Picture of Wayne Andersen

Wayne Andersen

Session 18: Awakening and Starting to Know Yourself

Starting to know yourself. How can we become the Dominant Force in our own lives?

Video Transcript:

Dr. A: All right, everybody. Well welcome to the Conscious Leaders Forum. What I mean by leader, I mean leading ourselves. One of the key aspects of our lives is starting to understand how we can become the Dominant Force in our own life and I talked quite a bit about that, and the opportunity to organize your life around what matters most. It seems like our world has become so complicated, and with that more and more people are just not having a good time. That inner world, the world they live in, whether they’re getting ready for sleep or they’re getting up in the morning, there’s a lot of frustration, a lot of self-doubts, and one of the things we want to really work on is we can become the Dominant Force and that opportunity is available to all of us.

So we developed the Conscious Leaders Forum to really help us work together and I learned just as much from you when you ask questions, as you do for me and that’s the whole idea here is to really explore our inner experience and start to understand how we can adapt and really become psychologically flexible enough to have the emotional agility. To not just deal with this crazy, chaotic world we’re in, that’s volatile and uncertain, and has ambiguity, but also being able to thrive in it. Being able to become that Dominant Force in our lives. So today we’re gonna kind of go back a little bit in time and start from where I started this a couple years ago. I’ve been studying this for about 10 years, but the reality is, what I can really tell you is that the journey is ongoing. I would say that every day I learn a little something more and I think you guys are on that path with me.

So we’re going to take a lot of the collective experience and I’m going to talk a little longer than I normally do because I want to really kind of set up the experience for us all and kind of do a little review and for those of you that are just joining us, the opportunity to really start to understand about ourself and about our mind. So just to put in review forum means basically, a place, meeting, or medium where ideas and views on a particular issue can be exchanged, and the idea here is for us to be able to talk interchange, exchange and interchange information and learn more about your experiences which are all individual, and a lot of them based on our personal mind, which we’ll explore as well today.

So, the idea today is Awakening and Starting to Know Yourself. It’s so important to understand this, that the awakening part is really where consciousness all starts, and you look at the definition of consciousness: consciousness refers to the state of being aware of one’s focus on objects, our surroundings, our thoughts, and our feelings. The more we are self-aware— so it all starts there. All of our practice in actually extending ourselves and building that mental gym, so to speak, that we can go in and do our calisthenics, of thinking more about how our mind works, and how we can become the master of those thoughts, and of those feelings, and how we can be observant, and really move through life, and adapt to the uncertainty that certainly occurring for all of us in this crazy, modern world we’re in.

So that self-awareness allows us to understand our thoughts and our feelings and respond in a resourceful way, rather than the way that’s reactive, which is so critical. So, I’m going to do a little review here and just look at awareness to our external world. You can look and see there’s a plant vase and that vase you can see. So right now, just pick something in the room and look out at it, and say, “Okay,” and I’m looking right now at a plant. My money tree, actually I’ve had it for 20 years and I’m looking at it right now and I can see it very clearly. It’s very specific. There’s no ambiguity and I’m looking at it and I’m not thinking of anything other than, I did say I’ve had it for 20 years and it has some symbolism to it, so I can look at it directly or I can start thinking about what that means and that will become important in a minute.

So our consciousness of our outside world comes through our sense organs. So for instance, that plant vase basically, I see it through my eyes. It goes in and puts an imprint, very much like a TV screen inside my mind. So, I’m not really— that tree, when I look at that tree or look at that vase I basically see it inside, but it’s a digital impression. It’s much like a TV screen and if I see it, just purely, just like a screen, then everything works, but some of the older TVs used to have, would leave a ghost and so the impression would be built in and after it was gone I’d still be seeing it and so that’s what we’re going to talk about in a moment. Our inside world kind of confuses our outside world and puts us, a lot of times, in a situation where our stored trauma’s triggered and we are not fully present. We’re actually thinking in an alternate reality that we’ve created.

So, for birds chirping, of course, we have our hearing. Cookies baking, we smell them. Lemon we taste, and of course a hot plate we would touch. So those are our external, bringing the external surrounding world inside of us. It comes in through our senses and it’s ingrained into our brain. Now the inside world is a little more interesting. The inside world is basically awareness of our thoughts and our feelings, and just so we understand, I want to be clear, just like that plant vase and that tree, our thoughts and our feelings, are not us. They are simply thoughts we’re having, things we’re feeling, but they’re not us. They’re an expression, and they’re not us, and you know they’re not you because you wouldn’t be able to sense them if they were you, they would actually be inside of you. But what we have a tendency to do is amalgamate and have those thoughts on those feelings, we start thinking they’re actually us and they identify us, and that’s our personal mind acting up, and we’re going to talk about that.

So, let’s go into thoughts because, you know, when we talk about thoughts, usually in the structure we’re talking about, our stored trauma, the negative things, but there are amazing, creative thoughts. I mean we have willful thoughts. I mean right now, say hello to yourself. You have the auditory, say hello. Okay, that’s an auditory thought you just created. So you have the ability, the will to actually create those. We can create visual thoughts. So, I’m looking at the TV screen there and I’m thinking about maybe getting something to eat. So think about your refrigerator. So you can think about your refrigerator without looking at your refrigerator. So we can actually have visual thoughts and our brilliant mind created everything. Everything in my room, this Zoom we’re on today, is all stuff that we made up from scratch.

Before human mind, the creative process, this prefrontal cortex, this amazing thing that we have. We think of Einstein as being brilliant, but each and every one of us is brilliant, but unfortunately, we spent a lot of time— all this, trying to make the outside world different because our inside thoughts are creating dysfunction for us. So we’re going to talk about those thoughts. Those thoughts are the automatic thoughts. The things that come up that you’re not creating. So, I thought about saying hello. I said hello, you said hello, but right now, if I just stop for a minute, you probably have a thought coming up, right? And you’re not thinking that thought. That thought is coming up because something that’s being touched inside of you. In part of your personal mind. It’s the voice in our head. It’s our inner roommate, as I like to say, and basically, it makes up stories, and we all know that. It makes up stories about everything so that the world then suits what we think we want, and that’s done by our personal mind, and with that, we have our self-concepts, the way the world should be.

