Interview with Ruben Laukonnen
2:57PM Aug 6, 2021
welcome everybody to our ongoing nightclub interview series where I cannot tell you how excited I am to introduce eg my new guest. I'm bursting with excitement to talk with this remarkable individual and I think you will see why shortly. As we get into his remarkable mind. So as usual, I'm going to read a little brief official bio. And then we're just going to jump right in. So Reuben is a scientist contemplative writer, speaker kickboxer, and poet. He has authored the first unifying scientific theory of both meditation and insight Reubens mission is to know the mind, in order to uncover simple and effective empirical paths towards peace. I wanted to read one last little thing. Reuben received his PhD from the University of Queensland and Australia. Winning the Research Excellence Award for his dissertation and insight experiences. He is now based at the University of Amsterdam as a postdoctoral fellow researching the effects of advanced meditation practices on the mind, brain with Professor Hellene it's locked here how do you pronounce your name Reuben. Slide. Yeah, I was pretty close. Using a combination of neural imaging machine learning and phenomenology, RUBIN is investigating some of the rarer states of consciousness. He has published articles in leading journals regularly speaks at international conferences consults for the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development and his written on topics that range from artificial intelligence to psychedelics. Ruben has an eclectic contemplative background, including traditions such as Zen Vita and Tera Vaada, and he lives on a freakin houseboat Okay, Reuben, just give us a little tour here, you're looking at ruins houseboat is this, I mean how many people do you know they live on houseboat so give them the brief tour, like you did. I'm so jealous. Okay, I'll do my best you I've got to lift my microphone at the same time so yeah sorry sorry but it's just so good to know them right so here, look at that, that's his that's his backyard. Like how awesome is that I just love it. So I have to share a couple of words about my, my new dear friend, I originally met Ruben at a wonderful events, that's been going on for 11 years that I was invited to join this past year, called co MDS Khan's consciousness non duality in science. And I heard Reuben, give a presentation, a couple of months ago that was deeply, deeply impressed. And I really felt like I had met the kind of kindred spirit because of his just the eclectic nature of his life and the fact that he's not only an incredibly articulate thinker, researcher and contemplative, but he's also a poet and he shared we're going to share generously somebody whose remarkable poetry which really moves me. And so with my deep affiliation for the arts and music his deep affiliation for poetry. And you know the kind of rigor approach to the nature of mind, I felt like I've discovered a long lost brothers so Reuben, my dear friend, I cannot tell you how excited I am to have you on for an hour or so to talk about I think some really cool topics.
It's such a pleasure Andrew and I share your feeling. When I've heard you speak at cons it's resonated deeply and I also really appreciate your time, eclectic, and I think on your website, you said, full scale, living or something like that, that that resonates deeply with me. So, it's such an honor to be here.
Well really, I've been looking forward to this for so long. There's so much to talk about I'm actually, I was, we got on a little bit before we started recording and I said Ruben I want to pause for a second because I have so much excitement here about your work, I want to I want to share it, I want to save it and share it with our listening audience here. And so I do want to see a couple topics. And there's so much to talk about, but I wanted to start Ruben with actually what you share. In, in your bio online here that Reubens mission is to know the mind, and I, when I read that I immediately thought of a statement by a colleague someone I'm sure you know Well, Jon Kabat Zinn, where he said this is most beautiful thing in an interview with I think it was Richie Davidson, where he said if we know the mind fully we get beauty the arts, and all things wondrous, when we don't know the mind, we get Auschwitz. And so I thought that was like the most kind of beautiful and also gritty description of how important it is to know thyself, to really explore the nature of who we are and how it is that we construct this illusory thing called self which is the brilliance of this most remarkable paper that Ruben has recently penned the title of which is don't be intimidated by the way, this paper is highly readable. In fact, Reuben when I read it, I couldn't put it down, it was like a novel. It was like I have to finish this thing it's, It was so insightful and so for me, just the richest articulation of the cross pollination between East and West, really just the best of this kind of integral approach to mine. And so the title of the paper is from many to n in parentheses right, it's hard to kind of rephrase this for many to one, or put the ad in front of it from many to none that rotation and the plasticity of the predictive mind. And in this paper, Reuben, you, you go into so many things that are so near and dear to my heart, that I really wanted to spend time unpacking what I derived as some of the seminal insights in this indeed seminal paper so first of all, congratulations on this work. And let's start with, with your permission. Let's start with what I think is one of the most cogent summations, in fact you presented this at the cons meeting and the slide it just kind of blew me away because it was so saying where you said resting in the present moment is annihilation. And I want to start right into the essence of that because in many ways, that's, you know kind of the seed syllable upon which this entire paper is constructed. And so, it paraphrased to that to the best of your ability, the essence of what you're trying to convey in this work. And then I want to get into the weeds. I don't want to get into the thick of it, and explore some of the topics, excuse me, that really strike deeply into my heart and also connect, for our listeners to the nocturnal meditations and how we can explore some of what Ruben is talking about using the nocturnal meditations altogether so how does that start as a diving board. That sounds great, Andrew. Yeah, I'm,
I'm really happy to hear that it resonates I mean, part of my goal with this paper was indeed to take into account as much as possible, the lived experience of practitioners like yourself in sculpting a kind of a framework for looking at meditation that I hope can be understood, a bit like a kind of visualize a fractal, or something like that where it's at an intuitive level, it can be grasped, but then if you zoom deeply you really get the specifics, into something that I hope eventually is also computationally tractable so something that's a really rigorous model as well. Okay so what's, what's the essence of the idea. And so you mentioned this, this one excerpt which is that I'm resting in the here and now is annihilation. So what I mean by that and what we are in a way communicating in this paper is that everything that we experience, be it sights, sounds, smells or our thoughts or our embodied experience our sense of self. From the brains perspective, everything is built out of the currency of time, you could say, there is no experience without some projection of the past, onto what we might call the neutral data that we suppose is coming in. So that is to say the electrical signals of our bodies and impressions on the two dimensional sheets of our senses, the light hitting our retina, the sound waves. All of this is in a way, you could say, empty of meaning and not something phenomenologically experience experienceable without us, impressing our past onto it to give it meaning to build a sufficiently coherent model that then allows us to kind of act adaptively in the world. So this is kind of just a basic assumption about how the brain works, it has to construct experience, away from the here and now, by projecting from the past onto the neutral data of the sensors. Now what's kind of interesting about how the brain does this. According to our kind of best understanding at the moment is that it does this hierarchically. It does so by building representations on top of representations and public representations. So to put this kind of simply so if you take for example language. I mean you can hear me speaking now and automatically, you're experiencing the concepts the words, the meaning behind them, but really what's what you're receiving is very simple, a very simple Sound Stream. And so, what the brains task is to do very, very quickly, is build a meaningful experience out of sound which is built on two combined into syllables which is combined into words into sentences, and to extract this what we call temporal regularity so regularities over time into a coherent experience extract the meaning and then also prepare oneself for responding. So this same process of hierarchically building an experience from sound to words to language to communication applies to all of our senses, all of our all of our experience. So this is something that comes really from very mainstream neuroscience and cognitive neuroscience. But then, then the question is what will what does meditation do to a system to an organism who constructs their reality through hierarchical interpretation hierarchical actually prediction. So this is something we can get into which is predictive processing, but I can kind of skip over that for now. So what does meditation do to a organism that is building the world hierarchically by projecting the past onto the present at deeper and deeper temporal timescales. Well, by being in the here and now. Now, of course depends enormously on what kind of meditation technique you're engaging in. This is a, this is also an enormous caveat. But if you think of many of the meditation techniques that we use, Especially in Buddhism, you get this general tendency towards deconstruction, or if you can you can even put at the heart of it that there is this, this, some
sense of going deeper and deeper towards the here and now the here and now is, is somehow at the heart of many meditation techniques. And so in being in the here and now you're, by definition, beginning to deconstruct this tendency to construct abstract hierarchic hierarchically deep or temporally deep models in the brain, and thereby stopping this this habitual highly automatic tendency to project the past onto the present. And so what this ought to do is gradually minimize conceptualization, fundamentally simply by being in the here and now. And still, and this is what I think is maybe the insight is that thing in the here and now goes much deeper than most people think, I think there's a, there's a, there's a sense that the here and now is, you know, our present sensory experience or something like that but from the perspective of the brain if you're going to be in the here and now, then there is actually no constrained experience that can be hard. There is no, no such experience as perceiving a thing as separate from other things because immediately that already demands some form of projection from the past to the present, there can be no self there, There can be no time because time is also built up over certain experiences so that's also a kind of interpretation, also the sense of space is also a model in the system so basically everything we hold as our kind of immediate lived experience. If you are to truly be in the here and now is inevitably going to fall away. Now in this paper we describe this very carefully in terms of particular meditation practices and how the progression of meditation in these ancient contemplative traditions and the progression of these meditation practices. Incidentally, and beautifully maps onto the way that the brain constructs experience. And so you see this almost one to one mapping that from one from how one begins meditation, for example with a simple kind of focus breath meditation or something like that, all the way to some of the most profound kinds of advanced meditation techniques, such as non jewel practices. You see this really clear and coherent spectrum of deconstruction, that maps on really well to the way that the brain constructs experience. And so I think it's, it gives a great kind of logic to the practices, and it was for me also kind of inspiring and serendipitous discovery that these two things map onto each other so, so well. So that's really the short story, even that was a
no no no no it's apropos it's it's incredibly articulate there's there's so much you're covering here and so I just wanted to run a little bit of commentary, several things that came to mind. Because I just, I cannot tell you how even your examples your wording and everything are just so completely resonant with the way I've approached this with this topic and so several things came to mind here Reuben one is this really beautiful quote from one of my favorite authors James Joyce where he says you know history is a nightmare, from which I am trying to awake, and in a certain way that that's a wonderful way to look at it I also was deeply struck by your example of sounds. I use that regularly to show the really I'm on level for me, the lightning fast rapidity the instantaneity of how quickly we project impute meaning onto sound and so if I'm glad that bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla and started talking and Jibberish. There we go we deconstruct things rather quickly back into relatively neutral sound waves and I like this because it's, again it shows just how rapidly how efficiently the neurological systems work to co create our realities, moment to moment to moment, and so also the notion that you're talking about representation on top of representation, you know, this whole notion this fallacious notion of representational ism the course correspondence theory of truth, the camera theory of perception that we have this in your languaging naive realism, that there is a reality out there, you know, Ken Wilber my friend talks about it as the myth of the given that there's this pre existing reality that we plop into we grow into well I frequently say we don't go into it we grow with it. And so there's so much to really unpack here and what you also said I want to go right into the depth of this now is that resting in the present moment goes deep well I won't let let's, let's plunge deep here because I think
going through the three classic practices that you articulated in your paper focused attention shot Mata open monitoring, or my languaging open awareness to the full blown non dual meditations. It really is an increase refinements into the present moment, but I want to go a little bit deeper into this with you and see how this lands with you when you say, you know, resting in the present moment of annihilation. I would argue both doctrinally and experientially that, that we can go so deep into the present moment that we annihilate even the present moment, where the present moment itself is then discovered to be itself illusory, our construct it is you know Einstein even said space time are constructs, they're not It's not this passive fabric upon which we live, we live our lives, it's actually a construct, co enacted co emerge at the same time we create this sense of ego. Ego creates self sense creates the matrix of space and time. And so to me, This is what Pablo sambava talked about is the fourth moment when you go so deeply into the present moments. In fact, I'm one level Ruben chemical cocktail remember Jay, this is not that easy, it's not that difficult to see you know the future doesn't exist, we can agree on that. The past doesn't exist exist we can agree on that, well what's the present. Well, it's an imaginary line drawn between two nonexistence it two fundamentally has no inherent reality but yet we still need to use the present moment as a conduit into the fourth moment, the moment would be on the other three Turiya beyond past present and future. And so I play with this I'm a Gemini somebody once told me that Gemini is like to play with words, I guess that's me, but I sometimes playfully talked about this as if you go into now here so deeply it becomes nowhere. And so let's talk about it when we go. This is jumping all the way perhaps to the to the fruition of the now do practices by going so deeply into the present moment we even annihilate the present moment itself. And we're left with, tatata no such thing as damata Isn't that and what that is is what I want to go to after this little section like what is that, what my friend. Last comment here is what my dear friend Lama Surya das says he refers to a Buddha Standard Time, but a standard time right. The time, the timezone that transcends his pre temporal pre spatial and what that is is maybe something we can segue into but let's let's I'm curious how that lands with you both with your research and your own experience because what makes you unique as a contemplative scientist is you also, so to speak, walk the talk right in this case you can say you sit the talk, right, you, you sit on the cushion, and you want to fold these into your directly valid cognition, so let's run with this a little bit if you don't mind.
