Raymond Schumann Transcript

Raymond Schumann Interview

Rick: Welcome to Buddha at the Gas Pump. My name is Rick Archer. Buddha at the Gas Pump is an ongoing series of interviews or conversations with spiritually awakening people. We’ve done nearly 600 of them now. If this is new to you and you would like to check out previous ones, please go to batgap.com, B-A-T-G-A-P, 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. So if you appreciate it and would like to help support it, there’s a PayPal button on every page of batgap.com, and there’s also a donations page, which gives you a couple options other than PayPal. You may notice if you’re on BatGap that the subtitle of this show is “Conversations with Ordinary Spiritually Awakening People”. I started it out 11 years ago in my hometown here in Iowa, because I had noticed that ordinary people were having spiritual awakenings, but a lot of their friends were skeptical of this because they were ordinary. There’s sort of this notion that you should have a Sanskrit name or write famous books or something in order to qualify for awakening. And so part of the motivation in starting this was to showcase ordinary people who are having spiritual awakenings so people could see that if it could happen to him, it could happen to me. And a lot of times I have interviewed well-known people, but we like to mix in unknown people as much as we can find them for that reason. And so today we have Raymond Schumann. Raymond hasn’t written any books, to my knowledge. Oh, maybe you have. We’ll talk about that. He’s written a lot, but I don’t know if he’s published any. He’s a fifth-generation carpenter with a high school education. I’ll just read the little bio he sent me. We’ll talk about some of these things and many more. “A Roman Catholic upbringing left him sexually repressed. Adolescence left him a soldier of Christ gone AWOL”. You can tell when I read this that he has a sense of humor. I know. “In his 20s, he learned about dissociative disorder. The theory explained much. Help was not thick on the ground and ripe in the pod. Not in those days. A shrink who claimed to treat multiple personalities endangered his career. Schumann was on his own. He named the self who thwarted his desires ‘Holdfast’. Schumann knew spiritual consciousness was essential to healing. That only made things worse. He’d watched guru after Roshi disgrace themselves. There was nothing to trust there. The more he sought healing, the worse ‘Holdfast’ trashed him. Eventually, Schumann was desperate enough to say, ‘This has got to get better. I don’t care what it costs. This has to get better.’ At that instant, he suffered a Kundalini awakening. Never trust a goddess. She opened the door to a year of hell, a year leading to ego-death, a year leading to non-dual awareness. Things only got worse from there. So, it’s funny because the reason we want to showcase ordinary people who’ve had spiritual awakenings is that part of the reason is that people might think, ‘Whoa, that sounds great. I wish that would happen to me.’ I don’t know if you’re going to get that feeling listening to Raymond, but he has a lot to explain. He’s been sending me all kinds of interesting things over the past 3-4 years. Funny things, profound things, poems, all kinds of interesting stuff. So, I really do think he has a lot to say, and I have about four pages of notes here that he sent me of things we want to go over. So, here we go. Raymond, in your notes and in the thing I just read, you start with your Roman Catholic upbringing. You want to start with that, or just take it away? Say whatever comes to mind.

Raymond: Well, I think that growing up Roman Catholic was useful to me in one way. I grew up in a living mythology. And since I ended up dealing with other mythological aspects, at least I spoke that language. I wasn’t trying to sort things out in a foreign tongue learned as an adult.

Rick: Yeah. And it sounds like you were a bit of a seeker when you were young. You mentioned your brother had Zen flesh, Zen bones. That book was also very influential for me. The Kabbalion. You went on as a teenager to read Huxley’s Perennial Philosophy, Underhill’s Mysticism, William James’s Varieties of Religious Experience, Alan Watts, and things like that. So, it sounds like you were quite a seeker.

Raymond: I didn’t – well, I didn’t think about it that way, but yeah, I was.

Rick: Well, you were interested in this kind of thing.

Raymond: Well, I was following my interests.

Rick: Exactly. Were you doing any kind of spiritual practice or more just reading things?

Raymond: Well, I learned to perceive chi or ki studying judo. I’ve done a lot of work attempting to apply spiritual knowledge and experience to other martial arts that I got into.

Rick: How did you perceive the chi? What did you see, like auras or something?

Raymond: Well, I don’t get things visually like that. It’s more like perceiving – it’s more like a knowing.

Rick: Okay. You can sort of sense it or something.

Raymond: But my judo sensei had us sit and meditate as part of the whole deal. I complained to him that when I was experiencing ki, it seemed to be following my breath rather than being in a steady state. He said, “Well, you’ll get over it”. But in fact, I never did.

Rick: Yeah. So, it sounded like from your bio, though, that you said you sounded like you were desperate for some reason. Maybe you were unhappy. Maybe you felt like… because you said, “This has got to get better. I don’t care what it costs”. How did you… were you just like suffering, depressed, anxious? What was going on?

Raymond: I was a high testosterone guy with a lot of interest in sex. And Holdfast thought that my proper place in life ought to be a virgin celibate priest.

Rick: By Holdfast, again, we mean the self who thwarted your desires. And so, by that, I presume you mean that you just weren’t getting into successful relationships or something.

Raymond: Well, I got into some of it in my 20s. But it was always a hassle, and I was always punished, and things got worse and worse as time went on. And Holdfast learned how to thwart me in that more successfully.

Rick: Okay. Now, somebody… Go ahead. I’m sorry.

Raymond: He was also just, in general, torturing me. Think of having your worst junior high school bully crawling inside of your skin and beating you up from the inside. It was like that.

Rick: Now, the way you’re personifying this force or whatever it was that blocked your – thwarted your desires – you say you’re calling this the self who thwarted your desires. Are you really just referring to an aspect of yourself that kind of, like, prevented you from fulfilling your desires? I mean, we all have twists and turns inwardly that cause us to act like idiots from time to time, or to cause us to fail, or to do this or that. Is that what you’re referring to?

Raymond: In terms that I’m using today, I was referring to a major aspect of my total ego nature.

Rick: Right. So it was a component of your ego nature or your total makeup.

Raymond: And once the Kundalini awakened and I went through a year of incredible physical agony and all the standard and very confusing kriyas, physical and mental and emotional and energy level, spiritual, I eventually died. The self that I was, that I identified with – gone, never to return. That was about after about nine months in from the original awakening. But that… egos by their nature as I’ve come to understand them involve a pair of twins. The yes or no, yin or yang, good or bad. The self that died was the life positive pair of that set, and Holdfast, who survived nicely, was the life negative set. So there was nothing to balance his hostility.

Rick: So let’s get into this a little bit more.

Raymond: All right.

Rick: So you’d read a bunch of books, you kind of made an appeal to the universe, “This has got to get better, I don’t care what it takes”. And then you had a Kundalini awakening. Describe that Kundalini awakening when it first hit you.

Raymond: Well, it first hit with physical kriyas.

Rick: So all of a sudden you started shaking or gesticulating or something.

Raymond: Yeah, right, exactly. And that was most of what was going on for a little while, and it seemed kind of boring to tell you the truth. But it continued, and as time went on, it began to hurt more and more and more and more and more.

Rick: How did it hurt, emotionally, physically?

Raymond: Physically, physical agony.

Rick: Throughout your body or in your spinal column or where?

Raymond: Well, depending on what was going on, different parts of my body would get most of the treatment at different times. But it was all over the place, and I was all over the place. So that awakening happened over the Memorial Day weekend. I was working as a carpenter, and everything that I was doing at work got a whole lot harder while I was being sabotaged. So the saying is “measure twice, cut once”, but a carpenter wants to make time, he mainly wants to measure right the first time. But I was needing to measure twice. That slows you down. That’s not a good for you not doing your eight hours’ work for eight hours’ pay. Having to slow down all the time like that.

Rick: So the Kundalini awakening that you were undergoing was hampering your ability as a carpenter, I guess you’re saying, and it was slowing you down.

Raymond: In general, it was messing up my life.

Rick: Yeah. Well, I think a lot of people can relate to that, who have had Kundalini awakenings, that there’s this kind of major house cleaning going on or restructuring or something, and it can make normal functioning difficult. You mentioned four different kinds of kriyas, and people, by the way, probably most people know what kriyas are. It usually refers to movements that happen spontaneously when Kundalini is active. You mentioned physical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual kriyas. Can you give examples of each of those?

Raymond: Not very easily, because there was a lot of stuff happening at the same time and confused and conflated. Especially back then, I was doing a very bad job of sorting everything out.

