Shakti Caterina Maggi Transcript

Shakti Caterina Maggi Interview #443

February 28, 2018

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Rick: Welcome to Buddha at the Gas Pump. My name is Rick Archer. Buddha at the Gas Pump is an ongoing series of interviews with spiritually awakening people. I have done hundreds of them now, and if this is new to you and you would like to check out others, go to and look at the ‘Past Interviews’ menu, where you will find all the other ones categorized, in various ways.

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My guest today is Shakti Caterina Maggi (SCM). We first heard about Shakti, I don’t know, some months ago, when Zaya Bennazo, who is the mother of the Science & Nonduality Conference got in touch with me and said, “Rick! Shakti Caterina Maggi…” something like that, “you have to interview her! She’s great.” So, we thought, “Okay,” and here we are.

Welcome, Shakti.

SCM: Thank you for having me. Thank you, Rick.

Rick: And it’s been delightful getting to know you over the last couple of days, as we’ve been doing a little technical testing and stuff – microphones and things like that.

I’ll read a little of bit of your bio and I won’t read the whole thing without interspersing to ask you questions. So, let me start chronologically. Well first of all, you’re from … well not obviously but I know, you’re from Italy.

SCM: Yeah.

Rick: People will get to hear the accent in a minute. You used to be a journalist in the financial industry, yeah?

SCM: Yeah. Yeah, yeah. I was writing the last years of my journalist career, I was actually writing about Wall Street.

Rick: Wall Street.

SCM: Yeah.

Rick: But, we’re going to go back farther than that. You say that the first glimpses and non-definitive openings to the Self and the true nature of reality began to occur for you at a very early age. Presumably you mean like 5, 6, 7, 8 … early age like that?

SCM: Yeah, yeah. Like I would say around the age of 8, through various, strange circumstances that maybe are not worthy to mention, but basically I started to notice how what I was thinking and what was appearing, apparently on the outer world, were actually appearing simultaneously. So, this was of course happening in the mind of a child and …

Rick: So, for example, give me an example.

SCM: Well basically what happened was like a major situation that happened, like a shock situation, because my grandfather died. And the morning in which he actually passed away I and my brother were in the house with him, and he had a heart attack, and my father was upset.

And that morning when he actually passed, that very morning he had a huge argument with my grandmother. And I was feeling all this energy of like um… disturbance of his presence in the house, and everybody was angry because they had continuous arguments and things.

And in that moment when he actually died, I could see the synchronicity of this negativity happening – let’s call it like that – and his passing. And I don’t know if this threw me in a state of like shock, you know, the mind stopped.

And days later, this understanding was coming up in me by itself and I was saying, “Okay, let’s say, this cannot be possibly true.” Let’s say, hmmm, the red car is going to pass at the end of the road, in ten seconds, and it was happening. And more was happening and the more I was getting a bit scared about it and very quiet, because I never mentioned it to anybody.

But for me, the death of my grandfather has been like probably something that was so strong and shocking because I was there, I was very young, very little. And it like threw my attention within. Like I noticed how everything was happening in a kind of a synchronic way.

Rick: Synchronistic, I think, yeah.

SCM: Synchronistic, yes, sorry. And this carried along for many years. And I had another important moment … actually, or accident, but maybe it wasn’t really like that. But I was 15 and I slipped on a rock and I banged my head and I lost my memory of the last two years.

Rick: Whoa!

SCM: Yeah. So, I woke up in hospital and I realized that everybody was living two years later, and I didn’t remember anything. And of course the memory came back in a very short while, but when I was pondering this I realized that I was existing beyond my memory. So, I was not my story because I was there. I felt that I couldn’t well-remember my story.

You know, I had a compression in the brain [because of] the bruise, so it had some days to recover. There was something that was perfectly conscious and aware and it had nothing to do with memories, and this was another very big opening.

Then again, you know, like I could talk endlessly … many things. So, it’s been a kind of a solitary journey, I didn’t say anything to anybody. But for instance, this thing when I was 15, left me for a couple of weeks in a very big space of like a perception, of a feeling how everything was actually appearing in me and was me. My senses were very open.

And then the personality, I suppose, came back and you quiet down again. But like many, many, many, let’s say, situations or glimpses happened along the way.

Rick: It’s interesting that you interpreted them the way you did, because most people might have not given it a second thought, but you thought, “Oh, this is interesting. This tells me something about reality that I hadn’t realized,” you know, you kind of contemplated it a little bit.

SCM: Yeah, it was natural for me I would say. I was very curious. For instance one time, actually when my grandmother died … sounds very odd now … bringing up all my family! But, it was like I had another thing of realizing like, “Okay, she died” – she was very dear to me – “she dies… okay, what am I if I am not the granddaughter of my grandmother? And what if I wasn’t the daughter of my mother? What if I wasn’t a person? And what if, and what if, and what if …?” You know, everything flickered back into nothingness. And then I panicked, I felt a huge fear of death …

Rick: Yeah, like a self-inquiry you were doing.

SCM: Yeah, yeah, and I was 18, so I mean … I never heard about self-inquiry, it just happened spontaneously. So, I suppose, you know, I had a very inquiring attitude and curious. And once again, I didn’t say anything to anybody. I mentioned it once to a friend of mine who was a psychologist and they said, “Oh, so you have panic attacks. It’s very serious.”

“Really,” I said, “I found it very interesting.” So, anyway.

Rick: That’s neat. Okay, so then when you were around … and just for the sake of ooga-booga, I mean, I just have this sort of attitude or understanding or feeling that the course of evolution is vast and has been going on for a long time, and that the whole reincarnation notion, and the people who, sort of, come in as a child with all sort of experiences and insights probably had already evolved to a great extent before this life and they’re picking up where they left off – that’s my take on it, that’s what a lot of the Bhagavad Gita and things like that say.

But it’s a possible explanation of why so many people I interview relate having had experiences like yours when they were very young, whereas I don’t think that’s normally typical of the general public.

SCM: Yeah, I mean, I have my view on reincarnation, but …

Rick: Maybe we can get into it later.

SCM: Yeah, later, yeah. But I would say there was something that was not happening …. a feeling from my inside was something spiritual. I grew up in a Christian family and I had this very deep love for God since I was a kid. Nobody told me to go to church or to pray, but I was actually in a… I would just go to the church and say the Rosary and I really liked it, it was not an obligation.

It was really like …. I mean now I could say I was meditating, you know, but at that time there were no ideas in me about it.

Rick: It just came naturally.

SCM: I never knew of awakening, I never intentionally sought for anything. I was inquiring of myself, that’s it.

Rick: Yeah, you’re just kind of wired that way from a young age.

SCM: Yeah.

Rick: Yeah, so then you say around 27 … age 27 these, you say, “These temporary windows of our true nature brought you to a state of great inner openness without having the cognition that what was happening was called “awakening” or “enlightenment” in other cultures.” So, what happened when you were 27?

SCM: Well, I would say that in the period of a year or a year-and-a-half before that happening, there had been a kind of like disenchantment with the world, disenchantment with my work. I’d been putting a lot of energy in my work and I realized that … like, that’s not it.

And so all my attention was back on me. And after a lot of delusion, I was just simply staying there feeling this deep sense of love, with no object. And I was thinking, “Oh, I really would wish to have somebody to give this love to.” And then I thought, “If this love is here, that has nothing to do with the other person; it’s me.”

And I fell asleep in this recognition, to be love, that all my life I was trying to express and to touch and to reach. And then around two in the morning, I woke up with all my body shaking, all the cells of my body were like singing in bliss and expanding in ways of love.

And I thought I was sure I was going to die, I mean, I even sent a text to a guy that was my x-boyfriend to say, I forgive you, you know? You know, I was certain, it was really strong.

And then when I woke up in the morning, everything disappeared, and when everything appeared in the morning, I was surprised to be alive. And I called a friend and said, “You know, it’s strange. It’s like there is a huge, boundless me, an “I”, you know, with no limits, that is watching this small character. It is like a cartoon.” And since then it was watching life with a much less sense of reality and big openness.

And after this big thing was when I realized I needed a guide, because for the first time I realized that I needed somebody to explain to me what’s going on. But I said, “Okay, if all this happened by itself, I don’t need to look for anybody, like, he will show up, or she will show up. Life is going to bring me the guide I need.”

So, constantly there was a sense of openness and faith in me, let’s say, that God was looking after me. At that time there still this, you know, not this complete understanding. And that’s it! That’s how I met my guide basically.

Rick: It’s interesting, the biggest awakening I ever had was during sleep, also. And it was a very profound – I’m not going to talk about it now because it’s not … it’s your interview, but I wonder how often that happens to people, you know, where during sleep something really profound happens.

SCM: Makes sense, because if you are in a state … when it happened here, body was not asleep but like, I woke up, you know?

Rick: Yeah.

SCM: The moment you wish you are going to sleep and the moment you wish you are waking up are a twilight zone, which you lack completely your sense of “me.” So, it’s quite easy in that period … and that’s why, in a sense, in many traditions there is this idea of meditating the early hour of the morning or before going to bed, in a sense to align the form, you know, towards the self.

And so this is the reason, I mean, you and I learn that many, many people have major insights before going to sleep, or they wake up during the night maybe going through some strong energetic process. And for some people it is actually quite scary, it can be scary.

Rick: Hmm, especially if they don’t know what’s happening.

SCM: Exactly, yeah, yeah. I think I was a wierdo, I was not worried. But, I was really feeling that I was held by God, that’s why I wasn’t afraid, I think.

Rick: Yeah. Kind of sounds like you had cultured that faith or that understanding in yourself already throughout your life, so you know, it’s different than if somebody hadn’t done that; you were just surrounded, to a great extent.

SCM: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. I was … it was just happening spontaneously. But until I met my guide, which was three months later, this bigger, let’s say “opening up,” I had never even heard the words ‘enlightenment’ or ‘awakening.’ I had no idea that people were looking for it.  I mean, I knew people were meditating but …

Rick: Didn’t know why, or something.

SCM: I … not really.

Rick: You hadn’t thought about it.

SCM: No, not at all.

Rick: It’s interesting, in the Vedic tradition they talk of … there’s this word ‘turiya,’ which you probably heard of which means ‘fourth.’ And it’s called “fourth” because waking, dreaming, and sleeping are considered to be the first three, or the other three.

And it’s thought that between each of those three states – waking, dreaming, and sleeping – there is a gap, as one transitions from one state to the other. And in that gap, one can experience the fourth, or turiya. And over time, as one evolves, the gap gets wider or clearer.

And eventually, turiya or the fourth state is experienced continuously, 24-7, along with waking, dreaming, or sleeping, but it’s mostly likely that it is first going to show up as one transitions from one of those three states to the other.

SCM: Yeah, I mean, turiya, in my understanding, is simply the background of everything, it’s the empty awareness. And when you actually pass from a state of consciousness to the other, there is a possibility to see how everything is unreal.

Rick: Right, yeah.

SCM: So, if something is changing, it can’t be solid. When I was inquiring, like around my twenties, I would sometimes ask myself, “What am I when I’m not the girlfriend of somebody or the journalist? What am I [in-]between things, when I change my clothes, you know, like my masks? What am I in-between any two appearances?”

