Rick: Welcome to Buddha at the Gas Pump. My name is Rick Archer. Buddha at the Gas Pump is an ongoing series of interviews with spiritually awakening people. I’ve done over 375 of them now, and if you have not seen these before, go to batgap.com and look under the past interviews menu, and you’ll find them all organized in about five different ways. This show is made possible by the support of appreciative listeners and viewers, and so if you appreciate it and feel like supporting it, there’s a PayPal link on every page of the site. My guest today is Regina Dawn Akers, and I’ve kind of known Regina for quite a few years now, probably five or six years we’ve been peripherally in touch, but I’ve never really spoken to her directly. And I’ve had a couple of her books in my iTunes collection to listen to, but I’ve never gotten around to listening to them until last week, and I started doing so and really enjoyed them. So I’m going to start by just reading the bio that Regina sent me, and then we’ll get into it in much more detail. Regina has been sharing spiritual teachings, organizing retreats, and leading pilgrimages to holy sites in Israel and India since 2005. She’s published two books, “The Holy Spirit’s Interpretation of the New Testament,” NTI for short, and “The Teachings of Inner Ramana.” Her third book, “Thoughts of Awakening, 365 Thoughts for Daily Contemplation,” is provided as a free ebook. Each of these books came to Regina from within through her willingness to be their scribe, student, and teacher. She’s a living model of their teachings and a clear channel of the deeper meaning that lies hidden beyond the written word. Regina shares insightful and consistent clarity using a variety of spiritual teachings as pointers. She is the founder of Awakening Together, a worldwide online spiritual assembly dedicated to helping people become self-reliant with inner spiritual wisdom. Awakening Together uses the teachings of many spiritual traditions to point toward one truth, one true self, which lies peacefully within each of us. Regina is the author of Awakening Together’s two-year minister preparation program, which is a contemplative study of truth through teachings from Hinduism, Buddhism, Sufism, Kabbalah, and the Tao Te Ching, “A Course in Miracles,” and the New Testament, and contemporary masters including Ramana Maharshi and Nisargadatta Maharaj. When she is not traveling, Regina lives a quiet life in Pueblo, Colorado. She enjoys spending time with her family, her dog, and a few close friends. Many of Regina’s teachings are available freely online at reginadawnakers.com. She also invites everyone to enjoy the inspiration and online spiritual community provided through Awakening-Together.org. So, welcome Regina.
Regina: Thank you. Hi.
Rick: Hi. I read that whole thing even though people could read it on the website because some people just listen to this as an audio and they may not have even looked at the website so it gives them an overview of who you are.
Regina: Thank you.
Rick: I’ve listened to a couple of interviews with you and I’ve heard your story of how you stumbled into all this but probably no one else has who’s listening to this, so let’s go through it chronologically. You have an interesting story, and I think a lot of information will come out as you recount it.
Regina: All right.
Rick: Okay, so you grew up in a rather conservative Christian family, was it?
Regina: Well, they were.
Rick: Or maybe a disinterested Christian family.
Regina: Yeah, disinterested Christian.
Rick: You started going to church, right?
Regina: Yeah, it was a Christian culture. I was raised in Kansas.
Regina: So, I don’t know. I think Kansas is just about as…
Rick: It’s the buckle of the Bible Belt.
Regina: Yeah. It’s as Midwestern as you get, let’s put it that way.
Regina: I guess the story starts when I was around 11. I don’t remember exactly what age, but I think 11, and for some reason I wanted to get to know God. And so, the only way that I could do it that I knew of at the time was just to walk to the nearest church, which was about two blocks away, and I started attending. It was a Southern Baptist church, and at first I really liked it. I was saved and I was baptized and that felt really good, and then it wore off, so I got saved and baptized again [laughter] and I got in trouble. I was told I couldn’t do this a third time. But at some point, I was around 13, and I was in seventh grade, and we were having our first school dance and I wanted to go to this school dance and the preacher told me that it was a sin to dance. I asked him to show me that in the Bible. I’ve always been very sincere so at that time I thought the Bible was the Word of God, so if he had been able to show me that it was a sin, I wouldn’t have gone to the dance, but he couldn’t show me. And so, even as a young kid, I thought, “This guy is just making stuff up,” and I left. My next religious experience was my parents got a divorce, and my father remarried a woman, and shortly after they got remarried she became one of Jehovah’s Witnesses. And I think just out of a desire to be part of the family, I started going to the Kingdom Hall and studying with Jehovah’s Witnesses. But based on my experience with this Baptist preacher, I really liked them for two reasons. One, they could show me everything in the Bible that they said, and two, they didn’t believe in a hell, which was a step up, I thought.
Rick: Did they believe in dancing?
Regina: Yeah, it was okay to dance.
Rick: Oh, okay.
Regina: Yeah, no holidays, but you could dance.
Rick: Dance every day.
Regina: Yeah, but at some point, I think when I was around 15 or 16… First I’ve got to tell you a little bit about my dad. My dad is this really good guy. In fact, if you think of Sheriff Andy Taylor, do you remember him?
Rick: From “The Andy Griffith Show”?
Regina: Yeah, yeah. That’s my dad, except he was a JCPenney manager, but he’s just this really good, good guy.
Rick: And you were Opie, right?
Regina: Yeah, I suppose so. But he never took to being one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, even though his wife and his four stepdaughters did, and I did, he never took to it. And the Witnesses, even though they don’t believe in hell, they do believe in Armageddon, and they believe that Jesus is going to return and God is going to really severely punish all of the unbelievers, the unbelievers being people that aren’t Jehovah’s Witnesses. And I remember reading things like the birds plucking the eyeballs out of the people and just this horrible, horrible stuff, and I thought, I looked at my dad, who’s just this really good guy, and I thought, “I’m more loving than that. I would not do that to him just because he doesn’t believe something, and God has got to be more loving than me.” So that caused me to walk away from that spirituality as well.
Rick: There’s two interesting points here which we could talk about for a minute. One is believing stuff. I’ve thought about this in various ways over the years, but the best way I can look at it now is everything is a working hypothesis. Everything is something you can investigate, and maybe some hypotheses are more credible than others, like it’s probably more likely that the moon is made of rock than it’s made of green cheese, but if somebody wants to say it’s made of green cheese, fine, let’s investigate that. So that’s point number one. And point number two is this, what I regard as a sort of a fear-based, egotistical thing about thinking that “my way is the only way,” or “my way is the best way.” And it’s like this insecurity, actually, that reveals itself in that attitude. Anyway, why don’t you comment on both of those things?
Regina: Well, you sound like me, Rick. I don’t know if you’ve listened to any of my teachings, but…
Rick: I have, yeah.
Regina: Yeah, that’s exactly how I feel. I feel that, first of all, believing is a huge block to realizing what’s true and that in order to realize what’s true, first we have to uncover and remove our beliefs. And I don’t know if … I sent you recently a very recent teaching of mine where… [crosstalk]
Rick: I listened to that, yeah.
Regina: …I’m going even deeper and deeper and deeper into that, letting go of everything that I believe, because I really just feel beliefs are the obstacle. So I am letting go of everything, and I am just being present with what is being. I have a very, very strong intuition, so I have something that I can pay attention to, so I don’t feel like I’m hanging out there with nothing. But I’m leaving the thinking mind behind and all of its beliefs and all of its opinions. And then as far as there’s only one way, Awakening Together is all about the fact … If we look at just the planet Earth, for example, and don’t imagine any planets other than this with people on it, because we don’t know that for sure, at least I don’t. So if we look at just the planet Earth with seven and a half billion souls, I feel there’s probably seven and a half billion different awakenings. There’s not any two that are exactly alike. There are certainly things that we can glean from each other and learn from each other and point to, but there’s no such thing as one way. And I do feel a lot of teachers make a mistake in that they think that their way is the way and that’s just a little error, I think.
Rick: Yeah. I’ve been reading a book called “Reason and Wonder” by a guy named Dave Pruett and at this point in the book he’s tracing the history of the tussle between science and religion over the position of the Earth relative to the other planets and the sun and so on. They’d burn people at the stake for believing that the Earth was not the center of the universe and that there might actually be other planets in the universe that other beings live on because this was seen as such a threat to the primacy of the church and the primacy of human life and so on. I haven’t talked to one recently, but whenever I’m confronted by fundamentalists, I tend to start talking astronomy with them. It shuts them up pretty quick. [laughter]
Regina: I’m not capable of doing that.
Rick: Well you just start giving them a sense of the size of the universe and the probability of the universe being teeming with life, and the speed of light, and how huge it is and how ancient it is and so on. It’s a good way of expanding people’s perspective, I think.
Regina: Yeah, and I think that the reason people like to think that “my way is the way” is, again, that holds on to “me”. There has to be a “me” to have a “my way,” so it’s just another defense mechanism.
Rick: Yeah. And it’s also this attitude that, “Well my way is the best way because I’m doing it. If there was something better, I’d be doing that, but obviously I’m doing this, so it must be the best.”
Rick: Anyway, I guess we’ve beaten that point to death.
Regina: Back to the story, you think?
Rick: Yeah, go ahead, back to the story.
Regina: The next step in the story is a long ways away. I took time off to party and travel around the world and start a career and lots of stuff and I think the next step is probably when I was around 28 years old. I don’t even know why this happened, but all of a sudden I just had this burning desire to know what the truth is. But at that time I still had a belief that the Bible was the Word of God, and I thought that the truth would be the correct interpretation of the Bible. So I bought this lovely book called “Religions in America”. And what’s great about it is it goes to the leaders of each of the respective churches and it interviews them about their beliefs. so you’re getting it right from the horse’s mouth. And I also got like seven different translations of the Bible, because if you look at different translations, they aren’t the same either. I started this huge research project where I was studying every major religion in America, every major Christian religion, I should say, every denomination, to find the right one. And the only thing that study did was show me that at some point, in order to uphold their beliefs, somebody had to ignore something in the Bible, or they had to twist something in all sorts of different ways. And it just kind of left me with, none of them are the truth. And I don’t remember if I felt like that was a failure or not. I think I might have, because I think I gave up the search for a while. But now that I look back on it, that was a huge step forward, because I had to remove that obstacle that the Bible was the word of God, and it’s the truth, and that whole thing, and that’s of course what happened.
Rick: If you got into a little biblical history, reading Elaine Pagels and all that stuff, you probably realize that what we now have as the Bible is really a hodgepodge that was collected together and edited every which way over the years. If you took all the original texts and even the non-text, because a lot of stuff wasn’t even written down for a couple of hundred years, but if you could have been there as a scribe and gotten it all, who knows what we’d have compared to what we do have.
Regina: Yeah, that would be fun to be the scribe of the Bible. Of course, in a way I got my own chance at that, and we’ll talk about that.
Rick: Right, right.
Regina: I think the next step was probably a few years after that. I saw Marianne Williamson on Oprah.
Rick: Whom I’m going to interview in about a month.
