004. Steve & Winifred Boggs

We feel like we live a pretty ordinary life, yet in our 36 year marriage and in our working lives (Steve’s an electrical contractor and Winifred helps with the business as well as being an artist and poet) grace, challenge and transformation play themselves out in endless variety.

Interview recorded 12/9/2009.

Video and audio below. Audio also available as a Podcast.

Website: trilliumawakening.org

Video also available on Facebook in 20-minute segments.

30 thoughts on “004. Steve & Winifred Boggs

  1. Another great interview.

    It was great to have the 2 very different wakings described side by side. The descriptions of all the processing was good. Adyashanti talks of how when we step into the space, all the stuff/karma rushes in to be completed.

    The chat about the core wound was interesting. I’ve referred to this as the core fear or identity. Loch Kelly describes its release as the BBQ, prior to the 2nd switch, the twice reborn. That which separates the “inside” and “outside”.

    And the point about unnecessary physical perfection is very good. Physical health not being a barrier. I’ve also seen emotional health not being a barrier if there is enough openness, although thats not always the smoothest way as the drama is then fully conscious/ in your face as above.

    I’ve recently heard teachers say techniques like the sidhis are more for refinement of higher states than actual waking. Meditation certainly makes one familiar with Being but as a mental activity is not in itself an awakener.

    I would not describe all the tapas or preparation to be the necessary steps to awaken. I would more say we’re here for Self to know Itself more thoroughly. Awakening happens when we’ve covered the ground of experience enough for it to step back into the fullness of it. It is the completion.

    The intensity of the desire is the willingness to go through the experiences more quickly. To finish things up. To resolve what is unresolved. To see what we’re unwilling to see. To accept what we’ve not accepted.

    I also enjoyed the description of the emotional experience. The heightened sensitivity and softness. I knew I had made progress when I was able to cry again.

    I did find meditation changed completely. It took some time to reevaluate what role it still had. But I found a new role. And the sidhis much more potent. I’ve found it’s worth taking another look if the practice has fallen away with the switch.

    And congrats on the long relationship. Thats not always easy to sustain when on a fast spiritual path. Thanks Steve and Winifred and Rick. And Bryan.

  2. A few of the interviews have mentioned Waking Down so I was checking them out yesterday. Found an article there by Steve on his waking that might supplement this:
    http://www.wakingdown.org/essay.asp?PageID=179

    Interestingly, their model of waking is being built from the experiences of participants rather than following a specific tradition. One suggested they were more tantric than advaita.

    This essay outlines it:
    http://www.wakingdown.org/essay.asp?PageID=140
    I would separate Part 2 into a realization, then an embodied state. Parts 1 and 2 would be CC/UCish. As is typical of western wakings, GC is coming later.

    I get the impression they’re tackling the residual active issues long meditators are carrying, thus enabling them to awaken. The last barriers I’ve also found usually require some conscious attention. Looking and allowing can be very potent techniques for purifying the path.

    Not so impressed they’re creating a relationship with the Integral folks. That’s not a framework I’d recommend

  3. You mean Integral folks like Craig Hamilton, Ken Wilber, Andrew Cohen, etc.? What’s your beef with them? I’ve been listening to a lot of their stuff recently and have found them to be very intelligent and insightful.

  4. Hi Rick
    Yes, those uns. I looked at them a couple of years ago and found a number of subtle distortions. Also way too much emphasis on intellect. (vs direct experience)

    For example, Wilbur views GC stuff as a throwback to mythical times of the past. To demonstrate the completeness of his concepts, he takes existing models like Maslow’s and changes them to fit his models, yet refers to them as Maslow. He also shoehorns in unrelated models to further demonstrate his comprehensiveness.

    I read some of the WIE/Next stuff but just keep a block of salt at hand.

    The danger of small distortions is that they accumulate and get in the way of awakening. It is the classic nature of the ego. But that’s just my opinion.

  5. Maybe I’m not discriminating enough, but I find the Integral discussions stimulating and open-minded. I take everything with a grain of salt, so I’m not looking to them for Absolute Truth. Just different perspectives.

  6. Further – I really enjoyed looking at the open honest evolving framework the Waking Down folks are using. The Integral folks on the other hand are dominated by the thought leaders. They have a tendency to discount what they don’t agree with, getting in the way of sensible discourse.

    Some cool models, yes. But not entirely accessible or open.

  7. I love different perspectives. More and more, I see how they fit into the grander scheme of things.

    I just didn’t find them open. You may have seen otherwise.

