Roger Castillo Transcript

Roger Castillo Interview

Rick: Welcome to Buddha at the Gas Pump. My name is Rick Archer. Buddha at the Gas Pump is an ongoing series of interviews with spiritually awakening people. There have been nearly 360 of them now. If this is new to you, go to and look under the past interviews menu and you’ll see them all organized in various ways. This show has been going on for about six years now. It’s made possible by the support of appreciative listeners and viewers. So if you appreciate it and feel like supporting it to any degree, there’s a donate button on every page of I really appreciate that. My guest today is Roger Castillo. Did I say that right? You told me how to say it.

Roger: Yes, Castillo.

Rick: Castillo. Okay, there we go. Roger’s in Perth, Australia, which is why we’re doing this at such a weird time of day. It’s a Sunday morning for him, Saturday night for me. And we’re going to learn a lot about Roger. I’ve really been looking forward to this interview. Roger and I had a 20-minute conversation two weeks ago, and I really felt like there was a nice connection. We really hit it off, and I think we both felt like, “Wow, this is really going to be enjoyable.” Since then, he’s, I think, put more care and attention into preparation and helping me prepare for this interview than just about anybody I’ve ever interviewed. He’s just typed up some really thoughtful notes and made out some good main points of things we don’t want to miss in our discussion. So I really appreciate that too. So anyway, thanks Roger, and really great to have you on.

Roger: Yeah, really nice to be here.

Rick: So, I think we’re going to follow our usual pattern of just getting to know Roger a little bit first, going through some of his spiritual history, and then getting into what he actually teaches. And I’m sure we’ll get into some very lively discussions about various philosophical points, but keep in mind that we don’t do this for the sake of philosophical entertainment, we’re talking about things that people actually experience. And Roger likes to actually, he mentioned he likes to speak from his experience, so presumably anything he says won’t just be hypothetical, it will be based upon something that he has experientially verified. So let’s start with the history, Roger.

Roger: Great. Actually just following on from the point you mentioned, if there wasn’t about it not being about a philosophical discussion, if there wasn’t an obvious link between talking about this and change happening in other people, the fact would be that I and a lot of people with this realization would just remain quiet about it. There’s actually nothing to talk about. It’s self-contenting. That’s one of the things we come to realize along the way is that, you know, for a while there’s that egoic part of us that wants to get responses from other people as we share a lot of stuff for that reason, but actually at some point, this fact that it’s self-contenting, it doesn’t require anything coming inward, that would mean we’d stay quiet. So these talks are really for a very powerful purpose and that is to try and affect change for the better.

Rick: Which they do.

Roger: Yeah, indeed.

Rick: And there’s an ancient history of talks such as this doing just that, you know, going back thousands of years.

Roger: Yes, that’s actually the paradox is these talks have been happening throughout history having an effect on people and so we have to be able to marry the fact that the teachings often tell us that we’re not the doers and there’s nothing to do and at the same time recognize that with this attitude of non-doership that can settle in and see life is exactly that, that life still unfolds according to rules of cause and effect. It’s a story of evolution and therefore one thing has to happen in order to affect another and so life doesn’t just bring about awakening with no explainable cause before it.

Rick: I have a feeling we’re going to talk about paradox a lot in this interview. As listeners know, it’s one of my favorite words and I was thinking about it this week after you and I spoke a couple weeks ago. And you know the old story of the blind man and the elephant, I’m sure you’re familiar with that, where the blind men are feeling different parts of the elephant and describing it completely differently and yet there’s really only one thing in the elephant. So from the perspective of the blind men, these different descriptions are paradoxical, but from the perspective of the elephant, the elephant’s probably thinking, “Geez, I wish these guys would leave me alone, let me eat my food or something.” The elephant is just one thing. So in terms of paradox, there are all these different levels of reality, physics gives us descriptions of different levels which have completely different laws and so on, but in terms of the totality, if we could say that that has a perspective and if somehow we could see with that sort of all-knowing perspective of the totality, there wouldn’t be any paradox. Everything is completely harmoniously contained within one grand wholeness. Do you think?

Roger: I do. To me, talking about paradox can be tricky because often we just dismiss something as paradoxical but we don’t really go into it, maybe we don’t understand and really go in to explore what the paradox is and why it’s there. So the paradox can be summed up as I see it, the paradox of life, in that the whole of life has sprung out of nothing, the source in its potential form which is all there is and that source has become the story of life. And it could have become any story of life, but the one that we’re experiencing here on earth, this story, is a story of duality. And so even though the source is oneness and the actual experience and the story is a singularity, when it’s experienced from within the story, it’s always going to be a duality. It’s always going to unfold according to laws of cause and effect. Things aren’t just going to spontaneously happen without something before that happening in the story. And so if we hold that as the framework, that it’s a non-dual creation and the whole thing is non-dual, but the creation that has been created is specifically being created to be a duality in experience. And then the paradox, yeah, starts to make sense I think.

Rick: Yeah. c We don’t try to change the duality aspect into a non-dual aspect. That’s what a lot of people are trying to do is change the dual which is meant to be dual. That’s the experience. It’s designed to be a dual experience. They’re trying to change the experience rather than the attitudinal understanding.

Rick: Yeah. Give an example of that just so people know exactly. I think I know what you mean, but give an example if you would.

Roger: Yeah. So, the experience of life is not meant to be an experience where oneness is what is experienced. The experience of being human is going to be a feeling that I am this body and that this body is separate from the tree and separate from another body. And sometimes people are trying to wait for the experience to change so that that’s no longer the makeup of the experience. Waiting for the experience to change where they are either feeling themselves as the tree and the human and the park bench and all simultaneously or experiencing everything from some point in space. Now these experiences happen. They are experiences that can happen, but they’re not how life will end up being lived forever and ever. Those sort of oneness experiences will pop out of nowhere and then at some point subside and they’re there for a very important reason. They’re there to show us what the underlying nature of life is, but then they fade away for a very good reason. But there is an aspect that clicks. There is something that changes and then doesn’t unchange, and that does create a sense of oneness, but not in the overt way that people expect. It’s a much more subtle but profound realization that everything is actually a singularity while at the same time the experience of duality continues.

Rick: In Vedanta there’s a teaching or a principle called Leysa Vidya, which means faint remains of ignorance, and the idea is that if this is to be a living reality, if we’re not just going to be sitting in a corner drooling or something, then there needs to be some sense of duality, some appreciation, some perception of duality, otherwise you wouldn’t be able to distinguish your fork from your mouth or whatever and live. So it’s a little bit derogatory to call it ignorance, there might be better ways of describing it, but nonetheless the principle is. Now the reason they call it faint remains is that it’s said that one can reach a state in which the unified value is predominant, actually, but there’s a remains of duality which makes it livable. So it could be that this sense of being one with the tree and so on does become a perpetual experience, not just an occasional flash, but it would be a … and that would probably be a more advanced state than one in which the self is realized and the relative world is seen as completely separate and distinct from it and going on by God’s will. Anyway, going on a little long here, but just wanted to throw out that point.

Roger: Yeah, although from my experience the oneness aspect is very prevalent, but not in the way that the experience is an experience of oneness. The oneness is prevalent and understood on an unwavering basis in the fact that there has been a realization that the only subject is consciousness and that everything arises in consciousness, not as an intellectual understanding, because we can have that as an intellectual understanding because we read it in books and we can do mental gymnastics to understand that mentally. But when qualitative shift happens where there is a punching out of the time bound, then that is what sticks and that can be felt in each moment as being the background of the dual experience. And so the experience is a dual experience, yet the knowing is that without the consciousness that is present here, nothing will be perceived. So in effect, nothing exists. So that creates a unified field that is ever-present. And so this very valid thing you bring up about layers or levels, the three levels, one is nothing ever happened, the second one is this is here and from the perspective of being or consciousness and movement that is witnessing it, everything is perfect, exactly the way it is, and the third is living as Roger, there are biological preferences and if the water pipe bursts, I’m going to do whatever I need to do to try and fix it, knowing that the outcome is not in my control, I might do a terrible job and make it a whole lot worse. They’re the three different levels. To dismiss level one and two and just say, “Oh, but actually I’m living as Roger,” and so that’s actually the only one we need to focus on, isn’t how it translates in my experience because the other two are ever-present, not as theories, but actually palpable. So depending on what the movement is in the body in the moment, so if the eyes close and we go into meditation, then level two and level one become much more significant in that moment than level three. And yet, when level three is happening, when I’m out doing the shopping and having to converse with people, etc., level one and two are still present, they’re just not the predominant aspect. So it’s always known on all three levels.

Rick: Yeah, that’s very well put. Timothy Conway, whom I’ll be interviewing next week, wrote a beautiful article called “The Three Simultaneously True Levels of Non-Dual Reality,” basically exactly what you just said. It made me feel like I might have forwarded that article to you, but it’s perfectly described. I sometimes like to think of it as a zoom lens, like you were saying about the predominance of one level or another according to what you’re doing. It’s like a zoom lens on a camera, it can zoom out far, it can zoom in close, according to where you want to focus it. And the other stuff is still there, maybe it’s blurry or something, not as clear as when the lens is focused on it, but it’s all there simultaneously. But one distance or another is in sharp focus because that’s where you’re trying to put the attention.

Roger: Indeed, that’s a very good analogy. I might use that.

Rick: Okay, you can have it.

Roger: There’s follow-ons from this in terms of the comment I’ve heard you mention before, which is the “Don’t mistake understanding for realization, don’t mistake realization for liberation,” but before we go on, if you don’t mind, maybe I think I jumped to this before giving you any history about myself, which is what you originally asked.

Rick: Yeah, let’s do the history.

Roger: Yeah?

Rick: Sure.

Roger: Okay, so going back and looking at being a young kid, I tended to enjoy being on my own. I seemed to be fairly content and I was very inquisitive, pulling apart motors and electric typewriters and all sorts of things. And then I also look back and remember being interested about people holding placards up in city malls with religious statements from the Bible on there and wondering why they were taking it so seriously. Often I’d stop and have a chat or debate with them. So you know, this is at age 15 or 14, I’d have these conversations, but I didn’t really know what it was all about. It was just something that I tended to be interested in. And then at some point in my mid-20s, I looked at relationships and saw that I’ve been in relationships for nine years with very little gap in between each one. And whenever I was in a relationship, I sort of felt like I wanted to be out of it, and when I was out of it, I wanted to be in it. And at one point, a relationship ended in a very nice mutual way. She was going overseas, I was going overseas, and we called it a day. And then the thought was, “Well, don’t get into another one. You’re not very good at relationships.” So and there’s this dawning moment, “Oh, I don’t have to get into another one.” And so I mentioned that because at that point, before coming across more esoteric teachings, there was this tendency to look at patterns and do something about them, make a change if something wasn’t working. And then I guess at a certain point, life had it planned that I was going to get introduced to fairly intense esoteric teachings very quickly, and that’s what happened.

