Terry Patten Transcript

Terry Patten Interview

Rick: Welcome to Buddha at the Gas Pump. My name is Rick Archer. Buddha at the Gas Pump is an ongoing series of interviews with spiritually awakening people. I’ve done hundreds of them now and if this is new to you and you’d like to check out previous ones, please go to the upcoming interviews page on batgap.com where you’ll see all the previous ones archived. This program is made possible by the support of appreciative listeners and viewers, so if you appreciate it and feel like supporting it, there is a PayPal button on every page of the site. My guest today is Terry Patton. First I’ll just read his little bio that he sent me and then I’m sure we’ll elaborate on that. Terry is a philosopher, teacher, activist, consultant, social entrepreneur and author. Over the last 15 years he has devoted his efforts to the evolution of consciousness by facing, examining and healing our global crisis through the marriage of spirit and activism. He co-wrote the book Integral Life Practice with Ken Wilber and a core team at the Integral Institute. As a teacher and consultant, he has worked on four continents, led a team at the Heart Math Institute that developed their first heart rate variability monitor, and is the founder of the Beyond Awakening Telus Seminar Series, which I’ve enjoyed over the years. As a community builder, he founded Bay Area Integral. As a social entrepreneur, he founded Tools for Exploration, a consciousness technologies company, and currently he’s involved in restorative redwood forestry and fossil fuel alternatives. His new book, A New Republic of the Heart, an Ethos for Revolutionaries, was released by North Atlantic Books on March 6, 2018. And when Terry first sent me the outline of that book, I literally got goosebumps because topics he covered so interest me and inspire me, and I knew it would be an interesting book and I just finished reading it this morning. So thanks for coming on, Terry.

Terry: Thank you for having me, Rick. I’ve long imagined we’d be sitting down for a conversation. I’ve been a fan of what you’ve done and really appreciate it. I think bringing conversations is key evolutionary activism, so good to be here with you.

Rick: Yeah, and likewise, in terms of what you’ve done. Before we get into your book, let’s just talk a bit about your own life, your history, how you got interested in spirituality, what sort of practices or paths or teachers or whatever you were involved in.

Terry: Well, my mom comes from a blue blood line of white Anglo-Saxon Protestants going back to the Puritans. My dad comes from refugees from the shtetl of Russia who just kind of barely made it here and they were kind of forward thinking. She became a psychologist in the 40s. They were interested in what we might consider alternatives. So when I was six, they moved us from Chicago to a community called the York Center Community Cooperative which was about 20 miles west of the city of Chicago. At that time, it had been formed by buying a 70-acre cornfield. Members of the Church of the Brethren had done this. It’s one of the Christian peace churches that the members are conscientious objectors during wartime. They admired the principles of the Rochdale Weavers, the idea of a cooperative ownership of the means of production. This goes back to when Marxism and the Luddites were fighting. It was when everybody was losing their jobs to industrialization in the 1800s. And the Rochdale Weavers said, “Well, let’s have the workers cooperatively own these big looms and do things differently.” They worked out a lot of really wonderful principles that inspired these folks. They took it further and further until they invited people of other religions to to live with them as a witness for peace and brotherhood and then other races. The people that got attracted to it were, many of them had been conscientious objectors during the Second World War, quite a few Japanese families who had been interned moved in, there were a number of mixed marriages back when that was really, you know, there were laws against it in many states. I was mentored by a whole group of co-op aunts and uncles because my years of growing up were the years during the buildup of the Vietnam War, and as it happened, I was the co-op kid in that crop of, you know, there were quite a few children, but among that group of kids, I was probably the one who was the most focused on talking about current events and wanting to have conversations with my friends’ parents and my parents’ friends. And so I ended up getting mentored by a whole group of people who very, very deeply believed in a social stand. They were spiritually inspired, many of them, but their spiritual inspiration expressed themselves in being a stand for peace and for justice. As a good son of the co-op, I founded a local underground newspaper, got involved in Chicago area draft resistors, became the SDS regional coordinator, went off to Ann Arbor.

Rick: Students for a Democratic Society.

Terry: Yeah, I went off to lead demonstrations that took over the LS&A building and the ROTC building and marching against apartheid and so forth. But after a very tumultuous year, I began to realize that I was arrogant, that my ideas of how society ought to be reorganized were not based on a deep understanding of reality and that the arrogance of youth was going to poison what I did. My certainty that we had a better way to do things was unexamined egoity and that really crashed in on me. So although for a few years I kind of just focused on my writing, I’d always been a poet and a writer, I ended up finding myself attracted to books like J. Krishnamurti’s books and Carlos Castaneda’s books and John Lilly and Alan Watts, the very early kind of things in the late 60s, earliest 70s. Then I became a resident fellow at a place called Cold Mountain Institute, which was the progenitor to Hollyhock Farm, and there I really kind of had my heart opened up and realized I needed to find a teacher. So I took a 40 Econoline van and I drove from British Columbia to San Francisco picking up hitchhikers. Every third person or fourth person had some marijuana. It was totally the 70s. In that trip I connected with students of Swami Satchidananda, Swami Muktananda, the Living Love Center of Ken Keyes, a whole variety of different communities of practice, and nothing quite felt right. But on my way back I encountered the writings of Franklin Jones, as he was known then, and I just felt an electric current of a higher vibratory nature that felt enormously attractive. So I made it my business to visit his ashram in Los Angeles and pretty soon I was hooked and I was involved there for 15 years. I got drawn in very close right away by being made one of his editors and I helped somebody else you’ve interviewed, Samuel Blonder. We together wrote a very infamous early book called Garbage and the Goddess that is the book about the wild times. We had a whole period of wild parties, sexual experimentation, and all that wildness was more or less swept under the rug except in this particular book that Samuel and I co-wrote. I did that for 15 years and then I began to feel limitations even there because in a way the inner work and the outer work to me cannot really be separated. Each of us is not just an atomized individual, we are all part of a larger evolutionary pattern and my thriving can’t be radically separated from yours and the well-being of the individual at the expense of the whole is somehow ugly, morally. That draws me more and more to recognize that because we do face challenges that can’t be solved at the level of consciousness that created them, you know, kind of paraphrasing the famous quote that’s often attributed to Albert Einstein, that in a way that turned to go do the inner work. Like I needed to clean up my own stuff if I wanted to be a leader of any kind of change in the outer world that was going to be worth a darn. You know, you know the old thing, you’re pointing at somebody else, three fingers are pointing back at you, and taking that to heart felt like a morally high integrity thing to do, a less arrogant, a more dimensional response. On the other hand, it delays your actual engagement in the outer work and changing the actual systems and conditions that are affecting so many people’s lives. So in a way, I realized that I felt like I’d signed an IOU. Gee, I’ve got to do this personal work in order to really clean up my act, but when I get that clean enough I’m going to circle back and really make a difference in the lives of other people.” I hadn’t done that and in fact I’d fallen in with a lot of other deep practitioners who were to some degree in a self-reinforcing cycle where none of us were having the kind of impact on the outer world that was needed. Meanwhile we’re seeing the outer world, the causes and conditions and the practical lives of the whole human species, all of human civilization are so profoundly unsustainable and unjust in a variety of ways that to simply focus on your subjective transformation no longer feels morally defensible to me, and that recognition has drawn me to a broader integration. Of course, in the last 15 years I’ve been working with Ken Wilber and the Integral Institute, and I value a great deal of what I have learned there and worked there, and yet I don’t think that any particular philosophical approach, the point of cultural transformation is not for some intellectual perspective to become victorious and take over everybody’s minds. What’s important here is that all of us find the truths in our own ways of practicing that draw us beyond all of our insularity into a common situation. We’re in a lifeboat that’s sprung a leak and we need each other to address it and that reconnection heart to heart feels, well it doesn’t just feel urgent, it is objectively in an urgent moment and I outline that in the book and and that’s what’s really motivating my work these days.

Rick: Good, let me pick up a few threads from what you talked about just then and then we’ll wrap those up and go on. One is obviously sometimes you need to go into a phase of inner work before you can really be useful in an outer application of it. I mean you want your doctor to have gone to medical school before operating on you or something. By the same token, I think perhaps one can prematurely rush into doing something for which one is not really adequately prepared. So there might be a legitimate phase, I think, of exclusively focusing on that, but eventually you want to ride the bull into the marketplace, to use the ox-herding metaphor, and spread the joy that you’ve found.

Terry: With helping hands.

Rick: Yeah. The second thing is, you know, I don’t want to dwell on this, but for me, the ethics of enlightenment is an important topic, and there are so many gurus and teachers and all who have obviously had something and who have obviously made an impact, my own primary teacher included, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, but who also, once you really kind of saw what was going on behind the curtain, had some flaws in some cases, in the case of some teachers some rather egregious ones. Some might not see it as flaws, but I kind of think of it as more of a, “We’re all flawed and we’re all works in progress.” If the kind of energies that Adi Da, for instance, was channeling were to pass through my nervous system, I don’t think I’d be ready for it, even after 50 years of spiritual practice. So you gotta give him credit for handling them as well as he did. But if the vessel is not pure enough, some distortion results when that kind of power begins to flow through a human nervous system. You concur with that and did that have anything to do with your leaving or do you really feel like all was well and wisely put in that scene?

Terry: Well, Adi Da was utterly remarkable and participating with him is something I’ll always be grateful for. He transmitted a state of consciousness that was so potent and so just…the sheer wattage of divine conscious light that was in a sense pressed through my nervous system really did change me in a way for which I could never be anything but grateful, and yet I always recognized the potentials for cultism and was almost always inside the ashram after a couple of years. I think my earliest years I was an uncritically devotional character, but fairly quickly I I began to notice contradictions and became something of a loyal opposition devotee who was trying to press Adi Da to address what felt like cultic dynamics or inconsistencies.

Rick: Was that well received? Because sometimes teachers don’t like constructive criticism.

