Rick: Welcome to Buddha at the Gas Pump. My name is Rick Archer and my guest this week is Peter Dziuban. The D is silent like in Django. I don’t know if you saw that movie. Very good, yeah, yeah. Peter Francis Dziuban writes and speaks on awareness and spirituality. His first book ‘Consciousness is All’ has helped thousands around the world enjoy greater clarity, happiness and freedom. Peter’s work benefits so many because it is not tied to any teaching or religion. He has studied this field for over 40 years since attending the University of Notre Dame. He also worked many years in corporate America and now resides in Arizona. Peter enjoys the outdoors as do I, I just don’t get enough of it. So 40 years, so let’s sketch through those meat of what you’re doing now.
Peter: Yeah, yeah. I just recall when at the University of Notre Dame, I think I was a freshman and took a philosophy course as an elective, one of those things, and it was actually Eastern philosophy. And in that, one of the books we read was the Bhagavad Gita and there was another one I can’t remember the title of even but having been raised Roman Catholic, and there I am at the University of Notre Dame there was just a feel to what was said in those pages, that’s all I can do is an ease to it, and not so much of a guilt kind of motivation type thing. So that was very appealing, even though it didn’t really fully register at the time, like you got to really check this out. So, anyway, one thing led to another, I went to work in corporate America. I didn’t really have anything I wanted to do, but well, everybody gets out of college and gets a job, so that’s what you do. And I, you know, went in the business world outwardly, pretty, you know, apparently successful and had all the right things and all that but really didn’t feel fulfilled or, you know, was feeling this is all there is, or I don’t want to do this kind of thing. So, I was bored too, really bored, and sometimes on my lunch break I would go in bookstores. I was working right in Midtown Manhattan and I found my, you know, I’d poke around and I eventually found my way over to, I guess today we would call it personal growth or self-help and read all the books by Napoleon Hill.
Rick: ‘Think and Grow Rich.’
Peter: Yes, and who was the power of positive thinking? I can’t remember his name right now, and there’s even a church that he started in lower Manhattan there. It’ll come to –
Rick: Norman Vincent Peale?
Peter: Norman Vincent Peale, yes. So, it was that and then other books, a few and you know how we’ve all done, you pick up one, something as we say resonates and you pick up another one and nothing resonates so you put that one down and you just keep looking, keep looking. And I went on from there to things like religious science, science of mind and that’s what primarily had my interest. One day I was in a bookstore in Manhattan, a spiritual bookstore and found a book, it was a little book called The Infinite Way by Joel Goldsmith. I’m sure some of your viewers are familiar with that too and that just blew everything else out of the water for me. I don’t mean that in a negative, you know what I mean, comparative way but it just, whoa, this is it. And so I stayed with that for a number of years, I can’t remember how many and I thought, you know, there’s nothing beyond this, this is it. I had the good fortune to know a teacher in New York, a woman named Lorene McClintock who had studied for years directly with Joel Goldsmith, and just being able to go to her classes from time to time and workshops was a great thing. So that was going on and at times too I would go to Sri, is it Chinmoy? Chinmoy. Chinmoy. He was in New York and was active for a while and I would go to meditation classes that he has and I really enjoyed those. And again, there was for me a distinctive peace and an ease present that wasn’t always present with everything else. In the others there was a lot of a sense of me, even though I didn’t realize it at the time, a lot of a sense of me, got to do something, got to get there, got to whatever. And anyway, one day I heard through a friend about a book on infinite reality from a friend and that just stuck in my thought and wouldn’t go away and it just felt real. Sometimes people call it absolute reality. I avoid using the word absolute just because it gets into too many debates kind of things. I don’t like to use it and it gets intellectual. And anyway, I thought I’ve got to check this out and eventually I did and found the work of a man named Alfred Aiken who wrote, he was on the scene mostly in New York. He lived in the late 1950s and 1960s and in his first book which was titled ‘That Which Is’, first one I read, I believe it’s in Chapter 1 there was a statement, I’m paraphrasing a little bit, “Reality is a matter of looking out from God rather than as a separate self looking up to God.” And right there that was one of those whammo moments and so much stuff fell away with that and I could just see with everything else there was always this middleman me who had to be as conscious as consciousness itself, you know, with my so-called personal mind or consciousness and it just flipped everything around. I was like, “My gosh, of course, who the heck else is conscious but consciousness itself? It’s already had itself. It’s impossible to have it any other way.” And so the amazing thing about his books is that they were written as if it were the Self, the One, Love, the Infinite, talking only about itself to itself and it doesn’t leave any room for a you that’s got to do this, it’s got to do that and that took a little getting used to, you know, part of you is going, “This is it, this is it.” I have no idea what this is saying but I know this is it kind of thing. And then you know eventually you see that wherever there was a misunderstanding or something wasn’t clear, it’s like, “Oh yeah, I’m implying that there’s a me again that has to, you know, see this, do this, do something.” So that was pretty much it, yeah.
Rick: And then of course you’ve gone on to do a lot since then, but just maybe before we go on, this thing of looking out from God, and maybe this will segue us into the rest of the conversation, you know, there’s a looking out from God but it’s through the instrumentality of a human nervous system, you know, which is sort of like a sense organ of the Infinite we could say, and so isn’t the looking out necessarily filtered or conditioned or influenced by … if you really had God’s perspective you’d probably see all the subatomic particles and the galaxies and you know there’d be the sort of complete comprehension of everything, omniscience, you know.
Peter: Any words we say are gonna be, you know, flawed in some way, but a big part of it is that the emphasis is on always what … right now, for example, being is being, life is alive, absolutely unthinkable how that is functioning, you know, it can’t be grasped and yet here it is. And so it’s that unthinkableness, it’s not a matter when … but even the looking out from implies another to be doing that, kind of, in a sense and in the deepest, deepest sense there’s only pure being, there’s only the Infinite which does not co- exist with a finite state or a state of space and time and so there’s nothing to do. And I mean obviously that seems a far cry from what appears to be our relative experience, but it’s the immediacy and the unthinkableness and the formlessness of it, mostly immediacy that is the only, you know, word that comes to my thought right now to attempt to point to it and that’s all there is. Done, done, done, done. And anything that starts to talk or argue to the contrary, we’re back in thought in some way, shape, or form, or in you know, a feeling even it might be a very fine, subtle feeling. And the moment that’s happened or that that thought has arisen, that’s all fumes, that’s exhaust, you know, there’s nothing really in that thought, it’s already gone and that’s how instant and immediate it is and that’s all that is.
Rick: Yeah, I mean I agree with you, not that my agreement really matters in terms of the way reality functions, but you know, I mean just by example we could take anything such as your book and you know if we see this as something other than pure being we’re not looking closely enough because a physicist would tell us “Okay, you just go deeper, deeper, deeper into this and you get to the point where it’s all just unmanifest,” you know, there is no paper, there is no carbon in this but then again in the very same breath, you know, if there’s a book you’d probably like people to buy it and it consists of paper and carbon and all, at least on an apparent, yeah. It took time to write it and you know you get money for it blah, blah, blah, a million implications so on an apparent level, even though we can always sort of dismiss the appearances and boil them down to nothingness, we live in a world of books and people and cars and you know apparent things that we have to interact with. So you know some people jump to the gun and say, “Well, none of this is ultimately real, therefore none of it matters” and they kind of wipe the slate clean of all sort of moral implications and you know compassionate action and all that other stuff because it’s all unreal so why bother? You know, like someone said at the S.A.N.D. conference last year, “Who cares about the ecology? The world is like nothing, you know, speck of sand.”
Peter: Yeah, yeah.
Rick: So that always bugs me a bit.
Peter: That’s a great point and I’ve found because of talking this way in workshops or sometimes you know when it’s more an open thing and there are folks there who aren’t as familiar with the perspective, fully familiar with it let’s say, what happens often is that, well let me back up a minute. So to speak, the premise of Consciousness Is All, that book and Aiken’s work is the allness of life, the allness of, if you want to call it love, of fresh aliveness, of purity, of oneness, the utterness of oneness, leave it right there kind of thing. But what happens is and I know because I experienced it myself and I think all of us have, is because it seems we are used to dealing with the apparent world, the manifest world then when you hear something like that there’s a tendency to think, “Oh, that just wipes this out,” or “It’s not here” or “It doesn’t matter, nothing matters, so what the hell?” kind of thing. But that is leaving the emphasis on the apparent and is not really seeing the beauty of the wholeness, the immediacy of oneness, of life. Do you know what I mean?
Peter: And it’s so easy to get on the negation side of it or you know see things in that way. And anyway I’m just glad you said that because that’s a very important part and we often …
Rick: And generally when people are doing that, in my opinion, they’re sort of in their heads, they’re kind of intellectualizing the oneness of all, and they haven’t kind of integrated it experientially.
