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    Your Senses Are Gates To Awakening (w/Dr. Angelo DiLullo)

    • calendar_today June 12th, 2022

    Most of our lives are spent lost in the thought stream. But the senses can be our gateway to unfiltered reality right here and now.

    Topics & Timecodes:
    0:00 Intro
    1:49 Awakening as a process beyond conceptual knowing
    4:00 What to do when thought intervenes on unfiltered reality
    7:01 The paradox of the personal and impersonal
    8:50 The paradox of practice vs. non-practice
    11:12 Investigating the sense gates: sound and hearing
    21:10 The non-dual experience of hearing (JUST hearing)
    26:10 The prerequisite role of Self-inquiry in awakening
    27:52 Investigating the sight gate: gazing into infinity
    33:40 Attuning to subtlety and refining perception
    36:52 The importance of “just stopping”
    40:11 The end of suffering and living truth investigating itself
    Full Transcript

    – [Zubin] Angelo, what’s up?

    – [Angelo] Hi!

    – [Zubin] Hi!

    – [Angelo] Hey, guys!

    – [Zubin] Hey! We’re already, we started this show. You know that, right?

    – [Angelo] Yeah.

    – [Zubin] It makes no difference?

    – [Angelo] It works for me.

    – [Zubin] Angelo’s book, “Awake: It’s Your Turn.” Zubin Damania, Angelo DiLullo, physician, anesthesiologist, and author of this book about realization, awakening, that sort of thing. We’ve done many shows now. People know who you are. So, dude-

    – [Angelo] Dude.

    – [Zubin] This is the last recording. I don’t know when we’ll release it. We may release them out of sequence, but this is the last recording of a series of two days, two and a half days you’ve stayed with me here in the Bay Area, and we’ve recorded, what, seven episodes and done two live shows?

    – [Angelo] Yep.

    – [Zubin] So it feels like a retreat is wrapping up, right? Like there have been times when we’ve been talking in this whole thing where, like, you’ll be talking about something pointing at your direct experience in this moment and I look into my direct experience and what you’re pointing at, it’s right there. And it’s really remarkable. It’s clear in those moments. It’s clear always, really, sometimes it’s obscured paradoxically, but this is just how things are, and it’s perfectly okay that reality is a certain, it has a, I don’t even know how to say it. But when you point to it, and again, because this is the last one we’re doing, it’s kind of like, what is all this for, this idea of like, we’re trying to wake up? Or there’s this process of realization of like seeing what unfiltered true reality is and why we do it to try to end suffering or just out of a movement of curiosity, a movement of ending suffering. but there is a reality there and you can experience it.

    – [Angelo] Yeah, I would say even it’s an underlying natural process that’s happening, that’s occurring. And all this nonsense we talk about is maybe just helping us land softer.

    – [Zubin] Oh.

    – [Angelo] You know, or integrating the process or understanding it a little better or getting out of its way. But it’s bigger than you. And the more you dive into your own identity, to your own true nature and really start to inquire and let go, dig in more and more, the more you really start to feel, this is not about you, really. And it’s definitely beyond you, even though it feels very personal in a lot of ways. So there’s something definitely beyond your limited dimension that is running this show, that’s driving this bus. And that becomes really obvious. Now, I’m not saying it’s an entity or it has a name or it’s even an intelligence, necessarily, but it’s definitely something beyond your dimension, beyond the limited dimension of being a human in a human mind. You just know it. You feel it. It’s very sublime. And dropping into that sublime nature of reality is very humbling. It’s a trip. It’s wild. And it’s very intimate. And it’s also very natural. And it’s also very familiar in a very strange sort of way. Not familiar like the way the mind considers familiarity, like, I understand it, I can predict it, I know what’s going on, I know where I am and who I am, not that at all, in fact, none of that’s really there, but there’s a different kind of familiarity. It’s a sort of primordial familiarity that is instinctual. And that’s what you start coming in contact with. And the more you come in contact with it, the more you realize you can trust it, that it’s okay to just let that do what it does, as it does, and let the identity structures fall away, the belief fall away, the fears fall away and just live more and more in contact with this moment as it’s playing out, as it’s evolving without having to reference the past, future, distance, other people, other situations. It’s all right here. Everything you need is already right here and it’s in this flow.

    – [Zubin] Everything you said is exactly the experience of that, so that kind of base reality. It’s hard to just, it really, words fail entirely, but it’s familiar, but it’s also, it feels like there is a ton of conditioning in my mind that is right in the wings there waiting to co-op that and reassert itself that has not yet kind of relaxed or been seen through or dissolved. And it’s fascinating, because I’ll experience this and it’s clear. I was like, “Oh, when Angelo points at, ‘Oh, this is what this is like, and just look here, look here, look here,’ then it snaps.” Maybe even when you point to, “Oh, and the self can sometimes just evaporate and it’s just this and it’s beyond.” And I’m like, “Oh.” And then, right in the wings are thoughts. Yeah, waiting to kind of recapture. But the experience is so undeniable.