Terry: No, he was not available to have that conversation and that was disappointing. And yet, what my experience was, was that he continued to grow and deepen and expand in his quality of transmission of Divine Consciousness in ways that I continued to benefit from and learn from. It was a paradox because although there were aspects of it that I objected to and felt like I would just as soon leave, there were other aspects that were growing and transforming me in ways that I hugely valued that I didn’t want to cut off. Even when I did finally leave after 15 years of intense participation, it was with a great deal of regret and with a lot of respect for my friends who remained because I knew they were engaging in authentic yogic. I mean there’s a dimension. Adi Da is a full spectrum realizer, so there’s a transmission of radical consciousness, what we might call causal non-dual awakening, but there was also tremendous transmissions of subtle energetic qualities and there was a also a profound transmission that’s beyond the stuff of any energies, what he would call the divine itself, that was subliming the being. There literally we would walk out of a long deep meditation with him just exalted and purified as if we were conscious light itself and love, you know, as if the very cells of our body had been opened up to their Divine nature. is a profundity of that experience that you don’t necessarily have to… One of the things that I benefited from in my years with Integral Theory is recognizing that multiple perspectives are necessary to capture reality. The eagle eye view can see so much of the territory. So in one sense we might say the eagle sees it all much better than anybody else. On the other hand, the mouse can smell what’s going on and the vole can dig under the ground and get at things that the mouse can’t even see, and the dog can go under the trees where the eagle can’t see. And so everybody’s participating with an aspect of reality that’s invisible to somebody else. So my contemplation during many of those years had to do with what are we missing even while we are gaining so much, even while we are deepening in this profundity of submission to a divine paradigm in which our very cells of our body are being sublimed by this profound yogic bodily transforming transmission. We’re also kind of, metaphorical to the way he went and lived on an island in Fiji in the later years of his life. I never really spent time with him in Fiji, but using that as a metaphor for what was happening culturally, Adidam was becoming more and more a preposterous guru cult that was going to be culturally marginalized and looked at as an oddity and not even show up on the mainstream scope and even in the spiritual circles perhaps not be thought of as healthy. The more that the behaviors that we were doing as a group were going to create that result, I had come to participate in order to be a part of the wholeness of all things, reasserting themselves and the health and awakening potentials of humanity coming back into their fullest expression. So to just become a part of an irrelevant guru cult that’s only focused on its internal palace politics and stuff was anathema to me. So I was always in struggle with those cultic tendencies and objecting to them, and yet I never…when we have conversations about this, it usually, not you and I, but me and any other knowledgeable person who’s a veteran of deep spiritual work in various ashrams, there tends to be, there’s a very strong tendency for these conversations to become, “Well, was that really somehow the enlightened play of the guru or was he a bad guy or a deluded guy or just not as enlightened?” We try to come up with a single diagnosis that accounts for it all so that it is a single knowable thing and we know it accurately, and we’re all debating trying to come to that perfect description. Whereas I think that reality is multidimensional and elusive, and that multiple perspectives are actually necessary.

Rick: I agree.

Terry: So for me, I had to go through phases where I imagined putting Adi Da on trial in the living room, and I wanted to be the prosecuting attorney, and I wanted to interrogate him, and I was very aggressive in my objections to this and that that I felt were wrong. And then other times when I wanted to set all that aside and just open up with the gratitude and joy of a devotee who has received a gift beyond price. In a way I discovered that I had two bodies of enormous experience that were state-specific, like a state-specific memory, you can only remember it when you’re drunk or only remember it when you’re tripping or only remember it under a certain peculiar state, when you’re angry or having a flashback. Well it was as if I had state-specific memories that really could only be accessed in the mode of utter grateful devotion that were enormous bodies of some of the most valuable and sublime experiences of my life. Then I had other bodies of experience that were very important to who I was that could only be accessed in the disposition that I’d had to grow into of finding autonomy, thinking critically, having real objections and bones to pick with my guru and issues that needed to be discussed in public and so forth. That I could never be in a single state where I had full feeling access to all the force of that whole body of both those domains of experience. So even I would always be taking a partial perspective on my own experience, and I felt like that was one of his most valuable instructions to me, to be such an impossible figure that he would break me out of that whole mode. I think it’s a form of ego, the mode that thinks it can know the truth. I think that when we open up in a different way, there’s a lot to be said right now in this post-truth era. I mean I think it’s dangerous to take … the dethroning of objectivity is an important step in our awakening, and yet the lack of respect for science and the proper practice of journalism and finding our way to agreed-upon truths that large numbers of people can work from is what’s undermining the social fabric in our country right now in some important ways and reestablishing science and journalism and a variety of other truth-seeking endeavors is actually important. So I need to put that footnote in, even while in my story of my own. There was a lingo of the egoic need to know and to get my hands around it, and an opening up to a mysterious world in which all kinds of people who were obviously less mature than me in certain respects had things to teach me, where I became a universal student and wonder opened up in a whole different way. That became a healthier relationship to the whole matter.

Rick: Reportedly Nisargadatta once said that the ability to appreciate or embrace paradox and ambiguity is a hallmark of spiritual maturity. I think in that respect you’re very mature. Just a final note on Adi Da, and then I really want to move on to your book because that’s what’s important to talk about here. Do you find that Ken Wilber’s lines of development idea is a helpful tool for understanding somebody like him?

Terry: I feel like Ken Wilber’s lines of development idea has been enormously helpful in understanding a lot of the contradictions around pretty much all brilliant and awakened but sometimes apparently flawed teachers. My understanding of Adi Da is not…I do not reach for Wilber’s lines theory in order to explain Adi Da to my satisfaction. You know, what I saw in Adi Da was, some people, the usual line is that people see him using the “I am” of God and the “me” of God so aggressively, talking about “breathe me” and “feel me” and “awaken to me” and “notice me.” You know, he’s always speaking in the “I am” of the ultimate in a very, almost with the Jehovah archetype, you know, very, very forceful, very demanding, sometimes seeming even like an angry or at least displeased white male God figure, you know. There’s a lot in the psyche of the time that reacts negatively to all that, and so people want to just look upon him as a terrible narcissist. It’s understandable and it’s a way of integrating a certain level of understanding, but people don’t generally fully realize that his dharma is among the most…Ken Wilber has called it his favorite spiritual writing of any era and any tradition ever, and has said nobody who’s a serious student of spirituality, religion, sociology and several other fields can afford not to be a student of Adi Dada, the quality of his writings is better compared to a school, you know, like Soto Zen or Gelugpa Tibetan Buddhism than a single individual. He has an enormous richness and he was always more profound in silence than in words and his art speaks to it. He’s an enormously significant being and I’d recommend for the most serious, people who are most serious about radical awakening, there’s a potency in what can be gained from exposing yourself to Adi Da that is really not available anywhere and I remain primarily grateful and positive, but I have only been able to arrive at this looseness and this freedom after having hated his guts and felt that he ruined my life and doing work, you know, somatic psychotherapeutic work where I’m screaming in pain and hating his guts and feeling like I had to kill him in order to regain my pure connection to to everything that he had given me, feeling, you know… So I’ve gone through so many different perspectives on this and I know that others need to do that too, and so the discussion of an analysis that puts it all into a certain picture that we can then be comfortable with feels to me like a cop-out. The encounter, at least with I don’t know what it was like to be up close with Maharishi, I don’t know what it was like to be up close with Osho. I know what it was like to be up close with Adi Da. He made claims that were the most ridiculously grand. No one had ever been enlightened as Adi Da. This is part of his trouble, of course, these high claims. But my direct experience of him was so stunning, so off the charts, that some part of me says, Well, I can see how socially unacceptable, how useless in a way it is for me to believe that he is the most ever, how problematic that will be to my relations, my ability to achieve a commonality of view with any of the people I would want to be in discourse with. So I get why it has to be rejected or at least looked at as preposterous. Another part of my direct experience is, “Wow, that was so mind-blowing. I don’t think, has anything like that ever existed on the face of the earth? Whoa!” He says, “Nothing like this has ever existed on the face of the earth.” Something in the naive perceptual mind kind of says, “Well, maybe.” There’s not a knowing on my part that that’s just some pathology. I think reducing these great beings either to a pathology or an ontological deification status that we then have to believe in and build a mythology around, reduces our options tremendously. If we’ve been touched by something transcendental, it has initiated us and asked us to become a reflection of the best human qualities that our nervous systems can conduct and express, and that is all I need to know, really.

Rick: Okay, good. I think a good general rule of thumb is that trying to reduce anything to black and white or to pin it down with any absolute certainty is sure to miss the mark, you know, and to fail to really do justice to the complexity and nuanced nature of things. But having said that, let’s move on to your book, because we have a lot to cover. It’s a rather big book and all kinds of interesting stuff in it. I guess the main starting point for your book is the premise that we’re in pretty serious trouble, particularly because of climate change, but there are a number of other things. things that could do us in as well, and they’re all kind of ganging up on us at once, and most people don’t even see it coming. In terms of climate change, for instance, half the population denies that it’s even a problem, and even those who think it is, most of them probably don’t realize the dire potential it holds for the future of humanity, although more and more people are coming to terms with that. Take an example, global warming is killing the phytoplankton in the ocean which account for about half of the oxygen we breathe. If the Gulf Stream stops, which is a predicted result from global warming, it’s really going to screw up the weather in the United Kingdom. There’s glaciers moving in Antarctica which could raise sea levels at least ten feet rather abruptly. Barack Obama and others have said that climate change related drought helped fuel the early unrest in Syria which descended into civil war, and we see what a hellhole that is and just the migration of human beings out of there is more than Europe can deal with. Now imagine if most of the coastal cities of the world suddenly got inundated or rather quickly got inundated and hundreds of millions of people had to migrate, and at the same time, droughts were devastating the agriculture and temperatures were rising and making places like Phoenix uninhabitable in the summertime. We’d really be up a creek with so many things happening at once. The economy would no doubt crash big time. None of this is far-fetched if you really look at the evidence and listen to the experts. So you kind of start with that premise and then you go on from there in terms of what kind of counterforce there might be in awakening human beings and in the various organizations are being formed to help change the planet. So that’s a bit of an overly long introduction you might want to add to or amend to what I just said, but let’s maybe take that as a springboard and get into it from there.