Rick: One thing I found noteworthy about your story that you didn’t quite mention is that it was so smooth. I mean you say at some point that you didn’t really have a lot of intense suffering or challenges and all that as a young person. So congratulations on that because not too many people can say that.

Roger: I’ll take the congratulations, but I can’t take credit for it.

Rick: Right, but it’s kind of a good blessing, yeah.

Roger: Yeah, yeah. Yeah, no, but that was very noteworthy and I didn’t realize it was different. I just assumed, and in fact I didn’t realize it was different until the last 10 years when I really started sharing this with people and realizing that a lot of people don’t have an interest at all in talking about this, and that makes sense when I look at it. A lot of people who do have an interest in talking about this have an interest because there’s so much suffering inside that’s driving desperation. So yeah, and there’s a significance in the fact that throughout my childhood and even through this process, there wasn’t much intense suffering. I mean I don’t think I’d experienced depression or despair or guilt or shame.

Rick: Did you go through a drug phase?

Roger: No, no. I did try some stuff, but not to the point of feeling addicted or needing it. Yeah, so the fact that there wasn’t that load I think meant that awareness was really not cluttered and so it could receive what was being read and what was being read could be seen for myself much more easily than if the psyche is filled with suffering. suffering takes up a lot of space. Lack of space means identification with that that is happening, and so it’s very hard to see anything else that’s around the place.

Rick: Yeah, in fact if we think of the world’s population and the intense suffering that so many people are going through, you know, think of Aleppo or Darfur, some of these horrible situations, it’s such a blessing, something to be so grateful for that we’ve been able to sit here and talk about this kind of stuff. It’s kind of a luxury compared to the whole, you know, what most of the world is going through.

Roger: Yeah, well actually, so my teacher Ramesh, and I really have to make mention of him later on, but it’s a good time now because I’m going to quote something from him. So, a lot of what I share actually is very similar in vain to the teaching he put forward because the teaching he put forward was a framework, it was a structure. It’s not something that came out one way one day and then another way another day. And so I found, I ended up valuing it so, so much, and there’s a story I can tell you about why I wanted to change it so often. When I was with Ramesh I wanted to put it into my words, and after doing this time and time again I kept realizing that his words, the words that had been coming through him had been picked so specifically and they were always perfectly describing what I came to see. And so whenever I wanted to have it in my words first I’d be humbled and into realizing �no, no, no, his words or at least what was coming through him because he didn’t take ownership over it either. And so frankly I think he’d be really happy to see because he was really pleased to see clarity and structure coming through him. That was one of the things he valued a lot. He said he was a banker for 25 years, for his whole life, sorry, and so practicality and clarity was very important to him.

Rick: Precision.

Roger: Yeah, that’s right. That’s why the teaching focuses very much on practical daily living and approaching enlightenment actually from the perspective of looking at our happiness in daily living and moving from there which eventually takes us to the same place.

Rick: Yeah, in fact I have a book �Peace and Harmony in Daily Living’ by Ramesh Balsakar. So it must have been an important theme for him.

Roger: Yeah, so going back to the suffering, he said that if someone’s below the poverty line this subject we’re talking about just isn’t an issue for them. They’re not going to focus on it. So we’re very lucky as well to be in a life situation where we have these luxuries which means that we can then start asking these questions.

Rick: Yeah, people may remember Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, similar idea that he had this sort of, you have to really take care of the basic stuff and before you can begin to be really interested in self-actualization to use his term.

Roger: Yes, yeah. So the way life brought about the esoteric teachings was interesting. I hadn’t read any books in my life except for three which I used over and over for school projects so I wasn’t a big book reader. And in a period preceding this, life started presenting a whole lot of coincidences and synchronicities that really got me, caught my attention and I started really questioning whether something bigger was at play here because what was happening, and I don’t remember the exact incidences, but they were so uncanny that I find myself laughing and this was happening time and time again for a period of a few months. And I was heading to the beach one day and a friend of mine, a good friend, lived very close to the beach so I thought I’d pop in, see if he wanted to come down to the beach and got there and he was just heading out and he said he’d meet me there in an hour’s time. And so I was about to leave and I realized I didn’t have anything with me except for my towel so I thought rather than just lying on the beach looking a bit conspicuous, I saw a book on his coffee table and so I just picked that up to take with me more or less as an accessory. And I was lying on the beach looking around, book open, and after about 20 minutes I realized I had the book upside down. So whoever was watching me with this book, the title was “The Book is Upside Down,” and when I realized that feeling of embarrassment that really came over me and in order to distract myself, I just buried myself in the book and just started reading to overcome this feeling of embarrassment. And what I read was amazing. I thought, “This is the stuff I think about all the time.” And my theorizing was never really complete. You know, I’d miss bits out and get stuck because I had certain beliefs that wouldn’t … and this book had everything that I just trusted. It seemed like it had been really thought out well and there was all this wisdom in it.

Rick: Was it a romance book?

Roger: No, it was a book called “Stop Thinking and Start Living,” funnily enough, and I hadn’t even read the title of the book at this stage. And so I just kept flicking through page after page because it was really practical stuff. It was a little bit more psychology, but anyway, the next book came along and that coincidentally the whole first chapter was dedicated to coincidences, which is exactly what was happening in that period, and then that was it. I was hooked and very quickly it moved on to really esoteric teachings that only spoke about enlightening, waking up the fact that the world isn’t real, this is all an illusion, that we’re clouded with misunderstanding, and that if we really recognized ourselves that the brilliance of what we are is something the mind simply can’t conceive. And so everything inside of me said, “Yes, yes, yes,” and from that point on nothing else was important and the search started in earnest. And it felt like I was on a magic carpet, right? The carpet had sort of flown in, placed itself underneath me and off it went. So whenever anything was happening during the day it was being witnessed. My thinking was being witnessed as thinking about the subject. Books were being read, concepts were being pointed at, and then an observation in daily living would take place and things would just click into place week after week after week. It was about read, observe, and then insight, and the insight part was the part that was sort of outside of the intellect, something gets clicked into place and it vanishes. It’s not an issue anymore.

Rick: Were you doing any kind of practice or mainly just reading and thinking and integrating?

Roger: Yeah, I’m not a practicer. If anyone ever told me what to do, and this happened once when my granddad thought it would be great for me to learn how to play tennis. He respected tennis players and he set up a coaching lesson and I ended up throwing the racket as an eight-year-old at the coach. He was telling me I was doing something wrong. So the practice that turned out was something that I just felt like doing and that was I’d feel like going for a walk, and so I’d walk in this park that was close to my house for three, four hours a day, just walking around, having read something before that, and thinking, contemplating. It wasn’t just thinking. So this is not troublesome thinking I’m talking about. It’s really, it was constructive contemplating. And at the same time being in the park, doing this day after day for years, awareness started looking at the different birds that were there, and some of them were quite similar. There’s two species of birds, a coot and a dusky moorhen. They look very similar, but eventually I started to realize the difference between the two, subtle differences, and I noticed that awareness was becoming a little bit more fine-tuned as to what was around. So I’d walk past trees and awareness, I would specifically look at the leaves, the small details of the leaves, and that was a very important part of all of this, the combination of information coming in and then awareness starting to focus really here and now in the present to see what was being pointed at.

Rick: So it was just all kind of happening spontaneously?

Roger: Yes, to the extent where even in dreams this investigation and contemplation was happening and I was aware that it was happening in the dreams. And it was a fantastic process. It really was like an adventure.

Rick: Yeah, so your magic carpet metaphor is really apt. I mean, you were just sort of picked up and carried along and just spontaneously doing what a lot of people strive and practice and go through all kinds of conniptions to accomplish. It was just happening to you automatically.

Roger: In my bio that I sent you, which I guess you’ll put up on the screen, I’ve said that if it was up to me to do this I would have messed it up in day one, because the intricacy of what came in and how it was understood because of certain things that would synchronistically happen to demonstrate it, and then how that intertwined and interconnected with the next insight that needed to happen. It really was a magical process and it was very, very clear to me that that is what was happening is that something had kicked in, the story of life had kicked in and this was what was meant to happen and it wasn’t my doing.

Rick: I read this book in the last week or so, “A Duet of One,” which is Ramesh’s commentary on the Ashtavakra Gita. And it’s a dialogue between Ashtavakra, who was a sage, and King Janaka, who was a king. And it says a number of times, both in the verses I believe and also in Ramesh’s commentary, that King Janaka was a really worthy disciple because he was spiritually very mature. So that kind of brings out the point that, if we accept it, that there are degrees of spiritual maturity or degrees of spiritual evolution, if we want to use that word, and in the whole Vedic tradition, which Ramesh is part of really, and I guess you by association, there is the idea that the soul kind of evolves through many lifetimes and some people are born having already gotten a lot of spiritual development under their belt, so to speak, and then they just pick up from where they left off and may need to do little, if anything, in order to awaken. Do you sort of accept that way of thinking or what?

Roger: That’s the paradox again. The realization, which is the realization at the end of the wheel of samsara, is that there is no one that ever could be reborn. So that is the end of the cycle of rebirth, is the realization.

Rick: And in fact, if there is no universe, nothing ever happened, I mean, in the same breath you can say that, if that’s what you’re going to say.

Roger: No, no, no, no. This is a different … there is no one here even when the universe is here. There is the appearance and the functioning of the body, but when we look deep inside to find the entity, we realize that the human being is actually a whole layering of different components. The core of which is impersonal consciousness, formless impersonal consciousness that really only has two components � the sense of being and the capacity of awareness � and that everything is layered on top of that to create the impression of a human being. So …

Rick: And this is something Ramesh said or some scripture said or where are you getting this?

Roger: No, these are realizations along the way.

Rick: Your own realizations.