Rick: Was there any bliss mixed in? I mean, sometimes people go through all kinds of physical, various kinds of kriyas, but there’s some kind of inner experience that’s charming or interesting.

Raymond: Yeah. That was in the mix too, but it honestly didn’t help all that much. Standard advice for something like an awakened Kundalini is – stop fighting it. And I think that probably works if the actions are only happening on a personal, individual level. But when they’re happening on many more levels than that, any attempt to just stop resisting it is not going to work very well. The only thing I actually did when I was trying to seriously do that would be to get Holdfast to perk up his ears and say, “So, you want to not resist something, huh? I’ll give you something to not resist, and then I’ll give you something harder to not resist”.

Rick: So, did you feel that you were resisting and you were trying to stop resisting, or what?

Raymond: No, I felt that attempting to control things by any individual action of my own was useless.

Rick: So, stopping or stopping resistance was irrelevant because you just didn’t have any control to do anything?

Raymond: Well, except that if Holdfast noticed that I was attempting to do that, well, I told you.

Rick: Right. Mess with it even more.

Raymond: Right.

Rick: Yeah. And this reference to Holdfast, well, you’ve already covered this. I mean, it does sound like you’re kind of attributing this influence to some alien force or something extraneous to you, but really what you’re saying is just a component of your individual makeup. It’s like, and it was messing with you – the various, whatever it was, inner drives or whatever that were messing with your life – and you just named them Holdfast.

Raymond: Well, later on, when I was given a new perennial psychology, the nature of the ego became much more clear to me.

Rick: Ah, we’ll talk about that, won’t we, when we get into that.

Raymond: That’s got to come later.

Rick: Okay, we’ll get to that.

Raymond: But in practice, I had come up with this theory about what might be going on, and there was always some hostile force, and he always got named Holdfast, and I changed my theories, and there was still something going on, and he stayed named Holdfast.

Rick: You could have named it Betty Boop or something, right? But you just chose to name it Holdfast.

Raymond: Well, that was descriptive all right.

Rick: Okay. Yeah. So you mentioned that it was kind of interfering with your carpentry, and you said constantly sabotaged, usually minor mistakes. So you were working less efficiently, you said, and you were, I guess, making some mistakes, and you eventually got laid off, right?

Raymond: Yeah.

Rick: Okay.

Raymond: I’ll tell you a couple of stories about that.

Rick: All righty.

Raymond: One of the guys ran some plywood, some sheeting up a parapet wall, and left it hanging up above it, above the framing, six or eight inches, because it was just faster to let that run wild, nail it in place, than have somebody go up on top and saw the excess off. So I had my worm drive saw, I had the guard back, I was running along, cutting the top of the piece of plywood off, finished the cut, blade still running, my arms jerked inwards.

Rick: Ooh, yeah.

Raymond: I was able to stop it, or that would have been a much different story, but it’s the kind of thing that gets your attention.

Rick: Yeah. Now, what was the guy’s name? I read a book recently by a fellow, hopefully his name will come to me. He’s somebody I’ve interviewed, and I actually wrote a blurb for his book. But he also had this hellacious Kundalini experience, and he felt like it was prompting him to do things, which an external observer would describe as suicidal. You know, like, one time I think he was in the bath or something, and he jumped out naked and ran to his porch and got up on the railing, squatting like a frog, and could easily have fallen off and killed himself. And there were a lot of things like that, where he just totally lost control and this force, whatever it was, took over. So it sounded like, it sounds like that’s the kind of thing you’re talking about here.

Raymond: Well, right, but the Kundalini was an establishing structure that let the conflict between myself and Holdfast play out, and the actual problems Shakti Kundalini was observing and didn’t give a damn how any of it came out, but the human conflicts involved were indigenous to me.

Rick: Yeah. Raphael Cushnir, that was the guy’s name. Now, usually people are told that Kundalini is a benign force ultimately, but that it can really put you through hell if there’s a lot of purging or purification to do. Like, Gopi Krishna famously wrote that book about everything he went through.

Raymond: Yeah, I’d read that before this all got started.

Rick: Yeah.

Raymond: Didn’t encourage me.

Rick: I know, yeah, it was like, “I don’t want that”. So, but now after, it’s been decades since this awakening happened. Do you feel in retrospect that something good was happening the whole time, despite how difficult it was, and that Kundalini is in fact a benign force, or do you not agree with that?

Raymond: In practice, Kundalini is a wrecking ball. She will move into some established territory and knock it apart. And that can take a long time for any given issue and be troubling and painful. And occasionally, you know about the descending face of Shiva called Kripa.

Rick: Explain it to us.

Raymond: Shakti, and I use the Hindu setup because that seems to be the best worked out. Shakti in her descent from Shiva is the Kriya text function, which bodies forth the universe and the world and you and me. When it turns from downwards to upwards flow, that upwards flow is Kundalini. Now, Shiva is still and abiding and motionless, but possesses a downwards capacity, which is called Kripa. The creative process in general involves Shakti moving in and tearing apart stuff that is in the way of further growth. And that takes a while and it hurts a lot. And every once in a while, the face smiling, you will get a brief descent of Kripa, who takes a look at things and sparks a regeneration and a newer healthier pattern.

Rick: That’s well put. So when you say it’s like a wrecking ball, I mean, they don’t use wrecking balls on perfectly good buildings. They use them to knock down something that’s supposed to be knocked down and then something better is rebuilt in its place. So it sounds like what the process you’re describing is that there’s this sort of alternate destruction and restructuring, perhaps involving what you’re calling Shiva and Shakti here. And that if you were living in a building that’s being hit by a wrecking ball, it wouldn’t be a pleasant experience. And we are living in this body, so the restructuring of it can oftentimes be a very difficult experience. And there are a lot of variables, obviously. It depends upon the rapidity or the speed with which it happens. If it’s really intense and happening fast, then it can be a wild ride or it could take 10 times as long and be very slow and not be so difficult. And it also depends on how much debris or how much needs to be cleared away. Some people might have a mountain of it, others just a molehill. And that’s, I guess, why everybody’s experience is different.

Raymond: And how much juice is involved if there’s a lot of corrosion stuff, a lot of energy working at something that’s not moving at all? It’s like the difference between a dam busting behind a 10-foot long lake or a 100-foot long lake or a mile-long lake. How much damage that waterfall, that flood does, depends on the size of how much water you’re dealing with.

Rick: Exactly. And that’s why there are all kinds of methods and methodologies and recommendations and whatnot for smoothing out this process. For instance, I’ve interviewed a number of people who actually consult with people who have had Kundalini experiences or Kundalini awakenings. And in many cases, they’re able to help them have it go more smoothly by prescribing certain practices or techniques or whatever. But you were kind of on your own when this happened.

Raymond: I was on my own, and I was pretty dubious about how much help anybody was going to be able to offer me anyway.

Rick: Yeah. Well, they might have been, but that was a long time ago. I mean, who knows, if you’d gone to India and found the right teacher or something, maybe you would have gotten some help. What was this about driving with eyes closed?

Raymond: Yeah. A week or so after the incident with the parapet wall, I was driving to work one morning and my eyes closed. California rush hour freeway, probably not recommended. They didn’t tell us to do that on driver’s ed anyway. So I finished the drive with one hand on the wheel and one hand holding one eye open.

Rick: Wow. It took physical force to keep it open.

Raymond: Oh, yeah. There was no way I could control it, just by voluntary muscles.

Rick: And what was the feeling? I mean, we can all voluntarily close our eyes. We never feel forced to. Was it just like you were just physically incapable of using your eyelid muscles to keep your eyes open? What did you feel was forcing you to close them?

Raymond: Well, it just happened. Things happen. You can figure them out later on, maybe.

Rick: So it’s not like you were feeling drawn inwardly into samadhi or something. It was just that, boom, eyes closed.

Raymond: It was just I was being fucked with. Early in March, I got laid off. So all of the energies that I had been spending at work suddenly didn’t have that involved. And I didn’t recognize at the time, but within a week or so of getting laid off, the ego, major ego that I associate with myself was gone. Just gone. I didn’t experience it dying or anything like that, but it wasn’t there anymore. It never did come back.

Rick: How do you define ego?

Raymond: I define ego as somewhere along the line of the human-animal. Anthropologists just make a distinction between anatomically modern humans and behaviorally modern humans. And we’ve been behaviorally modern for maybe a third of the time that we’ve been around as a ground ape. And I think that that is associated with the invention of language, which is something that creatures have never had to deal with, as far as we can tell, since at least the Cretaceous explosion. So the ego, as I understand it, was a mediating structure, a psychological invention, designed to reconcile our organic and non-language-using nature with the new demands, unprecedented demands that language imposes on us. So ego is the structure of that particular invention.

