Audioburst Search

#6: Explore Your Consciousness with Jeff Warren


Talk about the world today. There's a crisis mental health routine. Suicide rates are through the roof. There are people with major technology addictions, like shit is. There's it just like there's an environmental crisis on the external world, there's an inner environmental crisis. Meditation being one of the oldest can template of practices helps us turn inwards. Turning inwards helps us understand the nature of our minds better. Deepens our self awareness brings us closer to some form of internal freedom. And hopefully equips us with the tools to overcome daily humanly challenges just a bit better. Using the metaphor of an armada of vehicles. Our guest today playfully describes the different forms of contempt of practices. He writes, we have the yoga fire-breathing must stay monster truck. The spooky then hovercraft a sufi flying carpet at Catholic chain of bubble campers and the boring mindfulness base stress reduction delivery vents. Oh, come to another episode of the soul space podcast. We are host Adrian tho- today. We navigate the fraught territory of consciousness meditation with Jeff Warren, Jeff is the author of meditation for fidgety skeptics along with Mr. ten percent, happier. Dan, Harris, he also wrote the head trip a guidebook to waking sleeping and dreaming. Jeff is one of the most honest, meditation teachers, I know as you'll hear his love and curiosity towards exploring consciousness is infectious. Thelen I decided to take a stab at some deepen questions that relate to practice. Jeff tells us what it's been like for him since coming publicly about his personal struggles with ADD and by polar. He also shares his personal vision for the future of mental health at the very end leaves us with a beautiful ten minute guided, meditation, let's get into it. It's our pleasure to bring you Jeff Ward. Jeff, welcome to the show. Thanks for having me guys. Thank you. Yeah. We're thinking maybe the start off love to hear. What sparked your your curiosity to explore consciousness? That's something that we both share as far as a passion in interest. But what what comes to mind as far as early experiences that might have sparked that in you. Yeah. I mean, it was sorta always there as far as I can remember. I mean, I think I've I've telling somebody this the other day, I remember vividly being a young kid and laying in my bed and trying to understand the concept of Infinity and try to understand the concept that my mind was trying to understand Infinity and trying to notice what that was like. And getting these strange kinds of experiences were just vertigo experiences. And now, I know because of having done a lot of practice that I was tapping into certain kinds of qualities or spaces. But I know, of course way to think about a retort about it. I just would do that. And it seemed normal, and then I remember times that I would try to do then it wouldn't have that there'd be a contrast. I wouldn't things that had happened before weren't happening things that I wanted to have happened actually like, oh, yeah. That was cool. It was like a way to get myself high and. And without even knowing anything about this because I was a little kid, but I would try to get back to it would be different. Now, what was different? How is why is that different now? And so it was sort of like an ongoing thing with being too. You know, it wasn't. There was nothing really precocious about it. It was just kind of this is the same way kids will like choke themselves out, which I also do and go on conscious and just notice the weird delays in time. And and then as early as a young teenager. I got in a member reading an Omni article on lucid dreaming on the if you don't know is a extremely cool kind of psychedelic science popular magazine from the eighties probably started earlier than then it's really there hasn't been a kinda magazine since then like quite like it. But it had a whole feature on lucid dreaming, and how to do it. And I remember really working hard at trying to make that happen had some success. And so that was you know, there's other things I could say like other. Of the most meaningful thing is if sometimes you go into a practice now just like sometimes you walk around in the day. And you remember dream you had not even from the last night. But like from a year ago if you had that experience. Yes. So similarly in practice, sometimes I'll be meditating and I'll suddenly go back. Now. Remember insight experience, I had from many many years ago, and recently, I remembered this really profound experience I had a I must have been like, I don't even know like seven or eight where I suddenly got this whole insight into suffering where I was realizing that I was just doing some kind of Monday n- habit that I something I was just doing and it was like I was responding to a situation, and I was kind of responding again in the same way in a way that I thought was kind of funny, but I had this sudden incredibly so bringing understanding if I kept doing this this would become my character, and from there, I went into this whole thing around. Oh my God. That's true from everybody all the time were on this little like, you know. We'll we're going around around this little like, and we're just deepening these grooves. And I remember being like really shocked kind of like scared about that realization because I could see that some of the things I was in. We're not that healthy. And that was low still think about that. So you were dabbling in altered states from a very young age. Yeah. Altered states and both the kind of energetic high expansion tight. But also, the more the deeper deeper, our say ones that do more with being a more fundamental questions me on in retrospect, I can see they were there and my windy either there for everyone all the time that's part of who things about existing. But yeah, they were on my radar, and then and then you go into a narrowing your late teenage years where I just was interested in sex drugs and knock enrolling although that included transcendence in. Explorations and journey goes on from there. And I could tell you about the story, but that's a good start. Anyway, when did you learn about meditation? While a little later. It was I had been it was for researching. I was researching a book on consciousness, the so was on waking sleeping and dreaming and kind of trying to understand my mind because that was really one of the through lines. And of course, I knew about meditation before an identity yoga practices night done different kinds of ceremonies and things, but I've never really had a formal practice. So for that this is back in two thousand three I went to my first retreat. Ben like that was my first week wrong retreat. And then, of course, everything changed because now you understand that. Oh, these aren't just academe questions. Not that. I didn't know that before. But you know, you could say there's there's theories of dream is actually having dreams and notice what's going on. But my academic interest in consciousness and meditation took a big turn there because I could start to see that. This was the place where I would begin. Ng really the perspective on my direct experience that I that