Episode 114 | May 1, 2018

The Sacred Wisdom of Spirituality & Awakening with Douglas Bentley


A Personal Note from Orion

Today we will demystify spirituality and get to the heart of awakening.

My extraordinary guest is Douglas Bentley. He served as a Oneness Monk under Guru Sri Bhagavan who has millions of followers worldwide. When the time had come, his master told him to go on his way and spread his wisdom in the West, to help people on the journey of spiritual awakening and God realization.

I spent some time at Oneness University in India myself with the “Avatars ” and have met Guru Sri Bhagavan in person – it was a profound experience for me.

This refreshing, no B.S. conversation about spirituality will lighten your heart and brighten your day.

About Today’s Show

‏‏When you think of spirituality, what do you think about? Do you think about somebody who’s wearing white, sitting cross-legged, on the top of the mountain, and chanting? What is spirituality? What is awakening? How can we integrate spirituality and awakening into everyday life and into our human existence with everything that we’re going through, with all the hardships, with everything that makes us reactive with all her very natural human emotion and human suffering? How can we deal with all that? Today, I brought to you a very extraordinary guest. He’s one of my spiritual teachers and his name is Douglas Bentley. His passion is helping people from all walks of life, flower on the journey of spiritual awakening and God realization. After spending a decade in India as a monk, Douglas was blessed by his spiritual master to move back to the West to teach, guide, and inspire others on their path of awakening. I had the pleasure of studying with Douglas, I had the honor of meeting his spiritual guru in India, his name is Sri Bhagavan and spend some time with him. I am so happy to have him here on the show and really share from the heart what spirituality and awakening really is. This conversation was super amazing and super fascinating, and I know you are going to love it. If you love it, if you want to give me some love, and gain some good karma points, I want to invite you to review Stellar Life Podcast. I want to send a big, warm thank you to Brooke who gave me a five-star review on iTunes. Thank you, I love you, I appreciate you. You rock. Thanks, girl. I really appreciate it because I work really hard on bringing you guys the most amazing guests and just producing the show. It’s a labor of love but it’s also a labor, it’s a lot of freaking work. I bring all these amazing guest. I want to share my message with the world and I want everybody to know about these amazing guest and amazing knowledge because there are too many people out there that are suffering on many different levels. There is good knowledge that can help them feel inspired, feel awakened, feel like they are irresistible and loved. I want people to feel loved and I want you to feel how much I love you because I love you. Thank you again for listening to Stellar Life Podcast. Thank you so much for supporting me and supporting the show. I appreciate you and I love you. Whoever you are, I love you, you are loved, and you are amazing. Now, onto the show. Hey Douglas, and welcome to Stellar Life Podcast.

‏‏Hey, thanks so much. Thanks for having me here.

‏‏Thank you for being here. I’m so honored to have you here because you are part of my most remarkable spiritual awakening or breakthrough or depth or whatever it is. I just want to start with gratitude. I’m so grateful for you and your teachings. Everything that I learned from you, Oneness University, all of it. I went to India and we went to Oneness University and it was awesome. You were their teacher but then the big guru told you, what did he tell you?

‏‏He had actually been working with us for several years. I was a monk for several years and I ran into my life partner, her name’s Prima. She’s somebody who’s been on her spiritual path since the age of seven, and she’s actually worked with several awakened masters. Sri Bhagavan, our teacher basically just said, “I want to put you guys for the next several years into very intense processes, to help you really flower to a certain point. I can see that you both have the potential to help others throughout the world. At a certain point when you’re ready, I want you guys to go, travel the world, and share from your state of consciousness and experiences, just to help people on their journeys.” For several years, he put us through very intense processes, and as of last September or October or so, he basically sat us down, said, “I want you guys to head home and you’re ready to help others.” The journey is an endless journey, but he just felt we got to a certain point where we can really help people from our own experiences. So we packed our bags, we came home, and we’ve been focusing on helping people who are passionate about growing and transforming on their own journey’s spiritual awakening.

‏‏How did you become a monk?

‏‏For me, I’ve been a very, very serious seeker of spiritual awakening and God realization since I was a child, actually. There’s something in me that knew I had to awaken. Didn’t even know what that even meant, but I had many different definitions for it as I went along in my life. When I was 18 years old, I started having a huge stint of very profound lucid dreams. You’d absolutely know you’re dreaming, completely awake inside of it. One of these very profound lucid dreamings, I came fact-to-face with this Indian spiritual being and he was talking to me. There was such a profound dream that I’ve always remembered that. I could never get it out of my mind. Something like 7 years later when I was 25 years old, I was being taught how to meditate with my first master. I started looking on the internet for the experiences I was having because I was having all these mystical experiences. As I was looking up these mystical experiences, I came across a photo of an Indian saint from India that I’ve never heard of before named Sri Bhagavan. I took a look at the photo and I was thinking, “My God, that’s the man who was in my dreams when I was 18 years years old.” I’m one of those professional web designer, had a really great travel in Washington, DC. I was really established in my life at that point and I was just sitting there in my office. I looked at his photo and this huge amount of energy, literally—I’m not a mystic and never had really big mystical experiences per se—but huge amount of tangible energy struck me from the photo, and I went into a very deep awakened state for four hours in my office. I was sitting there in this deep state of consciousness which you couldn’t deny it. I don’t know what’s going on at this point, and I had all of these insights that I chose to come on this planet this time, to help humanity awaken in consciousness. The goal of my life is to help people grow in consciousness as well as myself. I need to now grow, flower, and awaken. It was like a switch got switched on. I couldn’t turn it off after that. There was such clarity. I knew that I had to go to India and be with this master. I literally checked into it more, went off to India, went through several week process that his master offered, and just fell in love with it. I just knew this is absolutely where I’m supposed to be. Two years later or so, I went back there and said, “I want to live here. I want to be one of your monks.” They said yes and basically I spent an entire decade living there serving as a monk and it was fantastic. Now, I just came back home in the last four months.