So, it was something that was up in me very spontaneously and can happen to anybody. I mean in a sense, I am the proof that this can happen to anybody, because it belongs to human nature, it doesn’t belong to seekers. Cautious seekers express it, but it belongs to human nature, it belongs to everybody.

Rick: Sure. And you might extend it to say, “Well what am I if my arm gets cut off? Or if my body dies, you know, what am I?”

SCM: Yeah, of course, and I mean, in a sense, when you see that you don’t belong to all of these but what appears belongs to you, that you can love life fully, you know? As long as you think you belong to the body or to the mind, or to your story to what appears in your life, you remain attached to it, and you feel imprisoned and encaged. Whereas instead, when your vision comes back about the true you, then you see that everything belongs to you, and there is a sense of freedom while at the same time deep love for everything.

Rick: Yeah. So, you alluded to your teacher a couple of times and maybe we can talk about him now. So, you had this awakening experience and then about four months later you met your teacher. Is that because you realized … I think you said you sort of needed one but you expected the person to just show up when the time was right?

SCM: Yeah! Yeah, I mean, after this bigger event I realized that for me, a teacher was needed, but I didn’t look for it. I said, “Okay, life will bring it to me and I’ll wait.” And when I, and really by chance, let’s say, I was called by a friend to go to a satsang, and at the time I didn’t even know what a satsang was.

I just sat there and at that time, this guy, who was Bodhi Avasa, was in that moment actually talking about his own first awakening, and I said, “Okay! That’s what happened to me.” and literally, five days later I realized that Caterina never existed, that it was my own imagination, and all this was a movement of my own being.

At that time I wasn’t able to express it as I can now because it hadn’t been integrated, but this recognition has been steady in the sense that since that moment, I have never again felt that I am a person, as in identified with the “me.” The “me” came back big time, of course, but I never bought it, I never believed it.

Rick: It didn’t predominate.

SCM: No, never. And I don’t know, like maybe this is a bit unusual, and I suppose because I had this opening since I was very, very young, and so I was already, in a sense, without knowing it, in a state of balancing on this.

Whereas for the majority of people I met, for the majority of forms, let’s say, consciousness opens up and then there is a period of like a pendulum of the mind, in which you fall back into identification, then you see your openness, and so on, and then you have to see that this movement is happening in you, as you.

Rick: Yeah, I went through that a number of years before that big experience that I told you about. And when you fall back into the identification it was always so painful, that all day long I would feel like, “I can’t wait to go back to sleep at night, where I can just blot this out and not feel this anymore.” Oh, you know.

SCM: Yeah, yeah, because that moment, it can be really like painful …

Rick: Very painful.

SCM: Because at that point, you see the grass on the other side of the hill is greener, and you know that there is a space of freedom and joy unconditional, and you seem to be doomed again in the patterns of identification. And it requires understanding to see that those patterns happened but they don’t happen to you, but they happen in you, and they are part of basically, in a sense I would say, consciousness being able to welcome all its manifestations.

But for a period you fall back into this idea, so these patterns are not actually free to come to the surface of consciousness fully. Because in my understanding, it is actually after awakening that you begin to have this purification, big time. Before that, the sense of identification with the “me” prevents the full surfacing of certain patterns, because there is always a “me” that all this is happening to.

Rick: Yeah.

SCM: Whereas after awakening, and that is why for me, awakening is the beginning of the journey. Awakening is the moment in which your attention comes back to emptiness – that is the moment in which the purification and integration and embodiment of awakening can happen.

Rick: Or can accelerate, anyway.

SCM: Yes.

Rick: It’s like beforehand … there has to be some purification beforehand too, in order to … because the vessel is being prepared, you know, to experience consciousness or to awaken the consciousness. But it’s still like a little cup of water where you can’t really dissolve too much mud in it without muddying up the water, but then once the cup kind of breaks, then you can take shovels-full and throw it in and it can dissolve. So, the capacity to process or resolve all this identification and conditioning gets much greater, right, after awakening?

SCM: Yes, because taking your analogy of the cup, the cup is the “me.” If you are the ocean, it doesn’t matter how many drops fall into you or how much currents are moving or …

Rick: Or how much mud you throw in, or whatever.

SCM: It doesn’t matter. And it doesn’t mean that you don’t feel the emotions or the sensation that those patterns are involving; of course you feel big time, because you feel them for the first time really, you know, full force, as you said.

But because there is still this hook in “believing to be a person,” it’s still marginal. Something is happening of course, but it’s not really … like the real process, in my understanding, happens when you really stand in the emptiness, and from emptiness watch all the layers of personality coming up. And then you integrate them, on any level of your being.

Rick: Yeah, I agree. The capacity to process it becomes much greater, because you have a solid foundation, otherwise you get blown off by every little thing.

SCM: Otherwise you get scared and you say, “Oh, what is happening to me?” or “I should fix my way of thinking,” or “I should fix my personality. I must change in order to avoid something” – something that always looks to be bigger than you.

You know, when you stand in emptiness, there is nothing bigger than you, so you can … and I don’t want to give the impression that this is something. Like this is something, in my experience at least, waking up to seeing that you are really nothing, it’s very easy, it’s easy and it’s natural.

Just look back at what is watching this moment and you find just empty awareness, not a person. The person is a sense in you. So, the real adventure, in a sense, in my experience, is meeting yourself in the manifestation.

Rick: Yeah. So, what you just said, I can get about three questions out of what you just said. One is: watching back or looking back and seeing that emptiness. are you implying – I hope you’re not implying that this – well, maybe this would be a legitimate thing to do – that this is something one would consciously, intentionally do as a sort of practice, or would you say that at a certain point this becomes second nature and you don’t have to think about it or do anything, it just becomes the way you operate.

SCM: Yeah, you see, we have to remember that all this is not happening to the person, but it is consciousness waking up. So, the consciousness waking up has, as a side effect, a change in the person, but it’s not the person that now has to watch things from the emptiness; I am emptiness. I am the emptiness, so I’m watching my own creation here …

Rick: Yeah, a person can’t “do” emptiness, it’s like, emptiness is, itself.

SCM: Exactly, and in a sense, I was talking about this with a friend earlier this morning, in a sense, when you see that you are really not in charge of this spiritual life but that you are “done” by life, it can be a moment in which you get scared and say, “Oh my God, all my efforts, all my commitments, all the things I’ve done …” But those things were done as an appearance of a deeper  movement in consciousness.

You know, our going to satsang, our watching videos and interviews, our inquiry as [this] form, is the manifestation of this consciousness, empty consciousness wanting to meet itself. So, it’s when consciousness meets itself that one starts to welcome everything that is appearing as a manifestation.

And this, on the surface of life, appears as if a person integrating this and embodying that, and is going through a process, and is letting go of the attachment to that thing, but actually, what is really happening is that that appearance is the final representation of something much deeper.

When I say “I,” I’m never referring to the person, I’m always referring to awareness, to consciousness. And when I speak with people, I’m always addressing that in them, I don’t address their idea of themselves.

Rick: Yeah, but I mean, if you’re sitting eating dinner with somebody and you say, “I would like some more mashed potatoes please,” you’re not saying, “Consciousness wants more mashed potatoes,” you’re saying that your body would like some more …

SCM: No! Of course! I say, “I would like more potatoes, would you please pass it to me,” of course. For everyday language …

Rick: Normal language, yeah.

SCM: Of course! Actually, it’s so weird when people speak of themselves in the third person, you know?

Rick: I know, it’s annoying.

SCM: It’s annoying because in a sense, it’s really like a mental thing in which you have to remember. I don’t remember anything but I know when a pattern or some leftover, residual ego comes up, I know these are just things, just waves of the ocean. And I know, in a sense, that all this, and Rick and Shakti and the computer and each of you, is all a manifestation that is happening in me.

And dancing – since you mentioned this I would really like to emphasize it – dancing between existence and nonexistence, seeing that everything is an illusion and at the same time, giving it tremendous importance, because it is happening now and it is a miracle.

You know, the balance between these two things: asking for the potatoes, knowing that it’s all a dream, and yet enjoying the potato, enjoying the taste of it. And the balance between these two things I think is very important because otherwise, you know, we often spiritually bypass life … hiding from life, really, I would say.

Rick: Yeah. Nisargadatta said that the ability to appreciate paradox and ambiguity is an earmark of more spiritual maturity, you know? Yeah, the paradox. And some people don’t get the paradox thing; they just emphasize one side of it: there are no potatoes, there is no dinner, there is no body, and blah blah.

SCM: I mean, from my point of view, how delicious it is that I am a limitless being and I am experiencing myself through this limited body. And while it may be an experience that is so finite, and yet, if I bring it back here, it’s endless. And that’s the miracle of being human …

Rick: Fascinating, hmm?

SCM: Absolutely, and it’s the meeting point. I think many people miss that the reward is being human and living life as it is, that’s the reward. You know, when you stand in your eternal being nature, you will finally appreciate the impermanence and life.

Rick: I sometimes find that even the more intense experiences are the most fascinating because of the contrast between being and the intensity of the experience you’re having.

SCM: I’m not sure I have understood what you mean. Could you say it again?

Rick: Well, I don’t know, if you’re going through something that is a little bit more crazy than usual, I don’t know … like you’re running through an airport trying to catch a plane or something. And it’s fascinating because there’s this pure silence and nothing is happening, and yet you’re running down the hall trying to catch the plane, you know? And it’s like, “Isn’t that amusing?!”

SCM: Yeah! Yeah, yeah, yeah. I understand now. Yeah, because you catch the drama and in a sense, it’s like you learn how to play it as if it’s real, and do everything full force, you know? And something in the background knows that it doesn’t really matter.

And this is the deliciousness, the delightfulness that I was speaking about before, it’s the delightfulness of being human. You know, the human is a bridge between manifestation and what is always unmanifest – he is the center point of the cross. And that part, the verticality of being and infinite manifestation, is you. It is the adventure of being human and it is totally fascinating. It is the reason why we are here, you know?

Rick: Yeah, I was listening to something, I think it was one of your talks – I listened to about 6 hours of your talks this past week. And there was a woman who was somehow, if I can remember this correctly, she was talking about … she hadn’t totally resolved this issue that we’re talking about right now.

She was talking about aspirations, and having aspirations, or not being able to fulfill aspirations, and it reminded me of a verse in the Gita, which is that, “You have control over action alone, but never over its fruits,” you know, so don’t just live for the fruits of action.

And so that is to say that you can be established in being and have actions, motivations, and desires, and intentions, and aspirations, and all those things, but if they don’t work out then it’s like, “Alright, the Divine has a different idea for me.”

SCM: Yep, exactly. And I mean, it can sound kind of contradictory or weird if you don’t watch it from emptiness but that you watch it from the idea of being a person, to see how you can get engaged with life, you know, full force, and really being passionate about things, and being detached, at the same time.   

And yet, you know, when we were kids, we were living like that. Sometimes I use this example that makes it very clear for me, you know how [when we were kids] at the shoreline building a sandcastle? And we were in total passion, you know, making the door, building the sandcastle, and doing everything so precisely, although we knew that the sea was going to destroy it.

And we fought with the sea but at the same time it was okay, you know? It was okay, it was just a game. The fun of life, the delightfulness of life comes from seeing that it is all impermanent.

