Clare Goldsberry has been a life-long student of religion and spiritual paths and has studied Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, Gnosticism, Kabbalah, Ageless Wisdom traditions, and philosophy.
Clare has looked outside of herself for answers. Now, she turns within. At one time she studied for the ministry prior to being called to Buddhism and taking up that path.
She is a writer who has published several books including A Stranger in Zion, a book about her journey into and out of Mormonism, and The Teacher Within Finding and living your personal truth. Her latest book, The Illusion of Living and Dying: Mind Consciousness, and Eternal Being is the result of helping her significant other through his journey of esophageal cancer and subsequent death, why we need to understand life and how all phenomena exist, and the death process in order to live a fearless life and have a good death.
Clare practices Buddhism, studies Hindu philosophy, and quantum physics – a parallel path to the Eastern philosophies.
Brian Smith 0:01
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Clare Goldsberry 2:45
Thank you very much, Brian, I appreciate being here. Yeah, it’s good to meet you, Claire. I’m really interested to dig deeper into your spiritual journey. It sounds like we have a lot in common when it comes to that. So what I like to do is start with like, where did how did you get started on the spiritual path? Where did you begin? Well, I think it began, probably when I was a child, because I’ve always been interested in religion, spirituality,
obviously, starting out in Christianity as a Protestant Christian, having been raised to go to church every Sunday and, and always read the Bible and do all those good things that Christians are expected to do. And when I became a teenager, I started asking questions. And that sort of, is the point where sometimes you can get into trouble, you know, when you start asking the questions, right, especially if they’re questions that some people don’t know how to answer. And I, I ran into Mormonism, and that was my first step outside of Protestant Christianity. I met a man at work and we started dating and, and I married him. And the minister at my church said, Well, you will convert to Mormonism. And I said, No, I will. I’m happy with where I’m at. And he said, No, Claire, you will convert to Mormonism, because you have a lot of questions, and the Mormons have all the answers. So I didn’t understand the implications of that at the time. But as as we went on, and we moved to Utah back to Utah, and where my husband at that time was from, and I began to see what he meant, because the Mormons have all the answers because they believe they have all the truth. And I kind of went along with that. I was ultimately in Mormonism for 10 years. And, and that particular book that I wrote a stranger in Zion is not available anymore in print, but it is free on my website for anybody that would be curious about that journey. And I began to see that maybe they didn’t have the truth. And if they don’t have the truth, and where is the truth. And after 10 years, I was actually excommunicated from the Mormon church for preaching false doctrine. They have all the truth, so anything else has to be false, right? So. But that really then began my journey further and deeper into, you know, what is the truth? And where is it found? Is the Bible have you know, the truth? What about other other kinds of spiritual traditions or religions? And where is it, and I was just sort of led doors just opened, and I just became interested in different things. I discovered the Gnostic Gospels, in about 1989, I guess, I discovered they’d been around for a number of years, but I had not heard of them, because of course, they’re not talked a lot about within mainstream Christianity or Catholicism or Protestantism. So I began reading those, and I found them absolutely fascinating. And I began reading other different texts, ancient texts, I began reading some philosophy, such as Plato, and Aristotle and Socrates and some of the ancient wisdom teachers. And I actually fell into Buddhism, while I was studying for the ministry. And I was, I was at a class, I was going, taking ministerial classes at ASU through Claremont School of Theology over in Claremont, California.
And I was sitting there listening to what the teacher was saying, and all of a sudden, my inner voice came on, which I’ve heard periodically throughout my life beginning when I was 10. And it said, What are you doing here at Claire? And I thought, Oh, that’s a good question. Maybe I don’t know what I’m doing here. And, and so I had, I had this beautiful loft library in my home, and I was putting some books away one day, and a book fell out off the shelf, it was a high shelf, and I knocked it and it fell off, and it hit me in the foot. And it was Alan Watts the way of Zen. And I’d had the book for about 20 years, I bought it when it first came out thinking, Oh, this was something I was, you know, going to understand and study, but I didn’t understand it. It was like reading Greek. So. So I picked it up, and I opened it up, and I just read a paragraph. And all of a sudden, it hit me, I go, wow, this is it. This is fascinating. I, I get it, I get it. And so I began studying Buddhism at that point, and really got into it in the in the early 1990s. And really became quite involved with reading about Buddhism, although I didn’t go to a sangha or anything at that time. But I never gave up studying everything else as well. And so when I say I’m very eclectic, and everything I read, I read, I just came to the point that I said, there is no singular truth out there. And I came to the realization that my truth is in here it is within it is within myself, it has to do with my experiences with my perceptions with who I am. And so I began just being very open to everything. Although I have always come back to the Buddhist philosophy, because even after I started studying quantum physics, which is very parallel to Buddhist philosophy, and Hindu philosophy, as well, because they’re both dealing with the mind and the science of mind and how we create what we, what we experience, how we create the world, all the phenomenal world that we see is all created in the mind by the mind because as my favorite quantum physicists would say there is no out there out there. It’s all in here. And in 2002 I had I had met a by this time I had been before Horse for a number of years and I met this man and, and he was it was a great guy and okay, this is it. We like clicked. It was like, Okay, I’ve known this person before, maybe a previous life because by this time, I had come to realize that certain experiences I’ve had through my life, indicated that I had had a previous life. And so I knew that I knew him from somewhere. And we just, we could finish each other sentences right from day one. It was it was amazing. And I thought, Okay, this is it. And so we became significant others. And things were just going along great until 2002. He was diagnosed with esophageal cancer. And I was stunned. I was I, I’ve never known anybody who’d had cancer. Oddly enough, I guess that’s odd. In today’s world, never to know anybody that had cancer. Everybody in my family lived to be 90 something or 100. Or I had one great aunt who lived to be 104. She used to she used to laugh, she would say, I think God forgot about me. He’s leaving me. She was ready to go. She didn’t like God remembered her. So this was a shock to me. And I think it shocked me more than it did Brent. His name was Brent Dupree. And but it began a very different journey, where I was really called to not just know about Buddhism. But I was called to really come to an understanding of Buddhism, from my deep understanding, not just this intellectual, oh, yeah, I know the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Noble Path. And better than that, I really came, I was forced to really dig deep and find what that meant.
