Tom Kurzka Transcript

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Tom Kurzka 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 at not interviews, conversation conversations, we’ve changed it, because that’s what they are with spiritually Awakening people. I’ve done over 500 of them now. And if this is new to you, and you’d like to check out previous ones, please go to Bat gap and look under the past interviews menu, where you’ll see them organized in several different ways. If you appreciate the show and feel like supporting it, we appreciate that that’s what makes it possible for us to do this. There is a PayPal button on every page of the site, and also a page which explains other ways of supporting it on paper. So my guest today is Tom cosca. That’s right pronunciation isn’t.

Tom Kurzka: Yeah, you’ve got to write cursive, cursive.

Rick Archer: Good. And Tom lives out in Eugene, Oregon, and has an interesting story which we’ll be getting into. I’ll just read a little bit of his bio that he sent me. over his lifetime Tom has dive deeply into inner work while simultaneously living a householder life through an ongoing revelation of living in the moment. He integrates the insights of the most sophisticated Western developed psychologies with the ongoing intuitive consciousness with which he has been blessed since the year 2000. Tom uses these skills in this wisdom to guide those dedicated and willing to go courageously inward, often finding and releasing blocks to spiritual awakening, which originated in earliest, often pre verbal childhood. After being asked to teach, who asked you to teach them?

Tom Kurzka: Several Joel morewood in 2000, and then subsequent Oh, some people here cornered me one day at me teach after I’d left the center. And then another teacher who I worked with on the childhood issues, David G. David Wallman. suggested I teach so they keep cornering me wreck, I can’t help myself. I’ve never myself gone after it. It just constantly.

Rick Archer: They say they have ways of making you teach.

Tom Kurzka: Yeah, that’s it.

Rick Archer: So anyway, Joe Moore, who has been on BatGap People want to look him up, probably Tom will be talking about him during the interview. But um, after having been asked to teach, Tom has been sharing this work for over 19 years. His sessions give attendees a taste of what he exudes a patient, tender love that is our true and connected nature. This focus on connection to the immediacy of felt sensation, enables potent transformations to readily manifest his work and presence is an acknowledgment that our beautiful imperfect human condition is completely embraced by the wide openness of life itself, even when the most uncomfortable aspects of ourselves appear. Did you do any teaching remotely like over Skype or webinars or anything? Is it all just local and Eugene area

Tom Kurzka: now I go over Skype I have a group in Charlottesville Virginia that I go out there twice a year but monthly we meet over Skype. And then I’m also like, I go on, open circle on occasion out of Berkeley. And by the way, I want to plug open circle a little bit. They’re they’re a great outfit. They have a lot of teachers that go online. They’ve been very, very supportive in this work.

Rick Archer: Yeah, I’m friends with the people who are sort of like Kent Walsh and people in different areas of open circle. Right on the Bay Area.

Tom Kurzka: Yeah, they’re good people. So check them out.

Rick Archer: Yeah. So they’re giving online things now as well as local in the Bay Area.

Tom Kurzka: Yeah, yeah, there’s always an online thing again, basically is format a lot of conversation you know, interaction like zoom call or like a zoom. Yeah, they use Zoom. So usually the sessions go two hours and you know, Pamela Wilson genius and he’s on there. Those are the two names I can think of. Sure. Okay, good.

Rick Archer: So just to finish up your bio here so throughout your life you’ve worked in numerous jobs in multiple disciplines from basic minimum wage to corporate executive from grade school teacher to construction contractor from graphic designer to writer. You’ve been married your wife, Dawn for almost 40 years and you have a daughter. Okay. So, as I recall, having read a more detailed bio, on your website, you began to have inklings of, there was something more to life from quite an early age. So maybe let’s start there and see how it unfolds.

Tom Kurzka: Okay, well, let’s start with three things. Now the first one as a little kid, maybe three, four, hard to say. I can recall, sitting in my grandma’s sort of enclosed back porch, and there was the windows were behind me. And I would look into this blue tinted mirror, which would reflect the trees and the sky behind me that are coming through the window. Right. And I would as a kid, I would just stare I mean, a three year old just staring like that not getting busy, busy, busy. So you’re

Rick Archer: actually looking at the window, but seeing the reflection of the trees. Yeah, stuff

Tom Kurzka: that right. Okay. Yeah, yeah, I’m looking at the mirror and seeing the reflection of the trees behind me and them here, and it has that blue tint. I don’t think that blue tints really relevant, but that’s what it is. And I would sit there just in trance by the trees, waving in the space of the sky. And it wasn’t until 2000, when all of a sudden I had this shift in perspective, that I realized what that little boy was looking at, you know, the the child, we don’t have the cognitive ability to go, Oh, I am feeling myself as the space as the trees as they wave through this space. That isn’t there, you’re just yet right. And so we forget that. But so I would, when that came back in 2000 went, Oh my gosh, because I was having the same experience, then I was like, my gosh, I look at the trees and the clouds. And I can feel myself as those. It’s like, I feel myself as part of those, it’s like the separation is ended. And yet I can still be separate and be that separate one as it waves through the sky or whatever. So there was that. And then maybe at age seven or so I would look in a mirror. And you know, always looking at mirrors, right? So I’m looking at this mirror in the bathroom, and I would just start looking at it. And basically, I wouldn’t know who I was anymore. It was like the thought came, I don’t exist. And for a minute, you know, everything sort of shifted my whole life wasn’t my life. It was like I was just here. And there Pete one that I remember. So that sort of like feeling the spacious sort of presence, presence, a spacious quality. The third one was, there was one time when I was like, I I was a pretty good kid. I didn’t really raise a lot of fuss. But for some reason this day, my my grandmother, my grandparents lived two doors down from my parents in Chicago. And you know, we live in these flats, these two to two story flats. And so my parents, they had us one way, they were pretty young. So they would shove us off on the grandparents so they could go party or something because all their friends were childless. Right. And so we’re at Grandma’s house. And all I remember was, I was being a brat. And she’s, she’s, I’m sitting on a chair and she’s putting on my shoes to put me outside. And every time she touched my leg to put my shoe on, it would hurt and grandma at the time she had some pain in her arms or in her body. I don’t know if it’s arthritis kicking off or she you know, she was sick or something. Every time she touched me, it would hurt me. And the response was I would kick because it hurts so bad. In other words, you’re feeling her pain. I wasn’t feeling her pain is my pain and my body. Right? She was completely a messed up in that. And then of course, you know, she threw me outside. My father came in the backyard and picked me up and took me, you know, flung me over his shoulders to take me home. It wasn’t like he’s being mean, but you know, I was being a bad kid. I wasn’t grandma. And they just remember, you know, hanging over his shoulders on the back as watching the ground. The point was, I was reprimanded from really really feeling everything at this visceral level. And so that shut down. And that’s the point we come in able to do that and because you know what parents do the environment do we start to shut down? It was like no, it’s not okay to do that. What is a little kid do that that when they’re feeling the immense pain all around them? At some point you learn to shut down Yeah, so those were early experiences that I had as a child, something something was, you know, what? No knew it, I think most really young children do have these tastes, more or less?

Rick Archer: I think they do, and maybe even all of them at some point, you know, and but, you know, I think probably it gets overshadowed to you know, varying degrees, at varying points in their early lives, you know, some probably very quickly and, and heavily, others, maybe it takes a while longer and not so heavy. But, you know, kind of the people I talked to on this show, many of them have memories of early, you know, childhood unity consciousness, and, you know, celestial perception where they’re seeing angels or something or all kinds of stuff. But then almost universally, it begins to be lost, as they, you know, approach the age of eight or nine or 10, or something. And there, they may or may not go through a wild teenage phase. And then usually in the late teens or so they they start to have this yearning to regain that, you know, and they start working at it consciously.

Tom Kurzka: Yeah, yeah, I think that’s the common human experience. We come in, we’re all this wide open vessel, and then we forget, and then we have to remember again, we really never lost it. We just got covered over.

Rick Archer: Yeah. And of course, most people don’t ever get around to doing that. But the, you know, I have, I’m sort of speaking to a select subset. With this show. And the types of people who actually, maybe the, the experience was so profound, or maybe the, the overshadow meant was a little bit less intense. And so for one reason or another, the desire to regain it gets reignited, and they, you know, get onto some spiritual path, and lo and behold it eventually regain it. Right. Yeah. So in your case, you know, as you’re saying, a lot of this stuff shut down, when you’re getting into, you know, as you’re growing up. At what point? Did you, you know, have the, the inclination to, you know, start seeking reawaken it?

Tom Kurzka: Well, I think, you know, the, I’m looking in the bathroom mirror with that eye, you don’t exist, you know, you don’t exist, that that one, unlike the, you know, looking at the clouds in the mirror, or Grandma, you know, that one, that one stayed with me. Oh, it’s like, all along, you know, I still play the game of life, but do what a kid does get in trouble, do good things do good in school, whatever. That was always, I never forgot that one. It was like, there was something in there that said, oh, there, there’s more to this, there’s something that missing. And I think it was around age 1213 Middle School, you could say that I found, you know, kind of sort of academic books on Buddhism, I don’t know how I came across it, and started reading some of that when Oh, that, you know, because I was brought up a Lutheran. Um, and you know, God was like, the big daddy in the sky. And, you know, there was Jesus, but Jesus was like, the big daddy in the sky. And, you know, all the Bible stories and everything. And I couldn’t relate this experience this experience. I, you know, when we’re talking about religion, and God was like, Well, this is this feels like this is gone. And I couldn’t, you know, make the leap to go, what were these Christians talking about here? It’s just not computing with this immediate experience I’m having, right. So. So I ran across this Buddhism book, and it was like this, you know, what they’re talking about, there’s no self, it’s nirvana. There’s just just this now or whatever. And I don’t think the language was that clear? And I thought, oh, oh, well, this kind of relates to AI. What is my experience? Right. So it got me interested in the Eastern religions

Rick Archer: as cool around the age of 12. Ish. Yeah. Yeah. It’s kind of impressive. At that age.

Tom Kurzka: No, I was a bookish kind of guy and introverted. You know,

Rick Archer: when you say you never really forgot this sort of taste of you don’t exist. Was it that you didn’t forget the memory of having had that experience? Or was there always something in your experience that you could sort of reflect on and say, yeah, it’s still here.

Tom Kurzka: Well, it would happen off and on. Yeah. So it was there, but you know, maybe more than seven years, but the intellect would go, you know, when it came up, it’s like there’s, it would remember it would really Is that experience? Yeah. Or the experience would happen again in the mirror goal is check out the mirror again to ensure no oh, there it is. You don’t exist again. Hope it wasn’t like, you know, the thing I always focused on but it was it was there in the background was deep set.

Rick Archer: Yeah. You ever talked to friends about it? You’re good.

Tom Kurzka: know, I never talked to anybody about it because I couldn’t describe it myself. Yeah. There wasn’t anyone there to talk, you know, that could relate to that. Yeah, no, I just, I stay quiet and go now it’s kind of a shy kid. You know? I could I get when I when I started to get a little crazy, you know, the teacher would every time I did something terrible, somebody always got reprimanded, I always got set on the straight and narrow again. Which is a good thing.

Rick Archer: So then, as I recall your story, one of the next most significant milestones was you took LSD when you’re a kid, or was there something before that that we should cover?

