Rick Archer: 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 batgap.com 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 batgap.com. I really appreciate that. My guest today is Roger Castillo. Did I say that right? You told me how to say it.
Roger Castillo: Yes, Castillo.
Rick Archer: Castillo. Okay, there we go. Roger is in Perth, Australia, which is why we’re doing this at such a weird time of day: Sunday morning for him Saturday night for me. And we’re gonna learn a lot about Roger, and 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, I think 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 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. It’s really, really great to have you on.
Roger Castillo: Yeah, really nice to be here.
Rick Archer: 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 sort of spiritual history, and then getting in to 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 is experientially verified. So let’s start with the history, Roger.
Roger Castillo: Hmm 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, we just remain quiet about it. There’s actually nothing to talk about it. It’s self contenting. That’s one of the things we’ve come to realize along the way is that 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, the fact that it’s self contenting, meaning 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 effects change, for the better,
Rick Archer: Which they do.
Roger Castillo: Yeah, indeed,
Rick Archer: There’s an ancient history of talks such as this doing just that, you know, going back 1000s of years.
Roger Castillo: Yes, that’s actually the paradoxes. 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 Archer: Yeah, I have a feeling we’re going to talk about paradox a lot in this interview. It’s 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 of weeks ago. And you know, the old story of the blind men 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, yet, there’s really only one thing: the elephant. And so from the perspective of the blind men, these different descriptions are paradoxical. But from the perspective of the elephant, the elephant is 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. You think?
Roger Castillo: 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, in 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 couldn’t 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, 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, then the paradox starts to make sense, I think, yeah. [Cross talk] 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 changed 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 Archer: Yeah. Give me an example of that, just so people know exactly. I think I know what you mean, give me example, if you would.
Roger Castillo: 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 sorts 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 continuing.
Rick Archer: In Vedanta, there’s a there’s a teaching or principle called lesh avidya, 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 the sense of being one with a tree and so on, does become a perpetual experience, not an occasional flash, 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 by God’s will. Anyway, going on a little long here, but just want to throw out that point.
Roger Castillo: 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’s been a realization that the only subject is consciousness. And 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 a 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. The first one is nothing ever happened. The second one is ‘this is here, and from the perspective of being or consciousness in 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 are the three different levels. To dismiss level one and to and just say, “Oh well, 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. 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 closed, 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 Archer: Yeah, that’s very well put. Timothy Conway, whom I’ll be interviewing next week, wrote, or two weeks from now, wrote a beautiful article called “The Three Simultaneously True Levels of Nondual Reality,” and basically exactly what you just said, made me feel like I might have forwarded that article to you. It’s perfectly described. I sometimes like to think of it as a zoom lens, where 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; can zoom out far, can zoom in close, and 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, you know, 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 Castillo: Indeed, that’s that’s a very good analogy. I might use that.
Rick Archer: Okay, you can have it.
Roger Castillo: Yes, this follows from this in terms of the comment I’ve heard you mention before, which is “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–
Rick Archer: Yeah, let’s do the history.
Roger Castillo: Yeah?
Rick Archer: Sure.
Roger Castillo: Okay, so going back, 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, that 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 there’s this dawning moment, “oh, I don’t have to get into another one.” And so that I mentioned that, because at that point before coming across the 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 a plan that I was going to get introduced to fairly intense, esoteric teachings very quickly. And that’s what happened.
Rick Archer: 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 Castillo: I take the congratulations, but I can’t take credit for it.
Rick Archer: Right. Good blessing. Yeah.
Roger Castillo: Yeah. Yeah, no, but that was very noteworthy. And I didn’t realize it was different. I just assumed, and in fact, I haven’t really didn’t realize it was different until the last 10 years, when I really started sharing this with people. And realizing that people, a lot of people don’t have an interest at all in talking about this. And that makes sense. When I look at 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.
Rick Archer: Sure.
Roger Castillo: 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 don’t think I’d experienced depression or despair or guilt or shame or —
Rick Archer: Did you go through a drug phase?
Roger Castillo: No, no, I did try, 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 the fact that it’s happening. And so it’s very hard to see anything else that’s around the place.