‏‏I think when I met you, you actually wore the monk uniform, or whatever you call it. I don’t know what’s the name for it.

‏‏I have no idea.

‏‏And then I saw you wearing Western clothes and now, you’re married. How was that transition from being a monk to living in the Western world again?

‏‏It was very wholesome. When I was 25 years old, I had this very deep, adventurous, sort of rebellious take on life. At that point by 28 when I lived there for good. But it was seven years of doing the 9-5 commute—because I had a job when I turned 20—and there’s this moment inside of me that said I’m ready to try something vastly different than the house and the 9-5 job. I had no problem selling everything I had down to a book bag and just trekking off to India and being a monk. There’s something so important about that journey for me. It was such a level of discovery that’s taking me so outside the elements that I’ve ever used to, to getting immersed in an entirely uniquely different culture. There was such a learning that took place and such awakening that took place. I was around such a profound master. I was constantly put on processes. It was like the cup was getting filled in a big way. There’s this saturation point where you suddenly realize years later—for me—I realized there’s a deeper yearning. There’s something else that’s ready now, to now grow in a different direction. The hardest thing for anybody is to ever want to leave their master. It’s epically hard if you really love your master. For me, I never want to look in that direction because I was getting this yearning for a couple of years going, it’s time to actually go out into life. But the side of me was like, “No way.” I’m thinking my master like, “I love this man so much.” There was this moment that more and more of it was calling, and I found my partner, Prima, and it was like all the symptoms were knocking on a door that I did not want to look at. Then my teacher actually said, “It’s time, absolutely time to go out to life.” When he said that, it felt so correct. Being back home, I have a web design company doing web design business, and what I do is build websites. Everything in life is just flowing very abundantly and very auspiciously. It’s just a huge next step of my own journey that I’m just laughing saying, “I knew everything had divine timing but this is fantastic.” Didn’t realize that that was truly the correct thing for me, and it was. It’s a very beautiful step and journey.

The hardest thing for anybody is to ever want to leave their master. It’s epically hard if you really love your master. Click To Tweet

‏‏Why did you love your master so much?

‏‏I don’t know. Sri Bhagavan had always told me so many times when people come together like this, it’s most likely because there’s many lifetimes that you have spent with each other. He’s the kind of being that the first moment I saw him, I felt madly in love with him. Every fiber of my being was just I love him, I respect him, I want to learn from him, I want to be as close to him as possible. He’s a being that if anyone has a chance to be around, he’s the kind of being that cannot judge. He just has nothing but unconditional love in his eyes. He genuinely listens and cares directly about you. He’s just completely focused on you when you’re around him. He’s just somebody who has absolutely been fundamental to my transformation in my life, it’s just one of those things where I’ve had the opportunity to meet so many different kinds of spiritual teachers throughout my run as being a monk and traveling around, things like that, and I have never crossed anybody quite like this. It’s such a rare treat that when you’re being around a being that’s truly embedded in that state of total oneness and realization of the oneness of life. I don’t even know why I love him so much in a sense that it’s just something so beyond my mind’s description of it. Yeah, I hold him near and dear to my heart.

‏‏What’s a being or an avatar?

‏‏As my teacher would explain it, he’ll basically say that life has its extreme intelligence. Life itself is enormously intelligent and life produces things when something’s needed or you could say an aspect of life needs help. You could say for our species, there’s moments where the species needs to take a leap forward in some direction or another. Let us say in mathematics or physics, the species at that certain point there needed be a small leap ahead. All of a sudden a young man is born having these big insights in his teenage years, and he ends up seeing the relativity of life. It’s Einstein and you could say so many factors created this being to incarnate at that time, to have these sets of experiences, have the brain wired in such a way, that is able to live or something that helped catalyst a species forward and in understanding. You could say that when a being is born that is directly here to help the species evolve, or heal, or learn, whatever it is, you could say it’s kind of as an avatar in the sense that it’s the intelligence of creation emerging to help the species. There’s many types. You could say that Sri Bhagavan is specifically born like how he was, is he’s specifically born to where his whole focus was the complete upliftment of human consciousness and transformation. Surrounding him is this vast phenomenon of grace that you connect with and can actually put you into these awakened states and get major catalyst for growth beyond just somebody giving some teachings. You could say he’s a spiritual avatar. That was my very, very direct experience being with him for all those years. He’s just utterly an extraordinary being.

‏‏Are you an avatar?

‏‏I don’t think I’m an avatar like that. I definitely think when I look at in the sense that I can sum up my life, I would definitely think that, I think like many people, I’m one of these people that were born on the planet to undergo the process of awakening, and to reach out and help as many people as possible to take those steps. But when you look at a being like Sri Bhagavan, you realize that’s just, let’s say I’m a rock, he’s a mountain. That’s the best way to say it. It’s something very extreme. But I definitely say that to myself, I am utterly passionate to do all I can throughout this lifetime to continue that work and to help awaken humanity and to uplift human consciousness. I’m very grateful that that is my life path and it’s a very fantastic one. It resonates very deeply with me.

