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Panel Discussion: “Sudden or Gradual: Two Paths to Realization?”
Rick Archer: Okay, thanks. So welcome to this presentation. Entitled sudden or gradual to path to realization. And for those of you who’s listening to this later on on batgap.com, it’s being recorded at the science and non duality conference in San Jose, California. And the idea for this presentation arose in a panel discussion about six or eight months ago, I was up at the gym working out on an elliptical machine listening to recordings from last year San conference, and there was one by Steven Bodiam. And he was talking about the direct versus progressive tax. And that’s gonna be an interesting topic. And so I got in touch with Steve and we talked about during the panel discussion, and there was all sorts of regional roll that went on for several months as to who might be on the panel, and we couldn’t do it Friday, but this person was going to be gone by Sunday, and so on. But anyway, I think it worked out very nicely in terms of the panel we ended up with, which didn’t include students because he ended up not coming to the conference. And I’d like to just introduce them and then introduce the topic a little bit. So to my immediate left as Michael Rodriguez, Michael’s spiritual path began 23 years ago with Zen and subsequently included a master’s degree in theology from Harvard of two years stay at a monastery and deep engagements with Vedanta that Buddhism, Kashmir Shaivism and Christian Christian mysticism, especially on his exposure to Nisargadatta will be a new perspire. His spiritual path culminated with an awakening to true nature during a five year period of purification, and alchemical trance patient, whereas insight into non dual awareness became embodied and grounded. Michael’s website is bounded awareness No. Boundless awareness, boundless. awareness.org Okay. Okay, go. To his left is Isa good Charlie PhD. She is the founding director of the foundation of the sacred scream, a school for consciousness studies in Berkeley, California. It says author the creator of the spiritual counseling model of depth hypnosis, and author of two books coming to peace and return to the great mother. In addition to her teaching schedule that includes teaching classes and applied Buddhist psychology, applied shamanism, integrated energy medicine in depth hypnosis, she has active practices in depth hypnosis and applied shamanic counseling in San Francisco, and her website is sacred stream.org. To her left is David Buckland. David has a graduate degree in Vedic Science, and researches and writes on subjects related to the approach shift integration and embodiment of the stages of Enlightenment. This reflects a 40 year unfolding that has been prominent for much of his life. But with a more recent series of profound shifts, the exploration became the life itself. under the pen name of the Vidya. He brings ancient teachings into modern life. After many years of research, he published the book, our natural potential, beyond personal development, stages of Enlightenment, just this year, there it is. They’ve good friend of mine was people. And I read his blog regularly. It’s very interesting, I was reading something. So I’m gonna just read the description of this talk, you have plenty of time, and it’ll kind of introduce you to the topic. There’s a there’s a perennial debate in spiritual traditions regarding whether realization is direct, sudden, or progressive, gradual. But is this a false distinction? Realization is often sudden, no matter how many years of practice may have led up to it, and even after Realization, most people find that refinements clarification and working out of personal shortcomings continue indefinitely. Who would prefer direct realization for years and years of purification and practice? But how many examples of purely direct realization chaining find capacity both direct and progressive? Is it possible to have a taste of our true nature from the outset and then spend a lifetime clarifying and embodiment also, is there one watershed breakthrough which can be universally agreed upon as final realization? Or are there many degrees and stages of realization, each of them important stepping stones in the never ending journey? Proponents of the direct path sometimes argue that if we regard spiritual development as progressive, we will forever be anticipating never arriving, but some spiritual seekers not appreciating the distinction between understanding and experience, mistake intellectual understanding for Enlightenment and considered themselves finished when they’re just getting started. So those are some of the points we’re going to consider and I Have you looked at even after all these years are interviewing people and focusing on spirituality and so on, I’d be a little bit hard pressed to just find what the direct path is. I’m more of a progressive kind of guy. So I have a feeling Michael might be best qualified on our panel to define that and distinguish it from the progressive tax event.
Michael Rodriguez: I don’t know about the best, most qualified person but I’ll give it a crack.
Rick Archer: Yeah. Crazy. Okay, to quietly Alright, sorry. I’m used to being told that I’m speaking too loudly.
Michael Rodriguez: Okay, so the tradition that I come from primarily initially anyway, there are two main schools one is the sudden, abrupt awakening path and one is the gradual path. The gradual path, emphasizes development of the body mind over a long period of time, usually in meditation and yogic exercises that are meant to purify the body in the mind of impurities. And eventually, once the body mind has been purified enough, one is transparent enough for the awakening to arise as a direct experience. The direct path, sees a fundamental flaw in that logic. For the direct path, and quaint, long, who’s one of the most famous proponents of the direct path and the Zen tradition points out in the Tibetan tradition, it’s called the pointing out instructions, points out very carefully, how that entire way of viewing the spiritual path is itself flawed. That is, the flaw that is the imperfection is imagining that consciousness or mind can become flawed or impure. So the famous image that’s used in the progressive path is of the dust wiping metaphor, the mirror that becomes sort of defiled by dust that the lights on it, and then you spend your lifetime sort of wiping away the dust, so that you can see the mirror and its purity. From the direct perspective, the direct path, the suppose the defilements are themselves lit up by consciousness or mind. And that there’s no such thing as impurity as such that to view, mind as impure is itself in a delusion, that is the fundamental delusion. So the direct path points radically, to the true nature of mind or consciousness, as it is in reality, which can shift one’s perspective from seeking mode to being mode. And one is more liable to realize very quickly, the inherent perfection of mind or consciousness. In this instance, I’m using mind with a capital M, which is used in the Zen tradition, it is synonymous with consciousness or awareness, they’re all the same. So mind itself is incapable of being defiled, which is, which is the absolute truth. Even conditioning in the body mind, which we would label as negative, from this perspective, is itself lit up by the light of consciousness. Now, the problem with the direct path, as I see it, and have experienced it is that it is possible to awaken someone very quickly to the pure nature of mind or consciousness. But it traditionally has left out a progressive path of integration and development and evolution beyond the initial sudden awakening. So in my estimation, there are limits to that path, just as there are limits to the progressive path. In my view, it’s not an either or question. It’s a both and question. So that we honor the inherent perfection of awareness as it is in reality, while also honoring the beauty and nobility of the progressive integration of the residual pockets of ignorance in the Body, Mind Over time, relative time. And I think that safeguards us against being duped, fundamentalist when it comes to this particular question or any question hopefully so that we don’t become dogmatic or fundamentalist about the issue, and that we have a kind of an open mind and an open heart to the beauty and nobility in both traditions. So that’s a good place to start.
Rick Archer: Sounds good. So you’re saying that there could be a both end arrangement were both a path that incorporates the best of both progressive and direct as you just defined them.
Michael Rodriguez: I think it’s the healthiest path. And myself, I think otherwise, there are deep pitfalls and negative consequences in terms of our repetitive behavior patterns. The direct pointing instructions don’t address the habit patterns. If we can see our habit patterns, from the perspective of our true self as boundless awareness, as I call it, that radically alters how we address the patterns themselves, if we begin in seeking mode, and trying to perfect our patterns, to reach some idealized image of saintly perfection before we’re able to awaken. Good luck with that path. Good luck. My experience is that it’s delusional to begin from that perspective. And so my own work and my own teachers, certainly the wisdom that I’ve received from my teachers, and that I pass on is the wisdom of the direct path beginning from the, the clear, clean, open, spacious presence of awareness, which has never been touched by time or space, which has never come into existence, which has never been born, which is, as I call it the uncreated reality, that is possible to point out in a way skillfully that anyone could awaken to who was interested and had an earnest interest in the matter. But that’s the first step. That’s the first step. The second step requires embodying in our day to day life, the significance of what we have realized. There’s also another thing I wanted to mention, which is that and I don’t want to talk too much. I want to just say one more thing. I’m sorry. monopolizing. There’s one more important thing to realize, which is that actually sudden, is a little bit misleading, because and I think you mentioned this in there. When we think of a ripe piece of fruit, when it falls off the tree, it falls like that. But there was a ripening process. Before that fruit was able to fall off the branch, no piece of fruit falls off before it’s ready. So even the sudden awakening school requires some amount of preparation. Even some of it may be conscious, some of it may not be conscious in terms of could be past life preparation, or could be preparation in this life that you weren’t aware of consciously. But there’s, there’s always a maturation process, even in the in the sudden school. So that’s also something to consider. Yeah.
Rick Archer: I have a feeling Isa would like to say something. Yes.
