The following discussion of the ecological and spiritual
crisis of the planet was conducted at the Berkeley office of North Atlantic Books
in the context of 2013: Raising the Earth
to the Next Vibration by Richard Grossinger and Heart Yoga: The Sacred Marriage of Yoga and Mysticism by Andrew
Harvey and Karuna Erickson.
Richard: I was thinking it might make sense for each of us
to make a statement and then to proceed from there. But-what's your idea?
Andrew: Well, I've been rereading your book 2013 and I've got all kinds of linked
questions for you — but if you want to do it that way I'd be happy to do it that
way. Or we could just read that wonderful paragraph of Daniel Pinchbeck's from
the foreword about 2012 and have all of us comment on it and then go into
perhaps the message of 2013.
Richard: Well, any of it sounds okay to me. Let me think for
a second. How about I say
something first, because I've been thinking about this, and then we'll go from
there. Does that seem good?
Andrew: Yes, that's fine.
Richard: Yeah, well we'll find out. What I think about …
this just seemed to me important to get said — what I think about this topic is
that you always arrive at the horns of a dilemma or maybe it's a paradox. Which
is that when you focus on what is going on in the world — certainly as described
in Daniel's foreword, and it's only been added to in the last weeks and months
with oil in the Gulf, escalation in Afghanistan, enforcement of the Gaza
blockade, etc., etc. — you're pretty much fast-routed into a very pessimistic,
even nihilistic and apocalyptic view of things. And I don't see in an ordinary
sense how anything is going to get fixed or is fixable at this point. In fact
it doesn't even seem to be going in the direction of getting itself fixed; it
seems to be going in the direction of getting worse and worse, and the people
who are making it worse getting more power and asserting more prerogative.
At the same time, I think that there is an enigma because
everything that's happening is part of the universe, part of consciousness, and
an aspect of what is emerging inside the mystery out of which we're coming too.
Our presence here — just our very presence, without any thoughts or acts — is a
response, a participation in something much larger that is invisible to us.
Something that on some level, without having to posit extraterrestrials or
interdimensionals, is connected and connecting to other intelligences in the
universe and the intrinsic intelligence of the universe itself. These realms are being informed by our
situation in some way — again, remove any Gothic sci-fi images: we are receiving
aid, advice, and godspeed from them despite
how things are goinghere, despite the fact that it looks as though morons and
madmen and crime bosses are informing everything.
And — at least to me — that seems the particular dialectic that
we're in: things are a mess and inextricable, but we are alive and conscious
and filled with the song and heart and yearning of the universe. So I think it's important not to over-focus on "fixing" things in
the ordinary sense: politically, ecologically, economically. It's impossible. Yet on the other hand I think it's
absolutely crucial that all of those matters of stewardship and right
livelihood be tended to and remediated in exactly the mechanical and practical
and moral ways that are called for.
We must act. We must do the
right thing. Service is absolute
Yet we are impotent against the scale of physical and
financial forces. As Obama says,
we can't plug the hole. And that's
the least of what we can't plug or mend.
It's like both are true and
wrapped around each other: the apocalypse and the awakening. Only the apocalypse writes itself
glowingly and brazenly on the face of our times; the spiritual awakening is
deep and subtle, hidden inside our gestation in the universe, our pagan, untold
initiation that is written in nature-the whole of nature-and in the sky. In our cells and atoms and electrons
and quarks and chakras and auras too.
Written but not yet transcribed, at least not at the same clarity as the
darkness. We think and feel the
universe — the deepest magus, angel, avatar, lover voice it has, and that has to
be enough. It is enough.
That's where I'd like to leave it either for you to read from
Daniel's screed or for you to pick up yourself.
Andrew: I think everything that you say is very accurate. And
the way in which I would frame it is that I think of this as an evolutionary
crisis. Which is potentially the birth canal for divine embodied humanity. I
think that there is absolutely no way in which this crisis is going to be fixed,
because the whole point of this crisis is that it unravels, destroys,
disintegrates, utterly, utterly annihilates all of the agendas and illusions
and fantasies that human beings have created out of what you could call a
collective false human self. Which is now terminally addicted to a false vision
of the universe, a lust for power over every other species, a crazed hunger to
dominate nature, and a totally unsustainable fantasy of limitless growth.
This collective false human self is doomed, and no solution
whatever from the consciousness of that collected false human self — however
noble, however self-awake, and however righteous — is going to work. What we are looking at is an appalling,
dreadful, ferocious, inescapable dark night of the species, which is going to
get worse, very, very fast. That is the bad news. But there's good news within
the bad news because when you understand through divine grace, and through the
flicker of the divine evolutionary intelligence shining on your mind and heart,
that this radical ferocious process is the sign of an enormous new potential
struggling chaotically to be born, then you can begin to cooperate with that
birth in two main ways.
The first is to really undergo yourself, as rigorously and
as ruthlessly, and as abandoned as possible, a radical transformation which
does not look like the ordinary mystical awakenings, which are essentially
awakenings to transcendence alone, but is a real evolutionary mystical
awakening which is destined to illumine the mind, shatter the heart open, and
start birthing the divine in the cells of matter. So you can pledge yourself to
the birthing transformation.