What does impermanence mean? What does non attachment mean? What does living in equanimity, equanimity, no attachment to those held close, no aversion to those held remote living in equanimity, that even mindedness that helps us remain stable and steady, and not get pulled off, and all kinds of upsets and an anger, or even or even sadness, or things that that destroy our happiness and our peace of mind. Brent lived for about 18 months, which is a long time for somebody with esophageal cancer, but he chose to have surgery, but did not have any other treatments. And so that began my writing about his journey, which obviously included me. And so I kept a diary, kind of a diary. Do you know every few days I would write things down things that he would say, experiences that he had experiences that I had. And ultimately, I, I began to say that we don’t really know how to die well, in this country, we we have a lot of fears around death. We, we don’t know how to die. Well, I think because of those fears. And maybe we don’t know how to die well, because we don’t know how to live well. I think fear of dying keeps us from living well. And Brent never feared anything in life. He just lived his life. He did everything you wanted to do. He was it was an amazing person who just learned learn to go with the flow. He always was a person that just went with the flow of things. And it never really upset him or I never saw him angry. I never saw him. Everything just was okay. Everything was okay. And that taught me a lot about Buddhism, because even though he knew nothing about Buddhism and had no real faith in and of himself that he hadn’t grown up with anything, so he just innately knew how to live and fortunately for me also knew how to die. And I thought okay, this is this is gonna be an interesting experience, Brent called his journey through cancer and his subsequent death, he called it an excellent adventure. And that was like, Okay, well, I guess I’m, I guess I’m on board for the ride. And so that kind of began this journey, the journey out of the book, the illusion of life and death and, and what it’s about, and why is life and death, illusory. And now we get into obviously, Buddhism or the Eastern philosophies, we get into even looking at Plato, which is why I cover so many different things in the book, not just religion, but but philosophy and the, the full ancient philosophers, and what they thought of life and death. And of course, for Plato, life is just shadows. We don’t know reality. And today’s quantum physicists would tell us the same thing that we really don’t know, reality. And so that began this book. And, and I hope that, that it that it helps people, because I do have it in sections. And we start out actually looking at, you know, what is death? And what is and then we continue to what is life? And why don’t we understand living and dying? And I think it’s important, if we’re going to have a good death, that we learn to live a good life. People ask me, Well, what is a good debt? That’s the first question that always comes up? What is a good debt? How can death be good, you know, and yet, to have a good death is one without fear, one without regrets. Think understanding how we die, is very important. Understanding that all is impermanent, and that everything changes, but nothing, nothing is extinguished. Everything is eternal, the mind the mind that we have not the brain, which is a physical object, but the mind is eternal.
So I’m starting out, you know, the, in the introduction, even you know, what is death? What is death, death is just the flip side of the coin of life, life of life, the minute we are born, we begin our journey into death. In fact, one of the ancient philosophers it might have been, might have been, Seneca said that life is just a journey into death. And obviously, we don’t know when we’re going to die, or how we’re going to die. And I think that it’s the mystery that makes us fearful. We don’t like mysteries really. We don’t like the unknown, the unknown is frightening. It can be, it can be very scary. Even when we go to, when we travel, we go to an unknown place, we never know what we’re going to meet how we’re going to, you know, what am I going to eat? What are they going to feed me, I don’t know if I’m gonna like this place. So we don’t really like the unknown, and we don’t like change. And I think one of the things about the Buddhist tradition, the It’s a philosophy of, of change, and how to adapt to change, because everything will always change. And whether we know it or not, whether we like it or not, even our bodies are constantly changing. Day by day, our cells, our cells die was a we experienced little mini deaths every day. As our cells die. We get, you know, we get new hair, we get new skin, we get new fingernails, things are always changing. We’re just not that aware of it. And I think this lack of awareness, about change and about impermanence really keeps us from looking at at death and what it is, and how we can have a good death and what it means. People think death is is the end. And I think that’s due to a lot of our Judeo Christian upbringing, where people, people believe life begins on a specific day and ends on a specific day. It begins when we take our first breath. It ends when we take our last breath. And that’s very far from the truth. And I think that one of the things that people don’t think a lot about and I think because of the western ideals of of Judeo Christianity, we don’t really think about reincarnation. Now reincarnation can be is a good thing or a bad thing depending on what you think about this life. I had an elderly friend a few years ago, she was she was actually in her 90s. And she would talk about, you know, death and so forth. And she because yeah, I’m gonna die, I’m gonna, but it’s the, it’s the app, because I’ve just had, I don’t like this life, I don’t want to come back. I want anything to do with this life, because it’s, it’s not a good thing. And so if your life hasn’t been good, the thoughts of reincarnation or incarnating, again, in another body just seems terrible. Because people think, well, you’re going to come back here, and this is a pretty crummy place. And even the Buddha said, Life is pain and suffering. So why in the world do I want to come back here? So for some people, the idea of reincarnation isn’t very welcoming. For others, the idea of reincarnation can be quite helpful. alleviates some of the mystery about you know, do I and does the I is the me, the me who is Claire in this life? Does it end? Or is there something that continues? And I think that, that reincarnation has long been a part of many of the ancient philosophies, the ancient wisdom traditions, obviously the Eastern philosophies of Hinduism and Buddhism. But even one little hint, in the New Testament, where the disciple of Jesus asked the disciples, Who do men say that I am?
