There is not one giant step to Optimal Health and Wellbeing, but many small ones.
Dr. A: Well, welcome to the Conscious Leaders Forum. I’m Dr. A and we’re going to be talking today about ourselves. We’re going to talk about this incredible thing that we carry around with us called our ego. I’m excited because we’re getting into the more practical areas of our mind, and our perception, and our personal mind, and we’re going to talk about some things that you can reflect on and start really becoming what I like to say is the endpoint, is that— I truly believe we’ve been put on this planet to basically evolve our soul to the point where we’re able to conduct ourselves as adults in a way where we can have joy and although the world will happen, it is intrinsically unstable, we’ll be able to go through this path, through this brief time we’re on the earth, for most of us it’s less than 100 years and hopefully you’ll, with time, learn how to adapt to that so you can have the things that you want in your life.
So, with that basically, I like to always kind of refresh why we’re here and what the format is. I like to do a little bit of teaching, in the beginning, to kind of set the framework for a really great discussion, and discussion in a forum is about a place, a meeting, or a medium where ideas and views on a particular issue can be exchanged. So, I found that the most important part about this call is when you guys have an opportunity to ask questions, make comments and we get into that discussion. I learned each time you guys have a question about yourself or about something going on around you, it gives me an opportunity to explore, how do we address that? How do we move forward? Rather than pointing outside, and pointing fingers like most of the world. How do we actually use this time together to improve our health? Improve our mind? Put ourselves in position to truly thrive in our lives?
So, with that, is your ego running your life? You know, think about that for a minute. You may not have asked yourself that question and you go, “Wait a minute, I’m running my life,” but maybe after we finish this little talk you’ll be thinking a little differently. So that yellow cog in the middle is our ego [referring to a slide on screen]. It’s the thing that makes everything happen around us and the question is, do you have one? And the answer is: we all have an ego! It shows up in many different ways, many different forms. We’ll go over some of those ways and kind of help spot down what your ego is and what that really means, but your ego is your personal mind. It is your psyche.
When we are born, we as mammals, and specifically human beings, we have the longest a period of needing and nurturing of any species by far and so when we’re little there’s a long period of time where we’re dependent on our parents to bring us up and during that period of time we want to maintain some degree of psychological safety to protect us and so we kind of adapt these different mechanisms, you know, to keep us safe. The way we think about things, the way we process, the way we suppress, the way we deny, the way we kind of become strong or resistant, or resilient, and all these things become part of our ego. They actually are something we’ve built. We’ve built our ego and our ego is there as this thing that helps keep us safe, at least in its own mind, and so we all have one.
I’ll just give an example, you can be the richest person on the earth, you may be Forbes number one. Number one. The richest human around and yet the next year if you’re picked and you’re number two, your ego is all over that. Even though you have more money and more opportunities to do anything you want with your life, inside of you, that particular person, their ego is affected and they’re wondering what? The rock star, right? That plays in sold-out concerts. Wondering if the next one will be that way. These are all representations. Sitting there in your seat and the teacher calls on you and you answer in a way where you’re not sure what everybody else thinks around you. See, we can handle stuff by ourselves but when we’re around other people our ego is there to protect us, to make sure we’re showing up the way we want people to see us and so we could convolute and make all these crazy things.
So, what is it? Basically, your ego is this thing, this persona, this personal mind, this made-up resource that we use to basically decide what we like, what we don’t like, and when we do get what we want then we’re happy. When we don’t get what we want, we’re not happy. So you could be going down the road, it could be a beautiful day, and your significant other says something to you about, “Oh, did you get— do you have a stain on that shirt?” And just that— or we can go from this open joy of this gorgeous weather and immediately our ego takes over and says, “Wait a minute. That’s not right, I don’t like how that orientation goes. There’s something wrong with me,” and then it affects us, and the rest of the day you’re thinking, “I got to get home and get that little spot off my shirt.” Right? In the meantime, you happen to be living on a planet that’s been here for 4.5 billion years, in the middle of a black void. [unintelligible 00:05:16] all the galaxies, we haven’t found another place that’s like this bright blue ball that we’re on. Where we have an opportunity to see different colors and sights and all these things, but instead of all that and appreciating that, we’re focused on this little spot that’s on our shirt. That’s your ego and pull out pride for what it is and what it isn’t.
So, it’s those automatic thoughts. They come from nowhere. All of a sudden you look, it’s that voice in your head that’s talking to you. It’s that unstopping, this incessant chatter that goes on and when you get up in the morning and you’re in the shower, and it’s going— if you just stop for a moment and pay attention and become present, you can hear it’s talking about 20 different things. That’s your ego. You should be sitting there in the shower feeling the warmth of the shower and washing your body and feeling all those great sensations, but instead, you’re lost in thought. That’s your ego talking to you and it makes up stories. It is not accurate. It is not accurate in any way shape or form, and it’s making up stuff, and it creates these self-concepts of what is right, what is wrong, what we like, what we don’t like, and as a result of that the world becomes a very frustrating place to live in and we’re trying to get the outside world to make a difference.
So your ego is running the show. You know, an event, people, something happens— it goes in, your ego gets a hold of it, and basically starts creating automatic thoughts, “Oh, I don’t like the way they’re looking at me.” “Sally didn’t say ‘hi’.” Sally didn’t hear you, but that doesn’t matter, you bake up these thoughts about, “Oh, Sally. What’s wrong with it? What is she thinking about?” And all of a sudden your ego goes full-out drama. Emotional feelings, the Drama Triangle is activated and we go on and on. 95% of the world is living in the Drama Triangle because their ego is running the show and what we do is we project out, “Oh how dare Sally,” you know, you’re expressing ourselves out, and then Sally, when you talk to her actually, and you get the ego out of the way and you face reality, “Sally, what’s wrong?” She goes, “What do you mean? What’s wrong?” She goes. “Well, I said ‘hi’ to you and you didn’t say anything.” “Oh, I didn’t hear you.” But your ego made up a whole story to protect you.