So if we look at it, our personal mind is there, has all the stored trauma, the things that went in that we couldn’t quite experience fully and we’ll talk about this in a minute. It’s biased towards negative thoughts because that’s what helps protect us in general. So from 10,000 years ago we have negative thoughts and then we develop dislikes and likes. Our preferences, our personal preferences, and rather than just taking everything as it comes in, as neutral, and just experience it, open, curious, and want to grow from it, we have a tendency to label it, either something— I like this or I don’t like this. If we like it, we want more of it. If we don’t like it, we want to get it away from us. So, we no longer look at the world objectively like we look out at that vase. We’re now looking at it through our self-concepts, through our personal mind, and that awareness inside is that events, people, something’s going to happen, happens all the time and it goes into our mind and rather than just experience as it is, it hits our personal mind, which is our ego, and our ego then basically creates more thoughts about it.

Thoughts lead to feelings and emotions and it just cycles, right? The Drama Triangle, we talk about this all the time. The Drama Triangle gets the cycle, and then as a result of that then we start projecting. We start projecting the way we want the world out. So if someone does something and we don’t like it we’ll project what we do like onto them and then saying that’s how they’re acting and we’re basically in essence projecting our thoughts onto them and saying that’s what they’re thinking, when the reality, if we look back, it’s something we’ve generated and cooked up in our own brain. Or the other thing, we resist something that’s happening outside. We don’t like it, or we love it and we cling to it, and as a result, basically we go into suppression. We have this area of our brain, Freud spent a lot of time working on this, but the reality is our stored stuff gets in the way from us fully experiencing life. So that’s our filter of reality. So something happens, we go, “What is happening? What am I making of it?” And then we interpret to create the narration that makes you more comfortable with the world around us.

We make up stuff all the time to fit our world of what we think is going on rather than looking at it objectively, and you know, the analogy is we should be looking at life as a video camera would look at life, fully experience it, but instead, we miss a lot of stuff going on because we then make up our story about what’s going on. So, that’s the voice in our head. It’s our thoughts, creating our feelings, and in the moment it can be very helpful for us to directly see something and respond without going up and thinking about it. So you see a rattlesnake that creates a sense of fear. That emotion drives you and basically, that stimulus-response will respond without processing and that’s important because if we sat and looked at the rattlesnake and then observed it and did a whole analysis, “Oh, look at the variegated colors,” or, “look at that thing on the end going like that,” that rattlesnake could kill us then. So in that moment, our programming works, and it’s responsive.

We have a stimulus, we respond to it, and then we can assess it later. That’s a good thing. So, if we look at it, and look at the work on below-the-line thinking, you can see we’re responding simply the way it’s intended to be responding, in that moment, but if it’s stored trauma now and rather than fully experience that snake coming in and going, “Wow. That was scary. I felt the feelings and now those feelings are moved on and they’re gone and I’m on to something else,” if we now internalize that and we don’t fully feel that, because it didn’t feel good, and rather than just have a memory that when I see a snake I should jump, we now basically start thinking there’s snakes all around us, right? So we have this fear, this inner fear and that inner fear gets resisted, and it’s stored, and it’s inside of you, and the next thing you know you have destructive thoughts. You’re out in the garden you know, going to water the plants and stuff and you— since there’s a snake in there, you see a little branch laying in between the trees and it looks a little bit like a snake and so then what do you have? You start having anxiety and you build that anxiety, that stored trauma inside, and pretty soon you don’t even need to have a snake around. You in essence have just this thought, there’s snakes out here in the garden, and then it’s affecting you in a negative way. The quality of your life. So hopefully that makes sense.

We can have the same thing happen, a warm feeling of innocence that we want to cling to. We see a pretty, cute puppy, or we see a butterfly land on us and at that moment we’re going, oh my goodness, this is such a special moment and we hold onto it. We don’t fully just experience and let it go. We say I want more of that. So then— that happens with relationships. We have a really good time on a date or with somebody and then basically, then we want to recreate that exact circumstance. Or on a vacation. We had an amazing time, a beautiful sunset, and we go back and the next time we expect the same thing because we’re clinging to that experience, and then we get there and let’s say it’s raining and all of a sudden it’s totally ruined, “I’m having a terrible time.” So, we let this stuff inside of us actually change the state of our energy inside of us and rather than just experience everything with curiosity, we’ve got a tendency to cling or resist and not just accept things and move forward with them. So, what I’m talking about is we filter our reality. We all do that, and it’s okay, but we know that when we start letting it hit all our stored trauma, it doesn’t allow us to fully experience stuff in that unfiltered state. Instead, we might miss a beautiful sunset because our significant other said something to us or we may be going down the road and there’s traffic, and so we’re irritated, and then the next thing you know, we’re getting mad, and so rather than experiencing and enjoying ourselves during that period we then become irritated. We build that cognitive emotive loop.

So let’s kind of review that for a minute. Our trigger basically takes our concepts of how things should be and if there’s unfinished mental or emotional patterns inside that we’ve resisted from the past, we have a tendency to ruin our experience in the moment. So they can trigger something that how it should be and any of that stored thoughts, you either resist or clung to, are trying to release. They’re inside of there and it takes energy. So we’re using this beautiful prefrontal cortex to create a world so that we can deal with the things because we have not allowed those things to release, and if we don’t continually build those stories, that stuff’s trying to come up. So all those things are trying to come up, that were bothered by our stored trauma. So this is an analogy I like because it uses the idea of a river or a stream and so if you look above the stream where there aren’t any rocks, it flows pretty, pretty calmly and that’s how we want our days to go. We want our days to flow through and be able to be that calm. So stuff happens. We see it, we respond to it in a way that doesn’t trigger us, and then we move on.

