Grief 2 Growth

Ren Koi- A Conclusive Definition of Consciousness

June 16, 2022 Season 2 Episode 26
Grief 2 Growth
Ren Koi- A Conclusive Definition of Consciousness
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Show Notes Transcript

Consciousness. We all know what it is. But, we can't explain it. We can't define it. We just know it.

Scientists and philosophers have debated this for years. What is the source of consciousness? What is it? Is it generated by the brain? Some have gone so far as to call consciousness, the one thing we know for sure, an illusion.

Ren Koi is a consciousness explorer. He's a deeply contemplative man who has studied consciousness from every possible perspective and put his observations into a book that will appeal to the scientific as well as the spiritual seeker. Stay tuned to find out what he's learned about consciousness and how you can explore your own.


All Is One offers a conclusive definition of consciousness that might satisfy both the scientifically oriented and spiritually oriented reader.

In this thoughtful book about consciousness, you will go on a journey to ask the bigger questions, the deeper questions, that we all need to consider as we walk towards finding meaning in our lives. Through the exploration of what scientists and philosophers have written about to finally come to your own conclusions, this book will expand your mind and your consciousness. - Arlina Allen

All Is One: The Science & Spirituality of Consciousness by Ren Koi offers a conclusive definition of consciousness that might satisfy both the scientifically oriented and spiritually oriented reader.

Some of the things we discuss 

  1. Ren's story of addiction
  2. Ren's spiritual awakening
  3. Ren's recovery story
  4. His spiritual experiences as a result of meditation
  5. His ten-day silent meditation retreat in 2018
  6. His controversial use of psychedelics
  7. His mental health struggles
  8. Why he wrote All Is One
  9. Why panpsychism is a better explanation than dualism or materialism for the origins of con

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Brian Smith  0:01  
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Everybody this is Brian back with another episode of Grief 2 Growth and I've got with me today rent koi and rent is a British author and he's the host of The Life and recovery podcast. He's an ex DJ and a music producer. He's spent over 10 years drinking alcohol and using drugs before he joined the 12 step program 12 Step fellowships as a che in 2010, following an emotional breakdown, and 2010. He was going by John at the time he had a spiritual awakening and a psychic change as a result of working the 12 step program. Having a strong affiliation with Japanese culture, he changed his name to red coin ran meaning both lotus and love and Japanese and coy being the symbol of courage and Buddhism, while also being associated with perseverance and adversity and strike the purpose in Japan, so a very appropriate name that he's chosen. And his first book addiction prevention 12 steps of spiritual awakening. He proposed that the implementation of addiction prevention classes in schools could prevent the onset of mental mental health issues that people attempt to medicate with addictive substances and damaging behaviors, which lead to addictions. He has since published three more books and is currently writing his fifth book, which I believe is a book we're going to be discussing today. I was want. So that's his fifth book. And I love this quote I saw when your publisher sent me some information, I want to read this kind of kick off our conversation. Despite centuries of analyses and debates between scientists and philosophers, consciousness remains puzzling and controversial. As the most familiar yet mysterious aspect of our lives, there might be different levels of consciousness, or different kinds of consciousness, or just one kind with different features. Modern research on the human brain has yet to provide conclusive answers. And we don't know if animals insects or plants are conscious, or even the universe itself. And I think that's a great way to kick things off. Because I think consciousness is fascinating. I think it's, it's like for me, in a sense, it's the only thing that is, but it's like the least understood thing. So tell me, what got you started on this journey to exploring the nature of consciousness?

Ren Koi  3:25  
Well, thanks for the introduction, Brian, and thanks for having me on the podcast. So I,

well, I'd already written

four, four books previously that were dealing with addiction and recovery and the treatments for addiction. And then and all a lot of the writing has to do with spirituality and,

and psychedelic medicines, as well, which both of which spirituality and psychedelics are something that I found on my journey

and have really helped me

and jewellery in my iOS Oscar ceremony in 2017, I had a very profound spiritual experience, where by my entire being so first of all, my ego kind of completely dissolved. And then my sense of physical self completely dissolved, and then I just became one with the universe and, you know, this kind of like, it's this,

this narrative that the, you know, that the great mystics of the past have kind of sent forth into the, you know, into the present, which is that everything is one that consciousness is everything. That was what I experience now, obviously, that was, you know, us under the use of psychedelics. So when I came back to kind of reality, so to speak in inverted commas.

The strangest thing was that reality didn't really feel

that reality anymore it was, it was like, where it just been was reality. And this isn't reality, if that makes any sense. So that kind of began my

exploration into consciousness. And,

you know, I'm not kind of like a learned scholar or anything. So I had to kind of do a lot of reading and researching, and just kind of sets about learning as much as I could about the subject. And as I was writing started, started to kind of make notes.

This was around the time that my daughter was due to be born. And when my daughter was actually born in February 2020, the pandemic hit immediately after, so in March, from March onwards, we were in complete lockdown. So all of a sudden, I had all these notes on consciousness, I had this tiny baby, who kind of like, sparked off all these questions in my mind about consciousness as well. And it just seemed like the perfect opportunity to write another book. So that was, that was the beginning of it. So I know, you talked about in the intro, that you've given me that you did have a time in your life where you're going through drug and alcohol addiction. What do you think it is that you, you were seeking? And this is, this is not unusual? A lot of us go through that. Right. So what is it you think we're seeking when we're doing that

just seeking connection for more than anything, I think, I think that this, you know, I mean, when you I suppose when you take everything back to the bare bones of it, that you know, that all is walked. So if consciousness is, is the is the starting point, and everything emanates from consciousness, well, in the in the truest sense of the word, we are all connected, you know, everything comes from everything is connected. So when we do anything that disconnects us and on a human level, when we're disconnected from our fellow humans, that's when all the problems start, you know, that's when we start to feel lonely. If we start to feel isolated, it can create mental health problems, it can create physical health problems, at any time in my life, where I felt lonely, isolated, and disconnected from people around me, I've really suffered. And that was at that time, you know, like, deep in my addiction. I mean, I was, I was drinking and using drugs for about 10 years from the age of 70, and 80, and up to 29. And towards the end, in those last couple of years of my addiction, I just wanted to die, you know, I felt so lonely and so low, and just so like, hopeless.

