Gregory David Roberts: Living the Spiritual Path, a Conversation

By Kevin Ruess

Photo Credit of Gregory David Roberts: Empathy Arts

I (Kevin) had the honor to talk to bestselling author Gregory David Roberts. You may know him from his captivating novel Shantaram, a book that sold over 6 million copies, which literally changed my entire viewpoint on life and helped me to understand what true generosity and living a well-lived life is all about. Some exciting news is that Apple TV + and Paramount TV are currently turning Shantaram and its sequel, The Mountain Shadow, into a TV series (currently in production).

It’s no secret that Gregory was at one time a wanted man in Australia, in fact at one time, he was Australia’s Most Wanted man, having served serious time in prison there. Yet Gregory transformed his entire life going on to become a critically acclaimed author, ethics consultant and a public speaker. What you might not know is that Gregory’s also a talented musician, releasing his debut album in 2020 called Love& Faith, which was recorded in Jamaica and features talented local musicians and singers.

In this interview, I got to talk about Gregory’s latest book, The Spiritual Path, which is a non-fiction book about Gregory’s experience with his spiritual practice over the course of 6 years while he lived off the grid. It’s clear that when Gregory decides to do something, he puts his whole heart and being into it. After reading the book, I could see that when Gregory decided to go off the grid and devote fully devote himself to the spiritual path, he was able to tap into a source of extraordinary wisdom that we as readers get to really benefit from.

One wonderful surprise that came out during our interview is that Gregory was not only familiar with Stoic philosophy, but found the core principles of Stoicism tremendously helpful during tough times, specifically while serving time.

You can learn more about Gregory David Roberts at his website.

Podcast transcript:

Kevin Marshall: [00:00:00] Well, I’m really excited to have the opportunity to speak to someone I’ve been an often that I’ve been a fan of for a long time. His name is Gregory David Roberts. And let me just say that I read his very notable book that many of you probably listeners have read and heard about at least named Sean Tarone.

I read it in 2012 and it’s interesting because I was, I had just sort of broken free from job I was unhappy with. I had decided to shift things in my life. I was on a plane towards Thailand and I had a coworker that had recommended this book to me, in fact, it was from the CEO of our company.

I remember we had a fairly cool CEO that was pretty hip to staff. And when I heard that he had read it. I was like okay. I mean, CEO has read it, I’ve got to read this. So I picked it up and I began reading and as I was starting my adventure to a new world, place I’d never been here. I am reading what I realized was a true adventure.

And that was the adventure Shawnta rom. It was unbelievable. And the, I guess all I can say is, as I arrived at a place like Thailand, which is pretty tame compared to a place like India, which my partner at the time had been to both. As I arrived to Thailand, I was at least able to get the feeling, the tactile feeling of the sensations as I was reading and be able to come see that in my own new experience, in this beautiful world of Southeast Asia.

And it made the book so much more delicious and enjoyable, and it really was filled with excitement, filled with. Emotions ups and downs. And so just to have the opportunity to actually meet the person who wrote that beautiful experience that had such an impact is such an honor. So thank you so much for joining me today, Greg.

Gregory David Roberts: Great. thank you very much. That was such a nice introduction. Very glad to be here.

I was happy to hear about your book and I want to get into that because there’s so many questions I have as I was reading it. It’s it’s the book is called the spiritual path. And the impression I got from it just to be honest was, and I’ve read a lot of spiritual things, 20 years plus of spiritual dabbling and meditation and stuff like that.

What I read as someone who’s certainly had a lot of exposure to different philosophies and stuff was, this was something new. This was something that was both. Particularly helpful for both a novice mind, but also for the advance, someone who’s a little more advanced on their spiritual path. And that was really impressive to me because in my experience, books are going one way or the another or the other, but this had a really nice balance of both.

And there’s nothing that I there’s always something that I was learning in each chapter that I was like, wow, I’ve never really thought about that. That’s really incredible. Some different perspective that I was really pleased to see. And yet at the same time, the kind of the way I looked at it was if you will, the reference that it felt like a little bit of a galaxy guide to the universe or whatever, or the Hitchhiker’s guide to the galaxy.

Sorry. It felt a little bit like that. Where if you didn’t really know what was going to, you’re going to meet with on this, on your own spiritual path, this book would give you what out, what to look out for. And what could happen and some basic premises and rules, just to keep in mind as you’re beginning your practice.

So I was really impressed by just so much going on in this book. So it’s a fantastic book. It’s coming out pretty soon. Is that right Greg?

Gregory David Roberts: [00:03:37] Yes, it’ll come out in paperback in September and it is out available now in ebook.

Kevin Marshall: [00:03:43] Oh, perfect. Okay, great. So folks who are listening can get that now. So we’re going to get into that. I’m excited, but I was talking to Gregory before we started you mentioned that you’ve had some dabbling and stoicism, which is what this podcast seemed to focus on. And as I was reading the book I noticed a few lines that I was really impressed with that were like, wow.

That’s if that’s not stoicism, I don’t know what it is. One that stood out to me. Was about I believe it, you may have mentioned it a little bit. There was like a price. There’s a price to pay in this life. And you just mentioned that now. And I’m wondering if you could if we could start there and talk about this price that we pay to be in this world and these bodies and what we’re getting bad, what we’re getting out of it that we sometimes don’t remember, like we’re getting a lot out of this life.

It’s a beautiful experience. And yet it can also be a very difficult one. And so in terms of your kind of experience with stoicism, what is that and what have you, what has it done that you’ve appreciated in terms of stoicism? How has it helped you? What things maybe, are you not so into.

Gregory David Roberts: [00:04:47] The experience the main experience for me of being a stoic in practice. Has really been a kind of logistical reaction to the new reality. If I found myself in a battle zone and there were people coming from a front, which was some distance away, and there were wounded and people with arms missing legs missing, there was people screaming and trucks full of stretchers.

And so on. You can go to pieces when you see that, or you can roll your sleeves up and get involved. And I was there and I got involved. There are in prison. For instance, there was a time in my life when I spent two years in solitary confinement. And the first year was anti stoic, so to speak because I did spend a lot of time of that first year in solitary, whinging and moaning about my bootlace cries to heaven and my terribly rootless state in this world.

And after the first year, it was literally the turning of the calendar into the first, the, and I thought that’s the first year down. And the new one started for my two years in solitary. When that second year began, I began that long process of looking inwardly and saying, wait a minute, every one, every source of pain and humiliation has always been a beast of my own creation.

It’s my responsibility. These things that have happened to me, these situations, I’ve no one to blame, but myself, I have to accept it. I have to recognize deep within myself that there is some floors that led me along this path, and I have to recognize that and deal with it. I can’t keep complaining and ranging and blaming the world.

