Tina Rasmussen Transcript

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Tina Rasmussen Interview

Rick Archer: Welcome to Buddha at the Gas Pump. My name is Rick Archer. Buddha at the Gas Pump is an ongoing series of interviews with spiritually Awakening people. 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 to not to the past interviews menu on BatGap COMM where you’ll see all the previous ones archived in several different ways. 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 Tina Rasmussen. I’ll just read your little bio here and then we’ll get into it. After 20 plus years of Buddhist and non dual practice in 2003, Tina undertook a year long solo retreat during which awakening occurred. She later ordained as a Buddhist nun, with a world renowned meditation master became the first western woman to attain that path and was already authorized to teach. Tina has been studied by Yale neuroscience lab for research on the effects of meditation on consciousness in the brain. She is co author of practicing the jhanas which will hold up here so you can see it which is a book in subtitled traditional concentration meditation is presented by the venerable Park saya Tao. And where was I, she’s involved in the diamond approach, which I found interesting. That’s the the teaching of Hamid Ali, er, ah amaz, who’s been on that gap several times. And we’ll be talking about that a little bit, I’m sure. I also discovered in listening to a recent talk, she gave that she was a student of Ida shanties for many years. Tina teaches students worldwide how to walk the path of the, quote, urban mystic functioning from deep spiritual understanding, while living a modern human life. She has also worked in the field of human organizational development as a consultant coach for 25 plus years, with several published books on humanistic leadership. Okay, thank you, Tina. Welcome. Thanks. So you know, what, one of the first things when we’re going to get into your story in some detail, but, you know, one of the impressions when gets when reading this book, and hearing more about what you’ve been up to all these years, is, what an incredible, intense spiritual practice you’ve engaged in. I mean, you know, for you, like, you know, three hours meditating at a stretch is like sneezing or something it’s and, and yet, what I gathered from my very brief interaction with you so far, is that you’re very down to earth, well adjusted, well integrated person, you’re not sort of a space cadet, by me.

Tina Rasmussen: I appreciate the feedback.

Rick Archer: So embarrassing to talk about that too. Because I think people I know, and in my own experience, meditating for very long periods of time, here and there over the years, you know, got a little out of it a little spacey, it took me quite some time to integrate and stabilize what I had gone through. So that and another thing that really impressed me Well, I was reading your book, is the incredible nuances or gradations, or subtleties of analysis of subjective experience? You know, I mean, for most people, like, Yeah, I’m awake, I’m asleep. I feel good, I don’t feel so good. I’m happy. I’m sad. You know, that’s the sort of broad strokes of subjective experience that most of us have. But with you this, and with the, you know, the whole tradition described in this book, there are all these really, really subtle gradations and nuances and things that one can experience as one goes through this path. So I found that fascinating, it’s sort of really not native to western culture, that anybody parses out their subjective experience in such fine detail. So those are some little starter points that we could watch off from. You have any comments on things I’ve said so far before we proceed?

Tina Rasmussen: I can have lots of comments go. Well, in terms of the subtlety of experience, I think that is something that one can develop and part of an intensive practice and the meditation practice. And then later I discovered in the diamond approach, one can live from this, well, you’re off the cushion, to some extent, also, to have the concentration ability, which is something that I, I believe, I must have had a faculty for when I came to the practice, or maybe I just been meditating so long since I started at the age of 13. To be able to feel and experience those subtleties. With a more concentrated mind stream, that laser like awareness allows for a penetration of experience that isn’t really possible without that, at least in my experience, and my understanding, and then so that’s on the cushion, then off the cushion in the diamond approach, there’s the practice of inquiry, where we’re really investigating our ongoing experience of living in a way that has curiosity and interest that goes deeper than the average person who doesn’t have that as a practice,

Rick Archer: yeah. Want to get into defining what we mean by concentration, because we’ll be using the word a lot. And it might not necessarily be the same definition that most people would have, or that you’d find is the first one in the dictionary. But before we do that, I just want to what, let’s go through your history a little bit just so people have a little groundwork. So you, you know, you started meditating when you were 13? What type of meditation did you learn? And how diligent Did you diligently Did you practice it?

Tina Rasmussen: Well, I learned at my the Methodist church that my family went to, there was a family day. And my parents were off doing whatever the grownups were doing. And I wandered into the sanctuary, and somebody was teaching meditation. My story. Now, I don’t know if it’s true, but I like the story is that it was a man and that this was, you know, in the 70s, it was 76. And that he had come back from Asia and was just sharing his experience of spiritual practice. So it was basically like a body scan. It was

Rick Archer: mindfulness of the body, feel your ankles, feel your knees, shins. That kind of thing.

Tina Rasmussen: Yeah, yeah. So you’re sensing internally, it would be equal to the Tera Vaada Vipassana, or in the diamond approach, there’s a sensing practice that there’s a lot of traditions that have something like this. And I really just did it because being a teenager is stressful. You know, and it’s, it helped me relax, it helped me fall asleep easier at night. I did it just practically, but I did it a lot. I wasn’t doing it to do meditation. I was doing it because of the effects that I felt were beneficial. Yeah. And so that was pretty much what I did up until I got really interested in the spiritual path in my 20s.

Rick Archer: So you kind of stuck with it until your 20s Yeah, I

Tina Rasmussen: did it. I used it. For practical reasons, really, because it helped me. It brought a relaxation to my mindstream. That’s not what I would have said that. But that’s how I see it now.

Rick Archer: Yeah. Would you agree that if one is doing any sort of spiritual practice, there ought to be some discernible benefit from it without you know, before too long? I mean, maybe not day one. But you know, you wouldn’t? Hardly anyone would stick with something for five or 10 years if they didn’t seem to be getting anything out of it.

Tina Rasmussen: Yeah, that’s a really good point. Why would you stay with it? The thing with meditation is that sometimes the benefits, it’s it. And this is an analogy that I use a lot of lifting a weight, you know, if you go to the gym, and you try to lift a heavy weight that’s heavier than what you could normally lift, and you lift it, it’s gonna be hard to do. Yeah, but if you keep lifting it over and over with those reps, at some point, a 10 pound weight feels very light. Now you can go up, that’s how meditation is. So it’s gonna feel like you’re lifting a weight that you’re not used to lifting at first. Yeah, and now now we have all the brain research, which I’m using a lot in teaching. And there’s so much evidence to show just the dramatic benefits to our consciousness to our relationships to our health, of meditation. So it’s gotten to be pretty irrefutable for people who want the evidence. There’s no way to not see the benefits. scientifically anymore.

Rick Archer: Yeah, back when I learned in the 60s and then started teaching it in around 1971. It was like a novel idea that meditation could reduce stress points like that, you know that we’re just kind of introducing these ideas to the culture. And now it’s like, kind of like, oh, yeah, of course, everybody agrees with that. It’s like, right. It’s grown in the kind of national psyche.

Tina Rasmussen: Yeah, it’s like exercise for our consciousness, the way that exercise for the body became popular, you know, whenever they happen.

Rick Archer: Yeah. There’s little bird from Rick Hansen on the back of your book, he’s been on BatGap. Also. But that reminds me of the term neuroplasticity, which you just kind of alluded to without mentioning it, which is that the brain is plastic, the brain can change over time, if you do this, that or the other thing. And so meditation actually changes the brain and rather profound ways.

Tina Rasmussen: It does. Yeah, that was one of the big surprises. And still one of the most outstanding pieces of research that I’ve seen is that the brain of a, and I like this a 50 year old meditator, when they actually look at the brain, of course, a nice person, you know, it looks like the brain of a 25 year old, and that it actually the the thickness of the gray matter. So it’s not just the software in our consciousness, it’s the hardware of our bodies, that is different in meditators. And then neuroplasticity can develop at any age. It’s not like you have to start when you’re young, you can start at any age and gain benefit. Yep.

Rick Archer: And as the Gita says, no, no effort is lost, and no obstacle exists. Even a little of this Dharma removes great fear.

Tina Rasmussen: I like that quote.

Rick Archer: Yeah. And I mean, you I’ve also heard you mentioned, I mean, maybe that a lot of what we’re seeing right now is elementary for some people listening, but it’s good to run through it. I’ve heard you mentioned several times that these days, they’re, you know, maybe two or 300 studies a year on various forms of meditation published. So it really is sort of a getting a scientific credibility.

Tina Rasmussen: It is, yeah, it’s gotten to where, like, I have a friend who, on really, unfortunately, had breast cancer, and she’s fine now. So that’s the good news. But as part of her actual treatment program, from her medical doctor, was to go and do meditation with a group weekly. And she did and she’s still meditating. But to me, that just shows how mainstream it is and how medical doctors the research is strong enough that they’re actually prescribing this like a medication to people. Yeah.

Rick Archer: Just to cover a couple of basic objections that come up to the minute to meditation. If someone you know, if you tell a friend of mine said, Well, I’m too busy to meditate. What would you say about that one?

Tina Rasmussen: Are you too busy to brush your teeth? Right, take a shower. Well, that’s the category that to me, when you pay avid as something like, you know, Steven and I, my teaching partner would talk about to put in the category of cleaning the garage, you’re not going to do it very often, you know, or rearranging your sock drawer. But if you put it in the category, that the other health practices that you do, would you go a day without brushing your teeth or taking a shower, you know, maybe once in a while, but you do it because it’s good for you. That’s why you do it.

Rick Archer: Yeah. Remember, a few months ago, George Stephanopoulos was talking about meditation on Good Morning America, he he’s a regular meditator. And that question came up about being too busy to meditate. He said, Well, I’m really busy guy said, but actually get more done. In the day, having taken out, you know, 20 to 40 minutes, or 20 minutes twice a day to do it. I actually become more efficient, and I have more time on my hands.

Tina Rasmussen: Yeah, I found I’ve been meditating daily for decades now. So there isn’t really, I can’t say what it’s like when I don’t meditate. But back in the day, when it wasn’t every day, on the days I wouldn’t meditate Mondays, I would meditate. I could absolutely see a difference. Yeah. And for me, I do it in the morning, after breakfast, and it just affects the day. So yeah, if you put it in the category of things that are just part of your daily routine, there’s a way you find the time and it doesn’t have to be huge amounts. 2030 minutes for the average person is good. Yeah. What other

Rick Archer: kinds of meditations Have you practiced in your life? Besides that one you learned when you

Tina Rasmussen: Yeah, well, I’ve after that, I learned mainly Vipassana which is, you know, insight meditation, very popular in around the world, really And did they after many, many years. And then I started doing that sama to the concentration meditation, which is what the book that you showed us about. And in in, added that to it, then did Xiao Chen was out of Xiao Chen practice. And so that really added to it the Rigpa. And then the bodhichitta, the heart practices, and also learn the Brahma viharas, in Tera, Vaada Buddhism that the heart practices. And then in the diamond approach, there are specific meditations that are taught. So those are really the main ones, I do some combination of those as my practice now.

Rick Archer: Okay. And so I guess another common objection people might have is, well, I don’t think I could do it, you know, I can’t sit still. I can’t concentrate. You know, I’m too restless or whatever. Yeah, I tried it once. And, you know, I couldn’t sit there. So what do you say to those kinds of people?