Tom Kurzka: Well, there was one more piece I want to go over when I was maybe in first grade, which I think is relevant because I always like to decipher between being the feeling yourself as the space how so I how I see it as Sir like you’re driving down a road and it’s foggy. But the fog is only up to like your the hood at the top of the hood of your car. So you can see over the fog. So there’s two ways we can experience we can be more in this space. And we can sort of override, you know, this visceral physical pain. And I was very good at that as a kid. The example I’m giving is I was in first grade. And again, I got in trouble. I heard there was an outside drinking fountain during our lunch break, and I loaded my mouth up with water and I spit it on this other kid. Jimmy. I don’t know why I did it. Though. It was funny. It wasn’t that kind of kid every so often this Miss deviousness would get in VN. So I had I forgot about it right. So I come back and after lunch and Mrs. Survey, the first grade teacher, she says, you know you come with me because the kids mother called her up and said Tom Kursk, you know, did this to my kid, right? She takes me to the janitor’s closet. And she has the yardstick and she starts beating my butt, you know, first kind of gently. And my experience was it was almost like it was up in the ceiling. You know? Not exactly that’s up in the ceiling. I was like I just watching this and you know that all the brunt force. He’s He’s hitting me and there’s the physical pain and you know, the emotional pain that she’s reprimanding me. I was just like, calm up. They’re like, Yeah, whatever. And so she starts hitting me harder and harder. She wants to get me to cry, right? Yeah, I don’t know that the time but then she gives up cuz she can’t get it. You know, here’s this, you know, six years old, getting beat by a yardstick and the kids are like taking it. Not denying it’s there. But it’s so like, he’s overriding it. And so I, she says, then at the end, she starts hitting me because she realizes she can’t make me cry. And she says, Well, when you go back in that classroom, I want to make sure that you come back in there and you cover your face and your eyes like this. And you go down on the desk like you’re crying.

Rick Archer: What the other kids think that she was

Tom Kurzka: what she wanted to make sure I was really punished. And I you know, what a sad example. Yeah. And so I just wished as a kid, you know, I mean, today, a kid today would probably go in there and go like this and then sit down at a desk and start laughing are some of these

Rick Archer: days the teacher would be fired for doing Yeah, that’s true.

Tom Kurzka: But anyway, I just wish I would have yelled, cuz I’m calling why she paid. You know, as a kid, you don’t understand these things. You know? Do you want me to do that? But you listen, you know? Interesting. Oh, so the point being is that where it was gone, the next significant thing that I always like to differentiate between someone that, you know, can be spaciously present, but they’re not totally here as a human. They’re not totally feeling the whole thing, just like with the grandma saying, I’m feeling for pain as my pain, you know, felt sense wise, not just spaciously. So the next experience was, yeah, the LSD experience. So I had we’ve already talked about I’m still have this thing. I don’t exist, right. That’s in the background. I’m interested in Eastern religion. And so I think I’m a summer of sophomore year in high school. I think I was 16 I started hanging around these guys who were doing drugs. Now some of these people in high school, I don’t know how they do it. I mean, there’d be guys, they weren’t like tripping on LSD every other day, I have no idea how they pull that off. They, they must have some filters or something. Or they be able to drive a car and stuff. I don’t know how they do that.

Rick Archer: I did that. But but it was powerful stuff. I couldn’t have done it every other day.

Tom Kurzka: So I don’t know if it’s a tolerance, or they just they just blocked because you know, to me, something like that just opens you so wide. I mean, you’re told constructed world falls apart.

Rick Archer: Yeah. You know, one comment on that a couple of months ago, I interviewed the guy who wrote how to change your mind, what’s his name, Michael Pollan, and Chris Besh about LSD. And both of those guys, you know, experimented with it, or went about it in extremely careful, dedicated way, and set up conditions such that they really went extremely inward with it, as opposed to people who might do it and then go to a party or dance or something like that. So, you know, I think perhaps what you’re alluding to, is that when you did it, there was a deep sort of inwardness, that would have precluded being able to drive a car do normal things. Whereas these other guys, you know, perhaps they just weren’t that inward, and they were able to just sort of carry on and in the relative world because of that.

Tom Kurzka: Yeah, I think you hit the nail on the head there as something like that. And you’re either wired one way, or you’re wired the other way. And again, you know, these folks that you’re talking about, you know, they were intentionally going inward. So it can like anything, anything has, everything has its place. So it wasn’t, so it was the second trip. First trip was kind of nice and fun. The second trip was like, I went to a place that was like, whoa. It isn’t just about the hallucinations you’re seeing, or the patterns in the wall, or whatever. I was like, This is not something that I want to do again, it’s scared the living crap out of me. And not literally, but I mean, it was like, Whoa, and it took me Well, no, I got to get down from that. So then it was like, about a week later, I was we were out in the park, it was at night. No, this is August, it’s summer nice and warm. And so one of my friends, we smoked some weed together. And we lay down on the grass looking up at the stars. And, you know, I didn’t really feel that high. But I was, and so I’m looking up at this, the stars in all this sudden, again, I just everything disappeared, you know, just like, I just was like this, like, like really going to sleep, you know, consciously going to sleep. And all of a sudden, when I started to come to a little bit all all I was the stars, you know, I couldn’t separate myself, I couldn’t find my body was like was just like, was almost like I was you know, totally asleep, I was conscious as the stars, you know, everything was just a meshed and merged. And, you know, I probably like that for quite some time. And then all of a sudden, something that, you know, the mind structure came back and says, what’s going on? You’re This is not good. You’re totally losing yourself, you know? And I tried to get up, you know, as I felt my body could sense of my body coming back I tried to get myself up, you know, stand up there was this urge to stand up because I thought well, this will center me and as I tried to push against the ground to stand up, it felt like the ground was like jelly. i There wasn’t anything there. And you know, which made me panic and I got up there walking around it was like well, there’s nothing behind me. It’s just this moment in in my whole world just like fractured you know, my whole constructed world was like seen through and I’m like going out like this. This is more than I bargained for. It’s a lot different than you know, looking in the mirror going you don’t exist for a moment. This was like, There’s nothing here. There’s nothing here. I don’t know who I am. There’s nothing here. And in that experience, you know, we I went home and thought it would clear and I just could never get my bearings again for the longest time and

Rick Archer: it’s time meaning days, weeks days,

Tom Kurzka: you know, so I couldn’t get to sleep at night. Every time I went to sleep I go into these Lucid dreams, and it was like, and there was no one to talk to about it, you know, nowadays, it’s like, well, you go down the block and find your, your non dual teacher or something. You know, we’re talking about what 1970 You know, they’re the only thing I had was rom das Be Here Now book. And I don’t think I saw that until a little later. So that

Rick Archer: if there had been someone to talk to about it, you could have just relaxed into it and not fought it, and it would have been okay, you would have been able to sort of move through it. You know, there’s this lady named Suzanne Siegel, she’s not alive anymore, but she wrote a book called collision with the infinite. And, you know, she was in terror for 10 years when she had an awakening because she was fighting it the whole time. And then finally, finally, she relaxed and it was fine. But you know, it’s kind of mad. And I’ve heard that described also, that people can have a genuine, you know, awakening to, you know, self realization, or cosmic consciousness or whatever. But without knowledge, it can be a terrifying experience, and they can misinterpret it and struggle against it and just, you know, make a big mess of what could otherwise be a real blessing.

Tom Kurzka: Well, yeah, exactly. I mean, if someone had been there to, you know, that they understood the territory, say, Oh, this is going on, you know, they would know. I mean, I do this with people when they’re freaking out. It’s like, well, just come here. Just come here. Be the felt sense here. Don’t let the mind don’t fall the mind reacting to it trying to move away making you crazy. Yeah, so. So yeah, so I couldn’t get to sleep at night. And that one on three days, not being able to get to sleep. And then at some point, I was, and I stayed in the house, you know, I wasn’t seeing my friends. So I didn’t know it’s like isolated at least I could have gone to one of my drug friends and maybe talked about it.

Rick Archer: Again, here if you couldn’t get to sleep. And you mentioned that when you try to get to sleep, you would start having lucid dreams. Yeah. So again, it seems like maybe you could have gotten to sleep except you were afraid to because it was a relinquishment of control or something or a surrender into something that you didn’t know what it was. That’s why you couldn’t sleep right? Well, yeah,

Tom Kurzka: it was fear. You know, what drop off, you know, fear if, you know, the thing with fear is you’re afraid of fear. It just escalates. You know? Yeah, you know, that is exactly what was going on was the fear was keeping me up, Quinn drop off to you know, blow the lucid dreaming to just drop so. So eventually, I think it was the third day of this. I called up one of my friends and I wanted to go over, you know, just just to get out of the house because I’m hiding from my parents, you know, my parents don’t know I’m doing drugs, I’m being bad, right. And, and so I talked to him on the phone, I he answered the phone, but then, you know, I was just after three days and no sleep and all this going on not being able to get down I hallucinated his voice and it just and then I felt like you know, something, not that you can feel inside your brain but something just, I could feel this. You know, like buzz through my brain and like, I was almost like, hit with a hammer and I just felt oh my gosh, I am going crazy. I am going crazy. I am going to totally go nuts. And so I ran and told my mom what was going on. Which then got me into the eventually into the psychiatric lace. Yeah. And they gave me I don’t know what they gave me. It was a nice drug. Maybe it was out of band or something. I don’t know what they had back then. But it calmed me down. I do remember. You know, they took me in the ambulance. Like this is a big deal. Right? And um, so they

Rick Archer: wheeled me into the hallway. Your mom couldn’t just drive you down? No, no, cuz,

Tom Kurzka: no, I was. I basically woke up I finally did drop off to sleep that afternoon after I told her and I think the doctor we took me to the doctor, I think gave me a little bit of a downer. So I was able to go to sleep but then all sudden, I came to and I couldn’t. I knew who I was, but I couldn’t I couldn’t find my mother or my body. And it’s like it was almost like I was in this tunnel trying to get out and again this fear is escalating. I remember grabbing on to her trying to get get back into this reality. And I think that just wrecked her out. So she called the ambulance. And so they put me on this stretcher. Ambulance dramatic. And yeah, it was dramatic but what she did do she’s this is this is like new territory for her. She’s heard all these scare stories about drugs, you know, and your son has done LSD and whatever. So so we’re in the hospital and I don’t even think she came Long in the ambulance, you just let me go. So they had me on a stretcher in the the hallway and I’m coming. I mean, I’m freaking out, I’m losing my mind, you know, this is this paranoia is this going through and none of the staff is doing anything about me. They’re just doing about their business. And I’m laying down in the table going, I’m really losing, I’m really losing a wire they come in to help me. And finally, after about like a half hour, this, I finally stood up, and they say, Oh, you finally decided to stand up. I was like, I was looking around. I was like, they’re not making a big deal about this. And I will look around when we’re making a big deal on this, what’s going on? So anyway, they gave me a drug, and I slept that night, that was on valium for a while, and that was, but I kept having these the same thing I’m disappearing. You know, it’s like, I felt like there was a black hole constantly chasing me even after I stabilize. And so there was this again, the spiritual impulse. There was this curiosity, what is going on here? There was I want to find out what this is. And then there’d be this other button? No, no, no, don’t go there. Don’t go there. And so that was my life. From then on until I was age, what 4045? I think 2000, something like that. Yeah.

Rick Archer: So for like 25 years or something. You were kind of like, on a seesaw between wanting to know what this was, but then afraid of it and backing off. You’re just sort of like this limbo state all those years.

Tom Kurzka: Yeah. So I would do like, I, you know, read more books. I did transcendental meditation. You know, Bruce Randall, by the way, he was the guy that turned me on to Transcendental Meditation, then ring a bell come

Rick Archer: to mind, I might have met him. I was, I was a TM teacher for a long time. And I was on the East Coast, mostly, but um, don’t remember Bruce.

