(Note: this interview is spontaneous because Rick Archer did not give a list of questions he would ask in advance.)
Rick: Welcome to Buddha at the Gas Pump. My name is Rick Archer. Buddha at the Gas Pump is an ongoing series of interviews with spiritually awakening people. I've done hundreds of them now. If this is new to you and you'd like to check out previous ones, please go to batgap.com and look under the Past Interviews menu, where you'll see all the previous ones organized in several different ways. This program is made possible by the support of appreciative listeners and viewers. If you appreciate it and would like to support it, there's a PayPal button on every page of the site. Some people say they have trouble with PayPal or don't like PayPal or whatever, so if you're one of those people there's also a donate menu item and you can check out other alternatives, but anyway we appreciate your support.
My guest today is an old friend, Suzanne Stryker. Suzanne is an intuitive healer, artist, writer and teacher. I met her in about 1974 in Switzerland when we were both staying with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, and even then she was known to have extraordinary spiritual experiences. For over 45 years, she has experienced unity with Divine and Vedic cognitions. These days we often meet at the gym and have little conversations, and we've been chatting up there for a few years and toying with the idea of doing an interview, and Suzanne was never in a rush to be interviewed, which is kind of a good thing. She was always a little bit standoffish in that regard, but finally decided to do one, so here we are.
Before we get into the gist of what we're going to talk about, Suzanne, I kind of find your personal history interesting, in terms of the fact that for one, the educator John Dewey was an ancestor, and also so many people in your family were doctors or nurses or in the health field, that was interesting, your father and others going back, brothers. There are a couple other things. Before I go to those couple other things, do you want to comment on what I've said so far?
Suzanne: Well, first of all, I don't profess to be enlightened. I don't profess to be at the pinnacle of evolution. I'm a continual work in progress. I consider myself a lifelong student. And I just happen to experience things in a particular way. Everybody has their own different viewpoints of how they view the world and I have my own, but I can't say that mine is any better than yours or the viewers’, so I think right off I want to just let everybody know that if you don't have the same type of experiences that I do that's great, because we need variety.
Suzanne: We don't want anybody to think because they're not having some celestial vision or some profound experience that they're any less, and the way I look at it is that we're all part of one big cosmic body, and so the cells of your fingers aren't any better than the cells of your toes or your face or whatever. We need all different types of people with different types of talents, and so I embrace and love all the different aspects, so I just wanted to say that at the outset, and also just a message to those people that are viewing that I want to serve you in the best possible way, and that's why I finally have agreed to do this interview. As Rick mentioned—I wasn't standoffish to Rick, in the sense of not being nice, because I've always...
Rick: Oh, you were totally nice, you were just like...I don't care for the interview, you know.
Suzanne: Yeah, and how long ago was that, about five years ago or something?
Rick: Something like that.
Suzanne: Yeah, and I didn't want to do it then, and there's a reason why...I just didn't want to be any busier. See, what had been going on at that time, just to give a short background, was I wanted to focus on our local community, and I was doing free healings, individual and also in a group, and I wanted to just really focus on the individuals and help them here in our own hometown. But what happened was I just couldn't accommodate everybody, and I got so busy that it was just impossible to help everybody, so what I've done is I just do free group healings when I can, and I do distance healings to help people, and then that way I can help more people. But you know, what I really want to do is somehow multiply myself, so that...
Rick: That sounds familiar.
Suzanne: Yeah, and also to have it so that people don't need my services—that's what I really want. I want each person to be able to answer their own questions and to have their intuition just so spot on clear that they're automatically making the right decisions and doing the right thing, so that's my ultimate goal.
Rick: Okay, all right, so there's several loose ends I want to tie up from what you just said. One is that, although I kind of implied it when I said we meet at the gym, we both live in the same town, and the reason we're doing this over Skype is that we wanted to be able to have a live audience for those who live in...we've already gotten questions from India and places, so we wanted to be able to do that, and it's easier, in a way—it's a lot of trouble to sort of set up things here and not have the dogs interrupt and stuff. Sometimes when I interview somebody from Fairfield, I say okay, this person will fit into a category of people who make Fairfield, Iowa, an interesting place to live. I mean, there's a bunch of people around here who've been, you know, on the spiritual path for many decades, and it's quite an unusual town.
Second loose end I wanted to tie up, there's the thing you said about...well, let me do the third one first, then go back to the second one. About the healing, I didn't mention that so far in my intro and then you started alluding to it. So we'll talk about that more as we go along, because that'll take some elaboration. But then the third thing is that you were talking about how, you know, no one's better or worse than anybody else, just because somebody has profound experiences it doesn't mean that they're more enlightened or something. But I don't know, I would kind of argue that there might be some kind of a correlation. There's a sort of a cute saying that some Zen master said that, you know, “enlightenment may be an accident, but spiritual practice makes you accident-prone.”
Suzanne: (smiles) Yeah, I love that one.
The nature of experience
Rick: Yeah, and on a similar note, it does seem that if you're doing spiritual practice of some kind, and if it's effective, then the likelihood of having interesting or profound experiences tends to increase. There's some kind of correlation. But having said that, I think one can be highly enlightened and not be the type, not be wired in such a way as to have all kinds of, you know, flashy or detailed cognitions or celestial perception or anything like that. Some people are just wired in different ways.
Suzanne: I agree, and again that just goes into we need all different styles—we need some people that are going to notice all the details and then other people that maybe don't get caught up in the details. And also there's this perception out there with some different kinds of schools of thought that you shouldn't dwell on your experiences at all, and perhaps I should address that. What do you think?
Rick: Yeah, I want you to address that, and I want to preface it with a question that I had prepared about that. There's a famous story of when Papaji, whom you may have heard of, whom many people have heard of, met Ramana Maharshi. And Papaji had been a Krishna devotee for most of his life and had all kinds of profound experiences with Krishna, visualizing Krishna, playing with Krishna and things like that. So he was a little late to his meeting with Ramana, and I guess Ramana asked where he was or something. He said, “oh! I was busy playing with Krishna,” and Ramana said, “is he here now?” Papaji was a little taken aback, and he got the point, which is that, you know, that which comes and goes is not that which ultimately you should be seeking or attaining. So anyway, maybe that's a way of prefacing what you wanted to say.
Suzanne: Well, in some ways yes, because in the beginning when one has some kind of flashy experience it's just that, it's a flash, it comes and it goes, but the real test is it's there over time. So one of the things I think to be careful of, perhaps people that are doing some kind of meditation, is you don't want to try to have any particular experience, because that would be unnatural and manipulating, so there, during your meditation practice, I would agree not to hold on to any experience, not to look for any particular experience. But after meditation actually my teacher, Maharishi, encouraged me to write down my experience, over and over again, and I can tell you lots of stories about that, but basically what I found is that if I write my experience after meditation—or actually all life seems to be a meditation, 24 hours a day I'm having experiences—but if I write them down or talk about them then I notice more details.
It’s like an experience is like a gift, like a present, and in the writing it's like I open it up and I get to appreciate what's inside. So some of you that aren't noticing details of your experience, if you choose to, you could try writing it down and see, you might find more detail is there. Because some of my experiences could happen in a split second, but then I write them down and they seem like this elaborate flashy experience. So that's one way of not only noticing and unfolding more details, but when you read and write the experience then you get to have them again, so you get to experience that bliss again, and share it with others.
Rick: Yeah. Okay, I just want to interject here for those who are watching live that if you wish to pose a question, go to the upcoming interviews page on batgap.com, there's a form at the bottom of that page through which you can submit a question. So in response to what you just said, some people might say—well, and relating back to the Papaji-Ramana story, some people might say yeah, but are we really after experiences which come and go, aren't those transitory and thus ultimately illusory, don't we really want to have that which abides, and which—you know, as the Gita says, “the unreal has no being, the real never ceases to be.”
Suzanne: Yes, well, I mean what comes naturally is what we want, and so some person might have some flashes of spiritual or celestial or unity kind of experiences or what-have-you, and so they come and you welcome them, and when they go you welcome them not being there, because, in the beginning particularly, there's this kind of integration, you could call it. There's an analogy that is popular we could probably talk about, that when you want to dye a cloth you dip it into the vat of dye and then you take it out and put it in the sun and let it fade, and then you dip it in the dye and then you let it fade. So experiences can come and then they can fade and then they can come and they can fade, and it's all part of the integration and it's all good.
Rick: Yeah, and actually I'm just giving you a little bit of a hard time, because I too believe that spiritual development is not just a matter of “capturing the fort,” so to speak, of being established in pure consciousness 24/7, which we can talk about more, but that it inevitably involves the development of various perceptual faculties and emotional capabilities and intellectual clarity and all kinds of—all of our human components end up getting enriched and nourished and enhanced by that infusion of pure consciousness. But those types of things, emotional, perceptual, intellectual, are by nature the types that come and go—they're not going to just be constant, but they could perhaps come with greater frequency and clarity as we grow.
Suzanne: Yes, and I think to enhance your personal experiences and just general enjoyment in life, I do think it's good to take good care of your body and your mind.
Rick: Yeah, that's why I see you at the gym.
Suzanne: Yeah, that's why you see me at the gym. That’s why I go to bed early, I stay well rested, I eat well. Even though I've been having these types of experiences since the '70s, I still take care of my body, because it's the only one I have currently and I want to be comfortable for the rest of my life. So I still meditate regularly. I'm like you—I meditate regularly twice a day all these years, for almost 50 years, and it pays off because I've got much better health as a result.