Regina: Oh, you are? Okay, well, she was talking about her book “A Return to Love.” I think this was around the time that book had come out. And you know how you get that inner feeling that, “Oh, there’s something here.” That’s what I got and so I bought that book and I read that book a couple of times and just ate it up. And then I wanted to go to the source material. She was talking about another book called “A Course In Miracles” and I considered that the source material. So I went to that and I gave that a try, but it didn’t really take. First of all, I couldn’t understand the words very well. Even though they were English words, it was Greek to me. And there’s a workbook, for people who don’t know, with the Course, with 365 lessons in it. And I started the workbook, and at first it’s pretty easy. You do something for a minute in the morning and a minute in the evening. But at some point, the Course is asking you to remember something every hour or every half hour, or even every 15 minutes. And my feeling was – and Jesus is the supposed author of the Course –so my feeling was, “Doesn’t Jesus know I have a job? [laughter]
Rick: They probably have apps for that now that pop up on your phone every 15 minutes.
Regina: So I quit. I quit But another book came to me around that same time when I was trying to understand the Course. And that’s a much simpler book. It’s called “Peace Pilgrim: Her Life and Work in Her Own Words.”
Rick: That’s a great book.
Regina: Yeah it’s a great book. And she’s a very genuine person. At least that’s how it hit me. That was my perception, very genuine. So, I trusted her. And she spoke about this thing called oneness, which was very alien to my experience, as you know. I mean, how we experience, “This is me and that’s you,” and all of that. But because I trusted her, instead of just closing my mind to it, there was this open curiosity that was something like, “How could that be?” “How could it be that we’re one?” And I was walking into work one day – and this was my first mystical experience –and I had this vision, and it was a vision of an infinite light. But one portion of the light was covered with … Can you see my hand?
Regina: One portion of the light was covered with these black polka dots and they were all right next to each other like this. Where the black polka dots were, the light was blocked, you couldn’t see the light. But some of those black polka dots were beginning to fade, and the ones that were beginning to fade, you could see some light shining through them. And then there were also some spaces where the polka dots had completely faded out and you could see the light completely. And even though I didn’t have any of the words then to put to that, I understood intuitively that the black polka dots represented the individual self or the belief in the person. And I knew that when that faded, whatever that was, that when that faded, that the true self shined through, and it was at the level of the true self that we were really one. I understood that. The next step doesn’t come for seven or nine years because I adopted my daughter from China, I started getting promoted at work, I became very, very busy. I had set lots of interesting goals for myself when I was really young, around 19, primarily because I thought that I was the scum of the earth, the most unworthy soul here. I thought that if I achieve all this stuff, then I’ll be as good as you guys. That was my method of becoming as good as you. When I was around 44, I’d done it all. You could say I was sitting on top of my own little hill. It wasn’t that I noticed myself as unhappy. Some people really perceive themselves as having suffered a lot. I didn’t perceive myself that way. But there was just kind of this “Now what? Now what?” And when I started asking “Now what?” I remembered that blue book, “A Course in Miracles,” that I had stuck in a drawer many years ago. The feeling was to pull that out and begin reading that again. And the Course is divided into three sections; there’s a text, which is quite large, the workbook for students, which as I mentioned is 365 lessons, and then there’s this little bitty manual for teachers in the back. I didn’t want to make this huge commitment so I just started with the Manual for Teachers. What was really interesting was, first of all, it wasn’t Greek anymore. Something had shifted in my mind in that seven to nine year period and now it was like reading a novel; I understood it easily as I read it. And two, it felt like it was speaking directly to me. Now at that point I never had any idea at all that I would ever be a spiritual teacher. So when I say it was speaking directly to me, I don’t mean that I thought it was asking me to be a spiritual teacher. I thought that it was asking me to be a teacher through beingness, through embracing this and living this in my normal everyday life, 24 hours a day. That’s what I thought it was asking me to do, so I agreed. We were going on a vacation soon and I did have a very busy life so I thought it would be easier to start it on vacation when things are a little slower, so I took the Course with me. We went on a Disney cruise – I think my daughter was six at the time – and I got up the first morning on the cruise and I was going to start the workbook and start the text, and because I was starting something holy, a new holy commitment, I thought that I would say a prayer. I don’t really remember what I was praying, but during the prayer, it’s literally like something came down over me. It reminds me of literally a Moses burning bush type of moment, even though I didn’t see a burning bush, but something came down over me and I was just overcome with this desire to surrender the rest of my life. And I said, “I will learn whatever you want me to learn. I will do whatever you want me to do. Just make me useful for the rest of my life.”
Rick: I love that, I love that
Regina: What I didn’t fully realize then was my whole life changed in that moment. First of all, again, I was reading the Course now and doing the workbook lessons and it was easy. I hear a lot of people who have done the “A Course in Miracles” workbook say they know they didn’t do it right, they only did so many lessons, if it said remember something every hour, they wouldn’t, and all of that. I did. That’s a miracle. I mean, something was causing me to remember. And I had a full-time job, I was a director of a department in a national company, I went to back-to-back meetings and none of that got in my way. And I can’t explain it. It’s just the way it was. After about two months or maybe more than two, from April to July, so in early July, one morning I was reading a lesson, I think it was around Lesson 77 or so, the name of the lesson is “I am entitled to miracles.” And I was reading that lesson and something in that lesson caused me to see how unworthy I thought I was and also to realize that if I held onto that, I would never experience what at that time I would have called the Holy Spirit. I would never experience, let’s put it this way, something beyond me, the person. So I made a very firm decision in that moment that I had to let that go. I had to believe I was entitled to miracles and I had to do it right now. And I closed my eyes and the instant I closed my eyes – this would have been my second vision now, the first one had been many years before – I saw myself as a little girl. I was standing in a room that was very lit up. It had no furniture or anything, but the door was open. So here’s the wall and here’s the door and there’s this crack in between. See how that crack is shadowed? I was standing in that shadow and I thought I was in the dark. And so what I saw in the vision was that I thought I was in the dark, but actually there was light everywhere and I only had to come out a little bit. Then this hand came in and lingered and I knew that all I had to do was grab a hold of that finger and it would actually pull me out. So that was my first vision in many years. My first vision with the Course. Later that day, my boyfriend was driving my daughter and me to the airport. We were going to Myrtle Beach for the Fourth of July. And I had an experience, I don’t quite know what it was but you might. It was an energy. This energy started and kept getting bigger and bigger. I was just sitting in the car and we were listening to Disney music and it just kept getting bigger and bigger and bigger and bigger until I thought that I would explode. And then it kind of let me go and I settled back down.
Rick: Sounds like a Kundalini thing.
Regina: Yeah, that’s what I suspect. But I don’t know enough about Kundalini to say that for sure. But that’s what I suspect.
Rick: Next week I’ll be interviewing a guy all about Kundalini. We’ll be talking about that a lot.
Regina: Oh, I’ll have to listen to that then. Yeah, I suspect it was something like that because after that’s when things really start rolling. After that, I started having lots of visions. I’m not going to go through what all of those visions were, that would just take too long, but there were many, many useful visions. Maybe one or two will come up depending on what else we talk about. But around November…
Rick: Let me just interject here. Do you feel it would be useful to say, or do you feel it would be true to say, that not everybody is wired to have visions?
Regina: Yeah, absolutely.
Rick: Some people are wired in different ways. Because if you say, if we place visions as sort of the criterion of spiritual awakening or something, then people who don’t have them feel like they’re scum of the earth, like you were saying earlier. You know, “Argh, I never have visions, nothing ever happens to me, I must be really unevolved.” People are wired in different ways and it results in very different types of awakenings and different types of experiences.
Regina: Well, in fact I would say, even though the visions happened to me – and I mean this genuinely and sincerely – those types of experiences are absolutely unnecessary and for people who are seeking them, it is probably a distraction. I would recommend letting go of that and looking for something more genuine and maybe we’ll get into talking about some things more genuine. I don’t think that you can make a vision happen. It either happens or it doesn’t, and overall it’s irrelevant. Ultimately it has nothing to do with truth. There’s another teaching I share, which I don’t want to go all the way into right now, it’s a pretty big teaching, but in that teaching I show illusion kind of as a box, or the untrue kind of as a box. Within that box are many, many, many, many things and one of those things would be things like visions. They can point to truth, and in my case they did, but they are not the truth. Therefore, they are not necessary.
Rick: Yeah, and to quote Mick Jagger – I’m paraphrasing – people kind of get what they need. So sometimes, maybe some people need visions, and so they’re going to have them, and others don’t need them, and so on. And like you say, there’s all kinds of great scriptural accounts in various traditions about people having visions, like Saul on the road to Damascus and so on, and in general they weren’t seeking them, they just got zapped.
Regina: Yeah, well that’s what happened to me. I mean, I wasn’t seeking them. In fact, being this girl from Kansas, the idea of them was ridiculous. If you go back to that girl, anybody who’s having visions must be a little crazy. In fact, that leads right into my next story very well. In early November I had a vision, which I am going to describe, while doing a Course lesson. And the vision was that I was in this deep, dark cavern, and it was so dark that of course you couldn’t see anything – not your hand in front of your face, nothing. It was completely black but intuitively I knew there were a lot of people in that cavern with me. Also, intuitively I knew there were many ways to get out of the cavern, several different exits, but nobody could find them because it was so dark. I was standing there with an armful of lit candles and people would come up to me and I would take a candle and hand it to them, and then they would use the candle to find their own way out. When that vision ended, I knew that that was some kind of a calling and I didn’t want my mind to get involved with trying to figure it out so I did something that day – again I can’t explain why I did it, because I had never done anything like this before, or even thought about doing anything like this – but I went to the computer and I said a prayer. I said, “If you are trying to tell me something, just tell me in a way that I can understand.” And my fingers started typing. We’ll have stories in a moment about when I was a scribe but this was different than any of my scribal experiences that followed. This I would imagine was more like a Ouija board type of experience, in that the fingers were typing but I wasn’t hearing anything in my head, I wasn’t thinking. I was reading off of the screen. And the message that I read off of the screen was an invitation to … well, this thing, I’ll call it for now, this energy, whatever this was, it introduced itself to me as the teacher of God. And I knew what it meant by teacher of God, I knew that it meant that we are God and we have forgotten, so it’s teaching us to remember who we are. It introduced itself to me as the teacher of God and it said that’s what is needed now, are teachers…
Rick: So just to clarify that it’s teaching God, I mean, you’re saying it’s teaching God…
Regina: Teaching God.
Rick: in, God in our form who has forgotten that we are God.
Rick: Yeah, okay.
Regina: Like you might say, “I’m the teacher of first graders.”
Rick: Yeah, right.
Regina: Right? Teacher of God. I’m the teacher of God.
Rick: And it sounds a little presumptuous to say, “I am teaching God.” I mean, who can teach God, but what you’re saying is, we’re God in human form having forgotten our true status, and it’s sort of helping to wake us up.
