Tami Simon: You're listening to Insights at the Edge. Today my guest is Judith Blackstone. Judith is an innovative teacher in the contemporary spiritual and psychotherapy fields. She developed the Realization Process, a method of realizing fundamental or non-dual consciousness and applying it to psychological and physical healing. She has taught for 25 years throughout the United States, and at Esalen Institute in California since 1987. Judith is the author of a Sounds True book called The Intimate Life: Awakening to the Spiritual Essence in Yourself and Others, and also a six-session audio learning course called The Realization Process: A Step-by-Step Guide to Embodied Spiritual Awakening, where she guides listeners to what she calls "the attunement to fundamental consciousness."

In this episode of Insights at the Edge, Judith and I spoke about two introductory ways of attuning to fundamental consciousness and about how we can relate to other people from the subtle core of body to their subtle core—which she calls "core-to-core." We also talked about the relationship between realization and psychological challenges in our lives, and the role of the body in the fullness of realization. Here's my very illuminating conversation with Dr. Judith Blackstone.

TS:Judith, you teach something called the Realization Process and of course "realization," kind of like the word "enlightenment," is a pretty loaded word. People have all different kinds of associations and mean different things when they use a word like "realization." So what do you mean? What are we realizing?

Judith Blackstone: I mean something really specific by that. I mean the opening up and arriving at a particular level of ourselves; a level of being. And it's actually experienced as a very, very fine, very subtle consciousness that we can get to—that we can actually experience pervading our whole body. It is pervading our body and everything around us at the same time. Now this level of consciousness has been mentioned in all of the Eastern teachings. It's a level of openness that requires our whole body to be open to it. But it's not just openness, because it's actually the unveiling of this very, very subtle essence of ourselves: a kind of transparency and a unification. It's a unified consciousness—this very subtle consciousness—because we experience it everywhere in our body, all at once, and everywhere in our environment at once. It's a level of unity, sometimes called a "unitive consciousness." It's even something beyond being simply open to life.

TS: So when we realize this unitive consciousness, this fundamental consciousness, are we all realizing the same thing?

JB: Yes, I believe we are. The descriptions of it, the descriptions that have been passed down in the spiritual literature and the descriptions currently, back that up. Even though it's hard to find words for it, it's not impossible because it is something that we experience. The words back up the notion that it's exactly the same in all of us—a universal dimension.

TS: OK, then how do you understand this very obvious paradox that presents itself, which is: here we are, we're all pervaded by this same unitive consciousness that we can discover—but yet we still experience ourselves as unique individuals. We have separate bodies. We have separate DNA and experiences. How do you understand that paradox?

JB: You know, it's not so much that I understand it. It's a wonderful, mysterious universe that we're engaged in here. But I do know that it's true. I know that as we uncover this—perhaps we can call it "bottom level" or "ground" in our being—it reveals to us our uniqueness. It gets even our preferences, our internal guidance, what we're drawn to, or led towards. All of that is uncovered with more and more clarity as we get in touch with this unitive ground of our being.

TS: So for you, you're simply at peace with the experience that this is how it seems to be: more uniqueness, more in touch with this fundamental ground—simultaneously? You're just OK with that? That's how it goes?

JB: I've had to be OK with that. Yes. [Laughs] There's a lot we don't know. There's a lot we can realize. And yet still we don't know. And one of the interesting things is that a lot of the Buddhist and Hindu philosophy interprets this same experience differently. So that tells us right there that we can unveil this. It's really the most gratifying experience we can have. And yet we may not know the secrets to the universe.

TS: Now I imagine people listening and they might be thinking, "OK, I've heard a lot of talk about this unitive consciousness and this grounded being but I kinda don't know if I know what Judith is talking about from experience." I know you guide people through a series of step-by-step practices. Give us a sense of how you're able to help show people, help unveil this ground of being to people.

