You might think you know what meditation is about.....but there is so much more to the practice than you could possibly imagine! Ryan Burton, an expert in Buddhist meditation practices, talks to us about the realities of using meditation in order to facilitate a radical awakening of our consciousness.
"What happens in meditation is a radical awakening of consciousness, a kind of moment to moment lived presence begins to permeate your life. And there's an immense amount of freedom that comes from shifting from identifying as a person in time... a physical body, as this particular incarnation, to being an existing and everything"
-- Ryan Burton
The Skeptic Metaphysician
Using Meditation for Radical Awakening
- Radical Awakening
- Meaning of Life
Info about our guest
Ryan is a meditation practitioner with over a decade of experience in a variety of Buddhist and non-dual traditions.
In his early 20’s he traveled throughout Southeast Asia and China seeking spiritual knowledge.
He’s participated in over 30 meditation retreats and has been an instructor since 2012.
He's delivered lectures on meditation and spirituality in the US, Nepal and Thailand and is the host of the podcast After Awakening.
Podcast: After Awakening
Skeptic Metaphysician Info:
Will: Hey everyone. Welcome back to another episode of the skeptic. My position. I think I just blew Karen's eardrums out. Get ready because it's coming. Good morning, Karen. How are you doing today?
Karen: I'm doing great!
Will: Wonderful. Well, I'm glad to hear that. Karen today's topic is. That you and I have discussed privately a lot in the past couple of weeks, but now we get to bring it to the audience. So the question at hand is, have you meditated today?
Karen: [00:01:00] You know, I try to meditate and it stresses me out and I know that's crazy, but
Let me get this. Let me get this straight. The, the practice that's meant to relax and calm. Your mind actually stresses you out.
Karen: Does. And I'm very bad at it and I'm thinking the whole time, but other stuff I need to do, and the fact that I'm not doing it and that stresses
Ryan Burton: me out. Ah,
Will: well I think our next guest is just the person that you need to talk to because Ryan is a meditation practitioner.
Now he's got over a decade of experience in a variety of Buddhist and non dual tradition. And his early twenties, he traveled throughout Southeast Asia and China seeking spiritual knowledge. So, you know, he is got legit stuff coming now he's participated in over 30 meditation retreats and has been an instructor since 2012.
And he's delivered lectures on meditation and spirituality in the U S in the pal and Thailand, and is the host of a podcast called after [00:02:00] awakening. I am thrilled to welcome to the show, Ryan Burton. Thank you for coming on.
Ryan Burton: Well, thanks for having me. I'm glad to be here and looking forward to unpacking meditation, everything it's about.
Yeah, I think you've got your work cut
Will: out for you here, but looking forward to where it takes us. So, I guess I need to call out the elephant in the room, right? What is Karen doing?
Ryan Burton: Wrong?
Ryan Burton: Absolutely a great, a great place to start. So meditation, there's thousands of different techniques and so many different approaches to it. So we can turn on an app or look at our phone and there's so many different ways to, to meditate. There's body scanning. There's observing the breath. There's using a mantra.
There's visualization, every specific kind of meditation. We'll have different side effects and different characteristics for that specific practice. The effect may be a little different depending on the person and depending on the specific technique, but generally speaking, the aim of [00:03:00] meditation is to facilitate greater, more expansive and the depth of your own awareness.
Whether that leads to stillness. Many meditation practices are aimed at stillness. Other meditation practices are aimed at a kind of non-ordinary insight into the nature of mind, to the nature of the body and into the nature of experience. So when you pick up a meditation practice, you have the instructions and sometimes the instructions are in my opinion, a little.
They can kind of put you on the wrong foot because you end up starting with a very major expectation. So let's say you go to a yoga studio and you learn meditation. And the meditation instructor says, or the yoga instructor says, okay, now we're not going to think about anything. Okay. You're just, you're just, you're going to stop all thinking with this mantra, the likelihood of anyone being able to do that their first time meditating or even their 50th time meditating.
Drastically low, not going to happen. Right. So [00:04:00] to have that, it's like telling someone
Will: not to think about a red truck.
Ryan Burton: Exactly. Think of a red truck. I've been meditating for 12 years. And as soon as you said, think about a red truck. I started thinking about our red truck. Yes. The power. Exactly. This is, this is the nature of the mind here.
Right? So meditation is not, not all meditations are aimed at stopping. If thought disappears, if thought vanishes in the process of meditation, in the process of your awareness becoming less distracted and more prominent in the forefront of your consciousness and your experience of thoughts end up on the periphery.
And they disappear as a result of that. That's a much more natural and easier approach to meditation than if I tell you to stop thinking, I put a goal before. And suddenly the whole session, your trying to make something impossible happen. So you get a meditation technique, like observe your breath. And you're told to stop thinking.
[00:05:00] You're told to use a lot of effort to stay with the meditation object. This is, these are all, this is all a recipe for just tension.
Karen: This is my recipe.
Ryan Burton: These are all the ingredient. For a headache, right. Especially for people that have type a personalities and they really follow the instructions and they're like, well, he said, I'm not supposed to think about,
Karen: so, so on that kind of line about the thoughts, you know, if you're not just in theory for not supposed to have a thought, and then there you're focusing on your breath.
And so I'll kind of get to them, focusing on my breath and I'm like, but then I'm thinking about my breath. That's a thought, am I doing this wrong? So is that a thought when you're thinking about your breath or does that not count as.