And if you stay, as I said before, in this thin line between seeing that everything is an illusion and watching the wonderfulness of life from [both] the emptiness point of view and from your form, from that center of the cross, from a heart that is open and  enflamed, that is the door, you know, to understanding that you are here to meet life, you are here to play your part as a form, to become yourself as a form, steady in the recognition that you are emptiness, silence, free …

Rick: I don’t know if all kids are as dispassionate as you just said, I mean, a kid going through the supermarket, sitting in the shopping cart, sees a candy bar … “Mom, I want the candy bar!” Mom: “No, you can’t have the candy bar,” and then there’s all this screaming and …

But then what happens is five minutes later the kid has forgotten all about not being able to get the candy bar. So, there’s an initial sort of resentment to not getting the desire fulfilled, but they usually move on more quickly than many adults do.

SCM: Yes, because they don’t stay in the horizontal mind, they don’t stay in the story; they live everything vertically. That’s what I was trying to express before when I talked about the cross, that is, meeting the horizontal display of life in space and time from the verticality of the moment, and meeting it and meeting it.

It’s like everything is so intense and so real in the moment in which it happens, and then it disappears, and you meet it, and it disappears, and you meet it, and it disappears. And this, you know, filling yourself with the manifestation and emptying yourself of it, it is the joy, it is the procession of life, actually.

And kids do this naturally, but when we grow up we tend to remain attached to our stories, so we remember the story of the candy bar ten years later and we may even speak with our therapist about it.

Rick: Yeah, “My mom was so cruel she wouldn’t let me have the candy bar.”

SCM: Yeah! And maybe sometimes even adding in things that were not even there [to begin with.]

And I have great respect for therapy because it can sometimes be very useful to help one come to terms with things, and I’m not against it at all, but I can see that for what matters spiritually, it is actually not of any use, because it speaks about the “me.”

Rick: Although sometimes a messed-up “me” has impediments for spiritual development that a little-bit-more-healthy “me” might not have, would you agree?

SCM: Mm, yes and no, in a sense I agree that it might be more difficult to be a “somebody” if that somebody has heavy conditioning, but in a sense, that heaviness might be a tremendous trigger pull.

Rick: It’s true.

SCM: I’ve seen people really, really struggling their lives being so open to listen to this message because in a sense they say, “Okay, this finally makes sense,” and other people who were more functional and having a more functioning life, were more asleep in their comfort zone …

Rick: That’s very true.

SCM: … because their lives are working. So, I would say that there is a justice, there is a balance in everything.

Rick: Yeah. I think that was my experience when I was 18 years old, you know, high school dropout, getting arrested, just difficult times. And when I finally learned meditation it was like, “Holy mackerel! This is really what I needed,” so I stuck to it like glue, you know?

SCM: Yeah, yeah. We have to remember that as we said before, there is no “person” looking for truth, it is actually truth that is looking through us. So, truth, which is us – it is our true nature – is looking for itself, anywhere!

And sometimes people that have a bumpy road are ones that have a tremendous natural passion for life and for truth, and they want to know it, and [so] they may disobey the rules. There is a beautiful expression of Osho’s where he says, “Only rebels reach God.” And I quite agree: you have to be a rebel to go against the idea of being a persona and still remain sane.

And this is something that is really very important for me: I really believe that this message is not only for seekers, it is for everybody, really. Everybody is looking for this, even if they don’t know it.

If you can remember it you can address the true being in anybody and not the person, and maybe not have this snobbery of, “I’m a seeker, I know better than you,” and actually listen to people and say, “Wow, let’s watch what Truth is doing there. How interesting.”

Rick: Yeah. Did you ever see the movie Close Encounters of a Third Kind by Steven Spielberg?

SCM: Yeah.

Rick: Yeah, so that was like a beautiful metaphor for what you’re saying, where he had this experience and it was implanted in him that, “There is this thing and I need to find it,” then he went back to his normal life and he couldn’t relate to it, and it was like, “What is this thing?” And speaking of potatoes, he was taking his mashed potatoes and forming them into a mountain, and he was building that thing in the living room. And he was doing all this stuff because he was driven by this sense that there was this “thing that I need to find.”

And everybody was telling him that he was crazy and his wife was opposing him, and finally he just cut out and went and found it.

SCM: Yeah, yeah. And sometimes, if we watch the lives of people from this point of view, we see that something way bigger than looking for a girlfriend, or looking for a job, or looking for approval [is driving people.] What is actually driving our lives is Truth, even when we don’t know it.

And so if we watch this we see that in a sense, everybody in their own merry way, or unmerry way sometimes, are actually coming to rest in this. And some expression of some forms seem to never fulfill this, but in my perspective, they are actually exploring dualities and polarities in a way that will make the consciousness more ready to encompass it at another time, in another form. Nothing is lost, even our mistakes and errors are perfect.

I mean, it’s not a person awakening, it is consciousness that is awakening through all its forms. In certain forms comes to full recognition, in certain forms it seems to be asleep, but in that remaining asleep it is actually [coming to] knowing those polarities and meeting those polarities, and making that knowing available for all consciousness.  I don’t know if I’m able to put in words what I am trying to say.

Rick: I think you’re saying it beautifully. I totally get what you’re saying and I think the listeners will too. You and I were talking the other day and we were saying how this is basically what is driving the entire universe.

I mean, not only we, the human forms on this planet, but the whole thing has this sort of deep evolutionary drive at its core, which is evolving, and evolving, and evolving all its expressions to greater and greater capability to awaken to their true nature.

SCM: Yeah, it’s an endless recognition. This “waking” or “waking up” is not something that happens at once to a person, no. This is something that happens through the eons, through the centuries, through all the forms, through all sentient and nonsentient beings – awareness is waking up through all. And we as forms, are the glory of it.

And so watching the manifestation from this recognition is something that really makes you appreciate life. It is so precious. And whereas you hated impermanency before this, you hated people – how we change, and die, and go away, but when you perceive it from here, you see that, “Wow, it is so incredible! We are eternal and we experience death! Wow! We experience change!” And this is something that will make you really appreciate life and love life as it is, and that to me, is the reason why we are here.

Rick: Yeah. Now it doesn’t always make sense to try to fit cosmic purposes into human understanding, but if you were to try to give an explanation as to why consciousness is doing this, you know, why is there a universe? Why do all the forms in the universe appear to be evolving? What would you say?

SCM: I would say that we all sense that there is something, even people that are Atheists, there is something that is behind the sense of “me,” and it (this something) is knowing life and is our true self.

And when we meet the duality of life, the polarities of life: good/bad, right/wrong, male/female, we get so fascinated with that polarity that we end up trying to hold on to one side or another, or to the excruciating pain of having to decide between one or the other.

And that pain and that apparent “losing yourself in the polarities,” which can sometimes make your life quite miserable, is actually the only way in which this knowing-self that is in the background can meet those polarities.

So, this means that your mistakes and your errors and your bends – your ups and downs in life, are not unnecessary suffering, it’s not that God is like a mad scientist that puts out wrath and plagues like, “Let’s see what they do,” you know?

God is a Scientist that is so madly in love with His own experiment that He entered in the experiment, so as to become one of the creatures of the experiment! So, we are, at the same time, both the mouse and the scientist, and this is the incredible thing.

So, even when you lose yourself in these polarities, this is the only way in which consciousness can know that.

Rick: Yeah, beautiful, as a living reality.

SCM: Exactly! And this allows you to see your life – it doesn’t matter how long your life is, it might be very short or very long – like, “Wow, I had that experience.” Experience that, because it is precious. When we fight with life we don’t see it, but when we are faced with death …

You know, people for instance who know they are going to die very soon, even if they are in a miserable situation they really appreciate life as it is, and they are great teachers, great masters. They are people whose lives have brought them to an experience to assist them, and they really see this.

When we fight with life we don’t see the beauty, because we want eternity from it, but if we rest where true eternity is, then we can love life.

Rick: Beautiful, well put.

SCM: Thank you.

Rick: I see you must have been a really good journalist.

SCM: Ha!

Rick: You have a way with words and English isn’t even your native language.

SCM: Well, I think Life chose this form because it is good at communicating, because otherwise, to be honest, this is about the last thing I would have done in my life, to try to fit in spiritual circles, especially since the majority of people know about the Vedas and things way more than I do.

And of course over these last years I’ve been interested in reading things and knowing and gaining more knowledge because I think that knowledge is important to building bridges with people, but this was like the last thing I thought I would have ended up doing.

Rick: They didn’t train you for it in journalism school, but yet they did.

SCM: Yes, thank you.

Rick: Yeah. To use your analogy then, just to wrap up that point, it’s as if the scientist said, “Well I think I’ll become a mouse, but I’ll also remain the scientist. And as a mouse I’ll forget that I’m the scientist, but I want to do that for the sake of the play of this situation here. Then as a mouse I need to somehow wake up to the fact that I’m really the scientist.”

SCM: Yeah, I mean, think about it, if you want to make the game really nice, would you want to know that you are the scientist since the beginning or would you prefer to discover that along the way, by putting some clues there?

Rick: Yeah, it’s more sort of the term ‘Lila,’ meaning ‘play.’ And it is sometimes said that the whole creation is the play of the Divine, you know, Lila Shakti. And it wouldn’t be so much of a play if you were constantly aware from the outset that it was only a game; it’s more of a game if you …

It’s like when you go to watch a movie, you kind of want to put in the background the knowledge that this is only a movie, and [then you can] really get into it to enjoy it, you know?

SCM: Yeah, exactly, exactly. So, it’s like the game is that you think you’re locked inside a little form, and then you discover you’re not, and when you discover you’re not, you finally enjoy the labyrinth. And to me it’s fascinating, it’s really, really, really beautiful.

And I hope these words give some sense to whoever might be listening today, that their life doesn’t have to go in a certain direction. The direction in which it is going is perfect, it is the direction that is best for you to see what you are This gives relief.

Rick: You know, there’s a beautiful story, I’ll tell it really quickly just because it fits in here and to give your voice a rest for a second.

SCM: Yeah.

Rick: So, there was this king and he had a chief minister who was his constant advisor. And the minister was very wise and people would come to him with problems all the time, and he would always say, “Well everything … God does this for the best.” So, if someone would come to him and say, “My baby died!” and he would say, “Everything God does is for the best.”

And a lot of people came to resent that after a while so they decided to set a trap for the minister. So, the king happened to have his finger cut one day when he was having a manicure or something – and so they bought the news to the chief minister and he said, “Everything God does is for the best.”

So, they went back to the king and the king was furious, “Oh, how could this be for the best that I cut my finger? Throw him in jail.” So, they threw the minister in jail. And then the king went out on a hunting party and he ran into some aboriginals who were going to capture him and use him for a human sacrifice, but when they were preparing to do that they discovered he had this cut on his finger and he was therefore unfit for sacrifice.

So, the king realized at that moment, “Oh, God! Everything God does it for the best! I feel so bad now, I threw my minister in jail, I have got to back and apologize. So, he went back to let the minister out of jail, he said, “Ooh, I’m so sorry,” and the minister said, “Are you kidding? If I hadn’t been in jail I would have gone with you and I didn’t have a cut on my finger, they would have killed me.”