Yeah, I mean, first of all I would just mirror that back exactly what you said, which is indeed front from the brains perspective. Another way of saying, nice to hear now is Annihilation is that there is no such thing as the present moment, because what we usually take to be the construct for the present moment is perhaps something like the perceptual bubble of our experience and the kind of sensory happenings, there also perhaps the sense of our body, and very sort of minimal versions of our of ourselves, this might be what we take to be the body or even just the experience of the breath when we say focus on the present moment we say focus on the breath. Now with that, for instance, there's already several assumptions and several constructs that the, the brain or the organism, through its inactive processes has had to create. And the first is, why they all come together but there's the breath. Then there's the one that's attending to the breath and then there's the sense of attention, and all of these things are predictions are creations from, from the organism and the brain and the processes they're in. And so what we actually think about is the present moment already there is multiple constructs multiple beliefs multiple actions multiple doings are built into that. So indeed, if you think about meditation as the most sort of is sort of just one way to think about it the most profound non doing a complete undoing complete non doing, then you also, then one must also release this doing of attention, the doing of the idea of for instance the breath, the doing of the idea of one who is meditating. So all of these are still constructed aspects of experience from the perspective of biology, but also as you say this is something that can be seen directly through through meditation so these things I'm not one really well and when I speak to people who are very advanced meditators and to some extent, from my own experience, you do see that exactly is the way that we, we would expect these things to be constructed and experience in terms of the brain and the mind that is also the way that it corresponds to our phenomenology, as they're as they're deconstructed. Of course it's just a sanity check, but it's good that those two things seem to correlate well, yeah,
yeah, and again this also this ties in. I just want to kind of somewhat recontextualize this for our listeners in terms of the progression and trajectory of these nocturnal meditations and so Rubin in my kind of mapping or cartography of the exploration of mind, one of the, this is my term neologism nocturnal meditations, were nocturnal is basically a code word for subtle. And so in mind mapping of this there are five of these practices. The first one is liminal dreaming, which I guess more classically is called hypnagogic hypnopompic you know that kind of pre and post phase which is actually a very interesting dimension, that people usually hopscotch over to go to the goodies of like lucid dreaming. I just want to say a brief word about that, I find liminal dreaming to be particularly rich because unlike the dream state where usually the egoic narrative is back online, more or less there's even though it's not articulate there is a relative sense sense self sense in the dream, I'm experiencing this, well in the liminal space, we can actually watch that deconstruction and that narrative actually come on down and so liminal spaces and liminal beings in a certain sense your liminal being situations places Bardo like experiences that don't fit. And this is a really with, with, you know, correct observational intent liminal dreaming becomes a very very interesting way. In fact, to watch with a really sensitive lens of the mind, how it is in fact the self actually comes undone. In fact, if it didn't, we wouldn't fall asleep, right, that's one definition of insomnia. So just briefly, so we're living on dreaming that progresses and matures into lucid dreaming progresses into Dream Yoga progresses into sleep yoga luminosity yoga progresses into Bardo yoga, a fundamental narrative along those five is the kind of a Gailey and transcend but include where each succeeding practice transcends but includes his predecessor and so therefore in a very real way what we're talking about here. I want to just recontextualize this for our listeners, is we're shooting all the way to the top, we're talking about Bardo yoga Bardo yoga transcends when includes all five, and by this what I mean is that in a very real way, As far as I've been able to determine it for decades, is the spiritual path. In particular, and meditation in Joshua say the spiritual path in general and meditation in particular is really kind of death in slow motion. It's a way to titrate in other words on our terms to drip. This process of de reification this process of of death and dying. And this has colossal implications, I mean, one of which is the following that you know if we can discover now the illusory nature of the the delineated ego self the problem of life and death is solve. And so is my friend David voices, such as the Buddhist goal, to discover that which cannot die because it was never born. And so understanding this, like what we're talking about here goes really deep. I mean it is actually a way to go all the way to the top to fundamentally reveal the death of death. That death is an illusion, that is fundamentally itself, a construct. And so by deconstructing now dying now on our terms, according to the wisdom traditions that is I've come to understand that we can actually penetrate through the illusory nature of death itself, and realize that this, this fundamental continuum and this is not we're hopscotching all the way into the domain of the true non dual traditions, understanding and discovering this dimension of mine that actually is not subject to the ravages the vicissitudes of space and time, old age, sickness and death deconstructing all the way down to that which cannot be deconstructed because it was never constructed, the very fabric of Formless awareness itself. And so this is where I want to take the conversation if you're okay with it for just a few minutes to see how that resonates with you. I know as a scientist, sometimes, and I asked this question to my dear friend Richie Davidson. And he, his answer was wonderfully agnostic, he said I don't know where I am, I say to Richie, you know, if I'm putting you on the corner. Are you comfortable telling me that that mind equals brain. And he said, Andrew, I said I just I don't know, I'm agnostic on that. So I'm asking you a number I'm throwing a couple noodles against the wall here Ruben I'm wondering how they're landing with you. Are you able to maybe starting at the end. Make the proclamation that mind is in fact reducible to brain or are your models and understandings both experientially, and do your research, allowing you the opportunity to do that, perhaps, in fact that is that reductionism is slightly facile malicious. Well, deep stuff. Are you okay going here.