[00:14:51] So we let these events happen and we don’t— we look at them as neutral, not as overly stimulating either, in a really positive, “Oh, God. I love, love, love that,” or “I hate, hate, hate that.” Instead, just observe it and fully express it from the standpoint of how we see it and that’s how we want it— but those stored traumas, those rocks, they create eddies, and they create turbulence, and that turbulence then basically creates cognitive emotive loops where we are now thinking and feeling something and pretty soon, we’re not even in the room you know, the whole room’s there, and we’re not even in the room with other people because we’re so upset, because you said ”Hi” to somebody and they didn’t say “Hi” back. Could be they just didn’t hear you, but now you’re saying, “Well, how dare them,” and now the whole experience is in front of you. This whole observation that could be so incredible, being around these people, or being in this environment, now we’re upset because we’ve created this cognitive emotive loop and it’s kind of like, basically going down the rabbit hole. You know, you go down a sluice like that pretty soon, your emotional mind is so engaged and you’re in the Drama Triangle that you’re not really responding, and so if we look at that, the Drama Triangle is exactly that.

We are now reacting to the stored trauma. We’re not using our— the reality of what’s really going on and once we’re down in that Drama Triangle and that’s where most of the world stays, we get triggered in there, it’s really hard to get out. So that’s the idea is we can’t— while we’re in the river, in the rocks, in the rapids, you cannot possibly manage it. So the first thing we’ve been talking about is this awareness, is when you’re aware and your emotions, because when you get triggered your emotions also get triggered, and you’re going to start feeling that responding. Whatever that emotion is. So if it’s angry, you may feel it in your clenched jaw. As soon as you start to feel something is not right you want to get out and observe. You want to stop, right? And so we have a technology called, Stop. Challenge. Choose., that allows us to do that, but by getting out of the river, away from the turbulence, calming down, now we can fully observe what’s happening and then we can allow it to process in a natural form.

So, the natural emotion that’s going on there, that’s churning us up, rather than getting really upset and going into that triangle and start reaching out and doing, being the villain, or the victim, or basically the hero, in the triangle, we want to stop. Move above it, and observe what’s going on. So that’s the technology I developed, you know, almost two decades ago, is about facing, being the stop, give ourselves time to remove from the stimulus that triggered that and do it in a way rapid enough, before we start going down the rabbit hole. So this is an example of that and this is within the Habits of Health system, I started studying this several years ago, is that when something happens— so we’re present, something happens, and we start to drift. Most people drift because they’re feeling that feeling. They then go down into the Drama Triangle and then they have a really big emotional thing where they’re mad, they’re upset, they’re in fear, they have— whatever it is, the emotion they’re having, and then they reach out and do bonehead things to their relationships. They do bonehead things by eating to try to relieve the suffering that’s going on and what we want to do at the core of that, is first that self-awareness, where we start to drift.

We sense those feelings right when they happen. If we wait till they’re really engaged, it’s too late and we can’t get out of the rapids because we’re down in the eddies. What we want to do is get out. Get out, stop, observe it, challenge where you are, and then choose to move on, and basically, this is not something we’re going to do like, “Oh, I got it. I’m gonna do it.” This is like going to the gym. No matter how great a shape you’re in, and physically, if you stop going to the physical gym you’re going to start getting— basically, your muscles are going to start getting flabby. You’re going to get sarcopenia, and you start heading down the lack of fitness. Same thing in the mental gym is the two things you want to do right away are stop putting more stuff in. You want to start experiencing things all the way through, so you’re not putting more stored trauma in, and then the second thing you want to do is you want to start when you’re sensing these things. You want to move back from and allow that feeling that went down, with— you know, you had resistance that you resisted and it might have been uncomfortable, but you want to let it come up and be uncomfortable for that 90 seconds and just let it flow because you’re starting to empty all that stored stuff that’s not serving you.

So, in review, your journey is one of being the observer. It’s about awareness. It’s about being self-aware. Your thoughts are pretty close to you so you want to be able to take the thoughts, and when they’re not the— not thoughts that are creative, that are helping you like do something or create something, but reactive thoughts. You want to be able to notice them. You want to stop, challenge, “Why am I thinking this way?” And then allow that emotion to flow through and basically, you can see that the further out you get [referring to slide on the screen] form is easy for you because you look out and you see things and if you really focus, and that’s what consciousness is. It’s simply selective focuses on what you want. So, around you, if everything’s happening around you, like that rattlesnake, there were bushes and trees, maybe cactus, dirt roads, paths, all those things you don’t remember anything about, but you remember the rattlesnake, because you had such selective focus on that, but rather than feeling that feeling all the way through and saying, “Wow, thanks body, and thanks mind for sensing that, and now I’m moving away, and I’m safe, and my body worked and my mind worked the way it was supposed to. It reacted to that and got me out of the way and now, boom, I’m on for the next thing. Noting in my memory that I know when I go down these roads, that road particularly, or that area, might potentially have reptiles, including snakes, but not snakes in my garden,” where you live 100 miles from where any snakes are. That’s the difference and so that study of that is what makes the difference, and we want to have fun.

[00:20:48] When we were kids we didn’t have much of a personal mind. We just enjoyed, we were in the moment, we loved our lives and we were open, curious and we want to grow, and that’s the part we want to work on because if you look at— even if there’s huge rocks all around us, and the water inside of your mind can be calm, and this is what equanimity is about. It’s being aware of what’s going on but being able to deal with it without going into the limbic system and really the Drama Triangle. So with that, the thing I always show is we want to build progressive internal stability and external equilibrium. So when something happens or someone says something to me that hits us, we’re able to handle it and respond in a way that builds that relationship, not in one that triggers it and now creates dysfunction in that relationship. So with that, hopefully, that was helpful and Rachel, let’s open it up for Q and A now.

Rachel: All right. First up we have Mary. Mary, can you unmute yourself and come on camera? There you are.

Mary: Hello!

Dr. A: Hey, Mary!

Mary: Can you hear me?

Dr. A: I can hear you fine.

Mary: Good afternoon. So I’ve just come from TLDP and Dallas, so it’s been amazing and thank you again for these monthly, wonderful forums. My question and I left off last time you talked about happiness which was amazing because you know what? I had so much trauma and drama in my life. I might beat Jameel Frazier with my story [laughing]. My question now, as I’ve given myself permission for happiness and all the more, what is the single most important practice for your mindset, that you do daily, that can take you next step, and further for your well-being, and then sharing with other people?

