Steve Ford Transcript

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Steve Ford Interview

Rick Archer: Welcome to Buddha at the Gas Pump. My name is Rick Archer, Buddha at the Gas Pump is an ongoing series of interviews with spiritually Awakening people. There have been over 300 of them recorded now. And if you go to Vat gap, you can see them categorized in various ways. As they say on public television in the United States. This program is made possible by the support of generous and appreciative listeners and viewers. So I want to express appreciation for those who have supported it and if you feel inclined to do so, there’s a Donate button on My guest today is Steve Ford. Steve lives in the UK. Welcome, Steve. I write London or no some place called La or something like that. Where is this?

Steve Ford: slough? Yes, yeah. But at the moment, I’m living in a place called Edgar mean, sorry. I have cool names for things. Not far outside London. I’m looking at

Rick Archer: Graham. Oh, you’re living in a boat. Somebody said.

Steve Ford: Yeah, that’s true. Yeah. On the Thames. On the tennis. Yeah, great.

Rick Archer: I didn’t know people did that. I know that in Holland people live on boats. But I didn’t know that. That happened. Until recently. Again, O’Keeffe told me that you were living on a boat. Yeah.

Steve Ford: I was in Holland, Amsterdam not long ago. And that’s awesome. Great boats over there. Yeah.

Rick Archer: So, you know, as people know, who watch the show, I’ve done over 300 interviews. And I think that your particular waking story is one of the most interesting ones I’ve ever heard. quite unusual. And we’re going to hear about it in a minute. In fact, we’ll start about it just about right now. You Firstly, there’s one thing you mentioned, which I find comes up quite a bit in people who have, especially people who have spontaneous awakenings or unsought awakenings is that they had stuff going on when they were little kids, you know, that are a little bit out of the ordinary, so maybe we should start there.

Steve Ford: Well place to start.

Rick Archer: I think, didn’t you? It wasn’t you who said that? You had some kind of profound experiences looking at the stars or something? No, I

Steve Ford: did yet. No, I did. I I’ve got an amazing memory. Very visual. And I can remember things going as far back as to when I was in the car, you know,

Rick Archer: in the cots. Oh, you mean like a crib? I mean,

Steve Ford: I can create Yeah, in a crib. Yeah, thank you, you know, and and as I got older, I remember I remember my early early reflections. Contemplating as a child, I remember contemplating on existence, because it fascinated me. What this was all about, you know, what, what, what appearance was what the world was? Why were there people? Why was their existence? Why? Why? You know, and? And I remember, I remember thinking, what if this had never happened? Because it is it’s quite an interesting thing. It’s quite an interesting phenomena, its appearance and existence, because that in itself is strange. You know, why is this here? And I try to imagine what it would be like if if there was no appearance if there was no world what would it be like and and I remember that there was a real sense of just the mind falling away, and there being just absolutely nothing emptiness. And it was really strange, very odd of feeling of coming away from. Yeah, just imagining that was quite a funny thing. I don’t know if

Rick Archer: this is true or not. But, you know, trying to rationalize or understand why people have profound experiences, and then eventually have profound awakenings without having done any spiritual practice, so to speak of, I kind of, you know, rationalize that as they must have done some work in past lives or something, you know, there must have been, and sometimes people do remember that they remember Oh, yeah, I was worth, you know, sitting on my button, a monastery for five lifetimes. I mean, have you ever had any recollections like that?

Steve Ford: No, I’ve no recollection of, of a past life. I’ve kind of had some strange memories that I can’t account for. That kind of that didn’t seem to be from this life. Yeah. No, it doesn’t seem to be for this life. But it could be from a collective consciousness. It could be you know, consciousness. Very mysterious thing anyway. I mean, like you said, you know, it’s hard to rationalize. But as a child on a very free mind anyway, it was never fixed in any one way I was kind of just moving all over the place just just daydreaming really big daydreamer

Rick Archer: we’re halfway decent student.

Steve Ford: No, not really, no, I, I’m dyslexic So, and it wasn’t picked up at school. So the only thing I was good at was art. So so my attention went more into that. And I ended up in leaving, there was part of my life going to college and studying art. But so academically speaking, I never really ventured into that much not not growing up anyway, later on, I did yeah.

Rick Archer: And as I recall, hearing your story, you rather emulated or admired your father, and then he turned out not to actually be your father. And that that was a big shock for you.

Steve Ford: It was a shock. Yes, I did, I did want to emulate my father, he was a very important role model in my life. And at the age of 18, it was very much always the standard of man. And I kind of had a lot of other life a lot if it’s for a lot of people. But I invested a lot of my masculinity in who I thought I was in my father. So when I found out he wasn’t my real father, it was a huge shock. Incredible, I mean, just being told where you’re at was a shock. And that really was the end of my life up until then, that’s where my life came to a point and everything changed rather suddenly, at quite a young age, you know, and it answered a lot of questions. You know. Obviously, when you’re told something like that, the first thing you do is you look back over your life, you think, Ah, of course, that’s why that’s why so and so treated me like that not badly, but kind of relations, my relations with certain people, and finally weren’t as close as, say, my brothers and sisters, who were the legitimate children, me being the illegitimate child, kind of pushed out of it. And it answered a lot. And also obvious, obviously, it made me realize why I was so different, you know, because genetically, right? When you’re different, I think sometimes if you still follow a genetic code, even if you’ve never met the real parents, or or whatever, there’s, there’s a code within you sure that my code, I’ve always been very philosophical. I’ve always been artistic. I’ve always drawn and stuff like that, that seems to be that way was yet I existed within a family that born out of that. And so although I really loved my father, and wanted to emulate him, it was quite frustrating because I couldn’t be like him anyway. So when I was told he wasn’t my father, there was a certain relief. I don’t have to pretend anymore. That makes a lot of sense. Yeah. You know,

Rick Archer: speaking of the genetics effort, cool stories about the twins who were separated and didn’t know of each other’s existence, and they went through all these remarkable things. synchronistically you know, absolutely. Yeah.

Steve Ford: You know, I started I started twin studies when I studied psychology as well, when I went to college. In May two years. Yeah.

Rick Archer: So it didn’t you stay in one of your interviews that your father was a bit of a drinker, I had a drinking problem.

Steve Ford: Other thing and a drinking problem. He just likes drinking, okay. Now, he’s not an alcoholic or anything. He just like drinking and in growing up. You know, it’s awful, isn’t it? I’m talking about my family here. But just in a general sense. I mean, my, you know, my father is great. But But years ago, when he’s very young, he just like going out drinking, he’d come home sometimes. And it was the typical case of where have you been the wife, same wherever you’ve been, and sometimes it’d be an argument, and I was just very sensitive, and I’d be upstairs in bed. And I just remembered, sometimes I did remember the fights or the arguments, you know, and sure, that kind of did occur. Yeah, it didn’t happen all the time. But when it did happen, I do remember it. And I remember my reaction to that. My reaction to that. Well, was what well, was was was fair. And, and it kind of I just isolated more, really, I kind of went into my own world of exploration. Really?

Rick Archer: Yeah, I had that kind of background, but even much more so my father was an alcoholic and would come home and drunk several nights a week and keep the whole family up, you know, 234 in the morning, yelling at my mother and so that’s why I kind of tuned into that point when you mentioned it, and

Steve Ford: it’s really baffling because I didn’t Not, you know, becoming an alcoholic right in later years. And yet, it baffled me that, that my father wasn’t because he drank much more than me. But he, you know, there’s a difference between a heavy drinker and an alcoholic, he could get up and work the next day. Whereas when it happened to me, I couldn’t

Rick Archer: well back to genetics. I mean, some people just have a proclivity toward that that disease, you know, and if they can’t handle alcohol the same way.

Steve Ford: I would agree with that. Yeah, definitely. Yeah.

Rick Archer: And I would have become one myself or a drug addict. But I fortunately learned to meditate when I was 18. And kind of got on a better track.

Steve Ford: You got addicted to meditation? That’s right. Yeah.

Rick Archer: More wholesome addiction. For sure. So, okay, so then you’ve alluded to the fact that you became an alcoholic. And I guess this was somewhat in reaction to the revelation of your father not being your father, and it kind of threw you into a tailspin. And you started drinking.

Steve Ford: Yeah, that’s right. As soon as I found that out at the age of 18, I kind of if I want to be really honest, I was more embarrassed than anything. I just found it shocking that

Rick Archer: all these people knew, but I knew did exactly, exactly that.

Steve Ford: It really boiled down to that. And I thought, why didn’t you tell me early? On he just say to me when I was eight, I could have integrated it.

Rick Archer: And yeah, the whole family was black. Right? And you never picked up on?

Steve Ford: Yeah, that’s exactly right. Yeah, so yeah. And that’s, that’s so so what was the question?

Rick Archer: Oh, then it sort of, like 335 Tailspin when you discovered this, and then it kind of precipitated your, your alcoholic phase.

Steve Ford: The biggest thing, the biggest thing that, you know, there is my reaction, but the biggest thing that it did was was was destroy my identity. You know, I then went through an identity crisis, that’s really what happened. There was an identity crisis, I had identified with my father so much, there was the ideal of working towards being like my father, and suddenly that was gone. And then in the absence of that, in the absence of that, it left quite a, quite a void quite quite a space where I could say, looking back, I just didn’t know who I was in this space. You know, there was certainly just a sense of absence really. And, and I remember thinking at that time, I really need to know who I am. I need to find out who I am. If, if, if he’s not my father, and I’m trying to be like this one, then who am I? Who, who am I in that absence? Who am I stay for because one of the things that really helps mess the identity up was not just being told it wasn’t my father, but also because it came about by me asking for my birth certificate. I’ve never seen my birth certificate before because, well, I’ve got sweetie now is the first time I was going to go abroad on my own. And so of course, when I asked for the bus ticket, my mother said, oh, you know, don’t hear massive No, no, no, why? And she said, Well, your father’s not your father. And and then she said, You need to know this. Because when I give you your birth certificate, it’s actually got a different name on it, you know, you’re not hearing, you know, so not only was he not my father, I was getting a piece of paper with a different name on it. And his name was Steve forte, while Steven Ford I thought my name was Steven. I won’t say the name but Stephen, you know, whatever. I started plaid. Yeah, exactly. sort of fly in card, you know, so suddenly not an easy not my father. Not even this person had a different name and it’s that I was given my true identity, you know, and and then suddenly, I just thought, Wow, this this is incredible. That was just it really messed up the identity.

Rick Archer: Yeah, well, you know, on the point of themes common to spiritual awakenings it’s I also noticed that very often some kind of shake up like that precipitates Well, in your case it was a decade later before the spiritual element came in but but it very often does precipitate in people some kind of either intense seeking or spiritual shift or something they’re just kind of knocked out of their complacency by something and and then some kind of quest begins.

Steve Ford: Yeah, that’s true. I mean, for me, I mean, I wouldn’t say it’s not spiritual. I mean, drinking was a great southerner. You know, I I would say it’s very sad. No, but that I experimented very much with then who am I, you know, this this weird world of drinking, you know?

Rick Archer: There’s this thing goes around on the internet of yoga asanas, and drunks form, assuming various poses as they kind of Drupa park benches. It’s kind of cool alcoholic yoga or some such thing.

Steve Ford: Yeah, there’s, there’s an art to drunkenness. So yeah, there was it this way. I mean, I don’t think I would have been the seeker that I was if I had not been told my father wasn’t my father. And then given a birth certificate with a different name, I’ll say, I think it broke me, it broke the identity, principally speaking, looking at the principle of the situation and what happened, it broke me identity, it broke me in terms of who I thought I was, and who I could be as a person that got smashed. And I was left on my own and left in a very abstract place as well, this absent place of him, not your fault. So this place was very abstract, you know, it wasn’t. And nothing had landed in there. You know, I didn’t know who I was, of course, and then we drinking it drinking became a very distorted kind of reality in its sense. And trying to experiment with reality, trying to find out who I was, I tried to be the artist or poet or whatever. I was quite potential.