Regina: Yeah, this wisdom – I now just call it inner spiritual wisdom – this wisdom is somehow, I don’t know how, but it is our true wisdom, our remembrance of truth, and it has many ways of speaking to us. So this is how it started for me, it introduced itself as the teacher of God and it said that teachers were needed now. It asked me to write for it, and it said, “You can do that, you are doing it now.” Then it asked me to teach what I write, and it told me that’s how I would learn. Now, this is pretty amazing if you think about it, because I was a beginner, and I didn’t have any arrogance about me. I mean, I didn’t see myself as anything but a beginner. I didn’t have any arrogance about me that I could go out there and teach others; the thought had never even crossed my mind. So this is a pretty amazing experience, and immediately when the experience happened, there was also just this huge feeling of peace, and I said, “Yes.” But then immediately after I said yes, it’s like the peace collapsed, and it was replaced by incredible fear. At this point in my life, I had never felt fear like this. As I later went through purification, I found there are greater levels of fear, but at this point, this was the most fear I had ever felt. And I just walked up and down. I had this long hallway in my house at the time, and I just walked up and down the hallway, rubbing my arms, just saying that I was going to do this, in a way that I’d have to tell another story to get into exactly how I did it, but just saying that I was going to do this, “I’m going to do this, I’m going to do this.” The fear went away after about two hours and when the fear went away, I felt this intuitive prompt that I was going to go see a movie. It was a Sunday and I remember that my daughter and I had plans that day; I don’t remember what they were, but it wasn’t to go see a movie. I lived in the Boston area then, so I pulled up one of these huge cinemas that have like 30 movies or something, and I’m scanning down the list and my eyes land on this movie called “Shall We Dance?” And I know that’s the one. It’s a movie starring Richard Gere and Jennifer Lopez. So I went to this movie and I wasn’t actually that interested in the movie, which is funny, and I might have left, except that I felt strongly there was going to be a message in the movie for me. The message came very clearly in a scene where Jennifer Lopez is teaching Richard Gere to ballroom dance and he’s not doing a very good job of learning so she finally says, “Stop, don’t think, don’t move unless you feel it.” And I knew those were my instructions because I had just been asked that morning to write and teach and I knew that it was never to come from me, that I wasn’t to sit down and think about what to write or think about what to teach or even think about when to write or when to teach. It was this “Don’t move unless you feel it” thing. And I understood those instructions perfectly. I don’t know how, because I know that some people, when they hear those same words, don’t, but I knew exactly what that meant. And the very first scribing, what I call scribing, came the very next morning. I’ll just pause there and take a drink, see if you have anything.
Rick: Oh, sure. No, I don’t, you’re doing good. I don’t have any questions at the moment. I mean, I have some questions that I want to ask in a few minutes, but not quite yet.
Regina: Okay. Well, just for anyone who doesn’t know, the way this scribing happened was I would hear – I call it a voice, but it wasn’t really a voice, it was thoughts, like you can hear your own thoughts when you’re talking to yourself – I would hear thoughts, but they weren’t mine, at least at that point that’s how they felt. They weren’t mine. They also didn’t come into the head from the same place. I can feel thinking, it seems to happen up here, is what it feels like, and these came in back here, they entered from another location. I was just like a secretary writing, that’s what scribing was like. At this point, I was still doing A Course in Miracles so what would happen during the day when I was contemplating the workbook lesson for the day is the scribing would start, and it would explain things to me, or possibly in some cases even take me beyond the Course in Miracles workbook lesson that I was on. So I began to learn with really great, great clarity as a result of this inner voice, I’ll call it.
Rick: Yeah, I guess one question I would ask, something I’ve always wondered, is – both contemporarily there are a lot of people who are channeling in various ways, and then in terms of ancient stuff there are all kinds of stories, accounts of people being zapped with some wisdom and coming out with all kinds of profound stuff – how did they know that? They never received that training, they’re very young, this and that. They just somehow all of a sudden wake up to some wisdom and start speaking. I’m always kind of curious about the mechanics of that. I mean, if we think of it in terms of the Holy Spirit or something as some kind of universal, amorphous field of intelligence, but it seems more volitional than that, more intentional, like, “Okay, I’m choosing this person to speak through.” And that kind of gives it a feeling like there’s some sort of entity, some wise being living on some other plane that’s choosing its spokespeople. Then again one might think, “Oh well, maybe these people are just tapping into a deep level of creativity.” Obviously there have been all kinds of creative people in the world who’ve come out with beautiful music and literature and so on, and there is that talk of a muse that inspires you to do such things, but maybe there’s just a deep field of creativity within each of us which doesn’t have any sort of personality or anything, it’s just like an ocean of potential, and we somehow tap into that and start speaking or writing profound things that we didn’t know we knew. So have you thought about those kinds of questions?
Regina: Well, of course, I mean, yeah. And as we get further in my story, what we’ll hear is that I experienced different personalities, the last personality being that of Ramana Maharshi, but in the end… Well, let me just jump to Ramana Maharshi really quickly. One thing that was interesting about Ramana Maharshi was I didn’t know of him. I mean, I’d heard the name and that’s the extent of it. And in fact, I knew so little of him that I called him “Ramana,” because I had only seen the name written. I didn’t know it was “Ramana.” And we’ll tell in a little bit, when we get to that part of the story how Ramana woke up in me, but when Ramana woke up in me, what was very, very interesting is I knew nothing about this person as a man. I found all that out later. But I knew him so well because he was myself, not the man. But you know what he realized, what he is and what I am, was the same. And it was just so beautiful to have him wake up in me because it was like coming home. It was like, “That’s who I’ve always been, I’ve been pretending to be somebody else. It feels so good to genuinely be here.” So at that point, the idea that these were different personalities dissolved. It’s like that was a temporary thing. This was my true self speaking to me. And that’s as far as I can go, I can’t go any further than that.
Rick: Yeah. I mean, it’s also true that the essence of who you are is identical to the essence of who Groucho Marx was. [laughter] But I guess what you’re saying is that in the case of some enlightened being like Ramana, there’s going to be the potential for vast wisdom to be conveyed.
Regina: Okay, yeah. When I say that I knew him as me, underneath all of us, underneath who we think we are, or behind or beyond or above, whatever word you want to use, there’s a truth, there’s a genuine truth of what we are. Most people are not at all aware of that, they think themselves to be these people that they think themselves to be. But Ramana was such an embodiment of the true self that I recognized my true self in that and I knew myself, I knew it was me, there wasn’t any doubt. So it was that place like, if you were to take a hand as different bodies, here’s where all these different things [indicates fingers] are the same [indicates palm of hand]. He took me here where we’re the same, and so he and I were the same. Anybody else that I would have had that experience with who was as realized as him would have been able to take me to the same place, it’s just the circumstances turned out to be that it was Ramana that took me there. But yeah, it was really, really, really sweet because I had no conscious, intellectual memory of that as who I am. Yet the moment that I was taken there, I knew it, and it was like coming home.
Rick: So this may sound like a divergent question, but it’s something that puzzles me and I’d just like to hear your take on it. It’s sort of similar to what I asked a few minutes ago. I’ve interviewed a bunch of people who had experiences with Ramana, sometimes before they ever even knew who he was or had ever heard of him or anything else – Pamela Wilson and Nick Gancitano and some other people have had experiences of seeing him or almost literally seeing him in some kind of form in their room or something – and later on seeing a book and saying, “Hey, that’s the guy I saw.” So I’m curious about the mechanics of that. Some people say, “Well, somebody liberated like Ramana, once the body drops, they’re gone, they’re just like a drop in the ocean, poof, never to be found again.” But this kind of thing sort of implies that, no, there’s actually – and Jesus is in the same situation, there’s so many stories of people having experiences of Jesus and having him intervene in their lives and so on – it begs the question, do these enlightened beings actually end up on some higher plane working on human affairs from that place? Or does the Divine Intelligence, which is all-pervading, just take a form that we’re going to recognize and be able to relate to and, being infinitely wise, it knows that we’ll relate to Ramana or Jesus or something, even though they as entities have long since ceased to exist?
Regina: Yeah, well, I told you I had multiple visions and I wasn’t going to go through them all, but this will take me back to one of those early visions that I had. This happened at night, where I woke up from sleeping into just, again, light. I couldn’t see anything, but I felt the presence of Jesus and it was really interesting because – this is very hard to describe – because Jesus was talking to me, but he didn’t use any words. There were no words at all, yet I understood him perfectly, and when I spoke back, I used words because that’s the only way I knew how to talk. I mean, there weren’t thoughts, there was no language, it was just silent vibration that I understood perfectly. What he showed me was that when awakening happens with what appears to be a particular personality, that personality, the one that was there when the awakening happened, continues to get used by the, I would call it, the “one communication.” So, with that experience, I would say, your latter choice, like the person…
Rick: So, even when that body dies, the personality that inhabited that body continues to have some sort of existence and continues to be used?
Regina: Yeah, I don’t know if you could actually say it has an existence. It might be more like… You know what a doily is, right? A doily doesn’t really have any existence, it’s nothing, but if I was to blow on it, it would kind of blow like it was alive. I would say that whatever would be that wind blowing, that’s what has the existence, and the doily is just being used as a form of communication, maybe because people connect to it differently. But yeah, whatever personality is present when awakening occurs, that personality then becomes a part of what’s being used by the one.
Regina: How’s that for an explanation?
Rick: Yeah, I mean it still leaves some questions unanswered, but I don’t know if we can answer them. There’s a mystery here that is interesting to ponder.
Regina: Yeah, mysteries are great too, I think. It keeps us from falling back into what you and I started talking about.
Rick: Beliefs, right. Yeah, and like I said at that time, working hypotheses. I mean, this is an interesting working hypothesis to sort of ponder for the rest of one’s life if one is interested in such things.
Regina: All right, so let me jump back to my story then. So where we had left off was I was beginning to scribe with the workbook lessons of “A Course in Miracles.” I also started to receive very specific guidance. And I remember I had worked myself into what I thought was a pretty nice place. I had a really nice job. I lived in the town I wanted to live in. My daughter went to this great school that was so good, she had to win a lottery to get into it because so many people wanted in it. So we were in this really nice position in the world. And I started receiving guidance to quit my job and move. In fact, the guidance was very specific in that I was to move wherever my daughter wanted to move, and remember my daughter was six or seven at the time, so I’m supposed to go up to my six or seven-year-old daughter and ask her where she wants to live.
Rick: So you moved to Disneyland, right? [laughter]
Regina: No, not quite. We moved to a place called Albemarle, North Carolina. Actually, we ended up getting a house in New London, which is right next to it. But the reason she wanted to move there is that’s where my brother and her cousins live. She wanted to be near her cousins. Now that I look back on that, that was also very wise because this bought my daughter into the move. Her getting to pick the place – she’s bought in, right, it’s not happening to her. So I’m a single mom, and I’m a single mom who adopted from China, there’s no father in the picture, there’s no one to give child support or anything like that, I’m the sole supporter of both her and I, physically, so you can imagine the fear that starts coming when I’m to quit my job. And again, I’m raised from Kansas and the Kansas culture is you work hard and make a living, and that’s how you take care of yourself and your family, so it was really, really frightening. This is when I started to find out how great fear can be. I began to experience fear sometimes at night that I thought the fear itself might kill me, great, great fear. I would just lay in the fetal position and breathe.