Roger: Sure, and I’m sure I’ve read it elsewhere as well. I don’t know if this is unique to me. I mean, the fact is that this process and the realizations are universal. They’re the same, what is recognized is the same. So, when people describe it, they’re bound to describe it in very similar ways even if they’ve had no collaboration. So, and to me the significance of this is that you can have some intellectual understanding, but it goes so much deeper where I can stand confident based on what was realized and know that this isn’t something that is subjective or relative. It is subjective because we’re the only subject in a sense, but it gets known. So often we have to, you know, not knowing is what we’re encouraged to not know. And that’s very important, but this is a journey of knowing. It’s a journey of self-knowledge. And so to realize along the way we have to surrender the intellectual knowing that thinks it understands how things work and thinks it understands how to get us out of certain situations and trouble. So “I don’t know” is this surrender to “I’ve been trying this for my whole life. I’ve been doing what I think I should do and what I need to do and it hasn’t worked because I’m following my instructions, my rules of what I believe.” And so at that point it’s like, “I don’t know. I don’t know anything. I don’t know if this is true or if that’s true.” That’s the surrender which then propels us to a place where we know. Not intellectually, it’s direct knowing, it’s being. And the being doesn’t stabilize in an absolute stabilized way unless a whole lot of insights along the way click into place. And so what I shared is a culmination of a whole lot of insights that show through meditation, let’s say, what the different layers of experience are. And the very basic layer of experience is in meditation we can see it is the awareness of nothing, which is not really nothing because people use that word and I just used it liberally, where there is no sense object and there is just an existence, a sense of existence where I am, that’s irrefutable in that moment, I exist, but the I isn’t known to be anything in particular. We don’t know it as Roger or the body. It’s just existence and there is an awareness of that existence. So that’s the most basic expression in the manifestation. And then on top of that, objects get placed and I’m not necessarily talking about physical objects, emotions, thoughts, the body, sensations, and that creates this experience that we’re experiencing here. But to come to the very base, to understand the canvas on which the experience arises, then brings about the realization, “Oh, there is no one here, really. There is just the subjective awareness and sense of being, but when the experience is here for all intents and purposes, it feels like Roger is here and if I get a knife and stab myself in the shoulder, it’s not going to feel like no one’s here.” So once the manifestation is here, we live as if Roger exists, but with the understanding, deep understanding that the very core of Roger and the core of this experience is formless awareness and being, and that’s where the fear of death collapses, because when the body story ends, it’s not the end of who I am, whereas when this realization isn’t in place, death is the ultimate attack on what we believe ourselves to be. So it’s a frightening thing.

Rick: Sure. I think you use “knowing” and “understanding” and words like that in a different way than some people might use them. Usually “knowing” and “understanding” have to do with specific bits of information. I know algebra or I know geography or I understand quantum mechanics or something like that, but what you’re saying is that it has a more experiential flavor, and I think that’s significant because one can know all sorts of things of a philosophical nature, but when the rubber meets the road, that knowing, if it’s merely intellectual, doesn’t do you much good. There’s an old saying, “The knowledge in the books remains in the books,” and I would venture to guess that in your direct experience, even now, the things which you say you know aren’t just something you would experience in deep meditation, but just as we were talking earlier about those three layers, they’re lively in your experience, even though we’re engaging in a more manifest way and having this conversation. But the other layers are there, they might just be a little bit less predominant because of the nature of our activity.

Roger: Absolutely. I use the word “knowing” and “understanding” with a capital K and capital U, which is how it’s often used in Advaita. So a “man of understanding” is one of the terms used for a sage, and so the understanding that they’re referring to there is not the intellectual understanding. So usually if I’m talking about an intellectual understanding, that’s how I would describe it, using the word “intellectual.” But intellectual understanding is a very important thing, because as I see it, based on my experience and this is what Ramesh shared as well, the process is a process whereby first there is an intellectual understanding, and then as that intellectual understanding is observed in our own daily living, it sinks deeper and deeper and deeper, and as it’s going deeper and deeper and deeper, it uproots the opposing beliefs that are in the system, of which there are many. That’s the whole reason there’s suffering. So the intellectual understanding sinks deeper, deeper, deeper, kicking out the opposing beliefs, and at some point the understanding becomes total, and at that stage the intellectual understanding has actually dissolved also. It’s not required.

Rick: That’s interesting. I guess this might be called Jnana Yoga, you know, the yoga of knowledge, and usually I’ve associated that with people who live a more recluse life, but it’s worked for you in the context of an active life, you know, a non-recluse life. Did you find all of your worldly activities at all sort of distracting or interfering with this deepening of understanding, or was it completely like even conducive to it?

Roger: I was fortunate in the sense that I didn’t have a very intense life in terms of responsibilities and things like that, and frankly the things that were there that could have gotten in the way were not a priority, and so I was willing to drop whatever needed to be dropped. So, a lot of time was spent walking around contemplating, but what I found is that as I was doing my daily living activities, the contemplation and the awareness of what was happening relative to certain concepts that might have been read was happening, and that’s the deepening of the intellectual understanding going deeper and deeper, where we see it in action for ourselves, and so that’s why Nisargadatta, for example, left his family at some point and went off to live as an ascetic, and his guru said, �No, you can do this as a householder. Go back to your family,’ and nowadays more and more we’re being told that this is not a path that requires someone to drop everything. This can be done as a householder as long as the right attitude kicks in, and the right attitude is not something we’re in control of. It predominantly has to do with how much is in the system, how much clutter is in the system, which also isn’t something that we’ve put in place. So, as life starts to remove the clutter, the attitude that allows us to witness what is happening and to see that the descriptions that we’re reading are actually accurate, as that happens more and more, then the process continues as we live life, you know, going about our daily chores.

Rick: You quoted a Tibetan saying earlier that I often use, �Don’t mistake understanding for realization, don’t mistake realization for liberation.’ Do you encounter people who kind of seem to be stuck at stage one of, you know, parroting intellectual understandings that they’ve gotten from books and stuff, but not really sinking deep into the angel realization of what those understandings represent?

Roger: I think that’s inevitable because it’s going to happen. It’s not saying … a lot of these sayings are not there telling us to not do it. They’re there because inevitably it’s going to happen, and so the saying is just a hint for us to get out of it, so that at some point we hear the wisdom teaching and realize, �Oh, that’s what’s happened to me. I’m stuck in the understanding.’ And so, in this case, in that quote, �understanding’ is referring to intellectual understanding. So I do see it, but I don’t see it in a way where people are becoming arrogant and where it’s something that is a challenge. I think it’s just an inevitable step and so it needs to be addressed.

Rick: Yeah, I’m afraid I ran into a few of the arrogant ones. I mean, there are certain characters around who just say things like, �We’re all already enlightened, you’re already enlightened, therefore you don’t need to do anything,’ and you know, just sort of, they’re kind of applying a principle which is undoubtedly true fundamentally, but which is not practically true in most people’s experience, and it tends to do, at least them, a disservice and it also tends to make them a little annoying on internet chat groups.

Roger: Yeah, indeed. Yeah, but you know, compassion to me comes in here where we recognize that that’s a very necessary stage. It is part of the intellectual understanding deepening and you know, some people make more of a nuisance of themselves at that stage, and if we can recognize that actually that stage is not liberation, far from it, and then compassion for that sort of behavior can arise, knowing that it’s just part of what’s meant to be happening, unfolding, it’s part of the process of liberation and it’s a form of suffering.

Rick: Yeah, we may be jumping ahead but there’s something interesting you said in your bio which is that, let’s see, in 2007 it felt like any doubts about anything to do with the surge had vanished. No doubts have arisen since, but plenty of subtle changes on other levels continue. There’s an analogy story which I can share to help illustrate what exactly clicks into place and doesn’t change and illustrates the components that can continue to change. This story is based on the statement, “How I am certain what will be in death.” Do you feel like getting into that?

Roger: Yeah, I don’t share this story often because the subtleties could be missed and it can sound like an arrogant statement, but I stand by it. I am certain and when I use the word certain I use it understanding where certainty can and can’t exist, and so I say I’m certain about what there is in death. And so someone hearing that will say, “Oh, well, now I know for sure that this guy’s a bit of a loony or very arrogant or just ignorant and doesn’t understand the capacities of the relative mind,” for example, “to be certain about anything.” And I do …

Rick: In my case that arouses my curiosity. I want to know what you’re so certain about that’s in death, you know.

Roger: Yeah, and maybe the reason that this is there is to show what clicks into place and remains unwavering and what we can be certain about, and I’ve heard you ask about this development afterwards and often when someone says, “But I am …” Yes, there’s a part of that, but something is unchanging. And I’m not sure, and what I’ve heard is your response is, “Yes, but that’s sort of more in the theory,” you know.

Rick: Oh no, if I said that I’d like to revise it. I mean, definitely there would be something unchanging in one’s experience and on that foundation there could actually be continued refinement and subtlety and so on, however you’d like to describe it. But I would like to sort of retract if I said that’s merely theoretical.

Roger: No, that was probably … I don’t think you said that. It was my assumption in the same way of saying that, well, we could say that nothing ever happened. But anyway, I’ll go on. I’ll explain this certainty about death. So if I was saying I’m certain about death in the standard way we refer to death, like what is going to happen? Is Roger going to turn up in heaven? And it was a qualitative experience that I was certain about. If it was some sort of experience, then I really would be a loony to make that statement.

Rick: Well, you’d be like millions of believers, you know. The book says I’m going to heaven. Okay, I’m going to heaven. I believe it.

Roger: Yeah, which unfortunately is ignorance, and I mean that in the way that it’s used in Advaita traditionally. Ignorance means misunderstanding. It’s not a personal thing. It’s just a description of someone who’s not quite seeing things as they are. So this is what … so I make the statement, I’m absolutely certain about what there is in death. And someone would say to me, “Hey, hang on. This doesn’t make sense. What about if this scenario happened, for example, where you were stabbed and you found yourself � or I’ll say this. Let’s say I was stabbed and I found myself looking at the knife in my chest and realize I’m dying, and for a couple of minutes the dying process happened and then the lights go out. And then I find myself sitting in a waiting room, God’s waiting room, and it takes me a few seconds to realize what’s happening. And then I see the knife sticking out of my chest and the body is a little bit less solid than it is here, sort of more ephemeral. And I realize, “Oh, I died. That’s right. I remember. I got stabbed and here I am.” So that’s one scenario that could happen. If that happened, that’s not death. That’s life carrying on. So what I mean by life carrying on is it’s not life on earth, it’s life on somewhere else, but it’s experience. And the awareness that recognizes this experience would be present there, recognizing that experience, knowing that it’s just experience. And the experience still would contain the sense of, “Oh, I am Roger, this ephemeral being that’s sitting in God’s waiting room,” but the understanding is it’s just a continuation of experience. And so I might go in to see God and God might be sitting there in this experience on a chair saying, “You’ve done a wonderful job,” or “You’ve done a terrible job,” and all along awareness is aware of what is happening as the created experience. So death to me is when all experience collapses and there is absolutely nothing, not even the awareness of nothing. And so that then puts into context that there’s only two, or on and off, and that’s what binary is, on and off. And binary is often said to be the basic. In mathematics it’s the basic, it’s like quantum physics, you know, things popping out of nothing is the basics in quantum physics, and in mathematics binary is the basic. So in this spiritual investigation the basic is on or off, and off is source at rest, absolute potentiality not manifesting, but in its potential form, which means at some point it explodes into manifestation, and manifestation wherever and whatever it is, whether it’s in the seventh realm or fairyland or simultaneous multiverses, whatever that happens to be, it’s all experience. And that’s the shift that happens, and when it settles in conclusively, it’s not a shift that happens in one fell swoop. It’s a progression, and that’s what I would say is the phase of awakening. So when that phase of awakening becomes complete, that would be realization. So in between understanding and realization, there is the process of awakening, and that process of awakening is very specific to the aspect of recognizing the consciousness that is the background of everything. And in my experience that happened over a few years where different sorts of experiences and states � they’re not all experiences � started to bring this awareness or sense of existence that was always there but wasn’t recognized. It didn’t recognize itself. It started to bring it to center stage or to the forefront where it finally got to recognize itself and at some point that recognition over this period of time became absolutely stabilized that the recognition of self doesn’t subside, doesn’t get obscured, it doesn’t come and go. And so it’s only from that place that we can be absolutely certain that whatever experience is being experienced is just source in manifestation, source in its on phase. And death to me is source in its off phase, which means absolute nothing.

