This is a rough draft generated by Otter.ai. If you would like to proofread it please contact me.
Rick Archer: Welcome to Buddha at the Gas Pump. My name is Rick Archer. Buddha at the Gas Pump is an ongoing series of conversations with spiritually Awakening people. I’ve done, think about 535 of them now. And if this is new to you, and you’d like to check out some of the previous ones go to bat gap comm bat gap and look under the past interviews menu. This program is made possible by the support of appreciative listeners and viewers. So if you appreciate it and would like to support it, there’s a PayPal button on every page of the site. I was listening to a podcast today and some guy said you know, even if you tribute $1 per episode, you know that if enough people do that it becomes significant. So it doesn’t have to be a lot. Many hands make light work. My guest today is Roger Walsh, MD PhD. And DHL is DHL Doctor of Humane Letters. It is okay good. So you’re not in competition with UPS or FedEx.
Roger Walsh: I am not fast enough for that.
Rick Archer: Okay, Roger graduated from Queensland University in Australia. I’m going to crack jokes with Roger because as you’ll see in a minute he wants tried to be a professional comedian. He graduated from Queensland University in Australia with degrees in psychology, physiology, neuroscience and medicine came to the US as a Fulbright scholar and is currently a professor of psychiatry, philosophy, anthropology and Religious Studies at the University of California at Irvine. His research interests include psychological health and well being virtues such as love and wisdom, practices, such as meditation, that foster love and well being and the psychological roots of our current social and global challenges. I think we’ll be talking about all these things today. Rogers books include paths beyond ego, the world of shamanism, and essential spirituality. The seven great practices which I’ve just read, last few days or week, last year. It wasn’t a tear. It wasn’t the toilet was an enjoyable experience. It’s good book. Well written well organized. And Roger recently edited the modestly titled volume, the world’s great wisdom. His research and writings have received over 20 national and international awards. He was formerly a circus Acrobat held world rack records and trampolining and high diving, and recently graduated from the San Francisco comedy college and had extremely brief in an unsuccessful career as a stand up comedian. And to me, those are the things that I just mentioned, kind of signify that you’re, well, you you said it before we started the call. You’re kind of what do you say a dilettante or eclectic or
Roger Walsh: intellectual, spiritual dilettante my late wife used to call me spiritually promiscuous.
Rick Archer: Good, good thing. That just happened before we get going on. You know, the juicy stuff. I really have to ask you about this trampolining in high diving, I heard you say that you were the first person to achieve a quadruple, quadruple flip on a trampoline.
Roger Walsh: Right was in a long time ago. And now they’re doing quintuple so of course. Wow.
Rick Archer: And then you also for a while held the world high diving record, which means what diving off a board into a pool or off a cliff or what?
Roger Walsh: In my case, it meant off a bridge and there are three qualifications for a record you have to intend to go off it. Yes, slip Sammy, push balls don’t count should not push his own count. Second, you have to intend to survive. Yeah. And third, you have to actually survive. Uh huh. So those are the three criteria.
Rick Archer: Do unfortunately water head first or feet first?
Roger Walsh: Feet first reverse somersault. No. You can’t hit head first from those heights. You have to go and feet first. But
Rick Archer: even then, it must have been quite a shock. I mean, water doesn’t compress. That’s one thing I learned about water recently. And that’s what kills you when you hit it at a high speed.
Roger Walsh: Yes, no, it turns out to be like concrete from that height. Yeah,
Rick Archer: cheese. Well, I’m glad you survived, I think. Yeah, I was just saying that somebody today I think that during this you probably did this when you’re older. But I said somebody you know, I’m, I’m really grateful that I survived my teenage years and I think I must have had some unspoken pact with God that if he if he saved my life, I would dedicate the rest of it to spirituality.
Roger Walsh: Calm I understand I think you know any of us particularly anyone any of us who have lived with testosterone have have looked back with gratitude that we escaped a lot of things legal suicide, do bodily
Rick Archer: stuff, give our gave her guardian angels nervous breakdowns. So, okay, so I’ve heard your story because I listened to quite a few hours of other interviews with you. But of course, the people listening, haven’t heard it. And I want to spend a good part of our time today breaking fresh ground if we can and not have, you just have to repeat things you’ve said 1000 times that people can hear and another YouTube recordings and so on. But I think we need to start with a overview of how you ended up where you are, you know, I mean, how you got started in spirituality, what your, what your orientation was before, you got interested in spirituality. And so just to give people the kind of the lay of the land and sense of how you tick?
Roger Walsh: Sure, yeah, well, I was born in Australia, I came over here to do my went through medical school, Australia came over here to produce specialty training in psychiatry, as part of my psychiatry training, I was doing psychotherapy on people that didn’t really think I did much and since I was doing it, and I was pretty green, and probably didn’t, but I figured I had a moral obligation to try it myself. So I did go in and into therapy myself, what I thought would be a brief period, I have extremely good fortune of being in therapy with a really true Master therapist who just cracked me open in a way I didn’t know was possible and, and got me in touch with the, you know, world again, which I hadn’t no clue existed. I’d been totally out of touch with my inner experience. And he opened that to me and I found this onyx, totally unexpected, inner world or universe of insights and thoughts and images and fantasies and visions, that became available as a reservoir of inner guidance and resources. And it just blew me away because I just had no context for it.
Rick Archer: I think I heard you say you had been a behaviorist. Right? Were you like a BF Skinner? Guy?
Roger Walsh: was like a, I was a BF Skinner guy. Yeah. I mean, I came out of a neuro. So for those,
Rick Archer: that he was the guy who popularized the notion that we basically have what you explained, you’ll do a better job.
Roger Walsh: He was a black box approach to hip changing human behavior didn’t didn’t have to worry about what was inside, you just just provided the right stimulus and rat REO rap rap would go this way, or that way, the human being would go this way or that way. So that was, that was where I started off,
Rick Archer: but they basically discounted all subjective experiences, you know, you just brushed that off as being non existent or irrelevant or something.
Roger Walsh: Exactly, yeah. Yeah. So this was a huge shock for me. And, and once I, once I, you know, therapy, it opened me up, then I started exploring all the things California has to offer and gradually found myself gravitating towards religious and spiritual practice, which I could not understand, because seemed like meditation did something useful. But I knew it was part of the you’re a relic of primitive thinking from an opiate of the masses. So why the hell was this stuff working? And it really bothered me. And there was literally one moment, you know, we all have some life changing moments. And one of the big ones me came was I was walking across the living room, and suddenly realized that behind the conventional religions, with their myths and rituals, and beliefs and dogmas were these hidden, hidden disciplines for practices for training the mind, to induce the same states of consciousness that the founders realized and, and thereby opening up similar possibilities for all of us.
Rick Archer: Yeah. So I was thinking, as I was reading your book, to ask you to define in a nutshell, why and how you think, or religion gets started.
Roger Walsh: But good started? Well, not how off top my head was, in several ways. I think religions tend to get started when and usually it’s an individual, as some sort of breakthrough of some kind, and different and I think one of the things maybe we want to talk about is different founders have different kinds of breakthroughs. But they have spiritual breakthroughs in one kind or another. And the people who are effective in initiating traditions that have lasting power, provide several things first, they provide a insight a vision are an understanding that a spiritually informed understanding, then they’re also able to transmit partly charismatically, partly, what’s called tactically, that is they offer a variety of practices, by which other people can realize have the same realizations for themselves. So that they transmit two things. One is an insight and understanding a vision of the way the world and we we look from that awakened place. But secondly, a set of practices which allow others to have the same insight understanding state of consciousness, and test it out for themselves. Over time, as we all know, there tends to be a process of what one of your guests actually called Truth decay. Over time, the deeper realizations or higher realizations tend to get lost or sidelined somewhat, and the what remains, tends to be the belief system, and the rituals around it. And to in most religions, the quotes esoteric side, the actual, the real practices, which can actually induce transformative states and psychological spiritual maturation, tend to be tend to become marginalized to some extent, yeah, to different degrees in different traditions.
Rick Archer: You mentioned that the founders of different religions might wish we could call maybe we could call them enlightened people, or people who’ve had this profound experience or breakthrough might have had different kinds of breakthroughs. Do you feel that in line with the notion of the perennial philosophy that there’s some kind of your underlying universal reality, and that all these different founders, were tapping into the same thing, and if they had gotten together for a meeting, somehow they would be in complete agreement with one another, but just different religions meet the need of different ages and cultures, and, and obviously are expressed in different languages, and so on, and so forth. So they appeared dissimilar in certain ways on the surface. But if we could get right down to the core experience, which, which inspired them, we would find that the sort of universal truth residing there?
Roger Walsh: Well, first off, let’s acknowledge this is one of the great debates of our time, the both spiritual practitioners and teachers and religious scholars are debating. And it’s really a debate, which is somewhat new to our time, because this is the first time in history we’ve ever had all the traditions available to us, all the spiritual practices and contemplative disciplines, and all the maps of states of consciousness. And now just coming online for the first time, we’re also getting the first maps of actual psychological, spiritual maturation. And we need to draw a distinction between the map the varieties of states of consciousness, and psychological maturation, which are two different things, so overlap, but they’re not the same. And we’ve only just really in the last few decades recognize that. So let’s acknowledge first off that this is a more complicated question, that seems, and there are a lot more pieces in the puzzle than any of us had appreciated down the line. And at the extremes, there are the views that which you are pointing to with perennial philosophy that there’s an underlying reality. That realization, awakening unveils that, and then it is couched in culture specific metaphors and concepts and language. So that’s one view. The other is no, these people are different people have different kinds of realization, and those discordant on a variety of dimensions. And we honor that. And then we also need to recognize there’s a third possibility behind. Well, let me add, add something else. There’s also the assert, there’s an assumption in many, many traditions, that there is a final realization. And most traditions hold some adherence, at least of all traditions seem to hold as a final, a final realization. On the other hand, you have contemporary figures, some of whom have been on your on your program, like, like Hamid or Almaz, who, with his latest book, runaway realization has made a very powerful statement, I think the most powerful statement that’s been articulated in addition, you can find hints of it and other people like Dogan and Rama, Krishna, etc. But he has clearly articulated the idea that there is no final realization that consciousness reality is endlessly creative. And each realization can be a portal to a further realization. So we have all these different perspectives, then we need to add in a couple of other things to make it well complex complex and realize there is no that there are multiple states of consciousness and the shamanic states, for example, the shamanic realizations are very different from say, which are visionary states, or subtle states are very different from say, the Buddhist cessation experience of pure awareness. And that the Tera Vaada and Buddhist experience of pure awareness is very different from the Varsha Yana realization of samsara and nirvana. Alain, do you know the manifest and the unmanifest? Like so we have a non dual even within the same tradition? So I say, this is not a simple question. Then you add in a map, a dimension that we’ve only just had for the last few few couple of decades or so this mapping of developmental stages psychological and spiritual, beyond the conventional. And in my mind, one of the greatest discoveries of psychology of the last 50 years, is the recognition that there are recognizable mappable stages of development beyond the conventional. So you can have people at different levels of psychological maturation, having the same state of consciousness, and then interpreting in very different ways. Yeah. So this is, it turns out, this is really very rich, complex territory that we’re only beginning just to appreciate the richness of boy
Rick Archer: has about a dozen different points in there, I’d like to flesh out with you. And I’ll try to keep them all in my brain as we go through each one. The first we’re actually conveniently the started with the point that he also ended with about the psychological maturation and spiritual development. And I guess a question I could extract from that is, you know, could one be highly mature psychologically, and yet rather? Primitive, not primitive, but you know, a relative beginner spiritually, or vice versa? could one be extremely advanced spiritually, and yet kind of stunted psychologically? Or is there? Obviously the correlation isn’t tight? But is there a correlation that’s at least loose like a big stretchy rubber band and eventually, whichever has gone ahead pulls the other behind?