    – [Angelo] Yeah, the thoughts aren’t really a problem, but we have a habituated distraction tendency so that we tend to get kinda lost in that thought train here and there. At first, it might feel quite solid, like it’s happening quite consistently. But then we start to have sort of breaks in that wall of thought where we drop into this presence, or it seems like we drop into this presence but presence just becomes obvious. It comes forward. And then, it’s kind of like half and half, almost, like there’s thoughts, then there’s presence, thoughts, presence. At some point you just get it, that there’s really nothing more to get out of that thought world waiting in the wings. You just realize there’s nothing it for you anymore. There’s nothing to find there. It never delivers true satisfaction. And then you just deeply and fully inhabit presence, presence not meaning a moment in time, either, presence meaning what’s here right now. Again, it’s sort of moving and staying still. It’s sort of evolving and never changing. It’s very paradoxical, but it’s intuitively clear when you see what is a thought and what is not a thought and attention stops grasping onto thoughts, holding a onto beliefs about the past and the future, about self and other, about problems and solutions and just feel what’s actually happening now, inhabit what’s happening now, and don’t go back. Just remain, because what else are you gonna do? Get lost in the thought train and chase some thing you made up and then realize it’s not satisfying? Everything you’ve ever found is here. Everything you’ve ever achieved is here. It’s always achieved here as this. It’s just this. Like, the thought world ultimately does not offer any solutions. It just offers promises. It offers a future that never comes. Once you see that game, you can just get off the train at some point. It doesn’t ever deliver you.

    – When you said it’s, I think you said something to the effect of it’s beyond the human mind, or there’s an element of it, that experience of presence, like, I mean, even the word presence, there’s something incomplete or something objectifying about it. But that experience of reality feels simultaneously beyond human, like not human, and deeply personal, like personal in that this is the only thing happening at all.

    – [Angelo] You don’t feel left out of it.

    – [Zubin] Right, where would you go to be left, I mean, you’re left out of what? It’s just this. And it’s so striking in a way that I think the human aspect of that thought process just recoils. It doesn’t have anything to push against. It doesn’t have anything to grasp. And, you know, it’s really quite striking. And that’s my touching into that experience from my side. I think for people who are watching, they’re all on different spectrums of what they’re interested in and where they are on this, whatever, non-process. But all I can say is, you know, I’ve known you since, what, last April? Like a year or less than a year ago. And the more you point at what’s just here and there’s no, it’s not spirituality. It’s not, and people are saying, “Oh, wait, is this rational? Is this science? What is it?” It’s just this. It’s just what this is. All I can say is, the more I look right here, the more it becomes, it clarifies. So where then is the role, like, what is technique? What is like practice? How does that paradox kind of settle?

    – [Angelo] Well, at some point it sort of hit me that it doesn’t even make sense to talk about practice, per se, because if something is practice, what’s not practice? See, because it’s all, spirituality or awakening or that interest or that movement in life or whatever you wanna call it, at first, it appears to be part of your life. Like, you think you’re still in the driver’s seat and you’re managing and this is part of my life I’m managing and I do it when I have time, or I do it to relax, or I do it here. But then I do other things that aren’t that. That’s how the ego perceives it. The ego is a very divided experience.

    – [Zubin] Really, it’s true.

    – [Angelo] So it divides life up into this and that. and it thinks it’s managing ’em. At some point- [Zubin] Meditation and not meditation.

    – [Angelo] You realize it’s really not like that. What you’ve been calling spirituality or awakening or whatever is underlying the whole thing, even the ability to experience in the most fundamental way. That’s what’s actually underlying all of it anyway. So, then, you realize all of this really is about life. All of this is about the journey inward. Or what else is it about? If it’s not about that, it’s about thoughts. And again, at some point you lose interest in that world. It’s kind of a dead world. I mean, it feels very dynamic and alive sometimes when you believe in the seeking, but it’s a world of seeking. The mind will make up something to seek, or it’ll even find something that other people seek and it’ll go, “Oh, I could it seek that, because it works.” And then, it’ll seek it and it’ll tell you, “Oh, you can get that at some point.” And then if you do get it’ll go, “Oh, well, that’s not what you really wanted. Here, what you wanted is this. And then you’ll seek that. But what the seeking is actually doing, it’s not actually manifesting things in your life and so forth. What the seeking is doing is keeping you in your head. It’s pulling attention back up into the thoughts again and again and again, and, essentially, out of the sense gates. And the more you let that reverse and you drop back down into the sense gates, which is the sense of just being alive, then you are in contact with unfiltered reality. And that is the most compelling thing you’ll ever come in contact with, because it’s not you coming in contact with anything. The sense of you and the sense of everything is completely intermixed. So what is there to chase in a mental way when you have access to unfiltered reality? It’s everything you could ever want.

