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Sharon Hewitt Rawlette Interview
Rick Archer: Welcome to Buddha at the Gas Pump. My name is Rick Archer. Buddha at the Gas Pump is an ongoing series of conversations with spiritually Awakening people. We’ve done well over 600 of them now. And if this is new to you, and you’d like to check out previous ones, please go to batgap.com Bat gap and look under the past interviews menu. This program is made possible through the support of appreciative listeners and doers. So if you appreciate it and would like to help support it, there’s a PayPal button on every page of the website and a page that covers a few alternatives to PayPal. My guest today is Sharon Hewitt Rawlette. Sharon is a philosopher and writer who studies extraordinary experiences and what they have to tell us about consciousness and the deeper nature of the world we live in. She has a PhD in philosophy from New York University, and has taught for two years at Brandeis University before leaving academia in 2010. For a career as an independent writer and researcher, her foray into the realm of extraordinary experience began with synchronicities, and her first non academic book was the source and significance of coincidences, published in 2019. And 2020, she published a memoir about her personal spiritual journey, the supreme victory of the heart. And then in November 2001, she was named a runner up in the Bigelow Institute for consciousness studies essay, essay contest for her essay beyond death, on the best evidence for the survival of human consciousness after death. And that’s how I found out about it, right. I hadn’t even heard about the big, big little thing until it was over. And then I was looking down listening, so I’ll share and she looked interesting. So we invited her. She has also contributed to a forthcoming collaborative volume on deep weird, and a French collective work on the role of the Trickster and paranormal phenomenon. So we can talk about some of that stuff, too. Oh, also, she wrote a book in 2016, called the feeling of value, moral realism grounded in phenomenal consciousness, which as I understand it, is a discussion of whether moral values ethical values are just human constructs, you know, which might be somewhat arbitrary from one culture to the next, or whether they are intrinsic to consciousness or deeper, some deeper reality that we all share. So that’ll be interesting. We’ll get into that too. Okay. Sure. Is that a good introduction to cover all the bases? Yeah, I think so. Good. How did you first get interested in this kind of thing?
Sharon Hewitt Rawlette: Well, it was through coincidence or synchronicity experiences that I had. I mean, I probably had always had sort of a vague interest in whether phenomena like telepathy or clairvoyance were real. And so anytime I wish, you know, here somewhere about some kind of research that had been done on that I would investigate it. But I really didn’t come across anything that was that convinced to me, it was something that backlog items like that would be cool, if that turned out to be true. But you know, I don’t know. So I I actually grew up an evangelical Christian and then lost my faith in college. When for the first time I could, it’s kind of ironic because I went to a Christian college. But it was a very, an environment that really encouraged intellectual exploration. And so while I was there, I suddenly found myself able to conceive of the world without God in a way that I had never been able to before. And once I was able to actually conceive that that might be the case, I realized that I didn’t have any good evidence for God’s existence. What? So? So that’s kind of the background and so I became an atheist, or at least a hopeful agnostic and my better moments. And that went on for I don’t know about a decade, and it was really a difficult transition for me out of religion and into atheism, because it was, the religion was my whole world. But at that point, I was actually homeschooled through most of my growing up years. Well, not most of my growing up years through high school in high school, I was homeschooled. And so I was really surrounded by Christians surrounded by Christians at my college and just felt very at home in that community. But once I had to step away from it for intellectual reasons, I didn’t really know how to think of myself outside of that setting. So I didn’t want to become an atheist, I didn’t want to leave that community. And I prayed really fervently during that period where I was losing my faith, for some kind of sign from God, that really God was there. And didn’t get anything. Like really just complete silence. So, so that went on for like, 10 years. And it was after those 10 years that some big transitions were happening in my life, some really difficult transitions. And I started to have these experiences that were very much like what I had wished to have before when I was about to, you know, give up my childhood of faith. And suddenly, I was thinking, Well, okay, then what’s going on here? Is it true that there really is something else and it was just silent for all of those years. That’s what felt. But at that point, the experiences that I were have that I was having, they were just sort of they were subtle little hints, you know, that, like, some of them would be like seeing a number that was very important to me at crucial moments where I was, you know, in a really difficult place, and then it would pop up in a really improbable way. 30 Yes, 30 drink. And, you know, so, you know, you tell people who are skeptical about this, you know, well, this number keeps showing up, and I’m like, so what, like, you know, so, no, it wasn’t something that I was blabbing to a lot of people about. But I started exploring more, and I started doing more reading. And through coincidence, a couple of really important books came to me. One of them was want to be in Stevenson’s books, about his research on reincarnation. And one of them was a book by a French philosopher by toma you about it. He’s a philosopher, and he was talking about the evidence for clairvoyance, and telepathy. But not just saying, Well, this stuff exists, but he was comparing it to the way that every day memory processes work for us. So it was a really intriguing philosophical way of looking at this and say, Well, this is just how our brain works. So I started exploring these topics more and more. And it was about five, five years after that, five years after that, that suddenly the big one hit. And the one that got me, you know, actually writing a book and willing to talk about this. So the big one was something happened in 2015, I was going out to the mountains to hang out with some friends of mine from college. And at that period of my life, I was going through a lot of emotional turmoil, again, which is pretty characteristic for people that have these strong synchronicity experiences, they often come in these difficult times. And so I was thinking a lot about an ex of mine. And just, I had fallen out of touch with him. I was wondering what was going on in his life, you know, if things had turned out okay for him. And I was thinking about the country of France, where I had lived with him, he was French, so. So this was very much on my mind for a few weeks, even more really months before this event. So I’m driving up to Pennsylvania to see my college roommates. And on the way up there, there were some little interesting signs like, well, literal signs, actually, because I was driving on this in this part of Virginia, where there all these French town names. So there was, I guess it was on route 66, there was a sign that had three different names of towns and they were all actually towns in France. I was like, Oh, I could be driving on a highway in France right now. But you know, I didn’t think that much of it. So then I get up there to Pennsylvania. I’m hanging out with my friends. We go out one afternoon to look for a grocery store. And we don’t know the area. So my friend gets on her smartphone and she asked her to find the nearest grocery stores. And then because she’s driving the car, she hands me her phone. So when she hands me the phone, it has a list of maybe five different grocery stores in that area, near Johnstown, Pennsylvania. And I hit the map button, because I want to see these things laid out visually. So it takes a second to load. But when the math comes up, it’s not those grocery stores in Pennsylvania anymore. It is five French grocery stores by the name of the cloud. It’s a French grocery store chain. And each of them has the name of a French town after it, not the towns that I saw on the sign driving up there. But actual towns in France, one of them. I specifically remember the name of I had, I knew the town from when I had lived over there. So I couldn’t remember exactly what part of France it was in. So anyway, I see these on the map. And I asked my friend, I was like, I think your phone thinks that we’re in France, what what is going on, you know, I pushed one button, we hadn’t even been talking about the subject, like there was no reason for the phone, even if it I mean, this was the day before. In the days before phones, were really listening into your conversations. But even back then there was no reason for the phone to know about my thoughts or feelings about this place. She said she hadn’t done any, never looked for anything in France, whatever. So I just handed the phone back to her. When I got home after that trip, I googled the town that had come up on the phone, because I wanted to know where exactly in France it was the town of cafe. And it turned out that it was in Brittany, which is the region where I had lived with my access and where he still lived. As far as I knew. When I saw that it was in that region. It was like something. I mean, the emotion was very powerful. But it was also like I knew at that moment, that if that phone was showing me some town and Brittany, it must be because that’s where he was on that day. And this particular time wasn’t particularly close to where he lived. It was, I don’t know, maybe yeah, 60 miles or something. So it’s sort of the other side of Brittany. But so anyway, I wanted to know if perhaps he was in that place, but I wasn’t going to call him or anything. And I wasn’t going to email him about it. So I went online, and just out of the blue was like, Well, let me type in his name and the date that this happened and see if anything pops up. And lo and behold, he had posted on his blog, that he was going to be in this little town in Brittany on that particular day. And when I googled that town, it was two miles from Cafe and that grocery store that I had seen on the phone. So um, that was a really big coincidence. And it actually led me eventually to catch up with him and to find out some things, some wonderful things that have been going on in his life recently, he had just had his first child, actually. And it was a really nice sort of sharing that we had. So I, I feel now looking back, that that huge coincidence was put there in my life. In order for me to push me, Yahoo would I’ve been having these feelings that I wanted to know what was going on with him, but didn’t want to open that whole can of worms. But it pushed me to say, No, you need to do this. And then it really created this, this beautiful healing peaceful situation.
Rick Archer: Yeah. Then your book contains dozens, if not hundreds, of such stories, not just in your life, but in the lives of all kinds of people. Many of which are sort of jaw dropping, you think that, you know, this, the odds of the statistical probability of this particular thing happening are astronomical. You know, like the number of atoms in the universe or something, how could this happen? But there’s a lot of these things, and they happen to people all the time. And I’m sure that skeptical people like to excuse them away. And there’s very, I’ve heard logical arguments about how a certain number of, you know, apparently miraculous things are gonna happen in a person’s life periodically, anyway. But oh, sure, yeah. And you know, it’s worth listening to those arguments, but I think you and I are interested in we’re not brushing them away like that. And,
Sharon Hewitt Rawlette: well, I did do a lot of research about those probabilistic arguments. Because that, you know, I’m somebody who’s mathematically inclined, I was very interested in this. I wanted to know what are the skeptics right about that? Is it right that even though you This particular coincidence seems super convincing, you know, it’s, you know, billions to one, the odds that this would happen by chance, or one in a billion or so. So I’ve spent a long time spent months going through this and coming to this argument and figuring out how it worked. And I actually wrote a scholarly article about this, because nobody had really dealt with it in the depth that it needed to be dealt with. The people who had written articles were skeptics who, you know, and maybe five or six pages, they were just like, Yeah, you know, one in a million events happen, you know, every one and a million times. So there’s a lot of them out there. So I was I was really bothered by that. I wanted to know if there was anything to it. And ultimately, the thing is, yes, it’s true that a certain amount of these events are bound to happen purely by chance. But you have to look at the the overall picture, the total amount of these events that are happening, either to you or to people in the world as a whole? And are is the overall chance level of them. Or the overall level of them above chance. Or is it not? And in my experience, it’s above what you would expect to see by chance.
Rick Archer: Yeah. And I’ll have you tell a story. Just this morning, I was listening to your book, and there was a story of one guy who was a pastor or a minister of some sort, and he was having doubts about whether he was really having an impact with what he was doing. And then there was another there was some other lady who was feeling suicidal. And, and you know, the rest of you know what, sorry, I’m gonna tell that story.