Rick Archer: How about drugs? I mean, that’s the current use a much better way of experimenting with who you are than drinking. And in my opinion, it really opens up some weird places.

Steve Ford: Now it can do but I didn’t do drugs on I, for me drink was, was really good for getting you out of it. I was one of those guys that just wanted to get out of it. You know, I just liked it. When it comes to drug addiction. I’ve met people, the people that I equate to the most with drug drug addicts are like heroin addicts, and people are down as to take down as people just want to get out of it. You know, I wasn’t into stimulants, or what’s the other one? The

Rick Archer: psychedelics, psychedelics.

Steve Ford: I certainly wasn’t into that. So and I don’t know why that was I just I was an absolute bog standard alcoholic. I just absolutely. love doing. Interesting. Yeah, yeah, I’m getting you for it recall as we speak. I’m not really but

Rick Archer: yeah, it’s funny, you know, I mean, just jumping ahead a little bit. Iowa’s have the attitude that someone who has really spiritually awakened to some profound degree wouldn’t find drugs or alcohol appealing anymore, because the state that those things produce in you is so far inferior to the state, you’re in all the time, that there wouldn’t be any enhancement. It would be like, Oh, I don’t like this. Get it away from me. I mean, could you say that now? Or is there something about your nature that would actually still find it appealing? If you tried it?

Steve Ford: Oh, I think I think well, there’s there’s two sides to it. Really? So fantastic question. Really good question. I, the the permanent state of Self Realization, or whatever you want to call it, this, this is, is the most amazing thing, of course, is wonderful. But you can lose that, you know, if used to take drugs or drink. And I’m sure it would be fantastic to get absolutely drunk or get. But it’s just the next day, it wouldn’t feel good at all. And if you were to start doing that, again, it would be you’d lose a lot.

Rick Archer: And just depress the point, even if you did get drunk, and you did, and it causes you to lose the state of self realization or to muddy it up to great Yes, I mean, how would that in any way be desirable or interesting? I would think I would want to sober up as quickly as possible because I would feel so much less well, or happy or clearer than I’m accustomed to feeling all the time.

Steve Ford: Well, that’s the thing is that you’d feel contaminated, you wouldn’t feel clearer, you’d lose the clarity. And you’d really feel it and you’d be you’d be experiencing states of consciousness that are not reflective of what’s really, really become, I would imagine, quite horrible. Really. I’ve never really thought about it, to be honest. Yeah.

Rick Archer: Well, it’s interesting point because there actually have been some spiritual teachers who do a fair amount of drinking and even drugs. And I always kind of wondered about the profundity of genuineness of their of their realization if if they’re carrying on like that. And also, it brings in the point and I know we’ll talk about this, but you have been a professional drug and alcohol counselor kind of brings into point that spiritual development or in whatever way it’s approached might actually be a good part of your toolkit to help people get straight because it can show them a natural way of feeling high and that sense all the time, you know, without having to resort to harmful things.

Steve Ford: Yeah, yeah, for sure.

Rick Archer: Okay, so, all right. So you went on, as I recall, you also entered into Have an artistic face he got into college started studying art and stuff as part of this, you know shake up in your company notion of who you were.

Steve Ford: No No Yeah, I did did art it is something that I’ve always escaped into it since I was very young. And then when I when I left school and everything I I went and got into work I ended up I ended up being self employed with a partner running an air freight company near Heathrow and, and I found it I found awful you know, it’s very boring and I wanted some kind of outlet and so I went and studied art, art college at night school. And, and then unfortunately, I lost I lost my business due to drink. And then I tried to carry on with the the art but it is just a nightmare. You know, I my life got very unmanageable where I would turn on classes a little bit drunk, and then after a while, I wouldn’t turn up because I’d be drinking and no, they’re just kind of went away. But it kind of Yeah, it was just very manageable. You know, I tried to get into the artistic but I could never complete it. I couldn’t complete the courses. And all of it just got in the way.

Rick Archer: So what was the turning point for you? How did you finally snap out of all this?

Steve Ford: Snap down at the age of 27. I thought I don’t wanna join the 27 Club.

Rick Archer: What’s that? Oh, like Jimi Hendrix. Joplin. Yeah. Okay.

Steve Ford: Yeah, because I was I was playing the game with I was playing the game of I’ll say save potential. So I thought I was a pain poet not understood why the world and all of these things. And

Rick Archer: Morrison died at 27 to like, Yeah, he did. Yeah, I can think of him.

Steve Ford: Yeah. And I love Jim Morrison. He was a huge influence.

Rick Archer: I saw the doors live actually, back in the day.

Steve Ford: Really? That’s great. Lucky guy. And but yeah, the book, no one gets out alive. What a great book. That is. If you ever get a chance to read that. Very funny.

Rick Archer: But no. What’s that book? I’m not aware of it. No one

Steve Ford: gets out alive. It’s just a book. It’s a reporter who knew Jim nice to hang out with him. He wrote this book is Goodman. So So what happened at the age of 27, I found myself always drunk, just drunk all the time. And I had this epiphany one day I wake up and I, as I was saying, I was trying to I was trying to work out Art College, and all of these things I even went to I even studied photography tries to become a photographer, but I kept selling all my equipment just to buy booze. And then I’m trying to buy it all back. I was filming bands and doing all sorts of stuff and getting drunk. And he was just the it’s just a nightmare, really. And I thought I was I was off to become some amazing photographer or whatever, Arty person and everything. And then and then just one day or just diminished the equipment. When life got very boxed in, I wasn’t going out much. I was just drinking more. And they wonder I woke up and I thought, Oh, my God, I just like drinking. It was an epiphany. I just, I thought this is it. I drink and

Rick Archer: drink, therefore I am. Exactly. And I

Steve Ford: absolutely thought well. I said, I’m a drunk. And that is I was very accepting of it is very, there was like a moment of clarity. I thought, well, I said, I’m a drunk, you know, there was no more trying to do other things to what’s the word?

Rick Archer: Try? I wasn’t doing that justify or right? Yeah,

Steve Ford: I was trying to improve my life. In fact, I was say boxing. I thought that’s it. I’m a drunk. And that was it. And there was a point where I ended up with nothing. And I asked, I asked my mother, I say, can I just come stay with you for a few weeks just to sort myself out? She said, Yes. But when I got back there, I realized we’ve been backing within miles north of IDEA and, and a friend of mine at the time I he saw the problem, the problem I was going through and he said, Look, you know, I’ve got a place he got a ring there. And if you if you if you come to stay there, you know, as long as you go to a 12 step, fellowship and still sort your problem out, you’re more than welcome to stay, which is something I did, I went there. And then I found myself getting into recovery getting into the 12 step program. You know, the saucer function. That’s great. Yeah, is that was a that was a turning point. Really, you know?

Rick Archer: Yeah, I actually have a category on BatGap on our category index page for people for 12 step as a spiritual kind of Practice. Yeah. Which it is, I mean, has a very spiritual origin to it, doesn’t it?

Steve Ford: I think it does. Definitely. I mean, you trace it back, you can trace it back to the co founders, one of them being Bill, Bill Wilson. And he actually, you know, his story in his life story, whatever in the book. Well, I won’t say but I mean, I can’t talk, I can’t speak for AAA or 12 steps or anything, really, but that he talks to you, that all came about from a spiritual awakening that he had. And they devise a program that that kind of educates you towards, you know, letting go of everything. So eventually you, you come into a spiritually awakened way of life. Yeah. So,

Rick Archer: so did you pretty much sober up from the time you’re joined? 12, the 12 step?

Steve Ford: No, straightaway, no, I was quite resistant. I was they call it in and out. Basically, I was in and out and recovery for about nine months. And then, after nine months, I went back, having fallen off the wagon. I think I think the problem was, I was, I was young, I was 27. And it’s really hard to deal with that problem when you’re 27. Because you’re looking at the pack running out to the pumps. And I’m even though I was ended up drinking on my own, it doesn’t take long for you to start feeling good. And then get the old feelings back and thinking, Well, it’d be nice to go and hang around, see the girls hang out with the guys in the bars. And, and I always thought, you know, I could go into a bar and drink Coke or lemonade or whatever soft drink and, but that was never the case. And then in the end, I was very lucky, a good friend of mine who was in AAA. Sorry, I keep mentioning I shouldn’t really be doing that. Well, it’s anonymous, you know?

Rick Archer: I mean, everybody knows about AAA, when you’re not naming names or anything. It’s like, Well, I’m

Steve Ford: not doing that. I’m not doing that. But the thing is, there’s a fine line I read I’m gonna speak for quite long. So this, this just ties into my timeline that leads to the explanation of awakening and stuff.

Rick Archer: Yeah, no, that’s understandable. Yeah, sure. I mean, when people when you say 12 Step, most people assume AAA. Of course, yeah, of course.

Steve Ford: Yeah. So a good friend of mine. I came in after about nine months, and they went, Oh, after nine months, I had my last drink. And it really surprised me. In fact, the last time I had a drink is I’ve been sober six weeks. And I thought, I’ve cracked it. And I walked in, and I was so embarrassed and ashamed of myself. And I said to my friend, I said, you know, I’ve had to drink. I drank last night. And he looked at me and he said, Yes, that’s what we do. And that’s how I got it. That was when I got it. I got the I’m powerless over alcoholism. Yeah. When he said that, I think before then I’ve been trying to get sober. I’ve been trying to do this. I’ve been trying to, you know, control it, when in the end, I realized I was absolutely powerless. And when he said that, I’ve not had a drink since I was over 20 years ago. Yeah. So yeah, it was really good.

Rick Archer: I have to come over the stage. We’ll go out and celebrate. Yeah, sure. Yeah. But then there was an interesting thing where all right, you would stop drinking. And you were in some philosophy class, or sociology class, and there was some, some tutor who kind of said something that just was a well, another wake up call for you. That sounds like the next important thing.

Steve Ford: Oh, she, oh, she, she, she says something amazing. She totally changed my life. If it wasn’t for this woman. I don’t think I would be here today, so to speak, in the way that things have evolved, or maybe I don’t know. But I was studying college, I was doing a few sort of a levels to get me into university to study theology and philosophy. Because two years into recovery, my I’d really, I’d really got into what the program was about, I was really studying the principles of recovery, applying them to my life and really trying to expand them on a spiritual basis. And, and after two years, I thought, you know, so I went to meetings pretty much every day for about two years. And then after two years, I decided to go to college full time and I studied these sort of a levels and one of the things I was studying was sociology. And the wonderful tutor who, who taught us the sociology. She kind of got along with me, I really got on with her. I was always ask some questions or say no, and I was always interested in the study of society because it was very much explained a lot about reality as well there was so you know, for instance, you know, looking at Marxism and false class consciousness So I just found that incredibly fascinating what you mean by false class consciousness all I want to know more about that, you know, consciousness, you know? And so I’d be asking questions and there’ll be people in the in the in the room saying, oh, man, just just just take notes, though. Thank you. And, but I couldn’t help it. There was a compulsion in me there was like, even though even though after two years of recovery, and it was it was, it happened, actually, it happened. In the second year of chorus, I’ve been saved like three, three and a half years or something. And I remember again, be very intense, but you know, asking questions, and the class ended and then all the all the all the guys had gone. And I was left standing there with with the tutor and the tutor. and I were talking, or I think I was talking really, and I was just blown away, and she talking about something and she just looked at me and she held her hand up. And she just said, You’re not your thoughts or your feelings like this. And I remember looking and being stumped, I didn’t even think I was done absolutely stunned. What do you mean, you’re not your thoughts, your feelings. Now I the way I negotiate life, the way I negotiate my recovery, or negotiate your way, is through my thoughts and how I feel my emotional paradigm of reality, the mental paradigm, or structure or whatever is how I negotiate. And as far as I was concerned, you know that that was a tool to to discern reality, and she’s saying, you know, your thoughts and feelings. You’re not your thoughts, your feelings. So she kind of disarmed me of, of everything that I was trying to use to find reality.