Rick Archer: 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 or some of these horrible situations. It’s such a 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 Castillo: Yeah, well, actually. So my teacher, Ramesh, and I really have to mention him – I would 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 vein to the teaching he put forward because the teaching he put forward was a framework, it was a structure. So it’s not something that came out one way one day, and then another way another day. And so I ended up valueing it so much. And then 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 I kept realizing that his words, the words that had been coming through him and being 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 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. That was one of the things he valued a lot. He said he was a banker for 25 years. So for his whole life and so practicality and clarity was very important to him
Rick Archer: Precision.
Roger Castillo: 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 Archer: Yeah. In fact, I have a book, “Peace and Harmony and Daily Living” by Ramesh Balsekar. So it must have been an important theme for him.
Roger Castillo: 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 Archer: Yes, people may remember Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Similar idea that you had to 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 Castillo: Yes. So the way life brought about the esoteric teachings was interesting because 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 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, you know, that feeling of embarrassment that comes over 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 my theorizing was never really complete. You know, I’d miss bits out and get stuck because I had certain beliefs and this book I had everything that I just trusted. It seemed like it had been really thought out well, and there was, there were all these, this wisdom in it.
Rick Archer: Was it a Ramesh book?
Roger Castillo: No, it was a book called “Stop Thinking and Start Living,” funnily enough, which 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. And it was a little bit more psychology. But anyway, then 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, you know, that was it. I was hooked, and very quickly moved on to really esoteric teachings that only spoke about enlightenement, waking up to 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; 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, this thinking about the subject, books were being read, concepts were being pointed out and then an observation in daily living would take place. Things would just click into place week after week after week, it was about read, observe and then an insight. The insight part was the part that was outside of the intellect, something where something something gets clicked into place, and it vanishes. It’s not an issue anymore.
Rick Archer: We’re doing any kind of practice are mainly just reading and thinking and integrating.
Roger Castillo: Yeah, I’m not a practicer. If anyone ever told me what to do, and this happened once, when I my granddad thought it would be great for me to learn how to play tennis. He 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, because he was telling me I was doing something wrong. So you know. So the practice that turned out was something that I just felt like doing. And that was I 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 was constructive contemplating. And at the same time being in the park, I doing this day after day, for years, awareness started looking at the different birds that were there. And some of them are 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, in subtle differences. And I noticed that awareness was becoming a little bit more fine tuned as to what was around. So I walked past trees and awareness, and I would specifically look at the leaves the small details of the leaf. 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 out.
Rick Archer: So it was just all kind of happening spontaneously.
Roger Castillo: 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 Archer: 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, you know, go through all kinds of conniptions to accomplish it was just happening to you automatically.
Roger Castillo: In the my bio that I sent you I’ve said that if it was up to me to do this, I would have messed it up on day one. Because the intricacy of what came in and how it was understood because of certain things that would, you know, synchronicity. synchronistically happened 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 we was very, very clear to me that 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 Archer: I read this book in the last week or so: “A Duet of One”, which is Ramesh’s commentary and Ashtavakra Gita. 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 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 sort of spiritual development under their belts, so to speak, and then they just pick up from where they left off and, and may need to do little, if anything in order to awaken. Do you sort of accept that way of thinking or what?
Roger Castillo: That’s the paradox again, which is the realization at the end of the wheel of samsara, is that there is no one that ever could be reborn.
Rick Archer: Right.
Roger Castillo: And so that what is the end of the cycle of rebirth?
Rick Archer: And, in fact that there’s no universe nothing ever happened. I mean, in the same breath, you can say that — if that’s what you’re gonna say,
Roger Castillo: No, no, no, no, this is, this is a different this is there is no one here, even when the universe is here,
Rick Archer: Okay.
Roger Castillo: There’s 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 Archer: –And this is something Ramesh said are some scripture said are worthy. Were you getting this?
Roger Castillo: No, these are realizations along the way–
Rick Archer: –your own realizations?
Roger Castillo: Sure. And I’m sure I’ve read it elsewhere as well, I don’t know. It’s unique to me. I mean, the fact is that this process, and the realizations are universal. They’re the same, what is recognized as the same. So when people describe it, they’re bound to describe it in very similar ways, even if they’ve had no collaboration.
Rick Archer: Sure.
Roger Castillo: So. And, to me, the significance of this is that you can have some intellectual understanding. But it goes so much deeper where, you know, 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– 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 a 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 definitely, it’s like, “I don’t know, I don’t know anything. I don’t know if this is true. If that’s true.” That’s surrender, which then propels us to a place where we know –not intellectually, it’s direct knowing and being.
