Rick Archer: Welcome to Buddha at the Gas Pump. My name is Rick Archer. Buddha at the Gas Pump is an ongoing series of interviews with spiritually Awakening people. I’ve done nearly 550 of them now. if this is new to you and you’d like to check out previous ones, please go to batgap.com, B A T G A P, and look under the past interviews menu. This program is made possible through the support of appreciative listeners and viewers. So if you appreciate it, and would like to support it, there’s a Pay Pal button on every page of this of the website and there’s also a page of an explains all the other ways of donating if you don’t want to use PayPal. My guest today is Steven G Post PhD, aka ‘the boy’ we’ll explain what that means in a minute. Stephen is an opinion leader and public speaker. He is the bestselling lead author of ‘Why Good Things Happen to Good People, how to live a longer, happier, healthier life by the simple act of giving’. He has been quoted in more than 4000 newspapers and magazines and featured on numerous television shows including The Daily Show. Is that John Stewart or Trevor Noah?
Stephen G. Post: Oh, Oliver came out here.
Rick Archer: John Oliver?
Stephen G. Post: Yeah, John Oliver actually came out here.
Rick Archer: Oh, cool. Yeah, he used to be on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. That’s right. That must have been a hoot.
Stephen G. Post: Oh, My God!!
Rick Archer: Described by Martin EP Seligman in Flourish as one of the stars of positive psychology, Dr. Post is a leader in research on the benefits of giving and on compassionate care in relation to improve patient outcomes and clinician wellbeing. He is the founding director of the Center for Medical Humanities, Compassionate Care and Bioethics at Stony Brook University School of Medicine in New York. And, oh, here’s more. In 2001, he founded the Institute for Research on an Unlimited Love. So named by philanthropist Sir John Templeton, who selected him as the institute’s president. I’ll have a link to that Unlimited Love Institute.org on Stephens page on BatGap. The Institute is a nonprofit that investigates kindness, giving and spirituality. Dr. Post has written popularly on this topic in God and Love on Route 80. The Hidden, here I am gonna show your cover of that, The Hidden Mystery of Human Connectedness, which I read most of in the previous week, and also listened to many hours of Stephens, other talks and interviews as I was walking in the woods, which is plenty of time to do these days. So thanks, Stephen. It’s been good getting to know you. And it’s over the past week, and it’s great to meet you in person.
Stephen G. Post: Well, it’s a delight for me. Thank you, Rick.
Rick Archer: Yeah,
Stephen G. Post: Thanks for all your preparation.
Rick Archer: Oh, I enjoy it. It’s, you know, I think that that to which you give your attention grows stronger in your life. So I really am grateful to be able to put my attention on such positive, constructive spiritual stuff all the time. It’s really what I have always wanted to do, and have done as much as I could over the years. Yeah, yeah. So where would you like to start? You, you went on a journey when you were a young man. And that forms the core of your book, ‘God Love on Route 80’ you want to start to how that came about? Or is there something prior to that that you want to cover before we get into that?
Stephen G. Post: Well, that sounds like a good starting point.
Rick Archer: Okay. Let’s do it.
Stephen G. Post: Yeah, so I was up at a high school in New Hampshire place called St. Paul’s. And the age of 15. I had a recurring dream. It recurred six times over the course of a year. And it was mysterious to me because I wasn’t a big believer in dreams. I would early in the morning, be kind of awake but not quite awake. And there would be this silver misty road to the west. And I would be walking on this road. I didn’t know where it’s going. And then toward the end, I looked to the left and I saw the contours of the face of a young man with stringy blonde hair. And he looked like he was leaning off the ledge about to jump. And then a blue angel appeared, all of the mist evaporated. And she said in a feminine and soft voice. If you save him, you too shall live. And then the dream was over.
Rick Archer: Can you describe what the angel looked like? I’ve heard you tell that story many times, but you’ve never described what it looked like.
Stephen G. Post: Well,
Rick Archer: What she looked like,
Stephen G. Post: It was it was the face only. Okay, just the face.
Rick Archer: Was it beautiful, beautiful face?
Stephen G. Post: Beautiful face. Yeah. Luminous radiant. But mainly, very, very kind and empathic. And soft in, it’s in its qualities, and just sort of blue and kind of a light blue. And just those, those words, and then the angel disappeared, and the dream was over. And I would go to the chapel. We had to go to chapel in the morning, every day. And I would meditate for a bit when I had those days of the dream. And I wondered if it meant anything at all. You know, we had a class in in sacred studies with a wonderful Jungian Episcopal priest and I would talk about this with my friends. And we wondered, was this meaningful? Was it the oversoul? We all read Emerson’s oversoul? Or was it just my own mind kind of cranking stuff out in a desperate detour seeking for meaning?
Rick Archer: When you were 15 and having this dream? Did you even then think that was an angel? Or do you now interpret it that way, years later, that it was an angel?
Stephen G. Post: Well, I thought it was an angel at the time, and I wasn’t a believer in angels. So that was, that was a mystery to me. And again, I really had no sense of the of the value of this dream. I wasn’t sure if it was true or not. But it did convince me to actually throw in a college application to Reed College in Portland, Oregon. Because somehow I knew I was going to the west. And, and it was very surprising for my friends. Because not too many kids from St. Paul’s went out to Portland, Oregon.
Rick Archer: Right, they are all Ivy League guys.
Stephen G. Post: Yeah.
Rick Archer: I just want to make one comment about the fact that this happened early in the morning, whenever you had this dream and you had a half a dozen times. It’s said that the junction point between sleep and waking is kind of a, an opportunity for cognitive, deep, sort of insightful experiences, which aren’t actually dreams, they could be more premonition type things or, you know, some sort of cognitions is, as if a gap between waking and sleep states in which we can sort of dip into the transcendent or into subtler realms in which such things can be more readily experienced.
Stephen G. Post: I truly believe that and I, an early riser, I’m up about four or five in my wife’s consternation. And the Kabbalistic, Rabbis told me that the early morning is the space for this. Because when you just wake up from sleep, you could be any place you’re really not sure what time it is (I’m) doesn’t matter. And you’re not caught up in the chronology of the day. And you’re also thinking, Well, you know, where am I, you know, I wake up, I’m not sure if I’m in Cleveland in New York. So there’s a sense in which in that space, were a bit beyond time and place. And when you think of the supreme being, or whatever the tradition might be, it usually is described as existing beyond time and space. And so when you are in that, space yourself, that quality of being early in the morning, you have more of an opportunity to connect deeply with that ultimate reality.
Rick Archer: Yeah, I agree. And of course the yogi’s of India understood this as well. And would there’s even a name for it. It’s called navaswan that time of day, and they would get up early and meditate. And they probably and they still do, I’m sure. Okay, so you had this dream half a dozen times. And you even actually went down to Yale to because your, your teacher was a graduate of Yale Divinity School. He took you down there to tell some of the students there about this.
Stephen G. Post: Yeah, there was a class at Yale too. Rod Wells was an Episcopal priest, and a Jungian. And he took me he liked the dream; he wasn’t sure what to do with it. But he took me down from Concord to New Haven first time I’d ever been there. And I was the centerpiece for a class on adolescent spirituality. And I talked about the dream and then 13 or 15 or so, young Masters of Divinity students training for careers in the in the ministry, they were asking me questions. What did it mean to me? Was it deep? Did it change my behavior? And what I really said to them was, well, we all read Emerson up there at St. Paul’s, and it’s a nice literary piece. But I think maybe I actually have come to believe in this idea of an oversoul, that somehow our minds are much more connected. I didn’t use the word nonlocal back then, you know, that’s more Larry Dossey and Deepak Chopra these days, but I had the sense of nonlocality of mind. And we, you know, talked about this lots of times as a class and I love being up there in, in New Haven that day, and, and at the end, again, they asked me, you know, did I change my life in any particular way? I said, No, but I, I did apply to Reed College, which was surprising. And it was just a great conversation. So I don’t want to belabor that. But it was, it was the first time that I really thought seriously about the possible meaning of an adolescent spiritual experience, as a lot of people write that stuff off. It’s just an adolescent mind playing tricks.
Rick Archer: Yeah. I speak to quite a few people who, when their children have all kinds of amazing, beautiful experiences, they experience oneness, they may experience angels, and then things like that. And then as they go into, you know, puberty and adolescence, they it tends to get fogged over. And then they often when they start to get around 20, they, they have a yearning to get it back again, and they get onto a spiritual path. And the reason I’m talking to them is they were successful in that, and I’ve had some sort of awakening, but it seems like a lot of people who get keen on spirituality later on have inklings or inclinations for it, when they’re younger.
Stephen G. Post: I think that’s true. There’s a beautiful book by Lisa Miller, who’s at the Teachers College at Columbia called The Spiritual Child was a big hit a couple of years ago, but she actually did a phenomenal study, qualitative and quantitative of the spiritual experiences of children. And she concludes that they can be extremely powerful, deep, insightful. And also, that spirituality is very helpful for young people in terms of preventing certain kinds of behaviors that they don’t want to get into. It gives them a sense of a higher purpose.
Rick Archer: Absolutely can seem to do that for you. I mean, you lived a pretty clean life and circumvented a lot of the stuff that many of us in the 60s and so I went plowing through. Actually speaking of young people, Ian Stevenson of University of Virginia did extensive research on children who remember their past lives. And usually it was little children, because as soon as you get a little older, you start forgetting, but I don’t know, it might have been a couple 1000 kids that he interviewed and in many cases corroborated their memories with actual places and people and events.
Stephen G. Post: Yeah, I don’t have that experience. But I’m familiar with the writings about it. And, and, and it’s another example of how children can have tremendous insight and even wisdom in that child within, that’s there and that we want to try to stay in touch with but somehow it gets clouded over and obscured in the journey of life, because we get caught up in so many things that are really not that useful.
Rick Archer: Yeah, okay, so you had this dream. You went to Yale and talked about it. And I guess eventually you graduated from St. Paul’s. And you were looking for a summer job and take it from there.
Stephen G. Post: Yeah, well, I actually had a summer job. Rod Wells had got it for me in the Bronx, I was going to be tutoring kids. And I was headed for Swarthmore. I told Reed, I wasn’t going to show up there. And my parents just hit the ceiling. They said you can’t go do this in the Bronx because it’s too dangerous. But I had done tutoring in New Hampshire with a French Canadian kids and I loved doing that sort of thing. So we had about two or three days of serious argument. And, and in the end, my mother actually said, Well, if you insist on this, I’m not covering Swarthmore. And then I kind of relented and I said, Well, okay, let’s think about this more. And I said to my dad, Dad, if I don’t work, tutoring, what am I going to do and my Dad was the president of a department store on Fifth Avenue W and J Sloane’s it was a fancy furniture store. And he knew all of the manufacturers around Greater New York who made lampshades and desks and chairs. So he said to me, Well, I can get you a job at Bill de Bona’s lampshade factory. And so I said, alright, and I took my dad’s Mercedes 190 was pretty clunky. He’d only bought it I think to look good when he dropped me off up in New Hampshire, St. Paul’s, but it seemed better days. And I was driving that to Patchogue Long Island to work in the assembly line, cutting cardboard in Bill de Bona’s factory.
Rick Archer: I’m showing a really good view of you in the Mercedes on the screen right now, just so people can see it.
Stephen G. Post: That’s it. So really, you can see that.
Rick Archer: Yeah.
Stephen G. Post: And so I would have Siddhartha in my pocket. And I was obviously ruminating about all of this turn of events. So one Friday night, I drove out to West Hampton Beach where I had some friends from St. Paul’s, and about 11 at night,, I told him, I said, you know, I’m not sure I want to go to college at all. I think I’m gonna go west and follow my dream. And they all knew about the dream. And they were shocked by it. But I got in the car, and I had 50 bucks. I had my classical guitar. I had a few books, and I just drove west on the Sunrise Highway. I drove through the Midtown Tunnel, I drove for the first time over the George Washington Bridge, and there was the sign it said, Route 80 West, there was also a sign that said 95 South, but West was in the dream. Yeah, I followed that sign.
Rick Archer: So you, you actually embarked on this trip with the dream in mind? This is like a conscious. Yeah,
Stephen G. Post: I’m intentional about but it wasn’t just the pull of the dream. It was the push of the lampshade factory.
Rick Archer: Right that to Bill de Bona’s cigars.
Stephen G. Post: Yeah, his cigars and, you know, so it was a push and a pull. And a lot of times in life, they both have to be there for you to really move forward. So I drove that Mercedes. And I got to the middle of Pennsylvania, and I’m on route 80. And back in those days, cars had generators. And when the generator broke, all the electricity was gone. So the light was gone, the engine was dead. And just before this happened, I was thinking about doing a U turn over the Midway, and then heading back home with my reputation intact. But somehow, this was not the intent of the universe. So I was able to pull the car over onto the right shoulder and what was I going to do? There were only cornfields and wheat fields, as far as the eye could see us about five in the morning, the sun was just rising. There were no telephone booths. So I did what a kid would do. I reached into the glove compartment and I pulled out a piece of paper and I wrote in pencil to the Pennsylvania State Police. Please return this car to Henry Avi Post, 44 Davis Lane, West Islip, New York. 516-669-5655. From his son, Stephen, who no longer works in the lampshade factory. Actually, in the book is my name but from his son, Stephen, who no longer works in the lampshade factory, and I got out of that car and I put my thumb out, I had my guitar, my wallet, my Siddhartha book. And lo and behold, a big, huge truck came along. A guy flung the door open, his name was Gary and said, Where are you going? And I said, West, and he said, I can get you to Chicago. So that’s how it began. And want to pause or should I go ahead?