And the second thing that you can do, is through really
fusing together the deepest mystical awareness with a commitment to unflinching
divine action, you can become a midwife of that birth in the middle and through
the chaos, and start in this atrocious dying, building consciously with others
who are awake to the evolutionary potential of this crisis, the structures of
the birth — cooperating with the evolutionary intelligence to build these
structures of birth in the hope that humanity may not be suicidally psychotic
and on a death-trip so intense that not even the pulsations of the divine will
can save it from itself. This is how I see the crisis.
I think that the advantage of seeing it like this is that it
corresponds to very deep laws in external nature, the profoundest laws that the
mystics have discovered about the divine transformation — the transformation of
the human into the divine human — and, that it really mirrors what you've
explored very beautifully and terrifyingly and with great eloquence in 2013: the essentially paradoxical nature
of the divine itself. That it works its transformations and alchemies through
terrifying horror and extreme chaos and almost unimaginable violence — both on
the personal realms and in the evolutionary realms. And given what we're
facing, given what we're seeing, given what we're living, I think we need this kind
of realism more than ever. And I think that when we find the courage to embrace
a paradox, it begins to free us because it gives us something to cooperate with
on the deepest level, something to surrender to, something to allow to possess
us with its evolutionary necessity.
Richard: Yeah, I think that there are certain traps in
language, which comes too fluidly and facilely to us, good and bad. It's
like — we can be very eloquent with words, but they remain words. And then
there's the actual lived circumstance. And the two of the …
Andrew: Well I'm not speaking about words that I don't
happen to live myself and don't live myself.
Richard: No, I understand. And I'm not charging you
with that. I'm more charging myself. With the awareness that the moment you've
spoken the words, another moment is there and has to be lived and that presents
its own challenge. An absolutely
new challenge right from the core of creation. This reality is a living fire that keeps emerging. And then another moment, and so on. And
what I think is, that the gap between the pathologically materialistic present
and its secular, survival requirements and the illuminated divine, the divine
immanence that is sourcing and feeding and transmogrifying all this, can't be
bridged on this plane moment to moment or lived fully all the time. We get
intimations of it when it comes and we can fill ourselves with it then. Thank goodness for those moments of
vision and grace. Because we can't
just be the fire.
Richard: Thus people need strategies for … I should say
practices. Rituals, practices, prayers, communions, initiations, and ways of
bringing themselves back again and again to what they have lost. And those
practices and rituals and mantras and trainings and sutras and so forth have to
be as subtle and as paradoxical as the dilemma itself that we're in.
Andrew: I agree with you.
Richard: And secondly, the other thing I believe, which is a
somewhat different issue, is that it's too easy to think of the people who are
fucking things up, in governments and corporations and narcissistic stupors and
militias and crime cadres-as being in some sense in alliance with evil, or the
devil. I mean, there are some
pretty bad actions, pretty bad choices, pretty sociopathic behaviors on the
loose on this planet. And yet, at some level, the energy that is flowing in to create
those acts is sacred too and has to be used in our transformation.
So those people and those forces and those acts cannot be
construed or put outside of us in any kind of moralistic or judgmental way. We
have to find some tenet by which to understand and embrace the whole planetary
event, in our words and in some way in our deeds. As you well explicate in Heart Yoga, many practices have to do
with literally sending compassion, revelation, and healing out into the world
in such a way that they reach especially
those people who are least presently attuned to hearing it, or receiving it,
and it reaches them not in an intrusive punitive or angry way but in the perhaps
the one incredibly exquisite way in which they might hear it and recognize it
as something valuable in themselves — something crucial and lost, lamented and secretly
sought in their hearts. They need
rescuing and inclusion too. They
need it most of all. And they are our
key to redemption.
Andrew: I agree absolutely with everything you've said, and
I think that there are five kinds of practice that anybody who wants to be a
midwife of this birth, who wants to really cooperate with the evolutionary intelligence
of this moment, needs to pursue in all of its paradoxical variety.
The first kind is cool practices that help align oneself
with divine being, because without being grounded in transcendent being, no one
will be able to have the peace of mind to endure the shattering of the dark
The second is the hot practices, which I call the heart
practices because it is essential to learn from the great wisdom of the
mystical traditions how to keep your heart vibrant, juicy, compassionately
passionate and passionately compassionate in the middle of the situation which
is going to drive one into the abyss of depression and fatigue again and again
and again and again, and threaten one with madness and threaten one with total
desolation unless you know the secret, or can learn the secret of holding the
heart in the flames of the Sacred Heart.
The third kind of practice that is going to be essential to
anybody who's going through this dark night of the species and inevitably a
dark night of their own — because no one will be able to escape being excruciated
by what's happening — is prayer practice, because sometimes neither the cool nor
the heart work, and as Jesus experienced in Gesthemane, sometimes the only
practice that can align you with the mysterious world of your destiny is a
The fourth kind of practice is what I've been devoting a lot
of time to, because in my own experience and in the experience of what I see
around me in a very disheveled, disembodied, zonked-out New Age, is sacred body
practices. Because without profound sacred physical practice I think there's
absolutely no hope for one to embody the divine energies at the level and at
the intensity of vibration that you describe so beautifully in your book-this
new, intense vibration that is trying to embody itself to give us the energy
and the passion and the courage to do what needs to be done.
