The Fundamentals of Being an Agent of Progressive Change (Pace Gallery Lecture)

“Survival is a result of thriving. We don’t simply get to survive. We survive to the extent that we thrive.”

Thom Knoles

Episode Summary

You’ll need a pen and paper, and zero distractions, for this episode, which is nothing less than a masterclass in evolution. 

Delivered in front of a live audience, at the Pace Gallery in New York City in 2021, Thom explains what an ‘agent of progressive change’ is, and why it’s incumbent on us to step up to the plate and take on that role for ourselves.

More than just a call to arms, it’s a practical ‘workshop’ covering the five fundamental elements of being an agent of progressive change.  

If you truly want to accelerate your personal evolution, next to a twice-daily practice of Vedic Meditation, you’d be hard pressed to find a quicker route than this.

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Episode Highlights


Survival is a Result of Thriving



We Live Inside of a Consciousness State that We’ve Created



Five Elements of Progressive Change






Ananda – A Supremely-Contented State



Not Enslaved by Outside Phenomena



Adaptation Energy



Circumstantial Happiness



“In Order to Have Disappointment, You Need to Have an Appointment”



Premature Cognitive Commitments



100,000 Stress Triggers



Meditation Resets Our Expectations









The Cognitive Revolution



The Capacity to Witness Oneself Thinking



The Storage of Accumulated Stress is Eating Up 98% of Our Brain’s Computing Power






Letting Go of Things With Ease



Challenging Assumptions



Non-Symbiotic Parasites



 5 – Willingness to Grow



We Are Doing Dated Things Already



Every Part of Your Body is Constantly Being Replaced



Consciousness Becomes Body Chemistry



Capacity for Progressive Change






Every Particle in the Universe Comes Out From a Non-Changing Field



The Self Moving Inside the Self



The Colorless Sap



Q- Are There Practical Ways Other Than Meditation to Let Go Of Useless Habits?



Maharishi’s Mud on Your Hands Analogy



Why Therapy Works So Well



The Advantageous Position of Knowing



Q- How Can Destructive Forces Like Genocide Be Evolutionary?



All Bodies End Up Dying



We All Move in the Direction of Recognition of Unity



Unity Points



You’re Loving You



The Need for Less-Sophisticated States



The Average Age of Cambodia in the 1980s was 17 Years



The Need for Longevity



Self-Referential Awareness


Jai Guru Deva


[00:00:45] Survival is a Result of Thriving

[00:00:45] One of the things I’d like to bring to your awareness today is something that might be of assistance to every aspect of life. Today, I’d like to spend some time talking about how it’s essential that each of us creates a model for ourselves about being an agent of progressive change.

[00:01:09] The way that Nature’s intelligence works, and now I’m speaking both as a scientist, which I am, and as a spiritual teacher, is that survival comes as a result of thriving.

[00:01:22] Survival is a result of thriving. We don’t simply get to survive. We survive to the extent that we thrive. If our attention is on progressive change, if we’re adaptive, evolutionary creatures, then survival is a by-product of that.

[00:01:43] And it’s also important to note, and I was just reading downstairs in the beautiful VIP room, a book, a retrospective of James Turrell, and in the book, there’s a beautiful quote from James which very much matches my perspective as a teacher that, “You live inside the consciousness state that you’re at, there’s no world out there. The world that you think is out there is actually a model inside your own consciousness.” As a neuroscientist, I can verify and validate this perspective.

[00:02:20] We Live Inside of a Consciousness State that We’ve Created

[00:02:20] We live inside of a consciousness state that we’ve created. It’s a model, and we add things to the model constantly, including our own sense of what we are and what role we’re playing. And this has been established beyond any reasonable doubt, in cognitive neuroscience, that each one of us lives inside of a consciousness state of our own creation. And we can expand that consciousness state, and upgrade it, and make it better.

[00:02:52] And one of the beautiful things about taking in the consciousness states of different people, this is what art is all about, is that we expand and change our perspectives. We get to see things from the state of consciousness of another, and adding that to our own consciousness state, it expands our repertoire.

[00:03:13] It gives us the capacity to accept that our point of view is not the only point of view there is. And without that, we’re not going to be agents of progressive change. We’re going to be stuck in rigid attachment to specific timings and outcomes, and specific ways of things happening.

[00:03:35] Five Elements of Progressive Change

[00:03:35] What that does to us is it makes us stagnate.

[00:03:40] Stagnation is the result of embracing ever-repeating known in a formulaic fashion. The ever-repeating known. The ever-repeating known may seem safe to you, but in fact, it’s dangerous. It’s dangerous because stagnation attracts to it destructive elements of Nature. Scavenging and predatory phenomena all get attracted to the ever-repeating known.

[00:04:08] And so then, in order to prepare ourselves to be super-evolutionary phenomena, each one of us is not just a person taking our consciousness and our capability all into account. We are a phenomenon, so to be a super-evolutionary phenomenon, we have to review a little bit about what the fundamentals are of being an agent of progressive change.

[00:04:37] And there are essentially five elements that I’d like to talk about, and we’ll have time for your questions too, that have to do with understanding ourselves and our role as being progressive experiencers. Progressive means whereby Nature finds an outlet, a productive outlet for its evolutionary force.