SCM: Ha, ha, ha, ha! That’s a great story! It reminds me of that Zen story of the farmer that had the broken leg …

Rick: Yeah, that’s a good one.

SCM: And so it’s like, is it good? Maybe yes, maybe not. Yeah, I mean life is an amazing adventure. I like to go to sleep every night, to be honest, and thinking, “Wow, this is my last day. Wow! Thank you, life.” I tend to try to live life like this, you know? To really put my heart in what I do …

Rick: Every moment.

SCM: Yeah, and play the game. And if mistakes or errors appear – or apparent mistakes or errors appear – they are part of the learning curve and I understand that.

You know, some people think that those moments of crises, those moments of darkness are something to avoid [in order] to finally arrive to light, but instead, it’s more about the light of our being meeting the darkness and dissolving it, and discovering the beauty of it, meeting our humanity from our divinity, that’s it, this is it. Not as like a person looking for God, but as the Divine making the experience of being human, through us> And meeting those dark moments as part of our creation; they are our creatures, our sons and daughters.

Rick: So, would it be – in light of what you just said, would it be true to say that if you try to avoid those dark moments or hide out from them, or medicate yourself in some way, then you’re depriving the Divine of the opportunity to clear them up?

SCM: Yeah, and I mean this could be taken to an extreme which is of course not my intention. It’s not that you have to have a miserable life so that consciousness can have more knowledge; it’s about seeing how life, in its ups and downs, is all a part of our embodying and meeting and integrating ourselves in a manifestation, and seeing the beauty and bliss in this, in meeting life as it is.

So, when you have dark moments of course the body, the form, is made for pleasure, the body looks for pleasure, it doesn’t look for pain. You have to be a perverted mind to look for pain. So, naturally, the body, if you were to go get an injection, you would naturally pull back, as with a flame.

So, the creature, the form, looks for something that is pleasurable and nice, at the same time, the emptiness that is watching that, if pleasure doesn’t happen but instead pain happens, can meet the depth of pain, can meet the sweet poignancy of sadness, the fire of anger. You can meet yourself fully when you don’t avoid a part, because the suffering is in the avoidance, it’s not in the life itself.

Rick: Yeah, and in one of your articles on your website it was about the disappointment of love. You said, “The quest for love can go on for a long time. It you’re lucky, it disappoints you quickly. If you’re lucky, your heart breaks, and when it breaks, the expectation that love comes from the other will be disappointed. The more this disappointment happens the more your heart opens, the more your heart opens the more you open to love.”

SCM: Yeah. I mean, your heart has to really get broken open for you to see that you are the love that you’re looking for. And it doesn’t mean that it has to happen through suffering; it can also happen through falling in love.

When you fall in love, when you see yourself in another person, the boundaries of the “me” get expanded and the place in which you are expanding is actually silence. But if you were to expand endlessly, you would probably fear of dying in that love. So, in the majority of cases, difficulties or obstacles seem to appear – arguments, breaking apart – because it’s too much, that love.

So, it’s not that it has to happen forcefully or in a negative way that our heart gets open; it can also become open by simply loving people. But I would say that if there is any resistance, this resistance must be dissolved. And sometimes life takes care of that by something like taking the beloved away or bringing some dissolution or some situation that makes you feel sad. And if you can let that open up completely, without avoiding sadness or pain or loneliness, then you know what love is.

Rick: You mentioned forgiving an old boyfriend when you thought you were going to die, and you also mentioned that you have a boyfriend now, how has awakening affected your relationships?

SCM: I mean, it’s strange in a sense because the way in which I live a relationship is not the way which I did that relationship at that time, because I really see that it’s impersonal. And the fact that my boyfriend has now been with me for seven years is a long time, is a miracle, you know?

It’s a miracle that we meet every day, it’s a miracle that we choose to be together every day. Nothing is taken for granted and there is this great respect, and there is a sense that I am what is living in both forms, in all forms. So, my love is impersonal, it is for everything, but my form likes to stay with his form.

And it is so delightful – again, paradox, as we said before – it’s so delightful the paradox of the form likening to be with one person, not because it’s forced to, but because it really loves that person and chooses that person, every day.

And so I would say that it is a great mirror if you have a relationship, or even if you don’t have a relationship, other people, I suppose, are the way by which we integrate what we think we are not. So, “the other” is the one that you are going to be, if you meet them in yourself, and it is a beautiful play. I’m really grateful.

I mean, I say this and it could end today and it might day, or I might die today, who knows. I don’t like with the idea that everything lasts forever, I don’t take things for granted.

Rick: That’s nice. A while back towards the beginning of this interview you talked about when you had this awakening and you said, “For several days there was no sense of a ‘me’ but then the sense of a ‘me’ came back.” Do you still have a sense of a ‘me’ in some respect?

SCM: Um, I have to say, just chronologically, to understand, that moment that you referred to was a clear opening up, but I would say that the real waking up happened when I met my teacher – when I met my teacher five days later.

Since that moment, since I woke up, I did experience the ‘me’ coming back, but I didn’t experience it as the “me” coming back in the “me” – and I’m sorry for this strange word expression – I didn’t feel the “me” come back in the “me,” I didn’t believe in the game, in the “me” anymore.

So, I felt as something was just happening in the silence of my being with all the patterns – mental, emotional, and physical – that this involves, and all this years have been actually integrating this recognition, every day.

So, when, and I don’t know if there is the space for this here, like when the kundalini rose up …

Rick: Oh there’s space, we can talk about this.

SCM: Yeah, so when you wake up the kundalini rises through the shushumna, and Shakti like madly in love with Shiva, with the emptiness, rises up, it’s ruptured. And then you have this clarity of seeing that you are not what you thought yourself to be. And this is the space where I would say the majority of people stay when they wake up, in this clarity.

And at that point, the “me,” the conditional mind comes back, the idea to be a “me,” and all these false ideas are dissolved in the light of understanding. So, it’s like there is a clearing of the conscious mind. And many teachers teach from this space of clarity, I would say that the majority of nondual teachers teach from this [space].

Then, if the integration goes further, the call for the deep is answered. The energy goes down, the kundalini Shakti Shiva goes down in the heart, and at that point you deal with the old emotions that were behind those conditional patterns, and your heart breaks.

You know, the beautiful images of, for instance, Christ on the Cross with His heart open and enflamed, and it is actually at the center where the true spiritual heart is, it’s something very real. And that is the moment in which from seeing that you are nothing, you meet life in your heart, and your heart put in flames and becomes broken open. And this happened.

You know, for many years I had this feeling of having a little camera above my head, like watching life. And the first time this happened was actually in 2011, when I started giving satsang by myself, this camera kind of went down in the heart. And there was no more this kind of subtle duality, so to speak, which was both the nothing and the everything, but it was now fused.

And this gave space to a great dissolving of patterns of emotions, of all the dark side of our emotions that we don’t want to see, like anger or sadness. So, there was a cleansing and an integrating of that. And then in the last two years the energy went down, and I was very, very surprised by it because I didn’t expect it at all.

And I felt after 14 years of seeing that I was not inside the body, it was like the “Self” claimed the body and I crossed the density of the form, and this awakening happened on the level of the hara. And it is very interesting and it’s something that I’m still exploring and sharing with people because in a sense, this embodying the last part, after you clear up the conscious mind, the subconscious and emotional response to conditioning, you go to the deeper, the deepest part of conditioning which is the genetic, the bodily conditioning, the true unconscious, in a sense, and meeting the form, meeting the body from the self, consciously, which is the point, is incredible!

And I’m still exploring it, I’m still playing with it, and I’m sharing what I’ve been seeing so far. It’s an endless integration, but it has given me a lot of love for life and for substance and for matter, and to see that matter is really myself condensed as that, physically. So, a great sense of connection with things.

Rick: That’s nice. There’s a lot to discuss actually in what you just said, let’s dwell on this for a while. So, firstly, people will probably remember that Adyashanti often talks about awakening in the head, heart, and gut, and I think that’s kind of what you were just saying.

And first you were saying, okay, most teachers teach from this sort of awakening in the head area, and so what would you say would be the characteristic – since you’ve gone through all these stages yourself – what would you say would be the characteristic experience of someone who has awoken on that level? And also, if they’re teaching, what would you say would be the quality or nature of their teaching, if that is the extent of their awakening?

SCM: I would say that those kinds of sharings, and of course, saying this, you know, I have …

Rick: Generalization …

SCM: Yeah, great respect for everybody because everybody is giving their own contribution where they are, but what I see is that sometimes when the experience of somebody in all his honest is just here, you have this clarity that doesn’t match with life.

For example, you have people that say, “Oh, everything is an illusion, there is nobody in the body, that’s it, it’s all just one play of censoriousness, that’s it. There’s nothing to look for, there’s nothing to integrate, it’s all just an illusion.” And you feel that they are a bit disconnected from life actually and they’re not very human, and this is … and it’s okay, because when you go through that stage you need that in a sense, you know, Vajra’s sword to cut through things that are not real.

Rick: Yeah, but it can also be very confusing to people who are trying to raise children and hold down a job and this and that, to have it hammered into them that everything is just an illusion.

SCM: I agree, I agree. In fact, in my experience I have to say, that when you go through that phase, life gives you some slaps and says, “Really? And what about your wife, and what about your kids, and what about your bank account, and what about your dealing with your mom who is yelling to you over the phone? Are you really okay with illusion?” And life tests you, and so that’s it …

Rick: I also want to add while we’re on this level that I find it ironic that that is sometimes referred to as “Nonduality,” because it is actually duality. There’s been this big separation created between you know, the Self or Being or pure consciousness and the whole world, which is supposedly only an illusion; it’s not kind of a wholeness that incorporates both.

SCM: I agree and in fact, what I often say is that the game, the journey, is watching and experiencing duality from our Nondual being. We are Nonduality but we are here to experience duality, and to avoid the duality is the greatest duality of all!

Rick: Yeah, it’s like something is separate from what you are.

SCM: Yeah. One thing is dualism and one thing is duality. Being attached to duality is dualism and that is the source of suffering, but if you rest in the Nonduality of your being, then reaching duality is the prize, is the reward, it is heaven on earth, it’s the paradise that is between us, amongst us. It makes a lot of sense.

And it doesn’t mean that life is always pretty because sometimes life is low and violent and it’s innocent, you know, life doesn’t know the difference between good and bad; we put those labels on it. So, it doesn’t mean that if you wake up and you rest in emptiness then everything is going to be okay; this is a kind of fairy tale of the seeker.

You meet life, you still experience pain if somebody dies, or grief, you know? But it doesn’t mean that you hold on to that grief forever, that’s the difference, but you meet life, for real. And I would say that sometimes certain teachings fail in that “meeting life for real,” because maybe in all good-heartedness and good intention, that false consciousness hasn’t yet finished its worm work, and that doesn’t mean I have finished mine; we never finish.

I think we are here to experience the labyrinth, as we said before. As long as we have a form, we project a shadow. And so as long as we are here, we are here to dissolve the polarities, it’s endless. I’m just telling you and whoever is listening how it is for me, you know?

Rick: Yeah, based on your own experience.