Peter: Yeah, exactly. I mean, if I may say something else too, it’s good at this point I think, it’s easy because we deal constantly, all day long in this realm of the apparent and the manifest to think in those terms. And right now, for example, for those who are watching this video, this conversation, it might be easy to think of this as what’s being said right now as between two people. One in Arizona, one in Iowa. That’s certainly how it appears. And yet, in another sense it can be said that it’s thanks to the presence of this all-embracing, infinite, boundless, perfectly whole consciousness, this oneness that any of this can be said and it really is the one, being conscious right now, even right where the viewer appears to be. And so these words of our conversation, I just like to emphasize, should really be heard not as the voice of Rick and the voice of Peter but the voice of consciousness talking. And it’s not taking place on a physical planet, you know, and there’s no space and no time between consciousness and its own presence right now. And so it will give listening as if it were that one and it’s this very same consciousness that is the consciousness of the viewer, so to speak, because it’s only the one and that will give an entirely different takeaway or feel to what’s being said, rather than, you know, hearing it only on the level of an exchange of two bodies. Certainly appears that way, of course, obviously, but it’s just a different take.
Rick: And when you say that, then in the very same breath, you know, I’m tempted to say, “Yeah, but if I want to come and visit you in Arizona, I’ve got to book a plane ticket and that’s going to be for a couple weeks at least in the future and then I’m going to drive to the airport and I’m going to fly to Arizona.” So there’s going to be all this relative stuff going on to facilitate that on the level of appearances. And so from my perspective really, spiritual development entails not negating or dismissing or wiping away any of the apparent realms of life but really more of an integration into a larger wholeness where everything sort of has its place and even while acknowledging the ultimate unreality of all these relative things you function in the midst of them and with them in a capable way.
Peter: Yes and that’s why things appear harmoniously too. Oneness, the singleness, the allness of consciousness, being one, if you want to use words, it’s got to be harmonious because you need two to have opposition or to have friction or any of those things even though that’s certainly all over the place in the apparent. But like you say, in the clarity that, okay, it’s really consciousness that is the one who’s conscious here, the one and yet it appears that all these things still have to be done with the body in time and space but it’s sort of that clarity and abiding as that as we say, that makes for a more harmonious apparent experience because there isn’t the sense of two which all was just like a belief really, you know what I mean? Just a mental thing.
Rick: And of course you and Aitken and anybody else hasn’t originated this way of understanding the world. I mean it goes back thousands of years. We have the Upanishads saying all this is that and you know phrases like that. And actually speaking of the Upanishads, the Vedic perspective has a kind of a handy concept to understand what we’re just talking about, which is the term “mithya” which means “dependent reality” and they use the example of a pot. So you have a pot but it’s really only clay it’s not a pot, it’s clay, you know, but it functions as a pot. You can do things with it, you know, put beans in it or something but the potness is kind of dependent on the fundamental reality of clay.
Peter: Of clay, yeah, yep.
Rick: And so as you’re saying all this relative stuff is consciousness is all, your book title said true, acknowledged but there’s a sort of dependent reality or apparent reality that we live in that is really only consciousness but you always have to say “but” you know.
Peter: Yeah, yeah, when speaking that way, you have to. It’s like you’re talking out of both sides of your mouth a lot of the time, you know, it seems that way.
Rick: Yeah, and I think that’s the name of the game is to kind of learn to incorporate this paradox, this paradoxical situation within one’s living experience and not to be intellectualizing it all the time, not like you’re running around all day thinking, “Oh, this is only consciousness and that is only consciousness,” but the experience can actually develop to the point where you actually perceive things in terms of the self or in terms of consciousness, you know, you see the book but it’s seen in terms of that oneness, without having to think about it in the least.
Peter: Right, right, yes. Yeah, I mean you know, presence itself, consciousness itself never says anything, or thinks, so it never certainly thinks, “Well this is all just an illusion,” you know, it never says that or “that’s separate, oh but now it’s not separate” or you know, whatever.
Rick: Yeah, yeah, so I guess the point we’re making here is that for all this stuff to be a living reality and have some real value rather than just being a philosophical exercise, it really has to be sort of incorporated into one’s blood and bones so to speak, as a kind of a solid living reality and as such it’s not going to be something that you’re running around thinking about all day long, it’s going to be something that is the nature of your experience, whether you’re eating or sleeping or falling off a bicycle or you know whatever is happening to you, that reality is solid.
Peter: Yeah, yeah, it’s more a matter of in the book Consciousness Is All, it uses the term “conscious aliveness” a lot and it’s a matter of, and it’s consciousness that is being alive, that is that aliveness, not Peter, but it’s a matter of conscious aliveness rather than thinking about conscious aliveness.
Rick: Yeah, and of course there’s this kind of premise based on this whole thing you’re saying which is, and there’s an argument in scientific realms, you know, is consciousness just an epiphenomenon of brain functioning or is consciousness fundamental and gives it rise to the brain and everything else? And I think you and I would probably argue the second thing.
Peter: Oh, totally, yeah.
Rick: And we don’t have to dwell on that forever, maybe physicists and so on might be better qualified or neurophysiologists, but that’s the premise here, is that consciousness is a fundamental reality, it’s not just some kind of chemical production that’s happening in brains, it’s the sort of the ultimate reality of the universe and somehow within that everything appears to arise. I didn’t say “from that” because that would imply that it kind of separates from it as it arises.
Peter: Yeah, yeah, yeah, right.
Rick: All right, so I’m getting a little preachy here and this interview is about you, but you’ve written “Consciousness is All,” you wrote “Simply Notice” and you made a very nice series of YouTube videos about time which I listened to all of them and so let’s kind of discuss all the points you bring out in those three things and other things as well, if there’s something else I’m unaware of, but you can help me determine which order you’d like to unfold all that.
Peter: Let me say this at the outset since you just held that up a minute ago, again for those watching, maybe those who are familiar with the book “Consciousness is All” already, “Simply Notice,” the new book which was just released within the last couple of weeks, yeah, thank you, is a very different book. Most of your viewers are, as we were saying earlier, are seasoned spiritual non-dual folks for want of a better way of saying it and the book “Simply Notice” is written in a very different way. It is very simple, very basic, the word “notice” is in the title because as you go through the pages you notice one thing on every page and that’s it. And it’s about awareness, about love, about what you consider yourself to be, the difference between awareness and what appears to be a body and so on but it is written to make maybe hopefully some of these deeper points accessible to a much, much wider audience, range of readers, people who maybe get turned off by certain types of terms or coming out with these grandiose statements even though they might be true, right off the bat. So for those who we’ve mentioned the book, I just would like everyone to be aware of it, particularly if they’ve read a lot of spiritual and non-dual literature and if you’re thinking it’s the next great latest thing along the line, it’s not that.
Rick: One thing you say in the book is, maybe it’s in the introduction or something, you say the very power of noticing led to something huge during the early writing of this book. What was that?
Peter: And again, just sort of keeping in thought that the book is written to hopefully a wide audience. Terms like universal consciousness, they’ve been around a long time, and some people get it, some people don’t, a lot of people don’t care about it or it’s just too woo-woo, that kind of thing. But another way of saying that and especially when you do some of the deconstruction noticing exercises about what seem to be material objects, including Earth is one of them, that it’s just, you know, sensation, perception, mentation as they say, and there’s no object really separate out there anywhere in a physical or material realm. But another way of saying that is that life is not on Earth. Life is not on Earth and another thing it says in the book is that today you go out on the street and you ask 99 out of 100 people, “Is life on Earth?” Yeah, of course it is. What are you crazy? And maybe it’s on other planets too but maybe not, we don’t know that, but there’s always the issue of “on” and that implies objectiveness and again physicality, materiality, and this belief, what I tried to say in the book to sort of give it a perspective and kind of a quick way of grasping the whole notion is that the current belief today that life is on Earth is our era’s version of the flat Earth. It really is and we don’t like to think, even people who are not spiritually minded, nobody likes to think that they’re being duped every minute of every day by an illusion just the way the flat Earth folks were or you know they thought that the universe was geocentric and everything, all the planets in the sun and the stars all rotate around Earth, that’s certainly how it appears but then you get a different perspective, a different model thanks to Galileo and Columbus and blah blah. And there’s this huge shift and it seems in general public we’re laboring under a similar thing with this belief of objectification and physicality and life being on. And so I really wanted to try and make that point in the book because I think it’s a good way to again shift out of that.
Rick: Okay, so what are we shifting to? If life on Earth is the flat Earth view, what is the round Earth view?