And then I’m dealing with a tough circumstance here. The first year was hard. The second year in solitary is way harder. So I knew I’ve really got to tough this out and I have to do it in a way. The only way that made sense to me that could make sense of the experience was to turn it into a positive experience into, to start doing meditation by calling out through the door to the other men who were in terrible stress.

And so on. And from time to time going and offering relief. When the governor would ask me, will you go into a yard with a small grill window with with another prisoner on the other side, because they’ve tried to commit suicide twice and they won’t talk to us, but they will talk to you when you go there.

That is the kind of thing that gives me, gives you purpose and makes your life meaningful. We people talk about the meaning of life and of course its purpose that gives life meaning. It’s quite simple, really. We can search all day for the meaning of life, but it’s purpose. It gives life meaning. So those examples of having to become a stoic were things that I think those stoic virtues were applied.

Not so much the four Cardinal virtues, but the wide spread of stoicism is extremely helpful in dealing with adversity. And I think the whole world has had to become more stoic in dealing with this pandemic, which has been such a terrible tragedy. And at the same time, such an amazing transformation.

Kevin Marshall: [00:07:44] And there’s a line in there. I want to just read it out for listeners existence for us. It means the possibility of earthquakes, volcanoes, hurricanes, cyclones, tornadoes, tsunamis, and lots of other scary things. This is the way it must be when the divine perfection creates imperfection. And once again, it seems to be, it seems to me a fair bargain.

There’s another line that I’m just going to read, just because again, we’re on this topic of stoicism and some of the difficulties that life can bring personally speaking from personal experience, most of human suffering is a beast of our own creation. So there’s two sides of suffering, as you’ve just pointed out.

One can be the things that are out of our control that sort of happened to us like this pandemic the opposite of fortune dis fortune or unfortunate circumstances. And there’s a way of looking at that with gratitude. And then there’s the things that you’ve created in your own life.

And what is your thought on how to you, whether it’s stoicism or even some of the stuff you’ve actually been more, more recently involved in, on the spiritual path, how do you deal with both of those? How do you deal with things that are out of your control that are happening to you where you want the temptation to say, Oh, my, this is not fair.

This is not what I signed up for. I didn’t. Why do I deserve this? And then w how do you contract it? You said to the things that you are, that you have created that, and the guilt and shame that comes with some of those.

Gregory David Roberts: [00:09:15] I think they’re in a sense related, although they’re two quite separate subjects as you’d understand, the one is the second of the two has to do with how we heal the self, that there is a self within us. It’s the inner true self. It’s the self who is the self. The self is the voice.

The chest dies is the ego. The ego, when the ego messes up, the ego is a corrupt list that we put in the front of us to protect ourselves and to project ourselves. But that is only there to protect and project our selves. The self is inside that corruptness of ego. So dealing with in, on the spiritual path itself, there are things that are necessary in the material world, qualities of life and so on, such as a measure of vanity, a measure of pride to get through life in this world.

But those things are not required across the threshold, into the devoted spiritual. You don’t need vanity and you don’t need pride. So they remain on the side for me like pet tame dogs. The one is on that side. Note stay. That’s good. Now pride. I know you want to come, but stay over there. You want to lead the way, but stay, you’re not required this.

Go in to that spiritual space, offer your devotion as innocently as you can with that, which means in one way, without any kind of trace of malice in your heart. And secondly, with no trace of asking. Just giving, giving, and then come back and say, okay, let’s go. And they come back again. The vanity and the pride, the measure of those that are required to get to that point on the spiritual part within the material world.

We also need to deal with the cause and effect relationship. That’s been part of the pattern of our life. We need to go into ourselves, we need to do housecleaning. We need to accept responsibility for the things that we’ve done. We need wherever that is completely true. We need to do that and own up to it because there’s no way to reshape the future then without that step.

So in a sense, the DNA we’re born with the place we’re born, the family we’re born into the time. That’s the gender, the gen, whatever it is, this is fate. And it’s a package that comes to us. If fate deals a set of cards, your destiny is how you play that set of cards. And no matter what sort of cards you get at the get-go, you still have the capacity to play that hand and to play it into whatever direction you want.

If you take control of yourself, is it the once again, going back to the Stoics and in a sense, this know yourself, rule yourself, be yourself this way too. Firstly, the first step is know yourself, go deep inside and except to go through the steps of shame and guilt and remorse because they’re necessary.

You don’t need to carry those on your back for the rest of your life. But if you don’t go through that, you have not ex accepted truly the responsibility for what you’ve done. So cleaning house inside in this material world, which is a psychological sociological housecleaning, that’s a parallel to that kind of spiritual cleaning.

You need to go into a devotional space. So firstly, there’s the self. Behind the ego and working on the self and there’s so much help out there. So many good, so much good advice. And really all we need to do is to step outside the wall of the ego and ask for that help and reach across. And nine times out of 10 will get it.

If it’s helped, that’s going to help us to move in a better direction. As a person, nine times out of 10, we’ll get all we need better company. If you don’t have it, that’s also possible in but so there’s that. And when it comes to accepting things that are very difficult there was a recasting of the desert erotic that said I don’t want to accept the things I cannot change.

I want to change the things I cannot accept. And it struck me at the time. I think that both things are required. There’s a level of indignation and injustice that is deep within us as human beings. It’s very old, much older than our. Small mega civilization of 20,000 years. Since we domesticated ourselves for 250,000 years, we were gatherer hunters and our virtues were founded in that crucible of experience of fairness, of cooperation of justice.

In that ancient world. There are no massacres we’ve dug and dug, and we haven’t found one know she might find the occasional person with an arrow Arrowhead in their shoulder or something and ice men, but going all the way back. None it’s when we domesticated ourselves and stayed in one place.

And the first person said this piece of land is mine. It belongs to me. Instead of I belong to the land. The land belongs to me on that day. When the first of our kind said that we domesticated ourselves on the twenty-five thousand years ago small time, 10% of our history. And in that time, everything changed.

But before that, there is a formative crucible of cooperation, trust, loyalty, courage, love for one another. That’s the founding of the true nature of our human nature.

Kevin Marshall: [00:14:22] Wow. There’s so much so much there. That’s beautiful. That’s beautiful. Thank you. And there’s there’s something that you said that kind of reminded me of one of reminded me of something in your book. When calamity strikes the two spiritual questions still apply. Am I worthy of this crisis? Can I rise to it with courage.

I was blown away by this statement because nobody asks a question like that. I wish that I wish we did more. And this is a, this is an inspiration to start thinking about how do we reframe situations that come up in our lives. Could you talk about how you came to that and and what did that mean to you when you say, am I worthy of this situation?

Gregory David Roberts: [00:15:05] in the course of giving myself to, in devotion of trying this, of being a rational, skeptical person, my entire life, and a rational philosopher and a semantic philosopher,  studying every faith , every  religion I could, every time I heard of the Holy person, I would go there and sit at their feet and listen.

