Michelle Mitchell recommended Todd to this project. It took us a while to get a date and time nailed down, but we finally worked it out for this lovely spring morning. I showed up at Todd's door, which was wide open, and he greeted with me a smile as big as the room. We chatted over coffee and fresh pineapple for about an hour before getting into interview mode and connected well during that time, opening the door for a sense of familiarity in the interview portion of our conversation together and allowing us to dig pretty deep here.
I occasionally run into people who shared Todd's belief that 'people are doing the best they can with the awareness they have' and, I have to say, that sentiment does not resonate with me at all. We have a great discussion regarding that towards the end of the interview and I’m a huge proponent of great discussion. I'm thankful for meeting him and chatting with him and I'm so glad to be able to share our conversation with you here. Keep an eye out for Todd. I'd pretty much guarantee that your encounter with him will lift your spirits.
ACT: Who are you and how would you describe yourself?
TC: My name is Todd Cover. My friend's call me TC. I am a human, living this human experience (laughs) - pretty excited about it. I've been in Bend since 1996. And I'm a dreamer and an adventurer - I love new experiences. And just doing my best to suck the life out of this human experience the best I can and also help people realize their greatness, as well.
ACT: I'm starting to offer a warning or a healthy encouragement to avoid answering this question in a particular way. I've found through asking these questions, that there's an unspoken list of right answers that people will grab. It makes them a feel a certain way to say and it makes them look a certain way to say it. And I think that's about as deep as it goes. So, avoid that as much as possible for this. I want to know what concerns you about the human experience - yours, mine, everybody around you, and all the people in the world. What breaks your heart? What makes you sad? What affects you personally? And then what motivates you to do something about that?
TC: That's a great question. I'd have to say - like we were talking earlier - fear, I think, is probably the biggest thing that makes me the saddest. And how our society pumps fear for their own power. It feels with social media, the media, the government, pushing fear to have material gain is really sad.
You know, I've been traveling the world the last ten years of my life - traveling with different cultures and seeing how the family unit is a lot tighter in these countries. I just got back from Peru and seeing multiple generations living together... our society has become pretty separated from that. And I think that that is a detriment to the family unit. You know, we're moving to these big cities, we're moving from our towns - all in the name of wanting more money, more success, more material things. And I feel people are really unhappy. It's something that can never be achieved to the max. I believe that self-worth and love comes from within. I think people are looking towards that happiness from outside influences.
Also looking at those countries and the way they treat their elderly, the way that they treat the people with mental disorders and diseases, you know, I think our glamorous society kinda pushes the elderly away and also people with mental illness. I think that countries like Peru really covet those people and look up to their elderly. And I think that's something that we've gotten away from and I think that's a really big detriment to the fabric of our existence - of togetherness. It feels sad to me to see how that's happening - the separateness and the social media and how we're becoming further and further away from each other instead of getting closer together, which we're innately, as humans, meant to be.
ACT: I'm just going to pull a little more out of that if you don't mind. We've been talking for an hour or so, so I feel like we're on a pretty similar wavelength, but for those that haven't been talking with you for the last hour... What's pitched to us in overt and quieter ways unfortunately isn't labeled "fear". And I think when people hear that they might think, "I'm not afraid." We have this bristle - why in the world would I admit a weakness out of a thing I'm putting all of my time and energy into pursuing? So, somehow we need to call it what it is. People are unaware, I think, of these actions that are really detrimental to themselves and everybody around them as being fear. So, what's the simplest way to show that to people? And I think this is potentially really dangerous territory because we want to be right. You want to be right. I want to be right. We all kind of want to be right in some way. Even if it's just to believe in our own path. So, what's the simplest, kindest, and also most direct way to share with people - so many people - that these things that we do are coming from fear and not from love and we're never gonna find what we're looking for? Do you have language for that? Does that resonate with you?
TC: Yeah. It totally resonates with me. How do we hold space for people to heal? What do we do to be able to allow people to tap into their innate greatness? I guess I can only speak from my own experience about trying to identify the human experience and looking at my own experience in this and kind of diving deep into what's causing this pain and suffering in people. What's causing suicides to happen and widespread depression amongst people that live in Bend? We have a great life here and I hear about depression a lot. I have depression and have experienced it myself, as well. And I think a lot of it comes from my mind of not being good, and not being successful enough, and not having enough money, and not being accepted, and not being loved or whatever these feelings the human experience has.
