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Sally Kempton (Wisdom In Times Of Crisis) Interview
Rick Archer: Welcome to Buddha at the Gas Pump. My name is Rick Archer. Buddha at the Gas Pump is an ongoing series of conversations with spiritually Awakening people. We’ve done over 550 of them now. And if you’d like to check out previous ones, please go to bat gap comm bat gap and look under the past interviews menu. This program is made possible through the support of appreciative listeners and viewers. So if you appreciate it and would like to help support it, there’s a PayPal button on every page of the site. The interview you’re about to see was done in the context of a webinar offered in May by the science and non duality conference entitled wisdom in times of crisis. In addition to this interview, there are dozens of others. interviews and presentations with people like Vandana Shiva, Peter Levine, Gabor, Ma, Tei, Deepak Chopra, Rupert spyera, and many others. Although the webinar is over now, it is archived online. There’s a link to the archive in the description beneath this video and the page for this interview on bat gap calm. So enjoy the talk.
Rick Archer: Welcome, everyone to the wisdom in times of crisis online event, where we explore and reflect on the challenges and opportunities this unique time is offering us. My name is Rick Archer. I am the host of the Buddha at the Gas Pump interview series. My guest in this hour this session is Sally Kempton. Sally teaches tantric, non dual wisdom from the heart of the cashmere Shava tradition, she has a Master Guide to the experience of awakening the Kundalini and is known for her ability to apply esoteric wisdom to the issues of our lives. In preparation for this interview, I listened to an interview that Sally and I did about six years ago. And there was really, we covered a lot of ground, it was good stuff. So if you enjoy this, and we’d like to hear that go to bat gap calm and go to the past interviews menu, and there’s a search page where you can search for just type in the word Sally, and it’ll come right up. So in that interview that we did six years ago, Sally and I talked a lot about the sort of the subtler realities of creation, and how those, interrelate and interact with the more obvious level that most people are familiar with. We talked about a number of other things, but we might touch on that today with reference to the pandemic. And what I don’t know we don’t want to get too speculative, but you know, how an appreciation of the subtler aspects of creation might be relevant to understanding what’s going on in the world at large. There’s also some interesting thoughts we can get into about the fact that I mean, just about everybody listening to this has been on spiritual retreats. And Sally and I both have led many spiritual teachers as well it’s been on them. And you know, when when you’re on a spiritual retreat, it’s sort of a, a forced seclusion or force dive into a knot force, it’s a voluntary dive into a deeper, more settled state. And often, you know, things come up and when you’re in that deeper state, and but you’re kind of prepared for it, and you you you’ve, you know, perhaps done many of them you know, what’s going to happen you, you’re not surprised. And hopefully there are some wise teacher or teachers there to sort of help us through it if we begin to have doubts or fears or whatever. And of course, this kind of thing is traditional in ancient cultures as well there in ancient cultures around the world have initiations of various sorts that when you reach a certain age, you know, you you’re tested in a way and pushed to your limits and but there are two there are elders who determine your your suitability and capability of doing such a thing and wouldn’t have you do it if you weren’t ready for but it almost seems like the world now is kind of being involuntarily put on a an initiation of a sort, or a retreat of a sort that And you know, a lot of people are really not happy with what’s happening in their lives, and don’t have a lot of explanation for it from any wise elders, and certainly not any politicians. So there’s a lot of fear and a lot of upset and all kinds of concerns. So maybe these are some of the points we can cover in the next 45 minutes or so what do you think, Sally?
Sally Kempton: Yeah, definitely, definitely. So do we want to start with the first retreat,
Rick Archer: wherever you’d like to start, whatever you’d like to do,
Sally Kempton: I always find myself answering the last point that was made. So that’s fresh in my mind. So you know, I think you’re, it’s really true that probably you and certainly me went, Oh, my God, this is cool. I have a month, which is what it seemed like at the time, you know, to just be with myself and practice and read. And then I, you know, personally, I started doing teaching a six week teleseminar, which had been scheduled. So my retreat time, turned into study time, and, you know, preparation time for that, but it was a class on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. So it was quite uplifting. And so in the midst of my, me actually having a really good time, you know, and in this retreat situation, which, as a spiritual practitioner, I’m pretty prepared for and look at as a privilege. And then I’m reading and talking to all these people who, as you say, have absolutely no background in this, and are freaking out or, you know, terrified or not getting along with their families. But what I noticed, and again, I’m, I’m this is definitely third hand, because it comes from reading or talking to people is it as the lockdown went on, people got more and more settled, and they more and more began to find a way to to be okay with what they were going through. Plus, you know, though, I’ve heard there are a lot of COVID divorces going on that, but most of the people I know, once they had gotten through the irritation at, you know, things about their partner that they hadn’t had to live with, when they were both going out to work, actually found themselves much more settled in their relationship much more open. So I think that the power of retreat, you know, being really being if, as it were forced to get quiet and look at your stuff, and find a way to be in a settled centered place, has worked for a lot of people.