Rick Archer: Oh, it’s okay. Keep going. We’re on a roll now, literally and figuratively.
Stephen G. Post: Spent a couple of days in Grant Park in Chicago, playing the Villa Lobos and Granados on benches you know,
Rick Archer: I’ve heard you mentioned those. What are those? It’s like Spanish kind of music or classical music?
Stephen G. Post: Yeah, I used to play a lot of classical guitar
Rick Archer: Kind of stuff Segovia would have played I guess,
Stephen G. Post: Segovia stuff. He was my hero. Yeah, absolutely. And so I played music and I upped my, my budget a little bit, I made a few hundred dollars and then I ran into a group of hippies, and they were heading west in a in a in a van. So I caught on with them and, and we got all the way to Nebraska. And just before Lincoln, one of these young ladies said to me, you know, I told them the story. They told me, you know, maybe you should consider calling your mom so that we pulled over, and I grabbed this payphone and I called collect to my mother And she picked up the phone and I said, Hi, Mom, it’s me. And she said, Thank God, you’re alive. We can call off the Pinkertons said this was obnoxious, I think, but I did say it. Mom, why did you call the Pinkertons? Didn’t you get my note?
Rick Archer: And for those in other countries, and Pinkertons is a detective agency
Stephen G. Post: Detective agency. So we talked about this, I said, Mommy, but you wish you’d let me work in tutoring and let me go into the Bronx. And she said, you know, we think that’s probably right. Where are you headed now? And I said, Well, I want to go out to San Francisco. And I want to spend the summer with my cousin George. He was a former Green Beret, he lived in the Mission District. And that’s what I’m doing. And she said, okay, so I eventually did make it to the Mission District and George lived on Fort Chenery Street. And I joined the Nichiren Shoshu Buddhist temple, which was down on the corner with Marquette and CheneryI was chanting Nam myoho renge kyo, was playing classical guitar in Hispanic restaurants. There was an old Japanese guy who had been interned in Hawaii during the war, named Gus, Japanese American, and he was kind of my mentor. And I had a wonderful summer I decided I was never going to college. But I drew a bad lottery number in the draft.
Rick Archer: So there was a bit about 1970, because I remember getting a lottery number that year, right?
Stephen G. Post: Yeah,
Rick Archer: Yeah. I was 284. So I was I was in the clear.
Stephen G. Post: Yeah, I had a really bad number. So I called the people that Reed and I said, Look, I know I turned you down. But could you give me an opportunity to come there because I got a problem. So they said, all right. And that’s where this really gets interesting. Because what happens is, you know, morning comes and I’m in front of the temple. And there’s Gus, there’s little George Lamont, my cousin, a few friends. And I say goodbye to everybody. And Gus actually gives me a Gohonzon, which is one of these scrolls, it’s a Buddhist scroll. And it’s got lots of really beautiful symbols on it about one mind about connectedness and interdependence and compassion is really quite elegant. And you know, Gus, explain that to me. So I started goodbye, it’s about seven, 7:30 In the morning now and I took the Market Street bus, I got to Golden Gate Park, I walked across the park. And I, I started walking up the bridge, and it was misty, it was silvery grey, I really couldn’t see more than maybe two or three feet in front of my face. But I was on the left side. And I got to the middle of the of the bridge. And then I heard some kind of scratching a little bit of commotion to my left, and I wasn’t sure what it was, but I looked very intently. I looked to my left, and I saw the contours of the face of a young man with stringy blonde hair. And he was leaning out on the ledge, as if about to jump.
Rick Archer: Which is so you saw had seen in your dream, some guy with stringy blonde hair. Right?
Stephen G. Post: Right, exactly. And so I said to him, he looked at me, he was actually kind of annoyed. I think that I had invaded his privacy. I looked at him and he looked at me, and I said, I truly hope that you’re not planning to jump. And then he started screaming. Life is empty nothingness. And I recognized it was from Shakespeare, from Mac Beth and I said, you know, this sounds a lot more realistic when you’re out there about the jump than it did Memorial Hall and St. Paul School when we did it. Look, why don’t you just not jump because I want to tell you how I got here. And I explained to him. Everything. It took about a half an hour and I explained it very calmly, and he was settling down. I told him about the dream. I told him about Yale diff school. I told him about the fight with my parents about Bill De Bono about the car about the note to the Pennsylvania State Police about the Pinkertons about everything. And then he said to me, you know, you’re really crazy. And I said, Well, I guess we’re all a little desperate for meaning but you’re out on the ledge and I’m here on the walkway. And, and we began to strike up a report. And eventually I said, Look, I don’t want you to jump. I want you to come over the ledge and let’s talk and he said he was resistant. But I said, look, if you do this, I have something in my backpack that I’m going to give you. It’s going to change your life. It’ll change all of your luck. Everything’s going to start going well for you. So I said why don’t you come over here and I’ll explain it to you. So I pulled out of my backpack, my Gohonzon and unscrolled it and he saw, you know, he saw this and I said look, if I give this to you, it’s going to turn your life around. You will have good luck; you’ll be able to do wonderful things. And your worst days are behind you. Something along those lines, I’m paraphrasing a bit. But he did come over the railing. And I explained this to him. And I said, his name was Harry and I said, look, I’m going to give you a note, I wrote a note to cousin George, this is Harry, please let them have a shower, let him sleep, sleep where I was sleeping on your floor, take him down to the gohonzon place the Nichiren Shoshu and let him meet Gus and see if you can work with them for a while. And we parted amicably. And, and I waved goodbye. And then as I walked north on the bridge, because I’m going to Portland, Oregon, suddenly, all the mist all the gray clouds and mist evaporated completely. And it was a beautiful bright blue sky. And I felt astonished, because somehow my dream turned out to be a bit of a premonition. And I wondered, you know, how could that have happened? Because it was had been two years earlier that I had the dream, and it was 3000 miles away. But here I was, and having this incredible experience.
Rick Archer: Yeah. Let’s dig into that a little bit. Because you know, people hear things like that think, wow, that’s kind of cool. And some people might, you know, if they’re sort of materialist oriented, they might just consider it a coincidence. Or they might think you’re making the whole thing up. If they’re more of a spiritual person, they might, they might think, yeah, that’s really cosmic, it’s far the way that kind of stuff happens. But what does it actually signify? If you actually think about it? I mean, it’s first of all, it indicates, well, let me just suggest a few things. And then you can suggest others, but in any case there’s some intelligence, which cares about people. It cared about Harry. And it somehow, I mean, think about the millions of people in the world or in even in the United States, and here you are on the East Coast, and he’s on the West Coast. And it foresaw something that was going to happen two years hence. And it knew somehow, that you were the guy to intervene in that situation and make a difference in that guy’s life and in your own. And when you think about though, what that signifies, for one thing that time isn’t strictly linear, that perhaps has some say everything is all happening simultaneously. And our human filters just give it a linearity. And also, it makes us It begs the question, well, what is that intelligence that could calculate all that, that could know all that? And who, are there really angels? I mean, does the intelligence have agents or emissaries who run around and do little things to help, you know, in particular situations? So those are some of the things that come to my mind from? They don’t have to run around Irene says, they fly around? Okay. So what do you think about all that? I mean, you’ve probably run through those same thoughts yourself. And those are not trivial questions.
Stephen G. Post: Not at all. And at the time, I was relatively naive. I mean, eventually, that, you know, the dream would drive me to quit a career in immunology. And I went to the University of Chicago Divinity school to study with Mircea Eliade and Joseph Campbell. Yeah, so I learned later on, about lots of different ideas on comparative spirituality and religion. But at that time, I was just knee high to a grasshopper. And so it was, for me all this idea of transcendence of Emerson’s oversoul, that our minds are profoundly connected that each of us has a small center of a divine consciousness within us. But we’re capable of premonition. We’re capable of incredible creative moments when somehow the Divine Consciousness really breaks through to us and turns off some of those filters. So I began to accept at that point in my life, this idea of an infinite mind of pure unlimited love. And, and that’s how I felt at the time and it was euphoric. Because it was so shocking.
Rick Archer: Yeah, and I would say that we’re capable of premonition. And we’re capable of various things because we reflect a tiny fraction of the omniscience of that infinite mind. It’s it sort of is constantly in, in, I mean, if it’s omniscient, it knows everything everywhere, past, present and future all the time. It’s just pure, pure knowledge, orchestrating the universe from the tiniest subatomic particle to the no vastest cluster of galaxies, and doesn’t break a sweat doing that, but you know, we’re tiny reflection of that. And therefore we have little glimmers of the capabilities in our individual, mind and life that that vastness has in its totality.
Stephen G. Post: Absolutely, and we can’t be open to that. All the time, obviously, but we can have moments when, when the glimmers the whispers, I call them winks, sort of shine, shine through. And if you’re sensitive to that, you know, Larry Dossey, who wrote the foreword to God, Love on Route 80. He uses the word noticer, he wants us to be noticers, he wants us to just not pass by these experiences, but to kind of notice them carefully and ponder them and think about them. And, and, and from that we engage in this, you know, people call it synchronicity, but this very deep sense of the intimacy of relationship with this infinite consciousness, which is, you know, to use a term that John Templeton liked a lot of pure, unlimited love.
Rick Archer: Before we get too far away from Harry, I just want to say I thought about this as I was listening to your other interviews, that if, if by some miraculous, this would be a nice synchronicity, if Harry happens to be listening to this interview, get in touch with Stephen, I’m gonna put his email address on his webpage. Or if you if you know, somebody who might be Harry, get in touch with us or get in touch with him. Harry went to North Carolina after spending some time there in San Francisco, so maybe that’ll be a clue for you. But I think it’d be really cool. If you and Harry could reconnect after all these years.
Stephen G. Post: It would be Yeah. Because when I went up to read, and I came back to George’s for Thanksgiving, and at that time, Harry had gotten himself together, and he’d gone home to North Carolina. And that’s all I knew.
Rick Archer: Yeah, that’s great. But anyway, I would be thrilled if, if Harry somehow got in touch with you, I think it’d be a court be a cool addition to your story. You could write an addendum to your book. Okay, so you got over the bridge, and you stuck out your thumb. Take us from there.
Stephen G. Post: Well, there was a farmers truck, just an old farmers truck, kind of small Ford truck. And a guy flung his door open again. I got a lot of truck rides in the day. And he said, Where are you going? I said, Portland, he said, I can get you most of the way. And then he said, my name is Dwayne Dill, d i l l, just like in dill pickle. And this year is my wife, Dorothy, and she said hello. And I got most of the way to Oregon with them. And I had to get another ride. But I was up there by about six that evening.
Rick Archer: Cool. Time. Yeah.
Stephen G. Post: But it was fascinating because those were interesting times. It was. I mean, I didn’t even I’d never been to the Reed College campus, but there was a as I walked onto the green, there was a big, thin plastic bubble type thing. And lots of psychedelic colors being projected on it. And it was sort of a happening event. And there probably 30 40 people around. So I walked in there and the and I walked up to a guy who had curly red hair that was kind of bald on the top. He had a cigar and one had filled with I don’t know what you had a beer, the other. He had a red and black lumber jacket on. He was kind of burly. And I said to him, Sir, being a St. Paul’s graduate is the same place is this Reed College. He exhaled in my face, smiled and revealed an American flag permanently ensconced in his upper right front tooth. And he’s Yeah, little buddy. And then I walked up to the next guy, I met who happened to be a freshman became a very famous philosopher. And I said, Okay, I’m at Reed College. Who was that? That was Ken Kesey.
Rick Archer: Oh, I’ll be darned. be That’s great.
Stephen G. Post: Up there, you know? And that night, I call my mother and I said, Mom collect. I said, I got up to college and she was so happy. And I said, but guess what mom? The first person I met not the second not the third was Ken Kesey and she was like, totally silent for like, three or four seconds.
Rick Archer: We should have sent him to Swarthmore. Oh, my God.
Stephen G. Post: Are you okay? I said, Mom, he had absolutely no influence on me whatsoever.
Rick Archer: Except you inhaled probably a trillion molecules of whatever he exhaled.
Stephen G. Post: That’s what…. But
Rick Archer: Incidentally for those who don’t know Ken Kesey, he wrote a book called The Electric Kool Aid Acid Test.
Stephen G. Post: Yeah. And the second book he wrote was called Sometimes a Great Notion.
Rick Archer: Oh Yeah
Stephen G. Post: Which was lumberjacks up in the Willamette River Valley. So that’s why he spending time he kind of migrated up north from San Francisco. But the motorcycle stories is the next big episode of premonition. Should I say something about that?