Dr. A: Yeah. It’s really, I don’t think it’s one thing. I think it’s really— it’s like working out, right? When you first go to work out you want to have a trainer because if you don’t you could hurt your muscles, right? So in the beginning you want to make sure that you’re really building your consciousness from the self-awareness. So that’s kind of why I did a summation today, is you want to actually be able to, in any moment kind of, almost move yourself. So when I showed the thoughts, the feelings, emotions, and the surroundings or your form? Is being able to basically, move back from it so that you experience it in what’s happening. So you’re still going to get mad about stuff, right? You’re still going to have things that make you sad. I mean you know, life is intrinsically unstable, but in the experience now is just sense, “Okay, yeah, I’m mad about that, but I’m not going to internalize that and turn that into a whole cognitive emotive loop where I’m mad, and what did they do. I’m going to simply say, you know, what is it that upset me? Okay?” And then we have great technology, what happened? What’s missing? What’s next? That’s taking something that is emotional and now making it into something that’s re-engaging the prefrontal cortex.

So the more you can— your introspection, your inner wisdom, is there. The stories we make up get in the way of that. You sense it. If you really look at things, and look at them from what’s actually, objectively happening, to the best of your ability, right? Without tying it to some internal trigger, or concept, or if one happens, recognize it’s happening and then understand it, and then that— it’s almost like putting on your lab jacket and your goggles, and you’re doing experiments with yourself, right? And it— and what you’ll find is— there’s a book by Stephen Pressfield called the, I think it’s called The War On Art or Life Is Art, or something like that, I can’t remember the name of it, but the thing he talks about when he went pro when he turned pro, was turning pro, is one of them, there are two of them. He talks about how he would start to laugh at himself because there were things that before, because of his stored trauma, and his personal mind, and his stories he used to make up, these stories and then once you start to let that stuff all go and you realize, “Oh my goodness. I am a human being with this brilliant mind, more powerful than anything out there, I’m going to start using it to create, and enjoy, and be happy, rather than support concepts which are antiquated now, and dated.” And most of them— by the way your voice in your head is mostly wrong.

It’s mostly wrong [crosstalk 00:25:21] and it’s making a whole story about it and so he talked about that he would start laughing because he’d look back at things that used to bother him and a good example is to take little examples, like the weather. Weather’s a great example because you anticipate you’re going to do something, you’ve made plans and you’re expecting the weather to be a certain way, can you now go through that day without saying, “Oh, I wish the weather was different?” The answer is yeah. If you’re having an outdoor event, you don’t want it raining, but if it is raining, can I now turn that into something fun and enjoy the people in a different way, right? It’s the same thing when people are working on going to a party and not mindlessly snacking, right? If you act— or drinking, or drinking. And drinking themselves because they’re a little uncomfortable so they drink to make themselves comfortable, and then turn around and pretty soon their lack— got a shot of the loud mouth, right? And they’re not having meaningful conversations. They’re actually just expressing their stored trauma.

Think about going into conversations basically, and being there to be able to be curious and learn from fellow humans in a way where I’m not labelling them, I’m simply experiencing them, and it makes all the difference in the world. I mean it makes all the difference, and it’s all, it’s like you’re in the laboratory now with yourself and you start to— and a good thing to do is journal and say, okay, if something did happen that was not positive in a relationship, in a conversation, you know going to the store, getting frustrated going to the grocery store, then make a note of that and then ask yourself, “Okay, why was I so upset,” and a great one is in traffic, right? It’s easy to get frustrated in traffic versus realizing that, “Okay, I’m in traffic. It’s going to take me 15 minutes. If there’s someone expecting me I’m going to call them and I’m going to say, ‘Hey, I’m going to be 15 minutes late, excuse me for that.’” And you’re— also, if you want to be fully candid with yourself, which is our goal, say, “You know what? I should know this time of day, it’s going to take an extra 15 minutes. Let me—“ Now actually, you can’t modify those surroundings, “Let me start 15 minutes earlier or maybe even 30 minutes earlier,” right? “Let me rearrange so I’m not experiencing the same thing.” So we want to learn from the external events. We just don’t want them to be able to get inside of us and ruin what could be an incredible experience.

Mary: Yes. Thank you so much.

Dr. A: You’re welcome. Cool. All right, Rach, who’s next?

Rachel: All right. Next up we have Gloria. Gloria, can you come on camera? There you are.

Dr. A: Hey, Gloria.

Rachel: Oh, and you’ll need to unmute yourself.

Gloria: Hi, Dr. A. I missed you in Dallas. I was going to go see you and meet you for the first time but I fell harshly on my left humerus. I not only broke it, I shattered it and I have a new arm. There had to be a reconstruction. So I’ve been under a lot of pain. I’ve been sleeping on my recliner for the last 32 days now recovering. I have a recovery period of six months. I accomplished one, and I’m a coach, and I love your book, and I’m reading it so much and what I find is that I want to make use of this time to better myself. To learn more about how I can deal with the pain and the physical therapy and not live as a victim, but live above it, and I’m learning as I’m reading in your elements and I would love to have your input because I have five more months to recover Dr. A.

Dr. A: Oh, that’s great. Well thank you for sharing, and you know, it’s interesting that the name of the bone is humerus because it’s not very humorous when you break it, right?

Gloria: That’s right!

Dr. A: Right. Yeah, and so that’s what I mean by having fun with it. [crosstalk 00:29:20]. You have— reality is something, and I’m going to be really clear, and I love the way you put that, reality is not always fun. I mean we have things happen. We’re born. We die. We have people that are born and die. We have a sickness. We have injuries. We have things happen to us. It’s how we respond to them that makes a difference and I love your heart because your heart is saying, okay how do I take this? You were actually, as you said it, describe what happened. You’re not a victim. You simply had something happen. You’re stating the facts, okay? So there are the facts, and by the way, pain is a normal response. That’s your body basically— and the beauty of modern medicine you know, I’m a physician and I’m very proud to be a physician, and in the case where you have an injury, an acute injury, we have the best medical delivery system in the world.