And I did this for decades and decades, and finally found the teacher who helped me to cut through the miasma of confusing myth, belief, and true lived experience. So once I found that I decided after some years of study with that teacher to retire from, the public life and the social sphere and really get into it deeply.

And so for nearly six years, I went off the grid completely and didn’t go anywhere and went through that first process of tardy myself up and feeling that I was ready to go in to the, to this experience, to in other words, be worthy of it. And willingness is a necessary step. So spiritual readiness. So I went through that and in the process, these two questions came up.

They just emerged. They erupted from the experience and they branded themselves on may in a way that forced me to give emphasis to them in this book. Just a little bit, the first question, the two spiritual questions, it seems to me, am I worthy? And secondly, how much giving is in my intention? In the book.

I tried to explain what intention means to me as a spiritual concept, but that first 1:00 AM I worthy, I think in any endeavor in anything that we face in, anything that we look at rather than say, Oh, I’m grateful. We constantly get gratitude. And frankly, I’ve been chained to a wall and tortured on three continents.

I don’t think that I should necessarily be grateful for that experience. I should be grateful that I don’t put myself in such a situation ever again, but I think gratitude has its place, but this constant wake up five grateful things. I understand that and I can understand the reassurance of it, but for me it’s not.

Am I great? I’m so grateful for this day. It’s am I worthy of this day? Am I ready as my mind clean is my heart claim is my pocket in good condition. If I looked after the people who depend upon me and so on, am I fulfilling my duties? I’m worthy of this day and I’m ready to give my devotion to those around me and to the divine rather than wake up and say, I’m grateful for every day.

Of course I’m grateful for every day because of my age, but at each other, at my age, I was grateful, but I think there’s something beyond gratitude and that’s willingness. And I applied it to everything in my life at the moment, no matter what happens, a new musical project I ask myself, am I worthy of the musicians?

Is this project that I’ve written this new song? Is it worthy of these people? They’re good professional singers. They’re beautiful. Young Jamaican, challenging people. It’s my project where they have them, if and how much giving is in my intention is this all about me, and me, or is this part of it?

What I can give to them, what they can give to me and a giving exchange. Those two questions helped me in this material world, as much as they do in the spiritual.

Kevin Marshall: [00:18:31] Give for that. That is such a, you’ve just taken my concept of being appreciative of maybe the opportunity for going through something challenging to a different level, with the distinction between gratitude and worthiness. And I feel like you’re on to the true core, you think about stoicism, for instance, there’s a lot of that aspects of, I think what you’re talking about in terms of challenges that arise.

I think you’re onto the true, maybe. Original meeting that I think maybe has been misinterpreted over thousands of years. Maybe we now call it more gratitude, but the truth is it’s not sign that we look up and look forward to, but it’s something that we know we must do sometimes because there it is, there is it’s right in front of us.

And if it’s in front of us, this must be the call to go through what we need to go through. So thank you for that insight. And also I noticed, as you were speaking, you alluded to a sense of humility with every situation and every person you encounter, there’s that decision or that there’s that inner asking of, am I, what can I give, what can I, how can I serve?

How can I what am I offering forward? Not just, what am I going to get back? And so in the end of your book, you talk about humility being such a big teaching for you. Can you discuss what humility has meant to you and what has come to mean?

Gregory David Roberts: [00:19:52] Yes. I’ve found a lot of humility in strange places. People may be surprised to know that the toughest and hardest gangsters in prison are very humble. They don’t flaunt that toughness and hardness, and they don’t flaunt the respect. That was very hard. One that they have from everybody there they’re not respected because they’re bullies or thugs.

They’re respected because they stood up over the years, they kept their mouth shut. According to the code, they never believed anyone weaker than them. If they ever thought someone, it was someone their own measure or stronger, they didn’t kill anyone in that fight. If they beat them, they said enough and they didn’t go on until that person was dead and they have, they would not allow or tolerate bullying around them.

Of the weaker in younger men, it’s not allowed in such an environment using weaker in that sense that they were probably smarter men who didn’t want to particularly fight, but and those there’s among them. There is a humility that is striking. I’ve met it in the leaders of slum communities who have enormous influence.

They can lead. Twenty-five thousand people out onto the street if they want to and stop the city. But so they have that much authority, but they have no weapons. They have nothing else. And it’s all through the dignity of their inner self that people look up to and respect and there, and I’ve seen within them and astonishing humility.

I’ve seen so much humidity among serving soldiers and police officers. I’ve met a lot of police officers and many people find it strange for me to say, given my record of 10 years in prison and 10 years being hunted by police officers that I’ve met so many who are truly humble people. And I think it’s because they get to see every window of life.

They get to look into every window. If that. Had that good fortune nurses and other group and teachers if people are first responders everywhere, I’ve had the opportunity and I’ve had in my life, the terrific honor to meet many people across, basically what is a first line of interaction with the, with society and sometimes abrasive sometimes in full service, but that I’ve found that everywhere across that spectrum.

And basically I think we are humble in our true nature. We don’t need to be boastful. We don’t need to be arrogant. And so on in our natural risking happy state, most of us are relatively humble. What happens is that the ego gets involved and it gets all sorts of agitation about things. And if that starts to take control, then you know, you’re in a difficult position and everything in life seems to fall.

Generally speaking, of course, this is largely bigger than this, but it seems to fall between fear and desire. And finding that midpoint between fear and desire, where a reasonable fear, it’s there to warn you because you just heard of a bed grounding animal, very close to you, and that’s scary. It’s meant to scare you.

But unreasonable fear, like the fear that, what is someone thinking about me or what? This is a not a reasonable fear put there for that reason. Fear was put there to water. It’s a friend who’s supposed to warn us, not the enemy who’s supposed to agitate us all the time and then desire. If we succumb to desire, we lose ourselves in that.

So a balance between valid desires that are good for us and good for the world and valid fears to protect us and protect others. A balance between those is a balanced person and that’s where we need when we need to find ourselves. I just want to say one quick thing about stoicism to one. What are the aspects of stoicism is self reliance and resilient.

Building the strength within yourself to encounter the next great difficulty because inevitably there will be one. So resilience is something we, we have. I think we’ve let it get lost a bit in the wash building the inner strength and the resilience to deal with just about anything that goes through, they used to be a kind of strange way to do it, which was the military cadets or, going out into the wilderness in a group and making huts or tents and things, but really it isn’t about that.

It’s actually about something else, of course. And that’s the kind of thing building inner self-confidence inner self reserve. Faith is what it comes down to faith in ourselves, faith in those around us, our cherished loved ones whom we love and trust faith in them, faith in ourselves, and giving us faith in the divine.