Rick Archer: I wonder if she had had some kind of Buddhist or spiritual background or something. And she’s speaking from that.

Steve Ford: So I don’t know, I would love to maybe meet up with her again and ask her if so I’ve never seen her since that day. Really, I kind of left college after that. And

Rick Archer: you know, I bet you she really appreciate that I’ve had people whom I taught meditate 20 3040 years ago, get in touch with me, and and you know, so good to hear from them. And there’s one fellow who will be listening to this, who has become one of my best friends. And if we hadn’t, you know, been in touch for 40 years. So I bet she’d really appreciate hearing from you and hearing what an impact she had on her on your life with that simple sentence.

Steve Ford: Yeah, it was a very simple sentence. And it’s the biggest impact because there was something in me that was very receptive to that. I’ve is very sensitive. So when I walked out the room, I actually walked out not even saying anything, I unless it’s very rare, I do that. Usually, I will say, Oh, thank you or goodbye, anyway, seeker. And I’ll actually just walked out the room, and it stayed with me, and it impacted me so much. That it totally totally took away the whole basis of my recovery. Up until that point, it became shaky after that. I thought, am I right, you know, she she totally be totally, you know, pulled the rug from under the the basis of what I thought was

Rick Archer: recovery. Interesting. So did you feel like vulnerable again, like you might relapse based on that? When you say pulled out the foundation?

Steve Ford: No, absolutely. No, no, it’s good question. I did. Yeah, I found myself suddenly not able to function as easily as I as I could. Up until that point, there was a real ease before I’ve learned the recovery. So there was a real automatic, kind of mechanical almost, you know, meaning to my recovery, that that kind of appeared very good. You know, my life seemed very manageable. I seemed okay. But as soon as she said that, it went in, it blew it. And suddenly, I was going to meetings, and you know, any meetings, they encourage you to talk and they call it sharing, talking. And I would share something and then suddenly, I would stop halfway through what I was sharing and feel very self obsessed, very diseased. And it felt like I was right back at stage one of my recovery. And I felt so I just felt really dishonest.

Rick Archer: It’s part of the reason for that, that when you took yourself to be your thoughts and your feelings when you took them seriously, there was a sense of control. Yeah, I’m thinking I’m this I’m feeling that I’m kind of in charge here. And when when she shattered that then all of a sudden, you realize you weren’t in control. Which to my understanding is actually a key part of AAA is that you know, I am helpless, I am not in control. So in a way it got you kind of closer to the ideal of AAA.

Steve Ford: It did it brought me into my powerlessness brought me to a place of powerlessness over, over my recovery, because I was quite powerful in my recovery in the way that I’d analyzed it, the way I’d embodied it the way the way I’ve structured it into in some mental and emotional way of functioning, suddenly, that suddenly, there was a sense of dishonesty where I’ve been quite willful, I’ve done this myself. And, and then I really sensed that I didn’t know who I was behind it, taken away the thoughts and feelings and that not being me, left a massive gap of than I don’t know who I am.

Rick Archer: Is the first thing when you’re 18, you didn’t know who you were, because because you didn’t, you know, your father was not who he thought You thought he was. And then now again, this is another shift into once again, I don’t know who I am. There you go. I mean, rug pulled out from under you twice.

Steve Ford: There’s a parallel process going on. I thought, hang on, here we are. And it’s always been about identity with me, you know, as you say, when I was 18. And then certainly when, when I was I think I was 31, then I was 31. And, yeah, and I felt very vulnerable. And I felt fearful. And I felt a self obsession, very acute self obsession real is a real disease in me, you’re very dis eased, you know, and it it frightened me. And so after three and a half years, I found myself walking away from a walking away from this fellowship that saved my life that had. And it wasn’t it wasn’t that the fellowship itself had let me down. It’s just that I knew what I done with it, I knew that there was something wrong in the way that I responded to the program or the way I managed it. And basically, I got rumbled, I was humbled, and then that there was a thing, and then I became dysfunctional. Suddenly, my life was very dysfunctional. And so I stopped going to, I stopped going to college as well. I couldn’t function that either. Wow. Yeah.

Rick Archer: It’s interesting. It’s such a simple comment could throw you for a loop to that extent, you know, like a little zen Koan, or something that just

Steve Ford: when it’s strange, isn’t it? Because like, I’ve just announced that talking to you, you know, you’re interviewing me, and I’m saying this, and will it have a profound effect on someone else? Maybe, maybe not. But, but for me, it was absolutely timing, it was at a crucial time where the pressure was so great, what I was looking for, and what I was seeking with was, so was so great, and she just pop that balloon, you know, with the finest pin, you know,

Rick Archer: I think timing is a really important point, because, you know, everybody reads all these spiritual books and hears all these spiritual talks. And for the most part, well, people get all kinds of inspiration and benefit and whatnot. But there’s something about timing where, you know, a really radical shift, person has to be ready for it. And when they are, then the very same words, which they might have heard a year ago, have this potent impact, which they didn’t have before.

Steve Ford: That’s, that’s very true. Actually, you can hear something. I think you’ve heard it, and then a year later, you really then hear it, and then something changes, something changes in the person, you know, just learning in your mind doesn’t always change as a person does, it sometimes needs to drop and land in you. Yeah,

Rick Archer: it’s really important. One point I harp on a lot on the show is that there’s a lot of people who read a lot of books and get familiar with all the terminology of this stuff. They kind of jumped to the conclusion that that’s it, they they’re living non duality, because they can, you know, quote, Ramana Maharshi or something, but if they could actually step into his shoes, so to speak, see the world through his eyes, they would probably discover that there’s a huge radical difference between, you know, their intellectual understanding and the his experience.

Steve Ford: That’s very true. To be honest. The it’s so easy, you don’t There’s a saying isn’t that you don’t know what you don’t know. You can think you know, you can think you know, but you really can’t, you know, you don’t know. That’s how it was with me. When I vent when there was self realization. It was like no one could have shown me. Absolutely no.

Rick Archer: Yeah. So you’re kind of segwaying us into the happy ending of this story, which is that you didn’t just remain dysfunctional and unable to go to school and, and all that stuff. There was kind of a watershed moment for you, which I think we’re just about getting to now.

Steve Ford: Yeah, yeah, we are. We’re getting to the point now where you see the thing is if I had if I if I came from a school of philosophy that led to Enlightenment or awakening, I could explain it because my but no, you get my life, don’t you my miserable messed up, unmanageable life. And I’m really sorry, but that that’s how it was for me, you see. So when he got to that point of walking away, which was quite scary for me, because up until that point, I saw the fellowship as the Savior so to speak, it’s totally safe. And he did. There’s no doubt about that. And of course, we’ll come home from college. And suddenly I felt so alone. So dysfunctional. I remember walking, walking around Windsor, just really, really knowing that I need to know who I am, you know, I need to know what what, what this is, it is the most crucial thing in the world, really, you know, and I was cornered I felt I was in a corner, there was nothing I could do really so. And you

Rick Archer: weren’t putting this in spiritual terms yet where you didn’t? You didn’t try to recognize Oh, wow, this must be what all Buddhism and Hinduism and all these spiritual traditions are all about knowing who you are, you were just kind of doing it in your, in your own terms, trying to figure out what was going on.

Steve Ford: That’s right. And I wasn’t, I had never heard of Ramana Maharshi or Nisargadatta, or Krishna Murthy. I’ve not heard of any of these people. And so for me, what I was looking for was honesty. Because I felt so dishonest. I was looking for honesty. And believe it or not, honesty is its authenticity. And authenticity is is realisation really, but it’s just that I didn’t know that. I see. I didn’t know I didn’t know what that I didn’t know what the missing link was. I had no idea what but I just felt so dishonest

Rick Archer: with yourself primarily not like you’re running around lying to people, but you felt like you were doing it myself disingenuous within, in and of yourself. Right.

Steve Ford: Yeah, the way the way I felt was. I didn’t know who I was, even though I formulated this, this this good recovery. You know, I’d made this better Steve. It just felt there was no way you know, no lights on so to speak. There was no I could not speak from from, from a sense of authenticity, right. I that I lacked that.

Rick Archer: Yeah. And so.

Steve Ford: So what happened what that evening? Yeah. Yeah, it’ll happen one evening. I had no idea what’s going to happen. It just it was quite spontaneous. Really. I I found myself in my apartment. And it I found myself not not being able to deal with anymore. I knew that if something didn’t change, I was going to drink again. You say that? That was that? And that was my fear. And that’s, to me, that was terrifying. Sure. absolutely terrifying. Oh, my God, I’m gonna drink again, if this doesn’t fix itself, you know? And, and I did, I did a thing. I did a thing I I asked myself, What is it? What is it I have not done? You know, what is it I have not done because I’ve been very thorough with working the 12 steps. And so my way my response was to go through the 12 steps, I thought, right, step one, step two, going through my mind what what are these things and then when I got to step three, I then realized I thought of course that three is we had a will and our lives so the care of a God, great and ourselves. And I had the most profound realization that I hadn’t done that what I’d actually done is I dived into the 12 steps, very keenly and I had come to understand all the principles I’d come to apply them, but I applied them from from a mental basis in relation to a prescribed program you see, now between these two places, there was no Steve you see, now I can say this looking back because I’ve had to reverse engineer all of this and to understand because because the awakening changed everything completely it once it once it happened off what just happened even though I’ll get to that in a minute, but anyway, so i realized i thought i Right i have not, I’ve not handed over my my wheel. And of course, Sheila Jervis, the tutor, the wonderful sociology teacher came into my my mind again, and I thought of course I’m not my thoughts and my feelings and I’ve not handed over my will and my life. I’ve not let go of The perceptual field of reality, I’m still hanging on to it, managing it, trying to create a better perceptual field or whatever going to better Steve. And it just and I just absolutely realized in that moment that I’ve got to let go of it. I’ve got to let go of, of this is the only thing left to do. I tried everything. Three and a half years, I’ve been working this program working inside and outside and applying it and understanding everything, you know, and suddenly, I just found myself in the middle of the floor. On my knees, as if in front of God. And I knew that I had to hand over the mind. My feelings, and I had no idea what would happen, you see, I hadn’t been doing meditations to transcend the mind or, or to have the perfect emotional insight to things or whatever, you know, I had no idea of, of how to transcend or anything or what would happen, I really have no idea. So I found myself just in the moment thinking, okay, because of the fear of going to drink again, or, or what have you, it really was okay, here I am. I will just give all of this to you now, all of this to now. So on my knees on the floor. I consented to let go of my thinking now. This is something you can’t just go and do. This is something again, to do with timing to do with pressure to do with in that moment what was going on inside of me what was going on. I mean, I was falling apart though. There was absolutely no sense of authenticity. I knew that if something didn’t wasn’t going to work, I was going to drink again. For me, I just thought, then, okay, I’ll let go of my thinking. And for some strange reason it worked. I have no idea why it worked. I could tell you now record tell someone else ghosts go get on your knees now and handover. You’re thinking it will just go away? And you’ll be fine. Yeah, it doesn’t work that way. Because then the ego comes. Right. I’m gonna get it now.

Rick Archer: Yeah, what direction were you facing? What had you had for breakfast?

Steve Ford: Exactly. Yeah.

