136. Hazel Courteney on Understanding a Spiritual Awakening

Journalist and author Hazel Courteney describes her spiritual awakening and the science it led her to.

countdown_to_coherence_hazel_courtneyJoin Skeptiko host Alex Tsakiris for an interview with Hazel Courteney, author of, Countdown to Coherence.  During the interview Ms. Courteney discusses how we discern the authenticity of a spiritual awakening:


Alex Tsakiris: I don’t care if this guy who claims to have walked with Jesus in a former life said a lot of great things that resonated with your beliefs. He is not credible by the standards that you normally apply as a journalist. If you find a doctor, and you find him to be a quack, not credible, you don’t say, “Yeah, but he was right about these three other things.” You say, “He could have easily picked that up from some credible person.”

That is the only means we have of sifting through this tremendous amount of information that we’re flooded with, spiritual information, technical information, scientific information. We have to be the filter, and in particular we’re asking you, Hazel, to be our filter. I just don’t see where you’re really accepting that challenge.

Hazel Courteney: I go back to my statement that in every walk of life you have to discern what people’s motives are for doing what they do, whether it be spiritual or otherwise. I always say to spiritual people, “If you want to be with people that are like you and want to grow spiritually, obviously you join spiritual groups. Some of them resonate with you and others don’t. If you don’t like the way people are acting or behaving, then you move away until you find a group that you resonate with.”

But that goes true in all walks of life. I mean, I find it very frustrating that you’re asking me to give definitive ways of discerning. We’re in the middle of a process here. We’re in the middle of a huge leap forward in consciousness and so there will always be people who say all the stuff we’ve talking about is absolute nonsense. And there will be those who might be a bit more open-minded. But at the end of the day, everybody has the choice to make up their own mind. I’m not asking anyone to hand their power to anyone.

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Today we welcome journalist and author, Hazel Courteney, to Skeptiko. Since 1998, Hazel has been on a spiritual journey visiting and reporting on scientists, researchers, gurus, and spiritual teachers of all sorts. She’s chronicled her adventures in her books, including her latest, Countdown to Coherence. Hazel, welcome and thank you for joining me today on Skeptiko.

Hazel Courteney: Thank you for having me on Skeptiko, Alex.

Alex Tsakiris: Let’s talk about that because I really have to commend you for doing this interview. I’ve been very direct about some of the problems that I have with some of the material in your book, and you insisted still on coming on and doing this interview. So it ought to be interesting, and thanks for being here.

Hazel Courteney: Well, not at all. I just think, Alex, that the main thing is for people to keep an open mind and I always tell people to find their own truth. Everyone on the planet is entitled to their own opinions. I was just a busy journalist with the Sunday Times in London. It’s the U.K.’s finest broadsheet. I was an alternative health writer so after I went through my experience, which was mind-boggling, I started looking for scientists, cutting-edge scientists who could help me.

And when one scientist tells you that the miracles, as it were, that I used to perform are normal, you think they’re perhaps off the wall. But when you hear it again and again and again from various highly qualified scientists, highly accredited I should say, then you start to think, “There’s something happening here.” The body of evidence for the people who want to take note of it on the science of miracles is growing at such a rate that people like Professor Gary Schwartz, Professor Frederick Travis, William Tiller, and many others I’ve featured in the book are now quite willing to stick their heads way over the parapet.

Alex Tsakiris: Right with you 100%. However, once we reach over that parapet, jump over the chasm and accept that maybe things in this world aren’t exactly the way that they seem in our normal consciousness, do we have to let our guard down? I mean, as a journalist, do you go through the same kind of vetting process in order to determine who’s for real when we step into this spiritual realm, into this miracle realm that you’re talking about?

Hazel Courteney: I try not to judge people until I hear the whole story. My story was fairly profound so I know that one of the comments that you’d made earlier on was about Gary Renard, who I went to Stockholm to interview. I actually met the guy. First of all, I went through the experience which I hope we can talk about at some point. Then I wrote the story about it which was the first book. And then I went on to meet lots of scientists and I gleaned a lot of evidence on sixth sense.

