Rick: 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 www.batgap.com B-A-T-G-A-P, 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 were dozens of others, interviews and presentations with people like Vandana Shiva, Peter Levine, Gabor Maté, Deepak Chopra, Rupert Spira, 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 on the page for this interview on www.batgap.com. So, enjoy the talk. Welcome everyone to the “Wisdom in Times of Crisis” online event. The general theme of the event is exploring and reflecting on the challenges and opportunities that this unique time that we’re going through, the COVID-19 epidemic, is offering us. My name is Rick Archer and I will be speaking with Scott Kiloby today, whom I’ll introduce in a moment. My day job is doing something very similar to this. I do the Buddha at the Gas Pump interview show. I’ve been doing that for about 10 years and it consists now of about 550 interviews, which you can find at www.batgap.com, B-A-T-G-A-P, including two with today’s guest, Scott Kiloby. So, I listened to those this week. Scott is the co-founder of the first addiction treatment center in the U.S. to use mindfulness and inquiry as its primary modalities. His work focuses on healing addiction through resolving trauma. He also works with a number of different issues, including people needing support in the non-dual path. And when I first interviewed Scott, he was a practicing lawyer in southern Indiana, and he explained that he himself had had a fairly serious addiction for many years and had overcome it. And he was very much in the non-dual world, although as we discussed, he and I both shared a much more nuanced understanding of non-duality than was sometimes in vogue back then, incorporating many practical aspects of real life, not dismissing them as illusory or meaningless or insignificant or anything. Anyway, I’m talking too much right from the outset, so I’d like to nip that in the bud. And Scott, I read that little bio, is there anything you’d like to embellish it with or elaborate on from what I just said?
Scott: Well, we do have the Kiloby Center for Recovery, and I am a co-owner of that, that’s in Palm Springs. I think you mentioned that, that’s an outpatient center. We treat primarily addiction, but we also work with trauma, anxiety, depression, just about anything else. And then we have a residential and detox center in La Quinta, California called the Natural Rest House, and I’m co-owner of that. That’s for people who need to detox or need 24-hour care.
Rick: So would detox be a sort of a step to what the Kiloby Center does? Like you first get yourself detoxed and then you go and get down to the root of the problem so you don’t get toxed again.
Scott: Exactly, yeah, that’s what it is. They step down, basically step down levels of care to outpatient and then we let them go. And then we also, strangely, right before COVID-19 started, we began to form what we call the Kiloby Cooperative, which is going to be a virtual online center, like 24/7 support for people. The big issue for me today is to make this kind of work accessible and affordable. Because I’m seeing that people are spending a lot of money going to retreats and doing sessions. And so what we’re trying to do is build something new that’s more affordable and accessible to more people. And there’s a lot to say about the Kiloby Cooperative because it’s truly a collaborative effort. There’s no one person in charge. I don’t have the right to run. I have one vote among five people. We’re trying to decentralize the guru, the teacher, so that he doesn’t have so much power. And we’re trying to empower other people to learn how to inquire on their own so that they don’t have to be so reliant on the teachers or the gurus. There’s a lot going on with the Kiloby Cooperative, but we’re forming that and then COVID-19 happened. And so what we did is we responded to that by offering services, the Kiloby Cooperative, free webinars, free meditations every day for people on Facebook who are stressing out about a number of things right now.
Rick: That’s good. Do Medicaid and Medicare and health insurance and all that kind of stuff help to defray the cost of this stuff?
Scott: Yeah, I mean, so one of the good things, if you wanna call the good thing about COVID-19 is that the treatment centers can now do telehealth with people. You don’t have to physically come to our center. We can do it all online, including drug testing remotely if we need to. So that’s a real advance here in this world, because it’s kind of archaic in a way, since we have this technology, to not allow us to help people online, you see? Because some people don’t need to come to a physical center. They can be helped through online. And so that’s a good thing. So the Kiloby Center now, you could actually be a patient at the Kiloby Center, but never come here, strangely. Now for detox, you can’t do that because you have to come and, you know.
Rick: Yeah, you have to get away from the usual temptations and so on.
Rick: Yeah. Do you find, this thought just popped in my head, I know that AA has a very spiritual component to it, and the guy who founded it, it was almost like a spiritual epiphany that he had that led to his founding of it. I forget the guy’s name, Bill somebody. Do you find that there’s kind of a strong spiritual streak in people who end up getting involved in addiction?
Scott: Addiction recovery or addiction?
Rick: Well, addiction itself. I mean, you know, it’s like everybody’s looking for something. And I know in my own case, I probably could have gotten addicted if I hadn’t learned to meditate when I did, but I was pretty heavily into drugs for about a year. But I had this, even though I was really screwing around and messing myself up more and more, I had this sort of spiritual motivation. I felt like there’s more to life than meets the eye, and maybe these drugs are going to help me discover it. And it finally dawned on me after a year that they weren’t being so helpful. But, you know, is there, I mean, is there any validity to that notion that there’s a kind of a deep spiritual yearning that underlies addictive behavior?