Rick Archer: Yeah.
Roger Castillo: And the being doesn’t stabilize and an absolute stabilized when unless a whole lot of insights along the way click into place. And so what I shared is a combination 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 as 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 objects. And there is just existence a sense of existence where I am, that’s irrefutable in the moment I exist, but the “I” known to be anything in particular: we don’t know it is Roger, or the body — it’s just existence. And there’s an awareness of that existence. So there, 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: that 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 Archer: Sure. I think you use knowing and understanding and words like that, in a different way that some people might use them. Usually, knowing and understanding have to do with specific bits of information: I know algebra or you know, 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 that “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 there’s 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 Castillo: Absolutely, it’s known, I use the word knowing and understanding the capital K and capital U.
Rick Archer: Right.
Roger Castillo: Which is how it’s often used in 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, 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: “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, intellectual understanding has actually dissolved also. It’s not required.
Rick Archer: It’s interesting, I guess this might be called Jhana yoga: 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, a non recluse life. Did you find all of your worldly activities sort of distracting or interfering with this deepening of understanding? Was it completely even conducive to it?
Roger Castillo: It was. 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 got 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 when we see it in action for us. 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 is 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: it’s 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 than the process continues, as we live life, going about our daily, daily daily chores.
Rick Archer: 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 parroting intellectual understandings that they’ve gotten from books and stuff, but not really sinking deep, and to the experience and the realization of what those understandings represent?
Roger Castillo: I think that’s inevitable, because it’s going to happen. A lot of these sayings are not they’re 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 the wisdom, teaching, and realize, oh, that’s what’s happened to me.
Rick Archer: Yeah.
Roger Castillo: I’m stuck in the understand. And so in this case, in that, quote, understanding is referring to intellectual understanding. And so I do see it, but I don’t see it in 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 Archer: I’m afraid I run into a few of the arrogant ones. I mean, there’s 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 that 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 Castillo: Yeah, but 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 as part of the process of liberation. It’s a form of suffering.
Rick Archer: Yeah, we may be jumping ahead, but there’s something interesting you said in your bio, which is that “in 2007, it felt like any doubts about anything to do with the search 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. The story is based on the statement, how I am certain what will be in death.” Feel like getting into that?
Roger Castillo: 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 I 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 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 Archer: –in my case, tthat arouses my curiosity, I want to know what you what you’re certain about in death, you know.
Roger Castillo: And maybe the reason that this is 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 responses. Yes. But that’s sort of more in the theory…
Rick Archer: Oh, no, like, if I said that, I’d like to revise it. I mean, definitely there will 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 retract if I if I said, “that’s merely theoretical.”
Roger Castillo: [laughs] That was probably– I don’t think you said that. It was my assumption in the same way of saying, 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? Or, you know, and it was a qualitative experience that I was certain about? If it was a some sort of experience, then I really wouldn’t be a loony. Just to make that statement.
Rick Archer: Well, you know, you’d be like millions of believers: the book says, “I’m going to heaven.” Okay. I’m going to heaven, I believe that.
Roger Castillo: 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, 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 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 realized, “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.
Rick Archer: Mm. Yeah.
Roger Castillo: So what I mean by life carrying on it’s not life on Earth. It’s life on—
Rick Archer: Somewhere else–
Roger Castillo: 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: on and off. And that’s what binary is, on and off. And binary is often said to be the basic in maths, in mathematics, it’s the basic, it’s like quantum physics. 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 fairy land, 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 a 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 absolute, 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 it’s on phase. And death to me is source in it’s off phase, which means absolutely nothing.
Rick Archer: Let’s flush 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 Castillo: 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.
Rick Archer: Yeah.
Roger Castillo: 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 is not for me to say that can’t happen. There could be another experience that happens after where we live in spiritual but it would be just a continuation actually, to me, of life.
Rick Archer: Sure, maybe you’d have some role to play on some other level or something like that. And —
Roger Castillo: 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’ll be nothing. Absolutely nothing. So they haven’t died yet — the Ascended Masters — haven’t died yet. There’s been a physical death of the body —
Rick Archer: –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 created has been created still exists in some way, shape, or form. And for me, that’s just speculation. I have no idea of knowing. [laughs] It’s interesting.
Roger Castillo: The answer 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.
