Fax Gilbert: So good evening, everybody. Welcome. So really good turnout. I didn’t realize I was so popular. So, here we’re here with Rick Archer, Sharon and I have known Rick and Irene for 25 years. We taught TM together, actually, we’re in the national organ TM organization in the marketing branch of it. He used to go to cities and do TM lectures. And so we’ve known Rick for quite a while. And so I had the idea. About six months ago, I’m awaking down teacher and I go to a lot of events throughout the United States. And people would come up to me and say, you know, we start talking and they find out I was from Fairfield. I say, Fairfield. Do you know Rick Archer? But they wouldn’t say like, do you know Rick Archer, they say it like, do you know, Rick? And there was, we were in Australia doing some some weekend, courses. About a year and a half ago, this fellow asked me where I was from a US, Fairfield, Iowa. Do you know Rick Archer, he saved my life. And so I had the idea, it might be neat to actually interview Rick, who has done an unprecedented thing, when you think about it, he’s interviewed, excuse me, almost 230 people, you have interviewed all these people and put it on the internet. And it’s live. And so people not only get to hear these people, not just from reading about it, or from or from listening, but they get to see and get the feeling of the transmission of each of these people. And I’ve read a lot of the things that people have sent to you about how their lives have been transformed by one person over another. Because there’s a lot of ways to get to California. And it’s, it’s, it seems that that certain ways are more conducive to some people than others. And when you have 230 people to listen to, the chances are if you’re motivated on a spiritual path, that just, this is going to be a great aid in that endeavor. And so I feel privileged to be able to be with you today. And to find out exactly why you got into this. Maybe we could we could start with that. Sure.
Rick Archer: Well, for years, I attended that Satsang at Tom trainers house, many of you went to that one time or another. And you know, that almost 10 years, he had that thing or something one time, and every Wednesday night, I’d go there and I’d hear story after story of people who had had spiritual awakenings, people in Fairfield. Some sometimes they were just, you know, flashy experiences, whose came and went. But a great many people in town, were having what we would call an abiding awakening something which stayed once it occurred, you know, had happened. And many of those awakenings conformed quite clearly to the higher states model that that Maharishi Mahesh Yogi laid out. And so that was great. But a number of those people would say to me, or to the group, that they had mentioned it to a few friends, once they had had this awakening, and the friends ridiculed them, or, you know, scoffed at them. In fact, just the other day, I got a long Facebook message from this guy in skelmersdale, which is the TM community over in England. And he said, he had this profound awakening, and he told his wife, now ex wife. And she said, now, that couldn’t be you haven’t done enough rounding courses, enough long, long meditation courses, and she didn’t believe in. And so a lot of times, you know, when people got that kind of reaction, they would shut up about it. Now, at the same time, you know, I was running into other people around town, who were saying things like, Well, I don’t ever expect to get enlightened in this lifetime. You know, I like meditating. It’s restful, and I’ll keep doing it. But, you know, nothing, like that’s ever gonna happen to me. And so I thought, there’s a disconnect here. And what I thought, why don’t I start interviewing people who have had awakenings. And then the people who haven’t had them can hear that And might make it sort of more of a norm in our community consciousness and it wouldn’t seem weird or strange or unbelievable. And, you know, it might actually facilitate more awakenings might kind of be a catalyst. And so I thought that was a good idea. And I took the idea to crew FM and said, Let’s do this radio show. And I did a little demo with George and Mary Foster and crew with him didn’t want to do it. Now, that probably leads us to the next question.
Fax Gilbert: Why didn’t I want to do it?
Rick Archer: What happened time, I didn’t understand why
Fax Gilbert: this is gonna be easy.
Rick Archer: Cru FM, by the way, for those who are watching it on the internet, it’s this little radio station here in town, low power FM station with a 10 mile radius. That’s cool, we’ll get it out to this 10 mile radius. And I couldn’t understand why they didn’t want to do it. It seemed like a perfect fit for our community. And so like three months went by, and Tom trainer kept bugging me, you know, do something, do more, you know, try to get make this happen. And then that and then finally he said, Forget crew FM take it to me back the local public access TV station. So I said, Okay, so I went to F tech talk to them, they were into it. So I started taping them there. And we did about 17 of them there with Stan cans and you guys and the bugs and you know, various other people around Fairfield. And but they just didn’t have their act together in terms of the technical thing. And so I was accumulating these shows on DVDs, and they weren’t going anywhere. They weren’t carrying on
Fax Gilbert: doing the technical stuff as we went along. Yeah, it asked a few questions and then make a few adjustments. Yeah, Cameron, standing like this, the whole interview for two hours. So
Rick Archer: it’s so surreal, nothing was happening to it. And then one night, I was at one of those Satsang. And, you know, I was kind of grousing about the fact that it wasn’t getting off the ground and carnies week it was from Malibu happened to be there with her husband. She said, What do you think it’s a small for, you know, that’s Fairfield? Why don’t you get it out on the internet somehow, and you know, bring it out to the world. We’ll watch it in California. That’s okay. So I got in touch with a friend of mine, and who was one of my best friends in high school. In fact, 50 years ago, there was talking about the New York State, the World’s Fair in New York City. We went to that together when we were 14, and almost missed the bus going home. So we’ve been friends ever since although we haven’t seen each other since then. But he had been a video professional office life. And so I said, Can I send you these discs and have you turn them into something that I can put on the internet. So I sent him a box of discs, and he converted them to the necessary format, put nice titles on them, and everything sent him back. So then I just had to figure out how to create a blog and how to create a podcast for the audio aspect with iTunes and how to, you know, create a YouTube channel. And initially, YouTube limited me to 10 minute segments. So I had to split them up in little segments and upload the individual segments. And, but eventually, once I reached enough views and and videos, they they gave me unlimited time, so So I went back and re uploaded them all in their entirety. And then I started, you know, that I had to figure out how to, I realized I was gonna kind of run out of people in Fairfield, maybe it would be more interesting if I could get people outside of Fairfield. And so I had to figure out how to get a gas pump. Yeah. Oh, Isaac nevus, by the way, thought up the term, Buddha, the gas pump, if you haven’t know, Isaac, young guy. In any case, I had to figure out how to get Skype to record. And that was tricky, getting Skype recordings to look halfway decent. And there was this company in Australia that I discovered made some software called VOD burner. And they weren’t used to people trying to do to our shows in high definition. So we kept like software kept crashing and having all these problems, I kept sending it back to you know, sending them the problems. They kept fixing him at one point, they sent me a hard drive to send them a whole show on so I could, so they could work with it directly. So the whole thing just kind of kept developing like that. Right. Yeah. And there’s more detail, but probably mundane.
Fax Gilbert: antastic Yeah, it’s, it’s Horatio Alger of the internet. Yeah. It brought up a question to me is, you know, that whole idea of moving in a spiritual path toward Enlightenment or toward awakening or greater perfection in life, and yet, there was quite there was that pushback with if people came OUT out of the closet, so to speak, to talk about something that they had realized, which was permanent, which was there. Why do you think that is that that that pushback was there? Because I experienced that myself? 1999 had spiritual awakening, and I was afraid to talk to people about it. And in fact, you’re the first one I talked to, I don’t know if you remember we Had you and I read over for dinner one night. And you were sitting there asking all these great questions. Days of Future Past, and, and it was such a relief to be able to, to bring it forward and to talk to somebody who would hear it and listen and, and flesh it out, so to speak. And so I think it speaks to what awakening is and how people perceive it, that there’s this kind of a taboo about talking about,
Rick Archer: well, you know, I think the the concept of awakening that people form over the years and Enlightenment when they’re reading books, and listening to lectures, and all that, in many cases, ends up being quite a far cry from the actual experience of it when it happens, so that they don’t actually connect the two when it does happen. In some cases, like, for instance, that book by Suzanne Siegel, collision with the infinite. And she had been a TM teacher, and and, you know, been all these courses and everything. And then she kind of was living in Paris, got pregnant was, you know, coming back from a swimming thing at the pool, and just getting on a bus, and all of a sudden, boom, you know, she had this profound shift. And she was terrified. Because there was a complete from herps perspective, loss of sense of individual self. And she didn’t connect it at all with everything she’d heard about Enlightenment, or cosmic consciousness and all that and went on for 10 years, being terrified, until she finally got together with John Kline. And he pointed out to her that while he said, he said, Stop trying to look for it, and just relax into it. And she realized it was a spiritual thing. She wasn’t crazy. So well, that’s part of the answer. Another part is I think that people what’s kind of along the same lines, people have a concept of what Enlightenment is supposed to look like, you seem really holy, you know, maybe you have a certain inflection in your voice, or something like that. And I think Christ said A prophet is not without honor, except in his own home. I think that, you know, hey, it’s facts. How could he you know, he’s same old facts as he ever was, his golf game is still mediocre? How could he tell the world? I don’t see anything different about him. He doesn’t seem special. You know, can you levitate? I mean, that’s another one. I’ve gotten sort of a lot of people around town, you say, you’ve had the spiritual awakening? And maybe it seems like cosmic consciousness is marshy, describe it? Well, can you levitate? Alright, are you in bliss all the time? Yeah, then it’s not real, if you don’t meet those criteria. So
Fax Gilbert: I’m not saying that those criteria aren’t, you know, real, you know, in certain instances, but I think that the way that it shows up in individuals, first of all, it’s a surprise, because if it wasn’t a surprise, it wouldn’t be an awakening. And if it’s a surprise, then it’s not going to relate to consumption that you have about it, you know, from the path that you’ve been on. If you if you have a conception about it, then that’s what you think is going to show up. And that’s what’s your kind of move Yeah, expecting a certain thing. And then something shows up, which is kind of like the penny dropping, kind of like nothing special, no weights going on. Nothing, nothing, nothing special at all really accepted, it feels, you know, it’s normal, you just feel normal. And and so there’s a big transition there. In other words, because all of the things that your mind is created, that this is this, all these things have to fall into place in order for me to know myself. Aren’t there hope things different, and I remember just floundering around, trying to find some, something solid to put my feet on and. And it was good. I mean, looking at this house to be in the Bhagavad Gita. So I got Moorish Bhagavad Gita, and I started going through it. Chapter One, it’s all attainment attainment. I didn’t attain anything. Chapter Two, chapter three, chapter four, chapter five, get to chapter six, verse five, and he said, the self is revealed to the self through itself by itself, no amount of meditation will reveal the self. And that that clicked with what I had recognized that it had recognized itself. And what the rest of it all the rest of it, I couldn’t relate to it all. And so there’s like, that’s what the awakening is, is that something happens now in this in this in your interviews, do you find that that people I know that a lot of the people come through certain traditions and they have an awakening, which is kind of within that tradition as described through that tradition, whereas other people just kind of fall into it on their own. Did you did you Have you noticed that? Yeah,
Rick Archer: some people do fall into it quite spontaneously, without any practice or interest prior interest in this sort of thing. I mean, there was a lady named Karen, sometimes called herself mystic girl in the city. And she was sort of an actress and fairly worldly person, by her own admission, definition. And, you know, one morning, she was tying her shoes, and all of a sudden, there’s this profound opening. And, you know, it took her a long time to figure out what the heck had happened. And in fact, it was so radical, when she finally did sort of identify it as a spiritual thing. She started going to spiritual teachers, she went and saw Adyashanti. And she actually got up in the mic and started yelling at him, she said, You know, it’s not right for you to be encouraging people to get this, they have no idea what it’s gonna be, you know? What was your question?
