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Rick Archer: Welcome to Buddha at the Gas Pump. My name is Rick Archer. And my guest today is Sally Kempton. Sally, would you like me to read your little canned bio here, you want to just tell us off the cuff yourself?
Sally Kempton: Hi, Rick. Hi. Totally Nice to be with you. Yeah, so I’m a teacher of meditation, spiritual wisdom. I, what I call contemplative Tantra. And from a Hindu tradition, I’ve been practicing and teaching for about 40 years, I was a longtime student of Swami Muktananda, whom Rick and I were just talking about. And he was a Swami, a monk, for a number of years until the early 2000s. And I’ve been teaching and writing, so to speak, as a lay person since about 2003. And I’ve written a couple of books, which hopefully we’ll talk about called meditation for the love of it. And awakening Shakti. And I, hopefully, we’re going to also talk about my new audio program, which is called Doorways to the infinite, which is a series of tantric meditation practices from amazing Sanskrit texts called the Yana by ERVA, or the, the wisdom of the fiery form of the Divine. So that’s my basic bio bio. And I used to write a column called wisdom for Yoga Journal for a number of years. Right.
Rick Archer: Yeah, and incidentally, at the end, we’ll give the details of this, but you’re going to be teaching it telecourse starting, like the night that this interview comes out, it’ll probably come out Monday or Tuesday morning or something. And so if people don’t listen through to the very end, you might want to go to Sally’s website, Sally Kempton calm and check that out, or listen through the very end, we’ll get more details about it.
Sally Kempton: It’s actually on the shift network, called The Wisdom goddess empowerment. So you can look it up, you can go to shift network.com And look it up or through my website. Okay,
Rick Archer: great. So I had the time during the past week to listen to your entire audio book, doorways to the infinite the art and practice of tantric meditation. I really enjoyed it. And I also read a good portion of your book, awakening Shakti, the transformative power of the goddesses of yoga, I really enjoyed that, too. In fact, I just really enjoyed preparing for this interview. And I don’t want to do this. But I want to spend a couple minutes just kind of laying out some thoughts and questions that were about things that I think about pretty much all the time anyway, being being a spiritual nerd. But that you’re but listening and reading your stuff really enlivened and amplified, and filled in some some gaps for me. So I’d like to just kind of lay that out. And it’ll probably give a summary of what we’re going to talk about in this interview, although I’m sure it sure will veer off into other topics as well. So I think all these questions could be summed up in the in the question, what’s actually going on? And, and the first part of it is what I would call the self interacting dynamics of consciousness. We’ve all heard, you know, the term non duality and Advaita and we’ve heard people say things like, Oh, I was one with the tree and, and things like that. So let’s say I’m looking at a tree, right? What does that noise a car helicopter, okay. So let’s say I’m looking at a tree. Now, you know, the Vedic literature says that ultimately, it’s all consciousness. I am that are that all this is that there’s nothing but that. And so what’s actually going on if I’m looking at a tree, if, if the tree ultimately is nothing but consciousness and I, my brain, my eyes not only the innermost eye, but my brain, my eyes, my perceptual apparatus, the Sun which is providing light, by which to see the tree, if all that is ultimately nothing but consciousness, then really consciousness is sign of just interacting with itself within itself. It’s it’s looking at itself, so to speak. So that’s what we mean by the self interacting dynamics of consciousness. So that’s, we’ll talk about that. That’s one point. Next point is the the fascinating thing of the veiling of this veiling of our fundamental oneness? If it’s really only consciousness, why do we see it as flesh and bone and wood and and so on? And when it’s ultimately actually consciousness, what how is it that we lose the vision of the essential nature of things. So that’s another point. Third point would be the sort of the infinite energy and potential inherent in every iota of creation, I was looking at a talk by a physicist last night Nassim Haramein. And he was talking about how within every cubic centimeter of empty space, there is more latent or potential energy, then there is an entire expressed manifest universe. So there’s just like this incredibly dense, powerful energy in every iota of creation, or of the fun of the fundamental field from which creation arises. So I want to talk about that. And then another thing is the idea of intelligence. And this is this one, I think, is the one which people take for granted even the most. Because if you think about it, there’s something utterly miraculous going on. right before our very eyes, in every cell of our bodies, you know, there are over there billions of atoms, and each atom in itself is a little miracle. And the cell itself is more complex than a major metropolitan city. And we, we only understand 1%, maybe of what’s going on in the cell. And then we have trillions of them. And, and they’re all coordinated perfectly, you know, to to produce this miracle called life. And, and then there are trillions, billions of us and billions of trillions of planets in which there are other forms of life. I mean, there’s this incredible display going on in the universe, which makes it hard for me to understand how anybody could be an atheist. But there’s this kind of like a cloud that veils our vision of what’s actually going on. So I’d like to talk about intelligence and your books address all these points, I think, and they, they personalize it. They don’t regard they don’t portray intelligence as merely some kind of impersonal oceanic field. But they they discuss the sort of the, the expressions of intelligence and the hierarchy of intelligence that that governs and structures the universe. So that to me is all very fascinating. And those are some of the things I’d like to talk to you about.
Sally Kempton: Yeah, the basic issues. fundamental issues are, are embodied in disembodied life. Yeah.
Rick Archer: So maybe we should start with consciousness. I mean, it might be a stretch for some people to say that everything is fundamentally consciousness, who says it is what how can we help to explain that it might be if somebody doesn’t quite see how it could be?
Sally Kempton: I think for one thing, we we need to talk about how we define consciousness, because, you know, which, of course, science apparently has not succeeded in doing. But as far as I can tell, there, there are several basic views in contemporary science of, of what consciousness is. And then there’s the, the view of Eastern spirituality, which, which is, of course, the one that I hold, and that that we’re talking from, but, you know, there’s a view and in neuroscience that and I actually heard on NPR, a woman, a woman science, Canadian woman scientists, explained, expounding on this view with utter absolute certainty, there is no such thing as consciousness outside the brain. And, you know, its consciousness. In other words, it’s an epiphenomenon, of brain processes. And that’s essentially what I guess we would call the reductionist neuro physiological view. There’s another view, that that kind of kind of psychological view that consciousness is sort of like the press office in the Obama administration, you know, that decisions are made elsewhere and consciousness observes and reports on the processes of the physical body and the, you know, the pre existing physical universe. And that view that I hold in that I’m pretty sure you hold, is that when we talk about consciousness, we’re talking about a fundamental, intelligent energy which has, which has the nature of awareness, and which is the ground that the absolute ground of all that exists. So that consciousness this, if we define consciousness like this, it’s inside and outside everything. So, you know, the intelligence of the cell, the the power and the breath. Of course, everything that goes on in the brain is is under underlaid by this foundational ground beingness which is aware and intelligent and filled with creative power, which is, I would say the the contribution of The tantric approach to, to looking at what the world consists of. So that, you know, can we talk about consciousness as, as pure being which has the nature of light and intelligence, and also is fundamentally creative. And, you know, one of the, one of the texts of the Kashmir Shava Tantra, which I love, which is called self record, that the, the heart of the doctrine of self recognition, that is, the, the doctrine that says you are embodied pure divine consciousness and your task in life is to see that in yourself. One of the things that it says is that if, if the heart of reality, were not creative, it would be this is this is their words, it would be something like a pot, or a jar would be inert. And that’s obviously impossible. So, power, creativity is essential in consciousness. And that’s part of I think, why we are what we are and why we’re so lured by this, this, this understanding of the world, as, as you said earlier, is a dance of consciousness, in communication with itself and all these different forms.
Rick Archer: And creativity just seems so explosive, so prolific. I mean, you know, yeah, just look at the world. And if you even if you go to a dead part of the world, go to Death Valley and get down to the microscope and start looking microscopically what’s going on in you know, particles of sand or something. And you see this kind of marvelous orderliness and all kinds of microorganisms, you know, and each of them is a complex little world unto itself. And so it’s like, there’s this kind of creativity which pervades,
Sally Kempton: everything pervades matter, as well as sentient, sentient creatures, I think that’s the thing that’s so radical about this view that that this understanding, and which I know is quantum physics, but you know that the table is not a, it’s not an earth, the table is constantly, it’s a dance of molecules, interacting with its with itself. And there are, you know, there are these moments, which we do spiritual practice for the sake of, which sometimes just arise spontaneously of actually seeing that this is the case that the world, suddenly that incredible aliveness of the world reveals itself.
Rick Archer: And for some people, it’s not moment, it’s more or less their normal condition. Yeah, yeah. No, yeah. Speaking of the table now, you know, on the level of the atoms, the table is 99.99999%, empty space. And if you look at the, the, you know, the little teeny bit, that’s not empty space, and start looking at it more closely, it’s not material either. You know, it’s the sort of fluctuations of the vacuum state or whatever, you know, you probably saw John Hagen’s talk out at the sand conference. And you can boil it right down to understanding that everything is kind of just this universal field unified field they call it which is just interacting within itself. self referral. Yeah, self
Sally Kempton: referential. It’s right. It’s, it’s extraordinary vision that, that arises as you contemplate this.
Rick Archer: And that’s what I mean by the question, what’s actually going on, because, you know, we see a table, we take it for granted to table it has a certain practical utility, and we treat it as a table. But if we could actually look closely enough, we could see there’s no table there. It’s just this field of pure potentiality sort of, apparently arising in the form of a table, but you know, just, that’s only from a certain relative perspective that we are neurologically equipped to have. Otherwise, there’s, there’s nothing there. But, you know, pure potentiality just sort of percolating.
Sally Kempton: Yeah, yeah. And, you know, what, one of the ways that Advaita, of course, describes it as as a dream, you know, that that even though it’s, it’s feels completely real and solid to us, that in other states of consciousness doesn’t exist at all. And the thing that’s kind of extraordinary about it, is that the, the underlying viewpoint about the creativity of consciousness is that it’s all coming from inside and that by inside we mean our our brain, but we also mean that which is behind our brain so it in a certain sense, on the inside of the inside. The creative process is manifesting worlds and fields and universes with which we are equipped to, to experience as being external to ourselves because of, of the way we’re wired. But which if our wiring were to be tweaked just a little bit, which is what meditation and and another modalities that open the doors of perception are all about, we can actually see that the table is appearing as a solid table, but actually arising and subsiding inside this kind of energetic field in which the particles come together and separate. Even while normal vision we are seeing something solid.
Rick Archer: Yeah, yeah. And you wouldn’t want to not see it as a table as a wall or this because you wouldn’t be able to function. Exactly. I don’t know about Kashmir. Shaivism. But I’ve heard the term Leisha Vidya, I’m not sure if the Kashmir Shaivism has that term, but it’s faint remains of ignorance in which, you know, your predominant vision of the table is this is my own self. This is pure consciousness. Secondarily, okay, yeah, I see, it’s a table there’s some greasy surface of like, that’s the analogy is that you take a butterball on your hand, and then you throw it off, and there’s some greasy surface left. So, you know, we wouldn’t if enlightenment worse state in which he call you could all there was was consciousness and objects couldn’t be distinguished, it wouldn’t be able to be a living reality.