Rick: Would the phrase “a sense of personal self” be synonymous with ego in your terminology?

Raymond: These things get really tricky. Any critter that can move away from danger and move towards safety, or move away from someplace where you’re hungry and go to where you can get food, that kind of a sense of self is something that any creature has.

Rick: Yeah. Like if I burn my hand, I pull my hand off the stove or whatever. If a dog steps on something hot, it pulls its paw away.

Raymond: Right. That’s not ego. That’s the sense of self that any creature has, modulated through their own body and nervous system.

Rick: Okay. Right, and it’s valuable. I mean, it protects us from injuring ourselves and stuff.

Raymond: It’s essential, and it is also unmediated divine consciousness, modulated through one particular structure or another.

Rick: Yeah. And if I burn my hand, it’s my hand that’s being burned. It’s my hand that feels pain. It’s not some guy in the next town. I wouldn’t know if he burned his hand. So there’s a sort of localized quality to experience that…

Raymond: But things are going right. If you jerk your hand off because the guy in the next town burned his hand, that’s just nuts.

Rick: It would be, especially if I had to do that for everything everybody’s experiencing. So our experience is kind of localized, and in that sense we have a sense of personal self, or we associate with our own sensory experiences that this particular apparatus is affording us. And what you’re saying is we don’t lose that, but then what do we lose if there’s ego death?

Raymond: Well, let’s talk about all the game with the ego construction. I talk about ego holons, using Koestler’s terminology, and a holon is a whole which is comprised of smaller wholes within it, and which in itself is an aspect of some larger whole.

Rick: Yeah, so for instance our body, which has liver and kidneys and heart and lungs and various components, all together is a holon made of those components, right?

Raymond: Right.

Rick: Okay. And I like your description of that in your book, where you were contrasting it with hierarchy – I don’t know if it was a book, but the things you sent me – where in a hierarchy there’s a greater importance given to things higher up on the hierarchy, but we wouldn’t say our kidneys are more important than our liver or something. All these components of our holon are just all essential.

Raymond: Right. So the human ego is a structure of many different holons, and the nature of every holon, ego holon, is the same. It starts with a wound, which are not very difficult to come by at any time in human life. It creates a shell, and within the shell… first off, the shell protects the wound, and part of that is good. I don’t want anybody rubbing salt in my wounds, but it also protects the wound from healing. And the persistence of the existence of that wound is what powers the existence of a given ego holon. From that wound springs a pair of twins, a yes and a no, a good and a bad. And that distinction, which is the same distinction that non-dualists deplore and want to get rid of, is part of the function of the ego that reconciles the non-dual nature of our organic being with the additional complications of our verbal nature.

Rick: I see. So let me see if I understood that. So we have a non-dual dimension to our existence, and it has to interface with the dual world, with the relative world. And I think you just said but correct me if I’m wrong, that the ego helps to reconcile that or intermediate between the absolute and relative aspects of life? Is that what you said?

Raymond: Well, it mediates between the non-dual organic selfness that any creature has with the world created by language.

Rick: Okay. Now, most creatures don’t use language, or at least not the way we do, and the world exists for them, even without language, the rabbit is hopping around and eating grass and experiencing a world. So let’s respond to that in order for us to understand better what you’re saying.

Raymond: Well, there’s a whole world of creation and existence and understanding that we have only by virtue of the fact that we’re a language-using species. You can know nobody, and your rabbit doesn’t worry a whole lot about Democrats and Republicans, or the divine right of kings, or how soon the Roman Empire is going to fall. None of that stuff matters on that organic creature level. All of the complex human cultures that we’ve had going since we started gardening and gave up on foraging cultures, none of those could have happened without the existence of language and the capacities that language bestow on us.

Rick: Right. And not only language, I mean, there are features of our intelligence by virtue of our cerebral cortex and things that are uniquely human that animals simply don’t have, although they have their own types of intelligence – even trees do. But I’m sitting here talking to you with a computer, camera, internet, and my dog is here on the floor and has no idea what these things are, or why I’m talking, or to whom I’m talking, or anything else. It’s a different, same world objectively, but a very different interpretation between me and the dog.

Raymond: Bear in mind that anatomically human beings have been around for 250,000 – 300,000 years. We’ve had behaviorally modern human beings for maybe 70,000, 60,000, something like that, depending on how you slice it. So, anatomically we’re no different but with the addition of language, as I contend, we gained a whole new set of capacities and a whole new set of problems, and those problems were entirely foreign to our organic nature. We didn’t use to have them, and now we do.

Rick: Right. Do you see that as a devolution or as an evolution?

Raymond: There is no doubt in the world that our evolution as a species was aided by the capacities of language, but at the same time, it’s really expensive stuff.

Rick: Yeah, so it’s a mixed blessing.

Raymond: Yes.

Rick: But here we are, and we have it, and that’s the way it is.

Raymond: And the ego is part of what makes that possible.

Rick: Right. Okay, so just to recap then, you’re saying that the ego became a necessity and perhaps came into existence simultaneous with the development of language, and it was necessary, but it also has its downside. Is that a fair statement?

Raymond: Yes.

Rick: Okay. And so, obviously, when you experience ego death, as you said you did, you didn’t lose the ability to speak. So somehow you were still verbal, and yet you didn’t have this ego that you’re saying arose historically with the advent of language.

Raymond: Right.

Rick: Okay.

Raymond: I actually view ego as a developmental stage, not different in essence than the terrible change.

Rick: Kind of an adolescent stage, maybe, of human development.

Raymond: Pretty much.

Rick: Yeah, in fact, in your writing I heard you say that you need it when you’re young, but when you’re in your 20s, it may be ideally time to drop it.

Raymond: Right. And if we understood better the nature of the ego as a culture, we would probably understand how to raise children in ways that give the most benefits with the least cost, and this craziness in their development of ego, and in ways that will make dropping the ego, once that’s appropriate, a fairly easy thing to do.

Rick: But because of the way we’re raised, it generally either doesn’t happen at all, or if it does, it’s not easy.

Raymond: Well, the way we’re raised right now, it drives us crazy. Self-destructive.

Rick: So, ego historically has been a sort of an evolutionary development that accompanied the development of language, and in the course of a human being’s life, ego develops perhaps commensurate with our language abilities developing. And it serves an essential function throughout our childhood and adolescence, and ideally that function can have done its duty by the time we’re in our 20s, and it can drop off again. So far so good, right? In terms of what I just said?

Raymond: Yes. Exactly.

Rick: Now you had a major ego death decades ago, and you’ve been living life ever since, and so how does life go, having undergone a major ego death? What’s the experience of it? Is it advantageous to have had an ego death? You mentioned how initially you weren’t functioning as well, but do you eventually function better if the ego isn’t in the driver’s seat?

Raymond: See, the problem is the other twin from the one who died is the one that I call Holdfast, and he’s in the driver’s seat.

Rick: But isn’t he part of the ego?

Raymond: Yeah, but the ego is not one lump. I started by saying the ego gives us a pair of twins. Yes-and-no, good-or-bad, that is the very kind of distinction that language makes and our organic being doesn’t. The rabbit doesn’t worry about what’s on the top 40 or any sort of distinction like that at all. It doesn’t need to. But what happened with me is I had these two major ego states which were occupying different parts of our brain body, I call it, our auras, something like that, our chi structure. And one of them died and the other one didn’t. The one who died was the pro-life one, and the one who survived was the anti-life one.

Rick: Then it wasn’t a complete ego death. Only one component of the ego died.

Raymond: If you’re actually working on making the ego, you’re going to go through death after death after death after death.

Rick: I see.

Raymond: It’s a complicated, self-reinforcing, complex structure full of ego holons and a whole bunch of different conformations working together or against each other as occasion arises and necessity dictates. So I have no idea how many ego holons I’ve killed over the years. [Laughter]

Rick: Kind of like whack-a-mole.

Raymond: Pretty much.

Rick: So what you’re saying then is that, and you’re not only speaking of you, you’re speaking of people in general, that the ego is a whole lot of holons, you would call them, a whole lot of components in it. And you don’t just have a black-and-white, night-and-day shift to ego-running-the-show to no-ego-anymore. You could spend a lifetime working out, dissolving, or whatever word you want to use, getting rid of these different holons.