Tom Kurzka: He would have been at the University there in Fairfield for a bit, I did visit him there one summer,

Rick Archer: Dave ramble here who died a few years ago.

Tom Kurzka: Anyway, doesn’t matter. I just curious on that, since you’re Fairfield, Iowa, I thought about Bruce. So. So anyway, I did Transcendental Meditation. And that was kind of nice. It’s sort of settled me. But the problem I had with that was I get very spaced out with it, I would really get lost in the thought where, you know, it’s kind of sort of not really here and my bond during the practice, or during the practice during the practice. And when I was sort of, you know, during the

Rick Archer: practice, you’re not supposed to be necessarily functional in activity, because you’re withdrawing the senses from their objects and going within. So that’s not really a problem. But some people get spacey even afterwards, because they don’t stabilize it or integrated enough. You know, you don’t engage in dynamic activity as much as they should.

Tom Kurzka: Well, it for me, it was like the the meditation was, I couldn’t stay on the mantra is to stay very close to like, you’re actually now. But back then, you know what I was told later, when I went through a psychic awareness class, she says, you know, you’re not your body, you’re spacing out too much. And so it’s more active kind of meditation, but then later, I was into self realization fellowship. You know, I took Kriya Yoga, I did critic for many years, and you know, hardcore meditator, you could say, But, so there was that going on. But if you talk to my wife, she she, once we get on this conversation, there’ll be times be driving in the car one time fact, lots of times the motion in an airplane, or driving a car would bring this black hole experience on. And she always talks about one time, we were driving back from Eastern Oregon, and I was just having a big time in the car, I couldn’t find the car couldn’t find my body. And I was like, flailing around in the car looking for something to grab on to. And she’s saying, you know, I just, I just always felt like everything was going to disappear and explode like, you’re nothing really here. So,

Rick Archer: I mean, I don’t see that as pathological. I mean, something like that could be but I have a feeling like you had one foot in the transcendent, to the extent that it wasn’t integrated well with your relative experience, such that, you know, things could sort of shift you into that state. And then you had trouble functioning in the relative I mean, obviously, eventually, and probably you’re there now. You have to integrate it so that you can be as deep and profound As anyone can be, and yet you can drive the car and pay your taxes and you know, do all the concrete mundane stuff that needs to be done. So it’s a matter of integration.

Tom Kurzka: Yeah. Well, that that was the process. So, so that was my life until I, Dawn, my wife dragged me to the center of sacred science one day, and she had been going there for a year and my my part that didn’t want anything to do this, I don’t want to go there. I don’t want to do this. I know where this is gonna take me. Right. And, but yet, you know, the the curious part says Yeah, but why not? So anyway, actually, Joel Jones, a good guy. He was the first guy that said, oh, you know, you have fear, you know, fears. Just fear. Right? So,

Rick Archer: you’re referring to Joe morewood. More show more, which has been on BatGap If people want to look that up, and then there’s a link to the Center for sacred science there on his page. Go ahead.

Tom Kurzka: Yeah, he, he’s, he’s, he’s a very knowledgeable, you know, he

Rick Archer: is I remember that about him. In fact, I think when I interviewed him, he had a huge bookshelf behind him when I was young I can do is like all this other stuff,

Tom Kurzka: you guys niches, seeing that in all this stuff, you can find that every mystical tradition, every religious tradition has this mystical element to it. There’s so what was beautiful about him was that when I would talk to the monks and self realization fellowship about this, that, you know, they say, well, you’re supposed to feel bliss, you’re supposed to feel joy. Well, you know, I do get some joy, don’t get me wrong, but it’s like, you know, when really, really, I start booking on meditation, it turns into this. There’s nothing here. Right? So anyway,

Rick Archer: typically, those monks didn’t have that understanding in their toolkit, you know, because it is pretty universal. I mean, there probably hundreds of interviews that I’ve conducted in which that kind of topic comes up, you know, about the sort of the, the, you know, the the more difficult aspects of the path and the dark night of the Soul and all that kind of thing. Well to be maybe they just hadn’t gone through it themselves. Well,

Tom Kurzka: to be fair, there was only two I talked to and the first guy he was, he wasn’t the high class monk, you know, and he was the one that says, you should, you should go to some therapy or something. You got psychological problems. The second guy santosha Nanda, who is really a very beautiful being he, he did, he was helpful. He did get it. I don’t remember what he told me to do, if anything, but then you know, we read the complication down it. summarization, fellowship. So there’s only like a day, you know, in there’s a wine to talk to these guys. And everyone wants the superduper monks. And so you know, you only get your five minutes, and that’s it. But anyway, so I don’t want to say they

Rick Archer: don’t want to time a friend of mine was going through a real spacey phase like that. Yes, Maharishi what he should do in March, she said, go get a job loading trucks. That helps some time. Just something really

Tom Kurzka: physical. I remember I had one friend, you know, he knew one guy, you know, he totally, you know, had one of those ultimate said, disappeared. He spread all over. And that advice was eat some meat.

Rick Archer: Say that to smoke cigars? Whatever. Something grounding? Yeah. Although I would suggest there are ways of doing that. Don’t pollute your nervous system, not necessarily polluted. I know plenty of beautiful people who eat meat, but you know, their ways of integrating and stabilizing, but there definitely is this thing about, and maybe this, maybe not everyone can relate to this. But if you’re doing a lot of spiritual practice a lot of meditation, it needs you need to be great. You need to get grounded, you know, and you need to alternate it with something grounding. I mean, I played pickleball, seven hours a week, which is a very intense physical sport. Not that I would be a space cadet if I didn’t, but it’s just it feels really right, you know, to have that intense activity.

Tom Kurzka: And well, I do building construction or gardening or something like that, guys, just to get your hands on something every once in a while if you’re here. Yeah. Or walk. But so anyway, at the center, under you know, Joel, more wood at the Center for sacred science, some. He’s very big on, you know, practice. And so, this is this, you know, before I was other than the Buddhism books that I had read, it was that was following more of a Hindu tradition. You know, Maharishi is from India. And sure, you know, Yogananda is yeah, it’s the Buddhists have, you know, they’re a little more scientific about it. And so, you’re shaking your head.

Rick Archer: Yeah. Yogananda and marshy both emphasized science a lot. Yeah. They they really thought that it was important for all this stuff to be scientifically verified by them.

Tom Kurzka: Right. They did that I think I think in terms of the practices, some, at least for me, there was a more of a concrete approach. I mean, I was doing actually, I got this from Pema children, you know, her book start where you are the, basically, to me the first 10 pages are the whole book and that thing for me anyway. And the

Rick Archer: kind of practice that Joel was advocating at the time and his practice.

Tom Kurzka: Well, what No, well, Joel has just a basic breath meditation, you know, you just wander, you come back to the sensation of breath, you wander again, you’re not just that’s your anchor, right? Yeah. So what, what I sort of morphed that into was, will they I think they call it shamatha. To where I would just that out breath, I would just do anything when the odd breath came was the out breath. And so I would get into these bouts of fear you know, the black hole is coming in what’s going to happen and and so every time that happened, I would out breathe into it and just sort of sigh again integrating the body and coming here right rather than going into mental and all this is going to happen this is going to be once I think that will mind takes off. I mean, it can go places, right? And yes, a tricky little devil. And so I i Black Hole, like I can’t feel my body, where’s my body? Mind freak out. And then next out breath comes in. It will be like a sigh and like feel myself coming out of this mental thought land place. Wow. So

Rick Archer: each breath would be a wave of it. So yeah, wave after wave after

Tom Kurzka: wave. That’s interesting. And so let’s start to feel you know, at first read this intense fear in the body, right? Read out into that fear. But what I learned was that intense fear which is the mind’s worst enemy it’s you know, it’s like a dog trainer run right? I breathe out into that when I found if I just was in that raw felt sense of that fear energy. It was like it got me here and there was a good okayness it was like it was like a relief. It was like it’s not so bad. It’s like there’s nothing here but that’s an idea right? I’m here something is here this intense fear it’s here. And so I I just did that and again the the Center for sacred science, you know, always talking about oh, you’re going to get your Gnostic awakening if you keep at this, you know, this carrot, you know, and in doing this practice, after a while, it’s like, I didn’t care about a Gnostic awakening. It was like what it was just it was so rich just to sink in the here. But there was no

Rick Archer: sounds like the Gnostic awakening happens. Just carrot guy, your mouth.

Tom Kurzka: You’re gonna get this and you’re everywhere. All the other fellow students are going yeah, we got to we got to get this. We got to get this but yeah, but awakening. Yeah, it’s like, like he said, The Gnostic Awakening was sort of like seeping through. It’s like, No, it’s okay, just to be here. And so it just got to be so. So nice. It was just like, No, I’m just here. And it’s not to say that the black hole fear when you come up, but there was a way of going, Oh, it’s like a welcoming of it, so to speak, rather than a running?

Rick Archer: Do you have an explanation for what was causing this fear? Maybe now in retrospect,

Tom Kurzka: fear of annihilation and losing my pseudo constructed self? Seeing that it’s a fake? Just, it’s the mental construct. Yeah. I mean, that’s very scary. And basically, it was the that construct freaking out it wasn’t the real me freaking.

Rick Archer: Yeah, that glad you said that. Because I don’t think it would have been an intellectual fear of annihilation. It’s more like a visceral fear, based upon the fact that the ego structure is actually starting to dissolve. And when it does, that there’s a sort of gut reaction to resist the resist dissolution, you know, because it wants to retain its identity. And I’ve seen this many times in conversations with people but it’s kind of like this threshold that has to be crossed, in which the ego just relaxes and dissolves. And there’s a fear that comes up as we approach that threshold much like there’s a turbulence that arises if we’re flying a jet close to the speed of sound, and you know, it gets really turbulent as you cross the sound barrier and then

Tom Kurzka: smooth. Yeah, yeah, there’s that transition point, isn’t there? Yeah, at that point in between that’s that that real rough place. So, so that was going on, you know, this just sort of sinking and just just being present in this okayness with uncomfortable sensation or uncomfortable energy you could say. And so we went on a five day retreat center that Joel and his, his firstborn on Chico, he used to call her firstborn, the firstborn, that he recognized as having the first Gnostic awakening under him. She, they were co teaching, and all I’m doing, I’m going there, and you know, the fear would come up on disappearing, I’m spreading out. Still doing the same sort of practice. Okay, breathe out here. And there was one night on the retreat, I think the fourth day, where all the sudden, you know, I just felt so connected everything everything was I was like, I was in this zone, you know, anything I touched or did was like, doing itself, so to speak. And so, going, wow, wow, I can’t believe this. I can’t believe this, right. I mean, the structure had been so closed down, and it’s like opening, like, what’s going on? This is incredible. I mean, and so I went to Joel that night, and I, I told him, I said, Well, Joy, I think I think I’m waking up. I think I’m getting enlightened is when I think I just yells at me. Who was who’s getting enlightened, who’s getting enlightened because nobody gets it. It gets itself, right. It’s that old thing, right? You know, he’s just like, harping on me says, I want you to go to the last night of the retreat. Right? So the next day, it’s maybe it’s the fifth day I can’t remember was the last night of the retreat. So the next morning, we’re leaving, right? And so, so he says, You, you, you, you go back to your room, or go back in the meditation hall? And don’t you give up until you see that you’re enlightened? Right?