Sally Kempton: Yeah, and a nice, I think that, you know, that the Enlightened awareness that my tradition celebrates, which my guru used to say that, when people would ask him, What do you see, he would say, Well, when I look at something, I see the light of consciousness, because he saw the world as, as light. And then I see the object arising inside it, but there’s always that initial perception of the light field out of which everything, everything is being manifested. So what he would say is that, in fact, in his perception, everything that arising is arising from light and is made of light, and what we call particles of matter and energy are appear as light particles. So, you know, in a certain sense, the Enlightened vision is, is literally enlightened, it’s, it’s a vision in which you, you actually see that foundational light inside everything.
Rick Archer: That’s great. That’s exactly what I was trying to describe. So yeah, beautiful. So then the question, well, let’s just see how we really covered it for the, for the truth, we’re never going to convince hardcore skeptics. You know, like that woman you saw heard on NPR, because they really have to have the experience. But is there anything else we can dig out of here in terms of consciousness being the fundamental reality and everything arising from that rather than consciousness merely being an epiphenomenon of brain functioning?
Sally Kempton: Well, I think one of the, one of the really, you know, convincing arguments of quantum physics is simply that, that when a consciousness interacts with any object on the in the quantum world, it transforms the field, because there’s a constant interaction between the observer and the field that is apparently being observed, but which is actually in constant communication with what we consider the observer. So and I, you know, I know that, that people say that you can’t really prove consciousness in the spiritual sense, from quantum physics, and a lot of quantum physicists get kind of impatient and annoyed when people like us start citing physics as a as the proof of the existence of this non dual subtle field. But on the other hand, I do know, and we all know physicists who, who follow that perception to its source and, you know, are actually able to realize that it when we talk about a quantum field, we’re talking about something that is microscopically visible, but that actually points to the presence of a much subtler underlying reality that’s even subtler than the quantum world, which is what you know, we would call the, the foundational light world or the foundational consciousness. Yeah. I also think it’s very interesting to talk about this whole process as the process that begins to unfold as we as we begin to understand the way the neurological system works to, to create differentiation in what we say, you know, cuz, I mean, we actually do go through I read recently about a, an experiment that was done where they put goggles on people that that that distorted their vision. So they said Are everything upside down, so the goggles would actually make you, they would actually give you the sight of the tree, I’m looking at a tree and your bookcase as upside down. But they said that within three to four minutes, the brain would perform an operation, right turned it right side up, because the brain knows that the tree is not growing out of, you know, out of the sky, it’s growing out of the ground. So it would just Yes, it would just correct perception. And that seems to be what the brain does, it’s like our neurological wiring is set up to give us the experience of a perceiver that’s separate from what’s perceived. And no matter what, you know, it, we’re in our ordinary state of consciousness, we haven’t taken a psychedelic drug or something that actually shifts perception, physically. We are constantly being given the experience you there and we hear in the computer in between us and etc. So I actually think that, that something has to shift in inside the human field of perception in order for a human being to be able to see directly what reality is. And, of course, in our generation, that shift the first shift those first shifts of perceptions, actions, perception actually happened through psychoactive drugs, because we were able to take a pill, and suddenly look into reality and see, you’ll see that there was like that manifesting as, as objects. And but of course, the more skillful and more lasting and more profound way of doing this is, is through meditation. And I want to say, one more thing, which is really the basis of, of the tantric teaching that I, that I was trained in, that I espouse. And that has been my experience, which is that the creative power that that actually wires us, the way we are wired, actually has to rewire us. In other words, it’s not something that that a human being does. On our own almost it’s, you know, it’s kind of invade Advaita, they say the AI can’t look at the eye, it’s impossible to for the eyeball to screw itself around and see itself except in a mirror, of course. And it’s in the same way, it’s not, it’s not a human operation, to rewire our perception, so that we can see the Unity underlying everything. And the way this happens, according to the Tantra, is that the foundational energy that that has actually manifested all this, from the time of the Big Bang,
Sally Kempton: begins to wake us up to shift our perception to, to reprogram our physical and subtle body, so that we are actually able to perceive reality, as you know, as unity and as what sometimes called duality and unity, as we were saying, the table appearing inside a field of consciousness, without the sense of fundamental separation, that’s our, our ordinary experience. So the whole the whole process that I’m concerned with, in my own practice, and that has been the basis of my practice is, is really to invoke the, the, the foundational power within consciousness, such that it will, you know, reframe my perceptions. And that process, its course is called the awakening of Kundalini. Which is the it, which is the activation of this very subtle, let’s call it enlightening or evolutionary quality in consciousness, that that is spontaneously and naturally able to, to shift our awareness so that we can have that experience. So did I leave the like, cut, right? Well, there’s
Rick Archer: a lot in there, we could like just Yeah, unpack, unpack that for the rest of the interview. But let me take a stab at it. Firstly, we’re still coming back to this point of his consciousness, the most fundamental reality. I don’t know about Muktananda. But I know Nityananda was fabled to have you know, been seen levitating, rising up to the top of some building he was in and as I recall, when I read play of consciousness, and there are, of course, numerous other accounts of things like that happening, none that we’ve been able to verify in our contemporary society, but let’s say that were to happen and there was somebody who could replicate that reliably and it wasn’t David Copperfield. Chris, a Criss Angel are one of those guys, then, it seems to me if they’re honest physicists would really have to scramble to explain how that could be possible. You know, what laws of nature would enable something like that to happen. And, you know, this the kind of more enlightened physicists that you and I have been alluding to, would say, Well, you know, consciousness is all pervading, and there are certain laws that reside, all laws of nature reside within it. And someone like deja Ananda has learned to master those laws such that he, if he wants to rise up and talk to the ceiling, or whatever, he can do that, of course, there are Christian examples of that, too. So that’s one point. Another point, is this, this idea about you know, whether you were mentioning how some physicists get kind of pissed off because New Agey types of spiritual types, Co Op their, their theories and their explanations and as a means of sort of supporting their own perspectives and saying that consciousness is the same as a unified field and so on. But but I’d like to throw in the idea that the human nervous system and I think Kashmir Shaivism, has a lot to say about this is such an amazing instrument, far more intricate, and capable of, of exploring certain realities than any machinery that that human beings have been able to create. You know, Hubble Telescope has its capabilities, which our nervous system does not maybe the Large Hadron Collider collider has, it’s, but there’s the human nervous system actually has the delicacy of functioning, the refinement of it in its structure, to be able to ground one experientially, in the sort of the ground state of creation, and yeah, unified field, pure consciousness, whatever we want to call it. So it’s really the ultimate scientific instrument. And it’s just a matter of learning how to use it.
Sally Kempton: Yeah, Greg, that’s, that’s beautifully said. Cuz I like the way Ken Wilber formulates that, actually, you know that, that, that given that, that there are different levels of reality inside the human nervous system. There are certain realities that we see with the physical eyes, there are certain realities that we can conceive up with the mind and imagination. And there are certain realities that can only be seen by a deeper intuitive awareness, which, you know, traditionally has been called the eye of the heart. So our nervous system actually does have the capacity to experience actually see into the heart of the universe in a way that perhaps no other, certainly nothing we we make seems to have been able to do.
Rick Archer: We can’t make a house slot. You know, it’s I mean, even.
Sally Kempton: Exactly, exactly. Despite all the interesting claims of the AI people the artificial intelligence, so far, we haven’t been able to make a housefly that so, and so far, we haven’t been able to replicate or to create a, you know, a machine or a computer that that actually can experience the depths of reality directly. And, you know, who knows, as if, in fact, the evolutionary process of enlightenment does unfold in the way that some people think it will, maybe we will have enough of that awareness ourselves to be able to, to create something that that can give it to other people, mechanically, but I doubt it. You know, it’s, it’s, I think, it’s, it is the miracle of life of human consciousness. That, that we are approached we are, we seem to be built in such a way that with enough work on ourselves and with enough opening to what’s available, we we actually can recognize ourselves as the wholeness. That’s a extraordinary miracle that you know, in his in assert, and, and I would say more than that, we can recognize ourselves as the wholeness and, and actually embody that awareness inside a normal life, which I would say as you know, perhaps the holy grail of spiritual practice, how we, how we, how we bring that, that awareness into our relationships into our planet into our world.
Rick Archer: And some would argue that, if properly developed, if our full potential is unfolded, we could actually replicate the kinds of things that the Hubble telescope or the Large Hadron Collider can do, we could actually in our with our inner yogic vision see a distant galaxy. Your, you know, explore subatomic particles. But putting that aside, well,
Sally Kempton: but we, I mean, we can I know lots of people and I’ve had a few experiences myself, of actually seeing into the body, seeing into my own body seeing the blood flowing, seeing what’s, you know, having a glimpse of what of the complexity that’s going on? That’s, that is a capacity that really does develop through deep meditation.
Rick Archer: Yeah, and Patanjali talks about a lot of that stuff, you know, yeah. But, but putting that aside, it’s, it’s actually, you know, that they say that the Large Hadron Collider uses, like half the electricity of Geneva or something when it’s running at full capacity. And, and physicists even now understand that there are deeper levels of reality, that you need a machine as big as the universe to actually probe that you just couldn’t go any deeper in terms of a physical, fixed physical machine that they can conceive of building. But, you know, what we’re suggesting is that the, the human nervous system has the capacity to go deeper, without, without being without using half the power of Geneva, you know, it just, it has a certain delicacy and its structure, certain capability and its design, that if we can, kind of tap into that, and unfold that will enable us to get right down to the real nitty gritty, right down to the foundation of the universe, and recognize that as what we essentially our
Sally Kempton: Yeah, and it’s, it’s one of the really wild and, and experienceable truths, that, that the yoga, the text of the yoga, tantra, and that yoga is all about is this recognition that the human body, inside the human body, the entire universe, the structures of the universe, that the physical structures, and also the subtler structures, are completely replicated, and therefore completely experienceable. And you know, that there’s there that you do in deep meditation, experience, places in the, on the planet, and places in the universe that are real, that exists outside, you can experience them inside and more interesting to me actually. If we talk to you about inner sightseeing, inner tourism, is that it is actually possible to see worlds you know, to see light worlds subtle worlds, beings who we never would see in the physical universe, in the subtle world, you know, the, the world that’s the world of dream, you know, as it were the world we enter in dream. But the the subtle world that we enter in meditation, as, as you probably know, is a it’s, it’s real in a way that dream doesn’t appear you know that just as in dream. images come that can be very strange and interesting and powerful and transformative as the youngins tell us. There’s another level where we, you know, which we enter in meditation, in which we enter a subtle world where the colors are brighter than they are in the physical world where, where Wisdom is given to us that’s, that’s way beyond that, you know, the wisdom we can meet in books. And, you know, one of the things that the yogic sages tell us is that real, genuinely innovative knowledge, you know, I believe a lot of the knowledge that has led to the technological innovations that, that pop into consciousness at different moments really, can be experienced, actually, as downloaded from the subtle worlds, which, you know, many people you know, many, many enlightened sages who have traveled extensively in those realms will tell us are, are actually the source of the innovative wisdom that comes through human consciousness and is then manifested in the physical world, almost as though there are blueprints at subtler levels of consciousness that, you know, that that are the underlying energies behind our physical experience.
Rick Archer: Yeah, not only kind of scientific or types of discoveries, but I’ve heard that I think it might have been Mozart who said he would cognize a symphony in just a second, and then it would just take a while to write it out. But the whole thing, the whole thing would just come in as a complete package. Yeah. And I and I often feel like you watch some great movie, you know, what you feel is just really having an enlightening impact on society. And you think, Well, where did that come from? You know, it’s like there’s really some kind of divine wisdom that really wanted to come through and get out to the masses.