Peter: All there is is consciousness and even what appears as the manifest and even as an Earth is in this infinite, boundless, single, one, only life consciousness. You can call it love, whatever term you want that is infallibly present, that it itself is perfect, it never screws up, it doesn’t make mistakes and that is the very, really the substance in which all existing appears to go on. And there’s a vast difference when that is clear and that is sort of lived in terms of how things manifest, still appear, they’re still going to appear, but that’s very different from seeing everything through a filter of thats separate and I’ve got this feeling of resentment against that one and I’m criticizing that one because they’re all separate from me and I’m a separate self too, and this whole God thing, you know, He doesn’t like me, etc., etc., etc., etc.
Rick: Right, so from that perspective then we wouldn’t ask, “Is there life on Mars?” We would say, “Mars and everything as well as everything else is pure life,” and maybe the conditions there aren’t conducive to biological life, but nonetheless essentially it’s the same pure consciousness that everything else is.
Peter: Exactly, exactly, yeah, and because even if the body were somehow able to go to Mars what would that experience consist of?
Peter: Yes, and even on the manifest level, all it would be at most would be some type of sense perception. It would still boil down to the same things, you know, hearing, feeling, tasting, I don’t know what you’d taste but you know, the visual and so on.
Rick: Dehydrated meals, no doubt.
Peter: Yeah, right, and that would be it and apart from those which is in one sense just, you know, thought, all thought or so-called mental, and apart from that there is no physical object Mars and none of it could occur outside of or beyond what this thing we call consciousness. So, and even the whole universe, in comparison to the measurelessness, utter measurelessness of consciousness itself, even what appears as a universe full of these galaxies and inestimable light years is like a a pinprick against the vastness and the openness and the freedom and the peace. So,
Rick: Yeah, I’m with you. I don’t know if this was in your book or in the videos we listened to and I don’t want to throw you off track by jumping around too much, but you were saying that you were kind of giving the impression that things don’t exist until we perceive them, you know, like I have a car in the garage but it doesn’t exist until I go out in the garage and perceive the car and you know I didn’t completely swallow that so you want to like, let’s talk about that a little bit.
Peter: Sure, and by the way, that happens to be, and I didn’t know this at the time, this is coming from the experiential side, obviously, but that is perfectly consistent with what basically quantum theory is all about and it’s been so long since I looked at them, but they do, they have done these experiments with the wave and the particle.
Rick: Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle, where it’s the photon that is neither a particle nor a wave until you perceive it, I guess, and then it kind of collapses into one or the other.
Peter: That’s right, but there is, until that observer is there to observe it, there is no manifestation.
Rick: Here’s why I have a problem with that.
Peter: It’s dependent on the observer being there.
Rick: Yeah, here’s why I have a problem with that. You used the word geocentric a little while ago, you know, which was the notion that the earth is the center of everything, the whole universe, and this sounds kind of geocentric too, in a sense, not geocentric, more like anthropocentric where it’s as if objective reality really depends upon our individual personal perspective and yet obviously, there is a universality to the structure of creation which doesn’t really rely on any one individual. I used this example in, I think it was a Gary Weber interview a couple months ago, where when we all go to sleep at nigh all seven billion of us, we dream different things, and we really can’t participate in one another’s dreams, but when we wake up, we can all look up and see the moon, and it’s the same moon more or less, even though we might perceive it somewhat differently. So there’s a kind of a … and the moon’s been there for so many billion years, and the next generation will see the moon also, so there’s a sort of a stability or an objectivity to creation which doesn’t matter what, you know, you and I die tomorrow or anything else. You know what I mean?
Peter: I have an answer to that, or a response. You may not care to agree with it, you know, I’ve got no agenda here, I just put it out there. Yeah, or you know, some of our friends who are viewing this, but all of what you just mentioned, and it seems this is where it gets weird or hard to talk about, and it seems as if it’s the same for what appears as Peter, but to, let’s say the Rick experience of appearance and manifestation and form or even sleeping, within that bubble of experience it appears as if there are many others there, other bodies, and they talk, they appear animated and they appear and they will say things like, “I dream too, and I see the moon too,” and yet none, none, none of that exists apart from what appears to be the finite Rick mind. None of it and if you say, “No, no, no, Peter is in Arizona and he is there with his own body-mind too,” you never, ever can prove that. I cannot prove that there is a Rick Archer in Iowa separate from what appears as the Peter dream, if you want to say it that way or the Peter state of thought. Never, ever, and never, ever is it possible to find another consciousness there. And I’m not saying that the consciousness here is Peter’s personal consciousness, it’s consciousness, you can’t, and just like “Geocentric” in I think both the books, it says consciousness is not body-centric either. So anyway, I would say to anyone who’s skeptical about that just inquire and see if it’s possible to find evidence of any of that apart from what appears as the Peter mind. I do it all the time and it’s not.
Rick: Okay, so I still don’t get it but I want to keep working at it with you here.
Rick: It seems to me that you’re conflating the universality and omnipresence of consciousness with the sort of individuation and localization of relative creation, and you’re kind of making the very existence of creation and the laws of nature which govern it dependent upon, in some way each individual’s perception of them.
Peter: Well, you got to come back to, are there really individuals?
Rick: Yes and no. Are there really? We kind of covered that at the beginning, there are and there aren’t. But you know, and if we say there aren’t …
Peter: But on the level, even of the apparent level where they do appear, all of that is going on within or as the one state of thought or mind or whatever you want to call it that appears to observe it and to attempt to say, you know, again, yes, but there are others out there who also the only evidence of any such thing is still all going to be the content of that same one mental state that appears to be observing it and it’s actually that is that, that is manifesting as that. None of it is separate from that, you know, mental state.
Rick: But if we say there are no individuals then we’re kind of referring to the to the level of reality in which there’s also no universe. Nothing has manifested, nothing has happened. And as soon as you get into manifestation, through which physicists talk about sequential, spontaneous, symmetry breaking where the homogenous oneness of life begins to bifurcate and individuate, and you have the four fundamental forces, and then from there more complex forces, the whole thing just gets more and more individuated, you know, that from the moment that begins to happen you have diversity and individuation. And again, you know, you can take it in terms of physics and take it from anywhere on that, you know, increasing scale of complexity and boil it right back down to nothingness. But I think, it seems to me what you’re doing is kind of mixing the the oneness and the manyness and saying that the very existence of the manyness is dependent upon the perception of, you know, this particular perceiving mechanism, you know, Peter’s perceiving mechanism, you know, Rick’s perceiving mechanism.
Peter: No, not really, because the Peter mechanism, that’s why in the book “Consciousness is All,” it uses the term “dream” to get away a little bit from body-mind because I know from a certain perspective things seem to operate on that basis but it’s not Peter that’s dreaming up this dream of manifest form and appearances. Peter is a product of it. Part of the dream? Yes, he’s a product of it, not …
Rick: He’s a dream character, but he’s not the dreamer.
Peter: Exactly, exactly. He’s a puppet, entirely. And so, everything again that appears to go on within the framework of a dream, it’s like this is a silly little example but when we’re asleep and these things, you know, they’re not perfect, but when asleep and having a sleeping dream and there appear to be a lot of different characters in that dream, maybe animals, maybe mountains and trees that, you know, appear to be alive, etc., When awakening from that dream, all the others that were in the dream don’t awaken also. There’s just one. And then of course, where it falls down is when the awakening, the awakened state appears to be very similar to the types of forms and things that were going on in the dream state too, and that’s not what we really, really mean by awakening, of course. But I just keep coming back to it’s just not possible to find any evidence of anything apart from that one dream. And even within the dream, it will say things like, “But scientists say,” and look and here’s the evidence, and so on and so on. And this expert over here told me, but it still all appears within the framework of that one.
Rick: Okay, so you just kind of acknowledged when I said you know, that you’re a character in the dream but not the dreamer. So you know, and Hindus have this iconography of Vishnu lying on the serpent couch and a lotus coming out of his navel and Brahma on the lotus and you know, this whole kind of like mythology about how creation comes about but I think the point of it is the idea that this whole creation is kind of God’s dream.
Peter: You hear that a lot, yeah.
Rick: But this kind of makes sense in light of what we’re saying I think, because what I was trying to say is that there seems to be a consistency to the dream which is not dependent upon any individual’s perspective or perception. Like the world wasn’t flat when people thought it was, it was really round and they’re realizing it was round, didn’t make it round, you know, it was what it was regardless of people’s understanding of the topography of the geography.
Peter: Yeah, yeah, I know, that’s where it gets really strange in a sense too.
