Angelo Dilullo: So I want to welcome to the channel today, guests that I’ve been very interested to interview. This gentleman has probably interviewed and had conversations with more spiritual teachers and spiritual leaders, certainly than anyone I know of. And I would venture to say, quite possibly more than anyone alive today. I don’t know for sure. But he’s interviewed hundreds and hundreds of spiritual teachers and leaders, and healers, and guides and so forth over the years. He has a YouTube channel and a podcast called Buddha at the Gas Pump. If you’re interested, if you haven’t heard of him, probably 90% of people watching this have. But if you haven’t checked out his material, he has incredible interviews with many, many, many spiritual teachers. His name is Rick Archer, and I’d like to say Hi, and welcome to the channel.
Rick Archer: Hey, thanks. Appreciate it. And I just give a shout out to people like Ian Mcnay and Jeffrey Mishlove. And, and there’s others who have been doing spiritual type interviews for a long, long time. And I appreciate them too. Absolutely. Yeah. It makes sense. The conscious TV guy.
Angelo Dilullo: Yeah. Yeah. And they do have really good material as well. Yeah, that’s true. Yeah. So I guess I would just, when I when I offered the interview, my my thought would be, I’d be curious to hear about some of your spiritual history, what made you become interested in spirituality on a personal level, and then leading into how you how you started doing the interviews, and so forth? And then maybe we’ll talk about how some of the what you’ve learned interacting with all these teachers, and some patterns you’ve noticed, and maybe the overall evolution of spirituality and so forth. So I guess first of all, I’m just kind of curious, how did you get interested in spirit, spirituality, religion, etc. Well,
Rick Archer: I certainly wasn’t interested in religion. When I was a kid. My parents dragged me to church on Sunday, because they thought it’d be good for my character or something. And it always ruined a perfectly good Sunday. Usually, you know, kicked and screamed and didn’t want to go. I, you know, had a few sort of, as most people did sort of thoughtful moments when I was young, you know, staring at the stars or something like that and wondering what was out there. I love to. We live in Connecticut, we go into the New York City on my birthday and go to the Hayden Planetarium and I, you know, think bigger thoughts. But I didn’t have really an inkling of what spirituality might be, never gave it a thought. Then in the 1967, which was the summer of love, everybody’s starting to take drugs. I got interested in that. And in preparation for doing LSD the first time I, some friends and I were reading The Tibetan Book of the Dead. I can remember specifically where I was, it was actually Timothy Leary and Richard Alpert’s rendition of the Tibetan Book of the data, I was driving the car had three friends in the car, and I was going down the Post Road in Westport, Connecticut. Ironically, I was right in front of the church, my parents used to drag me to when I was a kid, when they they were, they were reading the book, someone in the backseat, and they mentioned the word Enlightenment, and somehow a little light went off in my head. Enlightenment, okay, that sounds like something important, that might be what you’re supposed to do in life. So then we went on, and, you know, took LSD and all and that was a mixed up crazy confused kid. But, and, but I, it dawned upon me, it made it obvious to me that there’s a whole lot more to life than ordinarily meets the eye. And, you know, I had just assumed that everybody pretty much saw the world, the way I saw it, it’s all the same thing. And, you know, I remember going into a donut shop, the morning, we are up all night, you know, tripping, when in there, and looking at the lady selling donuts and thinking, My God, you know, they they’re seeing this particular situation so differently than I am right now. And it just, my thoughts weren’t as coherent as they are right now. But it just hit me that what’s important is to change the way you see the world rather than the world itself, although that has its value. But as Gandhi or someone said, it’s easier to wear shoes than to pave the earth with leather. So I couldn’t forget the idea of higher states of consciousness Enlightenment, and, and the whole, the whole deal. So but then for the ensuing year, I continued to take drugs and dropped out of high school and hitchhiked to California and, you know, did all kinds of crazy things. And by the end of that year, I was I was pretty messed up. I had gotten arrested a couple of times spent a few nights in jail. And one night, I was taking some hallucinogen for the umpteenth time and I was sitting there in my bedroom in the basement of my father’s home Reading a Zen book to just sort of clarify, you know, stabilize my mind or something Zen flesh and bones it was and, and it dawned upon, I thought, Okay, now, these guys are really serious, and I’m just screwing around. And if I keep screwing around like this, I’m gonna live a miserable life. I mean, I’m being a hypocrite, this is this is not Enlightenment, what I’m doing here. And so I thought, Okay, that’s it, I’m going to stop taking drugs, I’m going to learn to meditate. At the time, transcendental meditation was available. I had heard about it, and I’ll see what happens. And I should add in that, I had a bit of a difficult childhood, my father was an alcoholic, you know, PTSD from World War Two, he was a professional artist, a sensitive man, but very messed up by the war. He verbally abused my mother, throughout my childhood. She ended up trying to commit suicide three times and was in and out of psychiatric hospitals during most of my adolescence. So I, you know, consequently, I was a bit traumatized myself. So in any case, I learned to meditate a few weeks later, a couple weeks later, and there’s a whole story about that in terms of walking across Westchester County, and in order to get home to get some money from my father, so I could learn to meditate, whole story. I won’t go into it. But it was this
Angelo Dilullo: around the time that the Beatles were, like, had gotten involved with TM and went and met.
Rick Archer: Yeah, they had gone I believe in February of 68, or something to Rishi cash. And so that’s how I heard about it. And then this was like July of 68, that I finally that I went into learn, and I wouldn’t have heard about it, if not for the Beatles. So Nick is when I learned it was like, kaboom, right off the bat. I just sank into a deep transcendent state and felt such such a soothing, blissful influence. And I remember walking down Fifth Avenue afterwards from the senator there in New York, and it was a big thunderstorm and I was just getting drenched the skin but I didn’t care people were huddling under awnings, looking at me, like that was crazy. But I just felt like a ton had been lifted off my shoulders. I felt such relief. So I, I kept meditating. And I don’t know sometimes I say OCD can be your friend, because I actually haven’t missed a twice daily meditation in 54 years. Since the day I learned under all kinds of circumstances. Yeah, it’s just like I made a resolve them. And it’s funny, because when I started all my friends, knowing how to flake, I was oh, yeah, this is your latest thing. You’ll be doing something else in two weeks. But I just started experiencing such benefits that I stuck with it and went on to become a teacher and taught a lot of people and lectured and traveled all over the world and did all kinds of fun things in that capacity.
Angelo Dilullo: And I did. I learned TM as well, I think I think we talked about this in the interview with me that when I learned TM from an old hippie guy who learned it, he knew Maharishi, I don’t know if he learned it from him or learned it from someone else. But I have to say I had a similar experience. And that was the first time I meditated my my brain was revved up. But I think within a week, I did it every day, just like they said, and within a week I dropped him just like that. And I Yeah, first time I felt I felt like it was the first time I felt peace in my life that I remembered.