Rick Archer: If you’re eating dinner with Joe, and you say, please pass the salt. He doesn’t say who wants the salt?

Tom Kurzka: No, no, he says, give you the salt. Sometime I was called Teaching with him and leading them on, you know, well, you know, it’s all sensation, you know, if you don’t follow the subject object thing, you know, and you’re in the diner, like, you hear the coffee part going, you know, it’s just it just sound is just sound right? And I’m leaving him on this. And then Joel has to correct me. So as well. You know, it also means that the coffee’s ready. Yeah, exactly. Yeah. Which is true. We interpret the sound right. Right. So it’s both it’s out which we couldn’t function. Yeah, you can still have the thought of it. But you can also see that, you know, the thought is just another arising. And so anyway, so we go, what happened then?

Rick Archer: So you he sent you to the room? He said, you know, go go there. And, yeah.

Tom Kurzka: So all night long. All of a sudden, I’ve lost this beautiful in the zone state. You know, I’m like, sitting there trying to get it back. And I can’t get it back. And I can’t be back. What am I going to do what I’m going to do, you know, my time is almost up. And so I think it was that night. It’s like four in the morning and I’m just lying there, my bed awake. And just in this very peaceful place. I’m listening to the sounds of the birds is there chirping in the morning. And just like, there’s no thought just, you know, I just feel myself as the bird but just just wonderful, right? It’s like, oh, something’s going on. Something’s going on. Stay with a Tom stay with it. And then all of a sudden, out of the blue, the mind comes back in and think some dumb thought. And one of the things I’ve been doing all along in the outbreak, when the mind would come back and think I would sort of give it compassion was like, yeah, it’s okay. It’s okay. There wouldn’t be I was getting rid of this beat up syndrome that we all have, you know, it’s like, what’s the matter with you, you’re bad meditator or you should revert right? And so there’s this welcoming of that, and that, you know, sometimes that repetitive practice, you think, Oh, why should they just say you too? What’s the point of that something builds behind the scenes. And so I’m sitting there and all sudden the mind comes in, is there a peaceful open place in the mind comes back in which it always does. What are you going to do about it? And and all of a sudden, you know, the little boy says, What’s the matter with you? You are almost there. Usually I had it man. But then the Oh, you’re okay to came in. And this again is like a mystery. You can’t win this when it opens like this you can’t it’s like the mind doesn’t get this the mind, you can set the table per se but you can’t. You can’t make it happen something all this sudden, this aha, very, very deep film, I don’t even know where it was said, saw that the thought of the mind was exactly the same as the sound of the burns, there was absolutely no difference. The whole thing was equal. Yeah, we can talk another

Rick Archer: sensory experience, right?

Tom Kurzka: We can talk about that intellectually, but when it’s grok, the way it was grokked was like, all of a sudden, everything spread out because, well, we’ll we’re, I have these special thoughts, right. They’re like a bird all over the place. And, and so it was like something really fractured at that point, something so fractured. And so, and then, of course, at the morning breakfast, Joel and saying, hey, you know, you haven’t seen it yet. You better get busy and go for it, you know?

Rick Archer: Sounds like he’s a bit of a taskmaster.

Tom Kurzka: Oh, he he’s a teddy bear. Mostly. But you know, he ever told me later since I was so harsh on you, you know, but he needed to be it was it was part of the game. Really? Yeah. And I could see it, you know, as part of the play, I always didn’t really feel that harsh to me. It was sort of like, it was sort of like, you know, when teachers do that, and they’re doing that in a compassionate way, not the effective way. It was breaking something down in the mind. And the mind says, I got to do it. I got to do it. And like breaking that down. I can’t do it. I can’t do it. Yeah,

Rick Archer: like a football coach. And come on you guys. Yeah, keep pushing? Yeah. Sometimes you need a little bit of a coach like that. There’s a few thoughts that what you’ve been saying have come right to mind. One is that I think that what you were undergoing was not just a mental or psychological transformation. It’s a physiological transformation. Absolutely, you know, both the gross and the subtle physiology have to undergo this shift to a new style of functioning in order for the consciousness or the awareness, to be in a new style of functioning. And, and that doesn’t happen on a dime, you know, that they talk about neuroplasticity, the brain’s ability to change its structure and function. But you know, that doesn’t happen in an instant. It takes time for the neurons and whatnot to reconfigure themselves. So it’s good to know that because if a person feels that it should happen instantly. It’s a misunderstanding. And and they’re just going to have to sort of let nature run its course to a certain extent.

Tom Kurzka: Yeah, well, that’s what I always tell people. It’s, it’s don’t push the river. It, there’s a wisdom to the unraveling, you know, you let it do your unraveling. Because you’re right. It’s it’s everything is getting rewired on every single level. And that takes time. You know, it, that’s what people will burn their circuits out of, they just push and push and push. It’s like, I had that too. There was times when something would really open. You know, prior to this meditation retreat. And one time, it was just sort of like, again, I felt this black hole, like I couldn’t get out of it. And again, I was curious versus no. And finally, the movement was okay, go downstairs, go on the internet and distract yourself. And back then it was really slow. We’re talking about 1999 Where you have dial up, you know, of course. That was it was like, a whole half hour until I could get back, you know, to my normal sense. Yeah. And so sometimes distracting yourself is really important. It’s like, Don’t push it. Take a break. You know, when you need a break, honor it? No, don’t Yeah, or hear

Rick Archer: it. Sometimes you read about these stories, you know, the yogi’s who were so extreme, they would sit in the snow all night, you know, and cut off their arm in order to impress the Zen master that they were serious and all this stuff. And I think it can instill a certain amount of overzealousness in seekers, I mean, on the other hand, don’t be lackadaisical and lazy about it. There’s a certain but there’s a certain balance to be found and that balance is going to be different for different people. There’s a verse in The Gita which reads, because because one can perform it, one’s own Dharma, the lesser and merit is better than the dharma of another So, you know, we can’t all be the, the Superman yogi who does this intense routine and you know, 24 hours a day and never sleeps and you know, does nothing but meditate. I mean, the average person tries that and like you said, he’s gonna fry circuits. It’s gonna sit himself back not progress.

Tom Kurzka: Well, the other thing, keep in mind, everybody’s path to knowing who they are is slightly different. And just like every, every human delusion is slightly different. So one size never fits all. Yeah. And so to compare yourself to, like a Ramana, Maharshi, for instance, mean what happened with me, you know, he writes, he was 15 years old, and he has this death, you know, experience exploring what happens if I die and all of a sudden he is just like everything is go to the mountain and just sit and let rats Croc knock on my leg. And it’s like, there he came. It’s sort of like Mozart. You know, Mozart was at five years old, five year old, he came with something. So they’re wiring where they were at is very different. So we all think, yeah, I’m gonna hit this little awakening, and then I’ll be like, Ramana Maharshi? No, good luck with that, baby. Yeah.

Rick Archer: No, it’s good advice. You know, one phrase you just said, Don’t compare yourself with others. I think that’s very important. You can drive yourself crazy, comparing yourself with others, you know, do what’s right for you. We each have a Dharma whichever a course of action that is most conducive to our evolution. And we do best to follow that. And that can mean raising a family or, you know, having a job or what, whatever circumstances seemed most conducive to the life we’re living. Okay, so the account. Yeah, I think you’ve just about wrapped up the account. You were telling us you were there on the retreat, you’d stayed up all night, you’re down at breakfast, and Joe Morehead is still yelling at it, but it’s got a bad rap. I don’t know. He’s a great guy. We’re just teasing them a bit. But, um, sounds like that was your watershed moment there. Well, as more or less,

Tom Kurzka: actually went on, it was like we left a retreat. And, you know, to me, what, one of the worst, there’s lots of watershed moments, but really, that the most, you know, the biggest one, I’d say, you know, what, what Joel, we refer to as a Gnostic awakening. And after that, me, it went on, you know, I went to another teacher, David Waldman, but, but that, that night, coming back from the retreat, you know, went to sleep that night. And in the morning, it must have been like four, again, always early in the morning. There’s this thing, again, we talked about the transition between the street you know, knowing that this structure, that structure in my world comes back for design, this vastness, that place where I just wake up, when we just wake up, you know, that’s the transition. And that would always be like a very, very difficult thing for me, because all of a sudden, you’re you’re just, you’re just the primal suit, you know, there’s no, no way looking. It’s, you just did, there’s no one here, right? But that’s what it what it is right now. Right? So when the world comes back in to feel that coming back in and touching this human experience, this thing, I mean, it’s, it’s, it’s a shock, it’s a shock. And that used to generate fear during this time. You know, oh, where’s my where’s my body? Where’s this? Where’s this? You know, this whole thing going on? Right? So this time when I woke up, it was like, rather than the fear came in, but then the response was so tired and just relaxed, you know, tired can be very exhaustion can be very useful. So there’s just this exhaustion, it’s I can’t keep doing this. And it wasn’t so much a story. It was more like a visceral feeling. And so I got up to got up and thought, Well, what should I do now? And well, maybe I should meditate and the thought was so tired to meditate. It’s like, I’ll just make myself a cup of tea. Just like just as everything is just sort of flowing and there isn’t a looking for a thing. It doesn’t really matter. It’s not like I don’t care. I don’t but it just everything just okay. Here I am, right. And I’m making a cup of tea. And I again one of those just like the bird thing with the thoughts, you know, something all of a sudden I was at the counter making the tea and I looked up across the room, and I think I blanked out for a moment, you know, just something just blanked. And when I looked again, I mean, I was looking, you know, as a child, I knew myself as the room, I knew myself as the cloud. And all that’s when it came back was is that what that kid was looking at? Everything was myself. Everything was myself, not by ego, self. But, you know, the ego self was a reflection off of it, just part of it. But I just looked around looks like, wow, I was looking at this whole time. There was a recognition what was always there, it wasn’t some bells and whistle things, although it had bell and whistle quality, it was so ordinary. It was so ordinary, that was extraordinary. And all of a sudden, I was just like, every little thing was so connected. And no, then later that morning, I’m just I think I told Dawn, you know, what had happened, and we had to take our daughter had to go to the doctor. So I took her to the doctor, you know, here just says blasted opening, right? And so what what in the life rather than, you know, going and sitting, it’s like, no, we’re going to the doctor, we’re taking our 16 year old to the doctor, and I’m sitting in the waiting room unless she’s seen the physician. And this little kid, they had, she had these shoes on that when you move they they flashlights.

Rick Archer: Yeah, I’ve seen those. Yeah, yeah.

Tom Kurzka: Well, I’d never seen those before.

Rick Archer: Some Asian or what?

Tom Kurzka: No, no, I can’t be fine. Their mind puts it together know that there’s got to be a little flashing lights going on. So know that that was, you know, that was, you know, really knowing the space and, you know, opening the head center and opening the heart to certain extent opening the belly to certain extent. But, you know, it just went on after that I can go more into what happened later.

Rick Archer: Now, I’d like you to actually, because I’m glad you said to a certain extent, because a lot of people conceive of awakening as being some endpoint, you know, after which there’s no more development. And even some people who had an awakening think that it’s finished. And eventually, I think most of them discover that it isn’t. But I’m quite interested in sort of post awakening types of development. I think that needs to be better understood. So let’s keep talking about that. Yeah.