Rick: Yeah, I agree. I mean I've actually encountered people who were dismissive of the body, you know, regarding it as an illusion and so on, not taking proper care of it. In fact I've gone through phases myself where the body seemed kind of illusory and I pushed it beyond its limits and suffered the consequences. So, you know, this is a marathon, not a sprint, and it's a good idea to keep the vehicle functional.
Suzanne: If you want to be comfortable when you get older particularly. Why suffer?
Rick: Yeah, I mean there are people in our town who I think, you know, sit around too much in meditation and don't counterbalance it with enough physical activity and, you know, maybe proper diet and all kinds, and it’s showing, you know, they're in their 60s and they're looking like they're in their late 70s.
Suzanne: Yeah, I think it's overlooked, you've probably read research about sitting too much is bad for your health.
Rick: Sitting is the new smoking, they say.
Suzanne: Yeah, and they even say that even if you run a marathon every day that you should actually be getting up every half an hour or so and moving around. So even if you're exercising regularly every day you still want, every half an hour or so, just get up and walk around for a few minutes and then you'll be a lot happier, your health will be better. You can read the research about that later, I won't go into it, but it’s worth doing.
My life as a lab rat
Rick: So on this note, as you know but the audience may not, Maharishi always emphasized that higher states of consciousness were as different from waking, dreaming and sleeping as they are from each other, both subjectively and physiologically. And you know, I'll bet that if you were to hook Ramana Maharshi or Jesus or Buddha or somebody like that up to an EEG machine, you would see brainwaves and other measures that were very different from those of the average person. So in that vein, since about 1972—not comparing you with Jesus and Buddha, but in that vein—neurophysiologists have conducted abundant scientific research on you, and have indeed found high degrees of brainwave coherence, which means harmonious and orderly functioning between different parts of the brain, and other measures which seem to be indicative of higher states. So maybe we should just talk about that a little bit. Yeah, go ahead.
Suzanne: Well, I think it's good to bring up these things, because I think that—for example, I'm a healer, and there are many people that do healing, and I would suggest to people that whoever you're dealing with, maybe they really have some obvious integration there, because there are some well-meaning healers, but sometimes they give advice that may not really be useful or appropriate to you. I tend to be a practical, very skeptical kind of person by nature, so I like to see that things really work before I get involved with them, and I welcome skepticism to what I do, I suggest that people question everything that I tell them, because I want a person to really think for themselves. But as far as research done on me, the first research was done in 1972, and it was measuring inflammation and the immune system. They did that by actually measuring marginal gingivitis—gum conditions. That was published in some kind of study. There were other people in that particular study, I was in Canada at the time on a course.
Rick: Ira Klemons?
Suzanne: Yeah, Dr. Ira Klemons, a dentist.
Rick: He’s an old friend of mine.
Suzanne: Oh yeah, okay. So it was in 1975 that Maharishi asked for research to be done on me. I'd been with him for some years, and he said I was having a positive influence on other people and their experiences and he wanted to see if it could be measured. He wanted to see why. So the first time that they did my brain waves, and I'm not going to get too technical here because I'm not a neurophysiologist or neuroscientist, but the first time they measured me I had hardly had any sleep, so it was a measurement of my brain waves during sleep deprivation. I'd been on a boat ride with Maharishi. It was a January 12th celebration and we went on this long boat ride and I couldn't get off the boat until 5:00 in the morning, and then I got the flu, and so I came in that morning and I was just totally exhausted, and they hooked me up and I thought “oh, this is just going to be terrible.” I even felt asleep, I was so tired at one point during the brain measurements. And what they found was—I said “oh, we're going to have to do this over,” I just felt terrible, but they looked at the measurements and they saw a lot of coherence there.
And then a few years later, Maharishi had them do it on me again, some other lab. I was in Switzerland at the time. He sent a car to come get me. I was meditating, doing long meditations on a mountaintop in Switzerland somewhere. So they hooked up the electrodes to my brain—and they put it in with this glue, it was almost like superglue, but not quite as bad—and then they left. And while I was supposed to be meditating, while the researcher left, right after they started doing the measurements, lunch started in the room above me, which meant it sounded like 200 people were walking on top of my head. It was totally distracting, it was totally noisy, and I had a very superficial meditation. The researcher came in and I said “well I'm sorry, I think we'll have to do that over.” And he looked and he said no, there's a lot of coherence there. So that taught me something very valuable, and that's that it doesn't matter what you experience during meditation, you could still be having good results, it could still be having a benefit on your nervous system. Then there was more research after that. Did you want to make a comment?
Rick: I’m just thinking, in my own experience, sure, I've meditated in train stations and airplanes and all kinds of situations, and you can have a great meditation, hotel lobbies, whatever. I wouldn't choose those circumstances, as you probably wouldn't choose being sleep deprived with the flu or, you know, having elephants stomping in the room above, but nonetheless noise is not necessarily, or should not be, a barrier to meditation—as Maharishi always used to say, you can think in the noisy market, and anybody who can think a thought can meditate, so you should be able to meditate in chaotic circumstances. And also I would say perhaps that, you know, since you had already established a quite deep level of experience or realization 24/7, whether or not you were meditating or whatever was going on, or whatever the quality of the meditation, there was bound to be perhaps a greater level of coherence than the norm.
Suzanne: Well, you can look at the actual—some of my brainwaves on my website, revealwisdom.com. There's a tab that shows, there's quite a number of studies up there showing—they measured my brainwaves while I'm sleeping, for example, and they've said that's the acid test for higher states of consciousness, not just that you have that unbounded pure awareness while you sleep, just naturally, without trying, but also that it can be measured. And so I was in a study where they measured my brainwaves while I was sleeping, and what they found was that there was this deep restfulness, but also inner alertness, as measured by the brainwaves. That was published in a very fascinating journal called Sleep, and Maharishi said that that was the EEG of unity. So that's something about sleep, but they've measured my brainwaves while I'm doing my healing work, while I'm just staring at a simple object, while I'm doing math problems, puzzles, while I've got my eyes opened, closed, doing all different kinds of things, standing up, sitting down, and they found different types of coherence, which they found fascinating.
Rick: Yeah, just to touch on this a little bit more, in the average person if you measure the brain, you don't find a heck of a lot of coherence usually between the different parts of the brain. In other words, the frequency and amplitude of a wave in one part of the brain will be out of sync with the frequency and amplitude of a wave in the other part of the brain. The research that Suzanne is alluding to has found that in meditators, especially long-term ones, there's a lot of synchrony, so the frequencies and amplitudes of the brainwaves kind of match up like a laser, you know, like the photons in a laser do, and entrain or aligned with one another in different parts of the brain, and that's thought to be indicative of a more orderly or efficient style of brain functioning and perhaps correlated with higher states of consciousness. Is that a good summary?
Suzanne: Yes, I would say that the laser is a good analogy—and actually I made laser holograms when I was in college. I devised my own major because my grades were good enough and actually figured out how to make holograms, and it does require complete silence. We actually had to hold our breath while we exposed the laser light to the object. Had to be done in complete darkness, had to close the vent so there were no air currents, because the wave patterns that were exposed to the object being photographed had to be uninterrupted with any incoherence from anything outside. So in the same way, you gave the analogy with a laser. You could say the brain is like that, and when it's functioning from a more quiet level, then it's more powerful and everything works in harmony. Think of an orchestra being in harmony as opposed to disharmonious. When they're in tune, when they're functioning together, then it's going to be a more enjoyable experience. So they found that when there's coherence between different parts of the brain, well you could just imagine that the different parts of the brain are working together as opposed to not, like a group of people or a football team or whatever.
Rick: Like an army marching, if they're marching in step, the earth shakes, you know.
Suzanne: Yeah, so it's like that. So if the brain is working in a harmonious fashion together then that way it's more powerful, and some researchers have conjectured that maybe that's why my intuition and healing works pretty well. I don't guarantee any particular results, but it adds, it's helpful.
Rick: Incidentally, just to comment on the very first thing you said in this interview, personally I consider everyone a work-in-progress—
Suzanne: Yeah, I do too.
Rick: —everyone on the planet, and I also consider that there's a very vast range of potential development for the soul or for whatever we are, so it's a little bit handicapping to assume oneself to be finished. I don't know if there is any such thing, worth throwing in there.
I want to touch back on witnessing sleep, which you mentioned a minute ago. I have a file on my computer of quotes from all kinds of people like Ramana Maharshi and Tat Wale Baba and Sri Aurobindo and many others about this thing of pure awareness being maintained during sleep, and some say that this is sort of an acid test or a necessary criterion of a higher state of consciousness, whatever state we want to designate. Others say, I've talked to people who say, yeah, yeah I witnessed sleep for many years and, you know, then it sort of went away, and I'm glad it did because I’d just as soon conk out during sleep. But others I've interviewed, you know, such as Harry Aalto—he says I haven't slept in many, many decades, you know, pure awareness is always clear whether I'm snoring like a sailor or active in the day. So what do you think about the whole witnessing sleep phenomenon? When did it start for you, and what is the experience actually like?