If you believe in the divine. And faith in this wider community that you slowly start to build outwards from that strength and resilience within yourself.

Kevin Marshall: [00:24:32] That’s wonderful. Yeah, I love that. And, you spoke about this balance, which I think I, I really enjoyed in the book in the material reality, most things gravitate between fear and desire. I really loved your point about too much. Again, as you mentioned too much fear can lead to too much timidity, but you also said two-ish desire, leads to obsession and too little desire leads to apathy.

As we were setting this call up I heard that you’re doing recording, and then you mentioned just now you’re doing a new album or some music recording. You’ve done books over the years. You’ve done various projects. And in terms of how you balance this in your own life, how do you desire to put something out there?

How do you desire to get involved in project? Maybe create something beautiful, but not let that desire. Runaway and take off, find that balance so that you still have the desire to get up? Because there are folks that can, once they say, Oh, desire is a problem. Desire is the enemy.

Let me just sit here and close my eyes and never do anything again on the outside world. Isn’t real. Let me forget about it and let it just be here now. How do you find that balance of, because I think you’ve really created, you really pointed to something very beautiful, which just how to actually take some of the spiritual aspect of yourself, but also blended in with the reality of this material world we’re living in.

Gregory David Roberts: [00:25:52] I think you just hit it there, there are two, two aspects to this in a way, but the first is experience and overtime because when you first start out, especially if you’re young, the end result and the way that it affects people and whether they like it or not is hugely important and it should be important to you, but the more you do it and the longer you do it, the more it becomes where and that’s a point of having faith in yourself, which has been validated by readers who say, we like what you’re doing that.

When you get to that point of faith in yourself you are not so much concerned with the end result. You’re more concerned with the exaltation in it, in creating it in writing it or composing the music and playing the music in that the exaltation is there rather than in how did someone receive it?

Did they like it? Did they not that over time and it takes time, but at first while that jumps in, enjoy it, the end result is so important when you first start. The other side of it is the spiritual side, where if you can, if it’s, if you’re constant, whatever your concept of the spiritual is, it may be the universe.

It may be nature. It may be a concept of the divine, whatever it is. If you devote at least a part of what you’re doing to the divine and say part of this is for you. I hope you enjoy it. You’re beyond wanting. You’re beyond meeting. You created all that stuff. You don’t want. You don’t need your, the divine you’re beyond that, but you made a universe in which I’m free.

I have free will and you can’t stop me even if you want to, because you made a university in which I’m free. So I freely give this to you. I offer you this project, this book, this new song, and a small part. Please note a small part is for you. And if you like it, terrific, if you don’t, I’ll do better next time, but I’ll never stop offering it to you.

And as long as the component is the projects to save to start with the project has to be worthy of that 10% component that’s offered to the divide or to the nature or to the spiritual. It has to be worthy of that. So if you’re doing something about people killing each other violently and celebrating that, or whatever it is that is not commensurate.

So that in itself, having to add that 10% will Sarah help you to compose a project that’s commensurate with the spiritual is worthy of that to say, yes, this is where the in every way, I’m trying my absolute best. And I think it’s very innocent, very pure and very positive. I think it will offer some kind of comfort in fact, in constellation.

And it may also offer some inspiration never to give up. And that’s the main thing never, ever give up. I’ve been through some mad stuff in my life. I tell you, and they’ve been so many times when I was that close to giving up. I was so lucky. I had an angel stepped in every time. This one time it was an angel, had no legs and a little trolley coming on the road with ball-bearing wheels.

At two o’clock in the morning, he looked at me and said, you’re in trouble. And he knew me very well and saved my life that night, but I’ve been so close and I have never enjoyed my life more than I do right at this moment. I can tell you that moment when you feel that your life is not worth living and you think you might want to end your life.

That is not you saying that’s another person created by the ego. And if you wait two years, the person who is you is going to say. Whew. I’m so glad my ego didn’t succeed that day because that isn’t you, if you walked up to it, can you walk up to a stranger at a bus stop and shoot that stranger? No.

That’s exactly what happens with suicide. You’re walking up to a stranger and saying, I’m going to end your life. And that stranger has no power to stop you. So don’t do that. Never give up, never, ever give up

Kevin Marshall: [00:29:28] Thank you. Thank you for that. That’s so much when I read the book, it talked about the six years that you spent, and we just spoke about some of the incredible projects that you’ve done, some of the work you put out there. What was it for you that began this path into that abyss into that?

Getting off the grid if you will. And yeah. What was it that triggered that for you in your life?

Gregory David Roberts: [00:29:53] true. More of a more of a peak than an obese, but and I’m a long, hard climate was. Of course with anything in life, it’s a coalescence of many different threads that all come together at the same time. And including the finding of your soulmate and the connection with your soulmate, the finding of your spiritual teacher the changes within your life that you are looking starting to look back at what you’re doing and thinking, this is not where I am and what I knew I really want to do.

And when I need to do, it’s a coalescence of many threads that are all happening in our lives at the same time. And I think they coalesce, they come together and then they spread apart. Then they come back together. And if you’re fortunate at that moment, when all those threads come together, you’re there at the right moment to take the opportunity and great part.

It’s having the right soulmate, who understands what you’re doing and supports you, even though that person is not interested in doing the same thing you do, like blowing a shell. They in great part, of course, it’s the spiritual teacher. And this alludes to something you said, right? At the very beginning, my teacher constantly says, when people are talking with him, he says, please don’t tell me what you’ve read.

Tell me what you’ve experienced. I want to know what you’ve experienced. I don’t I’ve read everything. I don’t want to know what you’ve read. I want to know what you’ve experienced. And he never quote scripture. If someone asks a question of scripture related to Sanskrit or something like this, he will give a definitive answer, but he himself in his teachings always goes back to the root of his personal experience.

And if the relationship to the mother of all things, this was the catalytic event meeting this teacher. And of course, such a teacher is not for everybody. I walked into his temple. There were 14 dogs, 15 cats five big fish in a huge tank, three parrots, a snake around his neck. It was smoking a chillum.

And Jimmy Hendrix was blaring out of enormous speakers in the town. And that was my first meeting with him. And he said, welcome. Welcome. So finding the right teacher is critically important, but also once again, one of those threads was that my parents, it just suddenly happened when I went off the grid.

After the first two years, my parents were dying. So we started looking after them very intensely, and that, that was a perfect companion to their life. I was living off the grid. I had no appointments. I could give all of my attention to my mother and my father. And that was that became a significant part of the spiritual journey itself, culminating and taking their ashes back to India as they had desired and having them, the Merced in the Holy river for a nine days and nine nights of ceremonies so that they could achieve liberation.