Ryan Burton: Well, if you're thinking about your breath, that is proliferation of thought, you're judging the breath.
Oh, am I, am I breathing correctly? Am I breathing too deep? Am I reading too shallow in meditation? Where feeling and noticing things as they are, [00:06:00] that's where the real relaxation and the real opening comes from. Actually trying to change anything about your experience. There are meditations that are geared at that, but in the way that I was trained, you really let the breath be, as it is.
You let the meditation object be, as it is, you let your thoughts and your body completely be as it is. Cause the whole point is to get out of the way to get the ego out of the way, to get the sense of self out of the way, because that is what is obstructing the unfolding of stillness. The process of meditation in of itself.
So this whole thing about trying to make the mind stop with effort and trying to control the meditation that trying in of itself, that very movement in the mind of effort and trying is what stimulates and causes turbulence in the waters of the mind. If you just pull volition out and completely surrender.
You'll find that a natural stillness begins to emerge. And these waters in the mind [00:07:00] gradually begin to calm. It's like a, if you were to imagine a glass bottle with of water and some sediment, dirt sand at the bottom, and you shake up the water, you shake it up. Now there's sediment, there's sand all throughout the bottle.
You can't see clearly at all through the bottle of water. So when you meditate, essentially, you're just using the bottle down and you're leaving it there. And in time, the sediment settles to the bottom and the water is very clear. You can see right. It's like that in meditation and in life, generally, oftentimes there's too much just too much going on.
There's too much going on in the mind. There's too much going on in life. There's too much going on in our body and our emotions. There's just so much happening all the time. So the mind is very it's full of distractions and it's not. Can't see things so clearly can't see itself. So clearly when you meditate, you set that bottle down, things settle.
Suddenly the answers to your problems can [00:08:00] arise. Suddenly a angle on a situation becomes very apparent, even though it had been that way the whole time, because now the mind has become clear. The mind has come. The mind able to see things as they are.
Will: That's a great way of putting it. And the thing that really strikes me the most about all that is at Karen.
It's not your fault to someone else.
Karen: I'm just thinking I want to teach you that says don't shake the bottle.
Will: Well, no, it, it is, it is astounding. What meditation will do it. Most people know that I do meditate every morning and it really, it sets my day in a perfect manner. And people know that if I don't meditate, they know. Everyone knows ugly,
Karen: but how long does it take to get to that point?
Cause I, you know, I, I try and I get stressed out and I'm like, well, this is taken time away from stuff that I have to get done because I have a lot on my plate these days, you know? So how long does it take? I mean, I guess everyone's different and that's not something you can answer specifically, but in general, what kind of [00:09:00] timeframe can I look at that I have to,
Ryan Burton: It could be immediate. It depends. Yes. So, so the idea that when you said, how long does it take when you ask the question, how long does it take? You're immediately in time, you're immediately in time and you immediately have an expectation and you have a goal, right. But if you could release that goal, if you could release the expectation and if you could release time, really release yourself and give yourself permission to completely be, as you are.
Period. Yeah, you'd be surprised how fast our awareness and stillness can really Dawn cause it's, it's the inherent nature of the mind. This is the thing about meditation we may feel and are under the impression that we're adding some. Onto the mind, like we're doing the meditation and then stillness.
It's like a, it's like an accessory that gets added onto our brain or something. That's not, it's actually not what's happening. What's happening is that you're, you're settling down. You're letting go. And this natural stillness is this natural awareness. That is a more fundamental aspect [00:10:00] of consciousness begins to emerge and is recognized.
You're not actually getting something. It's a deeper part of what you all. Begins to come to the forefront, begins to surface. And the reason that that has not surfaced yet, or the reason that it has not been experienced yet is because the sense of self and the attachment to thinking and experience isn't.
Karen: So like will was saying if he doesn't meditate, it's it's ugly. And my question is, and I see it. I mean, I have seen it. I, it is true, but how does spending 10 minutes not thinking, or, you know, how does that help you? Like, what does that, how does that benefit you? Because after that 10 minutes, you know, you get all jumbled back up again.
So how does that, what is it that makes such a profound impact on him?
Ryan Burton: How often do you give yourself permission to not do anything?
Ryan Burton: never. And how often do you give yourself permission to be with yourself and just be as you are? Yeah, I
Karen: have a [00:11:00] kid, so that's, you know, between work and school and family, and I kind of tend to go to the wayside.
Ryan Burton: So considering that. Quite busy. You have a lot of things to take care of all the time.
Is it possible? Is it possible that 10 minutes alone with yourself? No pressure to do anything? No pressure to get anywhere. No urge to have to become anything for 10 minutes might have some benefits.
Karen: Yes, ideally. Yes, but that's where I say that's kind of where I get stressed because you know, sometimes there is so much to do.
And I feel like if I take those 10 minutes, then I'm just going to be up later or, you know, having to work faster or something to get that stuff. And I know 10 minutes doesn't seem like that much, but. You should see what I can do in 10 minutes.
Will: We'll look at it this way. I know a lot of offices now are saying that they're, they're requiring you to take a 10 minute break every couple of hours, because they found that when you do take that minute to take a break, it actually makes you more productive, [00:12:00] not less productive because it clarifies you.
