Roger Housden Interview

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Roger Housden Interview

Rick Archer: Welcome to Buddha at the Gas Pump. My name is Rick Archer, and my guest today is Roger Houston. Roger has written a book, he’s written a lot of books, but his publisher contacted me and said he had written one called keeping the faith without a religion. And she initially said, when she contacted me that this book distinguishes between faith and belief. And people who say their talks about people who say they’re spiritual, but not religious, which is a common term these days. And I thought, wait a minute, to my mind, faith and belief are kind of in the same bucket. And experience contrasts with those. So why isn’t he contrasting faith and belief with experience as as component as opposed to contrasting faith with belief? And she said, Well, you can ask him that when you interview. So that’s what I’m gonna do, among many other things. And Roger, it will interest you to know that while reading your book, I’ve been interspersing it with reading Sam, one of Sam Harris’s books and listening to a lot of his recordings. And it’s very interesting juxtaposition. But um, let’s hear a little bit about you, your background and how you came to write this book.

Roger Housden: Well, first, Rick, thanks for spending some time together. I always love conversations like this. How did I come to write this book? Well, I suppose really, the last 40 years of my life, you know, have conspired to come together into this book. It’s really a question that has been with me pretty much all my life because I’ve not been someone who’s who’s been thoroughly and totally immersed in any one tradition. I’ve, I’ve evolved myself in various traditions around the world. And it’s been a different kinds of experiences in different contexts. But I’ve never really been, I’ve never really been a joiner. So I’ve never really signed up if you’d like. For me, it’s always been more of an individual inquiry, assisted by various, you know, individuals in different in different traditions and without, with no tradition. So the first book I wrote was in 1990, I think, yeah, 1990. And it was called fire in the heart, everyday life of spiritual practice. And at that time, that was the very first book I wrote. And it was it for me, an attempt to, to organize my own thinking, and clarify for myself, where I felt I was in the world and where I felt I was in myself as a human being. And so, it’s called everyday life of spiritual practice. Because really, for me at that time, 1990 It was our everyday given circumstances, that seemed to be the best grist for my mill, rather than spending months in meditation or retreat, or what have you, the circumstances and situations that I was given every day by life seemed to be a wonderful mirror, if I was both willing and courageous enough to look,

Rick Archer: had you ever spent months in meditation and retreat?

Roger Housden: No, not months. I mean, I’d spent weeks Yeah, of course. Yes. Yeah. I spent quite a lot of time. Pilgrimage, you know, for me has always been that is travel has always been, for me, a significant part of my, my journey, you know, the, the external journey in some way mirroring the internal journey. So those travel travels took me to various weird and wonderful places. And through various weird and wonderful experiences both solitary good ones and bad ones in group. So, you know I retreats? Yes. I mean, I’ve spent time on my own in the middle of the Sahara. I’ve spent time in the, in the monasteries of Mount Athos in Greece, which you may know of there many people won’t. And of course a lot of time in India. So when I read a book on India actually later

Rick Archer: did you live in some ashrams or study? It was in specific teachers over there?

Roger Housden: Yeah, I did. I mean, I was one of the first people to meet Punja that is HW upon Jnana and as Papaji and I spent quite a bit of time with him and also in the area, like so many other people of Ramana ashram Tiruvannamalai. But I was really first drawn to India actually, I was not especially attracted to India at all, until I read Rundas his book on Neem Karoli Baba. Miracle of Love. And that was a really extraordinary experience for me. I mean, actually, I when I finish the book, I fell on the ground weeping. It really may not be the same for you. And you know, but, but I actually really felt the presence of that man in the room. And actually, I felt that he was pushing my head to the floor, you know, and I actually felt deeply grateful to RAND us for writing that book, and for introducing me to Neem Karoli Baba. And although it had no particular interest in going to India before that time, my interest in my involvement before then in England was with the Gurdjieff movement and the Gurdjieff world. And that book, however, got me on a plane and I just wanted to go to his ashram, Neem Karoli Baba ashram, he wasn’t alive anymore. This was 1984 Five. But I just wanted to go there and pay my respects and essentially express my gratitude for the connection that I felt. So that was my first trip to India. But without going into the whole story that did actually result in my meeting around us and then for the next what, 12 years, 13 years bringing round us to Europe a couple of times a year so, Ramblas and I got very close and got to know each other very well. So that book to return to that fire in the heart everyday life of spiritual practice wasn’t my attempt to draw together my different experiences and understand okay, what is what is my ashram if you like, and you know, Ramdas used to speak of the ashram without walls. And that’s exactly the ashram I felt I belong to where there were individuals around the world with in affinity and yet not necessarily in the same geographical place. What united us was simply daily living from moment to moment. So I inquire in that book into my relationship with work my relationship with with relationship with nature, with beauty, with meditation, etc. And this book now 20 odd years later, keeping the faith without a religion is almost like revisiting Okay, no, where am I now? Yeah. And essentially, there’s a lot of similarity I mean, the you know, the, the chapter titles in keeping the faith without a religion. Trust the knowing, trust the mystery, trust, the changes, trust the dark. Trust, in other words, trust the imperfections. In other words,

Rick Archer: later in the interview, we might actually use those each of those chapter titles as little springboards to further discuss this chapter, discuss this chapter, because there’s a lot of nice stuff in each one.

Roger Housden: Yeah. And so each one of those is essentially a dimension of our being human, our imperfections, our darkness. Our joy is another one of those. So again, taken from a different perspective, I’m using the grist of what we have every day to forge your faith without needing or to deepen our ground of faith without needing the context of a religion. And maybe that leads on to your question about faith and belief and experience.

Rick Archer: It probably does. But just that when I think of the word faith, it’s like, here’s my hand, right? I don’t believe it would be absurd to say, I believe my hand is here. I mean, here it is, you know. And it would also be a little absurd to say, I have faith that my hand is here, because here it is, I’m experiencing it. So there’s something concrete about experience, something tangible, that you don’t usually associate with the words faith and belief. And I believe there’s the word belief that, ultimately, that’s what spiritual experience should come down to someone like Neem Karoli. Baba, for instance, probably didn’t believe in God, or have faith in God, the way billions of people do around the world. For him, God was probably a very tangible experience on some very, very deep level. So that’s why, to me the words faith and belief, when I first hear them are, I kind of put them in the same basket and put experience in a different, much deeper basket. But I understood as I read your book that you were defining belief as something that’s more in the head. You know, I believe this because this books editor, this teacher said it or so whereas faith is a little bit more in the heart, something more intuitive, something actually more experiential. Was that a fair assessment?