Tina Rasmussen: Yeah, well, I think there’s a lot of misunderstandings about meditation, actually, that if people understand what’s actually happening to our consciousness, as a result of meditating, they might not judge their practice, in the ways that you just said, the fact that we have, what Buddhism is known as hindrances, or defilements. Coming up, basically, there are times when you can’t stay with your object. So say, the object of your meditation is the breath, and you find that you’re lost in thought you’re going off all the time, off of the breath. That’s, that is lifting the weight. Basically, when you go off, and you come back, that’s lifting the weight. And what’s actually happening in meditation, if you stay with it long enough, I would liken to a software upgrade. So basically, as you’re doing it, you’re upgrading your own software. And that takes effort, because the grooves in our consciousness when you’re sitting there meditating, and you’re going off, to do some thinking, those are the grooves that are running continuously underneath the surface, the entire time, you’re conscious. And usually when you’re sleeping to the same grooves, the patterns, people really look at what those groups are, we all have our like, top 10 songs, things that pull us off, no matter what the content of our life is, you know, some people go to planning, some people go to fantasizing, some people go to beating themselves up, you know, these are all deep, deep grooves. And when we go off of that to a neutral object, like the breath, we’re deconditioning the ways that we suffer. And so you are going to encounter hindrances. In your practice. This is part of the practice, when you can counter them and you come back to your object of your meditation, you are building that muscle, and you’re also doing the software upgrade.

Rick Archer: Yeah, I think when the Gita says no obstacle exists, that quote that I just read, it doesn’t mean that you won’t encounter things that may not seem like obstacles that may seem that may seem like obstacles, but that they’re surmountable, you know, you if with the right sort of angle, or some patience or just the right instruction or, you know, just the right understanding you you’ll just breeze through

Tina Rasmussen: them. Yeah, well, I don’t know about breezing through, somehow get through. Yeah, because you know, overcoming all that conditioning that we’ve had basically, since the day one that we were born, we’ve been conditioned into consensual reality. And that was needed. That’s part of the human experience. But to say that the identification with the ego self is kind of the end state of human experience. That’s does your family members

Rick Archer: event yes, they probably see the neighboring dog, we can just continue, I would even bother editing that out. It’s like, right.

Tina Rasmussen: Yeah, absolutely. And I love the animal. So it’s kind of fun. But basically, we’re the idea that we’re going to be able to just that’s going to drop these defense mechanisms that have gone into basically creating the ego that we are identified with until we’re not anymore. That’s a significant development in the human experience. So the idea that we’re just going to sit down and all of a sudden that’s going to be easy. In 12 years that I’ve been teaching. I’ve seen a lot of people and I’ve seen their path and it isn’t, it’s it’s difficult until it’s not anymore basically, and So I think to come at it with an understanding that the ways were identified as a as an ego self are, they are protective. And when those things start going away, there’s a whole process involved in that. But with meditation and other practices, I’ve seen people gain so much freedom, and even some people awaken. And so it’s really does the person have fire for that not everybody has that fire for awakening, and that’s fine. There’s nothing wrong with not having it. But for the people who do have it. To understand the process, I think there’s been a lot of misunderstandings, I’m actually starting to teach about that of what is awakening, and what’s involved in awakening, and to let yourself be call.

Rick Archer: Well, since you brought up that, let’s talk about that next. And then at a certain point, I want to get back to kind of discussion of the mechanics of meditation and perhaps the mechanics of different kinds of meditation and how they compare with one another. But in the intro that I read, you said that during the year long solo retreat, awakening occurred. So how, what does that word mean? In your experience? I mean many things to many people.

Tina Rasmussen: It does. Yeah, I when I was interviewed on conscious TV, they said, you know, there’s absolutely no agreement I’m sure you’ve seen in the way people talk about it as Barry’s Darshan radically again, there’s so many different definitions. The one that makes sense to me, I mean, there’s, there’s a lot of technical things I could say about it. But what I would say just in terms of a practical answer is that as we engage in spiritual practice, meditation or other kinds, that the we become less and less identified with the with the knee with the ego, self, and our deeper nature starts being able to pop through to where we’re having tastes of awakening, that are, for most people, or maybe for everybody some of the most meaningful experiences of a person’s life, and they make you want to continue. And at some point, there’s what Stephen I call the 51% rule, which means your partner, my teaching partner, yeah. Steven Snyder, and we just, you know, when we are talking about our experience, this is what happened to both of us was that it just kind of the personality identification started waning and the identification with the deeper nature as what as the truth of what we are, became stronger. And then at some point, like for me, where that went over 51% to maybe like 75, or 80%, whatever that percentages was, during that, during that year, were now the identification as the knee is not what I am. I am the deeper nature that underlies the body the personality that will somehow that somehow goes beyond that isn’t isn’t identified with that.

Rick Archer: Yeah. Now, is that to say that you don’t? It’s it’s not 100%? Right. I mean, there’s still a personality Tina, she has preferences, and, and, and, you know, individual quirks and, and qualities and so on. But it’s just that that’s no longer the totality of your experience. In fact, it’s not even predominant anymore.

Tina Rasmussen: Right? Yeah. Yeah. So for some people, it may be so gradual that they go from from 49 to 50, to 51. And they don’t even realize that’s happened. Yeah. For other people who have, you know, my experience was maybe a medium, you might have other periods, people who have just blow out experiences where it maybe goes from 20 to 90, you know, so there’s, there’s a big range. But if you look at spiritual teachers and people, which, you know, you’ve seen hundreds who are awakening in some way, even the most awakened people still are very different from each other. Sure, they’re very unique so that that uniqueness doesn’t go away. It’s just what what is the person identified with in their experiences what they are, there’s still a functioning that happens of this body, not that body over there on the other side of the screen, you know, at this location, but there’s there’s also a boundless sense of being so much more than that.

Rick Archer: In my view, awakened people become even more unique in a way that it’s They’ve more kind of vivid or, you know, interesting and lively and creative and different. And in their personalities, it’s almost like, you know, in a, in a tropical rainforest, the ground is so fertile, that there’s a huge variety and abundance of diversity among the plants, you know, because the nourishment from the ground is so rich and so well, well connected to the plants. Whereas in a desert, there wouldn’t be much maybe there’s a few little scrappy things here and there. So it’s like awaken people are like those plants in the tropical rainforest, they’re, they’re able to thrive in their own unique ways, and yet have a common ground. Oh,

Tina Rasmussen: I like that. That’s interesting. Yeah, I would like to think that that’s true, because there isn’t as much of the sort of that well, basically, the super ego, the inner critic that is trying to get us to conform to the ego ideals that we had, that are keeping the ego in place, that’s part of what keeps me going places like I should be x, you know, based on whatever our conditioning was, or I shouldn’t be x, or I’m going to push against, I’m going to rebel against x, which whichever those are, are just being reinforced from that whole ego structure. And once when somebody is not limited by that, you can really be what that unique manifestation that is, your individual consciousness can flow in such a way that it isn’t limited by those kind of restrictions. Yeah, I’d like to think that at least,

Rick Archer: it seems to be that way. To me. I mean, look at, you know, nature itself. If we don’t know what, as a Buddhist, I don’t know what your orientation to the notion of God is. But if we think of the ground of being as a, you know, ocean of intelligence and create creative potential, and look at the abundance of diversity and creativity that we see in nature, so that’s, that’s an example of a very awakened being, you know, the divine intelligence itself doing its thing. So, you know, individuals, I think, who tap that same ground and attune with it, they kind of mimic nature’s creativity in a way they can express that in their lives more readily.

Tina Rasmussen: Yeah, that’s beautiful they have that is very similar to how I see it. And that there’s a flow like one of the things I’ve noticed in myself is that over the years, that flow from from the ground to the manifestation becomes less and less obstructed. There you go, and I can feel it. I mean, I can feel the obstructions or the lack of that in my body. So for me, body based practices have been very important for for the free flow of the ground into the manifestation that is here in this location called Tina.

Rick Archer: Yeah, yeah, I interviewed a guy. Last week, our discussion with Mark Gober about whether consciousness is fundamental, and the whole universe arises from it, or whether it’s merely a product of the brain. And the metaphor used was like that of a radio, for instance, where the radio waves are everywhere, but the radio is a contraption, which can pick up those waves and express them as music or speech or whatever. But if the radio itself is faulty in some way, then the, the radio waves are the same as everywhere ubiquitous, but the expression isn’t so clear, because there’s something wrong with the contraption. So you could think of spiritual practice as a way of, you know, fine tuning that contraption. Right? Exactly. Nervous System.

Tina Rasmussen: Yeah, that’s totally Yeah. And, and one of the things I like about the Samatha practice that’s been so interesting, that I experienced myself, especially on the year, gosh, it was so intense, energetically, was this raising of vibration. And, and if it’s, the body has to be able to hold that. And like, in my case, I had a pretty severe birth trauma. So that was pretty deeply it’s been pretty deeply embedded, like in the tissues, all this was pre verbal. This wasn’t, there was no personality at that point. This was the first experience I had was almost dying at birth. And so there’s the body, whatever trauma we have, and everybody, most people have at least some, the body holds that in such a way that, that if that’s not worked with, in my view, at least it can limit that free flow. So it isn’t just the consciousness that gets worked. It’s also the, the hardware of the body, like you’re saying to tune both of those instruments to really be as clean as possible.

Rick Archer: Yeah. So what were you doing during that year? I know I know you did it in an urban setting you’re in like in a condo, and you you kind of wound down your business to the point where you could just leave it for A year and you know, just focus on this private retreat. I mean, what was your typical day?

Tina Rasmussen: Yeah, well, that’s exactly what happened. And I, you know, I was single at the time, not from a wealthy family or anything. So there was, you know, some risk involved my biggest fear and doing it was that I would end up somehow mentally unbalanced and homeless at the end. So once I accepted that, that that might happen, then it was it was okay to just go for it. Yeah, well, I was practicing it my practice hours of the day got more and more to the point where I was only sleeping four hours a night by the end of the year. And that just happened from an eight hour night sleeper to a four hour. So pretty much all the rest of those hours, I was doing different kinds of meditation, yoga, Qigong, walking, I didn’t watch TV, I didn’t really read much. So I wasn’t, there was a way that my verbalization function could diminish. And then like, once a month, I would resurface get groceries, pay bills, call my parents, maybe see a friend in a very quiet setting. And do whatever was needed. And then I would, you know, sort of go back into the, to the deeper part. And that really went on for the whole year and this condominium in the San Francisco Bay area. You know, I was it was so amazing, because I had it was just a small place 700 square feet. And but I was surrounded by neighbors who had their radios on and, you know, trucks, beeping and all these things. But I looked down onto this field. And I thought about the old cave, yogi’s and how they’d be up in their cave, looking down and seeing water buffaloes and things. While I was looking down on the soccer field, seeing kids play soccer and seeing people go by in their bikes. And, you know, it just was so sweet to be able to see life going on down there, but yet to be in this incredibly deep place in in the world in a way where I wasn’t going off to a protected setting to do it. And that was pretty intentional. That I I just felt drawn to do it in that way. Although I did do a one month retreat. Near the beginning, I did a two week retreat in the middle. And then I did a three month retreat at the end. So in those cases I was I was at, you know, formal retreats.

Rick Archer: Was that with Park soda?

Tina Rasmussen: No, I hadn’t met him yet. At that point. The first the first month was at Spirit Rock I was doing mainly concentration, the Sama to practice. And then the Zope Chad. And then I went to two weeks out Chen retreat in the middle or 10 days, something like that. And then the three month retreat as practicing a combination of summative upasana and Xiao Chen. And and the Brahma Vihara is the little bit metta loving kindness.

Rick Archer: Yeah. So, you know, over the years, especially in the 70s, I did a lot of long courses six months at a time, several of those a lot of six week courses. And I would I would sometimes and others on the courses would sometimes get pretty nutty in the middle of all that just rather idiosyncratic rather unbalanced, you know, just because of the Yeah, the inward focus without a whole lot of balance counterbalancing integration. Especially me, I mean, I wasn’t among the worst, there were people jumping out windows, but I’m wondering if during that whole period, without much social interaction or other integrating activities, you got a little out there sometimes, or maybe not due to the nature of whatever practice you were doing.