Roger Walsh: Okay, well, let me echo back to you what you said you have heard about several things.
Rick Archer: Just get like a sorcerer’s apprentice with those, those brooms multiplying?
Roger Walsh: So your first question, could a person be, for example, psychologically exceptionally mature and the technical terms we’d say? Could they be advanced levels of post conventional development, and still have quite limited? Experience with states of consciousness and particularly states associated with spiritual insight? The answer is absolutely clearly yes. Look around. Look around you outstanding people, most people who are truly outstanding or gifted in our culture, display some degree of exceptional development on some lines of development, but most of them have no experience with spiritual contemplative practices.
Rick Archer: Now, they just throw it in here. Part of what we need to do is define what spiritual development means be and because I would contend that somebody like Beethoven was a highly evolved soul, although he may have had no familiarity with spiritual parlance, I don’t know that much about Beethoven, you know, or, and may or may not have had, you know, deep spiritual experiences and may actually have been psychologically troubled as he was reputed to have been, and yet he could be a very advanced soul who was just, you know, here on Earth to perform a certain function, despite all of his handicaps and challenges.
Roger Walsh: Yeah. Is that Yeah, let’s let’s hope so for all our sakes. And, yes, clearly, let me back up and say I You’re Put your point about, we need to come up with some definition of spiritual, of
Rick Archer: spiritual development or evolution of
Roger Walsh: element. One of my life missions is to stamp out the word enlightened. I think I think enlightenment is a lousy concept. It has
Rick Archer: too much of a static superlative connotation. Exactly.
Roger Walsh: It’s dichotomous, you’re either you are or you aren’t, right, it’s uni dimensional. It doesn’t take into effect you can be you can have profound insights and yet be be an emotional retired retired, it doesn’t take into the fact into account the fact that there is a pie is used for referred to different things in different traditions. So it’s just to my mind, really misleading category. Yeah, and I would much prefer to please replace it with spiritual maturity with the implication, which has a couple of implications one, it’s not like it’s not an either or, while others have some spiritual maturity and all this Lackey and other aspects of it, it’s multi dimensional, it recognize that one can have one individual might be very mature in emotions be filled with love, I got pay net karuna, another person might have be, be much less sophisticated emotionally. But ver have very profound or precise penetrating insight and understanding and wisdom. Yeah. And so I think the concept spiritual maturity just lends itself to a much more nuanced appreciation of first the variety of openings and insights and maturation that we humans can have, and acknowledges that all of us are multifaceted, none of us, none of us are mature on all these things.
Rick Archer: Yeah. And I think a good point here is that we all have our diamonds, you know, we all have our aptitudes, and makeups. And, you know, no one is going to be an Einstein and a Beethoven and a Elon Musk, and, you know, just sort of all the great geniuses lumped into one personality, it’s just not the way life is wired. And we’re just all gonna, but if if there is any legitimacy to the word enlightenment, I would say that I would reserve the term, even though I still wouldn’t use it. For someone who is completely, again, you can’t use the word completely. It was blossom to a profound degree in all the various faculties and aptitudes with which he or she has been gifted. And you know, at the core of all that would be the awakening to pure consciousness or pure awareness. But again, that person might be radically different than some other person who had undergone the same development within the context of their individual makeup.
Roger Walsh: Yeah, yeah. Yes, and let’s hope there are some others around I think they are and I think you’ve interviewed some of them. I think, you know, I mean, I don’t know whether we won’t name people. But I think for example, almost who is who to my mind has an extraordinary gift, his extraordinary gift, and as you know, has not, you know, has kept done it cleanly and well, and in a way, which has been very effective in the world. And we probably don’t want to just stick with one. One example. But I, since I know he’s been on your show, and I’ve just recently spoken with him and hold his writings in high. Him and his writings in high regard. Yeah. Yeah.
Rick Archer: Just a note to the live listeners. I don’t know if I keep track of all the points on and discuss with Roger because they keep coming up faster than we can process them. But if if you catch anything you hear a saying and we don’t seem to be getting around to elaborating on it, feel free to send any questions, you know, say please talk more about this. Okay, so back to the point of whether the sages or founders of each religion, we’re all experiencing the same thing or not? I think we’ve kind of covered it now in terms of the differences between different people. I think but an underlying question if if we’re going to try to resolve that, that one is, is there a universal reality and are and are human beings capable of cognizing it? Here are some people who whom I respect and listen to like Sam Harris saying, Yeah, fine, you can have this deep mystical experience, but it’s not going to tell you anything about the mechanics of the universe. And I would contend that it will and that you know, the foundation or essential nature of the universe as physics understands it is probably the very same thing is that as understood by mystics, they’re just using very different technologies and terminologies for, for dealing with it addressing it?
Roger Walsh: Well, let’s see, again, you seem to be getting us into some of the great contemporary issues. So, I don’t think we’re gonna solve this one today, but we can have fun talking about him anyway. You know, you’ve you’ve touched several, several kind of questions and debates here. The one you mentioned at the end was such the suggestion that the, the contemplatives, and the scientists have the potential for revealing some of some overlapping insights or understandings of, of the fundamental nature of reality. And I would say, perhaps, but I’d want to qualify by saying, you know, there’s general principle, if we use a technical term for moment, epistemology, epistemology is the way of knowing and it’s getting increasingly clear that what we that our experience is what sometimes called enacted that it is, what we experience is a product of whatever may be out there, plus the method we apply, and our own capacities for seeing and appreciating that is, we have our own in inbuilt limitations. So So what a scientist enacts or what is brought forth into their world is a function of the technology they use, and their and how they use it, and their own capacity for seeing and interpreting it.
Rick Archer: Yeah, let’s just use an example. So the Large Hadron Collider, you know, which supposedly has discovered the Higgs boson. Now, Uri, I don’t think would be able to operate the large change on Hadron Collider, or to interpret any results if we somehow accidentally got it to work. You know? So there’s a, there’s a phenomenon that that thing discovered or enabled scientists to discover, but it took a high degree of qualification and skill to be able to use the apparatus and to interpret its findings.
Roger Walsh: Yeah, exactly. And, and well, and the question is, what to what, to what extent will say, the contemplative and the scientist with their very different tech techniques and practices? To what extent will first they unveil or reveal overlapping aspects of reality? And to what extent will they interpret them in ways that are even comparable? So I think the jury’s still out on that my own the way I think your foot the way I kind of go think about in daily life, and I’m not trying to wrestle wrestle profoundly with this is simply, these are overlapping, each has their own value. And at the moment, there doesn’t seem to be a lot of overlap between them. And I’ll, I’m all for taking them taking the best of all approaches.
Rick Archer: Yeah, well, even in the field of science itself, there’s not a lot of overlap, sometimes between different specialties, you know, they’re they’ve all fragmented and branched out into two way out to the twig level of the tree. And there’s often not a lot of communication between the disciplines, and AI, but if you can trace any discipline back to its source, and ultimately end to back down to more and more fundamental levels of nature’s functioning, I think you you find greater and greater unification. And, you know, physics obviously has taken this the farthest and the deeper they go, the more unified things become until ultimately, they’re, you know, physicists have been looking for a unified field out of which all the diversity has arisen. And I’ve had several physicists on the show, John Hagen and Manos Carlitos, come to mind, who have argued that the unified field is which physics hopes to find, and consciousness which mystics have identified or experienced, is the same thing. Even though obviously, the technologies involved would be very different.
Roger Walsh: Yeah, very, that’s a very tricky one. And I think I need to just state that obviously, I’m not a physicist here. So I’m like, my understanding is clearly limited by my knowledge here, but, but given that, you said earlier, the the mystics come at the foundation to to the recognition of pure consciousness, and consciousness is formless transcendent the space time itself or fields aren’t. And so we’re already in the manifest back in the manifest the, and to what extent one can say that those are I mean, non dual perspective? Yes. Ultimately, it’s all one, etc. And that gets a little stratospheric for me. And maybe,
Rick Archer: yeah, well, I guess one way of looking at it is, you know, I mentioned the Large Hadron Collider, it could do things the human nervous system can’t do obviously, as Ken so many scientific instruments, but something the human nervous system can do that those things can’t is be conscious, or experience consciousness. And, you know, I would suggest as many have that the human nervous system is so sophisticated in its functioning, if used properly and to infuse to its full potential, that it actually can get right down to an experience of, well, it, the language trips us up because it’s at that stage, it’s not like you are experiencing the ultimate reality, you are the ultimate reality are waking up to itself through the instrumentality of the human nervous system. Okay, well,
Roger Walsh: let me throw a question back at you, is it? Is it? Is it conscious waking up to itself through the instrumentality of the nervous system? Or is it consciousness, disentangling and dis identifying itself from the workings of the nervous system?
Rick Archer: Maybe both. Because, you know, I was just reading your book, and you’re talking about Patanjali is a prisms, you know, yoga is the cessation of the fluctuations of the mind. So the nervous system is a tool through which we can have experience in the manifest world. But we are overshadowed by that experience. And the mind is in a continuous state of agitation and turbulence, such that the pure consciousness, which resides at the root of life at the foundation of the mind is never experienced clearly, as sunlight is not reflected clearly off turbulent water. So does that address your credit? Maybe not fully? Go at it again.