Rick Archer: Yeah. I just wanted to ask you before continuing, I just want to take a second is Reed sort of an Avant Garde school like Goddard and Antioch in schools like that, is it sort of like hippy trippy kind of a place? Or was it then?
Stephen G. Post: It was, was that waves, it was kind of like Oberlin. I mean, very high level academically, you had to really be independent and single minded to get through the place. It wasn’t easy. But it was also Yeah, it was it was a very smoky environment.
Rick Archer: Okay, good. Let’s go on to the motorcycle.
Stephen G. Post: So late January, I’m in the coffee shop, sitting with some friends. It’s about nine at night. And this guy we’d never seen before, comes bursting through the doors. He’s thin. He’s got a black lump of motorcycle jacket on. He’s got brown wavy hair. He looks a little lit up. And he says to us, Hey, my name is Andy, who’d like to go for a ride on my Harley Davidson Shovelhead, which at that time was like the fastest motorcycle ever made.
Rick Archer: And I’m sure he didn’t give you a helmet.
Stephen G. Post: No, no, no, no. So I looked at him and I said, I’ll go. I want to, I guess be cool. So I went out. It was raining a lot. It doesn’t snow in Oregon, but it rains and it can get slushy and it was a rainy slushy, late January night. So I got on the back of his bike, and I grabbed ahold of this guy. And he took off and he hit about 130 140 within a minute. He went through every red light, every stop sign. He turned south on the Pacific Coast Highway, and he hit 180. And he was swerving in the slush. And I thought I was dead. I was never more frightened in my life. I didn’t think I was ever going to get back. And he was screaming into the night air with the cold wind and the rain against his face. And then lo and behold, he did this incredible U turn. And he drove me back and he dropped me off exactly where he picked me up in front of the coffee shop. And I got off that bike. And I was I was just I my balance was gone. I was I looked. I looked devastated. I honestly was shocked that I was alive. I walked across
Rick Archer: Bet you didn’t pee in your pants.
Stephen G. Post: But I probably should have I walked across this bridge over a ravine and got to Ackermann dormitory. And the as I walked across the threshold now remember, it’s so it’s 11 o’clock now in Cal in Oregon Pacific Coast time. And it’s two in the morning in New York. I walked over the threshold. And I never answered, there’s a payphone on the wall. I always ignored it. But I had given the number to my Mom when I told her about Ken Kesey. So just as I walked by the phone, it started ringing. And I felt kind of a little bit of a push. I can’t explain it. It wasn’t physical. But I just felt this pressure. And I picked up the phone. I said hello. And it was my Mom, poor Mom. And she said, Oh, thank God, you’re alive. I was sleeping I had I woke up from my sleep. I was sweating. I was trembling. And I just had this feeling that you were dead. And I said, Mom, that’s amazing, because I thought I was dead too. And I explained to her the story about the motorcycle. And at that time, we kind of connected and eventually I told her about my blue angel dream and she actually painted a very, very beautiful painting of the dream because she was a pretty good abstract expressionist artist and a bit of a mystic herself. And we kind of figured out that there is this one mind call it the oneness called the One Mind the infinite mind the original mind. And that somehow or another, despite again 3000 miles, she had caught on to something that was going on with me in a very special and amazingly miraculous way.
Rick Archer: So in retrospect, I mean, how, how strongly do you feel that if you hadn’t saved Harry on the bridge, you would have been killed? Because that’s the that’s what the dream told you. It said You know, if you save him, then you too shall live he kind of feel like you kind of put some good karma in your karmic bank account and that sort of cast you in the cashed it out on that motorcycle and it kept you alive.
Stephen G. Post: Well, you know wasn’t thinking that at the time, I didn’t put it in the book, but now that you mentioned it, yeah, it sounds like a pretty interesting possibility. You know, I just I really just felt, again, reaffirmed in this sense of non-local mind or connectedness. I felt very, very fortunate indeed, to survive this experience. And, and I wondered, you know, throughout the book, you know, I’m wondering about the meaning of those words, ‘if you save him, you too shall live’. And that kind of becomes a whole drama of my life. But at that particular moment, yeah, actually, that’s a good interpretation. Thank you.
Rick Archer: Yeah, you mean, that hadn’t occurred? You hadn’t really occurred to me? You know, it seems to me the implication of the dream right there. It’s like, alright, if x then y, and x happened, and therefore y happened?
Stephen G. Post: Well, I thought about it in terms of my whole life story, my whole life account?
Rick Archer: Oh, sure. Because it’s given a whole direction to your life. That’s true.
Stephen G. Post: Yeah, it’s set my life in a certain direction. I mean, I’d have probably been a lawyer, or an or, you know, an accountant or an investor or something in New York if this had not occurred.
Rick Archer: Right. So how to become president of the lampshade factory. Yeah. Risen up through the ranks!
Stephen G. Post: Risen up thru the ranks, exactly. But you know, now that you mentioned this, you know, that is a possibility. But I didn’t put it together at the time, I was just in a state of shock. And, and what it did do was it connected with me with my mother, because now we realized that we were a lot more on the same wavelength than we maybe ever thought.
Rick Archer: Yeah. I’m sure we’re gonna be talking a lot more as we go along about, you know, doing good and the implications of that and all but a question came in which I realized just now. And it’s it fits in with what we’re talking about. It’s Bob from Germany. He asks, I tried to act unselfishly and good towards other people all the time. But bad things seem to happen to me constantly. And also, especially through the people I am good to? Can you shed any insight? Or do you have any advice?
Stephen G. Post: Bad things happen to good people. To me. Just in response, you know, bad things happen to me, I come to work. Every morning, I get up early, I meditate I even project the major encounters I know I’m going to have and I asked myself, does this person need compassion or simple kindness or some forgiveness or whatever it might be. And I really tried to set up my intentionality early in the day and I visualize and such things. But there have been lots of times when things have imploded, and it’s just human nature is on its own terms, not necessarily a pretty thing. It’s very mixed. And people are capable of all sorts of nastiness. And dealing with that is not so simple. But the way I handle it is I look at every situation no matter how challenging, kind of like a Jackson Pollock painting. That’s actually the book, you know, we’re Pollock out in East Hampton, New York would throw a big gob of ugly paint down on the floor, where he had his big canvas spread out. And it, frankly, looked terrible. But he believed that you could expand any canvas, he believed that if you put enough beautiful lines of color and energy, that eventually this would become a thing of tremendous beauty. And of course, that’s how we operated. And I do believe that even though these difficulties arise, especially in a very dysfunctional environment, if you just keep realizing that you can expand the canvas, and how you respond to things makes all the difference. I mean, I’m constantly going back in time, and I’m thinking, well, there was this point, you know, 12 years ago, when someone was really hurtful to me and it, it had a big impact on my life, and it’s hard to be forgiving. But then as time passes, I realize, you know, it wasn’t just me. It wasn’t just him. Who was responsible for this, but there’s something about me something about the way I interacted maybe was something I said, maybe was insensitive. Maybe there was just a whole dynamic involved. And so I don’t ever want to blame someone else and just point the finger and say they’re the one I want to get to a point where I can realize that hey, you know, if I’d handle this little differently and a little better, so maybe I’m partly responsible for it. And I find that that passage of time plus continuing to be helpful and kind to others. That’ll put enough distance between you and these awful episodes, you know, and things will turn, things will turn, don’t be pessimistic.
Rick Archer: I wrote down some quotes from your book a couple of the, for the, for our from the Bible, and we’ll explain them so that we’re not just getting religious on the on you Bob, Bob from Germany, but one is “the prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective”, James 5:6, another “If you abide in Me and My words abide in you, you shall ask what you will and it shall be done”, John 15:7. And then there’s a Sanskrit saying which is successive action is born of sattwa and sattwa means purity, not the means, the means collect around sattwa. So, what all that means is that one can amass sattwa, or purity or righteousness, or godliness. And I would say primarily by, you know, spiritual practices purify the system, and they enable us to imbibe more and more divine, whatever the intelligence more to we attune more deeply or clearly to God to infinite mind. And therefore, as we act as we function, it’s not so much we functioning anymore, it’s more and more God functioning with us as a as an instrument, or a sense organ of that infinite mind. So anyway,
Stephen G. Post: And to but I think that’s right, but to Bob, I, you know, I just want to say, I take you very seriously because I’ve encountered people in various places, who have had such difficult times, I was doing a radio show with a wonderful gal out in Vancouver, who had just quit her job as a nurse because she was so burned out. And she had just a lot of negative accumulated experiences. So it was really hard for her in that state of being in mind, to even begin to connect with this idea that somehow there is this loving consciousness that can connect us in these uncanny ways. You know, Jung called it uncaused causality. But look, I mean, life is a challenge, life is difficult, but don’t give up be patient. Because if you can be patient, then these things can come into being. I do believe that.
Rick Archer: I think the one thing that trips people up a lot is they feel that, you know, look at all the horrible things that have happened, the Holocaust and this war and that this disease, the, you know, the current at the current pandemic, and children born with terminal diseases who died in infancy? And yeah, we can, there’s a whole litany of things we could and so they think, how could how could there be a god? And if there is a God, he seems a bit sadistic, you know, how could how could such horrible things happen to people in this world is apparently very innocent people in many cases. So I mean, how do you? How do you answer that one?
Stephen G. Post: Well, I believe in free will. You know, like the Hindus, you know, that, that we are brought into this universe as free creatures, with the intention of creativity, and doing good, doing love. But if you look at the world around us in our freedom, we do terrible, terrible things, but I never want to blame God. You know, I mean, the theologians talk about theodicy, how could this happen? If there’s a loving God? Well, only because as part of the whole principle of our being, we have freedom. So this is the journey and it’s really, it’s really tragic, but I do believe that we’re going to move into a period that is going to be incredibly fruitful and incredibly loving. I actually going to get through a lot of things, you know, like right now, I mean, every day I’m witness to people dying in hospital settings from.
Rick Archer: We, we should remind people you’re in a hospital, you have a triage tent or something out in the parking lot with 100 people in it who have COVID-19 And there’s 400 more in your hospital. So you know, you’re not speaking abstractly here.
Stephen G. Post: No, not at all. And it’s, it’s, it’s a horrible situation and you know, they’re dying without any loved ones around, they’re hooked up to a tube. It’s really hellish. But I don’t blame God for it. And I just think, you know, God is pure love. But God, as a Supreme Being, doesn’t control us. We can be influenced we can notice the wings; we can hear the whispers we can. We can align ourselves through spiritual practice. That’s the key thing. But if we don’t make those kinds of internal efforts, it’s very easy. You know, I say I practice meditation every morning. But you know what, a couple of weeks ago, I was driving down 2A, early in the morning, and there was a guy in front of me, who’s had the audacity to stop at a yellow light. And I’m confessing, okay, I fell full chested out of my horn. And even though the windows were closed, I yelled out a bit of an expletive because he didn’t have to stop. And I was in a super rush to get over here. But you know, it’s because we get caught up in time and pressure. Ego is a big problem. The world blinds us to the inner light. And that’s why we have to practice in a very concerted way. Spirituality.
Rick Archer: Yeah.
Stephen G. Post: However, you do it
Rick Archer: One quick question, then a couple of comments. You know, you’re just talking we have I used examples of babies getting terminal illnesses, but babies don’t have free will. And, and sometimes children are terribly abused by adults. And yet they’re innocent little beings, seemingly they don’t have free will. So how do you address that one?
Stephen G. Post: Well, you know, as far as being abused, adverse childhood experiences is the strongest predictor by the way of adolescent substance abuse. And people who experienced that have heightened levels in midlife have physiological illnesses like diabetes, asthma, heart disease, and so forth. I mean, it’s incredibly predictive, it’s not hard, hard prediction. Because if you run into the right nonparent mentor, who shows compassion and love, if you are in the right community, spiritual community, if you have the right practices, if you marry the right person who treats you with empathy and kindness, then you can overcome these things, although there’s still something there. But that’s a terrible thing. And you know, I’m astonished. Every you know, we bring people into the world, we give birth to children, but the whole question is, how do you raise a kind child? How do you role model kindness? And that’s a big discussion in the literature now, how do you raise a kind child, you know, a big study at Harvard, on kindness and okay, parents want to do everything they can to model kindness to their kids. But when you get to that age of 12, or 13, that goes on the backburner. And suddenly they’re interested in, you know, paying off the crew coach, or the sailing coach at Yale. So yeah, I mean, it’s just ridiculous. So we forget about that. But I think that’s really on us as parents and families in realizing the role of parents is not just to bring a child into the world, but to raise a kind, loving child. And we have to be that way ourselves, because we’re the ones who set it in motion. And if we don’t, it’s terribly destructive. And as far as natural evil, you know, we have a neonatal intensive care unit here. And, you know, horrifying things happen in the process of birth, I can’t explain that away. I wish it wasn’t the case, you’d think with all the modern technology we have that somehow, birth would be predictable, but you know, what, every birth is completely unpredictable. And there are all kinds of issues of genes and so forth, and that I cannot explain. I cannot explain it. But I, I honestly believe that it’s a good thing, that we have people in the world with, say cognitive developmental disabilities, or even in some cases, dementia whatever, because we learned that the most important thing in our lives is not getting ahead. It’s not being hyper cognitive and super skilled intellectually, and writing everyone off, but it’s realizing that we are a human family, that we are interdependent, and that the best comes out of us when we care for those who are vulnerable.
