Seán ÓLaoire Transcript

Seán ÓLaoire Interview


  • Father Seán ÓLaoire is a Catholic priest, psychologist, and author, shares about his spiritual journey and insights.
  • Father Seán’s Background: He shares his early influences from his great-grandmother, a Christian mystic, and his grandfather, a Druid and a bard. He also talks about his education in mathematics, theology, and transpersonal psychology, and his missionary work in Kenya.
  • The Nature of Reality: He discusses the concept of God as the source of all existence, the fractal nature of creation, the limitations of human incarnation, and the stages of spiritual evolution. He uses metaphors and stories to illustrate his points.
  • The Role of Problems: He recounts a lesson he learned from an African elder, who taught him that problems are invitations to self-transcendence, not just something to be solved. He applies this principle to his work as a therapist and a spiritual teacher.
  • The author shares his vision of life as a play where we have free will and previous history, but no fixed script. He says we are here to learn how to love and create Christ consciousness in a challenging situation.
  • The author discusses the concept of karma as a learning opportunity, not a punishment. He says we choose our life circumstances before we incarnate, and we have different outcomes depending on how we play our cards.
  • The author explains the difference between fate and destiny, and how we can align ourselves with our true purpose. He also talks about the role of visions and dreams as sources of guidance and insight.
  • The author compares science and mysticism, and argues that science is limited by its reliance on the sensorium and the materialistic worldview. He says that mysticism can access higher levels of consciousness and reality that are beyond space, time, energy, and matter.
  • The author introduces the term “mysticist” as someone who combines the best of science and mysticism, and who can use multidimensional data to create more accurate models of reality. He says that mysticism is not just navel-gazing, but a rigorous and empirical way of exploring the nature of the soul and the Source.
  • The caterpillar and the butterfly: The author uses the metaphor of a caterpillar transforming into a butterfly to describe the current state of humanity, which is in a “goo” phase of disintegration and reconfiguration. He also warns against interfering with the natural process of struggle and growth, as it would cripple the potential of the emerging butterfly.
  • The cosmic error and the cosmic conspiracy: The author distinguishes between a cosmic error, which is a server-side issue that prevents us from experiencing our true nature as God, and a cosmic conspiracy, which is a deliberate attempt by some beings to separate souls from Source and exploit them. He says we need to resist the latter and reconnect with the former.
  • The power of imagination: The author defines imagination as the ability to shift our state of consciousness, enter into different dimensions, interact with other energies and entities, and bring back the learning to this dimension1. He says imagination is a vital aspect of the mystic’s journey back to God, and that children have this ability naturally before they are schooled out of it.
  • The four levels of compassion: The author outlines four levels of compassion: confirmation, cooperation, compensation, and confrontation. He says compassion sometimes requires confronting those who are harming themselves or others, and that he follows an 80:20 rule of encouraging people to connect with Source versus recognizing and challenging the darkness around.
  • God as the source of all possibilities: The author sees God as the ground of being that contains every potentiality, and only our attention and intention determine what we manifest in our reality. He compares this to the pixels on a computer screen that can create any image or sound depending on which ones are on or off.
  • Nuclear fusion as an analogy: The author uses the example of a nuclear fusion experiment in South Korea that achieved temperatures hotter than the sun, and says that this is similar to how everything that exists is entangled in Divinity, and only our level of consciousness decides what we bring to the foreground and background.
  • Closing statement: The interviewer thanks the author for the conversation and his book, and mentions the next guest on his show, who is a woman with remarkable abilities to communicate with animals. He also invites the listeners to check out his website and subscribe to his email list.

Full transcript:

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 nearly 700 of them now. And if this is new to you, and you’d like to check out previous ones, please go to 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 are PayPal buttons on the site, and there’s a page explaining alternatives to PayPal. My guest today is Father Seán ÓLaoire. Did I pronounce that right, Seán? O-Leary? All right. I think I’ll stick with the English, but, actually, I had a friend named O’Leary; it was L-e-a-r-y. I guess that’s what they do with it when they want to Anglicize it? Yeah. Okay.

Anyway, my guest is Father Seán ÓLaoire. He was born in Ireland and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics from the National University of Ireland. He was ordained a Catholic priest in 1972 and spent 14 years working in Kenya. He is multilingual. I think he’d say he speaks about five languages and has an MA and PhD in Transpersonal Psychology. He’s a licensed clinical psychologist in private practice and is the Co-Founder and the Spiritual Director of a nondenominational community called Companions on the Journey, based in Palo Alto, California. He’s the author of five books and co-author of a sixth, and just for kicks, I’ll read the five books: So one is in Swahili, which I’m not going to try to pronounce; that was his first one. Another is Spirits in Spacesuits: A Manual for Everyday Mystics (2003); Souls on Safari (2006), also translated into German; A Sensible God, published in 2008; Why: What Your Life is Telling You About Who You Are and Why You’re Here, published in 2013, and he co-authored that with Matthew McKay and Ralph Metzner; — it’s translated into Korean — and then Setting God Free: Moving Beyond the Caricature We’ve Created in Our Own Image, published in 2021. That’s the one that I just listened to over the past week or two, and I enjoyed it a lot. And that’s probably what we’re mostly going to be talking about today, the topics covered in that book, but I told Seán that he should feel free to bring up anything he’d like to discuss, and we’ll talk about it, and of course, any questions that you all send in, we’ll talk about those, too.

So here we go. Thank you so much, Seán, for doing this. That was a pretty brief bio that I read there that you sent me, but you’ve been on the spiritual path a long time, probably over 50 years, and have had all kinds of adventures over the world, and you’ve really dedicated your life to this. And also, incidentally, Seán lives in the woods in Northern California completely off the grid, with solar power and his own water supply, and stuff like that. He was telling me a bit about his house and has escaped two of those fires that have swept through the forests up there, and one actually burned things in his yard but didn’t burn his house. So he’s living in a very beautiful place and both inwardly and outwardly, I would say. So Seán, do you want to just embellish or elaborate a little bit on your bio, tell us a little bit more about yourself before we start to get into these various topics?

Seán ÓLaoire: Sure, sure. So let me do it chronologically. I was born in 1946. I was the firstborn of a firstborn of a firstborn. So I actually lived with my paternal grandparents for the first six years of my life, and my great-grandmother was living with us. And she was basically a Christian mystic, for whom Mother Mary was more real than you are to me right now, right? And so I would hear her speaking aloud to her Mother Mary, and I was privy just to one side of the conversation, but this was her focus completely, and so I presumed that that was normal that people could speak across the veil. And then at age six, I moved to back to my parents’ house and lived with my maternal grandparents, and my grandfather on that side was somebody whom I called Daddy Jim. And he was really a Druid and a bard. He was a great Irish step-dancer. He was a phenomenal storyteller, and he was a great musician. So he filled me up with all the old Irish mythology: the great Finn McCool and Niamh Cian Óir, all these great characters from pre-history, almost, and so mythology became very important for me. And so I went to school; I was very interested in sciences.

Rick Archer: While you’re still talking about Ireland — I’m part Irish myself, as we were discussing before the interview — and the Irish have this reputation for leprechauns and all that stuff.

Seán ÓLaoire: Yes.

Rick Archer: I presume that that kind of thing came from the ability of some people to have subtle perception of the beings that are all around us.

Seán ÓLaoire: Very important, because, I mean, geographically, we’re situated at the very extreme western end of Europe, a little island. In fact, when I was a child, and people went to France or Italy, which was very unusual, they would talk about going to Europe. So there’s this magical energy there, what we call in Gaelic, the Caol Áit, a thin place like the veil between the mystical and the mundane, is diaphanous. And so the island itself and the folklore and the spirituality and the music and the storytelling are kind of a constant kind of traffic in and back through this veil, and so the stories pick up on that. And I’m a big believer that stories are the archived wisdom of a culture, that if you really want to know a culture’s spirituality or its history or its wisdom, you go to their stories and to their proverbs. And so, as a young man, for instance, I spent an entire summer in a village in West Cork called Cúil Aodh, where Gaelic is still the mother tongue, collecting proverbs from the elders there, and I collected about 432 proverbs. And what I found out was that an old man told me one time, he said, you know, if Christianity had never come to Ireland, we could live according to the proverbs, and he was absolutely right. And I found the same thing in Africa. When I went to Africa and had the privilege of learning Swahili and three tribal languages and delving into their mythology, I came to the same conclusion, that if you delve into the mythology of any people, in some senses, you’re digging into the archives of their wisdom. And so the ability to move through the veil is very, very important. I saw stories and proverbs with that.

And one of the things I found out about proverbs is that proverbs seem to contradict each other. They’re paradoxical in a sense, because as soon as you say a proverb that addresses situation A, the opposite will address situation B. So for instance, in English we’ll say, “Look before you leap,” but “He who hesitates is lost.” In Gaelic, we say, “Nil aon tinteán mar do thinteán fein,” for “There is no fireside like your own fireside.” But we also say, “Bionn blas ar chuid an chomhairsin” for “There’s a special taste to the neighbor’s food.” When you’re a child, you always think the neighbor’s food tastes better than the stuff you’re getting at home. In Swahili we say, “Haraka, haraka, haina baraka” for “Hurry, hurry has no blessing.” But we also say, “Chelewa, chelewa, mtoto si wako” for “Delay, delay, and the baby will not yours.” You go figure that one out. So truth is so multifaceted that you can, as you address different facets of the diamond, you will apparently say contradictory or at least paradoxical things. But that’s the nature of reality; it is so multifaceted.

Rick Archer: Someone recently sent me a t shirt that says “Paradox” on it because I use that word so much. And I’m kind of reminded of the stories in the Hindu tradition which are constantly pulling the rug out from under you. Just when you think you’ve got it all figured out about what’s ethical and what’s this and what’s that, they throw you a curveball in some kind of story which makes you doubt again or makes you uncertain; it keeps you on your toes and doesn’t let you calcify into a fixed position.

Seán ÓLaoire: And I think that’s a very important part of the spiritual journey. There’s a great phrase in the Gnostic Gospel of Thomas. In the other canonical gospels, there’s a phrase, “Ask, and you shall receive; seek and you will find; knock on the door, and it will be opened.” But Thomas has a very different hit on this. He says, “Those who seek should not stop seeking until they find,” finding a stage two. And when they find they will be disturbed — stage three — and when they are disturbed, they will marvel. And when they marvel, they will rule, and when they rule, they will rest.” But a lot of people on the spiritual journey, when they get to stage three, and they begin to see that the rug is being pulled out from underneath them, they want to retreat back to the certainty of fundamentalism. So that’s the critical point for me, the paradoxical state of realizing, am I going to continue now with what appears to be an alternative reality and eschew what I really believed to be the truth before? And so at that stage, the illusions begin to fall off; they begin to see that reality is a totally different kettle of fish from what we were fed as little kids.

Rick Archer: Mm. I think we’ll probably talk a lot today about the fundamentalist mindset and what it signifies and how to overcome it and stuff. And it’s something I’ve encountered a lot over the decades. I used to teach Transcendental Meditation in the early ‘70s, and I would often be accosted by fundamentalists in lectures and actually really went at it. I had this friend who was kind of on the fence. He was meditating, but he was he was kind of in this fundamentalist church, and he gave me a whole shoebox full of tapes and printed materials that were all kind of anti TM, and I just gobbled them up. I just read them all. I said, okay, I want to know what these people think and see, like, are they right to any extent? What was the counter-argument? And just kind of be open-minded about it. I’ve always enjoyed doing that kind of thing. Anyway, so, go ahead.

Seán ÓLaoire: What I’ve seen, Rick, is that — and it’s true of religion; it’s true of politics; it’s true of finances; it’s true of NGOs, charitable works — that there is a particular cycle they all go through. And the first one is there is some kind of a charismatic, mystical, you know, avatar, who comes with a brand new message. And people are attracted to his charisma and to the message itself, even though they don’t understand the message, but they’re attracted to the personality and the energy emanating from this particular person. Then, almost inevitably, this guy is going to get assassinated, or he’ll die naturally. And now, the group of followers becomes a kind of an organization. And the next stage is that some kind of a self-appointed oligarchy rises to the top and puts themselves in charge of the message, which they don’t understand and never have understood, and now they’re going to create a kind of a dogmatic version of that message and impose it on the members. And you’re going to get inquisited if you deviate. And if they have enough power to become a theocracy, then they’re going to create inquisitions against people who don’t believe. And now you’ve gone full circle. And you’ve got a brand new prophet like this Saint Francis of Assisi in the 1200s, saying, guys, this is not what the teacher was talking about, you know? And so, in some sense, there’s a kind of going back to the basics. But within 300 years of Francis, the people leading the Inquisition was the order he founded, the Franciscans. They’re in charge of the Inquisition at this stage.

Rick Archer: Oh, brother.

Seán ÓLaoire: And you see the same cycle happening again and again and again.

Rick Archer: Yeah. Knowledge crumbles on the hard rocks of ignorance. There’s a story about: God and the Devil were walking down the road together, and God stoops over and picks something up and puts it in his pocket, and the Devil says, hey, what did you put in your pocket? And God says, oh, it’s the truth. And the Devil says, give it to me; I’ll organize it for you.

Seán ÓLaoire: (Laughs). I love it. So I love that notion, that even God, in some senses, is in search of the truth. There’s a great story and in Jewish Midrash. After Adam and Eve had gotten kicked out of the garden for eating from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, that their work in it was verboten. You’re not supposed to eat this. So they’re kicked out, and God puts a security service at the gate to make sure they don’t get back in. But they managed to sneak in one night, and they come over to the tree, and they’re just about to pick a fruit, and they hear somebody moving in the tree. And it’s God, and he’s munching on the fruit.

Rick Archer: That’s great. So apparently, St. Teresa of Avila said, it appears that God Himself is on the journey.