Sharon Hewitt Rawlette: Yeah, so. So the pastor, he was out traveling around, he had like a bus, he was touring around talking in different places. And yeah, he was worried about whether he was having any impact whether he should just quit what he was doing. And he pulled into like a gas station or something. I think he went to get a drink. And as he’s, he’s like, had to walk a little ways to get a drink. And as he’s walking back to his bus, from this place, he passes a payphone that rings, and it keeps ringing. So finally, there’s nobody else picking it up. Because, well, let’s go see who this is. I’ll just let them know they’re calling a payphone. So he picks it up. And the woman on the other end asks for him. And it has been a little while since I’ve looked at this story, but she either said, I think what she said is that, oh, yes, she had come across his number in a very coincidental way. She’d like been in a despairing state, like you were saying, like, yeah, maybe suicidal. And she had been praying. She thought that this pastor maybe was the only person in the world who could help her. And so she prayed, Well, God, please like, find me a way to get in touch with him. And then these numbers had popped into her head. And so she had written them out with like, a phone number. And so she called him and she thought that she was calling, you know, his office in in Oregon or something. But somehow, these were the numbers of this payphone that he happened to be walking by.
Rick Archer: Yeah. And he answered it. And it not only restored his confidence, but it probably saved her life. Right?
Sharon Hewitt Rawlette: Right. Yeah, you’re having an issue, not only telling him you’re having an impact, but you’re divinely guided as well, thank you. You don’t have to be in charge of all this stuff. We’re bringing you the right people at the right time. And just keep on.
Rick Archer: Yeah. And so you know, those kinds of stories, I find them fascinating. They, they, they almost give me goosebumps sometimes. And and I don’t just say Wow, isn’t that cool? And then kind of go on. But I think okay, how does that happen? What are the mechanics? And I think you’re saying that, you know, these kinds of experiences brought you around to, you know, believing in God, again, probably a different orientation to God than you had when you were evangelical Christian. And I very much believe in that too. But I think we need to define what God is. And perhaps we could play a little bit with what the mechanics might be of how things like this might happen. And how that how that is relevant to, you know, the idea of there being God or angels or whatever. So why don’t you take it away with that, and I’ll have more questions, I’m sure.
Sharon Hewitt Rawlette: Sure. So, the way I lay things out in my book, I have different chapters for different possible sources for these events. So I talk about well do they come from God? Do they come from angels do they come from? Do we create them ourselves through telepathy or for through psychokinesis? Is there a law in the universe that Just makes similar things happen together. And so there’s just sort of this mechanistic process that causes things to coincide, and what seems like a meaningful way. So I try to break it down and that, and I provide a lot of stories that would lend credence to each of these different possible explanations. And ultimately, I think, probably that all of those explanations are the right explanation for individual experiences that people have, because coincidence is a very broad label for experiences really describing anything that’s not blatantly paranormal. But that still seems like it might be meaningful in some way. So. So I think, in certain cases, you can maybe isolate the causes and these various ways. But the more I think about it, and and think about it more, systematically, the more I think that the all of these events are still part of some underlying order to the world that we haven’t quite, we haven’t quite understood, we’re not even we’re nowhere near understanding it. Let’s be honest with ourselves. We haven’t understood, you know, we’ve come a long way in our, you know, our understanding of physics in this universe, but this is this is taking that to another level. And it’s a, it’s a level that necessarily involves consciousness, like you were saying that, because these events, what makes them meaningful is the connection between them in a mind, the mind of the person who’s experiencing them, or the multiple people who are experiencing them. And not just the fact that they connect them. But the fact that in so many cases, they seem to fulfill a specific need, that that person has, or at least a desire or intention that they have, and, and seem to bring about some important progress in that person’s life. So the way that I have started thinking about it is that we’re all, we’re all part of this invisible network. And I think it’s, it’s ultimately a mental network, it’s part of, we’re all part of consciousness, we’re all part of this larger mind. And when we have needs or desires or intentions, those, those things don’t just have an effect on the world through our physical actions that we take or the words that we say, but they automatically affect all the other conscious beings in the universe. And I think, ultimately, everything is conscious, even things that we normally think of is, you know, essential, like rocks or, you know, merge or whatever, I think all those things ultimately do have some level of consciousness. So those needs that we have, or desires that we have, they spread out in the effect, everything that’s going on, in the rest of the universe, but particularly the things that are that are going to have an effect on us. And it’s like, it tweaks it like there’s little tweaks or little nudges, to all of the decisions that other nodes in this network are making. And whatever is sort of the easiest the way, the way to help us or meet that need that will cause the fewest other ripples or problems for other people. That’s the little tweak that happens. So almost like there’s there is this enormous algorithm that’s happening, that’s like, okay, so we need to meet this person’s need. Here, you know, the millions and millions of ways that we could do that. Which of them best meets the needs of all the other conscious beings at that same time, and that one gets actualized.
Rick Archer: Good morning. Did you have more than just a bro? I
Sharon Hewitt Rawlette: mean, I can stop there.
Rick Archer: Yeah, well, here’s how I see it. And I’ll try to keep it brief. Just as a wave appears to be individual. And yet if you go sort of deeper into its origins, you realize, oh, it’s just the ocean kind of risen up as a wave. We appear to be an individual and we are just as waves. But ultimately, we are the ocean. And as such, there’s only one of us. And that one of us, I think is identical to what we might call God. God being all pervading existence, consciousness, intelligence and There is nothing but that there aren’t you said maybe rocks are conscious a little bit. Rocks are consciousness, which, as rocks don’t reflect consciousness or express consciousness very well, not as good as not as well as squirrels or monkeys are humans. But there’s, if you look at a rock closely and see the crystalline structure, what’s happening with the molecules, what’s happening with the atoms, there’s tremendous intelligence, orchestrating its function on those microscopic levels. And also it has weighed so there’s gravity and gravity is quality of a law of nature, which I consider all laws of nature to be impulses of intelligence. What you were saying about kind of the our individual desires tickle or ripple out and interact with everybody else’s individual desires and stuff? They do. And I think, well, there’s so much more that can be said, but I don’t want to go on too long without giving you a chance to respond, because you might feel
Sharon Hewitt Rawlette: I mean, I think I feel the tension that you’re feeling. This idea that, well, it’s not really individuals that are doing this, it’s the whole it
Rick Archer: isn’t it isn’t just, you know, it’s like, you can say it’s individual. And that’s right. But it’s also universal. And there’s different strata or dimensions of reality, all of which are true each in their own domain.
Sharon Hewitt Rawlette: Yeah, well, you can, you can come at it from two perspectives. If you’re, if you’re thinking about the world as a whole universe as a whole, then you can talk about coincidences as Yeah, it’s the whole actualizing its intentions, yeah. Or, but if you’re looking at it from an everyday perspective of, well, you know, this is what I need at this time. And then here, I saw this need met in this crazy way, then you might think of it as your individual intention, causing that. But ultimately, your individual intention is just one facet of the larger conscious mind and how it’s creating the world.
Rick Archer: Yeah. And perhaps we could speculate, we’re kind of laying down a foundation here for our discussion, but perhaps we could speculate, and there’s some really nice writers and thinkers who’ve elaborated on this, that there is some kind of evolutionary agenda or something underlying the universe, which has, you know, resulted in its in the evolution of the complexity that has we so far see, you know, from hydrogen, basically, 14 billion years ago. And, you know, it’s hard to articulate exactly what that is. Some say it’s, you know, the Hindus say, it’s Lila, God wants to play and so creates a world in which to play, but that world is really only him kind of self interacting. And him is obviously an inadequate word. Go ahead, respond. I have a tendency to keep going. But I want to keep it going back and
Sharon Hewitt Rawlette: forth. Yeah, no, it’s great. So this idea of Yeah, the evolution, the evolution of the world, we might be going in a certain direction. is, it’s very inspiring. I would like to believe that that’s true. But I tend to say, well, where’s the evidence, like, so and I tend to, like, try to look at the evidence from a lot of different perspectives. And so whenever I’m tempted myself to say, Well, yeah, maybe you know, the the world is evolving into, you know, a better and better place, like it’s actualizing a higher level of consciousness, like, well, in some ways, I guess it is, but in other ways, it seems like it’s getting worse, or it’s at least as bad as it’s always been, or so I, I have trouble, like coming out and saying that that’s what I believe because I, I don’t feel like I have a global enough perspective to say whether that’s true or not.
Rick Archer: Yeah, well, everything goes in cycles. And if you’re going to have a relative creation, you know, you have to have polarities, and opposites, and so on. So there’s going to be suffering as well as happiness, you know, good as well as bad. But if you zoom out, and you know, given the size of the universe and the probable number of inhabited planets, that it’s probably a daily occurrence for some planet to get blown to smithereens by an asteroid or something like that. But, you know, in the big, big, big picture, is that bad? Does it actually thwart the evolution of the inhabitants of that planet? Or do they continue on with reference to your book that consciousness continues on after bodily death and You know, find new bodies, new planets, and, you know, their evolution continues and perhaps you know, such things are necessary amount of time will come when our sun will expand and the earth will be turned into a molten blob and consumed by the sun. It’s go ahead
Sharon Hewitt Rawlette: to even even today, I mean, on our, on our planet. Yeah, everything is dying all the time. I mean, you know, the longest live organisms? Well, at least the tortoises are so ready trees that trees and for 1000s of years, I’m not sure maybe there are other smaller organisms that live longer. I don’t know. But, but even they, you know, they’re dying. They’re constantly dying. So I mean, this apocalyptic scenario of, you know, the entire earth being consumed? Well, in a way that’s happening, none of none of these individual consciousnesses are still going to be here. And you know, a few 1000 years, it’s gonna be complete turnover. So if you don’t, so for me, like you were saying with, because I believe in, that our consciousness does go on. That’s not as big of an issue, but also because I think that, yeah, we’re part of one larger consciousness. But even if it even if my particular consciousness and and some other consciousness rose up to take its place, I don’t know that that would. I mean, that’s not necessarily a bad thing in the universe, right? I mean, it might be a bad thing for me say, but as far as the value of the universe as a whole, if there’s new life coming in, then the fact that a little life is leaving is, that’s okay. There’s a constant replenishment and cycling. And maybe that’s actually where you were going with this. From the beginning,
Rick Archer: but kinda but not quite, I’ll give you two verses from the Bhagavad Gita. One is certain in certain indeed is death for the Born and certain is birth for the dead. That’s one part of one verse. Another is, there never was a time when I was not, nor you, nor all these rulers of men, nor will, nor will there ever be a time when all of us shall cease to be. So on the one hand, he’s saying, Oh, you’re going to die, and you’re going to be born again after you die. But on the other hand, he’s saying, you know, you’ll never die. Because you know, that which you are more essentially, just doesn’t die. And any actually uses the analogy of changing clothes, you know, your clothes wear out, you put on new clothes, but that doesn’t mean is, that’s no threat to your existence?