Roger Housden: I’d say that’s a fair assessment, right. So the word believe comes from the Latin op nor which is up in or up Inari, which is the root of our word opinion. So belief has to do with concept, it has to do with the opinions that we have about anything or everything. Faith, as you said, does, indeed, come from a different dimension that comes from the heart. Now, when I speak of faith, I mean, a knowing faith of wordless faith, not a faith in something or someone, but an experience, an experienced in the moment faith. So for me, I would say that true experience and faith are one in the same, you know, and trusting that knowing which arises from the heart, that, and by the heart, again, I mean, a felt experience, which, which is actually grounded in in a bodily sensation. So there’s a knowing there’s a knowing that is beyond words, that we have no doubt of, and in many ways can’t explain. And I’m not really quite talking about intuition, either. Because we might describe intuition like that. But, but something even distinct from that something that I’m reminded of the of those lines by Mary Oliver and her part of the journey, one day, you finally knew what you had to do, and began, though the voices around you kept shouting their bad advice. So. So that kind of knowing where the action just comes, it comes from the knowing you just know, that’s what you have to do. You’re not sitting there thinking about it? Or should I shouldn’t I? Finally you get it. It’s by faith, I mean, the faith in that knowing?

Rick Archer: Yeah. So let’s take, let’s try to take some examples. So you just said that the sort of faith you’re talking about is not a faith in a person or even a thing. In speaking of things, for instance, that are no black holes. I, I have faith that black holes exist because I believe they exist, because, you know, scientists have whom I trust, even though I’ve never met them have figured out they exist, that there’s an you know, they and they’ve all sort of scrutinized each other’s research and that there’s pretty much universal agreement that black holes exist now, but then you take something like God, you know, or angels or, or some sort of more mystical or spiritual reality, and you leave the scientists behind because they don’t feel that their instrumentation is capable of watching it. But then you have a whole world of mystics and a whole world of Yogi’s and sages and saints and people who say that, yes, my experience has actually verified the existence of these things, or this thing, you know, God, not not that God is a thing. But there’s, there’s a level of intelligence which people refer to as God, which I am experientially open to. Whereas some people might just believe it intellectually or have a sort of intuitive feel for it. I think that you know, there have been individuals in this world and again, Neem Karoli, Baba might be an example. And many and Papaji, and many others, where it’s gone beyond just a sort of a kind of a knowing sensation in the body, as you put it, you did did reference the body to something much deeper level all together.

Roger Housden: Yeah, absolutely. So that kind of knowing, for example, well, two things I can give as examples from my own life, which are quite different. But one morning, about 15 years ago, I woke up in my inbox where I lived in England. And I just knew, and it was not really a thought, I, I knew that I was going to move to America. I was I was writing a book on America at the time, but I was in a, I was in a really good relationship with what a dozen years or so we had a house in Bath, but our lives were beginning to move in different directions not because we no longer loved each other. But because really of our work, I was in a relationship with a singer with Chloe, good child, and and if you’ve heard of her, but with a singer, who was whose work was taking her all over the all over Europe, and I was spending more and more time in the United States because of what I was doing because of the book I was writing. But that came out of nowhere. But there was a quietness in it. There was this quietness, which had a kind of certainty about it. And that kind of knowing was instant. And, of course, it took time for that to happen within within four or five months, I was on a plane to New York, and I’ve been here ever since. So there’s that kind of expression of that knowing. But then the deeper levels that you’re speaking of, for example, when I was in India in the mid 90s, I was in Shravana, malai. And I was in the cave, that Ramana Maharshi spent many years in and I left that cave, and I’d go there every day. But one day, I was sitting there for maybe a couple of hours, and I was on my own, which was unusual. And it was deeply silent. And I felt deeply silent. And yet suddenly, there was a voice that was both inside me and outside me at the same time. That said, Just rest. Now I thought I was already resting. But the moment that that voice said just rest. I was aware that there was a ripple in my consciousness the whole time. There was this subtle observer that was aware of my being there. And in that moment of the voice saying just rest. That ripple disappeared. And it was as if the mountain moved through me. And there was awareness, aliveness, but there was no one aware being alive. There was no one. Being aware. There was simply this awareness in which there was everything connected, of which I was apart, and yet it wasn’t the I that I normally take myself to be So that cut that to know it, there’s a knowing there but not a personal knowing. Right. And that, again, is the kind of that that, if you like a taste of the faith or the knowing faith that I’m speaking of

Rick Archer: like that. Yeah, that’s great. Yeah, I think you know that first or second verse in the Yoga Sutras yogas, chitta, Vritti nirodha Yoga is the cessation of the fluctuations of the mind. Right? And there’s for everybody, there’s always a buzz going on, you know, there’s always this sort of undercurrent of fluctuation, sometimes it’s really cacophonous. Sometimes it’s less so. But even in your interview, and our quietness moments sitting in a cave, it’s there. And in fact, you might notice it more in those quiet moments, because all the external noises has subsided. Right, all right. And, you know, then you found you kind of shifted down a notch, kind of reminds me of electrons, you know, being in a certain level of excitation, and then and then shifting down to a different orbit. Right. Right. And I’m gonna turn this into a question, but I think what you’re onto here is that the degree of excitation has an influence on our sort of our spiritual cognitive ability, if you will, you know, and that somebody like, again, quoting somebody like Neem Karoli, Baba or Papaji, or somebody like that has established themselves consciously, at a level beyond mental excitation. It’s not that they don’t have a mind at the end of the mind doesn’t get active when they’re speaking or talking or thinking or something. But they’re able to function from a state or that’s prior to those excitations. And therefore they have available to them a sort of knowingness that Exactly, yeah, that most of us might acquire in glimpses, you know, little insight here, little insight there. That becomes their modus operandi.

Roger Housden: Absolutely, yeah, absolutely. Yeah. And, you know, as you probably know, as you know, I’m sure that if you’re open to that, and you happen to be in the presence of someone like that, you you catch that. Yeah. And so I mean, that has happened. That’s happened for me, as has viewer, I’m sure many times but but that too, it’s a great, it’s a deepening process, that the more that how can we say the more that that imprints itself, in one’s being? The more available one becomes to that knowingness beyond a ripple?

Rick Archer: Yep. And the more stabilized and integrated it can become

Roger Housden: stabilized is what I mean. Yeah, exactly. Yeah. Yeah.

Rick Archer: Because I mean, practically everybody, you know, I mean, you know, what’s that serve at Gallup, the Gallup has done surveys of people who have had, you know, seems like most of the population has said, some sort of spiritual experience some sort of intuitive insight of the nature that you just described, you know, I’m moving to the US that everybody has glimpses. And so perhaps everyone can relate to this discussion, as you know, in terms of their own experience, knowing that such a thing exists. But what about the possibility of having it be one’s all time reality, rather than just an occasional glimpse?

Roger Housden: Well, what about it? Yeah,

Rick Archer: that’s the name of the game as far as I’m concerned.

Roger Housden: Yeah. You know, and I think that’s, that’s to do with one’s attraction to that the more one becomes magnetized to that, or attracted to that, the more I think it gradually descends or takes hold. And so the more one is able to put oneself in situations where you’re available to it, or it’s available to you. Yeah, the more verbal increase. So all of that is what I mean by the, that’s the knowing was speaking of,

Rick Archer: yeah, great. Now, that’s an interesting thing, you just said the more one is able to put oneself in situations and that sort of implies being with Papaji or, you know, in Romanus cave or, you know, in some kind of spiritual situation where you can really stop the excitation much more effectively. But then you just you had written a book called everyday life being the grist for the mill of what was the title of that book?