Suzanne: It started for me in 1971. When I started Transcendental Meditation, things completely changed for me. I was just your average person in my first year in college and I started meditating. Just by chance I ran across a poster, had a picture of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, and I went to the introductory lecture on TM, Transcendental Meditation, actually thinking that they were going to have drugs there (laughter), and I was so disappointed they didn't. Now, I want to preface, I had never taken any kind of drugs, but I was just feeling like I was ready for something new, and it was prevalent on campus in the 70's at that time. So I didn't take any drugs, instead I learned TM. In fact, they like you not to have taken drugs for a few weeks beforehand so your first experience is clear, and then based on that you get more understanding. So anyway, I learned TM.
And then I remember vividly, I looked around afterwards and everything looked cleaner, it looked like everything had been washed and was sparkling, and I felt different. I didn't know exactly what had happened, but I felt different. And I have never been the same since. I would say it was about, I don't know, maybe a month or something and I started noticing when I would wake up in the morning it felt like I had not slept, but yet I felt more rested than I ever had in my entire life, and then I learned about this thing that the TM movement calls witnessing sleep and it really related exactly to what I was experiencing. There's this inner kind of restful alertness during sleep. You're not thinking, there's not mental activity—
Rick: Because you're sleeping.
Suzanne: —but there's some inner alertness, and you really notice it more when you wake up or if there's some noise that wakes you up, because you realize there was something that wasn't asleep and it was some nonchanging aspect. My roommate actually said I was the only person she knew who smiled when she slept. Apparently, the bliss that was starting to grow in me from meditating was even spreading into sleep. So I think in my experience it's been happening since '71.
Rick: Has it gotten more clear?
Suzanne: I would say it's just been maintained.
Rick: Same thing?
Bliss and oneness during challenges
Suzanne: Yeah, it's been maintained. The nice thing for me is it's like an anchor. So I can go through traumatic experiences. We've all...if you live as long as I have, you go through some ups and downs in life, and it's been an anchor for me. I could have very—I've gone through periods where I have had like what I call double or triple whammies, where two or three or four different major areas of life are in a crisis state, like health, relationships, finance, career, and some of the listeners are going through that too, a big karmic wad from all different directions can hit you. But what I found even during those traumatic times is like this deep inner anchor of bliss and oneness, and the fascinating thing to me, Rick, is that these really traumatic times are the ones that really show me how deep that bliss and unity are anchored, you know, it's like they're really steadfast even when I'm feeling terrible.
Rick: Yeah. Yeah, that might sound paradoxical that one can feel terrible and blissful at the same time, but you could think of it in terms of an ocean perhaps, where there's a hurricane blowing, like there is out in Hawaii right now, and the waves are extremely turbulent, but then if you're a fish that's swimming 100 feet down or something, it's the same as it always is, just nice and quiet. So one’s experience can have a range to it such that the surface values can be turbulent, the deeper value just abides and is stable and clear and silent.
Suzanne: And it makes anything beautiful, and it makes you see, even when you're going through some hard time, you see the flip side of that coin, because there is always a flip side to every situation. There's always a plus to every minus. There's always a head to every tail when you flip the coin. So that anchor of inner peace and tranquility helps me see the benefit behind any situation, because there always is some silver lining to every dark cloud. There always is.
Rick: Yeah, you know, there's another thing too which is subtle, but it related, and this actually leads into a question I wanted to ask. Maharishi had a certain outline of higher states of consciousness, which, you know, we can go through a little bit, and I found parallels to it in other traditions and from other teachers, but basically his outline was that one could have glimpses of pure awareness, glimpses of the Self from day one of meditation, and then after a certain period of time those glimpses would become stabilized such that a continuum of pure awareness would characterize one's life, one's experience, he called that cosmic consciousness, and over time the perceptual abilities would refine and one would see the sort of more glorious or celestial qualities of creation, which he called God consciousness, and then eventually one would see that the so-called outer world and the inner world of the Self, pure consciousness, were actually one and the same—one would see the world in terms of the self, which he called unity consciousness. But what you just said about being steadfast in the midst of trials and tribulations kind of leads into not only the cosmic consciousness aspect, where pure consciousness is stable, but also a little bit the God consciousness aspect, because one begins to see the Divine hand in everything, the sort of intelligence, the intelligence or wisdom even in trying circumstances, that there's something going on that is ultimately in one's best interest.
Suzanne: Yes, and I think you're asking here also is there a simultaneous, almost, or is it more a step-by-step progression as well?
Rick: That could be part of the question, yeah, and whether it's as linear as it sounded just then or whether it could be all mixed up.
Spontaneous witnessing and unbounded awareness
Suzanne: Well, my experience is that it was more simultaneous. First, I started meditating, and I noticed more a witness value, where I noticed that I was not involved in change, in things around me, that there was some inner silence, and then I noticed…
Rick: Oh, and before you go on from that, I just want to emphasize that you were not trying to witness, because I've run into people who do that, they try to hold themselves back in order to witness and so on and so forth, and that's not what you're saying.
Suzanne: No, I didn't even know what witnessing was or anything, it just all of a sudden was happening, and it was kind of a far-out experience in the beginning. I'd be walking along and I would feel bigger than my body. I would feel like my head was as high as the clouds and there weren't any limitations to my body, and yet my body was walking and I was as if almost above it looking down at it, and at first it was a little disconcerting, feeling like you're out of your body or being able to move outside your body, but then I got more comfortable and I felt like it was just more an expansion of my awareness. So like I was everywhere instead of just being inside this body, which goes along with the concept of unbounded awareness, which is what witnessing is, it's that pure awareness that has no boundaries to it. So it's not confined to any particular state of consciousness, it's there all the time, that's why it's unbounded.
But to answer your question as far as whether it's simultaneous or step-by-step, so I experienced that witnessing value, and then my next major experience was quite unusual. I was just meditating, and I wasn't expecting to have any nice experience, because I had been camping and I had neglected to consider the mosquito factor (laughter) and so I had hardly any sleep, and I was meditating and all of a sudden, boom, my awareness was everywhere and it was like I heard the cosmic hum of the universe, and I don't know why I knew it was that, I just knew it was. It was like hearing all of creation and seeing all of creation and beyond, all in a flash, all at once, and it was...it was beautiful and startling and expansive and liberating.
Experiencing God and oneness
And then, after that, I had a few months later an experience of—it was just so touching—of experiencing God, and appreciating all of creation, and a feeling of oneness with everything—feeling love for God, feeling love for everything and everyone, that everyone was myself, that I could do no harm to anyone because they were me—as dear to me as my own Self. So that's one reason why I like to help people, it's actually a selfish reason, because you are me, you're just an extension, another one of my many bodies, and I don't want to see any one of my other bodies in pain or suffering, and so that leads me to want to help other people.
And I want to just say to the people that are listening, I'm here to serve you, and you can let me know how I can do that best, and the easiest way to do that will probably be to go to my Facebook page, it's Reveal Wisdom on Facebook, because if you go to my website and email through there, my assistants are getting overwhelmed with emails, like one every minute or something, so out of consideration for them. Also if you have just general questions, if you have things you're interested in that you want me to cover in a webinar, topics of interest or concerns or anything that you think the answer other people would benefit from, then just go to the Reveal Wisdom Facebook page and I'll at least look at that. I might not be able to answer every question, but that way other people could benefit, and then you can let me know what you want and how I can help.
Rick: So with that experience you had, a sort of union with God or something, was that the thing you described in that article you wrote, “Trading Places with God,” or was that a different occasion?
Suzanne: Oh! This is—different occasion.
Suzanne: The one I was talking about, the first time I had this really strong personal experience of God was in 1972—other than an experience I had when I was nine years old, which maybe we could talk about in a minute—but I'd say since 1972 it was like a direct line with God opened up, at the same time of feeling oneness with everything. So for me it was simultaneous with the God and the unity type of thing at once, like that. And...yeah? Oh, the “Trading Places with God”! Well, that's kind of a far-out experience. I guess to summarize that, you want me to just mention what it was?
Rick: Yeah, go ahead, why not?
Suzanne: I'll just briefly—maybe sometime I'll have the courage to post it, because it...
Rick: Oh, that’s something you just sent me? I thought it was something you had posted….
Suzanne: Oh, no, no, no, I haven't posted that one yet, and there's a question mark at the end of that title. It's “Trading Places with God?” – with a question mark.
Suzanne: Basically what the experience was this. I was just meditating, and I just had the thought of appreciation of God, it just spontaneously arose in me, and then what happened totally took me by surprise. If you can imagine seeing God's point of view, that's what happened. Suddenly I was as if inside God, seeing all his children, all of creation, and it was like viewing myself and how just petty my individual thoughts and concerns were, or all people and how all these different little thoughts and concerns we have...if you can imagine God's point of view, or if you can imagine as a parent looking at your two-year-old child and how they could cry that they got their toy taken away or whatever. It was like suddenly being a parent and looking at your children, and it was a very trippy kind of experience, because there were many, many layers to it. It was like not only seeing God's point of view, but just getting a little taste of being able to know everything, being able to hear everything, being able to see everything and experience the essence of all that immense power of creation that is in everything and the Divine intelligence behind everything. So that was totally mind-blowing, and then it was like God was inside me looking out at my world, and then it was like I was inside God, inside me, looking out, and it went on and on and on like that, and I would say it's a kind of perception that I can just click into. So it's like a TV channel, it's like God's video channel, it's like it's always on and I can flip into that perspective and get a different kind of viewpoint on life. Does that make any sense?