Rick Archer: Now, you mentioned that, you know, this is rather alien to the people to whom you’re teaching this course. But I bet you that, you know, they are in the top 5% of people who would be comfortable, you know, or in terms of their comfort level with an inward stroke, whereas the vast majority of people in the world may never have done anything like this. So perhaps it’s been much more difficult for them than it is for the people in your retreat, and people who are listening to this talk right now.
Sally Kempton: Yeah, I would say that most of most of most of us, as the people who are here, probably know exactly what we’re talking about, and maybe even welcomed it. You know, what, we
Rick Archer: paid good money to go on retreats to sit in a room or stare at a wall or whatever?
Sally Kempton: Exactly. I mean, I think, you know, the big problem has been for people who, who are economically impacted in in a huge way. And that’s certainly true of many people in the yoga world, you know, and in the, in the spiritual world. And on the other hand, we have zoom. So there have been a lot of programs like this one, that that I think have been profound for people. So offering a lot of guidance.
Rick Archer: Yeah. What do you have you have any thoughts on the notion that this may be some kind of mass global initiation of some sort? That could have a profoundly maturing effect on the populace at large, just the way individual initiations do?
Sally Kempton: I’ve certainly heard this, and I am like you, I’ve been hearing this for years. Someone that I co taught a course, with a few years ago, is very, very intent on this topic. He believes that because of the way we’ve treated the earth, you know, especially in the modern era, where we’re at a day of reckoning, and we’re being and we’re essentially being punished for the way we’ve treated the earth. And you know, I just don’t believe that. So, but I what I do feel is true, and I think we’ve talked about it before, is that those of us who’ve been practicing for a long time practicing since the 70s. Feeling that the energy that has intensified on the planet in the last 3040, even 50 years, definitely can feel that there’s a, there’s an intensification of certain trends that have to explode one way or the other and that for people who are who have done practice who have an inner focus, who are able to kind of smooth out the currents of craziness in in their minds. This is this can be a powerful initiation. And I would say there are a lot of people who just are not prepared for it. You know, and and that’s the open question is, is this going to be the kind of initiation, that for instance, I experienced, I think possibly you experienced, you’re at, you know, at the moment of awakening transformation in my 20s were from, you know, my ordinary crazy, downtown hipster. Any story that feels exciting is my story, that that person, you know, coming up against, the exigencies of certain crises in my life was catapulted into a real shift of priorities, which started my spiritual life. I mean, this may be true that more and more people are going to be able to use this pandemic, as a spur to their own awakening. I certainly hope so.
Rick Archer: Yeah, it may be. I know that there’s obviously there’s a backlash against it. And a lot of people just want to get back to the bars and the restaurants and then, you know, show their bravado or their disdain for science by not wearing masks. They’re on the news now. We’ll see if they can get away with that. You know, but if you think of this as a punishment, I agree, I agree that with you that we wouldn’t necessarily see it that way. I mean, if you’re, if you’re a little kid, and you’re doing dangerous things, playing with fire, hitting yourself with a hammer something in your, your mother or father stops you and pulls you away from it, and maybe even scold you, you might see that as a punishment, but it’s not in the in a more mature type of things.
Sally Kempton: Right, yeah, true. True. And, you know, the laws of causality offer operate, no matter what we think, or, you know, how much we disbelieve them. There are certain causes and conditions that that just happened naturally. So, I mean, there’s no question that we’ve despoiled the earth, and perhaps, perhaps some, in some ways, innocent labor helps in some ways, you know, with with some form of exploitive malice. So obviously, there are consequences to that.
Rick Archer: And good.
Sally Kempton: I so at this point, it seems less significant to me to think about how this happened. I mean, we know what we’ve been doing. We know how we’ve been treating the planet and each other. We know how fragile our systems are. We, you know, some of us have been saying this for years. So it’s not a surprise. And it’s, and we knew that there were going to be serious consequences. And we’ve been seeing them, you know, wildfires and earthquakes and tornadoes and hurricanes. And now this. So the, you know, the question is, I’m sure. You know, it is for you is okay, now what I mean? I mean, what are we as people who regard this life as an opportunity to wake up and, you know, cultivate awakened states? How do we handle it, and then also without, without, you know, without critique, because everybody’s on our own journey, we’re all on our own. We’re all queer, we’re out, we are in our journey. And we all approach this from different levels of consciousness, so to speak. How do you know, what, what do we do to help people when they’re scared and unsure? And, you know, and they’re either looking at this as if they’re religious as a punishment, or are just feeling like victims of circumstances which they then want to blame on whoever they can find to blame it on me? I mean, what do we do about that? We just opt out of that, you know, and, and work on our own consciousness and, or is there something that we can do that will be helpful, you know, in a material way. I mean, that’s, you know, that’s a question that concerns me. Even though I know I do, I do truly believe is perhaps the wrong word. But I do truly have the experience of the Power that that a clarified mind can have on the whole field. So, you know, I would say that at the very least, our dharma is to keep our minds as clarified as possible, and that that itself is helpful.
