Tim Boucher interview with Daniel Pinchbeck (Mindfood)
Tuesday, November 1, 2005 06:02
On the "reality" of mystical beings:
I think, like Jung, I feel comfortable saying I believe only what I know. At this point in time, most people are trapped in dualisms, paranoias, and sensationalism when it comes to considering the occult or esoteric aspects of reality. Either the "aliens" or "demons" or "angels" are literally real, or they are phantasmal aspects of our own mind. It is harder to accept the possibility that these phenomena are truly daimonic, truly in-between or outside the definitions we might like to create for them. In fact, they may even take a special pleasure in subverting our categories and upsetting our assumptions. It may be the case that we can only explore or discover what is happening on these other levels of being if we begin from a much subtler level of understanding.
On apocalyptic thinking:
My personal hypothesis is that our consciousness is co-creating reality, therefore we want to be increasingly careful about the kind of thoughts we are allowing to absorb our awareness. If we spend too much time worrying about surveillance and Grey Alien predation and the HAARP Project, it is like we are attracting negative energy and negative vibrations towards us. We are substantiating that kind of material. I don’t mean that one should become polyannaish -- one should stay grounded, but one should realize that one is better off practicing an inner ecology on the level of thought, or you will end up in a frothing state of apocalyptic terror, which is what much of our culture seems to be trying to induce.
On scientific skepticism:
The fact is that the areas of mysticism, shamanism, the occult, etcetera, are available to intelligent questioning. It is not a question of "turning off your mind" to enter these areas. In fact, I found that it required the deepest level of intellectual engagement to clarify my own understanding of what is happening on these levels, and how you can integrate it with the modern, scientific view. For me, it is not a question of rejecting science for shamanism, but of integrating these approaches to reality.
On our planetary and cultural situation:
I think we have to realize that the world is literally melting down right now -- along with the great extinction crisis and accelerated climate change, we are in a period of vast cultural extinction, with half of the world's 6,000 languages on the verge of disappearing. Let's take stock of the urgency of the situation, and measure our actions according to reality rather than some nonexistent ideal of purity. I actually always feel incredibly comfortable whenever I am in the indigenous world -- I feel like I understand their way of looking at reality, and have no conflict with their value system, intentions, or priorities. Frankly, I generally feel far more confused, nonplussed, and depressed sitting at a table of upper middle class white people, who will exert enormous amounts of energy talking about stupid gossip or idiotic vacations or dumb junk they have purchased, rather than examining things that are actually important -- like the fact their opulent lifestyle and refusal to take responsibility for their thoughts and actions is condemning an entire planet to death.
On the lessons of Christ:
The meaning of Christ’s life is missed by Christianity: He did not "save our souls" through the crucifixion. He provided a model for how we should act, if we would like to save our own souls. And that activity is one of conscious sacrifice -- not stupidly throwing one's self on a machine gun, but figuring out how to utilize your psychic energy and your particular position for the best possible outcome. The way to bring "Heaven down to Earth" is to match your actions with your intentions.
On Buddhist notions of gurus:
The guru/disciple relationship is different than the one between a shaman and a participant in shamanic rituals. In Hindu and Buddhist traditions, you are supposed to elevate the guru to the status of a divine being, holding them in your heart as one who can do no wrong. Theoretically, by meditating on the guru in this way, you are also identifying with the guru and elevating yourself, but in practice, it often means giving up your will and agency to another. I personally suspect this is an Eastern practice that doesn't benefit Westerners, who have chosen a different dharma. I think that the shaman is never presumed to have that deified status, and in fact in tribal societies, people tended to be wary of the shaman.
On prophesy and global transformation:
I believe that 2012 is happening this minute, right now, in a very real sense. It is the work that we do on ourselves, transforming our own psyches and our communities and our global systems, that brings "2012" into existence as a positive outcome for the world. There is nothing passive about this at all – it is completely active, absolutely "here and now" oriented. We have to entirely awaken to the current situation -- with its death-like grip of totalitarianism and foreshadowing of mass genocide -- and then put all of our energy and clear, cogent thought into creating the alternative that will supersede the current form of globalized inequity based on greed, fear, and ego-centrism. The phase-shift takes place, first of all, in our own minds, and moves outward from there.
On our place in time:
I would take the Hopi perspective that in a sense "All time is present now," but we still have to pass through the cycle or the sequence as it takes place from our limited view into the spacetime matrix, which is already pre-existent in four-dimensions, as quantum physicists tell us. We are moving towards this event – and yet, in another sense, it has already happened. We have to hold paradoxes in our mind in order to appreciate this – for instance, roles are preassigned, yet freely chosen and self-willed. This kind of understanding is syntactically embedded in the Hopi language.
We will enter the Kingdom [of Heaven] by transforming our consciousness, which can only be done through the pragmatic labor of transforming the Earth, bringing compassion and light and generosity and intelligence down into this world. Once we accomplish this, we won't have to argue about it anymore, as we will find ourselves actually living in the Kingdom.