Fax Gilbert: It was, it was it was kind of the distinction between awakenings that come through traditional means, versus people falling into it on their own. Yeah, I noticed that some of the interviews have you have both in your
Rick Archer: Yeah, it would be interesting for somebody who has a more of a site, sociological, scientific bent, to actually review all these things at some point and see how they could be categorized. And because I think it would be really valuable for our culture, to our spiritual culture, which is hopefully burgeoning. To have a more clear, Lee defined and systematized understanding of the territory of you know, what awakening is, and what its stages are, if it has stages, and, and so on. So because otherwise, what is it? Is it just some kind of individual world that you kind of live in without any correlation to other people who supposedly had an awakening? By definition, awakening is supposed to be, you know, a conscious realization of the most fundamental reality of the universe? And do we each have our own most fundamental reality? I think not. Yet, at the same time, we each have our own individual nervous system, right. And many traditions, including many things I heard Maharshi say, indicate that according to the makeup of your nervous system, awakening is going to have different flavors. For some people, it might be more bliss for some more, you know,
Fax Gilbert: right
Rick Archer: vastness, right?
Fax Gilbert: Some people are in the heart,
Rick Archer: yeah,
Fax Gilbert: some pen
Rick Archer: for some, if there hasn’t really been adequate preparation and purification, it can result in a in a grandiose Agras ego trip, I mean, a person can be fueled with this, the Shakti and think they’re just the cat’s meow, and, you know, start having people carry him around their shoulders.
Fax Gilbert: So this kind of brings up the idea of the relationship between the physiology and awakening, I mean, the the tradition that we, you know, went through was a purification of the physiology, through through meditation and diet, and, and all and all the rest of it, so that the nervous system could support higher states of consciousness. But many of the people that were on the that you’ve interviewed, and I would put myself in this category, and a lot of my friends, is that it, I don’t feel I have less stress now than I have in other times in my life, I feel that the self is something that’s inherently yours. And it finds itself, so to speak, directly through the mind senses, that at some point, through grace through an accident, whatever, it this, this consciousness becomes conscious of itself. And it isn’t a shift in identity. It’s not like a momentary thing where you just transcend and then come out, it becomes part of your identity. And it’s something that’s always there. And to me, the physiology, it plays a role in experience, but does it does it play a role in in actually, in this awakening process in the ownership of it, the shift of the identity?
Rick Archer: There was a Zen teacher, I forget his name, who said, spiritual awakening may be an accident, but practice makes you accident prone. Yes, yeah, very good. And maybe it’s my deeply ingrained background, you know. And it actually Marsha is teaching has a lot of roots in Kashmir Shaivism, which talks a lot about the physiology and the importance of having it cultured to be able to sustain shock of awakening. And it’s it’s, you know, it’s regarded as I understand it that you can get yourself into trouble if the physiology isn’t adequately prepared, and there’s some rising of the Kundalini, you know, which is really strong. You can go crazy, you can, you know, all kinds of things can happen. And, you know, physiologists, neurologists would tell us even with no spiritual interest whatsoever, that anything that you’re experiencing has some kind of correlation with the brain, right? With the nervous system, every little thought we think every every experience we have, it would seem to me that something’s so experientially radical, as awakening as we’re defining it would necessarily, to my understanding, correlate with some sort of radical change in the physiology, whether, you know, neurologists can locate it, Fred Travis has devoted his life to trying to do that, whether it’d be something more subtle, whether they’re only getting 10% of the understanding what’s actually happening. I don’t know. But that that Zen quote, you know, spiritual practice makes you accident prone. Sure, there are people who have been raging alcoholics and have, you know, yeah, one of the fellows you’ve interviewed. Yeah. Wayne Lichtman. Yeah, it was ironically, that was Fred some Fred Davis. Yeah.
Fax Gilbert: He had an awakening. While he was under the influence, yeah,
Rick Archer: Byron, Katie was in some kind of halfway house I know. So, you know, we can seriously abuse our physiology, and yet still have an awakening. But if I think that there’s some kind of bell curve, and the people who have that happen to them are probably on the fringes of the bell curve, and that it’s more likely that people who have actually cultured the nervous system in some way, or you know, some of them aren’t gonna get awakened, but there’s, you’re probably setting up the conditions for making it more probable. I would think, incidentally, a lot. Everything I say tonight is based either on my experience, my understanding, or my opinion, and generally a mixture of all three, and all three are work in progress. So yes, I can say an entirely different thing a year from now, I don’t claim to have any kind of authority about anything, right.
Fax Gilbert: And it, it seems that, that this, this process of awakening, in and of itself, it’s, it’s a spontaneous thing at times. In other words, it just, it’s that there can be two kinds of awakening, now, there’s a kind of awakening with the self recognizes itself. But then if the physiology has been cultured, then as it’s as if it’s as if there’s a depth that can come from that. And I would, I would, I would not want to say that, that what I’ve experienced that the awakening of I have had is, is synonymous with the awakenings that people have been in case for 50 or 60 years culturing their nervous system. So it’s almost as if we have a fulcrum of identity. And some individuals, they identify almost completely with this absolute pure bliss being. And other people have a taste of it, but enough so that they identify with it, they know it, and they live it. And it’s it’s a part of who they are just like being an American or a male. And that’s there. And, and there’s a whole range of spectrum that that makes up our identity. And so that’s kind of how one paradigm that I look at when in trying to understand this. Because the more you go into it, the more paradoxes, though are about it. The physiology is necessary, the physiology isn’t necessary. And a lot of the people that that you’ve interviewed have talked about this paradox.
Rick Archer: Yeah. And I’ve talked about it a lot in interviews. In fact, somebody sent me a t shirt, this was paradox on it should have worn it. Adyashanti, who, you know, I respect as being one of the most down to earth and yes, and yet in the clouds, in a good sense. teachers out there really highly evolved, but very down to earth guy. One thing he said recently, not too long ago is he said, I always feel like I’m a beginner. You No. And I sort of feel like just again, opinion here. But the range of possibilities for spiritual evolution is so vast that virtually everybody is beginner, at least it’s healthy to sort of maintain that attitude. That’s something Alma says in practically every lecture, she said, we should always have the attitude of a beginner. But the range of possibilities is vast. And there’s a there’s nothing I just showed you talked about there’s for some reason, a 10 tendency to kind of latch on to some level of awakening. And assume it’s final. I don’t know why people do this, but it happens a lot. I’ve seen it a lot. And sometimes that awakening is actually nothing more than an intellectual understanding. It’s not even the beginnings of an experiential awakening, people read a whole bunch of books get the non duality thing and go in in their brain, and think that, that they have realized it. But you know, it’s far more than that.