[00:05:00] Stability

[00:05:00] The first of these is the idea of stability, and we can throw out all kinds of notions we might have about what that word means. Let’s reconstruct it. Stability has to do with what is your baseline experience of yourself, what is your baseline?

[00:05:19] There are lots of things that change. Maybe, between the age of 15 and the age of now, you might’ve changed your mind about a lot of things. About how the world works, what’s best, what’s not so good and so on and so forth, but there must be some kind of a baseline. That baseline we’re going to refer to as capital S, Self.

[00:05:40] The Self is not the small self that’s ever-changing, the you that wants little toys, and the you that later on wanted bicycles, and the you that wanted to have a relationship with some kid at junior high school. That’s the small self.

[00:05:58] What is the Big Self? What is the element of you that doesn’t change? And to find that you have to have some kind of a practice that takes you out of all of the ever-changing world, all of those ever-changing phenomena that give you a sense of identity, the identity that you’ve forged for yourself based on what people like, and what people don’t like, and, “What people say about me, and what do they think about me?” and so on and so forth.

[00:06:29] Ananda – A Supremely-Contented State

[00:06:29] We have to have a baseline, and that baseline answers the Aristotelian demand. Aristotle had this great demand for the first science. The first science is knowledge of the true Self. What is the true Self? Your least-excited consciousness state, that element of you that continues to be there, even if thoughts stop.

[00:06:55] Can you imagine having a thought-free state? Well, everyone who’s ever practiced any decent form of meditation is familiar with that experience. There’s a place inside you that is just pure consciousness, and that place, that layer of you, is not created by meditation.

[00:07:15] Meditation can reveal it to you. It can reveal that that layer is there perpetually. When that layer of you is awakened inside you, when you have regular experience of it, regular access to it, then it survives the meditation process.

[00:07:35] When you come out of your meditation, you have this sense of a bigger Self deep inside that is not changing all the time and being kicked around like a football by other people’s opinions. You have a baseline, and that baseline turns out to be a supremely-contented state. In ancient India, the phraseology for this is to refer to it as Ananda.

[00:08:03] Ananda means bliss, but it’s not ecstatic bliss. It’s a supreme, inner delight that sits there quietly behind all the thoughts, and it discovers itself to be the Knower, capital K, the Knower of the thinking process, the witness of the thinking process, that element of you that doesn’t change. And this is what stability actually means.

[00:08:29] Not Enslaved by Outside Phenomena

[00:08:29] When we have some kind of practice where regularly we visit that place inside of us, that is not enslaved by the opinions of others. It’s not enslaved by outside phenomena. It’s not enslaved by fashion or by mirrors that we look at, because it has nothing to do with this ever-changing body. It is that element of our consciousness that is stable. And here we have Stability with a capital S.

[00:09:01] Stability is a very important aspect of our capacity to be agents of progressive change. We’ll get to that more in a moment. Stability is the first of the fundamentals of progress.

[00:09:18] Adaptation Energy

[00:09:18] The next fundamental of progress, which is based on the degree of stability that you have, and again, this is all about percentages. It’s not, do you have stability or not? It’s not black and white. To what extent do you have it?

[00:09:32] Then to that same extent, you’ll discover that you have adaptation energy. The ability to adapt is one of the things that we note when we have a stable place inside of us, is that the world constantly is changing, and our expectations are also going to be met with the demand on us to change them. Change your expectations.

[00:09:59] With what ease can you change your expectations? If you don’t have adaptation energy, then when a demand comes that says, “Change your expectation now.”

[00:10:10] Maybe, it might be something as transitory as the weather or the lighting. Someone switches on the lights, your eyes didn’t expect that degree of light to suddenly come in, and you might have a little stress about that. Or you expected it to be a beautiful sunny day like this, but instead, it started pouring rain, and meteorologists got it all wrong.

[00:10:32] Circumstantial Happiness

[00:10:32] Then to what extent are you able and what speed can you let go of rigid attachment to specific timings and outcomes. With what speed can you adapt? With what speed can you make yourself relevant to what has actually happened?

[00:10:51] The speed of that is going to speak to how much adaptation energy you have, how adaptive you are. And adaptation, that capacity is based upon that inner stability, that baseline happiness that you have.

[00:11:06] “If I’m happy being what I am deep inside, if I’m happy there, I’m not a desperado about the world having to make me happy. If the world is the only thing that can make me happy, I’ll meet somebody, then I’ll get happy or, I’ll have this, and then I’ll get happy. If that happens, then I’ll get happy.”

[00:11:30] This kind of circumstantial happiness, being our only source of happiness, moves us into that category of regularly being disappointed.

[00:11:41] “In Order to Have Disappointment, You Need to Have an Appointment”

[00:11:41] I had a great master, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. He was a fabulous, famous guru from the 1960s and seventies, and he had a fabulous saying, ” In order to have a disappointment, you have to have an appointment.” In other words, you have to have sculpted inaccurate expectations.