So I know in the office myself, I. Try to take a break every couple of hours or, or have my team take a break every couple of hours because they get more done because you're thinking more clearly because you have been able to reset your system rather than work, work, work, work, work, and then your mind starts getting to the point where you're not as productive.
You're not as creative. So I would assume it's along the same lines. And the reason why it works for me is because I can start the day in a place where. I am
Ryan Burton: living in,
Will: I don't want to say peace or serenity because life is not that, but at least it gets me to the point where I start from that place. And then it also allows me to.
Look at or approach life from a perspective of gratitude and appreciation, which then give, makes me more patient and more understanding of not just my failings or my stresses, but other people's as well. If that makes.
Karen: So, I guess for [00:13:00] me, it's kind of, the challenge is getting to the point where I can take that break because even like, even as a kid high school college, I will stay up until four or five in the morning finishing a report, as opposed to I'm going to go to bed at 10 and then I'll just get up or.
Because what if I can't finish? You know, what if I, what if something happens? So I, I will push through. So I think that's, that's my weird self mantra push through, you know, get it done. So for me to take that break, like you're saying, you know, with the employees, you'll take a break and then come back clearer.
If I was to take that break, I would be the whole time thinking about what am I gonna be able to do to get that thing done. So I just, I guess I just don't know how. To do that. That's what I need help with. Well, among other things.
Will: Yeah. I think it's a shift in mindset. I mean, there's only going to happen when you shift your mindset where you give yourself permission, knowing that if you do give yourself that permission, it's going to be better.
You're going to do more. You're gonna be able to accomplish more rather than seeing if I do this, I'm not gonna able to get everything finished. Well, maybe it's [00:14:00] time to think the opposite.
Ryan Burton: You know, I see, I like this, this a lot of people say I don't have time to meditate. If you value your life and your mind and your heart make time, so you, you do have a million things to do every day.
That's, that's a given, but this is a commitment to yourself. This is a commitment to your own mind, to your own heart and to the deepest aspect of your life, which for many of us is spirituality is our spirituality. To honor that and to sit down with that and to dedicate 10 minutes to that every day, it's like soul time.
It's just you alone with the universe, with whatever, with yourself and surrendering, the commitment is more important than the initial results. The actual sitting down to say, yes, I'm doing this for me. That's more important than whatever it is that comes up in the meditation because, you know, as high achievers as even as mothers there's so much that we have to do.
And there's so much [00:15:00] that so much of us that we have to give to other people. But this is really a gift to yourself. And how often do you give yourself?
Will: Yeah. Oh, great, great points. So we're, we're right around the 15 minute marker. So in this interview and we've been talking a lot about our meditations and how to do it and how not to do it and all that kind of stuff I do.
At some point, once you move into more esoteric topics that bring the meditation, right. Where meditation can take someone within the metaphysical world because we have a lot to talk about in that sense, but I do have to ask, I know. Personally, I know of several different meditation techniques, right?
There's a silver mind control, which is meant to be more about controlling your own mind. There is the stuff that you see on calm on the calm app and the Headspace, where it is just silent, focus on the breath, that kind of thing. Then you have guided meditations, like, a safe place that you guide yourself along with music to feel yourself.
Visualize yourself in a, in a very safe, [00:16:00] comfortable place. And I've also heard of What is that Tara transcendental meditation, where you actually take a, a sound bite, a mantra, and you just repeat that over and over and over again, you focus on that the whole time you're meditating. But, so what is when I introduce you about, as someone who was very well versed in Buddhist meditation, I'm curious because when you think of Buddhists, Meditation or Buddhist monks, you think about the chance, right?
All that kind of stuff. So is that what, what Buddhist meditation is, or is it something that we're not yet conscious of for
Ryan Burton: talking about? Depends on the school of Buddhism. There are three main schools Teravata, which is predominantly Southeast Asian Buddhism Mahayana, which is China, Korea, Japan, and Buddhism, which is Tibet.
So these three main schools of Buddhism gestated in different periods in history and in different regions. And so they practice meditation and approach the path and enlightenment a bit differently. So in my tradition, [00:17:00] Teravata, that's the oldest. Remaining tradition of, of Buddhism. They do make a use of mantra, but not in the same way that for example, the Tibet tradition does.
So within my tradition meditation is divided into two. Which is one is called somata, which means calmness or tranquility. All those practices as many objects for those practices, breathing is one of them visualizing your body as a skeleton is another using a visualized light within the body is another, the aim of all those practices is stillness purification of mind through stillness and eventually some very deep states of meditation called.
Or Gianna and our tradition, the other side of the practice is with a purified mind with a refined consciousness awareness. And the mind is able to see reality in a way that is not normally accessible to ordinary consciousness. Like right now we're getting into it. Yeah, exactly. So what, what's an example of that, [00:18:00] right?
So in. And the Buddhist Canada, there's a word called the Rupa Calaba, which means a form particle. So there's a way to meditate so deeply to an extent that the literal particles that make up form that make up feeling then makeup, mental phenomenon, memories, those particles, those fundamental basises are accessible.
So the mine. So normally right now I sit down, I look at a thought or a thought arises. My awareness shines on it. Can you see an image, a vague image in the mind's eye. So imagine that you were able to see what that image is actually made out of at a very deep, fundamental level. And this isn't like imaginary stuff.