Terry: Yeah, well, I don’t regard…I summarize them in slightly different terms than what you offered but you pointed to a lot of factors that I think are really important. I don’t regard that as a premise exactly. I think what’s important for us to look at is that the actual temperature readings that we see worldwide have been warming, and the actual carbon dioxide per million readings from Mauna Loa have been upticking at a rate that is worse than the so-called worst case that had been predicted by limits to growth back in the 70s or by the IPCC project in the That’s what the actual facts of the matter are. To me, it’s astounding that you can have, well just this last summer, less than a year ago, 15,000 scientists updated a 1992 scientist’s warning to humanity that warned humanity that there were several crucial crises that could bring an end to human-friendly conditions on the planet, and now a majority of Nobel laureates signed this letter in ’92 and they updated it for 2017, 25 years later, and they said that all of them were appreciably worse except for the ozone layer. We had done some mitigation there. It’s actually much more complex. I mean, I know many people who believe that even if we did discover a free, cheap source of energy, and if we even discovered a way to begin to capture and sequester carbon from the atmosphere, and we actually reversed global warming, there are other trends where this machine of growth, of proliferating numbers of human beings and the consumption patterns of human beings is hitting against the hardwired limits of an actual physical living system, this living earth, and the way the earth supports our life depends upon countless living forms, high and low, a whole ecosystem that we are really a part of. Human economy is a subset of natural ecology. the recognition that all of that has been destabilized critically tends to be ignored. Those who are able to have the focused attention and the psychic courage to face the darkness tend to get to a place where they conclude, essentially, that human civilization is coming unraveling, the human species is going to either extinct itself or go to some hellish dystopian condition and there’s really nothing that can be done. That set of attitudes, from my perspective, is dangerous and inaccurate because we don’t know enough to be pessimistic. We know enough based on, you know, climate science is a reality and this universal clarity among scientists. We should honor that some people will say we only have five minutes to, excuse me, five years to turn this around. They’re saying that on the basis of real calculations that we should take in with humility and learn from, for sure, but nobody knows. There is no objective way. What five years from now we’ll have passed some awful point of no return, then after that moment in time we should cease trying because everything is lost?

Rick: No we don’t. No for sure, but then there are tipping points. For instance, I mean if the methane in the tundra really starts releasing much more quickly. It’s already releasing and the pace of that could increase and that’s 80 times more potent than CO2. I mean, so the worse it gets, the harder it will be to reverse.

Terry: There are, you know, Guy McPherson is one of the, he believes that we’ve already set ourselves in a course that’s going to extinct us in many of our lifetimes, in 30 years or so. He thinks these positive feedback loops are going to take us to an overheated condition. But there’s a whole spectrum of opinions that all have some facts to back them up. We’re encountering this in a context in which our ability to even agree upon what facts are significant and to have a coherent conversation has been undermined by the relativization of truth. We’ve all seen this most vividly with the fake news and then Trump using the idea of fake news to demonize and delegitimize the actual practice of honest journalism in order to to exempt him from any accountability to that, any responsibility for his actions or true reporting of what was happening in any aspect of his life, actually. So we’re already in that brave new world, news speak environment in which many, many people on the left and on the right are being sucked out of any kind of frame of reference where we can have a common truth. There are real conspiracies. We’ve discovered that there was a conspiracy to kill Dr. Martin Luther King that was covered up. There are other COINTELPRO. There are wild things that have gone on in our national security state that have created serious, not merely injustices, but you might kind of say a swindle of the health of our national life. On the other hand, this tendency to be so suspicious of the official lie has drawn so many of us toward something else, which is a kind of cynicism. Like when you think whatever you hear, you can’t take it at face value, and you’re always peering beyond it to see the agenda behind the people who are promulgating that point of view, what has begun to happen, and this is happening in a critical way for all Americans and really most educated people, we’re losing our ability to have an honest conversation. We’re losing our ability to look at what’s in front of us, to see it, to talk about it honestly and in a heartfelt way in which the best intelligence of our whole being, which not just our mental and analytical intelligence, which is capable of enormous things, but in another sense it’s rather easily fooled. It’s odd how easy it is to trick the mind. You need the discernment. There’s neurocardiology and neuroenterology. The brain and the gut is the source of will and street savvy, the brain and the heart is the source of intuition and wisdom.

Rick: You mentioned in your book that there are as many neurons in the gut as there are in the spinal cord.

Terry: Yeah, and there are many, many things register. Institute of HeartMath has done some very interesting research in which we notice precognitive awareness arising in the heart before it does in the brain. There’s a great deal of wisdom. What I put forward in the book is the idea that the total intelligence of the being is necessary and that needs to be integrated, and it’s integrated at the very center of the being. The heart is the faculty capable of integrating that gut level intelligence with our mental intelligence, which is absolutely crucial. It’s definitely not about moving from the head to the heart, it’s about moving from the exclusive focus on an analytical, mentalized orientation to the best intelligence of the whole bodily system and that’s integrated at the heart and that’s what I call integral heart intelligence. So we’re in a situation right now where people who are very, very … among the people I love the most haven’t gotten sucked in by these conspiracy theories done from Russia or Macedonia, we see others of it being done and funded. It’s becoming pervasive. There was quite a lot that was funded for many years in order to delegitimize the Clintons and so forth. Side streams of those ideas are penetrating everywhere. There’s all kinds of people who now believe in Luciferian, Illuminati.

Rick: Pizza gate.

Terry: Pizza Gate. Yes, and we have some things that are, you know, I find it, when I have looked at the and I listen to the architects and engineers, gosh, it seems that it fell too fast and maybe, but when I try to imagine the thousands of people keeping the secret so perfectly, I have made some decisions for myself that focusing on the conspiracies could in fact be a very, very unwise personal practice, that the psychic hygiene, that in some sense we all, you know, You meditate on a regular basis, right?

Rick: And necessary.

Terry: It’s part of your holistic hygiene. You wouldn’t be in shape if you didn’t do that. And thinking about conspiracies all the time is not the optimal holistic hygiene for your psychic health.

Rick: It kind of gets you into a mind state where you get to a point where you never meet a conspiracy theory that you don’t like, you know, you just kind of buy into all of them. I know people who have been meditating for decades who have focused so much on that sort of thing that they think that freckles on your skin are some kind of alien nanobots and that Obama and Mikhail Gorbachev had a meeting on Mars. And believe it. People in my town have said this kind of thing. There’s a guy, the biggest Trump supporter in town, been meditating for decades, thinks that the moon landing was faked and also buys into the 9/11 conspiracy. So you can really, it doesn’t matter how long you’ve been meditating, you can get yourself way out in la-la land if you put your attention on this kind of thing and don’t stay balanced and don’t exercise critical thinking. I guess that’s what you’re kind of saying here.

Terry: I’m saying that the political issue of the 2018 election cycle is one in which the most revolutionary among us who are really committed to bringing awakening, who are willing to break through all the shibboleths. We live in a revolutionary time. Wholeness has to reclaim the public sphere. The heart itself will not be denied and must come forward with a different kind of fierceness. It is a time in which, in a spirit that is not only benign and non-violent, but it’s even radically non-oppositional, this is a time for a declaration of a kind of paradoxical war, a war that says, “You’re in this lifeboat with me, and I’m not going to let you divide yourself from me. I’m demanding you come back here into relationship. We are in this together, and that in you which becomes cynical, that in you which departs from any kind of accountable relationship to any consensus reality is depriving me of your brotherhood and your sisterhood in a situation that we can only solve together. I need you. I refuse to accept your separation.” There has to become within us a new capacity, born of practice, born of real realization, to be capable of a fiercer stand. I sometimes wonder whether in a time in which upset reaches a certain fever pitch, I was just doing something there. I was kind of expressing an aspect of realization in a mode that had fierceness in it and even a kind of edge of anger. I’ve been thinking about that a lot because I’m…like you, I think, so much more comfortable expressing, you know, honoring the humanity and the tenderness of the soul in front of me and joining with. I’m so much more interested in shared inquiry than I am in debates where somebody wins and somebody loses. I think that the bankruptcy of adversarial discourse is on TV every night. It doesn’t take us anywhere we want to go. Expressing anger is, it almost feels aesthetically, I have a revulsion to it. Yet we are in a time in which everything we love is potentially threatened, you know, the world into which our grandkids and great-grandkids might live, but also the very biodiversity of life. We have children getting shot in schools coming and saying, “No, this is not okay. Defend us.” And we need to defend those children. They need elders who recognize that in this odd moment, we’re in a tipping point. Things have been crazy ever since the beginning of time. Evolution has always been a life or death struggle. There have always been reasons to think that the moment was THE moment. Jean Houston has a line she often speaks, you know, “Everybody throughout history have always thought that they were living in the time that really mattered, but they’re all wrong. This is it.” For very real reasons. Because you see, it isn’t just global warming. There’s actual aspects of globalization, there are aspects of cultural transitions, there’s even the coming together of all our wisdom traditions, which is the dramatic shift that has shaped both of our personal lives. All of those things have brought us to what can be called a tipping point, a crucial moment or an inflection point where a certain pattern of things changes its character altogether, and that calls on us to step over a threshold in our own lives. We actually need to rehabilitate the archetype of the revolutionary. Now for me, the most attractive revolutionaries are people like Gautama or Jesus or Socrates, But even in more recent years, people like Mahatma Gandhi or Martin Luther King or Nelson Mandela, they changed the world with love. And those examples are examples of something that’s needed on an even bigger scale right now, because you can kind of get your hands around anti-apartheid or British colonialism or racist laws in the United States. But to go through a radical conversion to a sustainable, non-extractive way of life with stable levels of population, where we actually get along with each other, what it would take for that to happen, it’s almost inconceivable. To my way of thinking, what we can realistically hope to do is to become brothers and sisters in a different kind of community of practice, where together we might function like a superorganism, which where together we would be the presence of such a One, where the next Buddha would really come into being as a Sangha, and yet it would take each of us, you and me, changing, even though you’ve had a lifetime of practice and even though I have had a lifetime of practice. In many ways, there are all kinds of spiritually fragrant, awakened expressions already in place in our beings and those of many of our friends. All of us are going to have to change in a dramatic way if we are going to see the kind of social change that’s necessary. It’s a change that’s global, it’s universal, and therefore it challenges every one of us. So I’m interested in being in a conversation with awakening people who are recognizing that this injunction to be the change is a very profound one in this time, and that we can only answer it together, and that that’s like the hardest thing to do, and to get very, very humble and kind of tender, because what happens now in our lifetimes matters on an evolutionary scale, on a scale measured in millions of years. So in a way we’ve hit the jackpot, like our practice could ripple forth on an amazing level, you know, we could make a difference that could really be a difference. Yet on some levels it seems as though the deck is stacked against our success, and And here we need each other if we’re to be successful. The heart has to break open, the game of being a persona, we need to leave it behind and discover each other as brothers, I call it a brother/sisterhood.