Scott: I think so, and I think it just gets sort of misdirected. It’s like, I feel like what we are doing now, the cooperative, everything related to this work is becoming really trauma-informed. And understanding how during the child development years, that’s what really shapes you, what happens. So that’s what we’re focusing on a lot, mainly. What was the other part of your question, so I don’t miss it?
Rick: Well, just that, I mean, I think that ultimately everything is a search for the divine. Everything anybody does, but perhaps it somehow gets intensified in the life of a person who is using drugs. There’s a certain desperation that has come in, you know?
Scott: Yeah, and there’s pain.
Scott: And so the drugs and the alcohol numb the pain, and so it works. It gives you kind of like a false sense of presence. It’s not the presence that we talk about in non-duality, but for a while you get to forget about your problems, and you’re intoxicated, you’re living in your own little world. But it doesn’t work because it’s only short-term, and it doesn’t deal with the issues.
Rick: And it makes it worse in the long-term.
Scott: Yeah, it makes it worse in the long run. But at least it is something that keeps people surviving until they get to the place where they’re ready to drop that and then finally deal with the pain or whatever it is that’s driving that search. And then I think a lot of people that get into recovery end up becoming spiritual seekers because they were always spiritual seekers.
Rick: Yeah, that’s kind of what I’m getting at. Yeah, it was like just this sort of misdirected quest or something that, you know, and you get it on the right track, and then they just take off perhaps.
Scott: Yeah, that’s what happened for me.
Rick: Yeah, me too. It’s like, you know, I knew there was something more, but I was just so muddled in my quest for it.
Rick: Interesting. And I’d say that part of the pain from my observation, especially with the opiates, is this sort of meaninglessness of life, you know, that there must be a feeling like, you know, life means nothing, I just want to blot it out. And that’s kind of tragic in a way because life can be so rich with meaning and so profoundly alive and meaningful if one could just sort of wake up, snap out of that dullness that clouds the beauty of it.
Scott: Yeah, and you know, and that’s the goal of what we’re trying to do, but when you’re talking about people who have been experienced, who’ve experienced trauma, it’s not that easy just for them to drop that, you know, and then just be present because there’s pain there from the past that they’re carrying over. So they’re self-medicating in a way to survive. And so when you start taking away their drugs, you have to be very careful because what’s left is the pain and the trauma. And then if that’s not resolved, they’re going to be at risk of resuming use.
Rick: Yeah, you probably have to, I’m guessing you have to sort of enable them to process the trauma in bite-sized pieces, you know, in manageable chunks.
Scott: Yeah, surgical.
Rick: Otherwise they’ll retreat back into the drugs if it comes on too fast.
Scott: Yeah, in fact, the trauma work that we’re doing now is almost surgical in the sense that it goes through every memory of a traumatic event and it disconnects the emotional charge with that particular memory. And we move chronologically through all traumas to clear the emotional charge through all memories and through ideas and beliefs and programming that came from the traumatic event. So we map out all their traumas and we go through them systematically, very surgically, but in a way from awareness, like looking and inquiring into it. And so that’s what we’ve been focusing on. It’s been working in the sense that it’s a different model because like in the 12-step program, the idea is like, okay, today I’m clean. I’m going to stop using drugs and alcohol and I’m going to count the days and the months that I’m sober. We don’t really do that. We buy in more into if somebody wants to try the abstinence approach, we do that. But we also believe the harm reduction model is a smart model because if someone’s on heroin, they risk losing their life. But if they go down to marijuana or Suboxone, they can save their life. We find that to be success. So we can then inquire with them still while they’re on that lower drug to inquire into the drivers that are still keeping them hooked on that lower drug. And then that will let them get off of that drug and then they can go down until they’re not using much of anything or they’re really not creating harm by what they’re using. So harm reduction is a new thing that I want people to know about and to get on board with because this epidemic of heroin is not being won, I think, because we’re focusing too much on pure abstinence and not thinking outside the box.
Rick: Heroin and fentanyl, we should add, is even more deadly. Yeah. I know in my ..do you teach them a spiritual practice so that, you know, again, I can only relate to my own experience, which is that I picked up a spiritual practice and it was very gratifying and within a short while I began to feel better all the time than drugs had made me feel temporarily. So it’s kind of like I didn’t have to fight the desire to take drugs, it just sort of disappeared because I was feeling better.
Scott: That’s it. That’s what we call the new model right there. Right. You don’t make a decision with a rational mind to quit necessarily, you can, but instead you can work on the pain and the drivers that drive the addiction. And then when your body gets clear of that emotional stuff, it doesn’t want the drugs as much naturally or the alcohol, the natural kind of letting go of something.
Rick: And if you actually did one of the drugs, perhaps after having gotten clean and done a lot better for a while and maybe, you know, regularly practice some spiritual technique or something, you would think, “Ugh, get this out of me. I hate it. It doesn’t, you know, I don’t like it anymore.”