‏‏When I was at Oneness University and we were meditating, we were going through processes, and I had many out-of-body experiences, the most extreme one was when I was meditating inside that white temple. The moment they started and the monks went and gave us the deeksha, which is that blessing, for 1 ½ hours I was on the floor laughing out loud, laughing so hard that I couldn’t stop laughing. I never laughed so hard in my life. It was awesome. I think since I came back from India I laughed louder and that was five years ago. I was laughing but while I was laughing, it was almost like I was tripping. I was in different realms and I was in this neon-orange realm with the monks and we were all like kids and playing. Then my spirit went out of the temple and I could see a monkey, I knew what the monkey was thinking, that was funny too. Then we went into the body of a stray dog and I could see the world through the eyes of the stray dog. It was so wild and it was an hour, two hours, I don’t know how long it was. But the moment they hit the gong to finish the meditation, I was back, like nothing happened. Can you explain what just happened there or a little bit of it?

‏‏Sure. It’s very fascinating and this is something that I think the Eastern cultures know a lot about but the Western culture is a very new thing. But I think because so much Eastern philosophy has come into the west, the people have heard these words before. As my teacher would always tell me, he would always say, “Essentially the entire journey, a spiritual awakening, is the journey of your kundalini. It’s awakening this dormant life-force energy that actually resides in the base of the spine.

‏‏Oh yeah, and my body was shaking the whole time too. Yes. And I got that tetany with my hands. Is that what it’s called, tetany?

‏‏I’m not sure. You’re telling like the tingles?

‏‏Not tingles. It’s like when you can’t really move your hands. It’s weird.

‏‏Oh, okay. They kind of crinkled-up together.

‏‏Yes.

‏‏Yeah, yeah. What ends up happening is that, in your body—and people probably are used to these terms—there’s these different major energy centers. They’re called chakras and they’re very dormant as well in a lot of ways. Take, let’s say, the average person who hasn’t really taken a step in the spiritual direction per se. You can take a look at them and you’d say their chakras are not really open and awakened. You could say that the kundalini is very low. It’s dormant still. The problem all masters face is learning to just simply bring up the kundalini and activate all the chakras. The moment the kundalini starts flowing, as you’ve experienced, and it hits these different chakras and opens them, a person finds himself in very vast states of consciousness. From these vast states of consciousness, new perceptions or understandings of reality occur. Really, the whole process of awakening is a process of unlearning the conditioning of how you perceive life. It’s coming to this place where you discover so much about what causes suffering, and because of your entire states of different perceptions, you sort of untangle yourself from that which causes suffering, which is actually the mind. The real gift of Sri Bhagavan is that he has amassed a phenomenon surrounding him to where he can give something called deeksha. Deeksha is a very ancient term, but the deeksha phenomenon is, from him at least, literally goes and awakens the kundalini and brings it up. It makes the whole process very fast and easy for people who are seeking spirituality. When people go and receive deeksha from him or the monks there, they would go into these high states of consciousness, and it cause a big awakening. One thing I would love to note on this though is high states of consciousness are not actually enlightenment or awakening yourselves. It’s not the end-goal to be in vast high state.

The whole process of awakening is a process of unlearning the conditioning of how you perceive life.

‏‏But it’s really fun.

‏‏Absolutely. It’s fantastic. Absolutely. But those times that it does hit you, they’re very special things because they cause such changes to the physiology of the body energetically, because they say they open things up inside of you, and again like I mentioned before, they cause such a different perception of reality. When you finally come back down, you were like a fish taken out of the water and shown the ocean and set back in the ocean. Forever your perception is changed.

  1. That sounded so good. Wow. What’s your definition of spirituality? What is it to be spiritual?

‏‏I think there’s a lot of different answers to that. For me, I would say it’s about finding happiness inside. It’s literally about coming to a place where you’re authentically at peace and happiness and you feel love inside. Because I, for a long time, had many different concepts of it, in my journey, it was more along the lines of at the end of the day I just want to be a happy human being. That’s it. As I grew further, I realized what does it mean to be happy and that’s when I died inside and took a hard look. So I say spirituality is the journey of becoming happy.

‏‏Do you ever suffer?