Rick: So just let me finish the thought. In the context of this larger dream in which you and I and everyone else is a dream character, you know, if I’m having a dream at night and there are other people in it with me and one of them dies in the dream then that doesn’t sort of end the dream, the dream still going on with its larger context. So this kind of like dream universe that we live in, if we want to call it that, has its structure and its consistency and it’s the laws of physics and biology and everything else that enable it to operate. And those things are kind of larger than any individual’s perspective on or understanding of them. It just keeps rolling. So that’s the point. As I listened to you you made it sound like this anthropocentric perspective that things come into existence and disappear according to each of our individual perspectives and I’m suggesting that there’s a kind of a larger template or structure within which we operate and that in and of itself may be a total dream ultimately but it is not dependent upon our understanding or perspective or function or anything else for its stability and existence.
Peter: Yeah, and even what, you know, I’m sure you’ve heard this too, I’ll just bring it up because it comes to my thought, but even what I would tend to think is, okay, now I Peter have free will and I can choose to do as I, you know, whatever I think and I can hold this bottle in my left hand or I can hold it in my right hand and I made that choice. And even the neuroscientists now have evidence that the impulse to do that actually occurred before the thought registers to do it and so that just shows that how much the body, what the body appears to happen with the body, is again a puppet of this whole energy soup that appears to manifest as all this stuff. Yes.
Rick: Okay, I’m good with that. And there are people who, you know, there are people who insist that their experience is very much the case that they are not doing anything and that it’s all just kind of on automatic. I was talking to a guy last night and he was saying like, “I don’t brush my teeth, God brushes the teeth.”
Peter: I like that.
Rick: Yeah, so it just kind of depends on where you’ve where the focal point is.
Peter: Why does God get cavities?
Rick: Yeah, really, it sort of depends on where the focal point is, you know, where you take your stand. And again, that’s not something you can necessarily intellectualize yourself out of. You know, it’s probably going to be something that might take years to develop in a really genuine way.
Peter: Yes, yeah. Let’s for a moment if we can, talk about one of the main points and it touches on some of the things you just brought up too, one of the sort of the main points of those time-out videos and really for my money it’s the main point in consciousness is all too, about what appears as time, what we call time. And then after that, hopefully if I can say this in a way that’s clear, let’s come back to this notion of the manifest is God’s play.
Peter: Yeah. Speaking of time, I heard a great quote from Yogi Bear this morning, he said, “The future ain’t what it used to be.”
Peter: He was amazing, he really was. Okay, again I’m thinking, this is coming to my thought in terms of those who are listening or watching and have not done any deconstruction of what appears to be solid material objects, this ain’t going to have a whole lot of significance, so that’s one thing that is essential, seems to be, for this to be clear. Otherwise, it’s just not going to click and like, “Oh my God, yeah, I can see that.” But when deconstruction is done and I know some of the guests you’ve had on have done a lot of that stuff, Greg Good comes to my thought for example, and Rupert Spira and Scott Killeby at times and I’m sure many others. In ‘Consciousness Is All,’ there’s a chapter titled, “Check the Credentials,” and it uses an example of an apple. And without going into all the details it walks through an experiential, very experiential, you do this for yourself, not intellectual or conceptual, that what appears on one level to be a separate apple out there has no existence as a standalone object because all the evidence for apple is a visual image, a tactile feel, a sound maybe if a bite were taken and there’s a crunch, a taste, obviously taste and then scent. Kind of a, we would say, a pleasant scent. Now, you say, “Okay, that’s all the, if you really work through and look closely, that is all the evidence there is for an apple or any, any, any so-called physical material object. Even this thing, anything, even Earth, is what seems to come by way of the five senses.
Rick: Sure, and our extensions of them through various scientific instruments, you know, you can look at the apple under a microscope or analyze its DNA or whatever but you’re still doing that through senses.
Peter: Exactly, exactly and even what the scientists call “cosmic background radiation” for the proof of a Big Bang is still inseparable from the senses. And so what that’s another way of saying is that it’s what appears as manifest really truly is all, for want of a better word, mental or like a dream. It’s not solid stuff. If anyone had a sleeping dream or think of a sleeping dream, excuse me, recently in which maybe what you call your own body or a person body in that dream and maybe there’s a tree nearby and whatever. Within the framework of the dream it seems like there’s a real body there and that body has a mind and intelligence inside it because it talks, it’s animated and it can move and that a tree appears to be growing and yet when you wake up there’s nothing to that body that was in the dream. There’s no stuff there, there’s no physical form, it’s like a wispy little thing that has no depth or distance to it, so there’s no solid head there any more than the movie characters on a movie screen that appear, that are projected, they don’t have solid physical heads, you know, there’s nothing there and so there’s nothing in which a mind could be put nor is there a solid tree there in which there could be any life. It all appears, you gotta have a different way of, you know, describing it or looking at it. So that appears to be the case for everything in what we call our manifest experience. Everything is just thought or this mental or if you want to say like a dream. Now if you come back to pure consciousness, pure awareness, that which is aware and which is not any of this moving stuff, what seems to move, awareness or consciousness always, always, always is present tense, always. It can’t be moved back to, you know, even for those watching, try right now to make this awareness you’re presently aware of being, try to back it up to two seconds ago or, you know, make it jump ahead to two seconds ahead. Can’t do it. So, and that’s you, not you in a personal way, but that is the one who’s aware right now, so this even can be heard. That’s the one who’s conscious and alive and functioning. Now if you, when it’s clear that what appears as manifestation is really inseparable from thought, I’ll use the word thought, and you really look closely at that, the more you do it becomes obvious, “Well, wait a minute, if I try to say, for example, that there was a time say 15 minutes ago when the Rick body and the Peter body apparently were talking about other things, actually the only place that is found is not back there but as a thought arising right now to this present awareness. The awareness is always present and the thought is only coming up right now, and then another thought will try to say, “No, no, no, wait a minute, wait a minute, but there was a time this morning before we got on Skype and there was a time earlier that morning when we had breakfast and there were in fact several years prior in which Rick got this fantastic website started and has had done all these interviews and all those bodies have appeared to go on to do all these wonderful things, and some of them appear to have aged a little bit and whatever, and yet it is impossible, and I urge anyone who’s skeptical about this to really look, don’t take my word for this, but look for yourself. It is impossible to find any evidence for that apart from current thought. You can go as far back, “But there was a Big Bang which made the universe,” or “There was a time when it was believed that Earth was flat and now it’s been seen to be round.” That is not back there. It’s only current thinking imagining there is oldness because it’s fooled by this sensory illusion of separateness. If nothing in what appears as form has its own existence apart from thought, which it doesn’t, then it’s not there when it’s not being thought, it doesn’t exist.
Rick: Okay, so how would you respond if I say, “All right, when I look at the moon and what we’re seeing actually happened two seconds ago, and we look at the sun that happened nine minutes ago and we’re looking at stars that happened hundreds of years ago,” how do you fit that into what you’re saying now?
Peter: It all comes back to the same thing. It appears, the only way I can, the best way I have of trying to explain it is that the way the dream appears to work, I almost wrote a chapter or titled a chapter in ‘Simply Notice’, but I felt it was getting into a little deep water for what the rest of the book is about. It was going to be called Instant Mountains, and what it was is, I’ll make a little analogy, suppose you had a sleeping dream and you’re tired, the head hits the pillow, and within a matter of moments you’re fast asleep, and a dream kicks in and in that dream suddenly Rick is in the Swiss Alps, and there’s a beautiful lake there, and the cows are in the pasture on the mountainside and the bells are ringing and all these other things in the distance, you can see the snow-capped mountains, some beautiful fir trees, and all that. Now, and let’s say you were on vacation with a friend of yours who’s a geologist, and you’d say, “You know, Rick, those mountains were formed in the… I can’t remember since…
Rick: Billions of years ago.
Peter: Yes, formed, and the plates of the earth and the crust shifted and all that, and isn’t that amazing? Okay, now you wake up from the dream, it all appeared instantly, but how old did… were there really millions of years in that dream? No, it appeared instantly, the whole thing and the story to back it up which was part of the same dream. And even if your scientist, geologist friend did some carbon dating while you were there and scraped a rock or something and said it would be… the whole thing would be inseparable from that dream state and the dream state just popped up on the instant with… it somehow… that’s one of the wonders and the paradoxes. It produces this seeming evidence that seems to corroborate this story of its having had this long prior background but it’s impossible to find any of it apart from back there, even the thought, “What I had all these dreams before, I’ve been dreaming since I was a kid.” Where is… your so-called kid experience was all mental even when it was so… it wasn’t physical, it wasn’t separate, and even when it was so-called happening, but actually all the evidence there is for that too is that it’s not back there, it’s just thought, everything is thought, and when it’s not… Okay, yeah, if… to go back to ‘Consciousness is All’ and the example of the apple, if there literally truly is no apple apart from the sensations of it or sense perceptions of it, which again I’ll say is like a mental thing, it’s made out of thought, and in Eastern teachings they call… they have two types of referring to the the apparent or the manifest. It’s like if I think of the letter A, just think of it that’s called a subtle thought and if I were to cut a block of wood in the shape of a letter A, that would be called a gross thought, because it seems to be more substantial than the letter A that I’ve just thought of, but ultimately that so-called wood letter A does not exist apart on its own as an object from the mind’s observation of it or sense perceptions. There is no separate object there, it’s all again mental and so if it doesn’t have its own, as they say even in emptiness teachings, does not have its own inherent existence and when it no longer is being sensed, the assumption is that it continues to exist off there in the other room or somewhere, my body’s not there sensing it right now but it’s still there. That is an assumption, because if it doesn’t have its own presence apart from the very observation or experiencing of it then it can’t be off there, it’s an imagining that it’s still off there somewhere.