    – [Zubin] How you’re pointing to that is, my own experience of that is yes, yes and yes. I mean, beyond yes. That’s exactly right. So you know what’s interesting? I think that might help clarify for me is the senses, right? So, you know, sight, sound, taste, touch, sensation, and smell the big five, and then thought, I guess, would be the sixth consciousness. But those gates are, invariably, the five of them are what’s happening right now. They’re like our window into reality. And maybe you can help me investigate a few of those. Like, how would you explore, say, I mean, we could start with maybe sound, because sound is so interesting. When you really investigate, inquire into what is sound, ask the question, even silently in your head and let us into the next sound that arises or move your attention into the sound feel, something pretty interesting clarifies.

    – [Angelo] Yeah, I should say something about the sense gates. And the term gates is pretty good, because what we’re interested in ultimately and what I’m pointing to is not the gates themselves. They’re gates. They’re the doorways through which you can experience unfiltered reality. So the fact that your body can construct a sense that interprets reality a certain way is fine, but that’s very transient. But unfiltered reality is not transient. Does that make sense?

    – [Zubin] Wait, wait-

    – [Angelo] It’s the gate through which you experience unfiltered reality. Not you, but ultimately, unfiltered reality experiences itself. But the sense gates are gates. So the senses aren’t the be-all/end-all, but those end up being the gates. But you have to actually turn your attention away from the hypnotic world of the mind and thought before you start to even investigate the sense gates. Once you do that and those gates start to open, that’s when you start to experience reality as it actually is. Which is non-dualistic, first of all. There’s no subject-object to it. There’s no distance. There’s no boundaries to anything.

    – [Zubin] So let me, okay, so this is really, so as a gate, sound, maybe we’ll start with sound unless you think sight is better.

    – [Angelo] No, sound’s fine.

    – [Zubin] Okay, so as a gate, if I’m understanding, and I may not be, is a gate acting as a filter, like, is it a distortion?

    – [Angelo] No, the mind is the filter. And the only way for that filter to actually be operating is to have your attention on the mind.

    – [Zubin] That’s okay.

    – [Angelo] Okay.

    – [Zubin] Our monitor turned off, yeah.

    – [Angelo] So, with sound, when you mentioned you could ask, what is sound, right? And contemplate it. But I just wanna point out that many people’s minds will immediately say, “Well, I know what sound is. Of course, sound, it’s compressional waves propagating through the air and it hits my tympanic membrane and blah, blah, blah,” right? It turns into a neurologic thing. And then you might even know that the temporal lobe of your brain is gonna interpret it into blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.

    – [Zubin] Thought and concepts.

    – [Angelo] That’s not what we’re talking about. That’s fine, that’s knowledge, and that’s fine. And it’s accurate knowledge based on science. That’s fine. That’s great. That’s not what we’re talking about. When we say, what is sound, I mean what is sound when you don’t think about it? ‘Cause that’s you thinking. That’s not sound. That’s not your experience of sound. That’s your experience of thought. So let’s go back and experience sound directly. I just wanted to be really clear that that’s what we’re talking about. And that’s why this stuff we’re talking about, as simple as it sounds to take up an investigation of the senses often really doesn’t get taken up in earnest till after awakening, just to be honest. And it seems weird to say, “Well, people before awakening can’t really hear or see.” It’s not like that. “You’re hearing and seeing, yes. But to be able to put your attention fully into one sense and just literally keep it there without reflecting back into thought within a couple of seconds is very, very difficult before awakening. It’s even difficult for a while after awakening, but then you can start to concentrate your practice. Now, if you haven’t had an awakening, you can still do this. Just know it could be frustrating or you could find that you end up in thought very quickly and then you might wanna work more on self-inquiry for the awakening part of things, that initial shift in consciousness. Because when you have that shift in consciousness, consciousness tends to calm down a lot. It doesn’t seem to pull you in such a polarized way up into the mind. So then your attention can drift more naturally back into the senses. So that’s why this tends to come a little later when you start investigating the non-dual aspect. So that’s what we’re doing, but we’re investigating sound directly. We’re investigating the experience of it directly, not any explanation of it. And the tendency to explain it is very, very strong at first, or the tendency to reflect on how you’re doing. “Oh, I’m listening to sound. Oh, this is cool. Oh, I’m already thinking.”

    – [Zubin] Thought, thought, thought, thought.