Isa Gucciardi: I have a couple of thoughts. I have a couple of thoughts. And you were already pointing to it. Where you’re talking about absolute truth, you’re basically talking about the two truths, right? So in Buddhism, there’s this concept called the two truths. And he was pointing to this unborn uncreated reality, which is ultimate truth. And then relative reality, which is the experience that we mostly have, where we’re relating to things. And in depth hypnosis, the spiritual counseling model that I developed, I adapt those two concepts into a more like quotidian, everyday practical, it’s not completely doesn’t gather all of the different aspects of ultimate and relative truth, but it makes it accessible to someone who’s on the path. And I think about the, the absolute reality as the experience of the Self on a soul level. And the experience of the relative reality is the experience of the Self on the personality level. And the reason that I kind of adapted into that is because, like, I really appreciated your exposition, you know, and it really indicates a deep understanding of of reality, right? But one of the things that I see is that people will often like they’ll hear that theoretically, and then they have trouble implementing it in their lives, you know, and although I think that was so clear I think that if someone’s trying to figure out what does that mean for me in my life, you know, what does it what what? What does it mean to be connected to the ultimate reality? And what does it mean to be connected to the relative reality. And if you adapt that and talk about who am I on a soul level, and who am I on a on a personality level, it brings it a little bit closer. And again, I understand we’re not capturing everything that are in those two definitions. So when I’m dealing with people in a counseling setting, they will often come in with me, they come in for help for things like eating disorders, depression, panic, immune dysfunction, relationship issues, all of those things are experienced, generally by people on a relative level, they’re on the personality level. And those symptoms, from a depth hypnosis point of view, are actually the tip of the iceberg of the karmic pattern that is obscuring the sense of self on a soul level from that person. And if you begin with that symptom, and you let it be the teacher about how to unwind it, it will take you to the roots of the karmic patterns. And then in depth hypnosis, we have a lot of catalytic processes that are borrowed from shamanism, that helped change the person’s experience of the original, original originating conditions, while the person’s in an altered state of consciousness that has been induced with hypnotic suggestion. So the conscious mind is circumvented, and they’re able to get access to x aspects of themselves that they would not normally be able to access. So then they don’t know this, they think they’re just stopping smoking, or they think that they’re just, you know, stopping over eating. But what’s actually happening is that you are dissolving the karmic pattern that’s obscuring the self on the soul level, and then they are able to experience the larger sense of self beyond what you were talking about the patterns. And with each round of each depth hypnosis session, each of the each of the karmic patterns or aspects of the same karmic pattern are addressed again, and again, as the person works through and dissolves the the experience on the personality level, or the relative level to reveal the experience of the ultimate level, which on a theory of personality that I work with, is Buddha nature. It’s the aspect of the self that is connected to the ground luminosity in an unbroken way. And if you keep doing the work that you need to do to resolve your karmic patterns, then you step into greater and greater awareness and greater of one’s Buddha nature, or the ultimate reality, or that’s the bridge to the ultimate reality. And you’re able to bring that awareness into your everyday life in a very direct and practical way. And, you know, one time I had had this couple that they were having this, like, massive fight in my office and, and, you know, I’m navigating, you know, asking questions, and one of them, one of them turns to me, he goes, What’s the point of this anyway? What’s the therapeutic goal? And I said, the therapeutic goal is happiness. Right. And that is the therapeutic goal and pursuing the spiritual path. We’re all trying to become happier. And so that’s one thing I wanted to say. And I’ll stop in a minute. But the other thing that I wanted to say is that it’s really important both in trade in traditional Buddhist thought, ultimate reality is not separate from relative reality. And relative reality is not separate from Ultimate Reality, they both infuse one another. And they both inform one another. And when you learn how to begin to look at reality from both, both vantage points, your whole awareness broadens. And you have that experience that he was talking about, of having that luminescence that’s in the the midst of all forms. And so everything becomes a lot easier to take, basically. And so I think that I think that it’s, it’s, it’s really important to recognize that, you know, in the process of being on the path, that the task is to be able to hold both of these points of views that you have. And one last point I just want to say, sorry, one thing as you were talking about how the problem with direct awareness is that the patterns are not addressed. Right. So there’s something that’s really happening a lot these days, which is plant medicine circles, right? Where everyone is having these direct realizations, without any kind of preparation to be able to hold them. Right. So from my perspective, as long as you have a process where you can go back and allow the window that opened up with that direct realization, in this case that the plants are offering, as long as you have a process which meditation is a great method, the shamanic journey is a great method where you can inquire into the nature of the patterns that the direct realization was addressing. And then you can open that window again on your own without the help of the plants. And then you can really begin to use the plant medicine as a vehicle of transformation in the same way that sidas and, you know, Buddhist practitioners have always used when they’ve had direct awakening. And I have very, I’m very confident that many of the especially siddik practitioners had a little bit of help from the plants with that director, welcome awakening, and then they did use a lot of the the positive message and methods of addressing the underlying patterns that the direct realization was opening up to ground, the work, that’s my thought they would say something.
David Buckland: Okay, my background is Vedic. And so there’s that dichotomy there. There’s no different philosophies in that approach. Instead, they have a bunch of actually a whole whack of other arguments over which is the yuga versus Vedanta, for example, which are actually not really incompatible. But but are often seen as competing philosophies. And so far, so forth. So what actually, I really enjoyed your your description, because now I understand what we’re talking about here. Yes. From, from my perspective, the realization itself takes place in a fraction of a second, it’s basically pretty much an instant kind of thing. I’ve seen scenarios where 345, or six people all shift sequentially in a short period of time. And every point is, we used to joke about it being like popcorn, we will just click click, click. But as described, there’s a process up to that point. And it’s not usually that obvious how we’re doing or where we are, particularly until we’re looking back in retrospect, afterwards, then you can see kind of, oh, yeah, that contributed, and that was useful, and so on. And maybe I got a little misled on that part. But, but there is a process because you have to be ready to sustain it. Because some of those people I saw shifting weren’t able to sustain it. And they fell back into the mind and ego, and then basically experienced a loss rather than a game. So it’s important that the the body mind be prepared so that this the the experience is smoother and clearer and easier to embody. And then once the shift is integrated, then it becomes permanent, essentially, well, in the sense of not going backwards so much forward is we’ve changed that again, but But essentially, knowing no going back process. And then afterwards, again, like Yeah, the Apple reaches a point of ripeness falls from the tree, but it doesn’t stop ripening. even slept on the ground, there’s a process continues. And of course, if it’s then cultured and not left on the ground, and can go further, and maybe make a green apple pie. So yeah, so from from my perspective, it’s the suddenness is in the shift itself. I also come from a place that more traditional Vedic that there are multiple realizations. There’s not just self realization, but there’s a series of them. And that there’s two types of realization. Two, there’s two parallel processes taking place, not just the shifts in consciousness, characterized by self realization and unity, what might be called the masculine side of the process. There’s also the feminine side of the awakening heart, a refinement of perception and discovery of all those layers between our surface experience and consciousness, the all those layers of becoming that that how consciousness becomes this surface experience, which is a whole process in itself. And so each of those layers can be unfolded as well.
Rick Archer: Well, David and I both have a TM background, I’m no wonder the TM movement, I guess you’re sort of quasi and
David Buckland: mostly outdoor and
Rick Archer: one of our Sheaths favorite phrases was the goal is all along the path. And what he meant by that was that transcendence or pure consciousness can be experienced from day one. And that was my experience. I mean, just to bloom, you know, clear, but then, you know, 50 years later, there’s still this refinement taking place, you know, embodiment, and, you know, greater and greater clarity and stabilization and so on. So, in that sense, it was both a direct and a progressive tap, as I understand those terms. And there’s an example of that.
David Buckland: And in a broader sense, the Trump says,
Michael Rodriguez: Yeah, I just think it’s important to distinguish between what is evolving, and what is not. Yeah. So myself is not actually evolving, right.
Rick Archer: I understand that. Yeah, it’s an important. I mean, there’s a glimpse of that, which doesn’t evolve. And we’ve always been there. Yeah. And then but, but it’s one thing to glimpse that. And it’s another to have it be a 24/7 Clear phenomenon. And it’s another to actually see everything in the world. In terms of that there are various David was saying there are various stages in degrees of, of unfoldment. And I think another thing to just throw into the mix here is that we’re talking when we talk about higher states of consciousness, we’re talking about states of, of consciousness, which are radically distinct from one another, and from ordinary states. And just as ordinary states waking, dreaming and sleeping, are distinct, physiologically, as much as they are, subjectively, it would stand to reason that these higher states of consciousness are distinct physiologically that you would find, you know, very different styles of brain functioning and other other measures of physiological functioning. And we’ve all heard the term neuroplasticity, the brain gets restructured over time, according to what we experienced. And the physiology just doesn’t turn on a dime, you know, it takes a while for it to change and adapt itself to new styles of functioning. So in that sense, again, there could be an immediate direct cognition of what’s actually, you know, what we might be aiming for in terms of an abiding realization. But it could take a long time for the physiology to undergo the transformations it needs to, in order for that realization to really be abiding,
David Buckland: and, and be embodied as well, yeah, because some of the higher stages as you get into there actually become live right in the body. And that’s a very progressive, a process, but it’s kind of like, one of the analogies sometimes use is like turning a big ship, like a cruise ship, they can’t just kind of turn a left turn, it has kind of long and slow processing, and then they get going a different direction and has an the old way has a momentum. So even if they shut down the engines, the boat will keep going and the ways in that same direction. So it takes a little time to turn the boat and and move past the momentum from the prior directions.
Isa Gucciardi: Go ahead and pleases me. So I’m going to say something completely heretical here in this company. Think it’s important at the level of practice that most of us are apt to step away from the idea that we are not a self. Because I get it. I mean, obviously, I’m hopefully, I hope I get it that you know, there is this larger identification with all things that is the goal of the process of Enlightenment. But one of the things that I see in my practice frequently is that people are trying to transcend the self by denying the self. Yes, right. Yeah.
Rick Archer: Must have said that.
Isa Gucciardi: You said there’s no self. We’re not talking about the self.
Rick Archer: No, I didn’t. I didn’t. Well, I didn’t mean to explain it. I’m not sure what I said. But I wouldn’t say that we can we can definitely
David Buckland: attachment to the ego that we lose, not the ego becomes more like a thumb to my way of talking about it’s something we still have. There’s still a personality. And in fact, if you look at many of the famous ages, from present and time, they all have really distinctive personalities. Because in fact, the constraints that were on the personality You fall away, too. And so you got a bigger version of what was there?
Rick Archer: Exactly a year ago, I had this whole long conversation, which was on that gap with Adi Shanti. And Susanna Murray about the falling away of the sense of self. And I didn’t I mean, I just didn’t get it. I still don’t get it. It’s not my experience. Maybe it’s a bit because there and you look at people, and there certainly seems to be a self I just seem to have one she Susanna seems to happen, maybe from their subjective experience, it’s gone. But I have a feeling like Like David said, it becomes more like the thumb of a larger body that it’s it’s still there. It’s just not the that’s not the only thing that’s there was once might have been the case.
Isa Gucciardi: Well, I think that I think that it is possible. And I’ll give you a talk in a minute. I’m trying to do that thing where you don’t let the guys interrupt you and keep going. I’ve been learning about that. I’m gonna go ahead and make my point. Yeah, you gotta really like learn how to get words in edgewise there. And I’ve, I’ve gotten pretty good at it, actually. But, but the thing that I wanted my point with that I wanted to say is that the process of evolution on a spiritual level, is, in some ways, the healing of the self on a personality level. Of course, you know, I’m, I’m fundamentally a healer, you know, so, of course, I see everything through that prism. So I apologize, but But what I see is that if the person is able to heal the different parts of the self that are not able to participate, for instance, in a direct realization, if they are able to heal all these different parts of the self, then as you say, the self will fall away. But not the sense of unity Unitarian identity with a particular individualistic viewpoint falls away. But I would like to say that, that cannot happen until the self is healed. And if you do try to step into that, and people I deal with this all the time with spiritual emergencies, where people have, you know, they stepped into this moment of like, dissolution of the self, and there’s all the big light. And you know, all they want to do is do what Alan Watts talked about doing which is to play peekaboo with God, you know, it’s because they can’t handle it. Right. So they, if if you have that process of healing the self, then you can let go of the self, you can’t let go of the self until you’ve healed yourself. That was my main point that I was trying to say, go ahead. I’m sorry. Well, I would.