Rick: So are you saying, since let’s flesh this out a little bit since it seems like an important point, are you saying that a realized being when the body dies will just sort of cease to exist in any way, shape or form on any level? Source just returns to absolute nothing without manifestation as far as that expression is concerned. Are you saying that or are you making a different point?

Roger: Yes, that’s the simplistic version of it, is that we just say there’s only this life and when the body dies source returns back to absolute nothing. Or we can say this body will die and then there might be another dimensional experience where we live in spirit world, let’s say. I’m not particularly interested in going there. It doesn’t serve the purpose of what we’re really looking for � peace. It’s not relevant. We can keep it to just this part. But so as not to be … for me to say that can’t happen, there could be another experience that happens after where we live in spirit world, but it would be just a continuation actually to me of life.

Rick: Sure, maybe you’d have some role to play on some other level or something like that.

Roger: Sure, so the theory of ascended masters for example. If that happens that would be a continuation of their life in what we call another realm which is really still in manifestation. And when their life comes to an end, when their life really comes to an end, there will be nothing, absolute nothing. So they haven’t died yet. The ascended masters haven’t died yet. There’s been a physical death of the body.

Rick: At least in terms of some sort of relative expression they haven’t died. And I’ve had discussions with people who feel that we actually never do, that anything that has been created still exists in some way, shape or form. And for me that’s just speculation. I have no idea of knowing. It’s interesting.

Roger: The answer to that actually comes in this process. At some point there’s the revelation that actually life is continually dying. The whole universe actually is collapsing in each moment and then reestablishing itself and collapsing and reestablishing and collapsing. That’s not something we get to experience but we can be shown that that’s the working of consciousness.

Rick: Yeah, the way some people express it, the Big Bang is not merely something that may have happened 14 or 13.7 billion years ago, it’s happening continuously. There’s a continuous emergence of the universe from source or from the unmanifest. There’s a phrase in physics called “sequential spontaneous symmetry breaking.” And it’s like at the level of the unified field it’s perfect symmetry and then there’s a stirring within that and then symmetries begin to break. And as they do, more and more and more complexity arises, various force and matter fields initially arise and then from there more complex laws of nature and on and on until we have the whole rigmarole, the whole manifest universe.

Roger: Yeah, and once again I think that’s the paradox is that we can see it all as a spontaneous creation in this moment where cause and effect from that point of view is just apparent because we can’t have cause and effect if everything is spontaneous and not time, you know, time doesn’t really exist as a reality, just as part of the appearance. And simultaneous, so we know that that is the nature of the universe, but the experience as it’s designed to be experienced is an experience that doesn’t demonstrate that. Just like in physics, you’ve got your quantum physics and your mechanical physics. They both simultaneously exist, but you can’t build a house based on the laws of quantum physics. But they exist simultaneously.

Rick: Yeah, and the interesting thing is that if you look closely enough with the eyes of a physicist, so to speak, at anything that you think is concrete and material and substantial, perhaps if you look microscopically enough, the deeper you go the less substantial it is. And so, this book seems pretty solid, but actually if you could get down to the subatomic level it’s 99.999999% empty space. And even the little bit which is maybe not empty space, which seems to have some materiality, even that disappears when you go deep enough. So it’s really like we’re kind of an instrument that’s tuned into a certain spectrum of reality, and by virtue of our way of functioning, things appear concrete, but that’s only a perspective of this particular instrument. Ultimately, in the final analysis of things, statements such as, “Nothing ever happened,” that Ramana and people like that said, kind of make sense.

Roger: Indeed, but I’d like to bring in again, I totally agree with that, but I’d like to bring in that the non-physicality can simultaneously be known here and now as well, but we don’t live … but known, I mean with a capital K again, and that is when the unified field of consciousness recognizes itself as the container in which everything arises, that without consciousness being simultaneously present with the book, the book doesn’t actually exist in your experience, and not consciousness with the body as the subject. So the body is not the source of consciousness. The source of consciousness doesn’t actually have a source within the manifestation; it is the source of the manifestation.

Rick: Yeah, consciousness is the source of the body, not vice versa.

Roger: Exactly, and so when that is ever-presently known, so you can drop back to that rest point, which is the rest point of being the witness, not the witness that sees everything outside of itself, but the real witnessing, total witnessing, where everything is known to arise inside what I am as consciousness, then it’s seen as a dream arising in the mind, and even though the chair or the book is always going to be experienced as solid, there’s the knowing that experience itself is an experience in mind, and this can sound like this is all intellectual understanding because that’s how the books will write this, but when the books write it and say that everything is made of consciousness, they’re not talking about in theory, but it’s the paradox because if you hit someone over the head with a piece of wood made of consciousness, it’s going to act like it’s made of wood, but in this moment it can be really qualitatively seen that the root of it is consciousness, which in physics would be nothing.

Rick: Yeah, there’s a phrase �the self-interacting dynamics of consciousness,’ and Ramesh says repeatedly that consciousness alone is, everything is consciousness. I think it’s like the little blurb right in the beginning of this book here. So if you think about it, you know, you and I are talking and we’re looking at our computers and there seems to be all this diversity, but it’s really consciousness just interacting with itself, giving rise to the appearance of this diversity for the sake of whatever � play maybe.

Roger: Yeah, that’s exactly right. And the difference here is where that shift happens at some point because of destiny, as I phrase it, because all there is is consciousness, so the story is consciousness’s story, so when the shift happens it’s consciousness’s shift. When that shift happens, this is qualitatively known in the moment, so where the story is playing our computers and all of that, but simultaneously, when this knowing, this qualitative knowing changes everything, it really means that’s where the peace of mind and daily living can settle in and be unchanging, unwavering. It stems � peace of mind and daily living is not a mental thing, it’s not peace because we justify things, it’s coming from the peace of our heart, the peace of our being, which is peace because of the knowing that what I am is all there is. What I am can’t be attacked, isn’t vulnerable, which means the fear of death really dissolves.

Rick: The peace that passeth understanding. Let me throw in a question here, a number of questions have come in and I want to start asking a few as we go along. This is from Susan in Ann Arbor, Michigan, she says, “I am experiencing going in and out of knowing that this is just an appearance and an unfolding within the game, and it is getting harder and harder to be motivated, to plan, delegate and get things done. Do you have any advice on how to be in two worlds at the same time?” This is a great question, very pertinent to what we’re talking about.

Roger: I’m not sure that we should be in two worlds at the same time at some points along this journey. Life sometimes does what it needs to do in order for change to happen most effectively, and so if it drives this feeling to stop doing certain things, that actually could be the answer, and we might have some mental constructs about how we should live life and what’s important that get in the way of that really happening smoothly. So the teaching actually says at some point when we can trust, when our understanding and our makeup is such that we’re not being driven by addiction or really strong unhealthy patterning, and the fact that Susan says she’s going in and out suggests that that isn’t the case, at some point it’s about trusting and doing what you feel like doing, not in a selfish way, but I mean feeling the body, that becomes where the instruction …

Rick: Yeah, like it’s a subtle intuitive impulse kind of a thing.

Roger: Yeah, and to follow that and know that you’re being held by God in a sense, that this is God’s instruction to you as to what to do in the next moment, that to me was so powerful to realize that this feeling inside is God’s instruction to me as to what to do next. So my advice is to really surrender and do what you feel like, and if you end up doing something and it’s not healthy, because you’re doing it with awareness, because to do what you feel like requires there to be a very strong awareness on what you feel like, if it starts delivering negative outcomes, then your awareness is going to say, “Okay, I need to be more careful when I listen to that feeling,” and it starts to refine to a point where doing what you feel like, once you’ve really become clear on where the true feeling, true impulse is coming from, or when you can pick up on what the true impulse is, life just is so smooth and there’s nothing to be afraid of.

Rick: I think smooth is perhaps an operant word here. I mean, it seems to me it’s a cornerstone of Ramesh’s teaching that there is no doer and that doing is done by God and it just all sort of rolls along due to the will of God, due to your genes and conditioning, which I want to talk about with you a little bit later. But that teaching, if taken at the wrong level of development, it seems to me could be kind of harmful because a person, as you were just saying, might have all sorts of crud, all sorts of heavy conditioning which is going to incline them to do things they really shouldn’t do. “Oh, I feel like punching this person in the nose,” “I feel like raping this woman,” or something. I mean, people do horrible things all the time in this world based upon what they feel like doing. So, I think the distinction you’re making here is important, which is that you’re talking about a rather clear mind, rather sort of deep connection with the Divine, if you will, and that you have learned to tune in to the subtle impulses of nature’s intelligence and to be a conduit for those. It’s not just your individuality doing whatever the heck it pleases.

Roger: Yeah, that’s right. I mean, non-duality really is a teaching that was kept locked away for this very reason. Now on the Internet, that locking away is a bit less restricted, but to the extent that a psychopath hears this, it could well be used by the egoic, the sense of personal doership that drives psychopathic behavior because psychopathic behavior comes out of extreme hatred which is a feeling of the sense of personal doership that has felt attacked in the past by life or by instruments of life, human beings. So if the psychopath hears this, it could well lead to a justification for actions, although the psychopath doesn’t need justification by the fact that they’re a psychopath, they were already doing this.

Rick: But I’ve heard of instances where people have rationalized egregious behavior by this sort of teaching, saying, “Well, I’m not the doer, it’s just the Divine is doing this and therefore I don’t even need to itemize the things that people have rationalized.” I think the point you just made is very important, which is that there has been a tradition, I’m sure most people have heard of this, of certain teachings being very secret and only given to qualified students and so on and so forth, and that is because different teachings are appropriate to different levels of development, and a teaching that is appropriate to one level is not necessarily going to be appropriate to the other, and so teachings are kind of parceled out according to the student’s readiness. But in this day and age, it’s all out there, so we have to sort of understand this principle and not assume that every level of understanding, that we have necessarily sort of experientially risen to the point where every teaching is going to be appropriate to us. That last bit of my statement got a little incoherent, but I think you get the point.