And the disciples answered by saying, Well, some people think you’re Elijah, or Elijah are one of the prophets. And so even then there was this idea that somehow we come back, that it’s not the end when we die, that we do come back. And and I think that’s, that’s good to remind people when they say, well, Christians don’t believe in reincarnation, but in a way they do. And actually, the Pew Research Reports on religion and public life, show that there are more Christians that do believe in reincarnation now than there than there were saved, you know, even 20 or 30 years ago. I don’t know whether that’s because the Eastern philosophies are talked about a lot. Buddhism is one of the fastest growing spiritual traditions in the United States. More people are affiliating or say they are affiliating with Buddhism, than with some of the mainstream religions. So perhaps there is a greater acceptance of this idea of reincarnation that we do not end. The eye, the Claire carries on, through everything in my mind, body, speech, and mind, all of our activities, the things we have experienced throughout all of our lifetimes, carries on with us. And it’s not that we can remember our past lives, although I think we all get glimpses from time to time, we see a place and all of a sudden, it’s just got this familiarity to it like, Oh, my goodness, I’ve seen that before. And it’s it’s just a flash, and it just, it comes in it goes. And we think wow, you know, maybe I have been here before maybe I did see that somewhere before. And so reincarnation is is not really a strange thing. And in fact, I think it probably has done more good for people as they look at life and death. And the flip side of that is of course, karma. And Karma is a tricky subject. Yeah, you get into karma. And you get all kinds of, you get all kinds of things going here, and people who will What is Karma, some people like karma is retribution. There was a there was a really funny TV show a number of years ago called My Name Is Earl, and the first episode, Earl had won the lottery. And then he had this accident and he lost his lottery ticket. And he realized that he lost a lottery ticket because he had not been nice to a number of people. And so he began this journey of, of going back to everyone he’d ever harmed. And, and making amends and apologizing and forgiving people thinking that it’s my karma. That’s why I lost my lottery ticket. And karma just means action. Actually, it’s an end although my name was Earl. There was a funny show. I think it gave people the wrong idea. If you were using that for your spiritual introduction into karma that might have thrown you off a little bit, you know. And so. So karma is just action. That’s what the word means in Sanskrit, it’s action. And it’s action of body speech and mind that even your thoughts can create karma. And karma isn’t necessarily good or bad. People say good karma, bad karma. Karma is fairly neutral. It is the way we is the way we act. It’s the way we speak. It’s the way we think that whether the, the way we we act, speak or think has a positive impact on people, or a negative impact, you know, do we hurt people with our speech? Absolutely, we do. And, and we can hurt people with our actions, we can even hurt people with our thoughts.
Every time I hear somebody say, I wish so and so would die is like, ache. Don’t say, don’t say, don’t say that. Don’t even think it you know, that’s, you know, because you don’t know what might come back to you for those thoughts. But it also means you could enjoy wonderful things. If you’re kind of people that comes back to you. You’re generous, that comes back to you. So karma is just action. It’s not retribution. It’s not always negative. You know, you hear people say, you know, that’s like, oh, yeah, that person, that person was in a car wreck. boy must have had some bad karma going, Yeah, you never hear people say, wow, they won the lottery, what good karma he must have had it. So you’ve got to look at it as just kind of a neutral action that that actually depends on how we look at it depends on how our body speech in mind, our actions, our words, our deeds, impact others. And if it impacts others for good, then that certainly comes back to us. But it’s always there. I always tell people, karma is like gravity, you may not believe in it, but it’s working. So that’s maybe that helps them understand karma a little bit better. But karma and reincarnation are, are two sides of the same coin. I tell people, karma and reincarnation are like love and marriage, you can’t have one without the other. Because you see people that live their whole lives. And maybe you look at them, and they do terrible things. And yet they seem to be wealthy and famous. So nothing bad ever seems to happen to them. And you say, how how can that be? How can that be? But karma is always in operation, maybe not in this lifetime. And that’s why it’s important for the reincarnation part of it. Because maybe in your next life, that’s when that karma will ripen, as Buddhists say, the karma, the seeds that you planted, when you were in this lifetime begin to ripen in a future lifetime, just like our past lives. This lifetime. Maybe those seeds from our past life will begin to ripen. Because we also, you know, we have that question like Rabbi Harold Kushner years ago wrote the book, why bad? Why do bad things happen to good people? And I think that’s a question that people often ask. And I think that’s why we have to look at karma and reincarnation, what part does that play in our lives? And what does that answer for us? If this plays a role in our life, then what what are those answers? And does it help us understand living? And can it help us understand dying? And what that might mean? So I don’t know if you have any questions.
We’ll get back to grief to growth in just a few seconds. Did you know that Brian is an author and a life coach? If you’re grieving or know someone who is grieving his book, grief to growth is a best selling easy to read book that might help you or someone you know, people work with Brian as a life coach to break through barriers and live their best lives. You can find out more about Brian and what he offers at WWW dot grief to growth.com www.gr IE F the number two g rowth.com. If you’d like to support this podcast visit www.patreon.com/grief to growth www.patreon.com/grie F the number Are two gr O W th to make a financial contribution. And now back to grief to growth.
