Steve Briggs recounts his experiences with Himalayan yogis.
photo by: Skeptiko
[Clip 00:00:00 – 00:00:18]
[00:00:18] That’s Kronk from The Emperor’s New Groove struggling with whether to do the right thing. It’s a topic we talk about with today’s guest, Himalayan Yogi expert Steve Briggs.
Alex Tsakiris: [00:00:32] Steve, I think you’re down with this, but our culture, we’ve lost that. I mean, again, when I talk to people in religious studies, they’d go the exact opposite of that. They say, “Of course there isn’t a moral imperative. Of course, there isn’t a judgment between right and wrong.” I challenge whether or not that’s true. I’m saying scientifically, you guys are men of logic, men of reason, men of science. I think you’re misinterpreting the data in a fundamental way.
Steve Briggs: [00:01:00] Well, I can come back to that comment and my definition of evil in the very beginning and that is the act of denying another person their right of freedom, their free will.
Alex Tsakiris: [00:01:12] Welcome to Skeptiko where we explore controversial science and spirituality with leading researchers, thinkers, and their critics. I’m your host Alex Tsakiris and today we welcome Steve Briggs back to Skeptiko.
Steve is really a remarkable guy. I hope you remember him from his last interview. You can check that out. He has a couple of books, one that we’re going to talk about today. I just showed it on the screen, The Tale of the Himalayan Yogis. This is a book of fiction, unlike his first book. But I wanted to just as an introduction, remind you that even though this is a book of fiction, this is a book written by a guy who spent years and years in India working at a professional level, but also working with yogis, would regularly go on retreat with some very mystical kind of crazy yogis that we all imagine in the mountains. And also working with people who were interested in meditation because Steve was a meditation teacher, a transcendental meditation teacher in India.
So this is a fantastic opportunity to have him back on to, I was just warning him to kind of drag him into this discussion I’ve been having about evil and about these extended realms and about what we might learn about them.
And I was really reminded to recontact Steve by Ben, a friend of mine who is an emergency room physician here in San Diego and kind of vouched for Steve, because I said, “Hey, there’s a guy you might want to talk to. You’re planning on going to India to do this kind of spiritual journey kind of thing.” Even though Ben I a Mormon he likes to expand his spiritual horizons, and he came back and he said, “Steve is the real deal, and he connected me with some people over there, a fantastic experience.” I’m not promoting Steve as like a tour guide or anything like that, but he’s the real deal, he really knows a lot of stuff about what he’s going to be talking today about, in terms of yogis and their understanding of these extended realms and what we might learn about that.
So, Steve, welcome back. Thanks so much for joining me.
Steve Briggs: [00:03:26] Well, thank you Alex, and anytime I can talk about India, I mean, it’s a place I love and I consider it my second home and I hope if I ever have a chance, I’d love to live there again. I spent seven years there and they were the best years of my life.
Alex Tsakiris: [00:03:42] Remind folks, if you will, about those seven years, what you did experience, and then as I alluded to, how do those experiences connect with the book that these folks might check out?
Steve Briggs: [00:03:56] Well, those seven years I was teaching meditation as you mentioned, and it was to the corporate people in Indian, Fortune 100 people, and they had factories all over the country. And over the course of the time we were there, we taught thousands of people, and we taught them in virtually every state in the country, South and the North Himalayas everywhere and the big cities, Bombay, Calcutta, Delhi.
And then when we were not doing a course, we had a tendency to head off of the mountains because the Himalayas are really thought of as the wellspring of spirituality in the East and maybe for the planet in general. I couldn’t say. And when we get up there, we met some pretty cool people, yogis have been living in caves for 20 years. One guy had been in silence for seven years and we were sharing those back and forth. And as I met these people, very unusual lifestyles and sometimes very austere, spending the winter of 12,000 feet, with a vow never to light a fire or cook food.
I got to know a handful of these people, maybe eight, 10, 12 with them and over the years we kept going back and seeing them again and we became friends and they realized that we were serious because people come, even Indians, they go to a place like Gangotri, the source of the Ganges River, they’d go there for two hours and leave, and we’d go up there for three weeks.
So I made an impression on them and they shared a lot with me about their inner experience, about their lifestyle, about what it was all about for them and their experiences of higher states of consciousness. So I got to kind of see a little bit of the inside rather than just the long hair and the loin cloth, and I found that these guys were fascinating human beings. And a couple of them I used as prototypes, if you will, for some characters in the book, The Tale of the Himalayan Yogis.
Alex Tsakiris: [00:05:48] So tell me a little bit more.
So, so you hike up there, you see some yoga. Who’s been singing in a cave? I remember last time you told me he did. He’d have like a newspaper from like five years
Steve Briggs: [00:05:59] ago. That was his last contact
Alex Tsakiris: [00:06:01] with the outside world. But then what would you do? You’d like camp nearby and. Engage in your own meditation practice.
Steve Briggs: [00:06:08]
Well, there are places there that have been Calgary image sites, so they call him Jatara.
Yeah. Rosie candy or Sanskrit for pilgrimage that had been active for thousands of years and obviously in the years before buses and cars, people would walk and it takes six months to get from the planes. To these, Parana that’s, that’d be a Vedic kind of place. And, with cars, we can drive right up to place, like, go treat.
And then from Gangotri it’s another 15 kilometers to get to the actual sources again, Ganges. So some of these yogis were living at Gangotri itself and some of them were living further up the, up the river. And so I met when you got to God bocce, for example, they had guest houses. Because thousands of people go to these places, thousands of Indians that come in on buses, so they stay for a couple hours, maybe a couple of days, and then they leave and they go to the temple and they do pooches for their ancestors and that sort of thing.
But we kind of hung around. I got to know them, and then we go up further where it was very austere, where you either stay in a tent or a tea stall. Somebody I know, or there was a couple of tiny, tiny OSH froms that were, like one room, basically, they still call it an Ostrom. They’d let you stay overnight, and if you made a contribution, great.
If you didn’t, they didn’t care. So that’s how we kind of got to be friend, these people. And sometimes it was tricky because they didn’t speak very, very little to no English and Hindi. Sketchy at best. But sometimes they were very well educated. One guy had been a professor of, Some Vedic ratchet literature at Calcutta and his English was impactful.
He translated the Brahma sutras into English. So it just depended on and, but in every case, there’s sort of a universal language in the spiritual realm where you can, can make a connection with people if you are open and they’re opened as well. So it worked out quite well.
Alex Tsakiris: [00:08:07] Well, let’s just, it’s just fascinating.
It’s interesting that last tidbit. That you added there about a guy being a university professor becomes a renunciant and says, Hey, this is the path that so many have followed. I have to follow that path.
Steve Briggs: [00:08:22] You don’t have to live in a cave to be a Yogi. you can live in New York city, and if you can call yourself whatever you want.
A mystic, a follower of Buddha, anything you’d like. But even if you’re doing the work and you’re, and you’ve got the vision and you’ve got the path and where you’re headed, you’re awake to whatever degree. we’re all on the path and we reached, we’re all at our own stage of the past.
So it’s not like we’re all moving exactly the same pace of doing exactly the same thing, but we have a common goal. So we’re very much, kind of brothers in that sense. anyone who’s on a spiritual path, I embraced into sync more power to you because we’re in an age in the world where it’s easy to go the other direction.