I was looking for learning meditation. Introducing meditation in your life in a way, solidified your dabbling in altered states when you were younger and like the mystical experiences and deeper questions of life. No question. Yeah. I know a gave me a framework to think about it. I mean, there are many frameworks to think about those kinds of experiences. I was familiar with some of them general mystical frameworks. But it gave me, you know, at my own kind of experiential math that I've been helpful. I mean, so that's a whole story. You know there. There's kind of this as you probably know doubt. No, there's kind of this very interesting enrich ongoing kind of conversational dialectic between our ideas, and concepts and maps of what's happening, and our understanding from intellectual point of view and our lived experience, and they're both really important that, you know, often people in the. Direct experience spiritual world kind of they can be down on the maps in the concepts for many good reasons. But what I have found in my experience is that every time I like a good a good map a good concept of good like take on something from a teacher or some kind of interest. Some very thoughtful observer will allow me to see my own experience in new way in sometimes move me more deepen deeply into experience. And then in turn as I go into my experience, I'm able to refresh my concepts with what is the lived reality of this. So there's a continual back and forth where where you're eventually. I think the one of the goals you could say is that the to conversion conversion conversion till our our model. Our understanding what's happening is directly maps perfectly onto our actual lived experience. That's one way talk about were a practice. Yes. Goes e it's definitely all about the lived experience because we can all get lost in the Serey and the books, and and so how did you start teaching meditation? Yeah. Well, maybe I'll just say one last thing to finish sound last thought, you just made me think of something the, you know, so the the the continuing interest in maps is really healthy continuing insect in those interest. In those frameworks is really can really enrich in that lived experience. So my progression. As a practitioner was that I I had I sort of might teacher shins end giving me a whole model. Remember way of working than kind of being lynched in the progress of insights, and how that worked to use a different map for model and ongoing that every time I would go into a new map. It would give me a new way to explore new wait understand that. So there is continual rich back, you know, they're both awesome. As what I want to say. Yeah. What what was it about Shinzan's specific framework that really resonated with you sound like that one in particular as a map became very, very useful as an explorer. Yeah. What was interesting Shinzan is that he only he doesn't really have a math in terms of where the thing goes. He has a very rough map of like it. You know, a general thing that goes more and more intimate story in and his particular kind of his God is emptiness. You know, it's impermanent that's his at the altar. He worships ad in. That's where he lives. So that's the thing. He's pointing you to. But his what was radical about him was for me. It still is is the way he broke down the skills of what is involved in a practice. Like what you know what a what a successful meditation. Practice needs to go deep. What are the actual skills? You're building like the concentration declared equanimity those were his phone. Focused that really became my thing for me that I've now run worse because I think of that as okay, how can I apply that to all practices? When I meet someone who's a successful movement practitioner. Psychotherapeutic practitioner depth psychologists, or you know, shaman whatever it is how our concentration clarity and equanimity showing up. And what else is there not to be reductive about it? What are the other skills that may be there? And that he gave me that way of thinking about it, which I probably had a little bit already having written a book on consciousness and always interested in. But that made it you can also find those skills in your direct experience. That's my focus as a teacher is not on any vehicle or anyone forum or anyone technique, even it's more. Like, okay, how is showing up right now? What what is the nature of that? And how to help them understand that? And then help them plan more and more of it and then merging with the other skills. So that was his genius. I mean, people don't often think. Of him for that. He's got his whole map. And he's got a whole grid of techniques that he's really proud of that are really cool. But it's the it's for me to concentration clarity equanimity. That was like because he could talk about it. How it led how each of those skills led deeper and deeper into the path in a way that no one had ever articulated for me. And it was like, oh my gosh. This is like the this is the good stuff here. I mean, this is the thing I needed to hear. I after digging into the archives of some of your articles remember reading an analogy made with those parts, and you refer to I think it was car. It was a car analogy. I don't know if you can help remind me the particulars because it was really helpful and seeing how different parts of the vehicle were were those, you know, those specific core practices. Yeah. So that's the way it's a metaphor just vehicle versus parts, and my metaphor was that like, you know, you can just picture. You know, Mad Max, the open desert and all of these vehicles cruising through the desert, and there's like the yoga NAMA, stay monster truck with the big fire reading Bronte Yama people in the back. And then there's the kind of boring MBR delivery van. Then there's like the V pasta. You know, body scan Vibert Ori permanence waves that's floating over here in the in the, you know, all the different vehicle, you're gonna get each vehicles at different technique or form, right? And they would include not just meditation vehicles from Zan, but zoom from India practice with non dual vehicles, but also movement practices and the practices and artistic practices, you know, humanistic practices. I mean psychotherapeutic practices. I mean, all these practices. You can think of all the world's ways in which they've tried to. They started with his basic recognition that living is a training. And that practice is being delivered about that training about how you wanna live, and here's the armada. And so people get confused like a witch vehicle should I get in because it's overwhelming, you know, you're you've got like thousands of eagles. And and my whole thing is will it's. Not so much the vehicles important in wonderful and beautiful. And there's a lot above six each vehicle, which are important understand in wonderful to learn. But insofar as any vehicle is gonna make it through the desert, it's always gonna have certain parts that are universal. So that that's the now, gee, I would say is the concentrations always gonna be there, and that's really the steering system. Every vehicle has this during system, you know, you're going to need to have the capacity to hold the direction to devote your attention some direction