Brian Smith 30:09
Clare Goldsberry 30:11
just keep going. I give classes on this all really
Brian Smith 30:15
awesome. Yeah, I really I enjoy listening. I do want to jump in with a couple of questions, if you don’t mind. You talked about so you were raised you said in a Protestant tradition. And I don’t know which products or tradition that was. But then you married someone and you went into Mormonism, which is pretty common lot of times people we met we made our spouse or spouse has different faith. I know people that said I will never be Mormon and they married a Mormon and they became Mormon. But you said Mormonism has some answers that your process Protestantism didn’t have? What were some of those answers that Mormonism had?
Clare Goldsberry 30:51
Well, I think what what Reverend O’Neill meant when he said that to me, wasn’t he didn’t mean it that Mormons do have all the answers. Mormons will tell you, they have all the answers. And and so what that means, and I was raised in the, in a denomination called the disciples of Christ Christian Church, founded back during the Second Great Awakening in the early 1800s, by Thomas and Alexander Campbell is a father and son team. And, and so it was kind of a liberal kind of Christianity. Not many rules or regulations are other than baptism and, and taking communion or the sacrament every Sunday, we didn’t really have a lot of rules and regulations. So Mormonism was very different in that respect. But yes, I had a lot of questions. And they do have all the answers Now, that said, are the all the answers right for you? I mean, are these answers the truth? And what do we mean by truth? And and one of the reasons that I wrote the little book that’s still available on Amazon. Finding, you know, the teacher within finding and living your personal truth is that I had discovered through my trip through Mormonism, that they did not have my truth. They have all the answers, you bet. But just because somebody has all the answers, does that mean those answers are right for you? Their answers? But are they for you?
Brian Smith 32:40
Right, right. So I’m curious, what was what was the what was the false doctrine that you were preaching that got you excommunicated?
Clare Goldsberry 32:49
Well, it was kind of interesting, because I used to tell people that, you know, you, you really don’t have to go through all these rules and regulations, and, you know, get married in the temple. And, and, you know, and this sort of thing, because God loves everybody. God loves everybody equally. And, you know, it was kind of funny, because, you know, smoking is taboo. And, and drinking coffee. And I had a little next door neighbor when I lived in Kaysville, which was just north of Salt Lake. And she would make her coffee every morning, and she would open up all the windows of her house to get the coffee smell out, just in case the bishop stopped by. And I used to Tellarites it joy, you know, God doesn’t care if you drink coffee, you go ahead and drink coffee. That’s okay. And, and, and I saw people really they were very, they were always in this this corner. They were always sick, never sure what to do. I might do something that, you know, the bishop doesn’t like, I might do something that you know, and it was always this. And I said, That’s not the way to live. No, God loves everybody. He loves you. You know, you think God doesn’t love you? Because you smoke a cigarette? I don’t know. I’ve never smoked, but I just, you know, people would say, oh, you know, I smoked a cigarette. Oh, my goodness, I’m you know, and I said, you know, relax. You know, God loves everybody. And it was and it was so hard for me to deal with there because I lived in this little community that was 99.9% Mormon. And as I started moving away from it, you know, it was just in fact, that’s why I left Utah, and we moved to Phoenix because I just I felt so bad for people. I just it’s like if I could just teach them that God loves everybody. That would be a huge step. Oh,
Brian Smith 35:01
Well, teaching that God loves everybody. We’ll get you kicked out of a lot of churches. There was a guy. His name is Bishop Carlton Pearson. I don’t know if you if you’re familiar with him or not, but he was he was raised up under Earl Roberts. He was kind of like, going to be over Roberts kind of like next guy. In fact, Richard Roberts is Sungai kind of jealous of Carlton because Oral Roberts loved this guy. So they were they were just like really, really tight Carlton at this huge church. And then one day, he had a revelation that God loves everybody. You know, he was praying to God, why are you letting these these babies and Africans watch these babies in Africa and they were dying of famine? He said, Why would you let them go to hell and gods like, Why do you think they’re going to hell? So he has this revelation, and he starts preaching the God loves everybody. He lost his church, 90% of his church walked out on him. You know, so there’s a guy named Rob Bell that started saying that God loves everybody and people turned away from him. So that message is is not welcomed by a lot of churches, which is really, really interesting. But back to Mormonism, this is something that I didn’t know about it for a long, long time. And I want to ask you, how do you feel this relates? Mormons believe in pre existence, they believe that we exist before we come here. So they don’t necessarily believe that our life begins when we come here. But how is that related to reincarnation? Or is it related to reincarnation?