I knew that the spirit world or whatever you want to call it was ready for me to start this third book but I was looking for some kind of hook to hang it on. Somebody told me to read Gary Renard’s book. It’s called, The Disappearance of the Universe. Gary was basically stating that he has been in contact with some other worldly, enlightened beings for the last 18 years. They have told him that the entire universe as we know it is little more than a hologram; that we basically need to forgive each other a lot more; and at some point this universe will actually disappear.

So when I started to read all this stuff, I thought, “Crikey! This is really amazing.” But please remember, I’d had this experience and I have watched enlightened people pixelate in front of me so that I could no longer see them. So it sets you on this journey of how is it possible for us to materialize, dematerialize, from this reality? Is the world really a hologram?

So I would say I try and keep an open mind. I certainly didn’t knock Gary Renard because I disagreed with a lot of what he said, but I also agreed with a lot of what he was saying. So I set out to find out for myself whether all this stuff is real or not.

Alex Tsakiris: But Hazel, you’ve just thrown out so many topics there it would be hard to pull them all apart. But are we really in a position where we have to decide whether we agree with Gary Renard or disagree with Gary Renard? I mean, don’t we have to be in both worlds? You’ve just alluded to, and I’ll try and get to some of those other points, but the fantastic, unbelievable, personal spiritual experiences that you’ve had, and they are remarkable and I think they’re important to talk about because you’re here to testify and put your personal credibility behind the reality.

But when we look at somebody like Gary Renard or we look at somebody like Sai Baba, who’s featured in one of your previous books, we also have to use the normal vetting rational critical-thinking skills that we have in this world. And it’s that challenge of straddling both worlds that I think is most interesting but is also most needed.

Now in the case of Gary Renard, a nice guy, great guy, read his book. I found the book to be very profound and spiritually resonating with a lot of things that I believe, but at the same time I had Gary on the show. I had one of his critics on the show.

It seems clear as you could easily find out if you did the work, that he has plagiarized a large portion of the work that he claims to be channeled material. It’s clearly plagiarized. It’s not even very creatively plagiarized, and yet he claims that this is channeled material from the Gospel of Thomas. Well, we have several translations of the Gospel of Thomas and we can trace all of his material to one very specific translation. He’s clearly plagiarizing this material. So what do we do with that?

Hazel Courteney: You learn to discern. I think that you have to learn to trust your own gut and so I didn’t read Gary’s book with a view to was any of it plagiarized…

Alex Tsakiris: Why not? Why didn’t you?

Hazel Courteney: No, no, no, hang on. You’re missing a little bit of the point here. The point is I took it that he had had an experience and I wasn’t picking apart every single word. I was trying to-some of the subjects that he dealt with, like are we a hologram? Are our futures set?

Alex Tsakiris: But hold on, Hazel. Let me step in right there. Are you credible? Are you believable?

Hazel Courteney: Am I believable?

Alex Tsakiris: Yes. You would say yes, you are and then you would give me all these things that would back it up; that you have this reputation, your credibility’s never been called into question. If you were found to be plagiarizing large portions of your book, lying, perpetrating fraud, would you still be as credible as you are now? Would we still read you the same way? Would be still accept what you’re saying in the same way? Yet you seem to be applying a different set of criteria for Gary Renard because he’s talking about spiritual matters.

Hazel Courteney: We’re having a big discussion here about Gary Renard. The overview of his book   was–to me, it raised many fascinating questions. I didn’t judge the man. I just wanted to find out for myself whether some of the subjects that he was raising, they fascinated me after what I’d been through. So we seem to be here judging Gary Renard. I don’t know the guy that well. I spent an hour with him, interviewing him.

I just took out from that interview what felt okay and correct to me. I didn’t go into the book in any huge depth because I have my own journey to go on. So I say to people whether they believe my story or not that’s their choice. You listen to your heart. You do your own research. You make up your own mind. That’s what free will’s all about.