Rick Archer: Sure.
Roger Castillo: And then reestablishing itself and collapsing and reestablishing collapsing. And that’s not something we get to experience. But we can be shown that that’s the working of consciousness.
Rick Archer: 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 the 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 arrived. And then from there, you know, more complex laws of nature, and on and on until we have the whole rigmarole whole manifest universe.
Roger Castillo: Yeah. And once again, I think that’s the paradox is that, we can see that all is 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. Time doesn’t really exist as a reality just as part of the appearance. 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 but but they exist simultaneously.
Rick Archer: Yeah. And the interesting thing is that if you look closely enough, with the eyes of a physicist, so to speak, and 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. You know, this book seems pretty solid, but actually, if you could get down to the some metallic level, it’s 99.9%, empty space. And in even the little bit, which is maybe not empty space, which seems to have some materialality 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, you know, 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 makes sense.
Roger Castillo: Indeed, 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. We don’t live with Known, with a capital K again, and that is when the unified field of consciousness recognizes itself as the container in which everything arises. But 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.
Rick Archer: Right.
Roger Castillo: The source of consciousness doesn’t actually have a source within the manifestation. It is the source of the manifestation. So when–
Rick Archer: –that conscious presents source of the body, and not vice versa.
Roger Castillo: 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. 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, then I’m talking about in theory, but it’s the paradox because you can’t, 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 Archer: Yeah, there’s, there’s a phrase “the self interacting dynamics of consciousness.” And Ramesh says repeatedly that, you know, consciousness alone is everything is consciousness. I think it’s like the little blurb right in the beginning of this book here. And if you so if you think about it, you know, you and I are talking and we’re looking at our computers and it is there’s 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 Castillo: 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 is story. So when the shift happens, it’s consciousness’ shift. When that shift happens, this is qualitatively known in the moment. So where the story is playing out; computers and all of that, but simultaneously, when this qualitative knowing changes everything, that’s where the peace of mind and daily living can settle in, and the 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 Archer: The peace that path is passive 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’m 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 Castillo: 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, feel in the body where that becomes where the instruction–
Rick Archer: —Like it’s just a subtle, intuitive impulse kind of a thing.
Roger Castillo: 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. That feeling.” And, 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 Archer: I think ‘smooth’ is perhaps an operative word here. I mean, it’s seems to me it’s the cornerstone of Ramesh’s teaching that there is no doer, and that doing is done by God. And it just all 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 if taken at the wrong level of development, it seems to me it could be kind of harmful, because a person might see as you were just saying might have all sorts of crud, you know, all sorts of heavy conditioning, which is going to incline them to do things they really shouldn’t do. “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 you’re talking abou a rather clear mind, rather deep connection with the divine, if you will, and that you have learned to tune into 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 Castillo: Yeah, that’s right. So I mean, non duality really is, it’s a teaching that was kept locked away. For, for this very reason, right 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, but the fact that there are psychopaths, they were already doing this.
Rick Archer: But I’ve heard of instances where people have rationalized egregious behavior by this sort of teaching, you know, saying, “well, it’s really I’m not the doer, it’s just the Divine is doing this. And, you know, therefore…” I don’t need to itemize the things that people have rationalized. But 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 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, you know, 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 yeah, I think you get the point.
Roger Castillo: I get it. But that doesn’t mean we should compromise the teaching. What 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 with how I dish teaching out. Yeah, and it’s exactly that if someone has strong addictions, and they’re– 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 bodywork or some form of expressing that that might be much more appropriate. And so when when I found myself on the 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’s seeing things can pick up the patterns. So if 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 Archer: Well, it’s very good point. I mean, you know, non-duality comes from Vedanta teaching of non-duality, Advaita. And Vedanta means the end of the Veda, 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 a whole potpourri of different things that would be appropriate to people at different stages of their development. I mean, if you 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 certain point, trigonometry becomes useful for you. So 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 Castillo: There’s a lot of wisdom in it, actually. It’s wisdom that gets someone to realize that.
Rick Archer: So you said something really cool a minute ago, I don’t want to forget it. But I forgot it. [laughs] Something we want to owe the difference between awakening and liberation? I want to get to that. But let me throw in – about four questions that 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 “your thoughts” evolved over the course of your awakening process?”
Roger Castillo: Well, this is a see 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 happen. 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 arise and not something I am creating, then we’re talking about a game changer.