A lot of it has been taught by our parents in ways and it's been their parents and their parents and their parents. Trying to - like we talked about earlier - transcend the things that are inhibiting me from loving myself unconditionally, breaking those belief systems, breaking the mold of this box that society wants to put me in - put us in - so that we can be creative and expressive. Human beings not human doings, right? I think we have a lot of things against us. A mortgage payment, and a car payment, and a family and all these things - this big ball that we have to keep in the air. There's a lot of things that are working against us. And then we have to try to - in that time - find our own self love and self worth and have time for ourselves. It feels like there's a lot against us in that way.
My own personal mission is love myself unconditionally and then also allow people to and allow spaces for people to be able to do the same. Whether that's through events - I have a little community gathering event that I have that's going on its 6th year called Us Fest - working with my business partner, Amy, with The Courage Tribe - trying to promote togetherness through the business channel, through community events, doing Man Camp. My mission, I guess, is to be able to hold those spaces for people to talk amongst each other to be able to be vulnerable to be able to grow and learn and ultimately transcending fear because fear is the base of all those problems.
I was listening to Jason Silva - it was wonderful and I'm excited to share his podcast with you; he's kinda my new hero - and this question was asked, What's the greatest problem with our species? And one of the biggest things is fear of death. And a lot of people are using fear of death as control. And you see it with maybe the government saying the immigrants are gonna come and they're gonna steal your freedom. Or that person's gonna take your job. Or that guy's gonna take your girlfriend. There's all these things that are fearful amongst… and I guess I kinda got off the subject a little bit in terms of death. I think organized religion has created a of that as well. And I believe in spirits and the higher power, but there's been a lot of fear that's been built across that. And it's all about the great mystery of not knowing what's out there in terms of the next... where we go, where our souls go when we pass away. And I think there's people that have leveraged that and used that to their advantage. That's from him and it really resonated with me, too, as the biggest problem in our society.
ACT: As you make your way on a daily basis - on just a regular old, mundane, ho-hum, you've got grocery shopping and banking and you've-got-to-buy-a-pair-of-pants-today kind of stuff - what do people mean to you? What do we mean to each other, individual to individual, as we go about our business?
TC: Well, I guess, the first part of that question is - putting on my pants and going to the grocery store and stuff like that - I really do my best to try to do everything with a sense of joy and a sense of wonderment. I know it's easy to get caught in our mundane life and the structures - like we talked earlier about the difference between this disciplinary structural life that we have to live because it's expensive to be an American and also that chaos, that creative side, that feeling of wanting to explore and wanting to paint or wanting to meet new people. We almost have to be kind of equal in both of those.
And the second part of the question itself, you know, everybody's doing the best they can with the level of awareness that they have. Like I said, developing unconditional self love is the most important thing so you can be an influence in ways or be able to be an example of what it is and to just try to spread joy. Like you said, you like to hike and walk around and smile at people. And even that just little smile will change their day or help influence their day.
I think humans are doing the best they can. I think we're up against a lot of separateness and lack of inclusion and a lot of going back to fear, again, with the media and everything. And I think it's our duty, just like what you're doing here, is to allow people to express themselves. And to be able to teach and learn and be open and ultimately heal.
And back to the question of day-to-day life, I'm always just stoked beyond belief that I live here in Bend. And always looking at the mountains or spending time in nature brings me back to center. And it's nice that we have access to that, too. If I'm maybe having a shitty day, I can take a drive out to the woods and walk around for a little bit and kind of get my center a little bit more. Hopefully that answered the question (laughs). Kind of rambling...
ACT: I want to go a little further with that one, too, based on the conversation we had before we turned the recorder on. The other day I met someone and he was a nice enough person. We engaged in thoughtful back and forth conversation. But he said something that has stuck with me. He said, 'I'm not causing any harm.' That's his goal is just go out and do no harm. And it just irritated me a lot. Not necessarily with judgment about him individually - I don't exactly know how deeply he meant that - but I think in general there is a bit of that mentality.