So Gary was just the initial starting point of this story and then I moved away from Gary’s work and what he’s talking about because that’s his thing, it’s not necessarily my thing. But it’s just that some of the things he brought up I found fascinating and I thought, “Wow, this is great. So I’m just going to go off and look into this.” But I’m afraid I don’t even recall reading about the Gospel of St. Thomas so I’m sorry if I just didn’t read about that at all.

Alex Tsakiris: But it seems like we’re now not talking about the point. The point is credibility. The point is how do we establish not your credibility-let’s leave that aside for a minute. We’re now bombarded when we cross into this other realm, as your book leads us into understanding or at least being willing to explore the impossible, the incredible, which I think is a journey that a lot of us are interested in making. We have to bring with it all our powers of discernment as you said.

Hazel Courteney: Absolutely. And you have to…

Alex Tsakiris: But you haven’t discerned whether Gary Renard is legitimate, is credible. And I think that’s central to your story and you’re brushing over it as if well, it doesn’t really matter if he’s a fake. It doesn’t matter if Sai Baba is a fake…

Hazel Courteney: Hang on just a minute. Just a minute. I went to see Sai Baba with a totally open mind. I have interviewed and met many so-called enlightened men and women but I sat in a room with Sai Baba and I remember at one point I was manifesting ash. I didn’t know how I was doing that. And so I then set about finding scientists who do know how such phenomena are possible. So I didn’t judge Sai Baba. I’m not into the game of judgment.

What I was was-I mean, have you been to Sai Baba or have you met Mother Meera? Have you met several enlightened masters? Because when you’re in the presence of pure, unconditional love you understand it. You feel it in your heart. You feel it in your whole body. And wherever you get great goodness you also get great darkness coming up to meet it. And so I didn’t judge Sai Baba. Is he a fake or is he this or is he that? I just went and enjoyed the experience. And then I made up my own mind.

Alex Tsakiris: You made up your own mind regarding what, though? I mean, this is such a challenging topic. It is the central topic. How do we evaluate these experiences? How do we judge these…

Hazel Courteney: Well…

Alex Tsakiris: …hold on-there’s really a central issue here. One of the conclusions we come to from reading your books and from understanding the science is that this reality that we have is not exactly as firmly planted in reality as we know. We live in more of a consensus reality. So we have our own reality and then we have the reality that we share with other people. But in that shared reality things like fakery, fraud, they do happen and we do have to be on the watch for them so to just say…

Hazel Courteney: Yeah, of course we do, but…

Alex Tsakiris: Sai Baba has proven to be a fake. I mean, he’s a conjurer. His stage magician tricks aren’t even that good. So let’s say he does have some spiritual skills. I don’t know if he does or not, but I can’t go there because I can’t get past…

Hazel Courteney: But have you been there? Have you met the man?

Alex Tsakiris: I have not. I have not but…

Hazel Courteney: Well then how can you judge, Alex? I mean, the thing is…

Alex Tsakiris: Because he’s clearly a fake. He’s clearly a fake…

Hazel Courteney: Oh for goodness sake…

Alex Tsakiris: He might be a spiritual adept and a fake but he’s certainly a fake. So I don’t…

Hazel Courteney: Hang on. You’re making really black-and-white statements here. You’ve never even met the man. Can I just briefly tell you a bit about my story because I think we need to bring this into context. And then you’ll understand the space that I’m coming from.

Alex Tsakiris: Please, go ahead. I love your books. I love the story about the spiritual emergency. I think it’s a critical, critical topic and that’s why I was so excited initially to interview you, because it pains me to think that there are people out there who experience these spiritual emergencies, these awakenings, and don’t know what to do with it and wind up being medicated or wind up in some institution. It’s a horrible thought. Please share that part of your story.

Hazel Courteney: Okay, well look, I was as we’ve already mentioned, I was a journalist with the Sunday Times. I had a weekly alternative health column and I lived in London part of the week and then a place called Birmingham, which is in the middle of England on weekends. I walked into Harrods. It’s a very famous store in London on April 8, 1998 which was just before Easter.