All those threads are coming together. And I think in our lives, the same thing’s happening for all of us all the time. There’s a kind of tendency field that’s happening around us. And we sometimes are so blocked by our obligations, our duties, our busy day, that we’re not really receiving that node message.

That’s saying there’s a note in front of you. There’s a node in front of you. If you take this opportunity, your whole life is going to change. But I think that never give up if people think I missed that opportunity in my life, because I think those nodes keep coming forever. I think we’re in the node.

The node is not in us. If

Kevin Marshall: [00:33:15] Wow. So powerful. You described your teacher, meaning your teacher and thank you for that beautiful imagery of have that in our minds. And if you’ve been around a, as you mentioned, been around the world, actually you speak in the book about someone who had a gold watch and save a and what do witnessing in your maybe previous years you saw incidents of, foreigners coming and.

Showing up at a temple and then happily giving away their values, their gold watches, and then being, having them being resold by various places. Didn’t see, you’ve seen some of the intricacies of that kind of world. There are certainly, as you mentioned in the book, folks, that claim to be great teachers and that can help you get to, wherever you think you should be or whether they’re going to promise to that, you gotta be careful of.

And then there are those who are legitimately the real deal. How do you suggest that people find a teacher? Obviously there’s a sense, as you mentioned the book of when you’re ready, the teacher will appear, but is there anything to watch out for? Is there anything that can help you decide?

This is a person of integrity versus this is what I should be a little careful of.

Gregory David Roberts: [00:34:27] yes. Of course the first thing is money. How do they make them money? Because there is such a thing, unfortunately, as a spiritual industry. So the first thing is follow the money. And if they’re, if the person is taking money off people, that’s probably part of, a business of some kind it’s a spiritual industry and probably better than, making guns.

No doubt about it,

Kevin Marshall: [00:34:49] Very true

Gregory David Roberts: [00:34:50] but not that not necessarily the path that you’re going to find to wisdom. What I look for is authenticity. Once you’ve done your due diligence, so to speak about the person, to a certain extent, I look for authenticity and I look for originality in the message. If I’ve heard most of the messages before, because I’ve been at the feet of many teachers, and they’re mostly iterating and reiterating the great teachings from the Bhagavad Gita and from many other sources

And from this even dipping into things like Zehnder, Vesta, and so on all sorts of different resources that you’ll hear from. So I look for authenticity, originality sincerity in that person. I look for sincerity. And also I look for, if there’s such a thing that you can identify wisdom, the kind of make the thing that makes me pull out my notebook and say, please, excuse me, can I write that down?

What you just said, please, I don’t want to be impolite. Can I just write down what you just said? Oh wow. That just, you just blew my mind. That kind of wisdom. And I found all of those qualities in my teacher, but that’s what I look for. And, in, in his devotional practice, he’s the most authentic tantric I have ever seen in my life.

He is sincere to the point where it’s, he w it is part of his DNA. It’s just how he is. He is original. There is not an as, you’ll never hear another person store to every thought that comes from him, his original teachings and very simple. And he’s very direct someone, a great teacher came and challenged him with a question.

He said, sure, come. And the teacher came and said, what does God look like? And he said, it’s shot back. Is your mother living?

Kevin Marshall: [00:36:34] So that’s very, I think that’s really helpful because, there’s, I’ve been fortunate enough to have been exposed to what I would consider people who were truly, as you’re describing authentically connected to the divine versus those who are very knowledgeable about the divine, such different worlds there.

And as you were mentioning earlier don’t tell me what, tell me what you’ve experienced. You can know a lot, you can, keep your library of knowledge about different spirituality and think that’s going to somehow make a big difference in terms of transformation or living in the path.

But that hasn’t been my experience as well. It’s just been about really direct experience without sometimes it’s about unlearning some of that knowledge. When we when we talk about. Seva. Could you describe that for the listener? And that was a term that I hadn’t really come across too much before.

What does that mean? It’s it sounds, it’s not so much of a thing as a verb, almost as an act, an activity or an action. What does it mean?

Gregory David Roberts: [00:37:32] It means service, humble service in devotion that is done at a temple, the church, whatever, and any Holy ground, any Holy place, a cemetery. So when tidying and cleaning and looking after a cemetery is say about because it’s a sacred space of sacred ground server is a humble service. For example, someone might come to the temple when I was there.

And when I first started there and they’d say first started going and they might say, I thought I saw Greg’s motorbike outside. Where does he? And they’d say, Oh, he’s doing seva and they’d know, Oh, he’s cleaning something or scrubbing something or folding something, packing something up, doing some humble service at the temple that no one asks you to do.

You can offer. And you say, is there something that I can do? And they go, yes. And they will not come and say, you should do this. Or you should do that. They’ll go, yes. And many hands make light work. You can do this. Or you can do that. That’s saver. And I used to ridicule this process because I’d been to many temples.

And as you mentioned, I was a black market dealer. And I used to buy the gold that people very happily gave to the temple in devotion, not buy it back from the monks, like market prices. And so I was very skeptical until I did it. And then once I actually found the teacher there, it just occurred to me to do this.

Just tidy up a little corner that wasn’t so clean in the temple, it developed into full-blown service. So I we’ve got to clean the holiest of Holy places within it and so on. And people may say, yeah, gee, you got to clean something. And it sounds weird in a way, but this, you, if people have read the spiritual part, they’ll see, this was quite a thing.

It was very significant to be able to do this. And they would say why, but just that service that instinctive service of something that you feel is not only greater than yourself, but perhaps higher than yourself, in a sense it’s connected to something higher than yourself. The person is just a human being.

We’re all just human beings, but they, the person, the part of the person that’s connected to something is not a human being. That’s beyond the difference. You’re going back to one thing you mentioned before between the spiritual, the child is that, and they’ll call has a sort of, as a bad rep. And they’re all sorts of people who give the local a bad name.

They’re the differences. The spiritual is knowing it. And the occult is doing it when you cross over from no, you may know. And many people do. There are many people with spiritual books out there who are terrific because their knowledge is so deep and they are passing on. They’re doing exactly what they’re supposed to do.

They’re passing on the best of the knowledge from the best of the religious decks, but they’re not, tantrics, they’re not meant to go onto the other side of the line and become an active physical practitioner. To give an example. There may be many in the clergy who sit and watch the mass in a Catholic mess.

There may be many who offered to serve in a new server at the church and help in some way. And they may even be ultimate boys. Also girls, people who are on the alter, helping and serving right there next to the priest, but they are all in the spiritual. The person who crossed over into the occult is the priest.

Who then spiritually transforms bread and wine into flesh and blood in a process, they call transubstantiation. This is your couch. It’s stepping across. And not just knowing that you might do something like this, but doing it. And a priest does it every day of their life, wherever they are. So that, and that’s tantric that stepping across onto the UCOP side of actually putting into practice, the spiritual knowledge that you’ve gained from many sources and many great teachers, like the Deepak Chopra’s and the aircard toddlers.