And just to elude to what you were saying before - take care of yourself. Right? Be in control of your perceptions, your feelings, how you respond to the thing. And as someone who's a pretty fiery person, that's often been used against me in a very unsophisticated way - the reactionary person is the one at fault. You can be harmed, but if you respond, that person always gets the greater punishment for some reason. So, I kind of want to make a big leap here. What's your idea of the contrast of 'go out and do no harm' transitioning into 'you've got to be on top of yourself; take care of your own filter; how you respond; what that might be as an example to others' to the difference between that and these people who are out in it, very visibly fighting it - protestors, marchers, civil rights activists, and social justice lawyers, those deep human pains that people are trying to right. How do you feel about that spectrum?
TC: Well, I think if we can live, like I said, that understanding that everybody's doing the best they can with the level of awareness. This might be stretching it, but Charles Manson was doing the best he [could] with the level of awareness that he had at the time. If he knew any other awareness he wouldn't have done what he did. Or anybody, for that matter.
So, I look at life and people in a lens of that and that gives me the ability to have compassion for everybody because they are doing the best they can. We're all on our individual path and experience and how we want to create this motion picture of our lives is all up to us. If people want to be activists and talk about it and fight for what they believe in, that's amazing. If people want to be complacent and just go to work and go home and mow their lawn on Saturday and do that and watch TV and that's their life, then that's fine, too. I can feel the level of frustration that people have like, God, you just want to shake people. Hey, wake up a little! See this experience as being great. I'm just not trying to do any harm - maybe the guy you had that conversation with has thoughts of harming people (laughs). Maybe he's just like, I'm just trying to maintain my experience here so I don't do anything stupid. (Laughs) Maybe.
I think that I've been really fortunate to have a tribe and group of friends - and Bend has been amazing in terms of growing together and understanding the nature of reality and expanding our consciousness with different modalities and changing what we talk about. And the human experience is really pretty amazing. That we're even here. We're spinning in a ball in the middle of nowhere, right, in a galaxy that's in the middle of nowhere (laughs). So, I think having a lightness to life and maybe not trying to take it so seriously and just basking in the joy of it.
And yeah, of course there's issues. I have an incurable disease - multiple sclerosis - that I live with on a daily basis. I've never felt a victim of it. I've never felt like it's been Poor me. I've always thought blessed that I have it; I wouldn't be who I am if I didn't have this adversity. And I know a lot of people are going through a lot of stuff. And I think that always going back to that place of, I'm doing the best I can with the level of awareness I have. And my goal in my life is to increase my level of awareness (laughs). And if I can increase my level of awareness and I can have conversations with you or I can talk with my friends or I can put on events that can allow people to also tap into their greater awareness and awakening, then that's the secret sauce, I think, in humanity. Right? And some people are gonna get it and some people aren't. And some people want to wake up and some people don't. Some people are complacent.
I looked at people in Peru when I went on my trip there and they're so connected to Mother Nature - Pachamama is their word for Mother Nature - and they're so connected to the elements. And they're so happy - they're joyful people. And it doesn't feel like there's a lot of crime. It doesn't feel like there's a lot of suffering there. There's no homeless people. Everyone's taken care of. Everyone has an opportunity to make money. I saw a lady at an outdoor market and she had three peaches and three potatoes amongst all these people that had all these other things - bug bushels of corn and all this stuff. She just had this and you could tell she... you know, her clothes were a little ratted and different things, but she had an opportunity to make it. You know? I'm kinda just rolling on a tangent here (laughs) but it feels more human there. They feel more connected to each other. They feel more connected to the Earth. They feel more connected to the elements. They feel more connected to each other.
I think we have become really separated from that. And that kind of goes back to what we were talking about earlier is we've really gone back to... this material god that we're worshipping - the movie stars on TV, these people that are glamorous, and these false images of these people and that's what we're looking up to. Or social media feeds and people are saying, Hey, this is my great life and look at this and how good I am. And then they're distracted from their own greatness and their own life. You know, I think that that's a big problem. I think the closer we become to ourselves and to nature and our innate humanness is what's gonna help people achieve their greatest awareness. I don't know if I got the question right.