Seán ÓLaoire: Yes. Yeah. So I mean, I love to differentiate. The truth is that anything we say about God can be at best parabolic, but certainly it cannot be a kind of — we cannot say it in a catastatic language: the language of theology or philosophy or science can’t capture. So there’s a complete, transcendent, unknowable, ineffable mystery. But then there’s the kind of the manifest dimension of it, God as — she reveals herself through nature. And so that level of God for me is continually growing; that creation or manifestation is the way in which God experiences, because when you look at the Trinitarian formulas of God, and you get those in a lot of systems, like in Roman Catholicism, there’s the Father, the Son and the Spirit. In Hinduism, you’ve got Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva, and in Buddhism, you have Buddham, Saranam Gacchami; Dharmam, Sama Dharmam, Gacchami; Sangham, Saranam, Gacchami, and we have the Satchitananda. So it breaks up very often into three pieces. And for me, one of the three pieces represents the “isness” of God. The other represents God’s total self-knowledge. And the third part represents the love that God has for whom she knows herself to be. But that’s a closed system; that system cannot experience. And so God’s self fractures into a game called Lila, and so, in Hebrew mysticism called netzotzim, sparks of the Divine, and these we call souls, and these are how God generates experiences: every oak tree, every bunny rabbit, every human being is a conduit for this manifest dimension of God to experience that which is not herself. And so there’s a mystery about which we can say nothing, but we can experience it. And then there’s the manifest realms in which we can bathe in the mystery and have experiences of it, and grow and learn, and become more and more conscious of who we basically are.

Rick Archer: Yeah, that’s great. My thinking and yours resonate very well together, as I’ve learned in listening to your book. I guess we could call ourselves “sense organs of the infinite” if we wanted to, or sense organs of the Divine. And I’ve heard you say in your book, and I think along these lines, that when you get right down to it, there’s nothing but God —

Seán ÓLaoire: Yes.

Rick Archer: — you know, appearing — I think you might have said, God is God in drag or something like that?

Seán ÓLaoire: Everything that exists is God in drag.

Rick Archer: Yeah, and so this is God having a conversation with herself right now, in these particular forms, or through these particular forms, and God is listening to this conversation — 177 people at the moment and many thousands to follow after this goes up on YouTube. But it’s interesting, isn’t it, kind of a mystery? And perhaps you can elaborate on how we forget that we are that.

Seán ÓLaoire: Yeah.

Rick Archer: And there’s this whole search to come back. And there’s that T.S. Eliot line about coming back to a place from whence we’ve started and knowing it for the first time.

Seán ÓLaoire: Absolutely. So I think when we volunteer for reincarnation, we’re subject to four extraordinary limitations, and that’s part of the journey to discover who we are even in the absence of the evidence. So it’s like by going deeper and deeper and deeper into density and operating with lower and lower levels of consciousness, how far can you go into the depths and still remember that you’re basically a holographic fractal of Source? So the four great limitations as I see them are: The first one is we trade our cosmic dimension — you know, we’re basically “all that is” — and we trade that off for, like, in my case, a 150 pound little body, a space suit, as I call it; that’s the first limitation. The second one is that we who are kind of bathing in cosmic consciousness now have to operate with this little three-pound, massive wet wear we carry between our ears. The third limitation is that this little machine is so small that it cannot grok the gestalt. So we have to break up reality into bite-sized pieces and process them sequentially, thus giving rise to the Illusion of time. And then fourthly, there is amnesia created in us for who we really are. So there’s this great teaching, again in the Hebrew mysticism that there’s an angel called Lailah, and before the baby is born, it pinches your nose and makes an indentation on your upper lips — that’s why there’s the indentations there — to create amnesia for who you really are. So we’re starting off with these four great disadvantages. But as part of the mission, you’re in the absence of the answers to the test; can you figure out and learn what the subject matter is about, so as part of the dive into incarnation and into evolution?

Rick Archer: I would suggest that even before we’re born, we don’t fully know who we are, which is why we need to be born, but we probably have a broader perspective on certain things. If you read Michael Newton’s books about life between lives, for instance, and then we kind of come down into the density of this world, and we forget even more. But, I think as you’re implying, there’s something more about discovering who we are when we’re in this earthly form than there would be prior to the manifestation of the universe, and that, in other words, this is a kind of a value-added situation where God goes through this huge rigmarole over 14 billion years and ends up with something more than if he or she had just remained unmanifest.

Seán ÓLaoire: Exactly. So some of the images — I like to play around with metaphors, images, and stories, because that’s my tradition — but it feels to me like we’re part of a beehive. And there’s a Queen in there who sends out people to guide, like gather the pollens and the nectars. And the average people travel maybe three miles from the hive. And so in a radius of three miles, you’re talking about 27 square miles of territory, and they’re visiting all these kinds of flowers, and they’re coming back with the nectars. And they’re coming back with the stories that they bring back to the hive. And everybody in the hive shares the goodies. And that in some senses, every kind of descent into incarnation is a bee on safari gathering the nectars for the home, for the hive, and that that’s how God actually generates experiences. Now the problem becomes, is that, as we’re operating in denser and denser levels of consciousness, it’s easier and easier and easier to forget who we are, and to identify and self-identify with the spacesuit. So I talk about three levels of the self. So there’s firstly the role-self: I’m playing the role of an Irishman in this incarnation. But more importantly than that, there’s my soul-self, this eternal, holographic fractal of Source that was never born and will never die. And then there’s the Source-self from which all these fractals emerge. And so for me, it’s a question of, sequentially, disidentifying with elements of the spacesuit, realizing I’m not just a skin-encapsulated ego; I’m not just my thoughts or my emotions or my profession or my relationships, and so to sequentially disidentify with these lesser senses of self. Also, I begin to reidentify with greater levels of self, until finally God folds up the game, and there is only Source-self left. But that’s a journey of many, many, many incarnations back.

Rick Archer: Yeah. And when you say “disidentify,” I don’t interpret that to mean spiritual bypassing, or impersonalization, or something like that. It’s more like the wave realizes it’s an ocean, but it also realizes it’s a wave, but just that it’s not only a wave.

Seán ÓLaoire: Exactly.

Rick Archer: It has a much bigger status than just a wave, and yet still enjoys life as a wave.

Seán ÓLaoire: And that’s why I love the Buddhist distinction between turiya and turiya-theta. Turiya is the witnessing consciousness that can watch what the incarnate itself is doing but not identify with it. And turiya-theta is the ability to both witness it and participate in it. So it’s like the participant-observer in cultural anthropology, where you play the role as well as you can, but you know that you’re not the role, yet you have to give it your best shot when you’re here. So Christ has a very interesting step in Luke’s gospel, where he says, you must be compassionate as your Heavenly Father is compassionate. Now, although the New Testament is written in Greek, Jesus is speaking Aramaic. And the word in Aramaic that’s translated as “Father,” abwon, actually means the birthing principle of the cosmos, that which generates all that is. And the word compassion in Hebrew and Aramaic is rachamim, which literally means, it’s the plural for “the womb.” And so if Christ is in it, you must be womb-like as the birthing principle of the cosmos is womb-like. So what does a womb do? It can conceive, carry, and give birth sequentially, not just once. And so our job is to keep birthing greater versions of the self, until finally we give birth to God. That’s the ultimate objective of a human incarnation: it is to finally birth God in our ourselves, in our communities, and ultimately, in our world, to raise the world to Christ consciousness or to discover our Buddha nature, or to become self-realized. That’s the ultimate task of incarnation for me.

Rick Archer: Yeah, I agree. And you probably would also agree that all the problems in the world that we face are just the symptom of the incompletion of what you have just said, just the vast numbers of people who have not realized their Christ-consciousness to a significant degree. And so if we really want to solve all these problems, then we should, as a species, make that experience more and more accessible to people.

Seán ÓLaoire: Absolutely. And that’s why the great changes won’t come sociologically or politically or economically; they’ll come through a shift in consciousness. Because one of the things I did in Kenya in my 14 years there was I lived in a semi-desert area in Baringo, and water was a huge problem there. So a lot of what I was doing was a project to try to deliver water to villages. And I had lots of different projects over 14 years, the vast bulk of which were highly successful. But on two different occasions, we failed miserably. On one occasion, we had piped water from a source to a village; it was a two-year long project laying down PVC piping, and we finally got it to the village. And there’s this ritual turning on of the faucet in the village square one morning, and we turn it on, and nothing happens. And we traverse the line — it’s just PVC piping — and some warrior from a different village who was upset that his village didn’t get water had punctured it with a spear for several days, and so the water was just spouting out. So for me that represented these are structures, ineffective structures. We had another project in which we successfully piped water to a village — again, a two-year project — and we turned it on, and everybody drinks copiously. And four or five days later, everybody in the village is down with dysentery because the source of the word was polluted. We didn’t know that. So for me, it represented the fact that all great change has to change not just the structures, but the people. The water represents the people who start the structures, and if those people are not transformed, they’ll poison the consumer. But even if they’re very good people, and you’ve got leaky structures, you can’t deliver the commodity to the consumer. So it’s this “walking on two feet,” that we have to dismantle structures which are totally ineffective, are corrupt, and at the same time, make sure that those who inhabit — our people, our populace, the new systems — are themselves committed to a shift in their own consciousness. Otherwise, they’re just going to poison the consumers again.

Rick Archer: Yeah, that’s great. Those are great examples or stories, which, just to emphasize the point, we can’t all just — everybody in the world just sits on their butts and meditates and everything’s going be fine. We need water pipes, and we need better solar panels and electric vehicles, and somebody has to invent those things. But if we focus on the technology without attending to the necessary elevation of consciousness, we’re not going to solve the problems.

Seán ÓLaoire: Absolutely not. Absolutely not. So I was using a metaphor a few weeks ago during one of my homilies at Mass. Where I live is on a mountaintop, about 950 feet elevation. And there’s a tiny little spring on my land that flows down a very steep ravine, and it goes into a little creek called Chapman Branch, and Chapman flows into another little creek called Peña Creek. And Peña Creek flows into Dry Creek, and Dry Creek flows into the Russian River, and the Russian River flows into the Pacific Ocean. Now, I was saying, imagine an ET were to land off the shores of let’s say, Sri Lanka, and it gets into a big, big airliner and starts traveling southwest. Very quickly, it’ll arrive at the Cape of Good Hope. It’ll go around South Africa, and now the Indian Ocean becomes the Atlantic Ocean, and you keep that trajectory in the southwest direction, and eventually you come to Tierra del Fuego, the southern tip of Argentina, and Cape Horn, and now you’re meeting the Pacific. And if you hug the coast, the west coast of South America, Mesoamerica, and North America, you come up the coast of California, and at some stage, near a little town called Jenner, you’re going to see the Russian River flowing into it. Now you’re going to have to get off the big boat at this stage and get a motorboat because you can’t bring the big boat up the Russian River. So you come up in a motorboat so far, and then you’ve got to trade your motorboat for a canoe, because the water isn’t sufficient. When you get to Dry Creek, you’re in a little rubber dinghy. And when you get to Peña Creek, you’re wading; you can’t even use a dinghy. And you get to Chapman, and you’re just going from pool to pool. And finally you get to this ravine of mine, and you’re crawling on your hands and knees, and there’s only a trickle coming down. So if water represents consciousness, that is the devolution from Source, from the ???, and there’s only one ocean basically: we break it up into Indian Ocean and Pacific Ocean, or whatever; it’s like the different names for God, but here’s only one water mass on the planet. And there’s only one guide behind this entire enterprise. But there’s less and less in consciousness, and we have to inhabit smaller and smaller kinds of vessels in order to have a human experience. So that most of us are living on a mountaintop with a little trickle of water of consciousness, thinking that this is all the consciousness that exists. And the journey is to reverse that process and have the courage just to find God, crawl down my ravine, now start slipping down through Chapman Branch into Peña Creek, into Dry Creek, into the Russian River until I get to the ocean. And then there’s the expansion of consciousness until I realize that ultimately there is only God and all water. Basically it’s just God recycling herself.

Rick Archer: Nice! That’s good. Yeah, I was I was reflecting the other day about how my life changed when I first learned to meditate, and it was if I became kind of flooded with life force. My life had been going very poorly, dropping out of school and getting arrested and all that stuff, but as soon as I began dipping in to that inner reservoir, everything changed. I got back into school; I got a job; I joined a band and did all kinds of interesting things. And I sometimes think of people who, just to shift metaphors, who are begging on the street, and yet they’ve actually won the Lottery and then don’t realize that they have, and their lottery ticket is sitting in a sock drawer or in their homeless tent or something like that. And they’re just scraping by, but they actually have this vast wealth that they don’t realize, and everyone in the world is like that, actually. We all have this unlimited potential that we’re only tapping into partially.

Seán ÓLaoire: Yeah, yeah. I remember when I was a kid growing up in Ireland, I had a grand aunt living in Connemara, the western part of Ireland, which is very, very remote, and she lived with her son. They had a small little farm; they raised their own livestock, and they grew their own food, milked their own cows; they churned their own butter. And there was no electricity anywhere near them, and so they use a candle for light. And then at one stage, the Irish government decided on what they call the Rural Electrification scheme, where they’re running poles across the country through remote areas to try to bring electricity to the kind of hinterland. And so I grew up there one year, and the electricity has reached her little cabin. And I called her Aunt Meg. And I go into the house, and I said to her, Aunt Meg, how do you like the electricity? Now the electricity could have provided light, heat, cooking, heating the house, whatever. And she said, oh, I love it; this is great, entirely. So there’s one bulb hanging from the ceiling. She says, I do turn it on in the evening, when I’m looking for the matches to light the candle.

Rick Archer: (Laughs). That’s great.

