Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Tim Birchard, Interview #212

Name:  Tim Birchard

Where you live: southwest Colorado, USA

What you do as a vocation or avocation?   Advisor for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math undergraduate students

Your two favorite books:  I AM THAT by Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj and To Have and Have Not by Ernest Hemingway

Your two favorite songs: 
"Now Is The Time"  from my album "Love Songs from Hafiz"  
"Rumor"  from my album "Dots and Dashes"  

Why you are interested in spirituality?  
I used to be afraid of ‘getting all spiritual’. After feeling like organized religion had let me down in so many ways, I began to equate ‘getting all spiritual’ with being tricked… with believing lies.
From then on, I wanted proof. I assumed that if I could perceive it with my physical senses, it must be true. Anything outside of the scope of concepts could not be proven; therefore, if I believed in something I could not see/hear/taste/smell/touch or conceptualize, I was going to end up playing the fool… believing lies… and suffering more.

Yet the truth is, I am not this physical body. I am not this mind (therefore, I am not mind-based ego). And as my friend Atreya Thomas says, there are only two things we can be afraid of: something concerning the ego, or something concerning the body. Since neither is my true self, believing them to be real is a mistake.
As it turns out, when I believe what I see/hear/taste/smell/touch/mentally conceive to be reality, I am believing a lie. I am mis-identifying with the transitory and imagining it to be permanent. The path to truth is to discard what is perceived via the physical senses. Reality is beyond thought. Not “irrational”… but “extra-rational”. Fear of ‘getting all spiritual’ is ego-based fear.

Atreya, you said it best: as long as I mistakenly believe the illusory self to be true, the risk of egoic paranoid thinking will continue to be extremely high. My fear of ‘getting all spiritual’ is, in itself, a painful symptom of believing a lie. The doorway out of this suffering is to recognize my true identity as The Absolute.
When I gently recognize ALL thoughts (including these) and perceptions as movement of the mind, then I can rest in the peace and freedom that is my birthright.
Your favorite quote:   
“Wisdom is knowing I am nothing,
Love is knowing I am everything,
and between the two my life moves.” 
― Nisargadatta Maharaj

Your favorite web sites: 

Your hero?  
I work with college students who come from low-income backgrounds, and/or have a disability, and/or are first-generation college students (neither parent had a bachelor's degree when the student reached age 18).
Every one of my students who struggles to succeed in college and in life is my hero.

A spiritual lesson you hope to learn? 
How to live daily life while resting in the perfection of the present moment without being carried away by the distractions of my own mind.

 A place in the world where you feel spiritually "connected?" 
Takamatsu City, Japan
The mountains of southwest Colorado
The Caribbean Sea
Anywhere I happen to be when I remember that disconnection is simply an illusion

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