Sharon Hewitt Rawlette: Yeah, yeah. Well, maybe this was kind of taking us to that question of, is there ultimate value in the universe is what is valuable in the universe? And if as long as there is consciousness, you know, enjoying consciousness and being conscious, then feels like the universe has fulfilled its potential, I guess.
Rick Archer: Yeah. It’s fulfilling it. Yes. And, and obviously, when it started out, at least in in any kind of concrete sense, such as we experience, there couldn’t have been any conscious experience, because it just wasn’t. The atmosphere was not such that any biological life could live. But if consciousness is eternal, and fundamental, and really the essential constituent of everything, then there was just consciousness, but without very adequate vehicles for its expression as a living reality. You know, you can’t have very much fun if you’re only experiencing as hydrogen.
Sharon Hewitt Rawlette: Yeah, yeah, there’s a certain limited range of experience that you can. Yeah, but I also, so I tend to think of the world with consciousness as the first thing that exists and as the, you know, the, the primal unit of consciousness here. So, in my view, at least, and this is all admitted to be speculative, but that that consciousness doesn’t have to evolve. That’s the thing from which the physical world evolves. And so that consciousness creates this experience of and maybe yeah, for it started by creating the experience of the hydrogen molecules and then it worked up to the hydrogen atoms and then worked up to these other things, but but even even there, so I mean, when you look at the when you look at the quantum mechanics of it, all right, it’s when you’re looking at what the physical world actually is. What these atoms are these electrons and protons, there’s nothing, there’s nothing there until it’s observed until it’s measured. So the scientific community for a long time has talked about consciousness as a, as something that’s emerging from matter. But it really, since we discovered this, this, since we discovered quantum mechanics, it’s looking more like matter is emerging from consciousness. And there’s a certain structure to how it emerges are these certain physical laws, and when wave functions collapse into a certain definite pattern, they do it in a way that’s consistent with all of the other observations and measurements that we have made. And so it gives the at least the illusion of a continuous physical world. What that continuously existing physical world doesn’t actually seem to be there. In between us experiencing it, there’s only the possibilities milling around and interfering with one another. Is this something I’m puzzling over? So Oh, me too,
Rick Archer: I puzzle over this all the time, I have big conversations with friends about it and stuff.
Sharon Hewitt Rawlette: Because, because I think you know, ultimately, everything is mind. And we have to something has to experience it in order for it to be real. But then once it is real, once the you know, the electron becomes real, because we have observed it to have, you know, past a certain detector, then what is it even that became real then? Is it just my experience of an electron? Is there anything to the electron itself? Is the electron having a separate experience from mine? I don’t know if I don’t know if the electron is having an experience that separate from mine. Because then what was happening draw all in all, during all of that time, when the electron wasn’t an actuality, at least in my experience, it was just a possibility was it experiencing during that time?
Rick Archer: And here’s what I would say, based on what you just said, that consciousness doesn’t evolve, because for it to evolve, it would have to change and we’re defining consciousness as something which doesn’t change. It’s it’s immutable, indestructible, but it’s expressions evolve. It’s apparent expressions. And how does it express things? How do planets and all the other things in the universe come about? There’s a whole explanation that some people get into, which is that there’s a triune nature to consciousness or a self interacting dynamics to it, such that you know, primordially it is nothing but consciousness. And therefore nothing else down there and nothing for it to be conscious of, but it’s conscious in its nature is to be conscious. So it’s it becomes conscious of itself. And then becoming conscious of itself. All of a sudden, you have this, you know, observer observe process of observation, situation set up, and you have three where you had one and yet how can there be three because it’s all consciousness. And
Sharon Hewitt Rawlette: there’s a whole, what is the three sort of the observer observe, observe
Rick Archer: and process or mechanics of observation? And, you know, what did they come out of it? They’re all consciousness. And, you know, you understand well, based upon what I’ve been reading in your books, that there are many sort of subtle dimensions to the universe. Perhaps, you know, and there have been arguments does the moon exist? You know, if Rabindranath Tagore and Einstein had a big discussion about this, does the moon exist if no one’s observing it? I think it was the gore that said it didn’t then Einstein didn’t like that idea. And, you know, I’ve said, I’ve posed this in other interviews, imagine there was some cosmic ray that blinded every every living being on Earth, you know, so that nobody could see the moon anymore. And yet, you know, if you got near the seashore and stuck your toes in the water, you’d feel the tide come in. So obviously, there’s something out there that’s still pulling, you know, the water. And perhaps, you know, we could compromise if it’s a compromise and say that, you know, that’s the observation of something that gives it a sort of a can transactional reality in the concrete realm, whereas otherwise, it still has a fundamental, more fundamental reality in more abstract realms. And
Sharon Hewitt Rawlette: do you do you like Whitehead Alfred North Whitehead
Rick Archer: As I read them in college, I can couldn’t tell you what he said yes, or
Sharon Hewitt Rawlette: no, it just sounds a lot, this, this process of the actualization of the possibility being what consciousness is, it sounds so much like his process philosophy, because he has, yeah, that process is constantly going on. And each moment of experience, it has this, the pole of the possibility that then goes through this process, which involves the exercise of will have some measure of will, that then creates a particular concrete entity,
Rick Archer: because in some form, obviously, you know, the universe had to evolve to the point where there could be planets that people that conscious beings could live on, you know, you can’t live in molten lava or, you know, just amorphous gas. So somehow, that whole evolution must have some on some level taking place over billions of years, even though there was no biological life of any form to be conscious of it. Now, there could have been subtle forms of life God, Himself, or, you know, subtle agents of God in terms of gods, you know, small g, or Devas or angels, or whatever, that were somehow instrumental in the process, or another, go for it.
Sharon Hewitt Rawlette: Because the revolution of physics has also taught us through Einstein that time doesn’t exist, right? So for us to say, well, all there is, you know, this molten lava and the sort of thing, and maybe that’s some of the level there’s gone, but there’s always the future, that’s always everything that this universe is going to become already exists in some way. And so it it can it can be creating itself, in a sense, yeah, this is where we’re gonna, we’re gonna go, we’re gonna be there. And so our future selves are somehow pulling the evolution of the physical world along.
Rick Archer: Yeah. And, you know, and we’re in is in this sort of stationary, isolated perspective. And so, you know, it seems to us, for instance, that it takes 2 million years for light to get here from the Andromeda Galaxy. But from the perspective of a photon, there is no time or space, it’s instantaneous, it’s traveling at the speed of light. So, you know, why is our perspective, any more valid than that of the photon? Photon could have a perspective?
Sharon Hewitt Rawlette: Yeah, yeah. I mean, that’s what got Einstein started on his whole journey is imagining, well, what would the universe look like if I was traveling at the speed of light? Yeah, the universe would look like everything at the very same moment, everything instantaneously.
Rick Archer: Yeah. And would there be even be things? I’m not sure. I mean, I don’t know. It’s like, a lot of this is really beyond my certain. It’s all beyond my scientific grasp, because I don’t have scientific training. But, you know, as an armchair, lay person interested in science and interested in spirituality and philosophy, it’s just fascinating. I like to play with it.
Sharon Hewitt Rawlette: Well, it’s mind bending. And I mean, the truth has to be I mean, it’s it, especially if What if what the world is ultimately is consciousness experiencing itself, like we’re, you’re, you’ve got this paradoxical sort of loop, at least from our perspective, it’s, I feel like the ultimate structure of the universe is going to appear paradoxical. Because you can’t take that larger picture and put it in this. This perspective, it does doesn’t fit with like trying to, you know, take something that’s in 3d and put it on a 2d surface. Well, yeah, you can sort of gesture at it. But there’s always going to be these weird things that don’t quite fit. There’s information that you can’t convey in that way.
Rick Archer: Yeah. I think part of the idea of spiritual Enlightenment, such as the Buddha and others have attained is that you’re no longer restricted to understanding or perceiving the universe. from an individual perspective, you have realized your identity as universality, as your universal consciousness or being or its use different terminology in different traditions. And so you’re able to sort of be in the world and not have it you’re able to sort of live in paradoxically on dissimilar perspectives, simultaneously, and harmonize them within your living experience.
Sharon Hewitt Rawlette: Yeah, and I, it does seem like that’s one of the most difficult things in the world to do. It just. We don’t like cognitive dissonance we don’t like there being is different perspectives. We want everything unified and everything clearly laid out. And so this is the way it is I don’t have to consider any other perspective on this. But to be able to just let the world be what it is. Say Yeah, well There’s this perspectives and there’s this one and this one and they can just all be there takes a lot of courage, I guess that’s maybe the word I’m looking for, like, and just sort of spiritual metal to be able to do that. Yeah. One thing
Rick Archer: I tried to do is, you know, it’s perhaps somewhat imaginary and somewhat, you know, cognitive based upon a lifetime of spiritual practices, take a God’s eye view of things. And you think, okay. However we conceive of God, God, obviously, isn’t in conflict within himself or within itself. Somehow God is the all consuming container of all the diversities and polarities and apparent contradictions in the universe. And, you know, obviously, we can’t quite by a longshot be as cosmic as that in our own experience. But we can approximate it to some extent, to the extent a human being can do so and harmonize. In fact, you may have heard of Nisargadatta Maharaj, he quote from him was a sign of spiritual maturity is the ability to appreciate paradox and ambiguity.
Sharon Hewitt Rawlette: Yeah, yeah, I think so. And I think that that applies to science as well. Honestly, it’s because I think that’s not the way a lot of scientists work, that they’re working with this particular paradigm, and they want everything to fit in that. But I think if you’re, if you’re really doing science, if you’re really exploring the world, you really want to know how the world works, then you’ve got to stay open to all of the data, whatever it is, you got to go out, looking for the anomalies, welcoming the anomalies, and being willing to say, well, this really happened, even though I have no idea what it means. And I have no idea how it’s possible, given what I know about the world. I forget who it was, there was this great quote from somebody from the early 1900s. It said, I didn’t say it was possible. I just said that it happened. I wish that more scientists approached their work that way it because, at least at least in public, you know, at least the mainstream scientists that phones that have to protect their reputation, you know, they’re they’re going to just, you know, explain away all of this. So well, yeah, I mean, that’s just chance for that, that didn’t really happen, that person’s making it up or whatever. But how much more rich and interesting life is when you said, well, but maybe, maybe it is something that actually happened. And maybe it’s a clue to a level of reality that we don’t know anything about yet.