Fax Gilbert: Yes. To me, there’s like, there’s like two tracks, there’s, there’s the track of awakening that many people that you’ve interviewed described as kind of up and out, they, they have that they have that recognition, and that becomes the folk, you know, they’re live, their life is abiding in that, and that everything else in terms of their relative lives is secondary. And there are different degrees of that among the different teachers that you’ve, that you’ve recognized. And then there’s, then there’s the school of experience of teaching, where it’s, it becomes more down in in that you have a recognition of something which is absolute, which forms the basis of, of identity, and that becomes, is invited consciously into your life, into your, into your personal interactions, and so much so that the recognition comes that it’s not different, that there’s a there’s a marriage between absolute and relative between human and divine. And this is, you can say, this is the point of reference that we have in waking down, that we are divine, as well as human, we’re limited. And we’re free, we’re bound to treat both together, and you can’t find one let leaves off and the other begins. And so it, there’s different ways of coming at this experience and integrating it into our lives. So and I think that’s one of the beautiful things about what you’re doing is you’re, you’re exposing many, many people to this whole range of of possibilities, and then their own being is going to select, you know, vibrate with whatever, you know, path, whatever direction is right for them at that time.
Rick Archer: Yeah, I’ll put up an interview and I get emails from some people saying, well, that guy was a bozo. You know, what a waste of my time, other people saying, Oh, that was the best one you’ve ever done. I love this guy. And I’ve read all his books and stuff. So you really people just resonate with, with different things. And these days, embodiment is a real lively buzzword in the spiritual community. Yes, there was this lady I interviewed about a month or two ago named Prajnanam Ginty. And she had done a number of spiritual things, practices lived and she lived in armored size ashram, she went to California got into the Satsang scene, spent time with Adyashanti. And she could sit in Samadhi for hours on end, and she was really living a blissful life, everything was hunky dory. And then she got some really poor misdiagnosis by some doctors and was more or less forced to abort twins, three months premature. And her they came out, you know, pound each the size of her hands. And she ended up with an intense challenge, which, you know, just never let up. Severe sleep deprivation and just dealing with it, they lived, they they’re both alive. And she’s done an incredible job with these girls, it’s their there’ll be developmentally challenged for life, but she’s done an incredible job. She got to the point at one point where she had one of them in her arms, and she was about to throw herself off a cliff. And something she actually heard a voice No, you cannot do that. And she was back on her butt on the ground. And, you know, she, she rose to the challenge. And, you know, now she feels like she wouldn’t have changed that thing. And her, you know, she’s come full circle in terms of her bliss in her, you know, stability of awareness, but in a profoundly embodied way. Right. And, you know, hopefully most of us don’t have to face such challenges.
Fax Gilbert: Well, that that is the kind of a theme that I’ve heard many of the teachers interviewed in some waking down also that that once there’s an awakening that many unresolved issues from the past tend to bubble up and perhaps because there’s there’s a greater identity with with being
Rick Archer: Maharishi said when the postman knows you’re going to move he tries to deliver all your mail. Yeah.
Fax Gilbert: Yeah, so it’s, it’s a it’s common, that that happens that especially if there is going to be in by element of this, of this being forced to this identity into your interior life, which it seems the planet needs right now needs people not to live in caves, although that’s a value in of itself, but for people to, to come into who they are as individuals, and then in order to do that, you kind of have to become aware of the patterning that prevents you from from that.
Rick Archer: Well, you know, Christ’s talked about not pouring new wine into old wineskins. And maybe that’s back to our discussion about preparing the physiology, and you really should get a new wineskin before you pour the wine in. But if you happen to pour the wine into an old one, it’s really stretching the metaphor here. The wind skin is gonna start to change, you know, the wind is gonna start changing it. And all kinds of things may have to be purged psychological, physiological, because all that shadow stuff I don’t think can sustain the presence of, you know, awakened consciousness. And maybe some of the stuff is really tenacious, and it will sustain it, you know, we will kind of cling on for the lifetime or whatever. But there’s a tendency, I think, for it to start to blow out juices floor at
Fax Gilbert: the at the very least, you become aware of these patterns. Yeah, that are unconscious and then becoming aware of them, the patterns may still still be there, you’re aware of them. And so they have less power over you. And there’s there’s less space so to speak, that they’re less energy is being tied up in them.
Rick Archer: Yeah. And maybe they start to resolve it. I interviewed Neelam last week, and she was talking about meeting everything as it comes up. And in this process of meeting everything as it comes up. It just, you know, layer by layer gets resolved, and whatever is next to be resolved, comes up and you meet it, and then it gets resolved. And there seems to be no end to it. But yeah.
Fax Gilbert: Let’s see what else we got. How about I never asked you about your personal spiritual journey we know about TM, but maybe before that, even how did you? I mean, did you come from a religious family where devotion to God was forefront and you’re
Rick Archer: my father had severe PTSD and was a raging alcoholic and epileptic, mixing phenobarbital and alcohol on a regular basis, you can imagine the results of that, that took its toll my mother, and she tried to commit suicide three times. And so and we listened to all this as we were growing up as kids in the 50s and early 60s, so that that was my spiritual upbringing. But they at the very same time, I love them both. I feel like they were very intelligent, highly evolved people who just had that deck, you know, that hand dealt to them. Yes. And my father was incredibly creative and sensitive. He’s a professional artist. My mother was a character, and some of you may have known her. She was just, you know, full of sort of innocent enthusiasm about stuff. But as far as my spiritual stuff is concerned, the earliest thing I remember is when I was a kid, and had high fever with measles, or whatever, we all got those diseases in those days. I remember sitting in bed, and when I wasn’t actually delirious, I remember sitting in bed and having this experience of simultaneous vastness and timeliness, infinite weight and infinite lightness, I would just sit there and be fascinated with it, there’d be like this incredible density, and incredible, you know, that vacuum sort of void. And it just kept kind of fluctuating. And I just sat there and examined it for the longest time. And as I sat there might have been 10 years. Yeah. 10 years old or something. Really? Yeah. And then, you know, I also had experiences like we all had about staring at the stars at night, you know, and just sort of thinking about the universe. And, you know, every every year on my birthday, I go to the Hayden Planetarium in the next year, I’d go to the Natural History Museum next year Hayden Planetarium next year National History Museum. So I was always curious and fascinated with things. The spiritual thing didn’t really kick in until I took LSD when I was 17, and I was a jaw dropping experience in terms of realizing that it that not everybody sees the world the same way. I went to that point, we’d been up all night tripping and then went to a donut shop, dunkin donuts in the morning and I was just looking at the donut selling ladies and thinking, wow, they’re seeing the world so much differently than I am right now. That’s it. Everything depends on how you see the world. You know, it’s your it’s your perspective. It’s not the world. It’s how you see the world. I can never forget that. So, you know, so I spent about a year muddling around getting more and more screwed up dropping out of high school getting arrested a couple of times. And then finally, one night, I was sitting on my bed, dripping again. And, and I couldn’t go to sleep. So it’s like three in the morning and I I’m sitting reading a Zen book, Zen flesh and bones. And, and real, something really hit me. I said, these guys are really serious. And I’m totally screwing around thinking that I’m, you know, going to get enlightened or something. And I said, Okay, that’s it. I’m gonna stop taking drugs to learn transcendental meditation, and I’ll see what happens. So that’s what happened.
Fax Gilbert: So you’ve been meditating
Rick Archer: since summer of 68.
Fax Gilbert: Summer 68. And do you have any vacations from meditation?
Rick Archer: I’ve never missed one
Fax Gilbert: never missed one. What do you think would happen if you did?
Rick Archer: I don’t know. It’s just like, I’m really good at routines. On the on the six humbled course it means 71 Or two, Phil Hirshhorn and Ira Clements gave a talk about the value of flossing your teeth, and I floss my teeth every darn day, since I heard them say that, you know, if something is good, I’m just gonna do it, you know, as a matter of routine, and if I don’t do it routinely, then you know, skip one here to there, 10 there. Next thing, you know, I’m not doing it. So I’m just going to stick to this thing. Because, hey, Jesus, I was a high school dropout, I was completely messed up. Within a few weeks after I learned I, you know, reconciled with my father who had thrown me out of the house, I’d gotten the job, I had made arrangements to, you know, get a GED diploma and get back into school. So it really turned me around. And, you know, within two years, I was teaching the darn thing.
Fax Gilbert: So you’ve seen an evolution or this is like 40 years, you’ve met it, then 46 or 46 years, you’ve seen an evolution in your practice? Or is it just become more like, you know, just so integrated into your life that you couldn’t, you couldn’t imagine living without it.
Rick Archer: I’ve never had a meditation that didn’t work, in terms of actually settling down and having having it be enjoyable, and, you know, feeling better afterwards. But yeah, I wouldn’t say that even now, my meditation experiences are any more profound than they were 40 years ago. But it’s just a routine. But the the effects in daily life have always been continued to be cumulative for me and still are. And, you know, now, you know, there’s just this sort of steadiness of awareness that is there no matter what, whether
Fax Gilbert: it’s a way to pay honor to that steadiness of awareness, but putting your attention on it a couple times a day. It’s as if you’re here, recognizing the value of that in your life. And and you’re, it’s as if it’s almost a devotional practice. Yeah,
Rick Archer: it is. It’s kind of like a CAT scan in a way in the sense that I find myself the awareness just sort of scans the body and notices things and those things get resolved. And you know, just kind of goes on like that. The Buddha meditated his whole life after his awakening Ramana Maharshi, went into a cave for about 16, or some 24 years or something after his awakening, and just meditated. So there are people who say, friends of mine even say to me, you know, there will come a time when you’re just going to drop it. And in the fact that you’re still doing it indicates that you haven’t arrived, or whatever. And they might be right. For all I know, maybe I’ll drop it at some point. But I just feel no inclination to do so.