Those four kinds of practices will help you embody the
divine human but they will not be enough for the reason you so eloquently said
at the end of what you said. We cannot afford to demonize those who are
unconsciously in the prey of very dark powers simply because we are all the
slaves of those powers at this moment. Everyone is threatened, I think, by the
five kinds of collective shadow I have identified in the hope: disbelief,
dread, despair, dissolution, death-wish. And with the ways in which our individual shadows and traumas
and desires for comfort keep that shadow going. So the CEOs and the mad
politicians and the drug-crazed rappers are just living out on a vast, hectic,
chaotic scale what is already seething and boiling within all of us. That's the
first point. The second point is that in this desperate energy — as you so
clearly point out — is potentially, when transformed, a golden energy for
transformation and a deep source of unconditional compassion which can even
take you to the fringes of enlightenment. Because once you know that you are
the Anti-Christ yourself, then the possibility of the Christ being born in you
begins. The Buddha's words just before achieving enlightenment were "Oh
darkness!" Many commentators failed to really understand it, until an eleventh-century
Japanese monk said the reason why he said "Oh darkness" was at the moment he
entered nirvana was the moment that he saw the face of the dark one, the
killer, the mad one and realized it was his own face. So there is a very deep
and subtle and mysterious relationship between the claiming of one's complete,
dark, demonic, destructive shadow and the transformation into divine humanity.
And this means that the fifth kind of practice will have to be mystical
shadow-work, at a very deep level. Alchemical shadow-work. And this kind of
alchemical shadow-work is hardly here yet, and hardly here yet at the level it
needs to be here. Because they're two interrelated levels at which it really
needs to work, and work fast, and work intensely.
The first is that we all have to look at the collective
shadow of the human false self, which we all participate in, and the despair and
disillusion and desolation and death-wish and dread, that it has completely,
almost, possessed us with which enables us to do nothing as the powers that be
destroy everything. And then we have to really take an unprecedented release
also into our own personal shadows. In which all of us will discover just how
much our past traumas, our deluded clinging to status are buying of the myths
of an entitled, unsustainable lifestyle, have made us the perfect collaborators
of this death machine. And the only way that this alchemical shadow-work can be
done in my experience, is through creating a mystical container strong enough
to be able to stand the horror of what we have to face about the world and
about ourselves. And if we can create the mystical crucible strongly enough to
stand that horror, then the depth of our depravity, the depth of our total
enslavement, once-glimpsed and endured and accepted, becomes, through a mystery
of grace, a glimpse into the kind of power that could stream through us if only
we were able to stay totally humble, and if only we were able to surrender to
the divine light that is unbearably intense at this moment, and casting such a
shadow, and trying to make us wake up to it so we can claim true responsibility
for our transformation.
Richard: A lot of work.
Andrew: Well a lot of work in a culture that doesn't want to
do any work and in a spiritual world that is still obsessed with the fucking
Richard: And … and yet I think that it has to be — there
is no magical formula. A Buddhist
teacher, Lama Thubten, said to me recently, and I can't quote him anything like
exactly: ‘The problem with so many Buddhist students is that they think
Buddhism has the answer or is the answer.
But Buddhism is not a substitute for the complication that is nor does
it have any foolproof protocol for our situation."
This is one of the problems with the New Age: that it's one
formula after another. Even when the formula is being disclaimed, it's still
formulaic; there's still this unreal perception of a game that has formal rules
and is set up for us in advance, even for us to win in the end. Guess what: we're inventing the
game. We're inventing it for the
universe as we go along. All
formulas and rules are temporary and provisional. Yet some New Agers go on playing, from one ostensible
channeled message to another, one retreat and empowerment seminar to
another. Who is sending these
messages, really? Who is teaching
Andrew: This is the equivalent in the spiritual arena of the
flatland capitalist results-oriented mind, isn't it?
Richard: Mm-hm. And it's like its own Tower of Babel.
Andrew: Yes, it's worse than that because it's really
creating a completely fake spirituality and feeding the very thing that needs
to be disintegrated, which is the ego.
Richard: Right, and at some points, thus, when the real
message comes, it comes through a glass darkly from exactly the sources that
you think are least likely to give it: children, military veterans, hapless
lovers, a guy in a factory, an Indian peasant, a boat captain, a pop singer, a kitsch
poet, simple folks who look with direct, open eyes at the world they have come
to be in, and don't question or demand but do and say. Animals….
Andrew: Yes, and the messages are coming through the least
likely sources: the oil spill, the crazy greed of the CEOs, the madness of
children being slaughtered by the hundreds of thousands in the streets of our
Richard: Mm-hm. There's a lot of warped and sublimated
divine passion in that. I think about this a lot, and have thought about it my
whole life. I go back and forth between dualism — you know, this sort of classic
good and evil — and a more Buddhist universe, in which there isn't evil as such,
only shadow and distortion of the primordial luminosity. At this moment I come
out on the side of — that evil is not ultimately useful or self-sustaining. I
think it runs out. I think it becomes tedious and vacuous even to the entities
expressing and embodying it and running its many operations. I don't think finally that there's any
luminosity sustaining it.
In another sense, though, you could say there is luminosity sustaining it, but it is
luminosity behind the shadow. We still need that particular piece of the
spectrum, of the luminosity, in its pure and holy form. By forfeiting it
categorically to these horrendous events, we, in a certain sense, spurn its
power. But these must be the only
form the light can take in this present passage, this civilization and
alchemical interlude. When we
ostracize certain people and events and try to put them outside us and to say
‘Well, at least we're not the bad
guys," we also lose absolutely critical keys to the power to change, keys to
the nascent horror-beauty of the universe. We lose ourselves.