Roger Walsh: I think we’re asking questions. We’ll never fully Rick. But that’s okay. That’s okay. We can have fun in the process. Yeah.
Rick Archer: People say that sometimes they say you bring up the same point over and over again. And what you said it you know, in I’ve heard you say it in some of your interviews that there, what is it how you put it there, like knowledge, questions and information, questions. How’s that go?
Roger Walsh: Yeah, well, it’s an important distinction. There are knowledge, questions, wisdom, questions, and knowledge, questions are fat factual, along the lines of Is it raining outside, take a look into question. But wisdom questions, like combs that they’re questions that you can are asked about the profound existential issues of life, and they have no final answer. So each time you ask them, we can take you deeper into the question deeper into yourself deeper into reality. And wisdom questions are the ones which open, open and awaken us. Yeah.
Rick Archer: And I think you and I both been doing this for decades, just taking these wisdom questions and going at them from every possible angle, you know, intellectually, experientially and so on. And then it’s not the kind of thing you say, Oh, I can’t get that I you know, I can die now it’s more like you peel off layers of the onion each time you take a whack at it.
Roger Walsh: One thing I’m clear clear on Rick there not a lot of things I’m willing to be really certain about, about in the spiritual world because all but one of them is at bottom. It’s it’s radical mystery. And it’s always more than I thought it was. Yeah. Yeah. Good. Yeah. It just is endless, endless openings. Consciousness is in consciousness, your boundless, infinite trans temporal transformation or whatever terms you want to use and in the infinite play of manifestation. Yeah.
Rick Archer: Put this great quote up on Facebook today that someone sent me basically it was Hang on a second, I’m gonna find it here. Ultimately, you are not a person but a focal point where the universe is becoming conscious of itself.
Roger Walsh: Sounds good. Yeah.
Rick Archer: And I would refine it slightly actually to say not that the universe is becoming conscious of itself, because the universe is a manifest thing and yeah, sure, that the this manifest thing can be come aware of that manifest thing over there. But if we, we kind of have to bring it back to the, to the ultimate, which is that consciousness itself is, well, if if we regard the universe as emerging from a unified field, and if the unified field is consciousness, then the whole universe seems to be One giant evolution machine where forms and phenomenon are being evolved with greater and greater complexity, such that consciousness can can experience more and more fully in a manifest way, and ultimately begin to reflect back and recognize itself as the source of all this as the source course and goal of all this.
Roger Walsh: Sounds good. I’ve just been studying. Really Suzanne Cook, Reuter, who’s one of the has developed one of the most sophisticated maps of post conventional development. In fact, she’s one of the very, very few people who’s mapped psychological development from childhood through adolescence to adulthood and then into the post conventional stages, including very advanced, you know, preliminary openings are awakenings. And she said, the penultimate level in her map, she calls construct aware and which are ego aware, in which the ego becomes aware of its fundamental insubstantial, insubstantial? Thank you. And it’s, it’s incessant desire to create stories and narratives to explain everything and to justify its own existence. And, and, and its own importance and some trails in the whole game. And the most sophisticated one maps of all, stories of all these very sophisticated maps about reality, including developmental maps. So that’s a wonderful story. Yeah, sounds fine. Well,
Rick Archer: the thought that comes to my mind is I think it’s natural to want to grow and to want to know more and be more, be more happy. And, you know, all that there’s this evolutionary trajectory, it seems in life, in everything. And so it’s a natural tendency.
Roger Walsh: Yeah, and I think that’s a really important point record, it unfortunately, is not recognized in our society and the fact is not recognized creates enormous tragedy. And one of the real tragedies of our culture is we have no understanding, let alone popular map of stages beyond the conventional. So we have no encouragement or call to mature beyond conventional levels, which really means that for most people, they start most people start to fire the conventional having no understanding, there’s something more there is as you say, and the data comes up from multiple fields from developmental studies, cycles, psychotherapy, from psychedelic work, that the psyche really does in have inherent in a just as you said, a pull to development called Maslow called self actualization, other people have called it so, self transcendence or or the Moksha drive or any number of terms in Devitt, Jung, Young’s individuation, etc, etc. And when that drive is not recognized or, or fulfilled, it creates a sight a kind of deep, profound dissatisfaction. And the tragedy is that because our culture has no understanding of this call, that that malaise is not recognized for what it is, it’s vague, and people look for substitute gratifications of one kind or another. And travel is you can never get enough for what you don’t really want. So it leads to the fact your point, that there is this inherent growth dynamic in the psyche, and the fact isn’t recognized, leads to enormous suffering in our in our culture, and a pathology and Maslow called the meta pathologies, pathologies, not of the normal and you’re not psychosis or neurosis, but kind of existential pathologies that emerge for people. And that every another implication of what you’re saying is, and we have to have a realistic view of what post conventional development looks like. Because not all sweetness and light every new stage brings forth new opportunities, new capacities, new understandings, and new problems. There’s a dialectic of development, every new new stage as its as its new challenges and difficulties, and one of the big problems for us in our culture, anyone who starts to move beyond the conventional is there’s no map to understand the problems that emerge, and very little in the way of remedies.
Rick Archer: Okay, I want to ask you a couple of questions. One is, what are some of these problems that one encounters at higher stages? And the other is for kind of forgetting the other, but well bet Oh, yeah, just basically, it’s more of a statement than a question, which is that, you know, all this traditions tell us that there’s tremendous bliss, you know, available if we can get right down to the real nitty gritty, you know, if we can experience our essential nature, and, and it’s rather sadly ironic that there’s so much unfulfillment and unhappiness and, you know, drug abuse and suicides and all this stuff going on in society. Because really, everyone is like, you know, someone who has won the lottery and not realize that they have, and, you know, the ticket is in their sock drawer, and they’re begging on the street, you know, and starving and freezing. So we all have this incredible capacity. And so few people are tapping into it. Now, these days, more and more people are, and that’s great. And, you know, the more the merrier. But predominantly in society, it’s, it’s still kind of a very small percentage.
Roger Walsh: It is yes. And historically, it always has been. Again, there’s a lot in what you said. So you are asked first about the some of the difficulties that people run into post conventional psychological development. And I think there are two, two kind of resources we can draw on to begin to understand those and let’s acknowledge that we’re just beginning to understand them the way for example, we just big you know, the whole whole field of spiritual emergencies, is a very, very recent one, you know, the texts we got were, you know, so and so got the message or heard the teaching, went into the forest meditated, woke up, lived happily ever after, you know, it’s like reading about a relationship, you know, a boy meets girl rides off in Sunset lives happily ever after, you know, if you’ve ever been in a relationship, you know, something’s missing from that story. Well, the same was spiritual practice. And we got bold arised versions of spiritual practice, through the classic texts, for the most part, yeah, no, there are various references to the dark night of the soul, or pseudo Duker, or whatever. But, but we got pretty, pretty bold arised screened out versions of about spirituality. So as we so we’re just now beginning to map out what are these problems both in, in psychological maturation and in spiritual practice, so we can draw on both resources. And say, for example, people who begin to move into post conventional stage in the post conventional stages, and we should say a little about what that actually involves, in and we can just make a very simple by talking about pre conventional and post conventional, and we were all born at a pre conventional stage, we have no understanding of this, of the, of the culture and the mores, and the myths and the beliefs and the values etc. We are gradually socialized through our parents and through formal institutions like, needier and education. And we come to accept, at the conventional stage, the view of the world and the values and law and moralities, etc, that and then mythologies that are given us. And they’re pretty much unquestioned at that stage that definition of conventionality is is an unquestioning assumption, or more or less unquote questioning of the conventional worldview. And, but the matcher movement to post conventionality involves a stepping back and a question of the pre given beliefs and values and myths etc. You know, is it really true that my country is right, you know, is better than others is right or wrong is really true, this race is better, etc, etc, etc.
Rick Archer: Yeah, you mentioned I quote a few but people that trance conventional levels think and behave independently. And there’s that study I mentioned, where people were actors actually, were were posing as research subjects, and were being given stronger and stronger electrical shocks. Supposedly they weren’t actually being given them but the but the people, the people being in the study, who were they thought they were administering these stronger and stronger shocks to these people. And the They went, you know, they went along with it, because they’re told to even when they were asked to administer what might be a lethal shock, but then there were people who were sort of more independent in their personalities, perhaps more mature, who wouldn’t go along with it and had, you know, wouldn’t do the party one was telling him to?
Roger Walsh: Yeah, that’s one of the hallmarks of post conventional maturity is people literally begin to think for themselves think for themselves, it’s their worldview is based on an examination of what makes sense? Is this really true? How’s it fit with my experience? How does it fit with the larger picture with the great minds, etc. So it’s, it’s much more a self reflective attitude towards life and one’s understanding of it. And, and some of the challenges that go along with that, first, a sense of isolation, because most people, you’re literally stepping out of the conventional understanding and, and so that goes along with a sense of uncertainty of not knowing of anxiety, it can lead to if, if the questioning doesn’t find a ground, adequate grounding, it can lead to a kind of nihilism. Well, no value make sense? Why should I do anything? Why should I be moral, but etc, etc. So there’s the other, there’s that, if we turn, say, to the spiritual traditions, we find that, that there can be a variety of challenges that emerge, as people either have opened Olden states or mature psychologically, and there can be the eruption of unresolved issues. You know, it’s when you open up, it’s, you know, can just sweetness and light as we all know, you get first you have to deal with what hasn’t been looked at and resolved. So the there’s, there’s that there’s
Rick Archer: a talk in your book about a medic, who had who had a guy who had been a medic in Vietnam, and 10 years later, he was on a spiritual retreat, and all this horrible, gory stuff started coming up that he had experienced as a medic. And, you know, and he had been having nightmares about this stuff a couple of times a week, over the previous decade, but after the retreat, you know, he was able to process a great deal of it. And as I recall, the nightmares stopped. So I mean, sometimes people make spiritual, spiritual focus, spiritual practice sounds scary, like, Ooh, you’re going to open this Pandora’s box of all kinds of buried stuff. But I think if it’s done properly, in the right proportion, you know, not not just sitting right down and starting with 18 hours of meditation a day, but sort of easing yourself into into a reasonable practice, then nature has a certain wisdom, and things things kind of come to the surface and get resolved at a pace that we can manage.