Tina Rasmussen: Well, that was my you know, that was sort of the concern I had to reconcile before I did it was that what if I be sudden, I became mentally unbalanced. And there are, you know, now that I’m a teacher and I’m, I interact with a lot of other teachers, Buddhists and other non Buddhists, you know, teachers from all traditions, psychotic breaks are a reality, people have psychotic breaks. And it’s, this is not a joke. Sometimes people don’t recover from the psychotic break. So, you know, this is why working with teachers who know what they’re doing is really important. I’ve done so many month long retreats by them that I felt like I was pretty stable, but there were a lot of teachers who wouldn’t work with me because they didn’t want to be responsible if I had a psychotic break or became unbalanced. So there was one person who was a mentor to me during that time, who I could call anytime and check in just by phone. And then there was another person who was my eye. Are you getting a bunch of static?

Rick Archer: No, I hear you. Okay, keep going.

Tina Rasmussen: There was another person who was kind of like my safety net. And he kind of held the bottom of the kite string while I was out there flying around. And so we had an agreement that I would send an email every X number of days. And if that happened, he would come over and see if I was okay. Okay, that’s good. Yeah. So I had safety nets put in place. Thank you. I just had wonderful people who were supportive around me.

Rick Archer: Yeah, we had that kind of thing, too, is like a buddy system. And I remember one time I was in a three month course, in, in Tehran of all places, and Jonestown happened. And Time Magazine had a big cover story all about Jonestown. And I stayed up in my room for somebody from reading this magazine, when I was supposed to do some meeting, people came working for me, it was like, That’s how kind of on the ball we were in terms of making sure that somebody didn’t say that somebody didn’t like, you know, get set up.

Tina Rasmussen: Yeah, yeah, it’s really, it does happen. And and, you know, I’ve done long retreats, both as I thought a month long, and got to see some of what goes on for people that, you know, when you’re a practitioner, you don’t know all this is going on behind the scenes where, you know, having to really work with a few people to make sure they didn’t get unbalanced during that time. So I can see now why so many of the teachers in a lot of my teachers were very encouraging for me to do the year. But there were, they were concerned that I needed to have some safety nets in place in case I am on balance. But that never happened. I never became unbalanced. Really, the hardest thing was just the amount of Kundalini energy I was having during the year was astronomical. And again, it got calming at times, and I had to find ways to just manage the energy.

Rick Archer: How did that? How did that manifest itself? What was your experience with that?

Tina Rasmussen: Well, it just got really, like I felt like my nervous system was at its at its limit at times. And I’d have to do things. I mean, it’s kind of fun, funny now, because on retreats, on the longer retreats, a lot of our students get this because when you’re doing concentration, this is part of the phenomena that happen to a lot of people, even on a two week retreat, people will, some people will need to work with us. It’s extremely rapturous, and it can be very pleasant, very pleasurable, actually. But then it can be too much to where you sort of feel like your nervous system is on overload. So there were a lot of things I did, I would sometimes have to just like lay on my bed and just shake, you know, just smooth like a fish. Yeah, it was like I was trying to have it the extra come out of the hands of my hands and feet. And you know, the Buddha’s Earth witness posture, you’ll see the Buddha often sitting in lotus or, you know, what, a cross legged position with his hand in front of him touching the ground, and that’s called Earth witness posture. And there’s a story in the Buddha’s awakening about when he touches the earth and says, The earth is witness to enlightenment. But there’s a practical aspect to the earth witness posture, which is that the excess energy can drain out through your hands like the ground. It’s a grounding. Yeah. So there was there are things like they haven’t, you know, God, now I’m teaching these things to other people who need them. But for a lot of people, they work and for me, that was one thing that helped. So there are a lot of ways to ground the energy out. But it was, I mean, it was so intense that I would go out. I remember once I went to the grocery store, I went to a Whole Foods near where I lived, and I went in and and the person, the man who was bagging the groceries said, you know, this was just in a grocery store. He said, God, I can’t look at you. You’re so bright. There’s so much light coming off of you. And it was just the level of energy really, that was happening with that kind of intensive practice. Yeah. No, I’m not like that now, but you know, it was it was visible.

Rick Archer: So, was there some like, date that you could have marked on the calendar during this year when this awakening happened? Or was it more like by the end of the year you felt like you had you were over 51% and didn’t seem to be reverting back.

Tina Rasmussen: There was a date

Rick Archer: Okay, and what what actually what was your experience at that? On that date? What was it? Yeah,

Tina Rasmussen: well, that was the date when I had been doing. And, you know, it’s kind of cool, because I realized that I was doing something that I don’t think is practice that much now, but that I’m now teaching and Steve and I are teaching together in our two week retreats, where a person does really intensive concentration practice. I mean, this is how this Dzogchen, the Tibetan practice, absorption was actually designed. But when I go to Tibetan retreats, there’s a lot of teaching and there isn’t as much time to meditate, so you can actually practice that intensively and the retreats I’ve been on, so you kind of have to go off and do it yourself. But the idea is to practice the, the Samatha. In Tibetan Buddhism, Buddhism, it’s called Shama Tibet, it’s basically the practice is almost identical. Where you’re really bringing concentration, you know, you earlier said we should define concentration, well, concentration is the unification of mind, it’s the mind stream, coming together to where normally our, our mind stream is very scattered, because we’re thinking and needing to do all these things, which is fine. This is part of daily life. But when we’re meditating intensively coming back to one object over and over, the mind stream comes together. And so doing that prak, practice intensively gives us a laser like awareness that can really cut through to a more fundamental level of reality in a way that isn’t possible, when the mind stream isn’t concentrated like that. So I was doing that for months. And then I did a little bit of upasana. And then that became a stepping stone to Rigpa, which is the self transcending practice in Tibetan Buddhism, where you turn the mind on itself. And that’s where the non duality could potentially arise. And I’ve been experiencing non duality for years doing that. But it hadn’t been what I would have called awakening, but had been thinning down to where I wasn’t afraid. So the fear that I had felt in prior years of that identity shift, I could feel it looming. And this is why I did the year I could feel that this was hovering, you know, or in my, whatever, you know, I can sort of feel it close. And that’s what made me do the year was that I felt like it was kind of imminent. And at that point, there was a I don’t remember the date in March, but something happened where my identity actually shifted from the ego self, the personality self, to the ground of being in a way that never, that I never lost that identification, even when I might be functioning from the personality afterwards. I mean, this was part of why I joined the diamond approach. So learn how to function. But that knowing of the truth never changed after that. And for the year, I mean, I was pretty much in it continuously for the whole year. And a lot of teachers, this is where I want to start teaching, and I am starting to teach about awakening, because I went to a number of teachers in different traditions, Zen, Hindu, Tera, Vaada, and who pretty much all said, This is it, this is going to be your permanent condition for the rest of your life. Just let it you know, settle. And when I went out and started working in the business world again, then I got married and all this stuff, my patterning, what hadn’t been digested to the point where I could, I could feel those structures arising. And it was pretty. It, there was a lot to work with there. Because there was I didn’t realize that at that same time, like I was also studying with Adi Shanti. And there was nothing nobody was teaching anything about what he Appa how to how to integrate awakening, and how to actually function from it. And this is where you have scandals, you know, so many scandals of people who have clearly had awakening that was genuine, but they haven’t digested their personality material. So they’re acting in these harmful ways, and they’re clueless or don’t know what to do about it. That’s kind of where I was left. And I decided that Well, I did decide what arose was that I’m going to keep working this because I can see I need to digest this material in order to function in such a way that that arising from the ground is seamless. Yeah. So you know, that was sort of the journey through the year and then into the next year that took me into environments where a lot of spiritual people don’t go like the business world. Nobody cares about awakening, they don’t care. And if you tell them, they’re going to even think you’re unbalanced in some way or just not be interested. Yeah. So, you know, that’s I, I realized that this lifetime for me was really about challenging. How stable is that awakening? What kind of environments can I be and that aren’t spiritual, that are going to test how, where are the triggers still possible, and to work with those actively for as long as that really takes? So that’s, that’s basically what the journey after that has badness then working with deepening the awakening, and then working with personality material that arises.

Rick Archer: Yeah, well, there’s about four or five things in everything you just said that I want to expand upon with you. So let’s see how we can do that. Bunch of things. Well, firstly, the whole issue of concentration, you know, I was a TM teacher, I learned TM, and all and concentration was like a bad word in the TM world. And the, the, I don’t want to, I’m totally impressed with everything you’ve been doing. And this is not any kind of argument or anything, I just want to juxtapose the two mechanics and see if we can arrive at a deeper understanding of the mechanics of meditation are different kinds of meditation. But the logic was that the mind has a natural tendency to seek a field of greater happiness. subtler levels of awareness are more gratifying or charming to the mind. And if it’s given the correct angle, if it’s given the opportunity, it will gravitate in that direction, without any need to apply effort. And that was my experience. And in fact, ever, it was considered to be sort of unnatural in the sense that it, it interfered with that natural tendency, just as I don’t know, well, an example that we might use is, let’s say you paint in your living room, and you’re sitting there watching the paint dry. And it’s been a couple of days watching the paint dry, and then some beautiful music starts playing in the other room, or some beautiful aroma starts coming from the kitchen, your attention will naturally shift to that without having to make any effort because it’s more charming than watching the paint dry. So that was the that was the in a nutshell, that was okay, explanation of the mechanics of that. So, but in your case, I know, I know that you have not advocated and from reading your book, you’re not advocating any kind of straining, struggling kind of concentration. Like dammit, if my attention goes off this thing, I’m gonna smack myself. But there does seem to be a greater so I will pick up on what I just said. Let’s see. Yeah.

Tina Rasmussen: Yeah, that’s interesting. I, I, what you just said about TM is good learning for me because we I get TM people because TM, you may not like this, but the way I understand it with using something like a mantra is a concentration practice. I mean, I don’t know if you see it that way. But it’s

Rick Archer: what could be I mean, a person could concentrate on a mantra and try to prevent other thoughts from coming in and keep their attention on the mantra no matter what. But that’s not the way it works. And incidentally, I’m not a woman anymore. So I’m not like trying to sell to you. I’m here. I’m just discussing in the camp.

Tina Rasmussen: Yeah, yeah. And I don’t know enough about TM to really comment. So we can just leave that to the side. But yeah, Buddhism, there’s definitely more of a sense of effort, as part of it. And right effort is one of one part of the Eightfold Path and Buddhists and Tera Vaada Buddhism. So clearly, there’s, there’s a difference in philosophy there. Yeah. And, you know, I respect the other team’s been around a long time. So clearly, it works for people.

Rick Archer: My wife just showed me a note saying, you know, different meditations work for different people. Right. I think that’s the case. I mean, plenty of people learn TM, and then stop and go on to other things. And, and apparently like that better, you know,

Tina Rasmussen: right. And same thing, size does not fit all. Yeah, to me, it’s sort of like if we’re all having this, in some ways, I like this metaphor, and otherwise, I don’t. But if we’re all trying to take a path up to the mountaintop, there’s a lot of different paths. Absolutely. They’re all I believe, going to a place that’s similar when you get to the very more mystical core of them, but they could be wildly different paths. And they’re different because there’s different consciousnesses and different people and different things will be right for different people. So to me, I don’t feel like there’s any one that’s the best or no like

Rick Archer: very As I said, In the beginning, I’m very impressed with what you were explaining in the book about all the different jhanas, which I hope we’ll have time to discuss, and all the subtle nuances of specific things you experienced within each of these jhanas and stages within each one and all. I mean, I don’t know too many people in TM, who have had that degree of subtlety, although some of that brings up just one more quick point, which I’ll throw out and then move on. And that is that some people just seem to be flashy experience types. You know, they’re they’re wired that way they sit down and kaboom, they have all kinds of great fireworks and interesting things happening. Other people just don’t seem to have that sort of wiring. Yeah, run into that.