Rick Archer: That’s what I said in the beginning that I thought yours was one of the more remarkable awakening stories I’ve heard that’s that’s kind of was referring to what I was referring to there is that, you know, there’s this this perfect sort of confluence of everything you had been through, and your sense of desperation at that point. And, you know, the the kind of realization that you had to surrender your volition to some greater power, and it all just came together, and it actually happened, you know,

Steve Ford: it did. And the bed of that happening was my art of powerlessness and helplessness, I, from the age of 18, I realized that my life had been a lie, in my endeavor to create a recovery that didn’t deal with that lie. You know, I still remained dishonest, not knowing who I was in terms of identity. And now, at the age of 31, all these years after being 18, it just just felt I cannot do this anymore. This is it. This is I’m on my knees said, Okay. So I put my hands naturally came down with a knife, that’s an important detail, my hands came down, I stood there with nothing. And, and I pray to God because I was a Christian, I still, you know, I am not Christian as in identity, but at that time, the understanding I had to spirituality came through Christianity. And, and so I stood before God, which to me was never a guy with a gray beard or that big stick on the cloud. God to me was always an omnipresent sort of reality. Whatever. And I that evening, I just with with the true intention, I handed over my thinking, and there was in a prayer position. And there was a point where as I let go, there was a slight sense of sadness, a slight sense of disappointment that I had with myself having to give the Creator my thinking back, because it felt like I’d done nothing with it. I felt very sad. I felt I’m sorry, but take the thinking back because of me. I’ve not done much good with this. You know, and I fell out disappointed God. In fact, that was one of the big things you In my drinking was I really disappointed. God, you know, and, and so at that point, the mind began to open, it was at a point where I’d let go of the tension, the tension of identification. I didn’t know this at the time, but what I did was, I just totally did not identify any more with a mind, because I knew the mind was not real. Sheila Jovis had told me that you see, and I totally believe that, it’s as simple as that. And at that point of knowing it’s not real, it was still the scariest thing to let go off. Right. So letting go of that I felt were I dis identified with it, where I let go of the attachment to it as a reality principle, it started just to open because the mind when you’re attached to it becomes contracted. You know, it’s like an energy and a tight contraction. And, and of course, when I was no longer attached to it just began to open up. And as it opened up, it went beyond the coordinate that I’d set on it. You see, which is the egoic mark, isn’t it, the control you have on the mind is, you know, the contraction the idea you have. And so as it went, started to open, it went beyond the the idea of who I thought I was in a mental construct. And so it started to go beyond the mental construct of who I thought I was. And there was a fear, there was a fear of, you know, you know, oh, then what’s going to happen here, but but I was so broken. So broken, absolutely breaking that. I just stayed with it. I just thought, Okay, well,

Rick Archer: wow. Read this. Let’s just

Steve Ford: do it, you know, and it dissipated. And it was like I, I describe it as birds flying out of a tree, a flock of birds, suddenly, Bush, you know, when you shoot a gun, you know, an odor but Jewish because, and slightly felt like my thoughts just dissipated, all the thoughts in my mind just flew away like a flock of birds. And just at that point, there was this, this opening, just as the mind opened up the thoughts when and suddenly, the mind just became this blank screen. And there was this perfect observation of blank screen. And I remember, for the first time in my life, coming to know peace of mind. I’ve never known peace of mind before. I’d heard people say it. And I may have even at times thought I’d felt it or sensed it should I say not felt insensitive. But there was peace of mind. And it was like, you know, and they say, the mind is the sky and the thoughts are clouds. It really is. That’s That’s exactly how it was, suddenly, there was this infinite sky of mind, which became, it’s like a projection screen. But what is observing that is this pure awareness, this pure consciousness, and at that point, I realized, I’m not mad, you know, I’m not dead, I’ve not disappeared, I am observing this. And I am observing from this. I couldn’t have said this at the time, but now from this undifferentiated awareness and the mind there and suddenly, the mind became a perfect reflection of what was observing, which was nothing. Emptiness. You see, this happened. And I was I didn’t have time there was no thinking, okay. So, at that point, I remember suddenly being pulled into a deeper idea, okay, a deeper idea, which was an emotional idea. You see, because we have layers of thoughts, you see, we have the thought, that is very abstract, we have the thought that is emotional. And we have the thought that is very physical, the body you see, now, I didn’t know this then but this is this is what happened. So suddenly, there was a pool a pool to a deeper aspect of contraction within my body. You see, the mind opened up suddenly, there was nothing keeping me from entering into what I call the heart area. Yeah. And there’s something that there was a pool and I felt myself as formless consciousness coming down into this area into my heart area. And that’s how I was going down. I wasn’t expecting that. But I just stayed with the formless consciousness. There was no there was no egoic I anymore, no, no mental construct of doership anymore. So there was just the blocker going into my heart. And suddenly, as I’m going into the heart, the heart is now where there’s a contraction set on the heart. The ego sets into contraction keeping it in it’s emotionally contracted identity of Steve on an emotional level, suddenly, that starts to imitate pure consciousness. And so suddenly the heart begins to open because I’m not doing anything with it. And as it begins to open, there’s a very there’s a pain, there was a pain, but it was a clean pain of pain where there was no suffering it was the because suffering is in the in the in the mind, you see, it’s detached the mental attachment you have have with things suddenly, as the heart is opening, I felt this pain and as I felt this pain, it was like the pain of the world I know I’m putting on a biblical scale now it was the pain of the world you know. And unless this pain and this this this kind of voice not came from nowhere, it was like a voice from within this just said you’ve been running away from this all your life. And I understood then I understood I’ve been running away from from my heart opening you know, I been remained in what I knew all my life You see, suddenly I’m going beyond what I knew. You see, I’ve done that now mentally but now with the mind but now on this level, the emotional level this was on a much deeper level the attachment the emotional attachment we have for things is much deeper and is much stronger you see. And so as it began to open he said this is what you’ve been running away from all your life and then it opened up and all there was was a void there was going beyond the emotional contraction of my identity there was just this absolute void it was absolutely blank and um you know, I don’t want to appear too dramatic or I don’t want to frighten anyone. But for me, I then was facing this very dark void and this void was pulling me in and as I was being pulled into this vortex this this this this void there was another voice came in it said you leave to go mad or you will die. And I and I consented I said okay, I consented Okay, not verbally, but in my innermost, intentionally intentional I said, okay, and I was pulled into this vortex, this very dark vortex. And as I got pulled in, it just felt like the whole thing opened up. And as I got pulled in, there was a point where I truly did not exist for for no time, it was like a form, you know, it was, I got pulled in, as soon as I got pulled in, I could then see from, if you understand it was I could see from and, and at that point, there was a point of absolute death, complete death, of attachments, though, there was no attachment anymore, for that sort of mental structure, the emotional structure, so much so that everything had opened up. And it truly reflected what was directly observing, and coming. And the void was, in fact, a reflection of the absolute is. I got sucked into it. And then I came to I could see, basically, I could see, and I could see from a completely completely different reality base to what I was before. Totally.

Rick Archer: Well, that’s really cool. I didn’t want to interrupt you, because it all came out so beautifully. But a couple of questions occurred to me as you’re speaking, maybe just elaborate a little bit more on the comparison between the piece you felt when the flock of birds dispersed, you know, the thoughts and there’s that piece for the first time in your life. And this void that you’ve just been speaking of? is the void kind of like a deeper level of the same thing? Or how would you compare those two points that you made?

Steve Ford: Was a good question, Rick, there’s there’s a difference. The mind opening is a more superficial opening of, of reality. When when the heart opened, because the heart is very much linked to your body as well. So So, so it was the, the emotional attachment or emotional construct of identity that’s in the heart is very much connected with the body as well. So when the whole thing opened, it even felt like the body opened and even dive into the body so to speak. The difference was, when the heart opened, it was the complete surrender the mind that was just horsell That was just what was observing was just pure consciousness, but pure consciousness had not yet fully died, to the whole construct had not come into full realization of what is beyond all of this. Beyond all appearance is only when the heart opened, that suddenly, there was going completely beyond all appearance, and there was a coming to, and a complete relating a complete self realization of, of absolute. Absolute so, so, so you’re releasing from absolute rather than just from peace of mind, I mean, the peace of mind stuff was just, it was just the I Am The I Am consciousness. In its transcendence of the what we call the modification, the contract modification we call mind, you see, so, but when you go beyond the modification of the heart, when that you’ve actually gone through an all location, once you know, you can’t be on the all location, and that’s where the I Am, then totally goes beyond the body and then comes it comes to comes back into the ultimate reality of absolutes, a

Rick Archer: couple of thoughts come to mind. One is you may have heard Adyashanti, talk about awakenings in the head, heart and gut. And you’ve just described head and heart. How do you relate to his saying that have you also moved on to a gut realization? Or is that something you expect to have happen eventually? Or what? Or maybe you don’t get by into that model?

Steve Ford: No, no, I said to you, the heart links into the body.

Rick Archer: Oh, so that’s how you would? Yeah, that’s, that would be good. I say, okay.

Steve Ford: That’s not what Gus is actually. I mean, it’s not awakening to happen. Maybe? Maybe that’s the final one.

Rick Archer: I guess maybe? Well, I don’t know. I don’t want to speculate. But um, something like you say, into the body, something more visceral, fundamental, primordial, you know?

Steve Ford: Yeah, there is. I mean, when, I mean, when you lose losing the, when I consented to going beyond the attachments, to the sort of heart, it was the body as well, it linked into the bodies, it was, you either go mad, or you’ll die. You know, it really felt that the whole thing could just go really,

Rick Archer: yeah. So when this happened, again, you didn’t have much of a spiritual background, aside from 12 Step. Did you sort of have a feeling like, Ah, okay, I have a feeling for what this is, I maybe can’t describe it yet. But something good has happened and everything’s okay. And I’m not gonna go mad or die. And, and I’m gonna have those, you know, learn more about this, but looks like, you know, you felt it felt like great relief and something profound did happen.

Steve Ford: There was tremendous relief, I cannot tell you that there was, it was profound relief. On such a level, I was very lucky that I had the grounding of the 12 steps, without doubt, because that allowed for this very thing to fall into some perspective, you know, but but the main one I got and in spiritual terms, or, you know, or conscious terms or whatever, it was Jesus, who, who, at the end of it all, it was from my growing up in Christianity, that the revelation when it all opened up, and I could see was, ah, Jesus was right. Cool. This is the kingdom. Yeah, this is the kingdom. And, and there’s a lovely distinction here, I want to tell you, is that the kingdom was like, it’s like this unmanifest absolute is everywhere. Everything’s all of it. Right? And it’s alive. It’s, but it’s, um, manifest. It’s not here. It’s not asleep. It’s not awake. It’s just, I can’t say words, I can’t there’s nothing I can say. I can say a few things, but it’s awesome. Right? Yeah. And this this, and but what was observing it is the I am I as the I Am, the I Am became is the I am became detached from all the mental and emotional constructs and the physical construct, and suddenly the I am comes into perfect abidance to that that’s beyond that, and that this is a manifest reality of absolute. And I could see that that was the kingdom and the observation is the Christ you know, is you know, I realized that Jesus was right also In the Christ, that the Christ is pure consciousness is absolutely pure consciousness with no attachment to the world for meaning because it’s not of this world. And it’s not the father, you know, Jesus lived his life in complete recognition of the father of the absolute living in relation to that. So so for me at that time, right, it was Jesus, you know, Jesus is through Jesus through through that.

Rick Archer: Nice. Yeah, it must be kind of cool. Now having, well, you’ve just alluded to it really having had this realization to look back on the Bible, and also delve into other spiritual, you know, tax tax and realize, Oh, so that’s what they were talking about. It’s like, totally different appreciation than you could have had before.