Tom Kurzka: So okay, good. I’m glad we’re going there. Because to me, that’s, that’s more important. I think there’s two types. You know, there’s a type, like, in my experience, at some point, there was a definite demarcation. It’s like, oh, that’s it. Right. And I think there’s also people again, everyone does this differently. There’s also the losers, ya know, that kind of goes into it. And you can’t find one sharp point. And usually the storyline is, Oh, it’s this sharp thing. One minute. I don’t know. And then I do.

Rick Archer: Yeah. But anyway, but is a relatively sharp thing as it somewhat was in your case. It still keeps going.

Tom Kurzka: It keeps going. Yeah. Because again, as I described before, there’s a spacious element to it. Like I said, the head center open there’s, I couldn’t believe a thought anymore. Maybe when I was believing a thought it was like, I just that that part, it’s just done. It’s like, yeah, sure, I can entertain them. But sooner or later, they just pop it’s like, yeah, right. Right. So but there’s the belly Center, which is

Rick Archer: just one second before you get into that. So when you say you couldn’t believe a thought anymore? Does that mean you didn’t have opinions? Or you didn’t have like a particular political candidate, you’d want to vote for over? Oh, yeah, that kind of

Tom Kurzka: stuff. You know that. I still get that. But But it’s like, I have my opinions. I have my preferences. And and I can follow them and sometimes get kind of heated about them.

Rick Archer: But they’re not as sort of solid or compelling or something.

Tom Kurzka: Because Because when I say I can see through thought, it’s like when you have the experiences like well, the thought is no different than a bird. Eye. How can you how can you take it too seriously, it’s like it becomes a game that sometimes in the moment, the thought is right on and the reality of the moment it has relevance, but then it no longer. You know, it was relevant for that moment. Otherwise, it’s this conditioning that we play, but I still entertain them. Sure. I’m a Democrat, you know, yeah, you are two sides. I listened to the confusion out there and I go, Oh, no, maybe. Well, I’m not right. I don’t know. I mean, I think I’m right, but who knows for sure. You know, there’s lots of different ways of viewing all this stuff. I like to help people.

Rick Archer: Yeah. Yeah, you know, it’s like, people tend to want to think in black and white terms, like, and these people are completely wrong and our people are completely right. Or, you know, my religion is the only way and everybody else, everybody else is going to hell and all this stuff. And I like to sort of think only let’s look at it from God’s perspective. And since everything is God, all these perspectives must be God’s perspective. And obviously, there’s a great diversity of them. They’re just different sort of, you know, different blind men feeling the elephant, which is not to say that there aren’t certain things will value over other things. But everything all is well and wisely put it just kind of be an ocean, you know, and contain everything rather than just being well, you actually, you have a little quote here from Rumi that I picked up off your website. Good point to read it. He said, We are not drops in the ocean, each of us is the entire ocean in a drop. In other words, we are the beloved being personal, not a separate one who has a personality. We are so interconnected in this beauty as it expresses itself personally inside its vastness. One moments are very big. And another moment so close and intimate. There’s a Sanskrit saying, which goes, no Renea Mahatama here, which means smaller than the smallest bigger than the biggest. And anyway, taking him there.

Tom Kurzka: Oh, that’s so sweet. So sweet. So anyway, that’s, that’s what I mean. It’s like, yeah, I can have thoughts, but the thoughts don’t have me. Sometimes they have me that’s still goes on as part of God too, right? I mean, it’s like anything goes basically what you see you you can’t take, I become position less, even when I’m taking a position. So, so anyway, so to get back with, you know, one of the things that I see again, is we have this we could have a very sharp pronounced awakening, so to speak. But if you’re if you really and maybe like your Ramana Maharshi even then, you know, it went on for him. It’s not to say it didn’t. It sure sounds great for a bright years or even Yogananda, you you read about I love to read I got a biography book on him written by a journalist and you find out oh my god, he was fretting about money all that. Phil Goldberg. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah, that recently, right. And, you know, you find him he was gone through bouts of sadness. And like, I mean, he was ostracized so much. But anyway, so you we emulate these people we tell stories about them says, Oh, they’re so perfect. There’s nothing wrong in that he does one one time one hidden story was the at the lake shrine his his houseboat was starting to sink. And no one tells us officially but he was like, freaking out. He was yelling get out there. Get out there get the boat. Good thing he did, right. But he’s like, freakin you know, he’s not some calm, actively calm guy right now he is like, get that boat, don’t let it sink. So. So it’s good to see it’s it doesn’t look a certain way. If we make these stories, and we emulate these people, but they’re just imperfect human beings like everybody else. So part of the beauty of being human. Yeah, either perfect or imperfect. So to get on with the, the ongoing where we were going, so there’s this post awakening. Opening, you could say, let’s call it that. And I can recall that the fear I talked about it, you know, it would still crop up and the teaching was, you know, the center teaching was well, it’s just phenomena arising in consciousness. There’s nothing you need to do about it. Right? Which, if you really could, I was curious about it. I wasn’t going to get lackadaisical about that. So I ran across another teacher, David Waldman, also known as David G. I think he calls himself David G right now. Mostly, and you know, he is working mostly with the heart, you know, you just go and you sit there with him and you do nothing, basically, but sit. No real hardcore practice. You just set the tone or Yeah, no, we just sit we don’t do anything else. He is a devotee of Ramana Maharshi you know, that’s his supposedly lineage. So you know very beautiful being an again imperfect human being too as we all are. So anyway, we I started going there and he said, What you know what your eyes are really, really clear. This is but there’s, there’s a piece that you’re missing. And so I went on one retreat, and the fear was coming up, the fear would come up around him sitting like that, again and again, the beauty now is like, it’s like that, that that awakening is sort of like that. So it’s climbing to the top of the mountain. And so you hit this plateau, and it’s like maybe three months of honeymoon, and then all of a sudden, well, now more stuff is moving through, but you’re on the downhill slope. You know, you don’t believe you’re a doer anymore. It’s sort of like you’re coasting. It’s still hard. But it’s not like it was you’re not seeking, you know, you’re there so to speak. It’s all okay.

Rick Archer: But sort of like nature’s doing the work for you. Right. Right, which it was in the beginning, too. But

Tom Kurzka: now you know it. Now you experienced that. Yeah, you’re being baked. Right. So let yourself be baked. And so

Rick Archer: actually, it can accelerate at that point. You know, because the, because an ocean can dissolve clumps of mud a lot better than a little glass of water.

Tom Kurzka: Yeah. Right. Right. So so you’re so you’re uneasy street may go through some intensity. So David, I was talking about purging, which I never heard from the center, you know, you’re in a purge or body, we heat up something would we releasing? And so anyway, I go on this retreat with him, and, you know, has me come up to the chair, because we do dialogue in the chair and says, What just connect with me. So you know, I connected with him, I started like weeping and sobbing, and all of a sudden, again, you know, everything sort of opened up and disappear. I couldn’t, you know, just a whole different level of being here and feeling everything. And I jumped up, I wanted to run, you know, he grabbed me said, no, no, stay here. Stay here. Very good advice. Stay here. Next morning, you know, we used to hardcore, he would get up like, we’d be sitting like 536 in the morning before the official sit would happen. So I went there, and he’s sitting there. And this story was, all of a sudden, I saw the story level, it’s like, wow, you know, this guy cares so much for me, he’s willing to come up there and sit with me, other people were sitting to it wasn’t just me at this early in the morning, you know, that was the story. But what was really felt was the beloved one I am, is willing to take all the me to give it all to me. And I just, I started weeping, just from the belly just weeping. These tears that felt like bliss. And just like what a relief, what a relief. And later was pointed out to me, you know, there’s a lot of pain there tonight, oh, my gosh, there’s a lot of pain, but it feels kind of good. And all that for the rest of that retreat. It was like I was being a reliving very early child infant trauma. And that went on, you know, for like six months a year, I’d sit with him and immediately I would just double up and then it’d be like, tears to be coming my eyes, the snot coming out of my nose. I didn’t care when it was coming out of my nose. And it was like very pre verbal stuff. I can’t describe it. But the outcome is more and more to feel like when I was with grandma and feeling her pain and my body to see that. The touching is there’s such a depth to the touching. There’s really literally no separation and that’s ongoing. I’m, I still feel like I’m walking around the dark. But anyway, that’s to me was the opening of the belly.

Rick Archer: That’s interesting. I’ll have some more questions about that. But here’s a question that came in. Since we’re speaking about pain. This might be a relevant time to ask it. Francis O’Hara from Ellington, Connecticut as please speak about your experience with prayer and not know keep reading here. And how to help a loved one who has died. Our brother chose suicide a few. I’m not sure whether it’s yours or what ago. How might we help our Billy?

Tom Kurzka: Okay, Billy, is someone that committed suicide? Uh huh. Yeah. Um, hold him in your heart. Okay. So there’s the pain of feeling is the loss of him. And when you you know that the thing about it is those that have passed on that are no longer in a physical body. The minute you think of them, you can feel their essence you You can feel them. And when you’re feeling them, you’re holding them. In fact, the more you just not so much feel this story about what he did or his life, but just feel who he is the basis of who he is. Because you can look around and everybody has a different feeling a presence. So Billy has a presence. And so every time you bring them into your mind, you can say a prayer and say, you know, what, if whatever you believe God help, Billy, but when you say that feel his essence in your heart. That’s the best thing you can do for him. And in that you’ll feel your own pain. And so you’re holding for your pain, and his essence and his pain. And you start to see that there’s a larger holding for both of you, that it’s all just part of you. That’s what I can say what that one.

Rick Archer: That’s nice. And the way you’re phrasing it implies that Billy still exists in some way, shape, or form, which I think most of the people listening to this show would agree with even even surveys show most of the people in society agree that you know, nobody dies, we just sort of transitioned in one way or another. However, we want to believe that it happens. But Billy’s still around and on some level. And, you know, by holding him in your heart, as you’re saying you’re directly connecting with him in a real way. That’s beneficial.

Tom Kurzka: Yeah, yeah, exactly. So I mean, I do that, you know, with my father who died in 91, very suddenly of a bee sting on the golf course. No less allergic reaction? Yeah. And, you know, the minute I bring him in the mind, I feel him I feel his essence, you know, he’s there. This goes on, you know, I would the show and it goes on

Rick Archer: the universe would be pretty meaningless. If it didn’t, life would be pretty meaningless. Yeah. Because, you know, you and I are talking about continuing evolution after awakening. Well, most people don’t even get to awakening. But obviously, there’s a two mind way of thinking there’s a purpose to the universe, and there’s a purpose to our lives. It’s not just they’re not just meaningless, random events. And that, you know, the purpose is ultimately what we would call evolution, which we’ve been talking about during this show and talked about in one way or another for 510 episodes. But it’s a growth process towards something, we can continue to talk about what that something is. And, you know, we never reached the ultimate possibility in one lifetime, maybe a tiny fraction of people do, but even then I have doubts. So the journey continues, you know, you wear your clothes, you put on a fresh pair, your car breaks down, you get a new car, same with bodies and lives.

Tom Kurzka: You know, I think so can’t prove it, but it goes on, you know, it goes down, because what we are is an eternal expression of the one, the one we’re like windows in the one.

