RICK: Welcome to Buddha at the Gas Pump. My name is Rick Archer, Buddha at the Gas Pump is an ongoing series of conversations with spiritually Awakening people. We’ve done about 610 of them now or so. And if this is new to you, and you’d like to check out previous ones, please go to bat gap comm and look under the past interviews menu, where you’ll see them organized in several different ways. This program is made possible through the support of appreciative listeners and viewers, if you appreciate it and would like to help support it. There’s a PayPal button on every page of the website. And there’s also a page about other ways to donate other than PayPal. My guest today is Peter Russell. And speaking of previous interviews, I had Peter on the show in 2014. So that’d be about seven years ago. And I just listened to that interview yesterday and this morning. And I thought, wow, that was a lively conversation. I hope I’m not losing my touch. I hope these interviews are still as interesting as that one was. Because it really seemed like we went deep. I also felt like I talked too much, which I think I’ve improved upon over the years and curb my enthusiasm a little bit. Anyway, Peters, a fun guy to talk to, as you’ll see in this interview. And also I would recommend going back and listening to the previous one. We’re going to Peter also listened to our previous interview today. And we will try not to repeat ourselves too much in terms of what we talked about that time so people can listen to both of them without hearing too much redundancy. But anyway, let me introduce Peter. Peter Russell is a leading thinker on consciousness and contemporary spirituality. He coined the term global brain with his 1980s bestseller of the same name in which he predicted the internet and the impact it would have on humanity. In fact, I read that book when it came out. And that was before I had met Peter. It was an interesting book, I think I read another of his books back then. His new book is called letting go of nothing. And that’s what we’re going to be talking about mostly today. He’s the author of 10 other books, including waking up in time, and from science to God. We talked about that one quite a bit in the first interview. He studied theoretical physics, experimental psychology and Computer Science at the University of Cambridge, and pioneered the introduction of personal growth programs to corporations, running courses for senior management on creativity, stress management, and sustainable development. Peter actually became a teacher of Transcendental Meditation with marshy Mahesh Yogi, which I also did think Peter did so about a year before I did 1969 Or so it was it, Peter? Yeah. And I became one in 1970. Neither of us are teaching it today. But we both credit that whole experience with having provided tremendous benefit to our lives. His mission is to distill the essential wisdom on human consciousness found in the world’s various spirit, spiritual traditions, and to disseminate their teachings on self self liberation in contemporary and compelling ways. And I just want to mention briefly some of the things we talked about in the first interview, we talked about the fundamental nature of consciousness, as opposed to matter being fundamental. We talked about the predominance of the materialist paradigm in today’s world and how paradigm shift and how we felt that a, a kind of a consciousness as fundamental paradigm might be up ending the materialist paradigm. We talked about the Yoga Sutras, particularly the second verse, which is Yoga is the cessation of the fluctuations of the mind, something like that. We talked about whether the human mind and nervous system properly developed can be reliable tools for scientific investigation, independent of other tools. And we talked about something that might be akin to intelligent design, which I think we might talk a little bit more about today, whether whether nature is orchestrated in some fundamental way by intelligence, some kind of Universal Intelligence. But today we’re going to start out by by talking about Peters book once you hold up the book for a second Peter. Yep, there we go. Letting go of nothing.
PETER: Relax your mind discover the Wonder if your true data is the subtitle
RICK: can’t read that. Otherwise, I’m glad you read it.
PETER: And it’s cool. Yeah. And got it’s got a four by a katana, which is very nice. Yeah.
RICK: It’s published by his publishing company as it
PETER: is published by New World library. And they have an Eckart Tolle imprint, so published by them, but it’s. So it’s books. He particularly likes whatever you write to forward to them,
RICK: putting it to his attention. The publishers, they read by him and said, How would you like to? Yeah, right. Well,
PETER: they keep they have a good relationship with Him because they were the first commercial publisher to publish the power of now. He self published himself, and then they took it on before it went really be. They’ve kept that relationship going. And they started this Eckhart Tolle imprint soon. Yeah. So they just contacted him and said, Hey, is this a book you’d like to endorse? That’s nice. But write a foreword to Yeah, yeah.
RICK: So letting go and nothing? What does that mean? How did you come up with that title?
PETER: I was years ago, I came up with a title actually, it was during a meditation, just feeling that what we’re not letting go of things so much. But what we’re letting go of is our view of things. And the letting go as well is more like a change of mind than actually letting let letting go, whether it’s letting go of things like you know, a car that’s been dented, or whatever, or relationship or material things, or even letting go of thoughts and feelings. It’s more, what we’re letting go of is how we see things. And it’s like the lens through which we see the world is. So letting go, is really about changing the lens through which we see things. So it’s a choice to change of mind rather than try. Rather than try to change what you’re thinking or feeling. It’s a change of the mindset that’s behind what you’re thinking or feeling.
RICK: Yeah, kind of reminds me of that phrase of putting on shoes, rather than trying to pave the world with leather.
PETER: Yeah. So it’s actually it’s also a slight part, it’s letting go of no thing, right? What we’re letting go of is not fitting. So we’re letting go of no thing. But the no thing is the lens through which we see things.
RICK: Yeah. And he started out just before, before I started reading the book, or listening to it, because I converted it to audio and listened to it. I thought of a couple of questions which you actually ended up starting the book with. So and that is that? Well, I’ll put it this way, my my biggest lettings, go if there have been some moments in my life where there was a huge sort of release. Or kind of took me by surprise, I didn’t even realize realize they were about to happen. And I felt and it wasn’t willful really, it was it just happened spontaneously. And I was kind of amazed by how tightly gripped I had been by the thing that I had now been released from. And by thing I don’t necessarily mean, an attachment to a particular object or anything, it was just sort of a bondage, a level of bondage within my being within my experience that just so pumped, and all sudden, I tasted this newfound freedom that seemed quite contrasting, you can comment on.
PETER: Okay. Yeah, and that’s actually I mean, the first, the very first section of the book is his little story of myself, and how the person I was living with a time we were having a rough period for a couple of days, we were sort of in a disagreement over something, and I tried letting go and, you know, try forgetting about it or thinking or soon blow over. But you know, I was sort of still feeling uptight about it. And she was, you know, in her own world about it. And then I, I just had this idea just to say, you know, just to ask is, is there another way of seeing this situation? Because sort of knowing intellectually that that was part of it, how I was seeing things? So just asking that question. And it was instant. It was totally surprising, as you say, an instance like with an instant I made a second. Everything shifted. And I just saw here was another human being, working our way through life dealing with me and all my stuff. And instantly, compassion returned, love returned, and, and I felt at ease. And it’s like, and I realized, God, Why hadn’t I seen this before? It’s so obvious. And the reason I hadn’t seen it before was I was so uptight so caught up in my own reaction, and taking my own reaction seriously, that that prevented me from just seeing a whole different, much more loving way. Seeing the situation. And that to me, you know, that was a change of that was a change of the way I see things so that I was letting go of all the stuff, the judgment or all the how I wanted her to be all that stuff. I was letting go of that, just by the fact that the lens had shifted, I was seeing through different eyes, or the letting go just disappear. Wasn’t anything to let go of anymore. Oh, so wasn’t letting go. And it just all went I didn’t have to work on my stuff.
RICK: Does that Robert Burns? Who said, oh, what some power the gifts? Give us to see ourselves as others see us something like that.
PETER: Remember that? Yes. I don’t remember it. But I’ve heard a lot. Yeah.
RICK: Because we do get so locked into our perspectives, you know, and, and if we could really see ourselves the way others see us from other perspectives, it might be quite a surprise.
PETER: Yeah, yep. Yes. I mean, we’re very much locked into our own view of ourselves. And maybe not just probably mainly, I mean, as you’re suggesting, other people probably see us more positively, positively than we see ourselves. We, we see our faults inside, we know how What a load of rubbish we are inside. And other people don’t see that either. That’s one thing that goes on with us. But also, equally, they may actually, you know, see stuff that we need to work
RICK: on. Yeah, I mean, we could be a total jerk and think that we’re just great, you know, I can think of a few examples. Now, one thing I think about when we talk about this is that attachments are not just psychological. You know, I mean, you know, from your years with with marshy, he talked a lot about what I think the Indians would call some scars, he called stresses, but he meant sort of deep impressions in the nervous system, chemical structure, abnormalities, that go bind us and condition our behavior and limit our consciousness and so on. And, you know, it’s not just a matter of snapping your fingers and letting go of those anymore than it is like, let’s say, you’re totally exhausted and you haven’t slept, you can’t just say let go of your fatigue, you know, you can’t just do it, you need to sort of sleep for a while and get some rest, and then your your, your body will, you know, repair the fatigue and replenish you.
PETER: Yeah, there’s some things we can just, you know, instantly let go. But what I the approach I take in the book much more is not, is not trying to get rid of something, but also doing the opposite of almost like welcoming it becoming friends with it. And I talk about let letting it in, let what’s actually going on here. So just take the simple example of fatigue, we may not know how tired we are. But if you pause and stop, and notice how you’re feeling, that feeling of fatigue, that’s going to allow it in and you’ll probably then, you know, be able to rest but just to take any any deep, deep thing like this. I think the first thing to do for me, and what I talked about in the book is go to the body. Because the body has so much information in a way and just to notice what is happening in the body and letting it in. Because what we tend to do with things is we tend to push them away, if I let in this anger, I might go and punch someone if I let the sadness I’m going to burst out sobbing in public. So what I suggest is the first thing we need to do is actually let in how it’s feeling what’s going on what’s happening in the body. And as we open up, I find I discovered lots of things I hadn’t noticed. And that can begin the process of allowing things to relax. But often it’s their resistance that’s holding things in place. So we can when we open up to what’s there, or sometimes it’s not just the body, it’s like opening up to what is the story we’re telling ourselves, we that’s more the psychological thing you’re talking about. But the deeper body stuff, I think if we open to it, feel it, as I say, become friends with it. And notice what’s there that begins a softening of our reaction. And I think there’s a general thing, how thick is your Carl Jung who said What you resist persists, in the sense of what you don’t allow into your consciousness stays there and keeps controlling you.
RICK: I think Did you want to add to that, or should I know? You know, I think that as a society, you know, millions of us work really hard, not letting things in. I mean, you know, you see people staring at their devices I heard on the radio yesterday are something that people actually look at their phones for hours a day, use their cell phones for hours a day. And so there’s that and there’s, you know, the opioid epidemic and there’s all the other you know, entertainments and distractions and, and things and you know, people are working really hard at not letting things in. It’s kind of like and there’s a pressure that you know, from those things that want that want to be let in and we keep putting Seeing them down like trying to push a beach ball on the water or something.