    – [Angelo] “I’m already thinking because I’m thinking how cool it is to listen to sound, right? Things like that. So you have to be sort of vigilant, to notice when you turn your attention to sound, which anyone can do instantly, everyone, right now, if they want to listening to this, could suddenly turn your attention to all the sounds in the room. It’s that easy, yeah? And you can do it for a second. You might be able to do it for two seconds. Just stay there. Just listen as long as you can without reflecting back into the thought of the listener or analysis. You can even do it, while you’re listening to my voice, you can still have your attention in the sound. That’s how you start to investigate sound. Now, again, the tendency to go, “Well, what is it?” and then start describing how you’re seeing it directly now or feeling it directly or hearing it directly right now is gonna be strong. So notice that’s not what we’re looking for. We’re not looking for descriptions. We’re just investigating the nature of sound directly, right now as it is, just hearing. And that’s it. It’s really, really, really simple. So that’s how we, in a sense, open the sound gate, or we attune to the sound gate and just spend some time there. You can move your attention purposely to one sound, like one sound across the room or a certain specific sound or the loudest sound. And then you can sort of dilate it out to all of the sounds in the room and try to just take it all in. You might notice a sound really close to your ears that’s like a hum, a buzz. Some people have it all the time. It’s called tinnitus. And from what I understand, neurologists that study this kind of thing, tinnitus, believe it’s actually always there. It’s just that we have an inventory neural pathway that filters it out so it doesn’t bug us. So when people are hearing tinnitus, they’re hearing what all of our ears, actually, the neurons in the ear make that sound constantly and the brain filters it out. So you’re just hearing it without the filter. Now, as you do this kind of investigation, this sort of direct sound meditation, let’s say, or direct sound inquiry, you’ll start to hear it. Some people call it the not-a-sound. Which doesn’t need to word, but it’s just a hum or a pitch in the ears. And once you start to notice it and the filtering of it stops, you’ll notice it’s pretty loud, usually. Often, it’s as loud as the ambient sounds in the room. And you just keep attuning to this. You just keep listening to it. And you can do this as a practice. You can just sit on the couch, eyes open or closed, and just turn your attention to sound. But be vigilant and alert enough to notice when thoughts start again, and then return your attention to sound. wash, rinse, repeat. It’s really that easy.

    – [Zubin] So this practice involves a certain degree of concentration or mindfulness in the sense that you do have to be vigilant that you aren’t going back into thought. Because it’s very easy, for example, in that practice to hear that buzz. ‘Cause when I do it, I drop in the sound gate, and that tinnitus, that buzz starts kicking in and it gets louder and louder and louder until it’s a vibration. And then I can notice the mind starts to label it. “Oh, that’s tinnitus. Oh, I wonder if that’s from the concerts when I was… Oh, wait, wait, wait, come back to the sound itself. Just sound, just sound.” And it takes some, I don’t know if it’s practice or if it’s a mindfulness, a kind of a concentration to notice, to be aware that you have dropped into thought. ‘Cause a thought itself can be quite subtle if you’re not used to looking for thought. But that investigation of the sound itself, so that’s what we’re talking about when I say sense gate, yeah? So that makes perfect sense. And it’s very good to clarify like you did, because, and someone who’s listening to this might be like, “Oh yeah, I listen all the time. You know, that’s easy.” But are you really listening? How much of that is filtered through thought? Almost all of it, actually. One interesting fun thing that I used to do is see how long it would take, kind of perceptually, not kind of thinking about time so much, but just the sense of before a thought labeled something that I was listening to and it’s not long.

    – [Angelo] It’s not long. It doesn’t take long at all.

    – [Zubin] Yeah, it’s not long.

    – [Angelo] Yeah, when you can sustain attention in thought, not in thought, in sound, when you can sustain attention in sound or in the visual field or in sensation for 30 seconds or 60 seconds, that’s a very, very profound experience of presence. It’s not subtle. You’ll notice something definitely more, a very uncommon experience is happening if you can really put your attention there without any thought reflecting. And again, it’s sneaky. Thoughts really slip in very quickly.

    – [Zubin] In so many ways, it seems like, we talked about practice and non-practice and this and that, but that’s a powerful practice, because it does many things. You learn to recognize thought, you learn to experience raw, sensory experience. And there’s another sort of step right? Where the listening to the sound has a very subtle component of thought. It doesn’t feel like thought, but it is thought stuff, which is the sense that there’s a listener.

    – [Angelo] Yeah, and what that is is there’s a very gross way of thinking about this, like hearing and then reflecting on the hearing and starting to literally cognitively think about what you’re hearing, et cetera, almost like internal dialogue. And then there’s a much more fine or subtle layer of reflection in consciousness where you don’t realize, but it’s as if, I’ll make an analogy, the analogy is you’re hearing a tone that keeps beeping and it’s like, say, it’s coming from that side of the room or something and it beeps every 10 seconds and you just know it’s there. It’s always there, right? That tone’s always beeping. Beep, beep, beep. And to make this analogy clear, it’s like as if you walk over towards tone and it’s beeping. And you’re kind of looking at the wall where it seems to be originating, and it’s like, “Oh, it seems to be coming right outta there.” And you just hear it beeping towards you. What you don’t realize is it’s bouncing off the wall and it’s actually coming from behind you. And when you turn around and you go right to the source of it, it’s much different. It’s much more clear, much more intimate. That’s what this is, because you can still experience sound with, again, that subtle layer of thought that’s something like the sense of being a perceiver, the sense of being awareness, aware of.

