Beliefnet: You say in your book "Spirituality is not about holding back on our desires, it's about living our lives any damn way we want." What if people don't always want to live their lives in a nice way?
: If you don't accept the One Life Principle, that can sound like "Do whatever you want. There's no consequences."
: It's not meant to be taken completely out of context. That statement that you read was written in conjunction with the One Life Principle.
Everything is a reflection of us and it connects us all. So when you see that, you start to think [that] when you're harming someone else you're really harming yourself. It's no longer a restraint or a restriction, it's just something that makes sense.
: Spirituality and religion throughout the centuries have been about what you can't
do. And what we're saying is, "What can
you do with this power, not what can't
you do. Enough of what you can't do!" There are all these people who are doing all these amazing things and you say "Oh I couldn't do that." No, you couldn't do that because you're not tapping into this power.
Do you think everyone is capable of tapping into that power?
: You already are.
: And life takes care of you when you do it.
Is it karma?
: It's karma but it's a here and now karma. What we give out in life is what we get back. That is an absolute physical law. So someone who says "The way I want to live is to go around cheating people all the time" is going to live in a world where they can't trust anyone, they'll be full of fear. So if that's the way they want to live, they're getting something out of that experience -- it's not necessarily for us to judge.
What you focus on you make your reality. So if you're focusing on all the bad people in the world and "Oh, what's that serial killer up to this week?" -- even if you're the most wonderfully kind loving person, if you're resonating in the sphere of a serial killer, there's a part of your vibration that's going in that direction. You have to realize that. When you turn on the TV and you sit around and you watch cop shows all night where they're basically bombarding you with ideas that the world isn't safe, you could be mugged at any time, your children are going to be abducted, you're going to be raped...
It creates that reality?
: It creates your reality and you go out into the world and that's what you see.
: That idea carries itself out even in just in the way you would carry yourself walking down the street, and the confidence you exude and the vibration that you give off. There was that study of the New York City subways where if they cleaned up the graffiti they were less likely to get more graffiti. Because when they had a clean subway they were setting a tone where this is not a place for graffiti, not a place that welcomes or that feeds on that vibration of vandalism. And it was an amazing thing because you'd think "Well, if it looks too sleek it's going to get vandalized," but it was actually the opposite.
What about the World Trade Center disaster, for example. Do you really think the people that died there created that reality?
: It's not just the World Trade Center, it's anyone who gets hit by a car, etc. We go about our lives, we worry about our jobs, paying the rent, our kids -- there's a lot of things on earth to think about and to worry about and to consume our days. When we talk about spirituality what we're talking about is something that's underlying all of that, and that's what we call the One Life Principle. And when you start to focus on that --and to us that's what the spiritual pursuit is about -- the natural effect of that is almost a shift in realizing who we are. We know that on a day-to-day basis we're the person who goes to work every day, we're married to this person, or we live at this address. But in another sense we are spiritual beings, and a lot of the questions that you're asking which are very important questions on everyone's mind today require that shift to answer. Because we can't say that someone died of cancer because they deserved it or someone died in the World Trade Center because they deserved it.
: No, no...
: But when you look at things from a spiritual perspective, what you can say is maybe there is no death. What you can say is maybe there is another purpose, that we don't know what they went through.
: No, it could have been the greatest spiritual initiation [of their lives]. They could have been selected
for that rather than victims of that. It could be. We don't know, do we?
: And so which aspects of that situation are we going to delve into? There are plenty of people on earth today that are looking into making our buildings safer against terrorism and trying to stop or cure diseases on a physical level. And that's great. That's their role, and I'm really glad they're there to do that.
What I'm interested in looking at is this other aspect of it, which is, what might that have meant to them? What's something good and comforting that we can get out of that will help us realize something here and now, so that we don't have to go through that seemingly awful experience to get that kind of insight?
The first thing is to not judge and to pull back and say "Alright, these are some heavy duty things and maybe the purpose of having these heavy duty things is because it really forces you to look elsewhere." Because otherwise, how can you make sense of it?
By heavy-duty things do you mean any kind of suffering or problems?
: Part of all of us died that day. Death is just a funny topic -- you think it's physical extinction or it's not, you live in heaven, or -- I don't think we know what it is. And I'm totally convinced it's not any of the things we think it is. Because it just couldn't be. Death is symbolic, it's an idea just like anything else.
Something in each of us died that day, and something else was born that day. A heavier-duty commitment to life, to helping. And New York, as much as it was devastated, was revitalized from the energetic level all the way up. People cared for each other. All over the world people were in awe of New York City! That doesn't happen very often -- usually it's "Oh those gun-slingers in New York City." After 9/11 it was, "You come from New York?!" It's like they'd met an angel, it's like Touched by a New York Angel! So many good things have come out of that that's it's hard to see it one way.
Did you ever have an experience that was horrible for you, and you thought "How am I going to overcome it?" -- but you did? I've had really horrible, traumatic things happen to me. Ok, not death, but everything's relative. And I've gotten over it, I've lived another day.
So if I've been able to overcome traumas in my own life, then I have total and complete faith and confidence that the same thing happened for those people. Why would it be true on this level of existence and not on every plane? I think it's just our fear of death. If you took our fear of death out of the World Trade Center [disaster] what would it look like?
: And that's where we get into our idea of questioning everything. Because when you say "Ok, what would the world look like if we didn't have this fear of death?" -- immediately -- especially people from a Jewish/Catholic background [laughs] would say, "Well if I'm not worrying about something, I'm not being responsible, I'm not comfortable," and "How are things going to work out if I don't worry about it?"
So then you say "Well, what would life look like if I weren't allowed to worry for a day? What would happen?"
We're not asking anyone to take our word for it. There are days when we believe it more than others, too. The idea is that just by considering these questions you open yourself up to direct experience, and that experience gives you that sense of connectedness that then can carry you through other things. We're just saying "Assume this idea that we are all connected long enough to see what life looks like if you make that assumption." And then things will start to happen to prove it to you. But you don't have to take anybody else's word for it, it's not a rule that you must abide by.
: It's not a gospel.
Do you think that religious practices like meditation or prayer can help you in this process of questioning, of consciousness-raising?
: I think they can, but I don't think they're necessary. It's up to you. For some people kickboxing might give them that. Our method is: question everything. Other people might be sitting in the lotus position where Karen and I will say, "Let's pull that thing apart and see what that is, see what energy is there and see why that's resonating with me." That's meditation in a sense.