In fact, society is kind of flowing one way and people were trying to make progress spiritually are basically swimming upstream and it can be a challenge
Alex Tsakiris: [00:09:10] The project that I’m really on right now when I want to pull you into, is that okay? I just think we have to do better in terms of bringing some of the best Western reason, logic science to trying to understand this.
Extended consciousness realm that we’re talking about. And I think that’s, I think it’s a worthy project, especially when I juxtapose contrast it with what we’re presented. I mean, I talked to so many biblical scholars, religious scholars. It is so out to lunch, so ridiculously disengaged with even consciousness. Even the understanding that we are more than this Biological robots in a meaningless universe thing that I always harp on. They’re not even past that. So they don’t even have a chance.
They don’t even have a nose in the tent to begin to understand this stuff. And then on the other hand, we have kind of this religious. Cultish craziness that we can all see that demands that we adopt these just irrational belief systems as the only way of understanding this extended consciousness realm.
So. I’m not supposing that you and I in this tiny little podcast. , can solve this question that people have been . Trying to understand for thousands of years, but we sure as shit can do better than what’s being done right now. And I think it forces us to ask the question is, why aren’t we doing better?
Why aren’t we applying our best. Methods of logic and reason. And that, I guess is also kind of a prelude to kind of pushing you a little bit, because I know. You’re a very smart guy. You’re an MBA, right? Am I right, Steve? So you’re, you’re an MBA, advanced degree at success business.
You’re not somebody who’s thrown all reason out the window just because you had a spiritual experience, you’re still. Asking all the questions that we all ask. So I thought this was really, really kind of a great opportunity with your book, which is. So challenging. I think in some ways because of some of the things that it says about the extended consciousness realms in hell and demons and evil and things that might be happening in, might be interacting in our world.
And you’re talking about it in a very sober, straightforward way, as many have talked about before. But that’s the conversation that I thought it would really be fun. To engage in.
Steve Briggs: [00:11:31] Well, let me say one thing about quantitative approach, and there’s been, there’s a guy named Dr Fred Travis, and he’s got this little portable neurophysiological apparatus that he, that he hooks up to.
Any meditator any. Person who’s practicing something that’s that they feel is extending their consciousness or expanding their consciousness, and he looks at it in terms of all the different brainwave functions and all the different things that go on in the brain. He’s found some very fascinating things, so there are some people doing.
Some very good work to find out how the changes are actually manifesting in the human brain. So Dr Fred Travis has done 25 years’ worth of work to determine this sort of thing, and I think he’s come up with some nice things. If I were a neuroscientist, like he, I could. Articulate it better, but I’ll just say that there are a few people that are starting to dig a little deeper.
Alex Tsakiris: [00:12:26] That’s almost like a level one discussion to me. And that is establishing. That we can verify by the means that we have, that we accept as being scientific, that there is this extended realm.
And I think that’s a necessary step because we have science that is really locked into this idea that that can’t possibly be happening. And it’s all brain based. So when we come back with. like you’re talking about this Dr Fred Travis, or we have it from a number of different sources. We have the guy in the UK, David Nutt, who does the psilocybin experiments and puts people under the FMR eye, and instead of their brain lighting up like a Christmas tree, like we’d expect it goes.
The other direction in that it’s suggesting that these people are having a direct contact, a more direct contact with, with consciousness, and that’s what’s causing their extended experience. Then of course, we have the near-death experience science where these people are dead, clinically dead by all the means we’ve ever measured it.
They’re dead, dead, dead, and yet they’re having these extended. Experiences. So my point really, and this is, I’m belaboring this, but I really want to make sure that everyone, to understand the distinction. I’m saying, let’s get past that. So the first point is just to say, is it real? We said, okay, it’s real.
There is not only consciousness, there’s extended consciousness. And the point level to always to me is to say. Well, why is there all this bullshit? I mean, it seems kind of obvious. The science that’s been said for thousands of years, cross culture, the position we have is ridiculous. Why do we keep getting nudged in this direction and pull this way in that way? And then the third is, which, where I really want to talk about is, . , let’s see what the yogis are saying, but let’s also contrast that with this material over here, even though it’s channeled or this material over here, even though it’s this survey of people who’ve had E T.
experiences or people that have it in the experiences. Let’s really try and put our arms around this in a real systematic way. and, and that’s where I think we’re where we need to be at. But what do you think, what are your thoughts?
Steve Briggs: [00:14:29] about that in general? The thought is early on, Alex, when I met my, my group, my teacher, he said to me, to the group I was with when I was with him in Switzerland, he said, there are several ways that you can.
Get validation for something like extended consciousness. One personal experience to a tradition that is long standing, that visit involved with that in three would be taking a scientific approach. So I think our best way is to kind of go with the first one, right? Personal experience I have in my own right now, or, the yogis who confided in me, and I’ll just tell you one quick story.
A guy named Maharaji live for 10, 12 years had gone gold tree in a hut. He had dreadlocks that fell to it down to his feet. He lived there year around. He had a, an assistant chamber, a disciple who took care of and spoke perfect English. Maharaj didn’t, and so I said to his assistant, I said, well, ask him if you will ask Maharaj, what does he do at night when he sleeps?
This is the point of question. It wasn’t an innocent question on my part. I wanted, I was testing me, and I didn’t tell him anything more. So what do you do by Raj when you sleep at night? Am I right? You pointed up to the sky. He says at night, I traveled to that planet and that planet and that planet and other places, and my friends are there, and I visit people being sold and then I come back.
I said, okay, that’s cool because. When my teachers started talking about extended consciousness when marshy meshed, my, the teacher I hooked up with in 1972, he, he said that the inner experience that yogis have is far beyond what you or you or your friends are having. And so he said, if a person is in life or fully realized in the self.
Then they don’t sleep the way the average person sleeps. They’re fully awake when they’re sleeping and they’re fully conscious and they’re having possibly more exciting, expansive experiences than when they’re in their waking state activity. So I asked that question to find out what he was doing and sleep, and sure enough, he wasn’t unconscious.
He was fully conscious and having extended consciousness experiences. If we. Take those experiences that he was describing as valid. And I have no reason to not believe the guy because he didn’t have to impress me. I don’t even think he particularly wanted to talk with me for the first few times. And when I asked him that question, that kind of perked his interest a little bit.
So I thought, okay, this guy’s probably the real deal because that’s not your average. Experience.
Alex Tsakiris: [00:17:11] So it validated something that you would have
Steve Briggs: [00:17:14] resonated with me. And it was also something that I had had some tastes of those experiences. This was 25 years ago, but I had had some tastes of those experiences.
So I said, okay, that jives a little bit with what I’ve experienced. And, it also mashed up a little bit with the tradition that Marsh, she was saying that. True yogis never really sleep. They’re awake. They might be lying down, but they’re awake. They may leave the body and yoga Nanda described traveling through the universe when he was either meditating or asleep, and he was fully conscious, of course, at least from my point of view.
And I think, yeah, so.
Alex Tsakiris: [00:17:53] That’s great. And I think our mutual friend, Rick Archer on Buddha at the gas pump, that’s one of his kind of probing, I don’t want to say trick questions, but validating questions too, because that’s something that’s been kind of bandied around in the nondual community and stuff like that.
And Rick in general has done a fantastic job of. Kind of bringing, trying to corral the cats of a spiritual awakening in a way, and try and pin some of these things down.
Steve Briggs: [00:18:22] I feel there are benchmarks that, that many people experience along the way, but it’s like snowflakes.