[00:12:01] When you sculpt inaccurate expectations, and you rely upon the happiness that’s going to come like little drops from the outside world, you’re going to have lots of disappointments, and leading a disappointed life is a life that itself is a disappointment.

[00:12:19] Stability is one part of the equation of not being a constantly disappointed person. If I have baseline happiness, then the little drops of happiness that come from different interactions and so on, they’re a super bonus, but they’re not the source of my happiness. The source of my happiness is simply in Being. Being. I am, deep inside, an inexhaustible reservoir of happiness, and then these other happinesses, they are relative things.

[00:12:55] Premature Cognitive Commitments

[00:12:55] So then our adaptability, based on our stability. When we have adaptation energy, instead of reacting to change, we’re able to respond to change. When we react to change, we’re having a stress reaction. Fight the change, try to make the new reality, the demand, to change your expectations.

[00:13:20] Try to make it not a demand. Fight it. See if you can kill it. If you can’t do that, let’s see if you can run from it. Fight or flight. This is what it’s referred to in cognitive neuroscience and in physiology, the stress reaction.

[00:13:34] And the more stress reactions we have, the more our brain loads itself up with what we call premature cognitive commitments.

[00:13:44] A premature cognitive commitment is the way that your brain, not only is reacting stressfully to save you from what you perceive as a dangerous demand, but the way that your brain will pick up peripheral phenomena, colors, sounds, fragrances, and so on, and attach those innocent perceptions to the stress reaction.

[00:14:09] 100,000 Stress Triggers

[00:14:09] So if you happen to have just sipped some Jasmine tea, when you got the bad news on the phone, you may not consciously realize it, but every time you smell Jasmine tea, after that, there’ll be mild stress reactivity visiting you. And most neuroscientists agree that by about the age of 20 in a normal life, not one that’s been extremely traumatic, we may have accumulated as few as 100,000 stress triggers.

[00:14:40] These are a hundred thousand things that will cause you to get a little jumpy in a completely irrelevant way. It’s not helping you. It’s not saving you. It’s not relevant to the environment you’re in, and you don’t even know exactly what it is, and even if you had a list of all of these tens of thousands of stress triggers, you wouldn’t be able to stop yourself from reacting stressfully to those colors, those sounds, those things that happened to be around once, at a moment when you had a maladaptive reaction.

[00:15:15] Meditation Resets Our Expectations

[00:15:15] So we have to have lots of adaptation energy so we don’t just become a big bundle of prefabricated reactions. If I’m a bundle of prefabricated reactions, I cannot have an innocent experience anywhere, because anywhere that I am, my brain is scanning the environment, looking for a color or a smell or something that might be dangerous to me, and generating a little bit of stress reactivity just in case, like that.

[00:15:44] This compromises our capacity to be relevant, and this is another great thing that meditation does for us; when we close our eyes and meditate, we settle down to a least-excited state, our body rests very deeply, and our body resets all of its expectations.

[00:16:04] The body releases and relieves stress that has accumulated in the past. And so then peeling away layer after layer of stress reactivity is one of the most important benefits of practicing meditation regularly.

[00:16:20] Integration

[00:16:20] So we’ve talked about stability. We’ve talked about adaptability, which has its foundation in stability. Let’s talk about the next thing, integration.

[00:16:30] Integration means the ability to bring into the fold of your awareness, new elements that could enhance, strengthen, and expand your repertoire, to integrate into your life, to integrate into your experience things that are not part of your regular habituation, to move beyond that which is normally your periphery or circumference of comfort, to discover and allow in new ideas, new technologies, new points of view, and to move beyond those old boundaries.

[00:17:16] So that capacity to integrate into yourself new ways of thinking, and to be an early integrator so that you are someone who is a leader in whatever group of people you represent. It might be your family, it might be your group of friends, it might be a larger community. To be seen as someone who can rapidly integrate anything new that is helpful to the process of progressive change.

[00:17:48] Evolve

[00:17:48] The process of progressive change, this is the essential demand of Nature. If we had to take everything that we see about Nature’s agenda, basically we could put it into one word, which would be a one-word sentence with a period after, the Commonwealth people say full stop, and that word would be, evolve. Evolve.

[00:18:14] And that means, if we break it down, it means embrace progressive change. Embrace progressive change. To the extent that you do this, to that extent, you get that by-product of survival.   If survival is our main goal, we’re not going to survive. If progress and evolution are our main goal, survival is just an effortless by-product of that. This is what we’ve seen watching Darwinistic evolution and cataloging that for a hundred years now.

[00:18:50] The Cognitive Revolution

[00:18:50] Scientists look at what is it that’s the basis of species surviving? Well, it’s not that they struggled to survive. It’s that they thrived. Human beings, as far back as 120,000 years ago, when an amazing phenomenon happened in the human brain, in disparate tribes of humans that were dotted all around, between Africa and Europe, it’s referred to as the cognitive revolution, when the consciousness, and then the brain format, of humans suddenly went kaboom.

[00:19:25]  The creation of the beginning of the cerebral cortex, and the ability to think about the way that you’re thinking while you’re thinking. And let’s add more layers to that, to think about the fact that you’re thinking, about the way you’re thinking while you’re thinking. And we can count up to about ten layers of these backlogs of self-referential thinking capacity.