and not being blown out in fifty directions. So that single pointed quality of concentration and devotion is always going to be there. There was always gonna not there's always gonna be equanimity component, which is sort of like they Greece in the engine in all the parts. That's what allows things to move fluidly equanimity being the the the smoothness the ability open to the actual moment to accept what's going on. You know, you will. There is no way you can deepen in any practice and not have that. It's just impossible. You know? Maybe there's someone can point me to an exception. I've I've yet to hear it. I'd love to hear one so sorry for the reckless generalizing, but this has been my life. As an explorer that I'm always looking so I would say those two of absolute for sure needed. Visit clarity piece that I think is gonna optional one. It's related to the awareness piece to how deliberately aware you're becoming the windshield. Many many practices have definitely be passed a definitely non dual practices definitely certain yoga practices. Some don't have a deliberate emphasis on it. But it's a by product that you become more where you start to become aware of more and more stuff. But there are lots of practice that don't emphasize awareness, and that's often where you have the problems like people have the shadows that they don't ever bother looking at they develop the freedom of the equanimity in the concentration a lot of power a lot of freedom. But they don't. See the way that they're basically fucking up stuff around them because they had these big shadows. They're just they, you know, it's a real problem in this as you know, in the spiritual path. So I think the clarity should be part of it that that'll clarity in awareness space. Let those are three out say there's a friendliness piece to which is just like, I hope you're developing compassion. I really hope so and it's a muscle another muscle group. And I would say it's sort of like the I don't know. I haven't figured out the metaphor for what that is. Maybe it's the maybe it's the perfume around your vehicle, maybe it's tunes. The music. Like some Bob Marley on this area. Or maybe it's something loving and puts people in warm space, and that comes spontaneously, of course, practice. The reason is not deliberate is that a lot of practice. It just emerges. That's what happens when the heart is opened. It starts to just come from your own contact with our own being in a way. But in of course, lots of factors deliberately, cultivate, like within every tradition. And that's and I think it's a good idea as a fellow explorer. I do agree with you. It's so hard not to get not distracted, but to get attracted to other forms of practices and not just focus on one time. And so my question is how do you balance? Because I know I've struggled with that. Where I was like, I'm I just you know, jack-of-all-trades, I'm doing all these things and not going deep into one practice. But in retrospect from my own experience, I know that I was doing a lot of spiritual bypassing when I was focusing on just one practice, and when I introduced psychotherapy in my life as a spiritual practice more than just exploring my own mental health issues. That's when things were like completely exploded in my face. So I don't know. Yeah. Right question. I mean, it's the million dollar question. And it's so important, and I can tell you my personal answer. But ultimately, this idea that you choose one thing and stay with it is somehow always the right thing is not true. It's really about the individual has understand what's right for them. For a lot of people. It is really important to just twos one thing and to have that commitment, and I would say certainly when you're doing your practice is important to have that one pointed committee. -ment to be developing that capacity, devotion and concentration, and but for other people they're able to explore different techniques and find synergies find that it's comp there's a lot of complimentarities, it doesn't confuse overwhelm them and make things more complex or more overly complicated. I would say the way that I've dealt with the AD question, which is kind of what you're asking. You know, isn't that all the bid eighty? Yes. And the way I've dealt with it is it's through exactly what I've been describing. I when I realized that it doesn't matter. What practice? I do. I'm always cultivating equanimity there's a move. I can do in my body. I can show I can guide you guys through it right now. There's a move. I do in my body to make sure that I'm a quantum est. There's a move. I do that ensures that I am at least being concentrated is a move. I do that's around being aware and being clear. Those skills are always getting built those are my vehicles in a weird way. Even though the parts so I can go into different practices, and and basically approach him as a mindfulness practice of like, okay. I'm just being aware of the things I'm training for it. So. It's I mean since you brought it up we wanted to actually ask you a boat. No, you came out recently on Dan's podcast, and talked about your ADD and your personal struggle as a meditation teacher. I mean that you know that for us is is really important because it's easy. At least for me. I feel like it's easy to walk around and carry this persona, even as a meditative that you somehow have all your shit figure it out, and you know, that your internal landscapes are all clean, and and, you know, always always, you know, in balists, but clearly it's not the case. And could you share a little bit about how your relationship to two AD or your experience of it? If it's changed at all since talking about it more more openly. Great question. What has changed my relationship to? It has changed. It's not just the ADD. It's the I have ADD I have a lot of emotional intensity and this regulation. I had I had bipolar diagnosis a year ago, which was kind of surprised but also not a surprise. And that just means like big spikes, you know, where I have a lot of energy, even you can feel it when I'm in this conversation excited with like. Here we go, and that can lead into sort of Hypo manic states, and then there's a crash crash right is exhausted and really despairing. So so first of all it takes a wild Stasi clearly your own struggles. Like, I've always known about the ADD Ikano about the ops. But I didn't really have the perspective on the ups and downs until it's still don't ongoing thing. I learn new things about myself, and the challenges, can you be honest, even with that, you know, when there's so much expectation from people for the people who are teaching them to somehow be like, you said totally perfect. You internalize all these assumptions and ideals, and so the the the experience of writing a book with Dan the meditation book and going on the Joe Rogan podcast and talking about it was quite liberating as it was sorta like, I'm just gonna admit. This is what I I kind of talked about before. And I've always tried to be really honest teacher that way. But like I said I had secret pockets shame about it that I didn't know I was holding back. So you kind of just put out there. It was very liberating. You know? And because what you realize is you're not going to change