Richard: I think we can only change incrementally and gradually and by
ascertaining each paradox and each reversal and each horrific thing as it
Andrew: Well couldn't you say that while there is no evil in
the absolute, because the absolute is eternal light, bliss, and truth. Nevertheless, when there is a creation,
there is a dance of opposites. And in the dance of opposites, what you could
call the dark forces, the forces of destruction, play a very important role,
which it is extremely stupid to ignore.
Richard: Yeah, I wouldn't want to give that up.
Andrew: It's essential because it reconciles dualism and
unity. But the unity expresses itself mysteriously through this dualism, which
also has secret relationships, paradoxical relationships-
Richard: With the light.
Richard: And I would make a distinction between our
personal, internal experience of the nightmare, and the lazy projection of horror
and blame onto other people. Because I do think that the people who are
carrying out these ugly acts are living their own, albeit sometimes sterile,
version of the nightmare, maybe vapid, maybe rote and compulsive, even
deceptively reassuring, but it's still a nightmare for them and it purveys its
own horror and deadness.
Does anyone else want to ask a question or make a comment? They are welcome.
Lindy Hough: When you're just now saying the nightmare, what
do you mean?
Richard: I mean that each person, no matter who they are or
what they're doing, experiences both the fundamental ontological shadow that's
in the universe at the nucleus and core, and at the same time suffers the outer
caravan of violence, shoddiness, and destruction, the gruesome acts and events
that we hear of. I'm sure that we feel psychically the vectors of slaughter,
massacre, rape, and defilement that are occurring as we speak all across our
planet and giving off immense psychic gongs throughout our subtle fields and
traveling through our gateways and energy openings. We're all experiencing those things excruciatingly if
unconsciously and somaticizing their consequence and meaning into our bodies,
into cell-transmitters. Yet, when
I was declaring non-dualism, I meant, ‘There is only one source energy that is
sustaining all this, dark and light, ecstatic and vampiric, and that is the
ground luminosity of the universe. It's locked up in those things too, through the shadow, which
is the other side of the luminosity. The stars blazing across the time-space
vastness of the night sky are the same meta-photon particles lighting the
murder and kidnapping of children by irregular armies swarming across Africa,
the hunting of zebras by hyenas — the same interior light with all its mochas,
miasmas, snarls. I think William Irwin Thompson said at one point, very simply,
very eloquently: In effect, every light casts a shadow. Every light, however sacred, however
primordial, however pure, however subtle and divine. As a koan, I think that's well-worth remembering: the moment
we let light into a world, any world, a light of any origin or motif, that's
the moment in which we introduce that same light's shadow, all its dense and
swirling knots as it hits the unknown psyche of us, and it, in this creation we
share. But likewise when each shadow comes into the world, it's indicative of
some essence, some source of light, some path back to the light source.
Andrew: I think though too, Richard, something you said
earlier is very important. One of the things we need to be doing is to really
not only be looking at the ways in which our own shadow is collaborating with
this massive shadow of the death-machine, but also really praying for those who
are trapped in their roles as masters of the machine. Because from any kind of enlightened
perspective, they are the ones who are suffering in obscurity and unconsciously
the most. Because in killing and in massacring and in destroying the
environment, they are laying waste to their own source, they are laying waste
to their own psyches, they're living in an increasingly polluted psychic
You once told a story about how the Dalai Llama, upon hearing of the
slaughter of the Tibetan nuns by Chinese soldiers, wept. When asked presumptively if he was
weeping for the nuns, he responded, rather fiercely, ‘No, their souls were
okay.' He was weeping for the
soldiers who killed the nuns.
Andew: Exactly, and I think that's what His Holiness is
representing in the world, that position of enlightened compassion in which his
really deepest compassion is extended to the most brutal of his so-called enemies.
Because he knows that what they are doing is preparing for them an enormous stinking
karmic grave. And it's time that we really — all of us, as far as we can — enter
that realm, and realize that demonizing the enemy is actually a very — it's a subconscious
way of hiding three things from ourselves: first our own collaboration with the
enemy through our own shadow. Secondly, the level of helplessness that we feel
when we recognize that. And thirdly the enormity of the grief that breaks upon
us when we realize not only what we are doing to ourselves, but what those who
are doing this are doing to themselves. And somehow we have to be able through
sacred practice-and this is where I think the Tibetan practices, the things
like tonglen, are so important; they
create a crucible in which we can become strong enough to endure what we have to
endure, to hold the heart open, to hold the dark and the sadistic and the
tormented at the center of our hearts and keep constantly praying for them so
that they can be illumined by the light that sustains everything.
Richard: Right, and that's where they get to contribute — where
they get to alchemize to transform and contribute, those quanta of energy. I
don't care what the situation looks like at that point, however nasty or
fucked; I think that's the moment at which the healing will begin, and in which
it will be set in motion, irreconcilably. But we need those acts to sweep
across the planet, silently and inwardly, silently and inwardly, to begin to
change things like a sudden shift of wind through grasses.
Andrew: Duality will have been overcome by enough people.