Clare Goldsberry 36:26
Well, it isn’t really related to reincarnation because the goal in Mormonism, what you see is, they have a saying, as man is God wants was, as God is, man may become. So the goal is to do what you have to do in this lifetime. And when you die, you will, if you’ve gone to the temple, if you’ve and to get a temple recommend, you have to, you know, no drinking, no drinking coffee, no smoking, and paying your full tithing, a full 10% of your net, your gross anyway, so the full what gross income I owe 10% of your gross income. And if you cannot meet those criteria, then you cannot get a temple recommend, without a temple recommend you cannot be married to your wife for time and all eternity. And you cannot ever see your children again, if your children go on to the celestial kingdom, because there’s three degrees of heaven, the celestial, the T less steel, and the terrestrial. And so you’re held to these very rigid standards. If you want to go to the celestial kingdom, once you are there, then you are given lots of wives, and you will have spirit children. And the spirit children are what come and occupy the bodies that people have here when they have babies here. It’s kind of convoluted, in a way. Because it’s like okay, they say you’ll never see your family again, unless you get to the celestial kingdom. And yeah, what if your children say your sons and your daughters, your sons get their own planet, their own celestial world in which to have wives and create spirit, children, and your daughters marry men who get their own celestial kingdom. And so you’ve got everybody kind of all split up. But you have to make sure you get to see everybody after this lifetime by going to the temple. And it, it gets very convoluted. And yet there’s a lot of there’s a lot of interesting ancient pagan rituals that are connected with the temple ritual, which is quite long and quite, quite involved. And which the first time I went through it, I just kept saying, God, get me out of here alive. What to get out. I didn’t want to do any more of this, you know. But it’s quite an involved ritual, but very similar to a lot of the ancient pagan rituals that they had at the time. So it was a very interesting 10 year trip. And I’m glad I experienced that. I always said I learned more in my 10 years of Mormonism than I could have ever learned in a theater in a theology school. And at primarily about just how to treat people. I mean, quit holding people to your ideal of, of what’s perfect and what’s right. You know, let people you know, just love people, you know, just, you know, forget all that other stuff, just love people, it doesn’t matter. You know, it’s not not your business, you know, love them. I don’t care if they smoke a cigarette, just love them. I got really, really whacked out about that at one time. I just love people.
Brian Smith 40:30
So yeah, it sounds like you’ve got your own internal compass. But yet we still and this is interesting, because I think I heard you say, when you were talking, what kind of like you really need to turn within? The answers are within. But we had to kind of go out into the world and look for the answers before we find out that they are within us. Yeah, go ahead.
Clare Goldsberry 40:52
Yeah, I think there, I think that there’s some truth to that, because I certainly learned a lot, you know, say when I was in Mormonism, or just studying and just looking at different things, going to even going to different churches and thinking you know, but it does eventually direct you. When I actually quit going to a Christian church, here in Phoenix after after I moved here and got out of Mormonism or was forced out of Mormonism, which was a good thing, I had no regrets about that. I was actually sick because I always sang in the choir, I used to be a very good singer at one time, and always sang in the choir. And I was in the choir at this Disciples of Christ Christian Church here in Phoenix, and I always would sit in the choir loft and look out over the congregation. And I started getting into this thing of wondering why people were there. Why are all these bands I would say, why are all these people here? They’re here every Sunday, I look out I see the same people, they kind of all sit in the same spot. Everybody has their spot at church, you know, right? And. And one day, I looked out over the congregation and I was thinking, why are all these people here? And my inner voice popped on and said, the question, Claire is not why all of those people are here. Why are you here? And it really pulled me up short. And I’m going, oh, never thought of that. Why am I here? So after church, I hung up my choir row and left and never went back. So you’re right. It does take being out there. I think to to give you some some direction, maybe to give you a direction you don’t want to go maybe to answer some questions that you have. But I think you have to be open to all of that. And a lot of times institutional religion can can get us stuck. So I think you you need that. And everybody needs a place to start. And certainly, when I was a child starting there was my starting point. Yeah, it was it led me on. And I think you have to be very careful with what you accept from out there. I think like you said, your compass you’ve got we’ve all got this inner compass that kind of, and some people, you know, oh, at points true north, and that’s where I’m going. And I’m never leaving, you know. One of the things that really turned me around, began to up to the point that I began thinking about all this was Jim Jones. And that group in Guyana that that drank, the cyanide could 900 And some people. And Jim Jones was actually a Disciples of Christ Minister he had, and that’s another thing that kind of struck me Well, that just that doesn’t seem right. It’s like nothing I grew up with. And here are people who he was able to convince all these people to go to this foreign country and establish this place, and then to talk them into killing their children and drinking cyanide laced Kool Aid. And I’m going and all of a sudden, I got this. How does this happen? How can people let this happen? I don’t get it. And yet, in the 90s At when I was living in Utah and practicing Mormonism to some extent, there was during the one of the semi annual conferences at the at Temple Square when they went all the, the apostles and the president of the Mormon church, they gave all their talks, the president of the Mormon church said something that just like, just stopped me in my tracks. He said, When the prophet speaks, the thinking has been done. And I was like, no, no, no, no, no, it has not. Right. You can’t quit thinking.
Brian Smith 45:41
Yeah, well, you know, it’s interesting, as you’re, as you’re saying that, you know, and I grew up in the church myself, and unfortunately, a lot of times people take verses out of the Bible, and they, they use it to brainwash us, right. So they say, We were taught that your heart is wicked, you know, don’t trust your own understanding, you know, trust. Trust the scriptures, not only trust the scriptures, but trust what we tell you about the Scriptures. And you know, go into Jim Jones remind me that quote by Voltaire that he can convince you to, to believe absurdities can convince you to commit atrocities. And so when people and I find aren’t even now people that people will believe, absurd things, and then they’ll go out and commit atrocities. So we’ve all seen that. And Jim Jones is a great example of that, like, like with yourself, even though you did go in these different traditions, Mormon, etc. You never gave up. You never gave up thank you never gave up as asking questions, which I think is really, really important on our journey.
Clare Goldsberry 46:40
It certainly is. And I still see people today I meet people today that they join this church, or that church or the spiritual organization or that one. And they they come thinking that, that they’re going to, they’re going to find the answers that you have all the answers from, if I join this group that you belong to, I’m going to find all the answers. And I tell them, No. In fact, sometimes the questions are more important than the answers. The questions show that you’re still thinking that you’re still. You’re still searching. Now, can you be an eternal seeker and a perpetual seeker? I don’t know. Sometimes I think I am. I mean, I’ll be 75 this year, and here I am. I’m still I’m still going. I still read everything, and I study all this stuff. But truly, I think the questions are more important than that. Because if you never question it, as I have discovered, if you never question and just go along, it can get you in trouble. Like you said, you can you can use the scriptures for good or for ill. It just, you know, what are people telling you? You better find out for yourself before your lead away. Yeah.