The other thing we do is we resist or we cling. We resist feeling things that happen to us because they would not make us feel good so we repressed those. That’s the stored trauma. Or we cling. We see something we love and we want to be the same. You go on vacation and you have this amazing sunset and you’re there and in harmony with whoever you’re with and then basically you want to go back to that place so you can recreate that. That’s your ego trying to do that and it’s actually putting you to cling on to that moment in time and when you go back this time, just so happens that you caught the flu and you’re not feeling well, and all of a sudden the whole vacation is ruined. That’s your ego talking and we also suppress a lot of the things in that dialogue.
So how do you deal with it? Well basically, know that the stored trauma, the negative thoughts, the likes and dislikes, are all part of our personal mind. They’re the ego deciding the way the world wants to be and it if you’re not okay it tries to change the outside world to make it okay and yet the fact is that most of the stuff that’s going on out in the outside world you have little or no control over at all, and so we create these self-concepts and so we’re no longer looking at the world objectively. We’re looking in through the mind of our ego, and our thoughts, and our feelings and we create loops, and we sit there and we have that anxiety, that neurosis, that you’re worried about that.
So let’s take a couple examples of what happens. Our ego filters our reality. What happened? And we like to say, what happened, actually would be a video. The video would show you exactly what happens, but what am I making it mean? Well, we interpret— our ego interprets to create a narration that makes you more comfortable with the world around us. So we actually make it better for ourselves because we don’t want to deal with the world as it actually is. So that’s what creates stored trauma. So if you see a snake, basically, outside and it comes in, you should be scared. Your body’s designed when that snake comes inside and you see it, that you jump, you don’t sit there and look at it and use your prefrontal cortex, you actually look and jump, and then say, “Wow! Thank gosh I had this mechanism inside of me. This emotional mechanism that made me leap out of the way so I didn’t get hurt by it.” So there is initially a very important reason why that mechanism is part of your brain, and part of your mind, and part of your defense, and your sympathetic nervous system. Fight, flight, faint or basically, fall, you’re basically in a situation where you need help, but you if it stays inside you and you start thinking about it after the snake is gone, and you start building this fear, and you resist rather than letting that feeling go all the way through, and say “Thank goodness I saw that. It scared me and I got out of the way,” and that’s the end of it, you start thinking about it, and about snakes, and then the next thing you know is you want to go out and work in the garden, but you’re sensing that there’s a snake out there and so when that happens that’s a destructive thought.
[00:10:30] You’re no longer based in reality. You’re actually responding to something from the past that you stored inside of you and now you’re scared to go work out in the garden, which is perfectly— in fact, you saw the snake in Arizona, out in the desert, and now you’re back in Baltimore, Maryland, out in the countryside where the only snake you would ever possibly see would be a gardener snake. There’s not even any poisonous snakes, but it doesn’t matter because that stored trauma, your ego, has stored that and now has a way of thinking of the world, of what it dislikes, and it doesn’t want to see a snake again. So it basically puts you in position where you start building that neurosis, and you get anxiety, and that anxiety is that fear, that’s built and it builds and builds and builds and pretty soon we can’t even stand walking down the road. We see a rope that’s laying on the road, we think it’s a snake, or we hear a baby rattle and we think it’s a snake.
So all those things get built up in the stored trauma which the ego supports and builds a self-concept about. Same thing with a puppy, you know, you feel a puppy and you go, “Awe!” You’re joyful, and so then you go and you think, “Oh, God, I want a puppy and then you get a puppy and you have the puppy and you’re really enjoying it and then you come home and the puppy pottied on the floor, and all of a sudden now you’re not happy and you’re irritated with the puppy because basically it’s now done something it isn’t within that perception of what your ego said was the joy. The joy is to see the puppy. Go, “Ah, that’s cute,” and then move on with your day. Not to cling on to it. Really important that we realize that because events trigger our concepts of how things should be used. These are unfinished mental patterns and emotional patterns, and they’re stored thoughts that we’ve either resisted, pushed down like coiled springs, or we basically clung to them because we really enjoyed it.
So, let’s say you’re in high school and you went out on a date or met somebody and you really liked them, you had a wonderful— seemed like you had chemistry together and everything was great and so then you ended up being the fiancee or getting married, and then if you’re dependent on conditional love for them being a certain way and then over time they change or something else happens. In a second that love certainly gets closed off, because we want the world to be a certain way. That’s your ego saying, “Oh, I need the world to be a certain way for me to have love,” and we’ll talk about in just a moment here, that basically there’s a better way. There’s a different way. A way where you can have unconditional love. Where the love comes from you. Basically, other people, other things, we use those things to open ourselves up to bring happiness, but unless it’s coming from the inside, it’s short-lived.
So, there’s two distinct ways of living our lives. One is the outside, where everything is dependent on what’s going on in the outside and our ego tries to fix everything by looking and saying, “Okay, this is the way I want it to be,” and it’s like a broken clock. It’s correct two times a day, but otherwise the times we’re happy, when the world is right, and there’s times when we’re having a wonderful time, but all this has to do is in a second, something can change and some condition can change. You know, you have a beautiful car and you walk out and you’re happy because you bought it, and you’re driving it and you come out from the shop and you look and there’s a scratch on the car, and all of a sudden you’re miserable, right? Rather than saying, “Oh, there’s something I need to get it fixed,” you look at it and then the rest of your day you are miserable. That’s your ego.
Your ego’s taken it and saying that is not the way, the world shouldn’t be like that, someone shouldn’t have scratched my car. Of course, they shouldn’t, but basically, they did for whatever reason, or it might have been an accident, it doesn’t matter. You’ll build a big story about it and you will diffuse, and even though you might be going to see your young child at a soccer game, you’ll be miserable that whole time because you’ll be thinking, because your ego says, “That’s not right. I need to make the world right.” The inside way is being awakened and understanding that everything that happens in my life, basically, is happening because I choose to enjoy, to be happy, and I’m making the choice that no matter what happens on the outside, I’ve chosen to really be appreciative, and have gratitude, and not resist, and literally let anything that happens, which could be negative, so that scratch, “Oh God, that upsets me.” It’s okay for it to upset you, but then you let it go. You don’t put it inside. You let the feeling go all the way through you.