ACT: This next question that I would typically ask you've touched on quite a lot, but I'm gonna go for it anyway 'cause I think you've got a little more on it. What does community mean to you? And specifically being part of community - of humanity, essentially, or of all living species on Earth - with all of the disparities of agenda? And maybe more specifically, if you're a person who values community and relationships and celebrating what people have to offer - like the woman with her potatoes - what does it mean to you and how are you affected by those people who have a different agenda and perhaps an agenda that is actually detrimental to yours?
TC: Well, I go back to everybody's doing the best they can with the awareness that they have.
ACT: But that awareness piece is the fuzzy, mystery, invisible cloud in the room. That's not nothing. Do you come across that by accident?
TC: No, I think it's maybe divinely planned that some people have the opportunity to experience a different sense of reality than others. If somebody grows up and their family has a bunch of money and their belief system is You need to work hard and you need to work 70 hours a week and you need to have a family and white picket fence and a dog and you need to go to church once a week and that's their reality. Because that's what they've been raised as. Right? In another sense, you could have been raised in that same family and then went and traveled the world and had a new experience, had a different opening experience of reality and what reality really is on a bigger scale.
I look at some of my friends from the Midwest that have followed that typical American path - you go to high school, you go to college, you get a family, you have a dog, you stay in the same job as long as you can - I know that's kind of an anomaly these days - and you do that and then you go to church and you're in this and you work 50 hours a week and you come home on Saturday, like I said, and mow your lawn and you watch football and that's your reality and that's all you know. And then there's people where we live on the West Coast or maybe more of a liberal mindset that want to understand this whole experience and how fascinating it is.
Going back to the question, do I feel threatened potentially or impeded by those people that have that belief system? Or do I feel like I can be an influence on them at any point? I mean, all I can do is just do the best I can. And if I can have a conversation with somebody like that; if I can allow somebody to see the greater picture - who's to say that theirs is wrong and mine's right? And it's not a competition at all. This is my motion picture and that's their motion picture of their life. And everybody is - I'm not gonna say it another time - but it's like... they're just living their experience from how they're belief system has been set up in their life. And how they congregate, you know. Guys at the golf course and their golf buddies and they sit around and talk about golf and football and get drunk and they do that every Saturday and that's what brings them joy. I can't really have an expectation of that or a comment on their experience because that's what they're doing. I'm just doing my own path and living my own truth. Yeah, I don't look at it as competition, I guess, or a threat at all.
I mean, I look at - going back to the question - the sadness and the social media and the separation and how far we've become... we live in these big houses and some people don't even know their neighbors. There's a lot of separateness. And as humans, we want inclusion. We want to feel loved. We want to feel part of something. We want to feel a part of a community. We want to feel part of a movement, if you want to say. And that's why people attach themselves to these movements that are happening. People want to feel love and they want to feel that - everybody. And some people have greater access and understand that than others.
And the machine, as I call it - the material god that we've created - it wants us separate almost. It almost feels like it's separating us so they can sell us more shit that we don't need. Or it can glamorize this life and hence, going back to putting elderly people in a home and not having them live with you like other cultures do. Or kicking mental illness people out and having them live on the streets and be homeless. It's just this sense of separation. If we're gonna evolve and heal as a species, which I believe is happening, we need to come together. And that's what I hope to do and feel like I'm doing in some ways. Hopefully I answered the question (laughs).
ACT: I'm pushing you a little harder than most.
TC: Oh, good! I like it (laughs). Push away.
ACT: So you can answer this one shortly if you want. Do you think the differences in value systems are the beauty?
TC: Yeah. I think diversity is amazing in terms of belief systems.
ACT: I thought you might say that and I think many people would say that. I might say it. If I said that, I would also then be like, 'Huh. Did I just say that? Do I really believe it?' Because I am compelled to change people. I don't mean this as an attack, but I've heard two different things from you. One is it's all groovy and everybody can be how they want. And the other is you have a compulsion to affect change.
TC: Totally, but it's their opportunity to hop on board. All I can do is do the best I can and give them a platform to be able to come to the table and to want to do it. But I can't force people to do that. And it is all groovy 'cause the whole human experience is happening regardless of my effect on it. It's gonna happen regardless, right?