Rick: Would it have a meaning attached to it or would it just be sort of abstract fear?
Regina: Well, it was a little bit abstract, but it was like disaster is coming. Like, “This is a really, really bad decision.”
Rick: Like, “I’m going to go bankrupt,” or something.
Regina: Yeah, there weren’t specific stories, it was just that general feeling of, “Oh, my God, what are you doing?” And the only reason I can say that I did it in spite of the fear … you remember the show when we were younger called “Let’s Make a Deal”?
Rick: Yeah, I don’t know if I ever watched it, but I remember the name of it.
Regina: Yeah, in “Let’s Make a Deal” what would happen is … what was his name, Bob?
Rick: Not Bob Newhart.
Regina: Bob Barker? Was that his name?
Rick: Bob Barker, right, yeah.
Regina: Okay, Bob Barker would go out into the audience and he’d pick someone and he’d ask, like, “Do you have a stapler in your purse?” If you do, then you get to play along. People would come with these big bags with all kinds of stuff in them. He would find someone to play, and once he found someone to play, there would be three doors and he’d ask them to pick whatever door they wanted and they could have the prize behind the door. It could be anything, it could be a trip to Hawaii, a new car, it could be a rubber chicken hanging on a string, it could be anything. So sometimes they would pick and it would be a pretty decent prize, like a washer and dryer, and then he’d say, “Okay, do you want to keep what you’ve got behind that door or trade it for another door?” It could be greater or less. Well, I felt like I had picked door number one, that was the life that I had designed for myself, and that I had the washer and dryer. Like it’s a pretty decent life, pretty decent gift, and I felt like what this was asking me to do was asking me if I wanted to trade for what was behind door number two. And there was just this feeling that if I didn’t say yes, I would never be fully happy again, because I’d always wonder what would have happened if I had said yes, like I couldn’t be satisfied with the washer and dryer life anymore. So that’s what led me to say yes and quit my job and move to Albemarle, North Carolina.
Rick: Very brave of you.
Regina: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Rick: Incidentally, before we get off Bob Barker, this has nothing to do with the interview, but did you ever watch the TV show “Whale Wars”?
Rick: It’s this great show about these really brave young people who were down in Antarctica opposing the Japanese whalers and preventing them from killing whales. Anyway, Bob Barker donated this really nice big ship for them to use in that endeavor, so just praise for Bob Barker here.
Regina: Yeah, yeah, he cared. About three days before we moved, first of all, about six days before we moved, I finished “A Course in Miracles.” But when I say I finished “A Course in Miracles,” what I mean is I had read the manual for teachers twice, the text twice, and completed the workbook in the way it’s supposed to be completed. So I finished “A Course in Miracles.” About three days after that, which was three days before the move, I received a scribal message. It came through the inner voice, and it asked me to read the New Testament and to let the New Testament be interpreted for me. It said that if I would realize that I didn’t know what it meant, that it could interpret it for me. Three days later we moved, and we got to North Carolina, and we’re settling in, then one morning after we’re settled in, I wake up and I hear “It’s time to begin.” So I started at the beginning of the New Testament with the book of Matthew and I would just read. And when I would read, I would feel this intuitive prompt when to stop reading, and it varied, it could be a sentence, a paragraph, a story, whatever, but I would always know when to stop reading. In the beginning, I always thought I knew what it meant so the first thing I had to do was practice letting go of what I thought it meant. The way I would do that is I would envision what I thought on a chalkboard in my mind, and then I would erase it, and when I was empty of what I thought it meant, and I only wanted to hear the interpretation that this inner wisdom would give me, then that inner voice, that thought stream that comes from here, would begin [points to back of head], and I was just taking notes. This went on for 13 and a half months and that ended up being published. That’s another story, but obviously we can’t tell all the stories in a short interview.
Rick: Tell lots of them. I have long interviews.
Regina: Well, let’s just put it this way. I didn’t go looking for a publisher, the publisher basically came to me. But the book ended up being published, and that’s what we call the “Holy Spirit’s Interpretation of the New Testament,” or NTI, which stands for New Testament Interpretation. From my perspective, what was interesting about NTI was it kind of met me where I was left off at the end of “A Course in Miracles” and took me further, and it also cleared up some confusions that I developed as a student of “A Course in Miracles”. There’s something about the way the Course is worded and the way the ego reads the Course that can lead to a lot of very serious confusions, and those confusions were also undone through the writing of NTI. So NTI was my next step, and it’s great that it’s out there for others, because there are others that are definitely finding it useful. But for me, this was a very personal thing. It wasn’t about writing a book for others. It was about me and my awakening.
Rick: Yeah. There’s a guy, I think his name is Raphael Cushnir, and he has this interview series called “Teaching What We Need to Learn” and I like the phrase, because the best way to learn something is to teach it or to be a scribe for it or something rather than to just sort of passively be exposed to it.
Regina: Yeah, I agree 100%, and what I didn’t tell you, by the way, was prior to all of this beginning, I kind of mentioned it, I was a corporate trainer and course writer. So it’s not that odd that I should be selected for this kind of thing. It’s like selecting a musician to play music for God or selecting a chef to cook for God, right? I mean, it’s not that unusual. This was my…
Rick: It was in your skill set.
Regina: Yeah, my talent, my skill set, exactly.
Rick: One thing I wish, I was listening to the NTI and since I’m not super familiar with the Bible, I wish that when you wrote it you had read the New Testament passage verbatim and then just read your commentary and gone back and forth because I would almost recommend people who actually read the physical book to have the Bible there and to go back and forth as you comment on each verse, to refresh their memory of what the Bible verse is.
Regina: If you have the book NTI, whenever it’s highly recommended that you read the Bible first, there’s a little Bible icon at the beginning of the paragraph along with the verses. As an aside, when I was the scribe for NTI and I scribed the book of John, I knew intuitively that there was more in the book of John than I was ready for. So the book of John, I mean, it’s okay, but I always knew there was more there than I was ready for. Last year, I went back through the book of John and I did that, not writing, but as a teaching. I would read from the Bible and then the interpretation would come and I spoke it live. And I think it’s really just much more clear because I’m ready for more now. So if anybody wants to listen to that, and I am reading the Bible, if you just go to reginadawnakers.com, underneath ‘audios’, you’ll find a teaching called The Guiding Light and the Guiding Light has a link there for me reading the book of John and having it interpreted just in the last year. And it’s really phenomenal, so some people might enjoy that.
Rick: Yeah. Have you ever done anything with the Gnostic Gospels?
Regina: No, I haven’t.
Rick: That’ll keep you busy for…
Regina: People often ask me to do the Old Testament too and I’ve just never felt that prompt so I haven’t done that either. After NTI came, and again, a publisher showed up so I was doing all this stuff that you have to do to get it ready for the publisher. On the day that I sent it off, I said a prayer and the prayer was something like, “Thank you, thank you, thank you for letting me do this. But I don’t want this to stop.” I knew that I was awakening, and I don’t want this to stop. And I said, “Please send me something else that will take me higher into love.” And I ended up meeting this man from Paris, France, who I immediately did not like, but I started receiving guidance to join in a couple relationship with him and he also started receiving the same guidance. Now what’s really interesting about this was I had a boyfriend that I’d been with 13 or so years, maybe 16 years, I don’t remember exactly now, I’d have to do the math, and there was nothing wrong with him. I wasn’t in a relationship where I was trying to get rid of who I was with. But this guidance just kept coming, kept coming, kept coming. So when I finally accepted the guidance, what happened is, this man lives in Paris.
Rick: Had you met in person or just over the internet?
Regina: We had met. He had come to one of my retreats for a weekend so I had met him for a weekend and like I said, I didn’t particularly like him. This wasn’t a romantic attraction kind of thing, it just had nothing to do … it felt like what I would call an arranged marriage. But when I finally surrendered to it was when somebody sent me a scripture. They said, “This is my daily scripture for the day.” It was a Christian person that I knew and she said, “I just felt like sending this to you.” She knew nothing about what was going on with me. The scripture was from Ecclesiastes and it was something about how two people are better than one on the spiritual path, that was basically the gist of the scripture. And I understood, that spoke to me, but what was really interesting was I talked to him on the phone that night and he told me how he had checked out this Spaghetti Western video and he hated the movie, but he’s watching the movie anyway because he really felt guided to do it, and for some reason, right in the middle of the movie, they put on the screen the exact same scripture.
Rick: Two people are better than one.
Regina: Yeah. I’d have to look up the scripture to get the exact wording, but that was the idea.
Rick: That’s interesting.
Regina: It was the exact same scripture from Ecclesiastes. So when that happened within the same 24-hour period, that’s when I thought, “Okay, I need to do this.” So I broke up with my boyfriend and of course, at first, he felt very rejected and he’s not on the spiritual path at all, he has zero interest in it, so I tried to explain it to him as best that I could. I used words that I thought he might understand. I told him I wanted to be enlightened in this lifetime and that this relationship had something to do with that and I needed to do this. His response was, “All right, well, if this is God, I know God loves me too so I’m going to wait for you.” That was his response. By the way, I’m still with him now, I’m back with him. We’ve been together 25 years now.
Regina: But at that time, I didn’t know that I would ever be going back with him. I even asked him not to wait for me, but he did. So I joined into this relationship with this French gentleman and he comes to North Carolina and lives with me. I always tell people our first date was living together for six weeks. He would come and go for the year and a half because he was always on just a tourist visa, so he would come and go. And our first experience with one another was pure hatred. I didn’t even know that I was capable of hating that much. Other than the fact that we both wanted to awaken, we had nothing in common. We were just polar opposites. He was kind of raised rich, Paris, French, Jewish, all of that, which has one culture to it. I’m from Kansas. He was a night person. He wouldn’t even get up until eleven, twelve, one o’clock. He’d take another nap at five in the afternoon, then he was up all night. I’m like, get up at six in the morning, go to bed at nine at night. He eats dinner at midnight, you know ten, eleven, midnight. He perceived me as ugly and I perceived him as a weak specimen of a man. The men that I knew knew how to do things, like mow lawns, maybe some plumbing. He didn’t know how to do anything. So we weren’t that fond of each other.
Rick: To say the least. [laughter]
Regina: Oh and also – this was a big one for me – remember that I had left my job. When I left my job, I sold my house in Boston, where houses are more expensive than they are in North Carolina, so I was able to take the equity out of that house. I was able to pay cash for a house in North Carolina and I had $50,000 left over. But by now, I’d been there a few years and this $50,000 was dwindling down. I wasn’t receiving any donations, I didn’t have any income whatsoever, and this guy comes along and starts really spending my money.
Rick: Whoa, I thought you said he was rich.
Regina: Yeah, but he was rich through his father and his father cut him off when he came to live with me.
Rick: Oh, I see.
Regina: So he had no money of his own and he was really spending my money. He had ideas that you had to have the most expensive of everything, where I’m trying to be frugal. I remember the day I had the hugest meltdown into hate I ever had. It’s kind of a funny story that had to do with butter. He bought this $5 a pound butter, when it could have been a dollar or less, and it was just this meltdown, it was just so wasteful, it was my money, and just so much hate.