Tina Rasmussen: Yeah, yeah, that’s true. I, like I’ve had students, some of them are more like the hair and other others are more like the tortoise or the hare being that, you know, more, maybe not fast that faster. But there’s more flamboyancy to the our experience, others are just kind of slow and steady. And there’s more that sandpapering effect. Yeah. But again, both Both are valid, and both, it just depends on the person’s unfoldment. And everyone is unique. Well, you

Rick Archer: know, the one that race for the hare and the tortoise.

Tina Rasmussen: The tortoise was right. Yeah. So there you go. Yeah, so So definitely, there are different types of people. But just to get back to what you said about effort. This is a really important point. And there’s, again, now having taught for 12 years with a lot of people sort of going over this terrain, I do feel that the way Buddhism, at least as I understand it is oriented, there is a certain amount of effort that it takes to get out of the pull of the ego self to kind of escape their gravitational pull. But then, which is kind of the ego self doing it. I mean, if you have an ego that wants to participate, it kind of helps at the beginning, with these practices, at least, because there’s a way that you’re using that will to escape that gravitational pull. But at some point, if you keep applying that level of efforting, and even within that striving is never effective striving is always a hindrance. So you have to really show up fully, but be completely detached and in the present moment, not knowing what unfoldment is going to occur. And then as the practice goes on, that sense of non doing becomes more and more prevalent to where at some point, there is no sense of doing at all. And that’s where the ground, really, the feeling is that the ground is doing everything. And so that’s what’s actually been happening all the time, even when a person’s been meditating. It’s always been the ground. But the shift is in our perception where we think there’s a me doing all these things that are making it happen. Well, at some point they have me that’s, it becomes the obstacle. Yeah, that’s how it makes

Rick Archer: a lot of sense. In fact, one of the notes I wrote down to ask you is, you know, individual will, transitioning to divine will, if we want to use that terminology. It’s sort of like person, you know, considers themselves to be the doer, most people, they feel like I’m doing this. But actually, later on, one might realize, well, I’ve never been doing this not only meditation, but anything, it’s always been the sort of the ground doing or the Divine Will. That’s, that’s the author of, of action, we just miss perceived it.

Tina Rasmussen: Right? Right. So meditation, you know, the people who are meditation masters, it’s like, if you think you’re a doer, that’s doing anything. It’s still the same amount of delusion, it’s the ground, whether somebody is drawn to meditate, and that becomes their path. It’s all the ground. So why bash meditation, you know, somebody, when I look at it, you know, people say, Well, of course, everyone wants a guarantee, if you meditate and do all these things, that this is gonna happen, which there are no guarantees, you show up, and it’s sandpapers down the personality, that that’s a guarantee that I can make it if you engage fully, it will sandpaper down the personality and know that software upgrade will happen. Whether awakening will happen. graceless, involved in all of that, by

Rick Archer: using meditation basher? I think what you mean is people who say, Well, if you do a practice, you’re just going to reinforce the sense of doership you know, exactly, there is no doer. So just realize that and, you know, you don’t need to do anything here. Is that what

Tina Rasmussen: you meant? Yeah, yeah, people, some people and the Neo Advaita line, right, and there is a truth. I mean, I was in the world. I’ve been in the world and I appreciate that world a lot. I got a lot of benefit out of the directness of it. Totally. So I see the truth that’s being offered there. And at the same time, I’m like, What I didn’t realize after the year long solo retreat, I didn’t realize and then I turned away basically from the Neo Advaita world because there wasn’t really much to offer me in terms of the embodiment and the integration of working with the material. I didn’t know that audio Shanti that year, started teaching about after awakening and all of the obstacles that happened after a big emphasis, wasn’t it? Yeah, it wasn’t until like, two years ago, when I came back to the world, I thought, you know, a bunch of teachers, there must have been some movement and consciousness, because when it happened for me, a lot of people started teaching it. And I didn’t even know that I went on to the diamond approach. That was really where I went for the embodiment teachings.

Rick Archer: Because if you remember, at the sand conference last year, they when they when Rachel Anzai, introduced it the first night, they were saying, like, 10 years ago, you know, we were in this sort of Neo Advaita thing of there is no self and there is no doer and yada, yada. And you know, now we’re all about embodiment, and integration and all that stuff. And they actually said in their talk there, they got some, or maybe it was I told me at breakfast one morning that they they actually get some blowback from people for shifting to that emphasis, because I guess maybe some people weren’t ready to shift. Oh,

Tina Rasmussen: yeah, they have I went to sand. You know, this was kind of my reintroduction to the whole Neo Advaita world that I had been a part of, really for. I mean, I started studying with Adi. And like 93, he was, I went to his events when it was one step after him being the one at the door, greeting people, you know, people were there or something. So I loved that world. And it was really important for me to have that. But I didn’t realize that, at the same time, I was shifting to an embodiment, focus. That whole thing was shifting. So it was really for me, I was excited. When I came back and saw all these teachers in that world talking about embodiment, I thought, Oh, good, I can come back now. And, and, and it aligns with my experience. Because what I was hearing at the time, didn’t have it, there was no talk about any of that. So I think it’s a really healthy thing that the realities of awakening, and that you don’t just wake up and you get over 51%, or even if you’re at 70, or 80%, you’re getting up there, you still got personality material. And if you think that awakening is just going to blow all that out, like exam, Stephen, again, my teaching partner, he was in Zen for years. And then the belief was with awakening, it just blows it all out. And and if you’re misspeak, you know if whatever you’re doing is arising from the ground, so you don’t really have to worry too much about that. Because it’s all you know, there’s a truth, you know, that is true. But there’s that distortion, like what you were talking about with the radio, that distortion can still be there. And to me, that’s the part of really this is what I wanted to do was I didn’t want to be somebody who thought I was going around completely cleared out, when actually I was just, like, allowing distortions to continue. That was my commitment to myself. So that’s basically what I started focusing on after the ad was embodiment. And the how do I live from this all the time?

Rick Archer: Yeah, I’ve heard. I don’t know if this is true. But I’ve heard that in Zen, maybe some Zen traditions. There’s a kind of a rule that after awakening, you don’t just go out there and teach you wait 10 years, and then during that 10 years, there’s a lot of integration, you know, maturation clearing out of stuff?

Tina Rasmussen: Yeah,

Rick Archer: Before you presume to be able to teach.

Tina Rasmussen: Well, that seems really wise to me, that, you know, maybe that 10 years is the integration period where that is intended to happen. But the problem with Buddhism, I don’t care what tradition of Buddhism it is, you know, the ones that I’ve participated in as well. Buddhism isn’t really about integration, the Buddhist teachings, you know, they’re like in Tera Vaada Buddhism in the Eightfold Path, there’s right livelihood and right speech and other things that are that do focus on our action in the world. But the teachings themselves aren’t really about that and and like my teacher Parkside out who I went to after the year. Most of the historical traditions, they relied a lot on ordination, the way they handled all ordination means what? You become ordained, you become a monastic. Like You I

Rick Archer: bet you Yeah, I was gonna say probably if it doesn’t do place much emphasis on integration. It’s because it’s the custodians are monks. Right?

Tina Rasmussen: Right. And they don’t have they don’t have good teachings because they didn’t, to me what our era has to offer and what I’m excited about is that our era offers psychology. This is the awakening technologies that we have are to understand psychology and the nuts and bolts of consciousness and how an ego forms and what to do about it. And this is what I love about the diamond approach is that it’s really a continuum, from the psychological to the spiritual, and that has helped me understand the mechanics of how the ego self occurs, how it develops, and the potential to digest that. Completely. I mean, to me, that’s a lifelong or multi life endeavor. So I see that as an ongoing endeavor, but our era has psychology, so to not include those understandings in our spiritual unfoldment to me, is missing something important and Buddhism that the historical traditions didn’t have that understanding?

Rick Archer: Well, I’m really glad that you’re open minded about it like that. I mean, then what happens, what has happened so often, is that people who were raised in a monastic setting, come to the west. And next thing, you know, they’re alcoholics chasing women around. It’s like, they fall flat on their faces. They have no preparation for this meal, you know,

Tina Rasmussen: right? They solution was just renunciation basically, you renounce all that and to me, like, again, I feel like, I do believe in rebirth. And I believe I can feel and just the way that certain practices were easy for me and for students that I have common, they’re like a practice is easy. They just pick it right up. Yeah, I’ve had a lot of monastic life, this life is about coming out from the monastic walls, and learning to live in the world and to infuse all of reality with the potential for awakening. I mean, this is what happened in Tibet. It’s, it’s a, it’s a tragedy what happened, but it’s made Tibetan Buddhism come out and be in the world in a way that we can all benefit from that.

Rick Archer: So you’re alluding to the Chinese invasion, which is horrible as that was, if it hadn’t happened, we probably wouldn’t have heard much about Tibetan teachings.

Tina Rasmussen: Right? And they are, they’re amazing. They’re amazing teachings for how to function within Buddhism. In my opinion, Tibetan Buddhism has the most the most teachings about how to function from Awakening and they had cave Yogi’s, which has always been my aspiration. That’s what I was in my year was a cave yogi. That was my years a cave Yogi up in my little condo looking down in the soccer condo, Yogi. Yeah, condo yogi. But they were householders. And the cave Yogi’s there, to me, one of the models out there historically, one of the few that weren’t monastics who live normal lives, and they tried to integrate into regular life. I mean, Tera Vaada. Buddhism has that too. And I’m sure Zen does that.

Rick Archer: Well, I’m a little mixed up, how could they be a householder, if they were cave yogi? Well,

Tina Rasmussen: they would be in the cave for for intensive periods, but then they would come out, I see, and have regular lives. So they would do basically like what people like me do now going on a retreat, and you know, where you go on long retreats, and you can have this deep contact with what’s deeper, that gets distracted from when we’re busy doing things. But then you go into the world, and instead of turning away from the world, which is what I initially thought I would do after awakening, I thought I was just going to go off and live in Crestone, Colorado and live on the cheap, and just be in bliss, the rest of my life. And something called me to stay engaged in society and to bring whatever amount of realization I have into the business world into health care in with to executives to other householders who want to have a deep spiritual practice, but they don’t want to turn their backs on the world. They want to bring this into the world. And that to me is is the miracle that we’re seeing in the, in our era is so many 1000s of people wanting to do that. Yeah, wonderful.

Rick Archer: Well, the two thoughts come to mind. One is that, you know, there’s that saying again, in the Gita that you know, one because one can perform it one’s own Dharma, though perhaps lesser and merit is better than the dharma of another, you know, the dharma of another brings danger. So it wouldn’t have been your Dharma to be a cave yogi, or at least not a permanent one. You know, it’s natural for you to be more engaged in activity. So for your own evolution, your own benefit, it’s, it’s appropriate. And then the second thing is that the world really needs it, as you kind of just suggested I feel that spiritual awakening is really the ultimate solution to all problems, which might seem strange because you don’t necessarily find spiritually awakened people for your problems. But that’s what the world needs is a raising of consciousness in the in the deepest sense. And when that happens, and as that happens, I think we’ll find problems diminishing, at least for those who aren’t clinging to things that ought not to exist, because that’s kind of problematic for them as those things crumble.

Tina Rasmussen: Right? Yeah, exactly. I feel they are to that if I mean, just think if we had even with whatever, remaining egoic behaviors, structures and so on, that people awaken people are awakening, people have just that intention. And they add, that knowing of non separation makes us not want to do harm. Yeah, makes us want to protect the earth and to not harm others and to maybe eat less meat or be a vegetarian and not to consume to have a small footprint. All of these things kind of arise naturally. And think of what the world would be like, I mean, fortunately, there are more and more people that are moving in this direction. And and hopefully, there’ll be a tipping point at some point where we’ll start seeing the old consciousness really died down hopefully these what we’re seeing is the death throes. That’s my, my fantasy is they’re seeing the death throes.