Scott: Well, let me tell you a story. I told you a story that two years ago I had a bone spur in my spinal cord, which was excruciating pain, and I’ve been in pain for two years. Painkillers were my drug of choice, and I can’t take them now. I mean, I can’t even take one. If I take one, I spend the day waiting for the drug to get out of my system.
Rick: Because you just don’t like the influence of it.
Scott: No, I don’t like it. My body actually rejects it. We call it the somatic no. It’s a somatic no, which is different than the mind saying, “I’m not going to use.” When the body rejects the drug, it’s a much more powerful way of recovery because your body’s not going to let you use it, abuse it.
Rick: Interesting. Wow. So what would you do if you had something, I mean, this has been painful enough, your bone spur, but you know, what would you, you’d be kind of stuck if you had something that was really chronic and very, very, very painful. What would you do?
Scott: Yeah, I mean, you have to find other, you know, I’ve been looking for other things. There’s medical devices that are good out there. There’s surgery, which is a last resort. There are exercises for the spine. There are other medications that are not as harmful. So you have to look for other things if your body starts rejecting the opiates. I mean, you have to, to survive. So I’ve kind of just been experimenting to try to find the least harm-producing way of managing it.
Rick: Well, I hope that continues to work out well.
Scott: Yeah, I’ve been working out and eating right because I’ve just, again, the spinal thing changed all my habits.
Rick: You mentioned a couple minutes ago about helping people work through all the various levels of trauma and what are the mechanics of that? Like, you know, I could sit here and I could think about things that happened with my alcoholic father or that happened to me in high school or whatever. What are the mechanics of, but those things don’t really, I don’t think about that stuff much anymore. I think maybe they’ve been worked out, but I don’t know. Maybe I have some latent stuff that is still lingering there. But how does psychologically and emotionally and even physiologically, what is your process which actually resolves these things once and for all? And is there any risk of exacerbating some trauma which is better left sort of buried for the time being?
Scott: There’s always a risk of re-traumatizing somebody. Let me answer that second. The process is that first of all, we have to understand what the traumas are. And so what we do is we actually have, I mean, we’re a treatment center here. So we assess people, there are full assessments. We actually map out their entire history, their trauma, so that we understand the root of everything. And we also map out the beliefs and the stories and the programming that got started from the trauma. So then we take them into our inquiries and we have ways of gently triggering and inducing certain memories to come up to find out whether there’s an emotional charge with that memory. So when you say that things happen to you that you think that you are no longer an issue, we have a way of testing that. So what we do is we gently induce that memory in a way that makes you see whether your body is responding to it, like it’s still storing pain. And when it is, we undo that connection between that memory and that pain through our inquiry process.
Rick: Is it possible to discuss that in an interview context like this, what the inquiry process is that could actually undo the memory or the trauma?
Scott: Sure. Using my own experience, I was bullied in sixth grade. So that was the beginning of my drug use because of the bullying. So if I was going to look at the bullying with trauma, if somebody was going to facilitate me, they might have me use what we call reverse inquiry. So they might have me say, “I’m not afraid of my bully,” as I’m looking at my bully in awareness. And when you say a reverse inquiry like that, your system will object to it. Your system will tell you the truth. Your body will tell you the truth. So if you say, “I’m not afraid of my bully,” your system is going to pull up the words and the pictures that tell you that you are afraid, okay? And that you’re carrying around that trauma with you, even today. And so once we have it up then, we have them observe those traumatic words and pictures, but we have interventions that come and unhook them from it so that they don’t become re-traumatized. So that’s a big part of our work is to never re-traumatize someone, to make it gentle so that when the trauma comes up, we have ways of unhooking them from the thoughts first and then bringing them down into the body without the thoughts there. Which is a much more gentle way of dealing with trauma. When you try to deal with trauma, when you’ve got the thoughts there and the feelings, you can get overwhelmed very easily. So we deal with them part by part. The mind first, and then the body, all looking from awareness. And it’s a gentler process that way.
Rick: How’d you come up with all this?
Scott: Just from my own suffering.
Rick: Yeah, you just kind of devised it as you went along, probably applied it to yourself and fine-tuned it.
Scott: Yeah, it started when I heard Eckhart Tolle say, “Come down and feel a feeling.”
Scott: Without putting, I thought, “Okay, I’ll try that.” I tried that, and then from there, I started to notice, I started to read non-dual teachings and I would extract certain things, like watching thoughts. But then through the years, I started to notice that not everybody can watch thoughts. There’s a subset of the population that can’t just come and witness thoughts. And I learned that by opening up the Kiloby Center, because we work with a different population of people. These are not spiritual seekers. They don’t know how to witness thoughts, a lot of them. So we had to invent some inquiries that help them if they can’t witness thoughts, and that’s part of it too. I don’t know if that answered your question, but that’s what came up.
