Rick Archer at the Open Circle Berkeley – Transcript

Rick Archer at the Open Circle Berkeley

Rick: I hope you have no illusions that I’m some kind of spiritual teacher, a luminary, or anyone like that. I don’t purport to be. It is humbling to see myself pictured here with Adyashanti, Rupert Spira, Pamela Wilson, and Gangaji. However, I feel I have been called to a role for which I’m well suited, having spent most of my life preparing. Somehow, stumbling into this, yet unbeknownst what I am preparing for, has been highly fulfilling. Not just for me and my life experience, but it is becoming beneficial for many people.

Recently, at the Science and Non-Duality Conference, I couldn’t walk ten steps without someone approaching to say, “Your show has had such an effect on my life.” Seriously, so many people with all kinds of stories. One person had said, “This thing was happening to me, and I had no idea what it was. I searched the internet and began learning about this awakening thing, this enlightenment thing. So, I started checking out different teachers, and it all made sense that I wasn’t going crazy or alone.” And other people too, “Well, you connected me with my teacher,” and “I would never have known about so and so,” if not for our show, and so it is continuously progressing this gratifying effect.

I was a student of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, and he once told me that I was a connector and a collector. So, I feel like I’m kind of doing that in a way. And it’s funny because, at the same time, I feel like I’m not doing it. And I know that sounds like a spiritual cliché, but once in a while, I’ll be looking at the website or something. and all these hundreds of names of people that I’ve interviewed, and I think, “How in the heck is this happening?” You know, I don’t even feel like I’m doing anything. I’m just kind of going along from day to day, and this thing is happening somehow out of it, and it’s having all these ripples of effect worldwide. So, I feel like an instrument or a tool of the divine. And it’s very gratifying to do that, to be that. As I said, I just came from the Science and Non-Duality Conference and always attended that conference. I’m interested in the interface of science and spirituality. I’m not a scientist, but I’d like to talk about some thoughts I play with all the time and have played with over the years and continue to refine them as I think about them and talk about them with people.

This year’s Science and Non-Duality Conference theme was “On the Edge of the Unknown.” And so, I thought about that and thought, “Will the unknown always have an edge, or will we somehow reach an endpoint in which we know everything?” Some scientists feel that, at a certain point, science will have it all figured out. And most people who feel that way already feel that spirituality, mysticism, and all that science has rendered obsolete and that the tools of objective science will answer all the questions. I don’t think most scientists feel that way, but there are some. I think even Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mladen or someone like that wrote a book along those lines, announcing that science had finally already displaced all the religious myths of creation and that we didn’t need those anymore.

Science is notorious for having a certain arrogance about how advanced we are and how much we know. And yet look at what’s happening to the world. We’ve gained much technological knowledge, and there’s a genuine possibility that human beings won’t exist in a couple of hundred years if things go as they seem, so… obviously, we don’t know everything. There must be something more we could know that could allow our technologies to be more benign and… allow them to benefit us without destroying us. And, I think, that’s where spirituality comes in. Science without spirituality is sort of like little knowledge is a dangerous thing. There isn’t necessarily any kind of moral or ethical compass for technology. Very powerful technologies can end up in the hands of people who are very greedy or small-minded and… who don’t care about the consequences of what they’re doing, or, looking at the bottom line of the next quarter, and aren’t thinking about the next generation or seven generations or anything like that. And who treat, who regard nature in a very mechanistic way. The earth is an object and is here for us to exploit. And one way of thinking about that is that those scientific and technological advancements utilize specific laws of nature.

We discover a law or a principle, even how a jet plane flies. People studied birds for a long time, trying to figure out how they did it. You’ve seen those old films of early airplanes where they had things that flapped up and down and bounced all over the place and didn’t get anywhere. But they eventually figured out the principle of the differentiation of the air pressure over a wing if the wing is shaped in a certain way and how that creates lift. So, they understood something about some law of nature, providing a valuable technology. There are innumerable laws of nature, and very often, technologies harness or meddle with certain laws of nature without knowing the ramifications and implications of what we might do if we tinker with this or tinker with that. And often, there are disastrous consequences. Genetic engineering is potentially disastrous; we’re monkeying around at the genome level and don’t know exactly what effect we will have. But, again, there’s the financial incentive to do this thing. And much money has been invested in research, so they want to get the product out there to recoup their investment. But it’s dangerous because we don’t harness the intelligence of nature. Instead, we’re meddling with it.

I would suggest… there’s a verse from Rig Veda which goes, “Richo akshare parame vyoman yasmin deva adhi vishve nisheduh”. And it goes on a bit more. But it says that all the impulses of intelligence give rise to and govern the manifest universe; in other words, we could say laws of nature because I think the laws of nature are not just mechanistic and dumb; they’re impulses of intelligence governed by intelligence. This verse says all those laws of nature reside in the transcendental akasha, in the transcendental field. And then it goes on to say that if you don’t know that field, then what can those impulses of intelligence do for you? What can those laws do for you? But if you see that field, you align with natural law and all the laws of nature. And you function so as not to create harm unwittingly by doing a specific thing and then unknowingly violating other things.

I think people who are deeply attuned to the transcendent, to their true nature, have found that in their personal lives, this is very often the case, that you move much more gently and sensitively in the world, wisely. You don’t blunder about, you know, creating problems for yourself and others. And we can envision the potential of a society in which everyone was functioning that way. And I think that if we had such a society, we wouldn’t have so many problems by a long shot. I would posit that every problem that besets us as a society reflects the collective consciousness of all the individuals in the world. And suppose most of the individuals in the world have an incoherent, very partial grasp of the totality. In that case, their collective influence will be, you know, to some extent positive, to some extent negative. And you can gauge the degree of harmful or positive technologies and situations with the environment and how the collective consciousness fares at the moment. It could use some upliftment.

You may have heard that just in the last week or two, it was announced through the Hubble telescope that there are about ten times more galaxies in the known universe than we realized. It used to be hundreds of billions; now it’s about two trillion. And that’s just the known universe. And according to both physicists and some ancient cosmologies, there may be innumerable universes. But let’s just stick with one. If there are two trillion galaxies in the known universe, and if there is a spiritually or technologically or both advanced civilization in each of those universes, only one, that would be two trillion such civilizations. But we know from the Kepler telescope that, at least in our neighborhood, most stars have planets around them. And my hunch is that the universe is teeming with life of all sorts and that there are uncountable civilizations far more advanced than ours, both technologically and spiritually. So, I think that’s just a good thought to ponder because there tends to be a bit of hubris, both in scientific and spiritual circles, about how much we know and how advanced we are, and so on. I think it’s kind of good to stay humble. And some spiritual teachers I respect most talk that way themselves; Adyashanti, for instance, says, “I’m always a beginner.” I just had a nice interview with him yesterday. He said, “A couple hundred years from now, people might look, and if they remember me at all, they might say, “Boy, that guy was a real duffer. He hardly knew anything.” And it might be that the average man on the street is as wise as the type of people we now consider spiritual luminaries. That was a little bit of an aside, but I just wanted to throw that out there.