Don’t start adding that stuff and building it into this mechanism. So, if you think about it, your ego takes it and says, I am not okay, and I’m going to look outside to be okay. So, if I get the special job. If I get the corner office. If I get the house on the ocean, then I’ll be okay. But until that point, I’m not going to be okay. So in that point— and then as soon as you get that, then there’ll be something else you want because if the issue is inside and you’re not okay, it does not matter what you get. They’ll only be temporary because they kind of open you up for a minute and you flow, and you’re in joy and then something else will happen because you haven’t got rid of your stored trauma. You haven’t got rid of this stuff inside of you, this ego inside of you, that wants the world to be a certain way, and when it’s not that way, and temporary measures will only bring you out of it for a moment or two and then basically, you’ll go back into it. When you’re awakened, I’m looking inside to become okay. So rather than looking outside for the solutions, I’m looking inside and starting to notice when I feel that icky sauce. You know, to Stop. Challenge., why am I feeling that? What’s going on? Let that emotion go fully through. Like right now I’m angry, or right now I’m sad, and it’s okay, but then we let it go and then we look, is there something inside that got triggered? And let me bring that up.
So, we’re going to talk in a moment here, but when you’re in an ego driven world: I’m not okay. Taking from the outside. We need to take things from the outside. We need to have things, because we’re closed and the only time we open up and let all this energy inside of us, which is naturally there by the way, even when you’re massively depressed, it’s because you’re looking at something, you’re not looking at all the joy and all the things that are inside of you. You’re actually looking outside at something and you know, you could have a beautiful— you could be on the ocean and basically have a gorgeous clear lake behind you, which is the joy inside of you, but you’re looking at the ocean and you’re trying to find little, little puddles where you can drink some water versus simply stop looking at what isn’t working and turn around and look at what is. But, if the world is working our way, we’re okay, but if it isn’t we feel terrible. You’ll feel those feelings and those feelings are your ego trying to adjust and make the world okay, and by the way, you built your ego from a little kid moving forward. We have built our personal concepts, we built our personal mind, of how the world should be and it shouldn’t be, and that’s why most people, as Thoreau said “Lead lives of quiet desperation,” because they stay fixed on having the world, their persona, their preferences having to be a certain way and when they’re not that way they’re miserable.
So it’s really important to understand, and that is a made-up thing. You can actually change and say, as you awake, and say, “I’m okay,” and rather than taking from the world, you’re giving to the world. You know, as you’re helping other people there’s nothing better than the joy that comes from that because you’re open, you’re filled with joy and love. You’re creative. You want to help others. It doesn’t matter what the world is doing, you know, you have the opportunity to serve others, and Martin Luther King said that a long time ago, that we don’t really understand the full joy of life until we’re in the service of others and so it’s available. In a second you can start making the decision to work on that and change everything.
So, I’m okay. How do you get there? [referring to slide on screen]. Well, it starts with conscious witness. It’s actually moving back away from your ego, away from your thoughts. Your thoughts, your feelings, and even your actions, basically, are based on your ego. So you want to move away from them. Get out and start observing. So, with that, what opens us? What opens us up? So, you know, think about the joy of a beautiful sunset, or think about going to your child’s graduation, or think about getting that prom dress you really liked, or think about reciting something that really matters and recognize, I’m open and what caused me to open? Was it something external to me? Because if it was, there’s a reason why you’re closed, and the other thing is you want to start practicing and you practice letting go of closing. So again, excuse me [Dr. A pauses for a drink of water], a great example would be, you want to look at the low-hanging fruit.
[00:19:23] So again, the one I like to use, because it affects me, and I’ve had to practice, is I live in an area where, ridiculous, the speed limit goes down to 45 miles an hour and even 35 in some areas and you have one road, you can’t go around, it’s a double line. There’s lots of stuff going on and you have somebody that’s driving 25 in a 35 and you’re behind and you can’t pass them. You can either sit there and get upset and say, “I’m not okay,” and get irritated and start getting more upset and you’re clicking inside of your ego, and your ego’s starting to create this emotive loop where you’re getting angry, and what benefit is it, really? What benefit? You know, if you went to your boss and said, “Hey, I have a proposition. I’m going to do something which has no benefit and 100% cost.” And your boss would look at you and say, “No, we’re not doing that.” Then why would you, in a situation where you can’t go around, why would you get yourself so irritated? Create all this sympathetic outflow, epinephrine, norepineph and cortisol release. You’re agitated. You’re not able to even think straight. You’re getting so upset about it. It has no benefit. It actually has a long— it is a position that helps people create health. Its emotional mismanagement and it causes over time, disease. It causes heart disease and diabetes and all these secondary things and why would we do it? Why would we not instead say, “Okay, I’m stuck behind this person.” This person may be, you know, for me I live in Florida, this person may be 85 years old and they’re doing the best they can, rather than beat up on them I should say, “Okay, I have another five minutes, it’s going to take me to get where I’m going to go. Why don’t I just take some deep breaths? Relax. Listen to something, listen to some good music, or put on a podcast, or think about if I’m going to a meeting, how I can prepare myself better for the meeting?” And turn that into something positive, where I’m now giving versus taking and being frustrated about it. I mean it’s really that simple.
It’s taking that low-hanging fruit and practicing it and you can let go by just opening back up and saying, “Oh, that person in front, I don’t know what’s going on but I’m gonna have patience. I’m gonna take a deep breath.” You could even do a mantra and I’m going to relax into this versus get stressed about it. So, what in essence I’m saying is there’s no one giant step. We spend a lot of time going to the gym to exercise, we spend so little time in the mental gym. So what I suggest you do, again, going back to this slide [refers to a slide on screen], is start with little things. Low hanging fruit. The weather, you were hoping it was going to be sunny, you wanted to go out and catch some rays and be in the sun today, but it’s cloudy. Instead of getting upset about that and looking at it and saying, “I have no control. No matter what my ego wants to do, other than upset me and causing great cost to me, what can I do about that?” Well it— you know, I can go inside and maybe today, rather than do that, I’ll go inside and rearrange my closet. I’ve been wanting to do that for a month, or I’ll do something else that’s productive, or I’ll read a book, or I’ll work on something else and take control. Become the Dominant Force in your own life, rather than letting it bother you.