    – [Zubin] Behind the ears, yeah.

    – [Angelo] Something like that, yeah. Well, there could even be a visual image like that where it’s like, you’re literally picturing part of your head as the hearing or something.

    – [Zubin] Right. The cochlea.

    – [Angelo] Cochlea, right. Right, I’m just nothing but a cochlea.

    – [Zubin] Me too.

    – [Angelo] But yeah, so you could have a visual image, like a non-conceptual thought that’s kind of vague, or it can be very distinct, like you’re picturing your ear or something, yeah? But even more subtle than that is this sense of they’re being perception or they’re being awareness of or they’re being a hearer. Like, there’s hearing, but it seems like there must be a hearer to have hearing. And it’s just this very subtle reflection of consciousness. And that can also go away. And then, it’s like the whole environment is hearing, or hearing is just radiating through everything. Everything is made out of hearing. There’s no good way to talk about this.

    – [Zubin] The hearing hearing itself.

    – [Angelo] And this is why experience is so important. You can’t analyze your way into this. You have to experience your way into it. And when you experience your way into the whole environment doing hearing, it’s just, there’s nothing but hearing. It’s nothing but sound, sound is hearing. And it’s very different than having a hearer hearing. It’s different than thinking about hearing, of course. That’s another step away from it. And there is a really cool koan about this, it’s what is the sound of one hand? Yeah, what is the sound of one hand? It’s a beautiful, beautiful koan. And the lay person’s version of it, is what is the sound of one hand clapping, but that’s not actually the koan. The koan is what is the sound of one hand? And it’s a beautiful koan. It points to this in a sort of zen way. But when you really hear a sound for the first time and you can actually hear a sound for the first time, I’ve met people who had an awakening or a very deep awakening and they said, “That’s the first time I’ve ever actually felt my hand run through my hair when I was washing my hair. In all the years I’ve been alive, I never actually felt that.” Or, “I’ve never actually heard the sound of a bird until just now.” when you actually hear it, when you really hear it for the first time, it’s very different. Different is not the right word, because it is different than the usual way of perceiving, but what you’ve realized is you’ve been perceiving, it’s almost like you’ve been perceiving through a veil.

    – [Zubin] A veil.

    – [Angelo] Or through a barrier.

    – [Zubin] Colored, like with filters.

    – [Angelo] It’s muffled. Its like a muffled experience of it, and it’s a distanced experience of it. And all of a sudden it’s like, “Whoa, there’s no distance anywhere.” The moment you hear that sound, you realize that shows you how there’s no distance. That shows you what non-duality is. There’s no distance, nothing is separate. There’s no boundaries anywhere. There’s no divisions of anything from anything else. So one sound is also one taste is one sensation is one movement is one thought is.

    – [Zubin] Eckhart Tolle, in his intro to “The Power Of Now” talks about his awakening experience and how there was a bird, I think chirping or making some sound, and it was just that. Like, and it was everything. Yeah, and that points quite directly at it. So this particular investigation, maybe even pre-awakening, is it worth to-

    – [Angelo] Oh, sure.

    – [Zubin] Yeah, because-

    – [Angelo] If you find it frustrating and/or you just find yourself confused and thinking about things too much and wondering, “Should I be doing this, should I be doing that?” then I’ll often point someone to a more one-pointed approach, like self-inquiry, you know, who am I, where am I? Where’s the sense of I? Can I find it? What is it that I feel like I am that’s aware of thoughts? Like, find it rest, there it’s, ’cause it can be a very simple and singular practice, but it’s also a consciousness-based practice. When attention’s in consciousness all the time, then you can sort out that first big, you know, dualistic construct first. And once that happens, it’s easier to start to experience this out here and how it actually is.

    – [Zubin] The dualistic construct of consciousness and object?

    – [Angelo] We talked about this earlier on one of the shows. We can maybe tag it something, but yeah, the standing way, the dualistic construct of the thinker and the thoughts.

    – [Zubin] That’s right.

    – [Angelo] The me and the world, the self and the other.

    – [Zubin] Subject-object.

    – [Angelo] In a cognitive way. When that collapses, it feels like pure consciousness, pure being. It doesn’t feel like it, it is. You experience pure being. And it’s really quite wonderful. It’s very, very warm, very light and very homogenous, I suppose, experientially. And it feels like a pure sense of I. So once that occurs, it’s easier to get into these really subtle distinctions between what an actual sound is and what a sound is filtered through consciousness.

