Inspiration, Apathy vs Non-Attachment, An End to Humanity?

“One of the gifts of being a Vedic meditator is that if things don’t go that particular way, then we are able to let go of rigid attachment to specific timings and specific outcomes with a certain knowledge that everything else is okay, that things are moving ahead.”

Thom Knoles

It’s Q&A time once again.

In this episode Thom helps out a listener who doesn’t know why it might be important for her spouse to learn Vedic Meditation. Thom includes the possibility that it might in fact not be important for him to learn

He discusses the distinction between apathy and non-attachment, and the very simple yet distinct indicator that tells us which we might be experiencing.

And he considers a hypothetical scenario where all of humanity becomes enlightened. More specifically, he discusses where the supply of souls seeking enlightenment comes from.

Needless to say, we won’t be running out of souls any time soon…

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Episode Highlights


Q – Is it Important for My Spouse to Learn Vedic Meditation?



A – The Importance of Personal Inspiration



Even Rocks Melt



A Little Bit Silly



Leveraging Role Models – Arthur Ashe’s Example



Winning Over a Resistant Husband



Q – What Is the Difference Between Apathy and Non-Attachment?



A – Apathy as a General Condition



Non-Attachment and the Freedom to Let Go



The Dynamic Nature of Non-Attachment



Q – What Happens to Enlightened Souls After Death?



A – The Enlightenment State – Cosmic Intelligence



No Reincarnation for the Enlightened



Cosmic Intelligence Continues Its Work



Cosmic Intelligence in New Generations


Jai Guru Deva


Inspiration, Apathy vs Non-Attachment, An End to Humanity?

[00:45] Q – Is it Important for My Spouse to Learn Vedic Meditation?

Thom, my name is Robyn. I’ve been meditating for six years, and I’m living in Aotearoa, New Zealand. My question for you is that recently my husband, who wasn’t my husband when I started meditating, asked me why it was important to me, if I continued my meditation, that he should learn too.

He’s currently very supportive of my meditation but has no worthy inquiry for himself to learn. I found myself speechless and unable to answer this question for him because I didn’t want to bewilder him and also because I didn’t know how to put to words how I feel about answering that question.

How would you answer that question? Have you got any tips for me? Jai Guru Deva.

[01:48] A – The Importance of Personal Inspiration

Thank you, my questioner from New Zealand. I very much enjoy hearing from my New Zealand meditators. Jai Guru Deva.

In a sense, your husband is right that we need to question whether or not it’s so important for everyone to be practicing Vedic Meditation. In fact, I’m the first to say that Vedic Meditation absolutely is not for everyone.

Although anyone could benefit from it, but they have to want to do it. They have to be inspired to do it from inside.

And what is it that’s going to cause and trigger that inspiration could be a different thing for different people, and I’ll give an example in a moment, which I think you’ll find quite amusing.

But the real question is, is it, in fact, important for him to take up the practice when you are such a dedicated practitioner of it? And one of the things as meditators, we really have a right to have something of a selfish desire for other people around us also to practice Vedic Meditation.

Because, frankly, they are the source of most of our stress. And when people around us don’t meditate, we end up accumulating a little bit of stress from having to deal with them, which then we have to release during our own practice of meditation. We can’t really say that to somebody.

[03:31] Even Rocks Melt

You wouldn’t be able to go to your husband and say, “The reason why it’s important for you to learn Vedic Meditation is that you’re the primary source of my stress,” even if it’s true. Our power of speech principle that says to us we should only ever use the sweet truth would prohibit us from making such an audacious statement.

And so then let’s examine what happens if he doesn’t meditate, and for the moment, it doesn’t sound like he’s going to be rushing in to take a course in Vedic Meditation, although anything’s possible anytime.

And going back to Guru Deva’s time… Guru Deva was the name we’ve given to the master of my master, Maharishi. His master was universally known as Guru Deva.

And Guru Deva used to say, “Even rocks melt.” With the power of this knowledge, exposure to another meditator is like watching a rock melt.

Our own meditation, our own practice of meditation, should be able to continue and bring us to the highest possible consciousness state, irrespective of what kind of meditation environment we’re in. Whether we’re surrounded by meditators or not surrounded by meditators, it’s our own practice for ourself that really is the most important thing.

And we do recognize that although other people are creating problems for themselves by not using their full mental potential by allowing stress to accumulate, and we can see where the applicability would be of meditation if only they were to reach out and do it. Ultimately, we can’t really cause someone to learn to meditate.