Seán ÓLaoire: And that’s what she did. She turned this thing on — it was going to cost money — found where the matches were, lit the candle and turned this thing off. She certainly didn’t use it for cooking or anything else.

Rick Archer: That’s funny.

Seán ÓLaoire: So that’s the same kind of idea, that we have this treasure trove of energy available, but somehow we don’t know how to find it, or we don’t have the willpower to look for it. Our society certainly doesn’t encourage us to go beyond the given reality.

Rick Archer: Yeah. And I just want to restate that this has not only individual implications in terms of what the quality of our individual lives could become if we all tapped into it, but societal implications that the society would be just radically, profoundly transformed if enough people were tapping into this.

Seán ÓLaoire: Yeah, absolutely. So that brings me to when I think about — you know, you’re really well- versed in the Hindu model of body, of the chakra system: the physical body, the energetic body, the astral body, the mental body, the psychic body, the soul-body, cosmic consciousness, I believe that there are the same kind of seven levels of the planet herself. Initially, I had this great vision many, many years ago, where I saw great souls volunteering, standing in front of God and saying, you know, I’m going to volunteer for a particular mission in this next incarnation. And this great soul — you might call it Gaia — volunteered and said: Send me to that third rock from the sun in that solar system, and I’ll breed life there. I’d like to throw up a life form capable of recognizing its own divinity and ipso facto, the divinity of all other life forms with which she shares the planet. So she set about this task about 3.7 billion years ago. And first, we just have a physio-sphere, just this rock, which is studied by physics. And the first move then was to create a womb. I call that the atmosphere, the sheath of a womb that’s around the physio-sphere. The next stage then was to create a bio-sphere. Now she’s going to germinate flora and fauna within this atmosphere. So that would be the bio-sphere, studied by biology. And now we’re moving into the next stage, which is kind of the shroud I called the noo-sphere, this sheath of consciousness that surrounds the bio-sphere. And it’s a very, very difficult and dangerous transition. Because at that stage, we’re capable of literally destroying the entire experiment of Homo sapiens sapiens. And so we’re stuck someplace in between a movement into the higher realms or a descent into transhumanism, where we’re just artificial robots being programmed and hackable. And so this is the stage we’re at right now.

But there are three more stages after that, as far as I’m concerned. There’s the next stage after the noo-sphere, if we can negotiate that well. I call it the anima-sphere, anima as in the soul, the Latin for soul. And that’s the realization literally that the planet itself and all its life forms are fractals of the Divine. And then the next little bit, what that is, I call it the pneuma-sphere, the spirit-sphere, and ultimately, the cosmos sphere or God herself. So I see that the planet itself as kind of — here we have fractals, the same pattern repeating at an infinite number of scales, all the way from the atom and its electrons, up to a planet and its moons, up to a solar system and its planets, up to a galaxy and its solar systems, up to a black hole in space and whirling galaxies: it’s fractals all the way up. And that the planet itself is a fractal of what the human species is meant to do at a slightly lower level, and that is to become conscious of our divinity and the realization that ultimately there is only God, and to throw off the shackles of this limited thinking as individuals, as societies, as communities, even as a species, and certainly as individual people, that that’s the journey of incarnation.

Rick Archer: Nice. I won’t add anything to that. That’s a great explanation. So we kind of got sidetracked. You were telling us a little bit more about your life. You got into mathematics. Do you want to go on with that, or should we just keep philosophizing?

Seán ÓLaoire: Sure. Okay. I’ll just finish that piece off then. When I finished high school, I went to the seminary, spent eight years training to be a missionary priest. And one of the things we did, we studied theology, scripture, obviously, history of the church. And at the same time, I was attending the university and doing a Bachelor of Science degree in Pure Mathematics and Mathematical Physics. But then, the last year in the seminary, since we were going to be living in foreign cultures, learning foreign languages, we were trained in a system called Community Development, where they teach you how to go into a foreign area, learn a very different language, study the situation, figure out who the leaders are, what the resources are, and what the problems are in any area, and then learn how to address them. So I’m in Kenya; I’m 26 years of age; I’m living on the edge of the desert. I had just learned to speak Swahili, and I’m sitting at a meeting of the elders, literally in the desert at like, 122 degrees Fahrenheit. And I’m giving, doing my schtick and saying, I understand you guys are the leaders here. You know, here are the problems I see in this area. Here are some resources we have; here’s the resources I have in Europe that I can access, and I’m giving, doing my schtick. And I see this old man with this bemused look on his face, and he finally puts his hand up and he says, can I ask you a question? And I’m 26, I’m Irish; I know everything; I said, sure. He says, can you tell me why is it for you Europeans, that your only response to a problem is to want to solve it? I answered him, Dude, what the hell do you do with a problem except solve it? So I said, what do you do with a problem? And we were speaking in Swahili, but I will never forget what he said to me. In translation, basically, he said, a problem is an invitation to self-transcendence. And if all you do is solve it, likely just give you another problem. And if your only response to that problem is to solve it, you’ll get a third problem. And you’ll keep getting problems until you’ve learned to realize that you need to elevate, and when you elevate sufficiently, you’ll see much more interesting connections between the resources and the problems, and you’ll come back down, and now you can solve the problem. But if your initial hit is just to solve the problem without elevating your consciousness, you’ll only create more problems than you’re going to solve. And it was better than eight years of seminary training, that realization.

Rick Archer: That’s great!

Seán ÓLaoire: Yeah. I say that to all my clients when they come in and they’ve got a problem. I say to them, I’m not here to fix your problem; I’m here to help you to elevate your consciousness so you can harvest this problem for some kind of spiritual growth, and then you can come back down and deal with the issue. But we’re not going to deal with the issue immediately.

Rick Archer: Yeah. A nice analogy for that might be if you have a plant of some kind, let’s say a grapevine, and there’s a problem. The leaves are kind of withered-looking. You’d study the leaves; you can sprinkle water on the leaves, or something like that, but what you really need to do is water the root of the grapevine, and then the leaves should get the nourishment they need. You need to go to — transcend the leaves; go to a deeper level.

Seán ÓLaoire: Yeah. Source. Yeah, absolutely, yeah, so digging down deeper. I mean, it’s interesting to me that, to use, to play around with that image you’ve just given us, Rick, I think that all evolution is epigenetic, in the sense that all subsequent stages build upon and cooperate but transcend all previous stages. So the tree that’s sending out shoots and flowers and blossoms into the air is not cutting itself off its root system, and they’re feeding each other. The root system is feeding; it is nutrients from the soil, but the leaves are feeding chlorophyll and sending it back down to the root system. So we have to stay connected to our roots, and they have to feed each other; we can’t be cut off from them. So it becomes very important, even if we’re talking about religion or anything else, to realize that previous generations have done the best they could, given the resources available and given the mindset, and so we have to honor it in a sense, but we have to transcend it, incorporate what has been of value in it, but transcend and go where it was impossible to have gone heretofore.

Rick Archer: Yeah. For some reason, it reminds me of a quote from Thoreau. He said, okay, you’ve built castles in the air. Fine, that’s where they belong. Just, now put foundations under them.

Seán ÓLaoire: (Laughs). I mean, it’s interesting that grounding idea. There’s a modern practice. I mean, it’s modern because it’s been forgotten, of “earthing” or grounding, where you walk barefoot on real soil, because the Planet Earth gets about 7,000 lightning strikes every minute. So it’s energy coming from the ionosphere that’s bringing down negatively charged ions, which are really, really healthy. And we’re living in situations where we’re wearing shoes; we’re insulated in our homes, and we’re subject to all kinds of electronic smog, and so we’re building up all these free radicals, these positively charged ions, which are really bad for us. So walking barefoot on the ground, there’s this interchange, this kind of recalibration. And it’s interesting that there are more nerve endings per square inch on the sole of your foot than in any other part of your body. So we’re calculated, we’re built to walk on the dirt in order to recalibrate all of the electronic smog we’re building up from lifestyle. And so that’s the practice that I advocate to people as well, and it has extraordinary health benefits, both psychologically and physiologically.

Rick Archer: That’s interesting. I heard the other day on NPR a story about how a quarter of all the bones in our body are in our feet, and that part of the reason we have foot problems is because people’s feet are a lot more complicated than they need to be. And the reason they’re complicated is we’re evolved from orangutans and species like that who needed to climb trees and grasp with their feet, which we don’t do anymore; we just walk on them. But we still have all that complexity, which causes problems.

Seán ÓLaoire: Maybe we need to develop an opposable thumb in our face.

Rick Archer: Yeah, I when I was a kid, I used to actually lace shoes with my toes, but that’s another topic. Okay. It was kind of a nice party trick. So, okay, so I suppose one main point we’ve emphasized so far is that there’s an unlimited source of potentiality at the ground state of all existence. And since we exist, we should have access to it and can have access to it, and many people throughout history have had access to it. And if we gain that access, it will enrich our individual lives, and through us, enrich the environment and society. All right, main point we’ve covered, right? Do you want to say anything more about that?

Seán ÓLaoire: Sure. I want to build on that a little bit then because I have this system that I call a “preconception contract.” And I’ve read Newton’s books about life between lives as well. So I’m totally convinced that before a soul incarnates again, we make this — I call it a preconception contract, in which we are choosing the circumstances of our next incarnation to optimize our learning, but to try to develop our Buddha nature, our Christ consciousness, and I think we only know three things before we come in. We know our previous history in other incarnations and therefore what we’re capable of doing and what our weaknesses might be. And we know the past history of all of the other players in the planet at the same time, all 8 billion of us right now. So we’re not going to be blindsided. And so knowing their track history and my track history, I know, then, the third thing I’m told is what my mission is, what I’m coming down to do, and so nobody is blindsided. But when we arrive, I don’t believe it’s either scripted, there’s no plot to it as far as I’m concerned, and we’re not learning lines to be mouthed, and we have total free will to react to the situations in which we find ourselves. So for me, it’s much more like improv theater, that you put two actors on stage, and somebody in the audience just throws a word at them. And then they’ve got to create a play on the basis of that word. I had a client one time who was a professional actor, and he said, in improv theater, there are two rules. The first rule is, you can’t reject a line your partner throws at you. You can’t say, that’s a stupid thing to say; give me another line; it can work better with a different line. You have to work with the line that your partners offer you. And the second thing he said is, make sure to offer your partner lines you know that he’s really able to work with; don’t try to trip him up. And if he’s doing the same thing for you, it’ll really, really develop.

And so for me, then it’s, we come into a situation, we know the history of every person involved, but then there’s free will or freedom. And now we’ve got to navigate in a situation where we’re subject to the vicissitudes and the limitations of incarnation and subject to the influences of thousands of years of history that we’ve inherited, and 8 billion other people all pulling in different directions. And so in the middle of all that, we’re somewhat trying to create Christ consciousness or to raise the vibration of the planet. So it’s a mammoth task. But it’s one that — there’s nobody here who didn’t volunteer to be here. I volunteered to be here now. This was not an accident that I took a left turn in the Milky Way Galaxy and wound up on Planet Earth instead of Planet Xorg. I chose to be here now, and I knew what I was getting into, and everybody else did. But then there’s this amnesia, and you are playing a totally different game from one that we came down to participate in.

Rick Archer: Yeah, I like that. I think along similar lines, I often use the analogy of the nursery rhyme “Row, row, row your boat, gently down the stream,” because you’re in the boat, and you’re being carried along by the stream; you don’t have much choice about that. But you are rowing, and it says, gently down, you’re rowing your boat gently. You’re not thrashing about; you’re not trying to go upstream, but you’re guiding it this way and that and making the journey a lot more efficient and smooth than it would be if you just abdicated all sense of free will, or if you’ve gritted your teeth and tried to just totally oppose what the stream is doing.

Seán ÓLaoire: Right. Absolutely, absolutely. So an image I had years and years ago, another vision one time, I saw what appeared to be huge, big rock is sitting in the middle of a field. And there were a whole bunch of ropes attached to it, and there were people pulling it in different directions. And this was many years ago, so there were 6 billion people pulling this huge rock in different directions. Every guy had his own rope pulling it. Now there’s a branch of mathematics called vector analysis. A vector is a commodity that has both magnitude and direction. So for instance, velocity has magnitude, the speed and the direction. So, you know, velocity is 40 miles an hour in the northwest direction, whereas speed is just 40 miles an hour. So vector has magnitude and direction. So if I could calculate the force that each person is applying to this rock and the direction in which they’re pulling it through vector analysis, I could very quickly estimate where the rock is actually going to go and at what speed it’s going to move. And that felt to me like, that’s what it’s like in Planet Earth right now, 8 billion of us all pulling in different directions, except that at some stage, we’ve kind of amalgamated into groupings. Every time you see an “ism,” like communism or capitalism or Catholicism, whatever, there’s a whole bunch of people who’ve agreed to pull on one particular rope, and they’re pulling like crazy. And in this vision, I could see that they’re pulling it over a cliff. The whole thing is going to be destroyed if they keep pulling in that particular direction. So the question then becomes, can we wake up enough people to realize that the pressure they’re applying to life and the way and the direction and the energy they’re putting into their life, is it pulling it over the cliff? Or is it in fact, elevating it into a different level of planetary consciousness?

Rick Archer: Nice. I guess you could bring that down to the individual level and say that there’s, even within one individual, there are people pulling ropes in different directions. We’re often at odds with ourselves. And one thing about what some of the research on meditation has shown that, whereas ordinarily, the brainwaves in different parts of the brain are totally out of sync with one another, very dissimilar, in deep meditation, the brainwaves tend to synchronize among different parts of the brain as if becoming one coherent wave. And so, if the personality reflects that kind of change, and we become coherent within ourselves and not at odds with ourselves, then perhaps we become at least one unit of society that’s going to contribute that kind of coherence, and if a significant number of people began functioning this way, then we would all move as one coherent wave in a purposeful and evolutionary fashion.