ACT: Normally I would ask 'do you feel a sense of purpose or a compulsion to live with intention or a responsibility to affect positive change?' But I think I want to change it for you. Do you think that you should or can affect positive change?
TC: Yeah, absolutely. I believe that I already am in a lot of ways. I believe that I've kind of made it almost my personal mission in life to be able to help give opportunities for people or venues or trips or opportunities for people to come to the table that want to evolve and want to be the best people they can be. And it all boils down to this the self love piece, right - the self compassion, the unconditional self love, which I'm still working on. I still have a ways to go - I still have doubts; I have fears; I have feelings of lack of inclusion; I have fear of some depression that happens when the weather gets shitty - I go through those experiences. But, like we talked about earlier, all I can do is do that for myself and be the example and also if I can take one person along and say, Hey, let's talk about this life experience. What's going on in your life? Why are you depressed? What's the cause - what's your root belief system that you're depressed? Where does that come from? Does it come from your family? Does it come from your grandparents? Does it come from a past relationship? If I can have a conversation and have somebody's light go off that says, Wow, you're right. And look at 'em a couple months later and they say, Wow, I'm so much lighter and I feel so much better about myself. Then that's it (laughs).
To have this vision of wanting to change the world or doing all this, all we can do is just change in our scope of right here - having this conversation. This is all we can change. You know, and I understand, kinda going back to people that are standing up and these human rights activists and all these things that they're doing - which is wonderful. And there's people that are taking a big stand on a lot of these issues - environmental issues and human rights issues and all these - and my prayers and blessings go out to all those people. But all I can do in the whole grand scheme of things is control my sphere right here. And hopefully be an influence on people to say, Wow, why is he so joyful? Or, Why is he so happy? Or, Oh, he just smiled at me. Maybe I smile at somebody that had a bad day and then they come back to me and say, Why are you so happy? Why are you feeling that way? And then I can say, Well, this, this, and this. And then their day is better. Just a little change. Just a little change.
And also, the calamity of errors, right, that we're even here doing this is a miracle. 4.5 billion years of evolution, spinning in a ball, in the middle of a sun, in the middle of nowhere - it's amazing that we're even actually here having this conversation. And I kind of feel the lightness. I'm not scared for death. I welcome it. It's gonna happen. It's like the great mystery, the ultimate experience. I have that softness about this experience and this feeling of joy. And hopefully I can share that with other people, too.
ACT: I don't get tons of feedback on this project, but one of the pieces was people wanted to hear a little bit more from me, so I started to ask if people wanted to ask me a question. And I, of course, wrestle with that because it's putting myself in some seat of importance. Why does anybody want to hear from me? But also, why does anybody want to hear from you? So, I figured we could trade.
TC: Yeah, for sure. Well, 'cause I think you're important. And your work is important. What you're doing here is you're tapping into people's greatness. Whether that's your mission or not, I think you're an intellectual person that wants to see what's going on outside yourself. Because you're probably gaining wisdom and self-understanding for yourself by these interviews, too. So, good for you.
ACT: Thanks. So, do you want to ask me anything? And it's for your benefit, for mine, and for whoever might be paying attention.
TC: What holds us back as humans? What's the number one thing that comes to your mind that holds us back for humans to be able to tap into our innate greatness?
ACT: My opinion is that we could have the same interview tomorrow and we'd have a different conversation, so this answer is my answer for here and now. She's an extremely controversial author, especially among the group of people that I socialize with - Ayn Rand has become kind of the spokesperson - I'm not sure she was up for it - but for the ultra-conservative crowd. I think she's a brilliant writer and she has a quote that I've adopted and definitely resonates with the way I live my life and it helps me get through times of extreme difficulty. She says, 'A man with no values is at the mercy of anyone's will.' And that's what I am witnessing. That's what I witness when I hear the news. That's what I witness when I look at Trump and all his troop of fools - and I do mean offense by that. That's what I witness when I hear about genocide. That's what I witness when I hear about rainforest destruction. That's what I witness when I hear about whoever Greenpeace is up against today. That's what I witness when I think about sex trafficking. About rape. About racism. On and on and on. What I have come to believe is that people aren't taking enough pride in how they think and feel about something. I actually don't believe for a single second that someone, if they really were to spend the time - if they could access the ability to think deeply and introspectively - that they find in joy in these atrocious activities.