Roger Walsh: Yeah, yeah. And I would, I would certainly want to agree with that, Rick, and also a nuanced one, I think you said there was something very important you said quickly there. So I want to make sure it doesn’t get lost, that the psyche has its own innate wisdom and organic, organic processing, and that it does in general, bring things into awareness, to ascertain your degrees we can handle. And there are some people who just get flooded and overloaded. And let me move to the extreme and say, one of the great tragedies and spiritual practitioners and I work with this clinically with people is, is thinking that spiritual practice should do it all. And they should shouldn’t need psychotherapy, let alone things like antidepressants or anti anxiety medications. And that’s a real tragedy. And I’ve treated some, well, I’ve had the privilege of, of treating some people who have had really deep awakenings and have still had significant psychological issues, which in some cases, needed medication. And they were very grateful for once they got past the spiritual super ego. And so that’s a trap. That’s a trap. Thinking that spiritual practice will do it all. It doesn’t always.
Rick Archer: But it is good to, again emphasize that there is a a healing mechanism within us like you know, if we break our arm, we feel pain. We have the put the arm in a cast and you know, it takes a while to heal. But nature knows how to do that if we had to manage that, based on what we understand intellectually, or even if we had to manage digesting lunch data. Yeah, we’d be in bad shape. But there’s a wisdom in the body. I mean, we don’t even understand how a single cell works and we have trillions of them all coordinating with each other. And I think The very same phenomenon we see in the case of you know, healing a broken arm or digesting lunch is operative in spiritual development. It’s and all kinds of things get worked out on all kinds of levels in ways that we’re not even aware of, probably if we’re doing spiritual practice, but you know, when we do become aware of things, maybe maybe it’s good. Maybe there’s a reason we’re going wherever that time because we need to put attention on them or something you think?
Roger Walsh: Yeah, absolutely. The Yeah. So just playing with a couple of the implications of what you said. One is, there’s wisdom and organicity, to the, to the psyche, and we say, Yeah, we’re doing, we’re doing our spiritual practice. And it produced this, this effect, or, but actually, yeah, we directed our attention. And some incredible miracle of the mind, somehow orchestrated this inconceivable opening and processing that 90%, of which we have no conscious awareness of. And it’s like, it’s a, it’s an ongoing miracle, which we just happen to have privilege of a little bit of control.
Rick Archer: Yeah, we kind of like put ourselves in the stream, we kind of like what used to dive, you want to dive off the diving board, take your correct angle, let go and gravity will actually do the work. So there’s a certain spiritual gravity, I think that can draw the mind within to the transcendent. And we just, this is sort of a skill to call, you know, aligning ourselves with it in such a way that it happens. I read several quotes from in your book about the importance of effortlessness. I think that practice can be both effective and effortless and enjoyable. I mean, the whole notion of oh, God, I’m not gonna have to sit there on a pillow for hours, with my mind driving me crazy, and my back hurting and all that stuff. It, you know, it doesn’t have to be that unpleasant at all. In fact, my experience of meditating all these years has been largely extremely pleasant every single time, I always enjoy sitting down and doing it, I feel bliss, flood my body, and, you know, great relaxation and rejuvenation, and so on. So it’s, it’s very reinforcing.
Roger Walsh: And how beautiful. And for me, it’s been both the, you know, the initial years, actually, initial 10 years were really hard. And fortunately, it got has gotten a lot easier. And it’s now source, for the most part have great comfort and gratitude and opening and AI is just a priceless gift. And I just assume that one, one needs to be open to both possible all
Rick Archer: kinds of possibilities. Yeah, I mean, and, you know, I’ve definitely had my rough periods, too. But, you know, I’m just kind of kept on truckin, as they say, right. Okay, so keep in mind that any time a thought pops in your head that you want to discuss, you don’t need to have a question for me, you can just start talking about it. Do that. But I’m just going to go through some notes here. And I also want to go through some of the main points of your book, essential spirituality. One point that I jotted down was that societal conflicts are due to people being at different developmental stages. You know, I would say, I mean, well, I’ve also heard you say, you might need to put the dog out that, at this stage of human evolution or societal development, we can pretty much blame any problem in the world almost any problem on human mentality are a reflection of the collective state of mind that we all share. So perhaps we can play with both of those points which are related.
Roger Walsh: Yeah, you know, technology is so powerful, that at this stage, we have, at least for those of us in the developed world, really managed most of the afflictions that the plague humankind, for most of history, and, and we have generated a whole new set of ecological, global social issues that are reflections of, of the power of our tech technology and the side effects of it and the industrialization, etc, etc. So, now when we look out at the state of the world, we see the state of our minds writ large across the planet expressing our psychological impurities and dysfunctions and greed and, and conflicts etc. So, yes, that extent clearly at this stage of the state of the world reflects the state of our state of our minds and as regards development immaturity. Yeah, well, we talk a lot. And there are many, many causes for for conflicts between individuals and between between cultures and subcultures, but one of them are not the only one, but one of them is that many of the great cultural, the culture wars, a lot of the culture wars that we’re currently experiencing, do seem to reflect in part, people at different psychological stages, trying to protect and promulgate their own developmentally specific worldviews, without recognizing that they’re not just different perspectives, or different attitudes, they’re actually reflecting different stages. So, a lot of the culture wars are between people, conventional or preconventional stages, for example, who take a mythic literal view of religion, and the myths surreal and the you know, the, this book of God is literally true, etc. And we need to preserve it and protect the way things were which and as against the forces of secularization, and etc. And on the other extreme, we have a postmodern community who have saying, you know, none of these belief systems are true, and, and your values are, you know, who am I to say your values are less than his, etc? You have no Nick anything? Yeah. So you have have three different stages of development app, each other’s mix, without recognizing they’re coming from different stages. That’s, that’s problem,
Rick Archer: when you follow politics, if you do do feel like you can sort of identify that well, this political party or wing is is at this stage by and large, whereas this one is at that stage, is there any correlation there?
Roger Walsh: If we really emphasize the qualifier used by and large by and large, yes, in general, the, you know, there do seem to be correlates between different developed different stages and different political affiliations. For example, the, the preconventional, and early conventional stages with their, with their mythic literal interpretation of the world tend to be conservative, conservative parties, and the ones that the modern worldview and postmodern tend to be more liberal. Now, we should emphasize here, you know, these words liberal conservative gets thrown around so much, but the crucial distinction if you really look and actually this was, it was one of your guests who pointed this house, it was Ken Wilber, who really pointed out very clearly if you look, one of the defining characteristics that differentiates liberal and conservative is the conservatives tend to emphasize enough inner factors like virtue, morality, strength, of, etc. In a personal initiative, the liberals tend to emphasize external factors like poverty, inequality, injustice, etc, etc. And there’s just a difference in other people like the Jonathan Hite who’s a psychologist who’s done a lot of work on on morality and wrote the book, I think it was called the moral mind mapped out these distinctions with a lot of sophistication. So yes, one can see some, some loose affiliations here.
Rick Archer: We were talking earlier about independence, you know, and the more post-convention I guess you’d call them, people being unwilling to electrocute experimental subjects and so on. But when you think of politics, and also advertising, they, they depend a lot upon people kind of believing what they’re told, and kind of going along with the herd mentality, you got to get this new phone, okay, I’ll camp out in the sidewalk for three days, so I can get it. You know, stuff like that. So I wonder if the powers that be, are even aware and if they are, feel threatened by the apparent, slow but short proliferation of more independent minded people, people who are sort of operating at higher stages of development.
Roger Walsh: Again, the, the I think there’s a two intuitive recognition of that, for example, some of the posters further Republican party talks about the younger generations holding very different worldviews and values to the what has been called traditional Republican Party values. So there’s a concern there, but I don’t think there’s yet a recognition or much widespread recognition that developed different developmental stages play a part of part of that. So I think the, I think we need to remember that this understanding of, of psychological of develop developmental stages beyond the conventional is really something that’s only emerged very recently and really hasn’t gotten out far into the, into the cultural mainstream. So yeah,
Rick Archer: at least, contemporaneously, because I mean, obviously, back in the Buddha’s day, or Christ day or Shanker his day, those guys were, you know, post conventional for their time and for any time, then, you know, plant them in our society and still be post conventional, they were extremely advanced souls.
Roger Walsh: But, yes, true, and they weren’t talking, they were talking about more about states of consciousness, than they were about the underlying psychological developmental stages, which were, again, we need to remember those different developmental dimensions. So we’ve only recognized what all you have to do to recognize different states of consciousness and the, the ways they can, they can sequence and flow and, and grow is to sit down long enough, meditate long enough, and you receive it in your own experience. But to appreciate psychological developmental stages, those are more like the operating systems with which we interpret our experience, and they operate behind consciousness, so you can’t introspect and and see, oh, I’m using a, a, an early post conventional operating system or interpretive framework here. What the way this has been discovered is by researchers, is looking at people’s beliefs and interpretations at different life stages and seeing how they change over time. So it’s only by those kind of measure external measurements of people’s experience. There, we really began to map these map these out, so so it so we need to acknowledge that the Western science and psychology have a real contribution to make to spirituality, because you raised the question before, Rick, a very important one can a person be have I stay to realization and still be psychologically immature in various ways? And the answer is clearly, yes. Think of the book Zen at war, which looked at Zen teachers in the Second World War, and the way they got in line and use Buddhist ideas in the service of nationalism and militarism. And, you know, the Bodhisattva fearlessly faces the enemy and swipes them off the face of the earth. Well, that’s not a traditional interpretation of the Bodhisattva aspiration. But it was, it was something that a significant number of Zen teachers promulgated during the Second World War. And we need to qualify by saying, what that book doesn’t do, in my mind, nearly enough is really examined just how awake those teachers were nice. The
Rick Archer: question I was gonna ask you, not just because they’re a Zen book, monks or something, doesn’t mean they were necessarily spiritually advanced.
Roger Walsh: Exactly. Oh, you know, Zen got a bit decrepit, and it was like the sun often inherited the Zen teacher, you know, inherited the mantle. And it’s
Rick Archer: like, just how many corrupt Pope’s there have been in throughout history?
Roger Walsh: Yeah, yeah. So I think it’s an open question. But I do think there is some evidence that one can have high state realization and still have, well, we, we show it, no one can have ethical limitations.