SCM: Yeah, what I’ve discovered so far. For instance, I didn’t even know about these three levels, and somebody told me that Adyashanti spoke about it and I said, “Oh, how beautiful.” And after this happened, all these teachers that I spoke about … also Aurobindo mentioned this integral yoga, you know? And I said, “Wow.”

And these notions had never before appeared in my life, it was only after I experienced something that I would say, “Oh, this is what they were talking about! This is what he was talking about.” It’s as if life was giving you feedback, you know, feedback on what is going on.

Rick: Yeah, same thing that happened earlier in your life when you figured, “If I need a teacher, a teacher will come.”

SCM: Yes, exactly. And it’s like this for everybody, when we are ready, the right information comes.

Rick: Yeah. Okay, so we’ve talked about what the experience of life might be like once the awakening has happened on the head-level and how one might teach, once that awakening has happened. How about the heart-level, what would the experience be like once the awakening has progressed to there, and how one might teach, if that has been one’s realization?

SCM: I would say that … actually, the first great master that comes to my mind that taught from an open heart – and of course I’m not comparing myself to him, I’m just giving an example – is actually Rumi, or St. Francis, you know, somebody that is expressing pure love, and taking whatever happens in your life as something for alchemical transformation, in the love and then let go of. It is that kind of a process.

So, you have some teachers that are exploring this path and teachers that are actually inviting you to invite life – to invite grief, or sadness, or anger, and to not intellectually work them out in a story, but really meeting them in your heart. And this is what you see with these kinds of teachers, I would say that the trademark is compassion.

In speaking about the greatest, and Rumi and St. Francis are great, great examples or masters of this. Yeah.

Rick: Yeah. So, there wouldn’t be that coldness and aloofness that you sometimes see in sort of Neo-Advaita teachers, it would be more of a sweetness or something …? I’m just trying to categorize a little bit.

SCM: Yeah, yeah, of course we are generalizing. I would say that it also has to do with the characteristic of the form, you know?

Rick: Yeah, different personalities.

SCM: Yeah, because for instance, my teacher, for instance, was very aloof – he was British. At the same time he had a great heart, and this deep love that is stillness was very evident when you were close to him. But other forms are more like … I’m very extroverted, for instance, because the form is Italian, you know?

Rick: You’re a normal Italian.

SCM: Yeah! So, I hug, and I joke, you know, but this is the form; it doesn’t mean that if you are an introvert or more aloof that you don’t know this. I would say it is also more about your teaching: in your teaching, are you addressing the “me” with compassion? Are you addressing the personality with love and compassion?

If you are, then you know this, you know, I would say so. Because otherwise, you have personality differences and it might be confusing.

Rick: Yeah, sure, that’s a good distinction. Okay, and let’s take it to the third level, the hara level. What would the experience be like? What would a teacher who had realized to that extent be like?

SCM: Well, I can only speak of myself and I have to say this is quite new, because it has only been a year-and-a-half or two years since this been happening and I’m meeting it, but what I have discovered so far, what I see so far is that it’s like in a sense, you go through a greater neutrality of being, in which you meet from this neutrality all the polarities of darkness and light. And you really go to a deep level into meeting matter and meeting the density of the form from the emptiness of the self.

And what I have learned is, at least in the change in my sharing, if this makes sense to you, is that at the beginning, many, many years ago, I was trying to bring people to understand what I was talking about, and then I was trying to bring people to feel what I was talking about and address them in the feeling, and now … it’s nothing! They just appear in my awakening. So, people wake up in my “self.” I am the emptiness in which they wake up.

There is no homework, they don’t have to understand or feel anything, they are me.

Rick: So, that’s your perspective and that’s their experience?

SCM: I suppose, yeah. The majority of people that speak to me after a meeting – maybe the ones who didn’t like it don’t speak to me, I don’t know – but people that speak to me afterwards say, “When I came here I forgot my questions, and it is really hard to regain them. And it seems that it is all happening on another, different level; it is happening on a deeper level in which we watch from stillness, while we are.”

So, I would say that is something that is concluded here, at least for me, and now I’m resting in this neutrality of being and meeting life and matter from this neutrality. Because you see, coming back to Indian tradition, the Shakti, the Ma, is the Mother of everything. So, when you go from the Father, the Emptiness, to the Mother, that is the sacred Mother, the Divine Mother, which is manifestation, you meet all these polarities, you meet darkness and light, both, in your heart. And you have to remain still in this.

And like Shiva is the greatest yogi, is the lord of yoga, is the master of yoga, meets the Shakti, meets the manifestation, meets the Mother in the stillness. And this is … if your mind is not clear, if your heart is not completely open, you can’t meet this duality of manifestation while being still; you try to avoid something, either because your mind is confused or because your heart is obscured.

So, if your heart is open and your mind is clear, you can meet the Mother, you can meet the manifestation.

Rick: So, it sounds like the development has to be sequential.

SCM: In my experience, yes, but I’m not saying that this must be for everybody; this is my understanding. I see that if these are not clear, it is hard to stay here, you will get taken by passions. They can be taken away by passions, they can be taken away by ideologies.

Rick: I wonder if that’s why some teachers get in trouble, whereas in their teaching they seem very bright and very charismatic and so on, and then they get involved in misbehaviors of various kinds …

SCM: I think you are quite right. I was actually giving this consideration the other day with a friend … sorry.

Rick: No, go ahead.

SCM: And in a sense … you know, I you go in a position of power before … and you are not harnessed and authentic enough to see that life is continuously teaching you, and you don’t remain humble, you end up in trouble.

Rick: Yeah.

SCM: You can easily end up in trouble. And I consider myself very lucky, extremely lucky that I had a real master beside me for many years. And although not all I teach comes from him but only some part – a big part of what I share comes from him, but nevertheless, his presence helped me to remain authentic and integrated, consistent, you know?

This is a journey that requires a lot of honesty, courage, humbleness, and these qualities are not qualities that the “me” has have, of course; it’s a kind of attitude that allows you to meet life. Otherwise you end up saying, “Okay, I have arrived, I’ll put my flag there. This is it,” you know?

Rick: Check that off my bucket list, yeah.

SCM: Yeah, and remain a student forever, this is my indication that …

Rick: Yeah, good point. Amma always says that too: we should always have the attitude of a beginner, and I’ve heard Adyashanti say similar things.

SCM: Yes, I totally agree. And I don’t know, maybe we have a conversation another time and we have discovered something different. I don’t want that that my own understanding becomes a limitation in my discovery, in my learning. I’m just sharing where I am and if this is of any use to anybody, I’m glad for them, but like …

Rick: Oh it is, I’m sure. It’s useful to me.

SCM: Thank you, but you know, it’s yours; I’m not responsible for the way that people take what I say. I just take care to not give any life advice, you know, and I don’t tell them what to do …

Rick: Right, like, “You should quit your job and go work at Wal-Mart,” or something.

SCM: Never, no, no, no, I don’t give suggestions. Sometimes very close friends try to bring me to that, but this is more of a friend-to-friend conversation. But I don’t give homework, I don’t give practices, I don’t have indications for life. I’m just inviting you to watch yourself from another perspective, that’s it, and then see what life does with you.

Rick: Yeah, that actually leads to a question I was going to ask you which is that, you know, you’ve talked about this progression through these different stages and everything. And I’m wondering, were you doing anything to facilitate this progression or did it just happen spontaneously? And then the next question would be, well, would you advocated anything to others to go through this progression, or what should they do or not do in order to undergo similar development?

SCM: No, no, I didn’t … as a “me” I didn’t do anything; it was done to me. I mean, the “me”…

Rick: After the initial awakening there was just a momentum which put you through all this.

SCM: Yes. I mean, what we have to remember is that this process of integration is not happening to the persona, to the person; it is happening in consciousness. It is consciousness that is remaining the emptiness, awareness, always remaining untouched, pristine and still, meets itself in life – that is the moment of consciousness.

So, after one awareness that is as we know is empty, colorless, formless, soundless, bla, bla, there are endless levels of consciousness, of manifestation of consciousness. So, when this process of integration happens it doesn’t happen to the person, but the person is what consciousness is working on.

So, there is no indication for the person because it is already spontaneously happening, it will happen spontaneously. And the call for truth – as we say, “The father going into the mother” – all this is happening spontaneously and is progressing at the pace of how much honesty, courage, authenticity is there.

Rick: Yeah, I’m glad you said that because some people say things like, “Well, it’s absurd to talk of levels of consciousness or anything because there’s only this, there’s only oneness, and how could oneness have levels?”

And I think the answer would be, “Well, oneness, pure consciousness doesn’t have levels, but the degree to which it expresses or integrates into the person has many, many, many, many, many possible levels, endlessly perhaps.”

SCM: Yeah, endless. It’s like, the way in which I represent it sometimes, if I have to use an image, which of course is not going to be the thing in itself, it’s like if you have the sun and endless rays, endless beams are radiating.

The light of the sun remains undivided and unbreakable and eternal, the undying sun of awareness. And so all its beams have this light that is the same as the sun, it is one with the sun, at the same time, each beam is radiated in a point in space and time and appears as a form. But before appearing as a form it appears at subtle levels, then more and more dense, until it appears as a form.

This means that the sun is knowing itself through its own beams, and the ability of remaining conscious all the way through condensed and more condensed levels, is our ability to embody awakening.

We could say that when the beam discovers that its source of light is the sun, that is the initial awakening, and the ability to bring down light into matter and into density is the integration and embodiment. So, simultaneously we remain completely perfect and eternal where we are, and at the same time we know ourselves more and more in our expression, and this is embodiment.

Rick: Right, and there is no end to that second part.

SCM: No, it’s endless, because once it’s done for what seems to be this form, it will carry on anyway endlessly, you know, in your bigger form, your planet form, your universe – it’s endless. This is an endless universal game that Consciousness is playing through all our forms. And we are, at the same time, the creature and the creator, in one.

Rick: Yeah, beautiful. One thing that always puzzles me, and I have discussions about this with a friend and other friends, is the notion of the loss of a sense of the i-sense, the loss of a sense of personal self. In my own experience and understanding I can see losing the sense that that’s all I am and realizing that I am something much larger than that, but to lose it altogether, I don’t understand how living would be possible.

It’s like that ocean analogy: “Okay, yeah, I’m a wave but I’m not only a wave, I’m actually this ocean, but I’m ocean arising as this particular wave.” So, it’s not like the wave goes away, it’s more like one’s limited experience of “I am only the wave” goes away. How do you relate to that?

SCM: Yeah, yeah. I mean, my experience is that like at the beginning you believe you are the wave, and in the awakening, if the attention comes back completely on itself, you discover you are the depths of the ocean. And actually, the whole ocean, as manifestation, can disappear in that, and you have like a real disappearance of the entire manifestation into nothingness.

Then one comes back into life and I would say, a part of this energy that is now expressed will on some level be hooked in the form. Not that I feel it to be inside the body, but some part of this awareness is engaged with the body, otherwise the body would disappear.

Rick: Yeah, it would die or something.

SCM: Yeah, it’s like if you have Samadhi or something, you can have many levels of Samadhi in which you have, literally, a disappearing of the manifestation and a slowing down of time and its stopping.

Rick: Yeah, but that’s not a living experience.