Seán ÓLaoire: Yeah, absolutely. So I remember, was it the Maharishi who created the formula, and maybe already John Heglin, that if you could get the square root of one percent of the world population in the same physical location meditating together, you could actually shift the consciousness of the planet. And I read some research, many research papers showing that this was tried, for instance, between 16 control cities and 16 experimental cities, where you bring more than one percent of the population meditating together, and then you watch what happens to crime statistics over the next year, and begin to see that the experimental cities saw a decrease of 16 percent in the crime rate over a year, whereas the other cities, the control groups, saw an elevation of 16 percent in crimes, so there was a 32 percent differential between the two sets of cities.

Rick Archer: Yes.

Seán ÓLaoire: That notion of bringing people together and getting on the same wavelength — that’s crucial.

Rick Archer: Yes, I participated in a number of those experiments. And I also initiated John Heglin into meditation when he was in high school. In fact, I saw him in the pharmacy the other day; he was in line. Anyway, Irene’s passing me a note. So let’s see, then. Oh, okay. So you were talking about Michael Newton and taking on a particular task or something when we when we reincarnate here, and all. And so, often I have talks with people who are kind of atheistic or agnostic, and they feel like, how could there be a God when you have things like the Holocaust, or you have all the children starving in the Horn of Africa? And why would anybody actually sign up for an experience like that? What do you say to such objections?

Seán ÓLaoire: Right, and part of the problem is, we’re thinking with those tiny little brains of ours that can only see a tiny little slice of the graph. So if I were to go to a blackboard and draw a graph on it, and then hide 90 percent of the graph and now you see the 10 percent that’s still on the board, and ask you to estimate where you think the graph is going to wind up, you’re going to take the existing piece and extrapolate and presume it’s going to continue that particular line, but that line may be varying radically. And so unless you see the entire graph, you have no idea where the end point actually is going to wind up. So we’ve got these tiny little brains. We take a tiny slice of experience, 70, 80, 90 years or whatever, in a planet which is 4.6 billion years of age, in a universe which is 13.8 billion years of age, and we’re extrapolating from that tiny little segment. And we’re pretending that that represents the totality, and if it doesn’t happen in this piece, I’m not interested in this. So the first thing is to get out of that mindset of this tiny little laptop and realize it is a much, much bigger picture. That’s the first piece. The second piece is the realization that most people would aver that when they go back to their own life experiences, that sometimes the deepest tragedies afforded the greatest opportunity for growth. And so when you adopt that mindset and begin to try to harvest, what are the possibilities resonant in this situation? Whether at an individual level of suffering or at a community level, or even a global, what do we learn from these situations? And then I think there might be very brave souls who say, okay, if that’s the only way we can learn the lesson is by me agreeing to be a starving child in Sub- Saharan Africa, and it’s going to teach other people to be compassionate, you know, okay. Really, it’s just one incarnation and time; then sign me up for it. It’s almost like if a group of people want to learn how to do lifesaving, and the lifesaver brings them out to a pool, and he’s going to teach them how to rescue somebody who’s drowning. So there are 15 people signed up for the class. And he’s going to say, I need a volunteer to fall in and pretend to be drowning; who’s going to volunteer? And nobody wants to volunteer to be the guy to fall in and thrash about. But somebody’s got to do it. So somebody dives in, is out thrashing about, and then one by one, we get the chance of learning how to rescue him. And so I think the people who are in dire circumstances, I believe we’ve all been there in other incarnations, and now we get different opportunities to afford the wider community an opportunity to exercise compassion and to figure out solutions to our problems. And so once we get the long-term perspective on it and realize that every one of us is doing this in some incarnation, it’s a very different kettle of fish.

Rick Archer: Yeah. So in other words, big picture, long view.

Seán ÓLaoire: Big picture, long view.

Rick Archer: Yeah. And, in fact, related to this, here’s some guy named Rin Esser (phonetic), who just emailed in from Turkey, and he said: “Namaste. What do you think about the earthquakes in Turkey?” That’s kind of a case in point. Would you volunteer to be buried under the rubble, I guess.

Seán ÓLaoire: I’m, Well, I’m not convinced that we sign up for the details of a particular incarnation, but we sign up for a planet which is subject to volcanoes and earthquakes and tsunamis. And we sign up to be part of the — to inhabit bodies, which are subject to illness and decay and death. That’s the agreement when we come into this level of density into this particular planet. You know, here’s what tends to happen on this planet, and here’s the previous history of the other people that you’ll be sharing the planet with right now. So I’m not convinced that we pick out the details of incarnation. As I said, it’s more like improv theater. So I believe that we don’t sign up for the details of any incarnation. That is not a pre-programmed script, or even a pre-programmed class. It’s basically people with previous histories coming into a planet, or particular gifts and particular problems at a particular time of human history and playing a role which affords everybody on the planet an opportunity to learn a lesson, and they’re very, very different lessons. Somebody who was born into a millionaire family has to learn compassion in a very different way from somebody who’s begging on the streets, but they’re both learning compassion in various ways. But unless there were somebody begging on the street, the billionaire would have no opportunity perhaps of realizing, okay, I’ve been very blessed; whom should I be helping at this stage?

And so there’s another system called psychosynthesis; I don’t know if you’ve ever come across it. It’s a psychological modality where it values differences. I’ve got four clients; they don’t even know each other, and they’re all working on different issues in their lives. And I make a suggestion; I say, I’d like to bring you guys together, the four of you together. And I’m going to create a scenario and put you on stage, just the four of you, me moderating it. And I’m going to see if we can set up a situation that allows each of you to deal with your own individual issue. So I put them on stage; it’s four people. And I say, you’re going to be the father in this family, and you’re an engineer, and you’re really, really busy. And you’re the mother in this family, and you’re an artist, and you’re away from home a lot, but you’re highly successful, and you’re very, very well known. And you, you’re the jock in the high school; you’re the quarterback for the football team, and everybody loves you. And you’re the daughter in this, and you’ve got a drug problem. And you just got a message from the principal of the school that your daughter has been suspended for selling drugs, and put all four of them on stage. Okay, you’re the father, you’re the mother, you’re the daughter, and you’re the son. Get on with it. What are we going to do? There’s just an initial scenario. They’ve been appointed roles. There’s a particular situation. And what happens is, given that there’s no dialogue, there’s no plot, there’s no script, what are you going to rely on? Each individual’s going to rely on their own previous history. And as they interact, I begin to see, oh, I can see this facet of this person’s character in this situation. I can see how they’re going to deal with this situation. So I’m learning about each of the four characters. I’m not learning about the artificial scenario created. I’m learning how people react in any given situation, based on their previous experiences and their issues and their talents, so I’m seeing more in that play than if I did several sessions with each of them individually. Now, that’s Planet Earth writ large. There are 8 billion of us onstage. We’ve been here many, many, many times before. We’ve had particular kinds of issues or particular kinds of strengths. Now we’re born into a scenario such as we experienced when we were born, and we now have to get on with the play. And everybody’s going to contribute a line or do something or say something to which I’ve got to respond. So that’s where the learning takes place. The soul, then, is learning to learn whatever lesson it felt like this would be the ideal scenario, the ideal time, the ideal family, in which I could learn what I need to learn this time around.

Rick Archer: Yeah. Sounds good. Okay, I have two questions in mind. Well, what’s your take on karma? I think I’ll ask that one.

Seán ÓLaoire: Oh, yeah. So karma for me is obviously, it is not a punitive mechanism whereby I’m being punished in subsequent incarnations for problems I created in previous incarnations. It is a learning opportunity. It is that every soul has been offered the opportunity of learning how to love, no matter what the circumstances are, and is given as many opportunities and as many incarnations, on as many planets or in as many dimensions as it needs, in order to be able to have a homing instinct that always brings me back to Source. And so karma is being born with the hand I planned before I incarnated. Karma is not a punishment where God says you were a bad boy in a previous incarnation; now you’re gonna be born crippled in this incarnation. It is — I arranged with my mentor figures; I need — there’s a particular lesson I want to learn. It’s patience, or its resilience, or its forgiveness, or it’s courage, whatever it is, can we find the ideal circumstance in which I’ll have the opportunity of learning that lesson? And we craft a possible family and time in human history where that possibility is optimized. So for me, karma is: I wake up after I’m born, realizing this is exactly what I planned before I came. Now, fate and destiny build upon that. Fate is what happens if I don’t play the cards properly that I asked to be dealt with. If I mess up my hand, fate is what happens. Destiny is what happens when I learn to play properly. My destiny was to grow and develop Christ consciousness. But that’s only possible if I play the cards in the way in which I volunteered to play the cards before I came in. So karma for me is basically being born with the hand I planned before I arrived.

Rick Archer: Yeah, so in other words, God doesn’t have an eye-for-an-eye, a tooth-for-a-tooth attitude. God’s attitude is I want everyone to grow, and so I’m not just punishing this guy for XYZ, and therefore he’s going to be crippled. It’s like, okay, his experience of being crippled will provide him with just the learning opportunity he needs in order to grow. And it’s not going to be a permanent condition, because nothing is permanent, including our bodies. And even if it lasts his whole life, this life is just a blink in the long span of time. And we’ve all had experiences like that, undoubtedly, over the long chain of lives we’ve lived.

Seán ÓLaoire: Absolutely, absolutely. Christ is a master of paradox. You talked a few minutes ago, Rick about wearing this t-shirt, “Paradox,” and Christ was a master of paradox and a great storyteller. And so there’s one great parable with details about — he said there was a certain rich man who had a steward who was in charge of all his property. And at some stage, he discovers that the steward has been embezzling his property. So he calls him to give an accounting of the books. And the steward says, Holy God, what am I going to do now? I’m busted. I’m told to get a real job. I’m too embarrassed to beg. What am I going to do? And then he has a brainwave. He calls in all his master’s debtors, and he says, Rick, how much do you owe my master? And Rick says 100 bushels of wheat. And the guy says, here’s your bill; change 100 to 70. Then he calls in Seán. Seán, how much do you owe my master? I owe him 50 bottles of wine. Okay, here’s your bill; make it 30. And then Christ said a very strange thing. He said: The Master praised the unjust steward insofar as he had acted wisely, because the children of this generation are wiser to their kind than the children of late. Now, is he praising this guy’s duplicity? Not at all, but what he is saying is, here was a guy who could turn every single situation to his own economic advantage. So why can’t you turn every situation to your own spiritual advantage? There is no situation in which you will find yourself; there is no relationship of which will be a part; there is no kind of a circumstance that you will find yourself in which cannot be harvested for spiritual evolution. So just dig deeper, and you’ll see that this actually is an opportunity wrapped in a problem.

Rick Archer: Yeah, but the trouble with that story is he solved his problem by cheating and cheating his master, so.

Seán ÓLaoire: Right, and that’s what happens in our planet, that very often, the lessons that people are being offered very, very often, the billionaire class or the political class, you know, are offered the opportunity of harvesting their positions to be of benefit to the rest of us understand that as about self-aggrandizement. So we see that writ large on a global level.

Rick Archer: Kind of reminds me of Trump, like, overvaluing his properties when he wanted to get a loan from the bank and then undervaluing them when it was time to pay taxes on them; he recently got caught for that. Anyway. So, your background is eclectic. Is the word ecumenical, when you’re sort of broad minded, is that the right word?

Seán ÓLaoire: Yeah, but “ecumenical” tends to be used very often within the Christian churches about, say, dialogue between various — Eastern Orthodox and Christianity and Protestantism So for me, the word catholic with a small “c” literally means “universal.” And so for me, spirituality is a universal activity, and there are various kinds of articulations of it, but that underlying it all is this kind of mystical, this mystical impulse. And so that’s part of what I was trying to do in this book, this last book I did, which was called, Setting God Free, moving beyond the caricature we’ve created in our own image. It’s getting away from the psychology of behaviorism, in which we’re just black boxes, Skinner boxes, a dead-end behavior house, into a realization that psychology is the study of the soul, that psychology has abandoned the soul very, very often, though with transpersonal, psychology, it’s integrated more. So I was trying to set psychology free. And then I put God on trial for crimes against humanity, looking at the scriptural traditions of the world that have turned God into this monster, this cosmic psychopath, and put him on trial, and bringing in Bible scholars and mythologists and Jungian analysts and whatever, and coming to the conclusion, finally, that the God who’s on trial is the wrong person, that this God is simply a projection of the human shadow, you know? And so I needed to set God free, and having set God free, the next question was, how do you set spirituality free from the clutches of mere religion? And then ultimately, how do you set science free from materialism and scientism? So that was the trajectory of the book. And so for me, it’s about wrestling with the ways in which we’ve manacled ultimate reality and shoehorned it into this tiny little perspective that we take to be ultimate truth.

Rick Archer: Yeah. Let’s go more deeply into each of those sections. But just one thing I wanted to ask you is, you’re comfortable with reincarnation; we’ve been talking about that. Do you feel that reincarnation was originally in Christianity and got edited out somewhere along the line?