Rick Archer: Yeah. Yeah. Do you remember the hippie guys named chant? His name
Angelo Dilullo: was his name. He went by this name rack, but it was Robert Allen Kragle. And he’s a boulder, right? He grew up in the South Side of Chicago. And he talked a lot about that. But
Rick Archer: I don’t remember when I became a teacher, that’s his park and gave one of my first lectures in Boulder, Denver, we went out during the course and gave some sample lectures for practice, you know, then came back and told Marsha, how it went and everything. And I remember I’d gone in, I forget whether it was I think might have been in Denver, I were in some high school giving a lecture and I was walking down the hall and I saw looked in the window of a room and it had like words like moksha, and things like that on the blackboard. So I actually just poked my head in and said, Hey, we’re meditation teachers, I noticed you had these things written on the backboard, there’s a whole classroom full of kids. And they invited us in to give a whole talk to that class as well. I went back and I reported it to Marcy in the evening. But anyway, yeah, so I had a lot of fun with that I’m no longer officially in the TM movement, but I have no problems with it. It’s just I kind of in a way became too independent in my thinking really to fit comfortably in the confines of any particular organization. But you know, I credit that whole thing for having literally saved my life because of the raid. I was going. I’ve started to use hard drugs actually before I before this heroine a few times and stuff. I don’t think I would have lasted that long. So So anyway, so met Anna, you know During all these decades of meditation, there have been times several years if you add it all up where I was on six month retreats and things like that, and just went really deep into it. So how did you find
Angelo Dilullo: the retreats? How did you How was it like your experience of that?
Rick Archer: Sometimes very nice and deep and clear experiences, sometimes you get a little loopy, if you’re doing that much meditation, and you get sort of eccentric like one time, I just got obsessed with fasting, because, you know, we’re doing some experimentation with things like that. But I took it to extremes, I tend to be a little obsessive and to take things to extremes. And, you know, so I got kind of out of balance. And it took me a long time to get back in balance. And we had this thing where, on these retreats, you kind of gradually increased the amount of meditation until you’re meditating most of the day. And then a month or two, before the course was the end, you start gradually decreasing. So you just come down gently, and integrate as you get back into activity. And I remember one time, I was doing this independent thing in a cabin in North Carolina with three friends, because we weren’t going to be able to go to the regular course, because we’re going to be teaching a course up in Maine. And for some reason, we had to leave this cabin kind of abruptly. And so kind of crashed down in terms of going from 10 hours of meditation a day to just the normal morning and evening. And it took me months to get stabilized. It was it was almost like there was an old Star Trek episode where Scotty was beaming Captain Kirk up or something. And the beamer was broken. And so he kind of got half beamed, and he was sort of neither here nor there and couldn’t quite be in his body. But it wasn’t, you know, down where it had been. That’s kind of how I felt for a few months until I got stabilized after that abrupt
Angelo Dilullo: sustained meditation is no joke. I mean, I remember, let’s see, the first time I did a week long session and Zen, several things, but the leaving the retreat was just a trip in so many ways. One of them was, as I drove my car out of the parking lot, I got about a block. Before I was convinced I had a flat tire, because everything was vibrating so much. And then I realized everything was really loud. And the cars were moving so fast, and everything was so bright. And I’m like, wow, have I been living my whole life and not actually sensing things this clearly even though it gets obvious, you know? And I realized, wow, this car doesn’t I got out of the car to see doesn’t have a flat tire. And it didn’t. And I realized, this is always vibrate this much. Everything was so intense and so bright. And so you know, it really does change your perspective significantly. Yeah, yeah.
Rick Archer: Yeah. And so that’s a kind of an interesting point that we can get into more, but um, somebody asked Maharshi, one time, you know, couldn’t you just enlighten us to have to do all these courses and all this stuff. And he said, If I could, you wouldn’t want it, he said it would take 10 strong men to hold you down. So in other words, that it’s what we’re talking about here is a huge shift in one’s perspective and orientation to life. And you know, that that shift, I think, has to take place somewhat gradually and incrementally with stabilization and integration at every step of the way. Because if we want to live it, which I presume we do, as a human being, we unless we want to just sort of be drooling in a cave or something, we, you know, we need to integrate and stabilize it. So you can drive a car or fly a plane, if that happens to be or do brain surgery, if that’s your profession, or whatever, you know, but in, in integrating it properly, I would say, then what this development of inner potential makes you much better at most things. So it enhances your life. But it has to be developed responsibly.
Angelo Dilullo: Absolutely. Yeah. Reminds me of there was another TM teacher in Boulder many, many years ago, named Larry cut. Who used that I used a similar analogy. And he said, When the mind comes when the thoughts when there’s fewer thoughts and fewer, you know, distractions of the mind and so forth. He said, it’s, it’s your mind becomes more like a precise instrument. It’s something like a bright diamond with a black background. And that’s what I find. Not that I think I’m like, smarter, more intelligent or anything like that. What I find is that it’s kind of like the background noises is gone, you know, and it makes things so much simpler. And I think it is more precise. It requires less effort, there’s less distraction there’s less struggle with the set with yourself about what you should be doing or and so forth. And yeah,
Rick Archer: yeah, there’s a line in the Gita which goes yoga is skill in action. And of course, the Gita was a teaching where some guy had to fight a battle and he was being given a teaching that would actually enable him to do that more successfully. But um, it definitely, and there have been all kinds of studies on this too, it definitely makes the mind sharper and improves, you know, memory and you know, learning ability and all kinds of all kinds of capabilities are enhanced. And you’ve probably heard the notion that we only use a small percentage of our full potential, we have a vast, untapped reservoir of energy, intelligence, creativity and so on, that most of us don’t even realize is there, much less developed. So meditation can be a means of tapping into that and unfolding it and utilizing it in daily life.
Angelo Dilullo: Yeah, yeah, absolutely. Now did you end up involved in in other groups or other like any Buddhist groups or other types of or have you kind of done it on your own most most of this time,
Rick Archer: I’m pretty much on my own around 20. Or in 1999, Irene and I went and saw Amma the hugging saint, and we just really enjoyed the experience. So for up until the pandemic started, pretty much we were doing that every year, once or twice a year, just for a few days. And that was nice. And it was if that were my only spiritual practice going to see her once a year that wouldn’t have sufficed, but it was a nice little engine on the train in the shirt. But you know, just my regular daily practice couple hours of meditation a day, I do some yoga asanas and but I’ve never really been deeply involved in any other group.
Angelo Dilullo: Yeah. So maybe I’m curious about um, I actually don’t know much about her. Could you describe a little bit about what it’s like to go see her gone to a retreat with her?
Rick Archer: Well, yeah, she’s pretty remarkable actually. And, you know, you hear about it, oh, she hugs people, it sounds sort of touchy feely and new agey, or something. But she really is a remarkable being, which I don’t know if you’ve ever been in the presence of somebody who radiates a lot of Shakti a lot of spiritual energy. But if you meet such a person, you you feel like your whole consciousness shifts just by being in their proximity. And she kind of creates this creator or catalyzes, this shift in the atmosphere of the entire group, which becomes more and more profound over a period of several days. And you can feel it even, like, I remember last time, I went to her facility in Chicago one summer, and just driving onto the campus, it was a used to be a college that her organization, but I can, boom, I can feel the influence. And I’m not a real sensitive person. I’m not the type that picks up on all that kind of stuff too much. But, um, you basically you know, that you are there, and there’s this whole thing, and people are singing bhajans and, you know, it’s a nice atmosphere and, and then you at some point, you go up for your Darshan, and you get in the queue, and you, you come up and, and then you have this thing might only last 30 seconds, or a minute or so, where she takes you in your arms and in her arms, and, you know, whispers something in your ear, just some little, my darling, my darling, my darling, something like that. And, you know, maybe it looks at you gives you a Hershey’s Kiss, and, you know, some little thing and sends it away, and you just feel really zapped, I mean, I’ve seen big, strong grown men just burst into tears from the experience, and then you sit there, and you watch her do it for 12 hours straight, or all night long, or something without even getting off the couch to pee or anything. And, and each person I mean, she’s greeting each person as they come up with the same enthusiasm and love and patience and, and everything else in humor, whatever the person needs as the first one, and she just doesn’t run out of steam. And she’s also very she tunes into you, and sometimes, you know, knows things about you that you haven’t told anybody but she tunes in and then says something that is spot on in terms of what you need to hear. And I’m not imagining that I can speak from experience. And she’s also very malleable in the sense that, you know, I remember I was sitting there one time and some girl came up and said, you know, my husband beats me and I almost had tears running down her cheeks. And then next person that came up something funny happened to she was laughing uproariously so she is immediately adaptable to
Angelo Dilullo: each person’s circumstance. Man, that is so powerful.