that's that's what we're here for this is, this is what it's all about, you know. Well, his mind is reducible to brain. Well, I would say, depends what you mean by mind. But even if you take that actually any definition of mind by my view, it's not reducible to the brain, but my answer to why might be somewhat different than you would usually hear. And that's because I don't think a brain of that and does very much at all. If you, you take this, Oregon, which we've reified into an object into a thing which happens to have certain boundaries within the skull and related to our nervous system, which we've kind of cut out from the rest of the body and chose to really investigate as a separate entity. If you take that separate entity and you put it in a room with no input no body, no action, no input from the world you're not much is going to happen. So I don't think the mind is reducible to the brain, I don't think, I think it's kind of absurd to think that actually. And if you can take kind of a simple experience like, I don't know, seeing the sun just just to see the sun and feel the warmth of the sun and the body requires first of all. Well, the input of the sun. It requires the body, which interprets those signals to have an embodied experience of warmth from that sun as well. It requires all of our past experiences with particular suns in certain particular contexts and iLab beliefs about it. And then it requires of course a very important Oregon which is the brain as a kind of important link in the causal chain that gives gives rise to an experience of things and and objects and experiences and feeling so I would say the brain is an important link in in a much richer, enacted chain of events that gives rise to what most people think of as the mind, and now as you say there's something really important, that's maybe not, but that also needs to be included, which is, That which is aware of all of those processes taking place. And so how awareness fits also into this picture, whether that's reducible to the brain, I think these for me are beautiful questions for inquiry and beautiful questions for meditation. But I phenomenologically speaking, it's, it's quite clear through meditation practice that all things can be reduced to concepts they do become concepts and what we face in the end is ineffable, it's worthless it's nameless it's an end, you could call it unconditioned but nothing can really be said about it. And so in that sense, what I don't know,
is beautiful to say that dufry John talked about it is His divine ignorance in in Zen talks about it is the beauty of the don't know mind that that's that's where you know in a certain point also Ruben, I think, because we're being really refined in understanding here. Depends on what level of knowing we're talking about are we talking about conceptual intellectual traditional knowing, or are we talking about kind of gnostic knowing the knowing that occurs in the body that knowing that is in fact more embodied and I would argue truer dimensions. And so I'm, I, I'm with you on that. But it's interesting to me, you know, though, we are in some exchanges with you I've been sharing about some of my fascination with the work of Bernardo kastrup And, and also Ben Williams and there's some other scholars and researchers now talking about very interesting thing that you intimate in your paper about how it is that in the deepest spiritual experiences. They're actually inversely proportional to brain activity. In other words, some of the most profound non dual experiences take place not with, with highlighting brain activity but with near road association or diminution of brain activity. That in itself is super interesting, because then really I think was Huxley that said, you know, the brain is the reducing valve. Well when you stop the reducing valve in both senses of reductionism, then in fact perhaps as the brain goes offline spirit comes online, and they're they're inversely proportional and you seem to indicate that in your in your paper, that the more active, neurological and brain processes are, the more the reduction in eating really I would say shrink wrapping of reality takes place. And so I find that also extraordinarily interesting it gives some traction credibility to near death experiences. Some of these outrageous proclamations when people are neurologically flatlined, and they come back, like they in Buddhism those super esoteric day lock tradition where people can voluntarily go into suspended hibernation for extended periods of time they're clinically dead. And then they come back and report these out rageous kind of stories and so I'm wondering again how that lands with you. And I also wanted to say one point of clarification. I find it very interesting, even when we use. Excuse me. Even when we use the word mind. If in fact we are not slipping into a near enemy of the articulation of the you know the beauty of language words, isn't it more accurate to actually talk about minds because even if you say mind, that seems to imply some kind of monolithic, like, like your paper even suggests for many to one, or to none. So isn't it actually even more accurate, not even to use the word mind, but you know when you right now, mid perenne s, that it's not a single monolithic mind it's actually in Buddhist terms, you know dharmas atoms have experience that moment to moment to moment, a new mind comes into being a new sense of reality is actually constructed, and so even that I think can help us deconstruct our notion of mind itself, that it's not a singular it's a plural.
Yeah, yeah, I mean, there's so much to talk about there. Um, and then I think it's, it's really actually something I struggled with, as originally as a cognitive scientist. That's what I kind of did my PhD and before I really got into the brain and. And because we were studying this thing called the mind, but I just couldn't get a clear answer from anybody on what this thing called the mind is that were studying. All I would get is details Ruben constructs
And and I tell you, really, to this day I don't think anybody is given a satisfying definition of mind and even if you do come up with a satisfying definition still it's, It's a match that were costing over certain phenomenological phenomenon. And so what we're ended ended up with in my, my opinion is some, we end up with phenomenology, we end up with certain experiential things which the brain and the body and the world and the universe is constructing in each, each moment. And those things are being constructed through with a way that we now look at this through predictive mechanisms so this sort of segues into
Yeah, you mentioned this quote from from harks to the idea that the brain is in a way a filter for experience. I think predictive processing view of the brain is somewhat similar, but also a little bit different and that it what it does is it imparts the brain as a much more creative engine than we thought of before we sort of thought of it as a kind of passive information processor, and that's beautifully reflected also in not beautiful actually kind of depressingly reflected in the way that we, we conduct experiments is that we pin people down like sometimes we literally put their heads in these jacks to keep them and keep them in place,
I, I've been in those.
Exactly, exactly as if we are just these information processors just taking the world passively but that now. The best understanding of things is that the brain is very creative, it's a predictive engine it's taken what it knows and it's actually abstracting actively the present moment, such that actually what we're experiencing thinking, feeling, all of it is actually our own projection, not even actually derived from what's coming out from the inside, outside, the only thing that we're potentially processing is the difference the errors in our predictions. So as long as our projections are working from kind of the brains evolutionary perspective it's getting things done, it's all good. And so it's also really in our best interest to kind of fulfill our, our projections constantly right because it's much easier that way and the brain has doesn't have to take in new information it can just keep them, creating more and more predictions in this way. So in that sense. Now I don't know any more how to link this back to what we were talking about. Okay.
Why don't you go here anyway so your cycling is totally appropriate. Yeah,
I guess there was one one thing that was kind of lingering for me was what you you mentioned this idea of through through being really in the here and now. Well we construct the present moment, but in a way we also deconstruct death and and birth into this sort of deathless state and so there's a really simple way to understand this that if, if what we're experiencing in any moment is a kind of constrained hallucination, based on our past experience constrained
and conceptual, correct. Yep.
Yes, yes, exactly, exactly. A constrained hallucination. That includes any constructs that we have about death and birth. Of course these are something that's in our sort of embodied lived experience I don't, I also don't hold this view that we should kind of just deconstruct everything into oblivion it's we did. We get to see in a way that these things are constructs, but then of course we take them very seriously, and our daily life. But from the perspective of this sort of predictive creative engines of the of the body brain system, death and birth are also just ideas that at some point can be released and those are those are I imagine whenever they're picked up in early childhood, they're very profound and deep ideas that we take very very seriously. They become very embodied constructs with strong potentially fear responses anxiety responses around things like of course death so that they become much more than what we think of just as loose concepts they become deeply ingrained ideas that are important for from the body's perspective so fantastic deconstructing them is no, no small feat. Yeah, no kidding.
Yeah, yeah. Challenging emotionally, intellectually, and there's a couple of things gosh there's this test is so rich for me. I wanted to just share for our readers, one of the really this is, this is just such a brilliant statement in your paper. And then I want to go a little bit further into this because this is some really juicy stuff so this is what you say here, I just was blown away by the just the clarity of the statement. The brain is an Oregon that repeatedly regurgitates the world through predictions derived from the past. I mean that's just such an astoundingly clear statements, and to me several things come to mind here. One is just overarching Lee that this path. The near enemy it's like you're saying you're alluding to, one of the colossal shadow sides of post modernism and radical relativism right using transitioning now into into philosophic philosophical thought that that reality it's not a sliding scale into no into nothing, you know there's a certain point, the the via negativa, so in other words, one way to contextualize what we're talking about here in classical terms, is the via negativa you know neti neti not this, not that the apophatic way and Christian theology that eventually we're deconstructing all the constructs, not into, not a nihilistic Oblivion just an oblivion of our of our constructs and therefore, what becomes really interesting then like what is left, again the fourth moment then you transition into the Cata fabric or the, the positive like so then what, what is left one, everything is taken away. And so I want to go there with you in just a second, because otherwise it's like okay, geez, like why bother, why don't I just shoot myself right, well, no, no shoot yourself shoot your constructs right see through them, so where this ties in for our listeners to dreams, is that and let's run with this for a second. Ruben is that in fact, one of the really brilliant things about the dream is that bottom up processing we haven't used this languaging yet but it's implied it's in your paper, bottom up processing sensory input in the dream state is the gator debated I mean Zippo right and therefore the beauty of the dream state is top down processing dominates, and in fact you could really argue top down processing is all there is. And so therefore dreams become with a proper lens and this view creates that proper lands, profoundly regulatory they, that's why the moniker for for Dream Yoga is the measure of the path, it actually will reveal to you. These using scientific language these top down processing structures and apparatus, and therefore, we can really use it to see, to better detect how it is that we run around, and this is where I want to transition into into a second, the notion of non contextual realism and how dreams can really work with this sort of thing. But before I transition into that again just to pause for a second that, that I wondering if you work with your dreams in this capacity, that when all that the bottom up processing is removed, it's really in a very real sense, it is mind only at that point you get to see, in fact, is, is the parental functions of the brain are removed you know the the prefrontal cortex and the like the executive, the pair's are out of the house, right, so then the kids play, and you get to really see things that normally would be filtered out either diluted by daytime experience or filtered out by so called cognitive or egoic intervention. So how have you worked, or have you with the, the mind is it's revealed in the dream arena to explore some of these dimensions. Hmm.
Yeah, I have to say, I'm not an expert in this domain I did go through a long period. Well, about a year where I was lucid dreaming quite heavily but that was nearly 10 years ago now. So I came into a period where. Well, I became really curious about lucid dreaming and then they started to happen quite easily for me quite spontaneously and then because I was so curious about them, they kind of I think just kept on happening and I learned some techniques for it as well. This was sort of really at the beginning of my meditation practice as well. That's when I started to kind of meditate more seriously and while I get into these practices in general. And, well, let me share a funny experience with you because this is kind of where it culminated my, my lucid dreaming. Journey is so I would, I would go into these lucid dreaming and I don't think I was using it in a wise way I think I was kind of getting in there and just having fun with it and exploring what it was to be able to interact with your own projections how deeply could we gain some agency over those projections, what could we learn through them I also tried some sort of meditation techniques then but it was really, I think, kind of immature practice at that time so, so I did find, increasing stability in these lucid dreams and I found them very interesting. But I did find that. And then this is, I'm sure something you teach as well that it, it's sometimes hard to find stability so part of the practices that I mean I found that when I would get into these lucid dreams if I got too excited, then I would kind of get you know, booted out or something like that. So this was kind of pre any Inception stuff so I was trying to figure out how can I stabilize this is lucid dreaming space. And so I kind of spontaneously is about 10 years ago came up with this idea that, well, what if I in this world of my projections projected bed in my lucid dream, and I get in that bed and I go to sleep. Well, that's awesome. Yeah, what would happen. Yeah, so I did that, I projected myself a bed after I woke up in the lucid dream I got in that bed and I went to sleep. Oh wow. And then I would wake up again into another lucid dream, and I tell you I I would find that then the IP things became more stable, it was more solid I felt that I could move around the space without getting kicked out of the drum. And so I began this experimentation with this where I would then make another bed and go to sleep again and then do it again and each time progressively, I found myself more stable in the lucid dreaming space and I could kind of move around more easily. And so I did this, I'm not sure how many times I where I push this to release let's imagine, let's imagine that I did this 10 times and then. So I had this sort of classic way at this point that I would explore the dream until I was tired of it. And so I had this technique for coming back out of the lucid dream which was that I would project myself a big cliff, like a really big cliff and then I would just run and jump off and then this sort of sensation of falling that I create for myself, would wake me up and that would be my way of kind of waking back up in my bed. Which one,
which one would you like to fall off a cliff, like you're paying off of that and then you fall in line and let's be bottomed out, was it like,
Well, this was unexplored territory. Well, you'll find out in a second what happened. So I know and I, I projected myself this cliff, and I ran and I jumped off. And I found that I just hit the floor, and I bounced. I was falling, falling, falling, just hit, and then just bounced a little bit on the floor. So the first time this happened I was a little bit concerned, like okay this is, this is not meant to happen it's not this isn't, this, this doesn't usually happen so I start to get a little bit kind of sweaty palms and. And so then I think okay I'm going to do this again I get a bit bigger cliff, and I run and I jump off this thing. And the same thing happens again, I hit the ground, and I just bounced and at this point, I start to really get anxious and worried. I was like okay I've
can ask you why I'm gonna ask you why and what was bringing about that sense of anxiety, I'm very curious yeah
well the fear was that I had pushed it too far and now I was stuck in my own projection.