And that makes me feel hate and deep, deep, deep anger, and resentment. And also pity and sadness for them because they're not having the right experience. And I know this is very 'I'm right and you're wrong' and I guess I've just decided that I'm okay with that. You don't have to drink my Kool-Aid; you don't have to attend my church; you don't have to believe what I have to say, but the things that I envision about a beautiful world are things that are better for everybody. And that's what makes me feel okay about how I feel.
I think people are cowards and they're cowards for a variety of reasons. They're cowards because of the way they were brought up, the world they were born into, the messages that we're fed, the advertising that we receive. There's just a lack of boldness and a lack of ability to stand up for what you believe against all odds. I think that's what's causing us to go astray. What causes that? How far can we deconstruct this, right, before we're 4.5 billion years ago, spinning? I don't know. But, as an active, day-to-day decision-making process, I think we're falling short in that realm.
TC: Absolutely. And you're doing this project, which is helping. What are you doing in your own sphere of influence to be an influence and be a change - be the change you want to see? There's all these atrocious things that are going off in the world and you feel helpless at times. And it will drive you mad (laughs). Really. Because if you say, Oh, well, this is happening here and this is going on here and the fucking plastics here and this... it would drive you crazy.
ACT: I stand up for others and I stand up for myself when I'm wronged. I tell people. 'It's not the way. You're wrong.' And sometimes that comes out in less desirable ways. Sometimes that could be throwing my bike down and being like, 'What's your fucking problem? Why you gonna cut me off?' But in that moment, I'm still standing up for my values of 'You need to respect me. I'm willing to respect you. And you need to respect me. And then that goes for everybody else that you ever encounter.' What I'm doing is I show up on time. I be where I say I'm gonna be and I do what I say I'm gonna do. I offer people a smile. My first action to people is kindness. It's awareness; it's a focus; it's an attention; it's a gift of time. I try not to be a busy person because I have no idea what those interactions are gonna be.
TC: So, you come at it with a sense of joyful and love, but if somebody doesn't return that in favor - they cut you off or something like that - then what's your reaction?
ACT: It's that I think we need to stop doing those things. We need to redirect and we need to be better - no matter how busy, no matter how late. There's so many other things that affected that for you. Your being late isn't really my problem. Your being frustrated at someone on a bicycle is not my problem but it becomes my problem because you're endangering my life.
You brought it up a few times, you're gonna look at somebody and smile at them and that might change their day. It definitely will definitely change their day if you don't look at them and smile at them. Because somebody like me is really sensitive to that kind of thing. Somebody like me, then, spends time being like, 'What is wrong with people?! Why aren't people friendly?!' I'm not going home being like, 'Man, why was that weirdo smiling at me as he was walking down the street?' Ever! That's never my question.
So, yeah, I get really fired up about this stuff. But I think we're just not... it's not just about being kind and it's not even about doing it out of a sense of duty; you just have to want things to be better and then you have to act accordingly. It is that. It is that 'Be the change you want to see.' And I fail at it every day. And I beat myself up for it. It makes me feel sad and frustrated and 'when am I ever gonna get it?' And maybe I'm not, but I'm gonna keep trying. I'm gonna keep working my ass off for it. Because why else? What else is there to do? Just fall into the flow that I'm complaining about? Participate in the madness? And live my life until I can't walk and I'm peeing in a bag and complaining about my hospice? That doesn't sound cool.
TC: No. Definitely not. Well, I commend you for living your truth. I think that every experience is just another layer in our greatness. Just continue to look at yourself and do the work internally. Where does that frustration come from? Where does the anger in what somebody did to you - where does that come from? Where does that belief system come from? Because it's not healthy, I don't think, to get wrapped up in that. It doesn't feel healthy to get wrapped up in what somebody else's experience affected your experience. Because, once again, they're doing the best they can. It's all they knew. Person doesn't know how to drive; that's not your problem (laughs). Or whatever.