on mental ways in which of how you are, you know, or maybe we'll very very slowly, you're always. But you're all of us. It takes a long time to be able to live outside of conditioning. And those conditions are going to be a big part of your life or most of your life and the rough arc of those conditions is not going to change in a huge way. Certain parts will change Lakers aspects of might challenges that are due to physical trauma other things as I learned a discharge that energy. I'll be able to definitely ups highs and lows. My bipolar thing will start to shrink they've already started to definitely AD gets concert to come into. More regular regulation. So there are ways in which we can begin to modify it. But I'll always be someone who had is sensitive ups and downs a little bit scattered who's creative that's part of the and so kind of the journey is like just yeah. The adult quality of accepting that and not needing to be any different than then learning how to work with it like given that I'm already like this, and I don't have to now put on myself all the shit about how I'm somehow supposed to be different. And it's like, I know what I'm doing what I'm not doing. You know, what I need? I had to get an assistant to help me with organizational stuff. I have I have a life coach. I just hired help me with organizational stuff. Yeah. I just you gotta put the environmental things in that are gonna they're gonna help you in. So that this process is really allowed to do that. One answer. There's an even deeper answer. Which is the thing is all the way through the struggle of it. I've been paying attention. What works what doesn't work from using these practices? So I learned a lot about how to use mindfulness to change my relationships the energy back off and not feed. So I can really early on. Just like I did in this podcast. I'm tracking starting to go up back off like I'm backing out right now. Take a breath. Oh, let it pass. And then in the same way I can start to do that with the down energies which are harder because there's gnarly Sobat stuff. I can I can what's our job here. It's to teach your suffering. Teach your your healing. And then I can bring that to my teachings. So I'm really. Focused on that. Like, how can I what do I do day to day that helps with it? And then how can I pay that forward? That's awesome. I mean as the student of transportation psychology can tell you that in many ways mainstream psychology uses labels, and which are important, but they can be limiting, and you can see how a lot of your creativity comes from those intense emotions, and that's okay. It's okay. But it's a pain in the ass. It is I know from personal experience figured you. How do you work with? Same thing. I'm just you know, more practice is what's helping for me. I my bag passing was through books for a long time as you can see. Yeah. So practice is very important. That's all I can how how do you metabolize? Do you have energies that you work with our challenge in anger? Yeah. Yeah. Lots of anger. How do you transmute it? What's your chemical process? Hey, you know, what I actually just dive deep into it. And just it takes me back to certain moments in my life, like certain scenarios, an just lived through that moment, and just you know, sort of comfort myself through that moment, and it just like it's not it the that chart just goes away. And when I revisit that moment at a later date. It's like why was I that angry? So yeah, interesting. Yeah. So we'd like to go into more mystical questions. You know, the word even mysticism and the words perch, Wahl ity, a lot of people like, ooh, what do they mean to you? I mean there about questions of being and belonging, they're the fundamental questions of that here. We are what people would some call people of philosophical Bamako, existential questions, we get busy with life. And we get busy with the operational side of life, and many was forget that actually were inside this enormous mystery. We don't know how we got here. I mean, really got here. We can make have all the explanations. We want about biology and physics, and but which is all legitimate and wonderful, but there's a larger mystery of either is something in the first place in why it feels like something to be alive, and what is the nature of awareness, and is the relationship between Hauer wear and the world around us and each other. These are very very very fundamental questions and for some people. They never fall off the map. They never they never fall off the kind of table of concerns. You know, you may preoccupied with your life, but there's sort of it's like lifestyle has his existentialist highlighter under it where you're just a little bit. Wondering about the perfect. Is that the big question? Yeah. The big questions. And so that was for me. They never fell off the table. Like when I was a kid. I was interested in them, and I just stayed interested. And eventually I realized allow 'cause I was an atheist at the time because I thought I didn't have no way to understand. There was something soulful about spirituality or religion. I just heard the bad the negative side of it and saw the negative side. So I didn't know I thought the only way into this inquiry was through philosophy. I didn't know you could actually feel into the increase. So I would say mysticism spirituality are attempts to feel to directly experience the mystery. The these demento questions of being and what we learn that. These aren't just academic questions that the way we feel into the orientation making her own experience change, what we begin to understand about the nature of that mystery nature of the being being whatever you wanna call it in that there are always gonna be mysteries there. But that. At. Certain parts of that mystery can start to be resolved in a very interesting way. Like the question of who we are which we think of his academic question naturally. You can know who you are you there's an answer to that. It's an ongoing answer. But it gets more and more deep in more and more did the responses to that. So that would be how I would describe what Nissim is out just got stung by small be said Hello, don't forget the mystery. Actually wasn't a sting. That's awesome. Jeff, I love to hear you talk about just along the lines of different experiences of the nature of mind. And you hear people bring terms up like non duality like non dual states and the experience of not so much. You know, finding a universal definition. But just what can you share about that, you know, talking to others and having personal experiences about specific states? We can have that changes your concept of who you are. I mean, the the experience of who you are not the definition of it. I mean, I can talk a lot about this is my favorite subject. It's kinda like where to start because as someone who wrote about consciousness in a journalist about this. I was interested in this from the beginning. And so I spent many years interviewing teachers practitioners about these subjects, but also many years exploring on my own. So I have both a kind of intellectual understanding of what it is that I could speak to and that intellectual understanding is never completed. It's always I'm always dissatisfied with it. Because I know it barely even points to what the thing is. And I'm always updating it. 