Wayne Liquorman Transcript

Wayne Liquorman Interview

Rick: Welcome to Buddha at the Gas Pump. My name is Rick Archer and my guest this week is Wayne Liquorman. Wayne was recommended to me by several people who listen to the show, as often happens. In fact, I prioritize people these days according to how many recommendations I get and Wayne got quite a few. So I invited him and he graciously responded. I didn’t know much about you, Wayne, prior to a week ago when I started listening to your audios. I have listened to probably 6 or 8 hours of them now, things I pulled off YouTube and everything. I must say I was very pleasantly surprised. It might sound strange that I would say that, but I had heard that in your early days you had been a bit of a drinker and drugs and all that stuff, which you talk about in your YouTube videos. I was raised by a father who was an alcoholic and I saw the toll that it took on his brain and his clarity and so on. So when the first few words that came out of your mouth, I thought, “Whoa, this guy is completely different than my father”. Very clear and articulate and insightful and a tribute to the resiliency of the human nervous system.

Wayne: Indeed.

Rick: We will perhaps go back and get into your whole story. I have heard you tell it, but many of my guests may not have and might find it kind of fascinating. But the one thing I gleaned from listening to you all that time is that it seems to me, at least from the stuff I have listened to, that the centerpiece of your teaching is the whole issue of the authorship of action. I have heard you say many times now that around the age of two, two and a half, we develop this sense of possessiveness or authorship of our actions and that calcifies or congeals until we completely take ownership of it. And that the enlightenment or awakening process is a kind of, I don’t know if you would say a reversal or a moving beyond that, a breaking through back to a realization of who or what really is the author of actions. Is that a fair synopsis?

Wayne: That’s a fair synopsis, sure. As far as it goes.

Rick: Why don’t we have you elaborate on it a little bit, for starters, because I’m sure you would say it a lot better than I would.

Wayne: Well, the basic principle is that, or the basic pointer of the teaching is that at approximately the age of two years old, all human beings develop a sense of being separate, independent, authoring entities. By authoring I mean that we are the ones ultimately responsible for what we do. That we create it. That we’re the source. And it’s a sense that is shared by virtually every human being. And it is very much part of our culture. It’s very much part of our religions. It’s certainly part of our education. Our parents reinforce it. It’s a notion that is accepted by virtually all human beings. The question that this teaching, that I call the living teaching, raises is, is it true? Is it actually the case? Are we separate, independent entities capable of authoring entity? Anything? That’s the real basic question.

Rick: Now, if you ask me, “Rick, raise your arm”, I can raise my arm like that. Or I might think, “No, I’m not going to raise my arm. It seems that I have a sense of choice, of volition. I can do or not do what you ask me to do”. And so there’s a sense of authorship, you know? So, what about that?

Wayne: Well, there is certainly the ability to do various things. You as a human being do have the ability to think. You have the ability to decide. You have the ability to do all kinds of things, not just raising your hand. But the ultimate question is, are you the source of that? Now, it’s not a simple inquiry. It’s really quite deep. Because obviously on the surface, we decide all kinds of things, and we do all kinds of things. But that’s not really the issue. The issue has to do with a much subtler sense of authorship. And that is that we were the ultimate source of the decision to raise the hand, and that we are the ultimate source of our having done it, of having raised it. And when you look into that a little deeper, you realize you don’t have the ability, truly, to control whether your nerves function. In order for your hand to raise after your decision to raise it, a billion different, very complicated things have to happen. None of them which you control. I imagine it is, you’ve experienced, sometime you decided, “I’m going to get up and walk across the room”. And your foot’s asleep. You decide, you say, “Yes, I’m going to do this. I have the free will power to walk across the room. I’m going to do it”. And your foot’s asleep. You can’t do it. You fall.

Rick: Or a person might be paralyzed, you know, through some disease or injury or something, and they have the intention to do things, but their body is not cooperative.

Wayne: Right. So, what we’re looking at here is that what we claim to be our author doing is in fact not truly our author doing, but part of the functioning of a much bigger system.

Rick: Well, certainly we don’t understand the mechanics of how we do things. I mean, I don’t understand the mechanics of how my car works, and yet I can drive it, and I have control over its direction.

Wayne: Sometimes.

Rick: Sometimes it may break down on me or whatever, but I don’t understand really how the engine works. I couldn’t fix it. And so, same with the body. I mean, when I lift my arm, there are all kinds of neurons firing and all sorts of things going on that I don’t understand, but still there’s a sense that I’m the operator of this machine.

Wayne: Yes, there is a sense of that. What we’re looking at is to uncover a deeper truth.

Rick: Right.

Wayne: And that is to determine if you are in fact the instrument through which all of this functioning happens, or whether you are the source of that functioning.

Rick: Yeah, so are you saying, when you say “you” in this sense, are you saying whether you are the instrument, meaning my body is the instrument, or whether the real essential me is something more fundamental than the body?

Wayne: What I’m saying is you, Rick Archer, with your history, your body, your mind, your qualities. When I say “you”, that’s what I’m referring to.

Rick: Right, okay.

Wayne: And I have no trouble with personal pronouns in my teaching.

Rick: Yeah, me neither. It gets very awkward to have a conversation if you do have trouble. So, I’m with you on the body not being the source of the motivation, or even essentially what I am. If I lose an arm, I don’t become less of who I am than if I have the arm. And I personally believe that when I lose this body, I won’t become less of who I am than I am now. But if I’m not this body, then who am I, or what am I?

Wayne: Okay, and this is where, in the living teaching, I like to use the metaphor of the ocean and the wave. So, to me, it’s probably the most useful metaphor for talking about what is really a very complex subject. And so, in this metaphor – which I’m sure you’re familiar with but not all of your viewers will be – everything, all that ever was, is, could be, is thought of as the ocean. And there is nothing other than ocean in this metaphor. And all of the objects in the universe are, in this metaphor, waves. They are movements of the ocean. And all objects have the same properties as waves, being that they have a beginning, a duration, and an end. They have a shape, a structure, a size. Features we can talk about. So, we, Rick and Wayne, are waves. The essential pointer of the teaching is that what the wave is, is nothing other than ocean. Okay, now, where this all gets really complicated and kind of funky is that, from the age of two, we have the sense that we’re not waves, we’re separate, independent drops. That’s our sense. We are separate, independent, and powerful drops.

Rick: Do you think that prior to the age of two we have a sense of our ocean-hood?

Wayne: You see, when we talk about the wave, the wave is ocean. That’s the important thing to keep in mind.

Rick: But it’s kind of a matter of what you identify with, isn’t it?

Wayne: But even when you identify as the wave, what the wave is, is ocean. You can’t not identify as ocean. If you’re identifying as wave, you’re identifying as ocean.

Rick: Yeah, you might lose sight of the fact that you’re the ocean. As you just said, you might think you’re a separate drop, but you’re mistaken.