Rick Archer: Yeah. Well, you know, just as you said, you reach the 51%. Mark, I think maybe the world could reach a 51% market, which there is a significant phase transition.

Tina Rasmussen: Right? Absolutely. And, you know, I publish this on my newsletters and in the awakening Dharma newsletters that we put out, repeatedly. This was Bill Gates, favorite two books last year, our independent historians, and well, mostly historians and sociologists, looking at the trends of humanity over we’re talking like hundreds of years, or even 1000s. And most people don’t want to believe this and don’t believe it. And I, like, sometimes people really want to argue with me about this. But these are the facts. And there are books out there that show this, that there’s been a steady progression of human rights of education, of lack of poverty,

Rick Archer: of Steven Pinker.

Tina Rasmussen: Right? And it, you know, it doesn’t go straight up in a line where it just gets better continuously, their depths, and maybe we’re seeing a dip right now, where some, a lot of these things are being compromised. But if you look, it’s it’s gotten better and better and better. So I believe that we are moving to that, if you look at the facts, that’s what it shows.

Rick Archer: Yeah. Well, it’s Yeah, I mean, certainly, there are things that are troubling. And there are people in positions of power, who don’t seem to really get it in terms of, you know, more enlightened ways of doing things. But then they seem to cause others to be more motivated. You know, you have the me to movement, and you have a much bigger sort of environmental, you know, outcry and all kinds of other things, people sort of saying, wait a minute, this is wrong. And whereas if you had a, you know, leadership, which was kind of like, you know, sort of wishy washy about it, but not so bad. People might think that they didn’t have to do anything.

Tina Rasmussen: Right. Yeah. For me, it’s been really exciting to see the activation of young people. And I, you know, I know the millennials and the younger generations get a lot of, they get a lot of bashing for things that they do, you know, the generational stereotypes we have, but the small footprints, the lack of wanting to have possessions, the urbanization, where basically you’re consolidating all of the human impact. All of these things to me are make me hopeful that when they become our age, you know, that they add the acceptance of people of all backgrounds, races, genders, all those genders, sexual orientations, sexual identities, to them, this is a no brainer, you know, not to all of them, but to the majority of them. They’re global citizens. They’ve been global citizens since they were born, and you know, with their gadgets, which have their own problems, but there are good things happening that to me. Make me hopeful that we may be moving towards that.

Rick Archer: Yeah. Great. All right. I’m gonna shift gears here. So in my notes here, you say in early in your book you say the path to liberation includes three stages, ethical behavior, or morality sila, concentration or serenity Samatha and insight Vipassana So we’ve talked a little bit about all three of these, but let’s go through them again in a little bit more detail. So does it make you scratch your head? I mean, maybe it’s just kept what we were just discussing about how the people who have many of these teachers who have come to the west didn’t have the, the training for dealing with Western society. But certainly they had if these three are really the pillars of the path of liberation, they must have had ethical training and yet, scandal after scandal after scandal it keeps rocking all the different tsonga’s, Buddhist and otherwise, not only with Eastern teachers, but also with Western teachers who get Fairless Spirit Rock just had a big scandal some guy got kicked out. So what do you make of all that? How do you come to terms with it?

Tina Rasmussen: Yeah, well, this is, to me the whole lack of understanding and lack of emphasis about awakening, that I believe that when people get a taste of reality, there’s a way that they overestimate the impact of that on their personality, conditioning and on their behavior. And it’s easy to justify in one’s mind because there’s a truth in one’s experience of oneself as having had awakening at whatever level that is. That there, there is a sense that the doer isn’t what I thought it was. And so if doing is happening, functionings happening, it must be coming from the ground of being. Right. And so yeah, the distortions, the these traditions don’t have embodiment practices, that’s to me, and they overestimate the impact of awakening. And they underestimate the strength of the ego. I mean, you got to bow down to the ego, and you see how powerful and strong it actually is. It’s an amazing structure in our consciousness. Yeah. So

Rick Archer: it is Maya, you know, I mean, you think, Boy, delusion is so blinding, and it can, and you don’t know, you’re deluded, when you are, you know,

Tina Rasmussen: right, and the the way that there’s been such a power differential between teachers and students and, and not, this is one of the good things I think the Western evolution of spirituality is bringing is a flattening of that hierarchical sense and a greater accountability. But I really feel that this whole move towards embodiment and and understanding what happens after awakening is a big part of it, that’s been underestimated, grossly, mostly. And I would also just add to that those three stages, the path in the Tera Vaada. And but I would add to that Rigpa, or self transcending practice, that is really part of the stabilization of awakening and my, my understanding and experience of it. So this book was, you know, a tear Ivatan presentation, but my own practice includes some other things and my understanding, yeah.

Rick Archer: So I remember hearing a quote from Padma Sun bhava, which you’ve probably heard this, which was that, he said that, although my awareness is vast as the sky, my attention to karma is as fine as it is a grain of barley flour. There, that one,

Tina Rasmussen: I love your quotes, I just have to write these down afterwards.

Rick Archer: So in other words, he was a pretty enlightened dude. But even he, and there’s another quote from Carlos Castaneda, his teacher, you’ve done what he said, Warrior by, by that he meant sort of enlightened

Tina Rasmussen: Oh, yeah, I was very into those teachings.

Rick Archer: They said, a warrior has time only for his pet. impeccability. So, in both of these examples, what these guys are saying, I think, is that you may be like the, you know, the most enlightened guide ever to come down the pike. But it doesn’t give you a pass on being sort of diligent and discriminating and discerning and careful and attentive and, and all that stuff to your behavior.

Tina Rasmussen: Right? Absolutely. That’s exactly. I love those quotes, because they’re pointing to the same thing that we’ve been talking about, of this attention that still needs to be paid to are the places where the distortions are still present. In our consciousness, even with awakening, I mean before awakening, yes, but even after awakening, to continue working that material to to, I don’t know if you want to say purify it, I mean, purification of mine is part of the Samatha path but to digest it To digest it, so that one’s functioning, is this undistorted as possible?

Rick Archer: You’ve probably heard the term spiritualized ego. I mean, have you seen examples I have, where people have what appears to be a genuine and significant awakening, but it actually sort of aggrandized his ego in a way. It adds fuel to it.

Tina Rasmussen: Yeah, yeah, there’s a huge danger of that huge. I think that’s probably what’s happened in a lot of the scandals is that it kind of that there’s an energy like, you know, I was talking about what happened to me in the year with all the Kundalini, there’s a certain kind of power and energy that can come through, that is genuine. But if it goes right into the ego, now you’ve got this energy being filtered through a personality that doesn’t know that’s what this happening. Yeah. And, you know, I think some of the scandals of people that I communities I wasn’t in. But gosh, the damage that was done damage. And fortunately, I think, if there is a good outcome from some of these scandals, it’s that people are a lot more circumspect about their teachers there. They don’t just, I think that going along, is diminishing, hopefully diminishing rapidly, where people won’t tolerate things that they used to.

Rick Archer: Yeah, that’s one of our hopes, with the thing that you have joined that I helped found the the Association of Professional spiritual teachers, which were Yeah, changing the name of it to the Association for spiritual integrity. But it’s the sort of, I mean, feel misunderstand as being some kind of holier than thou judgmental, goody two shoes kind of thing. But really, what it’s an attempt to do is to just sort of increase awareness or raise consciousness about what is or is not an appropriate way for a teacher to behave for any basically, any human being to behave but especially a teacher, so that students don’t, you know, look at the teacher and say to themselves, well, what he’s doing seems really off, but who am I to judge because I am just a person and he is the great, wonderful teacher. And you know, I can’t I his His ways are inscrutable. Now. I mean, people should not add the abdicate their common sense and their, their, their judgment. And, you know, they’re just their own discernment, that Buddha is famous for quotes like that, you know, exercising your discernment and not believing something, because anybody says it, including him.

Tina Rasmussen: Right? Yeah. See, for yourself, I love that’s one things I love about the Buddha was don’t take my word for it, see from yourself, but keep your discernment. Yeah, yeah, I think it’s great that that you and the others who are fat have founded that organization are doing that. I’ve always, because I’ve been sort of affiliated even though I’ve been kind of a free agent, in a certain way, because of the way I got authorized to teach kind of went around the system that existed, you know, which had its own problems. In the West, I thought we spend affiliated loosely with a couple of different groups, one of which was Spirit Rock, and use their code of ethics and also the diamond approach code of ethics.

Rick Archer: We looked at all those by the way. Yeah, a dozen different codes of ethics that we kind of pored through to fabricate one for our thing.

Tina Rasmussen: Yeah. And that’s great. But that’s always been something I’ve, I’ve known about and, and felt was extremely important to have one that was published on the website, and that was, I live by, but, you know, people are hanging out shingles is spiritual teachers, who anybody really can hang one out now. Yeah. And so to have a place where teachers can go and say, Okay, I’m going to commit to this, even though I’m not affiliated with a particular, you know, lineage organization, it gives them some guidelines, and it gives students some ways to have accountability for teachers to

Rick Archer: Yeah. So if ethical behavior is one of the three stages on the path to liberation, why is it?

Tina Rasmussen: Well, sila, I wouldn’t define sila necessarily, maybe it’s in the book, it’s traditionally been defined that way, but really, it’s a lot more practical than that. And the way that I would define it now is as wholesome living, okay. ethical behavior sounds very sorry. It’s very prudish, very bit 10 commandments oriented, you know, so I don’t I don’t call it that. I call it wholesome living where you’re constantly and this is a very dynamic thing. It’s not like a stage at the bottom and then once you’re ethical, then you go on. It’s like okay, I go on retreat, or I have some kind of profound insight. That’s deep that affects me deeply about reality about what I am and that underlying subtlety that you’re talking about. Now I’m coming out, I’m in the world, I’m, I’m off retreat, I’m functioning, what? How do I come back and say, Okay, how do I need to maybe function differently to actually be living from what I’ve realized, I need to be constantly looking at my life. And, and for me, this has been an ongoing practice, I do it every year, I pay I have a time when I look at that. And I’ve looked at things over the years, like, entertainment consumption, well, 20 years ago, I stopped getting TV piped into my house, I haven’t had cable TV for 20 years, I do watch entertainment. But I didn’t want to be able to find I would end up just flipping through channels. And I’m consuming, you know, this is 20 years ago, but I’m consuming junk food. So looking at that, or looking at alcohol, I went for eight years where I didn’t drink a drop of alcohol. Not again, from pure pure distributions, but because I didn’t want to have that effect on my consciousness. So these are the kinds of things I mean, everyone needs to decide for themselves, what is right for them. But it’s bringing the consciousness to how we’re living, how we’re impacting others, and how we’re embodying what our realization is, whatever level of realization a person has.

Rick Archer: Yeah, I mean, I think wholesome is a good word there. Because it has the connotation of like wholesome food or wholesome exercise or that kind of thing. And, you know, we were talking earlier about the brain and the nervous system of the body being the vehicle through which realization is experienced or lived. Well, I mean, one of the big aha, for me when I was 18 years old, I had been dropped out of high school, been doing drugs for a year, and it was kind of a mess. I’ve been arrested twice. And one evening, I was sitting there reading a Zen book, actually, it was Zen flesh and bones by Paul reps, he may remember the book. And I thought, wow, you know, these guys are really serious. And I’m just screwing around. And if I keep on like this, I’m gonna damage this vehicle, of my, that I that through which I live my life, and I don’t want to go through life with a damaged vehicle. So that’s it, I’m gonna stop taking drugs, I’m gonna learn to meditate, turn the whole thing around. But wow. But um, but you know, it is, I mean, this whole thing that you’ve done with all these hundreds and 1000s of hours of meditation, you’re, you’re purifying the vehicle, you’re purifying the instrument, through which whatever realization you have, is made possible. Right. And so if we’re, what a however, we might want to define unwholesomeness, there must be some objective measures of it, it generally impairs our ability to experience and to realize and to have clarity and depth of awareness. And so that’s the purpose of it. It’s not because of any kind of moralistic obsession, exams, practical thing.