Rick Archer: Yeah, I agree. Let me make a comment or two you quote, Martin Buber either was in your book or it was in some talk I heard you give about it. He speaks of I and it as being a kind of a superficial stage of human development and appreciation of I and thou being a more profound stage. And you took it a step further to say I and I, which kind of mirrors or echoes the Upanishads, you know, tat tvam asi that thou art and sarvaṃ khalvidaṃ brahma, all of this is that all of this is Brahman. And so what the implication of that is actually we’re going to get right down to it. The whole thing is God, so to speak of God as something separate from us, that we, that may be cruel to us or, you know, doing this or, you know, unaware of us or any such thing is to do injustice to the situation I think because when ultimately it’s all God, the whole thing is the divine sort of playing with itself or interacting with itself. And that’s we’re just sort of a little aspect of that, that which we regard ourselves to be. Do you want to comment on to that before I continued?
Stephen G. Post: Yeah, well there are such incredible examples of extreme altruism, like right here in this medical center. There are many clinicians and nurses who have contracted COVID 19. Some of them have fallen quite ill, the nurses are living in apartments along the highways because they don’t want to go home with their protective gear on or even off because they just feel that
Rick Archer: Effects their family, yeah
Stephen G. Post: Effect their families. It’s a big, big deal.
Rick Archer: Yeah.
Stephen G. Post: Then you can say, Well, okay, if you’re Buber, well, they’re not I it, I mean, clearly, they’re not treating other people as mere Opportunities. Yeah, objects and up to be manipulated, they’re incredibly generous in giving. So I vow, they see the sacred in these individuals who have contracted this illness and in one another, as well as caregivers. So that idea of I thou is very beautiful. But if you go further, and that’s Rick, where you’re suggesting we go is that there’s also a kind of I -I right? That because we are of one common, universal mind that consciousness within us is, is the same consciousness there is only in the end one mind, right? And so when you do something like that, to help another person, and I’ll tell you, these clinicians are doing incredible things, you know, you it’s so contrary to genetics, the genetics, people will say, Well, this must be some altruistic gene that went haywire. Come on, that’s pretty haywire for a gene, right? It’s got to be deeper than that. So what they’re doing is in helping the other, they’re also helping themselves.
Rick Archer: Objects Yeah. Because they are themselves. I mean, the other is themselves, the golden, the golden rule here, do unto others, as you would have others do unto you. Well, as a matter of fact, ultimately, the other is you. You know, so what Jesus said, Whatsoever you do unto the least of these you do unto me, he anyone could say that because what whatever you whoever you interact with, you’re actually in you’re acting with your own self, even though you might not be perceiving it with such oneness.
Stephen G. Post: That’s right. So that’s the comment you made thou art that, which is such a powerful thing.
Rick Archer: Yeah, Yeah
Stephen G. Post: And that’s really, ultimately what I learned on the bridge, from my dream, that before that, it was just an abstraction was just a nice transcendentalist idea. But when I encountered Harry, you know, I, it came into a very granular reality to me, and it’s never left me, you know, all my life. I’ve, I’ve felt that presence. And it’s a beautiful thing.
Rick Archer: Yeah. Another thing that helps me make sense of the whole thing is the notion that if there’s going to be a universe, if there’s going to be a creation, and it’s going to, then it’s not just sort of flat amorphous oneness, it has to have qualities. And as soon as you have qualities you have polarities, you know, you have big and small, fast and slow, hot and cold, you know, all sorts of diverse, diverse qualities which make up a universe. If, if everything were just one thing, it couldn’t be diverse. So naturally, some of those polarities are qualities include birth and death, and death has a value. If stars didn’t die, we wouldn’t exist because that’s how heavier elements get created, which form our bodies and our world and everything else. If biological life forms didn’t die, it would get awfully crowded around here. And naturally, they do age, given the realities of, of physics and biology. And at a certain point, you know, it’s like, okay, this suit of clothes is really worn out and tattered. Maybe I should get a new suit. And so you do, and that’s not a bad thing, even though obviously, from a limited perspective, it might seem bad, especially if you think that all you are is his body, and as soon as it’s dead, you’re finished. But perhaps there’s a deeper reality in which you’re not finished and you’re just sort of progressing along with, you know, one new suit of clothes after another learning as you go.
Stephen G. Post: You know, Rick, that’s really profound. Because what we’re dealing with right now in these hospitals is the denial of death, the fear of death, and it’s born of a materialistic metaphysic. This is all we have. It’s all we are. And there’s nothing beyond it. And if that’s the case, then people cling to life, even in the most absurd, uncomfortable, almost torturous circumstances.
Rick Archer: Yeah,
Stephen G. Post: With a in every word is natural and unnatural. But if we would just acknowledge that there’s something more, then everything would change. And it’s so hard, you know, I try to work with adult children who are maybe about to lose a mother or father who is very ill. They can’t let go. But if they would step back, I know, attachment is a factor psychologically, but the ones who can recognize that there is a more that there is a kind of non-material metaphysic. It’s not so difficult. It’s just part of the flow. It’s just a passing.
Rick Archer: Yeah, I think it would, it’s really valuable. I think a lot of people realize this these days, but many people don’t. And it’s really beneficial to read some books, or watch some videos of people who’ve had near death experiences. Because you know, Betty Eadie, Dannion Brinkley, James Van Praagh, the number of people that I’ve interviewed who’ve had near death experiences, I have a whole category on BatGap of that as a categorical index page, because you put that stuff in your awareness enough, and it really sort of creates a sense of ease and of all as well and wisely put, in it kind of broadens your perspective, it just naturally thins the barriers of, of your sort of individuality and makes you realize that this life is one chapter in a very long story, and kind of eliminates, I think, a lot of anxiety for many people, if you can just really grok onto that, that perspective.
Stephen G. Post: And of course, people have had those experiences. They’re like, you know, hey, I don’t worry about dying. That was wonderful. I can’t wait to get back. One of my colleagues here at Stony Brook Sam Parnia,
Rick Archer: I’ve heard of Sam Parnia
Stephen G. Post: Yeah, very wrote a great book about near death experience.
Rick Archer: Yeah, yeah
Stephen G. Post: Pulmonologist, and he’s now of course, knee deep in the COVID-19 situation, you know, 12 hours a day, seven days a week. But we have a big project, a funded project on near death experience, because now people can be brought back after heart cessation even after believe it or not, eight, nine hours.
Rick Archer: Wow
Stephen G. Post: And we’re asking them sort of, you know, not just questions of what they saw and how it felt, but also how they feel, now do they think that they’re more giving more altruistic, more forgiving, more great, grateful. So that’s a that’s a project in the works. But what I’m also studying because I do a lot with Alzheimer’s disease, I written a lot in for 25 years, I just I talk about deeply forgetful people, terminal lucidity, Rick. So there’s lots of study of people with Alzheimer’s disease, who are in the very end of their life, and they haven’t spoken coherently with anybody for months, or even a couple of years. And on that last day, even in those last hours, there are actual published studies in the neurology literature on this, they will be there, they will know who they are, they’ll be able to ask a question, they’ll be insightful. And you can ask yourself, so where’s that coming from? Maybe it’s from some little snippet of neurological tissue that’s actually still alive. But that’s a push, because how do you get a person identifying who they are and having the narrative of their story so much intact? So to me, it suggests that underneath that communicative breakdown, and that neurological deterioration, there is still a whole being, a whole soul.
Rick Archer: Yeah, sure. Yeah, I’m sure most people have heard Ethan Alexander’s story of he was more or less brain dead. Due to some kind of what he had some kind of you probably remember the story. And, you know, he was flatlined, EEG wise, and he had all these marvelous experiences. And there are stories of near death, people who, you know, were under anesthesia during surgery, and they could describe what was happening in the room and there was a red sneaker on the balcony outside the hospital window that nobody knew was there. They could see it from that perspective, and so on. But this lucidity thing. I mean, I heard you mentioned I’ve often thought this myself. What if the brain is more like a computer, not in every respect, but in the respect that it can store some stuff in it, but most of the stuff gets stored in the cloud. And you can so it’s sort of like an interface with the cloud. And that’s where the memories are actually stored. And so everything that that person that Alzheimer’s person has experienced all their lives is there in the cloud. And perhaps there’s just enough brain functioning still viable to, you know, let that stuff come through and let them function for a few hours before they die.
Stephen G. Post: Yeah, so I actually think there’s a lot of plausibility to that. So the brain, you know, how does the brain store autobiographical memories? And how does it just conjure up at will always incredible, imaginative images? How does our three pound brain manage that? And a lot of people believe that it’s still a mystery. So in my, the, I don’t think that the brain, the brain can explain certain kinds of memory. But in terms of the larger picture of memory, maybe we do need to change the model, that somehow our memory is, shall we say, more spiritually stored. And, and that’s why when I talk with someone who’s very deeply forgetful, and incommunicado, I say to myself, well, they’re not dead, they’re not gone. They’re not a husk. They’re not a shell. They’ve got one foot down at Third Street Station, on the train to wherever it is. Yeah. So they’re a little bit ahead of us.
Rick Archer: Yeah. Interesting. And, of course, their stories about people being in comas and so on, and, well, this, I’m repeating myself a little bit, but, you know, maybe not in surgery, but in a coma, and then, you know, knowing what people were saying in the room, and so on and so forth. That may also be true of Alzheimer’s patients, do you think that they seem to be out of it, but they’re a lot more hip than you’d realize?
Stephen G. Post: Oh, to me, that’s very plausible. And they’re very sensitive to the empathic qualities of the people around them. They ident they react negatively to caregivers who are harsh, and they are joyful, they’re capable of all kinds of positive psychological states joy and, and immense creativity. You know, the, the artwork, they do the ways that music and memory brings them back into themselves.
Rick Archer: Yeah, I heard you talking about that some guy who he loved Cab Callaway, they played a little music for him. And he came out of this stupor and became very coherent for a while.
Stephen G. Post: Yeah, they’re doing that all over the country all over Canada. In the Canadians are even buying people with Alzheimer’s disease, iPods to listen and learn to music, meaningful music, and about 70 80% of patients will come out of their stupor. And they’ll even be able to converse a little bit after they’ve been stimulated. I mean, it’s partly it’s bodily, it’s somatic. But they kind of come into themselves, and they’ll sing a few lines. We have Alzheimer’s poets at the memory Center in Brooklyn. And they’ll do poem that everybody would identify with, like the Road Less Traveled, you can have 30 people there who just look out of it. But they’ll get into it, they’ll come back into themselves. And for a bit afterwards, they’ll actually be able to respond to the right statements of that human can make questions that aren’t giving them pressure. You can’t say, Well, what would you like, for breakfast? Would you like that? Then they freeze. But if you say would you like, would you like potatoes, or cereal and you’re cueing them? Then they’ll say, cereal? Techniques.
Rick Archer: Yeah
Stephen G. Post: Definitely. You can, you can bring that back.
Rick Archer: I would say that, you know, let’s say somebody has severe Alzheimer’s, or for that matter, autism or something, some condition in which they’re really checked out for all, you know, appearances. I would say that the, the soul, the being of that person is every bit as alive and viable as the soul of someone in their prime, who is, you know, totally dynamic and eloquent and articulate and everything else. It’s just that the instrument, the tool through which the soul functions has gotten a little funky. But you know, the time will come when they’ll have a better instrument, and that same soul who seems like they’re just shut down, will be thriving again, it’s just a stage in life.
Stephen G. Post: I think so too. So they’re in the book, you know, God and Love and Route 80. I tell the story about Joe Foley, a famous neurologist. He was the president of the American neurological Association, a co-founder of the Alzheimer’s Association nationally the great mentor in my life. We went out to a town in the middle of Ohio. Gambhir, Ohio, which is near Kenyon College. And there’s a big geriatric institute and a whole floor was devoted to older adults with Down Syndrome and Alzheimer’s, because a lot of people by the time they get into their late 40s, if they have Down syndrome, they also have symptoms of Alzheimer’s, which is very difficult, because it’s sort of a development in reverse. You know, whatever they’ve achieved, they’re going to lose. Well, we looked at the caregivers there, they were incredible. The nurses’ aides, the nurses, the doctors, they were so diligent, they were so kind, the place was so collected and so calm and so tranquil. And so Joe, and I took a number, not everybody, obviously, but a number of them out to the only restaurant in Gambhir. It’s a pizza place, and we brought them we bought them pizza for lunch. And we asked them, Why do you care so beautifully. For these individuals. I mean, there’s so deeply forgetful, some people would just dismiss them their life unworthy of life. They’re useless eaters, whatever it is, you know. And what they said was Namaste. To your point, they said, Namaste, which just literally means ‘I honor the divine in you’. And I believe that’s really important with these kinds of individuals, we have to honor the divine in them, and notice the expressions of that consciousness and that soul, and then we can have a better time of it.