Roger Housden: I thought it was called fire in the heart, everyday life of spiritual practice. Yeah. So that’s, I know where you’re going. Yeah. And that’s exactly what this is. And is it necessary to always go and sit in the facility of someone who lives in that knowing? Well, it’s very helpful. Yeah, I let’s be clear. Well, it certainly it has been, for me, extremely helpful. But the main help, I think, for me in that in being with someone like that, is that it creates a frequency or an accessibility, that, I know that if I’m quick enough, to catch the possibility in the moment, that I can bring that into whatever moment I happen to be in. So for example, right now sitting here with you, here we are, you and I. And we can be completely immersed in the conversation, the words going backwards and forwards. And all at the same time, we can just, we can fall or I can fall back, it’s the only way I can really describe it, fall back or open out to the field within which all this is happening. And it’s all going on at the same time. So here we are playing with words. And here we are being the being

Rick Archer: and for many, go ahead.

Roger Housden: So and but it’s it’s a moment by moment, choice of awareness, or willingness to notice that opportunity. And some events in life actually make it more easy. And those events very often are the more difficult ones, for example, big changes in our life, or deep suffering, they can crack us open because they’re cracking our habitual normal way of being in the world, and opening the door to the possibility of feeling that or becoming aware of that greater field of awareness. Yeah. So because we’re human, we do get the opportunities frequently in our lives, through change, through a sudden awareness of our imperfections, we’ve, we’ve only got to be in relationship with someone to become aware of our imperfections. And so, you know, that is, again, a mirror or an opportunity, if that’s if that frequency is alive enough in us, and that we actually are attracted to it enough, we know that that’s where we’re going to want to go if we can, and speaking for myself, sometimes I don’t, and sometimes I can’t, I’m not there. But other times I am, but my intention is there. And so with my intention, there gradually I trust that you the more and more I can reside in that rest that i The voice spoke to me of in Romanus cave, because actually, I think the word rest is fundamental.

Rick Archer: Come to me, you are was that you who are burdened and heavy laden and I shall give you rest. There’s Yeah. The there’s a bunch of things in what you said. What comes to mind in terms of the overall concept of the overall package of what you just said, is that? Well, first of all, this being in the field or as the field as you put it, I don’t see it so much as a moment to moment choice as a sort of a degree of development that one has, naturally or does not. So in other words, in any given moment, you don’t you can’t necessarily ramp up your field to the point where you know, Papa G’s field was or something, but you can culture it over time, and it and that culturing and becomes more and more stable and integrated, so that it’s less and less likely to be shakable or shadowed by anything. But I think you know anybody, regardless of how high a being they are, still has their challenges. I mean, you know, Christ, Christ had his moment on the cross there were, according to the account seems to have lost it for a bit. And then some some then regained it.

Roger Housden: So it’s very nuanced, isn’t it? Big? Because when we speak or when I speak of the word choice, and not speaking of the Personal Will, yeah. So it’s not, oh, I’ve got a choice here. I know, I can go, I can go into the field of awareness. Well, no, it’s not, it’s something about resting back, this is also difficult to put into words, but something about resting back, but all it as a knowing that that is already available, not that some it’s not something you’re trying to create. Words, it’s already available, and it is that resting back that is available to us, you know, in that. And as I said, Before, there are there are moments or there are situations, some sometimes an orphan crisis situations that can put us into that, you know, or open the door to that. And suddenly, there we are, you know, sometimes when people I’ve actually I’ve not had a car accident, but people who’ve had car accidents have told me, you know, how everything suddenly slows, and they’re in this deep awareness of another’s, they’re not afraid, even though they can see themselves careening towards, you know, the edge of a cliff or another car, you know, that you’ve we’ve we know that and there’s another suddenly, another dimension of awareness or being is, is simply there. Yeah, I experienced that in a very different way. Actually, in Iran, about three years ago, I wrote a book on Iran, four years ago, called Saved by beauty. And I went to Iran because I wanted to give a human face to the culture that was being called the axis of evil. And all my life, you know, Iran, from my early 20s, from being involved in the Gurdjieff, work and Sufi groups in London. Iran had always represented for me, a culture which drew together, Heaven enough. Through together, you’re embraced as one, the essential sensuous experience of being human and the deep divide. And I felt that rightly or wrongly, through the poetry of Rumi and Hafez, this is 40 years ago, through the poetry of Rumi and Hafez through the music, which I loved. While everybody was listening to Dylan and The Beatles, I was listening to the music of Iran, mostly around the Middle East. So I had this whole notion, you know, I mean, I work paradise comes from the Persian originally, it means an enclosed garden. And again, you know, the whole notion of a garden. In Iran, traditionally, they still have them in Shiraz, they’ve been been there for hundreds of years, where there’s, it’s an idea of perfection on Earth, you know, the cleansing. So anyway, that was my whole idea of, of Iran. So I wanted to show a given human face to this culture, and also to see if my fantasies were real. So I went there four years ago, they were really mad, you know, remarkable Sufism, and Kurdistan and all that stuff. Wonderful. And I was leaving, I was taken by the intelligence services. As I left the airport, I was gonna leave the airport, they took me back to Tehran, and they interrogated me for three days. being convinced that I was a spy, they’d hacked into my email address, they listened to every phone call, so they had the whole skinny on me. And at the end of three days, they said, Okay, you’re very fortunate. We’re going to give you a choice. You can spend five years in a V in prison, or you can work for us. Well, that wasn’t a difficult choice for me. So I said, I’d be delighted to work for you. And, you know, what do you want me to do? And this is where we want you to just Tell us about non governmental agencies in the States and England, who have interests in Iran. And so you think about that, and we’re gonna go go out now. And we’re come back in five minutes. So an hour and a half later, they still hadn’t come back. And in that hour and a half, actually, they gave me a great gift. Because I could feel the whole story of my life as I knew it falling away. Roger, the writer living in San Francisco, you know, he’s done this done that, totally friends, family, all of that story of who I consider myself to be, I could see was provisional, that at any moment, that story could change. It could turn into Roger, and Avi in prison wrongfully convicted for five years, it could turn into anything, there would, and I saw that there will always be a story until I died. Whatever it was, it will be a story. And I saw in that moment, that the story was not who I was. But you know, again, we read this in books all the time, but but there was this visceral experience, of aliveness of other conditions condition of being that was completely independent of that story. And that it actually didn’t matter which way the story went. Because that aliveness will continue to be. And in that moment, I felt a deep sense of freedom, even though I was locked in a room in Tehran.

Rick Archer: So what happened when they finally came back in the room?