Rick Archer: And then on top of that there’s a huge humanitarian thing going on with you know, in India, especially with you know, providing pensions to widows so they don’t end up on the street and building houses for tsunami victims. She just under auspices, the largest private hospital in Asia was just built in the suburbs of New Delhi. Huge place with all the latest modern stuff and doesn’t big long list as long as your arm of things like that that are that are going on. So this is a woman with a fourth grade education.
Angelo Dilullo: Wow. Yeah. I just I want to reflect on two aspects of spirituality you just pointed out that are so easily overlooked, you know that we get, you can almost see like the masculine aspect of spirituality about insight and doctrine and these practices and things like that. And you know, it’s not just masculine, but the feminine aspect of Enlightenment is so powerful, and it’s such a powerful transmission. But often, it’s something you have to be in the presence of, you feel it directly, and I felt it. And I’ve been around people who transmit that one, interestingly, as Lisa Karns, actually, Alicia, likely she’s one way you see online, and she has a certain style of teaching when you’re around her physically, just in the room, you feel it’s different, very powerful. Adi Shanti, for sure. One of the others and Gangaji those are the people I’ve met, that you can feel their energetic influence on the entire environment. Yeah, you just can’t, you can’t ignore you know, if you’re sensitive, you feel and the other aspect is, in my opinion, where the rubber meets the road, in many ways is meta compassionate action, like, what what are you actually doing in the world, you know, it’s one thing to be enlightened, it’s one thing to have the insights, it’s one thing to go beyond the illusion of separation, the illusion of self even, it’s another thing to carry to, you know, turn the wheel of the Dharma in a practical way in the world, as a living being around the physical suffering of other other living beings and, and to be willing to just do something there, you know, do something compassionate.
Rick Archer: I agree. And we can talk more about this. I don’t know if we want to go into that right now. But, um, we can, but I think that’s a very important component, and it’s sort of a proof of the pudding kind of thing. You know, I mean, I’ve heard people actually argue that you can be an enlightened Schmuck, you know, and I don’t think not by my definition of Enlightenment, I, if I’m going to use that word, it would have to be for a holistic development in which all the faculties including the heart, and compassion, and all those things are fully developed. Otherwise, you’re lopsided, as Ken Wilber, your neighbor in Boulder, you know, speaks of lines of development, you can, in his opinion, you can become quite advanced along certain lines, but really stunted in some of the other lines, I would not consider that in Enlightenment, or even that big a deal. It’s I’d rather, you know, see someone who’s compassionate and kind and generous and loving, who doesn’t claim any sort of awakening, then someone who claims to be awakened, then is seducing and students and ripping them off financially?
Angelo Dilullo: Absolutely, I agree with you, 100%. You, the beauty of this whole deal is you can’t ignore the relative and what’s interesting is somebody who maybe even has had some sort of awakening or has some true insight, but is certainly not liberated and not what I would call enlightened. Often, they don’t notice their own fixations, as much as the people around them or their students even you know, and I won’t name names, but you know, often it’s the students who call out the teacher at some point and say, You need to keep working on something. And the relative litmus test is simple. Like, just spend some time around that person, you’ll know. Are they are they are they kind? Are they generous? Are they are they self oriented or other oriented? Do they do they feel relaxed? You they feel economist I mean, it’s not that hard to figure out for anyone really, if you spend some time around, somebody should don’t pick that up.
Rick Archer: There’s this thing that this organization that I helped to found three or four years ago called the The Association for spiritual integrity. And it started over a luncheon meeting that we had at the science and non duality conference after I had given a talk on the ethics of Enlightenment. I sat down with Jac O’Keeffe and Craig Holliday and John Prendergast and, and we just started chatting and decided to create an organization to try to popularize a standard or code of ethics that spiritual teachers could reasonably be expected to measure up to. Because, you know, there’s so many examples, but there have been so many examples where teachers are getting more and more off the rails, and students are sitting there. And they’re thinking, well, this is getting kind of weird, but this guy is supposed to be enlightened, and I’m not so what do I know? So maybe it’s crazy wisdom, I’ll just go along with it. And, you know, I just think that’s created so much harm.
Angelo Dilullo: It’s unfortunate, and it’s unnecessary now, because there are very good, authentic teachers and yeah, but so so I guess I’m interested in you’ve been doing these interviews and conversations with spiritual teachers for what how many years?
Rick Archer: Oh, about 13 or so since I did the first one in the fall of 2009. Yeah. And I started putting them online in January or February of 2010.
Angelo Dilullo: Okay, so I think I just have like kind of a grab bag of different sorts. Have questions that I that I’m genuinely curious about. I’m sure a lot of people are. And maybe I’ll just toss them out and see, see what comes. So one thing I’m curious about is having interviewed hundreds, hundreds of people. Do you notice any specific trends in not necessarily trends, but let’s say practices that stick out as far as what you feel, at the gut level are valuable spiritual practices. We already talked about meditation, obviously, but does something stick out as far as even maybe even a certain approach based on a Buddhist approach or an Advaita Vedanta approach or something, I’m curious of what your what your gut instinct is on that?
Rick Archer: Well, I saw this little card the other day, so it was like a bookmark, but it was more rectangular, but it had a quote 10 quotes from Ramana Maharshi. And the first quote was, the best practice for somebody to do is the one that they can do most easily. And I’ve heard variations on that, that such as like, the best practice for you to do is the one that you’re actually going to do regular basis. So there’s that. And you know, I definitely am not a one size fits all kind of guy. Obviously, I wouldn’t be able to do the show, if I were, and I seen so many different people benefit from so many different approaches. And I think and, you know, some of the great traditions are tailored that way. I mean, you look at Hinduism, and there’s bhakti. And there’s Jana, and there’s Raja Yoga and karma yoga, and there’s all kinds of different approaches, according to, to suit people’s temperament because people are different. And I think some people are just not suited to sit down, close their eyes and do a silent meditation practice, it just doesn’t go easily for them. They might need some, you know, more active thing. And others are more devotionally oriented and, and, you know, more heart oriented, the heart may be their path, others are more intellectual, and so on. Does that answer your question? Yeah,
Angelo Dilullo: yeah, that does, actually. And I think it really resonates with my experience as well. The other question that’s somewhat related to this is, do you find or have you found any practices, approaches, techniques, things like that, that could be detrimental? Or you would you would give people cautions before they use or investigate?