The concepts of science and spirituality. How might these constructs work in tandem? Specifically, how might spirituality be of service to science? If spirituality is capable of attuning people more deeply to nature’s intelligence, if it’s capable of enlivening moral or ethical values in people, making them more sensitive, more caring, more loving, things like that, then I think that that could make these powerful tools that technology has given us, it would put them in safer hands. But let’s do it the other way around. How can science help spirituality? I think it’s really important that… When I use the word spirituality, I’m not implying faith, belief, or anything of that nature. I’m talking about the experience. Most of you probably have that orientation, given the teachers I see on this flyer. We’re not satisfied with being told that something is such and such and then just spending our lives believing that and hoping that that will do us any good. We may not have thought of it this way, but most of us probably regard the so-called faith statements of spiritual traditions as working hypotheses that we might test.

If the Upanishads say something about the ultimate nature of reality, some Buddhist scriptures, Christian scriptures, or something else, we want to experience that. I don’t think that Jesus, Buddha, or any of those great teachers cared what we believed, even though they’re often translated as saying that. They cared about what we experienced. They wanted us to experience what they were experiencing. And they did their best to say things that would align people with their… and provide practices and teachings that would enable people to do that. And those practices tended, many of them, I think, tended to have a scientific… nature to them. A teacher would say, “Well, there’s this, that, and the other.” He might say, for instance, “There’s a transcendental field, and it’s deep within you, and you could access it. Now here’s a technique. Check it out. Try it. See if it works. See if you do find that.” And then the students might say, “Yeah, well, I had this experience.” And then, the teacher might say something to clarify their experience. So, the point here is that it’s healthy to observe and question, hypothesize, experiment, and analyze before reaching conclusions. Those are the basic steps of science.

If we include religion in the word spirituality, spirituality has not had that attitude for most of its historical existence. Hundreds of millions of people have been killed and tortured in the name of what represents the most sublime experience a human being can have. But it’s been distorted, misunderstood, and entrenched in dogma and rigidity. That people have been killing each other over these things. I think most religions’ founders would be rolling in their graves if they saw what was happening to their teachings. I think understanding is fundamental on the spiritual path. And for a couple of different reasons. One is that it’s a motivator. It’s inspiring. If we understood the possibilities, we’d be very excited about realizing those possibilities. When you drive around the city here, you see many people walking around for whom life seems very difficult, rather bleak. And when you look at the news, hundreds of millions of people in the world are having a really tough time with it, who probably think that life is meaningless, it’s a struggle, it’s suffering; it’s, “life sucks, then you die,” is the saying. I think that it’s a shame because I think that we’re, in a sense, all like multi-millionaires who’ve forgotten that we have a bank account with all that wealth in it, and we’re just sort of pinching pennies and begging on the street corners, trying to get by. If we had access to our bank account, so to speak, well, even if somebody came and told us about the bank account, most wouldn’t believe it. They’d say, “Well, I don’t know, my life’s tough, and this bank account seems rather far-fetched and far away.” But if a means could be provided to people to enable them to access the tremendous wealth of energy, intelligence, creativity, happiness, and sat-chit-ananda, that lie within them, then they could begin to bring that forth, and sure enough, their lives would improve. So, somehow or other, I hope that the knowledge, and it’s happening, the knowledge that there’s more to life than meets the eye, is proliferating, and more and more people are becoming inspired to discover it and to wake up. That’s happening. So that’s one reason. It’s a motivator.

The Upanishads state that all happiness we derive from any external experience is just a reflection of inner happiness, just as the light of the moon is a reflection of the light of the sun. So, in a sense, if that’s true, you could say that everybody’s chasing enlightenment, whether they’re going after a new car, job, relationship, or whatever they’re looking for. They’re looking for happiness, and they’re looking for fulfillment. According to the Upanishads and many other scriptures, ultimately, fulfillment is found in sort of oceanic amounts at the very core of our existence. At the very core of our being. That is not to say we should ignore or lose interest in external pursuits. Still, if that inner happiness can be discovered, experienced, and stabilized in our awareness, it can tremendously enrich all of our outer experiences. Whatever you’re doing can be so much more enjoyable. I mean, think of a relationship, for instance. Relationships can be complicated and sort of lose their luster, there can be all sorts of problems, and people are full of stress and pent-up frustrations and so on that kind of ruins the potential enjoyment of the relationship. But if that stuff could be worked out and people could realize experientially that they’re one with one another at the most fundamental level, then a deep level of harmony could characterize the relationship, which is rare in most relationships.

So, that’s just one example. There are many more. Another reason I think knowledge of the path, or the spiritual landscape, is important, and I’ll elaborate a bit more on what I mean by knowledge because so many weird things have come down in the name of spirituality, both throughout history and contemporarily. There have been so many cults and strange situations that people have gotten involved in, in which they’ve wasted money and time and suffered all kinds of heartbreaks and difficulties. So many spiritual teachers have appeared to be very inspiring and worthy of our attention. Then have crashed and burned in one way or another and disillusioned many people, perhaps hurting many people in the process. So, I think if we, as individuals and as a larger spiritual community, had a clearer understanding of what awakening looks like, we, as the Who said, “we won’t get fooled again.” There will be a greater discernment in choosing a teacher, choosing a path, not staying with someone abusive or trying to take all your money or trying to take you to bed or whatever else these teachers have tried to do, many of whom have given spirituality a bad name in a way. So, it safeguards the path.

Audience member: What is it that you mean when you say awakening and spirituality? I came in a little late.