Every single one of us has the uniqueness to us. And so I don’t think that two people are ever going to have the identical experience, on the path at the same point in the path, and maybe even had the same path in general. But I do feel that there are some. Commonalities that are worth noting. And I felt that Maharaj has experienced that.
That to me was a green bite. Okay, let’s hang out with this guy. If he’s willing and we talk, we would bring him firewood and stuff. So it kind of showed that we were, I’m trying to be helpful, and he talked to us for days and days and. I’ll give you one more validation possibly for him. They had, they have these huge sods who conventions, if you will.
And they had one in, in the state of Orissa. And the King of Naipaul came down there, and the King hunts and his Royal hunting grounds that they, Paul and he had shot a tiger, a couple of deer and a couple of other animals. And they skin these animals. And
Alex Tsakiris: [00:19:25] what year now this is when
Steve Briggs: [00:19:26] this was in, this was in 1994.
Before the assassination became, before they switched over to a democracy couple of years later. And so that decide who is the yogis value very much, deer skin and tiger skins. for some subtle reasons, it protects their energy. I’m not really sure that I should. I should try to, even if
Alex Tsakiris: [00:19:52] they’re right.
Right. But it’s interesting, they traditionally, bill often sit on a
Steve Briggs: [00:19:57] absolutely meditate on skins. So the, the King of Bay, Paul was attending this sannyasi or Yogi convention in Orissa and there were literally 50,000 yogis in gathered. It was a big deal. And Maharaj was there and everyone was just kind of knowing around and, and, and the.
The King of May, Paul decided, okay, it’s time to give out my, the skins to various side who’s who, and I don’t know how he selected these walking around. He gave it to you just into this guy and he gave it another dose, can do this guy. And he kept walking around. Cause the typically the cherished one was the tiger skin.
And he walked around, and he looked, I don’t know how easy value it will be is looking at people and looking at people. And he walked up, and he stopped in front of Maharaj, presented the tiger skin to him. The tigers can still have it head, by the way, on the skin. And to this day, last time I saw him, all right, he was, he was sitting on that tiger skin for meditation.
What are the chances he likes to chat? The Davies sutures, they be treated all the time because. Sorry. so house, nom, that sort of thing. And he didn’t tell me this story. His assistant told me the story when he wasn’t there. I don’t know if he would ever told me that story because he’s, he’s a humble person.
I don’t think he really wanted to dissolve or, but I said, okay, well that’s pretty cool because if the King and Paul picked him out of 20,000 people there, it must’ve been. Some hopefully valid reason for that, we would think, but then
it opens up a whole big billion ways to go
Alex Tsakiris: [00:21:34] the King and how do we organize and come into Tibet and they pull the monks out of the. A thing and they’re commies, but we should forgive them. I mean, it’s, I don’t even know. I don’t want him to begin to go there. I tell you,
Steve Briggs: [00:21:48] if you want to go into the realm of evil, I’ll leave that up to you.
I’m happy to give you my feelings and my opinions on it because that’s theme that you had mentioned that you’ve been,
Alex Tsakiris: [00:21:57] that’s where I want to go. That’s exactly where I want to go. And I’ll tell you why I’m writing this. I’m actually writing this book and the title of the book encapsulates what it’s about, why evil matters.
And the premise of the book is that. Evil is a lens. It’s an inescapable lens to these extended consciousness realms. So almost like the stories you tell, we can kind of get lost in the goodness or the wonderfulness and all the wonderful love and light, and the King gave him the thing. Well, let’s talk about evil.
Let’s talk about fear, because I think it brings another dimension to this
Steve Briggs: [00:22:35] day in our human experience, a huge home. And in some people’s lives that completely dominates. They are so locked up in fear that they’re, that they’re ability to function is, is impeded.
Alex Tsakiris: [00:22:51] let me bring up a quote from your book.
The tale of the Himalayan yogis. And let’s go to the fear. And here are three different little snippets from the book.
And the first is what can fear do to the fearless. But fear them, which I think is kind of interesting, saying, that they are feeding off the fear and then they never quote is . , like attracts like.
Steve Briggs: [00:23:16] Well, if we think about the most basic human emotions, love is there, fear is there and fear has a hatred, and those things have a lot of offshoots, anxiety, nervousness.
Jealousy. All those kinds of things are sort of bifurcations of our forms of theater.
Alex Tsakiris: [00:23:39] But what is fear? It’s talking about what we create and how we create the ego States that are within us and what we understand to be who we are.
we do have to get down to that fundamental. Question of who are we and what have we become? What decisions have we made to make us who we are?
Steve Briggs: [00:23:59] I think one quality of fear is the anxiety that I’ll have my freedom of choice. Compromise that someone, some governments, some my wife, my, my boss, my, the coach on a sports team that they’re somehow going to.
Steal my ability, my free will, my freedom of choice. I think that’s something we see all over the world with governments and in a lot of different contexts. Religiously, we see clergies stealing the freewill of their flock. We see political leaders, compromising people’s freedom of choice more than ever, maybe possibly right now during this pandemic.
So I feel like people have an innate Fear of losing their ability to determine the direction of their life. So that’s, that may not be the most fundamental thing, but I think it’s a pretty fundamental
Alex Tsakiris: [00:24:52] thing. But I guess what I’m driving at is to what extent is that, is that real? I mean, I am more
Steve Briggs: [00:25:01] illusory and
Alex Tsakiris: [00:25:02] it’s all illusionary.
I mean. That’sbecause we can kind of get that and it becomes the blob of consciousness thing and it’s nondual and it’s ultimately, it’s all an illusion, . Here’s the point I guess I’m trying to make is that when you start listing real fears that we can have, like you’re mentioning, the COVID thing that we’re in the middle of, that was a legitimate reason to be afraid of that.
You mentioned about the power of governments or the power of your boss or even your wife. Those things are real, but I think what most of us have a harder time really coming to grips with, but in a lot of ways is a better insight into what’s really going on inside of us, is the fear we have about the spider that’s crawling on the walls.
I’m called into the house, I’m the spider patrol, and I go to my kids, my girls. I’m like, what are we doing here? what? Let’s kind of break that down a little bit. Why do we have that fear? And of course we have fears of other things that are really debilitating to people as well.
So what’s at the core of that? And then we kind of create this other level of it that we’re going on to talk about when we talk about demons in hell and spirits, and to what extent do we need to fear them as well?
Steve Briggs: [00:26:10] Somewhere in the novel, the guru of the hero, the guru of the protagonist that’s teaching his teaching, he uses the analogy of a tiger that moves through the forest, and wherever the tiger goes fear is present in the monkeys, it’s present again in the ground animals and everybody feels the fear of it and they can sense the tiger’s presence. And the tiger may move on and go to the next mountain over, but the lingering effect of the tiger’s presence is still there with the animals, even long after the Tiger’s gone.
Now, that residual influence, that stress that got put in the monkey from being nearly attacked or being hunted for a while, or the fact that the monkey thought he was being hunted, creates a sanskar, a stress, a strain, an impurity in his consciousness, the consciousness, even of an animal. And that lack of light or that lack of clarity, that cloud, that shadow that’s come in as a result of the tiger creating fear stays with that monkey and it could stay with him for the rest of his life. If it was face to face with the tiger, it may be 10 lifetimes before that creature, that soul could resolve that intense fear, if it was face to face.
Alex Tsakiris: [00:27:33] But my problem with that, I mean, I’m okay with that, I think that’s true, but I want to try and understand that for more of a psychological level.