PETER: Yeah. And I think it’s because we put. So partly we don’t want to experience them. But also we get so seduced by their phones or whatever it is that we, we don’t give them the opportunity. I mean, I know I can be guilty guilty, there’s suddenly realize what I’ve been doing for the last half hour but on my phone, following lines or playing some Sudoku or something. And it’s like, it’s isolating me from from the present moment is just taking us right out of the present moment the whole time. And so if our attention is there, our attention, if our interest is on that, then we can’t be open to what’s actually happening in the moment. I mean, I noticed, I have little signs left around the house saying pause to myself. And the instruction for me is just to pause for a moment is just, and it’s usually the left lines, one on the staircases, one on the door. And it’s usually because I’m already not doing something that doesn’t occur in the middle of, you know, talking to you or answering an email, but then I get up and do something and it says pause. And I just find you like just pausing just for like, five seconds, I just pause, and almost like pausing my thinking as well, wherever I was going. And almost always it’s like, oh, there’s that Birdsong, there’s this, I started noticing the present moment. And so it’s just a way of just coming back to the present. And just notice things that are going on in my body or other things that I should be attending to, it allows me to break that, that attachment to some particular mode of doing so just getting out of the doing mode for a few seconds. But it’s always surprising. Just like, Ah, I hadn’t noticed that. It’s fascinating. Just when you pause, what is there, either what is there out in the world? Or what is there underneath my thinking?
RICK: Yeah, we have little paws around the house, actually eight of them to be precise to dogs. They kind of keep us on our toes and let us know what’s real. Yeah, you know, I guess maybe people can’t be blamed for trying to suppress things with and or block them out with distractions, because, you know, a lot of the things, these things are uncomfortable feelings, and depression and, you know, various things that people don’t want to feel, I mean, especially if we’ve suppressed them long enough, or if, for instance, we’ve gotten addicted to something, and then you know, we have to experience these horrible feelings when the drug begins to wear off until we want more drug to tamp it down. And I know in my own case, when I ended my drug phase, I realized I just had this realization one night, and I just thought you can’t spend your life trying to, you know, numb things down with drugs, or, you know, there’s only one way out, and that is up, so to speak, you know, and so I thought that’s it, I’m gonna stop taking drugs and learn to meditate. And, you know, and then naturally, as you’ve probably experienced, and when you meditate, you do begin to feel things that you might have suppressed, but you’re kind of setting up a condition in which they can be resolved in a deep way and then you’re free of them.
PETER: Right? Right. And also I think we fear they’re going to hurt us or be more disturbing they actually are very often scary that line is often bandied around Pain is inevitable suffering is optional. And I think the suffering comes from the resistance is the something that’s not right with it. So physical pain and emotional pain or whatever it’s the resisting it that creates the suffering and so when we stop the resisting it’s like that element of the suffering begins to that goes away we can just be with whatever that pain disturbance uncomfortable feeling is. So that’s, I think that’s what’s going on there. There’s something
RICK: Yeah, I’ll around in a bit of Byron Katie’s phrase loving what is when when I read your that part of the book, but, um, no, I think to a certain extent, she takes that to extremes, you know, and, you know, there are some horrible cases of someone whose child has died in some way and, and she seems much too sanguine about it. It’s natural to feel grief or, you know, other such emotions. When things like that happen,
PETER: yeah, and I touched on this briefly in the book. I think there’s a lot of misunderstanding here. In my opinion. Accepting what is for me means accepting our experience in the present moment. If my experience is one of grief, accepting that that’s how I’m actually feeling it makes me answers one of joy or something else, that that’s what it’s there. It doesn’t mean we have to accept the situation, it has a lot of injustice, it’s things we want to change in the world. And we’re each called to change things. So it’s really just about accepting what is my experience in the moment to adapt to me is what acceptance means accepting what is loving? What is is, let’s call it more accepting what is right now, in my experience, but not accepting the situation in the world. Yeah, because that, that maybe things will need to change there.
RICK: I like that Gita verse which says, You have control over action alone, never over it’s fruits. And, you know, what is happening to me now is the fruits of my action. And so you know, I have to experience them. But I also have control over my action now, which could result in better fruits or different fruits or something in the future? If I, if I use my opportunity, wisely. What is this chapter about? What do you want?
PETER: It’s really digging down to what’s, what’s the fundamental motivation behind everything we do. And if you ask people what they want, they’re going to start off by saying, oh, I want a better job, or, you know, I want to live somewhere different. I want a vacation, whatever. If you’d start, you know, tumbling down, why do you want those things? Why do you want this, you know, might be able to feel safer, more secure, whatever, I want stimulation, and you tunnel down more. In the end, people start saying, Well, you know, I’ll feel better for it. And they get various words, but, you know, call it happiness, peace of mind, whatever. But whatever it is, we want to feel better. And I think that’s our fundamental motivation is actually an inner one. And that’s the point what we’re, what we’re ultimately looking for, is a better state of consciousness, a better state of mind. And I think it’s really important to recognize that, and see, that’s what’s behind all the all the other wanting to surface wanting. So, you know, the question then is, what’s the most efficient way to be more at ease to be more at peace in ourselves? How do we approach getting a better state of mind? And so in terms of the book, I see, you know, when we let go of something, we usually feel a better state of mind, we feel more at ease, some relief, something like that.
RICK: Yeah, and as you know, I mean, we have things turned around most of the time, where we feel that, you know, this particular outer experience, or that particular outer experience, will will give us what we lack. And all the Wisdom Teachings say, Well, ultimately, you are or you possess deep within an ocean of happiness. And that’s what you’re actually searching for. And all these outer things are just sort of pale reflections of that. And, you know, these, most of these teachings, a lot of these teachings, don’t say, you can’t have any of those other things, they just say, make sure you have that foundation that you actually possess deep within, and that you’re neglecting. And then well seek first the kingdom of heaven, and all else should be added on to the
PETER: Yes, exactly. We were looking for these things. That’s why we get distracted by Sudoku or the phone or whatever it is, deep down, deep down, I look at myself, I think I’m going to feel better for it, you know, if I solve this Sudoku, I’m going to feel better is there and so it’s beginning to recognize that they’re everywhere. But you’re right, when we, when we actually when we taste that, you know, through meditation or whatever, when we can begin to bring that feeling into our lives more then what we want begins to shift we can do it and I don’t need to do this in order to be happy, I’m I’m already feeling okay, I don’t need to do that to relocate. And then our actions, I think, become more in line with what the situation is requiring, rather than what our you know, frustration or whatever else is requiring. So we can begin to act more and more in tune with the world I see when we’re when we’re feeling that inside. So as you say, it’s not about giving up things. I think that’s that’s an old idea. We have to give up this we have to give up material things or even like the Buddha had to give up eating or whatever. It’s not about giving up things. It’s about connecting with our own being and the peace that’s there in our being and then acting in the world.
RICK: Yeah. And if acting in the world connected with your being includes a game of pseudocode whoever and whatever you pronounce it Sudoku every now and then. No big deal. Don’t beat yourself up or it’s a nice, you know, kind of a break in the routine and I play an online game of solitaire once in a while. It’s just a fun little challenge to see how quickly I can solve it and you know, things like that. It’s like, I don’t even think of it to Guilty Pleasures just A fun little thing to do to kind of change a pace, you know?
PETER: Little brain. Yeah. Yeah. Little dopamine rushes? Well,
RICK: it probably is. Yeah. Or, or whatever the neurochemical of frustration is if you can’t solve it. Okay, so then returning to natural mind, you just you kind of alluded to it just now, the implication is that, well, the way you phrase it there is that we actually once we’re in a state of natural mind, and that we there is a state of natural mind that we may have come from or that at least we can return to. So what do we mean by natural mind?
PETER: Yeah, yeah. Well, what I mean by it, and I know that people use the phrase slightly differently. I mean, how we feel how the mind is, when we’re not in danger, when we’re not caught up in need. Something like that, when when we’re not put with the mind isn’t perturbed, by worry, concern, planning, whatever. The unperturbed mind is what I call natural mind, it’s how we are, when everything is okay, in our world, when everything is okay in our world. And we’re not creating lots of discontent in our imagination, when we let go of all that thinking we do about what might happen or might not happen. When we let go of all that discontent, then the natural, then we feel at ease, we feel, we feel relieved, we feel content. I mean, that’s the opposite of discontent. When we let go of discontent, we feel content. And so I call that the natural state of mind. So it’s not something natural mind isn’t something we achieve, or get or find. It’s something we, we remove the veils to because all our thinking and worry, discontent, etc, is veiling the fact that our natural state is one of ease and peace. So it’s not what you’re saying about there’s an ocean of happiness, we need to find. I treated slightly differently, we are at our root happy. And it’s not that we need to find it. But we need to remove that which is standing in the way about noticing that.
RICK: Yeah, I agree with that. It’s you have to be careful when you’re trying to praise these things. Because they’re subtle, and it’s easy to like, they’re very distorted. You know, it’s like the sun that I don’t have to find the sun. It’s just maybe if the clouds drift away, then oh, there’s a sun. It’s always been shining. I just didn’t see it because there were some clouds.
PETER: Exactly. Exactly. Good analogy. Yes. Yeah.
RICK: And the thing about, you know, the natural mind being the state that we that we’re in when everything is okay, I think you phrased it that way. That could, that again, sort of points to we need to have ideal outer conditions to be in that state of mind. But I’m thinking of the Gita again, Lord Krishna is depicted as having this smile on his face, even though he’s in the middle of two armies, and of this tremendous, horrible battle is about to ensue. But it’s sort of characterized as his state of mind, you know, he’s not perturbed. He’s just sort of in the state of wisdom and contentment, regardless of dire outer circumstances.