[00:05:38] A Little Bit Silly

Now for a story. There was a woman who came to me and said that her husband was at least tolerant of the fact that she took off for 20 minutes twice each day and did her meditation.

He had become so used to her being such a highly-evolved woman and her being such a prize in his life that the idea that it was meditation that made her the way she is, to him, was something that he found a little bit of a silly thought.

But he was tolerant, and he would say, “Go off and do your omming, or whatever it is you do. Have your 20 minutes of meditation. Anything that makes you happy, my darling. I’ll absolutely support and be in favor of.”

And in fact, she even mentioned that when they would have company around at the house, if she was the preparer of the meal, that he would go out and entertain the guests for twenty minutes before the meal was served so that she could get her meditation done because that’s what she wanted, his darling wife.

And whatever she wanted, she should have. Although he himself thought it was all a little bit silly.

[06:53] Leveraging Role Models – Arthur Ashe’s Example

Until one day, she came to me and said, “There’s absolutely nothing that can convince him that he should try meditation.”

I said, “What are his interests?”

And she said, “Well, you know, he’s just absolutely obsessed with tennis. I mean,” she said, “When the world championships of tennis are on, Wimbledon and the other open tennis matches and so on.

“He’s glued to the television. Watching the tennis players. He knows who all of them are, and he’s been absolutely, follows their lives and watches their technique and himself is an amateur tennis player, but he totally admires tennis.”

And I said, “Well, just tell him that your teacher, Thom, taught to meditate the great Arthur Ashe.”

Arthur Ashe was a world champion tennis player who won the Wimbledon tournament against Jimmy Connors way back in the 1970s. And I happened to be in London at the time when Arthur showed up at the meditation center, the London Meditation Center, and I had no idea who he was.

He was an up-and-coming tennis player. In fact, he was not a well-known person yet, but he had been selected to go up against the then world champion, Jimmy Connors, in a famous tennis match, the Wimbledon.

And I didn’t really even fully understand what the Wimbledon was, but, and here was this Black American man with an Afro hairstyle at the door, wanting to know if he could learn to meditate in advance of his sporting pursuit, as he put it, which was coming up in a few days. So I taught him to meditate.

Arthur famously practiced his meditation for short spurts in addition to his 20 minutes twice a day. He did it for short spurts during little intervals and gaps during the game, and managed to unseat his opponent from the world champion position and gain the world championship himself.

I said, “Let him know that I taught Arthur Ashe. And I’d be happy to tell him what Arthur was like. And I’ll be happy to tell him what Arthur said about his practice of meditation.”

“Oh,” she thought that was just such a fabulous idea.

[09:29] Winning Over a Resistant Husband

Well, that resistant husband came in and learned to meditate with me in not two days later. The fact that his darling wife practiced meditation wasn’t enough to get him to look into it or develop curiosity about it.

But the idea that his superhero tennis player, Arthur Ashe, who was a practitioner of meditation and who swore by it, that really did it for him. He didn’t need to know anything else.

He wasn’t interested in the scientific research on meditation. He wasn’t interested in any of the spiritual arguments for meditation. All he needed to know was two A’s, Arthur and Ashe. Arthur Ashe learned to meditate, that was good enough for him, and he was ready to sign up and practice meditation eagerly.

So maybe we just need to see who your husband’s heroes are, and let’s find out if anybody in his hero set in the world is already a practitioner of meditation, and if so, perhaps we could use a little stealth to stimulate some of that worthy inquiry.

In the absence of that, my dear New Zealand listener, don’t be dissuaded. You keep practicing your meditation for 20 minutes twice a day. And as you grow and grow and grow in it, a day will come, this is my prediction, when, like a rock melting, your husband will suddenly discover reasons why he should be getting the same kind of benefits that clearly you receive from your regular twice-a-day practice.

Jai Guru Deva.

[11:20] Q – What Is the Difference Between Apathy and Non-Attachment?

Hi Thom, this is Maya from Sydney. Could you speak on the difference between apathy and non-attachment? I find that whenever I lose my attachment to a goal or a desire, I then start to become apathetic towards it. Thank you.

[11:35] A – Apathy as a General Condition

Jai Guru Deva, Maya. Happy to answer your question.

Apathy really is the beginning stages of a form of depression. When somebody is apathetic, it means that they just don’t have any enthusiasm at all for life, and apathy, therefore, is not something that can be applied specifically to a specific project.

If I am apathetic about a specific project that somebody brings to me and says, “Let’s do this together. It sounds so exciting. We’ll go for an airplane ride and look at the Grand Canyon.”