Rick Archer: So what you just said, actually made me think of something that I’ve never thought of before. And that is that, you know, I think of, for instance, modern science as being something which, at least as far as we know, has never existed on on earth before unless it has and we wiped ourselves out with it. But it’s, it’s it’s been, you know, the world’s never known all these technological wonders. And I’ve often contemplated what the, you know, marrying of technology and spirituality might result in in terms of, you know, what society might look like 100 years from now or something. But I always kind of assumed that the ancient saints and sages really understood the mind But what you just said, you know, opens the question of well has just as modern sciences come out with all kinds of new knowledge, perhaps modern psychology deserves just as much credit and really understands the mind the mind in ways that the ancients actually never did. You would think that they would with other subjective explorations and technologies, but maybe they didn’t. So when I say that, and what would you know, the marrying of deep awakening and modern understanding of psychology result in, you know, parallel with spirituality and technology?
Roger Walsh: Short answer, yes, I think you’re exactly right. And I think that’s one thing spiritual communities need to take on board in our time, is that there are insights coming out of contemporary research, which have very significant implication for us as spiritual practitioners. And on the other hand, Western psychology in particular, needs to really get unfortunately, it’s beginning to that there are profound understandings of the mind and consciousness and psychological maturation and human possibilities that are revealed by contemplative practices that have just been off the psychological map, you know, the last time I counted, advanced contemplatives had demonstrated 12 capacities that psychologists used to think were impossible like what can you tell us some work? Well, first off lucid dreaming the capacity to you know, be aware of your dreams, lucid non dream sleep, you know, the capacity to maintain awareness 24 hours a day, now demonstrated by with electrophysiology incredible degrees of perceptual sensitivity way beyond what we thought was possible, the capacity to pick up for example, micro expressions in interpersonal relationships, far more and pick up nuances of, of emotion and expression, if way more sense to lead than the previous record holders who were CIA age. So, so, what we are seeing is the bringing together of the contemplative traditions, and contemporary psychology and below them both neuroscience has the possibility of a mutual enrichment and each of them with their own technologies, their own ways of investigating the mind very different, very different ways, but are completely complimentary. And to summarize, and here I will draw on one another one of your guests Ken Wilber, Ken I think is mapped out more fully and effectively than anyone else in history, the kinds of contributions or mutual mutual benefits that can arise. And he would, to summarize his 800 book, I sorry, 800 page book, the religion of tomorrow, he would say that the contemplative traditions have given us this unprecedented map of states and potentials, states of conscious contemporary psychology is showing, they’re giving us an unprecedented a map of psychological stages of development. And those are very different and they interact, that is the same state can be interpreted in very different ways, according to the psychological maturation of a person. And if one person at a mature psychological state, as an inside of say, you know, a profound vision Bell interpreted as may interpreted as an understanding of you know, the cosmic the cosmos speaking and conveying wisdom, another person at a preconventional level may choose, God is speaking to me, I am the chosen one, you know, everyone should listen to me I’m and just feed into their narcissism. So, these are very, very different results from the same experience, same state.
Rick Archer: Yeah. Well, it’s kind of like you pour the same gasoline into a Ferrari and into a rusty old VW beat. And it’s gonna they’re the two cars are gonna drive differently. Right, which it actually was. Well, yeah, I mean, all the spiritual traditions, emphasize preparedness, purifying the vehicle, you know, studying ethics and purifying the body and, you know, training the mind and just sort of making oneself more and more fit receptacle for whatever may pour in.
Roger Walsh: Yeah, and, and I would want to add to that, Rick, because I think that’s incredibly important real ethics, if you look across traditions ethic is, is really the foundational practice for all the traditions, I don’t know an exception to that among the great, great religious traditions. And yet, we have a very shallow understanding of ethics as a practice, you know, for the most part, it’s, here’s a set of rules, you follow it, because you should, because God said, which is a very pre conventional conventional understanding, but there’s no appreciation of the recognition that there, there are deeper understandings to begin with that, ethics works, that living ethically and I would define an effort an intentional as ethical to intentional as ethical to the extent it intends the well being of everyone, including oneself. So ethical living ethically without intention, one begins to see that, that it fosters the world, well being of everyone, including himself, and just, it’s just a saner way to live. But beyond that, there’s a contemplative understanding of ethics, which sees that when we are about to act unethically, if we look, check into our mind, we find the mind driven or shadowed by painful destructive motives, emotions, like greed and fear and anger and jealousy and hatred. And when we act those out, they are reinforced or strengthened or create karma to use spiritual terms. So, and the positive news is that when we’re motivated when we find we’re about to act in ethical ways, we find if we turn attention we find the mind is shall is, is illuminated by motions and motives like joy and generosity and kindness and altruism, compassion. And they are reinforced and strengthened when we act those out. So now from that undoes contemplative understanding, we see that ethics is not just a good way to live. And it’s not just we feel good, it’s actually a profound way of training the mind.
Rick Archer: Yeah, I think it’s, I gave a whole talk on this at Sand a few years ago. And of course, you’re aware that I helped found that organization, you’re going to give us a woman a webinar in a few weeks since sociation, for spiritual integrity. But I think that ethics is it’s another one of those things like, quote, unquote, enlightenment, that is always a moving target, and we can never claim to fully perfected or mastered it. But I think the effort is an essential part of the spiritual path. Because you end up shooting yourself in the foot otherwise, you know, it’s like you’re trying to fill a bathtub, and yet you haven’t plugged up the drain. And so the water keeps draining out as fast as it goes in.
Roger Walsh: Yeah, it’s very hard to sit down and meditate and be and be be concentrated when you mind filled with anger and greed and jealousy. And yeah, you’re screwed people over that day.
Rick Archer: Yeah, really. I’ve seen it in action. I mean, I used to meditate or do you know, program in the domes here in Fairfield, Iowa. And there was this whole group of people that were working for this commodities trading thing, and they were basically building building little ladies out of their life savings, and, you know, the FTC, whatever it’s called, and the FCC ended up shutting the place down eventually, you know, these people would do that all day, then they come and sit in the dome, the dome down, they shut down this commodity trading company. You know, these people will come in and meditate, you know, after having ripped people off all day. And I know people who tried various business deals and ended up in prison, yet they were ardent spiritual practitioners. So even from the standpoint of, you know, and sometimes people use this ends justifies the means kind of mentality, you know, it’s like, well, I’m going to use the money for a good purpose. And that’s, that’s a slippery slope.
Roger Walsh: That’s a tricky one. I had the privilege with my late wife of being in a, in a, an ongoing research project was, which was interviewing cult, people from various cults, and getting to try and make sense of what are the common factors that lead to problems? And there are a couple of things that came out really stuck in my mind. One was the when you think you’re what you’re doing is so important that the ends justify the means. Watch out. Very dangerous. The second was, if you think you have a unique mission in the world To save to help and etc, or watch out. The third one was the first ethical slip makes a second so much easier. And the third etc. It’s like the old slippery slope metaphor really has some to it.
Rick Archer: A lot of these things come to my attention. And we’ve all seen the articles that keep coming out about various catastrophes and spiritual groups. But I mean, literally, I know of teachers who have said, you know, mine is the really the only teaching in the world that can save you. And if you leave me, you’re totally doomed for many lifetimes, and stuff like that. People actually, you know, the teachers themselves get convinced of this way of thinking and a certain number of people around them do.
Roger Walsh: Yeah, yeah. And, and I’m the only truly enlightened person on the planet, as Ken Wilber once said, Oh, no turn for I know, 10 people who think they’re the only fully enlightened person on the planet. I really want to get them in a room together.
Rick Archer: That’d be funny. Well, you know, the funny thing about ignorance or Maya, if we want to call it that, is that the first thing it does is blind you to its own existence? Yes. You know, yes. It’s the blinding darkness of ignorance. It’s called it’s in Sanskrit.
Roger Walsh: Yeah. And, and you mentioned the Sanskrit and the Yo, the Vedantic. Tradition has Shankara. I think it was shocker, maybe not. But anyway, the data Krishna really profound twist on that, that you can never know via what he calls a video or ignorance or unconsciousness? Because why you’re in it? You can’t see clearly enough to know that you are and why you’re out of it. It doesn’t exist. Yeah. Good point.
Rick Archer: Huh. Anyway, it’s it’s fascinating. There’s all these fascinating stories, and I’m sure the literature of all traditions about how this plays out, you know, I mean, there was a story about the I forget who the characters were, it was like maybe naroda, and Orion are something Narada said, explain. Explain Maya to me. So if Vedic scholars excuse me from getting the names wrong and Orion, I said, Oh, sure, I’ll be happy to do that. But I’m thirsty, would you go get me a glass of water, give me a drink of water. So, you know, Narada, runs off to the local town and goes to the well. And then he meets this beautiful woman. And, you know, he kind of forgets all about his mission and ends up striking up a relationship and marrying the woman and having a family and he’s working hard trying to support the family. And then one day this flood comes and and it’s like threatening to Washington, his family is washed away, and he’s about to drown. And he remembers, oh, the Lord, Lord, Lord saved me. And poof, the whole thing is gone. And he’s standing there, you know, with Narayana, and the master says, Where’s My Water? You, you want to understand Maya
Roger Walsh: is we’ve all been there.
Rick Archer: Let’s go through your book, I want to spend have some time here to go through your book, it’s in seven sections. And each section has, you know, an explanation of that particular principle, and then a kind of a glimpse of the highest value of that particular principle, if one were to realize it, and all kinds of good little practical practices that one could do to help develop this or that particular area. So why don’t you sketch out the different areas? Let’s spend like 510 minutes on each of these seven areas and play with the thoughts that come up?
Roger Walsh: Sure, well, let’s hope I can remember him. Here, too. So you have the book, seven
Rick Archer: practices? Well, the first one is motivation, transform your motivation.
Roger Walsh: Let me just give maybe it will be useful just to give a context for this record. The question that that motivated this was, you know, this extraordinary situation we have for the first time in history, we really do have all the great traditions available to us and their practices. So the question that kind of intrigued me was one of the greatest minds in history say, the qualities that are most important to develop, to be a full human being and to awaken to potentials as much as we can, and to live as fully and wisely and well as we can. And as I looked across the traditions I found, it seemed like that all advocate all traditions advocated seven particular qualities of heart and mind and one was, one, as he said, was motivation a certain a certain relinquishing of craving, compulsive craving, and a refinement of motivation away from material obsessions towards more trouble personal goals, actualization, Transcendence, service love, etc.
Rick Archer: Well, you were saying earlier that people can’t be motivated for this stuff if they don’t know it exists and in our society we haven’t really known it exists. So perhaps, we’ll continue on but it’s we obviously need an education of some sort, as a culture, which would awaken us to these possibilities.