Richard: Right, and we will have recognized, as you say, our
own complicity, our own collaboration, and our own delusions — you and me right
along with the rest of them as we go along here. And that reminds me that I
think in a very, very tiny but an important way, because there are only tiny
ways, that you and I having our own reconciliation after having had something
of an impasse and conflict in the past decade — plus is a bit of microcosm of
what we are evoking. Neither of us was evil then, but we certainly behaved in
ways that the other person found unacceptable, and then we drifted there for
over a decade until you initiated coming back together and healing what was
done between us. Well there are a billion billion such opportunities, tiny and
gargantuan, floating around the planet right now to be seized, opportunities
for people to transform the aether and, with it, uncountable other people that
they don't even know.
Andrew: Well, don't you think also that when shadows have
bumped against each other there's a possibility of an even greater depth of
Richard: Oh for sure.
It's like the prodigal son returns, again and again and again.
Andrew: Right. And also how can I possibly write about
unconditional forgiveness for the Palestinians and the Israelis and not want to
make up with someone who I have had fundamentally trivial disagreements
with — it's idiotic isn't it?
Richard: I know but people do it. Without naming names I'll speak anonymously of the Buddhist
teacher who, after teaching so well, got in the car with me and then expelled
some of the ugliest road rage I have ever seen. I called attention to it and she said, "Well oh, that's only
road rage." And I thought, ‘Aha! The one free pass: road rage. The one allowable
excuse.' Sort of…that will be the
last thing left on our wasted planet in some Mad Max landscape: they'll be
riding tanks and screaming out the turrets at each other like drivers on a
freeway outside Tulsa.
But I think your point is well taken. I think that when you
look at the kind of overall picture and then you look at the kind of schema
that we're both talking about, what's going to be required for the great
evolution is transformation of our view of blame and evil, our projections of
our own responsibility onto others.
The only thing finally more
difficult than enduring the chaos might be enduring the cure. Right?
Andrew: Yeah. The
truth is that we can make daily extraordinary steps by constantly being
vigilant over our minds, constantly trying, with all the chaos of our psyches,
to move toward compassion and true tenderness in our relationships with others,
and that this is the foundation from which all manner of things can flower.
Richard: Mm-hm. I also think, as I said in my opening
statement, that we're not alone — and not in the sense that SETI and the
professional astronomers propose but in the big sense. The universe is filled with
intelligences, entities, elementals, souls at different stages, and probably
some aliens too, some of them quite likely capable of telepathy and telekinesis
without regard to distance or time, galactic or dimensional location. We are
participating in a dense starry cosmos packed invisibly with wondrous and
beautiful and complex beings in a way that I never would have believed possible
when I first considered it as a college student who was reading Jung and
Gurdjieff and C. S. Lewis in dialectic with early Carl Sagan. I now think that,
to recast Sagan's primal trope, not only is there intelligent life in the
universe but every atom and molecule is participating at some octave or
vibrational frequency in connection with every other, with all that's
intelligent, all that's compassionate, and all that's hopeful. It's hard to acclaim that with
confidence and believe it without deep self-doubt and compulsive cynicism, but
it's coming through the shadow, the darkness, gloom, and pessimism, just as strongly
as it's coming through the radiance. I think, whether we believe it or not, that
we are sustained by the cosmos, as we are truly like the inhabitants of Plato's
cave, casting and jousting among shadows while we just don't see that we're in
this much bigger arena, bigger than the universe delineated by the night sky,
and that's pretty big.
All of our actions are karmic, and all of our actions are
consequential — not just here, but everywhere. Wherever there's a there. Our meanings and values radiate through
matter and psyche, ceaselessly, endlessly. Wherever dimensionality reaches, wherever. It's not just
about matter, it's not about the Big Bang. It's not about some neat little
locked-up field-theory universe that physicists in one culture on one planet
have packaged conveniently for themselves and their professional resumés. It's about this ineffable, unknown,
continuously manifesting mystery and wonder that makes it bearable to be here
at all. We live in awe or we live
in panic-those are the choices, avoid them though we may. We live in prayer and
humility or we live in terror. Any
true act of empathy and compassion has resonances through known and unknown
universes and domains, because everything is interrelated in unimaginable and
How powerful and how wonderful a gift to go against the
hexes and curses that are coming from — forgive the phrase — the other side! The materialist bankers and scientists
and politicians and the mercenaries of all stripes.
Andrew: Yes because — and I would like to say that this is
something that has become clearer to me and I think it's one of the reasons why
I so enjoyed your book — is that the situation we're enduring is particularly horrible
because something enormous is at stake. And what is at stake is a birth of the
divine in matter, in our matter, in the bizarre, chaotic, shadow-ridden matter
of us. And why that is so immense is that if the divine can be born in a matter
so chaotic and opaque and dark, then the after-effects of that birth, the
rippling out of that birth will profoundly affect not only life on this earth,
but life throughout the million million universes. The birth of the divine in
the human through the catastrophic, apocalyptic violence of a dark night, is
not for this Earth alone, which is why those forces that oppose it are so
hysterical and violent. Because they may be very well beginning to understand
that what this birth will enable is a subtle transformation on millions of
millions of rippling-out levels. And that-do you see-that's the natural
consequence of what you're saying.
Andrew: And this of course is what is known in the mystical
traditions, as when the Tibetan Buddhists talk about supreme enlightenment, and
what happens when a supremely enlightened master leaves the body and enters the
dharmakaya, the whole universe is
elevated. No one in enlightenment doesn't contribute to what the Christians
called pleroma, the massive evolutionary energy of increasing fullness.