And then I had, you know, quite profound spiritual experience. And off the back of that spiritual experience, I started to feel connected again.

And that was kind of like the beginning of the journey. So yeah, it's very much about connection for me. And, you know, my, my normal mindset is absolute, like, I'm an only child as well. So, you know, I kind of like my own company. But I have to be careful, because I can kind of avoid people quite easily, you know, and just kind of keep myself to myself. So I actually have to make quite a lot, a lot of effort to connect with people.

Brian Smith  8:18  
So tell me about that spiritual experiences you had that kind of turned things around for you.

Ren Koi  8:23  
So the morning, my last drink, so and I didn't know it was going to be my last drink. But I just did my usual thing, which was a bought way too much alcohol than actually needed for the situation. We were just having a kind of like a little party, we were actually late, my partner and my ex partner and I were leaving the country to fly to Australia. So we decided to kind of emigrate from the UK. And on the way to Australia, we were going to stay for a month in Thailand. And I just decided while we go, I'll get enough alcohol to see the job through which was way too much as I said, and the last thing I remember is just blacking out on the sofa. So it's kind of like I got this look of disappointment from my partner, who you know, kind of I was isolated myself really sat on the sofa and they were kind of playing cards on the table. And when I woke up in the mire, that's the last thing I remember when I woke up in the morning. I just I just knew that I couldn't do it anymore. Brian, I was like, this has got to stop you know, I just couldn't keep doing doing it to myself and I couldn't keep doing it to my partner. So I kind of rolled over in bed about to apologize and you know, do the usual you know, groveling my partner wasn't in bed with me and she was actually in the bathroom with a sister and I walked towards the bathroom and I overheard My partner saying that she was going to leave me if I didn't stop drinking. So that was kind of my moment of surrender to the Brian, kind of, you know, the say in the 12 step fellowships to say that, you know, you've got to concede to your innermost self that you're an alcoholic, or an addict. And that was my moment where I just conceded that I had a problem and I needed to, I needed to stop. So I walked back into the bedroom and, and I just got down on my knees, and I just prayed, and I just I asked God, to help me, I just kept repeating over and over again, please help me. I just can't do this anymore. And when I stood up from that prayer, something inside me around my heart just felt like it was kind of dislodged. And, you know, that night, I had the best night's sleep I've ever had in my life. It was, you know, the war in my mind, the, you know, will not drink or not drink was just gone completely. And, and the next day, after, when we arrived in Thailand, after a 12 hour flight, I have absolutely no desire to drink at all. It was just completely removed from man. You know, it felt like a miracle. Because I'd been addicted to alcohol for at least five or six years, I had to have it every single day, there was no question of whether I was going to drink or not. And, yeah, I just didn't want to drink anymore. So that was the first kind of experience of a spiritual nature. But also what's what was quite important was on the flight from the UK to Thailand, I read a book called The world's religions by Alison Smith. And by the time I got to Thailand, I kind of, and this is just for me, you know, like, I'm not, I'm not knocking anybody that's religious. It's all because I think that there's much to be to be learned from religious people. But for me, at that time, I kind of came to the conclusion that religions were were kind of, you know, fairy tales for adults, and that I kind of needed some sort of spirituality, but religion wasn't going to work for me. So I set off on a kind of journey related to learn about how I could be a spiritual person and to try and find out what what had happened to me. What, how I've just managed to stop drinking. And then a series of other crazy things happen to me, that led me into Alcoholics Anonymous.

Brian Smith  12:31  
Wow. Okay. So but but the desire that that prayer that we you, you kind of reached out that sounds like it just quelled the desire to drink.

Ren Koi  12:43  
Yeah, and I think it was because it was a sincere prayer. You know, I mean, there's been, there's been many times over the years. I mean, I've never been a religious person, but I've always believed in a power greater than myself and some sort of higher power. But, you know, I never, I never kind of never kind of related really, to any particular religion. And, you know, as used prayer many times before, you know, please help me please get me out of this, you know, that. And it, it was always a bargaining chip. Really. There was no sincerity behind it was that time it was a it was a sincere prayer, I really knew that I needed help. And, and you know, in the help, okay.

Brian Smith  13:27  
Well, you know, religion is an interesting word. So and let's talk about religion, because the thing I love about your book, this is my favorite thing to discuss this, like, like I said, consciousness, but religion, science, philosophy, you know, all these, these are different ways that we look at things and you say that religion wasn't working for you. But you kind of seismic kind of one on your own quest to find out your own truth. So that'd be an accurate way of describing it. Definitely, yeah. So what So you said, you read that book on the way to Thailand, and that kind of woke you up to say, it's not religion? So what was your next step?

Ren Koi  14:04  
So the next book that I came across was the, I think it was called The Little Book of atheist spirituality. And I read that book, and then I was kind of convinced almost that I could be an atheist, but also be spiritual. Which I'm neither now I'm not I'm not an atheist anymore. And I'm not a religious person. But like you said, you hit the nail on the head there and he said that I went on my own quest, what I've come to believe, as I've come to believe that anybody can have their own relationship with God and the word God you know, whether you want to use God, higher power, spirit of the universe, you know, whatever, whatever word you you choose to use. You can have that direct relationship with the divine. And there isn't really any need necessarily for religion, you know, for a specific path. However, It really does work for people, you know, and a lot of religion is to do with community, it's to do with, you know, brotherhood fellowship, being of service to other people. And for me, that's wonderful. You know, I think what I'm what I find what where I've been lucky, is that I found all that in 12 Step fellowships. So really, I've got kind of like my own religion, or, you know, my own, my own fellowship, and my own spiritual community is the 12 step Fellowship, which is what I would get if I went to a church or a synagogue, or, you know, whatever. So I've kind of got that part of my life, and I've also got a direct relationship with a higher power. And where that ties in with the book all is one is that for me, you know, this idea of a kind of, of a god, that is separate from the universe. Again, that's something that doesn't work for me, it just doesn't make any sense to me. So when I started to kind of investigate, you know, the different forms of philosophy around like pan psychism, and pantheism. And, you know, basically a more of an idea whereby a higher power, or God is the universe, and everything in it is, is God, that made much more sense to me. And also kind of like, you know, the yin and the yang, the good and the bad, you know, everything is encompassed in the universe, there is no, there's no such thing really, in my mind. There's no such thing really, as kind of good and evil, there is just what is, and as a human being, and you have a choice as to, you know, which path you take, whether you do good things to pick for people and for yourself, or whether you don't. But I don't think that at the end of it, there will be kind of like a ledger to say, you know, this person did so many good things, and this person did so many bad things, I think that it will just come to the end. And then it will reincarnate, and it will carry on and carry on and carry on.