Rick Archer: Yeah, two things come to mind. And there may be others. But the first is plant medicines and Iosco and, you know, psychedelics, and all that, which I felt readily acknowledged, have been of tremendous value for, for people when used in an extremely responsible way. And there’s great research taking place at Johns Hopkins and NYU and other places showing great benefit for people with PTSD and alcoholism and terminal cancer patients who are afraid of death and then are no longer afraid once they have this deep, visceral, mystical experience. So the great potential there, but, you know, as we saw in the 60s, if it’s used just kind of as a party thing are used recreationally, people can get into trouble. And I also think that this is a I also think that if a person thinks that they’re just going, they’re going to be able to do these things, every weekend or whatever. And after X amount of time, arrive at some abiding, liberated state. I’m very skeptical of that. I haven’t seen it. And I think the greatest value of it perhaps is as an eye opener, as it was for me. But after that, you have to really do something different probably. Laura as who was it? Oh, some well known teacher. He said when you get the message hang up the phone.
Angelo Dilullo: Yeah. Not a bit rom Das was that rom don’t know it
Rick Archer: was that guy. It may or may not come to me. Rom Das has a lot of great quotes to like, if you think you’re enlightened, go spend a weekend with your parents.
Angelo Dilullo: Yeah, that’s a great one. It’s absolutely true.
Rick Archer: So there’s that. I also think the whole Neo Advaita thing has been problematic for some people. I had a whole interview about this with a woman named Jessica Eve, four or five months ago. And she had dove deep into that world and really felt that it discombobulated her that she became very kind of, I don’t know, disintegrated and was getting out of touch with their humanity. And I, you know, I think that they’re to the teachings that those people offer can be valuable to a certain niche to a certain segment of the spectrum of spiritual seekers, but they’re not for everybody and As Jessica and I discussed, she, you know, she has been in touch with people who became the holistic suicidal lost interest in their job and children and family because the world is an illusion, and there is no self and yada, yada. And that was drilled into the point where they just came kind of flat and non feeling. And, you know, no one’s here to defend that perspective right now. So I’m just expressing my impression of it. But I have seen harm from it, I think, and Jessica, who’s much more focused on it has become a kind of a hearing, ground or whatever you would call it for people who are having these kinds of problems. They’re getting in touch with her, and she’s in dialogue with a lot of people and building up her website. And, but it’s really been a problem. And then, so Okay, so harm. And then there’s the whole thing about ethics, there have been so many situations where teachers have behaved unethically and have really harmed people. It might just be disillusionment, or it might be, you know, financial disaster, I know of one teacher that has kind of impressive, and he and people say that in his presence, you feel something the way you were just describing. But, you know, if he finds out that a student of his has an inheritance, for instance, and this happened recently, an inheritance of $900,000, he said, oh, you should have told me because that money has a Sorek energies attached to it, and I can purify it for you. And it’s going to do great harm unless you sign it over to me, and, and the guy actually signed it over to him, but then since then, then regretted it. So there are teachers who, I don’t know if they’re oblivious to what they’re doing, or are actually just such scoundrels that they know what they’re doing, and are intentionally ripping people off. But there have been things like that. And then, of course, the sexual scandals, and, yeah, so, you know, the whole spiritual field is a bit of a minefield. And that’s part of the reason why we established the ASI, just to try to contribute in some way to making it safer and more wholesome for, because this is the most precious thing in life, you know, and, and nothing could be more precious. And if it’s misrepresented or abused in some way, it’s such a crime. And I just feel very strongly about that.
Angelo Dilullo: I’m with you there. One of the one of the major impetus I had to write the book I wrote was this. And I’ve, you probably noticed, I have a whole like, kind of chapter on teachers and not to, I really tried to be specific about what to look for, because some people don’t fall don’t fall prey to things like that as quite as easily. I mean, anyone can fall prey have in the right sort of set of circumstances to to a sociopath, or, you know, whatever. I mean, anyone can be fooled. But some people, I really, I’ve met many who genuinely want to live out of their heart, they want they want, they’re interested in deepening their insight as well. But they do fall for the the game, the validation games that some people can play and the, you know, the culty sort of behavior, the love bombing, all that kind of stuff. And it’s really unfortunate, because, you know, it’s why take advantage of somebody who’s trying to orient to the best part of themselves. It’s really tragic, in a sense, yeah,
Rick Archer: yeah. It’s such a violation of trust. I mean, it’s, you know, similar to what happened in the Catholic Church, with the priests, abusing the boys and all that stuff, it’s come to this thing, wanting to get in touch with God, and then someone who claims to be representing God, or in our world representing higher consciousness or something. Does that sort of thing. So I think that there is that like, the you’re a doctor, I mean, you have to pass certain tests to become a doctor. And you’ve, you know, that you could lose your license if you violate certain ethical standards and so on, or malpractice kind of things. But in the spiritual field, it’s kind of the Wild West in a way, there’s really no formalized training for most teachers, and people are more or less self certified as spiritually, they just get up and start reading. And, and so the checks and balances are not there. There’s no organization which has authority over them. Not and I’m not implying that the Association for spiritual integrity wants to have authority. It’s not within our purview to do that. But it really kind of is incumbent upon the students, I think, to exercise and develop their own discernment and discrimination. And, you know, cut and run if something seems to be seriously off.
Angelo Dilullo: Yeah, yeah, I’m with you. I’m totally with you there. As we were talking, another question came to me I might have just slid Data my mind, but it is related to this. I’ll come back to that. Okay. So you have interviewed? How many 600?
Rick Archer: Up to 670? Or something like that? Yeah.
Angelo Dilullo: Can you just off I guess off the top of your head? Are they just kind of shooting from the hip? Can you kind of name a few teachers you think really stick out as far as key qualities that make a good spiritual teacher or transmitter or facilitator of this? This whole process?
Rick Archer: Yeah, well, in terms of some of the well known ones. I like Adyashanti a lot. I’ve interviewed him quite a few times. And you know, been to his house a few times spent the night there, I’ve gotten to know him personally. And I just think he is top notch guy, very, you know, nice, nice blend of, you know, high and grounded at the same time. You know, if you’re genuine, he’s got something great depth, and also great humanity and integration. I like Sorry, Swami Sarvapriyananda A lot. He’s the head of the New York, center of the Vedanta society. And I actually take classes with him regularly on the Gita and the apana shots online. And I think he’s just a really genuine article. And there’s so many more. I mean, I don’t want to sure why, when I’m asked to answer this question, I’m obviously leaving out tons of people. Of course, yeah. There’s just some people that I’ve sort of been more involved with. Oh, my goodness. You know, I mean, I should probably pull up my website and start scanning down the list. But
Angelo Dilullo: it’s kind of a it’s a bit of an unfair question. Because obviously, out of hundreds and hundreds, you’re not going to have readily readily available access to everyone in your mind. One thing
Rick Archer: I can say about that, though, is that one of the perks of doing this is that I’ve made so many wonderful friends around the world whom I never would have met, just met these amazing people and formed deep, you know, lasting friendships. And it’s been incredibly beneficial to me. Each and each interview is incredibly beneficial. I mean, I just feel really energized and enlivened by the process of preparing for and actually doing the interviews. But then it’s, you know, just found this beautiful network of friends, I have long files of people who said, If you ever in my area, you’ve got to come in and visit. And they’re in every continent of the world except Antarctica.
Angelo Dilullo: So I have another question associated with that. I probably should have asked them in reversed order. But so this question is not specific to any certain teacher. But what do you think makes a spiritual teacher a good teacher? What qualities? What are the personal qualities or approaches? What do you see in teachers that you go, wow, that that’s a that’s a powerful resource for people who are interested in spirituality.