SCM: No, these are peak experiences. And I’m just mentioning this to you to say that in order to work in a balanced way – again, the cross. I really like this analogy because for me, it tells a lot – it’s like you remain belonging to the true self and experiencing life.

So, if I take a glass of water and I start to see the disappearance of 1,000 molecules, then it’s not really functioning, you know? But taking a glass of water and at the same time being aware that this is a body that is happening in me, and there is no actual Rick there; Rick is just an image on the screen and yet at the same time talking to him as if he is real, and drinking the water, this is the balance.

If there is not this balance, you don’t bring that light into the beams until the end; you stop somewhere. So, meeting the form from the formless requires you to be so steady in the emptiness. so that you can actually engage in life.

When the body dies, these beams carry on as manifestation, but that expression, called Shakti, is finished. It’s like a page of a book, a chapter of a book that is finished. So, living life, coming back to what you were saying, living life in this sense is like a part of you remains engaged with the world, and the more you are able to remain engaged with the world and remain present to what you are, simultaneously, the more you are able to bring reality to the manifestation.

You fill the manifestation with your own reality.

Rick: Feel or fill?

SCM: Fill: f-i-l-l.

Rick: Fill, yes.

SCM: You fill up a manifestation with the reality of you, and the ability to do that, that’s the balance. Because maybe sometimes you topple over and you get attached to things, or you remain disengaged too much and you’re not able bring yourself into matter. That’s the integration, you see: how much can the light of awareness meet life? How much? To the deepest, to the darkest spot of Consciousness, to our wild, raw, and dark side? Can we do that? Because if we can do that, then we meet everything.

Rick: Good. I want to ask you some questions about that, but first I’m going to ask a question from a viewer, which relates to what you’re saying, and whatever you don’t answer in this then I’ll ask more.

This is from Mark Peters in Santa Clara, California. He asks, “Can you speak more about your current sense of beingness? Do you feel yourself to be sitting on the couch, looking out from behind your eyes, or heart, or gut, into the computer’s camera, or is the emptiness simultaneously looking without and within from everything in the sensory field? Or …?” Question mark.

SCM: Okay, I hope I am able to explain this clearly. I’m not feeling that I’m sitting on the couch; I am the emptiness in which the sitting is happening. And the feeling of cold feet is happening.

Rick: Cold feet? Oh, do you want to get some socks?

SCM: No, it’s okay, it’s okay … it’s fine. And I am the emptiness that is experiencing the joy and the fun of having this conversation, and I am what is creating all of this. I am conscious of it and at the same time I am playing the role, as if I’m just here.

There is no thought or feelings before these words. There is nothing before these words; these words come up from emptiness, and everything is arising from the emptiness of my being, including this conversation.

But I’m not … I don’t know anything about this conversation and at the same time, I don’t understand it. I don’t know anything, not in the way I used to know it. I am this conversation, I don’t know it. So, I know nothing, and I am everything, this is my experience.

Rick: That’s good. Maybe he will have a follow up question, but it reminds me of the way I try to describe it if people ask, which is that: I’m everywhere, I’m nowhere, and I’m right here. It’s like all three are true, you know?

And you could extend this to creation itself: here it is, and yet it’s not; nothing ever happened, and both seem to be true.

SCM: Yes, because you are the impossible meeting between from and void. Human experience is the miracle in which incredibly, the formless appears as a form and yet is still conscious of its formlessness. This is impossible for the mind [to understand] because you see, the mind is an object, so the mind cannot understand this.

I gave up my understanding, I gave up my feelings, I gave up everything, in order to be everything.

Rick: But it’s fun to talk about even though we can’t totally understand it with the mind, it’s like you play around it, you know?

SCM: Yeah! Because isn’t this so passionate, even just trying to say it and failing all the time, so we resay it again? This is my life …

Rick: Yeah, it’s part of the integration really, it’s integrating it into words even though it can’t be integrated.

SCM: Yes, absolutely, I agree with you. It’s good that you said this because that’s why my teaching is made up of questions and answers and is not theoretical, because when people are able to bring something up on the word-level and on the sound-level, the deep feeling, that deep movement of consciousness that is moving when they are able to bring it up into words, the consciousness is more able to see it clearly.

In other words, even the making of a question is part of the understanding, part of the true understanding. And then the ability to watch the question from emptiness will allow emptiness to change the question and dissolve it, because a true answer is the dissolving of the question.

Rick: Right, and that’s why we love somebody like Rumi, who was a master of expressing the inexpressible.

SCM: Yeah, yeah, because he was more in love with the love than with the words for the Beloved.

Rick: Yeah, like you said, he was speaking from the heart and using words, which usually belong to the mind, but actually channeling them from the heart, as it were.

SCM: Yeah, and that is the integration, you know? When you integrate it here, then you can speak out from your heart.

Rick: Yeah. Can you think of examples of speaking from the gut, speaking from the hara? … besides yourself J

SCM: I don’t know, nothing is coming to mind right now.

Rick: Okay, don’t worry about it.

SCM: [If you are asking about what is the quality,] I would say that there is not even a feeling anymore, there is no feeling behind it, there is nothing. And there is a movement on the tree level.

I would say, if I’m speaking about this form as a tool, this tool is using these three centers simultaneously. So, it is clarifying, opening the heart, and resting in the neutrality, simultaneously.

Rick: Yeah. Let’s talk about the body or the person, or whatever we are, as a tool, for a second. So, traditionally it is understood that this tool contains a number of different components, they are the organs of action, such as the mouth and the hands and the feet and so on. These are the organs of senses and perception, the five senses. So, those are called the karmendriyas and jnanendriyas, I think.

And then there are subtler components that we hear talked about, like the jiva and the atman, and the various subtle terms. And so if someone says, “All sense of a personal self has fallen away and there’s just a functioning,” that this body is just a “functioning,” is that your experience?

SCM: Yes, because you know, we are the functions of God. As the forms, we are the functioning of awareness. So, there is no person, there is just action. Shakti is an action of the awareness, Rick is an action of awareness, and teaching – there is no teacher, there is [only] the function. You see, the guru is a function.

Guru, and you know this much better than I do, means from darkness to light, gu-ru, and is a function, and life is the guru. Life is the function through which Consciousness is waking up, and in this sense, life is the guru, and can appear as human form, sometimes, that express that function. And if you remember this, you won’t believe that truth comes from people.

There is no truth coming from people, at all. Truth is not in people. There is no truth in my words.

Rick: Yeah, no, I understand that part. So, let’s say that Shakti Caterina is a function, and as a function she has a body with its organs of action, she has senses – she can see, smell, hear, taste, and is that all there is to it, or is there some kind of something or other that distinguishes her from other people that if we go into a room and we say, “Hey Shakti,” she turns her head, because there’s a sense of … some sense of personhood still exists, it hasn’t been totally obliterated? Is that true to say or no?

SCM: There is not that … that turning of the head is not because there is a “me” here feeling that and turning the head when you are talking to me.

Rick: So, why does that happen?

SCM: Ha, ha … it’s not easy to explain. It happens simultaneously that I am the caller and the called, they are happening in the emptiness of being. So, I’m experiencing myself as the calling and as the called, but because I’m using this tool, and this may better answer your question, because I’m using this tool I’m experiencing the vibration of the voice here in my mouth, you know, that is moving the lips and moving the skull, because a sound is produced, and it is felt here because this is the tool.

Rick: Right, but what you really are is all the people in the room, and the table and everything else, so why doesn’t the table turn its head, or why doesn’t your friend Joe turn his head when somebody says, “Hey Shakti?” It’s because there’s something associated with this particular tool that knows that that’s what they’re referring to, you know?

SCM: But that’s because in what you are saying there is the assumption that there’s somebody here that decided to move, and there isn’t. Everything is more clear if you understand this: all that is appearing is not appearing as a doing, it is appearing as being, okay?

So, in my own being somebody arrives and says, “Hey Shakti,” and in my being, this body is moving. But because I’m experiencing my own being through this tool, I experience the senses – the hearing, the eyesight, the feeling of the fingertips, and all the rest, here, because I’m experiencing, I’m touching myself, I’m touching my being through this spot.

Rick: Yes, but to even say “my” being, it’s not your being; it’s Being. There’s no possession of it.

SCM: Yeah, yeah, yeah. When I say “my being,” I’m not speaking about it being mine because everything is me, so that’s why I say “my being.”

Rick: I see, that’s why you’re saying that. So, anybody could say that? Everybody can say “my being?”

SCM: Yeah, of course! Of course, everything is my being, everything is the Being, you know. But there is not anybody else that can say that in my world, because anybody else is an expression of my being. So, calling is happening in my being and it is happening so that I experience the body moving, but there is not an author of this action.

It is clear here that there is not a somebody that because I look here, I move like this. The proof would be like if you were to watch a movie, let’s say, and in the movie somebody is replying and says something, that doesn’t mean that there is a person inside the screen actually moving; it’s just the appearance of that.

Rick: Yeah.

SCM: So, the appearance of that, actually, the entire appearance of that is a movement of your own being. I don’t want to sound complicated but if you really see that there is nobody here but just beingness, everything gets very easy.

It is simply that this Being, this one Being, is expressing itself through a particular form, so it has an experience on the sensorial level only through this location. If for instance, let’s say, your dog has to go for a pee, I don’t feel the pee and the bladder of the dog, at the same time, from my perspective, from this tool that I’m using to experience my own creation that is life, I will experience the dog from this particular point of view. And you experience your dog from another point of view, maybe as a being that is behind your back, you know, or as something that is behind your back that is leaving or moving, or I don’t know, breathing or something.

So, in saying this, and I hope I that this doesn’t make it even more complicated, there are moments in which you side-viewing or peek …

Rick: Out of the corner of your eye.

SCM: Yeah, yeah, in which you see the entire scene. Like there’s a geometrical representation, as Jean Klein was saying, of the entire scene. And you can watch something from many points of view, simultaneously, but this can be done just out of the corner of your eye, because if you do that, your body would dissolve into light, and this is what happens when we die.

Rick: Interesting. There are a couple of things I want to say here. One is that, what you are indicating here is that we are the Divine intelligence that animates all forms and that there is really nothing other than that, the forms themselves are that, but it somehow functions through a particular form, or this form or that form.

So, through this form, the Shakti form, you don’t experience that the dog needs to pee, but the Divine intelligence as expressed in the dog, the dog has that experience. So, in other words, we don’t gain omniscience by having this, in which we know what everybody in the world and in the universe is thinking and needing and feeling, and all; we just know what is happening in our particular form, again, calling it “our” particular form … go ahead.

SCM: Yeah, because we don’t meet in the experience; we meet in the non-experience. so, I am the known experience of your dog …

Rick: Known, k-n-o-w-n, known?

SCM: I am the no, n-o, the no-experience …

Rick: No-experience.

SCM: Yeah, we are meeting the non-experience of our being, we meet it in the nothingness, we are meeting nothingness, okay? And so I am the no, n-o, experience of your dog, and when you live from this, the forms seem to answer to that. It’s like the manifestation seems to bow, to answer, to reply to this knowing.

Okay, but it doesn’t mean that I’m experiencing what everybody is thinking or feeling, that would be very confusing.

Rick: That would be omniscience.