Seán ÓLaoire: Absolutely. I’m convinced, in fact that Christ Himself taught reincarnation on several occasions. There’s one instance where, after the transfiguration, he takes Peter and James and John to the top of Mount Tabor, about a week before he died, and has an experience of encountering Moses, who’d would have been dead 1,250 years, and Elijah who had been dead 850 years, and he had this encounter with them. So as they’re coming back down the mountain, the disciples said to him, why do the scriptures say that Elijah has to come back before the Messiah appears? And Christ says very famously, Elijah already came back, but they didn’t recognize him. And Matthew’s Gospel adds in parentheses: Here, he was talking about John the Baptist. So as far as Matthew is concerned, John the Baptist was the reincarnation of Elijah. There’s a great story in John’s Gospel in Chapter Eight, where there was a man who was born blind, sitting outside the city of Jericho begging alms. And as they’re walking — Jesus was walking with a group of disciples — they say to Jesus: Whose sin was it that caused this man to be blind? Was it his parents’ sin, or was it his own sin? Now, how could a person be born blind for their own sin unless they’ve been in a previous lifetime in which they’d done some bad stuff? So in Judaism at the time, there was this belief system in reincarnation. It was part of the church teaching, and some of the church fathers like Origen, particularly, you know, and Clement taught it. But at the Second Council of Constantinople, I believe is was about the year 553, thrown out. But it had been part of the teaching at that stage. And it was thrown out, actually, by the Empress at the time; I think she was called Theodora, because she had been born in very lowly circumstances, and somehow married way up, and she married the Emperor himself. And there was no bloody way she was going to come back and be a serf next time around. So she wanted to make sure this is it! There was never a before, and there won’t be any after. I am the Empress; I’ll always be the Empress. So it got kicked out, but it continued to kind of sneak in in Roman Catholicism, with the doctrine of what’s called Purgatory, this notion that there’s a place that we can go to after death. We can’t go to heaven because we committed some kinds of sins, but they weren’t mortal sins. So we don’t deserve hell, but we can’t get into heaven, so there’s this purification process called Purgatory. So that’s a thinly disguised reincarnation, because reincarnation is basically about the refinery necessary to kind of realize that we are God, or chunks of the Divine, and however many incarnations it takes, that’s how many it takes. And Purgatory was kind of sneaky and by the back door, but it was very definitely part of Christianity for the first 500 years.

Rick Archer: Yeah, to me, it makes so much sense. And it would be like the whole edifice of my understanding would fall apart, if you removed reincarnation; a lot of things wouldn’t make sense. So I don’t know how other people get along in this world thinking that this is all we are, and when this dies, that’s the end of us. It seems like a rather bleak perspective. And so many things don’t make sense. I mean, like we’ve been saying, babies born in Sub-Saharan Africa, starving, and all kinds of — cripples, or whatever. And then you naturally would be inclined to conclude that there couldn’t be a God because this seems so unfair. So it’s like this domino effect, where you knock that domino over, and they all start to fall over.

Seán ÓLaoire: The only alternative, I think, Rick, is, if somebody could create a universe in which no bad things ever happened. And then you’d have automatons. We’d basically be robots programmed to be good. So I have this kind of four-by-four, this two-by-two matrix, two rows and two columns, our bodies, so there’s conscious and unconscious and good and evil. And what I say is that somebody who’s unconsciously evil is simply asleep. Somebody who’s unconsciously good is simply lucky. Somebody who’s consciously evil is pathological. And somebody who’s consciously good is enlightened. But if we were to create a situation in which there is no possibility of making wrong choices, there wouldn’t be free will; we would literally be robots. So you’d think that this would look really, really good: eternal bliss. Eternal boredom, more like it! There’d be no possibly for adventure of any kind. So I think if you were to brainstorm what God said, can’t you make it a little bit better? He’d say, okay, what version do you want to inhabit?

Rick Archer: Yeah. It would be like Shakespeare only writing comedies, no tragedies. In fact, this is the discussion I sometimes get into with a good friend. He says, why does there have to be suffering? Why does it have to be bad? If God is all-powerful and omniscient, why can’t he just make a universe where everybody’s happy? And I have my answers to that. But why don’t you go at it with that one? Well, you’ve kind of said it already, but let’s do it again.

Seán ÓLaoire: So I have this image. If I’m sitting in a room, let’s say a typical kind of rectangular room, and there are three axes. So there’s the floor; there are the walls, and there’s the ceiling. And so I’m looking into the corner, the far corner, and I see three axes. There’s one axis that joins the floor to the wall on my right. There’s another axis that joins the floor to the wall in my left, and there’s a vertical axis that joins the floor to the ceiling. So I’m going to call the one to my right the X axis, and the one to my left the Y axis, and one going vertical, the Z axis. And I ascribe characteristics to them. The one to my right is the axis of compassion. And so the question becomes, then, where am I situated on this axis? Am I stuck in the corner that has zero compassion for anybody, or am I Mother Teresa? I’m a long way along that axis, and I have tremendous compassion, particularly for one who is suffering. So that’s one axis. The second axis is the axis of freedom, free will morphing into freedom, because there’s a huge difference between free will and freedom. Free will is to do as I please or as pleases me, whereas freedom is that which I do what pleases God or the good. So the only truly free person is the person who’s constantly making decisions for love. Otherwise, free will is just in the exercise of selfishness. And so I ask, where am I located on the Y axis here? Am I addicted to the self in some way? Or am I reaching out, and I’m free because I’m making choices for good? And the Z axis is self-awareness. And in the corner, self-awareness looks like identification with the ego, or with the spacesuit. As I go further and further north, I might identify with my soul self, or ultimately with my Source self. So in any room, you can identify any object in the room using those three axes. If they were a butterfly flying around, I can tell you mathematically precisely where the butterfly is by giving you a measurement along the X axis, the Y axis and the Z axis. And by the same token, I think I can estimate where anybody is in their spiritual journey by creating a map of how much compassion is in their lives, how much freedom is in their lives, and how much awareness in their lives of who they really are. And I can tell you exactly where they’re located, yeah? And the job is to wind up in the top corner behind me where the ceiling meets the Z axis at the end of the X and the X at the end of the light.

Rick Archer: Yeah, go ahead.

Seán ÓLaoire: There are metrics. It’s very important. One of the things I did in the fourth section of the book, I looked at the spirituality of science; there has to be a metric to spirituality. Spirituality is not just narcissistic navel gazing; there has to be some way of measuring it. And so when I look, for instance, at the scientific model, whatever the field of study is, whether it’s geology or physics or mathematics or psychology, I see the following stages again and again and again. The first stage is that the scientist makes a bunch of observations in our field of interest, stage one, Stage two is she begins to gather her data from the observations. Stage three is to begin to identify some kind of putative pattern in her data. Stage four is she comes up with some kind of a hypothesis that might explain the putative data.

Rick Archer: What’s that word, “putative?”

Seán ÓLaiore: Putative: that which is thought to be real, the likely explanation. So stage five, then, is to set up an experiment that tests whether or not my hypothesis is accurate. If it proves to be accurate, I need to replicate it in somebody else’s laboratory because it could just be a statistical aberration. So four or five different scientists replicate it. If they get the same result, we’ve established a principle in the field. Now at some stage, we put together a bunch of principles in the field; we have a model of the field. Now that model should be able to accommodate all of our observations. But at some stage, there will be new anomalous data that present themselves from subsequent observations that don’t fit neatly into the existing model. And now we’ve got to push out the seams to try to push the new data into the old model. And then at some stage, the old model is radically unable to accommodate new anomalous data. So we have to create a brand new model that can explain all the old data and all the new data. And we did that twice in the 20th century, with Relativity Theory in 1905 and Quantum Mechanics in 1920.

Now, the thing is, the mystics have been doing this for thousands of years, the very same process. Observation was through meditation, time spent in nature, literally, whatever it is, observation, collecting their data, forming hypotheses. They’re setting up experiments to test their hypothesis, comparing notes with other mystics until they find out what works, establishing a kind of a principle in the field of mysticism, and then finding a model. And then as we move on, new anomalous data come up, and maybe a great mystic like Meister Eckhart or Teresa of Avila, or the Maharishi come up, and they talk about experiences that now have to be accommodated, and we have to tweak the model somehow. So there has to be a science to spirituality. You know, it’s not just kind of your narcissistic navel-gazing that’s going to shift our state of consciousness. There has to be some kind of a metric where we can evaluate, when we’re looking at other people, is this just a guru taking advantage of the disciples or is this somebody who’s really an avatar from whom I can learn?

Rick Archer: Yeah. Okay, so there’s a nice section in your book about how unscientific scientists can be, and we could talk about that a little bit. But on the note you just struck, how scientific can mystics be? And the reason I ask is that, ideally, is if science is done properly, when you read a scientific paper, they usually tell you exactly what kind of equipment they’ve used, right down to this and that test tube or whatever, so that somebody else can replicate the study and do it in the exact same way as the author of the paper did it. And yet, in mysticism or spirituality, we all have different lab equipment. We all have different nervous systems, different brains, different minds, and so you can’t standardize as rigorously as you can with external, physical, scientific equipment. How do you get around that problem?

Seán ÓLaoire: Well, for one thing, I think we’re laboring under this illusion that our sensorium delivers reality to us, and it doesn’t. It delivers a tiny slice of reality to us. So for instance, our visual ability can pick up between infrared and ultraviolet, 400 to 700 nanometers. If we were to look at the visible spectrum on the electromagnetic spectrum and represented as a line joining L.A. to New York, 3,000 miles, the visual part will be the diameter of a dime. So on the basis of that, scientists are creating their models of reality. We understand —

Rick Archer: Well, of course, they use tools. They explore other frequencies, even like the electromagnetic spectrum with their tools. But anyway, keep going.

Seán ÓLaoire: They can expand it a little bit. But by expanding it with the same level of consciousness of which they’re using their  — their equipment are basically extensions of the sensorium, but they’re not taking us into different levels or different dimensions. And so for instance, you’ll get the notion of dark matter and dark energy. Now, dark energy is what allegedly explains the inflation of the universe, that the universe is expanding at a huge pace. And dark matter is the belief system that there’s a gravitational force which is somehow keeping galaxies together. But it’s 95 percent unknown. So 95 percent of it is unknown, and our equipment can deliver a tiny portion of it. And then the scientific method is predicated on statistical analysis. Statistics can never prove any proposition. All they can tell you is the likelihood that it happened randomly at a 95 percent ability level, but they can never prove anything. So there’s just extraordinary constraints on the scientific method. And so unless we begin to realize that science has kind of handicapped itself by refusing to examine the data coming in through other states of consciousness, they’re never going to solve the problems that we experience.

I had an image one time of, if you can imagine something like this glass here, so a circular high-rise, a multi-story building. And to get into it, you have to go underground and go up through a kind of a bank of elevators that comes up through the center of the building. And when you get off the bank of elevators, you find yourself in a circular corridor. And there are eight rooms opening up at each level, but there are many, many levels. And I go in there onto the first level, level one, and I go into one room, and if I find myself in a room where there’s a short, curved, inner room, and then two straight walls, and then a bigger curve at the back, and there’s a mural on the back wall, but it’s just done in black and white stick figures. I look at the mural, and I say, oh, interesting mural. And I try to figure out, what does it mean? And I think I’ve understood it. And then I got to Room 102. And I go in — oh, my God, this is the continuation of the mural I saw on in Room 101, and I wouldn’t have fully understood the mural if I hadn’t come into Room 102, but there are still stick figures. And I go around to all the eight rooms on the floor and finally realize, oh, I needed to go in all eight rooms in order to get a full picture of what this drawing was about. But then I go back to the elevator and go up to the second floor, and I go into Room 201, and I realize it’s the same mural, except this time, it’s done much more realistically; it’s not just stick figures. And I circumambulate all eight rooms, and now I have a much better appreciation of the mural. I got to the third level, and now it’s in vivid color, the same mural, I go to the fourth level, and it’s a three-dimensional, interactive holographic; I can interact with the mural. Now, if the only room I had gone into was room 101, and I attempted to be a cartographer of reality based on those data, it would be radically inadequate. And the scientistic model, that’s what it tends to do. It will not investigate any other state of consciousness except this alleged waking state. So for me, the different rooms represent states of consciousness that can be accessed through meditation or time spent in nature or dreaming, whatever, and the levels represent stages of consciousness. And we have to perambulate through both, and we have to transverse the entire floor and go back up into the elevator. Now, “mysticists,” — I coined this phrase years ago called “mysticists,”which is a cross-fertilization between mysticism and science. They are people who are able to use multidimensional data in their articulation of their reality models. And scientism is not prepared to do all that. And so with all the constraints they’ve built in and all the safeguards they pretend to have, they’re dealing with data from Room 101. They’ve never been into Room 102, let alone to Room 408. And so the mystics in some senses have far more data available to them than your typical materialistic science.

Rick Archer: That’s good. Yeah, I hope everyone’s following this. It’s a really important point, and it has implications for our whole culture that we live in, the whole of humanity. And that is that science, which is the dominant paradigm these days, has, for the most part refused to consider what mystics have been exploring for thousands of years, and as a result, it’s seriously handicapped and seriously limited in its ability to explore what’s actually going on in the universe. It’s sort of like people, let’s say, sitting on a frozen pond, trying to peer through the ice and get a sense of what might be down there under the water, as opposed to somebody who can just dive in with scuba gear and deeply explore. So this is one of my favorite themes, that science needs spirituality in order to fulfill its mission, which is to thoroughly and deeply understand nature and the universe. But by the same token, spirituality actually needs science, because spirituality can devolve into, like we were saying, fundamentalism, or perhaps in a New-Agey sense, you know, all sorts of just woo-woo, imaginary kind of stuff with no rigorous emphasis on experiential verification and systematic procedures to achieve a predictable result, and so on. So, the way I see it, hopefully, within I don’t know how long — 50 years,100 years — it’ll eventually seem absurd to have distinguished science from spirituality. They will have somehow merged and formed a collaborative means of gaining knowledge which employs the best that each has to offer.

Seán ÓLaoire: Absolutely, and I call those people mysticists.

Rick Archer: Mysticists, right.