Sally Kempton: Yeah, yeah. And a lot of, you know, a lot of what people like you do is, you know, in a certain sense, it’s a little bit of a debase Word but channel that, you know that wisdom, it’s in a certain sense, the more clear one becomes, the more the more open one is to, to that coming through.
Rick Archer: Yeah, you know, one time I was teaching a course for people who were training to become TM teachers, and I was finding that, you know, somebody would ask a question, I wouldn’t really know the answer, but I just start to say a word or two, and then the whole thing would just come, and I’d be able to answer it. And I asked Margie about that. And he said, Yeah, that’s exactly right. So that’s the way I do.
Sally Kempton: Yeah. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. So.
Rick Archer: So let’s see. So there’s some real nice stuff here that we’re going to expand on, first of all, this whole idea of subtle worlds. I mean, in a way, we were just sort of jumping from the gross to the transcendent, you know, tables, and then unified field. But there’s a whole my wife just passed me know a letting her talk enough. Yeah, I’m letting her talk enough. We’re going back and forth here grows to the transcendent, there’s a whole range in between, and you talk to you, we’re going to talk about that in this in this interview, and you talk about it in your books, but there, there are all sorts of subtle strata, or they’re not where which which, in which hordes of life beings reside, like light beings and life beings. And that can not only be cognized in meditation, but like most things, that experience in meditation that can be stabilized and become a, you know, ordinary, walking waking state experience.
Sally Kempton: Yeah. And so, I want to talk a little bit about the ways in which we might experience subtle realms in the waking state, because, to me, that’s, that’s the most interesting aspect of the way the subtle worlds interact with us. You know, in, in Vedanta, as you know, in the yoga tradition, they divide reality in various ways. But essentially, there’s, it’s there’s physical reality, gross reality, then there’s, there’s the subtle world reality, which is vast, as you were saying. And then there’s what sometimes called the causal reality, which is, which is where forms kind of start to dissolve into formlessness. And beyond that is the transcendent realm. So in a certain sense, you could say, maybe, you could say that, as we start to access the subtle realms and the causal realms, through meditation through practice, what we start to realize is that, that we that we experience them in different ways. I know there are people who experienced them very visually, I have actually a number of students who have quite remarkable visual entries into subtle worlds. And my guru was, he traveled extensively, and he recorded his travels, as did Yogananda pero, Hamza, and, you know, other teachers, you know, some of the teachers who really set the Western world on fire were teachers who had very, very visual experience of these higher subtle worlds and of, you know, deities, you know, beings who live in bodies made of light and have any kind of elemental effect on the physical world and the goddesses who do I speak about in my book awakening Shakti, which, hopefully, we’ll talk about later. But my experience of the subtle world is, has always been energetic. You know, it’s, it’s been a kind of recognition of subtle, very distinct energy fields that become recognizable as you practice as having different degrees of subtlety and density. So, you know, when we talk about, let’s say, dark energies, or dense vibrations, or heavy vibrations, as lots of new age, people do, we are actually talking about genuine energetic fields that are present in you know, in our, in this universe, and, and, and at the same time, what we begin to be able to be aware of is these very light, very, very powerful, very intelligent, subtle energies that have actually distinct personal energy signatures as distinct as yours is, you know, that and that we, we, we can begin to recognize that, that, that the, the nature of being alive is to have a particular you know, energetic personality that, you know, that that we actually recognize when we let ourselves tune into it, you know, for example, if you really, if someone you’re really into it with like your wife or your mother or your best friend, you actually recognize them by the energetic signature that they, you know, that they manifest so that if you think about your wife, you experience a certain energy, that’s very different. I assume that when you think about your mother or your cat, because in that sense, we are all energy beings. And the subtle realms, the subtle worlds are full of literally teeming with these energy beings, who, who seem to have a capacity according to the texts, and I’ve actually noticed it myself and my practice, these, these energy beings seem to have a capacity to shape shift, you know, in ways that are much more difficult for you and I, in our physical bodies. So in other words, they can appear as, as light forums, they can appear in these forms that, that people often see in meditation and paint, you know, as we don’t we call the forms of gods and goddesses or angels or, you know, demonic forces, that, that there is there, they take forms that people have recorded that are that, that are,
Sally Kempton: let’s say, mediated through the imagination, but that we come to realize are not imaginary, in the sense of being unreal. So the ways in which the human mind intelligence, imagination can interact with subtle worlds, you know, by opening to them by invoking them by imagining them by, you know, using mantras or sound forms or, or dialogue to, to interact with them has been the stuff of, you know, yoga and shamanism, and, and, you know, deep religious transformative practice, ever since I think human beings came onto the planet because the, the atmosphere around us, literally, teams with, with subtle energies and forces who are, in my experience, very, very willing, very, very, almost offering themselves as helpers as inspirers, you know, as you know, and all we really have to do is take them seriously and be willing to invoke them. Yeah,
Rick Archer: that last point was good, because as you were speaking, I was thinking, Okay, some people are gonna wonder, what’s the utility of this? You know, and should this should this be something I seek out? And I think, you know, maybe not the, for instance, I have a friend who sees subtle beings routinely. I don’t know whether they’re angels or what but then, after shortly after he divulged to me that he had this experience. I was very curious. Of course. Has there any here? Are there any here? We’re in an elevator at San Francisco Airport, and I whisper to us, there’s small crowded elevators? And are there any in the elevator? And he just kind of smiled, and he got out? And he said, Ooh, they just said to me, don’t point us out to people. If they’re meant to see us, they’ll see us. Yeah. And then he said, there were three. But I think maybe it could be a misalignment of priorities. And one can get kind of preoccupied with trying to, you know, develop subtle perceptions and see auras. And without, without having marshy used to use the analogy of capturing the fort, which commands the territory if you capture the fort, then you’re free to roam about and explore the whole territory. But don’t get hung up going after this gold mine over here. This diamond mine over there captured the fort first.
Sally Kempton: Well, here’s what Yes, right on. And here’s what I would say about it. Again, in my experience, that it’s very important in capturing the fort as Maharishi beautifully calls it, to actually have you can’t do it with human effort. In other words, human effort will only take you so far. And, you know, you you need empowerment, you need grace, you need help. So, this is really the utility of understanding and recognizing subtle beings, you know, that even, you know, the most of us, who’ve had some experience in spiritual life, understand that certain teachers have the capacity to empower you spiritually, you know, you were with such a teacher, I was with such a teacher. So, we, you know, we understand that, that there are human beings who can be of profound help, not just as teachers have skills, but also be able to transmit to us an understanding or an awareness or a state. So I think But it’s also important to understand that there are beings in the energy field in the cosmos, whose let’s call it job whose gift is to be able to empower our spiritual awareness. And the usefulness, I would say, of being able to invoke subtle energies is for the purpose of help in the process of enlightenment, enlightenment. And, of course, again, it’s not a new idea, it’s been the basis of mystical practice for, you know, I would say since the beginning, but that we don’t, you know, we don’t break through the veils, without some sort of recognition of the, the need for for this kind of subtle help. And, you know, what, what the what sometimes called grace, or in the, in the tantric tradition there’s a, there’s a kind of a basic understanding about conscious the powers of consciousness, you know, that, that consciousness, this, this subtle force that we’ve been talking about, is constantly creating forms constant, maintaining them for a while, and then dissolving them. I mean, that’s, that’s the nature of life energy, it’s, it brings things into being it, it, you know, it keeps them in stasis, as a table, and then the table will eventually, one way or another, dissolve and decay. And of course, that’s happening in our, on the cellular level, it’s happening constantly in the mind. But what Tantra says is that there are two other cosmic processes, which are always at play. And one of them is, you were mentioning earlier, the concealment process where the, the unity behind everything is just simply veiled by our nervous system by, you know, by whatever forces in reality are, are bent on, you know, concealing, these subtle beings that don’t want to be pointed out by your friend, or, you know, our fundamental oneness with each other. And there’s another force in the universe, which is in Sanskrit, it’s called a new drug, which literally means that which grabs the individual and, and shows it reveals reality to it, which in you know, in English, we call that grace. And the whole tantric project is based on the understanding, you absolutely cannot take one foot into subtle awareness unless consciousness gives you you know, that grace unless consciousness in fact, ceases your individual consciousness and starts to open the veils for you. So you know, asking for the help of, of those energies, which can awaken us is, it’s a tremendously powerful practice. Which combined with your own, your own work your own, your own meditative and psychological effort is, is what’s going to make that awakening possible.
Rick Archer: Yeah, I’ll talk for a minute about you get a drink of water. Yeah, noticing. And in my notes, she’s I think you said in your book, we’re talking, you’re talking about the veiling of our fundamental oneness. And you’re talking about Shakti as Maha Maya, and you said that, which would be great illusion. But Shakti created the illusion, and she has to she has to free us from it. Yeah. And it’s interesting, it seems to me that the, I don’t know, in my my way of understanding and which is, of course, subject to revision, there. There had to be a veiling, in order for there to be a universe, you know, it’s like, and in the earth, if we even if we take the traditional cosmological understanding of how the universe evolved. For the first few billion years, at least, there couldn’t have been any beings that were at least gross biological beings that were evolved enough, sophisticated enough in their functioning to have a conversation like this or to talk about, you know, transcending and experiencing the source of creation or anything like that, in first first stars had the form and then stars had to explode. that had to happen quite a few times before there enough helmet, heavy elements to form worlds and have beings on them and Eltek billions of years. So it’s almost like and yet all that, you know, sometimes people say, well, the universe doesn’t exist unless someone’s perceiving it. But the things just come into existence as they are perceived, but I never understood that because it seemed to me that, you know, the universe was evolving for several billion years before there could have been anyone to perceive it. And then eventually, life began to form and began to evolve and got to the point where, you know, we could have Yogi’s, we could have conversations like this people seeking to know and understand and experience the ultimate reality.
Sally Kempton: Yeah, and and of course, the The view of yoga is that the universe is inherently sentient. So that there was always there has there is always a perceiver, you know, is not necessarily human pristine, not necessarily a human designer, but there’s the consciousness is conscious sentient. So. So that sentience is all I mean, it this is not a scientific view of it. But you know, it’s, it’s the view, I think that makes sense of that, in a certain sense, you know, that, if you really do believe that the perceiver creates what is perceived, then you have to assume there’s a perceiver, who was present at the creation as it were. Yeah.
Rick Archer: And as you’re saying, all these subtle beings who have jobs and those jobs have to do with creation? Yeah, we can, we can talk more about that. And, you know, if there’s a star, then that star is there’s a consciousness associated with that star, you know, Indian tradition calls our son Surya, and that it’s meant to imply some great being, or that resides in the body of that star. And, you know, Westerners talk about Gaia, you know, with regard to the earth,
Sally Kempton: yeah. Yeah. Yeah. So, um, the idea that, that, that everything in the universe actually has a soul, as it were, you know, has a has a presence has a has an aware consciousness. And, of course, the Indian tradition is so unbelievably skilled at mapping these and, you know, and pointing out to us, the why that, why planets have an effect on our, on our psychological consciousness and what that, you know, what, that all has to do with? So, yeah, I, I, I mean, there are just certain things that are not explained that cannot be explained and physical with physical science. And I, although I, I am totally fascinated by the ways in which physical science explains reality. And, you know, and enhances our understanding of reality and, you know, kind of explodes myths about, you know, how things came into being, I don’t feel that, you know, that one of the really fascinating things to me about the current excitement in the cosmological world about, you know, how they, they, they actually have been able to, to see with, with their telescopes, the moment when this, you know, infinitesimal seed, arose out of the Big Bang, and then expanded from that creating space, as it expanded, you’re that they’ve, they’ve, they’ve proved that the universe is expanding.