[00:19:50] We know that animals think. You can watch a dog thinking, it’s like… that kind of thing, but we’re fairly certain that even the most intelligent members of the species that have brains that are approaching our level of brain sophistication, they can’t think about the way they’re thinking while they’re thinking.

[00:20:11] They can’t think about the fact that they’re thinking about the way they’re thinking while they’re thinking. There’s an absence of layers of witnessing.

[00:20:20] The Capacity to Witness Oneself Thinking

[00:20:20] So that capacity to witness oneself thinking, to witness oneself providing a critique about the way you’re thinking, and so on, this is all the gifts of the elements of the brain that burst into development over about three or four reproductive generations about 120,000 years ago.

[00:20:41] The human being suddenly went to being the brain that we have now. The brain of about a hundred thousand years ago, as we can tell by skull development, cranial development, in crania that we have found, the brain of about 100,000 years ago, is not very different to the brain of today. You can tell what the brain looked like by the bone structure that surrounded it.

[00:21:05] The Storage of Accumulated Stress is Eating Up 98% of Our Brain’s Computing Power

[00:21:05] And so we have arrived at a brain status that gifts us with enormous potential, but here’s a problem. You speak to any great neuroscientists, and they’ll all tell you the same sad fact. On average, we use about 2% of our brain’s available computing power. It’s not that we’re using only 2% of the brain topologically. No. The whole brain is active all the time, but what is it active doing?

[00:21:38] 98% of our brain’s computing power is taken up in holding on to information that our brain reckons could be associated with danger, because there was a strawberry present once when you got stressed. And so it’s hanging on to the strawberry flavor and the idea that strawberry could be complicit in danger to you.

[00:22:01] In other words, the storage of accumulated stress is eating up about 98% of our brain’s available computing power. And so, on average, people are using about 2% of what their brain would be capable of if they could do the next thing on our list.

[00:22:21] Purification

[00:22:21] So we’ve talked about stability. We’ve talked about adaptability. We’ve talked about the importance of integration. Now we have to talk about purification.

[00:22:33] Purification means the ease with which you can actually cut loose things that are no longer relevant to your evolution. My favorite example of this in the human reproductive phenomenon is the umbilicus.

[00:22:49] The umbilicus played a pivotal and irreplaceable role for 40 weeks while gestation was occurring. And shortly after birth there’s a point of which the umbilicus no longer is relevant, and if it’s not removed, it endangers the life of the neonate, the baby, and the mother. And it has to be removed.

[00:23:16] It’s not removed with dishonor. We don’t look at it and say, “Look at this terrible thing. Let’s get rid of it.” It’s removed with great honor because it was the conduit between mother and fetal child, but it has reached its expiry date, beyond which it’s actually going to become a destruction operator.

[00:23:40] And so it has to be removed, and various cultures will do this with great honor. They might even plant it somewhere and make a tree grow there or something, but it has to go.

[00:23:51] Letting Go of Things With Ease

[00:23:51] With what ease can we let go of things, which once upon a time were relevant to us but are no longer relevant to us? And what are those things?

[00:24:05] Styles of thinking for one, styles of relating for another. To what extent is a way of relating that once was relevant, still relevant today? And, to be able to purify our life of elements that no longer serve us is a very, very important phenomenon.

[00:24:28] Everything from, you go and have an exfoliation to get rid of last month’s skin, some of which may be still clinging to you and blocking your skin’s ability to breathe adequately. That’s a very simple example.

[00:24:44] How about letting go of the way with which you’ve related to people during a different phase of your life? There are people in your family who might be exploitative of an old style of relating that is now outdated, and yet you continue to pander to it. There may be people with whom you interact on a regular basis, who rely upon you to go back to an old and outdated, now-obsolete style of relating, and they exploit that.

[00:25:20] How much time do you have for this kind of exploitation of something that is no longer relevant to you? How much time do we have to pander to forms and phenomena that no longer contribute to the overall program of progressive change?

[00:25:39] Challenging Assumptions

[00:25:39] Purification comes in all forms. It comes in the form of matters of our health, the kinds of foods that we eat, our willingness to challenge assumptions about the way we relate, the way that we eat, the way that we move, the clothes that we wear, the kind of conveyances in which we ride about on the surface of this earth, or in the air.

[00:26:02] Someone has this purification element pretty lively if they’re willing to challenge assumptions regularly. And challenging an assumption doesn’t mean you get rid of everything. No. It means you challenge an assumption in yourself, quietly challenge the relevance of a thing.

[00:26:20] And some of the things, some of the assumptions, which you challenge may stand up to the challenge. They might stand up beautifully. But, it hasn’t gone unchallenged.

[00:26:31] All right, something stands up beautifully to a challenge that you make to it, and then, fine, you move on. That can continue to be there. That’s continuing to provide some kind of nectar for the phenomenon of evolution, but there should be almost nothing that goes unchallenged in our life.

[00:26:51] Even if we only pass over it, like, “Let me see what this is. How about this? What about that? What about that?”