Rick: Good enough. So right now, we’re in the throes of this pandemic, and it almost seems a little unreal to me because there’s only nine cases in the county I live in, and even though people are walking around town with masks and all, I don’t know anybody personally who has gotten sick. But I see it on the news all the time, and I know it’s out there, and it’s real enough, and we’ve modified our lifestyles. But I interviewed a guy a while back, and then he wanted me to be in a webinar in which we discuss our dread and our grief and our fear and all this stuff. I said, “I really can’t do it. I would feel disingenuous because I’m not feeling any of that stuff.”
Scott: I’m not either.
Rick: Yeah, but I have compassion for people who are, and I don’t deny that they are. And perhaps you are in more contact with people who are feeling those things than I am because you’re…
Scott: Every week.
Rick: Yeah, every week all the time. I don’t really interact with people like that. So what’s going on out there, Scott, and how are you helping people cope with the situation that we’re going through?
Scott: So the Kiloby Cooperative, again, does a free webinar every Wednesday night at 515 Pacific on the Scott Kiloby page. So that’s a place just to come, and then we can show you some inquiries to deal with whatever’s going on. The main issue that I’m seeing now in private sessions is people are afraid about money, even more than health, because it’s really affecting our economy and people’s pocketbooks. And money, as you know, carries with it anxiety, right? So a lot of sessions around, “What’s going to happen to me? Am I going to be homeless?” A lot of that. People are scared. Second to that is that there are some people who believe that we’re at the beginning of the world kind of starting to collapse. They’re catastrophizing this. We don’t know the future. It could be happening. We don’t know. So a lot of those inquiries are happening about, “Here’s the world is going to end now,” and they’re petrified of that. And then I do inquiries, of course, on the fear of death and the fear of illness, contracting the illness. Those are the things that I’m seeing mostly now around COVID.
Rick: Yeah, well, let’s go into each of those points a little bit. I know in the money thing, there have been times in my life when I’ve had like $20 or $30 to my name, but I told myself, “Okay, you’re not going to starve to death, and somehow you’ll have a roof over your head, and then things will change. All things must pass,” as George Harrison said. So, that turned out to be true, but I don’t want to sound glib because obviously there are a lot of homeless people and there are people who have kids and they’ve lost their jobs and they might have their electricity turned off or something like that or actually be evicted if they don’t come up with some money. So, if you’re talking to a person like that, let’s say, what can you do to give them some solace and change their perspective?
Scott: Well, the first thing that I do is I make sure that they’re not trying to hide out in the absolute because that happens sometimes, because there’s a practical aspect of life that you spoke to in the beginning. And so, I always kind of talk about the middle way, which is that you wake up, but you don’t dismiss relativity, and you don’t dismiss reasonable precautionary measures like wearing a mask, social distancing. All those things are practical. What I work on is the interior experience, the fear, the sense of lack, the stories, the programming, the interior stuff is what I do. And then I don’t really coach people on the practical stuff because the rest of the world is doing such a good job of that. But I tell people that you really need to include that. It’s not just about taking care of yourself and feeling no anxiety or being present, it’s about also taking practical steps in the real world that are necessary.
Rick: Okay, well, and then the second thing you mentioned was maybe the world’s coming to an end. And obviously, throughout the ages, there have been people who thought the world was coming to an end, and there have been much worse pandemics than this in times when there wasn’t any kind of medical care that was worth a damn.
Rick: There have been world wars, and in many cases, you know, millions of people actually, the wars were taking place where they lived, which we’ve never experienced. So, you know, there’s been some heavy stuff down through the ages. And, you know, I think in a way we should count our blessings because it has been a lot worse for people. But again, that’s not to dismiss this, it’s a serious situation, it’s tough for many people. But my sense, we don’t have to dwell on this too long because it’s somewhat speculative, my sense is, yeah, the world is coming to an end, but not in the literal sense. The way things have been is coming to an end, and things are going to change quite significantly. In 5 or 10 years from now, we’ll see quite a different structure of things, I think, than we’ve seen. And we’ll think, well, it was a rough transition, but I’m glad we made it.
Scott: Yeah, that’s how I feel actually. I don’t know the future, and you know, you don’t either, but it feels like this is the beginning of a transition that we’re going to have to work through.
Rick: Yeah, a lot of spiritual people feel that and have been saying it for years. And of course, some have been very conspiratorial in their prognostications, and you know, 144,000 of us are going to be pulled up to heaven and everybody else is going to be dying on earth, that kind of stuff. And us and them kind of mentality, but I think it’ll be a much more global transformation that will include people of all faiths and orientations.
Scott: Yeah. You know what I think is, I don’t want to say a good thing about COVID-19, but is that I think it shook people up. I think it woke people up in a way, okay? Because there’s complacency around the human life, right? We go to work every day, we get to escape from our spouse and come back. We have our luxuries, we can go anywhere we want, you know, some of us, right? And now all of a sudden, that’s changed. Like we can’t do that. We can’t go to places. We can’t leave our spouse. And so people, it’s bringing people closer, but then it’s also bringing up triggers because you have to spend more time with people. That’s an interesting point of view. But how it’s going to transition our world, I don’t know quite yet how that’s going to do, but I feel that. I’ve been feeling that since the beginning of it.