Tina Rasmussen: Exactly. It’s totally practical. Like, you know, when I like, for me, there’s been a temptation over the years to, to take it too much news, where I, I’ll start with 15 minutes, and then it’ll creep up and creep up, you know, you have to go on a little news media diet, which I know a lot of people are having to go on at the moment. But it’s those things, it’s not helping me to understand what’s going on, if I over consume that, if I, you know, eat a certain like chocolate, you know, if I have a certain amount, it’s probably good for my health. If I have this much, it becomes unhealthy. So this is it’s very practical, like you’re saying it’s all about

Rick Archer: the Middle Way, right? The Buddha said, you know, right.

Tina Rasmussen: And for each person that’s different. Some people may want to live in urban environments where there’s a lot of activity and they can maintain, you know, that’s their path. Other people may want to live in rural environments. Some people may want to work, some people may want to do creative pursuits, and they just live on very little, you know, all of these things.

Rick Archer: Might be news, people. I mean, I mentioned George Stephanopoulos, he and Dan Harris and Robin Roberts and all those Good Morning America, people and many others are full time journalists, but they also meditate regularly. You know, it’s their dharma.

Tina Rasmussen: Well, there’s business people, I mean, look at me, you know, I still go in and I work with corporate executives two days a week. And it’s, that’s part of just for at least for now, that’s part of my manifestation is to go in and do regular work with regular people. And some of them meditate now some of them started meditating. And, you know, I just love the idea that you’ve got corporate CEOs out there meditating, and bringing that consciousness to what they’re doing. So there’s all different kinds of walks of life that are possible, but it’s like you said it’s it’s a practical reality. idea of living in a way that you’re living, what you’ve realized in those subtle deeper levels as much as possible.

Rick Archer: Yeah. Okay. So three stages on the path to liberation and we pretty much covered the the cielo one wholesomeness. Second one is Samatha are. And let me know if you don’t want to, I mean, I’m going from stuff I found in your book, if you want to go off on other directions, we can, but I thought these kind of jumped out at me, concentration or serenity Samatha. And it’s interesting that concentration and serenity would be in the same phrase, because you might not think of concentration as people, you know, the ones that are relaxation,

Tina Rasmussen: right? Well, that’s one of the first things that I do when I’m teaching is defined concentration and to talk about, you know, it’s unfortunate that the word concentration, we use it everyday language, and it often does mean like, if it’s really raining heavy when you’re driving, Oh, I better concentrate, or if there’s really bad traffic, and there’s a tightness, there’s a yeah, there’s a strain. Concentration is a natural faculty of our mindstream. It’s like a muscle that’s already there. It’s just how well developed that is. So if we think of it like that, as a faculty of the mind stream, instead of the way we would think about it, like the body language you just showed in straining, straining, yeah, if we put that aside, and see concentration, really, as this unification of mind, that’s really what’s being talked about in the concentration, serenity. And because those practices, as well as a mind stream that has coherence is peaceful, because we’re not jumbling out all over the place. I mean, think about when a person sits down to meditate, and like thoughts are just going everywhere, that’s agitation, that is the opposite, sure, of serenity. So if I use that analogy, you can see that when the mindstream comes together and settles, there’s less really what’s happening is there’s less of the hindrances and defilements, that that distortion becomes purified. And that’s why the Samatha path, that portion of the path is called purification of mind, because the mind stream itself is settling, the agitations reducing the factors that cause us to suffer, and to identify with the ego self are all being they’re all settling. That to me is really that is what the Sama to portion of the Buddhist past is really doing is bringing the mind stream together. And potentially that can lead to direct contact with non duality. And with different aspects of our deeper nature. There’s that aquatic through, there’s that laser like awareness that’s possible, that the laser like awareness is brings a faculty that the concentrations at a level that can cut through to a more fundamental perception of reality. Basically, we’re experiencing that for ourselves.

Rick Archer: So you just refer to like sitting down to meditate and having a very scattered mind, right, a chaotic mind. Let’s, I don’t know if this metaphor is apt, but let’s say you have a big pail full of water. And the the water is choppy, the pail has been shaken or something of water sloshing around. Now, you know, you could try to stop the waves in the water by pushing on them. But you’re actually going to create more waves that way. Whereas if you just let the water settle pretty soon, there won’t be any waves. So so with this whole concentration thing, you know, it seems to me there’s a fine balance between trying to suppress and letting things just settle.

Tina Rasmussen: It is and that’s one of the main things people work with is this whole. This aspect of effort that we talked about before over efforting is like pushing on the water and it’s counterproductive. So this is where so many traditions have used the breath. As a meditation object. It’s an easy one, because we have it we don’t have to do anything. And it just come back into rest and a breath is a way that we are we are challenging the grooves in the mind stream, which if left on their own, for most people will just keep continuing. So there is a way that we’re not just allowing the conditioning to run on its own of its own momentum. But to over effort becomes what you’re talking about where it is like pushing on the word water and it’s counterproductive. So there’s that’s one of the big Things that people learn in their practice, which is extremely useful for awakening. Because the concentration gives us the stability of mind where when awakening happens, it there can be continuity of that contact with or that recognition, you know, depending where one is in one’s own unfoldment it could feel like contact or could feel like resting and what my depth of what I am. But without concentration, that’s not going to really be happening.

Rick Archer: Well, once that has happened, though, do you still need to actually concentrate in any way? Or is it just a natural? I mean, you’re not concentrating right now? Are you just resting in your true nature and talking to me?

Tina Rasmussen: Well, the differences though, that without that is the faculty of the mind. Like in Tibetan Buddhism, for example, where you have the sila, the Sama tip of a pasta and the Rigpa, which is the Rigpa is the non dual. The fourth, you know, you talked about before, it’s the fourth leg of the path. Without it’s seen, you know, just through Tibetan Buddhism and the 20, or however many hundreds, 1000s of years that’s been around that if the mindstream itself isn’t concentrated, that that stability of the Rigpa, Artha nonduality, it won’t be stable. Even with awakening, it won’t, I won’t, one won’t ever forget what one is, but to become identified temporarily, with the ego self can still happen. And this I mean, don’t you think that the spiritual teachers? I mean, what this is what I always wonder, when the teacher is sitting there going, hmm, I think today I’m going to have sex with this student. What are they thinking about? They thought they don’t get that this is, maybe there’s some ego identification, in having sex with your students, and taking money out of the till, you know, they aren’t somehow getting when they’re had these thoughts are arising, that there’s something going on there. They’re identified, they’re acting out, basically, they’re acting out their instinctual drives, yeah, without even knowing that’s happening. So, but yet these people have legitimate awakenings. To me, this is this explains that.

Rick Archer: It does. I mean, I think that there can be, even when one is sort of gotten deluded to some extent, and clouded and is, you know, behaving inappropriately, once once there has been a significant awakening, there can still be the sense or at least the self assessment, that there’s this continuity of awareness. I mean, you check in there it is, it’s cognitive awareness. And, and hey, and that student looks pretty hot. But you don’t feel like you’ve totally lost it. I mean, you look at some of the more egregious examples, like Adi Da, for instance, who seem to have

Tina Rasmussen: I was thinking of him earlier.

Rick Archer: Yeah. Who seemed to be like, trying to see exactly how much pollution he could, indulgent without

Tina Rasmussen: I knew people in that Sangha. I mean, the damage the damage would so I would wonder, why isn’t he totally identified at some point? I mean, really, did he think? Did he just go, oh, well, this is all just coming out of the ground of being and it’s fine for me to be spreading my damage and poison all over the place?

Rick Archer: Yeah, really? I don’t know. It’s I keep pondering this issue.

Tina Rasmussen: To me, what is happening? And again, this is a lot of what I’ve learned from the diamond approach. The diamond approach, in my view, has incredible technologies for understanding how the personality functions and what’s happening in terms of on digested material. And that’s why I was attracted to it. But I don’t think I think that somebody like that was identified completely with their instinctual drives, and they acted them out. Hi, I don’t know how else to explain it. Did I mean? Yes, we’ll never know. Because those conversations don’t usually happen.

Rick Archer: Yeah, well, they happen here. I mean, get into this topic. But

Tina Rasmussen: what are you gonna say? Have you asked people, what do they say? People who

Rick Archer: have gotten into trouble like that? Yeah. I don’t know if I ever have point blank. I mean, in my own experience, which is always a good thing to refer to. You know, what there have been times when I feel like I’ve been a little off in my thinking or my behavior, and it didn’t feel like it. I mean, I was kind of blinded to it. by my own I mean, you know, there’s a there’s a say there’s a phrase in Sanskrit English is the blinding darkness of ignorance. It’s, it’s like ignorance by its very nature or delusion by its very nature delude you into not realizing you’re deluded, you know? And so you can kind of go ahead,

Tina Rasmussen: no, go ahead.

Rick Archer: Oh, so you can kind of go off the beam without knowing you’re going off the beam and perhaps by and perhaps still maintaining the sense that, you know, are you are this wise teacher, you’re this, you know, enlightened or semi enlightened person, whatever. And it seems from examples that we’ve seen that you can go really far off the beam, you know, before something happens, and some people did die, you know, continued on that. I mean, maybe he cleaned up his act as he got older, but he continued being the avatar that he said he was until he died.

Tina Rasmussen: I see that as a solution if he was still doing the damage that he did when, you know, the scandals were happening. To me, there’s got to be to act it out. It’s one thing to have thoughts and to go, oh, I can see that, you know, I got some personality material that say active there, but to act it out, to act it out over and over again. Yeah. To me, that’s, that’s the person is lost touch with their deeper nature, if they’re harming because basically, any other being, at least I’ll speak from my experience. When I’m functioning from my deeper nature, other beings don’t feel separate, right? They feel in a certain way. Like, I mean, this isn’t gonna sound right. Like me, oh, no, to me, that’s the deeper you know, me at the Okay. Here’s, here’s the me that, you know, here’s the me that separate, you know, my fingers. Here’s the me. Yeah, that’s one. And if I’m functioning from down here, how can how can this harm that’s

Rick Archer: exactly loving yourself, because your neighbor is yourself, right? So

Tina Rasmussen: to me, if somebody is really down here, they can’t do that. They can only act it out, I’m talking about acting it out realizing it working the material, that to me is skillful, because then you’re seeing it you’re seeing, okay, there’s something active here that isn’t coming from here that’s diluted. If you’re up here, harming here, you’re lost in delusion at that point. That’s at least that’s how I see it.

Rick Archer: Yeah. And I think there are degrees of delusion, you know, I mean, it’s not black and white situation, there are degrees. And and one explanation that, for me comes to the rescue is the notion of deflected Kundalini rising, you know, the, the Kundalini can have risen to a certain extent, and one can have a great deal of charisma and power. And I mean, you know, Robin in the, in the in the Ramayana, was said to be incredibly gifted in many ways, tremendous charisma, wisdom, power, all kinds of cities, and this and that, but he was demonic. He hadn’t fully gotten enlightened. And, you know, Joan Harrigan, who has been on the show, he describes it in great detail in her books, and about how the Kundalini can rise to a certain extent and then get stuck. And when the right one does ends up person seems very gifted and very bright and, you know, very, a lot of Shakti and they can give Shakti pot and this and that, but they’re not all the way there. They’re deflect, right? There’s,

Tina Rasmussen: I know, John, I mean, I, this is what happened when I had a Kundalini rising, that that knocked me unconscious once and went all the way up on one side, on the other side, it didn’t go all the way up. And so I sought her out for years. And it was really, it was really helpful there her understanding of their processes, very detailed in a very, very, very evolved understanding. So yeah, there could be one explanation of it. Absolutely. And this, to me is part of why working with the body, because this Kundalini rising, when they at least, like in my case, there was material, both psychological material and physical in the body material that had to be digested in order for those channels to go all the way up to the top everywhere, you know, and so yeah, there could be there could be a more mechanical understanding of what what’s happening in those cases.