Rick Archer: Yeah, I don’t think they visually see that but they get with the radio telescope, they get the sort of background noise of the Big Bang, you know, right. And right. And also they can, they can also tell due to Blue Shift, you know, the Doppler effect that all the galaxies are moving apart from each other. So like pennies on a balloon that’s being inflated. So they do see that expansion. Yeah.
Sally Kempton: Well, there’s Have you Did you read the the pieces in the Times yet, earlier this year, apparently, true, I think the mathematical formulations coming from, from those telescopes, they, they actually were able to pinpoint the moment when the universe kind of exploded out of whatever it came out of. And into an end,
Rick Archer: Vishnu is naval, no doubt, yeah.
Sally Kempton: Great Maha Shula the group. And, and, you know, and that it was, in fact, tiny, you know, and, and then it then expanded. And the thing I love is, what they say is that it creates created space to occupy so and that, I mean, that was a that was a recognition of physics of cosmology. And I’m not familiar enough with the science to be able to tell you what it was, but there were about three articles in the New York Times about it. Because it was so exciting. It was apparently something they’ve been working on for years of understanding what that you know, what actually happened after the Big Bang? Yeah. And there’s a there’s a, there was a story on NPR about when this when this first became publicized, the graduate student of one of the original scientists of this theory knocked on his door at three in the morning with a bottle of champagne woke him up in a dance intensity each other so it was a big deal. Yeah. That, you know, and I, I wish I could. I wish I could remember the proportions that they describe, but it’s worth looking at.
Rick Archer: Yeah, what you said a minute ago was really cool, too. Did you watch Neil deGrasse Tyson’s Cosmos series by any chance?
Sally Kempton: I didn’t write. It’s really interesting. It’s wonderful. But
Rick Archer: you know, one thing it illustrates something you just said, which is that science has served a very useful function in dispelling a lot of goofy notions that people have come up with about how the universe works. And, you know, and insisting that those are true because of their interpretation of some book that was written a couple 1000 years ago, and, you know, torturing and killing people who disagreed with them, and so on. So I think Carl Sagan said that if it hadn’t been for the the Inquisition in the Middle Ages, that we, you know, we would have landed on the moon 1000 years, sooner or something. Yeah, yeah. But in any case, you know, there are a lot of scientists who are who are atheists, but still Sciences has played such a valuable role in, in culturing us in the habit of systematic thinking, and insisting on experience is one thing I like about Sam Harris, he says that so much harm has come from believing in things that we can’t actually experience. Totally. So experience is the crux of it. Experience is
Sally Kempton: the crux of that. And I think that, I think that the thing is that you have to have a system for, for making the experiment. And the scientific systems are, you know, profoundly instructive in that way. And at the same time, you know, that this the systems that have arised, from experimenting inside the human laboratory also have an awful lot to teach us and not about belief, but about what the possibilities are, yeah, as you go deeper and deeper and deeper into the human mind into the human, the, you know, the human field of experience.
Rick Archer: You talk about these, in your book, doorways, the internet, I mean, you took one particular text as a is a good case in point. But you know, there’s so many texts like that, in ancient traditions, say, if you, if you do this, you’ll experience this. And, and that kind of, immediately, some of the criterion of the scientific method is, it’s repeatable, anybody, anybody can try the experiment?
Sally Kempton: Exactly. And, and it’s repeatable, it takes seriousness, you know, it’s not, it’s not like you push a button, and you get the experience, you actually have to, you have to do the work, you know, you, you, you have to go to high school and graduate school in inner experience. But if you do it, it, it, it’s there, it’s there to be revealed, it kind of blows my mind, because I have been at this for a long time, and I’m not particularly gifted, spiritually, gifts that I, you know, consider myself quite a slow learner in this respect. And all of the experience I have had of the truth of what the sages have told us, has really come about through years and years of practice. And it’s always been a surprise. It’s like, Oh, my God, oh, my God, that actually thought is, you know, I’m just going to give you a very, very simple example, you know, thought is constantly being produced and an endless cycle. And, and it’s it, it’s all it’s always going to go on, and I if I don’t identify myself as the thinker, the thoughts can be going on, and I can move deeper and deeper and deeper into a world of vastness and calm, where, you know, it’s as though I’m floating in a sky of awareness that, you know, includes all that is, oh, my God, that’s actually and I’m completely conscious and sentient and in my body and not hallucinating. It’s, it’s a natural development. So, you know, it’s, we really do have, you know, just as I can’t understand physics, except in a very bare bones way, because I haven’t done I haven’t done my homework. I haven’t. I haven’t studied it in the same way to really get what the human being is. On this. What we call the spiritual level. We we just we need to, we need to go there. We need to do it.
Rick Archer: Yeah. So yeah. Important. Yeah. And it’s not enough to just read a few books and get it not get an intuitional sort of sense of what Ramana Maharshi was talking about, and jumped to the conclusion that you’ve got it, you know,
Sally Kempton: exactly, exactly. And, you know, it’s it’s sort of like instant awakenings disappear instantly and
Rick Archer: yeah, yeah. And some people don’t like that notion. They feel it’s sort of you’re chasing an endless carrot on a stick you know, if you if you’re, if you’re kind of if you have this orientation that there’s always going to be more and you you know, you haven’t reached any kind of final realization. Why don’t you just accept? You know, who was it sailor Bob Adamson said there’s this, you know what’s wrong with right now unless you think about it
Sally Kempton: at all? Yes, well, there’s nothing wrong with right now.
Rick Archer: But there’s a but because the average person’s right now even the average spirits of persons right now is not necessarily the ultimate realization that that person could have.
Sally Kempton: Yeah, and and I guess from my own experience right now can be opaque you know, or it can have the taste of eternity. And, and when you you when you’ve managed to sort of open the now to the recognition to the real experiential recognition of of its eternality, then your experience walking around is going to be completely different than if you’re, you’re now as a Paik and and, you know, they’re the thing I love about the contemporary spiritual world is that we are given so many modalities, we’re given so many ways to make our daily life experience deeper and more enjoyable, and more subtle. That, you know, it’s also but it’s also makes it very easy to just stay with that, you know, to, to stay with, with the, the initial experience of peace or sweetness or fullness, because life is so full, and it’s so distracting. And we have so many agendas. So you know, I think now as always the journey, you know, there’s many, many ways we can take the journey. And if you if you decide that this is what life is about, you know that, that what you really want in life is to know as much of the reality of human embodiment as, as is, you know, as as possible on the subtlest level, then, you know, it’s going to take you, it’s going to take you a while, and it’s going to be but it’s totally engaging and fascinating. Yeah. And I don’t think you have to be so goal oriented. I think it’s more a matter of allowing yourself to be drawn, you know, through the journey.
Rick Archer: It’s kind of a balance, I think, I mean, if you look back 10 years, 20 years, 30 years, 40 years on your own life and what you were experiencing at those various stages, I reckon you would say that there has been a pretty significant I mean, if you could jump instantly from you know, now to 10 years ago, 10 years ago to 20 years, you’d experience pretty shocking contrasts. But sure, yeah. And so, you know, on the one hand, there has been this, and will continue to be this continual progression, which implies journey, there’s, you’re going somewhere. But on the other hand, you know, there’s always contentment in the present moment, at least a certain degree of it. And if you, if you pass over that, if you ignore that, for the sake of pining for something you might be experiencing 20 years from now, then you miss out on life now.
Sally Kempton: Yeah. And I think that, that those two, these two attitudes that you’re alluding to, are actually correctives for each other, right? You know, that, that I know, when a lot of people in our generation came into the spiritual world, with the idea that we were going to get high, we were going to get, you know, enlightened, and it was going to be blissful. And and then, of course, we discovered that it’s not quite like that, but it is actually a journey, that there are dark spots, dark nights, and that, that the dark nights are as important as the light spots. And then it seems to me, there was this kind of recognition in the the students our age, who then became teachers, and they all started saying, Well, you know, enlightenment, you know, what’s that about? That’s just the kind of a myth let’s let’s, let’s talk about spiritual maturity, you know, where we’re, we’re able to really be in the moment and be with our pain and, and, you know, life is good enough, and let’s do our family thing and our work thing and get it together. And it was, I always thought it was a corrective to that, you know, kind of naive, running after experience that, that, that a lot of us started out with. And what I’ve noticed is that it goes in cycles. So right now, I think is one of those cycles when people are really interested in in, you know, what, what we might call flashy spiritual experience, almost as a corrective to the more mundane, what’s wrong with now attitude that was prevalent, or the idea that, you know, that, that so many, so many of the teachers in what we call direct path, spirituality, you know, will say, Well, you know, just realize it’s already happening. and you’re already awake, everything is perfect. Just relax and let everything be as it is. And I love that teaching, you know, it’s incredibly sweet and empowering and relaxing teaching. And there’s more.
Rick Archer: So it’s like the infomercial. But wait.
Sally Kempton: Yeah, exactly. So it’s very salutary to go, Okay, there’s nothing to strive for. I am already that, you know, let me just be present, and can I let it be alright? That my stomach hurts, you know, there’s that, that that, that let’s deeply accept who we are in this moment. It’s great. But, um, but somehow, but by truly accepting where we are, in this moment, we can’t let ourselves get stuck, complacent, you know, and believe that, that that’s all i Life is about. So, so I think that, that to really, to really consider metaphysics and to, to consider what the Great Beings have experienced, and to realize that this is within our capacity as well, is hugely important. I think there’s something Yeah, it’s something to grow, there’s something to go into. Even as we grow up, you know, even as we become kinder and more accepting and more loving and have better relationships and better become better stewards of the planet, you know, and have a more caring, global world centric view. At the same time, we can go deeper, you know, and, and go into the subtle elements of the universe. And
Rick Archer: I think it’s all necessary and, and complimentary. You need to get more water, do you have so many glass? I have some, okay, good. It’s, to my mind, the whole enlightenment game is it’s it’s never only this or only that, you know, it’s all inclusive, and you don’t have to throw the baby out with the bathwater. I mean, yeah, you have to get it together on and definitely, there have been times in my life where I have not had it together, and the least on the relative level, you know, needed all kinds of integration in this area and that area, but personally, I’ve never lost sight of the fact that there is something you know, on a distant horizon, that is grand, and that is marvelous, and that is worth pursuing and striving for, which is, again, not to deny the necessity of dealing with and living in the present and living that as fully and responsibly as possible. It just doesn’t have to be an either or situation. Yeah. It’s all it’s both. And it’s the whole package.
Sally Kempton: Totally. And I actually think spiritual maturity is the recognition of the paradox.
Rick Archer: I have a T shirt on today, it said paradox, and it changed the view. Go ahead. I’m sorry. Good, continue.
Sally Kempton: Yeah, well, we’ll just that that, you know, the recognition that it’s all it’s all here, and yet, there’s, there’s more and the recognition that, you know, there’s that, that we are as the as the New Age cliche has it, we are spiritual beings having a human experience. And we’re also human beings having a spiritual experience. You know, it’s, it’s all of that. And I do think that, that, you know, Scott Fitzgerald said that the sign of true intelligence is the ability to hold two contradictory ideas at the same time, and I think that’s very true while drinking
Rick Archer: a martini while drinking.