Our computers represent the faintest, most primitive model of how the
universe itself is caching all this data and meaning in the akashic record, in a
transmolecular rainbow body of our collective planetary soul, which includes
everyone who ever was, every creature and every person going back to the dawn
of this sacred world.
Andrew: It's very empowering when you begin to suspect that.
I had an experience of that very recently. I was dying in South Africa, my gall bladder exploded and I
was being driven across very bumpy roads and it was very agonizing. I knew I
was dying, but I wasn't in any fear. And my old Tibetan training kicked in and
I decided — or it decided — to do tonglen
for the world at that moment. So I was consciously sending out the agony that I
was in as an act of purification, as an act of sacrifice. And in a way I cannot
begin to describe, I knew at the moment that I was doing it. That if you can do
it, a mystical exercise at that kind of extremity with your whole being-it has
cosmic consequences because your own inner authenticity and passion burn down
all the barriers between all being, and this flood of light that comes from the
practice can illumine all being. It was a tremendous initiation for me because
I think up until that moment, I had believed in the power of prayer and I'd
believed in the power of mystical practice to help others, but in that moment,
as a grace and as a blessing because I was dying and I was desperate in one
part of myself, I was also privileged in experiencing the atomic power of
sacred practice done from total authenticity of love. And if this can be
conveyed to people and if they can become disciplined enough to experience it,
then this gives a level of empowered hope that nothing else can give.
Richard: Yeah, I agree. That is the gift. Your gift is not
always giving your love and your joy and your epiphanies, because it can't
always be done. The gift is being able to give your pain too, your grief, and
to give it just as generously and sincerely. To be used by the pleroma, and to
be cached along with all the rest, because the universe needs the pain and
grief too. In fact, needs it
You're giving your pain in love. You're giving your horror
in peace and recognition and trust, utter and ultimate trust.
Not as a retribution and not as outrage or martyrdom, but as
a gift, in the way your birth and your life were gifts from the unknown divine.
You give your agony and passion as Christ did: to open realms. To break down
barriers between sets of meanings, as life and death, resurrection or
obliteration. I mean that was the
sacrifice of Christ, to use his body to break down a realm — to break down a
barrier between realms, to demonstrate that transformation and rebirth are
possible, and nothing can intercede.
It's a love beyond division. It's a love beyond reason. It's
a love beyond agenda. It's a love beyond results. And if you can allow yourself
to surrender to that love, that love has the power of resurrection somewhere
within it, at its core.
And here's the problem with the post-Darwinian scientific
worldview: It's certainly not all of the toys and machines and products and
laws, although those have their consequences and karma; it's the constant
message to humanity that none of this is happening and none of this is real;
that you are mere zombies, hallucinations, without consciousness or inner
life. When you make homeopathic
remedies, there's nothing in them; they're a fraud, right, because there is no
transmolecular realm or higher energy than what we have deemed valid. When you say
prayers by the same order, that's just more placebo effect, or it's tepid
wishful thinking. Only what can be demonstrated as cause and effect in double-blind
experiments counts and gets to be real and has a chance of serving us; only
what can be patented and marketed, what can be commoditized and capitalized.
It's really a collaboration — it's not pure science in the sense of knowledge or
empiricism — it's the collaboration of false science with capitalism and
materialism and at the same time with a vast heresy of diabolism that reaches
as deep into the church and the synagogue and mosque as it does into the
Pentagons and boardrooms. It's this kind of heresy that in all that odd
Drunvalo Melchizedek material gets associated with the Martians and that whole
little mythology of the robotic aliens and their Lucifer rebellion. It's the strange
and powerful desire to deprive us of our birthright in the sacred universe and
to replace it with a bogus cyborg universe of their own.
It's the Ahriman if you like.
Richard: Yeah the Ahriman, right, the Lord Ahriman.
Andrew: This terrible, dark, demonic flattening of the whole
human experience to flatland science.
Richard: I think that's what Owen Barfield spoke of. It's a
constant war and a constant battle because we've all received the vaccinations,
or most of us have. We've all been
vaccinated with that worldview. So everything miraculous and everything with
real light and luminosity is denied at some level to us and in us, even when we
believe passionately. We are
hexing and damning ourselves to oblivion.
We not only have to find the sacred again, but we have to
wage constant vigilance against the nihilistic indoctrination.
Andrew: But could we look at it from your perspective and
your wisdom about the shadow? Because it's been my own experience and I'm sure
it's been yours that having to struggle with such ferocity against this truly
desperately dark vision.
Richard: Deepens the universe.
Richard: And the universe has stretched itself out into this
dilemma — obviously for esoteric reasons that are way beyond our ken, but
nonetheless, it has reached into the incredibly profound depth of this paradox.
Andrew: It isn't beyond our ken, Richard; I really do think
that it's clear. And I think what has happened is that this Ahrimanic
consciousness has been allowed to expand because it is the consciousness of the human false self, and it's being
allowed to almost destroy everything because the only hope for a massive
divinization process to be real is for the human being to see the consequences
of this blasphemy and this madness and this complete hallucination of power,
and playing through the processes that we've been discussing, the power of that
shadow and devoted in surrender and humility to the divinization process. There
is no other way. It's just the same in the individual growth divinization: it
has to pass through the dark night, and for the dark night to be possible, the
subtle ego has to expand to monstrous levels. Right?