Roger Walsh: Yes. And and to new onset by going back to the point you made earlier reckon that is that the psyche has its own innate motivation to grow and develop so, so gets
Rick Archer: frustrated, if it’s thwarted and get and get rewarded. If it’s not ever shown that possibility in school or in church or in anything with one’s parents or anything else, you have this kind of feeling like there’s got to be something more but you don’t
Roger Walsh: know how to make something more. Yeah. Most people don’t know what designed for a few fortunate people, the psyche does break out spontaneously in some sort of erupt into into some opening, spontaneous opening whether or not they know anything about and that can happen even in childhood, people can kids can have some extraordinary experiences, which only makes sense to the much later. So motivation first emotional transformation is another one, the relinquishment of painful destructive emotions like like jealousy, anger, fear, hatred, the cultivation of positive ones love, compassion, joy, perceptual training. So,
Rick Archer: as we go through that, though, just to say a few sentences about the highest value of each of these things like that, you know, if if motivation is really as lofty as it can be, what is that going to look like? And if emotional wisdom is at its apex, you know, what’s that going to look like?
Roger Walsh: Well, I think for motivation, as far as I can see, and again, this is looking across, across traditions and drawing from contemporary psychological research, it seems to me that there are for a number of higher or higher motives or here, one is self actualization, that is the motive to develop ourselves to, to cultivate our capacities and potentials. The second is self transcendence, which is the capacity the motive to open to a an identity large now a little personality and ego. The third is his selfless service, which is, is to be distinguished from the usual under conventional understanding of selfless service as a kind of compulsive super, super egoic. Doing and, but the spiritual super selfless service is a trans ego, a compassion nod or super ego, compulsion. And beyond even, and this, this I would add in, you don’t see this in the psychological maps, the psychological maps go as far as self actualization, self transcendence, I would add in from the spiritual traditions, selfless service. And I’d add in on top of that, what the Taoist would call wu wei or effortless effort, or spontaneity, Enzo Chen, or Meister Eckhart and the Christian tradition, living without why it’s a spontaneous overflow an expression of the universal the divine acting through without egoic movement.
Rick Archer: Sure, one way you could put that, I mean, in the Gita, Krishna says established in yoga, perform action. You know, and so Karma Yoga, if we want to call it that doesn’t just mean doing stuff and not being attached to the fruits or doing it, you know, out of altruistic motive or something, it means actually being in union being established in non duality, and then performing action in that state. And if you’re doing that, if that’s your condition, then naturally things are going to flow in the right way. You’re going to sort of be an instrument of the Divine.
Roger Walsh: Yeah, beautiful. And, and really nice. You, you acknowledge those, a developmental progression within karma yoga. Because that’s not often often emphasized.
Rick Archer: Yeah. I mean, there’s another verse that comes to mind which is, you know, you have control over action alone, never over it’s fruits, live not through the fruits of action or attach yourself to inaction. So, you know why, let’s say why do people become attached to things? Put ever you know just what I could give an answer, but I’d rather hear you do it. Thanks. Let me check, let me get a quick stab. And then you see if you agree, and we were talking earlier about wanting fulfillment and wanting happiness, it’s this innate thing. And we try to grasp things which seem to give it to us. But things by definition, keep changing. And so we grasp harder to hold on to them. And yet they they get away from us anyway. So we kind of go chasing and gripping on to various external situations or experiences in the hope of gaining some, some fulfillment, but they always changed. Whereas if we could sort of sink into the self, which is an ocean of fulfillment, then that satisfies that craving for fulfillment, and they’re there. Therefore, interaction with the world is not the source of our primary source of our fulfillment. It’s just icing on the cake, and we’re not attached to how things go.
Roger Walsh: Beautiful. Yes. So that’s, that’s a very beautiful spiritual understanding of craving. And from that perspective, the craving for fulfillment in the manifest realm is a substitute gratification for an unrecognized, we don’t, when we don’t recognize what we truly want, then we start craving the things we do, we do know, we don’t know about what we really want, we crave what we do know. And so that craving gets expressed in different ways. According to different personalities and profiles and maturation, your childhood cravings are different from adult ones and adult ones are different from post conventional ones, etc. And they’re all substitute gratifications on Kiruna. Now, I think it’s useful to add in to give a meta frame here and say that one can always look at an issue like craving, from many perspectives and many maps. So if we now look at craving from a contemporary psychological and neuro neuroscience perspective, we an evolutionary perspective, we would say the cravings are hardwired into the neuro nervous system for certain things like food and, and sex and security, and comfort, etc. And that we, and we could go any direction with this. But let’s move in a in a direction, which is really up for us at this time in human history, where cravings which was set hardwired into the nervous system, hundreds of 1000s, or in some cases, even millions of years ago, and now in a environment, which is extremely different from the African savanna, where we have from those of us who fortunate live fortunate lives in the Western world, we have unlimited access to food and to a pleasurable stimuli of one kind or another. And we have all industries that are devoting some of the best minds they can hire, to creating what the evolutionary psychologists would call supernormal stimuli, which are stimuli which are more attractive and addictive than the stimuli in the natural environment, which can lead you let’s take the food industry for a moment. They are on record as they are working to provide to create the best combination of salt and sugar and fat, which creates quote, the bliss point of entertainment. Okay, so we we are now we wonder why we have a global epidemic of obesity. It’s called obesity. Almost half the world’s population now, there are 600 million people in the malnourished and underfed. There are half the world’s population that’s overweight. Yeah. And we are our evolutionary hardwiring is up against a multi billion dollar industry which we’re not for. We’re just not wired for. Now. Let me give you an example. Because this this is going to get worse. We have we’re just at the beginning. Think for example of the the internet addiction and pornography addiction. Yeah, they’re the Japanese have a term which I can’t pronounce. For kids who literally just watch translates to shotguns they just stay in their room as many hours a day as they possibly can. except to get food and food and, and, and go pee, and they play video games. Now here’s a here’s a really telling story. There is a, a species of beetle in Australia called the Australian jewel beetle, which for which is incredibly attracted to be a bottles, the males are attracted to be a bottles, the beer bottle just happens to give me the right shading and right shape and give the right reflection and colors to act as a supernormal sexual sexual stimulus for males. So the male jewel beetles will literally stay out in the sun until they die and desiccate. Try to copulate with these people and the femur and neglect the females. So we have now internet pornography, which is it used to be I’m you know, I’m a physician of psychiatrists used to be someone a male came in with erectile dysfunction you asked, okay, do you have diabetes, you have hypertension? Now, the first question you ask is how much porn Do you watch? Okay, now, think of the next stage. Virtual reality. We haven’t seen anything yet. I mean, this is it’s really hard to comprehend what this could mean for crate addiction craving and, and given that there are going to be billions of dollars spent to get us into these things and buying the latest ones and cetera, et cetera. They’re already creating virtual reality porn programs. So it’s like, I mean, we are on the cutting edge of another whole layer of addiction. Add in the fact that of designer drugs. Yeah. Which will probably make today’s addictive drugs look like popcorn. And, I mean, this is a dystopian aspect of the future that very few people seem to be thinking about, but it’s, we’re gonna be facing this very soon.
Rick Archer: Interesting. Well, it’s interesting, it almost seems like it. What you’re saying is that the technology is evolving to increase the polarities in the world. Because like, you and I are using the internet right now for something edifying, I would think, and then you can find all the world’s great spiritual teachings on the internet, if that’s where you choose to put your attention, instead of on porn or something. And at the, at the sand conference, there’s people downstairs using virtual reality goggles and having to elicit some kind of spiritual state or something. I never tried it, I don’t know exactly what they’re doing. But all these technologies, and then there’s artificial intelligence. I mean, you didn’t even mention that, who knows what that’s gonna do. But it seems like all these technologies like fire, or, or any other technology can have a benign application, or, or not, depending upon how we choose to use it. So maybe it’s a kind of a separate the sheep from the goats kind of situation. And people have to just see where their loyalties are, where their interest is, what their we’re back to motivation, what their motivation is, we’re not going to these technologies aren’t going to go away. And, you know, we can choose to live tonight even use them. I mean, we don’t have a cell phone that we actually use except for emergencies. But if you are going to use them, then you have to exercise discernment and discrimination and examine your motives and not do things which waste your time or demean you in some way.
Roger Walsh: Well said and it, you know, technology by itself doesn’t do anything. It’s as with so many things, it’s how it’s used. And what you just pointed to other qualities of heart and mind and maturity, that are going to be required to use these increasingly powerful technologies because technology’s you know, power is increasing exponentially now, wisdom is not increasing exponentially by any means. Yeah. So we’re, you know, we’re really up against the challenge of, of a race and a race between consciousness that catastrophe really, and catastrophe can take, you know, any number of ways we could do ourselves in
Rick Archer: our once I say we’re working on several of them all at once, it seems sad but true. Actually, I interviewed a woman a few months ago named Julian Ross, who wrote The book by that name consciousness versus catastrophe. And this is the kind of stuff we talked about. But it seems that there’s a kind of a race in the world between excess, you know, accelerating consciousness and accelerating catastrophe. I mean, just climate change alone could easily do us into there’s a logic to, to accepting that it pretty much already has, it might be reversible. Hopefully that’s not true. But that all this doesn’t seem coincidental. To me, it seems like this sort of consciousness epidemic that seems to be sweeping the Earth is, is rising to meet the challenge that has been posed by by the technologies and their potentially lethal effects.
Roger Walsh: Yeah, and I find it you know, there one can, one can take many perspectives about the many chat challenges to, to our species and planet that we faced the mom and I really think that the the issue of the time is, can we sustain civilization, but there and one can take a variety of perspectives from dystopian to techno optimism to with a perspective, I choose as agnosticism I don’t know, and responsibility, it’s up to us. But, but I do take heart from the fact that that what we are, if we’re in a race between consciousness catastrophe, then if we break down what we mean by consciousness, we probably mean something close to the classic virtues. But those qualities of heart and mind which allows to live wisely and well, love, you know, be they any of those seven, seven capacities are listed in the book, whether that’s emotional virtues of love or motivation of, of selfless service, or insight and wisdom, our selfless service, etc. And for the first time in history, we have available to us practices for cultivating every one of these virtues, from laudable traditions, what we don’t as yet have is a recognition in Western society, that these virtues are in fact skills, you know, for example, that love is not something just kind of descends on you like an attack of epilepsy with when with the right person who looks the right way and says the right things. It’s really one of the great arts and skills of human life and their practices in every one of these traditions for coordinating it. Now, if we could get that out into the culture, the culture, we could change the culture.