Rick: Good question. My understanding is, and that’s an excellent question because I hear so many people say, “Well, I had my awakening,” or “I awoke in 19-whatever,” and I often wonder what they’re talking about. Or they say, “Are you awake?” Different traditions approach this differently. I’ve heard Zen monks say, “Well, I’ve had many awakenings, some minor, some major.” Some seem to see it as a watershed moment that you cross, and it’s like breaking the sound barrier or something, and once you’re on the other side, it’s completely different. And that may be many people’s experiences. Others, it’s a progressive thing that there are stages and stages and stages and stages. Maybe both are true. But my sense of it is that there is… We can draw the line and define the term however we want, but I would customarily use it because we have a sort of a true nature; we could say, pure awareness. We usually… It’s not that we have it; it gets tricky to talk about it. But most people regard themselves as being their body, their interests, and their politics. If you ask them who they are, they tell you what they like and where they work. And that’s different from what we are. We’re something much more fundamental than that. And the various scriptures and traditions describe it as being unbounded pure awareness. That’s not limited to any individual body, much like the ocean, whereas individual bodies might be more like the wave. And most people feel like, “I am this wave, and I’m separate from that wave and all the other waves. and I’m vulnerable because the wind could blow me over, and I could cease to exist or something, or I could crash up against the rocks and be gone.” But what the traditions tell us is that, yeah, you’re a wave. Still, more significantly and more fundamentally, you’re the ocean that gives rise to all waves; therefore, you are indestructible, eternal, and never-ending. A verse from the Bhagavad Gita says, “The unreal has no being; the real never ceases to be.” So, the spirituality of the type I’m talking about, or awakening as I use the word, is with reference to awareness waking up to itself as that unbounded, fundamental, pure consciousness.

Audience member: Having talked to younger post-doc-age scientists, I don’t know if it’s because they were raised by baby boomers, but that divide, that hard as if there is a line, they don’t seem to be the old-fashioned scientists, I notice. I’ve seen that They have a wider, deeper, or different perspective.

Rick: Which is what?

Audience member: You can expand your perspective to encompass your experience and consciousness. You know that there’s no such duality. So, the scientists you speak about, I don’t know, maybe it’s generational or maybe it’s…

Rick: Yeah, it could be.

Audience member: I mean, you’ll see with such heavy contrasts now in the politics,

Rick: It’s a cultural thing, like “he’s woke, she’s woke,” meaning there’s a certain consciousness. Again, that’s awakening where younger people in different cultures use that term, meaning this awareness.

Rick: Yeah.

Audience member: And I just find that sometimes the scientist label isn’t what it used to… it doesn’t define people as it used to.

Rick: Yeah, so there’s a couple of good points there. One is that it’s unfair to paint all scientists with the same brush. It could be that there is sort of a… it might be a generational thing where the older folks are a little bit more stuck in their ways, and younger people are more open-minded. It usually works that way. Someone, I forget who said that science progresses by a series of funerals. Because people get so… they’re entrenched, they’re stuck to their paradigms. And they’re resistant to change. So, they die off, and new paradigms come into vogue.

Audience member: And it might even be feminine.

Rick: That too. Very important. Yeah, absolutely. But another point that your question triggers in me is this sort of like, “Oh, he’s awake,” you know, or “She woke up,” or something like that. I don’t know. I get a little uncomfortable when people say that. Because I just don’t know exactly what they’re referring to. And that leads into a whole section of my talk that I’d like to… it relates to this thing about knowledge. I think it would be precious if we… when Lewis and Clark explored North America, they had a real fuzzy idea of what was out there. They didn’t know what they were getting into and how big it was and that there even were certain mountain ranges and things like that, and they had all sorts of difficulties because of that lack of knowledge. These days, of course, with satellite technology and everything else… We probably have the whole continent and world mapped out to the centimeter. GPS gets us exactly where we want to go. I think using the map metaphor would be valuable. I think this will be a project of hundreds of years, if not thousands, to have a clear map of the spiritual territory and the full range of potential spiritual experiences. And it’s almost silly to refer to it as a “spiritual experience.” we’re talking about understanding the nature of reality in its depth. Let me back up a second when you say “spiritual experience,” too many people’s minds, that denotes a kind of subjective thing. You have this inner bliss, vision, or something else, and there’s no indication that what you’re experiencing has any objective reality.

If we were all sleeping and hooked up to the appropriate apparatus, scientists could tell if they were in the next room reading the meters that we were dreaming. When we dreamt, they could tell, “OK, now that person is dreaming.” But they couldn’t tell what we were dreaming. We could wake up and describe our dreams to them. But most of those dreams, and thus we give some credence to the notion of shamanistic visions. or some kind of cognition or something that might sometimes happen in the dream state; most dreams are probably just mental fabrications that don’t have any counterpart in the “real world.” But I feel that the spiritual quest is not something to indulge in subjective experiences merely. That may be gratifying, but it’s an exploration of the full nature of reality. And the full nature of reality would include not only pure consciousness, which we were talking about a minute ago, the ocean but if we want to keep with the ocean metaphor, it would include the full depth of the ocean and all the fish that might live there at different levels.

So, in other words, there is not only this sort of absolute foundation to things, which physicists might call the unified field but there are many strata of creation, subtle to gross or gross to subtle. And many spiritual traditions have talked about these things. You can read books like the Tibetan Book of the Dead, or Jesus said, “In my Father’s house, there are many mansions.” I’m sure you could find references to this in every tradition. I feel that it would be really valuable; for starters, it would be a really interesting Ph.D. thesis for someone to do, to take all the traditional maps and try to match them up and see where there is agreement. And try to find out if there… to take the ancient wisdom and see to what extent it can give us a sense of the full range of reality that spirituality is capable of exploring. But I think that won’t be the end of it. I think, in a way, that will just be the start. And different… that is not to say that everybody will become uniform in their experience, or that they should. We’re all wired differently, and different people will have different cognitions and experiences. Even the ancient Vedic rishis, different ones would cognize various hymns of the Veda. They weren’t wired to cognize them all. This particular lineage would cognize this one, and this particular lineage would cognize that one. It’s kind of like if you retake the map metaphor.

There are many maps of North America. There are weather maps; there are topographical maps; there are maps for aviation, there are maps of oil deposits, and road maps, obviously, maps of railroads. All these different things are of the same territory. They all refer to the same territory, but they have sort of other purposes and different uses for different people and needs. So, I think that a really well mapped out, a really mature map of the full… of the spiritual realm, which even that word is just too simple, but of the whole nature of reality that human beings are capable of experiencing, would have different variations. Some might… and people would gravitate toward different aspects of it while still in agreement with and comfortable with the fact that others’ experiences, although different than theirs, were equally valid. This person is qualified to experience this way; this person leans more toward that. We’re all getting peace and feeling the same elephant, that metaphor. Anyway, I’m rambling a bit. So, any feedback on what I’ve said just now from anybody? Anand? Yeah.

Anand: Oh, yes, sir. Well, I just wanted to… you know, we talk about Jesus and Buddha like they existed. I think the only one that’s really kind of taken that on is Jack Kornfield.

Rick: What did he say?

Anand: Well, when he gives a talk on… this is on the radio, not even a Dharma talk, he was talking about the Buddha myth of the rusted seat, the Buddha myth of this, the Buddha myth of that.

Rick: So, he didn’t exist?

Anand: Yeah.