Rick Archer: Yeah, you and I were talking about that a little bit yesterday, and we were talking about some of the conspiracy theories that have been flying around. And that it seems that so called spiritual people are as much into them as anybody else’s. They don’t these theories don’t discriminate. And we discussed it with reference to the idea of clarity. And you mentioned a Sanskrit phrase from the Yoga Sutras written Bara Praga, right? Once you define that phrase, you may perhaps we could discuss that in this context a little bit.
Sally Kempton: Sure. So the the Sanskrit word pregnant is another word for it, pretty bar, which means intuition. And intuition, a very high level of intuition, very clarified level of intuition that basically comes online. For most of us, when we have cleared out the samsaric bank, in meditation, storehouse of impressions, the storehouse of impressions, right? You know, in the yoga sutra, they have a number of wonderful Sanskrit words that are actually great to use, because they’re like, Sanskrit, Sanskrit is a language, it’s very specific about psychological, inner psychological and spiritual states. So some Scotter in that tradition, is the impressions that are left by your habitual thoughts and action. And then deeper than those are what are called vasanas, which are, the word means fragrance, they’re the the underlying tendencies that form our character. And beneath that is the storehouse of, you know, of as if we accept reincarnation, that we’ve been, you know, the backpack that we’ve been accumulating for perhaps lifetimes, and certainly for this lifetime. So Pradnya, which is that innate intuition, the wisdom, it’s intuitive, wisdom is a good, good name for the wisdom that is, belongs to all of us that’s present in consciousness itself. And which can discriminate easily between, you know, what’s appropriate, what’s inappropriate, what’s correct, what’s incorrect, what’s worth paying attention to, what’s not worth paying attention to, and above all, what’s going to take us towards, you know, that state we call enlightenment, for want of a better word. So and the conspiracy theories that I say even though many of them are based on a genuine intuition, that, and there’s a lot of stuff wrong with this picture, in terms of what’s going on globally. Nonetheless, once the mind and the, you know, what we could call the egoic, or lower self version of intuition starts to get hold of this, then all sorts of stories arise, and they arise with a lot of force, you know, especially if, you know, if we have an analysis that that is kind of true, I mean, for instance, Marx, you know, Karl Marx analysis of, of the way capitalism works, seems to me to have been extremely accurate, his solutions, not so much, you know, so
Rick Archer: what was his analysis of how it works? Well, that,
Sally Kempton: that, that capital, essentially does its best to exploit the labor force in order to make more profit for itself, and that this is bad for people, you know, that this creates all sorts of, of ills in human society. And, of course, he’s much more targeted and specific about that. But you know, I, I think his, you know, the fact that there is an equal power distribution in this world is pretty correct. The way you understand that, the way you deal with it depends on many things, and there are many possible solutions to that. None of which seems to have worked 100% in practice. But, but still, there’s a basic intuition. So let’s say we have an intuition about the, about the source of the pandemic. And and then we start then our minds you know, get into it and we start looking for basically who to blame, which is what most conspiracy theories are about, right and, and, and how we can get some measure of control in a situation that is fundamentally uncontrollable. It for most people control seems to come from coming up with a story that helps you explain it and I think That’s a lot of what’s going on now. And as I watch them getting farther and farther away from reality, I also can see that, that there are some, some truths embedded in many conspiracy theories.
Rick Archer: Here, it’s usually called disinformation where there’s a little bit of truth in there, and it gives credibility or plausibility to the rest of it, which could be completely off the off the wall. And there’s nothing new about conspiracy theories, even during the Black Death in the 14th century or so. The King of France asked the top minds at the University in Paris, you know, what was going on? And they came up with some astrological configuration that was responsible for it. And then others argued that no, it was some ethers that were leaking out of the ground and causing all this horror. And then others said, No, it was blast femurs. So a lot of people had their tongues cut out, because they were considered the cause of the Black Death. So these are all conspiracy theories that had real consequences and had nothing to do with the actual cause of Black Death. We’re gonna say,
Sally Kempton: right, exactly. I said, don’t forget, don’t get the Jews have been, have been the, the targets of so many conspiracies.
Rick Archer: That was part of it, although I think they actually got blamed for that one, too. The Jews you voice broke up a little bit. But yeah. So you know, regarding the spiritual implications of this unwritten bar plugin, and so I think rhythm is probably mentioned by Patanjali, because it is relevant in terms of discerning the very finest sort of structures of reality and discerning that the real from the unreal and so on as a necessary means of attaining enlightenment, would that be a fair summary of it.