Roger Housden: And so it’s not that I didn’t want to leave Iran? Of course I did. It’s not that I didn’t care. I have didn’t have preferences. But I was curious. Now, it was interesting to know which way the story was gonna go. Okay. So they did eventually come back to the room, and I’m sitting here talking to you. So clearly, you know, I did eventually get on a plane, they put me on a plane with the agreement that, you know, I would be working for them. And they took photographs of me with the head of security. And they said, you know, if, if you go back on your word, then we’re going to cause trouble for you with the CIA. So I went back to America, actually, I went to, I went to India very briefly. And then I realized, I had to get back to America and clear my name. So through various contacts, I was set up in Washington, DC, immediately, with an FBI agent. And I was told to sit in a hotel room in DC, and wait for this guy to come and knock on the door. So he came and he knocked on the door. And it was just exactly like being in Iran. It was the same thing. He sat down, he started asking me all these questions. He basically was debriefing me. Yeah. And just before I met him, I got this email from the Iranian intelligence service saying, you know, glad you’re on board with us, you know, just check there, let us know, you’ve arrived in the States, etc. And I told the guy, I’ve just got this email. And so he paused for a moment and said would you be willing to reply and play along with him?

Rick Archer: Sounds like homeland if you’ve watched that series? No.

Roger Housden: And so essentially, he was asking me to be a double agent, right. You know, I’m a, I write books. That’s what I do. I don’t I mean, it will kill me to a the whole notion of, of being something on the inside that is completely and utterly different from So anyway, I’m not working for the Iranians. Security Services, as you may imagine.

Rick Archer: I spent three months there myself got out a few days before the Shah did.

Roger Housden: The point the point of that was that that crisis, that unexpected event, like a car crash catapulted me into that profound awareness of a story Dream of aliveness that actually was beyond life and death.

Rick Archer: Yeah, and the larger point, even in my mind, as I heard you tell the story reminds me of something you said in your book, it was on page 128, you were talking about a new earth and you were referencing Eckhart Tolle his book by that title. And you address the issue of intelligence versus randomness. And it brought to my mind the notion that, in my opinion, there is no such thing as randomness, even that which is random is permeated by intelligence. Let’s say you have the asteroid field where asteroids are going around and they’re bumping into each other apparently, randomly. Still, every particle of creation is permeated by intelligence. There are laws of nature governing, you know, Newtonian physics, governing their interactions, their, their, you know, atomic laws, and subatomic laws and all sorts of things going on. But it’s all orchestrated by all pervading intelligence. And in the context of your story, I would say that, you know, you’re talking about everyday experiences being lessons for us being triggers, to teach us something, I would say that’s not random. That’s, that’s orchestrated to there. There’s an overall trajectory to life in the direction of greater evolution. And apparently, random, mundane circumstances are perfectly orchestrated, to facilitate the evolution of each individual. Every, every little thing that happens stubbing your toe or whatever, it’s all orchestrated.

Roger Housden: I couldn’t agree more, except I wouldn’t use the word orchestrated. Because orchestrated implies a conductor

Rick Archer: who is separate from the orchestra. Yeah. And that.

Roger Housden: I don’t even see it like that. So so the intelligence, intelligence is inherent in everything. Yes. And so there’s nothing orchestrating anything.

Rick Archer: For the outside the outside, it’s orchestrating within itself, you could say, yeah, just

Roger Housden: as this conversation in this very moment, is orchestrating itself.

Rick Archer: Yeah. Yeah. No, I’m good with that. Yeah, I mean, because and that’s important point you bring up actually, because the very notion of God is usually framed in the sense of some being on high looking down, you know, like a puppeteer, you know, orchestrating the course of human events. And I don’t mean it that way. I know, I’m

Roger Housden: sure you don’t, it’s just a natural consequence of our language, because our language is constructed in a subject object. linear way. And so it’s natural for our minds to think in a subject or object linear fashion, even when we’re attempting to, you know, articulate or describe things that are obviously beyond that, that paradigm of object subject.

Rick Archer: Yeah. So I guess to try to parse it out more delicately, I would say, you know, every part, every iota of creation, from the smallest to the largest, is, well, here’s, let’s put it another way. God isn’t everything and everything is within God. You know, there’s just this all comprehensive mass of, of, of intelligence and everything we see everything we experience, we’re looking at it, we’re seeing that intelligence interacting with within itself. And we are that. And Muktananda always used to say God dwells within you as you. So I don’t mean to be preachy here. I mean, I sometimes I’m work in question mode, and sometimes I’m pontificating a bit. But you know, that’s kind of the way it’s rolling. We’re just sort of bouncing, bouncing things back and forth here. Sure. Yeah, and that harkens back to what I was trying to get at earlier in the interview where you know there I’m fully comfortable and enthusiastic about the idea of their have of their being God realized beings like Neem Karoli Baba or people like that, who consciously appreciate that reality that we’re trying to describe here. As viscerally as clearly as constantly. As you know, we see birds and walls and trees and computers. They’re just they’re their ongoing reality. Yeah, yeah. Good. So here’s some notes from your book, and maybe it’ll shut me up a bit and let you talk more. You talked towards the big I think of individualism versus individuation, he described individualism as my happiness regardless of yours, and individuation as a maturing authenticity that enables you to feel not separate from but intimately connected to others, and the collective good. The ladder is growing the form of diminishing that actually relates to what I was just saying there’s this sort of oneness with everything that I would regard as, you know, what you just described as individuation, but it’s also a universalization, isn’t it? I mean, you realize that as an individual that which you are is inseparable from a much, you know, a vast wholeness or oneness?

Roger Housden: Yes, I mean, I would say yeah, inseparable from and yet at the same time, paradoxically. Unique within Yes, yes.

Rick Archer: Both and do you see political implications to what I just said, you know, individualism versus individuation, it seems like in this country, one political party would be best better described by my happiness, regardless of yours, whereas the other is a maturing authenticity that enables you to, you know, feel connected to all and dedicated to the common good.

Roger Housden: Right, and those two paradigms have been, you know, competing with each other for last couple of 100 years, not just in America, but but throughout the West. So, so yes. I mean, it’s, excuse me. I mean, it’s, it’s a little too easy to make it black and white like that. But maybe underneath your question is, is do do we think that there is some evolutionary movement towards this greater wholeness and away from the atomization, of fragmentation, of both society and of the individual, so is the individual and indeed society gradually moving towards a process of deeper integration? Through history? And, you know, when it comes to questions like that, Rick, quite honestly, for me, I can only go I, you know, truly, I can have an opinion. And here we are, but my opinions are not really worth a great deal. Their opinions? So I currently, really just bow to that and say, I honestly don’t know.

Rick Archer: Yeah, maybe it becomes wishful thinking.

Roger Housden: Yeah. And there’s a lot of that and you know, there’s there’s a lot that there are so many, so many ways in which we could see that this world is moving towards disaster. And there are so many ways in which we can see this world is moving towards this deeper greater integration without the necessity for disaster to encourage it necessarily. So there are many voices. Eckhart Tolle is one of the new world which voices who say you know, that there we really are moving towards this, this this new world, really, which is going to require a deeper state of consciousness and awareness. I don’t know. I don’t know. Yeah. Well hoping

Rick Archer: we seem to be

Roger Housden: Yeah, TS Eliot hope would be hoped for the wrong thing.

Rick Archer: What did he mean by that?