Fax Gilbert: My experience is that it’s an individual consideration. Yeah, people continue with practices or don’t continue with practices. It doesn’t have anything to do with, you know, the depth of the quality of the recognition or the realization, it has more to do with who they are as a person and what they enjoy doing with their lives. Yeah. And
Rick Archer: I do it a lot. I mean, I spend probably three hours a day, I get up at four in the morning that take an hour go to sleep again for a while, get up again, do my bathroom stuff, meditate an hour, do it in the afternoon, do it before bed, you know, so I really enjoy it. It’s just a routine that works for me
Fax Gilbert: have nourish you feel nourished?
Rick Archer: Yeah. And, you know, I’m not good at forcing myself to do things I don’t want to do, or that are really unpleasant or, you know, so it’s just a self reinforcing, you know, but yeah, as you say, I mean, I would never tell anybody they should or shouldn’t do that or anything. I mean, somebody comes to me and saying that they’re getting great benefits out of chanting Harry Krishna or being a fundamentalist Christian or whatever. I would say great. You know, go for it, do it, you know, enjoy. I really feel like everybody is kind of on the path. They’re meant to be on. And if that path doesn’t work for him anymore, for some reason, they’ll switch paths and do some hands.
Fax Gilbert: And your work is helping people to make those choices in the world by giving them and this is unprecedented, giving them the knowledge of all of a variety of people. It started off with, like, just regular Joe’s. But now it’s I would say that most of the people that you’re interviewing are, or have websites and you know, their teachers.
Rick Archer: Yeah, but their regular job is to you know, right. We’re all bozos on this bus. Yeah. And, you know, we all perform the same bodily functions, and so and so just because somebody’s well known, or, you know, something like that,
Fax Gilbert: getting back to your spiritual history, I mean, is there anything else other than then TM that you’ve, you’ve done on your spiritual path request?
Rick Archer: Strictly speaking, I don’t do TM anymore, because I’m using a Mantra that Om a gave me I’ve been doing that for about a day. Yeah. You know, everyone knows who I am as the hugging saint. And so the TM movement would say I don’t do TM. I do a TM style. Yeah. I do my asanas. Most days, you know,
Fax Gilbert: things. So there’s a there’s a devotional component in your relationship with Amma.
Rick Archer: Yeah. But you know, it’s different than it used to be with Maharishi in the sense that, and that’s because I think I feel fulfilled now. Whereas with Maharshi, there was a sort of yearning craving, you know, all the time, and I had to be around him and I had to go to this course and do that. Now. It’s like, go to see alma de Varma, whatever, there’s this continuum. Yeah. Fulfillment.
Fax Gilbert: That in a sense, devotion isn’t something you do. It’s something you can’t help but do. Yeah, it’s as if you’re called to it. There’s some, there’s some there’s some transmission that resonated with you that that brought you to her. Yeah. In the same way that your, your interviews with people, there’s a transmission quality there because it’s alive. It’s not just and in some cases, I’m sure from reading the letters, that people pick up on different transmissions and it’s transformative. And I
Rick Archer: do too. I mean, it’s talking about spiritual practices, doing these interviews. Yeah, that’s, that’s yeah, I really get zapped. You know, whether they’re in person or over Skype. I really feel I feel so elated. Sometimes I come out from doing an interview, and my cheeks are all rosy. And I read says, Wow, it looks like you’ve been jogging or something. Yes. Just like, wakes up the life in me.
Fax Gilbert: Wasn’t. Then marshy talked about association with the wise Yeah, as a scripture study, as a means of developing. Recognition.
Rick Archer: Yeah. And also in preparation for these things. I listened to probably at least an hour a day of people’s in other interviews, and talks and read their books. And so I’ve all my spare time, I’ve got my attention on this, you know, I put my iPod on, wake up in the morning, and then start brushing my teeth, listening to something meditating. So that’s my spiritual practice, for what it’s worth, it works for me. But this has been a real revolutionary thing for me. And it’s also been really cool to get to know so many wonderful people, I mean, to have these conversations with these people every week. They’re also delightful and interesting, and it’s, it’s just so enriching to to have these conversations with them. And some of them have become very dear friends, you know, like, Francis Bennett, for instance, who who’s like a brother to me now he’s coming here in two weeks, by the way, to teach a retreat. And Igor Kufa of the Russian fellow, we feel like this sort of brotherly connection. And
Fax Gilbert: that’s what I mean. Yeah, in the same way that you’ve created a relationship with them this, I’m sure that that others that are hearing your pot, your your broadcasts, are creating relationships of their own.
Rick Archer: Yeah. All these people. And the people I interview usually say that they’re really surprised by the response, you know, that they get sort of this huge wave of interest of inquiries, the BatGap bump the BatGap Bump, yeah. So and it’s really, you know, when I was on my six month course, towards the end of the six month course, I was in bereits. And I was made the course director or something like that TM course em, TM, long six month meditation course. And I was made the course director, and it kind of went to my head, I thought that I deserved a better room, and maybe better food. And I started getting kind of bossy with people. And so and this kind of this came to Marsh’s attention, and I got the message back. You’re just a connector and a collector. You know, and that I I really took that to heart, I kind of feel like that’s what I’m doing with this thing I’m connecting, and collecting. And I really get a lot of joy out of connecting people who might feel deserve a broader stage a bigger audience, yes, with that audience, right. You know, it’s, it’s really gratifying to hear the stories like this guy from Australia and saved my life or whatever,
Fax Gilbert: in the reverence that people have in their voices. It’s
Rick Archer: that that makes me uncomfortable,
Fax Gilbert: dc, dc, Rick, trying to get an appointment.
Rick Archer: That really makes me uncomfortable. As a matter of fact, Kristen Kirk, who’s also coming here in two weeks, I’ll explain a little bit later, what Francis and Kristen are going to be doing here. She just did a retreat in Hawaii, and some of the people on that retreat in Hawaii wouldn’t have been there, if not for her interview with me. And they decided they felt inspired to make these little testimonial videos that I could put up on BatGap. But there are this sort of mushy, gushy, Rick, you’re so wonderful stuff. And I thought I can’t, it’s it makes me squirm. And fortunately, I have a very down to earth wife who doesn’t like, you know, give me an inch of that kind of latitude. So it’s really not about me. And there really is, you know, sounds kind of like a cliche, but I really feel like I’m not doing this. And I’m not doing anything. It’s sort of like I’m just kind of rolling along. It’s not even me rolling along that there’s a sense. In a very real sense, nothing is happening, you know, and I’m not doing anything. But I’m just kind of wanted to quote Suzanne Siegel, again, doing the next obvious thing, following each impulse as it comes up. And one idea leads to the next and just kind of unfolds, it’s kind of like being in your dharma. Yeah, in my dharma, and I sort of feel like I’m kind of a tool with, that reminds me another thing, which is that, you know, for years and years and years, I felt like, I want to get enlightened to before I die. There was this intensity about getting enlightened. Now, I never have that feeling or that thought, now, it’s more like, if there’s any intensity, it’s more like, Of what value can I be, as long as I’m in this body? House? How can I contribute in some way? And so this, this really means a lot to me to be able to do this? Because I feel like I’m having some kind of impact, right, and serving in some way, you know, benefiting?
Fax Gilbert: Well, that is that is, in my definition, that is what embodiment is that’s that is that, that beingness, that you are wanting to come through you into the world to see itself and know itself and be it’s, and it’s and then there’s like, both tendencies, there’s this the desire to, to go up and out and to know ourselves is that and then there’s the desire of that, which is ultimately living us anyway. Yeah. It’s the desire of that of that to incarnate, more and more and more into matter, to know itself as matter. Yeah. So there’s, it’s to me. One is the foundation for the other. And it’s beautiful to hear and to see all of the people that you’re that you’re bringing forward, that are doing that in their lives that have had spiritual recognition. And they’re not just running for the caves to culture that although some people that’s their tendency, but what they’re doing is they’re they bring it forward into the world in their own way.
Rick Archer: Yeah, there’s that saying, which I’m sure you’ve all heard that the next Buddha is the Sangha. Yeah. You know, and that’s the way it seems to be going now. And modern technology has facilitated this is that, you know, rather than some guy in sandals, being able to walk around, you know, 30 mile radius, and of course of a lifetime or something. This stuff is just spreading all over the world. Yeah, speed of light. And, and so, you know, was it. George HW Bush, we talked about the 1000 points of light all the time. And what he meant by that, but it seems like all over the world, there’s just this sort of Enlightenment taking place and awakenings taking place spontaneously. I was listening to Jeddah, Mali the other day, and
Fax Gilbert: he was friends are helping them to wake Yeah. Which is kind of the work that we do. Yeah, it’s your friends, you know, working together, you know, for that purpose, to help each other.
Rick Archer: There was this lady I’m going to interview this weekend in Jeddah, Mali, and I was listening to her stuff and she was she made the comment that each time somebody awakens, it becomes that much easier for other people to awaken. It’s like, we’re kind of like making the membrane that blocks us from awake yet thinner and thinner. With each new awake. Yeah. 100th Monkey kind of idea.