Roger: I get it, but that doesn’t mean we should compromise a teaching. Because this teaching or non-dual teachings that are subject to abuse by some personalities doesn’t make the teaching inadequate for others, and so if we compromise the teaching then there wouldn’t be these teachings in the world. If that did happen, then I would see it as destiny, but I’m not saying it in a way where I then become irresponsible with how I dish the teaching out. And it’s exactly that. If someone has strong addictions, and this is something that people should address, there’s a lot of people in non-dual circles that are there because of a desperation, because their suffering is so strong. If suffering is that strong, it’s an indication that there’s a lot of unresolved misunderstanding in the system, and so non-dual teachings are not necessarily the best place for that person to remain, if they can recognize this pattern. Going to some other form of spiritual teaching that is more somatic, maybe deals with body work or some form of expressing that, that might be much more appropriate. And so, when I found myself on this search, I wasn’t there from desperation. I was there out of curiosity, and that curiosity turned into an intense yearning to know the truth of what I am, and so that is what drove my seeking, not suffering. And so, I’m really keen when I get someone who’s really earnest, people who have gone through a lot of awakening actually, because there’s that period after awakening, the movement between awakening and liberation, which requires a whole lot of sorting out of a lot of stuff that still exists. But once someone’s awakened and that awareness aspect is functioning, the movement can be really quick. If someone seeing things can pick up the patterns, so someone outside, a teacher, sees things and delivers useful concepts, then the undoing of what’s left can happen very quickly. So, I love talking to people that come with a very deep understanding, and sometimes it’s sad to see people with really strong patterns of suffering that are dedicated. You can see they’re dedicated, but the breakthroughs don’t happen.

Rick: Well, you just made a good point. You know, non-duality comes from Vedanta, the teaching of non-duality, Advaita, and Vedanta means the end of the Veda, and Veda means knowledge, so it’s sort of considered a final teaching, but it’s not considered the only teaching in the tradition from which it comes. There’s a whole potpourri of different things that would be appropriate to people at different stages of their development. And I mean, if you’re in grammar school, you don’t necessarily want to be studying trigonometry, you know, you have to sort of build a foundation and then at a certain point trigonometry becomes useful for you. And there’s no dishonor or shame or anything in doing some more basic stuff, like you said, somatic body work or whatever, if that’s what’s necessary.

Roger: There’s a lot of wisdom in it, actually. It’s wisdom that gets someone to realize that.

Rick: So, you said something really cool a minute ago, I don’t want to forget it, but I forgot it. Something we want to … oh, the difference between awakening and liberation, I want to get to that, but let me throw in … about four questions have come in here which look good, I want to ask another one and then we’ll keep moving on. This is from Mark in Santa Clara, California. He asks, “How has your relationship to ‘your’ thoughts evolved over the course of your awakening process?”

Roger: Well, this is probably the most significant part of the disidentification from being the doer, is when thoughts get recognized as something that don’t come from what I am, or is not something that I create. Thoughts are part of the biological process that happens. So the brain is a biological instrument, and when it recognizes something, or when a sense picks up something in the external, it creates a reaction in the brain and thoughts are part of that reaction process. So a thought is not something I create, but the way that the experience is designed is for us for a long time to be absolutely identified as thoughts being my thoughts. And we haven’t even got into the teaching itself yet, which to me is an amazing, wonderful frame conceptual framework, but when we do get into that, if we still deep down believe that the thoughts are my thoughts, not much of what is shared will make sense, and as soon as that shift happens where thoughts get witnessed for the first time as being something that arises and not something I am creating, then we’re talking about a game changer.

Rick: Let me throw in another question here. This is Liz from Buenos Aires, Argentina. “Roger, you say I had a deep experiential conviction that everything in life happens the same way according to God’s will, from the beginning of time to the end of time. When we actually choose from our ego, aren’t we going against God’s will?”

Roger: No, because there is no ego that is separate from God’s will. The egoic structure is part of this experience that has been created as the forgetting in this experience. So God has created the forgetting aspect, the identification with being the body, which is something we are not, and has therefore created all of the misunderstanding that comes out of that. So there is no one that can go against God’s will. It doesn’t mean that acting from the sense of personal doership, I don’t refer to it and Ramesh didn’t refer to it as ego, for a very good reason, but when we function from the sense of personal doership, which is not against God’s will, doesn’t mean it’s not going to feel uncomfortable. It is going to feel uncomfortable.

Rick: I could take any one of these points and go at it all night with you, but I think I better give you an opportunity to just present the teaching, because you said that it really is a very coherent package that’s fairly easy to just lay out in its totality. So why don’t you do that and then other questions that come along, both mine and people who are sending them in, we can answer in the context of that understanding. How does that sound?

Roger: Yeah, that’s perfect. So if I paint a visual image, which is the level one and level two version to start with, and I’ll do it as quickly as I can, that is that consciousness at rest is absolute nothing, consciousness not even aware of itself, but because at some point it explodes into manifestation, it’s best to call it potentiality, and because we can see what it explodes into, let’s call it immense creative potentiality. So that’s source at rest in its unmanifest form.

Rick: And just to throw in, I’ll make this quick, do you happen to know that according to physicists a single cubic centimeter of empty space at the level of the vacuum state contains more energy than we see expressed in the entire manifest universe?

Roger: Yeah, it fits in perfectly. So that’s consciousness at rest. This is why Ramesh and I say all there is is consciousness, because I’m not differentiating between consciousness and awareness, for example. We’re just using consciousness as the word for source. So source at rest or consciousness at rest is absolute potentiality. At some point it explodes into manifestation, which means consciousness in movement where the potentiality has been actualized. Now because it’s immense creative potentiality, it can turn into whatever it turns into, and it doesn’t need to have an intention. So God doesn’t think what it’s going to turn into. Its nature is immense creative potentiality, so it just becomes the universe, which is not going to be chaotic and simplistic, it’s going to be vastly creative. So this explains how the universe is not separate from God, and God isn’t outside controlling all of this. God has become all of this. Now the becoming is not as physical as it appears, so God hasn’t become the universe which has rocks floating around in it. God at rest or consciousness at rest, source at rest, is consciousness, and consciousness is the nature of mind. That’s why this word consciousness has come in. So God really is mind, universal mind, not as we know it relative to the human being because we see that as a physical, related to physical, but so we can say consciousness at rest is universal mind at rest, and when it explodes into manifestation that is universal mind thinking or imagining into existence. So what is imagined into existence is always an experience in the mind of God, so it’s never real. Just like we could see that if we look at our dreams at night and we imagine that there is an individual mind, a dream at night is a whole universe, let’s say, or a beach environment, or it happens that it’s just exploding in consciousness of the human, and from within that experience the sand is going to feel real and the water will feel real and it will be an experience of duality, but looking from the outside we realize that that dream experience in the mind of the sleeping human is all arising in a mind, in consciousness, and none of it is real, so there aren’t any physical grains of sand. And so similarly, this experience of the universe, although it feels like there are planets and rocks and all that, it’s actually made as an experience in consciousness. So that’s the macro explanation of nothing and everything, and the everything can be anything that is created and the experience will be experienced exactly as it’s created.

Rick: And let me just interject real quick. I think we can actually see that, what you said. It doesn’t have to be an abstract metaphysical idea, just based upon what science has told us, if we look closely at anything, there is immense orderliness and creativity in every single … I mean, somebody told me the other day, I read some place, that there are more stars in the universe than there are grains of sand in all the beaches in the world, but at the same time there are more atoms in a grain of sand than there are stars in the known universe. And every single one of those atoms is functioning just absolute perfection according to all the various laws of nature that govern atoms, and there are just untold trillions of them in a grain of sand. So look at the intelligence that functions in every little iota of creation, and then to expand it out and realize that as vast as creation may be, that intelligence is functioning there, omnipresently, all pervading in every iota of creation, and you have a sense of God. I mean, that to me is like staring you right in the face.

Roger: Yeah, I totally … perfect, yeah, beautifully put.

Rick: Okay, continue. I’m sorry to interrupt, but I thought I’d just throw in a little concrete example.

Roger: Yeah, and as I explained before, we can also know concretely not only the immense creativity which you’ve described by observing it, but we can also know by being the consciousness which is something palpable in this experience, that actually, “Oh wow, that’s what’s happening. This is an experience arising in consciousness.” But that is beside the point that becomes part of the awakening phase that we might talk about. So then if we dive in, now that we’ve got the macro understanding of what this experience of life is, a creation according to God’s will, God’s will really just means that God has become this, so it’s in line with God.

Rick: Appears to have become it, and hasn’t ceased to be himself, if I can use a masculine pronoun, but appears to have become it.

Roger: That’s right, because at the end when the dream in the human collapses, let’s say, that’s the analogy, when the dream in the human dreamer collapses, what’s left is the same consciousness that was there before the dream. It doesn’t matter if a nuclear bomb went off in the dream, it hasn’t affected the consciousness in which the bomb went off, which is why Ramana says, “There is no creation, no dissolution, nothing ever happened,” is to realize that the recognition that there’s nothing to start with and there’s all of this which is really nothing, and it collapses back to nothing. So nothing plus something wouldn’t equal nothing. The fact that we start with nothing and end with nothing means that nothing ever happened, and yet here we are experiencing this nothing ever happening. So then we dive into the experience and say, “Okay, now what we’re looking for is happiness for Raja in this life,” when we’re really pragmatic about it, if we’re not believing in the beliefs of religion or whatever, and we go to our own experience and see what is driving the seeking, or if seeking hasn’t started, if someone who’s living in life is honest with themselves, they’ll find, “I’m not comfortable with myself, and what I really want is to be comfortable with myself,” and when we look at what the non-comfortableness with oneself is, we find that it’s different forms of suffering and that the peace, the comfortableness is peace, which when it happens is recognized to not be the gaining of anything, but just the subsiding of suffering. So when suffering stops, what is naturally there is a sense of well-being, contentment, peace. And so if that happens for someone in their journey, they’re already streets ahead because now they’re clear on what they’re really looking for in practical terms, based on their own experience, not based on a theory.

Rick: What’s the cart and what’s the horse here? When suffering stops, you said, then peace, well-being, or is it that when peace, well-being wells up sufficiently, then suffering … it’s like when you turn a light on in a room, darkness goes, you know, you didn’t do anything to push the darkness out the window, it just is displaced by the light.

Roger: Yeah, for the purpose of the teaching, and so a lot of what is shared is a teaching. In fact, everything that is shared is a teaching, and so there’s a reason why. So if we don’t understand something, it’s great to say, “Why is that said?” And that applies to any teaching that exists, because as you know in the Bhagavad Gita it says this, and then on the next page it says the exact opposite. And so there’s a reason why it says both of those, which seem to be contradictory. So from the purpose of the teaching, I would say that peace is there when suffering subsides. But it’s a feedback loop, it’s one of these feedback loops that as more peace is there, less suffering.