Rick Archer: Yeah, it’s a theory that uh, you know, it’s something that I tried to come to terms with his you can’t deny that some of these people were eloquent and brilliant and bright and, and, you know, impressive in various ways and that’s what confuses seekers and students, you know, because they, they’re wowed by that stuff. And they can’t and so they kind of excuse or overlook or rationalize the other stuff because right, it seems like maybe that must be okay somehow because this is so impressive.

Tina Rasmussen: Right? Well, and it confuses the person. I you know, I’m convinced that the most confusing the most problematic confusion is in the person themselves. And the awakening person they awakened person, because they, they, there is a sense of reality to the awakening and the awakened understanding. And so it doesn’t make sense that there would be personality material being acted out of, and the fact that there haven’t been good technologies to work with it, I think has been a big part of the problem. So that, to me is the, that’s the leading edge of spiritual practice is how to work with what happens after awakening. And, and not just flounder around with this confusion both for teachers and students really,

Rick Archer: I know, in the Vedic literature, there a lot of stories of Yogi’s falling, you know, they, they kind of, they really get really high and they have a certain point, they somehow get too big for their britches, and they crash down, and then they have to rework their steps and kind of get back regain the ground, they lost because they had gotten tripped up by their own. Whatever.

Tina Rasmussen: Right? Yeah. And it’s there for me has a belief in karma, which I do. The Karma that we accrue after awakening, when we actually know the truth, to me is so much more than before when we’re lost in delusion. Yeah. So it’s, you know, it’s kind of a sad situation, when, when somebody who has clearly been awakened, does so much damage for them, for them in their own karma.

Rick Archer: Yeah. I hope people find this discussion, interesting. It might seem to some people that were obsessing on this point, but I get the sense that you’ve run into a lot of it, and I know, I have, and I still do, and, and it’s something I keep dealing with and thinking about processing and, and trying to kind of come to grips with and possibly in some small way do something about

Tina Rasmussen: right. Yeah. Well, I’m, it’s really up for me, because at the end of the month, I’m teaching a weekend on understanding awakening. And, you know, this is, I don’t know if people are gonna be interested in it or not, but it’s something I’m passionate about, for everybody, whether one is three, and you’re new to the path or whether one has, you know, had experiences taste of awakening, to really understand how it’s understood in different traditions and a lot of the misconceptions I think about awakening that have led to a lot of harm actually within to students and for teachers who didn’t know really what to do with what was happening in their own unfoldment. Yeah, and, and I think for all of us to get real, about what it is and to stop having this idealization of awakening, awakening is just another stage of evolution of the human experience. No one’s better because they’ve awakened. You know, I mean, the person to me the person this is part of in Buddhism, there’s Buddha nature, it’s kind of the opposite of original sin, you know, where the worst mass murderer has the same Buddha nature that the Dalai Lama has. Yeah. And so at their harm, and their contribution to the world is dramatically different. There’s inherently, inherently, we’re all the same, we’re all the same. And so that’s why to me, just because somebody has awakened, they may offer more, they may do less harm, but they’re no better. So that’s where to me that to, to kind of de idealize awakening and to have it be more practical or real, where we can really talk about what’s happening.

Rick Archer: No better than in a fundamental sense, but you know, I mean, LeBron James, and I share the same true nature. Yeah, but he’s a much better basketball player. So see, he is absolutely better as far as basketball is concerned.

Tina Rasmussen: Right. There are there are real differences in terms of somebody’s capacities. Yeah, sure. Yeah. Yeah.

Rick Archer: So we just have to come, you know, throw that in, when we say there’s no, nobody’s better or worse. Yeah, people aren’t better in certain respects. Mother Teresa was better than Hitler, you know, in in terms of her

Tina Rasmussen: terms of her impact on the world. Absolutely. Yeah. And in terms of capacities, that’s true. But I think part of why awakening is bad. Awakening has been not seeing it from a practical standpoint as part of the evolution of humanity. And so there’s big there family situations where teachers could act, act out their digested material, and no one called them on it, and they may not have even really known what to do with these things. And that, to me, is part of what’s happening in this year that we’re in where the monastic you know, we’re coming out from behind the monastery walls. and trying to function in everyday life having spouses or partners that, you know, having a sexual relationship, having money, having mortgages, having jobs, all of these things, is going to trigger all of these instinctual drives that we have. And, and so to, to kind of demystify it, where we’re not putting awakened people on a pedestal that makes it impossible to actually deal in a practical way with the realities of awakening. Yeah, that’s, that’s more what I’m saying,

Rick Archer: as well put, you know, it’d be cool as it might be hard organizes, but if there could actually be some kind of a get together of spiritual teachers, in person, not just online, kind of like sand, but without the audience, you know, just spiritual teachers, all together, hashing these things out together, discussing them amongst themselves, it might actually, you know, be a rising tide that lifted all boats to a bit

Tina Rasmussen: out, well, maybe your group will do that. Maybe it will, it to me what happened, like when, when this all happened for me, and I can see that I really wanted to keep working on the personality material, it was so taboo. It was so taboo. And I felt like,

Rick Archer: and I think I know why it was taboo, but please. So I

Tina Rasmussen: felt like, well, like when like, something was wrong with me. And too, like, I could see that other people were struggling, other teachers, were struggling with the same thing. I wasn’t a teacher at the time, I was just not a person, I became a teacher pretty quickly because of what happened, but nobody wanted to talk about it. Yeah. And it’s like, okay, if you’ve had awakening, you should be done, you shouldn’t need to talk about these things. And so it was a taboo within the teaching community. And how many teachers are going to want to come out and air their dirty laundry of the places that they still have personality material, you know, yeah, but I just feel like this was part of my path. And I want to be real, because for those people who actually want to plumb the depths of the personality material, to have people out there like me, who are saying, It’s okay, if you’ve had tastes of awakening, or awakening, and you don’t feel like you’ve arrived, it’s okay. And it’s, this is all part of the reality of the human unfoldment. You know,

Rick Archer: I was speaking with Miranda McPherson a couple of weeks ago. And she said that she’s, she makes it a practice herself to, even though she’s a full time spiritual teacher, to go and see other spiritual teachers, and also actually to sit with a therapist from time to time and work through things. But, you know, she considers herself to be, she has the humility and honesty to consider itself a work in progress, which I think everybody in the planet is if they’re still breathing, and, and she makes it a point to make sure that and you know, and this is not so unusual. Doctors go to conferences, and they they do they take extra courses to enhance their doctoring skills. And, you know, that’s typical in many professions. So why shouldn’t it be in the spiritual profession?

Tina Rasmussen: Right, it should. And and if we make it where it’s not taboo, then that becomes a lot easier. Yeah.

Rick Archer: And again, it’s not like, doesn’t mean that I mean, it does mean that you’re not perfect, and why should you try to pretend you are in danger dangerous?

Tina Rasmussen: It is, it’s, it’s the source, I think of a lot of these things that we’ve seen, you know, don’t have us all be a work in progress. And to be at different stages, like you said, there is a reality that that that we are all at different stages. But to have that humility and to be dedicated to me that to what I want for myself is to have that dedication to always continuing to explore further depth, and further freedom.

Rick Archer: One thing I’ve been meaning to ask you, this will be a bit of an abrupt shift of gears here is uh, you know, you’ve done this amazing in spiritual practice, I mean, you know, with three hours at a time and just really deep focused meditation and really, we haven’t really gotten into the, the jhanas, which are various stages of spiritual experience, but you apparently have mastered all eight of them, and spent many hours in each of them and so on. There’s, there’s all that concentrative ability make you some kind of a superwoman in terms of your regular life when you engage in a business context or something. Do you find yourself or write a book do you find yourself like with laser focus in activity?

Tina Rasmussen: Yeah, I do feel like that’s a capacitor. study that I have, I mean, I’m pretty high functioning, because like, in my business life, and you know, I work with people who are very high functioning in the world, I mean, these are extremely high functioning people and I have to be able to function equally to them in order for them to be able to be to want to work with me, basically. Right. So I, I guess that part of what I bring to that is those capacities of being able to, to move through things with certain kind of focus and intensity, and then the Vipassana and the other practices bring that fluidity, which gets cultivated by those, you know, each practice does. Each of the four categories of practice, they’ve now discovered in the brain research is doing something different to the brain to the things they can measure, but also to our consciousness. So, yeah, I I feel like it does influence my life in the world quite a lot. All of that. Yeah.

Rick Archer: Okay. Again, a little bit of a an abrupt shift. We talked about wholesomeness and concentration or serenity. And then there’s insight Vipassana, and then there’s Rigpa, you said, so let’s just kind of quickly run us through insight and Rigpa. Because I guess these are like four stages in the process of liberation, right?

Tina Rasmussen: Yeah, yeah, if you look at the, it’s sort of a little bit of a hybrid of the Tera, Vaada. And Tibetan, which is what I practice as a hybrid of the two. In insight meditation, where, where there’s a potential for insights into both our psychological functioning, which isn’t technically what the Insight means the Insight really means into a more fundamental level of reality, which would be non duality and other types of things like that. So that’s done really through examining our experience, very, with a lot of very, with a lot of precision. So on the cushion and meditation, we’re really examining the flow of experience that’s arising in every moment. And through through that we’re cultivating the ability to not get either attached to the Pleasant where we’re hanging on and then we’re going to suffer when it goes away. Because ultimately, all the all experiences change into something else. Or we’re pushing away the unpleasant experiences, which are an inevitable part of the human experience. And, you know, this is the first noble truth of Buddhism is that part of the human experiences that unpleasant things happen, you know, so that’s really what the possum is cultivating, and then is insight at a deeper level into the insubstantiality. In the way we’ve constructed, the ego self is really construct in our mind, that isn’t what we think it is that’s constructed through thought, basically. So we’re seeing through that in different ways in Vipassana. And then in if you go on in Tibetan Buddhism to Rigpa, that’s really where that practice. Again, there’s the four categories of that they found in the brain, the heart based practices, which do certain things, the focused attention, which is the concentration, the open monitoring, which is like the pasta, where really the present moment becomes our object. And then self transcending practices, which I like it, I like the sub Chen version of that the best where we’re actually selfish, that’s Rigpa, that’s where we’re, we’re going for the non duality. So in Zen, they would have, you know, practices really trying to open that up open the non duality gap, you know, a lot of different traditions, probably TM has something like that,

Rick Archer: where we fall into that category, because very often you transcend right off the bat and you’re first sitting.

Tina Rasmussen: Okay, so that would be that self transcending practice from the very start. Yeah, so So yeah, this is really where we’re, there’s the that potential to open up the awareness to non duality, where that becomes sustainable over time.