Rick: Yeah, me too. I also feel that, you know, I mean, there’ve been various people, you can find videos online from 5 or 10 years ago of people predicting that there will eventually be a pandemic and we’d better get ready for it. And there’s all kinds of evidence now that we weren’t getting ready. You know, we should have been stockpiling certain things and medical supplies and all that stuff. But a much bigger monster, I think, and I don’t want to get too much of a tangent here, but I think it’s relevant, but a much bigger monster is climate change, which is moving much more slowly. And you know, people use the term “climate alarmists” because the pace of change of the climate is almost imperceptible unless you happen to be in a hurricane or something like that or have your town flooded out. But I think the so-called alarmists have a right to be alarmed because if the predictions of the scientists pan out, we’re going to be in deep shit. And so perhaps this COVID thing will serve as a wake-up call to make us ask what else might be coming down the pike that we should take more seriously and do something about.
Scott: Yeah, and that’s what I mean by the middle way. It’s like you can do this inner spiritual work and it’s great to do, but there’s a relative world out there that we have to pay attention to. That’s what you’re really saying.
Rick: Yeah, and it’s easy to talk about all this stuff in the abstract, but if you worked in a hospital ER room in New York City, if you’ve been there doing that for the last couple of months, I mean I’ve seen these people interviewed and they say it’s just bedlam, the amount of death they’ve been seeing. It’s like you have to sort of feel that and realize that for the people impacted, the workers, the people who are sick and dying, the family members of those people, this is really serious business and you have to kind of like, I don’t know, keep your compassion alive, I think.
Scott: Yeah, and I think that’s why we’ve offered so much free stuff during this period is because of compassion. It’s like this is not a time to drain people of their money when they’re already in financial difficulty. This is time if we’re able to, those of us who are facilitators, if we have the resources to pay our own expenses, then why not give some stuff for free to people who need it so that everybody can have that if they need it? There’s no barrier to that. That’s really important for us.
Rick: So just as you’re saying this, remind us of what is some of this free stuff or paid stuff if you’re able to pay for it. What is it that, is there anything you’re doing right now that you’re doing more of or even that you weren’t doing before the pandemic but that you find yourself needing to do in light of this circumstance?
Scott: Yeah, I’m doing Facebook Live events, two or three almost every day just to connect with people and kind of keep them on track and to talk about…
Rick: Individually or in groups?
Scott: Facebook Live event.
Rick: A group thing.
Scott: So anybody can come in and listen to me, so that’s one thing I’m doing, and those are all free. I think you’re asking about what free services exactly we’re offering.
Rick: Yeah, and not even necessarily free, but things that are somewhat especially germane to the pandemic situation and the fear and the difficulties that it’s stirring up in people. How are you helping to address that?
Scott: Well, so that we do that through the Kiloby Inquiries, which is a set of tools we developed when we opened the Kiloby Center. And we’ve developed those tools because we were dealing with a different population of people than you see in the non-dual world. Those are people that were chased by a serial killer for two days or people who have been on heroin for 20 years. So we had to adjust and create tools that could meet them where they are. And so we developed those tools, and so we simplified inquiry. We feel like we’ve simplified it and made it really much more about the relative world too, like being able to look at specific stories that you’re still believing that are causing suffering. If you don’t know how the Kiloby Inquiries work, it’s hard to explain. But we have a way of sort of like, if things are hiding in your unconscious, bringing them up. We have ways of bringing them up. And so by bringing them up, then we can have them in awareness and then rest with them and then come down and feel what we’ve been trying to avoid feeling. And once you get down in your body and you really do good somatic work, where you’re reducing the resistance to the feelings or the sensations, that’s when you start seeing changes in people in terms of their anxiety level, their feelings of lack and everything. So it’s hard to explain the work because it’s a whole robust set of tools. There’s no way I could even explain it. But essentially what we’re doing, if you want to boil it down, is we’re still undoing that connection between the thoughts and the negative feelings or contractions in the body, because it’s that connection that causes or makes the feeling, the experience of suffering real for people.
Rick: Yeah, and like, if a person doesn’t exactly get what you’re saying here, it sounds like it’s easy enough to find out because they can sit in on your Facebook Lives or they can join a variety of things that you’re offering and I’m sure you need to charge some money, you need to support yourselves, but money is not an insurmountable barrier. So if people’s curiosity is piqued by this conversation, they should explore what you’re doing. Give it a try.