Steve Briggs: [00:27:42] And I’m not a psychologist, I wouldn’t really be qualified to say what triggers them, but the way I understand it from the point of view of sunskars that are lying latent, they are triggered by certain experiences in our environment at any point in time and when they’re triggered they could cause irrational fear, they could cause terror, they could cause a heart attack. Any kind of thing could result.
So those fears need to be dealt with. We can’t shove them under the carpet, we have to deal with them. And that’s where a spiritual practice like meditation or counseling, all kinds of things can come into play to help us resolve these knots, is what they call them, [unclear 00:28:27] at they call them, grantees in, in this Vedic lore, is not standing the physiology that literally are impeding the flow of consciousness as it could flow if we didn’t have that.
Alex Tsakiris: [00:28:41] And in the West we have Carl Jung and our shadow, which is another aspect of this, and the idea that we need to integrate the shadow aspects of ourselves. So it’s something that’s popped up again and again and I think you’re onto something.
I do think it’s also super interesting, like what you just proposed there, I think is borderline to a scientific kind of thesis, that is, we have this energy that’s supposed to be flowing through our body, and when we impede the flow of that energy, different things happen that aren’t so good. And I would suggest that some people have told me that that kind of opens the door for this evil thing, because we want to get that energy flowing and if we don’t know how to do it, we might seek all sorts of ways to do it, either drugs or other behaviors that might not be good in the long term.
Steve Briggs: [00:29:43] Because they mask the pain, they mask the subconscious unhappiness. That’s part of the practice of various powerful pranayama’s and yoga practices like Kofi yoga and meditation, they can address these knots in the physiology, and then when a person gets to a state where they’re a master or a true Sage, they’ve resolved those in one way or another, maybe through the help of their own guru, through their own extended practice, whatever.
Alex Tsakiris: [00:30:14] Yeah, but don’t have me down that path, because I’m going to bring up your guy again and it doesn’t always work that way, as you know.
Steve Briggs: [00:30:24] No, of course it doesn’t, it doesn’t.
Alex Tsakiris: [00:30:27] And that’s what I think, that’s, that’s the problem in my mind, and I’m going to expand this even more in just a minute. But it’s like, don’t be so sure, because that’s what the Western scientist can do, is like, “Not so fast, I have this contradictory explanation of things over here too.”
Steve Briggs: [00:30:44] If you allow someone else to do the work for you, then the work’s not going to get done. I’m saying if it’s your teacher and your whoever, you’ve got to do the work yourself.
Alex Tsakiris: [00:30:55] Maybe there’s no work to do. Let me give you an example because I’ve been holding off on the last quote on that screen that I just shared with you, and to me it launches into some of these harder questions. And the quote from the book is, “Demons fear that which is protected by love.” They feed fear in the way a villager craves food after a day’s work in the field.
There’s a couple of words here that really kind of spark me in a different direction. Who’s to say, I mean to suggest that we understand the mind of God and there are these demons and we understand what they are in this extended realm, but oh no, they’re protected by love. What the hell does that mean in terms of a free will, kind of cosmology that we have? And they feed on fear, we hear that over and over again. What does that really mean? I mean, these are the kind of statements I think that really throw people for a loop and also, if you look at people that are kind of enmeshed in a cultish kind of thing, these are the kinds of things that feed those kinds of beliefs of, how the heck would I ever figure out what my path is when I have to worry about demons that are feeding off of my fear? I mean, do we really have to go there? We don’t know if any of that stuff is real.
Steve Briggs: [00:32:11] You picked an interesting quote, because that quote, I lifted directly from a conversation I had with a Yogi in the Himalayas. We were talking about human emotion and at one point he said human emotion is the most misunderstood quality of the human being and our inability to… He didn’t use the word control our emotions, but our inability to channel our emotions, utilize our emotions in the most self-beneficial way is a huge stumbling block for all of us.
So basically, that was one of the quotes he gave me, and I just put it right in there.
Alex Tsakiris: [00:32:58] Well, I’ll give you a quote from my buddy, I was just talking about Tom Zinser. So Tom Zinser spent 30 years, hundreds and hundreds of clients he’s working with in a clinical setting. He’s the first one to acknowledge that as soon as he starts talking to spirits, he’s off reservations as far as the psychologist, the clinical psychologist is concerned. But at the same time, he’s bringing that rigor and that training to his work. He’s transcribing all the sessions, he’s trying to work with people, he’s putting them into deep trance and then trying to connect with them in all these different ways. And what he says I think in some ways fits with what you’re saying, but also offers a different understanding of it.
And this goes back to the beginning of this where I think we need to go, and I’m not agreeing with Tom, but he says, we all have these ego states and when we separate these ego states in our mind… like multiple personality disorder, which is not a popular term, it’s now dissociative identity disorder, that’s what it is. But it’s the same thing, we recognize it. And then it gets into the Topa thing, you separate these things out and they can form an energy of their own and they can even attract other spirits. You talk Buddhists and Buddhists will tell you exactly that, and they’ve explored it in that way.
But then here’s what he says further. He says, even if these spirits come and then he breaks down the kind of spirits. He goes, some spirits are just mischievous spirits. They’re stuck, they haven’t gone to the light, and they’re just kind of…
Steve Briggs: [00:34:19] Yeah, a disincarnate soul or something, yeah.
Alex Tsakiris: [00:34:22] Yeah. And he said, but sometimes it’s also even relatives that shouldn’t, but mom wants to stick around and she’s bugging you. But then there’s some spirits that have never incarnated and have just gone to the darkness and the darkness is different from the evil. The darkness is like a gravitational force.
Anyways, he has a whole description of how this works, and I’m not saying that that is the answer, but I’m saying when I see something like what I just put up on the screen, I see differences, irreconcilable differences in my mind, between what he’s saying and what the yogi is saying.
One of the main things that I guess I want to dispel, but I don’t know if I can, I don’t know if that’s stretching it too far, but this idea that we can compel these spirit entities to do anything on our behalf or against us or anything like that, seems like such a stretch, especially from this nondual perspective. If we get that at some deeper level, we have somehow created all this stuff in the first place, then it seems like not such a great idea to think that we can somehow manage and manipulate these demons and make them afraid because we’re going this way or worry that if we walk into this situation or that situation, we’re going to be accosted by these things.
I’d like to, if it’s real, come to a different, more mature understanding of it, unless that’s the reality of it. Unless we really do have to fear these demons and there’s no way we can get around them other than by circling in a circle and drawing this kind of figure with a sharpened knife. Hey, if that’s what it takes, let me know.
Steve Briggs: [00:36:10] Well, in the novel I have that antagonist named [unclear 00:36:15] and he didn’t necessarily talk about him specifically, but he had all the training and all the background, that the yogic tradition offers, but he spun off, this is just his situation, and his ego took him off on a trip and he decided to use his skills to practice sorcery, to practice a dark form of tantric.
Now, as I lived in India for those years, about every six months I’d see a big article in the India and Hindustan Times about some tantric sorcerer who made a human sacrifice to propitiate their favorite extended dimensional being. A demon we’ll say. And if you look into the Vedic tradition, you will find, whether it’s the Puranas, you’ll find that Ravana is the most famous demon probably to the Western mind. Ravana was Ram’s nemesis, Ravana abducted Lord Ram’s wife Sita. Ravana was a powerful being. If you have some confidence in the Vedic tradition you say, okay, these beings do exist on some dimension, they’re not necessarily meant to even be in the human realm, but they’re at another realm which is invisible to us, just the way if there’s an angel somewhere in the universe that they’re also in a non-physical realm, that they exist somewhere, as a form of energy or light or something. Science has a hard time with that. But these beings are written about at length in Vedic scriptures and they’re integral, they are the shadow side.