Roger Housden: He means that on the other side of hope is despair. And between hope and despair as a narrow gate and that narrow gate is the eye of the needle and so you you bolster your life with hope in the same way that you may just you know, many way your lifestyle despair either one is not going to lead us through that narrow gate so my my personal preferences is absolute wonder and fascination curiosity with what’s gonna happen next. And, and by that, I don’t mean you know, didn’t mean it’s getting lost in the movie. But it’s an extraordinary time that we are we are in. And I think it’s hard for any of us anyone to have have conclusions yet about where we are, where we’re moving. But we’ll see.

Rick Archer: Yeah, no, I agree this what they call the Chinese curse. May you be born in interesting times. And

Roger Housden: but you see, I’ve always wondered whether where that anyone at any moment in history, things. Oh, wow, may we be born in interesting times we are living it. Is there? Has there ever been a period when times have not been interesting? You know, we think this is especially interesting, just because we happen to be here right now. But what about somebody in 1066? They probably felt the same thing. You know, the,

Rick Archer: probably did, but Intel 66. If you were so bold as to speculate about what the stars actually are, you could be tortured to death, you know. And here, we live in a time where there we actually have a pretty good idea of what the stars are. And there’s this sort of proliferation of knowledge and an ever accelerating pace that we don’t see in recorded human history.

Roger Housden: Yeah, yeah, absolutely. This

Rick Archer: is true. Yeah. But there’s also, you know, the Antarctic is melting. And this Yeah, and co2 is higher than it’s been in hundreds of millions of years. And yep, so we just

Roger Housden: yeah, we are in a unique situation. Seems Yeah,

Rick Archer: yeah. Yeah. Seems like there’s a quickening there’s an acceleration on all fronts.

Roger Housden: Yeah. And then the, the technocrats would say, yes. But we have the potential solutions.

Rick Archer: Yeah. And those solutions, but the technocrats also say, oh, boy, the ice is melting, we can explore for oil more. Exactly. Because we haven’t been able to before

Roger Housden: the exactly how wonderful you know, the, the ice is melting, you’ve got all these extra resources, suddenly, yeah,

Rick Archer: I was just listening to a recording this morning by I think it was I forget the show. But the guy was reminding us of the Native American thing of thinking in terms of seven generations. And he’s talking about how, you know, politicians are so much with their finger in the air, just seeing which way the wind was blowing. And going that way, thinking immediately of the of the moment of the $20,000, they have to raise every day in order to get reelected, you know, of getting reelected in two years time or something like that. There’s this, there’s this kind of short term thinking that’s very entrenched in our society. And it’s to my, to my way of seeing things quite the opposite of what we need in order to really have a happy outcome to this whole thing.

Roger Housden: I couldn’t agree more.

Rick Archer: And that’s not to say that we shouldn’t be in the now, you know, all glory to Eckhart Tolle. But you can sort of you can be in the now and also think seven generations in terms of, there’s a beautiful quote from some Buddhist guy said, even though my awareness is as vast as the sky, my attention to karma is as fine as a grain of barley flour.

Roger Housden: Beautiful. Yeah, absolutely. Again, it’s both and isn’t it? Yeah, you know, we’re only ever here where we are. And we do have this wonderful capacity to look forward to possible outcomes and seven generations, we actually, and that awareness can affect our decisions and actions in the now. Exactly. You know. So yes, absolutely. Both. Yeah. Well, yeah, as the one word karma.

Rick Archer: There’s another thing for me that I picked up from your book here, which relates back to that thing I was trying to say a little while ago about, you know, being one with God, knowing yourself to be that experientially, not just the belief, it was this fellow, I’ll hold large, he said, I am the truth. There is nothing wrapped in my turban, but God and he insisted on saying that as they dismembered him, I guess on the town square or something, but his his experiential conviction, you know, his, it must have been experiential. You can’t hold on to a belief like having your arms and legs cut off. But his experiential belief or his spiritual conviction was so deep that he maintained that to his dying breath.

Roger Housden: Yeah, yeah. Yeah, he was. He was decapitated in the, in the town square of Baghdad. I love it. And they’re still doing it.

Rick Archer: Yeah. And that’s an interesting thing. I mean, this, this comes back to your whole the whole thing of your book of, you know, spiritual but not religious. Why is it that in the name of what should be the most sublime experience, people can have, you know, spiritual awakening, Enlightenment, revelation of God, and so on? How does it always end up that the traditions that that people who have had such experiences spawn end up being so brutal and murderous, and bigoted and narrow minded? And, and so on? Got an answer for that?

Roger Housden: Well, it’s the question that has been asked for, again, for hundreds and hundreds of years. All right. So it’s the it’s the age old question. I mean, you’re I mean, more recently, not hundreds of years ago, but you Young said the last thing he would ever want to join as the youngest society, because it becomes like your mother. Once something is brought into form, it’s almost law abiding, you know, there’s not wrong in a sentence almost the way inevitably is that is, as an inspiration, or a vision or an insight comes into form, it begins to concretize according to the social conditions and constraints that surround it, according to the concepts that people begin to build around it, and then according, of course, to the power needs of those people involved. And because we’re all imperfect, and you know, you may want to exclude, you know, a few people from that. But in general, most of us, and certainly follow us, those who actually build the church who build the religion are unsure very well meaning individuals, but they’re imperfect. And being imperfect means you know, that their own their own beliefs, their own ideas of the world, their own power drives, affect and dominate their particular positions and decisions. And so the, the original inspiration starts to be colored with and affected by everything that makes us human. And so any, any tradition is not just religion, but anything a political party, you know, a non governmental organization, you’ll see dysfunction in any organization. And that’s got to show us something and surely, it’s just showing it’s that there’s something inevitable about that, because because of our imperfections, now, does it have to be governed by that? I don’t know. It doesn’t if there’s, if there’s enough willingness to step beyond individual concerns, if there’s enough aliveness and clarity and insight in that organization, then those imperfections can be managed. And it’s been a hard isn’t it been sort of this constant to and fro over generations, you know, in any of these traditions? And then the whole question of money. Not to mention sex comes in.

Rick Archer: Kind of reminds me of as a joke where God and the devil are walking down the street and God says, I have this great idea. And the devil says, oh, okay, let me organize it for you.

Roger Housden: You got it? There you go. Yeah. And, and both of those who I am. Yeah. So the devil is not somewhere else. He’s me.

Rick Archer: Yeah, you’re young quote also reminded me of a Groucho Marx quote, he said, I wouldn’t want to belong to any organization, it would allow me as a member.

Roger Housden: Yeah, right, exactly.

Rick Archer: Let’s, let’s take a few minutes. Let’s take the the chapter titles of your book and use them as little sutras to elicit some responses from you. Just you know, it’s just a refund on the thoughts that each of these titles, you know, evokes and what you had in mind when You wrote those chapters. The spirit of now was your introduction. Anything on that

Roger Housden: said, the spirit of now I really do think is the movement of all the development of spirituality without religion. That more and more people, and this is being shown by by Gallup polls. So it’s not just an idea. But more and more people in this country, consider themselves spiritual, but not religious. So I would call that the spirit of now.

Rick Archer: Trust the knowing

Roger Housden: we’ve been speaking of that, for the first half an hour or so of this program, which is really trusting that knowing which lies beyond words, that knowing faith, which comes from the heart, not from the head.