Scott: Yeah, one of the main things I’m doing now is I’m training people in the Kiloby Inquiries because we want to bring more people in. And so we’re offering discounts, payment plans, I mean like we’re really trying to help people financially, for sure. I mean we can’t do training for free because it’s such a drain of resources and time for all of us to train people. We can’t give that away for free, but we can really help people financially with that. And training is one of the richest resources that we have because once you start training, you become part of this private sort of family of facilitators that has a group and you have free sessions for the rest of your life. So you have to pay a fee to get into the training to be trained and certified, but then from then on, if the Kiloby Inquiries are your path, you have free sessions until you die. So you’re going to save money instead of just paying session after session after session with whoever.
Rick: Yeah, that’s great. And speaking of dying, you mentioned three things that were really weighing on people. There was the financial thing, the job loss, there was the world is coming to an end piece, and the third was dying. So maybe we should talk about that a little bit. The fear of death. Is that something that comes up a lot in your work with people?
Scott: At least three sessions a week are around that partly, at least. But I’ll tell you what, people are more afraid of the financial thing than they are the death thing. I think the financial thing feels like a death to people. It sort of taps into that fear of death. But yeah, clearly I’m doing inquiries around the fear of death too. Just, yeah, that’s happening a lot too, but I’m seeing more around money.
Rick: I wonder if that’s because if you’re having financial problems, you have to remain alive and deal with them. If you die, then either you don’t exist anymore, if that’s what you believe, or you go to some heavenly world, if that’s what you believe. But in any case, you’re out of the realm of money, you don’t have to think about it. But the money kind of has you trapped.
Scott: Exactly, exactly. Very good point.
Scott: Well, I mean, yeah, that’s the thing I want to tell people is that I understand the anxiety around money because I’ve had it before. I understand it completely. Even when I opened the Kiloby Center, I thought there was some anxiety about whether the Kiloby Center was going to survive. So I had to inquire into that. I had to look at that. There was some anxiety for me around, are we going to bring revenue in just to be able to help people? And just doing those inquiries cleared that so well for me that I haven’t really worried about money around the Kiloby Center. So that’s so helpful for people. They can still take action, go to work, do whatever, but you don’t have to be anxious all the time around money. And that’s what I’m trying to tell people. That’s possible. I think that a lot of humans are really used to the idea that living a fear-based life is just what human life is like, that you’re run on fear and that’s what drives you or lack or whatever. And so what we do with the inquiries is we challenge that.
Scott: We challenge that conditioning that makes you run on fear and lack. And so I think that’s why it’s helping people so much because a lot of what happens in the world I see is driven by a sense of deficiency or lack or fear or shame. And so those are the things that we focus on because it’s driving people to seek. It’s driving people to be in pain. It’s making them depressed. It’s making them do drugs. It’s making them really afraid right now. And so we’re here for that, to help them with that.
Rick: A friend of mine always used to say fear is an acronym that stands for false evidence of appearing real.
Scott: I’ve never heard of that one before.
Scott: I like it.
Rick: Yeah. Well, it’s kind of interesting. I mean, it seems to me that if one has an outer-oriented orientation to life and is oblivious to the inner reservoir of energy and creativity that we all possess, then there is no secure foundation. And naturally, one feels fear and lack and all the other things you mentioned. But I firmly believe that we each have within us what Jesus called the Kingdom of Heaven and what various other saints and sages have called other things. But the basic idea is that deep within there is an unlimited field of potential, and that if we can tap into that, then all these other things, they just start to dissipate automatically. It’s like if you had a dark room and you turned on even a candle, you didn’t do anything to get rid of the darkness. You didn’t try to push it out the window or fight against it or anything else.
Rick: But it just disappears with the introduction of a second element.
Scott: There you go. And that’s what we do, and that element is awareness. And so, we’re not pushing things away. In fact, we’re welcoming, loving them, “Thank you for being here. I love you. Stay.” And that’s what reduces resistance right there. And so, yeah, that’s a big part of the work is not to push things away, to welcome them, to go towards them instead of trying to bypass them or avoid them.
Rick: Yeah. And I might add…
Rick: Go ahead. Yes, continue.
Scott: But at the same time, it’s like that candle, because it’s not an effortful thing. It’s just that a candle was lit, and that’s the awareness. So, from the awareness, then we explore. And then those things, the dark things, naturally fall away because the light of awareness is there. And I think that’s what you’re referring to.
Rick: Yeah, and it grows. Maybe at first it’s a candle, and then it’s a flashlight, and then it’s a 100-watt bulb, and then it’s a floodlight, and the next thing you know, the whole room is really illuminated.
Scott: That’s right. I like that. Yeah.
Rick: Yeah. And when you said, you know, you go toward these things rather than trying to avoid them, you don’t go toward them – I mean, I don’t mean to put words in your mouth – but you don’t go toward them without the resources to face them. Because I think what you’re doing is, first priority is – it’s like, to use another analogy, if you wanted to shoot an arrow at a target, you don’t just sort of hold it on the bow and let go. It would just drop. You pull it back first and then let it go, and boom, it goes and hits the target. So, I think what you’re probably doing, and you can elaborate, is you’re equipping people with the inner resources to then turn around and face things, which might have been very difficult to face before, but in the light of that inner resource, or to use our light analogy, greater light, this stuff is, you know, kind of a piece of cake compared to what it used to be.