Sally Kempton: So the return, but the word of it is something like, it’s has the same route, the same route as right, the same route as righteousness. And it refers to two, the, the alignment of reality with its deepest stroke, shares, and you’re in touch with the data, it may injure the deep structures of the cosmos, and the decisions you make the words you speak, the intuitions you have, are correct. In that they, they show the action that the universe really wants to go in, and, and that makes remember pregnant, unbelievably powerful and profound, it’s, it’s the wisdom that sages come up with the thing that I’ve noticed about it, and by experience of that kind of intuition, which is, you know, quick comes as a download, it’s nonlinear. You know, it’s like, when you’re, when you’re in the state of Dragnea, you’re, you’re in a state that’s very much like what is described as flow, you know, or, or being in the zone, if you’re an athlete. In other words, there’s no thinking, you’re just you just know, you know, you’re, you’re acting on pure intuition. And it’s correct. And the thing about being playing tennis, is that, you know, it’s correct because the ball gets to the right place, and your opponent can hit it back, right. I mean, there’s, there’s a very concrete feedback system, in, in athletes in athletics or music, music, in, you know, in intellectual understanding, the feedback is much more subtle. And, you know, often doesn’t come immediately. So what can happen is that someone can get a download, because we all have pregnant and, and yet the mind can be so unclarified you know, the intellect can be so full of stories, that interprets that, you know, that wisdom, that download of wisdom according to the stories, and then you can say anything, you can start a new weird religious, new, you can, you can, you know, you can blame the Black Death on the astrology or, or on, you know, blasphemy to Jews or on you know, Democratic governors. So, discerning your own pregnant from your bullshit, is a, it’s a very subtle task.
Rick Archer: Yeah. So I like that phrase in their alignment with the deep structures of the cosmos. And you know, that to me would if we had to define enlightenment would be a pretty good definition right there at least a a description of one outcome or result of it. And so, you know, that sort of knowledge that sort of capabilities should be of great importance to people who aspire to awakening or enlightenment and so on. Now ironically, what often happens is people start to hear all these different theories. I mean, I have a friend who claims to be awakened and to have gone through the whole Kundalini process and to its completion, and so on and so forth. And, you know, she sent me something while back that, well, there is no virus. And it’s just this sort of fight. It’s the effect of 5g. And it’s all just this plot to get us all vaccinated, because there’s going to be some kind of magic dust in the vaccines, which is going to enable them to control us. And I’ve heard that, yeah. So. But the the ironic thing is that, you know, spiritual truth is kind of subtle, and it’s hidden in a way. And so discovering it is a lifelong process of, you know, getting a tuned or you know, unearthing something which is hidden. And but all these conspiracy theories also allude to hidden stuff, you know, there’s the Illuminata in the secret government and Bill Gates, whatever Bill Gates is supposed to be up to. And so people kind of conflate I think, that the hiddenness of spiritual reality when the hiddenness of the things that all these theories allude to, and they, they imbue them with greater legitimacy, then, but, and I know you and I were talking about this yesterday, we are both starting to rant a little bit, but it’s, it’s concerning, because, you know, we both care very deeply about spirituality and spiritual development and so on. And I, at least in perhaps you see this as a pitfall or a, you know, a trap that can waylay people, perhaps sometimes for years, and then also has real world implications in terms of how sick, how many people are going to get sick and so on. Yeah.
Sally Kempton: Yeah, the, the real world implications worry me a lot. You know, I do think that, you know, as we both know, your spiritual awakening can be hijacked in any number of ways, by whatever belief system or whatever karmic baggage you have, you know, whatever story you want to tell yourself, or query, your ego gets tweaked by the powers that arise.
Rick Archer: And the Vedic literature is full of stories of people’s people’s spiritual evolution getting hijacked. And then they have to, they fall to a great depth and then have to retrace their steps over umpteen lifetimes.
Sally Kempton: Yeah, and, and we’ve been those people, I’m convinced, you know, probably. So I mean, I don’t think either of us would be doing what we’re doing. If we hadn’t, you know, been through this process over and over and over again, forgive me, all of you who don’t who who are watching and listening and don’t accept the idea of reincarnation, but just take it, take it for a moment. So yeah, it’s, there’s so many ways we can, that our, our awakening and our, our intuition can be colored by whatever’s going on in the mind. And, you know, the big takeaway that, that I’ve gotten during this during this process, and, you know, it’s not new, because it’s been, it’s been present there and in my field for a long time, but because there’s such a sense that we’re running out of time, you know, we don’t have a huge amount of time. And of course, I’m reaching an age where I, you know, in the normal course of life, I don’t have a lot of time. So then the necessity for clarifying your intelligence, in your discernment, it’s, you know, actually kind of we kind of desperately need to do that now. Yeah, you know, we can’t afford to be diluted. And so, the question is, you know, for me, the question was, how do I use this lockdown? You know, this, the fact that all my in person workshops were canceled, so I have the entire summer to myself, too, you know. And rather than filling it up with lots of online events, how can I use it to really cure the delusions that I’m, I still feel subjected to? And I, I think that that’s, that’s absolutely the the gift that this can potentially give to people like us.