Fax Gilbert: Well, that’s what you were saying at the beginning. One of the first things we said is that okay, this is You wanted to bring this out to Fairfield? Because you saw the disconnect. Yeah. And if people start talking about recognitions that they’ve had, then that gives other people the confidence. Hey, if that bozos awakened, and he seems confident about it,
Rick Archer: yeah, maybe, for me
Fax Gilbert: that was my signal. If you were me, what would you ask yourself right now? I was gonna say what was the biggest surprise that you’ve been in the people that you’ve, were there any surprises, things that, like, people said that you could not? And you were like, you know, maybe I have no idea what’s going on here. Or perhaps in a good way.
Rick Archer: And a couple of thoughts on that, I guess. One thing I do is, you know, while I’m interviewing the person, I’m sitting there, and, you know, I feel like if the, if my mind, or the more settled my mind is, the better I would be at this. And it’s not as settled as it could be, you know, there’s always some kind of buzz going on. Right. And, but I sit there and just allow myself to be as settled as possible and be is Be attentive to what comes up. And as the person talks. You know, questions are kind of triggered or elicited. Yes. And they bubble and they, you know, I let them talk. And the questions kind of rearrange themselves, in my mind, as the person is talking like, Okay, you’re at the front line, or they just said that you move back, and this one is up in the front now. And then when, when it’s time for me to ask a question, you know, there’s a sense of, there’s an impulse of which one to ask. Yeah, and people often say that, I asked just the thing that they were wanting to ask, you know, they, they think so. But sometimes it’s hard to understand what a person is actually trying to say, Yeah, this happens once in a while. And, and so I ended up trying to, I kind of tried to restate what they just said, to make sure I got it right. But, so I don’t know if that answers your question. But that’s part of the process. Larry King once was asked what his most difficult interview was, and he said it was Marlon Brando and said, Well, why was that? So because he really wouldn’t talk? I mean, I would ask him a question that he would say yes. And sit there and have to come up with another question. So there was one guy whom I interviewed, I don’t remember his name. And I kind of expected him to be like everybody else was just, you know, fairly loquacious. I could just, you know, he would get talking, I throw in a question every now and then. But it was like, boom, flat, couldn’t get him to say anything. And I was thinking, why does this guy want to be interviewed? And as it turned out, after the whole thing was over, he and I both decided not to put it up. Yeah, it was just in flow. Yeah, didn’t flow. But most of 99% of them flow. And they flow. Sometimes they float for three whole hours, and the shortest one has still been over an hour. And usually, after a certain point, hour and a half, two hours. I just kind of get this feeling like, Alright, we’re done. And then we move forward. Wrapping it up. Yeah, yeah.
Fax Gilbert: Yeah. I’m starting to get that feeling for myself. No, we’re not done yet. No, no, not done yet. But I was thinking that, might we have a half an hour or so might be might be good to have some people from the audience. Sure. Yeah. I can always
Rick Archer: do we have to actually get out of here at a certain time or no. No, they’ll just be off unless they want if you want to be on Mike, come stand up here. Otherwise, just I mean, on a camera, otherwise, just be there. Make sure you turn it on. Okay.
Peter Decicco: So Rick, having interviewed lots of people, was it 230 people? I’m wondering if over this time, you’ve seen common language for the sound. Can you hear me now? Okay. So I’m wondering if over this 230 interviews, you’ve seen common themes, common characters, common things arise, that might in some way define spiritual maturity?
Rick Archer: That’s a good question. Well, part of it I, part of it, I think, is this embodiment thing. And that thing I said earlier about people who just have an intellectual concept of non duality or something and think that’s it, that would be the sort of low end of the scale. Then, you know, if we could kind of make a scale, then there are people who’ve in the UP And out stage. And then there are people who are much more embodied. And interestingly, I’m also noticing something that I think conforms to Marsh’s seven states model, which is that I’m noticing in certain teachers whom I would consider sort of more mature in their spirituality, a real blossoming of the heart. And, like God, just Shanti for instance, again, you know, has recently been talking a lot about Jesus and understanding the teachings of Jesus. And, you know, there’s just this devotional component that seems to be dawning in the way some people teach. And also, I mean, your people here are all familiar with marshy seven states model cosmic consciousness, God consciousness, Unity Consciousness, people on the internet may not be. But the the second one, the first one I just mentioned, cosmic consciousness was supposed to be pure awareness maintained all the time, no matter what. And it’s including during deep sleep. And it’s interesting, too, I often asked that question to people, what happens when you sleep, and there are a number of people who maintain pure awareness, it’s clear as a bell throughout sleep. And some don’t. But I’m not totally convinced that that has to be an absolute criterion, I don’t know. And some people say, Well, I did for a while, and now I just assumed snore. I prefer being out like a light. So I’m not qualified to say, but the next one was God consciousness that he talked about, which is refined perception. And this kind of fascinates me, because if you think about it, the the iconography of just about every spiritual tradition, and the literature, you know, depicts subtle perception, halos, angels, you know, davers, demons, I mean, all kinds of stuff that’s supposed to exist on some level or other that we ordinarily don’t perceive. And so if all the spiritual traditions talk about that stuff, shouldn’t it begin to dawn in the experience of these people who say they have had a spiritual awakening, and I’m finding more and more cases that it is it does. In fact, it fascinates me so much that I decided to form a little to set up a little forum, where people who have this have sort of what I would call stabilized, subtle perception stabilized, refined or celestial perception, can talk about this whole topic, and we’ll put it up on BatGap. And we’re going to do that when Francis Bennett comes in a couple of weeks, because he’s one such person. In fact, I already become really good friends with him and knew him quite well. And he hadn’t mentioned this at all. And we were just going to the airport to come back from California after the science and non duality conference. And he mentioned to me that he sees subtle beings all the time. They’re always sort of attending to people and helping them in certain ways and, and doing all this stuff. And I was so fascinated with I kept asking him questions are the here you see any now we were like, We’re in an elevator in the San Francisco airport. And I said, learning in the elevators. And he just kind of smiled. And then he, when we got off the elevator, he said, Oh, you said they just told me. Don’t point this out to people. If they’re meant to see us, they’ll see us. And then Then he said, there were three. But there were three in the elevator, it was a small elevator too. So sorry, Francis didn’t mean to embarrass you. But he’s been very reluctant to talk about this, because it’s sort of like a sensitive, subtle thing that is intimate. Yeah. And he and so this is actually going to be one of the things we’re going to talk about in this forum was We Should we really be talking about this? Or be but it’s like, it seems to me that it’s kind of one of those things that is, you know, if we lived in a society where everybody had refined perception, it would be like, Yeah, so what you know, it’d be it’d be matter of fact, yes, normal. And so if some people are starting to experience it, then they’re kind of the, what’s that word, the advanced avant garde, they’re kind of out on the fringes beginning to have this experience and maybe 20 years from now the spiritual community at large, this will be kind of where non dual realization is today. So, so Francis will be there. Kristin Kirk, who has been much more open about this Rufina through Konkle Azaria, if some of you may remember fru Conklin, Zarya, who has been teaching TM in prisons in the St. Louis area, though they don’t call it TM for legal reasons. But she’s very profound experiences in this way. And Harry alto, who is very squeamish about doing anything like this in public, it took me four years to talk him into being interviewed. And his experience of the subtle mechanics of creation is off the charts. But perhaps because he’s been awakened since his childhood, and it’s had time to develop, but anyway, there’s, it’s that’s kind of a fun thing about BatGap, too, is it’s like, in a way, it’s like a play toy where if something interests me, I can talk about it with with people who are having that kind of experience, and it’s just so much fun, like, I’m really interested in the kind of materialistic mindset that forms the basis of our culture, primarily the scientific and technological culture that has such a profound impact on our world. And, you know, the mindset is basically that this is dead matter. And we can pretty much do whatever we want with it, as you know, reap whatever rewards we can get from it, and so on. And I think that if we, as a culture appreciated the the, in the innate divinity, in every particle of creation, then we would treat it much more respectfully. Yeah. So I’m kind of working on getting really familiar with Sam Harris. Yes, in order to interview him at some point, then read all his books and listen to everything I can, just to stretch my own boundaries. And just to sort of kind of discuss another area, which I think is really fascinating and really important.
Fax Gilbert: I had a, when you’re talking about God consciousness, or some subtle perception, I thought, it can come in the form of seeing or feeling these these subtle layers of creation. But it can also show up in a very seemingly ordinary way, where there is a flow of love. Which to me is the subtlest form of creation, there’s a flow of love that spontaneously connects you with the other person. Yeah, not just in the level of consciousness because viscerally as a human being, there’s a connectivity that it’s pointed. It’s it’s both, it’s both beautiful, blissful, but it’s it’s painful it also. And, and it’s a combination of both. And to me, that’s, that’s indicative of the descent of you can say the Christ into matter, is that that Christ’s love that connects us with, you know, the world that we live in, and the people in the world and the trees and critters and in all of that, yeah. It’s both that when I think when Mara she talks about God consciousness, he’s he’s talking about both, both of that.
Rick Archer: And he’s actually talked about, I’ve been listening to some of his talks on it recently, because I’m gearing up for this topic. But, you know, he talks about how it’s love or appreciation, kind of to a superlative degree appreciation to a superlative degree with the love, which refines the perception. Yes. And which culture is the nervous system to be able to maintain refined perception? And as the song says, that’s what the world needs now. Now, the question, Mike isn’t the chair and wants to ask a question? Carol, but come on the mic. They won’t be on camera, you just and then make sure it’s flicked on before you start talking. Go ahead. Is it on?