Sally Kempton: Or drinking a martini and ruining his life. But, but obviously, in some way else, look at that little being over there. Yeah, you’ve got some feeling.
Rick Archer: Oh, my. Oh, it’s a dog. It’s a dog. Whenever you see me open my door, it’s I’m letting the dog dogs in and out. Yeah, I thought you were seeing angels or something.
Sally Kempton: No, no, no. I was seeing what looks like a pug or
Rick Archer: Blue Heeler mix. Okay,
Sally Kempton: that’s esoteric, small dogs. Yeah.
Rick Archer: Well, you know, we’re earlier on half an hour ago or so we were talking about all these levels of creation, the gross and the subtle and the transcendent. And, and I think there’s a tendency to try to kind of glom on to one or another to the exclusion, the exclusion of the other. So I really got to get my act together on there in the relative here and become an integrated person, improve my relationships, get a job, all that stuff. Now, but that need not exclude. Also, you know, enlivening, diving into the transcendent and enlivening that you can kind of juggle all the balls at the same time. And in fact, if you do that, you actually become more successful in any, you know, at any point in those in those different strata, then then you are a few focus on one or another exclusively.
Sally Kempton: Yeah, true. True. And, and I would also say that, you know, we’re, we’re, we’re gifted in certain areas of life, naturally, most of us and not so gifted and others. And so, you know, just as when you go to school, you, you might have to work harder in geometry than you do in English, at least in my case, or the, or vice versa. I think in life, that’s also true. So you know, there are people who are very talented, spiritually, very motivated spiritually, and really not so good. And the relative and often, for those people, a lot of spiritual practice is about getting it together, psychologically, and getting life together. And, and then vice versa. So I think we’re always balancing our way, we’re always trying to carry those. We’re always we’re trying to, to, to really get our priorities balanced. And it’s, it’s a constant practice of error correction. Yeah.
Rick Archer: Let’s get back into some of the stuff you talked about in your book, your books, we’ve, we’ve dwelt a bit on this idea that Shakti created the illusion, and she has to free us from it. And you were talking about grace nuga? Was it a new guy? Yeah. And so that’s an interesting thing in and of itself, that. You know, I mean, some some spiritual teachers said, Don’t do practices, because you’re making individual effort, individual effort, only concretizes the individuality, you know, it makes the ego even more bound. And, but I think there’s a there’s an art to doing to doing practice, which you can elaborate on, which is, there’s a phrase in the Vedas someplace, which says, Be easy to us with gentle effort. Yeah. So there’s kind of a balancing point between effort and total. Yeah. Which, which is bears fruit?
Sally Kempton: Yeah. You know, there’s a famous saying, effort and Grace are two wings of the bird. You know, you have to flap them both. Yeah. So one of them, you’re flapping. The other one is, I guess, being slapped for you. But yeah, I think, again, it’s, it is the teaching, that, that you shouldn’t make individual effort is a very good corrective for the striving, spiritual personality is always looking for it, looking for it looking for it. On the other hand, if you don’t make effort,
Rick Archer: yeah, you know, somebody, some people like God, deshante, for instance, had big breakthroughs, after years of making effort, and then just sort of, you know, saying, screw it, I’m just gonna relax, and then boom, something happened.
Sally Kempton: Yeah, and I find in, in meditation practice that for years, that would be my experience, I would be sitting there trying to concentrate in sitting in a good posture. And, you know, and then after an hour, I would, it would be the end of the meditation, I would relax my posture, and I just sit there. And that would be when the opening would occur. So one of the things that I discovered is that, you know, as these teachers say, if you can relax in the beginning, you know, if you can learn how to make it, I call it soft focus, you know, where you’re, you know, you’re, you’re kind of intending your practice, and I have a very, I have a very specific, concentrated practice that I always start meditation with, because it’s the way I’ve know, I know, I can collect my mind from its various, you know, distractions and worldly pursuits and sort of make it one pointed. But the real depth in meditation happens when that concentrated practice, kind of lets go, you know, it’s so I think that everyone who meditates discovers that, that, you know, you tighten the focus, and then you let it go. And then that and that’s when you know, you, you actually let yourself one word is drift but or sick or, you know, expand,
Rick Archer: then moved on on the advocate concentration.
Sally Kempton: He advocated both, yes, he advocated concentration. But he essentially taught me that meditation is a spontaneous process that catches you. So so everything that you do, all the effort that you make, is actually to align you so that you can be caught by the meditation current, as I call it, so that you can enter the bandwidth but So, in other words, I think as you know, we’re both trained in the same type of tradition. If you understand that meditation, meditation is a bit I call it a bandwidth. It’s it’s a, it’s a dimension of consciousness and the practices are doors. So for instance, Vivekananda Bhairava. The Coronavirus are practices that are ways to the infinite is about that text gives 108 Very often very surprising doorways you know, one of which is, is remembering a moment of love, and then letting yourself just just enter into the love aspect of consciousness through that doorway, or one of my favorites is, is meditating in the void in the armpits, you actually let your arms get a little bit loose and you bring your awareness into the space in the armpits, you close your eyes. And you realize that there is actually this empty space in the armpits, which can be a doorway into open spaciousness. So, you know, there. And I love that idea that any concentration technique you do is, is it’s like, it’s like, it’s like standing at the portal into the, into what’s behind it.
Rick Archer: I found that I some of those things that you said in those verses in the Vivianna by River were things I was actually doing without knowing that they were techniques or anything. It’s like, Hey, I do that, you know?
Sally Kempton: Yeah. Because you know, what consciousness will teach you? What, what is the best doorway for you at any given moment to go into the deeper self? It’s, and it’s, I think that texts like that were kind of discovered, or, you know, or seen in meditation, that, that this this insight, oh, let me imagine my head is the sky, which of course is very popular practice in Duck chin. But isn’t, isn’t the big net of Iowa. And it’s also, you know, it’s also an experience that happens spontaneously sometimes. So, and someone you know, and people, write them down and teach them their disciples and they become techniques. And then we get to explore them, but they’re all just about opening the door, or inviting the door to open,
Rick Archer: I have a technique, try this the next time we’re at a swimming pool, go go to the deep end of the swimming pool, presuming you know how to swim, and hold your nose, and bend from the waist. And just keep bending until you just fall into the water head first and let yourself just somersault slowly underwater like that holding your nose and with your eyes closed. Whenever I do that. It’s like, kind of instant unbounded bliss. It’s like kind of all loss of spatial orientation and awareness just goes zoom. Like that. And then I can’t do it again, at least not for immediately. Somehow it’s had its effect, but that’s the Rick Archer buyer of this. Try it next time you’re at.
Sally Kempton: That’s beautiful. That’s beautiful. And you know, it happens in the ocean. Like when you let yourself dive into, you know, when there’s a big wave and you dive into the wave. It’s the wave kind of grabs you.
Rick Archer: Yeah. Do you just sort of Yeah, it’s like your awareness kind of expands? This is the most interesting thing.
Sally Kempton: Yeah, yeah. And leading us to the conclusion that there’s no experience in the world that can’t be a doorway into open awareness if you if you can just enter it.
Rick Archer: Yeah, I interviewed a guy a couple years ago named taco in a moto. And he is he was crossing a parking lot in Boston. And also the car came screeching and almost hit him, you know, but came screeching to a halt. And the shock of that kicked him into a state of realization. And he never lost it. Wow. And he wasn’t even like some kind of ardent spiritual practitioner or anything. It was just like, totally, he had to like figure out later on what it was he was living in, because he wasn’t really familiar with all the terminology of realization and awakening and all.
Sally Kempton: Yeah, it’s like, it’s it’s like Tony Parsons, who tells us that he’s walking across Green Park in London. Yeah. Although I think Tony already done a bunch of PRs and a lot of practice. Yeah. Yeah. Or Suzanne. What’s her name? Segal? Yeah. Who’d also done it
Rick Archer: also, she was a TM person and done a lot of long meditation courses and all Yeah, collision with the infinite we’re alluding to friend people not familiar with that very interesting book.
Sally Kempton: Very interesting, but hard to get these days. Yeah.
Rick Archer: Now you know, you’re talking earlier about needing the grace of something, in order to get get out of the gross into the subtle. Often a mantra is used for that, obviously. And mantras. Most monitors that you and I would be familiar with contain the cobija sounds, which are said to represent or embody the some Gods or other some impulse of intelligence, and that using the monitor in a certain way, maybe you take it from here explain the mechanics of how using a mantra in a particular way would elicit some kind of transcendental experience because of the intelligence behind the sound of that mantra.
Sally Kempton: Well, the, the, the deep, the deepest recognition of that is in the Tantras. And, and it is that everything in this universe arises out of vibration. So, so vibration sound is inherently creative. And these, you know, these seed syllables, these big mantras that we use in meditation, are considered to be the fundamental sound form of particular energy. So, if you, you know, that in the, in the Indian tradition in the Vedic tradition, the priests who would would traditionally create, they would make the fire leap out of wood, by reciting the beech mantra for fire, which is a drum, which, supposedly, if you’re really adept at it, you can Kindle Fire just by reciting that the syllable I know guys who claim they can do that I’ve
Rick Archer: never actually seen it. Some are other Christ did the loaves and fishes.
Sally Kempton: Yeah, exactly, exactly. And, and that, that, and the Baal Shem, Tov, the great Hasidic master, actually, he actually taught the Word the Word as the, you know, the center of manifestation of changing reality. And there are a lot of stories he was actually his name means the master of the name. So this science of using sound to transform reality is really embedded in most of the mystical traditions, very strong in Judas Jewish mysticism, actually. But in the in Deity practice, the mentors that they’re the seed mentors that you’re talking about, which I will say out loud, in my bad Sanskrit, so like aim, which is the mantra that that it holds the the energy of divine creativity, or the Goddess Saraswati, whose Goddess of speech and eloquence and creativity or, or the mantra cream, which is said to hold the full creative power of the goddess in all of her forms, that in tantric tradition, these mantras completely incarnate, the full energy of of this, this, this sacred energy, this sacred force. And therefore, when you really let that mantra that cook inside you, it’s going to open you up to that energy in a very natural way, you know, just kind of by itself, just by letting it sink into your consciousness, which is I know the way TM, meditation is done. You work with a segment, and you just let it
Rick Archer: sit for Listen, it follows you uses what Marx used to call the natural tendency of the mind to seek a field of greater happiness. And this deeper levels are inherently more charming. And so if left, it’s like diving, take a correct angle, let go and yeah, receive automatic. Yeah,
Sally Kempton: yeah. And it’s true. I mean, it’s a bunch of practice for that reason is unbelievably effective. And especially when you when you know the moment to let go of the mentor and to let the energy that that is opened up in you take over.
Rick Archer: If you’re not making an effort to think it in the first place, then it lets go of its own accord as it becomes more subtle, it just kind of fades and disappears. And there you are.
Sally Kempton: Right. Right. Unless you try to grab it.