Yeah, exactly. No
of course not. Now I see this in all sorts of different ways but at the time that's exactly what I was experiencing I just thought, okay, no. I, I'm stuck here in this dream. And so I went through this process a few times and I was I was starting to get really, really worried. And then finally I decided okay this this is it I'm going to create the most dangerous looking Cliff I can imagine, I can possibly imagine is going to be huge, it's going to be terrifying, and then I go and I jump off this thing and as I'm falling, then I was really relieved to find myself, awaken in ordinary life again. Dream. Oh yeah it was it was it was quite a trip. So, this is this is sort of one of many lucid dream experiences I had during that period. But what I came to think and now from what I've heard you speak, speak about tonight as I didn't know about Dream Yoga and these sorts of practices at that time. But what I concluded and this is when I was about 19 Was that what I was doing when I was going into these lucid dreams indeed just exactly as you said, I was exploring my own projection and then my sort of most extreme version actually of my ego who was fully in control of everything was actually out there playing. So I found that it became a complete contradiction, actually to the meditation practice, which was to D reify from this kind of process of constructing a constructing the self and then creating pleasurable experiences or exploring or whatever it is. So then I decided okay, this, this seems to actually go against my meditation practice and then I then I gave it up. Of course, now I'm learning that there's a whole way that you can use this lucid dreaming space and it's actually big into. I'm curious about it now now talking about it, we'll see what happens when I go to bed tonight.
Oh, it's just so awesome and also again in a regulatory sense you know, the one of the, like second third stages of Dream Yoga, each of the stages by the way, are increasing steps towards the process of reification or in Buddhist language, again the nine stages are my kind of unfolding of the three classic stages on the texts which are just so pithy and the giant that it just takes a Siddha giant, you have to take these massive steps. I have a little water in a certain sense of mixing metaphors I answered some baby steps. And unfold this into nine stages of Dream Yoga, each of which is actually an exploration. Another way to talk about having used this term yet but when we're talking about deconstruction, fundamentally, we're talking about emptiness, we're talking about D reification. And so each one of the nine stages is a progressively more refined exploration of the process of D reification ie they go deeper, deeper into emptiness to reality. And so therefore, the reason I mentioned this woman is that now if you perhaps revisit that, again, one of the really interesting things about dreams, the regulatory the measure of the path is they reveal these predictive processes they reveal our habits that reveal our karma, and so therefore by that what I mean is that even now perhaps when you fall. With some practice when you, when you fall you actually won't even hit that ground because that ground itself is revelatory of your propensity for reification itself. You are the one that creates that sense of ground. And so I'm immediately struck by you I mean your dream just blows me away what he famously said, you probably heard this. The bad news is you're falling through space without a parachute is is there is no ground. And that ground that groundlessness is emptiness is in fact formless awareness. So let's, let's start to take this now into this arena of non contextual realism and with your permission. I want to read a couple statements from two really seminal thinkers that you probably familiar with and if not, I'm sure you'll be delighted one of course is Donald Hoffman right is ITP theory. I want to read a couple things here, because we listeners will, when we ping this back and forth, we'll realize how profound, what Donald says and then the second author I'll read in a second how these, these statements apply to what we can explore in the dream, and so when I read this, you know, when the book first came out from Donald I said oh my gosh this is exactly what the dreamscape has has revealed for me. And so I'm going to with your permission, I'm going to read a couple things, it's so similar to what you talked about in your paper. I want to send this your way. And then I want to bring it back to this dream arena, where we can explore this notion of non contextual realism in the most, I think articulate way and so to backpedal for just one second for our listeners. The reason I wanted to do this is because what we're when we're exploring this material, especially within the kind of the Buddhist framework. I'm in my estimation, Buddhism, the best my favorite definition of Buddhism is not a belief system. It's not really a philosophy or philosophy. philosophy of mine. I used to think it was the science of mind at Evan Thompson helped me cut through that. My favorite definition is Buddhism is a description of reality. And so therefore, what we're talking about here is in fact reality. And so what we're going to be challenging. We've been pinging this term around naive realism, the assumption that there's this pre existing determinant world that we fall into, and that therefore we are the victims of. And so this, these teachings have tremendous applicability and practicality, they're really highly empowering teachings, they show us how to take responsibility for our projections for hopes or fears that computations, all of which can be revealed in the dream and so by challenging the status of appearance on our way to reality. Maybe we can these are these are empowering teachings they give so much more. They distribute power back to its rightful source, which is us, and therefore that revelation in itself is not always pleasant because his dreams will reveal what is revealed through meditation and through the natural meditations, in particular, are sometimes not things that we want to see, not things that ego wants to be aware of. So, that is a preface. I want to read a couple of these things and then go into this because you talked about this so beautifully in your paper.
I opened my eyes and construct a spoon that icon now exist and I use it to wrangle payoffs. I close my eyes, my spoon for the moment ceases to exist, because I cease to construct it. Something continues to exist when I look away, or whatever it is, it's not a spoon and not any object in space time for spoons quarks and stars ITP that's his, his term for interface theory of perception, agrees with the 18th century philosopher George Barkley, that to be is to be perceived. So I'm going to briefly pause for just a second, see how this connects to dreams, and then I want to go a little bit more with Donald and then let's discuss it. Okay, so the reason I say this, and this is, this is what I have experimented with in dreams, Ruben is that again. Dreams are revelatory, we go into the dream. Lucid or non lucid actually even lucid dreams we fall prey to this predictive process where we just feel there's a dreamer, that I am experiencing this dream, and that many people they probably haven't thought about it, there's a kind of a pre existing dreamscape, that's there, waiting, you know, for you to experience well, with a little bit of examination and Dream Yoga and you can even do this as a thought experiment by looking back from the waking state under the dream state, you can really assess the veracity of these proclamations that there's no pre existing landscape in there. It's an immediate revelation of your projection. And so, for instance, like when Carlos Castaneda, in his famous book The Art of dreaming uses said you know says look at your hands. Well, there's the assumption that there is a hand to look at. And what happens that these practices reveal there's no, you generate the hand and the process of looking, there's no hand to look at in there, it's to your power of a situation that you create that hand, you create that landscape and so what happens in the dream is exactly akin to what happens here, like for instance what not when I turn around in my dream. I'm actually in that instance, with the rapidity of view imputing meaning from my voice. Instantly, creating that reality and we do it with such rapidity that we feel it's pre existing, but it's just basically regulatory of the of the lightning fast construction process, that when I turn my head on the dream, there isn't the pre existing room that I'm turning into as I'm turning, I'm in acting that environment. And again, that points out this idea of non contextual realism that Donald is talking about and that you write about that in fact there's a world out there, independent of me that doesn't, you know, doesn't have anything to do with my participation. Well, the world is highly participatory we enact it we co create it, moment to moment. So let me take this a little bit further and sorry if I get excited because I like this stuff so gets me excited so. So here we go so. So as soon as you look away. The spoon ceases to exist. Something continues, we're going to come back to that because this is the via positiva. What is that right. Something continues to exist but it's not a spoon, it's not in space and time. The spoon is a data structure that you create when you interact with that something. Now, don't just don't just think spoon think everything. But there's another way to explain our consensus, we all construct our icons in similar ways again this is this consent consensual reality like a Neil South right. Reality is consensual hallucination consensual construct. As members of one species we share an interface, which varies a bit from person to person, whatever reality might be when we interact with it we all construct similar icons, because we all have similar needs, and similar methods for acquiring fitness payoffs.
Indeed, there is no need to posit any physical object or space time that exists when no one observes, space and time are simply the format of our interface. Objects are not pre existing entities that force themselves upon our senses. They are solutions to the problem of reaping more payoffs than the competition. So here it is This is an entirely new way about thinking about objects, we create them quickly, as needed to solve fitness gathering problems and then he goes into this whole Darwinian thing that we can talk about if you want, but to me this stuff is so profound, it's so mind bending and it is such an assault on the traditional way of viewing reality, that, that really again the consequences listeners are going oh geez, this is like well why are we talking about this, this is kind of cool armchair philosophizing. No it's not. This is the basis of all our suffering. This is the basis of all our happiness and kind of a transfer of power back to its rightful source which is. So I know that's a lot, but I think this stuff is so important and something again that we as dreamers can explore that we take as axiomatic we go into the dream, or my body is there. No it's not, if you if you, you'll look down on it, you create it in the instant of looking, and then take that insight from the double delusion extrapolated into this and realize that what I seen I was the wall behind you know the room behind me, actually doesn't exist for me until I turn around at the speed of sight and actually enact and CO create that reality. So I know that's a lot but that's just because I'm so jazzed about this topic. I'd love to hear what you think about this.