As I went into the turnstile in the bread hall, for a few seconds it would not go forward and it wouldn’t go back. In those few seconds-now remember, I went in there to buy Easter eggs for the family and a loaf of bread. So I wasn’t exactly in an ashram here. So in those few seconds I had what’s known as a spontaneous Kundalini awakening. I had these massive tremors pulsing up my body. I thought my heart was going to burst. I thought my head was going to burst. And within three or four seconds the turnstile moved forward and I could hear a voice shouting in my head that I knew had not come from me, Hazel.

Obviously I rang the doctor. My driver got me to my doctor within 15 minutes. I honestly believed, Alex, that I had minutes to live. And if you have ever met anyone who’s had a real close shave with death, it really focuses your mind. So whilst I was busy giving my daughter and my husband messages, he put the heart monitors on me and played my heartbeat down the phone to a cardiologist. As he was doing that, I realized that I could feel what the doctor was thinking in my head. So I then related back to my doctor what he was thinking and I also told him that my heart rate was fine, which he concurred once he’d spoken to the cardiologist.

So now I’m not quite sure who’s more shocked, whether it’s me or my doctor. Then he said, “Look, you’ve had a big shock. You really need to go home.” He sent me home and I realized that my eyes had changed color and I looked a lot younger, considering the enormous shock I’d had. And my husband, the doctor called my husband.

My husband came home and I started blurting out things to my husband like, “Look into my eyes and you’ll know who I am.” And I had this incredible energy pulsing through my eyes. I didn’t know in that moment, Alex, who the ultimate “I” was. I don’t know how I got through that first night.

In the end, I rang a spiritual friend who’s a naturopath. He said, “You’ve having some kind of spiritual awakening. You’d better eat sugar to ground yourself,” which I did. Then the next day, I found that I wasn’t being-it’s really hard to explain but I wasn’t able to eat any physical food. I started to get a fever, a tremendous fever alternating with intense shivering. I got this voice talking at me in my head that I knew wasn’t coming from me.

I started to be pretty telepathic, actually. I could feel what people were thinking. I could sense negative energies. In the end there was this incredible snowstorm taking place. By this time, it’s getting towards Easter Saturday and a doctor friend from London, because my intuition told me that I couldn’t call a normal, orthodox medical doctor because he might have me committed.

And I underwent an unbelievable near-death experience on the Saturday of Easter, which of course, is the traditional time of death and rebirth. I was on the ceiling of our bedroom, looking down on this-God, this thing below me. I mean, I’d lost a lot of weight. I had this terrible fever.

I’d taken to my bed and I basically moved from this world to another world, triggered by shock because one minute I was just going about my work as a journalist and the next, it was as if, Alex, I’d been plugged into this ultimate supercomputer of this field of intelligence so anything I needed to know in the moment I needed to know it, I knew. I could see other realities. I could see people as beings of energy. I could see their potential futures. I was looking into their souls. So it was as if no one could lie to me and I could not have told a lie. It would have been a physical impossibility.

It was a huge experience. It took about six months for me to ground it and like kind of sort my life out because I was affecting and being effected by electrical equipment. I mean, it was a massive experience and as it started to calm down, let’s say, I then decided to go on this journey to seek out cutting-edge scientists who could explain to me what the hell was going on.

So when you start talking to people like Stanislav Grof about a spiritual  emergency, which is when a spiritual awakening becomes a physical crisis, you begin to understand that many, many people are going through this. So then I wanted to know what causes it. And of course, Stan enlightened me. Then I went on to find people like Professor Frederick Travis at the Center for Cognition and Consciousness in Iowa, who has published 30 or 40 papers.

They have validated in science the difference between a truly enlightened man or woman and the rest of us. It’s known as total brain coherence. This is when the left side of the brain, the right side of the brain, and in fact the whole brain is working in a synchronized fashion.