PETER: Right. And I’m not suggesting we need to sit in natural mind the whole time. It’s not about that’s where we need to be. I mean, there are people who could, you know, be there, I see it, discontent is a very natural thing at times, if there’s something that’s affecting us in our world, there’s some danger there’s some need is not satisfied. It’s completely natural to feel discontent, there’s nothing wrong with that. And the discontent is the motivation to go and do something to you know, improve our world. So that we can we can be better as an, you know, as a being as a human being. So the discontent is has a role. My point is that a lot of the times when there is no need for discontent, I mean, right now, I’m sitting here talking to you, I’m fed the temperatures, right? There’s no low danger, no threats, I can be in a peaceful state. But then what happens is, in my imagination, I start creating discontent. So I would, you know, I might measure or what’s really going to say next, I wonder if I can answer that or whatever. And I immediately go into discontent that I’m not at peace anymore. I’ve created discontent. So I think a lot of our discontent is self created where you know, solving problems that don’t exist and may never exist or going over things in the past we weren’t happy with or the opposite, you know, hoping this is going to happen or whatever. So, for me, it’s about a balance. We need to be really to be concerned The times we need to be planning maybe worried, whatever, we need that at times, and we need to be able to return to that natural state of contentment. So it’s an alternation in life. But I think, you know, the idea would be that we spend, you know, a majority of our time, that’s probably what we could be the majority of our time, we’re feeling at ease with feeling at peace, and then losing that when we need to then return.
RICK: Yeah, but haven’t you found after 50 something years of practice that there’s a baseline of contentment, that is just much more full and solid than it was 4050 years ago, and that on that baseline? Sure, you have your your ripples of ups and downs, but there’s a stability, and you know, the old analogy of someone’s a multimillionaire, he could gain and lose 1000s. And he wouldn’t hardly notice. If someone’s a popper, you know, gaining or losing five or $10 is a big deal.
PETER: Yes. And it’s, it’s very subtle. I mean, I only noticed that over the years, when I actually paused to notice it. It’s not for me, it’s not saying that’s like, a remarkable thing, but I just noticed how I’m not so caught up not so upset by things because that’s, it’s there, or I will put it’s not there the whole time, but I can access it more easily. I know what that’s like, I know how to just, you know, turn my attention within. And like, ah, yeah, here it is. Here it is. So it’s an
RICK: it’s there. I mean, it’s there supporting you, even if you’re not attending to it. I’ll tell you a story. About a month ago, I was up playing pickleball, which is a sport kind of like tennis, but better than that. And I, there’s a chain we had up there to keep the roller skaters out and I was stepping over that chain, and I caught my foot on it and fell flat on my face on the concrete broke my fall with my wrists, sprained one of my wrists, my, you know, it’s all scab and bloody and everything. And as that experience was happening, it was almost like brought to the forefront, this sort of luminous silence, which is a field of contentment that was there already. But in contrast to the extremity of what I was experiencing, it became also much more obvious, you know. And so I really feel like that’s there all the time. And it’s, you don’t have to, like, make a fuss about it, or pay attention to it all the time or anything else. But it’s this continuum that supports everything, even if you’re not paying attention to it.
PETER: Yeah, yeah. And, you know, there’s many stories of people who suddenly in extreme circumstances, something, whatever it is, something happened to, they just, they do just let go. And it’s like, they drop into this state of peace. And if it’s not, if it’s something you’re not used to, it can be quite, quite a startling thing. I think, suddenly, oh, my God, you know, I feel that he or you notice the stillness, you notice that inner stillness, that there, I mean, that’s another way that I relate to it is, it feels, you know, it feels at ease, it feels content, but also it has this quality of stillness, there’s an inner stillness, that’s there. Yeah. But if there’s something else going on, you don’t notice the stillness. You know, like, if you’re in a room and the radios playing, you don’t notice the stillness of the room, but you turn the radio down, you know, turn the fridge off, you begin to notice, ah, yes, this is stillness.
RICK: I’m going to jump ahead to a chapter title that you have later on called free won’t. And the reason I want to jump ahead to that, is that I think what you say in that chapter, and correct me if I’m wrong, but this is what I remember. You know, we grow in the ability to sort of nip impulses in the bud, and, or thoughts, which otherwise, you know, it’s kind of like, I thought of the analogy of a river, which, you know, if you try to do something to the course of the river, way down near the mouth of it, you really won’t succeed because the river has pretty much run its course, but if you, if you do something up near the source of the river, you can influence the whole river, its direction, or the color of the water, whatever. So like that with thoughts and impulses. If you can catch them at their inception deep within, you can either not express them or express them differently or something. Whereas Commonly, people are at the mercy of those impulses, because they don’t become aware of them until they’re fully ripened and ready to burst.
PETER: Yeah, yeah. And I call it free won’t as opposed to free will. Because the way we usually think of free will is we have the will is the question, you know, to choose something can we actually make a choice to do something or not to think something or not? And I see free won’t has the almost the opposite. It’s a choice. We have that power to make a choice when we notice it. were, you know, getting caught up or beginning to get caught up in some thought when we noticed that we actually have the choice not to follow that thought any further. And it may come back again. But at that moment, we can make that choice not to follow that thought that particular thought any further. And that’s, that’s what I call for, you won’t find it, it saves us a lot of it saves a lot of tension, anxiety, or doing things that we wish we hadn’t done, or just just getting caught up in stuff. So it’s the, it’s the choice to pause, that line of thinking just not to follow it. And so it’s, it’s a different sense of freedom instead of it, we normally think of freedom as freedom to do something, have something, whatever rights freedom of speech or where we live, is freedom from. And it’s freedom from that, that sort of thinking that gets in the way, it’s basically egoic thinking, but we have the choice to step out of it, whatever you want. Yeah.
RICK: And I think that the ability to have that choice is something that grows over time. It’s not, it’s like any skill, you know, you don’t become a professional baseball player overnight, you, you have to spend years really developing that talent, even if you have an aptitude for it. So people shouldn’t feel like failures, if they hear what you just said and find they can’t do it. There are things you can do, and we’ll discuss them more as we go along, which will culture or develop the ability to, to do that sort of thing to be not at the mercy of our whims and impulses.
PETER: Right. Yeah. Yeah. And I think, you know, coming back to what we were saying about, you know, just be able to be Be quiet to come back to our own beingness center. When we do that we can become I think we begin to notice more, our thinking, Nuvi, it’s so caught up in our thinking, we don’t even realize we’re thinking and as we begin to step back, we are, there’s that thought again, so we can begin to just have a little more separation from it not being so attached to the thinking we’re not being so involved in it. We can just choose Ah, okay. I’m not going there. I’m just choosing not to follow you right now. Yeah.
RICK: The word overshadowed is appropriate here. If you recall, that word being used a lot in our original training that, you know, we’re well, the movie screen analogy. Everybody’s familiar with that. The you know, the the screen is overshadowed by the movies, playing upon it. And that’s meant to illustrate how thoughts and other sensory experiences overshadow the self or overshadow pure consciousness. And obviously, the the point of the analogy is develop the the awareness of pure consciousness such that it can’t be overshadowed.
PETER: Yep, yeah. I always have a slight difficulty with the term pure consciousness, what does it actually mean as being consciousness without any experience? Or just be just noticing what is actually happening in consciousness without the overlay of all the other things? I think sometimes the idea of pure consciousness, people have this feeling it’s going to be some completely empty state where just consciousness on its own on its own without any object of consciousness. My experience is, Jose, I’ve never experienced that there’s always some object, of course, even it’s a very, very faint object like this, ah, this is lovely, or whatever it is this, here’s the still whatever it is. So I think it’s, for me, it’s about just being just being aware, conscious, just noticing what is actually our experience in the present moment. That to me is it is consciousness without the overlay of all the stuff, the failing it?
RICK: Yeah, but the idea is, you know, is that that our fundamental nature is consciousness and that it’s not merely individual, it’s unbounded and eternal, everlasting, ancient, all that stuff. And that is generally overshadowed. So we take ourselves to be this little time space bound, you know, physical thing. And, you know, all the sensory experiences which impinge upon consciousness blot, blot it out to a great extent. But, you know, as you’ve said, You’ve had experiences where there’s hardly any sensory experience, just some faint little thing. And it seems to me there would need to be in order to even have the thought of Whoa, this is here it is.
PETER: If you’re, if you’re thinking you’re in a state of pure consciousness that sets you up because your feet bright. Yeah, yeah. So but so yeah, I’m not. I’m not saying you know, that something that’s something we achieve or discover. I mean, I think you’re right, from a philosophical point of view. Yes. Everything ultimately, is consciousness. Yeah, yeah.
RICK: Here’s a question that came in that’s relevant to what we’re saying this is from Marie in Colorado. What does it mean to experience in a way that is absolutely free from all conceptual and perceptual lenses?
PETER: Being free from all perceptual conceptual lenses is a little tricky. I think it’s for me, it’s being free from most of them are progressively free for more and more of them. It’s, it’s very hard to be free from all all lenses, I think it’s almost part of being aware is we have some lens it’s, can we can we choose the lens? Can we change the lens through which we’re seeing things? So what it would be like to be free of all lenses? I just think what I mean it coming back to, you know, just being in the in the present moment, and it’s just like, it says here is here is this experience, whatever it is the sounds the sights. Plus fact is we easily get caught up in a we see, I noticed the other day I was out for a walk. And I heard a bird. And then I saw it. And it’s like, immediately my mind goes, what is that bird, I’ve never seen that bird before I’m off. I’m in instead of saying, just, there’s this incredible view in front of me. I was off into some discussion about it in my mind. So but I would say to be to be free in that sense is just Yes, be able to just be open to the moment, as it is without any thought or discussion or concern or explanation, or any of that. But again, I think you know, the more we’ve been talking about, you know, meditation coming back to ourselves, I think the more we do that, what I found is, the easier it is to be free of these things that distract us the internal distractions. I mean, I think we were, I sort of say we’re self distracting creatures, we continually distract ourselves from the present moment.
RICK: Yeah. And I would, I mean, I guess, a lens, all through something, and either magnifies it and distorts it, or, you know, I’m getting a little bit of feedback on my voice, but hopefully, they’ll go away. A LENS DISTORT something. But I think that, you know, even the great saints that we revere, they had their opinions, and sometimes they had political preferences, or Papaji was said to like, be a big, you know, soccer fan, I forget who was rooting for, you get really angry if the other team won. So a person can have their opinions and their preferences and all that stuff, then and still be in a, you know, a marvelous state of human development. Yeah, we’re gonna become autonomous automatons with no opinions or preferences or brand,
PETER: right. And I think that’s where, you know, we think of whatever we want to call that awakening enlightenment in these glorious terms, that everything is perfect, and we’re going to be completely free of all, I don’t think it’s like that at all. It’s more, how can we? How can we stay in touch with that inner or to talk that inner quietness, being peace, along with what we’re doing? And it’s to me, it’s quite okay to, you know, be a football fan of a certain club or whatever it’s part of part of how we are. So I see, I see this, there’s nothing wrong with that at all. Nothing wrong, I think. So it’s not about becoming this ultimate pure individual we life, what it might be very peaceful. But it’s like there’s other things to do. But I think we do. I’m just going back a second there. I mean, I think as you probably know, in deep meditation, particularly when I go on long retreats, and I can, the mind rarely settles down. Takes a few days for that to happen. But then there’s, there is just that abiding in the stillness, just being there in the stillness, and it’s just that delicious thing of just tasting it. And then then the realization comes for me, it’s like, ah, that’s what they were talking about. This is what the great bosses were talking about. This is what they were pointing to. And then, you know, they come back into the world, but having tasted it is wonderful. And it’s a motivation to, you know, go back there again, and also then becomes easier. I think the more you taste that the more I taste that, the easier it becomes to sort of drop back and recognize it.