Yeah, I got kind of get the feeling that you've expressed it so well and I think it's, it's resonates beautifully with indeed predictive processing the way that we understand that this moment has been constructed I think that's clear. And so then I thought, well, it's also maybe nice then to pay some homage to the constructive also part of, of meditation. I mean, yes, this thing is our embodied construction, based on the past experience everything in a way. Then there's still this sort of pragmatist, in me and also this something we didn't get to touch on yet in the paper, which is of course then there's also this important thing of reconstructing the system the organism, the sense of self, our experience and our actions in a way that's, that's wholesome and compassionate and and creates happy and peaceful lives. So this is something I've of course is deeply important. And so, in that vein, I thought also that's something nice to add to this, This sort of model, let's say, is what happens under the hood, when were in even a profound state of non doing. So let's, let's imagine that the organism ourselves even is in a state of deep deep and profound non doing our predictions have settled down really deeply. But the way that we understand that, as you said, in order for us to turn our head and experience the present moment, are to see how the visual scene, a lot has to be happening sort of implicitly in the organism in order to prepare that scene for our minds for when we look there so there's a lot happening before our phenomenological experience of separate things self attention, awareness, consciousness, all of this arises a lot is happening already. So if we're in a profound state of phenomenological non doing that doesn't necessarily mean that everything has stopped, you know, we're, we're still going to, and maybe there might be some very rare exceptions to this and, and we can even perhaps talk about that but homeostatic processes the processes that regulate our, our blood flow and our heartbeat and these are and the temperature of our body. These things are ongoing. But in addition to that ongoing processes within the, the brain are also probably still happening. So one kind of interesting model from Colorista about what's happening in this some under the hood, even when we're, for example in deep sleep, is that the brain continues to prune its models. It continues to sharpen things. So I think there's a quote in one of his papers and it's that it's kind of like the artful removal of a sculpture from stone. So, in a way, even when everything has stopped phenomenologically, and this could even give a kind of deep biological purpose to deep sleep or an important biological process is that this is the opportunity for our models to be refined to become more parsimonious to become clear more balanced better descriptions of the pragmatic sort of interactive experience that we have, day to day to, to allow us to be basically more effective agents in the world so even when we're in a phenomenal phenomenological state of non doing. I think there's perhaps still a lot going on in constructing what then re emerges in a way that's actually really valuable. So yeah, I just I just wanted to add that. Can I say something real quick narrative,
yeah this is so great. Let me, let me ask you this, Ruben driven by what imperative. In other words, is it is it the is it the imperative for agency itself. So in other words what is, what is the embrace of that pruning, under, under, how to say this, to what extent, what, what is the what is the agency that is in fact propelling that pruning, because it seems to imply that there's something being, like, even subliminal to that, the pruning is somehow in the service of something like why is it happening, seems to be in this case that it's, it's a pruning in the service of the self sense itself, can you say that or is that too much of a conjecture.
Yeah, the self sense itself well I can say from the predictive processing perspective, I mean I think I think we're really on the edge of of scientific understanding here so what I can say what we might think is going on from predictive processing perspective which is that the imperative of the system then is simply to reduce error to reduce prediction error, right. So so under this framework. The idea is that all of our action behavior perception. And thought is all in the services, reducing error so even when we're completely unconscious the brain continues this imperative of testing its own predictions against itself. So it just needs to keep on generating top down predictions and comparing its models against itself until it can find more parsimonious explanations. So this is also an explanation of how insights can emerge, these sorts of completely in a way, automatic unnatural new insights and new ways of perceiving reality that can come from non doing, which is of course something that's emphasized in the past knows the gaining of insight. But if you're in a state of even in this very profound states of non doing the system is continuing to refine itself. It's still possible for new perspectives, new insights, new ways of looking at reality to naturally emerge through this automatic imperative of reducing prediction error, or whatever it is. And now, What is it ultimately in service of. It depends how hard line people are on the predictive person and kept they might say it's really it's reducing prediction error all the way down, or you might have someone who's more in the sort of evolutionary camp and they say, then it's it's in the service of adaptive action, or something like that.
Exactly, exactly. So, immediately comes to mind here I want to ask you about this, is this reduction or prediction error, would it not be therefore kind of helpful for the meditative journey to put ourselves in situations where prediction errors are actually amplified. And by this, what I mean again, because that can reveal these processes, it's like a little bit two quotes came to mind. One is again the master of the one liner my main guy, Trump or MPJ where he says chaos, should be regarded as extremely good news is it that could it could in fact that chaos be a heightening a clash a dissonance of prediction errors with the reality, right, so that we can therefore see that creates a contrast medium that allows us to see these otherwise unconscious prediction processes taking place. Secondly is another one from manger MPJ this astoundingly beautiful book called The love of the world. My favorite teacher these days, where he says of this journey where he went on to the streets of India for four years and almost died. This amazing statement he goes I wanted to put myself in situations where I was unfamiliar to myself, amazing statement. In fact, so as I read that now you're using this languaging as a way in fact to create new contrast mediums unsettling, uncomfortable, not at all what the ego wants to see, because you're throwing a colossal monkey wrench into these processes that make ego so comfortable. and so maybe what you're talking about is actually the philosophical neurological languaging for exactly these types of statements, the chaos really should be regarded as extremely good news, because it actually disrupts completely. The prediction processing, and therefore allows us to work with these errors in fact, as a way to discover truth. Is that a fair way to look at that.
I think it is, it's, it's very fair, and I mean, I'm in kind of two minds about this I mean, first thing I wanted to say is that this is one way perhaps to think about the kind of initial suffering that people experience when you first start to meditate, because we're suddenly exposing ourselves to all of this inner interceptive input that has never been experienced before. So it's a profound induction of prediction error, which translates to in the long term uncertainty, entropy, you could say chaos right so there is you're using the word chaos but I think in the end, those two terms map onto things beautifully so you could say that the brain is a chaos reduction, reducing system, that's, that's it. So when we excuse me. First sit. There's an enormous induction of input that we haven't been exposed to or prediction or, or, as you say chaos, so it's a huge hit. And then over time, what can happen is that this prediction error becomes gets explained away, and suddenly a kind of coherence arises and this is what we might start to picture as that sort of messy ocean suddenly becoming kind of still and tranquil. And so, you know, this is me really kind of speculating now but what you could imagine that that sort of tranquility that arises is the explaining away of prediction error. And so in daily life we're constantly kind of, Actually, you could say no way chasing the just the right amount of prediction error in order to keep us learning in order to keep us surviving and keep us going. So we're also kind of addicted to prediction error in a way, we're kind of addicted to this pursuit of improving our models but also in the long term, not just in the short term, we want to find the best moles that keep us alive right so this is what keeps us driving and going out and, and, and exploring things. So indeed exposing ourselves to entropy uncertainty prediction error chaos is one way to refine our models. Now, the one, the reason that I'm in two minds about this is that I see so much uncertainty inherent in the world right now that we have so much prediction error to deal with, as it is, but in a way I think that even the more valuable thing is, for some people is to be able to find that inner place where this this entropy is explained away so that the system can have these experiences or windows of silence, where this prediction error is not constantly bombarding the system. I mean if you think about just the changes in terms of technology, the fact that we're in the middle of a pandemic, the fact that we're relating to each other differently, we're working differently, everything that we've been doing has is constantly being changed. Change is just happening at an exponential rate in the world. So our exposure to impermanence and nature is at a level that's, it's never been before. So, on some level, I think it's wonderful to expose ourselves to entropy when we have that inner centered stability, but that inner centered stability perhaps comes from those windows of silence, where the system can be at peace within itself by that prediction error is at least momentarily explained away. And indeed, at the deepest level when we just give up the habit of prediction itself altogether because if we give up the habit of prediction we also are not inducing prediction error, and therefore we're not creating this habit of action and