So there is no one giant step, but lots of little ones that can make the difference and so what we’re looking to do is go from this filtered, ego driven world, where I’m not okay and everything I do is an attempt to make me okay, whether it’s getting a new car or buying a new dress and instead I’m going to look at life unfiltered. That everything happening is happening for a reason and I can use this to learn and grow and become more. So again, I like to end with this, but the whole idea of what we’re doing to really build full bliss in our lives. Where we’re stable. Is that internal stability, no matter what happens, we’re able to, like water on a duck’s back, we have the emotional agility, the flexibility, that we can adapt to it, notice it, certainly if it’s something negative, address it, but then we can move on and we’re okay, and the same thing, because what that allows us to do then is externally, to have equilibrium with the people around us. Our ego can handle, I mean we can handle certain things when we’re alone because we do a little self-surveillance but most of the time when we’re with others we get triggered by so many things, and so it’s so critical that we get our ego under control.
So, hopefully that was helpful. Kind of set up for what we’re doing, and now Rach, let’s open this up for Q&A and take it off of shared [referring to the shared screen].
Rachel: All right. First up we have Shelly. Shelly, can you come on camera? Unmute yourself?
Shelly: Yes. Hi, Dr. A.
Dr. A: Hi, Shelly. How are you?
Shelly: Good! How are you?
Dr. A: I’m fantastic [crosstalk 00:24:13]
Shelly: By the way, I have a question for you, kind of getting back to the emotional management. For many of us emotional eaters, sitting in our emotions, or the icky sauce, as you say, is a new concept to us as we didn’t really want to feel our emotions. We numbed them instead with food. So my question to you is what does sitting in emotion look like? You mentioned 90 seconds to process an emotion. Can you— is there— can you walk us through a little bit of a process? Is there something we can focus on? Do we focus on, you know, the part of the body of where we feel it.
Dr. A: Yeah. No. I love that. It’s a great question Shelly, and it’s a question that so many people struggle with. So, I like the little picture I show of the little Asian boy that’s sitting on the side of the bank and just looking, right? Just looking. So the first part, the first part in regulating our emotions and regulating ourselves is awareness, right? So that’s the first part. It’s that awareness, and it could be any, it’s going to be different for everybody, but I created Stop. Challenge. Choose., almost two decades ago now as that between stimulus and response because when you’re an emotional eater the stimulus creates an immediate response, and so you don’t think about it, and you’ve habituated it, and you’ve used it to suit. It might have been when you were small, like we were talking about it, and so it’s incorporated into your behavior. So, it’s one of your preferences and so it’s become so facile that it happens without you thinking about it.
So the key part of any kind of redirection of your life is to say, “Okay, I’m not okay. I do this and I want to be okay.” So the difference between living the two lives is one is I’m going to look for outside things, so it’s real important, this is probably the most important concept of what we’ve been talking about today, it’s that I am letting my ego run my life and so my ego is that I get very emotional and there’s things inside of me and how I found that I correct or pleasure myself is when I eat when I’m stressed, and so it becomes a reactive stimulus response. So the first thing to do is recognize that this is what’s going on. The second thing then is to start practicing. It’s kind of like the violin, right? You know you’re not going to be able to do Beethoven the first time you get to a violin. You’re going to learn how to— and I don’t even know how you do it because it’s amazing. There’s no frets or anything, but obviously, there’s an art to it, and then people become really good over time, but they don’t start off playing Beethoven. They start off by learning where the strings are, learning how to move up and down, how to use the bow. The same thing with you, or anybody that’s struggling with emotional eating, the first thing is just become aware.
You can be aware of the sensations. I think that’s a really good one because early on, when you catch it early on, when it doesn’t have time to fester. In other words once it’s in the Drama Triangle and you’re really upset it’s too late because this part of your brain [Dr. A points to his head,] is no longer working. Your limbic brains working, your prefrontal cortex, which allows you to make rational choices, do the right things, be able to look in time so that you can organize your life around what matters most and to the future you want, that goes away. As soon as you get into the Drama Triangle. So it’s key to pick it up early. So it’s usually body sensations. It’s usually a feeling in your gut, or in your jaw, or in your throat. It could be in your heart area. As soon as you feel that you want to Stop., and you want to basically disengage that, and then if it’s already starting, kind of sense, “Okay, I’m feeling,” and if you can identify the emotion, right? That’s good, because then you can then manage it and then let that emotion, as you said, Shelly, you basically just let the emotion take its course, and it’ll go away in like 90 seconds.
The other part is, be curious. Why did this close me? So your heart— you have an energy, you know, in the Eastern religion they talk about Shakti, which is energy. We have this amazing energy and that energy can open up in a second and close in a second, right? So let’s say, you know, you’re with your boss and your boss just gave you four more jobs and you were planning on going away for the weekend and now you’re upset and so you go home, and you’re closed, and you go home and you’re not very nice to your spouse and your kids. You kind of ignore them because your ego is fully engaged, right? Or your boss gives you a raise, you come home and you’re open. So, opening and closing of our energy, and our hurt, our feeling of joy, all those things are determined by what’s there. So what we want to do is start unloading. Emotional eating is about stored trauma. Things you have that trigger you and then your response is pleasing yourself by eating as a stimulus response.
So the first part is to identify it and the second then is to take a deep breath, do a mantra, don’t allow yourself to close. Stay open. Think of something joyful. Substitute something joyful in your life, positive in your life versus that negative part, and what will happen is— it’s not going to be easy. It’s not something that just happened overnight, but you start getting— like I said, a bunch of little baby steps, right? To have this giant leap forward, and the baby steps are, you’ll start to see more and more and what will happen is as you take the low-hanging fruit, and use that as a test, your exercise. You’re practicing, just like the violin, you’re practicing being in control. So that stimulus no longer engages you to start feeling that way and instead you feel a different way because you’re in control of that. Our ego is sitting there running the show because you’ve let it run the show and you’ve let it run the show for you. It’s the same ego that was there when you were seven years old and basically is upset because if someone called you something or— and when you were little kids, took your toy, or when you were in high school said you had zits, it doesn’t matter what it is, that’s all not you. It’s you simply reacting to something and conceptually building this barrier, this wall around you to protect you, which now isn’t protecting. It’s actually backfiring.
