The Seeker, Chasing Ghosts book interview
Join me as I interview Juan Valdez, author of The Seeker: Chasing Ghosts. This is a book of poems in 4 sections that speak to the heart of spirituality in a physical world.
Juan does an outstanding job of communicating not only an understanding of how systems play such a huge role in spirituality, but also that it can be a messy process with big rewards when we frame things up from a place of alignment.
Chris Templeton 0:00
I'm really pleased to be here with gentlemen who is on a similar path to what I find myself on, which is really trying to understand kind of the deeper nature of who we are and where we come from and where we're headed. Welcome Juan Valdez, author of the seeker chasing ghosts. Thank you for being here.
Juan Valdez 0:21
Thanks for having me. So nice to talk to you. Nice to meet you, Chris.
Chris Templeton 0:25
Thank you want. So one, you are a systems engineer, a computer guy. And at the same time, you're doing a ton of work, and the spiritual realm of things. Talk a little bit about kind of how you bridge that gap? And what got you started in this?
Juan Valdez 0:47
Yeah, so it's good question. We touched on this just just a bit ago, but it's kind of I looked at them, I think, over the years as separate disciplines. And they were pursued separately. One out, we'll call kind of under kind of a mystical track, and the other kind of under a professional slash systems engineer, software engineer track. And I think what's occurred to me really, just recently, I'm working on another book. Now, as you get as I got, as I've gotten deeper into the sacred geometry, and some of the underlying metaphysics and ontology of existence of many, much of which is spelled out in many of the ancient texts that I've read and studied for many years, the ability to kind of parse through that discern that and look at it from a kind of a systems engineering perspective, has been clearly very valuable, because you know, you're really looking at, effectively whether you believe in intelligent design or not, right, you're looking at very sophisticated systems design, right? That's, and understanding how all that kind of comes into play, as it manifests in energy, and you know, other areas of your life psychology has become very relevant, certainly, to the work that I'm doing right now. I think, and the other part that's worth mentioning, which we touched on, too, is, you know, as it relates to cognitive science, and computer science, and how those kind of fields have kind of, you know, become coupled in the last decade or two, relative to the fact specifically that you can, computer science. And computers are a way to empirically validate and test certain theories of mind and psychology as it relates to, you know, machine learning artificial intelligence, they're now trying to, you know, put together and build, there's a ton of money going into, you know, quantum computing. And, you know, the idea of, you know, the mind, and the empirical reality, as it stands relative to computer science are, you know, are, you know, starting to form kind of a single thread. So, as it turns out what I thought were kind of two separate disciplines, at least in you know, in some of the work that I'm doing now, or, you know, are starting to merge in a way that was unexpected. So...
Chris Templeton 3:08
In in mysticism, and that sort of thing, did you start doing work in that area separately? Or did what you had learned in computer science system, then systems engineering, that sort of thing? Did that drive this kind of desire to understand mysticism and spirituality, that sort of thing?
Juan Valdez 3:31
Yeah, so the mysticism was it was a, you know, as, as an engineer, effectively, I'm the the kid that was playing around with blocks all the time, right? That that learned how to write and talk and all that stuff, but I'm the kid that was in the back that was playing with blocks, right. So, you know, as an engineer, we were, you know, we're effectively building things, testing things and so on. And that sort of practical mindset in terms of well, you know, is it effective, right, it's always something in the back of an engineer's mind, they tend to be very practical. The mysticism aspect came in my early 20s, when I was trying to become a professional tennis player, I played all throughout my youth. And it became clear that in certain positions and places in during matches, particularly as you get into very high competitive play, where a lot of matches come down to just a couple of key points here and there, something's happening, that's not physical in those situations. And if you're, if you're an athlete playing at very high levels, it's like it's just clear as day. You know, what you're trying to do when you reach those levels is what you're trying to do is remove kind of the analytic mind from the process, such that you can kind of let your greatest athlete manifest. I mean, that's effectively the problem that you're trying to solve. Now, as it turns out, there are specific methods that you can use in order to do that, and I think there was forget the guy's name. But there was a famous psychologist in the 80s and 90s that work with agassi and a bunch of the top players, gym floor, I think the floor was the guy's name. And he developed very ritualistic techniques in order to do that. So you would sort of lose yourself in the ritual of, you know, competition. And as such, that sort of part of the mind that held you back would fall away. So it turns out, I spent, you know, a lot of years studying yoga, and meditation to try and figure out how to solve for that problem. That's basically what I was trying to do, right. And that sort of bled very naturally into meditation, which involves kind of a ritual and incantation and mantras, and that's the whole thing kind of blended together for me. And then the philosophy and the mysticism became more relevant than, than the tennis even though you know, it, it nonetheless helped me compete and play better over the years. No, no question about that. So...