Carol Olicker: Yeah.
Rick Archer: Good.
Carol Olicker: Okay. Have you ever interviewed somebody who you thought was like really hokey and hooey? And, you know, and not real? Not really, you know, present in that way?
Rick Archer: Yeah. A couple.
Carol Olicker: How do you deal with that?
Rick Archer: I tried, I tried to be respectful. I’m not going to be insulting to people. But I tried to be a little bit challenging also, in terms of, you know, whether they’re actually experiencing what they say they are, or whether it’s just conceptual. And there have been a couple like that. And this whole thing of scheduling people is one of the most difficult things because they’re well over 1000 people on the waiting list. And new record new requests come in every day. I can only do one a week. I still have a job. I’ve been busy for a long time. Well, I’ll be doing this well into my 90s just for the people that aren’t on the list. And so, you know, I feel bad because I know that there are a lot of those 1000 people would be really interesting to talk to, and I would like to talk to them all right away. But I somehow have to prioritize. And in the past, I was shooting from the hip a lot more just sort of, alright, let’s schedule this guy and see what happens. These days, Irene is taken over the scheduling. And she actually watches YouTube videos and tries to get a feel for the person. And so you know, we have a voting system, also where people submit these requests through a form on the website. And people with a lot of votes tend to go there in a spreadsheet, they tend to rise to the top of the spreadsheet. But we don’t strictly go by that either. Because sometimes it’s the people you’ve never even heard of that are like Francis Bennett, who has just come out of a monastery who are going to be really interesting. So it’s a it’s a inexact kind of clumsy method. You know, and, but I do my best with that. And, you know, I kind of feel bad about having to put people off sometimes who have requested interviews. Anyway, that’s my answer to that question. She had a question.
Peter Decicco: I’m a little confused about someone had mentioned that you still feel stress. And you had mentioned some things that make me confused about it. Jesus did say that by your by their fruits, you shall know them. And I wonder what I know you’re probably not very judgmental. You don’t seem like the person who’d say, now that person is not enlightened or that person is enlightened. But what kind of fruits do you see from these people who you get a sense, really are awakened? I really, I’m not so much a believer in Enlightenment as I am in the outcome?
Rick Archer: That’s a very good question. It’s something my wife always says to that, you know, she really wants to see some kind of tangible evidence that someone has attained something of significance, otherwise, it’s not significant in her estimation. And you know, as you were saying earlier, we all have our dharmas. Some people are just Bernadette Roberts. I mean, she I don’t know a whole lot about her. I haven’t read her books yet. But she’s one of these famous spiritual writers. But mainly she left the convent after having had a profound spiritual awakening and raised the family and that was where most of her energy was going, raising this family, at the same time having profound spiritual experiences. So perhaps her neighbors didn’t even know that anything was going on. She maybe it was, she was a good mother, I don’t know. So it doesn’t necessarily mean one is going to be out being a mother teresa or something. If you’ve had a spiritual awakening, because we do all have our talents, and our dharma, our Dharma just means that kind of course of action, which is most in tune with our particular makeup, and most conducive to our evolution. A lot of the people I interview happened to be teachers, because that’s how I know about them. And so their dharma seems to be teaching and that they feel that that’s how they’re serving. And that’s great. But, you know,
Fax Gilbert: I was just gonna say, you wake up as you are, it’s more of a remembering. It’s a remembering something that’s already there right now. It’s, it’s not that your mind remembers it, it’s the self remembers itself, it knows itself. And so externally, there cannot be any change. It’s just you wake up as you are with all the baggage that you’re coming into it with, that you have right now. And as a result, there’s like a seismic, you know, earthquake to your identity when that happens. And what can shake out out of that is, you know, all of the, the aspects of your being that had been held back, for one reason or another will start to blossom. And it can take a while for that to happen as these things bubble up to be seen, felt integrated, spoken lived. So it’s, it’s not that you that all of a sudden, there’s a red cape and you turn into a you know, a Superman or a holy person. My sense of it is that you just become yourself more fully and completely in the world. And in your relationship with the world deepens as, as that beingness that you recognize yourself to be falls into your heart.
Rick Archer: You know, in the Indian tradition, well also the Christian tradition and perhaps others. Service is considered a spiritual practice. In in the Indian tradition, they call it Seva, which usually means is translated as selfless serve us. And it’s considered a spiritual practice because it it attenuates. The ego is instead of it being all about, what can I get for me, it’s What can I do for this person? Mother Teresa spoke that way, too. She saw everyone as Jesus and you know, what can I how can I serve Jesus went by serving this person and this person. So it really done Mama is really big on that. And I mean, she has people going out and cleaning up garbage in the streets of Calcutta or other other cities around India. And she herself joins in for hours after having sat on her couch hugging people for 1214 18 hours, she gets up and they clean garbage in the middle of the night, and perhaps set an example for the townspeople to do it themselves in the future. And of course, hospitals and schools and orphanages, and, you know, support for widows and farmers, suicide prevention, all these different things, and that most of the energy that and I’m just using her as a case in point because I’m more familiar with her, most of the energy that all the people around her are expending, has to do with helping other people. And there’s very little talk about, oh, I attained this state of Enlightenment or that state of experience. And usually when somebody wants to get into that kind of talk, I’m gonna deflect it. And it’s more about helping others. And she actually said at some point that, you know, what we were talking earlier about culturing, the capacity or the ability or the readiness for awakening, that after enough service is performed. Even a little meditation or other type of spiritual practice, or perhaps nothing at all will result in, in awakening. And Shankara talked about this, too. He talked about levels of stages of preparedness for full realization. He said, for most people, Vedanta is inappropriate, they’re not ready for it. So, you know, service would be valuable for most people in a certain stage meditation at certain stage self inquiry, and so on Ramana Maharshi said a very similar thing. So
Fax Gilbert: I would flip it, I would say that, which is what is also true is that there may be no desire for service until this awakening happens. And then as a result of that awakening, because something that you were just saying, after all this meditation, you’ve lost the desire to get somewhere else. Yeah, you’ve lost the desire to pile up points, so to speak, it’s not a linear thing anymore. And it’s the same way. I mean, a lot. Some services, okay, I’m serving so that ultimately, this is going to benefit me. Yeah, it could be that way. Whereas if you’re coming from a position of, of self recognition, then it’s just a natural out. Pouring of that into life, because you feel the connection.
Rick Archer: You know, the 23rd, saw, my cup runneth over. So the cups not full, the orientation is going to be, Hey, leave me alone. I’m busy filling my cup, you know, but once the cup is full, it starts to spill over, then there’s this spontaneous giving.
Fax Gilbert: Great question.
Rick Archer: Yeah. Bobby, did you have a question?
Bob Shrem: When when you’re interviewing people, or when you’re kind of categorizing, do you have a concern about the distinctions between someone’s experience? I mean, you know, an experience could be lights, or an experience could be LSD. So in experience, in contrast to someone being a teacher, in contrast to someone who you would consider more of being a master in that they sort of understand the steps and how to lead a personnel and, or is it all just a mishmash?
Rick Archer: That’s a mishmash, there’s been a whole potpourri of different types of people. You know, some of them are really, they just have an experience, and they can describe it, but they can’t necessarily help anyone else get to it, unless their description is conducive to somebody else’s awakening. Other people have devised various kinds of techniques and practices and meditations and whatnot that people can do. Other people, they don’t advocate techniques so much, but they have such a powerful transmission, that just being in their presence, really helps people awaken. So there seems to be you know, people are have all kinds of different talents and influences on others. Not everyone is cut out to be a teacher not It’s not everyone’s Dharma to do that. David
David: can you just talk more about awakening? What is the definition of awakening?
Rick Archer: That’s a good question really? Because if we’re going to use words, yeah, we better be on their meanings or else we’re all, you know, it’s a tower of Babel kind of thing. We’re just all speaking different languages. I think Fax gave a pretty good definition of it earlier on. Remember that
Fax Gilbert: I don’t quite remember, phrased it, I would, to me, it’s, it’s, it’s an expansion of identity, that’s a surprise to expansion of identity to something that’s already that’s already there, just sort of owns itself. And it’s, it’s fundamental. It’s the difference between an awakening and an experience is that within awakening, you can read the same book that you read, you know, the day before and understand it completely differently. Because there’s something fundamental in the way that you identify that changes. It’s a fundamental shift in who you are in the acceptance of the recognition of who you are as consciousness. And it doesn’t end there, they’re awakenings of that, that progress. In my experience, I’m sure that there’s there’s an awakening into into your life, and to into having that descend or fall into your heart into your life into the into the world. And so I think fundamental is a good way to encapsulate it.