[00:26:59] Non-Symbiotic Parasites

[00:26:59] Someone who has a healthy and vibrant, progressive-change mentality, a state of consciousness that we’re creating that represents that you are an agent of progressive change, also has a fearless approach to challenging assumptions.

[00:27:20] And it’s very important that we develop that fearless approach because if there’s anything to be afraid of, actually, it is to be afraid of things that are non-symbiotic parasites.

[00:27:33] There are some parasites we have in our gut that help us, bacteria, and so on that give back to us. We can’t do without them. That’s why we eat probiotic things to help with all of that.

[00:27:46] But there are certain parasitic things which are non-symbiotic. That means they don’t give back. All they do is drain you.

[00:27:54] So, someone who wants to be a lively and vibrant agent of progressive change is someone who has regularly to challenge assumptions about what continues to be relevant in one’s life and what isn’t, and then continue moving forward.

[00:28:12] 5 – Willingness to Grow

[00:28:12] So, we have stability, adaptability, integration, purification. The last one is fairly easy, but it is a willingness to grow.

[00:28:22] A willingness to grow means a willingness not to go into some formulaic mentality. ” I have the formula. I have the formula, and the formula is this. I do this, then I do that. And then I do that. And then I do that. And if anybody asks me a question about this, I always say that.”

[00:28:41] Once we start getting into formulaic behavior, we’re not embracing change enthusiastically. I love that word enthusiasm because it has God in it. En Theos. En Theos is the etymology of the word enthusiasm, to embrace change in a way that is like the mind of God.

[00:29:05] This is whatever that might mean to you. It means to have that state of consciousness that has a Supreme approach to everything, evolutionary, enthusiastic.

[00:29:18] An enthusiastic embracer of change is someone who has a willingness to grow. A willingness, meaning, “I’m not going to be saying exactly the same things or dressing in exactly the same ways or, ” you can’t rely on me to be the same old so-and-so from this age to that age, to that age.”

[00:29:40] We Are Doing Dated Things Already

[00:29:40] It’s very, very important that we allow ourselves to be fluid. After all, this is what these bodies of ours are. That’s why you can look at photographs of yourself and your family from 10 years ago, and you can say, “Wow, look at our haircuts. Look at the way we were dressing. Look at this, so 2010.”

[00:30:04] Or you look a little further back from there, if you dare, the 1990s, “God, did we really wear that stuff?” And it’s so fascinating to think that right now we are styling ourselves and wearing stuff which, ten years from now, we’ll look back and go, “Oh, that was so dated.” We don’t know what we’re doing right now that’s dated, but we’re definitely doing dated things.

[00:30:27] Somebody who looks at a photograph of all of us, 10 or 15 or 20 years from now is going to be able to pinpoint what year it was, by what we’re all wearing and the way we wear our hair and stuff. And that’s so fascinating.

[00:30:41] Every Part of Your Body is Constantly Being Replaced

[00:30:41] Let’s look at what our bodies are doing. Our bodies are made up of, at last count, about 70 trillion cells. We’re getting used to these trillion numbers from government spending.

[00:30:52] A trillion is a thousand billion, and a billion is a thousand million, and as you know, a million is a thousand thousands. A trillion’s a lot.

[00:31:02] About 70 trillion cells make up this body, and our body seems to be like, anytime we look at it, it seems to be a frozen sculpture, but the fact is about 200 million cells in your body die and get replaced by another 200 million every day. Your body is a body of ever-dying cells, ever constantly being replaced.

[00:31:30] You have items in your closet that are older than certain elements of your body. Your skin changes over every month. The fascia underneath your skin changes over every two to three years. The muscles change as, cell by cell they change every five to seven years. Your bones last about seven to eight years before they have changed over entirely, cell by cell.

[00:31:55] So the body that you’re sitting in right now is younger than certain things you might have in your closet. This body is not a frozen sculpture. It’s a flow of energy and intelligence.

[00:32:09] Consciousness Becomes Body Chemistry

[00:32:09] And the thing that drives the change in it is the consciousness that resides in it. You think a sad thought, your body, within seconds, will start becoming the body of sad chemistry.

[00:32:23] We can measure this biologically in a lab. You change your mind and think a frightened thought. Then it takes about five minutes for your body to switch from being the body of sadness to being, chemically, the body of fear. Next thought might be anger. So, you can get the body of anger up and running in about five minutes.

[00:32:42] And then what’s the body of happiness? If you have that baseline happiness that I talked about, that deeper, inner sense of self, that place that’s beyond all relativity, that’s also going to print out in your physiology, is going to print out as the bliss body.

[00:33:01] You have bliss chemicals that are able to be made by your brain and, you need to awaken that bliss chemistry, that happiness chemistry, because it just so happens that the chemistry of happiness and the chemistry of staying whole or healing, these chemistries are identical. So healing chemistry, happiness chemistry, all the same chemistry.

[00:33:27] Capacity for Progressive Change

[00:33:27] And that gives us the capacity for growing. It gives us the capacity for accepting change, and inviting change, embracing it. It gives us the capacity to be willing to purify things out that are no longer relevant in our life. The capacity to integrate, the capacity to be adaptive, highly adaptive instead of being maladaptive.