[00:30:25] It’s actually causing you to eat without even thinking about it. So the key part is awareness and once you do that then you can use those other little pieces, just standing, changing your posture, all those things can start now creating that challenge that creates choosing an outcome, that allows you to diffuse it, and it’ll go away. It’s designed. The mechanism is designed to keep you from getting bit from that snake. It’s not there to basically have you think about snakes for two hours. It’s not there to have you thinking about it because your boss said something and now you ate a bowl of M&M’s. So the first thing you do obviously is when— remove yourself from those temptations. So they’re not there. So it’s not easy to make that choice. Make it harder. That’s what the Habits of Healthy surroundings are all about. So you buy your willpower at the grocery store. Don’t bring home candy. Don’t bring home ice cream. Don’t bring home things that you could immediately go to during that, if you don’t have that pause and you start drifting down into the Drama Triangle, make sure that number one, you become aware, and then number two, don’t have those adjuvants that normally you would use as pleasure available. Make them so they’re hard to get.
Dr. A: Does that make sense?
Shelly: Yes, it does, and thank you. So, if I’m hearing you, the 90 seconds is spent— well, first, after we recognize it— the 90 seconds is spent just sitting in it, but maybe focusing on— because the problem with— well, what was happening to me is my mantra was, don’t eat, don’t eat, don’t eat, don’t eat. You know, which doesn’t work [crosstalk 00:32:08]. So, but I did start breathing through it and focusing on the part of the body where I was feeling it, and right? And then after the 90 seconds I felt kind of a calm. Is that?
Dr A: Yeah, that’s it. No, that’s it. See the thing is you have these patterns, they’re habitual habits.
Dr. A: [crosstalk 00:32:25] and when— you know a lot of these things happen when we were young, it just is the way it is, and our parents were doing the best they could, and you know, we might be more aware of it today than we were 20, 30 years ago, but the point is is that they’re habitual patterns, and you need to break the pattern, and the way to break it is the first response, is almost always emotional. It’s a feeling because those feelings— and I like to use the snake, because you know a rattlesnake if you didn’t have that part of your brain— so we say, “Well, why do we have this? Why do we have an ego?” Because in its pure form the olympic area in our brain was a protective mechanism. Ten thousand years ago there were a lot of things that could kill you, right? And you know, you didn’t have all the safety. You didn’t have alarm systems. You know, you just were out there in nature and so these things were built in there to protect us. They were real threats that the limbic areas worked on.
Today in the modern world, they’re mostly perceived threats, right? They’re us being upset about something that someone said, or again it happens, it’s much more intensified when we’re around people. We can handle it sometimes when we’re alone, but it gets to the point where if you have a low self worth and your ego’s sitting there and saying well, you know, have a bowl of ice cream because that’ll make you feel better about yourself. No it won’t. You have to address what the triggered stored trauma was and the idea is if you can sense it early you’re actually switching on this area of your brain versus that area of your brain.
Dr. A: Yeah. That’s the key difference, and then the actual motion itself, the trigger was designed to basically get you away, right? You either fought— you basically froze, you fainted, you know, you did— or you fell, and what that did was that was your natural protection. You watch that all the time. The deer in the headlights, right? Freezes. Not necessarily the best way to protect themselves, but those things are part of our physiology. Part of our anatomy, and so we have to know that today, especially if we have these habitual patterns where we get triggered and we eat. We need to stop the pattern, and the first way to stop it is awareness. The second way is to deal with that physiology and that physiology is very brief and then what you’re doing is you’re also using it, is okay, don’t close. Don’t allow yourself to close, and so that energy stays open, and then what you’ll start sensing is, wow, I handled that. Wow, that’s a positive feedback loop. I handled that. I went for a walk rather than saying something. I drank water. I did something that made it so easy to handle it. And that gets easier and easier, and what will happen is, because we have all this stuff concealed, like springs that are pushed down, as you start getting a low hanging fruit, you’ll get better through practice. Just like the violin, and then you’ll be able to handle bigger things.
You don’t start off with a huge thing about you have mommy issues or daddy issues. You don’t start there. You start with the low-hanging fruit. You learn the mechanism using that, don’t close, basically, a mantra, breathing, not resisting, and allowing it to happen and move forward and then that’ll start bringing up the bigger things.
Shelly: Yes, it does. Thank you.
Dr. A: Welcome. Congratulations on doing the work. This is the most important work you’ll ever do in your life. When you lay down on the pillow at night, no one else is around you, there’s no one externally to help you. It’s you, and if you can lay down and sense that, “Wow. Today I worked on myself. I made some small strides.” It’s like Columbus. They were going like four knots, right? And his crew were getting pretty spooked and he wrote every day in the journal. We made progress today. Right? May have only been four knots, and they had to go, you know, 2,000 miles, but they made progress, and that’s how we change our patterns, our preferences, and we start living a non-dual life where it’s not what we like or dislike. We don’t need anything outside us to make us whole inside. It’s the inside job and if we realize we’re not okay and we start working on that, everything can change.
Shelly: Yep. You got it. Thank you.
Dr. A: You’re welcome. Cool. All right. Who’s next?
Rachel: All right. Next up we have Amanda. Amanda, can you come on camera? Unmute yourself?
Rachel: There you are.
Dr. A: Hey, Amanda.
Amanda: Hi, Dr. A. First of all, what an honor it is to actually be on this Conscious Leadership Zoom, and I have a question for you. I want to know, how do you respond when a co-worker is challenging you? So basically, challenging you and challenging your ego?
Dr. A: Yeah. That’s a great question. You’ll actually do exactly what I just did— what I just talked about. This is the beauty of this and this is something that most people probably wouldn’t even agree with me with, but nobody can upset you other than who?
Amanda: You. Me. Well, myself.