JB: OK. I think one of the major keys to this is the discovery that wherever we inhabit our body—that is, wherever we are in contact internally with our own form—we're open to the environment. That's a very interesting thing. So for example, if we inhabit our chest— that is, not just be aware of that space inside of the chest but to actually be there, present within our chest—then we experience this present moment inside our chest and outside around us at the same time. When we inhabit our whole body, then we get to kind of clear through openness, this present moment happening within our whole body, and outside of our body, at the same time. At that point, that very subtle consciousness arises.

So I lead people to this realization by helping them inhabit their body. And again, it's not just a body scan. That's not being aware of the body—which is how embodiment is often talked about—but rather actually being present as that internal space of the body and then returning directly to this very, very fine consciousness that pervades inside and outside the body at the same time. Well, that's just part of it. The other part is also attuning to a very slender vertical channel that runs through the vertical core of the head, neck, and body called the "central channel" in Buddhism, called "sushumna" in the Hindu system, and sometimes called the "wisdom channel" in the Eastern teachings. That very, very slender innermost core of ourselves can also be accessed to open up into this ground of our beings.

TS: It's interesting to me that you start with the body. You start by directing people, saying "let's go inside our chest" for example, or "inside the whole body." Why do you start there? That's unusual. Many teachers, when they are talking about revealing fundamental consciousness to people—that's not where they would start. They would start with this present moment or space or something else.

JB: Yes, two reasons for that come up as response right now. One is that some of the—and I'm going to talk about these non-dual teachings. So this attunement to unitive consciousness is called "non-duality" and it's become quite popular. There are a lot of teachers teaching non-duality right now, especially in the United States and Europe. Sometimes it's taught simply to be aware of the present moment. And these are just the pedagogues, these are exercises. And what I find lacking in that particular exercise of just being aware to the present moment is that we can be aware of the space outside of ourselves, we could even relax into the space outside of ourselves without getting to this extremely subtle consciousness that pervades both the internal space of the body and the environment at the same time. So if we focus, even for hours and hours, on the present moment but we're focusing just on our environment, we really may not get to that core level of our being.

The other very popular way of teaching non-duality is to start with the belief system, to start with the thoughts that come into play and seem to interfere with our realization. So many of the teachers start there and all of this is helpful. There's nothing wrong with any of it. But it can be limited in its effect, I've found, if we simply work with trying to erase any sort of preconceptions about life. So in other words, if we look at a flower and we think to ourselves, "oh that flower is not really as nice as the flower that I saw last week," or, "what kind of flower is that, I don't quite remember," and so on and so forth. We're bringing a lot of what's called "mental elaboration" to our experience in life. And that can certainly get in the way of our actual openness to the flower. Many teachers start there, with trying to clear out that mental elaboration.

Now the trouble with that, is that our mental elaboration is hooked up to a lot of constriction in our own body. So we start to live abstractly as we close off our sensation in our emotional life. And that means that the fixations we bring to life that do obscure our realization, that do obstruct our sense of unitive consciousness—those fixations, they're not just mental. They are also emotional. They involve the whole body. We can momentarily clear our minds but we can't clear them in an ongoing way, I believe, unless we also open our emotions and our sensations—unless we open the whole instrument of our being. Also, just to open the mind—that's not yet unitive consciousness. That's not yet fundamental consciousness. Fundamental consciousness is a level of unity, a level of wholeness, of oneness. It must pervade our whole being, not just the top of our heads.

TS: You mentioned two ways, two beginning ways that you use to help people tune into fundamental consciousness. And the first is exploring this inner space in the body and the second is tuning in to what you called the "subtle core" of the body, or the "central channel." Can you say more about the central channel and how, first of all, somebody contacts that open energy and what the value of doing that is?

JB: The central channel, which as I have said is described both in Buddhism and Hinduism—in certain schools of Buddhism and Hinduism. In Hindu yoga, it's conceived of being three channels nested within each other. In the Realization Process, I'm guiding people to attune to the innermost channel instead of getting to a kind of rougher energy channel. By the way, our energy system is a spectrum from dense to subtle. As we get into the innermost core of ourselves, we get to—not just this level of fundamental consciousness, which is a level of stillness—but we get to our most subtle level of energy. I'm guiding people to get into this innermost core.