Rick: Yeah. In other words, after the initial experience of it, it became something that you could tap into whenever you wanted.
Suzanne: It's accessible, it’s accessible. It's like God somehow gave me a direct line so I can communicate somehow. Any kind of help that I give people I can't take personal credit for, because I don't invent anything—everybody actually is a healer themselves. Right now as we're talking, your body's healing, your body's healing, all by itself, it's quite intelligent and miraculous, and we don't have to think about breathing or heartbeat or anything like that, it's automatic. So the body is already supremely intelligent, it's just somehow sometimes gotten off of balance here or there, so I've been described by Maharishi and others as just a catalyst, to kind of help reset things in order, but I don't invent order, I don't invent God, I don't invent any of these things. It's a natural thing that happens, and the person's own innate healing ability is what gets enlivened. It's not me taking over and doing some scary thing, it's a natural thing.
Rick: Yeah, what you said about God doesn't seem far-fetched to me, because considering what I understand God to be, which is just all-pervading intelligence, all-pervading consciousness, we're all kind of united with God fundamentally, and we may or may not be aware of that, but the potential to be aware of that exists within all of us. I don't know, it probably seemed like a special experience when it first happened to you?
Suzanne: Yeah, yeah, it felt really far-out, because to suddenly as if be looking through God's eyes and seeing everything, it was different than experiencing everything in terms of myself, that's a simple oneness and unity and harmony and feeling at home with everything, and that I've been feeling since the 70's, but this was different, and it gave me a taste of—I'm not saying I'm all-knowing, but it gave me a perspective of what that would be like, that point of view, and so it was far-out.
Rick: Let me see if I can get you to be a little bit more specific. So let's say you look at an apple, and there's the ordinary experience of an apple people might have: this is an apple, it has a certain weight and color and taste and smell and all that stuff. Now seeing the apple in terms of yourself, how would that one differ from the ordinary experience? Like when you go to Everybody's, our little health-food store we have here in Fairfield, and you pick out apples, what is the nature of your experience as compared to what it might have been, you know, when you were 15 or something.
Suzanne: Oh, well before I would just be thinking, my head would be full of everything I had to do, and then I would see the apple and I'd get the apple, and I might feel overwhelmed which apple I should choose or something like that, and now it would be more looking at the apple, falling in love with the apple—even the apple that has the spots on it, finding something there that's beautiful, like looking through the eye of an artist and seeing the colors and the texture and the feel and the smell...
Rick: Is that what you mean by seeing the apple in terms of the Self?
Suzanne: Oh, I'm just telling you my apple experience—of anything—is that there's appreciation of all kinds of values from all different levels. So I could experience at the surface level to some infinite number of degrees of its color and shade and texture and taste, and then I could experience the apple as my Self, and I could feel appreciation of the apple, for the creator of the apple, and the apple tree and the intelligence behind the apple, and depending on what's going on I might experience all this on a subtle level, might not be aware of all this, but it can be an enjoyable experience, even if the apple has spots or bruises or whatever.
Rick: So it sounds like it's kind of like a zoom lens on a camera, where it automatically kind of zooms in and out as you go through your day, not literally in terms of magnification, but in terms of appreciating the different levels of reality, and sometimes, you know, it might be a fairly mundane level of reality, other times deeper, it just sort of changes according to whatever is governing you or motivating your life.
Suzanne: I like that analogy, that's a perfect analogy of...it’s like that experience of trading places with God—question mark...was like having different lenses suddenly available to view things, to see the macroscopic level and to see the microscopic level, and that can come in handy. To see the holistic, the big picture, that comes in handy, and that's something that I help people a lot with, because sometimes they don't see that this crisis they have may be serving them in some way, and so they need to see, maybe the lesson they need to learn, they may need to see, maybe they need to change some routine that's causing some imbalance in their body, which is causing them to be out of sync with nature. So that's a great way to describe it, having different lenses available that one can put on, like you can put on binoculars so you can see it at a distance, you can look through a microscope and see the details, you could use Google Earth to get a really big picture. So it's like that, having different lenses available depending on what is needed at that time, what will serve that person.
Rick: Yeah, so just to dwell on it a little bit more, so as you go through your day it's not like you're in a state of perpetual rapture, but as you're driving your car, you're getting out of your car, you're going in a store, you're interacting with people, you're doing this, you're doing that, would you say that your experience just sort of zooms in and out or up and down or kind of focuses on various levels of reality according to whatever is appropriate or useful in this or that circumstance?
Suzanne: Exactly, yeah, you summed it up really well. I'm, I feel, a servant of God and a servant of humanity, and so what happens, it's what needs to happen, what is going to best serve people at that time, that's what happens. It's nice, because then that way my intellect doesn't need to be involved, it's spontaneous and natural, it's not a contrived situation where I have to be constantly evaluating and deciding, it's spontaneous.
Rick: You're kind of on autopilot.
Suzanne: Autopilot, makes everything simple, and that makes life also more enjoyable because then I can just sit back, relax, and watch the scenery and enjoy life.
Bliss during challenges
Rick: We talked a little bit earlier about dealing with challenging situations. Do you feel now that, you know, if you get the flu or if you scrape your knee or if somebody yells at you or something challenging happens, is that in any way disruptive to your experience, or do you somehow just take it in stride? In other words, whatever level of realization you've achieved, can it be perturbed by difficult experiences, or does that larger awareness just kind of absorb those experiences and metabolize them?
Suzanne: Well, I would say I am not impervious to losing my car keys or tripping and falling down or something like that and feeling some physical repercussions from falling down, but I'm more the kind of person if I fall down, then I'll see oh, there's a hundred dollar bill here on the ground, I wouldn't have noticed. I've naturally had, since as long as I can remember, a natural tendency when there's something on the outside that seems to be bad, like tripping and falling, then I will notice something beautiful about it. I've noticed that time and time again, that initially what you might think of as a challenging situation, and then I see some beautiful gift there. So that's something that I help people with, seeing what the gift is and what the lesson is, so that that way they don't have to keep banging their heads against the wall.
But I want to answer this a little more specifically. It's not that I can't feel...like if someone were to scream at me, it could feel a little jarring, but then also I can feel that that penetrates very deeply and makes the bliss quiver inside and makes me feel bliss. For example, I remember when I first noticed this in 1976. I was in Switzerland and getting some dental work done, and it hurt, but I felt deep bliss, and I was shocked, because it shouldn't be a blissful experience feeling that pain. But somehow, when I've gotten really shaken, I've also noticed that there deep underneath those hard jolts is a oneness and a beauty and a divinity and a love that supersedes any jolt that I experience. So I experience everything. There are waves on the ocean and then there's a depth of that inner absolute immovable oneness.
Rick: Did you get Novocain when you had that dental work?
Suzanne: No, I didn't.
Rick: That’s what I was wondering. I have a friend here in town—you know him, Wally—who says when he goes to the dentist he doesn't get Novocain or whatever it is they use these days, he just sort of transcends and it doesn't bother him. Personally, I’d say give me the shot, but…
Suzanne: Yeah, I even had some wisdom teeth pulled without any medication, but that was a long time ago, I don't know if I'd do that these days, and then I actually gave a speech a few days later too and I seemed to do okay.
Rick: Do you ever get angry or depressed or anything like that?
Suzanne: Depression is something I don't...I have too much bliss that sneaks in, so what normally would depress people...I don't tend to feel unhappiness. I was an unusual child even before I started meditating, there was a good deal of happiness there, and people would call me sunshine and such like that. I mean I can feel emotions, but there's also something underneath those so I don't take things personally so much.
Rick: They don't totally grip you. Yeah.
Suzanne: Not totally, but you know from the outside people might—I'm just an average-seeming person. I wouldn't appear any different, I don't think, to anybody.
Rick: You could lose your temper even?
Suzanne: I don't typically lose my temper, I don't typically get sick, I don't typically get mad or depressed. It's not that I might not sound like I'm not happy or concerned about a situation, no, so I'm not perfect. There's probably a million things, infinite number of things where there's room for improvement, there's plenty of room for improvement. So I don't want to project any perfectionism here, I'm not like that.
Rick: I just want people to have a realistic picture, you know, because people have all sorts of ideas of what higher states of consciousness might be like or how one might behave, and it's good to understand it clearly.
Suzanne: Yeah, I'm just an average person.
Veda explained and experienced
Rick: All right, good, so you talked quite a bit and have given talks about Vedic cognition, so I want to delve into that now. Maybe we should start by saying what is Veda, or what are the Vedas, and then we can talk about what your experience has been.
Suzanne: Well, I think the best way to describe Veda is to first tell people not to do an internet search for it, because that's not what I mean, what you'll find. The best way to describe Veda to begin with is to describe what it's not. It's not a book, it's not a collection of books, and that's the first thing people think of if they're a scholar of Hinduism or whatever, they might think of Veda in terms of some particular scriptures or something. When I talk about Veda, I'm not talking about books or a collection of books, even though there are books written about Veda. Veda—I'm going to give a very generic broad description that it means pure knowledge, pure knowledge behind and in all things. So you can write books about that, and there have been, there are all kinds of Vedic scriptures, but what I talk about my experiences of Veda, I'm not talking about Hinduism or books, and I'm not talking about a philosophy either, even though there are philosophies about Veda. For example, you could talk about the Sun. The Sun is the Sun, but you could philosophize about it, you could write books about it. In the same way, Veda has books written about it and people philosophize about it, but it's neither of those. I'm talking more basic than that. I'm talking about just pure intelligence. I'm talking about something that's not man-made, that's eternal, and it's not related—it's not a religion, even though people can worship things about Veda, just like the Sun, you can worship the Sun but the Sun itself is not a religion.