Rick Archer: 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 Castillo: No. Because there is no 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 as 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, when we function from a sense of personal doership doesn’t mean that which is not against God’s will doesn’t mean it’s not going to feel uncomfortable, it is going to feel uncomfortable.
Rick Archer: I can 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 he 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 of mine and people who are sending them in? We can answer in the context of that understanding. How’s that sound?
Roger Castillo: 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. That’s source at rest in its unmanifest form.
Rick Archer: And just to throw this 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 Castillo: Yeah, perfect; its in perfectly.
Rick Archer: Yeah, keep going.
Roger Castillo: 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 its 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, that God isn’t outside controlling all this. God has become all of this. Now, the becomingi 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 of 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. 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, the dream at night as a whole universe, let’s say, or a beach environment, whatever, this is just exploding in consciousness in 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 and 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. Now, 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 Archer: So I’ll 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– somebody told me the other day, or I read someplace, that there are more stars in the universe than there are grains of sand and all the beaches in the world. But at the same time, there are more atoms in a grain of sand then there are stars in the known universe. And every single one of those atoms is functioning, just absolute perfection, according to all various laws of nature that govern atoms. And you know, they’re 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 expand it out and realize that as fast as creation may be that intelligence is functioning there on the presently all pervading and 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 Castillo: Yeah. Perfect. Yeah, beautifully put.
Rick Archer: Okay, continue. I’m sorry to interrupt, but I thought I’d just throw in a little concrete example.
Roger Castillo: 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 Archer: –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 Castillo: 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: doesn’t matter if a nuclear bomb 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 the realize that the recognition that there’s nothing to start with, then there’s all of this, which is really nothing and 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 Roger, in this life.” When we’re really pragmatic about it, if we were not believing beliefs of religion, or whatever and we go to our own experience, and see what is driving the seeking, although seeking heavens 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 noncomfortableness with oneself is, we find that it’s different forms of suffering and 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 wellbeing, 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 Archer: 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 a room, darkness goes, you didn’t do anything to push the darkness out the window. It’s just it’s just as displaced by the light.
Roger Castillo: 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 there when suffering subside. But it’s a feedback loop. It’s one of these feedback loops that as more peace is there, then less suffering–
Rick Archer: –and therefore more peace? Yeah,
Roger Castillo: 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. But 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 this is available. This is our true nature.” And so the 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– –Happiness too. Don’t you think? Yeah, so they’re interchangeable in–
Rick Archer: –Not in a sensory way, but the inner happiness that is not contingent upon external situations.
Roger Castillo: So in this teaching, actually, we go on to, 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 Archer: Yeah, in your writing you, you mentioned that 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 could wait a lifetime are many, and not have that particular experience. So it’s important to understand that characteristic of the thing that we’re actually trying to get.
Roger Castillo: And so the teachings will hook us in, life will hook us in and so it hooked me in in path by 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, I was quite– all along that was quite clear that really just 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 Archer: Yeah, I’m glad you added that because attitude can be a rather ephemeral, transitory thing, you know, you have an attitude toward a certain thing. And then 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 like 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 piece that I think you’re alluding to, which should remain regardless–, 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 Castillo: 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 Archer: Very good. Yeah. It’s like, being itself is peace intrinsically and established in that, it has an impact on the functioning of our relative life.
Roger Castillo: Exactly, 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 a mental accept, 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 the it’s preference, but if the preference doesn’t get fulfilled, the body without the sense of personal doership doesn’t create a fuss.
Rick Archer: Yeah. Okay. I could say–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 Castillo: So let’s look at the attitude of personal doership. As opposed to what I just described as the attitude of nondoership. So the attitude of nondoership is not a mental thing, it’s our 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 there are five forms of suffering,
Rick Archer: 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 they’re the sort of contradictory verses in the Gita, for instance, is the first it says, “You have control over action alone, never over it’s 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 Castillo: 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 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, 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 of your action. This is about showing them the mechanisms that can and be observed in life. And once the mechanism is seen, a mechanism that previously was obscured or not not recognized, when the mechanism is seen then “of course, how could I ever have thought that that process was my process.” 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?
Rick Archer: 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 asked this question, perhaps as part of your answer, you could talk about the mechanics– the deeper understanding of how we’re not the doer, because it does seem to be a central aspect of Ramesh’s teachings–
Roger Castillo: –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 it’s functioning.