Dr. A: Exactly. Only you, and what’s upsetting you is not really you. Not the essence of you. Not Amanda. This consciousness, this awareness, it’s your ego. Your ego’s got this job. You didn’t ask it to do the job. It just, you know, you built this thing, this monster inside of us which is totally inaccurate, making up stuff all the time, and you know, I mean, like you may have— you’re waiting for someone that you liked, and you liked him a lot, and you’re supposed to call you at 3:30, right? And they didn’t call you until four. Your ego said, “Nah, that’s not acceptable.” And now you’re pissed at him, and it could be that they were caught in a place where their cell phone isn’t working, or their cell phone isn’t working, it could be a million reasons, but your ego now has created this story and it doesn’t even have to know what’s going on. Okay? So know this: do not take anything personally. If someone shot you in the head, it’s not about you. It’s about them. It would hurt a lot, but it’s not about you, and here’s the beauty, if they basically threaten you, or attack you, or try to make you feel bad, if you don’t do this, right? [Dr. A bumps his fists together] and you’re here, and they’re doing this, basically, they’ll go down to here [Dr. A moves one fist up and one fist down to show the fists are not bumping together anymore]. Remember, an ignored guest will quickly leave, right?
Amanda: That is golden. Yes.
Dr. A: Yeah. They’re looking for you. They’re looking to charge you. They’re looking to— it’s like a banjo, they’re looking to pluck those strings and get you agitated, right? [crosstalk 00:39:09] And so what you’re actually doing— words are one thing, actions are another, and you, Stop. Challenge. Choose. You know, I know, sometimes I’m in meetings and someone will say something and, I mean it, it doesn’t affect me like it used to because I’ve done this work and now it’s something, I may be angry for a moment and it’s like water on the top of the surf, it rides itself. I notice it and then it goes away. It doesn’t stick. It’s like the difference between velcro and teflon, right? Think of it that way. If you’re teflon, if you’re teflon baby, whatever they say just rolls off, and it doesn’t affect you. If you’re like velcro and it sticks to you, and as you take it and you build a feeling from it and then it becomes a cognitive emotive loop, and it pisses you off for the rest of the day. What is the benefit Amanda, to you if that happens? Nothing. Zero benefit. [crosstalk 00:40:05]
Amanda: I mean, you really just— exactly.
Dr. A: Yeah. So what you’re doing is, you know, one of the first things, when I really realized what was important to live a life well lived, that allows you to have joy, you know, we choose— by the way, we choose what emotion to have. I choose to have joy in my life from the time I get up, to the time to go to bed. My main emotion is in the creative process. Sharing with— doing this, I mean I love this as much as going to a great dinner or going sailing because the joy is that I’m able to share something that I’ve helped my— intrinsic motivation, by definition is something you’re passionate about. Something you want to get better at. Something you want to share with others. That’s the definition. So for me, I’m highly intrinsically motivated because this is something that I realize in my 20 plus years of helping others, that this is more important than anything. There’s nothing even close to this work. This work inside. Of getting rid of our childhood patterns, these things in our ego and these persona things that have been dictating us, creating the same behaviors, same conditions. The default future of where most people go because they hang on to what they know versus build what they want, right? Changes everything. So basically, when you’re with someone else and they’re taking out, that’s their personal— that’s their personal— that’s their ego trying to somehow bully you. I mean, I don’t know the conditions, but their ego’s trying to do something to make them— they’re projecting onto you something that they’re struggling with because they’re not okay inside. Does that make sense?
Amanda: Yes. Absolutely. That answers my question 100%
Dr. A: Good. And thank you for last night.
Amanda: Thank you, Dr. A.
Dr. A: That was so sweet.
Amanda: Oh, you’re welcome. You’re welcome. Bye.
Dr. A: Great. Who’s next?
Rachel: All right. Next up we have Tanya. Tanya, can you unmute yourself? There you are.
Dr. A: Hi, Tanya.
Tanya: Hi, Dr. A. I know that this business is really important in terms of relationships, building relationships with people as we serve them, and help them, and as we’re working on our own ego, how can we respond? How can we best respond to people who don’t fight against us, but are so super sensitive and so tied in with their ego that they take offense at anything we may say or the way we may behave? How do we respond to those kinds of people?
Dr. A: Yeah. It’s tough. It’s tough, especially when we’re just in the beginning of doing our own work, but this is what I would say, all of it stems around you doing the inside work, right? I’m going to make a statement here which is just completely accurate, you cannot change anyone else’s behavior. You have no ability to change someone else’s behavior. Your job as a coach is to awaken them and actually, our job, here’s an interesting thing, Jim Dethmer said this in Dallas when we were together and I really think this is a profound difference, you know, as coaches we’re empathetic and we want to help people, but part of that is that we want to help people, and helping people isn’t what we want to do because help, in essence, says that we’re a hero, right? We’re a hero helping. What we really want to do is support people. We want to support them from where they are. So rather than, because you know, you’d like to help them, and fix them, and you see things about them. You can’t do that unless you support them. So, if right now they’re pissed at the world or they’re upset about something you have to support them with that feeling because that’s where they are. You can’t say, “No, no, no, no, don’t have that feeling.”
[00:44:07] So what you do is you ask the questions because if someone’s upset, or has a strong emotion, or opinion, or wants the world a certain way their ego is not open. You know, I mean, I’ve dealt with this just today. If someone’s ego is really strong you can’t say, get rid of your ego. You just have to somehow make them aware that the results they’re getting are not where they want to be, right? So the whole point is if your ego’s running your life, you’re getting the same results and you have to ask yourself are these patterns creating success in my life? And bringing me more joy or less joy? And if they’re not bringing you more joy and they’re less joy, it’s probably because you’re trying to get the world to be a certain way or get something outside of you to fix you, or buy something to fix you, or get a drug to fix you, or whatever it is versus saying, “You know what? I’m not okay and I’m gonna do the work now,” through what we were talking about.
Whether it’s staying open, doing a mantra, taking a deep breath and not allowing myself to be caught up in this cognitive emotional loop, which means our thoughts lead to an emotion, the emotions lead to the thought, and you get a loop that goes on, and on, and on, and if they’re in that, if they’re in that Drama Triangle, when you’re talking to them, a great— we call it upset technology— but there’s three questions you can ask them. What happened? What was missing, and what’s next? And if you ask those questions in a serial pattern, because remember what we were talking about earlier, most emotions last 90 seconds. Unless you’re like velcro and you grab onto them, and now nurture them, and fester them, and have them go over, and over, and over, and create anxiety, and more anxiety, if you actually Stop. Challenge., and say, “Okay, I’m having this emotion. Let me do one of these techniques to allow the emotion to go by and not put it in.”