Seán ÓLaoire: We have the cross-fertilization of the mystic and the scientist. So let me just work further with that a little bit, Rick. So I’ve been recording my dreams probably for 40 years at this stage. So, and dreams are very important, and often, I seed my dreams before I go to bed with a thought or something I want insight about. And I realized just a few days ago that if your alarm clock goes off in the morning, and you think you’re waking up, I’m not waking up when my alarm clock goes up; I’m waking down. Because in this alleged waking consciousness, I am subject to — science says there are four basic elements: space, time, energy and matter, and all of science is predicated on the examination of these. And the ultimate articulation of their connection is Einstein’s famous formula E equals mc squared, where E represents energy, m represents mass, and c represents the speed of light. But a lot of speed: speed is distance divided by time, or space divided by time, and mass is the the amount of matter in a particular body. Now, when I go to sleep at night, and I start dreaming, now, in my dream — I had a dream, for instance, a few months ago, where I was back in my childhood home. It was 1956; I’m 10 years of age; my grandfather’s still alive, and I’m talking to my grandfather. So in the blink of an eye, I’ve gone 6,000 miles to the east, and I’ve gone back 60 years in time. So there was no time, and there was no space in my dream. Now, energy — when I learned to dream, for instance, lucidly, one of the tricks they tell you, if you think you’re dreaming, and you want to check it, put your hand against some solid object, like a wall or a rock and push. If your hand goes through it, you’re dreaming. If it doesn’t, you’re awake. Now to my dream: energy is totally different; there’s no solid matter anymore. Now, if space doesn’t exist, and time doesn’t exist, and mass doesn’t exist, then energy is very, very different. So when I’m dreaming, I’m actually in a higher level of consciousness which is not dependent upon space, time, energy, or matter. Now, when I work my way up into the astral body or the mental body or the psychic body, for instance, that becomes very, very obvious. If I’m experiencing clairvoyance, clairaudience, clairsentience, telepathy, precognition, psychokinesis, it means I’m totally out of time and space and energy and matter, but I’m having extraordinary experiences. And so the alarm clock is not waking me up; it’s waking me down. And mysticism is waking me up, really waking me up, because it’s putting me in contact with higher and higher levels of myself and therefore greater and greater levels of consciousness. So the mysticist, then, is somebody who’s prepared to surf that particular wave and go where the energy is going to take them.

Rick Archer: I haven’t used an alarm clock in over 50 years; I don’t believe in them. And it’s interesting you should say that because the most powerful and profound experiences I’ve ever had have been during sleep, but I’m hesitant to call them dreams, because that seems like the base-level definition of the experiences we can have during sleep is dreams about what you had for dinner or something. But there are many strata or levels, right, of experiences you can have during the sleep state.

Seán ÓLaoire: Yes, absolutely. And it’s interesting to me that in the Hebrew language in the Bible, for instance, the word “vision” and “dream” are synonyms. A vision is a dream you’re having when you’re awake, and a dream is a vision you’re having when you’re asleep. And so there was this great passage that used to upset me. It was from the prophet Joel, which was recorded by St. Peter during the first Pentecost sermon, where he says, in the days to come, I will pour out my spirit upon all humankind. Your young men will see visions, and your old men will dream dreams. And I thought this was kind of ageism, that the young guys have visions and are aspiring to greatness in the future, whereas the old guys just had dreams. Oh, I wish you hadn’t done, you know, I’ll remember when. But in the language of the Bible, “visions” and “dreams” are synonyms. And so it’s just one way of saying that everybody is having these kinds of experiences. And so I believe that as we move through the dream state and go higher and higher, we’re having access to visionary experiences, which are putting us in contact with levels of the soul, which are nearer and nearer to Source. So the insights we get and the energy we experience is radically different from literally just space, time, energy, and matter.

Rick Archer: Yeah, you’re more open to such things when you’re in the sleep state.

Seán ÓLaoire: Yeah!

Rick Archer: You’re not trying to run the show. That quote you just quoted also reminds me of the thought that it seems to me there’s some kind of planetary awakening happening even now. And all kinds of people are starting to wake up and have experiences. In some cases, they experience developments that they have intentionally sought but in other cases, things that just came out of the blue. They haven’t been interested in spirituality, and all of a sudden, they’re having a Kundalini awakening, and they think they’re going crazy or something. I get contacted by people often who are sort of freaking out because they’ve begun to experience this powerful stuff, and they don’t know what it is.

Seán ÓLaoire: Yeah. And I think it’s a measure of what is needed in our times. I remember reading a great book by Bruce Lipton a few years ago, this extraordinary biologist, talking about what happens to a caterpillar at the end of its life as a caterpillar, where it creates a cocoon around itself, and then it disintegrates into a kind of a goo where the body is really feeding on itself, and this struggle releases imaginal cells that reconfigure all of the existing cells of the body in order to produce a butterfly. But the caterpillar doesn’t want to disintegrate, and it fights the process. And in the process, it’s actually releasing the imaginal cells to create a butterfly out of it. And then I’m remembering hearing a story about a young boy one time, who’s watching a monarch butterfly trying to work its way out of its cocoon. And the kid is watching fascinated, and the butterfly is really struggling, and the kid is filled with compassion for the butterfly. So very gently, he starts breaking the cocoon to liberate the monarch. And indeed he does; he liberates the monarch, and he cripples him in the process. Because it is the struggle to work its way out of the cocoon that releases the lactic acid into the wing structure of the butterfly to enable it to fly. So he’s rescued it, liberated it, and crippled it at the same time. So I feel like we’re in goo right now. And the goo is the time for the imaginal cells to kind of reconfigure and create a butterfly out of the mess that Planet Earth is in currently. And so I think that more and more caterpillars are cocooning themselves, and they’re going to experience the goo initially, and they’re going to freak out, like the stage three in Thomas’s version, and they’re going to want to go, let me go back to being a caterpillar. But you can’t go back to being a caterpillar. You need to become a butterfly. And so I have a sign in my mirror in my bathroom that I look at every morning, and it says simply: “Global goo? Let’s birth a butterfly.” That’s the first thing I remind myself each morning.

Rick Archer: Yeah, that’s interesting, and which brings up an interesting point. Like, it wouldn’t necessarily serve us if God or the space aliens or somebody else came down and just solved all our problems for us. God helps those who help themselves. So I think we do receive help from higher beings and higher powers and all that stuff, but we have to make the effort from our side, or else we’re going to be like that butterfly that didn’t get the lactic acid.

Seán ÓLaoire: Yeah. And that means then that we have to develop modalities, and this is what the mystics have done, modalities that keep us in contact with the higher self or the gods or whatever. So I love that teaching in Hinduism of Atman and Jiva, that there are two aspects to the soul, that Atman never leaves the sight of God, and Jiva is that part that incarnates again and again, and they’re constantly in contact with each other. And so Atman is constantly, through déja vu experiences or intuition or sudden insights or opportunities is constantly trying to communicate a message of compassion and love and encouragement. And we from our side can activate that connection through meditation or time spent in nature, or, I think, watching little children. Children before the age of six, particularly, they live in that imaginal realm, you know, and it’s real because they’ve just come recently from there, and we kind of pat them on the head and then send them off to school to educate them or school them, and they lose this ability. Because I differentiate between fantasy and imagination; they’re very, very different. Fantasy is the ability to make up stuff that’s not real. That is not imagination. For me, imagination is the ability to volitionally shift my state of consciousness, enter into different dimensions, interact with energies and entities that reside in those other dimensions, cross-fertilize with them, and bring that learning back into this waking state, and then have it influence my own life and the lives of those with whom I’m in relationship. So imagination is a hugely important aspect of the mystic’s journey back to God.

Rick Archer: How can a person distinguish them, or how do you distinguish them?

Seán ÓLaoire: I distinguish them because imagination will always create love-based activities and responses. Fantasy will create the worst-case scenarios and the fears. If it results in fear and anger against any group, it’s coming, basically, from my fantasy life. If it’s allowing me to forgive even my enemies or to understand them, at least, I may still need to confront them, but I need to be able to forgive at the same time. So I believe there are four levels to compassion; I call them the Four Cs. The first level of compassion is Confirmation: Attaboy, you’ve done a great job; keep it going. That’s the first level of compassion. The second level is Cooperation, where members on a team, each of us has a different function, and so I have to fulfill my function and allow you to do your piece of it. So, you know, Cooperation is the second kind of compassion. The third part is the Compensation. You know, somebody drops the ball, and they rush to pick it up, so there’s not a kind of a kind of an interception, and the other guys get the ball. And so Compensation for the mistakes of others is the third kind of compassion. And the fourth part is Confrontation. Somebody is really screwing up; they’re not playing their role. No matter how many times they’ve been confronted with the evidence of their behavior, they still won’t desist. At that stage, they have to be confronted, and all the avatars will do that; they’ll confront people at some stage. And I have a rule for myself; I call it the 80:20 rule, that 80 percent of what I say is about esoteric, kind of encouragement to connect with Source, and 20 percent is recognizing the darkness around and confronting it and calling it out.

Rick Archer: Yeah, that’s good. And you can see Jesus doing that, too.

Seán Ólaoire: Exactly.

Rick Archer: I mean, he gave all these inspiring, uplifting, sermons, and then on the other hand, he came and busted the money-changers in the temple or railed against the hypocrites, and so on. Yeah.

Seán ÓLaoire: And you get all the great — you would hear Mahatma Gandhi doing the same thing, Nelson Mandela doing the same thing, Martin Luther King Jr. doing the same thing. There’s a time when you have to confront, but it’s always done out of love and compassion.

Rick Archer: Yeah. Okay, a couple thoughts. One is your whole court case in your book Setting God Free was interesting. In a nutshell, you itemized in great detail all the atrocities that the God of the Israelites supposedly inflicted upon other people: millions of people killed or tortured or raped or enslaved, and so on and so forth. And then the whole story of the Jews leaving Egypt and marching across the desert for 40 years. And there’s absolutely no archaeological evidence for that, for a couple million people living in the desert there. Obviously, it didn’t happen. And you mentioned that religious scholars generally agree that neither did that happen, nor was there actually a person as represented by the figure, Moses. He didn’t exist; he was a fiction. But then the defense comes in and says, wait a minute. You’re trying a guy — God is on trial here — you’re trying a guy who actually doesn’t exist. All of this is just the projection of rather hung up, primitive minds, human minds. And anyway, I just summarized your book for you; you probably could have done it better. But it’s interesting because there are all these fundamentalist, you know, Biblical literalists, who feel that every word is inerrant in the Bible, and that we just have to, absolutely, but there are so many absurdities and contradictions and impossibilities, that it couldn’t all be true, as much as we might want it to be.

Seán ÓLaoire: Yes, exactly. And that’s part of the defense, bringing in their own Bible scholar and bringing in mythologists, because the basic spiritual lesson of — Moses is, I would say, maybe the greatest liberator who never lived, because he has been the inspiration for so many people, in different religions even, to throw off the shackles of the tyrant and to set themselves free. And it happened — it was invented at a stage in actual Hebrew history where they’re actually in exodus, in exile in Babylon. After the fall of Jerusalem in the year 589, the Babylonians had captured Jerusalem and destroyed the temple. And the people had been in exile between 589 BCE and 539 BCE. And now, the ten northern tribes had been destroyed 130 years before by the Assyrians, so there’s only two tribes left, and they’re desperately trying to hold onto their identity as a people. And so they have to create this fictional character, you know, this hero figure who can lead them out of a real exile to go back home, and they have to create origin myths that allow them to make sense of their history and make sense of their present circumstances and give them hope for the future. And the same thing is true of all the creation myths of all the peoples they ever lived with. It’s true for my own Catholic tradition. My own Celtic origin myths have the same kinds of characters, the Cú Chulainn and the Finn McCool characters who were these great, great warriors. And we need this. We need to believe that there’s been meaning to our history, and that there’s a solution to our present problems, and there are opportunities in the future, so we have to invent these stories. And they’re fictional in the sense that they’re not historically accurate, but they’re vitally important insofar as they give us the energy to continue to wrestle with current circumstances.

Rick Archer: Did you ever read or look at the books of Tim Freke and Peter Gandy, who argued that Jesus himself didn’t exist and that the Jesus story was just cobbled together from all kinds of other stories that repeat over and over again?

Seán ÓLaoire: Yeah, I did. And the evidence that they had used doesn’t make sense to me. There’s far more evidence for the existence of this historical character.

Rick Archer: Right.

Seán ÓLaoire: The arguments that they made didn’t hold water for me,

Rick Archer: Yeah, okay. No problem. Yeah, just to zoom things out a little bit. If I ever encounter a fundamentalist — I haven’t done that for a while —  but I usually start talking astronomy with them and discussing the number of galaxies that are in the universe, anywhere between 2 and 10 trillion number of stars in a galaxy, the probability of life on X percent of stars within each galaxy, and the probability that there are trillions of advanced civilizations throughout the universe, each of which probably has numerous religions, each of which claims to be the only one, the only valid one.

Seán ÓLaoire: Yeah. Yeah. I agree with you completely, I would just hope that if they’re more advanced than us that they’ve outgrown this fundamentalist mindset and the realization that the source of “all that is” is totally free to express itself in whatever way it wishes, in any dimension it wishes, on any planet it chooses, and that the universe is fraught with life of various kinds. Now, I’m fascinated by the work of — do you know Nikolai Kardashev? Did you ever come across his work?

Rick Archer: No, I don’t.

Seán ÓLaoire: He was a Russian astrophysicist who created this typology of civilizations, and he posited three different types. Now, I think there’s actually five different types. But what he claimed was that there’s a Type One civilization, a civilization that has learned how to harvest all of the resources on its planet of origin. So if we were a Type One situation, we could harvest volcanoes, earthquakes, tides, sunlight, waves, wind, et cetera, and do it ecologically without degrading in any way. So that would be a Type One civilization. A Type Two civilization, he said, could do the same thing for its entire solar system. It could harvest all of the planets and all their resources on the solar system, but do it ecologically. A Type Three civilization could do it for its entire galaxy. Now, I think there may be a Type Four that could do it for the cosmos, or a Type Five that could do it for parallel universes. But he was asked, what about Planet Earth? Where are we? He said, we’re at Type Zero.

