In this episode, we talk with Tina Rasmussen about the big picture, goals, and stages of the meditation and awakening journey; ways to advance our practice; navigation of a variety of traditions/methods; teacher selection; extension of practice into daily life, Tina’s practice journey, and more.
0:00 – Episode intro
3:25 – How we are using some terms during this episode
5:41 – Goals practitioners should have if any
10:59 – Definition of spiritual awakening
14:50 – Ground of being
18:26 – Tina’s awakening experience and why to pursue awakening
28:20 – Dzogchen overview
38:42 – Rigpa & mindfulness, differences, and similarities
48:15 – Advice for practitioners who want to advance their practice
52:33 – Finding inspiration and motivation to practice
58:34 – Neuroscience and Meditation
1:00:00 – Practice becoming more customized as you advance
1:04:38 – Sticking to practice vs switching it for another
1:08:13 – Building a well-rounded practice vs doing only what you are comfortable with
1:10:35 –Practicing from diverse traditions and methods vs limiting to one
1:15:45 – The role and importance of a teacher at different stages of practice
1:21:25 – How to choose a teacher
1:25:54 – Tina’s advice on extending the practice into daily life
Tina is a meditation teacher who leads retreats and offers spiritual guidance and mentoring to practitioners worldwide. Her mission as a teacher is to foster awakening and its embodiment in worldly life, through the application of authentic, rigorous Buddhist and modern practices.
Tina learned to meditate in 1976, at age 13. In her late twenties, after many years of practice in Buddhist and modern non-dual traditions, she undertook an intensive year-long solo retreat during which a profound awakening to Reality occurred. Some years after that, Tina attended a retreat with Burmese meditation master Ven. Pa Auk Sayadaw, who ordained her as a Buddhist nun and later, authorized her to teach. During the retreat, Tina became the first Western woman to complete the entire Samatha path in this lineage. Tina also took refuge with Tsoknyi Rinpoche, a Tibetan Dzogchen teacher, and was initiated into the Nyingma lineage.
To learn and practice with Tina Rasmussen check his courses, and live events on Innercraft and his website:
To support your practice we have also created the following resources:
- Video Course Library: https://www.inner-craft.com/video-courses/
- Live Events (Workshops, Q&As, Peer Meetups, etc.): https://www.inner-craft.com/live-training/
- Guided Meditation Library: https://www.inner-craft.com/guided-meditation/
- Podcast: https://www.inner-craft.com/podcast/
- Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1632152067129586
Music by DJ Taz Rashid:
Speaker 2 00:01:53 Good to see you, Andreas,
Speaker 1 00:01:55 I have already provided a summary of your background, but would appreciate if you could let us know what you’re up to these days in relationship to your practice and teaching.
Speaker 2 00:02:06 Yeah, well, um, in terms of my practice, I, of course meditate every day. Um, really I think the, the growing edge for me is, is what’s happening off the cushion as well. So really bringing, um, cultivating ways for that ground awareness to be more present more consistently. So that’s, uh, kind of the leading edge of my practice and also embodiment working with personality material that comes up and, and, um, and digesting that and trying to be as, as, um, open to seeing that as possible. So as to not, you know, not pretending it isn’t there. So, uh, you know, a lot of people get into trouble when that happens. So
Speaker 1 00:03:29 Awesome. Thanks for sharing that. I’m really excited. I’m looking forward about this conversation, especially as a practitioner that I am, let’s say well, before we start, I think it would be useful to define how we’re planning to use some terms. Uh, for example, I was about to say that I consider myself an intermediate practitioner. What I mean with that is a practitioner who has embarked in a journey of inner exploration and meditation. Uh, basically for me, this journey is one to explore the nature of my own consciousness with, and for people, the objectives of this exploration can be different, can be from awakening or enlightenment, enlightenment to pursuing a more conscious way of living, finding life purpose and meaning the pursuit of an exper of a spiritual experience among others. Uh, that’s how, uh, I’m planning to define an intermediate practitioner. And usually we see these people, uh, people at this stage to have also a cons have developed a consistent meditation practice, which they usually have been doing for several months.
Speaker 1 00:04:37 At this point, people may have, uh, start getting glimpses of non-dual or mystical experiences, or just start acknowledging benefits that lead to a richer experience of living for themselves and ultimately having a positive impact on those around them. So usually these practitioners want to advance and go deeper into their practice, but it becomes a daunting task to yet even to figure out where to start and also where to go the path sometimes is not so clear. So the objective of this podcast is to try to identify and clarify these topics for intermediate, intermediate and com and committed practitioners trying to advance their practice so that they can do it in a more efficient way. Does that sound good to you to know
Speaker 2 00:05:26 Mm-hmm
Speaker 1 00:05:44 Awesome. Awesome. Great. So let’s, let’s start then. Uh, we’re gonna start maybe with a big picture of the journey, sort of try to lay down the path and we’re gonna start maybe with the end goal of the journey, uh, what goals should intermediate practitioners have in relationship to their inner exploration and meditation journey is having goals actually beneficial. Can you share your thoughts about it?
Speaker 2 00:06:08 Yeah, that’s kind of funny. Like is, is, does spiritual practice have a goal? And you, you could kind of look at that two ways, but I, I think there’s a reality that if people are doing spiritual practice, they, um, there’s some impulse that is drawing them to that. You know, they could just be sitting on the couch, watching TV instead of meditating or you know, how, whatever, however they’re spending their time. So there is an impulse there that is, needs to be honored now whether that leads to goals or not, you know, one could debate that. But I really, I frame that as the enlightenment drive, some people talk about a flame for awakening. That’s, that’s empowering somebody to practice and, um, that could look like a lot of different things. You know, I, I wouldn’t wanna say there’s, there’s one goal, but ultimately I do feel that if people go deep enough and if they, they, their enlightenment drive gets strong enough, they will want to seek awakening.
Speaker 2 00:07:17 That will be something that they feel compelled to, um, to seek. So whether, I guess you could say it’s a goal in a way. Um, the problem is that being too goal oriented as an ego, that kind of makes it becomes a paradox because the ego that wants liberation is the thing that ends up becoming changed and seen through. So if somebody is too ego, like driven, if they’re, if they’re driven from an egoic standpoint that at some point becomes the problem at the beginning, it’s fine. But at some point that drive, um, ends up being something that has to be overcome if it’s, when it’s from an egoic standpoint. So I’m really now just talking about the whole idea of goals, but if there was a goal, I would say awakening would be the goal. Um, but there’s, there’s a lot of sub goals in there, like digesting your personality material, you know, maybe having some therapy and counseling to work through any traumas or, um, you know, just at a psychological level that I think is, is really crucial.