Raymond: Well, mostly. I mean, if Eckhart Tolle, if his story is correct, he had it vanished all at once. So it’s not impossible.

Rick: Yeah.

Raymond: But it’s certainly not the way it worked for me. But if it had worked for me the way it worked for Eckhart Tolle, I wouldn’t have spent 20 years in preparation before I was given a new perennial psychology, which included and talked about how to deal with the ego as I structure it.

Rick: Aha! We should get onto that, actually. But I guess just in response to what you just said, again, everybody’s different, Eckhart Tolle and the Buddha and Ramana and some of these… Yeah, I mean, he went through two years on a park bench, not being able to really do much of anything before he became a bit more integrated. And Ramana Maharshi sat in samadhi in a pit with insects chewing into his legs, oblivious to that. And then many years in a cave before he began to interact with the public. And so we’re all so different, we all have, we could say bundles of karma or components to our makeup that are different. And then, as you were saying before with your dam analogy, some of us have just a little puddle behind the dam, others have a huge gigantic lake, and when the dam breaks, that’s going to result in differences in the force of the flow. And so there’s all these different variables, so you can’t really nail it down as to one thing or another.

Raymond: Yeah, that works.

Rick: Yeah. Alright, so I think we’re getting along here. So you had that ego death, you didn’t recognize it, not until you’re deep into it. “For a while it was peaceful and easy, life running on greased bearings, allowing for” – you’re still in physical agony – “within a few weeks” – I’m reading your notes – “within a few weeks it started, some subsidiary self would emerge, run my life, vanish, many of them bizarre and unpredictable. If one got me into trouble, so what, he wouldn’t be around to pay the piper, it went on like this for months”. And this is actually a fairly common theme with spiritual practitioners. It’s sometimes exacerbated by intense programs like a six-month meditation course or something like that, where something bubbles up and it creates all this drama when it’s bubbled up, and then it gets dissolved, and “Oh, okay, that’s over with”. And then another thing bubbles up, and it just keeps going, like you’re saying, you just keep whack-a-moling these different components that bubble up. So I think you were experiencing something like that, don’t you think?

Raymond: Yeah, yeah. It was in that period that I had my first experience of the non-dual, which I experienced as the conviction that anything that was capable of the sense of “I”, of “this is me, this is me and not that”, that sense of “I-ness” was identical in any other creature.

Rick: I don’t understand.

Raymond: If you have a sense of “I-ness” and I have a sense of “I-ness” and the chipmunk in the tree has a sense of “I-ness”, they’re all the same “I-ness”, they’re identical, they’re all manifestations of one mystery.

Rick: Okay, so you’re saying that all beings, their sense of “I-ness” is similar in some fundamental way, is that what you’re saying?

Raymond: It’s identical.

Rick: Identical, okay, because it’s the same “I” ultimately, right? The self of the chipmunk and the self of you and I, it’s the same self.

Raymond: And the self of the universe.

Rick: And the self of the universe, right. The Gita talks about seeing the self in all beings and all beings in the self. So you had this oneness experience and that pertains to what you just said about the “I-ness”, seeing the self in all beings?

Raymond: My name for non-dual awareness is “mutual I-ness”.

Rick: Meaning seeing the self in all beings, recognizing that there’s only one of us, right?

Raymond: Yeah. Self-recognizing is too abstract, I mean it’s just, that’s it.

Rick: That’s the experience.

Raymond: Yeah.

Rick: Yeah, good. Yeah, that makes sense. I’m sure people relate to that. Okay, and you said you were like running huge volumes of chi, so in other words, energy was coursing through you, but you kept getting hijacked, you mentioned, by these holons, these different components of the self. And what would happen when these hijackings occurred? I mean, would you like take on different personalities or would you just start doing crazy things or what?

Raymond: Within limits. I wasn’t taking off my clothes and squatting on the balcony. But yeah, I’d go out for a walk and never know exactly who I was going to be or how I was going to be behaving or what my viewpoint on the world was. I’d just find out what was on the bill of fare that day by what I was or how I behaved.

Rick: I mean, was your behavior egregious in any way or were you just sort of, did you surprise yourself because you seemed to be running on automatic and you would say and do things that you hadn’t anticipated?

Raymond: I wasn’t starting any riots or anything. I was just… if anybody knew me, they would find my behavior one day to the next surprising and surprisingly variable.

Rick: Can you give us an example?

Raymond: I’m not normally an aggressive guy, but there was that particular day when somebody had stolen something or another from a woman that I happened to know. And I addressed him behaving as though I’m not somebody you ought to be messing with. And he just handed it back to me, which would not have happened normally. And I returned it, but it was perfectly normal behavior for who I was that day.

Rick: Yeah, that’s interesting. Yeah, I’ve seen, I’ve been around some people whom I would consider quite highly enlightened. Amma is a case in point, the so-called hugging saint. And the behavior can be quite mercurial. I mean, crying one minute, laughing the next, angry the next. And it’s not like a kind of craziness. It’s more like since she’s seeing one person after another every few seconds, it’s like a kind of a flexible adaptation to each new circumstance, and not being hidebound by habitual tendencies.

Raymond: Well, that goes on, but it’s also the additional factor is that you’ve got different ego identities taking part in the whole mix.

Rick: So different ones come to the fore according to the need.

Raymond: Well, I don’t know why. If I had to guess, I’d guess that these were subsidiary egos that were manifesting themselves as they collapsed, because they were the abiding ego that died, and that was a structure that supported the subsidiary holons.

Rick: So do you think all these subsidiary holons or subsidiary egos can eventually be purged or cleared out in a person? Do you think that some of the spiritual exemplars throughout history had actually resolved or dissolved all of them? Or as long as you’re alive, are you still going to be working on it?

Raymond: I make a distinction between context and content. Context, for this purpose, is the various ego holons of the entire structure, what I call the ego tree. And within any ego holon, there is a part of you that is essentially stuck within that structure. And when the ego holon is dissolved, then the contents, the self that had been imprisoned there, is released, enlarged I call it. They used to talk about enlarging somebody from prison, which is pretty much the experience. So the more of the ego structure is gone, the more of the context is gone, the more free to heal and participate in life the various contents are.

Rick: Yeah, that makes sense. So these ego holons kind of bind up your life flow or your chi or whatever you want to call it. They restrict it and they… well I mean there’s various Sanskrit terms like samskaras, which are like impressions. And the impressions kind of gunk up the works and prevent the free flow of energy and intelligence and creativity and spontaneity in your behavior. And as these things are released and resolved and eliminated, you become more intelligent, more creative, more conscious, more blissful, more spontaneous in your behavior. And presumably there comes a time when you’ve resolved them all or you’ve resolved enough of them such that liberation takes place and you’re no longer… It’s tricky because obviously all people have their conditioning and their habits and their tendencies regardless of how enlightened they may be. But there seems to be a tipping point at which enough has been resolved that Brahman becomes the charioteer, so to speak, and you’re in the back seat.

Raymond: Well, as I understand it, you’re much better off if you can go all the way and just reduce ego structures to zero.

Rick: Well that’s what I’m getting at, can you?

Raymond: I’m working on it. You’ve got to bear in mind that we’re talking about a statistical universe of one here. So how much this applies to anybody else in the universe, that would be a matter for research if somebody wanted to try and research this.

Rick: Yeah, and I have other people in mind as we’re having this conversation and I’m kind of thinking of famous historical examples people have spoken with and everything else. And we just all have different rows to hoe, different loads to start with. And personally I don’t think of this as a one lifetime project. I think it’s an ongoing thing that we’ve probably been working on for a long time and will continue to be.

Raymond: Well, that may be. Or for all I know, somebody goes to Skandesarus and collects a bunch of things, like an interesting combination, throws them all together, shoots them down to earth, and watches the show. Who knows?

Rick: Yeah, I know some people say it that way, that it’s not like the same soul going from life to life, progressing along, but it’s like God just dips a bucket into the ocean of karma and plop, there goes a human being and he’s got a new toy to play with.

Raymond: Well, we may be able to answer some of that stuff with adequate research, but we don’t have enough knowledge of how to approach any of this. That’s not a falsifiable question at this point.

Rick: Yeah, there is research, but I don’t want to take up too much of our time with this because we have a lot to talk about. But Dr Ian Stevenson from the University of Virginia – and he has a successor whose name eludes me at the moment – but did extensive research with children who remembered past lives, thousands of kids he studied. And they sometimes went to the village where the kid had supposedly lived, and he knew he could name the people and say all kinds of stuff.