We do this by refining the focus, by focusing inwardly from the front of our body back through to the core of ourselves and refining that focus—and then initiating the breath there. When we initiate the breath there, we can do that in such a way that we automatically feel a resonance, a kind of subtle vibration through that whole vertical core—from the top of the head to the bottom of the pelvis. When we feel that vibration throughout the whole channel, that means that we've gotten to the innermost core, that we've gotten to that very, very subtle energy that we will then be able to feel really everywhere in our being at once.

TS: In your book, The Intimate Life: Awakening to the Spiritual Essence in Yourself and Others, you teach people about how it's possible to relate to other people—an intimate partner or a friend or anyone—core to core, subtle core to subtle core. Can you talk about that? How might we do that?

JB: One aspect of the Realization Process is this relational work. It's a very, very interesting thing about the internal space of the body. And again, not just being aware but actually when you're there, that it has the capacity to connect with, to actually resonate with the internal space of another person's body or an animal's body. You can resonate and find and contact the internal space of other life. So in the Realization Process, I go right towards that experience. There are specific exercises for helping people feel that they are in their own body, and then with a partner experiencing both the internal space of their own body and the external space of another person's body at the same time. And likewise, from the core; from the points along the subtle vertical core, the innermost core of the body, we can find our own core and another person's core at the same time. In fact, if two people are both in their cores, that resonance will automatically happen. I'm just doing an exercise to invoke what naturally happens.

There are some really important reasons for doing this. One is that we have organized the constriction and fragmentation in ourselves. We have organized that from early childhood in relation to other people, for the most part. You know, we've also made some constriction relation to the loud sounds that might have been in the environment or that kind of thing. But mostly, it was in relation to those alarming, loving, and sometimes not-loving and unpredictable people in our environment. That's what we most needed to protect ourselves from. So when we encounter another human being, there's often an automatic and unconscious move to protect ourselves again. We can sit on our meditation pillows and meditate blissfully, you know—openly, and then get up and go outside and there's another human being and boom! We're back in fragmented space again. It's really important to cultivate directly this ability to be in fundamental consciousness with another person.

Of course the other important reason for doing it is that this is really one of the greatest rewards of spiritual life. This is tremendous intimacy that we can gain with the world around us. We can cultivate that with the people close to us, with all life—that internal resonance, that ability to connect with and know another person. Not just from the surface of ourselves but all the way through the internal depths of ourselves.

TS: So are you saying then that part of the goal here would be to be able to be in the subtle core of the body while my partner is also in his or her subtle core and then we're relating from that place while we're in the kitchen making breakfast—not just while we're sitting in meditation three feet from each other—but all the time? What is the objective here?

JB: Yes, all the time! All the time. I mean, one of the real benefits of this kind of practice—where we're not just holding our attention in a certain way or that certain thing—but we're actually changing the way we are in ourselves. It's an actual transformation of our being. This becomes an ongoing realization. This is not a peak experience. It's not just something we feel in meditation. It's an ongoing change in the way that we are in ourselves and in the world. And so yes, if we practice that with a partner, then that relationship is always core to core.

TS: Now, I know you've been married for quite some time with your partner. Can you tell me a little bit about how it actually works for the two of you, this core-to-core relationship?

JB: [Laughs] That's a big question. It goes, of course, very nicely. It's very pleasurable, is what it is. This kind of work of being in one's body and being open to life this way, it increases our pleasure of life, our enjoyment of life, our enjoyment of ourselves. It's just a great pleasure being in our own body and a great pleasure of connecting with another human being through that internal depth. That's pleasurable on every level. Of course, the mind-to-mind meeting, the heart-to-heart meeting, the sexual meeting, the quality of power in the body—body to body, that is an extremely pleasurable relationship.

TS: I love to hear about that. And I'm not trying to pry. I think part of my question wasn't even so much about the intense pleasure, although I love hearing about that. It's so wonderful. Here you are, and most couples will get into some kind of argument about blah-blah and you know they're not resting in fundamental consciousness together. They are arguing about, you know, who's going to take the trash out or something like that. So I'm curious about that as well. How does core-to-core work in just the traditional set of relational challenges that people face?