Rick Archer: Yeah. Which, which, which would actually be counterindicated, at least into Yeah,
Sally Kempton: yeah. But and I’ve noticed that, you know, one of the, one of the art, the art of meditation is really learning not to grab, you know, not to grab an experience not to grab a thought not to grab hold of the technique. But to actually let yourself just continue to be carried. And you’re right,
Rick Archer: because if you’re grabbing, you’re interjecting more physical gear into injecting individual effort, which is only going to get in the way.
Sally Kempton: Right, right. Right. Yeah.
Rick Archer: It’s like, you know, we could think of nature as an invincible source or vegetable power. And it’s like you’re riding on an airplane. And you think I’m going to help this airplane by walking down the aisle and you know, getting a little going a little faster, you know, you’re actually not going to get your to destination faster. You might interfere with the flight attendants or something.
Sally Kempton: Yeah, and how about this one? When you think which I did. I went through a period when I would get on a plane and I would feel that my that I had to concentrate intensely to keep playing and that was That’s how I, that was how I put
Rick Archer: following up on your car.
Sally Kempton: It was a way of maintaining control because I was afraid of flying. And the interesting thing was about that is that at one point, I started flying out a lot of small planes, and I would sit in the cockpit with the pilot, and I would, you know, viscerally experience, the health thermodynamics and the motor and the pilot skill, get the plane into the air and keep it there. So I no longer felt like I had to, I had to keep the plane in the air. And I think that that’s, that’s true. When you, you know, as you allow yourself to fall into meditation to, as meditation sort of rises up to take you, then you you have the confidence that you don’t have to keep grabbing, to make something happen, you can just let what happens happens and, and that that experience that we call surrender, no, quit, we sell misunderstand begins to happen spontaneously.
Rick Archer: And if the big monster, again, is some kind of name of God, or something, or the terminology is so clunky, if it’s an impulse, if it represents a fundamental primordial impulse of intelligence, which arises from the unified field from the ground state from the transcendent, then, you know, that sound kind of has its roots there, and it can be used as a vehicle to take you all the way down.
Sally Kempton: Yeah, you write it, you write it back to the source. Yeah. Yeah. And, you know, and it’s also true that the Munch that mentors have to be empowered and here Here again, you know, we come back to touching into the source, what is the power source for spiritual experience, you mentor is the vehicle through which an empowerment occurs, but the empowerment actually comes from someplace much subtler. So and this is, this is actually what got me really fascinated with with the tantric view of goddesses, you know, that goddesses as as actually personifications of vortexes of these natural forces in the universe, which which can have which appear in nature in whether in, you know, in our bodies and our personalities, and which also have have a liberating or enlightening quality to them aspect to them. And because I found that, that as you begin to become aware of the forces behind munches, you know, for instance, if you’re, if you’re practicing a mantra, let’s say you’re practicing the mantra, aim for the sake of argument, and you’re, you know, and you begin to become aware that, that, that along with whatever natural subtle experiences, you may be having that you don’t have any words for any particular way of understanding that if you can recognize that, that inside that mentor, there is a very specific, empowering, enlightening creative force, that, that, that it actually adds an element to your practice, it adds which, which, you know, it adds a devotion element to your practice, it adds a love quality to your practice, which is immensely satisfying, you know, so it sort of takes it out of the kind of scientific, psychological, you know, chemical, mechanical quality and makes you just open up to, to relationship and love and, you know, and, and a kind of juicy dance with subtle forces.
Rick Archer: Alright, so if you don’t recognize it initially, you’ll recognize it eventually, because the fruits of it will begin to appear in your life. And you’ll wonder, you know, where are these blessings coming from?
Sally Kempton: Totally, totally. And, you know, and again, in my experience of The Goddess is I think I started working with him practicing with him, I’ve been practicing for 25 or 30 years, they reveal themselves as it were, you know, they began becoming apparent. So and I always believe that, you know, we can, we can, we can start by recognizing the possibilities of deity. Or we can wait until deity reveals herself and both work. But if we can start by recognizing possibility, it just, it kind of allows allows a kind of juiciness and devotional quality and our practice it’s very delightful right from the beginning. And, and this sounds strange, but for me, recognizing deity has really allowed me to, to recognize my own independence from, from, let’s say, you know, other other human teachers and writings and, and you know, texts, because as you start to connect yourself to these subtle deity forces, you really begin to recognize how they’re teaching you from inside. And the difference between, let’s call it, you know, an enlightened download from a higher level of consciousness, and the downloads that are arising in your own mind. You know, in other words, there’s a lot of stuff that comes up in the mind when we go inside that, that is that may or may not be reliable, he often really isn’t. But that when you tune into one of these subtle deity forces, and really tune in and really begin to discern, then it actually helps you recognize the difference between your own higher intelligence speaking to you and through you, and the stuff that you’re making up, that it’s, it’s astonishing to me how much stuff spiritual teachers actually make up, you know? Yeah, yeah.
Rick Archer: That’s it several interesting points in that a practical example of what you just said was, like, when I first conceived of this show, I thought of it as something I would do a little local radio station here in town, which has like a 10 mile radius. And I was getting all this resistance to the idea from the radio people, I thought, this is such a perfect fit for Fairfield, oh, Bill, love this, why can’t I do this, you know, and, and finally, kind of got got through my thick skull that I should go out to a larger audience and friends were telling me, but you know, looking back on it, I feel like there’s been a lot of grace, a lot of divine guidance with this whole thing, and all sorts of opportunities and support and guidance, you know, to do it in such a way that it’s really having some kind of valuable impact for large numbers of people. Whereas in my little mind, I was thinking, oh, yeah, local, local thing here in Fairfield. So, you know, some people might just say, well, that’s silly, that doesn’t mean that there’s any kind of deity involved or anything, but I don’t know, I sort of feel like there’s deity involved in and we’ll have to, we owe it to our listeners to to find more carefully what what we mean by these terms. But I feel like there’s that involved in the fall of every leaf and the crash of every wave, there’s the Divine is, is operative in everything. Yeah, I want to say a few minutes. Evers.
Sally Kempton: Yeah, yeah, and the thing is thing about, about recognizing, and actually actually learning to discern when divine forces are trying to get something through to you, which takes a while, because we are thick, and, and because the ego is naturally limiting, even when the ego is grandiose, it’s limiting. So it does really require stepping outside your, your ego at personal agendas, at some point, to really, to really be able to receive deity, you know, it’s, it’s not something that it’s a, it’s not an energy that can be manipulated or used, even though human beings are, you know, constantly trying to get God to favor their football team. You know, it’s, it actually requires as, as you know, a very deep surrender to higher intelligence to start to recognize when you’re being really being guided from the center of the universe.
Rick Archer: Good point. And that can be such a strong individual desire to have it a particular way. But but there’s this kind of quiet or sense of No, despite this strong individual desire, there’s a deep sense that it should go that way. And I’m going to go with that, you know,
Sally Kempton: yeah. And sometimes, sometimes, it actually means that you give up thinking about how you’re going to do it. Yeah. And let it let it happen, you know, much as you were saying about meditation, just letting the vehicle take you deeper, it’s a very radical way to live and, and scary, you know, until you until you, you actually learn, learn that there’s something holding you and that, that I think, I mean, let’s, you know, this is this is why I do think that personal relationship with deity forces and when I when I use the word deity, I’m talking about specific very specific vortexes of, you know, of energy of, of sacred energy, that that have been personified over the years. Over the centuries in, in particular forms, and that, that as we begin to tune into that, to the energetic substratum of, you know, of the deeper mind or of the, we start to realize that, that they are present in the cosmos present in the air. And as you said, every wave, every blink of the eye of the eyes, every activity of the body, if you look at from a certain point of view, is actually being orchestrated by this divine intelligence unknowing elegance. And, and yet, you know, rather than being one, you know, just as you just as Rick has certain actions and attitudes that you perform as an individual vortex of energy, and I have certain attitudes and actions that I embody and perform in the same way, on the subtler level, there, you know, there are many, many different energies, which which act is in our bodies and in our lives and in the world itself. So, you know, one of my favorite teachers who’s a very passionate, you know, colleague colleagues who’s a very passionate teacher of, of, you know, deity energy is, is Andrew Harvey, who, who talks, you know, who’s talks a lot about the forces that are that are really rampaging through the world today, which anyone who’s very deeply embedded in, in Indian culture will recognize as the forces of the Goddess Kali, you know, the goddess whose, whose cosmic action is the destruction of structures in order for something utterly new and different to be born, and you can look around the world and see all the terrible things that are happening all over the world and the destruction of the planet and so much, that’s, that’s horrific. And, and see it as, you know, as a lot of individual, you know, horrific happenings, or you can, you can recognize it as the action of the Goddess Kali, who’s waking us up by, you know, by showing us that, that incredible destruction that the human ego is capable of performing in, you know, against other human beings and against the earth. So that, you know, it’s almost as though this energy gets gets set loose in the world, and she begins to dance and you think this is as bad as it gets? No, no, it can get this bad. Forget even this bad. Until the moment when you you’re actually able to look into the face of that aspect of reality and say, Okay, what is it that I need to learn? You know, what is it that, that I need to let go of? And it’s, you know, that’s a very, very deep radical goddess message that most of us would prefer to avoid. Yeah, but you know, but there are many, there are many ways, you know, your experience of, of realizing that your, your work, your creative work, your radio show could actually needed to be manifested on a wider, more inclusive level. You know, it’s an example of what we could call the obviously benign forces of the cosmos, giving you a message giving you a teaching, so, but the message is always, you know, make your effort in alignment with this truth. You know, what is? What is, what is your role to play in what is actually the movement of a much larger cosmic force, which we hope is the awakening of more and more human beings?
Rick Archer: Yeah. So if we acknowledge as I think we haven’t totally nailed it down to the, as best we possibly can, that, that, you know, we’re swimming in an ocean of intelligence that every every bit of creation is contained within this vast ocean of intelligence and is conducted and orchestrated by that, then I think a lot of people would find it hard to, I mean, well, a lot of people reject the notion of God because they say, How could God allow the Holocaust, you know, and many other examples of things that happen, but what you’re saying is that everything, all the world wars, the plagues, the, all the terrible things that have happened, as well as all the wonderful things that have happened, are can are just sort of the dynamics with within this, this vast intelligence, and just to throw in one quick point, and I’ll give it back to you. If it seems to me if we’re gonna have a relative creation, then then if we’re gonna have hot we have to have cold if we’re gonna have fast we have to have slow if we’re gonna have big we have to have small. Otherwise, if if you try to just have one side of the polarity, the whole thing would Work should be lopsided. So if there’s going to be happiness, there has to be suffering, if there’s going to be help, there has to be sickness. And, and everything has its mirror opposite. So, but, you know, I think maybe some people would have a hard time accepting that ISIS, beheading people and the Ebola virus and some of these things that are really hot items in the news today, are really teaching anybody anything, how is it that those are fostering a more enlightened world?