everything over it and I can't tell you that's just absolutely beautiful, you know, reminds me, actually what the Buddha's are the only ones that in fact are habit free, right, it's only the Buddha, that is prediction free karma free habit free. And so it really is habits predictions. It's turtles all the way down until you open up a couple other lines came to mind from Bruce Lipton where he says you know crisis sparks evolution, again it's another one of these things but what I wanted to say a couple things here, again, to show, or to point out to our listeners, like, why is this so important. Well, another reason this is so important is you are intimating. Reuben that this points out that these evolutionary forces but sometimes I playfully referred to as the forces of the dark side, that these are these unconscious these massive unconscious processes which Bruce and others say what is it like 95% of what we do now is driven by these unconscious processes largely, you know, throwing into this can of soup now are these predictive processes taking place. And so the reason this is so important is because on one level exactly as you're saying, on one level biological evolution is not on the side it's not on our side is spiritual practitioners because biological evolution is Bruce Lipton, or is Donald Hoffman points out, evolution is not interested in truth it's interested in functional fitness is interested in bringing your genes into the next generation. And so if we understand that, and there's so many colossal implications here, we realize that when we're sitting in meditation, we have this is why I'm such a big fan of integral theory, Rubin is we have so many massive forces of the dark side these unconscious forces that are actually working against spiritual evolution, one of which is when we go from spiritual, but I understand the spiritual evolution is, in fact, the deconstruction, the so called progress from fully reified form, ie, ego to formlessness, ie egolessness. Well, that is completely counter again against the whole stream of biological or biological legacy, everything is designed to protect form including fear. So fear comes into play here. So as they're trying to go from ego to egolessness from fear to fearlessness. How is that interpreted through the for the unconscious mind that generates this thing called ego, it's a death threat. And so we have this we have this kind of bipolar relationship part of us really wants to wake up. But part of us doesn't want to die right part of us doesn't want to go through it. And so by understanding this we can cut ourselves a little slack, give ourselves a little break, have a sense of levity and humor in realizing that we have so many of these unconscious processes these habits forces working really against us from this biological legacy it's like I was watching the Olympics, the other day, and the baton, you know we're handing the baton and is this so called Race The Evolution wherever that's taking us, and right this massive momentum that has been given to us by our biological structures are not necessarily conducive for our spiritual evolution, and by understanding that we can relax, smile at the extraordinary sophistication of these forces, and start to bring them into the Light of Consciousness really my friend Bob Terman says, you know, fundamentally, the process and many teachers say this is one way to look at enlightenment is to is to basically bring all the unconscious processes into the Light of Consciousness, so that there is no such thing as the unconscious mind there's only awareness, but you can see if in fact 95% of what we're doing is dictated by this, this iceberg. Then we have to cut ourselves a little bit of a give us a little break, around this, what do you think, yeah,
I definitely think that, and, and in a way we can say that they're working against us, but on another way we can also see that these are, these are processes that are serving our survival and if they are this they are the habits that created all the beauty also that we can, we can see, maybe not all the beauty but at least some, some beauty came out of also these habits they are the ones that make this whole experience of being a human happen so in observing them we can hold them kindly and with friendliness in our becoming aware of them and and it's it's not always even the case that we need to get rid of them in, we need them right they are our, that I think the question. Yeah, yeah, that they ultimately they should just serve us and rather than us serve them I think that's the
is the trend. It's the Transcend but include marriage. Yeah, we still need our fear we still need all these biological things, but we need again integral approach. We need to find the proper place and keep it in the place, because otherwise they'll dominate they'll evolutionary processes then become evolutionary, they actually hold us back. So by understanding that so anyway I cut you off a little bit but, yeah, there's more you have to say about that, otherwise I wanted to read another section from a very compelling thinker, that is a little bit coming back to the non contextual realism thing but again, to me this is so central to what we're talking about here, but I did interrupt you a little bit, was there a little bit more you wanted to say about that. No, no, I don't want the interview. I get so excited I don't want the interview to go the other way, I'm sucking all the air out of the room right. No, not at all. Again let me let me share with your permission. And then I still want to talk about psychedelics and things like that if you haha But justice if you don't know the work of Christopher Wallace, you know his work. Are you familiar with him. Chris Wallace. No I don't think I'm gonna turn you on to this guy, he's a dear friend, a brilliant scholar Sanskrit test. I think one of the most sensitive thinkers on Nando Shaila contra Kashmir Shaivism, really clever, he's not just the literary classic translator but he's a cultural translator, where he brings these amazing perennial truths into a kind of contemporary vocabulary. So I wanted to just read this for everybody because I find it so compelling, it's a paragraph or two, and then we can come back to this for just a second because again, I think this is so key. Oh by the way, this the reason I mentioning this is, this is also going to be a segue into what I was suggesting earlier when we do all the deconstruction. When we do all the negation the cutting. What's left to left. And so now, so this is going to be the last comment I have about okay so we cut, cut, cut, cut, cut, to what. And so this is what Chris is pointing to which I, which I think then we can run with a little bit. First we learn that there are no notables Apart from knowing, check this against your own experience, since it's easily verified. Have you ever been able to prove to yourself that things exist independently of your awareness of them. Have you ever tried. If you can look at the situation clearly you'll soon realize that you've simply been conditioned to assume that things exist independently of your awareness of them. But there has never been any proof whatsoever that they do, and there never could be, like most people you take observer independent reality on faith. But the apparent common sense of that assumption has now been deconstructed by the most advanced advanced branch of science we have quantum mechanics. It has demonstrated that the belief and observer independent reality is nothing other than that, a belief,
and one without any evidence whatsoever to support it. Same Roger reveal same Roger is degree cashmere shy this master that he's running a commentary on, he wrote this, this is by the way from a book called The Record Group with all my stickies on here, from a book called The recognition sutras, it's Chris is really wonderful commentary on 20 Short sutras, that he then runs with so Tim Rogers, the author of this text that he's commenting. Seema Raja reveals this truth in these words, quote, whatever one is aware of in this world its nature is nothing but that awareness and quote. Another way of saying the same thing is, there is no reality to whatever you are aware of. Apart from your awareness of it. But wait a second, you say, if I experienced a specific thing let's say a tree. And then when I'm not there and my friend experiences the same thing and reports it to me. Surely that proves its existence is independent of my awareness, no. It only demonstrate the perceivers are coordinated. They agree on the tangible aspects of reality, because their awareness co created that reality, giving rise to the illusion of objectivity. But perceivers are and must be coordinated, simply because they are all instantiations of a single underlying perceiver. They are, they are all facets in a single jewel, as it were, all rays of the one light and quote, which of course, what he's saying is what the one might have a light of awareness itself. So, now we bottomed out. We bottomed out into no thingness formlessness formless awareness itself. Again, the wonderful result of the diminuendo that you articulate as you go from focused awareness to open monitoring to non dual to what not nothing, but no thing, empty formless awareness itself, Which this tradition and the non dual traditions, is that come to experience them and understand them. In fact, that that is what's left is just formless awareness itself and again, perfectly revealed in the medium of the dream. There's no objects in the dream. What is it that actually constitutes the appearance isn't the dream, it's the light of the mind itself it's just mind. So, I wonder how that lands with you. Let's, let's, let's go with this because now we can transition into the apophatic or the cat if adequate via positiva. You know now that we cut down to nothing, nothing, or you know reduced to nothing. What is left. That and time Aussie now are that what is that. Okay, so it's a little bit long, but I just because this stuff to me is so profound. It's so cuts to the intake to the heart essence of the whole bloody shebang. So now we've kind of come down to it so let's, let's talk a little bit about it. It's which is the hardest to talk about completely. What can you say about it.
Indeed. Yeah, I mean, coming from the perspective I suppose of what we've been saying about the, the creative process of the brain, the fact that it's constantly generating predictions based on past experience, this is the kind of ancient message from contemplatives both past and present also meditators that we work with now also in the laboratory. Is that what is possibly left once one has stopped the habit of prediction is something you know ultimately that's simply without concepts, but that has the characteristics perhaps that best is captured by the word awareness that which knows That which is aware of what is arising, to the point that in some experiences, it may be that that is all that's left at least momentarily, and it is within it is the space within which then the objects of our experience including the self, attention, and all that we experience around us can then kind of freely reemerge, both as the, and I like this way of phrasing awareness as both transcendent and imminent. Yes, and experience and I read this from Zahran your Sipowicz is a kind of is a researcher focusing on this reflexive non dual awareness. So this this is perhaps what remains. Now I, I want to bring in something because I'm also curious of your opinion here. And this is something that is kind of interesting, living inquiry for me as well. The question of the liberating aspect of discovery of these kinds of discoveries, and in the same vein, this state called neuro does summer party or cessation. Yeah, so this is very interesting because there is a state described in classical Buddhism, and I'm working with some meditators now who, who can work with this stage, known as cessation or neuro to some odd thing, which is the absence of even consciousness and awareness, it is the full absence of experience. Full stop, you know, nothing, no time passing. They can go out for days at a time, come back, and it's as if no time has passed, no experience has happened, nothing. And then in the emergence, which is why they train this state, they see the construction of the predictive processing hierarchy, which not very well into how we know the brain construct experience. So there's something also to be said. And I it's something I kind of inquire about and watching myself, is the reification of awareness, also as a kind of as a construct, and yet, there is something profoundly unique also about awareness, the fact that it is immanent and transcendent, in all experience. And yet, there are also states where there is apparently an absence of awareness. So this raises a very interesting kind of, I don't know, inquiry for.
Oh my gosh, okay, I'm just a couple of notes here so I don't forget. A couple of things. So, yes. Boy, this is, again, it's oh you're just speaking my language here. I would argue that awareness of absence is not absence of awareness. We say that again, awareness of absence is not absence of awareness, what I would argue that takes place in these kinds of notice at some party, it's very interesting how, how many of these terms of negation terms of spiritual in German right are negations right Nirvana, Neo Rhoda near the Kaaba near Guna. They're all just cutting this covering cutting, Cutting, cutting, cutting doing this necessary sometimes people, spiritual surgery until what I would argue with the kind of inherent question is, it's not just, it's only consciousness that is fundamentally negated. And this is where I remember in the in the conversation that that I presented a couple of weeks ago, I made I think this critically important distinction between consciousness and awareness Semmen rigpa and therefore, is I said that, that consciousness and non duality are in fact mutually exclusive, by definition, that in their terminology is I've come to understand it.