Rick: And therefore, more peace.

Roger: Yeah, that’s it. So this is the start of the teaching, and the reason it developed is Ramesh being in Mumbai had people coming from the Osho ashram, had people coming from teachings of Nisargadatta, I am that, they would come to him, and also a lot of people going to Tiruvannamalai to visit Ramana ashram. So people would stop in at his apartment and he couldn’t help but notice all of the confusion there was that people had picked up while being on the spiritual search, and people had all sorts of ideas of what this enlightenment would end up delivering. And so he said, “Let’s make it very clear from the very beginning. Let’s ask the question, ‘What is it that you are really looking for?’ And don’t settle for any other answer until you get to this one, because this is the answer, whether we know it or not, this is the answer from experience. What we’re really looking for is continuous, unbroken peace of mind in daily living, regardless of circumstance.” And furthermore he says, “And this is available. This is our true nature.” And so the teachings in history have told us that our true nature is peace, our true nature is love, and that’s why it’s available on a continuous, unbroken basis.

Rick: And happiness too, don’t you think?

Roger: Yeah, so they’re interchanged.

Rick: Not in a sensory way, but the inner happiness that is not contingent upon external situations.

Roger: Indeed, yeah. So in this teaching actually we go on to explain. So really what we’re looking for is happiness. When we look at it we realize that happiness for the human being is not pleasure, it’s peace of mind. And so happiness and peace of mind are synonymous with each other here. So that becomes the benchmark of the teaching, and why that’s so important for a seeker means that they don’t end up going off in all sorts of tangents and talking and thinking about stuff and doing stuff that isn’t relevant to this question.

Rick: Yeah, in your writing you mentioned it at one point, you had read that enlightenment is like the brightness of a million suns or something, and so you’re kind of thinking, “Well, that’s what you’re looking for, that’s what you’re waiting for.” And if that’s what you’re waiting for, you know, you could wait a lifetime or many and not have that particular experience. So it’s important to understand the characteristic of the thing that we’re actually trying to get.

Roger: Yeah, and so teachings will hook us in, life will hook us in, and so it hooked me in, in part, by putting these rather grandiose descriptions, but life then also brings about whatever is needed to correct any false assumptions that have been put in place. So by this stage, all along I was quite clear that really this had to be something that was experienced and something that was practical, and in my life whenever there was suffering there was this movement to understand why suffering was there and change my attitude towards the situation instead of trying to change the situation. So I think my bent already was towards an attitudinal shift rather than trying to change circumstance and that’s really what peace of mind is. Peace of mind is always attitudinal and not circumstantial. It’s the attitude of the heart, it’s not a mental attitude.

Rick: Yeah, I’m glad you added that because attitude can be a rather ephemeral, transitory thing, you know, you have an attitude towards a certain thing and the next thing you know you have another attitude. And I think what you’re talking about is more unshakable than that. It’s like when you take a shower in the morning, you don’t remain clean during the day by virtue of an attitude that you took a shower or a belief that you took a shower or a memory that you took a shower. You took a shower and it was cleansing and that kind of sticks. So there’s a certain rock-solid peace that I think you’re alluding to which should remain regardless of any sort of … it’s not necessary to make an effort to hang on to it or remember it, it’s not going to be lost if you think about something else or whatever.

Roger: That’s right. It’s the attitude that stems from our being which really means it’s a non-mental attitude. So we can change the word “attitude” and say it’s our being, but then as it translates into the human and we see how our being influences how we relate to life, then we realize, “Oh wow, it is an attitude. It’s my attitude towards life, but it’s my attitude that stems from my being, not my mentation.”

Rick: Very good, yeah. It’s like the being itself is peace intrinsically and established in that it has an impact on the functioning of our relative life.

Roger: Exactly, yes.

Rick: Okay.

Roger: Yeah, and that impact is an impact of non-involvement detachment, but not in a way where I just don’t function. It’s the attitudinal non-involvement, the attitudinal detachment, which means the body is still going to move towards its preferences and the body can be very active, but if the body doesn’t get its preferences met, then the attitude is one that automatically accepts that. It’s not accepting. You just realize, “Wow, this attitude of being is not attached to outcomes being a certain way,” and the body itself, when left to its natural devices, isn’t attached to outcomes being a certain way either. The body has biological preferences, so it’s going to move towards its preference, but if the preference doesn’t get fulfilled, the body, without the sense of personal doership, doesn’t create a fuss.

Rick: Yeah. Okay. I could say a comment on that, but I think I’ll skip it because I want you to have more time to keep laying out the teaching. Go ahead.

Roger: So, let’s look at the attitude of personal doership as opposed to what I just described as the attitude of non-doership. So, the attitude of non-doership is not a mental thing. It’s a way of being from the core of who we are, but the attitude of doership is very different. The attitude of doership is completely mental. It’s completely based on a set of beliefs, and that’s where all suffering arises from. So, the thing that we’re looking for is peace, which is the absence of suffering, and suffering stems from the attitude of personal doership. So, if we’re really focused on wanting peace, then we have to understand suffering, because suffering is the obstacle to peace. And so, suffering as it arises in general forms is in the form of guilt and blame and pride, worry and expectation, and attachment to outcomes. So, they’re the five forms of suffering.

Rick: Let’s focus on non-doership for a minute because I know that’s a real cornerstone of the teaching. And you mentioned a few minutes ago that there are these sort of contradictory verses in the Gita. For instance, there’s a verse that says, “You have control over action alone, never over its fruits.” And then there are other verses which say, “You don’t do anything. The gunas of nature perform all activity. You do not act at all.” So, how could you have control over action when on the other hand you actually do not act at all? That seems paradoxical.

Roger: Yeah, you don’t. So, this is the thing, you don’t have control over action, but at a certain point a teaching needs to tell someone that you do have control over action because that’s …

Rick: That’s your perception.

Roger: They’re talking to the ego. They’re talking to the sense of personal doership there. So it’s a relevant teaching at a certain point in time, and then once someone sees that they don’t have control over the outcomes, the sense of personal doership has diminished somewhat and then it’s worthwhile introducing the fact that actually you don’t even have control over your action ultimately. And we’ll go into why we don’t, because it’s not about just telling someone you don’t have control over your action. This is about showing them the mechanisms that can be observed in life, and once the mechanism is seen � a mechanism that previously was obscured or not recognized � when the mechanism is seen, it’s like, “Of course! How could I ever have thought that that process was my process?” So that’s why I think these teachings are so fantastic, especially for those people that have awakened but haven’t necessarily seen certain mechanisms, and therefore the awakening is going to go through this phase of flipping and flopping, going in and out, because there’s still a degree of personal doership, which means we go out into the world, we’ve got our understanding that I am consciousness and all that, and then some intense activity happens, and the understanding goes out the window because the deeper down ingrained misunderstanding is getting triggered. And so, the next part of the process is to start undermining the false belief about the mechanics of how things really, really are. So, where were we? I’ve lost track.

Rick: Well, let me just quickly see if there’s a question that I want to throw in here. Okay, this one sort of relates, and after I ask this question, perhaps as part of your lecture, you could talk about the mechanics of the deeper understanding of how we’re not the doer, because it does seem to be a central aspect of Ramesh’s teaching.

Roger: Just before you ask the question, because I think it will help, I won’t go into the mechanics, but just to demonstrate what the sense of personal doership is, it’s akin to a beautiful princess, who is a beautiful princess, got a great personality, but she has a belief that she’s terrible. She has a belief that she hurts people. She has a belief that her appearance is horrible, and so she walks around in life and people love her, and yet she’s got a belief that says, “I’m something completely different.” And the sense of personal doership is like that. It’s a mental idea about who we are and what life is that simply doesn’t see what is really happening for what it is. And so for as long as that set of ideas are there, they in effect take over the show and obscure what really is happening. So that can maybe help people get an idea that what we’re talking about here is simply a belief structure and nothing to do with the physical body and its functioning.

Rick: Okay, so let me ask this question. This is from Sarvan in Denver, Colorado. Sarvan asks, “I have had a few occasions that I go to the background and become the observer. However, the ego feels extremely out of control and suffocated and pushes me to the forefront. Could you please, could Raja please give me some insight on this?”

Roger: I’m not sure that what he’s talking about there is witnessing as opposed to some sort of disassociation. For the simple fact that when real witnessing happens, there is a great rest and relaxation in that. And the word witnessing is worth talking about because I’ve heard it used in a way where witnessing is a stage where there’s a recognition that there’s a consciousness here but it sees everything outside, whereas to me real witnessing is where witnessing is happening, not from the point of view of a body, but there is no witnesser, there is just witnessing and that is the formless space in which everything arises. So from where witnessing is happening, there is not a here and a there. Everything is arising within the consciousness that is doing the witnessing. So what could also be the case is that the egoic structure freaks out when there’s an establishment in something that it isn’t. It’s very vulnerable at that point and so it is often referred to as an existential fear where the sense of, “Well, who am I?” So the localization in what we’re used to now changes and there’s nowhere to grasp onto as to what I am. So it feels like everything I know myself as has now fallen away and that can create a great fear that people often then find themselves wanting to ground back and come back to what they’re familiar with. So I suspect it could be that.

Rick: Would you say that witnessing and non-doership are more or less synonymous in the way we’re using the words here? And let me just add a little quick thing and that is that what we’re talking about is sort of the structure of reality really, where at its foundation is pure silence and then there are the more active levels. And if your awareness has grown to incorporate that full range of it and you’ve known yourself as that pure silence, then that pure silence by its nature doesn’t act and it doesn’t do, therefore it’s witnessing. But then the more relative active realms of life are doing and acting and so on, but you are not those relative realms of life. So there’s a clear sense that I’m not doing anything, somehow this activity is going on, but I’m not doing it, I’m a witness to it. So I guess those words are more or less synonymous, wouldn’t you say?

Roger: Yes, so beautifully put. I won’t even comment. I will add something to it, not comment on it. There’s a phase when the palpable witnessing is happening and there’s an absolute knowing I am not the body, I am this consciousness. But that’s a phase. And the witnessing then comes back into the body where it’s no longer recognized in the same way that it was. And if someone is still caught up with this enlightenment being some sort of state or experience, it can feel like, “Oh no, the witnessing, not my witnessing, but just witnessing that was happening has now stopped, but it’s meant to come back into the body and almost not be felt.” It really will be felt in a very subtle way. The way you know that it’s still functioning, witnessing is still functioning, is that situations in life happen and there’s no suffering that arises. And so by default you can’t feel witnessing happening, but in practice you know it’s still happening because the suffering is arising. And as we become more and more clear about what we’re really looking for is not to have a different experience of what we are, but rather to have the experience of being Roger with no suffering. And experientially that’s what satisfies when we get to that place where suffering has ended, then there is no more seeking and you’re living life without it needing to be different.