So that will describe more what Veda is not. Now as far as actually telling you what Veda is, that's where it gets a little tricky, because you can talk about Veda being pure knowledge, and what does that mean. Well, there's the knowledge that everything is made of. I mean, how is creation made, how is everything orchestrated and maintained, so there's this intelligence there, and that would be more what I'm talking about when I use the word Veda. But also what makes it a little more kind of confusing to people is some people have heard what's called Vedic chanting or hymns of Veda. Now what happens when pure knowledge flows? When knowledge flows, there's some movement there—I'm talking on a real basic subtle level—and so when there's flow, there's some sound value, and if your perception is of a certain type and refined, then it can hear that flow of nature, and that's what I refer to as hymns of Veda or Vedic hymns. Now that's going to sound totally incomprehensible unless you experience it. It’s like if you've never eaten an avocado, no matter how much I explain it's not going to make any sense. But basically, knowledge flows in waves and it can be heard by some people and it can be experienced as oneself. If you think of our body and everything in creation as a fabric of knowledge, because there's intelligence there that somehow made everything what it is, that's what I'm talking about when I talk about Veda. Does that make any sense?
Rick: Yeah, and let me just recapitulate that a little bit. So according to the Vedic tradition, the Vedas, the hymns of the Vedas—Rig, Yajur, Atharva, and Sama—are not just some creative fabrication that some clever people thought up and wrote down a while back, you know, thousands of years ago, but rather are intrinsic to the structure of creation, reside at the deepest level of creation, the source of creation, from which creation emerges. They could be considered to be impulses of intelligence that are instrumental in that emergence, and in the governance of creation as it manifests more and more and carries on. And so it's thought that the Vedas were not written, as I said a minute ago, but rather were discovered or cognized by people who were capable of doing that—and for a long time weren't written, but eventually were finally written by a guy named Veda Vyasa, who kind of organized them and got them into written form. But they're considered to be like gravity or any other law of nature, which is there all along whether or not people understand it, but which could be understood or could be experienced by someone qualified to do so.
Suzanne: Yeah, I would say it's like having your awareness at the central switchboard of creation.
Rick: Good way of putting it.
Suzanne: And so if you can imagine being at that central switchboard, and if you're adept then you can—
Rick: Push buttons.
Suzanne: (laughs) Push buttons and help people.
Rick: Yeah. So when you first started to experience Veda, what was the experience? I'll bet you didn't even know it was Veda, you thought “what is this?”
– 1:06:45 –
Suzanne: It was in 1973, and I didn't know what had just happened. I was just sitting by myself in my room, and I sat to close my eyes to meditate, and I experienced bliss, and it felt very beautiful—and then I heard the most glorious sounds I'd ever heard in my life. I opened my eyes and I looked around. I didn't have the radio on, there was no TV going on, because I didn't have one, there was no choir outside my door, so I knew the sounds were coming from inside somehow, but I wasn't creating them. They were the most divine sounds I had ever heard, and I didn't know what to make of it, and it kept happening. I didn't tell anybody about it, because—
Rick: Were they like angels—I mean, was it like choir kinds of sounds, was it male voices, female voices? Did they sound like words, did it just sound like tones or music or what?
Suzanne: I would say in the beginning, what it sounded like was sort of like a celestial choir, that would be the best way I could describe it, but even better than that. It made me feel glorious inside. I felt this ecstatic ecstasy. It was like somehow I had drunk this elixir that was of this eternal glory. It was like liquid silence welled up and sang and spread euphoria and oneness in its wake. And I didn't know what to make of it, so I didn't tell anyone. But then...
Rick: And it kept happening, right?
Suzanne: Yeah, fast-forward to 1975. Maharishi had told me to come see him, and I thought that he said that to everybody, but then I later confirmed he wanted me to come see him when I came to my next course. So when I went there, he asked me to stay, and then he put me on some special program. He would check in with me and tell me what to do and such, and like to talk a lot, and call me up and have me come to his room, and we would just talk. He would like to hear my experiences. So I was meditating and I kept hearing these Vedic sounds, and I couldn't make them stop, and I thought, “well this isn't supposed to happen.” So I was trying to make it stop, but I couldn't, so it was driving me crazy.
So I finally complained to Maharishi. I said, “Maharishi, I keep hearing these Vedic sounds and I can't make them stop,” and he looked at me and he laughed. That was something that he often did, he would look at me and he would laugh, because I'd be...“why is this happening, this isn't supposed to happen, I'm not supposed to be hearing sounds when I meditate.” And he said—I'll never forget—he said, “You can't make them stop. You don't want to make them stop. It's Veda.”
So I stopped straining. I stopped trying to push out what naturally happened during meditation. I didn't try to make these Vedic sounds happen, but if they came, they came, if they went, they went. But what happened is I started hearing this glorious divine humming of the universe, or the mechanics of the universe, however you want to call it, this pure knowledge flowing, while I'm walking, while I'm jogging at the gym—I typically don't wear a headset, because I'm listening to my own internal kind of divine music, Vedic hymns going on. It can just be any time, any place. It's like my own special kind of concert, just really tailored just for me right at that time.
So it's like—if you can imagine the most beautiful music you've ever heard in your life, and that those sounds are right, just then, what you need to hear, that's what's happening to me, and when I work with people that happens as well, so that what needs to be enlivened for them happens in my awareness for their benefit.
Rick: Are the sounds more like tones, or do there seem to be actual words in them?
Suzanne: It varies, it really varies. Again, think of listening to really gorgeous music. Sometimes it's so gorgeous, you can't hear the words, you know what that's like? The music is so breathtaking and just has your awareness so enamored with the beauty of it, you can't even grab onto the words. Sometimes my experiences are like that, where it's all-encompassing and so breathtaking and intoxicating that I can't notice particular details. Other times, I do notice the details, if it seems to serve the situation. Then I can hear specific words and tones and sounds. I've had experiences of Veda since 1973, and it's come in a million different ways.
Rick: At the times when you have heard details or words, do you think that you could have written them down phonetically if you had wanted to and that you could even have perhaps spoken them out, and if you did so, do you think that someone who understood Sanskrit would understand them?
Suzanne: It might be possible. I don't chant the Vedic words for three reasons. One, I'm not trained—there is a whole tradition of pandits who are trained to chant the Vedic hymns to have certain effects, beneficial effects, because they're like pure laws of nature that can help do different things. So I don't chant out loud. Also, I can't carry a tune. (laughs) I'm still working on the melody to happy birthday. I have a residual—a little bit of a southern accent. I was born in Paducah, Kentucky, between two cities called Monkey's Eyebrow and Possum Trot, so there's a little bit of a twang there, so I don't chant out loud.
But to be more specific, actually Maharishi kind of tested me in the beginning, because I was telling him these experiences of Veda and I didn't know what to make of it, and he said “well you should know”—this gets kind of technical here...
Rick: Go ahead.
Suzanne: So bear with me, but he said “you should know the Rishi, Devata and Chhandas associated with the hymn of Veda that you're cognizing.” I thought “well that's impossible,” because what that means is, in the beginning there are certain modes of consciousness, you could call it Rishi or a seer value, that cognize these specific laws of nature, and he said you should be able to know what that is, and the mode it flows in, which is the Chhandas, and all these details, and I thought “yeah right, that's not going to happen.” So the next meditation it was clear. I perceived it, and not only did I perceive it all, all those things that he asked, but I also perceived it in different versions—the Rig Veda version, the Sama Veda version, and so on. So it was after that, I told him that experience, and then he said—and we went for a boat ride, he liked to do that for celebration, and he took everybody, I was on a course at the time in 1976 in Hertenstein, Switzerland...
Rick: Lake Lucerne.
Cognizing the missing roots of the Age of Enlightenment
Suzanne: Yeah, yeah, and we went for a boat ride, and when I walked onto the boat, he said “Suzanne will cognize the missing roots of the age of enlightenment.” I was kind of stunned, but he gave some confirmation also other times as well. Should I mention those?
Rick: Yeah, let me ask you a question and then you can mention those in the context of answering it. Two-part question, one is have you ever met other people who have had experiences like this and second is how has this experience of Vedic cognition benefited you? You can say the other confirmations even if it doesn't fit into the answer to those two questions.
Suzanne: Okay, so what he [Maharishi] said was—later on he said, “other people read Veda in the books, you are experiencing Veda, it's a marvelous experience.” He said everybody would want to have it, and then he said some interesting things. He said “people will be jealous, but you should just live your treasury,” and then he made reference to being a master, which I don't really relate to, but he talked in terms of that and being a teacher and such. But as far as other people, I haven't met anybody that has experiences specifically like I talked about. I have heard of people that say they hear some Vedic sounds, but I have not met anybody. That doesn’t mean that there aren't people, I would hope that there are. I want many people to have experiences that have these benefits, and this will answer your next question, what has it done for me?