Raymond: He also described one instance where a child was born with the memories and scars relating to the wars fought by the village hero. He had a big statue of him in the middle of the town, but the only problem was he was a purely mythological figure. Everybody knew it, which sort of leaves the whole issue more open than we’re presently able to even try and solve.

Rick: Interesting. Remind me of that later, because I’d like to interview that guy one of these days, the guy who took over for Ian Stevenson, and that would be an interesting point to bring up. But let’s get on with your story. So, where we left off, you said by the end of that year, the year of your big awakening, you had gone through a Joseph Campbell-style hero’s journey, except the returning with Boone’s part. You felt like you had earned a happy ending, but no Boone’s for me, no soup for you, let alone anyone else. Your life got even worse. So, what’s up? What’s with that?

Raymond: Well, I’ve already laid that out. I had Tarlamie that was able to stand up to Holdfast, and it was a fight, and he was gone. But Bass was right there with nothing to stop him from stopping me any way he pleased. So, there you go.

Rick: Yeah, so you said healthy living, healthy diet, healthy exercise – nope. Woods walking, martial arts, social life – nope. If you’d wanted it, he wanted you not to have it. You’ve been celibate against your will for 40 years. So, what do they call those? There’s a name for that these days. Incels or something, involuntary celibate people. But in any case, it sounds like this thing really had a grip on you. I mean, some people listening to this, they might say, “Well, geez, can’t you adopt a healthy diet? Can’t you make yourself exercise?” It sounds like you just really weren’t in control, and you just didn’t have a whole lot of free will at this stage, a lot of volition.

Raymond: Free will’s one of those tricky things. If you decide to exercise, and the next day your muscles are all sore, well, do all those muscular cells have free will? It kind of depends on where you’re standing, what free will means and free who. But as far as me and the conduct of my life, there was nothing there of my choice. I was living a whole lot different, but it had allowed my own options.

Rick: Yeah. So you just felt like you were kind of caught in the stream, and you didn’t have a whole lot of ability to swim one way or the other. You were going where the stream took you.

Raymond: There were lots of areas where I could make some choices or another. I could go and find work at one spot and not in another. But the overall theme, no, I didn’t have a whole lot of choice about that.

Rick: Yeah. I must say that there are spiritual practices, for instance, the use of mantras, which, part of it is not just to transcend or get onto pure consciousness or something, but to kind of enliven what you might call “laws of nature”, which results in your life flowing more successfully, getting more fulfillment of desires and things like that is part of the package. Sometimes one can have spiritual awakening without that kind of assistance, and there’s something very interesting happening on a deep spiritual level, but one’s relative life sort of goes to crap, and you can’t really do things as you might like in the relative world.

Raymond: I worked like a dog. I slaved. I researched this and that and the other, any number of things, year upon year after year. Would I have done.. and at the end of 20 years, I was given a new perennial psychology. To hand it to me, would I have done the work necessary to receive that if I had had any free choice in the matter? No.

Rick: So in other words, all this difficulty you went through, all the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, actually were preparation for you to be able to receive this new perennial philosophy. You were being kind of cooked to the point where you could receive it. Is that what you just said?

Raymond: Well, whether that was anybody’s intention, and it may have been, or just the way things happened, that’s the way it worked out.

Rick: Yeah, interesting. Okay, so we’re going to get onto that in a minute. This is a nice bit. You said what mattered was “first do no harm”. Since I could not guarantee that, I kept my mouth shut.

Raymond: Well, I used to do healing and teaching and things, not commercially, just stuff comes up, and you step in an emergency or something like that. I stopped doing that.

Rick: Because you wanted to be sure not to do any harm?

Raymond: Yes, exactly. I couldn’t guarantee that. And that was personally expensive, because it’s rewarding stuff to be doing. But except for a few people who were grandfathered, I stopped doing that because I didn’t have a moral choice otherwise.

Rick: Well, I really admire that. I mean, you had that moral priority. I think that’s really good, and obviously it’s not all that common sometimes. So then you met Swami Muktananda. Tell us that story. I’ve got some notes here, but I’ll let you just tell us.

Raymond: Well, he was at the Oakland, California Ashram.

Rick: Oh yeah, they still have that there.

Raymond: And somebody said, “You ought to check him out, because he seems to be relatively low bullshit”. And I went and visited him and gave him prasad. I asked him about the Kundalini, and he told me, “Yes, that was real Kundalini”. It was a good experience, and you’ll have lots more good experiences.

Rick: Oh boy!

Raymond: Everybody around me thought it was a great prediction, but I was horrified.

Rick: Yeah, he didn’t want more of that. And he gave you Shaktipat.

Raymond: Right.

Rick: Go ahead.

Raymond: It was recognizably the same stuff that I was working with.

Rick: It felt like the same energy, you mean.

Raymond: Yeah. And I spent most of my time, spent a month or two hanging around there, trying to figure things out. Most of what I was trying to figure out was how he got away with it. Because everybody came in telling wonderful, fun stories about their experience. They talked about somebody on a bicycle driving by the ashram, getting hit by Shaktipat. And how were there people piling up in the ambulances, if my Kundalini experience was typical. So I included that probably mine wasn’t so typical. But I still thought the man was playing with fire.

Rick: Yeah, it’s that thing again about the different variables. You know, the amount of water flowing from the broken dam, and the shape and size of the valley into which it’s flowing, and so on. A lot of these people, like you said here in your notes, you said your tentative conclusion was they must not have a lot of spiritual oomph. So it just may be that a lot of them weren’t getting blasted by as much Shakti as you were. Or it might have been that they had fewer blocks to clear, and so it flowed more smoothly. Hard to say. Or both of the above. So you hung around there for a month or two. Was that healing at all? Did you feel like it helped to smooth things out?

Raymond: I was just curious and trying to figure out basically how the hell he got away with it.

Rick: In his own experience you mean? How the hell he managed that level of Shakti without exploding?

Raymond: No, no. How he could take people coming off the street, sit them down, hit them with Shaktipat, and not have ambulances call.

Rick: I see what you mean.

Raymond: Or people jumping off of bridges or whatever.

Rick: Yeah, well that happens too in spiritual scenes. I’ve been in situations where people literally jumped off buildings and killed themselves. Of course that happens at colleges too, it’s not just a spiritual thing. It happens at the Apple manufacturing company in China. They have nets built so people won’t jump. My thought would be that if you don’t have a huge amount of receptivity, you can get a nice high from getting Shaktipat, but it’s not going to totally rock your world. For the most part the whole edifice of your holon, I guess you would call it, is unchanged. It’s just sort of given a little juice by the Shaktipat. In your case, the edifice was being hit with the wrecking ball, as you said. So that’s why I think your experience was so difficult compared to most of the people you saw there.

Raymond: For lack of any better explanation.

Rick: Yeah.

Raymond: That was my guess.

Rick: Yeah, that’s probably true. Okay, so you set out to learn anything you could that might help you live through the next opening – psychology, history, archaeology, anthropology, particle and astrophysics, evolutionary theory and human evolution, many spiritual disciplines. So how long did that period happen when you were studying all that stuff?

Raymond: 20 years.

Rick: Wow, and this was all in preparation for the next spiritual opening that you anticipated?

Raymond: That was trying to save my ass the next time something like that came down. Ideally to avoid it, but I knew that wasn’t going to happen. I wanted to come through at least halfway safe and sane.

Rick: Yeah. Well, it sounded like you’ve alluded to a good thing that happened, which was that you received this download of wisdom or knowledge and all the difficulties that you had gone through were preparatory for that. So perhaps all this study was preparatory for that too.

Raymond: Sure.

Rick: Yeah.

Raymond: And somebody else in a similar situation could study a whole bunch of different things and probably come up with maybe something just as good but entirely different. Who knows?

Rick: You said this little note here. You said, “Meeting Bubastis”. Not important, but a good story. What was that?

Raymond: I was one of the friends who was grandfathered. I was coming over occasionally and trying to help a cat who was sick and not recovering. The vet didn’t offer a whole lot of hope. I came over and tried this and I tried that later on, and nothing much was working. And I finally said, “The only thing that I can think of that might possibly help would be the call for the essence of catness and see if that was willing to do anything for this particular individual cat”. He said, “Okay, so…”.

Rick: Like the cat deva or something.

Raymond: Yeah, exactly. And that’s exactly what I got. You know those Egyptian statues with a cat sitting up right in the middle of the light?

Rick: Yeah.