'cause I there's a processing I was sort of naive about that. Or I can see how my early questions round were really kind of more naive as get more experienced. I get more sober around it. But then I have my I'm more comfortable, even I would say talking about my own experience and my own experience is. First of all, I consider myself to be still very early in the path. And I am I have people in my life. And teachers, I admire who are very very very deep in what I would call a more non dual state, meaning they so this gets already you're trying to define it. Meaning they are in a vivid relationship with the big picture. The big picture of who they are the big picture of their own life. Sometimes that's experienced through and Dina's through a sense that they there's a kind emptiness all around them that is both who they are and continually refreshing them, sometimes it's experience through a more of a sense of unity where and that there is unity in these things. So the analogy is the classic analogy that I like that fits with my own experience is this idea of a crystal. So there's a crystal and we go around and around the crystal which is our own being, and we polished different facets of the crystal. So every time you're continuing making a pass from crystal you polish this facet and one fast. Is this facet of emptiness? And it's possible. The emptiness facet is somehow more privileged deeper more fundamental than all the others. That's policy. I don't and then you have the facet of unity of just like, which is which can be there. Different facets of the facet of unity. It can be just there's no interactive -ation. And you're so completely open to the world. There's only the world that's more accessible end of it. But there are also ends of it where you literally heal yourself to be everything you're looking at and is looking back at you, which might teacher Shinzan has that's another facet unity. There are other facets like spacious facet, which is one that I have a lot. There's facets there's a kind of love or heartbreak intimacy. I've had that one. Oh. I the sacredness the sacred the which is a spacious nece and a unity and an emptiness Anna love and its allies. So there's these different facets that come to the fore, and for me as a practitioner, I would fall into one of these facets at a meditation retreat or in a ceremony and take all my God this now this is it this is the thing. I now know what they're talking about. If I'm here now, and then two things have happened one. To me. They're like oh shit. So I would just it would fade sometime, you know, that sometimes when faded almost immediately after a few hours fade after a few weeks had experience the being deep in space, a C, but open spacious intimate thing for weeks, sometimes receipted by something dramatic sometimes I kinda gradually got there. And it would be in it for a while. And then it would just. Eight out. That's one thing that would happen. It would fade. But then what happened is I would subtly refi that thing, and I'd be trying to get back to it. And it took me years to realize that oh that was just one facet because the next time. I got back to it wasn't that. It was something else. It was a different facet and different. And maybe better. It was often. It was like, oh, no. This is the real one. It was just a shadowy version of this much Maria one which now hopefully going to be here for a longer time. I never think that now now as my teachers say the small self always comes back the small cell. You wanna use that language, but the the the relative world the contraction the conditioning it comes back, and but what I've noticed over the years. And so the only the what I say is most true. But my experience is that I feel like it's on a it's easier to find all the time more and more that I still forget. But then soon as just talking about right now. Now, it's very immediate for me. It's it's there as a feeling I don't have a can't even there's no words a direction, I can feel this. It's like a kind of a charge in my experience of fullness kinda Louis. Yeah. And it's very centering to that's there. And it's they're more more when I want it. And I I had a long for many years. I rea- fide this particular kind of cessation experience. I thought you needed to have that would fishery bring the into stream entry that was into the models of stream entry into. Progress of inside I was Shinzan super industry entry pragmatic Dharma's industry entry, you know, annual demolish people whatever I was like I'm gonna get stream entry, and I'm gonna have this experience of stream entry which is going to be a cessation. I'm gonna go through the emptiness door impermanent door most of the suffering or what is really the door. I was going through again and again. This door really fucking hurts. But I'm like, but that's the door outgoing through. But anyway, I'm like, no, I want to and what I didn't realize at the time was that he go through that kind of a door have a particular kind of brain, you know, they kinda ask burgers e flavored nerds who tend to be really good at concentration and really good at clarity. And they get the kind of disappear. And so I was trying to make that happen. But I was to eighty to get the to get that to happen because I just didn't have a good enough concentration. And so took me years to just stop to get wise and to stop trying to get enlightened and Trump's trying to stream entering and stop trying to compare myself anybody else and just embrace the fact that I have no clue where I am on any map. I know in technically in the stream in the sense that like the stream of my practice in the stream of my experiences now just taking these places like I don't have to do anything it. It just happens where I want her not. So I still practice deliberately but I can. Feel the momentum. You know? And sometimes I wish it wasn't there because it's not through walls, sometimes like ban. Pam bam. Like, it's like a, you know, a train that's just like going forward now. And sometimes you're smashing through big dry brushes full of forms. And sometimes you're in these great views and other times, you're like not real wall or running over somebody not quite. So that's hopefully, that's some those are some models and some ways talking about there's probably lots more. I could say don't even know what I said that. But that's what I said. I mean, I'm sitting here listening, and I wonder for those that don't normally geek out on or maybe even non meditators is there something in these experiences that's worth sharing about maybe why might be useful sort of bring it to practical level. 