Well, it happens actually a lot, I hear these Vedic sounds when I'm walking or exercising or just doing mundane activity actually. It's like bliss in motion. It seems to further stimulate this audible self-ecstasy that flows in waves, and I just happen to hear the details of how that flow happens, so it's extraordinarily blissful. I can have some bad news about something, but then walk, and I hear this soothing sound. It's like a concert tailored for me just at that time, just what I need to experience to make me feel balanced and wonderful. Also, starting around 1976, around that time, I started using these abilities to help other people. It just started happening naturally, because people were coming to me and asking for help and noticing they felt better. So I use it to help other people. I think that's why maybe I experience it, because I don't get carried away with it, it's there or it's not there, but if I can help other people by being kind of at that switchboard of creation to help, then it can be of service, then I am your servant to help you.
Healing from the level of pure knownedge, Veda
Rick: Yeah, a fellow named Richard from Fairfield sent in a question, which I've condensed slightly. He said, what are the mechanics of your healing others, do you somehow enliven Veda in their physiologies? If so, do you enliven different sounds or Vedic hymns for different areas of the physiology, and if so, how do you determine which sounds to enliven?
Suzanne: (laughs) I don't do anything, I don't decide anything, it's not an intellectual process. It's completely natural and spontaneous how I do the healing abilities. What that means is that what is meant to happen happens, and what that means—it could be different in different situations. So for example if I'm talking with him and he needs attention on a certain area, then whatever spontaneously happens in my awareness is what is suitable for that time. It's beyond my little intellect to decide, and that gets into that kind of experience of being at that central switchboard, but I am not the one pulling the switches. That's important to note, because I'm just a little person with a little intellect, but it's on behalf of that person having a direct telephone line with, you could say, the intelligence behind all things that it gets enlivened for that person.
So how does that look? It could be different for different people. It could manifest one way for one person and completely different for another. I could with one person do more kind of quiet healing work, where I'm not talking so much, but it's just on the level of quiet pure consciousness, and they may or may not notice any immediate effects. Or it may be actually that some information pops into my mind, this is something you should try, this is something you might consider doing, this is an area where you're out of sync with nature, and so I might give certain recommendations to him based on intuition, or really being hooked up with cosmic intelligence or divine intelligence or whatever you want to call it. So it just depends on what that person needs, what's best for them, there's no one formula, one size fits all.
Rick: So for example if you're doing the quiet type that you just mentioned, let's say you're working with somebody named Joe in Tucson and you're sitting here in Iowa, would you be kind of like sitting with your eyes closed putting your attention on Joe, or what would you be experiencing subjectively as you were working with that person?
Suzanne: It could vary. I could say, okay Joe, I just want to do some quiet healing work for a few minutes here, and then my awareness just feels—it could vary really, so I couldn't say one specific thing.
Rick: I mean, are you actually becoming aware of something in Joe's physiology or in Joe's psychology...
Suzanne: I might.
Rick: ...or is it more abstract than that?
Suzanne: It could be all the above. It could be some abstract thing, I could just experience on his behalf what needs to be experienced as a catalyst to enliven what would kind reboot his nervous system. If you can imagine a computer and just rebooting and kind of resetting it, it might be some kind of catalytic effect that will help. I find a lot of people are just a tiny bit off with their trajectory in their life, so they're doing a lot of belly flops instead of a beautiful swan dive, and it's very frustrating for them, and sometimes just a little tweaking on the level of consciousness with some quiet healing work can help. Sometimes they have some habits that are interfering with their natural kind of rapport with life and nature and they're off sync, so I might suggest some things for them to do with their routine or something like that, some things to try. It really varies. As far as results go, I could tell you, they vary as well.
Rick: Okay, you want to mention a few examples of those?
Suzanne: Well, some people might not notice anything, some people might not notice anything right away, some people might have some specific result that they want to have, for example let's say your back hurts when you sit for a long period of time and you want me to heal your back so it never hurts.
Rick: You would say don't sit for a long period of time, get up and do something.
Suzanne: Exactly, you read my mind. So I would say there's three things that could happen in that instance. One is your expectations may not be appropriate to what you really need, that your request for healing the back aching from sitting long periods of time, maybe your body is actually being helpful to you and it would be to your best interest to get up every half an hour and move around, so I might point that out to the person. Another scenario could be that they've got some karmic situation going on, that no matter what they do, they've tried everything—and I know there are many people listening that are so frustrated, you're good people and you do your best, you treat people well, you've tried so many things and you're at your wits' end, why do you keep having these challenges and issues, and sometimes it's karma. So that's where having my awareness on the, kind of this cosmic switchboard helps some.
I don't profess to be able to cure any specific disease or crisis. Some people have had miracles; it could be they would have happened anyway. I don't want anybody to have unrealistic expectations. I am there for you in whatever way I can be. There have been some people that...like their leukemia improved. Per their blood count, it showed that they had leukemia, their doctor was recommending chemotherapy and, you know, maybe even surgery and radiation and all that, and they did some healing work with me, and then gradually, over many months of regular healing work with me, then per their blood tests and their feeling level they got better. But I had one client that came to me that had cancer. I said I think you ought to get the surgery your doctors are recommending. She didn't do it, and she died later on.
So I don't know if I can heal every situation, but there is always some benefit there, and in that way I can help. But if for example you come to me and you say you are tired and you don't want to feel tired. Well, I might realize that you're staying up really late, and no matter what I do, if you're staying up late and you're eating heavy foods and eating late and a lot of excess screen time before you go to sleep and you're not sleeping well, and then you expect me to cure all your problems, I think we need to be a little more realistic. And so what I do is I do help people that have addictions to bad habits.
Rick: Ah, good, let me ask a question here. A new Facebook friend of mine named Rahul Kulkarni from Bangalore asks “what is a good long-term holistic and sustainable solution to living with an addictive personality?”
Suzanne: Well, right away you've got the first one, knowing that you have one. I realized when I was young, looking around the people that I knew, that I could have a tendency to have addictions, so I decided to choose healthy addictions. So I'm addicted to exercise, and I'm addicted to meditating, and I'm addicted to healthy food and going to bed early and being more rested.
Rick: Yeah, I'm the same way, I always say obsessive compulsive disorder can be your friend, you know.
Suzanne: You use... (laughter) ...well, I agree with you, you use your tendencies to your advantage. So I would say to you, let's talk, and I will show you some ways to use your specific tendencies to your advantage, because you're unique and it's going to be a little different what I would say to you compared to someone else. But having said that, there are some basic steps to help with addiction. I could cover a few of those now, or we could do that maybe some other time, because that might take a little while. I don't know, what do you think?
Rick: Maybe we should keep moving if it's going to take a little while. Maybe you'd want to do a talk about it in a webinar or something.
Suzanne: Yeah, maybe we could talk about it in a webinar.
Rick: Yeah. What you said kind of reminds me of Aikido, you know, where you use your opponent's strength to your advantage, you just sort of do some subtle little thing and his own strength defeats him, so maybe with addictions you could somehow look at it that way.
Suzanne: Well, exactly. See, the way I look at addictions, think of it as a form of energy, okay? Right now it's going in a negative direction, let's say you've got a hose and the hose of water is pouring into the foundation of your house, that's not such a good thing, you don't want your house to get flooded. But if you take that same hose of water—the analogy here is the force of your addiction, the energy behind it—and you put that hose of water in your garden, then you're using that same energy and transforming it into something positive, watering your garden instead of flooding your house. In the same way, you can, if you know how to, take the force of your addictions and use them to your benefit so that you're addicted to good habits, but there's some tricks you need to learn first.
Rick: P.T. Barnum's strategy, leave them wanting more.
Suzanne: (laughs) It takes a while to really get into that.
The hymns love the knower
Rick: I want to steer back a little bit to the Vedic thing—two part thing here. There's that Vedic quote, which you reminded me of, “yo jagara tam richa kamayante,” “he who is awake, the richas seek him out,” or we could say “the richas zoom forth in his awareness.” You mentioned that the last line, “kamayante,” contains the word “kama,” which means love, so one interpretation might be “he who is awake, the hymns of the Veda love him.” You mentioned that they love you and you love them. So comment on that and then I'm going to ask you a related question that came in from someone in Mumbai.
Suzanne: (smiles) I was so thrilled when I looked at the translation of what “kamayante” means. That's a Vedic word, and “kama” means love. I had never seen it translated as love. It's been translated in different ways, “he who is awake, the laws of nature—pure knowledge—they seek him out” or “they zoom forth in his awareness,” but it really is “they love him.” That's my experience, is this pure knowledge that is so audible and enjoyable and ecstatic for me to experience, it's lovable, and it's like loving me. There's actually maybe an experience that I could read to you that would really explain this a little bit.
Rick: While you’re looking for it, I'll make a comment that I think will enable people to relate to this point more, which is that when you're really feeling in tune, when you have maybe been doing spiritual practice for a while, you've had some sort of degree of awakening, you tend to feel like, you know, you get up on the right side of bed every day, so to speak. Things go your way, you don't have a rain cloud hanging over your head—you know, there's that song that Cream did a rendition of, “born under a bad sign,” you know, “if it wasn't for bad luck I wouldn't have no luck at all.” I mean some people's lives go that way, and other people's lives seem to be more charmed, everything just kind of flows and goes their way. I regard that—I don't know if it's richas or not, but I regard that as support of the, you could say the devas, the angels, the support of those impulses of intelligence which govern creation—you're getting more in tune with them, so they're more in tune with you and they tend to be supportive of you.
