379. Rick Archer at Berkeley Open Circle Center

Rick ArcherI was hesitant to put this up, because there’s more than enough of me on this site, but a few kind friends encouraged me to, so here it is. I gave this talk at the Open Circle Center in Berkeley, California on October 24, 2016. Points discussed include:

  • “Can knowledge of nonduality be scientifically understood, that is, systematically organized, tested, explained, and predicted? Science has not devised instruments capable of detecting the nondual nature of ultimate reality, but spiritual traditions discuss it extensively, and numerous followers of these traditions (and of no traditions) claim to have experienced it as their essential nature. This experience is commonly termed “awakening” or “enlightenment”.
  • Is there a “scientific” consensus among these people? Are they referring to the same thing? Is there just one awakening, or are there many degrees of it? Buddhist, Hindu, and Christian mystical traditions tend to assert the latter. If there are many degrees or stages of awakening, do they culminate in an ultimate stage we might term “enlightenment”, or is there no ultimate? When one’s essential nature has been clearly and abidingly realized, has one reached a terminus, or do refinement, clarification, and other facets of development continue?
  • If we see spiritual development as never-ending, will we be forever chasing the dangling carrot, or can we rest in our true nature, the seeking energy having dropped off, and yet acknowledge that compared with what might be possible, we are relative beginners?
  • Many spiritual teachers make statements such as “This is it. You are That which you are seeking. Realize this, and you are finished.” Is such advice helpful, or does it short-change spiritual aspirants?”
  • How might spirituality benefit from science, and vice versa?
  • The consequences of science meddling with Laws of Nature without understanding the field in which they reside.
  • The importance of understanding on the spiritual path.
  • The seeming epidemic of spontaneous awakenings.

Video and audio below. Audio also available as a Podcast.