So you, what they did is they literally put your bones back in the right place and your body now will heal itself. There’s Wolf’s principle, and stress, and the osteoblast. You’re going to start building, an osteoclast will remodel it and your body will now heal itself. So, same thing with your mind. Your mind is able to basically function at a high level if we remove our stored trauma. So it’s the triggers and things from the past. So, just kind of what I was talking about in the previous question is that just taking small amounts and when you start to sense that, “Oh gosh, I can’t do this,” no, you can. Use this time to read more. You can use this time to go back through these videos. You know, you’ve got two years of these videos and they’re all different. They’re all— and the best part about them is not me, it’s the questions, and then we adapt the questions and all those questions are the human experience. We all suffer and have the same things happening to us and how we respond to them is what makes the difference.

So you can go back through these. You can read. You know, obviously, there’s lots of great stuff out there you can get on consciousness, this is a wonderful time for you to take this and because you can’t be as active, but still, even though you can’t move your arm as well, you still want to go for walks, you still want to stay active. You want to make sure you’re not shutting down the rest of your body. So for right now, it needs to be stabilized in order to fix itself, but the rest your body needs motion. One of the things we learned early on in medicine, that’s why we would get patients out of bed right away. We realized that when they laid in bed and we fed them sugar water like D5W versus give them food, whether if they couldn’t eat yet if they were on a ventilator, we would either put a hyperalimentation line and give them nutrition through their veins or we put a feeding tube down. We need the body to have its natural things. So you want to make sure you continue those natural things.

Realizing that you gotta you got a dinged-up arm that you got to deal with, but beyond that, the rest of your life can move on, and actually, the most important thing you can do is say that this is not going to limit me. I’m going to do what the doctors say as far as the immobilization and taking care of it, but beyond that, I’m actually going to use this to be refocused on my physical health, as well as time to work on my mental health. Does that make sense?

Gloria: Yes. It does make sense.

Dr. A: Cool.

Gloria: Thank you so much.

Dr. A: Yeah, I’ll see you at an event in the future.

Gloria: I will. Thank you so much for that.

Dr. A: Sounds great. Thanks. Okay. Who have we got?

Rachel: Next up we have Jamie. Jamie, can you come on camera?

Dr. A: Hey, Jamie

Jamie: Very good. Hey, Dr. A, so nice to see you and be with you this morning. I too was in Dallas and I’m just so grateful. I was sharing with our community earlier in the week, like you and this mission have restored my faith in large organizational structures. Lining up with the Integrity of who I am in such a gorgeous way, so thank you so much for all that you do. I’m just so grateful. My question, because I’m a deep diver and I’ve been working in consciousness and mind-body dynamics for a long time, and it’s my understanding that we’re all energy and this perception, this lens that we see the world with is forever in an ebb and flow of expansion and contraction. Just like the conscious and subconscious, and so like this perception of emotions being bad or wrong is really coming from the space of that subconscious mind, where it’s really either or, and so often, in so many of the trainings and conversations in our community I’m hearing so much, just perceived negativity about anger, frustration, pain, fear, and stress being wrong, right? And that we want to move away from, deny it, or get away from it, and so my question for you is because you are one of the most expressive, passionate, examples of a man I’ve seen in a long time and I’m so grateful for all that you share. I wanted to know if you yourself see some emotions as bad, and wrong.

Dr. A: That’s a really great question. You know, we’re humans and I always go back to that. The conscious work, the awareness work we’re talking about today, these are not things we’re ever going to be perfect at. You know, maybe if you were a monk or a some guru that could go into a cave, fully isolate their surroundings and do nothing other than sit and meditate at a high state, maybe you could get pretty close, right? But for the rest of us, we live in the real world and there are going to be things, and it’s not that it’s not okay to get upset about something. Being upset— well first of all, only we can upset ourselves, but let’s take one of the emotions. Let’s take anger. Anger, if you’re angry about something there’s something going on that you can learn from so rather than the anger fueling drama, and the Drama Triangle, anger can be an indicator, and you can respond and say, okay, you know— let’s just say someone that you know well does something that’s absolutely rude. I mean just absolutely off base and it’s rude. So you can become angered by it, but then realize, what am— so the learning there, what am I projecting from me that is causing me to get angry about that? That’s the lesson. The lesson— you have, by the way, we have no control over anybody else’s behavior. None whatsoever.

We have complete control over our perceptions, our choices, and our behavior. That’s the only thing we have control over. It’s like the serenity prayer, right? You got to know what you have control over and what you don’t. We would like sometimes, and that’s what we’ve done with our personal mind is we have preferences, which are our likes and dislikes and there are things, mostly from our childhood, things that we were uncomfortable with, we pushed away, we resisted, and it’s all in there. Stuff that we love, we clung to, and then we kind of want that. We may want— I mean a woman can grow up and had an amazing relationship with her father. I mean a not, a bad word, a good relationship with her father and their father meant everything and they cling to that, and then they go out and marry somebody that’s father-like even though that person doesn’t have any of the qualities other than that that really build a co-committed relationship.

So the whole idea is to— when we’re five years old, we don’t know, this part of our brain isn’t developed. Only our emotional part is and so— and that was for our survival. We wanted to— we want to belong. We want to be part of something. We needed people to feed us and take care of us. So as we adult and actualize ourselves, we need to become versed with reality. The more we can understand reality, the more we can customize what’s important to us. So the answer is, yeah I get, I have the same emotions everybody else does, and I get— but what I notice is, before I might have dwelled on it, and now I notice it. Say, okay, and what can I learn from it? So I honestly have kind of always been like that, but now more than ever, when stuff happens, how open, curious, and want to grow, I mean how can I take these obstacles and things that happen and how can I use them to further learn from them? Because if you don’t fail, I mean you learn more from failing at things than you do from being successful because if something happens and it goes all right then you think, “Oh, I’m great.” But if something fails you can do one or two things.

You can say, “Oh, I’m disappointed,” make it about myself or you can say, “Okay, that didn’t work. What were the criteria there and why didn’t it work?” And use our mentorship the people around us that we trust, that can see the 360 lens better than us, because we can’t see everything, and learn to grow. So I would say in my life less and less, I’m moving closer to having a daily state of equanimity. Equanimity by definition is that things can happen. You respond to them in a way that’s logical and then you move on and you create. So I stay in the creative space most of my day and I do that because I realize those things— that if there’s something there, is it something that I’m making it about me. Perception or is it real? If it’s real then I’ll deal with it. If it isn’t real then I’ll just let it go. Does that make sense?