Speaker 2 00:08:37 Um, and spiritual work. Can’t do all of that. So some teachers think it can, I just think that, you know, things that were invented 2,600 years ago, they didn’t know what we know in the last hundred years. So I think doing psychological work is important. Um, and then within the spiritual goals, you know, um, having some deeper immersions, doing some longer retreats and then having a consistent daily practice, I think those are all important goals. And you know, it’s hard because even people who are very dedicated, sometimes they find it hard to maintain a daily practice. So if you can’t even put in 30 minutes a day, you know, I know people are busy, I work full-time in the business world, you know, I, I get it, but there’s a way we’re prioritizing that, um, becomes important at some point, I think it’s at the intermediate stage where that starts becoming more important.
Speaker 2 00:09:43 So those are some of the things, you know, to me, ultimately, the goal is awakening, but then it’s like, well, what do I need to commit to in my life in order to, for those building blocks to be, um, present. And then the last thing is aligning your life. You know, this is when people start going deeper and having tastes of their deeper nature, they start going, gosh, am I in the right job? Am I in the right relationship? How do I wanna spend my time? You know, I’m not saying all those things have to change that they don’t necessarily, but people start asking those questions and that becomes an important part of it too. Cuz you wanna live what you’ve realized. If you don’t live it, it’s hard to go deeper.
Speaker 1 00:10:30 That makes ING thanks for sharing that sort of summarizing or trying to summarize what you said. I got three main buckets of goals. Let’s say one is around spiritual goals and awakening. Another is around having psychological breakthroughs, let’s say. And the third one is around life purpose or life, life, meaning and basically aligning your life towards what you have found in your practice. Mm-hmm
Speaker 2 00:10:57
Speaker 1 00:10:59
Speaker 2 00:11:22 Mm-hmm
Speaker 2 00:12:24 A me being, you know, they’ve seen through that, the, this, the, the me that they thought they were is a psychological construct. And so I have a thing called the, the 51% rule where, you know, H how do you know when that happens? Well, it could be like a sand papering down where it’s gradual or for most people, there’s a sand papering down. Like if you have a daily practice, if you do psychological work, if you do retreats and start digesting your personality material, having glimpses that’ll sandpaper down the sense of the, the me, but then usually it takes deeper immersions of retreats or things like that to pop over to where now we’re more than 51% ground of being and less than 51% ego self, most people pop over and then it’s like 60 or 70%. It’s a lot more dramatic, but there are people where it’s so gradual that, you know, it’s, it’s incremental. But to me, it’s like usually people will have a big experience and then they, it just rocks their world and they can’t go back to how they used to see things.
Speaker 2 00:13:43 So that’s what I would call awakening. And, and I’d like to distinguish between in my view, awakening and enlightenment enlightenment is the end point where there’s no ego self left at all. And that’s very, very rare in my opinion. And in, in, even in teachers that I feel are very advanced to have said the same thing. And some of my teachers who I think are very advanced, who aren’t at the end point. So that’s why I rarely use the term enlightenment awakening. Yeah. Awakening’s more available obviously, you know, but then there’s stages within awakening as well. But, um, a lot of times people, you know, when awakening happens, it’s such a big experience. People think, well, that can, does it actually get better than this, you know, um, or deeper. Yeah, it does. And that can be really confusing because there’s still ego, self left and it’s functioning. And so like, how does that work? You know, that that’s where it kind of can get complicated.
Speaker 1 00:14:50 Got, got it. And you, you mentioned that awakening the west, the transition from the ego self to a more grounded being, uh, or to a grounded being, can you unpack that term for us and maybe could be helpful as well to, if you could share a little bit about your awakening experience with us is to provide a little bit more color to the definition you provided.
Speaker 2 00:15:16 Yeah. Um, wait, there were two questions in there. What was the first one?
Speaker 1 00:15:23 If you could, uh, sorry, if you could unpack the term grounded being
Speaker 2 00:15:27 Grounded being yes. So grounded being, I like to use terms that are generic, that aren’t necessarily just one tradition. So that’s one that I, you know, uh, use, um, there’s a ground. Well, I’ll just do my visual demonstration. That’s probably the easiest way to explain it. Okay. So normally we like, what do you see here? It’s not a trick question. The answer’s four fingers. So this is how we normally perceive reality that we’re all, all these are all separate things. I’m separate from you and such. And, but then if I go like this, that’s kind of like what happens in awakening? I can see there’s this ground. That’s actually a lot more fundamental. That’s deeper. And if my awareness is down here, instead of here, there’s still the reality that this there’s a finger here, but where does it really end? And where does the hand start?
Speaker 2 00:16:25 I mean, I can feel my bones through this finger down here. Awakening is when our awareness is more here and in that way, we’re not actually, you know, set, there’s a separation at the physical realm level, but at the deeper level, there, there isn’t. So it’s really awakening is, is realizing that experientially in a way that is a permanent shift. And then, um, and then we’re learning to live more and more from that ground awareness at which is that ground. The other thing about the ground, it’s not in the physical dimension. So it’s, you know, some words like in Buddhism, the absolute, the uncondition, the deathless, it’s not subject to the conditions of the physical realm of arising and passing away of death. So, um, there’s a piece that can come from that, that, um, really is what is talked about in many, many traditions and some traditions see their ground there’s levels of the ground.
Speaker 2 00:17:33 The ground itself has levels. So some traditions see that as empty some, see it as unity, some are a hybrid, but that’s why when you look at different traditions, it’s not always exactly, um, described the same. And that’s why use the term ground of being it is non-dual. So that is really what is common among all traditions. Is that the sense of the me and the separate objects collapses? So that’s duality, you know, this is dual, basically this is duality. And then when we’re down here that doesn’t duality doesn’t make sense anymore. Um, that’s so that’s non-duality so all of them have that in common is that there’s a sense of non-duality that one functions from.
Speaker 1 00:18:22 Got it. Thanks. Uh, thanks for that. That was very helpful. Can you describe as well, uh, I don’t know if this is possible. Well, this is awakening seems to be a really hard concept to, especially when trying to be defined to define it with words, but you think you could, uh, take a shot at describing your awakening experience, how your life was before and after awakening. And basically what I’m trying to get a sense of is as well. Uh, what are the main reasons for a person to want to pursue awakening? Uh, what are the dramatic shifts that will happen for this journey to be worth it?
Speaker 2 00:19:04
Speaker 2 00:19:56 I’d had so many glimpses and really deep taste and that thinning of the me had happened a lot. And I realized I didn’t really, I had accomplished most everything that I wanted to as, as a regular egoic person and the rest of my life. Would’ve just been doing more and bigger. And it was like, you know, that it, that’s not, what’s most important to me. So there is, I think something for people to have some sense of satisfaction helps to have their ego be a little bit, you know, complete can help. So for me, anyway, that’s why I did the yearlong solo retreat. I could feel that it was like hovering in my, um, I had a sense that it was like there, it was waiting and I just had to pursue it. And I didn’t know what was going to happen in the year, you know, but it was a big deal to tell, you know, I’m not from a, uh, um, wealthy family and to stop my work and tell all my clients that I was gonna meditate for a year.