Consciousness is pejorative, it's it literally in Sanskrit right Digg nada de nada de Na Na is non dual awareness wisdom consciousness you put the prefix VI in front of it that fractures it. So what we know is consciousness, by definition is always dualistic we're always conscious of something, and so therefore consciousness itself is not irreducible consciousness can be deconstructed to reveal awareness. And so what I would be very interesting to talk to these people because my what first comes to mind and and I'd have to really chat with them a little bit. It's a little bit, akin to what happens in deep Dharmakaya some of these, and also what happens it in depth is that fundamentally the display is completely flatlined, that's what takes place. And so when that when the display is completely reduced to ground zero, that is in fact when we go on, conscious, but there are degrees depending on one's level of awareness of tacit awareness that never turn off right, and this in fact is I can't remember if I mentioned this in our conversation with the Khans group rumen is what I believe the great contribution of the wisdom traditions is it replaces. You know this kind of clunky Western binary relationship to mind consciousness is either on off yes no black, white, dead or alive, with a very sophisticated dimmer, and in fact that's what these practices, you're talking about do they're dimming consciousness to eventually consciousness turns off. And then what's left is foremost awareness itself, which is the very fabric and matrix of reality that doesn't that that never turns off. And so therefore when you are setting it is saying at the outset, you know, the consciousness, being the matrix. And this really subtle, subtle distinction of how it is that we want to fundamentally go even beyond consciousness or consciousness of something, or in a deeper sense awareness of something to awareness as something. So it's no longer that binary, even that, that subtle, the fruition, this is what separates open monitoring from non dual awareness the very highest fruition of open monitoring is is complete, economists relationship awareness of, it's still non dual because you have that have in there. It's still there's still consciousness at play. What makes the non dual traditions non dual it's no longer awareness of its awareness as and then you enter into complete, utter inability because the minute we start talking about it as we are now you're already screwed because you you know you're really, you're using dualistic mediums thing thinking to approach things that are completely non dualistic and actually transcend the notion of thought altogether, but that's the challenge, you know that we that we have as practitioners that's also where what we're doing here only go so far. And then eventually as contemplatives we take the leap. Because it's only in direct experience that we can have the type of knowledge that we're talking about here. But that's what comes to mind based on what you said and reflective awareness you know I mean that that is it one day VHA, you know, reflective awareness and again you can see this really beautifully in the dream this is such a profound insight of Dream Yoga is in fact the discovery of this long radiation, this, this reflex of awareness that whatever arises is always already under any circumstance, always aware of itself. That's all there is. And it's really that's the so called bottom was bottom line. To me, That's where all this stuff fundamentally kind of ends up, and that's really where it just starts right, it's not the end, it's just the beginning. So anyway, that's what comes to mind my friend,
so yeah it's it's it's really beautifully said and actually I, I really enjoy listening to you talk about these things when I, when I heard you speak at cons recently about the nature of awareness reflexive awareness the stiff distinction between consciousness and awareness I really felt that these were some of the most lucid descriptions that I've, I've heard it was extremely inspiring so at this moment I don't think I have anything to add to what you just described. So, so just thank you for that. Well
I'm humbled. I'm humbled to say that so. So, one last thing about the construction thing and then I want to turn briefly I don't want to take too much of your day, I can talk to you my friend, not the entire day. But I do want to say, I do want to say something about what you said here, which is beautiful. You said something real, again, there's so many pearls you're throwing out here that I'm just grabbing a couple of them to riff a little bit on. One is that it's not just about deconstruction. You talked about wholesome constructs and what I want to say here just ever so briefly is that again is that the genius of the Buddhist tradition in my estimation, why I drink this Kool Aid is their incredible array of skillful means you know that you could say half the path, this is my languaging is in fact, this kind of arc towards no thingness towards emptiness Dharmakaya. But that in and of itself is not it, and that's why there's really some really colossal New Age, spiritual traps enemies if you think that resuscitation is it no no no, it's the cessation of ignorance, the cessation of situations, the cessation of these particular processing that needs to all be negated but then again to put an exclamation point on like now what do you just hang out in these high states of absorption well as you know the Buddha, through his Vipassana meditation said no that's not quite it. That's why he transcended the Brahmanical teachers and teachings that, you know, the ultimate fruition of meditation in his era was in fact these Samadhi absorption states. Then he realized close but no cigar. And so then the so called second half and again my languaging are in fact what in Buddhist languages. Tantra is called the generation stage practices where then after you deconstruct the pot the point, you'll That's ultimate liberation for self, which is realizing there isn't why isn't that beautiful, the ultimate benefit of self is realizing there isn't one. Well then what do you do with that. Then you form it volitionally voluntarily, instead of out of karmic, you know, habitually driven impulsive, ignorance, embodying ignorance. In voluntarily, then the journey becomes one voluntary embodiment, voluntary incarnation, voluntary form lucid This is Ultimate lucidity, where you bring that awareness that no thingness awareness. And then what do you do Reuben you voluntarily form your thoughts you form your body you form your mind in the service of love and compassion for the benefit of all sentient beings and so therefore this is super important because otherwise like what's the point and again how relevant is our spirituality in this day and age, if we can in fact take these insights and apply them to a world that's on fire. Yeah, as groovy if we chill out, that's fine for us but what happens to the rest of the world is inflamed. So therefore, then we take this deconstructed process. Now we form it voluntarily. Exactly what you can do in Dream Yoga, where you will arise on all these forms that the deity or whatever is a representation of that, exactly what you do on Bardo yoga you voluntarily take rebirth, moment to moment, day to day life to life for the service and benefit of others. So I throw this into the mix again to show how what we're talking about here is not philosophical metaphysical Mumbo or even scientific mumbo jumbo. This has tremendous applicability to benefit the world, and to actually get us out of this chain of involuntary cosmic recycling has been going on for beginningless time, where now we can wake up to the process bring these processes into the light of consciousness, and continue to now, now it becomes Leela. Now it becomes robot now it becomes the play, because we're no longer being buffeted around by these particular processes and everything else it's in this iceberg of the unconscious mind. So I just wanted to put an exclamation point on that, that it's not just all about cutting, cutting, cutting at a certain point, you do you you you enter the action you come back into form, but now you do so habit free right prediction free. And really as a representative and a servant of reality, not a servant of the ego. Yeah, so, anyway, sorry, I get carried away. It's like,
no I think you've, you said it beautifully and I'm really glad that you brought this into the conversation because as you say, I do think that the deconstruction is half of the process and and prediction, you know, once it's seen perhaps awareness can become more of an agent of its own predictions because the predictions remain on some level in order to sustain the body and sustain relationship and allow us to act in the world so indeed we become. Then, instead of Yeah, you could say unconscious predictors to conscious predictors of our experience and all by ourselves. And that's, that's the empowering part and that's also the, the beautiful part of that you, in a way get to have your cake and eat it too. You get to be free of the prediction and yet free to predict. Yeah, I think that's the ideal scenario,
fantastically said and so as we start to slowly wind this down. I can't tell you how many questions I'm getting these days Rubin about the place of hallucinogens and theologians and the like and I know you've done some work on this. So talk to us a little bit if you would, about the role of these agents which, you know they're getting a lot of airtime these days I think rightly so, your experience if you feel comfortable about about that sharing that I'm in a public format, and then your theoretical so called theoretical work with this because I think this is this is a wonderful introduction of methods that I think if they're held in the in a proper light can really be of some benefit to us these days.
Yeah. Okay, that's, that's a really big one.
let's, let's see, so I also in the interest of time I'm going to I think just say what I believe about what these southern substances are doing to the mind and how they relate to contemplative practice, but I'm going to, in a way have to speak about it rather heuristically in a kind of way that if I had time, I would unpack in a much in much more detail,
But actually, uh, read in the original version of this paper and the kind of preprint version before we published it. I actually had a whole section on psychedelics versus meditation, and I went into specifically, the difference between deconstruction of the selfish and selfless states and ego dissolution as induced by psychedelics versus that which we work or what these contemplative traditions, perhaps work towards. So I might just start there because I get the feeling that this is in a way what a lot of people are interested in especially perhaps your listeners in using these kinds of plant medicines or other hallucinogens psychedelics mind manifesting substances, is to help progress the spiritual path help gain insight into the mind and how things how things work. So there's one very interesting theory from the predictive processing perspective about how psychedelics work. And it's, it's guaranteed to be an oversimplification, but it gives us some again heuristic understanding about what might be going on and it to some extent, I think is consistent with people's phenomenology and I think also my own. So what happens when you take a psychedelic it has an effect on certain receptors the five HTT to a receptor is usually are predominantly, and these are kind of found in their strongest density at the higher levels of the predictive processing hierarchy so these are the constructs that really constrain the lower level input, that's what keeps things in order. That's the self model and so on that's what kind of really do the filtering work, of what we end up experiencing. Now what we think might be going on and there's some direct neural evidence of this is that psychedelics are inducing entropy in the system, it's kind of directly exposing a system to chaos, the uncertainty that you said is is useful to expose ourselves to under certain conditions, with, with the caveats that I mentioned before, of what what is already a very uncertain well. But so what these psychedelics may be doing is providing a window where the mind steps into a state of kind of broad scale chaos or entropy particularly at this higher levels of constraining models so that the bottom up sort of input starts to dominate our phenomenology and is not constrained by our usual high level expectations from the past. So what this means is an a normal an enormous amount of potential. It's just potential. I mean, you've just unconstrained your usual way of organizing reality. So anything can happen. This means it's it's it's kind of neutral, in my view, it's neutral in the sense that you've just let go of your existing models, but where it goes from there is so enormously dependent on your expectations enormously dependent on your set and setting these kinds of things. You know I am. I'm really confident that if you take psychedelics in one particular kind of religious setting you're going to have very different experiences than if you take it for example in a secular setting and I think you're going to come out with different worldviews, different beliefs, it's going to be entirely different if you also take meditation into this, the context of these substances. So it's a very interesting thing that we're playing with them. So first thing I would say is that it's role potential. And that potential can go in, in many different directions and we know that it's it's it's not harm free I really I'm quite, quite strong on that, it's very it's a potential that can go in many different directions and if it's done wisely, then it can, it can be your service just like anything can, on some level.
And as for now I just want to say one thing about the kind of mystical states. The states of ego dissolution that arise on psychedelics and this is kind of my, my opinion you could say. But my sense is, both from reading these descriptions, also from my own experiences with them is that they are still kind of profound, very interesting also potentially life's changing, but constructed states of experience. So, often my senses when I read these experiences which I don't, I'm not downplaying their importance of let's say these sorts of unit unity experience of becoming one with one's environment. These kinds of things. That makes perfect sense from the perspective that our usual models have become blurred, our predictions are not assigned as much confidence as they usually are. And they're changing the way that they're, they're manifesting because they're just not. They don't have the control that they usually do so then it's possible to experience yourself become a plant, for example, it's possible to feel yourself completely merged with the environment, it's possible to see time and space warp in all sorts of ways and it's possible to enter higher states of consciousness, also which what exactly that is I don't know but they are very interesting. But from my own experience and from what I read from these experiences, they don't seem to map very well onto, for example what we're talking about as non dual states of awareness, absence of the kind of constructed contents of experience. Most often, from what I've from, from what I've seen and experienced. But that is not to say and this is kind of the frontier in a very exciting frontier is the combination of, of, for example Buddhist meditation practices deconstructive practices focused practices in concert with something that relaxes our models temporarily. Now if you combine these two things, maybe you're, you're, you've got something of a new tool that can kind of expedite this process, But I also still think that there are so many, so much that we don't know yet about how these things, these substances work also especially on the developing brain. People who are new to practice at what phase and last should we be using these at what phase of meditation practice, are these useful substances to be using. These are all really open questions really open questions, but I'm excited about this marriage of, of, of, of psychedelics and plant medicines as well as the profound insight insights from Eastern traditions, and then the profound rigor of empirical science if we combine these things, I think there's there's a, there's a frontier here that is. Yeah, potentially revolutionary. Yeah.