Rick: It’s worth mentioning, you mentioned disassociation a minute ago. I think it’s worth emphasizing that this witnessing we’re talking about is not some kind of fragmentation of the individuality where some portion of it has stepped aside and is kind of like observing other portions of it or something. We’re really talking about the universal strata of our being, of the pure being itself, pure silence, pure peace, having become lively in our awareness and then all the facets of the personality are witnessed as distinct from that in a sense, at that stage of development. But this could be misinterpreted and could actually lead to some sort of, and has led in many people’s experience, to some sort of disassociative breakdown where they end up becoming less integrated rather than more.

Roger: Yeah, yes, very true. In a way it would be almost a form of, there’d be two of you in a sense.

Rick: Yeah, and often what people, when we talk about witnessing, and once again this is not a problem, this is the evolution, this is how it tends to happen, and sometimes what happens can become more problematic for a while for some people. That’s why it’s good to talk about it because talking about it then can show people, the awareness can land on maybe, “Oh, maybe that’s what’s happening.” So often when people hear about witnessing they think that witnessing is something that is done by the brain where there is a commenting on what is being seen in a non-judgmental way. And it’s not, because we’re so used to relating to life through our thinking that when we hear about witnessing and witnessing is a very helpful stage, people say, “Oh, I’m going to become the witness,” and that’s not at all what witnessing is. So if you’re becoming the witness, that’s not witnessing.

Rick: Witnessing is a verb, so it sounds like something you do, but actually it’s something you are.

Roger: Something, exactly.

Rick: Yeah. And I just want to mention, Susan from Michigan a few minutes ago was talking about having difficulty being motivated anymore, getting anything done. There can be, I don’t know if the word “danger” is too strong, but there can be a little bit of a problem on the path of becoming less integrated than one ought to be in order to be effective in activity. And I think it’s really important to take appropriate steps to remain integrated, and that might involve some kind of physical therapy, like you said, body work or something, but it might involve taking nice long walks in the woods every day, or going to the gym, or swimming, or doing something to kind of ground yourself, because you can get a little bit spacey and that’s not really what we’re after here.

Roger: Exactly. And so if you use peace of mind and suffering as your guiding light as to whether change needs to happen, I think that’s very powerful. So if Susan is finding herself not motivated but at the same time there’s peace, then that’s okay. That’s the process moving her in that direction.

Rick: But if you feel like, “I don’t want to do anything because it might disrupt my peace,” you know, then you need to integrate so that that peace will become stable in the midst of the busy marketplace.

Roger: Exactly, and if someone’s thinking that, there’s bound to be suffering because with that thought, it’s a thought of the sense of personal doership, trying to control the situation, trying to control what they think needs to happen. So yeah, it’s this fine line, everything that is said will be the opposite. So people have to find the inner guide that, you know, we tend to swing from one side to the other, thinking that that’s freedom. So someone who spent their life being controlled by their parents at some point might go, “I’m not going to listen to what anyone tells me to do at all,” and they swing to this other side where you can see their kids climbing all over tables because they’re not, you know, and that’s not the middle path. Eventually we realize that’s suffering also and it comes back to a middle ground.

Rick: Yeah, you know, I was thinking about this thing of, you know, “you are not the doer, God is doing everything,” one of the things that Ramesh likes to say. But you know, would you say perhaps that at a later stage, if one begins to really appreciate experientially one’s oneness with God, then in a roundabout way you become the doer again because God is the doer and you realize your essential oneness with God?

Roger: That’s it. At first we think there’s this conflict between my will and God’s will and eventually we realize that God’s will and my will are not separate. Yeah.

Rick: Now another thing Ramesh says a lot is that, you know, there’s no free will, everything is kind of determined by your genes and your conditioning. And I was thinking about that, I just have a book here by Deepak Chopra and Rudy Tanzi, I just want to quote a quick thing, “For decades medical science has believed that genes determine our biological destiny. Now the new genetics has changed that assumption forever. You will always have the genes you were born with, but genes are dynamic, responding to everything we think, say and do. Suddenly they become our strongest allies for personal renewal.” And then with regard to conditioning there’s this popular phrase these days of neuroplasticity, where the brain is very changeable, very malleable. And there’s even the phrase “brain sculpting,” where people through meditation or whatever actually really radically change the structure and functioning of the brain. So that seems to be a lot less fatalistic or predetermined than the emphasis Ramesh was putting on it.

Roger: Well I wouldn’t look at it that way, I’d look at them as being supportive. So that statement you read from the book doesn’t actually change the fact that whatever happens is based on your genes and up-to-date conditioning. It just says that your genes and up-to-date conditioning can change, but it means that the action that happens in this moment is based on your genes and your up-to-date conditioning as they are in this moment. But then when we look at it we go, “Well I didn’t create my genes and up-to-date conditioning in this moment.” That’s the crucial point, is that that is a process that has happened through life. And so even if someone says, “I sat down to sculpt my genes or my conditioning,” that’s a misunderstanding again of the sense of personal doership. Actually that just happened as a result of your genes and up-to-date conditioning all along. So at some point you said, “Oh, I’ve read about this brain sculpting and reading is new conditioning, so new up-to-date conditioning, and you weren’t in control about reading about the brain sculpting. It came into your life one way or another. Someone gifted you the book or you came across it on the internet or someone suggested you read it, and that led to that happening. And then that up-to-date conditioning led you to start practicing brain sculpting, which delivered a result or didn’t deliver a result that you weren’t in control of. And so at any point in time we are this product of our genes and up-to-date conditioning that once witnessing has happened means we’re not identified and claiming ownership over that, and there’s no problem. It doesn’t cause a problem to us that that’s how life unfolds. It just becomes a clear seeing of the mechanics. So this is what we’re talking earlier about mechanics, is once we reconcile that yes, this is how life happens, genes and up-to-date conditioning, although they are changing, but I’m not in control of how they change, then we just say, “Well, however I act in this moment is based on who I am in that particular moment,” just like a very complex chemical. If you put two chemicals together they don’t choose how to react. They just react based on their makeup, and a human being is a bit like that. You put a certain human with their makeup into a certain situation and there is a reaction based on who they are in that moment. And what we tend to do with this sense of personal doership, because we don’t see the mechanics correctly, is we say, “Oh, I shouldn’t have acted like that. I should have acted differently,” whereas “I shouldn’t have acted like that” is a thought that simply won’t arise if we recognize that this was a spontaneous action and had to be that way. And having said that, it doesn’t mean that learning doesn’t happen. So we find ourselves acting a certain way in a situation, we realize it doesn’t deliver a good outcome, that becomes part of our up-to-date conditioning, which means next time we may or may not find ourselves acting the same way.

Rick: And Maharishi Mahesh Yogi used to say that people can’t help but act according to their level of consciousness, and he certainly encouraged people to do what they could to elevate their level of consciousness, but he said that when it’s time to act, the time to prepare for action has passed. You’re just going to act according to your level of consciousness.

Roger: Yeah, in the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna speaking to Arjuna, said to Arjuna, “You have to fight. You’re a warrior.” So what he’s saying is, “You are a warrior. You can’t not fight.” But then realize that as time, I have already killed them. So he’s saying, “I’m just using you as an instrument to bring about what I’ve already done,” meaning it’s a story of life that is not your doing, it’s my doing as God.

Rick: I think I read something in one of Ramesh’s books or your notes about him saying that although ultimately in truth you are not the doer, God is the doer, and so on and so forth, if you perceive yourself as the doer then you just have to act as best you can in light of that perception. You do the best you can under the circumstances, knowing, understanding that ultimately you are not the doer, but it’s like this balancing act where you’re not sort of relinquishing control of your action and yet you are, you know?

Roger: Yeah, if someone says, “Well, what if someone hears this and starts to act irresponsibly?” If we really take this perspective we’re talking about then we realize that that person’s action is no one’s doing. There is no one at the core. There is a story of life unfolding. And so, from this perspective, if someone takes a teaching and then goes and punches someone in the nose, that’s not because of the teaching, that’s because of the story of life. And we’re still always trying to control outcomes, that’s because we think our happiness is in pleasure, we think our happiness is in outcomes, and so the sense of personal doership goes so deep that even when we’re hearing about the sense of personal doership we’re still trying to claim some capacity to act a certain way. The fact is that the acting, whether it’s good or bad, is something that’s just going to happen based on who you are and the circumstance you find yourself in, neither of which we’re in control of. And if we go back to our macro explanation, that who you are and the circumstance you find yourself in is actually a result of the creation of God. And this is not really something to just be believed because all the pointers are pointing to the mechanism that gets in the way of our peace, the mechanism that creates suffering. So when someone’s interested and these concepts get absorbed, then what happens is we start looking and start seeing that, yes, my suffering, my guilt, my blame is based on the idea that I could have done it differently, that the other could have done it differently. And if I see the mechanism that that’s not true, that everyone is acting exactly, then we see that our guilt and our blame starts to diminish. And so this is a process where becoming aware of the dynamics and simply observing them for ourself in our own daily living to see whether they’re accurate or inaccurate, that brings about the change. And then when life has brought about the complete change, we allow life to unfold and yet in practice we do exactly what we feel like doing in the moment, which means that, so how do I live my life knowing that everything is predetermined? And Ramesh would say in each moment do exactly what you feel like doing, knowing that what you do is based on your genes and up-to-date conditioning or the will of God. And so do what you feel like doing, then sit back, relax with no regrets in the past, no expectations in the future, and no complaints in the present. That’s just a description of what happens, not a prescription of something to do. So it’s a description that at some point we find that that’s how life is being lived. It’s not that I have to create that way of living. So at some point we realize, “Oh wow, how life is being lived is that in each moment I, the body, Roger, does whatever I feel like doing, knowing that it’s based on my genes and up-to-date conditioning, and from there there is a relaxation, knowing that the outcomes are not in my control, so I sit back and see what the outcomes are, and I find that there isn’t a thinking about the past with regrets, there isn’t an expectation in the future, and no complaints in the present. So that’s what that statement is, this is a description and not a prescription.

Rick: Yeah, I’m glad you’re making that distinction. There’s a verse in the Gita which says, “Creatures act according to their own nature. What can restraint accomplish?” And what you’re describing here is a fairly, I’d say, enlightened or evolved way of functioning, and you’re describing it, you’re not prescribing it, you’re not saying to everybody in the world, “Just do whatever the heck you feel like doing and blame it on God,” you know. So I think that it’s worth kind of continuing to make that distinction, otherwise this teaching can be misapplied.