Rick Archer: That’s beautiful, and yeah, there’s another? Well, we’ll get back to that other point, which is that there’s really only one of us, you know, that that which I am essentially, is also that which the person with Down Syndrome and Alzheimer’s is they’re, just, you know that that inner light is being reflected differently by that particular reflector than it is in this one. But it’s the same inner light, which essentially, we are. And if we treat it as less than that, or other than that, then we’re not doing justice to the reality of the situation. And we’re not we’re sort of acting inimically – wrong word. I can’t pronounce the word. We’re acting against our own best interests.
Stephen G. Post: There’s a great neurologist at Harvard named Rudy Tanzi.
Rick Archer: I know, Rudy, I was gonna mention him, too. Yeah, I’ve seen him at the SAND Conference a few times.
Stephen G. Post: Oh, yeah. So I really I know pretty well, we’ve written some things together over the years, but he has some great YouTubes on terminal lucidity. And he doesn’t try to explain it. I mean, so everybody accepts the fact that terminal lucidity occurs, and it can occur quite commonly. The question is, what metaphysical filter do you impose on it? If you’re just a materialist, then you think, well, again, it’s just some residual spark of activity. But that doesn’t really do very much to explain this. So he says, well, it’s a mystery. But I do think that that the more plausible, the more rational way to explain something like that is just as you’re doing it, Rick is to say that there’s something very profound and deep about human consciousness and identity and continuity, and we don’t understand it fully. But it’s there.
Rick Archer: Yeah. There’s Deepak is a good friend of Rudy Tanzi so I’m sure he’s pecking away at Rudy’s materialistic assumptions, if he still has any left. I wrote down a quote here, because I knew we’d get to this point of materialism. And, you know, as I walked down the street, with the dogs or whatever, I am always marveling at what I’m actually looking at, I’m not just looking at grass and sidewalk, I’m looking at this sort of miracle of existence. And here’s an example. Carl Sagan said that a single cell contains the equivalent information content of over 10 million volumes, that would content that would also be the cell of a blade of grass, not just a human cell. So, you know, each of these is cells is that that complex, but it’s only a few microns across. And each contains about 100 trillion atoms, and it’s capable of repairing and, you know, reproducing itself. And, you know, is that randomness is that billiard balls just banging together? You know, it sort of reveals, I don’t see how any scientist looks at things closely, or any surgeon who watches a heart beating and could be an atheist or materialist. Here’s another example. And then I’ll let you respond. There, this is something I wrote down, I’m obviously reading it. There are 20 elements in amino acids, right, that combine in certain sequences to form the 700,000 kinds of proteins in our body. To make just one of these 700,000 proteins, collagen, you need to arrange 1055 amino acids in precisely the right sequence. If this had to happen by chance, it would be like a Las Vegas slot machine with 1055, spinning wheels, each with 20 symbols, and you had to get the same symbol on all those wheels. In order to win the jackpot, the odds of achieving this through chance are far greater than the number of atoms in the universe. And that’s just again, one of 700,000 proteins. So, again, people that just think that the universe is just some kind of accident. And that we’re just biological robots, and the universe is meaningless and so on, I don’t get it.
Stephen G. Post: You know, I was really fortunate to be pretty close with Sir John Templeton. And I’ve known a lot of the Templeton Prize winners who have physicists and mathematicians. And, you know, certainly Paul Davies book, The Mind of God is classic. But most of the physicists and mathematicians that I encounter who are serious, would be very open minded about the notion that somehow these great thermodynamic constants of the universe are not arbitrary, they’re perfectly set up, that underlying reality, at a quantum level, where particles are zapping in and out of existence and a 15th of a (century) of a second, you know, there’s got to be some tremendously powerful organizing principle. And many great philosophers and great physicists have taken this idea of one mind so that the one mind is both within us as a matter of consciousness, but it’s also in the glory of the universe. It’s in the glory of the blade of grass. And, and I, I take that, that view, I view everything as, as an incredible gift. But sure, you know, even I talked about synchronicity earlier. So I’m in a department of, you know, it’s filled with biostats people and epidemiologists. And they would, they would hear my stories of synchronicity. And they would say, Well, you know, there was one chance in 100 million, that your mother would have called you that night from New York, just as you walked in the dormitory, or there’s one chance in 1000 zillion, but you would have met some guy in a bridge will look like somebody. And you know, you can, you can go that route if you want. But in the end of the day, it’s much more reasonable to understand these things as having some spiritual intent, and being set up, if you will, by a loving, original infinite mind.
Rick Archer: Yeah, astronomer Fred Hoyle said the chance that higher forms have emerged in this way, meaning randomly, is comparable to the chance that a tornado sweeping through a junkyard might assemble a Boeing 747 from the materials therein. And here’s another one, theologian RC Sproul said, If there’s even one maverick molecule in the universe, there is no God.
Stephen G. Post: Yeah, there you go. Let’s see now. I mean, I’m around a lot of high level biologists and, and I was a biology major in college. So you know, the, the evolutionary approach is so profound. And in some respects, its explanatory. But when you get to these really deeper levels, it tends, I think, to have limitations and more, more physicists and mathematicians are open minded about these non-materialist ideas than biologists. And also then social scientists, you know, maybe because there’s just so much pressure to be a materialist in the social sciences.
Rick Archer: If you heard of Robert Lanza?
Stephen G. Post: I don’t know much about him, but.
Rick Archer: Yeah. He has a theory that he calls biocentrism. And he, among others, quotes, there are about 200 different variables, that if any, one of them more slightly off by just a tiny, tiny fraction of a percent, we wouldn’t, we either wouldn’t have a universe or there would be no life in the universe or anything. So, so you know, the strength of gravity or the, I don’t know, the 200 different things, many of which I couldn’t even pronounce the names of, but the universe is just like, and then of course, you know, materialist hear this, this and they get into the sort of infinite worlds model. They say, okay, there, perhaps there are an infinite number of universes, and we just happened to be in the one where these 200 variables worked out just right, but not in any of the other ones. And therefore this this randomness can produce all the stuff that we see around us. They’re really grasping at straws.
Stephen G. Post: Yeah, I agree. I mean, the physicist called this idea of the world, the universe being set up to give rise to creatures who can be treasure in earthen vessels who we can be earthen vessels for the supreme consciousness. They call this the anthropic principle right? That everything is not just arbitrary and not chance. But there’s a there’s a principle of create. And that’s really what the Upanishads are about to that somehow there is this infinite supreme being, before time before space, and in love, wants to share consciousness with other free beings who can be creative, and generous. And, and that is really core to the whole big bang idea. This actually gained a lot of plausibility once the Big Bang was accepted. But absolutely, I mean, I think I think people get very open minded these days and more so as we learn all the things we’re learning.
Rick Archer: Yeah, I want to talk with you about love in a minute, but let’s just take care of a question that came in is relevant to what we’ve been talking about in recent minutes. This is Kirsten from Sedalia, Missouri asks, I would love it if Stephen had any specific interventions or assignments that therapists can use with their clients. And of course, for themselves. I currently use some positive psychology interventions with my clients, and they are some of my go to assignments I’ve been using for years, I would love to add some new practical interventions and assignments.
Stephen G. Post: Oh, that’s great. That’s a thank you very much, Kiersten. That’s a very good therapeutic question. You know, I, what I’ve observed is that, in a good many adolescent psychiatry units, clinicians are now recommending, not necessarily are prescribing, but recommending volunteerism, because the literature on adolescents and volunteerism is very, very powerful in terms of overcoming or helping to overcome depression, anxiety disorders, and the like. Certainly hostility and bitterness and rumination, those things begin to fade into the rearview mirror, when you get your mind off the self and the problems of the self. And you just take an interest. So I actually have a wonderful paper, which I can I think I sent it to you the Good to be Good Paper? Yeah, I don’t think I ended up reading it. I was reading your book and stuff. I didn’t get to that, though. But it’s all about the medical uses of giving and helping others.
Rick Archer: I certainly heard you talk about that a ot in the many hours of things I listened to. Yeah, and you say it’s specific examples and studies where they kink of prove that giving has beneficial or therapeutic effect.
Stephen G. Post: Yeah, across all age groups. So in California and San Francisco, there are a lot of Geriatric clinics, and even going back 12 years now, who were recommending volunteerism for older adult patients, because, you know, they’re, they’re looking for meaning in life. And it’s not that they just need Meals on Wheels, if you give them an opportunity to select interesting community projects, and involve themselves in it, it does a lot. There are very good studies showing that it extends their lives. They’re physically healthier, they deal better with loss and disappointment. They’re more resilient, they have deeper relationships. And so if you can give people the opportunity. Now, sometimes the light doesn’t go on. Some people take this, again, think of Kiersten’s question, you know, like a duck to water. And maybe about a third of people do actually there’s studies on this. And then a third of people are very hesitant, but then, at some point, you know, the light beams, you know, they become, they become more radiant, they realize that maybe they need a good mentor in this but they realize that they’ve come into themselves. And then there’s another third, that just kind of reticent, and they’re hard to get involved for some reason. But most people will, you know, we’ve done studies, we have a great website called www. helping others live sober.org, which is clinic, Cleveland Clinic in Case Western, and it’s all about adolescents, not only overcoming addiction disorders, but overcoming depression as well. So I would say I think to me personally, when people come to me and they’re struggling, I say, look, you know, time is on your side, because a lot of the things that are really sensitive to you now they’ll fade as the years pass and you’ll get that additional perspective on them, but also just keep helping people and doing unto others. And you’ll eventually get into a better state of mind.
Rick Archer: You’ve probably heard the word seva right? Yeah, seva.
Stephen G. Post: Yeah, seva. Tell us about it.
Rick Archer: It means selfless service. And there are a lot of spiritual teachers. It’s a Sanskrit word. But there are lots of teachers, spiritual teachers who make seva, one of the most, one of the central teachings, you know, that they encourage their students to do. And, you know, the idea is that it well, it you don’t expect anything in return. That’s where it’s called selfless service. But it also tends to attenuate the ego. It tends to make you sort of more devoted and altruistic and expands the heart. And, you know, I’ve met spiritual people. And perhaps I’ve been one of myself at times, who, you know, despite all of their practice, could still be quite egotistical or self-absorbed. And, you know, even people sometimes who’ve been meditating for decades, it’s all about me, me, me and my routine and my experiences and this and that with very little concern about other people. But I think that, so I think that seva if it’s a doesn’t have to be your whole thing, but it could be for some people, but as it is an important component of your toolkit for spiritual development, it can keep things balanced and develop you more holistically than if you just focused on sort of inner experience and to hell with everybody else.
Stephen G. Post: Absolutely true. And the Dalai Lama has been critical of some meditational practices in the western world because it gets separated from compassionate action in the end, or at least even the intention, because sometimes you want to act compassionately, but circumstances preclude that, but at least the desire to act is important. And the action itself matters. Because in the sort of James Lange theory of emotions, that’s why they say smile, even if you don’t want to because it tends to make people a little happier. The musculature builds into the emotional state. So that’s why just helping others gives people the so called helpers high. Or I call it the given glow and writing a book about that now. But so it’s very important. I also think, though, you know, in response to Kiersten gratitude exercises are good ones. Bob Emmons, EMMONS, runs a gratitude Institute at UC Davis. And he’s profound. And he’s got all these wonderful exercises for adolescents. But for everybody at Worthington, Virginia Commonwealth is another one other lots of different ways in which positive psychology, which is really more about only relational spirituality, you know, it can be very helpful, and it doesn’t require people to necessarily think in metaphysical terms. So it has its points.
Rick Archer: You wrote a book called, Is Ultimate Reality Unlimited Love? And so be interesting to talk about love for a while, and a little earlier, we were talking about, you know, how can there be a loving God if all this horrible stuff happens? And if God is the ultimate reality, and God is unlimited love how can the universe be such a difficult place to live in sometimes? So let’s kind of knock about the notion of love from different angles and perspectives, perhaps, you know, touching upon this, its ultimate meaning in some deep metaphysical sense. And any anything else you’d care to say about it, because I know, it’s been a big focus of your work and your life?
Stephen G. Post: Well, I picked up a working definition of love just to be definitional, from the writings of a psychiatrist at the University of Chicago, named Harry Stack Sullivan, great guy, and, you know, long since deceased, but he said that when the happiness and the security of another is as real, to you as your own, you love that person. Now, that’s not appealing to Greek, or Latin or Sanskrit or anything, it’s just kind of everyday reality. And if you think about yourself, you know, sitting with an old friend who’s lost a child, if you’re in the hospice, working with someone who is moving on to another level of being if you’re looking over the crib of a newborn child, if you’re just you know, and it really works that you just have that feeling is the oneness we’re talking about, that their security and their happiness is as real and meaningful to me as my own, or in some cases, more so. It doesn’t set aside the love of self, because that’s the standard that’s still there. And we always need to be self-compassionate and self-caring, and so forth. But, but that’s a pretty good working definition. And so if people can live in that space, they will generally live a happier and healthier and longer life. But that’s not really metaphysical because then you’re getting into this question of ultimate reality. And, and is this actually a kind of beautiful energy that that is all around the universe. I was, I tell you, I get the story in the book of the poet W.H. Auden and odd was kind of a hippie guy.