Raymond: She deigned to fit herself from floor to ceiling in the apartment, radiant, glowing, impossible. Showed up, gave a flick of attention to the cat, vanished.

Rick: Wait a minute, so you mean you actually saw something like that?

Raymond: Not with my physical eyes, but yeah.

Rick: Yeah, like you said before, it was just intuitive knowing. So you saw some kind of cat deva show up, heal the cat, and leave.

Raymond: Well, she did something to the cat. My friend was delighted. The cat, by report, came down with a case of psychic inflation. Her attitude seemed to be, “Kibble? You expect me to kibble? Don’t you know I’m this touch?” “Where’s my lobster serum though? I’m a little bit heavier”.

Rick: That’s funny. There’s all kinds of cat jokes like that, how cats think they’re God.

Raymond: But the cat went on to live a couple more years, so it wasn’t all bad.

Rick: Happy story, I love cats.

Raymond: I was standing there wondering how I’d managed to be that stupid again. But fortunately, she didn’t do anything to me.

Rick: Why were you stupid?

Raymond: Fiddling around with any sort of goddess. You cannot negotiate with something where the power differential is that great. Those powers, the devas or angels, there’s a lot more things they can do to you than you can do to them.

Rick: Yeah, I mean you wouldn’t want to invite something that you didn’t understand what you were inviting, but I presume some of them are benign, and at least it sounds like this one was.

Raymond: Yeah, it’s just you’re taking a hell of a risk.

Rick: Yeah, maybe there’s a way of doing it safely where you don’t end up inviting the wrong thing, but you just elicit the aid of positive forces.

Raymond: Yeah.

Rick: I think there are ways. There’s a whole thing in the Gita about how you support the gods and they support you, and obviously that differs from some kind of demonic activities or something like that.

Raymond: But I was just winging it, wasn’t I?

Rick: Yeah, it just happened. Okay, so now let’s get to the important stuff. I mean, not that this other stuff hasn’t been important, but in January of 2001, you were given “Stalking the Ego with Gun and Camera”, which sounds like the title of a book. You don’t know where it came from. So this is the thing you alluded to, I believe, which occurred. There was this wisdom download after 20 years of hell and preparation. So tell us about that.

Raymond: It took five years plus to get it all written down. When I taught myself to write, I was all for clear, simple, brief, don’t confuse anybody. So when I received this stuff, it was all sort of in a weird sort of blank verse. And if I tried to rewrite it in English, I got instant writer’s block. I’d get chunks of stuff and write it down, and chunks of stuff and write it down, and write something down, and six months later I’d write something down and take it over there and recognize that’s where it went, and it fit just like that. I have no idea where it came from, but it was someplace a hell of a lot smarter than I am.

Rick: Interesting. It sounds like the Course in Miracles or something, where it was just channeled by somebody who couldn’t have written it and didn’t even understand half of what it was saying.

Raymond: Right. All that stuff about the nature of the ego, that’s all post this book. That’s where I got all that stuff.

Rick: Yeah. So in other words, the whole download is where you got all that stuff.

Raymond: Right. And eventually it tapered out, in part because I wasn’t grown enough to receive anymore. But I spent the years since then learning how to use the system, which I had no idea about when I was receiving it. So I’ve got a lot better understanding of how to make it a working system now than I used to.

Rick: Yeah. It sounds like it could have been the kind of thing that was channeled from some higher source, but it could also just be your own cognition of deeper mechanics of things. You were able to get in glimpses and put it all together.

Raymond: Well, possibly. It doesn’t feel like that to me.

Rick: It felt more like it was bequeathed to you from some wiser being or something?

Raymond: If we are in fact manifestations of some larger self within a physical dimension, that larger self might be a whole lot smarter than we are. A lot of reports from near-death experiences and such like would indicate that. How you interpret them, that’s an open question. But it might have been my grown-up self helping us.

Rick: Yeah, or your higher self or whatever. So that’s not so important as is what it actually is we’re talking about here. So you said you didn’t fully understand it as it was coming through, but that over time you’ve really been able to make sense of it. So what is it?

Raymond: Well, I’ve been talking a whole lot about what it is. If, once again, Eckhart Tolle didn’t have to do anything to get his awakening, except a whole lot of suffering and then plop, it happened, and when people ask him what’s the use of the ego, is it an evolutionary mistake or something, he really has no clue. And I suspect that if it happened to me that way, I’d have no clue either. But I wasn’t going to get out of this without getting that clue and a whole bunch of others and learning to turn them into action.

Rick: What is the practical significance of this for people and for you? I mean, what effect has it had on your life? Because I don’t think we yet have a clear understanding of what it is you’re talking about, although I imagine a lot of stuff we’ve been talking about so far today derives from this download that you got. But if somebody’s listening to this and wondering, “Oh, is there something here I can do? Is there some course or some kind of teaching that I can read that I’ll get something out of?” What is it? Has it been published? Did you write a book on this, or is it on a website, or…?

Raymond: No, I don’t. The same lopsidedness of character, without which I receive all this stuff, makes it impossible for me to try and broadcast it or commercialize it or turn it into a book or something like that. I just don’t have the right mindset to do all of that.

Rick: Is it in a coherent written form now, as a document, that if we give your email address people could ask for it and you could send it to them?

Raymond: I could probably do that. But the original document that I received still exists and I’ll lay these things out, but it doesn’t say anything about how to use them. So that book is like volume one, and a lot of the stuff that I’ve written since then is pieces of how it all works together. But I don’t have anything coherent. But all of that aside, if somebody came to me and said, “Will you teach me how to use your system?” The first thing I would do is try and talk them out of it.

Rick: Why?

Raymond: My life is an example of why it’s a risky thing to be playing with these kinds of powers.

Rick: So do you think that what you have written could be used by others to elicit the kind of experience that you had? It might trigger the same sort of crisis that you went through?

Raymond: That’s entirely possible.

Rick: Okay. So let’s say a person says, “Well, I’m willing to take the risk because I think this is interesting”. So what would they receive? What would they learn? What would they do?

Raymond: I really don’t know. I tried on the BatGap forum, publishing various chunks of this, and when people talked about this or that or the other piece of the Egos, they understood it. I’d say, “Here, look at a copy of this. This is what it looks like to me”. And they just ignore me, pretty much. So I’m not at all certain that what I write sufficiently communicates things, or maybe they were not sufficiently willing to listen, who knows. But I don’t have it in any kind of presentable format at this point.

Rick: Okay. But I’m still trying to get out of you what actually it is. And let’s say, okay, so it’s not in a presentable format that people could access right now, but if it ever got to a presentable format, what would it be? What are we talking about here?

Raymond: I can tell you the way it worked with me, which you’ve got the – I’m trying to do this without the jargon, which won’t make any sense to anybody anymore than any other specialty jargon does. The general way that the system works itself is from the top down and from the outside in, and it starts working with the smallest available ego holons. And the further you get into it, the larger the ego holons become, until you have ego holons attached to the major chakras, and then to larger groups of the chakras. And the farther you go in, the larger the groups of chakras you are dealing with, the more power you need to deal with them safely, the more access to spiritual consciousness you need to deal with them at all. And the Hindu system talks about the base chakras and the sublime chakras. The base chakras are below the heart, down to the root chakra, and the sublime ones are above the heart and up to the crown center. And then there is a whole… the base chakras are centered for that unit at the hara, the crown, the sublime chakras are centered at the brow chakra, and the whole that contains those two is centered at the heart. And what happened with my major ego death was the ego of the sublime chakras died, and the ego of the base chakras was still alive. So you work through this stuff until you are able to encompass and heal your sublime chakras, and then your base chakras, and then the whole which combines those two is the pair of twins of the larger self, that the larger unit that’s centered at the heart. And not until you’ve reached that point and have unmade the chakras, the ego holon, the major one, corresponding to the sublime chakras and the one from the base chakras, and then finally made taken apart, the one that’s centered at the heart, which encompasses the whole system, when that point has been reached, and that set of chakras and the ego holons is unmade, then you’re done.

Rick: That’s interesting. Now that sounded very coherent, and that made sense to me. And just to make sure I did understand it, so what you’re saying is that as one works through this system, the more minor or weaker impressions, if we want to use that word, or holons, the smaller ones, get knocked off, get worked out. But you don’t have the depth or spiritual maturity or strength to tackle the bigger ones, and so ideally you work through them progressively from smaller to bigger, and as you gain the capacity to work on the bigger ones, then you do.

Raymond: That’s the ideal.