Richard: Right, all of this resistance is not just an
obstacle and impediment, is not just there to overcome. It also is part of the substance of the divine. It is literally one of the robes in which we must wrap
ourselves in order to really get it, get it as solid, brave, accountable, real,
able to stand up for itself against any version of demonic or Satanic denial,
against any alien onslaught, however apocalyptic.
And even in its own demonic way, the new cult of the suicide
bomber — the ritual of the suicide bomber — is an expression of the lost divine and
a grasping at the pathway to the core.
It's also a direct attack on materialism. In a certain symbolic way, that's why 9/11 so remarkably
resembled the Tower Card in the Tarot, I mean down to the fine details. Talk about prophecy manifested!
Whatever else suicide attacks and jihad seem to be, because this
all has a separate politics attached to it, one can't help but see that in the
simplest sense it's a direct confrontation with materialism, with commoditism,
with the actuarial and usurous reality of the West. In fact the Islamic worldview
classically proposes a cleansing jihad, internally, not externally, as an inner
struggle against darkness, not as a wrathful manifestation or vengeance against
the innocent or incidental, but I can see how the oppressed translate it into
holy war today. They are attacking
the heart of a great materialist blasphemy.
Andrew: Absolutely. It was a lesson tragically lost though,
wasn't it, because nobody in this country has the courage to get up and say two
things, which is firstly that there was some justice in what was done — not in
the horrible way in which it was done — but the rage of the Islamic world against
the pollution of the world by American capitalism or better by American media,
by American vulgarity, has a
terrible truth to it. And the second thing that nobody dared to get up and say
is that we are supposed to be a Christian country and here we are bringing down
destruction on those who have hurt us instead of pursuing mercy.
Richard: And those who haven't hurt us. Well, that we've
Andrew: Well yes. But one of the things that when you do
read the works of the Islamist terrorists-and I've done a lot of it because I am
very deeply moved by Islam, and very transformed by the great Islamic mystics,
so I've been wrestling for years with Islam, and when I read many descriptions
of the terrorist tracts of the culture that I live in, I recognize a great deal
of truth in them: There is nothing whole about our culture, we are driven by
greed; there's a kind of free-floating, dark promiscuity which is attacking so
much of what is sacred about love and emotion and passion, the whole of our
culture is in the hands of a few corrupt business-people, I mean this is what
they're saying in their literature. There's a reality about that that the
Americans are not willing to face.
Richard: Yeah, not close to it.
It's a bit of a non
sequitur, but I'm reminded of something that John Friedlander, with whom
I've been doing psychic work, said, and I quote very loosely, "Think of someone
with whom you are in essential disagreement. Then imagine that that person is suddenly eliminated from
the universe. What have you lost
in your own development by their elimination?" He also pointed out that, in effect, the moment that person
was eliminated, the universe would go about replacing them instantly. And if you eliminated all evil and
opposition from the universe, it would return in less than the blink of an
Watch Fox News some night, whether it's Bill O'Reilly or
Sean Hannity or Sarah Palin or whomever, and find what it is in yourself that
you have to give up in order to demonize them, and then think what it would be
like if they no longer existed, what you would lose, and then think how to take
the act of demonization into yourself, as who you are, not who they are, which
is a whole other thing.
Demonization is a convenient way of avoiding confronting our own energy.
I've found this a curiously transformative exercise, one
that always releases the strangest little curlicue of compassion for those
people — sorrow that they suffer what they do, you know honestly, not just some
sort of piety or arrogant piety but a fleeting quantum of communion with an
actual sense of sadness. And that's much more fulfilling and transformative
than just staring at the talking heads and feeling anger and rage and thinking
destructive thoughts and wishing all sorts of destructive things on them.
Andrew: Well, don't you think someone like His Holiness,
seeing the face of the terrorist who has just blown himself up or herself up,
would feel the most acute compassion for somebody driven by heartbreak and
frustration and humiliation to such an extreme and karma-darkening act?
Richard: For sure.
Andrew: You don't just feel rage. It's that somebody who's
done that must have done that from the most terrifying reasons of the soul and
of the heart. And my own heart bleeds for these people. It's not only that I
don't feel rage, I just feel more acute heartbreak when I see the face of a
suicide bomber than for almost any other person.
Richard: Because there's the sacred fire too.
Andrew: Yes! If only the New Age had the passion of the
Richard: Right exactly. If they had the passion, the commitment,
and the sincerity. In fact, just the sincerity would do it. That's what's missing in the New Age.
Andrew: And the capacity to give your whole life for a
transformation you want, which is what's going to be asked of us. While we sit
here twiddling with our iPads and Facebooking and slacktivisim, this new trend
that you just choose an idiotic cause and have 50,000 people wear red on their
behinds … we indulge in this kind of monstrous, decadent play-acting for no
reason and for no purpose — here are people who for all the wrong reasons and a
few of the right ones are truly prepared to give up their whole lives in the
name of a passion for a new world. God knows, I'm looking for people who have that
passion and I hardly ever find them in the long, dreary malls of America.
Richard: Including the dojo malls and the holistic health
Andrew: Oh yes, the whole malls. It's all mall in America.
The new age is one huge mall, all the publishers — except for of course North
Atlantic [laughing] — one vast mall, the … it's mall-mind, mall-heart, mall-soul,
Lindy: So how are we going to galvanize people?
Andrew: How the hell do you think? What do you think? What
do you think? What do you fear in
your guts when you ask that question.
Ed: Can't happen.
It's too late.
Lindy: Ed says it's too late and it can't happen.