Rick Archer: I met him when I didn’t meet him in person, I went to one of his poetry reading in Connecticut one time. And speaking of hippy as the people are with reading all kinds of jiggly beads and stuff like that, we made quite a commotion as we came in. But anyway, continue.
Stephen G. Post: I like that. I like that. He used to spend a lot of time around Oxford, and he tells the story, which I quote in the book. It’s 1933, and he’s sitting with some friends, it’s in the evening, they’re having cocktails. And he wasn’t particularly close to these friends. They were they were just more colleagues. And no, I’m sorry, no one had drunk, no, no one had had a drink. And they were just they were just there. And suddenly, he feels invaded by an energy. And he doesn’t know where it’s coming from. He consents to it. But it completely boggles him. And for the first time in his life, he says, because he was quite a mystic. He knew what it would mean, to love your neighbor as yourself. Then he says, at the intuition that they too, were having the same experience. And so he asked one of them afterwards if they had that experience, and they said they had. But so this is about really the ultimate spiritual nature of love. So I was sitting here in this office, six years ago, and there was a young medical student, a great Korean American student who came from a relatively poor area of Queens. And she was having a hard time she was brilliant, but she couldn’t really adjust to the medical school culture. She felt like an outsider. And she was thinking about leaving school. So she knocks on my door. And she tells me about this. And I, I’m listening, and I say, look, email me, I had a lot of things going on that day. And we’ll set up an appointment for early next week. So I’m sitting here and I, I feel something palpably. And I, it’s this incredible warmth and this incredible energy. And I’d never quite had that experience before and actually swiveled in my chair, and I looked over my right shoulder, and there was nothing there to the naked eye, but this very
Rick Archer: felt like it was behind you.
Stephen G. Post: I felt like was just behind me over my right shoulder. And, and that changed my behavior because it was so shocking. It was really like Auden’s experience. And so what I said was, wait a minute, stay right here and I cancelled all my appointments for the afternoon. I spent the whole afternoon with this young gal. And she did take a year off, I became her mentor. She wrote a lot journalistically about her experiences and adjusting to medical school, just become a great doctor, she practices preventive medicine. And she was very successful, but I would have just really passed her by if I had noticed something. And that was synchronicity too. I just took that, seriously, I was confused by it. I couldn’t quite figure it out. But it was so strong and ineffable, that it changed my schedule for that afternoon. And that changed her life and it changed my life.
Rick Archer: Yeah. To me, that’s another angel story. I feel like we’re surrounded by higher beings, that that by higher I mean, subtler, I think, you know, we’re sort of gross flesh and blood. There’s also subtler levels of creation, astral and celestial, and so on. And, you know, those are as populated as our gross world is. And some of these beings are very much engaged in human welfare and human activities. And it was some such being who gave you that dream when you’re in prep school. And I feel this might just sound like a belief, but I think there might be something to it, that the describe the thing you just described was also an intervention by some higher being or higher intelligence. They know that you’re an easy one to get to do something. They’ve got their eye on you. Guides, you can say people talk about spirit guides, you could call them that.
Stephen G. Post: Something like that. Yeah, yeah. Well, I think that that’s a very, very worthwhile interpretation. And I appreciate it. It helps me to, through and understand it a little more deeply.
Rick Archer: I know it’s I also know people who see them routinely. And if they go into a room full of people, they’ll see them kind of clustered around, you know, with some sort of attention on different people.
Stephen G. Post: So, I’m not like that. I mean, I would that I were but.
Rick Archer: I’m not either.
Stephen G. Post: But my episodes are more sort of everyday like, you know, the car in Tarrytown. Yeah. These little episodes.
Rick Archer: Well, actually, I don’t know if you told the Tarrytown story yet. That’s the one where he got the $100 bill.
Stephen G. Post: Yes, so. So I had been at the U of Chicago. And then I spent a couple of years in Ann Arbor, Michigan as a postdoc, and I got a job at Fordham at the Marymount campus in Tarrytown. And I’ll tell you, rents are really steep in Tarrytown. And I had to pay out, oh my gosh, about 8000 bucks just to get a one bedroom apartment for my wife, myself and our little infant daughter who’s two years old. And I was plumb out of money. And I wasn’t gonna get a paycheck for a couple of days. And I didn’t like to ask my parents for money just wasn’t something I was willing to do. So was my wife and I and Emma are sitting in this car in front of the Howard Johnson’s diner, just across from the Tappan Zee Bridge on the Tarrytown side. And Mitzvah says let’s pray. We need some money. So we prayed and she actually prayed for $100 bill. And then she told me somebody just hit our car. I said Mitzvah, nobody, nobody hit our car. I didn’t. I didn’t. I didn’t feel anything. She said, go out there go out there. I know somebody did. So I went out reluctantly, I went out and, and there was this big, huge African American guy, you know, big white suit, big white hat. He looked kinda like Church of God. He looked very, very spiritual. And he said, Oh, I’m so sorry. Let me pull this out. He opened up his wallet. And he pulled out $100 bill. And that’s just what we’ve been praying about. So I took it and I said, sir, you know, you are truly the answer to a prayer. And that’s and then we went into, we went into the Howard Johnson. So we had lunch, and it lasted us for a couple of days. You know, I did have a credit card. So we stayed at the at the hotel across the way there, and I got a paycheck and things worked out. But that was a tremendous moment. At the at that time, because it just showed us that somehow or another, we’re on the right path. We are on the right track.
Rick Archer: Yeah, I’ll tell you one of mine. I’ve told this before on BatGap I think it’s been a few years. I was I was in a TM movement facility in the Catskills and didn’t have a car and the nearest town was quite a few miles and so on. And I was staying in a certain room that and I needed a bunch of stuff. I needed some various kinds of office supplies and this and that, I wanted some Brasso because we had these Pooja sets that we would do poojas with which are Vedic ceremonies and mine needed shining. And I also had this pair of Florsheim shoes that had these decorative buckles on it, and I had gotten them wet, and then put shoe trees and when they dried, the buckles broke. And so I thought, how can I get more buckles for these shoes, so I got moved into a different room and just about everything I needed was in that room, the previous occupant had left the stuff you know, the office supplies, I needed the Brasso, but no shoe buckles, of course. So that night, I went to dinner, I was walking down this hallway and something caught my eye on an air conditioner that was mounted in the hallway. And on top of the air conditioner, I looked up and there was a pair of decorative shoe buckles that will perfectly fit my shoes. Got them and put them on.
Stephen G. Post: So you can look at that. And this gets into probabilities. You can say that your experience with the buckles, or my experience with that guy in front of the Howard Johnson’s that’s just, you know, it’s, it’s an improbable possibility, right? You can try to explain it as luck. But in the final analysis, that really doesn’t work terribly well, because it’s just so it’s so uncanny, and it’s almost spooky. And it’s not just that we’re attributing meaning to it. I mean, some people would say that they’d say, well, you’re attributing meaning to things and we are meaning making creatures Sartre said, but I actually think there’s an object there can be a subjectivity to it. And maybe there are some things where we do attribute meaning that really isn’t quite there. But there are these moments when we just know, in our souls that this was set up. And there’s so many of these stories been books and books and books have been written compiling stories like this, you know, it’s just, there’s been 1000s of them have been told and written down. Definitely can’t be mere chance. This is an interesting little tidbit that I cognized listening to you. You mentioned Carl Jung’s story of the beetle. So explain that story. And I’ll tell you the tidbit. Like why Oh, great. Well, you know, Jung wrote a book entitled Synchronicity. And there are lots of little vignettes in the book. But there’s one particular vignette and I’ll try to get it accurately. Carl Jung was in his office, and he had a patient with him a woman. He wasn’t getting any place with her somehow, the whole relationship was frozen, he was very pessimistic. And she started telling him about a dream that she had. And it was a dream of an extremely rare silver beetle. And he listened to that, and, and then tap, tap, tap on the window. And he turned around, and there was this amazingly rare beetle right there on the window, and he let it slip into his palm. And then he handed it over to her. And she was so astonished by it. And at that point, they broke through and had a very meaningful therapeutic relationship.
Rick Archer: Interesting, well the realization I had about that was that the Beatles before they call themselves The Beatles called themselves the silver Beatles. And I thought, wow, I never connected that with that story about Carl Jung. But maybe John Lennon had read to Carl Jung or something. And that’s how they originally came up with that name. I don’t know.
Stephen G. Post: I don’t know. But it gets into this thing of synchronicity, which sometimes involves not just that encounter that you might have at Howard Johnson’s, or on a bridge, or whatever. But it can actually get to the level of say, Dad’s Mercedes 190, breaking down at just the right moment. Yeah. Are those buckles being exactly where they needed to be? In other words, somehow or another synchronicity and this setting up of the universe that we experience if we notice it as such, that it can involve inanimate objects?
Rick Archer: Yeah, it’s very interesting. And again, you know, it points to something that points to a deeper intelligence that’s orchestrating things that’s, that’s kind of conscious, conscious of things that is not limited by time and space, you know, that can sort of, and that sensitive to our deserve ability, if there’s such a word, or lack of it? You know, there’s just so much. I mean, to me, it’s like, every single little atom of the universe is orchestrated by that intelligence. And everything is taken into account. It’s like an infinitely powerful computer running the whole thing.
Stephen G. Post: So that may be true, I’m not I but what this brings to mind is the Rockwell image,
Rick Archer: Yes, the Rockwell image.
Stephen G. Post: Because I’m very big into Rockwell’s picture of the Golden Rule, which he did in 1961. It was on the cover of Look Magazine, wonderful image, people from every background. So I heard him give a talk about this. When I was at St. Paul’s as a kid, he came up to New Hampshire from Stockbridge, Massachusetts, where he lived and had a studio. So he said, you know, you’ve got people from every culture, every background, every color, every age, some of them are, you know, secular looking like the guy with a denim jacket, rubbing his chin in the middle, which I think is Rockwell himself. And you got the rabbi and the, you know, all these all these amazing people. And, and he says it’s, it’s, it’s a shared humanity, and there are no borders to the image because he wanted us to really recognize our oneness, our interdependence with one another. And, and then he said, look at the faces of these people, now your listeners can’t look at those faces. And he asked us, so what does it look like to you? And he said different things. But most of us said, well, they look very peaceful. They look very calm. And that’s true, because they’re meditating on the positive version of the golden rule, not the negative version, which just means don’t kick somebody in the shin. But use your imagination, you know, to ask yourself, how can I help other people around me and contribute to their lives if you do that? Then actually there’s a neurology of this your mezzo limbic pathway kicks in, and you’re doling out more dopamine And there’s a sense in which you achieve an inner happiness, a kind of radiance, what I call the givers glow. But then he said, do you see the halo? Now, that’s a big question for everybody. It just look at this picture for a minute, and see if you can see a white circle in the middle of the picture. And you see, right it starts with the rabbi’s beard. And then there’s a toddler, if I recall.
Rick Archer: Yeah, there’s a nun holding a baby. And then there’s the rabbi, and then the guy with the blue denim, it’s kind of in the middle there. But then there’s a redheaded woman with a child dressed in white. So basically, there’s this white circle. Yeah.
Stephen G. Post: Yeah. And what what Rockwell said to us, he said, you know, I’m not that religious. He was an Episcopalian. I said, I’m not that religious. But he said, I do believe in this energy of love, this incredible power of love. And he said, If you, if he actually made the analogy to surfing, he said, if you’re surfing, you have to paddle really hard to get your board out in the water, and then you have to paddle faster even to catch a wave. So that’s doing goodness, small acts of goodness of kindness, trying to keep yourself in a frame of mind of helping others, even when there are difficult things happening, even when, as Bob said earlier, you know, you may get some kickback. But if you, if you paddle on that board, you will eventually catch the wave, and the wave is the halo. And once you catch the wave and that energy, all you have to you don’t have to paddle anymore, all you have to do is stand up and balance yourself on the board. And it just takes you off in ways that you could never have imagined waves that are faster than you could ever had paddled, and more exciting, and more illuminating and more thrilling. And so that’s what that picture is really about. It’s about, you know, preparing yourself in terms of, you know, trying to do good, intending to do good regardless of you know, reciprocal calculations and pay it back, but just try to do good. And keep at it, and eventually catch the wave.
Rick Archer: And, and I would say that trying to do good is not only a matter of doing, it’s also a matter of being, there’s a couple of verses in the Gita, this verse, chapter two, verse 45, says, sort of transcend or be without the three gunas. And then three verses later, it says, established in being or established in yoga, perform action. So it’s like, you know, let’s say a lifeguard is good, he’s doing something good, he’s saving lives. And people who might be drowning, but if he doesn’t know how to swim, he’s not going to be a very good lifeguard. So you have to not only have the desire to save the drowners, you have to become a good swimmer. And that’s obviously an analogy or allegory for what we need to do in terms of doing good in the world.