Jamie: It does and I love so much about so many of the pieces of what you just said, in terms of showing up intentionally. Embracing the feedback as the end of it all, right? And just living authentically in your choosing and empowering those choices and so in line with just how I want to live my life and share and be in the world. So thank you so much.

Dr.A: You’re welcome and what you just said is so important, Jamie. Is that recognize, “Hey, I’m pissed.” Okay? It’s not denying it and saying, “Oh, I was below the line, I shouldn’t be.” No, you were mad for a reason. Let’s explore that. Is there a stored trauma under there we can use this opportunity to release? Am I projecting something? As soon as you— the whole idea, when you’re feeling something and projecting— anytime you’re putting your story onto someone else if you really want to grow and not have it happen over and over, because it won’t just happen with that person. It’ll happen with that person, and that person, and that person, and by making it better, because you now have three drinks or basically cuss them out. It’s not making any better because you haven’t done anything to figure out what’s touching, what’s triggering, what’s stored inside of you. You’re simply making an excuse, or modifying the world, or saying, “Well this happened,” in making up a story about it versus dealing with it. The more we deal with those things, the more we’re going to become healthy in here, and the more we’re healthy and can enjoy everything, as a beautiful day or evening, the more we’ll start having internal bliss. And it won’t be just when we see a beautiful sunset because— or music. Music’s a really good example, because when we put on something that really— it could be something from your memory, but that’s actually just creating some kind of clinging thing from the past, but if you can just take music as ergogenic that when we allow that sense to come in and it’s louder, we feel it.

Like you know, I had my headset right here when I was preparing this morning because my daughter’s here. I basically had this on, but I wasn’t distracted, and I could focus. I had great music on. That music basically, in that moment creates such a feeling of joy, such a residence, you know why? It’s pure. You don’t have time to make up stuff between the notes, but that music’s doing right. You just simply experience it and that’s what my role and my goal is. What I’m going to be spending the rest of my life is helping people understand that every one of us has full control. Where you can put this on for all the five senses and really start loving every moment, and to the point where the last person was asking me, be happy. You choose to be happy. You could choose to be pissed off and ruin your day or you can choose to be happy, deal with the reality of what’s going on, and then choose to be happy. What could be more important than actually feeling the sense of joy? We were at our best. Like, look at you smiling right now! This resonates so much with you. This is probably part of the best time of your day because it’s one human talking to another human in a way where we’re in the creative process. That’s pretty cool.

Jamie: Thank you so much, Dr. A. I appreciate you.

Dr. A: Good. Okay. Rach, who else we got?

Rachel: All right. Next up we have Nik. Nik, can you come on camera? Hi.

Nik: Hi. Yes. Dr. A, great to see you again.

Dr. A: Great to see you.

Nik: So, I am trying to understand, and I have trouble, I’ve always been an emotionally charged person. Like to the point where it’s on a cellular level and I don’t know— to give you an example, I have vasovagal syncope and as much as I try, you know, my daughter broke her arm Christmas Day, three places. I could barely even look at it and I passed out. I mean to the point where I couldn’t function. I just— I’m so emotionally charged and going back to the feeling, the feelings through to completion. For me, I don’t know how to get through that in a timely manner. Like, I feel like I’m there for so long that it’s to the point where it interrupts function and I– it’s a cellular. I’ve tried to, you know, breathing. All that. It’s a cellular reaction in my body. It’s just like a neuro— I don’t know, neuro cellular so to speak, and I don’t really have any perceived trauma that I am aware of. I had a happy childhood, but there must be something there, but I can’t seem to get out of the physical part of it. The cellular, on a cellular level my body just reacts and I have no control.

Dr. A: Okay, So, you ready for this? That’s your story.

Nik: Sure.

Dr. A: That’s your story. We all have— I’m not saying yours isn’t hyper-amplified, but bottom line is, your biology is the same as everybody else’s biology. You basically [crosstalk 00:43:45]

Nik: But why do I pass out?

Dr. A: Just let me talk and I’m going to tell you. I’m going to tell you. Okay? All right, because you’re hyper as hell. Okay? That’s the first thing. Just take a deep breath right now, and then we’re going to talk about this for a minute, okay? I’m not saying that what you’re saying isn’t true. It is true and you’ve passed out. You have super acute focus on those things. So you’re very in touch with those things, but when you say to me, I don’t have any stored trauma, well then you’re not a human being. You are a robot, and so maybe they need to turn down the responses in the robot settings on you, and I’m making fun, but I’m actually saying you have to first come to the realization that you do have stored trauma. We all do. There’s no way possible, even if you had the most amazing childhood, there are parts in us that we create a story about. That’s why we have a personal mind. Your personal mind, your identity, is that I have strong feelings that create physiologic, energetic changes and I can’t do anything about it. Well, yeah, as long as you feel that way you’re not gonna be able to do anything about it. So the first thing to realize is— do you meditate?

Nik: Yes. In the morning.

Dr. A: A lot?

Nik: Probably not as long as I should.

Dr. A: How long do you meditate for in the morning?

Nik: Probably about 10 minutes.

Dr. A: And what happens when you’re meditating? Are you talking to yourself?

Nik: No. I’m— I pray. I am a Christian, so I pray. I get still and listen for the voice. 

Dr. A: Okay. So in that period of time, are your emotions there?

Nik: Yes and I feel the love and the joy. I’m crying most of the time because I just— I feel it and I do feel it to completion, but it takes a long time.

Dr. A: Well you’re— here’s the thing you have made a story about yourself that you can’t fix this, and that you’re special, and you’re different. Now, you’re special. You’re an incredible woman and you are very, very aware of your emotions, right? What you’re not so aware of are your basically, your concepts. Your concepts. You’ve kind of created some concepts on this part, with emotions, that you’re a hyper feeler, but that’s why they have feedback loops. That’s why when you feel joy, and you feel great feelings when you’re meditating because you’re at least calming down and you’re not— your body is at the central focus. The central focus is you basically being calm and then you get back. As soon as you get up, boom. You’re off like the ever-ready— you know, the rabbit. [crosstalk 00:46:33] I mean, like it was great, I showed the one slide with the thing winding up. You’re wound up. You’re really wound up. So meditation during the day, taking moments of time and sensing, okay, maybe you can get apps that do this, but during the day say, okay— what do you do for a living?