Rick Archer: Yeah. And even not only the eternal dimension goes on which by definition, it would, but the relative expression that, you know, makes us makes us, Tom or Rick or whatever goes on. And maybe next time we won’t be Tom will be Thomas Ito, or, you know, some different whole different gender and life and everything else. But the essence of what we are continues to grow. Right is that’s the way I see it. And there’s a fair I mean, I was discussing this with somebody not too long ago, and he was very much doubting it. But there’s a lot of research, there was a guy named, I think Ian Stevenson, or something University of Virginia that studied 1000s of kids that had clear past life memories that were verifiable if you go in to the town that they described, they lived in or to the world war two plane that they crashed in or whatever, they had all this detail that could provide. So there’s a fair amount of evidence and then there’s Michael Newton with his life between life hypnosis, regression studies, and he’s written a couple books on that and people go back and experience in a great deal of detail and also agreement between the 1000s of people he regressed to exactly what happens in that realm. So you know, we can brush it off as bogus are hocus pocus if we want to stick to our materialist worldview, but but there’s a lot of evidence there if we want to look into it.

Tom Kurzka: That’s for sure. I mean, even now, you know, in this what we look like it’s the material world this physical reality, when you start to see its soul alive and interconnected. And so this realities that way. We construct it we say, well, no, this is solid when I leave there. You You know, there won’t be anything but really, in a very real sense. Is this just a slow down dream?

Rick Archer: Yeah. Can you remember a time in your life when the world looked dead and lifeless, and just visually you know it, it looked like dead. And now it looks by contrast, extremely alive and full of intelligence.

Tom Kurzka: On you’re asking me to go back 20 years that the funny thing about it is, you forget how it was. But I can

Rick Archer: remember that I can even now as I asked you, I can visualize, you know, back 50 years ago, when I was a teenager looking out at the woods on a rainy day, and it all just look so bleak and lifeless and dead. And never see things that way. Now, you know, there, there’s always, it’s always like, almost full of bliss.

Tom Kurzka: Yeah, I think the problem with it for me is that when I look back, what what I see when I look back, and any experience, even if it felt bleak and dead, is I feel the life that is beneath the bleak and dead. So it my memories colored,

Rick Archer: you know, kind of enhancing.

Tom Kurzka: Oh, it was there, what I’m seeing now this aliveness that’s there. Now, when the memory goes back, it’s there, then too, and it’s like that memory really gets integrated in a way that’s kind of strange is now because there’s only now even the memories and now. So I think it transforms. So I’m trying, I’m searching here to see if there was something that really felt weak or dead, or be bored at times. But there, there is always this aliveness there.

Rick Archer: I mean, a lot of people, a lot of people might be able to relate to this, because think how many people are on antidepressants, you know, in this country, and the the world doesn’t seem like a very blissful place to them. And maybe that’s reason I’m always sharing thinking of people who might be listening and what they might be experiencing. And hoping to sort of suggest that if it doesn’t seem as rosy as you and I are describing it, there’s hope.

Tom Kurzka: Right, right. So it’s funny, I just talked to someone this morning, who has struggles with depression. And it’s so hard, it’s and she’s done a lot of work with this. And, you know, depression for me. And I, you know, have to press feeling sometimes, but I always what I do, it’s like, I can’t entertain a story about how bad it is anymore is just so like a sinking kind of down or final feel. And if you can, and it’s last thing we usually want to do is to be that felt sense of the depression without the story to that that yucky feeling to let that be my anchor out of the line, you start to see that something bigger is holding that the aliveness is holding this yucky feeling. It’s like letting go of who you think you are and your problem. But it’s rough stuff. It’s rough stuff. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not an easy thing to deal with. I remember one time working with a person in a retreat, and she has a chronic chronic condition, chronic disease that she’s never going to recover from. And so as she still functions, but it’s gonna get worse at times, and it’s frustrating for her. And so she was she comes in, she’s talking to me in the chair, and I go, she goes, I don’t want me to do this. I can’t stand this. I said, I started out well, you know, the thing is to let it be what it is to accept it. Right. And, and also, I feel like, you know, something’s not clicking right. Feel turbulence over there with her. And so I go, all of a sudden, what? Oh, my gosh, who am I to say that you should just accept this? I don’t have this disease that has Parkinson’s. I don’t have this, right. And you do. And I said, I bet you that pisses you off and slugged me in the face. And she says, Yeah, and I said, you need to embrace that anger over the Parkinson, you’re ripped off. I said, go there. And that that really did something for it because she never felt permission to be mad about her condition because she was supposed to be a good little spiritual person and accept it as is you get it. It’s like you have to start where you are. And so that just opened up that was creating such difficulty in her life, that she wouldn’t allow that anger to come in so she could be with it.

Rick Archer: So good insight You know, audio talks about awakening happening sequentially, sometimes head heart gut. And you’ve talked about head and heart. Have you had a gut thing that you could distinguish between the head and the heart awakenings? Oh, yeah, we haven’t talked about that yet.

Tom Kurzka: Well, I kind of led into it a little bit where I said, like I was, you know, weeping and crying and it felt this pain in my belly. It’s, it’s, to me, the gut, it’s like this, you know, we have in the gut, we have this, that’s where our survival instinct is. I mean, if we didn’t have any survival instinct, we can function in need that, but it wants to survive wants to survive. And so you, you have to meet it. And it’s scared. It’s like a frightened little creature. And, for me, most of that is as pre verbal, the only thing I can do with that when it comes on is I’m just that raw felt sense. And it’s the pain is coursing through the body, or the fear is coursing, or usually, I’m just like crying, I haven’t had about like that for a while. And what the byproduct is, is that you feel more connected to what is rather than it feels like it’s empty, you feel this. Really, really, the aliveness has a substantiality to it, it’s like a touching, it’s a, you know what, that not just the physical level, it’s a real, real touching, pass the physical, the physical is a poor reflection of it. And that’s belly energy, that’s like, being the creature being here, the being everything on a visceral, real level. And belly energy always goes back to early childhood, you know, we’re something shut down, it’s like, eventually, it’s like being a baby coming out of the womb, and you’re coming out into this, you just pure being, you don’t have a lot of thought you’re not, you’re just you’re just the whole thing. With no differentiation, no idea of a self that has differentiation, you’re the fluidity of the moment. To me, that’s belly energy. But to describe verbally what that is. Music was pre verbal, it’s just

Rick Archer: Do you know, some sometimes people talk about having lost a sense of personal self as a result of their awakening, or some stage of their awakening. And I always scratch my head a bit, because I can sort of grok the notion of, you know, the impersonal being one significant, or even primary or fundamental dimension of our experience. But it seems to me that if we’re alive, there also still has to be the personal expression. And, you know, different, we each have our own personal expression with which we identify to some extent. I mean, if I were there, and I say, you know, Tom would whack your thumb with this hammer, or would you prefer that I hit the stone over here, you say, go for the stone, you know, there’s some kind of personal identification with the time guy that doesn’t want it some whacked, belly? That, I mean, have you ever sort of been utterly without a sense of personal self? Or do you feel like it’s always been there to some extent, even though the proportions have shifted between personal and impersonal?

Tom Kurzka: Yeah, it’s it. That’s a very good subjects. Well, there’s different levels of personal self, there’s the personality, your structure, it’s like, I know what a fork is, you know, I’m a man,

Rick Archer: you know where to put it. Right?

Tom Kurzka: Right. It’s not it’s good to still have access to that stuff. You know, that’s like nothing wrong with that, right. But what there’s so what I see it it’s like the personal self, the idea of a me on a personality level, it’s like a rainbow. You know, when you see a rainbow, it’s there. But yet, it’s not there comes in it goes. But to me, there’s a deeper personal self. That will almost would call it the personal essence, where it’s, it’s the vastness and I touch it suddenly for the vastness being personal, versus the personality being personal, the separate one being personal versus the vastness now touches itself as a human being, it’s being personal. And that’s when I use the word essence everyone you can feel that if you get below all the stories about someone you feel their essence you can feel that as the vastness being a flavor of a personal and that, that comes and goes to sometimes you just the vastness I mean, the, you know, personal essence comes and goes like everything else. But you know, they I think another word for that would be the soul.

Rick Archer: It’s like but the vastness then is there any functionality at that point? Are you talking about just a sort of an inward transcendent experience, where there’s just vastness and no sense of person?

Tom Kurzka: Well, if you’re totally inward, then there’s no functionality going on right now.

Rick Archer: Just hear the stories of the yoga, there’s a story of a Yogi that was all kinds of stories of Yogi’s being so absorbed in Samadhi, that, you know, people can do all kinds of things to them, and they’re not even aware of it. Right.

Tom Kurzka: But then again, it all depends on what your situation is in life. There’s someone to think you do or whatever or you disappear. But even then, I mean, last year is the Yogananda his life, he would go into that vastness and they do have a cold night, they’d have to wear mittens on his hand. I don’t know why they needed mittens down in LA, but there’s a story must have been like 35 or 40 years compared to India that’s talking about that, because one of the other guys was laughing at it, and you’re gonna all sudden comes to us. He’s like, totally out, right? And they got to put mittens on his hands. And all of a sudden, it was a no no more. I think it was his name. And one of the beautiful monks and he he sees laughing at it because here’s this grown man and the women the nuns have to quit mittens on him and yoga and Allison comes to an all Sonny’s functional, he says, Yeah, I used to laugh at the yogi’s when someone had to do that in India. Because back in, so you see, he came out, he got functional. Again, it’s just so it’s like we’re going up and down an elevator, you know, being is so amazing.

Rick Archer: Well, you use the word rainbow not long ago. And I sort of think of it as a spectrum of, or you can think of the electromagnetic spectrum and all these different frequencies, with visible light and X rays, and radio waves and all this different stuff. It’s the same field, but they’re just different frequencies of it. So you can sort of think of life as progressing or a spanning a wide range of frequencies from on totally unmanifest and personal, you know, absolute universal to much more specific expression and all kinds of gradations in between.

Tom Kurzka: Yeah, you know, what I always find interesting is you you watch the life and you get actively involved in something. The idea of a personal doing something can completely fall away to what it becomes like a call pure occurrence. like reading a book, you get totally swept up in the book. There’s something that’s aware of the reading, but your sense of a personal one that’s reading the book is totally gone. Yeah. And then all of a sudden, you come to the end of the chapter and the personal personnel ego comes in, hey, that was a really good chapter. And it pretends like Why was there all along reasons? If you look, no, you were gone. You were a rainbow and you left right.

Rick Archer: But his great athletes described being in the zone in the zone and they’re just playing basketball or whatever, in such a sort of a spontaneous automatic way that there’s not a lot of thought or choice happening. They just they they just a spontaneous flow.

Tom Kurzka: Yeah, well, that’s that’s sort of what it gets. To me what what evolves, it’s it gets to be more and more like that. But yet, even then, there is a personal essence that that is flavoring that movement for that form. I mean, you go to different teat, masters, or whatever, and they all got different flavors, but everything you start to see, it’s all doing itself, there isn’t really a doer, but sometimes a doer arises, sometimes it’s necessary to have a door.

Rick Archer: What’s your take on the on the idea of freewill? All these debates about it, you know?

Tom Kurzka: Oh, my one, that’s a good one.

Rick Archer: Not that we’re gonna resolve it right now. I don’t think we’re gonna resolve a couple 1000 years, but But what I

Tom Kurzka: find is, is that just like there’s a personal expression of God, God being personal, there’s, there’s an aspect of God that His will. And so the difference is, is that usually we believing we’re a separate one, here’s my will, I have this will versus if you rather than following that right away, if you just sit down and you receive from you come this dark, wide open receiving, if there is a will, the will from this deeper will takes over and and expresses itself. So I would say that ultimately God has a will but sometimes that God will can be used via what we think of as the personal will. But usually the personal well is sort of something that justice in the way. I mean, like I when I teach or do something Song. I mean, this, this rainbow in here doesn’t have a clue. It’s just receiving and it’s almost like being on the telegraph wire. Okay, say that say this and I’m always amazed. Sometimes the mind says Don’t say that it says no, it’s coming through, always pays. Wow, look at how that work. How did I do that? Yeah, it’s, you know, so there is it, to me, will is an aspect of the Divine, and he has a will, how could all this stuff arise without a will?