Speaker 2 00:21:06 Really, it was risky. I didn’t know if I’d have any work when I, when I finished. And so, um, the second month of the year I had done a month on my own, and then I’d done a month at a group retreat center at spirit rock. And in the third month I went home, I never broke silence. And I’d had a pretty, um, pretty impactful experience in the two month where around the month long where I was doing not, I was doing a practice that is sort of off the, off the books where I was doing deep concentration and then switched to Z Chen. And I just saw like all of reality, just like dissolved, almost like in the matrix, when you see the, the, the particles falling down, it was kind of like that, that wasn’t it though. It was the next month after I went home and I was continuing to do Chen.
Speaker 2 00:22:07 And, um, and in Chen it’s a self transcending practice. I don’t know why it happened right then, but somehow I was doing it. And it was like the whole, the whole bottom of the me just fell out. And I, I really saw the, um, the emptiness of it. And at the same time for me, there was this sense of, uh, this very, um, full sort of ground that round. That was everything. So it was sort of a combination of emptiness and unity. It wasn’t really heavy. Sometimes people will have awakening experiences that are one or the other, but it just, everything felt so complete. And so, um, it felt like the end of what I was looking for, that I really saw that there was no separation that what I am, I saw this, I mean, I saw the hand and that’s where this came from, was from when I woke up, I, one of my friends who was helping make sure I didn’t have a psychotic break doing this for a year.
Speaker 2 00:23:21 He was like, you need to write this down, cuz you’re gonna forget all this. And so I actually recorded some things I’ve never gone back to listen to them, but that’s when I really got this whole thing with the hand. And, um, so, you know, I just really, for a long time, I didn’t feel like I needed to do anything. And I actually went to a teacher and he said, you know, it’ll come back your desire to do things and engage in the world will come back over time. And fortunately I had the whole rest of the year to just steepen that. So, you know, when I came out of the yearlong retreat and had to start working again and things, it was kind of a sad day because I knew that I would be going back into the regular world. And, um, but that was really when the journey that was when the hard part started is how to integrate in a world where 99.9% of the people think don’t have any clue about this.
Speaker 2 00:24:25 You know, and I was working full time in the business environment. I got married. Fortunately, the, the person I married was a spiritual practitioner, but then it was about integration. And then there were later times when, um, something that was more like cessation occurred. So that has happened two times since then where the consciousness gets absorbed into the ground. And it was much more, those are much more of a black experiences of, of really losing conscious awareness. So those were different. So, you know, my unfoldment has continued since then. It’s not like that was, you know, that was more like a, a what I understand a Z type awakening to be what happened for me. There’s a lot of ways it can happen. But the big thing that really is, um, is the common factor is the shift of identity that just never goes back.
Speaker 2 00:25:32 Even if one gets re-identified with the me at times, which explains why there are scandals of people who are clearly, you know, realized they’re identified with the ego self, that’s why they do these things, you know, but there hasn’t really been much talk about the, the whole process after awakening. When I, when this happened to me, there was no one talking about it and that’s why I went into the diamond approach because it was an integrated path that dealt with the psychological too. So for me, that was really what helped me with embodiment. Um, so that, I mean, that’s a little more than you asked for, but I, I think it’s important.
Speaker 2 00:26:14 I want my, like, I wouldn’t want it to seem like, wow, there’s this one incident of awakening and that was it. That’s not, you know, there might be some people where it’s just a complete blowout, but I think that’s extremely rare, extremely rare, you know, I, yeah, yeah. Most, most people it’s more like in the tier OFS Buddhist system, they have stages. Most the Buddhist systems all have stages of awakening. They, they acknowledge that this is there are, um, it deepens over time. And then if we’re not monastics, the embodiment is so much more of a, of a, a need because you’re out there doing things that trigger the personality. I mean, not that monastics don’t have those same things, but they don’t have to deal with money or sex or, you know, survival issues they’re taken care of when you’re a lay person. You’re not, you know, you’re not taken care of. You have to, this is where the survival instinct that’s really what happens is that the survival instincts get triggered or the personalities identification with the survival instinct gets triggered. Even if it’s not a real survival issue, which rarely is it with your modern people, you know? Um, but there’s because of the ego self being so identified, it’s like the personality gets laminated to the survival drive. And then if somebody doesn’t like what we’re saying, you know, there could be a triggering that, um, that activates the ego self
Speaker 1 00:28:02 That makes sense, stay, stay for sharing. That’s very inspiring actually. And also very interesting to understand how the journey transitions from pursuing awakening to integrating it and embodying it in your daily life. Uh, something that really struck me was your mentioning of
Speaker 2 00:28:48 Yeah, absolutely. And, and the Chen that I teach people, it’s, it’s a, it’s basically like a, a paired down version of just what you need in Tibetan, Buddhism. I mean, people, I know people who PR practice very in the very tradition, Tibetan, Buddhism, Buddhist manner, and it might take 10 or 15 years before they even teach you how to do the, the, the first level of meditation. So, um, the teachings have been very closely guarded and, and there are building blocks in zone Chan. And these are the four building blocks, which just as a wonderful coincidence have been discovered in neuroscience as the four different categories of meditation that are, they are, that are different within your consciousness. So it’s kind of cool that the Tibetans knew that, you know, all these decades ago without having EEGs and you know, all the brain scanning devices, but, um, Chen is a Tibetan Buddhist practice in the Ninga lineage.
Speaker 2 00:29:52 There’s different lineages. So that’s the one that this is in. And, um, it has building blocks of the four categories of meditation. The first is a heart based. So in that tradition, it’s, bohi Cheeta, which is really feeling in your heart, your enlightenment drive your aspiration for awakening, but not just for your own benefit, but for the benefit of all beings. So this starts really connecting us in a way that supports the unity, that when you know yourself is down here, there are no other beings. So even something like the bohi Safa vow, you take the vow when you’re up here and you’re trying to do it for other beings when you’re down here, there are no other beings. So, so it’s the, the bohi Cheeta is trying to help people orient to the unity that when we’re liberating our own consciousness, we are helping others.
Speaker 2 00:31:01 So that’s the first one is you feel that in your heart, then it goes on to the Soto, which is a focused attention meditation, where we’re really bringing the mindstream together and, and training at how not to be compulsively thinking in our thought patterns. So in the grooves and our consciousness, we’re learning how to be able to direct our attention, add something and keep it there. And not it also reprograms it’s like a software upgrade where we’re not just constantly in our thinking patterns, you know, and then the next practice in the Chen is open monitoring. So that’s like the pasta, the other one is like SAA. Um, and that we open the awareness up to basically whatever is predominant in our awareness. And that really helps us to be able to be with whatever’s arising, without holding onto the pleasant things, without pushing away the unpleasant things and without getting bored when things are neutral, because if you’re gonna be functioning from the ground, you have to be able to accept whatever’s arising and work with it without getting I re-identified as an ego.