[00:33:52] And that all based on that first fundamental, stability, baseline of identity, having a solid baseline deep inside, something that is transcendent, something that is beyond all of these relativities.

[00:34:09] All right, well, that’s some food for thought, and we have a good 20 minutes during which time I could answer some questions or listen to your comments.

[00:34:21] Would you like to converse about anything? I’m more than happy to listen to comments or answer any questions that you might have that have come up.

[00:34:29] Question

[00:34:29] So, by my understanding the, the ruling law of the Universe is change, so when you talk about the underlying Field of Non-Change could that really be possible?

[00:34:37] Every Particle in the Universe Comes Out From a Non-Changing Field

[00:34:37] It’s a very good point that you bring. If we look at the way that physics looks at the world, you have molecules that make up things like bodies and bricks and air and all of that. It’s always changing.

[00:34:53] The molecules are made up of atoms, and the atoms are always changing, and the atoms are made up of smaller particles that make up the nucleus of the atom. These are called protons and neutrons. And if we look at what makes up protons and neutrons, they’re made up of another smaller thing called quarks.

[00:35:13] And when we get down to what makes up a quark, we start finding something inside that quark that’s very interesting. It’s not a particle. It’s a wave.

[00:35:24] And it’s a wave that rises up into a semi-particle and then goes back into a flat state, and rises into a semi-particle and goes back into a flat state. In other words, everything that exists is coming out of something that’s a flat line.

[00:35:40] It’s called the Unified Field in physics. The Unified Field is the unmanifest, the unmanifest non-change field. Think of an ocean that, as a whole, is not changing, but it has curves and waves on its surface that are constantly changing.

[00:36:01] The Self Moving Inside the Self

[00:36:01] So, if you look at the ocean only at the surface level of it, you see all these waves and turbulence and change. But taken as a whole, all that water isn’t going anywhere.

[00:36:13] Where are all the currents going that are in an ocean? Well, there’s just the self moving inside the self. The ocean as a whole doesn’t change, but if you take a snapshot of any one part of it, it seems to be changing all the time. So there is something underneath everything that is a non-change field.

[00:36:34] All the change is based on a non-change field. And the non-change field is constantly issuing forth into manifestation, issuing forth into change. But it itself doesn’t change.

[00:36:48] The Colorless Sap

[00:36:48] Another example would be, in this flower, this beautiful orchid, white petals, and green stem, and green leaves and whatnot, but there’s something inside there, the colorless sap. It’s not green. It’s not white. It’s not round. It’s not flat.

[00:37:05] The colorless sap has embedded in it the capability to manifest into green, flat, round, fragrance, or anything. But the colorless sap on its own is a non-changing unmanifest element, and, it gives life to everything.

[00:37:26] So, if you don’t water the flower, then what happens? The sap dries up, and all these elements of difference begin to look the same. They all start going brown. Uniformity starts to appear. Whenever we see uniformity everywhere, it means that that underlying consciousness field, that layer, the Big Self, the unmanifest Unified Field, has not been tended to.

[00:37:54] It’s like cutting off the sap from the flower, or the tree. Everything starts becoming uniform, brown. So, like that, there is a field of non change that’s perpetually there, on the basis of which everything is changing. Everything else is changing, the Absolute, capital A, and then the relative world that comes out of it.

[00:38:17] Good question. Other comments or questions? Yes. Over here.

[00:38:21] Q- Are There Practical Ways Other Than Meditation to Let Go Of Useless Habits?

[00:38:21] Hi. That was such an interesting perspective to me on something that I’m always grappling with, in terms of wanting to be adaptable and release the things that are no longer useful, in regards to fear. Because that from a very young age is something that I was very aware of in the cells of my body, and sort of before understanding, perhaps what I understand now, I found myself, realizing I might not ever not have it, but that it would have less relevance for me in terms of actions I might take.

[00:38:54] So I’m interested in regards to what you were saying about the cells of our brain, and how many of them are devoted to these little memories, or I don’t know if it’s memories even, but little, reactions…

[00:39:05] Distorted memories in the cells of the brain, yeah.

[00:39:09] Yes. And it feels very evident when you’re reacting to something that you realize isn’t even something that’s happening right now, but you can feel the sort of chemical reaction.

[00:39:18] So I guess my question is, in regards to these five steps, clearly meditation itself creates sustainability from which everything can, can come, but are there practical ways to, on a daily basis, I suppose, move through those maladaptive fearful responses?

[00:39:38] Maharishi’s Mud on Your Hands Analogy

[00:39:38] Well, first of all, to give them an accurate name, like you’ve just done. [OK].

[00:39:44] Maladaptive, fearful, that, this is something that is not in fact useful. ” I’m finding myself engaging in something which I want to let go of.”

[00:39:57] Now, one of the great things about having a, this Indian teacher who taught me for a quarter of a century, he had so many great analogies. He said, “Supposing you get some mud on your hands, and you’re holding it out here and you’re describing it. It’s being held at arm’s length. Then you’re describing, this is what I don’t want. I don’t want this on me. I don’t want it on my clothes, and so on. By the time you can describe it at arm’s length, it’s no longer inside you. It’s not on you. It’s in your hand. The next step is this, let it go.”