Rick Archer: Yeah, well, we’re trying to do it, right. I mean, I am You are many people are. We just keep talking about this stuff, and doing them doing these things ourselves. And, you know, 50 years ago, it wasn’t like this. I mean, they were sure there was Yogananda, and there was a few things here and there. But it really seems to a lot of things that become household words that were just seen as kooky and weird, and, you know, off the beaten path way back then.
Roger Walsh: Yeah, it’s true. And that’s one of the things which really gives me some hope that there is a, you know, that these practice, these understandings and practices are becoming part of the wider conversation. And as you said earlier, it’s still a minority of people who actually practice some, but it’s a growing minority.
Rick Archer: Yeah, one thing that I’ve often thought is that it kind of like, you know, make hay while the sun shines that, that there’s a sort of a, an acceleration, or an intensification of the spiritual impulse kind of bubbling up from below, as it were. And, you know, to mix metaphors, you can catch that wave and surf it, if you’re so inclined, it’s a, it’s an opportune time for making a lot of spiritual progress if you’re inclined to do so. Whereas in other cultures and other economic situations, it may have been difficult or impossible, you would have had to struggle just to feed yourself and you wouldn’t have been able to find a teacher and, and and even if you had found the teacher and so on the atmosphere was it was as if breakthrough into higher consciousness for some kind of thick membrane that you took took a Superman like the Buddha to break through, but these days, the membrane has gotten a lot thinner. And it’s a lot easier to break through more and more people having. Well the reason I named this show Buddha at the Gas Pump is that the implication being that in this day and age, you may meet enlightened people to use that word in ordinary circumstances or new situations. They’re becoming more and more commonplace.
Roger Walsh: Yeah, yeah. And, like, I like your idea of well Several things I like the one is the is the implication that yes, this is a time of, in which a grow a large number of us in the western world live what the Tibetan Buddhists would call free and well favored lives free of the impediments to practice, and favored with, with things from food to teachers to resources,
Rick Archer: to be able to practice indoor plumbing, whatever,
Roger Walsh: no plumbing, let’s hear for indoor plumbing. And that, yeah, let’s make the most of it and, and, and do as much awaken as fully as we can and serve as fully as fully as we can. And, and that these hopefully, these I, these are, you know, each of us as feels like we’re called to do what we can to bring these ideas into the mainstream and in a couple of ways one is to, to popularize, that isn’t quite the right word. But the second is to legitimate them to make sense of them. And there’s a very beautiful concept that they taken, drawn from Carl Jung he spoke of the translator of the of the Qing Wilhelm, as being a Gnostic intermediaries. And the way I understand Gnostic intermediary is someone who imbibes the wisdom of tradition so deeply that becomes part of their own being, and the and the view, they’re then able to translate that wisdom into the language and concepts of the culture they’re trying to communicate to. So they do a three fold process of become the wisdom translate, and by translating so as to create an aha experience. So they’re not only getting the information out there, they’re legitimating it making it understandable it to the community. And I think that the traditional spiritual ideas and contemplative ideas that we have inherited from around the world, cat were born in the agrarian era, they’re couched in mythic language, in foreign terms, at least for the non western ones. They literally don’t make sense for most of the world, and our conventional, our Western traditions are couched in archaic language and concepts, etc. So we are the first tradition that is called not only to translate, say, for example, Buddhism, across cultures, but to translate traditions, across eras, and bring them into a postmodern world and make them comprehensible in in contemporary terms, in the language, in many cases, psychological language, that’s current and our time, so. So it feels like a lot of us. And I think a lot of the people on your program, without necessarily having that understanding of gnostic and Demeter are basically doing that,
Rick Archer: yeah, it’s actually a huge task that, you know, I think will take a while and will ever be complete. But there, it’ll be something that we can work on for generations, you know, because there’s just so much territory to map out, we started near the beginning of this interview, talk using the metaphor of a territory and, and mapping it, and so on. And I still think I’ve often said this, that we’re kind of at the Lewis and Clark stage of understanding the, you know, the terrain.
Roger Walsh: I think that’s a generous view.
Rick Archer: And actually, a question came in about this from Dan, in London, he said, Can you recommend a post conventional physiological map? For someone that would like to understand the possibilities of and their own development? If one does indeed exist? Go ahead, take a stab at that, if you’d like
Roger Walsh: a map of physiology post conventional map of physiology?
Rick Archer: Well, I would say, to interpret Dan’s question that you know, there there will be just just as this subjective experiences of higher states of consciousness are radically different than ordinary states, there will be corresponding physiological states, the physiological correlates, that will be as different from ordinary waking, dreaming and sleeping physiology as they are from each other, and perhaps more so. So this will just be part of the mapping, I think, to get the complete neurophysiological map. Clear and, and its correlation with all the higher states that one can experience.
Roger Walsh: Okay, that’s helpful that that lets me understand it. Yeah. And I think the first thing we need to acknowledge is it’s very early days yet. We’re only just beginning to to get some maps of neural correlates of contemplative experiences and practices. There are interesting insights. But most of the neuroscientific research on contemplative practices and insights really focuses on beginners. So we don’t have much on the really advanced people, we do have a few and growing number of studies, as I mentioned, identified. For example, the, the electrophysiological, or EEG profiles of people during lucid dreaming, and non lucid dreaming and finding that, for example, in lucid dreams, the dream is exhibited a unique combination of, of EEG patterns with the fast rhythm of waking superimposed on the slow rhythmic patterns of sleep. So it’s a unique electrophysiological profile, then, we also find in advanced advanced practitioners doing contemplative practices a unique degree of, of synchrony across the, as I record, this is for memory, across the long tracks of the brain frontal and, and posterior polls. So, you know, we’re beginning to get some things, but it’s really early, and let’s remember, the brain is the most complex organ we know of in the known universe so far, you know, it’s got a, what is it? 1.2 by 10, to the nine neurons and 1000 connections between them all I mean, yeah, more connections are are and stars in the galaxy. So getting to map the map the brain, let alone its function during, during higher states of consciousness. Yeah,
Rick Archer: you mentioned something earlier about how, you know, a Buddhist monk in Satori might be having a very different experience than an Amazon Amazonian shaman, let’s say on ayahuasca, or whatever the Amazonian shaman is doing, and how that might make it difficult to say that there is sort of one underlying universal reality that every one could tap into and agree upon. But I think we can understand that the the territory is so vast and varied, that the the Buddhist monk and the shaman are just exploring or different aspects of it in their respective experiences. But seen from a broader perspective, it’s the it’s still the same territory. There’s just a lot of diversity. For instance, there all these said to be all these subtle realms, astral realm, and celestial realm, there’s all kinds of things one could discover there, which are very different from and maybe different people would discover different things. But if you could really take a God’s eye view, and and encompass the whole of what is what exists, within your awareness, you’d find that, oh, they’re all just pieces of the same puzzle. And everybody has a little that we’re all, you know, we humans are all, you know, feeling the the elephant and coming to different conclusions. But let me just finish this last sentence, which is that still, I think humans have the capacity to tap into something which is truly universal, and not just a limited part of the elephant.
Roger Walsh: Yeah, so there’s a lot in what you said, Rick, let’s let’s agree, we can happily agree that, you know, it does seem that in some extraordinary way. Consciousness can awaken to itself and, and what the limits of that if there are any go, who knows. And to complicate things a little bit, this, this understand this presupposition, that there’s an underlying reality which, which we well, let’s use the elephant, elephant metaphor, blind men and the elephant metaphor, and, you know, there’s the underlying reality and the mystics and the scientists and the shamans and tapping into different as different aspects of it. Maybe so, and there is a growing movement of feeling that is called the participatory turn, that are that we don’t or can’t even be sure there’s the one underlying reality that are very participated. There’s a participatory relationship with the universe with experience so that each of us evokes or enacts a particular something, which is called forth in its unique expression through each of us in each state of consciousness and each stage of development, etc. So that let’s just acknowledge that. First of all, I don’t know but There’s a growing number of people who would say, not so fast. Maybe the blind men and the elephant is, is the appropriate metaphor, but maybe it’s a much more dynamic. Maybe reality is a lot more dynamic. And there’s no one elephant and we call for we’re not just we’re finding seeing the elephant or feeling it. We are actually calling for something new in that moment. So
Rick Archer: Oh, yeah. And yet there is sort of, you know, sort of intersubjective agreement about many things. We all see a tree and the bee sees it one way, and cat sees it another way, and so on and so forth. So there’s something out there that seems to transcend individual perspectives.
Roger Walsh: Yeah, and bottom line, I love the bottomless mystery.
Rick Archer: Yeah. Yeah, it’s I mean, obviously, I don’t think either of us is saying, Okay, this is the way it is. Everybody should believe this. We play with ideas. And sometimes we state them. Somewhat assertively just for this. You don’t have to hem and haw over every sentence. But yeah, yeah, who knows?
Roger Walsh: And I hold that fine to say anything as long as there’s an understood qualifier. And I could be wrong. Yeah, but I believe that, I don’t know.
Rick Archer: Yeah, there’s a great line in the Rig Veda where they say something like, I can’t really quote it precisely, but it might be in the Upanishads. I forget which, but it’s sort of like, you know, maybe the maybe the Creator knows, or maybe he doesn’t know. And, or, and if he doesn’t know, then maybe nobody knows.
Roger Walsh: I think it’s sort of Aveda.
Rick Archer: So, yeah, right.
Roger Walsh: Don’t know by and I’m a big fan of don’t know, mind. Yeah. Yeah. And within the way I hold it is, yeah, at bottom, we don’t know what bond, it’s bottomless mystery. And within that mystery, we are still we, we need our worldviews and assumptions. And we and the game is to, to be open to the feedback from whether it’s the elephant or the enacted, calling forth or whatever, to be open to finding the understanding and corresponding behavior and values, which best serve the welfare and awakening of all.
Rick Archer: Yeah, absolutely. I something I kind of flash when we’re having conversations like this on the idea that, you know, we after all, there are just little kind of sense organs of the infinite. And deep down, we are the infinite, but when we want to think and talk and understand, we’re just doing that with, you know, fairly limited capacities. But the infinite itself, we could say, God itself, or it seems to have his act together. I mean, you know, various laws of nature, we know that certain laws of nature, which we see, you know, operating near in our nearby neighborhood and the universe also operate, you know, billions of light years away. So somehow, rather, this whole marvelous thing has come into existence, and is orchestrated by orderly laws, which we certainly don’t all understand them all, completely by a longshot. But they’re, they’re predictable, they’re reliable, they’re, they’re stable, in a sense. So no, this is, I guess, to wrap that point up, it’s like, the, the knowledge of totality is there, the instruction manual for running a universe is being followed by he or she or it, who is running it. And you know, we as human beings, we can sort of, you know, aspire to understand and experience the mechanics of that, to whatever extent human beings are capable of doing
Roger Walsh: Yeah, and, and always, there will be more and always the invitation to wonder.