'cause I you know, I love I'm with you. I mean, I, you know, we we both would geek out in wanna have all these rich experiences. But how do we bring it back to the real world? And what's what's the point? Right. Right. Awesome question. Thank you for bringing us back to the world. I will say this is the real world, by the way. This is the real real world as you know. So okay. This is my also my interest. This is my interest is continually making this real and trying to ground this practical real world stuff. So I always so thanks for bringing back. I always did I end up in this place. And then I think okay. How can I bring it around? So let me think. A couple things come to mind. You said your podcast is about the crisis of meaning, you know, our lives the crisis of meaning in our culture. I also agree. Those crisis of meaning it's important that everybody asks themselves at some point in their life. What is meaningful to me? Not as an academic inquiry, but wet am I doing how am I being when a sense of meaning suffused my experience because I guarantee that when that's sense of meaning is using your experience, you are most of service but world around you almost always, and you are most in near gifts your most in-year e ING in some way. That's what I'm talking about. These practices. Bring us into that relationship with our lives every time another facet on that diamond is meaning that is literally a facet on a diamond. So anytime, you are experiencing something meaningful. You are polishing the Dom. You are in that space. So what I would want to say is I make it sound as Terek because as soon as the words of my mouth, it becomes a thing that we rely this is happening that guy over there. But it was just my lived experience in your experience right now if in this conversation, I said something that you just sort of went. Wait, a second in that moment, you're touching that diamond. It's rate there in your life. It you're either going to accidentally find this out or you're gonna start to get delivered about how to touch it more often. But if you're not getting delivered, but I touch it. Why are you here? His everything is about that. When you're when you're telling someone you love them when you're carrying a child when you're doing social Justice work. You are touching that diamond. You can do it in a could do it without realizing touching it. Or you can be delivered about it make deliver practice and then all good flows from there. So it's where all rivers go. It's where all rivers begin. Beautiful we've been hitting on this. But I also want to hear a little bit about just the various process of awakening, you know, as as a not a singular experience, but just, you know, awakening from from what awakening insinuates that something was asleep than so if you can touch on just because like you mentioned there are many path many practices. But these experiences seem universal and sounds like people have these common overlaps in in experiences of awakening when it comes to consciousness. Yeah. So I think a lot about this. And I think I guess describe it as the most in the most generous Neta universal way, they would embrace all traditions and cultures. I would say there's a process of inhuman life, which is kind of like a second. It's kinda like process of puberty you go through, but it's like a second kind of puberty period. But that happens more to fully formed adults, and that is a process of waking up to your bigger self. You're a larger wholeness of understanding that you're intimately connected to the world around you, and you are part of it and not you're waking up to that not as a academic idea. But as a lived experience of feeling that connection that intimacy and some people don't even talk about it in the sense that it's just what's happening, and they would say, yeah. That's what happened to me. But they didn't need to make a big deal of it or call it awakening. Or and they didn't really notice it was a very. A gradual thing. So I think that's how I often think about it is practices, accelerating the aging gracefully gradient, if you're aging well in life, you're going to go that direction anyway, your grandparents no people like this are people like this. You know, your teachers your mentors, you know, doctors accountants there's a way of aging where you're just taking your own stuff a little less seriously in letting your borders be a little more porous. So that's the process now that process can go very it's sort of like a hockey stick. It can we can start to move into that process. But there is definitely a depth dimension to that process where it can get very very very deep hardcore own say hardcore, but very serious virtual practices away of accelerating that hockey stick and getting really clear about the deeper end of where it can lead as they're doing that. Sometimes the the movement is very gradual the whole time, and it's like slowly boiling frog. You know, you very contrast sometimes discontinuance jumps where all of a sudden there's a lot of contrast. So that's what a lot of maps are trying to get you to have a discontinuance jump where there's a noticeable before. And after that's what a cessation is. It's what the classic path moments in resume or you're a big non dual moment like in vita tradition. A wow now had an awakening I realize it's an awakening because you're waking up to a previous level of of of sleepiness. But there's always there's always a previous level and a level being more wake. And sometimes the problem. Someone has a big jump and they go. Wow. That was it. I was asleep now awake. But they don't realize is there's a lot more waken ings to come like small awakenings to show you that. Actually, you weren't as wake as you thought. You were. I don't know if it ever ends like there's always 'cause you're you're as you're living, your your accumulating veils, you're cumulating kind of confusions and you're waking to them at the. Same time. And I don't have enough experience directly myself to know if he ever get to some place that is more permanently awake. I do know that having interviewed teachers some teachers say, especially non tool types. No. That's it. You're they're not me them. I'm there, and maybe they are. And then other teachers who are seen very there say, no, I'm never always there. And I don't know myself. I just feel like I'm always in process, but I will say I feel like I'm still low down on the hockey stick not to put a hierarchy in it. But I recognized people who really have deep experience, and I know I have a certain deputy experience. But I I also like, you know, there's a lot. I don't know yet. So I'm just kind of giving you report from what I know so far. It's like an ever expanding circle. I was actually just talking about that with you yesterday. Is that sometimes I go through sometimes I think it's the same experience. But I realize no it feel like a lot of my experiences around nature, and I'm like it's the same tree, but I feel different depths now, and they're like it's like you're shedding alight on a different spot in your psyche or something, I don't know. It's hard to put it in language. I get going whatever you're doing the, right? You're spreading something very that's in different ways. People talk about that. So there's the continual polishing of the the MIR of awakening or the or the crystal there's the sense of the journey going around, and you take another pass, and it gets deeper in the traditional wave conceiving the four path model, waking within Theravada Buddhism, the ideas that you go around these cycles of like effort breakthrough challenge integration breakthrough challenge integration. And you go around them again, and again, and then and after a while you're like, oh, God I've been here before I've been here before here again here again after weather's