[00:40:34] And we can only let go of a thing which we’ve identified by being able to describe it. The more we can describe it, the better we are at externalizing it. And we’re on our way to being able to let go of it.

[00:40:49] Why Therapy Works So Well

[00:40:49] Another example would be, in your computer when you’re typing something and you get a word wrong, you have to highlight it before you can delete it. And so the highlighting of this thing, isolate it, look at it as a thing. What is it? It’s not self. It’s non-self. This is non-self. I’m externalizing it by naming it, by talking about it, this is why therapy works so well.

[00:41:17] You hear yourself talking about something, which you are now making external to you by sharing it with somebody. And in that process, you’re making it, not of the self. You’re making it something that got attached to the self. And like that, we won’t be letting go of it just in one go.

[00:41:38] You might let go of the mud, but there’ll be a little residue, it might take a few of these things to get rid of all of it. Maybe some washing and things.

[00:41:46] But, if we’ve diagnosed it and we’ve analyzed it, and we’ve externalized it and described it, then we’re more than 50% of the way there. The rest of it is to let go.

[00:41:58] The Advantageous Position of Knowing

[00:41:58] Someone is in a more problematic state, if they don’t know that they have this, and they haven’t identified it, and they haven’t externalized it, and they can’t describe it, and they’re behaving in ways that are utterly irrelevant to the social structure, and it requires others to point out to them that there’s something, but they don’t know.

[00:42:23] You are in the advantageous position of knowing. You’re in the advantageous position of being able to identify, and isolate, and highlighting. Next, keep hitting the delete button.

[00:42:35] Thank you. What else is there?

[00:42:38] Q- How Can Destructive Forces Like Genocide Be Evolutionary?

[00:42:38] I’m not sure if I’ll be able to phrase this correctly, but when you’re talking about the Absolute field and everything manifests from that, right? From the very human perspective of violence and suffering, there’s a lot of atrocious things that happens, there’s genocides throughout history, there’s mass killings…

[00:42:58] I’m curious to know what the Vedic worldview is on events such as that, and how cosmic intelligence views seemingly de-evolutionary and destructive forces, such as genocide and mass killings, and ultimately, how is something like that evolutionary?

[00:43:17] All Bodies End Up Dying

[00:43:17] I think, famously, the entire body of eastern philosophy, which is pretty much everything east of the Balkans, that entire part of the world, has an understanding of consciousness as not being body generated, but consciousness existing independently of bodies.

[00:43:39] In other words, bodies are consciousness dependent, but consciousness is not body dependent. Where this is going is, when your body dies, that’s not the end. You end up as an experiencer finding outlet in another body, the philosophy of reincarnation. This is the way that the entire east, which is the vastly largest part of the human population, deals with this.

[00:44:07] That consciousness cannot be killed. Bodies can be killed but consciousness can’t, makes a very, very interesting difference in the analysis of what we’re about to talk about.

[00:44:17] And therefore, what is consciousness doing living in all these bodies and experiencing all the bodies dying? And then even the bodies that stay healthy and stay away from violence, they end up dying.

[00:44:29] The postponement of death is what we call health. ” I’m in great health. That means I postpone death for a few more weeks.” Because, it shouldn’t be news to us that the death toll on earth so far is 100%. Someone might live to be 130 and then die, or like Methuselah be, if it was true, be 800 years old and then die. But all these bodies are dying all the time.

[00:44:56] We All Move in the Direction of Recognition of Unity

[00:44:56] In fact, physiologists can tell you that there’s a death cascade built into the genetics of every embryo. From the time the sperm meets the egg and creates the zygote, the zygote has started the death cascade. While in utero, it’s already in the process of setting up what that cascade will be that will bring that body to an end in the absence of any external force bringing it to its end.

[00:45:24] And so since everything and everyone is, in fact, in the process of dying, there must be some kind of understanding about, well, is that possible that consciousness simply extinguishes itself at the moment of a body death? If not, what is the consciousness field doing, living in all these bodies, body after body, after body, after body?

[00:45:50] And from the Vedic perspective, it’s enjoying a storyline, multiple stories, lots of stories, and braided plots. People meeting, and crossing over, and lifetime after lifetime after lifetime, all moving in the direction of re-cognition of Unity. That’s what it’s all about.

[00:46:15] Recognition of Unity means love. One, indivisible, whole consciousness field in its unmanifest state. There is no other, and if there’s no other, there’s no love. In order to experience love, the one, indivisible whole bifurcates, and it turns into many, and then, it equips the many with the sensory apparatus to recognize Self.

[00:46:44] Unity Points

[00:46:44] Now, this will be a shorter than usual story about this because of the amount of time I have left. But you go on a date. You sit at the bistro. You’ve met the person for the first time. And you find that when you look at the menu, the two of you, not knowingly, have ordered the same thing from the waiter.

[00:47:04] You have a unity point. “How amazing. Out of 50 items we could have ordered, you ordered the same as me.” And then there’s the music playing in the background. And you notice your date bopping to the music, and you think, that’s my favorite song. She or he obviously likes my song. ” Hey, did you know that’s my favorite song?”