Rick Archer: And the word Trust actually is the first word of every one of these chapters. And it’s sort of like, I liked the way you use the word, but it kind of brings to my mind that, you know, you can distrust it. But you have to learn to sort of trust it. And it and the more you can learn to trust it, the more it will guide you all these things. Yes, yes. Yes. So the next one is trust the mystery.

Roger Housden: Yeah, some mystery, because essentially, our life itself is is mystery. Life in the grand sense, but also our individual life is mystery. We really, I really, simply do not know, fundamentally, a single thing is what it feels like, that’s the, that’s the underlying ground. It’s like this word that evokes in me or evokes as a kind of bowing to life as it appears and manifests from day to day, a bowing, and opening to life. What an incredible process we’re living through that sense of, or is the heart of trusting the mystery. The mystery, not of the mystery of this now, the mystery, the mystery of this, this life, that we’re that we’re feeling moving through us at this very instant, and even this situation? What is this for? I don’t know.

Rick Archer: And also the mystery of every little thing. I mean, yes, this book, it’s, it’s actually if you get right down, we take things for granted, you know? Absolutely. You know, we just sort of walking through this mystery taking it for oh, I know what that is. It’s a book, but actually look closely enough. And what do we got going on here? I mean, there’s this you know, molecular level to this thing, this atomic level, subatomic level quarks and leptons and Higgs bosons or whatever else that heck is going on. It’s a reality that we can’t even comprehend. And we’re swimming in that reality all the time taking it mistaking it for something other than what it actually is.

Roger Housden: That was a tree that was part of a tree, wasn’t it that you

Rick Archer: just pray it was at one point? Yeah, yeah. Yeah.

Roger Housden: So yes, trust the mystery.

Rick Archer: Trust the dark.

Roger Housden: Yeah. The dark, you know, the suffering that seems to be inevitable with being human. And again, whether we’re trust, if something happens, and seems to recur, like the experience of suffering, like the experience of change, then I trust that it’s there for a reason that I trust that it’s part an intrinsic part of a of my life as I am meant to be experiencing it. It’s, it’s one of the colors in the in the, in the tapestry of my life. And so trusting the dark is, is is the allowing of that experience to be part of my life without pushing it away, or indeed, without immersion, losing myself in it, to the degree that I lose sight of everything else. But underlying, whatever is happening. Trusting the fact that this is part of a process that I do not know the outcome of the funder again, we’re back to mystery. I don’t know in any moment, one moment necessarily, what this means if it means anything. I don’t know what this is for, but I trust that it is an intrinsic part of my life experience. And so needs to be embraced, acknowledged and allowed.

Rick Archer: A lot of times when people hear that phrase things happen for a reason. They think in terms of reason that can be sort of exactly clearly explained or Yeah, human reason, Oh, this must be happening, because three years from now I’m going to that’s going to happen or something like that. But it goes far beyond human intellect.

Roger Housden: No, it goes to what we were speaking about earlier, which is the intelligence that permeates and pervades every single living thing, here and everywhere in the universe, and that everything is part of that infinite web of life. And it’s that there is not that as a linear reason. But it does have because it’s existing. It is playing a part in that intrinsic web of life. That’s what I mean. And if we experience suffering, which we do that surely like everything else, like joy is part of it.

Rick Archer: Yeah, nothing’s happening capriciously or arbitrarily, it’s all always well and wisely put. And that’s your speaking of joy, that’s your next chapter. Trust, the joy.

Roger Housden: We’re both the dark and the joy are doorways again, that the can invite us to into this greater field of, of experience or awareness or being. When we’re in joy, usually we forgotten ourselves. Before forget ourselves. And in that moment of forgetting ourselves, we’re remembering something larger, not something outside of ourselves. But the larger we that we are. So enjoy, we forget ourselves and in suffering are in the dark, we also have the potential to fall through to that, that larger sense of remembering, remembering that we are not just this suffering that is happening at this moment that we are larger, more than that. So both the doorways

Rick Archer: The next one is trust the changes.

Roger Housden: Yeah, which I’d mentioned, I’ve mentioned already, and change happens, that’s inevitable. And the more we fight that, just as the more we fight the dark, but the more we fight changes, or the more difficult we’re going to find our life to be. Because it’s intrinsic to our life. If it’s intrinsic to life, then surely were being asked by life to, to flow with it. You know, pour yourself like a fountain Rocha said one moment, your life is a stone in you. And the next a star

Rick Archer: Rocha. Nice. The next one is trust the imperfection?

Roger Housden: Yeah, well, we, I think everybody knows about that. But this is again, I love using poetry for to their like pith teachings, these few lines, you know, from poems. That’s the value of the poem that it gets to the heart of a question very quickly with a few words. So the Spanish poet Machado, says, in one of his palms, the golden bees are making white combs, and sweet honey from all my old failures, which, again, is to illustrate what we were saying earlier about the way in which everything is a color in our carpet. Everything is goes toward making the honey that is our life.

Rick Archer: And I would say even just, even if I hadn’t read the book, and I would just read this title, trust the imperfection, that you can trust it because ultimately, it’s not imperfect, everything is ultimately perfect. And if you’re not seeing it as such, then you’re just not seeing it clearly or deeply enough. And, you know, with that knowledge, you can trust what appears to be imperfect, because in fact, ultimately, all is well and wisely put again.

Roger Housden: Yeah, yeah. You know, there’s the in Japan they have this whole movement, aesthetic movement called wabi sabi, which actually values the imperfect in a for example, a pop maker, you know, what would a potter would encourage or allow the stains in the clay To remain there, because it’s an expression of the way life actually really is, you know, and through in the Middle East as well, where they always, they always do something in the design and a carpet, which is out of which is out of alignment with everything else. Yeah, it’s essentially acknowledging that, you know, the imperfection is part of the perfection.

Rick Archer: Interesting. And yet Christ said, be therefore perfect. What do you think he meant by that?

Roger Housden: Did he say that?

Rick Archer: Apparently, so. The perfect to me, it just means, you know, bring your bring your awareness, the established in that level of, of, you know, life, right, God, which is, I mean, the whole thing is perfect, but the consciously aware of that perfect intelligence which in which infuses everything which permeates everything, and you, as an individual are always going to have your imperfections but if you apprehend the divine intelligence that permeates your individuality, as well as everything else, then you see the perfection in everything.

Roger Housden: I’m not sure that the Yeah, I mean, absolutely. I agree with you, but you in Christianity, there’s the whole dualism of pure and impure. Yeah. And not only Christianity, of course, but almost any tradition. And what interests me is, is, well, really what you’ve just said is how the both the pure and the impure can be understood as part of the whole picture of who we are, which of course, is Tantra.

Rick Archer: Right? Yeah, they’re both Yeah, but part of the whole picture, it’s, it’s, it’s not like, one’s good, one’s bad. It’s like, both are part of a larger wholeness, which subsumes or incorporates them both.