Rick Archer: And so in terms of it being sustainable, well, actually, before I talk about sustainability, how did the jhanas interface with the outline you just gave us or I take it there? I I read your book that Jhana is equivalent to the word Jhana in Sanskrit, which which is usually translated as meditation. So with these with the jhanas be like different depths of meditation, different stages, as one progresses is that

Tina Rasmussen: yeah, you can see it like that there’s the first four jhanas are considered form or material Jhana. So within those four, we’re really using objects of the meditation, like the breath, there’s 40 objects that are possible to use in the Samatha. path. But we, there’s a deepening of our, of what’s called the Jhana factors, and so that the hindrances that we’re basically moving farther and farther out of the, the ego self and the personality patterning in those, and then the second four, so jhanas 5678, are considered at all different category. That’s called formless realms, or immaterial rounds, or boundless dimensions. So these are actual, these are considered actual dimensions of experience that are boundless. And they correlate I mean, it just so happens that in my understanding, they correlate with what’s the understanding is in the diamond approach, of, of dimensions of reality, that different traditions may emphasize one dimension or another. So every tradition doesn’t necessarily emphasize, everyone like Christianity emphasizes, one that’s more heart based. Buddhism tends to be more on the emptiness side of the equation, some are more on the Unity side of the equation. So you know, there’s different this is a way of understanding the worlds traditions, that makes it coherence. But basically, each of those dimensions is, comes closer and closer to the ground of being

Rick Archer: okay, and is the final one, like get to the ground of being or what?

Tina Rasmussen: Well, you know, they in the Hindu path, going through all eight jhanas is considered enlightenment. So in the, in the Buddhist path, it’s not because the Buddha did all these he did, they ate jhanas, from which he learned from his own teachers, because they’ve been around for 5000 years, they predated the Buddha. And then he added the Vipassana because one of the things that is understood or is believed in concentration, at least in Buddhism, is that it’s it or the jhanas is that it’s dependent on a level of concentration, that if that wanes, we start falling back into some of the hindrances. So Vipassana is supposed to uproot that. And that’s that I’m getting a little technical here, but and then there’s the stages of awakening within Buddhism that go along with that. So, but the the taste of the boundless dimension, so basically tastes of non dual realms that when stable, are equivalent to awakening. So it gets a little model, because in Buddhism, they had to figure out what to do with these given that the Buddha added to it.

Rick Archer: So you yourself, as I understand it, have experienced all these realms have gone through all these stages. Have you stabilized them all?

Tina Rasmussen: What I would say is that they different ones, arise and become predominant at different times. This is where again, the 51% rule comes down, like what percent Am I now I, you know, I could take a stab at guessing a percent. You know, it? I mean, at the point of awakening, I’d say it was maybe, I don’t know, I won’t even give a percent but But that sense of being the ground never goes away. That’s what I would say in your question as the sense of what I am, never changes. But the sense of where, where is my locus? Is it more in the, in the, in the world of functioning, where there’s a sense that I mean, all of the functioning is arising from that. So that’s clear, rising from the ground, but there may be times when I’m, there’s a sense of being deeper in that ground and there may be times when their sense of being more in the functioning depends on what’s called for. Right, right. So that’s, that’s what I would say.

Rick Archer: So Ideally, we’ll actually know the question first, do you do you know many people that you have been on retreats with? Or that are students of yours, that have also experienced all these jhanas in such fine detail as you have?

Tina Rasmussen: No, it’s extremely rare. According to our, you know, my teacher peroxide out who was, you know, authorized me to teach? It’s extremely rare that anybody would attain all eight jhanas? Uh huh.

Rick Archer: Cool. Well, it doesn’t seem to go into your head. You seem pretty this

Tina Rasmussen: awakening is No, I don’t. This is when I said that. There’s no, the Buddha nature isn’t any different. And I really believe that. And that’s why to me, those are experiences I feel a sense of grace. That, and I’ve always had this fire for awakening since a very young age, I was drawn to this. So I do believe the rebirth and karma. Yeah, you know, I believe that this is just this lifetime. So unfoldment. But to take credit for it is ridiculous. Right? You know, when when one really sees what’s happening, the idea of taking credit is, it’s totally counter to what’s actually being understood.

Rick Archer: Yeah, I agree. Do you think that at the very highest levels of attainment that to the human beings attain, they would not be able to function very successfully in the world? You see somebody like Rama, who, you know, pretty much had to live a reclusive life, or maybe that was just his nature, but you think his awakening could have been lived in? You know, had he decided to have a family and run a business? Or do you think that if you really want to get up there, you have to sort of live a lifestyle like that?

Tina Rasmussen: Well, this is a little controversial in this way. So I’ll just say that before I answer. And I, I Ramanna, to me, was somebody who embodied being, you know, I just talked about the weather being on the functioning Ghana being at the ground, and he was at the ground and, and some people, a lot of people put that on a very, very high pedestal very high, that he maybe was one of the most in our, in our time, awakened beings because he was abiding in the ground. And, and I, I agree, that I experience through his teaching, but that is how I experienced his he has his embodiment and his teaching, to meet the full human experience, means living in the world. And so I don’t see Romanus embodiment as the pinnacle of the human potential.

Rick Archer: Came over said something like that when I interviewed him, too. But yeah, just be that Ramanna. You know, had a recluse dharma. That’s what he was cut out for.

Tina Rasmussen: Yeah, it’s not a criticism. I’m just saying that I like what would have happened if he had had to pay a mortgage. Yeah, what if he had 10? Children? I mean, we would have seen a totally different, this was his unfoldment. And it was perfect as it was, but I what I, to me, there’s a way that what I see happening in the, the whole evolution of consciousness is, can we function, living all of the potentialities of the human experience to be in relationship to I don’t have children, but for those who feel drawn to that, to have offspring to contribute in other ways, and still be fully functioning from that awakened place? To me, that is actually a higher bar than a Biden, because I was at a point, I’m not saying I was anywhere close to the depth of Ramadan. But after awakening, I thought I was going to go off and be basically like that be just living my awakening and not interacting with the world that much. And I think this is actually harder. Yeah, but I did is harder, and it’s causing my consciousness to have to do a lot of things that wouldn’t it wouldn’t have had to do if I had just gone off and enjoyed my realization.

Rick Archer: Yeah, I could say something similar man, I will live the monastic life for many years and kind of was bound and determined to do that for the rest of my life. But I think that, you know, nature had other plans for me. And even though it has been harder in some respects, I would say for me, at least, it’s been better. And I’m grateful that my life has taken this course. I think I think I’m much happier and more productive, more integrated and more balanced in Everything is better. Now, I look at some of my friends who stayed with that other course. And some of them are doing great. And some of them, you know, could use a little integration, but it may be a little late for him now they’re pushing 70.

Tina Rasmussen: Right? Well, that’s what I’m saying whatever person’s Dharma is if it’s to be a monastic, I have great respect for that. I’m just saying that traditionally, there was this thing, you know, monastics are Ramana and there was this pedestal, but this is the ultimate embody. This is the ultimate pinnacle of humaneness.

Rick Archer: Right? Yes, this thing we can get, you know, worrying results,

Tina Rasmussen: putting out there. I know, it’s controversial. I’ve had people, you know, even spiritual teachers kind of attack me for saying this. So that was interesting. But, but I will just put out there that coming back from Awakening, and seeing what kind of embodiment and what you just talked about with your own life of living as a regular human, what’s possible in that, I’m not saying it’s better. But what I’m saying is that I think it’s equal. Yeah. And that even the way you asked me that question, there was a little bit of an implication that, well, could we do we have to abandon regular life to get to the level of Aramoana, like level, like his level people? I don’t know that his level was higher, maybe his level wasn’t as functional. Maybe he didn’t have the flexibility to go from the being at the base to being in the functioning. Maybe that was limited in him. You know, I mean, I I’m not again, I, I have great respect for him. But I don’t know that when I see that, I see the full potentiality of the human experience, you know, yeah. So,

Rick Archer: and it’s hard to judge from the outside. I mean, if we could step into his eyeballs behind them, and see the world as he saw it, and then step into somebody else’s and see that, that we’re there, we could really measure it, but it’s hard to say. But obviously, he served a function and he had a huge impact on the world.

Tina Rasmussen: Totally. I mean, I have great respect for him. And I think there are a lot of ways to embody full realization,

Rick Archer: yeah, that’s a good way of putting it. And, and there are people who have such as Dama, behind me who’s, you know, a recluse in the sense that she’s not a householder, but who was immersed in a level of activity that would kill the average mortal in a short time, you know, dealing with everything, you know, from running hospitals, to orphanages, everyday hugging 30 million people, and yet always in this sort of amazing state of grace and never never wavering in it. So well, yeah, I guess just to wrap up this point, we’re all sort of sense organs at the end of infinite and, and sense organs each have their own function. You can’t say that the the eyes are better than the ears, which is better than the sense of smell or something. They just have different functions.

Tina Rasmussen: Right? Absolutely. They’re all they’re all manifestations, like you say they’re there. Again, they’re the fingers. Yeah, the hand and every finger is equally as good as every other finger in terms of that manifestation.

Rick Archer: Yeah, well put already. Well, we’ve been going on for a while, and they’re probably, you know, we could probably go on for as long as you just did and talk about totally different things, picking through your book in detail. But this gives people a nice taste of what who you are what you’re up to? And what should people do if they want to sort of connect with you more? webinars you have in person?

Tina Rasmussen: Yeah. There’s the website is awakening dharma.com? Or if somebody forgets that jhanas advice.com.

Rick Archer: And I’ll be linking to it from your page on BatGap.

Tina Rasmussen: Okay, yeah, so all of the teaching schedule, both for me and Steven are on there. I do work with people one on one via Skype, phone zoom around the world. So that’s an option. And there’s a new offering there’s three talks on Dharma seed lots and lots of toxic people on here those that get into the teaching more and then there’s a new offering called retreat in a box of virtual retreats. So we’re gonna start offering those food which have been years in the making I’m really excited about it where people can do home practice and get guidance if they want and not have to go to a retreat center just like what I did so but for sure times. Yeah,

Rick Archer: I like that retreat in a box. Just yeah.

Tina Rasmussen: Yeah, they don’t actually get a box. They’re all it’s all all the media streams from online but basically, you can do a retreat, you get their videos, audios. I’m sorry. about it, we’re probably, you know, very close to having that be available. The first one, so

Rick Archer: cool. So as you have some email lists that people can subscribe to be notified of these things.

Tina Rasmussen: Absolutely. Yeah, the newsletter only goes out like six times a year, and it never is shared with anyone. So you’re not going to be bombarded with emails if you sign up for the list. And that has announcements and other things on it

Rick Archer: already. Well, thanks. Really appreciated having this time with you. And it’s been fun. And I’m sure I’ll see you again, you know, probably out at sands and

Tina Rasmussen: yeah, I’ll have to come up and say hi, but time was so fast. I wasn’t sure what we’re going to talk about for two hours, but they went by really quickly. I do it getting to know you. This was fun. Yeah.

Rick Archer: All right. So let me just make a few wrap up points. Firstly, I want to apologize for the to the audience for all the dog growling noises stuff in the background, dogs barking and whatnot, dogs will be dogs. They seem particularly rambunctious today. I think because the weather’s rainy there, they sort of have cabin fever, they’ve been kind of cooped up here. But um, in any case, you know, this is not NPR or whatever. It’s kind of an amateurish operation, but we do the best we can. So this, as you know, is one of an ongoing series, and there have been nearly 500. And hopefully there’ll be at least that many more as the years roll on. If you’d like to be notified. Each time a new interview is published, please go to bat gap comm. There’s an email signup thing there. And like to know we don’t spam you or sell yourself list anybody or something, you just you get an email, but about once a week when I do an interview and put it up. And there are a number of other things you can see there too. If you explore the menus, such as audio podcasts. If you’d rather just subscribe in audio, then sit and watch videos. So check it out, poke poke around through the menus. And there’ll be a page for Tina on the site. And if you happen to be looking at this, you know, five years from now or something, there’s under the past interviews menu is a place where you can just go and if you just type in Tina, boom, it’ll come up immediately. And you’ll be able to link to her page and then bounce from there to her website. So thank you, Tina.

Tina Rasmussen: Thanks, Rick. Thanks for inviting me. It was really, it was fun.

Rick Archer: Yeah, it was and yeah, thanks for those to those who’ve been listening or watching a little hoarse this week have been cold or something. And hopefully next week, I won’t have it. I’ll see you then.