Rick: Maybe Tim Freke talks about… has a Jesus myth book with Peter Gandy that Jesus didn’t exist, that it’s just a recurring mythology that comes up in different cultures and so on.

Anand: Exactly. And also, they went to the… oh, in… we don’t want to get too hung up on this. In Caesar’s Christ, they went in.

Rick: The what?

Anand: Caesar’s Christ, as it were.

Rick: Caesar’s Christ.

Anand: Yeah. And they decided that the Caesars were the actual ones that created the Jesus myth. Because, you know, it’s very expensive to go to Israel with all these troops and everything. So, if someone hits you, you turn the other cheek. You know, if you walk, you know, a mile with a… a Roman asked you to walk a mile with his bag, walk another one. Yeah. It’s all, you know, the whole thing. Okay. Anyway, I want to stay focused on that.

Rick: Yeah. Well, I would say that even if it’s true, and I’m no scholar of such things, even if it’s true that some of these great historical figures were either, you know, totally fabricated or at least embellished the things they did; you know, there could have been a lot of exaggeration over time. We don’t need to resort to ancient records to feel comfortable that spiritual enlightenment is possible because there are contemporary examples, you know, in recent and current times.

Anand: Yeah. Well, if you say that, gee, I realize I’m not doing this. I’ve heard this from many people, so hopefully they are, you know… But anyway, this is more of a concept than anything, but this guy died about two weeks ago where we live. And just before he died, he tried to kiss this woman and got into trouble. The police were involved, and this and that. And then that was like Tuesday and Wednesday. He got into a political argument, wanted to fight the guy, and chose him out. And the guy, you know, backed down and said, “No, you’re my friend. I don’t want to fight.” And then the next day he was walking to a restaurant…

Rick: You’re not talking about Donald Trump, are you?

Anand: No, no, no, no.

Rick: Okay.

Anand: The next day, he died.

Rick: Yeah.

Anand: He leaned up against the pole and fell. And my question was, I guess, it’s probably half, maybe half concept and not half… Anyway, was Source doing all those things?

Rick: Okay, that’s a good question. I can do something with that. Some people say that you know, there’s no free will, and everything is just genetics and conditioning. Ramesh Balsekar said that over and over if you’ve heard of him. I think that, like many things, truth is sort of multi-layered. And different levels of reality are valid in their own right but paradoxically opposed to one another. Let me just give you an example. So, I get this model. Timothy Conway expresses this very clearly. He has written an excellent article on EnlightenedSpirituality.org.

He has the threefold paradoxically true levels of reality or something. The first would be the apparent gross level of the world that we’re all familiar with, where there are problems and difficulties and this and that. And, you know, we must deal with those things on their level. If there’s pollution, we must clean it up or stop contributing to it. You can’t just ignore it. A second level would be the divine level, where everything is God, everything is divinely orchestrated, and everything is perfect just as it is, including pollution. There are no mistakes in the universe. It’s all just running like clockwork. A deeper level would be the unmanifest level, where nothing ever happened. There is no universe. Nothing ever arose. You’ve probably heard statements like that from Ramana Maharshi and others. Each of those is true. It’s just that knowledge is different at different levels of consciousness, different states of experience. And people get stuck in one or the other of those levels.

There might be people stuck on the level of, “We’ve got to do something about all the problems in the world and all this other stuff about, you know, everything’s perfect, and there is no universe. It’s just much nonsense. It’s not practical. It’s not going to help us.” There are people who, you know, I’ve heard people… There was an interchange at the Science and Nonduality Conference four or five years ago. David Loy, a Buddhist teacher, challenged a speaker to say, “What about environmental problems? And we need to do something. We need to, you know, practically apply our spirituality.” And he was just saying, “Whatever happens. It’s all perfect, just as it is. We don’t need to do anything. And, you know, the world is a speck of dust if it disappears. Whatever.” And then, I’ve also heard people talk that, you know, nothing ever happened. There is no universe. There is no person. There is no self. Each of those is true on its level, but it needs to be more apparent if you get stuck in one or the other of those levels. It needs to do justice to the full range of possibilities. I think a mature spirituality embodies the full range of creation in living a living life. The word “Brahman,” which you may have heard, is defined as the inclusion of three levels: Adhi-bhuta, Adhi-daiva, and Adhi-atma. That’s the three levels I just described. It includes the full range of the relative and the absolute; all wrapped up in one big package. And that’s the totality. That’s the reality. Not just this slice or this slice or this slice.

Anand: You know, that sounds, wow. Just one last question. The other day, I went to this talk, and he ended it with, “There is no separate self.” And that was sort of like a zinger.

Rick: You were saying that in the talk? Somebody?

Anand: Yeah. At the very end of the talk. And I thought, gee, no separate self. And then, you know, if they put something over my nose and mouth, I probably wouldn’t be around for three minutes.

Rick: You’d be struggling.

Anand: I’d be struggling, and, you know, the rain could have fallen, you know, three months ago, and I’m drinking it now, and that’s in my blood. So, I sort of get that a little bit. I wonder if it’s a concept.

Rick: Well, to my level, to my understanding, well, my friend Francis Bennett has a nice phrase that he likes to repeat a lot. I think he even has it on the homepage of his website. He says, “Of course, you’re a person. You’re just not only a person.” Do you know? So, you know, on some level, yeah, there’s no separate self. Very true. Put your hand on a stove, and very quickly, there’s a felt sense that there’s a separate self. At least, most of us would feel that way. And that separate self doesn’t like the pain it’s experiencing and wants to do something about it. And now, some people have the experience, if they’re deeply grounded in the capital S self, in true nature, that, you know, they experience the pain, and yet they don’t experience it at the same time. There’s a dimension in their experience that is beyond the reach of pain. I was a student of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi for a long time, and he was once doing an interview on the BBC with an interviewer named Malcolm Muggeridge. And Maharishi and the abbot of Downside were in this discussion with Malcolm Muggeridge. And Maharishi liked to shake people up. So, he said at some point during this interview, “Christ never suffered.” And, of course, both Muggeridge and the abbot of Downside got a little unnerved by that statement. But he went on to explain that, you know, he appeared to be suffering, and his body was going through something rather nasty, and there must have been pain and so on. If he was Christ, if he was really what he was cracked up to be, then the predominant subjective experience, he must have been so well established in being that he was untouched. That’s the world in which he dwelt primarily.