Rick Archer: Okay, so let me ask this question. This is from Sarvin, in Denver, Colorado, Savrin asked, “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. He pushes me to the forefront. Could Roger, please give me some insight on this?”
Roger Castillo: I’m not sure that what he’s talking about there is, 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 the body, but when 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 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 “who am I?” So the localization in what we’re used to now changes and there’s no way to grasp onto what I am. It feels like everything I know myself as, has now fallen away, and that can create a great fear. 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 Archer: Yeah. Would you say that witnessing and nondoership are more or less synonymous in the way we’re using the words here. And let me just add one quick thing. What we’re talking about is the sort of the structure of reality really where at its foundation, it’s pure silence. And then there are the more active levels. And if if your awareness has grown to incorporate the full range of it, then 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. And, 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 Castillo: 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, my 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 sufferings isn’t arising and as we become more and more clear about what we’re really looking for: it 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 Archer: When 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, pure being itself, pure silence, pure peace, having become lively in our awareness, and then the 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, and has led in many people’s experiences, to some sort of disassociative breakdown, where they end up becoming less integrated, rather than more.
Roger Castillo: Yeah, yes, very true. In a way, it would be almost a form– there’d be two of you. In a sense, yeah.
Rick Archer: Yeah.
Roger Castillo: And often what people went 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 that awareness can land on “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. 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 said, “I’m going to become the witness.”
Rick Archer: Yeah.
Roger Castillo: And that’s not at all what witnessing is. So if you’re becoming the witness, that’s not witnessing.
Rick Archer: But witnessing is a verb. So it sounds like something you do, but actually, it’s something you are.
Roger Castillo: Exactly, yeah.
Rick Archer: And just want to mention, Susan from Michigan a few minutes ago, was talking about having difficulty being motivated anymore or getting anything done. There can be unlocked, 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 make remain integrated, you know, and that might involve, well, some kind of physical therapy, like you said, bodywork 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 looking what we’re after here.
Roger Castillo: 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 Archer: But if you feel like I don’t want to do anything, because it might disrupt my peace then you need to integrate so that that peace will become stable in the midst of the busy marketplace.
Roger Castillo: 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 said, there’ll be the opposite. So people have to find the inner guide. 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– and that’s not the middle path. Eventually we realize that suffering also it comes back to a middle ground.
Rick Archer: 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 is in a roundabout way you become the doer again, because God is the doer, and you realize your essential oneness with God.
Roger Castillo: 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 in my world are not separate.
Rick Archer: Now another thing, Ramesh says a lot, is that, “there’s no free will, everything is kind of determined by your genes and your conditioning.” And I was thinking about that and I just have a book here by Deepak Chopra and Rudy Tanzi. I just want to quote a quick thing. So “for decades, medical sciences believe 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, you know, popular phrase these days of neuroplasticity, where the brain is very changeable, very malleable, and is even the phrase brain sculpting where people through meditation, whatever, actually really radically changed 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 Castillo: Well, I wouldn’t look at it that way, I 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
Rick Archer: Okay.
Roger Castillo: 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 “I’ve read it I’ve read about this brain sculpting” and reading is new conditioning, 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 in 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 the sense of personal doership, because we don’t see the mechanics correctly, 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 doesn’t mean that learning doesn’t happen. So we find ourselves acting a certain way in a certain 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 Archer: 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 Castillo: Yeah, in the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna speaking to Arjuna said to Arjuna you have to fight you’re a warrior. Yeah. So what he’s saying is you are you are a warrior. You can’t not fight.
Rick Archer: Yeah.
Roger Castillo: 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.”
Rick Archer: Yeah.
Roger Castillo: Meaning it’s a story of life. That is not your doing. It’s my doing. Yeah, God source.
Rick Archer: I think I read something in one of Ramesh’s books or your notes about him saying that “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 Castillo: If someone says, “Well, what if someone hears this and starts to act irresponsibly?”
Rick Archer: Right.
Roger Castillo: If if we really take this perspective, we’re talking about them, we realize that there is the 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 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 were in our control and if we go back to our macro explanation, but who you are and the circumstance you find yourself in, is actually result of the creation of God. And this is not really something to just be believed because as 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 blame starts to diminish. And so this is a process where becoming aware of the dynamics, and simply observing them for ourselves 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? 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 the 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 Archer: 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 it, because and blame it on God.” So I think that it’s worth kind of continuing to make that distinction otherwise, this can this teaching can be misapplied.