Andrew: Don't feel that because that would be a betrayal of
your deepest spirit. How you
galvanize people is by three things: First of all, you connect them with the
divine consciousness within them. Secondly, you give them the disciplines that
really sustain that consciousness, and, thirdly, you help them follow their
heartbreak and follow something they can really do in the real world to help
the real agony of the real exploding real crisis. If you really see that the
world is dying — and that means that not only your psyche is going to be
destroyed but that the world that you love is dying, that if you have children
your children are going to inherit desolation; if you really see that, if you
really allow yourself to feel it, if you really stop intellectualizing about
it, but start feeling it and feeling it from the divine within you, then you
will be driven, you will be driven to find something that you must do just to stay human.
Richard: That is sacred activism.
Andrew: Yes. I know I'm being dramatic because it's so
important that you don't go to that
place where there is nothing to be done, because that's exactly what-from that
place nothing can be done, and this tremendous crisis will be totally wasted,
and we won't have a chance to repeat it. Richard, before we end, there is one question I wanted to ask you: what do you fear the most for
Richard: Well, I think that the answer is both obvious and
not obvious. I fear that the oil will not stop coming out of the hole in the
sea and that that hole stands for a larger hole that has been opened into a
darkness that doesn't have light or hope behind it, and that it will fill the oceans and choke our
life-and I mean that both metaphorically and actually — because the hole in the
Gulf is not only the corporate vacuum of greed, the breach into the underworld
of our apostasy and the demons who feed off our cruelty and lack of modesty or
mercy, but it becomes a symbol for nuclear proliferation, for the trafficking
of children and young women, for Africans who are machete-ing off people's
hands and legs to strike fear into them and make them controllable, for the
religious fanatics spewing toxins into the psychic oceans, the Crusaders,
Armies of God, Israeli Settlers, Iranian mullahs, Jihadists, and so on. I fear having
those forces get in control of the world and then even worse, convince people
that they're in charge forever and they're running things from now on and have
excoriated and abolished the divine.
Get in line if you want to be saved, if you want your place in the
suburban cornucopia or the bomb shelter.
It would be like an invasion of the worst form imaginable of alien Grays.
Convincing people that they have
to yield to the satanic force of this sort of tar-black toxic darkness. That seems to me the most terrifying
thing because once it gets into the soul — but you know, I'd like to think that
the soul is immune.
Andrew: Oh no. Richard: I think that once it gets into the soul, a whole
new level of danger is entered upon — like when in the Inquisition they tried to
force evil into the Cathars' souls.
That was probably one of the most horrendous things that the Church
imagined and enacted — to take innocent people and try to corrupt and taint their
souls. So I think that that's the most frightening thing-that it will get
inside of you.
Richard: And I know something of what that feels like and I
think you know that, too.
Andrew: Yes. Yes I do. I think that I fear exactly the same
thing that you do. I fear that there are two visions of oneness fighting for
the future. One is that transcendent immanent unity that could birth us into a
new humanity. And the other is its exact demonic opposite: a oneness that is a
terrifying collusion, potentially, between the mass corporations, the military
industrial complex, an enslaved and depraved media, and mind-altering,
body-altering experimentation, and a one-world government run by corrupt
lobbyists. And that is now a distinct possibility. Imagine what Hitler would
have done with the hydrogen bomb, a massive media system, a corrupt corporation
network, and you can imagine what some financially supported blond thirty-five-year-old
selected by the hidden Plutocrats could accomplish at this moment.
Richard: Yeah well that's why I think that in the end we
have to get almost silly and goofy and say, ‘Okay, all those entities and
people and angels who are out there on all the other levels-now's the time you
can rush in to help us. But you don't even have to tell us you're there; just
support us a little from within and we'll get it done. We'll bring us all home.' We need to be a bit hyperbolic and
Andrew: Well I think-don't you think there's a tragic
dignity in being able to see as much as we can see?
Richard: I do. There is a tragic dignity in this whole
situation, and you know in a funny way, our plight goes all the way back to the
Stone Age, which is only a second away in cosmic time. Our plight and our opportunity. I was thinking recent of how brilliant
the entire shamanic tradition is and how it arose as almost precisely the same
training and practice, with variations, in every area of the Earth across
millennia like separate stars coming out in the same night sky. Shamanism is
the unitary pleroma of the Stone Age.
Our whole civilization is born from it, yet that civilization is but a
faint replica of the fiery nexus that birthed the original shamanic cultures of
the old times. So the war, the
basic ideological war now is between shamanism and science. Not that they don't
have moments of collaboration and overlap, but those are the two opposing
Andrew: Right, and when you found your whole vision on that
shamanic basis and then expand it through all the mystical revelations of
transcendence, you get a vision of evolutionary mysticism that can embrace all
those different levels of awakening.
Richard: Right and if you convert it into sorcery, and then
apply it to metallurgy, you get the present show.
Andrew: Yes, on that happy note.
Lindy: Thank you so much, Andrew, for joining us.
Andrew: No, this is a great pleasure — it always is. Thank you
all who have been listening; don't go away too depressed, because there is a
lot that can be done if you're prepared to die. … And I don't mean die unto
Richard: No, he meant die unto transformation.
Andrew: I was being a jihadist. Inner jihad.
Richard: Okay, thanks again, Andrew.
Andrew: God bless you, Richard.
Image by Temari 09, courtesy of Creative Commons license.