And I’m like, “Oh, I don’t really want to.” Well, I’m apathetic to the Grand Canyon airplane ride, but I’m probably also apathetic about lunch.

Someone might say, “There’s a beautiful avocado toast made in a particular way that you’ve never tasted before, and you just have to have it. And it’s going to be lunchtime in an hour. How about we go and have one of those?”

Then the apathetic person will say, “Not really interested.” So apathy, just to make a distinction, is a thing that isn’t applied only to specific projects.

I can’t be apathetic about a thing. I can be apathetic in general, and it’s going to cover all things. Don’t want to go out, don’t want to eat any particularly yummy sandwich, don’t want to go on the airplane ride. In fact, don’t really want to do anything.

And apathy, therefore, is one of the symptoms that we look for in psychiatry when we’re afraid that somebody might be moving in the direction, slipping in the direction of depression.

[13:23] Non-Attachment and the Freedom to Let Go

So then you have a particular desire, and you lean into your preference as every good Vedic meditator should do. We need to recognize our preferences and lean into them.

We move in the direction of fulfilling the desire, but if Nature’s timing is such that that need of the time was addressed in some other way, that some other quality from some other quarter managed to bring fulfillment to that need of the time, we, the meditator, might find that the inspiration to act suddenly drops away.

And one of the gifts of being a Vedic meditator is that if things don’t go that particular way, then we are able to let go of rigid attachment to specific timings and specific outcomes with a certain knowledge that everything else is okay, that things are moving ahead.

Letting go of rigid attachment is not apathy. We might be, we might revisit the idea. “I had a strong and powerful desire to take up a class in tapestry. And I bought all of the materials, and I signed up for the course, and then suddenly, things didn’t seem to want to go that way.

“I wasn’t getting support of Nature. I didn’t feel the inspiration. I was feeling lackluster about the project, and I was able then to let go of rigid attachment to that specific project, that specific outcome.”

[15:21] The Dynamic Nature of Non-Attachment

Now, when I look back at it a week later and say, what about that tapestry course? And see if I can get myself enthusiastic. Perhaps I can’t. Why? Because Nature is not supporting the tapestry course anymore.

Why did Nature support it before, in my case, and not support it now? Because, in a particular timing, I was one of the candidates who, by taking a tapestry course, would be fulfilling the need of the time and bringing about some needed change. Some needed evolutionary step in the whole nature of things.

Somehow, I may have come in a little late. Perhaps I hesitated and then decided to do the tapestry course. But somebody else got in and managed to fulfill the need of the time, to fulfill that particular evolutionary step, and I wasn’t required for it.

And so that, rather than forcing myself to go ahead and take the tapestry course against my will, forcing myself to use effort and friction to make it happen, rather than that, I found it easier to let go. And even when I re-examine it a week later, I find no enthusiasm in it.

This isn’t apathy, particularly if you find there’s enthusiasm in other areas of life. Enthusiasm for the avocado sandwich, yes, still there, great, let’s have one of those. Tapestry, nope, not interested.

So, like that, we may find that, although we’ve let go of rigid attachment to a particular thing or to the timing or outcome, and each time we revisit it, we’re still not enthusiastic about it, we can’t refer to this as “apathy” because we have apathy when it applies on all fronts.

Somebody who you love says, “Let’s spend some time together,” and you’re apathetic about it. Someone says, “Let’s go and have a delicious meal together,” and you’re apathetic about it. Someone says, “Let’s go enjoy a lovely plane ride and go to Cyprus. I have a free ticket for you,” and you’re apathetic about it.

Apathy is a general condition. Letting go of rigid attachment is a specific condition. And so let’s not get the two of them conflated because they’re actually two separate things.

Jai Guru Deva.

[18:08] Q – What Happens to Enlightened Souls After Death?

When an enlightened person departs this world and no longer reincarnates, what is the next stage of their soul’s journey and evolution? Are they still able to help the beings evolve here on Earth from a different realm?

[18:21] A – The Enlightenment State – Cosmic Intelligence

They don’t go. It’s not possible for an enlightened person to leave the body and go somewhere. It’s not possible for an enlightened person to leave this body and go to some other place where they can bring up effects.

So, to give us a proper understanding of what enlightenment means, the individual consciousness inside of a person, through years of practice of Vedic Meditation twice every day, that individual consciousness expands and expands and expands and expands until it becomes one with Cosmic Intelligence.

When the individual consciousness has become one with Cosmic Intelligence, then we would say that individual is no more. Only Cosmic Intelligence is there.