I went on to take part in the afterlife experiments with Professor Gary Schwartz at the University of Arizona. I went on to meet people like-I think he’s a brilliant physicist-William Tiller, who’s now 80, who’s been researching consciousness and matter at Stanford for 40 years. He helped me to understand how we are all capable of accessing other realities and coupling with the other realities and how we can all potentially affect what I started to call miracles.

And the journey has gone on and on and on for 12 years. So three books later, I could say to you that I’m really not that worried about Gary Renard per se, in the sense that he’s got his own journey. People can judge him, not judge him, people can judge me or not judge me. I’ve just told the truth as I see it to my story. I’ve spent years interviewing these scientists and transforming their technical language that’s brilliant into a language that I, Hazel, can understand. So I’m passing their knowledge to other people.

I interviewed theologians, Shamans. For instance, Alberto Villoldo, he was at San Francisco State University and he went to live with the Shamans in the Amazon for nearly 20 years. He’s held his enlightenment. So these people know what they’re talking about, Alex. And when you hear similar stories from people like Nick Bostrom at Oxford here in England, Professor Bernard Carr here in England, from Paul Davis in Arizona, about the possibility that we really may be a holographic projection you start to take notice of this stuff.

I now know how healing works. I understand the science of enlightenment. I understand how our thoughts create. This and many subjects I’ve covered in the books. That’s what I’ve done. Shall I stop now? [Laughs]

Alex Tsakiris: That’s okay. I want you to have a chance to tell your story because it’s an amazing story and you do talk to a lot of very qualified researchers, some of the same folks that we’ve talked to on this show.

Where I was really going with all that is hey, great, but when you come back from that spiritual experience, when you come back from that Kundalini state, and when you start the third book, Countdown to Coherence as you do in saying you’re in somewhat of a slump again, which I think is so real. I think so many times we think that people who go through a transformative spiritual experience are therefore forever transformed and for whatever reason it seems like that doesn’t always happen. We are in the world and we come back to this world. We are continuing to need to go forward.

But through all that, I still come back to the point I was making earlier, Hazel. We do need that discernment and I just can’t quite wrap my arms around your position that hey, if it resonates, if it feels good-I mean, that is the beauty of science. That’s why you’ve gone to these researchers, these people who’ve looked at it in the most critical way. It’s the only way we’re really going to be able to tell what’s real and what isn’t. To throw it just out there it’s like, hey, just go try it out. I mean…

Hazel Courteney: Yeah, but, yeah but-you know, for instance, all the scientists in the world have their detractors. You have what people would term “really good doctors” and you have “not-so-good doctors.” You have quacks and fakes and people who don’t have integrity in every walk of life.

Alex Tsakiris: Right. And we avoid those who are quacks and fakes. We don’t go to them and say, “Well gee, maybe they have some good ideas.” We have to use the standards that you as a journalist use every day. People who are not credible don’t make it into the newspaper, hopefully. They do all the time but let’s pretend.

Hazel Courteney: Well, they do all the time, Alex, I can assure you.

Alex Tsakiris: Of course. But it’s not the goal. The goal of the journalist is to be that filter and to find the folks who are credible, who do stand above the rest in terms of testing out their ideas.

Hazel Courteney: Yeah, but we go back to judgment. With Gary, all he gave me-what happened was after I finished the second book, The Evidence of the Sixth Sense, I then went back to my life of my main thing about writing health. I wrote like an encyclopedia of health. But during my meditations I got the feeling that I was meant to be doing a third book to like be the final book in the trilogy. And so I kind of just said to spirit, “You know, if this is really meant to be I really can’t be writing a spiritual book about irritable bowel or acne or cancer. I need something meaty and worthwhile to tell people on their spiritual journeys about.”

So although I didn’t agree with everything that Gary said to me, and that I make very clear throughout the book, where I think he’s got certain things right and inspiring but for instance he says our futures are already set. Well, it would seem from the scientists, all of the scientists I’ve spoken to say we are creating our reality as we go along. So through our thoughts and actions, through sustained focused intentions and actions, we can change what’s coming.