Brian Smith  17:02  
Well, let's talk about we're using a lot of loaded word words here. So atheism is another word I find to be loaded, because atheism has become to be equated with materialism. And atheism. So to be an atheist means that I don't believe and that we are spiritual beings that we pre existed that we've just after. And we're always funny, whatever, talk to someone that says to me, Well, I'm an atheist. And I said, Well, what, what God, don't you believe in and we always say, I don't believe in that God either. So I've kind of come to the same conclusion gr because religion has come to tell us that we have to believe some religions, many religions, we have to believe in this god that's separate from his creation. But not all religions played that right.

Ren Koi  17:47  
Yeah, not all the religions believe that. And that was what I really delved into in the book, you know, Hinduism, the Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita, you know, that's, that's kind of an area of religion that I'm very, very interested in. And that's where this idea of, you know, God, being the universe kind of really comes to life in the in those works. And, you know, and I suppose I don't, I don't know, I don't know whether this is just laziness, Brian on my part or not, but you know, I feel as though I don't need to necessarily read every single detail of these books in order to understand what what they're trying to say. Because, for me, spiritual experiences are personal. So and the, the key word is the experience, like, I can't explain to you exactly what my spiritual experiences are, because they're my experiences and vice versa. So your interpretation of the universe and what God is, and, you know, and how that affects you, and your life, is probably going to be quite different to how it is in my life. But there will be some similarities. So you know, maybe we can come to some kind of agreement on that. But when I when I read these books, a lot of it seems quite obvious to me, like, what I mean by that is, like, I went, I went on holiday a few years ago, I read the Bible. So I decided to sit down because I thought I really want to read it, I want to understand what you know what people make of it. So I read it. And you know, I didn't, I didn't have any massive epiphanies that came out of it, because I just thought to myself, well, given the experiences that I've had, I can just say that the general message within this book is the message that I agree with, and that I believe humans should live by, you know, which is basically treat each other as we treat ourselves, you know, look after each other, love each other peace on earth, you know, for me, that is just a given. And it just almost seems crazy rarely that we you know, that we're in this day and age where we're not doing that, you know, like why are we not Why are we not living? But at the same time, because I've come from a background of addiction, control, you know, wanting fame, one in power, all that stuff is all wrapped up together, I completely understand why the world is the way that the way that it is, you know, and I just feel quite blessed, really, that I've almost, I've almost checked out, Brian, in a way, I'm kinda like, I'm in the world. And I have a job and I have a family and, but I'm not kind of like of the world, like, I don't need the material stuff to make me feel happy, like my life is very, very simple. And, and you know, and that's all I need like that. The best thing that's happened to me all week was spending five minutes with my daughter. The other day at the park, it was like, just that interaction with her was like beautiful and nothing, nothing compares to that.

Brian Smith  20:58  
Yeah, I totally relate to that. You know, and it's interesting, you're talking about the Bible, because I've seen different numbers, but it's at least 30,000 different Christian denominations, which is blows my mind. But I've seen estimates of anywhere between 30 and 40,000. Christian denominations, I mean, so these are people who have read the same book, and we fight over all the details, right? And we get all caught up with like, no, it's this way. Well, you have to baptize this way. And I was just watching a lecture series done the other day about whether Jesus was God or not. And everybody assumes now that every Christian is always believed that Jesus was God. But that hasn't always been the case. So you know, the thing is, I love about what your journey and I'm on a similar journey. I've read the Bhagavad Gita, and I've read the some of the Passion guides, and I've read the you know, and I've read different things. And like you said, just like, there's great revelations, but not really so much, because they're all kind of the same.

Ren Koi  21:55  
Yeah, well, I'm currently reading Marcus Aurelius meditations. And, again, you know, I'm like, and I suppose, when you think about it, logically, I mean, these books were written 1000s of years ago. So, you know, that knowledge that a person like Marcus really has had, has now been filtered into society. So if you've got any kind of philosophical or spiritual leanings, you're bound to have heard most of the ideas that that he wrote about. But that's the kind of fear that I'm having, you know, like, I'm just having this this sense that, you know, I know all this already. And I don't mean that in an arrogant way, I just mean that like, and know exactly what it is that he's saying, and I'm trying, I'm already trying to apply these things to my life, you know, I'm already trying to be an honest person, I'm already trying to have integrity with the things that I do. I'm already trying to be of service to people, like, I'm doing all this stuff, as best as I possibly can. Now, that doesn't mean by any stretch of imagination that I'm perfect human being, because I still have all the faults that I used to have, I'm just much more aware of them now. Like, my level of self awareness, excuse me, is extremely high now. So I could I could sit down with you quite easily and tell you all my positives and negatives, and, you know, and all the things that I tried to do to compensate for those things. And, you know, 10 years ago, I couldn't have told you any of that stuff, like I had absolutely no, I was completely oblivious to the way that I affected other people. And it's quite painful. Actually, Brian, you know, sometimes when you as you become more self aware, and you realize, and you kind of realize that, you know, like I can be quite controlling, and very, can be very, very sharp with people because of my personality type and what and what they call an ego personality type. So I'm, I'm not, like, naturally compassionate, I'm not naturally kind of gentle with people, I like one, I want answers quite quickly. And I want to get to the point quite quickly. So I have to fight against that sometimes. And I have to be able to listen, I have to be able to understand where another person is coming from, I have to be able to try to put myself in the other person's shoes. And that doesn't come naturally to me, I've had to learn all this stuff, you know, over the years. But that's the point of my existence now really, is to kind of just try to keep growing and evolving and, and really be a good example for my kids. So that's the main thing.