Wayne: Okay, but that’s not identification as the wave. That’s identification, a false identification, a false sense of being a separate, independent drop.

Rick: Right.

Wayne: Which is what most people have, and what we’re really examining when we talk about authorship. Because the sense of authorship is completely tied to the fact of being a separate, independent drop.

Rick: So you would say – just not to put words in your mouth, but to try to clarify – that the extent to which you identify as a separate, autonomous drop, as it were, kind of equates with the extent to which you assume the authorship of your action. Conversely, if you identify more with the ocean aspect, and not merely as a drop, then you begin to attribute authorship to something more fundamental than your individual expression.

Wayne: Yes, but once again, it’s not the ocean you’re identifying with, it’s yourself as a wave that you’re identifying with. And implicit in that identification is yourself as ocean, because that’s all that the wave is.

Rick: Although many people speak of having a realization in which they settle into a vast, universal, expansive kind of awareness, where they experience, not just understand, but experience that, “Oh, I am not just this individuality, I’m really the foundation and the essence of everything that is”. That sort of thing.

Wayne: That’s what I talk about as waveness, because there is no experience of ocean-ness. Ocean has no quality, none. There is no possibility of experience as ocean. All experience happens at the level of duality, at the level of the waves.

Rick: Yeah, “experience” meaning there’s an experiencer, a mechanics of perception, an object of experience. That’s all happening in the realm of waves.

Wayne: Yes.

Rick: Yeah, yeah. And so, let’s say, how would you describe your subjective experience right now, talking to me, sitting here? And how is it different than it might have been 20 years ago?

Wayne: There is no additional understanding that has come about in these last 20 plus years. That addition was the addition of the sense of personal authorship. It’s the addition of the sense that I am separate and independent. When that disappears, it is not replaced with the sense that I am the vast ocean-ness. That is the dualistic experience of seekers, where you flip back and forth between the experience of separation and the experience of unity. But when that false sense of authorship finally dies, there is no longer any flipping back. There is no longer any experience of either separation or unity.

Rick: So what is there?

Wayne: Pure presence, pure Is-ness, the ongoing eternal moment of what is, as it’s playing out in everything.

Rick: Okay. Isn’t presence and Is-ness, and don’t words like that point to the sort of unity that people talk about in spiritual circles?

Wayne: I think it does.

Rick: Or maybe it’s all a matter of how we define our terms.

Wayne: But I think it does point to exactly that. The problem, of course, is that the pointers are vastly imperfect.

Rick: Yeah, yeah. Words just are scratching the surface.

Wayne: Exactly. And so they’re useful as pointers. But as Ramana Maharshi said, these concepts, these words, these tools, are like thorns that are used to remove other thorns. So if you have a thorn embedded in your foot, you would use another thorn to remove it. And then the point he made was, at that point, both the thorns are thrown away.

Rick: Yeah, yeah, that’s an age-old Indian metaphor. So we started out by talking about the authorship of action. So what do you feel now is the impetus for your action? What is it, or who is it, that is driving you or motivating you to do things?

Wayne: I am reminded of a Zen haiku that I like very much, which is, “Spring comes and the grass grows by itself”.

Rick: That’s a good one. I mean, the Gita, as I’m sure you’re aware, is full of verses like this, about how, “I do not act at all, it’s the gunas of nature that carry on all the activities”, and so on and so forth. And then conversely, and it may appear paradoxically, Krishna turns around and says, “You have to do this action, get out there and do this”. And if I did not act, what would happen to these three worlds, and so on and so forth. So there’s this sort of avocation of action, and yet an explanation that in reality, one does not act, it’s nature that’s acting.

Wayne: An example of this was given by my guru, this fellow Ramesh Balsekar. And Ramesh’s guru was a fellow named Nisargadatta Maharaj. And when Ramesh retired from his job as the President of the Bank of India, he went to sit with Maharaj, and eventually began to translate for him. But in the early stages, he would sit with Nisargadatta. And Nisargadatta was a non-dual teacher, whose point was that consciousness – his name for the ocean – consciousness, he says, does everything. All there is is consciousness, consciousness does everything. You do nothing. And then, in the very next breath, he would say, “To realize this, you must be earnest. You must want this more than anything”. And Ramesh said, he went home and he tore out his hair. It drove him crazy. How can this man sit here, in one breath, and say, “You do nothing”, and in the next moment say, “You must be earnest. You must want this more than anything”. Until it finally dawned on him, he realized that what Maharaj was saying was descriptive. What he was hearing was prescriptive. So, what Maharaj was saying, “This is what you must do. This is what must happen”. There was never the slightest sense in Maharaj’s mind, that you could possibly author anything. But you must do it. In order for this other thing to happen, you must do this. But what Ramesh was hearing was, through a filter of authorship, the sense of, “I’m the one responsible for doing things”, is that, “I must somehow develop this quality of earnestness that it’s incumbent on me to do it. I am responsible somehow for this”. But that wasn’t the message at all. And I respectfully say that that was Christian’s message as well. You must do all of these things, but you’re going to do them or not do them, not from your own egoic power, but as an instrument of consciousness or the soul.

Rick: Absolutely. I mean, he said, what was that saying? “Yogastha Kuru Karmani” – established in being, or presence, or whatever you want to call it, perform action. And so his prescription was, “First get established there, and then go out and do all this stuff I want you to do”. You know, this thing about description-prescription is a perennial theme during my interviews, because I hear it a lot among spiritual teachers, offering a description as a prescription. They’ll sit and kind of describe their state, some state of realization, and then deduce from that that it applies to people on the level of behavior. You know what I mean? Do you hear this?

Wayne: I don’t want to hear any of that stuff.

Rick: You don’t listen to that stuff. It seems very common to me. So for instance, many of them would say, would sort of pooh-pooh the idea that earnestness is necessary, or is a valuable quality, or something like that. In fact, they would sort of, they’re all saying, “Give up the search, and any earnestness or pursuit of any of this is just going to reinforce the idea that there’s a seeker or someone pursuing it, and that should all be dropped”, and so on.

Wayne: I don’t envy your job, Rick.

Rick: It’s a balancing act. Because I have my perspectives and my biases. In fact, before this interview, in the last week or so, I’ve kind of boiled down some of what I consider to be my assumptions, which may or may not be valid, and I want to go through them with you during the interview. But that’s one of them, that I sort of feel like there’s often a confusion of levels in which someone will hear a teaching that is expressed from a certain level of realization, Nisargadatta, or Ramana, or whoever, and it’s not necessarily applicable to the level that they are on, but they’ll kind of conclude that it is, and maybe that will cause them to… In some cases, it could cause a sort of apathy, or a feeling that it’s not necessary to do anything, or practice anything, or anything else, I’ll just sort of maybe assume that I’m already realized, and that’s all there is to it.

Wayne: And then you’ll get them on your show!