Rick: I’ve got to throw in a funny story here, sorry to interrupt. My wife and I did our honeymoon in North Carolina in the mountains up near Boone or someplace like that, in a friend’s cabin. And one time we went into this little tiny store, it was miles from anywhere, and we asked for butter. And there were these characters standing around and they all thought that was the funniest thing they’d ever heard. They were all going, “Butter! Ha ha ha ha ha!” And we still tell that story, like 30 years later.
Irene: What’s that famous movie where those guys go down the river?
Rick: Oh, yeah, that famous movie where the guys go down the river and it’s real scary and redneck terror. That’s what it was like.
Irene; It was like that.
Rick: Yeah, I forget, I forget which movie. Yeah, go ahead.
Regina: Tell her I said hello, by the way, because I haven’t been able to speak to her.
Rick: Regina says hello.
Regina: Well, one thing that was really interesting was in spite of all this hatred – and again, he would tell me how ugly I was and all this kind of stuff – in spite of all of this, because of the way the relationship had come about, we both knew that there were healing or awakening opportunities for us in this relationship. And so we sat down hating each other and we held hands and we said a prayer. And I don’t remember exactly what we said in that prayer, but basically the gist of the prayer was, “This relationship is only for awakening. What is it that we need to see?” And a whole other scribing started from me. Now that NTI was done, I started scribing these messages, from what at that time we called Holy Spirit, that were directly to me and him about what needed to be let go in us, about what the errors were in our minds, the beliefs, the perceptions, the attachments that were causing all of the hate, and how we could let those go. And one teaching that came during that time through these messages that I think was really important was something that we called The Code. We picked the name for it. But the idea behind The Code is very simple, actually. The idea is that when a thought comes into the mind, that thought comes into the mind actually from the oneness. We perceive it as an individual thought, but it’s not. It may have an individual’s type of story to it, but the thought comes into the mind from the oneness. And what’s not really real about the thought, because no thoughts are real, but what’s most real about the thought is not the story the thought is telling, but the content of the thought. For example, I’m a pretty neat and clean person, and this gentleman was not, so one of the thoughts in my mind was about what a slob he was all of the time. What I was shown was, although I could look around the house and I could find the proof that he was a slob, I was right, what I needed to do was look under the covers of the thought instead of looking at the story. And when I look under the covers of the thought, that was a hate thought, and that if I believe that hate thought, I’m going to experience hate. And remember, I told you that I was experiencing great hate at this time. And if I wanted to be free of hate, if I wanted peace and joy as my actual experience, that I really can’t be digesting these hate thoughts, I can’t go around on a diet of hate thoughts and expect to have an experience of peace, love and joy. So, what I was taught to do was to look at a thought, to look beyond the story, to look at the content, and to realize, “I don’t want that.” So, it comes in, “What a slob he is.” I look underneath, “That’s a hate thought. I don’t want hate. Therefore, I let go of this.” I learned to look at thoughts in a different way and I learned to then not accept them. I don’t mean resist them, but not believe them, not digest them. And I learned to just let thoughts go by realizing I don’t want the content. It could be a hate thought, it could be a fear thought, it could be an unworthiness thought, it could be a guilt thought. And the question was, “Do I want these things as my experience or do I want something else as my experience?” And I really learned to let go of these story-level thoughts that appear true, because of the content and because of my desire for peace and joy and love.
Rick: Sounds very Byron Katie-ish.
Regina: Yeah, I suppose it is. I didn’t know her then, but I suppose it is. So, for a year and a half in this relationship, this is basically what was happening. There was one story after another and I would see the falsehood in it and learn to let it go. One really big story that a lot of people enjoy: There was a point, in spite of the fact that we started with hate, hate was the first thing I learned to let go of as far as content, I learned to let go of it. I learned that hate isn’t real, that literally we only experience hate if we buy into hate thoughts and if you don’t buy into hate thoughts, you can’t experience hate because it’s not there by itself.
Rick: Hey, since you’re speaking of thoughts, a question came in from a fellow named William in Miami. And he asked, “People speak of extinguishing the mind. How does this happen? If we don’t have any thoughts, what do we have?” I don’t think you’re saying you didn’t have any thoughts, you’re talking about hate thoughts, but you could probably answer that question.
Regina: Yeah, I can answer that question to a point. My mind is not extinguished, so that’s why I say to a point, but there is significantly less mind than there used to be, it’s almost like it’s thinning, right? It’s thinning and thinning and thinning and each time it thins a little more, the intuition is greater. In fact, I recently went through another thinning just in the last month and a half or so and the intuition is like a thousand times what it was prior to that thinning of the mind. So there’s this natural wisdom of the universe. I think the point of the question is there’s this belief that we have that I am the person and that I need this mind, this person-mind to take care of me, protect me, keep me safe, all of that. And that’s not true. We’re not the person, therefore we don’t need the person-mind, we’re something far beyond the person. In fact, you could say we’re the intelligence that made up the people. Therefore, we have far greater intelligence than the little person does. And so as we let go of the person, we realize this far greater intelligence and it does a much, much better job. That’s the answer.
Rick: That’s a good answer.
Regina: So back to the story. The next story I was going to tell, in spite of the fact that we started with hatred – hate is the first thing I learned to let go of – I really worked very hard on those hate thoughts. And it’s actually amazing how quickly hate died for me because I just saw that it wasn’t real and I didn’t have to believe it and it just died. And after hate died for me, there was this little period where we seemed to fall in love. It didn’t last long, iIt was very brief, but we seemed to fall in love. He is a very romantic Frenchman. I just thought, “This is heaven, this is great.” And then one day for a reason that I didn’t know about then, years later he explained it to me, but I didn’t know then, he left my bedroom. We were sleeping together, of course. He left my bedroom and he moved into the guest room and he began to avoid me. As I mentioned, he was a night person. I was a day person. I would go into my room at night to go to bed and close the door and five minutes after he would come out. He lived in the house at night. I lived in the house during the day. And if our paths happened to cross, he was looking at me with just so much hatred and I felt, what came up in me then was…
Rick: You said he had to keep coming and going because of visa problems. It’s surprising to me that he would keep coming back.
Regina: Yeah, well, he did. So there was this feeling of rejection. The best way to describe it is: “I’m the ugliest woman on the planet Earth. I’m the most useless person on the planet Earth. Why should anybody want…?” All this stuff started really coming up and my heart was broken. I thought I had the greatest thing in the world and now all of a sudden it’s taken away. It was really a very difficult time. But when I sat down with the inner wisdom to look at it, first the inner wisdom asked me if I had ever felt this before. And I could remember, of course, feeling rejected before in previous relationships. So the inner wisdom asked me if I could then accept that this was in me and had nothing to do with him and the situation. At first I lied to inner wisdom. How stupid is that? I said, “Yeah, I can.” And then I went, “No, I can’t. I can’t. I can’t accept that this is me and not him, he is definitely rejecting me and that’s why I feel this way.” And the inner wisdom said that it wasn’t him, that what it was was my own belief in how rejectable I was. That that’s what was hurting me, not him. It just asked me to do this simple thing, that every time a thought crossed my mind that he was somehow hurting me, he was rejecting me, for me just to say to myself – I’m not going to say his name here because actually he’s also a spiritual teacher – but “It’s not “X” that is rejecting me, it’s my own belief in my own rejectability”. And just to say this every time. So I started practicing that. And it’s really interesting because in a normal relationship he would have moved out. He would have gone back to Paris and you know, he hated me, we’d never see each other again. This guy is living in my house, so I have to deal with this every day, which the inner wisdom told me was a very fortunate situation because I did have to deal with it. If he had left I might not have, right? So every time that pain would come up and this idea that he was somehow hurting me, rejecting me, I would say that. And after, it seems to me now, about two months, I still had that broken heart but I began to feel what felt like light around it and I knew that it was ending and within about 24 hours it ended and the way I see changed completely. The belief in rejection died in me. So I am no longer capable of even seeing rejection. I mean I see people break up and I see people say mean things to each other but I don’t see it as rejection. Sometimes I see it as a natural progression of “This is what was supposed to happen now.” Sometimes I see it as a person believing their thoughts and being in pain and acting it out. But I don’t actually see people reject each other anymore, that just died. And when it died I could no longer see him rejecting me, I could only see a brother who was in great pain and needed assistance, and at that point I became his friend. So, again, there’s lots of stories like this in that relationship. For a year and a half it was just a healing relationship. And I like to say I probably saved a thousand years, maybe a thousand lifetimes in that year and a half and there’s an element of truth to that. Then one day, after about a year and a half, I got up and I was contemplating the Tao Te Ching and I got a very unique contemplation that day. It just had to do with that day. It’s never come again when I’ve read the Tao Te Ching. But that day when I was reading the Tao Te Ching, I had a vision where he and I were walking down this road together and we came to a fork in the road, and one part of the fork was staying as a couple and the other part of the fork was no longer being a couple, and I was told we needed to go down the no longer being a couple fork now because he was feeling possessed and love doesn’t possess, so we needed to let him go. And I was promised that everything else I still needed for my awakening I would continue to get, that there was no loss in this. So when he woke up that day, which was much later than me, I told him this and at first he seemed shocked, and then this big smile just crossed his face. And it turns out that the night before, while I was asleep, he was out walking my dog around midnight, and again, he’s kind of this romantic Frenchman, so he’s talking to the moon, and he said to the moon that he wanted to serve his father, and he said, “But can’t I have fun too?”
Rick: His heavenly father you mean?
Regina: Yeah, his heavenly father. “But can’t I have fun too?” And there was something in that “But can’t I have fun too?” There was something in that that shifted. I like to say it shifted the universe. So without me even knowing about that, when I woke up the next morning, I had this vision. So in ending the relationship, it was actually a gift to him. I think it was a very important gift for him, because I think the reason he stayed in the relationship as long as he did is because it did feel like a guided relationship and I think that he thought he would somehow be bad if he left a relationship that God or the universe had put him in. Now that same thing was setting him free from it, so it was kind of a communication that it was okay, that he’s allowed to feel what he feels and thinks what he thinks. It was really a very beautiful, beautiful thing. And that’s how that relationship ended. Then my current boyfriend and I, we just went right back together like nothing ever happened, and we’ve been together ever since.
Rick: Interesting. Interesting how we have karma to work out with some people and lessons to be learned with some people.
Regina: Maybe. Yeah, and he and I, we have this really genuine love for each other now. People often ask “Do you love him now?” Absolutely. How can you not love someone that you go through so much healing with?
Rick: Right, yeah.
Regina: But he has his life and I have mine.
Regina: He is the French publisher of NTI. One advantage to having him around, because again, we were so opposite, is I learned to be very inward focused on intuition. He would say something and instead of reacting from the head or from the personality, I would, in my own way, ask intuition, “How am I to see this?” “What am I to think? What am I to say?” Not asking questions, but just this checking-in thing.
Rick: Just checking in, yeah.