It's just like actual deep insight into the nature of reality. So Buddhist meditation is divided to those two. I'd say those two groups. One is for the purification and the powering up to very, very deep levels of awareness. And the other is actually directing that [00:19:00] awareness to understand and see reality at a more fundamental level.
And based on that insight, based on that, seeing there are certain wisdoms, a certain key understandings about what we are that begin to those understandings can be liberating. Freeing.
Will: So, yeah. Now, now we're getting into the nitty of it, right? So we've talked to a lot of people and want to do a lot of different things, a lot of different modalities. And they're all kind of saying the same thing. What I'm hearing you say is that there is a version of Buddhist meditation that unlocks the mysteries of reality of, of our existence.
How can I say this? How do you know? Right. How, how is it? It could be, and I asked this question almost every time, right? Could it just be your mind being its creative self? Right. We, our minds are incredibly unbelievably creative. So you here, and this is more in, in Hindu than it is in India. Isn't it?
Isn't Buddhism. But things like yogis who are able to levitate for example, [00:20:00] or who are do all these different miracles simply because of how deeply they can meditate and really control every molecule in their bodies. I've never experienced it. I've never seen it. I've never heard of anyone who has.
I've read books about it and I'm incredibly intrigued about them, but so first have, have you experienced anything miraculous like that and to if you have, or haven't when you're, when you're meditating and looking into the qualities of existence, how do you notice? Not just your mind being creative and coming up with different ideas.
Ryan Burton: So in meditation and at least in the way that I approach a spiritual practice, it's much more like a practice at an actual, a scientific approach in the sense that you have to experience a thing repeated times. So it's not like you're sitting down and meditation and then you have a vision about something and you automatically believe it to be true.
We're not, we're not working with [00:21:00] fleeting images and visions in the mind saying that these are indicators of what, what reality is about, but here's an example of what may convince you that your body is indeed made of subatomic particles. These bright subatomic particles that are reappearing and disappearing quick.
Let's say you had meditation. You've done a retreat for awhile, 40 days, 30 days. And you're scanning through the body. You're feeling the body and sections. And suddenly as clear as day, as clear as this moment, looking at me having this conversation, your consciousness shifts and your entire body starts vibrating rapidly, extremely vibrations everywhere.
The whole room starts to vibrate. And what normally was felt as your forehead or what normally was felt as a particular part of your body is felt as an oscillating wave of sensations and particles. And those waves and sensations are directly perceivable lights [00:22:00] all over the place. It's one thing when this is happening as a mental image, it's one thing.
If you're. Having a vision about something. It's another thing when literally the actual perception of your reality, fundamentally shifts. It's the same thing as having an out-of-body experience. And that's something that we could get into when you've had 20 or 40 out of body experiences and you've experienced the vibrational state and the separation of the non-physical body from the physical body.
What that process entails to me at this point, it doesn't matter what. The tech say about those things. It doesn't matter if a spiritual teacher comes and tells me that's that's demonic work, or that's a way word path, or that's just happening in your imagination. It's your imagination. Couldn't possibly create something of that, that level of magnitude, the two literally riveting and Shaking your entire perception to its core.
It's, it's so radical that I couldn't attribute it to a visionary thought or [00:23:00] something that is happening in the imagination, but that doesn't make me come to the conclusion that every single thing that happens in meditation is 100%. Or 100% accurate just because a vision or an experience comes up doesn't mean that that's indicative or a justification for some view that you have about, about reality.
You have to see things. Or in my opinion, I take the experience as a, as it is. I. Don't even try to interpret a lot of the experiences that I have because I interpretation can be very faulty. That's the conceptual mind at that point adding reasons and getting information to a specific experience. And I think that inferences are very, very different than, than direct experience itself.
Will: Now, a lot of those things that you're talking about, we've heard people talk about when they. Take certain plant medicines, for example, like DMT or all the pod, right? All these different things that they experienced, different versions of [00:24:00] reality. And it could, or maybe could not be just chemicals firing in someone's brain or something like that.
But you're talking about things that would be amazing to experience without having to take any kind of drug to make that happen. So how does someone go about. Meditating that deeply that you start feeling your forehead undulate cause I really want. Like, I really want to feel those vibrations badly. And I really want to ask to project really bad that we had someone on the, on the show talking about her initial experiences.
And when, when it first started, it was just, as you said, massive vibrations, but going up and down her spine, right. That's how it started. And then it, it ended up being that she was getting ready to leave her body. And she, she did that several times. And you mentioned going onto your body 30 to 40 times, like.
I would like to do it once. So how do you recommend doing that?
Alright, we'll audience in case it wasn't apparent. We did have some technical issues that [00:25:00] we had to, correct. We had to move to a different platform. I don't know what's happening with other platform, but suddenly we can hear and see Ryan, but he couldn't hear or see us. And it was like at the worst possible moment, we were just getting into the mysteries of the universe and reality, and just then make maybe the universe doesn't want us to know the actual truth.
Karen: the secrets of the universe.
Will: I think we're onto something here, but we're going to try to persevere anyway. So if you see or hear anything different, this is why don't, don't be thrown by it. We are just having, working through some technical challenges that we're just going to plow through. So, Ryan, thanks for your patience.
While we work through all this, we were talking about how we could possibly. Find a way to get us, to have our foreheads become. Ondulating like to, to, to become part of the mysteries because we really, I really, really want to experience that. I really want to feel something strange and unexpected and unexplainable.