Rick Archer: Yeah, it’s interesting, sometimes I’ve thought or spoken in terms of individual will and divine will and getting the two of them to sort of, you know, be in tune with having your individual will, in tune with the will of God. But when you think about the way you just express, it was beautiful. It’s like, when you really do that, is there really any individual will left? Or is it just the will of God functioning through an individual structure expression, you know, as, as which has become a pure instrument of the Divine? Yeah, to kind of, I think, more clear way of thinking about it.

Tom Kurzka: Yeah, so the question is sort of falls, falls apart in a way?

Rick Archer: Yeah. That they will be done on earth as it isn’t heaven? And then you, you know, well, I don’t know, feel free to I’m just sort of riffing here and thoughts and coming to mind, you know, I don’t know why not? Why we’ll we’ll see where it goes, Really, feel free to enter interject anything that comes to mind. But I mean, you know, now I’m using the G word and talking about God. And some people have a problem with that, because they think, Oh, how could any loving God, you know, allow all the horror to exist in the world which exists, and all the suffering and the Holocaust and all the terrible things that happen. And, in light of the conversation we’ve just been having, you know, I would say that it’s a, those things are reflection of humanity’s immaturity. And it’s, it’s a strange moment from that divine intelligence, such that, you know, people are going off on on tangents with a very partial picture of the hole and creating all kinds of trouble for themselves and others. And that, you know, that the idea of on earth as it is in heaven would be a situation in which, you know, on mass, all of us billions of us would be so attuned to the Divine that, you know, we’d have a very different world and no one would accuse would need to accuse God anymore of being a being, you know, cruel, heartless, because we wouldn’t see all these horrible things happening. Just that just came to mind. So feel free to comment. Well, the

Tom Kurzka: problem of what we call evil in the world, why would God permit evil in the world? This fault writer, her fault, whatever. The boy had it and I just lost it. I went blank.

Rick Archer: Why would God permit evil in the world? It’s all his fault, her fault.

Tom Kurzka: Right? Well, it’s, you sort of hit it? Well, that’s where I wanted to go first. You know, sometimes I watch these nature films, you know, or the animals

Rick Archer: each other and stuff.

Tom Kurzka: Right, right. You go, oh, kangaroo, I hope we can get away from the dingo dog. Come

Rick Archer: on, come on. You know, it’s like in nature, nature, if you look, it’s beautiful and peaceful. It is. It’s eating each other apart. I mean, it’s the following. It’s all red in tooth and claw.

Tom Kurzka: Right. And we, you know, we, as humans, we have that animal nature, again, that survival instinct, I need to get mine. And I think, again, I think animals have a connection to this through on that one of those that says that animals can’t know, being because I think they do that in some ways. I think they know more than we do. But, but we have this ability to actually consciously know we, we can rise above this Doggy Dog world, so to speak, you know, we know how to grow food. We kill the animals that eat the meat or whatever, if you eat meat. We’re killing vegetables. We’re still devouring things, but we have this ability to feed everybody in the world, right? I mean, if you know you’re connected, that everything is you. When you create harm out there and trust me sometimes I can create some harm out there. I don’t mean through but but when I create harm out there, it’s almost like it’s hurting My own body, it stops me short, something bigger is governing me. And so to me, while there’s still going to be mishaps in the world, if everyone knew this, that we think twice, three times, 10 times over before we would deny an immigrant to come over the border, you know, we do something about the problems in Central America, because it’s all us. And, but, but again, to me, you know, this world is play, can never be perfect, it’s like to even have this play, you have to have black and white, you have to have good and evil. If you don’t have those opposites, there’s nothing here that’s that’s the difficulty of existence. Yeah,

Rick Archer: I’ve thought along those same lines, many times, if you’re going to have a relative existence, and there have to be relative qualities. And that means it can’t all be sort of perfect. Love and joy and beauty, you know, with some to infinite degree, there needs to be as a spectrum of span, fast, slow, big, small, heavy light, you know, all the different polarities. And that maybe God could have done it differently, but did. So we can sort of face it as it is. And, you know, and everything goes in cycles. And, you know, they’re very beautiful light times and heavenly times, and then very dark times, and the time will come when the sun will expand and become a red giant and the earth will melt. It’s not going to be real pretty as that begins to happen. But the bright side is that the climate deniers will finally admit we’ve got a problem.

Tom Kurzka: Yeah, back then. Yeah, they’ll

Rick Archer: say see, it wasn’t manmade.

Tom Kurzka: Right. But you know that, and that, to me is an absurdity in itself. I mean, the writing’s on the wall in, there’s a solution to it. But yet, you know, the greed and the fear, keep that from happening. But the thing of it is, is that, to, when we know that this is a passing play, it’s very important in the moment, it’s very important to act as if it’s you, you know, that it’s your body to take care of that, you know, the act out of love. But ultimately, it’s a see, I am more than this passing show I am this vastness that can never be destroyed, because this world’s common goal. And it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t take action for this one. But you know, if God destroys the planet, the planet gets destroyed eventually, like you say, the sun is going to get so big, it’s gonna melt this planet anyway, it’s only a matter of time.

Rick Archer: Sure, but it’s not doing that now. And we should,

Tom Kurzka: we should do it. Yeah, we should take action. Yeah. Or we should take care of the garden, so to speak.

Rick Archer: It’s interesting that what you’re saying now, I’ve actually heard, there was a, there was a so called spiritual teacher who had interviewed who his interviews I’ve taken since taken down because I discovered the following, which was a quite a few years ago, he was doing some really incorrigible things. But one of the milder things he did was press young women into service as strippers telling them that the world is an illusion, and doesn’t matter what you do with your body. And, you know, you know, we need income for our little spiritual group. And so just go and do this. And the people in the audience are all ignorant, they don’t know what you know. And so you can do it and yada, yada, so profound, beautiful spiritual teachings can be corrupted, and twisted. And I think maybe the thing to prevent that from happening is what you were just saying, which is that if you really are experiencing unity, then you do see the world as yourself and you would not inflict harm on anything to do so it’d be to even harm yourself. You feel that you sort of have this empathy with everything that develops. You know, Jesus said, Whatsoever you do unto the least of these you do unto me.

Tom Kurzka: Yeah, well, that’s, again, someone can open very, very widely in the head center. And yet their belly in their heart is not so open. So all of a sudden, they become what I think some call an enlightened ego, because they don’t have the belly and the heart tempering. You know, basically, it’s just it’s a continual wearing down, you just get more and more humble, you know, who is doing it? It’s I am a servant. And how can you harm somebody, even when you’re harming you know, it’s, it stops us short. I mean, we all do it. We’re not perfect, but to do what that teacher was doing, I mean, clearly there’s there’s a shadow side that hasn’t been met. There’s probably sides of him that are totally open. and let the people are attracted to but then there’s this shadow side. I think we call that the Sikh Guru.

Rick Archer: Yeah. Yeah, just I mean, people wonder sometimes when I take down interviews, there’s another guy who I listened to a recording of him recently made recently. And he was saying, Oh, everybody in the world is they’re all ignorant monkeys. And you should just do whatever you feel like doing. Adultery is just fine. If you feel like committing adultery, especially men, men, men should be able to do it, because it’s their nature. And the guy has slept with about 1000 women, allegedly, and then treated them in very incorrigible ways. So I just get pissed off at this kind of stuff. I hear a lot of it because of the position I’m in. And I just feel like there needs to be a higher standard in the spiritual community. And when I hear beautiful teachings being corrupted, and bastardize in order to fulfill somebody, you know, small mindedness, just kind of gets my hackles up a little

Tom Kurzka: bit. Yeah, you know, that’s disturbing, but at least that guy was upfront with him. Yes, sir. Like, what was it? Trumper Rinpoche used to teach with a bottle of Jim biocidal. He knew what you’re getting with.

Rick Archer: Yeah, don’t get him. Why anybody stuck around? I don’t know. But,

Tom Kurzka: you know, there’s, there’s some profound teachings that came on here. I mean, I don’t know. And so, you know, it’s a mixed bag. It’s just, you know, if you know what you’re getting into, it’s like, wait a minute, wait a minute. I don’t want to go there. But it’s a mystery why that still happens with some folks.

Rick Archer: One problem, though. And I hear this too, is people say, Well, I don’t like the sound of that. It doesn’t make sense to me. But hey, this guy is supposed to be enlightened. And he’s kind of impressive. You know, he’s articulate, he seems to have some kind of energy radiating off of him. Therefore, I will doubt my own common sense. And just continue to go along with this thing. And then go way down the rabbit hole thinking that way.

Tom Kurzka: Right. You have to trust your gut, you have to trust what you know. Yeah, yeah, you have to feel what is going on. It’s it feels a little off.

Rick Archer: To me to take up so much of the time of your interview, getting on my soapbox here, ranting and raving about these things that annoy me. So let’s get back to you for a bit we have a little time left with and that’ll get us back to ending on a much sweeter and more more uplifting.

Tom Kurzka: Yeah, we are going into the pit for me important to look at all that stuff. Because it’s part of, you know, part of our experience. What do we do with that?

Rick Archer: Yeah. And the spiritual world that people who listen, the show are all involved in can be a bit of a landmine, you know, what I call a minefield with where you don’t know what it is, there’s all kinds of pitfalls and dangers, and you have to sort of learn to navigate it safely. And use discrimination that probably the key word right there is culture discrimination. You learn how to trust your own common sense. Anyways, yeah, I’m getting back into it.

Tom Kurzka: Well, it’s a, it’s a big subject, you know, that one is? It’s, it’s hard, you know, when you see, you know, first you see all the beauty that’s coming on to somebody, and then all of a sudden, you know, this little shadow elements come up. And usually you want to deny it, because you don’t want to look at that. Right. Yeah. And it’s, well, this

Rick Archer: loops back to something you said earlier, which is that we’re all works in progress, you know, and it behooves us to remember that and to continue progressing and doing the things that are necessary to continue progressing.

Tom Kurzka: You know, that’s right. I mean, really, it’s, we acknowledge that we always have this idea of perfection. You know, we want to be perfect and not imperfect. So it’s, it’s, it’s neither. It’s like everything, we have black and white, it’s either perfect or not perfect. We’re, we’re a mixed bag. But when you start to have inflict pain upon the world, you know, there’s something off there. You know, that’s not a teacher to follow us at least. Maybe take the good advice and then get the hell out of there.

Rick Archer: Yeah. There’s that song by the band, you take what you need, but you leave the rest.

Tom Kurzka: That’s right.

Rick Archer: Okay, so how are things with you these days, Tom, what are you doing for a living? What am I doing for a living full time teacher now? Or do you have like a job still or what I

Tom Kurzka: left I was doing, building construction part time while I was teaching part time, and I was a licensed contractor in the state. That’s a long story, but But I gave that up at the beginning of the year. I just, it takes too much away from the teaching, and my body’s gonna get too old to work out in the hot sun and everything. And it was just done. I still need to fix up my house. So I get busy with that. But so I am trying to teach full time and you know, we live pretty cheap. We’re, we try to approach low middle class if we’re lucky. Well, we’ve been doing pretty well the last few years, we got all our debt paid off. Good. Driving an old car 1988 Toyota Tercel. That’s really good. Now this this is my gig is pretty much just teaching now.