Rick: Yeah, let me throw in a couple of points here. I’ve often said on this show that I felt that the condition of the world, whatever it may be, all the good stuff, all the bad stuff, is just a reflection of the collective consciousness of all the people in the world, you know, the condition of their minds and intellects and hearts and so on. They each have an influence in their lives and it all ripples up and we have everything we have in the world, for good or for bad. that the most transformative thing that can be done in a human’s life is spiritual evolution and that therefore spiritual development is perhaps the most influential fulcrum or the most causal or fundamental influence that could impact all these various things in the world. There’s a verse in the Gita which is something like, “For many branched and endlessly diverse are the intellects of the irresolute, but the resolute intellect is one-pointed.” You kind of get the image of spokes of a wheel, and that people are stuck on the periphery of the wheel, and all the spokes seem separate from one another, as opposed to the hub of the wheel, the resolute intellect, from which one can see the interconnectedness of all the spokes. And so you were talking a minute ago about somehow all coming together coming together despite our differences and so on. The question arises, well, what is the solvent, what is the common denominator from which we can all be one despite our differences? Because no doubt differences are not going to go away. Variety is the nature of life, as is obvious even without human beings, go to the rainforest or any place. And most wisdom traditions would say that there is a common ground that we all share, even though most of us aren’t aware of it. It would seem that getting in touch with that common ground consciously by a sufficient number of people could, and I think Ken Wilber mentions 10% or something, maybe that’s not exactly what he was referring to, could be the thing that would enable us to function not only individually but collectively from a more resolute, united level, one which would be in tune with nature, in tune with natural law, rather than at odds with it, because not being aware of that ground, one can easily sort of act in opposition to or in violation of laws of nature unwittingly, but being aware of it is tantamount to being at, living at the home of all the laws of nature and functioning from there. If enough people were actually doing that, then these insurmountable problems which we’ve been talking about might be surmounted in ways that we can’t even anticipate. So, go ahead and respond to that.

Terry: I agree with that. I mean that’s in a sense, you’ve read my book and you’re the choir preaching back at me. I think that there are paradoxes of a lot of different kinds, one of them being, you know, I was saying we don’t know enough to give up, but on the other hand the people who have faced the darkness most fully, most of whom have come to the conclusion that we’re in the process of civilizational collapse, are in some ways the bravest among us because they’ve had the courage to face the impossible to face, you know, the horrific thing that, you know, we look away from just to feel better. I feel that we live in a culture of denial. We all partake of a certain amount of denial. I was just at Spirit Rock the other night and there was a beautiful evening with really intelligent, deep people honoring each other and appreciating the work they’ve done together to reestablish Buddha Dharma. And yet that whole evening, you could have imagined that it took place in a completely stable and permanently sustainable, wealthy Marin County bubble of prosperity and goodness.

Rick: Because on one level it did.

Terry: On one level it did, except the fact is almost everybody in that room is quite aware of the reality of global warming, the seriousness of our ecological predicament. And yet we disconnect, we can’t help but disconnect, and they were disconnecting. I think that the integral community disconnects because we have a narrative of ongoing evolutionary progress and we’re focused on getting to that next stage in culture and we see all kinds of potentials and we don’t want to go into this postmodern narrative of gloom and doom because we can see how it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy and brings about exactly what it fears. We have all kinds of sophisticated bases for either going to an orientation of denial and a kind of mediocrity, or we have this other setting which is apocalyptic, “Oh my God, everything is going to hell.” And I think a lot of the ecologists, the people who are really facing the darkness of what we’re doing to the living planet have arrived at a certainty a little too, you know, it’s so understandable. I feel in relation to those people like they have some things to teach me because they’ve contemplated what the implications might be of living in a culture that’s in the midst of collapse. They’ve faced some realities that maybe even I haven’t quite taken in fully.

Rick: But you’re aware of some things which they aren’t.

Terry: I want to wake them up to a beginner’s mind.

Rick: Right.

Terry: I want to wake them up to a recognition of what’s called epistemic humility. Ontology is what is real and epistemology is how do we know it. So epistemic humility is a recognition that whatever we think we know, we don’t know it perfectly. All these perspectives are both true and partial. So that epistemic humility makes us realize, “Oh yeah, the future is being co-created right now, and my behavior, your behavior, the behavior of millions and billions of other people are going to co-create our shared future.” And these squeeze times, yes, they do bring out the worst in people in some respects, but they also bring out the best in people in many respects.

Rick: It’s true. Whenever there’s a hurricane or a big snowstorm or something, everybody starts to love each other a whole lot more and comes out of their shells and helps.

Terry: Exactly, and that greatness of the human spirit is going to be summoned, and not only that, if you look back at the history of evolution, it’s been one miracle after another. That’s what the word “emergence” in evolutionary theory connotes, it connotes a miracle. “Oh my God, there was just dead matter and now there’s life.” “Oh my God, there was just seemingly vegetative life and now there’s culture and how is it” You know, there’s a great line from Brian Swim, “If you leave hydrogen and helium alone long enough, they’ll eventually write symphonies and build cathedrals.” That’s emergence. And so the idea that no miracle is possible and we are definitely just bound to collapse, well I think that’s concluding too much too soon. I’m hanging in here for some more miracles, and in fact I’m looking at how I can make my own practice and my own relationships a kind of lightning rod that will attract the electricity of new evolutionary emergence, where new amazing things can come into being.

Rick: Yeah, what was that thing, the myceium or something like that in your book, the mushroom things that grow underground and then they all sprout up when the time is right? Is that what it was called, myceium?

Terry: Yeah, it’s called the mycelium.

Rick: Mycelium, right.

Terry: And it’s the root structure of all fungal forms, and mushrooms grow in the earth. You know, there are fungi that grow on dead trees. They have mycelium too. Even the stuff in your fridge, you know, has mycelium. It’s just the kind of the root structure. It doesn’t look like much. It’s just a kind of thread-like structure that’s very thin. Sometimes it’s kind of shiny, looks almost like a snail trail at times. Paul Stamets, the great student of mycology, it’s called, expert on mushrooms, has pointed to one that he located in Oregon that is like 30 miles in diameter, and essentially one organism. It’s one plant. Just through this mycelium distributing itself and going very, very far, you’ve got a single living being with its own DNA stretched across this forest floor 30 miles in diameter. The cool thing about mycelium is that it has a kind of intelligence. Like if there’s plenty of water in part of its area and not so much elsewhere, it’ll be drawing water where it’s needed. It’ll do the same with other nutrients. It will also synergize with photosynthetic plants and that’s actually how top soil is created. It’s the synergies of the photosynthetic and the mycological life that creates a lot of the important elements that create new soil. It can sit there dormant in the soil for years and seemingly there’s no life because, the conditions weren’t right this season and the next season and the next season, but then when the time is right, kaboom. I think you’ll bring it up in a long time, and that’s another really important part of what the mycelium is.

Rick: I was just going to say, I think it’s probably a lot of things we can learn from understanding that, but it’s a great metaphor because it implies that as you’re walking through the forest, and the forest might seem like it’s in really bad shape or something, there’s something going on beneath the surface that you’re not aware of. I’m just always aware of this when I watch the news or anything else, that there’s something extremely powerful going on in the world that you’re not going to see on the news and that the vast majority of people aren’t aware of, but that is perhaps the most influential, potent thing of anything. It’s the whole sort of awakening thing that I think is really happening in an epidemic way, but it’s so subtle and quiet and undetectable by gross instruments. But that to me is why I’m optimistic. Somebody like, what’s his name, Guy MacPherson or something, I don’t know what his orientation is, but you can take a certain set of facts and get totally bummed out and feel like we’re doomed, but you’re not taking into account, as you’ve been saying, you’re not necessarily taking into account all the factors that are actually in play, and I think that’s a big one and that it may be rising to the extent that it seems to be, much more rapidly than in any time in history, the whole awakening thing, interest in enlightenment, availability of these kinds of teachings, precisely because it’s needed now to counterbalance the dire circumstances that we’ve created for ourselves. It’s kind of like God’s response or nature’s response to the mess we’ve created and out of mercy or whatever is being offered as an opportunity, not a certainty, but an opportunity for us to turn things around. It wouldn’t even be us turning things around, it would sort of be the Divine turning things around by the participation of enough willing people.

Terry: There are multiple sources for what might turn things around. I think that technological breakthroughs, radical technological breakthroughs, are not unlikely. Technological progress proceeds exponentially, and exponential change is completely non-intuitive. If the amount of water in your swimming pool is doubling every second, you’re going to see just a few drops at the bottom of the pool and then suddenly when you get to a place where there’s like one thirty second of the pool has water in it, boom, eight seconds later the pool is full. It’s so fast how exponential change and exponential progress operates. So that the idea…

Rick: Before you go away from that point, I just want to interject that in nature, phase transitions are a common phenomenon. You know, water can be at 99 degrees centigrade and it looks like nothing much is happening. One more degree and it’s boiling. In the heart, 1% of the cells are known as pacemaker cells. They regulate the functioning of the whole heart. In a laser, the square root of 1% of the photons, if they align coherently, trigger the rest to them to align and it becomes a laser. So there can be sort of a move toward a certain tipping point of coherence, if we want to call it that, which is imperceptible, but which once reached could result in a rather sudden transition.