Steve Ford: You get it all, you understand everything, even the even the Upanishad. So you punish us a wonderful, you read them? Like, ah, this is God speaking. This is this is the words of the Absolute, you know, and it’s wonderful. Yeah, I became like a genius, overnight, I understood your logic deep,

Rick Archer: then you didn’t even have to go to Theological Seminary, or whatever you’re planning to do. Exactly. Save yourself all that tuition. Yeah, I have, I have conversations with friends sometimes, and who go through a shift or have gone through a shift in which they insist there is really no longer any sense of a personal self. And I can’t understand or relate to that in terms of my own experience. And I acknowledge that they their experiences, probably well beyond mine. But then again, there’s other people. Like, for instance, our friend, Francis Bennett, whom I think you spoke with, or gave a presentation with over in England, who say, you know, you’re always going to be a person, you’re always going to be a person, you’re just not only a person, you know, I mean, the fact that you’re not only a wave, the fact that you realize you’re not that you’re now the ocean doesn’t mean, you’re not still a wave, but also the ocean. And yet I say things like that to such people. And they say no, there really is no person, there’s no wave, it’s just the ocean. And I don’t know how they can function as human beings, if that’s really truly the case, or how they would react if you whack them in the shin with a hammer or something. That seems like to me, that would be kind of a person, they’re feeling that. So I mean, what’s your whole orientation? That argument? I know over there, you know, Tony Parsons land, there are a lot of people running around emphasizing that point that you are not a person. What do you say?

Steve Ford: Oh, wow, wow, that’s that’s a big one, isn’t it? I really don’t buy into that at all. The, the, just in my experience, Rick, just in what’s happened for me? And just by saying that to you, I’m sure there’ll be someone saying, you can’t see me, you know, are these things

Rick Archer: I please pass the salt? Who wants to? Yeah,

Steve Ford: there’s no one here? No, no, no, I can’t I can give you examples of what I’ve experienced with people that do believe that but I can’t I don’t know who I’m talking about. But

Rick Archer: so the Mr. X as it has says, such and such, how does Steve respond?

Steve Ford: Because this person is quite well known and they’ve made Okay. Honestly, they were so

Rick Archer: dealing with the philosophical principles here. What would you say?

Steve Ford: Well, it’s What’s all that about? I mean what i’ve what I’ve come okay, what I’ve come to see was and I didn’t come from any physical I didn’t come from Tony Parsons, I didn’t come through anyone really no one I had a very basic 12 step and very Christian basis and all I can say is that that there are waves Yes, of course, there are waves, there are our bodies of existence that we call the mind we call the heart we call the body all of these things where they get confused or dare I say that is that the body of illusion that is the the body of illusion we call ego is nothing more than identification with the capacity to think or the capacity to feel or the capacity to jump around in a physical body. The body of illusion is identification you see, so that evening when when I detach from all of this it was the body of illusion that died it dissipated, okay. And in its dissipation, that false tension that’s keeping it all closed fell away and what opened up was the mind opened up their heart opened up and all of it right this this is the really interesting thing is is the mind that everything opened up to what is truly experiencing that right and and when we look at the mind I know you know this wreck but but you know that the mind has not experienced itself does it you know, that the heart doesn’t experience it. None of this experiences itself so form doesn’t experience it. of yet he does not live outside consciousness. So what’s happening is it is consciousness appearing this form, okay and is conscious directly experiencing the mind. And the mind can reflect that that’s not here. Now this is what needs to get data speaks about this a good data says I’m not here, what does he mean by that he’s not attached to the world from meaning is not attached to the world, it’s no body of illusion has no tension that he equals the eye. So what he’s saying is, so this is happening, you know, but it’s happening to what he’s observing what he’s observing is not here. Okay. So there is no you in that sense, you see, there is no false attachment. So there’s no false identity, right? But, but what there is, is, of course, there are these these things, these are happening within consciousness, there is a person within consciousness, but what’s already experiencing the person in consciousness is not here. I agree. Right? But but but there is a there is a there is a personal body there is even a me body and I body, you know that you have these personal things. But I can assure, you know, for me, that there’s just no attachment to it for meaning the meaning itself is in a direct experience. And what is directly experiencing that is pure consciousness, and then pure consciousness itself. Is off that that is observing, that they can’t You can’t even explain, you know? So I don’t agree with this. I mean, when you start going around saying, oh, there is no one there is just this happening? Or that I just find it really well, what’s the beauty? Where’s the love, you know, where’s the where’s the poetry? What’s all this about? I find existence an incredible phenomena, but I understand what they’re saying, I do understand that there is no one here. And I understand that, that no one here even the awareness of, of not being a body is is a consciousness that also is transient, you know, the, you know, if you want to be an absolutist, you can say that the only thing real is this, knowing that that is and everything else is is false, or is illusion, but I don’t find that that’s what’s the illusion, I don’t find creation, the illusion, I find the attachment to the creation, assuming an identity, the illusion, which we call the ego. So that’s where I come from.

Rick Archer: One helpful way they’ve found to explain it is to say, you know, I’m here, everywhere, and I’m nowhere. I mean, and all those three things are kind of simultaneously true. You know, what I mean? I mean, can you relate to that?

Steve Ford: Yeah, definitely. Part of the I mean, I spent two years looking at that very question, you know, it was upon awakening, there was there was the most profound revelation of the self, or the the absolute and, and all of these things. But we don’t live in a world that really explains the science of that consciousness, unless you live in India, you know, where they have the wonderful words that, you know, they’ve got words that describe things that we don’t, regarding this conscious phenomenon. But I spent two years looking at this, and for me, it’s not enough to say I am abiding in nothing, everything is transient, it just falls away. I mean, that doesn’t make a cup of tea or get a job or pay the rent, you know. So, I wanted to learn how does one How does one as realisation of consciousness as the real state of consciousness continue to live in relation to what is observing the overall observation of absolute How does one live in relation to that so that one is always abiding as that and that abiding factor of I am how does that then become a flow that comes into all appearance directly experiencing appearance so that all appearances just reflecting what is observing then I wanted to learn this so that I could be more integrated and so that I could maintain this integrity of pure conscience but at the same time allow the either me or whoever all these flavors of, of modified consciousness that make up the person enjoy that as well. Why what you know why there’s a beauty in that, you know, there’s, there’s, there’s a life in that and of course, it will go and it all comes back to the I Am the I am even with CS back into the absolute.

Rick Archer: Yeah, and that kind of brings us back to your story, which is that you know, you had this awakening that evening on your knees and then you went to bed and next morning you woke up and oh, boy, it’s still here. But then obviously, you had a life to get on with and, you know, probably money to earn. Yeah, I think you have a daughter and you know, relationships and there was somebody named Hannah and your book and, you know, all kinds of you mean stuff that, you know, that you’ve had to deal with. So let’s talk a little bit for a while now about the sort of reintegration process and the kind of ongoing development that has taken place since that awakening.

Steve Ford: Well, I, with the job, I mean, I found myself I, you know, I’ve got two daughters, and I found myself in a place, I just had the wake up, I left college. And I knew I couldn’t go on to university because my, my daughter just been born, there’s no way I was going to go back and try and redo things and everything, I just wanted to go out and work. So I went out and I got a job part time setting up an outreach project in Slough, just walking around helping anyone that’s homeless, or, or addicted, or whatever, you know, to be referred in to drug services, drug and alcohol services. So I found this job really good just to walk around talk to these people. And, and I was earning money, I wasn’t earning loads of money, but I was earning money and, and it was good, it was a really good project to do, I was able to integrate, you know, whatever recovery I had, from sobriety to then start with this. And I did that for two years. And then after that, I got a job as for a company, you know, working with addicts, in prisons, you know, young offenders. I got the job, and I got the job whereby they, they fully trained me out to become a therapist, working with drug and alcohol. So I worked there for for three, three and a half years, I think, possibly for years. And while I was there, I really began to come back into the world. You know, from this, this abstract place of self realization of hanging out in in one lesson, just just just, you know, reading it here and there, whatever,

Rick Archer: you know, had you gone through a phase of really being sort of out of the world and wanting to just kind of be withdrawn and close the curtains and not have anything to do with anybody.

Steve Ford: Yeah, I did for the first few months. Yeah, it felt I think it’s, it’s, it happens it happens, doesn’t it? You know, it was so because the The Awakening was so profound.

Rick Archer: It’s entirely appropriate, actually, to just sort of chill for a while. Yeah,

Steve Ford: yeah. No, it’s so profound, that dissipation was so great, that there really felt that there was no one there. There was no one there. Yeah, you know, because nothing had started to move back in again, you know, I hadn’t I, it was so new that I was just in this place, walking around slough, seeing people and seeing people caught up in this little projection in their mind. And thinking, I remember thinking, wow, I’m not there, and I’m not here. And it really felt I wasn’t here, people were caught up in because most people are, you know, they’re, they’re caught up in what they think the idea of themselves and when they communicate, you can see that tension in the faces. And this, this, this, you know, this this communication or whatever, and I was totally invisible, I was totally formless. But within that formlessness that I could see just, I could just relate from the sea from the absolute and you know, thoughts would come up or things were happening, but it felt quite disembodied. But it was natural because I wasn’t attached to it anyway for meaning so it didn’t matter if a little thought would go across the mind. And I would think, Ah, I was just thinking now must want a cup of tea or, or whatever, you know, and that happened for a few months and then suddenly everything starts to come in again, you know, in your functioning self starts to come in you see, the there’s a new tension starts to build the new tension of functioning because function itself is a tension if you brush your teeth, you can feel the tension doing this you see it’s just that there was a complete dissipation and for a while there’s like a honeymoon period of having no tension whatsoever and then suddenly, it started to come back and yeah, that’s that’s that’s kind of what happened. Really.

Rick Archer: Did you ever go through a phase where you felt like you maybe were in some more intense circumstances of some nature and you felt like you’re kind of lost it and you’re just back to being plain old Steve again for a while

Steve Ford: yeah, not long not lost it but some but he got more intense Yes. I never lost it that there was always like a there’s there’s always been a little aperture, you know, at least a little aperture that you can look through and see the whole world you know and this your I am this can always be small, you see, and the IMS always knows the non location. Okay, what we call the absolute and you can be there and you can have all your dysfunctions continuing within patterns that may have not completely died because it’s not. It’s, you know, because that stuff never awakens the patterns. They don’t awaken. It’s unconscious stuff. That stuff comes in relatedness to what is observing, and then in the relatedness it starts to transmute starts to change. That’s a whole different chapter. I’ll go into that.

Rick Archer: Yeah, we should actually, as long as we’re not skipping past, something we should be talking about. But the whole thing about that stuff never awakens. It seems to me that almost everybody has layer upon layer upon layer of conditioning, and impressions and whatnot. And perhaps a certain amount of that has to be worked out before awakening happens, but not necessarily. I mean, a lot of times, it seems that people awaken without having worked out very much of that, and then it has to be worked out. And yeah, yeah, so what’s your take on that?