JB: It's helpful in a lot of ways, just as it is for us as individuals. It's helpful in relationships. Of course, we're bringing less unconscious patterning to the relationship. So if my husband decides not to bring the trash out that particular week—you know, in our case it's bringing it all the way to the dump once a week—if he decides not to do it that week it's not like he's abandoning me or he's trying to be one-up on me in some way, you know, these sorts of patterns. It's just simply that he's not going to bring the trash out this week. And he has reasons for that. In that clear space, in that relatively clear unitive space, it slows down. We can look at the actual current reasons and have a discussion about that rather than that sort of archaic childhood organization coming up.

TS: Which brings up the question: what is the relationship between realization in the way that you're defining it and our psychological woundedness or defendedness—the conditioning that we each have grown up with. I know you work as a clinical psychotherapist so you work with people all the time in this process. How does it go together? Is it in your experience that the more realized we are, the less these early psychological patterns dictate our lives?

JB: Yes, absolutely. And I'm not saying that we get rid of them completely. That would be an ideal. But definitely, we gradually let go of them. We need to let go of them to some extent just to realize this spaciousness. Because we need to let go of them to some extent just to be able to inhabit our body to the degree that's necessary.

TS: That's something that I think would help if you could explain more. What do you mean that we have to let go of these patterns to inhabit our bodies?

JB: As children, we're organizing ourselves in reaction to our childhood environment. So when we're protecting ourselves against the unpredictability or the anger or loss that is going on in our childhood in each moment, we actually contract the instrument of our being. We contract our body in order to dampen the impact of that experience—both to dampen what's coming towards us from the outside and to control our own responses, if those responses are not going to be met with love and empathy. For example, we can't keep ourselves from crying without tightening the anatomy involved in crying. We can't keep ourselves from feeling anger without tightening our bodies. These are not just mental processes. These are processes that involve the whole body. All of us—every single one of us—grow up with a particular organization of constrictions in our body. They are unconscious. Unless they are extremely severe, we can go about living perfectly ordinary lives in those constricted bodies. It's the human condition. When we look around, this is how we all are.

In order to get to this next level of realization, we need to really be in deep touch with the internal space of our own body. We need to inhabit that space. As we go to do that, these constrictions will get in our way. So if I have tightened my heart so as not to feel the pain of my father's rejection of me, for example, when I go to inhabit my chest I'm going to knock up against that tightness in my heart. In doing that, if it's not that tight, just the act of inhabiting the body will help release that constriction. And along with it I'm going to feel—at least momentarily—some of that pain.

In the Realization Process I also have specific exercises for attuning to and releasing these holding patterns—releasing them from a very subtle level of our being, from the core level of our being so that they really release. And then inhabiting that space that has been released so as we release those holding patterns, we are able to more deeply and more fully inhabit the internal space of the body and in turn be more open to that pervasive unitive consciousness. So you can see there that psychological healing and non-dual spiritual awakening really go hand in hand.

TS: So in your view, if you met somebody who, let's say, seemed to have a lot of psychological baggage, for lack of a better word—they are easily triggered by this or that. Or we use the example of someone who might feel abandonment even though there's no real cause for that, it's just their interpretation. Would you say that person could not be "very realized" in your view?

JB: They are probably not yet very realized. It takes a little effort to be realized. It doesn't take quite as much as traditionally has sometimes been said—that this is such a far-out experience. But it does take a certain amount of work and of healing and of focused work to be able to do that.

TS: This is another way to ask my question: what would be your litmus test in meeting somebody, if you will, as to their realization? What would you be looking for or what would signal you as to, "Uh, I don't think so?" And I know that this is a little bit of a strange question. What are we doing running around evaluating people's realization? But it's the kind of question that's asked here at Sounds True.

JB: There's a transparency, you know, when we realize fundamental consciousness—we not only experience ourselves as transparent, we experience everything around us as transparent. But our own being becomes transformed. So in a sense, an observer can see that there's an internal aliveness. There's a permeability to that being rather than a rigidity; an internal fluidity and permeability. If you look around at the teachers, all of them are open in some ways. It's an ideal to be completely open throughout our whole being. Completely open. But some are more fragmented than others. So some teachers who can make a lot of energy are really just open in one part of their being, and not so open in the rest of themselves. And that's pretty clear just from looking at them—where they are permeable, where they're alive inside, and where they're not.