Speaker 2 00:32:18 And then the last stage is self transcending. That’s the fourth category of meditation where we actually turn the mind on itself so that we see the ground. We, that’s not the right term from the dualistic. We see the ground awareness, but really we become the ground awareness. So those are the four just, you know, in a two minute overview, those are the four stages of Chen. And I’ve added in there a level in between open monitoring and self transcending, which I, I call non-doing because it’s hard for people to make the jump. So in there then if you’re just being with what’s arising, you then notice that you don’t have to do anything for phenomena to arise. There’s no doing, and you start resting in the non-doing and that also cultivates the no self experience, the, the possibility of having the ego go dormant. So that’s another thing.
Speaker 2 00:33:28 I, I didn’t mention that, but this is another way of looking at non-dual experiences is that the ego is dormant then and all that’s left is the ground awareness. So in Z 10, you’re basically doing all four of those and you do them until they’re stable, and then you go up to the next level. And then if one becomes then stable, you come down and the last self transcending one is called realizing rigpa. So rigpa is the ground awareness. And you don’t know, you know, if you’re one doesn’t know if they will realize rigpa or not, whether or non-duality will arise, but you’re kind of waiting until it feels ripe. And then you try to realize rigpa and then you get those tastes of the ground of non-duality. And then you’re, you’re training your consciousness to be more and more able to abide there. And in, in the whole process of awakening, how it’s understood in Z Chan is called stabilizing rigpa.
Speaker 2 00:34:36 So that can get stable. That’s a much more advanced state. Um, so that’s the practice I was doing really incorporated all of those other practices. And it’s also done with eyes open. So there’s a much better possibility of transitioning to off the cushion cause you’re training yourself about 80% of human. Um, mental perception is visual, and this is why it can be really helpful to meditate with eyes closed. But when you get to those later stages of the Z 10, you really need to have your eyes open because what you’re trying to cultivate is where it can be going on all the time, whether you’re working, whether you’re eating lunch, whether you’re talking to someone, whether you’re in an argument it’s going on all the time, that’s the potential.
Speaker 2 00:35:31 And that’s why it’s so powerful because it takes it. I’m getting a little sun here, so I’m just gonna move, move over.
Speaker 2 00:36:38 The teacher, I learned the practice from the two teachers, mainly Sony and Rinpoche. They, at the time I was doing it with them, they were teaching it to people who hadn’t done. What’s called the NDRO the, the practices of doing a hundred thousand frustrations and other things that can take years for somebody to complete. They weren’t. And at this point, Che is still doing that. Minder has changed his mind and he’s now requiring other things before he’ll teach it. But that’s part of why it’s hard for people to find. And this is part of why I want to teach it. I have not been authorized by a Tibetan teacher, but my teacher in the Teva tradition authorized me to teach what I had experienced directly. And so I feel that I am within my teaching authorization to teach that. So just to be clear, you know, I, I wouldn’t want anybody to think something that wasn’t true, but I feel it’s extremely important.
Speaker 2 00:37:39 And I’ve had people on two weeks, two week retreat realize REPA. So, you know, the problem with a lot of the Tibetan retreats, I, I love ti and Buddhism. So this isn’t, I’m not trying to be negative, but there’s so much time spent on the teaching that you don’t have any as much, very much time to meditate. So then you have to do another retreat on your own where you’re actually practicing intensively. So, you know, I wanted to teach it where people could practice intensively and I give them what they need in the instruction without the extra stuff. So they could really, you know, um, experience it rather than hearing about it. I’m very much about experience and, and being pragmatic.
Speaker 1 00:38:27 Awesome. Thanks for sharing that. And I, I’m actually really excited to be part of, one of your retreats in the future. Hopefully a REPA retreat. Um, have one more question about RPA. Yeah. When you are stable in RPA, how does life experience looks like how like daily tasks or daily activities do, do they, are they perceived different by you or, and also how does that experience differs from just being mindful during the day?
Speaker 2 00:38:58 Yeah. Yeah. Well, one of the things that happens even like with the first stage of awakening is that the suffering decreases. So like my, again, my Tibetan teacher, when he, one of the warnings that they give in that tradition is that when you get to second stage, it’s pretty easy to just lose motivation, cuz you’re not suffering that much. You’re still suffering, but you’re not suffering. You’re suffering a lot less. So that is one of the things that is part of awakening is the percentage, the, the amount of suffering reduces. And there’s a lot more ability to flow with what’s happening. I mean, that doesn’t, that doesn’t complete until the very end. So I, I don’t wanna overstate it, but it’s, it’s noticeable and it drops and the access to the ground becomes more available. Um, so that’s one thing and that happens in stages as well.
Speaker 2 00:40:02 There’s when, when one is functioning from non-duality, there isn’t a sense of doing there’s no doer. So there’s a sense that’s very palpable and visceral that everything is just arising. Like right now, when I’m hearing words coming out and seeing like, like I can see my hand moving, I don’t have any sense of doing that. It’s just happening. It’s arising from the ground. And that takes a lot of trust. I mean, I, in the different stages I’ve been in, the speaking was a big one feeling like, gosh, what if something comes out that’s inappropriate or, you know, whatever. So the sense of the ego self, not controlling everything that’s happening takes a huge amount of trust. And this is why the process is gradual. And this is why, you know, in the cessation version of awakening, I’ll just say, what cessation is. That’s when the awareness becomes absorbed into the ground and you actually aren’t conscious.
Speaker 2 00:41:09 And then you regain consciousness and realize what has happened, but that takes a huge amount of surrender. And the ego can’t make itself surrender because that has a pushing feeling to it. Am I making sense? There? It, it has to actually arise from inside as a natural phenomenon, that level of surrender. And so this is why the ego can’t make awakening happen because ultimately it is a surrender. So, um, that’s part of it because in functioning from awakeness, it’s just a sense. Everything is arising spontaneously. I mean, that doesn’t mean we don’t still have responsibility for wise action. So that’s where it can start getting confusing for people because you know, how do I know what’s coming from the ego and what’s coming from the ground. So that’s another whole conversation, but there isn’t a sense of doing. Um, there’s also a sense there could, these are different stages.
Speaker 2 00:42:14 Like at first awakening, usually it’s about me and how I experience myself that, gosh, there’s no, the me that I thought I was isn’t real. It’s it’s I saw through that, you know, there could be no self, which is one level, but there’s another level where the identity actually shifts to the ground. And then there’s what about all the rest of phenomena? So starting to see all phenomena is arising from the ground. That’s another level that takes a lot of working through because then I have to see the political figure. I don’t like as me as not separate, you know, it’s one, it’s fine to see that, that nice, beautiful tree out there is not separate. But what about those? What about mass murderers? You know, um, what about my neighbor who bugs me all these things? So this is where on a practical level. There’s a lot, there there’s a lot to be worked through when everything starts being perceived as a manifestation of the ground.