What Gary’s interview did is it kind of inspired me and the sense that he introduced subjects that I hadn’t really thought about before, so that was like a kickoff starting point. I wasn’t filtering out what he said about St. Thomas or anyone else particularly. And you seem to be quite angry about that but nevertheless…

Alex Tsakiris: I’m not angry about that. We’re not talking about the real issue here. I let you talk about your story. It’s an important story. I hope people do find your material and do find your incredible accounts because they’re well chronicled. It’s extremely well-written and entertaining.

But here’s the issue and let’s just see if we can wrestle it to the ground. I don’t care if Gary had a lot of great things to say that resonated with your former beliefs. He is not credible by the standards that you normally apply as a journalist. If you find someone–as you were just saying–if you find a doctor and you find him to be a quack, not credible, you don’t say, “Yeah, but he was right about these three other things.” You say, “He could have easily picked that up from some credible person.”

That is the only means we have of sifting through this tremendous amount of information that we’re flooded with, spiritual information, technical information, scientific information. We have to be the filter and in particular we’re asking you, Hazel, to be our filter. I just don’t see where you’re really accepting that challenge. You’re saying, “No, just let it all in and whatever sticks…”

Hazel Courteney: No. No, I’m not. What I’m saying is, Alex, I went through something extremely profound and when you have been in that heightened state and been able to affect what I used to call my tricks, obviously it’s changed my life and my outlook forever. And for instance, let’s say God forbid now that you had some terrible illness. Obviously cancer is still treated as a terrible illness, even though lots of people get well from it.

But let’s just use that as an example. Your doctor sends you to the local hospital where the specialist there gives you his opinion as to the best course of action and he tells you the facts of your illness and the facts that he knows to be true that can help you. But then say you meet someone else who says, “No, that’s not the right route to go. I think you should do this.” And in the end you could go to seven doctors and get seven opinions. And so I have been to many scientists. They’re not all related. They’re not all the best of friends, but they’re all saying pretty much the same things in a different language.

So what I’m saying is my intuition has become quite strong and I teach people throughout my books how to awaken their own innate sixth sense so that when they come across something that is real and universally truthful they will learn to discern. Learning to be discerning is very important.

But what I’m saying is say if you did have cancer and you went to seven specialists who are all believing 100% that the advice they’re giving you is real, I can’t spend my life interviewing every single scientist on the planet. I just went with the ones I had in the three years I had to do this book. They resonated with me very strongly.

Alex Tsakiris: Okay, I’m just saying it isn’t very hard to Google Gary Renard and find out about the plagiarism. Is isn’t very hard to Google Sai Baba and find about the serious charges, not only…

Hazel Courteney: Yeah, but are they true? Are they true? Are you just…

Alex Tsakiris: Oh, oh my gosh, now you’re asking the question I’m asking! You said that doesn’t matter. You just said that doesn’t matter if it’s true. You said it’s about the experience. Go there and you’ll know whether it’s true or not. But how would we know it’s true? Great, I’m glad you asked that. Is it true? Maybe I’m making all this stuff up about Gary. How do we know if it’s true or not? By going and sitting with him and feeling his energy? Or by doing the hard work that we normally do of investigating his work and comparing it to others? How do we know if it’s true?

Hazel Courteney: I’m just doing the work by learning to discern in your own heart.

Alex Tsakiris: In your own heart? Oh, come on! You backed up. When you said a minute ago, “Is it true,” you meant is it true in the way that you normally talk about it as a journalist, which means if you went and interviewed other people, if you went and talked to all the folks, gathered all the evidence, if you sorted it all out, it was true. That’s what you meant. You didn’t mean just, “Hey, is it true? Does it feel right in your heart?” You meant that other kind of truth.