The first part of working on yourself is to not put any more stuff in there, right? You know it’s fine that you’re going to bring all this stuff up. Slowly but surely over time, it may take months, may take weeks, months, years to get everything out of it, but each time you’re getting a little better and a little more in control and a little more not triggered by this previous stuff. All that stuff puts you in a better position where you’re not letting other people trigger you because if you’re letting someone else— that their emotions, or their ego is high, and you allow that to trigger you and get you in that loop, you’re going down to the Drama Triangle and you’re no longer being a coach, you’re being what? A hero.
Dr. A: Yeah. Does that make sense?
Tanya: Yes. Thank you.
Dr. A: Good. You’re welcome. Cool. What else do we got?
Rachel: All right next up we have Susan. Susan, can you come off camera? Unmute yourself? There you are.
Dr. A: Hi, Susan.
Susan: Hi, Dr. A. This might have already been answered but, how is our ego and our values different?
Dr. A: That’s a great question. Yeah. So, okay. That’s really good. In fact, I’ve never been asked that question, but let’s start first about the purity of your values. Your values are the things that are most important to you. They usually revolve around your children, you know? Maybe your health, your security, doesn’t matter what they are. Your highest values are things that don’t need a lot of motivation to do, right? Okay. Our ego is really doing something very different. It’s in essence saying inside of us, we’re not okay and if we get the world to be a certain way we will be okay. Your ego is based in beliefs. Your values are actually intrinsic to you. These are things that resonate, they’re usually in harmony with who you are, and like your kids, you know, I mean, like your kids— a mom who’s in a hotel and their kids, let’s say around the other side and the building catches on fire and the only way they get to their kids is to go out on a ledge 60 stories up, and get to them, they’re going right after it. They’re not letting that scared, that they might fall off the ledge, they’re going to get their kids because they value that very much.
So your true values are the things that are met. Your ego supports your likes and dislikes. These are your preferences. They’re not necessarily things that are really even that important to you. At one time they were so the ego is this thing we built about what we like and we don’t like and that’s just like— and you notice sometimes I’ll take an example let’s say, when you’re a kid, most kids don’t like asparagus or broccoli, right? And so they say I don’t like those and even again to adulthood their ego says, no I don’t like those. When the reality is they haven’t tried it in 20 years and what your values would be is that, yeah broccoli is very good for me. My ego’s saying I don’t like it, but let me try it again, right? Because I value my health and I know it can be helpful. So one is something that’s intrinsic to us, something that’s really important to us, and the ego just created a scenario where it’s found that when it does this I’m okay, and so it tries to change the world, and so I know you’re still a little confused. So, tell me what you’re actually thinking about.
Susan: I’m thinking also with boundaries. In regard to these two subjects. I guess, you know we hear a lot about setting boundaries, but that also sounds contradictive to staying open.
Dr. A: Okay. So that’s— you’re talking about pretty complex things. Boundaries are guard rails of things that’ll— okay. Let me back up for a minute. I’ll tell you something we wouldn’t need if we were truly conscious. If we were fully okay. If we were 100% This is an interesting thing, but if we were completely okay and we were generating joy, appreciation, and gratitude, I mean honestly, you know, if you think about it— that we’re even on this planet being able to be here. We should be so grateful every moment of every day, right? And basically because there’s nothing else out there. We got dropped on this incredible place where you know, this morning I was sitting outside and the bird was singing. Where did birds come from? I mean, and singing this beautiful song and I could be in my mind upset about something or I can actually fully be present and say, “Oh look at this great gift I’ve gotten.” Right? Does that make sense? So if we start there and if we actually appreciate, and we’re grateful, and we have the spirit, we want to go out and create, and share, and help others, we wouldn’t even need laws. We wouldn’t need any laws at all because everyone body would respect that. We need laws because we’re not okay and we want things out there that we want to take that will make us okay, right? And if we didn’t have laws we’d go out and take everything because that would make our egos happy, right?
We go get in the biggest house. We go steal somebody’s car, you know, if it was okay. So boundaries are a set of parameters we put around ourself of things that allow us to say okay, over this line and we’ll tolerate. So, Amanda was saying, what if someone is talking to me and really egoic, strong, you set a boundary and the boundary is that, okay, I sense this and I’ll take a little bit and I won’t let it bother me, but if it becomes offensive, to the point where it is bothering me, I’ll just say, “You know what?” and you just say, “Excuse me,” and you walk away. So in other words, there’s a threshold in interaction, in relationships, where you set a boundary about, “No, I’m just not going to stay here in this environment. There’s no need for me to stay. I’m not going to engage you. I’m not going to the Drama Triangle. I am moving myself away.” Same thing with little things, like people being late, right? If someone’s chronically late you call them out on it and say, “Listen, my time is valuable too. I appreciate it, but when you say we’re going to have dinner at seven o’clock and you show up at eight o’clock, there’s an hour where I’m waiting there that I could be doing something else with.” So there’s the boundary. You know, “Your a friend and I appreciate it, but that doesn’t work for me.” So, yeah. Boundaries are relational things we do that set guidelines about what if you cross over.
[00:53:06] Same thing with the full body, yes. There are going to be things, especially in a business where you’re helping people, where people are going to take advantage of you. They want to be the victim, they want you to be the hero. You’re not the hero. You’re the coach that supports them. Not the hero that helps them. So if they forget their feelings, or forget the order, or forget to do something that’s not your responsibility, your responsibility is to show them, guide them, support them of what they need to do and then if that happens more than once or twice, then you sit down and you have a discovery period where you say, “I’m not doing that.” Or there’s something you’ve done and you don’t really want to do but you’re a nice person, that’s your ego saying you’re the nice person, this is something you don’t want to do— and actually, if you have to do it, you’re not going to be happy doing it. So you say, no to it. You say, “No, I’m sorry. I can’t do that.” And you don’t wait till the moment to cancel, you basically learn to have a full body “yes” which means in my mind, and in my heart, and in my gut, I’m saying yes, because this is something that I want to say yes to. Not something I don’t. Now obviously, with your kids, you may not feel like taking them to gym practice, but you gotta do it anyway, because your values are that you value they’re able to go, because you know that gymnastics is going to keep them from going out to the mall and smoking pot with their friends, right? So yeah. Does that make more sense for you now?