Chris Templeton 5:56
And wouldn't you say that, from the standpoint of developing these techniques, that all of a sudden, tennis also became a way of expressing that deeper underlying spiritual aspect of what was going on?
Juan Valdez 6:14
Yeah, I mean, that's, you know, it's a very astute point, right. I mean, you come to a place that the sort of the end, you know, with something I'm, I'm starting to write about, more, so today than I have historically, is I pull some of these threads together, that I've been working on for, you know, for decades now. Which is scary to even say that it's been that long, and I've been working on some of these problems, but, you know, you start to pull things together in a way and they start to make sense. And, you know, and they talk about this in the Vedas with the, you know, with the, the name escapes me, the Agnus sacrifice some, I'm butchering the name, my teacher would kill me. But it's the fire sacrifice, sacrifice, basically, which is sort of the incantation and the, you know, the way to full knowledge, effectively, it's spelled out the capo upon a shot, I write about it quite a bit. And, you know, ultimately, you end up with a place where your life is a sacrifice, right, and your life is sort of a devotion, and sort of sacrifice up to the Supreme ultimate, right, and that's a very high place to be. But there are sub compartments of that, as you mentioned, right, so that the match itself, the tennis match can be sort of a sacrificial exercise of devotion, and of an expression of the Divine, when you go to work, you know, if you're at a very high place, you know, depending upon what you're doing, you know, these are the things that Swami Vivekananda talks a lot about in terms of the for yoga, and how to reach kind of, you know, this sort of state of enlightenment and being whether it be through work, whether it be through devotion, whether it be through knowledge, or through spiritual practices, which is, you know, the yoga, they all become this means of expression of the Divine. But, of course, you know, we all get lost along the way, and all the details and stuff, but that's certainly called out specifically as, you know, once you've, we've reached a place where you can kind of recognize that and live that you've, you know, you've come to a pretty high place.
Chris Templeton 8:19
So, just before we get into the book, talk a little bit about what your impression of getting to that place of living it and living a more, I guess, is it in tune with the spiritual side? And the physical plane is how you would?
Juan Valdez 8:38
Yeah, that's Look, that's a good question. So firstly, you know, and this is important to, to spell out and be clear about, you know, I don't necessarily consider myself enlightened by any stretch of the imagination, right? I'm a very flawed human being, like everybody else that's running around, right? I've got a family, I've got two kids, I've got an ex wife, you speak to my ex wife, she's gonna give you a whole different picture. You know, I'm saying so like, I'm right there with everybody. Okay, so, Now, having said that, and I think this is really true for everyone, we all have our moments, right? There's this ebb and flow of life and energy that, you know, allows you to kind of move in between, you know, enlightened states and unenlightened states in you know, in this sort of ebb and flow, this sort of idea of cycles, right?
Chris Templeton 9:23
Juan Valdez 9:25
And, you know, for me, the, the the practice, and the process has been one of gradual over time of, you know, alignment of the inside and the outside the inner world, the inner voice and the outer world. And, you know, there might be a lag there, you know, and the lag may be a decade, it may be 20 years, it may be a year six, whatever it is, but, you know, you got to stay grounded, and you got to find a way to kind of work through the situations that are presented to you in life. Such that You know, you can not just reconcile, but align, you know, that inner world with the outer world such that enlightenm ent can kind of unfold, do you know what I'm saying?
Chris Templeton 10:10
I, I do I think some people would say, Well, you know, Come on What are you talking about? And at some level, for me, I think that what I hear you saying is, at some level, we learn to kind of peel away the stuff that the adversity and find kind of what the gift is under under that.