Rick: Okay, so it seems to me though that you’re kind of putting nocturnal dreams and the dream of creation, the cosmic dream, on an equal footing in terms of their substantiality.
Peter: That’s important, I admit, that’s important.
Rick: I mean every building and car and iPod and everything else in the world started out as a thought in somebody’s head and then they kind of worked out all the details and made something concrete or manifest. And that took time so to speak and it took prior knowledge based upon what others had discovered and so there’s this kind of, I don’t know, it’s just, I’m playing devil’s advocate here and I’m also kind of playing dummy because I’m voicing what people’s obvious perspective on life is really, which is that there is an apparent substantiality and stability to the relative world which we kind of rely upon. Like if you’re driving across the Golden Gate Bridge you don’t want it to sort of turn into a chicken in the middle of the, you know, halfway across, you know, you expect that it’s going to remain a bridge and not be so malleable as things would be in a nocturnal dream.
Peter: Well again, that which is appearing as the Rick experience of driving over the Golden Gate Bridge, let’s say, and even while driving over that bridge, apparently, which is all just sense perceptions, there’s no separate bridge there and there’s no separate physical earth on which a bridge is standing, really, if you break it down.
Rick: Yeah, if you boil it down deep enough, sure.
Peter: Yeah, and even the thought that, “Oh, you know, I had a nice drive over this bridge last week,” too. All of that and I’ve lived here in San Francisco for you know, I’ve been commuting back and forth over this bridge. There is no evidence apart from a thought arising in the current moment for the whole shebang, either what appears as, you know, the sort of the grosser form of the bridge in that instant or the thoughts about what is assumed to have been prior experiences. It’s a little bit like …
Rick: But there’s sort of a consensual reality, you know, where millions of people have driven across that bridge and there’s photographs going back to the time it was built and you can look up the architectural blueprints and, you know, there’s all this sort of agreed-upon stuff.
Peter: All I can say is, where is all of that found or going on? In the one dream or mental state that appears to be dreaming it up? And that’s its thing. As part of its dreaming it throws in these thoughts to make it seem as if it has this continuity in time that has led up to. But it’s impossible to find. Again, a big part of this too is that one’s premise always has to be the presentness of awareness, that’s the one who’s aware and conscious. And when you’re sort of seeing as that or from this presentness only and it’s present only, and it’s all that is, even if you’re going to talk about appearances, there’s nothing out beyond this present awareness. So if it’s all just consciousness there’s no physical objective stuff but it all, always, always appears to come up only on the instant, the whole package even of what claims to be back there. In ‘Consciousness is All’ in the chapter that really goes into this. There’s an example of … it’s not perfect, but it says, “Okay, imagine going to a movie theater, or just not going, but think of a movie theater and it’s and there’s a bunch of people watching a movie. Now, that audience up on the screen, there’s a … you’re, okay, I’m going to back up, you are watching a movie of a bunch of people who go to the movies in 2013. So there are these people sitting in a movie theater watching a movie themselves. Now, the movie they are watching takes place in, let’s say it’s Lucille Ball or somebody, and Ricky, and it takes place in 1950. Okay, and let’s say on, in that Lucille Ball movie on the TV set in their living room, they’re watching a gangster movie from the 1930s with Jimmy Cagney or what’s his name, Ed, whatever, it doesn’t matter.
Peter: Okay, so …
Rick: Edward G. Robinson.
Peter: Edward G. Robinson, right. So you’ve got … what have you really got? You’ve got like a movie within a movie within a movie, or a you know, a picture within a picture within a picture and it seems like they’re all, you know, there’s this going back in time, but actually the whole thing is in that one snapshot on that one movie screen. Even all what appears to have been the successive previous things they’re all in that one snapshot. And anything that we try to say about a prior time cannot, cannot, cannot be found apart from, you know, the same present snapshot. Now, this, like we were saying way back at the beginning when we first started talking, sometimes at first this might be thought of as a negation of something. “Well my God, this just wiped out everything, this just wiped out my whole ancestry,” or whatever it might be and yet the flip side of it, the good news is, is that the life, the awareness that’s present now is absolutely free of any limitations, any mental limitations that would seem to have gone with prior conditioning, prior habits. And we talk about getting rid of guilt when speaking as awareness, not as a human body. But, you know, oh and here’s another thing just while we’re here, even the thought that consciousness has been conscious before right now is just that, a thought, that there’s been consciousness that’s been around forever. Well I’ll admit, like, yeah, these things arise in the current moment but consciousness has been here forever, it goes, you know, it’s eternal and we tend to think in terms of time but uh-uh, even that is just a thought. Consciousness is so present, so, so beautifully, screamingly free and unlimited and open and untouched, pure, just it’s indescribable. And then you get to where you can’t talk, it’s impossible to talk about that. And one of my favorite passages frankly, in ‘Consciousness Is All’, in the chapter that talks about this, Chapter 22, it’s called “Time Never Began” is the name of the chapter. It uses the expression “inexperienced God” and what is meant by that is that if you’re going to say, if you’re going to use the term “God” for this infinite, present only, purity and it’s perfect because it’s perfectly present and as nothing has existed before where is there any state of comparison against which, you know, this could be found wanting or it hasn’t happened, nothing has happened yet, it’s that new. So where is there a me who has to learn how to be as conscious as consciousness itself when consciousness itself hasn’t had any experience in being conscious because it’s just now, for the first so-called time ever. It’s never before. So my point is this newness, newness, freshness of life without any baggage, without anything, is actually your identity. You can’t stop it, it can’t be escaped, it can’t be shut off, it can’t be made to go away, it’s effortless. Here it is.
Rick: There’s about half a dozen things I can throw back at you, but it seems how many I can remember.
Peter: Okay, I was on a roll there.
Rick: First of all, I’m reminded of a quote from Saint Teresa of Avila, she said, “It appears that God himself is on the journey.” But before you respond to that, let me throw a few more things out. Your movie analogy, you know, with Lucy and Ricky and then Edward G. Robinson and all, is metaphorical and it presumes that the metaphor really does justice to the mystery of creation itself. And I talked with, I think it was Anita Mourjani who had this profound near-death experience. I don’t know if you saw that.
Peter: I watched that, I saw that one.
Rick: Yeah, and I think one point she brought up is that this whole idea of past lives isn’t linear, they aren’t sequential, they’re happening simultaneously in the now. And so, maybe it’s like we human beings are like filters that give an apparent linearity to time to make sense out of it because the simultaneity wouldn’t kind of enable us to function in a rational way.
Peter: Speaking in terms of apparent body minds at the level we appear to be at right now couldn’t handle that. Yeah, so it gets filtered.
Rick: We need a concept of time in order to function. In fact, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi used to say time is a concept that man uses to measure eternity. And again eternity doesn’t mean linearly going on a long, long, long time. It means the eternal sort of now. P’ Yeah, right, I remember that from that interview.
Rick: Yeah, so one other thing I want to throw in here and that is that I’m no physicist and I don’t suppose you are either but we have Einstein’s twins paradox, you know, relativistic time dilation where there are two twins, one of them stays on earth and the other goes out in a rocket ship which approaches the speed of light and then comes back again and discovers that he’s still a young man, his twin is really old now, because time has actually been dilated or stretched. And so the physicists speak of space-time as if it were one sort of interchangeable reality, and I really can’t talk like a physicist or understand all the implications of that, but it does seem that on some level of relative reality there is a thing called time and there is a thing called space and there are certain unusual properties that they have if you stretch them to their limits or, you know, move through a lot of space with a very short amount of time and then space warps and things become all dilated or strange and elongated and heavier, you know, we get weight in there where you begin to approach the speed of light and your weight begins to go to infinity and so then further acceleration is difficult. So I mean there’s all these weird things that physicists talk about with regard to the way relative creation functions and like it or not it probably has implications for our conversation today.