Rick Archer: Okay, and so when you ask almost any question, or anybody does, I usually just lead with what comes to mind as you’re asking it. So what came to mind is your asking, that is integrity. And also, not not being presumption, not presumption, that’s not the right word, but just you know, What You See Is What You Get not trying to portray themselves as something which they’re not, not putting on airs, you know, or lording it over people, but just, you know, a straight shooter. Yeah. And, and very often, some of these people at least, there will, they readily admit that they are a work in progress. And I personally feel that everybody is, in fact, St. Teresa of Avila said it appears that the Lord Himself is on the journey. So, if he has done I think the rest of us are, but um, you know, and then many of them, like, they’ll, you know, go and have do a retreat with other teachers are gonna have therapy once a while just to sort of make things make sure things are, you know, copacetic Absolutely. Yeah. And they’re not afraid they don’t try to portray an image of perfection or being finished. And, you know, we’re all in this together and they have more of a kind of, like, collective, you know, if they have a group of students, it’s more like, Okay, I’m, I’m sort of the centerpiece of this group. But we’re all on the path together, and we’re helping each other as opposed to a hierarchical thing where I’m up on the Dyess and you will up answer down there.
Angelo Dilullo: Yeah, I’m with you, as you’re speaking and and I completely agree with that there there can be even in it. I would say even in sort of deeper stages of realization, there can still be an air of specialness. You may not even see it, you may but you may feel it about yourself and that is going to transmit to everyone around you. But there’s something that that can even drop out. And I’m reminded of the eighth Oxfordian picture where it says, Is this a is this a nor is this a regular person? Or is this a Buddha? Demons and saints can do nothing even even Buddhas and Bodhisattvas? Can’t tell. So there should be an it could be an absolute ordinariness. Why not? I mean, there’s no reason with with any insight with any stage of realization or any of that, why? There’s nothing that that implores you to negate anything that’s human. In fact, if anything, you you feel more comfortable as, as a human being, you know, in the relative sense. So
Rick Archer: you kind of get that with the Dalai Lama. I mean, I’ve never met him, but um, he seems very self effacing and very humor funny and down to earth. And even though everybody makes a great big fuss about him, it doesn’t seem to go to his head. And you feel like he’s the kind of guy you could sit and have tea with and just have a nice chat and you wouldn’t feel like, you know, intimidated or anything. He just be like, he feels like your best friend as soon as you met him.
Angelo Dilullo: Yeah, yeah, I agree. I like is his very, very simple, natural sense of humor. The other person, obviously, recently deceased, but that I have deep deep reverence for is tick, not Han. Oh, yeah, sure. And he’s very similar in that way, just. So I mean, I’ve never been around him, but seems so approachable, vulnerable, human, honest. And a very potent transmitter of truth of the Dharma
Rick Archer: is that you’re asking about teachers that I liked a lot. dipping into Christianity for a moment, I really liked father, Thomas Keating, I got to interview him before he died, obviously. And Richard Rohr is really cool down in Albuquerque, and the people associated with him like Cynthia Bourgeault, and Jim Finley. And there’s a whole crop of these, you know, very open minded spiritual folks. And you know, one of the Christian folks, but one of the criteria for BatGap is that we’re not just trying to interview the most famous people who are going to result in the greatest number of views on YouTube or something like that. In fact, the tagline for BatGap is conversations with ordinary spiritually Awakening people. And so we’re perfectly happy to find some housewife who nobody has ever heard of, but who’s had some kind of awakening, and it’s an interesting person to talk to. That kind of
Angelo Dilullo: thing. I love it. I love it. So, a little bit shifting gears a bit. I’m curious about your your view or your instinct on the I don’t know if it’s a dichotomy, but there are some people I would say that are that are very, they’re deeply realized they’re awake, beings, that don’t really have an interest in describing anything from like a specifically a spiritual standpoint, or from spirit standpoint, or devotional. So people that come to mind are like Gary Weber, for instance, pretty much a scientist, he thinks in terms of scientific in the default mode, network and so forth. Maybe John Sherman, actually, not necessarily scientific but he kind of strips his message of, of spiritual terminology.
Rick Archer: Is he that guy’s been in prison and everything. And then he Yeah, yeah, he got it. But right. Yeah. And Gary Weber like, yeah, he is. He’s a scientific guide. But he definitely had a radical experience, which he talks about all the time, which was he was doing an Asana one day, standing on his shoulders or something. And all sudden, his he stopped thinking, and he hasn’t had a thought, since. So he says, I pressed him on that a lot. Because I said, if you’re talking to me, you’re having thoughts. Because thoughts precede words or actions, but that you just being your, your mind isn’t full of chatter. But anyway.
Angelo Dilullo: Yeah. So I guess my question is not really about their authenticity, because certainly with Gary and John, I mean, the authenticity to me is clear. But do you have any sense that it matters? Does it matter if we use spiritual terminology to talk about this awakening process? Whether we do or don’t? Is there a disadvantage or an advantage either way? Or do you? Do you have a sense of that at all? I think we all
Rick Archer: have different roles to play. And you know, some person might be a while some person might be, let’s say, Yo, yo, ma was spiritually awake. I don’t think he is, who knows, but his role is a cellist. And he doesn’t have to use spiritual terminology to do anything. He just plays this cello and everybody benefits from it. So I don’t think that there’s a necessary correlation between having a spiritual awakening and hanging out a shingle of being a spiritual teacher or using spiritual terminology. You You could be, you know, a janitor or something and just being kind to people and doing your job as a janitor, and you might not be pontificating about Anything but you’ve got this amazing, beautiful inner inner life.
Angelo Dilullo: Yeah. And I’ve met, I’ve met people who are exactly that just yeah, have no interest whatsoever in having a public image. And yet they’re liberated. I mean, they’re there. They radiate love and passion and presence. Yeah, it’s amazing.
Rick Archer: In fact, I have a friend named Harry alto, who is another person that I think what has impressed me a lot. I’ve known him for a long time since because he used to be in the TM movement, or maybe still is. And it took me like, five or eight years to talk him into coming on that gap, because he just didn’t want to have a public profile. And the but he has a very profound level of, of inner realization and has had since he was a child, and it’s been progressing ever since. And then he finally realized he kind of liked talking about it and enjoyed talking to people and everything. But, you know, again, we all have different roles to play. And not all of us are meant to be teachers. In fact, there’s this phenomenon in India that they call babbling saints, we want to be someone who is really awakened but completely incompetent to explain it or express it. And if he tries to, it’s just gibberish.
Angelo Dilullo: That was probably me for many years after sure it would have happened if I had dry. Yeah, so do you think do you feel that actually I’ll get to that question in a minute. That’s, that’s maybe more of a later on into the discussion question. But so you interview people who channelers people who have or describe sort of siddhi type abilities, maybe
Rick Archer: certain mediums or things like that, some mediums,
Angelo Dilullo: yeah, mediums, Chandler’s maybe people who do astral projection and these sorts of things. What is your sense of that? Is it is it something that is is we should investigate? If we’re interested in, in awakening spirituality, and so forth? Should we not? Or is it something that chooses you? And how do you end? I guess, just in general, what do you think if what is your feel of it? How accessible is that kind of stuff?