Juan Valdez 10:34
Yeah, and be able to starkly reflect on the nature of your being right. In and your and your being is your personality and your form, right, just as much as it's your inside voice and your spirit. Right. Right. So the two are conjoined. And I think a lot of the mystical traditions, at least the way that they're taught today, missed this integral component. And this is part of the reasons the impetus for the fourth book, but it's like, yes, it might be an illusion. And yes, there might be something more real. But that's not an excuse for you not to deal with your shit. pardon the expression.
Chris Templeton 11:12
Do you know, I mean, like, and so much of, I think what you're talking about is also this idea that for us to be spiritual, that what we need to do is to discard are at some level discard our existence here. And it's...
Unknown Speaker 11:29
And that's and that's false, that that idea is false. So thank you, even even the great say Rama Krishna is, which is the, which is the school within which I was taught at the Rama Krishna Center in New York, I'll call them out. They're a great lineage of academics and published monks that have come from India, that have helped spread Vedanta and in in certainly in New York area, I was trained there by Swami I just went on and Rama Krishna is effectively that the, you know, the, the sage, the saint that they that they honor and they look up to and you know, even at his level of sainthood, and his level of, you know, bliss consciousness, right? He's still dealing with, you know, his brother and his cousin, you know, and he's dealing with the, you know, the guy that owns the temple that he worships at, you know, and he's dealing, he's dealing with all of those issues. Now, he might not be dealing with them. So effectively, because his head's in the clouds. But, you know, he is placed within a time and place in a situation, and all of those nuances about his life that seemed, you know, that may seem insignificant at the time, all of them sort of come to form the legend of who he is, and who he is, and who we understand him to be, is an expression of how He manifests and how he navigates through all those issues. He was a married man, he took disciples. And so, you know, they call it in the Indian tradition, you know, kind of the lead of the play of the Lord. You know, it's like, and, you know, it's big in the, you know, in the Krishna people that worship Krishna as well, you know, it's and also the Mahabharata, right, the idea that, okay, divine bliss, and consciousness may be the only thing that ultimately there is, but, you know, we still live in a world that needs to be respected and understood and is also divine. Right.
Chris Templeton 13:29
And we miss that, don't we?
Juan Valdez 13:31
Chris Templeton 13:32
I mean, I think the thing that fascinates me is, is that we have a tendency to completely miss that. And if, if everything is divine bliss, in the final kind of reality, boil, boil the value of experiences that are tough, and that that are, you know, that require learning. There's such huge value, if that's the way we look at it.
Juan Valdez 14:01
Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. And it's, and it's an expression of the Divine, right. I mean, it can annoy you. It can look, you can be imprisoned for certain situations, you can have all sorts of confrontations that are presenting their fights there, whatever, however, the situation presents itself, it's all divine. Now, that doesn't make it any easier to stomach sometimes. I mean, you know, it's still difficult, but it doesn't change the fundamental assertion that it's a manifestation of the Divine and in some very real sense. And this is some of the stuff that I'm getting into in the latest book, which is just fascinating from again, from a systems and an architecture and metaphysical standpoint. In some sense, that external world is a reflection of the inner world. And it's not, you know, it's not kind of in the ethereal psychological sense. It's in a very real, physically manifested sense that What you're seeing and experiencing, you know, is is, you know is coming from or is stems from and is very much correlated and related to your inner being, you know, and so that's kind of the practical aspect of the mysticism, right, which is, if you can understand how things actually work, okay? And you can then focus on alignment with that functioning system, right? Or basically, from an engineering standpoint, you're doing it's a systems optimization problem, right? If you optimize the system, you're going to have the easiest path through, right? Because you're optimizing the system. But if you have a fundamental misunderstanding of how things work, I mean, good luck, man. Because it's tough.
Chris Templeton 15:51
And aren't you really saying that you're optimizing yourself? You're thinking with the system and aligning with that at some level?
Juan Valdez 16:01
Well, you when I'm Yes, but what I'm taking it one step further, I'm saying that you are the system.