Roger Housden: And, you know, it’s also acknowledging the reality of our humanity, which is all of it and both of it, you know, however much the Cathars wanted to be pure and perfect, you know, they call themselves the perfect. We’re not, we’re simply not, you know, the Cathars were, or at least the perfect who were the upper echelons of the cartels, the the sector is the Gnostics of the 12th 13th century in France. They, they were too pure to, to actually touch the earth to actually grow food and doing it do anything like that. And so but, but of course, somebody had to do it. Right. Right. And so they had all these, all these people doing that, and feeding them. So

Rick Archer: yeah, what a setup. That’s yeah, I don’t think that’s the way in which perfection is going to be lived or found. I mean, they still had the poop, right?

Roger Housden: Exactly.

Rick Archer: Trust the letting go.

Roger Housden: Yeah. Which, which means for me, I think you trusted us, actually, you, first of all, you can fall back from whatever particular drama is happening in your life at this moment. Fall back into that, or rest back into that larger field that encompasses everything. And, you know, our tendency, or the tendency of the mind is to get completely immersed, for example, in this conversation, or in whatever it is that’s going on at any one moment. So, the invitation to let go, is the invitation not to push away whatever is happening at all, but to rest back into that larger sense of presence that we always are.

Rick Archer: Good advice.

Roger Housden: The stillness

Rick Archer: Yeah. keep faith with beauty.

Roger Housden: Yeah, for me, beauty has really been a doorway, a key and a husband for many people and what is for many people, I’m sure. And the first thought that comes to mind and when when things are beauty is probably nature. But you know, the sight of a glorious sunset of course or a beautiful tree or a flower, but also the sight of some one’s face or someone’s eyes. Or even as I say in that chapter, seeing someone like Roger Federer, playing a perfect game of tennis is something of deep beauty there, you know, that somehow in that moment, everything is in place, everything is absolutely in place. There’s a sense of perfection actually, about that. And that for me is a moment of a moment of beauty actually returns to the idea of stillness you know, the, the, the French novelist, Stendhal had all his Characters Main characters, searching for what he called moments of beauty. And for him for that moment of beauty, amid all the ambition that was normally driving their lives, a moment of beauty was just a moment of self forgetting. When everything was in his place, they were maybe sitting in the garden, watching a butterfly, or something as simple or apparently as mundane as that. But keeping faith with the fact that the world is offering its beauty to us all the time. You know, I remember Can I just Just remember the movie American Beauty and everybody remote work? Who’s seen that movie remembers one particular scene where you’ve got these two young guys looking up of this black this plastic bag floating in the wind? Did you see that movie?

Rick Archer: I did? Yeah. Do you remember that? Well, it was years ago, but I remember it because you talked about in your book. But I remembered I remembered it when you when you mentioned it.

Roger Housden: Yeah, that you know the the plastic bag floating in the air and these two young guys looking at and going. Wow, how wonderful. How beautiful.

Rick Archer: Kind of sounds like somebody on LSD.

Roger Housden: Yeah. Yeah, but Well, yeah.

Rick Archer: keep faith with kindness and love.

Roger Housden: I’m not sure there’s too much more to say about that, as you know. Yeah. Well, other than that kindness is is actually a beautiful or deep expression of love. I mean, it’s, and yet it’s so simple. How simple. How can we be kind today?

Rick Archer: Yeah, well, something I’m inclined to say something here, which is that just that as, over time, I think a greater and greater gentleness develops in us. And, you know, it’s not only do we love our neighbor as ourself, but we love everything as our self or if you don’t like it feel like to put it that way. There’s just it’s very, very difficult to inflict any sort of harm or injury on anything you know, whether it’s a bug in your house that you want, you have to you can’t just swallow it. You have to put it out or, or just nature at large there’s, there’s just a reticence to desecrate it in any way because it’s intrinsically divine.

Roger Housden: Yeah. Yeah. That kind of kindness. Yeah. Well, so kindness towards oneself.

Rick Archer: Yeah, maybe that’s where it begins. And the final chapter, keep faith with the human spirit.

Roger Housden: Yeah, you know, I start that chapter with a with a quote by from Diane Ackerman, the writer, and she said, it began in mystery. And it will end in mystery. What a savage and beautiful country lies in between. Yeah, well, that savage and beautiful country is our life. And so you live in spite of the 24 hour news cycle, in spite of all the tragedies and dramas and terrible things we hear about all the time. There’s so much in this world and in this life and in our life. To actually give us to give faith in the human spirit itself, you know, that this is back to the question of, of evolution, the movement of the human spirit. Um, and yeah, I do trust. I do trust in that. Yeah.

Rick Archer: Well, now everybody knows what the book is about. So they don’t have to buy it.

Roger Housden: Yeah, that’s true. Okay.

Rick Archer: That was it. That was just sort of a nice little overview, but it’s a very enjoyable book. You know, I started this interview mentioning that I was interspersing, your book with Sam Harris. And I don’t know if you know who Sam Harris is, but he’s to do Okay, good. But, you know, so far, I find, like, you know, despite the fact that he’s this famous atheist, he’s almost like a brother from another mother, because he, you know, he just essentially once he feels that people shouldn’t believe in things that they don’t know, and that they can’t experience. And I think there’s a limit to the way he conceptualizes all that. But I think that’s a very fair suggestion, because so much crazy stuff has happened from people believing in things that they didn’t really experience or know. And, you know, and thereby, not walking their talk or inflicting great harm on others. And I think this whole thing of, you know, spiritual, but not religious, that you’ve been referring to, is a move in the direction of experiencing things rather than just being told them, you know, not accepting a canon of laws and beliefs, because it’s been an old book, but wanting to know, for oneself experientially, what’s true. And anyway, there’s a kind of a, I even listen to an old interview with him and Christopher Hitchens, and Richard Dawkins and, and some other guy, and I thought, These guys are really sensible. I mean, I, you know, it’s like, they would be amazed that somebody who’s not in the least an atheist would, was appreciating their conversation so much.

Roger Housden: My only, I mean, people like Christopher Hitchens, where he’s not alive anymore. But were, he was absolutely brilliant, you know, man. But for me, anyway, the difference is that he and I haven’t actually read Sam Harris, but I imagine he’s in the same kind of camp or Richard, Richard Dawkins. Their world is fundamentally materialist. It seems to me so that when if you take what he’s saying to its extreme, when he says that, okay, we can’t believe in anything, we can only trust exactly what we know what he means. The thing is what we can see and hear with our own senses.

Rick Archer: The scientific method can bring Yeah, attending our senses.

Roger Housden: Yeah, yeah. So there’s, there’s no room really for, for the kind of knowing faith that I was speaking to at the beginning of our talk, which, which is not an experience, or the comes through the senses, or comes through the scientific method. So there, I’m proposing or suggesting, as so many other people out there, there, there’s another organ of perception in us that is beyond our ordinary, everyday sensory experience. And that is the knowing faith of the heart. And you can’t convince anybody else of that.

Rick Archer: You have to do the experiment yourself. Yeah.