Rick: Well, I try to avoid that type. So, in your own case, you were, by your own admission, quite a drinker, and taking drugs, and living quite a wild life. I think there’s some value in telling that story, perhaps even for the sake of some people who are going through a similar thing, or maybe feeling there’s no hope for them. If you’d like to go into it a little bit.

Wayne: Well, as far as I’m concerned, there’s always hope to the extent that things do change, and my story is very much an example of that. I was, as you mentioned, from the age of 16 until I was 35 – so for 19 years – I was an alcoholic and a drug addict. And that disease – because I do consider it to be a disease of the body and the mind – progressed over the course of that 19 years, and towards the end, I was drinking a fifth of liquor every day, doing a gram of cocaine every day, smoking a lot of powerful pot every day, just to get through the day. And I wasn’t partying, I was just trying to survive. And I was very ill. I didn’t realize it, but my wrists and ankles were swollen with alcoholic edema, I had lost fine control of my bladder so that there was a small leak of urine, which I caught with a wad of toilet paper, shoved down my pants, and I had to change every half an hour or so. And this was my physical condition, and my mental condition was that I thought constantly about drinking and doing drugs – this was my life.

Rick: Had you managed to go to college or finish your education?

Wayne: No, I managed to finish my education, I managed to start a business that had some degree of success, and through various strikes of good fortune, I managed to do okay for myself for a while. I was married to a woman who worked, and I was able to get through life. And I drank up the business, but I had a business partner, and he continued to work, so I was able to live, I mean, just somehow make it through. But I was physically and spiritually bankrupt, totally out of gas at every level, but I didn’t know it. And I had no desire to change my lifestyle, but at the end of a four-day drunk, on Memorial Day in 1985, I was laying in bed after being up for several days trying to pass myself out, and I was unable to do so. I was just laying there, and suddenly I felt this compulsion that had been part of me for many many years disappear. And I didn’t even… I mean, in its disappearance, I realized its presence. But I felt it go. I physically felt it go. And I realized at a blinding moment of clarity that my life had just changed, that something had just happened. And it was about 1 o’clock in the morning, and I realized that this way of living was over. So I threw myself a going-away party. I went downstairs, I got the rest of the alcohol out of the cabinet, and I just drank as much as I possibly could, because I decided I was going to go and turn myself in to AA in the morning. And so I – even though I didn’t know anything about him – I did the rest of the coke that I had and drank as much of the liquor as I could, and I was stone sober.

Rick: Really?

Wayne: Maddeningly sober.

Rick: It seemed to have no effect on you.

Wayne: It had no effect. It was the most bizarre experience.

Rick: I wonder if that’s because you had done so darn much that you were kind of inured to it.

Wayne: I had no explanation for it. It was just something that had radically changed. And so from that point to this, that compulsion, that absolute compulsion, has been gone.

Rick: So you never drank or did drugs since then?

Wayne: No.

Rick: Huh. It’s amazing. I wonder what happened. I mean, astrology people would say, “Oh, this happened on that particular day – Jyotish”, and some other types of people would say, “You were blessed by some celestial being”, or something. I mean, who knows?

Wayne: Right. And I am unconcerned with explanations. The whole focus of my life and my teaching is on “what is”, rather than the explanation of “what is”, all of which is a story. You can tell an astrological story, you can tell a psychological story, you can tell an extraterrestrial story.

Rick: And it’s all speculation.

Wayne: Exactly. But the fact of what happened, happened.

Rick: So did you join AA?

Wayne: As you may know, AA is an anonymous organization.

Rick: Oh, so you’re not supposed to say whether you joined it?

Wayne: Well, and one of its principles is that people maintain anonymity at the level of press, radio, and television, and Internet.

Rick: I see.

Wayne: So I make no public claims to membership in any anonymous 12-step organization, although I certainly qualify for several. And I’m very familiar with those programs and their principles, and respect them very highly.

Rick: Sure. So that was a new chapter in your life, so you must have wondered, “Okay, well now what am I going to do?”

Wayne: Well, what I wondered was, you see, what power in the universe could transform me like this?

Rick: Yeah, that’s what I was just wondering when I asked you that question.

Wayne: Yeah, because I always was of the opinion, as most people are, that we’re really, to varying degrees, the masters of our destinies. That we make things happen, that we decide, and then we do them. And it was so clear to me that I had not been the one to do this. I was not the source of this. Even though my family was congratulating me on such a good job at cleaning up my life and things, I knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that I had not done this. So the question was, “What happened?”

Rick: This must be why this whole authorship of action theme is so central to you, so important, you know? You do emphasize it a lot.

Wayne: Well, that’s evolved over time.

Rick: Your whole life is such a testament to that, though, you know? It’s like, boom, you just got zapped somehow and totally changed chapters.

Wayne: That’s very much the case. So that started me looking at spiritual explanations. And I found, through a friend of mine, a fellow who I’d met, who had a similar experience to me. He struck sober one day – and undesired by himself. He had been sober for five or six, seven, ten years at that point. And he had a vast spiritual library, and he invited me to graze in it. He said, “Take anything you like”. And there were mystics of every persuasion. There were Christian mystics and Sufi mystics and Zen. So I started reading all this stuff and started practicing, doing all these various spiritual practices, and it was fun!

Rick: Did you get any formal instruction, or were you just getting it from the books?

Wayne: I was mostly getting it from the books. I took up Tai Chi, I got formal Tai Chi instruction. I got some advice from people about how to meditate. I tried it all. It was like traveling through a grand bazaar. If you’ve ever been to Istanbul or gone through the grand bazaar, and everybody’s going, “Here! I have the best thing! Try this!” “No, over here, sir! I have the best thing! Try this!”

Rick: Chandni Chowk, I’ve been through Chandni Chowk in India.

Wayne: Okay.

Rick: It’s a market like that.

Wayne: Yeah, Crawford Bazaar. The idea is that there’s all of these wonderful things to be explored and tasted and tested and tried, and I tried a lot of them. It was wonderful, very exciting. I did this for a couple of years before I met my Guru.

Rick: And certainly a lot more wholesome than what you’d been imbibing before.

Wayne: Certainly so.

Rick: And so, tell us the story of how you met your Guru.

Wayne: I met Ramesh after a friend of mine and I went to see Ram Dass.

Rick: The “Be Here Now” guy.