Michael Rodriguez: Okay. Your work is beautiful. And I was at your talk with Robert Thurman. And it was deeply heartwarming. And so I honor your work, I want you to know that before I say what I say absolutely beautiful and extraordinarily valuable. And I have a radically different perspective. In my experience, there is no such thing as a self or ego. And I usually use the term ego sensation rather than ego, rather than ego itself, because ego tends to give a sense of, of coherence of solidity. And when you actually look for the self, you’ll never find solidity, you’ll never find solidity, anywhere in your experience. So you have a really beautiful perspective on it to the idea that one has to heal the self before one can awaken to the to the transpersonal self. My own feeling is that it is wiser to begin with a realization of the emptiness of self. Because if we try to heal a phantom will, we’ll spend our whole lives in search of an unattainable goal. Please,
Isa Gucciardi: okay, I’m gonna interrupt you for a minute. Am I interrupting? Okay, all right. Thank you. Thank you. I’m gonna interrupt here.
Michael Rodriguez: I’m gonna interrupt you and
Isa Gucciardi: I would like to posit that a person who’s in a lot of pain, like psychological pain, who’s dealing with nightmares, who’s dealing with post traumatic stress, feels very solid. Pain makes you feel very solid. And if you tell someone that That’s an illusion, they’re gonna have a hard time there, it’s not going to be healing.
Michael Rodriguez: Let me refine my statement. If somebody’s dealing with a severe psychological disorder, which we all are identified as an ego, we are for sure. But if we’re dealing with something that’s clinically harmful to either to themselves or others, I would say that needs to be addressed by traditional forms of healing first, before we can dive more deeply into the nature of emptiness, in terms of self. And barring that, I would say it’s an it would be appropriate. If one were interested and really had an intense yearning in the heart for freedom and discovery, it would be appropriate to point directly to the truth. Now, I’m not suggesting that this shouldn’t be done in by parroting certain non dual platitudes, like a lot of non dual teachers do on the scene, they sort of say the same thing mechanically over and over again, and it doesn’t have a ring of truth to it, if it’s coming from genuine insight, and is tailored to the person in the moment with whom you’re engaging, that has a different energetic frequency than those sort of mechanical statements of saying, oh, there’s no one there, there’s nothing to be done. That’s not what I’m talking about. I’m really talking about a deep inner exploration that actually tries to find this thing called myself or ego. Of course, ego is just a word that means AI. That’s what the word means. There is an eye, there is an eye. So the question is, what is the eye that I am? I’m not the eye of my thoughts. I’m not the I have my emotions. I’m not the I have my bodily sensations. Who am I? And this is the work of self inquiry. Who am I? And if we begin from the perspective, that I am a self that needs to be healed? That is, again, from my perspective and experience that is unhelpful? Because it substantiates the very thing that seems to be blocking one’s realization. So the question is immediately, what am I actually it’s what am I not? Who am I? It’s what am I is a more proper question. Because who suggests a person? Now this is again, just the first stage? And so the question after that, the second stage, if we want to talk in terms of stages would be after the recognition of what I am independent of thinking, sensing and perceiving. The question is, that which I really am, is the source in the substance of all of my experience. And so I am nothing, and I am everything that I experience. And that floods the body in the mind with the recognition of our true nature, our body mind comes alive, it becomes vibrant, and sensitive, and exquisitely tuned in to experiencing, and the body and the mind of the world are brought into our experience again, so that we are intimately you know, the source and the substance of everything that arises, please,
Isa Gucciardi: well, we can’t perceive that when we have a bunch of karmic obstacles between our perception of what you’re speaking about, which we generally experienced as pain. So I think if you get it, so I think and one of the things that I see again, and again, in spiritual communities, which is why I’m a little agitated, I’m always agitated. But, but is that people are trying so hard not to have a problem. I can’t tell you I have sat next to so many people in Zen dos, and it feels like I remember I had this one vision once when I was sitting in the Zendo. You know, trying not to, like, try to make it look like I wasn’t in full lotus. And, and I was like, the, the person next to me, I was so aware of them because it really felt like they were sitting, they had their little cushion. But then it felt like they had one donut after a sandwich after you know, another donut, that was all their different emotions that they were trying to sit on. So that they could just be calm and look at the, the wall. Right. And, and, you know, unfortunately, you know, I’m like, exquisitely oversensitive. And I’ve gotten really good at being less sensitive. But I mean, just in terms of picking up energies, and it was like, I couldn’t focus I couldn’t focus on I mean, I’m terrible meditator. Right. But, but I was I was so drawn into that experience of the effort to suppress that which was deemed not to be on the spiritual path or leading to the spiritual that path and I see that again and again and my clients, and I’ll be quiet No, go ahead. Yeah, to
David Buckland: some extent to, I think it’s a, it’s about balance. Because I agree that there needs to be healing. Usually, but yet, if you take that as a concept and make it about, you know, being a broken self in some way or an unhealed self, then that tends to create a story and be strengthened. So that’s about finding a balance in there. And, but one thing I would say from what you said earlier, is like never say never. I’ve learned a lot of musts and, and half dues and, and stuff aren’t necessarily the case, I’ve been really surprised by some of the people I’ve seen wake up, that were not healed. In one case, for example, they were deeply codependent on a relationship having being in a relationship, but were unstable about they weren’t wanting to control it in ways that weren’t working, and I ended up waking up. And then suddenly, that stuff is right in their face, they can’t suppress it or hide it somewhere unconscious. It’s just right there. And it was very, very difficult period for them after that, because they had to deal with it, then there was no choice. And like the ripening we we talked about earlier, too. There’s ripening that happens beforehand. So some healing, I agree, is very important. Not just to help with the clarity, but also to help with the smoothness and completeness of the process. But there’s still healing that takes place afterwards, quite commonly.
Isa Gucciardi: Can I just say something? Yeah. So I am not supposed to ask permission, I’m gonna say something. So. So I just want to quickly I don’t think you really meant to go, Well, maybe you did. But there’s no identification with a sense of brokenness, when you are looking at something that is causing you pain. I’m not advocating that at all. I just wanted to know, I totally get you don’t want to re a phi. You don’t want to re phi the wound. What Carolyn mace talks about wound ology, right, you definitely don’t want to reify the wound. But you definitely want to listen to the wound, because the wound always leaves you leads you back to your Buddha nature, if you know how to follow it.
David Buckland: Yes, and if you want Enlightenment that’s full and rich, and, and smooth, and all those fancy things they talk about, you need to do the healing because if that’s not there, it’s just going to be the same old thing with a little more or infinity and, and some nice upgrade maybe, but it’s still the same old stuff if you’re still carrying that baggage along. And you can still carry that some of that forward into post shift.
Michael Rodriguez: I just wanted to say one thing really quickly. From my, my perspective, there’s really one wound, there’s one core wound in the human and that is the sense of separation. All other woundings are sort of secondary core wounds, as far as I’m concerned that constellated around that fundamental. The reason it’s a wound is because it hurts to feel separate. Fundamentally, it just hurts to feel separate. So if we can, if we can address the fundamental the core wound in the human, that will heal a tremendous amount by itself. It is tremendously healing to realize that myself is not something that is wounded. Now, the other thing is that the word healing is a little bit loaded. So I’m a little bit reluctant to use it, but I do I do use it sometimes. And, and it can be a helpful term, it just is. It is so sort of psychologically loaded and laden with associations. So it’s a little tricky for me to use that. Because it’s it implies something’s wrong, something’s broken. And that is really so deeply embedded in the human psyche, that there is something wrong with me that I’m fundamentally incomplete, that I am not there yet. That I’m broken from my childhood. Who doesn’t, who hasn’t had a version of that? You can have your money back. Please. I didn’t see any hands. So anyway, it’s important. Sorry, it’s important because this is just the my own approach, which is to sort of bring people out of that mind state, that there is something wounded about them fundamentally, fundamentally. And And there is room for in the work that I do for compassionate embracing of the residual traumas that are stored in the cell memory, because that would be unwise to deny that the body is on its own momentum. And the body retains memory of pain and trauma. Now, the trauma is another word that’s really difficult to try loaded. But the word in the work that I do, there is a compassionate, welcoming of all of those parts of ourselves that are split off, maybe that’s a better way to say it, that are repressed or suppressed, and brought into the light of awareness and the light of one’s awakening. And that automat by the way, the awakening that I employed, the sudden awakening initiates a profound cleansing process in itself, and that is self perpetuating. And there’s, there’s even if one doesn’t work at it, per se, if the awakening is genuine the insight which is based on insight, then the body and the mind will undergo a rapid change whether one wants it to or not, it will do that
David Buckland: because you’re essentially meditating 24/7 Then yeah, at
Michael Rodriguez: that, at that point, once natural state is the awakened state, and the other thing is that in the awakened state, things are not things are not progressing along the line of time. Now, I know this is a difficult thing to hear when one is in meshed in process. In other words, when one is in meshed in the mind with a small am in the awakened state. Things are seemed to be timelessly complete as they are. And the whole mental process comes to an end. So I sort of in my book, I refer to it, the process of integration is a timeless process, which is a paradox, which is to say that in every moment, when when one is has realized oneself, and every moment one is complete, one is hole, one is perfect. And, and there is a relative evolutionary unfoldment and integration in the realm of the, in the conventional realm. And so for me, that’s an important distinction to make, so that we’re not stuck in that sense of process, fundamentally. So we come from a fundamental place of completion, and perfection and timeless truth. And from that perspective, we invite the body and the mind and the world back into our experience. So please,
David Buckland: it’s beautifully put. However, from my perspective, time can be experienced a number of different ways, there is the present now, the all of time, in the moment, all of time stretched out the usual way we process it, and timelessness beyond time, and so forth. So there is joy, as we go through the stages, we can shift our relationship with the process of experience. To explain this briefly, consciousness has three dynamics, or three aspects in the in its self reference dynamics, there is the observer value, the observed, which is kind of like the screen that’s behind the appearance of the world that our senses take in, and the process of experience, the relationship between those two. And the process of experience is what gives us our sense of time, that there’s a process taking place, and there’s a sequence going on. And so our relationship with the process of experience changes or our experience of time, how we subjectively are experiencing it. And that space between the observer and the observed is this the essence of becoming of space, the sense of distance, and openness and empty space or full space, however, it’s experienced. So there’s a when you refer to, you know, from my perspective, when you refer to experiences relative to time, or relative to space, it’s still relative to where you are in relationship to that dynamic of consciousness. And as you go through the stages, those separate parts gradually collapse together into one hole, which is the nature of non duality.