Terry: That’s right. And yet we have to relate to that in a mature way. One way of relating to that is to say, “Oh, good. I don’t have to feel hopeless, and I can kind of just go on as I have been and feel more of a sense of hope.” And I don’t think that’s the best way to relate. I think that the sense that this tipping point really is a call for us all, each and all, to change now, dramatically. You can’t get away from that. This is a fierce moment. It’s a fierce moment of confrontation. We were lucky enough to live, you and I, through the 60s and the 70s and the 80s.

Rick: By the skin of our teeth, yeah.

Terry: We’ve seen an awful, and we’ve been changed by it and uplifted by it and all the rest, but now we’re in a moment where all of what we learned under those circumstances has to be brought to bear as best it can be. So it’s not a matter of going back to being a comfortable middle class American in Trump’s United States and just kind of tuning out the negativity of the news and the ugliness of Trump and keeping your attention and your meditation and kind of positive visualization and hoping for the best. I think that this year, in the 2018 elections, it’s important for every one of us not just to vote, but to try to register other people to vote, to do what we can to influence things. We’re in a moment in which something that you and I took for granted almost all our lives, that we would always live in an open, pluralistic, relatively wealthy Western democracy, all of that is no longer something we can take for granted. And the idea that we have a social responsibility to express the disposition of awakening in action, it’s upon us in a new way. So that’s why my book has … it’s a deep meditation on … the very heart of what has has been revealed to my heart is that there is no dilemma, that everything is okay in the deepest possible way. And to the degree that I’m awake, I’m grateful. To the degree that I’m sane, I’m able to trust the process of my life, you know, in a kind of unconditional way. And to the degree that I am really rooted in the fact that we’re in this crazy moment in life and culture, understanding it in the right way is crucial because it’s so easy to hear all this bad news and lose touch with your fundamental well-being and just think we’re all in trouble and be anxiety-based and be bringing that presumption to everyone around you instead of bringing something really rooted in the wholeness itself. Now, it’s true, the speed of change has begun to create this self-accelerating, complexification, fragmenting influence on everyone and everything. This is why in the book the themes of fragmentation and wholeness are so central. I think that in the book I’ve been able to forge a much more inclusive synthesis of a lot of fundamental bottom lines of our reality than I have seen anyone do before. I hope that that makes this book a usable catalyst for the reader to recognize that this tipping point, it’s a little like getting your draft notice from God. That okay, now it’s time to really bring, you know, you’re an elder now, Rick, and all the wisdom and all the goodness and all the capacity that has been built up by your years of practice, flawed and beautiful in whatever mix they are, are needed. I can’t respond. I’ve been given my draft notice. I have to be the change that’s needed in this place, except the only way I can do that is with others. I actually need you. I need your brotherhood. How can I break through the usual Rick persona, Terry persona, you know, the way in which we’re two atomized, different beings, and your agenda, my agenda, and the, you know, we’ve all seen the limits of human relations. We love humanity, but people are a lot of work. What would it be for us to recognize this draft notice in a way that allows us to become a coherent force through which wholeness can reassert itself in a time of fragmentation effectively? It’s important that we do. So the most exciting conversation that I would love to have with you right now is us to inquire together in how we, you know, like we’re facing questions for which nobody has adequate answers. Humanity is up against challenges. Nobody knows exactly how to solve. To be with those impossible questions like a koan and let that koan change our consciousness and to do it together in a shared inquiry, living the questions like like Rilke said to the young poet, loving the questions, letting the questions change us. That’s a different kind of conversation that we don’t know much about how to have, but we kind of have to try to have.

Rick: Yeah, well I think you and I are kind of on the same page and we’re kind of doing it right now, what you just said, but what I found interesting in your book is all these different groups that get people together from polarized ends of the political spectrum and enable them to begin to see shared ground and to see that each of their perspectives has something to contribute and that they’re not as at loggerheads as they thought they were. That kind of thing could proliferate and become much more common than it could have a hugely healing influence on the political discourse, all kinds of things.

Terry: Yeah, and you can do that. All you have to do is to find a conservative person who is willing to engage in an honest, open conversation and you bring another liberal and he brings another conservative and the four of you can have a living room conversation or a civil conversation through one of these networks that are already established. I’m getting into doing that myself.

Rick: I play pickleball with one. The other day he was telling me about some spiritual teacher and I said, “Yeah,”– he’s a well-known spiritual teacher from another country. And he said, “Oh, he’s so conservative.” And you know that he actually suggested that we put landmines along the Mexican border? And the guy said, “Well, I haven’t heard that, but I’m very conservative.” Nicest guy in the world.

Terry: So I have friendships with people like that. We don’t often talk politics, but it would actually be interesting to sit down and actually talk politics and see what kind of mutuality we can find.

Terry: I think that it’s an art, and even if our first attempts don’t get where we would hope for them to get, we can’t give up. We have to learn from them and adjust and develop better skillful means, because we’re living in a time in which our ability to make our collective decisions wisely has been, in some sense we delegated that to the neoliberal elite. That’s the bureaucrats in Belgium and Washington and New York and all the coastal areas where I live, and they didn’t stay in touch enough with the experience of average people in any of the countries. We also ended up having to discover that ethnic identity is a deep, deep matter, and tribalism doesn’t just go away, that there’s an enduring polarity between globalism and nationalism, or we could call it tribalism. All those millions of years that we were hunter-gatherers and our membership and our group was the most important thing about our identity, where many of us willingly went to human sacrifice to be killed in order to propitiate a God who would then help our tribe not have such a tough time. We have that kind of a history in our DNA, this in-group, out-group, us and them. Very very important to the human psyche. We’re not going to evolve to a place where we just go straight to a universalism where everybody’s in the same multi-ethnic tribe. There’s something beautiful about African-American culture. There’s something beautiful about Dutch culture. There’s something beautiful. There’s a soul to German culture. There’s a soul to Jewish culture. It will fight being homogenized out of existence. It will not go away passively. No group of people would willingly, in a circumstance of global difficulty, would willingly let large numbers of people come across their borders and draw them down to the lowest common denominator if they have a relative condition of privilege. They’re going to try to defend the sanity and well-being that they have, and that throwing up of walls is structurally understandable. Our new challenge is going to be to honor that in a whole different way than we ever thought we had to. I was a globalist all this time. I was always a liberal. I was raised in an interracial community. I always saw us good, kind of liberal, diverse, culturally diverse people are the us and those mean white racists, that’s the them. That’s how I grew up in the co-op. But in my adult life, I’ve just followed what I was interested in, which was spirituality, And I found my way into environments, the kind of spirituality that spoke to me, and that was predominantly white. There were always some people of color in the mix all the while. It wasn’t purely white, but I didn’t … So there’s some ways in which in my adult life I’ve had to recognize that these little preferential choices took me into a very lily-white world, And that white world reflects something in me, “Ah, I’m a racist.” There’s racism even in somebody with all these attitudes, even though I marched in civil rights, even though some of my dearest early childhood friends are every different race. So this deeper patience with the ethnocentrism and the racism of one another is a part of us being able to make peace. I’m curious right now whether, you know, just as there are sometimes closed conversations in which only Latino Americans are invited to this Latino Studies meeting or African American meeting. The meetings among white Americans are always kind of racist and us more, we would say more enlightened white people would never go and participate in a white identitarian gathering. But what if there were some version of a conversation among white Americans where people might thoughtfully challenge the idea, you know, the white supremacists are really not doing us any favors. The future of white people in America is going to be a whole lot better if we can find our way to advance our own tribal interests in an environment in which we respect that we’re going to be increasingly a minority too, and where we have wonderful things to offer, but so does every other group, and living in a harmonious relationship, and not having the stain of racist behavior and the karma of that on our heads is going to be crucial. I’ve worked closely with Thomas Heubl, and he’s done some very interesting work with the collective trauma that Germans have experienced after having committed the atrocities of the Holocaust, and it’s a weight on the psyche of every German individual. It’s a very powerful dark shadow, a cultural inheritance, and we white Americans do not want that as our destiny. Some of what’s going on in our world right now could have us inheriting it, and those Those of us who really want a different future may need to be able to swallow our sense of superiority and speak to white Americans who are supporting Trump and who are embracing their racism and discover that we have a brotherhood and a sisterhood with them as well, that we owe them and ourselves, but also people of other colors and people who are not part of that. We owe it to them that the conversation among white people reflect all of what is best in the whole spectrum of the souls of white Americans. So I think we’ve got a lot of very new and kind of puzzling challenges. Those are impossible cultural challenges. I don’t know that I could do that very well today, but opening up to a recognition that the profound awakening of my being, that I was given by grace, has to translate itself into a new kind of efficacy and make a difference, even in territories that seem a little weird and unfamiliar and scary and gee, I don’t know how to do that.

Rick: I heard a story on NPR and I just looked it up as you were speaking about a guy named Darrell Davis who is a black blues musician and for the past 30 years he has made it a project to befriend members of the Ku Klux Klan. And he has met them in restaurants and ended up meeting with them in his home or he in their homes, and so far he’s gotten 200 Klansmen to have realized that their hate may be misguided and to have given up their robes. I think he actually collects the robes, yeah he does, he collects the robes and keeps them in his home as a reminder of the dent he has made in racism by sitting down and having dinner with people. So people can look up that article if they want to read more, Darrell Davis, kind of a cool little example. I just want to comment on one thing you said, which is about the homogenization of cultures possibly if there’s going to be any kind of unification of the world. And I don’t think that would necessarily be the case. I mean, if you look at the enlightened people we may have known or encountered in our lives, they don’t seem homogenous. They have these incredibly charismatic, lively, vivid personalities. If you take as a metaphor, you know, the tropical rainforest for instance, where the ground is very fertile, there’s a huge proliferation of diversity. So the more the nourishment available to plants in this case, the greater the diversity and the vividness and the richness of everything. And yet it’s all kind of living in harmony with itself. So I personally I think that a world in which we’re all, or a lot of us are aware of, our common source would not would actually be more diverse and at the same time more unified than the one we’re living in now.

Terry: Yeah, and how are you able to translate that intuition into your own behaviors and practice?