Nik: I, by the way, just quit my job last week. I spoke to you about that. As a personal trainer, because this mission is more important now than the gym job and so I quit my job last week. 

Dr. A: All right. So, in the gym, how were you? What was your approach? Taking care, helping train people.

Nik: Hyper-focused to the point where people are like, “You have to smile more.” I’m super focused.

Dr. A: Yeah. So you’re— every part— if you look at your journal. Start journaling. Every part of you, and I could have guessed that’s how you train and because you have a personal mind. We all have a personal mind. Dr. A has a personal mind! And bottom line is, in this case, where it’s creating this hyper state for you, which is not necessarily healthy and obviously, if you’re getting to a vagal response where you’re passing out, you could hurt yourself. So, not that you’re trying to fix it, but your awareness that you do have a personal mind and starting to study it in more detail can start to help you and you’re gonna— it’s gonna take more time for you, but you’ve kind of tried to isolate that, I have no personal trauma, we all have that.

Not that I’m asking you to go look for it. I’m asking you to be more, as you’re talking about biofeedback as a loop, what state am I in? Am I in a hyper state or am I in a calm state? Intent, fully aware, is different than being really intense and if you’re really intense what’s happening is you have your sympathetic nervous system that’s running full out and then— bottom line, is when something happens the vagal break comes on it, boom, you go from here to there. Of course, you’re going to pass out. That’s just normal. You have an imbalance between your parasympathetic and your sympathetic nervous system and you have full control over that. So, what I would love you to do is, do you have an app? Like, Waking Up, or something that you can listen to more than one time a day?

Nik: No, but I can find something.

Dr. A: I would. Yeah, do that, and just start that and then come back and talk to me in a couple months because I bet once you— what you [unintelligible 00:49:11] and self-discovery that you do have a personal mind and in that mind there are things from your past that affect it, and I’m not saying that’s the only thing going on, you happen to have built a story of who you are your identity and obviously now you’re going to help other people and remember the difference also just for your own business in personal training, they’re coming in and they want you to tell them what to do, right? Hold the thing this way, do this, run this, get up there, right? That’s not how helping people change, and become the Dominant Force in their life, and take full control is more of understanding what life’s like on their planet and being able to adapt your leadership to be able to work with them, and awaken them so that they’re on track, because remember, we can only help people change their perceptions, their choices and their behaviors. Those are the things we have choice over and perception— so your perception and introspection into yourself is, wait a minute, I may have more going on there. I just decided that I didn’t want to look there. But start looking there and see and let me know what happens.

Nik: Thank you.

Dr. A: Smile. It’s a good thing, it’s not a bad thing. You got yourself so fixed in this spot you just want to start opening up and exploring and you know, it’s all there. You’ve got it all inside of you. Just a matter of getting your autonomic nervous system back in balance, right? Because you’re so intense. Listen, I was a critical care physician, and I am an intense guy. This, where you see me today has taken years of practice and I’m still intense, right? So, it’s not like I’m asking you to get rid of your personality, the joy that comes from being who you are, Nik, but basically more starting to understand and awaken to the different parts of you that you’re probably kind of suppressing now. Cool?

Nik: Cool. Thank you.

Dr. A: Let me know.

Nik: I will.

Dr. A: All right. Bye-bye. Okay, we have nine minutes left. Rach, I guess time for like one more.

Rachel: Yes. We have Donnie. Donnie, can you come on camera and unmute yourself?

Donnie: Can you hear me?

Rachel: Yes. We can’t see you though.

Donnie: Okay. Here we go.

Rachel: There you are.

Dr. A: Hey, Donnie.

Donnie: Hey! How are you Dr. A?

Dr. A: I’m great.

Donnie: So this whole concept of, you know, kind of making a differentiation between what are the facts and what are the stories has been really life-changing for me on so many different levels, and as a recovering hero, as a nurse and former nurse practitioner, I’m acutely aware of my needs to help people feel better and I would love to learn how it is to support people instead of hero them, number one. And number two, like for example, I want to relay this information to my kids. I have, you know, you were talking about the snakes, the fear of snakes, right? And how you can go from fearing the one real snake to fearing something that looks like a snake, to fearing like snakes all the time, and my daughter is afraid of sharks and so I’m really trying to help support her in learning this concept of there are facts and their stories, and of course that translates to helping my clients and coaches and all of that as well, because I see how them being upset about something actually hijacks their logic. It hijacks their ability to problem solve, it hijacks their ability to create, right? It hijacks their ability to enjoy life, and so I now recognize that, and I also recognize, as I mentioned, my need to hero, and so I don’t want to hero. I want to support, and so I’m really curious to find out how can I support somebody when I see that they’re being hijacked and help them kind of come back to reality.

Dr. A: That’s a good, those are great questions and I love– I’m glad you picked up on that, the differentiation between help and support, because help is what a hero, does and the help is what a nurse does, and that’s your job as a nurse, to help. Those are intrinsically in you. Those are natural tendencies, but to work on the human mind, it’s really supporting that person to where they are— that’s why the analogy I like, the analogy of what’s life like on their planet, including something as simple as your daughter’s fear of sharks. So listen, sharks are scared. There’s you know, I mean, I’ve been out in the ocean, I do a lot of sailing and snorkelling in the Bahamas. I’ve been out on a reef you know, four miles offshore getting lobster and having lobster, and having a bull shark you know, when I had to snorkel back half a mile and sensing that bull shark there, and there was fear, and I was highly acutely aware because there was in the reality there was fear there, right?

So, the fear, and just being that your daughter doesn’t like sharks, there’s nothing wrong with that. What happens, and what I showed with the snakes which you got, was it could be at the point where it can’t be just that they’re afraid of snakes, but they could actually have a baby rattle, right? And here it’s sound, similar to what the snake sounded like, and actually not be around babies. I mean it could be extended out pretty far. [crosstalk 00:54:17]

Donnie: Or there can be water and you can be afraid of sharks.