ACT: Yeah but again, it's that same thing - it is my problem because they almost killed me. Or it is my problem because you're not doing the best you can - I guess this is now technically not seeing things eye to eye - you're not doing the best you can if you're raping somebody. I don't believe it. You're not doing the best you can if you're committing genocide. You're not doing the best you can. You're putting yourself first and you're taking all your desires first. And that takes... that's active. That's not passive.
TC: But that's their awareness. If they knew any different, they wouldn't do it.
ACT: I don't know. I think they know different. They have all the examples around them. It's almost like you're saying you don't think there's mal-intent.
TC: I think if somebody's level of awareness was different they wouldn't do it. And my awareness of knowing that something's right or wrong... a lot of people, that's their belief. That's what they know. That's all they know. They wouldn't do it. Obviously these huge, atrocious things are happening to our species - to humans - that we're doing to each other. Same thing with the guy that doesn't pay his employees shit and makes 20 million/billion dollars a year. That's his awareness. That's all he knows how to do. And it is fueled by greed. And fueled by power. And fueled by fear. And all these things that make that person do that.
You know. I think, from my own perspective, it gives me a sense of relief to be able to know that if their awareness was different, then they wouldn't do it. But that's all they knew. Because they wouldn't have done it. And understanding, yeah, they have influences and there's good people out there and there's the church and there's all these things that people could look up to - that person that caused a rape or whatever - but they didn't follow it. They didn't follow those influences or they wouldn't have done it. That's in the forefront of their awareness.
ACT: But what's the resolve to that? To what end?
TC: Yeah. I mean, I don't know. I don't know what that is. Changing yourself. You know? 'Cause that's all you have control over. But it is sad (laughs).
ACT: That's wild. It's a wild...
TC: It's a wild experience, this human thing. Isn't it? Yeah. It really is.
ACT: Do you want to say anything in closing?
TC: No. (Laughs) This has been great! I guess I really appreciate you and what you're doing. And I appreciate your compassion and passion. Because there's a lot in there. You wouldn't be doing this if it wasn't.
ACT: I've got a lot of passion.
TC: I know. I like that fire. It's good. It gets shit done.
ACT: This is funny. I'll leave it on the record. I went to a hyper-conservative college and didn't drink and wasn't doing drugs or anything until later in life. During this time I wasn't doing any of that stuff. But there were all these rules. It was really, really strict. Curfews and all this stuff. I was always getting in trouble for pretty basic stuff like rappelling out the window - little things. And I got in trouble again for something - I don't recall the details of this particular circumstance. You know, I'm 20 years old or something - I'm kind of past being reprimanded for silly things. And I remember one of the heads of the college and I had a meeting. It took all that he had to do it, but he did it and he meant it and he praised me for my passion (laughs). He meant it. It wasn't quite a backhanded compliment, but it was headed in that direction. And that's funny - I had forgotten about that until you just said that. So, yeah, it's there.
TC: It is there. Yeah, it's awesome. The stories you've told me about your life and how you came to this point right now and the sacrifices you made to be able to do what makes you come alive - what taps into your innate liveness - is doing this. And having passion for this and searching for the answers and understanding of the human condition - why there is suffering and why there is sadness and What the fuck?! - that's passionate. Because it's important. And you're doing the work. I'm doing the work. A lot people that I've listened to your interviews are doing the work in community.
You know, I think there's a big tipping point that's happening right now with the political system - this is all happening exactly the way it's supposed to. It's all happening for our greater increased awareness - to be like, Whoa, wait a minute. I need to wake the fuck up because shit's getting weird and my kids are being taught this and the separateness is happening and materialism... People are waking up. And it's happening for exactly the way it's supposed to. And I'm stoked to be a part of the awakening and the awareness and to be able to see other people that are doing the same thing. It's the biggest joy in the world, I think, is to be able to see people evolve and be the best they can be. And bad shit's gonna happen. Bad shit's gonna happen to me and you and all of us. It's how we deal with it and how we relate to it and how we send compassion to it, send love to it. Unless something's happening in my sphere of influence, then I can't control it. You know? I stopped watching the news. I do social media every once in a while, but... just trying to live my own life.