A phrase in Vedanta called “Lesha-Vidya” means “faint remains of ignorance.” There must be some Lesha-Vidya, some faint remains of ignorance, to function as a human being. And if not for that, you think of Ramana Maharishi in the cave, the pit beneath the temple where insects were chewing him, and so on. And they would have died if someone hadn’t dragged him out of there and cleaned him up. Maybe he was at a stage where he was just so, you know, beyond the world that he was oblivious to his body. But he came out of there, and he spent years in a cave meditating and whatnot, and eventually came out and started speaking and teaching. And yet, when he was close to death, suffering from cancer and at times screaming in pain, people would ask him about what he was experiencing. And he made it clear that although he appeared to be suffering, he was untouched by it. And they said, “Please don’t die, please don’t leave us, where could I go?” So, there’s this kind of; you have to take any statement somebody says like that and bring it back to this multi-dimensional perspective. Where it’s not just this or that; excuse me, it’s both and the whole gamut. And don’t take your stance…

In a Bible quote, Jesus said, “For the birds have their nests and the foxes have their holes, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” And to me, that means you don’t take a fixed stance; there’s no place to land. There’s just sort of this openness and, in a way, lack of certainty, which is much more secure than taking a fixed stance and saying, “It’s this way.” It’s never just this way; there’s always the paradox and the ambiguity. And if you try to take a fixed stance, you’re always on shaky ground because it can constantly be challenged, usurped, or disrupted. So just to reiterate, I think spiritual evolution is a process of more and more inclusion and expanding the circumference of our awareness of our experience. To include all the diverse and paradoxical realities of existence within a totality capable of harmonizing them all. And I don’t think there’s any end to it.

I spoke to a friend and spiritual teacher at the S.A.N.D. conference. It was the first time we’d met in person. We’d been in touch for years. I interviewed him years ago. We’ve been exchanging political emails and other things ever since. And I mentioned this idea; that there possibly not be any end to spiritual evolution. And it just goes on and on. He said, “Well, I feel like I’m finished. I’m done. I’m complete.” And I said, “Really?” He said, “Well if we went back to how you were experiencing things ten years ago if you could remember that…” Oh, I’m sorry, I’m not close enough. “If we went back to how you were experiencing things ten years ago if you could remember that and contrast that with how you’re experiencing things right now, would there be any difference whatsoever?” And he said, “Well, yeah, but you’re talking about the manifest. I’m talking about my true nature, the absolute value.” And I said, “Well, that doesn’t change. We’d be in big trouble if it did.” But to my mind, the degree to which pure, authentic nature can be integrated into our relative life has no end. Please think of the various faculties we have as human beings.

We have senses, we have an intellect, and we have a heart. There have been some very brilliant intellects in this world. There have been some very huge hearts and incredibly compassionate people. There have been people with very, very refined senses and perceptual capabilities. So, there’s the potential to refine all of our faculties more and more and more. And I see that as kind of a, you know, if we feel we’ve landed in the self and that it’s never going to change, then there’s a kind of a coming back and an infusion of that into our relative life. I was discussing this topic again just the other day, and someone was saying it might have been Adya, that you can, you know, there have been people who’ve sort of woken up to their true nature but have been real jerks. You know, very poor in relating to people or dishonest in business relationships or, you know, things like that. And obviously, there’s some room for improvement. There’s some room for enhancement.

A friend of mine was debating me on this point, saying that, well, you know, spiritual awakening has nothing to do with behavior. You can be a jerk and be enlightened. You’re just going to be an enlightened jerk, and I beg to differ. I think that there’s a correlation. It may be a loose correlation, like a big stretchy rubber band. It’s not like if you’re awake to the self; you’ll just be a saint like that. But I think that it has an influence. And in fact, Adya was saying, even over the past couple of years, he feels like he can feel changes taking place in his brain and his way of functioning. So, when the self is realized, it starts working on the vehicle in which it has been realized and continues refining that vehicle.

If you want to think of it in more spiritual or godly terms, pure consciousness or pure, true nature or self-realization, as it’s often described, usually doesn’t have much of a divine connotation. It sounds more like a plain vanilla kind of awareness that you realize. There’s no mention or suggestion of the vast intelligence permeating all creation. I’m very comfortable using the word “God,” although it’s misunderstood. It’s kind of hard to use because people have so many connotations and perhaps even traumatic associations with it from their upbringing. But if we define it as the intelligence that permeates and orchestrates every iota of creation… Boy, I’ve got several thoughts here that I want to develop. Let me illustrate that just for a minute, and hopefully, I’ll come around and wrap up all these points.

There are more stars in the universe than grains of sand on all the beaches in the world. And there are more atoms in a single grain of sand than stars in the universe. And each of those atoms is a perfectly functioning little thing we still don’t understand. And it hasn’t come into existence through some kind of random billiard ball effect. There’s intelligence, to my understanding, and others; there’s intelligent laws of nature, orderly laws of nature, orchestrating and orchestrating it in coordination with all the other trillions of atoms in that grain of sand. And that’s just a grain of sand. Go out from there, bigger and bigger and bigger and bigger and bigger out to the whole universe. You can’t find any spot in the entire universe, any cubic centimeter, which if you analyze it closely, you will not see some sort of amazing phenomena that defy our understanding and that illustrate or display vast intelligence. You could take a cubic centimeter way out in the middle of space someplace, and even there, gamma rays are going through light photons and so on and all kinds of laws of nature. This vision, like art on the canvas, wouldn’t God be then hiding in plain sight? Keeping the focus on the mutual relationship, which is; science helping spirituality and vice-versa, I think science has given us a much more precise and deeper understanding of just how marvelous the creation is and how amazing God is.

There’s a beautiful quote from Carl Sagan where he says that, you know, hardly, for some reason, hardly any spiritual tradition has looked at the findings of modern science and said, “Wow, the universe is even more marvelous than we thought, more sublime, more subtle, more beautiful.” Instead, most people usually say, “Oh, no, no, no. Our God is a little God, and we want him to stay that way. We reject these findings of science and so on.” But in my view, science has, and that’s why this whole science and spirituality thing fascinates me; it has kind of opened a window into the divine, which, hundreds and thousands of years ago, we didn’t have access to. A deeper appreciation has been given, or the potential for one, of how profound the intelligence governing things is. If that divine intelligence permeates all of creation as I’ve just described, it also permeates us.

Someone once said, “God may be omnipotent, but the one thing he can’t do is remove himself from your heart.” And if he permeates us, and if he permeates everything, and I say “he,” excuse me for saying that you know what I mean, there is nowhere that God cannot be found. And again, by God, I mean this all-pervading intelligence that we see evidence of if we look closely enough but which we take for granted and walk through our days not realizing what a miracle we’re participating in. That intelligence can be found everywhere. Look anywhere, look closely enough, and there it is. So, if that is the case, then there is nothing other than that. If there seems to be something other than that, look closely, and oh, sure enough, there it is also. Now someone might say, “Oh, I mean, did that pervade Auschwitz, or does it pervade a pile of dog poop?” Or, you know, something that could be more enjoyable. But yeah, if you look closely, at least I mean look in the cell in the skin of a guard in Auschwitz, or a prisoner, and sure enough, that cell is more complicated than the city of Tokyo, and operating according to principles that we hardly understand, there is a miracle taking place in every iota of creation if we have the eyes to see it. Now, does that miracle have an agenda? Does that intelligence have a purpose? Or is it just sort of like playing dice with the universe, and you know, there’s the good, the bad, and the ugly, and it’s not necessarily going anywhere; it’s just sort of bouncing around, and there’s suffering here, and happiness there.