Yeah, what a, what a fantastic elegant summation of this. And by the way I would love to read the draft of what you didn't publish. So if you feel comfortable oh my gosh I would love to read that but a couple things come to mind, one of which is a little bit playful again playing with the word LSD is acid that's it's really ego dissolution, you know, so it's kind of dissolving right putting into solution in both senses of that right solving and also dissolving right, the issue of reification, and what else would you say, Hold on a second here.
Okay, so a couple things here Ruben. One thing that I wanted to say, again, I think this is, it may it may seem so much. I wouldn't say petty but I do think it's important this comment that you entered. You talked about entering higher states of consciousness, so called altered states. Well I would I would, I would, I would counter that by saying that you're actually not entering a higher state of consciousness, or an altered state, you're entering in a certain sense, a lower state of consciousness. When. When these experiences and I've tried them twice, you know, decades ago, actually I found them, profoundly interesting, and I realized that in a very real way, they weren't kind of rocketing me into something, they were actually allowing me to descend into something and so I think that's a somewhat important distinction that, at least my experience, these are not higher states their lower states they're more real. In other words, kind of like what you're talking about waking down into the fabric not trying to get up and out. And also along these lines, Ruben is, is this notion that the so called altered states of consciousness are in fact not altered right. This is the altered state that I what I believe these, these situations, point out are glimpses of the actual natural state glimpses of what is actually true. This no longer appears to be the altered state, simply because it's been going on for so long, we take this to be the default state. But this is in fact the construct, this is the altered state. This is in Tibetan yom, it's just been going on for so long, we don't see it as such and so when we do these take these agents. They in fact dissolve the acidify they liquefy. They allow us to drop through back down. This is actually important because otherwise what we do is we become state junkies, we're looking for something other something high when really what we're looking for is a low ordinary is I mentioned during the cons conversation right that, like Suzuki Roshi said, incredible statement, You know, enlightenment was by light and light it was my greatest disappointment, right. It was my ultimate letdown. It's an ultimate let down into reality. So the enlightened state is not an upper it's a downer. It's a downer for the ego and so we understand this again okay well this is, this is interesting, like why does it matter, well it has colossal implications because one of the reasons we miss it right I often say we're looking for Hollywood when it's more like Oklahoma. I love Oklahoma, don't get me wrong, it's so ordinary, that we keep missing it, we keep looking for the altered state, when actually it's the it's the inherent ordinariness in Tibetan it's actually called ordinary mind. So I think this is important because otherwise what happens is we become addicted to these highs we become state junkies. When fundamentally what we need to really do is just relax, open the DI dissolve, and we fundamentally make this radical discovery. Oh, my goodness. It's been here all along 24 Seven. There's nothing but this nothing but that, tatata Dermatol such as I'm literally looking for it prevents me from seeing yet. So I wanted to throw that into the mix and I have a question for you. Why does in fact meditation create a second setting or a context, that is, is in fact more conducive or more, I guess that's my projection, I would think it's more conducive. But what is it in your experience, Reuben, that creates the meditative setting setting different from the other ones, obviously I think that's somewhat inherent to a lot of what we've been talking about but if you could maybe just put an exclamation point on that that would be great. Um, do
you mean now in the still in the context of psychedelics are.
Yes, exactly. Exactly, yep okay.
I also wanted to just pin this this point about the ordinariness because I love that, that quote of, and also your way of describing it as, as awaking down I think this is fantastic and, and I actually, the tradition I've been part of the longest is known as ordinary minds and there you go. And so it's something that resonates with me. And so your question is how does the meditative approach or set in the mind, how might that be conducive for using these kinds of substances. Well it kind of speaks to what you were saying, you said that there's this there's this potential that this what we're experiencing now is kind of the construction right that this is in a way, the hallucination and what we're coming to is a, is a discovery. Without that, those predictive processes in place that have
to let me say that again that is so brilliant. This is the hallucination. Yeah, not the hallucinogenic we've taken, we've taken a different type of hallucinogenic that we're not even aware of. So, that is anyway to have to throw that in that is beautiful. This is the hallucination. So sorry, and
indeed as I really liked that, but I can also, From what I've observed both in myself, but also other people is that the potential of these substances is so vast, it's, it's, it's not, it's very rare, in my experience that the mind inclines towards a less hallucination. So it's not, not just that you take one of these substances and then the mind begins to incline towards less prediction. Yeah, no, in fact it has this new input, and so it inclines towards more and more excited. Hyper predictive processing all kinds of new insights, all kinds of new discoveries, all kinds of shifts in perspective, the by stable image of our mind starts to shift into all kinds of multi dimensional kind of fractally realities, but it very rarely naturally without a meditative mindset without some practice inclines towards deconstruction towards relaxing opening forgetting, releasing deepening, right. So this is why the psychedelic becomes a potential that, if it's combined with this mindset of inclining towards, letting go of predictions, then it can perhaps speed things up, actually, yeah. And under certain conditions without really people who, you know, that this is right for them. But I've, I don't think it necessarily very automatically or naturally inclined in that direction and my experience also was that over the years, the insights that might arise through taking these kinds of substances, they can change that big because the if there's this meta insight to be discovered I think from something like psychedelics, which is that your predict our predictive processes are extremely malleable, our perception of the present moment and our reality and our worldviews are extremely plastic, and this is the sort of deeper discovery. I think that these things can give, and provide some
just really probably the most articulate cautious endorsement of these agents I've seen I want it to our listeners to contextualize this this is my languaging, but I find a lot about this topic and if by the way when I recommend a book if I'm sure you probably read Michael Pollan's book how to change your mind. The other one that you may not have read that I highly recommend Ruben is by my friend James Qinglong. Am I dreaming. Do you know this book. Yeah, the new, the new science of consciousness and how altered states reboot the brain, he's a brilliant writer, it's a really it's a fun read, it's a good read, but I wanted to, I thought a lot about this, and I'm thinking more about it. And one of the ways I wouldn't say this is a rationalization, but this is the way, I'm working with these agents a little bit now is actually if we're very cautious, we can see them as a subtle form of engagement of Tantra, and by that what I mean is in tantra body is as important as mind. And again in this kind of bi directional way right either top down or bottom up, we can work, either way, whether we know it or not, we're working in bi directional ways all the time our meditation is working with subtle and unconscious processes whether we know it or not. And so one of the things about things like the natural meditations is we actually engage more the in this case bottom up a little bit different from what we were talking about earlier. Same word but different signified. We're now we can work with, with these processes using the medium of the dream, you know, working with unconscious processes to pain lucidity, from the unconscious mind into the conscious mind so even, even that process becomes bi directional therefore lucid living lends leads to lucid dreaming lucid dreaming leads to lucid living. And again, it's not just bi directional it's true directional, they both end lead to lose a dime, but that's a different slightly different topic, I wanted to come back to the way Tantra works here is that body is as important as mine. And when working with this is real classic neuro phenomenology right now we're working with a neural correlates of consciousness, that are most back not causative but correlative to the states. Why not engage them in this way, why not use this subtle form of body, ie the neuro chemistry as a way to bring about these kind of pointing out transmissions. But then of course the big question is, they do point out state dimensions, They're not traits. So then the question is like what do you do with that, right, do you continue to pop these dates, no, no. Then you take these pointing out transmissions. And then you take it to the mat, you take it to the Christian, you transform the state into the trade, not by taking more of these agents, but allowing them in fact to point out that hey, this is an organic process, I these, these, I can actually engage in this stabilizes to the more organic green approach of working with the mind through meditation. And so, I'm Ruben, I mean really, I'm getting selfish now I could hug you for the whole day. i This has been such a delight, as we start to close this out if there are any final comments about the, the hallucinogen thing, feel free to run with that. But I want to close by offering you the opportunity to talk to our audience, how they can support you, how can they learn more about you. What are you currently working on so that we can anticipate and look forward to your future work because you are such a brilliant shining light in this world, but I for one will be eagerly awaiting your very next publication so share with us a little bit what you're doing and how we can support you from our side.
Thanks Sandra, this has been such a wonderful conversation really. Yeah, I mean I'm I'm a scientist and at the moment I'm, I'm continuing my research but you can find out about what I'm doing at the, at my website, it's just Ruben mckernon.com So if you Google my name and meditation or Amsterdam, it's easy to find me the only social media I uses is Twitter, so you can engage me there at least there I share some of the new works that were, that I'm doing, but I'm also hoping that in the coming months or a year there'll be some, some more. Yeah, readable things for people that are not just scientific but also something that is a bit more digestible in these topics and also hopefully some poetry. So, for sure, I'm happy to engage with any of your listeners if they're happy to lend me some.
Yeah, if we had the time I mean for for maybe we'll post one of your poems with your permission, is a little add on to to our writing of your work because your poetry is really explicit my friend. So any other any other final comments or anything else come to mind from your end before we close it up for this time I'm sure we'll be doing this again, I can't wait to bring you back on.
Yeah, I would love to come back and as I'm thinking there's all these little thoughts bubbling up but I'd like to grab on to and run with that I fear that they'll be a rabbit hole that we should save so I'm really happy with this conversation and I'm energized by it and I gleaned a lot of insight from it and I'll be so happy to speak with you again, Andrew, thank you for this conversation.
Likewise, you've been really extended toted light it's such a treat to meet such a kindred spirit on really one of the great honors and so thank you, my dear friend for the work you do the the presence that you are the shine that you bring to this world we so need people like you in this day and age, and again I just I simply can't wait to read your upcoming work, it's really a delight. So until next time, my friend. All the best to stay lucid and let's do this again. Thanks. Paying Reuben that was so much fun. Oh my gosh, total gas, really, I'm not kidding, I could just spend the whole.