Rick Archer: Yeah. Yeah, people like Dean Raiden, and Rupert Sheldrake and others have told me in interviews that, you know, sometimes they’ll give a public talk, and afterwards, some scientists will come up to them very sheepishly and say, you know, I really am on board with everything you said, but I can’t say it publicly. I won’t get tenure, my reputation is at stake. So So essentially, they’re admitting that they’re not really scientists, they’re kind of they’ve they, they belong to a cult, a cult of modern science in which you can be ostracized or condemned if you don’t tow the party line. You know, if you’re racking up too much, you’re out.
Sharon Hewitt Rawlette: I mean, and, honestly, to be fair to them, all of us are probably part of some community like that. And it may be, you know, more or less healthy, depending on what community it is. But as human beings, where we’re part of a group, that what whatever group, we identify ourselves with whatever group pays our bills, whatever group, you know, our friends who give us the emotional support that we need. And it does cost a lot to step outside of the party line. And so those of us who have had some really strange experiences that we that we want to be able to talk to people about, we end up having to maybe change our careers or change our circle of friends so that we can be surrounded by people that we feel comfortable sharing those things with. But it’s not it. I mean, that’s those are choices that I’ve made in my life, but at the same time. I know why there are lots of scientists who don’t make those choices, because,
Rick Archer: yeah, yeah, in fact, in last week’s interview, I quoted Upton Sinclair, I quote him again, he said, Never try to get a man to understand something if his salary depends upon not understanding. Yeah. Yeah, but you know, we’re all human, like you said, and that’s it. A lot of pressures play
Sharon Hewitt Rawlette: and, and it’s it is a it is very important that we have mainstream scientists and it’s very important that we do pursue research, even within the physicalist paradigm, there’s a lot of good that is done there as well, absolutely,
Rick Archer: we wouldn’t have bridges or airplanes or a lot of other things if, if not for that research. I think the trick is to be able to cubbyhole yourself very narrowly in order to further a particular specialty and, you know, break ground in new areas of knowledge, and at the same time, maintain universality or attain it if you haven’t attained it yet. So in other words, to sort of have to harmonize or integrate boundaries and boundless. And I think that’s a lifelong process. But a lot of people don’t work on the boundless part of it too much, they just get really copyhold. And then they’re off on some little fragmented shard of knowledge. From which perspective, they can’t see the whole, it’s like being out on the end of a bicycle spoke as opposed to being sitting at the hub and seeing all the spokes radiate from a common source.
Sharon Hewitt Rawlette: Yeah. Yeah. And, but again, that’s that perspective is important for doing certain kinds of work, like there is certain kinds of progress, you know, we need people that are that focused, that are, you know, that narrow in what they’re spending their time on to make progress in these areas. I can’t do that I, I can’t, I get bored too easily, like I need, I need the bigger picture, I need the things that, you know, are going to stimulate me to revise what I thought, you know, last week, like, that’s what I thrive on is the new ideas. But a universe full of me would not be great. Because there was a lot of things that wouldn’t get done that I’ve, you know, I’m happy to have gotten done. So we we need all different kinds of people.
Rick Archer: Yeah. How do you think that a lot of the problems in the world, the especially the problems that technology has caused, like climate change, and all kinds of pollution, and various things like that could be attributed to what we’re talking about this specialization, without recourse to a holistic perspective, such that you can be doing things that have quite an impact, but that don’t take into account all the ramifications of their influence and thereby become a very mixed blessing.
Sharon Hewitt Rawlette: Oh, I think I think you’re right, I think that’s a very important point. Because you’re, yeah, you’re, you’re following the lead of the people around you, you’re following the lead of whoever the leaders of your culture are. And taking for granted that the goals that they have set up for your particular occupation, or, you know, your profession, are legitimate ones that are going to be to the benefit of humanity or the world as a whole. But we’ve certainly seen over the past few centuries, that the way that our western technological culture is going is not for the long term benefit of humanity or the planet as a whole. Right. And yeah, it is, you’re absolutely right, that it’s important to ask those larger questions. for ethical reasons. It’s not because you have a particular intellectual curiosity about those things. But But what is it that you’re trying to achieve by doing the work that you’re doing? And are you What is it that we want the world to look like in 50 years and 100 years and 1000 years? Yeah, and are we doing the things today that we need to do in order to bring that world about?
Rick Archer: Yeah, it’s very important, and you can see it play out. I mean, you know, taking climate change as an example, there’s here in the United States, at least half the politicians downplay it or even deny that it’s happening. And because they get a lot of support, financial support from the fossil fuel industry, and the coal industry and so on. And so they, you know, there’s that narrowness of perspective, both in terms of the big picture of what’s actually happening right now, and what is going to happen in the coming decades. But they’re thinking, Alright, I like this job, being in this thing in the Senate, I need this money. And, and honestly, I think honestly, in many, many cases, they don’t realize that they’ve been bought. They think there they get totally convinced of the particular perspective that they are, you know, legislating
Sharon Hewitt Rawlette: Yeah, well, every everyone around them. Yeah, sure is that perspectives that are always, you know, all around them. Sure that perspective.
Rick Archer: It’s like that Upton Sinclair Sinclair, quote again. So in any case, the reason this is relevant, I think, to our discussion is that I think the antidote to this narrowness of thinking, is to somehow have recourse to the deeper consciousness that exists, you know, within us, and that we can actually all locate. And you know, that would result in a broader, you know, well, it has its own intrinsic, blissful, fulfilling quality, but it also influences the way one operates in the world.
Sharon Hewitt Rawlette: Yeah, and that’s really part of the reason that I was motivated to write my book, the feeling of value, which was actually the dissertation that I wrote in New York University. Because the dominant view in the subfield of philosophy that I was in called meta ethics, which is just like, the foundations of ethics, like are ethics real, where do Where does good and bad come from the dominant view, at least, at NYU, and, and other similar institutions was anti realism. The idea that, that good and bad are human constructions, basically, the best we can do is to take the values that we have and make them more consistent with each other and move them out more consistently. But ultimately, ethics just comes back to what we as human beings choose to value. And that seems like a really dangerous worldview. And, and to be honest with some of my friends who held those we met and my professors who held this view themselves were very moral, like ethically responsible people like Uber, even activists in different areas. So they themselves were very morally motivated. But I feel like they. And maybe the reason they held this view was the same reason that I was an atheist for 10 years is because I didn’t see any evidence for another view, I might have wanted there to be, or they might have wanted there to be a real foundation for ethics outside of human opinion, or choice. But since there’s no evidence that it exists, but I think it really is, if that view, and I think our view is, is rather widespread in our society, at least among the more educated people this, there’s Yeah, I mean, ultimately, it’s just, you know, our perspectives, my perspective, it’s where I come from, and, and at the end of the day, there is no God, and there’s no buddy that’s going to hold any of us to account so why not just have fun while we’re here? And do you know, what we want to do right now, um, if that’s, you know, being a politician and, you know, putting through this certain legislation, then that’s what I’m gonna do. But I think there’s something much deeper, and I think that there is something that, that those moral convictions that we have the ones that we do have, I feel like they come from someplace deeper, they don’t come from a place of just, you know, us deciding, well, yeah, I’m gonna, you know, care about other conscious beings now, and, you know, not going to torture every other, you know, person or animal that I come across, you know, I’m gonna care about others. I think that that comes from a much deeper place than just human choice. Yeah. And for myself, I think it comes from our inner experience of consciousness, I think that in experiencing our lives, and experiencing our relationships with other people and the natural world and animals, that we accept, we actually experience the intrinsic value of that, of what it is to be a conscious being. And what I wrote in the feeling of value is value really is a feeling so it’s when you are experiencing the deepest joy, the deepest pleasure, the deep, just the most wonderful feeling that you can imagine. That that is the ground, of a value and of all ethical. Not even obligation, but all ethical motivation and the universe is that that that that thing is so majestic and, and beautiful, that experience that you can’t help but want to create more of it. It’s just the kind of thing that deserves to be in existence. I didn’t merit being promoted.
Rick Archer: Yeah. It seems like some moral values are perhaps just cultural things that are kind of arbitrary. Like don’t don’t eat, don’t eat certain things. And yeah, you know, even maybe I was talking to my wife over lunch, even something like polygamy. I mean, there are certain countries cultures in which that was the norm. And maybe it worked. And maybe it didn’t hurt anybody in our culture, it’s illegal. You know, so there’s some things like that, which might be gray areas, and maybe just cultural things. But, you know, I mean, probably, you’ve given this a lot of thought, and you figured out ways of where to draw the line, if it can be drawn out if it can be drawn precisely, but roughly, and I would guess that the line you would have drawn the line around, you’re kind of just alluding to it, that which harms others. You know, Jesus said, I am a father of one. And he also said, what Whatsoever you do unto the least of these you do unto me, and you know, love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and love thy neighbor as thyself. And I think all those quotes pertain to the the reality, which is that we are all one. And it’s possible to attain a state of consciousness in which that is one’s living reality, one’s daily, regular experience. And when it is, you know, you know, sooner harm another than you would, you know, cut your own hand or something, because everything is that intimate to you. But obviously, that’s not most people’s experience. And so you kind of need rules and laws to try to get people to behave as though it were even if it’s not.
Sharon Hewitt Rawlette: Yeah, what I, I totally agree with what you were saying about how there are many aspects of our moral codes that are just human inventions, or they’re, you know, they’re, they’re pragmatic for a particular culture or what have you. But ultimately, if you want to find a more objective, ethical ground for that, you have to go back to well, is that promoting this kind of worthwhile, valuable experience? For the most people, the most animals or whatever the conscious creatures? aren’t? They’re making up our world? are we promoting that by these actions or by these rules? And so if there are legitimate ethical rules, then ultimately there, that’s where they’re finding their foundation? And so it gives, it gives you a measure for it? Well, this kind of brings it back to our talk about, you know, evolution of progress and consciousness, it does give you some kind of objective measure for are we making ethical progress as a culture or not? So are we actually promoting positive experience in conscious beings, human and otherwise? Or are we not? Are we is, is the planet as a whole flourishing and enjoying the the experience of being conscious? Is this, you know, planetary organism? Or not? If it’s getting better than we’re doing better? And if it’s not, then we need to consider what we’re doing wrong.
Rick Archer: Yeah. And, obviously, they’re very different scales of this. But you know, even in our little minutiae of our daily life there, every little decision, do I pick up this warmth off the sidewalk, so it doesn’t die in the sun? Or do I keep walking and, you know, then it ripples out to the larger and larger considerations. And, of course, you know, whatever we do one way or the other, it bounces right back. I mean, it did. It either softens or unrefined, or courses, our own hearts.