‏‏Oh sure, absolutely. I would definitely say suffering comes and goes. For me, I would say that before my journey, living in India and going through all that I went through, I would say, I was nothing but a ball of suffering and I was completely unconscious of it. In my mind, I would say there was nothing but me blaming my life circumstances and waiting for suffering to end once my circumstances changed. I would say that that’s sort of the common issue people face. They want a different relationship, they want a different this, they want a different that. As soon as those circumstances change, they’ll suddenly be happy. Life would become a better place for them. Then when I started growing, I started realizing that no matter what I have externally, no matter how many times the furniture changes in my house per se, I still actually feel a lot of discontent inside. Then as I started going further, I said, “Well, let me actually start confronting the pain inside,” and it was this huge journey of purging in the sense that I started actually saying I hurt inside. I started admitting it. I’m sad, I have a lot of anxiety, I have fear, I hurt, and I started actually allowing myself to face that as it comes up because life brings it up at any given situation. As I started allowing myself to face it, I started healing the wounds of my past. I actually had a very nice life. I didn’t have anything major that really hit me. But I had just what anyone else has. Layers and layers of moments throughout life that you got hurt and are somehow still inside of you. All the pain started, layer after layer allowed it to release more and more. I ended up getting to a place where I was allowing myself to suffer when suffering came. It was sort of an invitation. If something comes up, no problem, come right on in and I would completely confront it by accepting it. I would accept it, I would let it tell a story, let it release its pain and it would die off. I would say that these days, for me, I’m no stranger to suffering, but I don’t see it as personal. For me, when I say that one of the biggest steps in my journey was when I went from a person who was suffering to where a shift took place, where I experienced myself as nothing but pure consciousness, just simply a witness witnessing. I see that there is a mind there. I see that the mind has an illusory sense of self, and I see that the self perceives things when it gets hurt, it’s frustrated, it gets this, it gets that, and I don’t care anymore. I just say, “Ah, yeah.” The mind’s hurt, yes there’s anxiety, this has happened. For me, just simply being that which is just watching silently, there’s this vast acceptance and also there’s this ongoing vast relaxing of any resistance going on. Whatever rises as it does, there’s this decreases it like dropping of resistance. Just constantly drop in resistance and just abiding in a deep sense of beingness. I’m not identified with what’s going on even though I experience it. But I know that if I’m struggling with it, it’s because I’m resisting. Whatever’s coming up just needs to be healed, that’s all. There’s a kind of ownership and responsibility of what’s going on internally, and I know it has nothing to do with the external circumstances. I would say it’s such a different place than where I was when I started and it’s very wholesome because you own what’s going on, and at the same time it’s not you per se. It’s just total acceptance is probably the best term.

‏‏Well, I’m having a hard time accepting things when things are hard. I’m a seeker myself and I have been studying with great people, taking tons of seminars, and traveled around the world and all that. I’m still really struggling when there is a major gap between reality and expectation. And then I’m getting stressed about being stressed because I should know better, I teach these things. I have all those tools, I know tapping and breathing and meditating, and still there is suffering, and there’s that being stressed about being stressed. Then silly thoughts like, “Oh my God, I’m going to get wrinkles.” I shouldn’t be stressed. It will create adrenal fatigue and then I get into this loop of like, “What happened if I’m stressed? I should…” Then I even get more stressed about being stressed. Especially right now I’m recording from Israel, we came here and there were a lot of things that didn’t happen my way. Imagine how it’s going to be like at what they are right now. Not easy. There are a lot of changes that are happening and a lot of unforeseen things that are showing up in my life right now. How to deal with all that? You say just let go and accept and feel it, but I have resistance for that.

‏‏Yeah, totally. The great news is you’re not alone. You’re describing what seven billion people face all day long. Just the cool thing is what you’re seeing, you’re seeing it. You’re able to describe it in such great detail. What you’re seeing is the problem with what they call the human mind. The human mind is constantly in resistance to whatever actually is happening in the present moment. It’s just this thing that’s just nothing but stress. It’s a stressful thing to how the mind functions. You could say awakening itself, in so many ways, is not a 1-2-3 and I got it, because I promise you if it was like that, we would all not be having any spiritual conversations. We’d all just be in these fantastic states. What awakening is, and how do you grow past that per se, is first of all you have to realize there’s a deep realization and anyone can have it. It’s just something you have to really take a hard look inside and say is it true for you? You have to realize that you don’t control the thoughts that arise and cease inside of you. These things pop in and out whenever they want to, and they’re utterly inappropriate 99% of the time. It’s just this whirlwind of thinking that’s going on.

‏‏Very inappropriate.

‏‏Inappropriate in every sense. For instance, you see somebody in a wheelchair and you mind puts out a terrible thought. Or you see something on Facebook where you should have sympathy and all you have is judgment. On any level, the mind just throw things out, it’s almost shocking. It’s not that even that’s the problem. It’s just that it’s constantly labeling, and judging, and comparing reality. The mind, its nature is to comprehend and divide reality so it can comprehend and assess what’s going on each moment.

‏‏It’s a mini-making machine and we create stories about everything. But please help me make it stop.