Rick: Well in my own case, well look at it, I’ve interviewed 450 almost people with all sorts of different philosophical viewpoints and backgrounds and so on, and I feel a deep rapport with every single one of them. But of course they’re all more or less in the same genre. But also just in terms of my daily life, I feel a camaraderie or an affinity with just about everybody I encounter, even that guy I mentioned who’s the conservative who plays pickleball. I mean, I just feel a kind of a harmony with people. I don’t feel like I clash much with anybody, even those who think very differently than I. Even if I consider some of the hot issues in the news, such as abortion or gun rights and various other gun control and various other issues that come up, I can resonate with the perspectives of the people who are on a different end of the issue than I am and who would vote very differently than I would about those issues. I can see the validity of their perspective. As you were saying, you said something earlier about no one perspective does justice to the totality, and I realize that my individual opinions and attitudes don’t either, and yet as an individual I have them. You don’t become a kind of an opinionless blob of mush, you know, if you get more in with your essential nature, you may be very adamant about certain things, and yet at the same time you have a more compassionate or appreciative attitude toward those who see it differently.

Terry: You’re describing things I would say about myself too, but the really interesting question for us to rest in together, I think, is like, how am I, how are you able right now to practice in a way that goes beyond what we’ve already realized and becomes even more an agent of that kind of harmonious uniqueness in action that actually makes a difference in the practical world. What’s the growth arc ahead of us? What are our next practices, our next learnings, our next opportunities?

Rick: Well we don’t always know, do we? But if we just kind of keep putting one foot in front of the other, so to speak, you know … it’s like when I was about 11 years old, my friends and I on a Sunday decided to walk to the next town to see the monkeys in a pet store there. We didn’t quite realize that the next town was like 14 miles away, but we started walking and it was winter, it was like springtime, slush on the ground. We kept saying, “It’s just over the next horizon, it’s just over the next horizon.” We got ourselves all the way there doing that. It was Sunday, it turned out the pet store was closed, so we turned around and started walking back and a neighbor recognized us and picked us up. But you never know what’s quite over the next horizon, but if you just keep on walking, you’ll find out. So my attitude…there’s a great quote in here, in your book, “It’s never over, It’s not too late and it never will be, and you also say, “There is no way out but through.” My attitude is that you just keep on truckin’, you know, and keep your spiritual and personal evolution as a high priority in your life, and one thing will lead to the next thing. You never know quite where it’s going to lead, but there’s a wisdom inherent in the way the universe works that will kind of guide your steps, you know, and you’ll find out when you find out.

Terry: I’m contemplating getting more involved in the system politics, basically just electing better people during the 2018 election seems very important. I think that’s an expression of spiritual practice that feels accessible and healthy. It’s kind of ordinary sort of civic duty kind of stuff that makes a kind of sense as an aspect of our responsibility. I definitely think it’s important for me to speak out. There are intelligent people who scorn voting and participating in the political system. I am willing to get fierce with them. I’m discovering that…

Rick: Well, if fierceness is going to be effective in getting them to vote, otherwise maybe some other tactic.

Terry: That’s right, it depends. But that’s actually a little bit of a tangent, but it’s something I’m contemplating currently. I like to bring up things that aren’t fully cooked, because actually you get the juice sometimes from the idea that’s not necessarily quite ready for prime time. My whole mode of discourse, I began to say some things about this earlier, but I kind of got diverted in another direction, you know, is really very much I’m a sweet New Age guy, you know, I don’t particularly enjoy conflict, I’m very much interested in tender, disarming, inspiring, touching, moving, evocative discourse, that’s what brings me alive the most. Yet sometimes what it looks like in our public sphere is that all that can register is anger, rage, ferocity, intensity, conviction, assertion. Mostly my response to that is to just kind of tune it out, because I just find it aesthetically offensive for one thing. But I’ve been contemplating that there may be other moves available to us, that there is another sense in which the heart of being, the Divine itself, that which is consciousness undivided from the phenomenal play of life is rising up. Like I say that wholeness has agency and in the face of fragmentation wholeness reasserts itself. There is a sense in which the heart is in this time saying, “No, this bullshit isn’t going to be able to keep going on. If we’re at this inflection point, it’s time to show up with whatever it is in your being that is true and that recognizes a higher authority and in a sense is obedient to a higher set of values. The heart needs to speak perhaps very forcefully. Maybe there is a necessary function for a very fierce voice, a voice that demands the very best of all of us. Maybe we need to hear that draft notice shouted at us at times. Maybe we need to hear it in a form that breaks through the veil and that demands a kind of different level of waking. Now of course, how are we going to live it together? We’re going to live it together as, you know, how can I be love? How can we do this together as loving beings? How can we discover a way for love to be the force that we know it can be? A love that is more powerful than anger, a love that is more authoritative than mere assertion and aggression, a love that has the strength of that gut level. Trump has gotten what he’s gotten because of that brain in the navel. He’s not so smart in the head and certainly not in the heart. is naval that’s a genius, or what would it be for a heart intelligence to acquire the strength of the navel and come forward with a self-evidently authoritative voice that commands a kind of influence and authority and response? Perhaps that’s necessary. Perhaps part of what’s percolating in us is the capacity for us to be a fierceness of a different kind. This ideal of the left, we talk about speaking truth to power, and there’s much to admire about people who have the courage to speak truth to power, but if the future of life on the planet is going to be all that we would hope for it to be, we’re going to have to go beyond speaking truth to power. we’re going to have to become capable of acquiring, seizing, holding, and wisely using power. And that is perhaps an evolutionary step that us, sweet spiritual practitioner types haven’t prepared so well for, but it’s a a necessary evolution. Confucius, he advised the emperor, and at the end of my book I talk about the ancient strategy being one of first becoming a sage and then gaining the ear of the emperor. So our wisdom has an obligation to affect the temporal domain of human experience. Our wisdom has to find its way forward so that it actually helps collective decisions of large numbers of human beings to be made with some measure of intelligence, and not just intelligence, but wisdom. We’re in a situation right now in which our collective decision-making is increasingly being made not only in short-sighted ways, but in actually self-destructive ways that are influenced by all kinds of corruption dynamics, and what is it for that health to research? Because from a systemic analysis, things don’t just fall apart without this…that which is healthy in the system is going to try to reassert its authority over the way the system functions, and part of how it’s going to do that is through your heart, through your intelligence, your wisdom and mine, and we’re going to confront this paradox that no matter how clear I get, I’m ineffective unless I’ve found my way to a fellowship with other people who understand enough in common with me that we can act together as a “we” in a way that actually has some heft in that larger field. These are impossible questions. These are koans. We don’t have full answers to that question, but we have to sit in that question because it’s got to be answered. And sitting in that question in a fruitful way…I feel so alive, you know, how inspiring.

Rick: As you were speaking I was thinking of the kids from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, and what the activism that arose out of their tragedy, and how brilliant and articulate and at times impassioned they have been in their approach to this. And yet, they haven’t resorted to nastiness or name-calling or anything else, but they’ve been really firm. When David Hogg was up against Laura Ingram, or whatever her name is, recently, it’s like, you know, “No, I’m not going to take this.” And then all of her advertisers started pulling their advertising. So I think they’re a beautiful example. And also the youth of the country, you know, maybe you and I have seen better days or maybe we’ll still see some good ones, but if those kids are any indication of the kind of the generation that’s coming up to vote and to become politicians and everything else. If they don’t sell out at the age of 30, like many of the 60s radicals did, then that might be one vein of optimism that we can look forward to. I just also wanted to say quickly that the examples you mentioned of Gandhi and King and Mandela, they weren’t confrontational in a violent or angry sense generally, although they could become very impassioned, but they did have sort of an adamantine determination to achieve a certain thing and they wouldn’t back down. So that sort of quiet but invincible intention eventually triumphed over seemingly insurmountable and much more powerful forces. And that there might be an example for us of the kind of thing you were asking about.

Terry: Well, I think that there’s a necessary… those kids can’t do it on their own. We can cheer them, but we also kind of need to defend them. Absolutely. And we need to create a dialogue among people our own age. You know, good God, people, we’ve gotten to the place where our own kids can’t rely on us to do the things necessary to keep them safe and now we’re grateful for their leadership. That kind of shames us into taking a different kind of action and certainly the way in which certain right wing… I saw somebody shared with me a YouTube video of a young guy, not a heck of a lot older than the high school student, with long hair, long yellow, blonde hair, wearing an InfoWars headband and viciously tearing down David Hogg and showing outtakes where he stumbled and didn’t say things right.

Rick: Yeah, and people are claiming that they’re paid actors and all that kind of stuff.

Terry: They need to be defended in a very forceful way because they are expressions of what is healthy and what is attacking them is an expression of what is unhealthy. These distinctions and this awareness that we’re living in a post-truth environment. Ken Wilber has written about this a lot. It goes on and on and on, and he blames it on the green meme, but there’s a simple recognition. We got to a place where we realized that the idea of objective truth was imperfect and that we needed to have a multi-perspectival understanding of reality, but we’ve taken it too far and we’ve gotten to a place in which we’ve relativized truth in a way that threatens to destroy our ability to function as a society. The restoration of some measure of objective truth is absolutely critical at this time in human history.

Rick: How do we do that?

Terry: Well, we have to join together with modernists. There are people like Sam Harris, or right now Steven Pinker has an important new book called Enlightenment Now, and those are all defenses of rationality. In many cases, the people arguing for rationality are materialists, they look upon us as fuzzy, woo-woo, New Agey people who they often ridicule and treat with contempt. They haven’t been our allies, but compared to the people who are falsifying all truth, they are right now our necessary allies, and we have to be willing to unite activists, awakeners, people who are ecologists, mostly interested in the earth, people who are interested in whatever social justice issue is close to their hearts, people who care about animal welfare, people who simply care about economic justice, all of them, all of us have one thing in common, without rational discourse as the basis for adjudicating power disputes in the public sphere, we’re all screwed. So in that sense, Steven Pinker and various other rationalist materialists are our allies and we have to get beyond the fact that we don’t trust them ultimately because they, in other moments, like in the skeptic universe, they’re trying to kind of kill what we think is most important. But for a time, faced with the threat of this kind of deconstruction of truth, just in the interest of creating essentially an authoritarian state, we need each other. And uniting and finding common cause around this issue of defending journalism and science, are a foundational…yes, it isn’t perfect objective truth, but it’s a whole lot better than the conspiracy du jour and make it up yourself that is tending to rule in the absence of that consensus. That’s a really, really important point.