Brian Smith 47:55
You touched on. You talked touched on the Gnostic Gospels, which I read very, you know, pretty late in life, too. I didn’t know they existed, you know, and I started reading them. And when you read them, you can see why they were left out of the canon. Because the Jesus in the Gnostic Gospels is telling people think for yourself, stop following other people, you know, the truth is within the kingdom is within. And it’s something that was left in the Bible, and it’s kind of funny, there’s like these little hidden gems and you talked about reincarnation, and I’ve heard the same thing. Oh, Christians don’t believe in reincarnation while they tried to scrub it from the Bible. But it’s still in there. You know, you told the one story about the disciples asking Jesus was they also asked who John the Baptist was, and indicating that he’d had a pre existence. But my favorite is, when they asked Jesus, why the man was born blind, and they said, Who sinned? You know, him or his parents. And we read right over that when we’re in church. And when we try not to believe in reincarnation, but it’s like, wait a minute, how could he have send if you hadn’t been born yet? So they were asking about karma. You know, they were asking what happened that causes men to be born blind. So it’s in there, if we have the eyes, the eyes to see it?
Clare Goldsberry 49:08
Well, as Jesus used to say, Let those who have ears hear, because people don’t often understand, you know, what they’re and what he was meaning when when he taught because he did teach in parables. And he did teach rather obscurely. And I think that’s very evident in in. And the Gnostic Gospels for sure.
Brian Smith 49:29
Yeah. Another thing you said when you were talking that we’re gonna want to follow up on and you said, you had experiences in this life that led you to believe that you had been here before that you that you’re reincarnated? So I’m curious what some of the experiences were.
Clare Goldsberry 49:44
Well, there were just no they were just little fleeting things. I know in the summertime, I grew up on a well it was a small farm. My father worked in the city. But we lived on this small farm and I you know, I had horses my My brothers had cows and that sort of thing. And in the summertime, I would go out and I would lay in the field, and just lay out there and look at the sky, look at the stars. And one evening, I was laying there looking at the stars and thinking, What? What is going on? I’ve seen this before. And then as soon as as soon as I thought it left, and that’s kind of the weird thing. I’ve, I’ve been in a number of different places were just fleeting. It’s like, I’ve seen that before. Or when I met Brad, it was like, we’ve been together before, I know this person. And then it just kind of leaves that, you know, and my inner voice has been a help throughout my life. I first heard it when I was 10 years old. And I think that’s important in talking about listening. I don’t think we listen to our inner voice like we should. When I when I first heard it, it was, I was just sitting back in my thinking tree by the by the creek. And I would lay out on this limb and just listen to the water. I was thinking about what I wanted to be when I grew up, I was 10 years old. And all of a sudden this voice came on. And at the time I said it was God talking to me. And of course, if the kingdom of heaven is within that, certainly where you know, the Divine is or God or the all it is. And my inner voice came on. And it said, you’re going to be a writer, Claire, and always called me by my name whenever I better understand that, but it always does. You’re going to be a writer, Claire, and I thought, Oh, that’s cool. I think I could be a writer I love to read and I’m always writing poetry and this sort of thing. And I never really knew how I would get there. I just sort of went through life and took advantage of opportunities. And here I am.
Brian Smith 52:09
Well, you know, it’s it. The thing is, because as I said, I was raised Christian, I’ve studied Buddhism some too, and I can I understand why you were attracted to it. But you know, when when we’re in the we’re in the I hate to use this word, but it’s true. We’re and we’re in the cult, they brainwashed us against everything that’s outside of what we are, right? So they tell us these things about Buddhism, and that it’s all about, you know, karma, and we’re about grace. And they’re all about, you know, being selfish, it’s all about you, you know, it’s all about yourself. And, and so there is some, I think balance between the two between being other oriented, which, and Christian, a lot of times we get too much of that. And we’re not taught to develop ourselves, we’re not taught and the Buddha was all about developing the mind. And so I’d imagine that’s what attracted you to Buddhism?
Clare Goldsberry 53:00
Well, it is. And when you talk about self, another one of the big practices in Buddhism is, is has to do with self and other there is no self or other. In fact, we’re either self or other, to me, you are other to you, I am other. But there ultimately, there is no self or other. It’s just how we see things. In this level of consciousness with this mind, we see we have that duality in quantum physics, they talk a lot about the duality and non duality. And so one of the practices is exchanging self with other. So I exchange myself with you, and my meditation, and I try to open myself up to what you might be feeling. You know, are you suffering somehow, are you sad? And so I take in that I breathe in your suffering and your sadness, and your pain, and then I breathe out, you know, my, my peace, my calm, my painless SNESs my non suffering to you so that you, you take in that. And so, if people really knew Buddhism, from a from a very, you know, broad standpoint, you would say, of course, there is no self or other, but exchanging self with other helps us to have compassion, greater compassion for all people, when we realize that we’re all neither self nor other, we’re all one.