And so on, those spent decades digging and finding the tidbits, the jewels that everyone needs to know from all of these terrific books and great secret great texts. So that information can give you a very rich background spiritually. But to step across into the school, the uncles to step across into the tantric world of actually doing something like blowing a shell or performing and ceremony.

That’s the other side of it. And that’s not for everybody. It’s usually in the churches. Usually one we’ll do for the whole congregation.

Kevin Marshall: [00:41:37] Thank you for that. That’s the first time I’ve heard the cult used in that way and I’m not going to be an ecstasy. So just I’m an expert in that terminology or the history of that. But that really, so that’s one of those examples for the listeners who are just listening to this. This is the kind of stuff that I found throughout the book is you go through, you’re going to get, again this snapshot of if you’ve never done meditation before, you’re going to get some insight into that.

But then what I was pleasantly surprised was getting these gems of wow, that’s something that you don’t find in most books that insight, and also that blending of your blending, this beautiful Catholicism that you grew up in as an alter boy. And you’re talking about. The mother, Mary, and your connection to her as a female deity with a female deity, is that, that you made, you’re the female DJ that you began to devote, become a devoted to which is Mark.

Can you describe that, that experience in your relationship with mom? Because I thought that was absolutely fascinating, especially when you re when you explained what she represents and the reason that sometimes she’s not a popular, if you will, quote, unquote popular choice for folks to devote to become a devote T to.

Gregory David Roberts: [00:42:52] fair enough. Yes. Ma Mark Holly is not for everyone and that’s why there are relatively very few temples. And very few diverters who are personal director voters of Mark Harley. The reason is that most of the other gods in the Hindu panty and are very forgiving. You, if you give devotion light some incense and ring some bells and change your mantras and sincerely say, I love you and do your thing, then go out and cheat somebody and come back and give your incense.

And so on the day he will forgive you and to keep forgiving you. And they’re very forgiving and so on, but ma is not, she will say, excuse me, why did you come to me? There’s so many of it there, you can go to them and they’ll forgive you every day. But I don’t. How about, you’d like some fire because I’m, the gun is a fire.

How would you like some, some chopping I’m the goddess of the chopper? How would you like to think? She’s and her motto is if you can’t do it, tell me you’re defeated and leave. Which is a great challenge for someone like me, but so very few go to her because she’s not forgiving. So you have to, and everyone knows this in India.

So whether it’s true or not in and factually true in this quantifiable physical universe is it another matter? The fact is many people believe it and very few people go to mind. And that’s what I love about her. She is she requires that you have to squeeze out the last little bit of negativity and selfishness and malice and whatever it is and the last little dirty bit that you just got to squeeze that up before you go there.

And that’s a tough process, but fortunately I’d had a lot of experience along the way, but just to say this at the start, sorry, I should have said it, but at the start of this sort of point, I threw my life into the gutter. I had every opportunity. I went to up to unit to university. I was an honor student.

I had a scholarship to do anything I wanted. I had brilliant marks everything in front of me. I threw my life in the gutter. When I went to prison, I met men who had spent almost all of their childhood in prisons, boys homes, presence, then teenage home offender, prisons, then young adult prisons, and then add up prison.

They’d had no opportunities and they still managed to make a life and be, and do whatever they did. I threw that away. And when you, when that happens and you fully recognize it and I put my life in that gutter right there from that point on all you can see when you look up is the heels of other people’s shoes.

If you’re not, you’re look down on anyone. It’s just, if you’re honest about yourself, you say man, Every single person knew me, nobody messed up like this. You can’t look. So it just that’s wheezes the judgmentalism out of you, solitary confinement, squeezes the ego out of you in that sense that nobody to impress, you’re there completely, it’s only you.

And you might try to impress yourself for a year by moaning and ranging. But in that second year, and it just gets tedious and there’s no one to impress and the self has to express itself for the first time. And it has a big breath. Oh, thank God. The ego stepped aside and I can actually think about what I’ve done, why I did it and how I can stop doing it in the future.

Kevin Marshall: [00:46:21] Oh, wow. So much comes up for me there it’s I can see it now and when I read it and I haven’t read Shantaram and knowing that some of that. Especially the earlier stuff was stuff you’d been through. And you’ve been, you’re very open about that. When you described your relationship to mod, it was, it clicked.

I was like, this is, this makes sense. Somehow I remember having a, just the silly example. You can have a teacher, I remember having a teacher two teachers for the same year and one was super easy and would give you a pass every time you wanted one. And the other one held you to the hell fire.

And amazingly enough, at the end of the year, although we were terrified of the strict teacher, that’s the one who we learned for the most. So what I remember and this one, I still actually love more. So is when I read that description of mine, I could see that she’s not going to let you get away with anything.

She’s going to hold you that, hold you to your word and pull out the best from you. That’s possible potential of who you are. So that really was incredible. And so thank you for sharing that There’s something about in here there’s just so many good stuff. I want to just try to get to do some of it, but there’s an aspect of renunciation.

We were talking a little bit earlier about desire and being going too far, and I was intrigued by the notion of renunciation, especially with regard to motorcycles. Cause you mentioned at one point that you, one of the decisions you made was to renounce your relationship with motorcycles. And could you talk a little bit about that and how that came to be and what that was like with something that you felt so passionate about?

Gregory David Roberts: [00:47:52] Pendants, the heart of pedants is sacrifice and penance is the essence of tantric devotion. The understanding of it. And so sacrifice, say, which comes from sacred, doing sacrifice means Sarah, in this way, see it, the spiritual terms are combined surrender submission and sacrifice renunciation.

They’ve been buying together and bend together in the same way. So it’s not a requirement. Nobody needs to do this, but it is a traditional step that if someone is about to step on the path, especially if they’re going to give their devotion to a very exacting Dadee, like Mark Ali, then they are, they can renounce something they love as a sacrifice.

That sacrifice is an us first pledge and step on the path of continuing sacrifice of continuing development of your benefits. And then continuing devotion. So it is so to speak your payment. Where’s your investment right here that you’re getting involved in. All right, here it is. And you’ve got to put something up, we put up or shut up.

So in a sense you do that. And for me, the thing that’s been a constant in my life since I was like 58 years old with motorcycles, no matter what country I was in. And I think it was the first week when we got out of prison, that I was on a bike in the dirt where I didn’t have to do it with a license because it was coming out of prison.

You don’t have a license, but I I loved motorcycles so much though. I say love. I didn’t love them. I, but I was devoted to them. I wrote them created and built and designed them and on and had different models from many different makes I love lived in great motorcycles. There was always one in my house, in pieces, in every house that I lived in an ongoing project.