And if you look at, probably the three most famous personalities that we can associate with spirituality, we’ve got Jesus, we’ve got Buddha, and we’ve got Krishna. Well, all three of them faced huge obstacles from shadow figures that tried to kill them as infants. Krishna, Kansa tried to kill him when he was a baby. Buddha’s cousin, Devadatta was his nemesis, they wanted to poison him. Jesus, we know his story.
Alex Tsakiris: [00:38:36] We know all those stories, what, as historical fact, as allegory, as what?
Steve Briggs: [00:38:42] Well, I think that’s up to each person’s truth.
Alex Tsakiris: [00:38:46] You can go there if you want. I was going to say we can’t go there, but of course you can go there, but I think this is the intersection that we have. I mean, we accept certain things, certain events in our life as being true in consensus, reality. We all saw them; we’ve all experienced them. So if it’s the Afghan war or if it’s 9-11, the buildings fell. So I think we have to make a distinction between stuff that we say is real historically and stuff we say we don’t know if it’s real historically. I’d make a similar distinction here. Don’t start telling me we know this or that about Jesus, I don’t know anything about the historical Jesus.
Steve Briggs: [00:39:22] I don’t think I used that word. I just think I said that these are stories that many people believe. I personally, if you want my personal, I feel that great sections of the Bible have completely been rewritten and I think that’s true of a lot of the Vedic scriptures as well. I do think there are a very fundamental truths that exists there, but that’s my opinion, my truth and I don’t expect mine to be the same as any other viewer or listener or you.
Alex Tsakiris: [00:39:54] No, I’m not saying that it. Look, you’re bringing a lot to the table. I have the utmost respect, as I explained earlier in this interview. “Here folks, we’re talking to a guy who’s not only an MBA, a professional who’s been successful, but he’s a great tennis player too. We talked about that in the last show. But here’s a thing, let me juxtapose what you’re saying with my interview a year ago or so with Claire Broad.
So, she’s a medium in the UK, and she’s a really nice person, I like her, and she’s a mom and she has three great kids and a husband and stuff like that. And I say, “Claire, you’ve worked with thousands of people, on a daily basis you’re connecting with the other side in this spirit realm and deceased people all the time. What do you think about the demonic and what do you think about the evil?” And she says, what other people have told me too, she goes, “I don’t go there.” She goes, “A couple of times it’s kind of poked in, but for the most part, I’ve found that where I put my energy I create, and if I don’t put my energy there, it just doesn’t happen, it dissipates.” In a way that is, in my mind, is at odds with this idea that demons fear that which they’re protected and there’s this whole magical thing, which is so popular now about, “Here’s how you do it, you burn the sage and your thing and all this.”
It just seems to me, I like where Claire is coming from, which is to me much more of a direct experience of our consciousness with those extended realms and saying, we are after all, manifesting those, so let’s get a little bit closer to that truth.
Steve Briggs: [00:41:36] That’s maybe why I had to do that in fiction Alex. Those quotes, I stand by them personally as more than fiction. But okay, if your attention is on love and harmony and the things that you feel expand your quality of life, then as the person you just quoted, those negative qualities, whatever shadowy form they are, they are not going to be a part of your life, they simply aren’t.
There’s an old Vedic saying, what you see, you become, what you think you become. And if your attention is riveted on the fact that there are demons and I should be in contact with them and I should do satanic stuff, we know about the satanic rituals that go on in the world. If my attention is there, there’s going to be a response.
Alex Tsakiris: [00:42:32] Well, hold on, let’s be clear. It’s not just attention there to draw them in to do your bidding, like the tantric thing, which I think we can then also ask why would anyone do that in the first place if they have some greater spiritual understanding that we are not doers here, we’re just experiencers of our soul? What are we trying to get done? Why are we trying to do anything for our advantage? But it also ties back to, even if you’re not in that mode, it comes back to the fear mode, which I think so many people live in and our religions promote, “Well, you should be afraid of that and here, let me save you from that.” And what I hear Claire saying is that really, you don’t have to engage in that either way. You can acknowledge the reality of it without engaging.
Steve Briggs: [00:43:13] Well, the ego protects itself out of its fear. Let me tell you a quick story. I have a friend, he’s retired, but he was a magician. He did magic in New York for years as a professional. So he goes to India and he goes to Bombay to have some health work done in Iravadi. He goes to a clinic and the doctor running the clinic is a prominent guy, a very successful guy, big clientele, international clientele.
So, the guy finds out that my friend is a magician. And he says, “Would you teach me magic?” And my friend says, “Yeah, I’ll teach you magic, sure, I’ll show you some tricks.” And he says, “No, I want to learn a lot of magic.” He said, “Well, before I teach you, why don’t you tell me why you’re interested in learning magic?” And the guy says, “Because I want to be a guru.” And my friend says, “What does learning magic have to do with being a guru?” He says, “Well, if you want to be a guru in India, you need to know how to do magic, so you can basically trick people into coming your way.”
So there are a lot of reasons why people do anything, and a lot of it has to do with some small shadowy part of a person’s nature that is hankering for attention, and it all boils down to egos.
Again, if you want, look at Jungian psychology, I don’t know who addresses it the best, but the ego is a prime suspect for most of the issues we have, including fear and jealousy and hatred and ‘he’s my enemy’. We have been kind of duped into this world, this illusion we live in, the veil of forgetfulness, the veil of ignorance that we live here, the Maya is the term in India that’s common. That everything is outside of ourselves and it’s fight or flight, we have to survive, and struggle and we have all of these things we have to do.
Well, if you go to the true handful of mystics, the true handful of sages that have recorded their experience, they’ll say that the shadow, they’ll say that that child molester, they’re inside me as well. The Vedic slogan that is shared with the person when they’re on the cusp of enlightenment, according to tradition is Aham Brahmasmi, that I am the totality. And if that has any shred of truth to it, totality means totality, it means all of the demons, all of the genocidal maniacs, all of the Satanists, they’re all part of the great self of the universe. So how do you reconcile that? That’s a whole topic unto itself.
Alex Tsakiris: [00:45:51] I understand that in some ways, that’s an escapable part of our understanding of consciousness. Even from a scientific standpoint, it’s all one. On the other hand, I think it obscures the greater truth of, first of all, where we live. We live a culture where we decide there will be things that are acceptable and things that are not acceptable, and we also live with certain moral principles of what we say is acceptable and unacceptable.
Steve Briggs: [00:46:24] For me to say, to repeat that what I just said a minute ago, to some parents whose child has been abused. I mean, they would reject that immediately. That all that negativity is possible inside you.
Alex Tsakiris: [00:46:39] To me, it doesn’t really matter if they would reject it or not, because I think my problem with it is that I think it obscures a bigger truth and a truth that a lot of people seem to be kind of missing, and that is that you should do good things and you should try and avoid doing bad things. So, it’s not like it’s all one, there really is no good or bad. Well, I think most of us have an experience that’s very different than that, we have an experience on a daily, minute by minute experience, having the ma having to make a choice of saying something that isn’t quite as hurtful as you’re tempted to say.