Brian Smith  24:23  
Yeah. What you said earlier, I think was just spot on. You know, I've heard people, I still love to read CS Lewis. And he was saying, you know, at some point, people were complaining that Jesus didn't really teach anything new. That all the stuff that Jesus taught had been taught by others before and I love what he said. He said, You know, there there is no, when we've listened to a great moral teacher, it's not new. It's more of a remembering. It's more of a Oh, yeah, you know, I forgotten that. Oh, yeah, it's a different spin on it. But as he put it, he called it the tau. It's at the tau is eternal existed long before the Bible. So you can't expect anything really new to come I might have a great moral teaching. So we, we read these different things because it can bring us insights it can bring, it's a different way of looking at it. But there is no great new moral teaching. This doesn't exist.

Ren Koi  25:10  
No, I mean, they're all saying the same thing. And this is where it goes back to the old one, you know, the reason why the book is titled all is one, and the whole point of premise of the book is to, you know, is to investigate all these different philosophies and scientific and sciences, like, as I said, like pan psychism. And, and all the religious traditions, and to show that they're all pretty much saying the same thing. You know, everything emanates from this thing, but the Tao is, is the is just another word for it, you know, and it's funny, actually, you've mentioned Jesus a couple of times, the thing that really piques my interest with, with anything spiritual is when, when something very, very strange happens to me. And I'll tell you a couple of stories in a moment, but just just this one quickly, because this relates to when I read the Bible, so read the Bible. And I was sat on the beach, and it just finished and I put the book down. And I did a bit of meditation. And that kind of said, a silent prayer. And I said something along the lines of okay, God, if you really want me to believe that this guy died on a cross, rose again, a few weeks later, actually, you know, he actually rose again, then I'm going to need some sort of a sign for that, I'm going to need some sort of indication that that actually happened. So and I kind of chuckled to myself. And this is no word of a lie. So about five or 10 minutes later, we left the beach. And we were it was quite a 1520 minute walk back up to the apartment. And as we will walk in as the guy coming towards and running, you know, running on the road. And he ran past me. And he looked me I'd look basically looked, I take exactly like Jesus. So the long dark, the beard, the kind of Arab complexion, that is at the top off, he was it was just it was just running, it looked me straight in the eye. And he carried on, on what I'm on running. And I looked at him and I thought that was that was a bit strange. That was a little bit strange. And I said another prayer. And I said it out loud this time. And I said, I said, Okay, I said that was a bit bit too much. That one says, that was a bit too much of a coincidence. So I've got to the apartment, and I went for a dip in the pool. And I'm just swimming in the pool, and I just lean in on the side, and the same guy comes running back down towards the pool. It looked me straight in the eye. And he ran off past the hotel disappeared. And I never saw him again for the rest of the holiday. And I was kinda like, wow, you know, these are the these are those weird things that happen that really made me question what the truth is of things are, and that's what just keeps me me, me kind of like investigating this stuff and learning, you know, because I don't know. I really,

Brian Smith  28:18  
I love that story. I saw it in your book. And I am all about synchronicities. And the more I study about the universe, the more I think it's more of a magical place than we really, you know, can believe and I'm a very rational person, my backgrounds engineering. So this morning, just this morning, I'm walking and I'm doing this like little meditation exercises and finishing up my walk. And I see a cardinal fly like right in front of my face, like and lands on a tree over here. And a lot of people think cardinals are signs from our loved ones and I saw you before we got started my my daughter passed away a few years ago. So whenever my wife sees a cardinal she goes, Oh, it's a sign from Shayna. Well I'm I'm more rational minded. So I'm like I live in Ohio. There are several in the Cardinals here that might or might not have been assigned, not 30 seconds later, a fence flies the other direction across the road dives right in front of me and lands in the on the yard right next to me like 2030 feet away. Finches yellow finches are pretty rare around here. I rarely ever seen one. And I walked right over to an actually videotaped it for like 2030 seconds just kind of kept hopping around and didn't fly away or anything. I'm like, Well, that was weird. You know, that was just just like the story that you're telling. So these things happen.

Ren Koi  29:29  
Yeah, definitely. I mean, and I think that that's the beauty of the universe isn't it is there to kind of really make us question and wonder and I was always like that from from a young age. You know, like, from a very early age, despite the fact that I wasn't religious. I always you know, I was always like wondering where do we come from, you know, like, what is what is this life all about? And I suppose, in many ways that kind of led me to want to be so anything in the world, you know, to have some luck, because I was a DJ for about 10 years and, you know, a professional DJ, kind of like a semi professional DJ, and I always wanted to be a professional I wanted to, I wanted it to be, you know, my life and my main job, and it never quite got to that place. But I realized that when I, when I went into recovery, that that was all about what was missing inside. And it was from when I was a child, you know, it was it, we call it the hole in the soul, you know, and I was, I was always seeking something when I was young, and then I found it in the music and the club in and, you know, and having some level of fame in that kind of world. And then I then discovered it fully in recovery when I found, you know, the spiritual, you know, fellowship and, and, you know, what actually fills that hole in the soul is compassion, empathy, you know, connection, being, you know, being a father, being a good friend, being a good son, being a good husband, you know, it's, it's all that stuff and adult need the other stuff. And ironically, you know, you wouldn't you did the introduction, I did used to do this podcast called life and recovery for a few years. And, and, and actually, the story of, of, when I got this, this book got published, because I'd spent the last few years kind of like, building a following with the podcast, and I've written these other books, and you know, I had a, quite a big following on Facebook and on all my social media. And, again, I just had this, this epiphany, where I just, I was just kind of like, this just don't want to invest into this anymore. You know, I just want the simple life. So actually, I don't actually do the podcast anymore. And I don't have any social media presence anymore. And I felt terrible when the publisher has contacted me, and we're kind of, you know, asking me to promote the book via social media, because I can't do that. So, obviously, I've committed to these podcasts. And I do want the book to do well, it's not as if I don't, you know, I don't know what to do. Well, it's just my life change now, like, my number one priority is my family. And it's just kind of, it's trying to connect with, you know, with the higher power and, and that's, that is my life at the moment.

Brian Smith  32:19  
Yeah, that's really interesting. You know, it's funny when you said the phrase wholeness in the soul. You know, I was I was raised in the church. So that's, that was drilled into me. And one of the things I said in church that still resonates with me is like, they're like, there's a God shaped hole in everybody's heart. And they were, they were talking about the specific Christian, you know, for kind of God or Zeus kind of guide. But I do believe that human beings do have this, this hole in us, this desire for connection, this longing. And I think that's, that's the thing that the loneliness that you talked about, that causes us a lot of us to turn to drugs and alcohol to either. That's why I wanted to ask you the question, either numb that or to try to maybe transcendent in some kind of way, the way that maybe psychedelics do.