‏‏Sure. Well, the first step is just to understand. I happen to be in this physical, animal body called the human body, it has a brain along with many other organs, and there’s a part of that brain that is constantly labeling, assessing, comparing, and giving story to my sensory inputs. I’m trying to get all technical but just bear with me on it. That’s going on. You touch something, your mind thinks about that. You experience something with your senses, your mind comments on that. That’s going on. Awakening is when you start seeing the mechanics of what’s actually going on. It’s when you actually say, “Alright, you know what? This is happening. My brain has a part in it that is producing the thinking mechanism that is labeling and constantly commenting on reality.” What awakening’s about, the freedom any saint or sage has found, is they realize they cannot change that. They cannot stop that. They cannot manage that. But what they discovered is—this is the most important part—that they are not the commenting, they’re not the commenter, they’re not the mind, they’re not the body, they’re not the emotions. What they are, what you are, is this very silent, forever gazing, witnessing what’s taking place. Right now, looking out of your eyes, there is just this vast, silent witnessing that is just pouring out of your eyes, and of course in front of the witnessing, once in a while, thoughts will be there. But the witnessing still remains. If you get quiet the witnessing is still there. Whatever you do the witnessing is happening. That’s what you actually are. When a person starts realizing, “I am the witness,” they start actually abiding or staying as that witness. They start witnessing what’s taking place internally, not to change it, not to stop it, not to judge it, not to fight with it. It starts allowing the mind to do what it does but they’re watching silently. They don’t judge it, they’re not fighting the mind, they’re not in hopes to do something and end it. A great surrender is happening where we’re allowing everything to happen the way it is, including the mind. It’s the great surrender. You’re surrendering into witnessing and just whatever’s happening is happening. Here’s the tool to use. The tool is as you start just seeing, you just say, “Whatever happens internally, happens internally. I just watch that.” What the suffering is of your life, why we suffer with what’s going on, is because emotionally in our hearts, in our stomachs where the emotional body is for you, there’s a resistance. There’s a tightening around whatever emotional experiences or feelings you’re having. As a person grows to where they just see that there’s this silent witnessing, they must then bring their awareness to any form of resistance emotionally, and just relax all the muscles in your body, all the muscles in your chin, all the muscles in your heart. You relax all resistance and you just breathe, experience silently what’s going on, experience being the silent witness, and drop resistance and be. When you start doing that, you realize wow, the anxiety or being anxious about being anxious, these stresses of what happened yesterday, what could possibly not go right tomorrow, all of it falls away. Our point of focus has gone from being engaged in the mind, trying to find what you think will be your peace, and it’s opposed to you’re now moving to a place where, “I am that silence that is only peace just watching and I’m dropping all resistance.” Your whole focus comes into the present moment and added into your resistance because all suffering is just that resistance. That’s the real key. What I always tell people is, “You’ve been duped by the mind your entire life. You’ve been tossed and turned like a dryer machine inside the realm of the mind and you think you’re that somehow.” But, what a person has to learn on their waking journey is they have to realize, “The mind is making use of me, I need to fall in the present moment, fall out of resistance, and not get sucked back into being engaged as the mind fighting the mind and fighting life.” The moment a person falls back into daydream which happens naturally, they just have to see that, they have to see, “I’m back into the spin dryer of my mind,” and you have to learn to just say, “Okay, let me fall back out of that,” which means you’re identifying once again a silent witnessing, you’re bringing your focus to your heart and your dropping resistance, you’re falling into a state of beingness. A person’s path of awakening is a path of learning to embody that state of non-resistant beingness, as identified as witness consciousness into their day-to-day life, because you’ve been utilizing the mind the wrong way in your day-to-day life, which is total misery. As a person is learning to walk each day in their life, deal with their task, relate to their partners, relate to their businesses, but in that state of non-resistant witnessing and beingness. It’s all the same thing. You’re dropping into yourself, staying present, staying still, and you’re allowing whatever the mind throws up, but you’re just staying as that witness. These words aren’t really going to help a person. But if a person can hear what’s being said and say, “Let me discover this in my own way internally,” then they come to their own revelations and they can start walking that journey in their own way. I’m only describing it as the journey is for me. Each person will describe it a little bit different.

‏‏You know what really helped me—and it’s going to sound like the polar opposite of what people think of as spiritual, and I’m there with you, I totally love what you said about connecting to our body, our breathing, and being present, because when we’re present we can be in the past or in the future or just there. One of the things that helped me really connect and express my emotions, be really present with my body in the moment, and really listen to her instead of have her lead me instead of my mind, was taking pole dancing classes with Sheila Kelley where we had the class. The way she does it is very different. It’s dim lights, slow movement. They are simple techniques but at the end of the class, each one has a dance and it’s all improvised. You put music that moves you and you start dancing. It’s very secret, it’s only women, there are no mirrors, the women are mirrors for each other. They are challenging just like life. Some days it was awesome and some days it was like, “Oh, I can’t even move. What’s going on? I’m stuck,” but when it flows, I was like a spiritual awakening where any emotion would be expressed, whether it’s sometimes I feel elated, sometimes I feel angry, sometimes I feel disgusted, sometimes I feel beautiful, and sometimes I feel whatever emotion arise over whatever I had to deal with. Or maybe something from the past came through the dance, was released, and left on the dance floor. When I was done with that, I felt a release and I felt elated. I would drive home and it was almost like a state of awakening after you get a deeksha. Everything is in technicolor and everything is just like the world is just clearer. It was just like that.

‏‏That’s beautiful.

‏‏Yeah. I like what you said about we all have our own ways to find it. With all the work I’ve done on myself, and I’ve done a lot of freaking work on myself, I still feel looking for, like you said, a never-ending journey. I was like, “When can I just be in that beautiful state 24×7? I just want to be there. I don’t want to experience suffering. I don’t want to feel my emotion. I don’t want to do anymore work. I’ve done so much work so far.” And you’ve done tons of work. You’ve been a monk in India for a decade with an avatar. Why can’t we just stop suffering?

‏‏I hear you. That’s a very fantastic question. The best way to say it is like this: As long as we continue to use the mind in the wrong way, we’re going to be nothing but a ball of suffering. The problem that we face is that we’re so used to using it, because it’s so integral to our life that we don’t think that that habit should change, but somehow suffering should go away. The greatest analogy would be remember how like in the 60s and 70s, fast food was considered like a great thing? No problem, just have your fast food, have some cigarettes too, and it’s a great thing.

As long as we continue to use the mind in the wrong way, we’re going to be nothing but a ball of suffering. Click To Tweet

‏‏And look like a man.

‏‏Yeah, and there’s nothing wrong in the health of it, like eat your canned food, eat your fast food, drink and smoke your cigarettes.

‏‏“Look! You can make a cake out of the box. Woo!”