Scott: Yeah, and you said it better than I can. We’re trying to empower people to be able to look skillfully at their own experience. That’s the key word, skillfully.
Scott: Because there’s a way of doing it that has skill, and there’s a way that’s not very skillful, because, and we’ve learned that from 15 years of doing this. And so, what we’re doing is we’re teaching people to be skillful with how they relate to their experience. So, we don’t go towards things by having them just sit there and think or tell the story of something, right? Because that might reinforce it. We’re going towards it from awareness, from gentle awareness, welcoming awareness, integrating it, allowing it to be there. And if it’s going to fall away, it’s going to fall away, just because of awareness. That’s gentle that way.
Rick: That’s great. There’s actually a verse in the Vedic literature which says, “Yoga karma sukoshalam,” which means, “Yoga is skill in action.” And by yoga, they don’t mean physical asanas or exercises, they mean getting in touch with that inner oneness, that innermost, you’re innermost nature, true nature, whatever, and then engaging in activity on that foundation, and then skillfulness is the outcome.
Scott: Yeah, yeah, skillfulness. And also, creativity. You mentioned potentiality. Creativity can come alive when presence starts to show up more, you know, because the blocks, the fear is not there as much. Fear stops people.
Scott: Feeling of lack, deficiency sabotages people. Once that’s clear and there’s presence, it feels like there’s a potentiality there for something else.
Rick: Yeah, I very much feel enthusiastic about what you’re saying. It’s good stuff. And it’s not like we’re all going to become Mozart’s or, you know,
Scott: or Superman
Rick: Einstein’s or anything else, that kind of creativity, but within the context of our own lives, we all have tremendous potential, and a lot of us are like eight-cylinder cars running on one cylinder or something. You get all the other cylinders to kick in and boom, you know, so much more is possible in one’s life.
Scott: Right, and it’s not just about creativity. Some people are not, that’s not their thing. Their thing is they like to, I mean, I have people that work for me, that their thing is they love, like, organized things and be administrative stuff. And that inquiry can help you with that too. It can open up that potentiality, because when you do that kind of work, the same kind of blocks come in. Fear, lack, deficiency, shame, whatever. So by clearing those, it’s not just about being creative, it’s about really, like, I don’t know how to say it, it’s a funny thing to say, but it’s like finally being what you are and living that.
Rick: Yeah, that’s good. They call it “dharma” in Sanskrit, that we each have a sort of a pattern or a template for our lives that is unique to us, even though there are similarities between different people, but you don’t try to follow somebody else’s dharma, you follow what you’re cut out to do. And within any one person’s life, there’s a huge range of possibilities of how well or how poorly they can do it, depending upon the extent to which they tap their inner resources.
Scott: Yup, and that’s what we’re doing with people. I mean, it is a non-dual method at the foundation, but we’re really working with human issues, I mean, real human issues.
Scott: And that’s what makes my heart swell, because the part of non-duality that you and I used to talk about that we didn’t like was this sort of pure absolutistic view of things, and that is not a place that I want to be in, because it has its own problems and issues. And so this is my passion, is can you be in the world and not try to escape it, like be in the world in a different way?
Rick: Yeah, yeah, we did talk about that in our earlier interviews, and there is, or at least used to be, a certain sort of segment of people who tried to use non-duality as a way of dismissing or avoiding or negating the world or something. And I think I’ve gone through phases like that myself at times, but I kind of, I think you and I are in agreement here that it’s actually a way of marshaling tremendous inner resources for living in the world. It’s like, you know, I mean, my old teacher used to talk about living 200% of life, 100% inner value and 100% outer material value, and the two actually are complementary to one another and in no way in conflict.
Scott: Beautiful, love that. Couldn’t have said it better myself, so I won’t try.
Rick: Well, you’re saying some good stuff. Alright, so we have about maybe five or eight minutes left. What should we be sure to cover that we may not have covered yet that you want to be sure people get to hear?
Scott: I mean, I think maybe, I don’t know, maybe an openness to, like if you’re struggling out there, you’re listening to this interview and you don’t know anything about inquiry or non-duality, maybe just have an open mind to listen to these interviews and find out that there are some different ways of dealing with suffering that you might not be aware of. And so just we’re trying to make you aware of these different tools. And that’s what I want people to know, is that there’s not just therapy or counseling. There’s other ways of dealing with things. And for me, this has been the way that’s helped me the most, so that’s where my heart lies. So my message is just to share that with other people.
Rick: Yeah, that’s good. I mean, one word that came to mind as you said that is hopelessness. Some people, there’s the suicide epidemic, you know, especially among veterans and so on. There must be people who take that route must be feeling very hopeless. And that’s sad because there is hope and it’s not just, it’s not sort of imaginative, imaginary hope. There are very real steps that anybody can take to transform life.
