re resilient, and I don’t think it has anything to do with wakefulness or a lack of wakefulness.
Rick: So, you don’t think that awakened people are a little bit more inclined to have that kind of thing going on, like their body is really channeling a lot of voltage and it takes its toll? Anything like that?
Pamela: No, I think that’s a belief.
Pamela: Yeah, so I was saying I don’t think it was any accident that the throat started tickling and the body started coughing when we were talking about defenses, because the body was confirming I have natural defenses and they’re natural. So, the human extra conditioning or worry and tension and replaying and reviewing and all that stuff, that’s just backup and it’s not needed as soon as we return to that, you know, clear seeing and street smarts.
Rick: Yeah. So, I guess you could say when the battle’s over you can take off your armor.
Pamela: Nicely said, yeah, it’s awfully heavy.
Rick: Yeah, yeah, it is a little clanky and heavy and hot. Yeah, here’s a nice little section, this will give your voice a rest. I’ll read this, take me a minute. It’s “Honey’s detecting pointers on divine qualities.” Honey, again, for those watching, is Pamela’s dog. “Sorrow when uncontained is compassion. Desire when uncontained is satisfaction.” And interrupt me, Pamela, if you want to comment on any of these. “Anger, when liberated, is big strength. Fatigue, when dived into, is deep peace. Judgment, when honored, is discernment. Unworthiness, when met, is humility. Fear, when soothed, is natural courage. Frustration is the invitation to return to the unlimited. Pride, when met, is dignity. Seriousness is your gravitas. Naivete unveils itself as innocence, which unveils itself as majesty. Not knowing, even confusion, when met, reveals itself as wisdom in its potentiality: pure intelligence.”
Pamela: Ah, such a relief, you know, because for so many of us we thought there was something wrong with us, that we had all those you know, uncomfortable feelings inside, and just to realize they’re actually natural or divine qualities that under pressure go to their opposite. So a lovely young Indian woman came to Satsang in London a few months back and she told me because I… “Oh, you’re expressing the Anjali Mudra.” And I’d never heard of that and I said, “What’s the Anjali Mudra?” She says, “It’s where you consciously bring the opposites together so they balance each other and can rest in stillness.” And it was something that innocence here just discovered within and how beautiful that it’s celebrated in India.
Rick: It’s a thing?
Pamela: Yah. Confirmation, Yay.
Rick: That’s great. I’ll read a few more little passages from your thing and if you want to comment you can and then we’ll wrap it up. I’m concerned about your voice. Here’s a nice one. “The Golden Retriever motto is, ‘Bow first and ask questions later.’ Nothing is what it appears to be. It may be the Divine in disguise.” There’s some cool stories in the Vedic literature about the Divine in the disguise of dogs. You might have read some of them. There’s one where Yudhishthira, who was one of the five Pandava brothers, Arjuna being the most famous one, was, at the end of the Mahabharata, he was climbing this mountain and symbolically he was going to go into heaven by climbing this mountain. And the other brothers had already died and it was just him and some dog started following him. And so he was walking along with this dog and they’re climbing the mountain and they finally get to the top and I guess it’s like the gates of heaven and the Hindu equivalent of Saint Peter, whoever that might be, says, “Hey, I’m sorry you can’t bring that dog in here.” So Yudhishthira said, “Well, I’m sorry then, I’m not going to come in. The dog has taken refuge in me and I would never abandon anyone or anything that’s taken refuge in me. So I’ll go elsewhere, so thank you.” And at that point the dog kind of, I think it revealed itself as Lord Shiva or something, who had taken the guise of a dog to test Yudhishthira to see if he was really worthy of entering heaven.
Pamela: And to test the gatekeeper. Oh my.
Rick: And there’s another story like that with Shankara where he was on some road and some dog showed up and Shankara treated the dog rudely and something and then it turned out it was Lord Shiva in disguise testing Shankara. So watch what you do with dogs.
Pamela: Yeah, that’s right.
Rick: And cats and worms.
Pamela: All beings. Yeah, we all love to be honored and respected and we’re not fond of disrespect.
Rick: Okay, I’m going to read a final little passage here which is almost like a little prayer or something and then we can wrap it up. This is again from the book that your dog wrote. “May you know you are precious. May you know your essential innocence is ever pure. May you notice you are not the sum of your past but a mystery ever new and always supported, held and loved. Know that death cannot touch you as you are indestructible spirit.” So that’s nice.
Pamela: Yeah, that is life’s confirmation that everything it creates has absolute value.
Rick: Yeah, nice. The world is my family. Well, it’s a beautiful sentiment and I hope hopefully as we go along that it will become more and more universally appreciated because you know what a world we would have if everyone recognized that everything has absolute value.