‏‏Exactly. And then just in this last, maybe, two decades, had everyone realize that, “Wow, that’s really, really not the way to live on a day-to-day basis if I am actually going to be a healthy human being.” That’s exactly the time period, I think, we’re all in. It’s like, “Wow, being emotionally happy and being completely stuck in divisive thinking and compulsive thinking are two completely opposite sides of the spectrum. What you’re learning and I’m learning and everyone’s going through is we’re taking the journey to realize, “I’m ready to get off of this crazy roller-coaster called the mind, and I’m ready to feel happy again.” Because you, your entire life, my entire life, we have only used the mind in that capacity, we don’t even know the other realities there. Taking that small steps in the direction of, “Let me fall out of daydreaming, let me feel what it feels like when I drop resistance each moment, let me discover that there’s something witnessing and let me see if that’s really true, if that’s actually me because what is me, and let me learn to just be with that,” is now like this chick chipping on the shell, trying to emerge from this dark, dark cave called the shell, and realizing there’s a whole another reality that, you’ve maybe have heard about, but you didn’t realize was possible for you. That’s why I have seen so many people on a spiritual path for 10 years, 20 years, 30 years. Yes, they’ve had many experiences but they didn’t necessarily find the peace they’re looking for because they’ll learn something or they’ll have some experience, but then they go right back to the habit of thinking that they were in just before they went to the retreat, and they think that that’s somehow okay. What my teacher told me once, which was really helpful as the biggest slap on my face, as he told me, he said, “Unless you start staying in the present moment, unless you start staying still and just being, there is no more growth and direction. You don’t go any further. Yes, you know a lot of stuff, you know how to manage things, but freedom is found when you vastly go into the present moment.” When that happened, that was the day I said, “I don’t care how difficult it is, I’m going to learn to do this.” It was various struggles at first, but then after several weeks, several months, it started becoming very natural. And now, each day of my life, pretty much as much as possible throughout the day, I’m very deeply in a state of where I’m staying very present and really vastly out of the state of resistance. The resistance is there, I’m very keenly aware of it. I can definitely say that if it happened to me, it definitely could happen to anybody else because I’m no different from anybody else, just a guy from Washington, DC. That’s sort of the problem people are facing.

‏‏What about the activity in the moment? Let’s say there’s a hostile environment. The mean people are doing mean things to you. You can control your reality but you can’t control anybody else’s reality, how they react to you. Some people are going to love you, some people are not going to like you. How do you react in the moment proactively with somebody that treats you bad?

‏‏Well, here’s the beautiful thing. The mistake with the word ‘spirituality’ means that there is a way to be. If we think of the word ‘saint’ we think of literally someone walking on water in being a very specific kind of saintly way. But when you actually meet people who are enormously authentic with themselves and just completely accepting reality as it is, you’ll realize they’re enormously spontaneous. They may yell at a certain moment. there’s a lot of very famous sages and saints that were known for actually yelling.

‏‏Really?

‏‏Yeah, they had a temper.

‏‏But it’s not spiritual to have a temper.

‏‏There you go. That’s it. That’s what’s so beautiful about your question. It’s exactly your statement right there, it’s not spiritual to have a temper. But what if we redefine the word spirituality? What if we said that spirituality means being completely, rawly accepting of what you actually are? You’re in complete acceptance of whatever actually happens. What if freedom is where there is complete acceptance of what has happened to you? If you’re angry, you’re allowing yourself to express anger. If you’re in fear, you’re allowing the state of fear to happen. It’s not how you should be, you’re accepting actually how you are. That’s what you actually discover is that when a person truly starts growing, they actually start falling out of their concept of spirituality and they start awakening to what is actually happening because the freedom a person seeks is the complete and total acceptance of what is happening in the present moment. It is accepting if the neighbors are yelling at you. It’s accepting that fear is coming up as your neighbors are yelling. It’s accepting the fact that resistance is coming up around the fear. It’s total and complete acceptance. That’s where definitely from me the first several years of my journey, I was completely the guy trying to be spiritual and I had a lot of concepts around what that meant. Then at a certain point, all the walls collapsed. Everything started collapsing and what was left was just how I actually was. It was such a big disappointment to the ideas of what I thought out actually be. But when I saw what I actually was, that’s actually the moment that great freedom was there because I suddenly realized this is what I am, this is what is happening whatever it is in the present moment, this is all there is in this present moment, and I am that which watches, I can’t change anything, I can only allow myself to experience as life is.

‏‏What’s the difference between being spiritual and present in the moment with your feeling and expressing your anger, to being a total destructive jerk?