Rick Archer: What are some illusions that you feel you’re subjected to? And what are you doing to cure them?
Sally Kempton: Me personally? Yeah. Well, the basic idea that, that, that, you know, that the way other people think about me, is determinative of how I should feel about myself, which is one of those lingering delusions that very hard to get rid of. The idea that you know, that I have time the idea that, that I can sort of lollygag around in my meditation and shall allow myself to ruminate because there’s always tomorrow, which is, you know, which I think for many of us is, it is especially Those of us who, you know, I, I sometimes say I’m a professional spiritual person, who my entire life is about my spiritual practice. Either I’m doing it, or I’m teaching it, or I’m writing about it, or I’m talking about it. And, you know, whenever something deep and subtle becomes professionalized to becomes part of your daily structure, then it gets, I can’t think of a better word at the moment, it gets kind of tainted, by your personal ambitions by you know, by what the culture is telling you is acceptable. And it becomes harder and harder to think for yourself. You know, and so, for me, the delusion is that I’m, I’m trying to, to cure to work with right now is to really understand what in the wisdom that I’ve received from my lineage and the other lineages which I honor, which in what in this wisdom is true? And what in it is simply culturally determined? And how can I actually receive the guidance that I’m getting from? What for one of one of a better word I can call my soul? And compare it to what the text said what my guru said, and, you know, how can I find the truth, moment to moment, without being constantly derailed by what I would like to be true, or what put is fun thing to believe, or what will make, you know, make me more acceptable to my peer group. And that’s not that’s a, it’s a moment to moment thing, especially if you want to be a truth seeker. In the sense of not coming up with a position that you will hear to for the rest of your life, but actually being open and willing and discerning enough to catch the truth in every moment. You know, that, that seems tremendously important. And in order to do that, it requires, you know, noticing, am I in my comfort zone? Am I in resistance? To quiet? You know, am I am I using, you know, my desire to keep up with the news as a way of distracting myself? Am I willing to, to accept? How much clutter Am I willing to accept in my mind? You know, and, and more and more, I’m realizing, no amount of clutter is really acceptable in the mind. If you’re going to seriously make progress in a time like this, you just have to be willing to clear it.
Rick Archer: Yeah, that’s good. And it kind of relates to the rhythm bar ProGear thing we were talking about earlier, of aligning with the deeper structures of reality. Because, you know, what you’re saying is you don’t want to be dwelling in sort of imaginal realms, you want your life on all levels to be in alignment with truth, capital T. Yeah. And that doesn’t mean you can’t interact to the world. That doesn’t mean the world is unreal, it doesn’t mean, I would say, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t keep up with what’s happening in news. You just have to keep a balance.
Sally Kempton: Yeah. And you have to know yourself. Yeah. You know, I mean, I mean, I am capable of going down the rabbit hole of all the, you know, the news outlets that I get online, and I, you know, starting in 2016, with the Trump election, I started looking at a lot of news websites, I have to know how much time I can spend with it. You know, before it just completely fills my attention. And it’s not that long. Yeah, it may be half an hour, I can do half an hour. So, so how do you and that goes for a lot of conversations, you know, you want to be you have people you want in your life, and they’re in their own rabbit hole, how much time can you spend with them and still maintain your own clarity and also maintain the friendship? So, you know, we’re, I feel that we are, we really are to make it or break at time. You know, and I’m talking about people like us, you know, people whose whose priorities are subtler. You know, it’s a make it or break at time, we have a big opportunity and who cares where the pandemic is coming from? I mean, obviously, we want to, we want to cure it. We want to cure our fragility of, you know, infrastructure and economy and medical and food supplies and all that, but for you, and I sorry to seem to be speaking for you, but I think I think that’s probably true for you and I. This is this is a big moment. This is a big opportunity to clarify our priorities. And you know, and decide on Ascension, basically on some kind of embodied ascension in the time we have left in this world. Yeah,
Rick Archer: my orientation is sort of I don’t feel any sense of desperation. Like if, if I were to die tomorrow, I wouldn’t feel like, Oh my God, I didn’t achieve what I wanted to achieve in this life. I would I think I would sort of defer to God’s will, and feel like okay, well, this if this is the hand, I’m dealt that there must be a wisdom behind it. I once saw a video of some yogi who was asked, like, you know, do you want to? Is this your last incarnation you hope never to reincarnate again. And he said, I don’t care. It’s not up to me. So whatever, God wills, I’m happy to be in service, you know, and I can be of service in some realm, which is no longer human. That’s fine. Otherwise, I’ll be a human again, I it’s really not up to me. So I kind of feel that way.