shift and the next time you go round it you're going around into higher level layer level of integration or a higher. It's a new path moment. That's when you move from first path a second path, for example, or second the third path. I know it sounds like a video game. It's ridiculous foot. That is how actually some people think of it for better or for worse. But they incite is more. Like what you're pointing to that. We. We go round and around. And it seems like we we seem like, oh, this is this is now I understand this is how it is. And then there's something that changes now were at a deeper level getting it and an album sudden. Wow. Now, you know, you're and that's really important to notice because that's what you can that shows you that you're moving in this direction. And and by the way, there's one big caveat. I should say big thing. I actually said the beginning, which is that none of these experiences necessarily are the thing to look for in your practice in life, and that's impaired into mention. Yes, it's super important. What matters is are you are you more in your life? Are you growing the way you wanna grow? Are. You more connected to your friends, your your whoever like don't chase these experiences and the themselves are they just come and go you the litmus test of any successful practices. Always are you growing in the way, you want to grow in a very reasonable. Practical way, are you more president more loving more available, and he should have litmus that you should have an idea in your head of an intention around. What it is you want for your life, and that's kind of a feedback loop you're using. Absolutely. And that's again, it's about bringing it back to the practical in the real world. Totally. It's awesome. Jeff being. I full time. Maybe like ten minutes left. And I I love to tell so touch on society in mindfulness in society so outside of the individual, but looking at sort of the collective. Reasons why why it's important to have individual practices. I read in one of your articles you talked about the democratization of mental health and left to hear your vision of this. Because it sounds like it's linked to your role as a teacher in power in students to develop their own skills and tools to to take control of of their mental wellbeing. Yeah. Well, thank you for asking that that is my absolute passion, and it's sort of like where that's the my learning edge right now is teacher think about yourself as so my whole thing is actually dissolved the difference between practitioner and teacher, and actually even beyond that to all the difference between practitioner teacher and just regular human that. I kinda wanna say that being a teacher, which was a better word for it is really the ultimate human thing to be and that the more we realize that and that it's not exotic and that although there are there are definitely people who have more unless experience insofar as we can be honest about our own challenges in who we are. We are in the role of a teacher at that moment. And that our own practice is the ultimate creative thing to discover an industry air. So that's my vision. And and I'm just trying to learn articulated, you know, in the. Russian my from practitioner to teach her to more experienced teacher. I start out just about learning the skills. What was I doing? I got good at teaching the skills to other people, and that's kinda like the consolidated back end of my moving process. That is Jeff and that's now beginning to support me to be able to do with the front end. Which is oh actually the next layer out is this larger service to all to all. And this empowerment to take everybody teacher to to remove this idea that somehow this teacher is special and to see that in the way, I just described when we are in a place honesty about who we are. And where we're at were in that role, and that I wanna be able to teach people what is the basic stuff around mental spiritual emotional health that everyone should know in the same way that everyone should know the basics of healthy, nutrition and the basics of good exercise. So. Bats my thing. Now, it's like, okay. What are those things? And how do I do that have I impart that in a way that's responsible and safe in respects, the, you know, the mean, the fraught territory of mental emotional health, which is serious, but at the same time if we get too worried about the fraud territory of it, then we we just we then we leave the territory only specialists, and we don't have enough those specialists to go around and talk about the world today. There's a crisis mental health her teen suicide rates through the roof. There are people with major technology addictions, like shit is. There's it just like there's an environmental crisis on the extra worlders inner environmental crisis where everything is coming apart. And we need to put all hands on deck. So we don't have time to get it. Perfect. And it's important amateur guide the head no guide at all. And so I'm all about putting myself on the line by saying that and trying to create programs in empower people in. It's true. An empowerment teacher. I'm about saying do it. So I have. Free community resources on on the season website that I just wrote that are all about and time people to start up practice groups that have a workshop on doing now that I'm just starting to do with the friend of mine that's about teaching like what are the okay over the weekend? What can I teach that? I think is most important for people in. And then I get them to hit rate learning like figuring a practice to share guiding others. And then and getting a feel for what that looks like. And then always with the standing that the person front who is different urva system in and you have to also be always teaching that pluralism in that respect for their own teacher nece, you know. Yeah. We'll definitely share a lot of those links and the show notes for people that want to get involved and are equally excited about this. You talked about teens, actually, I'm I'm curious to hear your experience teaching young adults who are going through a ton of life transition, I imagined. And what is that like, you know, bringing the practice to to the youth and the next generation of leaders. It's a high gave me goosebumps thinking about it's the greatest like. The greatest honor provincial by life because you see kids at this moment in the life of bug to go off the rails in all of a sudden, it turns a corner and you to see life change right in front of you in its noting. You're even doing something they're doing and mostly comes from sharing talking in checking in with each other being a safe place with the armor can come off. And it's like a overwhelming. Sometimes it's such a privilege, and I just I could just be there as a fly on the wall. It's the most humbling experience too because you know, it's it's it's my biggest teacher 'cause I'm learning in those contexts they teach me to be honest about who I am. And they show me the privilege of just holding the space not being the guy with the answer some special teacher, just the wallpaper. And it's that humility is like you can't even it's priceless. You know, so. It's really special. Thank you for sharing that. Yeah. And it's amazing because you see like