RICK: Yeah, your your nervous system kind of changes and adapts. It adapts to being able to function that way more and more all the time. Yeah, yeah. He said somewhere in your book, that you know, I mean, you just alluded to it that we make such a big deal out of enlightenment, but it’s really much simpler. and more attainable than, then it’s often made out to be. What do you mean by the word enlightenment? And, and how, yeah, go ahead.
PETER: I tend not to use the word much myself. I mentioned the book as a way of sort of diffusing the term. I mean, people have this idea. And I think it’s, it’s self serving as a self replicating idea in a sort of spiritual Society of like, it’s going to be some wonderful state we attain, were going to be permanently blissed out. And whatever it is, we’re going to have marvelous insights and experiences. I mean, those things can happen not to say those things don’t happen. But to me, it’s more I prefer the term awakening to enlightenment, I use the word awakening. And it’s awakening from, from the dream of egoic thinking mind, where we get caught up in our stories as thoughts. It’s waking up from that game, waking up to what it is to be here, right now, this experience and waking up to ourselves what we actually mean by the self, the eye. So I like the term awakening, and that something is not something we achieve, again, so much. It’s something that begins to unfold, and begins to happen, we just gradually become more awake, as we’ll be talking about, you know, less, less distracted by self created discontent and things as that happens. We are we are waking up and wake waking up to this. It rubbed us his terms to be here now.
RICK: Yeah. And I’m not sure the end to it. But I also can’t see it the way you just described it. And I think of like the word, education, if someone said, I am educated, there was the implication that you couldn’t learn anything new. You know, it’s like, the same with enlightenment, I, I don’t see any endpoint or final rochiev. And beyond which you couldn’t possibly, you know, having a deeper realization?
PETER: I don’t think so. And so going, going back to our early teacher, one of the things he said that really caught me by surprise at the time was he said he was talking about consciousness, cosmic consciousness. And he said, cosmic consciousness is just the normal state of consciousness, and timelines. What’s he mean by that? You know, we explained it, it’s just, but that that’s how well we’re coming back to our normal state, rather than this, you know, self distracted state.
RICK: Then someone send in a book, I mean, a book a question, which I might as well ask now is Mike from Chilliwack, British British Columbia. Today, I would consider myself a beginner on the spiritual path. I’ve been reading book after book for the past two years, I’m reminded quite often that books only take us so far. What are your thoughts or experience on this subject of books only taking us so far?
PETER: Yes, I agree, I think books or talks or even listening to us talking is, is information. And hopefully, you know, the books, whatever can be inspiring, they can be motivating. And we can learn when our understanding about the spiritual path process can deepen. But ultimately, the books won’t do it, it is ultimately it comes back to our own personal experience, our own personal talking about letting go awakening, meditating, not following the thoughts, whatever it is, it comes back to practice, we have to find a practice that really helps us personally, begin to begin to access these quieter, more content, states of mind. Yes, read books. But you know, also, also find some some form of practice meditation or whatever. There’s other practices that help you begin to experience what the books are talking about. But also books too many books can be confusing, because you read one book, and it says this, another book says this. Another one says that, and it’s like you get into which one is right. So avoid that thing of comparing which one is right. They’re just coming back to coming back to prep.
RICK: Yeah. I mean, this is true of anything, you couldn’t become a really good cook just by reading cookbooks, or a really good tennis player just by reading tennis books, and so on. You have to have the practice the actual experience and knowledge and experience complement and supplement one another. And I get what you’re saying about reading too many things. Maybe it’s appropriate at one stage more than at other stages. I think if I didn’t have a regular steady practice that I’ve been doing for decades, it would drive me a bit crazy. Actually doing what I’m doing now is like delving into one teaching or teacher every week, one after another. But, you know, with that sort of foundation, I haven’t I find it enriching.
PETER: Yeah, yeah. And there was a phase when I was reading all lots of different spiritual books. I can’t remember when I last read a spiritual book, or occasionally I’ll pick one up. And but it’s very occasional, very occasion. Yeah.
RICK: So Mike might be wondering, okay, well, you know, just as there are so many books, there are so many practices, how to, and I don’t have the time or the money to try them all? How do I figure out which one to try? And? And how, how long? Should I try it before giving up and trying something else? If it doesn’t seem to be working for me?
PETER: Right? That’s yeah. My advice would be, to go for the simplest to start with, you know, you can do Tibetan practices where you imagine some deity and you imagine different lights and different Tibetan letters around them. And this and that, you know, you can do that for hours until the mind eventually gives up. Everybody gives up you drop into silent, but no, I would say go go for the simple practices. And not not things are going to, you know, promise you, it’s going to work, it’s going to take three years, whatever, till you get something, find something that when you first start practicing it, you notice some effect. And I think that’s important. So some, I would say some form of simple meditation to start with, whether it’s mindfulness, or the sort of thing we’ve been talking about, you know, just even just that pausing, you know, doing that, but then doing that for longer periods of time. Just poor pausing thoughts. Don’t see how that feels. But yeah, so I think, simplicity and ones that you feel, have some effect from the beginning. And then then that, then that can deepen and take you on. But you know, you’re right. Don’t stick at something. Just because someone’s told you this is the past. I mean, I beat people who’ve done somewhere the rocky anywhere for years, but you know, when I read this is the only way this is what you got to do. There is there is no only way there are ways that are more effective.
RICK: When you first learned to meditate. When was it? 6667? Something like that? 67 Yeah. What was your initial experience? Did something happen right away?
PETER: Yes, well, when I first learned to meditate, nothing much happened. I was actually a Cambridge and there were a couple of Buddhist teachers there. One was teaching sort of capacitor, he was a Southeast Asian teacher. And I tried that, and nothing really happened for me. And then also there was a Tibetan Lama in Cambridge, who was teaching, you know, these complex practices. And I tried that and nothing happened because I was interested in meditation. And then And then, you know, I tried TM. And it was like, the very first session was like, ah, that sense of relief dropping in, it’s like, Ah, I’ve actually yes, there was something here. And that, you know, because of that initial practice, digital experience, you just been, you know, thinking whatever it was the mantra and nothing changed. I wouldn’t have kept at it for longer. Just because the experience was completely reaffirming. That the practice,
RICK: yeah, me too, from day one. And I’ve never missed one actually, since then. Okay. An innovative species is changing gears here. I don’t know if this is your note from the book or mine, but have technological advancements made things better or more difficult? Interesting question. I mean, the pace of change. First time, we since we referred to marshy several times, the first time I ever saw him, was at Poland spring main in 1970. And I remember a lecture he gave in which he talked about the pace of change. And he kept using the word survival of the fittest, he said, we have to be fittest. And he said, the pace of change and it was nothing in 1970 like it is now. Now it’s really ramped up but he said, You know, it’s, it’s fast, and it’s gonna get faster than he said, it’s like, if you have a donkey and he’s carrying a heavy load, you’ve either got to lighten the load or strengthen the donkey. And he said, I don’t know if we can lighten the load because life is just going to get more and more, you know, fast paced and complicated. So you have to be fitter. You have to be stronger.
PETER: Yes, yeah. Ah, this is a whole nother book I’m working on.
RICK: We can promote that.
PETER: It’s called a current working title is either the evolutionary explosion or the exponential explosion. But it deals with, you know, where you started at that is the effects of technology. I mean, I see the accelerate, first of all, the acceleration, the increasing pace of change is inevitable, it’s positive feedback, the more advances that are made, the more a facilitate future advances, that always leads to some form of exponential growth. So yes, we are seeing, you know, technology changing so fast beyond, you know, how many of us, you know, 30 years ago was, you know, seen, you know, the web cell phones, or that we were in the web was just beginning, but all that we now take for granted streaming social media, all the other stuff, artificial intelligence, cars, run by computers. And, you know, all that’s happening in many other areas, scientific advances, medicine, etc. And there’s a cost to this. And there’s a cost in terms of the actual stress that acceleration puts on all the systems involved. I mean, stress, stress is usually defined as the inability to respond to change. And
RICK: it’s not only the things you mentioned, but it’s things like the pandemic, and, you know, political polarization and, you know, fake news and conspiracy theories. And it just seems like there’s just ramping up of craziness that people have to deal with on top of everything else that’s impacting their personal lives.
PETER: And also, it means an accelerating consumption of resources, and also climate change, pollution. Climate change is is, you know, we, we can get a pin it down to, you know, co2 release, but why are we releasing so much more co2 is because why are we burning so much more fossil fuel, A, because, you know, got the technology where we want that, because there’s many more people. Now, that’s also been accelerating, you know, using oil using fossil fuels, that that’s an indirect result of the acceleration. So this is what I see. And what this book is about is this, there’s two sides to the technological acceleration. And we are moving into a world that’s going to be unimaginable to us technologically what we can do, particularly as artificial intelligence comes, I think we’re moving into what I call the age of intelligence, we’re moving out of the Information Age to the intelligence age, and no idea where we’re going to be in 1015 years time, it will seem like magic to us now. And at the same time, the stress of all this is going to be in the system is beginning to the system’s beginning to break down at the same time, whether it’s personal, social, political, economic systems, global systems, whatever it is, they’re beginning to break down, but about to end moving into a world in which these two things are happening in parallel. And how that’s going to be? I don’t know. But, but it’s just seeing, seeing these two are coming together. Sometimes the question is, actually, why is it that the most creative, so called intelligent species on this planet is also the most destructive? And I think that they’re two sides of the same coin? Actually, you really can’t have one without the other. When you get to technological growth, you can have it, you know, I’m going off now. Yeah, I think it’s, it’s the combination of three things, it comes back to you watching innovation. With human beings, we rapidly grew a larger brain about three times the size of other great apes, we develop speech, language, I mean, many creatures have language, but we can communicate with each other, we can share our learning, share our discoveries, and that’s part of culture. So we have this ever broadening collective knowledge. And we have these things, hands, these wonderful manipulators will, particularly the sun, and you put those three things together. And you have this incredibly innovative species that can dream up new ideas, make things whatever. So these three things together, the brain to think about it, the language to share ideas, and the hands to do things make us a really amazing, innovative species. You look at, you know, chips, don’t have the speech, they have language, but they don’t have the speech like we do. They don’t have that collective body of scientific cultural knowledge. On the other hand, you take the cetaceans like whales, dolphins. They seem to have sophisticated languages, which we don’t understand they have. Whales have much larger brains than us, but they don’t have hands. Well, they do. They have vestigial hands that the five fingers are there, but all safely they’re wrapped up in flippers. They can’t do anything. They can’t make anything. So haven’t become a technological species. And so they are still living, they haven’t accelerated their development. They’re sort of evolving, you know, at a steady natural pace, they’ve been around for 10s 20 to billions of years. So they’re not, they’re not subject to the acceleration. And so they live, they’re still more in harmony with their environment. So I think once, what we’re seeing the acceleration and its side effects, I think are what happens when you have what I call a technologically empowered species, which we are a technologically empowered intelligence rather.