Wayne: Yeah, the “Be Here Now” guy. And he was raising money for the Seva Foundation at that time, and running around giving talks. And I was captivated by him. I thought he was great, he was humorous, he told great jokes and good stories, got everybody homing and chanting together, which I had never done before, and it was very powerful and exciting. At any rate, I enjoyed that experience, and my friend got on their mailing list. And the guy who brought Ramesh, my Guru, to the States got that mailing list. He received a flyer, he showed it to me, and said, “Look, they’re only charging a buck, why don’t we go? What have we got to lose?” And we went to see him. And this was his first talk ever outside of India. I mean, his first public talk ever. And in India he had people who were coming to see him in his home, but he had never done a public talk. And when he did, he did it, interestingly, as a bank president. He stood at a lectern and delivered a prepared speech on Advaita. And the noumenon actuates in the phenomenon, and the phenomenal manifestation is an aspect of this. And I didn’t understand a word this man said. He was not amusing, he was not Ram Dass. And I didn’t know what the hell he was saying. But I went away on a business trip, I came back, and it was as if something had incubated while I was gone. And he was still in LA giving talks up in the Hollywood Hills. And I went to see him again, for some reason. And when I saw him, when he came in, sat down in this guy’s living room, and there were 20 of us or so, and in that context, he was relaxed, informal, telling stories, talking directly, and I fell in love with him. Totally unexpectedly, I was not, even though I’d been spiritually seeking for two years, I was far more a recovering alcoholic and drug addict with that mentality, from that life, having lived that all those years, than I was an identity as a spiritual seeker. And so, to fall in love with some Indian guru, that’s pretty bizarre. But there it was, it happened.

Rick: Yeah, I’ve done it myself, I know what you mean. It can be very powerful, the heart really opens, and there’s this powerful presence that you resonate with, and it kind of infuses your being, and transforms your awareness, and all kinds of things, right? It’s a deep thing.

Wayne: Very powerful.

Rick: Yeah, and from that point, you were probably pretty well hooked.

Wayne: Totally, and am to this day. That was 23 years ago.

Rick: And so, thus began a long-term relationship, you saw him regularly, and so on and so forth.

Wayne: It did indeed. It was the beginning of the most remarkable relationship, human relationship, of my life.

Rick: Did you spend time in India too?

Wayne: Yeah, I met him in September, I was in India in March, and returned to India every year, at least once, often twice, for over 20 years, until he died.

Rick: And so, certainly you wouldn’t be like some of these teachers that you don’t listen to, who say, “Oh, you don’t need a guru, there’s no need for gurus, gurus are all a bunch of baloney”. Because obviously you had one, and it was very transformational for you.

Wayne: All I would say is, I needed a guru, somebody else may not need a guru. Lots of gurus are full of baloney, and whether you get one that’s beneficial for you, or one that screws you up royally, is certainly not within your control. In fact, one of the most profound things I think Ramesh ever said, was that the same Source makes the false guru as makes the genuine one.

Rick: And ironically, I’ve sometimes seen, at least as far as I can tell, that even people who have established a deep relationship with someone that I would consider a false guru, by my standards, have undergone tremendous progress.

Wayne: Absolutely, and vice versa.

Rick: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, there are stories in the Vedas of people worshipping a rock and going through huge, wonderful changes.

Wayne: And there was a fellow named Ramana Maharshi, who had a very deep connection to a mountain.

Rick: Exactly, that’s a big rock. Yeah, so it’s really hard to make any kind of blanket judgments or statements or universal prescriptions or anything else. It’s a very diverse scene out there, and people gain benefit from all kinds of things.

Wayne: Yes, they do.

Rick: So, perhaps you could give us just an overview of the course of your progress through your 20 years with Ramesh, and what that interaction was like, and what sort of changes or developments or awakenings you underwent in all that.

Wayne: The most profound change that I can point to in my association with Ramesh was the movement from wanting to get something from him to wanting to give something to him. And my whole life has been about getting, getting more, and once I got it, keeping it, making sure that you didn’t get it from me, that I was smarter than you were, that I was more clever. All of that was about making sure that I got mine. And through my association with Ramesh, I had a very powerful realization and transformation in seeing that true freedom was in giving, not in getting.

Rick: “My cup runneth over”, you know. I mean, once the cup is full, then it runneth over, and one has something to give, and one naturally, spontaneously gives. And paradoxically, probably gains more in the giving than they did during the getting phase. So, was there sort of a night-and-day turning point or junction point between the getting phase and the giving phase? Was there a quick turnaround, or was it sort of a gradual thing you couldn’t really pinpoint?

Wayne: It occurred over, actually, the course of a three-week visit to India, my first visit to India, where I went to spend time with Ramesh. And I was very fearful about what… because I knew I had gone there to surrender to the Guru. I was very fearful about what this Guru might take from me. I had a new car, a beautiful Chrysler LeBaron convertible, and I thought, “What if he wants my car?” You know, presumably, complete and total surrender to the Guru would include your car. And I thought, “What if he wants my money? What if he wants me to come stay with him?” I was recently divorced, I had two young children. I had them half the time. And he wanted me to come there to India and stay and be of service to him. What would I do? And I thought, “What if he wants to have sex with me?” (Laughter)

Rick: All of these have happened to people.

Wayne: Absolutely. And the question was, “What if he wants to take any of these things from me? What would I do?” And I was very afraid. But I was compelled to go and continue to engage with him. And at the end of that time there in India with him, I became the publisher of his books, and we were working on a manuscript. And at the end of that period of working on a manuscript, I realized that when it was time to go, that what I was thinking was no longer fearful, “What is he going to take from me?” But I was thinking, “What can I give him?” And in that sense of “What can I give?” was real freedom. Because when you’re willing to give everything, no one can take anything from you. You’re really free. All that fear, all that constriction, all that worry and concern, is simply gone. And I hadn’t even realized what a burden I had been carrying around all those years.

Rick: I think he probably earned your trust, you know. You got to know him and you came to realize that he wasn’t going to ask for your car, or make you leave your kids or anything.

Wayne: Actually, that’s not the point.

Rick: I’m sorry.

Wayne: It’s okay. It was not that he had gained my trust and I was certain that he wouldn’t do any of those things. That wasn’t the case at all. It was that it didn’t matter. None of those things were of import, really. That what was going to happen was going to happen. And there was a real freedom in the sense that it would be my pleasure, truly – truly my pleasure to give whatever I could.

Rick: So, when you were with him, what were you doing? Were you just working with him on books and listening to his talks and stuff like that? Or did he have you doing meditation practices or anything else like that?

Wayne: No, he had no formal practices. So my association with him became quite personal, as well as, over the years, I began to organize his tours to the United States and things. I was a roadie. So, through this process, I had the opportunity to spend time with him and got to know him as a man. And this was very important to realize that this understanding that he was talking about, this freedom that he was talking about, was not an airy-fairy, kind of live-in-a-cave, remote type of awakening or enlightenment. It was truly an understanding that was consistent with living, with life. And that he was a human being with qualities and characteristics, some of which I admired and some of which I thought weren’t very attractive. But what I loved about him was that there was a total absence of what I today call the false sense of authorship. There was no sense whatsoever that he should or I should or anybody else should be different than they are. There was total acceptance of himself and everyone and everything around him.

Rick: Do you feel that because that’s the way he was, and because you were in such close proximity to him, that you sort of managed to attune yourself to that way of being, kind of like one tuning fork will get another tuning fork humming if it’s close to it?

Wayne: Perhaps.