By the time I left that house by consensus. That kind of thing. And it was so much a part of my life and so much a part of the identification with me, because so many of the things around me were motorcycle paraphernalia that people had given me because I’m a bike guy. They knew, I wrote Harleys as my thing.

I was on and off Holly’s and triumphs all the time that we went to Maine bikes. So if this, and then of course the bullet in India, an Enfield of India, the bullet is unbeatable in India. So checking all this out, I just looked at it of all the things that I have around me that I could renounce that.

I really do like very much, and that makes sense to renounce, not only at this time in my life anyway. And so is motorcycles. So I give them up and I won’t write anything with two wheels around it every year. And then that’s it. So that’s the, it’s basically the down payment that you make. It’s a pledge of good faith.

It’s the first step in what will be continuing steps and sacrifice because it’s not going to get easier. It’s going to get harder as you go along. You may reach a point where it’s very difficult to keep them. Would you do that? You must keep going and say, this is your downpayment. And that’s what the negotiation is about.

And it toughens you up. It just strengthened you in tough, the spiritual traveler up to the park because yeah, straying from the path is so easy and it doesn’t mean straying as, Oh, I did it something wrong. It’s being distracted, from the path not becoming a wicked person. It’s not that it’s being distracted from your path in the world is basically one gigantic distraction.

Kevin Marshall: [00:51:14] Wow. That’s great. So then, and when we’re talking about some of the spiritual trends in our, let’s say modern spirituality, and some of the things that are catching on these days, one of them is not that one of them, you very rarely you’ll hear all the good, all the goodies that you get. On the spiritual path and most books these days, but rarely do they talk about what things you might want to renunciate in fact, that word is rarely I rarely run across that.

And this is again, are these things that I was like, this is fantastic. This is such a, something fresh that I feel like our spiritual Zeit guys really needs right now is a perspective back to some of the basics that are thousands of years old, these traditions, that we’ve taken all the fun stuff, and we promise the world, but we’re not always willing to see what’s the down payment.

And so thank you for bringing that out into our consciousness again in a few more questions, cause I know we have to wrap up soon, but I was intrigued also with your discussion about logic and the rational mind. So especially someone who’s appreciative of the stoic philosophy being, being from some of those roots of.

rationality and logic. You have an interesting relationship throughout the path and throughout the book at the beginning, you use it to basically pass the test to like, is this worth going into, is it, can I can I assume, for a moment that I’ll take the atheist perspective and still prove to myself that this is a worthwhile endeavor to explore and seek, and then near the end, you have an experience where you will you talk about passing out and waking up to really, it just completely disoriented States. And one of the few things that they’re one of the few reliable companions, if you will, as logic, can you talk about your overall experience with logic and what are the things that’s been good and bad? I go so pro and con on on this path for you.

Gregory David Roberts: [00:53:05] Firstly, it helped me to, I’m that kind of person, but it helped me to have some kind of intellectual structure that made sense about what I was doing. If I wanted to talk about God, I had to use the word or the divine, I had to have some kind of idea of what that meant. There were terms that I needed to define to look at.

I needed a kind of way of thinking about what I was doing that made sense. It was clear to me from the research I’ve done in physics that the atheist position makes no sense because if even one thing in the universe has both metaphysical and physical properties, then it makes no sense to deny the metaphysical altogether.

And as it turns out, a photon of light has those characteristics. Has both physical characteristics, you can hold up a mirror and photons of light will bounce off it and go in a different direction. But it also has metaphysical characteristics that are beyond the physical. It does not weigh anything.

It has no mass and even a neutrino has mass. It does not take up any volume, any space because it has no volume that dimension has collapsed to zero. It is not possible for a three-dimensional object to achieve the speed of light. So it’s, isn’t there in the sense that everything else is, it weighs nothing.

It doesn’t matter think of any space. And it is from a certain perspective because it’s traveling at the speed of light outside the flow of time as we know it. So yeah, not only that, but if you pair up to. Photons of light and charge them equally and then separate them by vast distances and change the polarity of one of the many other world change episode moment, which is what Einstein called spooky action at a distance.

These are not physical properties. These are metaphysical properties and light has both physical and metaphysical properties. The only difference here is that most physicists will not fall those strange non-physical properties metaphysical for me, they are. And I think for most reasonable people they are.

And if anything is escaped from the logic box of the atheistic rigidity, then th that excludes the metaphysical it’s not. And if one thing in this universe has some metaphysical properties, it makes no sense to deny the metaphysical altogether. It makes most sense to say, I can see that, but that’s not enough to make me believe in something I’m very skeptical.

Still. That the atheist position doesn’t make my sense. So I needed that kind of thought process, thinking things through that helped me to do this, to take the leap of faith and say, I acknowledge you as arrogant as that sounds, but it’s required because we have free will. If we were not free, we’d all be acknowledging all the time.

We’d be fully acknowledged and the divine would be fully acknowledged, but this universe has been created for whatever reason is has created creatures that are free to acknowledge or not choose during knowledge or not. And it’s required because of freewill. I must do it otherwise. I’m a robot.

So I make that acknowledgement. And in doing that for a rational thinker, it’s a very big thing. Big step. It’s a leap of faith jumping across and say, okay, I acknowledge you. I surrender the negative in myself. That’s not required to be devoted to you. And I become devoted. I’ll make myself ready and I’m going to become devoted to take those steps, which I knew were the necessary steps.

I first needed a logic framework that allowed me to do it with full sincerity and not feel like a phony or.

Kevin Marshall: [00:56:57] Yes. I see that. Thank you. That makes And it’s interesting because I in part of my past spiritual endeavors, I was called the Toltec. And in there they talk about being light everything in the universe truly being made of light. And when you, when I read that part of your book, it, it really clicked for me like this is that this is this incredible dimension of life that balances here is before maybe between the unmanifest and the manifest as the potential on the manifest.

So I really appreciated that pointing to that aspect of light. It was something that I haven’t heard about before. So just really enjoying that stuff. Rubber Greg, I’m just gonna stop one second. Cause I am feeling, I am hearing a bit of a noise static coming through. I don’t know if you’re hearing that as well. Okay. we’ll hope that Oh, that’s better. Whatever you did just now is better. Okay. We reduced something there that’s was wanting to No, not at all. Thought we’d just to see. So have, let’s see real quick and I’ll edit this part out, but basically good, great.

Okay, cool. So Greg, I have one last question for you. At the end of your book, you mentioned that when you pass, when you exit this mortal. Body. You want your soulmates hand in your left hand and you want the conch shell in your right hand. Can you talk about the contract?

You’ve alluded to a few times throughout this conversation, but the conscious is something that comes up throughout the book. And I would love to have you explain your relationship to that and it may or may not be something that’s for everybody, but why was it right for you?