Brian Smith 54:50
Yeah, yeah, absolutely. Well, you know, the thing is that and when I was saying, you know, we we get in our silos and we build up protective walls. halls. So we stereotype the other, we say, well, this is what this is what blues Buddhism is about, and this is what’s bad about it. And, and I encourage people to study for themselves. Because when I started studying Buddhism, as you that I was like, wow, this is really amazing. Because I, it’s a very scientific approach, it’s very much it’s about learning your own mind. And I don’t, I’ll ask you, do you consider Buddhism to be a religion? Or what would you how would you characterize Buddhism,
Clare Goldsberry 55:31
you know, I would not consider it to be a religion, like an institutional religion, like we think of, in the West, you know, as you know, Catholicism or Protestantism, or the various denominations. Buddhism, I often tell people, it’s a science of mind. Now, granted, there is a science of mind organization, what I’ve studied that too, by the way, ernest holmes, and read the science of mind, and, and I thought, well, this is just Buddhism. I mean, a lot of it was because he did, he did study Buddhism and Hinduism. And so I think that, that ultimately, we have to find what is for us, but it is about a science of mind. It’s an I know, people say, well, it’s atheism. Well, the only reason the difference between Hinduism and Buddhism and Prince, Prince Siddhartha was oriented into Hinduism, he was, you know, blessed by a Brahmin priest and all that. But he did not teach a Creator God, he did not teach Brahma as the Creator God. And the reason he, he did was he told his disciples that he was not going to teach a Creator God, because that just gives you something else to become attached to. And we know that people do become attached to their idea of who God is, or what God does, or, or the kind of church that God approves of. You know, like, God cares which door you walk into on Sunday morning, or you don’t walk into any door on Sunday morning. And I think that that’s important, too, that, that it is a philosophy, I think it’s a philosophy of life. And so sometimes I tell people, it’s a philosophy. It’s not really an institutional religion, because it’s, it is about you. And if you are, if you have a peaceful mind, it’s just like, we used to be, I did go to a sangha here in Phoenix for about six years, and did some formal study. But the the teacher used to tell us on Sunday morning, we always had prayers for world peace at 10 o’clock on Sunday morning. And the reason they do that is because that’s what we’re used to, you know, we in the Judeo Christian, when we go to Sunday school, we go to church at 10 o’clock on Sunday morning. And she used to tell people, because a lot of people came, who maybe had never been in a Buddhist Sangha before. She say, you know, we say prayers for world peace. And maybe you came here this morning thinking that we’re going to pray for the world to be more peaceful. She’s, well, I’ve got news for you, we are not here to make the world peaceful, we are here to help you gain a peaceful mind. And when your mind is peaceful, the world is peaceful. And I’ve always remembered that I always think that’s so good. Because truly, the world is our creation, out there is my creation from in here. And if I have a peaceful mind, then I can help the world be more peaceful. I can have, I can see a peaceful world, I can create a peaceful world. And maybe there’s all kinds of garbage going on out there. But if I am peaceful, I can, you know, put that out there. I can exemplify that into the world, and maybe the world that I see them will become peaceful.
Brian Smith 59:12
Yeah, you know, as we’re talking about it, I think that my belief is that anybody can be Buddhist, even if you can maintain your own religion, or if you have no religion at all. I mean, some people say, well, Buddhism is atheistic. Well, they can be there are atheists, Buddhists who don’t believe in it, as you said, an accredited guide, and maybe you don’t even believe in what we call an afterlife. They just take the philosophy of what I can observe. On the other hand, you can be a Christian and follow a Buddhist philosophy a lot of Christians do I think it’s a great overlay on to whatever your framework is to really understand, you know, understand yourself and understand how to get control of your mind. I’m, I’m taking a coaching course right now, and they don’t talk about Buddhism, but they talk about doing these things they call PQ Reps, which is just little Many meditations that you do to just get really mindful, you know, several times a day, and I’m like, this is this is Buddhism. But you know, we take it with a different framework, because the Buddha just observed it was going on. He just said, this is what I see. And he just, it was a really great observer.
Clare Goldsberry 1:00:16
Yes, that’s, that’s interesting. And you’re right. It is a philosophy that you can take principles that you want to practice. And anybody can practice those. I mean, impermanence. I mean, how can we deny that there’s impermanence? I mean, every day, everything’s different. You know, how can we deny that, you know, that living in equanimity or trying to maintain an even mind about things and not allow ourselves to get pulled off and become angry or hateful? Anybody can practice that? It doesn’t matter. You don’t have to have to go to a sangha or, you know, there’s certainly no true rules or rituals involved. It’s it’s just your practice. It’s your mind. So Taman.
Brian Smith 1:01:04
Well, impermanence is I think it’s a really big one that you that you talked about, because as you said, we as human beings, we don’t, we don’t like change. We don’t like what’s unknown, but but we know that it exists. And we fight what exists all the time, and I hear people even now, we’re going through turmoil in our world. And I hear so many people saying, I just want to get back to normal, I’m gonna get back to normal. And one of the things we have to accept is, there is no normal, and there is no going back. You know, there’s just, everything’s always changing as we reach a certain age, we can see it, you know, I got the gray in the beard, that’s not gonna go back, you know. That’s, that’s what it is now. So I like what, you know, what you’ve taken and said, and you’ve, you’ve kind of taken all these things and kind of seeing how they overlap parallels. So I like to ask you to just for the audience to kind of to say, Tell us, what do you see as the parallels between Buddhism, which we say there’s a philosophy and between, say, quantum physics? So what are what are the parallels that what do you see similar that between those?