Scott: This is my passion, Rick, because my partner is a former military person. And so I know what happens in the military. I also know there’s a lot of trauma happening in that organization.
Rick: Big time.
Scott: And so then these people leave the military and try to go out into real life and they have no skill of inquiry or any inner resource. And so depression comes in, addiction, anxiety, PTSD. And then because we’re not capable yet of truly, like some of these organizations don’t know how to do it other than give people meds, right? So here we are, like we have to figure this out. Otherwise more people are going to fall through the cracks of the healthcare system. We’re going to have more people homeless and more suicides unless we figure this out.
Rick: Yeah, maybe that’s somehow or other going to be one of the things that gets addressed as a result of COVID. I mean, a lot of things are being brought into sharper focus, the wealth inequity and homelessness and the situation with veterans and so on and so forth. Maybe we’ll get more serious about really addressing these things in an effective way.
Scott: I can tell you that in the six years of being in the addiction treatment and mental health world, I see a lot of issues that we have to correct. And I won’t get into it because I’ve talked about it publicly already. But if we don’t fix these issues, we’ve got a lot of shit coming our way.
Scott: Because the world isn’t like people, I mean, like right now, I mean, my partner is 23 years old, he’s younger than me. He’s tapped into the younger generation. In the younger generation, it’s normal to be on antidepressants or anti-anxiety. It’s like everybody’s on it. That’s just what you do. That’s the world we’re turning into right now.
Rick: But you feel like a zombie when you take those things.
Scott: Exactly. So we have to figure out something in addition to or other than medication that really helps people. That’s the point.
Rick: You only have to change one letter, I think, one or two, turn it to meditation.
Scott: There you go.
Rick: Yeah. Well, it bears re-emphasizing, but the solutions are there. It’s not like, “Oh, what are we going to do? There’s all these problems and no one knows how to fix them.” The solutions are there. It’s just a matter of recognizing them and applying them and funding them. But we fund so many things that are a complete waste of money, and all of a sudden, when we have a COVID pandemic, suddenly we can cough up trillions of dollars to help bail out the airlines or whatever. So it seems to me that a lot of these problems could be properly addressed and funded, and there could be a real transformative wave that sweeps the world.
Scott: Yeah, but look where we’re focused on. We’re not focused on that yet. We’re focused on countries fighting each other, religions fighting each other. We’re focused on that.
Rick: Yeah, look how much money is spent on that. I mean, the military budget and what we’ve spent in Afghanistan and Iraq over the last couple of decades.
Scott: Right. Instead of healing and helping our own people.
Rick: Yeah. Or even healing, helping other people. I mean, what if we had gone, I don’t know, maybe I’m naive, but what if we had gone into Afghanistan and said, here, we’re just gonna help you. We’re not gonna bomb you or do this or that. We’re gonna help you with education and health and various social programs or whatever. We might be seen in a very different light.
Scott: Yeah, but we don’t go at it that way right now.
Scott: Yeah, so that’s good. We’re gonna have to have a president that has a much more sort of integral, open view of the world. A more compassionate diplomatic and thinking outside of the box.
Rick: That would be good.
Rick: And also a populace that is in league or is in tune with such a president. Cuz a leader can only reflect the mentality of the populace, or at least the mentality of a certain large segment of it. So again, maybe this will be a wake up call for a lot of people. We’ll have better leadership, better policies.
Scott: But I hope that that is what happens. I hope that’s what happens.
Rick: Yeah, yeah, hope so.
Rick: Well, we’re both a couple of dreamers, as John Lennon said, but we’re not the only ones.
Scott: That’s two Beatles quotes in one interview, that’s good.
Rick: What was the first one?
Scott: George Harrison.
Rick: Right, yeah, okay. Well, yeah, I know Beatles lyrics better than any other song lyrics.
Scott: I’m good at, I know them all too.
Rick: We’ll have to get together and sing sometime. I know you’re a musician.
Rick: Yeah, I know all the harmonies and everything.
Rick: Except my voice is not that great anymore, but we’ll do it.
Scott: Yeah, love the Beatles.
Rick: Okay, Scott, yeah, well thank you so much. Enjoyed spending this time with you, and thanks to those who’ve been watching this little episode of the Wisdom in Times of Crisis seminar or webinar. I hope you’ve been enjoying that, and the whole thing I believe is archived, so if you missed some of the sessions, you can get in there later on and watch them.
Scott: I want to thank Sand and you for interviewing me, I appreciate that.
Rick: Oh, sure. I think Sand chose you because this is a traumatic time, and you are an expert in helping people deal with trauma, so it was very relevant, and I really enjoyed the stuff you had to say.
Scott: Thank you. All right, well, good luck in your other interviews, and I hope people benefit from all of this in some way.
Rick: Yeah, yeah. Thanks, Scott.