Rick Archer: Okay, I want to make a couple of points that last we get to abstract. A couple of points that might be a little simplistic, but that might help to clarify everything that’s just been said. One is with regard to the point you made about the core wound, and about healing and about whether whether there’s anything You know, we want to engage in in healing, that something which doesn’t actually exist in the first place. And so I mean, simple point is, you know, and how it’s often said that allopathic medicine tries to just deal with symptoms, take a Tylenol take an opioid, or whatever, rather than getting down to the cause of the thing, and thereby not needing to try to palliate symptoms, because you’ve actually rooted it out at a deeper level. So, I think that sometimes, and you, you alluded to the notion that healing could just be this never ending process that will never, never conclude. But I think that the key to it not being so would be to be able to access at a more causal level, that core wound or whatever, as fundamentally as one can. And then, you know, if you can get to a more causal level, with very little something, a much bigger effect than can take place, then if you are just working on the level of effect. Okay, so there’s that. And then with regard to whether there’s actually a self or not, I think we could say, ultimately, there isn’t anything and never was anything. I mean, if we want to get right down to it, we’ve all been tested different questions, we’ve all been told by the physicists that there’s really hardly anything here and just virtual fluctuations or something, and nothing material and so on. So I’m sure there’s a level at which, you know, primordial Lee there, no, no self or anything else has arisen. And that is perhaps ultimately more true than any level of consideration at which things have arisen. But still, you know, we, we live a life and we, we’ve function with bodies, and with minds and with selves, you know, which, in terms of practical living reality, have some sort of existence and need some sort of recognition. And, you know, you’ve probably heard that sounds good term mithya, which means dependent reality. And the example uses a pot, where you have clay pots, let’s say, and they can hold beans, or water or oil, or they can be used as drums, and they serve various functions as pots. But really, there are no pots, it’s only clay, you know, there’s no pots. And or sometimes the analogy of jewelry is used, that you have earrings and rings, and all kinds of different things. But it’s really just gold. So there are no earrings and rings. So you know, we have selves, just as just as we have bodies. And although you can’t find any self that some kind of little walnut deep inside some kind of concrete nugget. We also have subtle bodies. And I’ve actually had arguments with people like Tony Parsons about whether you know, reincarnation exists. And he says, No, it couldn’t because there’s no self and reincarnation implies the existence of something which could reincarnate. Fine and in, in the play of my if you want to call it that, there, reincarnation exists. And there’s a solid body which moves from life to life. And so that has its own significance on that level of reality or unreality. But it’s still it’s we’re living a life. And so such phenomenon do occur in the realm of phenomena. wrapped together, I think that maybe I’ve wrapped together and if you want to come in,
Michael Rodriguez: well, what I’m saying is not in any way, in conflict with living a normal, ordinary human life, and I gave that impression, give the wrong impression. Go ahead, okay. In fact, one lives a more robust, energetically vibrant, ordinary human life, when the realization arises that I’m not a separate self, and I’m not denying personality, you know, there’s a personality separate
Rick Archer: personality. As your personality exactly the same as mine, God forbid. When you say mine, who are you referring to? You know, I mean, there there’s a sort of a it’s the wave in the ocean thing. Is there really? Are there really waves? No, there’s
Michael Rodriguez: no there are waves. Yeah, but ya know,
Rick Archer: but there aren’t, it’s all water. You know, there are no waves, and yet there are waves. So there, there are no personalities. There are no separate cells or anything else if you really boil it down, and yet there are two it’s like this. First there is a mountain then there is no mountain then there is. That’s a song.
Michael Rodriguez: All that’s going is a false conceptual sense of separation. That’s all that change. Everything else stays the same. That’s all that is. Leaving the equation is a conceptual sense of separation that was never there to begin with. And all that’s left is peace and happiness.
Isa Gucciardi: But you can’t tell that to someone who feels really deeply separate and have that mean anything to them. It won’t mean anything to them your skill, it won’t, it won’t, it won’t mean a thing. Because all they know is that there’s something wrong with them. And that makes them feel separate. And I’m not saying this is true of all people. But you know, the the sense, the fundamental wound you’re saying is a sense of separateness. And I think that actually, what is happening is that people are making conclusions about the nature of that separation. And that’s what defining their personalities in a lot of ways. And that is a function of their wounding and a function of the karmic pattern that they are operating in. And I think that, you know, it’s, you know, I totally appreciate where you’re coming from, on a higher level, I think we’re just operating on different levels, you know, I’m kind of down in the gutter, you know, like, I’m, I always say, I’m a street fighting Buddhist, you know, like, I’m, I’m a Street Fighter, I’m, like, I’m at the level of where people are suffering I am, you know, I am trying to understand how what’s making you suffer. And I’m trying to help you understand how to resolve that by looking at your attachments, looking at your aversions, looking at your misconceptions, in a very tangible way. That is actually very personal. And, you know, then, you know, like, I can, you know, you know, after I work with someone at that level for a little while, then they can begin to consider what you’re saying without getting, like totally spaced out. And, you know, like, you know, feeling, you know, stupid because they don’t get it, you know, it’s like, so I mean, I think I think there’s different levels of practice, you know, and I think, I think it’s important to hold your perspective, absolutely, because it is ultimately the correct one. But but it’s irrelevant to people who are, who are suffering, it’s, they can’t hear it, they it’s it does, you know, and if they try to hear it, they’re not going to hear it correctly. And they’re going to, they’re going to, that’s going to become part of the distortion of their of the prism that their karmic patterns are generating in their experience.
Michael Rodriguez: People who come to Satsang are suffering. And they want relief, in the same way that people come to you want relief from their suffering, everyone is seeking relief from suffering, no matter what they’re doing, through drinking through drugs through sexing through going to Satsang. We’re all seeking to be relieved of the crippling sense of separation.
Rick Archer: Some guy was telling me at breakfast the other day that there are people who play video games for 36 hours straight, wearing a diaper so that they won’t have to interrupt themselves when there are a whole roomful of people wearing diapers, playing video games, doing this together, and hopefully have good ventilation systems. But in terms of I don’t know what they’re trying to blot out by that activity. But anyway, that’s a bit of a yes. Michael, yes, sir. I’m curious. We’re gonna take audience questions in a minute. So
David Buckland: you mentioned about the core wound? Do you consider that of separation? Do you consider that to be something resolved with self realization? Or the initial awakening?
Michael Rodriguez: Yeah, the core, the core wound of the sense that I am a separate self is dispelled when one when one realizes through insight. So yes, it’s not a question of giving people a belief, you know, I’m not suggesting that they take on a belief and just listen to me, academically or intellectually. I mean, when someone comes to me, and they’re suffering, and I work with people just I’m in the trenches, to my dear, I mean, I’m in the trenches. I work with people who are suffering hell, and they want relief. So it’s practical, what I’m saying is super practical. I think it’s the ultimately the ultimate practical advice, which is, discover the sufferer. That’s the most practical thing you could possibly do. It’s the most direct method for coming out of its state of delusion is to find out who’s deluded. Otherwise, you’re sort of working at it on the edges and at the periphery. So I am very much I’m in there, working, you know, with every fiber of my being, to help point someone in the right direction. Now, I can’t bring that about, it’s up to them to look within themselves, and to really inquire into who is the sufferer? What is this theme that has been running my life? And that has been the source of so much pain and discontent and confusion what what is it exactly? And then we’re really working at the to get at the core issue.
David Buckland: I wanted to suggest another perspective. What I’ve seen in with a number of people unfolding and I’m seeing with Some other teachers talk about it, like Adyashanti refers to head, heart gut, as an example, is there’s like a three stage process or a three. It’s almost you can see the ego having a Vedanta Datafication, having three levels. The first level is that concept of a me the mind stories and all this, the identification with those mind stories. And that sense that says, sense of separate me that’s here, that is resolved with that first shift or self realization, awakening, cosmic consciousness, various words for that. However, what I’ve noticed and seen in other people, is there’s also energetic or emotional drivers behind those thoughts and concepts that are still there. And some of that then gets healed after the first shift. And as part of the process to awaken the heart and open up that stuff. And but until those energetic and emotional drivers are resolved, those, it’s very difficult to end that thinking that some of the peripheral stuff so even though the core has been popped out by self realization, there can still be these thoughts coming up that are, you know, sort of momentum from from pre awakening. And then there’s another layer of that down in the gut, where is that there is this core grip that I deshante referred to, in his talk on a Friday night, I think that it’s like a core sense of separation. That’s a core identity. Suzanne Murray referred to it as a as a essential identity, that still has this very unconscious until then, sense of distinction from self and other. And until that is addressed, then there still can be a seed for some sense of identity to come back up again, which I think is part of why you sometimes see spiritual teachers, for example, go a little astray and, and things like that, because there’s still that seed can still be there, even though they’re very clearly awake. And so on the process. So I mean, maybe you think I’m going abstract again here, but I think it’s valuable to recognize that and some teachers do talk about this, that there’s, it’s not just one simple thing, there’s a there’s a deeper process. And we can’t expect perfection of people who have had an awakening, nor should it be expected of ourselves who’ve had that shift. There’s a process, it takes time to wind down the history,
Rick Archer: which is in line with our direct versus progressive theme. So I want to give the audience an opportunity to ask some questions. I don’t want to just get two hours and do it at the end. But um, is there anything like that everyone’s bursting at the seams to add here?
Michael Rodriguez: I’d love to hear from the
Scott: can we make sure we have a microphone on everyone who has the blue key look, I have a blue tape on learn you off. We’re gonna use this instead. And you can go ahead
David Buckland: you don’t get to answer your questions.
Isa Gucciardi: I’ll share
Rick Archer: Oh, use
David Buckland: the good idea.
Rick Archer: Should I change seats with Michael so we can hit it back and forth easily?
Michael Rodriguez: Whatever you like.
David Buckland: Sure. I’ll do that.
Michael Rodriguez: I don’t mind.
Isa Gucciardi: But he’s not there so he can’t pass it there’s nothing to pass
Rick Archer: around and just getting taken care of. So well, let’s, let’s keep talking. Why
Isa Gucciardi: don’t we know we can take this mic out? We’ll take this take this mic out
Panel Questioner 1: about some people from their open perspectives, kind of non existence of self and so what kind of healing metrics I’m curious what kind of feeling if you can shed some light on that that you have used to help people?