    – [Zubin] And the sight gate.

    – [Angelo] Well, that one’s really fun. So the visual field is a little more challenging for people, typically, probably because our brain spends a lot of its energy and time processing the sense of, well, vision, first of all, the sense of vision. And there are a lot of connections going between thalamus and the occipital lobe, in both directions, actually. So it’s feeding in both directions so the vision is actually being constructed in like a multidimensional way, right? And we have a sense of the three-dimensional world that’s constructed in other parts of our brain simultaneous. So a lot of our brain processing is there to create a perception of a three-dimensional world and make a visual overlay over it that makes sense and coordinates it with proprioception and the other senses. So I think because so much processing is going into that, the visual field often is the key to the very clear sense of the shift into non-duality. And it’s a surprisingly simple thing to do once you get it, but it can be really challenging for a while. And it’s as simple as this, you look out at what’s in front of you, okay? Now just recognize to yourself that what you see in front of you may not be what you actually see. It’s what you think you see. And we know this, because of Donald Hoffman and all this work on consciousness and seeing that consciousness is a complex thing that constructs a world that looks a certain way and gives us advantage to find what resources we need. All that stuff, right? So it’s a constructed world. And the retina, the input of the retina, isn’t that out there. It’s not nearly that clear, like the mind actually puts a lot of contrast in and it makes lines look in certain ways so that we have ability to see depth perception and all that. It adds a lot. So in the sound field, you could say there’s a lot that’s subtracted, actually. The brain subtracts out the baseline hum, the tinnitus, and it takes out sort of distracting sounds and stuff, often, and puts ’em in the background unless we think they’re dangerous or something like that. The visual field actually adds a lot into our experience. It adds solidity that’s not there. It adds contrast that’s not there. It adds especially contrast between colors and contrast between light and it makes things look more solid, more dimensional, and so forth. So when you know that, you can kind of just remind yourself that what I’m actually seeing in front of my eyes isn’t what I think I’m seeing. And then it’s almost as if you start to look through, I don’t know how to say this because it’s not necessarily on the other side of what you see. At first, it can kind of start to look two-dimensional because you realize that even the dimension and so forth is overlaid with the mind, or it’s an overlay created by the mind. It’s a post-processing thing, right? The sense of that’s farther than this. But if you look just at the visual field itself, you actually have no evidence that anything’s farther than anything else, from the visual sense itself. All you see is colors, forms, and shapes and lines. So it’s actually rather two-dimensional from that standpoint. It’s like it’s a screen of color shapes and forms. Does that make sense?

    – [Zubin] Hmm.

    – [Angelo] It requires processing to make it look dimensional. And you can actually get behind that layer of processing. Once you do that, once you do that, it gets much easier. It’s almost as if you’re looking through it, but you’re looking right at it. But you’re looking at it without referencing back to the mind, so you’re looking at it without adding anything. And I can’t tell you how it changes, but it changes. It’s as if you’re looking at two things at the same time and one of them looks like the thought-constructed world and one of ’em looks nothing like it. It looks sort of indeterminate. So again, this is very subtle stuff I’m talking about, and this is usually stuff I work on with somebody who’s deeper in realization, but it does work, for sure. When the time comes, this can make a very, very tremendous shift. In fact, Alma recently told me… And she’s had a very big shift in the last few months. It really changed everything. She’s had many big shifts. But I actually asked her at my house, I said, “What did you notice? What did you notice?” ‘Cause I noticed it talking to her, and she said, “It was something you said about the visual field.” And then we sat there and talked about it. And it is, it’s a very subtle thing, but it makes all the difference. And it’s as if you’re just looking into eternity all the time. To put a more spiritual spin on it, I would say, it’s like you’re looking into the face of God all the time, no matter what you think you’re looking at. But God isn’t a person in this way. It’s, you’re looking directly into infinity and you know you are. It’s very odd. But you don’t not notice the particulars. So I also know I’m looking at Zubin, but I also know what I’m really looking at. Just like when I look over here, I also know what I’m really looking at and that’s not any different than that.

    – [Zubin] There’s a sameness?

    – [Angelo] Oh, totally. It’s one taste.

    – [Angelo] One taste. Mm-hmm, one substanceless substance and it permeates everything. But it’s not at a distance even. It’s not out there, but then, it’s also not in here. So it gets really strange with that. But that’s kind of the next step. It goes beyond this.

    – [Zubin] And this is all experiential.

    – [Angelo] Mm-hmm, that’s the point. Yeah, it’s actually not, you know, I’m sure some people listening to this, or have already turned it off, would be thinking, “This is the weirdest shit I’ve ever heard. How is this possible? Are they making it up?”