There is sort of an evolutionary trajectory, a force, energy, or intent, that is part of that intelligence. I don’t know if we’d have a universe if there weren’t. I probably sound like a fool right now to somebody who has a Ph.D. in physics and has studied this stuff scientifically. I’m coming at it from the perspective of a high school dropout who eventually got his life together, moved on, and devoted his life to spirituality. He has thought about this for many years, and I have a tremendous amount to learn and always will. I’m sharing some perspectives and things that interest and inspire me. I feel like there… Oh, do you have a question? Yes, please. Yeah. [inaudible]

Anand: It seems that science says that the universe is expanding. So, if that’s the case, the intelligence seems to have a developing trajectory. Yeah. So, I sort of agree with you. Thinking about past reflections, if the universe were one bit negative, it would immediately cease to exist. Yeah. It has to be somewhat optimistic.

Rick: There’s a scientist named Robert Lanza, who has this thing that he calls biocentrism, and he’s written a book about it, which I still need to read, but I want to, and I would like to interview him. But basically, he talked at SAND several years ago; basically, the point is, and I think other scientists have made this accurate; there are many variables; if there were just one little weensy-beensy bit off, we wouldn’t have a universe. The Big Bang would have fizzled, or any other things wouldn’t have happened that had to happen for life as we know it to have appeared. So, now some say that it’s like the story of, you know, an infant number of monkeys pounding on typewriters, and eventually coming out with Shakespeare, that there have been enough attempts, that there are just sort of an infinite number of potential universes. Somehow, we live in one where, you know, it just by chance came out right, and so we have it as it is. But, again, I keep saying that I would say, “Who am I to say?” It’s just my opinion, my hunch, and my feeling that there’s no such thing as randomness. And that, as we were talking about intelligence a few minutes ago, even random things are permeated with intelligence. If there are laws of randomness, then all permeating intelligence is responsible for those. And that there’s a sort of evolutionary drive that has given rise to the universe and that creates greater and greater and greater complexity. And you know, the whole story of how, you know. Initially, we just had hydrogen and helium. Then the stars were formed, and eventually, stars died and exploded, and heavier elements were created.

Joni Mitchell’s song, Woodstock, we’re all stardust, all the richness, our bodies are entirely made up of elements formed in exploding stars. And I sense that the universe is one great big evolution machine. By evolution, I mean developing the capacity for God, Brahman, the ultimate reality, to become a living reality because there’s something more in that than just an unmanifest state. It’s like if you’re lying in the bathtub, been lying there for a while; the water doesn’t feel warm anymore. Slosh around a little bit, and it gets more enjoyable. So, I mean, look at they use the word Lila in Sanskrit, the play of creation. There seems to be something playful, creative, and entertaining, even in our marvelous universe.

SPERRY ANDREWS: What might be the universe’s evolution, and is God’s consciousness, universal intelligence, guiding some evolution we can know? You are exceptional in having studied hundreds of people’s self-realization. And spent hours with each of them, which is rare, and no one else I know of has ever done that. And it would seem that you might have a powerful sense of how humanity, not just individuals waking up, but how could, as you’ve spoken to this about our species, could be part of this evolution and waking up as one and none. So, with all those three levels integrated into each of us, what do you see as possibly the trajectory of the awakening or the enlightenment of the human species at this pivotal time in human history?

Rick: That’s a good question. And again, it’s just my opinion. It’s funny because everybody’s talking about these questions. Somebody will ask a question, or I’ll start to make a point, and I think, “I just had a conversation about that the other day.” People think this kind of stuff is in the air. You know, people are thinking about these things. I kind of see that there seems to be some sort of epidemic of spiritual awakening taking place, as far as I can tell. And that epidemic is being facilitated by technology, the internet, etc. I feel like the internet is not just a technological breakthrough; there’s a more profound, more cosmic, or divine impetus for its creation as a tool through which awakening can propagate. And it must do so because I feel it’s the antidote to the potentially dire problems confronting us. As I said earlier, I think all problems are just expressions of the collective consciousness of society. And collective consciousness means the aggregate of all the individual consciousnesses, if that’s a word. And if we have problems on the apparent levels of life, it’s because every single individual is contributing some influence, Which, taken collectively, gives us these problems. It’s like if you have a forest, and you fly over it in a plane, and it’s all grey and withered and dying; it’s because every tree is grey and withered and dying. You’ll see that if you enter the forest and see, “Well, this tree is dead, this tree is dead.” But if you want the woods to be green, you can’t just work on the… you can’t spray paint it or work on some broad overall level that doesn’t treat the health of each tree. Each tree has to be nourished and made greener by being watered, perhaps, by being enabled to draw forth the nourishment in the ground it’s rooted in, which it may have lost contact with.

I kind of feel like, and hopefully, I’m not deviating from your question, but I feel like there’s a kind of a welling up from the most fundamental level of life, an awakening of consciousness. And I don’t know whether that’s being caused by human beings who are intentionally pursuing that or whether it’s coming from the side of consciousness, from the side of the divine, waking up from its slumber. And as it does so, people are just sort of beginning to awake from their slumber. I get contacted by people who just somehow start to pop up. They had no interest in spirituality or hadn’t done any practices or anything else but started to have experience. They begin to have Kundalini things going on and whatnot, and they don’t know what it is. So there does seem to be this epidemic of awakening. And I think it’s nature’s intelligence trying to reset the imbalance that has become so dire. And the pendulum has swung about as far as it can without catastrophic consequences, so it’s time for it to turn back. So that wraps up the point. I shouldn’t keep talking. Yes?

Audience member: Responding to your question, would you say it is swinging back? That’s your conclusion.

Rick: I think so. That’s my feeling. And it may be that polarities will appear to be increasing as it swings back. There’ll be more significant contention in political races. There’ll be greater violence here and there. But I think that maybe that’s like a purificatory mechanism, that things have to come to the surface to… If there’s a blood impurity or something, it has to come out as a boil and be lanced or popped, and then the blood impurity can be eliminated. There’s much stuff that’s… In terms of greater truth and more revelation, much stuff has been hidden in the dark that’s coming to light with more and more transparency. I think that… You know, the more fundamental the level you can operate, the more powerful it is. The molecular level is more powerful than the mechanical. The atomic level is more potent than the molecular. And consciousness is sort of the most fundamental level of all. And if consciousness is being enlivened, if we can operate from that level, and if we can help to participate in the enlivenment of consciousness, then we’ve got an absolute pivotal position where we can affect change, doing less and accomplishing more.