Suzanne: Yeah, I love this point, Rick, because actually it reminds me of two stories, and they're more in terms of rapport with nature. Maybe I'll just tell those. As you know, five years ago or seven years ago or whatever, you asked me to do this interview, and I said “no, I really don't want to, I'm too busy and I just want to focus on people here” and all of that stuff, because what I found is when I do anything public then I get inundated, and I don't like to say no. But as I mentioned, since then I've figured out ways to help people by doing free group healings and things. So you brought up a couple years later and a couple years later, you know, maybe we ought to consider doing this interview, and I said “okay, nature, tell me, give me a sign, make it totally clear whether I should do this interview,” because it kept popping up in my mind I should do it and I kept resisting, because I like being anonymous. I really like being low-key.
The indigenous cultures and rapport with nature
So what happens, broad daylight, a beaver starts walking down the sidewalk to our front door, and I just happened to walk outside right at that time, and he's going up the front steps of our house. I've never seen a beaver anywhere in my life, and to see one walking up in broad daylight, coming down the sidewalk as if to deliver a special message just to me. When he saw me, then he stopped right on the front steps, and I have a very amateur video of this, because I just by luck happened to have an old iPod with me. So I took a totally unprofessional video of this beaver, and my cat is on the front porch, and he comes over and he looks at the beaver, and the beaver's looking at him and me, and he's just sitting there for a while, and then after a while I moved. And then he went over and he started munching on some of the leftover flowers in the garden—it was fall time, so the garden looked pretty spent, but he found some flowers to munch on, and I'm just standing there about five feet away, and he's comfortable enough to have dinner, stay for dinner like a special guest. Then after that I walked closer to him, and then he just decided to walk away, and then he walked off towards some fields, and I thought well that was interesting.
The indigenous cultures had a rapport with nature. Like the Native Americans, they have this tradition that if an animal does something unusual, uncharacteristic, that's a message and they're there to support you, they call it power animals, for example, so that species is there as a whole to support you and lend you their qualities. So I thought, “what are the qualities of a beaver?” Industrious and busy, all right, they're known for being the busiest creature in creation. That is one of their main characteristics, “busy as a beaver.” In fact there's a verb “to beaver.” It means to be busy. So I thought well this is a perfect answer and very clear, because my whole hesitation to doing this interview, I didn't want to be any busier. So I got the answer, “it's okay to be busy, we'll lend you support of nature to be busy, and to help other people.”
So I thought this would be a nice experience to share with some Native Americans, and I ran into one by accident. Just in the parking lot, I was helping someone with their car that wasn't working, and right next to me I saw a man who was getting into his truck. I wouldn't have been there had I not stopped to help this person, and this man, I just had this feeling to ask him “are you a Native American?” I mean, he didn't look like a typical Native American would look, but he said “yes, I am of the Navajo tribe,” and we had this wonderful talk about my experience, and also he shared with me his experiences, as well as this rapport and feedback from nature. That happens with me that there's a synchronicity, like I get support from the environment, I get omens, I see signs and so forth.
This experience went further. I was wondering, did this beaver have a family, because they typically are very family oriented, and I wanted to know which direction he went, because I wanted to maybe put some food out or something, and I got the feeling he went to the west. So that afternoon, after meditation, I looked outside—and this is also posted on my YouTube video, you can go to YouTube and search for Suzanne Stryker, and there's this little video I haven't told anybody about, this is the first time I'm really telling anybody about it, but it shows the beaver, it shows my cat looking at the beaver, and it shows these clouds that I saw. There were three clouds that were in the profile of three beavers, like a mother, a father beaver and a juvenile beaver, pointing to the west in the direction that I had envisioned. So that's kind of how my life is, there's this kind of synchronicity, rapport with nature.
I'll tell one other really short one if you like, would you like to hear my owl experience?
Rick: Sure. O-W-L?
Suzanne: Yeah, yeah.
Rick: That’s funny. I just sent out a couple of owl cartoons this morning to my humor list…. One owl was standing in the tree and he kept saying “me, me, me,” and the caption was “narcissistic owl”...
and the other was one owl was standing there and he was saying “whom, whom, whom,” and the other owl was sitting next to him saying “oh brother, of all the owls in the forest, I ended up having to get stuck with an English major.” (laughter)
Suzanne: So here's another example. I was concerned about a situation, so I said “all right nature, give me some feedback here.” So what happened, I walked out to my car, it was dusk, and there were two large owls in a tree, about say 6-10 feet away, and they were hooting. So I hooted back, and one flew away and he hooted, and the other stayed there and was silent. So the silent one was the one that I learned from, the one that did not give a hoot. The message to me was to not give a hoot about that situation I was concerned with, and it's really sweet that if I start to feel concerned about someone or something like that, then often I'll hear an owl hooting, and I'll be reminded not to give a hoot. Because worrying can be counterproductive, and some of you listening have an imagination and a tendency to worry and negative emotions, and there's some things that we can do to help you transform that tendency, so you can use it to your benefit and actually help heal yourself instead of being bogged down by this worrying tendency and this tendency to project “bad things might happen” and so forth. We can transform that to help you so that you can use that to help yourself.
Name and form
Rick: I want to come back to what you just said in a second, maybe we can talk about karma a little bit, but I just wanted to get in this question from KP in Mumbai, because I thought it was kind of a good one. It relates to this whole Veda thing that we've been talking about. KP asks, “Regarding the sounds that you hear, is it like when you look at a tree, you hear a sound for the tree? According to tantrics, each form has a sound, and Veda is some kind of creative sound which will later become form, form of the universe.”
Suzanne: Okay, that's a very perceptive question. If you were to distill everything in manifestation, every object, every thing, every person, everything, one way to describe it would be on the level of sound, that there are waves—you can explain it on a quantum mechanical level perhaps, probably better than I could, but everything is made of waves and particles and vibrations, and there's a sound to those vibrations. So you can be aware of the sound level. What happens with me is, just naturally, without thinking, if something is out of tune, if there's some imbalance, then the awareness goes to that and kind of—you could say there's a sense of resonance. If you know the principle of resonance, you pluck a guitar string and the other guitar will resonate. Well, you could think of what I do as plucking the strings of the pure resonance of what is the pure, unaltered, unstressed-out state of the person, to reboot it and set it to a natural, holistic, balanced state. So that answers part of your question, I think.
Rick: Part of it. I think he's kind of asking about the name and form issue, that every form in creation has a sound quality associated with it—apple, let's talk about apples again. So you take an apple, and we call it “apple,” the Russians call it “yabloko,” the Spanish call it “manzana,” I think, but according to the Vedic tradition an apple has a sort of vibratory quality to it, which has a corresponding sound—those vibrations if transmitted in the right way would come out as a sound, and if you're at the right level of consciousness you can actually theoretically manifest an apple if you knew what to do with those sounds that represent or that give rise to apples.
Suzanne: Yes, I would agree that that is correct. What happens with me is that I don't manipulate though. So when I help someone, it really depends on what they need. So they may think they want an apple, but I am not going to manifest an apple for them if that is not in their best interest.
Rick: Yeah, they might say “I want to be rich”—you're not going to try to make them rich, you're just going to tune into what they actually need, which might be something else.
Suzanne: Yeah, so I'm kind of not the orchestrator really, and that's a good thing. (laughter) Because on an individual intellectual level, I don't know what's best for the person. So that's why—if you can imagine a power tool and it's plugged in, then it automatically does its thing. So I just kind of plug in the power tool and nature takes over. So that's the best way I could answer that, I think.
Rick: Yeah, that sounds good. So was there something you were going to come back to in a minute after I asked that guy's question?
We can affect others
Suzanne: Well, if you want me to read an experience of, so forth.... Also, you know, I think it's good to be practical, and I think it's good to be skeptical and question everything that everybody tells you, as I said, including myself. I like people to be self-sufficient. One of the things that was interesting with the research that was done on me was to see if by mere intention I could affect matter. Dr. Larry Farwell did some studies. He has done research for the CIA and the FBI. He's been on “60 Minutes” and all the major networks. What he found in experiments that he did—and has been published in journals, presented, and also in his book How Consciousness Commands Matter—is that by mere intention you can affect matter. I've also been in some group studies that Lynne McTaggart has done, and also, I would say, compiled—and other people, many, many other people, have done—in her book called The Intention Experiment. So if you doubt that by mere intention you can have an effect, I would suggest you look at her book, The Intention Experiment.
They've done research on everything from people having an intention to have an effect on inanimate objects, to gerbils, to algae, to people and everything in between. What they have found over and over and over again and she delineates in the book, and I'm in some of the studies, although my name's not mentioned, is that a human can affect—have an effect, a very concrete, measurable effect. This is what Dr. Farwell found in his research, and the significance was, it was like 250 times greater than that which is necessary to consider it to be statistically significant, so it was quite through the roof, and you can—there's a whole chapter on the study that was done. So we can affect other people.