Regina: Yeah, and I was really, really inward. When he left, it got easier and I actually dropped that habit of being inward and I went back to thinking again, and it was hell. After living without the thinking mind as your primary mode of transportation, to come back to it was really, really difficult. After about three months of hell – I always tell people I’m a very slow learner – I finally said another prayer and this time I asked for something that would take me to the next step. Immediately I felt guidance to go on Amazon.com and order this book from Ramana Maharshi. Again, I knew the name, I knew literally nothing else. When I went to Amazon.com, I knew exactly which book to order, I just knew, so I ordered it. When the book came a few days later, I expected to open it and just like, “Oh, this is the greatest thing ever!” But I couldn’t understand it. I had never, ever, ever been involved in anything outside of somewhat of a Christian tradition. “A Course In Miracles” is a Christian tradition, NTI obviously is a Christian tradition, so I didn’t know any of the terms that are used in this book. I just couldn’t understand it. So I threw the book down and it laid there for a couple of weeks as I remember it now. One day I was sitting near where I had thrown the book down, doing my morning meditation and contemplation, and on the cover of this book is this lovely, lovely picture of Ramana Maharshi. What started happening was that picture started to come alive. He would come out of the book like a 3D person and then go back in, and come out of the book and go back in. This was a very real thing that was happening. This wasn’t a vision. I mean, I’ve experienced visions. This seemed real, if you know what I mean, and silly me, I tried to ignore it. This was disturbing my meditation, my contemplation, this thing happening. And then I heard what I had called the Holy Spirit, I heard that familiar inner voice ask me, it said, “Ask him what he wants to say to you.” So I did, I asked him what he wanted to say to me. And that’s when I say Ramana Maharshi woke up in me, is just the way I word it. That’s when I began to experience him and I began to receive messages from him. Again, for me. Sometimes people say, “That’s not what Ramana taught.” And I don’t know, I think sometimes they’re wrong, actually, but also, I think Ramana taught whatever the person in front of him needed to hear, he taught that one. And so he obviously, from inside of me, taught me.
Rick: He did. He taught all kinds of stuff. He said meditate, don’t meditate. Do self-inquiry, don’t do self-inquiry. Do service, don’t do service. I mean, according to the person’s need.
Regina: Yes, yes. When people narrow him down to one teaching, I think they’re really narrowing him down. But anyway that’s when this next… And it ended up being a book also. Again, I didn’t seek to publish it, a guy walked up to me and told me he was feeling to start a publishing company and publish this book. So that’s how that happened. But that’s when these messages started coming that are now called “The Teachings of Inner Ramana.” I still say Ramana because that’s how I knew him then. I say Ramana Maharshi and Inner Ramana. So I say it differently. But that’s when these messages began to come and this is how I learned about self-inquiry, I learned about self-inquiry from within. I was actually taught, you can almost say two forms of self-inquiry, but they work together. One I call little ‘s’ self-inquiry and the other one capital ‘s’ Self-inquiry. But the first type of self-inquiry is like this: So let’s say that I’m nervous about my interview with the great Rick Archer. [laughter] Really, I do love you, and I think you know that, but anyway, so I’m nervous about my interview with Rick Archer and all these thoughts are in my mind about the interview. The way the self-inquiry works is the first thing that I would ask is basically a question like, “What is it that sees these thoughts?” And when I ask, “What is it that sees these thoughts?” what happens is a detachment from the thoughts. And I know you know this. Suddenly I see that I am the one looking at the thoughts, not thinking the thoughts. So that first question, “Who is it that sees these thoughts?” Before, me and the thoughts were like this. [Presses palms of hands together.] Now it creates some space. [Holds hands slightly apart.] But then after that space is created through the first question, “Who sees these thoughts?”, the next question is, “Who am I?” And that turns around and looks at the true self. So it’s really two questions. One, just to create some space and then two, to turn around and look at the true self. That was the form of self-inquiry that I learned from Inner Ramana so that is the self-inquiry that I have practiced and still practice.
Rick: And it’s pretty effective for you.
Regina: It’s extremely effective.
Rick: It’s interesting how things are effective for you. I mean, you do a prayer, you get a result. You do some sort of self-inquiry, you get a result. I mean, not everybody gets such immediate results with things.
Regina: I have a partial theory about that. My theory is it depends on what you want. From the time this whole thing started, I have wanted to know truth and I think some people, they kind of want to know truth, maybe they even more want to be enlightened. I think wanting to be enlightened is a completely different thing than wanting to know truth, actually.
Rick: Is it?
Regina: But then they also still want the romantic relationship, they still want this, they still want that, so they have all of these different wants going in different directions and they’re conflicting and that’s why the results are different. I think that if you get to the point in your heart, in your genuine heart, where you really just want this one thing and you’re willing to let everything else go, I think the results are much faster.
Rick: Yeah, that’s a very good point.
Regina: The last thing that Inner Ramana taught me was about three states of mind. One state of mind is called resistor, the next one is called doubter, and the last one is called abiding. Notice the resistor and the doubter have a person there and abiding really doesn’t, it’s not abider. What I was taught is that the resistor is the average person in the world who really thinks they know who they are. You know, “My name is Regina, I’m from Kansas, I like this and this and this, I don’t like this and this and this, I want this, I don’t want that.” That’s the resistor, the person who fully believes that they’re the person. The doubter is actually progressive on the spiritual path. The doubter is the person who is beginning to doubt that they are the person. They’re beginning to question those thoughts: “Is that who I am?” They’re also beginning to receive inner wisdom in some way, maybe within like I did, but maybe by listening to a great teacher like Adya or somebody like that. They’re receiving wisdom, they’re getting inner confirmation, no matter how it’s coming. But they still don’t see that as their wisdom. They still feel like the student learning. It’s so silly now to me, but even when I was receiving all this wisdom from within, I thought I was the student learning from something out there somewhere. That’s the doubter and the doubter is really kind of doubting in two directions, they’re beginning to doubt that they’re the person, but they also still doubt that they’re the true self. And then abiding is the one who accepts “This is what I am,” and then just becomes that, just lives that. I was told that I had had a very healthy doubter stage but now it was time for me to move into abiding. That I no longer needed to pretend to be the student talking to an inner voice, that I had had enough experience with this inner wisdom that I knew that it was always here, always available, and that I could just let go of that doubter phase and begin abiding. That’s when you could say any sense of a voice ended for me. It would have to at that point, because if it had stayed, it would have left me stuck in the doubter phase. So that was the end of my scribal experience, and that was in 2009.
Rick: So that’s like seven years ago, so you haven’t done any sort of scribing of any kind since then?
Regina: No, I do contemplation, and the way I experience contemplation is that I have realizations, and I put them in my own words. So no longer a scribing experience.
Rick: What you just told us about those three things, would that be a summation of what’s contained in the Inner Ramana book?
Regina: Well, there’s two other things in the Inner Ramana book that I didn’t mention. One is it does teach that surrender. Remember, I had used that surrender in my relationship with the Frenchman, and then I had gotten away from it, so the first thing it does is it puts me back there. It puts me back into being focused within as to what am I to do, what am I to say, how am I to see this, right? And then the second thing it did was it taught me a mantra. The mantra was “I am that I am,” and the purpose of the mantra was to move out of just endless mind-wandering. So like if you’re doing dishes and the mind is just doing whatever it does, when you notice that, you take a moment to be silent, to drop into the heart, and then you say, “I am that I am,” and then you just linger there. And in fact, this also created another shift. There have been many, many, many shifts along the way, and of course I’m skipping so much in the story. But saying that mantra is what really helped me to become aware of the self that lives behind the self, the changeless nature. It was saying that mantra. It wasn’t an intellectual understanding of the mantra, it was just saying it, something about saying that mantra on a regular basis. I still remember the day that I realized the self. I was just walking across the yard. I think I was going over to my neighbor’s yard to get their dog. I used to get their dog every day and bring it to my house to hang out with my dog. And I was just walking across the yard and all of a sudden I realized I’m not this person, that’s not what I am – this, this, I’m this. I don’t know what to call this. In the beginning of A Course in Miracles, it says, “Nothing real can be threatened. Nothing unreal exists. Herein lies the peace of God.” I’m that something real. I’m that something real that can’t be threatened. That would be the words that I probably would have put on it. But something in saying the mantra on a regular basis helped me to get there and to see that. At first, as little glimpses, it would come and go, then through self-inquiry, looking at it more and more and more. But the mantra helped get me there. And then self-inquiry is the third thing that it teaches. So it really teaches three tools – surrender, mantra, and self-inquiry. All three tools are really designed to help break our dependence on the thinking mind.
Rick: And so that thing stabilized eventually?
Regina: Yeah, it’s mostly stable. Now it’s more like I have little glitches out rather than little glitches in.
Rick: Right, right.
Regina: To say 100% stable would not be true. But very, very stable. You know, more, more. But every now and then there will be a little glitch out. And they don’t last long. Because of how I feel, I immediately see when I’ve become attached to something, when I’ve made something important that isn’t important, and I can just take a breath, look at it, and shift back again.
Rick: Yeah, even Nisargadatta said something like that. Someone asked him if he ever lost it or something. He said there might be some little moment, “but I immediately shift back.” One thing I liked in a recording that I think you made somewhat recently was a very sort of frank admission that firstly, you don’t like to say anything that you haven’t experienced. I think that’s what you said in that recording.
Rick: And secondly, that you just have no sense of having finally arrived at anything, which is kind of a recurring theme for me in these interviews, because I’m not sure that anyone ever does finally arrive at anything. Even though certain things can become stable, like your realization, there’s always a next horizon, always some dimension in which further development can take place, at least as I understand it.
Regina: Yeah, well as I was saying in that particular recording, what I was doing was I was teaching on a quote from the Yoga Vasishtha.
Regina: I’m sorry, I told you I just read these things, I don’t know anything. Anyway, so Vasistha, say that again?
Regina: Vasistha, okay. And the quote was saying that there is no world, no mind, no ‘I’. Well, the no ‘I’ part is easy. But the no world, the no mind part, that’s still beyond my experience. So if that is a truth, I accept it as a possibility. If you say no, that’s not possible, you’re not going to go anywhere. If I had said no when I read that first Peace Pilgrim idea that we’re all one, if I just said “No, that’s ridiculous· and closed the book and put it down, that would have been the end of the story right there. So you have to accept things as possibilities if the inside is somehow pointing you to look that way. But it’s not my direct experience. I don’t know that at some point there is an awakening that’s so profound that there is no more world. However, with that said, I do have experiences that might point to that possibility. One experience that I had, and you might know about this, I had an experience of being an apple.
Rick: Oh yeah, I read about that. And I also had an apple experience, so I thought that was pretty interesting. Go ahead and tell the thing.
Regina: I want to hear what you said first. Who had that experience?
Rick: I also had an apple experience. So I found that was kind of amusing that you had one. [crosstalk]
Rick: Go ahead and tell your experience
Regina: Apples and Ramana Maharshi are the grand teachers.