SCM: Yeah, and …

Rick: But the Divine, we presume, does experience that, if we could say. Because the Divine is experiencing what the moth is experiencing, what the dog is, what the elephant is; all those things are sense-organs of the Infinite.

SCM: Yes! Yes! Yes! And that is emptiness. Emptiness is experiencing the moth flying and being in love with the flame, and is experiencing the dog saying, “Oh, why are you taking me for a walk?” Or experiencing the cold feet of Shakti or the fun of the conversation with Rick.

God is experiencing it; it’s the emptiness. So, when you rest in the emptiness you kind of sense that, but it doesn’t mean that you know it, you know? And simultaneously, at least in the human experience, you are experiencing your limitless and your limited function.

I think that your question helps to clarify what I said before, about this meeting point of the human being the bridge between form and emptiness. You remain conscious to the emptiness, at the same time, you are experiencing yourself as human. So, I’m experiencing life as Shakti and I can call that “my life,” of course, you know?

Rick: Yeah, you could even call it “your self” – your relative self, in your relative perception.

SCM: Yeah, yeah, yeah. At the same time, it’s as if you have one tree, you know, with a lot of buds, and the spring time comes. And the spring time makes the tree blossom. And so you are, at the same time, the spring time that is bringing the tree to life and making the buds blossom, and you are also the buds.

Rick: Your particular bud, yeah.

SCM: So, you are experiencing the springtime from the bud’s point of view, knowing that you are the tree.

Rick: Yeah, so I guess the reason that I get hung-up on this point is that – and it relates to what you were just saying, which is that – I don’t see why … I don’t have a problem with the idea, but I may be totally wrong, that we have the physical body, we have the senses, we have the organs of action and all, and that on some subtle level there is a something that associates with this particular body, that is like an interface through which this body is animated, which is not ultimately what we are, but is some degree of expression, or relative expression, that is unique to each being.

SCM: Yeah, yeah. I agree totally with you. Just take off the idea that there is somebody that is having the experience and then we agree completely.

Rick: Yeah, I think I can take that off.

SCM: That’s it, that’s it. What’s happening is that the entire game is experiencing Self through one of its characters.

Rick: Yes, and its character consists of these components: organs of senses, organs of action, and some kind of jiva or some kind of  kernel of individuality which is not ultimately real, but which is essential to the functioning of that particular expression.

SCM: Yeah, yeah. I wouldn’t really say that it’s a functional ego, I wouldn’t call it that. I would say that it is simply the functioning of the tool having a sense of knowing like, “Oh, what is happening to this body? This body needs to eat.” But I don’t say that, what I do say is, “I’m hungry. I’m going to prepare a meal.”

Rick: Let’s go for it.

SCM: Yeah.

Rick: Yeah, well that’s helpful. It helps to resolve something that has sort of been bugging me for some time.

SCM: If I can say this, maybe I would ask myself: is there an unconsciousness in my consciousness? This is what I would ask if I were you. Is this a place where I want to land? Is this a place where I want to put my feet down and land? A safe place to land, you know? And then maybe if I can land here safely, I can experience everything.

I don’t know, I had this feeling when you asked me this question. I don’t know if it makes sense to you.

Rick: Well, I’m not completely clear on what you’re asking or saying, maybe you could say it slightly differently, maybe?

SCM: I mean, when we ask, it seems that these kinds of questions are questions of localization, where there is a desire to locate yourself somewhere, you know?

Rick: I think what I’m trying to understand is the mechanics of it, where sometimes people speak in a way that seems to contradict the way they apparently function, and [so] I’m trying to understand the mechanics of the functioning, and whether there is really a complete elimination of any sort of individual expression of being and the whole functioning is like an empty shell, or whether that thing is very subtle.

Like here’s an example, here’s an analogy. Let’s say a stream, which is very localized river, goes into the ocean and you can no longer distinguish it from the ocean. And yet within the ocean you have currents which are flowing this way and that way, which might be hard to distinguish from the ocean but they, in a sense, even though they are really just the ocean, there’s something within the ocean that has some kind of individual expression.

SCM: Yeah, but that individual expression – and I love your analogy, it is very good, because it’s all just water, so it’s a very good analogy – that current, is a movement of the Being.

Rick: Right, it’s a movement of the Being within the person.

SCM: Yes, it’s not a movement of a person that is doing it. The fact that there is individuality and manifestation is not proof that we are separate…

Rick: No, I agree.

SCM: Okay? So, we are all flowers of the same tree. If we see this, [if we can see it as that] the individual expression of what appears to be – that I am here and you are there, that I am my thoughts and my feelings – it is all simply a movement of consciousness that is appearing like that, it is all the same consciousness.

Rick: Yeah, I was not implying that … right, it’s all Being, just sort of interacting within itself.

SCM: Exactly. That’s why as I was saying before, maybe it is a matter of localization, of knowing where you land your feet. If you land your feet on Being, then it all makes sense, it’s all just a movement of your own being.

It is like if you have a symphony and you have a flute or a violin playing. Anyway, the symphony is the symphony, but the symphony is played out through the flute, and through the violin, and through the piano, and so on.

Rick: Good point, and it’s all one orchestra.

SCM: Exactly.

Rick: Yeah, I mean, they are individual instruments, yes, but in the bigger picture it is just one orchestra and the individual instruments are just components within that orchestra.

SCM: And it seems that they are played out by individuals but actually, it is the music that is playing through all these. It is the silence that is vibrating and producing sound.

Rick: Yeah, which brings up an interesting point and it relates to that thing you said a little bit ago about peering out of the corner of your eye, which is that, could we think of Being not as being a just completely homogenous wholeness, but as actually having impulses within it, impulses of intelligence, energy, whatnot, that are sort of percolating within the wholeness of being?

SCM: Of course, of course. Seeing everything as one Being doesn’t mean that everything is harmonious as the mind thinks it is harmonious. Like there is darkness, there is light, there is everything, you know?

The beauty of being impersonal is that you can express as anything, whether as individuality or impersonality, it is you meeting the human experience, and this to me is the greatness of the human experience, because it is the meeting of the two things together.

So, you can see contradictions, paradox, things going in opposite directions, in one being! Why not? It is only when you hook to a side do you say, “Oh, this can’t be.” But in love, this can’t be, because love is unconditional; anything can be in love, otherwise it is not love, I mean, at least it’s not what I would call love.

Rick: This is what the word ‘Brahman’ is supposed to signify, I believe. Brahman comes from a word meaning ‘great,’ and the idea is that it’s the absolute, the relative, everything contained within a larger wholeness and the whole is more than the collection of its parts.

SCM: Exactly.

Rick: And so it kind of harmonizes or subsumes everything within a larger reality.

SCM: Yes, it is absolutely like this. We are, from the absolute of our being, we appear as the relative, while remaining the absolute. Everything is contained in this. So, when calling somebody and their head turns, as famously said, that doesn’t mean that there is a somebody there; it means that the absolute is experiencing as if it were a person, and it is experiencing that as if it were a person, as a movement of my being.

My cold feet are a movement of my being.

Rick: Yes, it is being as if they were cold feet – Being as if it were cold feet. And we have Being as if it were the moon, and Being as if it were the galaxy, and so on, yeah.

SCM: Exactly. There is no – and I don’t know if this will be more helpful, but there is no subject-object relationship, you know? I’m not emptiness experiencing life; it’s just all a movement of my own being.

So, speaking is a movement of my being, listening is a movement of my being, everything is moving and is me.

Rick: And yet, could you say that whereas in reality there is no subject-object relationship, there is just oneness, just Being, and yet at the same time there is a subject-object relationship, where there is the knower, the known, and the process of knowing, and yet at the same time there isn’t, and yet there is, and yet there isn’t, and there’s like infinite frequency between the two?

SCM: Yes, because for Oneness to know itself it has to appear as two.

Rick: Exactly, yeah.

SCM: And you see, I think that in a sense, the only one that remains persuaded in this is the one that won’t contain this in a phrase or in a frame, or into something, otherwise, this remains as just an openness with no answer.

Rick: Yeah, and you see, that’s why they talk in the Vedic tradition of the “infinite dynamism” at the root of creation. Shiva, which is pure silence, and Shakti, which is your name and is also the sort of tendency to manifestation that is contained within the infinite silence, and ultimately manifestation doesn’t happen, and yet it does.

And the sort of infinite frequency between three and one and three and one, creates the fact that there’s this huge potential latent in every … even in physics they say that in a cubic centimeter of empty space there is more latent energy than there is in the whole manifest universe.

SCM: Yeah, because everything is pulsating – appearing and disappearing, like, we are here, and we are not here. And the fact that we are not here, allows us to be here.

Rick: Perfect! Now that thing you said a little while ago about peering out of the corner of your eye, kind of caught my attention, and I’m wondering what that signifies. But I had heard this explanation many years ago, that the growth of wholeness takes place by the expansion of the circumference of awareness, to incorporate more and more and more of creation, such that initially it would be one’s primary object of attention, that it would be seen in terms of the self, and then secondary, and then tertiary, and then on and on out, until eventually the whole creation was incorporated in that wholeness. I’m wondering if that might be what you’re alluding to there, or maybe not.

SCM: Ummm, you see, everything that is appearing, and science is explaining this much better than I am, is like a fractal appearing. What I was referring to when I spoke about geometrical representations, which is actually an expression of Jean Klein’s, a master whom I really love and appreciate, is that there can be a moment in which you look at manifestation and you catch the perfection of the manifestation, not because you land on any point of view, but it’s like that for a second, you simultaneously hold a whole point of view – for a second.

Rick: Right.

SCM: And you see that all that amounts to nothing, and you die like [you would in] a climax; you climax in the joy of seeing the perfection of it. Of course this is a peak experience, but it is an experience that tis possible when you meet and know yourself into everything.

Rick: Yeah. Well they say that the whole is contained in all the parts, that what is here is everywhere and what is not here is nowhere at all. And it’s kind of like a hologram, you know, the way a hologram works is that you have piece of film, and if you shine a laser through it, it projects the original object that was imprinted in that hologram.

Then you cut the piece of film in half and just shine a laser through the half-piece of film, and you get the same object, in its totality, because the whole is contained in all the parts.

SCM: Yeah, and what is appearing is the reflection, the manifestation of a light that remains always unseen. But what if you could peek at the pattern of it for just a fraction of a second? You would die in ecstasy.

Rick: Yeah. Maybe the growth from the stage you have described so far is in the direction of being able to do that without dying.

SCM: Yeah, I mean, I had that and the body seems to be alive.

Rick: Yeah, now maybe you could have it for one minute, two minutes, ten minutes, an hour.

SCM: Yeah, but I enjoy being here and being sucked in – drinking a glass of water and having cold feet, and having fun with my new friend Rick.

Rick: Yeah, but that’s not to say you wouldn’t still be able to do that, even if that degree of expansion had taken place.

SCM: Yes. I don’t want to sound complicated and I also don’t want to give the impression that I am having anything special here, because this is really not my intention. I want people to see that this is possible and true for them, exactly as they are now in their lives.

Rick: Oh yeah!

SCM: But I do experience people in myself. Like many times, maybe a face appears here and the person calls me and says, “I had this understanding. I was watching a video of yours,” and so I have an extended knowing of myself, beyond the apparent limitation of my form. But I don’t speak a lot about it because this would confuse people in believing that they have to have psychic or strange experiences in order for them to see what they are.