What my desire is, my desire, since everybody is different, everybody has their own unique talents, that we find what those are, help develop those, so we can help each other, because I see us all as this interconnected, one huge cosmic body. So I want you to be fully developed with your talents and happy and healthy, because you will help your friends and your family, and then that way we can have a more harmonious society. I think actually with the internet, for example, we have the capabilities of helping more people in a broad perspective than, we never have been able to before. So I think that the possibility of having a better time for our world is more possible than ever. Even though there's a lot going on, I know.
Rick: Oh yeah. I mean there are technologies which could wipe us out and there are technologies which can save us, and I think ultimately what happens with those technologies is a matter of what happens with the technology of consciousness that we utilize or don't.
Suzanne: Yeah, I would agree. So that's why I want people to be well rested, number one. I ask everybody as much as possible to take as good care of yourself as possible, because everything you think and feel and do does have an effect, like a stone thrown into a pond will ripple, the effects. It's like everything we do—like a cosmic soup, we're all throwing everyday with our thoughts and feelings and actions into this cosmic soup from which we all eat (laughter), so we want to be putting good stuff in there. So please take good care of yourself for my sake, and for Rick's sake, and for all your friends' sake. If you have addictions, find help, consult anybody you can. You don't have to consult me, I'm there for you if you need me, but you can try a friend. Sometimes being accountable helps, find a buddy, see if that helps for you. Try programs that are in your locality if you have an addiction. Don't give up, we can turn it around.
Rick: Yeah. Here's a question that came in from Michael Moran in Dublin, and the Pope is in Dublin today, so I'm honored that Michael would be watching this rather than hanging out with the Pope.
Suzanne: My mother met the Pope actually....
Rick: This one, this Pope?
Suzanne: No. It was from her father, who was well known for doing wonderful things as a physician and helping people, working in refugee camps.
Rick: In Turkey....
Experiencing pure knowledge, Veda, in different ways
Rick: Yeah, I remember that full story. Anyway, here's what Michael wants to know. “Can direct acquaintance with these Vedic impulses of knowledge you speak of come in the visual form also,” and I was also wondering that.
Suzanne: Yeah, yeah, good question. So my experiences of Veda come in different ways. Sometimes there's an audio component, meaning I hear these beautiful, luxurious sounds, and/or there can be a visual component where I actually see the waveform, it can be simple or complex. Sometimes I see structures, mandalas or basic karmic—depending on what I'm focusing on, if it's with someone I might see some karmic things going on there, I can see the fabric of the universe, it can be a holistic experience—and this is something that's a subtle but very important point, my experiences of oneness and Veda are a holistic experience. For example, some people might have heard a recording of Vedic chanting. Now, the analogy here of what I hear—you've heard a recording of the ocean waves, you know that's different from actually being there in the ocean and feeling the warmth of the sunshine, feeling the water on your feet, smelling the salt, tasting it, and the sounds of the seagulls in the ocean, so for me Veda is a holistic experience. It’s like an ideal vacation, only I don't have to get away, you know, it's wherever I am, it's my ideal getaway. So it's like—it can be multi-dimensional, there can be sound, there can be sight, it can be on the feeling level, pure knowingness, so it can be any of those things, but it's like whatever needs to happen, that's what is suited for me right at that time, like that concert tailored for me just at that time.
Rick: Okay. So you were going to read an experience.
Suzanne reads her experience, “My Happy Feet Can Sing”
Suzanne: So this is an experience I call “Happy Feet Can Sing,” “My Happy Feet Can Sing.”
I love to walk, wiggle and move. For me, moving is a magnifier. I blossom as bliss in motion, overflowing devotion, oneness and supreme love. I feel like a boat moving through layers of holy happiness that grace this wonderful place. Wherever I walk it seems like I step into a lake of luminous ecstasy that upon contact comes to life and quivers with bliss. Experiences range from delicate jello-like quivers to enormous earthquakes of ecstasy that rock the universe with undulating euphoria. I feel so inebriated. I am surprised that I don't fall over or melt into pure absolute.
As I amble along, it feels like my happy feet caress the ground with appreciation and love, and that feels normal. Now what seems a bit unusual is it feels like the ground, Mother Nature, is loving me back herself. It's like she massages my feet each time they touch the ground and caresses and kneads love into my soles, and that would be s-o-l-e and s-o-u-l. So this mutual caressing and adoring makes walking feel like a gift from God, as if I'm a walking yagya, a secret ceremony.
Sometimes as I stroll along, when my foot meets the ground, it's like long-lost lovers finally meet, finally reunite after lifetimes of searching. Radha finally finds her beloved Krishna and my self meets my divine Self. I cry happy tears inside with this dance of love. I find all this play, all creation in myself, and that feels natural, and the miracle seems to be that I also experience my Lord within myself. I don't know how imperfection can experience perfection, but I do, and I love it. This divine dance comes complete with music. As I mosey along, melodious humming hymns, soothing Vedic sounds murmur sweetly in my awareness. These waves of holy hymns are pure and glorious and beyond human. I am listening to perfection. These experiences nourish and support me like nothing else does. They are my real sustenance and food. They penetrate into the dark folds of life and find sweetness there within.
So that's “My Happy Feet Can Sing.”
Rick: Nice. Well, here's a good final question. This came in from someone named Elena who lives here in Fairfield. “If you were to list the top three things humans have incarnated to learn, what would those be?”
Suzanne: I would think that would be a good question to ponder and write about for a long time, and I don't know if I can do justice in a snap to this, but I would think learning to appreciate who you are instead of trying to be who you think you should be and who other people think you should be would be a very important thing. To discover your real talents, your real dharma and destiny in life would be paramount, because so many people are trying to be something they are not meant to be, and so they are as if swimming upstream and fighting against the natural flow of life, like I was initially resisting these Vedic sounds that were spontaneously coming into my awareness. I was resisting having this interview with you, and it turns out to be a totally delightful, joyful experience. So learning how to be in the present and to be balanced I think would be also a useful thing, how to attune yourself to nature so you're not struggling, but instead of doing those belly flops you're able to do beautiful swan dives.
I would just invite people that have such good questions like this to go to my Facebook page Reveal Wisdom and post these things, and I would like to hear other people's answers to this, because I am here to learn and to serve, and I think we can together develop our talents and help each other. You offer something and your listeners offer something, and so together as a family we can fill in the missing gaps, the missing puzzle pieces to our life. So we can together ascend, but we need to reach out and sometimes ask for help, and sometimes we need to help each other, and that will help you also with these karmic knots—if you help other people, then often that can help reduce some of the repercussions of the karmic overload that you may be experiencing.
Rick: Nice. Great, well, I'll link to your Facebook page from your page on Batgap and people can post those questions there, and I'll link to your website also and have a little bio there and stuff, so people can get in touch with you. So I'm glad you decided to do this. This was a lot of fun.
Suzanne: Yes, I really enjoyed it. You know, I've always enjoyed talking to you, and I would just hope that all these people that are going to be listening to this, that you learn how to balance yourself so that your real nature can shine forth and so that you can just be happy all the time and spread that inner joy and happiness that I'm experiencing, so we can be happy together and we can love each other and then we can love everybody as if they're as dear to us as our own self, and then that way we can uplift our society and our world—because it needs help.
Rick: Yeah, and that might sound kind of pollyannaish or idealistic or something, but I think it's very real. It's something that can really become an actuality for anybody individually, and for the world through enough individuals experiencing it.
Suzanne: I think that now more than ever people are becoming ripe to really be able to have a significant improvement on their friends and family. I would not underestimate the power of your own thoughts and feelings and actions on others, that you can have a positive effect. You might need to learn a few little tricks, but they can be very simple—because I get these emails all the time from people, they want healings for their mother or their girlfriend or their child or whatever, and I will do my best to help, but I think also you underestimate your power to be a healer, and you can learn to be a healer. It is possible to heal yourself and to heal your friends, it's innate in nature. You're already doing healing work right now as we're talking, your body's healing itself, breathing, heartbeat, it's balancing itself, so you have that potential to help yourself and others.
Rick: Good, okay, well thanks Suzanne, it's been a lot of fun.
So I've been speaking with Suzanne Stryker, my old friend. A few general points, I mean people listening this, most of them will know that this is an ongoing series, I mentioned that at the beginning. If you'd like to be notified of future ones, you can subscribe on YouTube, and I think there's like different levels of subscription on YouTube, there's one kind where YouTube definitely lets you know when something new is posted, so if you want that—I mean I haven't even tried that, but someone told me that—do that. Also, I send out an email every week whenever I post a new interview, so if you'd like to receive those, there's a link on batgap.com for signing up. There's also an audio podcast of this, if you like to listen to things while jogging or driving or whatever, there's a place on batgap to sign up for that. There's also an upcoming interviews page where you can see who's scheduled.
Next week is Jean Houston, who is a fascinating woman, she's gotten to know everybody from Eleanor Roosevelt to Buckminster Fuller to Margaret Mead and Ronald Reagan and, you know, Walter Winchell and Charlie McCarthy and all kinds of people, so that's going to be an interesting discussion.
Suzanne: I went to a party with Buckminster Fuller, but that's another story, maybe I could tell it some other time.
Rick: Oh yeah, he was reputed to be a real party animal. (laughter)
Suzanne: We had a delightful time together, shortly after I had actually taken a walk with a famous poet Allen Ginsberg, but we'll talk about that some other time.
Rick: Yeah, small world. So thanks Suzanne, and thank you all for listening or watching and we'll see you next time.
Suzanne: Thank you.