Roger Housden: So you know, there’s no scientific method that you can apply, that I’m aware of, that you can replicate when someone just because, you know, it has, it’s a process that arises from the inside. It’s not, there’s not implant from the outside. So, so that’s where I would differ with those with the atheists, that, that I really do. Trust that there is a well beyond my own ego, there is a world that is there as a dimension of being a knowing that is not dependent or contingent upon my conceptual sense of self. So everything they are speaking to, for me anyway refers back to that conscious sense of self. Roger, Sam, you know, What Sam can know or doesn’t know, what Roger can know or doesn’t know. So

Rick Archer: as if the universe were sort of dependent upon our ability to know, in order for it to do what it does, are you saying?

Roger Housden: Yeah, it was like, it’s like taking the personal experience of just being this conceptual entity within the head. And, and, and extrapolating that out into the world and say, Well, this is just how the world is, the world is no different to this, you know, this concrete of factual thing. The world itself is simply a material experience of material manifestation. So for me, or for you probably there, there is a Domain of Knowing silence. That is not contingent on Roger, the personality. And that Domain of Knowing silence is not just mine. In fact, it isn’t mine at all. It is the intelligence that permeates the world, the living world. Well, that for them, as they would say, Well, show me prove it.

Rick Archer: And they’re what I would say to Sam, and Sam is actually a practicing Buddhist meditator Believe it or not, no, I believe it because, yeah, he’s done a lot of serious meditation. Yeah, there, what I would say is, it can be proven, and it actually can be proven by the scientific method, if we regard the human nervous system as a scientific instrument, and a single cell in our body is actually more complex than the Large Hadron Collider, you know, and we have trillions of them, and put together and used properly. The nervous system is an instrument capable of providing experiential access to the ground of being to the most fundamental reality of the universe. Maybe or maybe that may or may not be the same reality that physicists allude to when they talk about the unified field. There’s a lot of controversy about that. But, you know, we are that fundamental reality, everything is a coffee cup is essentially, the coffee cup can’t it doesn’t have the nervous system to experience it. We do. Right? And so I would say to, to Sam, keep doing the experiment, man, you’re already on it. There may come a time, you know, 20 years from now in which you are no longer an atheist, because you have so deeply experienced and began to appreciate that intelligence, that’s ocean of intelligence that, you know, we all swim in, that you can no longer say that such as such a reality doesn’t exist. Right?

Roger Housden: Yeah. Well, there’s another there’s another Buddhist, Stephen Batchelor who wrote a book. Confessions of a Buddhist atheist. Yeah, yeah. Rich. Yeah, I can see how I can go that way. Yeah.

Rick Archer: But anyway, there’s a certain honesty about their approach, you know, you know, kind of a show me attitude. That’s a rigor. Yeah, it’s commendable. I mean, it is it’s better in my in my book than a lot of the BS that’s been put down by religion in terms of believing all kinds of things and, you know, punishing people severely if they don’t believe them. And nobody actually experiencing those things, taking it all on some pie in the sky faith. Yeah, it’s interesting.

Roger Housden: Well, you know, Stephen Batchelor, who I appreciate a lot in his book, Confessions of a Buddhist atheist. He speaks about being several years in a Tibetan monastery and working within that system very diligently. But then gradually realizing that he was not allowed to step outside the expected experiences that you received you that you’re you’re meant to get from a particular meditation practice. So So you go to the teacher, and it’s okay, what your experience is, no, that’s not it, you know, you’ve so they’re very specific expectations or preconceptions about what a particular practice is meant to do. And if you don’t experience those, then not only you’re not on the right path, you know that you’re almost on the edge of being a heretic. Interesting, and he would say, he really got that he and what he says in that book is, he realized he was being indoctrinated. He was being indoctrinated into a particular worldview and point of view that was had a very specific end in mind. And that was wanting to lead you there. And if you didn’t go that way, then there was something wrong. Yeah. So it really did. So he left. Yeah,

Rick Archer: well, three cheers for him. I mean, you know, ultimately, I think what we really what this whole spirituality game ultimately was meant to be, is a realization of truth. And that then not somebody’s truth, but truth as it is in and of itself. Exactly. You know, and, and unfortunately, it always ends up morphing into somebody’s truth, you know, by basically, whereas we were talking earlier by people who aren’t actually experiencing it and formulate a whole structure around the accounts of somebody else’s experience. Right, right. Yeah. And so I think one thing that is happening in the world today, and in keeping with your whole, you know, spiritual, but not religious theme is that there’s a kind of a demand for honesty and for direct experience, not taking things through an intermediary, or, you know, believing things just because some tradition says they’re true, but knowing it, or rejecting it, based on our own direct experience.

Roger Housden: And the experience we have is, as has been said, for centuries, and not just by a cut, is is of this moment. I mean, this is basically all we have,

Rick Archer: yeah, this Yeah. Great. Well, this has been a lively conversation. Anything else you want to throw in before we wrap it up?

Roger Housden: Just the people can see more about what I do or what more of what I’ve done on my website? Oh, yeah, I’ll be linking to that. You’re going to be talking about that, or mentioning that I will. And if people, I’ve done a lot of quite a lot of books on poetry, because poetry, again, has been another doorway for me. So the 10 poems to Change Your Life series, you know, that series,

Rick Archer: went on a spiritual retreat a couple of months ago, and they had a bunch of books on a table. And there were two or three books. Yeah.

Roger Housden: So someone who signs up for my mailing list, they get a, they get a poem every week with a little commentary, you know, and it’s like a pith teaching not from me, but from whoever it is that the poem was written by. So yeah. Other than that, that’s the tip really

Rick Archer: good. Let me make some wrap up points. First of all, thanks a lot. Roger, I really enjoyed the opportunity to speak with you like this. The you’ve written a number of books, and I’ll be listing them actually on my page on your page on, a list this one and your others and links to the Amazon pages where people can purchase them. And this is a sound truce sounds true book, I might link to the sounds true page where people can purchase them. Yeah, and link to your website. And there are a number of other things. General nature there that I want to I always like to bring to people’s attention. One is that each interview has its own little discussion area in a forum. So there’ll be one for Roger. And you can you’ll see a link to that. There are several ways in which all the interviews I’ve done have been indexed, alphabetical, chronological, by topic by geography even we’re working on that one. In terms of like where the teacher is located. There is a donate button, which I appreciate people clicking if they have the means and donating, there’s a place to sign up to be notified by email. Each time a new interview is posted. You’ll see that on the top menu someplace. And there’s a link to an audio podcast so you can subscribe on iTunes and just listen to this and audio not have to sit in front of your computer. So go to You can also subscribe on the YouTube channel. If you’d prefer to do that subscribe to the channel, then YouTube notifies you each time a new video is posted. So thanks for listening or watching. And we’ll see you next week. Next week’s one is going to be a panel discussion with four or five participants about refined perception. Celestial perception, which many people are beginning to experience, and it’s something which I think is interesting. I mean, the the iconography and scriptures of every spiritual tradition, depict halos and angels and all kinds of subtle realities. And there are people who actually experienced that stuff on a daily basis and I’ve collected for five such people. We’re going to have a panel discussion, so that’ll be next week’s show. So thanks for listening or watching. Thanks again, Roger.

Roger Housden: Great pleasure.

Rick Archer: Yeah, we’ll see you next week.