Sally Kempton: Yeah, I believe that’s true. Absolutely. I just, I just like to make very clear that, that I’m doing my part. Yeah. You know, before. selves, exactly. Tie your camel. Right. So and, you know, and that, and that’s, that’s actually part of the discernment, I think, you know, especially when we’re being called to some sort of action. In the world. I mean, whether it’s, whether it’s teaching or counseling others or, you know, financial support or other, you know, other forms of community activism. We are, you know, we do have calls, polls obligations, and it’s not, you know, it’s not like we’re, we’re going into a cave, but the discernment of, of knowing what we’re called to do. The, you know, knowing what, let’s say, what God wants us to do. And as opposed to what, what our ego, or an opportunity that’s arising, is prompting us to do, you know, that, that these are, these are moment by moment, sometimes seeming like trivial questions, but they, the answer you give can change the whole course of your life, you know, so. And what I think I was saying was that one of the gifts of aging, is that it does give me a sense of, okay, now’s the time, you know, if there’s anything, I’m going to do it, I have to do it, I have to do it now. And I think that’s a great yogic position. Actually, I wish I could tell, I had felt it when I was 25.
Rick Archer: There is that saying of Make hay while the sun shines, though, and you were referring earlier to a sort of a, in an intensification of the the field as it were the energy in the world. And I don’t know about you, but I’m really feeling that I’m dreaming a lot more. And it’s quite, it’s quite entertaining. Actually. I’m just having these, you know, really quite creative, vivid, interesting dreams. But I think the whole summer, I heard some doctor on television saying that’s because everybody was sleep deprived. And so now they’re dreaming more because they’re sleeping more, but I wasn’t sleep deprived. And yet, there’s this, this greater sort of enlightenment somehow somehow have it happening, which I find quite enjoyable. But in any case, make hay while the sun shines is I think this is a time when people can evolve very quickly. And so take advantage of that.
Sally Kempton: Yeah, exactly. Exactly. And, and I, you know, we have different ways of motivating ourselves, some of us motivate ourselves, you know, as with carrots, and some with sticks, I have to admit, I’m sort of I’m sort of a sticks person. What is it? NLP says, you’re moving towards or moving away? So I, I think that the pandemic is pushing us, you know, it is, is actually pushing us to make these kinds of decisions. And, and that’s part of the meaning of it, I would say from a human point of view. Yeah. I mean, on every level, globally, you know, culturally, economically, societally, and certainly spiritually.
Rick Archer: One thing I said in the introduction, is that in our last interview, six years ago, you and I spoke a lot about, you just written a book, actually, about sort of the MaHA Shaktis are something. We spoke a lot about the subtle levels of creation and how those are every bit as real as the obvious levels of creation. We just, it’s kind of like he can think of the electromagnetic spectrum where I heard analogy that if the entire electromagnetic spectrum were the length of the Mississippi River, visible light that humans can see would be like several centimeters somewhere around Hannibal, Missouri. So that’s true of me. I think we’re talking not just about the electromagnetic spectrum, which includes X rays and gamma rays and all that, but something different another dimension, where there, there are subtler levels of creation grosser and subtler. And most people, it’s like a frozen pond where you just see the ice on the surface. But there are some people who are like divers with wetsuits that can sort of dive down through the ice and explore all the deeper levels of the pond. And some people live that way, you know, in incorporating all the depth of creation within their awareness. And when they do if they do, they find that those levels of life are just as full of forms of life, as the gross level. They’re just not flesh and blood, bile biological life, they’re sort of made of subtler stuff. So I, you know, let’s touch on that for a little bit. And do you have any speculation whatsoever as to, you know, what those realms how those realms might relate to, or be relevant to what we’re going through on the obvious surface level of life these days?
Sally Kempton: Well, there’s a whole, as, as I know, you know, there’s a whole conspiracy theory, faced on the idea that there are subtle beings, sort of dark forest beings who are, who are messing with us, they have different names that so, you know, I, I, certainly I have to say, I, I do feel the ways in which different subtle energies affect our field. And, and I don’t think that’s untrue. So, and we often don’t know, what those energies are, or even what the energies that we’re aware of, in groups of people, or when we meet another person, are often not aware of the quality of the energy that we feel around them. So I think from one point of view, it is, it is possible to, to feel that there’s a tension being directed at at, you know, the human field of consciousness, from beings who, who come from different subtle realms, and that some of them are trying to help, you know, trying to awaken trying to guide and that some of them are trying to create mischief is I believe it was the mother of the mother of Aravinda, who wrote a lot about this kind of thing. You know, she, she was asked a question about, are there dark forces in the universe, which are Bindo? Certainly believe there were. And she clearly believed they were? And she said, Yes, but rather than thinking the most evil, think of them as mischievous. In other words, many of these so called Dark Forces, mess with our energy because they can and because it amuses them, not with necessarily malevolent intent, but certainly not with benign intent. So, you know, that’s one, that’s one perspective, which comes from a woman who had really done a lot of inner work and had a lot of direct experience. My own experience with subtle forces, is that I feel profound forces of grace in the universe. And, you know, I talked about them as goddesses. I remember the comments on on that interview we did, there were quite a few comments about this into pyatters. And why do we have to listen to this, this is not non dual. As you know, in fact, it is non dualism, of course, because a truly non dual perspective recognizes that there are, as you said, so many energies in the universe that, that we can’t be aware of, from our perspective and which are contained within consciousness.