Peter: Yeah, yeah, it’s what we appear to experience on a day-to-day basis is so unbelievably limited.
Rick: Right, it’s a tiny peephole.
Peter: Exactly, exactly, just a tiny little spectrum, a slice of the pie of the spectrum of all potential experience. Yeah, and just to piggyback what you were saying, I think a physicist would say that when you work all the way through what appears as energy and form and whatever, all there is is light, and where there’s just this light they have a term “time zeros out.”
Rick: And light implies photons and even there you’re kind of in a manifest state, you know, it even goes deeper to sort of an unmanifest potentiality in which nothing really has arisen but there’s this kind of cosmic soup that physicists say contains a square centimeter of it contains as much energy as we see displayed in the entire manifest universe. And then there’s the whole thing about dark matter, you know, where 96% of what’s out there in the universe we can’t see because it’s dark matter. And I mean this just boggles the mind and it goes on and on, and so in a sense we’re just kind of speculating through our little peephole here trying to make sense of it all.
Peter: Yeah, yes, and trying to think of a way to express this. You’ve heard stories of, maybe you have, I’m gonna mess this up badly but it was like these, this is a story, I think they were missionaries or something like that went to an island, remote island and there were natives on there and they arrived by boat or at some point later a boat showed up, but the missionaries saw it but the natives didn’t, because they didn’t have any concept. Yeah, so it literally did not appear to them. And in the same way in which, again, if all one is dealing with on a manifest or apparent level is thought then however it’s being thought of or however even the realm itself, however it’s being thought about, is going to influence the appearance of it, the manifestation, because all there is is thought. And so the state of thought that at one time we say, if we’re gonna say it happened back there, which it really didn’t, when it was believed there was a flat Earth and that was, again, if it’s all thought and that was the mental state at the time, the prevalent mental state at the time, that’s how it appeared.
Rick: But that’s not how it was, because if there had been a flat Earth the people would have not been able to live. Earth needs to rotate and it needs to circulate the sun and all in order for the solar system to work the way it does. ; We say that now in retrospect, but can it be proven that it was round beforehand? It can’t.
Rick: Sure, yeah, some aliens could come and show us videotape that they took can land and they can show the people in their little villages and say, “Okay, this is really 500 years ago” and now zoom out and here’s the round Earth and these people thought it was flat.
Peter: But even all of that would be popping up in this one current mental state. Yeah, for us now. Yeah, so that’s where it gets strange, is because, you know, and it seems as if now we could say, “Oh, by the way, the Earth seems to have gone from flat to round and that hung around for and now we’ve got a new model in which the Earth is not a separate solid object but just sense perceptions and it’s within you. You are not on Earth. Earth is within you. Gives a whole new meaning to Earth Day. You know, Earth is your baby. You’re not Earth’s baby, really. But anyway, so in one sense it could be said, “See, there’s been this progression from flat to round to now it’s just all thought or perception.” And yet all of that so-called argument for having been a continuity again and a progression is found, boom, in this one thought coming up right now. There’s nothing back there and that’s how the dream seems to do its thing. It creates this storyline along with the images that it appears to produce that it has this prior continuity. There’s nothing prior, nothing. Not even consciousness again has been before. It’s impossible to prove that.
Rick: And if Anita Moorjani’s premise is true, that everything is happening simultaneously, all your past lives and everything else, then those people in the little villages who thought the earth was flat, they’re thinking that right now. And we’ve kind of filtered through our human filter to assume that that happened 500 years ago and now we’re in the present and we’re so much wiser, but there’s this kind of simultaneity. It’s a little theoretical here.
Peter: Yeah, and actually all of those people are puppets of that one whole dream show. Yeah, it’s strange. Okay, maybe shift gears for just a little bit, if you want. And again, this might seem a little different or radical. I would just ask for folks to keep an open thought and see if it seems to hold up but coming back to what we were saying earlier about the apparent universe is God’s play. And part of this ties in with, and again, these are just, you know, it’s in the realm of thought and concept about what one takes God to be, or if you want to say the divine, a state of oneness or harmony. And some will say, especially from a Christian background, will say if God is a God of love, God doesn’t really author wars and terrorism or certain teachings will say that. It doesn’t, you know, God does not produce war. God does not produce hate. That’s all on a level of ignorance, where that seems to occur, a lower so-called level of consciousness, whatever you want to say. And so why would God produce something, you know, you’re going to say it’s God’s play that there’s war going on and chemical weapons, even though they seem to have decided to do something about it, but all, you know, blah blah, all these things that can go wrong, God produces that. What kind of God do you have? And anyway, a different way of looking at this is not as, and God often, often is said to be source, a source, or a creator. Okay, now in another, let’s look at it in another way, just for fun, just for the sake of being open. If, if we’re going to use a word God or the divine whatever, or this which is alive, is always present tense and it’s present tense only. It doesn’t, at the so-called deepest level, it doesn’t experience time, it doesn’t experience change, and it’s all that is. So it can’t be a creator because it takes time to create, really, in to itself. You have to be standing outside to say, “Oh, there’s creation,” not that one that is. You have to be separate from that and begin to think, to begin to talk about time and creation. See what I mean? That’s a thought thing, not a being thing. But as far as this notion of what appears as the manifest as being caused by God or created by God, I would ask everyone who’s watching, since they obviously have some interest in spirituality, is it not the case that in what seems to be the time you’ve, say, for one of various ways, been on the spiritual path and actually there is no back there in which you’ve got on a spiritual path because it’s present awareness that’s what you are but just for sake of talking, it seems that there have been these shifts and changes and there’s less of a sense of separation, safe to say, and less of a sense of weightiness and materiality, especially in light of what we’ve been talking about today even. But it seems like that there’s more of an experiencing of consciousness, which is not material, and it’s not a time flow thing. Consciousness is not mental either. Presence is not mental. Okay, so what seems to be happening is that this sense of separateness and sense along which goes part and parcel with it is a sense of weight and heaviness and materiality and density to things. That seems to be sort of dissipating, fading out a little bit. Would you agree experientially?
Rick: I would. I would think so, right?
Peter: Me too. I think most of us would. Not that I’m going to go jumping off buildings but there’s definitely a lightness, less of that, again, sense of… I mean, because there was a time when it was seen seemingly, it was believed here that I am this physical body and this is all there is to me and I’m made out of matter, etc., etc. So, okay, so that seems to be fading or dissipating.
Rick: And there’s a sort of a life that one apprehends in everything animate or inanimate, a kind of an aliveness, a consciousness, an intelligence, a presence or whatever.
Peter: Yes, and which was not evident earlier.
Rick: No, everything seemed dead a long time ago. Exactly, exactly. Okay, now, again… And that was very depressing. I was just thinking about that the other day, the time in my life when everything seemed bleak and dead and it was a depressing state to be in. Now there’s this sort of bubbling bliss or aliveness and it just kind of carries on.
Peter: Yeah, yeah, it does its thing, yeah. Okay, now, again, this is an example, it’s a metaphor but it’s the best way I have a pointing. Let’s take, go back to a sleeping dream. When totally immersed in that dream, totally asleep, the experiences in the dream seem very real and it seems like that’s the only reality there is. Like we were saying earlier with your friend the geologist, you know, if you went up to the side of that mountain and even in the dream if you hit it with your fist you might feel something really hard there and all the rest that goes with it. So, okay, now let’s say you start to awaken and it’s in that in-between state where you realize you’re like half awake, half asleep still and there might still be some of the stuff, maybe there was an unpleasant part in the dream and you felt a little rumbly and you still feel a little bit of that rumbliness even though you know you’re sort of waking up, it’s still kind of lingering and your thought might go back to it and for a couple of seconds it feels like, “Whoa, yeah, that was a real, yeah, my gosh,” and really, you know, even might be some emotions associated with it. But you’re starting to awaken and the dream is starting to fade and then you are a little bit more awake and the dream fades even more and then it’s kind of losing its hold. But where is it going to? Nowhere, it’s just evaporating into the nothingness that it really was anyway and finally you’re fully awake, maybe it’s even later that morning and there isn’t even any thought of the dream anymore. Okay so the awakening was the dissipation of the dream not the source of the dream correct? The awake state was the dissipation of the dream, the fading out of the dream not the source of the dream. And that’s my analogy, is that, synonymous with present awareness, not my thought about it, but what it is as its own presence right now, is fully awake and thanks to this and abiding as this, what seems to be the dream of Peter as a separate material entity appears to be fading too, thanks to abiding to that. So awareness is not the cause of that experience, it’s the dissipation of it too. So it’s a whole turned around way of looking at the thing and that’s why again scientists will tell us the universe is expanding and another way of looking at that is that the universe, if you’re going to talk about it, is just a state of thought, really a mental state or like a dream, and it’s finite, it’s limited. Even if you talk about vastness, it’s still measurable and finite, but to the degree one is alive as the infinity of pure consciousness, pure awareness, wherein there is none of that limitation, the constrictedness seems to to be falling away or in a sense expanding and that’s why there seems to be this increase, because of what seems to be that shift.