Rick: I mean, and that leads to a question about transmission. A lot of people talk about transmission in spiritual circles, that you should sit with a teacher and there will be some sort of subtle transference or transmission of energy or consciousness or something that will enable you to wake up. Does that use that terminology at all?

Wayne: I don’t have any “shoulds” whatsoever in my teaching. I don’t say that anyone should do any…

Rick: I’m not saying you should, but some people say…well, maybe I did say “should”.

Wayne: Actually you did, yes.

Rick: Okay, sorry. But do you feel like that was the mechanics in your case, for instance, and is that the mechanics with the people that you teach? There’s some sort of transmission or kind of resonance taking place that brings them in line or that brought you in line with living in presence and not taking authorship for action?

Wayne: The resonance is a beautiful occurrence when it happens. And through the resonance there is, for the disciple, often an experience of that underlying truth, if you will. But it is actually not a transmission in the way that we often think of transmission by the guru.

Rick: Yeah, it’s not like some ball of light goes from here to there.

Wayne: But it’s certainly not willful in any way. I would say that just as Ramana experienced resonance with the mountain, the mountain wasn’t doing anything. The disciple may experience resonance with this human object of a guru, but the guru isn’t doing anything to affect that movement or transmission to the disciple. It is only in the presence of the resonance that that happens. And so you often have disciples say… Oh, I said this with many of my friends, as soon as I had this experience with Ramesh, I called all my friends. I said, “Oh, look, there’s this guy up in the Hollywood Hills. You go up there and you sit with him and you see through into the center of the universe. It’s like amazing”. And my friends all said, “Oh, you get to see through to the center of the universe? Let’s go!” I said, “Yeah, it’s incredible. It’s amazing”. And they’d come and they’d sit, and halfway through they’re looking at their watches, and it’s clear in the absence of the resonance, there’s this guy flapping his gums.

Rick: They just didn’t have that same affinity that you had, or whatever.

Wayne: But the resonance is the mechanism through which this understanding, this insight, this presence, if you like, is experienced.

Rick: Yeah. And you know, theoretically one of your friends could have gone and sat with some other teacher, and then something would have clicked with that guy, because that was the one that they were more attuned to. That happens, you see that a lot. People shop around a bit and then they’ll find one that really clicks for them.

Wayne: Absolutely.

Rick: And obviously you and Ramesh were meant to be.

Wayne: True.

Rick: So I like this resonance point. One more point on it is that I thought of the analogy of, let’s say a fire is burning brightly and you put a dry twig near it, and the twig eventually catches fire also. It’s not like the fire did anything different than what it was doing, it was just burning, but the proximity of the stick, you know, and the affinity, so to speak, between the big fire and the little dry stick, got it going.

Wayne: That’s right. And a wet stick comes by the same fire and nothing happens.

Rick: Yeah, or maybe it has to sit there a lot longer before it dries out.

Wayne: Exactly.

Rick: Yeah. So was there finally a point during this 20 year relationship with Ramesh where you had, and again, terminology gets clunky here, but an awakening, an enlightenment, an abrupt, irrevocable shift of some kind?

Wayne: Yes.

Rick: Okay, can we talk about that a little?

Wayne: We can. I don’t talk about it a lot because there’s nothing much to talk about.

Rick: All right. As much as you’re willing, or able.

Wayne: Only to the extent that there came a moment when that false sense of authorship died, and it was after I’d known Ramesh a couple of years. And it was, for me, not a big deal. I was not interested in becoming a teacher. My business resurrected beautifully when I stopped drinking.

Rick: What was your business, by the way?

Wayne: I was in the import and export business, and that was doing very well. I was making a lot of money, I was able to use some of those resources to support my Guru, to support the teaching and make this, what I felt, beautiful, beautiful teaching available to people, through the books and the tours and things. And so I was absolutely thrilled to do all that. I had no desire and did not feel that I had the temperament to be a teacher.

Rick: Well, I’m not saying anything about becoming a teacher, although you did become one, but just in terms of the subjective shift that happened for you at a certain point, was it dramatic, was it abrupt, could you have marked it on a calendar, this time of day, on that date this happened, that kind of thing?

Wayne: Yes, yes. And so from that moment forward, that false sense of authorship was gone, and this organism no longer suffered. I, Wayne Liquorman, no longer, suffering no longer happened through this particular structure, because there was no longer any sense that I was a separate, independent, authoring entity. It was just, all of that, that whole structure was gone, but it wasn’t replaced with something else. It wasn’t replaced with this ecstatic sense of “I am the universe, I am consciousness, I am the oneness, all of this is maya and it doesn’t exist, and the one true existence is the Self”, and all that business. That wasn’t the experience. And that’s why I say I really can’t talk about it, because you can’t talk about an absence. You only talk about the presence of something, because that has qualities.

Rick: I suppose maybe you could talk about, if you shifted from taking authorship of your actions to not doing that, there must have been a shift in the smoothness of your behavior or your actions, the spontaneity.

Wayne: Well, yes, to the extent that suffering was absent from them, and I suppose for a brief period there was an experience of what I would call the presence of the absence. So, to illustrate this, I use an example that you’ve walked around today, all day, without a stone in your shoe, presumably. So if people asked you, “What is your experience of the absence of the stone?” What would you say?

Rick: It feels normal, it’s like you only notice it if you’ve had the stone and then suddenly the stone is gone.

Wayne: Exactly, so there’s no experience of an absence of the stone. The stone is absent though! The stone has been absent all day.

Rick: Yeah, but metaphorically speaking, you walked for 37-some-odd years with stones in your shoes, and then all of a sudden the stones were gone.

Wayne: That’s right, and this is where it gets a little funky, because when you have a stone in your shoe, there is something there. The realization, if we call it that, this final understanding, is not the removal of something substantive. It’s the revelation – It was never there! So in that case it’s more like waking up from a hypnotic suggestion. If you have a hypnotic suggestion that your clothes are on fire, you’ll make a lot of effort to put out the fire. As soon as the hypnotist snaps his fingers, you’re not in any way any longer concerned with the fire. You’re not relieved that the fire isn’t there. It’s simply revealed to have never been there.

Rick: Yeah, like if a tiger is chasing you in a dream or something, and then you wake up from the dream and there’s no tiger, so it’s not a problem anymore.