    I guess I would add the caveat that they have a very impersonal focus. Nothing wrong with that, but it’s good to note. You won’t find emotional valuing or the delight of the personal there.

  8. They’re definitely an intellectual bunch, and Wilber might be a bit full of himself, but I find Craig Hamilton quite humble and gentle. Also, their association with Spiral Dynamics tends to make them accepting of various perspectives, from personal to impersonal, etc. The folks I found dogmatic were the gang over at the Urban Guru Cafe. Any mention of gurus, having a personality, conditioning, etc., was off the program.

  9. Yeah, Wilbur and Cohen are full of themselves. Hamilton I don’t know. Thanks for the feedback. The Integral-Waking Down connection mostly seems to be expressed through Sandra Glickman & Terry Patten. I have not heard Sandra’s interview yet.

    Curiously, the intro on the http://awakenedmutuality.org/ web site is by Terry from Integral.

    Interesting – why do you link to the Cafe then? 😉

  10. I link to the Cafe because despite my reservations, I really enjoyed listening to 70+ of their shows and will keep listening to others as they produce them. They may not describe the whole elephant, but they’re quite articulate about the part they’re feeling.

  11. (laughs) Soon you too will have 70+ shows. 😉
    How does one keep up though? I have seen some of them on Conscious.TV and a few on Conscious Media Network, although the 2nd is not focused on waking.

    Just looked at the Integral link. Carter Philips has written some excellent articles. Marilyn Schlitz is doing some great research. And I saw a fascinating video of Genpo Roshi (from One Soul Media) walking a whole room full of people through various “voices” into experiences of higher states. Many started falling away as he climbed, but it was amazing how much of a stretch he gave people.

    His own awakening was interesting too. He separates out a “soul awakening”, something Maharishi talked about in the Gita. After CC, he describes a 2 year “Fall from Grace” that has aspects of GC but also of what Loch Kelly calls the BBQ – seems he had a real problem releasing the identity. Integration (UC) followed.

    Ah hoc, ad loc, ad quid pro quo, so little time, so much to know. — Hilary T Boob

  12. Hi Steve
    I appreciate Tantra is about inclusivity, including sexuality as opposed to being a sexual approach.

    I came to much the same conclusions myself. I needed to look at and release or accept those aspects of myself that had been repressed or hidden. Some took place before and some after each stage of the process. And it continues.

    All of it a process of ending separation in every area of life.

    I suspect this was not part of the TM program partly because Indian culture is not as emotionally repressive as ours and partly because it often requires more personal support. It’s also not a very Advaita thing so was not part of the background of the key players.

    Thanks for the great interview and I enjoyed reading your story on Waking Down.

  13. i know i’m very late talking about this show, but i wanted to comment on something. it seems that people might meditate, reach enlightenment, then feel that the meditation was not needed. this is true, because i think that their hearts desire is what opened them up for enlightment, not the meditation. i meditated for about 6 weeks stopped and then months later i realized. i’m sure people do it all the time. realize without meditating. sorry for the spelling :o)

  14. Hi Poe
    What you might consider is that the sense of me is an illusion. It is not the me that wakes up, it’s Self that awakens to Itself through this apparent form. This is obvious with Self realization.

    From that perspective, we may then see in retrospect that certain things may have been needed for this to happen. Some experiences, meeting certain teachers, perhaps some meditation to culture the vehicle.

    We could say nothing the me did lead to Enlightenment. But some things were arranged to prepare the way. The me just may have confused it to think it has something to do with it. (laughs)

    From the many people I’ve seen that have woken, the meditators have generally had the smoothest transition and the deepest vision. But not always. As one friend said, perhaps they did the practice in a past life so didn’t need it this time. 😉

    You might want to read the discussion under the Braha interview. One thing that’s become very apparent for many of us – Enlightenment is not about one realization. The first is just the beginning. It gets better. Don’t make the mistake of thinking “this is it” or you can miss the juicier parts 😉

  15. Notice the book I recommend in the right hand column – Halfway Up the Mountain: The Error of Premature Claims to Enlightenment by Mariana Caplan. It’s a thorough and deeply insightful discussion of the topic introduced in it’s title. I think it should be required reading for all spiritual aspirants.

  16. The Tibetan Buddhist teacher Lama Surya Das refers to this as “premature immaculation” 😉

    A couple of the book suggestions are rather extreme examples of an awakening, I’d have to say.