    – [Zubin] Drugs. Is there drugs-

    – [Angelo] Drugs, is there drugs involved?

    – [Zubin] Involved?

    – [Angelo] You think, like, it’s so crazy, but the here’s the weird thing about it, the mind would think this is really complicated, what we’re talking about, or really, I don’t know, uber something or off in space or would require extraordinary circumstances to experience. That’s actually all wrong. What we’re talking about is really, really simple, but it’s so simple that the complexifying tendency of the mind has to just really be in the background for long enough to see it. And then it really just starts to like percolate into reality and it becomes very obvious. So what we’re talking about is actually quite simple, but it’s subtle. The key is in the subtlety of it, learning to attune to subtlety and recognize subtlety in everything, in your senses, in your emotions, in the movement of thought, in consciousness, in the sense, in all of it. Then, when you start to attune to subtlety, you’ll start to pick this up more and more and you’ll see it’s also in the complexity. It doesn’t come and go. It’s not there sometimes or anything like that. It’s there all the time. It’s here all the time. You’re looking right at all the time.

    – [Zubin] It’s like an attuning to a deeper and deeper and deeper, finer-grained… Look, it’s like taking a microscope and just cranking the focus down and down and down and you see more and more. It’s increasingly fine, and almost, then, transparent.

    – [Angelo] Yeah, it is. It is like that. It is a lot like that. And then when you get to a certain level of refinement, you could say, then it’s like, this isn’t necessarily physics based, but it’s as if, once you get to a certain level of refinement in what you’re experiencing, then there’s almost like the substance of time and space is there and you go even beyond that. And then it’s really strange because, you know you’re, like conventionally speaking, looking across a room, but in actual experience, it’s not like that. There’s no across the room anymore. There’s no across anything. There’s no in front or behind or above or below, inside or outside. And that’s also not mystical. It’s very obvious.

    – [Zubin] It’s obvious, yeah. There’s no mystical, that word doesn’t even really make sense in this.

    – [Angelo] Mystical experiences are what you have when you’re in the altered state of consciousness called mind identification. And you suddenly taste unfiltered reality just a little bit.

    – [Zubin] And you go, “Oh!”

    – [Angelo] And you’re like, “Whoa, that’s a mystical experience!”

    – [Zubin] Filtered through the mind.

    – [Angelo] Mm-hmm, to the mind, it’s a mystical experience.

    – [Zubin] So in many ways, what Hoffman talks about with there’s a reality out there, but we are constructing our conventional of that reality. And so what you are pointing at is possibly just another way to look at it, conceptually or philosophically, would be you’re seeing Hoffman’s source reality closer and closer and closer and more unfiltered and more-

    – [Angelo] Yeah, you can see it without that filter. You definitely can.

    – [Zubin] Right, without the processing.

    – [Angelo] But I can’t tell you how to logically know that. In fact, I don’t think you can logically, I don’t think, logically, it’s possible to even come up with a model for that. You have to experience it directly.

    – [Zubin] Yeah, it’s a direct experience.

    – [Angelo] And then it’s like, “Okay, it’s so obvious.”

    – [Zubin] And you know Hoffman spends many hours a day meditating.

    – [Angelo] Yeah, I’ve heard. That’s awesome. Good for him. You have to throw all of your beliefs out the window, all of the expectations about knowledge, all the expectations about what’s real and what’s not real, about yourself, specifically about yourself. All that has to go out the window before you start to really come in contact with this that we’re talking about, truly unfiltered. Unconditioned, unconditioned by mind.

    – [Zubin] There was a part in your book where this really hit home for me, this idea of you have to throw that stuff out the window. And it was the section on just stopping, which we talked about in our very first series of interviews. I can’t easily find it, but you basically said, “Listen, at some point, you just go . You just gotta stop. Stop projecting in the future. Stop remembering a past. Stop jumping into the thought train. Stop pretending. Stop faking it. Because sometimes the mind will actually say, “Oh, so this is a good meditation, this one.”

    – [Angelo] Yeah, stop chasing thoughts down. Stop trying to reject thoughts. Stop trying to be somebody. Stop trying to not be somebody. You just stop. Reality is here. Stop trying to wake up. Just stop. I don’t know how else to say it, but it’s very much a stopping of, the mind can come to a complete standstill and reality doesn’t disappear. In fact, reality becomes far more clear.

    – [Zubin] And it’s not a you that’s stopping, it’s just stopping. Stopping just stops, yeah.

    – [Angelo] That’s right, yes. There you go.

    – [Zubin] Yeah, you know, I don’t know. It’s so funny, I’m sure that there are people watching just going, “Como?”

    – [Angelo] Say what?