TS: When you say that they're open in one part of their being, do you mean that they are open, you know, in the legs or in the head or do you mean ...What do you mean by that?

JB: Yeah, usually in the chest or in the head or the top of the head. You know, one thing that I'm really concerned with in the Realization Process is that people meditate in their whole body; that they inhabit their whole body so that they really get to this wholeness dimension of themselves, which is unitive consciousness. If we're left to our own devices and we're just sitting in a room of 200 people and meditating, we can meditate for 40 years like that. And we can tend to meditate where we're already most open, because that's where we're most comfortable. So if I'm a mental kind of person and I live in the upper part of my head, then when I sit down to meditate, it feels really good there. That's where I'm going to meditate. If I'm an emotionally based person, for the most part I get inside and I start to count my breath, or whatever the meditation is, and what feels really good is this chest of mine, this heart. And then I will sit and meditate there for 40 years. What that does is that it continues to open just that part of the body that is being dwelled in, that's being focused on. I think that it's very important that we practice inhabiting every area of ourselves and meditating within the whole being.

TS: So from what you're saying, it could be, for example, a teacher who might be quite realized in a certain aspect, is really only teaching from an open space in the head but is not really teaching from the neck down? That could be.

JB: Yeah, that's a possibility. And of course, we're all very complex so we can open—you know, we all have this pattern of openness and defense. I don't think we ever lose it entirely. So it's important to have compassion for ourselves and for our teachers, that this is a work in progress for all of us. But that is something to be alert to.

TS: You use the example of the person who feels comfortable in their chest and the feeling world and spends their time meditating in their chest. Why might somebody not inhabit from the waist down? And what are the challenges in that area, and then what's it like when we do meditate and include from-the-waist-down in our meditation?

JB: The waist down seems to be the biggest challenge for most of us. We've been taught—and this teaching has been passed down generation to generation—that the noble qualities are from the waist up. From the waist up, we feel love, we feel mental clarity, reason, intelligence—all of the things we value in our society and really in every society, I think. Almost every society. So throughout most of the world, people are living from the waist up. And because we not only organize ourselves as children in response to painful stimuli, we also organize ourselves as a kind of mirror image of our parents so that we can really connect with them. We do that automatically. We inhabit ourselves where they are inhabiting themselves. This placement of living from the waist up is passed down from generation to generation. That will fragment our wholeness, just like not being the head or not being the chest.

We actually do need to be inhabiting our legs, our pelvis—which means being in touch with our sexuality in order to open to this unitive aspect of ourselves, this ground of our being. But there's another important reason for it too, and that is, it can become extremely uncomfortable to become very open from the waist up. There is no foundation. So many people are carrying around this wonderful, overwhelming amount of energy in their chest and head and feeling really disoriented and cut off from their foundation.

TS: The teaching that you're offering, Realization Process, is something that you've come to but it's not part of one specific lineage strand. Is that correct?

JB: That's correct. Although I have certainly studied and visited with many lineages and some of them deeply, this work really came out of a healing of a back injury. When I was a young woman in my twenties, I had been a professional dancer. I injured my back and I had to attune to myself on a very subtle level of my being in order to start to heal myself of this back injury. And in that process, I began to discover this very, very subtle energy that goes through the body and also this unitive consciousness that pervades the body. I began to discover that and I also began to explore the spiritual teachings that were available. I lived for a while at a Zen monastery and studied Tibetan Buddhism. I had a teacher in India. So I did quite a lot of study, but it all referred back to this experience that I had been having in my own self-healing.

TS: Do you ever feel alone or as if it's precarious, in a sense, to be teaching from your own experience of healing and discovery but not being sort of safely tucked into a particular lineage? What's that like for you?

