An interview by Quidam Green Meyers to be published in March 2002 in "Wide Awake: The Everyday Miracle of Spiritual Breakthrough" by Quidam Green Meyers. The publisher is The Book Tree Publishers, San Diego, CA, phone 1-800-700-8733.
Q - In your experience, is there such a reality as Enlightenment, Awakening, Liberation, or spiritual freedom?
Isaac Shapiro - My experience is that it even jumps out of the realm of experience. There's just a seeing that what is Awake has always been Awake, and until you know that, there's just a sense of life that was asleep, although you didn't know it was asleep. And it's so simple when you recognize it. You recognize that you've always known it. [Pause] That's about it.
Q - Have you experienced or realized anything that might seem distinct from what is called average or normal human experience?
IS - Yes. What's considered normal is a sense of separation. It's funny because you can't really call it an experience but it's a recognition in which all experience is seen to be just the filter that gets looked through. Yet there's no one looking and there's no filter.
But, in the sense of being somebody that knows something or that is something, that is an entity even...it doesn't seem so any more.
Q - When this was noticed, did it happen at a particular moment or during a particular event? Or did it happen gradually?
IS - The Truth is that it only happens now, and the whole idea of gradually or suddenly just is now. They're both just ideas that don't have any validity. So, if you want to speak in terms of time, it's an ongoing deepening of recognition of That.
Q - So, is there a sense of evolving, maturing or growing?
IS - Ahh, yes, you know, all these questions are kind of tricky to answer because there's the absolute level where nothing is happening, or what you could call Shiva, and then there's the play of energy, called Shakti or consciousness and in this play of energy, somehow Consciousness is revealing Itself to Itself. There are patterns seen which are personal in any way. Somehow there's a sense of deepening, but there's no one that's deepening ...Consciousness having a play with itself.
Q - What is your experience of thought and emotion?
IS - Thoughts and emotions come up. They're impersonal. There's nobody that's thinking them, they are happening by themselves. If anyone thinks that they're in control of thinking, all they need to do to prove that it's not them doing the thinking is to try to stop thinking. They will see really clearly that there's no thinker, or anybody that's doing it. It's just that the activity of thinking produces the sense of a thinker.
So thoughts and emotions come that are not personal. You could say that they're patterns in consciousness and ultimately get seen by consciousness.
And so, thoughts and feelings come and at moments they can look personal; at moments they can look serious; at moments they can seem solid. But, there's the recognition that they're really nothing.
Q - Do you have any sense of negative or evil energy in life?
IS - That can happen in a moment, but it's clearly just a projection of thought. There's no such thing. It's just a pattern, you could say, in consciousness, of thinking something should be different and really believing it for a moment. But ultimately, there's no such thing.
Q - Do you teach? And if so, what is it that you teach?
IS - [Laugh] Hmm...what is it that I do? [Pause] I show up!
Q - Maybe we'll get into that one from another direction. Did you or do you have a teacher?
IS - I'd say all of life, ultimately! [Pause] Yes, all of life - every moment. It's so funny because I understand the difficulty of asking the questions, because when you say "Do you have a teacher?" it's like all of a sudden I have to become, like, someone who had something.
You know what's funny about this is that I met Papaji and, yes, he pointed me at myself and I could say that he was the manifestation of myself. And at the same time, you know, what limits does Consciousness have? It's just everything. It's like, I've really been playing with this one, because it almost feels too narrow to say that I have something like a lineage. This will be fun for some of the people stuck on lineage.
Q - So, when you "just show up" to teach, what is it that you do?
IS - I can say that there's a Resting as the Essence that we all are. And, there's a few ways that this plays out, but mostly what happens is that a person will ask a question and as I'm simply being That in them Which they are already, suddenly they see it from that perspective. And they see the question from the other way around, or they see it from There. And usually there's laughter or whatever happens.
And, of course there are times when someone is asking something from another level, and I can just respond from experience at the time. But mostly, it's this play of recognizing what's true in someone - in everyone, actually - in every moment. And just enjoying that together.
Q - When people come with questions regarding the practicalities of life: money, sexuality, relationships, what sorts of suggestions might you make?
IS - You know it's really very moment by moment because life plays with me like it plays with anyone else, and in different moments different things seem useful. So, I guess it depends on what book I've just read or how things seem at that particular moment.
But it's so funny because a week later I might hear what I say and cringe. I guess, you know, there's the willingness to be naked and honest, as honest as I know how, anyway. And, usually when people see that what they are speaking about isn't as personal as they thought, that takes a huge bite out of it right there. There's a recognition that it's universal - whatever they're dealing with, I'm dealing with, too. I think that's more important than what I actually ever say.
Q - Is there a particular practice that you engage in your daily life?
IS - Usually I watch a video every day...one of the latest releases. [Huge laughter] I've recently come out of a three-week period where I've tried to practice... but it's kind of fallen in on itself again. I think that mostly it's just the enjoyment of being...and there's such an interest in it. And because of my life being what it is, being available to satsang, people seem to keep wanting to talk to me about it. If anything is my practice, it's just being available to that interest and serving that interest. So that's probably the strongest practice.
Q - It's said by some people that we as a species are in the midst of a shift in Consciousness. Some even say that such a shift is very significant in the evolution of mankind. What's your sense of that?
IS - It seems that way to me at times but at other times it doesn't seem like anything is happening. It's a funny play, you know? It's like when you really look at it, you can't describe this instant at all. And so, if you can't describe it, all you can do it live it. You can't really say if it's evolving or whatever the hell is happening.
So, it's like - in anybody's experience - all we can really describe is what we put a frame around. We can't ever describe the moment, it's just this funny play of thinking that we know what's going on which gives us time and space and all the rest of the funny stuff.
Q - For people who are reading this book and sense that they may be in the midst of some type of Awakening, or at least have some interest in this, what would your basic suggestion to them be?
IS - I would say for most people, it's useful to be around somebody that they can sense their own Being with. Because this is a big assistance, to get that recognition clear in yourself. And then once that's happened, there's just a natural process that starts to go on, and your attention gets interested in it in a conscious way, you could say. Then there's the usual thing of being around people with like interests. Yes, it's a funny thing because in one sense, there's the total recognition that what is needed will manifest no matter what you tell anybody. It's just like it's happening by itself. Whatever Intelligence there is that's taking care will guide them to the right place, the right person and the right circumstance for them to see.