Pamela: Yeah. Well, I’m trusting that in this noticing that we’ve all shared that things often will flare up within before they rest and root, that that’s also true in what we’re perceiving outside in all these flare-ups. Hopefully they’re flaring up to return back to balance and natural, healthy, loving kindness.
Rick: Yeah, Charles Eisenstein said that a couple weeks ago when I interviewed him, he’s written a book about sacred economics and another book called something like “The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know Is Possible” and he was just saying that there are all sorts of examples throughout history of things really seeming to fall apart before they really came together. You know, that the old story no longer works and therefore the old story is collapsing in order to make room for a new story.
Pamela: Yeah, so be it, so be it.
Rick: Actually a question finally just came in from a listener, I want to give her the opportunity to ask it to you. This is Laura from Oregon and she asks, “Hi, experiencing you is like experiencing such open fluidity around awakening. I realize that my mind has contracted somewhat around head, heart, gut and that idea, and my awakening kept looking to that as an expected path.” Oh I see, she’s expecting some head, heart, gut progression or something. “But so much of my beingness experiences an unbelievable journey when I watch and rest in awareness. Can you please speak more on how ‘best to be’ and invite this awakening journey as you did with the heart? I’m sorry it’s very difficult to know how to ask this question about how to assist intelligence to awaken you. Thank you.”
Pamela: Oh just bowing to you Laura, my goodness what a beautiful report and how wise you are just to notice where awareness is drawn, because that’s how it reveals everything to itself. So that’s pretty much what we could just play with during the day is noticing where awareness is drawn and where its gaze rests and what intrigues it. So as unique sages and especially as modern sages, no outer authority is needed other than your inner resonance. So I invite you also to just notice what resonates and don’t touch what doesn’t resonate.
Rick: Yeah, I mean if I could just chime in on that, it seems like maps can be useful but we can get too hung up on them, you know? I mean we can get all sort of expecting things that, well Ramana said this and Papaji said that, Gangaji said that, Byron Katie said this, and it’s like we’re kind of losing the innocent reference to our own experience and you know.
Pamela: Yeah. And your body is backup discernment and resonance services because, you know, the body doesn’t lie.
Rick: Beautiful. Okay, well thank you very much for hanging in there Pamela.
Pamela: Oh thank you. What an honor to be with you Rick and Irene and your dog and also the sangha that’s listening. Hello, hello, I love you.
Rick: Yeah, it’s about 150-160 people on it, which is a good number. So you’re a popular, popular lady. Yeah, so I’ll just make a couple of concluding remarks that I always make. I’ve been speaking with Pamela Wilson. Pamela, tell us just a bit about what you do and what you offer. I mean online Skype sessions and travel around and you know what, how can people interact with you?
Pamela: Through Open Circle Center in the East Bay of Northern California. We do two online satsangs a month generally and they’re just on the telephone. And there’s, if you go to my webpage pamelasatsang.com, there’s so many offerings there and I love to do one-on-one sessions because it’s so fun to unveil the divine together and that’s about it.
Rick: You do most of those over Skype I presume?
Pamela: And Skype and also just telephone.
Rick: And telephone, right.
Rick: And in person I suppose if someone happens to live in the vicinity.
Rick: Okay good. Yeah, so I’ve been to Pamela’s site and you can get in touch with her through that and you know sign up to be notified of things including getting notified of when her book comes out because who knows… When do you think that’ll be?
Pamela: Well it was turned down by most of the publishers, spiritual imprints in the US.
Rick: Have you tried New Harbinger?
Pamela: No, I haven’t tried them but it’s now with Rider in the UK. In the UK, they’re passionate about dogs so we’re hopeful that they’ll get it.
Rick: Good, I hope they do. And if that falls through, try New Harbinger, they’re publishing a lot of my friends’ books.
Pamela: Oh sweet.
Rick: They want me to publish one but I can’t get around to writing it. Okay, well thanks Pamela and thanks to all those who’ve been listening or watching. Go to batgap.com and check out the, there’s an at-a-glance menu that gives you a summary of everything that’s on the site, and see who’s scheduled, if you look under upcoming interviews, and check out all the old ones. There’s an audio podcast of this if you like to listen to things while you’re cutting the grass or something, like I do. And a donate button which we appreciate people clicking and enables Irene and I to put so much time into this as we do. So thank you very much. Next week I’ll be speaking with Jacqueline Maria Longstaff, who’s in Denmark and spends half her year in in India at an ashram in Arunachala, or Tiruvannamalai, and she looks interesting. I’m just reading her stuff now. So thanks Pamela, I hope you get over that cough.
Pamela: I know, I’m already much better. Thanks Rick. Thanks Irene.
Rick: Take your doggy for a walk.
Pamela: Yes. All right, much love to all.
Rick: Yeah, love to you. We’ll be in touch.
Pamela: Okay. Bye bye.