it's not even at they're doing tons of meditation. It's more like you're continually bringing the principles of openness, and you're creating space that where those are such high values that they start to get in the sharing each other more and more real, honest and. That's where all the healing comes is not so much for the sitting the sitting is good too. But it's really just that. And you can't put too much sitting into a teenager. They got too much juice. You don't want them to be sitting all the time is not good for teenager. I mean. Jeff. Would you mind actually leading us through a bit of closing meditation? We thought it'd be nice to leave listeners as well. Just maybe it can do a quick close. Thank you asked me. Can I do like a ten minute practice? Yeah. Let's be amazing. So what about had this idea? What if ice Dr with the equanimity principal the principal? That's there in every vehicle and every and try to tune people into that quality because that's the one thing I want people to be able to remember. And then I kinda go go a little bit into concentration. Principle is principle. Devoting yourself and learning how bring your resources together. And there's a principle simplicity in that. That's so important, and then and then finished it with the kind of love or compassion principle. Just three principles spoiling three principles. How they might show up in a sitting practice or moment to moment. Perfect and driving. This is a very lightweight. Yeah. Disconnected the spirit of it. Make your driving make your the cars in sights and sounds around you driving the practice. Just in case. We don't have ten car pileup. That'd be good. Okay. So you can start by if you like having your eyes can open at half mast or close to about what you feel comfortable. What makes you feel kinda comfortable? That's what we're aiming for here. And I like to start with just a couple of press. You know, indicate to my body mind than meditation starting so breeding in on the inhale. Breeding out on the X hails or softening the face in the jaw. Not ex- HALE is like the relaxation the downward motion, and because I was all stirred up activated. They're talking about stuff. I was interested in I can feel there's a lot of. Energy in education. My system might be some in years. So as we breathe out. It's the magic you're like a snow globe. All that snow is settling in your hamburger thing out. As you breathe out the sediment. So to come down. Explore this first principle since equity. This is the principle of opening. It's about being available to what's actually happening experience. And there's a palpable feeling of it. There's a compatible sensibly might get often to get it in relationship to something. So I would ask you to see if in relationship to my voice, see, you can imagine my voice is just the sound wave that's floating rate through you. So if there's any bracing any subtle way, which you're braced against my voice, or you're kinda tense through the funny bodies save you just let go of that. An open your body through the front of your body opening. So that you're welcoming not only my voice, but all any ambient sounds where you're listening. You're welcoming your own any sensations in your body. Even your own thoughts. It's like, you're kind of letting go, and there's a sort of settling back in letting everything else just come forward and be there. And you're not interfering with it. That tiny adjustment. But whatever it is. You just did there. That's the thing to notice. This thing of. There's only one thing to learn here. It's like do this all the time. Every moment the day, stop and let go and breathe and just let yourself come more fully into the present not fighting with in subtle ways. With what's around you. What's moving through you. Feels like openness to me feels like not being tight. So the next principle is the principle of commitment devotion. On -centration simplicity all ways talking about the similar thing. Which is that we choose something in our experience. Maybe it's the feeling of the brass. Or the sense of our whole body just sitting here since the whole container of everything. Maybe it sounds. So the the the thing we devote ourselves to be very wide can be everything very narrow just a cessation of breathing. The nose in the belly. And we see if we can get. We can notice the softest sunless part. Of whatever that is that we wanted to vote ourselves to. And we let us be in the background as best. We can. We see if we can as an experiment, can you bring all qualities your attention. They all converge on this one juicy thing. Keys to this defined softest part. The subtlest part to get curious about that. Curiosity. Bills are awareness are discernment clarity. This delicacy in attention. Can you write your breasts lowdown? Just naturally get very still and very delicately deal into the softest part of the since aviation, even if it's the big quote sensation of your own being. The face be soft. No strain. As we get close to the end of this little mini meditation. Native medicine, all smiles or a crack on your lips. Because the last piece here about appreciation about carrying. Starting your own experience. Can you smile away appreciative whatever sensations whatever is going on like your your own care giver your own? Mother or father. Secretly delighted by the sensations feelings. Even the hard ones. Smile. Expand in the kindness. Friendliness overflow into images or thoughts. The people that you know. If you're coast to. Mentors old teachers. And sisters grandmothers. Pets and animals funds. Hebrew, eating in respect as to breathe it into your heart. In reading out your care. Reading in your your gratitude. These connections the sweetness. This is these are these are the people showed up in your life. Reading in your, thanks. Breeding out your care, sending them your love, your respect. Appreciation. Mrs the endless net piece idea that we're in this interconnected web through time and space naked through generations. We breed and energy food that that web that net read into our hearts. Gathering in bad energy has strength support in breathing out your own care and respect acts that same network. Giving away to blessings of the short practice at holding onto it for yourself. But sharing wells. Thank you. Spout. Andy Ladda bell. Ring. It is a little practice. There's an honor. And a pleasure. Thank you. I swab of pelicans suspended from a red morning sky their wings tangled than their beaks broken. Your mother whom you have not seen in years. Still reeks of grief. In you. Are young boy unfettered. By the noise of what tears absent lovers. What's your is? Your is the acquiesce to those who live from their heart. You learn discomfort is inevitable, and it is all impermanent so drop in with me. Let's go inside. Where do you feel it? Yes. Your broken heart resides. Where I end and you again. There. Where do you feel it? We hope you enjoyed this episode. You can find links and show notes at Seoul space podcast dot com. Next episode. I chat with former NBA strength koshen. Drew clear about the psychology of optimal performance false on social media at Seoul, space pod that soul space P O D. Please leave us review on I tunes. Thanks for tuning in until next time.

Coming up next