Rick Archer: Yeah, most of the people I’ve interviewed in that realm, haven’t didn’t seek out those abilities, it just started to happen to them. Like there’s this lady named Suzanne Giesemann, who’s a medium and she was actually the chief, the main assistant to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the US military, she was in the last plane in the sky after 911, because she was flying over to Europe, with the joint that the head of the Joint Chiefs, and they had to turn around and come back, you know, when 911 happened. And anyway, she just kind of out of the blue started having these psychic or medium type experiences where she was clearly communicating with someone who had the deceased. And now it’s our main focus, then she does some kind of channeling thing also. Personally, I don’t have any attraction to developing it myself. But the reason I cover those kinds of topics is that I think that and also near death experiences are very interesting and out of body experiences that often accompany near death experiences. Just that, I think it gives people a greater sense of the landscape of the universe, or the or the different realms that exist in creation. Because it’s not just this gross realm that we ordinarily perceive, and the transcendent, that we might awaken to, if we have an awakening, there’s a lot of stuff in between. And I suppose you could get hung up there if you put undue emphasis on it, but you are probably going to encounter it to some degree or another as you progress, and to shut yourself down and refuse to believe that it even exists, is probably not going to be helpful. So it’s a little bit delicate dance. But you know, without becoming overly obsessed with it, it’s good to sort of be aware of that, at least I find, I find it interesting to understand them, those subtler mechanics of creation, to be open to the possibility for instance, of there being celestial beings like angels or, you know, davers, and those kinds of words in which have something to do with our, the way our lives are lived. They might be interacting with us, even if we don’t realize it, and which might have something to do with the way the creation itself is conducted. There could be impulses of intelligence that help to govern and tell the creation because as I see it, the creation I mean, if I really wanted to take it to its ultimate view, it’s all God. There’s nothing else God meaning an infinite ocean of intelligence, creativity, energy that’s interacting with itself, and giving rise to the appearance of separate beings and separate objects and stars and planets and galaxies and all that. But it’s really all contained within the wholeness of God. So Guna, brahmanas, Vedanta calls it. And I’m getting a little bit carried away with this answer. But anyway, that’s, oh, my God, love it.
Angelo Dilullo: I’m with you, man. Yeah, I agree with I agree with the vast majority of everything you said. And also, I try not to highlight it when I talk about spirituality and so forth. Because it can become a distraction. And yet, if you’re not open to if you’re not open to the possibility of it, you’ll Well, I don’t know. I mean, I have people who going through awakening will contact me and say, Does this ever happen where you feel like being in your room with you? And it’s here? I’ve never felt anything like this. Is that okay, is that normal? You know, so I mean, I get that I definitely get that from people and a couple other things that are interesting. I don’t talk about my own stuff with this almost I will on occasion, I’m not totally avoided to talking about it. But often, when people ask I sense where they’re asking from is more just a distraction than anything. But yeah, I will occasionally mention it. And I mean, I’ve had, I’ve had, I’ve had visions of things happening in a very, very specific way. And then it happens the next day, like major events, and it doesn’t happen frequently. But I’ve definitely had it to where it’s completely undeniable. It’s it was like very specific incidents and people and situations, but I, personally, don’t worry too much about it, I don’t try to look for it. And I don’t feel like I can do it on command at all. It’s nothing like that. But when you have access to unbound consciousness, you have access to a whole hell of a lot, including like the human the history of human suffering, and everything that goes along with it. So you can find yourself in some very, very interesting places with this. And it’s, I think it’s important to, to at least be aware of that as possible.
Rick Archer: Yeah. And as you as you implied, I mean, there’s a whole new age wing of all this where it gets very woowoo. And people are just totally obsessed with all kinds of stuff. And I think very often, they end up indulging in flights of fantasy. And it’s definitely it’s not, you know, they’re not really cutting to the quick of what’s important. But on the other hand, we don’t have to be black and white about it. And we can, we can go for the highest first if you want to phrase it that way. But also enjoy some of the scenery that we’re about to encounter along the way. And another nother thing a little bit along these themes, is that, you know, the idea of everything being this sort of vast intelligently orchestrated, play and display. In my own life, I find it increasingly fascinating that as events unfold, they seem to be scripted, in a way by some intelligence much more wise than me. And you know, something will happen or someone will come into my life. And I’ll think, well, this is interesting. I wonder where this is going. I kind of feel like I’m in a play written by a master playwright. And as a character in that play. I have a certain amount of volition and improvisational authority, I can kind of move it this way. And that, but the larger picture of as life unfolds, often exceeds my expectations, and I’ve learned to trust it. And, you know, it’s brought me blessings that wouldn’t have come along if I had been the one to decide what was supposed to happen.
Angelo Dilullo: Yeah, yeah, I’m with you. Yeah, you know, the, the intelligence, the word intelligence and what we’re talking about, I find to be really heavily weighted and triggering for some people. It’s not for me at all. But what I think is interesting about it, I think the discernment is, there is an egoic based idea about God or intelligence that that does sort of project the human image into some belief about a male archetype,
Rick Archer: the anthropomorphize it, but that’s not what we’re talking about. We’re not there’s not talking about some big guy in the sky with a beard, smiting us with lightning bolts or whatever, it’s, we’re talking about unbounded ocean of consciousness in motion.
Angelo Dilullo: Yeah. And to me that the entry point to that or like the distinction is, this kind of intelligence that we’re talking about is is a serve as a sort of reverence, and a sublimity? I don’t know if that’s the right way to say it, but it’s a sublime experience to realize there’s something so far beyond you. It’s a vulnerable place to be as well and you know, you you have to go in surrendered. But when you do if you’re willing to and able to, you’re kind of in awe of it. It’s a very all inspiring, knowing, and it’s not an intellect Shall knowing it’s not a human structure of the way we think we are knowing it’s, it’s just beyond all of that. So beyond all categories of the way our minds can, can know, or apprehend anything, including perception. And that is, that’s undeniable. In my, my experience. Yeah,
Rick Archer: that’s very nice. Yeah. Let Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. There’s definitely a devotional aspect comes into it, because you just feel like there’s some kind of divine will that you can become more and more attuned to, that really has your best interests in mind. And, you know, you just learned to trust it. Yeah. But it’s not a drill sergeant. And it’s not sort of, you still have your freedom to align with it or choose otherwise, if you wish. Yeah. And maybe maybe the maybe it’s not aligning with it may not mean only one possible course of action is all kinds of possibilities. And, but it’s like, you know, that nursery rhyme, row, row, row your boat, Gently down the stream, merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily, life is but a dream. It’s like the stream is doing most of the carrying of our canoe. And all we really have to do is sit in it and ride along, but you kind of have to use your aura a little bit, you know, because you otherwise you might drift off and get stuck in the bullrushes, or hit some rocks or something. So we, you know, we gently, gently down the stream, we gently guide the boat a little bit this way. And that make course corrections make use our discernment and our discrimination to make sure we’re staying in alignment with the current of the stream. And not certainly not trying to roll in the other direction, but being careful to stay aligned.
Angelo Dilullo: And the man I love how it’s, you know, row you’re gently is spoken one time, but merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily, four times, yeah, to approach it with a with a large measure of reverence. Trust actually trust, if I can almost break this whole thing down into the simple, simple thing that would be trust life, like really trust, trust your instinct, but be willing to your instinct down beyond your beliefs and common conceptions and all of it, you know, and there it is, merrily, merrily, merrily, and there is a dreamy quality to it as well.