Gregory David Roberts: [00:58:48] good. I would never have thought that it was by the way, when I first began, the thing is the con shell is blown around the world in many traditions, including here in Jamaica, but in every temple in India, you will have a Hindu temple. You’ll have the contract blown as part of the sacred ceremonies.

My teacher as a tantric for formed ceremonies, blowing the conch many times, holding the breath for 30 to 40 seconds long and exhalation of the Contra for 30 to 40 seconds and amazingly long, and with the same intensity all the way through. And I watched him do this blowing sometimes 50, 60 times in this, during the course of a one hour ceremony over the course of years, never once thinking that I might one day pick up a shell and blow it myself.

And then when I told him that I was going back to Australia to, we were going back to look after my parents. And I said, I might not be able to see you for some time. He gave me a shell and I said, what should I do with this? And he said, ah, use it as a decoration on the windows. So if you like, or blow it as you please it’s up to you.

And I said, is it one of yours? And he said, it was my mother’s. It belonged to her. So I took that shell and. Looked at it and kept, I set up a place, a sort of sacred space to hold it and then looked at it for two years before I started to blow it. And that was the two years of getting ready to say, I’m going to try this and so on.

And now it’s been now it’s every day. And so that’s the first, that’s how it started. And what does it do? The blowing the show or I on a physical level, it requires exhalations of breath, inhalation and exhalation on a massive scale. You’re blowing up from long time, 20, 24, 26 seconds. You’re inhaling.

You’re allowing your heart rate to elevate and then slow down and elevate. It’s a workout in its own way in this physical world. So it’s very good. And it floods the body with endorphins. It floods the body with all the right chemicals that are meant to help you to enjoy this. Oh, the body says we’re working, we’re doing something Oh, deep breathing.

I love that. Next thing. The brain says you like that. Here’s some chemicals and we get a lot of really nice chemicals and Solomon we should get from any good strenuous physical activity on another level, on an intellectual and psychological level. It’s extremely intense because every time you do it, you know that if you mess this up, that this you are disgracing yourself, your own worthy.

So I know I don’t really mess it up by blowing the conch badly or whatever, or missing some kind of cue. It’s not that it’s that you were not clean and tidy inside yourself when you did it. So you can’t, you have to be so there’s that each time and you have to be right with yourself and that’s, so there’s a psychological aspect each time.

And that. That’s good. There’s stagefright. So to speak every single time you still get stage, right? Which is good. You need that as actors will tell you. And then the other component is connection. There’s something about the vibration, the harmonic vibration of the current shell. Of course, this is why it’s been blown for thousands of years in Indian temples.

There’s something about the harmonic vibration that settles the mind. It I’ve not yet seen any data on this, but I would surmise that the rain goes into when it hears this over a sustained period that it starts to go into beta rhythms and it starts to go into a relaxed meditational state, just from the actual vibrational mechanism of the sound, sound waves coming out of this thing at a certain vibrational pitch.

And then beyond that, Is the spiritual connection. The conch is the brother of the goddess Lakshmi, who is the goddess of prosperity and success in life. So it may sound strange to say it, but the shell is her brother, which is also strange that she was born from the ocean, from the churning of the waves.

And so on. All of these stories have stories within them that we’re meant to find, of course the story itself is really only the door and within, if we open that door, we’ll find many other stories within, but the conch is connected directly to the goddess luxury. So because it’s her brother and it’s the brother-in-law of Lord Vishnu, who is the husband of Lakshmi, the consort of luxury.

And there’s a saying in India that no man loves any more than his known landlords. Anyone more than his brother-in-law be it only his brother. So that the brother-in-law do you bind yourself to your brother-in-law and become very close because that is the man with your sister is very sure everything is well, tidy and happy in the house there.

You know what I mean? So no man, closer to them then. So it, this, when you blow the shell, there is that long ancient, spiritual tradition. And so on that goes right back to the origin of why the shell what’s the significance? Of course the shell itself was blown before anyone attached any religious or spiritual significance to it.

If you know what I mean? And that was it’s true. When that first of our kind was sitting on the ocean sitting by the sea and the wind was blowing through a cracked shell and they could hear it

for the sound and found it and then held it up until it was hit until the wind hit it and they got it. And then when. And did it themselves, the first of our kind, they were instinctively giving devotion to the divine, if and of course that predates all of our today, all of our religious and spiritual traditions.

Kevin Marshall: [01:04:41] That’s so beautiful. So beautiful. Thank you for that. Gregory, it’s been such a delight to just listen to you today. I’ve really appreciated this. And I have to say for the listeners most this will be an audio that when you see Gregory here, there’s a radiance. I will say I don’t say that very often, but the moment he showed up on the screen, there’s this radiance that you came with that I really think as somebody who’s, who has witnessed enough folks that are the real deal that really have it, there’s an energy.

And I, again, I use that sparingly because I know that’s just common these days but it’s, it is profound. And so I really appreciate that. I’m just going to say that I was really touched by that. And. I’ve been really impressed by the book. Of course, I was really touched by Shanta rom.

There was something in there that really spoke to the heart. This book is also for me, it did it for me. And I really I, it’s allowing me to think about how I’m going to change my practice and inspiring me to think about what things am I devoted to, what things am I willing to renounce hate.

So bringing me back to that, beginner’s mind where it’s easy for someone I’ve been doing this for a while. It’s easy to get non-human to lose that humility that I think as a beginner you have. So I really appreciate that there’s something in this book for everyone, and that you’ve been willing to give that to the world and share with which touch such clarity.

So thank you for that. And folks want to. Obviously check out the book, the spiritual path, but if folks also want to just follow your work and your projects and things like that, is there a place that they can find you and subscribe to or just at least follow what you’re doing?

Gregory David Roberts: [01:06:24] Sure. Or there’s a website Gregory David and on Insta, you’ll see GDR for Gregory David Roberts, gdr_shantaram. And there’s a link tree there with all the new music we’re bringing out. And a lot of you work this year. We have three new eBooks coming out and we have two new albums that we’re releasing for the rest of the year, as long as six, as well as six singles. there’s and two art projects. So it’s a busy year because I guess with COVID for a lot of people like a lot of we’ve been doing a lot of intense work during this time, and we’re ready to release that word, but look, thank you so much for this opportunity. I’ve enjoyed it immensely and let’s get together in an email and talk about stoicism one or two things.

There is a couple of things I’d like you to advise me on about this because I’d never been quite clear. Okay. And I want to get your favorite Marcus Aurelius’ quote, so thank you very much and big up Jamaica and lessons in love.

Kevin Marshall: [01:07:16] lots of blessings and love to you. Thank you so much. I would love to do that and I really appreciate your joining me today. Thanks.

Gregory David Roberts: Fantastic!

Kevin Marshall: Great

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