Chris Templeton 16:07
Juan Valdez 16:08
Right. No, and the outside and the inner are part of the same continuum. Right. Right. So you know, it's like, it's, it's, it's, it's mind blowing, because in its subtlety, and in its simplicity, but it's completely inverting, in terms of the, you know, in terms of its implications, in people's daily lives. And, you know, I remember, when I was a freshman in college, one of the books I read, there was, and I had the most profound experience with I've always been fascinated by books, right? I guess writers are, but Zen in the art of motorcycle maintenance by Robert pirsig. I read when I was 18. And I mean, he gets right to the heart of this issue, as it relates specifically to two people taking a motorcycle ride across the country, one of whom cares about his bike, because He cares about quality, and he wants to make sure things are okay. And things are tuned, right. Even if something's a little off, it kind of bothers them. And somebody else that doesn't care if it's broke, they just send it to the mechanic and they don't care. Right. And you know, he sort of with his razor's edge, even back then, right, I think that book was published in the 80s, or the 90s. It's like, What is wrong with people? You know, they're like, running through life with this sort of objective realist materialistic mindset, that, you know, everything is there to kind of serve their own gratification. And they just, you know, they're just playing somebody else's game.
Chris Templeton 17:42
Well, and there's no deeper, there's nothing deeper, deeper to that experience. Is there?
Juan Valdez 17:49
Yeah, no, but it's, but it's almost worse than that. Right? Because they're living with improper understanding.
Chris Templeton 17:57
Juan Valdez 17:58
So it's inefficient, right? I'm looking at it from the pure engineering standpoint, it's an inefficient solve for the problem, because it's not fully optimized for the real underlying metaphysics. Right. And it's, it's a solve, you can materialistic way, right? Everything, you know, objects are real, the table everything's real. People are, you know, either, you know, part of my life or not, doesn't matter. We're not all connected. I just had my own little box, you can live like that. But it's, you know, it's a it's a very limited vision and has, you know, it's limited on all sides, right? It's, it's limited in terms of, you know, not only expression of the Divine but you know, manifestation of the Divine, which in turn, you know, yields happiness, contentment, all those other things that, I think ge nerally people like,
Chris Templeton 18:49
the joy, the feeling
Juan Valdez 18:51
Chris Templeton 18:51
...greater, greater than myself, which is so much more powerful than here I am.
Juan Valdez 18:58
Yes, exactly. It isn't power.
Chris Templeton 19:00
How can you serve me?
Juan Valdez 19:02
Chris Templeton 19:03
So let's talk a little bit about the book that we are looking at today, the seeker chasing ghosts. And and then, as a side note, theology reconsidered is something that you've published at the same time, is that right?
Juan Valdez 19:19
Yeah, so let me spend a minute on just how the two are related. So, theology reconsidered, it's almost like a survey of, you know, knowledge in antiquity and its evolution to present day in a nutshell. And it looks primarily and focuses primarily on ancient texts and sort of the initial source material, it covers Eurasia from, you know, Northern Africa, Egypt, Greece, a little bit of Persia and an ancient Iran, India, the Vedic tradition, which I was taught in specifically the Buddhism and then ancient Chinese as well. I didn't cover the Native American stuff because that's a whole nother ball of wax but And looking for the patterns of, of perspectives, let's say in that sort of, in that sort of intellectual landscape, and as that intellectual landscape progresses through time, it was a beast of a work, it ended up I think, 900 pages plus. And it became readily apparent to me as I was writing it, or certainly as I was getting close to the end, that in terms of approachability, it was lacking. And so I was I, at some point, I was kind of looking for some sort of crystallized way that I could communicate some of the same messages. And I came up with the seeker. So in that respect, it's kind of a compendium work, its original working title with songs of the soul. And it's kind of lined up for, you know, the analytic approach that's reflected in theology reconsidered, which is more of sort of a reference manual. And, and kind of how I got from point A to point B. And then the seeker is kind of a compendium manual that looks at, you know, the, the souls journey through life, and, you know, its importance and relevance to, you know, to being and to living, right. So they kind of they're coupled a little bit like that.
Chris Templeton 21:17
And my understanding is that in the seeker, it's all poetry, isn't that, right?