This is the same Unified Field of consciousness that is at the baseline of all forms and phenomena of creation. You become That. And you live that life of being Cosmic Intelligence operating through a human body. You are The Universe having a human experience.

You are The Universe that has adopted the individual human body. The Universe has adopted the individual storyline. The Universe has adopted the individual language, speech patterns, and even cute little habits and behaviors, The Universe has adopted all of this.

This is what an enlightened person is: someone who is an adoptee of Totality Consciousness.

If we were to look inside the physiology of someone who’s not enlightened, we would see a succession of consciousness layers, mind consciousness, emotion consciousness, senses consciousness, intellect consciousness, ego consciousness, and so on, that make up subtle bodies.

[20:46] No Reincarnation for the Enlightened

And when that body dies, the gross physical body dies, those subtle bodies all sticking together as one, are the soul of that individuality, and it’s that which has to move on and reincarnate in order to gain enlightenment, hopefully in the next life.

But when someone has gained enlightenment, there are no more of the subtle body of mind, the subtle body of intellect, the subtle body of ego, the subtle body of senses, and all of that. All of that has merged with the Cosmic Intelligence, with the source of it all.

The Cosmos is living inside that body. When that body drops, no new merger takes place. There’s no new phenomenon that takes place. That person merged with Cosmic Intelligence long before their body died. And so they’re living in a body that itself has inside of it only the Cosmos.

The Cosmos is inside that body. When that body drops off, the Cosmos continues to be. No new merger takes place. There’s no individuality left in order to leave one place and go to another place.

Already, for years, before the body drops, the enlightened person is all over. Their consciousness is omnipresent.

And so, being omnipresent, when the body dies, we can’t gain any greater omnipresence. Omnipresence has already happened. So the body drops off, that’s all.

[22:33] Cosmic Intelligence Continues Its Work

Now, that Cosmic Intelligence also is operating at the baseline of all of the other intelligences, small selves, souls, if you want to call them that, that exist inside of all other individual statuses and structures.

That Cosmic Intelligence, which was the identity of the enlightened person, continues to exist at the baseline, at the basis of all of the individual statuses and structures that exist, and it’s already operating to expand, to enhance, to enliven full creative intelligence in of those individual statuses and structures. And so that activity simply goes on.

It was going on during the lifetime of the enlightened person, the body life of the enlightened person. The Cosmic Intelligence, which is the personality of the enlightened person, is at all times acting as the baseline for all of the consciousnesses of the individual statuses and structures that exist.

When the body of the enlightened person drops off, that transcendent Cosmic Intelligence continues to be that which is the motivating power of evolution at the baseline of all individual statuses and structures.

The big difference is, you can no longer locate it in that body. The body of an enlightened person is an address. Just like there’s a certain address where you can go and knock on the door, and there’ll be an occupant there. Wherever the body of the enlightened person moves around, that’s the address of Cosmic Intelligence. Cosmic Intelligence is at that address.

Maybe the enlightened person takes her or his body across the street to the local convenience store to buy some ice for the birthday party.

Cosmic Intelligence can reliably be located at the address of that body, which is now in a convenience store.

[24:55] Cosmic Intelligence in New Generations

If the consciousness of the enlightened person decides to move its body into an aircraft and travel to Sydney, now, the reliable address of Cosmic Intelligence is in that particular body in Sydney.

Now, something happens, and that body comes to an end. Natural phenomena are always occurring, and there are no bodies, including the bodies of the enlightened, that last forever. When that body drops off, that address closes down.

And one can no longer locate, with a reliability, Cosmic Intelligence at that address because the address is gone. The physiology is gone.

But that same Cosmic Intelligence constantly is examining all of its other billions and trillions of nervous systems to see which of these billions and trillions of nervous systems have become purified enough for Cosmic Intelligence to operate through them.

And that will allow those other nervous systems to now become the new generation of enlightened beings.

And so a new generation of enlightened beings occurs that has the same Cosmic Intelligence inside the physiology, but those different addresses are in different places. One is in Israel, one is in Patagonia, one is in, like that… dotted around the Earth in different places, different outlets and expressions of the same one indivisible, whole Unified Field of consciousness.

So, the one indivisible, whole Unified Field of consciousness cannot leave a body and then go somewhere and enter another body. No, it’s already everywhere. When it drops a body, it just drops some old body, and that’s all.

Some old body gets dropped, and then that intelligence finds itself enlivened and awake in other nervous systems, which now represent the reliable addresses of the enlightenment.

Jai Guru Deva.

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