It may seem kind of hopeless at times that there are all these powerful corporations, political entities, and so on, and what can little old us do about them? And you can’t even seem to vote for any change because the political system appears corrupt. But I don’t know. I kind of… Maybe I’m naive, but I kind of feel like this upwelling of consciousness that seems to be taking place in society; it’ll be a David and Goliath kind of situation where the power structures won’t be able to survive the phase transition as a more enlightened awareness dawns on humanity. If the power structures are corrupt and don’t deserve to survive, maybe some of them aren’t and should stay. Yes, Anand.

Anand: I’d like to ask this pendulum that kind of gets up, and then it’s so out of whack. If we think there’s an intelligence with no randomness and no accidents, even that has…

Rick: Yeah, cycles are natural.

Anand: Yeah, so it’s like, maybe that’s what’s driving evolution. Things must get out of whack to push to the next level.

Rick: It could be. I mean, it does seem that cycles are natural in all phases of life. There’s a verse in the Bhagavad Gita where Lord Krishna says, “When dharma is in decay and dharma flourishes, I take birth.” This is not to say that Lord Krishna will show up anytime soon. Still, let’s think of that as the divine intelligence welling up again to reestablish a balance once the imbalance has reached its extreme possibility. I think that’s the principle being stated there. [silence] Michael, if you have any thoughts as you sit there, just pipe in. Michael Rodriguez was going to… I invited him to sit beside me tonight and goad me because we had this great discussion in the car today. And I was going through some of these points, and he kept coming in with all these great questions and points that made me think of things I had yet to think of an elaborate a lot more. And so, I said, “You’ve got to come on stage with me and just do that tonight.” But he got hung up somehow and got here a little while ago. But feel free to pipe up if anything occurs to you.

Anand: One dharma teacher said that life and God are the same. Would you go along with that? That what? Life and what? Life and God are the same.

Rick: Yeah, I would say that. Again, it doesn’t matter what I say, but in my opinion…

Anand: Well, that’s helpful. You seem like you’re pretty sharp.

Rick: I have no authority on anything, but in my way of seeing things, God is life and vice versa, and there is nothing but God ultimately. But you have to be careful when you say that not to fall into the trap of that level thing that I was talking about where, you know… But still, if you think about it, if you think about what we’re actually interacting with and what we indeed are, but if you look closely enough if you boil it down to its essence, there’s nothing but sort of this vast intelligence orchestrating every tiny bit of creation.

Anand: Okay, and… Well, this was Adyashanti; he said that…

Rick: Did he say that?

Anand: No, no, no, he didn’t say that, but this guy said I was too chicken shit to go to India. And because I was afraid to get hepatitis or amoebic dysentery and all that stuff. And he said that God has never made a mistake in the so-called past, he’s never made a mistake in the present, and he’s never made a mistake in the so-called future.

Rick: Yeah, and therefore you go to India, and if you get hepatitis, it’s not a mistake?

Anand: No, he just said don’t worry about it. If you’re all upset that you didn’t go to India, God has never made a mistake. He probably didn’t send you to India because he realized things would get jacked up there or something, you know what I mean?

Rick: Well, God helps those who help themselves, and that’s kind of that three levels thing. On a certain level, everything is divine; you can go to India and get leprosy, and it’s all perfect. But it could be better on the apparent mundane level of your life.

Anand: How about just the mistakes, however?

Rick: I think everything is correct. I don’t think it’s possible. Well, again, it’s a levels thing. There’s a certain level at which there are no mistakes. Because everything is divine and perfect just as it is, you can make mistakes, and if you take recourse… I’ve seen examples of people who use as an alibi the notion that everything is perfect just as it is to excuse egregious behavior. “There’s no mistake.

Sperry Andrews: I’m being a jerk, but you know, hey, it’s not me doing it.” So, you just have to keep doing this thing where you don’t land on any fixed position of “it’s only this,” or “it’s only that,” or “it’s only that.” It’s a mistake; it’s not a mistake; nothing ever happened—all three.

Sperry Andrews: To echo back to what we were talking about, as I understand it, 600 million years ago, life was predominantly single cells. There was the Cambrian explosion, and here we are, multicellular organisms, because, as my friend Bruce Lipton says, the only way that cells could get any larger was to collaborate and come together as a multicellular. So now we each have about 50 trillion human cells and about nine times as many bacterial cells. So, there’s been much collaboration, and maybe that’s what will happen with seven plus billion humans that were cells that the Earth and the universe created. And so, what is it that cells realized and accomplished that we’re learning to achieve?

Rick: Strength in numbers or something.

Sperry Andrews: I want to draw on your knowledge, so unique, of listening to and learning from 300 people who have all awoken to this state of grace from many different pathways, each in their unique way. And so you’ve availed yourself of that and made this incredible record of Buddha at the Glass Pump from your passion, creativity, and service. So how can we share a transpersonal, collective, already unified intelligence as a species? What does that look like?

Rick: That’s a good question. And I don’t know if I can do justice to the answer, but I can take a shot at it, and I’m sure there could be wiser answers. But I do think that there’s… It’s natural for life to be diverse, and we would want to maintain diversity. And it almost seems like the more verdant and alive something is, like the rainforest, the more varied it is, you know? So, diversity is good, but without a kind of underlying unity to stitch it together, diversity is often fragmented and at odds with itself. So, as the underlying unity grows, it won’t make a sort of a monolithic culture worldwide where we’ll all eat the same thing, believe the same thing, and dress the same way. I think it may even result in a re-enlivenment or re-emergence of ancient and traditional cultures, which had much wisdom and much to offer but have been suppressed or wiped out by modern civilization. So, I don’t know if it will result in a merging of countries where we would eventually have some kind of one world without separate countries, I don’t know. But whether or not it does anything like that, I think there would be greater harmony. The more the unified value of life pervades the individual expressions of life, the more harmonized they will be with one another. Just like in our own body, we wouldn’t be able to function if there weren’t some kind of organizing intelligence that coordinated all the biomes, our cells, organs, and everything else.