Juan Valdez 21:23
Yeah, it's, there's a little bit divide, it's divided into looking at the four sections. And each section is a set of poetry. So I wrote about, there's about 80, or 90 poems that are published here. And each section has kind of a two or three page intro, that talks a little bit about the underlying philosophy and mysticism of a given section. So you know, love and loss, change and rebirth, there's the first one, which is obviously a very deep, you know, theme, reaching very far back into antiquity, and form some of the basis of young and Freudian psychology, right, the mystery of life play of the Divine, we talked a little bit about that, already Lila, is known in the Vedic tradition, the sort of the Divine play, as it were, meditation in the mind mystic ponderings. Right. So we get a little bit into, you know, Ghana, yoga, a little bit of, you know, knowledge. And, you know, analysis of the mind through which, you know, greater understandings are revealed and are opened up to us. And then, you know, passing thoughts on humanity and civilization, which we touched on talked a little bit about, as it relates to the pirsig book, you know, there's, there's something missing from, you know, global society right now, that's just, it's not just head scratching, it's like, you just want to kind of beat your head against the wall sometimes, because, you know, people kind of take this kind of objective, what's in it for me attitude. And, you know, we've reached a point as a, you know, as a global population, where like, this is the most massive extinction we've had in 10s of millions of years, even if you don't believe in Clinton, humans being the source of climate change, if you're not waking up, when everything else around us is dying, what, like what else needs to happen? Right. And, you know, that's kind of the era that we live in. And I think, conversely, you know, it's not just me, it's not just you that are, you know, kind of feeling and expressing some of these ideas. I think there's, you know, there's been a movement around Eastern philosophy and mysticism over the last, you know, certainly over the last 50 years. And it's become much more commonplace, but there's, you know, now you just see, you know, in terms of, you know, climate change, and people kind of looking for social reform, you know, you can kind of feel the up swelling of people that have just, they've kind of had enough with this old way of thinking, right. And that's part of what we're seeing today in the, you know, in the political sphere, the socio economic sphere, and the intellectual sphere, which is kind of where I am with some of these books. It's, it's reflecting the same, the same movement, if you will, right?
Chris Templeton 24:08
And they're in the spiritual practices, there's a whole lot of talk about major, major changes in the planet that I think are addressing exactly what you're talking about.
Juan Valdez 24:22
Yeah. Yeah. Yes.
Chris Templeton 24:24
So you wrote this book with these four sections, and, and with all these different pieces of poetry, one of the things that really strikes me is a note about how important adversity is to our spiritual growth. I don't think it was phrased quite that way. But I think it's close. Is that a pretty big piece of the puzzle for you in terms of saying, you know, look, things that are adverse or that are tough for us to deal with have inherent value spiritually.
Juan Valdez 25:03
Yeah, I think that's a very good point. very astute and I don't even know that I'm that that point is being made consciously in the seeker. But I think you've picked up on the fact that it's kind of a subconscious theme almost. It's, it's a very mystical idea. And when I use the term mysticism, I'm talking about basically a metaphysics of consciousness more or less, that's endemic to really all of ancient societies perspective and worldview. And then somehow over the course of the last 1000 years or so through scientism, empiricism and all the others, we've kind of lost a lot of that. And so we're in the process, you know, as a, as a global society, reclaiming some of that, right. But in that ancient mindset, you know, they deal in cycles, and I'm working through a lot of this material right now, as it relates to sacred geometry. And, you know, astrology, for example, and the planets and the cycle, the planets and the cycle, the year and the, you know, the spring and the coming forth of, of things, food, right, and plenty right to feed me that that whole mindset of, you know, in our, in our relationship with the earth and sort of the struggle of rebirth, right, and life and death. And that whole kind of struggle is baked into the whole worldview, and mindset in antiquity. And, you know, we've kind of looked at, and I think, again, you kind of hit the nail on the head with that point, because, you know, today I think we look at, well, life should be easy. And if it's not easy, it's a problem. And, you know, maybe the mindset and inverted mindset, as you bring up may be, you know, much more, a much better way to look at it. Because, you know, a problem, when it manifests for you is it becomes an opportunity, right? And you can see this, even with personal relations sometimes, right? When you get into an argument with somebody, it could go south, and you know, you could never talk to them, again, that's an option, but it's also an opportunity to kind of reset with that person. And, you know, help them understand why they're important to you. And you know, why you reacted the way that they you did, and potentially get, you know, feedback from them as to you know, why what it is that you did bothered them, right? And it's, it becomes an opportunity for growth, not just for you, but you know, for the other person as well. But I don't know how many people look at things like that.