Sally Kempton: Well, I have a hard time accepting ISIS, beheading people on myself and I, I would say that
Sally Kempton: the way that that I find this understandable, unexplainable is that, first of all, there’s the overall non dual recognition that there is really nothing that’s outside of consciousness, there’s nothing that’s, that’s not imbued with divine consciousness. And to recognize this, you really do have to see that divine consciousness is, let’s say, neutral, you know, it contains it all, it contains the light in the dark. Now on the level of relative reality, you know, which is where we’re obviously operating, I find that understanding of structures of consciousness levels of consciousness, the fact that, that human beings and societies grow from childhood to adolescence to some degree of maturity, you know, that there is such a thing as cultural evolution helps to explain some of this. So, so, when you have people who are, who are at a tribal level of culture, who are deeply oppressed, in their societies, and, and, and have no have no way to find meaning in their lives, and, and their, their level of consciousness is at a, let’s call it a childhood or adolescent stage of development, then what you’re going to have is, is, you know, violence, terrorism, you know, the attempt of the strong to oppress the weak, because that’s the that, you know, that’s how, that’s how five year olds are. That’s how 10 year olds are, they’re
Rick Archer: bullies on the playground,
Sally Kempton: bullies on the playground, bullies and victims, you know, and it’s, and as we grow older, and as we get civilized when we make rules, and we realize that, that what we do to others comes back to us, and, you know, we, we grow up. So we are in a place in the world now, where there are some very highly evolved beings on this planet, and there are some people who, who seem to be at fairly primitive levels of consciousness. And, and it’s, it’s a, it’s tremendously, and and because of community, you know, because we were able to see it all, you know, we’re able to where we know what’s going on, we have these, this, this amazing media presence that lets us, lets us go into the village and, you know, and watch, watch what’s happening. We are somehow being forced to consider how to deal with it. I don’t think we’re dealing with it all that intelligently. But, you know, that’s the crisis that we face today is, is how do we grow up human beings on the planet quickly enough to save us? It’s, it’s a, it’s a real, it’s a real dilemma. It’s a serious crisis on every level.
Rick Archer: Yeah. And anybody who thinks it’s easy to solve, superficial level, you know, with this policy or that policy, try being pres, try being president for, you know, they say, it’s like drinking from a firehose, there’s so much coming at you. And, you know, it’s, it’s easy to criticize, but yeah, personally, I think that the kind of stuff we’re talking about, is far more fundamentally influential than I mean, things need to be done on technological and political and economic levels. But if we can affect deep, deep and profound shifts in the collective consciousness through our own awakening and through the awakening of others, then that’s gonna probably have far more impact than just tinkering with with the surface mechanisms.
Sally Kempton: I believe so my life is based on that premise. And and he’ll it’s that the ability to, to live in the relative world and live in the subtle world and really, learn the lesson. of the relative world. And, you know, one of my, you know, one of my friends says, deal with the problem on the level of the problem. So, obviously, we have to deal with, with the problem of terrorism on the level of the problem. But you’re right. If we’re not, we don’t have an overarching viewpoint that, that lets us put it in perspective, we’re never going to, we’re never going to grow up as a as a species. Yeah,
Rick Archer: I think maybe you need to do both. I mean, on the one hand, I know I don’t have a problem with, you know, bombing some of these ISIS guys that are causing all this trouble and stopping them from, you know, exploding the Mosul Dam and things like that. But on the other hand, you know, if that’s the only level in which we’re going to deal with such problems, then then problems will never end. Maybe, maybe they won’t anyway, but you know, you have to kind of get to the source of the thing to really bring, I mean, it’s marshy, always used to say, if you just water the leaves of the tree, you’re not going to help the tree much go ahead and water the root. And that’s going to enable the whole tree to flourish. So there’s, there’s some kind of deeper root level, to what’s going what’s going on in the world. And we need to attend to the surface things, you know, you have to go treat the Ebola virus with doctors and do all the things we need to do. But there also needs to be a much more profound awakening and in collective consciousness for all these symptoms to really subside once and for all.
Sally Kempton: Yeah, for sure. And and I guess the question is, can we reach a tipping point in awakening such that it’s going to make a you know, it’s going to save us from, you know, the rapidly escalating effects of climate change, etc? I mean, which has its own tipping points, which has its own tipping points. Exactly. So. So, you know, in a certain sense. It’s very important to avoid believing that we can, we can just change our subtle consciousness and affect the whole. And it’s very important to believe that we can affect anything without changing our subtle consciousness. So we’re back with the paradigm back to the both and yeah, both of the backend and, and I do you know, that I do believe that. Recognizing the non dual nature of everything, recognizing that it is all fundamentally happening within a single field. It’s terribly counterintuitive. You know, when things are falling apart, and and it should, should never be an excuse for inaction, appropriate action, you know, we need to take appropriate action. And yet, I sat next years ago, I sat on a plane next to General Wesley Clark, who, and it was in 2004. He was, you know, if you remember, he was briefly considered as the, as a candidate for president. So, we got into a conversation, I told him, I was a meditation teacher,
Rick Archer: either you were in first class or he was in coach.
Sally Kempton: It was a it was a shuttle plane between Monterey and Phoenix, which is a one class plane, it’s okay. Now, it’s a little regional jet. There’s, you know, they’re 16 rows, everybody sits together. So we started talking, and he said, he said, Let me tell you this story. He’s and he was right before the Kosovo War, which for those of you who are, you know, don’t remember the cause of a war. Wesley Clark, at that time was the general in command of the NATO forces, that, that that, you know, actually won the Military part of that war. So he was in Maine with his sitting in the church that his wife’s family went to his wife was a Catholic. And he was sitting there during the sermon, he was no mass or whatever, it was kind of bored. He looked up at the window, and there was a stained glass window with with that represented St. George, and the dragon. And the sphere of St. George suddenly turned into light and entered his heart. And he said, and he saw everything that was going to happen, he actually, he saw that they were going to win, and that he would be fired from his command immediately after the win. And he said that it all happened. It was like, he was like, he had seen the script. He’d seen the movie, and he was just acting out his part of the movie. And I can imagine it didn’t say this. But that, you know, getting fired for his command two days after having commanded the forces that won the war was probably a great deal less painful for him. Because he seen it coming, you know, so and he’s not a it at least he said, he’s not a religious guy. He’s not a mystic. It he just had one of those experiences that comes to us sometimes in moments of crisis that just show us the pattern.
Rick Archer: Yeah. Talk about getting zapped by some kind of divine intelligence.
Sally Kempton: Yeah, I know. It’s not I know it’s a it’s a wild Isn’t it? It’s really cool. Yeah, I thought so too. I thought it was really cool and no in a certain way, it it, it just reveals how, how understanding the pattern or just having a glimpse of the pattern is so important in, in our process, you know, in our growth process that we we don’t, we don’t suffer. In the same way if we have a sense that it’s part of a pattern. You know, that it’s, it’s how it’s meant to be that it’s destined, you know, it’s, it’s allows kind of surrender. That’s, I think, you know, one of the most profound cures for for normal human suffering that there is.
Rick Archer: Yeah. If our dogs could only understand that cutting their nails is good for them.
Sally Kempton: Yeah. Cats do? Yeah, they
Rick Archer: do. Cats don’t mind so much. But the dogs, it’s like this big trauma. Yeah, they don’t understand it.
Sally Kempton: Well, it’s, it’s about it’s sort of about growing up. I, you know, when I was a kid, I, I would have to have shots or, yeah, blood tests, and I would freak out, I would run around and say, no, no, not. And then of course, you go up and you go, Okay, I need this. Okay, it’s gonna hurt for a minute. It’s just, it’s a it’s all about perspective. And, and, and the maturation of consciousness. And, and it’s, it’s, you know, it, the world does doing that also.
Rick Archer: Yeah, interesting. One thing I want to make sure we cover is, you know, if a person were to buy your book, and they’d see the dog on the cover, and they’d flip through and see pictures of Lakshmi, and all, it’s like to be on the cover. Oh, is it Watchmen, sir? Okay. And so, you know, some people might think, Well, what’s going on? I mean, this, this is Hindu gods, they have forearms are carrying all these Spears coins have dripping out of their hands? I mean, are she really suggesting that on some deep level beings that look like that they exist? Or are we really talking are those just sort of mythological, mythological representations or artistic representations of much kind of more fundamental forces of nature, that are really universal in scope, you know, that, you know, might operate throughout the entire universe with all of its galaxies, and that you’re not, if you get right down there, you’re not going to find a lady with forearms, but there, but those somehow just symbolically represent the qualities of a deep force of nature, that is, in part governing the universe,
Sally Kempton: I would say it’s both and in. So I mean, if you, if you again, I like very much can Wilbers way of explaining this, he taught, you know, he talks about the four quadrants of reality. And one of the quadrants is, is our subjective experience, you know, our, what’s goes on in our mind and imagination. And then there’s, there’s the second quadrant is the our physical experience, the brain, you know, the body, that our biology, our actual physical biology, and then there’s, there’s another sphere of experience, which is the space of culture, you know, the, the interrelationships among living creatures, and, and then there’s the physical experience of the collective, you know, the, the city, the planet, the family, the tribe, the city, the planet, you know, in other words, we’re always dealing in multiple realities, there’s our subjective experience, which, which occurs on different levels of consciousness, you know, waking state, dream state meditative state and the transcendent state and probably others in between. And then, so for example, if you look at consciousness is obvious, obviously, there’s consciousness acting through the brain, through the body, you know, there’s, there’s, there’s a physical grain that that mediates our nervous system, our impulses, and then there’s the purely subjective subtle experience of, of individuality and of, you know, of, of what it’s like to be, to be us inside, inside a human body, you know, having different levels of experience. And in the same way, we have a, you know, we have a subtle unquantifiable experience of what’s going on between us behind the words, you know, or through the words, that’s our we experience and we have our societies. So, in other words, everything is happening on an interior level, and also on a physical level. And how this applies to goddesses is that there’s that on the subjective level, these beings are, are external experienceable in the subtle realm of dream and meditation as, as for armed beings made of light. Who’s Who’s you know, figures whose clothes whose iconography actually expresses the the qualities of a particular energy, you know, so for example, Lakshmi, who’s always pictured is very beautiful, and she has, she has gold coins coming out of one of her hands. And another hand is in this gesture, which says, Don’t be afraid. And she carries load fully blooming lotuses. So Lakshmi is the, the goddess of the principle of abundance and fertility and wealth and beauty in the world. And this is obviously a subtle principle that, you know, that runs through cultures and runs through, it’s, you know, it’s, it’s apparent in the earth, certain parts of the earth are fertile, and certain parts of the earth are desert. So, you know, you could say that the figure of Lakshmi, that, that appears in meditation, as a beautiful woman with gold coins coming out of her arm, is is a symbolic reference, you know, representation of this, this force of this force in nature and in culture. And at the same time, on it, when you, when you, when you see or feel, that, this the presence of the Goddess Lakshmi in meditation, or as an energy in your field, you’re very sure that she’s a very specific presence, you know, a subtle person. So, both are true, you know, in that subtle level of dream and meditation. Excuse me.