  17. They are. But they’re also examples of the fact that awakening happens by degrees. We’re rheostats, not on/off switches. Which is appropriate to mention here because Steve Boggs is an electrician.

  18. Hey David,

    Before I responded I wanted to thank you can Rick for taking the time to respond to my words. That’s really great.

    I’m not confused about who wakes up. I’m very aware that the sense of I is part of the dream, but so are all the experiences that people feel after waking up. So are all of the deep feelings, and visions, that people feel. There is no such thing as time, so no one has a time to feel them. Nor can there be space without time, so in reality there’s no one anywhere. The mind strings together all moments so that they make sense at all.

    So, what I feel to be true, is that the hearts longing for freedom is what brings people to realization. Everything else is supplied by the One (including the heart’s longing for that matter). That’s why meditation, in my opinion, is no more important that simple self enquiry. The desire is the common thread.

    Plus, I’ve only listened to a couple but the people have meditated come to realization 20 and 30 years later. That really seems like a very long time to get to ‘nowhere’.

    I will make it to the Braha video, I’m starting from the beginning of your list. Thank you again for your conversation, I am truly thankful.

  19. Hi Poe
    Good. Many are confused about what wakes, which is why I often bring it up. Especially as its a public forum and not really a conversation between 2 people. (laughs)

    OK – what I would say is that the error in not in what is being perceived but in who we think is perceiving.

    We could say the world and all experiences are a dream. But whose dream is it? Why then are we here having these experiences?

    If we tell ourselves that our experiences have no validity, we’re making a different kind of error. It is not the experience but rather our attachment to them that causes the incorrect perception.

    The world is in reality none other than That, dreaming a dream to know itself more fully. If we invalidate our experiences, we misunderstand why we’re having them. Even when we awaken, we continue to experience life as we always have. Even when we become united with the one, we still have a body and mind and emotions and experiences. We still sleep and dream.

    Time is actually not a function of the mind but rather of perception which originates in awareness. Similarly, space arises in principle from awareness being aware of itself. Thus the gap or space in meditation. Mind is the lively event horizon of that space. From that, all experiences arise, etc etc.

    The true illusion is in how we are seeing and attributing, not in what is apparently happening. These are not concepts but things you will experience. If you hold the concepts you are holding, they will cause you trouble when this begins to dawn.

    Where is the heart longing for freedom if there is no I? The I is also the One, aware at every point within Itself.

    Meditation (esp. effortless) is important as it gives us direct experience of That and helps refine the nervous system. Inquiry is useful as it helps us get past the persistent habits of mind and emotion we keep reengaging habitually. You can get ‘there” without either, but thats taking the long road. Even longer than the decades mentioned for most people.

    I agree that the desire is important. It is intention that gives rise to all things in awareness.

    Meditation for decades may seem like a long time, but it is quick on the larger scale of life. And we’re in a time where it is much faster now. One doesn’t need to spend those years in India or similar now either.

    I mentioned the Braha comments, not the interview. It’s taking a similar road as this.

  20. Decades of meditation may seem like a chore, but for me it has been a joy. (I’m going on 43 years of it.) You wouldn’t bemoan having eating a delicious meal twice a day for most of your life. That’s how I feel and have always felt about meditation.

  21. Hey David,

    Thanks for the conversation J

    I’m not discounting any experience, and I fully understand that all, even those experiences, “the” desire, and the awakening is part of the illusion.

    For me time does not exist. I see the mind as a jar that catches moments and makes sense of them. If it weren’t for the mind we could not understand each other, because each moment is fresh. All words would be perceived as noises like ha-a-a-ap-p-p-y. Space is also created with this idea of time. Obviously this creation is there, because time is how you measure space, or distance.

    Everything has validity, includes all experiences.. But, all experiences come from the mind. No one can experience themselves. They can only experience there mind and body’s reaction to the freedom. It’s like someone seeing there own eye, it can’t happen. Even if you look in the mirror, you still don’t see your actual eye. So it is with the Self.

    I also thing that attachment to experience can’t always been seen as a bad thing. Or else the people who meditate would never meditate for as long as they do. They like the experience. If they stopped meditating, would they still be on the path to ‘enlightenment’?

    Even when we experience experiences we are not adding anything to THAT. It’s complete already. So, I don’t attach anything to experiences and I think that it has to be a personal to continue to chase experiences after realization. Certainly they come, but value can be irrelevant.

    Everything is illusion! There is no time.. Without our mind, we could not piece things together.