RICK: So I think he just says that, given our various capabilities and intelligence, we can’t help but screw things up. We can’t help but sort of have a destructive influence. But isn’t there another component, which could somehow be developed sufficiently such that we can do all these marvelous technological things without being destructive? Whether that would be, you know, development of the heart development of higher consciousness or higher wisdom or something along those lines?
PETER: Yes, I think that can certainly happen. And you know, there’s definitely lots of room for improvement, lots of, but that that doesn’t take us off the acceleration itself, because we’re still innovating, we may be innovating in different areas, and that this fact of the positive feedback of innovation just breeds more innovation, the acceleration itself, is going to keep on going. And so it’s more the stress of the acceleration of the systems, rather than the destructive choices we make. It’s the actual stress of the acceleration,
RICK: but maybe acceleration will be okay, if it’s not destructive. In other words, we could, you know, more rapidly develop benign, you know, beneficial technologies without any destructive consequences or side effects.
PETER: I don’t know, I mean, people see that I just see. I mean, that’s a possibility. It is a possibility. But,
RICK: like batteries, for instance, it would be great if we could develop really good batteries that could store a lot of electricity, and that weren’t large, and that didn’t utilize a lot of precious natural resources, and then we’d have to mess up other people’s environments in order to get them. There’s, there’s some kind of battery now that involves iron and oxygen are something that is promising that, you know, are very plentiful elements. And so something like that, you know, there could be all kinds of technologies that would come along that that would, you know, because a lot of the promising technologies now this solar power and stuff, require element require minerals, and so on, that are hard to get and that are precious, and that that, you know, mess up the environment. So they’re kind of mixed blessings.
PETER: Yeah. But then, you know, that would just encourage us to be driving more cars with electric electric vehicles, and
RICK: which might be okay, we could derive the electricity, we’re going to help you.
PETER: What’s the environmental costs of producing a car, all the raw materials that go into it? Yeah.
RICK: So I don’t know how it’s all gonna work out either. But it may be that we’re kind of gonna go up against a brick wall, where we’re just going to have to be forced to curtail our, our activities, because we won’t, you know, things will just break down to the point where we’ll be forced to stop.
PETER: Right. And that’s what I see is the acceleration is going to slow down because of, well, with turbulence, I mean, if you driving a car, the car has a top speed, not because it’s mechanically limited, but because of the air resistance. So that’s why you design better aerodynamic, better aerodynamic cars structures, so that they can go fast or be more efficient. But there’s a limit to how fast a car can move. Same with a ship, a ship has a top speed, depending on its size, etc. And however much port more power you put into it, it won’t go any faster, just because of the drag of the water on it. So I think there comes a time when the side effects of acceleration begin to dampen it. And so it begins to stop or even slow down. So it’s not going to it’s not going to go on forever. But I think that will happen, but the turbulence will be the effects in the system, whatever it is that we may be forced to, you know, it things energy may not be so abundant, we may not have many things we take for granted. Now that may be curtailed. Who knows?
RICK: All right, well, a question came in from Angie in Boise, Idaho, which is kind of related to what we’re talking about right now. She said, Can you please help me better understand your statement? Our whole civilization is an unsustainable mode of consciousness. Did you question that? Did you phrase it that way? No. Agenda. Can you extract something from that question,
PETER: I was saying that the extent of the technological acceleration in technology and science and understanding is, is having is going to inevitably have side effects. The stress of the system is not there. It’s not that our consciousness is unsustainable at all. Some of our thinking is, you know, you’re pointing to making, you know, bad decisions that cause damage caused danger, that can happen. But that’s not a that’s not a route consciousness that’s doing that. That’s just what recorded in terms of our priorities of what we think is important, which so often is geared around financial efficiency and things in this culture. So it’s like, I’m not yes, there’s nothing. There’s no, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with us. That’s why I don’t think there’s anything wrong with us. There’s no blame. This is this is the sort of situation that I think any technologically empowered species stops getting itself into.
RICK: Yeah, it’s it’s kind of like saying, there’s nothing wrong with a teenager. There isn’t. I mean, it’s a developmental stage and the teenagers trying all kinds of things, and you know, making some mistakes and acting kind of crazy, but, you know, if they don’t kill themselves, they’ll grow out of it.
PETER: Yeah, yeah. Yeah. So I said, you know, in a way, I think, you know, we need to have some forgiveness for ourselves. Yeah. Because you need to have some forgiveness. It’s like, okay, this is what’s happened, this is how it’s happened. And not to get into anger and blame. I don’t think they’re useful. I, I had an email from somebody the other day, just saying, how he was amazed at how, you know, I wasn’t angry at this and wasn’t angry at that. And all these things that he’s so angry with, you know, he said, he said, How can I be so you know, not so angered all these things? And it’s like, you know, I think anger comes from the belief that, you know, we could have done something better something, somebody’s done something wrong. And I say, see, this is the trajectory we’ve been on and understanding it is the root, I think any forgiveness is understanding how we got to this situation.
RICK: Yeah, as George Harrison saying, for every mistake, we must work out how to go with every mistake, we must surely be learning. While My Guitar Gently Weeps. But you could say, I often feel that everybody really is doing the best they can, why would they not? You know, it’s like you don’t sit, you don’t say, I’m really gonna screw this up, you know, on purpose, because I don’t want to do that, you know, you tried to do the best you can to accomplish whatever you’re trying to accomplish. But we’re all limited. And we all make mistakes.
PETER: And we’re all shaped in different ways. But I think we do we all try to do the best that we can, within our limitations, our framework, our opportunities. Yeah.
RICK: Yeah, yep. Here’s a question that came in. And we’ll get back to your book in a minute. I’m just going through some random points here. But I’m from Jack in Canada. How has your view of consciousness slash metaphysics slash spirituality changed over these past seven years? I guess he’s referring to since last time we talked, you talked about the negative epiphany you had in one of the videos from a recent sand conference, where you said that you realized, I don’t know anything. Could you elaborate on that? Does that apply to metaphysics?
PETER: Yes, definitely does. And, yes, in fact, it applies to the talk we had seven years ago.
PETER: You know, where I was expounding, you know, how I see consciousness is fundamental to various arguments about paradigms in science and what needs to happen. And I’ve noticed I, you know, the shift happened, the epiphany happened about probably four years ago, now, three, four years ago, I realized I can be very good at arguing my point of view, I can be pretty good at it. And I could argue against other people. And I can pick the flaws in other people’s arguments about consciousness. You know, there’s so many people talking about consciousness and all this stuff. And then there’s just suddenly what do I know? What do I know? It? I realized it was another ego attachment, I was getting attached to my idea of what the universe is all about, and why it’s why it’s fundamentally conscious, and how it all works out. It’s just a hypothesis. It’s just, you know, my own little metaphysical, wondering, and it’s like, and so like, so what? That’s that’s where the title of the talk cable, what do I know? Not what do I know? Is what I know. And it’s just like, and I let go of that whole thing. And I haven’t really talked about that cardio at all ever since it’s just like, I don’t see the point where it led me back to you know, What is important is, what do I know about how we can wake up how we can become better, more compassionate human beings? That’s what’s important rather than metaphysical pontificating?
RICK: Yeah. I think that, you know, you use the word hypothesis, I think that we can, you know, we could arrange all of our hypotheses along a spectrum. And there’s some that I think we’re justified in being quite sure about, like, I’m really sure the Earth is not flat, you know, and a lot of smart people agree with me, and there’s plenty of evidence, I’m almost sure that we actually did land people on the moon, things, things like that, it’s really quite sure, it would be such a far fetched thing to, you know, prove that we didn’t. But then a lot of these philosophical things that we’d like to talk about, you know, you can’t even things like, you know, life after death, and reincarnation, and all that stuff. You know, the evidence is not as abundant. We have intuitive feelings about it, and even certainties, but they’re just not as hard. The evidence is not as hard as it is with some of these other things I mentioned. So we don’t have to fight over them or anything, we can just if we find them inspiring, or if they help make sense of the world, great. But we don’t take them as you know, you’re gonna go to hell if you don’t believe in them.
PETER: Right, right. Yeah. And they’re interesting, but I got a lot of satisfaction about exploring those ideas. wrote, wrote a couple of books on style,
RICK: I read just passed me a note saying Don’t send me emails saying that the earth is flat.
PETER: I’m sorry, go ahead. So yes, it was a self entertaining phase of my life, which was that the metaphysical quantification Yeah. Yeah, it was, it was fascinating. I mean, absolutely fascinated by, you know, what is consciousness? How does it arise? Does it arise? Is it primary, and I went down that journey pretty deeply for 20 years? And I’m glad I did, but in the end, it came to I went as far as I could. And then I found myself just reiterating and becoming attached to my view, is that that attachment or letting go of that attachment? Just like, Okay, I still find it interesting. I was reading some stuff I wrote the other day on it. And so wow, that’s really, really good stuff. I thought, in my mind, maybe I should write a book on.
RICK: When we ponder that stuff, it’s a little different than, you know, looking at NASA photos of the the earth or something where we’re kind of going on and our subjective spiritual experience that we’ve been developing over the years, and we’re, we’re sort of going on real subtle intuitions about the way things seem to work. And it’s a very subjective thing. And then we can also, you know, look to the perennial philosophy, wise people throughout the world for over the ages saying very similar things. And that that gives us a little bit more confidence. But um, you know, these all these ideas are very, very still somewhat speculative. How can they not be?