Steve Ford: Exactly, that what you just said, funny enough, I, for me, it was, you know, coming, where I come from the growing up the identity, all of these things, there’s a lot of stuff that happened, I think, for most people, we will have our bag, don’t we, and it was when I began working in the prison, I began working with a team of therapists. And I began to train as a therapist, and I’ve always had a natural bent for for psychology and philosophy and stuff like that. So all that by the time I’d, I’d got to the working with these therapists, I cannot I could hold my own, so to speak, I had my own way of understanding and and I began to learn all of the techniques of how to therapy, people, you know, and, and that’s when it hit me. That’s when I realized I was learning that I was learning these, these, this disposition of a therapist that didn’t seem integrated, it seemed mechanical, and it seemed. It didn’t seem to be aligned with the true nature, because the Awakening was still quite fresh then. And I hadn’t yet realized that how rare the The Awakening was, in most people’s lives. And of course, you know, looking at what it took for me to awaken is a complete dying, you know, I mean, that would terrify me It terrified me, but there’s just no option, you see. And then, but then working with these therapists, I realized I thought, you know, how come we’re not talking about this state outcome that was talking about I am and all this this true self? And this true self that knows absolutely, why why isn’t anyone talking about it? And I was looking, and I was working with therapists. And I thought, why why are you? Why are you arguing the person’s mind? Their mind is just a reaction to their own ignorance. Why don’t you get them in their true identity? And I’d be thinking this until you why, you know, and really looking back, I was quite naive. But I persisted, I persisted with, with the training with working, but I found, I found, the trouble was that I wasn’t ambitious enough. That’s one of the things when you work with therapists, they’re really ambitious, especially when they’re training. And I wasn’t, I was very laid back. And very easy. And, and I always felt that position of IMS, that was observing, I always felt it wasn’t being communicated. I felt I was having to go into a technique to engage with, with someone you know, to reflect someone’s thinking or reflect someone’s feeling or pattern. And then

Rick Archer: you answer those questions to yourself, why aren’t you taking this? I am missing to account why you’re just dealing with their mind. What What kind of answers did you come up with?

Steve Ford: Well, I didn’t have the answers. That was the thing you probably see now, though, right? I do now, but I didn’t have it that at that point. This is when I hit a wall of this doesn’t fit in the world. This really does not because I’m working as a therapist, it was very, it’s very structured. The system, the whole system is very structured. And they have very structured ways of dealing with people structured ways of thinking structured ways of feeling. And, and they you know, and I just found, I couldn’t express this and I felt then uneasy, I felt uneasy. Yeah. What

Rick Archer: would you say now? How have you? I mean, I can give you an answer of why, to those two questions you just posed, but what would you say?

Steve Ford: i What should I do now?

Rick Archer: Well, you know, you’re saying you’re observing all these therapists who weren’t taking into account the sort of deeper dimension and they’re just dealing on the level of the mind. You know, I mean, I would say that it’s because they don’t even most of them realize that that deeper dimension exists. Or maybe they think of it in terms of, you know, the subconscious or something, but the possibility of self realization as an adjunct to or as a foundation for therapy is just not even on their array. Are you know, it’s not in their training, it’s not in their experience, even if they accepted it, they wouldn’t know how to inculcate it. And so that’s why he didn’t find it when you were studying as a therapist.

Steve Ford: Exactly. And that is that was the that’s what confused me was why why don’t they know and that that’s what I’ve realized is they’ve not had the experience they’ve not died to their attachment to their mental emotional faculty. They’re not autonomous in their true intimacy, their their state of pure consciousness, they’re not, they’re simply not aware on that level. Sounds awful, isn’t it? I mean, these are great therapists. And trust me, they were great therapists, but it but this is very, this is just an uncommon language, this this language of Self Realization, and what have you, you make it

Rick Archer: because Self Realization hasn’t really been common in society, it’s not something we learned about. So it’s not something you see on TV very much. And but these days, of course, there are therapists who are realized and who are sort of non dual therapists or, you know, Enlightenment based therapists. And so it is, but I’m sure that’s still a tiny, tiny subset of therapists in general.

Steve Ford: Yeah, yeah. So, so I found myself just, in a way quite bemused, and but I had to I had to continue with this job because I needed to undermine it. So I felt like, Oh, I’m sorry. You know, give me the money. And I just observing and thinking well, but it got me thinking, it got me thinking that was a thing, it that became the next stage in my life where I thought, Okay, I’m really not going to do a job next time where I can’t be be natural. In a natural state. If I can’t come from a natural state, in a way where that that kind of fist that kind of honesty facilitates a way to challenge a person’s behavior. I said, I don’t do nothing constructive to say. So when I left there, in 2006, I remember I was on holiday with the children in a caravan on the coast in the south coast of England. And I began that was it I began writing, I began exploring, I began to look I thought, Okay, I’ve got this knowledge of therapy, all and it was great, it’s great knowledge, you know, it’s wonderful knowledge for what it is, it’s great. And I then I was trained everything and then I found myself just writing off it why I need to learn how how does one relate from self realization? How does one maintain pure consciousness? The I Am? And how does one then from that position? Okay, come into the body function, and then and then connect with someone else and do that. Yeah. So that became that became the next question. And it was then that was in the August and then in funnily enough, in the November I was introduced the seekers. I was introduced to people that are seeking that that the refined purpose of exploring what is reality what is real, you know,

Rick Archer: it’s funny, it took you that long to run into him. So how long was it from the time you had the realization to the time you stumbled across some seekers?

Steve Ford: Seven years Wow, that sounds great. Yeah, I just walked around my head down I don’t I don’t think just I I remember seeing a few things in books like Krishna mercy him and stuff like thinking, Oh, he’s had the same experience or Eckhart Tolle A’s had the same experience. And, but I just didn’t I don’t know why that was not a clue. A strange isn’t it. But one of the things happened was was when I when I had the awakening, whenever occurred, I used to read a lot. I used to read a lot loads and loads of stuff, you know, obsessively, really compulsively and then after awakening, I couldn’t read even for seven years, I couldn’t even pick a book, I’d read a page after put it down. I just couldn’t do it. It was so

Rick Archer: even spiritual stuff.

Steve Ford: You know, I couldn’t read spiritual stuff. It was boring. Interesting. Yeah. Because I knew it, you know, but But saying that it wasn’t the right spiritual stuff, because when I met seekers, I then met a few people that did offer some good reading material. And when I began to read things like the Upanishad, and stuff like that, I thought, wow, this is really good. You know, so I can read now. Yeah, it’s just that I didn’t know this stuff was out there really, to be honest with you, and I was happy anyway, kids to look after jobs and all of these things. And, you know,

Rick Archer: yeah. Maybe we’ll get back to seekers in a minute. But you talked about my voice is starting to echo back to me. Why that’s happening. You use the word imitate. I thought that was Interesting that the mind imitating pure consciousness and maybe maybe even said, the heart imitating pure consciousness is interesting choice of words. Maybe you can elaborate on that for a bit.

Steve Ford: Yeah, they’re just my words, I’ve kind of I talked my way through this, you know, what it is, there was a point where there was a point upon awakening, and it was, it kind of remained the same for, for a number of years really. Where I was happy in the I Am, you know, in the formless awareness, observing thought, observing reality, observing patterns, continual patterns, you know, wasn’t as bad obviously, but still, you know, but they are that, you know, but there was no integrating, there was no contact, you know, I was observing, but not directly experiencing, and I was missing the relationship that the mind in its function, the heart and body, I was missing that point of how it how it comes into relatedness to what is directly observing, you see, so when I began to explore further, I remember I woke up one day, and I thought that sad, I said, I’m gonna stay in the I am now and I’m not, I’m not going to do this anymore, I’m not going to work for people or work in places where it’s not about this. So I spent days just days, you know, just walking, sleeping in my room with the curtains closed. I had a job just working three days a week for for probation, working for the government on these drug programs. And it was easy, it just worked itself. And the rest of the time I just spent myself just observing, just observing everything. And I allowed myself to just just observe the mind, observe the mind and its function and the heart everything, just observe everything. And and I wanted to find, how does one How does one come from the Self Realization aspect, which is self realization itself is not reality, self realization is reality is consciousness, and consciousness knows it is off the non location, which is absolute. So how does his idea of truth, then have the best effect upon the mind, because the mind is happening, right. And it took a while. And then I realized one day, I thought, of course, of course, here I am. So into reality, so, so fine, in this, I am this so fine. You know, knowing of the absolute and that’s as far as I’ve got, you know, the other possible life of playing out, I may not have been identifying with these aspects of the personal self, or reflexive bodies of existence. So I was kind of just hanging out in absolute land in in wonderment of reality, and liberation, as well, because that liberation of consciousness is pure, but I kind of, you know, wasn’t really understanding the relationship between the I Am, and the mind. Really, that was it. So that’s, that’s what I embarked on, I wanted to know, if I’m going to continue working or living here, it must all come now from this, it must come from the aim. I

Rick Archer: think it’s an important point. And we can dwell on that a bit. Because, you know, people have an idealized notion of what an enlightened person should be, like, how we should talk, how we should act, how we should, you know, how we should behave. And then a lot of times spiritual teachers kind of let people down because they’re not talking or acting or thinking or behaving that way. And so people, you know, wonder, why the disconnect? How come this sort of state which should some make one kind of a, you know, walking Buddha sort of a tune to, you know, life in a very harmonious, benign way? How come that’s not happening for everybody? So and these days, I think that the word embodiment is all the rage, it’s kind of in vogue, that people, you know, maybe 10 years ago had some kind of awakening or spiritual realization, realize that it wasn’t embodied and that needs to get embodied and it needs to somehow you know, in percolator integrate into practical daily life. So it sounds like this was a project for you, you know, over the last decade or so. So, tell us about how do you go about it? To what extent do you feel like you’ve achieved it or you know, how much more would there is a lifelong process?

Steve Ford: I don’t know if it’s lifelong. I know it’s So ongoing at the moment, I think I think I think it’s important to know, I think it’s important to know the established position of I am and then how that then becomes the direct experience without experiencing Jhana stand, it’s like, how it becomes a direct experience of what is happening in your perceptual field, because what is happening does not experience itself. No, I didn’t know that you see, this is I had to learn that. And I learned that on my own just watching off of course, yes, you know, there is only consciousness, these modifications of consciousness do not experience themselves now. So which means, which means that whatever pattern, whatever patterns, these modifications of conscious have made up of, they come from direct observation, they come from consciousness. So in all the years that the egos playing out, this reality of a separate self, of course, is still going to leave its mark its effects. It’s not ego, but it leaves its effects. In some of the patterns, you still have certain thoughts or persuasions within you that that you’re observing that you feel. And the thing for me was, was I didn’t want to just see them, and just remain arrested in that development of just seeing and just remain? Oh, no, it’s not real. It’s just this is absolute. And the I Am That other

Rick Archer: times did you find yourself sort of saying or doing certain things and saying, Wow, I’m really being a dick here? You know, I mean, how come? My realization isn’t change changing my behavior?

Steve Ford: exactly, precisely that you couldn’t have said it better? And it’s like, why am I sticking my fingers up at the drivers in front of me, you know, what are the guys tailgating me, you know, and, and I thought, I really want to see this because because they interested me, you know, I’m a therapist. And and I thought, you know, what is the link here? And, and so I spent about two years just exploring that. What do you mean? Well, the million dollar question. Well, I came up with this is that the recognition of reality is what we call realization. Okay, the recognition of reality, reality itself does not need to be recognized, it does not need to awaken it just simply is it always has been, right

Rick Archer: doesn’t need us for anything is fine. Doing that’s fine.

Steve Ford: So that’s, yeah, absolutely, that doesn’t need to awaken that doesn’t need you. But it does have a thought, you see, the unmanifest is manifesting, and it’s manifesting in its first embodiment is what we call pure consciousness, it’s the I am okay. This I am serves only to recognize what is real and, and if it can recognize what is real, it can then live abiding to what is real. So you can become pure consciousness abiding as that. So there is no one, right so that no one becomes the first thought of that, as Nisargadatta says, You see, and then what happens is what comes out of the pure consciousness are all the modifications of consciousness. So that’s where you then realize that there’s still experience but there’s direct experience. So there is mine, there is there is the person happening. But there is, but it’s the direct experience of the person is formless consciousness, because your observation of whatever you perceive as a person, transcends the person and what is transcendent of the person is just pure consciousness. But the person lives within that consciousness it it lives in relatedness towards directly observing it, you know, so that’s when I became more complete, I kind of started to mature a bit I kind of grew up I realized that that you can maintain this this not maintained because there’s no one maintaining it, but you can abide, you know, you can become more established as self realization and allow that pure consciousness or self realization to live in relation to what is real, which is the what Tony calls that whatever you you know, they’re the one they’re sort of, you know, some people don’t like one is the absolute whatever. On mana manifest and living in relation to that you suddenly realize that your pure consciousness is a flow. This is what I found. This is this is really what what had me thinking this is great. It’s just the flow. It has no agenda, no orientation whatsoever. It remains undifferentiated, and it’s transcendent of everything that is appearing. So everything that is appearing is a direct reflection of what is observing what is experiencing. It then brings everything into there’s no separation. You No, duh. And it also brings everything into a state where there is no way there’s there’s no one doing this. It’s just, it’s just happening. But then this flow of attention is, is realization is I am it, as I say it’s transcendent of all agenda and everything. So it just flows. So if there is something happening, you just already experienced it, and it reflects what he’s already experiencing, because they become

Rick Archer: one really sure read the Bhagavad Gita.