Stephen G. Post: Very much. So. And they’re obviously you know, a lot of these people in the image are spiritual, and they have all kinds of different traditions. Some are Hindus, some are Buddhists, some are Jews, whatever, Nativists. But the point is that, that if you have a spiritual practice, and early in the morning, like we were saying before, if you can just make that space, even for 10 or 15 minutes, I do it for about 45 minutes in the morning. And really meditate and it gets to a point I do loving kindness meditations, I envision that people are going to see over the course of the day, I keep my schedule in an old leather book. So I actually kind of have a pretty good sense. And I there maybe 12 or 13 people I’m going to I’m going to run into and I have meetings with and I am I put their image in my mind and I say, May you be peaceful? May you be healed? May you be free from suffering and want and then I go positively I say, may you be kind may you be called, right? May you be called to see me, you know, joy and love and God. And I just focus my mind on them the energy of my mind and then when I come into work, you know, I have a pretty good intuitive sense of what’s going on with them. And I’m able to connect really well I’m actually I’m it’s one of the few things that I’m known for doing effectively. And I appreciate that, but has to be set up. So as you’re being I mean to get to your point. It’s not just doing but it’s really taking the time inwardly to set up your being. And of course, if we’re doing that, and there is this one mind, and if our minds are part of that larger mind, then it’s affecting the minds of others in some ways too. So we can be, as well as do. And of course.
Rick Archer: It’s true of anything that you have to get good at it before apply it you have, you know whether you’re going to be an airline pilot or a surgeon or based professional baseball player or anything else, you can’t just do it, you have to sort of hone your skills in order to do it. And I think that with regard to being a good human being a giving, loving human being, you, you may or may not be born with it, but to whatever extent you are, you can culture it. Yeah, like, for instance, I mentioned (Damien) Dannion Brinkley, recently, earlier, he was a sharpshooter, in Vietnam, and he killed people and so on. And then he had four near death experiences. And in every near death experience, he experienced, he had the whole life review thing, we’re experienced, not only what he had gone through, but he experienced it from the perspective of the people whom he had influenced. So if he shot somebody in Vietnam, he experienced that from the perspective of that person’s family and what it meant to their family to have the provider killed, and so on and so forth. So he really felt all the implications of all the significant actions of his life. Why did I go off on that tangent?
Stephen G. Post: Well, it can be cultivated, it can be
Rick Archer: Cultivated, that’s what so he ended up becoming a hospice guy, he helps people transition into dying, and dedicated his life to that and many for many years now.
Stephen G. Post: Yeah, absolutely. So, you know, I have, I have my deep job as the Institute for Research on Unlimited love. But I have a beautiful day job. I’m a ward of the taxpayer in the state of New York. And I have a center teaching, medical humanism and compassionate care. We have all kinds of really interesting techniques. And we believe that we can nurture this, we can cultivate this in our medical students, and they have a reputation for being kind. And we do all kinds of role playing things create small communities of trust, where they can talk about their interactions with patients and good role modeling and bad role modeling. And so they can if they can form their professional identity, in a compassionate way, when there’s so much pressure against that, because you got to have more revenue units and so forth. Well, you know, this center has been pretty successful. We actually, the school just won the Alpha Omega Alpha, professional identity annual award, which is the best thing you can get in medical education, for teaching compassion. And we do I also have some great people from Compassion International, who will come in and work with us and do meditational type things. So when I came here, though, of people just really, they just glared with one guy just glared at me. I mean, you know, if I was coming up the escalator, like, the first day was on the job. And he looked like kind of Mr. Clean with his arms folded, you know, like this across the chest. And he said, Are you Dr. Post? And I said, Yes, sir. And he said, Have you come here to save us? And I said, Well, I’m not sure. But I’m gonna try to do a good job. And, and, of course, eventually, you know, we really created a cultural transformation. And that’s what you need in medicine today, because it’s not just technical skill sets, and biology, and objectification, but so much of it is the habits of the heart. And we’ve been able to do a lot of that, as demonstrated by all kinds of measures. And so yeah, you can cultivate this stuff. And you have to, you know, I just really believe in this, it’s not that it’s the simplest thing in the world. And you’re gonna get opposition here and there, because there are always sharks in the water.
Rick Archer: Are there many medical schools which have a program like that? Or is this kind of uncommon?
Stephen G. Post: It’s very uncommon. I mean, I was a Case Western med for 20 years, we had a Center for Bioethics that’s just, you know, do you put a feeding pig and someone who’s 92 years old and dying of dementia? Probably not, you know, use applesauce. Give them give them a good drink and let them pass. Those are quandaries you know, Do you or don’t you? What do you do with a neonate, who’s born at 22 weeks to try to save it or let it go? But ours is completely unique? Because it’s medical humanities the students all read great classics like When Breath Becomes Air, you know, stories and books about people who have been ill and what their experiences are and how they navigate hope and despair and meaning and purpose despite all and then also compassionate care. How do you elicit these empathic virtues like humility, you were talking about that before, humility, kindness, empathy, compassion, how do you develop those in people and make it tangible and observable, so that you can convince your community that that’s how you’re operating. So yeah, it’s been great.
Rick Archer: So have you been able to quantify the results in terms of the effect this has had on the doctors and also on their patients? I mean, it seems like it could be measurable.
Stephen G. Post: Well, we have. So medical students, unfortunately, in a whole number of studies, they lose their empathy. Once they get out of the preclinical. They’re losing temporarily out of the preclinical years into the clinical settings, because they’re experiencing patient care, they’re, they’re under pressure to learn technical skill sets, they see uneven role modeling, they get some role models were very jaded and cynical, and some were great, but it’s a mixed bag out there, worlds been burdened. Since the world’s been turning, we bring the students out of their clerkship, their clinical experiences in small circles of trust, we call them and, and they talk about empathy and kindness and role modeling. And if they see something that they don’t like, there was a young guy who said, I was with my team and they made a derisive joke within earshot of a patient. And I wondered, should I laugh? Because if I laugh, I’ll get a better evaluation. He said, I’m not going to laugh. And then he said, should I even smile, said, I’m not even going to smile. He just stood there. And then a nurse approached him a little later and said, I noticed how you handled yourself. This is him talking in a small reflection group. Why don’t you diplomatically approach the team and talk about your experience how you felt as a medical student witnessing that. And he did. And this team very favorably viewed him in a positive way and said, that wouldn’t happen again. So we told our reflection group about that. And what that does is it allows them in real time, to talk about those experiences that would actually work contrary to their own moral integrity, their own compassionate hopes and aspirations. So they can share it as a group and in a concerted way, create a culture. So we have all these groups going on all over the institution. And what happens is, you get recognized by the national accrediting bodies that, you know, 10 years, they come to medical students, and one of the things they got from the students, the faculty, from everybody, was that we have a compassionate community. That doesn’t happen in modern medicine very easily.
Rick Archer: That’s interesting. And I bet you that, you know, I mean, sure patients can be aware of it, if that patient that they cracked, the joke about was conscious, how would he have felt, you know, if it was at his expense, and I’m sure that there’s some kind of correlation between the compassion of the doctor and the, you know, the healing of the patient, patient outcomes.
Stephen G. Post: Yeah and I’ve read a lot about that. I mean, the benefits for the patients are incredible. There’s a guy at Cleveland Clinic, who was a heart surgeon, he wants to know, what got matched patients out of the clinic quicker if they’d had the same surgery, same open heart surgery. And what he found out the most predictive factor was whether they could say that their surgeon, not the team, I mean, the team is important, you know, but their surgeon, that principal relationship, their surgeon was empathic and kind. And if they do that, they got out earlier. And so there are benefits for patients, they’re much better able to manage chronic illnesses where they have to do treatments for diabetes, and so forth. But also, it’s great for the clinicians, because they have to balance their lives. But they, if they can stay in tune with compassion, they’re much happier, and they stay with it. And they’re protected from burnout, although they can be compassion, fatigue, so that’s a complicated thing. And it’s great for the institution’s reputation. Everybody wins.
Rick Archer: Before we run out of time, do you want to talk about Sir John Templeton and the Institute for Research on Unlimited Love?
Stephen G. Post: I do. One of the most wonderful things that ever happened to me in my life, was meeting Sir John Templeton. And he became a mentor for me, I worked with him, you know, setting up things around the country and around the world on forgiveness and gratitude and wisdom and so forth. And one day I was sitting in my
Rick Archer: And explained who he was a little bit.
Stephen G. Post: He was a philanthropist. But he founded a mutual fund called the Templeton fund. It was one of the most successful funds in the 70s and 80s. He made a lot of money. And he believed he actually believed in this idea of the one mind. So he left all his money at the interface of science and spirituality, to study these great human assets, like love, like kindness, like forgiveness, like gratitude, but then he wrote me in he actually was a great faxer he loved the fax he didn’t email. He said, don’t just study human love, but the love that made humans, which is really insightful because he thought it was arrogant. He felt it was arrogant, to just say, well, we’re going to study human love. I mean, there’s a lot you can study about human love. But he thought there was a deeper love the kind of love that I was experiencing with that medical student in the room or that W.H. Auden experienced on that green in Oxford. So what happened was, I’m sitting in my office a Case Western, I get a fax from Sir John, Stephen, we should found an institute that can study this sublime spiritual love with the highest methods of science that we have, and I fax back, Sir John, that’s a great idea. Let’s do it. What should we call it? And then he fax back, the Institute for Research on Unlimited Love. And I had a moment of trepidation because I also do, like, genetics, you know, in Alzheimer’s, and I’ve done work on pharmaceuticals, different kinds of things. And I’m in a very sciency environment. So I’m very spiritual, too. But I have to think about boundaries a little bit. So I faxed him back I said, Sir John, maybe we should call this this is in the year 2000, the Institute for Creative Altruism, which is a very sciencey kind of dry, arid term. That’s more acceptable. Yeah. And he fax back? No, the Institute for Research On Unlimited Love, up to $8.9 million. Now, I don’t know what your audience would say about this. But pause. Okay. I fax back. I said, Sir John. I love that language. It jumps right off the page and it was born. And it was a great thing that he said, because it allowed us to work with the scientific community, but also with spiritual communities and have lots of things going on. And sort of acknowledge the metaphysical side of this, which we were funding things that Ions
Rick Archer: Institute of Noetic Sciences.
Stephen G. Post: Yeah, yeah, yeah, there and in many different places. So we were going beyond what would be sort of coined of in the realm in the secular scientific sense. But it’s been great. And I loved Sir John, and he was one of the biggest influences in my whole life.
Rick Archer: So what are some of the things the Institute has accomplished? And how has it sort of worked at the interface of science and spirituality? What is it done there?
Stephen G. Post: Well, we funded about 100, and some odd really high level studies at universities, and nonprofits around the country and including Canada. All of these have to be at the science and spiritual interface. A lot of them have been very, very powerful people have developed some of the go to scales for say, daily spiritual experiences and so forth. A lot of people have benefited from this on neurologists, evolutionary biologists, physicists, mathematicians, I put up my put an advertisement in the Chronicle for Higher Education in 2001. Asking social scientists around the US if they wanted to teach courses on spirituality, love and the social sciences. One guy responded these were $5,000 awards name was Matt Lee, Matthew T. Lee. He was a criminologist at the University of Akron because I’m in Cleveland, Ohio at the time. He responds, we gave him a grant. Two or three months later, I was reading in the Akron Beacon journal, about this guy in Akron, and hundreds of people were signing up for his class on unlimited love. And he was no longer criminologist. He was doing something else completely. And he was so successful, that he started up a whole wing of the American Sociological Association on the spiritual and scientific study of unlimited love. He wrote books, he did incredible stuff. And two years ago, I wrote a six page letter for Matt Lee to Harvard, because there was an opportunity there to become the director of empirical research on kindness, and flourishing. I wrote a six page letter for this guy, the longest letter I ever wrote for an applicant, you know, he got the job. So right now Matt Lee, he’s left Akron is the only guy or gal who’s ever gotten out of the University of Akron and made it to Harvard. And they love him there. And he’s conducting this incredible research all over Harvard all over the globe, you know, and he’s just the Cat’s Meow So, so all you know, we had essay contests with young people. That gets to the UN story. I could tell you that briefly. So I’d love to Chagall that, you know, Chagall’s powerful for me because it turns out when he was 17, he had, he’d left he’d run away from home, his dad in a small city in Russia, ran a factory and insisted that his son work in the factory. You know, it was it was actually a factory that pickled herring, okay, it was a Hasidic Jewish family. And just like the with Bill De Bona, Chagall wasn’t going to have anything to do with that. So he ran away to St. Petersburg, and he lived on the streets. And he wasn’t an artist at the time other than he sketched. So he would sketch people on the corners, and he slept in an alleyway. And there was a big mattress in the alley, there was no ceiling. And one night, he’s kind of asleep, but he’s kind of not and he’s got a big, heavy set worker sharing the mattress with them. And he sees this incredible flood of beautiful radiant blue light in the darkness, and he can’t figure it out. And then he sees an angel with white wings floating down and then the angel has ascends and leaves the light behind him. The next day. Marc Chagall, the greatest painter of the 20th century, in my view, painted The Apparition, which is the painting of a blue of a white Angel against a blue background. All his great paintings were in blue, all his all his beautiful stained glass windows, at the UN, and wherever in blue, when he died, he was painting a blue angel in his studio outside of Paris. He said, blue is the color of love. So I loved Chagall, and I was I studied Chagall and I even did a course on Chagall when I was at Fordham. So I actually I was invited in 2014, to go to Pocantico hills behind Tarrytown, and do a presentation on the spirituality of Chagall because that’s where his good Samaritan Blue Angel window is. And I drove home that night. When I got back to the office, in my in my home. It’s about two in the morning. And I had an email from Deray Ahmad, who’s a very famous, spiritual, Muslim feminist. And she said the website, she’s on the board of the institute, the websites been taken down, and there was the image of the ISIS flag that said, Team DZ ISIS, and they were taking down websites that fall left and right. So I wasn’t sure what to do about it. But I called my board the next day, most of them were in Cleveland. And they said, Let’s have an essay contest. So we distributed a contest, we were giving students aged 12 and 13 14 15 16 17 18 cash awards, for writing essays, powerful essays about how they push back against peer pressure, to hate other people, just because they didn’t share their beliefs. And lo behold, we got 1000s of applications. But I was I was co-chairing the UN Population Fund project on Spirituality and Sustainable Development at the time. They heard about this. So in August of 2016, the Institute filled the entire UN headquarters with young people who came from all over the world. And they perform these, these beautiful poems. They did rap stuff, and it was all about unlimited love, and how they push back against hatred, and gotten the papers. And that’s how I kind of ended the book because to me, the whole thing was, I didn’t set that up. I did not set that up. It was just it just came to me from the universe. And I thought a lot of it was just synchronicity. And it was such a beautiful experience. And it’s still one of the high points of my life.