Rick: So are you saying that the expansion of the universe that astrophysicists talk about is somehow related to the expansion or realization of the vastness of consciousness?
Peter: Yes, because in that aliveness as that vastness one cannot simultaneously be alive as presence, consciousness right now, which is infinite, and you can’t simultaneously, consciously, be being that and be thinking in terms of finity at the same time.
Rick: Oh, I don’t know about that. I think it’s possible to maintain unbounded awareness while focusing and thinking and acting and doing all that stuff. I mean, even the yogis would talk about this, where there are states of samadhi that vastness alone is, and consciousness alone is, but then there are more integrated states where that same state that was at one time experienced with eyes closed is lived in the midst of activity. Maybe that’s not what you’re saying, I don’t know.
Peter: Sort of, but it’s as if, let’s say, the activity is something that seems to be superimposed on that. You know what I mean? And it’s not really separate either, I don’t want to make that impression, you know what I mean? It’s not really, but it seems as if it’s
Rick: superimposed on or happening within, sort of like a bubbling …
Peter: Both, kind of, in a way.
Rick: Because obviously it would have to be within, although that has a kind of a spatial orientation.
Peter: I know how you mean.
Rick: Yeah, but if consciousness is omnipresent and all that then nothing can be sort of on top of it, anything that’s happening or appears to be happening would have to be happening within it.
Peter: But again, I would say there’s no evidence of a universe separate from thought and in the seeming shift from thinking, which is always limited and finite to the unlimitedness of consciousness there’s a loosening of that attachment to finity, the limitations of thought and the patterns, all the patterns to the un-pattern and in that again, there’s nothing … thought does not have its own presence by itself, only presence has presence, and if the thought is not being entertained, it ain’t there, and so it can’t continue to be a limiting state because it’s not around anywhere to be a limiting state. We assume that it is, but it really isn’t, that’s just an assumption.
Rick: And thought is really just a mental excitation, it’s some kind of stirring up of something. But what I’m suggesting, and maybe this is not even a point we’re debating, is just that mental excitations or physical excitations in the form of activity are not necessarily, they can be and initially are, but ultimately are not necessarily an impediment to unbounded awareness or consciousness.
Peter: None of what it’s like, there can be, this is a silly little example, but on a movie screen there could be an image of guys trying to lift boulders with their bare hands and they’re so heavy and massive they can’t budge them and yet whatever that activity, and they’re straining and they’re sweating, and it really appears to be a physical struggle and yet none of that keeps the screen from being the screen ever, ever.
Rick: Now it may appear to overshadow the screen and again we’re kind of limited by metaphors but so the people in the theater aren’t seeing the screen, they’re focusing on the boulders, but theoretically, again metaphors are limited, there could be maybe enough light from behind the screen or something so that you see the boulders and you see the screen at the same time and there’s no conflict between them.
Peter: Yeah, yeah. You know another interesting thing, I’ve sort of pondered this one for a while, in terms of again the unlimitedness and the freedom of of self-presence, consciousness, which I use that as a synonym for existence. I know some others wouldn’t say that, they talk about the manifest too as part of existence and that’s fine but when I talk about it I’m talking about pure being, the formless.
Rick: Pure existence, okay.
Peter: Yes, and any of us in a heartbeat so-called will agree that it’s impossible for existence to be blocked from existing. The totality of consciousness, who the heck is going to shut that down? You know what I mean? It gets ridiculous, it cannot be blocked and it’s consciousness’s job of being that, it’s doing it perfectly, it’s doing it perfectly and it’s actually not doing it ongoing over a period of time, it’s all whammo now, this utter total unlimitedness.
Rick: But in a sense consciousness seems to hide and seek with itself because in order for consciousness to become a living reality, in order for two people to be having a conversation about consciousness, there had to be some sort of manifest universe, there had to be stars, the stars had to explode and create heavier elements, they eventually had to evolve into biological entities and then we have a situation in which consciousness can so to speak, talk about consciousness, which initially it couldn’t do. There’s that T.S. Eliot quote about going through this whole process and coming back to where you began and discovering the place for the first time.
Peter: Yeah, yeah, yes, although that, all of that is from the finite perspective, not from consciousness perspective.
Rick: From consciousness perspective nothing ever happened.
Peter: Yeah, there’s just now, utter total unlimitation.
Rick: Okay, so and we keep going back and forth between these poles.
Peter: Yeah, yeah, and the thing is it’s present, that utter, and the thing like you just said, nothing ever happened before, which is another way of saying utter unlimitation, certainly no prior patterns of any type right? And this is true of this one right now that is presently conscious. Now using the, it’s like the analogy of, we’ll get away from the movie screen, of a flat screen TV, that’s the popular one these days. If in one scene on that TV there’s a, I don’t know, maybe it’s a movie or a TV show about some kind of, maybe it’s a horror movie, whatever, not the most pleasant thing, but in an instant, and that image is there, okay. In an instant, because the way the producers, this is where it gets imperfect, the producers, okay, it’s time for a commercial and all of a sudden the horror movie in an instant switches to an image of a mom in the sunny bright kitchen giving Cheerios to the kids for breakfast or whatever and there was nothing about that prior image of the movie that could keep the other from appearing on the screen and the point is that that actually is true right now of existence and consciousness, really, really, but it seems, and this is like trying to make excuses for it, it seems on some level there’s a clinging, not intentional, to the limitations of one scene to keep it from being whatever, anything and instantly, you know, utter total harmony everywhere because that’s all there really is, that’s the only one existing.
Rick: Yeah, well, just a quick loop back to what you’re saying a minute ago, then I want to comment on this, the word maya itself comes from Sanskrit roots which means that which is not, so it’s not like ignorance or illusion ever really existed, it just, you know, but it has no ultimate, it’s not like it sort of came into existence and then we kind of worked our way through it. And that’s what one realizes in, you know, Final Awakening is that, “Oh, I never was anything other than this, I never was ignorant or lost or anything else, how could there ever have been anything other than this, you know, it never did exist.”
Peter: Yes, yes. Yeah,
Rick: But anyway, to get back to your thing about the horror movie and the Cheerios, you know, the fact of the matter is, you know, again making concessions to relative reality, we are sentient beings, you know, having so-called human living experience through senses and so on, we’ve been talking about that and like it or not there seems to be a, you know, a structure or a function to the way the nervous system works which involves not only learning so that you and I can speak English, we can’t, you know, instantly switch to Malayalam here or something, but also the accumulation of impressions, you know, which are perhaps a little bit more deep-seated and intense and binding than they needed to be just for the sake of learning.
Rick: And the mere understanding that, you know, some of these lofty ideas we’ve been discussing doesn’t necessarily wipe clean those impressions.
Rick: And so in a sense we’re still bound by them and conditioned by them and perhaps have to work through them over apparent time in order to be free of their binding influence.
Peter: Yeah, exactly, that’s why it’s always the being alive as it, rather than conceptualizing about it.
Peter: The juice is the aliveness, not the thinking about it.
Rick: Yeah, because I heard you say something in one of those time-out videos that I made that to me sounded like, you know, if you really get this then you’re free as a bird, you know, you’ve got a clean slate. And I thought, well, wait a minute though, you know, it took a while to accumulate all these vasanas and you’re not necessarily going to wipe them out in an instant just because you have some intellectual clarity about the nature of time and space and that kind of thing.
Rick: And so that kind of gets you to the point of our practices and working with teachers and all that of any significance, and some people would argue no, because they’re only going to, you know, you are already that, you know, why do you have to do anything to become that which you already are? But it’s the “it takes a thorn to remove a thorn” principle.
Peter: Yeah, yeah, yeah, those are, I agree, that seems they seem to be helpful, that’s why we have workshops, you know, and whatnot, that’s why I have them, that’s why I write a book, that’s why I sometimes go to workshops too. I’d say that the key thing there is there’s a vast difference between going for enjoyment, so to speak, in the clarity that the only self that there is, is already at itself, okay? It seems like there’s stuff that’s got to fall away, whatever, but there’s a vast difference between that and going and often you hear too from, well, there are these sort of subtle implications that you’re not there, you’ve still got to do this, do that, do it, it’s a, do you know what I mean? It’s a subtle thing, but it’s a very different feel to it.
Rick: But the flip side of that is people running around saying “I am there” when in fact, practically speaking, they’re not, in terms of any kind of actual living experience of that. And so that can become a cop-out.