‏‏What I have noticed in a lot of people and myself is when you’re not aware of what’s going on inside of you, which I think a lot of people are in that place where they’re not actually taking a steady, ongoing look at where they’re actually at emotionally or where they’re actually at in their thoughts. They’re sort of just trekking through life and externalizing things not realizing the sources of their expressions or what they do externally, is sourced from what’s really going on inside of themselves. You could say that’s a very unconscious way of living and you can say a lot of people fall in that category. You could even say a lot of spiritual people are in that path today. They are able to to see it sometimes but they’re not able to see it other times. I know I’m not outside that either. Anybody’s like that. When you’re in a situation and you’re unconsciously getting angry and expressing anger, it’s very destructive. When you’re unconsciously coming from pain or hurt, and somehow expressing it and you’re not really aware of what’s really going on, it could be very destructive. But when a person is able to just pay attention to what’s going on inside themselves as they’re, let us say, dealing with an angry neighbor, just some generic idea. They’re engaged in conversation and they start realizing they’re getting angry, they realize fear is there. That very realization, most of the time, a person’s actually able to have the wisdom of how to resolve the situation in a very peaceful way. They’re actually able to laugh with the neighbor and say, “Gosh, both of us are getting angry over this. Let’s think of another solution.” They’re able to come from a place of clarity, they know what’s going on inside of themselves, and from there they have the ability to respond and not react per se. The same when you’re in an unconscious state, you’re reacting all the time. When you’re conscious, you’re able to see what’s going on and then make a better choice if you can. When I was referring earlier about saints and sages who could get angry per se, what I mean is that sometimes, a person is so vastly aware that things just happen spontaneously and strangely enough, you’d find out when a person is in a very vast liberated state of being that their spontaneous actions is actually the right action, it’s actually something that simply happens, and it’s the right thing in that moment. It’s very hard to describe this without going into great detail about it but I would have to say that, yes, definitely saying you’re spiritual and using that as an excuse to yell at people is way not the right thing. Learning to actually admit where you’re actually at, and actually stay with that as you’re having a conversation with people, will lead you to respond as opposed to reacting. But definitely at another point, when you really flower as a human being, you’ll be very spontaneity about things. But these kinds of beings, actually their main state of consciousness is a deep sense of peace and love. It’s just that anger sort of bubbles within it, and it happens to be the right thing in that moment to bring upon whatever change needed to happen or transformation. It’s a very unique thing actually. That’s why we don’t have to talk so much about that aspect, but spirituality, when one is trying to be spiritual, they end up trying to shut down all the things inside themselves that they deem not spiritual. But when the true spirituality is when any concept of spirituality fall off and whatever is going on, is the spiritual experience. It’s total acceptance.

When you really flower as a human being, you’ll be very spontaneity about things. But these kinds of beings, actually their main state of consciousness is a deep sense of peace and love.

‏‏How can we live more awakened and more in an awakened state or states?

‏‏Sure. The whole show is actually a rewiring of the brain in a sense like this: Your brain is actually neuroplastic, meaning that whatever conditioning, whatever habits that you do over and over, the brain builds pathways. And as you do it more and more, those pathways strengthen. As you do things less and less, those pathways go away. You could say that the brain is wired in such a way right now for most people to where person is living in a perpetual state of daydreaming, where all the time heavy thought, heavy thought, heavy thought. But the very dialogue of our mind is very divisive. It’s always in conflict even with itself. It’s rehashing the past, it’s throwing itself into the future, it’s making up a bunch of stories. It has assumptions about everything but when you look closely, none of them are actually right. You’re just living in this storm of the mind. When you want to know what is the path, the first step of the path, you could say, is learning to see when you’re actually in compulsive daydreaming. Just knowing that the moment you can catch yourself sort of in a daydreaming state, the moment you catch yourself sort of caught in the throes of the mind, just know to just stop it. The moment you see it, just halt the dialogue, drop right when you’re focused right into your heart, drop out of any resistance into a state of beingness, and breathe. Just fall vastly into a state of beingness in the present moment. Just be. When you do that, you’re starting to break the lifelong pattern of compulsive thinking. It may not be easy at first, but you’ll suddenly realize it feels so much better to step out of these daydreams. It’s so much better to fall out of resistance into a state of beingness in being present. That you’ll start saying, “I like doing this a lot more.” It starts actually becoming a discipline that you start bringing into every habit of the day. You give it about six months, you give that a year, and suddenly you realize that most of your day is actually staying pretty present and not in a resisting state. You’ve really learned a lot about yourself because to come out of resistance you first have to admit what’s actually going on. You have to actually say, “I’m in fear right now. Okay, now drop the resistance around that one.” You have to actually admit, “Yes, I get in fear. Yes, I am jealous. Yes, I am this.” It’s not a bad thing but you discover the nature of yourself, the nature of the mind. I say that that’s probably the most important thing in anyone’s spiritual journey. Everything else are different kinds of philosophies, our techniques, and things like that to help you, but walking your path is sort of walking out of daydream into the present moment, if that makes sense.

‏‏I love that. Wow, that was beautiful. That was very beautiful. When I was younger, I used to do that. I think it was in high school and I felt my shoulders were always tight and I was holding them high. When I noticed that, I started just throughout the day, just be mindful and every hour or so think about my shoulder and just drop them. That was a really cool practice. Even something this simple can be tremendously helpful. I love what you’re saying about making it a daily habit and we have all those tools and they’re magnificent. Sometimes the simplest things are the best where you just have the awareness to be in the present moment and fill yourself through your body. Feel yourself breathing and get into that habit and form a new habit because everything is a learned skill. Anger, frustration, fear, everything is a learned skill and we can learn how to rewire ourselves and our brains differently.

‏‏Yeah. One of the things that is very important but is something again a person kind of has to discover in their own way, is that when you take away society, you take away everything that you know of and you just stick a person, let us say, in the jungle in some kind of theoretical world. There’s not much to do other than just forage for food when they’re hungry, and an educated person like today, they’re just living, they’re enjoying themselves. When all that’s away, and the person’s sort of just with themself throughout the day, one of the things a person will come face-to-face with is, “Okay, I’m here in the jungle, there’s nothing else going on, I’m going to live my life like this, and I’m just with myself moment by moment.” Now, when you get to the point of like, “What is actually happening to me right now in this present moment,” one of the biggest discoveries you come down to is how incorrectly you’re breathing. You’ll realize that, because right now, we make excuses for our shallow breaths. You say, “I’m busy. I got all these things to do. I got to make this phone call. There’s a lot going on right now.” We’re constantly in this very shallow breathing which brings tremendous anxiety to the nervous system and brings a lot of fatigue as well. When there’s shallow breathing, there’s a vastly overactive mind. That’s why I always see spirituality as improving the quality of your present moment. It gets really honing in of like, “What’s actually going on right now and how can I adjust this one?” One the biggest things to move you into a very beautiful state of being, out of the activity of the mind, and be in an energetic state, is to where you actually learn to breathe deeply each moment and you lead your life through your breath. It’s one of the most simplest things that you can do but I promise you it’s so difficult because, again, you spent your entire life doing exactly the opposite, unconsciously shallow breath.