Rick Archer: Also, if you think about it, the vast majority of people in the world identify very strongly and deeply with what we would call their individuality. You ask them who they are, and they’ll give you their name. No, that’s just your name? Well, this, this is me, well, that’s just your body. Well, this is my job. And this is my wife, this, you know, they they described various sort of external features. And there’s no sort of inkling of any kind of pure consciousness or deep fundamental reality that as their true identity, that they’re kind of flush bound in a small package. Whereas, you know, we all have heard, we all have the understanding that the quote unquote, enlightened person, their primary identification is as the ultimate reality itself as consciousness as the ground of being. So the identity has kind of shifted underneath degrees. And there’s still, you know, Marshalls you term Glacia video, there’s still going to be some faint remains, at least of and perhaps not so faint, individual identification, otherwise you wouldn’t be able to function you wouldn’t be able to feed yourself. It’d be
Fax Gilbert: I think he
Rick Archer: Pushed around on a gurney
Fax Gilbert: and living in caves and stuff. Mileage is is huge.
Rick Archer: Yeah, but as you just said, it says his lesh avidya is huge. It’s not Lakeisha it’s, it’s mucho vidya. But again, there’s a vast range of possibilities. And you know, for all I know, we all may be spiritual neophytes compared to what’s really, ultimately, in store for us in some stage of the game. I don’t know. I was thinking Jesus facts can ask me if I’m enlightened and thinking, if he asked me that, what I would say would be if you really want to, you know, cheapen the term. Yeah, fine. But but, you know, I really and it’s not some kind of false modesty thing or something, I really feel like the, the, the range of possibly, I mean, in the Indian tradition, they talk of 16 collars, which is supposed to be like levels of possible evolution. And human beings are set to occupy something like the fourth through the eighth caller. So that, you know, if that’s a true model, then the most enlightened person who ever walked the earth was in the eighth caller. And there are many above that, so you know, who knows what possibilities there may be? It’s
Fax Gilbert: never ends.
Rick Archer: Yeah,
Fax Gilbert: endless awakenings.
Rick Archer: Stan.
Stan Kendz: Hi, Rick. Hi. This young lady over here asked us about, know them by their works. And probably you’ll recall, Maharishi talked many, many times about humans being born not to work for another person, but to command nature and to command the laws of nature. And we don’t really see a way to evaluate that easily socially. It’s kind of a personal experience. And I’ve spent the last seven years here doing research on people that have reported awakening experiences with profound supportive nature support, and trying to analyze to see on an academic level if we can actually determine you Well how that process occurs after the person becomes awakened self referral, that I think finally, just about three weeks ago, I had my data sort of crystallized into some meaningful, you know, ways that I can express it and converse about it. And there is a very, very clear evolution of the entire nervous system, from self awareness through six levels of mind. And each one of those levels has to be cultured to completely replace the ego with self, the emotions with self, and eventually, the entire world becomes nothing but an expression of self, everything that’s seen and feel, felt and, and, and thought about, and then that process spontaneously and effortlessly and without any determination of predetermination results in the subtlest fulfillment of any desire in an almost instantaneous way. So I think maybe that relates a little bit to this question, and it would be fun sometime in the future for you and I to talk about
Rick Archer: Yeah, we’ll have to do that. Stan was one of the first people I interviewed on that. Yeah. If those who are watching on the internet can find them on their stand Ken’s ke n z? So it’s a good question.
Bob Shrem: I guess I have a follow up to what I asked before, I guess, many of us when we were on courses with Maharishi and there would be a discussion of experience with him. We would have the benefit of him, clarifying things, and in that sense authenticating, well, helping to authenticate a person’s experience. And so one of my concerns with BatGap is just that issue of you have this sort of wide range of experiences. And yet for for the neophyte, or for the new person, without having someone to help authentic authenticity? It could be quite confusing.
Rick Archer: Yeah. And I’m certainly not qualified to verify or authenticate anybody. Oh, I don’t try to do that. But, you know, it’s, it is what it is, it’s sort of like, people just kind of have to sort it out and go with what resonates with them. And I don’t I don’t think anybody I’ve interviewed is like, or anybody I’ve ever met in my life is like the ultimate final authority on everything. We’re all sort of, even and we’ve all met some great saints in our lives, everybody in this room. But I think it’s important. If Buddha said something, he said, I can only roughly paraphrase, but he said, never kind of take my word for anything. You know, just you have to verify it, in your own experience. So no matter who says anything, even if I’ve said it, Buddha said, you know, you have to sort of go by your own, your own integrity, your own insight.
Fax Gilbert: Trust in your own being.
Rick Archer: Yeah. So I think it’s really been that was, for me, one of the values of sort of involuntarily getting distanced from the TM movement. You know, it was a something I came to appreciate. And I still have great respect and appreciation for the TM movement. But I also appreciate having kind of been kicked out of the incubator, because it enabled me to kind of step back and reevaluate a lot of assumptions that I had taken for granted. And that had gotten deeply ingrained. And it kind of came around eventually, to just sort of, you know, the outline by the band and that song of the night, they drove old Dixie down, you take what you need, and you leave the rest. And you’re gonna find perhaps, a lot of what you need and a certain thing and a little of what you need in this thing. But you have to learn to kind of use your own discrimination. And I think it’s unhealthy to ever assume that anybody is speaking the ultimate gospel truth. And even if they were, it’s going to be filtered through your own interpretation. And so you still have to sort of take it with a grain of salt and see if it really sits right with you. Thank you stay up here.
Fax Gilbert: Hello, is saying that as taking responsibility for your own awakening.
Rick Archer: Yeah. And we’ve seen examples of people in various you know, from with gurus with Christian things and you I mean that Heaven’s Gate code, they’ll kill themselves because some teacher told them that some spaceship was following the Hale Bopp comet and they would all elevate to some other level or something. So people have, maybe they did, who’s to say, and you know how many how many hundreds of millions of people have been killed by others in this world because they happen to believe what it said in some book, or they had some kind of rigid interpretation of the book, or something and it clashed with every they felt like everybody else would be better off,
Fax Gilbert: not to mention the paradoxical nature of spiritual awakening with that we’ve talked about I mean, you can look at pretty much any spiritual teacher and and they say one thing one time and they say the opposite. Yeah, so you have you have both gone on. I
Rick Archer: think sometimes that’s intentional. Other times they both right yeah, that’s an important point too. I mean, to completely paradoxically oppose statements can both be right at the same time. You know, search is a Candyman search is a breath man. Both photons are particles, photons are waves. There’s the paradox, paradoxical. pneus, whatever that word would be, is inherent in the nature of creation.
Carol Olicker: And one of the lessons of sex on Right, yeah, good. Listen to this the is the mutual coexistence of opposites. That’s one of the basic premises that the course has anybody ever talked to you, or had the experience of where feels like you’re going backwards and evolution like de evolving. Because when I started TM, I was definitely in another place in consciousness. It was incredible. loved everybody. Nature told me everything was the opposite of paranoia. You know, everything. Everywhere I turned, the world was telling me something I needed to know. And giving me something I need to have. It was incredible, lasted for 18 months. And I’d like it because, you know, I saw things and all this anyway. Now, you know, I’m very aware, because I’ve studied all the advice and stuff. I’m very aware that I’m identified with my thoughts and my feelings, and my appetites. And my ideas, and that I’m not I don’t, I have the idea that of absolute consciousness and pure consciousness. And I’m very aware that I don’t identify as pure consciousness. But I know that it exists. And I don’t believe in it. But so I’m just wondering if anybody you’ve ever interviewed has ever talked about devolution? Or, you know,
Rick Archer: can you go? Well, I’ve had a couple people asked me to take their interview down, because they had felt they were awakened when I did the interview. And later on, they decided that they weren’t, and they didn’t feel like it should be up there anymore. So there’s that. And to kind of zoom out to a broader perspective, I feel, again, this is a mixture of experience, understanding and belief. I feel that, you know, the universe is, God isn’t everything, and everything is in God, you know, it’s a divine play. And ultimately, it’s a big giant evolution machine. You know, stars form and explode and form heavy elements, which eventually form bodies, because bodies can experience can be self referential with regard to consciousness. So there’s an it takes billions of years, but it’s this huge evolution machine. And the force of evolution is inexorable, it’s unstoppable. And, you know, to use an analogy marshy used if a boats going along, and it seems to divert its course, might seem like it’s not going towards the goal anymore. But it actually the captain knows that it had to go around a rock or something. And it’s all it’s actually taking the most direct course, to the, to the shore to the port that it’s trying to reach. So I just sort of would feel if I were you, and I do feel as me that all is well and wisely put and just keep on truckin and don’t sweat it too much, you know, don’t don’t kind of like, lament over something that happened 30 years ago and your experience, you know,
Carol Olicker: I usually lament over what I ate last night, lamenting goes
Fax Gilbert: I think everybody goes through periods of just stagnate, stagnation, nothing happens and waking down. We call it the rot. It’s people have been on spiritual paths for 20 to three, four decades. And they and they wake up one morning and say I’m the same same job as I was, you know, in fact, it’s even worse. I used to have good experiences. No, I don’t have anything. Many times it’s it’s at that point. Where transformation can is, can begin because you don’t know, you start to question, you know, the assumptions you’ve had about where you’re going, and what you believe, and, and all this other stuff and you start and that creates an opening. Where truth can surface Yeah, and be seen.
Rick Archer: Another analogy I don’t know who used this one is that you know, training can be in a tunnel, and it can be going along and it’s dark, and you can’t really see any any progress. And then you come out the other side of the tunnel, you realize, whoa, there’s been a lot of distance covered here, but you just don’t know it during. So I would not assume that you are somehow devolved, or, you know, fallen creature or something. And I’m sure you’re doing fine.