So you're the expert. How can someone go [00:26:00] about doing that? Does it take years and years, and years, and years and years of meditation, or can you just press a button?
Ryan Burton: I think when it comes to meditation, particularly in Buddhism, the supernormal powers are not the end goal, right? Yeah. They could be, they could be side-effects of the practice if you wanted to.
I have experiences of a mystical and supernatural nature. You'd want to explore out of body experiences, astral projection, lucid, dreaming. That is really the gateway for all of that, because in meditation, what you're doing is really allowing the mind to come to a standstill, allowing awareness to emerge.
There can be a fundamental shift in your perception that happens in meditation. That's permanent. That I found you don't get from lucid dreaming and out of body experiences. I think that's a good place to, to go and out of body experiences is those types of things you're interested [00:27:00] in will happen.
They may not necessarily happen in meditation. What, what happens in meditation is a radical awake. Of consciousness a kind of moment to moment lived presence begins to permeate your life. And there's quite a bit of freedom, actually, an immense amount of freedom that comes from shifting from being a person in time from identifying as a person in time from identifying as a physical body, as this particular incarnation, to being an existing and everything.
That's a huge leap. That's what meditation. That's what meditation leads to at least to an actual shift in perception and a fundamental change. And consciousness, whereas out of body experiences and supernormal abilities, mystical experiences, those are experiences that come and go. So they happen. They happen in time.
They lead to some incredible understandings, right? You can cause you can encounter spirits. You can encounter department [00:28:00] relatives, you can encounter everything in a, through Z of supernatural in the out of body. Well, what I have not found the out of body state, able to do what I have not found, psychedelics able to do what I have not found.
Anything else able to do the, to a radical and permanent ongoing lived awakening. That's what meditation does. So if by seeing auras and having profound abilities as a part of that particular awakening for you, then that becomes your lived daily experience. If it's not, it could be something else. For me, particularly, I don't have the ability to see auras or to veritables past lives or, well, if I was hanging out with you in a room, I wouldn't see your thoughts, like floating around your head because that's not a part, that's not a part of what the unfolding was for me.
Right. But if I was in the out of body state, I could see things that I normally could not in this physical state, in this physical body, but the. Real freedom from meditation. In my [00:29:00] understanding, and in my unfolding is that fundamental shift. You, you touch, you become in Tut, this consciousness that is not bound to experience.
It is not bound to changes that happen in time. This aspect of yourself that is totally beyond becoming becomes very, very apparent that begins to permeate the entirety of your life. That's very different than what happened in OBS for me. And don't get me wrong. OBS are absolutely incredible. They are ground shattering.
I mean, if you don't believe if you're a skeptic, for example, and you don't really know if, or you don't know at all, if there's life after death or if it's possible to separate brain, the physical body I recommend out of body experiences as the way. Prove that to yourself can prove it to anyone else, right?
Unless you're an expert at this and you can do this in a lab, but you can 100% prove it to yourself when you've had 20 out of body experiences. And this unbelievable separation rate happens [00:30:00] every single time. And you get perceptions of things before they happen, or you dream of things before they have.
You see conversations in the actual dementia before they actually happen in real life. It doesn't matter what the priest says to me. It doesn't matter what the scientist says to me. I've tasted the pudding. I've gone to the buffet, will, you know, pad the four-course meal when it comes to these, those specific things.
There's a lot of things that I don't know. I don't have the answers to the universe at all. I don't have. The secrets to life, but I can say that the things I've experienced or the things that I've unfolded, that I've repeatedly experienced them, you know, it's not like. It's one thing. If you dream of something before it happens, like one time in your life, you kind of write it off, right?
Oh, it was like, I can't really explain that. It doesn't really make any sense. And so I'm just going to push it out of my consciousness and just pretend that that never really happened because if I kind of think about it too much, my whole reality is just going to start crumbling because to see something before it happened hassle.
But when that happens, 10 times, 15 times you have an [00:31:00] OBE 20 times, it, it doesn't matter what anyone says at this point.
Karen: So how hard is it to get to the point where you can have, and you're just like, oh, try this, but how, I mean, I would love to have
Ryan Burton: one, but yeah, the, the things that happen in meditation in the later years, It takes much more patients and much more practice for that to happen than to have an OBE.
Having an OBE is not difficult at all,
Karen: by the way
Ryan Burton: I met, for example, I remember be like for me, I wouldn't say that I had any. Any, and this is, I don't want this to discourage anyone because if you have a good teacher and if you, if you actually follow the instructions. Yeah,
Karen: no, no, no.
Ryan Burton: We have it on tape. I'm rewinding and erasing that that never happened.
Okay. Yeah, some people have meditation, a lot [00:32:00] of incredible. Unfolding and changes happen in their first month. I didn't have what I would consider that radical shift in perception until year seven, seven years or seven years at that point, thousands of hours of meditating before that, before that actual fundamental perception of what I was changed, but for sure out of body experiences and.
Coming to a place of calm coming to a place of undeserving learning to surrender. All of that is accessible from the start and even awakening. And what hap, what I've described as is accessible earlier. It just depends on the person I'm saying for me, I was very stubborn. I was young. I was growing up, it took seven years to really come to.
Kind of surrendered flow that permeated all of life. Right.