Speaker 2 00:43:28 So
Speaker 2 00:44:38 So those are, yeah, those are some of the experiences. And, and, you know, there can also be depending again on one of the teachings that I really enjoy in this zone that we’re in is, is the dimensions of non-duality. And so it can be experienced in different ways, like, like love Christianity and sophism, you know, the, the, um, the Western traditions focused a lot more on love. And so that can be one way, everything is just experienced as a manifestation of love. And the heart can be just like that picture of Jesus with those rays coming out of his heart. That’s what that’s showing, you know, or it can be just, everything is so like rich with presence. This is more the Hindu, you know, um, experience of it where everything’s just like saturated with a sense of unity and, and, you know, lushness, or it can be more on the empty side where everything just very ephemeral, you know, and, and almost seems like a dream.
Speaker 2 00:45:48 You, some traditions, they talk about everything being a dream. Um, and they’re more tuning into that level of awakeness. Um, and then there’s like the profundity of the, what I would call the absolute that very, very deep layer that is so mysterious. Like how can things actually, how can people even feel separate when we’re all manifesting from this ground? It, it almost, it’s almost a miracle that we can feel separate, you know, and that’s where it gets so mysterious that you can’t, there is no logic. It’s just like, awesome. There’s a sense of awe. I mean, awesome. Like, wow, that’s awesome. You know, it’s, it’s a lot deeper than that. There’s just a sense of awe at the whole, at, at manifestation and at the mystery of it. So, you know, these are all different ways that it can be experienced. Oh, and then there’s one more, which is really experiencing that, um, constant change and the uncontrollability really a phenomena arising, and that can feel like shooting the rapids, you know, just having this constant flow of experience. It can sometimes feel overwhelming, but when it’s not overwhelming, it can just feel like, wow, look at this amazing manifestation, where is this all coming from? And it’s, it really feels like just a miracle, the whole human experience, even with all the crummy things, it still feels. Yeah. There’s just, there’s a way it just feels very wanders.
Speaker 1 00:47:37 Sounds like it’s in a, I really look forward to that stage of my practice. And thanks for providing this high level view of the path of what awakening is. Uh, yeah, I think it clarified a lot for me and I hope I did as well for people listening. I think it’s a good time to transition to the next stage of the podcast, which is, uh, transitioning to the intermediate stage actually. So my first question is what would be your advice to someone who is transitioning to this intermediate stage of practice? For example, a practitioner who practice basic mindfulness probably relies on the guided meditation app and wants to advance his or her practice to the next stage. What advice would you give to him or her
Speaker 2 00:48:23 Mm-hmm
Speaker 2 00:49:29 If you’ve got half a day, you can go so far. If you’ve got a day or a week, you can go so far. And that is really the truth with retreats that you just, in a daily practice, you’re never gonna be able to swim out from the shore that far it’s still important to do. Um, that’s the one drops many times that, you know, in daily practice, you may feel like, gosh, is anything happening? It’s just a drop. But if you put all those drops in a bucket, at some point, you’re gonna have a bucket of water. So that’s what daily practice is doing. Retreats are letting you swim out farther and go deeper, you know, silent retreats where you’re really, um, preferably in a supported environment with other people where you can be inspired and have that field, that group field, you know, right now with the pandemic, we can’t do that.
Speaker 2 00:50:19 But I think that is an important thing for intermediate, um, practitioners and then looking at your life and how you’re living your life. I do this every year. Um, I’ve been doing it for, for decades where like the end of the year I review the year. And then I look at the next year. And part of what I do with that is look at like, how am I living my life? And are there places where I really would like to be more congruent with my inner realization and that I, I’m not saying what the right answer is for a person. I just think it’s important for people to really look at this. Like at different times I’ve been a vegetarian, I’ve, um, not drank alcohol for eight years. Um, I have limited my exposure to media. Um, you know, these are all examples of things we might wanna look at.
Speaker 2 00:51:13 So we’re not polluting our mind. What kind of work a person does? Do I feel congruent doing this? What are my relationships like? You know, all these things at the intermediate stage, if you’re living two lives, it starts hurting. And so I’m not saying it, you may not need to change anything. A person may not need to change anything. It’s not mandatory that we change things. But I think looking at it is what starts getting important because like the people I’ve worked with and for myself, um, if you feel like you’re having to step back and forth, your two lives, it just gets too hard to maintain the consistency. So
Speaker 1 00:52:10 Yeah. That’s a great explanation. Thanks in, yeah. Uh, you mentioned, well, all of this takes a lot of commitment from the practitioner. Uh, I’m wondering how, how can a practitioner develop trust and commitment to the practice if they haven’t had glimpses of mystical or spiritual or even psychedelic experiences? Cause I know that sometimes having these glimpses of consciousness in any of these ways can really help mm-hmm
Speaker 2 00:52:52 Yeah, those experiences really, they are so important and precious. So the first thing I would say is for people who have had them really take that in, even if it was one second long to really take that in that that was you, that was your consciousness and that it was real and to not diminish it or just think, oh, that was just one. No, that that’s important. So for people who have had it, I would say that would be an encouragement, um, for people who haven’t, which is everybody for most everybody, when they start, although, you know, I think people can have these experiences even without a spiritual practice. So sometimes people later remember, oh yeah, I did have that thing. I didn’t know what it was. Um, first we start on faith because we see that other people have done it in lots of traditions.
Speaker 2 00:53:51 You know, like in Buddhism, which has been one of my main traditions, um, the Buddha as a role model to see that others, this is why we like in Buddhism, we have, we take refuge, it’s called taking refuge in the Buddha, the Dharma and the Songa. So what that means is that I take refuge in the Buddha can be understood different ways. One is the Buddha as an inspiring role model, but other people have done this and I can, you know, I have that potential too. There’s also Buddha nature. The fact that again, in Buddhism, it’s thought that all of us are inherently born with Buddha nature. It’s kind of the opposite of original sin that we already have this in us. We don’t need to get anything it’s there. It’s just covered over by veils. So these are things we can have faith in the boot of the Dharma is the teachings to, for, I think for a person to find teachings and teachers that they can have faith in that they trust that they feel are trustworthy.
Speaker 2 00:55:01 And that are substantial that have either a history. I mean, why has like the Soto practice that I teach it’s been around even before the Buddha, he learned it from his teachers. Why is it lasted 3000 or 5,000 years? Because it works. One of, as it works, wouldn’t have lasted 5,000 years if it didn’t work, you know? So, I mean, this is where I think for people to do practices that are substantial, um, is part of what can help, because then you can have faith in the Buddha, the Dharma that’s the Dharma. And then the song that is looking around and people, you know, on, on inner craft, Pete friends, other teachers, or people who maybe just are farther along than you are to go, yeah, look at them. You know, like when at one point, um, I had a person I had authorized to teach named Brian Gavin and people loved it when he would come to my events because they felt that he was a little closer to them.