Carol Olicker: Thank you.
Indian man: Phoenix tacos technician. So I want to continue that question. Yeah, Rick, have you ever felt a monotony having interviewed 230 people, and you won’t take a shift over or something like that? No,
Rick Archer: I love it. He asked if I ever feel kind of monotony having interviewed so many people what I like to take a break from it or
Indian man: change it change of course of your strategy
Rick Archer: to do what
Indian man: you want to interview people who have been having evolution and experiences. So do you feel monetarily because it is the country’s the four years that you have been interviewing that is 54 weeks, 234 years? So have you felt I want to make any change in the strategy of interviewing people?
Rick Archer: Well, there are different categories of people. And so I do like to mix it up. Like I was talking about interviewing Sam Harris, who was like this is his name is synonymous with atheism. I think it’d be really interesting. But he’s, he’s a practicing Buddhist, you know, he’s like, he does intense Buddhist meditation, and has for years. So it’s interesting to sort of throw different things in the mix, and have different kinds of conversations. If everyone was saying the exact same thing every week, it would get pretty boring. Yeah. Thank Peter. We’ll get to the mic. Yeah.
Peter Decicco: As your show is evolving, likely,
Rick Archer: is it on, switch the switch?
Peter Decicco: As your shows evolving, and likely to continue to evolve? Have you thought of shifting towards thinking about your audience more, I don’t know how big it is. But having such 10,000
Rick Archer: people a day is about 10,000 people a day and engage with it in one way or the other either come to the website, watch it on YouTube, listen to the iTunes podcast, maybe eight to 10 Maybe.
Peter Decicco: Wow, that many a day? What’s what’s been the peak? The peak?
Rick Archer: Yeah. Oh, well, the peak on the website itself was 8000 something one day, but that doesn’t count all the people who listen on iTunes or just watch it on YouTube without coming to the website. And I’ve never actually, it would be harder, it would be impossible to tell that with YouTube, because you’d have to go to every single of the 200 and something interviews and see what the view count was from day one to day two, and I don’t bother. But it’s it’s up there. It’s pretty good.
Peter Decicco: Did you ever think of maybe, you know, adding not necessarily changing but adding from time to time a format similar to National Public Radio, where you have three or four people who are appropriate experts, and then taking some questions from the congregation that listens to you. And maybe you could have on a certain topic, just like the lady here was asking about, you know, understanding the process of personal experience and evolution. Yeah. So people can bring up questions. And then there could be maybe feedback to the group more rather than, you know, obviously, what you’re doing is great, but it’s often featuring experiences. And, you know, wisdom maybe from these teachers. Yeah, but something that’s more interactive at this point. I would
Rick Archer: like to do that. It’s a there’s kind of a technical challenge in terms of getting, you know, doing this on Skype with somebody and getting people to see that simultaneously and ask questions, and make sure that they aren’t total nutcases asking the questions if somebody would have like a radio show, you don’t just call in and talk and have a delay thing. So if somebody starts swear, I can always edit the stuff in post production, but that that falls on Ralph shoulders, my friend from high school. So I would like to do that. It’s just a question of the technicalities of it. And therefore it is nice to have like little get togethers once in a while with more with like we did in North Carolina with Francis Bennett and John Mark Stroud are like we’re going to do here in Fairfield in a couple weeks with Francis and Harry and Rufina and Kristen, and then we’ll have audience interaction. So
Peter Decicco: I’m thinking more I mean, a lot of what what you talk about for most people is sort Like, something they’re trying to attain, may inspire them. But bringing it down to more of a practical level, like for instance, just like her question, you know, can you you know, just talking about being stuck in a rut. And you know, people may, you know, you’re constantly saying, practice makes you proud. And people will be wondering, well, what should I practice? Yeah. And, you know, I mean, you know, these are all questions that naturally come up about awakening or enlightening Enlightenment. And, you know, there’s a lot of debate in the press over that, and all that. So whatever, I just thought of bringing it down into a different, you know, attention towards the audience, as the audience evolving. That’s it, yeah, I have to go anywhere, anywhere, but just a thought that came up. It’s,
Rick Archer: the whole thing is evolving. And maybe time will come where I’ll do doing that routinely. It’s just quite I haven’t quite gotten there yet, in terms of the technical setup. But one thing that would help with that, perhaps, is that, you know, on the website, on batgap.com, there’s a page called upcoming interviews, and it shows all the ones that are scheduled. And people could go there and see who is going to be interviewed and check them out a little bit and submit some questions that they’d like me to ask them. There obviously won’t be in real time. But that would be at least somewhat in the direction of what you’re suggesting. Yeah. Now. Let me talk about that just for a second. So, Francis Bennett, good friend of mine. He’s been the town before he came and gave a talk at Morningstar, one on time, a couple of summers ago. May was that’s on YouTube that’s on BatGap. And you can check him out, check out my interviews with him. He wanted to come to Fairfield and do a weekend retreat. And I taught a retreat with Francis one time, not as a kind of a co teacher more as a sidekick. And he’s really good. You know, he spent 30 years and in monasteries, not that that would necessarily make him really good. But he just has a real depth of insight and a good heart. And he’s a he’s a very down to earth. What You See Is What You Get kind of person, no BS. So he’s going to come and teach a retreat, and it’ll be at McElhaney house, and it won’t be in residence, obviously. I think it might be 140 for the weekend or something. Is that right? John? John Lyon is the guy to talk to if you want to get on that retreat, he’s organizing it. John Lennon’s this guy over here. Yeah. And so talk to John, if you’re interested in that. And then Kristin Kirk is coming. I haven’t talked too much about her. But I interviewed her about a month or two ago. And she’s really got something she’s very kind of I prepared for that interview by listening to a whole weekend retreat that she had taught up in Seattle, while I was cross country skiing in Jefferson County Park. And I just sort of felt like this sort of genuineness and authenticity and depth of insight, and kind of naturalness. And, you know, people really seem to resonate with her and get a lot out of the experience of interacting with. So she’s going to come to and she does something which I don’t completely understand exactly what it is, but some kind of group healing thing. And she’s sort of attuned to some subtle levels of creation and does something rather, there’ll be she’s got to put an ad in the Weekly Reader and maybe, maybe a little article explaining what she does. So then during the so that’ll be kind of outside the retreat, that’s Sunday, Sunday afternoon, she’s gonna do it, she might also do something all day Friday, and a bunch of people who kind of hang around here might be coming into Fairfield for the retreat and for and for that, then Saturday night, during the retreat, we’re going to have this kind of forum discussion. And we’re, there was some thought to have it be a totally public thing. But for various reasons, we couldn’t do it that way, both scheduling and in terms of what we were saying earlier about the intimacy of this experience of subtle perception, a lot of people just some of the participants in this forum, just wanted a more private quiet setting in which to kind of come out and on this particular topic, and didn’t want to have sort of come one come all thing at morning at a public venue. So that’ll be Saturday evening during the retreat for those who are on the retreat, but it will also be put on BatGap Later on, which is ironic because 1000s of people are gonna see it anyway. But but somehow these folks felt a couple of them felt more comfortable just doing it in a more private setting, you know, not being open to every question under the book or whatever. So that’ll that’ll be kind of an interesting discussion about you know, what subtle perception or celestial perception is, is it? Is it something that should that we should strive for it? Has it come automatically? Can it be taught? Is it a distraction? Or is it kind of a, an inevitable unfoldment in the course of our evolution, we’re just sort of go at it from all angles. and discuss it. So that’ll be happening Saturday night during the retreat. And that’s the May so the trade itself is like Friday the 23rd through Sunday the 25th McElhaney. It’s reasonable in fact, she said she wouldn’t turn anybody away. People can come in for free if they don’t if they really can’t afford it, but I think it’s like 1520 bucks or something for the know, Saturday afternoon after their treat ends. She’s going to do a thing at McElhaney where she does this this healing thing. And she’s also I think we’re gonna do something all day Friday. I’m not sure where maybe McElhaney I don’t know what, what she will work. She’ll work that out or we’ll work it out. It’ll be in the Weekly Reader. Yeah. So and I probably I won’t edit this out of the tape that we’re recording here, because people watching this on YouTube could still come to Fairfield and join in on this stuff if they want to.
Fax Gilbert: I would just like to say, this event I forgot to mention this earlier, this event is being sponsored by waking down at Fairfield, this event that we’re doing right here, right now. And if you’re interested in getting on our mailing list, just leave your email address there. We’ll let you know about all the activities that we have in Fairfield. And there’s also a website waking down.org which is gives a good explanation of what it’s all about.
Rick Archer: Good. And also, I I’ve interviewed Faxon, his wife Sharon on BatGap They were my fifth interview I think so you can watch that there if you want to hear more from them. I’ve also interviewed quite a few waking down teachers some you know Steve and Winifred Boggs, Samuel and Linda bonder sandbar, Cindy Bonner and Linda bonder had Strauss, Ted, Ted and Hillary Sandra, Sandra Glickman. So Alan Morlock Ellen Morlock. Yep, so they’re on BatGap. There’s an alphabetical index of all people in the right hand column. So all these names I just mentioned, if you want to learn more about them, you can click on those links and see their interviews.
Fax Gilbert: Great.
Rick Archer: Okay. Thank you