Rick Archer: Without dual doesn’t mean there isn’t any variety or diversity. It just means that all the variety and diversity is in its essential nature, oneness, but the one that doesn’t negate the multiplicity.
Sally Kempton: Right, and, and from a deeper, you know, or let’s say more personal perspective, one of the, the non dual Shava views that I I very much trust in you know, and that I’ve experienced is that this whole universe is inside us, you know, so, so there is nothing here that is not including, you know, you and I are inside one consciousness, I’m in you, you’re in me, the pandemic is in us. So, what that means, how we work with that how we sort that is kind of mind blowing. The one of the ways that, that I have found to work with my sense of, you know, the wholeness is Being part of my field is, is really to do my very best to stay in, as I was saying earlier, a kind of auspicious minded connection with the invisible world so that when I feel confused when I, when I feel stupid, when I’m, you know, exhausted, is to just to just take refuge in these, you know, these energies these and, and I’ve noticed that more and more as I do this, that, as you said, you were talking about how much energy there is, how much available energy there is now, it’s affecting your dream world, it’s affecting our meditation, a lot of my old friends who’ve been doing practice for a while, have kind of secretly confessed to me that, despite all of this, they’ve been feeling blissful during the, during lockdown. And yeah, me too. So. So there’s a huge amount of grace that’s surrounding, surrounding this field. And I think it’s very helpful to consider how we can tap into it, you know, in a, in as hopefully as non dual away as possible, you know, so that when we pray to Christ, we’re not asking that Christ only come in to help his followers, let everybody else die, or whatever the fundamentalist view of that is, but just just to begin to open ourselves to the recognition that, that, that out, you know, that your consciousness in my consciousness does contain the wholeness. And that whatever method we find to, to spread benign energies through that inner field is going to affect the outer field as well.
Rick Archer: Yeah, you said something like that earlier, that we, we continue to see rated, rated and influence. And if we are awakening, in our own consciousness, in fact, if we’re feeling bliss, we’re radiating bliss. And so we shouldn’t feel guilty about it, we’re actually helping to uplift everyone. By helping to enliven the field in a positive way. They’ll say, Yeah. And there’s a verse in The Gita that says something like, you know, if you support the gods, they’ll support you, by Gods, we would mean subtle impulses of intelligence that are orchestrating some aspect of creation. So I think that, you know, we align ourselves by the way we live our life with one thing or another. Bob Dylan had a song that you got to serve someone, it may be the devil, it may be the Lord. And so if we’re engaged in spiritual practice, I think we sort of in some way that I don’t fully understand, certainly, we help to enrich and enliven positive forces in creation, subtler, subtler, positive forces, that there’s a kind of reciprocal relationship, and they in turn help to support us and life goes more smoothly, and is better supported and enrich so on.
Sally Kempton: Yeah, and yeah, I guess this is one of the great insights that the Vedic sages had.
Rick Archer: We’ve covered some good areas, I think, in the course of this conversation. I wish we had more time because I really, I never tired of talking to Sally, she’s got so many interesting things to say. But, um, as an as an overview, or as a synopsis, Sally. You know, obviously, people who are listening to this are in all sorts of different circumstances. And for some, it’s maybe like you said, Actually blissful, and they don’t have to worry about money and this and that, and others might be having a really hard time of it. And, you know, we shouldn’t we shouldn’t be cavalier about their situation, you need to be compassionate, and they need all kinds of support, which they may or may not be getting. So, you know, maybe on a practical note, you know, in terms of what you can offer, you know, what would you offer to this spectrum of people, let’s say, going from the people who are having a good time anyway, to those who are really struggling, you know, maybe there’ll be several different points, which might be pertinent to different people along that scale.