Rick Archer: Yeah, we’re not even a One.

Seán ÓLaoire: That’s what I mean by the journey in the noosphere is the journey from biosphere to noosphere, where we’re at right now, and that’s a really dangerous place. Because as we’re developing technology that could literally blow us to smithereens, we may never actually reach even the noosphere. And so, when I look at that then, I see that if civilizations have survived into Type Two or Type Three, they must have gone beyond this kind of selfishness and this narcissism of focus on self and focus on grabbing resources. So I presume that there are some civilizations out there who are not just more technologically or intellectually advanced, but much more spiritually acclimated to the reality of who God really is, or what Source really is. And that would confer upon them an extraordinary compassion for us kindergarteners, struggling here to try to make sense of our lives on Planet Earth.

Rick Archer: Yeah. At the end of March, I’m going to do an interview on the possible spiritual implications of UFOs and alien visitations, and so on. And I’d like to think  — I don’t know — but I’d like to think that — some say that there’s this galactic brotherhood and that we’re not qualified to join it yet, because we’re still too bellicose. And hopefully, if you have gained the ability to travel to other stars, then you have already overcome your warlike nature because otherwise you’d blow yourself to bits before acquiring that ability. Because if you had that ability, you will also have the ability for much more powerful weapons, if you still had that mindset.

Seán ÓLaire: Yeah.

Rick Archer: Yeah. Another thought that crossed my mind in the last few minutes we were talking was: maybe there are planets where everyone is at a very high level or at the same level, but if our planet is any example, there’s a vast spectrum. You know, you have ISIS on the one hand, and then you have saints and sages at the other end of the spectrum, and maybe it’s always going to be that way anyplace. But hopefully, there would be places where the positive or the higher-consciousness types are so predominant that it’s really the norm for that planet.

Seán ÓLaoire: Right. I agree with your — and I think, as well, that, as you evolve intellectually and technologically and spiritually, you have more and more resources available to you, but you also have greater and greater temptations available to you because of the powers you have. And so there’s always this kind of tug of war between free will and freedom, between doing stuff that pleases God, as distinct from doing stuff that pleases me. So even very highly advanced beings with extraordinary resources have extraordinary temptations. And the story of, for instance, Satan, being Lucifer — literally, Lucifer means “the light carrier,” or “the light-bearer,” and that even at the highest levels, it is theoretically possible to make a choice for selfishness, which creates a division. So even if there are planets where the vast bulk of people are more advanced than we are, I suspect that that very evolution itself still runs the risk of our freewill descending into selfishness.

Rick Archer: It’s a very good point. A few years ago, I helped to establish an organization called The Association for Spiritual Integrity. And the reason I and a few others were motivated to do that was that there are so many examples of contemporary spiritual teachers who really seem to have some kind of attainment, but whose behavior doesn’t even meet the norm of an average person. They’re abusing and misusing people in various ways and undermining the whole enterprise. So it illustrates your point, really.

Seán ÓLaoire: Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. So there’s a huge difference between power and power over. Power, I think, is the ability that’s the final stage in Thomas’s model, “those who rest will rule,” in that you have total control over your own journey in the sense that you’re completely dedicated to love in all circumstances. Whereas the other possibility is dedicated to the self, that, you think that power means the ability to control others, and then you get the gurus who take advantage of their disciples or politicians who are creaming it off the top, so control is — and power is a very interesting word: Do I mean power to be a loving being or power to control other people?

Rick Archer: And of course, Christ Himself was tempted.

Seán ÓLaoire: Absolutely.

Rick Archer: You know, as the story goes, he was at a very high level already, and he was offered a kind of a juicy possibility, but he declined it. A few questions have come in. Let’s get to a couple of questions, anyway. Let’s do those, and we may jump around a bit on our topic. Okay. Firstly, this was one that got emailed in the other day from the Inessa Tarran (phonetic) in Thousand Oaks, California. “Can one use an energy healer to help with traumas and disease? Or is it a shortcut, and trauma disease is there to teach us something; thus we need to go through it without the healer’s help?”

Seán ÓLaoire: Every healing modality is an intervention of some kind, and I think it’s an arrangement. You know, none of us is meant to stew in the juices of our own vicissitude, that we’re here as a team, as a community. And so every one of us at some stage is going to need a hand up from somebody. And so healers of various kinds, whether they’re energy healers or psychologists or priests, or whatever they are, they’re part of a team. And each of those is kind of wrestling with their own issues. And sometimes the most productive healers are wounded healers who’ve learned in the forge of their own experiences. And so of course, it is very important. No, this is not taking a shortcut. It means that I’m availing of the resources available to me, but they need to be self-empowering techniques. Nobody can do the work for me, but somebody can do the help, help me out. So for me, that’s the difference between empathy and compassion. Empathy is that I see somebody stuck down in the bottom of the pit, and I jump in out of solidarity with him, and I, too, get stuck. Compassion is I see somebody stuck in a hole, and I let down a ladder to help him make his way out of it. But I’m supplying the ladder, and that would be the healer aspect. So it’s very important to avail of any healing modality, but to realize that I’m the person who then has to climb the ladder. It’s about I have to empower myself. So I have to have grown psychologically and not just heal from some physical disorder.

Rick Archer: Yeah, like an example: A friend of mine, the other day had a heart attack. And he got to a hospital quickly, and they did roto-rooter on his artery and put a stent in there, and now he’s able to actually drive back to Iowa from St. Louis a couple of days later. Now, should he have just stayed home and suffered the karma, or should he have gone to the hospital and had that treatment, obviously? Now, on the other end, second part of your statement is, he had another heart attack three or four years ago, and I don’t think he’s been exercising as much as he should have given that first heart attack. So he’s not climbing the ladder as much as he should have, and perhaps he wouldn’t have had this second heart attack if he’d taken more preventative measures.

Seán ÓLaoire: So I created this model of healing and illness many, many years ago, a six stage model of illness and of healing. So when I look at any kind of a disorder, whether it’s physiological or psychological or sociological, the first factor is genetic predisposition. So there are some groups of people who are more likely to get a particular kind of disease than another, or some families are more prone to heart disease or cancers or whatever. Or even within a single family, somebody is more likely to get diabetes than another. So the first one is genetic predisposition. The second factor for me is environment, so both the in-utero environment and the living environment. The third stage, the third factor, for me is personal lifestyle. Am I exercising; am I eating properly? Am I sleeping enough? The fourth one is personal belief system: how much do I believe I have control over the process, or am I going to rush off to the poor guy in a white coat to heal me. The fifth one is karma, that there are some lessons I signed up to learn in a lifetime. And the sixth piece is the Bodhisattva vow, that there are some people who have walked off on their own personal karma; there’s no need to come back. But they may take a vote to come back for the rest of us, to wake up the rest of us. Now, I think every illness has each of these components weighted differently. And so one of the things I ask people to do in my psychology practice if they’re dealing with any situation is: just estimate what you think, what percentage would you apportion to each of these six? And they have to add up to 100 percent. Is it the genetic, or is it environmental? Is it lifestyle? Is it belief system? Is it karma? Is it Bodhisattva? Now, if it’s either of the first two, if it’s environment or genetics, the science can help us out there. If it’s lifestyle or belief systems, you can do that on your own; just change what you’re doing. If it’s the karma, or the Bodhisattva vow, that’s your mission; you’re not going to change it. And so the prayer for healing is about ascertaining what is the origin, but much more importantly, not just the etiology of the illness, but the purpose of the illness. Why is it in my life? Is it an opportunity for growing, or is it just an invitation to change my lifestyle? Or is it an invitation for science to figure out a better way of dealing with diabetes? So that’s what I’d say.

Rick Archer: Interesting how clearly you’ve thought these things through, and you have all these six points. That’s pretty cool. Okay, so a couple of questions here. So we were talking earlier about reincarnation, and here’s a question from Joan Wilde (phonetic) in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin. Is there an end to our incarnations?

Seán ÓLaoire: Okay. I think there are two kinds of ends to us. The first end is when somebody has worked off all their own personal karma, and they don’t need to come back, and they’re not prepared to take a Bodhisattva vow. So that could be the end of it. The final, final, final end is where God wraps up the game of Lila and says, okay, that was a great game. It lasted for 13.8 billion years in human time. Now, I’m playing a different game at this stage. God, I’ve learned as much as I need to learn from playing that game. I want to play a different game at this stage. So at that stage, there’s no need for karma anymore. There’s no need for reincarnation anymore. But God is going to dream up a different game, and I have no idea what it’s going to look like. And there are going to be some kind of participants in that game. And presumably, souls are going to want to be part of that. So it’s like, God is introducing us to this extraordinary game theme park. And Planet Earth is one of the toughest, scariest rides. You’ve got to really have some courage to sign up for this particular ride. The problem is 99 percent of us volunteered for it and then forgot that we volunteered for it. And so I don’t know what the other slides are going to look like, but there are other slides. So maybe the end of reincarnation is just to say, I’ve learned what I needed to learn from that particular slide; take me to another slide in the theme park, or maybe the theme park is finished up, and there’s a totally different game God is going to play.

Rick Archer: Some traditions feel that, all right, the goal is to reach Enlightenment, and then you’re like a drop in the ocean, and you’re gone, and it’s just the ocean — no more individuality anymore. And yet you hear stories of people encountering Jesus or Ramana Maharshi or these various supposedly enlightened beings who apparently didn’t opt for just merging into the ocean, unless God is just projecting an image of somebody that we can relate to, and that actual person doesn’t exist anymore, in any way, shape, or form. But I tend to think they do. I tend to think that they’re — the idea of Ascended Masters or beings on higher levels still in the game. And the Hindus, by the way, hold that when the entire universe collapses after how many trillion years, a state they call Pralaya, all the souls that exist in the universe don’t cease to exist; they just go into kind of sleep mode. And then when the next universe comes out, they eventually incarnate when there are planets for them to incarnate on.

Seán ÓLaoire: Absolutely beautiful. I love it. I mean, when I think of the scientific notion of a black hole in space, where it kind of sucks all matter into itself, and I wonder what happens, you know?

Rick Archer: Where’s it going?

Seán ÓLaoire: Where is it going? I think there may be a white hole at the other side that’s spitting out. Now the question is, does it spit out the same configuration or a completely different configuration of the existing elements? And that’s why I love the work of Ilya Prigogine, this notion that you can reconfigure the elements and get a totally different picture. You don’t have to add anything or subtract anything, but you can get a totally different configuration. I remember as a kid watching somebody come into our house, and it was lashing rain outside in Ireland, which it is most of the time, with an umbrella. And it was one of these umbrellas you clearly collapse. He comes into the house, and he collapses the umbrella, and he shakes it and then brings it into the house. And then about an hour later, he wants to go back out. So he goes out, and he reinflates the umbrella. So it’s exactly the same configuration when he goes back out. So at the other side of the black hole is it the same umbrella, the same configuration, or have the pieces been kind of reorganized so that there’s a totally different kind of a phenomenon at the other side with the same elements?

Rick Archer: Yeah, interesting question. God does seem to enjoy variety. And maybe He or She would get bored doing a very similar universe over and over again; who knows? Okay, here’s another question. This is from one of your buddies in Cork. Dara Krall (phonetic) in East Cork, Ireland: “My question is, can you speak to breaking free of narcissists, especially in family settings, being a child of a narcissist, and all that goes with that — the smear campaigns and all the control and lack of boundaries?” Thank you for the beautiful talk.

Seán ÓLaoire: Yeah, brilliant, a great, great question. And as I said earlier on, you know that all of us are born narcissists; we are born at the narcissistic end of the spectrum, because we need that for our very survival. We wouldn’t survive a neonatal existence without that. The trick then becomes —

Rick Archer: And define narcissist, why don’t you?

Seán ÓLaoire: A narcissist is somebody who’s totally self-engrossed and all of whose decisions are predicated on how can I benefit from this, whether it’s a relationship or an opportunity, or it’s money, or resources, that it’s all focused on making me feel good and making me feel powerful. And so everybody in my life is simply a resource to be played in order for me to get what I want, and it’s a very dangerous person to be around. Now, I think every one of us has chosen our birth circumstances. So there’s some lesson here to be learned from the questioner here, that this has to be harvested. And sometimes the harvesting means getting the hell out of there and breaking contact. It doesn’t mean continue to suffer it. Now to address this question more psychospiritually, how do you actually do that? Obviously, it depends on the age of the person who came to the realization. If I’m a four-year old child who can realize that, let’s say my mother is a narcissist; I don’t have that vocabulary, but it’s obvious from her behavior that it’s all about her. At age four, I don’t have a lot of choices about how I can deal with that unless I have a loving grandmother or an elder sibling who’s going to protect me through it. But if I’m a grown person at this stage, still in contact with a narcissistic parent, it may need breaking sociological tries, temporarily, at least, or finding an outlet, the finding of somebody who loves me for who I am, who sees me for who I am and with whom I can be myself; I’m seeing their God-self, and they’re seeing my God-self, and that I need to literally break connections temporarily or even permanently, if the narcissist is proving to be really causing me real, serious damage financially or in my relationships or in a marriage or in my raising my children, or whatever it is — that they’re interfering constantly, then drastic situations call for drastic kinds of solutions. It may mean a total excision of the existing relationship. But in the meantime, no matter what you do, you have to harvest the reality for your own psychospiritual evolution.

Rick Archer: Yeah. Hmm. Great answer. Yeah, I mean, you’re a cool guy. You have this whole religious background, but you’re also a transpersonal psychologist, and what are you, a licensed clinical psychologist in private practice, so you have this nice blend of modern psychology and ancient wisdom and science also and mathematics. I mean, you have that whole background. So you’re kind of a well-rounded fellow.

Seán ÓLaoire: It’s been it’s been an interesting incarnation so far, Rick.