PETER: But I think the question just what was a question asking, what was my epiphany or what was Yeah,
RICK: yeah. Something you announced in a sand talk or something?
PETER: Yes. It was the last one recent when Sam was still giving physical conferences. Yes, it was a talk I gave, really. And I started off the talk by just talking about how I’d you could people know me for talking about this stuff. How rarely say, I’m not going to talk about this stuff. And this is why I want to talk about how do we personally to one of the good word wake up?
RICK: Yeah. All right. Well, let’s get back to that topic. Okay. You have a chapter in your book called Imagine realities. And there’s a quote here from Mark Twain. I don’t remember if it was in your book, or if I pulled it from somewhere else. But he said, I’m an old man and I have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened.
PETER: Yeah, yeah. Just mark right. Yeah, that’s, yeah. And that’s, you know, what we touched on before about how we create, you know, so much trouble so much discontent, and worrying about planning for things that actually probably never, never happened. And, certainly, I think that that’s a central part of the book that we that we create in our minds, the stuff we get attached to. And that all of that is veiling a natural, natural mind the natural state of contentment. So if you’re, the more worried you are about what might happen, etc, etc. But basically coming back to where we began, you know, am I going to be happy in the, in the future? That’s what the fundamental motivation is, am I going to be content? Am I going to be at peace in the future? We can be so concerned with that, that we can’t be content in the present moment. Because the discontent we’re creating about what’s going to happen in the future will not happen. So it’s I think it’s a, it’s a primary thing for me is seeing that when it happens and letting go of it. Yeah.
RICK: I mean, there’s a practical side to it. Like, you know, in Los Angeles, they need to have building codes that would account for earthquakes that might happen, you can’t just sort of ignore the fact that there might be some, or for instance, you know, preparing for possible pandemics. Sure, and things like that. But obviously, in our own personal lives, we very often fuss and bother about stuff that might happen, which probably won’t. And we will probably if it does happen, we’ll probably be less prepared for it. Because we’ve been worrying so much than if we had just cultivated a calm, centered state of mind and confronted it when I rose.
PETER: Yeah, I’m totally with, you know, we need to be planning interacting with the world doing whatever is the best we can do. There’s nothing, nothing wrong with that, and thinking things through. That’s where our creativity comes in. It’s that is the unnecessary worrying. I mean, I had recently where I was worrying about what would happen when I met up with a friend, the conversation that I’m planning, how should I approach this because going to be is going to be difficult subject? And how should I approach this? Should I do this first? And what if he says that and what if this happens, and it’s like, I was going through all this stuff, we met up totally different realities of what I’d be going through my head, I created this, how it was going to be worrying about it. And the reality was totally different.
RICK: Yeah, yeah. Well, your book isn’t Eckert totally addition or something? So the power of now, and he describes that very, in fact, I remember him describing how he goes to give a lecture. And he sort of very vividly described his experience of being in the now like, okay, I get in the car, and then I’m writing, I’m writing to the lecture. And I’m not thinking at all about the lecture, I’m just riding in the car, and I get to the lecture, and I get up on stage. And I’m not thinking about the lecture, I’m just getting up on stage, and then I start to speak, and somehow it just all comes out. Because you can’t always do that with things, but works for him.
PETER: Yeah, and it’s, it’s funny. I mean, it’s worked for me at times. I mean, I tend to be over prepare for talks, which can be a disadvantage, but sometimes, you know, I just literally do what Eckhart does, I just go in without knowing what I’m going to talk about not worrying about it just being being quiet. And some of the best talks I’ve given just come out of not knowing what I’m going to say. And I love to be more creative. It gives me the space to start putting, putting ideas together that I hadn’t put together before. Also just feeling the audience relating to them, rather than what is it? I think I should be saying next. So that’s certainly I mean, I’d love to do it as much as Eckhart.
RICK: Yeah, because he pretty much says the same thing over and over so he can rely on his experience. There’s an interesting section in your book about deconstructing an emotion and how physical sensations are associated with feelings. And this is something I think you kind of got from marshy because he used to talk that way that for every emotion, there’s some kind of physiological counterpart and you can locate a physical sensation if you allow yourself to.
PETER: Yes, yes. I’m not sure I don’t remember getting it from him. But then a lot of is. Is that Yes, it’s interesting, we call it we call it an emotion a feeling. And also we call sensations in the body feelings. And I think no accident we use the word feeling for both. And what I’m, what I’m deconstructing an emotion, I’m saying this, there’s always two aspects to it. There’s actually what you’re feeling in the body and some story going along with it. And the story is usually triggered some some reaction in the body and the word emotion comes from the Latin it actually means a emo Tyree means to act out. And it’s what’s happening is there’s always a what psychologists call an action tendency in any emotion, there’s an action tendency, you know, if you’re angry, the action tendency is getting ready to fight if you’re scared the action tendency is Getting ready to run, if you’re depressed, the action tendency is to withdraw to hide that sort of thing. And that that action intended that action tendency, has some quality in the body, like just a fake thing of the muscles, certain muscles repairing that sort of thing, or other sensations in the body. So there’s that side of it. And the other side of it is the something we are telling ourselves some story going on in the head about what is wrong, what is right, or whatever it is, and the two are wrapped up together. And there’s an analogy I’ve heard used, which is, it’s like you have red and white yarn, and you wrap them up into a ball, from a distance, it looks like a pink ball, but you look closely, and you’ve got red and white threads. And that’s why that’s called deconstructing an emotion, seeing this, the thread of the body’s feeling what’s happening in the body, and there’s the thread of the thought that’s going on. And we can, we can let go of either that’s, you know, that’s my tormentors letting go emotions, we can either begin to release what we talked about earlier, the the actual, being aware of what’s happening in the body, the tendons, etc, can begin to soften them and they can begin to release. Or we can look at the story that’s happening. And, in fact, if we didn’t have a story, where it’s, there wouldn’t be an emotion after so it’s very hard to have an emotion, without some thought about the past or future, very hard to feel any emotion without some thought. That’s what I call the stories, some thought about what happened or might happen or not happen. So the two are wrapped up together.
RICK: Some people seem to derive satisfaction from their stories, or they derive some shreds of satisfaction from the sympathy they get when they tell people their stories. I know this person who feels that she was mistreated by some spiritual teachers many years ago, and it seems to be her whole world dwelling on this mistreatment and the effect that it’s had on her and the effect that it’s had on her family, and so on and so forth. And, you know, I keep saying, Well, you know, whether, whatever the validity of this, you know, you have two choices, I mean, you can keep dwelling on it. And you can do all that for the rest of your life. And you know, you’ll get some sympathy from people, or you can somehow find a way of moving on, you know, and and then they won’t have any control over you. And it kind of reminds you that story of the Zen monks who come to the river, you know, and there’s a beautiful woman there who asked how have helped crossing the river. And the old, the older monk picks her up and carries her across and puts her down, and then they walk on for a few hours. And finally, the younger monks, you know, just can’t contain himself any longer. So, you know, we’re not supposed to touch women, why don’t you do that? Then the older monk says, you know, brother, I set her down on the other side of the river, why are you still carrying her? So this letting go thing, which is, you know, kind of key is in the title of your book. I think some people don’t even realize that it would be to their advantage have to let go of of stuff. Because they, they derive some satisfaction from holding on to it, they don’t realize how nice it would be if they really did let go of it.
PETER: Right, right. Yes, there’s a satisfaction holding on to something, you think you’re going to feel better for it in some way or another by heart, you’re going to be more righteous, or whatever it is, or you’re going to sort things out. So there’s a certain there’s a certain satisfaction you get, but it’s only a certain satisfaction. It’s not a deep satisfaction. But that’s I think, you know, as we say, deep down what everything we’re doing, we’re looking because we think we’re going to feel better for it. So in some way, you think things are going to be better for holding on. And you’re absolutely right, you know, when we when we do let go, there’s a much deeper satisfaction, the reward of letting go, is we actually feel we get what it is we think we’re going to get from holding on, we get we get that from the letting go. So I think part of it is is beginning to recognize the cost of the holding on when we’re really holding on to something is to actually pause and say, you know, how is this affecting me, I’m holding on to this view of this other person? How is that affecting me? And not so much in could be in the world, but how is it affecting me in my own being? You know, how is this making me tense for example, holding on to this idea exactly, because usually when we’re holding on to some idea, there’s some tension created in us, either mental tension or even physical tension. So if we get to notice that we begin to notice the cost of the holding on that can begin to be the motivation to explore how we can let go of it.
RICK: Sometimes uses the analogy of you get on a train with your suit case, and you insist upon holding your suitcase, not realizing that the train is carrying it now. And all you need to do is put it down, relax and enjoy the ride because the train will do the work. But people have a hard time letting go. Suitcase.
PETER: Yeah, I hadn’t heard that one.
RICK: And that kind of points to a deeper thing, which is that who is really the author of our actions? You know, are we really doing everything? Or is there some kind of deeper actor, you know, and we’re, we’re more or less just being carried along by that. And we can actually just let go of all our efforts and our sense of doership and let the let the divine do the doing.
PETER: Yeah, I think that’s again, part of the journey we’re talking about the awakening journey is a lot of our actions come from our what I call the ego mind, which is the bit that’s trying to keep us safe, keep preserve us, make sure everything’s going on, whether the world and that, that, that conditions, our actions, that tells us what to do, it’s really important to do this really important not to do this must say this to this person. That’s that’s the ego mind trying to work things out. So that’s, that determines the direction of actions. When I think when that’s not operating, we were acting as more in a chord with a situation. I mean, I know, this may seem a trivial example, but it touched me one day, some years ago, I been on a meditation retreat, and I was walking down the road. And I saw this lizard on the road, and it was a hot day. And it was, you know, obviously not doing well, it was stuck. Whatever it was, I can’t remember the exact details of it. But I, I found myself spontaneously without even thinking about it, I bent down, picked it up, and put it in some grass. And there was no thought of Paul is that I must save it, I must do this, whatever. I did it, I watched myself doing it. And so like, I, Peter Russell wasn’t the actor. I wasn’t actually me as an individual wasn’t doing that. It was just a spontaneous action. I saw myself doing. And I’d say it’s a very small example. But But it struck me at the time, it’s quite profound, that shift between normally doing something which is deliberate, because I have decided to do it, and something that just, I watched myself doing.
RICK: Yeah, well, you know, the phrase spontaneous right action and just having, really, I think one’s life can get to a point where it kind of runs on autopilot and one’s spontaneous impulses, turned out to be the best possible things one could do or feel to do in every circumstance.