Isa Gucciardi: Okay, so actually, I was saying that when people are in a lot of pain, they can’t entertain the idea that there’s no self because they feel so solid. Okay. Thank you Feeling, okay? When you give me an example of a feeling, okay so I’ll give you a case study, would that be helpful? So so just to give you a little context, depth hypnosis is a combination of hypnotherapy and you’re using suggestion hypnosis to alter the state of consciousness, rather than meditation or a plant or a drum or something like that. Right? So so let’s say most people come to the hypnotherapy process, because they have a habit. Right? So this woman came in, she was trying to stop smoking, right? We, you know, take we asked certain questions, biography, the presenting problem, when did this start? How does it affect you? What’s, you know, how does your body feel when you’re experiencing it? And in the process of asking those questions, it became clear that the reason that she was smoking is because when she’s smoking, no one bothers her. She gets to be alone. Right? So then the question became, what is what is making you want to get away from other people, right, the need to be alone. So then we work with the hypnosis to help her go, that was all unconscious mind, state that questioning. So we go into an altered state of consciousness with the hypnosis. And we ask her, when you have that desire, that you really have to be alone, how does your body feel, and then we locate that feeling in the body, and then the body becomes the doorway into the originating circumstance, in which she first or most significantly, needed to feel alone. And what we found was that she wound up in a situation where she was being molested at age three. And she really wanted to be alone. And she felt flooded by the other person, and she felt unable to put down a boundary. So then what we would do in that case is we would adapt the shamanic method of Soul Retrieval by introducing a guide that she has already established relationship with. So before you do any of this work, in depth, hypnosis, you establish a relationship with what’s called a part of the self that has only the highest good as its sole intent, which is an adaptation of the shamanic journey, which is designed to create enough power so that the person can access previous trauma and not be re traumatized. So in that case, you we call it the vehicle of transformation, it’s the guide and the adult self in the current time. And that, that you ask the guide and the adult self to go back into that situation and circumstance and interact with a child that’s caught in that place. And in an altered state of hypnosis, and then what what there’s a depends on what happened, it depends on the person. But in general, you’re able to get to a place where the person is able that the child is able to return to the adult to get away from the trauma and the the the child comes into the field of the guide and the adult, which is effectively a soul retrieval where you’re taking the part of the self that has gotten separated and trauma that still caught in the trauma, and you’re bringing it back into the current mind body complex of the person that went on and continued evolving while that other part was gone. Right. So with that, there’s a relief. Okay, first of all, I have a sense of boundary away from something that is traumatizing me, I have a sense that I can trust that I can have an internal support that I’m going to be able to support myself. So I’m not going to need to get away from other people when I feel flooded by their, by their experience. Therefore, my need to smoke is going to come down dramatically. Right? So there’s an example of a no self not healing.
Rick Archer: So I think the audience mind is working now that Phil has the questions guy, so you can share with Rick? Yeah.
Panel Questioner 2: Firstly, thank you so much to all of you, that was incredibly impactful for me and I could relate to every nuance and and I think you guys we’re all using different language to share and point out some really critical and beautiful nuances of this unfolding. As somebody who I guess you could say, slipped into a more direct path via plant. And I worry a little bit that I’m spending too much time playing peekaboo with God. I love that terminology. And I don’t know how to, I could use a guide some help. I honestly don’t know really where to turn. But I mean, all you guys had some incredible perspective to already aid me in that. But I wonder if you could shed some light on this idea of peekaboo? And to what extent should I be trying to stabilize? In the sense that insight that maybe I wasn’t ready for?
Isa Gucciardi: Am I talking? I am talking I would swear I’m not talking too much. So I’ll take that just because I’m, you know, me and the plants are buddies, you know, so. So actually, I’ve actually started a training program to help people in develop the skills to be able to help people integrate the insights that the plants are giving them, which is exactly what you need. And so the first step that I would recommend doing, which is something that should have been done before you even took the plant, which nobody does, because everybody’s in a consumer-oriented place, and you’re not necessarily you but the a lot of the people that are running the circles, right. Okay. But in any case, you need to establish a relationship with the spirit of the plant. That’s what needs to happen. And the way that you can do that is through the something called the shamanic journey, which is, you know, about the shamanic journey. The shamanic journey is a method for altering the state of consciousness that shamans have used for millennia to it’s generally done with the sound of repetitive sound, usually a drum. And then you as you journey within the inner cosmography of the shamans world, which is described almost identically between all different shamanic traditions. And that cosmography is the upper world, the Middle World and the lower world. And so you would generally go beginning with the lower world to establish a relationship with the teacher in the form of nature, with your state of consciousness altered by the sound of the drum. And in this case, you would be asking to connect with the spirit of the marijuana plant. Right? So you do that first. And then you can take your questions like, how do I integrate this XYZ part of the experience into my everyday life. And then you let the plants speak to you generally in images. And that’s a big part of what I do is I help people learn the language of image that exists not only with dream interpretation, but also journey interpretation is the same process as interpreting a dream. And then then you get another eat, then you develop another question, and you keep asking questions. So basically, you’re doing the pasta meditation with the plant spirit, right? Because you’re, you’re looking at an issue, you’re asking a question, there is a answer that emerges, you ask another question based on that, but you’re working in a more contained space, and you’re working. I don’t know I love working with the shamanic journey, because you have this inner sense of being held. Right, which I know in the past, and sometimes I feel like I’m just like, you know, I’m gonna crash and cruise, I’m gonna crash right into that wall of being and I don’t know what’s gonna happen. But if I had my guide right there, I could go in with my guide. Right, you know, and I can go a lot actually go a lot further. So there you go. Is that helpful?
Panel Questioner 2: Mind blown? And yes, thank you, okay. Appreciate it.
Rick Archer: And I would just suggest that there may be a number of things you could do, depending on what you want to do and what you’re inclined to do. I mean, I had a relationship with that plant myself about 50 years ago, and, and then I went on to learn to meditate and so on, kept that up. And in a very short amount of time, I felt like the way the way I felt all the time was way better than any plant could make me feel temporarily, or any alcohol or anything else. So I just kind of like the desire for doing those things dropped away. Now, on the other hand, I know people who have been meditating and doing spiritual practice for many years who still occasionally use psychedelics. I mean, Richard noted this morning, he’s doing some micro dosing, and I have a friend who, you know, takes acid about four times a year in a very controlled way. And so who’s to say, what’s that? I don’t know about any universal prescriptions, but you know, you have options.
David Buckland: You know, if I can add something to that, too, it’s, it’s from a Vedic perspective, the key for unfolding, we find perception and the awakening heart and that value of you know, being able to actually have a relationship with divine comes from sattwa, purity or clarity. And the trick with things like drugs, like marijuana, for example tends to create fog in that area. So it actually reduces clarity. Now I don’t have any experience with, with what I was describing, in terms of creating that, that relationship and, and journaling in a way that’s that’s what it sounds like, it’d be a quite a bit healthier than than so the consumer, you also have to be very careful about chasing experiences, because experiences are not it. And they can be very enticing and so on. But when you chase experiences, you can get led astray quite easily. So you just have to be very careful about some of those stronger drugs to have a tendency to kind of be concrete, quite traumatic experiences, even if they’re positive, they’re very, very strong experience, because which can cause system issues again, around the energetic levels where a physiology was, which then have to be healed afterwards. So from from my perspective, the safer ways is through practices of meditation and, and various forms of healing, like Isaiah describes.
Rick Archer: On the other hand, Patanjali says mantras, herbs and gems can all be conducive to Samadhi. So
David Buckland: but what but what, but he says they can be bought? Oh,
Rick Archer: he puts a button there? Yeah. Oh, what’s his butt? Well, SMART.
David Buckland: SMART is the best way.
Rick Archer: Somebody? Well, I think it doesn’t really say that, or is it cities that result from Mantra reserves and gems
David Buckland: early on? That’s where the parts of the book three where he talks about that? Yeah.
Rick Archer: Okay. Anyway, Scott, did you have a question?
Scott: I do. Yeah. Thank you for the moment. I really appreciate it what you said sir, about? Well, the difference between the personality and the ego, these are different things in my experience, and that when the ego falls away, the personality actually has more space, because the ego forms sort of a limiting shell around what the personality wants to express. That’s what I heard. And something you said. So my question is really that, and that’s been my experience that as I am more able to clear my own thought processes, my actual urges of personality become more full and more, myself. So there’s more of more of me rather than less of me, in a sense,
David Buckland: it’s the only variation that would make on that is my impression initially, like, when I had my first shift was of an ego death, I did have that experience, ego disappeared. But what I found over time, was that actually, what I ended was the identification with the ego, not the ego itself. But here, I’m using the ego in terms of what what the Sanskrit word Omkara, just the individual individuating principle, it in itself is is, is not, doesn’t have, it isn’t an issue. It’s when we identify it with it, when we identify with concepts of how it’s supposed to be, and so on. It’s that identification with the limitations, that’s the issue. And so when you lose those identifications, then the limitations fall away, and you get that expanded personality, but it depends on how you define the word ego in there as well.
Scott: So it second part of that, I guess, is is that is there, I don’t know if it’s many people’s experience, but that the social, the social structure that we create, that sort of our ego fits into, or that maybe we’re our egos adapting to, that, being able to break out of that social structure and and find our own genuine authentic expression.
David Buckland: Yeah, and I, it’s actually quite an interesting thing, too, because there’s certain we develop these habits of thinking about who we are and what we’re about. But after I woke up, I started writing pretty quickly afterwards, and then blogging and so on like that. And that was not anything I would have anticipated being natural expression for myself. And, and there’s other things that I fell away that I never expected would fall away. And there’s things that have stuck around which I never thought would stick around. And gradually, I’ve learned that essentially that each of us, it’s kind of like our DNA, we’re 99 point whatever percent the same, it’s just the small percent of of our DNA has a little variations that cause all these different forms and appearances. Whereas with the laws of nature, we’re also also all structured with these laws of nature and each of us have slight variations in their emphasis and even presence to some degree. That creates very different forms of life, but because of the way we’re cultured our society, we’re often not aware of our natural the laws that are functioning through us, we learn as children to suppress certain things that our parents may not like. Or, or to overemphasize something that’s really not natural for us, which we’re trying to be something different than we are. So it’s an interesting process to even prior to awakening to be rediscovering who we are what’s really here. That’s, that’s wanting to express it. So thank
Rick Archer: you, sir.