    – [Zubin] And the, “What?” And then there are people watching going, “Yeah. That’s how it is.” Because you have to experience it. And then the obvious mind question will be, “Why do I have to experience it?” And you don’t have to do anything. But we’ve done plenty of shows on what the benefit, or why would we want to do this? Well, ’cause we suffer through mind identification, through the friction of those filters. And the other thing that I will say, just from my touching into it whenever I have, which is just now, is there’s a, it’s indescribable okayness and beauty. Even beauty doesn’t… How do you put a word? It’s just right. And to really be that, to just, again, the words fail, but it’s beyond. And relief is not the right word. It’s not a human thing. And yet, strangely-

    – [Angelo] It’s it allows you to inhabit humanity in a way you couldn’t before for some reason.

    – [Zubin] That’s right. That’s right.

    – [Angelo] Unapologetically.

    – [Zubin] Authentically.

    – [Angelo] Authentically.

    – [Zubin] Like, just open, which means all the other things we did in all the other shows, the emotion work, if you are ignoring one of the biggest aspects of being human, which is the energy patterns we call emotion and then the stories of thought we tell about the emotion, it’s very hard to unwind all that conditioning of being here.

    – [Angelo] Yeah, and I will say that the path, this path, this investigation often starts with wanting to end your suffering, wanting to get under suffering. In general, I would say it pretty much always does to some degree, but after a time, it’s not so much about that anymore because it doesn’t, you know, you really can start to get under your suffering with a little bit of work. It becomes something more about, like the enjoyment of being itself, just being, pure being, presence. And then, as it goes even deeper, it becomes, it’s so hard to talk about it, but it becomes about itself. It’s like a sort of living truth or the unconditioned itself. It becomes about that, the unconditioned. And it’s the unconditioned, I don’t even wanna say knowing the unconditioned, ’cause it doesn’t need to even know anything, it’s so primary, but it’s about the unconditioned being the unconditioned. And that’s what everything’s about. And it’s just, it’s very natural. It’s simple, it makes its own kind of sense, but it’s only in direct experience. And that’s what just carries itself on, inward, outward, forward, up, down.

    – [Zubin] Yeah, and nothing can really be said about that. You can talk about unborn and unmanifest and unconditioned, but it’s experienced. And even that is saying, even that’s a little tough to say.

    – [Angelo] Yeah, it’s not really experience. Really, it’s without experience.

    – [Zubin] It’s without experience.

    – [Angelo] It’s experienceless. Which, again, the mind would say, “Well, that means it’s nothing, like some blank space.” It’s not a blank space. It’s just not. All I can tell you is what it’s not, really. Primarily, and most importantly, it’s not conditioned by the mind, yeah.

    – [Zubin] You and I were talking after retreat about you’d sent me a video of a guy who had been in prison for a long time. He was like a hustler and had an awakening, saw Gangaji and had an awakening. And he said something that I think stuck with me that I’d mentioned to you, that he said, “You can look in your experience at a lot of experience stuff, like thoughts, sensations, different things. And each of those you can let go of. They’re transient. They’re releasable. You can’t hold them. Even if you wanted to not let them go, they’re gonna go. But there’s something in experience that’s not a thing that you can never let go of, that’s something that is not caused by anything.” You had said this, uncaused. And it’s there and you can’t let go of it. Look there, yeah.

    – [Angelo] That’s Kenny Johnson, I think.

    – [Zubin] Kenny Johnson, yeah.

    – [Angelo] He’s great.

    – [Zubin] Really cool, yeah. Man, I think we, I don’t know what we just did, but-

    – [Angelo] We did it up.

    – [Zubin] It was good for me. Read the book, or don’t. Check out your YouTube channel, Simply Always Awake, or don’t. Be really, this is the most important thing, in your life or it’s not.

    – [Angelo] It doesn’t matter.

    – [Zubin] And it doesn’t matter. But for those that feel like it does matter, this is very helpful, Angelo. attuning to. If it’s something you’re interested in, dig in.

    – [Zubin] Yeah, I love it. I love it. And thank you.

    – [Angelo] Yeah, thank you.

    – [Zubin] Thank you for spending, donating all this time and energy and passion to this thing. I mean, if judging by the messages and the comments that I get, I mean, just everybody around you just kind of just goes, “Huh?” and wakes up, which is not everybody, but you know what I mean.

    – [Angelo] There’s been a good number, though, so to speak.

    – [Zubin] A good number, yeah.

    – [Angelo] But, I mean, you’re definitely a part of it, for sure. This format’s working. So yeah, I appreciate the time to sit and chat about this and promote the book and all.

    – [Zubin] All right, dude, let’s go from manifest to unmanifest. We’re unmanifest. Bye, guys!

    – [Angelo] We put the man in the manifest. It’s mantastic.

    – [Zubin] I’m from Manitoba. You may have heard of it.

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