Chris Templeton 27:40
But don't you think that a big piece of what you're trying to accomplish with the this book, I think, especially the seeker, as opposed to theology reconsidered is is, is just this idea of, wait a minute, we can look at things in a different way, and find so much more value and meaning and a deeper connection to people when we kind of switch? And as you said earlier, when we kind of aligned with the system?
Juan Valdez 28:13
Yeah, yeah, I think that's a very, it's a very good point. And that definitely is an is an undercurrent theme there, of, hey, the mindset is a little bit off. And if we align it, there's a different way of looking at things that will that will help you one way or the other. You know, I mean, look, ignorance is bliss, up to a certain point, right. But once you once you start killing the planet, it's like, all bets are off, right? I mean, you know, I don't know, if you have kids, I've got a bunch. Three, to be exact. Okay, like, we have a planet that we need to leave to these these kids, you know, and, you know, in a political structure and a socio economic structure, you know, I got kids that are, you know, entering college now, I got nephews that are coming out looking for jobs, what are they going to do? Yeah. And how should they be looking at kind of aligning their careers with, you know, with where we are, as, you know, as a global society, or as a, you know, as a, you know, your even as Americans, you know, I mean? And I don't think, you know, they're not taught any of this stuff in school. And you know, that that that comes with problems, right?
Chris Templeton 29:34
Yes, it does. It does. But don't you think that ultimately, if I can teach my kids to be aligned with the systems of the world at a deeper level, that a lot of those questions are going to resolve themselves at some level?
Juan Valdez 29:55
Yeah, yeah, absolutely. And there's, there's a word that comes to mind that explains it, which routes this discussion in philosophical inquiry. And that's that's Dharma, which is very big in the Indian Indian tradition as it relates to Vedanta again, which is the discipline we're really I come from, and it's also an integral part of Buddhism. And it's the idea of, you know, it's karma. Yes. But it's like, what is your life's purpose? Right? And how do you kind of order your life and the things that you do, either professionally or with family life? With the universe as it manifests? Might? There's some things that we can choose our family, certain situations, right, it's kind of part of the package. Right. But our Dharma is, you know, what's, you know, I've been talking to my daughter a lot over the last couple weeks about vocation, it's the same sort of idea, right? Well, what am I going to say, Well, what is it that you want to do? Right? What's your calling? And, you know, we've lost that idea in the West a little bit. But, you know, we kind of need to dust off some of these old manuals, you know, basically, you know, 25 year 2500 year old manuals, right, that says, well, there's a way of aligning our way of being with the way things are, if we have a proper understanding, right. And that's the, that's the P, that's the bridge that I'm trying to build is the last piece like, okay, let's just at least have an understanding as to how things are structured, and how all pretty much all of the ancient texts are telling us this, and have been telling us this for 1000s of years, but we now have, basically the physics to support it. And so, that being the case, okay, how what's what's the best way to, you know, to realign your perspective on the world. So that, you know, your dialogue can be aligned, and so that, you know, you can have sort of an optimal, you know, happiness or contentment relative to your current situation, right.
Chris Templeton 32:01
Absolutely. So, here's my question. We've got to wrap up pretty quickly. But I think the big question that I have is, when you look at all the work you've done, and it's massive, I mean, you're not dabbling here. Why...
Juan Valdez 32:17
Yeah, my dabbling. My dabbling days are far behind.
Chris Templeton 32:22
When you look at all of the texts that you've examined from these ancient texts, and you look at where we are today, what is the what's kind of the core that you can say to your kids look, all of this stuff from 2500 years ago, more, all of that is pointing to today. What What does that look like from your...