Sharon Hewitt Rawlette: Well, yeah, and I was gonna say to you, you’re talking about the other is me, and this is such a basic tenet in so many of the world religions, you treat others as you would want to be treated. Because metaphysically they are you? And I think I think that that is deeply metaphysically true. And I think that coincidences of various kinds, provide some evidence for that, that, that. Well, people talk about the, you know, the law of attraction or whatever I mean, which I think is is the genuine experience of how synchronicity works. I don’t think it works as simplistically as people who promulgate that thought law of attraction. Say, I think it’s a little more subtle than that. But I do think that there’s something about the structure of consciousness and the universe, such that anything that you do for someone else, you are doing it for yourself there. Your entities are not separate. There’s there’s a will a holographic nature to the world, right. So yeah. Holla Grand every single piece of that hologram actually is the entire picture actually has the information in it to reconstitute the entire picture. And each of us, I think, we have we have the entire universe within our consciousness. And so anything we choose to bring into existence in our consciousness, or we choose to bring to other people’s consciousness, ultimately, we’re, we’re going to experience that, that and we’re going to share it with others. There isn’t that,
Rick Archer: yeah, in all of your research, you must have come across many near death experiences in which people had a life review. And, you know, every little thing that they did, they felt the impact of it. Not only that, not only that, the impact in terms of what the like, for instance, who was that guy Dannion, Brinkley had like four near death experiences, and he used to be a sharpshooter, in Vietnam. And during the war, and during every of his near death experiences, he experienced the sort of the ramifications not only of the, you know, assassinations he performed, but of the ripple effects, you know, what happened to that person’s family and so on. So, you know, we’re, if we’re all one, then again, what, whoever you do unto the least of these you’re doing to me, and that could be spoken of not only as a quote from Jesus, but as something each of us could say,
Sharon Hewitt Rawlette: yeah, yeah. It used to be when I would hear those accounts from your death experiencers, I would be like, Well, okay, if it’s so obvious to them in that moment, that they should have been kind to people, why aren’t we just given that knowledge all of the time, so we understand automatically what we’re doing to other people when we’re not being nice? And that’s something I’ve puzzled with for a while, but it does, it seems like and this, again, comes from a lot of near death, experiencers, who talk about well, what is the purpose of our life here? And the most plausible explanation that I’ve heard is that it’s important for us to be in a setting where the consequences of our actions aren’t immediately apparent, or the consequences of them for us aren’t immediately apparent, because it tests us in a way, it gives us an opportunity to kind of stretch our spiritual muscles and see, okay, well, are you able to understand the importance of acting kindly towards others, even when it’s not going to have an immediate, immediately obvious effect on you? Yeah, you have to build up your ability to do that.
Rick Archer: If you went through school, being given the answers to all the exams and tests you had to take, you know, who you are here, here’s time for your test. Here’s the answers. You wouldn’t study, you wouldn’t really learn anything, you just fill out the answers you’re given and, you know, go out and play baseball or something. You know, obviously, we can speculate as to why it’s set up this way. But obviously, it is set up such that we don’t remember, you know, everything we might have known between lives, the broader perspective we might have had, we don’t necessarily see the cosmic ramifications of everything we do. But we we learn more that way. I think I think that’s what you’re just saying.
Sharon Hewitt Rawlette: Yeah, no, I think so. Yeah. Yeah. We learned that that way. And,
Rick Archer: and life is for learning as Joni Mitchell saying.
Sharon Hewitt Rawlette: But there also seems to be this, this idea that this universe is like, a playpen of sorts, like it’s sort of a safe place to learn these things, even though sometimes it doesn’t feel very safe. I mean, I mean, my life has been safe. But certainly there are lots of people whose lives have not been and but But ultimately, when you think about the, the scale of you know, what’s going to happen to us when we die and you know, our souls, ultimately, eternally are always safe. But that this, this universe is a place where we can we can try out different things we can learn we can make mistakes, you know, we can we can take the test and we can fail it several times. And the consequences are going to be limited in a certain extent there. There are other beings that are watching out for us that are you know, making sure that even if even when we make these terrible blunders that ultimately they can intervene and they can make sure that things work out in a way that is the best for everyone involved, at least we hope so.
Rick Archer: Yeah. There’s some great stories in your book about which your what you said just said reminded me of about, apparently some kind of divine intervention when something terrible is about to happen. Like there was one story where some guy was going to push the door close to the basement, but it would have knocked a little kid down the stairs or something. And something’s stopped him as if grabbed his arm and there, can you think of two or three of those kinds of stories?
Sharon Hewitt Rawlette: Yeah. So there’s that there’s a lot of stories with people driving on the road. So they’re like about to change lanes or something. But they, they don’t see somebody that’s coming up behind them or whatever. And it’s like they physically are unable to turn the steering wheel at the time, and they don’t understand why, like, why don’t just, you know, think steering wheel turn, and then they realize that there would have been a terrible accident, if they hit turn, seems to be a lot of traffic things. Because
Rick Archer: there’s one you just heard this morning where some guys driving down to one on one in Los Angeles in California, and also the other he swerved the car, or he moved his head like that. And then just then a bullet came through the window. Oh,
Sharon Hewitt Rawlette: yeah, yeah. Um, yeah, that was a French fellow that wrote the book about angels. Yeah, that happened to him. Yeah. Right. Like, all of these sorts of things. And it makes me ask the question, Well, okay, if, if that kind of divine intervention is possible, why then did terrible things happen to people, right, like, if, if certain, some people are saved from car accidents, or stray bullets, you know, I have, like a friend of a friend who was killed by a stray bullet in DC, like, so they weren’t told to duck at the right time. And I mean, I think that there are some some of these mysteries, of course, that we’re never going to understand here, as we were talking about earlier, but there seem to be enough indications, whether it’s from near death, experiencers, or people having other you know, spiritual experiences and communications, that make it plausible, in my mind that there is a larger plan. And there’s a larger plan, not only for the, you know, the universe as a whole, but for each of us individually, there’s, there’s a sort of trajectory that our life is supposed to follow. And certain tragedies and certain hardships and obstacles are part of our path. That’s something that we are supposed to go through, maybe even agree to go through. And so those things are allowed to happen. But then sometimes, you know, we’re on the highway, and we’re about to accidentally kill ourselves and you know, several other people just by not looking at our mirror when we should have, and that’s not going to serve anybody’s life planet’s gonna mess up a whole bunch of them. And so that stops. And so it’s not a question of, well, you know, should people die in car accidents? Or not? It’s a question of this is, you know, car accidents are going to are going to happen, how are they going to be used to serve the ultimate spiritual goals of the people who are involved?
Rick Archer: And obviously, every near death experience we’ve heard about is from somebody who didn’t die, we wouldn’t have heard about them. And, and almost always this almost always, there’s some kind of being they meet who says, Well, you know, it’s not your time you have to go back or, or they might say, well, you have a choice, you know, you could stay but you know, you have this daughter or something, you better go back and take care of her, what do you want to do? And so where was I going with this?
Sharon Hewitt Rawlette: Well, yeah, I think that’s one of the the elements of this evidence, I think, near death. experiencers. Come back, not only with that notion of what wasn’t your time, or you know, there’s this plan, but some of them even in their near death experience. They remember many more details about their life plan, they remember that certain things were supposed to happen to them, things that have already happened to them. And some of them are given a preview of the things that are supposed to happen to them in the future. Yeah. And some of them, they’ll remember when they come back to their body, some of them they just remember that they were told the stuff, but they don’t know the details of it anymore. And so they spend the rest of their life wondering when it’s gonna happen, or you know, there are so many near death experiencers are told that they have a mission of a particular kind. And very few of them know what that mission is. When they come back. They know they have it. But they can’t consciously go out and start doing it because they that memory is somehow erased or lost when they come back. And one really interesting case
Rick Archer: like Richard Dreyfus in Close Encounters of the Third Kind remember that movie?
Sharon Hewitt Rawlette: Oh, yeah. Yeah, it’s possessed by this. Building
Rick Archer: a mountain of mashed potatoes. This means something.
Sharon Hewitt Rawlette: Yeah, know that. Yeah, I feel like even though I haven’t had a near death experience, there are times in my life. where something happens and I’m like, Yeah, this means something there is, there’s something important here that I can’t quite explain, I can’t quite get a grasp on, I don’t know what to do with it, but I feel the weight of it, the existential weight of it. But I remember QAnon remember who it was now, but I think it was a near death experience or talking about their life’s mission, and that they didn’t need to worry about accomplishing it, that it was it was going to be accomplished in a very natural way, they just had to go back and through all of the sort of, you know, everyday little things, normal things that happen, they would accomplish that mission that they were sent here for, yeah, sort of naturally flow out of them.
Rick Archer: I know what I was gonna say you’re talking about, well, how come some people are saved from car accidents, or flying bullets and so on, and other people aren’t? And obviously, those will I don’t know if it’s obvious, but it would seem that those who don’t come back from an MD who actually do die, perhaps it was their time to die. And doesn’t mean they have to be in the 80s or 90s. I mean, some people are destined to live short lives. But those who you know, are about to die because of some oncoming something or other and yet are saved through something that appears rather supernatural. You know, perhaps, we can speak of guardian angels, or those who are on the other side who are looking after us in some way. They they do intervene when it’s necessary to do so because we’re going off script, you know, we’re about to, and there is a script that has to be
Sharon Hewitt Rawlette: Yeah, I feel like in the script, there, there is a certain amount of ad libbing that’s allowed, like he can improvise a little bit in the scene, you can improvise here, but you know, we’ve got to get to the next plot point. So at a certain point, we got to, you know, push you in that direction, and make sure you show up on time for the climactic moment.
Rick Archer: And that would be it would be worth interesting to talk now about guardian angels and things like that. Because I mean, we’ve talked about God as its, you know, oceanic intelligence, all pervading cosmic intelligence. But I remember, you know, that story, your biblical students remember the story where the Roman Centurion comes to Jesus, and you know, he’s had some brother or somebody who’s dying, and he asked Jesus to help. And he said, Okay, I’ll come there. And he said, No, no, you don’t have to come. He said, You know, I’m a military man, if I want something done, I’ll just order my men, and they’ll go and do it. So you know, you Jesus must have at your command. Beings of some sort, who could take care of the situation, so don’t bother coming, just please have it taken care of. So I have the feeling that there are many forms of life that we can’t see more more perhaps, than those which we can see. And they’re all around us. And they exist at various levels of reality or creation, and certain large percentage of them are very much involved in human affairs.
Sharon Hewitt Rawlette: Yeah. Yeah, I think so. I think that that’s certainly the way that the evidence that I’ve seen points, I mean, they’re just, they’re too many stories about, you know, not only these weird, you know, coincidences or you know, life saving synchronicities, happening to people, but stories where it happens in there is some sort of personal intervention, whether it’s, you know, a voice that’s there, or actually, you know, feeling some kind of physical touch, you know, moving them in a certain way, or a vision of something that looks in Jelic or doesn’t look human in any case,
Rick Archer: or a book falling off the shelf. You know, things like that. Yeah. Something they’re supposed to see.