Clare Goldsberry 1:02:06
Well, obviously, quantum physicists are talking more and more about the unexplored territory of the mind. And what is the mind? And where is the mind, and they have come to a lot of interesting conclusions, one of my favorites is the observer effect. And they know that a scientist can impact the results of an experiment, just by observing it. Because what the scientist is expecting to happen, often happens, without seemingly any other interference, other than the science, the scientists thought, that’s what he wanted to see. So there is the observer effect. And, and we, as we observe, as we look, one of the sayings in Buddhism is, everything is created in the mind by the mind, nothing has any inherent reality from its own side. And that is something that absolutely the quantum physicists are saying that there is no inherent reality. Reality is what we create. And it’s an illusory reality. It is not the real reality. Is there a real reality? Yes, there is. It’s an ultimate reality and Buddhism, it would be called Ultimate Reality as opposed to conventional reality or conceptual reality. This is reality. Because I say it’s reality, because I see it separate, you know, the lamp is separate from me. So that’s over there, and I’m here. So the lamp is reality. And yet, there is no inherent reality for anything. And I’ve often thought, well, maybe we’re just, we’re just here because God is observing us. If God closes his eyes, do we all disappear? Always asking myself funny questions. But that’s just one example of the many ways in which thoughts of the mind coincide with how physicists are thinking now about reality and how reality exists, and how we create our own reality, which is why it’s sort of different for everybody. Buddhists would say that the mind is in the heart chakra. It’s, it’s not in the brain. The brain is where the sensations take place, where, you know, it operates our nervous systems, what we see hear, taste, touch, that sort of thing. But the mind is what gives us all of our perceptions of all of these things. We can see well, that’s a beautiful painting, or we see a painting is it a beautiful painting? Well, I may think it is you may think it is. You know that that sort of thing. So the mind is the software, the brain is the hardware. And it’s the way I like to explain it to people. So I think and more and more of a quantum physicists are coming to, to that as well, that there is something that influences everything that we cannot put our finger on. There’s something that exists beyond whatever we can see, feel taste touch, which is very different than it was in the, in the 17. And 1800s, when science took over, and everything became realism, and the spiritual life was kind of shoved aside. Know, if you can’t see it, taste it, touch it, feel it, you know that it doesn’t exist. And now they’re coming back around to, yes, everything exists, Nothing ceases to exist. It all exists, whether it’s manifest, like I am manifest to you, and you are manifest to me. Or it may be unmanifest. And tick, not Han used to say that even when we die, you still exist. But you are no longer manifest. You’re not manifest. But someday you will be manifest again, too. So I think that’s a beautiful way of looking at it. We’re still in existence, we’re just not manifest on this level of consciousness.
Brian Smith 1:06:31
Right. Right. Exactly. I think that’s important to add on this level of consciousness. So I do want to ask you, we’re kind of running out of time. But I do want to ask you this. Because the ultimate, we talked about how we don’t like impermanence, and we don’t like change, and the ultimate impermanence to us, as we’re in these forms, and the ultimate change is death. So how does your philosophy your science, your your religion? How does it influence how you see see death now and what’s beyond?
Clare Goldsberry 1:06:58
Well, I think it certainly, it certainly made me more comfortable with it, it’s made me more comfortable with it. For other people, and for myself, I see it as kind of a flip of the switch that, that we will, we will always have consciousness, we will always be conscious on some level. Even when Brent was dying, he’s dying here at home. And, and he had worked up until just a couple of weeks prior to his death. We had hospice, they brought in the the hospital bed, and all of that. And he was always on experiencing different levels of consciousness. And one time, he was several times, actually, he would call to me, and I’d be back here in my office working and I’d go out and I’d go, yes, no, and he would go, Am I dead yet? And I know, not yet. But he was already having those departures, those little departures where he was seeing other people and other things. And so he was confused about am I dead yet that kind of thing. And so I think it has, it has certainly given me a more open way of, of embracing death as well as embracing life. And I think the the idea that death is some failure of the medical system as I write about my book, or, you know, some failure of a doctor or, or it’s a terrible thing. And, and I think that certainly when when people die, you know, I, you have those feelings while they’re gone. But it’s not. It’s not a feeling that they’ve ended, they’re still they’re still in existence. And that death isn’t, isn’t all that bad. When I when my father was killed in a car wreck back in, in 2003, and it was like, and all I could feel was, wow, his big goal had been to die before my mother, because everybody in my family lives so long. He was afraid that if my mother died first, he wouldn’t have anybody to take care of him. And he had this adult onset progressive muscular dystrophy. So he needed it. I needed some caretaking at that late stage in his life. He was 83. And and I thought, wow, how cool. He got his wish. And everybody said, Oh, it’s so terrible. Your dad died. And I said, No, no, it’s great. This is what he wants. It’s a good thing. So in that respect, it’s given me a new outlook on things.
Brian Smith 1:09:55
Yeah, absolutely. I think that’s a great way to kind of wrap things up for Today I like to let people know where they can reach you. So if you could say and spell your website and get get the name of the book, so anybody wants to get the book and pick it up.
Clare Goldsberry 1:10:09
Okay, sure. My website is just Claire goldsberry.com. And that see L A, R E, G, O L D dsvrry.com. And the name of the book, which can be purchased at any of your favorite booksellers online in stores, is the illusion of life and death, mind consciousness and eternal being.
Brian Smith 1:10:37
Awesome, clear. It’s been really wonderful getting to meet you and to learn more about your journey. Thank you for sharing that and sharing your wisdom with us this afternoon.
Clare Goldsberry 1:10:46
Thank you. Nice meeting you as well. All right,
Brian Smith 1:10:49
enjoy the rest of your day.
Clare Goldsberry 1:10:50
Thank you, you too.
Brian Smith 1:10:56
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Transcribed by https://otter.ai