Dr. A: So, those are different things. So, being actually with the sharks is different. So again, your attendance, the reason why I’m going there, your tendency to fix because you’re basically a hero and you want to make them better, is that you have to see the difference. So, desensitization is the key there. Desensitization is to put your daughter in situations that she might be fearful. So, is she in fear of the water? Is she in fear of a pool?

Donnie: [shakes her head, yes].

Dr. A: Okay, so start with something that clearly, there couldn’t possibly be a snake there, I mean a shark there, think of things where there starts to be— the logical part of the brain is different than the mental, the limbic part of the brain. The limbic part of the brain doesn’t have language. This part has language [gestures to head] So knowledge can’t supersede emotion by language alone. So it has to be situations. So she needs a series of desensitizations where she can be around water, or in the water over time, and then she’s okay. My black lab, you know, labs love water. So they have a— and I’m and obviously, a lab has a labrador brain, it doesn’t have a human brain, but the dog fell when it was a puppy in a little pool and couldn’t get out and was there for a couple minutes before we discovered it and so it was traumatized. So this dog won’t go in a pool. I mean, it just won’t go in the pool, and that’s okay because you really shouldn’t have your dogs in the pool, but he’ll go in the water, he’ll walk down and go in the water, right? And do that, and over time, now he’ll get in the sun shelf of the pool, maybe go out for a second, come back, but it’s taken time. So the beauty you have in your daughter is there’s the logic part in there where you can create situations, where she clearly sees there’s no danger, no harm, but you have to be careful because there’s a balance there. If you— again, aren’t figuring out what’s life like on our planet or what she’s actually, why she’s projecting this fear of sharks because she’s— was she ever in a dangerous situation with a shark?

BONNIE: [shakes her head, no].

Dr. A: No. So she made this story up in her mind through, probably TV or watching something on the internet or, you know, they saw a 25-foot great white eat a sea lion, I mean it could be— so the discovery is to have her unpack that, right? Over time— same thing with your clients, you want, rather than sabotage, you want to first not help them, because you don’t want to help them see what you see because they don’t see that yet. You want to support them, saying, “Okay, you’re scared of sharks. That’s okay. Feel that feeling. Feel it all the way through and that’s okay, and you’re scared of sharks,” and so take it slow and don’t try to fix them because in this area, that’s in your health and your wellbeing, unless you take full ownership, you’re not going to change. So it has to come in little baby steps, where they’re now assuming, building self-efficacy, and want to change and start to see that they have control. That’s why when I evolved the Habits of Health Transformational System, I went to the idea of the student driver, right? Because we want the individual that you’re helping, including your daughter, have them come to these things on their own and then build an appetite where they want to spend more and learn more, but it has to be generated around supporting them to where they are. So if right now she’s scared of sharks and she’s not ready to change, you gotta let it go. You gotta let it go, but look for those opportunities where you know, how old is she?


Dr. A: Okay, so let’s say you’re in an opportunity, I’m just picking this as an example, it’s the middle of the summer, you’re in 95-degree weather and she’s hot as hell and she’s at the pool and maybe that’s an opportunity for a teachable moment, right? See what I mean, and they’d be going down and sitting, I mean I don’t know [unintelligible 00:58:24]. We don’t have time, because we’re almost out of time, but you know go down and sit on the edge of the pool with her with your feet in, and just sit and talk and sense if she’s feeling, and just talk to her, let her work through, and start to laugh about it, and have fun with this thing, this nutty thing that she’s afraid of sharks, because there’s no sharks in the pool, right? Make sense? [crosstalk 00:58:45] You can’t wiggle— I’m just saying you can’t wiggle your nose or as a hero, take your magic wand, and because you get it and you understand it, and you’re able to talk about it thoroughly. Transform that, inject. It’s not like a hypodermic, you can inject into them, it has to go with this self-awareness. Starting to wake up and start to sense, oh, that’s silly that I’m feeling that way, right? Where they come to that conclusion because clearly there’s no sharks in the pool.

Bonnie: And what I’m hearing you say really, is to support them. Is to kind of identify where they are and kind of help them understand that it’s okay. Wherever they are, it’s okay, because you know, that self-judgment is probably holding them trapped there, right? So saying what you feel afraid and that’s okay, what does that feel like? And then little by little, moving it to the point where, can we now laugh about it? But really identifying, “what is” and helping them understand it’s okay to be, “what is.”

Dr. A: Yeah, because what they’re doing is— see, it’s acceptance versus resistance. So that brings up a really important part, when there’s things that we have inside us, that are stored, it’s because we couldn’t accept what was going on and a lot of these things happened when we were younger, we just didn’t have the emotional agility, so we basically resisted those things. We didn’t accept what was happening and so we resisted. We pushed it down inside and it stays there. It stays there and we don’t want to face it so we deny it. So it’s easy for her to say, “I don’t want to see sharks. I don’t want to know about sharks. Sharks live in the water. I don’t want to be in the water.” She’s making it all-inclusive because whatever left that impression was so— she suffered from it, right? Or mentally suffered, or she created a story in her mind that was so severe that she’s pushed it down so far that that’s why she says, “I don’t want to be in water.” In fact, she may get to the point where “I don’t want to go take a bath.” I mean it, could get to that point. So the idea is for her to wake up, be able to accept that she has this fear of sharks, and by the way, that’s okay. It’s okay because until she accepts it— acceptance is what then allows us to start the healing process, where we let the stuff come up, we accept it, and then we move on.

Donnie: Thank you.

Dr. A: You’re welcome. Thanks, Donnie. Okay. All right. Well, we are out of time and hopefully this was a good call for everybody and again, remember there’s so many people out there suffering. The idea of this forum is to get all the people we know in our lives that may be struggling a little bit to come listen to us, spend this time with us. It’s just humans spending time together and figuring out how we can work on this area. People are so clear of what it’s like to go to the exercise gym, but they know so very little about what they can do that they’re not designated to basically react and respond to— react in a negative way to their program. We can actually help them change their perception to the point where they can really start to stop self-judging themselves and really focus on becoming the Dominant Force in their own life. So God bless. Love you guys. See you soon. Bye.

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