Rick: Yeah, I listen to Sam Harris all the time and I enjoy his conversations with Pinker and with these guys like Daniel Dennett and Christopher Hitchens when he was alive and all that. that they’re providing a useful function in cutting through a lot of the nonsense that has grown up in the name of spirituality and religion and so on over the years, most of which probably had little to do with what the founders of those religions were teaching or had in mind. I’d love to have Sam Harris on the show if I could ever get him. But on the other hand, I think they set up a straw man argument with regard to God and they’re shooting down something that the deeper mystical understanding of God wouldn’t be arguing for in the first place. But anyway, I wanted to comment, and this kind of segues into what you started out saying in your book, and I think it was in the introduction, you said that the marriage of science and spirit is the big thing happening now in terms of cultural evolution, an event on the scale of the Reformation or the Enlightenment. So we don’t have too much time left, but maybe we could talk about that a little bit.

Terry: Well, you know, I’ve worked extensively with Ken Wilber and he offers a particular integration of science and spirit that’s really very well-reasoned and quite complex and nuanced. And there are other approaches. I think there’s a very significant challenge to his approach from Jorge Ferrer and a number of other transpersonal psychological theorists who argue for a participatory integration that they think is more adequate in a variety of ways. But you’ve got in the public sphere, the most persuasive integration that’s going on right now is an atheist integration of science and spirit in which the utility of mindfulness meditation and the idea that the self is a user illusion, that there is no self, and in some formulations that there is no free will even, is being put forward as the integration, because it’s like a neuroscience integration, and Sam Harris is probably the best-known proponent of that. But it’s a desacralization. It’s an integration of … it’s a shearing out of God, of the living force of Divinity from spirituality, and on that basis, all the benign aspects of what spirituality can confer are imagined to be able to be included. But what is subtracted from that is the juice that powers all of the most dynamic religions and spiritual practice communities in the world, and that juice is the direct experience of the Divine at one or another level. One of the things that I would like to do with you before we finish, this has been, in the range of things that I do, perhaps a more intellectual conversation, but oftentimes when I’m teaching my own events, I will begin them with a period of prayer. And I use sometimes to explain that if I’m with people who are atheistic and/or people who don’t like prayer or think prayer is petitionary and dualistic and kind of imagines a non-existent God to pray to. I’ll identify this idea from Integral. I coined it the three faces of God, that there is the I am-ness itself, that we can find our way into through meditation, is first person, that the contemplation of the natural world or philosophical contemplation of the patterns of existence draws us into a contemplation of the patterns that connect reality and the kind of divinity there, and we see God, you know, just in the light of the sky and the arc of the flight of the bird and the music of the natural sounds around us. Then there’s a second-person spirituality, which is when we recognize that our most primal relationship, the one that has never left us, the one who gave birth to us and the one into whose arms we will disappear as we slide through that final tunnel in the process of our dying. That one is here right now as this mysterious now moment, and that this now moment as soon as I cognize it is gone, but I can keep opening to that one, and that that one is my Beloved, and to turn to that one And as soon as I do, I notice a quality of joy and gratitude. And I notice that I am richly, richly blessed. In a way amazed that if I’m really present to you, You who are beating this heart, You who are the spark at the root of the intelligence the intelligence of me or anyone hearing my words. If I am really present to You, I’m amazed. I’m blown away. Every hair on my body stands on end in astonishment. If I’m really present to this moment in its totality, there is a glory. There is an awe. There is an amazement. There is a joyous apprehension. And there is force to this. And when you are And when you somehow, through the agreement and the practice of a whole group of people, are really summoned into the space, the living God stands forth. And the living God is not just the absence of something else. There is grace. There is a kind of spiritual fragrance. There is awesome beauty and remarkable sacredness, holiness, sweetness, and a fierce force. There is something utterly uncompromising and yet incredibly generous that comes forward. And in the presence of that Divinity, I discover something different about my relationship to reality. And so this presencing of God is an absolutely necessary part of any real conversation about spirituality. So bringing together science and spirituality in a way that denatures the living force of God and the sense of glory and the sense of devotion and the sense of gratitude and the sense of, “How can I be of service?” And it’s that. This is the thing that evangelical Christians get right. They have a juicy relationship to God. They accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior, and they have a loving exchange and engagement in their community of practice where they feel some measure of this Divinity. That may be mixed with a bunch of beliefs and interpretations and the infallibility of Scripture and a whole bunch of other things that I don’t share, but the juiciness of their relationship to the Divine, I celebrate that. I want more juiciness in people’s relationship with the Divine. That’s where I would say we have an important disagreement with somebody like Sam Harris. He’s not going to be an advocate for that juicy presence of the Divine, and yet that’s an essential part of the term. So what I’m saying is that what we’re involved in now is negotiating the terms of the synthesis that’s going to dominate educated Western culture in the time ahead. There’s a very strong advocacy now for an integration that is essentially atheistic. I regard Sam as an ally in culture and politics. I was just recently, a few minutes ago, saying that we all have to unite around the restoration of truth and objectivity in science, which I know he would heartily agree with. But on this point, I think he’s tended to be willing to leave out something hugely essential and central, and that’s where I would fight a battle for God, for all of us learning that… you see, there’s room in a non-dual, profound, radical conception of spirituality for an incredibly juicy, passionate relationship to God as our intimate, beloved, and for devotion to rise up in a whole rich and profound way that has, you know, it’s not what you’re going to see at Wisdom 2.0. It’s an essential dimension of what true spirituality really is. When you’re around even a Buddhist teacher in a non-theistic tradition, the quality of the…it’s as if the angels are all…there’s a shower of light in the room, there’s a quality of sweetness. That ineffable siddhi of sweetness and generosity and love and forgiveness and humility, that sacredness, that holiness, let us not allow that to be rationalized out of any final synthesis of science and spirituality.

Rick: I think there are stages of spiritual development and there is a valid stage at which God isn’t too relevant to the person’s experience and there may be more of a sort of a flat absolute, you know, no self, no free will. the relative world is insignificant, it could be a part of it, sort of flavor. But maybe one can get stuck there for a lifetime, but there are developments beyond that which hopefully one will eventually realize. In Sam’s case, he’s an ardent spiritual practitioner, has been for many years. I don’t know what the nature of his practice is. It’s one that will never, even though no matter how ardently he pursues it, will never result in the kind of appreciation of the Divine that you’ve just been articulating. But on the other hand, maybe it will, and he’s like a guy with a foot on the dock and a foot in the boat, and the boat is eventually going to, he’s going to fall in the water, you know, if he practices diligently enough. So that remains to be seen. He’s still a relatively young man. Definitely the best-known non-dualists such as Shankara and Ramana and Nisargadatta and Papaji and all of them were highly devotional characters. They weren’t content with just a sort of flat, absolute perspective. There’s something I want to throw in here from Carl Sagan about religion and science. This is a quote I picked up from our friend Michael Dowd. Sagan said, “How is it that hardly any major religion has looked at science and concluded, This is better than we thought. The universe is much bigger than our prophets said, grander, more subtle, more elegant. Instead they say, no, no, no, my God is a little God and I want Him to stay that way. A religion, old or new, that stressed the magnificence of the universe as revealed by modern science might be able to draw forth reserves of reverence and awe, hardly tapped by the conventional faiths.” I really resonate with that quote, and to my mind, when I think about what science tells me about a little bit of my fingernail, what it actually is and how many atoms are in it and how perfectly orchestrated those little atoms are, and the hundred trillion cells in my body, each one of which is as complicated as Tokyo, and how they are all sort of replicating themselves and repairing themselves. It’s like God is hiding in plain sight. Every iota of the universe is a divine mystery and dance that is awe-inspiring, you use the word awe, and we wouldn’t know all that if not for science. So scientists may not have known they were doing it, but I think science has given us an appreciation of the vast intelligence of the Divine that we couldn’t otherwise have had.

Terry: Yeah, absolutely. And I think that in a very natural way, many, many, many people are just growing into that sense of, you know, a rationally and scientifically informed sense of the miraculous and wondrous nature of both the consciousness, the unmanifest dimension of reality and every bit of manifestation, consciousness and phenomena. I also want to presence another thing with you before we finish. Rick, it feels …

Rick: Before you do that, a question came in from someone. that now or after you say this?

Terry: Go ahead and ask the question.

Rick: Yeah, who knows, maybe it will even relate to what you’re going to say. This is from Mario in Naucalpan, Mexico. He says, “Isn’t a lot of what you’re talking about the birth pains of second tier? I dig the fact that it’s being discussed.” You know what second tier is? I don’t know. Is that a Ken Wilber thing?