Susan: Yeah. That helps.
Dr. A: Awesome. [crosstalk 00:54:43] All right. We have time for maybe one or two more, depending on how much I talk.
Rachel: Well, we have one more. Shelley? There you are.
Dr. A: Hi, Shelley.
Shelley: Hey, Dr. A. Thanks for doing this. The question that I have is when you are working with people to share their story and to offer this amazing gift that we’ve been given, it seems like in the— when you’re helping them share, there’s— the ego comes in, right? And it doesn’t want you to share, doesn’t want you to talk to people, doesn’t want you to tell your story with boldness, and a lot of times the conversations that come up, it’s like people feel like they’re being altruistic or they’re being respecting other people, they’re not being pushy, however words they want to say about sharing their story, but in helping them and knowing what a benefit it is to them, and what it is to others, seems like their ego gets in their way, and it’s keeping them trapped. How do you go about— I know you can’t just flat out say, “Hey, it’s your ego!” So, what do you do instead?
Dr. A: Yeah. I’m guilty doing that sometimes, you know, I’ve done that with my daughter before and it’s not helpful. It’s not helpful, but what is helpful is to understand that’s because— that’s the operating principle, right? Their ego is, they don’t want to be rejected. See, their ego is trying to keep them safe and rejection is a huge thing and so their ego’s saying, “Wait. You’re not comfortable doing this. You haven’t done this before. Don’t do it,” and so they’re gonna use the excuse and say, “Well, you know, I don’t want to bother people,” or whatever, but the reality is that it’s their egos. So again, you can’t say that directly to them, but what you can do is make them aware about what they’re really doing— and so what I like to do is really focus, for instance, in this mechanism, this mission, if you think about it, what has it done for you? So I start there. What has it done for you? And for most people that have learned, they’re learning the Habits of Health, they’re learning to become healthy, they’re learning to become fit, they’re learning to have more control over their lives. They have more time. All these things are beneficial to us and so what I basically— and I’ll say this because we don’t have a lot of time here— but I’ll say this, if someone says, “Well, I don’t want to share,” the question would be, and you don’t say it this way, but, don’t you like that? Because this has been so bad, your experience in this, and what you’re offering has been tremendously beneficial, even if somebody doesn’t say yes. You at least have presented something to them in a non-sales way by sharing and caring that could put them in position to have a difference in their health their wellbeing in their life with their family, and so with that it’s important to have them become aware of that.
Where now they understand that you know, I’m not selling and telling, I’m sharing and caring, and by doing this I have the opportunity to make an impact in their life. If they’re open, if they’re not open. So if you look at the Speed Of Trust on the character side of trust there’s integrity and there’s intent. Intent is what your agenda is. So if you help them kind of reorganize, where now their agenda is that I’m sharing something beautiful and seeing, by knowing and understanding, and asking questions in autonomy, supporting them, and being compassionate. Finding out what life’s like on their planet is. Is there something in here that we can offer or present to them that may benefit them in that fashion?
So you’re not— it’s funny because I had a car salesman once that said— I asked him, what is the objective of talking to somebody to create interest? He says, well to sell them the product. He’s a car salesman. I said no, it’s to basically create a relational health, a rapport, and see if in that rapport there’s something that bubbles up from it where we can share it. That’s it. Because I’m not a salesperson. I mean, when I was in college I went one summer up north looking to do construction. The job wasn’t available so they— we looked in the paper, my best friend and I and they had cutlery and we got to stop and I went to the first door and I said, I can’t do this. There’s no way. So, I get that feeling, but that feeling was that I don’t want to bother people, but in this I can tell you, I don’t think in my whole 20 plus years that the offer or talking to people about— and you do it in a calm way, where you’re not trying to get something from someone, you’re simply opening. So I think if you make them aware of that and they start to do some introspection, and if you hadn’t, if you hadn’t talked to them about this, their life would not be as amazing as it is now, and just create that awareness, and that’ll help it bubble. You can’t rationalize it. You have to kind of let it happen naturally. Does that make sense?
Shelley: It does, yeah. It’s an art I think.
Dr. A: Oh, it is an art. It is an art [crosstalk 01:00:03]. But in the art, see? Right now, that’s your ego talking.
Shelley: Working to get better? Well [crosstalk 01:00:14]
Dr. A: No, no, no getting better. That part is awesome. I’m saying that getting out of the way. You know just like— again, it’s practice, right? It’s practice. Practice this and ask lots of questions. Find out what’s inside of them are the things that they’re not happy with and would love to change and then show them that you have a match. You know, it’s kind of like when you fly fish, right? There’s different hatches that occur at different times of the year and you want to use a fly that matches the hash because that way the trout, or whatever, they want that, because that’s what. They want you to find out what they want. What’s important to them and that’s what the side of building rapport, or trust, or the agenda side, right? The intent side. Is that your intention is not to get them to do anything, your intent is to share something and be compassionate to their needs, and have them understand, and then to have them do the same to others, cool?
Shelley: Yes. All right. Thank you.
Dr. A: Awesome. Well, we’re out of time. I wanted to end by saying tomorrow, I’m gonna have Rachel put this up in a second, but tomorrow I’ve been invited by Helen Urwin, a dear conscious leadership friend of mine, is basically doing a conscious— she’s going to have me on as a guest and we’re going to talk about conscious conversations. I have Rachel put that up there. The second announcement I wanted to make is that we will not— since the Fourth of July is the first Tuesday of July, we won’t be having one on that day, but thank you guys so much, and I really congratulate you for working on this. This is the most important work you can do in your life. Moving from the point of recognizing first, that you’re not okay, and then making the decision that you’re going to work on this can change everything for you. You’re building a new programming for yourself and organizing your life in the future around what matters most to you.
Doing this work, moving beyond your personal mind and your ego, and if you don’t like the word ego, use your personal mind. That seems to be less offensive to most people, but bottom line, getting that out of the way to fully experience the joy and the incredible world we live in, from the standpoint of us being in control of our lives, and our health, and doing the things necessary to get rid of that stuff from our previous program. That stored trauma that’s triggering us and keeping us from really enjoying the full nature of being present in the moment. So, God bless you guys and thanks so much. Bye.