Hazel Courteney: When I’m in or when I have been in the presence of truly enlightened beings they emit-we all emit our own signature range of frequencies. You emit your own signature range of frequencies; I emit mine. Everything that you swallow emits its own signature range of frequencies. When I was in Sai Baba’s presence, I only had to look in his eyes to know that I was looking at someone who is very, very awake, indeed. I know what I saw; I know the miracles that I saw.

And I’m not judging whether any of these charges are true, but what I do know is, when Jesus was alive-let’s use Him as an example-there we had a fairly or a truly enlightened person. But we crucified him. So I’m not saying that Sai Baba’s some kind of saint, but what I am saying is I believe him to be a coherent individual who has abilities that most of us don’t have but that we do have access to if we’re willing to do the work on ourselves by meditating, by tuning into the space between our thoughts and coupling with the vacuum level of reality. So I feel that…

Alex Tsakiris: In that context, do those other charges matter at all, given what you’ve just said? Do they matter at all, the child molestation charges, the fakery charges? Do those matter? Could they matter? Hypothetically, if they were proven true, would they matter? Would they change anything about what you just said?

Hazel Courteney: If they were true then that would apply to Sai Baba as an individual but what would not apply is the fact that when someone is fully, fully, fully enlightened then they could only become or only be a person of true integrity and of pure love and they would not be capable of doing the things that have been written about Sai Baba. But my argument isn’t whether they are true or not. Of course it would matter if they were true.

Alex Tsakiris: Then I don’t understand what you just said. So they would matter in what way?

Hazel Courteney: Of course they would matter because they’re not consistent with a fully enlightened being.

Alex Tsakiris: So what would that do with your former evaluation of him from the spirit-to-spirit connection you had?  So let’s say hypothetically they’re true.  What would that mean to the spiritual connection you had? How would you sort that out?

Hazel Courteney: Ah, crikey. I went to visit him just to see how I felt.

Alex Tsakiris: But that’s not my question. I’m saying hypothetically if it was true, how would that change your understanding of his spiritual awareness, his spiritual enlightenment?

Hazel Courteney: Well, then I suppose if it were true, I would question whether he was truly enlightened or not.

Alex Tsakiris: And does the same apply to  Gary Renard?

Hazel Courteney: I never even considered Gary Renard to be fully enlightened.

Alex Tsakiris: But you said that he had some spiritual truth that resonated with you and in that…

Hazel Courteney: No, I said that he was passing on information that I felt was interesting and I think that he has passed on some very interesting, yes, universal truths. Absolutely I do. But I wasn’t judging the man. I was judging the information.

Alex Tsakiris: Okay. And if the man wasn’t credible doesn’t it change how you evaluate the information? Of course. The information source matters in the information. I think the larger question is really how do we evaluate our own personal experiences and how do we put them in a context that fits in this world? And are we just open to whatever those experiences take us or do we come back and try and stay grounded in this world where things have to make sense and some people have ulterior and maybe not-so-good motives?

Hazel Courteney: But I go back to my statement that in every walk of life you have to discern what people’s motives are for doing what they do, whether it be spiritual or otherwise. I always say to spiritual people, “If you want to be with people that are like you and want to grow spiritually, obviously you join spiritual groups. Some of them resonate with you and others don’t. If you don’t like the way people are acting or behaving, then you move away until you find a group that you resonate with.”

But that goes true in all walks of life. I mean, I find it very frustrating that you’re asking me to say, to give definitive ways of discerning. We’re in the middle of a process here. We’re in the middle of a huge leap forward in consciousness and so there will always be people who say all the stuff we’ve talking about is absolute nonsense. And there will be those who might be a bit more open-minded. But at the end of the day, everybody has the choice to make up their own mind. I’m not asking anyone to hand their power to anyone else because the power lies within yourself.

Alex Tsakiris: Okay. Very good. The book again is Countdown to Coherence: A Spiritual Journey Toward a Scientific Theory of Everything. Hazel, you’re a brave, brave person to both write the book and I certainly appreciate you coming on the show. Thanks for joining me.

Hazel Courteney: Thank you for having me. All right, God bless. Bye.