Sally Kempton: Well, what as you as I’ve been listening to your question, I’ve been really trying to, to consider what is a universal form of, of, of help that are self help? Really. I mean, you know, I, I think that there are a number of political solutions, that if we had the courage to put them in, you know, to put them to begin to bring them in. We could change a lot about the way people are treated. i I wish that the government was paying people salaries. I think it would just make this whole process as they are in other countries. But leaving that aside, yeah, I
Rick Archer: was just listening to Sam Harris interview, Andrew Yang, and he said, Boy, were you pression. I mean, you know, talking about universal basic income and on our, you know, that would be so appropriate right now
Sally Kempton: would be really appropriate. And, you know, and, and I think it’s worth putting a lot of energy into figuring that out, and universal health care and all those things. So, so that, but that’s not certainly not my field. So when my students who, who are locked in with three kids, and a spouse whom they have a complex relationship with the best of times, when they, you know, when they write in or call with, you know, with the suffering that they’re going through, and the feeling of uncertainty and just not knowing how to cope, there is this basic piece of advice, which is just pay attention to your breath, you know, in a way, no matter where we are, no matter what’s happening, even if we are breathless, which I have a lot of experience with, because I have, you know, pretty intense asthma, that, nonetheless, that it brought breath flowing into the tips of the nostrils is going to settle your mind, you know, letting opening to the feeling of your heart, or any part of your inner body where you can take rest is going to settle you. And, and I just, I believe we, we do need to, you know, to each one of us in whatever way we can find a way to take a little bit of time, you know, maybe every hour for one minute to tune into the breath. I know, that’s really hard if you’re an emergency room nurse. But, but it makes a huge difference. And it’s one of the it’s one of the main ways we can take control, even in, you know, in situations that feel uncontrollable is just just to remember our connection to the breath, or connection to the heart. And from that place, ask ourselves these questions. Okay, how can I serve this moment? You know, is this thought taking me towards greater happiness and clarity? Or is it? Is it taking me away from greater happiness of clarity? So that combination of, of tuning into the energy of breath and really targeted inquiry questions that you can ask yourself, hopefully, receiving answers that aren’t based on the inner critic, you know, but but there are, we can train ourselves to actually hear from within what is what is a, a helpful way of responding to a situation in the moment. I think that, that the training that we give ourselves, when we have one or two small interventions that we go to again, and again, is really helpful and will go on being helpful even after this is over. Yeah,
Rick Archer: I also, from my own life, place a lot of value on some of the basic stuff that we’ve been told all along is healthy for you like getting enough exercise. And which could be tricky under these circumstances, but you know, do what you can, getting enough sleep, I haven’t used an alarm clock in 50 years. Eating a balanced diet, you know, I mean, a little comfort food here and there, the ice cream is something fine. But if we pick out on it, because we’re anxious, it’s going to have very diminishing returns, not indulging in various kinds of intoxicated intoxicants to numb the fear, but actually just sort of working through it in a more natural way. And getting rid of it once and for all, rather than sort of just squelching it. And things like that. It’s it’s just sort of, you know, maybe a little bit short term challenge, but definitely a long term payoff.
Sally Kempton: Totally, totally. And, and I think I mean, if you remember, back in the day, when you were trying to create a physical discipline, or a food discipline or exercise discipline for yourself, it there’s a learning curve there. You know, so we don’t, we’re not we’re not necessarily successful in it all at once and what I would, what I would say to people who are having a hard time with that is just like, one day at a time, one step at a time. Don’t worry, if you screw it up. You can, you know, you can start again tomorrow. And yeah, and build build habits that that actually help you.
Rick Archer: Yeah. And like, maybe you’re not supposed to go to the gym right now, because they might be closed, but that’s a good example. Like you go to the gym. And first day you have sore muscles. It was sort of a lot of, you know, kind of difficult and all and even a week later, you might be thinking this isn’t really pay it off, I still have sore muscles. But after a month, two months, three months, you really start to see it. So and that can also be true of a spiritual practice like meditation, you might you might not notice any effects. But, you know, in retrospect after a period of time you think, wow, you know, something has really accumulated here.
Sally Kempton: Totally. And, and I would say, one of the tricks of, of creating a strong meditation practice is rather than looking at how, what is actually happening while you’re meditating, because, you know, is to look at how you feel afterwards. Yes, exactly. Because even if you’re, you know, if your meditation is full of thoughts, and you know, and ruminations and doesn’t feel like you’ve meditated at all, chances are that you’re going to come out, and you’ll feel different, because something will have been cleared by the mere act of sitting there and feeling your thoughts. So, you know, as a as a form of hygiene, and self care. It works even if you don’t think it’s working.
Rick Archer: Yeah. And a lot of times, the clearing itself isn’t a lot of fun, you know, because it’s somewhat disruptive. It’s like you’re running a vacuum cleaner. It’s noisy, and you know, to commotion, but then the house is clean. Once you’ve done it, so yeah, like that.
Sally Kempton: Yeah. Yeah, right on.
Rick Archer: Good. Well, we better wrap it up. So thanks so much, Sal. It really appreciate spending time with you and hope to see you again before too long. Yes, in the real world. And thanks to those who’ve been watching this interview and who I hope you’ve been enjoying this conference. Now, let’s say Namaste