Steve Ford: Some of it, not all of it. So I’m really thick book. So yeah,

Rick Archer: well, that’s it. The basic theme is that, you know, Arjuna is a warrior. He was it was his obligation in the circumstance to fight a battle, and he’s going to kill a lot of his friends and relatives and dear ones. And so he had this moral dilemma. And he presented it to Krishna, I said, What should I do? I can’t do this. And Krishna said, you know, transcend, you said, just get to the absolute. And then three, three verses later, he said, Now established, they’re establishing yoga establishing being perform action, and you know, then, you know, then the action will sort of be in accordance with all the sort of the laws of nature, the laws of dharma, or whatever, in a way that the human intellect alone could never work out. So, I guess the question here is, and I know, we talked about seekers earlier, and you have like a weekly meeting, or something where you meet with people? You know, there’s two things those people want to know, and that you have to somehow convey to them. One is, well, how do I have this real sort of realization you had? How do I get to the self or pure consciousness? And you know, then if they have that, what do I do with it? You know, how do I how do I live that in my life? And do you find that I mean, is that is that true? Is that representative of the essential questions that people have?

Steve Ford: People don’t ask me questions hardly ever. I hardly we just sit in silence. Okay. That’s

Rick Archer: nice. Yeah, that takes care of the first part.

Steve Ford: Yeah, there’s, I mean, people do ask questions. And then it’s i, then there’s exploration, obviously, within the consciousness. But I just want to go back, Rick, come back to this want to go back? Because when you said what is it and I said about, you know, become established in the absolute and then and you said that back about Gita, establish action or something that you’ve

Rick Archer: stablished in Yogastha kuru karmani establishing yoga, perform action, that’s about perform

Steve Ford: action. In walking away the book, I talk about that to true action, the true action is actually the non action is the observation itself, has the most profound effect on form on thinking and stuff like that. So So when, when people ask questions, that means it’s, we connect simple, we connect, we merge, we connect with where that person is, and are always, you know, look where that person’s attention is, because it’s the attention that becomes that is realized one realized, you know, attention is these awareness, you see, and attention can get locked in many places, because I’m a therapist, where I, where I’ve been trained. I like to follow where people’s attention is, and that come but speak from the point of liberated, I am and show how, show how you can move as the non Doer with within this idea of false doing. Yeah,

Rick Archer: yeah. I heard you say, and maybe it was your conscious TV interview? I’m not sure. But that, you know, the people you’ve associated with people who’ve come to your meetings, well, no one’s quite had the sort of degree of realization that you had, as far as you can tell, it’s just hasn’t hasn’t just happened for people as readily Is it because you went through a lot before it happened for you, but as you’ve been doing this for a while living it and also, you know, serving in some capacity as a Satsang guy? Do you feel like a capacity or facility is growing in you for helping to facilitate some kind of shift in people? And if so, how? Or is it just the sitting in silence? And there’s some kind of attunement or entrainment or, or something that seems to take place?

Steve Ford: Yeah. You know, when I talk about myself, I mean, there’s always a movement. I’ve spoken about certain movements that have allowed me to explore or allowed me to see things from the established understanding of I am in relation of that. With people I do understand that most people haven’t had the sort of experience I’ve had or Revelation I’ve had so suddenly, it was terrifying. Don’t expect people, many people to go through what I went through was spiritual spiritual suicide, really.

Rick Archer: So you don’t advocate going out and drinking for 10 years? Just kidding. It’s okay to do that come back to me in 10 years.

Steve Ford: Well, that’s true. You know, if someone’s not ready to start drinking, you know, drink more, that’s what they say. But no, no, no, I just, for me, it’s, it’s connects, just connect, just just just just, you know, in the meetings, there’s stillness, and then there’s a deeper, there’s a deeper resonance of a deeper reality, there is a deeper Body of Consciousness than the, the, the, the other states of consciousness, we, you know, with the familiar states of consciousness, such as the mind, the heart, the body, and, and even the intuitive Body of Consciousness that has you thinking and working things out and getting a little our hearts and stuff like that, come to the meetings become very still connect, connected, deeper body, the deeper body that is, without characteristic, without attachment to any of these surface bodies for meaning, you know, so, and to think that I facilitator, democracy is a great word, Rick facilitation, it sounds like, some of them. Wow, it’s like, you know, some pulleys up and I’m playing books out and other no lectures or whatever, but no, no, no, it’s just sitting in silence. Yeah, there’s a real, there’s a real reality, there’s much deeper body of reality and being silent. You notice from being what they call it. transcendental?

Rick Archer: Oh, yeah, I used to teach that. Right. Yeah. And actually, in that context, in that capacity, I always found and this is my next question to you, that when you step into a role like that, something takes over, it’s like, you know, you kind of all your cylinders begin to kick in, and you have a kind of a, it’s sort of you you’re kind of aligning yourself with a higher purpose or something and allowing that to use you as a conduit for for something that’s kind of beyond your ordinary capacity. And a lot of people who teach in various capacities have told me that and I’ve seen it in Joe Schmo gets up in front of a group and starts to teach and all sudden some light turns on and that, you know, he’s not he’s, he’s ever so much more so. So have you experienced that also, that when you kind of put yourself in that role, there’s, there’s something profound that takes place? Oh, through you, you know, it’s not like you’re doing it, but you’re allowing yourself to serve as an instrument of something profound.

Steve Ford: I just said, Absolutely. I’m trying to tell myself at the moment, don’t say absolutely. It’s an awful word.

Rick Archer: Everyone knows what that word means.

Steve Ford: Yeah. Okay. No, no, there is this in meetings, it’s profound, I go very silent. And the outer the outer bodies, the outer structure of who we are, in the surface sense, become very still. And then that deeper body that transcends that becomes more apparent becomes more established, and there’s a much deeper presence there really is that and, and connecting is much deeper. People relax, and something does happen. Yeah. Great, deep.

Rick Archer: It’s just really cool the way that works. It’s

Steve Ford: amazing, isn’t it? Because it’s got nothing to do with you, you know, and it’s not for you, as they say, you know, it’s Yeah, and it’s not for me, it’s not for anyone it’s something that simply is you know, there that is just deeper than than what is currently playing out.

Rick Archer: Yeah. You’re like a catalyst. Yeah, when that kind of thing happens.

Steve Ford: Yeah, yeah. It’s it’s yeah, it’s amazing what realization does when it awakens it comes away from the tension abiding in that absolute and then suddenly, that attention itself the I am becomes an administrator of the very essence of absolutely, which is a wonderful, wonderful, connecting, feeling, you know, it’s, it’s nice

Rick Archer: to see if I can find something here really quick. That’s kind of neat. Second, here, it’s gonna read this, someone posted it the other day is, here it is. This is from the end of the Rigveda said, go together speak together, no your minds to be functioning together from a common source in the same manner as the devas. The celestial beings in the beginning, remain together unite and near the source, integrated as the expression of knowledge and assembly as this is the part and assembly is significant in Unity. United are their minds while full of desires for you to make use of the integrated expression of knowledge by virtue of unite illness, and By means of that which remains to be united I perform action to generate wholeness of life. United be your purpose harmonious be your feelings collected be your mind in the same way as all the various aspects of the universe exist together in wholeness. That’s beautiful. That’s kind of nice.

Steve Ford: Yeah, very nice. Did you write? No, I

Rick Archer: say is from the end of the Rigveda. Yeah, sure. I wasn’t around that. Okay, as far as I know.

Steve Ford: Well, you were you were Yeah, it was right, you know, present, you know, how will the world be here without you? It’s true.

Rick Archer: There was a, there was a saint in India named Tutwiler, Baba. And someone once said, Do you sleep? And he said, What would happen to the universe if I slept?

Steve Ford: Exactly. Speaking from the one, yeah.

Rick Archer: So I kind of got us off on a little tangent there. But um, what? What haven’t we covered that you would like to cover? There’s, there’s all kinds of interesting tidbits in your book. There’s all kinds of, you know, phases in your life that we’ve just glossed over. And, you know, all sorts of interesting things, I’m sure. But, um, give me a, give me a few tidbits here that you’d like to cover that we haven’t. Let me think I can ask you a question if you need help.

Steve Ford: Yeah, but I wouldn’t know what to say to be honest with you that Rick?

Rick Archer: Well, one standard question is, you know, where are you now? Um, you know, you’ve it’s been quite a few years since your awakening, and you’ve gone through all kinds of integration and purification and growth and, and, and whatnot. You know, do you have a sense of Horizon in terms of like, where you see this going? And in your evolution as a human being as a spiritual being or whatever?

Steve Ford: Yeah, definitely. I think where I’m at now is far more abiding as the I Am. That’s more predominant now than ever. And there just seems to be a natural curiosity. Now natural play of I am this that, that is curious with all everything really likes to explore likes to really direct experience things, because I think that’s what this is about. This is about experiencing, fully as conscious beings. Coming, you know, relating from the, the established I am is the transcendent state that is that that is able to live directly this life. You know, I think it was Francis Bennett who said, it’s his book called fully human fully

Rick Archer: delivered. It’s his new book is Yeah, yeah, it’s

Steve Ford: very act really, because it really is about being human, you know, and, and also being divine, and we were talking about divinity we’re talking about sourcing, you know, that that part of you, that is just pure consciousness, you know, and directly experience in life as it happens, but from the standpoint of the established I am, which has no characteristics, so there’s direct experience, and there’s direct intimacy, there’s direct connection, which is, this is what it’s about, you know,

Rick Archer: do you tend to feel and even perceive a unity with all things? Like you’re walking down the street? And it’s all kind of you?

Steve Ford: Yes, sometimes? No, I do. And it’s not. I’m not one of those people that looks out into the world and says, Oh, this is just to me, it’s like,

Rick Archer: somebody has actually experienced that. I mean, something that yeah, surely, yeah.

Steve Ford: Yeah. For me, it’s more. When everything just fell away, it was like there’s this that because you got to see the world as an idea as well, your mind your body is all idea. The world is an idea. You know, it’s an idea of the oneness. And we’re another idea inhabiting that and merging with that. So, what’s the question anyone else?

Rick Archer: Oh, about your, your cutting edge, you know, where you see yourself evolving? And you were talking about fully human, fully divine and so on?

Steve Ford: Oh, right. Yeah. And the world in terms of creation, is something that is just, it’s massive, you know, it’s a big thing. It’s, you know, it’s here and it will go is transient and all those things, but it’s incredibly profound, very profound. In a direct experience, and in what we’re allowed to be here, what we’ve granted to be is amazing, really

Rick Archer: is one theme I always come back to is just that, if we actually ponder or consider what we’re looking at, at any given moment, you know, the miracle of, you know, the tiny little bit of your fingernail, and actually what’s what’s in that and the intelligence that’s governing it, and so, it’s mind boggling, but we just kind of Take it for granted. But yeah, there’s a with me there’s a sort of a desire to better know that that divine intelligence that is orchestrating everything.