Ren Koi  33:03  
Yeah, I think it's both I think, I think the thing that I tried to numb was my emotions, because emotions hurt, you know, when you feel emotions, whether they're good or bad emotions, that can be very powerful. And and if you don't know how to manage those emotions, then they quite quickly become mental health issues. That was what was the subject of my first book was that I tried to simplify addiction to three very basic principles is the emotional disorder that precedes the mental health issues and the mental health issues that we attempt to medicate with the drugs. The emotions, you know, the spiritual malady, as it's called, in the Alcoholics Anonymous big book, that that is, that is like emotional problems. And what I see is, and I've just been through this with one of my stepchildren is it's an inability to manage their emotions. So when some when fear comes, obviously, fear manifests as anxiety. And when anxiety becomes very strong, it is it's a horrible feeling. You know, it's something that men anybody that suffered it, I'm sure you have at some point I have. And especially if you feel like you're gonna have an anxiety attack, it feels like you're actually gonna have a heart attack or you're gonna die. Remember? Yeah, so

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Ren Koi  35:27  
to be able to have some fun and have some tools that will allow you to process that emotion. And to bring that anxiety from down from a level 10 to a level one level two? Well, my belief is that every child in this world should be taught those those that that way of living, you know, and should be given those tools. And I know schools do try that there are certain ways in which still do try to help them. But without those emotions, I just found that the 12 steps and the process of going through the 12 steps, just completely worked in that sense just absolutely works. And I really believe that it could work for children as well.

Brian Smith  36:14  
Yeah, that's interesting, because I do believe that's a big hole in our in our education. And a lot of parents, I was just talking to him about this the other day, we turn over our responsibility of the education of our children to the school systems, and we expect them to teach them everything. And we don't teach them emotional intelligence. We don't teach them how to deal with their emotions. We don't teach in this country, you know, we if we said we're going to do mindfulness, we're going to sit and do meditation in school, you'd have some people saying, that's the thing of the devil that's that's of a different religion, we can't we can't be doing meditation in schools. So we have a real problem, because on the one hand, religion, doesn't teach it very well for the most part and teaches it from a very limited perspective. And then the regular education system just doesn't address it. And so we walk around with all these people who are physically adults, but emotionally children.

Ren Koi  37:02  
Yeah, that's so true. It's funny, actually, I was listening to a podcast today in a great llama from a great Buddhist Lama came over to America and lived in America. And that was exactly what he said. He said that Western people, adult children, basically. And you know, and it isn't that we haven't learned to let you send emotional intelligence. We're not emotionally intelligent countries, because we haven't had the education. And, you know, the sad thing is that well, two things actually, you know, you said about the whole thing about meditation, being of the devil, etc. You know about the book, the book that was eliminated from the Bible, or was it the book of Thomas, I believe,

Brian Smith  37:43  
was one of farmers. Yeah, it was one of them. Yeah, that book

Ren Koi  37:47  
apparently is all about meditation. And that, and that would have introduced it to the, you know, to the Christian faith, then it just would have been, because, as you said earlier, you know, Jesus wasn't teaching anything new. I mean, the Buddha was way before Jesus, there are so many so many spiritual teachers that came before Jesus, Jesus was just espousing the stuff that he'd learned from those great masters. They're all they're all, you know, saying the same thing that we have to get quiet. We have to, you know, understand what's going on within us. Connect with with consciousness, connect with that inner part of ourselves, that is the universe. And then once you kind of understand and appreciate that, you are I am you and you are me, then you can't harm each other. There is, there's no way that you know, I can't cause you harm, if I know that you are me. Right? So it's impossible, isn't it?

Brian Smith  38:45  
Right, right. So let's I do want to get into, because I know you did some psychedelic drugs, which can be controversial. And especially I think, as someone who's a recovering alcoholic, so how did you how did you make that decision that I'm going to I'm going to try this?

Ren Koi  39:01  
Well, first of all, it was one of the best decisions that I've ever made in my life. But it was a very hard decision to make. Because initially, when I was introduced to the idea of ayahuasca, specifically, which was a member of the fellowship introduced me to the idea of it, and I was straightaway I said, Now, there's not a chance that I could do that because it would be a relapse. And I just think that it would be very stupid to risk one sobriety for, for taking a psychedelic drug. And then, and then I wrote the book addiction prevention, and whilst I was writing that book, I then actually research psychedelics for myself. So whilst I was researching, you know, the psychedelics started to change my opinion slightly and was kind of of the opinion that you know, maybe these could be used as medicines. For people to have some sort of a spiritual experience, and then the thing that clinched it was, and blew me away slightly because I was totally unaware of it was that two things. One, Bill Wilson, who was one of the founders of Alcoholics Anonymous, was actually in a hospital where they were giving him psychedelic treatments before he had his first spiritual experience, which led to the formation of Alcoholics Anonymous. So it could be argued that he's his actual white light experience that he calls it was as a result of Belladonna, which is a psychedelic. So that was the first thing. And then the second thing was that about, I think it was either 15 or 20 years into his sobriety. It was at the time when LSD became a medicine that psychologists were starting to use us. And he actually underwent a series of LSD experiences. And it really helped him. And he said that he felt that it could be very, very helpful to alcoholics, who were struggling to have spiritual experiences. And as a matter of fact, he introduced one of his sponsees to LSD. And they wrote, there's a book called The the 12 steps and 12 traditions, which is like, kind of like, a breakdown of all the steps and all the traditions which we use as a, as a guide, when we're taking sponsees through the big book. Now, AAA purists don't believe in using the 12 as well, some of them, but I always have done and are responsive that way myself. And I actually found out that Bill and his sponsor, Tom wrote that book off the back of their psychedelic experiences. So when I when, when I discovered that, that really kind of cemented for me that it was something that I wanted to try for myself, and see what, you know, see what it was all about. And actually, what happened, was had an experience that was analogous to have been about 10 years of therapy and one session. So it kind of it took me through Well, I actually wrote a book about it. So my book together an Ayahuasca experience is the full story of so funnily enough, I was, I was, I wrote a book, The second book I wrote was called Anonymous God, and I was writing the end of that book, when I went on the Ayahuasca experience. That book ends where I'm at the I'm at the ceremony, and then the book together is the whole story. And it was just, it was just phenomenal, Brad, it I genuinely don't believe that I would have I would have overcome some of the issues and trauma that I had from early childhood. About that experience, I don't think therapy would have got to it.