Rick Archer: I mean, the dream part is sort of like, there’s a lot more to life than you realize, just as you know, there’s a lot more to life than what you’re experiencing when you’re having a dream at night. And, you know, so. And this, trust me in the way we’re talking about now might sound kind of glib or insensitive to somebody who’s really having a rough time of it, you know, who’s home homeless, or, you know, being abused by someone or any such thing. So we’re not, you know, oblivious to those situations, and something should be done with two about them. And I think spirituality in a more large scale society level way, could help to ameliorate a lot of those problems. Yeah, you know, all these, in my opinion, things like economic inequity, and environmental degradation and wars, and all the all the terrible problems that beset humanity are symptomatic of the vast majority of people failing to develop the kind of thing we’ve been discussing here to fail failing to unfold the full potential which exists within each of us. And one of my primary motivations, since I first became a meditation teacher, it was to make a contribution to helping to raise consciousness in the world. In part, because that would, I hoped, help to diminish these problems. And I still believe that.
Angelo Dilullo: Yeah. So that leads me to this, this question you may have had before you may not I don’t know. But if you look back over the last 13 years, or even beyond, when you were doing interviews and so forth, do you get the sense that there’s a global movement toward awakening toward that and and or is it accelerating? And what what plays into that? What do you think has helped that along?
Rick Archer: I think eras and other people seem to think there is and others could argue that there isn’t but you know, they say a rising tide lifts all boats. And I think the tide is rising. There’s some kind of shift happening and world consciousness, collective consciousness, and it’s making it more and more conducive to awakening. So more and more people are awakening. It’s almost like he could think that, you know, 2000 years ago or whatever. The Buddha for instance, had to be kind of a Superman to pierce through the membrane of ignorance that existed in the world at that time. But these days, the membrane has has been thinned a lot by all the people, or maybe it’s just the trends of time yugas or something that we’re, we’re, we seem to be in a phase where awakening is, or real consciousness is waking up. And I think it has to considering the fact that we could really do ourselves then if it doesn’t, you know, with climate change, or nuclear war, disease or whatever, then a number of things could could do us in. And so, you know, perhaps it’s even if we’re speaking of some kind of cosmic intelligence, orchestrating things, perhaps this awakening is a response to the circumstances that humans have created on this earth, which could be catastrophic. And personally, I think if I, if I didn’t recognize this, I might feel pessimistic just watching the news and seeing what’s going on. I mean, think how’s everything, all these problems gonna get solved? But I do think that something is happening. And that’s why I have been doing what I’ve been doing. I just want to be a participant in that.
Angelo Dilullo: Yeah, yeah. Yeah, I feel Yeah, I agree. I can’t know the relative sense I can’t know for sure anything like that. But it certainly feels that way. And it’s very interesting. I remember learning in undergrad, like a religion course. Taught by this, this to this professor from Harvard Divinity School, she was a fascinating professor, she, she was an expert in Taoism of all things. But I remember her saying, you know, that there was this idea that there’s an actual shift that happened around the time of Buddha 2500 years ago, you know, Buddha, Confucius loud, say, Plato, Aristotle, all these, and then, you know, a few 100 years later Christ. And I almost wonder if that was the initial injection into the human race. And it took us a couple 1000 years to really, you know, for that to really start to flower and so forth. Who knows, maybe that’s just a nice story. But there’s certainly an acceleration now. And I think, largely, the internet has really facilitated it. It’s, strangely enough, it did, it has, and you we have ready, you know, gosh, 1000 years ago, you’d have to risk your life to travel from monastery to monastery, just on the rumor of a spiritual, enlightened spiritual master, and then be disappointed and go do another one and another one, and you can get online now and turn on YouTube and find realized people who who can show you how to wake up right now how to how to dig in to your own identity structures right now. It’s, it’s a truly amazing, actually, I think it’s quite inspiring. And the thing that I think really connects puts it together for me is, I remember distinctly at the end of the session that I did as in One Week Retreat. For whatever reason, this one, there’s always suffering. And so she there was always a lot of inner turmoil and pain, physical pain and stuff. But everyone could feel it in this one, there was so much suffering going on, and all the people around us and I think some external circumstances in the world. And the last day of my my teachers TV show, his last talk, I remember him saying something that really moved me and he said, you know, the more you do this, the more sensitive you become, and the more open you become to the the suffering of the world, you can’t ignore it. And he said, it, it feels a lot of times, it will feel like you’re in an ocean of suffering, you’re just adrift in an ocean of human suffering, if you just open your eyes and look around what’s going on in the world. And he said, I just want you to know that when you came this week, and you voluntarily, voluntarily put yourself in this position, to not only feel all that suffering, to feel your own suffering, and to still keep going on and still digging in and inquiring and doing whatever you’re doing. He said it matters, it really does matter. And it does make a difference. You may never know that difference. You may never actually see it even in this lifetime. But I want you to know it does. And that’s why we do this. And I believe in that. And I believe in just just going to the depths of identity and beyond. And let the cards fall where they may have some trust in this intelligence we’re talking about but you will be pleasantly surprised anyone will. And it does give me gives me some faith. But we ever get we’re facing. You know, monumental challenges, of course.
Rick Archer: Yeah. There’s a verse in The Gita. With regard to individual practice, it says, no effort is lost, and no obstacle exists. Even a little of this Dharma removes great fear. And that was my experience from day one, even a little bit of it made a big difference. And then over the years, I’ve just kind of like, it’s like putting money in a bank account or something just doing spiritual practice. It builds up and it builds up and it’s such a worthwhile thing to do. And you know, and it really pays off. And there’s, there’s no, it can’t it doesn’t preclude doing other things in life, having a family having a job playing tennis, whatever you like to do. But it’s just one thing you can add to your life, which tends to enhance everything else.
Angelo Dilullo: Absolutely. Yeah. So so a few last questions. I’m curious how you would respond to this. So I try to gauge this towards someone who’s a beginner, you know, these these any video I do is just in case someone’s the first time they’ve seen this topic or or it’s the first time that’s it’s, it’s kind of felt deep for them, or something salient is coming up. Do you have any suggestions as far as what kind of books like maybe a small handful of books or passages that you think are particularly sale salient or potent in terms of spirituality?
Rick Archer: Ah, well, you, one thing Pearson people could do is they could, well, in terms of what I have had to offer, they could go to batgap.com. And they can look under the categorical index page. And they could look at the different categories of interviews and people I’ve interviewed. And then they could click on one and go to that page and watch a little bit of the interview. And if the person interests them, I usually have some of their books listed there. And we also have a recommended books section on that gap. Under resources, I think it is that this lovely woman in Australia put together and it’s it collects recommendations, we have a Facebook group with BatGap, that has almost 17,000 members, and she put out a call for book recommendations. And people send in all kinds of stuff, and she organized them all. And so those are in all kinds of categories, books that have inspired people on their spiritual path. And I don’t think there’s any one book, but you have to sort of go with what catches your interest. A lot of people, you know, love Ramana Maharshi. And his teachings are very pithy. And you know, simple. And, you know, you can derive a lot of inspiration just from a little bit of reading. It might be a little tricky understanding what exactly he’s saying in terms of, you know, meditating on the heart, or on the sense of I Am, and all you might need some meditation practice and instruction to really get something that works for you. But, you know, a lot of people go resort to him. And I don’t know, personally, I read a book a week nearly, or sometimes a couple of them in preparation for interviews, and I really enjoy most of them. I turn them into audiobooks. And listen, while I’m hiking in the woods every day, that way, I get my exercise at the same time.
Angelo Dilullo: You remember, you remember any of those books being surprising you were being particularly transformative when you were just casually reading it for an interview?
Rick Archer: I guess I don’t know. I’ll have them.
Angelo Dilullo: I like the guy that kind of a hard question. Because you’ve gone through so much material. Yeah.