Regina: Yeah, in my experience, it wasn’t in meditation or anything like that, I was sitting on the bed in my bedroom with my daughter. She was watching Disney TV and eating an apple, and I was either paying bills or balancing the checkbook. I don’t remember which, but doing something with the checkbook. And all of a sudden, I’m going to call it the true ‘I’, what I really am, that ‘I’ shifted into the apple, and I became the apple. And what’s really interesting about this is that when I shifted, nothing human came with me. So I had no brain. I couldn’t have thoughts like, “I’m an apple.” I was an apple, and apples aren’t human, so it was an entirely different experience. And when I was the apple, what was really interesting is I could still see. People don’t think that apples can see because they don’t have eyes, but I could. And in fact, I could see better than I can with eyes, because I could see outside of me, inside of me, 360 degrees, wherever. You could say, wherever my awareness wandered, I could see, and it could wander anywhere. The only thing I saw was light, I could see light. But there were what I would call two types of light. This was still what I call an experience of form, not beyond perception entirely. There was space, and space was kind of a clear light. It was a light, but it was clear. And then there were objects, you know, it could be any object. I’ll use this. [Picks up a magnifying glass] There were objects, and objects were like compacted light. It’s almost like light crunched into light. And what I knew was that all of the light, whether it was the spacious light or whether it was the compacted light, it was all alive awareness, which is what I was. It was all the same as me. There was no difference. And again, this was all without thinking. That’s amazing. It’s just knowing. And while I was the apple, my daughter took a bite out of me, and her teeth were the same thing I am. Her teeth were also just this living awareness, compacted light. So when her teeth came and took a bite out of me, it was an experience of like interacting with like, or sameness with sameness, and it was a very, very, very joyous interaction. After that happened, I popped back into being human, and that’s when all of the understanding came. But my point is, in the enlightenment of an apple – that’s a type of enlightenment, I would say – in the enlightenment of an apple, you could say there’s no world.
Regina: Right? Yeah. So is a world something that a human body experiences, but the same alive awareness that we are as a blade of grass does not?
Rick: I think there’s also another sense in which there’s no world. And I think that sense is perhaps best conveyed by the phrase, “Knowledge is different in different states of consciousness.” Or we could say, “Reality is different in different states of consciousness.” Even physics will tell us there’s a level of creation in which the world hasn’t arisen, hasn’t manifested, and that’s very real, perhaps more real than the phases in which the world has apparently manifested. And whether you go for physics or spiritual teachings, there’s this notion of levels, or strata of creation, more and more and more manifest. And those levels are paradoxically unlike one another, for the most part. I mean, in physics, Newtonian physics and quantum mechanics have very little to do with one another. It’s a totally different way of explaining the very same creation, and yet both are true, each in their own realm. And there’s a realm beyond both of those realms which is unmanifest, in which there is no world. And if you try to take a stand and say, “Only Newtonian physics is correct and not quantum mechanics,” or vice versa, or the perspective from which there is no world, then you’ve boxed yourself into a partial perspective which doesn’t take into account the totality of all the various realities simultaneously coexisting.
Regina: Yeah, now we’re getting into the elephant story, right? It’s a trunk. [laughter]
Rick: Yeah, yeah, right.
Regina: Well, I had another experience also that kind of points to, I don’t know if you would say that this means there is a world or that there isn’t a world, but the experience was what I would call the experience of the Big Bang. Except, people talk about the Big Bang like it happened billions of years ago or something, and what I experience is that it’s happening thousands of times per second. It’s like it’s always, always happening.
Rick: Yeah, and I think there are physicists who would agree with that, too.
Regina: Yeah, yeah, I experienced that – again, it wasn’t a vision, it was like an experience – I felt it, I saw it, I knew it to be true, and I knew that the only reason the world appears exactly the same… I call those multiple universes. It’s like a new universe every nanosecond, and the only reason the world is the same in each nanosecond is because our believing stays the same. If somehow we were able to really, really change the way that we believe, there’s no reason why the next nano-universe couldn’t be a completely different nano-universe, because it comes from us. But that’s what I saw, it’s always coming, it’s always going, it’s not at all constant. And so in that way you could definitely say there is no world when you think of a world as something that’s constant.
Rick: Right, it’s changing and therefore it can’t be real.
Regina: It’s changing, yeah.
Rick: But there’s a stability to it, you know, Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva, creator, maintainer, destroyer. There are these different aspects which kind of counterbalance one another and thereby provide some consistency and continuity to the world.
Regina: For me that stuff is all really cool, but what really matters is where I am now. Where seeing things like the world coming and going thousands of times per second was helpful to me is that it helped me see I don’t have to carry a grudge. If Rick Archer sat here and said to me, “You’re the stupidest person I’ve ever interviewed.”
Rick: No, I’ve interviewed a few people who are more stupid, yeah.
Regina: I don’t have to carry a grudge, because as soon as you’re done saying that, that was a different universe.
Regina: I mean, there’s no reason, I don’t have to drag that into this universe. So that’s how these types of experiences have been helpful to me. To me it’s not the experience for the experience’s sake, it’s the experience for how the experience shifted me, how the experience is helping me see things that I didn’t see before and therefore awakening me.
Rick: That’s great. And that’s a nice example of living in the now, of course, which is all in vogue ever since Eckhart totally popularized it. It’s like, the now of 10 seconds ago is not the now of now.
Rick: And there’s actually all kinds of beautiful teaching stories about this kind of thing. I’ve used this example before, but etching a line in stone versus drawing a line in sand versus making a line in water versus making a line in air. In each case the line gets less and less permanent according to the substance in which you make it. And it’s said that the enlightened person is like line in air, that just everything is deeply experienced – you can actually make a deeper line in air than you can in stone – but it’s past as soon as it’s passed. You know, next moment, next moment, new thing.
Regina: And that gets very, very easy too. It’s like the past and the future collapse.
Rick: Yeah, yeah.
Regina: You know, you don’t have to make yourself stay in the now. It just becomes a natural way of being.
Rick: Yeah, good point. I mean, it would be a strain to be trying to make yourself stay in the now all the time.
Regina: Yeah, it’s just the past is falling away and the future, the stories about the future, the imagination about the future, that’s what’s gone.
Rick: Yeah. So you told us some of the key points of the Inner Ramana book. Did you manage to cover the key points of the NTI book? Anything in there that you want people to know about?
Regina: No, I think that NTI, for me it was an earlier phase. When I started NTI, I still firmly believed that if you said I was the stupidest person you ever interviewed, you hurt me. [laughter] Like, “You did that to me and how could you?” “And the world is real and I hurt because of you.” NTI is what moved me from that way into seeing that it really is about my thinking and what I’m believing, and teaching me how to let go of thoughts. One thing that NTI also teaches is about emotions, how to be with emotions until they die their own death, rather than repressing them. Whether it’s fear, guilt, anger, just letting it exist until it ceases to exist on its own, because it will, and staying out of the way. So it’s really that phase. I call it the purification phase, but it’s really that phase of the awakening process. I’ve listened to some of your interviews and what I find interesting is, of course, some people seem to have the awakening to the self behind the self before they go through the purification and for me it was the opposite, the purification came first. I’ll hear a lot of people who say that they are awake but they still have all this stuff, they still get angry, they still judge. And actually I don’t have all of that stuff.
Rick: Because you cleared it out, largely.
Regina: You don’t have to live with that, and I know that. Just to accept that as this is the way it is, is just not continuing that hike, I think. What I’m about to say, I don’t mean to encourage repression, but you don’t have to experience hate and jealousy and guilt. You can see through it, you can see how you make it, you can see it’s not real, you can transcend it, and then you’re a happy person. And yes, stuff still happens, but you’re able to happily, and with intuition, manage it, deal with it.
Rick: Sure. I just want to say there have been about 170 people watching the live stream and we’ve only gotten one question, so it may be that people don’t realize that they can submit questions. So if anyone wants to submit one, we might go on for another 10 or 15 minutes. There’s a page on batgap.com under Future Interviews, go there, and then, Upcoming Interviews, and then at the bottom of that page there’s a form through which you can submit a question if you have one. Okay, so then Awakening Together, what is that?
Regina: That’s a good question. The reason I moved to Pueblo, by the way, is a short story. I had a dream that told me to go to Pueblo. So I left North Carolina and I came to Pueblo, and within a couple of years of getting to Pueblo, I had this feeling to take what I called a year of increased silence. Being a single mother, I couldn’t have complete silence – I had a daughter who I needed to be a mother to – but she was in school during the day, from about 7:00 in the morning until 4:00 in the afternoon so I was in silence during that time. And I spent that time with a book called “The Seven Steps to Awakening,” which is a collection of quotes from people like Ramana Maharshi, Nisargadatta, Yoga Vasistha the book, things like that. And I would spend all day contemplating these quotes and lots of great, great, great clarity came and, you know, again, this was another giant step forward and I could do lots of teachings on what came to me in that year. But at the end of that year, this guidance came to start a church, an online church, and I had great, great resistance. In fact, the first two people that I told that to, I couldn’t even hardly get the word “church” out of my mouth. But the guidance came to start this online church, Awakening Together. I was given a purpose and five core values, the purpose being to awaken to one true self but using any form of spiritual teaching that’s helpful, so not specific to one mode. Like we talked about, different people need different things, so it’s not specific to just one mode of awakening. Whatever is helpful to point people towards awakening, that’s a part of Awakening Together. And then the five core values were things like no one has spiritual intuition over another, everyone has their own inner guidance. Again, not to take anything that is not the truth, for example, to hold up NTI or “A Course in Miracles” or anything else and say, “This is the truth,” you know, that’s not it, that’s just a pointer. There is only one truth and it’s that which has no beginning, no ending, is absolutely changeless. All of these core values came and then – I got two friends to help me with this – our job was to build this church. And a church is a legal entity so we needed to study the law and learn what a church was and we needed to become a church in the eyes of the law. And we did that. It was quite a climb because the law, at least the IRS, thought that a church meant physical building and we’re online. And so we had to work a little harder to prove that we were a church than somebody with a building would. But we did. We got our church status so we are an online church and in some ways we behave like a church because if we didn’t behave like a church they wouldn’t see us as a church, right? So, like we have a Sunday morning service, we have a minister program where you can become ordained as a minister, but all of that I would say is actually window dressing. The real purpose of this organization is to help people awaken, to help people find their own inner intuition that’s going to guide them through their awakening, to help people get beyond the symbols and to see what the symbols are pointing to. It’s also just wonderful, it’s a wonderful way for people to join. Lots of people feel that they’re alone in their communities and we’re online so you can come together and join with others. So it’s really a pretty cool thing. It’s still relatively small, I think we have a little over 200 members, but it’s really just a very cool thing. And if you go to our website awakening-together.org, and you go to the Sanctuary menu, there you can get a quick start book that tells you how to enter our sanctuary. You can literally come into our online sanctuary where we have speakers, but also if the speaker is taking questions, you can put up your hand and you can ask a question, you can type questions on the board.
Rick: This is like the Sunday morning services, you have speakers like that?
Regina: Well, but we’re open all day Sunday, we’re open Monday night, Tuesday night, all day Wednesday, and we’re open Thursday night, so more than just a Sunday morning service. In fact, Gina Lake is one of the speakers in our sanctuary, she speaks on Wednesdays just before me.