Will: And, and for you to say to seven years, we're not talking about 10 minutes a day, right. You've been to over 30 meditation retreats. So I'm assuming that you, you, these are extended periods of time where you are in [00:33:00] stillness to get to where you are now.
Ryan Burton: True, but I'll make this one point. I think there's something. This is a theory. Okay. Disclaimer, this is a theory. So, so just like, economic booms and bus stock market will rise. Stock market will crash. There'll be changes in levels of activity and economies all over the world. And when there's a high period and extremely high period, there's always a low that follows.
So what I've observed. And what I'm beginning to see is that for some reason, in this particular period of time, that we're in a lot of people with less time on the cushion are having very profound experiences and profound unfoldings in meditation. So that may just be attributed to the energy and the collective consciousness at the time where we're at in a.
In this period, but I'm meeting a lot of students and a lot of people are coming to me that after just [00:34:00] meditating for a few months or having just baffling unfoldings and tending to be of the destabilizing nature, it seems that if it takes longer for this, this sort of radical shift in perception and awakening to happen, that you have more, you kind of have more to stand up.
When everything starts to collapse and you started being into the universe and then all of that daily, you have more to stand on if that, if that process took years, but if you've been meditating for like a few months or a year, and that happens, oh, you're going to be begging to find someone that can help you because it's very, it can be very de-stabilizing awakening.
Radical shifts in perception can be extremely destabilizing destabilizing. The good thing about out of body experiences and lucid dreaming is that a lot of that can be limited to what happened in the out of body experience. Sure. Some perceptions could bleed into your normal life, but generally speaking, you're still going to be the same person.
You're still going to feel like you, the thing about radical, a very deep awakening is [00:35:00] that sense of. Permanently changes. It actually begins to dissolve. And there are things that there are some benefits, incredible benefits that come from. But it can also be incredibly difficult. So you start your process.
I started my process seven years ago, or 12 years ago. I thought my name was Ryan. I really believed in all the things that Ryan wanted. I really believed in everything that Ryan was going to become. I had goals. I had dreams, three suit of those things. I went for them. I had this, this vision of this guy becoming enlightened and teaching a lot of people.
And all of that. And all of that was very real, right? It was, it was as solid as, as this book over here. So solid, all those thoughts that all those ideas there they're so real. They were so real to me. And then something happened around the seventh year where the. Immaculate presence just came crashing into life, into consciousness and it radically, it was like it changed my brain.
I would go as far as to say that [00:36:00] the body felt different from the inside. My sense of self, my sense of perception, who I thought I was changed forever. Like I could no longer believe that I was just Ryan. I could no longer believe that I was just a person, person. I can no longer just see myself as this face, as this body, as this life.
Because consciousness had become so expanded, so expansive, so radically different and it lasted for so long. It wasn't just like an OBE that happens for 15 minutes or 30 minutes in the morning. More this radical shift when it happened to me lasted 10 days. It didn't have the amount of sleep that I needed was reduced.
I barely needed to eat. I was I worked at LA. So it was a loan officer. I'm just staring at it at the computer, trying to do a load, trying to process an application. And it's like, my whole left brain is not working. I'm just seeing these like words on the three. And I can't even, I can't even function.
And my boss, like what the hell is wrong with you, man? What's wrong with you. And I'm just like you know, and exploding in this infinite love. And like, my heart feels [00:37:00] connected to him and I see that he's suffering so much and I just love him. And
Karen: it was like that for 10 days. It's ridiculous. You're like crying, you're crying.
Tears of joy,
Ryan Burton: tears of sadness. At the same time you're driving your car. You don't know where your hand ends and where the wheel begins. Everyone around you. It's all. It's all this one movement. There is not moving at the same time. It debit bake sense, but, and it's actually happening. That's this, this is not in my opinion.
This is not as accessible through, out of body experiences. Maybe it is, but I haven't seen it yet. And I haven't seen it through a plant medicine either.
Will: Okay. So let me just clarify you're you are, you were experiencing that. Without the use of external stimuli. It just, it was a natural, you didn't, you didn't take psychedelics.
It wasn't a a result of anything that you did. It just happened. Is that what you're saying? Okay. Yes. So then people who want to have a spiritual awakening. You're saying things that are counterintuitive to a lot of the people that we've [00:38:00] talked about, right? Everyone says the road to awakened spiritual awakenings is through meditation.
Like the act of meditating is the portal that allows you to do the outer body experiences or lucid dreaming, or have that feeling of interconnectedness with everything in every way. Now I'm hearing you say that all that stuff is more accessible than an actual spiritual weakening through meditation. It as someone who's.
Literally his entire life, trying to find a way to gain spiritual wakening, just when I think. Yep. I am. I am so wake me and I am totally woke. I find, Nope. I'm 100% rooted in this three-dimensional world that we're in. Right. Cause then I, I talked to people like you, they were saying what you're saying and I just go, wow.
I don't even know what I'm talking about. Like I'm not awake in any stretch of the imagination because I don't have these feelings of interconnectedness every once in a while I'll feel it. And it does come through my, my inner search in [00:39:00] my inner discovery when I go within. And most of the time when I'm going within is because I'm going into a very deep meditation that allows me to do that, but it never sustained.