JB: I don't feel that it's not safe. I think it has taken longer for people to know about the work because it isn't coming out of a lineage. But I also feel that it's very much a product of our time and place that this has been a true discovery, a true unveiling. You know, if there were no reference to these experiences that I'm describing in the spiritual literature, I would feel more precarious. But since I do seem to be able to sit in and at least be part of the discussion, the dialogue amongst all of these spiritual traditions, and since there is so much dialogue in our culture where we have access to all of them at once, I feel that there is really a place for people who are coming up with their own realization and contextualizing it in the spiritual world. But also bringing something else to it—really bringing the embodiment to it and the relational part of it, how this deepens our relationships, and really working with how this suits our contemporary lives.

TS: In your own process, was there a moment of realization where you can say "after this moment, I could never go back—this was the defining breakthrough"?

JB: There was kind of a long moment, not one single moment. In my own process I had been—you know, when I was a dancer in my teens and early twenties, I used to pray. I had a special way of praying. I grew up in an atheistic family where prayer was just relegated to the lowest of the low. But I had sensed the kind of luminous presence all my life and so I found that before I went on stage to perform as a dancer, I could kind of draw this presence inside my body. That was my way of prayer and it helped me feel—it helped me replace the frightened ego and animate the performance. So that was a very valuable experience for me. It brought my dancing into a kind of spiritual life for me.

When I injured my back, I lost that. And that was really a great loss for me. So when I started to get it back in the process of healing, I then went to live at the Zen monastery. While I was there doing just copious amounts of meditation every day, I'd begun to get to that more subtle level, even that luminous presence, and then I did finally realize there was actually two moments of realization that I remember. In one, I was down by the stream, which was next door to the monastery and I was sitting on the rocks and suddenly realized that the rocks were weightless, transparent. I had never noticed that before. And then there was this sense that this same transparency was within everything—within myself as well. That was a really new experience. So instead of drawing the presence inside of myself, this finer, more subtle kind of presence was everywhere at once, naturally, without any effort on my part.

TS: And you said that there was a second?

JB: Well, there was a second one and timing-wise I think it was just a little bit later, perhaps in the same week. I was sitting on my favorite bench at the monastery. This monastery is in upstate New York—very beautiful terrain—and I was sitting on a bench where I had been sitting for the whole year that I had been there. I loved to sit on that bench. Again, that same experience, and I realized that this was ongoing—that this was just the way it was going to be now. That everything is actually just pervaded by this very, very subtle consciousness.

TS: You know, interestingly Judith, I think that it's possible that listeners are reflecting, "you know, I've had moments. I don't know if they're exactly like that but moments that felt very open. I felt the wholeness, the sense of everything being pervaded by the same stuff of reality. But I wasn't particularly, fundamentally changed after those moments. You know, I still came back into my relationships after the retreat that I went to and got into a stupid argument with my partner," etc. So what do you think happened in your situation that created this fundamental, wholesale change? And how would you understand what I think is many people's experience, which is, "Yes, I had that kind of 'seeing,' but it didn't change me"?

JB: I do think it has to do with the embodiment of it. It was really being in the whole body. It may just be the—I'm going to use the term "relative completeness"—of the realization. When we embody it, when we inhabit our body and at least most of our instrument, our form is open to fundamental consciousness. It does stabilize. This term, "stabilization," that comes to us from the Buddhist teachings, it's a traditional term and everyone has apparently noticed over the hundreds of years that after several glimpses, if that's how it starts to come in for you, then finally you do stabilize there, you know, with practice. That's the next step. And it's there all the time, it's stable. I'm not sure that means that you're never going to have a stupid argument again. But it may dissipate faster. You may bring a little more space to it. But certainly the sense of ongoing transparency will be there.

TS: You've used this word a couple of times, "transparency." I'd love to know what that actually feels like inside of you. And when you look at somebody and you go, "Wow, that person is very transparent," what it looks like to you.