Rick: No, I understand that. Amma sometimes says that – when people have asked her about this, she says that when she goes to bed at night she is flooded with the images of the people all over the world who are thinking of her and sort of reaching out to her and stuff like that, and that she somehow, on some level processes all that, you know, deals with it.

And I don’t think it should confuse people or make them feel that that this is some weird, special state that they would never attain; I think it’s always good to have a vision of possibilities and to really know to what extent human evolution can progress. And not to be unrealistic or unnatural about it and assume that we have attained something we haven’t, nor to be discouraged and feel like, “I’ll never attain what that person did,” but to just have a clear idea of the roadmap, of what the territory covers.

SCM: Okay, thank you for saying this. I mean for me, speaking of maps, teachers are like maps, and we are the treasure. And so if this map is of any use, please use it. Definitely, before coming here to the United States – and I’ve been here for more than a month and I’ll be leaving in March – it’s like I met many people in myself before meeting them in form, before even knowing their name, you know? But I met the shape of them in my being.

When I arrived here – this sounds very New Age, I know, but it surprised me a lot – the first night I arrived here I didn’t sleep because I had a lot of jet lag … it was nine-hour flight.

Rick: Sure.

SCM: But I was here, actually on this same couch at my friend’s house, watching the San Francisco Bay from the window. And I couldn’t sleep but I couldn’t make any noise because everybody was sleeping, so I was just watching the view. And I started sensing myself as the Bay, and I was starting to sense myself as the ocean.

And at a certain point I sensed in myself whales, and the consciousness of whales.

Rick: Interesting.

SCM: And I made this amazing contact with them, as if I was kind of speaking with them. I don’t know if this makes any sense to you. And I’m not the kind of person like a dolphin-person or a whale-person, I mean I love all animals, but I’ve never been in touch with this before so it surprised me.

Rick: Right, you’re not the animal communicator like some people are, yeah.

SCM: Yeah. So, I’m giving this example to say that the ability of Consciousness to know itself in manifestation is very ample and is not limited to the forms. So, for me, this experience I had was very beautiful and left me with a great love for these animals and what they represent in Consciousness. They are in a sense … how to say …

You know, everything is like a seed that is expressing as a form, and so I touched the seed of their expression and I am so grateful that they exist and for the big love that is there, in these animals; huge love for humanity, it’s beautiful. And the frequency of their sound is like a love-prayer for the earth, for Gaia.

This was something that happened in me, and it’s all my imagination, but it was something very real for me, in a sense, you know, very strong. And this is just an example to tell you that you can experience things that are beyond your apparent limitation.

But I wouldn’t give so much attention towards it because otherwise you end up believing that it is about having experiences, when it is really about meeting life as it is. I’m sorry if this sounds very nitty gritty … this is a British word, but it’s very ordinary. Because sometimes otherwise we sometimes we get lost in the possibility of having special effects experiences, and I had a lot … I had an endless amount of kundalini experiences, psychic experiences, many things. Maybe because it’s because my body is inclined towards it, it’s a function of the body, but it doesn’t mean that I’m awakened because of it.

Rick: No, it’s just a kind of add-on, sort of.

SCM: Yeah, because you can have these experiences and not be awakened. You can be very empathic and be very psychic and not be awakened, and you can be awakened and not have these experiences. And for you, you may be just the ordinary John’s Meat around the corner, and it’s okay! And it’s actually beautiful to be John’s Meat.

Rick: Here’s an analogy. Let’s say that life is like a big territory. And in the territory there are diamond mines and gold mines and silver mines, and all kinds of interesting things that you could explore, but the territory is commanded by a fort, in the middle. And if you start exploring all the mines without having first captured the fort, then it is not really your territory. And it can be you are on shaky ground, like the owner of the territory might come get you, or something.

So, you want to capture the fort first, and then having captured the fort, you can choose, if you wish, to explore this or that, or to just stay in the fort; it’s all according to your dharma, you know? But that kind of puts things in perspective.

So, there could be people out there exploring these mines who haven’t captured the fort, there could be people have captured the fort who aren’t exploring the mines, or there could be people who are doing both, but at least capturing the fort is first priority.

SCM: Yeah. The greatest thing I was advised on was: whenever you are experiencing an energetic experience you might get, just let it be an experience. Don’t play with it, don’t claim it …

Rick: Don’t make a big deal of it, yeah.

SCM: Don’t make it a big deal at all, don’t become proud of it; it’s just stuff, you know? So, this was a great tip because considering the amount of stuff that happens after awakening, to the body, like a lot, a lot, a lot, a lot, a lot of kundalini experiences, probably because the body hadn’t done any purification before that, so it was like full force, you know?

So, it would have been confusing for me if I had had somebody telling me, “Oh, you know, it’s great that you had this because it means this, and it means that …”

Rick: You’re special, yeah.

SCM: Yeah. I mean, many people are actually experiencing kundalini, they have kundalini experiences without knowing what kundalini is. It is very, very common, as you probably know, even more common than what we believe. And maybe they get scared of it, so maybe after they have gone to the doctor and they see that there is no disease, of course, that maybe it is something else, [this can be] useful. But going into the details about it can be very confusing, in my experience.

Rick: Yeah. And indulging in it and sort of milking it, and you know, getting into kriyas and shouting and all that stuff, just sort of overdramatizing it, I think that can be a hang-up too.

SCM: I mean I had people experiencing like a spontaneous mudra and movement of the hands and you know, and those things can happen. But if you think about it, all those things happen because there is actually an obstacle [that] Shakti is trying to work out through the form.

So, these are actually signs of resistance, because the greatest realization is nothingness, it’s silence, it’s stillness. So, being normal and being silent is the greatest achievement; not doing many mantras … sorry, I mean mudras…

Rick: Yeah, mudras and kriyas and all that stuff.

SCM: Yeah.

Rick: Yeah, I mean can you imagine Ramana? Would he be sitting there going through kriyas or anything? He had arrived, you know, he had worked it all out.

SCM: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. And I mean for me, what is important is really for people to see that whatever is their experience, they don’t have to be afraid of it. Whatever the experience is, you are the no-experience experiencing it. you are nothingness experiencing.

You can actually welcome everything in life, you don’t have to be afraid of life. This is the greatest thing, for me.

Rick: You should have a confidence perhaps that something good is happening, even if you don’t completely understand that it’s good. But just be patient, be tolerant, persevere … yeah.

SCM: Yes! That what is happening is actually a movement of your own being and something that is coming to reveal something to you that maybe you haven’t seen, or something to experience.

You know, we tend to apply a meaning to things and we say, “Oh, this is happening because … so I understand this,” but it’s even more beyond that, you know?

Rick: Yeah, beyond our human understanding.

SCM: Yeah, its meeting life, and maybe some understanding comes out of it, or maybe it’s just like I just did it, you know, it just happened. This has been my life.

Rick: There’s something cool about that whale experience you had that I’m just tempted to say, which is that it seems to me that I don’t think it was your imagination, I feel you probably were having a real experience. But what it indicates or signifies is that whereas, let’s say, the iceberg appears just very small above the water, but as you go deeper, it turns out to be much bigger than it appears.

So, the capacity of our senses, which is very limited on the gross level, just through the physical body, if we get down to the subtler level of the senses, expands out to include a much greater range than the physical body could possibly experience.

SCM: This (referring to the physical body) is the tip of the sunbeams.

Rick: Right, the tip or the iceberg or the sunbeams … or whatever metaphor we want to use!

SCM: So, our being, is all there is.

Rick: Yeah. Interesting. Okay, well this has been totally delightful and we could go on for another two hours …

SCM: Thank you.

Rick: But like the dog you alluded to, perhaps we both have to pee, I don’t know J

SCM: Or we sense it … no, I’m just joking.

Rick: But I’m sure we’ll do another one day, you know, especially since you have this attitude, which I agree with, that there’s no end to it, so it’s interesting to consider … I mean, I’ve talked to people at the end of interviews and said, “Well, where do you think you’ll go from here?” And they say, “Where could it go? This is it.”

But I have a feeling that if I were to talk to you in five years, we would have a whole new conversation based upon everything that had unfolded in the last five years.

SCM: Yes, probably, probably. Where I’m heading to, and I’ll leave you with this, is really like how when you really belong to your true self, how really the form and the manifestation, the physical form is re-formed in a new way.

Rick: Yeah, it’s totally transformed. And it actually can be transformed to the point – theoretically, there are tales of this in the traditional things – of becoming celestial body instead of just a physical, gross, fleshly, blood-body.

SCM: Yeah, yeah, it is like that, but because it’s something that I’m still inquiring in myself, I’ll tell you in five years!

Rick: We’ll just be sitting here in our light bodies in five years …

SCM: Or maybe we’ll just be here having coffee and saying, “Oh, how is the dog? Is that a new dog?” and it will be great anyway.

Rick: In any event, you coming to the SAND Conference in October?

SCM: Yes, I am.

Rick: Good, so I’ll see you out there and maybe some of the people watching or listening to this will like to come, it’s always great fun to go to that Conference and get to meet with everybody.

SCM: Yes, yes, absolutely, absolutely. SAND, I don’t know if I can mention this, SAND …

Rick: Sure, I always promote SAND.

SCM: SAND has actually organized a retreat with me in California, between the 14th of March and the 18th of March in Mount Madonna in Watsonville, and so if anybody is inspired, there is still space and you’re welcome to come.

Rick: Great! And I think you’re going up to Seattle, right?

SCM: Yeah, I’m going to Seattle, to Portland, and to New York.

Rick: Whereabouts in New York?

SCM: We are actually still searching for a place …

Rick: Oh alright. Is it in the City or Upstate someplace?

SCM: Manhattan.

Rick: In Manhattan, okay. So, actually, let’s make this simple. I’ll link to your website and you’ll have all this stuff on your website … where you’re going to be and all of that. You probably have some email thing where people can sign up to be notified

SCM: Of course … yeah, yeah. If people write to the email on my website: , I can send them all the information.

Rick: I’ll put a page up on with all that … linking to that.

SCM: Thank you.

Rick: And also, there is a thing on , I believe it’s under the ‘Resources’ menu where we have a geographic index, where if somebody types in “Seattle,” for instance, they automatically, quickly see what’s going on, among all the people I’ve interviewed so far, in the Seattle area. And then it radiates out by distance, so you might see “5 miles away,” “50 miles away,” “100 miles away.”

So, we’ll send you information to register for that and if people hadn’t heard of that, they might want to check it out.

SCM: That’s very cool, really, I like it. Thank you so much.

Rick: You’re welcome. It’s really been a delight speaking with you and also listening to your talks, in preparation for this. And I feel like I’ve made a nice new friend, even though she doesn’t exist.

SCM: Ha, ha, ha …yes, I feel the same.

Rick: And we’ll see you in October.

SCM: Thank you, thank you, Rick.

Rick: Okay, and thanks to those who have been listening or watching. What were you going to say? Were you going to say something else?

SCM: No, just that it has been really nice to speak … really delightful, and I’m really happy to be here and to meet all these new friends. Thank you.

Rick: Good, yes, you’re welcome. Namaste.

SCM: Be well, Namaste.

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