Panel Questioner 3: Hi, thank you, for this panel, really appreciate it. I was all fired up when you guys were talking about this in the beginning. And then the fire seemed to have dissipated such as the experience of being a human. It’s fleeting, but I’m still a little fired up. So I’m wondering if you can speak to the fluidity of the path. And seeing that maybe not just one teacher or one path is the way for me. First few years on the Buddhist path, pot had a realization. And saw through the nature of the self completely sought, oh, my God, I am a concoction, holy shit, I’ve been living from this. And my Buddhist teacher, who is also my therapist, then was quite surprised when all my trauma from my childhood came forward. All of it came for it. And he actually was like, you know, he was wonderful, really, really trying to help me but but what I ended up doing was moving away from the Buddhist practice, and getting into deep therapy for five years. And even Adyashanti, who later became my teacher, has said that sometimes when you have a lot of trauma, that the spiritual path is of no use, to a certain extent. So five years of deep therapy decided to go back to a retreat and pop, another realization, and another one. So what I’m finding now is that I needed those five years to heal, even though I deeply realized that my suffering was empty, inherently empty. So I’m wondering if you can speak to the fluidity because I’m listening to all of you. And I’m like, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. And so so if you can speak maybe to the importance of listening to the inner authority, or or whatever that, you know, the inner intelligence that guides you to what is the next right step on the path? Because I think that’s so important.
Michael Rodriguez: I’d like to say something about that. Because, for me, no one teacher did it, you know, and I had to I had a number of teachers, who on the surface were mutually contradictory, you know, that they did not mesh at all. And I took from each teacher what I needed, and left the rest. And I think that’s wise. Thank you. It’s wise to it’s wise to follow our intuition. It’s wise to follow our intuition about these things and not to you know, not to discount or disregard our internal GPS when it comes to what’s true for me, you know, at the end of the day, I think we’re all right. All three of us. Yes. You’re all saying you were right to bring us together right doesn’t count everyone else. You’re chopped liver. Because, you know, I was John John Lewis. Your John Prendergast, I was having a really beautiful lengthy discussion with him outside right before this. And I wish you were here to hear this because he left a little bit ago. I was telling him how important it was when I’m working with someone to be fluid enough to suggest that they see someone else if there’s something that they’re struggling with that I’m not right to help them with. In which case I might send them to ESA. I mean, I might very well recommend people to to you because what you’re doing is beautiful and true. That I wasn’t it this is I’m glad this came out because I don’t want it to sound like I’m writing you’re wrong. I think it depends on what it is we want. What is it? I’m what is it I’m after? And who’s the right teacher who’s going to unlock the combination of my heart. And that’s different for all of us. And I think these things are interdependent rather than mutually mutually exclusive. So that what I address I’m like, I’m like a specialist. You know, and if you need a brain surgeon, you Don’t go to a heart surgeon. And if you need a heart surgeon, you don’t go to a generalist. So what is it that I need you to know? And who is it who can best address that particular issue. If somebody feels so psychically split off in themselves at war in terms of these psychic splits, it might be very, very wise for them to go to you, and to heal to bring those split parts of the personality back into coherence. If somebody really just wants to wake up from the nightmare of being a separate self, they might come to me, you know, if somebody wants, or if somebody wants to understand how all experience is made out of consciousness, they might come to me if they wanted to know about all of the various level and strata of consciousness, from the gross to the subtle, into the divine, I’d send them to David, you know, because he’s an expert in that that’s not my thing. If somebody wants to know about how to use Sacred plants, I’d send them there, because that’s not my thing. But there are some things that are my thing. And so I think it’s important for us as teachers to have the integrity to say, you know, what, I’m not the right person for you on this issue, you really need to see so and so. Or you need to see whoever it is in your heart, you know, you resonate with resonance is the key, you know, so, I’ve done, I’ve done so much. I’ve done so many things in my life, you know, therapies and workshops. And, you know, really, I’ve been down the path for 24 years or so and, and I benefited from all of it. None, not one thing didn’t contribute to, you know, the unfoldment. That was a negative way to put it, but it all contributes in one way or another. So anyway, I just wanted to say that in the service of bringing unifying our perspectives, and harmonizing what we do, because I really when I when I saw your thing, I was just my heart was just so touched, and I thought, Man, I wish this were happening on mass scales, what you’re doing, you know, me too. Maybe, maybe we can get, let’s do it. And I wish that what I what I was doing was happening on mass scales, too, because it’s really valuable.
David Buckland: And I wouldn’t have all this acting out happening on the world stage.
Michael Rodriguez: Yeah, yeah. Anyway,
Rick Archer: I’m doing my best to make it happen.
Isa Gucciardi: Thank you, Rick.
Michael Rodriguez: Thank you, Rick.
Isa Gucciardi: I just want to say one more thing. You were asking, How do I trust my intuition? You know, like, how do I how do I more or less, you know, like, how do I listen to what, you know, what is the inner authority? And how do I how do I access it and act from it? Right? Did I understand that as part of the question?
Panel Questioner 3: I was just basically wondering your thoughts about you know, I mean, that now my inner authority, I’m like, what we’re going over here, alright, up, we’re going over. Okay. But but I’m just and he spoke to it very beautifully, that this fluidity of that it’s not either or when one way or another so. So I guess I was just wondering if you guys could speak a little bit more to that the fluidity of the path, right?
Michael Rodriguez: Are you fired up again,
Panel Questioner 3: I can get fired up quite easily. There’s lots of Shakti going on.
Rick Archer: Scott, right in front of you had a question.
Shawn: Yeah, thank you guys. This is really interesting discussion. But you know, we started this about the progressive versus direct path. And it’s my perception that we kind of wandered off into lots of other lovely, juicy topics, and maybe I miss something, but I don’t think we kind of resolved that issue. And maybe you guys can help me if I miss something. on that. So what I’m, what I’m looking for really is is, do you guys think there is a distinction and from my distinct from my experience, and from looking at Buddha at the Gas Pump, it seems like they’re real, that there is a progressive path, and there is a direct path, some people just seem to pop in others seem to float. And I’m wondering if there’s if you guys could kind of sum up in what’s sort of the unified field of those two? What is the the piece that would connect those two ways of attaining Enlightenment?
Rick Archer: I think part of the answer I would give is that there’s a sort of a dark side to both those paths, which isn’t really representative, what the path is actually supposed to be with the direct path with the people who get into some kind of non duality forum or, you know, something like that, and liberation unleashed that kind of thing. And rather quickly come to the assumption that the intellectual understanding they gain is, is the actual realization that it’s supposed to be and it’s not there’s that old saying, you’ve heard me say says, This guy has this thinks of his wife listening to all of my interviews. That Tibetan saying, you know, don’t mistake understanding for realization, don’t mistake realization for liberation. So there’s a lot of people here on the internet talking about, you’re already enlightened, and you don’t need to do any practices and that kind of thing. Just realize that that’s what you are. And, you know, yeah. So that’s the dark side of what I have the direct path, the dark side of the progressive path, I think, is that people feel like they’re never going to arrive. And who was it? Peter Russell was talking today in the main hall about, you know, just kind of plumbing into what’s happening now, as opposed to, you know, it didn’t use this metaphor, but forever chasing the dangling carrot. So I think realistically, there’s a balanced view, in which, you know, yeah, that which you’re experiencing now, does, does contain the that what you hope to achieve, it’s here now, you know, but that is not to say that progressively, it won’t become more clear. And so that kind of right there in a sentence, Mary’s direct and progressive. Anyway, that’s my contribution.
Michael Rodriguez: I would also just say, they’re both conceptual. They’re both conceptual. They’re just ways of thinking about life. They don’t actually, they don’t limit what this is, you know. So really, we’re having a conceptual conversation about an inexplicable, we don’t know what you know. And it’s important to say that, because we tend to reify, these categories that we come up with, and we get stuck in the terminology and confused about whether it’s gradual or sudden, but really, life can’t be fit into gradual or sudden, you know, or any other category for that matter. So I would just say, to hold them both lightly, you know, and not to get locked into an either or mindset, because at the end of the day, they’re just ways of describing an inexplicable reality.
Rick Archer: And is there anybody on this either on the stage or in the audience who feels like they’re finished? You know, that’s it, you’re done? You, Shawn, right, you’re finished it, but not?
Shawn: That’s a little misleading? It’s a little misleading? Because
Rick Archer: what I mean, by finished is, you know, do you feel like there’s any possibility for further growth or on unfoldment, or development or deepening or clarification or so on and so forth? And, you know, if the direct path, the path is really direct, why couldn’t it just sort of bring us to the, you know, ultimate realization beyond which nothing more is worth are possible, realizing it? Can? It can, yes, there is a presence here that’s not coming or going. That’s one side of the coin.
David Buckland: What is that? No, but I don’t know that you fully appreciate it that side?
Rick Archer: Maybe not? No, of course not.
Michael Rodriguez: Because I know, because I know you well, yeah. And you tend to come down on the progressive side quite hard. So I would just say
Rick Archer: that Mike is being passed, let me
Michael Rodriguez: just to just to just to respect the the beauty of the possibility of a realization of that, which does not progress, because that is the source of everything that arises. And we also can hold at the same time, this other conceptual way of describing this whole thing, which is this more progressive sense, in which of course, there is no end to the refinement of, you know, the body and the mind and learning. I mean, there’s no such thing as is the end of learning at that level. So, but
Rick Archer: no, go ahead. Well, that which, you know, doesn’t progress in, which doesn’t change and so on. It’s very clear. It’s, it’s a continuum. It’s an abiding presence. But so, I mean, I’d take that for granted, then. And but you know, and the real juice is that which does progress, because this thing isn’t gonna, you know, progress any further, but how about the vast range of potential development in that which develops? Shawn,
Sean Webb: So, my perspective on this, I think, comes a little from Michael’s perspective, but intermixes all of your other perspectives as well, in that, you know, I’ve done a little bit of research on awakening since I had one and wanted to figure out the biology, the physiology, the psychology, and even went and had multiple beers with the guy who proved quantum entanglement for the world. So I delved into the stuff that we’re talking about upstairs. And, you know, all awakenings, I think, come from a physiological experience that we have from within us, right, our body brings it forth, which is why we always focus on the body first as our focus of meditation or focus of breath or it’s always is going into the body into the mind, which is a function of the brain, mostly. And so whatever we get from that is a physiological response from the body telling us something or giving us information. I think all of those comes in in shades of gray. Right? Sometimes they’re little. And sometimes they’re boom, you know, Satori is a good word for it in Zen in comparison to Keter, they have two different words. One is a lighter awakening of smaller significance. And one is the immediate understanding of everything in the universe. And I mean, speaking from first person, that is not an exaggeration. You don’t retain it. But you’re in a space where you understand absolutely everything in the universe, how all the dimensions work, how all space time, illusion works, how, you know, every bit of consciousness permeates through everything in all of existence, backwards and forwards of time, etc. But then there, it’s all shades of grey, you either get that, and possibly even more, I just, I can only speak my high watermark, I don’t know, there might be high higher watermarks than what I experienced, or you get something less. And then over time, you can add that up, and it becomes you know, I, I know, people who’ve gone the average to the slower path who understand things, as you know, as similar to what I do. I don’t in there is a question. Yeah. So I think in general, my, my thought is that you can only understand up to your high watermark. I have a question for David, what was your original catalyst? And what was it like? And I think what in I would like to ask all of you to comment on, even if you get that big win, I think there’s a, there’s a, an additional process of integration over a number of at least my personal experiences is integration over a number of years to figure it out. And then also, regardless of whether you get the big one or not, you can’t really come back with it. So you all you lose some of it. So there’s always this development backup into that space. So maybe you guys can comment on that.