Rick: Oh nice, every week?
Regina: Yeah, every week.
Rick: I interviewed Gina years ago, she’s a good friend.
Regina: Yeah, yeah, I love her too. And then we have different people that we invite to come for like a mini-series, like they wouldn’t want to come every week like Gina does, but they might come for four weeks or six weeks or eight weeks in a row.
Rick: Who are some people you have scheduled?
Regina: We have Martha Creek scheduled in January, Susanne Marie scheduled in February, Maria Felipe scheduled in March, and I haven’t gotten to April yet, I’ll be working on that next.
Regina: And then we have monthly satsangs on the third Sunday of every month, we invite somebody different on a one-time basis to interview. I think it was Loch Kelly last month. I think you gave me his email address because I was having trouble reaching him. We have Cate Grieves this month, next month we have Mary Reed, so just all these things. Also, the audios are on our website so people can go and listen to the audios, but you can come into our sanctuary and participate live in these types of events. And then we also have a radio station, an internet broadcast, that’s on 24/7, so when our sanctuary is open, the sanctuary is being broadcast.
Rick: How do you keep that full of content 24/7?
Regina: It’s all a YouTube playlist and I add YouTubes every morning, so you can hear Buddha at the Gas Pump there.
Rick: So you just rotate through different contents that you add?
Regina: Yeah, we always delete stuff off the top and add stuff at the bottom, so it’s always changing. And I keep around 400 to 500 things in it at a time so that I don’t have to be chasing it. But yeah, so we just turn on that YouTube playlist and it’s playing through the radio, it has teachings, music, sometimes documentaries, sometimes humor.
Rick: That’s great.
Regina: And you can get to that from our website too by just going to the sanctuary menu and then clicking on “Listen Live.” And we have annual retreats.
Rick: Does it cost anything to belong to it?
Regina: It doesn’t cost anything to belong, it’s just like any other church, we survive on donations.
Regina: Yeah, and we do have paid staff. I do receive a salary, Jacquelyn Eckert, our Vice President, receives a salary. Ken Gibson, our Sanctuary Director, receives a salary, and Shiryl Kaplan, our Assistant Sanctuary Director, receives a salary. Then of course there’s expenses for different servers, different services that you use. So the donations are helpful, they keep us going, without them we would have to close. The only thing that we charge for, obviously, are the retreats because they cost money.
Rick: Physical, on location?
Regina: Physical retreats, yeah. And also the Minister Preparation Program, which is a two-year program and it’s actually a very good, very helpful program for people. Everybody who goes through it grows spiritually, they see differently at the end of the program than they did at the beginning. And then you also are an ordained minister. Some people just refuse that at the end, they don’t care about that, but if you want to be a minister at the end, you’re an ordained minister at the end.
Rick: So you could actually marry people or something if you wanted to, right?
Regina: You can marry people, you can get into prisons and hospitals more easily. There are different benefits to being a minister if someone wanted to be a minister. So yeah, the minister program and the physical retreats cost money, but everything else that we provide is free if it’s free… I started to say if it’s free for us to do it, but it’s not free for us to do it because of the paid staff and the servers and all.
Rick: Yeah, that sounds pretty neat. It’s a really cool enterprise.
Regina: Yeah, it is, it’s a lot of fun and it just went through a major shift in that originally we were … it was like two organizations came together and did this. And although both organizations are very sweet, they really wanted two different things. One organization was very, very focused on “A Course in Miracles” and the other organization, which is Awakening Together, much more open. So we recently had this really nice, friendly split where the organization that’s focused on “A Course in Miracles”, ACIM Gather, they have their own PalTalk room now, their own virtual room and their own radio and all of that, and then Awakening Together has their own. That just felt really, really good to make that split, so it’s kind of a fresh start for us. We even have open times in our schedules a little bit where we’re still looking for some teachers like Gina Lake, some teachers to come in. So if anybody’s hearing this and you’re like, “Oh, that’s for me,” be sure to email me. I think Rick will probably make the email address available.
Rick: Yeah, I’ll put whatever you want on your BatGap page, links to all these things you’re talking about and your contact info.
Regina: We’re real excited to grow and we welcome everyone who feels like they want to be a part of it.
Rick: That’s great. And obviously you can go through my 375 BatGap interviews and pick out people that you might want to participate and just reach out to them.
Regina: This is where we get a lot of the people for our monthly satsangs and mini-series. And this is why, I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but I do send you a donation once a year. And this is why, because I use you to some degree and if I use you, I should pay you. That’s the way.
Rick: Well, thank you. Yeah. And I subscribe to your email. Actually, I’ve been subscribing to that for years.
Rick: Great, so this has been wonderful. Is there anything else that you want to say before we wrap it up that we haven’t said?
Regina: No, I think probably the thing that I would want to emphasize is I really do want to invite anybody who wants to join us in Awakening Together to join us. That’s how something like that becomes richer, is when people come and they bring their own talents and their own insights and all of that, and it turns into something really very beautiful. So please check out awakening-together.org and join us. And even though I founded it and I’m a teacher there, it’s not the type of thing where I’m the teacher there. Everybody is invited.
Rick: And obviously, it’s not any sort of binding commitment. You can check it out and try it for a couple of weeks and if you don’t like it, then don’t come back.
Regina: Then leave. Yeah, absolutely.
Rick: A couple of questions came in, let me just quickly scan them. My friend in London, they came in so recently that he hasn’t had a chance to review them, but let me just quickly check. Let’s see. Alright, this looks like one I could read. This is from Jenny in Portola Valley, California. “Appreciating this interview very much. Thanks both of you for all your helpful work – much inspiration and resonant teaching – but I’m still stuck somewhere in habits, thought patterns that keep me in my smaller self. Don’t know how I can be more willing and wanting, prayerful, but so far while progress of some sorts feels constant, it’s not setting me free from feeling stuck. Kind of an ambiguous Hail Mary I know, but any thoughts on this?”
Regina: I guess the answer I want to say to that is I am starting something new in January, because I’ve observed that this is true for a lot of people where maybe they’ve been on this path for a while, they’ve read all the books, they’ve been to the satsangs, and yet they just feel like there’s not enough movement. Maybe there’s been some, but they don’t feel like there’s enough movement. I have walked that path, even though I am still awakening, I have walked that path of letting go of what causes us to suffer. So in January I’m going to start on Tuesday nights leading a group of anybody who wants to join, where I’m going to do my best to help people let go of what’s causing them to suffer. And I can’t tell you 100% exactly how I’m going to do that, it’s going to be intuitive, but I’m going to work with people. And they can join us in the Awakening Together Sanctuary. It will start at 8pm Eastern Time, which is 5pm Pacific, and it will begin in January. So if somebody happens to watch this two years from now, it’s possible that it will still be going on.
Rick: Yeah, or you’ll have other things going on, if not. One thing I would say to that person, somebody else asked me that recently out at the SAND conference. I was sitting having breakfast with some friends and she was just feeling like, “It’s so wonderful to be here with all these people, but now I’m going home and I’m going to be out in the world and getting caught up in all the usual stuff, and how do I hang on to this nice thing that gets enlivened when I’m in a group like this?” I said, based on my own experience, that if you have some sort of practice that works for you, that you can make routine, do it every day, once a day, twice a day, whatever the nature of the practice is, that will help to really anchor you and keep reinforcing so that you just don’t get totally caught up in things and forget about it.
Regina: Well, that’s the type of thing I’ll be doing in this new group. We use the term “homework,” but it’s not studying. I will be giving people things like, “Do this this week and then come back and tell me how that was for you.” So, it won’t be just showing up for two hours a week and listening to Regina talk. There’s going to be interactive discussion. There are going to be assignments, because that’s how I did it. I did it by doing something in a very focused way, not only every day, but just all the time. And I want to help people, the people who really want to heal. And I know not everyone really does. I’m very aware of that. Like I said, there’s those mixed priorities.
Rick: Well, I think everybody wants to, they just may not realize that they want to, or they might mistake other things as potential sources of healing and fulfillment, which actually are going to let them down.
Regina: Exactly, I agree with that. They may need to taste some other things first, or at least see that those other things aren’t going to do it for them. But people who really, really, really, really want this, I can maybe point and help and give people some practices. And what some people tell me is they stick to the practices better if they’re in a group that’s doing it.
Rick: Yeah, it really helps.
Regina: And they have to come back every week and talk about it, right. So, it’s that kind of a collaborative, “We’re doing this together,” kind of thing.
Rick: Yeah, there are so many examples from various scriptures about the importance of a group. You know, Jesus said, “Wherever two or three or more of you are gathered together in my name, there I am.” And the end of the 10th mandala of the Rigveda has this whole thing about this assemblage of enlightened people and how significant that is, and assembly is significant in unity and so on. And so many spiritual teachers have said that the company of the enlightened, or the company of fellow seekers and people with that sort of orientation is such a powerful technique in and of itself for accelerating evolution. And obviously you’re doing it in a really neat online way so somebody living in northern Wyoming can participate.
Regina: Absolutely. And also, for people who just absolutely can’t make it during that time, it will be recorded and posted, too, so people can participate at their convenience.
Rick: I really appreciate that. Some people complain a bit when they watch these interviews, they say, “Well, I get a little tired of hearing people just describe their experience of their awakening,” and even if they offer something to do, like “Come to my satsang and hear me describe my experience of my awakening,” it’s not quite as hands-on and practical as they would like. So I really appreciate the effort you’re making.
Regina: Yeah, this is very practical. And remember that first, when I said that prayer on that Disney cruise, what came down over me, I mean, I said it but it came to me to say it, was, “Please make me useful for the rest of my life.” Somehow I’m still fulfilling that. This is kind of my job, until it’s not anymore. I’ve actually had some feelings lately that it will be ending, and so this is one reason why I really feel to do this and to bring as many people as possible to this state that I’m at because when it ends for me, I think Awakening Together will continue, so it needs to be left with other people who now know this joy, this happiness, this peace, and they can turn around and share with others.
Rick: Great. Well, thanks so much for everything you’re doing.
Regina: Thank you.
Rick: So I’ve been speaking with Regina Dawn Akers, and I’ll be putting a page up on batgap.com with a description of everything we’ve been talking about and links to the things she wants us to link to, so you can follow up on all this. And as most of you watching know, this is an ongoing series, there’s one every week. If you go to batgap.com you can sign up to get an email each time one is posted and you’ll be notified. You can subscribe on YouTube and YouTube will notify you whenever I post one. There’s an audio podcast if you prefer to listen to an audio while commuting or something. The “Donate” button I mentioned in the beginning, we rely upon people’s support and appreciate that. And some other things, if you explore the menus you’ll find some useful little tools. For instance, there’s a geographical thing where if you type in a particular city anywhere in the world, it’ll show you in order of proximity anyone I’ve interviewed who is doing something in those locations. I believe that’s under the “Resources” menu. So check out the menus and thanks for listening or watching and we will see you next week. And thank you, Regina.
Regina: Thank you, Rick