Speaker 2 00:56:08 You know? Like they could look at him and go, yeah, well, if he did that, I can too, you know? So it helps to find people who can inspire you that, um, that can help you believe. And at first we do have to take it on faith, but then when you start having experiences, even if you haven’t had glimpses of non-duality, if your practice, if your life’s getting better, if you’re not so trapped in your egoic identifications, if you, your, if your partner tells you that, you know, you, you didn’t get triggered, then you, you would’ve two years ago, you would’ve gotten triggered there, you know, and you didn’t, those are all things that you can see it’s working. So those are ways to believe that even if you haven’t had glimpses, you’re doing something that’s having an effect and that can increase your, your then to me, it moves over not to faith, but to experience where, you know, for yourself, this is real in my consciousness. It’s not just that person over there. This can happen for me. And I can have traditions and practices that I trust that I think are working. Even if I’m not as far along as I wanna be, which everybody’s always impatient. You know, they always wanna be farther along than they are, so that isn’t necessarily reason to stop, but to see what’s working and that you can trust it.
Speaker 1 00:57:45 Yeah. Uh, that makes sense. I, I really like how it, how you explain it in the, in the sense that it may take a first leap of faith, but doesn’t seem to me that you need a lot of faith, really, because as you mentioned, the approach is gradual. You might start just doing it five or practicing five or 10 minutes per day mm-hmm
Speaker 2 00:58:22 Yeah, exactly. And, and the studies, another thing we have now that, that wasn’t available when I started practicing is the neuroscience. You wanna get inspired, go read some of that neuroscience about meditation. It is undisputed that it helps you psychologically. It helps your body. It helps your physical health relationships. I mean, we now have so many studies. There’s like between two and 500 studies a year on meditation coming out. And it’s just irrefutable, you know, like one of my favorite statistics, when I found out, found this out, I was like, so blown away is that the actual gray matter of a meditator, I’m talking the brain. So this isn’t just like your personality or, or the software. This is hardware. If they, um, study the brain of a 50 year old meditator, it looks like the brain of a 25 year old. So, I mean, it’s too bad. It doesn’t work on the outside. I would’ve liked that too. But, um, but you know, that, that tells you that it’s doing something that they can actually see. So all of that, you know, for those who are li little more factually, you know, who want the evidence, we’ve got a lot more evidence now than we ever did before for how effective it is.
Speaker 1 00:59:43 That’s true. That’s true.
Speaker 2 00:59:44 Yeah. Yeah.
Speaker 1 00:59:46 And moving on to now, how important does a personal and customized approach in, uh, to practice becomes when transitioning to more advanced stages and thinking about working with personal traumas, specific hindrances, or just patterns of the self, uh, what recommendation would you give to people who want to incorporate this personalized approach to their practice?
Speaker 2 01:00:12 Yeah, there’s a lot of, um, there are a lot of good, um, modalities is how I would think of what you’re talking about out there that can really help a person with, with their specific, um, needs. Like, you know, the whole field of trauma has opened up in the last 20 years. And I think working if, you know, a lot of us have trauma, which technically is defined as anytime one thought that they were actually at risk of death and, you know, it could be as a five year old falling off your bike, you know, it doesn’t have to be that you actually were threatened, but one felt that way or could be psychological, um, to do that work, which really isn’t in the spiritual spiritual practices. I know of this is again, all we’ve discovered in the last a hundred years of psychology. So I think to find other modalities is really good.
Speaker 2 01:01:09 And, um, I feel that a body based modality that a person works with is important. Like, you know, when I, I have a yearlong mentoring program and that is one of the modalities I encourage people to take up. So if they’re not doing, you know, some kind of Chiang or yoga or Feld in Christ, or, you know, there’s a lot of, or dance, you know, um, free form dance. And there’s, there’s a lot of physical modalities, but somehow we have to include the body too. That’s really, the somatic work is extremely important and most traditions don’t go some like doism and
Speaker 2 01:02:13 That’s the danger we have right now. The, the gift we have in our time is that, wow, look at this, you know, I, we could go on the internet anytime and find amazing teachings in every tradition on the planet, plus all the new stuff that we’ve had in the last 50 years, you know? Um, but the, the downside of that is there can be a tendency to be very superficial. And so I would really caution people against just skimming the surface. You know, when you find something that works, don’t, you know, try and go deep with it. And don’t just switch because it gets hard. If it’s getting hard, there, there, there can be the possibility that that’s because you’re breaking through something new, it’s easy. You’re not breaking through anything new, you know, so I’m not saying never to switch, but I think we have to use a lot of wisdom.
Speaker 2 01:03:06 And that’s where having a spiritual teacher that you work with, who really knows your psyche, you know, who knows you, who knows all the things you’ve been through. I mean, I’ve had students who’ve stopped going on retreats with me and explored other things, but they kept doing sessions with me. And I totally supported that because it was what they needed. You know, I’m not, some teachers will get upset if you go and study with others, I’m not like that. I get that. There’s no way I can cover everything that’s out there. You know, I have specialized areas, but, um, I do think it’s important for people to, I don’t think any one tradition has everything, honestly, even the ones I like the best. So this is where it, it does become important for a person to, to feel what’s true for them and make their own sense of it. While at the same time being open to the influence of teachers that they respect. I think both of those are important.
Speaker 1 01:04:17 Hmm. Yeah. That makes sense. You, you mentioned that at, at some point, if the practice is too easy, maybe you need to change practices or the other way around, if it’s too hard, it’s important to stick to it because maybe there’s something there that you need to work on. Uh, I have a question. How can a practitioner differentiate? When is the right moment to push through a practice, to overcome a challenge or when’s the right time to see that it’s not working and just try something else?
Speaker 2 01:04:49
Speaker 2 01:05:12 You know, sometimes we can feel when we’re avoiding something and, um, it takes a certain kind of, I mean, this is where the enlightenment drive also comes in. If you’re more interested in going beyond the ego self than you are in keeping it, then that will help be a guide if you’re moving off of something because you don’t like it, or somebody upset you or, you know, things like that. I mean, there are times people do need to change what they’re doing. So I, I really feel that’s valid. It’s not like just do something and stay with it. But I think really being discerning and, and honest with oneself about why that is, what’s important. Maybe getting some advice from some friends, some spiritual friends who know you. And also if you have a teacher who can be impartial, who isn’t trying to advocate just for what they teach, that can help somebody, who’s more, um, you know, acumenical, and isn’t just trying to like keep you in their, in their area. Um, that can be very helpful. And, and there are a lot of teachers out there who are more open minded in that way. Now in the old days, teachers would just basically teach what they had nothing else. But I think a lot of teachers now are, are broader in their view.
Speaker 2 01:06:53 Yeah. But ultimately I do feel that a person’s what they’re drawn to in their heart. Like if somebody asks me that, I’ll say, you know, what is your heart drawn to? And that isn’t the only factor, but I think it matters because if somebody really feels drawn to a certain practice, that’s part of your motivation and keeping your motivation up is important, you know? But it’s also important to confront your own patterns. Like if you’re leaving something, just because it got boring, you know? Well, what’s, what’s that about, you know, if it’s an authentic practice about being present with yourself, what’s boring about being present with yourself. So, you know, these would all be questions. I think a person could ask themself, but it’s, it’s a place that people spend a lot of time.
Speaker 1 01:07:54 Yeah. It makes sense. It sounds like, uh, basically a life journey of self discovering and understanding how you work basically. Right?