Everything has to function in coordination, yet a brain cell is not a liver cell nor a skin cell, and so on. We need diversity to be a functioning unit. So, I think that, well, I guess I kind of answered it. I don’t know if I need to elaborate anymore. The diversity should be if you take like a garden. I interviewed David Spangler recently, one of the original directors of Findhorn, and that interview will be going up in a couple of days when I get home. But Findhorn was this exciting place in Scotland where it was way up on the North Sea, a very inhospitable place near an airbase, and established in a trailer park. And half of the trailer park was occupied by people who worked at the airbase, and the other half was this Findhorn community that started to develop. And the contrast was stark. The airbase place was just all this sandy, scrabbly soil and nothing growing.

The Findhorn was like this little Garden of Eden with all these lush plants. People even tested it. One guy was skeptical of it all and brought some roses that he knew couldn’t survive in that environment and gave them to rose plants and the people at Findhorn. And it was back a year later, and these roses were thriving, making a believer out of them. The whole thing worked because it was founded by people who were in tune with all the subtle intelligence of nature, the devas and the fairies, and so on, that helped rule the plant kingdom. And they collaborated with those entities and made this wonderful, lush thing in a very inhospitable place. So, that could be a little example of what the world might become if we were more deeply attuned to nature’s intelligence. When I say nature’s intelligence, I don’t mean just the sort of universal intelligence we sense underlies everything. And we also see it, you know, pervading things if we look at this glass on a microscopic level. We see all this sort of intelligent structure and things happening.

But there are agencies, and Kristen Kirk will be speaking, well she’s going to be up in, whatchamacallit, San Rafael. But she has experiences like this all the time of these sorts of subtler beings and subtler entities which are responsible for, which have roles to play, functions to play in the governance of the universe. And human beings can come to appreciate that and work in collaboration with that. So, I guess I’m saying here that, in my estimation, an enlightened society would be one in which we’re not only harmonized with each other as human beings but with the animals and the plants and everything else that we ordinarily see in this world. But that the world is teeming with life beneath the surface. If we regard the surface as the gross level of ordinary perception, there are subtle realms, subtler and subtler and subtler realms. And more beings live in those quieter realms than in the world’s gross level. And some people are aware of them, some quite routinely. If they were in this room, my friends would see angels, devils, etc. And these are very ordinary people; they’re not like woo-woo cookie folks. It’s just their mundane everyday reality. That stuff exists and very much concerns and influences our human existence. But most of us are oblivious to it. I kind of see an enlightened society as one in which we have joined that subtler brotherhood collaboratively and with tremendous benefit to all of us. They must be shuddering and cringing constantly with what we do to nature. And if we lived in harmony and cooperation with them, we could have a global Findhorn situation.

Hey, somebody new is asking a question. Give her the mic.

Audience member: The question about the cells and how cells can form to create more significant, more complex organisms and what are we missing, right, as humans to get that. And the diversity. I thought that cells weren’t biased. Molecules don’t think about whether they should join or not. And that we have all these ideas and concepts about what is better to join with and what is worse. Such as, well, science tears us apart, right? Our science denotes our spirituality. So, therefore, conversion to scientific institutions or corporations, business, and politics. We feel, oh, what can little me do? They are terrible. They’re destroying our environment. They’re bad. And as spiritual folk, we tend to be more attuned to the subtle realms. We ought to be more attuned to the spirits and those we can’t see with our eyes. But it’s also important to embrace, without bias, the bureaucracy and the corporations. And I have a group that I’m close to that is Buddhist. And there is an infiltration happening of big corporations. And so, we, for example, have a friend who worked her way up the ranks on Facebook—and started a Facebook compassion program. It’s planting seeds of goodness on Facebook. So, they do a suicide watch. And if people are flagged for being at suicide risk, especially teenagers on Facebook, from things they post, they run. Facebook now runs feeds that have been shown to improve psychological states. So, planting seeds of goodness in places we might initially find adversity. So, more than just the spirits, we have to embrace the corporations. We must embrace politics and see how to join without bias.

Rick: Yeah. Yeah, it’s not going to happen miraculously that the corporations will wake up one day and say, “Oh, let’s change our ways.” You know, people will have to sort of be in those corporations who would have such, you know, intentions. Does anybody ever go to the Bioneers conference? Yeah. I mean, that’s such a cool thing. At the end of the conference, at a particular stage, they have this extensive, long list that scrolls down the screen. Of all these amazing organizations in the world that are doing all these fantastic things that, you know, we’ve never heard of. But there’s much cool stuff happening in the world. And I guess it’s a great point you’re making. It’s not like, you know, we’re just going to have more and more people sitting around in the lotus posture, experiencing samadhi, and everything will change. I think that you know, all kinds of organizations and efforts and individuals within existing organizations will just be getting more and more active and, you know, helping to change things. Yeah. Kristen?

Kristin Kirk: I just sort of came up to share when you initially asked your question. It’s stirring things.

Rick: This is Kristen Kirk, by the way. She’ll be speaking up in San Rafael tomorrow night. I just wanted to say that waking up and recognizing that you’re not separate from anything else. You care about everything on the outside the way you care about everything on the inside so that in terms of that movement of an awake world, all of these things would be happening because there wouldn’t be separation from you in a corporation. There wouldn’t be separation from you in the health of the water. There wouldn’t be separation from anything. And so that the, you know, I had never thought about, well, what if we all rest in that, your question? Because that’s also where the power is because we are all that truth. And to rest in the power of that openness, wonder, creativity, and positivity. It feels like it helps support that comes to fruition.

Rick: So, in other words, if you’re genuinely feeling one with everything, then, you know, whatsoever you do unto the least of these, you do unto me, as Jesus said. You think, you know if the environment is being decimated in some way or animals are being mistreated. Or anything is happening; it’s happening to you. It’s not just happening to something separate from you.

Kristin Kirk: Exactly, and you feel it that way and recognize it that way.

Rick: Right, you feel it. So, I appreciate you having me here, and it’s been a joy to talk to you. I feel like I’ve kind of, over the course of the evening, sometimes gotten pretty straightforward, sometimes had a hard time articulating what I was trying to say and sort of zooming in and out as I went along. But, you know, I’m a work in progress, and my thinking about all these things is a work in progress, which I’ll undoubtedly continue for the rest of my life. But I just love exploring all these sorts of thoughts and ideas and trying to get more and more clear about them. And, you know, not only in terms of individual evolution and enlightenment but in the planetary implications because I think that’s important, and I believe there are implications. It’s not just a… sometimes people accuse spiritual people of just being self-indulgent or narcissistic or something like that. It’s all about me, me, me. But I think that true spirituality is as relevant to the world as it is to the individual who is, you know, exploring it. And I think we’re all in a position to have an influence. And so, we want to maximize that and, you know, make hay while the sun shines. Oh, thanks, Kent. Yeah, I enjoyed it. [Applause] [Music] [Music]