Rick Archer: Yeah, well, as a matter of fact, I mean, they say again, in the Vedic literature that the span of evolution they speak of 16 collars, and that humans occupy the fourth through eighth so if that’s true then you could be the greatest sage who ever walked the earth and you’re still only about halfway there if there’s really any their their sense of what your definition is is
Roger Walsh: Yeah, and not only wonder but all Yeah. Oh, that emotion that the, the response to something of incomprehensible beauty or great And you’re and, and part of part of that feels like spiritual practice in life is, is the greater openness to the or and grand or mystery and beauty and love of life and creation. The gift, this incredible gift we’ve been given, yeah,
Rick Archer: way to spend one time. I mean, you know, I’m sure you’ve said that somewhere in this book. But, you know, the main point is, if you find this stuff interesting, and in my mind is a heck of a lot more interesting and a lot of other stuff. Focus on it. And I’ll put your attention there. Because that to what you give your attention is only going to grow stronger in your life.
Roger Walsh: Yeah, yeah. And, and in one sense, that’s what purification which is one of the key elements of our spiritual practice and at the heart of ethics. Ethics, is it’s a purification allows us to direct attention to that which is most important without being distracted by subsidiary compulsions and passions etc. Yeah. So. So. Yeah, yeah, absolutely. And and within the mind, what we attend to, we evoke exactly a very important principle of contemplative practice, which you could say some, some sages would say, Yeah, that’s a essential aspect of meditation.
Rick Archer: Yeah. Another thing I heard you say in a number of interviews is also that hang out with people who who are into this stuff, if you want to be into it. Yeah, hang out with kindred souls. It’s, it’s one of the strongest admonitions of all the different traditions.
Roger Walsh: Yeah, you know, you’ve generously mentioned the book essential spirituality several times, Rick, and the, you know, took me three years to research and write that. And the biggest surprise in those three years, was that every single tradition said, for every single one of the seven qualities, if you want to cultivate this, hang out with people who have it, the consciousness is catchy, and I love it when contemporary research catches up with perennial wisdom. And now we have this emerging field of, of network research in which we’re finding that, that psychological, not just behaviors, but psychological states are transmitted across social networks so that if your brother’s wife’s friend who you’ve never met, gets depressed, then the statistical chance you’ll start, your mood will start to go down. Interesting. Yeah. So connected at a deep level, we’re all connected way more profoundly and sensitively the than we’d appreciate it. And of course, and yet, parents know this, they want the kids to hang out with the quote, the right kids, and sages have recommended this for millennia. Yeah, the Sangha spiritual community hang out with people who have these same values and aspirations and practices and it robbed consciousness is catchy.
Rick Archer: Sure, and it doesn’t mean we should become spiritual snobs or, you know, turn our nose up, but quote, unquote, unspiritual people and so on, I mean, look at Jesus’s example. And Mother Teresa’s, or, you know, various sages who just really dove into the thick of life and and uplifted everyone they encountered. But for but they weren’t doing it for kicks, you know, they weren’t, they weren’t doing it. Because, you know, like, for the reasons one might go to a script, strip club or a bar or something like that they were doing it because it was their mission as people who wanted to alleviate as much suffering as possible. So very beautiful.
Roger Walsh: Yeah. And I think it’s helpful to put that within a within a kind of practice progression that at first, just like when you’re learning to ride a bike, you need training wheels, and it’s really helpful to be with like minded people who give you support, but the goal isn’t as insulate yourself in a nice supportive group for the rest of your life. The goal is to cultivate these qualities so they’re strong and stable enough so you can go out into the world in challenging situations and bring these qualities with you to others.
Rick Archer: Yeah, good point. It has to get sort of stabilized before it’s easily overshadowed in its initial stage. It’s like a little sprout of a pine tree, you know, it can easily get stomped on, but eventually it becomes a strong tree and can stand up to mighty gales.
Roger Walsh: Exactly, exactly. Yeah, new potentials are fragile at first, and we need to nurture them as you’re as you’re implying.
Rick Archer: Yeah, and that brings up another point in your book, which is if you know, if you find an effective spiritual practice, there are various strategies you can use to learn to do it regularly and to not let it be disrupted by you know, the various distractions of life and, and you emphasize this a lot in the book that that to a regular practice and you know, with a kind of a stick to it of attitude is extremely beneficial.
Roger Walsh: Yeah, just seems you know, for the most part there there are, for the most part, it takes a stain practice to, to instill a new way of being whether it’s a habit of behavior, or an emotional response,
Rick Archer: or really a tennis serve. I mean, whatever you know, it takes.
Roger Walsh: You’re right. Yeah, exactly. Yeah, it just takes practice. Now, there are rare exceptions. They’re called Quantum quantum experiences where people have real breakthroughs and transform very quickly think of the near death experience, for example, but they’re rare for the most part, they, it takes the steam practice to, to stabilize, to do two things, which psychologists call stabilize a new trait or behavior, and generalize to be able to carry it out of the the Sangha or community or nice, safe space in which you learned it into the world.
Rick Archer: Yeah, this whole thing about, you know, sudden awakening, and then you’re done or something like that. I mean, you know, you might suddenly win the lottery, if you’re lucky, but you wouldn’t want to make that a retirement plan.
Roger Walsh: Yeah, and, and it’s, it’s clear, I think we have enough data now to say, even people who have can have powerful spontaneous openings, those effects tend to dissipate over time, unless they’re sustained by some sort of regular practice. So there’s an opening, but sustaining it, and integrating it as part of one’s personality, and then generalizing it and bringing it out. Those are very different processes.
Rick Archer: I like Ken Wilber, three phrases waking up cleaning up and growing up.
Roger Walsh: Yeah, all of them, all of them crucial. Yeah. And, and that would be a very good distillation of growing up, and the waking up of what we’re talking about before that there are different kinds of spiritual maturation. One is through states of consciousness, the waking up. One is through stages of psychological development, the growing up, and both are crucial, and cleaning up the purification process.
Rick Archer: Okay, well, I’m always at this point in interview, after about two hours, I think, Wow, this is so much fun. I could sit here for another two hours, but you got it sort of wrap it up at some guests may need to use the restroom or something. But um, so anything you’d like to say, in conclusion, at any one of the points you’ve made have been so eloquent, they could have been nice concluding points. But is there anything you’d like to say, to really put up, put a lid on it for now?
Roger Walsh: Or a couple of things. One is just to thank you for these opportunities, it’s really opportunity to dialogue with your work, it’s really a gift to be able to get these ideas out, because, as you said, a growing number of people, you know, including, particularly the ones who have been on your program, are trying to get these ideas out into the culture, and that we are in a race between consciousness and catastrophe. And I think that I would want to say that we do have, as you implied, unprecedented opportunities with these favorable lives of ours at this moment, that really, we’re at a turning point in human history that we’ve never before in history, had such threats to our collective well being and survival, and such opportunities. And each of us is called, it feels like to take opportunity to take advantage of, of this unique situation, and to go as deeply as we possibly can into ourselves, so as to go more effectively out into the world. But go out into the world as part of our spiritual practice as a karma yoga as a yoga in action and using our work in the world as a as our practice. So we go into ourselves to go more effectively out into the world and we go out into the world in order to go deeper into ourselves and we keep that cycle growing. And we have we have this extraordinary opportunity with all the world’s practices available to us to sport sports in this and we have a growing network of people, both personal and through the internet through programs like this, to support us and help us in the program and just hope pray that each of us can listen to our own inner calling to find our most are calling our unique contribution and open to that and make a small part and making this in keeping this one Full adventure of conscious we call human existence alive and well and flourishing and awakening. Good,
Rick Archer: nice. Okay, so I will be linking to your website as I always do and linking to your books from your page on bat gap calm. So those listening to this if you want to learn more about Roger just go to his page on bat gap and then from there you can jump over to his website and you know, his books on Amazon and so on. Also, Roger is going to be hosting a webinar along with Mariana Kaplan, who has been on that, yep. Under the auspices of the Association for spiritual integrity, and it’s going to be about psychedelic psychedelic emergencies is the new psychedelic revolution, really an evolution. And there’s a paragraph here describing it. Use wisely, psychedelics can offer remarkable benefits, but how to ensure that they’re used wisely. So Roger and Mariana will delve into the ethical, personal and psychological issues that we need to consider in order to ensure safe and fruitful expectations of psychedelics as they reemerge into western culture. So that’s something you and I haven’t talked about at all today. So if people want to hear that go to the Association for spiritual integrity, which is spiritual hyphen, integrity dot O R, G, and you’ll see a place to sign up for that webinar, it’s going to be on Wednesday, the 26th, from one to 230 Pacific time. So anything else like that, that you want to announce? Roger, any special upcoming.
Roger Walsh: I’m a fan of the European integral Conference, which has really become the global or world integral Conference, which will be at the end of May in Hungary. So I’m very much looking forward to being there. And I was at the last one two years ago, really a wonderful, wonderful event. So certainly encourage people to go there.
Rick Archer: Great. Okay. And there’s information about they can just do a Google search for that, I’m sure and it’ll pop up. It’ll pop up. Great. All right. Well, thank you to those who have been listening or watching. Next week, I have an interview with Bill McDonald, whom I’ve interviewed before, we’re going to cover some stuff that we didn’t cover in the first one. And the following week, I have an interview with Maria and zire, Bonanza, who are the mother and father of the science and non duality conference. I’ve been going to that conference for 10 years and never actually had a chance to SAT, sit down and have a nice conversation with them. Because we’re always so busy when we’re there. So I’m looking forward to that. So thanks for listening or watching and we’ll see what the next one. Thanks, Roger.
Roger Walsh: Thank you, Rick. That was a that was a great fun. I really appreciate it. We could have, we just have a lot to explore.
Rick Archer: Yeah, we’ll have to drive across the country together somehow. And just talk for five days.
Roger Walsh: Well, maybe another lunch of saying thanks so much. Again, I really do appreciate the opportunity to do a dialogue like this with someone who has been so immersed in these things and, and do appreciate the work you do. So thanks so much.