Rick: Yeah, ideal.

Raymond: And that’s where I got in so much trouble, came from the fact that I started with this major ego holon system, encompassing the sublime chakras all at once, without doing any of the preliminary workup.

Rick: Yeah. So you just kind of plunged in the deep end, so to speak, without having done enough preparatory stuff.

Raymond: Yeah. No water wings either.

Rick: No water wings, yeah. And that’s why traditions like Vedanta and all have a progressive nature to them, and the highest teachings aren’t necessarily given out to the novices. In fact, I’ve been spending a lot of time listening to a swami named Swami Sarvapriyananda, who grew up in ashrams in India, and he said, “When you got there, you pretty much worked hard for the first 10 years. You wouldn’t just sit down and plunge into meditation 18 hours a day or something”. Did what I say so far make sense? That you work progressively and you kind of…

Raymond: Yeah.

Rick: And it’s important to get things in the right order in order to not have such a hard time of it.

Raymond: That’s the safest way to go.

Rick: Yeah. So like, in the yoga system, they’ll teach you the yamas and the niyamas, which are the do’s and don’ts. And similar in Vedanta, there are sort of ethical foundations that have to be established before you can proceed on to other things. And if you try to do it backwards, you can get yourself in trouble.

Raymond: Well, right in the book, I said you practice the yamas and the niyamas.

Rick: You mentioned that?

Raymond: Yeah.

Rick: Yeah, yeah. Okay, there you go. Good, so that’s a traditional understanding. And so, in your book, in addition to sort of sketching out the whole topography of the chakras and the holons and how this whole thing unfolds, are you somehow offering practices or something that people can do to progress like this through these steps?

Raymond: I was too ignorant. I didn’t know enough.

Rick: That’s okay.

Raymond: It was all I could do just to get the basic information down.

Rick: Yeah, yeah.

Raymond: And it took me basically another 15 years to actually learn how to apply any of that stuff. So that’s not in that book at all.

Rick: Uh-huh. So you have another book in you?

Raymond: Well, I could. I don’t fancy getting something published. Sounds like a hell of a lot of work that I would be better spent writing about what’s important to me.

Rick: Yeah. Maybe somebody else will publish it. At some point somebody could put a website together for you and you could have it up on that for people to download. And so I imagine that this whole process of writing all this stuff down and working it all out and getting it orderly has been an evolutionary procedure for you. It must have helped your own development, helped you work things out.

Raymond: Oh yeah. Even when I was getting the first book, I’d take something down and there would be corresponding changes in my chi structure.

Rick: Uh-huh.

Raymond: That was happening all of the time when I was just receiving the first one.

Rick: Yeah.

Raymond: And it continues to happen to this day.

Rick: “Continues to happen” means as you receive things, it has a beneficial effect? Is that what you’re saying?

Raymond: Yeah. As I’m figuring things out, writing down what I’m figuring out, that’s a spiritual exercise.

Rick: Absolutely.

Raymond: With changes in my understanding, changes in my chi structure, changes in my ego structure.

Rick: Yeah, yeah. I experienced that doing these interviews. I really think that some form of spiritual teaching – obviously it could take many forms – is in itself a very potent exercise or practice for one’s own development.

Raymond: Well, so is writing things down.

Rick: Yeah, well that’s a form of spiritual teaching right there.

Raymond: I highly recommend meditating, sitting at your computer, and you get some insight or another, you type it down. You get some insight or another, you write it down. And you date it, and that’s your day’s work. And the next day you write it down, and the next month you write it down, and the next year you write it down. And ten years down the line, or twenty or thirty, you’ve got a treasure trove of all the work you’ve been doing for all of those years, expressed in words, and exactly matching what was going on at the time. I can’t give a better piece of advice to anybody than that.

Rick: Yeah, I have a friend named Harri Alto who’s been on this program a few times, and he’s been doing that for decades. He has all kinds of beautiful experiences, but he also just reams of journal pages in which he writes it all down. And he feels, actually my former teacher Maharishi Mahesh Yogi used to say that, just what you’re saying, if you can express it somehow by writing it down, write down your experiences, it solidifies or anchors them somehow, and integrates them. I haven’t been doing it, but it sounds like it’s advised by some people.

Raymond: And I strongly recommend studying Carl Rogers, particularly learning focusing, which was a refinement to speed up learning how to do it, by a student of his named Gendlin. And there are groups called Changes Groups all around the country, where you can go in for free, learn how to do this focusing process. And the thing about it is, you say something, or you receive something, you put it into language, does that work? Normally there’s a dyad when you’re doing it, and somebody else is reflecting it back. But I learned to do it just on my own, so I don’t need somebody else around every time I’m doing this. So you reflect it back, is that right? You get that feeling, yes. Is it wrong? No. Yes, it’s wrong. So you try it again, until you’ve got something that works, and that feels right. And then you take the next step, and you do the same thing, and the next step, and you do the same thing. So what is negotiating and guiding you through this work is that process of asking yourself, is this right? Is this wrong? And when it’s right, you go with it. Because all of you are smarter than some of you. And this is a way to let all of you be doing the work.

Rick: That’s good. So it’s been like, what, 40 years or so now since you had this Kundalini awakening?

Raymond: Yep.

Rick: And how are you doing now? I mean, it was hellacious in the beginning, but you’ve been doing all this work on it, and how do you feel in general now?

Raymond: Well, there’s a lot of ways in which my life is just still messed up, but Robert Heinlein often describes happiness as spending long hours doing something you think is really worth doing. And this is really worth doing.

Rick: That’s great. It brings you joy.

Raymond: Yes.

Rick: You know, the kind of the suffering, and you kind of gave the impression that you were going through a meat grinder in the early days. Do you feel smoother now? Do you feel like the intensity of the Kundalini experience has cleared a lot of stuff out, and there’s just a smoother flow of chi, if you want to use that word, and life is more fulfilling?

Raymond: Well, allowing for the fact that I’m still being tortured every day, yeah.

Rick: How are you still being tortured every day?

Raymond: Well, because Holdfast is that Eagle Holon, the Big Shot Holon, that’s where Holdfast lives. That’s where he is, and he’s still there. And until I kill him, I’m still going to be tortured every day.

Rick: You just can’t crack that one. So how would you, how do you, are you working on killing him?

Raymond: Yep.

Rick: By doing what?

Raymond: The same process that I was just describing. I sit down at the computer and meditate, and usually it doesn’t look like focusing anymore, but I’m open to whatever I receive. I never sit down intending… well, if I’ve got some particular problem I need to sort out, I might sit down and meditate on that, but as a general rule, I don’t intend anything. I just sit down and meditate, take whatever comes, and follow it wherever it leads, and the next day do the same thing, and over the years, all of that stuff turns out to have a coherent nature of its own. And it’s much safer than my intellectual self trying to figure out what to work on and bossing the rest of me around. That’s dangerous.

Rick: So do you feel like you’re chipping away at this Holdfast guy? Is he weakening at all?

Raymond: I’ve given up on predicting or guessing or anything.

Rick: Yeah, you can’t predict, but do you ever think about it? Do you feel like he’s going to be in control until the day I die, or do you feel like you’ll emerge victorious at one point?

Raymond: Yes, if I live long enough, I will kill him, but who knows? I spend an awful lot of time over the years. Well, that major thing, that must have done something or another. Whoops, no it didn’t. How about this one? Nope. So I gave up on that. It happens when it happens, or it won’t.

Rick: That’s a good attitude, I guess. What would you expect life to be like if you were to kill him?

Raymond: If you had asked me before the Kundalini awakening what life would be like after it had some serious spiritual experiences, I could not have told you. Anything I conceived of or dreamed, it might be/ was so far off the mark that it would have been a meaningless question and a meaningless answer. And I’m sure that’s true today.

Rick: Yeah, okay. I get you. You just can’t really imagine what it would be like. It’s kind of a dumb question, but sometimes people have a sort of a sense and then it usually turns out to be wrong. But it’s probably to your credit that you’re not speculating. So here’s an interesting thing you see. Oops, I dropped the paper. You say, “At the core of the ego holon, between the pairs of opposites, there lies a layer of God-immanent, experiencing the divine mystery within creation, and a deeper layer of God-transcendent, experiencing that which is prior to creation. Both conditions of being exist within every ego holon of every human ego”. That’s beautiful. That’s really profound.

Raymond: And very encouraging.