Wayne: So these are very imperfect pointers to this absence. Anyway, so the absence was absent, and I went along quite happily with my life after that, doing what I was doing, doing my business, raising my kids, being a service to my guru, and doing all that stuff. At one point, seven or six years later, my business disappeared overnight. I was a middleman and I got un-middled, and a very lucrative business was gone, basically. One of the upshots of that was that I had not been able to go to India all the time I was with Ramesh during Guru Purnima, which is the full moon period when the disciples gather to honor the guru. The nature of the business I was in was that I was always traveling elsewhere during that period, and I could never make it. Well, now without a business, I didn’t have any business constraints, and I went to Bombay. I was able to sit with Ramesh during Guru Purnima, and he sort of surprised me at the end of the Guru Purnima talk. He said, “You should all come back tomorrow. Tomorrow, Wayne is giving the talk”. This was news to me, and not particularly good news to me. After everybody left, we were sitting having lunch, and I said, “Ramesh, thanks a lot, but I really feel that it would be impertinent of me to talk about your teaching when you’re around here doing it so well”. And he said, “Nonsense, my dear boy, nonsense. If they come, talk to them”. And people came and asked some questions, and I answered the questions, and as far as I was concerned, that was the end of it. I came back to LA, and a couple of weeks later, I get a phone call from a guy who says, “We’ve got a little group here in Atlanta, and we hear you talking”.

Rick: How did they find out?

Wayne: You know how they found out.

Rick: Through the grapevine, right?

Wayne: Through the grapevine, the drum beats had dropped, and I said, “Sure, send me a ticket”, because I didn’t have anything else going. He said, “Send me a ticket and I’ll come”. And so that was 14 years ago or so, and the phone has been ringing ever since.

Rick: Pretty cool, one thing leads to the next.

Wayne: Yeah, so I keep going. When the phone stops ringing, I’ll go do something else.

Rick: So it sounds like you would equate authorship with suffering.

Wayne: Absolutely.

Rick: If you’re assuming authorship of action, you’re suffering, and vice versa.

Wayne: Yes. Well, yeah, they’re a package. Suffering and authorship are integral with one another.

Rick: So I presume you would define pain and suffering differently, because obviously, let’s say you suffered a severe burn or something like that. It would hurt a lot, but that’s not what you would mean by suffering.

Wayne: That’s absolutely correct, Rick.

Rick: Even though it might be terrible, and you might be lying there in a hospital bed. So in what way would you not be suffering in a circumstance like that? How would you somehow be free or independent of the misery that such an experience would cause?

Wayne: Well, this is where we have to look at what I mean by suffering. Suffering is not intense pain. Intense pain is intense pain. Suffering is the extension of this intense pain of the moment into the past and the future. So it is basically the story around what is happening.

Rick: So it’s like an embellishment of what is happening.

Wayne: It’s an explosion of what is happening, an explosion of the pain of the moment. And so it is – the story goes all kinds of ways, but a typical story is – “I am experiencing this pain because of something I did. So this pain is my fault. And if I had done this differently, then I wouldn’t be in this situation. Going the other way, what if this pain doesn’t end? What if this pain keeps going? Will I be able to manage it? Will I be able to somehow survive it? Will I be able to hold it together if this pain continues?” And so you’ve got the fear of the future and the regret for the past aggravating the pain of the moment. And that explosion of the pain of the moment into the past and the future is suffering, basically.

Rick: My teacher, who I am no longer affiliated with but was my teacher for decades, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, used to say, “Christ never suffered”. And that really got some people’s hackles up, but he was saying, from his status, even going through that intense experience, he didn’t suffer. But some experiences, even if you don’t embellish them with past and future and all that business, are so intense and so horrific that it’s hard to not see them as being a suffering situation. I mean, if you put me in that situation, maybe you could speak for yourself, if you can imagine yourself being on a cross, even if you didn’t embellish it with, “Oh my God, how did I get there and am I going to get down?” It would be.. it’s hard to imagine not being completely overwhelmed or overshadowed by that. Maybe you wouldn’t be, maybe I wouldn’t be, I don’t know.

Wayne: Well, the basic pointer holds that the difference between the pain and the suffering is that the pain is in the moment. The pain may be all-consuming in the moment. I mean, the pain can be so much that there’s nothing other than the pain. But even then, all there is is pain, total pain, which is different, qualitatively different from the pain that is total plus past and future. It gets extended out of the moment. That’s where the suffering lies.

Rick: It also seems to me that, just as you’ve been saying, that there can be action with or without authorship, it seems like there could be pain with or without ownership. “This pain is happening to me and therefore it’s terrible”. But if there is no sense of a person to whom the pain is happening, then maybe it’s not so bad, maybe it’s not suffering. Does that jibe with your understanding? If you stub your toe, I mean, let’s say you really whack it and it hurts like hell, is there a sense that on some level nothing got hurt? Sure, the toe hurts, but on some level I am untouched by this.

Wayne: No.

Rick: No? What is the experience?

Wayne: That hurts like hell.

Rick: And that’s all?

Wayne: Yeah. I mean, that doesn’t minimize it in any way. It hurts like hell. This sucks.

Rick: Right.

Wayne: If it keeps going, I want to take an aspirin, I want to put some ice on it, I want to go to the doctor, I want to do something about the pain. But it’s always of the moment. There isn’t that… It is the seeker who says, “Oh, I’m truly not this pain. I am the space in which the pain exists”. That’s a separation from ‘what is’. For the sage there is no separation from ‘what is’, there is only ‘what is’.

Rick: Well, I can see a seeker doing that as a mood-making kind of thing, “Oh, this doesn’t bother me, I’m so spiritual”. But I think there can also be a state where… I mean, I fell off my bicycle one time, this was about 10 years ago, and I whacked my head, I had a helmet, and I skinned my arm. And it was painful and kind of intense, but at the same time there was a sort of witness to the whole experience. And it wasn’t a matter of my thinking about it, I mean, in the instant of that accident I didn’t have time to think about anything, but there was a sort of a silence, or something there that wasn’t getting affected by that. Do you see that as an intermediary stage?

Wayne: Because what you’re describing is a space in which that involving me, that false sense of authorship, didn’t come in. So what there was, was the pure experience. Simply that.

Rick: Okay. I mean, I don’t mean to belabor this, but I’m just trying to get this clear. So let’s say, and I don’t mean to also throw too many hypotheticals at you, but if you fell off your bicycle and skinned your arm on the road, you’re saying that there wouldn’t be any sort of silent witness to that or anything else, there would just be complete immersion in that experience as it happened, and then whatever, the pain would subside over time?

Wayne: There would only be what happened.

Rick: That’s it.

Wayne: Exactly.

Rick: No one witnessing it, no one to whom it was happening?

Wayne: There might be pain associated with it, or there might not, depending upon the circumstances. There’s physical conditions of shock and other things in which there’s… who knows? But whatever is happening in that moment is happening.

Rick: And there’s no one to whom it is happening, it’s just what’s happening. That’s it.

Wayne: There is no separate, independent one for whom it is happening, but it’s definitely happening to Wayne, it’s not happening to Rick.

Rick: Yeah, it’s not happening to the tree over there or something like that, it’s happening to Wayne.

Wayne: Exactly. So there’s a recognition, there’s identity. I mean, there’s a sense of self as Wayne, who this is happening to. But not as… we think of Wayne as a drop, so we’re thinking in drop sense, but Wayne as the wave is simply a shape of ocean for whom it is happening.