Steve Briggs: [00:47:22] Absolutely, speak the sweet truth has always been something that my teachers have said is very important in your life, and if you go around criticizing other people, condemning them, then you’re condemning yourself. The things you think and say and feel are just…
Alex Tsakiris: [00:47:37] I guess the larger point, it’s not just speak the truth, the larger point I guess I was making is, it seems to me hard for a lot of folks, and I’ve spoken to a bunch of really intelligent people on this show who have a problem with the idea that there’s a moral imperative, that that little angel on the shoulder, devil on the shoulder thing, is kind of more real in a way that we all know it’s real, but don’t really want to acknowledge that it’s real.
So that’s what comes through from the near-death experience science. Is they come back and go, “Oh yeah, you are supposed to do good things, you are not supposed to do bad things. There is a light, there is love, there is a hierarchy of consciousness and there is a moral imperative.”
And here’s my point that I guess I’d pull you into responding to, because I’m not really challenging you on any of this. Steve, I think you’re down with this. But our culture, we’ve lost that. I mean, again, when I talk to people in religious studies, they’d go the exact opposite of that. They say, “Of course there isn’t a moral imperative. Of course, there isn’t a judgment between right and wrong. There is only relativism.” And I want to drive a stake in this and say, I challenge whether or not that’s true. I’m not standing out on a pulpit to argue with that. I’m saying scientifically, you guys are men of logic, men of reason, men of science. I think you’re misinterpreting the data in a fundamental way. Yes, there is a moral imperative.
Steve Briggs: [00:48:59] Well, I can come back to that comment I made about my definition of evil in the very beginning and that is the act of denying another person their right of freedom, their free will. But let’s look at an analogy. Two adults, they’ve just met, and they’re attracted, “Let’s go to a hotel and have some fun.” Is that evil? Maybe to a Christian, I don’t know. But no, it’s not evil because there was an agreement there. But the two people meet again, and it was a different context and the man starts to abuse her, is that evil? From my definition, yes, because he is denying her her right of free will. She’s not agreed to this. The first situation it was consensual, the second situation he was imposing his will on another person.
So it seems like a simplistic definition, but it really works quite well and so far, I haven’t found a place where it didn’t work. And you’re a lot smarter guy than me, you could probably tell me where that breaks down.
Alex Tsakiris: [00:50:01] Well, it certainly breaks down in business and politics.
Steve Briggs: [00:50:06] Well, according to their rules of the game, but still, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s not true.
Alex Tsakiris: [00:50:14] I’m not saying it’s not true, I’m just saying it breaks down.
Steve Briggs: [00:50:17] Well, okay, and I don’t want to toot the horn of Vedic references so much, I don’t think I have. But according to Vedic history, we are in the throes of Kali Yuga. Now, Kali Yuga is called the age of ignorance, the dark age, the black age of mankind, 432,000 years if I have it right. And there are other ages that are highly enlightened and less negativity, less stress, less evil.
Well, one of the things that are highlighted by Kali Yuga is that governments and religions are run by evil minded people.
Alex Tsakiris: [00:50:58] Okay, so please tell me in history when they weren’t. Please tell me how Genghis Khan was… Please, tell me, tell me.
Steve Briggs: [00:51:04] That’s a very short piece of history, according it…
Alex Tsakiris: [00:51:08] Okay. I just finishing up a film with a guy I’ve had on the show, his name is Bruce Fenton, and what I love about Bruce Fenton is he has some scientific evidence, like Tektites from Australia and stuff like that, that match up with a story that says 780,000 years ago on the planet there were these events and they were very violent, kind of a War of the Gods thing. So you can believe that or not believe that, but what I particularly like about that is that it kind of suggests that, bullshit. I cannot point to any time in my history, of my getting to be longer life, or anything I read in history where there was this time when it was so dramatically different in terms of that, I don’t know. I love the Vedic stuff, but I got to call bullshit on some of that.
Steve Briggs: [00:51:57] Okay.
Alex Tsakiris: [00:51:59] When is it time? When is the time when there was this golden age? I’d like to know about it.
Steve Briggs: [00:52:03] The term for it is Satya Yuga, which I’m sure you’re familiar. I’m sure Yogananda talked about it. If it was real, if it existed, it was a time when human life was 1,000, 2,000 year span. Which is absolutely crucial in some ways because our lives now are so short, that t a lot of the sanskars, a lot of the events that happen in our life, that may be karmically driven, we have no chance to connect the dots, that I am suffering from this disease based on some action I performed in the past. And if we don’t accept that as a viable principle of nature, then basically we don’t have a fair universe. I mean, how do you explain to the mother whose child died at six months of age, what did that child do to deserve to die? if you don’t pull back and take a lot larger, a broader perspective and include past lives and include the journey of the soul that’s basically gone on for hundreds of thousands of years, you can’t possibly come to an equitable or a decision on that death that seem fair, that seems to have an innate goodness behind it. You can’t. But if you can understand and physics is telling us that there’s an equal reaction for every action in the universe. Jesus said, “As you sow, so shall you reap.”
Now, I know you’re not high on those kinds of quotes, it seems like, but they keep coming up. They keep coming up in Buddhist context, they come up, and when you see kind of archetypal truths, or what might be truths, and then you say, well, let’s hope that the universe has some justice in it. How do you feel about it? I’m out of my league here, as you can see as you shoot holes in me.
Alex Tsakiris: [00:54:11] Steve my friend, if anything, I am way out of my league, so don’t ever say that. And we’re just having fun here, like we said from the beginning. It’s like we’re really going to solve these kinds of things. And I guess I can sound argumentative. I don’t know why I do.
Steve Briggs: [00:54:30] You’re pulling out good points and I feel good about that. Basically, from my experience now, and I’m not saying I’ve had a death experience and that sort of thing. But my understanding is, as I’ve done now 49 years of twice-a-day meditation without really ever missing one is that, the birth that we go through when come into this life is more of a forgetting and a falling asleep and death is more awakening, an extension where you’re actually far more aware of what you are as a soul, and everything is forgotten when you come in and you have to figure it out.
So that’s why we’re having these kinds of conversations because we’re trying to figure the whole game out. We’re in a game, we’re in a schoolhouse, which were some fun analogies that people use and they beat them to death maybe. But we’re trying to figure out the game, the rules of the game, so we can progress on to the next game, which might be a little bit more loving and fun.
So I can’t really say that this civilization 600,000 years ago, where purportedly humans were telepathic and lived 2000 years and kumbaya and they loved each other. I mean, how can I prove that through hard science? I can’t. I simply can’t. But I don’t think that it’s always fairytales and legends and symbolic stuff. I think that there’s archetypical stuff that exists and that exists for a reason because there is something in history that has some valid basis to the reason why these myths persist, whether it’s the great floods that keep happing and all of that sort of thing.
I think, by the way, my personal opinion, one of those archetypal transition points, even right now…
Alex Tsakiris: [00:56:27] Damn it, damn it, Steve. I was just about to agree with you. Then you had to say something like…
Steve Briggs: [00:56:31] Then I said that garbage, okay. Well, I’m not really into the new age kumbaya kind of thing. I mean, I try to be discriminative because there are some brilliant people out there, but there’s also a bunch of nonsense.
Alex Tsakiris: [00:56:46] I guess, and again, framing this up as trying to nudge a little bit closer to the truth, and part of that process is cleaning out the non-truths. So I hammer pretty hard on the social science wokeness folks in comparative religion, but it’s just funny that that’s been our best and brightest approach to this, or the religious approach to it.