PETER: Yes, I think we have we have a natural wisdom in a soul gets overshadowed by all the other stuff that goes on. So the more we can free ourselves from that, the more that natural wisdom will just come shining through.
RICK: Yeah. You have a chapter in your book entitled, The supportive nature. And I think that relates to what we’re saying right now. Maybe, why don’t you say a bit about that, and maybe I’ll have some thoughts.
PETER: Okay. But this directly goes back to the phrase directly goes back to the Maharishi who, as you probably notice, when he was assessing how we’re doing in our meditation, he, he wasn’t so interested in like, where we tasting, you know, the pure Self, where we having transcendental consciousness, already talked about a bit, but always, he always had this question. Are you noticing the supportive nature more? That was his question, by which he meant? Do you notice that the world is, you know, seems to be supporting you is what I think today we call synchronicity. This happened was it amazing I happen to this book just appeared, I picked it up and I read this passage and it changed my life or something. You know, we call that synchronicity, all these little things that happened, that tend to have a positive effect on us. Now, his his argument I found fascinating, and I haven’t heard it from anybody else. His argument was, when we meditate, where we’re going to quiet a state of mind, we’re stepping out of the ego mind, we’re letting go of those ego thoughts. And it’s those ego thoughts that get in the way that cause us to do damaging things harmful things to other people not act appropriately. Whatever it is, say something stupid, when by so by meditating, were stepping out of that stepping out of the ego mind all that forward thinking. And so we’re sort of, again coming back to diffusing as diffusing our action in the world. And so he said, by doing that, we are supporting nature in the most fundamental way possible. And that he says, a nature returns the favor. Or that’s the bit that little sort of not quite as much logical thinking as bit of metaphysical thinking. But it’s like, nature returns the favor, is like you were supporting nature by getting out of the ego mind. And nature returns the favor by supporting us in some way. And I found it remarkably true in my life when, you know, when I, I mean, there’s times when I come off a meditation retreat, and it’s ridiculous. It’s like, everything, just things happen. I can’t believe it’s like, it’s like magic is happening when the opposite when I’m stressed, just out worried tense, whatever it is, magic doesn’t happen, the synchronicities don’t happen. So I’ve noticed there’s a very clear correlation in my own life, as to how calm how centered I am. How about synchronously happens, and how when I’m uncentered, and tense and caught up in my ego, mind, it doesn’t happen. So it’s something as I found an unusual explanation. But it’s also I found it, you know, life shows me there’s, there’s a truth to this, there’s a real truth to it. I don’t know a lot of other meditators feel the same way. Notice the same thing?
RICK: Oh, yeah. And, you know, it gets a little metaphysical to consider the mechanics of it. But you know, my understanding, and I actually have heard marshy elaborate on this is that, you know, there are impulses of intelligence, governing and creation, there’s not only a field of intelligence, fundamentally, but their various impulses that are like, he equates them with laws of nature, and they’re kind of responsible for different phenomena that are taking place. And there are certain impulses that are responsible, worthy, or that influence our own personal lives. I mean, perhaps some people refer to them as guardian angels, or some such thing. But in any case, for some, this is a concrete perception, they perceive these things daily, irregularly. And they they kind of have a friend who told me that she sees this all the time, and she little clusters of these beings around people and doesn’t know exactly what they’re doing, but they’re somehow attending to people. So I kind of have a feeling like, they’re sort of all sorts of intelligences, pulling the strings, helping to orchestrate the events of life. And there’s a verse in The Gita about you support the gods, and then they’ll support you, I don’t know if we have to use the word gods, but somehow or other, you know, when we get a tuned in the way you’ve described, we become more of an, an instrument of the Divine. And since we’re helping to fulfill a divine purpose, in some way, we get, you know, the wind at our backs, we get this, we’re supporting the divine divine supports us. Whereas if we’re in, you know, sharp contradiction or conflict with that, that sort of divine intelligence, why should we get the support? You know, I don’t know. I don’t know, some people might feel uncomfortable with that kind of terminology. But that’s the way I think.
PETER: Yeah, I know, people like you who have these experiences. I personally don’t.
RICK: But you have had the supportive nature experiences, sometimes remarkable stuff.
PETER: Remarkable. abundantly, like ridiculously Yeah, times. And I know, you know, whatever the mechanism is, I don’t personally know. You know, I hear what you’re saying that’s a plausible mechanism. But I don’t I don’t know. I don’t, I just know, you know, how do I encourage synchronicity, by, you know, being more in touch with my being myself? So, it works, it works, whatever the explanation is, it works.
RICK: Right? And we don’t have to get all esoteric about it. I mean, you can think of the case of somebody who is abusing themselves in various ways that drugs and alcohol and you know, abusive behaviors and so on, just in very mundane, obvious ways. They’re screwing up their life and things aren’t going to go well, you know, they’re going to lose the job, they’re going to lose the relationship. They’re going to, you know, have this health problem or something. So, you know, but it does, there is a subtler aspect to it when things start to happen, quite miraculously in one’s life. Yeah, yeah. For the better.
PETER: Yeah. In fact, I mean, I was looking back I called my life a few years ago and realized every thing of any significance every turning point, my whole life. It was some Synchronicity or other that led to it. Yeah, every everything was some other synchronicity. It’s just it’s, it’s I wouldn’t say it’s run by life, but it’s been the steady influence everywhere.
RICK: And have you found that a lot of times you really didn’t see it coming. And in fact, when it was already coming, and that some situations was developing, you’re in your life, you might have actually been grumbling about it. But then in retrospect, do you think you realize, Wow, that was perfect. That’s exactly what I needed? And I didn’t see at first? Yeah.
PETER: I don’t know. I wasn’t, I wasn’t looking at it. From that point of view. I think if I went back and looked at it’s probably the case. Yeah. In some instances,
RICK: there’s another Well, there’s a very important chapter on your in your book, which we should dwell upon a bit here entitled effortless meditation. And you’ve you alluded that earlier, when someone to that earlier, when someone asked a question about what kind of meditation should I do? You said, effortless. There’s a phrase the natural tendency of the mind, which you’re well familiar with. Let’s let’s talk about that a little bit.
PETER: Yes, well, I think it’s, it’s we touched on earlier, when I was saying, you know, fundamental motivation is to, is a better state of mind. So the natural tendency of the mind is to both two things, one to seek, whatever we think is going to bring us greater ease, joy, contentment. So and but also, left to itself. Without without distraction from our thinking, the mind is going to sort of gravitate to that, because it’s, it’s just in a sort of natural sort of self reinforcing thing, the more it’s the when the mind relaxes, it feels better, and it wants to feel even better, relaxes even more. So it’s, it’s almost like I think of it as gravity in the mind. It’s like, if you stop propping up the mind with thoughts and worries, and this and that, and planning and all the other stuff. If you stop keeping it active, we’re looking for something and all of that, instead is looking for the natural tendency of the mind to look for something which is going to be greater peace, when you stop that. And the mind, the mind just begins to settle down spontaneously. And I think this is important, because you don’t, you don’t have to do anything to make the mind quiet. And this I think, is a misunderstanding. In some teachings, you’ve got to control thoughts, you’ve got to do this, you got to banish all the things that are creating disturbance, you don’t need to do anything. To make the mind quiet, you need to stop doing the things, which are making the mind unquiet,
RICK: right, and actually doing something can make the mind less quiet to, you know, let’s say you sit down, you think I am going to sit here and go into samadhi, and I’m not going to have any thoughts, and you start making an effort to suppress thoughts, you’re just going to agitate the mind more? If you do that.
PETER: Yes, exactly, yeah. And then that becomes a self fulfilling prophecy people take, it’s gonna take you, you got to discipline your mind, you got to do this, you got to do that. And it’s gonna, it’s very hard work. And it’s going to take you years of practice. And then you know, eventually, if you keep doing this and really control your mind, you may taste what you know, the great masters has spoken on. And you do it, you try it, you discipline the mind, you do this, you know, it becomes a battle. And maybe in years to come, you do experience something, and then you go and teach that to other people. Because that’s, that’s what happened to you. But I think it for me, it’s the exact opposite. And that’s why I talk about meditation be effortless, the less effort you put into it, the less trying to get somewhere, because ultimately, there’s no way we’re trying to get to, I think that’s really important know where we’re trying to get to. And effort is about trying to get to some state. It’s just, again, it’s just revealing unveiling that that natural state of being that’s there in order.
RICK: So the key is that we just want to set up a condition in which the sort of natural tendency of the mind will allow the mind to settle into its true nature or into its least excited state, we could say, kind of like, like diving, you know, you get up on the board, and you just have to sort of take a correct angle and then gravity will take care of the rest.
PETER: And that’s why I mean in a lot of meditation techniques, mindfulness things we’ve been talking about. One of the core instructions is not not to follow the thought may use different words. The words I use are not to follow the thought, what do you notice you’re caught up in thinking, leave the thinking behind, don’t, don’t continue with the thought. Let your attention come back, whether it’s a mantra, some other inner thing, or just Coming back to the present moment. And that’s what I start people with these days is just don’t follow us or notice how it is in the present moment. Notice your actual experience in the present moment, whatever it is not, not trying to focus on any particular thing, but just not following the thought. And just coming back to how it is, because it’s the thoughts that are taken in the other direction, as thoughts are always taking us out in some way or other.
RICK: Yeah. And we can’t really get into the mechanics of it here. But even if you were using a mantra, it wouldn’t necessarily involve any kind of control or concentration. There’s a way of going about it. It’s completely effortless.
PETER: Okay, yes. All these things are different ways of using mantras. Yeah, yeah.
RICK: Okey dokey. Couple of interesting questions here. One is related to what we were talking about a few minutes ago. But maybe we can ask this from Halina in Montreal. Would you say that the spontaneous impulses are the intuitive connection with the divine principle guiding us? I have these synchronicities, happening all my life. And I feel always connected with this creative force.
PETER: Yes. Yes, I think that’s what we’ve been as. I’m not sure how much more to say except Yes, yes, yeah.
RICK: There’s some nice stories. I mean, if you read biographies of saints, and even things that happened in Jesus’s life, or we read Autobiography of Yogi, or many of these other things, you know, books about Ramana, Maharshi, this kind of stuff would happen around them all the time. And, you know, people would be astounded by it, but it was just for them. quite normal, because they were so attuned to the Divine that, you know, they’re kind of like, riding in the lap of the Divine and it was supporting every little impulse of their lives.