Rick Archer: So So for instance, you know, I mean, Native American culture, Chinese culture, south, south American, South African, all those other cultures might have DVDs, they might understand the same principle, but they would, they would depict that, in that expression of intelligence in an entirely different way. Maybe Maybe said similar in the sense of benign and not threatening and a source of abundance, but not necessarily forearms, and not necessarily wearing an Indian sorry, and, and all that. So you’re just saying that in the Indian culture, it’s depicted this way off on alfalfa. cintura, you know, if there’s an inhabited planet, there, that very same principle might be, you know, some green lady with tentacles or something, because that’s the way they look there. And then they’re just depicting that as abundance and, and bless, you know, but
Sally Kempton: we are we can say that, that, that the, the human imagination, event state is that we can recognize, we could also say that energies appear in personified forms, that the human beings who they appear to can recognize some, you know, it’s so yeah, as we always say, the ACT God probably looks like a big ant. Yeah. But, but who’s to say, I mean, again, once you start having experiences of deity energies, that that clearly don’t come from your mind. I mean, I’ve known so many people who, who have, for example, my first experience of the presence of a deity energy, I don’t know if I can explain this in a way that a skeptic can get but a friend of mine who you know, who was an ex Catholic, who had always loved the Virgin Mary gave me this book was published by a Catholic press about the, the appearances of the Virgin Mary in modern times, you know, Fatima, and magical or Jan, and one Lupe, and I’m reading the book, mostly because my friend wanted me to read it. And I start reading the story of the Virgin of Guadalupe, which I won’t go into. But it’s a very beautiful story about an Indian peasant, who, who was on his way to work one day, and he saw this young girl standing in the snow, and she told him to go to the church and tell them that this was the this was the Virgin Mary, who come to bless them that it goes on. But and there’s a huge shrine in Mexico City, which has a picture of her and the cloak that she gave him which has her image, which was imprinted on it. And it’s a you know, it’s a very powerful miracle working shrine for, for men, for Mexicans and for, for Western for people in the Western United States. So I’m reading this, and all of a sudden, in the room, in the air, there, there this, this energy appears, I suddenly find myself crying tears of love, and I hear from inside this present saying to me, I am she and I am your mother. And I’m here for you. i You can you can ask me for help. And, and this presence just stayed around me for about three days. And I was I’m not a Catholic. I’m not a quitter. When I was very involved in a Hindu tradition at the time, it’s it was a totally spontaneous, very, very powerful manifestation. Where’d that come from? I didn’t make it up. You know, I, I was just reading a book. You know what I mean? That’s nice. Yeah, so I. So that experience and subsequent experiences really helped me understand that deity that these subtle presences are, they’re actually, they’re actually energy manifestations that have really have their own their own reality and their own power. So, you know, people who have never heard of Hindu deities could add can have visions of Hindu deities, and I’m sure in your tradition, that, you know, there have been a lot of people who, who had these kinds of spontaneous visions that weren’t word imagine that work coax that you know, you didn’t, you weren’t trying to have. So, you know, they, they have their own subtle reality. And there are also forces in nature who, you know, appear in different forms in different cultures.
Rick Archer: Yeah. But I think, kind of the key point, which is maybe the main point of this interview, is that, you know, it’s not just that there’s this sort of impersonal, non dual reality, and we are that and that’s it. And end of story, that there’s, you know, as much richness and diversity and variety and, and intelligence intelligent. He used the word intelligent design, but intelligent play and display going on, at all sorts of subtle realms of creation, that are beyond our ordinary perception, as there is as there are on the surface level of perception, if you watch the Discovery Channel and look at stuff, you know, shows about undersea life, or you know, the Amazonian jungle, and you see, wow, life is so amazing and rich and full of full of be full of different expressions and create, you know, creative explosion, that that’s only one dimension, there’s a whole vertical dimension, and many, many, many, many strata as you progress through that vertical dimension. And the whole hierarchy is really is one kind of coordinated phenomena, that, you know, we’re capable of traversing consciously and experientially. And that, you know, is is a very worthwhile field for exploration.
Sally Kempton: Yeah, well said. Well said,
Rick Archer: it’s out of a hat.
Sally Kempton: Yeah. Yeah, it’s that. And I think that that’s the thing that just is that, to recognize the incredible richness of the subtle world. So enriches your experience, you know, it’s, it’s so enriches your sense of who
Rick Archer: you are, refines your heart, among other things,
Sally Kempton: you find your heart. Yeah. And you find the heart. That’s three fives. Yeah, it really finds it refines the heart. And it also that it also lets you find the heart in the world, you know, not because often we think that love is something that happens between human beings. But in fact, it’s, it, love pervades everything and, and when as you start to recognize how much love is coming to you, in very specific ways, from forces in the universe, that you could, you can communicate with it’s, it’s just opened your awareness and your, your, your heart so magnificently. So I just, I think,
Rick Archer: do you also find even as you walk down the street, let’s say, and you’re seeing grass and the telephone poles and the people in this net, do you also find that you kind of have this recognition as you’re going along that you’re, you’re kind of what seeing the divine, you’re, you know, you’re kind of seeing God and all these forms.
Sally Kempton: You know, there’s a wonderful, you know, way of expressing this that love is recognizing the same consciousness and others as in yourself, you know, that that, that connection that’s formed as you start to see the subtle, just kind of rolling through everything and everyone is, and that is the sort of the essence of what sometimes called the Shakta consciousness. You know, this recognition that everything that’s that exists in this world is a manifestation of the goddess taking form. All of us. So you know you, you can, you can really fall in love with the world as the goddess as well as, as you know, fall in love with the world as Rick or as you know, my cat Leo. So it’s, it’s just it just adds so much dimensionality to our daily experience it it D Monday now is this life at Riyadh chance, your sense of, of life.
Rick Archer: That verse from the Bible comes to mind whatsoever you do unto the least of these you do unto me, you know, it’s like, you know, whatever you’re doing to the world you’re doing to the body of God, whether whether in the form of a person or an animal or a tree or anything, you’re, you’re doing it to the body
Sally Kempton: of God. Yeah. And, and how conscious that makes you when you have that recognition? Yeah. So I always say to people, you know, in this the midst of this conversation, so just take it, take this understanding and just look at your own body, with that recognition that you know, that it’s every single part of your body is, is that aspect of divine shakti of, you know of sacred intelligence of the Sacred Feminine just manifesting as you and feel that your breath is your being breathed by this Shakti, this goddess. And this light yourself, actually experience yourself as you know, as a, you know, kind of a mass of godlessness of Shakti pneus. And, and notice, notice the state that that, you know, that practice engenders in you?
Rick Archer: Yeah. And it’s not what I would call mood making either because it really, there’s really something real about that, and it and it becomes more palpable over time, as you continue to do your spiritual practice, it becomes more it’s not just an imagination, you know, that you’re actually tuning into something, which is a fact. Yeah. Which is a reality.
Sally Kempton: Right, exactly. And it’s like you notice it, you know, it you it’s our, our attention is so there’s so much that we don’t notice. Yeah, so we bring our attention to it, it starts to reveal how true it is how real it is.
Rick Archer: Yes, like I said, at the beginning of this interview, I asked the question, what’s what’s actually going on? You know, yeah, what’s actually what’s actually going on is, well, we’ve been talking about it there, you’re just no need to add any more words to it. I think we’ve kind of gone at it every which way. But it’s, you know, have you Did you ever have a time in your life where the world seemed gray and dead and flat and lifeless? Yeah, like maybe 50 years ago or something? And yeah. And I can remember that. And I know that that’s probably the way a lot of people still experience the world. And you hear people describing who are suffering from depression, that that’s the way the world looks at all. And there’s, you know, such a very different way of perceiving the world. And I think any anything that people can do to realize that that’s possible, and to actually experience it that way, is so valuable.
Sally Kempton: Yes, it is. And I, I do think that, that, that is the action, that’s the action of grace that allows you that we, you know, that really transforms your perception so that you can begin to see the world as utterly, completely alive. And, you know, it’s, it’s such a, it’s so important for us to recognize the possibility because that’s what, that’s what really allows us to open to, to the truth. That’s kind of staring us in the face.
Rick Archer: Yeah. Yeah. And it just keeps getting better. So as Robert crumb said, Keep on truckin.
Sally Kempton: You can check in. Thank you so much, Rick. This is a totally delightful conversation. Yeah,
Rick Archer: um, before we conclude, tell, tell people what, how they can connect with you what what you’re offering that they can plug into?
Sally Kempton: Yes, I have a website, which is www Sally kempton.com, which has a lot of resources on it, including CD meditations. A lot of articles that I’ve written, and the most imminent thing that I’m doing is quartz on the shift network, called the goddess the wisdom goddess empowerment. Opening the transpersonal gateways to your powers of desire, insight and action. And it’s, it’s it really is exactly that. It’s about it’s about allowing learning how to allow the goddess energies that the divine sacred energies that that are that are present in the universe to start revealing themselves to us through our own mind and heart. And it’s it’s on. It’s, it’s on the shift network, actually, I’m going to tell you the link, which I,
Rick Archer: I’ll also link to your page on BatGap. But perfect, and it starts Tuesday, August 26 2014,
Sally Kempton: to seven week class that’s every Tuesday night for till through October 2 over the telephone or on it’s another, it’s both it’s you could tune it, you can call into a number or you can do it as a webinar. And everything is downloadable. You also get transcripts. And we’ll have there will be discussion groups of forum, you know, just a community experiences supportive community experience, and
Rick Archer: you do that kind of thing from time to time, don’t yourself, people,
Sally Kempton: I do that. Yeah, I do that. Pretty much every month I my my own classes, which you can find out about through my website by going to the resource to the there’s actually an end, there’s a tab at the top of my website that says events and tell courses. So you can and I, I’ll start my own tele courses again in November. And they’re on different topics. So yeah, the next ones, the next ones, I’m doorways to the infinite and, and I do classes on different aspects of spiritual life meditation. The practical sadhana, you know.
Rick Archer: So in other words, if somebody doesn’t have any kind of practice, and they want to learn something they can do on a daily basis, then you have things you can teach them,
Sally Kempton: I have many things I can teach them. And I do I give different levels of meditation practice, different levels of daily life practice. I also I also teach meditation on the on the internet site yoga, glow calm, which is a yoga and yoga site where I have I appear regularly, there’s a new meditation every week on yoga glow.com from me. Cool. Well, verses there. And I just I just want to say, even though we’re talking on a very high metaphysical level, my basic orientation to spiritual practices, very practical. So you know, how do you apply it to your family life? How do you apply it to your work life? How do you apply it to your, your mental states to your moods? It’s, I really do believe that, to that, to transform us. Any practice we do has to be applicable in any and all moments of life. So Oh, yeah. Yeah,
Rick Archer: I mean, everything we’ve talked about today, which, as you say, a lot of it has been a very high metaphysical level, but it’s kind of subtle mechanics of the universe stuff. But it really the rubber really does meet the road. I mean, if you can really live this stuff experientially, it enriches ordinary, so called ordinary life, so profoundly. So it has practical implications. It’s not just like, you know, airy fairy kind of.
Sally Kempton: It has it has practical implications and practical applications, right.
Rick Archer: Yeah, yes, applications is a better word. Alrighty, well, let me just make a couple of concluding remarks. I’ve been speaking with Sally Kempton, you know, pretty well, but this time she has, there will be a page on bat gap calm, dedicated to this interview, which will have links to the various things Sally has been mentioning. It will also have a link to an audio podcast, if you’d like to listen to this and other interviews in audio. There’s a discussion group that’s crud that has its own little section for each interview. So there’ll be a link to that. Yeah, there’s a Donate button which I rely on people clicking in order to make this whole thing possible. And that gap is a nonprofit organization 501 C three, there’s a there’s a link to click on to be notified by email each time a new interview is posted. So feel free to click on that. And probably a few other things, explore the menus. There’s there’s a past interviews menu, which has like all the previous interviews indexed in for about four different ways that you can explore that. And upcoming interviews are announced on another page. So thanks for listening or watching, and we’ll see you next week with young fella named Chris Grosso. Thanks, Ellie.
Sally Kempton: Thank you so much, Rick. It was a pleasure. It was fun. Have a great week. We’ll