But I do also have to kind of call some of this stuff that falls into the nondual or even the new age community, and one of my triggers for me is whenever someone suggests that we are in a special time, I think we’re pointing towards this transition.
Again, I mentioned our mutual friend Rick, who I do really appreciate so much, Rick from Buddha At the Gas Pump. We did eve Briggs: [00:57:33] Who I, I,
Alex Tsakiris: [00:57:34] I do really appreciate so much, Rick from Buddha at the gas pump. But we did a series of interviews on global warming and Rick, despite all that stills all this nonsense about global warming, . . It becomes a religious thing, and I dare say I was a little bit worried that you were going down that same path in the book, the Taylor and the Himalayan yogis.
When. There is the nature will unleash her fury if man also, the book is kind of. I don’t want to say it’s sexist cause I don’t like going down that whole path. But in a way there’s a lot of man this and a woman playing her traditional role, but nature will unleash her fury if man does not mend his ways.
She appeals to you for help. Man has brought this evil and man must correct it. If we enter the intervene, then man will not learn his lesson. You are like a seeding to the forest. You must right. This wrong environmental wrong for it. If it persists, the mountains will bury the men who live on it. I don’t know.
Do you really? So do you think the. The yogis in the sky are green environmentalist and what would they feel about, well, the latest move towards climate change or any of the rest of this, do we really want to go there?
Steve Briggs: [00:58:55] Climate change is one of the contentious points in my household. I don’t buy it.
My wife is very sensitive to, Probably in discussing with, those quotes, I think some of them came from a character in the book called Yogi rush. Am I right? Maybe you don’t remember.
Alex Tsakiris: [00:59:14] I can’t remember.
Steve Briggs: [00:59:15] Okay. That’s fine. But, can you put them back up there? It’s like maybe address a little bit since, So as if, if I had, I think if I had made those statements in a nonfiction context. I think he could hammer me harder.
Alex Tsakiris: [00:59:31] Definitely. Definitely. Fair enough. Yes. Yes. Fair enough.
Steve Briggs: [00:59:35] The sexist side of it. I tried to be true to the time, and believe me, this is Muslim dominated, Indian culture, which was probably 400 years ago, which is, it’s tried to be, and this was not a, an equal rights, culture.
And I had, when I gave a book opening. A book promotion. It’s a book signing. Talk to my first one. The lady came in and said, I read it, I feel like the trash, it was trash. And I said, well, give me a little bit more elaboration. You said you’ve scratched the women. I said, man, I apologize, but please let me give a context here.
We’re talking about. Yeah, 16th century mogul, India, and this is just, this is not the 21st century here in America. And I just, if I were to be thinking. Along those lines. I mean, the, the gappers of India at that time had harems with 2000 women from all over the world. This is a fact, and I didn’t know if I want to make it somewhat historically accurate.
I have to be true to that. I chose that time for a reason, for many reasons. I feel like current India is so far looked like so far away from the whole yoga tradition. I haven’t even bothered with trying to present that as a context for a story, but the time that I chose. It was a time of enormous, a Pulitzer prize winning historian, a guy named will Duran, wrote that the mobile treatment and assault and that treatment of, of native India, reproduce the greatest genocide in human history.
Eight 85, 80 million people were exterminated in one way or another over the centuries of a mobile rule. So I chose a time that had enormous implications. Conflict within the culture. And I did have for a reason. So there are a lot of things, is that it was a military period of time that emperor had, an army that it included may something like 40% of the population.
It was a very chauvinistically, situation. So, I realized as I was running, well, this isn’t really going to go down with a lot of American. People were interested in, talking about the equality of the sexes. And I, I mean, if you could ask Chris, my wife about Mike, cause it my true position on this, but I just thought, okay, if I’m going to write a story, I better be true to the soiree or what, what business I have, trying to pick, an era.
Alex Tsakiris: [01:02:02] I understand. I understand both sides of that, and I think you’re adding a lot to it. I am not a feminist. I think that is such a rat hole that they’ve shoved people into, and especially women and talk about,
Steve Briggs: [01:02:16] it’s all that game. figure that out. We’re stuck in this game and it’s individually we have to individually
Alex Tsakiris: [01:02:25] here. I guess this is going to be my point because at the same time, and I think I know from talking to you before you acknowledged this, it goes back to the historical thing.
We do have to acknowledge, and I have to acknowledge with my two girls, I have two girls and two boys that, Hey, there’s a reality to that. when. First, certainly when my mom, . Was coming up there was, it was, there was not that kind of equality that we kind of take for granted.
So hats off to some of that social change that came about. . From that woman who came up and threw it in the trash, do you think she would have been a little bit sued, or do you think you could have written a page or two at the beginning and just explained what you just explained to me and maybe that would have,
Steve Briggs: [01:03:06] I couldn’t, I, in the preface, I definitely could have, I mean, I have some, I thought I had some pretty strong women in the story.
Maybe it’s not seen that way, but, in my family, this is just an aside, when I first. I got married, I very quickly realized that there were, there was a spouse in that was substantially further down the spiritual path than I was, and we were talking about spiritual things one day, and my wife’s name is Boomi, which is an Indian name.
She said, she says, Steve, you really don’t know anything. Do you. I agreed with her .
Alex Tsakiris: [01:03:40] I think you could say that about anybody. I mean, I got to come to that realization every day, so I suspect she doesn’t really know anything either. That seems to be the common thread that we all have going through life. Maybe met some guys up in the mountains there in the home, lays a dead.
Steve Briggs: [01:03:58] Hey, the one guy that you put the quotes up that was sort of green, that was Yogi Raj and I actually, his prototype or his real person was Keisha. No, I wrote a book that was not fiction, and if you want kind of what I, what I really stand for in principles, that would be, I didn’t die, diverged from that at all.
What I, what I stand for in my memoir, I wrote a seven year story like travel, a lot of India called India, near of truth. In that book I met, some of you always, we’ve talked to, have talked about at the beginning of the podcast, but Acacia vote. Was far and away someone that I’d never, encountered anywhere else.
I met him up above
and I modeled Yogi Raj, the ageless Yogi, in the novel after him. Cause he, he’s been written about many, many times, including by Yogananda. And I just feel like that individual. From my limited point of view is the pinnacle of what I would like to aspire to become, and I don’t, I know that’s not going to happen, but that’s sort of like, wow, that’s a role model of role models could exist.
Acacia is the name I use in. In the other book.
Alex Tsakiris: [01:05:18] That’s really cool, Steve, and that adds, again, this level of realness to this whole account that we’re talking about. You’ve been super gracious and spending your time with us. I’ll tell you what, one last questions slash topic area from the book, and it has to do with this idea that really we could have started with this, but I felt like we’d never get past it, and that is the question of what is real.
And I have the quote up on the screen, and I forget which character does, I apologize, but it says, Baba, did we visit a dreamworld or was it real
Steve Briggs: [01:05:55] protagonist? A Prince who is setting under Baba Shakara Ababa, who is his guru Himalayan.
Alex Tsakiris: [01:06:03] And has experienced hell has experienced some just horrific, unimaginable things that we hear about over and over again in different ways.
I mean, some people seek this out through, different. Practices, magical practices. Other people encounter it spontaneously through near death experiences. Some people encounter it through drug experiences. So it’s really interesting and I really want to understand what you understand about these other realms, but I also want to understand, again, the deeper part that we ask, because the reply to that by Shankar Baba is.