Sharon Hewitt Rawlette: Yeah. And even beyond that, there seems to be this level of intelligence and like carefully crafted nuance to these experiences that happen, that it doesn’t feel like it was just your your unconscious that made it happen, because there do seem like there’s some synchronicities that are just like unconscious psychokinesis so, you know, your, your emotions build to such a point that, you know, a glass breaks in the room or something. I don’t know if you read that story in the book, but this one did. Yes. And it had a lot of a lot of PK events, like this issue would notice that. Or she noticed in this one particular case, she was talking on the phone to this person who I guess had been a friend but she was a little frustrated whether or very frustrated with her. And as the emotion was building, a vase just shattered and ribbon it happened to be a vase that this friend had given her. So was very symbolic and just sort of broke apart. And so those sorts of things I can see as is a deeper level of us just sort of lashing out with the physical world. But then there are other coincidences that are just very carefully crafted that that seemed to be consciously and intentionally created. And sometimes so carefully done, that even we, I feel like couldn’t have created that ourselves. It had to be an intelligence higher than ours.
Rick Archer: Yeah, I once was with a spiritual teacher who was talking about higher states of consciousness. And I engaged him in a line of questioning about some, you know, very high state of consciousness. And then I said, well, would that be omniscience? And he said, No, he said, omniscience, human nervous systems are not capable of omniscience. And he said, You need a celestial nervous system to have omniscience. And so you know, I think people kind of get what I’m saying here that there are celestial levels, astral level, subtle levels of creation, you’re not It’s not flesh and blood. And there are beings whose nervous systems are comprised of that kind of substance. And they have a, maybe it’s not universal, absolute omniscience, you know, every atom in the universe is within your cognition. But it’s, you know, within their realm of responsibility. They, they have ways of knowing that a human being is too isolated to have.
Sharon Hewitt Rawlette: Yeah, well, certainly, going back to near death experiences, again, you have so many people who, when they are on the other side, suddenly, they know so much more suddenly, their senses are expanded to such a degree. So anything that they think about, they know the answer to or, you know, they think of a person and suddenly they’re there with the person that
Rick Archer: they can, the person might be 100 miles away, but they can see what they’re doing.
Sharon Hewitt Rawlette: Right. Yeah. And also, some people talk about being able to see things in even greater detail than they can when they’re in their body. Specifically, related to life reviews. I remember this, the nd your Tom Sawyer, I don’t know if you’ve ever had him on the show.
Rick Archer: Or had Huckleberry Finn on ever Yeah.
Sharon Hewitt Rawlette: But um, but he talked about how in his life review, he had such a level of detail, that it was even better than when he actually lived those events in the past that he could have counted the number of mosquitoes that were present at different events in his life that he I mean, of course, he wouldn’t have cared about that in the first place. Or there was another lady who was talking about during her nd E. She could see on the head of the nurse who was taking care of her dead body, I guess. All of the hairs on her head and all of the follicles that were you know, creating those hairs, and it just, yeah, there seems to be this, like you’re saying this, this more subtle nervous system, this, this Web of Knowledge and information exchange that has a much higher resolution than our five senses of our body, our physical bodies have?
Rick Archer: Yeah, that’s fascinating. A question came in a little while ago. Let’s see what this is. I haven’t read it yet, but I’m sure we can shift to it. This is from Shabnam Mirchandani in Pittsburghp. The seen and unseen morphic field of our sentient world seems to have fierce polarities which appear to be existentially threatening, can our imaginative capacities which seem to have a primal source, reinforce renewal or regeneration, basically save us from ourselves?
Sharon Hewitt Rawlette: Could you repeat that one more time?
Rick Archer: I will, this will run the scene and the unseen morphic field of our sentient world seems to have fierce polarities, which appear to be existentially threatening, can our imaginative capacities which seemed to have a primal source, reinforce renewal or regeneration, basically save us from ourselves?
Sharon Hewitt Rawlette: Well, I think if anything can, that it is those imaginative visionary capacities, the kind of you know, I don’t know what what stage of our conversation this question came in. But it seems to me related to when we were talking about the necessity for people to envision the future and to think about, well, where are we going and why? Why do we want to go there? Because we certainly can’t change the trajectory that we’re on. Unless we’re thinking about it. For Destination.
Rick Archer: Yeah, another thing I get from a question the CNA answer and morphic fields seem to have fears polarities, you know, there’s every cultural tradition and religious tradition has positive and negative entities inhabiting the subtle realms, you know that the gods and the demons or, you know, whatever. And some people interpret the surface events of, of our world as symptomatic of a deeper kind of cosmic battle going on between positive and negative forces. And so I think what she’s saying is, our human imaginative capacities have a primal source. In other words, our roots go very deep. Can we be agents of renewal and regeneration, so as to perhaps align with the positive forces that are at a more primordial level? And, and, you know, basically save us from ourselves rather than align with the negative forces and do their bidding? That’s, that’s what I get out of your question.
Sharon Hewitt Rawlette: Okay. Yeah. So I do think, too, that we probably can’t get out of this, under our own power. And under our even our greatest visionary capacity at this point, we’ve dug ourselves in so deep, at least, you know, ecologically, that that’s probably not going to happen. But it does, it does seem like there are these higher intelligences at work that’s that know, a way out. And if we’re willing to be willing to work with them, and willing to be sensitive to what they’re suggesting that that might be the best path forward. And certainly, you know, in the low level scale of my own personal life, something that I have learned is that when I have a problem, like I have no idea how to fix this, it’s stressing me out to try to, you know, find an answer. I just can’t. If I just trust the universe, God wouldn’t say, okay, look, I don’t know what to do with this, I’m giving it to you, can you please fix this? That solutions, often very quickly, will appear that I never would have thought of very, suddenly very easy. They’re very easy steps to take. And you just take one little step that suggested and suddenly the problem dissolves? Yeah. And I don’t know that, you know, with the ecological or political problems that we have in our world, that it’s going to be quite that easy. But I think it might turn out to be easier than we think, if we are able to tap into that deeper intelligence.
Rick Archer: Yeah, I mean, it’s not going to happen. But I think that if everybody in the world were to wake up tomorrow morning, in an enlightened state of consciousness, most of the problems in the world would just go poof really fast. You know, but instead, we have 8 billion people who, you know, are messed up to one degree or another, and they’re constantly spewing their influences out into the, into the collective consciousness. And, you know, consequently, we see all kinds of problems. That’s that’s where these problems come from. There’s some people hope that the extraterrestrials are going to come and give us new technologies or something, but um, I don’t even know if they’d want to show up, you know, until we clean up our own act a little bit.
Sharon Hewitt Rawlette: Yeah. Yeah. It’s, there’s so much, there’s so much fear. And we were talking about earlier about different entities and whether, you know, deaths or you know, terrible product, cataclysms were the worst thing that could happen as long as there’s, you know, a renewal of life and some other form or renewal of consciousness and some other form. And I think if more if more people understood, that what’s really important is promoting that flourishing consciousness and that that flourishing community that that makes that consciousness possible that we wouldn’t be as fearful for our own life or our own status or our own. Whatever the things are, that we’re working so hard to hold on to, we wouldn’t have a problem with giving up those things if it weren’t for the better, the betterment of the collective.
Rick Archer: Yeah, I think it has to be more than conceptual though. You know, it has to somehow one has to tap into that deep wellspring of divine consciousness or whatever you want to call it within oneself. And then when when one does it naturally begins to do channel out or flow out in one’s life through all the, you know, all one’s thoughts and activities. But
Sharon Hewitt Rawlette: yeah, and it’s not something that you can, you can’t just conceptualize it, and suddenly your behavior changes, and you can’t even, you can make one really big sacrifice, even, you know, you make one sort of, you know, heroic act where you put others above yourself, and you do that, but that doesn’t mean that, you know, 10 minutes later, you’re not going to be in a situation where you’re struggling to do that again, or maybe even make the wrong decision. That’s not it, it’s never quite done. It’s this constant process of, of learning how to let go of that. That fear and that desire to protect ourselves over against other people. Or protect the, you know, the few people that we love the most over against all the people that we aren’t closely connected to, and to make decisions that are for the good of the whole.
Rick Archer: But you made a good point, which is that just any step in right in that in the right direction, adds to the positive, positive momentum in one’s life. And, you know, you don’t attain instant freedom and an ability to be, you know, completely perfect and your behavior or any such thing, but, you know, you either move in one direction and towards greater freedom, or are you moving the other towards deeper conditioning? And every moment of life is an opportunity to make that choice.
Sharon Hewitt Rawlette: Yeah, each choice that you make, it’s going to make it easier for you to make a similar choice the next time.
Rick Archer: Exactly, yeah. Yeah. Like a obvious example, if you’re addicted to a drug, for instance, every time you abstain from that drug, the addiction will diminish a little bit. Every time you take the drug, it’s going to increase and there are a million things in life that are like that, that operate in the same way.
Sharon Hewitt Rawlette: Yeah, well, and I think, you know, fear operates that way, too. If, if you’re very afraid of a certain thing happening, the, the best thing that you can do is to face that fear head on. I mean, it’s not to say, you should make it happen if it’s not going to happen on its own. But whatever it is, that’s, that’s controlling you, because you’re afraid of that thing happening. If you can summon the courage to stand up to that fear in some small way. Whatever it is, I’m thinking, again, of, you know, being in mainstream academia and, you know, fear of other people’s opinions, you know, if you step out in one small area, and you said, Well, no, I really, I feel very strongly about this. And I think it’s important that I talk about this, and maybe, you know, my entire career will collapse. But I think I need to move in this direction. And if you the first time you do that. Especially if there are repercussions, especially if you do get a lot of blowback from it, that enables you to realize, Well, the thing that I was afraid of it wasn’t so bad, after all. Like I’m still here. In fact, I feel freer than I felt before. Because now I’m not afraid of what other people think. Because I realized I can I can live with that. When I’m doing what’s what I know is right. I don’t have to worry about
Rick Archer: Yeah. And the people who have done that have changed society. You know, Gandhi, King, Rosa Parks, you know, they’ve, you know, every probably, maybe not everyone’s heard of Rosa Parks, but she just, she was at the end of a long day’s work. She’s black woman in Detroit. She some quiet guy gets on, as you know, Matsuda move to the back of the bus to give him her seat says no, I’m tired. I’m not gonna do that. I’m gonna sit here. Change the whole society. Oh, that one decision? Yeah. Yeah. Okay, well, this is a wonderful discussion. Let’s pause for a second. And we don’t have to pause too much. But just think about, like, what we’ve covered and, you know, some things that you’d like to cover in our remaining time. I have four pages of outlines of books here. And there’s all kinds of things we could discuss. But what comes to your mind that maybe we haven’t gotten into as much as you’d like?