Peter: Yes, yep, right.
Rick: Yeah, so it’s a kind of a tricky, sticky wicket where you have to kind of acknowledge the, you know, the paradoxical, you know, ultimately unreal, but nonetheless we have to pay credence to, you know, the …
Peter: Yeah, that kind of stuff.
Rick: And if you take a kind of rigid stance at one pole or another, or trying to lock yourself into an intellectual concept and think that you’ve got the full enchilada, you can hang yourself up.
Peter: Yeah, definitely.
Rick: Well, let me check my iPad here and see if there’s some notes of things that we haven’t talked about. And meanwhile, if anything comes to mind, you go ahead and bring it up, things we haven’t covered.
Peter: We talked about a lot.
Rick: Yeah. Oh, one thing I was wondering about, you know, your Simply Notice book, and, you know, there’s all kinds of little not exercises but just sort of perspectives here about how one might notice, you know, in ways that one is ordinarily oblivious. And I just wondered if you meant this as some sort of a practice or an attentiveness that one should be doing throughout the day? Because if so, that to me suggests that perhaps the innocence and spontaneity of experience might be spoiled somewhat. You know, if you’re tying your shoes and noticing I’m tying my shoes, you know, you’re talking on the phone, I’m noticing I’m on the phone, you know, it’s kind of a Gurdjieffian thing where they were always sort of stopping to remember the self and you know, it was kind of unnatural.
Peter: Yes, right, not much fun. Yeah, there’s a one place in there, I can’t remember exactly where it is, but it says noticing is in some ways similar to mindfulness but it’s not intended as or meant as a strict disciplinary practice. Nothing wrong with being mindful, but yeah, not that rigid sense of “I’ve got to do this, I’ve got to be a perfect noticer,” none of that at all. And it goes on to say something about it’s like a fascination with life more that occurs spontaneously, you know, kind of like, “Oh yeah, oh my gosh,” rather than, you know, a sense of like a labored thing.
Rick: Yeah, sort of a kind of innocent, gentle, you know.
Peter: Yeah, exactly, like an unfolding kind of. And there’s a lot of emphasis on, that’s why there’s a lot of emphasis on noticing the already presentness of awareness and that it’s awareness being aware and not that there’s a “you” that’s got to be as aware as awareness, turning it around to kind of say, “Oh yeah, my gosh, here it is, can’t make it go away,” kind of thing.
Rick: There’s a verse in the Vedic literature someplace that says, “Be easy to us with gentle effort.” I really like that phrase.
Peter: Oh yeah, that’s beautiful.
Rick: Yeah, it’s just sort of, it says that, I mean, you don’t even need to elaborate. And anything that departs from gentleness and turns into a kind of a struggle or a strain is kind of marring the sweetness of life.
Peter: Yes, yeah, totally.
Rick: There’s another thing you said, maybe we’ve kind of covered it, but maybe this will be leading us towards a kind of wrap-up, is you said, “Seeing in terms of the whole, not one little part.” And I like that. There was that, what was it, Blake or Keats or one of those guys, “Infinity in a grain of sand, eternity in an hour.” I believe that one can be living in such a way that the wholeness can be apprehended in every little part, infinity in a grain of sand.
Peter: I see, yeah.
Rick: Because, obviously, to loop way back to the beginning of your initial point in the title of your first book, “Consciousness is Everything,” if consciousness is everything, then when I look at this book, if I’m really seeing it as consciousness in terms of what it ultimately is, then the totality of everything is holographic, the totality is contained in every part. We speak of holographic universe. And anyway, it’s just kind of a cool thing to throw in there and maybe have some response to it.
Peter: Yeah, in the book where it specifically talks about that, I hadn’t quite meant it in that broad of a sense, but that was wonderful the way you said it. It was just a, if I’m recalling it correctly, that, for example, right now, here’s awareness, it’s aware, not thanks to something Peter is doing or Rick is doing, and with what we would call my attention or my senses it’s possible to focus on, as I’m doing right now, on the lens of the webcam that I’m looking into, and yet while that’s going on on one level or one aspect, this all-embracing awareness isn’t affected one bit in its capacity to continue to be aware and be all-embracing. It seems to be something that we would say a body mind or something, again, it’s almost like superimposed on or within this all-embracingness that appears to go on and if the identification is constantly with the focusing and the zeroing in on only this or only that then you’re narrowed and that’s what tends to make, or thoughts even, that’s what tends to right there create the sense of a separate me and all the while the one who’s really present and aware is this unfocusable, you know, just boundless expanse that’s alive.
Rick: And one can live in such a way that that boundless expanse is one’s 24/7 reality, despite the fact that one might be flying an airplane or changing a diaper or doing whatever needs to be done.
Peter: Yeah, it can’t be shut off, it can’t be made to go away, can’t be made to not be. In our workshops, I’ll just toss this out real quick, sometimes and I think one of the timeout videos yeah it is about this, “It’s so hard to stay in the present” was like the title of it and you know at first that’s what I struggled with that a lot at first, as I think we all do, maybe not everybody, but again when you turn it around and it’s turned around and it’s clear, well this awareness which is functioning on its own, not thanks to anything Peter is doing, which is what we call the present, literally is the same thing, rather than trying to get a better foothold in it as a separate me, just notice that this awareness can’t not be, it can’t go away, it can’t escape itself and this is the one who’s here and so there’s a relaxing and ease there.
Rick: You were talking a little while ago about if God is responsible for wars and all that stuff, and you referenced the Christians, and the Christians of course at some point they say, “God is omniscient and omnipotent and omnipresent,” and of course if they’re going to stick to that then God is all-pervading and there’s nothing which is not within God and that God is not ultimately responsible for. But I was reminded of a beautiful quote from the Chandogya Upanishad which I just looked up, it says, “The little space within the heart is as great as this vast universe, the heavens and the earth are there and the sun and the moon and the stars, fire and lightning and winds are there and all that now is and all that is not, for the whole universe is in Him and He dwells within our heart.” And not only does He dwell within our heart but that’s just the place where it’s most easy to first locate Him but He dwells everywhere and so ultimately the whole universe is contained within every part, within every bit. It’s a holographic universe.
Peter: Yeah, beautiful. Well, this is great fun, I could do this all day.
Peter: Yeah, I know. Good really. We’ve been talking for a while, yeah. You don’t even just…
Rick: Yeah, as Kermit the Frog says, “Time’s fun when you’re having flies.” Okay, so let’s wrap it up. You coming to the SAND Conference?
Peter: You know, I’m not this year. I just felt like taking a break.
Rick: All right, well I’ll be out there and…
Peter: Yeah, I’m sure you will be. The talks are wonderful, but as you know, it’s just such a nice atmosphere.
Rick: Yeah, just the sort of interacting with all these people who are flesh and blood not just pixels on a screen.
Peter: Yeah, right, right, especially for you. Yeah, I can see that.
Rick: Great. Okay, so let me make some concluding remarks. First of all, thanks a lot, Peter. This is really…
Peter: Oh, likewise, Rick, thank you very much.
Rick: Really fun conversation.
Peter: It’s great to be here.
Peter: Very good.
Rick: I hope I haven’t talked too much. I sometimes… But I feel pretty settled today. Usually I talk too much when I get all kind of stirred up and excited. I’m feeling kind of mellow and hopefully there was a good balance.
Peter: Yeah, I thought so. I thought it was a very good exchange.
Rick: Okay, so I’ll just make some concluding remarks. I’ve been talking with Peter Dziuban, D-Z-I-U-B-A-N, it’s spelled and as always I’ll be linking to his website from his page on batgap.com. And you might be watching or listening to this interview in a number of ways. You can get it on your TV through YouTube and you can get it on your iPhone and you can get it through a podcast and there’s so many different ways. But if you want to check out Peter in more detail and also check into the whole list of interviews I’ve already done go to batgap.com, B-A-T-G-A-P.
Peter: Is that an endorsement you just got?
Rick: Yeah, a vote of confidence. Okay, go get them. And so there on BatGap you’ll find all the interviews that have been done listed both alphabetically by people’s first names and chronologically. There’s a page, a menu you can pull down where you find a chronological listing. There’s a discussion group there under the forum link, there’s a link to the audio podcast, the Apple iTunes podcast, there’s a donate button which I appreciate and depend upon people clicking from time to time. And there’s a tab where you can sign up to be notified by email each time a new interview is posted. So feel free to check all that out. Thanks for listening or watching and we’ll see you next week and I believe no next week is Swami in San Francisco who’s an expert in Kashmir Shaivism and the week after that is David Godman who wrote all those great books about Ramana Maharshi.
Peter: Oh my gosh.
Rick: Yeah, so thanks for listening or watching and we’ll see you next time.