So for someone to say, yeah, I went for 10 days in complete love and bliss with all mankind makes me feel really jealous first of all. But then my next question is how, how is it? You need to find someone who's like, you can help someone can guide someone through the process of achieving some sort of awakening awakening, because I mean, it is.
There's no question that the world needs to wake up. Right. We, we, we've gone to find a way to, for all of us to get to the point where we are spiritually awakening in order for changes to happen. And I do think more and more people are going through that. I think that's probably to your point. That's why there's so many people who are going through OBS and near death experiences and coming back and teaching and having lucid dreams and all that kind of [00:40:00] stuff and seeing auras.
But I've been searching since I was in my twenties. And I'm a lot older than that now, and I've not been able to accomplish any of it. So I guess I'm asking Ryan, how can, how can I make that happen?
Ryan Burton: When it comes to meditation, a lot of it is goal oriented. So the aim is to get into a deep meditation. The aim is to get somewhere, right? Whether it's your hap, a lot of people teach it this way, getting to your happy place or getting to your place a comment it's like this place in your imagination, whatever the goal is in meditation, that goal.
Movement and direction towards a concept towards something that is supposed to happen in time is taking awareness further from itself. So that experience that happened to me, I want to. Brake parts of it down a little bit, and I'll help you understand. I had been meditating for a while up to that point already.
And it was a line in this book by an Indian Sage name, Romena Maharshi. And I was on a [00:41:00] plane coming back from China. And I read that line and it said liberation enlightenment is to know that you were never born. And I was like, what? I didn't even comprehend that. It just, it just didn't make any sense. But when I read those words, it was like this dead grew from a hundred years ago, just like reach through space and time and just change something in my brain.
I started shaking after I read that sentence and sweating profusely. And then it just disappeared. So I thought, okay. Maybe it's just some weird occurrence. I don't know how to explain that So I got off the plane and when I was driving that's when that immaculate illness hit and all of the bounds of what I perceive myself to be a usually.
Consciousness. And our awareness is really limited to the physical body. We feel that this is us and everything else is not, but that, that line is actually just a boundary in perception when [00:42:00] that boundary vanishes. The automatic, the automatic result is the experience of oneness or the experience of allness.
So this is the thing about meditation, about spiritual work. A lot of it reinforces, it actually makes the sense of self more solid. You're pursuing something in time. You want to get somewhere other than here, you want to become something and that's all, that's all great. That's all fine. But. It can do, is that it actually enhances, it reinforces the sense of self.
It reinforces the seeker that is on the path directed towards something, but this allness is beyond time. So if all the meditation that you're doing is for something to happen in time. But the true reality that I'm describing to you is timeless.
How, how are these two things reconcilable? If you're, if you're trying to have a result, if you're trying to get to a place that is, that is, that is naturally,
and this is not bonds. You know, this is not like a [00:43:00] street and we can just, and we can just go there. This is a deeper, more fundamental awareness. And the striving, the pursuit and all the little aspects of spirituality or a psychic power is whatever it is, all of these things, they make the sense of self more solid.
And it's actually the sense of self that is the very, it is the final door. The. That you have known your whole life, you, the, you, that you have built up the you, that you operate through every day. That is the very thing that vanishes in genuine awakening. So if the, you is what vanishes, then all the spiritual practices that are coming from a a sense of.
Enhancing that you end up having can end up having the reverse effect. So you can do a meditation for 30 years, for 40 years, maybe even for 40 lifetimes. [00:44:00] But if the whole time you're using a very hard handed consciousness or a very a very approach with a lot of effort, all of that does is strengthen the ego.
It strengthens the sense of self when. In that moment of genuine awakening. When the all is realized, there's no sense of self their will is not going to be there. Ryan was not there. The whole, the whole thing was for seven years, I was in this pursuit and I wanted bliss. I wanted happiness. I wanted all this.
I wanted, I wanted the expanded consciousness. I wanted the unconditional love. I, I wanted, I wanted. And when that, when that presence just crashed and shattered everything, there was no me pursuing bliss anymore. There was no me pursuing happiness any more. There was no me pursuing anything anymore because there was no meat anymore.
Will: Right. So I'm hearing you say. At the end of the day, it all comes back to surrender. So [00:45:00] 100%,
Karen: 1000%, right?
Will: Not an easy thing to achieve, right? Surrendering ourselves, surrendering. Our egos is a very, very, very difficult thing to do. And I think that's where I'm going wrong because though I think I'm surrendering.
I'm really not. Cause I'm, I'm holding onto an end result that I'm hoping to achieve and that's where I'm going wrong. Brian. Thank you so much.
Karen: At least I know I'm not surrendering. I'm clear and open about that. I gotta fix that.
Will: Well, you have given us in this last 10 minutes, so much to ponder that I need to go.
And go cry myself in the corner somewhere because in all, all sincerity you right now that I think about it, the more, the more I think about it, I am not meditating for the right purposes. I am trying to achieve something. And for me right now, meditation though, it helps right to Karen's point.
The very beginning of the show. If I [00:46:00] don't meditate, people know it. So it helps me to at least calm myself and go through life in a better mind space. But really if I'm, if I'm trying to utilize meditation as a tool for assisting the awakening, then I need to make it a lot less about, okay, I gotta, I gotta meditate.
Cause it's what I do every morning. It's more about. Release and surrender. And that's that's, I appreciate your reminder because it's something that in daily life you just forget about, right? In the, in the rigmarole of going through work and childcare and paying bills and all that kind of stuff, you, you, you forget, we're, we're a lot more than just these three dimensional beings that are inhabiting this planet.