Sharon Hewitt Rawlette: Well, you know, we didn’t talk. We talked a lot about near death experiences, but we didn’t talk a lot about some of the other experiences that I mentioned in my book beyond death. And there may be some of them that your listeners don’t know as much about it, one of them that I think is crucial for sort of cementing the evidence for life after death is the existence of intermission memories. So because one of them The skeptical arguments that people bring against near death experiences is well, those people aren’t permanently dead, they’re just you know, provisionally dead, their body is still have some sort of life in it, which could be supporting their consciousness, and maybe when their body is finally, you know, permanently dead and decomposing, that consciousness disappears. So one of the things I think is really important is that in children, and also some adults who have memories of past lives, they don’t just have memories of their life in a body, but they have memory of the time after they died in that body. They have memories of things like nd ears report of being able to observe what was going on, a lot of them observe their own funerals or burials. And were able to remember specific facts about what happened that were then able to be verified. So you’ve got that you’ve got memories of interactions with other deceased people. On the other side, sometimes there are people who were relatives of the family that they had been part of, or maybe their relatives have the feeling that they’re going to be born into and their next life. And they’re able to give details that are then verified by the family that, you know, this young child reporting these memories would have had no normal way of knowing. And they also have frequently memories of having observed things going on in their future family’s life, before they’re born, and sometimes even before they’re conceived. And sometimes, while they’re being conceived several stories of people who remember, you know, their parents in the sexual act and details about how that happened. There’s a really neat story about a woman who remembered her dad coming home for lunch one day finding her mom, and being like, oh, in the bathroom. Mom was like, I need to put in my diaphragm. And he was like, no, no, it’s okay. I’ll be fine. Just this one time. And the, the conscious entity that was watching this happen, thought, Oh, this is my chance I got again. And you know, once she was born, she talks to her mom about this. I think she waited till she was an adult. But she was like, Look, I have got this memory of this thing happening. And I was like, yep, that happened. That was the one time I didn’t use a diaphragm. Here you are. So there’s, there’s all these interesting stories about the consciousness existing between consciousness in the body. So it’s not only showing that our consciousness survives this physical body, but it can survive without any physical body in this other state, and really corroborates a lot of the things that the near death experiencers say there’s really this, there’s a huge overlap between the kinds of experiences that they describe. There’s even I mean, a lot of near death. experiencers talk about realizing when they’re on the other side that reincarnation is a reality, even people who never wanted them Christians where that was not even on their radar, but they realize that they’ve had other lives and that other people have had other lives when they get to the other side. But there are a couple of cases that I’ve come across where a near death experience or actually was trying to get into a new body in their near death experience. So there was one case where a fellow I think, was in some sort of accident. And during his near death experience, he’s went to another location and he saw a woman in the hospital giving birth, and the doctor was holding up the baby and saying, the doctor said, I think we’ve lost them both the baby and the mother and the near death. experiencer said that he was trying to get himself into the baby’s body. He was trying to put his face in there where the baby’s face was, but he couldn’t get it to work. And then he ended up thinking about his mother. And so his consciousness kind of went away and he was with his mother, and then it wasn’t with that scene anymore. But when he revived, he told his mom about seeing this woman dying in childbirth, and actually he had recognized the woman as a neighbor of his. So he asked the mom, you know, did so and so actually have a baby and she confirmed that she had had the child but that both of them had died. So there’s, there’s just so many. There’s so many overlaps between all of the different kinds of extraordinary experiences that can People have and this is not even taking into account all of the experiences of after death communication that people have with their loved ones who have died to come to them through apparitions, or dreams or what have you. But all of the different pieces fit together in such a, an intricate way. And for each one of those pieces, there are skeptical arguments, some of them very compelling for a certain category of experience. But then you get a completely other category of experience that that comes in, like these intermission memories and says, Well, no, it’s not just this experience isn’t just the result of temporary death, people have been permanent, their bodies have permanently died. They have memories of surviving, and then they come back into another life.
Rick Archer: Yeah, a lot of those memories are verifiable. Yeah,
Sharon Hewitt Rawlette: they are. Yeah, whether they’re the memories of the intermission period, or the member memories of being in the previous life. And another thing, there are a few cases, just a handful of cases so far, where children or adults remember having communicated from the afterlife. So they remember being an apparition or they remember appearing to their loved one in a dream, or even having poltergeist effects of various kinds. And those events have been verified by living people. So because one of the strong skeptical arguments against the reality of after death communication is that well, it’s just it’s wishful thinking or wishful thinking combined with our, the psychic abilities of living people. So you can sort of psychically create a simulation of communication with your loved one, but their consciousness doesn’t really go on. But when you have these cases of people who remember being on the other side of that communication, this reciprocal cases, then that that skeptical argument doesn’t hold water anymore.
Rick Archer: Yeah, it surprises me that people can be open to the possibility of psychic abilities, and yet close to the possibility of life after death, it seems to me you’ve already pretty much taken a pretty big step in that direction, if you believe that we can sort of know things outside the confines of our body. Yeah, well, I
Sharon Hewitt Rawlette: think I mean, I think some of it is because people are trying to be very rigorous, and, you know, be very careful to only say as much as the evidence shows. But I think that it is true that once you’ve accepted that our consciousness is not limited by time, or space, then the existence of our consciousness after bodily death, that Yeah, I mean, why wouldn’t they? There’s no reason not to accept that it doesn’t seem strange anymore. If time if we’re not bounded by time, then we really can’t die. Because we’re always we can always communicate with people no matter what time their body is alive in. Yeah.
Rick Archer: Vedanta has a nice explanation of it, they have what they call the panchakosha model Kosha min Sheaths and punch them in five. So we have these five sheets. And the first one is the physical body, the Annamaya Kosha. And then there’s the mind the mana Maya Kosha. Then there’s the prana prana, Maya Kosha, then the intellect Magana, Maya Kosha, then something called the bliss sheath, the Anandamaya Kosha. And they say that when we die, all that happens is sheath. Number one, the body drops off. The other five G’s, you know, are just the same as they were and they carry on go find another another, you know, physical body. Yeah, to get into, but it’s not not a big deal.
Sharon Hewitt Rawlette: Yeah, yeah. Well, like we were talking about earlier, our, our physical body is only one tiny piece of everything that’s going on in our consciousness, we’re and, and that consciousness is connected to so much else and is a part of such a much wider universe. And when you understand all of that, or not understand it, but when, but when you accept all of that, and you know that it’s the case that you have this, this greater awareness, then, yeah, the idea that this particular expression of that consciousness might not survive doesn’t seem like such a big deal. Because it’s not essential to who you understand yourself to be. Right.
Rick Archer: It’s like, okay, am I going to drive the same car for the rest of my life? Or maybe it’ll be time to trade it in some at some point and get a get a newer one? Yeah, not a big tragedy. As we speak, this is May 14, I think it is. Yeah. And the There are big protests taking place all over the country right now about abortion. 20,000 people, at least in Washington, DC and hundreds of other cities protests going on. And that’s because this is for historical perspective, because somebody might be watching this five years from now. The document was linked, the Supreme Court might overturn Roe versus Wade, which had made bortion legal in the United States 50 years ago. One point that I never hear raised, and the discussion but it seems to me would be a critical part of it, if we could deal with the esoteric nature of it is, when does the soul enter the body? You know, like, you’re just talking about that guy that was trying to get into a body that was about to be born? Does it enter at conception? As some people, you know, claim that you’re a viable fetus at the moment of conception? Does it enter after, you know, in the first at the end of the first trimester? Or when that would seem to have huge ramifications or implications for the ethical issues around abortion? There’s no soul there, then is it more like amputating some limb or something or whatever? What do you think about that? Well,
Sharon Hewitt Rawlette: I would say, first of all, that the evidence that I have seen points to there being many different possible entry points for the soul. So it and also that it’s not an all or nothing thing, that the soul can kind of be lightly attached to the body. And like, sometimes it’s experiencing what the fetus is experiencing. And then sometimes it goes off into something more interesting. And then it comes back. And then more and more frequently as the the fetus becomes more developed, it will stay, its consciousness will stay with the fetus more consistently. And some of that evidence comes from these pre birth memories, for instance, so you’ve got some, some children who remember what some of them actually he remember being aborted or miscarried. So they remember already being present with the consciousness of the fetus at that time. But then you have others who I’m thinking of this one Indian case where this woman remembered seeing her parents at a, at a market and like she remembered what clothes they were wearing, and what they were doing. And this was about when her mom was about four months pregnant with her. And she remembered like, coming, coming down, like out of the cosmos coming down, getting closer and closer to her parents, and then entering her her mom’s body and feeling like what it felt like to be inside of her womb. And that was for on so long. So that’s that’s a little ways along. But then there are other cases where it’s, you know, with these miscarriages or abortions have happened much earlier. And the consciousness is aware of that happening in generally, in these cases, they’re very accepting and matter of fact, about the end of the pregnancy, whether it was intentional or not, in some cases, the, the soul actually initiates it. So, yeah, so
Rick Archer: I interviewed a guy named Christian Sunberg, who, around the age of 29, he ended up with this really clear recollection of his whole existence prior to birth. And you know, what inspired him to be born and how he entered his mother’s womb. And all of a sudden thought, holy crap, this is much too confining. I can’t stand this I want out. And with all of his might, he wished to leave. And sure enough, his mother had a miscarriage. And then he went back to where he had been, and they said, they mistake do it. I mean, that was a precious opportunity. You know, it’s gonna you’re gonna have to go through some training before we let you have another chance. And so finally, after some time, he had another chance and then two, he wanted out, but he thought, Oh, I gotta go through with it this time. And that was the the life that he’s now living. He kind of ended up getting born. But it was a fascinating interview.
Sharon Hewitt Rawlette: Yeah. Well, in this case that I was thinking of, this young woman remembered being in the womb and hearing her parents arguing, arguing about whether to circumcise her. So at the time, she was actually a male, fetus. And she was actually the pregnancy was quite early on. So they, the parents couldn’t have known that she was a boy at that time, but the mom had had a dream or some sort of premonition and thought that it was a boy and she started arguing with the father about whether they were going to circumcise the childhood pretty violent argument. So the future daughter remember this happening? And she told her mom later when she was born as a girl, that she She had heard that and she knew that that disagreement was going to cause her parents to divorce. And that that would not allow her to do what she needed to do in this life. And so she chose to leave and come back as a girl later.
Rick Archer: Yeah, read that story in your book. Yeah, I was wondering which, which was who, which one was arguing for the circumcision was that the father or the mother? I don’t know. Seems like a crazy idea anyway. One of those cultural things, you know, we wonder whether it has any basis in in truth.