Brian Smith  43:09  
Yeah, well, I you know, the thing about, you know, Ayahuasca, and we call them psychedelic drugs, and I've heard a term now that's being used more as plant medicines. Because I think people confuse like Iosco, from what I know about it is like, you don't take it recreationally. You don't just, I'm going to drink Ayahuasca just to get get high or whatever. It's, it's, it's got to be done properly to be done and, you know, with with a guide, and and with ritual and ceremony, etc. So we tend to say, well, it's either a drug or it's not and you know, this is this is I think, barbell medicine. And people have been using it for hundreds, if not 1000s, of years. And I've even heard, I heard this pretty recently, there's a theory that the Hebrew writers, the writers of the Hebrew Scriptures, if they were some of the things that they were talking about, they were doing plant medicines, which would explain some of the visions that they were having.

Ren Koi  43:58  
Yeah, even the burning bush, who was the supposedly the Acacia Bush, which has DMT and so they believe that the Acacia Bush was on fire when Moses went up the mountain, and he has a second trip when it's received. It's the 10 commandments. So interesting stories. I mean, you know, again, without like, there's no no arrogance, when I say this, but the experience itself, it kind of it taught, it was like it was like Mother Earth was was talking to me the whole way through this experience. And, you know, they call a Mother Ayahuasca and and Mother Ayahuasca said to me that this is how Jesus this is how Moses This is how border This is how all the great sages of the past came to the to all their realizations. They you know, what you've experienced is all you will ever need to experience in terms of understanding the universe. Now that sounds very grandiose. But it, it can just very quickly be simplified to the title of that book. It was just that all is one, you know, it was that the universe is just, you know, it's it's also it's working in that it's working in our favor as well as everything that happens. You said it right at the very beginning, I think before we started that everything happens for a reason. Now that in itself is the truth is that every every single thing that happens, has a knock on effect, for other things to happen. And it's all moving in this in a way of positivity. Everything's evolving in some sort of grand design, to help us evolve individually to help the universe evolve. I don't know why that is exactly. Absolutely no idea why that is. But it's just it seems to me as though it's almost just for the sake of creativity, I think.

Brian Smith  46:05  
Yeah, I think so, too. So let's talk about the experience you have, because I think it's fastened, because to me, it reminds me a lot of near death experience. But let's let's talk about, you know, just Why do you think it is that this this drug releases or expands or whatever your consciousness, and let's tie that in with the idea of Pan psychism and pan pantheism. And all the other things we talked about?

Ren Koi  46:34  
Well, I think I think that the the element of Pan psychism. And then the other theory, that I jive with is that consciousness is in everything. So, you know, at the base level, quantum physics tells us that everything is basically there's nothing there, but that everything is space. So you know, the atoms, that when atoms are broken down, the vast majority of what's going on, there is nothing. Now that doesn't make any sense, does it? So there has to be something in that nothingness. And I believe that, that whatever that is, you know, this this energy consciousness, you know, there's so many different ways of trying to like explain it like the mind of God, like, how do we put it into words, but whatever that thing is, that is what is emanating, like as it as it as it becomes denser and denser that then matter is created. So to have that as a starting point, makes total sense to me. Were these experiences and you know, why the psychedelics give you these experiences, is I believe, so that you can understand that the material world and all the things that you think that you need your life to make you happier, just don't matter. So, so that we can so that we can go on some sort of a journey, and you can, and, as I said before, you know that your spiritual experiences are going to be different to my spiritual experiences. So there's going to be things in my life that I'm going to have to overcome, that you won't have to overcome, and vice versa. So like, currently, the thing in my life that causes me the most pain is my addiction to chocolate. And it's been it's been that way for ever since ever since I stopped drinking. It's been that way, where there's been things that have crept into my life. First it was sex and relationships, then it was, you know, buying material things like clothes and stuff like that. And then more recently, over the last few years, it's been chocolate. So chocolate is what I use to fill my a hole in my soul, when I'm not good when I'm not doing things that I shouldn't be doing. Yeah. So my journey at the moment is to try to do what use all the tools to overcome that, that part of my addiction. And I believe that that is, you know, edging me ever closer to let's call it enlightenment, not that I believe that I'm ever going to become enlightened in this particular lifetime, but it's edging me ever closer to it. I believe the more things that we drop out of our lives that are not, you know, not useful to us, the closer we come to experience in life consciousness.

Brian Smith  49:32  
Yeah, well, I we kind of jumped into I use some terms like pan psychism pantheism, that the listener might not be familiar with. So explain to people what what this actually means. What is this concept of the universe you have when you say all as well, I mean, we all understand that the concept of there's a creator guide, who's sits up in a throne and creates the universe and we're all separate from him and all separate from each other. So how does all in one How does it differ from that?

Ren Koi  50:01  
Well, Pan psychism suggests that there is an element of consciousness in absolutely everything so that even a stone has consciousness. Now, what it doesn't do is it doesn't profess that the stone can think like a human being and things, it suggests that there's different levels to consciousness. So the consciousness of a human being compared to the consciousness of, say, an ant, or a bee, or spider. It's the same consciousness, but it's just different levels of it. So it as a, an intricate human brain has developed over millions of years through evolution to a point where it can actually assess itself. So it's aware of itself being conscious. What the pan psychist suggests, is that a dog, for example, the dog is conscious, but it isn't aware of the fact that it is conscious. So we're ever ever evolving. And that's, that's what Panasonic is. That's the reason I think that that is true, I believe that that is a good case for what the universe actually is. Now, the question that then sits behind that, for me, is still well, where does the consciousness come from? So some people might suggest that, you know, a higher power of God, some sort of being created this consciousness, whereas others would say, the consciousness is God. So God is experiencing itself, through ever progressively evolve in life forms. And again, it's just kind of a matter of faith and belief, I suppose that's the thing that jives with me. It might change. You know, I mean, 10 years ago, I was completely in the dark, and had absolutely no idea about any of this stuff. So, you know, now, this is my current understanding. I don't, you know, Brian, I'm a fairly intelligent person, I'm not the most intelligent person that I know, by any stretch of the imagination. And a lot of this is very mind bending for me, like, when I was reading, you know, reading it and writing about it, I was kind of like, you know, I was I'm gonna reread it. And I was, also I was trying to simplify these concepts. So that, because I knew the type of people that I wanted to read the book, I didn't, I didn't want this for, for a lot of scholars, I wanted this to be for the everyday person. I've given the book to, you know, to people that I know. And they've said, it's quite hard to get your head round, but that, you know, they just have to kind of keep keep with it, and then they kind of get it.