Rick Archer: Great. Well, I hope you get a nice bump from the interview. Now, yeah, I hope so. I hope it’s not too big. We’ll see, I can handle it. And, and in terms of your personal, you know, development, you know, what do you what kind of stuff do you feel like you’re going through these days? And what, what seems to be on the horizon? Well, you can never tell for sure what’s on there.

Tom Kurzka: Yeah, you never know what’s around the corner, do we? But it’s, to me, it’s, I think a lot of the a lot of my growth comes through the teaching. And sometimes I tell people, in fact, I tell people a lot you think I’m the teacher? I feel like I’m the student. Oh, yeah, that you’re teaching me. You know, it’s, it’s, it’s an interchange, don’t count yourself short. In fact, what you’re seeing and mean that you emulate, rather than saying it’s coming from me, it’s a reflection of something that’s already inside you, or otherwise humans see it. So it’s just I think what’s going on is just, it’s just a deeper, deeper collapse, into just letting what the aliveness that’s behind this form. That’s, that’s moving this essence as itself as the drop in the ocean, so to speak, is it just, it just keeps, for lack of better word deepening, and yet what it is isn’t going anywhere, it’s not deepening, but yet, it’s expression keeps expressing itself closer and closer to its love, basically. Sure. And that’s pretty much what I think my gig is right now, as is moving in that direction. You know, it’s to live a life, you know, like, hang out with my wife, we garden. Every once a while, we might go to a party, but we’re not big partiers. We do watch television. I will admit to that as just another thing. And not gonna have any more cats. We just done with that. We’re tired of cleaning up throw up on the floor and putting them down when they get old. But I’m just done cruising along and see where it takes us.

Rick Archer: Do you feel like that functioning in the role of a teacher increases the voltage for you that oh, yeah, because you’re in this role? It’s sort of like I don’t know who or what are the powers that be so to speak say Okay, boys, we got to live on here. Let’s give him some juice.

Tom Kurzka: Well, what’s interesting on that air, y’all do these four or five day retreats and then yeah, I’ll do like solo gigs you know, but

Rick Archer: the retreat for you are retreats for with students that you teach

Tom Kurzka: fruits with students that hasn’t gone on anybody’s retreat for quite some time now I’m not against it, but it hasn’t happened. So usually a few days sometimes a week I can you know how when your body if you’re you’re going to get on the airplane, it goes someplace and you know, a few days before the body starts to brace you. You may not be anxious about it, but you can feel there’s a subtle bracing which is a good thing otherwise, you’d never make it to the plane right? So a lot of times they’ll be like I think the structure you know the structure just wants to hang out and be normal kind of guy you know, and just putter around basically or take care of what needs to be taken care of. And so a few days before retreat, usually there’s a there’s a bracing like of the voltage is going to amp up and because I do retreats, it’s like there’s so much energy running through probably three quarters of it I don’t even know is there and so usually that the form feels a fatigue it’s like okay, we’re we’re gonna go this and where’s it going to go something’s gonna you know more windows more doors are gonna open up. So the retreats, the teaching in general, like you said, it juices things up.

Rick Archer: Yeah, thanks. I think it accelerates your your own evolution to do it. Right.

Tom Kurzka: So it’s my dharma right now.

Rick Archer: We want to learn something, teach it. Right.

Tom Kurzka: Right. Well, we learned something there’s always I mean, I hate to boast but you know, whatever comes through here is getting pretty darn good at it. It just knows the right thing to ask at the right time. Not that I don’t slip up. But when I slip up, it’s sort of funny. It’s like, oh, that didn’t work with go this way.

Rick Archer: Yeah, that’s good. It doesn’t sound like you’re boasting, like, you know, devote your life to anything. And eventually you get good at it. And you’ve been devoting good many years of your life to this stuff.

Tom Kurzka: Yeah, yeah, that’s true. It has found me like I said, they found me and said, No, you’re going to teach. So here I am. snom hooked. Now no more questions

Rick Archer: are coming to mind. Is there anything that you would like to cover that we haven’t covered? That I haven’t thought to ask you? And that you know, you thought before this interview that maybe we get into, huh?

Tom Kurzka: Well, I covered the, you know, the belly, the felt sense and the head center, we’ve gone over that. In it, you know, it all comes angles, ultimately, the heart to me, the heart is the place where the you know, the head, the spaciousness meets the substantiality. You know, where that’s where the love is, that’s where the connection is. Um, but you know, I don’t think I have anything more that I had pre plan, you know, you could spark something

Rick Archer: my brother did. This hard thing is a nice thing to end on. Because who was it? Jack? Kornfield. I think he said he wrote a book called a path with heart.

Tom Kurzka: Just got that book at a used bookstore the other day. That is a beautiful book, I just started reading that would go on, I interrupted you.

Rick Archer: No, that’s okay. Just I think, you know, a lot of the things we’ve been talking about, about the potential pitfalls and, and, and side tracks and whatnot that one could fall into. I think if I think the heart has a protective value against all that stuff, you know, if there’s a sort of a culturing of the heart it it safeguards the path to a great extent.

Tom Kurzka: Yeah, you’re correct. Because what the heart does, the heart loves everything, the heart feels everything. When you’re feeling everything, you you’re guided, you know, all there’s something off there, move this away. I think the key is, you know, if anything to take away from this interview, is the willingness to receive rather than the go out there to receive first and then we’ll, you know, the Yin quality versus the Yang, you know, we’re such a, go get ’em culture, we’re going to pull myself up by my bootstraps and make this this and this happen. It’s like, how about receiving first and see what wants to guide you versus you, you know, going out there and rather than you trying to call the shots, right, right. And so when you receive, the more you receive, you know, everything starts to come to you. So when something’s off, you receive that, you know, ooh, I don’t know, if I like this, you know, the sensitivity just grows. Because remember, years ago, this was the end of post awakening in 2000, when I had this executive management job, which by the way, I was thrown into right after waking up. Go Go figure, you know, all sudden, you know, I think I’m gonna go be a meditator or whatever. And all of a sudden, I’m in this power job. But anyway, my point being is one time I had a write an evaluation for somebody. And she was like, my lieutenant, and she was really good. But boy, she could really slam people if she didn’t get her way, are they they slapped off or whatever. And so I had to my boss said, you have to write this, you have to bring this up. We just got information from other people how bad she’s been treating them. And so I had, I was supposed to give the evaluation the next day. And so I’m going at it, I got to get this done the next day to go get this I wasn’t receiving ready. You know, here, the conditioning says, You got to meet the deadline, you got to get done. There’s the interview, right? Here’s the evaluation interview coming up. And yet at the same time, if I’d been listening, I would have felt in my gut, you know, it’s like, something’s off, something’s off. But I went to listen to that. I kept going. It’s like, you just got to keep receiving and listening and stopping what is going on? Because if I had listened to that, I would have taken a bunch of more days. I want to talk to over my boss because the evaluation was a disaster. You know, she got very defensive, you know, put a big schism between us. And the information was there if I had stopped and listen, so I’m better at it. I’m getting better at it. But so receiving is the key stop and listen, and then move.

Rick Archer: Yeah. When you say that it kind of gives me I get the sense of kind of softness gentleness almost reminds me of Carlos Castaneda his books, you know, where there was a whole lot of emphasis on, you know, awareness and Don Juan, use the term stalking where you’re just kind of, you know, attentive, tuned every little nuance that happens around you and open to the potential significance of it.

Tom Kurzka: Yeah, every little thing you start to see as giving you information as I think it’s a Sufi, say, you know, every expression is God revealing itself to itself. Every little thing has a meaning. You start to see the littlest things, you start to see that a crack across the room actually moves you. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, it’s

Rick Archer: nice. All right. Well, let’s leave that for people to ponder.

Tom Kurzka: Yeah, that’s a good place. To crack boss. The room will move you.

Rick Archer: Earlier on, Hannah from Portland, Oregon, send in a note saying Tom, please don’t forget to mention that you teach here in Portland too.

Tom Kurzka: Yeah, thank you, Hannah. I do have a next this coming. Saturday day, this coming Friday and Saturday, I will be doing, you know, evening and an all day event up in Portland and Hannah. It’s going to be at haunted house sweet little house and the informations on my website there on the homepage, you should be able to find it.

Rick Archer: Yeah. And you mentioned that you have a group in Charlottesville, Virginia and you actually go there once in a while. So theoretically, anybody who’s listening to this could get together a group in their area and you could go there two.

Tom Kurzka: Yeah, that can work. That’s how that one happened. They found me and I talked with them and they came out here first Michael and Heather. Very sweet people. He runs a mattress company and natural organic savvy wrist. So if you ever want a nice natural mattress, go to Savin real stereos promotion for my commission. Yeah. But, um, but um, yeah, I’m open to you know, someone wants to host me. It’s it’s great. I know, more connection. And then this online thing the online. I mean, it’s so incredible how, you know, it’s not only the technology when I do an event online, especially with the Virginia people. It’s like, I there’s no space, there’s no time. I feel like I’m right there. It’s not the computer. It’s amazing. It’s amazing that

Rick Archer: with this to you know, do these things. Yeah. So,

Tom Kurzka: yeah, well, you you’re just some really good work. I’m amazed. You can do one a week. And that’s a you’re a busy guy.

Rick Archer: It’s balanced that I have a lot of help. Yeah. You do have a crew, various others helping. Alright, well, good. Thanks, Tom has been a nice conversation. Really appreciated it. Make a couple of wrap up points. So you know, I’ve been speaking with Tom Kerschner. I’ll be linking to his website. And obviously, he’s been explaining what he does. And you can get in touch if you’re interested. I’m sure there’s a way of doing that through your website, right?

Tom Kurzka: Yes, there’s information, email, phone. Yeah.

Rick Archer: And hope that everyone’s enjoyed this interview I have. And next week, I’ll be interviewing an Indian fellow named Shamji button, the gar who talks about micro chakras. I haven’t quite figured out how to tackle that one yet, but I’ll be learning about it next week. And there’s other very interesting ones coming up in the future. There’s a very sweet older woman, she’s 91 years old, and when named Dorothy wall wall, Walters are waters, waters. And when she was 51, not having any kind of interest in spiritual development or anything else. It wasn’t her thing. She had this blowout Kundalini awakening, just really profound, dramatic shift. And she’s, you know, spent the next 40 years kind of like coming to terms with that and then enjoying it and at same time building a whole body of knowledge to explain what happened to her. So there’s no end of fascinating people to talk to, and we’ll continue to have this program for the foreseeable future. If people would like to be notified if you’d like to be notified when new ones are posted, subscribe on YouTube. And you could also subscribe to a little email thing on There’s also an audio podcast if you’d like to listen while you can mute or whatever, so you can subscribe to that on iTunes or Stitcher, one of those services and there’s a page for that on that gap. So check it out. And thanks for listening and watching. And thanks again, Tom.

Tom Kurzka: Well, thank you rich for having me rich. Rick. What you your real name is Richard right your legal it is right. Yeah. Okay, what you’re Rick, sorry about that.

Rick Archer: Yeah, well, I know exactly. Rich. So Rick is probably more appropriate. Rick rich.

Tom Kurzka: Yeah. I have a good friend came through town the other day. His name was rich. I think that’s where the flip slip came from. Yeah, but thank you so much. It’s been me good spending time

Rick Archer: with you. Okay, all right. Say hi to your wife.

Tom Kurzka: Okay, will do. Thank you. Bye bye. Bye.