Did we visit a dream world or a real world? And he says a little each, but understand the suffering is real. I think that’s such a great point. I want you to elaborate on, the seven Hills are not God’s creation. The evil in men has created these routes. I could pick that apart from kind of men act impulsively due to their accumulated.
Yeah. So talk about what’s
Steve Briggs: [01:07:09] real. I came from with, this was halfway through my seven years in India when I was teaching meditation to corporate people. I had a health issue and it required some minor surgery, but it required me to be put under. A hundred percent sedation, they put me out and When I came back to consciousness, whatever number of hours after I was put under general anesthesia.
Internally. I had an experience of many, many dimensions of the universe. I will, I’ll say this is, it was very lucid enough. Someone say, Oh, you could be experiencing the side effects of the drug. Who knows? I don’t know, but I experienced progression from a very low, low, what I would say, low vibrational thing where I saw and experienced some people I would never really want to interact with.
I would just call them demons or dark beings. Okay. For lack of a better word, Rakshasas would be a Hindu term. And then it progressively my vibration, my consciousness started to lift out of that deep funk. And I went up and up and up, and by the time I went through these different dimensional experiences, the funeral.
I was in a very, angelic kind of experience where I was hearing, I’m not saying harps because that’ll really get you going, but the music was the last show. It was just, it was just there throughout the route I was in. It was like, it wasn’t coming from seeker. It was just per basis, and it was like times 10 better than their best says.
Acoustic speakers I’d ever heard this. It was just spectacular, and from there then. I slowly kind of came back to Steve consciousness, but I went through like all these different levels and I wrote about it in my memoir. And so that kinda got me, that was my first experience that there are multidimensions to our, our reality.
And many of them we didn’t know even existed or unless we read about them unless somebody told us about them or something like that. So. I kind of took that as a foundation and I did some research again, and valid or not, but I, but in the parotic literature and in the baby bog of a town, for example, of that body of literature, this, the Narcos and ARA K, the many Narcos were human souls.
migrate to based upon their actions and behavior, and they don’t exists there and, and, and reside there for eternity. The way city Christian belief is, it’s not such a thing, but while the car was being dissolved, they are. Experiencing some rough patches in your souls progress. So after the very elusive descriptive, chapters in the FEMA Davy bite of a tone about these narcissists, and what sends an individual to this one versus that one, like hitting this crime such as cold blooded murder versus something else.
So whether there are allegories or symbolic. take it anyway. Again, I kind of feel like, okay, I’m in fiction. I want to explore these things, and I chose section for this particular book because I wanted to have a palette that gave me freedom. I didn’t want to feel like, okay, am I going to be pinned down to, this is Steve’s belief now in my memoir that is nonfiction, so people could really take me to task on my beliefs or my opinions or my convictions, and now in .Fiction.
Alex Tsakiris: [01:10:48] Let’s talk about that point, cause I don’t want people to get the wrong impression. This is a, this is a book of fiction and you’re. As you said, you’re, you’re allowed to explore ideas differently in a book of fiction. .
But I think it also has this connection to reality and some really important days that you’re talking about. So in the time that we have left recap for people a little bit about this book where they can find it, the . Tail of the Himalayan yogis and the prior book, which we had you and skeptical before, and you talk, you did a great job and people will really, I think, enjoy the second book. .
Steve Briggs: [01:11:19] with most stuff these days, Amazon and, and the online, sellers, online stores, it’s, it’s available in both ebook and in hard copy and in paperback.
. It is the first book of a trilogy and the second book, the rough draft is written. . , I have 200 pages of that rough draft is there and book too. I’m not saying I’m ..Solved because of my wife that I have. She’s my editor and she’s like my love of my life.
I’m just, sorting that out, .
I just wanna to put a plug for some of the finest. Characters that I was able to, that I felt that I, that I worked with in the story where people from within, in the Zenada, which was the hair and how they worked behind the scenes to rectify a lot of the wrongs that were going on in the story.
these are not historically accurate people, but I, I did, I read. Some of the very best historical accounts of mobile empire and drew actual characters, brothers of emperors, and drew upon those characters too, to bring into the story. So there was as much authenticity as I could. So it was a lot of fun to do that because I, it was a learning experience.
But you’re right, that this idea of privilege, I mean. The upper was an opium addict. .
Alex Tsakiris: [01:12:36] Whole idea of privilege is so counter to the idea of spirituality that it’s just offensive to me. The idea that any of us get through this thing on scale. The idea that any of us are are kind of at an end advantage in terms of what we really have to accomplish spiritually is a joke.
Anyone who sits down on a yoga mat for five minutes and says, I’m not fucking privileged. I’m just as fucked up as anyone else, and I’m
Steve Briggs: [01:13:03] successor to the organization that I grew up with, the TM movement. He came into the dome where everybody were 2000 people meditate for the first time. I liked it to hear the guy talk, and he’s a good guy.
He’s got a PhD from Harvard and a MD from. MIT or vice versa. Smart guy, very good guys from the middle East. And he said, we have to address the issue of personality disorders. And I’ve never, ever once, for 50 years I’ve been in our organization, I thought, good for him, .
Alex Tsakiris: [01:13:36] . Our guest, again, has been Steve Briggs and the book that you’re going to want to check out and I do hope you, you will if you’re at all interested.
we’ve talked about it. The tale of the Himalayan yogis and check out his other books. Steve, it’s been absolutely terrific. We covered so much ground and you’re so open and, and sincere travel around the path. It’s a joy to talk to you. Thank you.
Steve Briggs: [01:13:57] Thank you. And when you see Ben to give him my best, he’s a good man.
I have yet to meet them. When we talked on the phone four or five times, and I got, I was so happy to hear he loved his trip to Indiana. So hopefully you and I will meet one day, but until then we’ll just keep talking on the screen. Okay.
Alex Tsakiris: [01:14:13] Well, you come back to Del Mar anytime
Steve Briggs: [01:14:17] you’re privileged.
Alex Tsakiris: [01:14:20] Thank. Thank you. I am privileged
Steve Briggs: [01:14:23] buyer’s beach and San Diego County. We just love good for you. You are. You burned it. nothing happens by accident.
Alex Tsakiris: [01:14:32] Everything happens by accident.
Steve Briggs: [01:14:34] Thanks man. You’re awesome. Good to talk.
. Thanks again to Steve Briggs for joining me today on skeptical. I’ve realized in editing this, that I talked a lot. This interview. People always accuse me of that anyway, but especially this one. . I really felt like I needed to push .Steve on a couple of things because he is a TM guy . , but I think that’s also kind of a . Follower kind of thing. And I love the Vedic yoga stuff, .But I think it has the same problems with Sage on the stage. Kind of, . Idolization and unchallenging beliefs just because people say it’s so. I want to try and get to .That next level. So I don’t know if I dominated the conversation too much or not, but I’ll just. Take my chances on that. And you can tell me if you think I did. I will, uh, I will take it under consideration.
So the one .Question I tee up from this interview is .Do you think there is a moral imperative and I guess more importantly, do you think it makes sense to try and tackle that from, uh, Pre-scientific but logical way. So, let me know your thoughts, pop over to the skeptical form and tell me, or drop me an email… . As always. I love hearing . And interacting with you all. So I do have some great .Shows coming up, stay with me for all of that until next time. Take care. And bye for now. . .
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