‏‏I know how difficult it is. I spent a week doing a training that is called 40 Years of Zen. It’s a high-end neurofeedback training for high-level executives. We were connected to neurofeedback and doing all kinds of processes and taking brain supplements. They were measuring our brainwaves. It was really super cool biohacking thing. Biohacking/spirituality new age. It was such a cool program and I went through a lot of various processes there as well. One of the things they trained us to do is breathing. For me, my breathing patterns don’t flow as much as they can. Just training for breathing? Oh my God, it drove me nuts, I couldn’t. I’m okay with fire breath, breathing and chanting, and all that, but just this super simple breathing, it’s so hard.

‏‏When you look at other animals throughout the planet, you’ll see that they have a very good breath. They breathe deeply and to anybody listening, the greatest kind of breath that you can just utilize throughout the day is where you just breath slowly, letting your belly button expand outwards and you’re just going to gently exhale twice as long, letting your belly button go inwards. Sort of like to try to touch the base of the back of the spine. This is called the pranic breath. But when you start leading each activity of the day with a breath, actually strange enough everything else falls in line. But when you move into shallow breathing, you immediately fall out of the state of awareness, you fall completely into the mind, and inherently you’re going to start feeling anxious and suffering. It’s sort of the overactive mind and shallow breath go hand-in-hand. That’s one very important thing and one of the big processes that I was put through by my master. I came face-to-face that it was my habit, my posture, it was my breathing, it was so many levels and so many factors that was the suffering of my life, and I just remember that very powerful and energetic process, I sat up like a yogi, put my legs in a cross-legged manner, and it was like a whole shift has happened where I would now breathe correctly. I will no longer let myself unconsciously suffer when it’s not needed, because how horrible was that? It was a very big stepping point where I was like, “It’s total responsibility of the vehicle you’re in, and it starts with your breath.” You’ll find out it has a lot do with your posture. It has so many factors that as you grow with becoming aware of how you actually are, how you’re utilizing your body, and how you’re engaging with thought, you just unlearn these things. You step out of all that and you step into the holistic way, the natural way, and you realize that, “The hell of my life has been my unconscious habits utilizing this body and mind,” and awakening is suddenly realizing, “I’m ready to evolve. I’m ready to transform as a human being to where I consciously start doing things differently.

When you look at other animals throughout the planet, you’ll see that they have a very good breath. Click To Tweet

‏‏Wow, I feel more awakened just by talking to you. I feel very inspired. But I know we have to go soon. It’s hard because this is such a wonderful conversation.

‏‏Yeah. It was very nice talking with you.

‏‏Yeah. Before we finish, what are your three top tips to living a stellar life?

‏‏I don’t know about three. I can’t think of that so much but I can say that realizing that the suffering internally, you can come out of it, it’s very possible, and it just requires you to step out of daydreaming and step into a state of vast beingness, which is completely at your access at any moment. I think it’s the one message that I would try to really convey to people. To do that, everything else in life really starts falling in line because as you become happy internally and at peace internally, that which you need in life or want in life will naturally become attracted to you.

‏‏Beautiful. Where can people find you?

‏‏I have a website, douglasbentley.com. Every other week, I, for free, come on for a webcast and I actually give different kinds of insights that I feel could be very helpful for people in a spiritual journey. Anybody listening I absolutely invite you to come in and join that. You can just sign-up from a newsletter on my website and I’ll email you that link. On my website, there are different kinds of workshops and programs. I also offer online courses that are live, interact with each other, and we can take a journey together. Yeah. Look forward to interacting with you on my website if you want to touch base.

‏‏Thank you so much, Doug.

‏‏Thank you so much. I appreciate you having me on the show.

Your Checklist of Actions to Take

✓ Don’t be afraid to open up to life. Find what makes you inspired, content and happy to get closer to your spirit.

✓ Find a mentor who can help awaken your spirit and kickstart your journey of transformation.

✓ Travel to discover yourself. You learn a lot about yourself when you’re in an unfamiliar environment. 

✓ Visit a high state of consciousness through Diksha, an Indian spiritual ceremony that awakens your being and lets you connect with your higher self.

✓ Deal with your anxiety and struggles from a spiritual point of view. Be proactive in your thoughts and actions instead of being reactive.  

✓ Learn to accept unforeseen events that are out of your control. Don’t  let them stress you out or affect your actions towards others.

✓ Be present and in the moment. Don’t overthink the future and dwell too long in the past; today is a “present” so don’t waste it.

✓ Learn to differentiate your spiritual and physical needs and always let your spirit guide you to what is right.

✓ Constantly invest in yourself. It’s a never ending journey but continuing to grow in all aspects of life is the best thing you can do for yourself.

✓ Trust the process. Finding your light and true awakening is not an easy feat but it will be worth it.

Links and Resources:

 

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