David Buckland: My actually, it’s kind of an interesting question, the original catalysts because it’s kind of like, well, there was an this happened, but that was caused by that thing, and it kind of goes back into prior lifetimes, and blah, blah, blah. But for me, the primary thing was the discovery of meditation. And I really was kind of blown away by the my first meditation. This is something completely different than I was aware of. And, and so I got quite into it, and very quickly went on a long retreat, to learn to teach meditation, but more of the motivation was even more to go deeper into the understanding behind it, and so on like that. And after about three months of, of extra meditations, and awesome and so on, like that. There was a an opening, and I started what’s known as witnessing full time I shifted into the observer mode, including during sleep, yes. So it was, first it kind of came around a little bit. And then there was a, what’s known as Mokra, or in the quinoline tradition, where the Kundalini reaches this point, just above the third eye, and it basically couldn’t really become stable doesn’t go up and down anymore. And it kind of opens the opens up a bunch of things, refined perception, and, and, and witnessing. And being can be stable at that point. And so the witnessing became continuous. And it’s in the teaching I was in at that point, witnessing full time meant you’d hit the first stage of cosmic consciousness. But what I soon became apparent was there was still an identified ego, and there was the self. So the self was awake. But it wasn’t awake to itself through this body, mind, whatever you want to call it through this expression. And so there was kind of like this duality there. So I had some of the benefits of being awake, but not the whole, the whole meal yet. Some partial liberation, but not the whole thing. And so that went on actually for quite a while. And it goes back to previous questions about that. And so essentially, what what I realized later on from some of the old texts was that sometimes this happens, and it pauses there, even though it’s only a short distance to the crown and awakening, it pauses there in order to clean out physiology a little more so that the product, the processes is smoother. And so that was that went on actually for about 30 years I was witnessing and, and then when the time came and we had the proper shift happened and it continued from there. And the advantage of that That case was that, because I had been doing that process for such a long time, the shift itself was very clear. And, and the progression continued for quite quickly for a while after that. Would you like to say,
Isa Gucciardi: I would say the catalyst for me in terms of, I mean, I’m nowhere near realized, you know, like, I don’t really get it, you know, but but I would say the catalyst for me and trying to understand how to bring peace and happiness was the experience of nature. As a young child, you know, that, you know, being around people was so jarring, because everyone was so unhappy. And being in nature was so restful, because there was order, there was organization there was, I felt very supported. I grew up in Hawaii. So I was really lucky to have nature in my face, you know? And I think that I think for me, the the catalyst is definitely nature and my whole life has been trying to understand the processes of nature and trying to understand how to bring them into the disorganization, that people feel to help order them.
Rick Archer: I don’t have anything to add, you want to somebody Scott needs to bring a mic to whoever wants someone who hasn’t had a chance yet gentleman in the glasses back there. And then this gentleman and
Scott: voices in the room want to share?
Panel Questioner 5: I picked up early in the discussion, I think the fundamental this distinction between Vedic thought and Buddhist thought is, in Buddhism, there is no self and then the Vedic thought there is is, is Can those two be reconciled? And whether it’s it’s gradual or sudden does it doesn’t matter which of those perspectives you have in in awakening? I guess I’d be interested in that question.
Michael Rodriguez: My sense is, that’s a doctrinal difference, not an experiential one, between self and self, it’s doctrinal.
David Buckland: And how you actually experience the process is how you experience the process, it may match the tradition, it may not the slightest,
Rick Archer: mica anything well,
Michael Rodriguez: you know, the Buddha, the Buddhist term for it is on Atman. So he was responding in the day, at the time. His feeling was that the Vedic pleased this is sort of your areas. I mean, you correct me if
David Buckland: I’m wrong, I call them the concepts.
Michael Rodriguez: Yeah, my, you know, the Buddha noticed that the Vedic Brahmins were reifying, the self capital S as something to be worshipped something separate something other. And that sense of reification was what the Buddha was really, after, in terms of deconstructing his notion of or not one is completely in sync with the notion of the self experientially, it’s just if we reify, the sense of self, that becomes something different. But the Buddhist notion of emptiness is the same thing as what the, the Hindus call self, experientially, it’s just they’re using two different ways to describe the experience, the Buddha was after the concept of the reification of self, not the reality. So the
David Buckland: dynamic I was talking about earlier, observer observed and the dynamics of self space fell in space. You describe that as empty or full? Yeah. It’s just a subjective variation.
Rick Archer: The woman in the Shah back there, did you still have a question or no? Okay, that’s fine.
Scott: I honor the male voices. And I want to welcome the female voices if there’s any other women who want to speak up.
Panel Questioner 6: Speak Hi, perhaps you’re drinking a lot of water up there. And I was wondering, is that holy water? Would that be helpful for us?
Rick Archer: It’s so close to us. It’s got to be by now.
Panel Questioner 6: Actually, my my question is a follow up about nature. I’ve noticed that when I’m around trees, particularly big old gnarly trees, that I seem to be brought to the present. I’m present with the tree. And I was outside at lunch yesterday, and I was looking up at a palm tree and it was waving in the breeze. And it seemed like it was waving to me. And I was present with it. And then it occurred to me from some of the things I’ve learned this week. Perhaps it’s not the tree is waving to me, but consciousness is recognizing itself or calling to itself. Is that something along those lines?
Michael Rodriguez: Both
Isa Gucciardi: calling to you
David Buckland: know, respond to acknowledge most of the time they’re ignored.
Isa Gucciardi: If you want to find trees, the palm trees here are amazing. They’re over 150 years old. But in the park of the, the, you know, this was a mansion and they had a park at that, you know, where they planted trees. And if you go on the parking lot that’s in front of the building, and if you keep going into the park that’s there, that was the original, I must be the original mansion park. There are some black oaks there that are massive in terms of what you might be able to understand about consciousness, they can offer you a massive amount of information. You don’t see black oaks that size anywhere in California. I’ve never seen black oaks that size anywhere. And I think that you know that that you know in from a shamanic perspective, the natural world that we see the physical world is a portal into this deeper place that you were tuning into that you that you were you felt the consciousness was was communicating with you. And I think that it’s it’s a wonderful practice. And it definitely takes you into that place of oneness that everyone’s talking about where you were at nature becomes the doorway into that oneness. And, of course, trees are massive consciousnesses. So I really, I really recommend everybody go over there and say hello to the black oaks.
David Buckland: And they have that quality of stillness that we often seek.
Michael Rodriguez: And I think I resonate with all of that. And nature has been being in nature has been very important for me. And you, I think what’s happening when the body the body, of course, is nature. It’s sort of interesting to me that we say I’m going for a walk in nature as though I’m one thing and nature is another thing. The body mind is nature. So nature is going for a walk in nature in reality. And when the body is in nature, what’s happening really is that that that dense egoic structure that it feels like a structure, it’s more of just an energetic congealing momentarily, it’s not solid, it just it softens, because we feel we don’t feel generally unless there’s a saber toothed tiger or something, we don’t feel threatened, there’s a sense of safety and well being in in our natural state. And that density just softens, as my work sort of softening and melts away, and there is a deeper intuitive recognition of our kinship with the totality of nature. And that’s really all I’m pointing to when the sun, you had a sort of a little sad story there, where your sense of separation really was softened. And there was this really beautiful, delicate recognition that you you know, consciousness was alive as in it as that experience. And so I would just say that, you know, it’s just a sacred was a sacred sighting star Shawn. Yeah, definitely.
Rick Archer: This fellow in the front has another question. Anybody else who hasn’t had a chance to ask one?
Panel Questioner 7: Okay. So I was thinking about what you said, I share about the case study about someone who didn’t want to be around people. And I had a similar kind of experience. But in the last couple years, I’ve kind of bumped into the spiritual aspect of life and and I realized, I used to be like, a large group of people or friends all the time, but I somehow didn’t want to be, it was more like kind of, I wanted to, I thought that was a good thing to have a lot of prints then. But then I suddenly stopped interacting at all. So I was just just alone, I was home. And it was more like I was just following what feels right without any sense of conflict at all. So what I am doing is basically just whatever shows up. I’m just following that. So I didn’t talk to anyone for for a couple of months, just isolated, and just there was no nothing. There’s no bad feeling in it. I wasn’t depressed. I was just, I was feeling good. And now I feel like maybe I naturally want to talk to people, but these very kind of genuinely from from inner core I want. There was also a period of time where I said, suddenly I was like, I didn’t want to be here. I want to just go away from everything. And I told my manager I’m going to resign. But the next day, I didn’t have a feeling to resign so so I don’t know what kind of path that is gradual or our sudden but I feel like where I am now. It’s a it is gradual, without doership I don’t, I don’t feel like I want to do anything about it, whatever is happening in my life, and it’s just kind of a relaxation. So it’s probably, to me the experientially I feel like it’s a, it’s sudden and sudden all the time, but it’s also gradual, because they the kind of shift is happening. So I’m curious from, from all of you, any of you any perspective on that?
Isa Gucciardi: One thing that I would always say, which you’re gonna love to hear, wait, is that you should always move toward that, which brings you into connection with the deepest parts of yourself and with nature and with reality. And if you’re finding that being alone does that great. But if you’re finding that being with people does that, that’s great. I always say, when people are asking me, should I do this? Or should I do that I always say, Whatever brings you closer to your deepest self is the right thing to do. Right?