Juan Valdez 32:52
Yeah, so the fundaments a really good question. Right? And it gets to the heart of the matter. And this is the issue, right? It's in this pirsig, you hit the nail on the head to it's that we're all connected. And not just humans, all animals plant like all life, sentient life, is connected in a way that we see can be measured, okay? As it relates to quantum mechanics specifically, okay. There's a level of interconnectivity, universal interconnectivity, that is empirically testable, okay, and has been proven, that effect essentially, you know, moves beyond classical physical boundaries, particularly the speed of light, right? Things are interconnected in a way. And we know that and have known that for decades, okay? That level of interconnectivity is not a physical, it's not just a physical matter connectivity, because you're dealing with the underlying substratum of physical existence, all physical existence, if we are all connected, you need to appreciate that you need to understand that. And then you need to realign your behavior that reflects that, that the success of your neighbor, the success of your colleague, is your success. And inversely, their failure is your failure. And it's not just because there's no I in team rooms, and that you learn in third grade gym class. There's something much more profound at work here, that different disciplines are all starting to kind of tease out and tell us about but we got to pull all the pieces together. And understand that, you know, we don't need to be Bible thumpers necessarily, but there's kernels of truth in those texts that tell us that behaving in a certain way is going to be a problem. And it's not just because we don't want you to get in trouble with church. It's because when you slap your neighbor, you're doing nothing else than slapping yourself and your inability to see that and understand that doesn't change The truth of it, right?
Chris Templeton 35:03
Boy, is that is right on the money and and if I could help my kids, which I do, I try to do that in a variety of ways to help them understanding, have that understanding that you know, this is something bigger than you. But because it's bigger than you, and it's a part of you, it's a much deeper and richer experience you can have.
Juan Valdez 35:29
Yeah, and it opens up all these doors. That's the fun part, right. But you know, the doors aren't all pleasure, either, you know, because you still have all that karma and stuff that needs to be worked out. But it does open up doors to understanding and appreciation and levels of awareness, bliss, consciousness, and all that other stuff, which are pretty cool. But like, you know, the spiritual journey comes with the highs and lows just like life does, you know, I don't want anybody to think that, you know, it's easier on the other side, it's just, you know, I for one would like to be, you know, have my eyes as open as possible. And, you know, as my eyes open, I feel an obligation to kind of document that as long, you know, and leave the breadcrumbs so that people following in my footsteps can don't have to do all the same work all over again, right?
Chris Templeton 36:18
Right, exactly. Well, I'll tell you, I am super impressed with what you've done. I'm blown away by the thought of you writing the field of theology reconsidered book at 900 pages, and then figured out that if that's the the wide end of the funnel, that somewhere down at the base of the funnel came the seeker chasing ghosts, yeah, series of poems, and for different sections, I'm really impressed with what you're doing one, and I think that there is so much and so many different ways to come to this understanding, don't you think?
Juan Valdez 36:58
Yeah, I think a lot of a lot of disciplines are kind of all going in a very into the same place. And it's a fascinating time to be alive in, you know, in this sort of academic and intellectual landscape. But at the same time, you know, you have all this unrest? Yeah. Because, you know, a lot of the old ways of thinking are starting to become untenable. Right. And that's a scary place for everyone to be. And so it's a fascinating time, and an interesting time, you know, but it's, you know, there's a lot of fear out there, too, which I respect and understand. And, you know, I'm hopeful, I'm hopeful that, you know, kind of, you know, now that we've got the inauguration, we have a lot of that transition behind us, that we find a little bit of a new equilibrium here. But I mean, gosh, things, you know, the last year or two, you know, politically and with COVID, and everything it's been, you know, it's been a unique time to say the least, right?
Chris Templeton 37:51
And certainly challenging to, to, for, for people that aren't spending loads of time trying to kind of connect to their spirituality. Sure, I'm sure it's a place that can feel very lost, although at the same time, I also think that, you know, when you look at it from the standpoint of somebody who's spent more time in the, in the pursuit of their own spirituality, that it does begin to make a bit more sense. So, Juan Valdez, wrote the seeker chasing ghosts, thank you so much for doing this. Also, be sure to go to snow cone nyc.com, that snow cone nyc.com for the snow cone diaries that you've written, and you're gonna find that one you you've got a lot of game going on there. So thank you, to you. Thank you to global summit house for helping in the marketing of this book, and we're really pleased to be a part of it. One last thought was what's the one last thought you want people to walk away with?
Juan Valdez 38:55
A you know, no, mas de peace, everyone. Just try and take it easy, be nice to each other. And, you know, make it just a little bit easier for the next guy to get through their day. It won't kill you. I promise.
Chris Templeton 39:06
It'll make your life a lot better to one. Thanks so much. Sure. Appreciate your time.
Juan Valdez 39:11
Thank you, Chris. Take care.