Rick: Yeah, yeah. But I mean, yeah, it’s encouraging in the sense that whatever a person is going through, if they can realize or believe that God is at the very foundation and core of it, of my life, then you kind of realize you’re never abandoned, and that there’s the possibility of becoming consciously aware of that level of existence.

Raymond: Yeah, I think it was Eddington who said, “The stuff of the world is mind stuff” but I think the stuff of the world is God stuff.

Rick: Yeah, yeah. I heard the saying one time that God may be omnipotent, but the one thing he can’t do is remove himself from your heart, because he is omnipresent, and he couldn’t possibly remove himself from anywhere, and that would include the core of our being.

Raymond: Yeah, the original Eckhart, Meister Eckhart, said, “The final leave-taking is the leaving of God for God”.

Rick: And so you say that here. You say, “When people sense that we are always already enlightened, that is what they intuit. We always are that mystery, even at the core of the most malignant human ego”. It’s very profound. Go ahead, you were going to say.

Raymond: No, you’re doing fine.

Rick: Well, I’m talking too much probably. That totally makes sense to me, just that there’s kind of a divine intelligence pervading everything. I often say this. And everything means everything – even the most horrific stuff. It’s just that the more horrific stuff obscures it more deeply, and that’s the whole purpose of spiritual endeavor, is to thin out the obscurations, to thin the veils that hide it, and eventually it’ll shine clearly when those veils have sufficiently dissipated.

Raymond: Let me talk a little bit about what happens within.

Rick: Please.

Raymond: Holon, and working at it. I said it’s divided by a PALE. Now, each PALE, the division, think denial and splitting, it’s the same basic psychological phenomena. You got something that’s not acceptable, you reject it, and it ends up on the far side of the PALE. Think beyond the PALE, the same sort of sense.

Rick: Are you saying PALE, P-A-I-L, or P-A-L-E?

Raymond: P-A-L-E.

Rick: Okay. So clarify a little bit what you mean by that word.

Raymond: Well, basically it means offense, or if you’re talking about European heraldry, if a field is divided vertically, it could be party for PALE, as you’re in Argent, for example. Or if there’s a broad stripe down the middle, that’s called a PALE.

Rick: So this phrase “beyond the PALE”, it actually refers to the way they… go ahead.

Raymond: The way it’s normally used is for Northern Ireland, you’re on one side of the PALE and you’re in Belfast, and the other side, you’re in Catholic country in one part of the world, and one side of the PALE in Protestant country in the other. And it’s the same sort of… you’re in trouble if you try and cross it, business. So once the PALE is established, each twin projects all of its negatives onto the other twin. So what you look at, if you look across the PALE, is all of the nasty stuff that you’re projecting out there, that twin is projecting onto the other one, and that’s the terror face that that side of the PALE shows to you. And the other one, other twin, does the same thing from the other side. So if you want to reconcile those twins, it is essential that you accept and metabolize and experience all of those negative projections before you can go any further. But when you do that, then the PALE collapses in some sense, and the stuff in one twin can wander over in the other, stuff in the other twin can wander in the other direction, and you have a creative union. When you do that creative union, you also get access to the divine emptiness between the walls of the PALE. And if you’re talking about St John of the Cross’ system, where you got an awakening and then the dark night of the self, and then another awakening, well, that’s what you get when that produces what they call “light mystics”. And you take another step through the dark night of the soul, and that produces dark mystics, and the dark mystics are the ones who are treading on non-dual territory. When Eckhart said, “The final leave-taking is leaving God for God”, he’s talking about leaving the bright mysticism behind and entering into the dark mysticism of no distinctions at all. And somewhere along the line during that process, that individual ego holon collapses, and the only things left are the contents, which are now enlarged and now freed to take a living part in the whole.

Rick: Interesting. Yeah, I think that was very clear. I don’t know if you want me to respond in some way to elicit further elaboration from you. I can do so, but that was a pretty complete statement.

Raymond: Well, it’s your show, Rick.

Rick: Yeah, thanks. That was good, just letting it sink in. So, let me recapitulate to make sure I understood it, and perhaps you’ll come back with more. But when this sort of division that exists within us is externalized, then you have polarization and dispute between, let’s say, Israelis and Palestinians, or Republicans and Democrats, or communists and democracies, and all the frictions and conflicts in the world. But those are all external manifestations of the inner division within the millions of people who inhabit the world. So, what you’re advocating is a kind of a reconciliation of that division within each of us. And if that happens, then – well, you didn’t say this, but I imagine the external divisions would diminish. But also, it enables us to gain access to a deep unity, because the literal disunity within us has been resolved or reconciled.

Raymond: It’s going to be hard put to reform the world individual enlightenment by individual enlightenment, but the more broad spread it is, if we had a working culture that could make on making the ego a standard practice, we would reduce the inherent craziness and self-destructive madness that we see everywhere in human life and back in history by a lot.

Rick: Yeah, absolutely.

Raymond: How that would actually work in practice? Once again, that’s a matter for research.

Rick: Yeah, well, as you say, it may be hard to reform the world individual enlightenment by individual enlightenment, but I would say it’s impossible to reform the world otherwise. Because if you don’t do it on that level, it’s like saying, “Okay, this forest here is all gray and withered looking. How do we make it green?” Well, you have to actually make each individual tree green, and then the forest will be.

Raymond: You got it.

Rick: Yeah. Any emails coming in, Irene? And I think it is happening. There’s this proliferation of interest in spiritual awakening and actual spiritual awakening. Despite all the craziness in the world, there’s something afoot on a subtle level which is spreading. And perhaps individuals are being transformed in the ways that you’ve described, this sort of dissolving of these ego holons and harmonization of inner divisiveness. And it’s a deep thing, and therefore it has a lot of leverage. Even though it’s subtle, it’s deep, and it could have a much bigger impact on external events than one might suspect.

Raymond: We’re in an area where technology matters, too. The original Axial Age was the result of the maturation of the Iron Age, transferring from the Bronze Age. Bronze weapons were expensive because tin was rare. Iron was cheap. That democratized violence and provided the conditions, which were just terrible to be living through, which various sages attempted to solve in a bunch of solutions we call the Axial Age. Well, we’re living through the transition right now into the Information Age. And one of the best things about that is that new psychological knowledge and spiritual knowledge can spread a lot faster. And hate can spread a lot faster, too. So we’ll have to see who wins.

Rick: Yeah, it’s almost like the light and the darkness are both increasing at the same time, maybe.

Raymond: Well, that’s the way it works.

Rick: It does, isn’t it?

Raymond: Pairs of opposites.

Rick: Well, I’ll place my money on the light. It’s a happier bet.

Raymond: That’s what I’m working towards.

Rick: Yeah, good. Yeah, we’re all on the same team, one big team. So is there anything, Raymond, that you want to say in conclusion or anything really important that we somehow didn’t get to? I’m sure there’s tons of stuff. You’ve written hundreds of pages worth of material, but how have we done over the last couple of hours?

Raymond: I think we’ve done pretty well.

Rick: Good, good. All right. Well, thank you so much. I’ve really known about you for years, and it’s really been good to get to know you better and to spend this time with you. I really appreciate it.

Raymond: Well, I’ve enjoyed it, too. Thank you Rick.

Rick: You’re welcome. Do you want people to be able to get in touch with you if they wish to, and how would they do that? I could put your email address up on your BatGap page, or they can chat with you in the BatGap Facebook group. What would you like to do?

Raymond: Well, you’re welcome to put my email address, and I will pay attention to somebody who’s talking about me at the BatGap group or today at the spiritual – what’s it? – reformation group. You founded the damn thing.

Rick: Oh, the Association for Spiritual Integrity. Yeah, yeah.

Raymond: If somebody is talking about me there, I will know that I shouldn’t respond.

Rick: Okay, good.

Raymond: But those two and my email, that’s about it.

Rick: Good. All right, so on your BatGap page on BatGap.com, I’ll put your email and people can contact you if you like. Maybe they’d like a copy of your writings and stuff. And then I’ll create a post on the BatGap Facebook group, as I always do, for this particular interview. And there will be a link to that post on YouTube in the description, and also on your BatGap Facebook page. And if people want to get in there and discuss what we’ve been discussing or interact with you there, they could just click on that link.

Raymond: Fine.

Rick: Good. All right, so thank you so much, Raymond. I’ve really enjoyed this, and I hope others have too. And you take care, and we’ll be in touch.

Raymond: Will do.

Rick: All right. Talk to you later. Bye.

Raymond: Bye.

Rick: And to those who have been listening or watching, thank you for that, and we’ll see you for the next one.