Roger Castillo: 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 that’s in the end, that’s how we communicate that that’s a 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.” Right? That statement can sound very prescriptive, sit back, one thing to do, relax another thing to do, or 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 that sense of personal doer ship hears this, it goes out trying to imitate that. And that’s not peace either. So this is a description of when the understanding goes deeper and deeper. We find that sitting back and relaxing might just happened 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 Archer: Yeah, good point. The Christians out there saying “what would Jesus do?” You know, and it 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 Castillo: 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 it 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–
Rick Archer: So let me ask you a few of the,.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?”
Roger Castillo: 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 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.
Rick Archer: I think I read Ramesh saying that just due to the nature of creation, there have to be pairs of opposites. If there’s going to be hot, there’s got to be cold, if there’s gonna be good, there has to be bad, if there’s gonna be beautiful, there has to be ugly, if there’s gonna be healthy, there has to be sick and so on. And that really, you know, it’s all God’s will. But on the other hand, you know, generally I think people find that when they really attune themselves to the will of God, they, 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 attune to the will of God, in the way we would understand it, they become better people.
Roger Castillo: Yeah, so 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 Archer: –and God begins to take the reins, so to speak? [crosstalk] There’s a saying Brahman is the charioteer. Yeah.
Roger Castillo: 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, yeah, 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 put in place a sense of personal doership, at some point, God’s will undoes the sense of personal doership. And when God’s will and does the sense of personal doership, the ego–so what is traditionally called the ego– the sense 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 is a friend and an expression of what I am also. And so the benevolence is simply the absence of hatred.
Rick Archer: 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 Castillo: I’ll 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, why did God create poverty? is a question that comes up. And if we don’t have the, 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 happened. 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 reason that the second part of the question is, “why has source manifested this manifestation where there is a forgetting, and 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. 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 non 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 Archer: I would also say that, you know, there’s this phrase “contact with Brahman is infinite joy.” And that seems to me there’s something to the totality, becoming a living reality through the instrument of a human being who has realized that, 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, use the word play or leela, in in this becoming a living reality. And that’s the point I guess I wanted to make.
Roger Castillo: Yeah, that’s, that’s right. And in a way, 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 refer to as the joy of knowing itself.
Rick Archer: 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, you know, 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 Castillo: Well, you know when the student is ready, the teacher appears. When the student is finished, the teaching disappears. So that sums it up: 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 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 significant insight would fall into place, the feeling inside would be get on a plane and go. And I did. Nothing else was important. Beg, 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.
Rick Archer: When 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’re just devouring knowledge wherever you can find it. That happens to people and I and I’ve heard stories time and again, of the universe being very responsive to people who in whom that sort of attitude has awoken. You know, it’s like, once they really become serious, then all kinds synchronicities, you were talking about earlier, coincidences, all sorts of opportunities begin to present themselves when there’s a sincere, earnest interest
Roger Castillo: Indeed.
Rick Archer: 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 Castillo: 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. Since we just spoke about teaching,
Rick Archer: and we’re taping this on August 20, 2016. And people might be watching it a couple of years from now. But they can always go to your website, www.rogercastillo.com, which I’ll be linking to on batgap.com. And we also have a geographical event finding thing on batgap, which we’ll send you information about, you can put your events in there. So if a person searches, Copenhagen or even Berlin or something, it’ll show them all the events within a certain radius of that location, including a Berlin or Denmark would be within the radius of Berlin. So that’s under I think, the resources menu or something on batgap.com. So anyway, Roger, thanks a lot for this. It was really an enjoyable conversation. It’s amazing what technology allows us to do now.
Roger Castillo: Yeah, I’ve had a great time talking about it. I love, you know, it’s not a chore to talk about these things.
Rick Archer: Not at all. 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. Couple more to make our 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 batgap.com 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, you know, listen to things while you’re driving. jogging or something, you can do it that way. And thanks for listening and watching. Next week I’ll be speaking with a musician I’d like to throw one of the one of those in every now and forgot his name right now, but anyway, he looks like a pretty cool guy. So see you next time. Thanks Roger.
Roger Castillo: Thank you.