Rick: So you can really say, “It’s just happening to the ocean, this particular aspect of the ocean, that’s happening in this particular wave, but it’s really just the ocean, it’s one of the things the ocean is going through”.

Wayne: Right. I would take out the ‘justs’ and say, “It is happening to this aspect of the ocean”. Yes, named Wayne.

Rick: Yeah, that’s good. I think that’s about as clear as I can get that without being too obsessive about it. There’s another thing I heard you say in one of your talks, where you were talking about – correct me if I’m wrong – you were talking about the sense that the whole universe is operating through you, something like that. Do you remember making such a statement?

Wayne: Yes.

Rick: Okay. And when I heard you say that, I thought of a question, which would be that… I presume you’re meaning the kind of unmanifest essential aspect of the universe. It’s not like if I’m doing something, the Andromeda galaxy is operating through me, but that intelligence or that presence or that being which is fundamental to, or integral to, or essential to every bit of the universe is functioning through me, just as it’s functioning through every other expression. Again, the wave and ocean thing.

Wayne: Exactly. So it’s just another way of saying that the ocean is the movement of the wave.

Rick: Right. Good. Okay. I have some questions here that I told you earlier about, that I have sort of tried to distill down into as kind of concise a way as possible, that I think are kind of core questions for me and maybe for a bunch of other people. Let’s see if we can run through some of them.

Wayne: Can we take a five minute break here?

Rick: Absolutely. So I’ve written down some questions here that I’m going to ask probably a number of my guests, but I want to run them by you and see what you think. These are questions which I sort of feel… I’ve done about 80 of these interviews now, and these keep coming up in one form or another, and I think they reflect some areas where I’m trying to clarify my own understanding, and probably many people are trying to do the same. First of all, a terminology question that I probably should have asked you in the beginning. Do you use the terms “awakening” and “enlightenment” interchangeably or synonymously, or do you regard those as two different things?

Wayne: I have started using the terms separately.

Rick: Okay. How would you distinguish between them?

Wayne: Awakening… I’ve begun to use the term “awakening” to describe that point at which there is a realization of the unity of things. That you literally wake up and see that things are not as you thought they were, and that you begin to glimpse, you have a glimpse of the fact that there is an underlying unity, and you gain at least an initial experiential and often intellectual understanding of the fact that we are not separate, independent, autonomous entities. The enlightenment is when that false sense of separation dies. So that’s the distinction I make.

Rick: So it sounds like you’re saying awakening is a more preliminary thing, where you’re getting glimpses and insights and so on and so forth, but it might be unstable, it might be intermittent, whereas enlightenment is kind of a more final, permanent shift of some kind.

Wayne: The way I use the term “the awakening” is the point at which all of that process starts, of flipping and flopping back between insight and separation. That marks the beginning of that, and enlightenment I suppose would be marking the ending of that whole.

Rick: I heard a Tibetan proverb recently, which I’ll probably keep saying until people get sick of it, but it’s, “Don’t mistake understanding for realization, don’t mistake realization for liberation”. Somehow that one kind of hit home. Okay, so I think you might have answered my second question, which was that, in your own experience, has awakening been a sort of an on-off, black-white kind of a thing, or are there various progressive stages of development, deepening, or clarification of awakening that take place up until a point where there’s some kind of final demarcation? I think you just answered that, but care to elaborate at all, or is that it? Okay, good. What impact does enlightenment have on behavior, do you think? Can a person be “enlightened” and yet be doing unethical or immoral things, or does such behavior indicate a lack of development in certain areas?

Wayne: To me, enlightenment and behavior are totally unlinked. Well, not totally, but essentially unlinked, particularly in regards to what we consider to be moral or immoral behavior, which has to do with the values of the group.

Rick: Cultural things.

Wayne: Cultural things, yeah. And so what is immoral in one group is perfectly fine in another.

Rick: It’s true. I mean, in some societies it’s fine to have five wives or something. Absolutely.

Wayne: Yeah. So what we tend to confuse are sages and saints. Now, saints are beings for whom their behavior embodies the highest values of the group. So a saint in one group is not a saint in another, but a saint in a particular group is a saint because their behavior embodies the highest values of that group.

Rick: Somebody like Mother Teresa, or somebody like that, yeah.

Wayne: Now, if you read the writings of saints, saints often suffer. They suffer because they think bad thoughts. They aren’t as wonderful internally as they are externally.

Rick: That’s precisely what Mother Teresa said. She said at the end of her life she confessed to having all these doubts, and lack of any kind of inner experience, and so on and so forth.

Wayne: So that’s the condition of the saint. It’s all about behavior. The sage, this is my definition, the sage is someone for whom the false sense of authorship, of being a separate, independent, authoring being, has died. And when we understand what the source of behavior is – this is a whole other aspect of the teaching, of course – but when you start to look at what makes you behave as you do, when you realize that it is a condition of the universe, of all of these factors of your genes, and your conditioning, and all of these factors that produce behavior, then even the notion that sage will bring a particular kind of behavior is ludicrous.

Rick: Although, mustn’t there be some correlation, however loose? I mean, you couldn’t have a Charlie Manson, or a Jeffrey Dahmer, or an Adolf Hitler, or somebody who was a sage, or could you, by your definition of the word “sage”?

Wayne: In the very strictest sense, that would theoretically, I imagine, be a possibility. But, I mean, obviously it doesn’t seem to be the case very often, it’s highly unlikely, etc., etc., but theoretically, behavior and enlightenment are unrelated.

Rick: It’s way out on the fringes of the bell curve, in other words. The likelihood that you could get somebody like that, who was actually self-realized.

Wayne: Yeah, but the point being, once again, that behavior and enlightenment are not linked. Now, where this gets interesting is what goes on internally, you see. Because what we’re really describing is an absence of internal involvement in what is taking place. And so, a sage, for example, there’s no possibility of hatred arising in the sage. Because hatred is a product of the sense that the other person shouldn’t have done what they did. So you could never hate someone, but you could intensely not like them, because that’s a function of your nature, what you like and don’t like.

Rick: Because you don’t like what they’re doing.

Wayne: Exactly! But it’s about “I don’t like it”. It’s not “They shouldn’t have done it”.

Rick: So you recognize that people do what they do, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to like it.

Wayne: And it includes yourself. You do what you do, in accordance with your nature. And so your likes and dislikes are also part of that same function.

Rick: Yeah, this is one of those teachings, I think, which it’s necessary to be a little careful. There’s a verse in the Gita, it’s chapter 4, verse 18, where it says, “Let not the wise man create a division in the minds of the ignorant who are attached to action. Established in being, he should direct and perform all actions, duly engaging in them himself”. One could take the attitude that, “Well, I just do what I do according to my nature, and I happen to rob banks, like Bonnie and Clyde or something, and there’s really no one robbing the bank, I’m not the actor, I don’t take authorship of my action”. That could be used as a sort of an alibi or an excuse for someone who wasn’t genuinely awakened.