Speaker 2 01:08:03 Uh, exactly. Yeah, yeah, yeah. And some practices maybe really like someone, maybe who’s very heart based would do heart based practices and that’s good. They like ’em, it would be easy. They’d enjoy them, but you know, maybe they need to do a practice. That’s rounds them out more. So this to me, this is important. One, one piece of advice I would give is that like most traditions, like when I first learned to meditate, it was like, here, this is how you meditate. They never said, this is one of like a hundred ways to meditate. They just put out that their way. Is it, you know, and again, with the neuroscience with a lot more acumenical teachers that are out there, you can see that like again, when I teach my year long program, I have people do a bunch of different categories of practice, four of which I’ve given you in this talk.
Speaker 2 01:09:03 And so I think to round out one’s practice is important and you might not gravitate towards a certain thing, you know? So you may have to push yourself a little bit to include that particular thing, but that also might round you out in a way that like, if you have a flat spot or an undeveloped area, just like with physical exercise. So let’s just use that as an analogy in the old days, you just exercise. That was it. But now we know there’s there’s weights, there’s cardio, there’s flexibility, you know, like Pilates yoga, and really the best thing that they found for people is to do some of each, not just do one the whole time for the rest of your life and never do the others. The way to be the physically healthiest is to have it be rounded out. And I feel that spiritual practice is similar. So at some point people should at least have some contact with the different categories of practice, whatever tradition they’re in. And so they might have to go out to another tradition in order to find that too. That’s the other thing.
Speaker 1 01:10:19 Awesome. Got it. Yeah. Uh, that kind of answered my next question, which was gonna be, I get that you need different categories of practices to develop a well rounded being let’s say, or to well, to advance your practice in general, but is it also valid to explore different traditions as long as those those categories are still being explored?
Speaker 2 01:10:44 Hmm. Yeah. That’s a really good question. Um, well, you know, I, I think it could go either way. I think that some people, they go deep in a tradition and it’s so resonant for them that they can really stay there as their home base. And they might dabble once in a while and something else, but they really don’t need to go outside unless it’s just to round themselves out in the ways that we’ve talked about for some people they’re so aligned and it’s so, um, fulfilling for them to stay with one, one tradition that I think it’s fine to do that as long as you’re getting, you know, maybe pieces that you need from other places. Um,
Speaker 2 01:11:46 And if you look at just those two blocks, the Eastern traditions really emphasize the impersonal. So they focus on the ground and they don’t have as much value for the human experience. They sort of wanna transcend that the Western traditions, Christianity, Judaism, Islam, they focus more on the human experience. You know, they’re more about doing what you do in the world. And the value look at like Jesus, for example, as the embodied individual. So like I’ve learned a lot about this in the diamond approach where I feel that I was a little bit, um, I didn’t have as much value for the human experience. And what does it actually mean to be a human who’s living, who isn’t just an embodiment of this impersonal ground, but is there value in the human experience itself? And I believe there is. And that was something that got rounded out in me that I wouldn’t have had only being focused on a, on the Eastern traditions.
Speaker 2 01:13:00 I feel they’re a little light. The Western traditions are light on the impersonal on the ground. And, and there’s also the whole thing about theistic traditions, where there’s a God figure and traditions that don’t have that, you know. And, um, how does one reconcile that, you know, I, I mean, I feel like I can reconcile that within myself, but those are big differences between traditions and they, they can be hard to reconcile unless one’s really in the mystical, in the mystical versions of the traditions, they start looking more similar. So, I mean, this would be a place to, um, to consider going outside one’s tradition in either direction. I think that that would be the one place I would say there could be some value like devotion the Western traditions, because there’s a God figure. There’s more devotion in them. And a lot of practices that are very much in the transcendence. I don’t have much devotion, but that can really bring our heart into the practice. So, you know, I think again, it’s individual, that’s an individual choice and I think either way could be appropriate for a person
Speaker 1 01:14:32 Mm-hmm,
Speaker 2 01:15:04 It is. It’s amazing. We’re so fortunate to have this. I mean, this is really the first time in human history that we’ve had that
Speaker 1 01:15:12 Yeah. A hundred percent. Yeah. And moving on to another big topic for an intermediate practitioner, let’s say, which is the importance of a guide or teacher at this stage. Uh, what is the role of a teacher in these more advanced stages of inner exploration and meditation journey?
Speaker 2 01:15:35 Yeah. Um, it’s, you know, at the beginning, I think it’s probably not as important to have a teacher who knows you and your practice because you’re kind of, you know, getting your feet wet and, and UN you know, understanding the practices and, and all of that. Um, but as you get to intermediate in advanced, it gets more important because, um,
Speaker 2 01:16:03 It does become
Speaker 2 01:17:20 And to help it land in the person that becomes really important. Um
Speaker 2 01:18:36 You’re always working with a teacher who may not really know, have any idea who you are, and it takes the whole retreat for them just to get to know you. And then it adds. So, um, yeah, if people can find someone they resonate with, I think it’s important. And when you get to the advanced stages, it’s really important because you’re gonna be in some territory, when you start breaking through the me, you can get into some scary places, area places, and you need somebody who really gets it because your family doesn’t get it. And even a lot of your friends don’t get it. So you need to have somebody who, you know, you can go to them and they’ll get it. And you have a place that you’re understood cuz you, as you move, you know, that whole thing about being in the world, but not of it, it’s really true.
Speaker 2 01:19:28 And so you have to find people who have this changed view of reality, who can’t support your staying with it instead of going back to the ego self, without that, it’s almost impossible because the, the, the gravitational pull of consensual reality is so strong that it’s very easy to get sucked back in. And so that teacher helps you stay anchored in the new reality because there isn’t, there are very, very few places in your life that do anything other than support the other reality of the me. So that’s where as you go on having the Songa and having teach a teacher who really can help you stabilize in that where wherever you’re at becomes really essential, it’s, it’s priceless. I mean, I can say for me personally, you know, that it’s like, yeah. And so that’s why as an intermediate person to start developing that relationship is, is, um, is worthwhile.
Speaker 1 01:20:43 And how would you go about reco? How would you recommend a practitioner to approach this teacher selection process? Uh, I’m thinking about like, would you recommend practitioners to look at teacher practice experience or maybe qualities or what their focuses or accomplishments? I don’t know. What are your thoughts on that?
Speaker 2 01:21:10 Yeah. Yeah. Well, I think the first thing there has to be a certain kind of resonance in chemistry. You know, there just is, I, I, you can’t explain why this person appeals to you more than that person. I mean, some of it, you know, may be childhood conditioning in terms of a parental figure, but, but there’s more than that. There is actually something where somebody just resonates more. So I think that’s an important thing to have that feeling with, if you’re gonna really, you know, have this trusted relationship, um, there’s the person’s, you know, how good of a teacher are they, do you CA you know, do they have a clarity that helps you understand? Um, do they have heart? Do you feel a hard connection? You know, there can be teachers who have a clarity, but boy, there, they can be brutal, you know, and over time that starts hurting.