JB: Well, what it feels like is like you're made of empty space and at the same time completely present, which is not an eradication of yourself. As you said earlier, it actually reveals the uniqueness and also reveals the qualitative experience of yourself—your love, your sensation, all the qualities of being in the body become quite vivid. So you're not gone and yet at the same time you're made of empty space. This is something very strange—we can be both there qualitatively and made of empty space. Both present and empty at the same time. Not my own idea, of course: the Zen sutras say that "form is emptiness, emptiness is form." Often, that is interpreted abstractly—but in fact, that's the experience. There's form and there's emptiness.

So that's what it looks like. It looks as if—in terms of what it looks like in someone else's body or a rock, because everything looks that way—it looks as if you could put your hand right through it. Now, I can't. There might be some people who can. I can't put my hand through the rock or through another person's body, but that's how it looks. It looks like it's made of empty space.

TS: Our program, Judith, is called Insights at the Edge. I'm always curious to know, especially in the case here—somebody who is teaching realization and has made the kinds of discoveries that you've made—what's your edge? And what I mean by that is: what's currently up for you that you might consider a growing edge or a challenge?

JB: Being comfortable in the world has been a special project of mine. And luckily and interestingly, my husband's as well. We are both, in terms of just bringing this work out—I've been teaching for thirty years, more than that really, but in terms of reaching more people and traveling and doing that sort of thing, really that's been fairly recent in my life. It comes with its own challenges. Keeping my … pacing myself, being able to relax about being in the moment. Not anticipating that I might be exhausted next week and being anxious about that. Really being in the moment with that. This is really an ongoing process so as relaxed in life as I might have been 10 years ago, in comparison to the way I was 10 years before that, I'm still opening to feeling at ease that way, with every circumstance that comes my way.

TS: Thank you. And finally, Judith, I'm wondering—you sort of pointed out how we could start to attune to fundamental consciousness inside our body and then in the subtle core. But I'm wondering here at the end of our conversation if you'd be willing to gift our listeners with some type of short, pointing to fundamental consciousness in their own experience. Just guide us through something, if you would be willing to.

JB: Yes, sure, with the understanding that to really uncover fundamental consciousness, it will take at least a longer exercise and practice over time. Okay, so sitting up—and you can be sitting either cross-legged or sitting up in a chair, but if you're sitting up in a chair, put your feet on the ground and feel your feet on the floor. Close your eyes. Focus on your breathing for a moment just to let you be present for a moment right where you are.

Bring your attention down to your feet so that you inhabit your feet, and that means feeling that you are internal space of your feet. And see what it's like to breathe while being in your feet. You may need to change the way you breathe. You might find that the inhale tends to lift you up out of your feet. See how you have to breathe to be able to stay in your feet.

Now feel that you're inside your whole body all at once. So that if we say that the body is the temple, then you are sitting inside the temple with nothing left out. Now find the same, outside of your body—the space in the room. So you're keeping your eyes closed and finding the space outside of your body.

Now see if you can feel that the space inside and outside your body is the same continuous space. You're inside your body but you're permeable. The space inside and outside is the same. And the breath is moving through the space without disturbing that stillness of that space inside and outside of your body.

Now slowly open your eyes and see if you can feel that you are inside your body, that you're inhabiting your whole body with your eyes open. So now although the world appears, you still have your own temple to sit inside, all the way down to your feet and including your head. Your whole body.

Find the space outside your body—the space in the room. And feel that the space inside and outside the body is the same continuous space. You're in your body, but you're pervaded by space. Feel that the space that pervades you also pervades everything around you—without leaving your body at all. So you actually don't have to move at all for that. You're settling into the space that seems to already be there, pervading you and everything around you.

OK, and relax.

TS: Judith, thank you so much. I know that I put you on the spot there to help us have a taste and I appreciate it. I appreciate your generosity and all the hard work you've done to bring forth something like the Realization Process. Thank you so much.

JB: Thank you, Tami.

TS: Judith Blackstone has created a new six-session audio learning course with Sounds True. It's called The Realization Process: A Step-By-Step Guide to Embodied Spiritual Awakening. And Sounds True is also publishing a new book with Judith called The Intimate Life: Awakening to the Spiritual Essence in Yourself and Others. Thanks so much everyone for listening.

SoundsTrue.com. Many voices, one journey.