By admin on August 12, 2010 from http://www.richardgrossinger.com
A Discussion of the Ecological and Spiritual Crisis on the Planet (in the Context of Their Recent Books: 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)
The interview was conducted at the office of North Atlantic Books in Berkeley with Andrew on a speaker-phone, calling in from Oak Park, Illinois.
Richard: So, in my considering this set-up, 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’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 and non-negotiable.
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—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 night.
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 prayer practice.
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 secret.
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 the seminars?
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 cities.
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 comes.
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 atmosphere.
Richard: Right. 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. Right?
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 understanding.
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 mysterious ways.
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.
Richard: Right. 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 desperately.
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.
Andrew: Absolutely. 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 always done.
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 eye.
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 suicide bomber—
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 malls.
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, mall-mall-mall.
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 the world?
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 that 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 amused.
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 competing forces.
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 death.
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.