Rick Archer: Yeah, some of them are real challenging to me. Like there’s this guy named Donald Hoffman, who’s a scientist. And I spent all week or so hiking in the local park listening to his talks, or maybe it was his book that I was listening to. And I felt like my brain was going to explode because I really had to kind of stretch to understand exactly what he was saying. But by the, by the end of the week, I felt like I got a really good interview with him. So it really stretches me to, to, you know, what, when you’re in high school, you probably did this in high school biology class, or maybe college being, you watch these little videos of amiibos, or maybe look at them under a microscope, and the amoebas are sort of moving along, and they detect a speck of food. And they kind of engulf the speck of food and incorporate it and then they keep moving and find another speck of food. So that’s kind of the way I am I, every week, I have a new interview. And I get to digest a new chunk of wisdom from from somebody. And I love just delving into their world and getting kind of mind melding with them as best I can. And then having a conversation with them. I just find it incredibly enriching. And I guess that that points to a broader principle, which is that that to which you give your attention grows stronger in your life. If you spend your spare time playing video games or something that’ll have one effect. But if you’re really interested in the kinds of things you and I are talking about here, if you spend as much time as you can, putting your attention on this kind of thing, both in terms of practice, and in terms of knowledge you might find in books or YouTubes or whatever, that will have an influence and it will definitely Accelerate Your Progress, which brings in one other point, which is I think that both knowledge and experience are important. One without the other, is lopsided. It’s like trying to walk on one leg. A spiritual practice, which genuinely results in a deeper experience is great and important. And also, you need to understand more and more and more as you go along to supplement or counterbalance understanding or knowledge can be both inspiring in that it can give you a vision of possibilities. But it can also be clarifying, purifying, there’s a verse in The Gita, which says there’s nothing so purifying is knowledge. And ultimately, it can lead to the final realization when when this the finest level of intellect discerns, between the absolute and relative, and you know, you can sort of step into, into the self or whatever. But anyway, those two things, if you keep, you know, keep the kettle simmering with both experience and knowledge and keep them both enlivening as you go along, it’ll, it’ll be advantageous.
Angelo Dilullo: Yeah, I actually think that’s a really good the beginning part of your answer as far as going to your library, find it and finding a topic you’re interested in, watching the video. And if you resonate with that person read their book, I’ve never even thought of that approach is simple. I mean, a lot of
Rick Archer: your and you do, I’m sure I listed your book on your interview page. So if a person were to watch that, and then they’ll see your book listed on the page, they can go to Amazon or whatever and get it. You know, because they made an investment of time to read a book and you could spend the rest of your life. I mean, you can spend a couple of years just watching all my interviews and the rest of your life reading all the books everybody has written. So you have to, you have to winnow it down a little bit. But you know, if some someone doesn’t interest you, you’re probably not going to like their book either. So read the people that you like, yeah, Om Shanti has some good books that are not long and that are, you know, quite edifying.
Angelo Dilullo: He has incredible books. Yeah, I love emptiness dancing. I love resurrecting Jesus. I was actually a little hesitant to read it for some reason I just want didn’t didn’t seem interesting, but I was blown away by it. So
Rick Archer: yeah, yeah, he and Francis Bennett and I had a nice conversation about that book resurrecting Jesus, which people can find on BatGap.
Angelo Dilullo: Cool. Yeah. All right. So here’s one last question. If you were able to, it’s kind of it’s kind of a two part question. But the parts relate. And so if you were able to go back in time, and the first time Rick in the car, I don’t know if he was on acid or
Rick Archer: not know that while I was driving the car, although I did that, too. But at that time, I wasn’t
Angelo Dilullo: when you heard the word Enlightenment, and something resonated with you. And the second part of the question Is anyone who’s listening to this, and something resonates about that, about that possibility for them? What general advice would you give that person? And or the person who says, I’ve been suffering my whole life? And now I sense there’s some way to actually address that. What general kind of guidance might you give that person?
Rick Archer: Well, there’s a Rumi quote, which I just found the other day, I’m gonna pull it up it only take me a second. Oh, yeah. Take your time. Resources, quotes, your I am on my website, get down to here’s Rumi. Here’s the quote. It’s Here you go. He said, As you start to walk on the way, the way appears. Got that, as you start to walk on the way the way appears. So I mean, there was a Raiders of the Lost Ark, I think we’re Harrison Ford had to cross this canyon. And there was no bridge there or something as big as he took each step, the bridge materialized and he was able to walk across the canyon. So it’s kind of like that, you know, there was a great quote from Gerda to about how you just, I can maybe I can find that one too. You remember the quote I’m referring to
Angelo Dilullo: I actually don’t know that one.
Rick Archer: Okay, hang on. You can edit out these little gaps if you want but I’m going to find this quote okay. She, II, there is oops, sorry. Said, until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back concerning all acts of initiative and creation. There is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans. That the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves to all sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision Raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you do, or dream you can do begin it. Boldness has genius power and magic in it begin it now. Wow, that is like the hour for that great. And so that applies certainly to the spiritual path, I think, you know, just take a step. And then take another step. And you know, and one thing will lead to the next and the the path will be different for everybody to some extent. But it will, it will appear before you like Harrison Ford’s bridge and or you know what, what Garuda says all kinds of Providence will come to your aid, if you take the initiative. That’s beautiful. There’s some gurus in India say, take one step towards me, and I’ll take 1000 steps toward you. And I think we could apply that to the Divine or God or whatever. If we wanted also,
Angelo Dilullo: I find that to be exactly true. It really is like that, I think sort of that first place people find themselves with this is there’s so much hesitancy and so much doubt mass. But when they start to just take a step, there’s something you know, whether it’s inquiry, whether it’s learning to meditate, whether it’s going to a retreat on a leap of faith or something. Things start changing. Yeah, things you can’t things you can and things you cannot perceive start changing.
Rick Archer: Yeah, and you don’t want to be a dilettante flipping about from this to that you have to commit yourself to things to a certain extent, but you also don’t want to be pigheaded about it. If you’re doing something and you’ve been doing it for a year and nothing seems to be happening. Maybe it’s the wrong thing for you. You know, look around the open to what what other guidance might be coming your way?
Angelo Dilullo: Yeah, I agree. It’s somewhat of a dance. Yeah. Yeah. Beautiful. Well, I think it’s been a great conversation. We’ve covered a lot of ground I’m certain people are gonna get a lot out of this. I appreciate you agreeing to do it. I know you’ve enjoyed interviews before but it’s it was really great to just to catch up.
Rick Archer: Yeah, thanks, Angelo. Really appreciate it. And remember, if I ever miss a connection at the Denver Airport, you’re gonna be hearing from me,
Angelo Dilullo: you can always get I always give me a call actually live like less than 10 minutes from the airport.
Rick Archer: I know you do. Your house one time when I was going to interview I said, well, the airports right there. This is this is good to know, in case I ever missed a connection or something. Yeah, not that I traveled much these days. But you know what? I mean, it’d be fun to visit you sometime.
Angelo Dilullo: Yeah, yeah. You’re welcome to Yeah. add you to that list I told you about. Yeah, maybe maybe you just retire and just travel.
Rick Archer: I could if I wanted to. I don’t know. But that’s kind of exhausting. I get a lot more done sitting in one place that I would bopping around the world.
Angelo Dilullo: Yeah. I’m the same way. Yeah. Well, thanks again. And I appreciate your time.
Rick Archer: Yeah. Thank you. I’ll talk to you later. Bye. Bye.