Wayne: So, you use it as an excuse.

Rick: Yeah, but I get it.

Wayne: And the judge says, “Well, it’s consciousness operating through me, so you’re in jail!”

Rick: Exactly.

Wayne: What the hell?

Rick: Yeah. All right, well that’s interesting. It’s been a big one for me to deal with, because I was raised with the understanding that there is a correlation, that the quality of one’s action or behavior is a reflection of the quality of one’s consciousness, or the level of one’s consciousness.

Wayne: Yes, well we’re all interested in self-improvement, and enlightenment as the ultimate self-improvement, where you become perfect, is a very desirable notion.

Rick: Yeah, yeah. Right, haven’t seen too many examples of it. Do you feel like… here’s another question for you, totally shifting gears here, do you feel like, at least for some people, meditation is useful after awakening? Could continuing a meditation practice, even if one enjoys it, actually be an impediment to a person at a certain stage? Or is this another one of those things where there’s really no correlation, it’s a matter of individual proclivity?

Wayne: No, I mean, of course, the outcome of a particular practice is variable. Ramesh tells the story of a guy who came to see him, I think the second year he came to the States, and the fellow came up to him at the break and said, “Do you know how long I meditate every day?” Ramesh said, “No, I don’t”. He said, “I meditate 14 hours a day”. The guy was bursting with spiritual pride.

Rick: Yeah, yeah.

Wayne: He was obviously, the ever-practical Ramesh said, “Man, obviously he didn’t have to work for a living”.

Rick: All right, good point.

Wayne: He must have been living in some kind of spiritual community that facilitates this. He said, “And he must be the number one meditator in his community. He’s up to 14 hours a day, and this next guy is only 12, and he’s looking over his shoulder all the time to make sure that nobody else is creeping up on him”. So in this case, meditation was simply another thing for the false sense of authorship to grasp and feed on. Whereas, for someone else, meditation brings insights that reduces this false sense of authorship. But the meditation itself is neither inherently good nor bad.

Rick: Different strokes for different folks.

Wayne: At different moments.

Rick: Yeah, yeah.

Wayne: What may serve you very well at a particular point in your process doesn’t serve you at all later on, or vice versa.

Rick: Yeah, there’s a saying that you’re using a boat to cross a river, and if you’ve reached the other shore, the boat may actually be an impediment, you might as well get out of it.

Wayne: If you pick it up and put it on your back and carry it into the desert, yes.

Rick: Yeah, good point. I’d like to read a little bit of a longer thing. This will just take me a minute or two to read and have you riff on it. It’s along the themes of there being the possibility of further unfoldment, further development even after realization, which some teachers and sages say there are, and I’d like to get your feedback on this. This is by Swami Ram Dass. I’m not sure exactly who he is, but I came across this. It said, “Four stages of God-consciousness. First, by total surrender, the ego is dissolved completely. Ego-lessness means realization of the all-pervading Spirit or God. We know that we and Spirit are one. Second, after that comes the universal vision…”

Wayne: Rick, I’m sorry, I’m going to stop you.

Rick: Please do.

Wayne: I’m not going to comment on somebody else’s teaching.

Rick: Okay, no problem. Well, just in a nutshell, it’s the idea that there can be further unfoldings or stages. Forget anybody else’s teaching. In your own experience since ’87 or ’89 or whatever it was when you had that shift, have you felt like there’s still some sort of enrichment or depth or clarification, or however you want to put it, taking place?

Wayne: No, because what you’re describing is the clarification, the deepening of something. What I’m talking about as the final enlightenment, the final stage, is an absence. It isn’t the presence of something that can deepen and enrich and move on and get bigger and better.

Rick: So the absence can’t get any more absent once it’s absent.

Wayne: Once it’s absent, it’s absent.

Rick: Yeah, and so there can’t be any sort of refinement of perception or unfold…

Wayne: Oh, there’s all kinds of refinements that happen within manifestation, but that’s not…

Rick: Oh, okay. No, good, that’s what I was getting at actually. I realize that with regard to the unmanifest quality of it, there can’t be any further polishing of that, but within manifestation, do you see an infinite range of possibilities in terms of unfoldment of the heart or whatever?

Wayne: Oh, absolutely. The human organism is capable of all kinds of changes.

Rick: Yeah, good.

Wayne: But it has nothing to do with enlightenment.

Rick: Okay, I got you.

Wayne: It just has to do with the changes that are part of being alive.

Rick: Yeah, which could go either way I suppose.

Wayne: Certainly.

Rick: Ram Dass had a stroke, I don’t know if he’s enlightened or not, but that sort of thing could happen. Or conversely, there could be a refinement of the physiology which would result in, on the manifest level, some sort of enhanced whatever, perception.

Wayne: Absolutely, but it has nothing whatsoever to do with enlightenment.

Rick: Gotcha. It’s kind of an icing on the cake kind of thing, which has nothing to do with the cake. Yeah, good. Now that’s a good point, because some people do sort of insist that, “No, that’s it, nothing can be further enhanced or refined or whatever”, but that didn’t make sense to me and I like the way you put it. Good. Well, I don’t have any more questions at the moment. Do you have anything from your side that you like to say to people that we haven’t touched upon? Anything whatsoever?

Wayne: Not a thing.

Rick: Okay, good. Well, this has been enjoyable. And you still travel around and give talks, people send you tickets.

Wayne: They do! I’m on the road about half the year now.

Rick: Great. So if someone wants to have you come to their area, they could get in touch. And I’ll have a link to your website and everything on mine. And do you also do… there’s a lot of stuff of yours on YouTube and on your website that people can listen to, which I recommend, I think it’s very instructive. I even listened to that whole series when you were in Moscow, even with the Russian translation. It was kind of enjoyable, the Russian translation gave me a moment to sort of let it sink in. And do you do actual consultations with people over Skype or anything like that, or mainly just group things?

Wayne: Yep.

Rick: In person?

Wayne: Yes.

Rick: Okay, good. Well, thanks Wayne.

Wayne: It was a pleasure, Rick.

Rick: Yeah, I hope I’ve asked pertinent questions and made this…

Wayne: I imagine your viewers will make the determination on that one.

Rick: They will. I mean, my greatest sin is talking too much. I sometimes get flak from people, “Why don’t you just shut up and let the guy talk?” Hopefully I haven’t done too much of that.

Wayne: I didn’t experience that.

Rick: Good. Well, thanks. So to my listeners, I’ll conclude. I’ve been speaking with Wayne Liquorman. I’ll be linking to his website on www.batgap.com, where you can go to see all the interviews that I have done and will be doing. You can sign up for email notification every time a new interview gets put up, if you like. There’s also a discussion group there, there’s a link to a podcast, if you like to listen to this sort of thing on your iPod. And that’s about it. So thank you very much, Wayne, and thank you listeners, or viewers, and we’ll see you next time.

Wayne: Take care, Rick.

Rick: Thanks, Wayne.