Roger: And another reason for it is that the sense of personal doership, its very nature is that I have to do something. So in spiritual teachings when we’re told, because I don’t have a problem using personal pronouns and you don’t, because in the end that’s how we communicate, that’s an integrated way of living. So in talking to the seeker, if I were to make the statement that said, for example, “Sit back, relax, and abide in I AM and stop thinking,” that statement can sound very prescriptive. “Sit back, one thing to do, relax, another thing to do, abide in I AM, another thing to do, and stop thinking, another thing to do.” And so that’s why at the beginning of the teaching often it said, “Whatever is said here is a description of what might happen and not a prescription of what to do,” because if the sense of personal doership hears this, it goes out trying to imitate that, and that’s not peace either. This is a description of when the understanding goes deeper and deeper, we find that sitting back and relaxing might just happen without you trying to do it, and abiding in I AM is the natural movement, and from that place of abiding in I AM, thinking stops, all impersonal.

Rick: Yeah, good point. The Christians have this saying, “What would Jesus do?” And you kind of have to be Jesus to find out. So several questions have come in and they’re a little bit jumping around, but I want to make sure you have the opportunity to say everything you want to say. So are there some important things that we should be sure to get out there before I hit you with some random questions?

Roger: Well, there’s a lot to talk about in the teaching and I don’t know that we need to particularly control how this goes. Maybe at some point we can have a second one down the track if you feel it’s interesting. And it’s always nice to actually talk based on questions and the teaching really functions that way if someone has a question.

Rick: Okay, so let me ask a few of them then. This is from Liz in Buenos Aires, I think she asked one earlier. You say, “God is creating all the misunderstanding that comes out from the ego, so then what would be the difference between my will and God’s will?” There is no difference between my will and God’s will. It just appears when there’s a sense of personal doership in place that is claiming ownership over thinking and wanting things to be a certain way, which is what sense of personal doership does. Then there appears to be my will because we’ve claimed ownership over the thoughts that are just appearing. So my will and God’s will is actually a product of the mistake of duality or the mistake of seeing myself as a separate independent doer in control of everything that happens through me including my thoughts. So that dissolves as the understanding goes deeper and deeper.

Roger: I think I read Ramesh saying that just due to the nature of creation there have to be pairs of opposites. If it’s going to be hot, there’s got to be cold. If it’s going to be good, there has to be bad. If it’s going to be beautiful, there has to be ugly. If it’s going to be healthy, there has to be sick, and so on. And that really, it’s all God’s will. But on the other hand, generally I think people find that when they really attune themselves to the will of God they become much more benevolent, much more compassionate. They generate a lot more good in the world. So how do you reconcile those two things that everything is the will of God and yet when people become attuned to the will of God in the way we would understand it, they become better people?

Rick: Yeah, so I wouldn’t, I’d change the wording in order to reconcile it. Instead of saying, as we become attuned to the will of God, which sounds like there’s a will of God that we hold on to, I’d flip it around and say, as the sense of personal doership dissolves …

Rick: And God begins to take the reins, so to speak.

Roger: Well, it …

Rick: Because even …

Roger: Brahman is the charioteer, there’s a saying, Brahman is the charioteer.

Rick: Yeah, well that’s what it feels like in the end, is I’m being lived. So then from that point of view, the connection to source has been established and God is the charioteer, I’m being lived. But I don’t feel like a puppet on the string, experientially. That’s where free will comes into it, because there is free will and Ramesh would say that there is free will. This was my argument with Ramesh when I first went to see him because I was convinced there is no free will. And so we think that the statement “everything is predetermined” or that everything is God’s will then means that free will has no place, but it does and it’s a subtlety. But going back to the benevolence that functions through people, that happens because the sense of personal doership, which is God’s will also, when God’s will puts in place a sense of personal doership, at some point God’s will undoes the sense of personal doership. And when God’s will undoes the sense of personal doership, the ego, so what is traditionally called the ego, what we’re calling the sense of personal doership, has dissolved. Now that sense of personal doership is where the world is seen and the other is seen as a competitor and an enemy and a threat. And so from the sense of personal doership we act from a place of attack and defense, we act from a place of greed, and so all of the atrocities in the world are coming from the sense of personal doership. So by default if that false set of beliefs, because that’s all that this sense of personal doership is, if that dissolves what happens is a connection to source, which has always been there, gets felt, the need for more external pleasures and gratifications fall away, the seeing the other as a threat and a competitor falls away and therefore we see the other as a friend and an expression of what I am also. And so the benevolence is simply the absence of hatred.

Rick: Sounds good. Here’s one from Andy in Peterborough, Ontario, Canada, “If the one is whole and absolute to begin with, why does it create the illusion of separation, which in many instances requires a process of extreme suffering to evolve back to source?”

Roger: Great. I’d like to weave in what you brought up about the interconnected opposites. When manifested, when source at rest turns into whatever it turns into, it can turn into anything. This manifestation is just one particular manifestation of an infinite manifestation it could turn into, but let’s deal with this one given we’re looking for happiness in this life. So the question, “Why did God create poverty?” is a question that comes up and if we don’t have the understanding, that question is always going to be a source of misunderstanding and suffering. So the answer is, you explained as Ramesh said, this manifestation is a manifestation of duality. It’s designed to be a manifestation of interconnected opposites and that means that the manifestation creates wealth and so it will create poverty, creates health and creates disease. And so when the question is, “Why did God create poverty?” the answer is, “Because this is a duality. That’s the nature of this creation. When it’s all said and done, it dissolves and nothing ever happens, but from within the manifestation, if we see someone on the street, we can give them some money or bread if we choose to. That’s our prerogative. And if we do that, if we give someone some food, then that’s God’s will functioning in that moment as it’s meant to function. And so now the second part of the question is, “Why has source manifested this manifestation where there is a forgetting or a sense of personal doership that leads to so much suffering which then needs to be undone?” And the answer is that as well as this being a duality, this is a duality in which source has created a playground where it can forget itself, where it can experience what it can’t actually ever be. The source can never tear itself into two, really. It can never become two, but it can manifest in a singular experience that is an experience of duality. It can then identify with the separate objects in that duality like the humans and for a while function as if it is separate, therefore having the experience of separateness, which means the experience of suffering and all of the uncomfortableness with itself, which remember, it can never actually be, so it’s having an experience, why not? And within this manifestation of forgetting itself, it also is a manifestation where the forgetting gets rectified and at some point there is an awakening to our true nature. So consciousness then wakes up and functions in duality from the attitude of wholeness and oneness, which is where love and peace stems from.

Rick: I would also say that, you know, there’s that phrase contact with Brahman is infinite joy and it seems to me there’s something to the totality becoming a living reality through the instrument of a human being who has realized it, that is, at least from my perspective, much more than in a way the flat unmanifest Source having never done anything. There’s some joy, some play, you use the word play or lila, in this becoming a living reality. And I don’t know, that’s the point I guess I wanted to make.

Roger: That’s right, but in a way the Source doesn’t have a choice to not do that because as we spoke about, Source is pure potentiality, which means by nature it has to manifest. And then when it manifests, Source becomes aware of itself because in its unmanifest form there isn’t even awareness of itself. And in becoming aware of itself, that’s what you referred to as the joy of knowing itself.

Rick: Yeah, and it also creates, in becoming aware of itself, it creates a sort of a self-interacting dynamic of consciousness where you begin to have observer, observed, and process of observation, all of which wouldn’t exist prior to its becoming aware of itself. And then that kind of creates a dynamism, an infinite dynamism really, which gives rise to the whole creation. Here’s a question from Chaya in Maui, “If the feeling arises that it would be beneficial to have a teacher, can you comment on an appropriate way to look for and approach a teacher?”

Roger: Well, you know, when the student is ready the teacher appears. When the student is finished the teaching disappears. So that sums it up, is that you don’t have to do anything, it will happen, but at the same time the paradox is, well, if searching for a teacher happens, then that’s part of how the teacher can come into the picture. So always the advice is drop into a place of being and allow life to flow through you and see what happens. That might mean searching on the Internet. Well you’re talking to me, there’s retreats and events that I do around the place. So look on the Internet of my teaching or any other teacher and see if some of the events sound interesting, if they happen to be in an area near you. Or frankly, I wouldn’t let the idea that it’s not in my town be an obstacle. I mean I got on a plane every three months or whenever the urge arose, because this search was the most important thing and the relationship that formed with Ramesh was clearly linked to this and without controlling it, whenever a significant insight would fall into place, the urge really, this is a feeling inside, would be get on a plane and go. And I did, nothing else was important. Big borrow, steal, I don’t recommend stealing, to bring what’s most important about. So yeah, look on the Internet, find something that resonates and go. Yeah, you say when the student is ready the teacher appears and I think the yearning for this is an indication of readiness. I mean in your own experience, you know, you just kind of got a fire lit under you at a certain point, you were just devouring knowledge wherever you could find it. That happens to people and I think I’ve heard stories time and again of the universe being very responsive to people in whom that sort of attitude has awoken. It’s like once they really become serious then all kinds of, like you were saying, synchronicities that you were talking about earlier, coincidences, all sorts of opportunities begin to present themselves when there’s a sincere, earnest interest.

Rick: Indeed. Yeah, well that might be a good stopping point. So you’re heading off to Bali and then Europe tomorrow, are you, to do some teaching?

Roger: Yes, yeah. Incidentally there’s a six-day retreat in Denmark, so that’s one of the things that people who are interested could have a look at, seeing that we just spoke about teachings. And we’re taping this August 20th, 2016, and people might be watching it a couple years from now, but they can always go to your website, which I’ll be linking to on your page on We also have a geographical event finding thing on BatGap which we’ll send you information about and you can put your events in there. So if a person searches, let’s say, Copenhagen or even Berlin or something, it’ll show them all the events within a certain radius of that location, and Denmark would be within the radius of Berlin. So that’s under, I think, the resources menu or something on So anyway, Roger, thanks a lot for this, it was really an enjoyable conversation. It’s amazing what technology allows us to do now.

Rick: Yeah, I’ve had a great time talking about it. It’s not a chore to talk about these things.

Roger: Not at all. Yeah, nothing more delightful. So let me just make a couple of really quick wrap-up points. I’ve already just made a couple of them. A couple more to make are that this is an ongoing series, as most of you know, so if you’d like to be notified of new ones, either subscribe on YouTube or subscribe on to our little weekly email thing, or both, and you’ll be notified whenever a new one is posted. Check out the menus on BatGap, you’ll see some interesting things. There’s one of which is an audio podcast, if you’d like to listen to things while you’re driving or jogging or something, you can do it that way. And thanks for listening or watching. Next week I’ll be speaking with a musician. I get to throw one of those in every now and then. I forget his name right now, but anyway, he looks like a pretty cool guy. So see you next time. Thanks Roger.

Roger: Thank you.

Rick: All right.