    In reality there is no I, but in this dream everything happens. An I happens, along with the desire for freedom (that it already has)

    My feeling is direct self inquiry is getting directly to the ‘problem’. For me that was the key. Things continue to happen after realization (it’s only been 1 yr for me) but, value is not places on things happening now. My mind and body are happier, stress doesn’t hang out, but, everything comes and goes. All is transient. Meditation seems to be the act of chasing experiences. If that’s what people want, I’m not judging, whatever people think they need to do to become happy. Decades are along time. The process seems to depress these people. 30 years may be quick to a tortoise, but for a human, I don’t think it’s fair. It really hurts something in me. They are what they are searching for.

    Are you suggesting I start the Braha comments now?

    Thanks again David. This is fun for this I :o)

  22. Hi Poe
    Thanks for clarifying where you’re coming from. I understand better now. It can sometimes take some back and forth to find a meeting.

    As you listen to the interviews, you may find it useful to understand that Rick and some of the interviewees subscribe to this idea of stages as outlined in Vedanta. ie: there is not one awakening but rather 3 possible. Just as an initial waking brings us to a very different outlook of the world, so too do the other 2. In fact, you may find your reality and the rules shifting on a surprisingly regular basis.

    Rick uses the phrase Knowledge is different in different states of consciousness, for example.

    There is not really room to go into the whole thing here but there is a much greater degree of inclusivity as one grows through the apparent levels of a greater degree of wholeness with the one.

    For me, enlightenment is an organic human process that is not separate from other forms of human development. We’re all on a path of enlightenment, conscious or not.

    People don’t just meditate because they like it or are attached to some experience. They continue because it brings them home to Self. It leaves them open to further unfolding.

    Certainly there are people out there who loose sight of why they’re doing something. But I wouldn’t discount it so easily because it took someone awhile. Most people who have the clarity you’ve had to even perform self-inquiry have a long history of meditation in their journey prior to this “chapter”. I appreciate you don’t believe in the past but this history is how it’s possible for you to even recognize Self, something a vast number of people do not. Why do you then have this gift and another not? You may find it easy but many are not even aware they have thoughts.

    You are welcome to consider everything illusion. This is real for you now. But don’t hold the concept to hard. There are more vistas yet to come on your journey. These steps are easier to take if you hold your experience and perspective lightly.

    I have not considered 30 years as fast but full awakening takes time to mature. There are many ideas to clear, emotions to release and resistances to fall. And many many things to experience, even if you place no value in that.

    What is real for you now is fully valid. But it won’t remain that way. And that’s a good thing 😉 It gets better. (laughs)

    The Comments under Braha have had a related discussion to this and some links you might be interested in. That’s why I’ve suggested it.

  23. “Invisibilty, etc (Levitation etc) is a different dimension of a totality. There are different ‘practices’ to come to such realities (gold, frankinsense, and myrh).”

  24. These are the thoughts that appeared in me as this interview progressed:

    The reality of who you are fundamentally changes everything in the most fundamental manner with a context of the simplist of simplicities.

    All interaction with ‘other’ human beings will always hold one in the unity that one is, that one has realized, that one sometimes even desires to come to. Such has been the prayer “Thank you, Father, that you have given these to me that I might not be separated from the Unity.”

  25. “Wounds” are merely blemishes in the reality that appears. They are always perfect, acceptable, and good to the one who is one (for they are those who make the 2 into 1).

  26. Although for the one whose experience has allowed them to become aware of who they are may not preclude perfect health, sometimes the others manifest in there being will receive the opposite.

  27. It is, as source, the thing that makes everything happen while, at the same time it creates the illusion that it is you who is doing it. This is the play, the dance, the artform of the unity that you are. Unbroken, it is, yet as It will have it, it may appear as even broken and fragmented (all according to what is allowed).

  28. To the question, “Had I not been associated with spiritual teachings, would I have ever come to some kind of awakening?” might be answered as such: Only an opposite is required, and such opposites naturally occur everwhere in every defined circumstance of the world. Whether religious, sociologic-economic circumstance arise in the presence of the world, as long as there appears something to run from, push against, or struggle with it is enough to lead one back to one’s own Self. There can be no such thing as one environment being better than another which will produce, via personal interaction with, ‘awakening’ to be experienced. Still, it may appear, to one who has been surrounded by his or her circumstance, that that circumstance – those events from their own context and interacted with – were more necessary than another who arose in the midst of their own individual world.

  29. The questions Steve was asked that led to awakening are similar to those used at the Liberation Unleashed site.

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