Sharon Hewitt Rawlette: Yeah. But she told her mom about it. And her mom hadn’t even connected the miscarriage that happened with the argument, but she was able to confirm that the miscarriage actually happened the next day after that argument.
Rick Archer: Interesting. Yeah. Yeah.
Sharon Hewitt Rawlette: But I think it is really important for people to understand that, first of all that, well, there’s variability about when the soul attaches to the body of the fetus. But also that if the pregnancy is interrupted, it doesn’t mean that the soul doesn’t get a chance, it doesn’t have the chance of that particular life. But it can come back to the same mother and father or to someone else. Sometimes children have memories of having previously been pregnancies of other relatives. And, and sometimes they’re upset that they didn’t get to be born to that other relative they wanted to be, you know, they’re on uncle’s child. But but there’s, there’s another complicating factor. So I mean, we, there’s always something What’s that? So it actually seems like the consciousness of an individual person, we’re, we’re not one single consciousness, where there’s a soul. But there’s also a separate consciousness that is like our bodies consciousness, a lot of their death. experiencers talk about this, how they not a lot, but several, when they separate from their body, they can see the world from the perspective of their, you know etheric body, but they can also see the world from the perspective of their physical body. And some people even have that experience without being near death, but they just have, they’re able to shift that. And so they have this, this dual nature of consciousness, one which is very bodily and related to the senses, and one, which is much more connected to the spirit realm. So it may be the case that even if there is no soul attached to a fetus, no, there still is conscious life there that is going to end if,
Rick Archer: yeah, I mean, obviously, every little cell is a conscious entity. Right? Yeah.
Sharon Hewitt Rawlette: Right. So no, I’m not saying that. That means I’m not saying what that means one way or the other about abortion, because like we were talking about earlier, too, if you understand that consciousness and and positive consciousness is the ultimate value in the universe, then death is not the worst thing that could happen. In some cases, it will, in most cases, death is an important stage in the renewal of life. So when when a BA is, is his age, to a certain degree where they’re not able to, you know, the body’s starting to degrade, then death is a way for that, that energy to be recycled and to come back in a new form. Yeah. So
Rick Archer: there’s a verse in the Bhagavad Gita again, where, you know, Lord Krishna is saying that the most important thing is that you do what is the most evolutionary thing that you’re designed to do in this life, which is summarized by the word dharma. And he said, you know, better is death. Well, doing one’s own Dharma than trying to appropriate the dharma of another, which is not the evolutionary course for you. Yeah, yeah.
Sharon Hewitt Rawlette: Yeah. Death, death is not the worst thing that can happen.
Rick Archer: Because it’s not a thing that can happen. Actually, we’re, yeah, we’re just alluding to physical death. But But most people, many people think that’s the end of their existence. But there is no end to our existence. In fact, here’s the question just came in, and I want to, I want to entwine it with a question that I’ve been thinking about as you’ve been talking. You were, you’re an evangelical Christian, so you must you must know what they think. I don’t know myself. I’m gonna ask you what they think how the soul originates? I mean, does a soul just kind of come into existence when a fetus comes into existence, and it never existed before that and And then you know, you get born you live a life and then you go to heaven or hell for all eternity? Or what’s their cosmology about that?
Sharon Hewitt Rawlette: That does seem to be the predominant view within Christianity is that the soul comes into existence in order to be part of that body, so it didn’t have any pre existence in heaven, it comes into being then if it if the fetus dies before the child is born, then that soul never gets a chance at life. That’s all. I mean, depending on what you think could go to limbo, it could go to heaven, it could go to purgatory, I suppose. I don’t know. But so, so yeah, didn’t have a pre existence, but there aren’t. So I mean, the Church of Latter Day Saints does believe in pre existence, I do think that we exist as souls on a lot of the work that’s been done, the research that’s been done on children’s memories of pre existence comes from Mormon researchers, because they don’t have a problem, taking seriously the things that kids say about this and, and compiling it so. So there were certain branches of Christianity or offshoots of Christianity that do take seriously pre existence, but it’s definitely not the predominant view. Okay.
Rick Archer: And here’s the question from this is from Malcolm, and during in Toronto, when you talk about the soul, are you talking about a mind body experience, or an expression of the unlimited non personal awareness that we experience as are believed to be an individual soul? So it was just an opportunity to embellish a bit on our understanding of what the soul is? Yeah. What do you think?
Sharon Hewitt Rawlette: Well, in our conversation, I was meaning to use it in the sense of that, that part of our consciousness that existed before we were in this body and will exist afterward. And it seems like it’s a piece of consciousness that has some individuality, it’s not, when you die, you don’t automatically merge back into God, or, you know, the complete unity of the universe, you have some individual consciousness even at that level. So that’s how it’s using the term soul.
Rick Archer: But you can understand why Christians are so upset about abortion, if, if they think that, you know, you have one shot at life. Yeah, you have never existed before. Here you are you started your life on the on the day of conception, and someone’s gonna take that away from you, and who knows what’s going to happen to your soul after that? And so yeah, you can see that would really freak him out. Yeah,
Sharon Hewitt Rawlette: yeah, the metaphysics definitely have consequences for Yeah, the ethics, which is why
Rick Archer: I think that, I mean, I don’t know if we can get a public discussion going about metaphysics like this, but um, we need one, because this, that particular issue is never going to be resolved, until we actually have a more universal understanding of, you know, the way life and death work. Yeah, that’s very true. Yeah. It’s just going to be a pitched battle until there’s a kind of a deeper, collective understanding.
Sharon Hewitt Rawlette: Yeah, and like I said, most of the people who have memories of having been aborted in a previous life, are very understanding about it, most of them understand, you know, it wasn’t a good time for my mom or my family. So I just came back at a better time. There are a few that a few cases where I’ve seen where people people steal, their souls seem to have a sense of hurt or trauma from that they, they were, was not part of the plan. And the plan was disrupted in this way that does seem to have affected them and to carry through into their memories of this life. So it’s not it’s not that it’s not a serious decision. Certainly, abortion is a serious decision. But it’s also important to, to remember that, that that being does have a soul that’s actually that is aware that is capable of communicating with you at a at a non physical level, you know, if you’re somebody who’s considering an abortion, and you can talk to it, and you can try to explain your circumstances and, and why, you know, you’re considering the decision that that you’re making and, and sort of ease them into it as well. So that isn’t as much of a shock and they don’t feel abandoned. Like you didn’t want them but understand your reasons.
Rick Archer: Yeah. It’s all very interesting. I think, on this particular issue, I think it’d be good if people who are pro abortion spent time reading and understanding the arguments of people who are anti, and vice versa, you know, and generally the pro abortion people don’t have the understanding that you and I are talking about here right now they’re not getting into reincarnation and the eternality of the soul and such considerations, I think it might help them them to if they did. In fact, the reason I interview people like you about topics like this, is, I just think that a deeper, more detailed, more nuanced understanding of of the way life works, will benefit anybody. It’ll just make your life much more fearless and confident and fulfilled. And it’s just beneficial in every way to have a deeper understanding of these mechanics and not to be going through life just kind of blind and thinking in the back of your mind that, you know, your death is approaching, and it’s going to be the end of your existence or some such thing.
Sharon Hewitt Rawlette: Yeah, yeah, it kind of trickles back to what we were talking about the very beginning as the conversation about staying open to more possibilities, because a lot of people view the world through a very narrow lens, the way that they were taught to growing up or the way their immediate community views it, and, and it can be really helpful, even if you don’t, even if you don’t, you know, accept another viewpoint, just to consider it and say, well, it’s possible that that could be true, or that this could be true. What if those things are true? You know, I don’t have to I don’t have to be as fearful of these eventualities, because it might turn out that death is not the end. But there’s something else there.
Rick Archer: Yeah. Well, I think that, you know, as we move along, the kinds of ideas we’re discussing, are moving more and more into the public domain. More and more people are thinking about them more and more people are having spiritual experiences, and, you know, pondering these kinds of things. So,
Sharon Hewitt Rawlette: yeah, be more open about them discussing them. Yeah. Yeah.
Rick Archer: I mean, back in the 1950s, you know, you’ve had to be a member of the Theosophical Society or something to be interested in these kinds of things. And now they’re quite commonly all over YouTube. And everybody’s talking about this stuff. Yeah.
Sharon Hewitt Rawlette: Yeah, the internet has been a real boon for connecting people. I mean, you know that better than anybody else? Yeah.
Rick Archer: Couldn’t do this. Without it. Certainly, right. In fact, even when I first started this, that the technology was just sort of a lot of difficulties and problems. And it’s gotten a lot better over the last decade.
Sharon Hewitt Rawlette: And I think it’s so important to be able to hear people tell their stories in their own words, because, I mean, I do a lot of research through the written word, and that’s my medium of choice for expressing myself as well. But hearing people near death experiencers, and people who’ve had amazing synchronicities, and all sorts of visionary experiences, hearing them tell those stories in their own words. And seeing them seeing their, their face and their voice. It’s, it’s so it’s so inspiring. And it just, it opens you to understand that they’re just, they’re just somebody like you, they’re not some crazy person. Yeah, they’re just like you or your neighbor or something. And they’re just telling you about this thing that happened to you or to them. And we didn’t have that before the internet. I mean, you had a few people whose stories made it onto TV or into movies, but But you didn’t have the access to that face to face storytelling that we have now and that you have helped make possible through your show.
Rick Archer: Yeah, me and many others, like Jeffrey Mishlove, for instance, and, and many others. All right. Well, I found this to be a really fulfilling and enlivening conversation that’s gotten a few more million neurons firing in my brain. So, which is what I need? I think I’m interested. Yeah. Even more questions to think about, but I think that’s the right thing to write them down. You know, maybe we’ll do another one in a year or two. And you know, when when you’ve released some new book or something, or we can just think about what we talked about today and come up with a whole new batch of topics so people could listen to two interviews consecutively. Yeah. Not hear a lot of repetition. Yeah. Great. Well, thanks, Sharon. Really appreciate it. And thanks to those who’ve been listening or watching, and next week, I’ll be interviewing a guy in Israel who’s into sort of Jewish mysticism, Kabbalah stuff, which I haven’t really talked About I don’t think in any or certainly not many of my interviews, so that’ll be something new for me to learn more about, and hopefully you guys as well. So, as I said in the beginning, if this if Buddha at the Gas Pump is new to you, and you’ve never seen any of these, you could go to the channel itself and subscribe to it. But if you go to the website, batgap.com things are organized a lot better than the YouTube channel itself. We have a categorical index page where everything’s broken down by by topic, and there’s some other things that you’ll see useful if you explore the website. So Thanks, Sharon.
Sharon Hewitt Rawlette: Thank you, Rick. See you later. Bye. Bye.