Rick Archer: Yeah. Playing it well! All right, so we’ve hit upon a number of things, and obviously, there are so many more things we could talk about. You’ve written a number of books, and is there anything important that you don’t feel we’ve gotten to that you want to be sure to discuss before we close it?


Seán ÓLaoire: Yes. I had a really powerful vision years ago. I spend a lot of time trekking where I live; my nearest neighbor is a half-a-mile away, and then the next one is two miles further on again. So I spend a lot of time on my own. And when I had a dog, we would trek together a lot. And sitting on the banks of Peña Creek several years ago, having an encounter with an astral being of some kind, and we’re sitting in our astral bodies on the creek. And he said to me, you realize that Planet Earth is going through, he called it a “trifurcation.” Just as Denisovans and Neanderthals left the family tree that created your Homo sapiens sapiens, the same thing is happening right now on your planet; do you realize that?

Rick Archer: I missed the beginning of this story. So you had this experience, or you have a friend who had this encounter?

Seán ÓLaoire: No, I had this experience.

Rick Archer: You yourself. Okay. And this astral being was, like, as clear as day, or?

Seán ÓLaoire: Absolutely, absolutely.

Rick Archer: Like you could actually see a form, and so on?

Seán ÓLaoire: Absolutely.

Rick Archer: Did it look like a human being, or what?

Seán ÓLaoire: Yeah, it looked kind of like — it was more of a light being —

Rick Archer: Kind of ethereal?

Seán ÓLaoire: — emanating — yes, ethereal, emanating this extraordinary wisdom.

Rick Archer: Okay, I just wanted to make sure that was clear. So please continue the story.

Seán ÓLaoire: Yeah. So what he said was, you’re at a trifurcation point, not just a bifurcation point, but a trifurcation point. Homo sapiens sapiens right now is developing towards — the first one he called Homo sociopaticus, people who are totally into greed and control. The second one is Homo artificialis, that they’re trying to create a slave race that is hackable and programmable and will literally just be robots in their service. And the third one is Homo spiritualis, people who realize that they’re God-beings and are prepared to confront the Homo sociopaticus, to refuse to become Homo artificialis, and to grow into being Homo spiritualis. And so when you said a few minutes ago, Rick, that there’s more and more people waking up on our planet right now, I totally agree, and I would call those people Homo spiritualis, that it’s a new breed of people who are recognizing their own divinity and the inner divinity of everything with which we share the planet, including other human beings, and that we refuse your attempts to be “blue-pilled,” that we refuse to just become automatons with no control over our own future, our own destiny. And that means sometimes confronting Homo sociopaticus and standing up and saying no, I’m not going with this. And so it becomes really important then, that we have a vision that attracts us, and at the same time, that we have the courage to confront that which is inimical to spirit. I had a dream a few nights ago. I seeded it, and I asked for a definition. I wanted to know the difference between sin and evil. And in my dream, a voice said this to me: It said, sin is the individual transgression of a culturally created precept, whereas evil is a cosmic conspiracy using human intermediaries to separate souls from Source. And I can’t think of a better expression of what I mean by Homo sociopaticus, that the agenda literally is to separate souls from Source.

Rick Archer: So sin is sort of like forgive them father, for they know not what they do, whereas evil is more like they know what they’re doing, and they’re doing it anyway, right?

Seán ÓLaoire: Yes. Yes, exactly. Yeah.

Rick Archer: Huh. Seems like there’s a lot of overlap between the first two groups, the sociopaths and the artificial dudes.

Seán ÓLaoire: Yes.

Rick Archer: A lot of them are both of those qualities.

Seán ÓLaoire: Sure, yeah. Well, the sociopaticus is creating Homo artificialis, mainly by the indoctrination campaigns and the loss of freedoms in various games, and the “Yes, sirs, whatever you tell me, I’ll do that, sir,” so that kind of mindset of fear, fear-based obedience. Yeah, that’s Homo artificialis in its embryonic state.

Rick Archer: Now some people would say that, well, these first two groups are very powerful. They’re the ones with the weapons; they’re the ones with the money. And, you know, spiritual types are, a lot of them are just sort of flaky dudes who, don’t really feel like working a full time job and just want to meditate and go on spiritual retreats and live in the woods and all that stuff. And so how can they possibly get the upper hand?

Seán ÓLaoire: Okay. I think the way we get the upper hand is: community is really important. Now, community is changing fairly radically. I see a very decentralized future for humanity, that there will be groups, you know, who are doing finances in a different way, doing agriculture in a different way, doing healing in a different way, doing education in a different way, doing religion in a different way. But there’ll always be a need for some little connection, a kind of a lattice, like neurons on a on cosmic brain. And that means that each smaller group is taking responsibility for their own little group of people. And a community should do two things for his participants: It should encourage us in our search for truth, and it should challenge us in our belief systems. And the individuals in the community should be doing the same for the community, that the community needs to be challenged and supported at the same time. Otherwise, it just becomes a cult, and so that there’s always going to be need for community. So however we need to form community, whether it’s Zoom communities or face-to-face communities, or book clubs, or whatever it is, that the decentralization of power completely disempowers Homo sociopaticus and Homo artificialis, but that means organization at a much smaller level, wedded to this change of consciousness that we need to go through as individuals.

Rick Archer: And I’ve seen examples of these communities that have formed around various teachers or teachings, and very often they have the attitude like, we are the chosen ones; we are the enlightened ones; we’re the higher-consciousness people; we’re saving the world. And there’s a lot of back-patting and self-congratulating and stuff going on. I don’t know; how do you protect against that? How do you keep it humble?

Seán ÓLaoire: Interesting. So years and years ago, I did a family tree, finding out how far back could I go in my history? And then I created the family tree. And I realized that there were four ways of interpreting the image I created for it, a pictorial image. One way is to look back. There’s a very simple formula: if you wanted to know how many ancestors you had, it’s two to the power of n. If n is equal to one, two to the power of one is two; you’ve got two parents. If n is two, you had four grandparents. If n is three, you had eight grandparents. So you can go back very quickly and estimate how many ancestors you had just by changing the n. So I went way back as far as I could, and I began to think oh, one way of interpreting this is, look at all these people, these thousands of people who conspired to produce me; it all vectored in in me, Wow, I’m a really special dude. It took all these people to create me. So that’s one way of looking at the data. Another way was to look at me. Now, I don’t have any children. What if I had children? If I was married, I had kids, and I had let’s say, five kids, and they had five kids each. And I look down, and I’m a great-grandfather, and I realize I have 35 great-grandkids and say, whoo! It all came from me. And so now, it didn’t just all come to me; it all came from me. Whoo, what a perfect character I am. And that was a second way. The third way to look at it as if it were an egg-timer right now. So that it all came through me, everything fed down to me, and everything subsequently came from me. So now I am the key. I’m the central point of everything that exists. Now, that’s what happens in these cult systems. Now, the fourth way of looking at this diagram is to realize this: this is a lattice. Everybody on that map can say the very same thing. It came to me, through me, and from me, and so now we make this latticework and realize that everybody on the planet is related to everybody on the planet right now. And every little group on the planet is related to every other group on the planet. So there’s no specialness. There’s uniqueness, but there’s not specialness. So any group that sets itself apart and believes that it and only it has the truth, or we are higher than another group, they’ve lost the idea already.

Rick Archer: Yeah, the world is my family. You know the idea of Indra’s net?

Seán ÓLaoire: Yes, yes.

Rick Archer: Yeah, that’s cool. It’s kind of like complementarity, where, you know, it’s infinite correlation between every point in the universe and every other point in the universe,and it’s not hierarchical. It’s more like this complete interweaving of, or intercorrelation of everything with everything else, and everyone with everyone else. And as we were saying in the beginning of this conversation, when we get right down to it, we’re all the same being, you know? And we’re all the same; there’s only one of us. And so how can any of us be ultimately superior?

Seán ÓLaoire: I totally agree with you. So for instance, when you look at even the evolution of a human baby, it starts off as a zygote or a single cell, the combination of a sperm and an egg, and then it breaks into 2-4-8-16-32, et cetera. And now you’ve got somewhere between 70 trillion and 100 trillion cells in your body. But the truth is, they’re specialized. Some of them are decidedly eye cells; some are to specialize in liver cells; some are specialized as heart cells. But if you took a stem cell, you could recreate the entire body from the stem cell, because it contains all the genetic information necessary to create Rick Archer, but some of them specialized. But you’re the conglomerate; you are the organism composed of cells that created organs within you and specializes: I’m going to be your heart; I’m going to be a tear; I’m going to be your tongue; I’m going to be a kidney. And all of these organs got together and created the overall organism. Now, I think, to call you right now, there’s only one human being on the planet. And if you could take the essence of that human being, you could create the entire experiment.

Rick Archer: Only one being, period. I mean, the mosquitoes are the same being.

Seán ÓLaoire: Exactly. It depends on how far back do you want to go? And so the realization is that everything emerges from that initial, single cell, but they’re specialized. So we specialize our species. And within a species we’ve specialized, maybe male and female, or we’ve specialized as Catholic or Hindu or whatever. But if you could take the spirit, the God-self at the core of it, you could re-create the entire cosmos, or all the cosmoses from that single spark of the Divine. And so to artificially divide ourselves up into these different species or different cultures or different ethnic groups or different spiritualities, in a sense, it’s meaningless. It’s lovely, because it creates variety, and nature loves parsimony and elegance, extravagance — parsimony and extravagance. It takes the most obvious rules: A river going down, a mountainside will find the optimal route to get to the ocean. But at the same time, it kind of expressed itself in a million different kind of flowers. So it’s this combination of parsimony and elegance. And that’s what the journey is about. There is only God, but there is this plethora of forms in which she expresses herself.

Rick Archer: Yeah. That’s nice. I mean, so obviously, an enlightened world wouldn’t be all sameness, everybody the same in any respect. In fact, if you think of a rainforest, for instance, there’s much greater variety where there’s more nutrients for plants to thrive in. And so I think in the same way, you’d have much more vivid differences and diversities, and so on, in an enlightened world. But unity would be weaving them all together, or would even be predominating. So the more unity you have, the more diversity you can have, without confrontation or fracturing.

Seán ÓLaoire: Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. 100 percent agreement with you.

Rick Archer: Yeah. All right. Well, why don’t you have the last word, because I just spoke, and I’d like you to make some kind of concluding remark, and then we’ll wrap it up.

Seán ÓLaoire: So there’s this notion in psychology called “pareidolia.” And pareidolia. they believe, is the illusion that we can kind of infer meaningful patterns from random data. So you talk about a cloud, and you say, oh, that’s an elephant; do you see the elephant in the cloud? So that’s what they mean by pareidolia, inferring meaningful patterns from what’s absolutely random data. Now, I don’t agree with that at all. I believe that everything is contained in everything. And so for instance, if I took a blackboard, and I put a hundred rows of a hundred dots on the blackboard, so now I’ve got 10,000 dots on the blackboard, and I give you a piece of green chalk, and I say to you, Rick, can you kind of unleash the elephant in that picture? You’d say, what? And I’d say, there’s an elephant hidden in that picture; can you find him? And there is. It only depends on which dots are you going to join to which dots? And suddenly, the elephant emerges from the background into the foreground. Now, I give you a piece of red chalk, and I say, Rick, can you identify the Taj Mahal in that background? And you take the red chalk, and by just joining different pieces, you bring the Taj Mahal into the foreground. So everything was potentially present. It’s all there anyway; it’s only a question of what we bring to the foreground and what we bring into the background. So that’s how I see God, that every possibility is resident right now. The question is, what level of consciousness am I bringing to the equation? Now, when you look at your computer screen, that’s exactly what’s happening. You’ve got tens of thousands of pixels, and they’re in one of two conditions. They’re using Boolean algebra, zeros or ones; they’re either on or they’re off. And the combination of ons and offs create all of the colors, all of the images, all of the sounds. So if we were to change the pixels that are on, and I changed to different pixels, put them on or off, we get a totally different readout here. There’d be a totally different vision there, via video and a totally different audio, but they’re all present right now. So this for me is entanglement theory at a cosmic level, that everything that exists is entangled in Divinity, and only attention and intention decides what’s foreground and what’s background.

Rick Archer: Very nice. Okay. We’ll let that stand as a closing statement. So thanks so much, Seán. I’ve really enjoyed spending this time with you and reading your excellent book. It’s really fun to do what I do and meet people like you.

Seán ÓLaoire: Right, it’s a fit. Namaste, Rick.

Rick Archer: Namaste. Next week, I’ll be interviewing a woman named Emelie Cajsdotter, if I’m pronouncing it correctly. She’s in Sweden, and she has one of the most remarkable abilities of communicating with animals that I’ve ever seen or heard about. I interviewed a woman years ago named Anna Breytenbach, and I’m going to interview her again this year, and hers was one of my most popular interviews. And I think Emelie will be very popular, too. She attributes a level of intelligence and sophistication of understanding to animals that I must admit, I’m a little bit skeptical about, and I want to question her about it. I mean, even chickens and things, you know, they carry on this sort of dialogue with her that I wonder if it’s a projection of her own wisdom, or if the chickens are really able to meet her on such a level of insight, and we’ll see. But mostly, it’s horses that she communicates with and dogs, and she brings out some really fascinating psychological insights about the way a herd of horses operates, and the whole thing has all kinds of spiritual implications, which makes it relevant to this show. Anyway, that’s what we’re going to do next week, and we have an “Upcoming Interviews” page on, which you can check to see what else we’ve got coming. So stay tuned, and while you’re there, if you go to the website, you could subscribe to the email list or explore some of the other things that you’ll find if you check out the different menus. All right. So thanks for listening or watching. Thanks again, Seán —

Seán ÓLaoire: Thanks, Rick.

Rick Archer: — and I really enjoyed spending this time with you.