We're three body beings. And the spiritual side of us is, is something that we've got to help cultivate. I really can't. Thank you enough for coming on the show. This has been super eye-opening and illuminating, and I hope that we remain in contact because you have given us in such a short amount of time, so much to think about and so much to, to [00:47:00] really remember that.
I really appreciate it.
Ryan Burton: You got it. Well,
Will: now, if someone wanted to reach out to you to, to continue the conversation, what would be the best way someone could do that?
Ryan Burton: Find me on Instagram. So my Instagram handle is Ryan dot J. So you can find me there and you can check out my website as well. Ryan J britain.com.
Those are the best places to find me Instagram, for sure. That's where I do most of my activity. I don't manage space and time very well. That's obvious. So I'm fortunate that I get to make a living as a meditator because doing what you do well or whatever, I'd never make. Just wouldn't work. So, so everything that I do is just on Instagram.
If you want to hear or read my posts, you could look at my highlights and see the content that I've shared. And it's related to all the things that we discussed here. So Instagram is really the best place to find me and I update my class schedules there. And you can, you can find me there.[00:48:00] Are interested in classes, both of you as well.
If you want to meditate together, I'd be more than happy to do that as well. So do you think there's hope for me? Oh, absolutely. This is the thing. Both of you are very, you're very mature people, right? You've been, you've been, you've been through, you've been through life. You understand? You're not like these little spiritual.
And they're like early in their late teens that have all these like crazy expectations about what this is about, what this, this is supposed to be and what it's supposed to be. You know, being a more grounded person, the deeper your roots are in the real world. The higher your branches could go in the spiritual dimension, in my opinion,
Karen: deep roots.
Will: Also want to make sure we talk about or touch on really briefly your show after a weakening, right? It's something that I recommend anyone who's interested in a topic to go ahead and subscribe to it because it sounds like really great content that continues this conversation. So what can someone expect if they tune in
Ryan Burton: there are.
[00:49:00] Certain episodes that will make sense. And then there may be certain episodes that if there's Pali or Sanskrit terminology, you're going to be like, what, what, what, like what, what did they just say? So you may need to have like a Google search bar open or go check the transcript and click the embedded link to understand what's specifically mentioned, but if you're willing to do that, if you're willing to do a little bit of a.
Link clicking then the episodes will be very, very very fruitful. So absolutely it's, it's definitely talking about awakening and post awakening. So the process of that fundamental shift, the fundamental shift itself from ego to allness and everything that is entailed after that, because there's a whole integration process and a lot that come.
After the fact. So that's why it's called after awakening.
Will: Well, I just literally subscribed as we're sitting here talking because I'm fascinated by all this. I have no problem, Google searching during the show. So, thanks for bringing that up and [00:50:00] rest assured you will hear from us because I am coming for you.
Ryan Burton: To teach me, I invite, I invite you. Well, I invite you to come, come into the dimension where there are no goals and there is no time and no self anymore. I invite you. How
Will: amazing would that be? Karen to live in a world that I find is talking about. Cool. Sounds wonderful. Well, if you missed this I will add links, direct links in our show notes for.
Brian's Instagram and website. And we'll remind you of his show in that show notes. So if you have any questions or want to reach out to Ryan, you'll know exactly how to do it, right. I can't thank you enough for coming on.
Ryan Burton: You're welcome. Well,
Will: and Karen, thank you for again, helping me run the, the interview because man, I, I was so lost in my thoughts that your questions came at just the perfect time.
Karen: And once you heard how screwed up I was, I made you sound so much better. I
Will: felt much better. So yeah, I'm
Ryan Burton: really glad you were here. Always happy to help. [00:51:00] Thank you. Thank you.
Will: And thank you listeners for coming along on this journey of discovery with us. We'd love to continue our conversation with you on Facebook or Instagram.
So please find us there under, at skeptic metaphysician, or of email@example.com, where you can find direct links. As I mentioned, not only to our social media platforms and those of our guests, but where you can also subscribe to the show. So you don't miss a single thing or leave us a review directly there or voicemail on that.
That we might be able to read on the air now as always, if you know someone that would benefit from hearing the messages we shared on the show or any of our others, I hope you'll consider sharing us with them. It will help grow the show and may just help someone else come to terms with the fact that we're so much more than just this three-dimensional body that we inhabit now that you miss any of our show today, you're listening to it on the radio, not to worry all of our shows, including this one can be found on our site.
Skeptic, metaphysician.com. You can become a member of the skeptic metaphysician community for free there and enjoy the added benefits of discounts for services from some of our past guests, [00:52:00] again, as a chance, as well as a chance to never miss a show immediately once has been. I hope you enjoyed this episode as much as we have, sadly.
That is all the time we have for now. But thanks for joining us again today, and we'll see you on the next episode of the skeptic metaphysician until then take care.
Ryan is a meditation practitioner with over a decade of experience in a variety of Buddhist and non-dual traditions. In his early 20’s he traveled throughout Southeast Asia and China seeking spiritual knowledge. He’s participated in over 30 meditation retreats and has been an instructor since 2012. He's delivered lectures on meditation and spirituality in the US, Nepal and Thailand and is the host of the podcast After Awakening.