Brian Smith  52:39  
Well, you know, what I find fascinating about it is, is that I am an I am a scientist by nature, and I don't understand it. And I've heard it, I heard I came up with the guy's name, he said, you said, if you think you understand quantum physics, then you just haven't got a clue. And that's kind of where I am I, you know, and why I hear about Einstein's theory of relativity. What I can, I can understand is the big the big picture is that that there is no time that time is an illusion, that it's something that our brain perceives, but it doesn't exist in the sense that we think it exists, and it is definitely relative. So it's not absolute, the way that we think it is. But what's really cool for me is like and I love with you, like you study these ancient philosophies, and religions, along with the science is a kind of merging together. So even though I don't understand, for example, the double slit experiment, and I've heard about it, and I know that it says consciousness can affect things. But this is what the ancients have told us. You know, and I learned a little bit more about Hinduism. I had a friend that has a handy when I interviewed him for my podcast. And I'm like, this is exactly where your current philosophy is going with idealism. And this is where this is where science is starting to go with us where they're saying, the universe seems to be conscious, we don't understand what that means. But it's it seems to be so it makes sense. You know, this idea that consciousness naturally precedes the material with the cactuses material sits on top of it, you know, that, that's not really separate that you know, because, you know, people say, well say materials just say, Well, where did the consciousness come from? Well, I say, where did the material come from? If we had a big bang, where did that start?

Ren Koi  54:15  
Yeah, and the scientific explanation for that, that really works is this idea of a zero point field. Yes. They know that the zero point field, which is a vacuum can, like matter of can actually be created in a vacuum, which sounds completely insane, right? That's scientifically proven. So they know that if this zero point field does exist, then matter being created from the zero point field is a definite and that zero point field in itself could be the precursor to everything so that could be God. You

Brian Smith  55:00  
You know, yeah. Which is exactly what the Hindus said 10,000 years ago.

Ren Koi  55:03  
Exactly. And it's exactly what and it's exactly what they were trying to achieve at CERN, wasn't it? You know? Was Was it called the,

Brian Smith  55:13  
the collider? I can remember. Hadron Collider? Yes, yes, yes.

Ren Koi  55:18  
But they were trying to they were trying to create that experiment where they were trying to create a particle out of a vacuum. And they did it, you know, they created what they call the God particle. So, we know that, that that is possible. And, and another point of the book was that science will one day prove what the Hindus were saying 1000s of years ago, and that to me again, you know, like when I was saying to you earlier on that these things just seem obvious. That, to me seems obvious. So it's like, you know, I wrote this book, I put down what I think is a pretty good argument to suggest that that will be the case that one day science will kind of prove all this stuff that that, you know, the mystics, the mystics have told us. And then at that point, as Chad was like, I'm done. I'm like, I'm, I put that book down. And I'm like, I'm done. Because, to me, I've convinced myself from writing the book, you know,

Brian Smith  56:15  
I think the book is so so important, though. I don't know if you mentioned if you mentioned the book. Are you familiar with the work of Bernardo kastrup? Yes. Yeah, yeah, I thought you had. So I guess I read the book. It's been a little while ago, but I am like a huge fan of him. And I got him on the podcast. So I was so it was such a great thing. And I think it's, I think it's such an important idea, because our western minds have gotten so caught up with and you said it, just then science is going to prove it has to be proven for us to believe it. Yeah, for 1000s of years, people have said, this is obvious is this, this is the way that it is. And man just accepted it up until about 200 years ago. And about 20 years ago, we got this mindset that says, Well, nothing's true until we can prove it. So now we're running around trying to prove it. And like you said, you know, it becomes, in math, they call intuitively obvious, after a while becomes intuitively I was I don't need a proof at this point. You know, I, you know, you and I, now we can enjoy the universe. And we can say, you know, that guy that ran in front of you that was that was a sign you know, the card on the French, I saw that I can say that, I don't need to understand exactly how it works. That's, that's great if we ever figured out but I don't, I don't know that we ever I don't think our brains are capable of figuring it out.