[00:47:24] “Really? It’s your favorite song? It’s mine too.” Two unity points. All right.

[00:47:29] And then, you were just waiting to find out if they’re Democrat or Republican, and hoping for one or the other. Or if they’re vaxxed, or unvaxxed or what…

[00:47:39] And as you are exploring each other, you start to feel these feelings of love. First of all, very tentatively, because we need a critical mass of unity points before we’re going to go overboard with this. The same pizza and the same music, not quite enough, but you accumulate about 15 or 20 unity points on a first date, you’re starting to feel love.

[00:48:00] You’re Loving You

[00:48:00] Let’s be frank about it. What are you loving? You’re loving you. You’re loving yourself, thinly disguised as another human being. We like our Self to be disguised as somebody else. Otherwise, you could stand in front of the mirror all day going, ” I like the shirt you’re wearing. Boy, those beads, that’s really something, just my style.”

[00:48:21] I mean, we don’t want blatantly to be in love with ourselves. We want less blatantly to be in love with ourselves. Blatant self-love, that’s the mirror. Thinly disguised self-love, that’s the kind of love raptor. This is the agenda of that one, indivisible, whole, universal consciousness.

[00:48:45] The Unified Field is sending us all on a trip of self recognition, and the more we have of it, the more rewarding we consider life to be. The more we call communing. The word communication and commune, comm means with, une means union, ‘with unity,.’ To experience with unity.

[00:49:07] And that’s what the whole agenda is. The one, indivisible, whole field as one unmanifest thing, doesn’t get the joy of recognition, and so it kind of bifurcates into multiplicity, and kind of hides from itself, and plays this kind of hide and seek game.

[00:49:26] The Need for Less-Sophisticated States

[00:49:26] Now, where does violence come into all of this? Well, it’s the antithesis of that. In order for there to be evolution, there has to be pro-gression. But how can there be progression if there’s not a less-sophisticated state from which we’re progressing?

[00:49:44] And so there always has to be relativity. Evolution means, it doesn’t mean a steady state where everything’s the same all the time. It means a movement from a less-sophisticated state to a more-sophisticated state.

[00:49:59] Hallmarks of less sophistication, have to be there in order for the opposite to be enjoyed and identified and cherish, something to move away from. And all of that is part of the evolutionary process.

[00:50:15] Now my advice is stay in the love zone and take care to avert dangers which have not yet come. Don’t engage in things that are going to cause your longevity to be shortened very quickly. Longevity Is a good thing.

[00:50:32] The Average Age of Cambodia in the 1980s was 17 Years

[00:50:32] I worked in Cambodia after the Pol Pot regime. And one of the things that alarmed me when I went there, I was helping to create schools, the average age in Cambodia when I went there in the 1980s was 17. Can you imagine a country with an average age of 17?

[00:50:54] Because so many elders had been killed, so many older people had been killed in that country. And you had army colonels who were 23, and everyone carrying deadly weapons over their shoulders in the major cities. What you find in a situation like that is that everybody’s trying to reinvent the wheel because there’s no wisdom being passed down from having lived on the earth for a long time.

[00:51:20] The Need for Longevity

[00:51:20] The more longevity we’re able to enjoy as a civilization, the less we have to reinvent the wheel.

[00:51:27] I was saying to a group yesterday that a relatively, what you’d consider normal 21 year old, with whom I was having a conversation on an airplane coming here, I mentioned 9/11, she was sitting right next to me, and I said, “The last time I came here was five days after 9/11. As soon as the airplanes could land, I was on one of the first ones.” And she goes, “I hear people saying that 9/11 thing. What was that?”

[00:51:52] And I said, “Well,” and we were about to land. We were looking at the skyline outside the window. And I said, “Well, it was the start of this whole thing, Afghanistan, and all that, that America has just come out of, for 20 years of completely meaningless vengeance.”

[00:52:07] ” Now, Afghanistan,” she goes, “is that kind of close to Australia?” Like, I don’t know if I have time to be a school teacher here. But they both are in the A part of the dictionary, Australia and Afghanistan. Without longevity, how does the next generation learn anything?

[00:52:24] There has to be longevity in order for there to be collective wisdom. And naturally, we’d like to postpone death, all of us, as far as possible. We’d like to be members of that longevity who are the purveyors of wisdom to the next generation.

[00:52:41] Self-Referential Awareness

[00:52:41] It’s a very, very important thing, but there is the ability inadvertently to entangle yourself in things that shorten your life.

[00:52:51] One of the things I recommend is learning everything you can learn that gives you self-referential awareness, so you can keep the body flowing with its trillions of cells of intelligence for as long as possible, to make the highest possible discovery of your true nature, which is ultimately the true nature of everything.

[00:53:13] That’s the Vedic Worldview from India. Your true nature is the true nature of everything. And now I’ve run out of time. This is probably a good spot to stop and let you get on with your lives. Those of you who have an interest in hearing me carry on about other subjects, I look forward to seeing you in other contexts.

[00:53:36] Thank you very much for listening.

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