PETER: I couldn’t quite how the question to put it, but I think we just another way of reframing the same thing.
RICK: Yeah. Here’s a question from someone named Sapna in Texas. How do you, how do you define forgiveness? What does it mean to you, really, the
PETER: essence of forgiveness is letting go, it’s about it’s letting go of the judgments were holding the grievance, whatever it is, letting go the story of what the other person did wrong. So I mean, we often think of forgiveness is like, if you did wrong, I’m gonna let you off the hook, this time, I will punish you, I’ll forgive you. To me, it’s not that at all it’s about or two things, it’s one letting go of letting go of the judgments, the grievances, the story, we’re telling ourselves about what the other person did wrong. And because back to what we’re talking about earlier, everybody is doing the best they can, in their own way, their own limitations. And who knows, someone, whatever it is, we’re upset about with somebody who knows, did have a bad night, not sleep, well, do they have too much coffee in the morning, or they’ve got some major marital problem going on in the background, who knows what’s going on. But they, if we didn’t know, if we could completely put ourselves in the other person’s shoes, with all you know, their background, whatever it is, that led them to this moment, how they were feeling that day, what’s going on in their life, we could understand why they may have responded like that, why they did what they did. And so I think also deep a deep understanding a deep compassion for the other person can it can lead to forgiveness can lead to that letting go of the, of the judgment. And, again, it’s something I mean, it’s another teaching I’ve liked as A Course in Miracles. And one of the things it points out is, we don’t forgive the other person to make them feel better. We forgiveness by letting go of the judgments and grievances we do it for ourselves. Because we feel better when we, when we let go of that, or when we understand the other person. So it’s actually the real value of forgiveness is how we feel. And in fact, you know, the other person may not even know we were judging them in the first place. Definitely knowing that we forgive them.
RICK: Yeah, that’s an important thing. There’s once heard humility, defined as the quality of not insisting that things happen any particular way. A lot of times we make we create conflicts in our lives by clashing with others, because we feel like well, things are supposed to happen this way. And then they’re there. They’re feeling the same way. And so it’s two egos kind of smashing against each other and possibly wearing each other smoothed over time. But if you could just sort of like alright, it wouldn’t really matter if it goes this way. Instead of that way. No, in the big picture, it really doesn’t matter. So let’s let it go that way and see how it goes. Yeah. And then boom, there’s no hurt feelings. There’s no anger. There’s no You know, right? Yeah. So what else? Haven’t we covered that you want to be sure to cover? Scanning down the titles of your chapters? For instance, do you see anything we haven’t touched upon?
PETER: Yeah, one thing follows on, which I think is important follows on from what you were just saying, which is about being kind to each other. And that comes out of the fact, you know, what I’ve been saying is that, basically, what we’re all looking for, is to feel, feel, okay, we’re looking for a better state of mind, none of us want to be judged or attacked or criticized, we will want to be we want to be loved, we want to be appreciated. Basically, we want to feel okay in ourselves. And I point out that kindness actually comes from the word kid. And was that kid k i
RICK: n can Oh, like, like, relative, yes, but we’re all
PETER: at the same kid, psychologically, we’re all the same king, because we all want to be more, you know, fundamentally better state of mind. But what so often happens in a relationship, and it could be in a couple relationship, work relationship, a friend, many different sorts of relationships is realistic, you say something to me, which comes from a completely wonderful, innocent place in you, but because of my stuff, I feel slightly attacked or criticized, nothing came from you. But I feel that if I’m not really, you know, fully aware of what’s going on in myself, if I feel attacked, the tendency is to attack back in some way. And it’s like, you know, what, could be body language or whatever? Or, or silence? Or like you stupid, whatever? How dare How dare you say, whatever it is, we attack back now you feel attack, because I deliberately did attack you in some very subtle way, maybe, but I attacked you. And you know, if you’re not fully enlightened be, you probably respond the same way. And we get into this vicious circle, whereby each person, each person wants to be loved and appreciated, and feel okay. And they take the knife in a little bit, you know, you’re not actually loving me enough, you’re not being nice to me, you’re not, you’re making me upset, I’m going to dig the knife in and twist it just a little bit. And then you’ll learn the error of your ways and be nice to me. And when two people are doing that, it’s a recipe just spirals down, just goes down. So I put the remedy for me is, is actually removing the attack thoughts or in any, in any interaction, conversation, is having the intention, we don’t always do it when the intention is, in terms of what I have to say to this person or how I behave. The intention is the other person feels loved, they feel appreciated, they feel understood, they feel better for it, that they actually feel better, that they don’t feel attacked, and so it’s catching, catching those attack thoughts, and not following them. Okay, it comes back to what we said about not free won’t, it just catching them, choosing not to follow them. And having that intention that the other person, basically, the other person feels good. This is one of the Buddha’s definitions of rights speech. If you can’t say something in such a way the other person feels good. It’s better to retain noble silence, not as a cop out, but until you’ve worked out how to say it in such a way that the other person feels good on receiving it. And it’s not to be, you know, with criticism, you can say, you know, I really value our connection now, you know, but I need to offer some feedback. And I’m a bit afraid, you know, I feel a bit, whatever it is, you press, you know, there’s lots of ways where we can begin to make the other person feel okay, even when we got to, you know, be critical. And it will fail at times, you know, but then being willing to just apologize it I’m sorry, yeah, there was some little element of attack in there, I’m sorry, let me come in. Again, let me try and rephrase that in a in a way that actually is more more loving. And I found when you when you do that, in relationships, when two people as a couple agree to do that, something magic happens. It’s like a whole different, whole different form of love begins to enter the relationship. And it’s a it’s a caring, love. It’s a real care, because what we’re actually doing is caring for another person’s inner being. I think we’d be fairly good at caring for our people, not fairly well. We can be good. Caring for our two being, you know, helping each other Oh, you’re having difficulty with this. Let me help you with this. We’re not so good at caring for the inner being of somebody how he actually feels. And this to me is the principle of kindness. It’s the golden rule of every spiritual tradition. Treat others as you would like to be treated in a way we would like to be treated as kindly so be kind to others I think was the Dalai Lama said was asked What’s What is your religion, and he said, My religion is kindness.
RICK: Speaking of religion, you know how in the Old Testament that when Moses was having it out with a pharaoh, they the the phrase kept, kept popping up, the Pharaoh hardened his heart, and then did such and such or refused to do such and such. And, you know, when I think of kindness, I think of a softening of the heart, which I think comes along on the spiritual path as we as we grow, then there’s just a kind of a tenderness where you just don’t feel, I mean, like you would that lizard in the road, you know, I do that all the time with earthworms, which are gonna dry up in the sun, I can’t walk past them, I have to pick them up and put them in the grass. But there’s just this sort of feeling of, I don’t know kind of identification or something, I can kind of feel what they’re going through. If they’re, if they’re driving, if they’re drying up in the sun, or, or like I see a little snake on the trail in the park, I want to pick it up with a stick and put it off in the grass before somebody rides over it with a bicycle, you know, cuz I can kind of feel like you, what is the word? I mean, you just sort of it’s not empathy, empathy. Yeah, I guess that’s what that is empathy, being able to tune into what another person or, or being is going to feel and then acting accordingly. So um, you mentioned some other book, you’re working on any any kind of like, hot topics these days that are kind of like, you know, exciting, interesting you or inspiring you or anything like that.
PETER: I think actually, what we’re talking about today is my hot topic, particularly having been working on the book The Last year, it’s very much in my consciousness, and now beginning to talk about it and things, because only published this week. So at the moment, I’m full of letting go of nothing. Right. But I think if anything that that’s about a topic, but what’s coming up, more and more is just how I can be more loving. Or I can be more loving. But that’s not so much an intellectual topic. It’s just more just a practice a reflection in my life. Good, good. Many areas where I can improve.
RICK: Yeah. Well, we can all say that, we should all say that. So do you have anything going on that people can plug into aside from buying your book? Is there any kind of webinars or anything like that planned?
PETER: Yes, I have an occasional webinar. It’s, it’s called mindfulness of being. And you just look up, Mike, you go to my website, and you’ll see a link to mindfulness of being. And these are talks I give, when I feel like it, basically, it came out of COVID. And what I missed with COVID, is, I like speaking on subjects that are of interest to me at the time, you know, it’s a platform, I’m at a conference. And I can just go into a small group and just talk about what’s interesting me and give a talk. And I realized I was missing that. And so I started these talks. Wherever, you know, when I find something that’s interesting, me, I will then send out an email to everybody and say, you know, a couple of weeks time this this date, I’m gonna be on Zoom talking about this subject, and join me if you want. And then it’s as simple you know, I talk about it, sort of heavily for meditation, and then questions and discussion. Yes, they have
RICK: an email list obviously just implied which people can sign up for if they go to your website. Right?
PETER: Well, it’s true. Yes, you sign up for the general email list. That’s on my website. That’s clear. Other new says newsletters sign up, right, right there top left, the microphone is a big, you have to sign up for different audio separately. Because, you know, there’s about 300 people on that list. My main main mailing list is like seven or 8000. I don’t want to keep I don’t mail them. But I emailed them already saying if you want to be alerted to these talks, you signed up to this listen. All right,
RICK: I’ll link to your website from your page on bat gap and to your books as well. So we make it easy for people. I there’s
PETER: lots more of our website, there’s about 400 articles that cut my latest count. Now, historically, going back 20 years, you can find some of my old very naive there as well. Yeah.
RICK: And also on your page on cap, I’ll link to our first conversation that we had seven years ago so people can see what we’re talking about then which as you said, you know, you’re not as concerned about now as you were then but it was an interesting talk. I thought,
PETER: yeah, I still find it fascinating. But as I say, it’s not something I went as far as I could in that direction. Then I found myself getting too attached to my own thoughts. Good.
RICK: Well, thanks, Peter. Really appreciate it. It’s good to touching base with you. Hopefully, we’ll all come out of our cocoons and meet again in person one of these days.
PETER: Yeah, I hope so too. Yeah. And lovely to hear, as always,
RICK: thanks. And thanks to those who’ve been listening or watching. As you most of you know, this is an ongoing series. So if you go to bat gap Comm, you’ll see there’s an upcoming interviews page. And there’s these little buttons along the right hand side with each interview that’s being that scheduled that you can use to set up a notification in Outlook or Yahoo or Google or whatever you use for such things. If you click on those buttons, and explore the menus, there are a bunch of other things on on the website. So thanks for watching, and we’ll see you next week.