Ren Koi  57:32  
I think that one day, we will evolve past this experience, you know, whatever this experience as a human being is now I think that, you know, within the next few 100 years, it's probably going to be over and something else will take our place, whether it's you know, a with machines, or whether machine AI takes over from us, I don't know. But I think that at that point, then we might start to, you know, whatever comes after us might start to be able to understand that the true nature of the universe. I mean, I'll just tell you the quick quick, you know, we talked about coincidences and signs, etc. So this is the story that changed everything for me was was in early in early kind of abstinence. So I wasn't actually in recovery. At this point, I went to Thailand, had a month in Thailand, where I was so bad, I didn't want to drink. And then I arrived in Australia. And my partner got a job working in a, in a fashion store. And the guy that managed the fashion store was, was a born again, Christian. So me and him kind of like had quite a lot of philosophical conversations. And I was explaining to him that this miracle had happened to me. You know, I said, Before I came here, I was, I was drunk, you know, had to drink every single day. And now, I don't drink a miracle, you know? And I said, I don't understand what's happened. I don't understand why this is. So he said, he said, all you need to do is just ask for a sign, and you'll get one set. Okay? So you know, if you'd if you want to believe if you if you don't believe that there is a God, God will give you a sign. So I said, Okay. So I left the shop that that evening. And on the way home, I was looked up at the stars, and actually, I've got a tattoo on my shoulder, which is a tattoo of a woman which is represents Venus, and then a lot of stars around her and the moon because the moon was shining really bright, and I could see Venus as well. And all the stars around it. And it was just a beautiful moment. And I just said, Okay, God, if the you know, if you exist, I really need a sign. I really need something to prove it. So I went home, and I went to bed that night, and I woke up the next day and I went to work. Now, the day before all this happened, I'd been at work and what my kind of like morning ritual tended to be I'd get to work. And I'd switch on Facebook and I'd go on social media and I just met because obviously I was over the other side of the world so Do you know message anybody, any family members or friends or anybody like that, or you know, just have a quick look what was going on back home. But on that particular day, it just came to my mind that I should search for my childhood friend Angela, because I hadn't seen her for about 10 years. The last time I saw her actually was on our 18th birthday. So it had been over 10 years since the last Syrah. But she just popped into my mind. So I searched for I wasn't actually friends with on Facebook at this point. So I searched for on Facebook couldn't find, search for it, or the means couldn't find. And and that was that had that conversation, went to bed, woke up the next day, went walked into work, sat down at my computer, logged on to my computer went onto Facebook. And there was a friend request waiting from Angela Moffitt. Wow. And I was obviously as you can imagine, I was like blown away by that. So I answered the friend request accepted. It went onto a page, we're looking at photographs, like a recent photographs. And there's all these photographs of her in Australia. And the places that I'd been to recently. And I was like, that's a bit strange. So I sent her a message. And I said, I was crazy. I was thinking about yesterday, I can't believe you sent me a message. I said, it looks like you might be in Australia, please. You know, this is my number, please give me a call. So she rang me that night. Turned out she lived about 15 minutes around the corner from where I lived in Australia, which is unbelievable. But the weird thing was as well where she was going traveling within the next couple of days. And I was going traveling within the next couple of days. And I actually ended up leaving Australia and going home. So I never got to meet her in Australia. But six months later, she moved she came over to the UK to visit family. So we met up in the UK. And when I told her the story, she just said exactly the same thing. She said she was just a computer. And the thought of me came to her mind. And she just thought, Oh, I wonder what John's doing and I'll check. So she checked. And that was a that was how we found each other.

Brian Smith  1:02:05  
Yeah, you know, I that actually is I got goosebumps just listening to that. And that's just, you know, it just, that's the title of your book. And so are all we're all connected, and we don't we're connected in ways that we don't know. And when we start to open up to the possibility, then we can see it. And you know, so because a lot of people say Oh, well, that's just a coincidence. Well, that is way more than a coincidence.

Ren Koi  1:02:28  
It is and just to, to, to cement it just to make it an even more dramatic story. So because I am because I'm very pessimistic and a very rational person like you as well, like I do pride myself on not, you know, not just believe in things. And even though that happened, I still wasn't like, it didn't automatically make me think oh my god, there's you know, there's definitely a god I was I was even then I was like, Oh, well, that was a crazy coincidence. So when I went when I went when we set off traveling, I'd been another woman that worked at the store where my my partner worked. She was a she was a black woman. And the reason why I say that will become clear in a moment. She's a black woman. And she had a sister that lived in Alice Springs, he was apparently pregnant because she talked about her a lot. And, you know, and told us loads of stories about her and stuff. So anyway, we we flew to Alice Springs, and we hired a rental car. And as we were setting off into the Outback to go camping. I said, you know, we need to go to the store and pick up some supplies. So we pulled up at the store. And as we were walking into the store, this pregnant black woman was walking towards us. And sorry, the bit that I've missed out as well as as we were driving towards the store, I said to my partner about we'll see roses sister, and she said, why would you see roses sisters like 1000s and 1000s of people in this town. And I said, I've just got this feeling that we're going to see. So we're walking into the store that this pregnant black woman walking walking towards me. And I just walked over to her I just said excuse me, I said, Do you have a sister called Rose who lives in Melbourne? She said, Yeah, I was like, Well, I know this will seem a bit weird and straight away. I think she thought it was like Candid Camera or something. And she was like, where's the cameras? And I said that I said I'm sorry. I don't mean to alarm you I said the strangest thing is that my partner here has been working with your sister in Melbourne for the last six months. And she just happened to mention that she had a sister that lived in Alice Springs and I said and I was convinced that we were going to bump into you and he you are so she was just freaked out really like she kind of almost like run away from us. And then when we'd been to the store and we went into the Outback we went camping. So a couple of days later, same woman Rose had recommended a book book to me called Don't sweat the small stuff and it's all small stuff which this little one As we arrived in the campsite, we the campsite that we wanted to go in was booked up. So we had to go into another campsite just for one night. When we went in there it was, it wasn't very nice. It was a bit of a bit of a bit of a rundown place. So I was a bit disgruntled. And I said, I'm gonna go and change my book at the book exchange. So what was the book exchange gave the woman my book, walked over to the bookshelf, and the first book that I picked up was don't sweat the small stuff, and it's all small stuff. Wow, wow. So those three things happened to me. And that was when I was I was after that I was convinced that I was like, There's no way that that is not something more something bigger, you know, some sort of higher power. I can't explain it. But from that day onwards, I was convinced.

Brian Smith  1:05:50  
Well, I have to say the I think the book is a great exploration of these concepts and tying things together, as we've as we've been discussing over the last hour or so, you know, the religion, the philosophy, the science, and I love having you on so people can understand you're not some some crazy, we will guide this just believe stuff, because you believe it. This is it's well researched, it's really well researched. It's really enjoyable book. So as we're coming to the end of our time, is there anything else you'd like to leave us with as far as a parting message or anything last word you'd like to say before we call it a day?

Ren Koi  1:06:26  
Yeah, I mean, I've just, obviously I'd love people to read the book. But one thing that, that I'm really interested in hearing people's stories. And so I would love people to get in touch with me through our books. So it's Dash As I said, I don't have my podcast on my website or social media anymore. But I'd love to hear from people with their stories. And yeah, maybe there'll be another book at some point in the future.

Brian Smith  1:06:57  
Yeah. And just so everybody knows, it'll be in the show notes. But I like to put like to get it on on air. Also, it's all always won by Ren coy. That's r e n k or I. It's available on Amazon, I believe, and it's available at Oh dash You can get contact with Ron, they're great meeting you really great evidence conversation with you.

Ren Koi  1:07:17  
Wonderful, thank you. It's been a real pleasure. I've really enjoyed it. All right, enjoy

Brian Smith  1:07:21  
your evening. Thank you. Don't forget to like, hit that big red subscribe button and click the notify Bell. Thanks for being here.

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