Rick Archer: So the moral of that story is you turn lemons into lemonade.
Stephen G. Post: Yeah, expanding the canvas. I mean, I always come to that, you know, you got to take those blotches no matter how blotchy they look. And they can look pretty blotchy, you know. And like, oh, if you have to just cover them with these luminous radiant, energizing lines, and then there it is, one of the most beautiful works in the museum.
Rick Archer: That’s great. So got to conclude in a few minutes. As we speak here, in the one of the main epicenters, perhaps the main epicenter in the world right now, or at least in the US of the Coronavirus. And you’re not a doctor per se, but you’re you can look out your window and see the tents that people are being kept in and you’re very much involved in the situation. And there’s all kinds of ethical situations about keeping people on ventilators. We won’t get into all that. But um, do you have any sort of kind of long range view? I mean, a lot of people feel like alright, this is something that we kind of felt was coming. We didn’t know what it would be but the world couldn’t just continue to go on as it had been and we’re kind of doing ourselves in at the rate we’re going and there’s got to be a shift somehow something’s got to change a phase transition. And perhaps this is it. And perhaps a you mentioned earlier, actually, that you see a very bright future. And perhaps you see what we’re going through now as a kind of purging are something that will help us transition into that very bright future. So is there anything you can say to elaborate on that before we conclude?
Stephen G. Post: Yeah. You know, in, in the Hebrew Bible, there’s this idea of the Angel of Death. It’s a very bizarre idea, it’s very hard to get a handle on it. But these are episodes were somehow or another just because of the spiritual decadence, of humanity at a particular time. Something has to happen. And it’s not easy. It’s not simple. And no one pretends that the suffering is, is anything but very real. But I believe this is one of those blotch points I keep talking about. And you know, every day I hear about incredible scientific discoveries, people are learning how to treat these patients, they’re figuring it out, they’re getting higher percentages off the ventilators, and out of the intensive care unit. They’re beginning to learn about this and I. So scientifically, it’s a breakthrough moment, hugely breakthrough moment, we’re going to be shocked at how much we learn. But it’s also a spiritual breakthrough moment. You know, my son is with us from New York City. He works in finance in the World Trade Center. He’s been with us for almost four weeks, and we’re so happy, we’ve reconnected with him. And we’re being meditational and prayerful and, and it’s, there’s a beauty to it all. I think people take their relationships more seriously. They, they see value in their lives, and they’re reprioritizing. And they’re saying, you know, those routines I was experiencing before they were getting in the way of my real flourishing. So I see this as very positive. I know, that’s not I hope it’s not Pollyannish, I view it as positive. I think we’re going to come out of this. And we are going to grow in ways that right now we can hardly even imagine. I think this is a transition point worldwide. And I love a quote from Eleanor Roosevelt. And it’s makes sense for a kid 15 who had a Blue Angel dream. Her quote is this. The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams. I want everybody to dream. You know, I’m here with you, Rick today, and we’re dreaming. We’re dreaming about the future. And there’s going to be things happening, you know, people are realizing how interdependent we are, and how responsible we all for one another. And they’re digging deep and they’re regaining spiritual qualities, there’s a lot that’s happening. And I don’t think we’re going to go back to being same old, same old, you know, just going from point A to point B to point C and a routine every day. I think we’re breaking out of it. And I don’t know exactly what the outcome will be. But I’m very hopeful. I don’t mean optimistic, because that’s not always realistic. I mean, I’m a hopeful realist, I think people understand that we need to get it together for our own species for all life for the planet Earth for the cosmos. And this will be a time we’ll look back on and we will begin to see that our dreams can come true.
Rick Archer: Very nice. You know, I was thinking a few minutes ago, you were talking about that guy from Akron, who ended up at Harvard doing this wonderful thing, how popular it is there. And then what you do and what a good thing it is in your hospital, and yet how rare it is. And if you look at all the hospitals in the country, I was thinking that, you know, maybe guys like you and him are just sort of Avant Garde, who are just doing something that, you know, 10 years from now might be quite mainstream, as we’ve seen happen over and over again, in the world certain things, a few people do it. And then next thing, you know, everybody’s doing it. So you know, could be that a decade from now. You know, the kind of stuff you’re gonna have all this empathy, empathetic, compassionate, giving, kind of behavior will be institutionalized, and in a good sense of the word, and will be from preschool on through all education, all professions, everything else, that kind of thing will be an essential component and imagine the impact that could have.
Stephen G. Post: Oh that’s happening. And we funded some of the early use of meditational techniques in the grade schools first and second grade and Baltimore. And the outcomes are amazing, you know, kids not having the same level of deficit disorders, their behaviors improve. They’re more interested in learning. I mean, we can turn this around, and it’s happening, it’s got to be institutionally based. So it really gets into the culture. But I’m definitely seeing a lot of good things. And I’m very hopeful about the about the future.
Rick Archer: Yeah I have a good friend who’s the head of the David Lynch Foundation, which teaches meditation in schools and prisons, and PTSD people and all that kind of stuff. And it’s really quite profound in the effects inner city schools, the way kids turn around dramatically whole schools turned around dramatically, when once people have access to that sort of inner potential that we all possess.
Stephen G. Post: Very much, so very much so. So I see it happening in a lot of different places. But you know, as Gandhi said, you know, for anybody who’s really innovative, and a little bit out of the box, you know, at first they ignore you has it go, and then they persecute you. And then they accept you or something like that.
Rick Archer: Yeah. And then they just said, I forget, it’s a beautiful little sequence of phrases. But eventually, it’s like, oh, yeah, we always knew that.
Stephen G. Post: I mean, when I when I got started with the Institute for Research and Unlimited love, it’s Case Western University School of Medicine, in a very secular department with a Freudian psychiatrist, who was my department chair, who loved Freud and Machiavelli. I mean people were rolling their eyes. And they wonder what happened to Steven? That was difficult, but it turned out beautifully, and, and I feel so comfortable, just have confidence in your dreams. And they’ll, they’ll work just recognize the beauty of what we’re saying. Be careful. I also have another favorite quote from Reinhold Niebuhr, the theologian at Columbia and Union, the children of light I’m using this metaphorically, the children of light must have the cunning of the children of darkness, but none of their malice the children of light must have the cunning of the children of darkness, but none of their mouths because there’s a lot of times, running an institute staying afloat in big medical centers, where like I say, you know, there were people who wanted to just kind of eliminate what I do, but you have to be wise, and you have to be diplomatic. You can’t be overbearing. If you’re going to be successful. You have to have a lightness of being. I’m very mirthful, I tell cute non derisive little jokes. You know, where the Easter Bunny go for breakfast? IHOP. What do the fish say when they slam to swim into the wall? Dam. And I do want people to feel comfortable around me and not threatened.
Rick Archer: Yeah, that’s a good one. What a groat. What a Kermit the Frog say about time. Time is fun when you’re having flies. There’s one for you. Here’s another one for you from Groucho. He said. Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana.
Stephen G. Post: Oh, that’s fabulous, okay. You need that too to be successful. Lightness of Being. Yeah, it’s serious. The balance between you know, this is the sort of dialectic the balance between seriousness and levity is crucial. If you’re just too serious. You’ll never get anyplace.
Rick Archer: Yeah. Interesting, which is an interesting thing, because very often you see people who have a lot of weight on their shoulders, you know, who are behind great world missions, tons of responsibility. They’re very happy people. Well look at Templeton. I mean he look at it. Look at his face. He’s just this beaming glowing oops, wrong picture where it’s Templeton, there he is. It just looks like he’s a little wise little elf or something full, full of joy. And yet he was a multi billionaire, you know, with undoubtedly tons of responsibility.
Stephen G. Post: He was really great. So when he died, he died in 2008. He was in Lyford Cay in Nassau and his son, Jack Templeton, who was a trauma surgeon at the Children’s Hospital Philadelphia, calls me and he said dad is dying. And he has a request for you. I said, Oh my gosh, Jack. I’ll do anything for Sir John, what’s the request? He wants you to write a book that kind of brings together his ideas because he’s not going to have time to write it. I said, Well, I’ll give it a try. It’s kind of a daunting task. What’s the title? Did he give you a title Jack? And Jack said yeah, it gave me gave you a title. He said the Ultimate Reality is Unlimited Love. And then I said to Jack, Jack, do me a favor. Go back to dad and ask him if we can have a question mark. So Jack came back like I had a flip phone. I was actually on route 80 When I did this. I have a flip phone and I left it on and Jack said yeah, he says Is Ultimate Reality Unlimited Love question mark. And I felt like some of the pressure was off. Just for Sir John. I mean, I mean, it wasn’t it was in the Templeton Press it wasn’t a best seller but, but I wrote it for Sir John, because he was the guy who really believed in this stuff. And, and, you know he would be so happy to hear us talking. Maybe he’s hearing us talking.
Rick Archer: Yeah,
Stephen G. Post: I don’t know.
Rick Archer: Maybe he was that that light over your right shoulder that made you take that girl more seriously who knows. Yeah. Anyway,
Stephen G. Post: I officiating at her wedding by the way.
Rick Archer: Oh, very cool.
Stephen G. Post: That the summer, you know
Rick Archer: Nice, very good. Well, it’s really been a joy, getting to know you and having a couple hours with you. You’re, you’re the embodiment of everything you talk about and write about?
Stephen G. Post: Well, you too Rick, I mean, I can tell you I mean, oh my gosh, you do a beautiful job and your insights and experience. I mean, I felt like I was in one of the nicest conversations that I’ve had in 20 years.
Rick Archer: Well, great. Well, thank you so much. Me too. I really, really enjoyed this. So do you know Kurt Johnson, by the way?
Stephen G. Post: I do know Kurt.
Rick Archer: Yeah. He’s been on my show. He’s an old friend of mine. You could have been
Stephen G. Post: Interspirituality.
Rick Archer: Right. Right. Exactly. And he’s done some nice stuff at the UN and everything. I figured that that’s why you might know him.
Stephen G. Post: Yeah, I’ve encountered him a couple of times. And I respect him. I think his book on Interspirituality is an important book. And worth people paying attention to.
Rick Archer: Yeah. Pardon?
Stephen G. Post: I think that’s the title. Yeah.
Rick Archer: The Coming Inter Spiritual age I think it’s called. Yeah. Anyway, you can tell it’s hard to hang up with you. But um, we better wrap it up. So thanks a lot, Stephen I really enjoyed talking to you. And thanks to those who’ve been hanging in there with us all this time. I hope you’ve enjoyed the conversation. And next week, I’ll be talking to a very interesting gentleman named Bayo Akomolafe. He’s from Africa, but he lives in Chennai, India. And I saw him speak at the Science and Non Duality conference in October and the title of his talk was something like, the times are urgent, we must slow down and which we appear to have done so I think he was very prescient, giving that talk. So if
Stephen G. Post: So if anyone wants to email me, it’s just post at Steven G. post.com.
Rick Archer: Okay, so I’ll put that on your BatGap page also, so they can just click it if they want to email? Yeah.
Stephen G. Post: Yeah, good post at Stephengpost.com.
Rick Archer: Yeah. Well, thanks, Steven.
Stephen G. Post: The pleasure. Thank you, Rick. Thanks for to all your listeners.
Rick Archer: Yep. Hope to meet you in person one of these days. I look forward to it. Okay. Well, all right. Thanks, people. See you next week.