David Buckland: Just be a little careful, there isn’t a tendency to try to avoid or escape, you’re not using a spiritual practice or spiritual concepts to, to avoid dealing with, you know, what’s going on in your life or, or the stuff that’s coming up and so on. With this, if you notice, there’s a version that’s going on, if you notice, there’s this kind of avoidance or aversion going on, and kind of a flag that you’re trying to avoid something.
Audience Member 1: So what I’m doing I think a lot of this is kind of inspired by Krishna Murthy. And and some of that is that if there’s a merge, and I’m just kind of following that as well, because he’s not there is no aversion to the aversion itself. And some just waiting to see if it falls, it falls if it doesn’t, doesn’t.
David Buckland: Yeah, what’s like yoga talks about, about attachment and aversion has basically been the two troublemakers. So if we’re, if we’re just noticing, when we’re trying to grasp things I want I want kind of a thing, or we’re trying to avoid things. Those are the two things that take us away from being here. present with what’s coming up in ourselves. And emotions come up, watch what happens. Do we react by trying to pull away? Did you want a credit card? So on?
Isa Gucciardi: One thing that I would say is, you know, I got really no offense, I got really frustrated with them. Because every time I asked a question, they would say just be with what is it was like, Please, I’m gonna, like, I’m gonna, like, I’m gonna, yes, yeah, right. Yeah. But I, you know, if you are having a lot of aversion, you need to understand it’s, it’s fine to notice it. And it’s a really important thing to notice it. But and that’s just the first step, you need to understand what the roots of the aversion are. And you need to you need to look and see what is causing you to move away. It’s not just enough to notice it.
Rick Archer: Sam, did you have something?
Sam: Yeah, it was just occurred to me like I was escalates to all these concepts this afternoon. This conference is just a general question for everyone is how do you maintain the lightness of realization with all these concepts? How do you maintain the lightness, lightness of realization with all these concepts?
Rick Archer: How do you avoid getting too in your head and to over intellectualize perhaps not sort of be in the visceral grounding of the actual experience,
Michael Rodriguez: I think just to hold the concepts lightly.
David Buckland: But they become held more lightly when, when there’s something that’s more a truth, like your own truth is just there. Once the shift has been integrated, there’s no there’s no effort required to. I mean, that could be, you know, dramas to come up or whatever.
Michael Rodriguez: I mean, I don’t walk around thinking about these things in this way. You know, I mean, it’s life is just normal and natural. And then when we’re in a, I’m in a situation where I’m being asked questions about these kinds of things, I can respond, but really, it’s, it’s not about going through life with really sublime concepts, you know, and it’s about living free of concepts and mental structures that create constriction and suffering. You know, you we didn’t have any of these concepts when we were kids, you know, all of this is made up, you realize that it’s all made up. It’s all it’s all conceptual. So that’s not to dismiss it all together. But it’s just to say that our natural state is empty of concepts, you know, and we’re meant to use them as a skillful means to undo our, our grasping onto our attachment to these concepts, you know, we’re not meant to live with non dual concepts. That’s just more. That’s more delusion, or baggage. So the truth, the truth is beyond everything we’re talking about here. We’re just pointing sort of in a certain direction, hopefully so that your mind can relax and soften and live in a natural state of ease and joy and well being.
Rick Archer: I think there’s a value to having a balance between knowledge and experience. And I’ve seen people call imbalanced and one of the other people who, you know, maybe have deep experience, but don’t really, they’re confused about what it means or they haven’t really gotten the knowledge thing together. There’s a saying in India babbling saints, there have been people who’ve been sort of woken up had some realization, but had no intellectual grounding or ability to explain what they’re experiencing. So they kind of babble incoherently about their experience. And then on the other hand, there are people who are just over intellectualized and they don’t, you know, do much or any practice and they kind of get so caught up in and I interviewed a guy one time who had went red all the way were ways books like 30 times or something. And he was just so intoxicated with the intellectual understanding, I suppose for rare ganja, yogi’s just the path of intellectual understanding can actually result in realization but in general, just overindulgence and intellectualizing without some kind of practice, which really grounds you in the experience can cause another kind of imbalance. So it’s nice to know, when you walk, we use two legs, and each one has its its purpose, and we’re missing one we end up hopping. Now the woman in the shawl
Michael Rodriguez: Jana Yoga is not an intellectual understanding it’s wisdom. It’s the path of wisdom, wisdom,
Rick Archer: find discrimination and pondering of, you know, point find points of knowledge, subtle discrimination between various it
Michael Rodriguez: just means discrimination between the true and the false. But it’s not an intellectual endeavor. It’s an endeavor of insight, it’s a big difference, because it’s, it’s just a mischaracterization of what Yana yoga was, that’s all I just wanted to say. But the way he said,
David Buckland: If I can add one more thing, just to finish this up, it’s also you can reach a place in a path where you’re growing quite rapidly. And the key with some of these stages is each stage brings with it a distinct sense of self and the world. So it’s, there’s not one shift, there’s a series of those. And so it can become to a place where you’re essentially what’s real today. So when you have that kind of experience, where your reality shifts on an ongoing basis, and little things are always adjusting, you don’t take concepts about what’s real and seriously.
Shawn: For me, okay, this is my first time to the science and non duality conference. I’ve listened on online and such. From my perspective, I’m starting to wonder a little bit about where I was talked about at the beginning, but sometimes I feel like it’s lacking in these conversations. So I’d love for you guys to comment on, on back to yoga and love and devotion. And like, where’s this and all of it? Because I feel it relates to what he’s talking about or asking about.
Rick Archer: And this is a very intellectual conference. I mean, they have experiential tracks, and there might be some of that in those tracks. And Marie to is a big ball of love up on stage. But there are other competence like bhakti fest, you know, where that’s the whole focus. But it’s, yeah, it’s a good question. And bhakti is an extremely important path. And interestingly, most of the well known Advaita and non dual sages were also great bhaktas. Shankara was and devotional poetry and things that he wrote and Nisargadatta was he every after everybody left the room, he’d break out the symbols, and they’d start singing bhajans and, and Papaji. Was and Ramana was and so it’s not an either or, and in the bhakti tends to get lost a little bit, I think, in intellectual discussions like this, but it’s, you know, we have intellects, we have hearts. And I think full realization includes the full blossoming of both. Yeah.
David Buckland: And we can also fall into a bucket of stage during with the heart opening, even if we’re someone that’s a real intellectual orientation, we can go through a very profound bhakti phase.
Scott: I would like to say that this is why as a moderator, I’m really looking, I think we need more feminine voices because this is the feminine part that you’re bringing in of. Okay, so now we’re awakened, what do we do? How do we embody that, with that
Rick Archer: gap? You know, my wife spends a lot of time trying to find as many women as they have men in the queue to interview, you know, and for some reason, the men are more like, I don’t know, blabber mouth or something a lot more. So we really tried where it didn’t used to be if you do the sum total of 420 interviews. There are more And then women, but for the last year or two, we’ve tried to keep it 5050.
Michael Rodriguez: For me, it is all about love. And that’s what this is all about, you know, that the realization releases our natural innate capacity to love unconditionally, actually, with when the separate self isn’t intact, apparently, true love will always elude you, you know, when that sense of separation falls away, the heart is free to love, really for the first time since childhood perhaps, but consciously. So, at this point, I speak a lot about love and my work and the phrase I use ad nauseam is loving awareness, I rarely speak of consciousness or awareness is some cold abstract concept or something is for me, awareness is synonymous with love the experience, so, there are two there are two levels to the awakening, the first is the level of wisdom, where I see that I am nothing. The second level is where I see that I am everything and that is love.
Rick Archer: And between these two my life flows between these two
Michael Rodriguez: my life flows. Yeah, so that was I was borrowing from Nisargadatta there, who is a radical non dual sage, who had a tremendous amount of love in this teaching that many people overlook. But if we, the the felt experience of the body, I think because many men, particularly in our culture, are terrified to feel it’s true. Some women too, of course, but to feel, to feel, to feel anything but to feel emotion,
David Buckland: emotional expression, and an emotional
Michael Rodriguez: expression is stifled men are conditioned to feel that they’re, you know, sissies, if they go into their emotions or they’re conditioned to feel ill, unmanly. We have this image of John Wayne or something where we think we have to, like really, you know, be very sort of hardened and
Rick Archer: thinking of that scene from The Birdcage where Robin Williams is trying to teach Nathan Lane How to Act Like a man and he’s trying to mimic John Wayne.
Michael Rodriguez: That’s right.
Rick Archer: Anybody hasn’t seen that movie, you gotta watch it.
Michael Rodriguez: It’s what was I saying?
Rick Archer: Emotions, men, expressing emotions, particularly
Michael Rodriguez: true of men, because we have been conditioned that way. And so a lot of my work in general, but especially with men is getting them to feel their, their experience of the body. But it’s true for women too. I mean, it’s a little bit of a cliche to say it’s just a man thing, because a lot of women are very divorced from their, their bodies for one reason or another, often because our culture is so demeaning towards female bodies, that they dissociate from it in one way or another because they feel like they can’t live up to some idealized image. So a lot of people who come to me male and female can’t feel their bodies, which is, you know, it’s always surprising to me because I’m so in touch with the feeling of being that it’s always a surprise that some one feels like just totally cut off from the experience of, of bodily presence. So a lot of what I do is about what wakening the energy body, which I would call the feminine principle. Awareness is both spacious and empty and panoramic. And unattached, I didn’t say detaches, unattached, and it floods the totality of experience in this sensing, perceiving, breathing, living vibrantly, alive being, you know, so it’s both nothing and everything that it experiences. And so the the sort of the spacious, panoramic perspective, is the masculine aspect. But without the feminine, that realization is cold and lifeless, and brutal, and really, quite inhumane. And it results in Gretel. It results in subtle to gross forms of cruelty, often, emotional violence, especially towards the feminine. And I think actually, that’s what’s going on largely in the world today is we’re so divorced from the divine feminine. So it’s important that I’m so glad you asked that question because it’s breathing, you know, some life into the conversation and bringing us back to what it’s all about, which is the opening of the heart. Without that this is all pointless. Scott,
Scott: did you want to say something? No, but we are out of time. And yeah, I’m really glad we can end on that note of inclusiveness.
Rick Archer: Yeah, so I was just gonna wrap it up. So thank you all for coming. And, obviously, we could probably sit here another hour or two and carry on and talk about things but you know, another time
Scott: like to invite us to think about how we can take that last statement into action in the rest of our weekend and the week beyond.
Rick Archer: Yeah, and the life beyond. So thank you all panelists. It’s really been a joy. Thank you David. Thank you Michael.