Steve Ford: I remember when I was seven years. Well, when was it in 2000, when I first began leasing stickers, I was introduced to a Zen master, which was a funny concept at a time I thought, I’m going for, I’m going for a meeting as a master. And it’s funny because we actually went into a pizza place where you could actually order a pizza, you know, make me one with everything. So I could have used that joke, and I didn’t, after bad time, if there’s more than

Rick Archer: job to I mean, you give the guy you know, 20, and he doesn’t give you any change. You say, Well, where’s my change? And he says, well, change has to come from within.

Steve Ford: Right, I love it. But I remember speaking to this wonderful woman, Carol, Carol Hayward, wonderful. Zen teacher, she, she we were just talking and she was one of the first people that I spoke to who, who claimed to have that to the awakening. And she has she’s a very open, very open being. And first person I ever spoke to, and she said, truth. There is no habituation, habituation, which just basically means it doesn’t matter how much you source from truth, how much you say, how realized you are in truth is always enough. Always always enough. You never get bored of it. You never need more. There’s no habit. And as soon as she said that, I thought, Wow, it’s amazing. It’s incredible that you know that.

Rick Archer: Yeah. I would also say that part of the reason there’s no habituation is that it keeps blossoming more and more fully,

Steve Ford: you know, and that’s wonderful. Isn’t it? The blossoming that the curiosity of it, the direct experience of it, the flow? It’s wonderful, you know, is a good, good,

Rick Archer: yeah. Because we are very adaptable creatures, we sort of acclimate to whatever level of happiness or suffering or whatever we’re living. And, you know, we can be quite objectively miserable. But if there’s a little bit of a uptick in our level of happiness, it seems great, you know, but it would be quite miserable. If we contrast that with where we might be 10 years, hence, if it keeps up ticking, you know, so I mean, if you if you were to go back to the night of your original realization, as wonderful as that may have been, you might find that pretty yucky compared to the actually the way you feel normally. Ordinarily now.

Steve Ford: Possibly, I say, I think that night is, that’s pretty special. Yeah, that’s just changed by you know, I’ve been speaking to someone about four years or five years after the awakening. And it was somebody in the fellowship, and we were talking about spiritual matters, you know, and, and they said, you know, what, about your ongoing relationship with God, you know, and I said, Well, truthfully, you know, God, they say, God, and I said, Well, it’s never changed. It’s not changed since that night in 99. That revelation just revealed to me the unchangeable, the immutable, the reality just is, it just simply is, and I can’t add anything to it or take anything away. Or, and it’s good. It’s good. No habituation, just it’s always good.

Rick Archer: But just play devil’s advocate. You can add to it. I mean, you can take infinity in mathematics, and then you can multiply it by itself or add 1000 to it or whatever. And it’s still infinity. But there’s somehow you know, they’re there. They talk of, you know, degrees of infinity and you know, and, and so on. So there’s there’s like, it’s paradoxical.

Steve Ford: Oh, you just play my mind, right? Yeah. Yeah, totally. Oh, good. Somebody said. You fell asleep on it. That’s incredible.

Rick Archer: Did I really blow your mind?

Steve Ford: I’ve never I’ve never thought of that. It’s incredible. Yeah. There’s nothing more infinitely infinite then. Yeah, of, of the amount of manifest and it’s interesting. I suppose there’s stuff this other No, I it always remains unchanging. It just always remains. It’s fun, isn’t it? Because it means unchanging, but pregnant with the promise of change, you know, it’s loaded the existence.

Rick Archer: Speaking of the Upanishads, as we did earlier, there’s this beautiful verse which you may have heard which is purnamadah purnamidam purnaat, purnamudachyate de purnasya. I forget how the rest of it goes. But in any case, it says this is full that is full then taking fullness from fullness, fullness, fullness remains. So it’s like you know, the the manifest world is full the absolute from which it supposedly has been taken out or extracted or remember urge is full. And you know, nothing is depleted or diminished when when this fullness emerges from that fullness.

Steve Ford: That’s right. There’s, there’s no, there’s no problem there is only when the ego attaches itself to the mind and lives in relation to the mind for meaning that it then becomes the quality of the mind, which is compulsion, you know, and with compulsion comes habituation. You can never have enough, you know, or yeah, there’s, there’s always that there’s the illusion of lack, and, and all of this, you know, so yeah.

Rick Archer: Hopefully your daughter is now.

Steve Ford: Hannah is 16. She’s 17 in January, and Lucy is 17. And are you married? No, no, I’ve never No, I’m single. And I’ve never Yeah, yeah, I’ve never been married. That’s the thing. Just, we felt when we met each other. We were together for 17 years. And we always both very laid back and we just didn’t get married. The institution of marriage just kind of appealed to us. So what have you, you know?

Rick Archer: Are you in a relationship? Or are you just sort of on your own? At the moment? I’m on my own? Yeah. My own? Yeah. How has spiritual realization influenced your relationships? Oh, terrible. Really? Yeah, it’s awful. Honestly.

Steve Ford: Yeah, honestly, I’m not good. I’m not good to be with I. Why? I’m too. I’m probably too detached in many ways. I don’t have the same. I find I don’t have the same consideration that most men have. Where so much has fallen away that here I’m blaming my awakening now. I simply don’t, I seem to be quite okay. It’s quite self contained in my own in my own universe, so to speak, and quite happy to think. And I find if I if I do daily, it’s, it can be quite difficult in that sense.

Rick Archer: Have you ever dated anyone? Or wanted to date anyone who was also self realized? How would that go? I

Steve Ford: can’t imagine Majan. That. Yeah, that would be nice. That would be really good to meet someone who maybe shared the same lack of consideration. Yeah, that’d be good.

Rick Archer: Interesting. Yeah, definitely. Well, you know, if you ever do that, we’ll have to have another conversation about it. Because that’d be something that I think people would be really interested in. Because, and there are kind of self realized couples out there. You know, like Rupert and Ellen or Adria and Mukti are, and all and they seem to really appreciate the fact that the two of them are on that same kind of wavelength.

Steve Ford: Yeah, it must be must be wonderful. You know, to be wonderful. I just haven’t found that yet. So if there’s a girl out there, who’s who’s

Rick Archer: you know, send, send your qualifications, and yeah, just just including a printout of your EEG reading great, well, that might be a little bit of a strange note to end on. But um,

Steve Ford: maybe maybe yeah, it was a bit strange but let’s uh,

Rick Archer: give us a synopsis or something that you would like to end on a kind of a note of inspiration to people perhaps even people who have had a substance abuse problem and who you know, I think by this time if they’ve watched this interview can see that there’s, you know, hope for them in the realm of spiritual realization,

Steve Ford: okay. With people that are experiencing addiction that are experiencing maybe alcoholism or drug addiction or sex addiction or or gambling addiction, just to let them know that they are on the far side spectrum of attachment, you know, that there is addiction is nothing more than a symptom of what what what was happening within the Western world and all over the world, you know, so if you’re suffering from this addiction that this this, this attachment to this this separation you’re very close to finding out what is real you know, if you’re if you find yourself at the breaking point, and the drugs and the drink don’t work, and you don’t know who you I’ll just take that away, you’re a very close point of discovering who you could be who you really are. You know, I think addiction really, but it does it boils down to. It always boils down to identity. If if you think you’re a separate person attached to a certain mind and all of this, then then that in itself is an addiction. It’s a separation

Rick Archer: at an interesting point. Yeah. So by that definition, everybody in the world is addicted. Yeah,

Steve Ford: yeah, yeah, there’s a lot of addiction, you can be very much addicted to the idea you have of yourself. And it’s just attachment is the FAR is the extreme end of over attachment. That’s what addiction is really. And when you’re at that point, you’re at a point where you can really, maybe look at that and maybe go through a process of a process of what’s the word, review? Review. Good time to review. So there’s always hope for the addict. I think they’re closer to breaking than someone who is just walking the treadmill, you know, through their life. They go through life. They got the car, they got the house, they’ve got the comfortable stuff. And you can go through your whole life sleepwalking. But as an addict or an alcoholic, you’re at breaking point. It could be a good point, it could be the best point of change for you. Yeah, definitely. I’d be a blessing.

Rick Archer: They did talk about bottoming out in 12. Absolutely, yeah. So in addition to the little Satsang, that you have there locally, do you do anything to travel? Do you do retreats? Do you do Skype sessions with people, any of those kinds of things?

Steve Ford: Yeah, I do Skype sessions, and I do one to one sessions, as well as I’m a therapist. I run a one meeting a week in Maidenhead. I’m looking at getting a venue in London. So I live right near London. So I should be doing one in London. And I ran for retreats a year for retreats here. And I’m looking at doing my first overseas one in Holland in 2016. In the spring 2016. Great. So yeah.

Rick Archer: And so people can obviously go to your website, check out all that. And your website is

Steve Ford: invitations or Okay, and

Rick Archer: And I’ll be linking to that from your page on BatGap. Of course. And I didn’t really mention your book, but you have a lovely book called Walking awake, nice book cover. Why did you choose that image of the girl with her face in the water?

Steve Ford: Where I live, there’s a quite a very well known photographer, actually very good, so called Barry. And we were just talking one day and I said to him, I said, What do you do? He said, I’m a photographer. He said, What do you do? I said, Well, I do this. And I’m just coming to the end of writing this book. He said, Well, look, I can do the cover for you. And the guy who done that. He’s stuff of Vogue. He does stuff for international magazines. That’s a quality photograph. So work of art. And and, and so one day, he said, Go to my go go to my portfolio, online portfolio, choose a picture, you can have it because we kind of got on these and you can have it. So but before I could even do that I got a phone call the following week, he said, have you found a picture? I said no. He said, Look, come round of choose one with you. And when I got round, he said, I’ve actually chosen one for you. And he chose that. So when I saw it, I thought Yeah, that’s a great picture. Because it’s

Rick Archer: like a metaphor for something in the book.

Steve Ford: I think so. It’s to me, it’s like a baptism, it’s like, going into the unknowing. It’s like really, like she’s been baptized, going into the unknowing being reborn. It’s a little bit like that. So kind of there’s the tone of it fits the book, because the book is quite an exhaustive investigation in consciousness.

Rick Archer: It is. And it’s not a thick book, I actually managed to read the whole thing, which I don’t usually do every week when people send me these big books. But um, and I, you know, a lot of it was totally fascinating. There are parts where I, you kind of lost me, I don’t know if that’s your fault. It was like, because you’re trying to explain really abstract stuff and deep experience. It’s hard to put that into words. But I always find it fun to try to understand such things when I read them and see what kind of tune in and what the person is actually trying to say.

Steve Ford: Yeah, it’s only accepting follow a school of thought you see, so it’s all me and using words and it can lose you, I suppose in some ways, but what what resonates with you might resonate with someone else?

Rick Archer: Yeah. Anyway, enjoy it. Yeah. Yeah. Okay. I’ve enjoyed this. It’s been a good conversation. So let me just make a couple of typical wrap up points. I’ve been speaking with Steve Ford, as you know, and this is one more and an ongoing series of interviews with spiritually Awakening people. If you happen to have stumbled upon this for the first time, go to and check out the past Interviews, menus and you’ll see all the other ones categorized and organized in various ways. You’ll also find the place to be notified, sign up to be notified by email each time a new interview is posted. If you’re watching this on YouTube, you can subscribe to the channel and YouTube will notify you when a new one is posted. This exists as an audio podcast is a link to that on So you can listen to it on your iPod or whatever your phone and what else I know there’s the donate button that I mentioned the beginning appreciate people contributing and helping to support this. So that’s just about it. So thanks again, Steve.

Steve Ford: Thanks, Rick. It’s been good talking to you.

Rick Archer: And thanks to those who’ve been listening or watching and we’ll see you next time.