Terry: Yes, it’s a term in integral theory. The idea being that there are two different kinds of higher consciousness that we often talk about. One of them is waking up, which has to do with waking up from our identification with the body, the mind, and all the false boundaries that hold us. We wake up to our universal nature and it ultimately results in higher and higher samadhis and non-dual awakening and it’s radical. But there’s another kind of higher consciousness that has to do with the evolution of the very structure of the way we make meaning, and that we can see that that has evolved culturally, There was a time when we were pretty much like other animals, a kind of archaic period. Then there was a time when we were living in a magical world and we were doing the sacrifices, but we had tribes, but we had myths and poetry and some beginnings of music and human culture. Then there were power gods and warrior states and we evolved from that. Then we got to the place where we had real religions, traditions, and a kind of conformity to a traditional worldview out of which you would be an obedient member of your … You’d make sacrifices for God and country. You’d know your place. A lot of those traditional values are still very important. They’re a big part of heartland values in rural America and the Republican Party. That’s a big part of current culture, is traditional values. But then there evolved the enlightenment and rationality and science and the competitive marketplace and we have modern values, and then out of that post-modern values. And now there’s a second tier of that kind of growth just about to become possible, and that begins with an integral stage of consciousness. There’s a color coding of these, teal and turquoise are the first two integral stages, and this evolution of another tier is … there’s a spiritual quality, even though the first thing I talked about, the higher states of consciousness are really more the spiritual paths in these new worldviews that are evolving, that represent the structures through which we make meaning. The structures get progressively more complex and nuanced, and as they get to a certain level of complexity, instead of becoming like a super-complex digitized thing, they begin to become more holistic. Instead of becoming hyper-complex, they kind of become non-linear in their quality. As they become non-linear, there’s something kind of spiritual about that, and that’s one of the features of a second-tier mind. But individuals operating at a second-tier level, or writing a book at a second-tier level, or having a conversation at a second-tier level, is a whole different thing than an actual culture operating at second tier. And in part one of my book that I think you read, I point out that not just Ken Wilber, but actually some very good recent research from a university in New York has identified that when a new clarity that has some kind of functional validity reaches acceptance by 10% of a population, it starts to spread like wildfire. The speed with which it takes over everybody is amazing. And it was only 10% of the colonists in America that were modernist but when we wrote a constitution it was written with modernist presumptions at the core of it, rational, universal rights of man, it was world-centric in its disposition. So we’re at the point now where it may be that we can see this bigger, larger scale cultural transition, except that’s if we just look at what’s happening at the leading edge of culture. If we also look at what’s happening at the trailing edge of culture and the degeneration and the regression that’s also threatened, what we’re seeing is all kinds of reasons to fear that not only aren’t things going to take a leap to a new greater possibility, that they’re going to take a dive to something much, much uglier and worse. And that seems to me to be the mechanism out of which, see, I am sounding the alarm with this book. The last words in the book are “it’s time” at the end of the last chapter. I am willing to go out on a line. When was that tipping point? Was the tipping point six years ago? Is it going to be in ten years? You know, exactly when is everything crossing? We don’t know. We know enough to know that approximately now, good God, we’ve got Donald Trump as the President of the United States. What does it take for us to recognize that the critical threshold where we inherit a new responsibility is upon us? And if we take that seriously, everything changes. There’s a book by Naomi Klein, This Changes Everything, about global warming. Well, we’re in a moment in which this changes everything, and it doesn’t even just reduce to global warming. I appreciate many things about her critique, but it’s basically an economic critique, and it focuses on capitalism. And what we’re dealing right now with is a necessity for whole systems change, and it’s going to require a different kind of consciousness brought to bear. It’s going to require the spiritual practice of everybody who ever hears this, that whatever we’ve built in terms of a degree of coherence and sanity and depth and an understanding that who we really are is bigger than our atomistic identities. That’s absolutely crucial at this moment in time. And so for us to recognize and really get that we’re being given our draft papers, that’s one of the purposes of the book. I want this book to confront the reader and wake the reader up enough to go, “Okay, so my practice has to find its way into that outer world. I’m at that point now in history and in my own maturity where it has to be the inner work and the outer work are not two. I want people to also recognize that we need each other and that our practice can’t be atomistic and just individual, that we’re going to have to find and forge communities of practice where we actually grow together and we get that that’s essential too. So I’m hoping that this recognition that now is the time can be received in a way that doesn’t draw us back to our old habit energies where, “Oh, there’s an emergency, it’s all happening right now,” and we go into our fight-or-flight, sympathetic activated state, where fear becomes prominent, we’ve got too much cortisol in our systems. No, things are far too serious for us to lose our sense of humor, is one of my core lines. Things are far too serious for us to be anything less than love, and love is inquiring into how it can reclaim the human world through you. There is a way, Rick, as good a man as you’ve been, as great as your 440 conversations have been, this one and the one after it can be something even better and even new. There’s an opportunity for you, for me, for every one of us to become that which we are becoming even more forcefully and to be a presence of sanity and wholeness at an even new level. Rick; We’re always working at it.

Terry: Well, we’re always working at it is a nice humble thing to say, but that sense, That beginner’s mind sense of openness and possibility and willingness to step over a threshold, that’s part of what’s necessary right now. And I hope that that feels like an exciting opportunity to everyone who’s hearing these words and that something in our habit energy of how we’re rolling as individuals is going to be going through a shift such that we’re going to be seeing some powerful cultural engagement of a whole different kind. And as old people, you know, whatever it is we’ve got going, this is an interesting generational moment. Maybe our involvement in politics, maybe it’s things we fund, maybe it’s what we do in alliance with some of these, you know, like the Marjory Stoneman Douglas leaders of the Never Again movement, there are a whole series of intergenerational synergies that we might participate in in a whole different way. We’ve got a chance for leadership left. Those of us who are older and those who are young all face a real challenge because the news is so weird and so crazy making. We have a guy as the president who is the embodiment of all ten of the seven deadly sins. It seems like we’ve got corruption and treason at the very top of the government. We’ve been given all the opportunities it should take to activate us, to recognize that our citizenship has to become potent in a whole new way, that our elderhood has to actually find its way into the common life. And if we press into those existential questions, they’re impossible questions, they’re like a koan. What’s the purpose of a koan? It’s not just to get the right answer, it’s to change your consciousness, it’s to stop you, to force you to pop into a whole other way of being. It’s like a Shaktipat too. It’s not just a koan, it’s a cultural Shaktipat, a new energy is coming in, because the old way we’ve been human isn’t enough anymore. So wow!

Rick: Towards the end of your book you make the point that perhaps ten years from now, people will look back on Trump with some sort of fondness for having brought about the conditions which resulted in rooting out an elimination of everything that he represents, you know, like kind of like a boil comes to the surface on the skin and it’s an opportunity to have it lanced and get the impurities out of the blood.

Terry: Yeah, he even looks like a pimple.

Rick: Now, before I interrupted you with that question, what was that point you were going to make? And we’ll probably have to wrap it up on that, but what was it you wanted to talk about?

Terry: Well, it has to do with subtle forms of spiritual bypassing and cynicism, that in the midst of all this, it makes us uncomfortable, and tolerating this discomfort and letting this discomfort grow us requires us not to take easy answers. To go into our spirituality and bypass these larger questions is one way to cop out. To plunge into it and become a news addict and let the whole thing rattle your nervous system and turn you bitter and confused and useless is another mistake you can make. To go into all kinds of conspiracy theories and to get out of whack in a whole other set of ways and to depart from…there are so many ways we can get it wrong right now. It’s really, really important that we recognize that this crisis is calling us each to greatness. This is an opportunity for what’s best in us to come forward. And if we take that to heart and we really don’t choose cynicism, and there are subtle forms of cynicism in giving up, there are subtle forms of cynicism in just tending to your knitting in your own little life, there are subtle forms of cynicism in almost every direction. What it takes to regenerate your hope and your purity of inquiry and your genuine interest in…it’s not just interest, your genuine sense of possibility. Sense of possibility. We are the luckiest people who have ever lived because we’re given more comfort and wealth and access to information and mobility and the wisdom traditions of humanity and so much, and at the same time an opportunity to make a difference on an evolutionary scale. We are tending not to be able to … it’s such a big gift, it’s like you can barely deal with it, it’s like too heavy. But if we let ourselves realize, our souls chose to be here now. This is our time. And if this is our time, and it looks like this, then we must be capable of it in some way. And so if we just keep inquiring into how we can show up with whatever it is that is our greatest awakening, our most loving expression, our most open heart, our most dynamic, effective way of carrying this responsibility, then we’re going to start being the brother/sisterhood that all our years of practice promised. We signed an IOU. We said we’d change our consciousness so that we could solve problems at a new level. Well now it’s time for us to cash that check, to pay that IOU, and that actually is perhaps That’s going to be the most exciting, most meaningful years of our lives, and I hope that people can see this and feel inspired and not just burdened.

Rick: Yeah, that’s great. Well to summarize what you just said, “Make hay while the sun shines.” The sun is shining and this is a very opportune time for rapid evolution, both individually and culturally, and it’s happening. Theres’s a wave and we can catch that wave if we so choose. It’s really a conducive time for rapid growth. I mean the pace that we see in technological development, for instance, I think is paralleled by the pace that spiritual evolution can take if we want to be in that stream.

Terry: Yeah, and I think that I was able to synthesize an integration of a variety of different approaches to inner work. We didn’t get into it here in this conversation, but one of the things I’m proudest of is I don’t think I’ve seen as robust and thorough an integration of transcendental non-dual spirituality with soul-based spirituality. I think that’s an important integration. I think that integrating that with intersubjective practice, the practice of the we, I think integrating that, the inner work with the outer work, I think understanding all of that in terms of the dynamics of wholeness in play with fragmentation. I think there’s a, in many any respect to an operating synthesis that one can feel and practice embodied in this book that I hope is going to give a lot of pretty sophisticated people who have been on the path for a long time some important additional insights by which they can even more fully integrate a lot of things they already knew into a new whole and wholeness that we can actually bring to bear effectively in a time when we’re all really needed.

Rick: I think you did a good job doing that. I mean the book is very integral in that it integrates a lot of things that people would not ordinarily think could be integrated, and I think it does a good job at doing that, so thank you for writing it.

Terry: Thank you Rick, thank you for spending this time with me and thank you for taking responsibility for all the complexities of the technical side of it which have not been always so easy.

Rick: There’s always a challenge, it’s like you know every week there’s something to deal with but that’s the way it is, no worries. Alright, well thanks Terry. So to those who’ve been listening or watching, you’ve been listening to or watching another episode of Buddha at the Gas Pump. There will be many more hopefully. Next week I’ll be speaking with Anne Baring over in the UK, who I first saw interviewed by Andrew Harvey, and who speaks somewhat along the lines, I think, of what Terry has been saying, that we’re headed into some rather turbulent rapids. And I haven’t totally delved into what she has to say yet, but next week will be the opportunity to do that. So I guess that’s just about it for today. As usual I’ll be creating a page on BatGap about this interview with links to Terry’s website, his book and his other book, so feel free to follow those links. Just for the sake of those who are listening who might not come to the website, what is it, TerryPatten.com? >>Terry Patton, PATTEN.com and also NewRepublicoftheHeart.com.

Rick: Either will get you to the book.

Terry: Yeah.

Rick: Alright, well thanks Terry.

Terry: Thank you so much Rick, it’s been a pleasure.

Rick: Sure, we’ll be in touch. Thank you.