Speaker 2 01:22:06 So I don’t recommend somebody who, I think if a teacher has a firm hand there’s, that can be helpful, but without some heart, I think that becomes a hard relationship over time. Um, what are the person’s qualifications? Have they been authorized to teach or did they just hang out a shingle and say, now I’m a teacher. I mean, you know, there, somebody could be a good teacher without the authorization, but it just makes me wonder why hasn’t did they not study in a tradition long enough to be authorized? Or are they, is there authorization from some online thing that they got, you know, or is it substantial for me if I’m gonna study with somebody, I wanted to be a substantial teaching authorization, because I know that there’s, they’re representing a lineage in which I can trust, you know, I mean, I’m not saying there are people who have something to offer who just hung outta shingle, but I do personally, I think that, that the teaching authorization matters, who are they authorized by, you know? Um, and are they in a tradition that has some, um, some longevity to it that has some robust practices, you know, there can be teachings out there. And I won’t, I won’t say what they are, but they, they can have a lot of good talks that can be inspiring. And it’s great to listen to those, but like, where’s the beef, you know, do they actually have substantial practices that have been tested over time?
Speaker 2 01:23:55 The, the modern, psychological ones we don’t have as much of a history with, but, you know, even those you can see is there credibility over time as there is there a history there? Um, so those are, to me, all things that I would look for and also the person’s life, do they seem to walk their talk or are there, is there spiritual bypassing going on? Have they, I mean, anybody who’s had a scandal or who was deeply involved, you know, it’s, it’s hard to blame a person who got authorized and then their teacher had a scandal. It’s hard to say that, but like, how did they relate to that? Did they stay aligned even, did they make excuses for their, for the scandal or just minimize it? Well, that tells you that they might not be looking at their own stuff so much. You know? So to me, these are all things that, um, are part of it and, and, you know, do the practices resonate. Are they clear at teaching them?
Speaker 1 01:25:06 That all makes sense?
Speaker 2 01:25:07 Yeah.
Speaker 1 01:25:08 I would love to keep asking, follow up questions about this topic as well, but I think we are running out of time. So let’s move on to the last topic, maybe last question as well. Uh, we would love to read your views on extending the practice in daily life. How important is it and what recommendations you would have to people to start doing it?
Speaker 2 01:25:30 Yeah, I think it’s really, um, it’s, you know, at the intermediate and, and definitely advanced levels that really starts becoming important to have some kind of practice that is done off the cushion, not just, you know, meditating and going to retreats and, and day longs and things, but really trying to like work your material in life. And that could be practices that we can actually do off the cushion, like, you know, uh, body sensing practice that would be like Vipasana or something where you’re, you’re sensing, you know, you’re sensing your, your body awareness. This is a little bit more like mindfulness, you know, being aware of, of what’s happening in the present moment. Um, or sometimes people will do something like a heart practice where they’re like in Buddhism with Abra, Bijas the love and kindness practice where you’re intentionally cultivating that with every person that you encounter, um, to cultivate the heart, that the freedom in the heart, um, or one could be doing off the cushion practice of, you know, at a more advanced level, like what I talked about with the Zhe, but there are ways to like, or even doing mindfulness of breathing, you know, when I’m teaching the SOA people, I’ll say, you know what?
Speaker 2 01:26:57 You’re at the stoplight notice a breath when you’re in line at the grocery store, when you’re in a meeting, that’s a little boring, notice your breath, nobody’s gonna know you’re doing it. You know, so there’s a lot of ways, depending on what practice one is doing, um, to extend that some into our life. And I think the most important thing in my view about off the cushion is to be noticing your conditioning. So, like for example, on retreat, especially people will notice, gosh, I, one of my patterns what’s taken me off the breath over and over or off of my object. Well, I keep, um, you know, planning, I keep going into the future or wow, I’m fantasizing about my next vacation or I’m, you know, beating myself up or I’m the person next to me, whoever it is is always bugging me, you know, whatever that PA those patterns are to see how those are happening off the cushion, because that’s the same, whatever we’re seeing on the cushion we’re gonna see in our daily lives and, and working to challenge those patterns, not just becoming, not just letting ourselves speak completely identified with them and, and being curious, you know, inquiring into, well, what’s going on with that?
Speaker 2 01:28:18 Why am I so triggered by that? What’s, what’s the deal with that pattern? Why, why am I so identified with this, that I’m getting triggered and not in a self-judgment way, I’m not talking about the inner critic. We’re not, you know, wanting to cultivate an inner critic, but to really be curious about, gosh, why did I get triggered? Well, this reminds me of this in my childhood. And I have this self image of myself, that person, I see myself as really caring, but that person doesn’t well, what’s going, why am I so triggered by the fact they don’t see me the way I see myself? Why am I so attached to that self image or that belief? So, you know, these are ways we can start questioning our identity and daily life is just, they’re coming up constantly. So to not use that time is a real missed opportunity. And, and this, like in the diamond approach, they call this working your thread. So to have a few threads going all the time, like maybe we’ll be working with a thread of, um, getting triggered by, um, something that’s annoying us and, um, really, really working with whatever practices we’re doing to decrease our identification and attachment with that trigger.
Speaker 2 01:29:42 I mean, this is a whole, you know, I, at some point would love to do a whole workshop on embodiment, but that’s a way that we can, um, be always our off the cushion time becomes just as rich as our, on the cushion time when we’re doing that. So then we can really, we can be practicing, like when people say my life is my practice, that can really be true. Doesn’t mean we’re doing our meditation practice all the time. It means we’re questioning the ego self we’re questioning those identities and, um, and opening them up. We’re not suppressing them down. We’re not saying, well, don’t feel that way. You know, that just, just goes into the unconscious and then it’s gonna leak out. We have to actually open these up through curiosity and investigation. And that’s like doing the open monitoring practice, like BPAs, doing it off the cushion, being curious about what’s really going on in our consciousness in our life.
Speaker 2 01:30:46 And it becomes really interesting because over time, these things can lessen. Then we see we’re not triggered by this thing anymore. We’re or we’re, we’re 50% is triggered as we were a year ago. And that can go down gradually to the point where some of those triggers can go away completely. It’s amazing. And then we suffer less. I mean, getting back to like, what’s the point of awakening? Well, in addition to realizing the whole purpose of our human existence, which is awakening, in my opinion, we’re suffering less, we’re doing less harm, we’re more authentic. And we’re ultimately, to me, the whole purpose of all of this is to bring, to, to have physical form become infused with the spiritual, to spiritualize the physical reality. And that happens through conscious humans. Imagine if all humans had some level of awakening, what the world would be like, and that’s the bohi soccer valve to keep coming back until all beings are liberated.
Speaker 2 01:32:06 It’s a long term project
Speaker 1 01:32:52 Mm-hmm
Speaker 2 01:33:16
Speaker 1 01:33:18 Thanks. Thanks. Got to know.
Speaker 2 01:33:20 Yeah. Thanks, Andreas.